Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Top Reads of 2011

Seeing as how the 2011 Top Read lists are popping up around the blogosphere, I have decided to offer one of my own. This year, I set a goal to read 60 books, and have succeeded in that goal. In looking at the books I've read this year, it appears not many were published in 2011. There are a few late 2010s, yes, and I know some bloggers will include those, but I would prefer to reveal a true 2011 Best Reads.

I should warn you, it's rare that a book will make me go ZOMGWTFBBQFDIC mustmakebabieswithit. It didn't really happen this year, but there are a few books below I would recommend. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, which is why the short list is NF heavy.

Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock and Roll by Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins - This is actually a revised edition, put out in 2011. It was new to me, though, and as I have an interest in rock music history I thought Rockin' would appeal. Indeed, it's a thorough and entertaining history of Sun Records and their many imitators in the days of jazz and rockabilly, and the beginnings of rock and roll. Read my complete review here.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister - This came recommended by a friend, who is a friend of the author. If you're into magic realism, you might find this one interesting. It's similar to the story in Sliding Doors, only the main character knows there is a parallel universe and she can jump from one life to the next at various times. Trippy.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher - I will read anything Carrie writes, I call her an influence. Shockaholic is a slim book, but I think it's better than Wishful Drinking. I think this book is more cohesive and the stories interest me more because I was familiar with much of the territory covered in Drinking. If you want a good companion to this book, rent her HBO special.

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke - We all love Betty White, yes, but who doesn't love some Dick? (sorry) I suppose I am a bit old school, I love the classic shows like DVD's first series, and the mystery lover in me got caught up in Diagnosis Murder - I was probably their youngest viewer. Therefore, it's natural I'd want to read Dick's memoirs. I will say, though, you would expect a guy who will only make movies his children/grandchildren could watch couldn't possibly reveal any skeletons, but you'll be surprised here. It reads as a rather honest story.

Update on January-February Guest Blogging

December was busy blog-wise, but I wanted to remind everybody of what I have going on early next year. Some things happen here, others elsewhere. I hope through December I took care of getting everybody's prizes sent out. Will have to check as I've just come back from vacation.

1/4/12 - Come back here for a rockin' New Year's Blog Hop stop.

1/7/12 through 1/21/12 is the 2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event. I have contributed a post to the party, but I'm not sure when it goes up. You should visit every day, though.

1/30/12 - I am a guest authors at Guys Like Romance, Too!

2/13 - 2/17/12 - The ODD Tour, promoting my upcoming M/M contemporary.

February 13: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
February 14: Erotica For All
February 15: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog
February 16: Roz Lee
February 17: Immortality and Beyond
2/25/12 - I'll be a guest at Rawiya's blog.

I think that's everybody. See you around!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Toast to Champagne

If you hang around here, you know that Hubby and I own a fair share of wine. Truth be told, we could open a wine shop with our stash, but right now we're on the hunt for a nice bottle of bubbly for New Year's. Wine.com is a good place to try (and they have some Virginia stuff) if you're looking. In the meantime, here's a bit of champagne history to go with that toast:

wine.com infographic
Brought To By Wine.com, Purveyors of Fine Wine and Champagne

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Blog - Minnette Meador

Me Want Food welcomes guest blogger Minnette Meador! Please comment on today's post to be entered in her daily and overall blog tour drawings.

Today's blog prize is: a box of See's truffles! Mmmm.

Minnette will also be giving away a small Kindle ($79) plus a Portland Tote filled with goodies to one randomly drawn commenter for the entire blog tour. She will do the drawing herself for the daily winners. The Kindle and tote bag are limited to US and Canada only; if you're an international winner, an Amazon GC will be substituted.

PLEASE NOTE: Any reader who sends their name and address to Minnette will be sent a stack of signed swag. Just drop her a note at : mmeador at minnettemeador dot com.


Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thanks so much for inviting me over today! What a fabulous blog…

The Belle Stalker is now available at Amazon on their Kindle, Barnes & Noble on their Nook, and all other eBook formats. Here’s a blurb:

THE BELLE STALKER
an urban fantasy thriller
by Minnette Meador

For a year, Belle Stark has struggled to conquer fears plaguing her since being attacked by a maniac who continues to roam free and the murder of her father. And she nearly succeeds, until she discovers her lover's murdered body spread over the furniture, making Belle a prime suspect. Certain her attacker is to blame, she seeks help from her ex-husband, homicide detective Mike Cranston, the one person she swore she would never let back into her life, or heart. In their hunt for answers, the two uncover more than a lunatic: a supernatural underworld hidden beneath the tall skyscrapers of the city and a secret that could kill them both. Faced with a terrible choice, Belle surrenders herself to the hands of a monster and Mike must solve an ancient mystery before it's too late to save her...

Of your backlist/WIPs, which would you say was the easiest to write? The most challenging? Why?

I think that in a lot of ways, The Gladiator Prince was the easiest to write. The story line was very solid for me from the beginning. The hardest one to write was The Edge of Honor. It was my very first sequel and I had to do a lot of research and planning for it. I loved the way it turned out, but there was a ton of time that went into this book.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I own several computer e-readers, but I LOVE my Kindle. I got it for Christmas last year and I already have around 100 books on it. I still read paperbacks, but the Kindle makes it so easy to read plus I listen to music on it at the same time. I think that’s why I like to give these as prizes. I think everyone should have one.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

I have three books coming out next year; Haunted Hearts (book II in the Ghost series); The Egyptian Pirate (book IV in the Centurion series); and Phantom Hearts (book III in the Ghost Series. For blurbs visit: http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com/p/books-to-come.html - In addition, I’m working on a sci-fi, a ghost story, and another paranormal. I’m an addict… what can I say?

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

My website is being redesigned as we speak, so I’ve been using my blog exclusively for update: http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com – There are lots of posts about books, guest authors, and even some surprises. Once this blog it over, I’m actually going to be doing a bit of an on-line autobiography. Never done that before, but it should be fun!

Desert Island quiz: you can only bring one album, one DVD set for your favorite TV show, and one movie. What are they?

CD: Mixed recording of Celtic Woman, Josh Groban, Imogene Heap, and Technoshark
DVD Set: Firefly
Movie: Constantine

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. The first 100 pages go into a LOT of back-story, so it was a little hard to get into at first, but his writing is good enough that it keeps your interest, then BANG! The book takes off. It is a wonderful story in its own right, but Salander is an amazing character and very original. The combination of the two main characters is brilliant, though the end was not very satisfying… though I suspect it translates into the next book. All in all an excellent read and I can’t wait to see the movie. Hope they get it right...


Buy the Book

Audio Excerpt
Written Excerpt
Blog URL

RESPLENDENCE PUBLISHING (all eFormats except Kindle & Nook)

AMAZON DIRECT LINK

BARNES & NOBLE DIRECT (Nook)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Immoral Views: an Erotic Anthology


Me Want Food is happy to help fellow erotic authors promote their latest release! Check out Immoral Views!

Immoral Views is a deliciously dissolute anthology of voyeurism!

Sweetmeats Press proudly presents FIVE titillating tales from erotica's sultriest mistresses!

In THE CIRCUS, the line is blurred between spectator and performer in a theatre of pleasure and pain!

Then, adventurous Izzy searches two continents for her perfectly perverted Prince Charming in INSIDE LOOKING OUT.

In ALLOTTED VIEWS a nosey gardener is treated to a raunchy ritual through her bedroom window.

PAINTED PUSSYCAT sees an innocent student welcomed into the Circle of Ink where tattoos, bondage and exhibitionism are all part of her initiation.

