Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free Dareville Christmas story!

It is our pleasure to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season, and to thank you for four wonderful years. When Phaze Books launched in late 2004, we had no idea how quickly and how grandly we would grow, and we are grateful to all of you for your continue support. It is our hope to continue offering the best in erotic romance through 2009 and beyond, and we hope you will enjoy this free gift.

Several of our authors have penned holiday-themed “quickies,” sexy flash fictions based on available Phaze titles. So if you’d like to see what some of your favorite characters are doing during the Yule season, grab yourself an egg nog and a plate of cookies and cozy up to his special holiday collection. Click here to download and enjoy!

Peace and blessings,
Kathryn Lively
Publisher, Phaze Books

Included in the collection is "A Daring Kiss," a sexy Dareville freebie!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

When Black Friday comes...

...something something that Donald Fagen sings.

I don't do Black Friday shopping. I realize I could stand to save more money taking advantage of the sales, but I honestly do not like being stuffed in a crowded mall with the rest of the world, all looking for the same ticklish Elmo doll or whatever. As I do not plan to buy much this year, per mutual agreement with the husband, I won't worry about it much. However, if you are type who loves to shop, for books in particular, this is your lucky weekend.

Over at Phaze we've been trying to come up with something unique for a Black Friday sale. We just did a code-generated discount for our birthday, but rather than do that again I decided to discount some old favorites. And since my net time is sporadic this weekend, I set up the sale right now. So you get a head start!

Now through Cyber Monday, check out our Black Friday sale page. We have discounted most of our S HeatSheets and all the Phaze Fantasies volumes, plus a few select titles, including Phaze in Verse. Now is the time to stock up on our HeatSheet backlist, because if you hadn't bought them before, they are new to you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Release - Excitable Gals at Loose ID

Now available from Loose ID: Excitable Gals! Click here to purchase this exciting eBook today!

Leading Lady
Cult TV star Dina Joseph doesn't mind working the sci-fi convention circuit, so long as every day of signing autographs ends with a night of out-of-this-world sex with a well-hung Mission: Jupiter fan. Naturally she's eager to take on two "elves" with phasers set to stunning, but when Kray and Lane reveal they actually are elves--come from an alternate universe to claim the missing link in their triad--Dina must decide between the adoration of many in this world or the eternal passion of two in a different reality.

Excitable
Nobody seems to believe Jenna McCoy's claim that her boss, Dina Joseph, was kidnapped. Private detective Jeremy Vanderkellen couldn't care less, either. He's concerned about becoming Head Wolf of his pack. When he's passed over he threatens to tear Toronto apart, but his superiors have a way of taming the beast. So Jeremy must learn to respect others as a good leader should, and find a love to sustain him. But, can the lovely Jenna be consoled by a selfish, obnoxious man who transforms during the full moon into a vicious, fang-bearing...Chihuahua?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, ménage (m/f/m).

Read an excerpt now!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Me want local food.

When we travel to a new city, we avoid the chain restaurants. Hubby asks the concierge, always, "Tell us where you would eat." Nine times out of ten we enjoy a local hangout that isn't too pretentious or pricey, and we're glad we went. This week I'm not eating out much because I'm staying with family, but it doesn't mean I'm not interested in the local food. I don't necessarily mean farmers' markets or co-ops, but local/regional brands I'm not likely to find back home. While exploring the grocery stores today, I came upon Grippos Chips, a Cincy trademark for nearly a century but I wouldn't know it from having lived on national brands like Lays for most of my life. On the way in, through Kentucky, I made sure to stock up on Ale81, which I think kicks Canada Dry's ass any day of the week. This afternoon, I stopped at Skyline Chili for a 3-way (not what you're thinking), then onto a local market for some Ohio wine: a Lakeside Vineyard red and a Valley Vineyards Vidal Blanc. We'll see how they compare to Virginia's juice soon enough.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Vintage Geddy Lee Friday




Rare live video of "2112" from a '76 concert. Ya'll can have your Hannah Bananas and Cheetah Dolls or whatever.

