Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inspiration from Soaps by Casey Crow




So after I tauted my love for CASTLE in my last post, I thought it only fair to give my first love a shout out. Soap operas. Seriously, I don't watch that much TV, but I am a loyal fan to the few shows I cram into my schedule. Speaking of which, have you seen REVENGE? OMG. It's freakin' awesome, but I digress. We are talking about soaps.






I'm totally not kidding. I have vivid memories of watching Luke and Laura's wedding on General Hospital when I was five years old. My big sister watched soaps and in my attempt to be a "big girl" I glued myself in front of the TV. It was the age of Bo Derek’s 10 braids so I didn’t really have a choice but to sit still and watch TV as my sister braided my hair. Thankfully soaps weren't as graphic back then or I might have been scarred for life. Still, over the years, my obsession with soap operas hasn’t waned, although I cut back to two –General Hospital and One Life to Live.





I only watch about once a month. Oddly enough, that’s about all it takes to know what’s going on, but that’s what I love about them. Soap writers are masters at prolonging a story line to its utmost possibilities and advantages, until it is completely maxed out. They extend secrets, build lies upon lies, make characters indecisive, create a roller coaster of emotions, and mix up love interests. I’m fairly certain there’s some unwritten rule you can’t kill off a character unless he or she has sleep with half the town at least twice. And, heaven forbid, if somebody gets murdered. Everyone is a suspect and each individual investigation takes a week at minimum. After all that, the dead character will usually miraculously resurrect, too.




We as writers should take a hint from soaps and stretch a scene for all its worth. It’s our responsibility to get the most out of everything we write. That may mean multiple drafts and edits, but if that’s what it takes to achieve your best work, do it. Develop each character’s personality, appearance, conflict, and motivation. Focus on internal and external thoughts, problems, and solutions. Try different scenarios for resolutions. Write with efficient use of pacing. Reach from high emotional turmoil to utter calmness within minutes of each other. Perfect each scene with variety and tension. Does each character have a flaw or many? They should. Finally, think of soap’s Friday afternoon cliffhanger for the end of your chapters.




Do you have a suggestion to perfect a scene? Are you a closet soap addict? What story lines inspire you? Which characters make you sit up and take notice? WHO do you just like to look at? John on One Life to Live gives me that "ah" moment. Dark and brooding, mysterious, confident, and HOT – all qualities of a dreamy hero. Jason on General Hospital has that incredible bad boy thing going on that makes me want to swoon (minus the whole mob killer thing), but these cocky bad boys are fiercely loyal with a heart of gold that is waiting to be discovered by the right heroine. One of my favorite characters is a Spinelli, a sidekick, computer hacker on General Hospital. He’s not gorgeous or rockin’ a bod, but his corky personality and the weird things he says make him memorable and adorable. These characters (and the writers behind them) inspire me and hopefully, you too!

The new girl

Wow...this is my official blog post as a new member on the Naughty Author Chicks team. I'm totally stoked about being here and I have to admit, I agonized over what I wanted to write about for my very first time. *grins*

I figured as the new girl in the bunch I should write something about myself...

Humm, where do I begin? I'm a Virgo. I have an obsession with lattes, books, clothes, shoes, make-up, haute cuisine....wait a moment....that's SO lame. I suppose most of us are into those same things so let me try again.

Okay, how about this? I've probably dabbled in at least a 100 jobs before I fell into writing romance seven years ago. Seriously. I've tried everything from college news anchor, fashion assistant, actress, screenwriter, personal assistant to the uber rich and spoiled, to high school substitute teacherI pretty much have dipped my toes in it at least once. I guess I was one of those dreamers who really didn't quite know what I was good at, so the best thing to do was try them all out. 

I've been pretty darn lucky because I got to experience the life I wanted even though I was brought up in a very strict, conservative, Asian household (I'll tell you where the Irish part comes from in the near future). Honestly, I'd do it over again in a heartbeat because the rollercoaster journey was definitely worth it all! Now that I've turned the big 4-0 earlier this month, things have slowed down a bit for me. I've traded the late nights out drinking with my buddies and peers for the occasional glass of wine, while I curl up to a good bookor the hot keyboardsbut I have definitely collected an arsenal of memories that have been great inspirations for my stories. 

Every once in a while when I miss living in Paris or L.A., especially my dear friends and the burst of vibrant energy that comes from living in big cities, I'll whip up one of my favorite cocktails that I've invented and paaaar-tay! Why not? It's fun throwing my very own party for one and I don't even have to drive home... but it's more fun to have some company. So, as a way to include YOU in my celebration, I'm providing this very delish recipe below. 

