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Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Are a Writer, but Why Do You Write?

So many authors say they couldn't live without writing.  There are others who have so many stories in their head that they have to tell them.  There are multiple other reasons why people write, but those aren't my motivations for telling a story. I write because there are issues I'm concerned about, and I put those problems into fiction format.  It is a way to be heard without browbeating people with the subject matter.

My Odyssey Mysteries series has social issues in each book.  In my first book, The Catalyst, I address the problem of rape, abuse and alcohol.  This story explains why so many rape victims do not make reports against their rapists.  It's, also, about family and secrets.

In my second novel, Addiction, the issue is alcohol addiction with a serial killer thrown into the mix.  It's the villian's story as much as the hero and heroine's. This book gives you an idea of how alcohol can affect family members. It, also, helps you to understand the struggle the alcoholic fights every day. 

The third book, The Deceived, is about gambling addictions and the extremes some groups will go to in order to stop gaming.  It shows that some factions may be as bad as what they are fighting against.  Even good people can come under the influence of cult-like groups.

Even my novella, A Fool's Fool, is about those who have the power to harass and intimidate employees in the work place.

Why do you write?

Sandra K. Marshall, author at Eirelander Publishing
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How To Make Your Book A Page Turner by Janice Seagraves

How to Make Your Book a Page Turner 
 by Janice Seagraves 


To make your book a page turner, you’ll need to hook your readers.

Place a hook at the beginning and end of each chapter, so the reader won't want to set your book down.

A hook doesn't have to be the middle of some crisis like a cliff hanger in the old serials where the hero is left literally hanging off a cliff. It can be something that leaves a question in the readers mind: Will she/he kiss/accept him/her.

 If your story is suspense, mystery or horror, don’t end the conflict until the very last page.

Do the same thing if you’re writing romance, keep some unresolved question between your couple until the very last page.

In that way you’re keeping the tension going.

Remember you have to have tension to have a story. No tension, no story.

When you have your hooks set, you can reel in your reader. Then your reader will be staggering into work the next day, saying, “I just read the best book. I couldn't put it down and didn't go to sleep until three in the morning.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blurb: The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas. Then she finds a nearly-drowned man. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck.
With only meager survival skill between them, will they survive these windswept shores and can they find love?
For the first time available as a trade paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4084680
And for the Kindle for only 99. cents:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS9NDNO
Janice Seagraves website: http://janiceseagraves.org/ 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making Good Choices



 
I am the master of my faith, I am the captain of my soul. ~ Invictus, William Ernest  Henley

 

 Occasionally people lose their brains. Lately I’ve seen them scattered everywhere I go. Im not trying to belittle anyonepart of my brains were there with all the rest. Im just saying that when we act too quickly and dont think, mistakes are made. So stop and take a time out. Consider what is required to make good choices.

 

Here are some tips:

 

1. Think about the future. Does your decision achieve immediate gratification or long term satisfaction—and not necessarily satisfaction for you, but the greater good?

 

2. THINK—Give the issue, whatever it is, a chance to percolate. Waiting long enough to consider all options is advisable unless you are in an emergent or urgent situation.

 

3. Have some discipline—as much as we would all like to have what we want when we want it, it’s not always possible.You have to act responsibly and with full realization that you’ll live with the choice.

 

You have to act responsibly for all concerned.

 

 4. Pray—When in doubt, I believe it’s wise for each of us to hand over the ultimate decision to a greater power than ourselves.

 

While you are in the process of contemplating your choices, consider three questions as your guide to making a good and, most likely, best decision:

 

Will this choice bring me peace? Consider that short term chaos may bring better lasting peace because the easiest decision isn’t necessarily the one that brings the most long term comfort Think about whether the decision will help surround you with the good, the pure and the positive. Consider whether if your choice will eliminate toxins from your life, especially toxic people who drain your energy and your excitement. Will the choice help you to quiet your raging ego? Being humble is character-building.

 

Will this choice add to my energy?

If your individual, environmental or situational interactions leave you feeling drained and lifeless, consider if the effort is worth the stress you are creating for yourself. Interactions should energize you. People with positive energy share it, and you can feel an uplift within their presence.

 

Will this choice advance my purpose? Most of you know I follow my calling. Hopefully you do too, but if you aren’t doing what you love and where God intends you to be, you need to meditate regarding the most important steps to real purpose in your life. Then, with God’s guidance, follow your heart.

 

Hopefully if we all abide by this advice, we each will keep our brains where they should be—in our heads where we can use them to help others.



  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bobbye Terry is an award-winning author in both fiction and nonfiction and has also won awards for her poetry.  She penned five published novels and numerous short-stories in collections with co-writer Linda Campbell under the pseudonym, Terry Campbell, and since then has written. a couple of dozen books solo as Bobbye Terry and Daryn Cross.
 
Her next inspirational book, In the Stillness, is the story of her journey and how to cope with tragedy



 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Interview of Holly Atkinson/Samhain Publishing

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of Holly Atkinson and Samhain Publishing.


BIO:
Since she can remember, Holly Atkinson's professional ambition has revolved around fiction editing. She was fortunate to receive her first taste in editing when she was thirteen and wrote copy for a local realtor show. In 2008, Holly graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s in English, specializing in Creative Writing. Her first real job in the literary world came in the role of line editor for Lyrical Press. In 2011, she joined Mundania Press as a content editor and finally landed her dream job at Samhain Publishing in 2012.

