Friday, September 26, 2008
He brings the cake about three minutes in, you might want to scroll through all the "beauty, eh's" and "hosers" first. Just teasing, I like Bob and Doug. Still waiting for that sequel to Strange Brew after 30 years.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Breast milk is not "gross." I breastfed my daughter, albeit only briefly because I had problems doing it, and I personally saw nothing off-putting about it. I find it interesting that some people (men) tend to act squeamish at the prospect of drinking breast milk, when said men probably wouldn't have a problem sucking on a woman's breast during lovemaking. As a romance writer I write plenty of those scenes, and as a publisher I read enough of them in submissions. To date, however, I have yet to receive a submission with such a scene in which a woman is lactating.
I don't know if such a thing qualifies as fetish or squick, but the more I think about it, I wonder why. I recall many years ago reading an erotic story (I think it was published in Yellow Silk or some other journal) where the woman was heavily pregnant. Perhaps it tests the comfort levels of readers and writers to consider "including" a baby in an intimate scene, though a baby is often the end result of passion. Anyway, it's just something that came to mind today.
It also has me thinking about the future of Dareville. As couples pair off, will there be children? It's entirely possible - the four heroines of the main Dareville novels are in their mid-thirties. And although their respective menfolk (save for one) are significantly older, it is not improbable for Brady and Ellie, Cal and Sue, or even Jake and Lauren to reproduce in a future story. When you consider Tony Randall had fathered children in his mid-70s, it wouldn't seem to be an issue here.
In many of the erotic romances I have read, the probability of children is used as a plot device, particularly in fantasies. One series I've read has the main heroes concerned for the future of their civilization, and they must mate with chosen Earth women to propagate their race. In subsequent stories the children are present, then quickly ushered away with the nanny so the lovin' can happen. In other stories, the kids are grown and gone.
I hadn't considered expanding Dareville's population in this manner until now. Part of me has been reluctant to do so for fear it will limit opportunities in future stories. It may seem odd for me to think this way about book characters, but I suppose it's different when you create them. I recall Lynn Johnston talking of all the hate mail she received when she killed off Farley the dog in her comic strip. Sometimes I wonder how people would react to learn of the stork coming to Dareville.
. . . justifying of self is blaming someone else. - Edgar Cayce Reading 2803-2
There is an excuse for everything, and I must admit I've been making up a lot of them lately. Unfortunately, a number of issues I have to deal with can only be resolved with the help of third parties who are not as responsive as I would like for them to be. I won't go into detail because I don't wish to spark rumors (these are molehills over which we can step), but I will say this: if you want the work, be prepared to do it and probably someone else's.
It's a dreary day outside. Almost looks like a hurricane, but it's more of a torrential storm with threats of flooding. Still, not a good day to be out, and it matches my mood a bit. My life feels so cyclical now - domestic strife, tensions, writer's block...all the same problems I had last year are back, right in the same month! I've been on word 3,600 of my mystery novel for months now. I just can't seem to get more written. It's frustrating. Yes, I enjoy the romance and erotica that comes easy to me, but this is a story I've promised to write. I feel as though I'm letting a lot of people down. Bleh.
Well, I suppose it can only get better. Grr...
Monday, September 22, 2008
Since the release of Daringly Delicious, it's taken me a week to update my home page. It's been that nuts around here. In looking at the design, I've decided I hate it again and wish to revise. However, the desire to separate the Dareville books from my other works led me to the decision to hire the services of a web designer to create a "town" website for the series. I have planned to write up a short "Guide to Dareville" which I will use as promo for conferences. Similar to Jaid Black's guide to Trek, only I will try to make it look like an actual tourist guide with photos and everything. The planned website will be a companion.
So, since it's a given that Dareville will continue, I took some time today to finally chart out timelines and character maps for continuity. Remember, when I wrote Truth or Dare I didn't think I'd get this far. Seven titles later, with at least five on the way, and I'm surprised how much information I have been able to retain! For example, check out the timeline. Click to see a larger image:
If you've read Sue Grafton's Kinsey series, you'll note in one of the introductions Sue explains that all the stories run in continuous timeline, rather than one story taking place in a different year. This is how Kinsey is able to get from A to Z without turning 100. So while books were coming out in the 90s, Kinsey was solving crimes in the 80s still. The cases were one right after the other, get it?
