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31.7.09

One Girl, Three Guys

Play for Keeps was a blast to write; my house was buried in snow butI had Keera and her two guys to keep her warm. Well, actually--her three guys--if you count the one she had some fun with in a park before running into Dom and Jace.

PLAY FOR KEEPS is out now.

Here's a taste:

Wasn’t ten minutes enough? Where was her mind-blowing orgasm?

Keera rolled to her side and pulled out the directional pamphlet that came discreetly folded up and tucked away in the package with the vibrator. She reread the section for first timers. For the third time.

It wasn’t fair. She’d done everything right.

Sure—it felt damn good, but something was seriously missing. Either that or something was seriously wrong.

She wasn’t about to accept the idea that something was wrong—she’d had lots of decent orgasms before.

Over thinking everything, that had to be the problem.

She’d come damn fast with a total stranger—right in the grass—in a public place.

Now that she considered, most of those orgasms had been a while ago, before she’d been surrounded by toys and sex talk day and night. And bombarded by the notion that she should be a walking talking ad for hot, wild sex twenty-four hours a day.

Somehow, she had to sort this problem out. She grabbed the package again.

The vibrator promised ‘awe-inspiring sensations.’ Where were they? All she felt was a vague sensation, a slow gentle heat filling her pussy. Her whole body tingled, all her nerve endings were sensitive and alert, but that was as far as things went. Where was the rest of it?

Damn.

She wasn’t turned on, she was irritated and…and…something she couldn’t identify. Whatever it was she wouldn’t label it as a good thing. It was sort of an all-consuming sensation that wouldn’t get better or get worse. It just was.

And whatever it was it wasn’t going away.

And she wasn’t going to take the easy way out and masturbate. Somehow that seemed just too pathetic.

Thoroughly annoyed, Keera slipped the vibrator out and kicked it to the bottom of her sleeping bag. Maybe she’d try it again tomorrow morning but for now she needed to get some fresh air, maybe walk off the lingering tension tugging on her nerves, thanks to the stupid, fucking toy.

The pun wasn’t lost on Keera, but she was too frustrated to laugh as she pulled on her sweatpants, getting ready to slip out of her tent and get some much needed fresh air.

“Hey man, you got any smokes?”

Keera bolted up, holding the tie to her pants with both hands.

What the hell?

29.7.09

Does Size Really Matter?


Okay, I'm talking about book length, but I love where your mind was headed. You see, I just finished writing my second short story and it got me wondering if your preference to write epic tales over short pieces was inherent, almost genetic, and thus, hard to change. Not that your actual writing is different. Regardless of length, every story has the same elements in it. But there is a certain amount of flair required for writing short pieces... this coming from a person who loves to draw things out.

So does this mean somewhere in my brain there's a code for having grand ideas? That's how it feels. Whenever the characters of a future book start nattering away in my head, they don't just have quick, fleeting adventures in mind. They want to roam across the land, taking several paths before arriving at their destination. And I love following them. But as I look at the path of erotic books, it seems more and more authors are writing shorter offerings. Novellas jump off the electric shelves like hot cakes and I'm left wondering if long novels are becoming a thing of the past. It seems logical in some ways. In this era of instant gratification, are we becoming less patient to sit down and only read a few chapters of a book rather than the entire story? Do we stretch our time so thin we don't have enough to spend reading a novel that will take us a week to finish? Do we just want to know how it ends, period?

I'm not sure if I have any answers. I enjoy reading all book lengths , but I love writing long ones. 90,000 words is a good length for me. I have enough time to indulge in lots of adventure, and of course, steamy romantic sex, but not so long I've lost the will to keep writing. And I can't help but wonder if this stems from growing up glued to the likes of Stephen King, whose idea of a novel usually involves at least 120,000 words. I've read series that took ten books to finish and novels I've spent weeks getting through. I'm comfortable at this length. But will they sell?

