Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Book That Would Not Die: DAY 47

Fresh out of anything remotely interesting to say that doesn't involve Greek mythology, Apocalyptic prophecy or kinky sex with toys -- but fearing the threats of dire retribution from her brilliant and ever-stylish crit partner if she doesn't update soon -- the desperate blogger relies on pimping other folks' posts, making note of a recent review, and blathering on about the difference between dark fantasy and horror.

~Lilith Saintcrow, author of the excellent Dante Valentine series (among others), talks about the "visual writer" over at The Midnight Hour. Nifty.


~Maura Frankman of the Romance Studio gives DIRTY SHAME four stars and a nice review:

"Joey Fiorello is an out of work actress desperate for a job; she also has the voice of her dead sister constantly nagging her in her head. She answers an ad for a personal assistant and finds herself employed by the notorious Hollywood bad boy Dare Daniels. His agent assures her that she isn’t his type, she is short, dark, and curvy and he likes them tall, thin, and blonde. He also has a stalker who wants to kill him, but he doesn’t know that yet. Advised by his therapist to go home to work out his issues, the two fly to rural Kansas where Dare is definitely not the most popular guy in town. Hopefully the two will both survive the trip.

Joey is one of the best characters that I have read about in a while. She is definitely not the Hollywood ingénue type and she definitely has a Brooklyn attitude. Dare needs someone to kick him in the butt. He spends most of his time drunk or passed out and needs someone like Joey to straighten him out. The stressful situation brings them together and causes conflict at the same time. Dare has a pretty terrible secret in his past and the tabloids would love to get hold of it, they could also have a field day with the pair’s pretty public couplings. The tabloid reporter already in town nearly gets a really big story but for the tough Joey. The would-be murderer was a complete surprise to me, though all the hints were there. This is a very well done romantic suspense story with hotter than average love scenes and two charismatic main characters who really need each other, and don’t forget the bossy ghost!"

(DIRTY SHAME is available in ebook form, and in trade paperback as part of my SIN STREET collection.)


~I've heard it said that true horror can't be sexy. I'd beg to differ. One of the hottest scenes I've ever read happened in the first third of Uncle Stevie's PET SEMATARY...the bathtub scene? Anybody else remember that?

Yeah, I know, that book ended VERY badly. Or very well, depending on how you feel about the wiping out of an entire family, including the cat. (Okay, the little girl lived, but I'm sure she ended up being raised by the grandparents who caused most of the tragedy by fucking up her mother in the first place.)

I'm writing a book -- which started out as a novella and got away from me in the past week -- that I thought could be called a dark fantasy, but as the story develops, I'm seeing a real edging toward horror in at least two scenes. And I'm not sure where I draw that line, but like porn, I know it when I read it.

What I want to know is this: Where is the line for you? When does dark fantasy become horror? Is it all about the gore? Is it a certain kind of monster or bad guy or supernatural-ity?

Is it about the ending? (Happy ending = fantasy, sad/bad ending = horror. If that's the correct equation, I guess I'm writing dark erotic fantasy with elements of horror...maybe?)

And how do you feel about dark erotic fantasy versus erotic horror?

I'm askin'.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

L is for LOSER.

Kate hath shamed me. To wit:

"you know there's a name for people like you, people who get other people addicted to their blog and then stop posting for days and days and days at a time.

The word might be "busy" or it might be some other b word.

and now I have barbra streisand singing in my brain "peeeeeeeeepllll who neeeed peeeeeeplllll" and I'll blame you for that, too."
~the inimitable Kate Rothwell

Yeah, you could call me busy. Or a bitch. I answer to both.*

I'm in the middle of a WIP that's taking over my life, invading my dreams, and otherwise kicking my ass. It's a dark, futuristic/post-Apocalyptic M/M erotic fantasy with BDSM elements (heh...d'you want fries with that?)

Working title: NIGHTSHADE. Due out from Amber Allure sometime in May.

A civilization thrown into hell by war and pestilence cries out for salvation. A band of Champions emerges from the shadows of chaos -- reincarnations of the old daemons and deities from times forgotten.

A young soldier maimed in an accident and no longer fit for the battlefield answers the call to serve. Daniel Willoughby is ready -- if not eager -- to fulfill his duties as Squire to Nikolai Thanatos, the Champion codenamed “Nightshade.”

Daniel is prepared to sacrifice his body, his heart and his soul. He’s about to discover Nightshade wants all that...and more.

Side by side they walked the path to the huge brick house. Each time Daniel tried to drop back in deference to Thanatos, the Champion slowed his pace. Finally, he stopped and confronted Daniel. "Why do you dally?"

Daniel's face flushed with heat. "My training. Protocol says--"

Thanatos loomed over him, leaning in close till his breath rushed over Daniel's neck. He bent and touched his lips to the stretch of skin just under Daniel's ear. Then he bit, pinching a tiny bit of flesh between the sharp edges of his teeth.

A thrill of pain, hot and sweet, shot through Daniel and he swayed like a stripling in a stiff wind.

