Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For New Year's Eve: 5 Tips to finding your Inner Geisha

New Year's Eve is all about champagne and sparkle. And you and your man. Whether you're celebrating in a fancy restaurant in red sequins and high heels or at home in comfy sweats and slippers, in this special New Year's post, we'll talk about finding your inner Geisha with tips on how to use it to turn on your man tonight and every night…

Geisha. Seductive, mystical creatures wrapped in yards and yards of tight silk, their voices soft and charming, their elegant manners quiet and reserved, yet their mystical allure can break a man's heart.

And turn him on.

How do they do it?

Geisha are skilled in the arts and that includes the art of understanding men. These divine seductresses are not purveyors of the sex trade, but their job of entertaining men includes arousing his most sensual erogenous zone: his brain.

In my upcoming Spice novel, "The Blonde Samurai," (Feb. 2010) the heroine discovers the allure of the geisha in the pleasure quarters: "Two maids removed his clothes while the courtesan changed her kimono and called for a young geisha to play the samisen. Simouyé. I recall her with great clarity because of her sophistication for one so young, her back straight, her bearing elegant and refined. Shintaro smiled at her and a twinge of jealousy coursed through me as if he knew her intimately…"

Here are my 5 Tips to finding your inner geisha to turn on your man:

1.) The nape of the geisha's neck painted white with two serpent's tongues left unpainted hints at her genitalia, arousing a man. Wear a push-up bra with cut-outs under a tight-fitting sweater to turn him on.

2.) The Japanese love hot baths, including the geisha. Make a soapland paradise for your man. Grab your jasmine-scented soap then do a "lather dance" for him in the shower, soaping him up then using your body as the washcloth until he's ready for action.

3.) Geisha know how important scent is to creating a mood. Her fragrance is as personal as the stroke of her brush doing calligraphy. Don’t try a myriad of different perfumes with your man. Find the most provocative one or two, make them your only perfumes, and you, or at least the memory of you, will linger in his mind forever.

4.) Geisha are known for their witty, sexy repartee. Give your man an earful as well as an eyeful with playful phone sex. Talk sexy to him on your cell phones while he watches you and tells you what he wants you to do next.

5.) A pretty geisha opens a wicker basket containing steaming hot washcloths, her dark eyes misty with dewy droplets. Smiling, she serves her guest chilled saké then offers him a hot washcloth, oshibori, to soothe away his daily travails. Relax your man with a hot cloth and his favorite chilled brew after a hard day at the office.

Don't be shy about discovering your Inner Geisha. Your man will love you for it.

Happy New Year!! And have a great 2010!!

Coming next week: A Naughty Victorian Lady reflects on the Way of the Samurai and Ireland

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Monday, December 28, 2009

Writers' Resolutions

I'm one of those people who just doesn't feel right if I don't have a list or two going. A shopping list, a To Do list, a packing list - you name it. So, of course, I always have a list of a few New Years Resolutions. In regards to my writing life, the list is more goals than resolutions.
I looked back to last year's list and found that although I did not achieve every one, I did reach a few. First and foremost, I resolved to write at least five days a week. With the exception of the time after I had surgery a couple months ago and during my vacation, I made this resolution a priority and I now write nearly every day.
I resolved to branch out to other publishers and to establish a pen name. I did both of these things. I'm thrilled to say that I now have contracts with both Ellora's Cave and Loose Id, two publishers I've always longed to write for.
So what about 2010? I'll share a couple of my goals for the coming year, just between us;-)
1. Write at least 250,000 words this year. (Paltry, compared to my critique partner's more than 370,000 words in '09).
2. Contract at least four short stories or novellas and one full-length manuscript.
3. Keep better track of submissions, word counts and royalties. I put all these together because I am trying to use spreadsheets to keep myself organized, which is what this resolution boils down to.
4. End fewer sentences in prepositions. (I know - I've already done it twice in this post!)
So what about you? Any resolutions or goals you'd like to share? Just between us?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Christmas Piano Tree is on the Great ChristmasTree Tour

by Jina Bacarr

I love the Holiday Season. No matter what has been happening throughout the year, you can't help but take a moment to catch your breath and take in the joy of the season all around you…shiny silver and gold decorations, sleigh bells ringing on cell phones, Christmas carols blasting at the mall, yummy sugar cookies baking in the oven and--

The spicy smell of pine wafting from a Christmas Tree. Except at my house. I have mistletoe hanging in the hallway (what romance writer doesn't?) and a fresh garland wreath gracing the front door…but you see, well, my Christmas Tree is different.

