Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaching Your Kid Right From Wrong

I'm late posting this morning because I spent the morning finishing up my latest manuscript. The actual writing part of my job IS rather important, after all. LOL

However, when I finally surfaced it was to see an article about a boy who had committed suicide. Tyler was an 18 year old Rutgers student with a very bright future. A violinist who "blew the audience away" with the solo he played in a concert last year. So, why would a kid with so much to offer suddenly decide to jump off the George Washington Bridge? We have his roomate, Dharun Ravi, to thank for that. It seems Ravi thought it'd be fun to secretly videotape Tyler while he had an intimate encounter with another man. Worse, Ravi posted the video on the internet, then invited others to come and watch. You can read the full, tragic story here

If you read the article then you're probably as horrified as I am. What person in their right mind does something like that? To get joy out of causing someone else pain is simply beyond my understanding. I have to ask, what sort of values was Ravi raised with? As a parent I've tried hard to raise my kids to know the difference between right and wrong. To treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of their differences. I've raised them to think for themselves. And to know that if you do something wrong, you WILL be punished. Period.

What troubles me is that I wonder if Ravi, and the girl who seems to have been in on this cruel prank with him, will really be punished? Are they even aware that what they did was totally screwed up? Are they sorry that Tyler killed himself or are they just sorry they're in trouble? My guess is the latter.

It bothers me more than I can say to think that there are kids out there who are perfectly willing to fuck up someone else's life, just to get a laugh. It bothers me to think that they won't be punished beyond a slap on the wrist. An entire family is destroyed now! I'm curious how Ravi and Molly feel, knowing they pushed a decent, hard working kid to kill himself? Personally, I think there should be a stiff punishment for this crime. I think if there isn't, then we WILL see more of it.

What do you think? Should Ravi and Molly be punished?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Um, he doesn't look like that!

I love a guy with dark hair. I've always been that way. Give me some messy, black hair, bright blue eyes and a wicked grin gets you in all the right places and I'm a goner. I find that I automatically try and write all the heroes in my books with dark hair. The eyes aren't always blue (a nice green thrown in from time to time or a dark, brown his hot too), but my guys almost always try and have dark hair! In fact, I have to remind myself that black haired guys aren't the only hot guys out there. All the heroes I write can't have dark hair.

I have nothing against those sexy blonds of course. They're as delicious as can be too, but it's like my mind automatically goes to dark hair when I'm writing.

Usually, it stops with my writing, but the other day it leaked into my reading. I was devouring a good book, but something about the heroes description just didn't work for me. For some reason it didn't seem to be HIM. Which is weird because it obviously is. LOL. I didn't write the guy, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't visualize the hero the way the writer described him. It didn't fit with his personality, IMO. Crazy, huh?

For me, I'm not even sure I just wanted to give the guy my knee-weakening black hair and blue eyes. It was really a whole package deal, that I just couldn't see. I've never had that happen before so I'm curious if I'm on my own on this one.

Have you ever done this? Do you tend to imagine the heroes with your favorite characteristics or do you see who the author paints for you? Has there ever been a time you just couldn't see a character, hero or heroine the way the author described?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Live and NEVER Learn

You know that old saying Live and Learn? Well, I live and NEVER learn. Seems like when I am distracted by things my house goes to hell. Been writing quite a bit lately and getting ready to head out for Ellora's Cave's Romanticon and my mind is well...occupied. There is no room in my head for anything else, I reckon. At dinner time, the other evening, I put on water to boil pasta then headed back into my office to get a bit more wordage on the work in progress. I toodled along, typing away and suddenly I SMELLED something. I jumped up, dashed through the place and realized the house was filled with smoke. I'd completely forgotten the pot of water boiling on the stove. What a damn mess! I yanked the pot off the stove and started opening doors and windows to let the smoke out then went into the master bedroom. Mr. Regina was sprawled on the bed watching the news and I managed to say...hey, don't panic but I almost set the damn house on fire. He looks at me over the top of his 'readers' and goes...Damn, honey.
He was actually so calm about it, I began to realize that, to him, this was no cause for alarm. Just standard stuff.

Now I'd like to blame this on the fact that I write but truthfully, when we have lots of crap going on, it's super easy to screw up things. Most of my disasters are kitchen related but this could simply be due to the fact that I don't have a 'day job'. I've exploded eggs, burned stew (three or four pots last winter), forgotten to put meat out to thaw. What's really weird about that is that I'm normally not a 'kitchen klutz'. I am descended from a long line of superb southern cooks who would be rolling in their graves if they only knew of my recent screwups!

I'm chalking it up to distraction!

In other news: Three Wicked Writers plus Two are CHATTING TODAY!!! Yes, we are! Please stop by Two Lips Reviews Chat Loop, hang out for awhile and meet Anne Rainey, Madison Scott, Tess MacKall, Natalie Dae and Moi at 1 pm est.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Playing With Fire: Book Banning

Everyone grab your coffee and croissants, and make sure you’re comfortable. This is going to be a long post as this subject is one of my hot buttons in general, and as you’ll discover, even I can sometimes be conflicted. Differentiating between right and wrong isn’t always that easy, is it?

Last week, our very own Madison Scott posted about how outraged she was over a man who had complained to the school board about certain books in the school libraries. You can read Madison’s post here >

This week is Banned Books Week (September 25 – October 2). Lots of organizations get involved to not only celebrate our freedom to read as we desire but also to remind everyone that censorship in any form must not be tolerated.

Now, I understand the need within the public school systems to consider the age appropriateness of any book. That makes perfect sense to me. However, every once in a while a book finds its way into a school’s library that offends someone and parents run screaming to have it removed. Or in the case of Madison’s post, one man. A lot of times the silent majority never even weighs in.

Most of these books are rejected by those wanting them banned due to religious beliefs or sexual content. The Harry Potter Series comes to mind as one I heard about at my children’s school as some parents finding objectionable based on the theme of witchcraft. Speak by Laurie Anderson is one that Madison mentioned in her post, and, of course, this book clearly has some sexual overtones that make it unacceptable to some. Recently an invitation to Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, a NYTBS, to attend a Teen Lit Festival in Humble, Texas was rescinded by the school superintendant there. Apparently a middle school librarian believed that Ms. Hopkin’s presence would not be good for students. Since then, several authors have pulled out of the Teen Lit Festival in protest. What a loss to those students. You can read about it here >

We can sit here and say that the individuals who would ban or even burn these books are unintelligent, prejudiced, or some sort of zealot all we want, but that’s not always the case, and the bottom line is that it’s their right to protest these books just as much as it’s my right to want the books to remain on the shelves. And that’s where all this gets tricky, isn’t it? And where all my personal conflict sometimes starts.

No. I don’t in any way fashion, shape, or form applaud book banning. If it happened here in my hometown, you better believe I’d be on the frontline raising HOLY HELL. But I have to defend everyone’s right to their opinion and their right to raise their children as they see fit. I might not agree with the person, but they do have those rights the same as I do. Parents should be vigilante as to what their children are reading. As a matter of fact, if your child is reading something like Speak or Crank, then it’s a good idea to sit down and talk with them about the subject matter. It’s not enough for a child/young adult to read a book, they also need to understand how what they’ve read applies to life. I haven’t read either of those books, but as I understand it, both are incredibly worthwhile reads. My children are no longer at that age in which I monitor their reading habits, but when they were younger, I most certainly did.

It seems to me that those who complain about what our libraries stock on the shelves would be better off simply keeping closer tabs on their children and teaching them right from wrong rather than limiting the scope of their reading by doing away with books. Because, after all, not everyone’s beliefs and ideas as to how to raise their children are the same. Yet I sit here and see their point when these book banners refuse to consider mine. And that’s where they lose me.

Here’s something else for you to think about. A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a well known book distribution site. I clicked on the link and could not believe my eyes. This huge business was selling books with content which the vast majority of traditional publishers consider way past taboo. Underage sex, incest, rape, and bestiality stared at me from the web page. My first thought? That I’d never buy another book from that site again. The subject matter of those books is sickening and the idea that they are up there for sale right along with mine disgusts me. But I had to take a step back and think. I was basically saying that “someone” had no right to read these books. That the author had no right to write these books.