Thanatos released him and whispered, "You asked me to test you. I warn you not to test me in return."

"Yes." Daniel's voice quavered and broke. "I'm sorry. Anything you want."

"Call me Nikolai."




When the Champion spoke again, Daniel heard a note of satisfaction hidden somewhere in the gravel-rough rumble. "I am partial to a man who knows when to fight and when to give in. I think we will make a tight fit, you and I."

He ran his hand down Daniel's spine, from the nape of his neck to the swell of his ass. Daniel could feel the press and drag of each finger through the thin fabric of his duty-rig. "Do not keep me waiting, Daniel Willoughby."

He turned away. Daniel stood on the path, fighting to regain his composure.

Overhead, the Nightingale trilled.


So, anyway. That's why I've been a big, loser-y absentee landlord of a blog owner. I will endeavor to do better, if only to save Kate from a further plague of easy-listening earworms.

*Plus a handful of others, including "Ma, Mama, Mommmyyyyy, honey, and Her Royal Highness, Queen of the Manatee." **

**There's a story behind this one. No, I'm not going to tell it here. Meet me at RT in Pittsburgh and buy me a drink. We'll talk.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My new cover makes me happy...



It's the little things. The fold of the hat. The belt coiled in his hand, which illustrates a minor, smutty plot point. The fact that both he and the shadowy chick in the background look pretty much EXACTLY like the hero and heroine of my story.

Cover art is always a crapshoot. Or, at best, Forest Gump's famous box of chocolates -- always sweet, because any cover means you've sold a book, but sometimes? You get the raspberry cream. Blech.

Coincidentally, PBW discussed this very topic yesterday.

*stares at new cover some more*

Yep. Happy. In my pants.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Subtlety, thy name is PBW.

Lynn Viehl has what I consider to be the final word on the subject of holding unpopular opinions* in the current Romancelandia climate.

There's a reason I aspire to her level of sanity.

*Which is not the same thing as supporting plagiarism, for those still determined to confuse the two issues.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Remember last year's Rita awards? Remember how a bunch of folks were ASTOUNDED and APPALLED when my crit partner, the brilliant and ever-stylish Barbara Caridad Ferrer, won for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance with her Young Adult debut novel, ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE?

Apparently, the 2007 Rita judges weren't the only ones who think Ferrer is a big slice of awesome with a side of awesome-sauce. Behold the interim results in AAR's 2008 Readers' Poll. Ferrer's 2007 release, IT'S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT (also a Young Adult novel), is listed no less than three times -- "Best Romance," "Best Contemporary Romance," and "Most-Hanky Read."

To quote Barb, "I'm just thrilled YA can be held up against the mainstream adult stuff and work."

In other news, agent Caren Johnson is running a contest to celebrate the New Year. Check it out.

Also, I've been reading this blog, edittorent, quite a bit of late. Excellent advice from two very sharp editors. I'm learning stuff I didn't know I didn't know. Know what I mean?

Finally, I'm pleased to note that SEVEN YEAR ACHE made the #9 spot on Amber Allure's quarterly Bestseller List. Very gratifying. But I wonder what it says about me as an author that my M/M work outsells my M/F work by such a large margin? Or does it say something about the market? Hmmm.

ETA: Win a print copy of FORTUNE'S FOOL at Alison Kent's blog today!

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Once more, with feeling.

Jenny Crusie has more to say on the difference between legitimate reviewing/reporting, and scape-goating. (Warning: it's long.)

Two things in this essay stood out for me. First, the fact that Jenny is so willing to admit her own failings in the area of "snide and demeaning." How refreshing to see someone step up and say, "Here's where I think you screwed up, but here's where I screwed up, too. I'll try not to do it again."

I'm the first to admit that I often descend into "snide and demeaning," (and on one notable occasion, "mere sarcasm") particularly when discussing the RWA, and often when attempting to dissect and understand the behavior of certain romance bloggers. It's not cool, because the tone adds nothing to the debate. Jenny's on the nose with that one.

I can't control the ebb and flow of the River Rancid, but I can refuse to drink from its waters. I will try harder.

Secondly, Jenny says this:

"It isn’t about being nice; nice has no place in communicating ideas. It isn’t even about being polite; that’s a social construct. It’s about figuring out what you want to communicate to other people and saying that, instead of going for the laugh and the superiority."

YES. A whole entire universe of YES.

Comments are running heavily in Jenny's favor, but it's her blog, after all. I'm sure the folks on the opposite side of the debate will rally their troops any time now. But here's the thing I really don't get: How can anyone with enough interest and smarts to follow the discussion this far conflate Jenny's dislike of the tone of the conversation with defending plagiarism?

I'm not buying it. And while I'm sure this will generate someone out there to think/say, "You don't know me and you can't speak to my motivations," I can't help but think that nonsense is just a cover for "Ouch, Crusie's right, we've been acting like asshats, but we enjoy it too much to stop."

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some folks really are that stupid.

Wait...was that snide and demeaning? I can't even tell anymore. *sigh* This is gonna be hard.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Monday, January 07, 2008

Jenny Crusie FOR THE WIN!