It's a piano.

Yes, a piano. Decorated and all lit up like a…you guessed it, a Christmas Tree! So you see, I wasn't sure if my Christmas Piano Tree was going to make the cut for the Great Christmas Tree Tour--a fabulous Holiday blog put together by fellow Harlequin romance author, Cheryl St. John.

Whoever heard of a Christmas Piano Tree? But there it is on Cheryl's blog--along with the story behind my holiday tradition and the link to a video of my one-act play, "The Christmas Piano Tree," the story of a lonely widow lady who’s forgotten the true meaning of Christmas until a girl with pink hair, a dead cell phone and a big problem helps her re-discover the magic of the holiday season. It was produced at the Malibu Stage Company Theatre in Malibu, CA.

So be sure to check out the story and video about my Christmas Piano Tree on Cheryl St. John's blog along with all the other fabulous Christmas Trees from different authors on the main page.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Best, Jina

News: "The Blonde Samurai" received 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times Magazine and is a Top Pick! for February 2010. What a Christmas present...

HOLIDAY BONUS: Check out my Christmas Piano Tree for 2009: The Blonde Samurai is my theme for this year!

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai

“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"A Christmas Carol" Unplugged...or Overanalyzed...

by Naima Simone

This weekend I indulged in one of my Christmas traditions...watching "A Christmas Carol". It's one of my favorite holiday movies and it really doesn't matter which version or what year it was made. From Vanessa Williams' "A Diva's Christmas" to "Scrooged" with Bill Murray to the classic black and white version with Alastair Sim, I love 'em all!

Sunday I happened to watch "A Christmas Carol" with George C. Scott. And I was struck by a question I've never wondered about before. The three ghosts that visited Ebenezer Scrooge...what do they symbolize and why are they depicted as those specific characters?

Okay, yeah, I went a little deep with it, but once the question took root in my mind I couldn't shake it! Anal and obsessive!

I did a little investigating and here's what I came up with:

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Now Dickens wrote the ghost as an "it", genderless. Old, young and sexless. The movies portray the ghost in several variations. An old woman. An old man. A young woman. A young boy. Disney's latest depicted the ghost as a candle! What's common to most of them, though, is the light that envelops them. A light so bright Scrooge asks it to dim its radiance. Also, it carries a cone shaped candle extinguisher. Regardless of the representation--man, woman, child--the light represents enlightenment or illumination. It reminds me of the saying that reminds us if we don't learn from our past we're doomed to repeat it. And the cone-shaped funnel allows man the choice to extinguish this light. We have the choice to either learn from our past or remain in Scrooge did when he couldn't bear any more of the ghost's shadows and smothered it with the cone.

The Ghost of Christmas Present: This ghost is represented as a jovial, generous--both in physical proportion and spirit--giant. He is the epitome of generosity, cheer and goodwill. He not only symbolizes what Christmas is but what the spirit of mankind should be. I couldn't help but be reminded of the phrase, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow is not promised to you. Men indulge in the present and live for the day. Which, with his fleeting lifespan of one Christmas Day, the Ghost of Christmas Present does. Now, that's just my take on it. I found out a really cool fact about the Ghost of Christmas Present though. geeky did I just sound? Remember when he told Scrooge he had over 1,800 brothers? Well he had 1,842 to be exact. Anyone remember what year "A Christmas Carol" was published in? 1843! Hah! How's that for a bit of trivia!

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: This specter may seem the easiest but that's not necessarily true. At least not for me. The first thought that came to my mind was The Grim Reaper. Death. He symbolizes fear of the unknown. His face, which we never see, shows us that we don't know the future...have no clue what it holds or looks like. We, humans who want control over our futures and destinies, want to know what's ahead and fear what we can't see. And remember how Scrooge would ask him a question and he never answered but instead pointed. Always pointed. It shows us we have to keep moving forward because time waits for no one. Lest anyone think I came up with that on my own, I didn't. Not that brilliant but wasn't that deep??

So that's my take on the ghosts of "A Christmas Carol". As I found out in my digging, the meaning behind the book and the characters are debated and debated again. My conclusions may not be completely accurate, but I had a great time researching! Too bad Dickens isn't around to ask!

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Think I have too much time on my hands? (I heard that!)

