Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Away

This weekend I am going away. I will be staying at my brother-in-law's holiday house down at Phillip Island (South of Melbourne) So yeah, I have been knee deep in the editing of my latest completed work and thinking of the holiday so I totally forgot about writing an article for this blog. Doh!

So a quick post is what you'll get this week.

Do you listen to music when you write/read?

If you do, what sort?

Me? I must have music, it drowns out any other noise that may distract me, you know, fire alarms, neighbour's screaming blue murder, S.W.A.T team breaking down my front door, etc, I listen to new age, mood music mostly as I find music with words sometimes pulls me out of my train of thought.

Anyway...gotta go. I promise I'll post a better effort next week :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being married to a writer can be crazy!

Hey, everyone! I think life can be tough for our partners or spouses, right? Well, what if both of you are a writer? Today we get to peek into the life of Michael and Elaine Charton! I hear Elaine is giving away a copy of her ebook Easy Lovin'!

My house is chaotic with me being the only writer in my household. What's your home life like with two?

E- Interesting.:) Not as clean as I'd like it to be. I'm still waiting for the cleaning angels to come visit. Seriously though it is interesting. We do get strange looks sometimes when we start talking plots and such in public. One summer we were driving down to Cape Cod to visit my dad. We were on a very quiet road and started playing what if. We started with a time traveling revolutionary era soldier and by the time we had stopped for lunch we were up to murder and what kind of weapons would be used. We were in this small roadside diner and an elderly couple came in and sat behind us. After listening to our conversation they got up and went to another table...on the other side of the room. :)

M- I am absent minded that way, like my absent minded Chemistry Professor father. I only clean my stuff when it takes control of me. There is a story in there somewhere. It is like a monster trying to take me over. I hate having too many possesions. Cannot control it that way lol!

What do you wish Elaine would do to help during your writing process (like bring you coffee, give you peace to write, ect)?

She's the best. Don't change anything!

What does Elaine wish you'd do for her during her writing time?

E-Everything! :) As long as he lets me write I'm ok. I don't like anyone looking at what I've written until it's done. I will let him look at a scene if I don't think I have it right. Usually if I need him to do something

Do you and Elaine have any projects going together or plan to?

E- We're working on a detective series set in Tucson, it's going slow, between out other projects. It's been interesting because we have such different voices.

M-Elaine is toning down my male detective. I made him a grumpy macho Mexican male with a perennial cigar in his mouth. His only soft spot is for his cat, based on my cat, Yerbie. The Mexican guys @ work help me with stuff. As my psychologist friend Dr. Rita Pettiford says, "Michael, YOU have a vivid imagination!" Coming from a psychologist, that is not necessarily a good thing. I have come up with some black plots. My mother says I am a sicko. I ask her , "Who got me that way?" The latest plot I am working on involves a murderer who had been in South African Special Forces (I knew someone who served in that group). All kidding aside, I am fascinated by people, both the good and the bad elements.

Can you give us information on yours and Elaines books?
E I have two books available now, EZ LOVIN' and PANDORA'S JUSTICE. Both are available in electronic and print format . This is book one and two in a series I call Mac's Men. The third book, Mac's MAN will be out later this year.Our publisher is Swimming Kangaroo Books

M- My book THAT MEDDLESOME HOLMES will be out in 2010. It's a biography of the Holmes villian Proffesor Moriarty. It starts at the age of 10 and goes up to the infamous scene in Reichenback falls.

Where can readers find out more information on you?

Thanks so much for doing an interview, Elaine and Michael! Please visit us again at Wicked Thorn and Roses! Readers, do you have any other questions for them? Don't forget to post to be entered in for the free ebook!

Talk to you soon,
Wendy Ely

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Signs From The Man Upstairs Or Maybe I'm Just Mental

I know all my writer friends out there are going to groan when they hear this because I know better. Really I do. I always back up everything. At least I used to. Last week my computer crashed. Don't know why. I have virus protection and plenty of memory. It just decided to die. Along with it, died two manuscripts and many precious family photos. I think I can retrieve the stuff. Of course I'll have to pay out the wahzoo to do so, but some of the experts tell me that 99% of the time, they can recover lost data. Good news. Sort of. I guess.

I'm trying to make the best of it. I'm one of those fools that looks for signs. No, not freeway signs...signs from God. I'm looking for direction and generally when I ask for it, I get it. I was working on one of those manuscripts, planning to go in a whole new direction with my writing. That WIP is bye-bye. It forced me to go back to another werewolf novel I had been working on about six months ago. When I heard the market was saturated with these stories, I had put it aside.

If you read my blog often, you'll remember that I just went to a writer's conference in Dallas and heard from editors and agents that paranormal romances are still very much in'm back to working on this book and will charge full speed ahead.

See, I took that computer crash as a sign. For many things. Back up everything. Even if it's a page. Back up daily. It also taught me this. I better get a regular old camera. I never do anything with the digital photos. They sit on my computer. What a waste.

But most importantly, that computer crash reminded me to follow my heart. Ignore the market news. Let's hope I can remember to write from my gut, follow my passions. I adore paranormals. I was one of those kids that thought Halloween was the VERY BEST TIME OF THE YEAR...and being an October baby only confirmed it. I'm a lover of shadows, autumn winds and smoke fires. And I'm totally in love with with the hero of my latest WIP, Axl, grandson of Lord of the Wolfen. Here's what he looks like.

So speak up, friends. Do you believe in signs?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Congratulations to Carol L.

You have been chosen as the winner in Saturday's contest! We'll pass your email address on the the Ornery Eleven blog tour so that they can send your prize! Congratulations!!!

Creative Talents

Lately, I’ve been learning to crochet. I don’t know why, but I just had the urge to try it. So, it got me to thinking, are you creative in other ways than writing? I’ve always heard that creative people usually enjoy many different types of art forms. Although, I do enjoy many different types of arts, I can’t say that I’m really good at them. I’ve always enjoyed doing crafts of different forms, but I’ve never excelled in any of them. They were okay, but not great. 

I know there are lots of people out there who both write and draw. I wish I had that talent, but unfortunately, I don’t. At least, I don’t think I do. I’ve never had any art classes, so I couldn’t really say that. But, I do know I don’t have a natural talent for it. What pictures I have tried drawing in the past haven’t been that great. I have a nephew that can draw anything, and he’s never had any real art classes. That’s what I consider natural talent. If you can do it without even being taught, then you’re born with it.

The same goes for singers and actors. Many of them work in both fields. Some of them even write their own songs or plays. The different types of art work synergistically together. That’s great! If you’re capable of doing those things, it’s wonderful. And I’m completely jealous. :D

Personally, I love music. I would give anything to be able to sing. That will never be one of my talents, I’m afraid. I’ll have to stick with singing along with the radio, which I do on a regular basis. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. One day, I’d love to learn how to write songs. Of course, I’ll have to learn how to play an instrument and read music, but you never know. Maybe someday I’ll accomplish that goal. But, for now, I’ll have to stick with learning to crochet. One thing at a time.

So, how about you? Do you enjoy more than one creative activity? Are you a writer and singer, or artist, or…? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear what you enjoy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seeing is Believing

Do you see your characters in vivid color and detail? If you met them on the street or saw them on tv, would you know them?

I'm pretty damn anal when it comes to deciding what my characters look like. I fill out long sheets that sketch not just their physical attributes, but also their emotional, social, spiritual and political. Only once in all the time I've been writing have I seen a real-life embodiment of one of my characters. A hero!!! I was standing in Au Bon Pain getting a coffee and turned around and there he was right behind me. I looked, up and up -(the guy was well over six feet and I'm a mere five and some change.) I went directly to a phone where I called my critique partner. "You're never going to believe this, but I just ran into Rafe Santini!"
The announcement lost some of it's punch since I had to leave it on her voice mail - *sigh* - but I did get a return call a few days later wanting to know the entire story. I told her the entirity of the minute and a half incident, including the part where I stared at the poor guy like a carp on dock, complete with mouth flapping open and closed. (Oh, yeah, that was a real attractive sight, I'm sure)- Critique partner laughed at me and called me a lucky bitch. Why was I lucky? I'd just ran into a male of the species I'd conjured from the very depths of my heart and soul and did nothing but turn into an igit.