I suppose that's the ultimate question. Not whether I love writing long stories, but do readers love reading them. I would like to think there are still folks who enjoy sinking into a book a few chapters at a time, or maybe I just want this because I find writing short stories more challenging. Perhaps it's because you have to pinpoint your ideas. Instead of looking at part of a character's life, you almost need to concentrate more on one event in their life. After all 15,000 words doesn't leave much room to explore more than a specific moment, say an evening, or a wedding, or maybe an afternoon trapped in an abandoned barn. What I'm getting at is, you need to organize your thoughts and stay on track. And I wonder if I'm the only one who finds this hard. (Of course if you examined my life you'd soon discover organization is not my strong suit.) As soon as I start writing I think of all these other ways my characters can interact and I just want to expand on every idea. It takes a lot of self control to stay on track and concentrate on that one main objective.

I have to say I'm a bit envious of authors who can school their thoughts into these tasty little bites. Who seem to be able to pick out the perfect scenario they can curtail into forty pages, but still leave you feeling satisfied with the tale they've woven. It seems like a remarkable talent and I'd be lying if I didn't confess I curse them as I force myself to, once again, rein it all in. But then I guess that's the beauty of writing. We all have our strengths and strive to better ourselves. I do enjoy looking at a short and thinking, yes, that did condense down nicely... all the while plotting all the wonderful trouble my characters could get into if I could just add 5,000 more words.

So what's your preference? Does size really matter? Or is it the story that draws you in? I'd love to know your thoughts, though I think I'll always struggle to contain mine.

Thanks for dropping by and see you next month.

Kris Norris
Romancing life...one adventure at a time.

28.7.09

Covers that refect the book.

I have missed two months of posts because June and May have been wild. But Im back, with a vengence and am SO excited! We have some new covers I havent shown off yet, and while I do that, Im going to talk about the levels of sexy.

While Im a cover artist in my other life, with TEB I find it very easy to just let it go and trust the cover artists they have. I love the artwork that TEB has, always have, and its one of the main reasons why we submitted here. My biggest reason: Levels of sexy. TEB covers are very sexy, but they are always tasteful and reflect a level I think the author wants to portray.

We recently got two covers from TEB and they refect the level of sexy that we were trying to portray with the stories perfectly.

For A Gift of Daybreak, the female lead is very demure, but sexy. Shes the only non venomous snake in a nest of vipers (literally) and is a real child of the desert. Because of this, shes not overtly sexy. No makeup, no wild clothes, just jeans and baithing suits and running clothes. So we wanted something that was sexy, and unassuming, something that could be anybody, that didnt have an idenitiy, because Fajer doesnt really have one until later in the story. As you can see, the cover we received was beautiful, and so close to what we envisioned. We just love it, and the color.

For our forth coming first book in our American Satyrs series, the society they live in is decadence, very proper, but sexy isn't all makeup and dress up. The main female character, Minerva, is a young Satyr princess, and a woman being given over to a man shes never met before. She coddled, and sheltered, and her life revolves around serving her Satyr, but she is a princess, one of the only females that have survived to maturity in the Satyr society. for her glamorous is dresses made of jewels, and a collar fit forever on her neck. We had a specific idea in mind for this book's cover. One where we had the castle (Belvedere Castle in NYC) and a sexy woman that was both glamorous and natural. Isnt it beautiful? We are very happy with this cover. It fits Minerva to a T.

So by now you probably have guessed that Audra and I like women on our covers. Why, when everyone wants to see a hard bodied man on there? Well, its because Audra and I like to focus on our females for the covers. The guys we write arent always muscled, and hard bodied, but the women we write are always beautiful, sexy and natural.

You will also notice we rarely have a face on a cover. Its because we dont want to give the reader a preconcieved notion of the character. The faces we find are rarely, if ever, the characters we envision, so its safer to just do bodies. Though for the Satyrs story, the woman looks very much like Minerva.

So I hope you will check both the books out when they release, and let us know what you think of the Cover to character ratio. Does it really show the character like we want? How do you feel about women on covers? Do you prefer those that are made up to look overly sexy? Or do you like men on the cover all the time, regardless?

27.7.09

Time To Do - Available Now!

I'll start with a confession - I have a bit of an obsession with To Do Lists.

I kept a ridiculous number of them, mostly on spreadsheets since I started spending all my time on the computer - makes my world so much easier to colour code.

Writing To Do Lists. Editing To Do Lists. Promo lists. Even some lists that revolve around the world that exists outside my own head, lol. I fill my life with the little lists.

And I have the big lists of course - the things I want to do with my life right now, tomorrow, twenty years from now. What can I say, I'm a planner by nature!