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Naughty Gifts

As a naughty author chick, I strive to find the erotic potential in many things. The holidays for example. So I have compiled a list of very naughty gifts for that special someone in your life.
1. Sexy Lingerie - a no-brainer. Something daring that reveals just enough to pique their interest and entice their imagination. Maybe a sexy teddy or a French maid outfit.
2. An adult game for two like Consenting Adults or 1,000 Sex Games.
3. A massage kit from Kama Sutra brand or make your own.
4. A home made coupon book offering sexual pleasures like a massage or a special erotic game.
5. A book of sexual pleasures like 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex.
6. A basket of assorted fun condoms.
7. Edible underwear - always sure to please, although can be sticky!
8. A CD of sexy music to make love by. Buy one or get creative and make your own.
9. An erotic book or short story to read together. I happen to know a few authors who write good ones;-)
10. Breakfast (or dinner) in bed. The emphasis could be uses for the food other than just pleasing the palette (wink, wink!)
What about you? Do you have any plans to treat your significant other to some special holiday fun?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Traditions

In my house we celebrate Christmas, so as the day gets closer, I'm still having a hard time believing that it's freaking December already. I live in Florida so there's really no such thing as winter. It's more of a pseudo-winter until about January/February and even then, it's hit or miss. Growing up, I spent so many Christmas Days out on the lake water skiing or having a holiday barbeque at one of my relatives houses. Definitely my kind of celebration. As far as tradition, my family always goes to see a movie on Christmas afternoon. When I got married, the hubby became part of that tradition. We've been married almost six years but many of those years he spent overseas so we're still building our traditions. What holiday traditions does your family partake in? Big or small?

If you're in the baking mood, here's a chocolate chip recipe that is awesome!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe courtesy of my sister)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
1/4 sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box powdered instant vanilla pudding (Jell-O brand is what I use)
2 eggs
1 12oz. package of chocolate chips (I use Nestle)

In one bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and vanilla pudding (must be powdered kind).

In another bowl, mix softened butter, sugar(s), eggs, and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer. Slowly add the flour mix until completely mixed. Roll in the chocolate chips at the end. Bake in oven at 375°F between 8-10 minutes or until done. Let them cool before serving.

When storing them, wrap in wax paper to keep moist and soft. I don’t know what it is about these cookies that are so delicious, but my mouth waters just thinking about them. I think it has something to do with the vanilla pudding.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hola from Cancun!

A quick, albeit late, greeting to everyone on my blog day! I am currently in beautiful Cancun, Mexico for the week. Unfortunately, my wi-fi is spotty so I will briefly let you all know that I chose a winner of my Promise of Forever giveaway and will post her name next week, in addition to hosting another contest and giving you a sneak peek at a new book--just got the cover today!

Hope you all are having a very merry holiday season! Best wishes to you and your families!



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Naughty Victorian Lady's Christmas Stocking

by Lady Carlton née Katie O'Roarke, heroine of "The Blonde Samurai"

I imagine you are a sensible young British noblewoman in this year of 1876, going about the exhausting travails of getting ready for Christmas Eve--

You must make certain Cook has prepared the goose all plump and tender, and don't forget to taste the spicy plum pudding and enjoy a glass of claret while you do so. Then you're off to your dressmaker on Bond Street to implore her to cut the neckline of your red velvet holiday gown lower to show off more décolletage while you--

Wish Santa would stuff your Christmas stocking with a naughty story.

Did I hear you gasp? Reach for your box of smelling powders? You don't have to pretend with me that you haven't wished for a delicious read while you were being fitted for your new crimson satin corset, the corsetiere pulling your stays so tight you nearly fainted.

Why shouldn't you have a naughty story to entertain you when his lordship whiles away the afternoon at his club or bets on the races at Ascot? Turnabout is fair play since English gentlemen have their pick of erotic magazines to choose from, such as The Boudoir and Exquisite. Saucy reads for a guinea each.

And you, poor dear, are still reading that dreadful thing your mother-in-law gave you for a wedding present: The Wives of England; Their Relative Duties, Domestic Influence and Social Obligations.

No more. I shall alleviate your longing with an excerpt from my upcoming memoir written as Lady Carlton (I'm Irish-American born, though I pray you shan't hold that against me). It's called "The Blonde Samurai"--yes, I know it's considered quite scandalous, but I assure you I did fall in love with a tall, handsome samurai, one of the most mysterious, elusive and enigmatic men in all Japan. I've penned quite an erotic tale about my adventure, including a naughty story in my memoir about an impetuous lass called Molly Pearlbottom.

