Thursday, June 28, 2007

Like a Hoover, Baby.

I've often bemoaned my suckitude at self-promo. Truly, I hate it with the fiery passion of ten-thousand stars gone nova. I'd rather be writing. Hell, I'd rather be washing a fat beagle with bad breath and a penchant for humping my leg. (Guess what's on my To Do list today?)

I've never gone the "widgets" route. No bookmarks, no pens, no magnets. I don't even have a business card. I did a gift basket for a con once. Have no idea if it sold any books, but I sort of enjoyed the process of putting it together. I do try to show up once every six weeks or so on a Yahoo loop chat organized by my publishers to post blurbs and excerpts and run a quickie contest, but I spend the entire time thinking that I sound like an obnoxious, self-absorbed loser who has nothing better to do than talk about her own stuff. Live chats in which I'm expected to banter extemporaneously about my writing while trading quips with other readers and authors? Gave those up for Lent two years ago and never went back. I salute those who enjoy them and can pull them off successfully, a Hoover, baby. Seriously. I SUCK at it.

Which, frankly, is pretty much how I feel about blogging, but I figure that if you're here and reading, it must be for a reason. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head. Is someone holding a gun to your head? BLINK THREE TIMES if someone is holding a gun to your head to force you to read this blog. I'll call 911. No. Really.

Okay then. Check out PBW's post: Self-Promotion That Doesn't Suck.

Her list includes:

1. Previous familiarity with author's other work through excerpts and free stories, etc.

Check. I try to post excerpts will some regularity, though I could do better at that. And I've still got my free ebook from last year's PBW Ebook Challenge up on my website. (DARK OF THE DAY, a mildly erotic paranormal romance about life, death, and the spaces in between.) I've gotten a pretty good response from that -- a few nice letters from people who enjoyed it -- but I have no idea if it's sold any other books. I guess I'll take it on faith, since PBW tends to know what she's talking about.

2. Recommendation of friend.

I can't force y'all to pimp me. But I'd appreciate it mightily, for I am a big 'ho.

3. Reading about book on another person's blog or website.

I'm sending out more stuff for reviews on individual blogs, rather than the big reviewing sites, which my publishers pretty much have covered anyway. It's paid off in a few cases and I plan to keep doing it within reason. I've also done a couple interviews and give-aways on romance-related blogs. We'll see if it makes a difference.

I certainly could do more. I'm sadly remiss at the contest thing. Hmmm...

Okay, comment on this post and tomorrow morning sometime, I will randomly choose one winner from the comments to receive a free ebook of their choice from my backlist (basically everything but SIN STREET, which is only available in print). List can be found on my website, link below. Be sure to check the "books" link AND the "home" page for choices.

I suspect this won't work as well on a blog that gets relatively few hits, but we'll see. I'll try anything once. I have the scars to prove it. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Got Nothin': Part the Second

Spent too much time plucking the dead blossoms off my petunias this weekend. Got a sunburn on my neck and upper back that's making life not worth the living. (Bitch, bitch, bitch, ad nauseum. Teach me to garden in the sunshine when I should be writing in the dark like the mushroom I am.)

I want to announce something in the worst way. Been wanting to do it for weeks, but I don't have the contract in hand yet, and I don't like to jinx it. So. Never mind.

Oh! I know! I did an interview. Here. It includes one of those headshots that you have taken at writing conferences before you know better. You have my permission to point and laugh.

Caridad -- otherwise known as Barb -- got an amazing review for a book that isn't even out yet. Caridad? Will soon rule the world. Wait and see if she doesn't. I'm first in line for the position of Evil Minion. She PROMISED.

Umm...yeah. That's about it. Aren't you glad you stopped by? :p

Edited to add in a totally random fashion:

Online Dating

Because that's useful information to have, oh yes it is. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Friday, June 15, 2007

Me, with a heaping side of Me, bathed in a rich, gooey slather of Me-sauce.

First, the good news: a nice (5 Angels!) review of FORTUNE'S FOOL from Fallen Angels Reviews.

Yes, the reviewer called my novella "Flesh and BLOOD" instead of "Flesh and Bone." Yes, she was less-than-complimentary about my beloved crit partner's story in the same collection. But still...kind words for a piece I really thought might tank with reviewers due to the exTREMEly dark and potentially squicky nature of its subject matter.

To wit:
"A darkly disturbing, yet well written novella, Flesh and Blood brings the dark side to life. Full of disturbing imagery and debauchery there is still a wonderful romance and a believable bond between the hero and heroine. I am truly amazed by the fact that a normally unpalatable topic drew me in and kept me enthralled. Very well done Ms. March."

Now? The better news: Annie Dean LIKES me. She reallyreally LIKES me. See? Look. See?? She thinks I should be FAMOUS.

I'd rather be rich, but I'll take famous, so long as it doesn't mean I have to wear underwear around the house.