But the character I want to introduce you to today isn't a planner. Rigby isn't the sort of guy who writes To Do lists on a whim. So, when his friend Brennan finds one, he can't help but be curious. Their story has just been released by TEB - here's a bit more about it:


Blurb:

The words have sex with a man can change everything, especially when they’re written on a straight man’s to do list.

Rigby and Brennan have been best friends forever. Growing up and going away to university didn’t alter that. Brennan coming out of the closet to his straight best friend didn’t change anything either.

But when Brennan finds an old to do list mixed in with his friend’s possessions, and sees have sex with a man written right there at the top, it alters everything. When Brennan realises the man he’s in love with isn’t as straight as he’d always thought he was, their friendship changes beyond all recognition.

When the friends decide it’s time to start ticking off all the items on Rigby’s gay to do list, they soon realise nothing will ever be the same - for either of them.

And here’s a quick excerpt:

Brennan Talbot was not going to stare at his best friend’s arse. There was a line a gay man didn’t cross while sharing a room with his straight best friend. He was going to stay on the right side of that line even if it killed him.

Turning around, Brennan held back a sigh. If he could just keep Rigby from bending over all the time, his life would be a hell of a lot easier. His friend possessed a truly wonderful backside, not to mention a preference for very tight jeans.

Brennan picked up yet another of Rigby’s text books off the floor and placed it on his desk. “Where do you get all this stuff from anyway?” he asked.

Brennan risked a glance over his shoulder. At least his friend was standing up straight now.

Rigby shrugged. His shoulder muscles rippled under his t-shirt. He added another book to the growing pile on his desk. “It all just turns up somehow. Anyway, quit complaining. You’re the one who insisted we rediscover the floor today.”

Brennan looked around their room. Small patches of carpet were slowly starting to emerge between the layers of Rigby’s junk. “I go home for one weekend and a bomb explodes,” he muttered to himself. He doubted that Rigby was actually listening anyway. “You could at least have kept the debris on your side of the room.”

Rigby chuckled at the familiar complaint. The low deep sound filled the small room and made Brennan smile in spite of his annoyance.

“I was looking for my locker keys,” Rigby offered by way of explanation. “All the other stuff was in the way.”

“So you threw it on the floor?” Brennan asked, putting a folder of history notes on the desk.

“Well, I usually ask you where stuff is and you tell me. You weren’t here so I had to improvise. Are you studying The Fall of the Roman Empire?”

Brennan glanced at the book in Rigby’s hand. “Doesn’t really fit in with a Physics degree, does it?”

“Then I guess this one’s mine, too.” Rigby frowned at it and put it on the shelf above his desk. “I don’t suppose you want to take a break and get something to eat?”

Brennan looked at the containers of food his mother sent back to the university with him. It was tempting, but he knew if they stopped before the floor was clear, the room would remain in the same state until the end of term.

“No,” he said firmly. “Floor first, then food. I’ll even share the cake my Mum made if we finish it in the next hour.”

“That’s blackmail,” Rigby complained.

“I think you’ll find it’s bribery,” Brennan corrected absentmindedly. He picked another folder up off the floor and read the title scrawled across it in Rigby’s handwriting—stuff. Well, that was informative.

Brennan tossed it towards Rigby’s desk. As it landed, the edge of the cardboard folder collapsed. Papers snowed down to the floor. Kneeling on a rare patch of carpet to pick them up, Brennan skimmed over a few lines on the top page.

It wasn’t really snooping when the papers were spread out all over the carpet for anyone to read. Anyway, he’d known Rigby since they started nursery school. They didn’t have any secrets from each other. Or to be entirely accurate, Brennan corrected himself, Rigby didn’t have any secrets from him.

A glance identified it as some sort of to do list. Such a rare sign of organisation in Rigby’s life had to be worth investigating further. Brennan read point number one—get drunk, and grinned. That was more like the Rigby he knew. There was a decisive tick by that point.

When Brennan read point number two—go skinny dipping— there was no chance he’d stop reading. An image of Rigby bare arse naked flashed across his mind and dropped straight to his crotch. That particular image had been carefully constructed over several months of sideways glances, but it was far from up to date.

