Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Leaving Las Vegas

This should finish our travel drinks for a while. In honor of me leaving for Vegas tonight, I give you...

Leaving Las Vegas

1 oz. Triple Sec

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Light Rum

1 oz. Gin


2 tbsp. sugar


Pour all four alcohols into a highball glass. Fill with lemonade, then sweeten to taste with sugar. Add a splash of Sprite, and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Ellen Keener

This week for Tuesday Teases we have new Decadent Publishing author, Ellen Keener. Her novel, Blood Moon, was released earlier this month and features shifters--one of my faves!


Fugitive shifter, Aria Legreve, is always on the run. With her own life at risk, she helps a badly beaten shifter to his Pack, knowing the danger her meddling entails. Hoping to use her status as an Outcast and be set free, her world changes when she meets head on with no other than her Mate—who is dead.

Alpha Lukas MacLeod has been searching for his wife for the past year, until Aria walks straight into his lair. Fate intervenes and gives them a second chance. Caught up in an intricate web of lies and prophecies in the making for generations, Aria and Lukas must discover a way to balance the darkness in their world, but will their love be strong enough to save their pack and each other?


Welcome to Ramblings and Romance, can you tell us a little about your path to publication.

Let's see... I don't know that it was a path so much as a stumble and faceplant. Lol. I have been writing as long as I can remember, but only seriously started working on it about three years ago. I started Blood Moon more times than I care to remember, but I finished it about two years ago, and finished it. I became part of a great critique group, but ended up leaving adult novels for a while and went to YA. In the meantime, I had Blood Moon sitting around and decided to give it a shot. Decadent accepted it, and the rest is history!

Funny  how things we put on a shelf can catch an editor's eyes. So what did they see when they read it? Give me one of your favorite lines/passages from Blood Moon

Oh man, a tough one. I like the part where she sees him again the first time, and I also like this passage:

Shaking off his hand, she rose. He pushed away from the table, and she waved him back to his seat. Two could play this game. She leaned over the table to pick up his plate, subtly pressing her upper arms against her sides and exposing her generous cleavage to his gaze. The shirt she wore already had a scoop neck. Bent over, she knew he could see all the way down to her lacy bra. Lifting his plate, she tilted it just enough that his fork slid off.

“Oops. Let me get that.” She moved to his side of the table, curling one hand over his thigh to brace herself, leaning over his lap, and wiggling her denim-clad rear end under his nose. Her breast pressed into his inner thigh and she snagged the fork. As she pushed away, her hand “accidentally” grazed the zipper of his jeans. A choked sound passed over her head.

She turned away, smirking, as she noticed the considerable bulge in his jeans and the involuntary twitch of his fingers. Good. Her nipples were stiff through both her bra and shirt. If she was going to be worked up, he should be too. She sauntered across the kitchen and opened the dishwasher, bending over to put the plates in and making sure he got an eyeful.

“Dude, pay up. I totally win.”

She whirled around so fast, her hair snapped across her face. Thaddeus and Lawrence stood in the doorway behind Lukas. Lawrence’s mouth hung open as he slapped a twenty-dollar bill into Thaddeus’ outstretched palm.

“Holy shit, Lukas.” Lawrence cleared his throat and eyed the two of them. “She got any sisters? Cousins? Remote relatives of the female persuasion?”

Her blush started at her collarbones and burned its way to her hairline.

Thaddeus smacked his Alpha’s shoulder. “Why’d you leave that bedroom again?”

Lukas growled, and Thaddeus grinned, raising his hands in surrender. “Hey, we were just coming in for dinner. Totally unintentional.”


“Yeah, Lukas?”

“Shut up.”

When writing, do you "cast" your characters, if so, who do you envision as your leads?

Actually, at first I write and they are kind of vague. Lukas was actually modeled after a man who is a recurring character in my dreams. Although I can never remember what his face looks like when I wake up. So I frequently substitute Gerard Butler.  lol Aria I cast as Kate Beckingsdale. Thaddeus (I know he's not a lead, but he's my favorite) is Paul Bettany.  :)

Sounds like a stellar cast! Do you have a specific place/time of day you prefer to write, if so why?

I like to write late at night. I'm NOT a morning person, even though I have to be for at least 180 days of the year. But usually I write at night, in my "art room" (junk room) or anytime there's a thunderstorm. Something about them just makes me itch to write.

