Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Slip Into Summer Contest!
If you’d like a chance to win a print copy of Summersville Heat, which contains the first two books of the Summersville Secrets series, Annabelle Lee and Heat Wave just go to my Website and click on the “contest” page for details on how to enter.
Monday, May 26, 2008
I enjoy gardening and am in the process of changing my current plot into raised beds. Well, I have a bunny nest in my onions. Last year, baby bunnies drove me nuts by eating my string bean plants. I’ll bet the mother of this current crop is one of the babies from last year, the stinker. That’s one of the reasons I decided to do the raised beds. I’ll take the fence down — it didn’t keep the baby bunnies out anyway — and lay the wire on top of the bed with the beans. Hopefully that will work. It used to be that our dog scared the living daylights out of any rabbit that dared set foot in our yard, but now at 13, he just lies in the shade and watches them hop around.
Anyway, have a wonderful day and good luck to all my gardening compatriots out there. May the bunnies leave your veggies in peace.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
My pals, Melissa Lopez, Mari of Marissa Alwin, and I are having a chat tonight. We always have a lot of fun, so pop by. It starts at 9 EST in the chat room.
Voting has started for round 2 of The Romance Studio's Diva Contest for the best author website. Go over and vote!
Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen
Monday, May 19, 2008
by N.J. Walters
What is it about the wounded hero that sucks us in as both readers and writers?
The first step to understanding this question is to ask another one. What exactly is a wounded hero?
The wounded hero is a man who’s been hurt, emotionally and/or physically. Maybe a trusted comrade has betrayed him. Or perhaps it is someone he loves who has offered him the greatest betrayal. He’s a man who had endured great pain and suffering. He can be rough and tough, or hide his hurt behind a suave exterior. But deep inside, the heart of the wounded warrior beats strong. And you can be certain he’s never forgotten the betrayals he’s suffered or his enemies.
The wounded hero has another aspect to him. He has a sense of honor. It might not match the norms of society, but it is his and he lives by it. At times he will appear cruel and heartless, but in truth, he is protecting himself or someone else by acting that way. He might come across as simple to understand, but you quickly discover he has more layers than an onion.
That’s what drew me to Zane York, the wounded hero of Eternal Brothers. He’s a man who’s endured the horror of watching his parents descend into madness. Alone in the world, he works as a cop to help keep the streets safe. Tortured by his past, he now faces his biggest challenge yet—the Dalakis vampires. In the midst of his investigation, he stumbles across Sophia Daring, who had been pulled into the twisted web of a murderous serial killer. Zane must keep her safe while uncovering the truth about the Dalakis brothers, and facing his past once and for all.
How could you not love a guy like this?
I know I can’t help myself. I think it’s the innate sense of honor beneath the cold armor that draws me in. The hint of hope struggling for life beneath the layers of despair. The story of the wounded hero is a story of redemption and hope.
All he needs is the right woman to help uncover who he really is. After all, this is romance I’m talking about and a happily ever after is a given. The wounded hero will step up to any challenges that arise and help the heroine in spite of himself. In doing so, he learns more about himself and who he really is. In doing so, he can break or transcend the pain of the past.
The heroine will have her own challenges to deal with, but that is a subject for another day.
Do you have a favorite wounded hero?
I know that the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward is at the top of my list!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awakeningdesires/ (newsletter group)
A Legal Affair—Samhain Publishing—July 15th
Jackson’s Jewel—Ellora’s Cave—July 25th
Friday, May 16, 2008
5 PM today (Central Daylight Time) will mark the 10th anniversary of my father's death. I know the exact time because I was at his side, holding his hand as he breathed his last, as was most of my family.
Let me rush to say I am not sad about this: my father had a long and generally healthy life marred only by a week of terrible illness at the end, illness I was able to share and help to mitigate. I don't mourn him daily. In fact, I don't even think of him as 'gone'. He's simply 'not around', I guess.
But anniversaries of this type serve a useful purpose in that they mark the passing of time, allowing us to pause and look back at a benchmark or spot and say, 'wow. I've done this since then' or 'I can't believe that happened.'
In the world in the last 10 years:
- countless (and I mean that literally: I've lost count) storms, hurricanes, cylones, earthquakes, floods and other disasters resulting in millions of deaths.
- 9/11 (which changed much of how we view the world)
- a war (in progress) and others still raging (civil and otherwise)
- jobs lost and found (I was laid off and found a new job; my sister retired; my other sister had her company downsized but stuck with the little version which resulted; my nieces have since found their niches in the world)
- other deaths (my ex-husband died [no comment on poetic justice that he died relatively young]; my ex-brother-in-law died;)
- deaths avoided (a dear friend who has successfully beat breast cancer; a dear friend who survived a terrible heart attack)
- assorted accomplishments (I've seen 5 books published, have contracts for 5 more)
You see how 'accomplishments' pale in comparison to other events? Don't get me wrong, I'm damn proud of those books and what they represent. But every now and then it's good to step back and look over my shoulder and see where I was, where I am now, and where I might be ahead. It's an interesting journey -- life -- and death will probably be an equally interesting journey, as well. Sometimes it's nice to pause and just reflect on that.
