Monday, January 31, 2011

And the Suspense Builds…


Please welcome our guest blogger, the talented Tina Donahue. Check out her post and her contest below.


One of the things I like about paranormal romances is not knowing what will happen, whether the characters’ otherworldly powers will be a bane or a boon to them.

As I wrote The Yearning, my first erotic paranormal romance, I wanted the tension to build between Jasmine and Mike, not only in a romantic sense but in how it would affect their lives…if they lived. Into her world Jasmine draws Mike, unable to resist the temptation of having him imprisoned in her house. It’s not a choice she would have made before being cursed, but now she has little recourse and what happens is a surprise to them both.

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt to show you what I mean:

BLURB:

To break this curse, they’ll have to turn the heat up. Way up.

Jasmine Dante prowls Key West’s nightlife, fighting a losing battle against a jealous rival’s curse that forces her to seek carnal pleasure, no matter the danger. Weakened from lack of sleep, driven by insatiable lust, she spots a man who stirs her desperate craving, and begins yet another dance of seduction.

Except the dark stranger who returns her direct stare is no ordinary lover. Inside his powerful body lies a raw sexuality that just might be enough to break her curse. There’s only one way to find out: imprison him in her bed and feed on his passion.

Former U.S. Marshal Mike Stearn is many things, but he’s no woman’s sex slave. The deadly telekinetic power he ruthlessly suppresses comes alive again at Jasmine’s touch. Beneath her bold, potent sensuality he senses vulnerability and desperation. He may be in handcuffs, but she’s the one who’s enslaved.

As Mike resurrects his power to free himself so he can find the curse’s source and defeat it, Jasmine revels in his masterful rule. Her ravenous yearning evolves into rapture as she surrenders to his hunger, her darkest needs—and the emotional connection that lies beyond. Unless the curse takes her life first…

Warning: Tons of steamy sex, smoldering passion and a to-die-for love story with a hot Alpha hero who finds himself imprisoned by one sultry and desperate babe.

EXCERPT:

She watched him from the bath. The faint rise and fall of his shoulders told her he slept. Jasmine whimpered at how beautiful he was—firm muscles on a large frame—intimidating in size, unusually kind in nature. The type of man she’d always longed for. One who wouldn’t have glanced at her before the curse. She’d been too ordinary, dull, reserved. Men who asked her out did so because they couldn’t attract the attention of a woman as exquisite as Desiree. Or, if they were handsome like Connor Rolands, they wanted an adoring fan so they could talk about themselves.

Mike seemed oblivious to his obvious appeal. If anything, he appeared embarrassed by her compliments. She’d never known a more down-to-earth and empathetic man. How she enjoyed his consoling embrace and teasing him even as he teased her in return. How she liked just being with him. He seemed to like her too—what little he knew about the person she really was—though his feelings would quickly turn to hate if she went through with the plan.

She rolled her forehead over the door’s edge. If only she could relax long enough to sleep, to think. The curse wouldn’t allow it. At first, she’d been edgy after six hours of rest. Now, she was lucky to manage four hours a night. How long could this go on?

You will want as I want.

Teeth clenched, her fingers gripped the wood. The tenuous peace Mike’s lovemaking had provided was already gone. Fearful of her building obsession, she slipped on her silk robe and left the bath.

Halfway across the room, she looked back. Mike’s hair fanned over the pillow, sable against all the white. The moon tinted his skin a lighter brown. Wanting to protect him, even though she’d done everything possible to bring him here, she went to the bed and pulled the top sheet over his slumbering body.

It didn’t disturb him at all.

Her hand stilled above his head. Smoothing his hair was an indulgence she didn’t deserve and couldn’t chance, not with the others not knowing what had been going on.

Jasmine left the room and turned to Ben, not surprised to find him waiting in the hall. The overhead light brightened his dark blond hair, cut short and worn spiky like a rocker. It reminded her of Lily’s hairstyle. They were both twenty-six, their friendship and artistic talents bringing Ben here. Lily painted the fabrics Violet used for her designs. Ben illustrated their catalogues. Like Mike, Jasmine was the only one in the group without a creative bent. She served as business manager, running the show.