Night owls unite! Are you more interested in series or stand-alone stories? Why?

I'm selfish. I like series ONLY if all the books are already out. There are a few exceptions, but I get sidetracked easily, and I hate waiting. Part of it is that I get a little bored sometimes if they drag out too long. I've been known to abandon entire TV series for that reason. That being said, my new story is going to be part of a series, because it just works out better. Famous last words and all that.

So since you're working on a series, how far in advance do you plan for your novels?

If you mean, do I have an order I plan to write them, then the answer is no. I ususally (like now) work on two or three at one time. When one starts calling me over the others, I put them to the side and work on that one until its finished or I get stuck.

When you sit down to write, do you have a certain heat level in mind or do you let the characters dictate how hot things get?

Usually the characters do the talking. I haven't actually sat down and written something while thinking about that part, other than maybe when they are going to "have at it," so to speak.

Is there anything you aren't willing to write?

I'm not sure. Probably won't write erotica, because I don't think I'd be good at it. I'm also not good with contemporary. I mean, real life is boring! I want lions and vampires and werewolves, oh my! lol

What are you working on now? Can you give us a little teaser?

Right now I'm working on the first book in a series about a set of brothers Who are called "seals" and are the guardians of the Shards, a powerful but not particularly nice form of power. That's an overly simple explaination. But they all have a Soul Mate they must find in order to be free of their duty and have a real life. And there is lots of magic and demons and mystical creatures for good measure. :)

Sounds great! Now it's time for the Speed Round

Brains or muscles?

Nerd with muscles?

Beer, wine or martini?

There's a specific kind of Eiswine and my brother has promised to buy me a case if I hit the bestseller list. Here's hoping.

Horses or Harleys?


Boxers or Briefs?


Weres, Vamps or Demons?

OOO hard. *snicker* Weres.

Thank you so much for visiting, Ellen! It was great having you here.

Thanks so much!  I appreciate it!

Readers, you can find Ellen on both Facebook and Twitter, and Blood Moon is available now at Decadent Publishing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Censor This

Next week is the ALA's annual Banned Books Week, where we celebrate (or is it mourn) the books that have been deemed a risk to children or society at large. Yep, because books cause ideas, and ideas are dangerous.

Like Animal Farm which might cause people to rise up against the government. Or Lord of the Rings which might, I don't know, make us all crave precious shiny things.

I'm sorry. I tend to get a little irritated by the idea of censorship. It strikes a nerve inside me that screams until my head wants to explode. And Banned Book Week is just the start of it.

Earlier this week, a guest spot with Katy Perry on Sesame Street was pulled because some people thought Katy showed too much cleavage. Yep, too much cleavage on a show watched primarily by children barely out of the breast-feeding stage. I get the concern. What makes it funnier to me is I show that much cleavage on a daily basis (granted, I have much bigger boobs than Katy Perry, but that's not the point). Kids see cleavage all the time, and if Sesame Street really had an issue with her outfit, it should have been dealt with prior to filming. Once it's done, it's done. I've watched the video (you can still see it here), and there's nothing risque about it. They are just boobs, people, get over it.

And then there was the big kerfluffle over Adam Lambert's performance on the AMAs last year.

Okay, was it the best thing to ever go on national TV? Maybe not, but for me, that's mainly because at least in this recording, his voice isn't as good as it normally is. So he kissed a guy. So, there were some simulated sex acts. For the most part, it's been done before. Only this time? It was a gay guy doing it. The horror. The travesty. But, in the aftermath, interviews and performances were cancelled.

Quite frankly, it's sad and pathetic, and pisses me off. Censorship doesn't help anyone. It doesn't protect them.

The only upside to any of it is that challenges tend to drive sales. Hell, I'm debating buying a Katy Perry album over the Sesame Street thing, and my five year old LOVES Adam Lambert's music.

And I am excited beyond belief at the fact that my son is now old enough that I can start handing him challenged books.

My children will be free thinkers and they will not be shackled by the whims of a few people who think they know what's best for us all.

It's banned book week. What are you reading?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Vegas Lemon Drop Martini

Time to head to a new locale for a while. This time? Vegas, Baby!