At 5:00 today I plan to hoist a glass to my father (cocktail hour always began promptly at 5:00 PM in our house) and spend a few moments remembering family vacations, little jokes, fun Father's Days spent together, and other memories. Then I'm going to get working on making the next 10 years of memories.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I am not going to complain about gas prices in the U.S. anymore. Hell, I'm not even going to whine or whimper. Why? Because I just came back from overseas and the price of gas over there is ri-goddamned-diculous!
For example, I spent $57 USD to put a QUARTER TANK of gas in a little Mazda rental car. Most folks on this side of the pond I've told this story to jump on the, "Well, it's because the dollar is weak right now" band wagon. But let me tell you what the folks over there said.
One guy told me, "Well, it's so bloody expensive because almost 80% of our gas price goes to taxes."
Another said, "Even before the dollar started takin' a beatin', I can remember paying alot for petrol. We buy it by the liter here at about 1.25 GBP right now. But it was around .89 GBP back in 2003, which would amount to more than 7.00 USD. And the dollar wasn't quite outpacing the GBP at the time, but it was kicking the piss out of the Euro by quite a bit back then."
While I was blessedly oblivious to how much it would cost me to replace the gas in our little rental, these are a couple of scenes from the streets of Dublin.
Next, hop over to www.dynamicthree.com/blog to see more pics of our trip to Dublin, Ireland and Liverpool in the UK.
A really cool billboard promoting a local theater production
This is the coolest damned bus I've ever seen. And I spent quite a bit of time behind it ;D
Shops don't stay open late on Sunday as people are usually hanging out with their families. These folks are enjoying the nice weather on a Sunday afternoon.
Happy Almost Friday!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Since I just had a story released from Ellora’s Cave in March, one of their jewel-themed Quickies, titled CHARMING THE MASTERS, I’ve been trying to promote it in a sort of low key way. In case the title doesn’t give it away, the story has elements of both BDSM and ménage.
One of the things I get asked pretty often is why I write in so many different genres. As of now, I’ve written historicals, contemporary, other-world set fantasy, urban fantasy, and even a futuristic as well as books with BDSM and ménage. I don’t have a good answer. It’s certainly not a great way to advance my career, since everyone says marketing yourself is all about branding these days.
I’ve never heard that “eclectic” makes a good author brand. I’d like to think my brand is “Katherine Kingston,” that my name is all that’s needed. I honestly think that’s a better brand for an author than some tagline, like “Hot, sensual romances.” Most taglines seem sort of bland and don’t actually say anything important about the author’s work.
But most authors with strong name recognition are known for a particular type of book even though Christine Feehan has branched out into writing more than Carpathian vampire books, Janet Evanovich does more than humorous mysteries and a number of authors who built their reputations on historical romances moved to contemporary when the historical market stumbled.
But when you talk about Tom Clancy or Dan Brown or Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Iris Johanssen or Lora Leigh, you get an immediate image or word tag for the kinds of books they write. And fans flock to them because they know they’re writing the kinds of stories they want to read.
So what do I want “Katherine Kingston” to stand for? Right now, if anyone does recognize the name, they undoubtedly associate it with erotic romance and Ellora’s Cave. Since most of my books have some elements of BDSM, that probably comes to mind, too.
What I’d like for them to think about, though is something deeper. I’d like people to get a strong image of an emotionally involving story, with interesting characters you can learn to care about and root for. I’d like people to think of a Katherine Kingston book as not just an erotic romance, but a gripping STORY as well. A story where the eroticism means something because it brings to life and to the surface deep conflicts within the characters and helps guide them on the path to growth and healing.
Can that really work as a way to brand yourself?
-- Katherine Kingston
Monday, May 12, 2008
In the early 1940's, Irene Sendler smuggled more than 2500 Jewish children out of a Warsaw Ghetto, finding them families to live with and changing their names to protect them. She was eventually captured and tortured by the Gestapo. They broke her feet and legs. But she never betrayed her associates nor any of the children she saved, whose real identieies she kept in a jar. She was sentenced to die, but officials were bribed and she managed to escape.
Even after that, she continued her activist work. The Nazis pursued her for the remainder of their rule.
From what I've read of her, she would object to my terming of her as a hero. "The term 'hero' irritates me greatly. The opposite is true. I continue to have pangs of conscience that I did so little," Sendler said in one of her last interviews. (from the article linked to above)
Her story remained mostly unheralded until 4 Kansas student researched her and created a play about her life.