But I digress.

The point I want to make is that I've never been one to "cast" my books. I know some authors who decide what actor their characters look like and then go from there. I'm not condemning this or even saying it's wrong - because it's not. Anything that helps an author visualize or motivate them to write the story and get it on the page is definately doing the right thing. I'm just saying I don't do it that way. I don't know if for me it feels as if the confines of Hollywood and the modeling world make it seem to limited on looks for my characters, or if it's simply my imgination is so damn fertile it doesn't need the extra stimulation. But that's only the physical aspects of a character- which are almost secondary to who I feel the character is.

I'm a firm believer in showing who your character is through action, dialogue and mannerisms, quirks, traits and pets they own. Yes, I do physically describe them at some point (for me eyes are the most important - being the window of the soul and all) - but I try not to make the physcial into a laundry list all lumped into one paragraph. Showing the hero walking through a crowded restaurant like cock-of-the-walk tells more about him as a hero than all the broad shoulders and six-pack abs ever could. How does the man wear a suit? His worn-out Levi's? Does he brush a hand through his hair when he's nervous, or when he's skirting the truth?

Heroines are no different. Strong, certainly. Feminine, you bet. But I want them to show the reader their personality by what they say or what they hold back than to know they have bodacious ta-tas and skin without flaw. Again, I get around to that stuff eventually, but not in the first few seconds of a meeting.

Relying heavily on the body language during characters' conversations will reveal more of their inner turmoil or angst than the words will - sometimes. Just recently I wrote a scene in one of my contemporary romantic suspenses. I have the heroine lying straight to the hero's face - the words are in direct contridiction to her body language. And it's nothing overt - but very telling if you're the one talking to the character.

How do you like to introduce and showcase your characters? Do you like to give the reader a full description from soup to nuts, or dole it out slowly like a miser hoarding gold?


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Please welcome the Ravenous Romance Ornery Eleven Tour!

Hi ya! Today’s Question of the Day is brought to you by Isabel Roman, strong women, and druidic magickers. (And the letter R.) I write a lot of paranormal, it’s a favorite subject with so much to draw from. But I also write ‘straight’ historicals because there’s a lot to draw from there, too, and contemporaries, well, they’re sexy and fun, too. I doubt there’s a time I don’t enjoy, so usually have many a story brewing.

Do you prefer writing historical fiction or contemporary, and why?

Isabel Roman: Historical fiction. There’s so much you can do with an historical! Inherent conflicts that aren’t present in contemporaries. In a historical tale, you have your choice of time periods to accommodate the kind of character you are looking to craft. For instance, if you want to create a believable society that engages in orgies, curses, outrageous decadence all out in the open, you need look no farther than the glory days of the Roman Empire. If you want that reserved society where a woman’s rights were curtailed, well that’s most of history but you get my meaning ;).

Historical writing enables the writer to play in a verse that has established rules and that most readers don’t need to learn. And it’s ever so fun to break those rules! Conflict is one thing, a twist on that conflict is something else you can run with.

However, that doesn’t mean that contemporary fiction isn’t fun either. In a contemporary the writer has the luxury of playing with language in a popular way that isn’t possible in an historical. Taboos that you have to work around in an historical are of no great consequence in a contemporary, and therefore easier to write. In a contemporary you aren’t banging your head against the wall trying to figure out all sorts of euphemisms.

Lisa Lane: I prefer writing contemporary—and future history. Writing contemporary allows me to focus my research on characters more than surroundings, and writing future history opens the door for social commentary, which happens to be my favorite literary device.

EM Lynley: I write contemporary though I'd love to do some historical. There is a lot of research involved to do it well, or readers can tell when you're faking it. I'm a perfectionist and I would want to have every detail of the setting perfect. Then of course, there's the story! It's a challenge to craft an accurate story from character's perspective since we think so differently now!

Jamaica Layne: I've written both, and I don't know that I have a preference one way or the other. I tend to write what I'm in the mood for writing on a particular day.

Inara LaVey: It entirely depends on my mood. My narrative voice flows really well in contemporary humor, but it's fun to stretch the writing muscles and visit different time periods and/or worlds.

C. Margery Kempe: As a medievalist, I enjoy both, but it's a lot faster to write a contemporary as there's less research to do. However, there's a greater risk of not hitting that sense of timelessness.

Savannah Chase: I have never tried my hand at writing a historical so I’m not sure how the book would turn out. I’ve mainly done contemporary stories and I think it is something I’m more comfortable with. I also think I tend to write contemporary because I get inspired by life and everything that happens in today’s day and age.

Angela Cameron: In some ways, I prefer contemporary because they’re easy to relate to, but I love the depth and color that come with historicals. I’m inching into that end of fiction, and I’m sure I’ll have a historical before long.

Elle Amery: The first romances I read were all historical, but lately, when I pick up a book for a fun read, I pick up contemporary. It’s easy for me to slip into the character’s world that way. But I do enjoy reading historical romances as well, and have a couple of historical books planned.

Sèphera Girón: I prefer to write modern day stories because that is what I relate to the best.

Neve Black: Both. I find research regardless of period an interesting piece of writing.

Excerpt from Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick

Murder & Magick is the first in my series of Druid stories set in 1880 England and Philadelphia. Raven Drake is a master, one of the most powerful magickers in the world, and responsible for protecting those few remaining magickal people from a world that wants to eradicate them. When she finds herself falling for the wrong man, someone who knows nothing of her world, will she trust him enough to tell him her secrets?

"Are you all right?" Mac asked in a soft tone, his hand a gentle brush on her cheek. The act belied his body's reaction. He refused to release his tight control on his emotions.

"Aye," Raven nodded. Her eyes were still closed, her rapid breathing caused her breasts to strain against the bodice.

She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and he couldn't get enough of her. Passionate and smart, funny and willing, she was everything he'd ever wanted in a woman. And more, so much more.

Alive. She was alive and unhurt and in his arms.

"Then tell me," he demanded, the tiniest slip of control. But his fingers were still soft on her neck, the tops of her breasts. "What the bloody hell do you think you were doing? Following me onto the lawn like that with Corwin's men there. It was dangerous! Corwin's dangerous. Mad most definitely in his quest, and that makes him even more so."

Stiffening in his arms, Raven struggled to pull away. His hands tightened around her, holding her captive between him and the door. He couldn't let her go. His hands wanted to shake. His heart clenched in remembered fear at how close she was to death. The bullet had come entirely too close to her for his liking. Too close for his sanity.

Fire in her eyes, she glared up at him. "I wasn't going to stand indoors and wait for you to do whatever it was you planned. I didn't follow you," she added with a sneer worthy of the best sailors. And he'd seen more than a few. But he felt her pulse jump under his fingertips, saw her own fear, hidden in those fire-blue eyes.

"I followed Corwin to see what insanity he'd brought with him."

"You could've been shot!"

His fingers convulsed on her shoulders, and he shook her once. His voice betrayed his own anger, his own panic. Hating that weakness, he stilled. Breathing heavily, Mac forced his fear-fuelled rage to calm. Forced images of Raven's bloody and broken body away. Deliberately relaxing his fingers, he smoothed his hands down her arms, twining their fingers together.

Closing his eyes for a moment, he opened them again to see Raven watching him. She was furious, but there was still that fear deep in her eyes. She nodded once, gaze holding his. Shutting her own, she breathed deeply.

"I know."

