Monday, December 24, 2012

Some Things Just Go A Certain Way

I did it! I made it through another year. 2013 is right around the corner. This coming year I’m not making any new resolutions because I figured why set myself up to fail? I’m going to keep the mindset that if I’m very quiet about things needing to be done or changed, there may be a good possibility I can quietly sneak up on them and get them accomplished while not pre-jinxing myself.

Sounds a little adolescent but, hey, I’ll try anything once. I remember last year at this time—and on this very blog—proclaiming that 2012 was going to be the year of Ruby. HA! Things don’t always turn out like you’d like. Last January we made the decision to redo our old bathroom. It was nearing the end of its life. My shabby vanity had seen years of wear from either small children crawling up the side to reach the faucet, spilled nail polish, and the “oops, Ma, I just dropped a hammer on the tile.” It was getting really hard to think of all the cracks, dents, and gunk as simple character marks. Then my husband blew out his shoulder and ended up having surgery, so the project waited.

Then along April we once more put the remodel out on the table. Yup, things were really starting to deteriorate back there in the bathroom. We started to draw plans again…and then in the famous words of Emeril, BAM! I ended up with some medical issues and subsequent surgery the first week of June. So now we’re backed up until the end of August.

Along about September I’m really starting to worry about stepping into the tub only to end up crashing through to the basement. Tiles around the tub began to pop and water started going places it really shouldn’t. So the process proceeded and the money pit began to sap our strength. Because of one thing or the other, actual demolition didn’t start until towards the end of November. And then we discovered that ALL the plumbing had to be replaced, which was probably a smart thing to do. And since we’re anal about doing things ourselves we have now found ourselves on Christmas Eve morning without a second toilet and thirty-three people coming for dinner tomorrow.

But you know? I decided not to sweat it. It is what it is. My kids and grandchildren and family members are all going to be here healthy and happy. The food is going to be substantial and hot, and the drinks are going to be cold and tasty. So what if the house isn’t picture-perfect. The sheetrock dust is gone and the presents are all wrapped and under the tree. I just took out a pecan pie from the oven, the spaghetti sauce is bubbling and I’m off to make my one son his banana cream pie, the other, his chocolate. My brother-in-law’s cherry pie was baked earlier.

So there it is. I’m planning on a great day tomorrow and hoping for health and happiness in 2013. As far as ‘the year of Ruby’? Well, I’ll just take one day at a time. Merry Christmas to all of you and special wishes to 26 families in Connecticut. Keep them in your hearts.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tales of Christmas

So my trees are up inside and outside, I’ve dug out my Michael BublĂ© CD and I’ve finally started my present shopping. Yes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. My mind is turning to traditions and family and the Christmas spirit is starting to spread. I find I’m enjoying the Christmas decorations and music that were just annoying in November. I want to bask in that warm festive glow. I want to read all the Christmas stories that are being released. I’ve pulled the ones I didn’t make it to last year to the top of my reading list. So many awesome Christmas tales to read and only a few short weeks to fit them all in, because after that window has passed they just don’t hold the same meaning. In fact after the last cracker has been pulled and the last firework faded from the New Year's sky we are all ready for Christmas to be over for another year.

So tell me, which are your favourite Christmas books? Which do you re-read over again? Which of the new releases are you looking forward to the most? Which of those stories should I make sure are at the top of the list this year?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dog Lovers Unite

Dog Lovers Unite

There isn’t a day goes by that someone doesn’t post a picture of a pet on Facebook. It doesn’t even have to be their companion. It’s just a random picture they found and posted a funny quip with it to make the reader laugh.
Most the time it’s pictures of cats. I’m not a big fan of cats. I’ve got my reasons. I had a cat named Fuzz, who was the best mouser on the planet and his weight proved it. What turned me away from cats as pets was this one vindictive little biotch. She belonged to my roommate at the time, many years ago. This little furry vixen hated me from the beginning.
I think she was convinced it was my fault she went to the vet to get fixed, since I was the one who picked her up after the operation. She considered me to be the reason for her pain. Lovely. And that was the start of our love hate relationship.
You’re going to love the rest of this story. It gets better, because I plan to share with you some of the hateful things she did to me during our time together.
If I ever forgot to close my bedroom door, she would sneak into my room and jump onto my dresser. Not a problem. I didn’t mind she liked to be up on things. But when she decided to chew up all the gold bead necklaces I had hanging on a jewelry stand, I was ready to kill her. She looked at me as if “What? I thought you wanted the gold beads squashed flat.” I never left the bedroom door open again.
Now I’m dating myself on this one J  Whenever I listened to records on the stereo, I had to make sure to close the lid. If I didn’t, she’d use it as an amusement ride. The little vixen would jump up and sit on the record as it went round and round, ruining it for any future use.  Then she’d give me a look like “I hated that song.”
My curtains took a beating as her personal climbing toys. But the Christmas tree was her favorite. She treated it as her personal climbing tree. The first time she slithered up the artificial limbs, it fell over, breaking most of the ornaments while we were at work. Of course, most of the ornaments were mine so she got her vengeance. Instead of blowing my top, we tied the tree to the wall so it wouldn’t fall again.
Big Mistake. This gave her the perfect launching station. Since it was situated at the front window and beside the front door, it was a great location for her to plan sneak attacks on whoever came through the door. Mostly just me. She acted like a princess when her mother was home. This little vixen would climb into the tree and wait for me to enter. The moment I closed the door behind me, she’d jump out of the tree and use me as a scratching post.
Of course, this got her taken to the vet and her front claws removed. I wasn’t playing games anymore. But neither was she. The last straw came the day she figured out how to use her back claws to get me good. I used to do sit-ups in front of the TV everyday. (this is true I swear, not my reality now LOL). She planned her attack just right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her sitting in the kitchen doorway ignoring me. At least that’s what I thought. The moment I lay flat, she sprang into action and hauled ass as fast as she could from the kitchen, straight across the living room and my stomach, making sure she dug those back claws in as she made her turn for the hall and her master’s bedroom.
That ended her time with us. The gouges across my stomach didn’t need stitches but bled and were painful with every move I made. When my roommate got home, the cat was in a large cardboard box, which was taped shut. I had it addressed for Hell. Of course, I was nice enough to poke a few holes in it, but I really didn’t want too. My roommate got the message and took the cat to her grandparent’s farm where she is probably still tormenting the other cats to this day.
Demon cats never die.

I solemnly swear that all of this did happen to me. As an author, the imagination sometimes takes over and embellishes events, but not in this case. This cat and I hated each other and that’s a fact.
Please share your Love-Hate animal stories. I’d love to hear them so I know I’m not alone. I truly love my Dogs. They love me and have never tried to hurt me intentionally. We have the perfect relationship. I feed them. They give me kisses. I throw the ball. They bring it back.
Try that with a cat. It’ll look at you like “What? You think I’m going to get that? Really?”
Dog lovers unite. Flood Facebook with dog loving pictures.
A big thanks to Diana Hunter for stepping into my blog spot several weeks ago. As many of you know, the northeast took a double hit. My heart goes out to all who suffered as a result of Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that followed. It is times like these that make us realize the power of Mother Nature and that we are helpless at her hands when she is suffering a severe bout of PMS. We were lucky and only lost power. Others lost everything. 
To donate or help in the relief efforts contact:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Go-To Authors

I love to read. It's right up there at the top of my list of favorite things to do. I was a reader long before I ever wrote the first word for my own books.

