Monday, June 30, 2008

Tough Heroines

Rough and tough heroines, that's something we never talk about in the romance world. I'm personally all for heroines being independent, strong, intelligent, but what I don't like are heroines who seem so tough they don't really even need the hero. I've noticed this seems to be a new trend in today's romance books. Kick-ass heroines.

At some point I like a tough gal, but I want her to have a soft center too. I want her to be a little vulnerable. I think it lends to the romance of the story. I guess I like those big, strong heroes to come in and save the damsel in distress. I'm a romantic at heart and there's nothing more romantic than a manly man wanting to protect and cherish his lady.

Of course that's not to say I don't love those feisty heroines with the attitude and the witty comebacks. I love when the heroine can put the hero in his place, how fun is that, right? But I don't want her to be so tough that she doesn't, at some point, show a softer side. This is clearly a personal preference. And I'm curious who else feels the way I do? Do you search out books with Alpha males who swoop in and save the day? Or do you find those types of romance books annoying?

What's annoying to you? Tell me your favorite type of heroine as well as you least favorite...

Here are a few titles that I've read and loved, in part because the heroine was smart and tough, but also sweet: Christine Feehan's Dark Fire--Tempest was street tough, a mechanic, but vulnerable too. Erin McCarthy's Mouth to Mouth--Laurel is deaf. She's sweet and shy, but strong. Lori Foster's Too Much Temptation--Grace was shy, a little overweight and unsure of herself, but she also knew what she wanted and she wouldn't be swayed.

For my own stories. In my upcoming release A Diamond at Midnight my heroine, Diamonique is one tough gal, but underneath the smartass attitude is a woman betrayed and hurting. I loved creating her character because I think a lot of women will be able to relate to her. Also, in my current release Tasting Candy, Candice lives in fear of men, but she doesn't let that stop her from trying to take back her life. She's another character that I grew to admire.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what you like in a heroine and give me an example. I'm ready to add to my TBR pile!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

a recipe for today

My recipe for Sunday includes:
Lots of exercise on the beach with...David
(click for a larger view)

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several strokes in the pool with Reichen...
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then at the end of the day, several hours of relaxation therapy with Daniel...

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any questions?


Saturday, June 28, 2008

I've created a monster!

I have this really, really wonderful friend who for today, we'll call T. T never really read much romance. She read chick-lit kind of stuff from time to time but not a lot of romance or erotic romance. When I became published, being the amazing friend she is, she picked up my books and read them. She realized how much she loved reading. With a husband, three girls and a foster boy she's very busy and had let her reading suffer because of it. She decided to make time for reading again since it brought her so much pleasure. She'd go to the bookstore, call me, and I'd give her names of some of my favorite authors that I thought she might like. I knew she liked comedy and light stuff so I started her out with authors like Rachel Gibson and Erin McCarthy (she's the HUGEST Erin fan now :). After she made her way through most of Erin's contemporary romances and books by a few other authors, I mentioned paranormal romance for the first time. She was hesitant. She didn't think they were something she would like. I told her I felt the same way until my local bookstore friend finally talked me into reading one and now its one of my favorite genres. After a great deal of begging and pleading by me (I even went to Amazon, ordered the first Dark-Hunter book and had it delivered to her house) she read her first paranormal. Guess what??? She loved it! Could this be a fluke or did she really like paranormal? She'd never been a fan of paranormal shows on TV or anything like that so we weren't sure if this was a one shot kind of thing or if she was like me and she found that she had a love for paranormal books.

To put her book reading preference to the test, since shes such a huge Erin McCarthy fan, she picked up her darker paranormal book, My Immortal. I'll say it again, guess what?? She not only loved the book but its one of her all time favorites! We just got of the phone, she's totally jazzed because Erin's second book in her Seven Deadly Sin's series, Fallen, just showed up in the mail. After that she tells me she has books 1-9in the Dark Hunter series! Holy cow! When did that happen? She's become a die-hard paranormal fan right under my nose! T's wondering when and how it happened as well and I'm sitting back with a smile on my face because I brought her over to the dark side with me. Muahahaha! Hopefully I'll never catch her hubby on the phone because he might not think this is all such a good thing, LOL. She now buys more books than I do!

My question for today is, have you ever had something, books, movies, hobbies, anything, that you just KNEW you'd hate but found out you really LOVED? Have you created any book buying monsters? I think its something we should all do at least once in our lives :)

I love ya, T :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seriously OOKY Stuff

I really didn't know what I was going to blog about today. Just finished a manuscript, oh about FIFTEEN MINUTES YAY me!!!! My mind is complete mush. Sooo I've been sitting her thinking about things we write and stuff we read. The other day I read something that was just seriously OOKY. It was just a scene but it made my skin crawl. It was one of those serial killer romantic suspense things where the creepo has the poor vicitimized woman locked up somewhere and she's waiting for....well, you KNOW.

I don't like stuff like this! Honestly, it just bothers me and yeah, I know books about tough cops hunting down deranged serial killers are popular but I DON'T LIKE THEM. They give me the creeps.