And finally, a young policeman risks his reputation and his job for the adrenaline rush of sex alfresco in CAUGHT IN THE ACT!

It may not be polite to stare.....but it's certainly a lot of fun. Slip inside these pages to celebrate your secret voyeur, and it will be our perverse pleasure to share our Immoral Views with you!

Edited by Kojo Black, and containing stories from Kay Jaybee, Lexie Bay, K D Grace, Rebecca Bond and Lucy Felthouse. Illustrations by Florian Meacci are only available in paperback editions, and eBook edition from Waterstone's.

Available from: 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lost

This guest post from Hong Alexander

I have been so sad since one of my favorite shows, Lost, went off the air. I used to watch it every week on our Expert Satellite. A group of friends would come to my house and we would make some food, chat and watch all the new episodes. Of course, once the episode comes on, there is not much talking. We wanted to make sure we heard everything that happened. We would talk a bit when the commercials came on. Every episode there more questions were proposed than answered. That can be frustrated sometimes, but for us, it was really enjoyable. It sounds silly, but it was really cool to watch every season that way. Every week, someone would make a different dish and bring it for all of us to share. Since then, we all have hung out, but we miss the show! It was an excuse to get together, but it was also just a great show. For the finale, we actually went to a local theater and watched it on the big screen. That may have been the highlight of all the seasons we watched.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Welcome to the Jingle Bell Hop!


If you didn't get here through the Jingle Bell Blog Hop site, CLICK HERE for the list!

Thanks for stopping by! Leave your comment below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire for the whole blog hop, plus a $10 GC from All Romance eBooks from me!

If you've come this way via the Jingle Bell Hop, welcome! Hope you've had enjoyable hop experience so far. I know many of the authors are doing stories related to the 12 Days of Christmas, but I'm taking a different tack. Normally, I'd jump at the chance, but having recently finished NaNoWrimo wiped me out. So, I am in recovery mode right now, self-medicating with chocolate.

Yes, what's Christmas without chocolate? For me, it's not just a snack - it's a way of life. I try to have just a little bit a day, particularly the dark variety because it's supposed to be better for you. If anybody catches me with a Hershey's Special Dark, I can simply explain that I'm getting a dose of antioxidants. It's not a complete lie.

If I had to choose my all-time chocolate Top Ten, it wouldn't take long to do. There are so many wonderful chocolatiers out there, and if you're in the mood for something artisan and unique I heartily suggest the following (in no particular order):

Patric Chocolate - Made in the St. Louis area, a one-man operation basically. All the chocolate is single-origin and tastes clean. Amazing stuff!

Vosges - They make the famous Bacon Bar. Yes, you have to try it to believe it. They excel in mixing the sweet and savory.

Waialua Estate - Chocolate grown in Hawaii on the Dole plantation. You can actually taste notes of pineapple in it!

Moonstruck - Organic producer out of Oregon. Creamy milk bars and a spicy cayenne bar that I adore.

Green and Blacks - This is a more common organic brand. I like the dark varieties and the ginger.

Ritter Sport - Oh, those thick waffle-shaped squares! I love the marizpan bar and the one with corn flakes in it.

Lake Champlain - This chocolatier mainly does filled bars. There is a nice rum caramel one I get once in a full moon.

Dagoba - Dagoba bars are fairly common at health and gourmet stores. There is a nice variety everything from chai to lavender.

Equal Exchange - I love their darks, very rich and smooth.

Chocopologie - Burnt. Caramel. With. Hawaiian. Sea. Salt. That is all.

So that should get me through New Year's. Heh. What's your favorite?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blog Hopping for the Holidays

A while back I mentioned that I intended to cut back on book events and fairs - not because I don't enjoy doing them, but the expense is too much to handle at present. Plus, I have three big trips planned for 2012 (Florida, Europe, and California), so I need to save my pennies. Therefore, I'm making up for it by embarking on a number of blog hops and tours through the rest of the year.

So if you want to win some free books and other cool prizes, save the following dates. Some events happen here, others elsewhere.

12/9 - I'm participating in the JustRomance.Me Jingle Bell Blog Hop. Stop by and comment for some cool prizes!

12/18 - I'll be a guest author posting on Cassandra Carr's Facebook page for the day.

12/19 - 23 TRS Parties is having their annual Christmas blowout and I'll be there talking about Christmas and new releases.

12/21 @ 2PM - Long and Short Reviews is doing a Stuff Your Stocking day and I have a guest post!

1/4/12 - Come back here for a rockin' New Year's Blog Hop stop.

1/30/12 - I am a guest authors at Guys Like Romance, Too!

2/13 - 2/17/12 - The ODD Tour, promoting my upcoming M/M contemporary.

February 13: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
February 14: Erotica For All
February 15: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog
February 16: Roz Lee
February 17: Immortality and Beyond
2/25/12 - I'll be a guest at Rawiya's blog.

I think that's everybody. See you around!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here We Go a Caroling

We have one radio station in town that's played nothing but Christmas music, since well before Thanksgiving. I do enjoy the occasional holiday ditty, though I find some songs are more fun, and just plain weirder, than others. Already I've had to explain to the little one that it's not Jason Segel singing the 12 Days of Christmas with the Muppets:


...and now the just plain weird.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Guest Blog - Christine Young

Me Want Food welcomes Christine Young! Christine is giving away the following prizes to readers who comment on her blog tour:

* a $50.00 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter for the blog tour.
* a Clan MacPherson book mark awarded at each stop to one randomly drawn commenter.
* Antique Gold Double Thistle Broche for the blog host with the most comments (excluding Christine's and their own).

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Highland Honor is the first in a three part series about the McPherson clan. The first book is all about Collin "Hawke" McPherson. Hawke falls in love with the daughter of his hated enemy, Lord James Whitcomb. He has sought revenge against this man for years and now he has the chance, but…Well, a man can really find vengeance with the woman he is falling in love with. So he vows to protect her from all harm, including her evil stepbrother. He discovers along the way this is a bigger challenge than he could have ever imagined.This book will be followed by: Highland Magic and Highland Song.

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?

I have no set schedule. I am a morning person and if I'm going to get anything accomplished it has to happen before noon.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

I used to consider myself a panster but now I'm a bit of both. I do extensive characterization and I plot every scene meticulously. However sometimes the characters take over and write their own version as they are doing now in my April Fools anthology.

Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I am definitely all over the map. My first published books were Western Historical Romances but since then I embarked on my Highland series as well as starting a Regency series. My favorite genre is whatever I'm working on at the moment.

Of your backlist/WIPs, which would you say was the easiest to write? The most challenging? Why?

Safari Moon was definitely the easiest to write. It is my only contemporary romance. I didn't have to worry about idioms that weren't used at the time and I didn't have to do as much research.
The Regency books are the most challenging. There are so many rules of etiquette, places where only certain people could go and the evil trenches below the streets of London where all sorts of things went on. An interesting time period and one with so many possibilities.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I have had a kindle for almost a year now. I love it. I can stick it in my purse and I have as many books to read as I want. The e-reader is great for traveling.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

I have to finish my April Fools Anthology. I have a chapter and a half left so should finish by the end of November. After that I plan on finishing my Regency series.

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

I actually have 3 blogs, 2 of which I keep updated. The third blog was started to promote my regency series but I haven't been writing on that one. I keep getting sidetracked.

They are:

My personal blog: http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com

One I share with three other writers: http://www.roguesangels.blogspot.com

The blog for my regency series: http://aidansmisadventures.blogspot.com

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

At the moment I am reading A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin. The book is different from what I usually read but very interesting. The writing style is unique and I have learned how POV cannot only create intensity of a story but can sway a readers mind to differing opinions about characters.

