Sunday, December 30, 2007

New year, new beginnings, right? January’s named for Janus, the god of two faces…of looking forward and backward at the same time. Appropriate enough…we make our resolutions based on what we’ve learned in the past.

So, based on my knowledge of the past, here are my resolutions and what I suspect will become of them:

I hereby resolve to walk thirty minutes every day. EVERY day. Which means I’ll probably actually get off my duff and take that walk three times a week. In January. By March I’ll be happy with once a week and by May, once a month.

I hereby resolve to stop eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which leaves brunches, tea time and midnight snack times wide open for my favorite food group.

I hereby resolve to write two thousand words a day. As an average. And I’ll live up to this…on the weekends. Most weekends. Okay…SOME weekends. Damn. I’ll never get a book finished!

I hereby resolve to spend less time in Second Life and more time on Real Life. Yeah…fat chance. SL RULES!

I hereby resolve to behave myself at the Romantic Times conference in April. No, really! I promise! I won’t slip a single dollar bill in any of the model’s pants. Honest! Of course, I might slip a twenty…

All right…based on how I’ve kept New Year’s resolutions in the past, I think I’m pretty safe with those. Your turn. C’mon…’fess up. What resolutions are you making you KNOW you won’t keep?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How Big Do You Want It?

Long? Medium? Just enough to satisfy? How big do you want it?

Of course, I'm talking about book length. You couldn't possibly have thought I was referring to anything else.

Sometimes a short story is enough. You want to sit down for an hour or two and polish off that fast-paced, sexy romance that makes you want to attack your significant other as soon as you're through reading. Sometimes you want something category or novel length that takes a bit longer to read and contains more twists and turns as the plot unfolds, or the hero and heroine slowly fall in love.

Then there are the times you want to completely immerse yourself in a long book. It could be women's fiction, romance suspense, mystery...any of those usually provide several hours of reading pleasure with more plot, more characters, and more sex.

Personally, I like variety. I like short books that I can finish in one sitting, and I like those 100K+ books that I can savor over several days.

A cup of hot tea and a warm afghan thrown over my legs, and I'm all set to trade places with the heroine when the hero takes her in his arms.

I love a happy ending.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Writing Life

I’d planned (and, in fact, wrote) a rather bitchy blog entry about heroines who are too slutty to like but you know, I find myself not in a bitchy mood right now. Maybe it’s the holidays (I know that seems counterintuitive to some but I’m 95% done with my Christmas shopping) or my impending vacation to Fiji and Australia, but I’m feeling pretty mellow and content with being a writer.

Being a writer is great job. It’s not a perfect job because, well, it’s a job. There are edits you don’t agree with, covers you can’t control, and the daily possibility of rejection. But on the whole, it’s a good job to have (i.e., nice work if you can get it).

The thing I like best is I get to fantasize and call it work. If I want to spend a few hours in bed on a Saturday morning, I can easily justify it as working out my next story (because truly, I do my best thinking flat on my back). I work and rework scenes until clever dialogue sounds natural and my non-gay hero can find a reasonable excuse to lock in a passionate with another man.

As a writer, I get to spend time with interesting people…other writers and those voices in my head who’ve kept me entertained since I was sixteen and trying to make it through geometry without falling asleep.

On top of all this, I have fans. Real fans. People actually send me emails to say how much they like my stories. Surprised the hell out of me the first time it happened and still, with each message, I’m comforted and soothed by the reality that someone out there (hopefully many someones) understood the story I was trying to tell and they liked it. It’s a thrill for authors to get these messages. And a global thanks to those who’ve written.

So, I’m going to save the bitchy blog for a later date (but be prepared because it is a bit of a rant) and just say, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Don’t let stress spoil it. Enjoy it!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tis the season?

I had all sorts of ideas for the blog this week.

Oh boy! I thought I could talk about how crazed I get this time of year with parties and shopping and dealing with children flooded with Christmas insanity. I thought about maybe discussing how I gave myself a ten minute spa treatment to help counteract the urge to wrap garland around someone's neck until they turned as red as Rudolph's nose. I even thought about discussing how jaded I am by this point because I've been seeing Christmas stuff out since Halloween.

Then I went to church last night.

No, this isn't going to be a religious post. I promise!!! I have my faith, but that doesn't mean I'm going to shove it down your throat. I have friends who are Jewish, Buddist, Pagen, Wiccan, Hindu, Mormon, and Muslum. I'm Catholic and that works for me, but it doesn't work for everyone, so be it.
Anyway, as I was sitting in church kind of tuning out the priest instead of really focusing, a part of his sermon caught my attention and actually shocked me out of my musings.