Holly describes herself as the quintessential book nerd. In her spare time, she writes erotic romance under a penname, though she hopes to produce more mainstream works in the future so the more conservative members of her family can read her work. She lives in Missouri with her husband, loves to travel, and goes a little crazy around the holidays. Her largest writing influences include Pamela Smith Hill, Aaron Sorkin, JK Rowling, Stephen King, and Joss Whedon.

Website: http://notesfromyoureditor.wordpress.com
Blog: http://notesfromyoureditor.wordpress.com

Q: Describe your job.
A: I am an acquiring content editor for Samhain Publishing. I read submissions, make offers, issue rejections, request revise/resubmits, conduct edits, send forms, provide feedback, and do my best to serve my authors as a sounding board and problem solver.

The most common misconception I encounter is “editing is proofreading”. This typically comes from people outside of the industry who are either not avid readers or don’t realize how involved the process from manuscript to published book truly is—for author, editor, and everyone in between.

Q: How do you handle complaints/negative feedback from readers/authors?
A: It is very important to remember the business of publication isn’t personal to anyone aside from the author, and perhaps the author’s support system (friends, family, crit partners, etc). An author’s book is their baby, and at times it can be very difficult to reconcile a rejection as a business decision since the work itself is personal. I try to remember this when I encounter resistance from authors. And since I double as an author, I also try to frame my criticism in ways that would reach me if I were on the receiving end. Ultimately, some decisions are going to be more difficult than others; no matter how much I empathize, I have to remain objective.

Q: Ebooks or print. Do you read both? If you read ebooks, what reader do you have?
A: I still buy print books, but all of my reading is done through the Kindle app on my Nexus. Ebooks makes traveling incredibly easy (and light), and I’m never without something to read.

Q: Conferences and conventions. Do you attend any and how do you decide which ones to go to?
A: Yes, I attend when I can. I decide which ones to attend based on location and amount of time I have to prepare. For instance, RT this year was in Kansas City, which is a three hour drive from where I live, so I was able to counterbalance cost with convenience. Add to the fact that I have a day job on top of my editorial duties, and my conference attendance becomes largely dependent on cost, distance, and how much time I’ll need to take off work.

Q: What are your guidelines for a writer/author to submit a book/manuscript for a review or to sell?
A: Samhain’s guidelines for manuscript submission are available on the website. Follow those and you’re golden.

To editorialize (pun intended), I advise authors to review publisher submission guidelines carefully, and double-check you have met all criteria before clicking “send”. Be sure the manuscript you’re submitting is appropriate for the house. For instance, if you’re trying to sell a YA—even if it’s the best thing since Harry Potter—a house that doesn’t currently publish YA is not the place to send it. Be patient, but don’t hesitate to ask questions. Be sure your cover letter is professional, your correspondence is courteous, and if you receive a revise/resubmit or a rejection, don’t argue with the editor. We don’t issue those lightly.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Where do you appear?
A: I have a blog, which I don’t update as much as I could. The best way to find me is via Twitter, @EditorHolly. My Facebook page is relatively private, though a few authors have discovered me. I don’t mind being found out, but I do warn those who try to find me that I can be highly irreverent and vocal about certain issues, and Facebook is typically where I let loose.

Some suggestions and important information:
Have fun with your work. The first person you have to please is yourself. A rejection is not the end of the line; no successful writer got to where they are without first hearing the word “no”. Stephen King, JK Rowling, Nora Roberts—you name any artist, and odds are they dealt with rejection.

Consider feedback from all angles—do your best to distance yourself from your work before dismissing comments from editors, agents, or crit partners. As I mentioned above, writing is incredibly personal, and perceived negative remarks can be very difficult to accept. However, your writing cannot mature without criticism and experience. You will know more about writing tomorrow than you do today, and the best authors are those who accept there is always room for growth.

If all you hear is how great your work is, you’re not asking the right people. That’s not to say your work isn’t great or those people don’t know what they’re talking about, but all-praise-all-the-time shouldn’t be considered reliable feedback.

All of this should sound familiar, if not recycled advice from many, many others. I can’t claim I came up with it, but having been in the industry on both ends, I can definitely attest to its truth.

Thank you so much for having me. Three books offered by Samhain:

The Mountain’s Shadow
Series Name: The Lycanthropy Files
Series Number: 1
Author: Cecilia Dominic
Length: 81,000
Genre: Romantic Elements > Urban Fantasy
Theme: Shape-Shifters
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: October 1st 2013

BLURB:
Some mistakes can literally come back to bite you.

First it was ADD. Then pediatric bipolar. Now the hot behavioral disorder in children is CLS, or Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. Public health researcher Joanie Fisher was closing in on the cause in hopes of finding a treatment until a lab fire and an affair with her boss left her without a job.

When her grandfather leaves her his multimillion-dollar estate in the Ozarks, though, she figures her luck is turning around. Except her inheritance comes with complications: town children who disappear during full moons, an irresistible butler, and a pack of werewolves who can’t seem to decide whether to frighten her or flirt with her.

Joanie’s research is the key to unraveling the mysteries of Wolfsbane Manor. However, resuming her work means facing painful truths about her childhood, which could result in the loss of love, friendship, and the only true family she has left.