Anybody who’s even marginally acquainted with me must know I couldn’t keep my grubby little paws off this one, right?

Cassie Edwards has allegedly plagiarized some work, apparently from a number of sources. If these allegations are true, then Ms. Edwards deserves whatever consequences are coming to her. No author has the right to steal, no matter how popular – and Cassie Edwards IS popular, which is part of another point that I’ll address later (and I’m sure you can’t WAIT).

So it was the Smart Bitches who outted Ms. Edwards' shenanigans, and that’s all well and good. Keeping the masses informed, one Bitch at a time. Works for me.

But there IS a finer distinction to be made here, and Jenny Crusie stepped up to bat and knocked it right outta the park.

After acknowledging that plagiarism is wrong, and Edwards deserves to face the consequences if she, in fact, has done it, and also acknowledging that the SBs have every right to hunt down the facts of the matter AND every right to review as “savagely” as they can, Jenny went on to say:

“I also think this site has made Cassie Edwards a scapegoat and a whipping boy, taking gleeful delight in pointing out how bad she is over and over and over again to the point where it’s close to harassment. The woman is a bad writer, we get it, we get it, so why did Candy give her friend one of Edwards’ books when she knows what outstandingly good books there are out there? Because it’s Cassie Edwards, and she’s so much fun to kick. The only thing I do not like about this site is the way Edwards is treated.

So when I saw another ‘Cassie Edwards, ohmygod’ post, the fact that it was about plagiarism is not what annoyed me first, it was that it was another shot at Cassie Edwards, discovered because people were reading her to make fun of her again. She plagiarized, I hope she goes down for it. But she doesn’t deserve the constant humiliation this site heaps on her, nobody does.

I realize this will enrage SB fans. I realize this will make some people think even less of me than they already do and that opinion was pretty darn low to begin with. I’m good with that. Have a nice day.”

And OHMYGOD, I nearly had a spontaneous moment of sexual ecstasy there. Pardon me whilst I recover.

Okay. So.

Criticize the work. Criticize the author for producing the work. Everyone can learn from good, solid, insightful reviewing. But when the criticism slides into round after round of bashing, whom does that benefit? The segment of the audience who are in it for the cheap thrill of getting to be nasty virtually anonymously and with no consequences? The blogger who gets to vent and have her adoring readership tell her again how very clever she is?

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s left feeling queasy by that behavior, especially when it’s practiced by folks I know to be otherwise intelligent enough to appreciate the distinction. And it saddens me when the only defense they can seem to come up with is "I never said I was a nice person." Lame.

My other point? Clearly, Cassie Edwards -- and Laurell K. Hamilton and a slew of other authors who are routinely excoriated online -- have a large and devoted audience. What is the average book reviewer saying to THOSE people every time they not only diss a book or report on an event in the writing community – ALL of which is perfectly reasonable behavior -- but savage the author to boot? Aren’t they saying, “hey, you’re too stupid to know a good book, AND the author with whom you may have a long-time literary relationship is pretty much a moron, too.” So when blogging reviewers (NOT necessarily the SBs) get all het up about authors allegedly bashing readers in these online dust-ups? Perhaps they should, for just a moment, consider the literally thousands of readers they routinely offend simply by being unnecessarily cruel to their favorite authors.

Do the SBs and their crowd have a right to bash? Sure they do. I’ve got a right to stand on the corner and berate my long-dead Aunt Marta for being an utter twat, too. Doesn’t mean anybody needs to hear that shit. Nor does it make me particularly classy to do it.

There’s a reason they call it the “high road” and it ain’t for the cannabis growin' in the ditch.

And now I’m going to go write Jenny Crusie a note, thanking her for speaking up. I may feel the urge to propose marriage. I will fight this urge. I may not win.

Jenny? You’ve been warned.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

Friday, January 04, 2008

"There's a hole in the world like a great black pit...

...and it's filled with people who are filled with shit!"

Ah, Sweeney. Murderous misanthropy at its finest. I wasn't nearly as disturbed by the gouts and gobs of blood as I was by watching...(slight spoiler ahead)...

...Mrs. Lovett's untimely demise. I adore Helena Bonham Carter. She's the patron saint of the profoundly weird.

So. Happy New Year. The bleak midwinter approacheth -- my favorite season. I'm working on a very dark futuristic fantasy featuring fresh, creamy innocence despoiled by Death incarnate and made to like it and beg for more. I've peopled it with vulgar, greedy, and ultimately inconsequential despots, vicious men of the cloth with nasty turns of mind and secret agendas, and a whole boatload of kinky sex -- using the online writing/reading/blogging community as my template, obviously. And a happy ending. Because this is ROMANCE, baby.

The working title of this homage to the sick and twisted is NIGHTSHADE, and it should be released by Amber Allure sometime in May.

Also, SEVEN YEAR ACHE made the top ten bestseller list at Amber Allure for the second month running, so yay for the cold, hard cash, yes? *sigh* That resolution to be less crass lasted a whole four days.

Oh well. Maybe next year.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue