Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate was the remainder of the Moonstruck Ivory Bar, as mentioned in this post. I'm sorely tempted to break the final triangles into halves to make this batch of chocolate last, but as I think about it I do not want what I have to temper to the point that it can't be enjoyed properly. Also, I have quite a stash to get into, but I feel bad about opening new packages when so many need to be finished. Given my diet, I can't go diving into them, either, so what's masochist to do?

Actually, not diving into the chocolate is ideal for a chocoholic masochist, but that's not the point of my post today. In the interest of keeping up the choco-mojo today, I submit a short wishlist:

Vosges Black Pearl Exotic - I mentioned this briefly during my Royal Chocolate post. I tried a nibble and became infatuted. The full bar was a bit cost prohibitive, but I'll look elsewhere for this spicy delight.

Vere Cayenne and Cacao Nibs - I've really developed a taste for chili and chocolate and would like to give this one a try.

Thornton's - A Brit friend plans to send me a sampling of these sweets, by which she swears. We'll see if I can cuss up a storm as well. ;)

Green and Black's Hazelnut and Currant - I keep walking past this one at Bloom. I want to whittle down my other G&B bars before I get more.

Edgar Cayce

Another little gem waiting in my inbox this morning.

This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us. This is a universal law, and until one begins to make application of same, one may not go very far in spiritual or soul development. - Edgar Cayce Reading 3063-1

I hear quite a bit about the universal laws, the laws of attraction, etc. Apparently The Secret plays a large role in touting such laws - if you think positive thoughts, positive things happen. I get the impression everybody I know who's into this thinks this is a new phenomenon, but it's really something the Cayce material has touched for decades. As for the validity of The Secret, my jury's still out. I'd love to be able to think positively all the time. It's a challenge, however, when you're married to a man with a constant thundercloud hanging over his head. I'll get two hours into a positive day only to have him burst into the house, screaming, "Where's my wallet? What did you do with that hundred dollars I gave you two weeks ago? All the bills are due, we're one paycheck from being homeless. I hate living here."

Then Tyke misses on the potty and I have to clean that up. By day's end I'm thinking that I positively want a stiff drink.

I know, too, there's more to achieving success than just thinking about. I can think day and night about attracting an agent, but it would help if I had a book to show, eh? It would help if I had the time to write that book. That's something I'm trying to work out on my own. I have work, a half hour for staff meditation, then a lunch hour, then home, then Phaze, then bed. What's left?
True, I found the time to first draft Dare to Dream in all this, now I have to make the magic work again. I'm not sure which universal law will assist in stretching time to allow more hours in the day, but if I could do it then I could positively get some writing done. Or, waste it here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a miniature square of Ritter Sport Knusperkeks, a biscuit with chocolate creme enrobed in milk chocolate. Very sweet and crunchy, the chocolate is of the texture that smears easily when touched, and melts with equal speed. It's a good treat chocolate to enjoy after lunch, nothing fancy or exotic. Like a high-born cousin to the Twix bar.

Make a list of important things to do today. At the top of your list, put 'eat chocolate.' Now, you'll get at least one thing done today. - Unknown

Can you make a play / Will you meet me in the dark...

Hodgepodge post today. First, here's what's cooking at the Phaze Phactory:

Through the Dark - Mychael Black and Shayne Carmichael

Myc and Shayne are two of our more popular authors. They specialize primarily in M/M, though Shayne has also written and published het romance. Since coming to Phaze, they've given us seductive vampires, gentle werecats, outrageous space captains, crafty cowboys and daring dominants. With the exception of a few futuristics, the works have been contemporary in nature, but Through the Dark turns back the clock a few centuries to Elizabethan England - where the wolves had freer rein.

This is a very suspenseful story, offset nicely by the dark setting and passionate sex scenes. It's been hinted that a sequel is forthcoming on this one, too, which will be good news for M/M readers. I like the historical aspect of this story, too. We don't have too many historicals, and I've always been fascinated by the Tudor eras. You might not feel too much of its presence here, but I'd like to see historicals come back in a big way.

My Life as a Concubine - Robin Glasser

In a way, this book is a left turn for Phaze, but in some ways it could be a U-turn. When we launched in 2004 we had (still have) a title by Robin Slick called Three Days in New York City. This is a terrific book - laugh out loud funny, endearing despite the theme of the story, and a best seller that earned Robin some well-deserved attention...hopefully more than that if the stars align. Fast forward, and a new Robin joins us with a laugh-out-loud story that is reminiscient of Three Days in certain ways, yet is its own story.

In reading the book, I have to wonder if the story is really a roman à clef. Like Three Days, this is a first-person tale and one wouldn't blame the reader for thinking so. Anyway, the title might lead some to think this is a story of a woman thrown into a harem, but it is actually a modern (cautionary?) tale, full of humor and poignant observations of the opposite sex. Would be great to find success with another Robin who can tell a good story.

Edgar Cayce

My daily thought arrived in the e-mail today:

Keep it [your soul] then in patience, in love, in gentleness, in kindness . . . For these are indeed the fruits of the spirit . . . And remember, a kindness sometimes consists in denying as well as granting those activities in associations with thy fellow man. - Edgar Cayce Reading 5322-1

We need more patience, love, gentleness and kindness. I need it at home, and at work, and with this cyberwork I do. I'm sure there's plenty out there for everybody, but I would imagine some of us can't see it for the snark. While I would agree we are not all immune to criticism, but to want to thrive on just being ugly for the sake of being ugly isn't healthy. It's why I limit my blog reading and participation in romance groups, not because I'm anti-social, but I like to keep my spirits high. Besides, I have too much to do. I should be blogging here right now.

But there are days you see something and you smile. On one romance board I frequent, the daughter of Shadowrose's publisher made a post and was responded to with gentleness and kindness, by authors from different houses as well as Shadowrose. I don't know much about this house, only that the owner had been gravely ill. I can sympathize somewhat, having kept a vigil in spirit while Dad underwent his transplant. I think this post is the beginning of healing between TPTB and the orphaned authors of that house. Hopefully, there will be an amicable solution there. To have some kind of communication, regardless of content, is a good sign.