She was barely aware she'd said the words aloud as she rested her head against his chest. Allowing herself that single weakness, she squeezed his hands and looked back up at him. She knew what he felt, though she also knew he was unlikely to show it more than he'd already done.

His anger was fear for her safety. It didn't stop her temper from igniting. Something settled around her heart, compressing it tight. He cared far more than he ought, far more than she should wish him to.

"I'm fine, Malcolm," she said in an even voice, a gentle smile on her face. Despite the stress of the evening, the smile was easy. For him.

In Malcolm's arms, with his sheer presence around her, Raven had no trouble forgetting.

Forgetting she'd wanted to know what Corwin knew, terrified he knew entirely too much. Was frightened she and her family, the people she'd promised an end to terror and persecution, were in terrible danger. She wanted to change what had happened and help that man.

Blinking the memories away, she looked into Malcolm's clear eyes and relaxed. The tension of the day would return soon enough, haunting her nightmares. Strange how she never dreamt when she slept in his arms. But that didn't bear thinking on.

Right now, with Malcolm holding her close, Raven willingly let him soothe her. Maybe she'd hate herself later. Maybe she'd find no solace beyond the physical.

For now, it was enough.

"They had no right," he stated through clenched teeth. His eyes flashed and fingers convulsed around her arms. Raven wondered if it was in anger at Corwin, or at her for her perceived foolishness. "He had no right. Corwin's a madman, worse than whatever evil he professes to hunt. That man fell mere centimeters from you, if the shot had missed..."

"Shush, darling." She touched his cheek in a tender caress, and smiled up at him. He was a good head taller than she, strong, and commanded respect for both his size and his money. Yet all she wanted at this moment was his body in hers.

"Make me forget, Malcolm. I don't want to think of Corwin or that unfortunate--" She looked to the side for a moment. No, there was no sense in wishing. "Make me forget."

Remember to leave a comment; it automatically enters you to win a box of Godiva Chocolates and a signed DVD copy of Murder & Magick. We’ll also be giving away three $5.00 gift certificates for Ravenous on three random stops. You won’t know which ones until the tour is over, so visit as many as you can! And if you leave a comment on every stop in the RR Ornery Eleven BBT, you’re eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Ravenous Romance!

Thanks so much for stopping by and thank you, Wicked Thorn and Roses, for hosting us! Please visit Sia McKaye’s Thoughts On…for another question of the day and our featured author Neve Black!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Subtle Whoring or Honest living by Isabelle St Paul

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Romance Author,  Isabelle St Paul


Would you condemn a woman who uses her body to make her dreams come true? Would you believe her purpose for posing naked in front of the camera as her only way to reach the only dream her heart beats for. Would you say that she is a subtle whore or a woman earning her living honorably.

In my story, My Pleasure, Lilith McFayden worked as a porn actress. Her purpose--to save money so she could buy the small house with white picket fence and surrounded with yellow roses. For Lilith, showing her body for all the men and women to see, to watch, was the easiest and shortest route to achieving her goal. With no education to boast about and no office experience to write on her resume, she knew pornography is the last ticket. And she must use it. For when her body begins to sag and her youthful look disappears producers would go for a younger actress. When that happens what will happen to her?

I know someone who went to the middle east to work as a staff in a hospital. She said the pay was good and enough to support her family. But she still hooked up with a US soldier stationed there. Her purpose--to catch a big fish that would take her to US. Her dream, she said, was to come here. Now, do you think her move was justifiable. Or was she a subtle whore? Is she any different to any young women hooking up with married men to help support them through college.

My Pleasure is set to be released on June 15th from eXtasy Books (Fantasy Garden). This is a short novella and really hot stuff. Please visit my site Isabelle St Paul and leave your comment for a chance to win a copy of this book. Or leave one here, too, to double your chances. Either one, you'll be entered in the drawing.

Looking forward to sharing views and stories with you!

Thank you Wicked Thorn and Roses for the invite to blog here.

Isabelle St Paul

Isabelle's Facebook

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just a Quick One

I’m pleased to announce my muse has come back to me. God I missed him so. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want me to work on my current project, rather, he wants me to get one of my older works polished up and ready for submission.

That’s fine with me.

So long as I am at the keyboard and typing away, I’m happy. Doing something creative takes me away from day to day life. Not that there’s anything wrong with day to day life. Far from it. It’s just nice to escape once in a while, isn’t it?

Some people escape by watching a movie. Others like to read books. Me? I like to write them *giggle* The project my muse wants me to get ready is a fantasy epic set in the wheatbelt region of Western Australia. And, as far as the world I have created anyway, there’s a lot more than sheep and farms there. In fact the place I have created is populated with magical billabongs, evil unicorns and friendly centaurs. Not to mention a father and his two sons who so happen to be living right in the middle of it all.

So there you have it. I hope to polish up a chapter a night. Hopefully, within a month or so the final draft will be complete and I’ll be ready to send it out into the big wide world. And yes, just in case you were thinking it, the book does have some rather steamy erotica in it. But unlike my other books, it’s not male/male. Yes, it’s a traditional boy falls in love with a unicorn who turns into a girl who so happens to be evil and the boy’s brother tries to save him and his family and his farm before it’s all too late. Ahh, the old stories are the best, aren’t they? *chuckle*

Until next week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recharging the Writer's Soul

One thing is for sure about writers. We sit on our bums all day or all night, depending on when you write. And that's just not good for the bones or the soul. We all need to recharge and I'm sure you all have your various methods. What are yours? Share yours today and I'll pick the most original and give the winner his or her choice of any of my books in virtual format.

One of my favorite ways to recharge is gardening. I did plenty of that yesterday. I love digging the earth with my giant cooking spoon. Do you think I should invest in some gardening tools? I have and they aren't as good as my spoons. I go nuts in the kitchen aisle and I'm shopping for garden stuff. My mother doesn't have a green thumb. She has a green body, a green soul, green hair. She looks like freaking Oscar the Grouch. No kidding. The woman's house is like one giant African violet. She's constantly bringing over cuttings, bulbs, baskets and flats of whatever plant is overtaking her garden. I have news for you mom...uh, it's a lost cause. And get this, I'm not kidding either. When my parents go out of town, I take care of their problem, a couple of cans of Fancy Feast, fresh water and rubbing behind the ears. No joke takes me nearly 2 freaking hours to water her stuff. there I am lugging a baby on my hip for two hours while I talk to the garden hose about my latest WIP. I complain a lot but really I love it. This recharges my battery as much as working in my own garden. Nothing more soothing then being outside, listening to the birds chirping, giving the earth and the flowers a nice, long drink. I once saw a psychic that told me if I'm ever stuck on a book, to run water. She said it makes everything flow. I thought she was nuts until I realized I do my best plotting in the shower. Watering plants works too. Try it.

Okay, many of my wicked blogger friends know that I adore wine, particularly red wine. Well, last year I planted a grapevine. Well, I affectionately call it my winevine. Cause that's what it is really. It's gorgeous this year. Last year it was a stick with one leaf. Check it out.

I love watching my plants start out as tiny little things in the spring and grow to full bodied beauties in the summer and this baby is just getting started. This really recharges my battery. And I love the sunshine on my skin and face. You know, sunshine is prescribed for people in dreary climates. Sunshine is rich in Vitamin D and helps with depression. I think many writers fall into depression needlessly because we are shut inside like mad scientists, working furiously on a deadline. Stop it! Go outside! Thankfully, many of us have laptops.

I love to take my kids to the park or get a glass of wine and hang out in the backyard while they play. Pack a picnic lunch and head to the ole swimming hole. We have a great creek nearby. My honey and I have had some wonderful days there too. The kids love to catch turtles, watch minnows, dig in the mud and collect rocks and shells. Take the dogs on a walk, take the kids out in the stroller or mix it up and do both! Venture outdoors and recharge that battery!