Brennan might know he’d never get more than friendship from Rigby, but he wasn’t prepared to lose that friendship by sneaking a peek at Rigby’s cock in the showers after rugby practise. Not when the possibility of passing off his actions as teenage curiosity, or an innocently heterosexual interest in making comparisons, died the day he told Rigby he was gay.

There wasn’t a tick next to skinny dipping. He wondered if it would it be considered morally wrong to convince a straight guy to go skinny dipping with him just so he could check him out. While he tried to work that out, Brennan’s eyes trailed down to the next item on Rigby’s to do list.

Have sex with a girl. Like he needed any extra proof Rigby was as straight as they come. It was very definitely ticked off. Rigby had happily worked his way through the female half of the university population since they’d arrived on campus. Brennan gave another mental sigh. Sometimes it took a hell of a lot of effort for him to pretend he was pleased for his friend about that.

He skipped through all the other ticked off points under the heading—each one representing one of the many and varied things Rigby wanted to do, and without exception had done, with girls.

Brennan went straight to point number four.

Have sex with a guy.

He blinked at the piece of paper. He read it again. He read it a third time, running his fingertip under the line of words, making sure there wasn’t any other explanation. Rigby’s spelling and his handwriting were terrible, but there weren’t any long words in the sentence for him to get wrong.

Guy.

Sex.

All the important points were certainly there.

Thanks for reading. If you want to find out more about Time To Do, it’s available here.

Kim Dare.
Kink, love and a happy ending. Do you Dare?

26.7.09

Rough Ride!


Colorado is generally blessed with gorgeous weather (snow not withstanding!), but last week, an unexpected storm caught us by surprise.
My mom, my sis, and my aunt were all hit by a tornado.
Thankfully, there were no injuries to my family members, but the devastation was horrific. My sister lost six windows. Both of her cars were damaged. Her camper was destroyed, along with all her flowers and lawn pretties.
Sixty-foot trees were uprooted.
Snowplows, dormant for months, were called out to clear the roads of hail! My brother-in-law shoveled hail from the drivway. The picture of the hail (above) was taken 24-hours after the storm.
Looking at my sister, I saw shattered dreams.
What happened next, though, was the true testament to hope and inspiration.
Family and friends came over, without being asked. We grabbed rakes and garbage bags to clean up shards of broken glass. We brought food and water. But most importantly, we brought a can-do attitude and a sense of community.
Really, isn't that what we write about? Isn't that why we read? We want to be swept away by a story of hope, a sense that we're not Lone Rangers in life.
I'm sorry for the loss of property my family endured. I'm profoundly grateful for their safety. And I'm enriched by the opportunity to have been helpful, to see the impact that all of us, working together, can have.
Even in devastation and destruction, the human spirit triumphs.

25.7.09

The V Spot


Just like making love begins in your head, being in love starts there, too.

I was amazed to find how just how much!

There are four tiny areas of the brain that form a ‘circuit of love.’ Just like we women have that famous ‘G spot’ – the brain has its own kind of G spot, too. The hot spot in our heads is called the VTA. I’m calling it...

The ‘V Spot.’

That little piece of your brain - the V Spot - is teardrop-shaped. When scientists did some magnetic resonance imaging on people who were newly in love, the VTA or V Spot in their brains lit up. It’s the same for people still madly in love twenty years later.

That V Spot in your head is the key reward system in your brain. According to researchers, your V spot becomes activated because you’re trying to win life’s greatest prize – a mate.

But, here’s the catch: Sometimes, love works chemically in the brain like an addiction. We all know the feeling: when romantic love is going well, it’s terrific, but it can be a terrible addiction if it going poorly.

I’m guessing that’s why people kill for love and die for love.

While connecting romantic love to the idea of addiction may sound awful, there are reasons we need or want to be in love, and that’s so we stay together with our mate. Our V Spot – the ventral palladium – is linked with attachment and hormones that decrease stress, so our ‘raphe nucleus’ – another part of the brain – pumps out lots and lots of serotonin, which gives us a sense of calm.

Here’s something I found fascinating:

Researchers studied the brain of the recently heartbroken and found there was all this other activity going on in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is a part of the brain strongly associated with addiction. These scientists claim that the brokenhearted showed more evidence of craving – similar to cocaine.

No wonder we want to fall in love – and stay that way – so badly.