Along the way, I've discovered some wonderful authors, and some not-so-wonderful authors. We all have different reading tastes. You might hate an author I love, and vice versa. That's okay. There are plenty of wonderful books out there for all of us to enjoy.

I'm so lucky to be involved with the Sizzling Scribes. I truly love all their books. I know if I read a book by Arianna or Cait or Diana or Ruby or Tara or Tielle, it will be wonderful. I'll get lost in their worlds and characters and forget everything around me for a few hours of absolute bliss. When I'm ready to start a new book, I'll search for one of theirs first.

So now I'm in a quandary. I only have a few Scribes books left that I haven't read. Then what? Eek! Who do I read next?

I doubt if I'm different from most readers who have favorite authors, ones they go to when they want a really good book to read. Other than my Scribes sisters (who all need to write faster so I don't run out of their books to read), I'll turn to Nora Roberts, the Queen of Romance. I haven't read a book by her yet that I didn't enjoy.

Next on my go-to list is Jill Shalvis. I love Jill's humor, her hunky heroes, and her down-to-earth (and sometimes klutzy) heroines.

I also enjoy:
P.J. Alderman
Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander
Sandra Brown
Jaci Burton
Flo Fitzpatrick
Cindy Gerard
Angela Knight
Titania Ladley
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Jayne Rylon
Nikki Soarde
J.R. Ward
Caitlyn Willows
And so many others, I can't list all of them.

How about you? Who are your go-to authors? Share with me. I love discovering new authors to read!


P.S. Perfect Pleasure is only 99¢ through November 30th at Smashwords with coupon code EV62A. That's a $2.00 savings!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Of power outages and new releases...

Normally, this is Tara Nina's turn to blog but Sandy went and put her big foot into it and Tara and I have switched places in the line-up.

First of all, Tara's fine. Many of you know she lives in New Jersey. Yes, she's one of many without power but, luckily she does not live along the coast so she still has a house. She and her husband also have a generator, so she's warm, dry and tells us she has plenty of food.

What she is running out of is gasoline for the generator. We've all seen the lines snaking around corners and doubling back on itself as people wait for their turn at the pump. :(

Since there's no way to mail her a gallon of gas, please consider donating to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, two organizations that are helping so many people right now.They're bringing hot meals to to those who need it, providing shelter for those who have no homes, and yes, helping to coordinate getting fuel to those who have run out. Donate blood if you can to keep the supply levels up, donate money or time if you have it. The aftermath is often worse than the storm itself.

And in the midst of all this, the newest Sweet Spot story released this week! Nothing like curling up inside with a good, hot read to keep you warm. TIED TO HOME centers around Matt Carter and Wisteria Penny Lane (can you tell her parents were hippies?). After several years apart, their interest kindles when they realize they both like their sex on the kinky side - the BDSM kinky side. :)

Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:

TIED TO HOME by Diana Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Matt Carter sauntered in, taking a moment to look around. Wisteria Penny Lane. She’d taken a lot of heat for her name when they were kids. Hippie parents who didn’t have a clue the teasing they’d saddled onto their only child. He wondered if they still had that commune outside of town.
He’d seen the ropes, of course. And the marks around her breasts. She’d been tied up pretty well. Who knew when they lost their virginity together in the barn on her parent’s farm that the girl would grow up to have kinky tastes? Or that he’d grow up to have them as well?
Now she stood, defiant and proud, her wrists held out before her in challenge. She’d  thrown a book at his head the last time he’d seen her, as he recalled. If Brian had told him whose lock he was going to fix, he doubted he’d have come.
“Let me see what I can do. Have a seat.”
There was a small chest on the floor in front of the window and he gestured to it.
“I’d rather stand.”
“I’m sure you would. But I need steady hands and that’s easier to do when I’m kneeling.” He smirked. “And you always did want me down on one knee, as I recall.”
“You bastard. Get the fuck out of my house.”
He drew back in mock astonishment. “Wisteria Lane, such language!”
“I don’t want you here. Tell Brian he sent the wrong man.”
Matt studied her face. A war went on there. One moment she seemed fully in control, the next she was a breath away from breaking down into full-blown panic mode. Fascinated, he watched the control side take over again. When she spoke this time, her voice was more leveled.
“Go away, Carter. I meant what I said the last time I saw you.”
“Yeah, I remember. That you never wanted to see me again. Well, here I am. And you’re stuck and I can get you free.” He held up the small case of tools. “Picking locks is something I do.”
Wisteria sat down hard on the chest, her wrists still held out before her. “Turned to a life of crime?” She sounded bitter and Matt recognized she felt defeated.
“Worked with a security firm for a while,” he explained as he knelt down before her and opened the case. He pulled out a dark blue roll of felt and unfolded it as he spoke. “They had a master locksmith as part of their crew and he taught me a few things.”
“Security firms are supposed to keep people out, not get them in.”
He snorted. “You’d be surprised at how often people lock themselves out of their own systems. First thing they taught me was how to break into a car with a slimjim.” Carefully, he reached for her hands. “Now, let me see.”
She said nothing to him as he examined the problem. The first piece caught in the lock of the handcuffs came out easily enough with a small tweezers. The second proved more difficult and he had to twist around to work the lock from her side of it. That put him uncomfortably close and her perfume distracted him.
Pretending his shoulder didn’t touch hers was another distraction. And that string bikini wasn’t helping. He remembered those breasts, how soft they felt in his hands, how he could make her purr by licking her nipple…
The piece sprang free and with a twist, he opened the handcuffs, totally shocked by the feeling of disappointment that washed over him. What was he thinking? Wiste wanted no part of him. And, if he was honest with himself, admittedly not one of his strong points, he didn’t really want a complication in his life right now. He’d just left one in the desert of Las Vegas, he didn’t need to pick up another one here in Connecticut.
Her exaltation was immediate. He didn’t say a word, only putting his tools away, re-rolling the felt and putting it back in its case. Wisteria jumped up and brushed past him as if he didn’t exist.
“Em, he did it. Emily? Em!”
But Matt knew Emily had left. He’d heard her sneak down the stairs before he’d even gotten his tools out. For reasons of her own, Emily Baker had left them alone.

Like it? TIED TO HOME comes in all ebook formats. You can find the links to what you like here. If you prefer a hardcopy, the paperback is coming soon.

Please consider a donation to the Red Cross or Salvation Army!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I know it's my turn to blog on Monday of the week before it's due. From the first announcement I get, I start thinking about what to say. This week, I knew on Friday I would be going on a field trip with my students. This particular field trip was a zip line adventure. We would climb, zip, and scamper through the woods 70 feet in the air.

Did I mention I am afraid of heights? I mean, panic attack, whimper in fear, curl up in the fetal position afraid of heights. I was basically pressured into this by my students after having avoided this yearly trip for 6 years. I finally had to give in. How could I preach about facing challenges and leaving your comfort zone if I wouldn't do it?