Vegas Lemon Drop Martini

1 1/2 oz Citrus Vodka

1 tsp Sugar


Slice the 1/4 lemon into two separate wedges. Place in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Pour the vodka into the shaker, and add one teaspoon of sugar. Shake vigorously. Strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, and serve

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Happy Birthday Skyla!

The wonderful, beautiful Skyla Dawn Cameron (editor at Mundania Press) is celebrating her birthday today. (If you want numbers, talk to her, I'm not spilling.) Instead of asking for gifts though, Skyla is doing things a bit different. As a major animal lover, she's asking you to give a gift to your local animal shelter. In return, she's giving away a bunch of stuff. Click here if you want to know how to enter and what's up for grabs (a digital copy of "Of Course I Try" is part of the mix.)

She also asked that we post our pet adoption stories today. While most of my pets have come from a shelter of some sort or the other, our most recent addition, Zeus, came from an ASPCA adoption event at a local pet store. Like Skyla, if I go into the actual shelter, I want to bring everyone home.

When we adopted Zeus, we already had a senior dog, Bailey. She was kind of an oddball. She loved puppies, but wasn't really fond of other dogs. So when we made the decision to add to the family, she got the deciding vote. Everyone was kind of stuck on the idea of a puppy, and we found a couple at the event we liked (she had turned her nose up at everyone she'd met before this particular adoption). Once we picked her up from home and brought her to the store though, she made it pretty clear she was over the puppy thing. She wanted nothing to do with them. At all.


Then there was this kind of dopey, goofy German Shepherd mix that had glommed onto us. He was about a year old and neutered but that was really all the information they could give us (the ASPCA had rescued him from a kill shelter in Ohio). The moment he went nose to nose with Bailey, I knew we'd found our guy. Her tail went a mile a minute and her posture was all sorts of relaxed. We took them outside to walk together, and it was like they'd been hanging out for years. Zeus came home with us that day.


For about a week, there were little power struggles between the dogs. Then they seemed to work it out that Bailey was alpha inside, and Zeus was in charge outside. I remember trainers telling us it didn't work that way, that because Zeus was male, she'd defer to him. Obviously they'd never met our crazy kids.

While Bailey'd reached an age where she was content to lie around and just play in spurts, Zeus was boundless energy. When he wants quiet time, he hides by me, lodging himself under my desk when I'm working or between the couch and coffee table in the evenings. In a lot of ways, he became my shadow.

It wasn't long after Zeus came into our lives that Bailey's health started going. I think she'd been holding out until she knew we'd be taken care of. She had a year with Zeus when things were pretty good, but then she developed heart problem that required a pace maker and a spinal condition that got worse and worse as time progressed. This past February, when her therapy stopped helping, we finally made the decision to let her go.

Zeus was the glue that kept me strong for my kids. He held me up when I wanted to fall down and cry. Even now, as I'm writing this, he's here with kisses and his goofy doggie smile.

A long time ago, I said I never wanted a male dog.

Of course, back then, I hadn't met Zeus.




Happy Birthday, Skyla!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Manuscript, Interrupted

One of the rules I live by as a writer is when one project is done, I start another one. Especially in e-publishing, authors are expected to be prolific, so there's no time to rest on one's laurels. That means after I signed my contracts, I got back to work.

When I was in Myrtle Beach, I started a new paranormal romance. For a while it went really well. Unfortunately, I was pantsing the story, and I reached about 10k and kind of stalled. Pantsing never has really worked for me though, and I proceeded to take a day and plot the rest of the story. Got back to work and cranked out about another 10-15k.

Then, about a week before I left for Toronto (yes, it's been a busy couple months for travel), I received the first round of edits for Badlands. Obviously, I dropped the new story to take care of edits. Then I left for Toronto. So I was away from the new story for about two weeks.

Once I got home, I tried to work on it again, but the momentum I'd had disappeared. I still made progress, but it was much slower going. I finally broke the 30k mark a few days before leaving on my next trip, and then the line edits on Badlands showed up in my inbox.

I knew once I stopped working on it so I could do edits, I'd be starting all over with regard to forward momentum. Considering I have a holiday story I need to get to as well, I finally made the decision to set aside the new manuscript until I'm back from this trip. Instead, I'm taking the week to focus on the line edits, some critiquing and the holiday story.