It should also serve as an example to anybody else considering getting into the eBook game. If you intend to start a house, HAVE A PLAN. If something should happen to you, have a contigency prepared where another can slide into your place seemlessly and carry on the business. It almost didn't happen where I am. When my predecessor left, we had no access to artwork, we didn't know the release schedule, and we didn't know if she'd contracted other works aside from the ones she mentioned at RT Daytona. Good thing she did, too, otherwise I wouldn't have known to contact those authors. What could we do? We had two choices: watch the ball fumble offsides or pick it up and run. I chose the latter: I set up a schedule, contacted authors, created artwork, edited works, and got them out there for sale. I'm still running with this ball, but you know what will happen if I fall? Somebody will come up from behind and take it, because I made that plan.

If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, everything goes to the next person with all the files clearly marked. I just hope I don't have the laptop with me when I'm on that bus.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is an impulse purchase made at a local shop I finally was able to visit this weekend. The Royal Chocolate in Virginia Beach is one of those places where, when you see it on the horizon, angels begin to sing and bright shafts of light bear downward in a welcoming beacon. You hear that song in your head, the one Dorothy and company are skipping to when they leave the snowy poppy field and head to Emerald City. Okay, it's not exactly like that, but pretty damn close.

When I wasn't chasing the Tyke around the shop, I found a few purchases within reason. I didn't buy any of their homemade stuff, but a few bars of the many they stock. And they have big names, too: Vosges, Joseph Schmidt, Valor, etc. I didn't buy any Vosges there, but I did sample some of the Bitter Bar they had out (ginger and wasabi) and I definitely need to get some more of that.

Anyway, today is .32 ounces of NewTree Sexy: Dark chocolate (73%) with ginger. Supposedly this offers a warming of ginger with a hint of guarana (which I've had before, it's like caffeine) for that all-natural energizing quality. NewTree's line is to offer chocolate that is good and good for you, hence the selection of somewhat healthful ingredients to ramp up the benefits of chocolate bliss. Their website has pictures of Oprah and nice presentations of the product, but I didn't know any of this when I bought the three pack of mini Sexy bars. I just thought the box looked cute, and I picked ginger because I already did a lavender bar and wanted to try a ginger one.

I could detect a faint aroma of ginger on the wafer-thin bar, but it's in the taste where it is present clearly. Even biting into the bar, I got that initial "bite", and as I let the chocolate melt the flavor came through nicely. Chewing the bar outright won't give you the same sensation, however, this is chocolate for savoring. Next paycheck I'll have to make a return trip to try the rest of the NewTree varieties available. If I get past those huge chocolate caramel apples at the shop. Oy.

Ginger, Maryann, or chocolate? What Would Gilligan Do?

New Phaze of the Moon on Monday

Here is what's new at Phaze, eBook erotic romance, this week:

The Gilded Cage - Tilly Greene

This story has an interesting history. IIRC, Tilly had sent a companion story, The Leather Bride, to Phaze for consideration as part of the Fetish HeatSheet line. It was delightful story, but I felt it needed a bit of expansion to really bring out the plot and characterization, so I contracted for a regular release. Leather, which is set in the fashion world, was well-received, and Tilly went on to write a second book along similar themes - Taming Marie Antoinette.

That one did well, too, which prompted us to approach Tilly about a print collection. To round out the fashion trifecta (a story in New York, a story in Paris...), she sent along Gilded, a BDSM romance set in London. Is it hot! There are toys and piercings and things I didn't realize existed in here - it's the perfect anchor to the collection, which also launched this week as Hot Couture.

Endless - Wendy Stone

Wendy is a rather prolific writer, exploring different corners of the map. With Phaze she has an historical, a fantasy romance, and a contemporary short. Endless is another contemporary, and a bit of a departure from others we've done. The meat of the story concerns the end (?) of a romance and is sprinkled with progressive flashbacks of the relationship portrayed. Readers will argue whether or not the ending is HEA, but in a way I think it is. Depends on how you look at things. I liked this story because there is an element of originality that sets it apart from other things we've done. Readers have said they want more of the romance, and I think this fits the bill.

Seduction's Fiery Touch - Penelope Russell

Here it gets a bit wild. Sexy firefighters, happy ending massages, threebies and more. I can't recall if Penelope sent this originally as a Force HeatSheet submission, I believe she did, but the end result is a lengthier novella that delves deeper into the core relationship of the story. A massage therapist volunteering time to aid firefighters finds more than she bargained for, yet the flames keep rising. This is a depature from Penelope's other work with us (His Private Dancer), and it shows her writing versatility. Certainly hope to see more of her in the future.
And that's it for April. For May we have vampires, aliens, handcuffs, cowboys, manlovin', and other favorite pastimes.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is not a bar, but a liquid - a very mild one at that. While at Taste Unlimited for lunch today (the Tidewater - a yummy chicken salad on French with Surry ham - yum!) I paused at the drink cooler and found Metromint Chocolatemint bottled water. Cue the gaping doubletake here. I'd heard of Metromint, my boss swears by the lemon flavor, but the chocolate mint was intriguing enough to prompt an impulse buy. The bottle describes the drink as an all natural combination of pure water, mint and cocoa essence. There are no added sweeteners or preservatives, and the bottle has a cutesy, kitchsy design to it. As for the taste? Well, on opening the bottle for a tentative whiff I caught an aroma that immediately reminded me of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. After a swallow the same taste lingered in my mouth but didn't leave a sticky sensation. The water was already chilled - I wouldn't imagine drinking it at room temp - and the flavor leaves a nice aftertaste. At nearly two bucks a pop, this isn't something I'm going to drink daily, but it made for a nice palate cleanser after lunch.

Carob makes a terrific substitute for chocolate, in much the same way that ketchup is a convincing replacement for fine wine. - Sandra Boynton

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

What I said the other day about not wanting to jump off the same bridge as everybody else? I guess it doesn't apply to blogging.

Thursday Thirteen - Why I Rejected Your Book

I don't like rejecting manuscripts. I'm an author myself, I've felt the disappointment of receiving that thin letter back from the agent/publisher saying thanks but no thanks. In my rejections I try to be as polite as possible, but I don't offer details. This is because I don't want to say one thing and have the author read another, nor do I have time to banter over semantics ("You published XYZ but you won't contract mine?" That sort of thing.).

