Archive for August, 2007


Sydney Croft: Riding The Storm

A storm’s rage. A woman’s desire.A man with the power to set them both free.

He can summon lightning at will. Emerge unscathed from the center of a tornado. Strip a woman down to her barest defenses through the sheer force of his sexuality. He’s gorgeous, dangerous, and the target of parameteorologist Haley Holmes’s latest mission. Haley has been dispatched to the Louisiana bayou to investigate the phenomenon known as Remy Begnaud – man with a gift he never wanted: the ability to control a storm’s fury. But even a woman trained in bizarre weather phenomenon has no defense against the electrifying power of the Ex-Navy SEAL…a power his enemies would kill to control.

With her agency monitoring their every move, Haley’s job is to seduce Remy, gain his trust — and help him harness his extraordinary gift. But who will protect her from this voracious lover who’s introducing her to a new world of erotic thrills – a man who grows increasingly insatiable with each new weather event? Haley knows a big storm is approaching –and with it will come unexpected delights. But, so, too, will the storm unleash her greatest fears: An enemy bent on destroying Remy. And her worst fear of all…falling in love with this magnificent man, then having to betray him…

This is a great debut for Sydney Croft, aka the writing team of Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler.

One of the things that really made the book for me is Haley and Remy’s ‘backstory.’ I won’t elaborate, because I don’t do spoilers, but it still makes me go Awwwwww….

And their ending was, for me, the perfect cross between Happy Ever After and Happy For Now. I think that they will have a HEA, but because the book spans only a short timeline, it’s enough Happy For Now for me to believe it. If that makes sense.

There were places where that I felt the secondary characters, namely Annika and Creed and Devlin, nearly overwhelmed the hero and heroine, especially the latter, whom I felt wasn’t as well-drawn as other characters in the story.

I also don’t think it was explained why Remy is called T-Remy, but I could have missed it because the sex scenes are mindblowing.

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next book–though sadly, Annika and Creed are not stars of Unleashing The Storm.

Riding The Storm rates 3.5 out of 5.


Unplugged yet Entangled in Wires

I did mean to post yesterday and Saturday, though not Friday.
Just busy with the cousins/relatives and such.

The second part of my post title refers to the fact that I’ve run out of USB ports, necessitating a USB port hub thingie (courtesy of a very nice cousin).

I don’t understand why in this age of wirelessness has nobody figured out away to charge things without a wire. Damn it.

Also, I may be getting an iPod after all. Since the father is willing to pay, I’ll get a white one and find a case for it.

Except that it’s wrong. I’m normally “I’ll get exactly what I want or not at all.”

So vote: white nano or no MP3 player?


Dionne Galace: Skin To Skin

What Leilani wants, Leilani gets. That is, until she meets the enigmatic Oliver Clayton, her new neighbor. For some reason, Oliver seems to be intent on avoiding her even though he’s obviously interested. Leilani has tried to everything to get his attention, from wearing skimpy little outfits to walking a neighbor’s dog six times in front of his yard. Leilani wants Oliver…and she always gets her man.In the heat of the summer, the temperature’s not only thing rising. Luckily, Oliver has that pool in his backyard and Leilani knows just how to cool off…

I was going to say that Skin To Skin’s just good, clean fun, but there’s too much hot sex in it to be just good, clean fun.

So what’s Skin To Skin? It’s hot and sexy fun.

It has its flaws. I’m not sure what Leilani sees in Oliver except his hot bod, and I can’t help but think but Oliver being a cop is shorthand for Oliver being a trustworthy guy.

The ending is a little rushed, but it also has the type of ending that makes me smile. :D

Skin To Skin rates 3.5 out of 5.


6 Questions with Heather Brewer

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.

At this very moment, I’m idling at a nice, even five. I recently received some amazing praise from my editor on my revision of NINTH GRADE SLAYS (the second book in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod), and that’s got me feeling blissfully relieved. However, as soon as copyedits come back, I’m sure I’ll top the scale—or maybe surpass it to a solid fifteen or so. But then, I stress out fairly easily.