They key to staying in love is to get all those chemicals in your body going - keep up that stimulation. Go for lots of hugging and kissing. Touching. Rubbing.

Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I think I need to take a cold shower! LOL

I think we’ve all been so in love that it almost hurts. Now, I know why. And I also know why it hurts so much when we fall out of love. If someone tells you it is all in your head, well....they’re right.

Now excuse me while I go and stimulate a few chemicals in my body. (I’m sure my hubby will appreciate it.)



Catherine Chernow
http://www.catherinechernow.com/

Read DIARY OF A MAD ESCORT by Catherine Chernow
Available for sale from http://www.total-e-bound.com/authordetail.asp?A_ID=56#booklist





23.7.09

TWENTY LINES TO MAKE YOU SMILE

I didn't write these, but I did chuckle at them. Thought we could use a smile for the day. Have a good one! ~ Jenna


1.
Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

2. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.


3. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

4. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.


5. I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are just missing.

6. Some gene pools could use a little chlorine.


7. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

8. Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it!

9. Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

10. Procrastinate Now!

11. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

12. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

13. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

14. They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

15. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.

16. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.

17. Ham and eggs, a day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

18. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

19. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

20. I smile because I don't know what the heck is going on.

22.7.09

Man versus Wild...er, Woman

Confusion, or should I say, husband, be thy name?

The differences between men and women are often lamented, as well as celebrated, by therapists, comedians, and humorists alike. Nothing has been more apparent to me than the gender differences between myself and my husband this past week. He's on vacation, and I'm striving to be ultra nice while he's off. A real stretch considering our recent road trip.

On Monday we went to a water park in Atlanta. My husband is not a big believer in gently tapping the brakes, and I'm a paranoid passenger in the car. Needless to say, the trip was a terrifying experience for me, and annoying for him. We finally arrived at the park, thanks to my constant tapping of the "air brakes" and my insistent need to cling (for 2 hours) to the car door. He spent five minutes searching for a parking spot instead of listening to my wifely advice of, "Park anywhere and we'll walk to the entrance." Considering there were fifty or more parking spaces at the rear of the lot, I'm still not sure what took him so long to park. Another case of "she said, he ignores."

And take today. He purchased a computer. The keyboard doesn't work and the thing has glitches. After nine, I kid you not, nine hours of fiddling with the @#@$!!! thing, he's just now coming to the conclusion that he might need to take it back. I told him that an hour after the thing didn't work. It was the display model at Sam's. Hey, you get what you pay for. But I must admit to laughing a lot while watching him try to get online help using a virtual keyboard. In other words, he had to painstakingly tap each letter using his mouse instead of typing away. Have you ever tried a live chat using your mouse to click letters to make words? Ack.

All in all, it's been an amusing and enlightening experience. Woman nags, man ignores. Woman is right, man is wrong, but refuses to see reason because woman is so irritating. (Hey, I admit it. I'm annoying, but moreso because I'm usually right. *grin*)

That Men are from Mars Women are from Venus debate comes to mind. Those many instances where I multi-task and he concentrates feverishly on one project at a time. When he can't find the syrup bottle that's just behind the box of noodles, or the milk right in front of his face in the fridge. Leaving dirty socks on the floor, two feet from the hamper. Giving advice instead of just listening to my hard day with the kids. Or his need to "watch" baseball to relax. He's clearly sleeping while the game is on, but should I dare turn it off, he suddenly wakes as if he's been watching it all along and demands the channel be left alone.

But to be fair, I'm certainly no saint. I'm bossy, stubborn, and think nothing of wanting to change the furniture around or buy a new desk to replace the one we got four years ago, mostly because my taste has changed. If it were up to him, he'd still use cardboard boxes as end tables. I like to talk, and I love to read. (The house is often a mess, but I make deadlines.) And I have a need to be told I'm appreciated. Often. Yes, I'm a woman.

I find it amusing that so many of my husband's traits translate to men all over the world. The friends I talk to, the movies I watch and the books I read show that he's everywhere. He's in every hero and villain, every alpha and beta out there. So what is it exactly that makes the genders so different? Levels of testosterone? Brain chemistry? Body parts?

Sigh. I wish I knew. Now if I could just get him to return that stupid computer, I'd get a little peace.

Marie



21.7.09

Toronto Pride: Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Can't Stop, Won't Stop.




