Monday, August 28, 2006


The bags are packed and stacked in the back of the minivan. The kids have collected their various odds and ends and stuffed their little backpacks to bursting with snackage. In T-Minus three hours and counting, we're hittin' the road for the family farm to spend five days communing with the maternal relations before school starts again.

In other words, we're about to embark on the Great Guilt Trip of '06.

It's not that I don't want to see my parents/aunts/ uncles/cousins and their various pets and livestock. But over the weekend, two different publishers released two different novellas written by me, and I'm not going to be here to promote them.

Let's be clear. I'm a big weenie when it comes to promotion. I'm too shy (shut up, I AM!) to enjoy flogging Yahoo readers' loops with "Just Released!" blurbs and excerpts and attending chats where I never know what to say and can't keep up with the conversation anyway. And as far as running contests--gah. Never done it, scared to even try. But I appreciate the necessity of tooting your own horn in this business, and I'm slowly-but-surely getting the hang of it. (And when I return, I WILL run a contest. There. I said it in front of God and everybody.)

So you see how I'm torn.

On one hand, I've got my mother luring me downstate with a positively lethal combo of promises and threats regarding Grandma's fried chicken and the opportunity to take pics of my kids feeding the ducks down at the cow-pond and how both she and my Dad are gonna up and DIE one of these days and won't I feel bad THEN??

And on the other, I've got two novellas that deserve at least a little promotional attention, lest they get lost in the really HUGE number of ebook releases in any given week. (Seriously, has anybody noticed the massive number of stories being published at any given moment? It's mind-boggling.)

I love my parents. I love my novellas.

My parents raised me. I raised these novellas, taking time and energy away from my husband and children to accomplish it.

I should visit my family, because I owe them my affection and support. I should promote my work, because if it doesn't sell, the time my children and husband sacrificed will be for nothing.

The rock. The hard place. And me with nothing but MY PARALYZING GUILT TO MAKE A DENT IN EITHER.


I'll leave the following for anyone who might be interested, and it'll feel like I tried, at least:

LIE TO ME by Selah March
Available now from Amber Quill Press

ISBN: 1-59279-593-5 (Electronic)
Genre: erotic romantics suspense
Purchase URL:
Cover URL:
Price: $6.00 (ON SALE IN SEPT. for $4.50)
Part of the "Just the Facts, Ma'am" AmberPax Collection

~ ~ ~

Sometimes in life, you make mistakes...mistakes so dire, they force you to abandon everything and everyone you ever knew and start over clean, in a new place. With a new name. And a new life.

It's not easy, but it can be done. If you're careful. If you walk a straight line and don't let anyone inside.

MaryJane Peters (not her real name) is about to find out what happens when loneliness and desperation make her stumble off that straight line and let someone get so far inside, she loses track of where she ends and he begins.

LINK TO EXCERPT (scroll down page)

~ ~ ~

Available now from Phaze

ISBN: 1-59426-608-5 (Electronic)
Genre: erotic vampire romance
Price: $3.00

~ ~ ~

Jack Murphy: Sub-human, blood-sucking freak? Or just a guy who's had the bad luck to be transformed into a vampire by forces no one understands? Either way, he's not taking the easy way out--no leisurely strolls beneath the noonday sun for him. If he's going down, it will be fighting the brutal regime that's taken over his city, and if he has to go undercover as a "male escort" to do it, then so be it.

Except his lover, Laura, doesn't care for Jack's new career choice. Their bond is strong, and when they hit the sheets, they spark a heatwave to match the one that holds the city in its scorching grip. But the gigolo thing? And the mean streak Jack's developed lately? The combination is enough to shake anyone's trust.

Telling Laura the truth about his job would put her life at risk. Telling her why his job makes him so crazy...that would put Jack's pride at risk.

And blood-sucking freak or not, he's still a man, after all.


~ ~ ~

Have a fine, blessed week. :) - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, August 17, 2006

REVIEW: Chapter 23: COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE To Writing Erotic Romance by ALISON KENT

A few weeks ago, noted author in the genre Alison Kent sent up a flare calling for authors, published and aspiring, to review chapters of her upcoming CIG release as part of a "viral marketing" concept. I'm honored to be part of her project.

In Chapter 23 -- titled How Steamy Is Too Steamy? -- Kent asks "can the sexual envelope be pushed too far?"

Her answer? A resounding "HELL no!" (One can assume she, like her publishers, draws the line at erotic fiction involving children, animals, bodily waste-play and dead people. Non-animate dead people of the non-bloodsucking-creature-of-the-night variety, I mean. Ummm...yeah.)

The basic drift of this chapter is that in terms of erotic fiction, there's something out there designed to blow a tingle-inducing breeze up each and every skirt. Kent carves it up into three categories: erotic romance, erotica, and porn. She then proceeds, with exceptional clarity, to describe the nuts, bolts and other raw materials used to construct a work in each genre.

Kent never veers from her basic point, however, which is this: smut is in the eye of the beholder. One reader's fairly middle-of-the-road "sensual" romance in which the door to the bedroom happens to be left open is another reader's one-way ticket to hell. What one person calls "erotic romance" because the story centers on the building of a relationship, has an actual plot and includes a happy ending, another person may call "porn" because the two characters involved happen to engage in anal sex along the way. Kent is all about SUBJECTIVITY being the name of the game, but she's right on the money in her basic definitions as far as the industry is concerned (though even publishers will quibble over what genre label they stick on a book's spine if they think it will sell more copies).

Kent's prose is blunt and to the point, and she includes frequent quotes from well-known authors of erotic romance and erotica to back up her assertions. I found the chapter readable and the author quotes fascinating.

If Chapter 23 is a reliable sample of the rest of book, I think Kent has a winner in the COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE to Writing Erotic Romance, and I'll be reserving my copy today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

One Year Later

Check it out.

Of course, because nobody will stand up and be counted on record, these remain unsubstantiated allegations. But they have the ring of truth, don't they? Or maybe it's the stench.

I especially like this part:

"According to my source, Quinn was asked to resign by every single board member for lying and trying to force a personal agenda on the organization." (original quote: LLB)

Quinn has balls. I do give her that.

I will admit to being disappointed in the board members who are afraid to step forward and put faces and names to these allegations. A threatened lawsuit is only as scary as the person bringing it, and while I'll admit the sheer force of Tara Taylor Quinn's arrogance is pretty damned impressive, I gotta say...if you've got the truth on your side a whole bunch of folks willing to back up under oath, what's to fear?

On the other hand, I do understand the desire to let the whole nasty business die.

It's good to know that reason reigns once more down in the national offices of this organization. Makes me feel much better about the dues check I recently dropped in the mail.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Trainwrecks Need Love, Too

How initially likable do we need our protagonists to be?

Does it depend on genre? Can the hero of a thriller be a bastard? (That's a rhetorical question -- of course he can. Not sure everyone would call him a "hero" in the true sense of the word, though.) But can the heroine of a romance be a bitch?

I've heard some folks say that the romance heroine is just a placeholder for the female reader, and so bitchy protags don't work. Are off-putting. Won't engage the reader, won't let her put herself in that place where she can be kissed and fondled and pined over by the hero.

I think, in the case of the old-fashioned Harl Presents series stories, that's true enough. I read batches of 'em in my early teens, and can recall the covers and titles and heroes, and what the heroes did and said, and what jobs they held, and how the heroes behaved in the climactic love scenes and pretty much everything, you'll note, except...a blessed thing about the heroines, who all seem to fade into a fog of "not too bright and easily aroused to passions they didn't understand."

All of that blather is leading up to this: I wrote a novella (see pretty cover above, and check here if you're interested in reading a blurb or excerpt) and that novella is about to be published by Amber Quill Press -- my longest released work to date. (One of these days, I might actually get a whole novel out there. Don't hold your collective breath or anything.)

Anyway the protagonist of this novella is...well, she's...she starts out...sort of...difficult. Prickly. Hard to get along with. Bit of a chip on her shoulder, if you know what I mean. One of my crit partners described the experience of the first couple chapters: "...reading in horrified fascination, because she's just such a trainwreck."