Another thing that we often do to ourselves as writers is deprive ourselves of precious sleep. This is a big fat no-no! We need our sleep! And if you're like me and you're forced to write at night because of the rugrats, then take a nap with the baby. Your body and mind will thank you for it later and your brain will be recharged, refreshed and wired, ready to go for several hours of good writing that same night. If you don't, you might end up like Tiny down below.

Okay, now my ultimate favorite way to unwind, relax and recharge is...I bet it's yours too....snicker. Hmmmm....I wonder...what could it be...that's right....some good ole fashioned kissing, face sucking, lip hugging, neck licking, you name it. I love to kiss, as most women do and many men generally like to skip this MOST important bit of foreplay. For me, it IS the foreplay and the very best way to revel in your lover's scent and special brand of love. *Sigh* Kissing is oh so intimate and seductive and then of course, it leads to the really good shit so let's all recharge our batteries with this baby. Put this at the top of your list at RECHARGE LESSON #1....WE MUST MAKE LOVE AND LOTS OF IT!!!! And hey, it's a fabulous reason to post more hot as hell eye candy pics!

Now Wicked Bloggers....UNITE, GO FORTH, RECHARGE THOSE BATTERIES!!! I double dog dare you to seduce your lover the second he or she walks through your door today. Say it was an assignment. Report back with the details. All of them. The more vivid the better. Now, DO IT! Then you can garden.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blending and Purging

It's that time of year again!

The time when people look back at the chaos of winter and wish to sweep it all out the door (or under the rug) and start afresh. Spring is the time of renewal and rejuvenation.

For me, it means cleaning out my closets and dressers from clothes I no longer wear. Time to look through all the bits of papers and notes I've collected over the year and donate them to the recycable bin. It always means a time to look at he files on my hard drive, or story ideas in my notebooks and see which ones are viable fodder and which are going to be added to exsiting ideas for a bit of blending.

I like to take two seemingly different story ideas and see how well they will mesh together and mix them into a word soup. Add a bit of fresh seasoning and stir. Oftentimes I find what one story lacked was the addition of that other idea that pushes it from being ordinary to something really different. It's a fun way to challenge myself or to simply gleen ideas that are sitting around doing nothing. I like to see them working instead of taking up space on my computer.

Purging is also a very important part of spring cleaning. My bookshelves runeth over with freebies I've gotten from judging numerous published writing contests over the past year. The ones I really loved will be shuffled to my keeper shelf, the others will find a home with my mother or the ladies at work. This is a very important step as it frees up premium shelf space for the books I'll get in the next few months.

How do you spring clean? Do you include your writing into the mix?


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Are You Superstitious?

Superstitions…Are you superstitious? Growing up in the South, superstitions have plagued my life. Do you believe in superstitions? Me, I do not particularly think of myself as superstitious and typically scoff at them. I do, however, have a few that we practice in my home because my husband does believe in them. Which is truly crazy because this man does not believe in the supernatural, anything paranormal or in aliens from outer space? His faith lies with God and superstitions, that’s it. But his grandparents and his mother have spoon fed him superstitions all of his life.

So, here are a few superstitions that I could think of and how they got started. I found it interesting. I hope you will too.

1. We cannot wash clothes on New Year’s Day because if we do, my husband says we will wash someone out of our life. I scoffed at this one for many years, but typically we were too busy on New Year’s Day for me to actually test the theory and wash clothes. Not that I want to wash someone out of my life—well, maybe I can think of one or two, but I don’t think I get to pick the recipient. *snaps fingers* Too bad. I'm just kidding...a little. ;-) So, just my luck that the first New Year’s Day that I actually washed clothes, my husband’s grandmother died in October that year. That was in 1990. I haven’t washed again on New Year’s Day until 2008. Forgetting my husband’s fanatical belief in this particular superstition, I put on a load of towels and it was in the rinse cycle by the time he realized what I was doing. He stopped the wash and muttered something about hopefully he had stopped it in time. Strangely enough, my girlfriend’s mother died this year. Is there any validity to this superstition? Seriously, I don’t believe there is, but my husband is convinced. Me, I think it is just bad coincidence. A really bad, morbid coincidence. But…maybe, just maybe...I’ll refrain from washing clothes again on New Year’s Day just to be safe.

2. Spilling Salt and tossing it over your left shoulder. Salt once was very expensive and had many purposes. It was and still is used to purify. Salt has had many uses throughout history. In Greece, slaves were traded for salt. Hence, it’s where we get the saying, “He isn’t worth his salt.” Every grain of spilled salt was once believed to represent future tears in old English beliefs. If this were true, I would be in so much trouble. Spilled salt was believed to arouse enmity to the Germans. Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the angels by looking back at the city of Sodom as it was being destroyed. Jesus referred to his disciples as “the Salt of the Earth.” Matthew 5:13 states, “You are the salt of the earth…” Parallel verses to Matthew 5:13 are Mark 9:49-50 and Luke 14:34-35, wherein he is referring to Christians as “salt”. The famous painting by Leonardo DaVinci, The Last Supper, depicts Judas Escariot—Jesus’ betrayer that led to his crucifixion—has spilled some salt on the table, which was thought to be a portent of evil and bad luck. I could go on and on with all the salt superstitions I found and the numerous biblical references. By throwing a pinch of salt over our shoulder, it is being thrown straight into the Devil’s face who is hanging out over our left shoulder because it is the sinister side of our body. Again, this is not a superstition I adhere to. My husband…well, again, I’ve seen him toss salt over his shoulder more than once when salt has been spilled. He’s so freaky about it that he will toss salt over my shoulder for me when I spill it. I find this upsetting because he’s getting salt all over the floor or counter.

3. Breaking a mirror is supposed to cause 7 years of bad luck. This superstition can be traced back to the Romans. However, many cultures believed that a mirror had the ability to possess a portion of the viewer’s soul. So if the viewer’s reflected image was distorted in any fashion, it could mean the viewer’s soul was corrupted. Worse yet, it was believed that a broken mirror reflected that the viewer’s soul was broken, as was the viewer’s health.

4. Black Cats were thought be familiars of witches and evil in general. In Babylonian and Hebrew folklore cats were contrasted to snakes coiled on a fireplace, which in my thinking must be a direct correlation to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. A black cat crossing your path is considered bad luck by the Europeans (by all of us American Southerners as well), and it portended an epidemic or illness in Ireland. However, in Scotland if an unfamiliar black cat crossed a person’s porch it was thought to be a sign of coming prosperity for the inhabitants. Cool! The Egyptian’s worshipped cats and when their cats died, they were mummified and the family mourned their passing. To kill a cat was a crime punishable by death to the Egyptians.

5. Various other superstitions that I won’t go into are, the horseshoe, the four-leaf clover, the wishbone, unlucky number 13, don’t open umbrellas indoors, making a wish when one blows out birthday candles, wishing on a shooting star, saying “break a leg” as opposed to saying “good luck” to actors/actresses, rabbit’s foot, and the list goes on and on, but these were the ones I could think of. The last one I’ll mention is the one I hear from my boys, “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” I just want to know why we can’t break their father’s back instead of ours? I’m tired of getting the raw end of the deal. ;-)Do you believe in superstitions?

Tell me your superstitions, the ones you practice and believe in.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Muse on Holidays

I came. I blogged. I conquered.

What am I talking about? Well, my debut post over there at Night Owl Romance, of course. I think I did pretty good, actually. I was witty enough without sounding silly, and I think I even managed to impart some information that may have been helpful to someone somewhere out there in writer land. What’s more I’ve been invited to post again! Wow! I had so much fun doing it I think I may do just that…now what do I talk about this time? Can I sound reasonably intelligent two times in a row? A huge ask I must say. LOL

For the full post over there for NOR, just in case you missed it, click here.