Sláinte!
* * * *

Cassi-tinis


4 parts raspberry lemonade
1 ½ part Coconut Rum (or replace with regular rum or vodka)
splash of lime juice
1 part Grenadine
Mint leaves for decoration

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients. Shake well. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lime. For a tangier mix, add a splash of lemon-lime soda, or soda water if you don’t have a sweet tooth. If you don’t have raspberry lemonade, any berry lemonade will do!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Titanic and Lifeboats

Women and children first

This was the cry heard on that cold, bitter night of April 14, 1912. Earlier that Sunday morning passengers of all classes had attended divine services and offered prayers for a safe crossing.

At 11:40 pm the Titanic struck an iceberg and she was sinking fast.

Everyone scrambled to get to the lifeboats.

"Women and children first," called out the ship’s officers.

Why then, when lifeboat number 5 was lowered (capacity 40), were there only 2 women and 10 men aboard?

If the call was for women and children first, why were gentlemen permitted to get into the boats on the starboard side?

While no male passengers were allowed to enter a lifeboat on the port side of the ship when there were women and children about?

And who can forget the look of pain on faces of the Irish family--the da, mum and three children--who fought their way up from the bowels of the ship only to discover there were no more lifeboats?

No more lifeboats.

With only a rosary and prayer and their arms wrapped around each other, they faced the end bravely.

Still, the question, persists, why were there not enough lifeboats?

Some put the blame on J. Bruce Ismay, the Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line, who insisted the number of lifeboats be cut from 48 to 16 (in addition, 4 Englehardt or collapsible lifeboats were stored on the Boat deck) because they "cluttered" the deck.

For the record, Mr. Ismay escaped the sinking in collapsible lifeboat C.

The White Star Line argued that it had followed the British Board of Trade regulations that dictated for a liner the size of the Titanic (using a specific formula based in tonnage), sixteen lifeboats was more than the number of boats required.

This rule was hopelessly outdated when the Titanic was launched.

But no one seemed to notice.

Until it was too late.

It does me heart in, as my heroine Katie O'Reilly would say, to write this post, knowing so many more passengers could been saved if they'd had more boats. As it was, several lifeboats were lowered half full or less. (The first lifeboat left with only 28 people--it could hold 65). Again, there is some confusion as to why this happened. The lifeboats had been tested and could hold forty to sixty-five people, but the captain decided to lower them half full, then fill the boats with passengers from the lower gangways.

That never happened. The doors were never opened.

As the lifeboats rowed away and the horrified passengers in the lifeboats watched the horrifying scene. I wrote about it in Katie O'Reilly:
The Titanic sinking into the black, calm sea as smoothly as if a Divine hand parted the waters to ease its descent into a lasting grave…the wild explosions shattering the quiet night… then the harrowing distress calls…the unbearable moans in a chorus of shouting and cries that lasted more than an hour then became feeble until they died out…then silence. As cold and still as the sea surrounding them.
God rest their souls…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life with a Lawman

Um, no, that's not my guy in the picture, but mine does wear a law enforcement uniform. Some days I like the fact that he's a public servant, other days I don't. But I must tell you, life with a lawman is certainly different from say, life with a bookkeeper!

Now my guy is not your typical law enforcement officer. He used to be a member of an elite team of highly trained special response officers called the ERT or Emergency Response Team.   ERT training involves things like sharp shooting, specialized defensive tactics and explosives training.

One day my man was promoted to a higher rank than they allow on the team (since high-ranking officers make perfect hostages). But he continues to train with the team. Why? Because he loves it. He comes home battered and bruised from playing with the big guys ten or twenty years younger than he, and the other guys always look worse!

Living with Mr. Tough Guy (as one of his friends calls him) has made for some unique experiences on the home front. Many of those have yielded great writerly info since I write romantic suspense sometimes. I'll share a few of the stranger than fiction things that happen around my house.

1. I've come home and walked right past a machine gun with a silencer on my kitchen table without blinking.

2. I've opened the dryer to check on that metallic clang only to find bullets or shell casings inside.

3. Speaking of laundry, I've had to decide if a ninja mask goes in the dryer on low or medium heat (because there was no little white tag inside).

4. I've tried to decide where to keep DH's kevlar gloves (Apparently with his winter clothes is wrong).

5. Ditto on the vest, the repelling harness and ropes, the chemical agents and specialized helmets.

Thankfully, I feel really, really safe with him around. He's also got a wealth of information when it comes to all I ever wanted to know about blocking out any kind of fight/take-down, etc. for my books. Besides all that, he's pretty great guy. So I can live with a few bullets in the dryer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex!




Now that I've got your attention! LOL!

Cosmopolitan had an article about "99 New Sexy Facts" (though I don't know why they didn't make it an even hundred) so I thought I'd share some of them with you.