Ben took charge now. His fingers curled around her wrist, giving her no chance to escape as he led her down the hall to his room. His art nouveau sketches papered the walls. The acrid bite of inks, paints and turpentine lingered from today’s work. He leaned one shoulder on the closed door, hurt and anxiety evident in his pale blue eyes, his voice low so only she could hear.

“You all right?”

She knew he’d heard them in the hall and probably watched from the stairway as she’d knelt in front of Mike, taking him in her mouth. Being observed during an intimacy bothered the woman she’d been, bringing warmth to her chest and throat, even as it hardly fazed the woman she’d become. She spoke in an equally subdued voice. “I’m fine.”

“How can you be? Jas, that bastard has a gun and is obviously—”

“No.” Her fingers went to his lips to stop his quiet outburst. “Don’t call him that. He’s a good man. Better than I deserve.”

Ben’s blond brows rose to his hairline. He moved her hand away. “You’ve got to be kidding. You picked him up at a club.”

Laughter gurgled at the base of her throat, along with a sigh. “He wasn’t born there, Ben. He used to be a US Marshal.”

“So I heard while you two were downstairs. You actually believe that?”

“Why would he lie?”

The muscles in his neck corded with exasperation. “Did you tell him the truth about why you wanted him here tonight?”

In time, Mike learns the truth and it leaves him with one choice that will alter Jasmine’s life forever.

The Yearning will be available February 1.

Buy Link: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/the-yearning-p-6248.html

Email: tina@tinadonahue.com

Website/blog: www.tinadonahue.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinadonahue

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000458023097

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Yearning, I’m offering a contest today. One lucky commenter will have her choice of one of my following books**:

    1. Lush Velvet Nights – ebook
    2. Adored – ebook
    3. Deep, Dark, Delicious – ebook
    4. In His Arms – ebook
    5. Bad Boys with Red Roses – trade paperback
    6. Take My Breath Away – trade paperback

** Winner chosen at random. Winner in continental US has her choice of one of the six. Winner outside continental US has her choice of one of the ebooks

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Freebee!

Wynter here. Just popping in to plug my free read, which will hit the cyber bookshelves on Monday, January 31. It's a short, hot read and did I mention it's totally FREE? Doesn't get any better than that.

Victoria meets a handsome stranger at a relative’s wedding. When he asks her out for a drink after, she invites him to her place. After a steamy encounter, they discover they have more than their profession and their love of cats in common. Their paths have crossed before. But will that connection end what they’ve just begun?

You can find it HERE along with my other Ellora's Cave books. So please, enjoy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Goodbye All :)

Sadly this will be my last post at Naughty Author Chicks. I told the chicks a couple weeks ago and I didn't want to just disappear from the blog without saying goodbye to everyone! Without giving all the boring details, this upcoming year I've got so much stuff going on in the form of deadlines in addition to my first pregnancy. Figuring out where to cut back was hard and I hate leaving because I've had so much fun this past year with all the lovely ladies here! I'll still be around, I just won't be blogging anymore :( So, farewell to all the ladies here and you wonderful readers!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ramblings from the Germ-Riddled

by Cara McKenna

As I sit here, writing this, I actually have no idea what I'm going to post about. I'm a couple of days into a nasty cold, still with a lingering NyQuil hangover, so please forgive me whatever nonsense I'm about to blather.

What oh what can I say on the topic of erotica this week? Well, erotica is good. In fact, I've been pining to get to work on a new idea, but I have to stay focused on romance until early next week. But characters are starting to come together in my head (think alpha—think so alpha he makes Flynn from Willing Victim look like a Beanie Baby), and they're attempting to seduce me away from other responsibilities and opportunities. Personally, I blame Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Has anyone else been watching that show? The first season is on Netflix Instant Watcher. Michelle should totally get on that shit if she hasn't already. Lots of shackles and fights over primacy. Bonus: lots of softcore pr0n, with plenty for viewers of all genders and sexual persuasions to enjoy! It's like 300, only with way more sex, and, sadly, no Vincent Regan.

Speaking of Vincent Regan (oh Lordy, here she goes) I finally saw Troy for the first time last week. It was…okay. A bit bland, in spite of the fact that it's sort of an OTT action movie epic. But I certainly enjoyed watching Vincent Regan charge into Brad Pitt's tent every other scene, interrupting his romance with the priestess woman. Hmmm…I have admin powers here at NAC. Next week I'm totally abusing them to tailor the February hottie feature to my own selfish liking.