Who are your favorite authors in your primary genre?

The first historical romance I ever read was given to me by my-mother-in-law. It was written by Heather Graham. I will always be a fan of hers.

~*~

Author Bio: Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. She is the author of 10 published romance books and 2 novellas. Christine is a retired high school math teacher. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

About the Book

Willfully stubborn, innocently courageous, Callie Whitcomb braves a journey through the treacherous highlands to the MacPherson castle. Callie flees from an unwanted marriage as well as her ruthless half brother. Naively she believes Colin MacPherson, the head of the clan, is loyal to her father and will give her sanctuary, protecting her from the vile plans that have been made for her.
As hard and as unyielding as the winter storms that sweep through the countryside, Colin is irresistibly drawn to the impetuous beauty who has magically appeared on his doorsteps. Despite his vows of revenge against her father, she stirs his passion as well as his sense of justice...but to love her would violate all his vows of revenge.

Excerpt

"You must learn not to shy away when I touch you." Once again, he spoke softly, his tone meant to seduce and conquer. Conquer. He wondered at that, openly marveled at the sweet possibility and the enduring promise.

"Lady Callie would not willingly surrender to anyone, least of all Colin MacPherson. No, now that she knew most of the story, she would fight him in her own way, subtly and artfully. She would flirt and dance attendance upon him when they were surrounded by people she needed to enchant, but when they were alone she would lift her chin and dismiss him silently.

He would never understand what motivated her.

All the loathing he felt for her - for her father and her family remained - still...

He picked up her hand in his and studied her long, delicate fingers. Hands that had never seen a day's hard work. Hands that had pursued the finer arts, stitchery perhaps. He knew so little about Callie Whitcomb and what he now planned would weld them together for eternity.

This could only result in heartache for both of them. And yet...

Her face now framed by his hands, he traced her jaw line, marveled at the softness.

"Hawke," she whispered his name and the sound was bittersweet.

"Nay, do not try to figure out why we have been thrust together. Do not try to understand what I am about to ask of you for you will not be able to make sense of that which I am about to tell you."

"I - " she began.

"Hush," he lowered his lips to hers, and brushed them softly with his own. He lingered upon the lush ripeness beneath his mouth, he feathered kisses - light kisses - where he would have liked to delve deeper and taste all that was Lady Callie Whitchomb.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Blog - Lori Toland

Me Want Food welcomes guest author Lori Toland! Lori is giving away a choice of a $25 GC to either Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks or Loose Id to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so be sure to comment on this post! To comment on other posts and increase your chances of winning, click here for other stops on Lori's tour.

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thanks for having me by! :)

I’m so excited for Soul Seduction to finally be out. Ashlee is a nurse by day and a demon slayer by night (hmm, like I’m a CEO by day and a demon slayer… I mean writer, by night) and fighting demons is at the top of her to-do list until she meets her sexy neighbor, Luke Byrne. Even though he is human, she can't stop dreaming about his buff body and sexy grin, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

Her world is turned upside down when Luke follows her one night but instead of being afraid, he is only more determined to stand beside her and fight. Ashlee knows she needs to keep her distance from Luke, not just to protect her virginity but her heart as well. But Luke may be the only one who can save her from the night, and her dreams.

Did you have to do a lot of research to complete this work?

I did research a lot of different things for this story. Some things I used from my experiences, like visiting Liverpool, England, which I highly recommend. My husband was born there, even though he grew up north of London. The upscale shopping in Southport is not to be missed but there is so much more to the city than most people think.

Most of my research was of the catacombs. Even though I don’t describe them too much, I had to map out where they were and how far they were from Ashlee’s flat. I also researched swords and weaponry demon slayers would have and what made their swords different from average, everyday swords.

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?

Well, I work a day job as a CEO. Since I’m the owner as well, no one tells me I can’t take an hour off to write. Of course, this extends my schedule and makes a longer day so it’s a catch 22. But I usually get up, have a coffee while I read my e-mail. If no screaming emergencies, I tend to write. Then I have lunch, do errands and come back home. I often take my laptop with me so if I have a few minutes, I can stop at a coffee shop.

I get a couple days a week like this. The rest of the time I’m running around with my hair on fire, trying to take care of problems in the company, doing deliveries, meeting with my accountant. I could go on, but my professional life is kind of boring (that’s why my editor makes me cut those scenes when I wax poetic about business in my books).

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

I’m proud to be a plotser(a strange hybrid of both). I love plotting everything in my books but I know when to let the characters take over for me. I did that recently with The Long Con, my next book under contract from Loose Id. I knew there would be a happily ever after, even if it killed me, but I had no idea how I was going to get there. I really enjoyed the journey.

With Soul Seduction however, my characters stayed on my plot track pretty well. Except Luke ended up in glasses. *drool*

Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I’ve been writing m/m contemporary since I started. I really enjoy that but I’ve kind of been bitten by the action bug. I love writing the adrenaline rush, where your heart is racing and the bad guys are chasing you and RUN RUN RUN!

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I love my e-readers. I’m a tech junkie so I tend to buy new and shiny gadgets. I have a Kindle DX. My husband loves that so he can read the papers from the UK, especially if there is a big scandal going on there. I also have an iPad and iPhone 4S with the Books app and Kindle app as well. I have an autoimmune disorder that attacks my joints so holding paper books is hard. I haven’t bought a paperback in two years (not counting freebies)

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

Currently I’m working on my next release from Loose Id and my m/m fans will be happy to hear I’m returning back to the genre for this book. I’m also sketching out a sequel to Soul Seduction, where we return to Ashlee and Luke.

Last but definitely not the least, I’m also working on the Replacement Guitarist sequel and I’m planning a huge surprise. But I’m not telling you what it is. You’ll have to wait and see.

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?

Absolutely! Stop by my website www.loritoland.com and check me out. I’m also loritoland on twitter and on Facebook www.facebook.com/lori.toland

Who are your favorite authors in your primary genre?

In the m/m genre, I adore Mary Calmes. She is one of my all-time favorite of any genre. Her characters are amazing and her plots even more so. And Amy Lane. No one does angst like her. I have to mentally prepare myself for her books but her writing is beautiful, like her one true love is the English language.

In the m/f genre, I love Richelle Mead, LJ Smith. I read The Vampire Diaries when they came out back in the early 90s. I also love Evangeline Anderson and Laurann Dohner is one helluva hot read! :)

Thanks for having me by! :)

About Lori

CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

http://loritoland.com/

http://loritoland.livejournal.com/

About the Book

Ashlee Bennett has her priorities straight. Fighting demons is at the top of the list until she meets her sexy neighbor, Luke Byrne. Even though he is human, she can't stop dreaming about his buff body and sexy grin, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

Her world is turned upside down when Luke follows her one night but instead of being afraid, he is only more determined to stand beside her and fight. Ashlee knows she needs to keep her distance from Luke, not just to protect her virginity but her heart as well. But Luke may be the only one who can save her from the night, and her dreams.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNo and Contest Updates

Oh, it's good to be home. This Thanksgiving weekend, as many others spent with family, happened at the in-laws. There, WiFi is but a dream, and I must rely upon dial-up to stay in touch with the rest of the world. You heard me - it's not exactly the Third World, but it's very rural. Some of us may consider it a dream to go off the grid - trust me, I know I would. There are times I wish I could cut off the wires and wireless and get back to nature. The holiday season is very busy for an author, though, and I've done quite a bit of catching up since I've been home.