A study showed that women get more turned on by watching a couple kiss, than actually having sex. Their suggestion - kiss your guy in front of a mirror. I like that idea, though I'd take a it a little further and suggest doing the actual deed in front pf the mirror, too. Especially if you have one of those tri mirrors in the bathroom. Very hot!

Only fifty-three percent of women have used a vibrator. That's a little surprising to me. Their suggestion to the women who haven't - go out and get one! I totally agree! My recommndation if the Hitachi Magic Wand. That baby is rock star!

Women who exercise regularly have both better clitoral blood flow and higher sexual satisfaction. So, if you need some motivation to exercise, that's a good one!

People who have sex two or more times a week look younger than people who don't. 'Nuff said!

Women who eat chocolate on daily basis have higher sex drives. Make it dark choclate and it's even more healithy!

Okay, this is one of my favorites! Try a little apnking during sex. It stimulates blood flow down there, which is definitely a good thing when you want to orgasm!





*hugs*
Paige

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

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alaska at Last!

I will try to give you a good visual, but really, I can't do it justice. Plus, I'm one of the worst photographers EVER! Seriously. But this is the the land portion in the 2nd week, so I had figured out that one needs to open the lens cap. I did get a few lucky shots.


This is Mt. McKinley, which apparently goes by a few names. Doesn't look like much? Yeah, look up. It's actually the white peak above the brown in the literally 30 seconds it was visible. This was the 1st time it was visible to a tour in 2 months, making this a rare sightseeing photo.





Here is a shot of Denali park. We hit it at the end of the season, so missed the true vivid colors. Still pretty freakin' amazing.





There was wildlife, too.





Holly cow, those aren't branches! This was a Caribou, standing not ten feet down a hillside, happily munching away. I swear he fell asleep posing for us. That giant rack has probably fallen off by now, only to grow back again next year.

Apparently there was a moose there a bit further down the hill, but I never saw him. Bummer, but I'm not sure I'd want to be that close to a moose anyway. Nasty buggers, and these Alaskan Moose are waaayyy bigger than our Maine ones.






I love this bear. We were on a river cruise when he accommodated us by stepping out for a drink. Then he turned around and proved that yes, a bear does **it in the woods. I've got video to prove it. Guide said he's about 4 and 250 lbs or so. Smart little guy, he drank first.






There were eagles everywhere in Juneau, but not as many everywhere else, and I was still wrestling with the whole lens cap thing in Juneau. I did get this shot on our river cruise, but the second I moved the camera to take video of him, he spread his wings and flew off. I missed it.


I think the most stunning scenery still belongs to the glaciers, right off the ship's balcony. I posted a couple of those while in Alaska, but it doesn't do justice to the feeling of serenity and beauty as being there in person.

All in all, I recommend this trip to anyone who has an opportunity to go. The only thing different I would do is to start with the land part, then do the main cruise. It got to be a bit much going from place to place, packing and always being ready. It would have been nicer to end on the more relaxing part.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Trope or Not to Trope

Trope. From the Latin tropus, from Greek tropos turn, way, manner, style, trope, from trepein to turn.

"A common or overused theme/device. A cliche."

Well, I hope it isn't always a cliche! Some are better than others, for sure, but there are still plenty of themes in romance that never seem to go out of style. Secret babies. Variations on classic fairy tales. Werewolves and vampires in paranormal romance.

My personal favorites are the reunited lovers theme and (don't judge me!) the abused/traumatized woman that has to learn to trust again and only the hero is able to scale the walls protecting her heart. I love the reunited lovers idea because it's all about second chances and that fills me with hope. The second I love because it shows the healing power of love. If the hero shows lots of patience and tenderness in winning the heroine's heart, I'm a total goner.

Yet sometimes an author is able to put a new twist on a theme that breathes life into it, revitalizing the whole storyline. There's one book that I can think of where the author turned that second "trope" I mentioned on its head and made it work so well that I was glued to every page. JR Ward gave us Zsadist's story in Lover Awakened, where he was the one having to overcome a traumatic past of abuse and learn to love and trust his mate, Bella. It's one of my favorite romance books of all time, and I think it's all the more powerful because Ward flipped that trope into something unforgettable.

Do you have a favorite trope to read or write about, or maybe one that's your personal pet peeve? And do you have a book in mind when you think of it?  I love it when an author can take a well-used theme and make it fresh again, or write it in a way you've never seen before.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Asking for Help -- A Challenge

I always find it interesting when an erotic romance author has a story problem which is decidedly non-erotic. Although I've presented myself as a plotter in my writing style (beginning each project with a particular end of the story in mind), another description fits better. Puzzler. I am a puzzler who begins with general characters, knows the basic direction of the plot, does keep an ending in mind, but spends the majority of her time puzzling together the little and big pieces of the story that will make it vibrant and hopefully get a reader to give a damn. This happens slowly and in layers as I write.