Other erotica news…I wish I had some to report. My oft-benevolent editor at Ellora's Cave is currently trapped beneath my latest sub, a whopping great beast of a thing. It's a weird story in multiple ways, yet I suspect it may be the best thing I've ever written. So I wait with bated breath to find out if it's too weird or not, before I commence with the appropriate squealing or sobbing jag. Either way, it'll be messy. Do tune in.

Apologies, but that's really all I've got in me this week. I'm off to heat up some leftover chicken soup and source some trashy TV to watch online. See you all in two weeks—hopefully a bit more lucid.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

9 to 5: Love, Danger and Romance for the 21st century heroine

Meet EVELYN Q. DARLING, Romance Reporter at Large, in her first blog today:


In the past, creating a job for a romantic heroine usually meant she was either a governess, a nurse, or in the early twentieth century, a “typewriter,” better known as a secretary.

Take a letter, Miss Jones…



To all writers of romance novels.

Dear Miss, Ms. or Madam:

It has come to this reporter’s attention that several of you have veered away from writing about governesses in dark, gloomy manor houses and pert, red-cheeked nurses and turned to writing about heroines who carry guns, sport black leather and can take a man down in fifty seconds flat.

Really.

What happened to the days when all a heroine had to do to get her man was flutter her black lace fan and bat her soot-caked eyelashes? (Ample cleavage didn’t hurt either.)

It was so much easier when all a writer had to worry about was how many flounces graced her heroine’s gown or the number of hooks on a corset. (A heroine’s age at marriage also determined the size of her waist: if she wed at 18, she aspired that her waist remained at 18 inches.)

And if all else failed, there was always the “smart” heroine who wrote novels, solved mysteries or planted her delicate boots on foreign soil and showed her moxie by becoming a globe-trotting adventuress.

Sigh. Ah, for the good ole days before our heroines decided they wanted equal rights between the sheets. And on the job.

Now to create the modern heroine, a romance writer has to know the difference between a Glock and a Sig Sauer (the latter sounds like a deli sandwich).

Be able to “street speak” in urban fantasies, suck blood without smudging her lipstick in vampire thrillers and shape-shift into an exotic creature with all her parts intact.

So I’m asking all you romance writers to drop me a line and tell me what “dangerous professions” for a heroine you’ve seen in recent novels or in a novel you’re writing.

What’s new for a heroine in the 21st century in the world of “9 to 5” that you haven’t seen or written about before?

I’ll be eagerly awaiting your answers.

Who knows?

Maybe we can start a new trend: Dangerous heroines in tight corsets and red high heels who live in an abandoned subway tunnel and belong to a secret society of lusty Victorian vampires who feed on handsome firefighters.

Then again, maybe not.

Best regards,

Evelyn Q. Darling

Romance Reporter At Large















Artwork by Jina Bacarr

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There's Just Something About You...

In the past month I've started watching the OWN Network. Y'know, the new Oprah Winfrey Network? I don't know if that's exactly a "lose your cool points" thing to admit but I like it! Oprah's All Stars. OWN Your Own Show. Enough Already. And, of course, The Dr. Phil Show three times a day. Yeah...Dr. Phil. You ever see a man who does not meet the conventional definition of handsome or sexy but there's just something about him that draws you anyway? That's what Phil McGraw does for me. It's not the full head of hair--obviously. *snicker* But that shoot-straight-from-the-hip talk. His intelligence. Sarcasm. It's...well...hot.

Other men who have made that "I can't quite put my finger on it..." list?

...James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano. I think I may have a thing for men with receding hairlines. Let's face it. Tony Soprano was overweight. A cheating rat as well as a ruthless mobster. And yet..he had this charisma about him. Even as he filled out the "wife-beater" in a way Hanes just never intended, he captured my attention. Maybe the power? The accent? The really cool theme song? I can't quite figure it out...

...Bernie Mac. Yeah, yeah. I know he's dead but I still found him so attractive! The most handsome man? Uh...no. But his humor! The man made cursing sexy! I know women are wont to say, oh, he has such a nice personality. Code for, that man is a mud-duck! But in Bernie Mac's case, his personality really made him fine! Okay, maybe fine is too strong. But there was definitely something that drew me. I just can't quite...hmm...