So, with much trepidation, I went. I was almost sick to my stomach when I had to step off the first platform. I managed to do it, but not without swearing a great deal. I managed to make it through the whole course without crying, vomiting, or clinging to a tree. . .well, okay, not a lot of clinging. I was proud of myself and my students were proud of me and had the opportunity to feel braver than their teacher. It was a win-win for everyone. Great idea for a blog, right?

But then I thought about blogging about my anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 16 years now and we still not only love each other, we still lust each other. Especially when I'm writing. . .

I even thought about blogging about a new book I'm working on.

Then that bitch Sandy decided to slam the east coast and now I'm scrambling to get the blog written before I lose power AGAIN!

AGAIN! Last year we lost power twice for a week each time. Once because of hurricane Irene and once because of a freak October snow storm. Sandy promises to be a little of both and the worst we've seen for a while. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?????

I'm still traumatized from last year. I can't handle cooking over the fondue pot and putting in my contacts by candle light for another week. And if I have to play endless games of Monopoly again, someone may be hurt.

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, say a prayer that my sanity holds out, or at least the supply of tequila...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Romanticon 2012

By now you’ve probably read a dozen blogs on the Ellora’s Cave Publishing Romanticon so I’m not going to expand on the parties and giveaways, lap dancing and naughty photo ops. Instead I wanted to write about how Romanticon made me feel. Towards the end of that week one of my good friends and fellow Scribe, Ruby Storm said to me that I used to be so shy and quiet but this week she saw a big change in me. At the time I told her that it was my job as a midwife that had made me more outgoing and that is partly true but it’s not the whole story. I’m still ‘the quiet one’ externally at least. I watch people and listen and now and again my work mates are surprised when I zing them with the occasional comment or ask me what I am smiling about when I catch them in an innuendo. At home I don’t go out much I just go to work and come home to write, or read. I don’t have many friends and am single and if wasn’t for my job I could go a whole week without speaking to another person, in person that is. Most of my friends are out in the world, in touch only through the silken strands of the world wide web. This may sound rather lonely and I have to agree that sometimes it is but mostly, in the words of Jane Austen, I find myself quite content.

At other cons I have found myself watching the ‘cool kids’ and wishing I could be part of that crowd or seeing things go on and wish I was brave enough to do that. To join in. I rarely ever do though whether it’s shyness, or natural reserve or both.
Romanticon though, was different.

We were all the cool kids. Perhaps it helped that the whole hotel was ours and there was no one to offend. No need to worry about who would see you and what they would say or think. The atmosphere or the Con was relaxed, friendly, open… permissive. There was no divide between author and reader. Everyone was there for the same thing, the love of naughty fun where no one gets hurt. It felt safe.

I am not a good dancer but I danced like no one was watching every night. I danced with hot guys who although they were beautiful and amazing dancers themselves made me feel like I was Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. Me, the girl who was always picked last in school dance class. I danced with girls too without giving it a second thought and got cheers and cat calls. I presented a workshop and stood in front of a room full of people and talked about dicks and porn without blushing (much) or worrying about what people thought. I posed for a sexy picture with nine of the cover models and giggled like a school girl while they did their best to make me feel comfortable. I did a book signing where people didn’t pass me by because my books were erotic romances, where I didn’t feel somehow less an author because they were ebooks first. When we left the hotel staff said it felt like Christmas was over.

I drank, I danced, I hugged, I laughed, I cried. Not once in the whole week did I worry about what others thought of me.

I heard someone describe Romanticon as a family reunion and yes it does have the feel of a big, boisterous family. Only this family won’t turn you away if you are a bit different. Once you attend then you are instantly adopted and I guarantee you will wish away the year until you can join them again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

To Romanticon...or not

Many of the Scribes will be away from their desks next weekend, attending Ellora’s Cave’s yearly meet up of authors and readers: Romanticon. Cait, Ruby, Lynn, and Tara will all be there, holding a workshop on “The Nuts and Bolts of M/M Erotica” – with an emphasis on the nuts and bolts :). Don’tcha just want to be a fly on the wall in THAT talk!

Of course, it won’t be all fun and games in Ohio this year. Many of you know that one of EC’s top models, Angelo, was killed last week. There is a tribute planned for him on Friday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Tina Engler wrote a fitting eulogy for the Romanticon website.

Tielle, Cat and I, however, aren't attending this year. For various reasons, life has conspired to keep us home. One of these days we’re going to an event where all seven of us can be in the same place at the same time! To date, we have never done that. All our conversations are done through email with our brainstorming sessions for The Sweet Spot series taking place on a private wiki we've put together for our use.

But isn’t that wonderful, too? That seven people, all living in different parts of the world, can form a group, work together on various projects, and become friends, all while rarely seeing each other face-to-face? I’ve met all the Scribes – eaten dinner or shared drinks and conversation with every one of them. Just never at the same time in the same place.

I can tell you one thing...if we ever DO manage a group-wide, face-to-face meeting? The country that hosts us will never be the same! Some among us are party-ers who love to dance, others are quiet and don’t say much except for an occasional zinger that keeps us laughing long into the night.

I’ll miss getting to see the four at Romanticon and am making a resolution now: Before the end of another year, we’re all getting together in one big group. We’ll swap news about our families, talk about writing and tell dirty jokes till the sun comes up and goes down again. We’ll laugh and cry, rail at the world then solve all its problems. And we will act like what we have become: Scribe Sisters.

Love ya, Ladies! Have a great time at Romanticon; we'll leave the lights on for you :)


Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today would've been my mother's 93rd birthday. She passed away in 1997, so there won't be a birthday celebration or party today. She isn't the only loved one I've lost. My father passed away in 1975, my oldest sister in 1998, my husband in 2004, my brother in 2006.

Being the baby of my family, I've lost many relatives over the years, some I barely knew since they were so much older than I. There's always sadness to lose a loved one, but memories keep them alive in my heart.

I have many memories of loved ones, but certain ones come to my mind first when I think of someone. My mother made this incredible chocolate gravy. Yes, chocolate gravy! She'd make it for supper sometimes and serve it over buttered biscuits. Not the healthiest meal, but so good.

My father whistled. I'd be in my bedroom, working on homework, and I'd hear him whistling while he came down the hall toward my room. He'd pop in every evening to check on me. I think he wanted to be sure his baby was okay.

My sister was twelve years my senior. She married a career Navy man when I was eight and they lived all over the world, so I didn't get to see her very much. I remember her smile most of all. She had beautiful teeth and our father's blue-gray eyes. Her face would light up when she smiled. Plus she gave great hugs.

My brother called me Squirt, which was appropriate since I'm 5'3" and he was 6'1". He was sixteen years my senior. He'd tease me when I was a kid by putting his hand on my forehead and holding me in place while I tried to hit him. I'd end up laughing along with him.

My husband loved to fish. Boy, did he love to fish! He went almost every day, so we always had plenty of fish to eat. He loved to cook, so I didn't have to do anything with the fish except eat it, which I happily did. He was an artist and created acrylic paintings, pencil drawings, and ceramics. "Always" was his favorite song to sing around the house. I can't hear it without thinking of him.