Some of the fun in being a puzzler is to face and overcome a variety of plot problems. And if you've read my past novels you know I am plot heavy as a rule. But sometimes I need help with my jigsaw. I admit I have problems asking for help. I'm not too proud, nor overly attached to wanting sole credit for a project. Often it's that I forget I can ask for help. Well today, when I ran into a problem, I remembered. Yay for me!

Then I started thinking about who we usually turn to for help. In our private lives it is hopefully family members or close friends. In our writing lives it is often fellow writers. But I've begun to think about the networks of connection people develop through social media and the viral experience of the web. And I thought about this blog. So today I decided to turn to the readers of this blog for help. Will there be someone out there who has the knowledge base I need to brainstorm my particular plot challenge? If you link this blog to your Facebook or tweet the url to this post on Twitter, will I find the necessary brain power? Maybe you should know what expertise I need first.

Genetics expertise.

I have run into a problem in my current project, the sequel to Bound Odyssey tentatively called Bound Freedom. Yes, dear readers, I am still chipping away on the novel so you will find out what happened to Jace, Mira and Roman when they crossed the portal to a new world. And you will find out what comes next in the impending doom of Earth itself. For those intrigued enough by those teasers, and who have not read Bound Odyssey, please go check out the story at Ellora's Cave or Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

So my problem is in the realm of genetics. Imagine a humanoid species whose ancestors experienced a genetic mutation causing a woman's ovum to need a mix of two or more sperm donors to be successfully fertilized. The little swimmers mix together inside the egg. Now I know in real genetics this will not work, and my problem is more complex than that. I need some support with plausible-sounding genetic explanations about the chromosomes that have experienced this mutation, and the potential genetic breakdown of this mutation. My memory of high school biology is being taxed to the maximum, so it's time for a consult.

If biological science is your forte, or you know of someone who is not singlemindedly black and white in their application of scientific models, but has a creative bent in addition, please send yourself or these others my way. My prospective consultant might have some fun with this pretend science. And of course they will get credit.

I can be reached at mapolaris@gmail.com, or you can send me your contact information in the comments section and I will reach out to you.

I am curious how this "helping" experiment will work. Please, if you do not know someone directly who has the expertise, link this request out into the web.

Happy Monday, and thank you.

Michelle

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book signings

Some people don't think the old-fashioned book signing is worth the time and effort anymore. If you're strictly a numbers person, you may be right. But I'm definitley not of that ilk.

I love meeting readers and potential readers. Because I'm an extrovert, I have no problem talking to people once they've decided to talk to me, but how do you break the ice?

The best ice breaker I ever had was a little promo for The Vampire Next Door that caught people's attention right away. It's a blood bag. Not a real one, silly. That would be gross. No, it's a mini version with cherry syrup in it. The blood type is marked S+ and it's labled Dr. Sweet Tooth. Adorable, right?

Well, picture this...someone is about to walk past me, but I say, "Would you like a bag of blood?" in my best 'vampyric' voice. When they halt in their tracks and stare at me, I say, "Yup. You heard me right," in my normal Boston-American accent. People would take a look at the bag and start laughing. Suddenly they were interested in the book. If not, I simply gave them the "blood" and a bookmark advertising The Vampire Next Door, and told them to have a nice day.

People can be shy or reserved (especially in chilly New England) but if you find a way to make them smile, it's smoother sailing.

I love to make people smile. That's why I write humorous stories. Today, I'll have to do it without cherry syrup. I ran out! But I have a book signing at a new age store in Nashua, NH. If you're in the area, stop by Ancient Moon on W. Pearl Street between 11 and 3. Hey, get your tarot cards read while you're there! Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

But if you don't live around here...don't despair. You can always download one of my vampire or shapeshifter books and enjoy your weekend. I'll do my best to put a smile on your face.

Speaking of smiles, my best seller, Vampire Vintage is now $1.99 and has a gorgeous new cover. It's a novel plus, so quite the bargain! See it on my publisher's website. http://www.jasminejade.com/p-6404-vampire-vintage.aspx
Just copy and paste that url and it will take you right to it. Enjoy!

Ashlyn Chase

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why We (okay, I) Love CASTLE











Hellooo, sweet readers. Three days left! That's right, the season premier of CASTLE happens this Monday night! Can you tell I'm excited? Here's proof. I've got this monumental event marked on my calendar - in permanent marker, all caps, and highlighted in neon yellow. I kid you not.





So why am I shivering in anticipation over a TV show when I rarely even watch television? First of all, in case you didn't know (seriously?) Castle is about a mystery writer. Therefore, I think it's sacrilegious as an author not to support a fellow writer, albeit a fake one.