Nevertheless, duty does call for me to do so at times, and authors still ask, so here are thirteen possibilities as to why I had to regretfully pass on your work. Mind you, eight times out of ten the quality of the work is not a factor. I've passed up on some great works.

1) It's not erotic. Phaze publishes erotic romance, not inspirationals. Readers want the naughty bits as often as possible. If I receive a 100K word book where the only sex scene is in the last two paragraphs, and if there's no place to put more, chances are I'll pass.

2) It's not romantic. While we do have a few erotic titles that aren't necessarily HEA, the works had some merit or some element that I thought might appeal to our readership. Overall, however, our readers like the heat and the romance. If I don't find the right balance, and I can't see a way to make the balance, chances are I'll pass.

3) It's plotless smut. I'm at the point where I can tell with some synopses that I'm going to open a work that might as well be titled Dear Penthouse. Works like that do well in certain markets, but they just don't resonate with our readers.

4) It contains one of our taboos. Underage Nazi hero necrophiliacs humping dogs while showering golden on their sisters...ah, no.

5) You used a priest. Sorry. You can take the girl out of the Vatican....yada yada. This is my personal squick, and I just can't let it pass. It's not you, Father, it's me.

6) We've done it already. It came to pass not long ago I had to turn away a nice piece, because we already had two very similar stories. It was a very tough decision to make, and while I'm certain the work was written without knowledge of the previously published works, I had other factors to consider. Now, I might be more accommodating if such a situation happens again, it will depend on the climate.

7) We did it, and it didn't work. We consider most genres of erotic romance. Unfortunately, some genres don't do well as others. This puts me in the awkward position of having to turn away works based on the presumption that we won't see a good ROI on them because of the genre. It's a part of publishing I don't particularly enjoy -- the business end.

8) It's too short. We have a word minimum. We ask authors to acknowledge that. If you send a work under that count we are either going to reject or, if I like it, ask that you lengthen and resubmit.

9) It's poetry. Yes, we do have one title of verse for sale. All in-house authors, just something done for fun. Otherwise, unless you're sending something to Alessia for a Coming Together volume, we will not consider entire poetry books.

10) It's copyright infringement. I miss The X-Files, too, but I'm not publishing your Mulder/Scully humpfest because I don't want to get sued.

11) You didn't format it correctly. I will say this, I'm not the stickler my predecessor was where manuscripts were concerned. If she saw a margin out of place, it was going back. Me, I'm more relaxed, but if I receive a 60K word book done entirely in some cutesy flower script, it's going back.

12) It didn't "click". The catch-all reject. Your work could be extremely well-written. Good characters, good dialog, etc. But there might be something there that I don't think would work for us. Maybe the story didn't excite, or maybe the sex didn't arouse me. Maybe the work is just too long or too short for the story. In the case of too short, I might send back for a revision. For a work over 150K, I might consider sales potential.

13) Blame it on intuition. Mind you, my intuition isn't always 100%. That's all I have to say about that.

This said, I'll close by saying don't be afraid to ask a publisher or editor to clarify guidelines. Remember, publishers want to read works. Publishers stay in business because of authors; we're not here to feed on egos and gleefully dash hopes. What you have written is very good, it's just a matter of finding the right fit.

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half ounce of the Dagoba Super Fruit bar: Dark chocolate (74%) with acai berries, goji berries, and currants. This one intrigued me immediately, since I was already familiar with acai. At my former place of employment, the company attempted a sideline business selling acai drink packets online -- I had to haul 100 heavy cases of the stuff up a flight of stairs to our office, and found out after I'd left that 80% of it got trashed because it expired before it could be sold. I remember my boss (who was out the day of the delivery) laughed when he heard about my heavy lifting. I started sending resumes out that day.

Anyway, the underside of the bar is bubbled and pockmarked with what I presume to be the antioxidant berry goodness. There's a bit of currant visible in the piece I broke off, and I'm guessing the texture to be similar to that of the lavender bar. Tastewise, though, it's not bad. It's rather chewy -- even the first three small bites taken cut into some kind of filling, so I imagine these bars are pretty packed. They don't overpower the taste of the dark chocolate, surprising because I've had acai and know it to be a very strong flavor (most liken it to dark blueberries, but the acai is unique in taste. I couldn't describe it). I suppose one way to describe this bar would be as a high-end Chunky, only thinner and perhaps better for your blood.

Who wants to fall in love. I'd rather fall in chocolate. - Unknown

Buddy, Can You Spare A Liver?

Apparently somebody did.

I've mentioned this on the Phaze Authors loop and few private boards, but my father is in need of a liver transplant. About a week or so ago he was approved for the transplant list, and I settled back for what I thought would be a long wait. Turns out they may have one for him, and he's being prepped for surgery now. Truthfully, I'm not sure how to feel right now. I am happy he has this chance for a second life, but then I think that the liver might not be suitable, or his body might reject it. Then he has to get through the operation...just too much to think about. I'm just trying to stay positive and let things fall according to God's, or whatever cosmic will makes the Earth turn.

I won't divulge any more until I know more, but as anxious as I'm feeling now there may be more than one chocolate review today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a square of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Evening Dream: 60% Dark Chocolate with a hint of Madagascan Vanilla. I have always enjoyed Ghirardelli, I try to use it in baking as much as possible, and when we saw this bar at Fresh Market we had to try. This particular bar offers a velvety dark texture and mild dark taste. "Hint" is appropriate to describe the vanilla, because it s very subtle. Unlike yesterday's Lindt bar when the flavors seemed to make themselves known gradually, it isn't so pronounced here. You really have to concentrate to get that supplement of vanilla.

Overall, though, I like the flavor. It doesn't have the bitterness of other darker chocolates.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a square of Lindt Creation (70%) Cherry and Chili, a dark chocolate filled with dark mousse, cherry and chili filling. I grabbed this weighty bar at The Fresh Market during a buying bingem intrigued by the combination of so many flavors. Tempting, despite my aversion to those gooey chocolate cherry cordials I had to force down my throat during holidays with relatives. (shudder) This looked much better.