...Sean Connery. This is more of a "take that!" to my sister. She can't see the sexiness that is Sean Connery. How can you not believe that he was the best James Bond, Nina?? Are you insane? I don't care how old he gets. Whether he's playing a convict, an international spy or a staid professor, the man is gaw-geous! That accent. The absolute coolness. Not to mention the smoothest, neatest facial hair a barber ever clipped. And have you seen him in a kilt?? *sigh*

...Vin Diesel. I don't know what it is about him. The tight, muscled physique. The clean-shaven head. The dark eyes. The deep, I-will-gladly-commit-sex-acts-illegal-in-forty-nine-states-for-you voice. Oh right! That's what it is! Aww come on! You know I had to add him in there! You were expecting it, admit it!

So who tops your "I don't know what it is..." list? I promise not to snicker and berate you to my computer screen. No. I promise. Really. Sorta. Kinda...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fettered Love Releasing!

"Imagination is the highest kite one can fly." -Lauren Bacall

Seems appropriate to quote a notable woman about imagination given we are all female artists here at the Chicks. And I am flying high myself with news that FETTERED LOVE, my male/male/female contemporary BDSM novella is coming out the end of this week, Friday, January 28th. The book is part of the 1-800-DOM-help series from a group of fabulous Ellora's Cave authors, each contributing a story which involves a mysterious business card advertising the helpline and often drawing the characters into the world of Club Unfettered. Check out the series blogspot to find out more about the collaboration.

The cover alone has me flying. Maybe I'll have to quote Erica Jong next time.

Anyway, here is the blurb in case you are interested in a love story between three old friends, suffering from the wounds they dealt one another years ago, struggling to discover if they can build a future despite the pain. There's angst, although less than in my last two stories because it's a novella and I didn't have enough words for as much hand wringing as I like. Poor me.

Blurb:

Kirk, Master of his long-time lover Evan, decides it's time to place his permanent collar around Evan's sexy cock. But when he proposes, he faces a surprise. Evan wants a child. So where will they find a kinky woman to help?

A mysterious card with the 1-800-DOM-help number advertises assistance for unusual problems in the BDSM community. When Evan calls, he recognizes the voice. Sarah--Kirk's best friend from childhood, Evan's Mistress of several years in college. They both loved her and suffered betrayal when she walked out of their lives.

Now she promises to be the mother of their child. No strings, just a chance to have the men she respects and loves back in her life. Evan embraces the idea while Kirk rages with mistrust.

At Evan's request, they share one night of passion, Kirk and Sarah working together to dominate Evan in the scene of his erotic fantasies, hoping it will be enough to rekindle trust and make all their dreams come true.

Check it out if you will. Desiree Holt has a story out in the same series just two days before on the 26th called Delight Me. Francesca Hawley's story, Controlling Interest releases the 28th with mine. Both are absolutely yummy.

Okay, I'll end with an Erica Jong quote anyway.

"And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more."

Take a risk on Fettered Love (wink). It will be worth it.

Michelle

Friday, January 21, 2011

I've Been Interviewed!




I've been interviewed by author Cara Bristol, and I'd love for you to check it out! I even reveal why I love to put all those sexy spankings in my books!


http://carabristol.com/2011/01/bringing-a-blush-to-your-cheeks-author-paige-tyler/


*hugs*
Paige

"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"

http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com/
http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pigs in Bondage



Disclaimer:

No Guinea Pigs were harmed in the taking of this photo.









This Guinea Pig:
A) bites
B) prefers bondage
C) is waiting for a leather-wearing, whip-wielding sow
D) is waiting to be neutered

Um, yeah, A and D are true, but if you were even considering B and C, you have some issues. And A may be true, but that wouldn’t warrant getting neutered.

The truth? This is one of my Guinea Pigs. He’s antisocial, a spontaneous biter, and he sits on his food so his cage mate can’t eat it (then won’t eat it himself), but he’s so damn cute we forgive him. Kinda like Charlie Sheen. Or maybe Robert Downey Jr, because really, Charlie Sheen just isn’t that cute or forgivable anymore.