First off, let me congratulate the following recent contest winners:
  • Super Coupon Girl won the ARe gift card drawing.
  • Emmett won the five Phaze Books downloads from the 5th anniversary party for Elisa Rolle's blog.
  • C.W. won the Kindle Fire from the Black Friday blog hop, plus two downloads from me.
  • J.M. won a free download from my backlist from the TRS Thanksgiving party.
Is that everybody? I hope so.

So, on to NaNoWrimo. Having the extended downtime for the holiday gave me plenty of time to write. Limited Internet access = less time to fool around online, so I am happy to say I got a fair amount of work done on my three major works in progress. I'll remind you once again: I did not sign up for the official NaNoWriMo project this year, as I wished only to track my progress writing 50K words, not necessarily for one novel. I find this is an exercise I would like to take into December as I continue to work on books I want to finish before next year. We'll see.

So here is the last week's tally:

Pure Bliss: This is the follow up to Sheer Bliss, my new paranormal series. The target count for this work is 20K, roughly the same length as the first work, with the intention to write one or two more stories for a later omnibus print. I started this after finishing one of my projects.

Week One Total - N/A
Week Two Total - N/A
Week Three Total - 3060 words
Week Four Total - 2592 words

Act Daring: This is my latest Dareville WIP - an M/M set in the Dareville universe but not necessarily in the time frame of the Big 4 books (Truth or Dare through Dare to Dream). I'll have more details later, but I will note that I had well over 25K of this book written when I started NaNo. It is my intention to see this to completion as a full-length novel, which would be the first since Boone.

Week One Total - 8298 words
Week Two Total - 7640 words
Week Three Total - 4617 words
Week Four Total - 9157 words

Project Blues Brothers: This work will be carried over to December's NaNo. With the other projects so far along, I will finish at least one of them before moving forward on this one.

Rock Til You Drop: This is the follow-up to another non-Leigh novel, Dead Barchetta. My sleuth Lerxst Johnston is getting into trouble again.

Week One Total - 2652 words
Week Two Total - 6145 words
Week Three Total - 4365 words
Week Four Total - 5375 words

GRAND TOTAL - 60172 WORDS over all projects

WEEK ONE: 14397 WORDS
WEEK TWO: 15733 WORDS
WEEK THREE: 13818 WORDS
WEEK FOUR: 17124 WORDS

Friday, November 25, 2011

TGI Black Friday

Greetings, blog hoppers, if you have come here from another author doing the Black Friday blog hop! If you're starting here, check the code following this post to hit up the next terrific hop-stop. Comment below for a chance a $10 gift card from ARe!

So the official holiday shopping season begins today, though I've seen quite a few doorbuster sales happening in the last few weeks. My husband speculates that because retail sales were down in October, some stores are trying to get a head start on the winter quarter. This makes perfect sense - as a business you want to put your best foot forward and profit when you can. So you know, however, you will not see me camping out in front of Best Buy, no matter how badly I want the new Kindle Fire or other grown-up toys. I need only play Santa for a few children this year, and I already have a plan in place.

Holiday shopping is too much of a contact sport for me, and given these recent weeks and months of "occupy" protests that target corporations and government, I would like to the take the advise of those who suggest the best way to make a statement is to support independent businesses. These are the entrepreneurs, the mom-and-pop pioneers, people who offer needful things. It is tempting to do my shopping on a one-stop website, but I feel a good way to help the country's economy is to patronize those who help make this a great place to live. So, the little ones on my list will benefit from gifts purchased from smaller businesses that shape the backbone of our country.

Can eBooks figure into this? Definitely! I try to direct readers to All Romance and OmniLit whenever possible - and their inventories grow daily. The OmniBucks make great promo prizes for authors, and if you somebody getting a reader this year you definitely want to stuff a few stockings.

Don't forget, too, you can shop directly from most ePubs. The authors tend to receive more royalties this way. If you prefer print, ask your local bookstore to order titles for you if they aren't readily available.

If you do plan to go out today to shop, stay hydrated and don't forget your helmet!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Come to the Black Friday Blog Hop

On Black Friday myself and 22 other authors will be joining together for an AWESOME blog hop! The theme? Why, holiday shopping tips & deals, of course!

AND we’ve got a deal for you! One random commenter (can be on any of the blogs) will win a Kindle Fire, along with the prizes below! That’s the easiest kind of shopping I can think of…

Prizes:

- Cassandra Carr: copy of either of her two current releases, Talk to Me or Head Games
- Kristabel Reed: back list copy of one of her stories and then on her own blog a $10 GC plus a copy of her newest release, Risque, a Regency Menage Tale
- Lucy Felthouse: back list copy of any of her single-title books
- Cari Quinn: back list copy of one of her books
- Leigh Elwood: two back list copies of her books
- Natasha Blackthorne: copies of her two Regency era novellas: Grey’s Lady and Waltz of Seduction
- Amber Kallyn: e-copy of Dragos 1
- Camryn Rhys: Kindle copies of The Barn Dance and Off the Record – Foodie Erotic Romances
- Lissa Matthews: two of her back list books
- Misa Buckley: an e-copy of Ironhaven and To Reach the Dawn
- Lacey Wolfe: a copy of Ambers Muse
- Courtney Sheets: a $25 GC to Ravenous Romance and a copy of Kona Warrior – PDF
- Sara Brookes: an e-copy of one of my back list books
- Cynthia Arsuaga: a copy of an e-book, and on her own blog five book charm book tethers
- Louisa Bacio: .pdf copy of my first book in The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf series, and on her own blog a $10 certificate to Ravenous Romance, and each commenter will also be entered to win a Goody Bag of new Orleans treats
- Malia Mallory: one copy each of The ABC’s of Erotica and Santa’s Back Door Baby
- Cynthia Eden: a copy of Angel of Darkness (either print or digital)
- Carrie Ann Ryan: a free ecopy of An Alpha's Path

WHAT a list of prizes!!! Be sure to come back on Friday for the blog and hop links!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaNo Week 3 Recap

We are headed into the home stretch here. I am amazed by my personal output this month. I won't say that everything I've written is gold, but it's there. I predict Editing Month is going to be very busy.

My goal is to reach 50K before Thanksgiving. Come the holidays, I turn into a useless, food vacuum and I fear I won't have time to be creative. Of course, never say never - I could get lucky and the grandparents will watch the little one.

Anyway, here is where we stand for Week 3.

Pure Bliss: This is the follow up to Sheer Bliss, my new paranormal series. The target count for this work is 20K, roughly the same length as the first work, with the intention to write one or two more stories for a later omnibus print. I started this after finishing one of my projects.

Week One Total - N/A
Week Two Total - N/A
Week Three Total - 3060 words

Act Daring: This is my latest Dareville WIP - an M/M set in the Dareville universe but not necessarily in the time frame of the Big 4 books (Truth or Dare through Dare to Dream). I'll have more details later, but I will note that I had well over 25K of this book written when I started NaNo. It is my intention to see this to completion as a full-length novel, which would be the first since Boone.

Week One Total - 8298 words
Week Two Total - 7640 words
Week Three Total - 4617 words

Project Blues Brothers: This is a work I am co-writing with my father. Dad is 75 and loves mysteries; he gave me the idea for one of my non-Leigh works, and he's wanted to write one of his own. He is currently working on the bones of the story while I flesh it out. This is a mystery involving the murder of a priest who operates a homeless shelter.