Now, what else have I been up to this week? Well, my muse of late seems to have taken a holiday. He doesn’t want to play no matter how much beer and pizza I try and bribe him with. When he doesn’t want to come out and work there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. So I spent the Easter weekend in the garden. Lord knows that needed a lot more attention than my writing does right now. I had so many weeds and rubbish everywhere I had to rescue the dog every time she went to the toilet on the so-called lawn (she’s a Papillion and therefore an inside dog so I have to take her outside to do her business. She spends her days warming the couch in front of the T.V.—yes, she watches T.V.).

Needless to say, after four days of toiling away, my garden is once more a place I can enjoy. Last night I sat out there and enjoyed a BBQ with my family, proud as punch with the work I had done. Still, all that effort didn’t help my muse come out from hiding though…Perhaps he wants me to paint the house next weekend! Damn typical. *giggle*

I even teased my muse by printing out the last few chapters of my latest work in progress...Nothing. The bastard! Wait, I know what might entice him. I think I may just get that last Easter Bunny chocolate I stashed at the back of the cupboard. Yes…that’s what I’ll do.

He can’t resist chocolate.

Mark Alders.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Writing those... blush... sex scenes!

I have always been fascinated with romance. Even Valentines Day beats any other holiday in my opinion. I have always been like this, too. So much that I started my first actual romance novel while I was in junior high... way before I even experienced my first love! I remember watching my first romance movie at about 8 or 9 years old. I don't remember the name of the movie but remember a very awesome scene. I can even hear the song they played.

People are often surprised when they find out what I write. This is a typical scenario of someone finding out:

" You're a writer?"
I smile but am a bit embarrassed as I say yes.
The person gives me a all-knowing smile and announces, "Children's books, right?"
I giggle because everyone assumes this since I work with children as my day job. I say, "Nope. I write romance."
"Romance? As in that smutty-sex stuff?" Wide, amazed eyes are staring at me. Who'd believe that I could or would write like that?
"Well, my novels are romanced based. You know, about love." I explain. I don't really want to get into the difference between erotica and romance... even though I don't think erotica is smut, either.
The all-knowing eyes stare at me again. "Ah, you leave out the sex!"
Wrong again!

I do write about sex depending on the book. When it's a scene or character that really needs the graphic sex then I have no problems at all writing it. I don't think a mafia hitman and his very sexy girlfriend (also involved with the mob) would shut the bedroom door when it came time for them to get it on like in Dangerous Flames. In Confessions, Chelsea is a more private person so the scene is sensual but not as graphic.

Writing the scenes are hard sometimes. I find that when I'm in a bad mood or too tired, I don't want to write them. I have to be in a certain frame of mind to get them good. It's like when your husband or boyfriend wants some and you're not in the mood. You have two choices: turn him down or just do it anyway, right? Those are my options when writing such a scene. If I wait until I'm in that mood then I'm stuck at that part until the mood strikes. I don't like being stuck. I do a quicky at first and then go back when I am in the the mood to do it so good, it knocks the character's socks off!

If you're a writer, my question is: How do you manage the sex scenes?
If you're a reader, how do you prefer the sex scenes to be?

Talk to you soon...

Wendy Ely

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

People Watching

Not only am I a barfly but one of my favorite hobbies is people watching. Every single person has their quirks and this is what I'm looking for, as well as listening to vocabulary, slang and interesting physical traits.

Next time you stop at Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, do what I do. Before you open your laptop and start writing like mad, sip your hot java and watch for a bit. The characters in your current WIP may change before your eyes...literally! Watch the adorable elderly couple and imagine them forty years before. Notice how he still opens the door for her and helps her to her seat. Notice how there's not a hair out of place and her red lipstick is applied with perfection. Catch a whiff of his cologne and imagine them having a picnic in their youth. It's not hard.

Watch the mom toting three kids, her hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, juggling a baby on her hip, shushing a toddler and scolding a teen insisting on buying another CD. BTW, that mom is me. Watch as her husband takes the baby for her, kisses him on the cheek and buys a chocolate milk for the four year old. Notice how he pats his wife on the behind when he thinks no one is looking. A frazzled mom turns into a sexpot kitten and you can imagine what the two of them will do when the teen heads over to a friends house tonight and they put the little ones to bed.

Watch as she kisses his scruffy cheek and tells him to wait another day before shaving. "I was hoping to get some, tonight," He half whispers as he adds a ridiculous amount of sugar to his coffee. Remember, you're still sitting there pretending to work on your masterpiece when really you're recording all kinds of cool characteristics for your current hero and heroine and all secondary characters. Pay close attention. Notice how worn his hands are and the tan lines. He's a laborer. Watch him smile and see that crooked tooth that would have any dentist charging you half a week's paycheck to fix and realize that it makes him sexier. Hear the snort at the end of her laugh and write it down. It's cute. Goofy, but cute.

Watch the woman in her forties stroll through the door in workout clothes and no make-up. Write it down. Make-up would cover up this woman's true beauty. Notice the mole on her face and her sexy laugh lines. Her skin is as pale as milk but a tanning bed would conceal her glorious complexion. Notice how she sings to herself as she chooses a bag of coffee to purchase. And write down what kind she buys. She chooses a dark roasted full bodied bean. What does this mean? Plain Jane, workout queen picked the heartiest flavor of all. The bitter stuff that makes your toes curl. There's much more to her beneath the suface. You need to scratch at it and find it. Find it all. Uncover her layers and see what lies beneath.

This is what we must do with our characters and people watching is a terrific exercise when forming our characters. Remember little quirks that made you fall in love with your own lover. Write them down. Use them. There's no better way for a writer to honor another. And on the flip side of the coin, remember all the villians you've come across in life. You better believe that I have and I use their wicked traits in my books and it's oh so lovely to kill these people off. Yes, I might be a little nuts but I haven't met a writer who isn't..just a tad.

So, here's your assignment...go forth my wicked bloggers and people watch to your heart's content! Do it at a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bar, the grocery store, the beach...ooooh, yes, the beach is a good place for my favorite hobby...especially on a warm summer day. Sometimes it's X rated.

Happy Reading, Writing and People Watching!

Monday, April 13, 2009

So, you want to be a writer, eh?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they want to be a writer. You know, in that wistful, far-off look that says they wish they could, but you know they never will. Why? Because, they don’t really want it. It’s just a thought to them, not a real dream. If they really want it, they would be out there doing what we’re doing right now, working for it.

Becoming a writer is not an easy job. It takes a lot of hard work. We write and write and write, and then, we still have to go back and redo it. It’s never good on the first try, at least not for me and most writers I know. We revise it multiple times before we’re even ready to send it out to a publisher. If we’re lucky enough to get an acceptance, there are even more revisions after the sale.

Most of the time, we’re doing this after working our day jobs, or in some cases, night jobs. :D We’re tired, yet driven to finish this book or those edits. We get up an hour early just to get in writing time. Or, we stay up an hour or two later, getting by on less sleep, because we have to if we want to keep writing. Sometimes, family time gets missed because we need to get another thousand words before bedtime. Does this sound familiar?

It all depends on how bad you want it. What are you willing to give up in order to reach your dream. Sleep? Family time? Cleaning house? (One of my favorites to forgo) But, one of these days, that will pay off. If you’re really willing to work at it, you can make a living writing.

It’s not easy, and you will probably never make it rich, but it is possible. It goes for any dream. If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. This is my motto in life. I teach that to my daughter. I tell my mother all the time, she’s a lot more pessimistic than I am. But, I believe it to be true. There isn’t anything in life you can’t accomplish if you set your mind to it.

What do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m full of crap? Don’t worry, it won’t upset me if you disagree. ;-) Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about it. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Please Welcome Author...K.T. Bishop!!

Today, I want to honor an author friend of mine, K.T. Bishop. His debut novel, Picking Cotton, by Red Rose Publishing, is being released this coming Thursday, April 16, 2009!!! It's an Interracial Sports Romance Novel and I'm so excited for him. He is doing an interview for me next week over at Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem, so I thought I'd post a partial of it to help garner him and his book some additional promotion.