Two, and this could perhaps be ranked as my number one reason, Richard Castle (okay, his real name is Nathan Fillion) is hot. Well, maybe not hot like that fella on the gigantic poster at the Abercrombie and Fitch store in the mall, but I've had a crush on Fillion when he played Joey Buchanan on ONE LIFE TO LIVE umpteenth years ago. Castle has a little boy charm and wit that's both adorable and annoyingly adorable at the same time. The beautiful, statuesque Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic) has the patience of a saint to put up with his antics, but the man gets under one's skin, you know?





Finally, the writers of the show do an extraordinary job of developing the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett while throwing in some quirky one-liners. The love-hate relationship moves with a steady pace and stretches character development. (Hints we writers might be well-advised to take into consideration.)




Now, just so Naughy Author Chicks isn't completely bombarded by CASTLE haters, I'll throw out ONE negative. The mystery storyline isn't always the most savvy. I mean when Casey Crow can figure out the who done it, we have a problem with predictabililty. Still, I shall tune in Monday night to see if Beckett survives the gun shot to her chest. Like that's a hard one to see coming, but Castle's reaction will no doubt present a more serious side to him. One that is long overdue.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Titanic and Corsets

Imagine it's a starry, starry night with a calm sea, the water below freezing.

A bitter chill is in the air as you climb into a lifeboat.

In your nightdress.

Brrr…

You'd also be wearing a corset along with drawers, chemise and a corset cover.

Many ladies on the Titanic found themselves in a quandary when the stewards summoned them to the lifeboats after the ship struck an iceberg at 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912.

Take the time to dress or throw a warm coat over your nightdress and get into a lifeboat?

According to eyewitness accounts, several female survivors had nothing on but nightgowns and suffered from exposure and shock.

If a lady was wearing her corset, what was it like?

When I was writing my Titanic heroine, Katie O'Reilly, I wanted to find out what underwear Edwardian ladies put on everyday.

So here's a roundup of interesting corset tidbits that were part of Katie's world circa 1912:

How much did a corset cost?

According to a major ad announcing the marketing of a new corset at a "good bargain," the retail price was $2.00. Taking into account the standard figure for inflation, that would be about fifty dollars today.

A corset company in Chicago advertised they would fit, alter and repair your corset for one year free of charge.

Another corset company advertised their corset as being "The cause of it all…" By the ad, I assume they meant the corset gave the illustrated model her slim silhouette. Since I write romance, I like to believe the elegant corset was the cause of bedtime frolicking…

Speaking of bedtime--

Women often wore a night corset with a larger waistline to keep their figures trim.

Or a lady on the Titanic may have opted for a ribbon corset which hit the store shelves around 1904. This lightweight, narrow corset consisted of horizontal strips of elastic sewn into a side seam to support your tummy.

And if you were a young girl, you probably wore a liberty bodice, a boneless "training corset" girls wore around 1908.

My favorite is the tango corset, a short, lightweight corset designed especially for dancing.

Perfect for the sexy scene when Katie and Jack dance the tango aboard the Titanic:
Heat shot through her when he pulled her closer to him as the melancholy strains of the music evoked a raw need in her to follow him through the graceful yet difficult twists and turns of the dance. A dance deeply moving, mysterious.

The tango.

No gentleman would dance the tango, he said, and no lady would deny it curled her toes. Exciting, thrilling to watch--

But more so to dance.

A rising desire in his eyes promised her that he wanted to dance the tango not with any woman, but only with her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exposed!


One of the toughest things an erotic romance or erotica writer must do is share that very first erotic scene or two with another person. It's a lot like getting naked with someone for the first time. Yeah, it feels that personal.

It took me a few weeks of trying to finally share my first one with a critique partner even though we'd been exchanging chapters for months. Everything that came before that was just hot romance. It didn't even come close to being erotic romance, so it was tough to open myself up like that. What made it harder still was that I knew her personally.

But after sharing that very first naughty bit, the next time was a piece of cake. Why? I suspect it's a lot like losing one's virginity. After that first experience, it's all fine. In fact, it's pretty spectacular!

So let's dish. Tell me about your first time - sharing your first erotic scene, that is:-)

Are you a wrter? If so, you'll want to come by my blog this Thursday (and every Thursday for the next month and a half) for my Thursday with an Editor series. Kensington's Megan Records kicks off the series with her lists of Submission Dos and Don'ts.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Movies!

I like movies, but right now I have some issues with the people making them so I've decided to write an letter to Hollywood.

Dear Hollywood,

Enough with the 3-D movies already. Most movies don't even require 3-D glasses. Nothing even jumps out at you. Which makes me wonder if this isn't some sort of conspiracy to make us look silly by sitting in the movie theatre with hideous yellow glasses on. Oh, and charging us extra to make us look silly? Not cool.