When I read her story this morning, I had to post on what I consider a true hero. She may not have done as much as she thought she should have, but she did more than most. And it puts a lot of web drama in perspective.
Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen
Sunday, May 11, 2008
- Follow your dreams—no matter what your age.
- Never give up, even when things are tough.
- Believe in yourself, even when no one else does.
- You can be both very creative, and a very savvy business person.
- Learn to take criticism and use what will help you, and let the rest go.
- Learn how to handle rejection and learn from it, without letting it define you.
- Learn how to make friends and contacts wherever you go.
- It’s okay to play “what if” and live inside your imagination. It’s even better to get paid for it!
- Don’t let anyone steal your dream, no matter how well-meaning they might be.
- Anything worth having is worth working hard for.
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life.
- Learn how to adapt to the many changes life throws at you.
- How to meet deadlines.
- How to plan workflow and work effort.
- You can make money doing something you love.
- There’s a whole lot less stress in life if you follow your passions.
- Fill your life with people and activities that give you joy.
- Don’t spend all your time worrying about what others think of you.
- Being a strong parent means doesn’t mean martyring yourself for your children.
- It’s okay and even necessary for a healthy person to set boundaries.
I’m sure there are several more. So I welcome comments and additions to this list.
A big Happy Mother’s Day shout out to all of you for having the courage to live your dream!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Please remember legitimate charities do NOT spam potential donors. If you want to help, donate via a registered charity's web site, like World vision.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Below is an excerpt. Sorry, no hot sex in this one. You'll have to wait for the next installment for that!
Pushing her way between muscular Aradab bodies—both male and female—she maneuvered her way to the front of the crowd. Her father and mother were sitting on the dais. Besides all the Aradabs, a few of her father’s ministers were in the room, as was her paternal grandmother and a couple of the dowager queen’s cronies. Facing her father with their backs to her were two men, unmistakably Drakians not only because they were wearing the familiar uniforms of the Alalakan space fleet but also because of their tails. No other human race had such flexible tails.
Meri looked closer and grinned. The one on the left was Alalakan don al’ Chardadon. She’d recognize him anywhere. His family and hers had been close friends for generations and she’d known him since she was a child. She shifted her glance to the other Drakian, sure that she’d never seen him before. He was even taller than Char, at least seven feet, and she certainly never would have forgotten that powerful figure with those broad shoulders and that tight ass.
“Who is he?” she hissed to her cousin.
“Who?” he answered in a sour voice. He was glaring at Chardadon.
Meri shook her head. She was going to find out why Ban divorced himself from his father’s Drakian family if it was the last thing she did.
“Who’s standing next to Char? And don’t start pouting about him being here.”
“Lillalistross don al’ Ademisis, the chief engineer of their space fleet,” Ban answered in a low voice. “And I don’t pout—women do.”
Meri ignored his second comment. “He seems young for that position.”
Her cousin shrugged. “I could not care less.”
“You are an idiot,” Meri murmured as she grabbed Ban’s arm and pulled him with her around the right side of the room. She really wanted to get a look at this Ademisis from the front. He was very appealing from behind. “Now be quiet so I can hear what the Matriarch is saying.”
He snorted lightly. “You were the one asking questions.”
The door on the other side of the room opened and a dark-skinned, hoary-headed, white-bearded man walked sedately into the room.
Meri was taken aback. The Patriarch of the Nissians? Whatever was going on was very important if he was here too.
“Finally we can get to the bottom of this,” her father grumbled. He nodded to the old man.
“Welcome, Patriarch. I’m sorry to disturb you, but the Matriarch demanded your attendance.”
Again, surprise rippled through Meri. The Matriarch demanded?
“I’m curious too, Your Majesty,” Chardadon interrupted. “Ademisis and I should be back on Drakan by now. We’ve got a voyage to Deslossia scheduled.”
Before Meri’s father could answer, the Aradab Matriarch interrupted. “Patience, Son of the Alalakan Dragon. The time for which the races of Mediria have waited generations is almost upon us.” She directed her gaze at Chardadon’s companion. “Remove your tunic.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Lillalistross don al’ Ademisis looked the Matriarch straight in the face and said, “No.”
Silence echoed off the walls as Meri felt her jaw drop. At her side, Ban stiffened and her grandmother looked like she was going to faint. Her mother’s complexion paled while her father choked and buried his face in his hands.
Nobody ever refused a direct order from the Aradab Matriarch.
Before the Drakian’s “No” finished reverberating around the throne room, two Aradabs stepped to either side of the Matriarch. The one on her left cracked his knuckles while the other flexed his fingers. Both wore eager grins.
Meri snapped her mouth shut. Aradabs rarely even smiled!