In front of our church, we have a stable set up for the holidays with statues of Joseph, Mary, lambs and donkeys and the three Magi. Baby Jesus gets put in after Midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Two years ago, the statue of Baby Jesus was stolen. The church put up a video camera with a sign "God is watching you. So are we, video surveilence in effect." I thought it was sad, but clever.

This week, two teenage boys stole the statue of Mary and one of the lambs. They were caught on tape and their picture will be plastered all over our local paper. Hopefully they'll return the statues before that happens.

Okay, now come on! I can see being young and stupid and stealing a street sign or park bench or something else, but Mary? I mean do you think they're thining,
"I don't want to wait in line when I go to Hell, I want the express lane!"

Besides stealing something in front of a church when it states quite clearly you're on tape, I just don't understand WHY? What internal battles are being waged inside a 17 year old that would tempt him to desicrate a display that's so important to a faith?

These are the same demons that possess kids to paint swastikas on Jewish meeting places, and burn crosses infront of African American churches and homes.

Maybe they just did it on a lark, or a dare. (Although I doubt that as they were caught on film doing a trial run.) Or maybe they're just good kids who thought they were being funny. (Again, not so sure about that since they were out at 1:30 am on a week night.) But in any case, this did more to make me think about the real reasons behind celebrating Christmas than any sermon or TV special ever could.

So, if you celebrate the holiday, Merry Christmas to you. If you celebrate any of the other holy days that occur during this time of year, I wish blessings upon you.

And if you're the one who stole the statue of Mary, I hope for your sake you like it hot.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Wow. December. How did that happen? Christmas this year seems to have arrived with a whimper rather than a bang, it's just kinda snuck up on me. It could just be that I've been really good at putting it out of my mind since I'm also having a significant birthday ...but we won't go there... Yes, I've been having a little bit of a problem opening my Christmas Spirits. So, last night I put the Christmas tree up and tonight the decorations in the rest of the house. I've started Christmas shopping, finally, and I'm looking for a dress for my work Christmas Party. And still... something is missing...

To help get me in the mood I've been checking out the festive themed books on offer. There are some fabulous ones coming out this month but I'm pulling out some old favorites. I find I'm often drawn back to the old Silhouette romances with their old fashioned feel good stories.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. What makes a good Christmas book? What is your favorite Christmas book and which one are you most looking forward to reading this year?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It’s My Party And I’ll Read If I Want To

Yippee. *toots party favor weakly* It’s my birthday today, which naturally made me fantasize that I’m someone else’s age instead of my own—like the age of younger, perkier heroines, to be exact. *wistful sigh* But not too young…

Currently, I’m reading an historical romance with a publication date a decade ago. The story is set in the 12th century, and after I'd invested lots of time into the book, I learned the heroine is...17. I’ll admit, this made me squirm uncomfortably, especially when she witnesses the hero getting, um, how shall I say…orally pleasured by another woman.

But let me back up a century or so ago…

I began reading romances at the tender age of 13, and at the time, my drug of choice was historical romances only. If I recall correctly, back then (and keep in mind I’m old now, so the memory isn’t as sharp), it seemed heroines were always 17 or 18, which to this 13 yo, felt very old. LOL So at the time, I wouldn't have batted so much as an eye at the current book I'm reading. I suppose it’s because I’m older now that a seventeen-year-old heroine in an adult romance (even historical) seems so young to me. But I’m about halfway through the book now, and the author—a best-selling, highly prolific author, by the way—did a fabulous job of characterizing the heroine and demonstrating that this was the way of that time period, where females were expected to marry young and grow up fast. And thankfully, the characterization is such that it’s easy for me to pretend she’s much older. ;)

This made me examine my past reading patterns and what I’ve gravitated to over the years as far as heroines, their age, and the stage they’re at in their lives. I dug back in the thick cobwebs of my creaky mind and realized something that gave me pause. Up through my twenties, I mostly read books with heroines that were older than me, no matter the genre. Yet as I moved into my thirties, I started searching for heroines that were closer to my age, or even a bit younger. It seems that pattern has carried me through to my current age of *mumbles secret number* where I seem to look for heroines who are closer to me in age and life stage. Perhaps a few years older is fine, too—but not too much older, at least for now.