I treasure the loved ones I still have in my life. My sister is the best sister in the world. I have beautiful nieces and handsome nephews. I have stepchildren and step-grandchildren who are so special. I have wonderful friends, including all of the Sizzling Scribes.

I'm creating new memories every day. They make me smile and cheer me when I'm sad. They're all precious, and something I'll have forever.

Do you have a special memory of a loved one? Share it with me.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Getting Ready For Another Self-Pubbed Book!

Good Sunday afternoon!

I’m excited for this week because I just finished the last edit of my next self-pubbed titled, SUNDAY LOVE. I plan to tend to all the many details of getting the book up and running by the end of this week.

I’m sure some of you have already heard about the joint erotic series that my author group, the Sizzling Scribes, have been working hard on. But for those of you who haven’t, I belong to a very talented and diversified group of authors who write erotic romance.

About a year ago we were all talking on line, something we do nearly on a daily basis, and brainstormed an idea that blossomed to a joint series called The Sweet Spot Series. We came up with a fictional town called Port Clef, Connecticut and two characters who are in every story. We even have a map of the city so when we’re writing our stories, we have exact locations. After some time, Port Clef has become real to me. I’ve walked the city streets, enjoyed the ocean and definitely enjoyed The Sweet Spot Shop’s chocolate chip cookies!

Okay, back to reality, Ruby. I decided to write a gay love story, multicultural in nature and boy, are my guys a couple of hotties (Note cover and you'll see why!) I love their tale and the pitfalls they overcome. I hope you’ll love the story, too, along with all the other books in the Sweet Spot Series. There’s a little something for everyone’s taste in reading.

Just to let you know, Lynn LaFleur’s CANDLELIGHT WISH is the first book up in the series and is currently for sale. I’m excited to list the entire list of contributed series books below:

Candlelight Wish by Lynn LaFleur
Candygram by Tara Nina
Cat Scratch Fever by Arianna Hart
Tied To Home by Diana Hunter
Storm Surge by Cait Miller
Sunday Love by Ruby Storm
Three’s the Charm by Tielle St. Clare

Check our website for more information:

So keep a look out toward the end of the week and check out SUNDAY LOVE! Thanks to everyone who read my books!
Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hectic Life of a wannabe Author

My dream is to be a real, full-time author. But life, bills and overall day to day adventures seem to slow me down. As I write this, I am planning the rest of my day. 1st: finish this blog. 2nd: start a load of laundry. 3rd: do the dishes. 4th: clear rest of day to do edits for my story in EC's Something Wicked This Way Comes III anthology.
I spent the better part of the early morning updating my website. Boy, that was behind the times.
I added 2 new covers. One I didn't know was available. Silken Seductions which releases in November, 2012.
I also added the cover for the most recent novel (book 4) in the Cursed MacKinnon series. This book is in edits and I don't have a release date as of yet.

Is it wrong to hope to win the lottery? I don't want millions. Just enough to pay off my debt so I can stay home and write. Writing keeps me sane. It's my way of letting the voices out of my head. Instead to doing what they say, I tell their stories for them so they don't take over and make me do naughty things. LOL!

Is there something you'd rather be doing on a daily basis?
Please let me know that I'm not alone in this pursuit of happiness and sanity.
Share your fantasy :)
Tara Nina
Hot Romance~Sexy Attitude

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Who's got your back?

Happy Labor Day Weekend to all of my American friends!

This Labor Day, my very good friend Leigh Wyndfield ( came up from south of the Mason Dixon line to visit me for a long weekend. Leigh and I met at my very first Romantic Times Convention in New York City in 2004. We immediately hit it off and have become great friends.

Writing is a very solitary endeavor. Often, a writer is alone with her characters and no one else for company. Having writing groups is a huge support. Having a friend who is a writer and "gets" what you are talking about is a godsend.

I have been very lucky to have fantastic writing friends. I have my Sizzling Sisters who have supported me through my daughter's cancer (she's in her second year of remission WOOT!) my father's death, moving, and going back to work full time. They understand when I disappear for weeks at a time and then come back saying "can anyone read this?" Without their support, I don't know if I would have ever written WAKING UP.

Just like an athlete needs to have a coach and support team, so too does a writer. If your world at home is falling apart, it's very difficult to write a happily ever after. Having a husband and children who are willing to
A.) Leave you alone so you can write and B.) eat leftovers for three days straight so you can finish something is incredibly helpful.

Writing friends are like coaches, they are there for you to kick you in the pants when things get rough. They force you to ignore the rejection/bad review/massive edits and get back to work. Unlike coaches, they don't mind answering random questions and don't blink when you ask, "can I kill someone by overdosing them on insulin?"

To sum up this rather random blog, I have to say I've been blessed with wonderful friends and a very understanding family. Writing may be a solitary venture, but with good friends at your back, you're never alone.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Permanently Mine

Those of you who follow me on Facebook ( or Twitter (@caitmiller) will know that I got a tattoo this month. It’s not my first, I tested the waters about 5 years ago with this on my right shoulder blade:

It was really painful and it did put me off for a while but eventually, like most people I wanted more. I’ve always been a fan of tattoo art and most of my family have ink, whether it be a small memento or full body coverage. I was well versed in the hazards and the correct way to do things. It took me a long time to decide what I wanted, I didn’t want to regret it. That’s why I chose the thistle, it meant something to me.

Pride in my country.

I also wanted a design that no one else had and in fact the thistle I chose was actually a brooch. I let the artist see what I liked and he drew it for me.

Five years later I can honestly say I don’t regret it and I wanted to be able say the same about this time. I took time to decide what I wanted again, this time I wanted to dedicate it to my love of books and escaping into other worlds. I also have a long time love of dragons. Put the two together and the artist and I came up with something we were both happy with. A dragon flying out of an open book.

Go big or go home, right?
Truthfully, I wanted to get a bigger tattoo this time though I hadn’t really thought it would turn out as big as it did but I trusted the artist and let her do her job. She estimated it would take 2-3 hours and we set a date to come in.
I was nervous but as prepared as I could be when I went to the shop that day. By hour 1 I was wondering when the ‘endorphins’ I had been told about would kick in and help with the pain. By hour 2 I had concluded that either they were lying or that I had none. By hour three I had lost all awareness of the time. By hour 4 I was shaking and, thankfully, done. I asked the artist what was the longest time anyone had sat for her and she said 4 hours. “I don’t know how anyone could do that!” I said and she laughed and pointed at the clock. I was very proud of myself and actually have no idea how I managed it.

In the next couple of weeks the tattoo healed. There was blood, pain and finally itching so bad I wanted to scratch the skin off my back. You never know how a tattoo will look when it heals and 3 weeks later I wasn’t entirely happy. There wasn’t enough colour in it, the head of the dragon was indistinct and it just looked too dark. I really didn’t want to go back for more, there hadn’t been enough time for me to forget. Equally, I didn’t want to live with it so I reluctantly went back to the shop. They looked at it and agreed that it needed a bit more work so we made another appointment. I don’t know if it was psychological but this time it hurt even worse. It took another hour and I couldn’t have sat any longer than that. It was enough though, I was thrilled with the result but not with another two weeks of pain and itching. It’s now almost a month since I had the art done…do I regret it?