2. Why do vampires suck?

Because they have to! *ba-dum-dum-CHING!* Honestly, how else do you expect them to get blood from their victim into their mouth? J No, really, only certain vampires suck. The rest, like Vlad (my protagonist), are pretty cool. I’ve always been interested in vampire lore. And the intriguing thing is that if you really look at all of their history throughout old legends and modern media, they’re probably the most misunderstood beings out there. So, really, it’s the Buffys of the world who suck…not the Spikes.

3. If you had a stake, what or who would you stake with that stake?

Probably the Slayer I acquired it from. I’m pretty protective of vampirekind. After all, vampires are people too…just the kind of people that suck the life out of other people. Like lawyers…and math teachers.

4. Vladimir Tod isn’t that much older than your son, Jacob. Is Vladimir Tod in any way influenced by who Jacob is?

Vladimir and Jacob are both thirteen…and both about to be in the eighth grade. Vlad is a hybrid of me as a teenager and Jacob. Many of the funnier lines spoken by Vlad are direct quotes from my son. And through Jacob, I’m reliving many of my own Junior High woes, so it keeps me in touch with that stressful time.

5. So, the series ends when you run out of grades for Vladimir to study?

There are five books planned for the series right now, yes. And each grade offers a set of unique challenges for Vlad to face, new problems, more enemies, further girl troubles. Readers will get to follow Vlad all the way through his senior year. (And things will get progressively worse for Vlad as time moves on)

6. Are you sure that there’s such a thing as a “optimistic, perky goth“?

Of course there is! I know, because I am one. Being Goth isn’t all about being mopey and depressed all the time—being Goth is having an affinity for the darker aspects of life, a love of the macabre (and of wearing velvet…or leather, depending on who you are). Perky Goths are Goths that have gotten so dark, so down, that they’ve punched through to the other side. It’s…being so evil that you can’t help but smile.

Heather Brewer blogs at Bleeding Ink. Her debut release is Eight Grade Bites, out now, to be followed by the sequel, Ninth Grade Slays.

Vladimir Tod, the star of her series, shares a blog with Lexie Livingstone and it can be found here.

Because Heather’s the coolness, she’s offering a signed copy of Eight Grade Bites to one lucky commenter. I’m not convinced about optimistic, perky goths, so vote! Tell us, do you believe in their existence? Is Heather making it up? Or is she just one of a kind? 

In other giveaway news, she’s giving away the hoodie Vlad wears on the cover  of Eighth Grade Bites on her website


Extracting Skin To Skin by Dionne Galace

What Leilani wants, Leilani gets. That is, until she meets the enigmatic Oliver Clayton, her new neighbor. For some reason, Oliver seems to be intent on avoiding her even though he’s obviously interested. Leilani has tried to everything to get his attention, from wearing skimpy little outfits to walking a neighbor’s dog six times in front of his yard. Leilani wants Oliver…and she always gets her man.In the heat of the summer, the temperature’s not only thing rising. Luckily, Oliver has that pool in his backyard and Leilani knows just how to cool off…

Sounds good to you? Sure sounds good to me! We have a lovely excerpt, courtesy of Dionne, and a little contest…

Continue reading ‘Extracting Skin To Skin by Dionne Galace’


6 Questions with Dionne Galace

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.

Hmm… I’d say seven right now. My first published work, Skin to Skin is coming out in a few days (Aug 17) and I just found out that Liquid Silver Books is releasing Boundless (an anthology I share with Annie Dean and Bonnie Dee) on September 3rd. That’s two releases within two weeks from each other, so you’ll have to forgive me if I seem a little tense. I also just submitted something to Samhain and I’m waiting to hear from them… it’s a wonder I haven’t chewed up my fingers to nubs. Oh, and the WIP I’m working on right now is driving me nuts. So… um… I think I’m thisclose to stark-raving mad.