And finally, the best news of all...which is not, in fact, really about me. See? I'm not as disgustingly self-absorbed as I think you think I think I am. Or something.

One of my other crit partners, the brilliant and excessively fashionable Barbara Caridad Ferrer -- she of DOUBLE-Rita finalist fame -- has sold herself another book. Behold:

ADIÓS TO MY OLD LIFE author, Barbara Caridad Ferrer’s A THIN LINE, a contemporary interpretation of Bizet's "Carmen" in which the fiery gypsy is re-invented as a modern-day dancer, torn between the attentions of a intense, disciplined music prodigy and a flamboyant soccer player, to Shelley Diaz at Dial, for publication Spring 2009, by Caren Johnson at Caren Johnson Literary Agency.

And REALLY finally, because it's Friday and I'm feelin' frisky, a very brief excerpt from my upcoming release, "Hardcore," my first M/M romance and part of the Phaze Fantasies III collection, due out the first week of July:

"You need to use the john?" Bonham asked him, his voice gruff but subdued. "Maybe take a shower?"

Sean shook his head. "I'm good." He slid out of his damp jacket and shivered as the cool air struck his bare arms and neck.

Bonham began rummaging around in the oversized duffel he'd carried in from the truck. A few seconds later, he came up with a fresh set of clothes. "I'll be twenty minutes or so. Then we'll see what Manuel left us to eat, and maybe start a fire."

Before he could think, Sean heard himself saying, "You're not gonna tie me up?"

Bonham shot a glance over his left shoulder. "I thought we'd save the kinky shit for when we know each other better."

"Funny. You're a real comedian for a convicted killer."

Bonham was next to him in under a second, his fingers digging into Sean's bicep. He stared up into Sean's face, his lip curled into a snarl, and said, "Watch your mouth, kid. You know nothing about me, so don't pretend you do. You won't like the results."

Sean knew he should let it drop. He knew it like he knew he wanted to feel Bonham's hands on more than his arm or his wrist. Which is probably why he said, "You mean like the Incredible Hulk? I won't like you when you're angry?"

The pupils of Bonham's eyes dilated, just like they'd done back at the bar, the first time he'd touched Sean. The corner of his mouth twitched. "Something like that, yeah." He let go of Sean's arm and stepped back. "It's an eight-mile hike to the highway. With the rain like it is, you'd drown before you made it, and that's without me chasing you down and knocking your dick in the dirt."

"And you're so sure I can't hotwire that piece of shit you parked out front?"

Bonham stepped back again, far enough to make a show of looking Sean up and down. He snorted. "Yeah, I'm sure." Then he went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Sean listened to the creak and thud of the pipes as the shower came on, and considered his options. He could make a run for it, but Bonham was right--an eight-mile hike in the dark and mud and pouring rain didn't exactly appeal to him, especially since he'd likely get lost. And he couldn't, in fact, hotwire a truck or any other kind of vehicle. So that left two choices: seduce Bonham and disarm him that way, or try to get the jump on him using good old-fashioned violence.

Everything being equal, the first option was a lot more attractive. But for all his jabber during the drive to the cabin, Sean didn't have the first clue how to handle a guy like Bonham, who was plainly a hell of a lot more complex than Paco Sanchez. He suspected Bonham wouldn't be taken in by a submissive pose and a blowjob, and Sean wasn't sure he was willing to go any further with a stranger.

Even a beautiful stranger? Even if it might save him from eventually being murdered by said beautiful stranger? Yeah, okay. That was reality here--Bonham was a killer, and he'd do well to remember it.

He heard the shower turn off and looked around the room with rising panic, searching for a weapon. There, by the fireplace. A poker. He grabbed it, positioned himself to the left of the bathroom door, and waited.

The door opened, letting out a rolling wave of steam that smelled like soap and freshly-scrubbed male. Sean watched Bonham step through the doorway and…two…thr--

He felt it all before he saw anything...mostly because he'd shut his eyes, which only proved he'd never make much of a ninja. Bonham's hand came out of nowhere, grasping his wrist and twisting until he released the poker. Bonham's body, in nothing but jeans, pressed full-length against his. The older man's wet hair dripped cold on his chest, the water seeping through his tee shirt. Sean took a deep breath, opened his eyes and looked down.

"See," Bonham said, smirking up at him yet again in a way that made Sean want to bite right through that pretty lower lip, "See, now...that was a mistake." - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I've got an essay thingy on love at first sight over at Romancing the Blog today. Check it out if you're interested.

And yes, I know they misspelled my name. It's my own fault for having such a weird name in the first place. *eyeroll* - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A man by any other name...

...would smell as sweaty, especially after mowing the lawn.


Sorry. Sudafed onboard.

Over at Romancing the Blog, we're talking about M/M romance and how it may or may not differ with regular, run-of-the-mill het Romance, with a capital R, and that stands for rhubarb, and that gives me hives. If you've been paying attention, you know I just finished final edits on my own very first M/M romance, (HARDCORE, part of the PHAZE Fantasies III collection, out next month) so I'm particularly interested in the discussion.

