Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm the mean one

I'm going to take a minute to sound like my mother. I know it's the thing we all fear, but it has to be done. WTF is wrong with young people today? Okay, so I'm not old or even close to it, but by young people I mean the small humans like mine.

I have adorable small humans. I only recently admitted that they are my daughters, not my nieces, because I needed to protect them from a particular group of people with very sniffy long noses. Now that those individuals are mostly extracted or distracted, I can freely discuss my awesome kids. I have two. One of them is fourteen and the other is eleven. And no, meeting me, you probably wouldn't think they were my kids because most people think I'm their sister--and they aren't being faux nice. I just don't look like a mom.

Anyway, we laugh a lot and pretty much adore each other constantly. The problem is, they have friends who don't have good relationships with their parent/s. I try to be understanding when they come to my house. I ask only two things: Respect my things, Respect the people in my house. Otherwise you have free reign to chill out. I won't bug you. I'll feed you. I'll do my best to make you comfortable and happy. I'll even try to make you laugh with us.

So why is it that these same kids are the ones to leave drinks on unprotected surfaces, let pudding cups topple over on books, leave food on the floor where it can make my cat sick, and then freaking roll their eyes at me when I call them on it? Who gave these kids such entitlement to ignore an adult who's telling them to be respectful. They don't even make eye contact!

And don't get me started about movie theaters! Okay, you started it! The talking, the bright light texting, the feet on the back of the chair I'm sitting in. ARE YOU ANIMALS? Seriously?! Who the f*ck buys a movie ticket late into a movie, goes to the back corner to talk through the whole thing? Why do you do that? Can't you talk somewhere else? In one instance, there was literally no breath taken from the time they climbed the steps to their seat, to the time I left during the credits. OMG! So annoying!

My kids would never do that stuff. They pick up after themselves. They say yes ma'am, and please, and thank you. They offer to help before they're asked. Heck, they clean and do laundry all over my house, keeping it perfectly clean so that I can keep working. That's how awesome my kids are.

Who are the miscreants they bring home? And are we really surprised when those relationships don't work because the "friend" is being rude, hurtful, mean, swilling alcohol and flaunting their juvenile a$$es at the police? And why is it that every single one of my kids' friends have declared they they are bi-sexual? Really? Are you having bi-sex at your age? Someone needs to be arrested.

I don't know what's up with some parents these days, but there's a problem and it's in my generation. All I do is love my children and they turned into amazing people. What are other parents doing? And when I find them, am I allowed to shake my finger at them and say, "bad mama! bad daddy!" because I really, really want to.

A concerned parent who doesn't think she's a bitch for wanting a little common decency in our families

PS. While we're on the subject of bisexuality, I have to add that my new book, HITCHED released yesterday at Resplendence. But I'm an adult and so are my characters. They've had ample time to weed through pre-teen hormones to know what they like. And besides, in my book, only one guy is openly interested in the other and he's okay that the second guy isn't. Trust me. So please go buy my book.

Half-faery, Willow Harper, is the youngest of the Harper siblings. Just like them, she has no control when her gift will manifest, turning her into an inanimate wooden object. Fortunately, she has Bruce, a full faery male who has the ability to subdue her gifts. Though she hides her heart, Bruce is been assigned to work by her side on every Harper Security case. It was only a matter of time before Willow and Bruce hooked up after hours. Agreeing to a no-strings relationship, they know that commitment just isn't for them.
Agent Kane Wilcox has been tracking the identity of an arts smuggler for over a year. He's reached a dead end, but Willow Harper moves on and around the target’s property easily since she befriended the target’s daughter months ago. What isn’t convenient is the way Willow makes him feel, or the unprecedented attraction Kane has for black-eyed Bruce.

As the case progresses, one thing becomes clear, Bruce and Willow want him. But how can they juggle a three person relationship and still catch the thief? Kane is in it for keeps. When the case is over, will Willow and Bruce walk away, leaving Kane standing alone?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gossip and friendship! My take on the ‘writer’s retreat’

Gossip and friendship! My take on the ‘writer’s retreat’

As anyone who’s familiar with our loop knows I’ve spent the past week away from home and in the company of my amazing friends. I picked the Nicole Austin up at the airport then spent a lovely two hours driving around the hill country while PB (psychotic b*tch GPS) led us to no where over and over again. Nic helpful person that she is just laughed and shook her head. My handy dandy iPhone saved the day and we finally made it where we were supposed to be.
Desiree laughed, Nicole smirked and I gave them both the one finger salute. I love my friends, there’s not a drop of sanity among us.
Dropping off our luggage (Yes, Nic, I have more than you. I always do. It’s part of being a princess) topping off our beverages we hit the road with Desiree. Time to meet up with some more of my favorite people for a lovely pre-birthday dinner. Brenna Zinn & Cerise Deland were waiting for us with a lovely bottle of wine and slightly tipsy smiles. Dinner was delicious, the company even better. Cerise always makes me laugh with her sly wit and razor sharp mind.
Off to Regina’s house we went on Thursday. Long drive in a car filled with four writers, four opinionated writers, four opinionated smart-ass writers who love telling me how to drive. We’re all very lucky I have the patience of a saint ‘cause I did manage to come back with all of them. Even now I have fantasies of dumping duck-tapped bodies out in the middle of nowhere. Believe or not we’re still speaking.
Our destination finally arrived and we all stumbled from my SUV eager to stretch our legs and get the heck away from one another. Regina & her lovely daughter Avery (half-baked) met us at the door warm smiles, comforting hugs & a case of chilled chocolate wine waiting for us. Ahh, the perfect hostess.
Needless to say the next four days passed in a blur of laughter, liquor, and plotting. Then there was the moron who came up with the Dr. Seuss Read-Aloud Porn Hour. Yes, I am that moron. It started off innocently enough. I picked up one of Regina’s many books lying around the house. The author was unfamiliar to me so I flipped through a few pages. Damn me and my unquenchable curiosity! The passage I read was so unique I couldn’t help but point it out to my friends. Five sloshed women fighting over one book didn’t work. Viola, Allie starts to read to them and the rest is history. Before you feel sorry for the author of the book, don’t. We made fun of our own work too. Sex is not attractive or sexy when read out loud. Seriously try it sometime and see how goofy you sound. As to the rest…well there is that pesky blood oath. Can’t violate that or something will explode, fall off or swell up. I can’t afford to have anything else swell on my body. I’m already fighting to keep people from slapping bumper stickers across my butt.
People often wonder how I can call six women I see only four times a year close friends. I say shut up. No, really…I’ve been so blessed by having these ladies in my life, I can’t imagine being without them. There’s a moment when they look at you, you look at them & share that perfect moment and thought. “Where can we hide the body?” The desire for murder of a perfect stranger bonds you in ways others can never understand ☺ So no matter how much time passes between phone calls or visits I never feel awkward or strange when we do meet up again. It’s the natural rhythm of our friendship and we’ve all accepted it.
Moving on, the rest of the time passed much too quickly and before I knew it we were back at Desiree’s house saying goodbye to Brenna. Then it was Nic’s turn to fly back home and soon I’ll be the one leaving.
It’s sad to say goodbye, but I know we’ll all get together again in Ohio. We’ll laugh, plot, drink and drive each other crazy. So if you see us stop by, say hi & share a drink and a laugh. We’re always looking to add new members to our coven or sorority!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What can I say?

There's nothing much to say after the long weekend event at my place. Casa Regina overflowed with food, booze (mainly of the chocolate variety) and lots of writers. Brenna Zinn, Allie Standifer, Nicole Austin and Desiree Holt invaded my space and I wouldn't have had it any other way. the midst of a dry west Texas heat wave, it was like a breath of good stuff that was better than I can say. My daughter, who joined the fun and was given the moniker 'Half Baked', hung out with us 24/7 and fit right into the crazy group. Later she told me it was like being a member of the coolest sorority EVER. I know it was an unforgettable experience for her.

Every morning my kitchen table was littered with laptops and every evening one of my backyard patio tables was crowded with various glasses...all half empty as we enjoyed Dr. Seuss Porn Hour. I honestly can't say much about that except that it is an event narrated by the insanely funny Allie Standifer. Every evening we'd get into our jammies, pour drinks and head outside. Once tears were rolling and we were about to fall out of our chairs, Desiree (who loved her 'whipped cream' vodka) took Tipsy Pics. We have threatened death if these ever see the light of day. Sometimes Nic Austin (who is one cool customer) would relieve Allie of Porn Hour duties and we'd start rolling in our chairs AGAIN. Slyly hysterical, Nic would take up the mantle until tears were pouring and we gasped for breath. Brenna Zinn? Who could ever imagine such an altogether classy lady could come up with such RANDOM stuff that had us snorting alcohol through our noses? Brenna and I danced to old 80's music in my kitchen floor and we all ate enough food to sink a battleship. Yes, sighhhh, the diets have started all around.

In the end, as I waved goodbye...a little teary-eyed about it all, I knew we'd do this again. How could you ever 'take a pass' on this much fun! So until next time, I'll keep the chocolate vodka and choco wine chilling in anticipation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Poor Tess!!!!!

Poor sweet Tess! Her computer crashed yesterday and we all know how that feels. Anyway, she won't be with us today due to these unforseen circumstances. Look for her next week when she'll be up and running again! Check back tomorrow when I'll be blogging about my fabulous weekend with crazy writer chicks. I'll be spilling all the details.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Novellas Are REAL Books, Dammit! And Contest

Welcome Guest Blogger Elizabeth Black
I read a wonderful post by Regina Carlysle about novellas [] and I had to chime in. I have always felt comfortable with stories of about 10K – 20K words – novella length. The problem was a decade ago before e-books came along publishers were very reluctant to publish a novella unless you were already a well-known author. Some of my favorite stories are novellas, but they were written by well-known authors like Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft. A novella from an unknown author? Not gonna happen. The reason was related to acceptances and sales. A novella in an anthology – and that's where I wanted to sub mine – took up the space of about two or three short stories. Also readers at that time were more likely to buy novels rather than shorter stand-alone works. Unless you were Stephen King.

Then e-books came along. I noticed nearly all online e-book romance and erotica publishers accepted novellas. In fact, some of them preferred novellas. Readers liked the shorter stories for reasons Regina gave. Women lead busy lives these days; much busier than they were a decade ago. Work, kids, business travel, long hours, long commutes, play dates, school, family, grocery shopping, church, cleaning house, tending to husbands, the list goes on. Reading a novel is a luxury these days so shorter works have been welcomed.

Good! I like writing novellas. I can expand a short story to make it more fun and interesting. And I'm not bogged down with a novel. In fact, I prefer novellas. Some novels I've read strike me as being far too full of filler. Chop all that filler out and you have a fast and exciting read. And it's a novella!

My story Purr is novella-length. It's an erotic retelling of Puss In Boots, and it's the perfect taste of decadence. I'm also hosting a contest.

Want to win a FREE SEX TOY? :)

I'm giving away two sex toys, one for a man and one for a woman. To win, purchase PURR and e-mail me your proof of purchase. E-mail your proof of purchase to trishcwilson AT comcast DOT net. That puts you in the running. Contest runs until July 31, 2011. I'll select the winner on August 1st, 2011.

