Friday, September 28, 2007

So, What Do You Think?

I received the cover for Rules of Engagement, [warning: shameless promo ahead] which will be released February 1, 2008. At first glance, I really, really liked it. I still like it.

The BF saw the cover and asked, "When did you start writing African American romances?"

"Uh, I'm not," I replied.

"Oh," he said, still looking bemused. "Are you sure?"

I rolled my eyes, but he started me thinking.

So, what do you think? Is the cover misleading?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You know its time to clean when...

1. You reach for the remote and the spiders slap your hand.
2. You reach into the meat keeper in the fridge and the cheese is growing over the contents.
3. You look into the fridge and realize most of the contents are a mystery to you.
4. The dust bunnies chase the dogs out of the bedroom.
5. When you try to sweep the floor, the dust bunnies grab the broom and hit you.
6. You have to use a lead rope to guide guests into your house.
7. You have the remote in hand and can't find the tv.
8. Your clean clothes are more wadded up than the dirty ones.
9. The dog carries around the food bowl for fear of losing it.
10. When you realize your youngest child has been buried alive under stacks of Cosmopolitan from 1979.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Historical Facts and Fiction

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about writers and readers who are disappointed by the latest historical romance novels they’ve read because the facts were not 100% accurate. Like most readers, I want the stories I read to be authentic. Like most writers, I strive to make sure my details are accurate (even though I don’t write historicals).

BUT, and this is a big one, if you’re reading historical romance, you’re already accepting a lapse of historical details. Let me explain…

Take the pirate novel. We all love the handsome swashbuckler, who is secretly a British Lord or comes from some kind of wealthy family. Through circumstance—either he’s disowned by his family for a crime he didn’t commit or he was stolen from his family as a boy and has no idea of his true heritage—this man has been robbed of his life and has taken to a life of piracy. This pirate captain is tamed by the feisty female who becomes his captive. All is revealed in the end and the couple can live happily ever after.

Okay. Stop. Before you take another step or read another word, think about this.

This is already a historical lie. Pirates were not long-lost lords who were restored to the bosom of their families. Nor were they well educated and cultured. They certainly didn’t bathe on a regular basis. And any young woman who was captured by one, I’m sorry, but her first thought wasn’t that he was handsome and she wanted to bed them. And don’t get me started on the rest of the crew.

Yes, there are pirate books out there that show the situation in a much more truthful light, but there are just as many that don’t—and we love them all.

I’m not saying that I don’t want accuracy in the period. I do, but I will forgive certain thinks.

Let’s look at the medieval romance next. I love books about knights in shining armor and the woman who tame them. But in truth, women of that time period had little rights, the men were gone a lot, sometimes years on end, and they weren’t particular enamored of personal hygiene. Do I want to read about an overbearing knight who treats the women in his life as if they were of no consequence? Only if he changes by the end of the book. Otherwise, he’s no hero in my books.

Once again, the details vary from author to author, from decade to decade, and from one historical period to another. Historical accuracy was expected more back in the seventies—The Wolf and The Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss springs to mind. But again, as a reader, I’m willing to give the author some artistic license. I’ve read many medieval romances where the heroine takes the knight on a wild ride, while in truth, she’d probably have been beaten and locked away.

Then there is the Regency novel. This is a time period that requires quite a bit of study. Rules of Society were extremely important. But you know what? I’ve never understood the British Peerage. I'm never 100% certain who is over who, who should be called “My Lord” and who should be “My Lady.” Unless and author make a glaring mistake, I’ll never know. But I do love the era and how intelligent the ladies had to be to get ahead and get the man they wanted. Even within this genre you have the “true” regencies, which are very correct in the history of the times. Then you have the large books, which tend to stretch conventions somewhat. And you know what? That’s okay by me.

In fact, some historical language references, while correct, actually pull me out of the story, because they are something I have to stop and think about. A historical romance is not a historical novel. There is a huge difference. In a historical novel, the details should be 100% accurate. In a historical romance, while I want the details as real and accurate as possible, I don’t want it at the expense of the story.

So, pull out that next yummy historical novel, settle back, and enjoy. And if there are one or two minor details not quite right, ask yourself if it was because the author didn’t know the difference or if it was done for the sake of the story.

I know that everyone has a different opinion on this subject, but that’s okay. There are writers that appeal to all of us out there. Some are all about historical accuracy, while others relax the rules slightly. And then there are those whose books very few will read because they’ve just taken it too far, interspersing too much modernism in a book that is supposed to take us back to the past.

