Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting Stuck...

So the title of this post is a little strange. Getting Stuck? Who is getting stuck? What's stuck? Why are they stuck?

Let me explain. I've been on this journey called publication for over seven years. In that time, I've experienced highs, lows and more than a couple of rejection letters. In that time, I've always had at least one story brewing in my head. Now don't get me wrong. It's nice to have the characters chattering. I love trying to get their stories down on paper, or better yet, on the computer.

Here's the stuck point (yes, I meant stuck). I'm a sucker for a challenge. I'm also a sucker for deadlines. Don't ask me why, but the challenge of making it in before a deadline, especially when I have characters who want to talk to me, is great fun.

But I've got at least two challenges ahead of me. One is in progress, but the other was issued yesterday. The problem is I have other stuff to finish first (those pesky deadlines I love so much).

Now I can hear you saying, gee, what a problem to have. Too much to do. While I love the challenge of having so much to do, I'm in the midst of one of those crisis moments. "Oh my golly, I'll never get it all done...there aren't enough hours in the day!!!"

Have you ever been in one of those situations. You know you can handle the stress and can accomplish the challenge, but that moment of panic has set in?

If you have, I'd love to know. I'd love some suggestions on getting past the crisis moment (other than watching the A-Team movie for the umpteenth time). Let me know.

Want to know more about Wendi Zwaduk? Here you go:

I always dreamt of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I earned a BA in education at Kent State University and currently hold a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I also write under the pen name of Megan Slayer. I’m published with Total-E-Bound, Changeling Press, Liquid Silver Books, Turquoise Morning Press and The Wild Rose Press. Come join me for this fantastic journey!

If you like my work, tell your friends and email me. I love hearing from readers!

Site: http://wendizwaduk.com/
Blog: http://wendizwaduk.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WendiZwaduk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wendi.zwaduk
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/wendizwaduk
Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3495446.Wendi_Zwaduk
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/wendizwaduk/
On Google+ : https://plus.google.com/115637543946745656739/posts
On Romance Novel Center: http://www.romancenovelcenter.com/wendizwaduk
Newsletter sign up: http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Celebrating 1 Year of being published!


Hey everyone!

It's an exciting time for me right now, because as of July 1, 2012, I will have been published for one year. My debut novella, Celestial Seduction released last year as part of Decadent Publishing's 1Night Stand line. It was the first scifi romance in the line, and the beginning of a dream come true.



It was fellow Paranormal Romantics author, Rebecca Royce who encouraged me to write a story for this line. Her story, One Night With A Wolf had been contracted, and she thought it would be a good fit for me. And the journey began.

So, I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from Celestial Seduction:

“Remember how I said I needed an open-minded partner?” She nodded, her eyes catching a quick glance from his before returning to her stomach. Just a couple more minutes and he’d be finished. 


He prepared to hold her down should she freak out when he told her he came from space. “I’m not exactly like you and most of the people on Earth. I’m….different.”


“Like a demon or a guardian angel?”


He laughed. It sounded forced, but he needed to stay focused on healing Carrie rather than mating with her. “No, you’re thinking paranormal. Try science fiction.”


She began to squirm under him, but he didn’t need to restrain her. “A….clone? Artificial intelligence?”


He finished healing her and lay down beside her. His thumb ran across her lips, wanting to taste them again, but knowing he probably wouldn’t. “Try alien.”


Her mouth curved into a smile. “Alien. I don’t think so. You’re missing the big head and eyes, the green skin, the willowy limbs.”


He touched his fingertips to the side of her head. “Like this?” He flashed an image of the alien Earthlings always expected to arrive from space.


Yeah, but how’d you do that?” Fear shone in her eyes.


Leaving the bed, he sat on one of the loveseats. The night was over. In a second, she’d dress as quickly as possible and rush out of the room. “I told you, I’m an alien from outer space.” Perhaps he shouldn’t have told her. He would spend the rest of the night alone.

BUY LINKS:

All the best!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I love me some steampunk chic...

This series of images popped up on Twitter yesterday. (Thank you, Ella Drake and Hailey Edwards!)

Prada does Steampunk with seriously glowering actors.



Gary Oldman has this whole Industrialist/Kaiser/Lenin thing going on. Seriously the bunnies just bounce off him.


The Tor link has more images and a brief filming of the photo shoot and there's a youtube of the catwalk show. Tim Roth appears at about 1 minute in, absolutely grinning fit to burst.  Gary Oldman, of course is broody and hot.

There is something about the power of steampunk clothing, especially tailored to this quality, that makes me love it. It speaks of the might of an age, of influence and wealth and also makes you consider  the inverse, of the poverty on which that wealth was built. These could be the men at the top of the Victorian class pyramid. And everything about them makes you very aware of it.

Ooh, I want to finish my non-quite-a-steampunk trilogy now. Thank you, Prada! *bounce*

It's strange that my last post here was about clothes too. And Gary Oldman. I haven't got an obsession. Honest *twitch*

Oh and the Prada women's collection for Autumn/Winter 2012? No. Just don't go there. Don't...

-------------
Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.

SYNTHETIC DREAMS and BITTER HARVEST are available now from Carina Press. 
AT THE SORCERER'S COMMAND, DARK DEALINGS and UNDER A LION'S CURSE coming soon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's so sexy about angels?

I'll be the first to admit that angels, God and heaven aren't usually what you'll see in erotic romances. But I've never been good at paying attention to rules, so when I sat down to write, I jumped right into the middle of all those no-nos.

There is an unwritten rule that angels have to be kinda bad boys and demons have to really be the misunderstood good guys when it comes to angel stories. There should be a distinct divide between the angel and any real hints of heaven and hell, and if heaven or hell is mentioned, it's not like we humans think it is.

Yeah, I missed those rules too.

Here's the thing, I love the stark and unmistakable dynamic of good against evil. There is no mistaking what is bad and what is good in my stories. The teams and field of play are clearly defined. It's everything else that gets confusing.

Enter the fallible character, the angel forced to test the boundaries, throw away the rulebook and fight for what he knows in his heart is right, even when everyone around him is telling him he's wrong.