As I wrote in The Blonde Samurai:

"So, in accordance with the memory of what I read on that stormy afternoon in Lord Penmore's library with the steady sound of rain beating on the roof and moisture seeping between my thighs, and what I've since learned about the delicate art of bondage from a true master, I will re-create a chapter in the life of Molly Pearlbottom.

"The licentious goings-on still make me sigh…

"Molly Pearlbottom, daughter of the town vicar, had one aspiration in her young life: to be flogged by the dashing Lord of Malworth Hall. He was taller than any man she'd ever seen, and his world was one of aristocrats and power, strappings and aggression, strength and domination. Every time she walked by the great manor house, she daydreamed about being bound and nude before his approving eye, then wrote about it in her curly handwriting in her copybook.

All the other girls in the village had received their share of whippings and spankings by the roguish lord, who dutifully followed the family tradition of all the lairds before him. Every third Wednesday of the month, precisely at noon, he chose a willing recipient of his silver-handled, blue riding crop from all the girls who lined up under the great oak tree on top of the hill. Dropping their drawers and turning their bare backsides toward him, they all wondered, Who would be the lucky lass today? Her ivory-smooth bottom smarting from delicate pink welts rising up on her skin like fresh blossoms, her flesh quivering with delight, her squeals and whimpers signaling a secret code of pleasure?

"Not Molly. Her father kept her so busy on Wednesday afternoons washing down the rectory with soap, a brush and a pail of water, she never had the chance to find out. Fervent, irrational, her father allowed her no leeway, overwhelming her with chores. She had no opportunity to assuage her hunger for whippings and the pursuit of her secret pleasure.

"Until today.."

Find out if Molly gets her wish in "The Misadventures of Molly Pearlbottom," a story within a story in The Blonde Samurai.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

PS -- NEWS!! My 2009 Spice novel, "Cleopatra's Perfume" has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award in EROTICA FICTION.

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Website Woes

A website is such an important tool for an author, particularly if some of her books are e-books. I often search for authors via their websites and look for information on their books, blogs, etc.
So I've been working on my new website for the last few days. Well, I'm not actually making it. I left that to a designer. But I'm tweaking, adding, trying to work with it. Unfortunately, it refuses to play nice right now. I've racked my brain to come up with content that will keep a web-surfing reader at my site longer. I've seen author sites with interactive buttons, games and all sorts of clever bells and whistles to make the site more appealing. But I want to know - what do you want to see on an author's website? Do you want their book covers and descriptions up front on the main page? Or would you rather see their upcoming appearances and news?
If you have time, please stop by my new site, and let me know what you think. Bear in mind that it's a work in progress and I'd love any constructive criticism you'd like to toss my way.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Friday

I'm deep my writer's cave right now so this post is uber short. Have a happy Friday and enjoy the naughty pictures :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Writing for SPICE: Research ain't what it used to be

Previously I've posted about writing for Spice, including some basic info about writing for the line as well as whether or not a HEA is mandatory for Spice.

Now we're going to dive into research.

No, I don't mean the kind you do behind closed bedroom doors. I'm talking about background research for your characters and your story.
There was a time when you'd find writers like myself knee deep in microfilm in university libraries reading old newspapers or dusting off the library back shelves looking for books written before the world wars to check a fact. Used book stores also provided a source for out of print books.

Then came the Internet.

Now we can surf the 'net checking facts and reading back copies of old newspapers from the comfort of our offices. At times, that bothers me. No doubt the Internet is fabulous for research, but it can't give you that "personal connection" with a place, a culture. That doesn't mean you can't write about a faraway place or culture; it means you have to work harder. Read, read, read books, diaries, histories, etc. about that place.

Finding that research is getting harder. I enjoy running my fingers over the gold-gilded pages of an old book or lifting the crinkly tissue paper in a century-old tome that protects an illustration [see picture at right from an old book I have published in 1901: "The Japanese Nightingale" by Onoto Watanna; illustrated by Genjiro Yeto], as if I'm uncovering a literary King Tut's tomb.

You can't do that on the Internet.

Many times you can order out of print books by clicking on the Used Books links on Amazon when you find a book that intrigues you. I've done that and had success finding books for my research. Also, interview people from that culture or who have been there.

I didn't experience Paris in 1889 (my Spice novel Naughty Paris takes place then), but I know the city of Paris, so with the help of nineteenth century guidebooks and old map of Paris I was able to imagine what it was like then. I also read memoirs and historical accounts from that time, went to my local museum, studied bra patents (my heroine designs one of the first bras), looked at paintings, read the lives of the Impressionists (my hero is an artist), etc.