That was the slogan for this year's Toronto Pride. The last week in June always marks Gay Pride Week in Toronto and in many other cities around the world. Looking to do some research, I headed dow
n to the big city for three days, to be part of the goings-on. Toronto Pride never disappoints. The city was warm and welcoming, people were laughing and happy, and Gay Pride shone. I had a front row spot for the Sunday parade which lasted nearly two hours. It was amazing. After the parade, everyone headed to Church Street to check out the vendors and the sights. The street was hopping almost twenty four hours a day over the weekend.

I thought people might enjoy seeing some of the many, many photos I took over the few days I was there.

The rain didn'
t seem to dampen anyone's enthusiasm. Umbrellas were brandished and people made their way to their place in the parade.





































































Here are my two favourites from the parade. I love the Bear Forest and the Virgin Mobile slogan was hilarious.































I'm going to post a variety of photos of the weird and absolutely wonderful people who make Pride Toronto such an amazing event. Can you spot Kaenar, that's me, in one of them?
















































































































































Hope you enjoyed your visit to Toronto.
Kaenar Langford
www.kaenar.com
Tales to seduce and entice...

Please check out All Tied Up, my latest book from Total-e-Bound.

As a government agent, Naymeen Renaud's mission is to belay Aiden Blackshott's role in treasonous activities. So how does she end up in the wealthy businessman's playroom, tethered for his pleasure?

Captain Naymeen Renaud's current assignment for the United League of Veluvian Planets is to thwart any contact between forces hostile to the League, and wealthy industrialist Aiden C. Blackshott. But she soon finds herself straddling a line between duty and lust. She loves it when Aiden captures and pleasures her in his sex playroom. But she suspects her new lover has ties to her former partner, now a rogue agent, she has sworn to bring in.

Aiden also has a mission, one which threatens to fall apart when Naymeen appears the very evening he will play his final role in his assignment. When he allows her to kidnap him to keep her from upsetting carefully laid plans, she whisks him to her star cruiser and ties him to her bed so she can return the favour. She wants to believe in him, but in the end, is he betraying her just as her comrade did?

19.7.09

Been missing writing

I haven't had much time to write these last couple of weeks because a tornado ripped through our neighborhood in Georgia recently and a large tree limb went right through the roof, making a big hole! We'd been in our house in Florida and arrived to find the yard looking as if a battle had been fought in it and a large tree on the roof entwined in the power lines. Yikes!

It's a durn good thing we got there when we did because that very night and all the next day, torrential rain poured down non-stop, and the entire house would have been flooded. As it was, my loving and very brave man went up onto the roof in the middle of the night during the rainstorm and secured the large tarp we borrowed from a neighbor, over the hole so that the water would stop pouring in behind the refrigerator.

All that and we were on our way to Virginia to scatter his mother's ashes in the Chesapeake bay as per her last wishes. Wow! There is no time to write when all this is going on.

The trip to Virginia went well. It was beautiful actually, and the group of us who went were all very moved to have fulfilled Florence's last wishes. (My story, Yin Yang, in the Fabulous Brits anthology is dediacted to her memory because she passed away a few weeks before I wrote the story.)

The roof was repaired while we were away and Mitch did the repairs to the inside of the house which were miraculously minor. He is a good craftsman and you can't even tell anything happened now.

Now that everyting is repaired and at rest, I'm praying that the week to come is nice and quiet - the kind of quiet we writers need in order to bring forth our stories. I love writing so much and the creative flow, the time I spend with my characters is gratifying and sweet. I'm hoping that I'll have time to work on the final installment of the White Tigers series, a sequel to Men of Phuket: Tongue-Thai'd which continues Ryu and Nat's story. Well, that is, unless people also want a story about the delicious, michevous twins who appear in the other stories!

In any case, thanks for letting me share. Hugs, Sedonia

18.7.09

Summer Season

I remember a few years ago that usually during the summer there was nothing to watch on TV. Now there is an influx of shows to see. Some days there is so much to watch I have no idea which to pick first. My fav summer shows are Closer, Monk, Psych, Law and Order – Criminal Intent and So You Think You Can Dance.

With the many new shows premiering in these last few weeks I am finding even more to watch. HawthoRNe has captured my attention. It is great and interesting. Royal Pains is another great show. Dark Blue I am looking forward to this show.

