Monday, April 30, 2012

Yet Another Post About Fifty Shades of Grey, Sort Of

I will not offer my review of Fifty Shades of Grey, though I have read the book. I've been sitting on this post for a while, mainly because this book has become such a hot button issue among authors and readers. This week I've seen Tumblr accounts crop up that are dedicated to quoting lines from the book (either as a tribute or humorously out of context), and at least one person has taking to blogging an MST3K-esque synopsis of the book chapter by chapter. Also, some authors have come under fire for being too critical of the book and its meteoric rise in popularity.

What do I think? The book was okay. I can see how some readers would find it daring and erotic, but I've read books that go to 11. It did not change my life, but the hype surrounding this book has made me think.

I see on Twitter that some authors of erotic romance believe this Fifty Shade boom will hopefully trickle down and result in sales for them. Honestly, I'd hope for that as well. I've been writing erotica and erotic romance for eight years and could definitely use a boost. If Fifty Shades of Grey inspires a reader new to the genre to look elsewhere for another fix, I'll wave them my way. I have all shades of sexy here!

Of course, I think about other things, and compare this phenomenon to my reading history. For example, I enjoyed the Harry Potter series. I read all seven books, and am currently re-reading the first one aloud to my daughter. Before Harry Potter, I didn't read the genre at all - I may have dipped into sci-fi, but fantasy wasn't my thing. Once I finished, though, I didn't immediately seek out another fantasy novel on my own. Another reader suggested I try Merecedes Lackey's Valdemar books, and I ended up plowing through about ten of those.

I suppose the point I'm making here is that once I finished Harry Potter, I felt as though I'd finished a terrific seven-course meal. I almost didn't want to delve into another series in the same genre for fear of either being disappointed or bored. Looking back, I realize I may have been silly to think that way - I will read pretty much anything and I've never been that picky about a genre. Since then, though I still recall Harry Potter fondly, I've eased back into fantasy.

Thinking about the many readers attracted to Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the following things will happen when these people finish the trilogy:

1) Some may choose to read the books again, choosing to stay only with these books in the erotic genre.
2) Some may explore similar books to read.
3) Some may go back to the genres they're more comfortable with or, if they weren't "readers" to begin with, go back to what they were doing before.

Still, there will be people who won't get past the first book, or even finish it. They may assume all erotic romances are like Fifty Shades and not bother with the genre. I would like to speak to all readers noted above.

It's okay if you liked/loved Fifty Shades of Grey, and it's okay if you didn't like it. With an entity of this magnitude, opinions will be divided. There are people out there who hated Titanic, and don't like The Beatles. I could live without hearing the name Kardashian, but there are people who never miss their shows.

I've received glowing fan mail from readers, and one-star reviews - and that's okay. 

Whether you liked Fifty or hated it, though, might I suggest that you try the erotic romance genre beyond the trilogy. If you loved reading about Ana and Christian, try another couple created by an awesome author. Of course, I will be so bold as to suggest my back list. Why not? I write these books, and I want people to buy them. If you liked Fifty Shades and want recommendations, I have them. I would suggest, if you want to read more contemporary erotica and romance, to start with Truth or Dare, Dare Me, and The Dares That Bind. I write a variety of sub-genres, but these three are good books if Fifty Shades is your gateway.

Want more? Here are ten authors of the same genre I have enjoyed reading over the years:

Alessia Brio (with and without Will Belegon), Robin Slick, Bridget Midway, Cheyenne McCray, Jaid Black, Jayelle Drewry, Shara Lanel, Emma Wildes, and Mardi Ballou.

Want eleven more? Yvette Hines, Denise Jeffries, Eliza Gayle, Cat Johnson, Samantha Sommersby, Stella and Audra Price (counting as one), Tilly Greene, Susan DiPlacido, Trixie Stilletto, Kally Jo Surbeck, and Zena Wynn.

How about M/M (gay) romance? Jade Falconer, Mychael Black, Shayne Carmichael, James Buchanan, GA Hauser, Stevie Woods.