Week One Total - 1012 words
Week Two Total - 0 words (didn't have time to work on this one)
Week Three Total - 0 words (this is a collaboration, and Dad's been traveling)

Rock Til You Drop: This is the follow-up to another non-Leigh novel, Dead Barchetta. My sleuth Lerxst Johnston is getting into trouble again.

Week One Total - 2652 words
Week Two Total - 6145 words
Week Three Total - 4365 words

Untitled WIP: I've been noodling with an erotic short that may not go more than 7K. Still undecided on what to do with this quickie. UPDATE - COMPLETED

Week One Total - 1850 words
Week Two Total - 1948 words
Week Three Total - 1776 words


GRAND TOTAL - 43948 WORDS

WEEK ONE: 14397 WORDS
WEEK TWO: 15733 WORDS
WEEK THREE: 13818 WORDS

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cover Love

While we're waiting out NaNoWriMo, I do have some good news. I'm happy to present some cover love for my upcoming release with All Romance eBooks. Odd is part of their Perfect Strangers series.


Greg Hargrove has a ticket to the hottest party in town: Drew Bradley's annual Odd Ball. Dressed for the theme as one half of a popular sitcom duo, Greg doesn't expect to meet his match and engage in a secret night of passion while the festivities rage on. When handsome Rick Wade falls on his radar, however, Greg decides to partake of more explicit party favors. Is Rick more than a one-night stand, though, or can Greg look forward to many passion-filled reruns?

Odd is coming in February, timed with ARe's Valentine's promotions. Hope you enjoy it!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Open Letter to My Bullies

Over the last several months, I've watched a number of those "It Gets Better" videos and read testimonies from people who had endured bullying as children and teens, and have been tempted to offer up my own experiences. Something always holds me back, though -- mainly it's the mindset that I in some way brought the bullying on myself. I exposed a weakness to somebody (actually, two people) that was exploited and twisted for the amusement of others.

Lately, I keep reading news alerts about kids who are killing themselves, and I have to wonder if these anti-bullying campaigns are effective. We can hold candlelight vigils, and Lady Gaga can invoke the names of victims in her concerts, but kids are still dying by their own hands. It's sickening.

Today I read a news story where a ten-year-old killed herself. Ten years old! When I was ten years old I was watching Happy Days and reading The Treasure Trap over and over again. Suicide was the farthest thing from my mind, even during the peak periods of bullying and related crap I had to endure. A friend tells me kids are downright vicious now, and it honestly scares me. I have a girl in elementary school, and girls are especially catty if you don't wear the right clothing, listen to the right music, or start experimenting at an early age. Will my child feel pressured to have a name brand stitched to the back of her jeans so a group of people she will not interact with in adulthood will approve of her? Apparently so.

In elementary school, there were two girls who particularly stood out as being just horrible to me. I attended a Catholic school, so at least I didn't have to worry about dressing for anybody's approval - the uniforms set us on an even keel. Still, I had to put up with Bully A whose disdain of me began when - of all the petty things - she reached for a paper towel I had grabbed in the girls' restroom during break.

You read that correctly. We bickered over a square of rough, brown paper and that turned her against me. She would spend the next five years making my life hell.

Bully B was an especially sad person, I would later learn. Her parents were divorced, and her father was not in the picture at all. She was a latchkey child - her mother was a Navy nurse who worked crazy hours. Tomboyish and athletic - sports were probably the only thing going for her because she wasn't particularly book smart (neither, for that matter, was Bully A). Bully B's desire was to be popular and liked, and to achieve this she needed to put somebody down to make herself look better in the eyes of others. Lucky me, I got the part.

My last year of Catholic school, Grade 8, improved somewhat when Bully B's mother was transferred to Philly. I never saw her again. Bully A went to a different junior high, but attended my high school. Because I was on the honors track, I rarely saw her, and by that time I just didn't give a shit about her. Eventually, I learned, she dropped out of high school - she also apparently lived in a trouble home. I don't know if she ever went back for a GED or equivalent, and while I occasionally think of these two people I try not to care what happened to her.

Yes, thirty years later I'm still thinking of these two people, to whom I gave absolutely no reason to inspire scorn. I was nice initially to both of them, but as I have always been introverted I suppose they saw that as a weakness to put in their pockets for later use. As I grew older, I'd learn things about Bully B that influenced my decision to not say anything before:
  • She was dishonorably discharged from the military for conduct unbecoming.
  • She was living in New Orleans when Katrina hit - I don't know how she fared financially.
One might assume she hasn't fared well in life. I don't know what's going on with her now. For all I know she recovered nicely, invented a social network, and sold it to Google for a billion dollars. More power to her if true. I didn't say anything before because I didn't want it to appear like I wanted to dance on her grave.

In truth, though, part of me does. I feel bad about myself for that.

They say the best revenge is living well. I would love to come on this blog and tell my bullies how well I am living, that I am rich and driving a BMW and traveling around the world. It's not all true, the economy has affected us all, but at this point in my life I cannot complain too much. If I did have a moment to see either one of them again, though, I would say this:
  • I am doing what I want to do.
  • I live near the beach, just as I've always wanted.
  • I have a wonderful husband and an incredible daughter.
  • I got to meet one of my favorite authors of all time, and one of my favorite musicians.
  • I achieved my dream of having a book published, before I turned 30.
  • I have great friends.
  • Don't bother with Facebook friend requests.
  • Goodbye.
As a parent, bullying scares the shit out of me. I will always have concern for my girl and what she endures in school, but more than that I am frightened for myself, and how I might react should I learn somebody has bullied my child. More than that, what do I do if my girl turns out to be the bully?

I don't consider myself a helicopter parent, but there are times I want to rush to the airport, figuratively speaking. Bullying, however, isn't conducive to a wait and see situation - we've waited and watched enough kids die. We need to do something more.

NaNo Playlist and 25% Rebate on Phaze Books, Now through 11/30

Now through November 30, you get an instant 25% rebate on all of my Phaze Books titles listed at All Romance eBooks. You can visit my author listing at ARe and see which books are marked down. There are quite a few books in the Phaze catalog, so if you have waited for a certain title to go on sale this is your chance!

While you shop (heh), I'll be working on NaNo tonight. I am well past 30K now, with 44K written on my latest WIP! I have altered this week's playlist a bit, getting more into recent music. More recent than the 70s, anyway:

Dare - Gorillaz (fitting)
Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz
Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
Hypnotize - The Notorious B.I.G.
Start the Commotion - The Wiseguys
Vicious - Lou Reed
Eminence Front - The Who
Shambala - Three Dog Night
Fly By Night (album) - Rush

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Blog: Jane Wenham-Jones

Me Wants Food welcome Jane Wenham-Jones to the blog. Today, Jane talks about a subject close to all authors' hearts: finding time to write! Scroll below for links to buy her latest book.

Jane Wenham-Jones is a novelist, journalist and presenter and the author of the Wannabe Books - two how-to manuals on getting published and becoming well-known. Below is an extract from Wannabe a Writer?, available on Amazon or through all good bookshops. For more on Jane see http://www.janewenham-jones.com.

How to write when there’s no time:

1) Think about getting up an hour earlier when everyone else is asleep. When I’m getting to the end of a book (which always takes longer than planned) I sometimes rise at four a.m to guarantee three hours of non-interruption and have stayed up all night on occasion. I do not, however, recommend you consider any of these options if you have very small children because you must be totally exhausted already. Wendy Holden says, when looking back at her early writing days of doing just that, “compared to having two children under three…. it seems like a holiday now.”

2) Think about going to bed later and write while everyone else is asleep. NB if you like a drink in the evenings you might find you don’t understand any of it in the morning but at least your word count will be up.