And yes, I think those books were designed to feed some very sick minds---to tap into the lowest forms of pornography possible, and to make money. I don’t for one second believe there was a miniscule amount of honor as a writer in putting pen to paper in creating those stories.

Did you know that bestiality is only illegal in like thirty-four out of our fifty states? Not completely illegal in the UK either. And not at all illegal in a great many countries. Underage sex is not illegal in a lot of countries too. Rape laws have always been questionable in almost all countries, haven’t they? I still can’t condone these books. Don’t want to think of them up for sale. But I can’t demand they be taken down either.

I’m just one person trying to muddle through all of this. I won’t ever read those books I deem to be trash, but I can honestly say that I would defend anyone’s right to read those books. And I hope like hell the day never comes when I have to defend those books too. The subject of book banning is a lot harder to understand and deal with than most might think. I’ve been reading articles for a few days now and I’m amazed by all the challenges to books. Check out the list here >

I’m also amazed by the court challenges and lawsuits involved. I write erotic romance. Most visitors to this blog either write it or read it. Who’s to say that one day someone won’t challenge one of our books? The Constitution of the United States does not protect what is referred to as “obscene literature”. And just who issues the litmus test? No, I don’t expect one of my books to end up in a school library, but a great many erotic romances are sitting in public libraries. There are also a great many erotic romance writers who, under a different pen name, write YA. What would happen to this author’s YA titles if just one person, one unenlightened individual within a school system, discovered that the author whose books are in her child’s school library also penned erotica? Guilt by association?

My way of celebrating Banned Books Week is to educate myself on this issue. To give it some serious thought—which I have. Discussion on this subject is important to the education process, and I’d like to know the views of everyone who reads this post. Has your child ever brought home a book from school that you seriously thought about making a complaint about or did complain? Have you ever picked up a book at your local library and questioned as to why it was ever placed on the shelf? What do you think about those ultra taboo topics I mentioned and their place in society—should we protect those type of books?—or do we have the right to only protect the books we agree with? Let me hear from you.

My publisher, Ellora’s Cave, is encouraging everyone to review a favorite banned book this week—again, you’ll find the list here > as a way of supporting Banned Books Week. Visit Ellora’s Cave Redlines and Deadlines Blog to read more about the challenge.

Thanks to everyone who stops by and comments. I’ll see you next Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Suffer Little Children

I don’t know how this post is going to go over with you guys, but it’s a subject close to my heart. Child abuse. If you're of a very sensitive nature or you can't face reading something that will get you down, don't read on, but if you can manage to read this, know that if you can do one of two things I ask at the end, or even both, together we may just make a difference.

I’ve always rattled on about it throughout the years, and in one of my other pen names, all my books have a child abuse theme, showing readers what abused children could become if that child is so conditioned they don’t know what they have suffered in their youth is wrong.

My oldest daughter has picked up on my compassion for abused children, having heard my thoughts over time, and chose to go to college then university to study to be a social worker. Throughout her studies, she has done several work placements in several places, ranging from kindergarten/toddler groups to looking after the elderly in care homes.

Now, she’s on the in-your-face stretch of her studies and has been placed, as a social worker, complete with nametag and photo that proclaims her as such—my God, I am so proud of her!—helping children who live with the most horrendous situations and who, quite clearly, see their lives as “normal”. The parents see what they are doing as “normal”. She can’t mention any names or addresses when telling me anything, but yesterday, she visited and had to offload what she had seen and the emotions she had experienced so far this week. Let me tell you, I have no idea how she holds it all together and doesn’t cry for the children and get angry at the parents. She wants to, believe me, but she’s been trained to act professionally and not allow her emotions to get involved.

Hard when she has to read case files on abused children with the view to creating a “help plan” for the parents to follow, knowing what these children suffer through every day. One house is so filthy the floor is littered with cigarette butts thrown down and ground out by the mother. Brown banana skins, take-away boxes, crisp/chip packets, you name it, also covers the floor. And those children sat on that floor eating their lunch from bowls—just bread by the way—as though what they were doing was quite all right. Their feet were literally black with dirt, the filth coming up the sides of the feet from the soles. The children aren’t spoken to. They don't speak much. They have no idea how to interact with other people. For the most part, they are either silent or spend their time running, continually, from one end of the room to the other. They had bare mattresses on the floor for beds. The children are 4 and 2.

My daughter wanted to take those children out of the home and place them somewhere else, but she is bound by laws and red tape that prevent her from doing so. She has a young child of her own, so naturally she is devastated, knowing how important it is to nurture your children and raise them into stable, well-loved adults. The British system goes by this main rule: So long as there is no hardcore abuse, the children must remain with the parent to maintain the mother/child bond.

Ponder this: If there is no bond, if the mother doesn’t speak to these children, doesn’t play with them, basically feeds them as though they were just a hamster in a cage and nothing more than a blight on her existence, why are they still with her? Why did she have them? Can she be "taught" to care for them properly? To give them a clean and safe environment?

Evidently not. A team of workers cleaned the woman’s house from top to bottom. Just from the living room alone, they filled 4 large refuse sacks with debris from the floor. They bought the children new beds, some other new furniture for the rest of the house, and left the house sparkling and bright. While the team worked, two police officers gave their time to play with the children in the garden all day. They didn’t know how to play. They just stood there staring. Heartbreaking.

Three days later, the team went back to check the mother hadn’t sold the new furniture. And found the house just as filthy as before. The children just as filthy. Yet the mother/child bond must be maintained, and those children will not see a brighter future with adoptive/foster parents who adore them unless the mother harms them or they suffer sexual abuse—and even then, the mother/child bond is so “important” that the team will persevere in keeping the family unit together and only step in to take the children if the abuse escalates to horrific.

I think them living in those conditions is already horrific, let alone leaving them there until their abuse reaches the top of the scale before anything is done.

I don't know about you, but knowing I'm sitting here, happy, well-balanced, well-fed, my children safe and adored, a clean home, while children like the ones above are sitting in filth and don't even know what love is, what it feels like to be hugged every day and kissed on the cheek, makes me want to cry and DO something, you know? How can I sit here without at least trying to ease their pain?

My daughter has been subjected to filthy looks when parents she visits catch sight of her social worker tag. Like she's scum for wanting to help. She remains happy and upbeat, offering suggestions and help to these people, while inside her heart is breaking and she’s fighting off tears. She's determined to make a difference. What a woman. What an absolutely adorable woman to go out there and do the work I quite simply can’t. Because I wouldn’t be able to hold back the emotion. Just by her telling me about these children, among many others she’s been working with, I cried. I’m crying now while typing this. Those who work in this field have my complete admiration. It’s a damn tough job, sometimes thankless, and emotionally difficult.

I ask “Why?” a lot. What the hell is wrong with us that our governments create a structure that must be followed, allowing human beings to be subjected to a life of hell because they feel, if the mother/child bond is broken, it’s more traumatic for the children than the actual abuse? WTF? I know these kids don’t know anything different. I know what they are experiencing, to them, is “normal”, but for God’s sake, it isn’t, and them being left in homes like this absolutely kills me.

I had to get this off my chest and share with you the hidden secrets in our societies that we have no clue about until a child dies and a community cries out in uproar because the children weren’t removed from the home sooner. I knew things like this went on, but I didn’t realise how prevalent it is until yesterday. You would not believe the amount of people who act this way, right there in your village, town, or city. You would be shocked to know just how bad human beings are and can be, right on your doorstep.

The case above is the mildest she told me about.

If you have enough money to send even a pound/dollar to a charity for abused children, would you please do it today? That money helps to pay for day trips, food, clothing, whatever the children need. If everyone donated a pound or dollar, think how much that would add up to, how much joy and comfort the things bought with that money could give children all over the world who are suffering at the hands of those who are supposed to love them the most.

If you can’t afford to do this, then maybe send up a prayer for these kids. If collective prayer really works, then if we all do it, surely we can make a difference.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Dog Buddy

He’d been a little like Marley, from Marley and Me, over the years. Nothing but trouble. But the most loyal dog in the world and loved us to pieces. He’d been a handful, but he kept us entertained from the start.