Sapphic stuff? KT Grant, Alessia Brio, Beth Wylde, and Yeva Wiest.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Old Country and a New Contract

Home, home again... I tell you, I have dreamed for years of visiting Europe, but I am so glad to be home. I recently did a whirlwind tour of the Black Forest region of Germany and a few days in London - the Germany leg of the tour had been planned for years as a genealogical mission with my father. I've always wanted to see London, so we added a few days there because I wanted that opportunity. Who knows when I'll get to the continent again, and though I'm dead on my feet now I'm glad I went.

Of course, one of the things I did while I was over there was check out a bookstore. In Baden-Baden, where we stayed, I wandered into to see if I could find any German-translated books by authors I knew. I recognized a number of authors: JR Ward, Nora Roberts, and Nalini Singh to name a few. I also found a few favorites:

I like the Hunger Games covers. I did pick up the first Harry Potter as a souvenir to help me improve my German. I'll have more details of my trip in my next newsletter, so if you're dying to hear more you can subscribe now - the form is on the right nav of my site. (I'll also hold a contest and giveaway for May, too!).

This next bit of news, though, I can't keep until May - I have signed a contract with Ravenous Romance to publish Dare to Act, the fifth Dareville novel and the first completely M/M novel-length work in the series. I'm very excited about this new direction, and hope for a great relationship with Ravenous. I know some authors who have worked with them and are quite happy. I don't have a release date yet, but rest assured I'll have details in a future blog post.

In the meantime, it's back to work on Pure Bliss and other stories bubbling on the back burner.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mia Darien - "My Love Affair with the Beast"

Me Want Food is proud to present guest blogger, romance author Mia Darien.

Mia Darien has lived in New England all of her life and knows that no matter where she goes from here, New England is always going to live in her. Presently, she still lives in the land of snow and fast talkers, with her husband, her son and her pets. She writes a bit of everything genre fiction (horror, romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction) and thinks it sounds like an odd joke: a unicorn, a space monster, and a pair of zombie lovers walk into a murder investigation…

Her latest release is Deeper Than Skin.

I first read about the Beast of Gévaudan when I was a teenager, paranormal geek that I was, and read "The Werewolf Encyclopedia." Out of all the crazy, cool creatures in that book, I can't actually say why I found this particular beast as fascinating as I did, but I did.

The entry told of a terrible beast that terrorized the province of Gévaudan, France from 1764 to 1767. It didn't act like a "normal" wild animal and it was a nasty piece of work, and in the Encyclopedia, there were accounts of it sometimes walking on two feet and sometimes on four. (Later research didn't pan this out, but it was perhaps what caught my attention at first.)

First, I wrote it as The Villain in my first Preternatural, Unlimited novel, from the now defunct series that ultimately gave birth to Adelheid. (The Beast makes no appearances in current Adelheid novels, sorry to say.) What's funny is that while writing that early book, I rented a French movie called "Les Pacte des Loups" because I read a good review of it. I discovered that, low and behold, it was about the Beast of Gévaudan!

It was fate! It was kismet!

It wasn't really meant to be. That book went the way of the Dodo, but the movie (in English known as "The Brotherhood of the Wolf") became a favorite of mine and still is.

Years later, I decided to write this romance about a pair of wounded souls, a monster and a forest. Later, I decided to revisit my old flame of the Beast. I will admit that the movie inspired me as well and I used it for further inspiration in terms of ambience and fashion, but I did my research outside of that.

Researching was fun, however, because as you would imagine, information about a Beast that terrorized a French province is in French. I don't happen to actually speak French, so this led to an on-again-off-again romance with BabelFish and some incredibly entertaining translations. Fortunately, the featurette on the movie with a man known for his research on the Beast had English subtitles!

In the end, I persevered. I picked and chose my historical tidbits, mixed in with my dashes of inspiration, and wove together with my own creative ideas to bring about a romance in the time of the Beast.

Fortunately for my readers, it's not a romance actually with the Beast. 'Cause that would just be gross.

Buy the book:

Barnes & Noble: Hurry Up, B&N!
Lulu (Print):

Monday, April 2, 2012

Interview - Lucy Felthouse

Me Want Food welcomes Lucy Felthouse to the blog! 