Well, it got me thinking about what I love and more importantly what I don't love. I don't like sci-fi or futuristic stuff. All the knobs and gadjets and jet-packing, flying through the frickin' air junk doesn't appeal to me, though I know plenty who love it. It's just me. My taste. My preferences.

So, while I'm bitching about what I don't like let me say this, too. I don't like erotica that doesn't include a deeply romantic element. Sure I love reading all the sex (actually like writing it too) BUT I don't happen to like stranger sex. You woman says "hey, stud, give it to me. Anywhere you like. Under the table, in the alley, makes no never-mind to me." So he proceeds to "give it to her" and she just comes off kinda slutty. Can't stand that. Nope, I like a whole lotta love, compassion, caring with my whole lotta sex, thank you very much.

I love historicals that are romantic and take me away. Adore eroticas "with heart" and drop dead funny work. Can't live without stories that feature women who are FRIENDS. Don't you hate it when the only females close to the heroine's age are complete jealous bitches? I Do. In my opinion, no one does "female friend" books like Nora. She just tickles me to death the way she makes us realize we can't live without each other and the support to be found in friendships with other women.

Okay. I've vented. My brain is still majorly fried and I've let the entire blogosphere know what kind of books I think are seriously OOKY. What about ya'll? Anyone wanna ride on the VENT-MOBILE? What kind of plot lines, characters, or places make YOU just cringe?

I fessed up. Now it's your turn.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teens and Pregnancy

As a mother I worry about teen pregnancies. I have two daughters and they're both entering their teens and let me just say this, I'm scared to death! There's so many dangers out there for a parent to worry about. When I was a teen the big danger was driving, that was about it. Now, I have to worry about cell phones and ipods while driving. The fact there's too many other cars on the road these days. Predators on the internet. Teaching them to understand how to protect themselves is a job that never ends. Each day I hear about something else that gives me nightmares. This time it's the 'Pregnancy Pact'. Now, authorities aren't sure if this is really true, they're investigating the matter. Of course magazines and newspapers already ran with it. Check out one article here, where you can see a bit more of the truth.

Either way, it doesn't really matter, the fact that there are so many teens getting pregnant is the real issue. When I was 17 I admit, I was still just a baby. My mom still cooked me breakfast every morning. Hell, I was in no way ready for a family. To take care of a tiny being when I couldn't even support myself. A 17 year old shouldn't have to support themselves. They're still learning how to do that. I want my girls to go to college, get a job they love, be able to have enough money so that when the do have kids it won't be a scary burden, it'll be a blessing, which is as it should be.

My girls came at a time in my life when I was ready and eager to have kids. It was a wonderful moment when I first learned I was pregnant. But I've seen this more and more frequently, kids having kids. One girl in our neighborhood has three kids, she started when she was a junior in high school and her mother takes care of all three of them while she barely comes around to see them. And that's not really a unique situation either. I thank God for their grandmother, at least those kids have some stability in their tiny lives. But at some point I have to say to teenagers who get pregnant then leave their parents to raise their babies, if you're old enough to have them, then you should be old enough to take care of them. The babies shouldn't suffer because of your poor planning.

In my opinion, if you're parents are still supporting YOU then you have no business having unprotected sex and bringing on the huge responsibility of children.

So now I turn the matter over to you. How do you feel about kids having kids? Do you think there's a solution? Does some of this go back to lack of discipline in the home? Are parents dropping the ball? Or are kids just getting more bold, more careless? I'm just throwing things out in an effort to get to the root of the problem. Nothing can be fixed until we understand the 'why'.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I wrote a book! Now what?

I was a bit naive when I first decided to write a book. I thought, you wrote a book, submitted it and voila you get published and live happily ever after. Imagine my surprise when I submitted my first novella, was rejected and they threw new phrases at me telling me I head hopped through the whole book. Um, head hop? What's that? I had no idea. I decided if I really wanted to be serious about this I had to do some serious research. I joined loops, critique groups, met author friends, and discovered the world of blogging. I learned what head hopping was (and now I'm such a stickler about point of view). I learned about passive sentences and words that take up space and aren't needed. Finally I was ready to get to writing. I started Getting Lucky with Luciano pitched it, had a request after I finished the manuscript and once I did imagine my surprise when it was contracted. So now my job was done!

Yeah right.

Edits were my next learning experience and surprisingly, I have to say they weren't that bad. I had my moments of gritting my teeth but overall nothing I couldn't handle. The hard part for me came after the edits. Promotions! I'd never had to promote anything in my life! Honestly, I felt kind of funny about it at first. I didn't know what to say, who to say it to, or what lengths I needed to travel for promoting. And guess what? I still don't know the answers to some of those questions. I mean, I know the usual, chats, contests etc. I know what I'm told to do from the writers end but what I want to know is what the readers want. Regina did a post on her blog last week about loop chats and their effectiveness. I want to go a little farther on that subject. Besides loop chats what do readers like to see from authors? What does it take to get your attention and get you to try an author you've never read? We know you want good blurbs and nice covers, but how do we get that information onto your radar? What kinds of excerpts do you like to read (besides the juicy parts of course)? Do you like message boards? Do you sign up for newsletters from Promo companies? If you do, do you actually read the emails when you get them? Author newsletters? Just chatting with authors on loops without it being an actual loop chat day? Where do you go to learn about authors? I know I'm playing fifty questions with you today but inquiring minds want to know!

