Archive for October, 2006

31
Oct
06

Happy 1st Blogiversary to me!

Or should it be to my blog? *ponders* That’s a tuff philosophical question and I’m not a philosopher.

I honestly never thought that I’d still be blogging. I mean, I’ve tried this half a dozen times before, and I always got bored after the first few entries.

But here we are, at the end of year 1 and close to 800 posts. *mindboggles* Eight hundred! That’s over 2 posts a day!

So I’ve got a long list of people to thank:

1. All of you who actually read me, and who take the time to comment.

2. All of you who link to me. I’d list but I’m sure to miss out someone, but you all know who you are.

3. The very nice authors who have guestblogged for me, will be guestblogging for me and have let me interview them.

4. The very nice people at Romancing The Blog who are probably regretting inviting me to be a columnist.

5. Everybody else I missed. That’d be a reaaaally long list.

So here’s to another year’s worth of insanity from me!

30
Oct
06

Question for my Dearly Beloved Readers

Am I posting too many guestblogs and interviews?

I don’t expect comments on the interviews, but…the guestblogs? It’s all going downhill. All the way downhill.
Any ideas people?

Because, you know, I feel really bad when somebody takes the time to guestblog for me and there’s no response.

28
Oct
06

Glomming Editors

I saw this post by Smart Bitch Sarah a few days ago, and didn’t think anything about it.

Until today.

I’ve just read 2 books edited by this particular editor. We’ll call her Miss W. No, it’s not her initial. I just like Ws. I won’t play the hot or cold game, but if you guess her name correctly in the comments, I’ll admit it.

I’ve read at least 2 other books edited by her, have another on TBR (purely a coincidence) and at least one other book edited by her on my wish list.

Things they have in common:

1. I always loooooooove the concepts.

2. The voice often doesn’t *quite* click for me, though I’ve not found one that irritates me as much LA Banks. At least 2 of them have a ‘feel’ that I can’t describe, but they have it.

3. They push the genre envelope, one to the very edge. So far to the edge that I’m surprised there wasn’t an uproar about it. Or if there was, I didn’t hear about it.

I can’t comment on other editors, I’m afraid, because I have no idea who edits whom. I mean, I could tell you who’s editing at which company, but the specifics? Not so much. This one I know because it seems that she’s The Editor–you address all query letters to her if you want to submit to her line. Plus…Hmm, I think it becomes too obvious if I say anything else. It might be too obvious if you read some of the reviews I’m posting next month.

It occurs to me that it’s somewhat easier to target agents, especially since they have websites, with links to their clients, nowadays. And their clients link back too.

27
Oct
06

Jenna Black Talks To Us: When Dreams Come True

Being a published author has been a dream for me ever since I was a little girl. Books have always been my passion, transporting me away from it all when the real world gets to be too much and letting me have fabulous adventures I would never really want to have. I also feel like books give me some insight into how other people think, give me a chance to take a surreptitious peek into the mind of someone who isn’t exactly like me.

With books having so prominent a role in my life, it’s no surprise that I turned to writing at a young age. I wrote my first book at the tender age of ten. It was an autobiography, complete with crayon illustrations and a construction paper cover. From then on, there was no stopping me.

I should have known it was my destiny to be a writer when I first stepped into my high school English class and discovered that it was taught by a man named Mr. Shakespeare. (Edward, not William, sorry to say.) He was the first person to encourage me to write fiction, and by the end of high school, I had completed what I considered to be my first novel. (In reality, it was a novella, but I knew nothing about manuscript lengths at the time.)

College saw the completion of my first real, full-length novel, and the beginning of an inkling that I might actually want to try to get my writing published. I dithered for a few years; then, in 1989, I decided I was going to get serious about my writing and try to become a professional. So started my sixteen-year journey toward publication.

Perhaps a sensible person would have quit sometime during those sixteen years. I mean seriously, how much rejection can one person stand? And how arrogant do you have to be to imagine that all those editors and agents who rejected your work were wrong? But, as is the case with many published authors, I couldn’t quit. This was my dream I was chasing, and every time I thought about quitting, I thought about lying on my deathbed someday and asking myself if I really did everything I possibly could to make my dream come true. I couldn’t stand the idea that the answer might be “no.” And so, I kept writing, and I kept submitting, and I kept hoping.