So it is with Dareville. The action is continuous, though the books aren't necessarily so. In spot-checking older works, I found I had been vague about specific times, so perhaps there won't be too many continuity issues going forward. If I can just keep everybody's eye and hair color straight I should be fine.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I am always telling myself, I have to do something about the way I eat. To my memory, at least two people have pointed out my eating habits need improvement. My osteopath informed me that if I didn't start drinking more water, I'd be on dialysis in five years. I might look okay on the outside, the inside needs work.
You'd think, since I work at a place dedicated to holistic health, I'd have leaped on the bandwagon sooner. It can be a challenge, though, to eat good stuff on a nutty schedule. With a finicky child and husband who works late, I often take convenience over quality. I'd like to bring them together.
At the Heritage store today I noticed they have expanded their selection of raw foods to include ready made lunches. Awesome Foods is such a perveyor of foods made without sugar alcohols and artificial crap. I decided to pick up their gluten-free, vegan burrito, a spicy flax meal concoction that actually tastes like refried beans. I was actually shocked to check the ingredients to see no beans at all. The organic tomato wrap is a bit chewier than a regular tortilla, but on the whole it made for nice small lunch.
For dessert, I opted not for the raw chocolate I've enjoyed before, but a ginger spice cookie from Gimme Good Stuff. Texture and shape wise, it resembles a cake of packed chewing tobacco, but the taste isn't too bad. Don't expect a gingerbread flavor when biting into this cake-like cookie, but you'll get a hint of dates and raisin which I presume are there to provide the sweetness. It's a heavy snack, too. I couldn't finish mine.
If I cheated at this meal today, it would have to be with the Bossa Nova Acai Juice. I love this stuff, but I don't buy it often because it's damned expensive. I'm surprised gas prices haven't driven up the cost, especially since I see this stuff is bottled in L.A. and not the wild jungles of the Amazon.
So do I feel any better? Too soon to tell just yet, but I would like to experiment with at least one raw meal a day a few times a week to see if it does make a difference. Only obstacle - cost. Everything I bought, plus a bag of flax crackers for later, set me back twenty dollars. Raw is good, but it ain't necessarily cheap.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
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
Riiiiight. Edgar was a man, though. I doubt men have the same hangups about weight as women do. There's an old For Better or For Worse strip that ran during the brief "rerun" period, where John tells Elly it's perfectly acceptable for men to have a little extra...right after he's mentioned how Elly is getting a "little rotund." Of course, in a woman's mind there is rarely such a thing - you're either thin or the size of Rhode Island. Elly then gripes how unfair this world is if "men have love handles and women are just fat."
I started Weight Watchers early this spring and lost ten pounds. I went off and gained it all back. I haven't stepped on a scale in months, but I need only to look in the mirror to see how little progress is beind made there. It's not like I sit at my desk all day and fork down junk, either. There is literally no time to match my many good intentions. I work, I come home and do Phaze stuff in between parenting, and I sleep. That's my life. In the interim I eat and drink 100 oz. of water daily, and that is doing nothing to help.
I've tried to be more accepting of how I look. I wrote Daringly Delicious (hey, it's on sale for $2 from Phaze Books), a BBW romance, as a means of turning my situation into a positive. Yes still in the corner of my conscience is my own John Patterson, needling me about my weight. I really wish Elly had smacked him upside the head in that strip.
And Edgar tells me not to worry about how I look, but how I use myself as an expression of my ideal. What is my ideal, and why is it so damn tired?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Daringly Delicious - Leigh Ellwood
a new Dareville short from Phaze Books
Contemporary, BBW, Romantic Comedy
Only $2 eBook download!
Also available in the BBW print collection,
More, More, More! from Phaze Books
When it comes to chocolate, Tish Richmond delivers the goods. Her home business, Tish's Riches, is booming, and a new contract with Dareville's popular grocery store allows her the opportunity to expand her reach. Happy as she should be for the exposure, Tish longs to stop her waistline from expanding further so love can reach her.