2. Were you a writer before you started your blog?

I’ve been writing since I was nine years old, no joke. It all started when I ran out of things to read around the house (my VC Andrews books, my comic books, my mom’s Sidney Sheldon books, my dad’s tech manuals) and began pestering my mother to take me to the library. She was washing the dishes at the time, so she turned to me and said, “Why don’t you write your own books?” And it was the craziest thing I had ever heard, but I was really excited about it. I started writing Babysitter’s Club fanfic and was hooked. In high school, I took all the creative classes I could, then went on to college and majored in Creative Writing. I love everything about writing.

To answer your question, yes, I was a writer before I started my blog. But I also love books (every spare cent I have, I would spend on books over food and anything else. I think that’s why I’m really poor) and I love talking about them with people who love them. I wanted to encourage a dialogue about them.

3. You’re known as a snarky, even occasionally a mean girl reviewer. Do you think you’re going to get what some would call your just deserts?

I realize that and I’m cool with it. Half the time, I don’t really expect anyone to like my work anyway, so hey, it’s a pleasant surprise when someone says something nice about it. Ha-ha. If there are authors out there who want to get their licks in (wink), go for it. I do hope folks will like it and not hate it out of spite.

4. There is a school of thought that says e-pub authors especially need to write fast, and publish a lot. What’s your take?

I’m gonna come at you all cliche here, but I prefer quality over quantity. I think people only do that “write fast and publish a lot” if they hope to make money from this gig. But I really, really can’t crank it out. I’m the type who agonizes over each sentence in my head until it reads wonderfully (to me, anyway). I’m not saying my stuff’s Great American Literature or anything, but there’s a glut of really, really bad fic out there and frankly, I don’t need to be polluting it with my barely literate swill.

5. This question has kept me up for many a night. Why do people call you Bam?

I was a very destructive kid. I was always breaking stuff and my grandmother said I reminded her of Bamm-Bamm from the Flinstones ’cause I was always hitting things with a stick. I grew up being called that and to this day, my family calls me “Bam”. Easier to spell and remember than Dionne, isn’t it? :)

6. Where is blogging on your list of favorite ways to procrastinate?

Let’s see… #1, I think. No, that’s not true. Maybe #3. First, I read the gossip blogs like Defamer and D-Listed. Second, I read my favorite rom-bloggers. Third… yeah, I blog. I haven’t posted a review in a while ’cause I haven’t had time to sit down and just read a book. Heck, “Marked” by PC Cast and her daughter Kristin, has been staring at me in the face for weeks, just begging to be finished, and I haven’t been able to because I’ve been so busy with school. So to list my ways of procrastinating: 1) gossip blogs 2) rom-blogs 3) blogging 4) watching talk shows 5) staring at the wall.

Dionne Galace‘s debut release, Skin To Skin, is out today from Samhain Publishing — I’ll edit to add the sale page later today — to be followed by Waking Kitty in the Boundless anthology from Liquid Silver Books.


I thank my father, my mother…

….and YOU, for saving my sanity in the past few months and putting up with my whining which got to crisis point yesterday.

My Sisters, Joely and Michelle, for patting my head and sending me off with more severed hands whenever I need them.

The Jessicas, aka “Still Stuck in the Past” Tudor and Down South Jessie, for distracting me when I most needed distraction.

Edie, for appearing to think I’m more or less normal (please don’t tell me if this isn’t the case) and breezing past my surlier days without calling me on it.

Susan, for giving me something to brainstorm about and to add to my to-do list when I most needed it.

Jaci and Charli, for sharing in my cake ramblings, and for being brave enough to come back to my blog again and again.

Bam, for helping me sleep better and distracting me by sending me Skin To Skin so I can ponder “What shall I read next?” with much thoroughness.

Tia, for pointing out that if I couldn’t bake my own cake, good chocolate ice cream is a more than reasonable substitute for cake.

Alice, for making me laugh because it is true that I am a Box Cake Snob–and proud of it too.

Jane, for not replying with a “you’re mad” email to my rave about Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours.