For those who are wondering, it's a Jocelyn holiday story, and part of the reason I'm willing to sideline other things for it is that people seem to like and want more of her story. This is me doing my best to give it to them. Hopefully the Powers that Be like it.

By the next post, I should be home, and hopefully that will mean Jocelyn's new story is done and I will get back to the sidelined manuscript until it's finished. But as long as the story is working at all, I won't quit on it. I hope it finds a home and that my fans and friends will get to see another side of my writing.

So what's derailed your writing lately?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Italian Sunset

Today I wanted to go with something pretty and I'm a sucker for layered drinks.


Italian Sunset

Fill a glass with crushed ice

Pour 2 oz. amaretto over the ice

Slowly add 3 oz. orange juice (if you pour too quickly, it'll mix and you'll lose your layers)

Slowly add 3 oz. club soda (see above note)

Add a dash of grenadine

Garnish with an orange slice and/or a cherry

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Mark Damaroyd

Today we are joined by yet another Decadent author, Mark Damaroyd. Here's the blurb on Pursuit to Paradise:

In the worldwide recession of 2009, Ben Lofthouse plans to rebuild his life on Koh Pimaan, a paradise island in Thailand. Desperate to escape the increasing hostility of the locals who blame him for his failing businesses, and determined to find the beautiful but mysterious Nataya who has disappeared, Ben is plunged into an adventure which may prove fatal.

Surrounded by beautiful women, but relentlessly pursued by a former girlfriend, and stalked by a notorious London gangster, an unexpected romance develops. A new friendship catapults Ben into both increasingly sensual and dangerous situations. With a bevy of beauties at his side, he finds himself drawn into erotic moviemaking at Casa Blanca, a spectacular hillside villa.

Ben's dreams seem destined to become reality. But an amazing piece of news he has received could change his life forever, or bring it to an untimely end...

Hi, Mark, and welcome to Ramblings and Romance.

I’m delighted to be here, Seleste – thanks for the kind invitation.

What made you decide to pick up and move to Thailand?

After holidaying in Thailand a few times, then going to work there, I discovered the lifestyle and laidback attitude suited me fine. I’ve lived in Thailand for some years, including on islands similar to the imaginary Koh Pimaan, in Pursuit to Paradise, which I had to dream up because of the naughty goings-on there. I never came across such amazing antics elsewhere. I’ve endeavoured to convey something of the unique atmosphere, and sights to be found in The Land of Smiles. I hope readers will be able to easily relate, bouncing along happily with characters as they plunge into action. The people of Thailand always smile, in good and bad times they smile even at me and the many thousands of westerners who’ve settled there. It seemed a good idea to tell my story with lots of humour. Before relocating to Thailand, I spent long periods in quaint English villages, similar to those featured in the story. Dramatic differences in climate, lifestyles and attitude provide contrast, changing from scene to scene as a subplot unfolds.

With elephants walking by outside your house, obviously the country is rife with inspiration, what aspects of the land and culture spoke to you most when writing Pursuit to Paradise?

Encounters and relationships involving western men and Thai women have been published in many different guises around the world. I’ve attempted to throw new light on the subject, at the same time highlighting different lifestyles, such as people struggling for financial survival in the remote rice growing regions, to how different city life can be. Then there’s how tourists perceive Thailand when they visit the luxurious mainland resorts and spectacular paradise islands to the south. The well-known slogans, ‘Amazing Thailand’ and ‘Land of Smiles’ are certainly justified.

Can you tell us a little about your path to publication with this piece?

Originally, ‘Pursuit’ happened to be extremely erotic. Comments came back from several would-be publishers, pointing out the strong storyline didn’t need so much graphic detail. After shelving the project for a while, I revised it, cutting out the graphic sex.

The hardest part involved getting the style of English spoken by the characters correct. In, Pursuit to Paradise, There’s a mixture of Thai, American, English, Scandinavian, Indonesian, Australian and others. The heroine – or is she? – from Thailand, mysteriously speaks perfect English – much better than me. Other Thais in the book struggle with it. Then I spent ages researching acceptable English spelling for the few Thai words dotted here and there. Capturing the American, Australian and East London tone proved a challenge too. I hope it comes across okay. The other hard part was, as I mentioned earlier, deciding how much detailed sex needed to be included. The outrageous, quirky romance and humorous adventure is sensual, but graphic sex wasn’t required. I feel sometimes leaving a bit to the readers’ imagination whets the appetite. It slots into heat level 2 category. I’m deeply indebted to my publishers, Decadent Publishing. They helped tremendously in getting it all together.