Readers can check out K.T.'s websites at and

How do you feel with the book coming out?

K.T.: A little relieved. It’s been a long time coming. I wrote this book during the Fourth of July in 2007. An E-book company rejected me five months later. I got encouragement by a fellow author to not give up and rewrite it. Three months later, I submitted it to Red Rose and here I am.

What was the reason behind writing a football romance?

K.T.: Football has a lot of interesting storylines, especially with the quarterback and cheerleader. They are the two most popular people in school.

What makes the Cotton book different?

K.T.: I’ve seen countless interracial romance angles between white men and black women. Rarely have I seen any about the black men/ white women. The white woman/black man has been discussed on talk shows, but never put into a book.

Do you have any advice to fledgling authors?

K.T.: Don’t get discouraged about getting your manuscript rejected. Rejection is part of the business. I’m working on a history book about the black QB’s in the Canadian Football League. I’ve built up enough nerve to write and not get weary of being rejected.

The$ 64,000 question-- Tell us about PICKING COTTON

K.T.: The interracial football romance story takes place in the summer of 1985 where M.L. Cotton begins his dream of becoming a Division I-A quarterback at a Deep South school from Spanish Fort, Alabama. It’s the first book in the Cotton Series.

Bonus round: Can you give us an excerpt of your book:

ML was headed out to find Jennifer, just as Randy emerged from the bathroom.

“Hey where you going partner.”

“I’m going to find this girl I met today named Jennifer.”

“You talking about that cheerleading exhibit on the other side?”

“I guess so.”

“My girlfriend’s over there; I was going to take her out to eat dinner. You can come.”

The idea of a three-some appealed to him about as much as getting a root canal. Jennifer was the only thing on his mind.

The duo drove to the girls’ dorm in Randy’s pick-up truck. He asked for Monica Talbert at the front desk. The five-foot-six blonde emerged from the elevator, softly kissing Randy.

“This is my roommate, ML Cotton, and he’s gonna join us for dinner, if that’s cool.”

Monica asked the two quarterbacks if her roommate could accompany them. “I don’t want to leave her alone.”

Randy nodded in approval.

ML said, “Why not, I have nothing to lose.”

His heart pounded like a bass drum when Monica introduced Jennifer to him and Randy. It was his second encounter with the long-legged goddess. Once again, he turned into a statue in her presence.

He saw the recognition in her eyes and began stuttering, “Y-you’re that girl who gave me directions today.”

She giggled and extended her hand. “I’m Jennifer Monet’, and you are…”

Remaining in a Zombie-like trance, Randy wound up introducing them both.

“I’m Randy Fonte, and this is ML Cotton of Spanish Fort, Alabama . It’s our pleasure to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you both.”

He didn’t even notice when Randy snapped his fingers in front of his eyes. He was locked into Jennifer like a kid in a candy store. He admired everything about her, especially her tight blue jean shorts with a white low-cut blouse.

Jennifer abruptly ended his silence, bellowing, “Yo, I’m hungry, let’s get the hell out of here.”
“Uh, wait here. I need to go get the car; we all can’t fit into his truck.”

While riding back across campus, Randy offered advice on this sweltering evening.

“Get it together buddy.”

“I’ve never seen anyone so pretty before. She almost made me forget why I’m at this camp.”

“Just be yourself, and you’ll be fine.” Waiting for the guys to return, Monica teased Jennifer about a secret admirer, “someone has a crush on you, doo-dah, doo-dah.”

“Oh great, I have a guy who’ll stare at me all night and a badly singing roommate.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

The good side of not having a WIFI/ Internet connection

Maybe some of you have a set time for when to check your email, blogspot, websites or yahoogroups (social networking groups). Well, not this author. Time management? What’s that? That doesn’t exist in this author’s life, which I am sure my husband wishes I would try.

I am the kind that would check the inbox every five or so minutes (my yahoogroups mail comes in my Windows Live Mail account). Checking my mailboxes is almost like an addiction that gets in my way of writing. I am aware of this, but not doing anything to stop it. I have stories to edit and polish but couldn’t concentrate because I have to check my mail. Sad, huh?

Anyway, our recent trip to Disneyland helped me get away from the dratted little envelope I am itching to click right now. How? No internet connection. Yup.
Sitting inside the car with my laptop open and not getting the connection was like having a withdrawal. I was irritated and easily annoyed. I. Want. My. Internet. Subscribing to the hotel’s pricey internet connection came to mind, but I didn’t succumb to the pressure. So without my internet, my attention focused on the novel I was supposed to finish.

After two hours, I found myself staring at my finished novel. Inspired, I decided to write a short, which I also finished. Wow. For the first time, I wrote a story for over an hour without reading and replying to my emails in between. I saw the good side of not having an internet connection. Now, I began to analyze my situation. Could it be that the internet slowed down my writing productivity? Yes!

I realized that checking my email became a major distraction from doing my main task every day. Before my email addiction, I would fire up my coffee pot first thing in the morning. Not anymore. Checking my email took over the number one spot on my things to do. Okay, you might say, “well, there is nothing wrong with that.” See here, checking would mean reading the emails, then replying to them and maybe visit the links suggested on the email. By the time I was done checking my emails, I already lost a big portion of my time supposed to be spent in writing or editing.
Email is a distraction! Luckily, there is a solution. Switch off the WIFI connection. I know, I know. Email is important. We authors, have to communicate with our editors, author friends and readers. But the job that helps us make money should come first. Writing.

Write first. When you get tired and need a break, check your email. However, be aware of the time you spend reading and replying.

Okay, enough of the personal rant. :D Just want to share this news to everyone. My editor suggested that I write a series for my stand-alone Knight Brothers novel. That would mean writing four novels. Five when I add the story about the Knight brothers only sister. So, understanding about the negative side of my addiction came at the right time. Write first.

If you have good advice about time management post it here, any thoughts about email and internet use, we’d like to hear about it.

Happy Friday everyone!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

We have winners!

Congratulations to Debra Hyde and Mina Carter! You're names have been picked as winners from Monday's contest with Lori Perkins! Please email us at with your email addy's so we can get get your information to Lori. Thanks for participating!

Sorry, Mark for cutting into your blog day. Everyone please be sure to read Mark's post for today!

Busy? Try Being a Writer

In the writing world its funny how for weeks, even years, nothing happens. Then, all of a sudden everything happens at once. Well, that’s how it has been for me lately, and as a result I’ve had a rather busy week.

First, I have been invited to guest blog at Night Owl Romance (NOR). When Tammie sent me the confirmation that it was all a go the first thing I did was panic! Yep. Me. Panic. I had no idea what to write. Sure, it’s fun, even easy, to write a ‘normal’ blog entry for my own site. If what I write is complete and utter crap then so what. I'd have the next post to redeem myself. Not so with this post I am doing for NOR. I get one shot and one shot only to draw potential new readers into my evil clutches *grin*

I stared for ages at the fresh, clean white 'new document' I had opened, hoping to find inspiration. I needed to be witty. No, I needed to be funny. Wait…hang on…how about if I wrote something intellectual? Oh darn! Me intellectual? That would be like me asking my dog to go hang out the washing. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Then something happened. I had an epiphany. I decided to be myself. Just write what came naturally to me. You know, talk about something I weave into my writing and make it fun, too.

So go check out the result of my first (and hopefully not last) blog at NOR, click here on the 11th of April. That’s when I take over the place! Muhaahaaaaa. I hope they know what they got themselves into.

Second, I have started an all new ‘announcement only’ blog for my writing. A place where I can post news, submissions, rejections, acceptances and anything else that takes my fancy. To check that out click here.