While I'm thinking about it, I might as well just go ahead and ask. Don't you have any original ideas? I guess not, since you have to remake such classics like Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Top Gun and Romancing the Stone. Really?





So, go back to 2-D movies and use some imagination!

Sincerely,
An Avid Moviewatcher!



*hugs*
Paige

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

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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alaska in Pics - Not!!

Betcha thought you were going to be seeing cool pics of Alaska. Yeah, I thought you were, too. Truth is, I haven't even downloaded them yet. Haven't even shown them to the male half of the family, aka: Those Who Didn't Get to Go. Hell, I haven't even fully unpacked yet!

Why is this not done yet? you ask, drumming fingers on the table. Because I know you were holding your breath, waiting for this post. Really.

So, was it...
a) I came home a week ago Mon, one day after a hurricane left New England
b) Power actually went out the Sun of the Hurricane, and didn't come back until Wed
c) Wed and Thurs were spent throwing away questionable food and doing cleanup
d) Teenage kid got sick Thurs night and next 4 days entailed every 4 hr fever checks, dr. visits, & 2 hospital runs.
e) ALL OF THE ABOVE

If you chose e, you've won... well, nothing, but thanks for playing. Life sucks sometimes, and like I've blogged here many times, humor is everything. The good news is, we're on the mend. Kid has bacterial pneumonia, and he finally hit a point where mom and dad can sleep through the night. Holy Hell. We'd forgotten what that's like. Been there, done that in the early years, too old for it now! Freezer/Fridge are slowly restocking, and I found out DH brought the freezer stock of meat over to the In-Laws when we lost power. He just forgot to tell me. Good thing I didn't have a chance to hit Costco!

The worst part of it all is the kid, hands down, but the second worse is that I haven't written a word! I just may do that before I unpack.

Hey, wait, does this count?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Reality of the Female Big "O"

Since it's my first official post here as a Naughty Author Chick, I thought I'd start off with a bang. Go big or go home, right?

I've read and loved erotic romances since way before I began writing them. My favorites have lots of conflict and layered emotion along with all the heat, otherwise I'm just not invested in what happens to the characters between the sheets. But I have a real pet peeve with how female orgasm is portrayed in a lot of books.

I'm not saying that to ruffle any feathers here or elsewhere, because it's certainly true that some women can climax rather easily, and for some lucky few, even repeatedly. But since most women can't, reading it in a book time and time again bugs the living hell out of me.

To spell it out more clearly, here are some reasons why I sometimes roll my eyes when I'm reading a love scene:

*Not all women can reach orgasm through intercourse. Actually, the majority can't.
*Not all women can come seven and eight times in a row (or more, until they pass out), per session.
*Not all women can come after ten seconds of stimulation, or from their partner looking at them sideways. Or on command.
*Some women can't reach orgasm, period. (Really. It's true.)

To back up my humble opinion with some fact, from a Wikipedia post on female orgasm:

"most women achieve orgasm only through clitoral stimulation, or some form of clitoral assistance, and research supports clitoral stimulation as the easiest means of achieving orgasm in women. Dr. Gail Saltz stated, 'Women take on average 20 minutes of stimulation and arousal to have an orgasm."

See? Not ten seconds. I knew it!

"Men take quite a bit less. Women also have more variation in what they find to be stimulating as well as having more difficulty defining exactly where and how stimulation works best. Only 20 percent of women are able to orgasm with intercourse alone, most women need some sort of direct clitoral stimulation.'"

Thank you, Dr. Saltz. See, it's not just in my head. Is it too much for me to want a little bit of realism in my steamy romance novels? It really annoys me when a woman is portrayed time and time again as being able to reach orgasm without anything other than penetration, and a whole ten seconds of it. If you're one of the lucky 20% that can, I'm totally jealous, but good on you. The majority of women, however, will not be able to relate to that experience. At all.

I'm not saying it's impossible. I realize there are women out there that don't need much foreplay/stimulation in order to climax. As one expert says,

"It is possible that some women have more extensive clitoral tissues and nerves than others, and therefore whereas many women can only achieve orgasm by direct stimulation of the external parts of the clitoris, for others the stimulation of the more generalized tissues of the clitoris via intercourse may be sufficient."

Again, if this describes you, you're a very lucky girl, but definitely in the minority. For those women who need a little more work to um, enjoy themselves to the fullest during sex, don't feel bad. It could be worse.

"Anorgasmia is regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing personal distress. This is much more common in women than men. About 15 percent of women report difficulties with orgasm, and as many as 10 percent of women in the United States have never climaxed."

Are you shocked the number's that high? It makes me wonder if the real number is actually even higher, since I can't imagine it's something most women would freely admit to. 