Therefore, I concluded for me as a reader, although I do have personal limits that I just can't get past, I guess in general, my comfort of a heroine's age in a steamy romance is dependent on three things: my age at the time I purchase/read the book, characterization, and the genre and acceptable behaviors of the time period. As a writer, it’s dictated by the character herself, her circumstances, and yes, again the genre...although I do have my own secret cut-off that I just don't feel comfortable going below. ;)

So what’s your ideal age for a heroine in both reading and writing romances? How young is too young for you, and how old is too old? Does it change with your own age, or is it dependent on the expectations of the time period and/or genre of the book? Also, do you look more to escape to another age (be it younger or older), or do you prefer to read about characters you can identify with, who are closer to your own age? Or does it matter at all?

Titania Ladley also writes as Roxana Blaze. Check out Roxana’s new release SHADES OF PASSION, now available at Ellora’s Cave! And coming soon by Roxana Blaze…

FIRES WITHIN ~ Red Sage Publishing ~ April 2008
BREATHLESS ~ Ellora’s Cave Exotika ~ TBA

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Does sex keep you young?

Last night my husband and I (ages 43 and 42 respectively) went out to play some pool with some new young friends. And when I say young, I mean YOUNG! Celie recently took a maternity leave for a co-worker (here in Canada that means a full year) and although this is Celie's first full time job and she's tips the scale at a meager 23 years, she and I immediately hit it off. We've been out for drinks together, done some shopping....and planned a trip to the adult toy store so I can help her pick out her first vibrator! lol...So, last night when she and her boyfriend were looking for something to do in this new town, we invited them out to play pool...and we had a blast!

Perhaps that in itself, isn't blog-worthy. But what I decided WAS worth mentioning, was the fact that this seems to be a....trend with us. I have found in recent years that I tend to gravitate towards the younger crowd. Those young in well as young at heart. I find I have much more in common with my neice these days than with her mother. And I find that so many of the women I have called friends for the last 25 years have, bafflingly (is that word?) become OLD on me! If I am out for the evening with these friends our conversations tend to revolve around mortgages, kids and work. If I happen to comment on a young hunk that is walking by, I get only disapproving stares. And when 11:00 pm rolls around and I am just thinking it's time to hit the dance floor...they must head home, lest they turn into pumpkins.

So, while I still spend some times with my "old" friends, I have found I get much more enjoyment from interacting with young'uns (from ages 23 to 50)....people who like to indulge themselves in hedonistic activities like dancing and pool playing. Who aren't above trading dirty jokes, or discussing the advantages of battery-powered over glass. And who aren't always watching the clock, lest they stay out a few minutes past their bedtime and end up with bags under their eyes to mar their pristine-Sunday-morning persona.

So, I look at myself and ask...why? What is it about me that seems to make me so different from the friends I had so much in common with for so long? And the only answer I can come up with is...SEX! The erotica that I write and read, and the romance that is such a key part of my creative life... has spilled over into my "real" life and has had the unforeseen benefit of rejuvenating me. Of keeping the passion and spontaneity in my and my husband's life and, frankly...keeping us YOUNG! (Of mind, anyway, if not of body. Because I've still got the aches and pains of a 42 year old, that's for sure! lol)

So, my question, I guess is....what keeps YOU young? Do you think sex and passion can serve that function? That when our libido shrivels up and dies, that the rest of us will follow? Or am I imagining it and there is more to this equation that I am just not seeing?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gearing Up For The Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and I’m sure you’re all gearing up as I am. I’m also trying to concentrate on what I toss between my lips because I know the holiday months add to my waistline, my thighs, and the extreme enlargement of my ass. Shoot. I think I'm in trouble. Why? Because just the other night, me and the hubby were in the sauna. I felt something knocking on the back of my knees when I was standing under the shower spray. I thought it was him. Hell no. It was my ass. God darn gravity and gravy is really going to do a number on my aging body between now and the end of the year!

That whole episode got me to thinking about planning a way to lose those liquid gravy pounds and enter 2008 in the same pants size—if that’s possible—or at least try and stay on top of my game. So today I started to exercise. First, I sat in a chair and I limbered up my fingers. Then I grabbed on to my belly roll and lifted, two,, two, three...managed to get in ten sets. Then I ate a plate of pasta for energy. Yup, I'm in training now! And tonight? I'm using cholesterol-free butter on my popcorn.

Okay, that’s the funny part of the holiday season. The BEST part will be sharing time with my family. Traditions are big with us. We make our entire dinner from scratch. A big red Italian meal that everyone has learned to expect. I know if I altered the expected menu there would be a riot all around! So the lists are starting: presents, food, guests, drinks…the beat goes on and on and doesn’t calm until January 2nd of the following year!