To me, this is when things really get interesting. Just because the heroes are angels doesn't mean they are perfect. Their uncertainty, the struggle to find their way out of a confusing situation and possible repercussions that are far worse than just dying bring the tension up and make my brain go into overdrive.

But why angels and demons?

It probably has a lot to do with a very religious upbringing. I learned to read by following congregational songs in the hymnal, and I'm pretty sure I was reciting Bible verses before I knew my alphabet. But as I grew up, I also learned to question what I was told was right and wrong. Once I was old enough to reason things out, I was encouraged to think for myself instead of blindly following what someone else told me was right.

I value that lesson more than any other. It's one thing to know the legalities of right and wrong, another entirely to understand the morality that makes something truly good or evil.

In the end, that is the lesson I most wanted my angels and demons to learn. Something isn't right or because someone else says it is, or because you can get away with it. It's right because it at its core pure and generous, with no greater purpose than to make the world a better place for someone else.

Are you an angel fan? I'd love to hear what you like about them.


The third book in my Heavenly Lovers series is coming soon from Ellora's Cave. Watch for it!

 


Voirey

Monday, June 25, 2012

Command Performance

When I was asked if I wanted to write one of the Gatekeeper novels (Lyrical Press), I jumped at it.
"I can do this!" I beamed. "No problem!"
I had the contract and the cover before I ever wrote a single word.
I sat down, an idea in my head, and wrote--and then I scrapped ALL of it. 8,000 words.
No biggie. It happens.
I started over. Tweaked the idea and rewrote the beginning--only it still didn't work.
More scrapping.
24,000 words this time.
I was tearing my hair out.
Here I was, 32,000 words written, and I had...nothing. Zip, nada, zilch, squat.
The monsters weren't playing ball. At least not with me.
It began to get scary.
I'd signed a contract. I had a cover. I had a release date (Feb 2013). We had a webpage already.
What I didn't have...was a story.
What if... I couldn't do it?
That's not the kind of "What if..." I want to be asking myself.
Worse, the edits for Watch Me had to be done as well.

Deadlines create pressure, we all know that. It gets so much worse when you sit there and draw a total blank. It's a scary situation. I hate letting people down, and the last ones I want to let down are my fellow Gatekeeper authors, and the publisher. We all cope differently with the stress, and some deal with it better than others. I can do deadlines and I don't really mind the stress, but I panic when I stare at a blank page and know I have to come up with something worth reading.
And that's the kicker.
It has to be worth reading. 
I can write day in day out, but that doesn't mean it's publishable, or I'd want anyone to read it. I don't like half-assed attempts at a good story. I want only my best out there, so I had to come up with something I could stand behind 100%.
That's why those 32k were thrown out. They simply weren't "It".
I can rescue most of it, but it'll take a major rewrite and--see above--I don't rewrite very well. It never works for me. So the original story may never see the light of day.
I beat myself up when I can't come up with something good, and that makes things worse. My muse goes into a major sulk and takes a vacation. Nothing helps. It's not writers block, it's a lack of enthusiasm for the story I'm writing. When that hits me, I ditch the project and start over.
Which is exactly what I did with Caedir. I threw out not just the writing I'd already done, but the entire storyline as well. Plot, characters, locations -- everything. Not even his looks stayed the same, and I killed off the human heroine while I was at it. She didn't retain her name, either.
I completely divorced myself from the previous attempt.

Don't ever be afraid to admit to yourself that what you've written isn't what you want anyone to see. We grow with the decisions we make, but we grow a lot more from the really hard ones, than from tiptoeing around the truth.
If it sucks, it sucks.
It really is that simple. If you think it sucks--why would you struggle to finish it? Your heart isn't in it, and it'll only get worse. Get some distance first, and if--when you come back--it still sucks...ditch it, take a deep breath, and start over.

I have the story now. I'm about 5-10k from the end, but I won't be releasing that breath I've been holding since March until I put the last word on paper.

Yep, it's Smurf Central 'round here.

You can find out for yourself if I came up trumps when Caedir is released in February 2013.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dark Hungers

Good afternoon, readers! It's been an interesting month for me. I took my first domestic train ride, and LOVED it!

I'm still out in the middle of nowhere at my Mom's home. While the visit has been lovely, I'm ready to get back home to the chaos of my life. :D

*gestures to a table of pastries and beverages* 

Have your pick of treats for today's post. I'd like to talk about dark hungers in our paranormal heroes and heroines.

What is it about the inner animal/monster of paranormal romance characters that gets the heart pounding? Is it the edge of danger? The rush of adventure? Or is it our wish to tame that creature? To draw out the very best and noble qualities of that individual?

Before you answer those questions, how about some eye candy? Alcide from the HBO series True Blood. Wouldn't you just love to help him tame the beast? Yum.

I'm fiddling with a story idea that involves a midnight train racing across Texas. A hidden werewolf. A woman in defiance of her uncle's agenda. And a dark purpose that neither character expects. Sounds fun. :D

And here's some trivia for you. What paranormal creatures did Paul Wesley play before his role as Stefan Salvatore on Vampire Diaries? Bonus points if you can name the series/movies. :D

Keep Reading!
Dawn
Once Upon a Dragon, coming June 29th

Saturday, June 23, 2012

If The Order were a movie...

Just for fun, I decided to cast the main characters of my urban fantasy trilogy, The Order. The first book, Stalking Shade was one of my very first books written and naturally I hold the characters dear to my heart.

The Order trilogy, in a nutshell, involves murder, mystery, and a mysterious organization. With a few vampires thrown in. And here's what I chose as my cast:

Summer Glau as Lori: Codename Shade, prickly goth and member of The Order.










Jude Law as Terrence: Vampiric, persistent man determined to earn Lori's love.








Willow Shields as Heaven: Teenage thief and member of The Order.











Anthony Montgomery as The Spenta Michos: Figurehead of the Order











David Krumholz as Garcias: Private investigator, member of the Order.











Michelle Rodriguez as Shark and James McAvoy as Byte: Co-heads of one circle within the Order.