Name: Elizabeth Black
Title: Purr (Based on "Puss In Boots")
Publisher: New Dawning Bookfair
Genre: Twisted Fairy Tale
Size: Short Story
ASIN: B005407APY
Cost: $2.99

Buy Links:

New Dawning Bookfair:

Amazon Kindle:




Muca was a kitty with a little something extra. Not your ordinary Puss In Boots, she shifted into human form to entice all she met. She aspired for her master to become the richest and most respected man in the land, but her job was cut out for her. He was but a lowly cobbler whom she tried to pass off as the Marquis of Carabas in order to convince the local farmers to trust her against a cruel ogre who tormented them. Would the farmers believe her, and would they find her charms as alluring as she found theirs?

For more information, go to this link:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Provoke Me Is Out Now...Contest!

Since I had a new release this week, I thought I'd just mention that and direct you over to my blog where I'm running a contest until Sunday night.

TWO winners will win an ebook copy of Reveal Me, book 1 in the Unveiled series, AND any ebook of their choice from Ellora's Cave. It's always fun to go book shopping! So if you'd like to pick up one of Regina's amazing books, or Allie's, or Mia's, or wait until Tess's awesome new release, Strip Down, comes out in a few weeks, it's your choice! A comment and following my blog is all it takes to enter. Visit my blog HERE.

Provoke Me is a very special book to me because Kelly and Spencer were never supposed to be what they became. The story originated from, of all things, a tweet from Texts From Last Night. Are you familiar with that Twitter account? The tweets are supposed to be real texts people send each other, usually sex and/or drinking themed, and it's always good for a laugh. On this particular day, the tweet was about a guy who said he found his name on the girl he'd just slept with's list of “good...” I'll let you fill in the blank, but let's just say she found him satisfactory between the sheets!

From there, I built a story—a Quickie, I believed at that time—about a woman who instead keeps a list of men she'd like to sleep with. She started the list in college as a lark, and also as a way to feel more powerful when she felt like guys were overlooking her. But Kelly's list also included someone she maybe shouldn't have been lusting over...her boss. And of course, her boss finds out his name is on this list.

I fell in love with Kelly and Spencer when I was writing their story. Their conflict grew so much huger than my original conception. These are two very complicated people! The story finally ended up being 87K...and spawned my first ever Ellora's Cave series, Unveiled. I'm excited I get to close the series with one more story about them, though I have three other books to write first!

The blurb and buy link is HERE and the excerpt is HERE.

Writers, have you ever had a story you've written that basically mushroomed out of control? And readers, do you like reading more than one book about the same couple? Assuming there's a riveting conflict in each book, do they still interest you or would you prefer to read about new characters?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Huh. Looking back at the title of this post, I'm thinking maybe it wasn't such a good one. I mean, I shower. Sometimes twice a day depending. I'm not "ripe" nor have I been "riped" by any other means. I also didn't forget a "P". Unless you're being sarcastic about my strength, then go to it.

This post is actually about my editor. I've gone through another one. It's enough to give a girl a complex, but in reality, four of the editors I had at one house were because the publisher had a lot of moving around happening. All four came and went in the span of a month and a half. I SWEAR it wasn't because of me. I hadn't turned anything in during that time.

But the one I lost, I'd had through two publishing houses. I loved her. I still do. She's my champion and my best friend. After working closely with her for years, it's kind of like having the rug pulled out from under you, because now I don't have her as my editor anywhere. Is it a sound business decision? Absolutely. It's never a good idea to have even the whiff of favoritism. She didn't and wouldn't, but you can understand how it would appear.

So here's another aspect of the writing world. Turn-over. When I first started off writing, I was so focused on getting my work out there and Yay-I-Have-A-Real-Live-Scary-Editor, that I never stopped to consider I'd be moved from one editor to another as a matter of course. It happens in every house, all the time. At first you think maybe you've done something wrong, but you get used to it. There are just those editors who stick, you know? The ones you never forget because they had a serious impact on you.

My editor Helen, at Ellora's Cave was my first and she baby fed me into confidence. Michele at Total-E-Bound I only had for a very few books, but she called me on my crap and terrified the poo out of me. And then there's Christine who loved everything I wrote and put comment boxes in the margin filled with laughs or smiley faces or just to snark on me for hilarious typos. Even if she didn't like it, she never told me my work sucked. She just said, "It's not my favorite of your books."

I'm probably going to drive my new editor crazy. One of the last things Christine said to me about editing yesterday was that the reason she gets me so well is because neither one of us are linear thinkers. We don't plot and don't do well with plotting, plus she knows how my brain works (shut up).

Do you know how in the south it's rude to ask a point blank question? Regina, I know you feel me. To those of you who don't, it works a little like this. Say you notice that the neighborhood dogs got into your garbage. (You're thinking: then I'd pick it up. No no no no no!) What you do is, you casually walk to the nearest male, find something to engross you, like pour coffee, and say, "Looks like the dogs were out last night." Then walk away. Just walk away. The proper male response is to go outside and clean up the garbage. YES, from that very little info. It's non-linear information.

Now Christine is good at reading my round about, highlighting it, and saying, "you mean this?" which will say in two words what took me a paragraph. I miss her already.

My new editor is very, like VERY, linear and plotty. I'm beginning to feel sorry for her.

RIP, Christine. Thank goodness I still get to talk to you about life stuff. I'm going to miss your sass.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've been kidnapped by a fat cat & a cranky b-day girl!

The  truth really involves a bottle of wine, one menopausal GPS & a cat with an eating disorder, but that's a whole different story. For now the esteemed and slightly insane Desiree Holt has hijacked my normal Wednesday blog. No worries though I'll be back next week with all the gossip and blackmail material from this week.

Kudos from the super secret evil minions lair.

But where is the romance?