And for the authors out there have you found a method that works for you besides the loop chats?

Oh, and speaking of chats, today Anne, Regina and I are chatting at Joyfully Reviewed. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reading Green

The other day my husband and I were out running errands and he was teasing me about the amount of money I spend on books., I didn't mention HIS hobbies and major expenses like boats and such. Hey, my little addictions are fairly minor compared with his but that's another story. Lol. Actually it felt waaaay good to be able to say I hadn't actually gone into a bookstore in a long time.

Am I crazy? A book addict not going into a bookstore?

Nope, as of last Christmas I have an e-book reader and my world has changed dramatically because of it. It's the neatest deal and if you don't have one, please save up and invest. You'll make up for the little expense with all the money you'll save AND do your part for the environment. If you've ever thought of going GREEN now is the time. If the cost of gas doesn't convince you, then think about how the prices at the grocery stores have gone up. The price of books will go up, too. Believe it. That being said, my ebookwise reader is a bargain at around $140. Other readers are more expensive but in the long run are also a bargain. How much do you spend on a average visit to the book store? Now...most of you guys are book hogs like me. Last year, I'd walk out of a bookstore with at least two hardbacks and I don't know HOW many paperbacks. Hey! I'm an addict. What can I say? I figure in the course of a couple months, I would spend on tradional paper books the price of my little ebookwise reader.

When you look at it in that context, it's a great deal. I can store many, many books on my reader. It is roughly the size of a paperback book, you can change the font size, load your personal documents on it, AND it's backlit so nightime reading is so so easy.

This year I've spent less than $60 on books. It's JUNE!!!!! Isn't that the craziest??? To be honest, I haven't been reading as much as I'd like because of deadlines and such but it's been cool to visit Ellora's Cave and buy 4-5 books for roughly $17. That's a bargain. Even major NY publishers are jumping on the ebook bandwagon. They were a little slow to catch on but most of them now offer their books in e-version.

Yesterday Anne blogged about book covers and several commented they kept the racier covers hidden from the little ones or others who might be offended by the art. Problem solved with an e-reader. Recent polls show younger people in huge numbers are ready and willing to jump into this technology. Technology is improving to the point that some industry people who know their stuff say they actually see the death of the brick and mortar bookstores. My daughter got a Blackberry for her birthday and can download books onto it. WOW. Isn't that cool?

Have to admit that a few years ago, I wondered if I would like a reader. I wasn't keyed into how much talent is out there on the internet and now I feel so spoiled. I'm a happy convert to the whole thing and actually PREFER my reader to paper books. I can carry my library in my purse and vacation??? Nice to know I'll have everything I need without taking an extra suitcase for my books. So initially, the price of a reader might make you gasp but I promise, you will save BIG money in the long run. You can pick one up for roughly the same amount of money you'd spend on four hardback books. How many hardbacks do you have on your shelves?

It's worth considering. Money saving, easy to use, and you help the planet! What more could you ask for?

Chatting Today: Today I'm chatting with erotic romance authors Wendi Darlin and Paige Tyler at Savannah Chase's loop from 2-4 est. Stop in and say HI!

Chatting Tomorrow: Anne Rainey, Kelley Nyrae and I are chatting tomorrow at Joyfully Reviewed at noon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How far is too far?

Cover art. That’s what I want to talk about. We’ve all seen the horrible ones, we’ve all seen the WOW ones, but I want to talk about sexy and not so sexy covers.
Some publishers have been accused of taking it too far, leaving nothing to the imagination. I guess for me I like the sexier covers, but then I’m an erotic romance author, so that’s to be expected. Still, not everyone feels the same. Some examples of covers to spark off our discussion:

The cartoony cover. Now this seems like a fun story to me. So if I buy it, I don’t want to be shocked by smokin’ hot love scenes. LOL

The classic cover. This one tells very little about the story. It’s nice, not showy, you can take it to church and feel perfectly comfortable.

The dark cover. These are usually paranormal stories. There’s always some brooding hero, maybe a cemetery, cliffs, or a wolf in the background. We can all pick out a paranormal book a mile away, am I right?

The sexy cover. Now we’re getting hot, but still it’s not ‘hide it in a paper back’ hot. It’s what I think of as classy sexy.

Then there’s the racy cover. There’s a clear message here. Nekkid body parts! If you pick up this book, expect to need ice water, am I right?! LOL I think these covers are just as necessary as any of the covers I mentioned above.

Now, you tell me. What covers do you prefer and why? Does the racy cover turn you off? And just because we’re Wicked Writers here, doesn’t mean we all expect you to agree with us. We want...actually that’s not true. We NEED your opinion. The reader is the most important voice! We value what you have to say!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Diversity of characters in romance

I want to start off by thanking everyone for making our launch week so fun! We really appreciate all the support we've had the past week and hope we continue to entertain you here at Three Wicked Writers. Regina's contest winner for yesterday is Ivette! Please contact Regina at

Now to my post for the day...