It’s amazing how our family group grows by the years. In-laws, grandchildren, friends stopping by. I love it. Oh yeah, don’t let me fool you. I stress like anyone else but in the end, it all comes together and I just keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. Oh, here would be a great place to mention the family growth. I’m going to be a grandma again come June of 2008!

So in honor of the holiday season, I’m spotlighting one of my holiday stories called WINTER’S ROSE. This book is part of a Christmas Studs series written along with Diana Hunter and Ruth D. Kerce. And I’m sooooo excited to announce that each of these digital stories are being combined in a PRINT holiday anthology that is being released in December!! Be sure to check my website for release details!

I guess it's time to wind down and make a chocolate malt. Okay, so I start my real regimen tomorrow. It’s always good to start a diet on a Monday, ain’t it? I want to wish each and every one of you a holiday season blessed with health and peace! I’d love to hear about your traditions – come on! Shout it out!

Love, Ruby

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Driving with a new teenage driver

I've reached that section of life that all parents arrive to when their children turn the ripe old age of 16. They know everything including how to drive. 6 hours of driving school and their the experts.
Now I understand why my mother never rode anywhere with me behind the steering wheel.
Curves are taken at a much faster pace and the car always seems to be on two wheels. Of course, they're not they just seem that way. I have to say I've never stomped the invisible brake on my floor board so hard or gripped the dashboard and car door handle so much to stay in the seat and I've got the seatbelt on.. But I'm wrong?
I guess it doesn't help that I tend to chant the mantra of Dustin Hoffman's character in 'Rainman"..I'm an excellent driver...and time for Wapner.
The occasional 'I'm gonna die' tends to slip out at times too when he gets a bit too close to the car in front of us. And I should have the strongest leg of all times with all the stomping I keep doing on the passenger side of the car. One of these days, I'll probably pull a Fred Flintstone and
push my feet through to the ground...ouch!
How is it that when you try to remain calm and explain what was done wrong, they look at you
like your that creature popping out of the guys stomach in that scary movie? Like--what moi did something wrong--no way. He knows it all.
Thank god for hair dye because he's turning it grayer at a phenomenal pace.
But I have decided, learning to drive a stick shift is all his Father's pleasure. I've done my time.
The only good thing riding around with a 16 year old driver has done..its kept the blood flowing to the brain and many ideas of how to kill off the villain have popped into my head. many have ties to driving a car with a teenager.
Thanks for listening to my rant
Tara Nina

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The leaves, they are a changin'

The signs that a new school year are about to start are ubiquitous. From the ‘back to school sale’ signs in every store (even the dollar stores!) to the emergence of big yellow busses, the coming of school is as inexorable as the coming of autumn. Life settles into a decidedly different pattern in September (or August for those of you who start earlier than we do in New York). And since both my husband and I are teachers (he teaches college, I teach high school), and we have two teenagers in a different high school than I teach in, we live and breathe by the school calendars of three different schools.

For me, the ten months that comprise the school calendar are ten months of Mommy-taxi, ten months of writing when the time allows, ten months of hitting the ground running in the morning and not stopping till I fall into bed at night. What’s funny is that I find myself more productive as a writer during the school year than during the summer. My son runs cross-country, so I take him to practice, then sit in the car and write. A full hour of uninterrupted time…no phone, no interruptions…just me and my laptop. My husband loves that I volunteer to run the kids hither and yon because that means quiet time for him at home. Works for everyone!

I also find more time to read during the school year than I do in the summer. In the summer, I’m too busy gardening, going on vacation, or playing on the computer (my big vice! I LOVE Second Life and can be found there waaaay too often!). But in the autumn, the garden is put to bed and thoughts of next year’s vacation are still a ways off. The computer, however, is still a constant weakness . But for some reason, as the leaves turn colors and fall, the books come off the TBR pile and into my hands. Just something about curling up on a beautiful fall day and immersing myself in a good romance or fantasy or science fiction, or non-fiction historical (what can I say? I have eclectic tastes!).

So what about you? What time of the year is your favorite time to pull those books off the pile? And if you’re a year-round reader…do you have any particular genre that go with any particular season?

And as safe!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Romance in the 1970’s

I love reading romances. I’ve been doing it since I was about 12 years old when I started on the inspirationals and regency stories Grandma had sitting out on the book shelf in her living room.

