Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Night of Debauchery (A Diva Get Together)

So, Thursday night, Eden Bradley's best friend, Lilli Fiesty, came to town for a visit. A few of us met at a restaurant in Sherman Oaks. Now, keep in mind that you have 6 erotica authors all together at once and at least two of them are crazy and up for anything. The rest of us will go along with just about anything.

I wish I could thoroughly explain the hilarity of the evening. Here are the highlights: wine and Indian food; a camera who had a little too much vodka; ice in the restaurant toilet; ruined underwear--going commando; toying with a player via text message; the robot stripper dance; two lap dances (one professional, one courtesy of Ms. Fiesty); a strip club with nude dancers; a bar with 4 fascinated table neighbors (three men and one woman) who were enamored with Eden Bradley and the fact that there are six erotica writers at the table next to them; a man under the delusion that Eden was his wife and they've got two kids at home; Fiesty and Lisa reenacting the lipstick scene from Breakfast Club, and plans for a trip to Vegas where I'll get my first lap dance at a male revue... Actually, that would be my first lap dance ever. Sadly, I was not the recipient of Fiesty's lap dance (though she did bury her head in my boob for a picture).


I didn't have a camera, so I can only rely on the pics that KB sent me. There are more pics, but I have not received them yet. Unfortunately, the funny picture we took with our table neighbors came out really blurry or I would post it here.

Here's a teaser...

This is what happens when a group of Romance Divas get together!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've Been Inked

Okay, so not really. But, I'm developing an uncharacteristic fondness for tattoos. Not on me--I don't do tats--but on the right man...

If you happened to see yesterday's post, you'll know I've become addicted to more videos on YouTube. Specifically, General Hospital music videos featuring Greg Vaughan and Kelly Monaco (Lucky & Sam). So, back to Greg's tattoo. So now I totally have a tattoo fetish, if only for one tattoo. Here's a pic:

I have to say that the pic does not nearly do it justice. So, I'm posting a sexy slow motion scene of Greg Vaughan in a hot tub. At the end, you can see Greg's tattoo. It's a Native American eagle. I just want to run my hands over it. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's attached to Greg!

Recently, there were two other tattoos that kind of struck my fancy. I saw this picture of The Rock with his tribal tattoo and it's pretty hot:

And, I bought Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld books because I first saw this picture from Darkest Night:

If I am honest, I must also admit to my crush on Daegus MacKeltar from Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series. And, since Cian (Kee-yan) is my second favorite Highlander Hottie, there must be something more to this closet tattoo fetish. It doesn't hurt that they both have that redeemable bad boy thing going on.

So, I confess. I'm in the early stages of HMWTA (Hot Man With Tattoo Addiction). What are the 12 steps?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How I Get Inspired (Distracted) While Meaning to Write....Or, Twilight and GH on YouTube

So, I'm working on a new paranormal story idea. It's taking a while to flesh together as this is a series and is more detailed than writing a novella or single title.

When I'm supposed to be writing, I'm finding myself on YouTube looking up mvids of General Hospital. Sad, but true. I was browsing for pics of Kelly Monaco (who plays Sam) and I saw one of her and Greg Vaughan (who plays Lucky). I'd been having trouble finding a face for my hero and when I saw the pic of Greg/Lucky, I knew I had a winner! So, I stumbled upon these really good music videos of the LuSam romance and I got hooked. I look at them when I'm getting ready to write and it's totally amusing because I never even watched GH during the time they got together. Side note for GH fans: the whole Sam and baby Jake storyline and the JaSam breakup was just annoying beyond belief, so I boycotted the show. Jason is my favorite character and I liked Sam, so I just couldn't get with the craziness...

So, back to my LuSam obsession. Those videos are muy caliente! That's some hot stuff. And, I just LOVE the clips of Lucky when he gets into the hot tub in his jeans and no shirt on. I'm not a girl for tats, but Greg has this beautiful Native American Eagle tattoo on his back that is OMG sexy!

Here's one of the videos on my LuSam playlist. If you skip to about 1:41 on the time, you'll see the sexy hot tub scene... Just sayin'.

And, this one is my favorite. It's more sweet than sexy:

Edited to add: I found a clip of just the hot tub scene, in slow motion:


My other obsession lately is the Twilight series. I know people have been talking about these books for a while, but I was slow to jump on the bandwagon. So, a good friend of mine started reading them and then got me to read the first one before we went to see the movie. I'm now on the third book, Eclipse. Well, more than half-way done.