Okay, I’m on my soapbox. Call me  crazy but where has the romance gone in television? The good feeling? The “Oh, I love this show” feeling? I don’t know about everyone else but when I watch a television series and a couple has really great chemistry I want them together and I want them happy. I want to feel the love!!!  In an ensemble series with a large cast and the story line basically about the lives of the people involved, I want one couple that’s the anchor. One couple that is sold despite everything. That you can always depend on no matter what.
I’m a romance writer right? So I want the romance! However small it might be.
Yet television seems to have this wild notion that if you don’t constantly break people up you’re not creating “conflict.” Maybe that’s because they don’t know how to write “conflict.” Or maybe it’s because they think the only way to keep the viewers coming back is to give them a weekly dose of angst.
Now I’m not saying every show ahs to have a romance. Some, like the police procedurals, aren’t even built around romance. But if they introduce couples and their private lives are only peripheral to the show, then why can’t they be happy? In love?
Oh, yeah, I know, I know,  couples fight in real life and they deal with problems. That’s okay if it’s not too intrusive. But if you want to watch “real life” then tune into lone of he gazillion reality shows. Or take a look at life around you. Lord knows there’s enough angst and “conflict” to go around.
When I watch television I wan t escapist entertainment. I want to feel good. I want a break from the trash I deal with every day.
And what’s the argument when shows get complaints about splitting up key couples or not putting them together when the chemistry between them is son strong is about ignites the screen? The Moonlighting Curse. When David and Maddie got together the show tanked. Jumped the shark. Well, hell. Moonlighting was a long, long time ago and I’d like to think writers have learned a lot since then about how to do it right. How to make it work.
I must have every book written by the Dell Shannon, the queen of police procedurals. The story of the crime and the police department was primary but she skillfully wove in the personal stories of the detectives. And guess what? They didn’t break up, or if they did it was instantly resolved. They didn’t do things to hurt each other. Although I’m sure she didn’t think of it this way, her books had “strong romantic elements”.
Just like many of today’s shows, like Grey’s Anatomy. I watch shows like  Flashpoint, where poor Ed has to decide between his job and his family. Why? It’s not even close to being primary to the show. Or Hawaii 5-0, where Danny and Rachel are finally getting back together and she’s pregnant with his child and he ditches her at the airport. Why? It’s not germane to the story line.
So if this bothers you like it bothers me, let me know. Let the producers know. Maybe they’ll take pity on me.

And speaking of happy couples, here’s an introduction to Faith Wilding and Mark Halloran, the heroine and hero of Jungle Inferno, Book 1: The Phoenix Agency, now available at all online bookstore. He’s a prisoner of terrorists. She’s a romance writer with a strong determination to save her man, once she knows he’s in trouble.

The sun was a globe of fire creeping up in the sky, turning everything below it into an oven. It was barely nine o’clock in the morning yet Mark Halloran was sure the temperature was already close to triple digits. The humidity was as thick as a rainfall. The roar and grunt of the howler monkeys was already splitting the air as they leaped from tree to tree feasting on the canopy leaves.
How the hell did people live in places like this?
Or work in them.
And this appeared to be a permanent camp, with tents, lean-tos and crude buildings. It also boasted a campfire pit and other amenities they wouldn’t have taken the time for in a transitory situation, unlike the temporary setup where the meeting had taken place. Where they’d been told the Wolf was going to meet with Escobedo’s group. A friend of a former Special Ops soldier Rick Latrobe’s, deep undercover with Escobedo’s group, had risked his life to get the message out that the Wolf was going to make a personal appearance. Unusual for him but this shipment was so large and involved so much money, Escobedo insisted.
Not at his camp, however. Not even the Wolf would be privy to its location. A meeting place not far away was set up. For the Wolf it would be in and out. Just like that. He would arrive with the shipment, Escobedo would bring the money. As soon as both parties were satisfied with the goods, the transaction would take place and that would be that.
Mark had gone to his commanding office, Major John Gregorio, with the information. The major had passed it up the chain and the word had come down to act. The United States government had waited a very long time for a chance at the Wolf. To make it a two-fer upped the ante.
A simple mission. Get in. Take out the bad guys. Get out. One less group of Al Qaeda plotters to worry about. And the arms dealer meeting with them. That was the key. That’s what he and his men had been told. It was a chance to clean out a viper’s nest and take out a key arms player at the same time.
With the weakening of the Tupac Amaru terrorist group and the decline of Shining Path, Al Qaeda had been recruiting heavily and spending big money to rebuild Peru’s terrorist structure. Another foothold in South America for the promised Islamic world.
But someone had leaked the mission, Escobedo’s group was waiting for them and now most of his men were dead. After burning the bodies of Mark’s men they’d cleaned up every trace of what had taken place and moved, all of them including the Wolf, what Mark reckoned was about ten miles away.
He grunted, trying to shift to a more comfortable position. The tent gave him little protection him from the ruthless sun and having his ankle chained to a stake barely two feet away severely restricted his movements. For maybe the thousandth time he wondered what had gone wrong and landed him in this abominable mess.
God, what a mess it had been. One minute they were finding their positions to take their shots, carefully hidden, the target painted. The next they were the targets instead. The noise of the AK47s still echoed in his ears, along with the stench of the blood of his dying men. They’d even gotten the comm guy they’d left at the insertion and extraction point with their gear.
He’d forced himself to look when they dragged the bodies into the center of the camp, piled them together and set them on fire. They stood watching with arrogant, evil grins on their faces, then opened bottles of whiskey to celebrate. Mark was sure it was a sight he’d never forget.
He knew what they wanted—the name of the man who had betrayed them. They could kill him and very well might but the source had to be protected at all costs.
Yet as much as they tortured him, for sport and pleasure as well as information, there were things he hung onto that kept his sanity intact. For one thing, despite his wounds he kept himself alert and counted the bodies. One was missing, Joey Latrobe. The kid. The sniper. Rick’s brother, who’d brought them the information. Mark was convinced he wasn’t dead or they’d have found him. No, badly wounded or not, he’d found a way to hide from them. Now if Mark could only be sure he got away.
Of course he had no idea what shape Joey was in, or even if he could give his rescuers, if there were any, information about the camp.
But what gave him real strength was his connection to Faith. God. Beautiful Faith. The woman of his dreams. How stupid was he to walk away from what they could have to play soldier? No, not that. To defend his country. His sense of honor and patriotism was stronger than almost anything. But now, if he died here in this godforsaken hellhole, the only memory he’d have would be that long weekend they’d shared before he was deployed the first time.
And the erotic dreams that came to wipe away the pain.
When he closed his eyes she was in his arms again, her lush body naked against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. His hands coasted over her satiny skin, fingertips exploring every dip and hollow.
“It’s a good thing you aren’t around when I’m planning a mission,” he murmured, his lips against her throat. “I just look at you and my cock gets so big I’m afraid my pants won’t contain it.”
Her laugh was throaty and musical, and her fingers drifted down to close around his thick erection. “Good. That’s the way I like it.”
She moved her hand in a slow pumping motion and he groaned at the heat that rushed through him. Lowering his head he closed his lips over one taut nipple, pulling it into his mouth. It hardened even more at his touch and when he dragged his teeth over it lightly her grip on his cock tightened.
“Easy.” He released the nipple and lapped around the edge of it. “We don’t want the dance to end when the music has just begun.”
“Ah, but we can always dance again,” she reminded him.
He tasted the skin in the valley between her breasts, doing his best to take control of the situation even as her fingers continued to stroke the hard, thick length of his cock. Light movements that teased him and heated his blood.
But then just being near her did that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Office Space