Ever since I sold Watchers in the Night, about eighteen months ago, I’ve had moments of hardly believing this was real. I had imagined the moment, had dreamed about it for so long, that somehow it was firmly ingrained in my mind as fantasy. (I say this in past tense, though I still have moments when I think I’m going to wake up from the dream.) For a while after the sale, I half-expected my editor to call and tell me there’d been some kind of mix-up, that it wasn’t really my book she’d wanted to buy, but someone else’s. Of course, that never happened, and I have since sold five more books to two different publishing houses–a feat that exceeds even the dreams I’d once had.

At the time of this posting, I have only a few more days to wait until my first book hits the shelves. I wonder if October 31st will be the day I finally believe my dream has come true? I suppose it would be nice to have that confident certainty. But then again, as long as I sometimes feel like it might be nothing but a dream, I have the continuous joy of waking up to discover it’s all for real after all!

Jenna Black
Watchers in the Night, coming October 31, 2006;
Secrets in the Shadows, 5/07; Shadows on the Soul, 9/’07
The Devil Inside (Bantam/Spectra urban fantasy), Fall ’07

She’ll be here to take comments and questions, people! (My bad, I forgot to add this)

21
Oct
06

Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Golden

Jennifer got the teenage voice down perfectly.

Which, IMHO, might work against the book finding a larger audience, because teenagers are whiny, overdramatic brats, though I suppose Lissy does have reason to be overdramatic.

After all, she’s just moved from California all the way to Oklahoma and she SEES Auras.

The next book, Platinum, will be out next year, and I can’t wait for it.

This rates 7.5 out of 10.

15
Oct
06

7 Questions with Rachel Caine

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

10. 10, 10, 10. 10 squared. Why? Well, here’s the landscape of my life at the moment: (1) Moving to a new house — a lovely house, but anything that could go wrong, did, up to and including lightning blowing up an oak tree in the back yard on the first night we were there. (2) Still trying to paint, repair and market the old house, so am paying two mortgage payments, two electric bills … (3) deadlines for books that fall every 30 to 60 days for the rest of the year … (4) a stressful day job, and (5) still not totally given the A-OK after my radiation treatments for breast cancer, although yay, I’ve passed my six-months mark, post-treatment!

So yeah. A bit stressed. But no worries. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I thrive on stress.

Which is, of course, INSANE. See above rating.

2. You originally started out writing horror as Roxanne Longstreet Conrad. Do you think your name change to Rachel Caine, something shorter and sassier, has changed your image? Did you change it to reflect the more hip and urban feel of the Weather Warden books?

Boy, I wish I was that clever and savvy. Actually, we were trying to create a clear separation between my earlier work — which, as you said, was mainly horror and suspense — and I wanted to keep my initials the same.

But hey, thanks for the “hip and urban” comment! I think my image — sorry, the idea that I have an image makes me laugh — probably reflects a little more of my actual personality these days. I have a great love and zest for life, people, fun … I hope that some of that comes across.

3. How much research do you do for the Weather Warden books? There’s the meteorology side of it, and the djinn–oooooh David! And do you write around your research, or research around what you write?

Good question! There’s a ton of nonspecific reading that goes into the WW books — I read a lot of weather books, obviously, and a lot of anecdotal accounts of people who’ve been through major storms, hurricanes, floods, fires … you name it. As to the djinn, I have read a lot of the classic myth and legend, but I freely and cheerfully admit to twisting them around to serve my own nefarious purposes.

I tend to incorporate the research as I go along in my plotting, but sometimes I run into areas where I know I have “knowledge gaps,” and that’s the last-minute research. It’s fun. I really enjoy the research aspects.

4. Glasshouses is a young-adult novel. A VAMPIRE young-adult novel, which makes me very very happy. <g> Have you always wanted to write one? Or did you have to be told that it’s a young-adult novel?

I was actually approached by the publisher with the idea of writing a YA vampire series, and my initial impulse was to turn it down on two counts — first, I’ve never written YA, and second, I wasn’t sure that I really had anything to add to a genre that’s been so well covered, especially, lately, by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

However, I got to thinking about it, and I was intrigued by the challenges, so I sat down and wrote out a proposal. As I went along, I found that I was coming up with things that surprised me, which was a great pleasure.

And the publisher liked the direction, so … there you go! I’m anxious to see what people think of it. I certainly am having a blast with it. (By the way, the second book will be called THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE.)

5. You’ve not chosen to take yet another pseudonym for your young-adult novels, unlike most authors who write adult fiction as well. Granted, you don’t write erotic romance or something else that you’d probably not want teenagers to read. But was there any other reason why you didn’t take another pseudonym?