Gorgeous Vinnie comes to Dareville to work for his uncle's limousine company. One look at Tish and he's struck by the sexy, voluptuous entrepreneur. Can he convince Tish that the size of her dishes don't matter to him, and will she let him satisfy his sweet tooth?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Blackmailed By Tawny Taylor
Sometimes freedom can only be gained through captivity…
Elena Caine has secrets. The kind that could devastate her life if they're revealed. And now a selfish bastard is dragging the skeletons out of her closet. She's being blackmailed. There's no way out. Then the quietly seductive Dom Kyler Pierce decides to blackmail her too.
As Kyler and Elena face their common enemy, overpowering sexual heat sizzles between them. They want each other. Need each other. But happiness may be beyond their reach. For this determined Dom and reluctant submissive to have any chance at love, Elena must learn the most essential lesson of Dominance and submission — to trust her Dom. Even when she is on her knees…and her world is tumbling down around her.
Read an excerpt
Genre : BDSM
Book Length: Short Novel
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Here is the full wrap of the upcoming More, More, More print collection of BBW erotic romance, of which Daringly Delicious is one of four wonderful stories. Debi Lewis outdid herself on this cover - I definitely think it's one of the best concept covers we have. I had the idea for what I wanted and she ran with the ball. Though all four stories are available (or will be available) in eBook, I'm sorely tempted to publish an e-version of this so MMM can have a shot at the QUASAR and Covey awards. We have on occasion created e-versions of our print omnibuses, usually when reader demand calls for it. Diet Another Day and Devil's Night were two strong e-titles for Phaze, and I'm hoping lightning strikes again for Daringly Delicious and Christmas Cake. BBW fiction seems to be a strong draw for our readers, and as this is our first collection of solely BBW titles I would like to see this title do well.
Yes, the title comes from the Andrea True Connection song. I'd consulted with Sammie Jo for a while on this one. I have to admit, finding an appropriate title/cover for this collection proved to be a challenge. We'd tested every combination of big, love, and curve until one day this damn song just popped into my head. I think it's a good fit - subtle imagery that defines the overall theme. The larger, hourglass polish bottle is opened, representing that more attention is given to it than the other, smaller bottles. It's red and wild, signifying a woman's willingness to go wild.
I've bought into an RT with All Romance eBooks for December. Hopefully I'll get picked in the book lotto so I can send it in for review. If not, I might try a solo ad to showcase Dare to Dream and this one. I just love this cover. It needs to be seen!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Buddy Rich was once the greatest drummer in the world. Really. He had the chops to live up to the title. This is how I remember him, banging away in a knock-down, drag-out drum battle with Animal. You'd think somebody who might deign to appear on The Muppet Show would be a nice person in real life. I never knew the man, but some who had said he could be affable and pleasant. Others claimed he was a rotten son of a bitch. I've heard second-hand two stories involving Buddy telling a ten-year-old to f*** off. Beyond harsh. Witness this audio for more love taps (NSFW):
Some will argue, too, that Rich's amazing talent brings his overall personality into balance. Superior drumming technique + incredible douchbag = ordinary average guy? I can't say, but reading the negative press got me thinking about behavioral patterns in public figures - in particular romance authors, since that is something with which I'm familiar.
Buddy Rich died in 1987. He was, in his lifetime, spared the Internet and blogs and Youtube. Only in retrospect with clips like the foul-mouthed one above does his reputation come into risk. Imagine had the twain all met at the peak of Rich's career. How much work might the man have lost were word to have spread as quickly as it does now? How many ten-year-old kids would have looked for a new idol, somebody who, at the very worst, would have politely declined offering a prized drumstick? Compare all of this to Britney Spears' lackluster MTV awards performance last year and recall how quickly the criticism overlapped the planet. Had Britney been a night club singer in 1960s New York and delivered the same gaffs, would her career have been as tainted? If Buddy Rich were alive today, would he been an even greater star given our fascination for faulty heroes and the opportunity to mock them with Photoshop and creatively edited videos?
What does this have to do with being a romance author today? Well, if you are one who relies on the Internet heavily to promote yourself, you realize how much of yourself is out there for readers and critics to inspect. The Internet is a fertile ground for nuturing various levels of celebrity within different cultures and cliques. Celebrity is viral now. If you can get five people to forward a URL of a music video by a female impersonator about shoes, and five more people forward it on, you have created a sensation. Thirty years ago it was damn near possible to become a household name without first appearing on any of JUST THREE networks or in a movie. Not so now.