I’ll never forget when we brought him home. My youngest daughter was holding him on her lap. She was a little tot, like 2 1/2. He was a puppy, but rowdy. He nipped her on the nose with his little puppy teeth. You’d think she’d cry, but instead she just gave him this look, got him in a head lock and punched him right in the jaw. LOL Her teeny tiny fist didn’t do a bit of damage. Buddy just wagged his tail and licked her. It was almost as if he were saying, ‘oh, yeah, this is gonna be fun!' LOL

And then there’s the time he managed to get the leftover pizza out of the box, which was sitting on the counter partially closed, without knocking the box on the floor. Heck, the lid was still down even! We were amazed, simply amazed.

And the time he ate a bowl of bite-size Reese Cups. Wrappers and all. My husband knows how I feel about my chocolate so he was afraid Buddy was a goner right then and there. But the bowl, which was an expensive crystal candy dish given to me by my mom, wasn’t knocked down. In fact, it was still sitting in the center of the end table, as if it’d never been touched. Again, I was impressed. Once more, I didn’t have the heart to scold him. LOL

One of the things I miss about Buddy is his nightly ritual. He had this thing where he sat and waited for me to go to bed. He never headed to bed if I was still up. He just waited by the couch for me to finish whatever I was doing. Then, once I was in bed, he'd check the girls’ rooms, before coming into our room and plopping down onto his little tiger rug (on the floor, next to my side of the bed). We got him that little tiger rug when he was just a pup. Seeing it sit there now, empty, has been very hard. :(

Buddy went peacefully this past weekend. We buried him in the yard and said a prayer. Later, we had a fire on the deck and told funny Buddy stories. It seemed like the right thing to do. To remember him with a smile. The thing about pets is that they wiggle their way into your heart and once they're there you don't want to push them back out again.

This house is not the same without him. Our dog, Nutmeg, is too young still, but our other dog, Cinnamon, she feels the loss. She was sick the day after we buried him. And very withdrawn too. I know she misses him. When Betsy went (Cinnamon’s mom) she sort of clung to Buddy (her dad). Now they’re both gone.

So, this is in remembrance of our dog Buddy. Right now I just know he's in doggy heaven, driving the angels crazy with his silly antics. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speaking Loudly Against Book Banning

Censorship and book banning are topics that always get me riled up, but I have to say, never as much as I am right now. I've actually been sick to my stomach since the newest issue has been brought to life. A man named Wesley Scroggins from Republic MO wrote an opinion piece entitled, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education". He, who's children are homeschooled, has also brought his complaints to the school board who, in his words, "Claim to be Christian" but let their children be exposed to immorality in books such as Slaughterhouse Five, Twenty Boy Summer, and Speak.

While I don't agree with banning any of these books, I really want to talk about Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, a book Mr. Scroggins said should be classified as "soft pornography". In case you haven't read the book (there is also a movie) here is the description.

"Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country."

You see, Melinda was raped and she can't bring herself to talk about the incident. That's right. He's calling a book about a young girls rape and how she deals with the aftermath as soft pornography.

Let me stress that I FULLY support a parent's right to monitor what their children read. It's when you take the right away from MY kids that I have a problem. What kills me is pulling this book from a school library or curriculum could prevent a girl who is in the same situation as Melinda, who feels like she has no voice and is completely alone in the world, from learning that she isn't alone. That other girls have gone through this and that the best thing for her to do is SPEAK.

To me, to throw words like "immoral and filthy" around in an piece against a book like SPEAK you're breeding the problem. Rape is immoral. Not giving a voice to those who have suffered it is immoral. Are we blaming the victim here? By shoving this book in the corner and calling it filthy aren't we telling those poor kids who may have experienced this that they should shove their experience in a corner as well? To keep silent about it because its dirty? How about we just pretend this stuff doesn't happen and it will go away. God forbid we let these kids have a voice. Let them know that keeping silent doesn't make it go away and that no matter how they feel, they are NOT alone.

I doubt the girl who is silently suffering at the hand of a parent is going to be able to ask said parent to buy them a copy of Speak. How else would they get their hands on it, even know about it if the book isn't available in their school library? How will they know they're not alone if they don't have a chance to read this book in school and discover that they can SPEAK?

When will people learn that taking education away won't fix the problems? That banning books, closing doors and zipping our mouths is only hurting people? How is a sixteen year old girl who may have gone through this, but is afraid to speak out going to feel when she reads an article calling a rape scene pornography?

Again, yes, parents should only let THEIR children read what they're comfortable with, but I'm telling you, shielding your children from knowing what's out there. By pretending teens don't have sex, drink, or get sexually abused isn't going to make it not happen. Knowledge is protection, POWER, IMO.

I feel really strongly about this topic, but especially when it comes to books like SPEAK.

Speak Loudly.

Visit Ms. Anderson's site HERE
Also, there have been some truly inspiring and brave posts (some who have dealt with abuse themselves) in support of this book. Check them out.

Brave and inspiring post. CJ Redwine

Jeaniene Frost

Sarah Ockler Who is giving away a Wesley Scroggins Filthy book pack and has some great posts about the topic on her blog as well.

Also you can follow on Twitter at #SpeakLoudly

I also wanted to share a poem written by Laurie Halse Anderson written with lines from letters she's gotten from kids about their experience reading Speak.

Searching for Inspiration

I've always heard that baseball players were really superstitious. During playoffs, they might wear the same pair of socks for every game or listen to a particular song. They have little rituals they believe will help them play their best or help their team win the big game.

I think writers are quite a lot like that, don't you? We all have our little rituals. Personally, considering I need all the help I can get these days, I burn candles. Lately I've been hooked on pumpkin spice because, yes, I'm in a big hurry for fall to get here. Sick of the summer heat and ready for cooler weather and the turning of the leaves. The pumpkin spice candles bring the fall into my office and settle my mind.

Some writers like to work to music. Are you one of them? I have friends who write to wild, head-banging beats and they tell me the words just flow for them. So far, I've found that kind of music (though I LIKE it) distracts me rather than calms my mind. If I listen to music at all, it's something very zen....rainfall in the forest or waves crashing on the beach. Normally, however, I need some quiet when I write. Once upon a time, I wrote with kids in the house and I didn't seem to have a problem writing among the chaos. Looking back, I don't know how I did it because I'm a peace-and-quiet kinda gal. I must have a calm mind in order for the story to flow through it.

Laundry days are usually good writing days for me. I know it's strange but if I write while doing the laundry, I'm up and down from my chair at fairly regular intervals. Seems to give me just the small break I might need and I do some of my best internal brainstorming while folding the clothes. Maybe it's the mindless, repetitive physical movement that clears my mind but if I'm stumped on where to go in the scene, the path to usually opens to me when doing something very boring. Does that make sense?

What are the writing rituals that seem to work best for you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Huh? Moments

Ever see things in the news that make you go: Huh? Grrrr… or Awwww? I sure do. One of the reasons I try to steer clear of the news these days is because I am ultra busy and don’t have time to rant about the
Huh? And Grrrr… things. And the Awww... things are just too few and far between it seems.

But I decided to take a peek at the news this morning, and with that I did something I hadn’t done in a while. Ever visited The Smoking Gun site? You should. It’s a hoot for sure. They even have celebrity mug
shots for you to take a look at and go…HUH? Not a pretty sight. But the bits and pieces on The Smoking Gun will definitely catch your attention. I first learned about the website from a local rock music station. The two DJs constantly mention this site. And I have to admit it can be pretty entertaining. Although, the place is devoted to either obscure happenings or just plain ridiculous things. Not that famous people aren’t featured on the site because they are. Which, of course, means they can do some pretty ridiculous things. So today I perused the place and read a few stories that made me go Huh?

1. Oklahoma City bomber, Terry Nichols, is apparently not satisfied that he’s getting enough fiber in his diet while in prison, and he’s taken it to court. Yep, I typed all of those words correctly. The federal court judge hearing the case, a woman, dismissed the lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons. So Nichols is seeking to disqualify the judge from the case. On what grounds, you might ask? He claims that since she is a woman, her natural “mothering instincts” would make her prejudicial against him. And he says that would be a result of the nineteen children who died the day he decided to set that bomb off. And by the way, not only is this a HUH? But it’s a GRRRR… too.