Not to say that Grandma didn’t read steamier stuff. I just took me four more years to find it. Up in her attic, I did find her boxes of True Confession magazines and lots of juicy Harlequins where the hero was absolutely dominant and the heroine had some nice little temporary job that she was happy to give up at the end. The last scene was almost always the hero declaring his undying love and right out the window went the waitress/secretary/governess job. Now she could give up that daily drudge to become his WIFE and the MOTHER of his future babies!!

Yippee Skippy! That was romance in the 1970’s!

Totally Neanderthal of course. In real life, we gals like to have careers and all that but…there’s just something delicious about that dominant male.

There was not a lot of sex in these stories. Just the promise of it. Smoldering looks. Possessive behaviors. “You are mine, Querida,” would say the former bull fighter turned successful Brazilian businessman. The young twenty something English flower (who had entered his realm though inheriting a diner next to his office) would swoon in his arms. The hero’s mouth would swoop down taking possession of hers. First brutally, because she had made him jealous, but then it would become softer, more demanding. And that was about as far as the sex would go.

I just knew that this guy was going to screw her socks off. I’d finish the book and sigh, wishing I could know more of what happened when they finally hit the sheets.

I’d love to find some books that are basically this kind of story but take the sex up to the next level. Post your comments and let me know what books you’ve found like this or others in the 70’s and 80’s that you absolutely enjoyed!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

I like male chests. Nicely defined, well muscled, male chests. For me, there's nothing sexier than a shirtless guy in a pair of well-worn jeans with the waistband dipping ever so slightly so that the line of his hip is exposed. Seriously, my mouth practically waters when I see that little trail to paradise going down from six-pack abs.

Recently, I went to a water park where there were a great number of bare, male chests available for my viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, there was a definite LACK of muscular chests in the selection. Granted, it was a family oriented park and not Muscle Beach, but it got me to thinking.

One thought that popped into the chaos I call a brain was, HELLO, Ever hear of Bowflex? The other thought was the vast, vast majority of men have hairy chests.

Now, my father is a hairy, hairy man as is my husband, so that may color my perceptions some, but I always thought once a man went through puberty, they grew hair upon their chests. It's sort of what separates the men from the boys, yes?

Then how come in all the posters, book covers, and even movies and soap operas, all the men have muscular hairless chests? Does the act of pumping iron work like Nair? (If so, I'm starting on a new leg regimine so I never have to shave again.)

Have we as a society in our endless search for youth associated hairless chests as a sign of beauty?

I happen to like a little hair to run my fingers through and rub up against on all the right spots. I'm not talking about completely gorillia here, but an nice patch of fuzz over the pecs and leading down to a thin Happy Trail is very sexy to me.

I appreciate the uncluttered beauty of a hairless chest on male models, but when we're talking about getting nekkid and doing the deed, I like having a bit of hair to play with.
(Sorry, TMI?)

So, tell me, what do you think? Hair or no hair? And why?

Now I think I'm going to have to do some personal research, have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Great Scot!

Do the words,

"Come with me girl and let me run my hands all over your lovely little body and make you purr..."

Make you squirm? No? Maybe? What about this then,

"Come with me lass and let me run my hands all over your bonny wee body and make you purr..."

Now maybe neither of them does any of them for you but that's maybe got more to do with the cheesy dialogue than the point. Which is this, what's in an accent? Why is it that a man with an accent is so much more of a turn on? Particularly a Scottish accent it seems. Maybe it's all the rolling 'rrrr's' and the thought of what a tongue that dexterous can accomplish. Now a Scottish accent doesn't do a hell of a lot for me but that might be because I'm Scottish myself. Now give me an Irish, Italian, or an American accent and whoa! I write Scottish heroes in my books because it's what I know, but the Irish, American and English characters... well,
they're for me.

So what is it? Is it the appeal of the exotic? Is it the whole package? Do we fall for the stereotype's attached to that voice? The Scottish Laird who will lift you up in his big brawny, sword wielding arms and carry you off to his castle, uncaring about the freezing Highland mist that nips at his naked arse under his kilt. The charming, playful Irishman who'll ply you with Guinness and legends of pookhas and banshees and take you home to his picturesque village on the coast. The fiery Italian who'll sweep you off you're feet with romance and flowers and make love to you with unrestrained passion.
I know which on I'd choose, so which accent does it for you and why?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Got Ménage a Trois or More?