For the past few weeks, I've been getting ready for a group of friends to show up for a little 'writers retreat'. Desiree Holt, Nicole Austin, Brenna Zinn, and Allie Standifer are expected on Thursday for several days of fun and games so I've been getting my place ready for company. They aren't in the least picky ladies and logically I KNOW that but still, I'd like my house to sparkle like a diamond since they've never been here before.

Now I don't know how it happened but for some reason when I started cleaning and re-arranging, I couldn't stop. I've tackled closets like a crazy lady (lucky thing nothing BIT me) and thrown out bag after bag of old CRAP that I've been hanging onto for years. Hey, I think we all have those closets. Do you have a junk drawer in your kitchen? I have several that include a messy tangle of kitchen gadgets, instruction books for refrigerators and stoves, and the random recipe that might be written on an old envelope. The other day I found a booklet for a can opener I haven't even OWNED for ten years years. How crazy is that and why do we save this kind of stuff? I swear, I feel like a hoarder. EWWWW.

Anyway, I decided I was long past due to fix up my office space a little bit. When my son moved away from home years ago, I converted his bedroom into my office and I've loved working here. It's a nice sized room with a cherry sleigh bed and matching armoir/entertainment center. In one corner, I have a big silk palm tree and I keep a little coffee pot on the bedside table. My desk? Well until recently it was a big, fat mess. Stuff everywhere and there was no rhyme or reason to most of it. After cleaning the mess away (little notes and other assorted BS), it's looks fairly decent. Here is some of what I now have on and around my writing desk. Desktop monitor (naturally), scented candle (for inspiration), a cute 'cat thing' that holds assorted pens, a phone, a note pad, a few bottles of perfume (because they are pretty and I randomly squirt myself), lip balm and hand lotion (absolute MUST HAVES for me). I have assorted pretty pictures hung on my walls yet around my desk area I have framed photos from my trips to EC's Romanticon, a cool bulletin board, and a framed copy of an award I won (again at Romanticon). The space is still a work in progress but, in a nutshell, this is my workspace and where I spend most of my days.

Once I've finished it up, I'll definitely post some pics here. What does your workspace look like? What are your 'must have' items?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pinocchio Syndrome

I’ve been around e-publishing for a few years now either learning the craft, soaking it all up like a sponge, writing or editing, and usually all three. I’ve seen authors come and go. Seen genres suddenly become bestsellers while others lose their appeal just to rise again. I’ve seen author meltdowns and publisher meltdowns alike. And I’ve been involved in publisher shutdowns.

In other words, I’m not green anymore. I lost my publishing cherry long ago. And I’ve decided to get a few things off my chest today.

When I first decided to write, I sat down at my computer and researched for a while before I jumped in. I discovered erotic romance and decided that was the best way for me to go. E-publishing was something I’d never heard of but it just felt right. I could see a future in publishing online. I was right. LOL

But it’s like my daddy was always fond of saying: “No matter where ya go, there’s always an asshole there to greet ya!” And Daddy was so damn right!

One of the first issues I encountered in Romancelandia was the incredible amount of prejudice against erotic romance authors. Just a few years ago it was rampant. It’s still there, but it’s one of those things that is less talked about now. Have you ever been chatting with an author on a group or forum, just having a conversation about romance writing in general, and then that author finds out you write erotic romance? Happened to me a few times. It was as if I no longer existed. Thanks to the antiquated ideas of RWA—yep, I blame RWA mostly—erotic romance authors were not REAL authors. Why RWA? Well, until erotic romance put e-publishing on the map and showed the publishing world a different way of doing things—a different way of making money—RWA was the DO ALL-KNOW ALL-END OF ALL where romance writing was concerned. You needed the RWA stamp of approval to be a REAL AUTHOR.

Some authors still want that. And that’s fine. Everyone must follow their own career path. But don’t…hear me…don’t look down on others who have chosen a different path. Just sayin’. 