I didn’t watch Leverage last season but I watched the reruns and now I am hooked. Burn Notice is another show that I didn’t look at last year but with watching the reruns I am hooked.

So besides spending time exploring and with fam I am also watching lots of great TV shows and movies. It is a relaxing fun time this summer. So how is your summer going.


Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http:/ /www.satinnotes.com/

17.7.09

Gratitude


Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I'm a
kvetch. For those of you who are not familiar with Yiddish, a kvetch is an inveterate complainer. My poor husband bears the brunt of most of my complaints, which range from the physical to the metaphysical.

“I never have any time to write,” I moan. “Lots of other authors I know put out a book per month. It takes me a month to finish a short story. I'll never be a success in the romance world. I'm just not prolific enough.”

“I can't stand doing all this promotion,” I sigh. “It doesn't seem to matter how many excerpts I post, how many blog entries I write, how many contests I run, how many friends I have on MySpace. My royalties just aren't what I'd like them to be. And then I'm so busy with promotion, I never have any time to write.”

“I don't know why I bother. I don't have the energy anymore. My head aches. My joints hurt. I'm a wobbling mass of cellulite. I look at myself in the mirror and see an old hag. My wrinkles are starting to rival the Grand Canyon. No wonder I have so much trouble writing erotic fiction. I feel about as sexy as a dead flounder.”

“A dead flounder?” my husband asks, finally stepping in to interrupt my downward spiral. “I imagine that there might be flounder fetishists who'd find that exceptionally arousing.” I laugh in spite of my determination to hold on to my sour mood. “Anyway, I think you're sexy. Why don't you take a break from all that writing and promotion and join me in the bedroom? I'll show you what I mean.”

At that point, my husband is usually behind me, rubbing his crotch against my butt and groping my breasts. I really can't in good conscience continue to complain!

The fact of the matter is, despite my laments, I'm incredibly fortunate. Okay, so I normally have at most one day a week to write. I find that I need a block of devoted time. I've never been one of those authors who can fit writing into the cracks in her daily schedule, so I try to keep one full day clear of other commitments. When I finally do sit down, I can produce 3-5K per day – maybe not up to some professionals' standards, but not too bad either. And my first drafts are normally pretty clean, based on feedback from my editors. At this point, I'm also confident that I can find a publisher for almost anything I write.

Now there's an area where I really can be grateful. Many of my colleagues struggled for years to get their first acceptance. The history of my first novel is rather like a fairy tale in comparison. I sent it off to my target publisher, almost on a lark, and two weeks later was offered a contract. In fact, I didn't even submit the whole novel, just the first three chapters and a synopsis. After Raw Silk was accepted, then I had to actually finish it, but somehow that wasn't a problem. I can hardly complain about long hard years pounding the pavement, hundreds of queries or dozens of rejections.

Okay, it's true that promotion is not much fun. (I'd be interested in knowing whether my more successful colleagues actually enjoy the grind of shameless self-aggrandizement.) But I've got advantages in this domain, too. I have enough technical knowledge to maintain my own website, which saves me huge amounts of aggravation and expense. I've been in the business long enough (more than a decade) to know a number of other authors with whom I can partner or exchange promotional opportunities. I have a good excuse (grin!) to opt out of most chats – I live in Southeast Asia and my time zones never match up. (I do spend lots of time interacting with my readers via email.) But I've always been an organized person. As time goes by, I discover or invent new ways to promote more efficiently.

As for the physical stuff, well, we all have heard that growing old is not for sissies. At least I can reminisce about the sexy adventures I had when I was younger, more flexible and more energetic – not to mention using them as grist for the creative mill. I still have my black satin corset, my faux-leather mini-skirt and the form-fitting burgundy velvet halter dress I wore for my first reading. I haven't donned any of them for a while, but I'll bet they still fit, albeit with an extra bulge here and there.

I've been blessed with a top-quality education, work that is creative and satisfying, opportunities to travel around the world. Despite my complaints about aging, I am and always have been mostly healthy. I love and am loved by my parents and siblings. (Being far from them is the only downside of living overseas). I feel valued and cherished by my remarkable husband of more than twenty-seven years. Loving him keeps me sane and whole.