KS, for making me laugh about your husband, and I hope both of you have recovered from the trauma of sending your kids off to school.

Raine, just because she Rocks instead of Reeking.

Ann, for this poem.

HelenKay, for posting about all sorts of interesting books so I can spend ages and ages flipping through her blog archives and distract myself with “Oh, that looks shiny and I think I should get that!”

Wendy/Portia, for understanding that the promise of a shiny, sexy, very hot and SIGNED book makes for a happy miladyinsanity, and I swear, I’ll become better at replying to emails.

Rhian, for making me feel better about myself simply by being crazier than me.

Becca, for showing me what it means to be grace in face of adversity.

I’m forgetting a lot of peeps, I know, so shoot me if you’re one of them and I’ll regenerate myself and fix you up in the next list.

Hugs, kisses and a fabulous chocolate cake, May


Why do people who are afraid of heights like to fly?

I don’t know.

But I had to share this search engine phrase with my dear blog readers who are probably shooting darts at miladyinsanity voodoo dolls by now–this probably accounts for the pain I feel in my ribs because they want me to die a slow death.

I shall defy them by blogging every single gory detail about my slow death.


John Scalzi: Old Man’s War

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.

I’m intrigued by this book.

I had to put it down halfway–the parents insisted because we had to have dinner–and I couldn’t wait to get back to it.

But what’s interesting isn’t what I liked about the book as much as why I liked the book despite it’s shortcomings: Old Man’s War a rather flatly written book.

Oh the characterization’s wonderful, the pacing is tight, the worldbuilding intricately executed…but it’s not a book that wows you with sheer impact, and I felt that the book was an almost too even keel.

Still, the protagonist, John Perry, made up for it. He has a wry and sometimes morbid sense of humor that makes his point of view (Old Man’s War is written in first person) a joy to read.

I’m definitely going to pick up the next book…and why did I take so long to pick this one up when I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s blog for so long?

Old Man’s War rates 4 out of 5.


Extracting Suite Seventeen by Portia Da Costa

Vibrant forty-something widow Annie Conroy is determined to follow her late husband’s wishes and start having fun again and living life to the full. At the Waverley Grange country hotel, she encounters the most exotic, sensual and desirable creature she could ever have dreamed of and all thoughts of resistance are completely banished. Is it a man? Is it a woman? Who even cares?

Click for excerpt…and for the contest if you’ve not already seen it!

Continue reading ‘Extracting Suite Seventeen by Portia Da Costa’


Six Questions with Portia Da Costa

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.

I’d say I’m at level 10… but that’s situation normal for me. I am crazy. LOL! I think the main insanity inducing thing in my writing life at the moment is this sequel I’m writing. But I’ve also been trying to develop some new story outlines at the same time, and my poor old brain gears start to grind and seize up when I’m multi-tasking. But I keep on persevering. I’m a great believer in scribbling story snippets and ideas down in notebooks, whenever I think of them. Now, if only I could remember where I put all my notebooks…

2. You were, I think, one of the early authors to e-publish after being print published. Why did you go down that route?

Really? I didn’t realize that. I’d assumed there were lots of people crossing over both ways. Ebook to print, and print to ebook. I suppose I branched out into ebooks by chance really. A writer friend of mine was hanging out with an Ellora’s Cave editor at RWA a few years ago, and they fell to talking about me. The EC editor said, ‘Tell her to send me something’, so I did, and that idea later became my Ellora’s Cave contemporary LESSONS AND LOVERS. I’ve since also written for Phaze, and now for the new British erotic romance epublisher Total-E-Bound. I really like doing both print and ebook.

3. Recently, you announced that you sold a sequel to a novel you wrote some twelve years earlier, Gothic Blue. In that time, your voice has probably changed quite a bit. Is that change making it especially difficult to write the sequel?