In the aftermath of the latest brouhaha uproar over what constitutes a romance, I thought it would be fun to pretend that we’ve all agreed a romance book can include more than one hero and/or more than one heroine. (I know, I have a very optimistic imagination. *grin*) Which then evolves into the question: How many is too many? Do you have a breaking point where an erotic romance has gone too far by including one too many people in the “group”? Where is the cut-off, and if there is one, are we again drawing lines some believe we have no right to draw?

To break it down with examples, I thought I’d pull out a couple of my own books to examine…

Let’s start with a body count of 3 in A WANTON’S THIEF, the first in my Thieves & Lovers Robin Hood series. When Falcon (aka Robin Hood) begins a seriously hawt romance with Lady Salena Tremayne, you think it can’t possibly get any better…until the ties that bind Falcon to Little John come into play. The relationship in this m/f/m trio is formed on a solid base of mutual love and respect between them all. BUT, due to a centuries-old curse, John must eventually find his own woman to love…

Now, onward to body count 4. In the second book in my Thieves & Lovers series, A GYPSY’S THIEF, Falcon and Salena return, but by now, John has literally fallen for Scottish gypsy, Catriona. However, we still have that bind between Falcon and Little John alluded to in the previous paragraph. Which brings us to a scorching ménage a trois or more. Incidentally, the third and final book in this series is currently being written. Hmm, stay tuned to find out the body count on that one. ;)

Delving a bit deeper beyond population, does it depend on who’s interacting with whom? (Now I could go as high as 5 or more, but for the purposes of example and length, I’ll stick to 4 here.) In other words, which combination below, in your opinion, is the best/hottest in erotic ménage romances:

1) m/m/f
2) m/f/m
3) f/f/m
4) f/m/m/f
5) m/f/f/m
6) m/f/m/f

Or does it depend on the dynamics of interaction more than numbers? Strictly from my writer’s point of view, it can get somewhat confusing keeping all those appendages and orifices straight while coordinating more than 3 in a scene. But from my reader’s vantage point, both number and combination don’t really matter. It all depends on how well the author has written the love scenes, how hot and romantic it all comes across, and what sorts of emotions are going on between all the lovers.

So, in multiple-partner erotic romances, do you think the more the merrier is acceptable, or would 3 lovers be your limit? So again, I ask… Got ménage a trois? Or got more?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back to Skool

Back. To. School. Three magic words. Whether you have kids going back or are going back yourself (on either side of the desk), you cannot deny the incredible wonder of those three words.

New pencils, new crayons, new notebooks, new binders. New books . Loved the new books. Especially when they really were new. Mostly what we were handed had been used by several classes before us, but on occasion, we were lucky enough to be the very first to use a particular textbook. I loved listening to the creak of the binding being opened for the first time and sniffing the somewhat oily smell of the shiny pages with pictures (we loved to sniff dittoes, too. We were convinced the smell from the purple ink could make us high. Yes, I’m that old.).

And let’s not forget new teachers! First year or fifteenth year…their experience didn’t matter a whit on opening day. They were new to us and that was cause for tons of anxiety the night before. What would she look like? Did he grade really hard? Would she be really strict? By the end of the year we’d either be old friends or hard enemies, but on that first day…anything was possible.

My favorite and my scariest first day of school both happened on the same day. After eight years in public schools, I decided I needed more focus on learning academics and less focus on survival. My junior high years were filled with violence (not a day went by that I didn’t witness at least one fistfight) and I wanted a change. So I talked my parents into sending me to one of several Catholic high schools in our city.

That sounded great in theory. But I’m one who doesn’t really like change. Keeping the status quo is usually just fine with me. Sure my head wanted the move…but the morning of that first day…my heart quailed. What the heck was I thinking? New building, new people, new everything! Heck, I was even wearing a uniform! I didn’t know a single person of the five hundred and twenty-five ninth graders who entered that building that day (a fact I later realized was wrong. As the year progressed, I discovered there were actually two people I’d gone to school with in elementary school or in junior high…two out of five hundred and twenty-five).

So what on earth could make this become by favorite first day? That understanding would come only with hindsight. Later I understood the tremendous courage I’d had to muster to walk through that door and I still take pride in doing something that scared me so much. I also ended up loving that high school…the teachers, the kids, even the administration all combined to create an incredible experience for this shy, scared fourteen-year-old freshman who screwed her courage to the sticking place and got through that first day. I’d not trade those years for anything.

So what about you? What are your favorite memories of the start of school? What made them so memorable? And more importantly, did ya learn anything?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Same Sex...Marriages??

In 1965 the Supreme Court of Canada labeled Everett Klippert a “dangerous sexual offender” and tossed him in prison because he had admitted to being gay and having sex with other men.

Forty years later in 2005 the Canadian Parliament passed a law officially recognizing and making same sex marriage legal and legitimate.

Wow…we’ve come a long way, baby! Or…at least some of us have. On one hand I am so very thrilled to live in one of only three countries in the world to have taken this giant leap, and yet…

There are still dissenters. Two provinces and a territory continue to refuse to adopt the legislation. Politicians debate the legitimacy of the law citing some of the most ridiculous reasons as to why it’s not valid. Why it couldn’t possibly represent the majority of Canadian opinion. Why it threatens the very fabric of our society.

It threatens the fabric of our society. I see. And how do we figure this, exactly? Will the existence of the law act as permission for millions of gay and lesbian people to suddenly erupt from the closet? Abandon families, husbands, wives and children and flock to local ministers to tie the knot before spilling into the streets in mad abandon? Dancing naked and engaging in public homosexual sex-acts, thereby enticing innocent law-abiding heterosexual to abandon their values and dabble in the dark arts of male/male tonsil-hockey and…gasp…anal sex?

THIS is the kind of attitude that continues to baffle…and yes, distress me. Why does our society, on the whole, continue to be so threatened by anyone who is a little…different. Who doesn’t fit into those small round holes we have drilled out for them?

The institution of marriage is not permission or a license, or the only established way to have or raise children and build a loving family unit. Marriage is a celebration of love and commitment, and in a world where traditional marriages dissolve as easily and routinely as Kool-Aid in water it should be encouraged and affirmed as such. Whether it is between two men, two women, a man and a woman shouldn’t matter. And frankly, whether it’s recognized by the state shouldn’t matter.

Having said that, however, there are legal issues, issues of financial benefits and child custody that such a law facilitates and I don’t blame this segment of society for seeking legitimization. And I do believe that such a law provides that—a tangible validation for the ‘square pegs’ in our society. It heightens awareness and inspires discussion. And while the debate may be infuriating and frustrating at times, I take comfort from the fact that at least, in this new Millenium there is discussion, and that the issue is no longer so cloaked in secrecy and scandal.

As an author who writes—and very much ENJOYS writing—tales of same sex romance, I applaud this law. And I also hope that my stories will have their small part in promoting awareness and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle that has been feared and persecuted, but an indisputable part of society since the dawn of time—and that will continue to be part of it long after my books have turned yellow and disintegrated into dust.

How do you feel? Would you like to see your government consider such a law? Do you see problems with it? Moral issues? Whether you agree or disagree…I’d like to hear!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Paranormals: Still Hot!

What is it about paranormal books that we love so much? The vampires, werewolves, warlocks, witches, aliens...they all grab us and keep us hooked until we turn the last page in the book.


Real life is full of schedules, traffic, headaches, kids' events. When I read, I want to escape...I want to go someplace where the hero wants nothing more than to pleasure me. He wants to love me, protect me, and give me multiple orgasms.

In my new book, SEDUCTION'S SPELL, my heroine owns an antebellum mansion with an enchanted water well. Her guests who drink the water are affected however they need to be to find happiness. It might be a woman who needs the strength to tell her husband how she really feels. Perhaps it's a woman who is willing to let go and allow a man to care for her. Maybe it's the man who wants to win back the love of his life. Happiness can be theirs with the help of Belle and her enchanted water.

I love writing with a touch of the paranormal. There are no limits, no boundaries. The hero and heroine (or maybe there are two heroes) will find happiness either here on earth or on a planet light years away.

And you can bet the heroine will have multiple orgasms.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fun New Short Stories at HarperCollins

As well as the full-length books I write for Ellora's Cave and Avon, Harper Collins has started an erotic short story collection. I'm proud to be one of the first authors to contribute to the collection. My story, REUNION, is about a woman who goes back to her hometown for her high school reunion. While there, she encounters her best friend from school, the one she always secretly loved.

What a fun story to write! If you're intrigued, please check out this link:

Happy reading!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Terrors of Writing A Sequel

This week, I thought I’d share a little of the twisted world of writing.

I love sequels. When I finish a great book, I hope the author will write something else from that world or take a luscious secondary character and make him the hero of his own story.

As a reader, I love this. As an author, it terrifies me.

A little bit about how I go about putting together a book (it makes more sense later, really).