Just to be fair, here's a pic of him tonight, safe and sound, minus only a couple of parts he was never destined to use.













Back to the original pic. The best part is that the photo op was totally unintentional. I worked at the vet clinic and was brought into the OR because the Dr. had a question. I can’t remember what the question was, but I do remember telling them not to touch a thing and literally running to get my cell phone.

Now, those who know me even just a little bit know that I have a thing for Guinea Pigs. I adore them. But even I laughed in the vet’s face - who also happened to be my boss - when she told me we needed to spend a couple hundred bucks - with my employee discount, no less - to neuter a rodent. There was never any question that we’d pay for it, but I did get the “oh.my.god.” eye roll from DH. (Lower case, because let’s face it, he’s married to me and there have been much worse things to get all upper case about.)

He so deserved to see this pic. I didn't write any text, just labeled it, Pigs in Bondage. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! His coworkers didn't believe it was real. And just in case you don't, either, here's another view.

So, anyone I've shown these pics to has one of two reactions. They either burst out laughing or look at me like I've grown two heads for thinking this is the best photo op ever.

Which camp do you belong in?

A) Pigs in Bondage Rocks!
B) You Need Therapy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vision Board Video Launch


Last week I talked about my Vision Board...something I've been doing for years.

So you can imagine how excited I was when my friend, Joyce Schwarz, asked me to write a short essay on erotic meditation for her book, The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life.

Vision boards are not just for writers. You can use a vision board to achieve your dreams, whatever they are.

Want to lose weight?

Check out the story of Donna Kozik in the video I shot at Joyce's Launch Party at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, CA. (Click HERE for updated LINK on Donna's how to stop overeating podclass).

(If you ever want to have a party, Loews Hotel is the place! A beautiful hotel located on the beach...)

Here's the video where you'll meet all kinds of interesting people, including Joyce herself!


Vision Board book event at Digital Hollywood with Joyce Schwarz from Jina on Vimeo.

So, have you started your vision board yet?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Romance Writer Tunes

Ever get a song stuck in your head? A catchy tune, fun lyrics, anything can etch a song on your brain and drive you insane. Being a writer of romance, I latch on to songs that sing about my profession. One that’s gotten me lately is Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
But not for the usual reasons. It is catchy and all the talk about writing a bad romance definitely got my attention. But what made me replay the lyrics in my head over and over was the glaring line of atrocious grammar.

“You and me could write a bad romance.”

Um, yeah, you could. It would be REALLY bad because you don’t know basic grammar.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love Lady Gaga. From her ability to pump out hit after hit to her very vocal support of any and all alternative lifestyles to the way she rocks a dress made out of steak. I think she’s awesome, except for her grammar.

Before Bad Romance came out, my favorite writerly song was the Beatles' Paperback Writer. As many times as I listen to this classic, it never grows stale.

What about you? Do you have any favorite songs about romance books, writers or the like?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The importance of r and r

Hi all,

Just before the holidays I reached a place I thought I'd never go as a writer--burn out. Actually, it started with the mid-term elections. I never knew so much anger and negativity could drain me like it did. I felt traumatized. Seriously. When political ads came on TV, I had to slap my hands over my ears.

Then, the lack of sun drained me a little more. As a friend of mine would say, "I'm a delicate, fragile flower." I was wilting fast.

Now toss in the holidays, which are always hard for me since I miss my family the most at that time of year, compound it with a malfunctioning antidepressant, toss in an argument or two and what do you have? One hot mess.

When the situation reached critical levels, I did something I never do. I took a couple of weeks off. I didn't write a word. I slept late. Read a lot. Puttered. And eventually, with the help of a different antidepressant, got back on my feet. I feel a lot less fragile now, but I'm looking forward to a little fun in the sun. I'm leaving for Miami tomorrow a.m. and will be attending the Cruise with your Muse next week. I already feel like letting out a big Ahhhhh...of relief!

Conferences often help re-energize us writers. And I can't wait for this one! I'll tell you all about it when I get back. Right now, I just think it's about the greatest idea ever!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Release Day!

It's release day, which is actually a surprise to me! I think some wires might have gotten crossed because I didn't even know Tempting Target was out until this morning. ;)


A while ago I got the rights back to the first book I ever had published so I extensively revised it, added a lot of new scenes, some with secondary characters, and made it appropriate for Ellora's Cave..... Now it's out! I love this story and I'm glad I was able to give it new life since friends to lovers is a favorite theme of mine. So what's it about?