Another Huh?

2. Allegedly, a guy in Florida walks into a Wal-Mart (I’m telling ya, things just happen in Wal-Mart, and I’m scared to go there anymore.) He picks up a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and apparently thumbs through the pages and finds a pic to his liking. Then he takes personal matters literally into his hands and spills his pleasure onto the floor—then wipes his hand on a Star Wars light saber. Say it ain’t so, LUKE! Definitely a HUH? moment in my reading morning.

3. Some gynecologist in California who performs hysterectomies in his office, (Sorry, where I live that’s still done in a hospital.)is being sued as a result of the fact he cauterized/branded the patient’s name on the removed uterus. He freely admits to doing this, according to The Smoking Gun, and sees nothing wrong with it, adding that it was a gesture of friendship. OOOOOO…K

4. Florida again. And there is a very talented cat living there. A man was sentenced to twelve years in prison this week after finally pleading no contest to 25 felony counts of child pornography. I say “finally” because initially the man had told police that his cat had downloaded the pics.

Is it just me or do you get the feeling we are all walking beside crazy people while we are out and about and just never know it? It’s little tidbits like the above mentioned incidents that make me want to stay home. Or carry protection. If I rounded an aisle in Wal-Mart to find some dude playing with himself? He wouldn’t have one left to play with—that light saber would come in real handy for sure. Just sayin’.

Happy Mischief Makin’ Monday, everyone!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest Author: Lacy Danes & a Contest!!

The cool autumn air has me thinking BOOTS! Boots are amazing. They can make you feel sexy, sassy, powerful. They can make you want to stomp in a puddle or go out for a hike. Boots are the emotional support you need when heading out on the town, into the woods or on a walk in the rain.

There are
tall boots,

and Short boots,

and Fun boots.

You have Rain boots,

and Sexy boots,

and boots that make you go Ack!

But the best thing of all, I have to say is men in boots. Oh yeah.

What kind of boots do you like to wear and how do you feel when wearing them?

To celebrate the release of my Spice Brief this month, reply to this post by EOD PST and have a chance to win one of my books.

Decent Exposure

Harlequin Spice Briefs ♦ September 1, 2010

eISBN-10: 1426851537 ♦ eISBN-13: 978-1426851537 Amazon Kindle


For years Stella struggled to find out exactly who she is and what she craves. Now she knows what she wants—to add some serious spice to her sex life. After lots of sizzling instant message chats and naughty web cam sessions, she is finally meeting her online lover in person. With his help, Stella’s ready to fulfill her fantasies, test her limits and try anything—for all the world to see….

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fantasies - Do They Make You Feel Guilty?

Her Fantasy (semi-erotic scene)
(Blog post to follow!)

She’s drifting, taking in her semi-darkened bedroom and the way a slice of the full moon’s light streaks through a gap in the curtains. He slumbers next to her, and she’s left wanting, loins throbbing for release. A sigh leaves her, one of resignation that tonight she must meet the man in her dreams, the one who gives her what she craves. The one whose touch—rough calluses and strong, swift strokes upon her skin—is so different from the man beside her. Those sweet, soft touches, made by the hand of the man she married, are a different kind of love.

Sleep comes, embracing her wholly, and she succumbs to the realm of dreams, where her subconscious orchestrates what she sees and does. What he does. He arrives, bathed in the moonlight she has so recently seen while awake, his naked form a silhouette against the creamy brilliance behind him. He steps forward, his body revealed, all muscular planes, hardened dips and swirls. Her breath catches, the sight of his beauty infusing her with a longing that consumes her, body and soul.

He doesn’t speak, just holds up his arms for her to run into. And she does, loving the feel of his skin against her bare back, wishing he would remove the silk nightgown that molds to her body—the nightgown her husband ignored. She’d picked it especially, hoping for a night to remember, but the steady sound of his breathing and his closed eyelids expressed more than he realized.

But this man loves her, adores her, and his hands smoothing up and down her back tells her so. She clasps his shoulder blades, pulling him into her needy body, and his want for her presses against her upper thigh. Her folds moisten. The trickle of lust with its heady, musky scent ignites her desire, fills the air, and she looks up at him, time suspended, her universe stilled.

He dips his head and takes her mouth, sliding his tongue between her lips. She clings onto him, reveling in the feel of him, the emotions he inspires. He makes love to her, long and slow in the grass of dreams, the moon their only witness, and she allows release to come…


A harsh light flickers across her closed eyelids, and she opens them to see the bed empty beside her. The scent of coffee permeates the air, and she sighs that another day has come where she wasn’t woken by real hands, real arms keeping her warm.

Out of bed, she wraps herself in her dressing gown and pads downstairs, a glance at the clock along the way. He will leave now, breezing through the front door in a flurry of gray suit, red tie, and polished shoes, briefcase bumping against his leg. She smiles as he rushes past, his quick kiss on her cheek bringing sadness and the scent of his cologne, then follows him to the door to watch his departure.

Where has the passion gone? When did he stop wanting me like I still want him?

He drives away, and she closes the door, resigned to another day of loneliness. Remnants of her dream return then, shocking and sweet, poignant and hot, and she blushes. Heated cheeks and a sense of shame don’t stop her returning upstairs, to the warm embrace of her bed—and him. Will he come to her again? Will he be waiting as she closes her eyes and wills sleep to come?

She’s drifting, taking in her bedroom and the way a slice of the bright sun’s light streaks through a gap in the curtains…

~ ~ ~

Fantasies. We’ve all had them. Whether you’re in the situation like the woman above, happily settled, or single, our dreams are something we just can’t control. Daytime fantasies, or those we have while awake in the dead of night, however, are a different matter. We direct those, orchestrating where his or her hands go and what our dream partners say.

This subject came up for me while interviewing author Shoshanna Evers this week. I asked her a fantasy-based question, and her answer was the same as I would have given: “Even in my fantasies, I’d feel guilty snuggling up to Clive [Owen] when I have a perfectly good hubby at home.”

Many women feel this way, and I wonder, is it to do with upbringing, or is it down to the individual and what they’re comfortable with? For me—and I rarely have the kinds of dreams in the above snippet, and if I do, the man is my husband—I’d feel so bloody guilty at having thought of another man this way, almost as though I’d cheated. Now, this is just how it makes me feel, and I have no problem whatsoever if others relish a good old bit of fantasy. After all, I’ve heard it’s a healthy thing, and that many couples share their fantasies, which helps them keep their bedrooms antics hot! If you have total trust in your partner, which enables you to share in this way, I imagine expressing your dreams and desires can be quite enlightening, learning things about one another at the same time.

My husband and I are quite open about who floats our boats on TV, but it doesn’t extend to people we know. Neither of us are happy looking at other people in that way, and we feel if we did then something is missing from our relationship for us to want to look elsewhere. Again, this is something personal to us, and if other people enjoy browsing then good for them!

What I’m really waffling about is, am I one of the very few who don’t fantasize? Or is my writing my form of fantasy, where what I want leaks onto the page without me even realizing? Do fantasies enrich your relationship? If you imagine getting up to all sorts with other people, wink wink, does it mean you love your SO any less? Or is it just a healthy release? I’m interested to know your take on this!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy 17th!

Today is a big day. It's my oldest daughter's 17th birthday. Where does the time go? It seemed like just yesterday she was dancing around the living room in her diaper and singing a Lamb Chop tune. Now, she's driving, dating and making her dad and I crazy, lol.

So, since it's her birthday today, I'm keeping her out of school and we're going shopping. It's a little tradition we started years ago. Why? Wel,l both of my daughters have birthdays like a week apart. Because the dates are so close together we have one big party. So, since they are forced to share their birtday party with each other they don't really get to have a day to feel special. My solution? On their birthday day, I let them stay home from school and they get to have their choice of fun things to do. Movies, shopping, whatever. Today, Kati has decided she wants to get her nails done and then do some shopping at the mall. Having this mom and daughter time is something I look forward to every year.