It almost seems like overkill, but after sampling the chocolate I must commend the fine folks at Lindt for an unusually delightful confection.

The outer chocolate "shell" has a fine sheen, with each square noticable printed with the Lindt and Sprungli crest. At first bite, however, the bar is deceptive. You get the creaminess of the mousse first and can sense the solid dark giving away as you bite down, as though the square would crumble. It manages to stay together, though. But if you're like me and you nibble, you'll wonder where the rest of the flavors come to play.

Bite too deeply, and you might experience a rush of thick cherry filling. It is subtle, more sweet than tart, but the outer shell breaks easily in your mouth as you continue the square. You'll be nearly done savoring that flavor when you detect a warming on your tongue. There's the chili. It's not as pronounced as Moonstruck's chili bar, but it provides a spicy finish that doesn't overpower the other flavors. This seems like a good confection to go with a bold red wine.

Once you consume chocolate, chocolate will consume you.- Unknown

Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic, You Know...

Here's what is going on in the Production Phaze:

Pentacles of Magick: The Burning - Elize Gayle

This is the second of a four-part series I contracted with Eliza. The first, The Bonding, is out now and doing very well, and it is our hope that we will bind all the stories together for a print release. The premise, of course, centers around a quartet of brothers connected to a mysterious deck of Tarot cards. Each brother, cursed with the burden of a dark magick, must find his soul mate to relieve the curse and help destroy that which seeks to destroy them.

I've always liked Eliza's style - she writes up sexy heroes and brash heroines with whom readers easily become enamored. I like, too, that we can finally incorporate some metaphysical titles in our catalog - we don't get many incoming. I know other publishers have whole lines of stories where each title is a Tarot card, or a Zodiac sign, or a Chinese astrological designation. I understand that the idea is to entice the reader to enjoy one and be tempted to purchase all of them. That's something we strive to achieve with our themed HeatSheet line (the history of those later). However, when I took over I didn't really want to jump that bridge, and figured there were plenty of other objects we could use. Case in point...

Making Magic - Jade Falconer

I want to create a special line that didn't necessarily copy what other publishers are doing. After conferring with my top ladies (ladies on top?), we came up with the Urbans, stories set exclusively in a metropolitan setting. The authors picked up on the concept rather quickly, and many are in the works. Right now we have Angeleque Ford's Take Me As I Am (Detroit) out, which is a wonderful African-American M/M tale. Angeleque said it was her first attempt at M/M, but reading it you really can't tell. She took to the genre easily. When I first read it I could have sworn that was her forte.

Forthcoming we have Jamie Hill's Giving Chase (Seattle), James Buchanan's True Hollywood (Los Angeles), and the pictured, Jade Falconer's Making Magic (New Orleans). By some interesting coincidence, the first four Urbans are M/M stories. Not quite sure how that happened, but the Urban line itself won't be restricted to M/M stories. Jade's in particular is a paranormal tale as well, though much of that content steers toward paranormal theory than vamps and shifters. One might argue it's more metaphysical than paranormal, and I might agree. I do think, though, it will be nice addition to the line.

As for my contribution? Why, Why, Zed? is still in the works. More than likely it won't be til 2009 before it's out. Dare to Dream will come first, and YYZ - as I've nicknamed my Urban - will contain some Dareville elements, namely a guest appearance or two. YYZ, of course, is the code for Toronto's airport, and the name of the best rock instrumental ever, regardless of what the Grammy folks think.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half-ounce of Green and Black's Organic Maya Gold - a bittersweet dark chocolate (55%) with orange and spices. In my initial taste of this bar, I suspect the cacao content might be a bit higher, but it's difficult to tell with that burst of thick orange that explodes and lingers. The orange seems to enchance the tang of the cacao as well, and it's a welcome after lunch treat to cleanse the palate. There are no bits of anything to be found in this bar, unlike other flavor bars I've sampled, just the smooth fusion of orange (more peel than pulp, the way it tastes).

The taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex. - Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Oh, and an update on the bacon bar: I had another piece and didn't experience any problems. I'm guessing the first reaction was either a gastronomical adjustment or an odd coincidence. Choc on!

New Phaze of the Moon on Monday

Here is what's new at Phaze, eBook erotic romance, this week:

Lockdown - Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont

I've wanted to expand our offerings of yaoi for a while now, particularly stories with cover art that corresponds to the genre. Until this point we had only two yaoi shorts. One was part of our Snuggler line, which received the requisite non-yaoi Snuggler cover, and the other was part of the Phaze Fantasies series. Lockdown is the first of two yaoi shorts we have coming from Gus and Eon so far. It is a very short read but true to the genre as I have read it, so we'll see if we can reach this unique readership. M/M fiction (gay romance for women) is perhaps our best selling genre, and I'll be curious to know how they react to these offerings.

Charlotte's Secret - Marc Nobbs

We have a few male writers at Phaze. I tend to think of them as our underdogs. They write so well, but some have acknowledged the struggle to be heard in a genre dominated by women - readers and authors. Secret, I think, is a rather romantic story that will appeal to erotic romance readers of either gender. I can't recall how this one came to us - it might have been submitted as a Coming Together piece but somehow made its way to the regular calendar. However it got to Phaze, it's here and Charlotte's Secret is open for business.

Spring Training - Alessia Brio and Will Belegon

If you read the predecessor to this story, you'll be familiar with the main cast. However, where Double Header took on a light tone at times and sizzled with unapologetic menage sex and fascinating toys, Spring Training is presented with more serious issues. There is more suspense in this installment, a few scenes of violence, and an ending that implies extra innings will be played. I've asked if there will be more to this series and received a non-committal answer. I suppose if the muses strike Alessia and Will we will see more of Andrea and her men. If not, I know we haven't heard the last of this amazing writing duo.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a miniature square of Ritter Sport Haselnuss, or hazelnut, in 30% milk chocolate. I love hazelnut, particularly in Nutella, and I adore the Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Ritter bar. This bar is all the more sweeter as enhanced by the chopped up hazelnuts (in the dark bar I've tried, the nuts are whole). Being a milk bar, it does have a tendency to melt in the hand much faster, but the texture and creaminess of the chocolate don't suffer for it. A good after lunch treat.