I was visiting a romance group when I saw a discussion where a reader mentioned that she wanted to see more books with "big" women, women with more curves, with meat on their bones and who aren't shy about it. Another reader replied to that thread by saying that she preferred books with skinny heroines because she can relate to them, and to HER they are more realistic. In her words if the heroine is heavy she finds herself thinking, "No way would the hero really want her" and ends up putting the book down. While I completely disagree (regarding that opinion not only in books but also in real life) I still respect her right to that opinion. She has her own ideas, as do I, and you as well. Most likely they're all going to vary in one way or another. But her opinion did get me thinking in a number of ways. I think it obviously helps feed the negative self image for us heavier set women. For myself, though I'm not completely happy at my current weight I don't let it rule my life. I'm proud of who I am and I have a wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in every way. He thinks I'm sexy just the way I am. He still fell in love with me despite something that some people consider an imperfection. But I can't help but think about the people who don't have that positive self image. Who want that man who will love them but think, "No way. He would never really want me." I think romances help with that way of thinking. Part of the reason I love romance so much is because of the diversity of characters. Yes, bigger women are outnumbered by more petite heroines but books with bigger heroines are out there. Just like there are books with black characters, white characters, red heads, blonds, mix-raced relationships, single moms, older characters, younger characters, blue collar or white. There is a diversity in romance novels that calls to me not only as a writer but as a reader. I may not be able to relate to a super skinny heroine or a wall street woman, or whomever for whatever reason but I can relate to them as a woman. That's what's important to me. I relate on the feelings of attraction to someone new, the first kiss, insecurities in a new relationship, so many different levels. I don't have to relate on all levels and just in my opinion, physically I don't really have to relate at all for a book to be realistic. That's the job of a writer to make the book and characters realistic no matter what (and I'll say it again, why isn't it realistic for a bigger woman to be with a gorgeous, muscled man?). Plus, those diversities, or those little things that may not happen as much in real life CAN happen in a book and that's part of the beauty of the story, isn't it? That the guy from the wrong side of the tracks can get the "spoiled" little rich girl or the heavy set woman can win the heart of the town hunk. That is part of the reason WHY I read romance.

We want escapism, right? Diversity? Characters that are like us and characters that aren't? Isn't that part of the fun?

To all of us our ideas on what is or isn't realistic in a book is different. This was her opinion, mine however differs on what is realistic and what isn't. What I want to know from you is do you like books where a couple that seems impossible really isn't? Books about people and couples different than the ones we see everyday? Heroines who aren't conformed to a strict idea of what society considers beautiful?

Man, I do. What is beautiful to me might not be to you but that doesn't make either of us right or wrong. It doesn't make my idea of beauty more or less beautiful than someone else's.

Okay, I better stop now. It's late and I could talk about this forever!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Endless Series

I love series books. Probably better than single titles. Don't ask me why but normally every really great book has secondary characters that just jump out and grab you. I'll always finish one of these stories and sigh and wonder if she'll do one about so and so. Many times that never happens and it's always disappointing so yeah, I love picking up a book knowing it'll be the first of something MORE.A number of authors do the three books series deal on a regular basis.

Oh, I love the ones Nora does and I recently bought the second in the scary stories she's doing about The Hollow. Haven't read it yet but, well, we pretty much already know what to expect, right? I'll say right off the bat that I love the trilogies she does. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end. I mean, I know it's coming and I'm mentally and emotionally prepared for it to end and bless Nora's heart, she always delivers the juicy happy ending and doesn't do weird, funky crap with her characters. I loved her Jewel series (set in Ireland) and the Three Sisters Island series.

Well, that's one type of series, but what about the ENDLESS SERIES? You know what I'm talking about. The ones that begin as a kind of open ended thing. The author will continue to write book after book bringing in new characters along the way. I love these. Don't get me wrong. Don't think I'll ever get my fill of Carpathians and Dark Hunters and Black Dagger Brothers but, okay, I might catch some flack here, but I can be honest with my friends...RIGHT???

I'm getting tired of some of these.

One of my favorite authors/series (not mentioned above) really got me hooked. She began a horror/erotica/romantic/paranormal kind of thing that was different from anything I'd ever read. She mixes vamps with shifters and other paranormal beasties. At first I didn't think I'd like this at all because I usually don't like "first" person stuff. After the first book though, I was hooked on the series and bought up everything she'd written to date. Devoured them. Well, I don't know how many books she has in this now but the stories are beginning to be downright dumb. Most of the characters are recurring and now, well, the heroine pretty much screws them all. I'm not talking about "in love sex", I'm talking about sex for sex's sake or sex for power.

She has completely ripped the heart from her recurring heroine and I'm really wondering why she even bothers to dress her in anything as she's naked through most of the books.I didn't buy her last two books (which always come out in hardcover..btw).

So. In my view, sometimes these open ended series can go on too long. The stories begin to sound the same and the plots can be interchangeable.I'd like to know what YOU think? Does anyone out there agree with me?

