Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phaze Books iPhone App is Live!

Phaze Books is pleased to announce that Apple has approved our smart phone app, and it's now live in the iTunes store for free download!

Now you can carry the latest Phaze Books news with you wherever you go. Our introductory iPhone/iTouch app will update you on new releases in eBook and print, author news and signings, the latest reviews of our titles, and hot excerpts from your favorite Phaze authors!

We are currently working on upgrades to the app to include quick links to purchase eBooks, and downloads of free titles to read directly on your phone. For now, you can download the app for free at the iTunes store, or get more information from App Shopper.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Typing Sideways

I can understand why writers drink. It's a nice release from daily frustrations, and a palatable compensation in the wake of writer's block. Also, as I've come to appreciate since moving to Virginia, the wine tastes so damn good.  In the last few years, hubby and I have taken advantage of our proximity to some of Virginia's better known vineyards to celebrate consecutive five o'clocks, drinking and early and drinking often. Some vintners we've met along the way have called the area Napa East - if that's the case, who wants to go west?

Our occasional touring has inspired me, too, to start a new Dareville novel, to be titled Dare's Destiny. It is set in a winery just outside town limits, and you'll see appearances by old friends. Here I'll reveal a bit of Dare family history, and introduce some other elements that will carry on into other Dareville tales, too. For now, though, I'll continue to "research." This weekend, we enjoyed a barrel tasting at one of our favorite stops - Pollak Vineyards outside of Crozet - and I have to say it was a most enlightening experience. The wine? Divine.

This latest trip prompted me to take stock of our modest "cellar," really a few shelves in our pantry. Two years in a row we've hit the popular Montpelier Wine Festival, and it's doubtful we'll return. By the end of the day everything you drink tastes good, and the next thing you know you've bought two cases of Chardonnay when you're really a Cab Franc drinker. Palate fatigue, it's called, and I'm trying to recover right now.

Anyway, despite the very long list you'll soon see, I am a modest drinker. Maybe two small pours a week, always with food. The hesitance with which I drink may explain the high stock. I can say this, though: it's going to be a fun summer.

I intend to join a wine social network (yep, these exist), but for now you can check out the menu here. I don't know if I'll review wine like I do with the chocolate, maybe when I feel my palate is mature enough to come off as authoritative. The wines are listed by state of origin, winery, and type. I'll post the more anal retentive Excel sheet later.

VA Horton Eclipse
VA Ingelside Sweet Virginia Rose
VA Ingelside Blue Crab Blush
VA Keswick Chardonnay
VA King Family Loreley
VA King Family Michael Shaps Viognier
VA King Family Meritage
VA King Family Chardonnay
VA Lake Anna Lakeside Sunset
VA Lake Anna Gewurztraminer
NC Martin Bay Orchard Peach
NC Martin Merlot
VA Mountain Cove Tinto
VA Oakencroft Cabernet Franc Reserve
VA Pollak Meritage
VA Pollak Cabernet Franc
VA Rebec Autumn Glow
VA Rebec Pinot Noir
VA Rockbridge Lexington and Concord
VA Rockbridge St. Mary's Blanc
FL San Sebastian Blanc du Fleur
FL San Sebastian Port
FL San Sebastian Blanc du Bois
NC Sanctuary Coastal Red
NC Sanctuary Lightkeeper Rose
NC Sanctuary Sweet Serenity
OH Valley Vineyards Vidal Blanc
VA Veritas Monticello Reserve
VA Veritas White Star
VA Veritas Cabernet Franc
VA Veritas Red Star
VA Veritas Viognier
VA White Hall Petit Manseng
VA Wintergreen Thomas Nelson White

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sometimes No is Not the Hardest Word

What's it like to reject a story? Some might think it's like this, like we get a kick out of it:

I don't enjoy rejecting works of submission. It's not fun, and I don't like having to take on the role of Grim Reaper when it's required. I've come to suspect, too, that authors who receive rejections assume that agents and editors are fairly cold-hearted throughout the process. To an extent, that may be true for some. For me, I have to admit the mileage varies. Once in a while I might pick up via a Google alert a blog or tweet from somebody I passed on, remarking how very little my rejection helped - not because I dashed their hopes, but because I didn't go into a pages-long explanation and tell them what they could have done to make the cut.

There's a reason for that, too. Sometimes, not all the time, the work isn't that good. It may be a genre that does well with us, and maybe there's good dialogue and sex, but overall it won't click or it appears it will take a long time to fix grammar and spelling, and revise to make the story show more than tell. I'm not a fan personally of "info-dump" beginnings, where a character's entire life story and half the motivation for the novel is revealed in the first chapter, as though the author wants to clear that with the reader before getting to the interesting parts.