Every now and then I stand back and look at my life, amazed. I never expected that it would be so interesting, or so much fun. I was a little mouse of a girl when I was growing up, living in books and dreaming about romance and faraway places. I am astonished, humble and grateful to realize that my life has surpassed my wildest dreams.

And that's just so far.

16.7.09

10 Things I learnt at RNA09.


This past Saturday I attended the Romance Novelists Association conference in Penrith as a Day visitor and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day. I got up at 4am (that wasn’t so enjoyable) and didn’t get home ‘til late but I can safely say the experience was worth the exercise in sleep deprivation!



And here is a list of just 10 of the things I learnt during my time at RNA09.


1, Romance writers come in all shapes and sizes.

This one seems quite obvious but I was instantly struck by how different all these authors looked. They were from all walks of life, had many different accents and dressed in different ways, there wasn’t even that much pink to be seen! And friendly? Wow, these people were lovely. I was a stranger when I arrived I didn’t know a soul but I was instantly welcomed and made to feel at home. Oh and there weren’t just women attending either, there were male writers there too. Okay, they were definitely out numbered but they were there and I thought that was lovely to see.


2, We all suffer rejection.

In fact, this was the subject of the first session I went to and was hosted by the pretty and talented Victoria Connelly. That woman has seen a lot of rejection in her time but she gave us some great strategies to cope with it like trust yourself and the quality of your work, try everyone and have a dream. It was extremely comforting to know that everyone gets rejected now and then.


3, Characters do matter.

You can sometimes get the feeling that plot is the be all and end all of a good story but the session led by Mills & Boon editors Jenny Hutton and Meg Lewis suggested otherwise. They said that if your character is well established the reader will follow them wherever they go. It is characters that make people read books to the end. It is the plot that makes that journey interesting and shows how the characters react in different situations and showcases their personality and emotions.


4, Literary blogs can be fun.

Moira Briggs taught me this from behind a hastily erected cardboard box lectern and with a dry wit that had me howling with laughter. Moira is a book fox at Vulpes Libris and her tale of how she got involved with the site and how different subjects evoke different reaction was fun, entertaining and eye opening.


5, You can’t recognise a New York Times Best Selling author by looks alone.

At lunch I sat with a table full of interesting ladies. Two of which had lovely American accents. I chatted away happily, exchanging storylines and discussing the trials and joys of being an author and never once looked at names on name tags.

It wasn’t until I sat down in the room for Jodi Thomas’s Session on romancing the American Market that I realised who I’d been chatting to over lunch. Jodi is a lovely lady and a delight to talk too. I’m just embarrassed I didn’t realise who she was earlier, Sorry Jodi!


6, Sometimes the best bits aren’t the sessions.

The sessions were good and the speakers engaging but I found some of my most enjoyable time was spent between sessions just talking to people. I found fellow Total-E-Bound author Saskia Walker between sessions and had a lovely chat with her about authorly things. It was a delight to be able to talk shop to someone who really knew just what I meant.


7, I want an eBook reader.

I know this isn’t a particularly earth-shattering discovery but as Claire passed her eBook readers around during the Total-E-Bound E-publishing session I fell in love. I’ll have to flutter my eyelashes at hubby and see if I can get one for Christmas.


8, How to pronounce Claire’s last name.

Siemaszkiewicz. I’ve never even known where to start with trying to pronounce this particular second name but now I’ve heard it spoken so I know how it’s pronounced. I still don’t think I’d actually be able to pronounce it but the knowledge is there hidden away in a corner of my brain somewhere!


9, Authors like to talk.

A lot. Oh yes and what was the favourite subject? Writing of course. The highs and lows, the deadlines, the tribulations and the joys. There was always a hum of conversation that was comforting and friendly. I bet there are many sore throats now that the conference has finished.





10, Total-E-Bound Rocks.

Alright, this is a cheat, I knew this already but by meeting Saskia and Claire I have had this belief reinforced and if I wasn’t already published with them Claire’s talk on the benefits of publishing with Total-E-Bound would have had me submitting in an instant! I am incredibly proud to be a part of such a professional, caring company.





And thus ends my lessons for today. If you’d like to read more please look at the RNA09 report at victoriablisse.co.uk which goes into more detail about exactly what I did on that sunny Saturday in Penrith.