But wait, there's more!

"Even women who orgasm on a regular basis only climax about 50 to 70 percent of the time. Dr. Drew Pinsky stated:
...Men and women are wired differently, moreover women are wired differently from each other. Many times women will feel as though they are flawed because they are not living up to a certain standard of climaxing. Men make it worse because they generalize what’s needed to make a woman climax. Often men believe women are the same, and once they figure what works for one woman they apply that same method to all the other women they are intimate with, and that’s one of the major problems. 50-60% of women will never have an orgasm via intercourse and will require clitoral stimulation to climax. 30% of women will have a reliable orgasm with intercourse. 10% of women will orgasm with intercourse and could possibly have sequential orgasms. 5% of women have true multiple orgasms only through intercourse and these women typically find oral sex uncomfortable."

So there. How's that for some accounting? Now I'm curious as to whether it's only me that reads erotic romances with a bit of a jaundiced eye. (Tell me it's not just me!) Have any of you read a steamy romance that left you rolling your eyes instead of spiking your libido? I'm willing to bet you have pet peeves about love scenes too, so please share.

Callie Croix, new smut writer



Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting It Down

I had a really relaxing Labor Day. Because it's like monsoon season outside and my front yard appears as if we're smack dab in the middle of the Jumanjii game, we didn't cook out. But that's okay. I spent all day watching the Deadly Women marathon on ID Discovery. *sigh* Yeah, a good day full of murder, sociopaths, deception, betrayal and the craziest women of the last few centuries. A real good day.

But I also managed to get some work done. I'm starting a new manuscript and, I tell you, it's one of the most exhilarating--yet unnerving--moments of writing. I'm a plotter, so I always outline my story first. Outline. *snort* Riiight. As anal-author-mistress-of-the universe-my "outline" usually ends up being between five and ten pages long! I include bits of dialogue for certain scenes that I don't want to forget. Or the emotions of the character at a particular moment that will really deepen his/her motivation. So, it's pretty looong. But even after all that planning and plotting, that first word or sentence of a new story is the hardest for me to write. I type. Delete. Type, type, type. Delete, delete, delete. For me those initial words set the tone for the entire book. And though I definitely self-edit (admittedly more than I should!) it's rare that I come back to the first lines. They're so important to me that I can't go further in the book until they are perfect. I did mention I was anal, right? They're either going to draw the reader in, entice her/him to keep reading or--Lawd, no!--have them start skimming! As a reader, I'm captured by that beginning paragraph. Of course I realize I won't understand the full story or even really know the character, but I will have that glimpse into the mind of the person I'm going to read about for the next forty to sixty thousand words! And I need to be seduced!

After hours of angst, I did get it down. And I must say, I am happy with it. It's kind of like giving birth. All that agony, but afterward it's forgotten in the joy of seeing your precious baby. Well, no. Bad analogy. I mean, I loved seeing my kids but I remember every moment of those births! And not one pang or twinge has been forgotten! Still, getting down that first page made the entire day productive. And watching Deadly Women even more of a sweeter reward! LOL!

Wait! Wait! Not over! My booktrailer for my upcoming release, A Perfect Fit: Fairy Tales Unleashed, Book II was completed today! Take a look!!



P.S. - I'm sorry this post is so late! My power just came back on since last night! And after a night and day trapped--did I say trapped? I didn't mean trapped--inside a house with no power and two active kids under the age of twelve...let's just say Mama's having her a pina colada smoothie, hold the smoothie, right after this posts!! Have a wonderful week!

The Fall Rush



Fall is in the air. I'm juggling the usual: getting kids ready for school, planning an early September birthday party, scheduling our annual apple picking trek, preparing for some upcoming religious holidays, catching up on board meeting minutes long overdue, setting up fall extra curriculars for the kids, scheduling doctors appointments galore, and trying to put my house in order after the summer free-for-all.

But all this fall energy is increased by my preparations for attending Romanticon 2011, the Ellora's Cave readers and authors convention at the end of September. I finally purchased my costumes for The Stone Age and Futuristic parties held Friday and Saturday nights. I'll let you pant with anticipation to find out how I'll be dressed. (Photos after the event of course.) I plan to dance my booty off at both parties.

And my new promotional buttons have arrived to tote with me to this shindig. Below is the proof of the button I had made for the event. It's a sequel to last years, "got boots?" button promo. This year I went with, "got cuffs?" You might sense a theme.

On the Friday of the conference I am one of the presenters for a fascinating seminar entitled BDSM from Top to Bottom. I'm talking about the concept of the power exchange and the different ways people include BDSM in their lives. Now I just have to get the presentation ready. But I'm wearing my black boots no matter what I present. The authors of the 1-800-DOM-help series at Ellora's Cave are hosting this event which will end with a rousing game of BDSM Jeopardy. A gift basket full of naughty goodies will be given away as a prize.