As an aside on the Vosges Bacon Bar, a while after sampling that I got a Ged awful stomachache. Might have been I wasn't used to taking on that radical a flavor combination. Will try it again sooner and hopefully that past unpleasantness wasn't related to enjoying the chocolate.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a sampling of Green and Black's Organic Dark (70%). After a few days of milks and dark milk, I've been jonesing for a taste with bite, and I do enjoy what G&B has to offer. Their straight dark is a sharp, bitter treat that leaves a lasting tang on the palate when held. I have a few three ounce bars bought from the grocery store, though I've seen that smaller sizes can be bought. Just haven't found any myself.

I like the texture of this bar - it is smooth and doesn't immediately come off on your hands if you hold it too long. If you're looking for a dark that isn't too far off the scale, this is a good choice.

Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment. - Unknown

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is the much anticipated Vosges Mo's Bacon Bar - applewood smoked bacon with Alder wood smoked salt enrobed in deep milk chocolate (41% cacao). I had been looking at ordering a collection of Vosges when a chance trip to The Fresh Market revealed a selection at the candy counter. As the store tends to switch inventory often, I'll have to make a quick return trip for the rest of the flavors. Then, I had only enough for one bar, and Vosges had me at bacon.

I love bacon, it's one thing I miss dearly since starting Weight Watchers, and the idea of two favorite foods combined intrigued me. I swore I could smell the bacon through the box, despite the bar being sealed in a foil wrapper.

The texture is dark and smooth, the perforated squares smaller than other bars I've had. There is a faint bacon aroma that remains on the fingers if you hold the chocolate long enough. The taste? It's good. A tiny nibble held on the roof of the mouth releases that smoky, salty bacon flavor that, combined with the sweet of the cacao, makes for a unique treat. It's not a candy for gobbling, mind you, because you would definitely miss the explosion of flavor.
It packs quite a crunch, too. Cut into the bar and check out all the bit of bacony goodness!
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love chocolate, and communists. - Leslie Moak Murray in ‘Murray's Law’ comic strip
Mmmm, bacon. - Homer Simpson

Romantic Times

If it's spring, it must be Pittsburgh. I should be there, but alas I am not. Of course, I had made plans - booked my registration and hotel, secured a table for Phaze at Club RT, and assembled the gorgeous pink rollway bag we're giving away in the raffle. I had hoped to generate some buzz for Dare To Dream and pimp our big Phaze releases: Robin's 39 and Holding...Him, the Coming Together books, and cover girl Bridget's Fascination Street. This was to be a big year for us, the first time we sent books to the Goody Room (Artistically Bound, which is set in Pittsburgh, the timing couldn't have been better) and one of our authors is sitting on the Faery Ball court. Unfortunately, life figured out these plans and decided to intervene.

It's common knowledge that in addition to the 20 jobs I juggle that I am a mom, and usually I have care arranged for these events. This time, though, the stars just didn't align. Mom must stay home with Dad since he's made the transplant list, and they need to be on call. The in-laws have to be elsewhere to tie loose ends on an estate to which they are executors. And the hubby...well, we won't go there. Tyke is three and 2/3 of the way trained, but it's not enough to boost Dad's confidence to be a solo parent, if only for a few days. I tried the Seinfeld logic on him: Thursday and Friday she's at pre-school, so he'd only have the night time then. Saturday, he could get a sitter to help, and Sunday I'll be home. It's not so much four days as it is really twenty minutes. He didn't buy it, so here I am while hundred of other romance authors get to pitch books and rub up against cover models. Sigh.

What's worse, Rush is in Jacksonville tomorrow night, playing there for the first time probably since Moving Pictures or Signals. Had I enough warning, I could have flown down for the weekend. My parents live there, they could have watched Tyke for a few hours. So, I must console myself instead with trying to purchase a second row seat for Bristow. If I can't pitch to Kensington this year, I'm going to sit eye level to that which God blessed Geddy Lee.

Yes, I'm bummed, but I don't blame my family. Things happen, and there is next year. Orlando will be easier to handle since I do have family in Florida willing to help out. We hope to go south stronger than before, and perhaps talk Piers Anthony into doing the Saturday signing under our banner since he's not far away. Honestly, how he could turn down a room full of women is beyond me.

The Philly Book Festival, however, is still on. In the meantime, Phaze has a new giveaway on site, the text of which is below.

Enter Our 2008 RT Giveaway!

This year at the Romantic Times convention in Pittsburgh, Phaze has offered a pink rollway bag filled with all sorts of goodies for one lucky attendee. Signed books, relaxing bath salts, a bottle wine and other's our way of showing appreciation to our readers! If you're attending the convention, be sure to stop by the Phaze table at Club RT and meet your favorite Phaze authors. Help us celebrate the release of Artistically Bound in paperback, which is set in Pittsburgh.

If you aren't going to RT this time around, don't worry. You can still win with our special online RT Giveaway. We have a treasure trove of Phaze goodies to give to one lucky winner, including autographed Phaze books, gourmet chocolate, and an iPod Shuffle containing audio files of Phaze book excerpts, Phaze author podcasts, and songs with titles corresponding to Phaze book titles. The RT hit parade includes:

Spellbound - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Come Together - Beatles (for the CT series)
Fascination Street - Cure
Moondance - Van Morrison
Wicked Game - Chris Isaacs
Cruel to Be Kind - Nick Lowe
Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen (upcoming Phaze title)
Heat Wave - Martha and the Vandellas
Private Dancer - Tina Turner
Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
Dare Me - Pointer Sisters

...and much more!

To enter, simply send an e-mail to us at klively (at) phaze (dot) com with RT GIVEAWAY in the subject header. One winner will be drawn at random, and your information will not be sold or distributed to third parties. Whether you are attending RT or not, you can enter this giveaway. As this giveaway contains material of an adult nature, all entrants must be over the age of 18.

Deadline to enter is April 30, 2008. A Winner will be drawn on May 1. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is one half ounce of Moonstruck's Milk Chocolate Peanut Brittle Bar - I'm officially down to one triangle each of the six bars purchased while at EPICon. This milk bar maintains the same sweet, creamy consistency of the plain bar, yet the light brown surface is speckled with dark fibrous spots, presumably from the tiny grains of brittle within. The cut edge of the bar reveals a few bits, but they are difficult to detect...but not by taste. Each bite produces a satisfying crunch subtly enrobed in sweet chocolate. I'm gonna miss this bar when it's gone.