Yes, see above! No, seriously, it is quite a challenge to revisit the world of Gothic Blue. For one thing, I’d largely forgotten a lot of what happened in that book, so I’ve had to re-read it myself in order to reacquaint myself with the details of the plot and characters. And yes, my voice has changed quite a bit since then. I think my style is slightly more streamlined and down to earth than it was at that time. Writing a couple of books and some stories in first person has also tended to make my voice more intense and intimate, even when I’m writing in third person. Gothic Blue was slightly poetic in places whereas Gothic Heat is going to be more ‘realistic’ in tone, but with a strong emotional punch. Marrying the paranormal with this realism is quite a tall order but I’m relishing the process.

4. Dorothy Starr. Portia Da Costa. Those are just two of your other past pseudonyms. Was there a reason why you picked those names?

Dorothy Starr was one of my earliest pseudonyms, and I chose Dorothy because it was my mother’s name, and Starr because I liked the sound of being a ‘star’. Portia Da Costa came about because the Black Lace editor at the time of my first book for them said I had to have a new name. Apart from ‘Dorothy’ I tend to make up my pen names in much the way I do the names of my characters. By sheer chance. In the case of PDC, while I was mulling over the need for a new pseudonym, I watched ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ in which John Cleese’s character has a daughter called ‘Portia’. Probably the next day, I was watching Motor Cycle Grand Prix, and I heard someone talking about the orthopaedic surgeon who looks after the injured riders, a guy called ‘Dr Da Costa’… so I just put the two elements together and Bob’s your uncle, Portia Da Costa was born!

5. If you could have a do-over, would you still use a pseudonym?

Yes, I probably would. Publishers mostly seem to want you to use a pseudonym.

6. Do you think it’s necessary for the hero and heroine to get together and have a Happy Ever After in a romance novel?

Oh, absolutely… It’s what romance and erotic romance is all about. Some of my earlier erotic novels don’t have what you’d call conventional HEAs, but I think there’s always been the promise of a HEA, or at least an emotionally satisfying ending where people are happy, either with one person, or even in a more open relationship. Nowadays, I’m much more inclined to go for a more generally recognizable HEA though. It’s what I want to read, so it’s what I want to write. They might not actually be on the point of marriage, or a formal engagement, but at the end of a book, my hero and heroine are usually lovingly committed to each other for good.

Portia Da Costa has a personal blog. She can be found at Romance Galleria most weeks on Friday, around 6PM EST.

Her current releases are Object of Desire, Wild in The Country, and Suite Seventeen (US release), to be followed by Hotbed (reprint–October ’07) and Gothic Heat (June ’08).

She will have stories in the Love On The Dark Side (just released), Hide And Seek (September ’07), Buddies Don’t Bite (January ’08) and Magic And Desire (’08)anthologies, to be released in the near future.

All dates given are US release dates.

Now that all that release day info has hopefully been imprinted in your heads, Portia’s doing a giveaway! Lucky commenter gets 2 books from her print backlist!


Charlene Teglia: Wild Wild West

In one of the most searingly erotic Westerns ever penned, Charlene Teglia breaches uncharted territory. But reader beware: this tale is hotter than hell. The faint of heart should turn back now…Three city girls from Seattle are enjoying a night out at a chic coffee house in downtown Missoula, Montana, the heart of the old West. When a gang of cowboys mosey in looking for trouble, they find trouble of the best kind… and these boys are primed and ready to ride. There’s Gabe, a hard-bodied rancher who’s discovered some imaginative new uses for rope. Chet, a rodeo cowboy who’s charmed the pants off more than a few country girls and vows to remain a bachelor for life. And Reuben, a former Army ranger with a taste for edgy sexual games. As the couples embark on a scorching night of passion and play, they experience the most exquisite pleasure—and discover kinky new thrills they never dared to imagine. Because when it comes to knocking boots, cowboys do it best…

Great start, meh middle and fabulous ending.

Or, since it’s a trio of novellas, great first novella, meh second and fabulous third.