Apart from the fact that I’m having a hard time telling who I am, considering how many pseudonyms I already have? Actually, the publisher really felt that using the Rachel Caine name was an advantage in this case.

6. Now you’re writing for three different publishers. Assuming one book per publisher each year, that’s 3 books a year, not including short stories. Have you thought about writing full-time? Do you think you’d accomplish more as a writer if you wrote full-time? Or are you a can-and-will-do-everything-in -one-lifetime type person?

Yes.

… Oh, you wanted detail? :) Okay, try this on for size — I actually have FIVE current publishers: Roc, Silhouette Bombshell, NAL/Jam, BenBella Books, and Fandemonium (out of Britain). Not counting anthology publishers.

I’ve had to back away from doing as many essays for BenBella Books as before, just because I’m truly, horrifyingly overloaded at times. (But I still love them. They’re excellent, fun people.) And I had intended to get two more Stargate novels done in 2006, but it seems likely now that at least one of them will slide to 2007. Even so, this year I’ll be turning in about four books and doing post-production work on three or four more.

I’m still not sure that I’d like to write full time. There are things that are very comforting to me about having a day job — guaranteed income, reliable health insurance, having a rigid schedule to follow. But it’s definitely getting more and more challenging to fit the puzzle together. Eventually, I will probably back away from my day job (although I keep getting promoted, and now I’m actually classified as “executive level”) and go to part time, or do freelance work.

But for the time being, I’m going to keep spinning those plates!

7. Joanne Baldwin and the heroines of the Red Letter Days books are kick-ass heroines. Do you see yourself as one?

Well, I am a complete loss at most sports, although I’m a halfway decent fencer. I can’t throw darts to save my life. I’ve never thrown a good punch, and my physical conditioning would give the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man a run for his money.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a kick-ass heroine. I see kick-ass heroines every day, and they’re my role models. For instance, a lady I work with went through chemo and radiation shortly after I finished my treatments, and she not only continued to work full time at a very demanding, stressful job, she did it with strength and style. That’s totally kick-ass. There are moms who do things every day for their kids that are stunningly heroic — working two jobs, plus doing everything their family needs. I know tons of quietly heroic women — and men — and their grace amazes me.

But me? No, I don’t think I qualify as kick-ass. But I’d make a hell of a good sidekick. And possibly comic relief.

Well, here at T&T, we think that Rachel’s a kick-ass woman. So chime in and agree with me. ;)

Rachel Caine has a LiveJournal. Glasshouses, Firestorm and the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding should be in a bookstore near you.

14
Oct
06

Why Eat to Live When You Can Live to Eat?

I don’t get this, people.

I just don’t understand why people can’t believe that I walked an extra ten minutes to buy something nicer rather than eating something I like less!

Friend: You walked all the way there to buy wantons?

Me: They are yummy. *munches* You try.

Friend: Yes, but they sell them nearer here too.

Me: But these are yummier. Not so greasy too.  *munches contentedly*

Friend: So? *I stuff a wanton into friend’s mouth*

Look, I don’t expect everybody to love food the way I do. I don’t expect everybody to go out of their way to buy food or to spend money on cookbooks and fancy restaurants–not that you need fancy restaurants to find good food.

I know not everybody has the same kind of family I do. I’ve aunts and uncles who call up to find out when we are going back to Malaysia and discuss where they are going to take us to eat. When we’re there, we are in the kitchen, and whilst we are eating one meal, we are discussing where to go for the next. At home, when my mom reads about or catches a food show on TV, we plan to go to that place eventually.

But if the difference is just a ten minute walk? Come on! It’s not an hour away by car or something.

Food feeds one of your senses: Taste. And all the senses can bring you pleasure. Make use of it.

Food doesn’t have to be boring. Food doesn’t have to be just fuel–though I understand that sometimes, that’s what it is. The taste of a plump, red strawberries. The buttery, flakiness of a good pie crust–I am anti mealy crusts.
Even junk food. If you prefer MacDonald’s fries to Burger King’s, would you buy from Burger King or walk ten minutes down the road to MacD’s? For me, there is simply no contest.

I admit I don’t truly understand why other people aren’t the same. I mix with people who are–and if you are one of them, I have one word for you: eGullet. For me, it’s sort of like why people say reading is boring.