On the other hand, you can also weave wonderful stories about the people and cultures in your own backyard. The key words are texture and layering. Look underneath the obvious and I bet you'll find some fascinating stories to write about!

But when it comes to researching those sexy bedroom scenes, you're on your own…

Btw, what is your favorite research tool?

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Behind the Book

I am a collector of soundtracks.

Lord of the Rings. Tears of the Sun. Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 300.

Music is such a vital element of a movie…almost as important as the film itself.

Imagine Dirty Dancing without the score.

Or The Color Purple without the soul-stirring blues and gospel tracks. Who didn’t recognize that when the tribal percussions rumbled and the African voices soared that Celie was getting ready to “shave Mista”!

The songs or melodies of a film touch the moviegoer, evoke emotion, and tell a story. It’s another character in the movie.

For me, it’s the same with writing.

I remember while in college I couldn’t start a paper unless my dorm room was clean and I had a CD in the radio…today I don’t necessarily need the clean room (hee-hee-hee!) but the music is a must. Like author Laura Hayden, I create a “soundtrack” when I start a book. Each song places me in the scene and stirs my imagination. Like“Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister never fails to elicit images of a steamy, hot love scene. Or “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N Roses just screams a bloody, gritty battle.

Music lives, breathes. It paints a picture and records a culture’s history. Music entertains and it educates. It uplifts.

Does that sound familiar?

It should. When we write, don’t we paint a picture with words that bring a story to life so our characters live in the reader’s imagination? Though we write romantic fiction, we take historical time periods, cultures and traditions and intertwine them into the story so they’re rich and real. Even as we entertain we educate.

Our stories provide joy, satisfaction, thrills…they uplift.

Below, please enjoy an example of how I—and many authors—incorporate music and books together by viewing the book trailer for my release with Ellora’s Cave, “Sweet Ultimatum”.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Into The Spirit

My RWA chapter had our annual holiday party this weekend and as always, it was a fun kickoff to the season. It's so nice to socialize with such a smart, talented group of women. But aside from that, it's great to see how much a bunch of writers can accomplish in one year. You see, we play a game with plastic leis. For each accomplishment (submission, manuscript completed, books sold, even rejections received) you get a lei. The person with the most leis at the end wins a prize. And every year, we are all ringed with multiple leis - numerous leaps, both huge and small that form the stepping stones in our individual journeys. I was so proud to notice that every single person in the group completed a manuscript this year. How amazing is that? So hats off to the fabulous ladies of Central Florida Romance Writers! You all rock.
On another note, how about a short, sweet holiday read to warm you up for the season?
Cinderella Tannenbaum was one of my very first stories published, but I still love this one. Here's a blurb:

Mindy Tannenbaum needs a date for her family New Years dinner to keep her nagging mother quiet. On a whim, she searches, hoping to connect with her high school heartthrob. But when the class nerd wants to contact her instead, will she be rewarded with Prince Charming or the ugly duckling?

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Sale Before Christmas

It finally feels like Christmas in my household! Decorations are up and I've got most of my shopping done! Don't even know how that happened. I've basically only got my mom and husband left to shop for. My mother is one of the hardest people to shop for so I'll be brainstorming with my sister this week. While out shopping, I bought a few of those candles that smell like chocolate chip and sugar cookies to spice up the house. I actually love baking, but my waistline would not thank me if I baked as much as I wanted. :)

As a wonderful, early Christmas present, my editor with Ellora's Cave just offered to contract Worth the Risk, a paranormal novella that tells Stephan's story, the brother from Unleashed Temptation. Here's the blurb:

Werewolf Marisol Cabrera has one goal in life: to kill the man who murdered her entire pack. When she meets alpha werewolf Stephan and realizes he’s her mate, all her carefully laid plans dissipate in seconds. By all accounts, she should hate Stephan and everything he stands for. After all, he’s a dirty arms dealer doing business with her mortal enemy. Unfortunately, every time the dominating wolf gets near her, she can’t deny her growing attraction for the last man in the world she expected to want.

Undercover DEA agent Stephan Lazos is about to make the biggest bust of his career, but everything that can go wrong, does. Considering he’d given up hope of finding his mate decades ago, he never expected to discover her in a Miami nightclub while on the job no less. She saves his life and his cover when he almost changes in the middle of a crowded room, but that doesn’t mean he trusts her. The clock is ticking and if he doesn’t figure out what secrets the sexy vixen is keeping from him, he might not just lose his job, but his life in the process.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!