Dweller on the Threshold
Series Name: A Beri O’Dell Book
Series Number: 1
Author: Rinda Elliott
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Price: $6.50
Publication Date: March 26th 2013

BLURB:
On a hunt to save her sister, the last thing Beri O’Dell needs is love. Aren’t demons bad enough?

Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.

She once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.
With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.
The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.
It’s bad.


Scent of Salvation
Series Name: Chronicles of Eorthe
Series Number: 1
Author: Annie Nicholas
Length: 95000
Genre: Romance>AW>Paranormal
Theme: Vampires, Shape-Shifters
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: July 30th 2013

BLURB:
Love blooms across species, culture, and time.

Stranded in another dimension, on a primitive version of Earth, Dr. Susan Barlow needs to find a way to survive. There’s no electricity, no cities, and to her shock, no humans. Instead, she faces a population of werewolves, vampires and incubi. The people are vicious but she must find her place among them. And live.

An illness is killing Sorin’s pack. As alpha it’s his responsibility to save them, but it’s a battle this warrior doesn’t know how to fight. Then a blue light in the sky brings a creature he’s never seen. She calls herself human, but to him she smells like hope.

Sorin offers Susan a safe haven in return for a cure, but she’s not that kind of a doctor. She’s a doctor of physics, not a physician. Yet as they search for a cure to save a dying people, they find something special—each other.

But even with Sorin’s protection, Susan can’t help but wonder how long she can survive in a world without humans…

Warning: Feral shifters, power-hungry vampires, and a sole human female suffering culture shock.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing Short Stories for Fun and Profit



“I can’t write short stories.” How many of you have said that? I know I did, many times. Years ago a friend and I co-wrote a short story called Chef’s Choice and sent it to a small, little-known magazine that published short romance stories. Authors were paid in free copies. The magazine was in print and was extremely hard to find. This was when there were only two ebook publishers and before ebooks took off. The story was rejected, confirming to me my inability to write short stories. I eventually used the characters in that story for my first published novel, A Catered Affair, published in 2003 by Avalon Books.

Fast forward to 2008. A new print romance magazine, New Love Stories Magazine, debuted. They were actively seeking short romance stories. I wrote another short about two chefs and used the title from my old rejected story, Chef’s Choice. Writing that story was pure torture, worse than writing the first one with that title. Maybe I struggled because I wrote it alone, unlike the other. I think every writer I know critiqued it. I finally finished it and sent it off to New Love Stories Magazine. Imagine my shock four months later when they offered a contract. And they paid $300! Chef’s Choice was in the magazine’s second issue, March 2009. NLS, as it was called, has since gone under.

By the time I attended RWA National in 2009, I was in a writing funk. I’d sold a book, Logan’s Redemption, to The Wild Rose Press in 2007. Yes, it was four years between books. Wild Rose rejected another book I’d sent them. I’d written a werewolf paranormal that I loved, but I was getting rejections from print publishers and agents. I eventually sold it to an epub, but that’s a nightmare in itself and one I won’t go into here.

I was about to give up writing altogether when a chance meeting with an online chapter mate in an elevator at the conference hotel saved my writing career. She wrote short stories for the confession magazines and suggested I do the same. I hadn’t read a confession story in about forty years, since I was a teen. All I knew was that they were in first person and were angst-filled. I’d never written first person either. At my new friend’s urging, I joined a Yahoo loop of Trues writers, as the confession writers called themselves. (Trues because the magazines all had True in the title). When one of the Trues editors posted on the loop that they needed Thanksgiving stories, and needed them fast, I got my chance. I’d had a story rattling around in my head for years—about two lonely people brought together by a cat. This story was much easier to write than my one with NLS. Maybe it was the first person that made it a breeze to write. Only my sister, a non-writer, critiqued it. I titled my story The Thanksgiving Dance, and emailed it to the editor. And she bought it! It was in the Fall 2009 issue of True Experience Magazine.

I ended up selling eleven short stories to the confession magazines. I had only one rejection, and I revised that story and re-submitted to another of their magazines and sold it. At the time there were five magazines: True Love, True Romance, True Confessions, True Story and True Experience. I’ve had stories published in each. I loved, loved writing for the confession market. Sadly, there are now only two magazines left, True Confessions and True Story.

I still love writing the shorts. My head is filled with stories that don’t have enough plot, conflict, GMC, etc, for full novels. All I need is a little background, some angst, conflict, character growth, and the promise of HEA. I love writing in first person too. Writing short has also taught me how to condense a story into one sentence. It’s also a good way to hone your writing skills because you’re forced to make each word count. Consider writing short stories for those ideas that may not sustain a full book.

I’ve recently sold two short stories to Boroughs Publishing Group, who is excellent to work with. I’ve also published two shorts on my own plus an anthology of short stories. Much as I love the Trues, I no longer submit to them for two reasons: they keep the rights in perpetuity and there are no bylines. Now that I’ve found modest (very modest) success with novels I don’t want to give away my rights forever, and I want my name attached to my stories.

If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t write short stories, but feel your writing needs a shot in the arm, think about writing for the confession market or for any short story market. The Trues are a nice source of steady income.

Short stories are also an excellent way to introduce yourself to the reading public. Readers who aren’t familiar with an author will pay 99 cents for a short story before plunking down more for a novel by an author they’ve never read. Recently an Amazon reader gave my short story, A Cinderella Christmas, five stars. She said she’d never read anything by me, but after reading this story, she likes my style and will buy my other books. You can’t pay for publicity like that. My short story, Accidental Love, is my top seller on Amazon so far this month.