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

My latest release is a lesbian erotic romance short story, called The Cottage in the Woods. It's published by Resplendence Publishing, and is currently doing really well in the paid lesbian chart on All Romance eBooks!

Here's the blurb:

Living in her remote cottage in the woods, Heidi doesn’t get many visitors. So when she spots a fox in her garden, she’s delighted. However, her joy quickly turns to dismay when she thinks the beautiful creature may be injured. Heading out to see how she can help, Heidi is astounded when something happens that makes her question her eyesight – not to mention her sanity. Once she gets over her shock and discovers the reason behind the peculiar encounter, Heidi is mighty glad that the fox chose her garden to visit.

More info, excerpt & buy links here:

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?
My time is split between running my business, Writer Marketing Services ( and writing ( No two days are the same – if I'm busy on a project, then I don't get any writing done. But then if I have quiet periods, I use the time to write, so there's never a moment where I don't have anything to do. I definitely don't have a set schedule, it all depends on what work I have on for various clients, and if I have any pressing deadlines for my writing. It can be a challenge to make sure everything's done and everyone is happy – but I manage!

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?
I would say a bit of both. I started out as a short story writer, and I'm gradually writing longer and longer pieces of work, as well as still writing shorts. If I'm writing a short story, I would say I'm definitely a pantser. I just have an idea in mind and go with it. But that doesn't always work with novellas and longer – it's easy to lose track of what's happening, or you find you're running out of things to say. So with my longer works, I find a very vague chapter by chapter outline helps. Sometimes I don't stick to it exactly, but as long as I have all the elements in that I planned, then I know my story is going to work out how I want it.

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. In terms of who's doing who, I've written m/f, f/f and ménage. I have a couple of m/m WIPs too. Within those pairings (or more-ings – just made up a word there) I've written contemporary, paranormal, fem-dom, BDSM and more. I don't stick to one fixed genre, because my ideas are in different genres. I never used to like writing BDSM stuff at all, but I'm finding that I'm enjoying it more and more, and that it seems to do really well, which helps spur me on.

In terms of a favourite genre, I don't really have one. Unless I'm writing for a specific call for submissions, I just write the ideas that come into my head, and they don't seem to follow any kind of pattern. I just love to write – and if people enjoy what I'm writing, then that's awesome!

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

I've written quite a lot of stories, so I don't remember many of the older ones or how easy/challenging they were to write. But a more recent story springs to mind. A story I wrote, called Little Miss Goody Two Shoes (which will be published in Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians in June) literally flew out of my mind and onto the page in less than an hour. Granted, it's only a very, very short story, which is what the call for submissions required, but I was actually about to throw away the printout with the call for submissions on it because I didn't think I'd have time to do anything before the closing date – and then the idea struck. A little while later and the story was sent – and accepted. I suspect the story was easy to write in part because of its length, and in part because the setting is a real place so I didn't have to think about it. It was just a case of getting the characters into position to do their thing ;)

The most challenging thing I've written to date is my first novella, Off the Shelf, which is due in April as part of Xcite Books' The Secret Library range. I found it challenging because it was the longest thing I'd written, and it was specially commissioned too – which meant I had to do it! I was worried about keeping the momentum going, keeping it interesting, getting the balance right between plot and sex... it was a scary few weeks! But luckily, my editor loved it and after a few small tweaks it was accepted. I can't wait to see what people think of it!

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?
Yes. I'm quite the social media addict.





Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?
My blog is part of my website, And I don't have a Yahoo group, but I do have a newsletter, and every month I give exclusive discounts or freebies, and run giveaways:

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

What's an album?! ;) I'm bringing my iPod! The DVD box set would be season four of Supernatural and the movie would be Bridget Jones' Diary.

What was the last book that you read? What did you think? 
Platinum Passion by Jennifer Lynne. I thought it was great, and I reviewed it here.

Do you have a favorite charity? How does it appeal to you?

There are several charities that I like to support, including Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, The British Heart Foundation and Help for Heroes. Why? Because I've lost friends and relatives to cancer and heart problems, and as for Help for Heroes – well, those brave guys and girls give up everything for us – so it's the least we can do to help them. I believe so strongly that part of the proceeds for my anthology, Uniform Behaviour, goes to Help for Heroes.