Gulping, Meri stared at the tall Drakian who had just demonstrated more audacity—or stupidity—than any man she’d ever seen.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Does it bother me? Not at all. I love being surrounded by papers, magazines, books, notes on my latest WIP, journals (I have way too many of those), colored pens, at least six stacks of sticky-notes (of all different shapes, sizes and colors), candles, hand cream, my graphics tablet, my wallet (that credit card has to stay within reach at all times), and 20 tarot decks.
Knowing all that stuff is usually on my desk, you might wonder how I can even fit my keyboard and monitor on its glass surface. Well, not only can I fit those pertinent items, but I even have room for an observer:
So, what about you? What (or who) sits on your writing desk?
Friday, May 2, 2008
So back in August of 2006, my husband and I went on our first vacation without kids since we actually had kids. We went to Las Vegas, one of my favorite places in the world and we ate in restaurants without paper tablecloths and crayons and had pretty drinks at three thirty in the afternoon by the pool.
We also went to a burlesque club called Forty Deuce. Now, I have a thing about pin up girls and the whole glamour age of feminine beauty. I love the pictures of women from the 40’s and 50’s and burlesque embodies that era so very well. Burlesque isn’t stripping, it’s not about showing as much skin as possible. Rather it’s about the art of the tease, of sensual smoke and mirrors where it’s about what you don’t see more than what you do.
There’s dancing on stage and a live jazz band. The women are truly amazing dancers, lithe, sexy, they clearly put a lot of time and energy into their routines as well.
Anyway, as we made our way back home after our vacation it was with an idea for a story in my head with the heroine as a burlesque dancer. Dahlia Baker was born in my head and by the time my agent contacted me a few days after I’d been back to ask if I’d be interested in participating in a pitch she was going to make for a Vegas themed anthology, I just knew it was meant to be. Stripped isn’t about stripping, it’s about being stripped of preconceptions - by the way.
Stripped in the anthology, What Happens in Vegas is now out on store shelves and available through all the usual places for online book shopping too.
Here’s a very small taste of Dahlia’s world:
STRIPPED by Lauren Dane from the Spice anthology - What Happens In Vegas…
The low, sensual beat brought her onto the stage like a siren. One gloved arm wove through the slit in the curtain and then the other, parting them as she stood, framed for a long moment. Her dark hair was piled up on her head artfully. Long, fake lashes framed big brown eyes. A deep blue satin dress hugged every curve lovingly, her breasts pushed up and out of the scooped neckline and as she walked, the slit on each side of the dress would show her legs to the upper thigh.
She let the music grab her senses and her rhythm as she slowly sauntered out onto the narrow stage. Dancer’s heels, still very high, led her through the beginning of her routine as she carefully maneuvered the long feather boa to keep from tripping.
Caught in the music, Dahlia’s muscles burned as she did a high kick leading into a round kick swiveling her body away from the audience all in a seamless set of movements.
A feather from the boa stuck to the sweat on her neck as she slowly rotated her hips in time with the horns in the jazz band. Her hands rose, slowly taking the boa to wind around her body. Down it went until she finally stepped out of it as it lay at her feet, kicking it to the side.
Giving her back to the audience, she raised one hand into the air as she turned her head, winking over her shoulder.
Knocking her hips from side to side to the smoky jazz beat, she brought the tips of her gloved fingers to her mouth to grab the material and pull it off slowly.
The first glove went over her shoulder, into the bar pit the stage encircled. The second glove came off as she stood in front of the trumpet player and pulled it off around his body.
A bump and grind circling the band and she lay down on the side of the stage near where the bottle service tables were. Throwing a foot into the air, she gave them all a lot of leg to look at as the dress slid back. Rolling up onto her knees, she unzipped the front of the dress and shimmied out of it. Then she turned, cleverly giving them her back and a pair of boyshort bottoms with a winking kitty on the ass.
The dress dropped as her forearms came up to cover her breasts and she bent, looking at them all upside down through the vee of her legs.
The cheers and applause bolstered her confidence. Up there she was beautiful and desired and that was okay. More than okay, it felt marvelous.
Still facing the band she reached out quickly, grabbing the hat off Timmy’s head. The trumpet player widened his eyes in a choreographed move and she spun, clutching the prop hat just so to cover herself.
Sensual smoke and mirrors. Dahlia didn’t show the audience any more than she’d show at the beach. They wouldn’t see her nipples and her panties would stay right on her booty with the fishnets below that.
Playing coy, she waved with one hand, pretending to almost drop the hat as she took the first step back up to the dressing room. And another step and two more. Once her body was in the doorway she turned and tossed the hat back to Timmy. With a hand over her mouth stifling a pretend giggle, she kicked up her leg and was gone behind the curtain.