My latest short story release is The Ring, from Boroughs Publishing Group. My second story with them, Love Potion, is tentatively scheduled for release October 2013. In addition, I’ve written an erotic short story called Capri Nights that I hope to release myself later this year.

Short stories are becoming more popular in these busy times. They’re great for reading while waiting in a doctor’s office, a salon, wherever.

Short stories rock!

(PS-That's my story, Homecoming of the Heart, on the cover of True Love Magazine above)




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Interview of Author Joanne Jaytanie

Today I'd like to present an interview of romance author, Joanne Jaytanie.

Latest Book: Debut novel, Chasing Victory
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Victory-Winters-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00BYJ9Y44/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1369021626&sr=8-1

BIO:
I was born and raised in Sherburne, New York, a quaint village surrounded by dairy farms and rolling hills, and a wonderful place to grow up and call my hometown. During my college years I slowly crept across the country. Stopping along the way in Oklahoma, California and finally Washington State, which I now proudly call home. My husband and I live in a beautiful home that is located on the Kitsap Peninsula with a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains. Just a ferry ride away from Seattle.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Business. I spent a number of years in business administration, thirteen of which involved owning our own forensic engineering firm. For the past thirty years I have trained and shown dogs.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and of the Greater Seattle Romance Writers. I am the President of RWA's Peninsula Chapter.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Call my husband, texted my sister and my step-daughter. Then popped a bottle of champagne!

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write?
A: I guess the first one that comes to mind is my scene at the dog show. I spent one to three weekends a month at a dog show for over fifteen years, so the sights, sounds, and smells are embedded in my mind.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My hero, Tristan. He is so multi-dimensional. He’s tough, yet compassionate. A jokester with his twin brother and loyal to his country, but hates the restraints of the military. He was fun to write.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I have a variety of hobbies that I love to take part in. Yoga is one of my favorites. It gives me a chance to clear my head, so that I can refocus on my writing.

I love, love, love to read. Print books, eBooks and audio books. I never leave home without an audio book.

I love my dobermans. This breed has been part of my life for thirty-one years. It is a treat to pack up our travel trailer, load the dogs in the van and head out for a weekend getaway.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I would have to say Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I don’t think it is only the book, but what it stood for. It was the very first book of Sherrilyn’s that I ever read, and instantly fell in love with her writing style. I have read the complete Dark Hunters Series two times. I love every one of her books.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: Facebook, only because I have used it the longest. I am just delving into the world of blogs, chats, and Twitter, they are all still a mystery to me.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanne-Jaytanie/146892025475388?fref=ts
http://www.joannejaytanie.com
http://authorjoannejaytanie.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/joannejaytanie
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8249919.joanne-jaytanie
http://pinterst.com/joannejaytanie
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joanne-jaytanie/61/52b/532/
Twitter @joannejaytanie

BLURB:
The Winters Sisters Series- Doctor Doolittle in female form creates X-Men on steroids. Murder, kidnapping, and blackmail follow as world-renowned geneticist Victory Winters is forced to pursue her research on canine DNA. Victory possesses an unusual innate sense of communication, boarding on telepathic when relating to animals. This unique ability has elevated her status to world renowned genetic research specialist. She is kidnapped and blackmailed with threats to her family, forcing her to work for a rival corporation, Biotec and run by a madman CEO. Naval officer Tristan Farraday is sent undercover to track Biotec’s experiments. These experiments involve implanting genus canis DNA into humans thereby manipulating their genetic makeup, in hopes to create the perfect soldier.

EXCERPT:

“Tristan.” He turned to find her right behind him. “Take this bottle with you. You can take two more pills in an hour if you aren’t any better.” Damn, he must look as bad has he felt.

“Thanks.” He opened the bedroom door and turned back, smiled at her and before she knew what was happening, leaned towards her and kissed her ever so lightly on her lips. “I’ll see you first thing in the morning. I’ll come back here and go with you to breakfast.” He headed straight for the hall door, leaving Victory frozen at the threshold of her bedroom. “Make sure you lock the door as soon as I leave,” he casually tossed over his shoulder.

“I will,” she stammered.

Had sparks flashed from their lips?

Knowing full well that a lock wouldn’t stop Braxton or his people if they wanted to enter her room, Tristan walked out into the hall and waited for the click of the lock. He was bewildered by the electricity that sparked between them at the second his lips touched hers and wondered if she had felt the same sensation. He really needed a little down time if he was going to be any help to Victory.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Barbies and I hit CBS Sunday Morning again


I’m baaccck!

June 23 CBS is rerunning my segment on CBS Sunday Morning. Watch Bill Geist roll his eyeballs when I read to him from Rodeo Heat. And speaking of Rodeo Heat,  I’m running a contest to go along with this. Read the book, post a review, send me the link at desireeholt@desireeholt.com. You’ll be entered in a drawing for a $50 GC, Amazon or B&N. Each review counts as one entry.