Do you all have any birthday traditions with your kids, spouse, mom?

One other thing I wanted to announce before I hit the shower and take off for the day.

my Ellora’s Cave release, Ride of Her Life, is now available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook!


Ride of Her Life
Anne Rainey

Genre: erotic contemporary romance
Ellora’s Cave Quickie

It’s been a year since her divorce and Lily Justice is ready to move on—but not with just any man. She’s got a certain drool-worthy body shop owner in mind. It’s almost convenient that her car needs some work. And when she meets Kyle Wolff up close and personal, her inner-slut has to have him, age difference be damned. With the car staying at the shop, Kyle graciously offers to give her a lift home.

While she accepts a ride on Kyle’s hot motorcycle, Lily’s inner-slut wants a hot ride on Kyle.
She’s about to get what she wants. And it will be the ride of her life…

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How do you find time for your writing hobby???

When I worked outside the home, no one ever asked me, "How do you find time to work and clean your house?" "How do you find time to work and take care of your kids?", but now that I write, I can't tell you how many times I get asked how I find the time to write and take care of my responsibilities. For so many people, writing isn't and never will be a career. It's my hobby. They don't take into consideration the hours of research, months of writing, editing, submitting, querying, critiquing, promoting, on and on that goes into writing. Let me say that I don't think most people mean anything by it. I don't think anyone is trying to be insulting, but it does bother me that what I do will never be considered a career to a lot of people.

Now, let me stress that I know how lucky I am. I have a husband who works his ass off at a job he hates so that he is able to take care of his family. I do what I love and not a day goes by that I don't think God for that, but because I love it, does that make it any less of a job? Does that make my deadlines any less real or my revisions any less a priority because I happen to enjoy it and I'm able to do my job from home? No, it doesn't.

My mom has come to stay with us recently. She's always been very supportive of what I'm doing, but she doesn't get it. I don't expect her to because I don't get what she does either. I think you have to have some experience with something to truly understand it, but I will say, seeing how much work I put into my writing has shed it in a whole new light for her. She didn't realize how much I do. How much I promote or what it means to a writer. I think it was an eye-opening experience for her and I loved that she found a new respect for what I do.

I do think there will always be people out there who will refuse to see it though. To them, writing is a hobby, it's what I do for fun and nothing more.


Last last week I read an on-line article that had my eyes popping WIDE. A New York woman named Jessica Vega told friends and family along with everyone in her hometown the sad news. She was dying of cancer. She even had a letter from the doctor to prove it. According to Vega, her only dream was to walk down the aisle to marry the man she loved (who was also the father of her eleven month old baby). The outpouring of help and support was phenomenal. A local newspaper reported the story of Jessica fantasy wedding to her fiance Michael giving a shoutout to all the wonderful people who had helped Jessica's final big wish come true.

A local bridal shop donated her dream wedding gown, flowers were provided, photographs, rings, everything a bride could want for her special day were generously given as a testament to how far people were willing to go to help a fellow human being achieve her dreams before she died. After the couple enjoyed an all expense paid honeymoon to Aruba they returned home to begin their lives together. Now that the fanfare is over, the truth comes out.

It was all a lie. A huge scam by one woman to bilk a community for her own personal gain. Her husband Michael learned of her lie (yes, apparently he'd been lied to as well) went public with the sorry tale. A call to the Jessica's supposed doctor revealed she had never even been to his office. Looks like Jessica's days of wedded bliss are over now since her husband has filed for divorce. I don't know if her family is speaking to her yet, much less her many friends and neighbors.

I've heard of these scams before and it's a truly sad day when something as simple as helping out someone in need turns into a slap in the face. It's pitiful and sad. When I think of those many people out there who need love, care and help, I cringe at how despicable was the act of this 23 year old woman. Hope she never really needs help again because it's doubtful anyone at all with rush to her side.

If you'd like to read another account of this story, I've posted it HERE.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Dog, The Boy, and Tess

So I’ve got this dog. Well, actually I’ve got two dogs. Just the one boy, though. But I want to talk about this particular dog today. The other dog is incredibly sweet, just a dumb mutt with great big hound dog eyes and a long tail that wags like crazy any time you look at her. But the other one?

Now that one has issues.

We’ve had the dog for three years. Inherited it. And that’s a long story unto itself, and I won’t bore you with it. The deal is that she and The Boy bonded right away. And that’s a good thing, right? Well, yeah. But sometimes I’m not so sure.

The Dog loves us all. She’s very playful. Guards our house like she is guarding the Crown Jewels or the Pope or something. Yeah, she really does. No one can get out of their car at this house if The Dog is out. Which is fine by me. I’m not into neighborly visits these days. They can stay home and use the phone. And most of them DON’T have my cell number—so I can ignore the land line, can’t I? hee hee hee

This “guarding” instinct she has may have something to do with the fact that her mother was a full-bloodied Sharpei. I think I read somewhere that they were the dogs that guarded the Chinese emperors or something like that. She’s a funny-looking dog, too. Her head looks Sharpei—all wrinkly and stubby—but her body is PURE MUTT—and she’s completely blonde in coloring. A medium to large size dog. She was so ugly as a pup she was plum cute.

Anyway, she’s vicious. And I do mean this dog will bite. She’s bitten two people. Luckily, they were friends and didn’t sue. They knew about the dog and didn’t heed the warning NOT to get out until they checked to see if the dog was out or to call before arriving. I’ve seen The Dog chase grown men around their cars and seen those men jump up on the hood of their cars and then get on top of the car roof. She bit a dude’s bumper once and left teeth marks. He came back the next day to show me said marks. But instead of getting out, he blew the horn. Hee hee hee.

Now you probably think I take pleasure in all of this. Well, in some ways I do. I like knowing we have a loyal dog. One who takes her job seriously. But at times it can become a real PITA, too. It’s the occasional stranger who drives up from time to time that I worry about. But thankfully, The Dog is very noisy, and I always manage to rescue the stranger.

She really is a jewel of a dog, though. Last week The Boy had lit a pile of yard debris and burned it at the side of the yard. We live out in the country and don’t have town pick up for that type of stuff. I live in a pine forest. Not a good thing where fire is concerned. The next day was Saturday and the kids were sleeping in. I was in the back of the house on the comp, of course. And all of a sudden The Dog went skittering down the hallway and started barking. Well, I thought someone was out there, right? Wrong. The Dog was standing on the sofa, her nose poked through the drapes like she usually does, and she was barking like crazy. I peeked outside and low and behold, the yard was on fire where the little pile from the day before had reignited.

I sounded the alarm—screaming FIRE! All turned out well. Didn’t take long to put it out. How did the dog know? I consider her a true heroine. Had she not been the crazy, paranoid dog she is, that fire could have gotten out of control. The other dog never moved a muscle. As a matter of fact, after it was all over and I was back inside the house, I looked over at the other dog and asked, “Where were you in all this?” She lifted her head, yawned, wagged that long tail of hers, and promptly laid back down and went to sleep.

During the day when everyone is gone, The Dog sits with me at the computer. I reach down and pet her head and talk to her. She’s very loving. Loves to play with every single family member. But there is something she does each night that just bugs the hell out of me, and I can’t seem to fix it.

Remember I said she had bonded with The Boy? Well, THAT was an understatement. HE is HER property. We’ve all learned that playfully swatting at The Boy is a big NO NO. Yep, the skin around her mouth recedes, those sharp teeth come out, and a vicious bark and snarl is her ONLY warning. Trust me, you back up fast. And she stands down.

When The Boy crawls into bed each night (he’s fourteen, five-foot-eleven, a hundred and ninety pounds), she jumps right up into bed with him. His bedroom is at the end of the hall, and the bed is situated in such a way that The Dog can see anything coming The Boy’s way as she keeps herself positioned at the foot of the bed. She dangles her paws off the edge and just sits there looking.

The thing is, once The Boy is actually IN the bed, you can’t go into his room. The doorway is as far as you’ll get. It’s become a nightly ritual with all of us to see just what this dog will do when we try to enter The Boy’s room. While we do this, The Boy props himself up on his pillows like a king, hands behind his head, and just cackles as we try to fool the dog into letting us into The Boy’s realm.