Zooey Deschanel as Scissors: Bartender at Underground.











Fran Kranz as Andrew: Lori's nerdy friend








Sendhil Ramamurthy as Rosland: Lori's mentor in The Order











Zachary Quinto as Derek: Vampire hunter









Read an excerpt of Stalking Shade (The Order, Book 1) at http://bit.ly/StalkingShade.

Read an excerpt of Out of the Shadows (The Order, Book 2) at http://bit.ly/OutOfTheShadows.

Read an excerpt of This Blackened Night (The Order, Book 3) coming soon at http://bit.ly/ThisBlackenedNight


More of The Order fun is available at my Facebook page and my Twitter account.



Best,

L.K. Below
www.lbelow.net

Friday, June 22, 2012

Typing with thumbs

My next novel just might be written on my phone. I always have it on me and it always has an Internet hotspot--more than my laptop can boast out here in the wilds of North Dakota. 60,000 words with thumbs only? Bring it! Necessity is the mother of invention. Maybe I'll get bit by a mutant bug (there are plenty out here) and develop extra thumbs! That would be rocking convenient! Alas, until that day I shall soldier on and be a better planner, especially for blogs so I don't have to attempt them on my phone! All the best, Stephanie Beck Www.stephaniebeck.net

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's That Time Again!

Hallo Again! It's the 21st of the month, so that means Robert's back in the house. For those of you who missed last month, I wrote about the Steam Punk World's Fair, since I'd just come back from that event. Well, it turns out this month I've just finished an event on the 20th as well. An event from an entirely different aspect of my life. Yes, my secret identity is revealed! I teach life sciences at Woodrow Wilson High School, and today was graduation day!

This was the first time I've gone to graduation. I teach all four grades at the school so I've had students graduate before, but it's usually been one or two, and most of them in the past have chosen not to walk for one reason or another. This class, on the other hand...

This goes out to the young woman who hadn't been coming to class, and hiding in the back when she did. One day she was struggling with her notebook, writing with her off hand. It turned out she'd hit a wall because she didn't want to get suspended, and someone made her so mad she had to hit something. Her hand was bloody and crooked. I sent her to the nurse, and when she returned the next day, hand in a cast, I moved her next to a student who was there every day, took good notes, but was having occasional problems 'getting it'. He took her notes, she explained the knotty bits to him.

This goes out to the young woman who said, "I can't do this! I'm not learning anything!" When I asked her "What's Deoxyribonucleic Acid?" Her immediate response? "Oh, that's DNA, genetic material, how you get stuff from your parents."

This goes out to the young man who didn't pass his HSPAs (state graduation tests) on the first try, or the second, or the third. He's old enough he could have signed himself out, but he refused to quit. He. Kept. Coming. Back. Every Day. Hammering away at it until he passed it.

This goes out to the young lady too shy to talk in public, even when talking would pay her college bills and not talking nearly got her suspended. What she can't say in words, she says in images to make angels weep. It also goes out to the young man who makes her smile... and stand up straight and tall and even talk in public now and then.

This goes out to the young man who, when I lost the flash drive with all my grades on, brought me a perfectly functional one he'd found lying on the street. It wasn't mine, and I told him that, but he gave it to me anyway, because I needed one to keep my grades on.

This goes out to the young woman who still hates me for pushing her. She said she was going to quit school and have kids. She managed to keep up with some of my best, most hardworking students, and did it all in a language she wasn't proficient in.

This goes out to the young man who kept his campaign for office clean, even when some students vandalized his posters with slurs about his sexual orientation. It does get better.

This goes out to the young man who came to me, confused at receiving an 'F' for the first marking period. I told him he'd missed too many days to pass for the year, but I would let him make them up during his lunch. I saw him every lunch from then until the end of the year. I still remember what he said to me in May. "You're like a nightmare. You never go away, you're always here!"

To the young lady who can't stop laughing. Ever. No matter how much she ought to.

To the young man who didn't have enough English to write the answers to the questions, but by god he could draw them.

To the young man who made sure my students had pizza at the end of the year.

To the young lady who took a year off to have her daughter... but came back and finished.

Speaking of coming back, remember the young woman with the hand and the young man with the notes? They went missing on the last day of school 2010, and when I hunted them down they were in one of the labs with a small group of students, watching YouTube videos. When I asked them why they weren't watching the movie I was showing, she looked at me, looked at her friends, and said "Mr. Roman, you're looking at the best seven students of the class of 2012."

All seven graduated today. Four top 20 students, two class officers, and one entrepreneur. Good work, guys. Damn good work.

I'm proud of you. All of you.

This goes out to the Woodrow Wilson High School graduating class of 2012.

BENEDICTION

Be Strong,
Be Swift,
Be Smart,
Live Long,
Love Well,
Fear Nothing.
 ***

A quick note - I know last month I named names and posted pictures, but those were pictures of adults doing what adults do at a public convention. While a fair number of the graduates are no longer minors, and the fact that they're now graduates mean I can give them a lift to job and college interviews, (laws and policies are funny things) between the minors in the crowd and the fact that it was a students, staff, and family only event, I hope you're all okay with the lack of names and pictures this month.

Robert C Roman is an author of Steam Punk, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy, as well as other things which shall remain secret until revealed. In his copious free time (not) he can be found noodling about on Facebook, Twitter, or at his website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Learned From Writing Shorts


Every now and then it’s good to go back to your roots, and I did with my Decadent Edge stories. For me, my roots are with the short story. The first story I published in 2009 was less than five thousand words, and this was only months after I declared I couldn’t write less than a ninety thousand word novel.
A friend, knowing I needed to change my evil ways, challenged me, saying I had to learn to tighten. After reading my current manuscript, she’d declared it wordy, full of inactive and unnecessary words that did nothing to move the story forward. And full of my personality, which if you knew my friend, this wasn’t a compliment. You see, I have all the attention span of a two-year old and my manuscripts ran all over the place like a snot-nosed toddler, finding trouble wherever they could.
I will admit, she was right and it took some hard lessons and nose to the grindstone efforts to whip my stories into publishable shape. Now I’m proud to say, in almost every review I’ve received, my quick pace and engaging characters are often mentioned. This pace is the result of my friend’s challenge, one I’ll be eternally grateful for.