But I completely don’t understand how and why someone would be unwilling to walk ten freaking minutes more to eat something she/he likes better!

Sometimes, other humans make me want to scream.

11
Oct
06

Julie Leto: Dirty Little Lies

Sigh. I was an idiot. First I refuse an ARC of this book, then I forget to reserve a copy at the bookstore!

I think I liked the previous book in the series, Dirty Little Secrets, better. I think Dirty Little Lies has lost a bit of the sparkle that made me await this book so eagerly. IOW, mild sequelitis.

That said, I think the mystery was better executed than in Dirty Little Secrets.

Also, this is realllllllly late, but you should go buy this book because we won’t get the sequel otherwise and I want that sequel! (Julie’s publishers, are you listening?)

This rates 7.5 out of 10.

10
Oct
06

A Review By Me…

  • Is short. It’s a conscious choice, because I’m not looking to write long, AAR-style reviews. Takes too much time for me to write and takes too long for other people to read. I hit the highlights, and that’s it. I think that most people will end up skimming reviews anyway, so why not cut the crap?
  • Is not nitpicky. If you wanted me to, I could rip every single book I’ve read to shreds. It’s not hard. In-depth enough analysis will make you realise that every single book you’ve read has flaws. Except that it ruins my reading experience, and I’ve a feeling that if I do that, it means that you’re less likely to buy the book. I might think that you shouldn’t buy the book, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t because you’re not me.
  • Happens if people are talking about it, if I loved it, if I hated it, if it was free, if I interviewed the author, I probably will. If your book was in the Readable but not Great category, I won’t review it. In fact, pray that I don’t review it because I review with the book next to me and I’ll start to nitpick and that’s why your grade dropped below C minus.
  • Doesn’t have spoilers. Except that your definition of spoilers and mine is probably different. I try to minimise it as much as possible, and if I’ve ever ruined a book for you, or if you’re the author, I’m really sorry. I try to post spoilers in comments because I can’t figure out how to white them out.
  • Isn’t too mean, I don’t think. If you’re Roxanne St. Claire, you probably think different because of this review.
  • Isn’t an attack on you if I hated the book. I don’t hate Roxanne St. Claire despite the horror of Kill Me Twice. See above. I simply won’t ever read another book by her.
  • Is mostly impartial. If I had to write a good review of what I considered was a bad book, it’d be a very very short review indeed. Not that most of my reviews are very long. In fact, if the book’s good, it’s probably short too because I don’t have much to nitpick.
  • If my issue with the book was voice, I mention it. I’m terribly nitpicky when it comes to voice. I don’t read Kelley Armstrong, I no longer read Nora Roberts, and some authors I read the first page and quit for this reason. It’s not their fault that their voices don’t ‘click’ for me.
  • Will include links to excerpts when I get my act together.
  • Almost always link to the author’s site/blog. I know I’ve forgotten a few times. Oops.

Now that’s done.

I’ve a few questions for you.

What do you think of the Amazon Associates program? I know what Doug thinks of it. Have you ever bought a book through it? Or through an Amazon link on a review?

Do you think I should keep to a strict format for every single review?

PS Reviews will come tomorrow and Thursday. I’ve posted enough today.

09
Oct
06

Karen Chance: Touch The Dark

Until the end, Touch The Dark wasn’t a book I planned to review. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it that well either.

I like the worldbuilding, I just don’t connect with Cassandra. Ms Chance did a good job of characterization,  and showed quite clearly how Cassandra evolved through the book.

Until the end.

It doesn’t cut it to suddenly, out of the blue, tell me that so-and-so is a traitor. I can deal with a loose end, especially in a book that is clearly the first book in a series. What I don’t like is tying it up simply because some readers will expect it to be tied up.

This rates 4 out of 10.

09
Oct
06

Racy’s sold to Loose-Id!

So head on over and tell her congratulations!

I’ve read the partial for Ninja, and I just know you guys will love it!

08
Oct
06

Michelle Sagara: Cast In Shadow

Elianne, having left the fiefs, has changed her name to Kaylin Neya.

She is a Hawk now, but still haunted by her past.

Sounds familiar? It is. Practically every heroine in current female-centric SFF has a dark past.

But the world Michelle has built is very interesting, and I like that she takes risks with her characters. The characterization is very well done–you can see Kaylin maturing through the book.