Blurb
It could have been the animalistic heat of the rodeo, or the pin with special powers that the old woman had all but forced her to buy. But whatever it was, within seconds of meeting rodeo rider Ben Lovell, Grace Delany safe world crumbled in a voluptuous explosion of lust. Every night was something new. From the handcuffs to the intriguing sex toys to the taking of her virgin ass, , Grace gave in to it all, relishing her body’s. As Ben Lowell led her from one earth-shattering climax to another, as her body softened and opened to him, her juices lubricating the way, all she could do was hang on for dear life and follow his lead. But when it was over, could she really walk away from the man who had taken her on an outrageous journey of sexual self-discovery where there were no limits or boundaries?.


Excerpt
He moved his mouth over her body as if drawing a map with it, tasting every nook and crevice, seeking her pleasure spots and dwelling a long time on them. His open-mouthed kisses on her heated skin sent shafts of electricity through her, igniting nerves already snapping and firing.
His cock pressed against the soft skin of her inner thigh and her hands suddenly itched to touch it and hold it. Pulling Ben’s head up from its drifting path down to her pussy, she smiled at him. “Stop.”
His eyebrows raised. “Stop? Am I doing something wrong? Something you don’t like? Just tell me—”
“No. You’re doing everything just right. But I want to play too.” She pushed at his shoulders.
“And just what is it you want to do?” he asked, his eyes bright with curiosity as he rolled onto his back.
“This.”
Wondering where this spurt of boldness had come from, she shifted onto her knees next to him, her gaze riveted to his erection which pointed directly at her. Tentatively she reached out a finger to touch the bead of fluid sitting like a viscous marble atop the slit. Rubbing it back and forth along the velvet surface, she watched the thick stalk bob under her touch and saw Ben’s thigh muscles tighten.
She hadn’t done this since Joe’s death. The few men she’d had sex with hadn’t appealed to her this way at all. Sometimes she wondered if they really appealed to her in any way. Worried that maybe she just wasn’t a sexual person.
No. Wait. Then she wouldn’t be where she was doing what she was. Right?
Inquisitively, she bent her head and licked the surface of the purple head with the tip of her tongue, swiping it back and forth two or three times, loving the slightly salty taste of the fluid and the sensation of the soft skin against her tongue. Her fingers barely wrapped around the thick length of him but she felt the steel beneath the supple covering. She unclasped him and ran one finger the length of the heavy vein, feeling the blood pulsing through it.
“Am I doing this right?” she asked, her voice tremulous, unable to look at him as she waited for his answer.
“Are you kidding?” Ben asked in a strangled voice, one large hand coming up to squeeze her buttocks. “I think you’re trying to torture me.”
Grace’s laugh held just a hint of uncertainty. “Just finding out what you feel like. How you feel.”
His hand moved in slow strokes on the cheek of her ass. “Surely this isn’t the first one you’ve ever seen or felt,” he joked.
“Believe it or not, the first in bright light. At least for longer than I want to remember.”
Because the others didn’t bear looking at. Except for Ben.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Blog: B.C. Brown: Sex and the Mommy

Mommy Porn.

Do I have your attention?

Sex sells. That is one of the driving principles in advertising since time untold. Once the Puritanical society fudged enough to allow the oh-so risky behavior of showing ankles, sex has been used to sell everything from things that are sexy, like lingerie, to things that are slightly less than sexy, like household appliances.

This has become more and more noticeable in recent years with the explosion of the erotica market in literature. Bodice-ripper romance novels once hinted at sex in the full Monty, but seemed to fall short (minus a few authors who were light years beyond their societal standards). Despite it seemed that the fans were always wanting more.

Then, in recent years, the industry of erotica boomed with a near Big Bang effect. A universe unfolded with hyper-dedicated fans, clever swag, and blush-evoking cover art. New terminology exploded into the literary world. But one particular phrase has been elevated above the rest.
Mommy porn.

I remember my grandmother’s romance novels. My grandmother was a prolific reader. It was rare I saw less than three books opened and steepled, bookmarked, or dog-eared somewhere in her house.

But when asked about them, she would demur, often passing them off as frivolous or fanciful. It was, somewhat, from there that I learned of the odd stigma of being a romance reader.

But not any longer. Mothers in doctor’s offices used to hide the covers of their romance reads. Now excited mom’s openly display their latest finds, sharing them with anyone around who will listen. The backlash over a mature woman openly showing her appreciation of erotic literature has ended.
Or has it?

The romance genre is one of the most celebrated, largest communities of writers in the nation today. Conventions abound, groups form, and the number of new authors published (indie or otherwise) each year grow, it seems, exponentially. But is there still a stigma attached? One that has transferred from being a romance reader to being a romance writer?

Recently, at a non-romance convention that housed hundreds of authors, a fan approached my booth, bought a couple of books, and struck up a conversation with me about my latest projects and my upcoming projects. I was more than happy to discuss what I was up to. I mean, how better to generate anticipation of future work than in person, seeing that excitement gleaming in your reader’s eyes?

That reader and I discussed my upcoming paranormal mystery (a spin-off from my Abigail St. Michael novels), debated a science fiction project I was tinkering with, and also talked about a general fiction story I was hoping to publish in the near future. (You know, once I finished writing it! lol) She seemed really receptive to all the work I mentioned... Until I brought up the erotica novel I was steadily working on. Her words were simple.

“Why would you do that?” she asked.

I sat there. I blinked. I opened my mouth two or three times and closed it as often. I didn’t understand the question.

“Why would I do what?”

“Be one of those writers.”

I stared at her. I hadn’t thought about it from that point of view. So I asked if she read erotica. She told me she did. Then I asked why. She thought for a moment and said because she liked a good story with sex in it sometimes.