What was your editorial process like?

One of the biggest problems is the time difference between Thailand and the USA. When you’re up and about, I’m sleeping – apart from a few crossover hours. During the editing process, manuscripts flew back and forth across the time zones. A little confusion occurred about which copy happened to be the most recently edited version. Also, Thailand doesn’t have the most wonderful internet service. Final edits were made by a fantastic editor in Ireland, and we saved a few hours as a result.

I noticed you write full time. Can you tell us a bit about your next project?

Maybe I should explain I’m retired, writing when the mood takes me – which could be full time. If I sell enough copies of ‘Pusuit’ to fund a year in Barbados, I’ll complete my new novel, tentatively called, ‘One-way Ticket to Paradise’, there. It’d focus on the lifestyle, culture, customs and people on that fabulous island. Otherwise – short of winning the lottery – it’ll be set in Thailand. Asked what misconceptions apply about being an author, I replied, ‘getting rich quick, becoming famous overnight and having a glamorous lifestyle.’ If only.

Is there anyplace in particular you like to go for inspiration or to write?

I don’t need wakeup calls in my northern Thailand village. Cocks, ducks and yapping dogs dependably announce the dawn. My wonderful Thai wife turns on my computer, makes the first of endless coffees, and prepares breakfast while I stir, fall out of bed and check to see what’s going on in the big wide world. Depending on my mood and the weather, I sometimes stroll along the quiet lane to the local temple, walk briskly around the beautiful grounds and along the river bank. Chanting monks and clanging gongs never fail to remind me how lucky I am to be in that part of Southeast Asia. Then I attempt to buckle down and knock out a few more pages of the next book. Most days bring distractions – elephants strolling past my house, herds of buffalo munching foliage in the front garden – little things that cause you to look up from the keypad. Bedtime usually comes early, after a stiff drink or two.



Coffee or tea? Coffee all the time, all day long.

Sweet or spicy? What? The coffee? Coffee not too sweet – sweet and spicy reading is fine.

Boxers or briefs? Briefs. In Thailand they come in amazing patterns and sizes.

Satin or lace? Come on, Seleste, for a guy? I love to see ladies wearing slinky satin and lace.

Fact or fiction? If you want a fact to stand out, spice it with a little fiction.


Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

It’s not me on the cover of ‘Pursuit’. I’m still getting loads of messages from females seeking relationships on a few of the well-known social network sites. Dara England made a wonderful job of the book cover. Thanks, Dara.

And I want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Seleste. It’s been fun. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Defense of Sex

One of my fellow authors has run into a bit of frustration recently. She chose to use a pen name because she knew her family wouldn't approve of the type of books she writes. Then a family member found her stuff anyway.

O.M.G. If I thought my writing wouldn't go over well with my family, nothing could have prepared me for the type of vitriol she's faced. Rather than congratulating her on her success, her family has been vocally unsupportive. It disgusts me.

The latest round went something like this:

"It takes no talent to write a bunch of sex in a book. Anybody can do that. It takes real talent to write a book without sex."


Idiot say what?

Now, if I'd heard this randomly, I would have just had a good laugh about people who don't know any better and moved on. But the author who had to deal with this is a friend, and I am pissed. Without a direction to point my ire though, we're just going to spend today discussing the comments. (And I'm going to do my best to stay civil about it considering the people who read and respond to this blog are unlikely to deserve my anger.)

Let's start with the last statement: "It takes real talent to write a book without sex." I've read a lot of books in my time. Many have sex, many more have sexual tension, and many have no hint of sex at all. IT FUCKING TOOK TALENT TO WRITE ANY OF THEM.

Sorry for (virtually) shouting, I hope you understand why that needs to be screamed from rooftops. The physical act of writing is easy. People learn how to put pen or pencil to paper in elementary school. Writing stories is not easy. It takes talent and hard work, especially if you're talking about something good enough for an agent or editor to say "Yes, I want this."