In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and he saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better. - Unknown

Today's Hot Sauce

Today's hot sauce is Joe Perry's Boneyard Brew, a smoky chipotle lime concoction used on my Pelon's chicken burrito at lunch. This is a good flavored sauce, heated via habeneros with a tang detected by lime and other peppers. The sauce was a good complement to the grilled chicken, and perhaps might taste better on a darker meat. I still prefer Joe's other sauce, the Mango Tango, but Pelon's was out.
Yes, it's Joe Perry of Aerosmith. I suppose when one has enough disposable income, you get into various side businesses. Sammy Hagar has his tequila, the Nuge had his biltong. There's a smokin' casserole recipe in there somewhere.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half-ounce of Moonstruck's Milk Chocolate bar. I love the creamy texture of this confection - the taste is a bit sweeter than Hershey's and melts so lazily on the palate. I'm going to be loathe to finish off these bars - I'm down to one triangle of each except one, which I'll reveal tomorrow to keep the Moonstruck count even. Alas, the one lead I had on bars in this area didn't pan out, so I may have to resort to the Internet to restock.

Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies. - John Q. Tullius.

New Phaze of the Moon on Monday

Here is what's new at Phaze, eBook erotic romance, this week:

A Crown of Stars - L.E. Bryce

Bryce's works are rather unique to the Phaze catalog, and quite popular among our M/M readers. There is a lyrical quality to the prose that stands apart from some of our more category offerings. Description is always lush, and characterization and dialogue impeccable. I could imagine many of these books easily playing on a movie screen. Crown is the sequel to My Sun and Stars, a continuation of the author's Rhodeen epic that extends into a new generation of warriors and lovers. A concluding third book is on the way.

My Deepest Love: Zack - Marie Rochelle

I like Marie's books because she writes about real people, colorblind people who struggle with real issues and try to do what's right despite what society thinks. Zack is the first of a series about the Drace brothers - a close-knit family previously sworn to bachelorhood, but slowly finding their defenses crumbling at the feet of some wonderfully attractive ladies. Zack is written to showcase the first story of Zack and Traci, yet sets up for future stories, so fans of interracial romance should enjoy all of them.

Sacred Spots - Selena Kitt

This is part of our OZ HeatSheets - stories of otherworlds, be they different planets or different states of mind. Spots, you'll find is more contemporary than other titles we'll offer here, but it shouldn't divert the reader from enjoying the short, sizzling story. Selena came to Phaze via the Coming Together series, and will be sticking around for a while with her own style of sophisticated erotic prose.

Enslaving Heaven - Michelle Houston

This is a first for us: a Sapphic, BDSM sci-fi piece. We've done lesbian, we've done BDSM, and we've done science fiction, but not all together. Some might it's a damn sight tastier than chocolate and peanut better! I believe this had been submitted originally for a theme sheet but was contracted with the provision to lengthen the work. The result is a powerful story of one woman's struggle to accept a new role as dominant to the slave she reluctantly purchased. I do hope this title does well; I have a tendency to cheer for the underdog, and while F/F doesn't bring in the sales of M/M, I do believe there is a market for it. We'll be here when the market finds us.

Wednesday we'll have a special release to coincide with RT Pittsburgh.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tonight's Chocolate

Tonight's chocolate was a miniature square of the Ritter Sport "corn crisp" - 30% cacao milk chocolate with corn flakes. I've had other flavors of Ritter before (love love love the dark with hazelnuts), but this one looked intriguing enough to try. I picked up half a dozen assorted squares at a local gourmet sandwich shop, little emergency nibbles for the purse.

This bar was a bit disappointing to me. The chocolate was fine, but I guess I was expecting a bigger corn crunch than the thin, almost undetectable layer of corn flakes that was overpowered by the chocolate. I suppose with bars I must come to expect the little bits are just that. For bigger crunch, I'll have to find the proper bon bon or cluster.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Since I had a points-heavy lunch (fried chicken from a local meat and two, but I did pull off most of the skin - almost), I've opted for half an ounce of the Dagoba Lavender to cleanse the palate. I went shopping yesterday and added to my already bulging stash here at work, and I'd hoped to try something new, but I'd just as soon finish this bar off before breaking into a new one. The last two Moonstrucks on my chocolate schedule were milks, and I wanted something dark to counteract the fried lunch...and make me feel good about something today. :) The lavender tastes more pungent this time around. Maybe breaking the bar has release some of the flavor?

The local organic market had a sale on Endangered Species Bars - picked up a few along with a Vosges Bacon Bar (new to the store, I've been wanting to try it - what luck!) and a Lindt Creation Bar of chocolate, cherry and chili filling. Sounds like an erotic novel set to flavor. More on those as I try them.

Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate. ~Sandra Boynton

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half-ounce of the Moonstruck Ivory Bar, which is technically not chocolate but "white chocolate" which contains no cacao. I don't normally buy white chocolate because it doesn't contain the antioxidants or flavor of its so-called cousins, but as I was in Portland and the Moonstruck display at the a gift shop caught my eye, I thought I should sample all the varieties available. Never let it be said I'm exclusionary when it comes to gourmet treats.

Like most white chocolate, the Moonstruck Ivory Bar has a very sweet taste and creamy texture. It melts like sugary cake frosting in my mouth, and leave a buttery aftertaste. It seems like the kind of confection that could be paired with something, like strawberries or raspberries, to enhance its flavor. Either way, when I placed my next order of Moonstrucks I might grab another bar of this, as it is among the better white chocolates I have sampled.

Edgar Cayce

A most appropriate Thought For the Day from Ed dropped in the inbox today:

Do not worry as to whether you are fat or thin. Worry rather as to whether you use your body, mentally and physically, as an expression of thy ideal. - Edgar Cayce Reading 308-8

I am the typical American woman, forever obsessing about my weight. Before I got pregnant, I had been on track to losing a fair number of pounds, only to see them a few hundred of their cousins come to stay on my thighs for the next three years. I haven't crested forty yet, but there were times I felt much older. My diet was poor, I didn't sleep, and I didn't particularly care what I looked like. It took a visit to my osteopath to kick my lazy ass into gear. When somebody tells you that you could be on dialysis in five years, it's time to do something.