“So do I,” I said. “And sometimes I want to write about sex too. The story I’m working on will just have more sex in it, and be more focused on the romance, than the rest of the story. That, technically, makes it either a romance novel or an erotic novel.”

“But you’re a good writer,” she said matter of factly. And I was blown away by that statement. I didn’t know how to respond. I mean, me. I didn’t know what to say.

We finally ended our conversation, skirting the romance/erotica topic, and then she went away. I sat for the rest of the convention wondering what she meant. I know dozens of excellent writers (writers who are far better storytellers and technical masters as well than I am) who dealt primarily in erotic or romance literature. So I began asking people their opinions of romance or erotic authors, taking somewhat of an informal survey. I got much the same response as the first person had given me, “Of course I read romance/erotica, but why would you want to write it?”

It made me wonder just when did it become socially acceptable to read erotic lit but not write it?

And, also, would romance/erotica always carry some sort of stigma to it - either from a reader’s standpoint or from a writer’s?

Since my primary fields to date are not focused on romance or erotic, although the stories I write always involve an element of both, I don’t know what most erotic/romance writers encounter. Do you come up against an odd resistance to your choosing that particular genre? Or do you find that, regardless of what you write, readers are readers and are just hungry for the next novel you produce?
Are some of you multiple genre authors too, and how do you feel people who are attracted more to the non-romance/erotic genre react to the the romance/erotic one?

BIO:
B.C. Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with super powers, thus enabling her to fight crime.  When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional digits and her powers, B.C. was forced to fall back on her secondary talent -writing.  Now she lives between the pages of a book - whether she has written it or not.  Since she has not found the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and contributed to one anthology.  She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge to branch out.  You can follow her crime fighting or writing at:

Twitter - @BCBrownBooks
Facebooks - www.facebook.com/bcbrowns.books
Blog/Buy Link - www.bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com

BLURB:

Abigail St. Michael, a former cop, has joined the recently growing ranks of metaphysicals, individuals with abilities outside that of normal human nature. When a murderer stalks her town killing children, Abbey uses her ability of touch clairvoyance to hunt him down. Her only roadblock is that her murderer seems to have his own unique talent, the ability to 'wipe' his victims and their surroundings of any metaphysical energy. With little physical evidence and no supernatural evidence, Abbey is forced to rely on instinct and luck to solve the case. However both Abbey's luck and instinct seem to have taken a permanent vacation as the victims keep piling up with the killer's escalating blood lust.

Book Review:
"Touch of Darkness: A witty page turner and will keep you guessing right up to the end! BC Brown combines a snarky sense of humor, intelligent wit, and an exotic 'touch' to this murder mystery. Add the elements of romance, and the reader is left wanting more at the end. A definite recommended read!" - Molly Daniels/Balancing Act

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Saying Goodbye To A Muse

As some of you know, Matt Slagal in my Arbor U series is based on my real-life tumultuous relationship with an AF officer I met, then wondered if I'd ever see him again.  Most of the scenes in this book are fiction, however, there is a tiny little bit of real-life experience in here.  Nope, not gonna tell which scene; it would spoil the fantasy element.


If it hadn't been for that experience, I would never have written the story now titled Love Finds A Way, nor created the rest of the series. 

I actually dated 'Matt' off and on up until Jan 1991, when I finally decided I was happy where I was, and didn't need to go see him because he suddenly remembered my phone number again.


Saw this on Facebook yesterday and it pretty much sums up our relationship.

Anyway, 'Matt' found me on FB two years ago, and I was thrilled to learn he'd stopped drinking, cleaned himself up, and had been happily married for six years.  I became good FB friends with his wife, and it was through her the past month I learned 'Matt' had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.  Long story short, my (now former) AF officer lost his battle early  Monday morning.  

As always with an unexpected illness or death, you realize the things you didn't do.  For instance, it appears I own the only copy of him next to the F-15 Eagle he was proud of.  'Matt' asked me to either send it to him or make a copy for one of his relatives.  Since it resides in a special photo album, and happens to be in storage, I was waiting for an opportune time to retrieve it.  That was five months ago, and I still have that photo in storage.  I don't even know which relative he planned to send it to.  I may take it with me tomorrow, and stop to make at least two copies.  There's gotta be a CVS or Walgreens between here and there.

The good news?  I've already got a story churning in my head about how to give 'Matt' the proper send off.  I don't know if it will be an AU book, or if Kenzie will take over the brain and smut it up.  But I do plan to get to work on it as soon as I'm finished with book #7, Love Weighs In edits.

*An ironic side note:  I did not have a weight problem when I wrote this book, and now when it's arriving in August, I'm not happy with the jean size I wear, not the number on the scale.  But I will never go to the same lengths as my heroine....there, you get a small hint at her story line!*

Anyway, enough wallowing in my own grief.  This is about celebrating the life of a muse, and 'Matt' was certainly mine!  He's also the basis for 'Steve' in Kenzie's Wild At Heart.  



Both 'Steve' and 'Matt' have issues which cause them a lot of pain and anger.  I think the following excerpt depicts his character the closest.  

“I'm not changing my life. If they don't like it, they can stuff it.” Matt moved his arm
from her shoulders and reached for his cigarettes.

“Sshhh, I'm not asking you to change.” Amy tried to be tactful. “All I’m asking is
that you not, er, curse so much.”