Ask me in five years.

I thought I’d share some of the things I know about getting a tattoo below, I’d love to hear if you have any more.

Be sure about your design. Give it careful thought, remember it’s for life. Generally names of boyfriends/girlfriends, wives/husbands are a bad idea. Some artists even believe them to be bad luck.

Research. Find a reputable shop and visit it to make sure it lives up to its reputation and website/facebook page. Most shops have an online presence now but it’s easy to look your best in pictures these days.

Pick an artist whose work you like. Ask to see the artist’s book, the portfolio they keep of their previous tattoos. Meet them before and talk to them about what you want. It helps if you like them too. You might be spending a while together.

On the day:
Make sure you’re well rested and well hydrated although you might think you are too nervous, eat. Nothing heavy but have something filling a couple of hours before.

Wear appropriate clothing, something you can easily expose the area you want tattooed. Make it black and not something you will miss if it has to be thrown away. Tattoos bleed and black won’t show any stains from blood or ink.

Take water and a sugary drink and a snack. This is especially important if you will be getting a big tattoo. Your blood sugar can drop during the process and you can feel faint, a shot of sugar can help.

Follow the instructions the artist gives for aftercare. Most will advise some kind of ointment but I personally used Bepanthen nappy ointment. It works really well believe it or not.

Don’t be afraid to go back if you’re not happy with something, they will help if they can. It’s their reputation too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

When real life gets in the way

Robbie Burns was right. "The best laid plans o' mice and men oft' gang agley..."

And boy, did I have it all planned out. Because of an illness in my husband's family, he and I cancelled our trip to Maine and Nova Scotia, a trip initially planned for last week and this. Spending those two weeks at our cabin in the mountains of southern New York was our second option and I made a list of all the local places we hadn't been yet. We'd stay at the cabin and do smaller day trips in between trips home to check on his mom in the hospital. This way, he could also get a good deal of painting time in and I could finish my Sweet Spot novel that releases in November. A good compromise, right?

And then life happened. We had to come home not once, but twice, because my husband got an interview for a directing job (he directs live theatre). We had to come home three more times because of an ill relative who needed care 24/7 for a few days. The silver lining was a chance to do a load of laundry, but really? It's hard to vacation, write or paint when you keep coming home!

So, after six days, we totaled one day of vacation and five days of life getting in the way. I wrote less than 3000 words all week and my husband painted only two paintings worth talking about (and one we're just going to pretend doesn't exist. Love you, honey!). We were so busy traveling back and forth, there just hasn't been a lot of down time.

The one day trip we managed was to Corning, NY. We've been to the Corning Glass Factory nearly every year since the kids were little. It's a wonderful place, but we've been there a lot, so we skipped that this time and went to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, a huge collection of western American art. What makes it unique is it's location -- in the East! Three floors of incredible paintings, sculptures and historical artifacts. My favorites were the pieces by Frederick Remington and N.C. Wyeth. Afterward, we ate lunch at an excellent bistro at the end of Market Street, then shopped the entire street before heading back to the cabin. And yes, I did, at least, get a start on my Christmas shopping!

What this is the long way of saying is that...I'm behind on my novel. I'd hoped to have it finished before we left, but I got stuck on a plot point (I'm past it now). My second self-imposed deadline was to be done by the end of these two weeks. Now I'm hoping to be done before September first. I want the first draft done before I have to start back at school. With five classes and five preps this year (and two study halls to babysit), I'm worried about not having enough mental capacity left at the end of the day to do anything more than edit.

So yeah. Life gets in the way sometimes. Okay, most of the time. We're going to try again this week, hoping to salvage a few days for relaxation and creativity. Maybe finishing a novel isn't such a crazy dream after all...

Play safe,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Story Behind Armed and Delicious

I'm often asked where I get my ideas for my books. That's such a hard question to answer. Ideas come from everywhere ... an overheard conversation, a news story, a song. Then there are those plots that simply pop into my head without any warning. That's what happened with Rent-A-Stud, the first book in my Coopers' Companions series.

When I wrote that book, I had no idea it would be the first book in a series. But I liked my hero, Zachary Cooper, and the other characters so much, I knew they deserved their own books. Zach's sister Michelle stars in Michelle's Men, his brother Brent's book is Almost Perfection. I thought three books would be enough. Then I started receiving emails asking for Breanna's book.

Breanna is the daughter of Jade, Zach's love in Rent-A-Stud. She's strong willed, stubborn, and spoiled. A woman who possesses those three S's must have her own story, right? She'd have to have a hero who's also strong and a little stubborn too. Detective Evan Stone seemed perfect for Breanna. At least, to me. To her, not so much at first. But she soon learns what she thought would be the perfect man wouldn't fit her at all. Evan fits perfectly, in every way.

I loved writing Armed and Delicious. I hope you enjoy it.


* * * * *
Excerpt from Armed and Delicious
by Lynn LaFleur

"There's an empty table in the corner," Breanna said. "Would you like to sit down?"


Plate in one hand, glass of champagne in the other, he followed her to the table. Once she took her seat, he took the chair to her left.

"Is this okay?" she asked before taking a sip of her champagne. "I don't want you to feel as if I kidnapped you."

Her eyes sparkled with humor. Evan couldn't resist a little playful flirting. "Being kidnapped by a beautiful woman isn't a bad thing."

She dipped her head to acknowledge his compliment. "Thank you."

Picking up his fork, he dug into the food on his plate. Each bite had him agreeing with Breanna about the rating scale. His taste buds did a happy dance in his mouth.

A low moan had his attention returning to Breanna. Her eyes were closed as she enjoyed the baked brie. The sound of pleasure reminded him of a woman in the throes of orgasm. His balls tightened in response. He looked at her silky hair, her long neck, her small breasts. A hint of her nipples showed through the material of her dress, enticing him to discover if she wore anything under that dress or if he'd find nothing but bare skin.

Down, fella, he told his cock as it gave an interested twitch.

She bit into her cracker piled with crab dip. Her chewing stopped when she met his gaze. "What?"

Her question made him realize he'd stared at her much longer than he should have. Instead of stumbling his way through an excuse, he gave a one-shouldered shrug and told her the truth. "Just admiring the view."

A slow smile turned up her lips. Her gaze passed over his hair, shoulders, chest. "It's pretty nice from where I'm sitting too. You look amazing in a tux." She tilted her head to one side, swept her gaze over his shoulders and chest again. "I'll bet you look pretty amazing out of it too."

Leaning back in his chair, Evan folded his hand over his stomach. "Why, Ms. Talmage, are you propositioning me?"

"Do you want me to?"

* * * * *
Find Armed and Delicious at the Ellora's Cave website now, at online stores soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Dog's Purpose

Hi All!

Once again I’m blogging to the dog lovers out there. Last week we had a terrible storm here in Minnesota. Knocked out my power for three days! Of course we had generators running but that was to keep food cold and frozen in the 90 degree temps.

So what is a bored girl to do? (Like I even have time to be bored.) But, when there’s no power in the country living, there’s no clothes washing, drying, or all the fun cleaning opportunities that include running a water pump. No computer, television or stereo. Toilets don’t even flush unless we get a bucket of water. But there is always those boxes of photos that need to be gone through, or a closet to clean, dusting, grass mowing and yard pickup with all the branches and trees from the storm scattered about.