My goal in writing HARDCORE was to see if I could combine a classic romance structure (meet cute...ish, mental lusting, external conflict, internal conflict, more external conflict, black moment, climax, tender-slash-steamy denouement, happily-ever-after) with characters that think, speak, and act like actual men. You know, as opposed to the pseudo-men we see all the time in both M/M and het romance who not only analyze every passing emotion in precious detail, but then TALK about those details with an ease and articulation that no man, in the history of EVER, has talked about his emotions. EVER. EVER.

And since I'm also wicked stoned at the moment and have NO shame (zip, zilch, nada, none, and I'll probably feel really, really bad about this later) I'm just gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back, because I think I met that goal. My protags in HARDCORE are true pains in the ass as only real guys can be. Seriously. They say the GROSSEST STUFF to each other, and then laugh like it's FUNNIEST THING THEY'VE EVER HEARD....just like every guy I've ever known.

Now comes the interesting part: Will the readership for M/M romance want to read about real guys having sex and being gross with other real guys, even if it includes a strong undercurrent of solid -- if unexpressed -- emotion and all the standard romance conceits? Or will they prefer the softer, more idealized versions of men loving men, as so many seem to do when it comes to men loving women?

And how many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop? Magic 8 Ball says...

...ask again later.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Cheerleaders and Church Ladies and Criminally Sadistic Dominatrixes, Oh...My...


I don't generally do the "list of search terms for my site," if only because I hate to rip off other folks' schtick. But you'll be pleased to know that as of this morning, I reside at the top of Google's list for the term "criminal sadistic dominatrix."

My mother would be so proud. Not to mention my priest.

So with SIN STREET out, I'm fixin' to send copies for review, and doesn't THAT wrack the ol' nerves? The Smart Bitches have graciously agreed to have a peek. I'm hoping for a "C" or better, because humility is among my best traits.

FORTUNE'S FOOL has dropped as well -- don't I use the lingo with a certain
je ne sais quoi? -- and I've finally finished that M/M novella I've been working on since October of last year (HARDCORE, part of the Phaze Fantasies III collection, due out in July). This leaves me at somewhat of a loose end in terms of writing. No deadlines until late summer. Guess I'll have to go on ahead and finish one of the three full-length novels sitting on my hard drive. But which one? The Medieval fairytale/fantasy with the light BDSM overtones? The contemporary romantic suspense with the young widow in love with her only-slightly-younger stepson? Or the post-apocalyptic futuristic with the twisted ménage a trois and the warped religious sensibility?

The fairytale is four years old, for God's sake, and I'll have to go back and revise it AGAIN, but it's the closest to being complete at nearly 80K words. The contemporary romantic suspense just isn't moving me at the moment, probably because I've written so much of it lately, but it's the most likely to snag an agent, or so I've been told. The futuristic -- well, that's my personal fave. That's a story I could let myself get lost inside. But it's seriously challenging, requiring tons of research for world-building, and if I REALLY want to interest an agent in the near future, it's not the most practical choice.

It's a QUANDARY, I tells ya.

What would Nora do? Probably go for the romantic suspense, huh?

But what would Paperback Writer do? I'm betting she'd tell me to go for the one that rings my bell. Because if we're not in this for the love of the story, what the hell are we doing here?

Speaking of which...I haven't commented on most of the recent romance community convulsions because I've been too busy (gasp!) writing, and because in the case of Ellora's Cave and Triskelion, I'm not involved on any level, so why should my opinion count for anything?

But in the matter of the new PAN regulations, I will say this: I didn't join RWA for a chance to sit at the cool kids' table. If I were to sell to an RWA-recognized publisher tomorrow, the chance to join PAN would be at the very bottom of My List Of Reasons To Break Out the GOOD (read: imported) Wine. Not that it makes much difference, because a) I'm not going to sell to an RWA-recc'd publisher tomorrow (by the end of the year, though? maybe, baby) and b) I've let my RWA membership lapse out of apathy and thriftiness bordering on pathology.

But if I did? And if I hadn't? Seriously, folks. Come on. Are we here to write books and make money doing it, or join clubs within clubs and play "Cheerleaders and Church Ladies" with our peers? This is the reason women will never rule the world. We, as a general thing, can't compete without making it personal, or pulling the victimization card. "But it's not FAAAIIIRRRRR!"

As I frequently tell my children -- poor little abused spawn -- life is hard. Publishing? Even harder. I understand Wal*Mart carries an excellent selection of fashion-forward helmets for just these kinds of occasions.

And because I'd prefer to end this on a positive note going into the weekend...LOOKY! The upcoming release from our favorite double-RITA finalist! Available for pre-order!

Happy weekend! - Romance of Dubious Virtue (soon to be redesigned, blah blah blah ZOMGWTFBBQ)