For me, the creative process begins when I come with a scene, one scene, and from that scene, I create the rest of the book. Basically, I write the book so I can read that defining scene. (I actually wrote an entire book around the sentences, “Most people would have thought it was impossible but she’d done it. She’d pissed off Santa Claus.”)

So, that’s where my creative juices start flowing. I have scene, I create characters, I figure out conflict (if it’s not already apparent), and I come up with “the rest of the story.”

When the book is finished, many times I’ve fallen in love with the world or the characters and I realize…I could write a sequel!

And that’s when I wish I was a better planner. I wish I’d thought of this before I finished writing book one. Now, I have a world and a character, but no scene. I don’t know where to start! It’s rather terrifying, actually.

I love when I see an author that so clearly has her world defined and her characters laid out. The best example I can think of is JR Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. From the first book, she’s got clearly defined secondary characters that make you want more, but never take away from the hero and heroine of the story.

The reason this is on my mind is I have a sequel coming out this week. Summer’s Caress (from Ellora’s Cave) is the sequel to New Year’s Kiss and once again, as I was writing NYK, it never occurred to me that I would write more in the series. But I found myself so captivated with the werewolf world I’d created, that I wanted to spend more time there.

So I began with a character (Rebecca) and had to come up with a scene that defined the book for me. It’s a little backwards from how I normally write but it was a fun challenge. The scene that became the “one scene” for me ended up being between the two heroes (with Rebecca appearing at the end). Very sexy and just makes my heart go pitter-patter thinking of it.

And, I’m learning (yes, she can be taught!). I’m working on two more sequels in the New Year’s Kiss/Summer’s Caress werewolf world, but this time, I realized I wanted to write more while I was in the middle of Summer’s Caress. It gave me the chance to prepare a bit before sitting down to write the next two books.

So, what makes a book “sequel-worthy” to you? What makes you want more (and more!)? Do you fall in love with characters or the world the author’s created? What keeps you coming back?

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Mr. Gale Harold:

I got to thinking about the first post and then people posting who they really liked, who was the most hunkable to them, the sexiest, the guy that really "did" it for them.

Let's hear who and why from all of you? Me? I'm still sticking with Gale Harold, the aforementioned hunk who you can now see. I think if the man walked into a room I'd swoon like a big-breasted, thin waisted, bodice-ripped-off heroine from a dimestore novel. I'd pretend to faint and as I sank to the floor, his arm would capture me close to his chest. He'd blow softly in my ear to wake me gently... ahhhhhh, man. If anyone knows him, PLEASE tell him he's my all time fave!

Welcome to our world!

Happy blogging, everyone!

Well, the Sizzling Scribes have finally joined the land of Blog and we're very happy to be here! Hope this is a corner of the web that you'll all enjoy visiting. We've taken our Fantasy Club Group and expanded with hopes that you'll partake in all our chatting and yakking and laughing.

What we've got on tap for you is a weekly visit from one of our authors and I get to be the first guinea pig. (Check out our pic at the bottom of the page. It's the shining faces of our ten members.) And each week we plan to spotlight one of our authors' books. But that's not the only reason we're here. We want to start a conversation but you feel free to join in and head in an entirely different direction if that's what your heart desires!

So...what the heck should we start with now? I know, just a quick comment on His Toys. I've had some wonderful reviewer responses to my first ever story written for Ellora's Cave's Exotika line. That excites me...that gives me goosebumps...that gives me an orga.... Wait a minute. I'm giving myself away. LOL.

It's been a wild summer and I can't believe how quickly it's coming to an end. It's like I blinked and suddenly it was August. Before I know it, snowballs will be banging me in the ass up here in northern Minnesota. That's okay. It'll make me stay home and get some writing done! Ah, can't wait for a cozy fire, a hot drink, a warm body lying next to me so we can... crap! There I go again.

Say, have any of you ever seen the show Queer as Folk? It used to be on showtime. I think I've found a new hero. I love Johnny Depp...will always love JD, but I've had to slide him a weeeee bit over on the shelf to make room for Gale Harold. Oh yowsa! Even at my age, a stud like him does it for me. LOL. Why I don't know...could be he's a fantastic actor. Makes me laugh out loud one minute and can bring tears to my eyes a second later. There's something about him that curls my toes.

I guess I've rambled enough for the day. (Not really...I just want to go pop in an episode of QAF so I can rev the engine and blow out a little exhaust!)

You all have a wonderful week and I'll be checking back! Luv ya!

Huggers, Ruby