Anne's winner for yesterday's contest is Robynl. YAY!!!! You've won a $15 Amazon gift certificate. To collect your prize write Anne at

Today's Contest: In honor of the Series topic I'm giving away the first book of my three book series One Dependable Man. This hot cowboy story is available in print or as a download...just name your poison. Leave a comment and I'll draw a name at midnight. Kelley will announce the winner for me in the morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Movies and books that move you

Winner of Kelley's contest is: Laura J. email Kelley at: kelley.nyrae (NO SPACES)

There’s not been that many movies or books that left an impact on me. I’m hard to please, I suppose. Well, the other day my husband and I watched “The Bucket List”. Morgan Freeman is such a phenomenal actor, pair him with Jack Nicholson and you have a sure winner. I went into it knowing how’d it’d end. I mean, that part’s not a mystery. And while I generally don’t like sad endings, this time I broke my own rule and watched a movie that was sure to end sad. The thing is, it left me with a sense of peace. My husband and I looked at each other and we just felt this overwhelming happiness, ya know?

It’s not easy to be in love and happy after 15 years of marriage and two kids, but in that moment I could so easily see the rest of my life stretched out before me. Spending my days writing and my evenings sipping a glass of wine and chatting with my husband. I had an easy image in my mind of growing old and pampering a passel of grandkids. How lucky am I to find someone I could picture that with, right? Well, actually, sometimes it’s not so much a matter of finding that perfect someone, it’s a matter of working to create that perfect life together with the one you love. Nothing in life or love comes easy or free. But the things that make life and love worthwhile are worth working to obtain and keep. Agreed?

Now, recently my mom turned me onto a book that had that same sort of impact on me. Sharon Sala’sThe Healer”. I’d say it’s easily Ms. Sala’s best work ever. She’s a master storyteller, and this book proves that without a doubt. I was so excited about the story after I read it that I wrote a ‘fan letter’ to the author explaining how much emotion her book pulled out of me. I guess, when it matters, when it really means something, I feel this overwhelming urge to say THANKS to the author. I want them to know that they touched an emotional chord with their words. I think, and I can say this because I’m an author, that that’s what authors want to hear. We want to know that we touched someone with our words. It’s like getting an A+ on a test in school. You feel proud that all the hard work paid off!

So, today I’m giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate, but I want you to tell me which movie or book, or both, touched you recently. J

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How romance novels changed my life

Regina's contest winner is Cynthia Eden! Regina's favorite male body part is his brain. Please email her at rita thedford (no spaces). Congrats!!

I have a secret to tell you. One I'm not very proud of, but hey, if I can't share my secrets with my fellow wicked writers and my wicked friends who can I share with? So, here goes...I used to be one of those people who scoffed at romance novels. Of course I'd never actually read one when I felt that way, but I was one of those people who "judged a book by it's cover". I had this picture in my mind of what romance novels were (which couldn't have been farther from the truth) and assumed that they weren't my thing. Now I realized I wasted a lot of time that could have been spent with a fantastic book in my hands!

It started with a move. My husband, daughter and I moved from a tiny town in Southern Oregon to Southern California. I went from a town where I knew EVERYONE to a town where I knew no one. I went from a full time, working mom to a stay at home mom and I was lonely. I loved spending the time with my daughter but I craved more adult contact. I'd always enjoyed reading but I wasn't the avid reader that I am now. On one of my boring days at home I picked up a Nicholas Sparks book, one I'd read before and one I truly enjoyed but this time, in the end I was a little bummed about because there wasn't an happily ever after. Sure the couple got together but after the fact the heroine died and that left me feeling more lonely than I did before. So, I loaded my kiddo into the car and made a trip to the bookstore and *gasp* headed straight for the romance section! I had no idea what to look for, what authors I might enjoy but I was determined to find what I needed. A happy ending. I ended up going home with, A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton and guess what? I LOVED the book. It was set in a friendly little town that reminded me of home. I bonded with the characters and in the end I got the happily ever after that I needed. When I closed the book I felt great. I know it sounds crazy but it was like I met a knew friend. Someone I could go to any time I needed an escape. From then on Sunday's were my bookstore day. I'd go by myself when my hubby could be home with our little girl and I'd pick up a couple books. I went from Barbara Bretton, to Lori Foster, Lucy Monroe, Erin McCarthy, Toni Blake and more. My books started to getting hotter and hotter. I discovered vampires, and shifters. I found out about erotic romance, and like Regina mentioned in her post yesterday it opened my world up to another sub genre of books. I devoured every book I could for two years before my old love of writing started to reignite in my body. I loved reading romances, I've always been a romantic (don't ask me why it took a romantic at heart like myself so many years to actually read a romance novel but it did) and I couldn't help but wonder if I could write one. And the rest is as they say, history!

Now my writing and reading give me so much that I wonder how I ever made it without them. I can't go without reading at least one book per week and I try to write everyday. With two little ones now, that isn't always possible but I do the best I can and I miss it when I can't. Romance books gave me a friend when I needed one and they also helped my marriage as well. Not that we had problems but like everyone else we let the romance part of our relationship suffer because of responsibilities. Now we work at keeping the romance alive every way we can. Romance books changed my life in so many way. They helped me accomplish my dreams of becoming a writer, helped me in a hard spot in my life and so much more.