In the romance world thirty years ago, there were the bookstores and Romantic Times magazine. Today we can add a multitude of book bloggers, gossip boards, cover snarkers to that list. Where the Internet broadens avenues for authors to promote, however, it also allows greater opportunity for exploitation--it can be a huge magnifying glass over your greatest weaknesses if you let it. I've heard recently stories of an author waging a smear campaign against a reader who offered a mediocre review of her book on a popular website. Why one review, positive or negative, could cause such a reaction baffles me.
I'm an author, I've had my share of negative reviews. What can I do about it? If there is something in the review I might find helpful, I store it away for later use and try again with the next book. Otherwise I go on with the rest of my life. Reviews are simply that, what one person thinks. Critics have panned Star Wars and Titanic and Robert James Waller, but they haven't impeded their successes. If negativity can do anything, it helps us to grow. When we fall victim to pride and ego, our growth becomes stunted, and in this age of total disclosure via the Internet, the risk of losing an audience increases.
I am known to some degree. I've been to conferences where people I've not met before have come up and said, "Hi, Kat" or "Hi, Leigh." It's a nice feeling. I don't know that I'll reach the global level of stardom like Britney or Buddy, but I do realize this is the time to decide how I will act regardless of whether or not that time comes.
Do I want to be known/remembered as somebody who was courteous to readers and gracious in the face of criticism?
Do I want my name on profanity-laden message board posts, and associated with something negative?
Do I want to be on The Muppet Show? Hell, yeah.
Monday, September 8, 2008
If you are a regular Romance Times attendee/devotee, you'll know the week is filled with elaborately themed costumes parties. People plan a year in advance for these shindigs - fairy wings, heels, makeup, glitter, the works. It is truly the best time of the year for a writer, be he/she an NYT maven, a prolific eBook champ, or an aspiring novelist, to feel like a movie star and have a good time.
That said, I hate costumes. I don't say this to be a spoilsport, or because my self-body image is that far below Bob Uecker's RBI. I am just not a girly-girl dress-up person. I like sweatpants, I like my comfortable T-shirts and black Vans. I don't wear makeup, ever. I do absolutely nothing to my hair. Even if I wanted to, I don't have the skill or patience for it, but I really don't mind.
Also, I'm damn cheap. I get that from my father, but for him the thriftiness could be understood. He was one of twelve kids growing up in post-Depression Kentucky. He shopped at the Goodwill and bought generic everything. Back in the 70s, generic store brands were nothing like they are today, there were no feminine names attached to them like Sara Lee or Linda Lou or Linda Lovelace. If you wanted generic ice cream you bought a white box with black block letters: ICE CREAM. If you weren't so adventurous you'd buy a box that had the flavor listed on it.
Anyway, for the Houston RT, I conceded to one costume, for the fairy ball. That wasn't much of an effort on my part, however. I found nice deep violet Ophelia dress on sale at the Heritage store, and just slipped it on. No wings, no halos, no glitter. At the end of the night I shoved it in my bag and went back to work editing.
This year, there is buzz on one romance board about RT '09's party themes. Seems every year the talk turns to more elaborate costuming - who plans to outdo whom - and who hopes not to commit any fashion faux pas like you know who last year. I really want to be excited this time, but that inherited stingy streak has shot up my spine. Money, money, money. It's going to cost me plenty to drive the 12 hours to Orlando, plus room and registration, plus promo material, plus Saturday Disney tickets. Do I really want to add the expense of costumes on top of that, clothes I may wear only once? I suppose I could be creative and dig through the closet for what I already have. I may end up doing that.
If you haven't heard already, here are the themes for the coming year:
Ellora's Cave Party: Jungle
Me Tarzan, me want food. Heh. I'm curious about this one. How does one dress for the jungle? Is it an African or South American jungle? Will there be EC models in gorilla suits? Open bar with banana daiquiries? More than likely I won't make this party since it's on a Wednesday and I'll be en route to the conference that day, so that's one night saved.