It would have to happen on a sale

We're having a discount sale at Phaze.com, and the site is wonky. Bleh. Never fear, you can take the back door to the cart site we use:

http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/frontpage=yes

and buy your books that way. Don't forget the code: BIGFOUR to get your 25% discount.

Insomnia sux

Things to do in Virginia Beach at 4AM:

Waffle House - no thanks

Watch funny videos on Youtube - better

Stare at the ceiling - taking up all my energy right now

I had the flu, it kicked my ass. I spent all day Thursday in bed, mustering enough strength to get G from preschool in the afternoon. Though the fever and headache are gone, there's still a bit of nausea and now I can't sleep because my internal clock is fucked. This before I leave to visit family for Thanksgiving. I've lost valuable editing time, and to top it off my Internet wigged out around 9 so I missed the ARe Book Club chat. I feel so awful, I was really looking forward to it. So my apologies to all who showed expecting me to come. I tried for twenty minutes to get the chat room to load.

I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fourteen more years, and Phaze is legal, baby!

Phaze Books is having an anniversary sale! Starting Friday, use the code BIGFOUR when you check out of our cart to get 25% off your order!

I've been remiss in my hostess duties. It's common knowledge around our merry Satellite of Love that Phaze Books is four years old this month. Unfortunately, the exact date of our launch escapes me, but I want to say it was around the middle of the month, maybe later. That month in 2004 we launched three books, among them Truth or Dare. I don't believe I had ever been as excited about a book release as I was with that one.

Not only did Truth mark my first steamy romance release, but this was the first time I helped "open" a house. True, Phaze Books was and remains a part of Mundania Press, but the imprint has always operated separately from the parent company. Mundania had given Phaze a good amount of autonomy from the beginning - it worked in some ways and didn't in others, but four years later we are still here. In a time when a number of eBook houses have opened and closed and others are under scrutiny for various issues, I like to think we've done well for ourselves.

I didn't start out as Phaze's publisher, nor was it ever my intent to take on the job. Things just happen, I believe for a reason, so it's up to me to continue steering this ship. That we had a decent few months in the midst of economic uncertainty is comforting to me, but there are still areas which need work.

At RT Houston, one lady remarked to me that Phaze was a one-woman show. Hardly. We have so many wonderful people working behind the scenes. Four years ago we did have one person taking up the bulk of the work. Now we have an Art Director in charge of several on-call designers, a promotions coordinator who has actually been offered freelance work by outside authors to do their PR, a staff of editors and proofers who love our authors, and the wonderful authors themselves. We have Mundania for support, and of course our readers, without whom we wouldn't still be here.

The face of erotic romance has changed over the last four years. You might think it's an odd thing to say, but if you have followed the trends you will have seen changes in buying and writing patterns. The first erotic romance of the eBook generation I read was Jaid Black's The Empress' New Clothes. Pure alpha male capture seduction. Hulking aliens gods come to Earth to claim their sacred mates, because apparently women on their own planet just don't cut it. The sex is hot and plentiful and keeps us watching the skies at night in wishful thinking. I don't know if Jaid expected to create a sensation when she started the company that sells this book, but it's because of her that many ePubs have embraced the steamier side of fiction. Mundania had been around as long and recognized the market potential, so here we are.

Lately, I find that while capture/bondage still has its audience, there is growing demand for M/M fiction for women. Some authors I've known who wouldn't have touched the genre a few years ago are now trying for a slice of the action. Four years from now, however, the trend could shift to something else. What do we do but keep riding the waves and staying afloat? It's my hope we do better than that.

So here's to four years, two RT Top Picks, three ARIANAs, one EPPIE, three ARe Book of the Month Club picks, several reviewer awards, and some great times. We'll see you in four years, the next four after that, and so on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good clean promo

When I shop the deep discount sales of a store about to close, I find it difficult not to think of those about to lose their jobs. Especially so close to the holidays, to think there are people faced with looking for work in a chaotic time, needing to worry about rent and Christmas. I don't know that retail workers get some kind of severance, but hopefully those I met today at Linens n' Things will be able to bounce back soon.