Last night I got a hot dog from the fridge to bribe the dog with. A grown woman stood in the bedroom doorway wiggling a weenie (get your mind out of the gutter, people), saying, “Hey, sweetie. Don’t ya want a nice, juicy, fat-free weiner?” (get your mind out of the gutter, people).

I kept wiggling the weenie back and forth—mind out of the gutter. The Dog’s head would move from side to side, following the movement of the weenie. I took a step forward, just over the threshold. Her head stilled. I stopped. Started talking to her again. “It’s a good weenie. I know you’ll like it.” (mind on task, people). I wiggled the weenie again. Her head moved back and forth. The rest of the family was watching, snickering. I took another step.

BAM! She stood up, hair on her back raised, teeth bared, snarling—vicious. The Boy is laughing so hard he’s about to pee on himself. The rest of the family loses it. I gave up. We’ve tried everything. The Boy’s Dad even decided one night he was going in that room come Hell or high water. He came out with a dazed look on his face, hand held up in the air, and in a completely bewildered voice said, “She bit me. That damn dog bit me.” Well DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!! He couldn’t say she didn’t warn him.

I’m a light sleeper. I roam the house at all hours. Guess it comes from years of living alone with three children and knowing I was their protector. Guess The Dog and I have a lot in common. The Dog hears me at night when I make my rounds. She raises her head, looks at me from The Boy’s bed. I speak to her most nights, and she lays her head back down once she realizes it’s just me. It’s kind of comforting to know the dog is so vigilante. Even if her mean streak is a PITA. I do feel a bit easier at night knowing I’m not the only one listening, watching.

The Boy is up now. It’s time for school. The Dog has switched beds. She’s with one of his sisters now. She’ll let me go into that room. But I better not reach out to touch the sister. LOL The Dog is still on guard. Yep, no “off” moves are allowed on her watch.

Wishing everyone a great Monday and a productive week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Through A Glass Darkly

Remembering 9/11 Pictures, Images and Photos

The line between right and wrong can sometimes become so gray, so obscure, that it’s difficult for anyone to fathom just which side they stand on. Not so for one twenty-five-year-old Iowa soldier stationed in Afghanistan. He’ll be receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat. A rifle-team leader, without a thought for his own life, he put a wounded fellow soldier on his back and covered him. Stood tall in the line of fire. I can only imagine such personal courage.

He, and the two soldiers who died that day, would not have been there if not for the tragic events this country—this world—suffered nine years ago today when almost three thousand people lost their lives in a senseless attack on the World Trade Center.

Debate as to where this war should have been fought, when it should end, the amount of money it costs to maintain—and sadly, the number of lives lost to us—rages on. I’m just a writer. An editor. A small-business owner. A mom. A sister. A friend. I have my opinions, but I don’t have the answers. I doubt any of us really do. The War on Terrorism has a life of its own. I’m afraid it will continue for some time to come.

There are those who oppose the United States and its allies, saying our way of life is wrong—that our government doesn’t work—that our belief-system is contrary to the teachings of God. Well, only God can answer that last one, certainly not any man or woman.

I do know this much. A man, guided by HIS conscience, had decided that he and his church members were going to burn the Quran today. And now it seems they won’t go through with it. Why? I suspect the public outcry put a stop to it. I also suspect he came to realize that his life was in danger. I heard a lot of people asking why he wasn’t arrested. Why he wasn’t placed in custody based on national security issues. At first glance? Well, I think I had those same thoughts. But in taking a step back, I put away those thoughts. First amendment rights can’t be trampled. The Bill of Rights IS our way of life—the reason that quiet, unassuming Iowa soldier put his life on the line. The reason they all do.

But I have to ask—what would that man who wanted to burn the Quran think about a Muslim-American burning the Bible?

Respect. That’s what it’s all about. Living together in this world and respecting each other’s way of life. You don’t have to agree with another religion. But you should respect an individual’s right to worship as they believe. Wasn’t that something this country was founded on? Again, I’m a simple woman. I don’t have any answers, just opinions and more questions. But today, my heart is heavy. I sit here writing this blog with such sadness but also proud to be an American.

Proud to be a citizen of a nation that stands tall.

My heart goes out to the family members of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and pray they find peace. I’m listening to this today in honor of our troops—A Soldier’s Prayer by Colin Raye.

If you would like to post a comment as to where you were on that tragic day, what you were doing, I’d like to hear from you. Other than that, I’m not looking for kudos for this post, not looking for major commentary or discussion. I thought this would be a good way for each of us to truly remember what happened that day and how it has affected not only each of us personally but the world too. Just looking for prayers for our troops, prayers for this wonderful but flawed country we live in, for the world…and remembrance.

I won't be commenting to anyone. Just reading and remembering right along with each of you.

I’ll start.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reviews... Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Reviews… It’s a known fact that most authors worry about how their books will be received. Will readers like them? Did you get across everything you felt inside? Was the book you loved writing loved by someone else? When a book is published, we anxiously await news of reviews. Once they come in, we hover the cursor over the link, asking ourselves: Do I really want to read this? Of course we do, but there’s that little part of us that is filled with dread. What If I wrote a doozy? What if…what if…?

I’ve been following Daisy Dexter-Dobbs’ recent Facebook and blog articles where she discusses how she handles reviews (funny posts!). She used to get upset when she got a “bad” one, but now she’s able to use humour to brush them off—that and the realisation that what she writes isn’t for everyone. We have no control over who reviews our books once they’ve been sent out or bought, and that’s one of the many nervy aspects of being an author. People have the right to express how they feel about a book because, after all, it’s their opinion. We just have to take the hits as they come and move on, aiming to do better next time. I like cream cheese, you don’t. I like slices of apple drenched in salad cream, but many, many people will most definitely not!

Which brings me to what I’ve been doing this week. (No, I didn’t eat apples and salad cream, lol, but now I’ve written about them I want some.) The kids went back to school—college-aged son starts back Monday coming—and I took the time to create a blog I’d been asked to do. It still has a few things I must do, and there will be touches added along the way as and when they’re needed, but for now it’s as ready as it will ever be. It’s a review site, so I was able to point some of my friends out to the reviewer in the hopes she’d review their books (Howdy Regina, Kit and Lily!). She did, and with more of my friends on her list, she’ll have plenty to read. She won’t be reviewing mine—I know her too well for her to remain objective—but she may have guest reviewers starting if she can persuade them to join her, so maybe I’ll get reviewed then.

If you’d like to see what I created, go HERE, and if you’d like the assurance that your book is in safe hands should you send it in, you can rest easy that she won’t be mean. I’ve known her a long, long time. She’s done something a little different to other review sites. If she reads your book, you’re guaranteed a 4/5, 5/5 or a Top Pick. The rub is “if” she reads it. All is explained on her blog.

So, back to reviews:

Q: As a reader, if you were to give a review on a book you hated, would you be totally honest and say it like it is, or would you use more restraint?

Q: As an author, do you have to strongly resist leaving a comment on one of your bad reviews because you don’t want to appear unprofessional?

Also, I'd like to have a little squeal and show you my new cover. I love it, got exactly what I'd asked for and envisioned in my head. And I want to own a bottom like hers. Well, I can dream, can't I? LOL

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lions, Literati, & an Interview!

Okay, today is going to be mixed bag of stuff.

First, I want to talk about something that really really gets under my skin. Large jungle animals being kept in small cages and treated like housecats. Have you all seen this?

As you can see by watching th video, the lion wasn't provoked and I'm not saying his trainer did a single thing wrong in the way he handles the animal. But, the lion did attack. It wasn't really going for the kill, as is obvious by the video. So why did it suddenly spring at the trainer and chomp into his leg? Well, that one is easy. It's a LION, that's why!

These animals are beautiful, majestic, wild, and dangerous. They do not belong anywhere near a cage with a glass wall so that people can take pictures of it and go all goo-goo over the pretty kitty. Wild means wild. They aren't domesticated, nor should they be. When are we going to learn that we as humans don't have the right to just do whatever we please? Taking a lion out of its natural habitat and thrusting it in front of cameras is bound to cause problems.