3) Be alert for all chances to write. Get yourself a nice notebook and carry it around with you, jotting down thoughts and snatches of dialogue, sentences that spring to mind or how you are feeling at a particular time, whenever you get the chance. In the dentist’s waiting-room, for example, outside the school gates or when you have to stand around in a queue. Remind yourself that there’s nothing like being prevented from writing to make you really productive when you finally get the chance.

4) Join a local writing group so someone else is forced to look after the kids and you have a guaranteed evening a week to focus on your desire to write. Meet others who share your difficulties and can give you support.

5) Pretend you’ve joined a writing group and go and write in the pub.

6) Swap childcare with a friend. If he or she writes too, so much the better but strike a pact in any case. Have her kids round to play while she does her embroidery or car maintenance, in return for her having yours while you bash out a short story.

7) Forget all that talk about the perils of too much TV and embrace the video machine as the greatest of childcare inventions. Tell the children you’re all going to watch a favourite film and once they’re absorbed, you can scribble things on your lap and make the right noises at the exciting bits.

8) Write during Sports days and school plays. The moment your own offspring leave track or stage, whip out your pen. Put it round the playground that you are a freelance journalist and nobody will think you rude. On the contrary, they will be delighted, assuming you are taking copious notes on the feats of their little darlings.

9) When your spouse asks what you’d like for your birthday, request a day to yourself. Earmark a weekend where they take the kids out and leave you in blissful solitude at your desk (NB this is unlikely to go down well on your wedding anniversary).

10) Establish the ground-rule that writing is just as important as Golf or Going Shopping for Shoes. Drum this into the kids too. Remember that being bored is character-forming. Let them get a feel for it.

Finally, comfort yourself with the thought that if you write ALL the time you won’t have anything to write about.

It is part of the process that you need to reflect and recharge, wander and ponder, see people, live life a little - otherwise you’ll have nothing to say.

Talking to the postman is a crucial part of a writer’s day’s work. And all airing cupboards need a tidy sometimes.

Practical, personal and honest advice on how to get published with contributions from over a hundred authors, agents, publishers and journalists. Hear from the professionals on how to sell your articles, write a synopsis, find an agent, get your novel accepted and much, much more. With insights, anecdotes and hot tips from Frederick Forsyth, Jilly Cooper, Ian Rankin, Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Adele Parks, Lesley Pearse, Michael Buerk, Carole Matthews, Erica James, Mil Millington, Miles Kington, Michael Bywater, Rosie Millard, Robert Crampton, Richard Morrison, Simon Trewin, Jonathan Lloyd, Teresa Chris and Jane Judd as well as publishers Harper Collins, Hodder Headline, Transworld, Orion and Simon & Schuster. A must-have handbook for anyone who's ever wanted to write or just wants to hear how others to do it... Where do you start? How do you finish? And will anyone ever publish it when you have? Drawing on her own experiences as a novelist and journalist, Writing Magazine's agony aunt Jane Wenham-Jones takes you through the minefield of the writing process, giving advice on everything from how to avoid Writers' Bottom to what to wear to your launch party. Wannabe a Writer? tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the book world - and a few things you didn't...


Wannabe a Writer Site

Buy links:

Amazon UK (paperback)

Amazon UK (Kindle)

Amazon US (paperback)

Amazon US (Kindle)

The Book Depository

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNo Week 2 Recap

Week Two of NaNoWriMo Lite, as I've come to call this experiment, is moving quite swimmingly. I couldn't tell you whether or not refraining from officially registering on the NaNo site has helped, but I do know that not necessarily focusing on one project takes away the pressure of trying to finish something in a month. I don't worry about meeting deadlines, because I have not set any. I like that I can approach this exercise on my own terms.

Anyway, here is the Week Two recap, along with what I've done so far overall:

Act Daring: This is my latest Dareville WIP - an M/M set in the Dareville universe but not necessarily in the time frame of the Big 4 books (Truth or Dare through Dare to Dream). I'll have more details later, but I will note that I had well over 25K of this book written when I started NaNo. It is my intention to see this to completion as a full-length novel, which would be the first since Boone.

Week One Total - 8298 words
Week Two Total - 7640 words

Project Blues Brothers: This is a work I am co-writing with my father. Dad is 75 and loves mysteries; he gave me the idea for one of my non-Leigh works, and he's wanted to write one of his own. He is currently working on the bones of the story while I flesh it out. This is a mystery involving the murder of a priest who operates a homeless shelter.

Week One Total - 1012 words
Week Two Total - 0 words (didn't have time to work on this one)

Rock Til You Drop: This is the follow-up to another non-Leigh novel, Dead Barchetta. My sleuth Lerxst Johnston is getting into trouble again.

Week One Total - 2652 words
Week Two Total - 6145 words

Untitled WIP: I've been noodling with an erotic short that may not go more than 7K. Still undecided on what to do with this quickie.

Week One Total - 1850 words
Week Two Total - 1948 words


GRAND TOTAL - 30130 WORDS

WEEK ONE: 14397 WORDS
WEEK TWO: 15733 WORDS

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My NaNo Music List - Week 2


I listen to music when I write. I know many authors can't deal with the distraction, but if I don't have my earbuds in I get distracted by a thousand other things. Between a chatty husband and daughter seeking more and more of my time, it's the only way I can get into the zone.

Some of you may assume I merely crank up the Rush while writing, and I do sometimes. Lately, though, I've broadened the playlist. Here are just some of the songs I have rotating on the iTunes:

Leave It - Yes
It Can Happen - Yes
Changes - Yes
Love -> Building on Fire - Talking Heads
Take Me to the River - Talking Heads
Memories Can't Wait - Talking Heads
I Zimbra - Talking Heads
Swamp - Talking Heads
Life During Wartime - Talking Heads
Do You Feel Like We Do - Peter Frampton
Don't Eat the Yellow Snow - Frank Zappa
Nanook Rubs It - Frank Zappa
St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast - Frank Zappa
Apostrophe - Frank Zappa

Next week, more jazz hands.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNo Week 1 Recap

So earlier this week I reported that I intended to try NaNoWriMo one more time, only I would adjust the rules to suit my writing habits. Typically, with the NaNo program you are supposed to write 50K words in November, concentrating on one project. The last three times I have tried that, however, I hit the wall about 5K words in. Then real life takes over, and I forget about the whole thing. This year, I have decided to write 50K words in November, period, regardless of the project. So far, this experiment is going well.

Let's break down my activity this first week. This word count does not include the writing I do for my day job - I'm sure I average 50K a month already just doing that work.

Week One


Act Daring: This is my latest Dareville WIP - an M/M set in the Dareville universe but not necessarily in the time frame of the Big 4 books (Truth or Dare through Dare to Dream). I'll have more details later, but I will note that I had well over 25K of this book written when I started NaNo. It is my intention to see this to completion as a full-length novel, which would be the first since Boone.

Week One Total - 8298 words


Project Blues Brothers: This is a work I am co-writing with my father. Dad is 75 and loves mysteries; he gave me the idea for one of my non-Leigh works, and he's wanted to write one of his own. He is currently working on the bones of the story while I flesh it out. This is a mystery involving the murder of a priest who operates a homeless shelter.

Week One Total - 1012 words


Rock Deadly: This is the follow-up to another non-Leigh novel, Dead Barchetta. My sleuth Lerxst Johnston is getting into trouble again.

Week One Total - 2652 words


Untitled WIP: I've been noodling with an erotic short that may not go more than 7K. Still undecided on what to do with this quickie.

Week One Total - 1850 words


GRAND TOTAL, WEEK ONE: 13812 WORDS


I'm a little over 1/5th of the way done. Not bad for me. I'm sticking to writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day, and just opening a project when the mood strikes. I write better at night, so I get the bulk of it done then. I may start a new project next week, we'll see.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brother Can You Save a Dime?

I was informed by the boss of my day job that we should have more benefit options for next year. Actually, we will have benefit options for the first time. I have worked here several years, and while business prospered the place is still small. When I could, I made contributions to the existing IRA Accounts left over from two previous jobs. It is not unlike dealing with an online broker, because all transactions are done via the Internet, though it feels like I haven't saved much over the years.

Of course, I realize your retirement total depends on the state of the economy. You invest in mutual funds, you're doing it for the long haul, and I have been fortunate that I didn't take as large a hit as others I know who had larger pots. My husband, for example, hurt a bit, but we are slowly recovering. We've been tempted to try online trading to try to recover some of the losses, but we have other considerations right now. There is a chance we may be able to buy the condo we are renting, so we will need to set some money aside in the event we can make that happen.

In the meantime, the proposition of stock trading may have to wait for a while. I am also setting money into a 529 for the little one. Luckily we have a while before we pack her up to State U., or wherever, but by that time tuition could be ridiculous. Maybe mobile trading would help now that I have the means to do it.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lucy Felthouse

Please welcome guest Lucy Felthouse to Me Want Food. Lucy has a new release with Ravenous Romance and I'm happy to share the excerpt she has generously given. If you are interested in a guest spot on the blog, feel free to contact me at kspatwriter at yahoo.

Brick Dust and Bedsprings - Lucy Felthouse

There are chores to be done, but it’s much more fun to stand at the window and watch the rippling muscles and sweaty torsos of the men paving her driveway- her window sill never got cleaned so thoroughly before!

But when sexy brothers Marcus and Jamie catch their customer looking, the action rapidly moves from the front of the house to the bedroom…

Buy links:

http://ravenousromance.com/ravenous-rendezvous/brick-dust-bedsprings.php

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelthouse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-brickdustbedsprings-627149-144.html

Lucy Felthouse is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story - so she did. It went down a storm and she's never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Excerpt

I heard the rumble of an engine, and craned my neck to look out of the window. Yes, they were here. My lips curved into a smile, and I scuttled out to meet them.

“Morning!” I chirped brightly. The two men turned from their van at the sound of my voice.

“Christ,” exclaimed the larger and older of the two, “I wasn’t expecting you to be up at this hour!” It was nine in the morning.

“You cheeky so and so. I’m not that lazy. Besides I had to get up to move the car. You’d have struggled to dig the drive up with my car on it, wouldn’t you?”

He winked cockily at me. “Mine’s a coffee, please. Two sugars, plenty of milk.”

“Yes, Marcus. God, what did your last slave die of? Jamie?” His brother looked up from the papers he was shuffling.

“Um, I’m alright for now actually.”

“Are you sure? I was only messing about!”

“Yeah, I’m fine, I’ll have one later.”

I sauntered back into the house and started making drinks. I’d already flicked the kettle on in anticipation of their arrival, and as I poured the milk into Marcus’ mug I chuckled to myself. I’d delib¬erately used a pink one, just to piss him off. It wasn’t exactly the most manly of mugs, as I’m sure you can imagine. Mind you, it would take more than that to rob Marcus of his masculinity. Mmm.

He wasn’t my usual type. I usually go for the more classic good-looking guy. You know, clean-shaven, nicely dressed, and all that. Marcus definitely didn’t fall into that category. He wasn’t ugly, by any means, but he’d never be on the cover of a magazine either. And you certainly wouldn’t take him home to meet your parents. But he still oozed sexiness out of every pore. Whether it was the fact that he was rough around the edges, I don’t know. Maybe I was looking for a bit of rough.

I handed him his coffee with a cheeky smile. After a question¬ing glance at the mug, he took a sip. He winced as the hot liquid scalded his tongue. He swallowed slowly. I watched his Adam’s apple contract and relax and felt my face start to heat up.

Against my better judgment I studied him: his broad chest, huge biceps, strong-looking thighs clad in denim. Christ. I felt my pussy twitch involuntarily and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, he was looking at me. Oops. A moment of charged silence, then he smiled, all the while staring at my chest. I glanced down, and wanted to die of embarrassment. My nipples were rock hard and straining against the thin cotton top I was wearing.

“Must be cold,” I blurted, not wanting him to know the effect he was having on me. Marcus looked at me, then glanced up at the burning sun. He raised his eyebrows.

“Right,” I mumbled, desperate to get away. “I’ve got chores to do indoors; gimme a shout if you want anything.”

“Anything?” he enquired.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Breaking Down Publisher Guidelines - What a Writer Needs to Know


As November is designated as National Novel Writing Month, I thought this would be a good time to go over with aspiring authors some things to look for when researching publishers. Popular opinion will vary on whether or not one should submit a "NaNo" novel to a publisher - critics tend to suggest that writers who participate in NaNoWriMo will write the book in November and start the agent/publisher search the very next month. I say, if you believe in your book it is worth testing the water to find another person who believes in the story. Definitely put the book through a rigorous editing process first, then make sure you query suitable publishers.

Reading Publisher Guidelines

It is important to note that the submissions page on a publisher's website is not the "suggestions" page. What you see on such a webpage needs to be followed to the letter if you expect an editor to take you seriously. I have worked as an acquisitions editor, and I do admit many books I have turned away on behalf of publishers simply did not meet the guidelines. The author may have presented strong writing and characters, but a romance novel sent to a house that only publishes science fiction and horror will likely not receive a contract...unless there are sci-fi or horror elements throughout the story.

If you are serious about finding a publisher for your book, regardless of how long you took to write it, pay attention to what the publishers want. Also, here are a few terms you might find in guidelines that you should know:

First Rights - When you complete a story or novel, you own all the rights associated with your work. The business of a publisher involves acquiring these rights for their imprints. When you offer the first rights to a publisher, you verify that your work has not been published anywhere else.

If you self-publish the work through Amazon KDP or Smashwords, or post the work on a publicly accessible website, you have exploited those first rights. A publisher may not be interested in such a work, since the book is available and may have lost sale value. There are instances, however, where a book's author enjoyed success through self-publishing that a publisher optioned reprint rights, but that is not a common occurrence.

Simultaneous Submissions - When you simultaneously submit a manuscript, you send it to more than one publisher in hopes somebody will bite. It is not uncommon for an author to query multiple publishers at once in hopes of generating interest, though not all publishers accept such submissions. When an editor invests time in reading and evaluating your book, and likes the work, he/she wants to know that the work is available. Some editors will also ask for an exclusive submission which guarantees they are the only ones reading the work.

As you research publishers, learn their stances on simultaneous submissions. If you risk sending to multiple houses against their rules, you could be caught between two potential contracts, and breaking one house's rules could work against you in the long run.

Subsidiary Rights - You may not find this information on a publisher's website, but if you research writing and publishing forums you may find information on what rights a publisher wants and for how long. Subsidiary rights refers to the different ways your work may be presented. This includes television and film adaptations, foreign language editions, audio book editions, and more recently eBook rights. Typically a publisher will contract your print and digital rights - anywhere for three to five years, or longer - and either assist in selling the rest or allow you to retain them. Depending on the house you work with, they may have subsidiary branches in place to assist you.

When you are ready to send your novel out to an agent or publisher, be aware of each house's guidelines. Study what the publishers want and don't want, and take the time to read what they offer readers. The best way to determine if your writing is a good fit is to know the books they sell.