What's an info dump? Read any Danielle Steel novel - she'll have a character jump from a plane on page one, and from two to twenty we're reading about how she graduated from Harvard with the intent of taking over her father's law firm, but tragedy struck when her brother went to Iraq and was killed in friendly fire and blah blah blah, by Chapter Five she's touched safely to the ground. Nothing you'll read beforehand comes into play later on, so why tell us?

For works that are close but no banana, it does hurt to say no. You want to say yes, but instinct kicks in for one reason or the other, and you feel all parties involved are better off this way. These are the examples where I'm tempted to explain why I passed, and what I would do to revise. Why don't I? For one, let's I offer my opinion - the author has received a free critique and is now free to run with it, take my ideas and send her story somewhere else. Yes, there is the chance I would get the resub, but what if I don't? I may have just helped an author get a contract with another house, probably one that once rejected me. Now there's a kick in the ass.

For two, there's fear. Let's say I offer my opinion, and it's not welcomed. The author might think his/her story is fine and dandy as is, and tries another house that snaps it right up. Good for them. I don't think I'd change my mind or eat my heart out if that happened, but it doesn't take much for people to misconstrue words. I do my best to be polite at all times - it doesn't always show onscreen.

Am I right to hold back? Am I wrong? I don't know. I can only provide one opinion of a work. If it's valued, I thank you for holding such high regard for it. If not, well, it's there if you want it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Focus Spelled Backwards Is...

Yeah, I'm in a mood this week. I had opportunity last night to work and I blew it off to watch the glorious train wreck that was the Oscars. I had seen only one Best Pic finalist (UP!) and therefore couldn't speak to which movies deserved to win. My only motivation for watching was to see a woman finally take Best Director. Now that it's done, it feels sort of anti-climatic. I suppose it's because by the time we got to that category, it was next week.

Anyway, now that the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, and Oscars are over, I have about a week to concentrate on writing until the next big event. Focus is my problem, however. I have so many open WIPs that I can't decide what to finish first. I am 30K into Boone and close to 30K into Dead Barchetta - both are long neglected and need to be done this year. However, I can't seem to stop with the smaller projects - the little bursts of sexy that help build my nest egg. I recently rolled over an old 401K into an IRA and can now pay into it more...the temptation to write more is strong, and I need to do it.

So, how to focus? When I worked at my last job, they had a room for meditation. I found that taking 30 minutes a day to sit and collect my thoughts helped immensely. I was able to finish Dare to Dream that way. Unfortunately, I don't get five minutes to think anymore. At home it's up and down, up and down, off the couch to get somebody something. I'd don a French Maid outfit, but it wouldn't look or feel the least bit sexy.

I've learned today, too, that trying to come up with 100 words for a back cover is as, if not more challenging than writing a novel. Alessia Brio asked me to provide the literally last word on Coming Together As One, due in a few weeks. I think I did a pretty good job. You may have to go to EroticAnthology.com to see it better.

This will actually be the second time my words have appeared on a cover. My real name appears somewhere on a book called Leah's Way, a rather sad story about a woman living a normal life that spirals into despair due to a few bad choices. It's somewhat of a morality tale, but these days with the economy I wonder how many of us aren't that far off. Then I have to push myself to keep writing. My royalties pay for groceries and bills now. Still hoping for that turnaround to save more for a rainy day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Celebrate Read an eBook Week with Me!

March 7-13 marks the annual Read an eBook Week, a celebration of digital literature and non-fiction for your Kindle, iTouch, Android, or other specialized reader. Definitely, I couldn't let this time pass without acknowledging eBook awareness and offering some kind of incentive for lovers of quality erotic romance and women's erotica. Starting March 7,  Phaze Books has a number of offers for their titles, plus giveaways for gift certificates, and DLP Books has some good stuff going on, too.
Also in April, three Phaze Books titles will be highlighted for All Romance eBooks' Series Showcase. Look for amazing discounts on the following during specific days: My Deepest Love: Zack by Marie Rochelle on April 6, Pentacles of Magick: the Bonding by Eliza Gayle on April 10, and Truth or Dare by me on April 17. It's all leading up to Earth Day, so there's no better time than now to turn your library green and get into eBooks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

25% Rebate on Phaze Books Titles at All Romance!

Now through March 14th, when you buy any Phaze Books title at All Romance, you'll get a 25% rebate! Phaze Books offers the bulk of my backlist, so this is your chance to stock up! Pick up my most recent M/M release Enter Sandman, or start on the Dareville series with Truth or Dare. Remember, if you haven't bought it yet, it's new to you. With All Romance, you can save big!