Much of what was left was marked down 20% and, starving author that I am, I took advantage to pick up a few things for use as promotional items and giveaways. Cleaned up on some nice reed diffusers and scented candles, plus I found some potpourri sachets I plan to use for something. Get some stickers made and pass them out at signings. I'll certainly smell better than Gore Vidal.

Also bought some discounted chocolate for The Stash - two milk Ghirardelli bars, a crisped rice and a hazelnut. The way this day has gone, I'm surprised their both still intact.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

I got yer numbahs right here.

I should be working. I have a long list of edits, stories, and prints to complete, yet part of job is also comprised of watching sales and making notes for the future. Given the rough ride Mr. Dow Jones took us on a while back, one would think my little corner of the business harbors sobering news. Well, yes and no. If you heard the gossip at NJRW, the romance genre did weather the storm, and hopefully a new administration will see an upturn in business all around. However, we can't until January, we must keep moving forward. For me to plow ahead, I occasionally have to look over my shoulder.

Last night I rounded up some numbers, sales by unit for Phaze Books for 2008 through the end of October. By Halloween we had far exceeded the unit (eBook only) sales of 2007, which I expected since we have more product this year. Now, if you want actual numbers, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, if you are interested in eBook publishing and are curious about what is selling, I will do my best to give you an idea.

I am looking at unit sales in a ten-month period for close to 400 titles. Of the top 50 titles for 2008:

  • Six titles were reprints
  • Thirteen titles were published prior to January 1, 2008
  • Fourteen are part of an author's series
  • Thirty-two titles were written by an author with more than one title in the Top 50 (eight authors have multiple titles so far)
  • Twenty are print-length (35K words and longer)
  • Thirty-three are currently available in print or about to be printed
As for percentages:
  • 47% are primarily M/M
  • 24% are interracial, all BW/WM
  • 9% are fantasy
  • 7% are primarily shapeshifter stories
  • 5% are Regency historicals
  • 5% are primarily BDSM
We still have two more months to go, one of which hosts our annual half-off eBook sale, so I expect these numbers to change a bit. In the meantime, what can be learned from this survey?

1) It is possible to find continued success with a reprinted book. If revised or lengthened, and placed with the proper house, you may be able to renew interest in an older title. The Loveswept titles by Janet Evanovich are currently all over romance bookshelves, for example. Just remember, if somebody hasn't read the book, it's new to them.

2) The best method of self-promotion is the next book. Once you have captured your audience, keep them in thrall with a new story. The more you write, the better for your skills and your visibility in a crowded market where the average book sells 500 copies. Rise above the average by becoming prolific.

3) Write a series, and you can boost interest in your backlist. Build a world, build a readership.

Now, what I won't tell you is that writing M/M or Interracial will land you among our bestsellers automatically. As it happens, these are strong genres with us, though not every title we have pubbed has performed well. I should note, too, we continue to have the occasional stand-out performer that fits none of the above categories. Write what you write best, and the sales follow because readers will recognize and recommend the quality.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sexy Stocking Stuffers - Seriously

It's important to think positive as the weather becomes bleak. In the midst of my transition from job to job, I'm witnessing changes within the organization I'm preparing to leave. Happy tidings aren't being spread, unfortunately, and it's indicative of a certain industry: publishing. I've read some recent posts on message boards about layoffs at media and publishing corporations - houses big and small are feeling the pinch, despite word from the NJRW conference (hearing this second hand, mind you) that the romance genre experienced good sales throughout the economic difficulties.

Understandable. Readers want to escape the doom and gloom. I certainly would rather think about sex than a plummeting Dow, yet I realize I also need to watch my pennies. Through all this, too, I still need to sell. How to do it, though? We are in the sunset of an administration, with promises of prosperity on the horizon. Can we wait that long? How soon after Obama takes office will we recover?

Okay, now I'm getting depressed. That wasn't my intent when I started this post. I want to talk about how you can have a good time this holiday season, and help a few talented authors, without breaking the bank. Buy an eBook, and support the romance genre, romance authors, and help the environment. Give a Phaze Books Gift Certificate this season. For as little as one dollar you can bring joy to a fellow romance lover this season with a download code good toward any product on the Phaze cart. Do I sound like Sally Struthers yet?