So, I went Twi--I mean--Christmas shopping from my computer yesterday and bought several of my friends Twighlight stuff. Apparently we're all hooked on Sparkly Vampires. I'll show you some of the cool things I got: I didn't actually buy the pillow, but I did buy something with this logo.

This one is my Twilight gift to myself:
Because I am switzerland. I refuse to be affected by territorial disputes between mythical creatures. A hot wolf AND a cool vampire, now there's a girl's dream come true!

And, for my friend who is NOT neutral territory...

I do have to admit, there is something quite sexy about a sparkly, protective, velvet voiced vampire named Edward...

With any luck, my Greg Vaughan lookalike and paranormal hero, Connall O'Neill, will turn out to be just as sexy. Though my vamps do not sparkle. :)

My new addictions are inspiring, but terrible distractions. Last night, I spent 5 hours watching old episodes of GH on YouTube. This morning, I spent about 4 hours reading Eclipse.

So what are your distractions?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reading Frenzy

Lately, I've been on a book-buying binge. Not sure if it's stress or just exciting gems every time I pass by the bookstore or the online bookstore...

Recently, I'd become obsessed with the Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark Series. I love those books! I got one for free or maybe it was 50 cents at my local RWA chapter. We have book exchanges and raffles. One day, I got some books both in the book exchange and I won a goodie bag in a raffle. At first, I was dismayed by the quirky title: Dark Needs at Night's Edge. Who thinks up these things?

But, then I got to reading. And, I got to liking. And, I realized there was a whole series...So, from that point on, I was a goner. I read them all except for book #5--which I am postponing because I don't want to wait a long time for book #6 to come out.

A week ago, I got an email from Amazon saying that there was a 4 for the price of 3 romance novel sale. Temptation got the best of me. I saw a Christine Warren book in the promotion and I'd already read She's No Faerie Princess, so I was excited. I thought, why not just buy the rest of the series since I'm brainstorming a paranormal right now. So, I bought 5 books!

And, my friend Eden Bradley's book Forbidden Fruit came out and I was at the bookstore last weekend and had to buy it. A few weeks ago, my RWA chapter had a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble and I just had to buy something in support.

Is it time to check me into book-rehab? Or some kind of obssessive compulsive support group? Book Buyer's Anonymous?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I won 2nd place in the Reveal Your Inner Vixen Contest

I found out on Friday that I placed second in the Erotic category of the Maryland RWA contest for best sexual tension. This was exciting for me as I have worked very hard on Secrets Uncovered. Harder than I've ever worked on a book in my life. Next month, it will be two years since I first wrote a draft of this book.

A list of winners in all categories has now been posted:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Burnt Toast

This week, I've been reading Teri Hatcher's book, Burnt Toast. I wanted to read the book when I'd first heard about it on Oprah, but somehow never got around to it. It was on sale at a local B&N bookstore and I figured this was the perfect time to buy it.

It's a funny thing. Lois & Clark was actually my favorite TV show in the mid 90's (that and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman). I loved Lois Lane and Dean Cain (as Clark) was my crush in school. Oddly enough, I didn't have a thing for Superman, just Clark. I think it was the glasses and the preppy clothes and maybe the brainy attitude. Or, maybe it was just nice to see a strong man rely on things other than physical strength in his "normal" life.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand: Burnt Toast. As I read through the book, I realized how much I have in common with Teri Hatcher. Her introspective musings remind me of the word jumble that goes on in my head on any given day. She talks a lot about mindfulness and awareness, which is something I think of a lot. So, when something good or bad happens in her life, she's thinking "What does it mean?" or "How can I use this to learn more about myself or become a better person?"

Some of the book is funny. Some of it is kind of sad. It was reassuring to know that someone I'd always thought of as being pretty also has some of the same body issues that I've struggled with. And, a few that I have not. It reminded me of how each day you wake up and look in the mirror and you have to deal with what you see there. Outer success has nothing to do with that first impression you get when you wake up and see yourself in the glass. Being on magazine covers doesn't make you any more comfortable in a bathing suit or getting naked with a new guy for the first time (for that story, you'll have to read the book).