The Weight Watchers, I find, is the best program for me for losing weight. I've tried just about everything else - the shakes, the pills, starving - and nothing else does the trick. Though I haven't stepped on a scale in a while, I can feel the difference it's made. My black jeans, previously tight around the guy, now fit with some wiggle room. I also find I am less likely to order fried food when we go out. My first goal had been to drop twenty before Romantic Times, but unfortunately I've had to cancel that trip. So maybe in 2009 I'll come to the Orlando convention in full fairy clubwear. Half the person I was. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is one ounce of Dagoba Lavender, dark chocolate (59%) with lavender and blueberries. I picked up a variety of Dagoba bars at the local organic grocer. I was there originally to replenish my supply of navel oranges and got distracted. Nothing wrong with that.

The light aroma of lavender was the first thing I sensed on opening the wrapper. Unlike other bars, Dagobas appear to be divided into sticks rather than squares, making it a challenge to divide the bar in fourths. Since I've been good on WW points today, I decided to splurge on half the bar (normally I take a half ounce at a time, I find the allotment satisfying).

I didn't know what to expect here, how well the lavender and chocolate would pair. It's not bad - I sort of feared an aftertaste akin to accidentally swallowing perfume, and though the sensation of lavender lingers in my mouth after each bite, it doesn't distract from the enjoyment of the bar. The blueberries I don't find to be too prevalent a presence. They are intermittent bursts of flavors that explode and quickly fade. I enjoy the texture and flavor of the chocolate, though, and look forward to trying the other three flavors I purchased. Don't know if I'll pick this one up again. Lavender does have its health benefits, but I might just leave it for my hand lotion.

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done. - Anonymous

Dream Dinners

On a message board where I am a regular, the question of the fantasy dinner party was raised. Ten people, living or dead, gathered around your table. I normally don't participate in such discussions, because it always seems after I choose my list another person comes after me with what the crowd perceives as the better choice. I could draw a roster of Nobel winners and honored statesmen, and one person would only have to say "Jesus" and everybody goes "Ooooooh!"

Of course, in some variations of this game you can only picked deceased people, and there follows the inevitable debate on whether or not Jesus is "dead." So I purposely leave Him out of these things. We'll meet up for wings and beer one night.
But, in the interest of interest, here is my list - living or dead. Geddy's not on here because I, ah, other plans for that.

Frida Kahlo - just a fascinating human being

Dorothy Parker - the reason I became a writer

Dick Francis - the reason I became a mystery writer

Andy Warhol - a complex individual who managed to balance his faith with his lifestyle in his own way

Eleanor of Aquitaine - lived an amazing life, being queen of two countries at two different times; she'd kiss and tell

St. Teresa of Avila - her writings had helped me once

John Lennon - always wanted to meet him, and I'll bet everybody else would too.

Betty Short ("The Black Dahlia") - maybe we'd finally get to find out who killed her

James Ellroy - I know he wants to know, too; besides, I've met him and he'd be a cool guest if he and Eleanor don't end up in a fist fight

Groucho Marx - just because

A bowl of ziti, a crate of gin, and I think the cops would be there around 11.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half ounce of Moonstruck's Dark Chocolate (68%) Espresso Bean Bar. Unlike the chile bar, where I only have detected the supplemental flavor in parts throughout the triangular piece of the bar, the deep espresso is felt throughout this treat. The texture of the bar's bottom is stubbled, indicating reasonable sized chunks of bean are present rather than grains. This is a bold taste for a cold day as today, as I walked back to work with a fine mist dissolving on my face. Tonight I'm finishing a proof and formatting of a future Phaze release. More on that later.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a half-ounce of Moonstruck Chocolate's Dark (68%) Chile Variado Bar. As far as chocolate goes, this is no sweet kid's treat, but a kickass confection that leaves a warm feeling on your tongue...and points south. I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about trying this one - often you hear of boutique chocolatiers trying all sorts of nutty (heh) things with chocolate, including combining savory flavors. Chile peppers, to my surprise, make a good pairing. Sweet and spice in one bite. Would work great with a glass of bold red.

“There is good sex and there is bad sex but chocolate is always chocolate.” - unk.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

In Vino Veritas

Tonight's wine is a 2004 Claret from Veritas Vineyards of Central Virginia. We bought the bottle in August, 2007 during a weekend tasting. Hubby had been there once before, but as it was my birthday and we happened to be in Charlotteville for the weekend, we decided to make the trip into Afton. That had been my first vineyard tasting, and by the end I was doing the Virginia reel to make Scarlett O'Hara jealous.

I'm not much of a red drinker, but the Claret is sharp on my palate. It is spicy and possesses a latent warming quality that paired nicely with the mild swiss spread and crackers I had with it. Though I imagine it would go better with a nice steak. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a .45 ounce miniature square of Russell Stover Private Reserve Vanilla Bean Brulee, with 70% Dark Cacao. It is a filled square, a dark chocolate shell enrobing a mild, vanilla middle that is primarily hidden by the deep taste of the chocolate. I don't know if it's because the square is so small and thin that I don't get the vanilla flavor, but what filling there is does seem to temper the sharp tang of cacao I'm used to experiencing.

I almost didn't buy these. I found a bag for sale at Rite-Aid. I normally associate Russell Stover with childhood holidays - we'd visit my grandmother in Louisville for Christmas, and my Aunt Doris always made much of having Russell Stover samplers, as though Whitman was a poor relation (looking at their site, I see Russ and Whit have merged since then, though they still haven't touched Hershey's in domestic sales). Being a kid, I could never tell the difference aside from the white boxes replacing the yellow gingham ones. That, and my uncanny ability to always select the dreaded jelly bon-bon.

So I see Russ has gone upscale with a "Private Reserve" line. I'm thinking, hoo-hoo. Somewhere in Kansas City is this secret vault where the good stash is, and after years of having to choke down syrupy cherry cordials I finally get to eat like the grown-ups. It's pretty good. I'm tempting to try out their other flavors.