The challenge went something like this. Tell a story in seven-hundred words.
I can’t begin to tell you how anxious that made me. How does anyone tell a story in that short of word count? I dug my heels in and shook my head. No way could I do that.

Of course, being a good critter and friend, she didn’t let me get away with it. What I discovered during that little exercise in patience and frustration, is that writing a short story isn’t any easier than writing a long one, actually, for me, it was harder. Every single word had to have a purpose. I had no wiggle room. Hell, I couldn’t describe my hero with so little words. Who could? So, determined to prove how wrong she was, I penned a story about a cattle rustler and was amazed when I managed to keep it fewer than seven hundred words. Actually, it ended with five hundred.
After that, I began to write shorts with a passion, challenging myself to make every word count. In one story, about a spy, I’ve been told the hero is hot by several readers. Now, I’m not going to lie, this bloats my ego a bit. When you go back and read the story, nowhere in the five thousand words is an actual description of the hero. Booyah! Nothing. Not one word of race, eye color, height, weight or hair color. It is his personality that readers are seeing and I can’t begin to tell you how much that thrills me.

Taking the techniques of short stories into your novels will do several things. One, it will make it extremely difficult to pen those one-hundred thousand word beasts you used to write. You will struggle to hit sixty. You’ve trained yourself to cut the junk and you will see this when you write your novels. It’s a habit that will stick with you.
Two, you will find your wordiness is under control. No, characters glancing back over their shoulders, or licking their lovers with their tongues. (Don’t shake your head; you know you’ve done it.  If you haven’t, ever, I bow before you.)

Three, action will become limited to powerful, focused scenes. There will be less unnecessary movement, speech tags and eye gazing. And in this process, your characters will become three dimensional. Don’t worry so much about getting the description out in one or two paragraphs. You will learn to let your characters reveal themselves.
One. You do not have the word count to describe scenery. No strolling through fields of lavender holding hands and contemplating the meaning of life. Sorry, unless that lavender plays a pivotal role in your story, you just don’t have a place for it. This brings me to my next point. Sometimes you don’t have enough word count to describe the characters in detail. OMG, how do I let the reader know he’s totally hot? I mean he’s got dark hair, blue eyes and washboard abs. They have to know. I can’t leave that out. You can and in some cases, you will. And when you do, those characters will have to be believable. The reader needs to be able to relate to them on some level, or the other, or the story will not be engaging. It is this challenge about the shorts I love so much. And the shorts that belong to the Edge series are intense. They are snapshots, hot scenes that hit hard and fast. They may not be epics, but they do tell a story, and they tell it powerfully.

It took me a while to figure this out, which brings me to number four. You will become a better writer by putting into practice the skills you learned from penning short stories.
So, all that being said, I hope you check out my Carnality shorts in the Decadent Edge Series. I promise there’s no strolling through fields of lavender, but you will get memorable scenes and a sense of place and character.

Buy Link: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=D+L+jackson&osCsid=vtuhfb5pq8sc03cvtekgsnbhk4&button=search

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clearing Out Some Space

        So this week I’ve decided to really clear out my spaces and do some major cleaning. It’s been a rewarding process so far. I feel lighter as if a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s wonderful clearing out space, getting rid of the clutter and getting things clean and organized. As I go through this process, I feel as if my mind is getting a clean out too. Which is what we need sometimes. We need time to focus on something else, even if it is cleaning, to allow us a break from some of the stresses that we have going on in life. Cleaning may not be punching a bag or doing some exercise to relieve some of that tension that we carry with us on a daily basis but it allows us to take control of something, anything.

         I’ve discovered that while cleaning my environment, I start to feel the stress slip away. I can focus on my writing once the clutter that surrounded me is gone. I don’t feel that press that I usually do when I’m writing. During speed writing, I feel a tension to perform. It can be rewarding, since I’m making progress on my story but at the same time if I don’t make a certain word count I feel disappointed. It’s a see saw, on the one hand I’m proud that I’ve forwarded my story but at the same time it’s not enough. I use to be able to write 5k in a day, 7 days a week. Now I’m lucky if I can get 500 words down.

        And with deadlines it can be an even bigger sense of failure. Celebrating the small things can be great but not when you feel you’re letting yourself down. But with cleaning I feel that weight from my past disappointments and my emotional turmoil disappear. Even with the pain in my back and legs, at the end of the day I’ve decluttered my work area and other places that badly needed cleaning and taken back control. In doing this, I’ve also allowed myself to confront my own sense of accomplishment, but I’ve also cleaned a part of my mind, the creative part of me. Which was badly needed.

       For a few hours, I’m in control. I’m free and I can do no wrong, or let down myself. It’s a wonderful sense of self. Hopefully this will translate into more wordage and a better sense of stability.



 What do you do to declutter your thoughts?

Selena Illyria
Unmask Your Desires. Satiate Your Hungers
www.selenaillyria.com

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Matrix Has You...

A few months ago, my daughter sat down to watch Inception. It was the second viewing for me (watching movies several times over is nothing new in our household) and I enjoyed it from the different aspect that I knew what was going on. I understood the very beginning of the movie when Cobb washed up on the beach. In the end, she loved it. She even wanted to watch it again so she could watch it from a different perspective.

Now that's movie love.

Because she loved Inception, I knew she would love The Matrix. Only problem there is the movie is R-rated. My kid is on the cusp of 15, she'll be a sophomore in the fall. I'm a firm believer R-rated movies are for more mature audiences. Nothing get my blood pumping more than sitting in a theater and seeing a parent bring their young children. Yeah, that actually happened. Hubs and I were waiting for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans to start and in walks this woman with two small children. Not babies. I'm talking 7 or 8 years old. There's some pretty gory stuff in that movie and it made me uncomfortable for them. But I digress.

The Matrix.