I think the lesson carries over into other realms as well. How many people have I looked up to and thought, "Ooh, I want to be just like them." Well, the truth is, do I really want to be just like them? Do I want the pain of divorce or loosing a parent or having my cellulite appear on the cover of a tabloid magazine? No, not so much. I think as women living our lives everyday, we fantasize about the glamorous attention (getting to wear designer clothes or having pretty pictures taken or having a hot male movie star chasing after us). But, we don't think too much about the day that celebrity wakes up and feels fat or that she's having a terrible time in her marriage and tabloids are posting pictures of her boyfriend with other women and making insinuating remarks. And, we don't think too much about the day that the TV show gets canceled or the big movie bombs or the record label refuses to publish the album.

Ultimately, it's good to be me. I may not like it all of the time, but do I want someone else's problems? Baggage? Insecurities? I think I've gotten used to mine and they are used to me, so I think I'll just stick with the devil I know for now.

Okay, so this post has gone on way longer than I'd anticipated. It seems my last couple of posts have twisted and turned in unexpected directions as I started writing them. I'll blame it on Mercury Retrograde.

Feel free to drop a line. Would you want to trade places with a celebrity or successful person? On a good day? A bad day?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eden Bradley's signing at Hustler

I went with my friend, Eden Bradley, to the Hustler store in West Hollywood. She was participating in a reading series called In The Flesh which helps to raise money for victims of incest and rape. Eden read from her upcoming book, 21st Century Courtesan. Let's just say it was spicy though the theme was sex in adolescence.

The event was fun and I think Eden had the most fans present. Our LARA friends came out in a big group to support her. It was funny because some excerpts were really funny and about that awkwardness of childhood and some excerpts were more about the emotional part of the sexual experience.

Eden has a very vivid writing style, so as I listened to her read, I could distinctly see the time and place in my head, who Valentine (Eden's character) was at this age in her life and how she felt about her first sexual experience as well as how she feels about her current sexual experience with the hero.

Reading Eden's other book, Exotica (which is fabulous by the way--shameless plug), and listening to the excerpt from this book made me think a lot about my own writing style. They say love is in the details and I think in Eden's books, this is correct.

My strength is dialogue. I love witty banter and innuendo between a hero and heroine. That's where I tend to shine. However, my description of the setting needs work. I tend to write bare bones in a first draft and though Belle Scarlett, my critique partner, tends to help me flesh things out and put more in, it's something I have to consciously think about. Dialogue tends to flow out naturally from me. I don't think too much about it.

And, yet, now that I've read what good description is and what good characterization is, it's shifted something in my perspective. I look at what I've written differently. I find I want to be better. A better writer. A better storyteller. I want to weave a deep connection between my hero, heroine, and reader.

As a kid, I read Alex Haley's Queen. It was one of the best books I'd ever written (no offense to Jane Austen and Shakespeare, my favorites). The thing about Queen is that the language is beautiful. Vivid. Lyrical. It takes you places. Some places you want to go and some places that live in the nightmares of millions of people. I loved it. I hated certain characters. I laughed and I cried and I lived the experience of the book. And, it was more than just being a biracial girl reading about another biracial girl's experience. What I think drew me was the perfection of the storytelling. Now, Queen was not complete when Hailey died, so another person had to finish the book, so I don't know how much was Hailey and how much was David Stevens. But, the story is alive. The words are alive. They touch something deep inside, so that you're not quite the same when the story is over. Queen lives in me.

In a different way, Eden's book, Exotica, did that for me. Reading the book changed me. And, at a time when I needed to be changed. I needed to see the power of words. The simple power of what happens when you read the story of a sexual journey and when the characters grow, you grow as well.

I had intended to write this funny post about the Hustler signing and winning a very interesting goodie bag during a raffle after the reading, but as I started typing, a deeper story emerged. See how I've changed? :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun addictions

Okay, so I have to say that I am addicted to watching Xena Ares videos on YouTube (see the post from last month). I just can't seem to stop myself. And, even though I've already seen probably 25 or more, I am still finding different ones to amuse me. And, then of course, there are my favorite videos that I like to re-watch.

I've been thinking about whether to get NetFlix so I can watch the rest of the seasons of Xena that I missed. Apparently, you can watch them online as well as getting them in the mail. I want to do that, but I know if I have the ability to watch them online, I'll be glued to the screen for days.