Another thing that I’ve run into along the way has been the idea that e-books aren’t real, and therefore the author isn’t a REAL AUTHOR. Can you hear me groaning? I just poured a shot of whiskey in my coffee. Yeah, I did. Hemmingway did it. So can I. Ooops! He was a REAL AUTHOR. Hmmm…well, maybe the whiskey will make me a REAL AUTHOR, too! LOL At least I’ll feel better—as long as I don’t do more than a couple of shots, that is. LOL Yeah, it’s morning, but it’s MONDAY morning. Besides I didn’t sleep well last night. And if it makes you feel any better, I just added a little whipped cream to the top. Now it’s a breakfast drink! Yeah, that’s it!

Anyway…back to my rant. So I’ve had two strikes against me since the beginning. I write sexy stuff and I’m e-published only. Now hear this: I am happy in e-publishing. I do not spend my time salivating over the BIG SIX nor do I spend my time querying agents. And btw, that whole agent thing is another issue. There are authors who believe you’ve got to have one or you’re not a REAL AUTHOR. And if you want to be pubbed with the BIG SIX, I guess you do need one because they won’t look at your manuscript unless you do. At least for now. I figure agents are going to have to go through a little reinvention in the not so distant future in order to hang on to their businesses. With no need for an agent in e-publishing and the way self-publishing seems to be taking off, authors aren’t quite as inclined to give someone fifteen percent to open the same doors they can open all on their own. However, I do think that if you’re with the BIG SIX or aiming for them and don’t have an agent that you need one to handle negotiations and contracts—and of course, to get you in the door. Never do anything you aren’t qualified to do.

So what’s next? Glad you asked. LOL If you don’t have books out in print, you’re not a REAL AUTHOR. Okkkkaaaaayyyyyy…now this is when I bring out the whips and chains. And I’m not bringing them out for pleasurable purposes either. What a crock of… Does anyone here really believe that an author’s words are less enjoyable because a reader is not holding the book in their hand? Sure I like print books. But I don’t think a print book is better in any way just because it’s something I can hold. And now that all of the big authors are out in e books and we have all of these amazing e readers…wtf? Yet I’ll still see an author somewhere posting about their book finally being in print as if they have suddenly been made a REAL AUTHOR. Pinocchio Syndrome. All Pinocchio ever needed to be real was love and all an author needs to be real is a love of writing. Get it???? So anyone out there who thinks less of their author abilities because you’re not in print—well, STOP IT! Don’t buy into that. It’s NOT true.

And here’s another one that really burns my butter. You’re not a REAL AUTHOR unless you write longer works. HUH? My hair is officially singed from that one. Regina touched on that last week in her post entitled Is a novella a REAL Book? You bet it is and you can find that post here:  My friend Emmy Ellis, aka Natalie Dae and Sarah Masters, posted about this on Facebook a few days ago, too.

Novella writing isn’t for everyone. And I doubt most of us even give it a thought. But lots of authors talk about how writing shorter works just isn’t the same as writing a full-blown novel. Oh PUHLEEEZE! I write longer works AND shorter works. Writing short is a helluva lot harder than long. To write something short that is completely satisfying, an author has to pack a big punch with every word, sentence. The writing must be tight but at the same time leave NO stone unturned. I dare say that writing short takes a lot more skill than writing long. And I can say that because I do both. I read novellas, short stories, and novels. I’m afraid that a lot of novels are padded with unnecessary stuff. Yeah, they are. Have you ever found yourself reading a novel and skimming or paging ahead? I do that a lot. Another thing is that novellas and shorts are becoming increasingly popular. Busy lifestyles require a satisfying read that won’t steal an entire afternoon or evening. Novellas and short stories are here to stay. So for those of you who think you aren’t a REAL AUTHOR because you haven’t written an 80K novel yet???? STOP THAT!

Now for a little mood lightening. LOL Just got word last night that my contemporary novel, Strip Down, will release from Ellora’s Cave on July 8. Check out the coming soon page and read the blurb and excerpt. Trust me…this one is hot hot hot!

Once again I have no author book trailer to showcase. No one is sending me any. Hmmm…free promo????? I don’t charge. LOL Would love to see a few come my way. Just send to

Friday, June 17, 2011

Books of the Heart

We all have them. Some stories we write and for some reason they stick with us more than others. Some books we read and they grab on and don't let go. I have a couple in each category.After I share mine, I want to hear yours! I'm always looking to add to my TBR, plus talking books is just plain fun.

Reading wise, I have two books of the heart. I've read both four times and I know I'll be reading them again. That's the sure sign of a treasured favorite – that they get better each time you read them!

The first is Angels Fall by Nora Roberts. I love everything about this book. The setting in Wyoming –Nora's vivid settings are like another character in her stories –the understandably neurotic, quirky, brave heroine Reece, the sexy, strong and sometimes obnoxious hero Brody. Even writing about them makes me want to read this book again. Sinking into a Nora story is like submerging in warm, tranquil always end up just wanting to float there for a while, undisturbed. This is especially true for me with this book. Most of all I love how Brody is so afraid of committing to Reece, but at the end he makes a decision that is so heroic and so sigh worthy that I nearly swoon every time I read it. Nora's heroes are things of beauty, and Brody's one of her best.

The second is Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I love Cat and Bones. I can't even say exactly why I love this book so much but I do. Cat's emotional scars only make her stronger and her vulnerability attracts Bones as much as her strength. And Bones...oh, Bones. There's nothing like seeing a tough, world weary hero – even if he's a vampire assassin – brought to his knees by love.

Writing wise, I have two books of my heart so far. The first is Insatiable. Rachel and Shawn were my first ever hero and heroine that I wrote in high school, based loosely on another boy and girl in my class. Though their real life inspirations never dated, Rachel and Shawn went through many incarnations (including Rachel getting a brand new hero for a couple years) before falling in forever love. Seeing their story finally published this February was amazing!