After being widowed at a young age, Jade Hadley is tired of her celibate existence and is determined to add a little romance and sex into her life again. When her deceased husband’s sexy best friend admits a longtime attraction, her entire world is thrown off kilter.



Security expert David McIntyre is in love with Jade and has been from the moment they met. Unfortunately for him, that was the week she married his best friend. For years he’s stayed silent, giving her time to mourn. When he discovers she’s dating again, all bets are off. Then someone targets her to die and he realizes he has more trouble than he bargained for. Seducing her isn’t the problem. Convincing her what they have together isn’t purely physical, however, is. It might even prove to be a bigger challenge than trying to keep her alive.


For more information on this release or to read an excerpt, check out Ellora's Cave!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Impromptu Reader Appreciation Day!

by Cara McKenna


So last week I had a new story come out from Ellora's Cave. I promise I won't go all pimptasticalz on you, though if anyone's interested, the details are here. This was the third and final book in a series I never intended to write…you know how it is when characters refuse to vacate your head. Anyhow, I've been published for nearly a year now, which still qualifies me as a freshman, I suspect. I'm certainly still learning tons, particularly about who I am, who my audience is, and what to expect (or sometimes what not to expect) from readers.

Something that's completely blown my mind in regards to this series, is that fact that I have readers. Actually, it's readers who inspired me to write the third book. I couldn't believe it when they first wrote to me. People were emotionally invested enough in characters I created that they wanted to spend more time with them, and see how their lives turned out. Weird!!! Weird and wonderful. And after the final book came out, I received e-mails and reader reviews from people who'd been awaiting the conclusion. Waiting for the stuff that falls out of my brain? Really? And you're definitely not related to me, right?

So anyhow, in light of how thoroughly these revelations blew my mind, I wanted to throw a little impromptu Reader Appreciation Day here on NAC. A sort of early Valentine's. Authors, I hereby invite you to gush however you see fit in the comments, and let our readers know how much we value what they do for our careers and our egos, our reputations and our momentum to keep plugging away in this tough business. Please leave aside any feelings you have about the not-so-nice readers, the mean or sloppy reviewers, the pirates, and join me in celebrating the kind and encouraging individuals who make this gig so wholly worth pursuing.

To every reader who's invested the time and money to put our work in their carts, to hit Download, to take our words with them into the bed or the easy chair or the bathtub, to share their enjoyment of our writing with friends or strangers, to sacrifice a few precious minutes of their days to log in and rate us, or write up reviews, or send us an e-mail, or to tweet about our books…there's a special, cushy, corner of heaven laid out with wine and cheese and muscular masseurs, patiently awaiting your arrival.

xoxo,
Cara

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you have a Vision Board?





Are you living the life of your dreams?

If you're not, you need a Vision Board.

I've had a vision board for years, pasting pictures, quotes and stories on my board about my vision to write and sell books that take place in exotic locales: Japan, the Near East, 1930s Berlin, WWII London, 1889 Paris.

It's all there on my vision board.

As I get ready to start each new project, I change my vision board. The picture above is how my Vision Board looked when I was writing Cleopatra's Perfume with old pix from the 1930s, etc.

When I was working on The Blonde Samurai, it looked like this:



I keep my favorite pix, add new ones. It's always in motion--like writing a story. It's important as writers to be flexible and be willing to change elements in our stories to keep it fresh, up the stakes, or make it more dynamic.

It's also important to know when to let go--

Which I did tonight when I finished a project and said "I'm done."

How 'bout you? Do you have a Vision Board?




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dear John...


These will be the hardest words I've ever had to write. Because I'm leaving you even as I can't imagine a day without you. Every step, every goal, every dream...you've walked right by my side, hand in hand. We've been friends, partners. You've comforted me when I've failed and have been the one to pat me on the back when I've succeeded in spite of insurmountable odds.

We're closer than close, you and I.

We're intimate.