That said, I was very touched by the lioness. Did you see how she attempted to control the situation? These creatures should be free. They should not be locked up. At least that's my humble oppinion. Or not so humble, I guess.

Okay, with that rant over. Have you seen the new eReader that's about to hit the market?

The Literati (love that name) will be hitting the streets in October. The good news, it has Wi-Fi, the price is fairly reasonable at $159, it's cute as hell, and it has :::::drumroll::::: a color display! Yes! I love this feature. LOVE IT!

There is a downside, obviously. Isn't there always? The Literati doesn't have 3G connectivity. YET! Bummer, I know. But, and this is yet more good news, it will be available at the following stores: Macy's, Kohl's, J. C. Penney, Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Is that sweet or what? Now, what does this all mean for us authors? MORE EXPOSURE! Hot damn! More people reading ebooks = more sales!

Is the Literati as great as the Kindle or the Nook? Perhaps, perhaps not. We'll just have to wait and see. Still, the great thing about this new device is that it gives readers even more options. They are no longer forced to choose from a select few devices. And I really think that people who maybe haven't gotten an eReader, maybe haven't really explored the whole eReading craze, will at least be shown the way, as it were. LOL And that makes this ebook author a very happy camper!

Okay, the last thing I wanted to share with you all is a contest. Over at Desert Island Keepers I've been interviewed. And it was a fun one too. ;-) It's a three day event, so be sure to stop by tomorrow, too, as I'll be chatting about my 5 favorite books and why they're my favorites. Then on Saturday, well, that's a surprise (mostly because I haven't written up the blog yet, lol). Anyway, leave me a comment over there and you're entered to win...BOOKS! Cool, eh?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love me some sexy heroes!

I have to admit, most of the time, I read for the heroes. I mean, I have to like the heroine. It's helps if I can relate to her in some way, but there are those that I can't really relate too, but like anyway. When it comes to a book I adore though--you know those special books that end up on your keeper shelf that you read over and over? The thing that all those books have in common is, though I like the heroine, I LOVE the hero.

I can't help it! I read for the boys! Love those sexy men. I've always had a soft spot for a good tortured hero. I don't know what it is about those men who are broken, but damn they know how to love a woman. On the other end of that spectrum, nothing gets me going like those cocky, sarcastic guys that are good and they know it, but damn they treat their women good too. See what I mean? I love book guys. I can't help it. Shh, don't tell my hubby ;)

SO, some of my favorites of those delicious heroes are.

Vane from Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have to admit that wolf shifters don't always do it for me, but there is something so sexy about Vane. I think it comes from the way he treats Bride. He is so attentive and always makes her feel so beautiful. He respects her and worships her body and I can't help but wish for a day in Bride's shoes.

Z from Lover Awakened by JR Ward. Poor Z is the epitome of the tortured hero. The brother is so broken, but I can't help want to love him. He does something to my heart--touches it in a way that I'm not sure a hero from any other book has.

Noah from Too Much Temptation by Lori Foster. I know Anne and I are both in love with Noah. I think it will always be my favorite of her books. There is something so incredibly sexy about how Noah just can't get enough of Grace. He's right up there with Vane on the way he worships her body. It gets me every time.

Bones from The Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. Bones will always be my man. If I could pull one hero out of a book and claim him as mine, it would be Bones. I've read the series about four times and each time I read it, he makes me giddy. I get smiley with some of the stuff he says to her, and when he's loving her...yeah, gets me hot and bothered every time. The man is the epitome of sexy and he's sarcastic as hell which I just love. I'm starting to see a pattern here, but another big thing that I love about Bones is how he loves Cat. When he realizes she's the one, there's nothing wishy-washy about him. He wants her and she will be his. He doesn't doubt his feelings or run away. When he finds her, he holds onto her with both hands from the beginning and doesn't let go. He'd do anything for her and it makes my heart race. Oh, and did I mention he's hot? LOL.

There you have it, the list of some of my sexiest heroes. What heroes can you not help but love?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Writers...BEWARE

All of us who go into this whole writing gig have stars in our eyes at the very beginning of things. It's natural to sit there hammering out your story and dreaming of the day someone, anyone will love it as much as you do. These are emotions that, as writers, we all share. We love what we are writing and hope for all we're worth that someone else will love it too. We dream of getting 'the call' and how it will feel when that validation arrives. At this point, you've probably not done much research on how the business works and haven't been warned about those shark infested waters. But they are there. They are real.

I know it's exciting when publisher XYZ writes and says they want to publish your baby. You don't want to believe the contract is bad or that this publisher (who expresses such faith in you) might not pay you on time, might release your story without edits and give hardly a thought to helping you promote your work. These are things you MUST think about.

Lately we've seen blog posts full of all kinds of horror stories and it should all give new writers pause. Please, please look before you leap when being offered a contract. Ask other writer friends, do some research. Does this small publisher have a kickass website featuring beautiful covers? Or it is a website that looks old and shoddy? Are the covers icky? Now imagine YOUR story on that website! Yes, look around carefully before you leap. Fight that glowey, lovely feeling of acceptance and look beneath the hood. If you were buying a car, you'd want to know it was a top notch, well-oiled machine, wouldn't you? You need to find something that will take you from point A to point B with nary a glitch.

New writers should always ask around before they sign a contract. Talk to friends who know the business. Join yahoo loops and other on-line groups where there are lots of published writers who know the ins and outs and have some experience. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You'll find that writers are the most generous people on the planet. What are the questions? are they to work with? Are their editors knowledgable? Do they pay on time? Think of it as a job interview. You don't want to rush into something without having all the facts.

Yes, there are many many great publishers out there (mine included) who know how to treat their authors. Some are nurturing for new writers and can offer an author a first-time glimpse of how the publishing world really works. It's not all fairy tales and rainbows. It is a business and you should look at it that way.

In the end, you want your first experience as a published writer to be all you dreamed of. If you hear whispers of non-payment, non-existent promotion and lack of prompt payment, you must realize these are red flags. Step away. I know it's hard because of the whole 'this is my first book and I'm so excited' thing. Believe me, there are other publishers who will love your book too. Best to wait for that perfect publisher to come along than to drown in those shark infested waters. Good advice is everywhere. Take it. Use it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sexy Talk!

Warning: Adult theme

Writing erotic romance means saying it sexy! Whatever is going on within the story line, authors try their best to find the sexiest way to write it. That means choosing words that have a certain feel to them that a different word with the same meaning might not have. For instance, I much prefer the word “flesh” over “skin”—although I use both. Sometimes one just fits better than the other and has a sexier sound to me. It’s all subjective.

I got to thinking about all this and that made me think of how men and women talk to each other in real life. How we get in all those sexy tidbits that make us want to take “it” to another level. From the moment you meet someone you’re attracted to, whether that attraction is purely physical or based on personality or even both, we all try our best to choose our words carefully—at least I think we do, lol.

And that, of course, got me thinking about sexy pick-up lines. Yep, pick-up lines. Have you ever heard a sexy one or are they all kind of corny—cliché? Have you got any good ones you’d like to share?

I remember I was in this club with some friends one night and a guy came over to me and said in a very thick country-Southern accent, “Ma’am, you’re the second purdiest thing I ever did see.” I would have done an eye roll or simply told him to get lost, but I’d had two bourbons with a whisper of ginger ale on an empty stomach. So instead, I said, “Okay, I’ll bite, what was the first purdiest?” And yeah, I said “purdiest”. His reply: “An angel come down from heaven.” I’m not lying. He said that. I remember taking a deep breath, and the DJ cranked up this really great song, and I just nodded and said, “Okay, that bought you a dance.” But it didn’t buy him anything else!

I found this great site online that has pick-up lines categorized. Here’s the link if you’re looking for laughs this morning. I have to admit to liking some of them. Guess I’m just a sucker for an over-the-top pick-up line. Here are a couple that stood out to me: “If beauty were time, you'd be eternity.” AND “Can I have directions? [To where?] To your heart.” I like the ones with a soft, romantic feel. But some of the really cheesy ones are pretty cute. I find it hard to believe that a man would actually say something like this to a woman—“Is there an airport nearby or is that just my heart taking off?”