And finally on Sunday there will be a book fair to purchase autographed copies of your favorite EC books. I'm thrilled to be signing my first EC print book, Magician's Chains, along with cover flaps for the rest of my e-book titles. If you are ever in the Akron, Ohio area during the end of September/beginning of October, Romanticon is one rockin' conference to attend. I hear there will even be a pole dancing seminar this year along with a Burlesque stripping class. Education is very important (wink).

Fall is shaping up nicely. I hope your plans are equally as stimulating. It's pretty much guaranteed we will all be busy. That's just how fall goes. Be well everyone.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm officially open for business

Not like that you naughty people! LOL
I opened a business account recently. I am officially a commodity. I had enough checks (in different names) to make it reasonable to open a business for my measly earnings.

First, I sell my books and get a check now and then from a publisher.
I recently put a couple of oldies but goodies up on Amazon under another pen name.
Third, I make jewelry and sell it on commission at a friend's store.
Fourth, I sometime buy things at wholesale and sell them there as well. For some damn reason she can't remember my married name (it's not that hard) and continues to write checks to me under my former name. Luckily they're hyphenated, so no one has given me a hard time about cashing the checks.

And then there's the name I use for whatever I sell on my website (under the blog called Store (really original.) I call that business Imagination Unlimited.

So, the bank had quite a challenge as to what they'd call my account. Fortunately, I wound up with a woman who liked a challenge. She managed to fit the most important info on one line, so I can collect all my earnings in one spot and write checks for business related stuff. Promos, conferences, books, supplies, whatever.

Now, what? I guess I need to think about making money more seriously than I have in the past. My husband is looking for a new job and knows he might have to take a pay cut while he's the new guy. I know a lot of people have been in that position, so if you have any advice for me, I'd really appreciate hearing it!

Does anyone out there have any money-making secrets they can share?


Friday, September 2, 2011

What is an Author's Voice?





Hey y'all! I'm dancing a happy jig about joining Naughty Author Chicks! Of course, it's exciting to be with these amazingly talented authors, but mostly I'm stoked to now be legitimately naughty.


I debated what I should write about for my first post and decided I ought to introduce myself first- you know - 'cause I'm southern and we have this whole hospitality thing going on. Don't worry, I'll make it quick. Casey Crow was raised on a red dirt road in small town Alabama, but found my way up Highway 43. My claim to fame is Miss University of Alabama and working as a NASCAR spokesmodel (yes, Jeff Gordon is even more hot in person). In addition to writing, I'm a pageant coach and dance teacher with two little children, although according to the wisdom of these 8 and 6 year-olds, they are "big kids." I write erotic and spicy contemporary romances with my debut release, CAN'T FAKE THIS, coming out Dec. 6th with Loose, Id. I wish I could take credit for coming up with my tagline, "Sexy, Sassy & Southern," but it was the brainchild of my mentor, the incredible, RITA nominated Cynthia Eden as she decribed my voice.


So what is an author's voice? Wikipedia says it's "the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author, considered a combination of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, and dialogue." In English? It's the tone or the way a book "sounds." My voice is sexy because my heroines know what they want and go after it, which yields intensely passionate sex scenes. The sassy comes into play because these girls are fun and flirty and southern because they have the slow drawl of sweet molasses. Here is an example from one of my works to illustate voice.


HUSTLER'S DREAM


(After Channing and Brandon finish a game of pool.)


He finished off the other four stripes and nailed the eight ball straight into a corner pocket before circling the table toward her. "You lost, babe. Maybe the shaft isn't straight enough for you." He leaned on his stick like he was Moses leading the Hebrews into the Promise Land.


Her gaze sure as heck didn't go to the upper end of the pool cue that would slide through her fingers like velvet. No, she locked in on a far more promising shaft before meeting his eyes. "You are aware that has a double meaning?" She stroked her own stick. Slowly.


He visibly gulped, and she tried hard not to smile as she moved back and pointed her cue at his cock, squinting one eye. "It's not the straightness I have a problem with. It's the hardness."


He snorted and pushed her stick aside to take two steps closer. "All shafts are not the same. Some..." He brushed his dick against her stomach. "Are ready to play with, but others just need a little polishing."



I hope that showed my "Sexy, Sassy& Southern" voice. Now, think of your favorite author and why you like her. Most likely, her voice appeals to you. Is it flowery and descriptive? Quick and intense? Dark? Debbie Macomber's is sweet and comfy. She makes you feel at home. Okay, that's her tagline, but dang it, it's true. Kristan Higgins' is light and quirky. All good writers have a distinctive, recognizable, unique voice. Who stands outs to you?