In addition, there's some stuff in my protag's past? Well, one thing, in particular. Let's just say she's not proud of it, nor should she be. But she's working toward redemption -- really she is. It's just a lot harder than she thought.

I'm taking a chance with this one. Submitting it for a review at Romantic Times (should run in December). If I catch the wrong reviewer -- someone who likes her heroines staunchly heroic, with nary an unkind word, an uncharitable thought or a sexual impulse prior to meeting the hero -- I'm sunk.

So. How DO you feel about initially hard-to-like characters working toward redemption? Can you tolerate letting the protag rub you the wrong way at first? Do you have the patience to let characters grow on you?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bitch, pleeeze!

I can't even...just...I don't know how to...

Go here. Read. Click link to Jan Butler's blog. Read some more. Try not to cry from pain in head. Go back and check the comments at the Smart Bitches for many wonderful remarks, including one from Nora Roberts.


If ONE person can show me how Butler's First Amendment rights have been breached by a whole passel of pissed-off writers and readers expressing their outrage over her whack-job opinions, I'll eat my left sneaker. And I really REALLY don't want that thing anywhere near my mouth after the nasty-ass heat of this past week.

Nobody tried to prevent you from showing world at large what a bigoted moron you are, Butler. Just like nobody said the rest of us couldn't point and snicker. Loudly. Maybe lob a few metaphorical loogies while we were at it. Am I surprised you don't really grasp the concept of Constitutionally protected free expression? Uhhhh…gimme a minute...

That would be NO.

As for her assertion about the RWA poll that never saw the light of day...apparently everybody I know and everybody NORA ROBERTS knows (check aforementioned Smart Bitches comments) -- and I'm thinking Nora knows more people than you and I put together and tripled -- voted against defining Romance at all.

So there. Nyah.

Just for shits and giggles? Here's Butler's profile, where she professes to love both Ann Coulter (who recently suggested a few of the 9/11 widows who are pressing for a more thorough investigation into the Towers attack should shut up and pose for Playboy if they need more attention) and Jesus Christ. AT THE SAME TIME.

I have no words. What few I did, I attempted to use in the comment section of Butler's blog. They did not appear at the time of this posting. I ain't holdin' my breath because, as I've noted in the past, mottled blue is SO not my color.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sand in Bad Places

Back from a brief family jaunt to the Jersey Short -- Ocean City, to be precise. We haven't visited Jersey since our youngest was in diapers. I'd forgotten the various thrills to be found on the beaches and boardwalk.

When asked by our spawn to describe our destination, this is what I said:

"Picture our backyard deck stretching a mile in either direction. Now add a railing on one side, and grassy dunes beyond that. Beyond THEM, picture the beach and the ocean, with waves and swells you can jump and ride."

"On the other side of the boardwalk, picture lots of tiny little stores in which you can buy everything you can think of and some things you can't. Now take a deep breath and imagine you're smelling a hundred different kinds of food -- cotton candy and hot dogs and pizza with fifty toppings and a dozen assortments of seafood and hot pretzels with mustard and fried dough with confectioner's sugar and pierogies and hand-pulled saltwater taffy and fudge you can watch them stir in big copper vats and fresh-roasted peanuts and fresh-squeezed lemonade and quit trying to eat your sister's braid. You'll ruin your dinner."

"Now, at one end of all this amazing wonderfulness, imagine an amusement park. Go on...I dare you."

The aforementioned spawn? Were nearly overcome with joy. I was pleased they believed me, frankly, because my own description sounded just a little too good to be true. But I guess my kids haven't yet reached the age of skepticism, or maybe I haven't yet lied to them enough to make them cynical.

We had a good -- if inordinately sweaty, due to the whole "worst heat-wave in recent memory" thing -- time, though I'm still finding sand where I don't WANT to find sand. Dammit.

But two pieces of good news: The heat, she breaks TONIGHT. Dropping into the SIXTIES here. I may do something reckless and pagan to celebrate.

PBW is running the NIFTIEST challenge EVAH.

I'm SO in. Who's with me?