And last but not least, I have been doing a lot of submissions lately. I have about 3 completed novels with another 2 coming to that stage where I need to think of where I’m going to send them. This past week I’ve been editing like mad, writing synopsis’s and generally getting submission packages ready. Phew! Who knew writing was only just the beginning when it comes to being a writer.

Oh, and I just found out that my book "Call of the Hunted" is now available at Fiction Wise right here. Go check it out and grab my book for a great price!

Until next Thursday!

Mark Alders.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Art of the Barfly

I just returned from a weekend long writer's conference in my hometown. One of the great things about conferences is that writers can network with big editors and agents and even meet their own editors face to face. You get to pick and choose which workshops you want to attend and chat it up with other authors.

Funny thing is, at events like this, I love being a barfly and listening to industry professionals gab about the latest trends, best sellers and *gasp*...pitches from starry eyed writers. Barfly is the appropriate word too, not because I'm as much a part of the scenery as the bar stools but because I become like a fly on the wall. After a long plane ride, tons of workshops and hours of pitches, editors and agents want to relax too. And what is it about this profession? Many of us enjoy a good cocktail...or two or three. This is a great time to either strike up a conversation...not a pitch....big no no...but schmoozing with some of New York's finest is a big perk at these events.

So, do I have your attention now? Do you want to know some of the trends I'm hearing right from the mouth of the holy, holy agents and editors? From the very mouths of the folks that sign us? Listen up.

Number 1, paranormal is not going anywhere. Yes, I've heard that the market is saturated too. I've heard editors and agents will puke if they have to read another tale about a shifter or a vamp or a dragon or a fairy. Wrong. Big myth. From what I heard last weekend, paranormal is strong and growing, especially in the YA market. And it's not slowing down in the adult market either. Now we have erotic vamps too. How sexy is that? We even have mermaids lusting over vikings. Not to worry...if you're a paranormal author, you're red hot right now.

Number 2, Want to know what industry professionals are hungry for right now more than ever? I did. And I don't write it either but you might. Write it down. High concept science fiction. And hold onto your seats folks....this is a genre considered dead right now by many...thought I never thought so...I know many, many readers that love it and I don't ever see it going away. Historicals. Keep writing those babies. What kind of historicals are agents and editors hungry for right now? Erotic regency. So if you're talented enough to write these..uh...I wrote one and the research nearly killed me...go for it.

Number 3, Want to know what editors and agents are sick to death of seeing land in their inbox and pitch sessions? Sexy cops. Men in uniform. The industry is truly sick of the detective, fireman, policeman that comes to the lady's rescue. It's a tired old plot. From what I hear, don't even try it.

So, to recap...Paranormal is here to stay for Adult and YA. High concept SF is gaining steam and the NY elite are slobbering for ultra sexy historicals, especially regency. And no cops, detectives or men in uniform. Boring, boring, boring.

So, you see, there are more benefits to drinking red wine. Become a barfly like me at your next writer's conference. You won't be sorry.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Please welcome Lori Perkins...Agent, ePublisher, Author

Welcome, Lori. We're so pleased to have you with us today! Lots of great advice here today folks!

WTR: Where can we find you online?
LP: You can reach me at I have 2 blogs,, and

WTR: What made you choose your career as an agent?
LP: I was a journalist, and left to become an agent because I wanted to work with both nonfiction and fiction.

WTR: What exactly are the duties of an agent?
LP: We get your book in shape for submission (edits and rewriting), find you the best publisher, negotiate your contract, and oversee your writing career.

WTR: What is the most important thing for a writer to do to catch your eye?
LP: Know what I sell and tell me why I should represent you

WTR: What is the worst thing an author can do to turn you off?
LP: Tell me you have 15 novels waiting for me to read. I can only sell one at a time, so tell me about your best and most commercial work.

WTR: What genres are you looking for at this time?
LP: Right now, I am not taking on new clients (I have 80, but I have 3 junior agents who are all looking for new authors (and I read everything).
* Marsha Philitas ( is looking for erotica and erotic romance,
* Sandy Lu ( is looking for thrillers, mysteries, chick lit and literary fiction, and
* EK ( is looking for YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and graphic novels. I oversee everything submitted.

WTR: What are you currently reading?
LP: I read three books a week for, so right now I am reading volume II of VITAL SIGNS, our erotic version of Grey’s Anatomy.

WTR: What is your favorite book?
LP: I have four: 1984, Dracula, Gone with the Wind and Anne Rice’s Beauty Book series.

WTR: I understand you are part owner of Ravenous Romance, tell us a little about the company.
LP: is an ebook and audio publisher of erotic romance fiction. We publish a book a day and a short story a day.
It was started by myself and two of my publishing colleagues, Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, because we realized there was a growing readership for erotic romance and that epublishing was the wave of the future.
As an agent, I had sold a number of the erotica short story writers into the growing erotic romance market in traditional publishing, but the publishers only wanted one book a year. My authors could write 10, and there were readers waiting for their next book. Epublishing delivers books to readers at the pace they want them.

WTR: How does the current economy affect your views on publishing?
LP: People are getting tired of paying $30 for a hardcover, $20 for a trade paperback that should be a $5 mass market, and close to $10 for a mass market. Books are pricing themselves out of the entertainment budget. When they cost the same as a DVD or CD or a game, it’s a hard choice. A book should be $5, which is what a title is.

WTR: Do you think ebooks will ever replace print?
LP: No, people will always want books, but for entertainment purposes and/or high school and college reading, yes, I think people would prefer to download a copy of The Scarlet Letter rather than carry it around with them. And for traveling, I can carry 30 books on my ereader in my pocketbook, which sure beats loading up my suitcase.

WTR: I understand you are also an author, where can we find your work?
LP: On my two blogs, and on Amazon. I’ve written (and published) since I was 17, so I always find time to write. At Ravenousromance, I edit a number of anthologies (I just finished editing SEX AND TAXES which will pub on April 15th). But if I’m inspired, I’ll just get up a half hour earlier to write.

WTR: What does a typical day for you look like?
LP: I work 16 hours a day M-F, and about 5 hours each day on the weekend. I’m up at 7, check email, take my son to school, work-out, work until 6, cook dinner, watch some TV with the family, and then begin editing manuscripts until about midnight.

WTR: What advice would you give for new authors?
LP: Join a professional organization so then you can be mentored by someone further along who knows your genre. Research the genre and niche you are going into. Finish that first draft. Edit. Rewrite.

WTR: What are your current projects?
LP: I’m editing two anthologies – Threesomes and Sex Toys, so I’m looking for stories. Submitting a story to RR is a great way to break in. At least 10 of the authors we’ve published broke in with short stories.

WTR: What do you think is more important, characterization or plot?
LP: Plot. There are some best-selling novelists who use wooden characters, but the plot just drives the story. I cannot think of a single novel where the characters alone can support the story.

WTR: What is your biggest pet peeve with submissions?
LP: Books are that are too long or short. Publishable novels are 70,000 to 100,000 words (50,000 for RR).

WTR: What is the most important thing for an author to consider when searching for an agent?
LP: Whether or not the agent is looking for clients in the area you are writing in and whether or not they are taking on new clients.

WTR: What is the most important thing to consider in maintaining an agent/author relationship?
LP: That your agents has many clients, while you usually have one book. Your agent is very busy.

WTR: What is the biggest mistake a new author can make?
LP: Having unrealistic expectations.

WTR: What are your duties at Ravenous Romance?
LP: I am the editorial director. With Holly Schmidt, the Publisher, we decide what we’re going to buy at RR. I edit three books a week.

WTR: About how many books per month/year does Ravenous Romance publish/plan to publish?
LP: We publish about 250 novels and anthologies a year and the same amount of short stories. is one of the best markets for short stories today. When you include the anthologies, we probably buy 400 short stories a year.

Lori will be available throughout the day to answer questions that you post, so be sure to leave a comment/question for her! She is also giving away two $5 gift certificates to two lucky winners! Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Good luck!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doctors From Hell!