Hmmm…it’s pretty warm in the house with no air-conditioning…

I happened to walk into my bedroom In a quick second I decided that it had been far too long since I’d enjoyed…well, delighted in the sensual feel of my sheets against my bare legs, the pure unadulterated joy of letting that hot emotion of relishing one little act that sends heat racing through my blood, that tingling sensation that curls your toes…reading a GOOD BOOK! There on the floor beside my bed was a book my girlfriend had given me three months ago! Unabashedly, I dove on it, flopped to the surface of my bed and opened it up! Me? Read? Well what the hell, there was no power but plenty of sunlight so I did it! I actually spent the afternoon reading.

No not hot, erotic romance, but a story t my friend had urged me to read. It was called, A Dog’s Purpose. The rest of the day, I was lost in a story that so grabbed me, it’s hard to explain. W. Bruce Cameron, the author, took me on a mystical journey inside a dog’s brain. You see, this story was from the dog’s viewpoint and written about how a loving companion searches to find his soul purpose for living. It was magical and brilliant at the same time. Yes, if you’re not so much an animal lover, the essence of the book may escape you. But if you love furry, wet kisses and know when you’re feeling out of sorts, that the warm heartbeat cuddled up beside you can make the world right, then I guarantee you’re going to love this tale…er, um tail…

Yes, you will need a box of tissues. You will laugh out loud, then quickly swipe the tears on your cheeks. That story so stayed in my mind for days after I returned the book to my friend, that I downloaded my own version to my Nook. Of course, I couldn’t let it go and was compelled to re-read the last chapter. Lo and behold, there on the screen at the end of the story was the information that Mr. Cameron had just released a sequel in May 2012 called, A Dog’s Journey. Well, boom! That second story was downloaded and I had to steal some time, but I finished that one, too!

All I can say is open your mind and read these two stories. One thing for sure, you will never look at your pets the same way. It’s been a week and one of my biggest heroes, Toby, is still padding around my brain.

So, throw yourself a bone…and read this rich tale of love and companionship!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Promo: What works? What doesn't?

As a bottom of the list author who has to pay for promotion, it's hard to decided what works and what doesn't. Over the years, I've given away more gadgets with my logo & website on them than I could possibly count, not to mention the wads of cash these things have cost. Yet, I still don't know what works. What item catches the reader's attention enough to make them check out your website and hopefully purchase your books?
It's an ongoing struggle to figure this out. I want to hitch my wagon to the promo horse that will place my stuff in everyone's hands world wide. I want to be the next "Fifty Shades" but better written with amazingly believable characters, plot and sex scenes. Do you think the person that wrote that book went around passing out pens and bookmarks at readers events trying to get noticed? I highly doubt it.
Did she just get lucky? Nope. I don't think that's it either. I think she hit the promotional jackpot. But how?

I'm opening up the discussion for what you believe works and what doesn't in the world of bottom and mid-list authors. How do we become A-list, got-to-have authors? What promo do you believe will make us stand out in the crowd? What item have you collected at a reader's event that you've kept and used and gone to the author's website because of it? What do you throw away without even reading the promo?

I look forward to your feedback.
Tara Nina

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Can't Go Home

You Can’t Go Home
A writer friend of mine and I were talking recently about our first romance books. I loved Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and would read and reread her stories. I remember  reading ASHES IN THE WIND so many times, the pages fell out. I recently went out and got another copy of it because I hated that the one I had was held together by elastics.

We talked about THE WOLF AND THE DOVE and THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER and she asked when was the last time I had read one of KEW’s books. I said I hadn’t read one in years. Probably not since I started writing.

She said, “Don’t! It’ll never be the same.”

The more I thought about it, the more I think she’s right. Before I learned more about the craft of writing, I think I was a happier reader. Now I go back and look at my earlier books (SURPRISE and TAKE YOUR MEDICINE were the first books I EVER wrote) and absolutely CRINGE at what I read.
It’s kind of like when you look through your photo album from high school and you see the terrible hair and the awful boyfriend you thought was “It”. Cringeworthy indeed. (Hey, I grew up in the 80’s you have no idea how bad those pictures are.)

I still have all my KEW books, but I doubt I’ll read them again. I don’t want to ruin the good memories I had reading those books on snow days or on the beach when my biggest worry was whether I’d have a date for the prom… or if I had enough hair spray. . .

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rain, rain, go away...

So two months ago some of the UK was under a hosepipe ban because the winter had been too dry. People moaned and complained about not being able to water their gardens or wash their cars. Bet their sorry now. July has been the wettest the UK has had in decades, perhaps ever. There’s widespread flooding and it’s been weeks since we saw any proper sunshine. On the positive side, the hosepipe ban has been lifted. I’m just glad I live on high ground.

I’m not complaining though, I’d much rather have our rain than the 100F temperatures people in parts of the USA are suffering right now. It’s easy enough for me to put up an umbrella or put on a rain coat and still get on with my day. I can’t imagine dealing with those temperatures everyday and getting anything accomplished. I still hope the weather clears up before our summer is a distant memory but it helps to remember that I have a holiday booked in November. In the meantime I’ll don my coat, put up my umbrella and make the most of it.

How are you coping with the weather this summer? Are you sweltering in the heat or dancing in the rain with me?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A little murder with your dinner?

I've been writing erotic romance for nine years. In that time I've published 8 short stories, 5 novellas and 6 full-length novels. In each one I have explored some aspect of the D/s lifestyle, from the extreme Master/slave relationship to a simple power exchange between a married couple looking to spice up their love life.

But in all that time, in all those stories, I've never tried a murder-mystery. Well, that's not actually true, I do have a partial mystery sitting on my laptop that I never finished (wrote myself into a corner at 20,000 words and there it sits). It's a hard genre to write in and more focused on plot than relationships. Murder-mysteries have more characters, plot twists and red herrings than I've ever dealt with until now.

So I approached Shooting Star with some trepidation. Could I actually manage all those characters? What about the false clues? Could I successfully hide the true killer until the reveal at the end? I was nervous and excited all through the writing of this novel.

Last week I took the plunge, releasing it as a self-published book. It's already available in all ebook formats and print is coming soon (found some formatting problems in the proof copy. Fixing those and hope to have print copies available shortly). The story involves not one, but two couples (okay, three) who run afoul of one very nasty person intent on killing.

As Sherlock would say, "The game's afoot!" Read the book and leave reviews (on the site or on your own blogs) and let me know if I successfully pulled it off! My next novel is one for the Sweet Spot series and I'm thinking there may be murder prowling the streets of Port Clef if Shooting Star is well-received.

Play safe!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Sweet Spot

About a year ago, the Scribes were chatting on line and someone suggested...we should do a book together.  Well, because we’re writers, our ideas expanded (and expanded) and now, we’re doing a series of books...The Sweet Spot Series.

The stories are all loosely connected in the fictional town of Port Clef.

In Port Clef is The Sweet Spot, a bakery-candy shop-cafe run by Jacqui and Jill and you’ll find everyone stops by for their favorite treat and sometimes some advice on love.