Now, within the realm of everything that gets published, there are stories that people don't like. Some have sex, some don't. But the same book I can't stand someone else will love. There are best sellers that I could barely make it through because I thought the writing was atrocious or the characters ridiculous. Obviously a lot of other people disagree. Those books? Some have sex, some don't.

So let's look at the first part of what she said: "It takes no talent to write a bunch of sex in a book."

I like writing sex. It's fun for me. Then again, I like writing fight scenes too. I like action more than I like musing. But neither sex nor action scenes are easy for me to write. And a poorly written one can destroy an entire book for me.

You see, sex scenes aren't just about mechanics. Putting tab A into slot B isn't enough no matter how vividly you describe it. You're still just putting a tab into a slot. A good sex scene involves choreography, much like a fight scene. It needs to have more action than just the insertion. But even that isn't enough. Great action is only going to get you so far. For a sex scene to really shine, it also needs emotion. People have thoughts and feelings when they're having sex, often more heightened than at other times. If you don't include that aspect, your sex scene will fall short of what it could be.

Plus, sex scenes aren't just about the act, they're about the characters and the story. I'll use the opening of "Of Course I Try" as an example. Yes, Max and Jocelyn are getting busy. And I could have just written about where his hands and mouth were. *yawn* That would have been sex with no point. The purpose of that particular scene is for the reader to understand that:

-       Max is an incredible lover who drives Jocelyn crazy.

-       Jocelyn wants to leave Max

-       When she's with him, Jocelyn can't think straight. It isn't just the sex that does this--it's him. Which in turn, gives hints as to how the first two points play into the story.


That is a lot of character information and plot shoved into one emotional roller coaster of a scene. Forgive me for patting myself on the back, but I think it took talent to squeeze all of that into just a few hundred words. And I've read work by other authors that did much more with a single sex scene. They've got mad skills that I can only hope I have someday.

Then there's her last bit: "Anybody can do that." Honestly, my response to stuff like this is always the same: "Then get out there and do it." Dismissing someone else's skill or talent doesn't take much effort. Proving you are just as good? That means putting yourself out there and risking that the world will prove you to be an idiot and a jerk.

Most people can put pen to paper and spew out sentences. That doesn't mean they can all write.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Italian Margarita

This drink can be served on the rocks or blended.

Italian Margarita

1 oz. Amaretto

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

1/2 oz. Tequila

2 oz. Sweet & sour mix

Mix and pour over ice or blend with ice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Deanna Wadsworth

I had so much fun doing the last live interview, when it came time to interview my friend Deanna Wadsworth I just had to do it again. Here is the blurb on her debut novella Red Riding Hood:

You never know what might happen on the way to Grandmother's house!

Red was a simple girl until Grandmother gave her a red riding cloak. She felt especially pretty in her new cloak, but the temptation to feel all that luxurious velvet pressed to her naked flesh was just too great. Now, something has awakened inside Red. A persistent ache that she doesn't know quite how to relieve. Red decides to use her Tuesday walks to dear old Grandmother's as an opportunity to sample all of the delights the local men have to offer, in a journey to find the one man that can satisfy her.

But Red is not aware that two magical creatures have taken a special interest in her naughty escapades or that true pleasure just might be found at the hand of a master in wolf's clothing!

Me Sounds positively sinful. Are you ready for this, Deanna?

Deanna I'm ready! Got a drink in my hand and raring to go!

Me Great! I need a drink, but I'll have to live vicariously this time. Fabulous to have you here live. Why don't you start off by telling my readers a little bit about your path to publication with Red Riding Hood?

Deanna OMG...well it all started with Manhattans! No lie! I was at the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Columbus, OH this May and either at the Fairy ball of Vampire Ball...can't remember which, damn whiskey...and I met this awesome chick Heather Bennett. We had a great time dancing with all the Mr. Romance hunks. You remember that party! I gave you fang marks on your hoo-has!!! LOL...fake tattoos actually. Applied with beer? I think that was how it can feel free to edit me! Ha! Must have been the Vampire Ball then... anywho, and a week later Heather emailed me and asked me if I had any short stories I was shopping around because she and Samantha Gail were launching Decadent Publishing in the fall. So I sent off a silly fairy tale erotica I wrote for fun and they loved it. The rest, shall we say, is easily forgotten history for everyone but a very excited me!