What I like best about the Phaze Gift Certificates is the variety of available denominations. you can purchase codes good for $1, $2, $4, $5, $6, and $7, plus $10, $15, $20, $25, $50 and $100 if you're a very generous friend of romance. You might be thinking, what is the point of buying such a small denomination...what can be had a buck. You would be surprised.

One dollar gives you a choice of several sale items in our catalog, mostly older titles you might have missed if you've only recently starting shopping at Phaze.com. Two dollars can get you any of our many themed HeatSheets - from the scorching Sparklers to the seasonal Oh! Oh! Oh! stories. Four dollars buys you two HeatSheets, or perhaps one hot novella, like Myc and Shayne's Kitten or Selena Kitt's Blind Date.

For five bucks, well....there is Dare to Dream. And for six did you know you can get any of the other three Dareville novels? Incredible sex, unforgettable characters, and exotic locales, all for mere pennies! And buying an eBook spares a tree, so you're giving the planet an extraordinary gift as well.

I plan to do some escaping myself this holiday vacation. I'm overdue for a long reading session. Will let you know what I pick up from eBook world soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Iowa Stubborn

Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books.

Dirty books!

Chaucer!
Rabelais!
Ballllllllllllllllllllll-zac!

Yes, we got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T, that rhymes with P and that stands for PORN!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Every time I hear about something happening in Iowa I conjure that blasted Music Man movie, particularly the "Iowa Stubborn" number. I haven't been to Iowa in twenty years, and even then we just drove through on the way to someplace else. For all I know people are still picking a little, talking a little, and picking a little more there.

Right now, Brenna Lyons has reported the people of Greene, Iowa are picking and talking about a small publisher to whom they have denied housing, presumably on the basis of the nature of her books. Summarizing part of Brenna's post:

Terri Pray and her husband Sam are part owners of Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions. Terri and Sam were set to buy a house in Greene, Iowa. They had their loan approved, the bid on the house accepted, but Greene has a requirement that they have to have the final sale approved by the town. They weren't approved.

Now, why were they turned down? Terri and Sam, as I noted, are part owners of UTM/FSP. A portion of the business is run out of their home and a part out of the office, as it is with many indie presses. Between the two sides of the company, they have dozens of books out and contracted, everything from straight genre military fiction, horror, and fantasy to erotic romance of all sorts. To be honest, the lion's share of their books aren't even erotic. They have several major gaming franchises, including Honor Harrington gaming. They sell t-shirts and even audio CDs.

ONE book, out of their entire stock, is a M/M erotic romance anthology, titled SACRED BANDS. While the townspeople of Greene, Iowa found the M/F erotic romance perfectly acceptable, they called the M/M erotic romance "gay porn." Some of them further stated (now, mind you...these aren't older people...these are 30-45-year-old people, which makes it all the more deplorable, in my mind) that publishing SACRED BANDS was "morally corrupt" and that choosing to publish the anthology demonstrated "questionable business practices."

They lost their house, because (out of hundreds of items available from their business) one book is M/M erotic romance. The deliberations ended with the comment that Greene, Iowa didn't want to be "known for harboring a publisher of gay porn."

Now, let me assure the fine folks of Greene, Iowa that one homoerotic anthology does not a gay porn empire make. From what I know of Under the Moon, gay romance and homoerotica is not their focus. Assuredly, when I think about gay porn I'm not associating it with any particular locale, much less Iowa. I'm usually thinking of two hot guys humping each other. The backdrop is immaterial. If anything, Iowa is know more for corn, not porn.

Yes. Juicy, sweet, phallic corn. Slathered in creamy butter and served by a shirtless man-god with a six-pack off which I could bounce quarters.

Sorry. Iowa. Right.