Lynn LaFleur is starting us off with “Candlelight Wish,” released just this week.  Over the next year, you’ll see stories from all the Scribes.  It’s not necessary to read all the books (or read them in order) but why miss out on the fun? You never know who might appear in someone else’s story.

Also, I have a book coming out tomorrow...Scarlet, Book 2 of the Red Panty Diaries will be available at Ellora’s Cave and then in a week or so on Amazon and B&N! I really had fun with this m/m/f menage. 

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Lovers' Buffet Vacation Getaway!

The Book Lovers' Buffet Vacation Getaway sale is now open! Only 99¢ for every ebook. Choose from contemporary, erotic, paranormal, mystery, historical...over 100 books on sale, including books from Ruby Storm, Tara Nina and me. Happy shopping!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Belated Happy Mother's Day To All!

I know it's June, but I wanted to wish you all a belated Happy Mother's Day! I couldn't get to posting until tonight. Of course I was a bit stressed by it, but I'm glad things turned out the way they did. Today my parents and all my kids and grandchildren came out to spend the day. This was my perfect Mother's Day for me). We barbecued burgers and made a couple of salads. But the best part of the day was when we started talking about past family vacations. Of course, one incident came up (as it always does when we're having a few drinks and laughing!) When I sat down tonight to blog, I knew what I wanted to blog about.

Okay, this was when my youngest son was three years old. (He's 29 now - how in hell did that happen?) So we'd traveled out of state to visit family in Wisconsin. Close by was an animal farm so my husband and I and kids plus his sister and family thought we'd spend the day there. At the end of the park was an area with a petting zoo.  Benches, corn for the goats, and popcorn for the kids.  My three year old at the time was sitting on a bench, munching his popcorn beside an unknown woman who was also visiting. His little chubby legs, too short to reach the ground, were swinging back and forth as he took in his surroundings.  I'm standing about 10 feet away with everyone in our group, just talking and snapping pictures and turned my camera on him.  Along comes a black goat into the picture only a foot in front of my son. My son stops eating and stares because though this goat is black, he has a'spot' under his tail. You know, the spot where poop comes out.

I wish I'd had a video camera because my son stops eating his popcorn, leans forward with an outstretched hand and says, "what's that?" and low and behold his finger disappears right up to the knuckle in the 'gray' hole! The goat did a skip forward, surprised as hell! The poor woman sitting beside my son blew her popcorn right out of her mouth with a burst of laughter. Her laughing quickly turned to a choking gag when my son immediately went back to his own popcorn (using the hand with the offending finger) and began eating again, never giving it another thought! We howled for fifteen minutes, wiping tears and suppressing the urge to pee our pants!

Honest to god, I'm sure every one of you has a funny, gross story about one of your innocent children. Feel free to share! And again, Happy Belated Mother's Day!

Hugs, Ruby

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day & what it means to me

Memorial Day: a day of remembrance for all our fallen soldiers.imgres.jpg
Many have forgotten why this day was created. It’s become the kick-off to the summer weekend for almost every radio station across the country. But without those who fought and died for our rights, there wouldn’t be a free radio station.

I researched Memorial Day and its beginnings are not engraved in stone. As a Southerner, I tend to lean toward the Southern Ladies theory. During the ‘war’ (and for those who don’t understand~the war was the Civil War or the War between the States. There was nothing Civil about it), Southern women were known to recognize the fallen by placing flowers upon their graves no matter what color cloth they wore, thus the Day of Decoration began. It didn’t become a recognized day until years later and the title of Memorial Day was given.

Unfortunately, its considered a holiday and few of our children know why. They’re just glad to be out of school. When I was young, I understood what this holiday meant. I grew up with strong military ties. We always made sure the flag was out and proud on this day most of all. We remembered family who had walked the path of freedom and not come home. My Great-Uncles made sure we knew that freedom wasn’t free. It cost the blood, sweat and tears of every member of the military and the families who supported them.

So take a moment to give thanks to those in the Military. We owe them so much but take it for granted everyday. I know I wish I’d listened more when my Great-Uncles told a few of their ‘war stories’. They didn’t speak of the worst things I know they saw but the stories they told were history. History that helped form the people we are now.

Hug a Veteran. Shake their hand and say thank you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waking Up

This post is just a tad late. . .okay, really late. I have been running around with my daughters getting them ready for their dance recital this weekend and I feel like all I do is drive. Someday, I'm going to have a voice recognition thingy that will post my blogs as I say them in the car.

Of course, that could lead to some interesting posts. . .I do tend to get a little cranky when the people in front of me don't go as fast as I think they should. Okay, blogging from the car is probably a very bad idea.

This week my first new book in 4 years is out. WAKING UP is a very short story that I hope gives people an escape from their day, and maybe a little zip to their nights. I came up with the story after listening to the song WAKING UP IN VEGAS by Katy Perry. (In the car, again. If I could write while driving, I'd have a ton of books written!)

I've never been to Vegas, but I've had quite a few bad mornings waking up in New Orleans. In fact, there is one scene in the story that comes from direct experience. (Unfortunately, it's not the one where she wakes up next to a really hot guy.)

I wanted this story to be fun, sexy, and quick so that readers who are running around with schedules like mine could read it in one sitting and still get to sleep at a decent hour. (I can't be the only one who stays up way too late saying "just one more chapter")

If anyone reads WAKING UP and wants to comment, I'd love to hear what you have to say. Message me on Facebook (Arianna Hart) or Tweet to me on Twitter (@AriannaHart212).

And if you discover a way to drive and write at the same time, let me know!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Life Goes On

I love my dad. I suppose I’ve always taken it for granted that he will always be there if I need him. In March this year my dad had a heart attack. Such a mild term for something that affects your life in such a profound way. The medical professionals seemed unperturbed. They ran their tests, arranged a follow up appointment, gave him a bagful of medicines and sent him on his way with the possibility of surgery looming in the future. But my family’s world, my world was changed forever. It suddenly made me realise that I could lose him. That not only am I getting older but so are my parents and they won’t be here forever. It’s a frightening thought.

Life went on but I was living on my nerves, stomach churning with every twinge of angina my dad had. Terrified that the next one would be ‘the big one’. Eventually I managed to put it to the back of my mind and things started to get back to normal. Fate is an evil bitch. She likes to let you relax before she messes with you. As it happened that was at midnight 2 and a half weeks ago. I was just about to go to bed when my world crashed down again. As a midwife I have some medical knowledge and usually know what to do in a crisis. It all goes out the window when it’s someone you love though. A blue light ambulance later my dad was back in the hospital.

The docs ran their tests again and scratched their heads over why my dad was still alive, let alone feeling fairly well. 2 arteries to his heart were blocked. I chewed my nails and antacids for a week while they scheduled him for surgery. Then for another 2 and a half hours over a procedure that was supposed to take 40 minutes. Next day my dad was home. It all seems like a bit of an anticlimax. I am VERY happy to say everything was a success but I’m still having a hard time believing it’s all over. It’s a good problem to have and I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

Hold your family close, take nothing for granted.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Doing it

Readers, when you read a romance, do you ever picture someone you know at the hero or heroine? What about you writers - ever base a hero/heroine on a real-life person? I've admitted there are pieces of me in every heroine I write, but what I haven't admitted until now is that my heroes are often people I know, have met, or would like to meet someday.