Fabulous movie. I still remember sitting in the theater opening weekend watching it, then walking out with my mind just blown to pieces. Given the fact my daughter is very much into computers and computer games, I knew she'd love it. But there was that pesky rating thing. So I broke out my disc one night and watched it with my husband. After it was over, I asked why it was R-rated again. I mean, sure there's foul language, but it's no worse than shit or goddamn. Words I'm pretty sure she hears on a daily basis at school. Hell, I know she's hear shit from me more than once because that's my swear word of choice. The f-bomb was nowhere to be seen. Okay, gun violence. I get that. No worse than a video game really, the blood was scarce in The Matrix. And I like to think I've raised a pretty level-headed kid. She knows the difference between reality and books/movies/video game violence.

So I thew caution to the wind and sat down to watch it with her. Afterward, I was glad I did. She loved it. It was a perfect movie for a geeky teenager who loves all the variations of sci-fi that are cropping up (The Matrix being cyberpunk). And I have to confess, I love sharing movies with her where there's a strong female lead character. Trinity in The Matrix is a wonderful example of just that.

Psssttt, Hollywood, we need more of them.




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Paper or Plastic...well..E-Book

I realized after I posted last month (my first official post) that I didn't even introduce myself as a new member of this wonderful blog. So, I'm Lyric James! :-) I write multicultural (African American and Interracial) contemporary and sometimes pararnormal erotic romance. I'm so excited to be a part of this wonderful blog and I hope you stop by every day and visit the other wonderful authors of this blog. If you'd like to learn more about me and my books, visit my website at www.lyricjamesbooks.net

If you can't tell by my title today...I'm in "reader" mode this month. It's that time of year when I can actually sit down and get a lot of reading done that I don't get to do during the school year. And I do mean "sit" with a book in my hand...that's right...actual paper. I've just come to the realization that I still like the feel of a good book in my hand. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm for e-books all the way baby!!! During the school year, it's easier for me to just download a book and keep on pushing through my day. I'm not loaded down with an extra bag in my hand with four of five books in it. Plus, with kid activities and school activities, I don't often have the time to go to B&N and browse the shelves. But, just this month alone, I've purchased five books and checked out two from my local library, whereas, E-books, I've only purchased ONE. That's a big switch for me. Usually, it's the other way around.

So again, it got me to thinking, which do I really prefer. And I guess my answer is...I'm a 50/50 type of girl...depending on the time of the year and the circumstance. Oh...and let's not forget, I'm a listener of books too. I love to listen to books, especially when I'm in the car. I guess you can say, I'm a 50/50/50 girl. :-) Because actually, some series, I only buy in audio because I completely enjoy listening to the voices the narrator has created for the characters.

I'm the type of reader who spreads her love (money) around. What about you? Which do you prefer paper or .... E-book?

Have a great week.

:-) Lyric

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Chinese Crested Werewolf? by Deena Remiel

Don't know if you've learned this about me yet, but I'm allergic to all manner of furry animal. We tried putting me with all the different types of hypoallergenic animals and to no avail. Whether coated with fur or hair, I still sneezed and wheezed and broke out in hives. No big deal, I just don't have animals as pets.

Here's my problem. I love werewolves. From the moment I read my first shifter story, and watched my first wolfman movie, I was hooked. First, I'm always cold. They are heat factories. We're a match made in heaven already! Then, they are passionate with all their emotions. I gotta tell ya, it's rather nice having a mate get all alpha on me, making me feel like a prized possession every now and then, and getting all rough and tumble when we make love. Not all the time, mind you. I'm very much an alpha female and need to be equal partners. Also, they are loyal and mate for life. Since I'm alpha, too, I don't like my man, or were, to stray. Yes, it's all about me. Finally, they are carnivorous. I LOVE a good steak, folks. Can't lie. Will never be a vegetarian unless forced to be so. Heat, emotion, loyalty. Can't beat that!
   
 

But how can I possibly conduct a relationship with a werewolf if I can't be in the same room with him? If his very existence makes me sick? Shaving right after shifting is silly because it will grow back. Now don't laugh, this is a serious problem! I'm reminded a bit of Nicole Hicks' book, "No Dogs Allowed". Haven't read it? You should.

So I've thought long and hard about it, and I'm not willing to do what doctors tell me- STAY AWAY FROM SHIFTERS. Nope, I just can't do it. So I've researched and researched and come to the conclusion that I need to find a shifter that doesn't have so much hair. Big cats, bears, wolves, horses, and most dogs are out of the question. BUT, there is one dog that has only the tiniest bit of hair on top of its head and a little on it's paws- the Chinese Crested. There's also a naked cat called a Sphynx. My options are looking up.

  

Anyone know if they come in the "were" variety? ;)

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Pinning Obsession



Never in a million years would I have thought that posting pics I find on the web THIS interesting.

But I do.

I rilly, rilly do.

For those poor souls who are scratching their heads asking what is this Pinterest thing? Pinterest is a website where you create an account to post pictures you like from the internet on boards, as in cork boards, so others can browse through them or for your own files.

Why would I want to do this?

See, I asked the same question. People store food ideas. (Can't tell you how many recipes I've found.) Wedding plan, baby showers, birthday parties, vacations, crafts, art, eye-candy, etc. Need I go on?




I started with character ideas. Blam. Sucked in like a black hole. It's great for inspiration when I'm stuck. Some readers are curious how I imagine what the characters look like because, face it, cover art is limited. I started a new board last night I called 'Makes Me Smile' since sometimes I just need that.

I enjoy browsing other people's boards. It gives me insight on who they are. Just this morning I was looking through a fellow writers hero/heroine board and realized she likes men with strong chins and defined cheek bones with etheral like women. If you checked out mine, you'd see I like weird looking men and warrior like women. LOL

So careful before logging on Pinterest. There's a whole new world to explore and it may take you a few hours to find your way back out.

And if you're ever wondering what Annie Nicholas is doing...



www.annienicholas.com
www.annienicholas.blogspot.com
http://pinterest.com/annienicholas/  (lol)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Distressed Author Needs Your Help!

by JoAnne Kenrick

HELP!