The other is Provoke Me, which releases June 22nd from Ellora's Cave. Kelly and Spencer became real to me as I was writing them. So real that when I finished, I knew I had to write another story about them—a first for me. Promise Me will be the sixth and final book in my Unveiled series, and I admit I've already started to write it even though I haven't finished book 3 yet. I love them so much that even while I was writing the synopsis for Promise Me, Kelly's voice came through loud and clear. Provoke Me's my longest book to date and I'm still not done with those characters. Or they're not done with me, I'm not sure which. I only hope readers enjoy their story as much I did writing it—all the angst they put me through aside!

Now it's your turn. Readers, what is the book(s) of your heart? Writers, what about you? Can't wait to hear what books move you most and why!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I've got a new kitten. She's freakin' adorable and my older cat isn't impressed. Since I'm a new mommy, I thought I'd share pictures with you and leave the deep thoughts for another time. Check out my precious one.
Cleo claimed my younger daughter's baby blanket.

Then she decided my shoulder was a great place to snooze. It was purrful

Cleo is nuts about jeans. She gets all crazy-eyed and possessive about them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reviews: The good, bad & the ones that make us cry

A Secretary Frantically Jotting Notes Down - Royalty Free Clipart Picture
Every time I my inbox pops up with a review I get nervous. Will they love it, hate it, trash it or nominate me for Romance Writer Sainthood? It's always a crap shoot with reviews until the one finds you & she GETS you. She understands your writing style voice, characters & most important your sense of humor. I've been pretty lucky in the years that I've been writing. Bad reviews have come, but more great reviews have followed.
Where oh where am I going with this? Well, I'm thrilled you asked. Reviews they are either to be reviled or revelved in. The ones that really stick with me, the ones I wake up thinking about...yep the crappy ones. Why oh why is it so much easier to focus on the bad stuff than the good? Ten reviews will come in dealing with one book, nine of them praise me and ask to burn offerings in my name. The last says the book was okay, but she couldn't connect with the characters or the plot felt loose or she hated the heroines last name. You pick it I've received it.
I know there are several reviews here on our little slice of limbo and I'm not speaking about you guys! You're awesome (Yes, I'll have the check in the mail by Friday) Seriously reviewers are an important part of the romance industry. Yes, I do understand not every person will get my writing. I'm okay with really I am. Amazon, B&N, RT are several places I look to see what other people thought of a book before I buy it. If the majority of people give it a so-so rating I won't buy it. Then, because my sanity is about as stable as a teeter-totter, I waffle back and forth. Maybe these readers didn't get the author or maybe they were all having a bad day on the same day. You see where I'm going with this?
Yes, I'm taking my medications thanks for asking.
Writers are by nature loners and introverts, myself included. I'm the shy wallflower type very retiring and meek. Ahem...So when a review lands in my hands and it's less than stellar I've started allowing myself time to mentally whine, throw a pity party then picture ninety nine ways to kill off said review. Never piss off a writer, we can keep killing you for years! After my fab mental party I shove it out of my brain as much as possible and move on. Seriously there's no sense in keeping damaging words around to taint whatever book I'm working on now.
On the flip side good reviews from the awesome lady who got you. Oh honey, I could live off those for years. Example: Over at The Wild Rose Press I have a full length series going on. Paranormal dealing with Poseidon's sons. The first house I published my baby with crashed, tanked, disappeared faster than a cheesecake at Desiree Holt's house. Still I managed to dust myself off and sub it to TWRP. Amazing people over there, btw, love 'em. They get my book, make me an amazing cover and it gets rave reviews. The my personal world went to hell and back so I wasn't up to the writing challenge. Flash forward a year later the second book is done and my editor hated it! No, really she said "I hate it". So like any good writer I killed her off in several nasty and sexually questionable ways and moved on. Three years later I get an e-mail from someone I've never met, never heard of, but will now love until my dying day. HE, yep, he wrote this about my book

 Paranormal at it's Best!

I love anything to due with vampires, werewolves, witches or magic. But now I'm in love with 9 of the hottest demi-gods around. Allie Standifer introduces the Poseidon brother with a BANG! This is the first book of what I hope to be at least a nine book series. One for each brother. I laughed until I almost peed. Clio and Kryssin are so wrong for each other that they're perfect together.

I couldn't put this book down until I finished the last page. And then I wanted to start on the next one. Please, please, please Ms. Standifer, hurry up with the next book and could you make it Zale's? Thanks to the razor sharp dialog, hot characters, and melt your M&M's love scenes I'm going back to buy whatever else this hot new author had come out with. A new, but devotedly loyal reader. [by David]

Nothing else could have kicked my pouting fat buttocks into gear quicker than reading that e-mail. The same day I sent an e-mail to my publisher and asked her opinion. She told me "I'll send it to a beta reader, if she hates it too then you'll have to change it. If she loves is you're getting a new editor." Long story short beta reader loved it and offered to read anything else I write. 

The moral of this week's blog is reviews love 'em or hate 'em they all have something to offer. Now's the time to let me know if any of you even bother to read them, ignore them or purchase books solely on a reviewer's say so. I'd love to hear some feedback. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is a novella a REAL Book? You bet it is

When you head into bookstore or shop online for your favorite reads, do you REALLY buy only for length? Yay for choices, right? Years and years ago selections were different. Most books were full lenth novels but boy, have the times changed. I could be wrong about this (and if I am tell me so) but it seems that novellas really took off in the 90's. For those of us who like our reading material to smolder and steam, Kensington's Brava line was introduced and many of us devoured those short, hot stories finding the length absolutely perfect to fit our busy lifestyles. It makes sense really. More women in the workforce, our kids (if we had them) were involved in too many activities to name and the modern woman was doing it all from stuff on the home front, work, name it. There was, and still is, a huge market for novella length or short novel.