For my contest today I'm giving out a free download of my novella, The Emperor: Trenton's Terms. All you had to do is tell me your history with romance novels. Did you sneak them from your mom when you were a kid? Start reading later in life like I did? What is it that keeps you coming back for more and more each time you finish a book? I'll draw a winner tonight and Anne will have the winner posted in her Thursday post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pioneer Women

No, I'm not talking about those women who wore long dresses, sunbonnets, and rode the Conastoga Wagons out west. Had you goin', didn't I? Nope. I'm talking about the pioneers who brought erotic romance out of the shadows and into the mainstream of society.

Erotica (not erotic romance) has always been around but it was an underground thing. These books were written and passed around on the sly. Erotica, as you know, is about the woman's sexual journey and doesn't necessarily have the happily-ever-after most of us crave. Erotic ROMANCE is a whole other ball of wax. Back in the early 1970's when romance hit the market in a big way, it was an explosion. Women devoured them. Writers such a Barbara Cartland and later Kathleen E. Woodiwiss paved new ground and readers couldn't get enough. Still readers wanted more. More explicit sex, more adventuous heroines. Remember the term Bodice Ripper? Well, back then, that's pretty much what romance books were. The heroine tended to be a victim who was fortunate enough to have a big, brawny hero who could bail her delicate ass out of a jam, give her lots of sex and a baby at the end.

Readers wanted more and so did writers. There were plenty of writers who'd do hotter work, pushing the envelope of what constituted a REAL heroine and how she might behave. She wasn't necessarily a victim, but a take charge woman who wanted a say in how her story unfolded. She was strong, funny, smart and fearless. She grabbed hold of life and fought for what she wanted. She wasn't 20 years old either...sometimes she was 30 or older.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Problem was, back in those days, the 70's, 80's and even the 90's a writer had only one place to peddle her work and that was New York but the traditional publishers weren't buying. Internet publishing was a slow-starter in those days so options were really limited. Most of these writers, many very talented, were told...uh uh, too raw, nope, too hot. Or the really down-pat line of...we suggest you study the market. In layman's terms, that means there wasn't a neat little slot to put this work in. Erotic Romance wasn't a mainstream was a sub-genre that didn't seem to fit anywhere.

Writers like Robin Shone finally broke through in the mid-90's. Women devoured stories like Awaken, My Love and clammored for more. In 2000, Ellora's Cave Publishing debuted and it was as if a whole new world opened up. Yes, they proved, women wanted SEX, they wanted ADVENTURE, they wanted to test the bounds of everything a woman could be. It was okay for a woman to refuse to be a victim and take charge of her own life AND her sexual pleasure.

Today it's a brand new world out there but many writers bled along the way. They were Pioneers in this new genre, refusing to compromise despite being told " don't fit IN." So the next time you're at a booksigning or conference or convention and you meet an older writer of erotic romance, take a second or two to thank her for sticking to her guns.

Contest: Today I'm giving away a deck of Ellora's Cave Playing cards to one lucky winner and I have a question for you. What is the sexiest part of a MAN??? Ripped abs, strong arms? A fine ass? Name your poison. I've written my answer down in advance. Whoever's answer matches MINE wins. Easy. In the event we have matching answers, I'll draw a name from among them. Good luck!

Anne's WINNER: Viola Estrella!!!!! YAY, Viola! You've won a download of Anne Rainey's A Diamond at Midnight. Way to go, WOMAN! To collect your prize email Anne at

Monday, June 16, 2008

Those Sexy Vamps

The winner of Kelley's contest is: flchen1
Send Kelley Nyrae your mailing address at kelley.nyrae (NO SPACES) and she'll send you the very cool signed copy of "The Power of Love"

What is it about vampires that are so appealing? I read my first vampire romance when Amanda Ashley started her series back in 1995 (or something like that) and I loved them. Craved them! I had a hard time back then finding vampire romances as there weren’t many authors writing in the paranormal genre at that time. When I discovered Christine Feehan I was so hooked. The Carpathians were such a unique take on vampires. Since then I’ve become a fan of all the various forms of immortals. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters, J. R. Ward’s BDB, Susan Sizemore’s Vamps, and I just bought Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breeds. There’s so many vampire romance authors I can’t list them all.

Those are big shoes to fill, right? As an author it can be intimidating to venture into a genre you’ve never written before, but I did that very thing when I wrote A Diamond at Midnight. I always call myself a contemporary author who writes steamy. Trying my hand at something so different was scary! When I submitted ADAM to The Wild Rose Press, I was scared to death and positive I’d get rejected. Imagine my surprise when an editor at TWRP emailed me to tell me she thought ADAM was a smartly written, action packed story with an ending that brought tears to her eyes. WOW! I was so surprised. Does my contribution to the immortal world hold up? We’ll see August 6th. *Gulp*

Now for a few questions. What is it you love the most about those vamps? Is it the biting? (that is SO sexy) Is it that the heroes are more primitive and aggressive? Or is it the fast paced storylines that grab you and won’t let go? Maybe it’s a combination. Who are some of your favorite vampire romance authors? Give me your answers in the comments section for a chance to win a free download of A Diamond at Midnight!