Me It was indeed the vampire ball then. I have pictures of those fang marks. A reviewer on Amazon said you'd "invented a new subgenre - comedic erotica". Did you set out to write something that unique or did it just happen to be both erotic and funny?

Deanna I have a perverted mind...can't help it. I read my first Fabio-on-the-cover-bodice-ripper in 6th grade. Checked it out at the middle school library, no lie. That evil old librarian must've been a closet nympho and used the school to order her fix. My version of the old fairly tale started when I read the original Red Riding Hood. My mind just went bonkers...too many Mel Brooks movies, no doubt. I don't know if the story is an outright comedy but any book where some boy calls his weenus a 'pleasure stick' in order to seduce the heroine has got to be funny.

Me LOL and that right there is why I like you so much. Now, I happen to know that you also write other types of romances. Any chance we might see one of those coming from you any time soon? *bats eyelashes innocently*

Deanna Well.... I have been shopping around an m/m. It's gotten really positive reviews from my beta readers and critique partners so I'm hopeful. Also I'm finishing my next erotic fairy tale 'The Frog Prince.' It's a m/f/m, another naughty comedy twist on the Grimm Brother's innocent stories.

Me You've got to be the first person I've ever heard refer to the Grimm Brothers' stories as innocent. But darn you, you already answered my next question, so I'm scrambling here. Um... Okay, we'll just go fun. If you could be the heroine in any fairy tale, which would you choose and why? Feel free to use the traditional fairy tale or where your brain would take you with it

Deanna Hmmm, now you're making things hard...oops accidental double entendre! Ha!

Me That's okay, I like things hard ;-)

Deanna Disney: Ariel, I always wanted to be a mermaid. Pretend: The princess in The Frog Prince, she gets a hot dark rich prince and his brawny blond footman as her playthings for the rest of her life. Reality: I am living a fairy tale!<<gag>> I know, right? But my hubby of 14 years is my motorcycle riding prince I guess i'll keep my life!

Me Haha I am gagging a little, but that also made me think of a song I should send you a link to  Okay, you can't pick your husband for this: cast the role of Prince Charming (and his footman if you want)

Deanna He might not like that!

Me Haha. We won't tell him

Deanna I sure hope you hit spell check on this interview or are we going naked and real?

Me I can do spell check because as much as I love you, I'm not getting naked for you

Deanna Damn! I was hopin'!

Me haha flattery will get you everywhere EXCEPT out of answering the question

Deanna Darn!

BTW I can't spell worth a darn but I DID mean weenus...that's what we call our weiner dog as a nickname. Her real name is Weiner Dog

Me hehe I figured you meant to spell it that way *taps foot impatiently*

Deanna I think I messed up and missed the know I suck at this IM stuff! Did you ask me something? LOL

Me LOL Yes, casting the roles of Prince Charming (and the footman if you wish). You just can't pick your husband.

Deanna OH! Hugh Jackman is the prince! No hesitation! And crap I cant think of an exact man for the footman...maybe an early Indiana Jones mixed with the hot dude in the LLBean catalog with a pro wrestler's body and Eric from True Blood...can we make him like the nerds did in Weird Science?

Me I'm good with that, but honestly, I'm still thinking about Hugh Jackman. Yummy.

Deanna I LOOOOOVE Hugh Jackman! Sham-Wow, baby! The first time I saw X-Men I whispered to my sissy-in-law that he was the hottest man I had ever seen in all my life. She looked at me like a cow looking at a new gate but I was hooked. That being said...a lot of my heroes look like Hugh. I usually have someone in mind when I start writing. However as I continue to write the story, each character manages to separate themselves from my earlier first impressions. It's like they're saying to me, "Oh hell no! I don't look like that chump!"

Me Sham-wow indeed! Your heroes need to get with the program!

I'm thinking it's time for speed round, you ready?

Deanna yes!

Me m/m or m/f/m?

Deanna m/m

Me All-american or exotic?

Deanna I'm assuming you mean my kinda man...since I'm married to a red headed hillbilly I;m going All American

Me Sweet and innocent or arrogant and experienced?

Deanna arrogant and experienced, I have a penchant for assholes. But corruption does have an appeal.

Me Leather or lace (for yourself)?

Deanna lace

Me Finish this sentence: a weenus in the hand is better than...

Deanna than one in the ass

Me Okay, I have one last question. If you could pair up any two heroes from known fiction into a slash fic piece, who would they be?