Never mind that I find it odd an entire town has to approve of a potential homeowner's purchase, the mere wording of their rejection bothers me. "Harboring a publisher of gay porn" lends an unnecessary seediness to this situation, as though the town were being asked to allow released convicts inside their borders. The Prays are simply people with their own business. They ask only to buy a house, not for all to Greene to buy their products. Regardless of whether or not you like to read books of an explicit nature, it is not illegal to write, publish, or sell erotic works to consenting adults.

Hearing news like this concerns me. I, too, am an author of explicit books. Much of my work is done inside my home. I would certainly hate to be turned away from buying a home or renting office space because of the nature of my books. If you've seen my house, too, you'll know it doesn't look any different from other houses in the neighborhood. There are no twinkle lights shaped like scrotums hanging from the eaves, I host no wild orgies, and my typical work wear is not a corset and fetish heels, but sweatpants and a t-shirt. The imagination aside, my life is pretty boring.

Damn it.

I don't know if the Prays and Greene, Iowa will come to a reconciliation, or if they'll "touch noses for a week and a half and never see eye to eye," but I do hope the Prays will be able to find a community that will welcome them. I hope, too, I can get the score of this frickin' movie out of my head.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Give the gift of Dareville

Just in time for the holidays, you can purchase a signed, personalized copy of any of Leigh Ellwood's available print novels, including the first three Dareville romances and the anthology More, More, More!, featuring Leigh's short, "Daringly Delicious"!

Visit Leigh Ellwood's site today to order. Paypal and Google Checkout accepted.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Choco Nachos - it's what's for dinner, breakfast...

You try walking past the chips display of your local organic grocer without picking up a bag of chocolate-flavored tortilla chips. You read it correctly. Food Should Taste Good has a line of eclectic tortilla delights, including chocolate. Now before you cringe, at least give them a try. If you're expecting the taste of Hershey's in a wafer thin crunch you will be disappointed. The chip retains more of the salty corn flavor a normal chip has - the chocolate is very mild, almost faint, yet just enough to bring a unique nuance to the snack.

I couldn't tell you how to serve chips such as these. Are they meant for savory salsas, or sweet syrups? I suppose you could try both and see which complements the chip's flavor best, but the little one and I seemed to enjoy them right out of the bag.

Nevertheless, I've been racking my brain coming up with a suitable "choco nacho" recipe built around these chips. I wouldn't add too much chocolate so as to bury the saltiness and bold corn taste. I suppose if I had to create something, say, for a party or maybe a book release celebration (would like to have one of those soon for some of our Phaze authors), I might throw something like this together...

One layer of Food Should Taste Good chocolate tortilla chips, spread on a platter
1/2 cup of strawberry preserves "salsa"
1/4 cup of shredded coconut "cheese"
1/4 cup of diced mango
dollop of whipped, not so sour cream

Good stuff.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't fear the reaper, either

Please enjoy this post in the light-hearted spirit in which it was meant to be presented. In communicating with a number of authors in recent weeks, and reading up on certain news in the eBook world, I feel the desire to offer my perspective on some things. The challenge here is to be as objective as possible, but I am certainly not one to judge any motives or endeavors, nor do I wish to. Being a publisher puts me in an unenviable position at times. As eBook houses appear then fold, and promise the moon but deliver only dirt, the actions of many put the rest of us under a microscope. Some will praise you, others will have people believe we're all sitting in a nice lodge in leather wingback chairs, twirling our Snidely Whiplash mustaches and drinking brandy, chuckling over how the royalties of the great unwashed are fueling our BMWs.

I don't have a BMW or a mustache. I don't chuckle over author/ePub misfortunes because I've been there myself. I don't know that I'll be there again. I'm often careful about the words I post in public because it's simple for somebody to misinterpret or twist words to mean different things. By no means am I the perfect publisher, either. It is something at which I continue to work. You might find some authors appreciate what I do. Others might grumble - if they do, I wish they would just tell me what's on their mind. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Still with me? Good. Whether you are an established author or trying for that first contract, I hope you will bear this in mind throughout your journey as a published writer:

Publishers are not clairvoyant: Trust me, if I knew the future I'd be sitting on tons o' lottery winning right now. eBook Publishers, too, primarily work within the realm of the Internet - of the many authors I publish, I think I have only met about 10-20 face to face, a small percentage. All of my communication is done via IM or e-mail, so if an author has an issue and does not use either to contact me, I don't know that there is a problem. If authors let weeks and months pass without saying anything to me, I still don't know there is a problem.