The three male characters jostling for the lead are all very intriguing. Nightshade (here we go again with the nightshade/belladonna thing) whom we don’t get to see enough of, Tiamaris who appears to be less obedient to his Emperor than most might think and Severn who’s been paying for an unforgiveable crime.

I fully plan to get the next book, Cast In Courtlight, though I’ve heard that it’s not as good.

This rates 8 out of 10.

This is my review for Angie‘s TBR Challenge.

07
Oct
06

Renee Alexis Talks To Us: What’s My Motivation

Characterization! That’s the power of a story. That’s my motivation. In the story, Detroit’s Finest, my female character, Tracey Shane, is a typical woman—a person who just wants a good life, like everyone does. She gets more than what she bargained for by staying on the trail of one hot officer, Troy Davenport. What brought a character like Tracey Shane to the spotlight was none other than wanting the little guy to win for the first time. Her life was average, working as a file clerk at police headquarters, 1300 Beaubien—a real place I might add, and right in the heart of good ole’ Detroit.

Working in a police station can be pretty much run-of-the-mill; you do your job, hopefully do it well within a sea of blue suits, and that’s pretty much your day. It was Tracey’s day, but it definitely got better. Officer Davenport was the ray of sunshine in the dull life of a beautiful young woman. He was like a dream come true—he made her day exciting.

I didn’t want to make Tracey an officer; I wanted everyone to see her as just a regular person, but with a highly imaginative mind and active libido. A bit of a smart-mouth, a slave to fashion and someone who despises her boss, Tracey wanted something special and strove to attain it. I think she appeals to many women, be they black, white or whatever because she has a soft personality despite the fact she has a closet full of mini-skirts. By the way, they look awesome on her.

Troy Davenport discovers her softer side by allowing himself the opportunity to get to know her. Naturally, he did notice her flair for fashion, and how she so well worked that body in any and every outfit. Most importantly, he saw the very dimensional side of her; the side that was the epitome of sarcasm, the top of the heap in sensitivity, the cream of the crop in beauty. Yes, Troy knew Tracey had it all. She, to him, was perfect from head to toe, and that is what made him fall for her.

For Troy, Tracey was a breath of fresh spring air. Coming from a loveless relationship, he was very reluctant to fall into another trap. However, he felt within his heart that Tracey would be nearly impossible to avoid. The day he followed her from the station let the reader know that he was interested—though trying his best to hold back. It didn’t work. Couldn’t work. Not with a woman like her who could charm the pants off the very devil himself.

In a way, Troy and Tracey were destined for one another. Both embodied the personality of an extremely sensitive and caring person. I wanted to make Troy that way because of his profession. Not all officers are hard and by the books do or die! Having Troy be as caring as he is brought out a side that all women want to see in men. What I like about Troy is how he still cared for Daisha’s feelings even though they were on the quits, relationship wise. He’s the kind of man, despite his profession, who really does want the best for everyone—including himself. I also wanted this story to be a sensitive, interpersonal one because most of the time, cop stories are about rough, hard, tough sex with rough, hard officers. There is another side.

What made Troy special to me was that he had the integrity to, at least, let Tracey know that he was still married to Daisha. In addition, I think Troy respected the fact that Tracey wanted him without Daisha hanging on. Neither of them wanted to interrupt a marriage simply because of their want of one another. Eventually, Troy knew he had to sever ties in order to get what he felt he really deserved—a loving relationship with the woman of his dreams.

Even Daisha, who was terribly hard to like, had a sensitive character in my story, though slight in reference. It was hidden to the public but very aware in the idea of her calling after Troy the night of the club get-together. There was a hard exterior featuring a living, breathing little girl who didn’t know how to handle the ‘grown-up’ world of men and relationships.

True, Tracey may have called her an entourage of farm animal names, but in the real, Tracey had an idea what her boss might be going through by losing a man like Troy. She felt empathy for her boss, yet Daisha continued to make life hard for a couple who simply wanted to know what true love felt like.

My two characters fought battles throughout the story including avoiding the ever -present attraction, fighting with Daisha, to losing jobs, yet they persevered. Another dilemma was dating a co-worker. Troy had more of a problem with that than Tracey did. There’s always problems when that occurs. After all, she was the type of person who went for the gusto, but not if it ultimately hurt all parties involved—even Daisha.

The dilemmas in my story are questions I have for my audience. What do you think about cop stories that center on the interpersonal relationship as apposed to the rough and tough, no involvement stories? Was Troy too sensitive? Was Tracey too aggressive? Where did Daisha fit in all of this? Is it a good idea to date a co-worker? Feedback is always good so…talk to me.