Today's chocolate kiss: Russell Stover actually started out in the ice cream business, selling the Eskimo Pie.

Why Food?

Me Want Food?

Why you ask?

I don't really know why I picked the name. It isn't indicative of a writer's blog, yet in some ways it is most appropriate. I caught the catchphrase on an episode of 30 Rock, while flying home from Portland after EPICon. I don't watch the show, but I figured it out in the twenty minutes I did see on the flight. A female character on the show (playing the part of a sketch comedy actress) had gained a bit of weight in the off season, and a writer suggested the "Me Want Food" catchphrase to exploit. It's pretty much predictable from there: actress says no, does her own thing, it flops, she uses the phrase, she's a hit. Indicative of my life? Probably.

Anyway, now you know where the name comes from, here's why I picked it: Me Want Food. Serious, I'm hungry. I'm Sicilian, we were born with utensils in our hands. My first words were, "Pass the salt." I love food, and it loves me back so much it never wants to leave my body.

So in December, after carrying around post-baby weight for three years, I decided it was time to love different kinds of food. I'm on Weight Watchers now, and so far it's proven effective. I had hope to show off a skinnier me at Romantic Times, but it appears I won't be going (more on that).

One advantage to this program is that I don't starve. Me Want Food, and Me Get Food. Only instead of reaching for Little Debbie snacks I'm peeling oranges at my desk. Instead of Buffalo Wings I'm having leaner meats and salads. I eat what I want, only in moderation, and I don't deny myself a few pleasures - case in point, watch for Today's Chocolate.

So if I'm feeling brave, I'll post pictorial progress. No bikinis, so don't get excited.

Best, The Saint

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Today's chocolate is a .5 ounce triangle of Moonstruck Chocolate's Dark Bar, 68% cacao. I like this flavor, sometimes I can detect a spicy tang like a peppery afterthought when it's dissolved completely on my tongue. I'm down to my last triangle of this, and soon I'll have to order more.

Moonstruck is based in Portland, Oregon, which was the site of this year's EPICon convention. Nice city, but I didn't stay long enough to enjoy it. Had a few bottles of Rainier at this great place called Le Bistro Montage (try the SPAM Mac, and be warned, it's a loud place) and met a truck driver who educated me on the life of "Lot Lizards." I'm calling it research and plan to write off that dinner.

I picked up six Moonstruck bars at a gift shop and have been enjoying them a half-ounce at a turn on weekdays. I expect to see my supply depleted soon, but luckily they have a shop in Northern Virginia and I'll refill in July when I visit.

Today's chocolate quote: "I never met a chocolate I didn't like." - Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis)

Edgar Cayce

Hence, will is given to man as he comes into this manifested form that we see in material forces, for the choice. - Edgar Cayce Reading 262-52

I get these in the mail, due to the nature of my non-writing work. All quotes are taken from Cayce's transcribed sessions of his unconscious psychic readings. Some quotes that come through are simple, others paraphrased Biblical passages. Some, like the one above, take a while to understand.

The 262 refers to the person to whom the reading was given, and the 52, I believe, is the session. So, this one person had gone to see Cayce at least 52 times. The majority of Cayce's sessions were done to diagnose illnesses and prescribe holistic suggestions. Some readings were "life readings", where Cayce delved into more metaphysical topics like reincarnation. From what I get out this passage, Cayce affirms the concept of freewill. I seem to recall reading his belief that people would choose to return to Earth in different manifestations (reincarnation), so this might make sense in that respect.

Do I believe in reincarnation? I don't know yet. I've spent the last few years sliding between Catholicism and agnosticism, and there enough questions I need answered before I get that far. I will say I find much the Cayce legacy fascinating. As a romance author, I acknowledge the wealth of material here to use for stories. Many eBook publishers (and to an extent the big guns) offer specialized lines - torrid Tarot, tempting Tarot, zippy Zodiacs, etc. - so I can see the benefit in reading up on this stuff.

In fact, I do have two shorts (Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds) that touch on reincarnation as the theme. Eventually I'll have to write the third story. I used to be so in love with those characters; Hearts was my first full M/M story, written quickly to meet the Phaze Shiver deadline. I had plans for the whole series, which unfortunately fell to the wayside along with other projects. You'll learn why soon.

Best, The Sinner

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today's Chocolate

Six squares of Green and Black's Organic Milk. I like the creamy texture of this one, and the taste is a bit more intense than other milks I've tried. I have been trying to steer from milks of late because of the lack of antioxidants (it's nice to be able to enjoy chocolate and rationalize some nutritional value), but Fresh Market had a sale on G&B bars so I picked one of each one available.

Today's chocolate kiss of wisdom:

"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar in four pieces with your bare hands--and then just eating one piece" - Judith Viorst

I am she, and she is Leigh, and we are all together...

A promotion seminar at Virginia Festival of the Book suggested to authors, rather than spreading oneself too thinly among various social networks, to find the one thing that works for promotion and put everything you have into it. Focus is the key. It makes sense, for some will argue it's better to excel at one thing than do many things in mediocre fashion. As I prepare to regain a foothold in the promo game, I had to think about what worked for me versus what I enjoyed.

I used to enjoy blogging. Quirky clips daily. I'd be found in Google under the most unusual phrases (nude Elimidate comes to mind), and I came to foster a number of online acquaintances as a result. Of course, I experienced the burn-out as well due to a number of events. Childbirth, moving, work, nursing, dieting, editing and publishing. Now that I have managed to bring some of those duties under control, it's time to be me again.

Which me, though? It is not widespread, but it is commonly known among certain circles that I write under two names. There are reasons I had kept it quiet in the past, but recent climates have encouraged me to come out of the writing closet and reveal my two sides (not faces, mind you). I wrote sweet things as one person, spicy as another. In the last two years, one of my personas had to take a backseat while the other tackled duties I hadn't intended for myself. In some ways it was wonderful, in others not. In 2008, I decided both halves needed to strike balance in order for me to remain whole. While I was at it, I needed to let readers know I am still alive, so here I am.

Made it through that last post. Great! It's going to be easier as we move along. Promise.

The Saint