Yep, the physical appearances of ALL my heroes are based on real-life people. I just find it easier to describe what they look like when I have a real model before me. Much like a painter uses a person as inspiration for his/her work, so do I. Friends, relatives, even celebrities find their doppelgangers in my stories. 

Phillip Townshend, for example (Secret Submission, Submission Revealed and Services Rendered), is a dead-ringer in looks for my own wonderful husband. Jim in Hooked could double for Richard Gere. My current work-in-progress (still unnamed - augh!) uses Hugh Jackman as a model. And the magnificent Dom in Sahara Heat, which releases this week, looks suspiciously like a friend of mine.

Yet the personalities of each character are uniquely their own. Each hero might have trace elements of personality from this person or that, but mostly the guy gets his own due. He stands on his own and owes nothing to nobody. He is his own person who knows what he wants and who he wants it from. And we love him for it.

So what about it? Do you put the image of a real-life person into your head when you read or write?

Play safe, 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How Much is Too Much?

It isn't easy for a new author trying to make a name for herself or himself. There is a lot of competition out there for readers' hard-earned money. And now with self-publishing becoming so popular where anyone can upload a book, it's even harder for an author to make those much-desired sales.

Which leads me to the topic of promotion. Authors will try whatever it takes to get noticed. It might be ads, blogging, requesting reviews. They might hand out cute little trinkets at conventions, something to hopefully make you remember them the next time you go shopping for books.

And then there's Facebook and Twitter. I doubt if there are many authors who don't have at least one of these accounts. I have both, but don't post much. I'm a full-time author, which means I'm home in front of my computer the biggest majority of my time. That doesn't leave a lot of chances to do something exciting, something I think is worth sharing with the people who friend or follow me.

Because I don't look at Twitter every day, certain tweets will jump out at me when I do sign in to my account. I see tweets from some authors that say the same thing over and over. I have to admit seeing the same authors posting the same tweets about their books gets old. I'm so sick of seeing the titles of those books, there's no way I'd ever buy them. I doubt if that's the result the authors want to get with their promotion.

I've always heard a person needs to hear or read something at least six times before s/he remembers it. Do you believe that? Should an author keep pushing the same type of promo in the hopes of finding new readers? Or is that same promo driving away the readers s/he already has?

How much is too much?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The absentminded writer

As writers we try to kid ourselves that we remember everything from plot to character eye color. NOT! I can't tell you how many times I've read through the chapter I've written and find I can't even keep the name spelled the same the whole way through. Sad isn't it? You'd think that the constant use of the computer, the hand-eye coordination that's associated with typing and the fact that the story and the characters originated in my head would help keep me from forgetting the details. For me it doesn't work that way. And as for the coordination skills... those don't exist either. Just ask my Jazzercise instructor when I'm doing the miss-step in the back of the class.
Authors are normal people. We can't remember everything. At least I can't.
I have to keep a file on my computer when I'm writing that list every detail from the way the name is spelled to the eye color of a character. I also keep a detailed list of facts for the book so I don't change it by the end of the book. We don't want the character coming from Kansas at the start of the book and then returning home to Iowa by the end of the book. A reader will take note of the mistake and won't hesitate to let you know. It's their job to help keep you straight you know. LOL
I've begun to notice that I can't even keep the home life details straight. Maybe I should keep an open file on that part of my life as well. Do you think it would work? I could label a file for each of the aspects of my home life. One titled (PIA) for the hubby. One titled (PIA2) for the 18 year old daughter who can't seem to find the direction she wants to go in and is driving me off the deep end of the pier. She's getting a tattoo this month and shared the wonderful (not) news with me. Her father is gonna flip but that's a whole other issue. I've gotten where I look forward to going to work to get out of the war zone between them.
Can't wait to go to RT next week. Looking forward to seeing Cait Miller and relaxing.
I think I'll stop rambling now. Maybe next week I'll pop on and add a blog about RT and upload pics as I go.
Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Packing Light?

In two weeks time I leave for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Chicago. I know I’m a little early but I am having a weeklong side-trip to New Orleans before flying on up to the Windy City. My mind is full of the possibilities of travel what will I do, where will I go and above all, what will the weather be like? This leaves me with a problem… two different climates. Packing might be an issue…

Having said that, packing is ALWAYS a problem for me.

How do you light packers do it? Part of my problem is that I am a planner, seriously, lists and schedules are my thing. I am not physically capable of leaving things to chance. I get cold sweats just thinking about it. I will have to pack for hot and cool plus stuff for the RT Con and any other eventuality that comes to me meantime. I have dresses, shorts and jeans and costumes and swag to think about. Then there’s medication, migraine, asthma, allergies….then there were those times when I got tonsillitis so maybe I should bring antibiotics… Shoes! Sneakers, walking shoes, heels sandals to wear with those dresses and shorts. Jewellery, gotta be blinged out. Also toiletries cos I have my favourite brands of everything and god knows I can’t leave those at home. Electronics, of course those all have to be in my carry on with the jewellery. Netbook, ereader (thank GOD for the ereader cos books were another packing issue), camera, phone and all the assorted chargers. There’s no WAY I can fit all that in one 20kg bag! I say it again, how do you people manage to pack light?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What a week!

I'm late posting because I've been ill. But I'm feeling much better now and today my email brought me something worth celebrating!

You have perhaps read of PayPal's recent decision to stop allowing its services to be used by companies that sell certain kinds of erotica. If the companies did not censor their offerings, PayPal would no longer do business with them. 

Further information then came out that PayPal's change in their Terms of Service (TOS) was actually dictated to them by the credit card companies and banks who decided THEY didn't want to have dealings with certain kinds of erotica. It was the financial institutions who put PayPal in the middle and PayPal made a decision based on their own best business interests.

Enter Mark Coker of Smashwords. In my blog post on this earlier last week, I said that, "If I were an artist, I'd draw him as a knight standing before a pile of books, wielding a sword of words against bankers and investment firms who stand ready with lit matches."

Today I'd adapt that picture to one of him beating back the bankers and investment firms, the wind of his sword blowing out their matches because today, PayPal reversed it's decision. They will NOT be a part of censorship of legal fiction in any way.

Does that mean PayPal has put its own business in jeopardy because its standing up for what it has come to understand is right? You betcha. In Mark's words (from his public letter sent today): "This is a big, bold move by PayPal. It represents a watershed decision that protects the rights of writers to write, publish and distribute legal fiction. It also protects the rights of readers to purchase and enjoy all fiction in the privacy of their own imagination. It clarifies and rationalizes the role of financial services providers and pulls them out of the business of censoring legal fiction."

So here's me beating the drum and recommending to all of you who purchase ebooks: Go to Smashwords. Visit the site and look at the offerings. Many of the Scribes have books there for sale, but so do thousands of other writers. Support this wonderful company that went to bat for our right to read what we want without censorship from Those Who Know Better. You won't be sorry...and you'll help send a message that solidifies PayPal's decision that they did the right thing.