“Amy...”

“Please?” She lifted her head to look him in the eye. “All I ask is that you clean up
your vocabulary for a few hours while we're with my parents.”

“You want me to kiss ass.” He lit the end of the cigarette and blew smoke toward the
ceiling.

“Not quite, I just want you to make a good impression.” Tears welled unexpectedly
in her eyes. “This is important to me.”

“Oh, all right, I'll watch what I say next weekend. Can I smoke and drink beer, or is
that also taboo?”

“Stop it!” Amy sat up to escape the smoke.

“What?” Matt gestured, waving the smoke toward his side of the bed.

“You know what I mean. I'd rather you not smoke, but a few beers won't hurt. I'm not
asking you to bend over backward; all I want is for you to be civil with them.”

“I'm always civil.”

“I didn't mean it like that.” Amy shifted onto her side. “I meant that sometimes, well,
you have a tendency to act antisocial, as a know-it-all.”

“I do what?”

Feeling herself losing ground, Amy groaned. The conversation wasn't going the way
she'd hoped.

“I would feel better if you and my parents were to start off on the right foot.” She
chose her words with care. “They have the stereotypical, California, military officer in
their minds, and I don't want them judging you that way.”

“Just out of curiosity, what exactly is the 'stereotypical, California, military officer'?”
Matt sounded amused.

Amy thought for a moment. “Promise you won't get upset? He's the dedicated
officer, but loud, rude, and disrespectful when off duty. He's lazy, a womanizer, an
alcoholic, and not someone to bring home.”

“So that's what your parents are expecting me to be.” Matt crushed out his cigarette.

“Not entirely. I've told them your good points, so they're not expecting Godzilla.
Now, can we drop the subject and get some sleep?”

“No, we can't.”

“Why not?”

“Because.” His voice lowered as he turned to her, his hand sliding down to cup her
breast. “This military officer has a naked, sexy woman in his bed and wants to take
advantage of the situation.”

I'll say goodbye tomorrow at his funeral..  In the meantime, if you'd like a copy of Love Finds A Way, leave me a comment about your first love.  Bonus Question:  Can you tell where I 'lost control' of the conversation above?  And how I 'saved' it? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Interview of Author JC Szot

Today I'm presenting an interview of romance author JC Szot.

Latest Book: Painted Posts
Buy Link:http://www.sirenpublishing.com/

BIO:
JC Szot was born in Morristown, New Jersey and grew up in the quiet town of Long Valley, New Jersey. She now lives in Upper Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike, who understands when he's brushed aside for her fictitious world.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I called my mother. She'd been listening to my tales of woe for years regarding rejections and the ups and downs of writing. I also need to give much credit to G.A. Hauser, fellow author and dear friend. She helped me tremendously in the beginning and I still lean on her occasionally.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I have no problem with the first 5 to 10 chapters of a new project. It's the excitement and the rush that I think every writer gets when they're starting a new manuscript. Laying the foundational part of the book has never been a problem for me. By the time I sit down I have it all in my head and just need to get it down in a file.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: I have the hardest part with the middle. This doesn't happen with every project but with most. Usually I need to put much focus on stretching the tension in order to hold the reader's interest before proceeding onto the resolution too quickly. Every project is different. With most I exert most of my energy on the middle-ground tension.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Never. When I make my storyboards the characters are formed in my mind first. I use a very primitive method. I look through magazines and cut out pictures of men and women. I have a rule, no celebrities, actors or famous musicians. I find great visual aids in Men's Health and a magazine called Details. I find my women in most clothing circulars and other random magazines, which I collect weekly from the Sunday paper.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I love to read, of course. I enjoy baking and nature walks.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I think my strongest point is descriptive detail, though that skill can lead to info dumping for which I need to keep in check. Many of my readers have told me that I have excellent description. I've also gotten a lot of compliments on my dialogue.


Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why? 
A: I would like to try my hand at Young Adult fiction.

I guess I haven't made the attempt because I know before even trying that it's a huge content adjustment. I really need to be ready. If I was ready I would have started a project by now. When the time is right it will come.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all! Friend me on Facebook-Justine Cerrigone Szot to read my "Snippet of the Day" daily
www.jc-hotreads.com
www.bookstrand.com/jc-szot
http://www.amazon.com/JC-Szot/e/B008BTX0W2/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1347756874&sr=1-2-ent
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Erotica-fiction-by-JC-Szot?keyword=Erotica+fiction+by+JC+Szot&store=book
http://www.facebook.com/steamread
http://www.manicreaders.com/JCSzot
http://jcszot.blogspot.com

EXCERPT: Warning: Adult Language
“I wanted to introduce myself. I’m Jayden Preston. I live over there,” he pointed. “My roommate, Brian owns the place.” Jayden extended his hand.

“I’m Ella Rowen. It’s nice to meet you.”

Their fingers threaded together, her skin like a brush of silk. Jayden didn’t want her wrestling with the thought of whether to invite him in or not.

“Wanna take a walk? The sunset’s amazing.” Jayden checked her expression. Her lips eased into a welcome smile.

“Sure, let me get my sandals," Ella said.

“You don’t need them. See?” Jayden pointed to his feet. “Sand’s nice and cool now.”

“Okay.” She turned and slid the door closed. Jayden waved her on, following her down the stairs and onto the beach.