Just over the past few days authors have mentioned that, though they had novellas published, they didn't feel like a 'real author' until after signing a contract for a NOVEL. HOOEY, I say, HOOEY. That's the dumbest thing ever. Writing is writing and an author is an author whether you write novels, shorts or a combo of the two. At the moment, I'm working on something that must be less than 13K. Okay folks, this isn't easy. Fitting characterization, plot and lots and lots of hot stuff into that length requires major skills. Finding that one perfect word to replace a dozen is no easy task but authors do it every day. It's like working the most intricate of jigsaw puzzles and everything has to fit. So novella writers not real authors? Again I say HOOEY.

Last year at Ellora's Caves Romanticon readers attended a forum and were asked to talk about their favorite book lengths. Frankly, some books DO need to be longer. The stories are just mre involved. But have you ever read a longish book and come away thinking...hey, that could have been a whole lot shorter and told the same story. I remember many years before I was published, I attended a small, casual booksigning featuring a well-known author who talked with us about the book editing process. She laughed telling the story of her editor telling her to write an additional two pages to better describe a  particular 'hillside'. Really? That sounds like a lot of FLUFF to me. Let me have the story nice, sharp and clean. Who cares about the length as long as the author did her job.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Life

For those of you who know me a little better than others you know my kids are my life. I think that’s the way it is with all of us basically. I guess sometimes people read what we write and imagine us dictating our stories to some overpaid assistant while we lounge in a round, king size bed flooded with pink silk draped from some ornate 24K gold canopy. Oh! And we’re petting a fluffy white poodle that’s wearing a diamond-studded collar, too!

But that’s not the case, is it?

No. Life is pretty much like everyone else’s here at my house. There are groceries to shop for, bills to pay, school administrators and teachers to deal with, homework help, etc. Life is normal. Well, at least as normal as it can be at my house. I’m a single Mom and have raised my three all by my lonesome. NO child support and NO help with all of the ups and downs of child-rearing I’ve encountered along the way.

When the middle child, at age five, developed some sort of seizures, it was me that trudged back and forth to Duke Children’s Hospital once a week for treatments. It was me who went to school every single day at lunchtime to give her meds (didn’t trust the school nurse, lol). When she ended up in the hospital for a week, I stayed with her nightly while the other two were farmed out to my sis—even though I left the hospital each morning at 4 a.m. so I could make breakfast and get those two off to school—and then back to Duke for a few hours before back home for pickups at school then back to Duke for the night so I could start all over the next day. It’s amazing sometimes how we can find the strength to do the things we have to for our kids, isn’t it?

When the oldest broke her arm at her shoulder at age seven and was placed in a weighted cast—she weighed forty-five pounds and the cast weighed thirty-five—I was the one who home schooled her and carried her back and forth to the bathroom and fed her while she was in bed. Do you know how hard it is to entertain a child who is basically in bed 24hrs a day for six weeks? I bet you do.

Then there’s the boy. Well, he fractured his foot once but he didn’t seem to need any help. Loved that big boot they put him in. He said he looked like a cyborg in it. lol But he did have H1N1 back to back (ya’ll remember Swine Flu, don’t ya?)—lasting a total of three weeks—and then went back to school and ended up in the ER with a horrible headache and jaundice like you would NOT believe! And the ER doc immediately wanted to test for spinal meningitis. He had all of the symptoms. The kid could not even move his head he hurt so badly. Or so we thought! LOL The doc was leaning up against the wall telling me about THE SPINAL TAP he was going to do and just happened to look over at the boy who was the sickest I’d ever seen him and about that time—at the words SPINAL TAP—the boy raised his head! So the doc says—“uhhhh…maybe not. He shouldn’t be able to move his head. Let’s give him some fluids and about half an hour.”

After two bags of fluids, the boy’s color returned and he could actually walk out of the hospital an hour later where he’d been carried out to my car before by a friend because he had been too weak to stand and, of course, put in a wheel chair at the ER. So he was diagnosed with his third case of H1N1.

Can you imagine how terrified I was? Yeah, I bet you can.

I’m sure all of you have jumped through the Christmas hoops, too! You know what I’m talking about. All of the booty is sitting there and the kids are so happy, and then it happens…

Something breaks. Something doesn’t work just the way it’s supposed to. A part doesn’t fit right. The batteries die. Parenting isn’t about the bright lights and toys and all the money you spent, is it? It’s about dealing with the broken toy and putting a smile back on that disappointed child’s face. It’s about love and understanding and having patience.

I used to be THE most IMPATIENT person on the planet. I was VERY demanding. Anything I wanted or needed, I wanted and needed NOW! So I thank God for blessing me with three children who taught me patience and understanding. And I thank my three children for giving me love and letting me love them.

Without that patience and understanding—and a very good sense of humor—I would not have made it. No way. I have the tendency to turn everything bad into something funny. Hey…you may as well laugh as cry, right? So when I went jockstrap shopping with the boy yesterday, I laughed a whole lot. When I retrieved him from football camp a while ago I handed him some Gatorade and had the AC vents blowing hard on him. He finally revived and told me all about it. Some guy twisted his nipple. Hmmm…

Yeah, they were practicing shoving and pushing off each other without protective equipment. But the boy did not expect anyone to twist his nipple. So tomorrow? I predict someone’s nipple is going to get twisted right back. You might catch my kid off guard one time—but not again. And I’m proud to say his mama ain’t no WUSS! I know how to shove hard, too, and I’m giving him the benefit of all my wisdom. So when he gets shoved tomorrow…someone’s going to be in the dirt and it won’t be my boy.

Raising kids is hard. Raising kids alone is even harder. Knowing the right things to say and do? Well, that’ll always be touch and go. No one has the right of that for sure. In the meantime I plod along, doing the best I can. Just like everyone else.