Renee Alexis

“The Cop”

“A Taste of Temptation (December 06)

“Gotta Have It”

“He’s All That.”

“Satisfy Me” (December 06)

06
Oct
06

Sasha White Talks To Us

Hi all!

SEX AS A WEAPON is my contribution to THE COP anthology. It’s a novella about a woman thief who is hired by “ex-wives” to get what they feel is theirs and that they didn’t get in the divorce. Sort of a twist on the “First Wives Club” type of thing. Thieving isn’t something Vanessa wanted to really get into, but she did it to help out a friend, and sort of grew into more than she’d anticipated. Now she bears the title Risqué Robber in the papers and the police are hunting her. Kane Michaels is the cop on the case.

I don’t know exactly why it is, but Bad Girl heroines fascinate me. Even when I try to write a good girl, she ends up having a surprise wild streak. For SEX AS A WEAPON it worked the other way around. Vanessa, while a thief, is basically a good girl. She wants a house, home and place to belong. But raised by a con artist for a father and on her own since he went to prison when she was teenager, she certainly knew what was needed to make her own way.

She took a job in a nightclub, and when the owner, Ophelia, took Vanessa under her wing, she started to build a home.

The “O” club, and what it represents to Vanessa, and her ability to use sex to manipulate, are key to who she is.

Among all the laws she learned to break when she was growing up with her con man Father, Vanessa also learned that loyalty was gold, and family was always loyal to each other.

So when O’s husband leaves her for a younger trophy wife, and leaves her pretty much nothing in the divorce, Vanessa uses her street knowledge to get some back for her friend and the Risqué Robber is born.

As Vanessa builds her life, buys a house and manages the nightclub for O, she ends up seducing her way into the houses of a couple of Ophelia’s divorced friends to help them get some back too. And just when she’s starting to doubt that Ophelia really is her friend, and she makes the decision to stop the stealing, Kane Michaels shows up in the club, on the hunt for Her.

I was invited by my editor to take part in THE COP anthology. He asked me to write a novella with the hero as a law enforcement of some type. I was thrilled, what could be more fun that putting a cop and a hot Bad Girl together for some fun?

Not a lot. *grin*

BLURB:

Cop Kane Michaels wants the Risque Robber, and he\’s followed the beautiful thief\’s trail to the city\’s hottest bondage club.

Finding his footing in this new world means trusting the mysterious and seductive bar manager. Now, with a stranger as a guide, one cop’s about to explore his forbidden fantasies and discover that trust it the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Advance Review:

Annmarie from Joyfully Review says “Ohhhhhh Sasha White has written a deliciously sexy tale in her novella, Sex As A Weapon! I am not normally a big fan of novellas but Sasha White proves it can be done well. Not only is the plot fully developed, the characters are well rounded and believable. And the sex…the sex will make you squirm! I did say it was delicious didn’t I? Sex As A Weapon is a lip biting, knee clenching, heart pounding erotic ride that will leave you begging for another go around!”

Read an excerpt:http://www.sashawhite.net/sexasaweapon_excerpt.php

Another Kick Ass chic I absolutely love is Lexy, from my story THE CRIB, in the PURE SEX anthology. Surf on over to my website and read the excerpt for that one too. Lexy makes a small cameo in SEX AS A WEAPON, and I hope to do more with her in the future. So, to start you off at the beginning, just ask me a question – about myself, about writing, about my characters… whatever you want – here in the comment section, and you’ll be entered in a draw for a chance to win a signed copy of the PURE SEX anthology.

Sasha

 

05
Oct
06

Alyssa Brooks Talks To Us

Hi everyone!

First and foremost, I want to thank May for inviting me to contribute to her blog! I’m in a Kensington Aphrodisia anthology, The Cop, which releases this month, so I thought I’d talk a little about my novella within it, Arrested.

Arrested is my baby. My lucky charm. It’s the first erotic romance I ever wrote, the first erotic romance I ever e-published, and the first erotic romance I ever print published. Essentially, it not only began my writing career, but carried it!

Right from the start there was something about the idea—a Texas sheriff who places an innocent woman on house arrest in his house. I knew I had something…I just never knew how big of a something it would turn out to be.