But, the truth is I can't afford you any longer. You're the worst narcotic. My drug of choice. I've told myself time and time again that I'm going to give you up...and yet, I find myself drawn to you, picking you back up like a ratty knapsack even as I despair over our relationship. We've been together for so long that I can't see a you without me and a me without you--I don't know what I look like without you. But, I have to find out. See, I can't grow with you. I can't become the person I was meant to be, to accomplish the things I've dreamed of with you by my side.

You're the enemy of my destiny.

So, I'm leaving. Cutting you off. Cold turkey. I'm sure we'll have chance meetings--maybe even a relapse--but from every brush with you, I'll come away stronger and more determined to see what I can be without you.

Good bye, my friend, my Procrastination.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kissing!

Time for another tidbit from The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker. This time the subject is kissing, a topic near and dear to a romance writer's heart.

The original Sanskrit word for kiss was cusati, meaning "he sucks." The kiss was a variation of a primitive mother-child behavior, true for origins of most forms of affectionate contact. The romantic idea of kissing was believed to have come from mouth-to-mouth feeding practiced among ancient Greeks and others as a form of love play. In Germany and Austria as recently as 19th century A.D. mothers commonly premasticated food to feed to infants by "kissing." Kissing was most common in Europe as a way to create a bond among clan members. This is the origin of the expression "kissing cousins." Yet kissing was virtually unknown in Asia. As another note, Eskimos and Amerindians did not kiss but inhaled the breath of loved ones by "rubbing noses."

So next time you snog, or land a smacker, or get to first base, or smooch, or any lovely euphemism for locking lips, you can be assured that the activity is of tremendous value. It has proud origins in ensuring the continuation of our species. And if the image of sharing premasticated food is bothersome, just block it out by humming an old favorite: "You must remember this a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh; the fundamental things apply, as time goes by."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Don't Mess with a Good Thing


That's my advice to the television networks. NBC did it with Heroes, which used to be an amazing show, and now FOX is doing it with Human Target. At least in my opinion.

Human Target, starring Mark Valley, whom I think is very hot even though I don't usually go for blond guys, used to be about a show about a hero looking to redeem himself for some not so very nice things he did in his mysterious past. Now, it has more of a James Bond thing going on that I don't really like. It's all action and no story, and the hero doesn't even seem like the main character anymore.

Maybe FOX was trying to go after a new demographic with this new direction, and if they got it, then congratulations to them, but all I know is that we don't even bother DVRing anymore.


*hugs*
Paige


"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"


Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Guilty Confessions



I watch Married to Rock.

I’m horrified, astonished, ashamed, titillated and hooked.
It started as a train wreck I just had to see, after viewing the initial caboose (& ridiculously fake headlights) of Josie. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was a snippet on The Soup, my favorite monitor for the ridiculous.

Was she for real, was this a joke, was the show going to set women back a boobzillion years?

I watched the entire first season, and here’s what I learned:
Which one would make the best friend? Josie
Which one truly has a heart of gold and is least self-absorbed? Josie
IMHO, which one has the best chance of a lasting marriage? You’ve got it: Josie

Surprised? Yeah, me, too. Big time. But underneath all of the baby talk, the O-HELL-NO-Kitty-ness and plastic surgery inducing insecurity, lie two people who truly are in love, and have been for almost a decade. (According to my DH, this is where I need to give cred to Josie’s husband, Steve Stevens, of Billy Idol fame.)The more I watched, the more these two made sense as a couple.

Brace yourselves.



On the complete opposite spectrum, I watch 19 Kids and Counting

I’m horrified, astonished, NOT titillated, yet still hooked. My kids laugh even harder than when they catch me watching Married to Rock.

I can’t help it, I’m impressed. The level of organization and patience is astounding. Would I want to be any of them in any other way? Uh, that would be a big fat NO. But their devotion to both family and religion is humbling, and this is after a lot of years and a lot of limelight. It feels like they went into this to show the world it can be done, and they still approach it with the same theory and determination instead of letting “Hollyweird” change them.

That said, I have also noticed something more disturbing than ground beef and Tater Tot casserole. They are there for each other and anyone else in their Christian community. But isn’t being a good Christian about being that way in and with every community? I don’t see much diversity on the show. In fact, I’m trying to remember any diversity at all, religious or otherwise. Am I just imagining this? I’ll admit I don’t follow the show, er, religiously, so I absolutely could be proven wrong. In fact, I’d like to be proven wrong.