Why do you think some men find it necessary to use a line? Couldn’t they just walk up to a woman and say, “Hi, I’m Jack. Would you care to dance?” Then again, scroll upward and take a look at what I did when the dude said that line to me. Chances are, some of these lines have worked! Maybe not as well as they wanted them to—but well enough. Lol

Let’s face it. Sexy talk is fun. It’s all a part of the dance—the mating ritual. Words can really rev up an engine. Anticipation is everything. So when I write, I try to keep that in mind. Sexual tension isn’t just about physical feelings, it’s about what’s going on in the head—the biggest sexual organ. What someone says to us, how they communicate their needs and desires verbally is a major turn on.

Today I’m showcasing sexy lines from the Three Wicked Writers Plus Two gals.

Coming Soon from Ellora’s Cave His Beautiful Wench by Natalie Dae.

From Him: “I want to touch your wet slit. Slide inside you. I want…need to have you close, your skin against mine. I want to hear your heavy breathing as I love you, hear your cries as you come.” Nat writes it romantic! Absolutely to die for.

From Her:
“You want to touch me like this, don’t you?” she asked. “You want to feel my wet slit, slide your tongue over it, taste me…”—Nat sure painted a saucy little wench, didn’t she?

Regina Carlyle’s Trouble In A Stetson
from Ellora’s Cave

From Her:
“Wanna see, Sheriff? I think I can still muster up a high kick or two for you. I’m very flexible.”—I read this book. Lola is VERY flexible.

And Regina’s Highland Beast
from Ellora’s Cave

From Him:
“Now I dine.”—Care to take a guess as to just what this man is about to dine on? Trust me, it ain’t a salad!

Here’s a sneak peek of an upcoming title of mine from Ellora’s Cave entitled Strip Down.

From Him:
“…what do you need with clothes when it’s so obvious we both want to be naked?”
From Her: “I always thought that tight places were kind of sexy—and almost always slick and wet.”

Okay, c’mon, share some of your experiences with us. And if you can, tell us about something the love of your life said to you that you’ll never forget. I’m one of those ‘inquiring minds’. I just have to know. Lol

I’ve made enough mischief for one Monday. Let’s keep the mischief coming! Leave me a sexy comment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guest Author: Elizabeth Black

I'd like to welcome Elizabeth Black to Three Wicked Writers Plus Two today!
Condemning Sexually Active Women
By Elizabeth Black

What I'm about to say is a variation of that old joke: when I was in grade school I was pure as the driven snow but by the time I got to college I drifted. When I became a college freshman The Pill had been around for just shy of twenty years. For the first time, women could enjoy sex free from the fear of becoming pregnant. I wanted to enjoy my sexuality the way men had done for aeons and I made sure I did.

To some men and women, that made me a slut.

I wrote about the shame fostered upon women for the premiere feminist magazine On The Issues. Here is an excerpt from my article Good Girls, Bad Girls: The Kinkiness Of Slut Shaming:

American society is not kind to sexually active, single, straight women, especially when virginity is so popular among political talking heads. The purity movement and "hooking up" culture are at loggerheads, creating a great deal of confusion.

Chances are, if you're a woman who enjoys playing the field, you've been called a slut, whore, tramp, and a host of other slurs. There is no equivalent set of words for guys who play the field, and the words that describe them are positive, something to aspire to: Lothario, player, stud, Casanova. "Slut" is designed to humiliate and negatively judge a sexually active woman simply because she has a vagina.

But what if a young woman wants to explore her sexuality? What if she does not want to wait for marriage or isn't really all that interested in marriage to begin with?

I remember one of my college girlfriends showing me her collection of contraceptives. I was overwhelmed by it all. She had a drawer full of condoms of all stripes, several different tubes of contraceptive gel and cream, a container of birth control pills, and a diaphragm. Most other women on campus had a drawer full of curlers and makeup. Not Peggy. She had a treasure trove of birth control. She told me she often used two methods together to make sure her eggs didn't get fertilized. This was at the onset of the AIDS epidemic so men and women used condoms and contraceptive gel to prevent the spread of disease as well as to prevent pregnancy. At the time the man I was seeing had a vasectomy so I didn't need to use birth control but for a fleeting moment I wondered if I should anyway because I wasn’t aware of just how sexually active he’d been

My work in progress "Don't Call Me 'Baby'" deals directly with how sexually active women are viewed by their friends and colleagues, especially in the heady 1980s when my book is set. Catherine Stone is sex on wheels and she has multiple partners. Women around her are both judgmental and envious. The men? Well, let's just say she shares her bed with several of them and they are happy to be chosen as one of her sex partners. This book, while not based on my life, does indeed draw from some of my own experiences with plenty of fictional elements added, of course.

I had a rather disheartening experience with my former best friend when I was in college. We both grew up in conservative Catholic households. She went on to become an even more conservative Protestant (she converted to her husband's faith) and I went on to become a progressive feminist firebrand. Talk about a total 360 degree swing! She saved herself for marriage, believing that being a virgin had value. I didn't hold those beliefs. I wanted to be rid of my virginity by the time I turned twenty and I found the man to accommodate me.

My friend, upon hearing that I had sex out of wedlock, put me down by saying "why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?" I felt too hurt at the time to respond to this common condemnation of sexually-active women but later I thought about it and realized how horrid it actually was. First, I was not livestock that could be bought and accorded a monetary value. Second, I did not give away my body for free to any man who wanted me. In my experience too many men assumed that because a woman is sexually free she'll have sex anyone who asks. Nothing could be farther from the truth! She also assumed that by not being a virgin I was "damaged goods". Same thing – I'm not produce that can be bought by the highest (male) bidder. And I like to think that my sexual experience makes me a better and more attentive lover.

I like to work out my thoughts and beliefs in my fiction and non-fiction articles. I'm a sex writer in addition to writing erotic romances and my sex writing definitely colors my erotic romance writing. "Don't Call Me 'Baby'" and my On The Issues article are cases in point. There is definitely a double standard in place for sexually active women who are viewed as sluts when sexually active men are given positive reinforcement, seen as players, Casanovas, and lotharios. I'd like to see that double standard change and hopefully it will in my lifetime.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Get Crazy with Me! You Know You Want To...

Oooooh, shiver me timbers! Why I started this post as a pirate I have no idea, but there you go. Put it down to my eccentricity, there’s a dear.

Well, I’m feeling downright diggy today and no mistake. Sometimes life can get you down, we all know that, but other times, even though our troubles are still lingering, we get some kind of internal boost where we’re able to cope with things much better. Some say it’s to do with the stars/planets and their alignment, and d’you know, part of me believes that. Whatever the stars and planets have done over the past couple of days I don’t care—just so long as it continues. I feel a sense of a weight having been lifted from my shoulders, even though nothing different has happened to cause this.

Well, it has. The kids went back to school. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the products of my body dearly, but a woman needs time to be herself as well as being a mother. I’ve always told my kids this: I may be your mother, but I’m also a human being with needs, wants, and desires of my own—just like you!

Who says when you become a mother you have to dress like you were born in the 1940s, complete with ugly perm and a selection of cardigans? Who says you can’t let your hair down and get drunk, do something crazy if that’s what floats your boat? So, I’m feeling more like my old self now that I have some peace to think, to just worry about ME today and no one else. Hmm. I guess it isn’t the stars and planets after all.

So, ladies, shirk off your motherly mantles today, and if you’re not a mother and have other responsibilities to deal with, tell them, just for this day, to bugger off. Yes! You can do this. Think of what you want, what you’d like to do. And with that in mind, tell me now: What would you do today if money was no object, time constraints didn’t exist, and you had no responsibilities whatsoever?

Me? I’d walk the couple of miles to the local airfield, pay for a glider ride, and get up there in the clouds. Then I’d do a parachute jump, landing conveniently in a field where a bungee jump is set up. I’d bungee away, bouncing like a loony and scream my head off until I lost my voice. I’d revel in the adrenaline rush, crack up laughing for no reason whatsoever, and have the sense that today, today I damn well LIVED!

Come on, share your crazy yearnings with me!