When I read a historical romance, that’s what I want, so the details better take me to another place and time where I can lose myself, if only for a couple of hours. If I want modern, I’ll read a contemporary.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New release day!

My paranormal time-travel book, Forgiveness, releases today.

It's a reincarnation love story with a time travel twist. James Benteen and Penelope Albright were lovers in 1876 America. But James caused Penelope's death. When he died (just moments after her) God offered him a choice: do penance for his sin or be reborn with no knowledge of Penelope and his love.

James chose penance, and in 2186 he's reborn as Jim, a dog who's also a shapeshifting human. He's paired with Penelope, who is a Guide with the History Patrol, an organization that sends people back through time to observe history and to retrieve tourists who used God's Portal (created in 2145) as a recreational device.

Each Guide is accompanied by a telepathic Companion, a shapeshifter who guards and aids them. Only Companions know the whole truth about the Patrol — that the Companion and Guide are reincarnations of two lovers, one of whom betrayed the other. Companions cannot be seen in human form until they can forgive the one who betrayed them in a former life or until they are freely forgiven by the one they betrayed.

The Guides are unaware that they have a previous-life connection to their Companion. As far as they know, their assignment is straightforward: find the Tourists, bring 'em home. Their Companion is there to help, give advice, and monitor until that moment of revelation when penance has been served and forgiveness must be given — or withheld.

In a way, it's God's way of giving people a do-over. Sometimes the do-over is positive, and sometimes ... well, don't let it be said that God doesn't have a sense of humor.

I wanted to do a book that was different, something that would be challenging for me to write and for readers -- well, I wanted something a reader could sink his or her teeth into and enjoy.

I hope I've done it....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Seasons of Seduction III--Coming Sept. 23

Just a reminder that the Ellora's Cavemen: Seasons of Seduction III anthology, featuring my story "Sunshine for a Vampire" is due out this Sunday, September 23!

I'm thrilled to be in a book with these five very talented ladies. This anthology is jam-packed with six very different, but very HOT stories. Check out the blurbs below to see what you can expect from this book!
The Pirate and the Pussycat
Lacey Alexander

When Leah gets an invitation to a Halloween bash, she has mixed emotions. At last year’s party, she met a man, fell for him hard and…never heard from him again. So this year she’ll take a new approach. Screw emotions—she’s going to find a sexy guy and do the dirty with him, no strings attached.

Arriving in her sexy cat costume, she spies a hot pirate and knows instantly that he’s the man she’s going to seduce. But can she succeed? Or will this naughty little kitty end up heartbroken all over again?
Panther’s Pleasure
Cathryn Fox

Sash has spent her life coursing through space. She’s never gotten sick before. But as they approach planet Lannar, she begins to feel very ill, and when she meets Kade, leader of Lannar, all kinds of things begin happening to her libido.

When Kade sets eyes on Sash he knows she’s his mate. How it’s possible that an Earth woman is the mate for a shape-shifting panther, he’s not sure. All he knows is that there is only one way to help ease her pain and make her first transformation easier. Through mating. And once will never be enough.
On Her Back
Renee Luke

Simone Harris is experienced when it comes to loss—most recently, that of her brother Jerold. But when his best friend Elijah, wounded in the same fray that killed Jerold, returns home, Simone tries to put her pain aside and offer him her support. She wants to give him anything and everything he needs.

Elijah Russell survived every night he spent in the desert—and, later, in the hospital—by invoking fantasies of Simone. On her back. Beneath him. Now, just being near her again is enough to make him forget his pain for a moment. But his heated emotions seem to be mutual, and soon those fantasies might become a reality.
Simone and Elijah both need time to heal, but it’s a lot easier to wait together.
I Was an Alien’s Love Slave
Charlene Teglia

Micki Sloane needs a hero and she needs him now. She’s got a deadline, writer’s block and no inspiration. What to do? Wish on a star.

Keelan Os’tana has been seeking his bondmate, the one woman who is on his wavelength—literally. He answers Micki’s mental call by beaming her up into erotic adventure beyond her wildest imaginings. Her options? Form the permanent telepathic bond with Keelan or go home and write for the tabloids. “I Was an Alien’s Love Slave” is a sure seller, but Keelan tempts her to live the fantasy instead.

Sunshine for a Vampire
N. J. Walters

Sunshine DeMarco is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed vampire who just doesn’t fit in with her own people. She doesn’t really like the whole vampire lifestyle—the opulent surroundings and overindulgence in everything from food to drink to blood. But even she has family and social obligations.

While attending a party for a special European dignitary, she finds herself captivated by a tall, dark stranger. One sensual dance between them leads to a passionate tryst in the host’s garden.
Reality intrudes and Sunshine flees, but she hasn’t seen the last of her mystery lover.

A Man of Vision
Kate Willoughby

For Cristoforo, sculpting marble is his life, but the price of creation is a libido that rides him like a demon. When he discovers his sculpting days are numbered, he hires a mistress to satisfy him night and day.

Modern-day courtesan Delphine arrives at Cristoforo’s villa prepared for the rigors of being on call 24/7. What she isn’t prepared for, however, is the intensity of her body’s response to Cristoforo. When she learns what is driving him so ruthlessly, she wonders if she can protect her heart…or if it’s already too late.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I'll admit it, I don't have much to say today on my blog. I've had a terribly busy week in a half where everything just sort of piled on and today I've GOTTA get some R&R for my sanity. :) But, there's always a bit left in me for celebrating!

Today I’m celebrating some things all writers sometimes forget and take for granted. Many unpublished authors may find it amazing that a published author could ever take for granted the excitement of a new release coming out. It can happen, believe me. Today I’m dropping a little whoot for the new cover I just received for UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, the next book in my HOT ZONE series. UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER comes out October 9 at Samhain Publishing Here’s a blurb and an tiny excerpt to get your blood pumpin’!!!

By Denise A. Agnew
Available October 9 at Samhain Publishing

She’s archaeology, he’s Special Ops, and both of them teeter on the edge of stepping into the HOT ZONE. She wants the adventure of a lifetime and isn’t willing to sacrifice it for any man…
Archaeologist Fredricka “Freddie” Bodine returns to her hometown for her twentieth high school reunion, unaware that her old crush, Keith Wallace, has blown back into town. A single memory is etched deeply on her brain—the high school prom where she shared an emotionally revealing dance with him. They’d both left town after graduation, feelings unresolved and teen angst firmly in place. All he wants is to keep the girl he loved and lost safe, even if she hates him for it…Keith doesn’t want her to travel to Los Diablos, an area near ancient ruins where his sister was killed years ago. As they grapple with family pressures and the exploding passion between them, their battle of wills may just lead them to the truth living in both their hearts.

Excerpt: Warning...contents may be a little hot to the touch.


She almost came out of her skin. She whirled to the left. Standing at the very end of the aisle, Keith Wallace stared at her with a furrowed brow.

“Oh—um, hi.” Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat. “I didn’t know you were here. Or even in town.”

“I didn’t know you were in town.” His voice, deep and overlaid with a sexy huskiness, had always melted her insides like the most delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate and stirred feelings she didn’t want to have.

As he sauntered toward her, she sighed. The gods could not be so cruel. Or maybe they could. The changes in him had only increased his attractiveness. Boy, oh boy, howdy, he’d matured like a fine Merlot, rich with nuances that made her mouth go dry and her heart do a silly two-step. At thirty-eight he defined disgustingly gorgeous man with a capital G.
When she’d left this town twenty years ago, she’d never considered that he’d still have this effect on her. She recalled his attractiveness at eighteen, mature for his age, brooding and intense. At eighteen she’d wanted to date happy-go-lucky guys with uncomplicated backgrounds. Sure couldn’t say that about Keith. Still, nature had matured his physique in all the right ways.

At six feet and probably two inches, he made her five feet five inches feel small. The navy blue T-shirt stretched over his broad chest and wide shoulders. Muscles rippled in his biceps and forearms. Jeans defined his hips and muscular thighs and made his legs look miles longer. His work boots looked well used and scuffed. Always rugged, his face had matured into angles and planes that screamed danger and forbidden sensuality. His mahogany hair wasn’t the tousled boy anymore, but clipped military short. Without strands flopping over his face, nothing hid the thoroughly masculine lines that screamed the proverbial dark and dangerous.
Her heart did a flop, a flip, and started thumping away so hard she felt the pulse in her ears.

Okay. So that reaction hadn’t changed in twenty years either.

When Keith hovered over her, staring down with those dark chocolate eyes, his frown showed genuine concern.

“What brings you here?” she asked.

“Came to pick up a book for my mom. Ernestine said you were here.” He crossed his arms, and then nodded at her huge book. “I heard you cursing. What’s wrong?”

Embarrassment heated her face. “It’s nothing significant.”

He came closer. “Oh yeah?” His lips quirked, and rare humor danced in his eyes. He glanced at the book lying open on the desk. “Sure it’s nothing?”

Freddie frowned. “I never was good at lying to you. This is—was—my favorite book in the library.”


“I used to check it out every once in a while when I was a kid.”

He moved nearer yet, leaning his hand on the side panel of the desk to look at the book. “A ripped page?”

She closed the book cover so he could see the photo on the front. “Archaeological sites in Mexico. Tikal. Or what my archaeology professor at Western used to say, Chicken Itza.”

He laughed, the low, rumbling sound sending vibrations through her stomach. She clenched her legs together in reaction. Holy, holy crap. A hot pulsing gathered in her loins. Talk about a record time to get turned on. Her mouth watered as her gaze traveled quickly over his chest.

Until next time, enjoy your day. :)

Denise A. Agnew

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cranky Commenter Winner!

And the winner is Cathy! Cathy, please email your snail mail addy to ann @ (no spaces) and I'll get the prize out to you.

Thanks to everyone else for making me not feel entirely alone!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why do we do what we do?

Why are you a writer?

Why do you enter contests, sit and stare at a screen, endure the rejection letters.

I don't know that we've ever talked about this before ...

So why?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This is what I know...

Today is my forty-second birthday and in honor of this auspicious occasion, I thought I'd share some of the hard-won lessons of those years.

This is what I know...

Never ask permission, ask for forgiveness instead.
When dealing with a man, if he won't listen to reason then work your way around him.
Lose the excuses, put on your Big Girl panties and own up to your shortcomings.
Learn how to change a tire, it's not rocket science.
Low fat does not equal, low calories.
Eat dessert first unless you're having macaroni and cheese - that comes first.
Don't save your nice things for an 'occasion', do you really want others using your 'good' stuff for your funeral?
Oreo's and anything chocolate make up the fifth food group.
You are not incharge of anyone's happiness other than your own.
It's not a sin to have a cocktail at lunch - try something fruity, be good to your body!
The world was created without your help.
Don't sweat over clean underwear, if you get into a serious accident you're going to poop in them anyway.
Sometimes it just isn't about you.
Buy a vibrator, make a date with yourself.
Buy your clothing a size too big, feel good about yourself!
See a therapist, its one of the most loving things you will do for yourself.
Fitted pants have no place in your closet.
The world doesn't end because you've worn white pants after Labor Day.
Ban all girdles and control top pantyhose from your closet.
It's okay to go to dinner alone.
Strive to be the best (insert name here) you can be.

And finally, my latest theme song. ;) This is from the Broadway show, RENT:

Another Day

The heart may freeze
or it can burn
The pain will ease
if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment as my last

There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today

There's only yes
Only tonight
We must let go
To know what's right
No other course
No other way
No day but today

I can't control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only goal is just
To be

There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today...

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Man In The Relationship?

Hey ladies, have you ever felt like you were the "man" in a relationship. And men, have you ever felt like you're the "woman" in the relationship? It's something I've really been thinking about and thought I'd get ya'lls (yes, it's a word ;D) on this.

The stereotypical "man" is one who wants sex all the time, tunes out his woman when she nags about trivial things (like a cup in the sink, or a piece of lint on the floor), while the stereotypical "woman" is the one with the headache (so, er, no sex except on special occasions, like the return of Christ or something), who nags her man about chores and the honey-do list, and is constantly demanding that he talk to her.

Well, what if the roles are reversed? What if it's the woman who's always chasing her man down to get some, and he's the one with the damned headache all the time? Or the woman who just doesn't see the point about trying to keep a perfect house and couldn't care less about a cup in the sink? Or the woman is the one who deals with her man being always stuck up under her and he's the one that complains if she doesn't give him her undivided attention when he wants it, whenever he wants it, regardless of what else she has going on?

Yes, it does happen! Been there, done that!

Men, do you want a woman with more balls than you? Probably not. So I wonder what it is about this current generation of females (according to my college age daughter who thinks they're all crazy) who believe they want someone who is sooooo sensitive and less manly?

Me, I want a hunky, male man, not a sorta-woman man.

So, whatcha think?


Thursday, September 13, 2007

13 Pet Peeves of a Cranky Bibliophile and 1 Contest

13 Pet Peeves of a Cranky Bibliophile
Compiled by Ann Bruce

I'm about to break one of the cardinal rules of authors and blogging: Do not bash other authors' books. Generally, authors who do this come across as bitter and envious. Or so that's what I assume. And you always have the other authors' rabid fan girls come out and call you names and challenge you to write something better.

First and foremost, I'm a reader and an avid one at that. I read about five to ten books at a time and I finish about three a week. More if they're comic books. When I buy a book, I think of it as a tacit agreement between myself and the author that he or she has put in a great deal of effort to spin a tale to entertain me.

There's no guarantee that I'll enjoy the book, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. That being said, if a book comes across as being written by someone who couldn't be bothered to put in a decent effort, then the agreement is in breach and I get ticked off.

Unfortunately,in the last few weeks, I came across a bad batch of books. Many of them ended up flying across the room and slamming into a much-abused wall. A couple even went back to the bookstore because I wanted my money back for time I'll never be able to recoup.

So, what drove me to violate an author's cardinal rule? Oh, so many things...

    The Cranky Canadian

  1. Not everyone from Canada says "a boot"; the majority of us say "about." That's the equivalent of a non-American assuming all Americans say "y'all."

  2. "A boot" is pretty much confined to a tiny part of Eastern Canada. So, if your hero is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which is in Western Canada, he will not speak with an accent and say "a boot." In fact, he'll sound more like a New Yorker because he probably watched too much Seinfeld.

  3. Canadians do not say "ice hockey." There is no such thing as "ice hockey" for us. It is simply "hockey." It is the NHL, not the NIHL. An NHL player will not say "ice hockey," especially if he's a Canadian from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

  4. The Cranky Francophone

  5. Accents in written French are NOT optional. "Bien sûr" means "of course." "Bien sur" is literally "good on" and that's gibberish. Anyone with a passing knowledge of French reading "Chere, desolee. Entrez, s'il vous plait" will find it as painful as an Anglophone reading "Its okay. It wouldve been easier if itd been hers."

  6. French nouns have gender. If your hero says to the heroine, "Cher, merci bien," I'm going to think your heroine is actually a man and maybe had a sex change. Really, I will and I will laugh.

  7. The free translation services offered in the Internet are not perfect, so please do not rely on them. For instance, "Look at me" should be "regardez-moi" or "regardes-moi," not "me regardes." The latter is very awkward and wouldn't be used.

  8. The Cranky Martial Artist

  9. Kick-ass heroes and heroines are not so kick-ass when they mix up martial arts styles.

  10. You cannot practice kung-fu moves with a katana. Kung-fu is Chinese and a katana is a Japanese sword.

    You would not address your kung-fu instructor as "sensai," but as "sifu." Once again, kung-fu and "sifu" are Chinese and "sensai" is Japanese.

    You cannot be a second degree black belt in a Korean karate. Karate is Japanese. Korean martial arts include tae kwon do, hap ki do, etc.

  11. You will not become a martial arts master in one season, despite what you saw in The Last Samurai.

  12. The Cranky Geek

  13. Anachronisms. *sigh* I'm not a stickler for historical accuracy, but if your Regency heroine travels to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower…well, I know you and your editor both need a refresher junior high history lesson.

  14. If your villain keeps his password right next to the computer and stores all his incriminating files in a folder called "Laundering" or "Private," he is so not a criminal mastermind.

  15. To access my computer, you must have the hard drive password. Without it, you cannot even get to the initial login screen and the hard drive will lock after too many failed attempts, at which point only the manufacturer will be able to unlock it. After you get past the hard drive password, you need a login ID and password. And after that, you will have to navigate through my folder system, which I named using the names of Greek and Roman deities. Good luck trying to find my bank account spreadsheets. If you persevered to this point and have found the file, you need a password to open it.

    Really, so if I'm just the average computer user, imagine what a real criminal mastermind's security system is like.

  16. When your computer system is being attacked, don't stand there and watch a pretty visual representation of it on a really big screen. Go pull your network cable or your power cord. Really, it is that simple. And no, your servers won't explode and you won't lose data.

  17. 128-bit encryption is not double the encryption of 64-bit.

  18. RAM is not where your save all your files and it does not crash. That's your hard disk drive.

  19. Black is not all colours combined. White is. A rainbow is light that has been refracted, usually by water, which is why rainbows normally appear when it rains. Black is the absence of colour.

Every item on the list could've been avoided with research that involves more than just watching the telly (sorry, I spent some time living in Europe and haven't gotten either "dodgy" or "telly" out of my vocabulary, yet). The Internet is an author's best friend. Please use it because if you can't be bothered to do the basic research, I can't be bothered to buy your books.

Now, if anyone feels like flaming me, go right ahead. I'm wearing my big girl pants; I can take it.

If you read something I wrote and it's completely wrong, feel free to email me. I'll be the first to admit I'm far from perfect.

The Contest!

So, what ruins your reading experience?

One cranky commenter will win a print copy of Fall Dead. Winner will be announced Monday, September 17, 2007.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

  1. Shofar, So Good

  2. Alasandra

  3. No-Nonsense girl

  4. Buck Naked Politics

  5. Working At Home Mom

  6. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Quest for the Perfect Critique Partner

Alpha-readers. Betas. Critique Partners. They're called many things, depending on which literary tradition you harken to, but what they describe is the same -- the person who looks over what you've written, and gives you helpful feedback on how to make it better.

The key, there, is that it's helpful feedback. You need to find someone who is familiar enough with your genre to react the way your target reader would, and familiar enough with writing to be able to describe the actual problem ("You're telling instead of showing" versus "This part was boring"), but has a style different enough from yours that they're not likely to have the same blindspots you do. Most of all, it has to be someone who is completely honest, who will not pander to your feelings, while at the same time, being supportive and nurturing.

As you might imagine, this is a tall order. Many writers go for years without finding someone able to fit the bill, or create a piecemeal solution, where they might have one person who looks at dialogue, one person who looks at characterization, and one person who looks at plot.

I was incredibly lucky that my best friend and co-worker was also my critique partner. We read a lot of the same books, we started writing at the same time, and our careers ran on similar tracks, right down to our being finalists for the Golden Heart in the same year. And then I started writing for Ellora's Cave.

And we discovered that my critique partner was unable to read a sex scene if I wrote it. Particularly the more creative scenes in the BDSM romances. The problem, you see, is that she knows my mom. Very well. The woman who turned down an offer to breed her dog because she didn't want him to "have those sorts of ideas." And so my friend kept imagining my mom's reaction to what I was writing, and... obviously, it just didn't work.

So I'd send her versions to critique that had helpful comments in brackets, like [and then they have sex]. Which worked for the BDSM stories, where the nature of the sex is what provided the character conflict and development. But in my latest book, there's a lot of character development that can't be explained without the sex scenes. I needed to find a new critique partner.

I posted to my blog, asking for volunteers. I clearly laid out the nature of the story (fantasy romance, with a F/M/F romance dynamic) and that I was looking for help making sure the character arcs worked. I picked two of the four people that volunteered, and sent them the story.

The first person had already given me feedback on the first chapter by the time I'd gotten home from my "I finished the book!" celebratory dinner. In chapter two, she was able to identify the part I'd been most concerned about, and offer a suggestion to strengthen it, thereby strengthening the character arc. I'm looking forward to getting her comments on chapter three.

I wonder if she'd like to be the beta reader for all my erotic romances?

Monday, September 10, 2007

When life throws you lemons

Do you make lemonade? do you do as Dr. Drakken does, "I complain about the lemons."? (Dr. Drakken is from Kim Possible, a cartoon on Disney in case you were wondering).

Like a lot of authors, it seems to be going around, I'm on a deadline. It's looooooming.

Needless to say I have reasons for why I'm not done yet. They start at my youngest (her tonsils came out a couple of weeks ago), rear to my oldest (she was bored during the imposed resttime of the tonsils), to my hubby (who wanted to talk new cars last night. *sigh* I so wasn't in the mood but the deal only lasts for a while). It's very hard to write a smoking sex scene with a kidlet sitting at the kitchen table with you.

I've found myself taking little bits of time to write, which isn't something I usually do. Have five minutes, I type out a paragraph. Usually I'm much better when I have blocks of time to write because the muse needs that.

But I've been taking my lemons any way I can get them. I'm trying to read back through the story to edit and look for typos and things that aren't clear. And I'm finding some lemonade in the pages. Yeah, there's some things that need more sugar. But the potential is there.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pushing Your Limits

Isn’t it amazing the way the mind works? I’m convinced we psych ourselves out at every turn, and this week I have the proof.

I’m on a deadline—and it’s been one of those Murphy’s Law books. What the heck do I mean by that? Well, I first wrote myself into a corner and then had to replot and rewrite major chunks of the book, then I had a large chunk of data loss which really put a dent in my forward motion, I’ve also had some family stuff going on and you all know stress doesn’t help you write. And then last week I was at the Heather Graham Writers for New Orleans conference.

I had to ask for an extension back during the data loss issue, so I expected this book to be long done by the time I flew to New Orleans, and that didn’t end up being the case. So, I ended up writing on the plane, stealing time during the conference to write and the only panels I attended were the one I was on and the one Cheyenne McCray was on. Where was I? Downstairs writing with a Red Bull energy drink in hand. Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy the conference, and probably didn’t closet myself to write as much as I should’ve. But I had never been to New Orleans before and didn’t want to totally miss out.

That brings me to this past Tuesday when I got home late that night. I collapsed into bed and got up the next morning knowing I had to write my rear off to make this deadline! Now, I was a bit daunted because I usually write about 3K a day – 5K on a stellar day, and once when I was really pressed and spent an entire day tied to my laptop, miserable and brain dead, I wrote 11K. But that’s it. Those were my limits that I had experienced and my brain said that was it.

Starting last Wednesday, I sat down at my laptop every morning, no longer concentrating on word count, but concentrating on getting this damned book done! And I absolutely amazed myself. Ideas kept flowing, words kept coming, and even when I thought it was total and utter crap – I was able to go back later and edit it into something usable. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are still some rough spots from writing so fast, and I’ll have to offer my editor some good alcohol to help me clean it up, but over the past several days, I’ve averaged 10K a day. That was with making sure every hour I took a break and walked around, or ran to Starbucks or took at least 15 minutes away from my computer, and doing either laps in the pool or time on the treadmill for an hour each day.

I’m still having major stress over the looming deadline. I hope to finish the book today so my crit group can look at this last bit while I go back to the beginning and start smoothing and fixing things before I have to mail it off mid week. But it always amazes me when I push my limits and find out I can do more/better.

Not that I want to spend all day every day writing – not exactly a great quality of life. I love writing, but that’s just not healthy. However, when I sit down to do my 3K a day from now on, somehow I don’t think it will look quite so daunting.

Anyway – back to my deadline. Prayers, blessings or general good energy sent my way are all appreciated!! :)


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lauren's Winner!

Was commenter #3 - Cathy! Cathy, email me with your format preference and I'll get your copy of Fire and Rain your way! Congratulations!

Writing Sex

I’ve heard the opinion often enough that what we write is porn or nothing more than sex scenes strung together one after the other for no logical reason.

Writing sex is hard, er, difficult. It’s not a matter of sitting down and typing the same intercourse scene over and over. Although I have read those books and they bore me to tears. Writing a good sex scene, one that the reader has to stop at the end of because she’s tingly and a bit out of breath, is much more difficult than most other things about writing. Because sex in a book should have a purpose.

Now, sometimes that purpose is to get your heroine off. And that’s okay. But the best thing about a sex scene is that sex is rife with opportunity for depth of emotion. You can have major breakthroughs for your character, big emotions communicated without a single word spoken, deep insight into the main character - a good sex scene will leave you more than tingly, it’ll communicate something to you.

There’s a scene in Emma Holly’s, Personal Assets that is probably one of my top five favorite sex scenes ever written. Bea, the heroine of sorts, is under David’s desk and someone is in his office so she has to be quiet. Okay, so you know what happens next, that’s obvious of course. But Holly takes the office sex cliche and puts a twist on it.

With David’s cock in her mouth, we see how much Bea yearns for this man who appears unobtainable to her. Her yearning for him is so huge that it takes your breath away as you read. And we’re in David’s head and we can see how tempted he is but also how conflicted as well.

All in all, I think the depth of yearning by both characters against the backdrop of this scene where neither can speak of it for a whole host of reasons is a great example of writing good sex.

What about you all? What are some of your favorite scenes and why?

I'll run a contest! I've got a book coming out tomorrow, Fire and Rain. I'll choose a winner of an ARC from all answers posted at say, hmm 7 pm pacific/9 eastern!

Good luck!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Trixy Lion Publishing

Trixy Lion Publishing, the publisher with heart, is open for business! I simply do not have the words to do justice to this new publisher, so I just shamelessly copied their "About Us" page:





Now I'm sure I have a threesome between a hunchback, a troll, and a fairy princess sitting somewhere on my hard drive that I can submit...