What I can’t get past about this book is that the journeys for all the heroines are too similar. Charlene does a good job of making each of them feel fresh again, and I’m certainly going to pick up her next St. Martin’s title (the extract at the back’s looking good), but it’s a big part of the reason why Wild Wild West gets 3.5 instead of 4.

I’d consider paying mass market cover price for just A Man’s Word is His Bondage and Reuben’s Rules. They are scorching hot, terribly readable and I think Reuben’s Rules might grow into a keeper for me.

Wild Wild West rates 3.5 out of 5. Continue reading ‘Charlene Teglia: Wild Wild West’


The PINK shall attack….

…Stephanie’s bookshelf!

Poor Stephanie. Whatever is she going to do? Maybe she’ll come back and tell us in comments.

Stephanie, comment to let me know you’ve seen this and email Charlene at charli (at) charleneteglia (dot) com (substitutions where appropriate) to collect your shiny book.

If you’ve not read the fabulous excerpt, clicky here, and if you’ve not read the  wonderful Reuben’s Rules, buy it now!

Tomorrow, you can come back and yell at me over my review.


Extracting Wild Wild West by Charlene Teglia


In one of the most searingly erotic Westerns ever penned, Charlene Teglia breaches uncharted territory. But reader beware: this tale is hotter than hell. The faint of heart should turn back now…

Three city girls from Seattle are enjoying a night out at a chic coffee house in downtown Missoula, Montana, the heart of the old West. When a gang of cowboys mosey in looking for trouble, they find trouble of the best kind… and these boys are primed and ready to ride. There’s Gabe, a hard-bodied rancher who’s discovered some imaginative new uses for rope. Chet, a rodeo cowboy who’s charmed the pants off more than a few country girls and vows to remain a bachelor for life. And Reuben, a former Army ranger with a taste for edgy sexual games. As the couples embark on a scorching night of passion and play, they experience the most exquisite pleasure–and discover kinky new thrills they never dared to imagine. Because when it comes to knocking boots, cowboys do it best…

It’s terribly pink, that cover. It doesn’t really match the decor. But it’s Charlene Teglia! Can Charlene be forgiven a PINK cover?

And she is giving away a copy of Wild Wild West to a lucky commenter who asks her naughty questions! (I’m just kidding on the naughty part. Really.)

Continue reading ‘Extracting Wild Wild West by Charlene Teglia’


Extracting Restless Shadows by Jennifer Cloud

Death creeps around the world and not as in the concept for the end of life. This syrupy creature stalks, hunts, and waits in hiding for those that it chooses and those that choose it.

Anna Carswell met death during a suicide attempt and was left with a troubling gift. She can see where death will strike next. She begins dating Nick, a man who understands her pain.

Nick blames himself for his sister’s death. During those dark years he sees death and knows it wants to claim him.

Anna and Nick hope to regain normal lives by facing Death in its home. Their other attempts have failed but in the City of the Dead, they hope to gain understanding and a future.

A college professor is determined to win Anna even if it means murder. Death also longs for the lady he set free. It doesn’t play fair either.

Click here to buy this book directly from Drollerie Press or click more to read the excerpt. Jennifer‘s super-cool and she’s offering a download to be given away to one lucky commenter!

Continue reading ‘Extracting Restless Shadows by Jennifer Cloud’


6 Questions with Jennifer Cloud

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.

I’m getting ready to start a new job. I have my first book signing coming up August 11th. My youngest is starting school this year. My life is total chaos.

2. Recently, you made the decision to let the contracts on some of your older ebooks expire. I’m of the school of thought that says all books are broken in some unfixable way, so there is a point when more rewriting and revising is useless. But you intend to rewrite at least three of them?

Yes. I really tore apart The Wicked Witch to make it more suitable for the market. I shouldn’t have. I’ve also gotten better as a writer. I feel like I’m letting down my babies if I don’t give them another chance.

You are right about not being able to fix some books. I’ve deleted several books that I’ve written after realizing that some aspect of the novel didn’t work. They never saw publication. My husband is usually the judge if a work should live or die.