A cool breeze blew off the water, lifting her hair. Jayden snuck in as many sideward glances as he could, hoping he was getting away with it. Her skin was gorgeous, so milky it glowed, and those eyes. They were a pale blue. When he looked into them, he felt an intense pull. As they trudged through the sand Jayden eyed the curved flexing of muscle on what he noticed was a fine pair of legs. His insides quivered with excitement.

Wow!

Damp, salty air coated his hair, weighing it down over his brows. He searched his thoughts, needing to engage in some get-to-know-you conversation. Her beauty was hindering his skills. All the rehearsing he’d done had been blown to pieces two seconds after she’d opened the door.

“So you just moved in…where’re you from?” He slowed his strides, wanting her body aligned with his.

"I’m from Bangor, Pennsylvania. I’m just about settled in,” she told him. “It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing.” Her eyes danced around him, lowering back down to the sand.

“How do you like it so far?” Jayden dipped his toes into the water. Ella did the same, meeting his eyes.

“It’s beautiful here.”

“It is.” The lapping water filled the pause for a moment. Her next question caught him off guard, teasing an eagerness he felt he should restrain. He’d been noticed.

“I saw you the other day. You train dogs,” Ella smiled. Her lower lip was full, tempting enough to bite.

“Yeah, I work for The Seeing Eye. You must’ve seen me downtown?” Jayden felt his mouth curve into a smile. His eyes sank into hers, taking a casual cruise down her sensual neck. Jayden fed his urge as nonchalantly as possible. He drank in the flesh of her chest and the slight pillows of her breasts. I’m gonna have to tie my hands together.

“Yeah, I was on my way to apply for a job,” Ella said. Her voice had a raspy tone to it, very sexy.

“You landed a job already?” Jayden faced her, the wet sand grainy between his toes.

“I was surprised too. I got a job answering phones and making appointments at Brahman Restoration.” A wide smile spread across her lovely mouth.

“How do you like it?” he asked.

Ella lifted a shoulder. “It’s okay, but I’d rather be taking pictures,” she confessed.

“You’re a photographer then?” Jayden moved away from the water line and sat down, gesturing to a spot on the sand. Ella sat next to him. Her hair blew back off her face, giving him a clear view of her angled cheekbones and arched brows.

“It’s a hobby, but…”

“Hey, a lot of people who claim a talent’s just a hobby wind up being quite good at their craft.”

Ella reclined back in the sand, crossing her shapely legs. Darkness bled across the water, turning the bay into a shimmering pool of ink.

“What’s your specialty?” Jayden asked, his inquiry hesitant. He didn’t want to push but his mind was running. All of a sudden he wanted to know everything about this girl. She looked to be his age, mid-twenties. She shifted in the sand and faced him.

“I snap everything,” she grinned. “Tell me about the dogs. That’s so cool.”

Jayden explained what it was that he did with the dogs—how he trained them, and how people in the community fostered the puppies until they were a certain age, preparing them to become a Seeing Eye dog.

"The dogs have to be a certain age before you can begin training them. They also need to have the right temperament. That’s huge.” Ella’s eyes narrowed at the gust of wind that rushed off the bay. Her light laughter tickled his insides. Her next statement had his dick jumping with glee.

“I have to confess that I did see you my first night here,” she admitted, chewing her lower lip, her expression worried. “You were playing Frisbee with your dog. The lighting was too perfect, I just had to…”

Jayden laughed. “You photographed me?” He felt his jaw fall.

Ella nodded. “I did. I’m sorry. If you want the pictures, I’ll give them to you,” she said, her voice wavering.

Jayden couldn’t help but laugh as Ella vacillated after conceding to her indiscretions.

“I’d like to see them, but you can keep them,” he insisted.

“It’s not polite to photograph subjects without their consent. I do have ethics,” Ella told him, her tone now serious.

“Hey,” Jayden lifted a hand. “No problem. I’ll pose for you anytime.” His mouth went dry, her presence intoxicating.

“Really?” Her face lifted, her eyes widening. “I got some great shots that day,” Ella said, tracing her finger through the sand.

“Which dog did I have?” Jayden soaked up her animation.

“It was a black Lab. I’m guessing that you can’t keep the dogs at your house?”

“No. If you want to join the puppy-raising program to prepare them for training you can. You get to keep them for up to eighteen months,” Jayden explained.

“Giving them back must be hard,” Ella sighed.

“It can be, but you know that going in. Just think of the disabled person you’ll be helping that helps. The older ones stay at training headquarters. Those are the ones I’m allowed to play with. They need to get out and run. I can’t have any animals at the house because my roommate, Brian is allergic to pet dander,” Jayden laughed. “It’s sort of ironic. I find the prefect roommate, but can’t bring in a dog.”

“That’s too bad. At least you get to work and play with them. To give someone that gift must be an awesome feeling.”

“It is. We’ve helped a lot of veterans as well. That was Jordan you photographed, the black Lab. We just placed her. That was our swan-song romp. She’s a great dog.” Jayden glanced away, feeling the emotion grip him for a moment. Ella’s soft voice washed it all away, healing him like a homeopathic tonic. Her beauty and grace was all natural. He was smitten already, and all it took was one fucking walk through the sand.


Anything else you’d like to add?
I'd like to thank Romance Books 4Us for having me today. I love to hear from readers. Feel free to check in and see what I'm up to. Justine@jc-hotreads.com

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