I can't believe it. Here I am, writing my second blog for Paranormal Romantics, still with a sick Mac. Granted it has been brought back to life two times since, and a third on the way. But it is sure becoming clear that it's not a software problem. It is also becoming alarmingly clear that I need a computer to access the internet; tablet/podger/mobile devices just don't cut it. As a writer, it is how I get my work done. As my own marketer, it is how I get word out about my books. As a blogger, well..you get the drift. I can't access writerly or reader-esk forums, nor can I paste and copy so well from a Kindle Fire. Whatever I do is amazingly basic. I can shout "hi" on Facebook or Twitter. I can access my books and music. And I can write...notes. And lucky for me, I can blog a 'little' -- texting was never my strength.
I guess you could say I'm on a forced holiday from writing. Yeah. Not likely. I'm plotting and planning, catching up with some reading, and studying a few how-to books -- figured I should make best use of this down time.

You'll also find I've caught up with all housework and I'm getting on with some abandoned DIY projects - photos on my facebook profile.

With a brand new release out (Strange and Beautiful) and another on the way (All The Pretty Faces), edits due for Irish Kisses two waiting in my in box, and two almost completed WIPs, I am distressed. I'm impatient. And I'm hanging on by a thread. I actually had no idea how important access to the internet from a reliable computer really was. But know that although I may not be interacting in the author yahoo loops or facebook pages and twitter hastags, I am super busy and miss you all! I miss hearing all your success stories or being there to offer supportive words. I miss hearing about new releases and opportunities.

So...if you have a minute, I sure would appreicate it if you shared your news and new releases below! Hit me with it! What's been going on in your authorly/reader world in the last few weeks? And pretty please...pass on any tips you've got for getting a writer through a computer free period.

Here's what I've been up to:

  • Daughter graduated Elementry School
  • Mac needs to be melted
  • Subbed a secret project
  • Started a newsletter - sign up here: http://www.tinyletter.com/joannekenrick
  • Finished edits for Tales from the Coffin book three
  • Almost finished writing Tales from the Coffin book four
  • Up to my neck in DIY jobs.

My Upcoming Releases:

  • Strange and Beatiful (Tales from the Coffin bk1) OUT NOW! - $1.99
  • All The Pretty Faces (Tales from the Coffin bk2) June 29th - $1.99
  • Shamrocked (Irish Kisses bk2) July-ish
  • Bittersweet Symphony (Tales from the Coffin b3) August-ish

FYI - I am not a PC. And I am definately no MAC either.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Can Resist the Ancient Egyptian Gods?


Welcome to my second post as a member of Paranormal Romantics. I’m really excited to be a regular contributor now, sole owner of the 13th of every month LOL! I kind of jumped right in last month without introducing myself, since my debut landed on Mother’s Day and I wanted to share a paranormal experience my mother and I had.

So this month I’ll step back and do a bit of introduction.  I write paranormal romances set in a fictionalized version of 1500 BC Egypt and I also write science fiction adventure/romance. I’ve had one of each published so far – my debut novella PRIESTESS OF THE NILE by Carina Press came out in January, then I self published WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM in late March.  On this blog I plan to focus more on my Tales of the Nile (which is what I call my paranormal connected series) vs. the SFR. So I’ll talk about topics relating to that, and writing in general. You can always stop by my own blog http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/ for other subjects! Or find me on twitter daily at @vscotttheauthor. 

I’ve always been deeply fascinated by Ancient Egypt – the pharaohs, the mythology, the tombs, the jewelry. One of my alltime favorite YA books was MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.

One day as an adult I stood by the side of King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, gazing down into the eyes of the boy king, as depicted in the amazing golden mask…my employer at the time was a major sponsor of the King Tutankhamen traveling exhibit and I got to spend an hour virtually alone in the museum.  Things were much less formal then and although obviously I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, not with burly guards glaring at every turn, I could literally stand right next to the items and look my fill, unimpeded by plexiglass.

The golden funerary objects were stunning but I was equally fascinated by the everyday possessions and furniture in the exhibit, all created with fanciful and amusing details. Everything I saw spoke to me eloquently of the ancient Egyptian people who believed so fiercely in their gods and the promised Afterlife. I had the feeling of stepping back in time for a moment.

I love writing about my characters against the backdrop of life in Ancient Egypt, with the gods and goddesses taking an active role in events. PRIESTESS OF THE NILE featured Sobek the Crocodile God and Isis, Queen of the Gods. I currently have a manuscript out on submission entitled WARRIOR OF THE NILE, where we see the goddess Nephthys and her sister Isis becoming involved in the fate of my hero and heroine.  I’m editing my next novel, DANCER OF THE NILE, and there’s a lot of involvement from Horus the Falcon god and Renenutet the Snake goddess. You can’t ever go wrong with all the rich mythology of Egypt to rely upon! Sometimes the challenge is deciding which of the many conflicting myths to adopt.

But at the core of every story I write is a woman and the man and their adventures and challenges along the way, while falling in love. I’ll leave you this month with a short excerpt from an Egyptian love poem written in the general time frame where I set my stories:

For heaven makes your love
Like the advance of flames in straw,
And its longing like the downward swoop of a hawk.

And later the poet has this to say:
Your hand in my hand,
My soul inspired
My heart in bliss,
Because we go together.

See you next month!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Up Coming Soon....

June 16, Toria and Neal will be released by Secret Cravings Publishing - the first in my series The Cabin.

The Blurb....
Luther is a love witch who believes no one is beyond falling in love.  Just sometimes they need a little help… in the form of The Cabin. A magical place where all barriers to stop love are removed.
The first in a series of short stories is the one of Toria and Neal, two people who have stopped believing in love.  Their love life looks bleak until Luther invites them to his cabin.
Toria had a rough childhood. She is determined to work hard
and save her money so that she never has to be poor again.  With all of her drive, she’s left no room for love in her life.  Neal has terrible dreams and leftover PTSD from his time at war. His ex-wife has convinced him he is unlovable. 