Deanna Sam and there even a choice?

Me Now that you mention

Deanna You know that show's produce Eric Kripke is from my home town

Me Haha were you the one who inspired the episode with the chick who wrote Sam & Dean Slash fic? (because this wouldn't surprise me)

Deanna Hmmm, yes. Oh snap! That is sooo my favorite episode!!!!

Me Is there anything else you'd like to say to my readers?

Deanna I had a ton of fun here and every reader should tell a hundred friends to read your blog...oh yeah! And my book, Red Riding Hood! If they do that they will all have a Republican's money and a Democrat's sex life!

Me Thanks, Deanna! For those of you who want to know more about Deanna, you can visit her at her blog, and her book is available at Decadent Publishing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You're Self-published, Right?

Let me start by saying this is not a rant against self-publishing. Some very successful and well-received books have been self-published and I respect that. Like every road to publication, self-pubbing has some major hurdles to overcome. I do not think it's an easy road. Self-publishing does, however, allow for some utter crap to get released along with the good and as such has a lot of people think of it in a negative light.

Recently, it's come to my attention that even amongst other writers, there is some confusion on what different types of publication entail. Today's post is my attempt to help clear up some of the confusion.

- Traditional publication: Traditionally published books are the ones you're most likely to find in your average bookstore. Odds are these authors have acquired an agent who sold their book to a publishing house, at which point it was edited by a professional editor, received professional cover art, has a marketing team behind it in some degree, etc. For most of us, this is "the dream".

  • Large houses: These are the big guns--Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, etc. These houses have a lot of money and it's likely you would probably get the widest exposure through them. However, until you hit it big and prove yourself worth the investment, you aren't going to have a huge marketing budget.

  • Small houses: There are a ton of smaller houses. Some are associated with the big guys, but others are independent. Odds are you will get more one on one attention, but since they don't have the big bucks backing them, you won't either.

- E-publishing: E-publishing is being hailed as the wave of the future. Just as most people now buy their music online, more and more consumers are purchasing digital copies of books. There are a wide variety of e-publishers out there. Some, like Carina Press, have the backing of a well-known print publisher, some (Samhain for instance) have been around for a while and are respected in the industry, some (like Decadent) are new and hoping to enter the ranks of the former with time and quality products, and some are fly-by-night groups that will be gone as quick as they came.

  • The more established and better run houses will have professional editors just like the traditional publishers. They'll also have some sort of art department and someone who handles promotion (such as getting your book out for reviews). These houses don't take everything that comes their way, and many of them have acceptance numbers not that far different from what print publishers sign from agents. In that way, they only differ from traditional publication in that they are digital only (or digital first).

  • Some e-publishers, as mentioned aren't as well-run. An author may only have cursory editing work done, the art department may not have any artistic ability, etc. And there are those that are nothing more than Vanity Presses in disguise.

- PoD: This actually has a couple of meanings in the industry.

  • Print on Demand, is a model that a lot of e-publishers (and some traditional publishers as well) utilize for print books. Rather than printing massive amounts of stock and storing them, they print as books are ordered.

  • Publish on Demand is also known as vanity publishing. This is the sort of self-publishing that tends to turn out those books that give all the others a bad name...but it also results in some legitimately worthy offerings as well. At this stage, it all depends on the author.

- Self-publishing: This is when everything except the actual printing of the book is in the author's hands. It is up to them whether or not to hire an editor (and what kind of quality they get). The same can be said for cover art and promotion.  There are several ways to self-publish, and I don't know the ins and outs of them at all, so I'll leave that for someone who knows better than I to explain.

That's my breakdown as simply as I can put it. As I said, I don't write this to judge anyone's path, rather to illuminate those who may not know the difference between their options. Do you have opinions on what's out there? And did I miss anything important?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Man Boobs (and a review!)

This one is thanks to my dear friend, Terri, who shouted out "boobs" when I asked for a word. This one sounded too yummy to pass up.

Man Boobs

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/4 oz. Sour Apple Pucker

1/4 oz. Blue Island Pucker

1/2 oz. Pineapple juice

Mix all ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake very well and strain into a cocktail glass.

In other news, there is a review of "Of Course I Try" up at Writings of a Wicked Little Pixie. Please stop by and check it out!