I was preggers, so it took me four months to finish Arrested. At the time, being e-published was my goal, so I sent it off to a few places, and soon received a contract from Liquid Silver Books. I went on to epublish numerous other stories, but I was getting money hungry (babies aren’t cheap!). Feeling discouraged, I came a hairsbreadth away from quitting writing erotic romance to follow a second dream of mine—writing sweet romances (I know, I know. Talk about a spilt personality!). In fact, even now, a half completed attempt is sitting on my hard drive. Maybe one day…

Around the same time, New York publishers started getting hungry for sexy stories. A few friends passed on some info to me, and on a whim, I shoved Arrested in the mail to my editor. I immediately forgot about it. I’d mailed packages like it a hundred times before, waited on my tiptoes for weeks for some sort of response, only to greet disappointment. This time, I didn’t hang onto hope, and low and behold, literally two days later, the phone rang. My baby was crying and I was fresh out of the shower and I almost didn’t answer. But something told me \nto—thank God. My editor said she loved the premise, but where was the sex? She wanted the beginning to be hotter, could I do that? Uh, hell yeah! Ignoring the world and my uncombed hair, I sat at the computer all day and wrote, wrote, wrote, thankfully with my crit partner by my side with helpful suggestions. By five, I emailed off the new version and waited. All night, all the next day, I held tight to the phone and waited (and no, I never brushed my hair). Nothing. At quarter after five, I gave up. It was Friday, business hours were over, and I could safely give up the hope of hearing anything at least until Monday. I ran myself a bubble bath and five minutes later, my husband rushed into the bathroom carrying a crying baby—and yes, the phone. Standing there dripping wet, soap running in my eyes, with a screaming baby in the background (because despite my violent hand gestures, my husband wouldn’t leave the room), I tried to pretend all was normal and accepted my first deal. It was really amazing, but so surreal. I, of course, had no time for initial celebration—crying baby—and I think I was too shocked to even breathe.

I learned a good lesson from all this—the call never, ever comes when you expect it. Since then, I’ve accepted three other deals—all completely out of left field, one more of which I did soaking wet.

Needless to say, I hold Arrested close to my heart. A few weeks ago, I received my author’s copies and opening the box stole my breath away. I’m really excited to be a part of this anthology and to share my story with the world—and to get the ball rolling, I’m going to give away a signed copy! Just tell me the titles of the other two novellas within The Cop and post them here, or email them to me at Alyssa@alyssabrooks.com. You can find the answers at http://www.alyssabrooks.com. I’ll chose a winner tomorrow! Good luck!

It was nice talking here! Hugs, Alyssa

04
Oct
06

The Cop 3 Day Fiesta!

Tomorrow, we start with Alyssa Brooks!

On Friday, we have Sasha White!

Come Saturday, we end with Renee Alexis!

What do they have in common?

They are the authors of Aphrodisia‘s THE COP anthology, and they are here to spill all about their stories.

And there will be prizes.

So come on by and comment to be entered in the contests!

02
Oct
06

On Growing An Audience

Click here to read Scalzi, who’s written a piece on growing an audience for your blog.

I was actually going to write one myself, and save it for a rainy day, but he’s done a much better job, and I shall now just send you a link to it.

If you’d like to read something written by me, you may go to my LiveJournal. I will post another post there, and one more here in the next few hours. And you might like to read Yasmine Galenorn’s interview as well.

Should everything else fail, play Sudoku, like me!

01
Oct
06

7 Questions with Yasmine Galenorn

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

It always hovers between 5 and 8, with an occasional spike. I think all writers are a little bit warped—we have to be, living in our heads so much. Not to mention the studies that show artists—and writers in particular—as being more prone to mental illnesses. Highs and lows are part of living, and unless the condition is bad enough to warrant medication, I prefer to experience all aspects of this ‘life’ thang. It doesn’t make sense to me to go through life medicated into what someone else thinks of as normal if I’m high functioning without the pills. I know I’m a little bit OC, as well as mildly bipolar and am lucky that I can control it without drugs, and that’s the route I choose to go. Some people can’t, and they need to do what works for them. I’m also terribly Type A, ambitious, and driven in my work—I don’t consider these aspects negatives most of the time, they just make me the obsessed (and loveable ~grins~) little fruitcake that I am.

2. Have you ever used the tarot to help write your books? As in, to help plot?

Nope. Tried it. Didn’t work. My cards told me to quit bothering them for something I should be doing myself. Seriously, they spanked me a good one.

3. Do you think Witchling’s voice different from your other books? It’s a shift from cozy mystery to urban fantasy, after all.