Luther believes in them and he believes they are meant to be together, which is why he strands them at his cabin.  When the weekend is over, can love win the day?
As you can see from the excerpt they are going to need all the magic The Cabin has.
Smiling, she poured a little of the lavender-scented bubble bath oil into the hot tub and turned on the jets. Slipping into the warm water, she watched the flames dance in the fieldstone-framed fireplace that consumed most of the East wall. A large dark brown fur rug covered the floor between the hot tub and the bed that was nestled into an alcove. One of her life-long fantasies was to make love on a fur rug in front of a roaring fire with the snow blowing in the background.
She refilled her wine glass. “Not likely to happen this weekend.” Leaning back, she let the swirling warm water ease the knots from her lower back muscles.
“Are you part of the getaway?” a deep gravelly voice asked.
Toria shot up and spun around. “Who the hell are you? And what are you doing in my cabin?” She could have sworn she’d locked the door.
“Right now, I’m the guy enjoying the view.”
Realizing how exposed she was, Toria sank back under the bubbles. The man stood less than three feet away. A fitted black button down shirt hugged his arms and chest. Worn blue jeans clung to his hips and offered a wonderful view of his erection.
Toria jerked her eyes up to where they belonged and met a crooked smirk.
“Honey, while I can’t complain about what I’ve seen, female companionship isn’t something I’m looking for this weekend.”
“I’m not some hooker,” she screeched.

For a chance to win a copy of The Cabin ~ Toria and Neal, swag, and copies of my other 'hot' summer books join me at http://lynceeshillard.wordpress.com/ for the Hot Summer Nights blog hop June 20 - 24.
Thanks ~
Lyncee

Monday, June 11, 2012

For the Love of Short Stories


This post comes to you through the fog of a head cold, so I’ll be briefer than normal. However, I want to bring up a topic that has been weighing on my mind lately: where short stories fit into an author’s career.

I’m curious about the readers’ perspective, too. Do you enjoy novellas or short stories that come out as part of a series of full-length novels? What about short stories that aren’t part of a series but are written by an author you’ve enjoyed?

The thing I’m most curious about is: what if you read a short story and you don’t enjoy it? Will that spoil an author for you?

So far, I have only the debut novel of my first series available on the market. However, several more books are contracted and written or being written, including a novella for my series. However, being the energizer battery-type author that I am, I often write short stories for the fun of it, and only think about possible publication value after the fact. Now, I’m wondering what, if anything, to do with some of them. They aren't even all romance O_O though they are all paranormal/fantasy. It seems like a shame to leave them forever in the darkness of my OTHER folder.

Personally, I love it when I go to a favorite author's website and find short stories to read. To be honest though, I don't take the time to read short stories of authors who are new to me--I'll read a novel from them first. I think that makes me weird! :) I'm on the fence as to whether or not they should be free, though. Yes, they're short, but they may still represent weeks of work.

Authors, how do you handle your short stories?

Have a great week, everyone!
Sarah

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My favourite myths

Not Greek or Roman, though those have to be a close second, but the myths which always inspired me when I was growing up were the traditional stories and myths from the Anishinaabe (First Nations) people of Canada.

Probably, because it is part of my distance heritage.

One of my first memories of a child was being afraid of thunder storms (I love them now) and my father telling me about thunderbirds. Great massive birds who were protectors. He also led me to believe a thunderbird lived down in a massive storm sewer drain off Highway 2 in Whitby, Ontario ...but that's neither here nor there. ;-)

He also told me  the Inuk people believe that the Aurora Borealis is the spirits of those who passed on coming close to earth where they could see them happy in the next life.

I've always been fascinated by the legends of the First Nations. It's affecting my writing too. My current WIP deals with a witch and a warrior, but I can't say too much more about that! ;-)

This summer I get to experience a heck of a lot more of this culture as I travel across country with my family.

Not only Canadian First Nations people, but American as well. We're going to be passing through Little Big Horn in Montana and many reservations. Out West I'll have a chance to explore more during the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede.

I'm excited and looking forward to more inspiration as I travel across the country.

I hope to see a lot of these, as I will be north of 60 at one point:


Has any myth or folklore ever inspired you in your own writing?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Deer in Headlights or Which Of Your Books Do You Recommend a New Reader Start With?

Just released!
Lately, I've experienced a few lessons courtesy of my life as a writer.  Among these lessons:

  • I will edit my "casual" emails for passive voice
  • I will stare at edits and realize that every manuscript seems to be a love letter to a particular word and whichever word that is -- well I'll use it often
  • I will stare, eyes wide, when asked by a potential reader "Which of your books do you recommend that I read?"
In nearly every profession, you have a learning curve to deal with the tough challenges. Writing doesn't always prepare you for people and it prepares you even less for those hard questions. In fact, one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of writing is meeting new readers who are curious about me.

Granted, recommending one of my books shouldn't be tough. Notice, the word is "shouldn't," not isn't.  I don't have a canned response because at last count, I have eight released titles in four series with six upcoming releases in the next four months.

This is all incredibly awesome news for me, but it makes pinpointing "what book of mine would I recommend a new reader start with" hard - particularly because I am writing in three different genres.  Yes, I know, there are worse problems. I totally accept this and I even accept that this post is vaguely narcissistic and shallow, but I need help.

But I really do get stuck on that question, because it makes me want to ask:

Well what do you like to read? Do you have a particular genre? Do you like snarky heroines? Do you like hot guys? Do you like historicals? Westerns? Paranormal? Romantic suspense? Military guys?

See, if I get to know you, I can answer that question.  But most of the time when this question comes up, there's a hard pressure to answer it and answer it right now. Which series do I choose? Which hero do I push?

And for the record, just picking my favorite won't work because they are all my favorites.


So what do I do? I'm going to start by asking you what you like to read and how you pick your favorite books (or even what they are). Readers and authors are both invited.  Help a writer out.  How do I answer which of my books a new reader should start with!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Battleship

I went to see Battleship on its opening weekend because it had explosions, aliens, and Taylor Kitsch. He'd been great in John Carter, which I also enjoyed & feel was under-rated, so I was totally ready to enjoy Battleship on its own terms, which was a fun special effects movie. It delivered. No, we're not talking art film at its finest, but it had many of the elements I look for in an action flick.