Vampire Ball: Rocky Horror
There was a brief time in college where I actually did enjoy costuming, and that was when I regularly went to see RHPS at the Regency Mall theaters. A group attempted a legitimate "cast" each week. By no means was it as elaborate as the likes of Sam Piro's group in New York, but it seems each show brought a new prop to use. Somebody found a bride of Frankenstein wig, somebody else borrowed his grandmother's wheelchair...eventually it all came together. I see this theme and imagine the ballroom will be filled with 600 Columbias, because everybody wants to be Columbia. Argue for Frank all you want, but admit it. You love that sequined tail coat.
For this, it will be a challenge to be original. I could play it safe and get a tux for the Time Warp, or may I'll dress as Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt (hap shit, will travel!).
Dorchester party: Beach partyNo way in f***ing hell are you getting me into a swimsuit.
Fairy Ball: Seelie and Unseelie
I'll be the posture-pedic one. Can you tell I'm out of ideas? This is what I get for sticking to contemporary fiction - I don't know the lingo and therefore will look like an idiot come party time. Where's that Ophelia dress? I'll just slap some glitter on it.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Me: Cleaning out this drawer. It's full of crap.
Him: Don't throw those away, those are coupons!
Me: For stuff we never buy.
Him: It's money, you're throwing away money.
Me: It's not money if it's for stuff we never buy. We don't buy salad dressing, why do we need salad dressing coupons?
Him: You never know, we might need some.
Me: We never need any. I'm throwing it away.
Him: Why do you want to throw any money? Every time we can get ahead, you throw away a coupon.
Me: I want a divorce.
Him: No, that costs money.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Looks to be a wet one, and unfortunately not in the naughty way. We're supposed to get rain from Hanna, and possibly worse from Ike, but so far it's looks okay outside. I'm just dreading the commute to preschool and back in inclement weather. Would stink, too, for a hurricane to pass over a weekend. It means work doesn't get shut down.
Today's chocolate was a small bar of Endangered Species dark (70%) with orange. I have to admit, this one didn't grab me as much as their deep forest mint bar. The orange flavor, while there, just didn't have the flavorful presence I'd expected after having sampled other varieties from this brand. The bar had a nice snap despite appeared a bit tempered, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. With the pending release of Daringly Delicious in a few weeks, I'd considered a gift of some of these bars, or a pack of New Tree chocolates which come in a nice variety pack. Still deciding, keep an eye on The Romance Studio because I think I will do the contest through them.
If the weather holds up, I'm off to get decorations for the upcoming Collingswood Book Festival in New Jersey, first weekend of October. Phaze has a table and a tent, just need to make it look attractive. Some titles will be discounted (a few of mine), and we'll be offering plenty of candy so stop by if you're around.
What else? Not too much going on, just glad to be home for a weekend for once, even if a storm is coming.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
It breaks immediately, with a satisfying snap, to the aroma of ginger. This is a dark bar (55%) with wasabi, black sesame seeds, and ginger. Very oriental in taste, smooth but for the occasional seed bump (haha). The wasabi comes as a mild finish, so don't expect to gasp for water after this treat. The spiciness of the flavors, which complement each other well in sushi, enhance the slight sweetness of the chocolate. Were this a high percentage of cacao, I'd wonder if the combination would work. Not sure what wine should pair with one, maybe a bold red with peppery overtones.
I need to think of a chocolate gift to give away when Daringly Delicious is released. Something beside Lindt truffles, which I do all the time. Don't know how a wasabi bar would work. :)
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I am cursed when it comes to the B-52's - they and I are clearly never destined to cross paths. When I was a gawky kid in Jacksonville, Florida, they were an ultra-cool band in Athens, Georgia. When I lived in Athens, they were anywhere else. Three times I've had opportunities to see them live, and three times some fickle of finger of fate poked me, and not in the fun way. This weekend they played the American Festival of Music here at the beach. Where was I? Atlanta. Feh.
But I do like this new album. I find it very reminiscent of their older work, maybe a heavier Whammy and a definite improvement from Good Stuff. I haven't read any reviews for Funplex, so I'm not sure if there's been criticism that perhaps the band hasn't "grown" by offering a different sound more compatible with age. I say, who cares? Sure, some of their songs are veiled social commentary (Channel Z), but this is not U2. You think of the B-52's, you think about having a good time. I'm glad the good times are back.
If I could just get to an actual good time where the band is.