In reading online surveys of ePublishers, some have complained about lack of response. We write to our publisher and receive no answer. It's happened to me, too, which is why I try to answer every mail I receive. Sometimes, too, I respond to an author and get no response. So if you are using Yahoo or Hotmail, check your junk mail often. I do now, only because I had been finding messages from authors and customers there. Nothing is 100%, sometimes those filters let good stuff slip past. If your issue must be resolved, continue to contact your publisher or whomever is in charge of answering your questions. Chances are if you are with an ePub, you are involved on some kind of author-only mailing list. If you are not heard by private message, post to the list that you need to talk.

As for the mind-reading, I'll work on it, but I already have a long list of things to do. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Dares that Bind

Close to 7K words on the latest WIP for Dareville. Far behind the ideal NaNo schedule, but at least work is getting done.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

O....Boy!

Outside today, it appears to be same world in which we have lived for years. There are no more political ads on the radio, and I like that, and I have noticed that after these results and this historic moment, the world continues to chug along. I like that, too. There is serenity in my little blue state, and I'd like to believe that, regardless of which candidate we supported, we all can look toward the future for light and hope.

I keep thinking I would like to do something special with to commemorate Inauguration Day. Although President-elect Obama is identified as an African-American, he is the product of an interracial marriage. Some might think it's no accident that Phaze plans to release both volumes of our anticipated Coming Together: At Last anthologies the same week Obama takes office, but to be truthful we aimed for January 19 because that is the Martin Luther King holiday, and it was from King's famous "I have a dream" speech that we get our books' subtitle. That a part of the dream comes true the next day is inspiring for all people.

So how will we launch these books in a week that celebrates freedom and harmony, coupled with the result of our freedom to vote? Not sure. I'll have to ponder that a bit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's Election Day Chocolate

Today I elected to break into a bar I've had in the stash for a while: the Sharffen Berger 62% Semisweet Dark. Man, what a sweet bar. I don't mean "sweet" as in the Peter Griffinesque "frickin' sweet". Like, tasty sweet. It's a flavor that seems to override the cacao. I'm wondering if I've hung onto this bar too long. It's not tempered much, and the snap was crisp and loud. The aroma I get after the rub is somewhat buttery but not entirely there. Dunno, maybe 62% is not my ideal cacao consistency. I might have to find a dark S-B bar for comparison one day.


Yes, I did vote today. I got lucky and hit a lull at the poll during lunch hour. In and out in five minutes. Tonight I'll claim my free Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's. After that, we'll probably settle back and drink all the wine we bought from our trip down the Heart of Virginia Wine Trail and watch the results. I won't reveal for whom I voted, but I can say it is always an interesting experience. My workplace is also a polling place - not mine. This morning the line to vote was wrapped around the building! Very proud to see it - regardless of your choice, that you would brave this rainy weather to make this important decision gives me hope for the country.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the radio, whoa whoa whoa...

Be sure to log on to Blog Talk Radio tonight at 9:30 PM. Phaze Books publisher Kathryn Lively (moi) will be on to discuss what's hot with Phaze right now and what to expect in the future. To listen in, click on the URL below.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Whats-Hot-In-Romance

No heavy breathing please. I don't have Prince Albert in a can, my refrigerator is running but not moving, and I know who I am voting for, thankyouverymuch.

Life in Dareville: New Covers, New Friends...



Aren't they just freakin' gorgeous!? Truth or Dare and Dare Me are getting print cover makeovers, just in time for the release of the fourth book in the series, and the pending launch of the Dareville site. This is something I had wanted to do for a while. Mind you, it's not that I didn't dislike the original covers - the occasional blog snark aside. Quite the contrary, when I sent Stacey King the ideas for the first two books she gave me what I had envisioned. Though the debate rages on over Poser-like covers versus photography and artwork, I still look back to when I first saw those two books, and I smile.