Which is to say, lots of visuals, snappy dialog, and explosions. Sensing a theme here? I like explosions. But also, it had a somewhat credible romance with the lead girlfriend character being a strong woman, up to the challenge of fighting off aliens. She wasn't perfect, but she didn't make me grind my teeth.

Come to think of it, Kitsch's other summer movie, John Carter, had more than a passable romance. The romance was a key part of the story and the heroine was no slouch in the action department. Not just up to the challenge, but Princess Dejah Thoris is a strong willed leader, a woman ready to risk her life to not be railroaded, who risks everything for her people, who can FIGHT! Dare I hope this is an up and coming trend in action adventure movies, that the heroines be more than a pinup doll?

The worst pinup doll character in a movie of this type has to be the girlfriend in Transformers 3. Talk about teeth grinding. I wanted to bash her over the head. Several times over. The world is crashing down around her. Her boyfriend is greasy, bleeding, mussed, torn, dirty. Her crisp white suit is spotless, her lipstick gleaming--even after the obligatory kiss, and she's showing enough skin you can't imagine she doesn't have a road burn here or there from all that skidding around on pavement. But no. She's spotless and coiffed. The heroines in Battleship and John Carter get in on the action. They look like they've run around some. Maybe not as much as Ripley in Alien, but yeah, their hair isn't coiffed at the end of the action scenes.

So, if you want to watch an action adventure romance with a strong female lead, catch John Carter. Don't watch Transformers 3.

How about you? Watch a recent action adventure with an at least passably competent female lead?


***
Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads.
Her latest releases are Desire the Banshee an erotic paranormal romance from Ellora's Cave & Desert Blade, a near-future post-apocalyptic romance from Carina Press. Coming soon, MetalMark (Lyrical Press). Other work includes The Forbidden ChamberSilver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, Braided Silk & Firestorm on E’Terra.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why is an erotic romance good for a mom’s soul?


It’s really quite simple—let’s look at a simple week shall we…

Monday – You’re dealing with kids who don’t want to wake up for school. Maybe you spent the weekend cleaning your house, but soon you realize it’s now a mess again. Your day is spent cleaning the house you already cleaned, getting the kids off to school, and somehow dragging yourself out of the Monday blues.

Tuesday – You’re still dealing with kids who don’t want to go to school. Now you also have to deal with the laundry that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Didn’t you just do it on the weekend? And why is your house still messy?!

Wednesday – Okay, the kids are more agreeable and getting off to school is a bit easier. You’re folding laundry from the day before, and also trying to pick a meal that your kids won’t scowl at and will actually eat. And now you’re in the middle of the week still cleaning up the house that appears to never stay clean. Not only that, but damn do you really have to clean the kitty litter? This is so NOT sexy!

Thursday – Oh excitement, the weekend is almost here! Your kids now start counting down the days until they’re off—repeatedly. And all you keep thinking about is the cleaning that’s soon upon you. You are keeping track of what’s going with school, doing homework, taking care of your pets, making sure your kids eat healthy lunches—oh right, you have to go grocery shopping. And when was the last time you put makeup on? Going to the grocery store in basically your pajamas is acceptable, right?

Friday—The weekend has arrived. You exhale a deep breath of relief because soon you can erase half of your duties because there’s no school, no homework, no grumbling kids that fight you about everything, and you can sleep in. But you realize for a week you have been wearing jogging pants and your hair has been in a ponytail. Your showers have lasted a total of five minutes and wait…have you even thought of yourself all week? And let's not even add into the picture if you've had sick kids to deal with, which if you have, you'd be not only lacking sleep but probably now have been covered in germs.

Then enters your well-rested hubby on a Saturday morning that has been waggling his eyebrows at you all week. While normally a romantic night would be right up your alley, this week has exhausted you. You’ve been glaring at him every time he looks at you because you’ve been pulled in a thousand directions and you want a moment to yourself! If he dared to put a hand on you at all through the week, you would have cut it off!

But a romantic night would be nice and you may feel a bit bad for glaring at him while he's tried very hard to romance you...

That is, if you can get past the pile of laundry, kids, responsibilities, thoughts of the next week ahead and the thousand things you have to do. 

So, how do you fix this? 

Read one helluva naughty story. A book that won’t take you a week to read, but simply a couple hours. You take that book into a hot bath with bubbles, give yourself a much needed glass of wine—all of which you deserve. And you shut the world out! It’s the perfect way for moms—me included—to let go of our busy lives that can be totally unsexy, and allow our minds to simmer in an erotic tale.

Take it from my experience, your hubby will ensure he gives you that time alone…often…since the woman that comes out of that bath is the sexy-kitten he fell in love with, not the one in jogging pants!  It really is a win-win!! :)

 
Beg For It
Pact of Seduction Book Two
BDSM Erotic Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: Novella
Release date: May 29, 2012
The Pact of Seduction has one rule—fulfill your ultimate fantasy. Bella’s problem, she can’t live up to her vow. But her failure spins events that lead her into unknown territory. Kole, a Dom at the sex club Castle Dolce Vita, wasn’t part of her fantasy, but he’s about to show her he should have been.

Kole is more than willing to introduce Bella to BDSM since he’s held an interest in her for some time. But the feisty woman isn’t easily tamed and her strong personality proves to be difficult. While she might be determined to keep him at a distance, Kole has other ideas. He won’t allow her to shut him out.

A pact between best friends brought them together, emotional barriers tear them apart. Kole skillfully reminds Bella through pleasure and punishment that she is now his submissive, and her place is under his command.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and elements, including spanking.

~*~




Stacey Kennedy’s erotic romance novels are just that…erotic. There is nothing better than taking the dominant men she loves and watching them do wicked things to their women. But she just can’t write without a little humor added into the mix so that’s always a must have in her stories. And of course what’s a story without a big dose of emotional characters, too. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance eBooks bestseller lists.

Stacey welcomes comments from readers. You can find her at www.staceykennedy.com.