3. Restless Shadows, your first Drollerie Press release, is rewritten. To put a better spin on it, reimagined. In what sense is it different from the original version?

It’s cleaner and tighter than the original. There aren’t any major plot differences just more with the characters.

4. Does sexy really sell that much better? Or is it simply what sells better from e-presses, do you think?

Sex sells in most markets. I think the difference is more pronounced in ebooks.

Look at any commercial. Sex is used to sell everything from cheeseburgers to cars. It’s one of the primal motivations. For most ad campaigns they focus on one of three things that make consumers buy a product: greed (saving money, more for your money), status, or sex.

With ebooks, sex can be a major selling force. I think women have taken charge of their sexuality and have grown tired of purple prose in their romances.

Frequent any author chat. How hot the book is becomes a common selling point. Certain love scenes are often discussed between readers. There are many review sites that rate how hot the book is. All of it points to many readers wanting sexier books. The e-presses are quick to deliver.

5. What is the hardest thing that a newly published author has to deal with, in your opinion?

I think most new authors have trouble hearing anything negative about a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s an editor trying to help or a reviewer being blunt, few new authors can handle it without developing some resentment. It takes a couple of books to see that the story is a product. Writers see it as an extension of themselves instead of something meant to entertain others.

6. You’ve mentioned on your MySpace blog that you’re working on a collaboration. How is it different from working on your own?

It was a lot of fun. Regan Taylor does beta reads for me so I value her opinion. A writer’s challenge helped her get into writing so it was natural that we would eventually work together. Her work tends to be sweeter whereas I see things on the dark side. On our collaboration, she helped me see the story from different angles and I like to think our styles meshed well.

Jennifer Cloud blogs on MySpace. Her current release is Restless Shadows from Drollerie Press.

She’s sharing an excerpt of Restless Shadows with us, and guess what? Contest! One lucky winner gets a download!


Enough With The Size 0 Sniping

Check out this post. Via Lilith Saintcrow.

The original poster’s sentiments about clothing size echo my own. I’ve had those issues myself, though not from the same perspective.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about the backlash against women like me, who wear very small sizes.

There are a lot of us who simply won the genetic lucky draw. I’m one of them. My grandma was a tiny woman, and before she had kids, my mother’s youngest sister wore the same size I do now–I know because I’ve inherited quite a few pieces of her pre-pregnancy wardrobe.

The undeniable truth is that there are women who starve themselves into a size 0. I pity them, and you should too, because one shouldn’t need to do such a thing to feel happy about themselves. But you shouldn’t tarnish all of us with the same brush.

I’m tired of having people talk about the fact that I wear XS–and even that’s sometimes too big thanks to vanity sizing–as though it makes me a freak and less of a woman. Because it doesn’t.

Don’t any of you realise that the world disdains us size 0 women as much as they do you normal, everyday women? Not in the same way, but it is disdain all the same. They have merely lifted us up onto a pedestal, saying that this is the woman you should aspire to be, and then knocked us down again.

When you say things like “the bane of all sane women: size 0″ you are part of that world. Without size 0, some of us wouldn’t have clothes to wear–at least, not off the rack, and most of us couldn’t afford to maintain a completely made to order wardrobe.

It’s the same way you might not have clothes if there weren’t sizes 16 and 18 and 20. We don’t begrudge you those sizes, so why do you begrudge us sizes 00 and 0 and 2?


Extracting Poltergeist by Kat Richardson

Halloween is approaching when Harper agrees to investigate the members of a research group who’ve been attempting to create an artificial poltergeist. The head researcher suspects someone’s been faking the phenomena, but Harper’s investigation reveals something entirely different–they’ve succeeded. When one of the group’s members is killed in a brutal and inexplicable fashion, Harper must determine if the murderer is the ghost itself or someone all too human

Continue reading ‘Extracting Poltergeist by Kat Richardson’


6 Questions with Kat Richardson

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.