So those are my confessions and one late night serious observation. Do with them what you will. I have to go, Guiliana and Bill are on.

Oops, guess there were three confessions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What if Scarlett O'Hara was a blonde...


I love historicals. Reading them, writing them.

And creating the perfect heroine. But is she a blonde, a brunette or a redhead? We writers wrestle with this question every time we put fingertips to keyboard. Sometimes the character is so clear in our minds, we know for certain she’s a natural blonde (and if she isn’t, well, we won’t tell--it’s up to the hero to see if the collar matches the cuffs).

Imagine if Scarlett O’Hara was a blonde…

Do you remember the vivid opening scene with Scarlett surrounded by the redheaded Tarleton twins? Her beautiful dark hair provided a rich halo around her face and provided a contrast against her white organdy dress with flounces and flounces of ruffles. The red belt cinching in her tiny waist was the perfect accent piece to complete her outfit.

Was this what Margaret Mitchell envisioned when she wrote “Gone With the Wind?”

In a word, no.

Ms. Mitchell describes a “green flowered-muslin” dress, not the white one. Although in the film, Scarlett does show up at the Twelve Oaks BBQ in a similar dress (who can ever forget the scene in the film when Scarlett throws a porcelain bowl across the room not knowing Rhett is lying on the couch out of her pov and he pops up with the line: “Has the war started yet?” Pure classic romantic attraction).

Which brings me to the question: how important to you as a writer and/or reader is the heroine’s hair color?

Her clothes?

Do you enjoy reading descriptions of what she’s wearing? Do designer labels intrigue you or turn you off?

I must admit I enjoyed designing my heroine’s wardrobe in “The Blonde Samurai” about a Victorian heiress who weds a British lord then falls in love with a handsome samurai.

Here is what Katie O’Roarke as Lady Carlton wore at a grand dinner:

“…Which was why I chose the color red. A defiant color, bold and perfect. I relished how the velvet gown in crushed strawberry hugged my body, the small cap sleeves sliding down my bare shoulders while the tiered soft bustle swayed behind me, the long train sweeping over the muted Oriental carpets. A long row of pearl buttons gave off an opaline luster, racing down my back like a game of dominoes."

Tell me what you think about whether or not a description of the heroine’s
hair color and her wardrobe enrich the story for you.

Frankly, my dear reader, I do give a damn…




Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Resolution Hit List


Like most people I know, at the beginning of every new year, I usually think about all the ways I should improve myself. I made my list but I wanted to see how my resolutions stacked up to other people's. According to recent polls, the top resolution this year is to spend more time with family and friends. As a full time writer and stay-at-home wife/mother, I've got that one in the bag.

Next in the polls was making time for fitness. Although I'm guilty of slacking lately, I usually manage to get to the gym four or five times a week, so I need to tighten up on that one (literally). And after all my holiday season indulgences, a few extra workouts are definitely in order. Because we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas at my house, I had double excuses to indulge. Now I have double the extra work at the gym.

Third on the list for the American public is quitting smoking. Nailed that one about fifteen years ago, thank goodness. If you're a smoker, please put this one at the top of your resolutions. Get help -- from your doctor, a support group or loved ones. As a former smoker, I'm one of the most vigilant anti-smokers out there. Just ask my sister and her husband. I pester them to quit on a regular basis.

Other popular resolutions this year are to lower one's stress level, quit drinking, get out of debt and to learn something new. My main source of stress will turn eighteen at the end of the year. I can hang in there until then;-) I don't drink much or often and although debt isn't a big issue for me, I would like to resolve to save more. Learn something new - I'll have to work on that one.

As a writer, I will add that I'd like to up my productivity. All I have to do is look to my uber-productive critique partner, Savannah. If I can write half as many words as she, I'll be doing great.

Just for grins, I checked out my post a year ago when I listed my goals for 2010. I surpassed some - instead of contracting four short stories/novellas and one full length, I contracted six short ones and two full length manuscripts. Yeah! I can't say if I met my word count goal because I failed to keep track of it as I'd hoped. I did get organized enough to track submissions and royalties, though. So overall, I think I did pretty well.

Any resolutions you'd like to share. Throw them out there into the blogosphere and put the pressure on to achieve them. I'm just sayin...