Diamonique’s life is changed forever when she stumbles across Cain Reed on a dark, lonely New York street. With a single bite, she’s given immortality and shown unimaginable pleasure. But before she can explore eternal love his betrayal tears them apart.

One hundred years later, Cain is back to save her from a dark enemy. Rafael, the depraved leader of The Dominion, will stop at nothing to settle an ancient score between him and Cain. Caught in the middle, Diamonique will need to swallow her pride and rely on Cain if she’s to survive. But is she handing her trust over to the right immortal or is she merely trading one evil for another?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hot Guys!

So, for today we're just going to sit back and enjoy the view. Sound like a good idea to you ladies?
Click the hot guy for a full view!
Raffaello is here for you ladies who just can't get enough of the WET men!
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and Anderson wants to show you the proper way to do a crunch...
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And David is ready to take you in his arms and pamper you
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...Anthony was born on the wrong side of the he hot or what?
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For the gal who wouldn't mind going a few bed
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for the lady who wants to 'ride it alllll niiiight long' we have Jason
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and TJ says, "Climb on, baby!"
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For you ladies who enjoy the sharp dressed man, we have this cutie...
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and for an added bonus...Clive Owen...he's in a class all his own, don't you agree?
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's their story?

Hey everyone. Happy Saturday! For my first official blog post I decided to talk about how I come up with my character and their stories. Great characters are SO important in a good book. I have to fall in love with the hero and I have to be able to relate to the heroine in some way or another. They have to be real. Sure the book is fantasy but my characters still have to be just like you or me for the story to sweep me away and make me forget the dinner I'm burning on the stove or the pile of laundry in the basket that I've been meaning to fold all day long, LOL. When a new story comes to me, nine out of ten times I start with the characters. I'll see an interesting man walking down the street, or lonely looking woman walking through the mall, a couple hugging or walking their dog, anything can inspire a character to pop into my head. One story might start with a heroine and the next with the hero but it always starts with the characters. Once I visualize my characters then their story starts to unfold. I learn what makes them tick, what they like, what they dislike. Who hurt them in the past? Where do they want to go in their future? I see their lives in my mind, just as clearly as the person walking in the mall, the woman in the commercial, or the picture that inspired my characters.

I thought I'd do something a little different today. I want you to look at the picture below and tell me what their story is. Are they saying goodbye? Comforting one another after bad news? Give me one sentence or a paragraph (no more than 6-7 sentences please). Anything goes here. Have a little fun with it. Since Sunday is the only day that we don't post a new blog here on Three Wicked Writers I'll give you until Sunday evening to tell me their story. I'll draw a name at 6:00 PM Pacific time and the winner will get a SIGNED copy of The Power of Love anthology. This book has a GREAT lineup of authors including: Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Toni Blake, Janice Maynard and a whole lot more! I'm pretty proud of myself because I was actually thinking ahead for once. Last weekend I went to Lori Foster's Get Together and I purchased two copies instead of one just so I'd have something really cool to give out here on Three Wicked Writers. I can't wait to hear what everyone comes up with!

***One last thing! Almost forgot. The winner of Friday's post is Jen!! Email me at and I'll forward your info to Regina!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Le's Get This Wicked Party STARTED

Regina Carlysle says...

First off, let me say thanks for joining us in this wicked journey. Our blog promises to be a lot of fun and we're kicking off a week-long bash with sassy chatter and lots of prizes so come by, kick off those heels (because we KNOW you want to), grab a bottle of bubbly and we'll celebrate together!

We'd like to start out telling you about the Wicked Writers we love and why we indulge in wicked writing ourselves. As for me, I never cared too much about The Rancher's Secret Baby or The Millionaire Shiek's Bride, yada, yada, type books. My passion for romance started with The Flame and The Flower by the late, wonderful Kathleen Woodiwiss. I still have my copy of the book and though the pages are worn and yellow, I wouldn't be able to part with it. I've read it a million times. Years ago, a bookseller friend started introducing me to other authors and finally she said...hey, you like em HOT, don't you? Hell, yeah, was my response so she quickly fixed me up with the hottest work available at the time. I quickly fell in love with Susan Johnson. OMG...Hazzard Black and the subsequent stories about his kids swept me away. HOT HOT HOT. Then I moved on to her Russian princes. My love affair with her work continues to this day. The woman rocks!

Then, I truly crossed over to the DARK SIDE and began reading my all time favorite erotic romance author, Robin Shone. The Lover, Gabriel's Woman, and The Lady's Tutor held me breathless. She weaves an eroticism into her work that, in my view, is without equal. I would truly like to be her when I grow up.

As for my own writing career, I wrote HOT when it wasn't all that fashionable to do so. I was continually told to "tone it down" is historical and the sex is rather RAW for historical work so thanks but no thanks. That was sixteen years ago and now look at ME...I'm FASHIONABLE. Who'd a thunk it!!! My erotic work is published by Ellora's Cave and no one tells me I'm not in style anymore. YAY!!!