Since I’m currently writing, it’s about… 8. Not quite needing drugs. Usually it’s more like 6-7: “charmingly nuts” to “a bit on the bizarre side.” I get pretty isolated while I’m in the intense writing mode and the combination of living in the characters’ heads, trying to problem-solve on the fly, getting grumpy from lack of human contact, and hating to have to do all the other chores on top of that makes me snappish and unpredictable–with bouts of paranoia and neediness punctuated with babbling. Not to mention “teh lazy.”

2. Is it just me or is Seattle looking like a popular place to set urban fantasy fiction?

Not just you. I saw a couple of reviewers note the trend and I think there’s something to it–the same thing that kind of kicked off my own thought processes to create the “Harperverse”: this place is nuts. Let’s face it, the combination of odd, cold, often misty weather with weird streets, old to eclectic architecture, funky history, and a population that tends to the… umm… eccentric set among geography that tends to isolate people into contained populations is bound to breed some weirdness. I think the local writers just expand on the natural surreality of the place. Gotta love a town with a troll under the Highway 99 overpass. Must have some affection for a state with towns called Cosmopolis, Moxee, Sequim (pronounced “skwim”), and Vader.

3. Many authors choose to create their own supernatural creatures. Others stick to the tried and true. Last but not least, there are those who mix it all up. Where do Greywalkers come in?

That’s all right. I’m a mixer-upper. I made up the Grey and Greywalkers, but there’s always been stories about people with the ability to talk to the dead or see what others can’t, so it’s not totally original core material. It’s just the spin I chose to put on it that’s different–I hope. I like to look at legends and myths and extrapolate out from there, but I do “just make it up” sometimes, too.

Hey, I’m an author–“making it up” is my bread and butter. You know what Lawrence Block said: “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit!”

4. It’s a little urban fantasy, it’s a little science fiction, and why not throw a little mystery as well?

I read everything and I don’t see a point in trying to keep all my faves separated, so it wasn’t strange to me to blender them all up. Oddly, it was the mystery I really wanted in the first place. The rest snuck in while my back was turned and ran amok. I just started out to write about a detective who worked for ghosts and things just took off from there. I like mysteries–they have a nice structure that adapts to all kinds of settings, characters, genre conventions, flights of fancy and insanity, and whatever you have to throw in there. Good kitchen sink stuff.

5. What do you love and hate most about living on a boat?

I love the freedom to leave a place and take my home with me. I like going places and seeing stuff, but I don’t always want to live out of a suitcase. What I hate is the cold, wet conditions in the winter and the mildew. I’d love to spend the winter in Costa Rica or some place like that. With cabana boys and drinks with little paper hats!

6. Why is it that so many writers have cats?

I figure it’s so the writers have something to act as companion that doesn’t really demand a lot of their attention–and washes its own socks. Cats are independent cusses and though they may be affection fiends sometimes, it’s never for very long before they want to go lie in _that_ bit of sunshine over there and not be bothered with the silly human any more. Kind of like writers themselves.

Except for my cat who’s 19 this year and has become a loud, demanding old bastard. But that’s OK–the ferrets keep him in his place.

Kat Richardson blogs and her current release is Poltergeist, to be followed in a year’s time by Underground.

Now for something a little different. Kat’s giving away a copy of Poltergeist, or Greywalker if you haven’t read it. To enter the drawing, discuss:

It’s kind of amusing to me that when the topic of Urban Fantasy comes up the first name on people’s lips is Laurell K. Hamilton and everyone else is classed as an “emulator” or “imitator” of hers. That’s unfortunate since it not only assumes we all write like Hamilton–which we plainly don’t–but it doesn’t give due credit to the people who cracked the niche open ahead of Hamilton: Mercedes Lackey, Charles de Lint, Tanya Huff, Diane Duane, Will Shetterly, and Emma Bull. Urban Fantasy doesn’t require that the story feature a gun-totin grrl who has sex with vampires, only that there be a realistic modern setting in which fantasy–usually the darker parts–is a major element of plot with some mystery and or romantic threads to give the stories structure over a long arc.


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