Kathryn Lively

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Release and a NaNo Plan

First things first: I have a new release available today.

Midnight Passions

Fantasy/Paranormal, MFM Erotica
Buy now at Phaze.com!

Living as a single mom doesn't give Colleen much opportunity for romance, and when her only shot with Daryl goes sour, she reluctantly settles for a good book borrowed from her neighbor. What handsome John neglects to tell her, though, is that his library is filled with titles of magical quality - open the book and you're in the story!

When Colleen finds a book on John's shelf called "Midnight Passions," she realizes reading is fundamental ... for her sex life.

Please note: this story first appeared in Phaze Fantasies, Vol. 1, which is now out of print. If you never got around to getting that book, this story is definitely new to you, and I hope you enjoy it.

Secondly, a bit of NaNoWriMo news - I have decided to attempt another year. Of all the years I have tried this, I won twice. Granted, during some of these year I had a baby/toddler to look after, which made writing difficult. Also, I was running a publishing company, and that cut into my time. Now that I have some breathing room, I have decided to conquer this last albatross.

However, I'm approaching NaNo differently this time. I didn't sign up on the official site, so I'm working independently of that. I know that you get good support and a nifty badge when you're done over there, but as I do not intend to start a new book this month I don't feel it right to register. Since I came into NaNo 25K deep into a work in progress, my plan is to spend November finishing that work, then starting something new until I have reached the 50K goal. I estimate this current work will total 40-50K when I am done, and that will allow me to start the next story. I just need to decide which one to do:
  • Pure Bliss, the next Bliss shifter story
  • Closer to the Heart, the follow-up to Long Awaited Friend
  • Daring Destiny, the next Dareville book in the regular chronology
  • one of the thousand other plot bunnies bouncing in my head
What I need is another November.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Keeping Warm

One morning we woke up to freezing cold. Of course, we knew to expect this, since this is a phenomenon that happens every year around this time. Living in the South, however, we have usually benefited from a prolonged Autumn season, but this year the wacky weather seems to have given Fall a miss and taken us straight to Winter.

It feels that way, anyway. I try to go as long as possible without digging through the closet for fur vests or wool coats, whatever wards off the chill. With a little one in the family now, though, I like to set an example and bundle up so she also has reason to do so.

My husband has said if he finds fur jackets for sale he might get me one. It would depend on style and price for me - things are tight right now, and we are always looking for ways to save money yet stay warm. A reasonably priced jacket that fits without being too tight around the arms and chest area is all I ask. That, and smaller arms. :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Social Media is Good for the Social Soul

In the years I have worked in social media optimization, I have seen how social platforms like Twitter and Facebook are used not only to entertain, but inform and inspire people to do good things. People tweet for charity and encourage others to share information to raise awareness and money for good causes. It's nice to see corporations getting in on the act, as seen in the graph below. Imagine how much more quickly word is spread through social media.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Creepy, Kooky, Spooky, Ooky

I don't watch much television these days. I find 95% of it is pure crud, and that we have 95% more channels now than when I was a kid boggles the mind. I still remember the days when we grew up with three channels, five if the weather cooperated, and cartoon specials came with the changing of the seasons. My daughter likes to watch Cartoon Network. So far we have seen Halloween episodes of her favorites, Johnny Test and Regular Show, several times in the space of a week. The constant airings really dilute the excitement of the holiday.

I'm sure It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was on this week, but I missed it. CBS doesn't run Snoopy and the gang anymore, and you don't see the commercials for the Dolley Madison Zingers (can you still buy those - everything here is TastyKakes). If you do see one-shot animated specials, the major networks rarely make room for them on their schedules. You have to wade through thousands of their supplemental channels to find what you want.

When I was younger, animated Halloween specials pre-empted regular programming and kept us glued to the set after trick or treating. I'd sit on the floor in my vinyl Wonder Woman jumpsuit from Ben Cooper (with the plastic mask that made your face sweat) and sort the chocolates from the tarts from the lollipops while watching the following:


The Devil and Daniel Mouse scared the absolute piss out of me the first time I saw it. I don't recall a darker cartoon for the time period. This is naturally a take on The Devil and Daniel Webster, only here an aspiring mouse singer named Jan signs on with Scratch for fame and fortune. If you know the story, you know the ending, but I'll tell you that even now the animation in this piece gives me the creeps.


I only recently learned that Gilda Radner voiced the witch in Witch's Night Out. This is one trippy Halloween show - probably not one to watch if you're high. The animation reminds me a bit of this 70s children show called Vegetable Soup, which is best described as Sesame Street on acid.

This year, we may just leave the set off and enjoy each other's company. Little one has spent the week drawing pictures of Powerpuff Girls as zombies...perhaps we'll see them on the screen one day.




Monday, October 24, 2011

Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

Note: I recently wrote this article in the spirit of offering interested writers the challenges that face them in this digital age. By no means would I discourage an author from going the DIY route, but I feel one should hear both pros and cons. Today I saw an editor on Twitter mention that authors who had self-pubbed to low sales now queried her to take on their stories. Knowing that, I feel this article is timely.

In the last year not only have sales of eBook readers like the Kindle and Nook exploded, but the number of book titles available to download into these devices has more than doubled. With major online retailers offering writers a means to self-publish works for sale, one can expect to see thousands more novels and works of non-fiction and poetry on virtual shelves. For the author frustrated by the traditional, agency publishing model, self-publishing offers the freedom of creative control and the opportunity to keep more revenue. Despite the recent successes of some authors, though, it's important to note the challenges that self-publishing brings.

Self-publishing may not carry the stigma it did in years past, where one assumed that an author putting out his own work could not interest a "real" publisher. These days, writers choose to self-publish rather than submit a work at all. In fact, some authors who have published traditionally now take the liberty of producing and distributing their own work. That said, one must realize there are disadvantages. This article is not intended to discourage anybody from independently publishing a novel, but rather to keep people aware of possible obstacles. Let's take a look at some of them.

1) As a self-publisher, you are responsible for every step of the process, from writing the work to making sure it is edited and proofed. You will need to find suitable cover art and distribution channels, and handle marketing. Now, you're probably wondering how this is a disadvantage - well, it really depends on how you look at it. When you sign a contract with a publisher, many of these items are handled for you. You will not cover the cost of an editor and artist, and depending on the publisher's budget you probably won't have to spend too much for promotion. When you take the DIY route, everything comes out of your pocket, and you are investing time in finding the right people to assist you. One could view this as time that could be spent writing your next book.

2) You may run into complications with distribution. Whether you publish exclusively in digital format or make your work available in print, you need to work with distribution channels to get your work to the public. While Amazon and Barnes and Noble welcome self-published authors to join their platforms, other distributors may require you to build an extensive catalog before you can distribute through them. Brick and mortar stores may require you to place your books with a service like Ingram or Baker and Taylor before they will order your books. It's important to research whether or not you can work with such companies.

3) As a self-publisher, you are held accountable. If you produce a book of poor quality, you risk alienating readers or inspiring word of mouth that discourages new readers from checking out your books. This is not to say that all books published with agency houses are perfect - opinions on quality will always vary - but acting as publisher and writer means taking extra care to ensure a good book. Of course, you should do this with a traditionally published book, but here you will need to commit to every step of the process.

If you choose to self-publish, do not feel rushed to get a book in the stores for the sake of having something to sell. This is your work, and you want to present the best written story possible to readers. Take caution to know the pros and cons before you make any sudden leaps.

Kathryn Lively