Today, in honor of our official launch, I'm giving away a download of my newest Ellora's Cave release, Tempting Tess. Entering is simple. Leave a comment and tell us who is YOUR favorite HOT author and WHY. I'll draw names tomorrow morning and let everyone know who WON!

Anne Rainey says...

There are so many authors out there and I never know what to say when someone asks me, “Who influenced you to start writing?” This time, however, I know exactly what to say. Authors who can write a hot story and make you leap to the computer to search out their backlist. Oh, yeah, I can sink my teeth into that topic!

The first wickedly delicious stories I ever read were in the Red Sage Secrets Volumes. I happened across one at a bookstore, not sure which volume it was, nine maybe. Anyway, I picked it up and brought it home. Holy smokes! I remember looking around my shoulder as I read it to make sure no one was peeking at the words on the paper. I was afraid I’d be caught reading. LOL Of course, after I finished it, I tucked it beside my bed—where I now have a rather large stack of only the hottest, most delicious stories ever—and went to the computer to search out more Volumes. I slowly read their entire catalogue. Yes, I fully admit I’m a fan! Another author who really is in a class of her own, Jaid Black. I read One Dark Night and I think I blushed. And learned a thing or two. That was my first trip into the exciting genre of erotic romantic suspense. Why don’t more authors write that type of story? I mean, you get this intriguing plot and great sex. What more does a reader need, right? A few others that have left me breathless: Lora Leigh, Shannon McKenna, S. L. Carpenter, and now I’m adding our very own Regina Carlysle to that list. Have you read Tempting Tess? You really should. Wowzers!

How did these authors influence my own writing? Well, I wanted more and I wanted it now. So, instead of waiting around for someone else to write it for me, I decided to try to write my own hot story. There was a lot of stopping and starting at first, sometimes I’d just practice writing love scenes, other times I’d attempt to write erotic poetry to stimulate my creative muse (and no that is NOT a metaphor, lol). Those first tries will always be precious to me, even if they are total crap. I think you have to write some crap to learn to write well. Even now when I read I’m mentally taking notes on how to improve. My ultimate goal is to some day have my own erotic stories in among someone’s ‘bedside pile of spicy books’. :-)

Kelley Nyrae says...

Let me start out by saying I'm so excited about this blog! Anne, Regina and I have been anxiously awaiting today so we can get this party started! I'm so psyched to share a blog with these two ladies. They're fantastic writers and also very close friends of mine.

So, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I've loved writing since I was a child. It wasn't until about 3.5 years ago that I started reading romance and once I did I knew they are what I was meant to write. I haven't looked back since. My first book came out this past January and I already have three on the schedule to come out next year. I'm a happily married mom of two beautiful little girls, one four years old and the other six months old. I'm sure you can imagine that with two little ones I have no real writing schedule but I do try and make time to write every day. I'm published with Parker Publishing, Tease Publishing, and Red Rose Publishing. So far I only write contemporary romance but do plan to try my hand at a vampire paranormal if I can every find the time :)

Today we're talking about the WICKED writers who inspired us. I have quite a list but I'll try and narrow it down for today, LOL.

First is Lori Foster. LOVE her books. Her characters are always very family oriented which I love. Plus she can write a sexy alpha like nobody’s business. She not only inspires me as a writer but also a person. She's very active with her local animal shelter as well as her local battered women's shelter. She throws the reader author get together every year and all the proceeds are donated to a charity and the troops.

Another author who inspires me is Toni Blake. She has an amazing ability to make me connect to her characters on a deep emotional level. I always fall in love with her heroes. They’re usually tragic but so darn sexy you can't help but want them.

Last I'm going to say Erin McCarthy. The woman can make me laugh out loud like no other author I've encountered. Her wit amazes me each time I pick up one of her books.
When I describe my own writing I always say it’s sexy, heartfelt, with a little bit of laughter thrown in. I guess that's why I like these three authors so much. Each brings some of the aspects I try to add into my own writing.

That's all from me for today. I’ll be offering prizes later in the week so be sure to check back. :)
Enjoy the wickedness....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Venturing Into Wickedness

We're three WICKED writers who'd like to invite you to step into our lair. For sassy commentary, outrageous opinion and lots of talk about the sexy books we love to read (and write), this is the place to be. So come on...get wicked with Anne Rainey, Kelley Nyrae and me, Regina Carlysle as we lay it all out.

Kickoff day is June 13th (that', Friday the 13th) so come by and see what kinds of surprises and contests we might have going on! Stop in. Stay to play!

Join us in our venture! We'll have guests galore and in-depth interviews with some of your favorite "wicked writers". Knowing Anne and Kelley as I do, I'm pretty damn positive we'll have some laughs too. After all, we're three wicked writers who are ready to pull out all the stops to give you a little fun with every visit.

Wanna have some sexy talk? Discuss what's hot in the market? "Tell all" about what YOU like to see from your favorite authors? That's what we want too!

So sit back, grab a glass of chardonnay and keep the bottle handy. We're gonna have a HOT time at Three Wicked Writers!