Oh, my voice changes with every main character book. It’s not just genre that does it, it’s the main character. I think my style is inherent within everything I write, but the character voices change drastically. And of course, in this new series, I can let loose and go places that the cozy genre forbids. That’s exciting, although I will say that working within such a tight framework (i.e.: the cozy genre) has forced me to really learn how to develop strong characterization and mood. When you can’t go over the top, you have to build reader interest in other ways. I’ve never been content with writing superficial work. I want my characters and story to stand out—regardless of what genre I’m writing.

4. You’ve been through some pretty dark times in your life. Is it reflected in what you write? And was writing an escape from them?

My past will always be reflected in how I write, though I think that’s why I stay away from stark realistic fiction. When you’re writing a book, you live in the world that you’ve created 24/7, for months at a time. While I like having more leeway than cozies provide, I also choose to avoid certain subjects that bring up painful memories better left in the dark recesses of my mind.

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was three years old, a year or so before the problems in my childhood started. So my love for writing wasn’t born out of a need for escape, but it certainly provided a shelter when things got bad. So did my love for reading. The books and writing became a haven as time went on, a nice perk.

5. On your blog you mentioned you enjoy writing sex scenes. Now I really can’t wait for Witchling. But to get back to the point, I do have quite a few writer friends who find it difficult, and they aren’t prudes by any means. Any suggestions?

IMO, sex scenes need to be necessary to the book be effective. I don’t know if I could write erotica (as opposed to erotic scenes within a book) because—for myself—I need a lot of story to back up the sex and I’m realizing just how much I love to plot. When I’m actually writing, it’s like I have this filmstrip running in my head. My subconscious narrates what needs to happen and with my conscious mind, I record it on paper, and then I revise and edit and polish the story till it shines. My sex scenes tend to be shorter but intense—I can’t drag them out for pages at a time, but when they’re there, they need to be there and I don’t pull punches. I read the Joy of Writing Sex a few years ago and it did wonders in helping me think about the way sex scenes work. And then, writing a nonfiction sex magic book a few years ago helped wipe away lingering embarrassment (Sexual Ecstasy and the Divine).

I guess what advice I’d have to give is this: look at how your character approaches sex and go from there. Put yourself in her shoes. How do you think she’d react? How would she talk about sex to her best friend? Would she spill it all, or would she be more secretive? Is she a lights-on or a lights-off person?

Make certain to involve all the senses. I find it amazing how many aspiring writers overlook smell, taste, and hearing in favor of sight and touch. How does the hero smell? Like forest leaves? Old Spice? Sticky lemonade because he spilled his drink on his shirt and didn’t bother to change? If you kiss him, how do his lips taste? Does he smoke? The taste of ash will be there…did he just eat chocolate? And what are the background noises? Is the fan going? Are there birds chirping outside the window? Can you hear the quiet rise and fall of the old basset hound’s breathing while he sleeps by the end of the bed? Everything you write in a sex scene should go into creating the mood.

6. Has using the India Ink pseudonym helped the sales of the Bath & Body series? Do you hope that you can someday have a cover that says “Yasmine Galenorn writing as India Ink”?

I have no idea whether it’s had any impact on sales. In my opinion it can’t help because most of my readers seem to read just about everything I write, as far as the fiction. I didn’t want to use a pen name but since both the Chintz ‘n China series and the Bath and Body series are in the same imprint, the marketing department insisted. I agreed on the stipulation that I choose the pen name and that I can splash it all over my site and inside the books, that I’m actually the one writing the series. So you’ll find my name inside on the acknowledgements. I would never write a book if I couldn’t put my real name somewhere in it/on it. Call it ego if you like, but I am proud of all of my work and hate the thought of ‘hiding.’

And yes, I would prefer that all my books have my real name on them—so yes, I would like to see them reprinted someday with “Yasmine Galenorn writing as India Ink” on the covers.

7. If you could write just one book a year, do you think that book will be better than one you write with 6 month deadline?

No, I have the natural ability to write prolifically. I would be bored to tears with just one book a year. I would, however, LOVE to have a six months deadline! I wrote three books last year and that was pushing it. I’m on almost the same schedule this year. But my writing is getting tighter with each book, so I’m not worried that my quality suffers—I just want more time in my life for other things.

Yasmine Galenorn blogs and is a member of the Witchy Chicks. You can also find her at her messageboard. Witchling should be available at a bookstore near you.





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