This week has been one from the deepest pit in hell. Are there only nine levels in hell? Surely there have to be at least thirteen.

On Monday I took my eldest son to the doctor for what we believed was Poison Ivy. He had it all over the right side of his face, his right eyelid and below the same eye and a few spots on his arm. He got a steroid shot and off we went.

Tuesday morning dawned with no improvements but he started SATs that morning at school, so I sent him off to school. That night he was still no better and had some spots on his legs, more on both arms and a couple of spots on his stomach.

I shipped him off to school Wednesday morning for his second day of SATs with the assurance that I was going to call his doctor because the Poison Ivy was covering him from head to ankle. So, about noon I get a phone call from the school nurse. From the time he left for school until then, his belly was almost covered in it. Off to the doctor we go again. She took one look at him from two feet away and refused to get closer, saying he had scabies. No tests, no close inspection, just an OMG expression on her face and it is scabies. I’m an educated person, but I had never heard of scabies, so I looked it up on the web. Damn, scabies isn’t fun. They’re little mites that dig into your skin and are highly contagious.

I discovered I am highly contagious to suggestion because as soon as I heard that, I started feeling itchy with little things crawling all over me. *laughs* Recently, I read that one in four people have a mental illness. I guess I’m the one in four. :D

Frustrated, that my son was misdiagnosed on Monday, we treat him for Scabies Wednesday night and he’s crying because the medicated lotion for scabies is burning so bad. Thursday dawns, he still looks no better and it’s spread worse. But, I disinfect the house from top to bottom. I spring cleaned with a new goal this year…that none of the rest of us would contact scabies or rather mites. Damn, I feel like a dog. *shakes head*

Friday morning…it’s worse still. Really frustrated now, I make an appointment for a different doctor and take him in. After a close-up look, this doctor’s opinion is that it’s Poison Ivy. *bangs head against the wall* He runs a scrap of his skin and guess what…it’s NOT scabies. *sharpening my mental razor to mutilate the first doctor in an upcoming novel*

This doctor gives him another shot and some oral steroids. And wow, just a few short hours later, his Poison Ivy is starting to go away. Amazing how a correct diagnosis and the correct medications do the trick every time. Wow! And I didn’t even learn that in paralegal school. *insert dripping sarcasm*

So, I invite you to share your medical horror story with us at Wicked Thorn & Roses. Hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Love, Sex, and Outer Space

It turns out that line marriages are common for loonies.

The Speculative Realms anthology features the following short story from Lancer Kind, along with other fine work such as Jeff "Parish's Of Bones and Blades", Karen Lee Field's "Where Strength Lies", and these other fine authors.

KanjiKiss by Lancer Kind

A story of the near future where a young man, in love with technology but frustrated with laboring on his parent's farm, has a techno-mystical awakening that takes him from Wyoming and leads him along the Internet backbone to Seattle. There, he falls in love with a woman called KanjiKiss. Although he only knows her by her network handle, he wishes to take the relationship to the next step, a new technological next step. His family tries to stop him from committing to a relationship in a way that can never be undone.


The science fiction genre is dominated by stories of future thought. There is a wealth of opinions on love and sex since those topics capture the most interest for us on planet Earth. By launching a shipload of characters into outer space, the author limbers up the ability to tell a story because the reader's imagination is less likely to think--no, that can't happen.

I mean, it's not like the reader has been to space.

Even though an author can fling characters across the Universe, the story is really about a concern that is contemporary to the author. To take a look at this effect, lets look at some historical examples by taking two characters on a trans-story journey and see what trouble they get into.

Meet Bobby and Kathrine. Bobby is athletic and smart with flashing blue eyes. In heels, Kathrine is nearly as tall as Bobby, has wild dark hair, and is full figured. They know each other but haven't made it to first base. Actually, they have no interest in baseball at all--their hormones are telling them that they want to get laid. Maybe it's for love, or maybe it's for sex. Let's send them somewhere and see what happens.

Bobby and Kathrine travel to the year 2075 to live on the moon (become loonies). In Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the moon is a frontier colony where Earth's undesirables are sent, like Australia was for the British. Lunar Colony is built underneath the surface, and it is in the artificial lights of a tunnel where Bobby and Kathrine meet. Like on Earth, the people of the moon have access to birth control, so sex can be a recreational activity. Bobby first makes polite conversation until he is encouraged by her strong eye contact. After making her laugh at his clumsy ability to walk on his hands in the moon's weak gravity, they have casual sex in a quiet underground garden. But when Bobby presses for something longer term, Katherine tells him she has to check with her husbands.

Husband*s*? Huh?

It turns out that line marriages are common for loonies. A line marriage, like the line of a family name, continues as long as there are participants to carry on the marriage. Resources are shared by all of the family which crosses generations. There can be multiple wives and husbands and at any time, one may add to the family by voting in the new member. If Bobby's the jealous type, being in a relationship with Katherine will never work because she'll eventually share a different husband's bed. But Bobby, being a loony, is used to this since it is part of his culture. However he now needs more than Katherine's love, he must impress the entire family in order to get voted in.

Good luck Bobby!

Why line marriages on the moon? Since there is half as many women as men on the moon, it is a way to ease the social the pressure. Heinlein was also making a statement about what was happening when he wrote the novel in the 1960s. He makes a point about how the line marriages were fully multi-ethnic, where at the time in the US there were miscegenation laws (outlawing interracial sex and marriage), and while he was at it, he decide to write into his novel a thought experiment about how polygamy could be beneficial too.

Next, Bobby and Kathrine fall into a trans-story singularity and drop into Whileaway, one of the worlds describe in Joanna Russ's The Female Man. On Whileaway, Katherine's name becomes Kate, and she ignores Bobby because she is into Missy, her new girlfriend. Bobby makes himself scarce on Whileaway because the existence of men is only legend, and everyone thinks he is some kind of deformed woman. Missy and Kate fall in love and have a daughter through a process called parthengenetics.

Joanna Russ wrote The Female Man during the 1970's feminist movement and she achieved publication in the male dominated science fiction genre in 1975. Throughout the novel, Joanna Russ exposes the inequities in sexual relationships and love. She invents four different worlds to tell a story about four woman coming together to decide what to do about men.

Bobby, who is not happy on Whileaway, wakes up the next morning shaving aboard the Battlestar Galactica, and Kate becomes Kat and is a bad-ass viper pilot. She returns from patrol duty and sees Bobby shaving in their co-ed locker room. She decides he's cute and wraps her arms around his waist while he is focused on slicing away the whiskers beneath his jaw-bone. Bobby quickly gives up and turns into her arms. She presses him against the sink and gets the washcloth from behind Bobby and uses it to clean the shaving cream off his face, and then teases it against the back of his neck as she kisses him. Soon the two of them are struggling into the relative privacy of a shower stall, removing their cloths.

Much of the culture in the new Battlestar Galactica feels the same as Earth, though amped up because everything seems to happen more quickly when living in cramped conditions. The sexual rituals and love rituals are the most familiar out of the three science fiction stories Bobby and Kathrine have journeyed through. The two novels wanted to put radical thought of human relationship on the stage because at the time, the authors had a lot to say about how we were behaving. BSG is more of a mirror of what we are today and puts us on the stage so we can critique ourselves about what it means to be sentient. The biggest faux pas of the show is to have sex with a Cylon, also known as frakken around with a toaster.

That sounds kinky, or dangerous. OK, both.


Lancer is a multipublished author. He lives the Pacific Northwest with his lovely wife Shelli and their imaginary rooster Jimmy
Please visit, subscribe to his blog and you can read the following stories:
Parsec Hiccup is about a musical love triangle with a space western mixed in for good measure.
New Sofa, New Girl is about a geeky IT guy who discovers a woman living beneath his new sofa. <-- science fictionist

Check out Lancer's other anthologies.

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