So why the new look? To be truthful, there were a few reasons. For one, now that Dareville is four novel-length works long, I wanted to bring a continuity to the series that extended to visual presentation. When you look at other series books, you might find they are cut along a similar template: Rita Mae Brown's mysteries have the large cat silhouette, the Kinsey Millhone books have the letters emblazoned huge on their covers, etc. I would like for the Dareville books to be as recognizeable.

Which brings me to the other reason: customer attraction. I've been doing quite a few signings lately. I plan to do more. Over the few years I have worked stores and festival booths, I have noticed one thing about the present Dareville covers: they get quite a reaction. Unfortunately, it isn't always the reaction I want. Erotic romance is hot right now, and the books sell well. One reason I think they sell well is because they can be purchased with discretion. Now, this is just my perception of things, based on experience, but when I display the original Dareville covers on a table I see double-takes, widened eyes, and the occasional embarassed chuckle. What I don't see is anybody coming closer to pick up the book. While a reader of romance may pass my table and show some degree of interest, I wonder if the idea of being seen holding a book with a naked man concealed only by a bass guitar is too much. I mean, what if a string of nuns should happen to walk past?

So wonderful Debi of the Phaze Books art department designed these replacement covers. Both are sexy and tasteful, and hopefully will draw more readers to my table than inspire what I call the "fearful crabwalk" - when a shopper is obviously trying to get away from you lest you whip out the silver lasso. Look for them soon.

Whip it Good!

I'm on a sugar high right now, mainly because of this review of Daringly Delicious (a Top 20 Bestseller from Phaze Books) from Whipped Cream Reviews. Four cherries on top, don't spare the wet nuts (HA! I kill me). If you read the review, you'll notice some interesting points I'd like to clarify. For one, unfortunately, the reviewer mistakenly identifies Dom as Lupe's husband. He is actually her father in law, Robbie is the husband. You'll meet all three in Dare to Dream. You have bought it, right?

Second, the reviewer didn't care much for the character of Lola, calling her the "obligatory office slut." Now, some authors might bristle at that, thinking it a swipe at their characterization abilities. I, however, don't mind. In fact, that was part of the plan. If you read Delicious and Dream and find Lola sort of one-dimensional, it's because she is. She has a one-track mind, sex and lots of it. She doesn't care where or with whom, so long as she gets off. If you don't like her, that's okay. I suppose in the back of my mind I arranged it for her not to be wholly liked, because I would then have the challenge of helping her be redeemed.

It is my intent to see Lola through a transformation, from a spoiled young lady to a focused, selfless lover. When Dare Devils is finished and released, I hope you will see and appreciate the results. Until then, read the other books.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vote for Why, Why, Zed?

Why, Why, Zed? is up for best GLBT short story at the annual Romance Erotic Connection Awards. Lots of Phaze titles up for honors this time, but this is my only finalist. Click here to vote today! Thanks!

Dare to Dream is here!

NOW AVAILABLE FROM PHAZE BOOKS!

Dare to DreamDARE TO DREAM
BOOK FOUR OF DAREVILLE

ORDER TODAY from Phaze Books!

All Romance eBooks Book Club pick!

An act of pure humiliation drives Claire Walker from the big city to her native Dareville, and a tearful reunion with family and friends. Everyone is overjoyed to see the prodigal daughter return, and Claire contemplates making the visit permanent, but there's just one score to settle.

J.J. Marbury never stopped loving his high school sweetheart. Seeing Claire again after nearly fifteen years sets his passion to overdrive, and he's determined to make sure that Claire doesn't leave again.

Can a love lying dormant be revived? Will Claire find the closure she needs in her personal and professional lives so she can start over? Is there room for J.J. in this future? Welcome back to Dareville, the little town that proves Virginia is for romance lovers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Daringly Delicious Halloween Treat

Five Angels for Daringly Delicious! Read all about it!

I'm trying to convince Little One that M&Ms don't make a suitable breakfast. It's not working.