A few years ago, I decided to catch up on the last two seasons of Angel. They jumped the shark when they brought his son back as an eighteen year-old. I just couldn't get with it, so I stopped watching. Anyway, I finally decided to watch them and I rented seasons 4 and 5 from my video store. So each day, I was sitting through four hours of Angel episodes. Totally crazy. But, once I watched one, I had to watch another. And another. Kind of like potato chips. You can't eat just one. And, potato chips are my weakness.

So, my idea of restraint is spending a couple of hours watching Xena music videos on YouTube instead of renting the actual episodes and watching them. Help! Do I need an intervention? Or, maybe just a Xena Ares IV? You can hook it right up to my brain and it will be all Xena all the time!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pleasant Surprises

So, today was one of those days where you go from low low to high high. I had just returned from a trip to New England and had a minor injury on the plane so I spent most of the day at the Emergency Room of a local hospital. I bumped my head while boarding the plane yesterday and after a couple of hours, I realized it wasn't just a casual knock on the head. It turned out that everything was fine and the doctor sent me home with the advice to take some ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and get some rest.

About two hours ago, I decided to check my email again and I realized there was a message regarding a contest I'd entered earlier this year. I am now a finalist and the contest coordinator told me that my entry was "impressive" and that the judges said it was one of the most "seductive, compelling, and well-written" entries. I was totally stoked as Inez Kelly would say!

My bumpy morning turned out to be a terrific evening. And, the best part is that the sexual tension scene I submitted to the contest will now be passed on to two senior editors at a couple of big epublishers and if they like it, I can get this book sold and published! Or, should I say published and sold? I love knowing that this time next year, the book could be for sale online.

My excited ramble has come to an end, but the hope and joyful anticipation live on...

Monday, August 4, 2008

A song for a character

I'm up later than usual tonight. I decided to make a soundtrack for my current WIP. I've always liked to listen to mood music when I write. When I was younger, I tended to pop in the Corrs first album, Forgiven Not Forgotten, or Sarah McLachlan's Surfacing Album. It wasn't until a few years ago when I was reading a book called Plot & Structure that I had ever heard of anyone actually making a "soundtrack" to a novel. The author calls it a brainstorming tool.

While writing my last book, I did create a soundtrack and discovered I could still write well to pop and R&B songs. So, this time, I went through my CD and itunes library and picked out several songs, but I got inspired to give each character a playlist and make a special folder just for this novel in my itunes library. It was interesting to do because I realized each character had a mood. One of my suspects is into early jazz (Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday) and her songs are moody and melancholic. All of her songs feature lost love, wrong love, or unrequited love.

Both my hero, Sebastian, and the victim in this book both favor pop. Their songs are overtly sensual and in-your-face. Sebastian favors Usher and Justin Timberlake while the victim favors Fergie. My heroine likes Natalie Imbruglia's first album.

I had never before considered having songs for each character. But, I find that now that I've thought about it, I like it. There is a sense of individuality in the songs, something which I hope will come through in the writing.

Do you pick certain CDs or songs for your novels? And, do certain songs specifically reflect a character or do they tend to reflect on the relationship or the tone of the novel as a whole?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ode to Ares (and Xena)

So, last weekend, I was trying to think of characters for a new story idea. I wanted to pick actors or models who looked liked my protagonists and I was having a hard time picking a face for the lead male. Finally, I thought of Kevin Tod Smith, the actor who played Ares on Xena: Warrior Princess. I was a big fan of the show, though I sadly never saw the last couple of seasons.

As I was searching online, I found a few tribute sites (Kevin passed away in 2002). Then, I stumbled on something I'd never seen before: a series of tribute videos on YouTube. The first video I found was by far one of the best:

Another good one actually shows the characters talking and the music is great. The only thing that annoys me about this is the subtitles. But the rest of it is beautiful, so I'll overlook it. The creator did not want the videos to be embedded in other websites, so here's the link:

This one is much more fun. And, it shows the juicy parts. Obviously, I missed a lot in those last seasons of Xena!!

Early on in the show, I had postulated that Ares was really in love with Xena and I was happy to see from these tribute videos that the show did finally reveal that and that other viewers were as crazy about Xena and Ares as I was.

So, this is my tribute to Kevin Smith. My Ares and the model for one of my new heroes.

May he live on forever...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


If procrastination were a science, then I'd probably have an M.S. in it. I'm the person who procrastinates on doing the laundry--sometimes there's hand-washing or shopping involved. I procrastinate on cleaning my room (I delay almost anything to do with chores).

When working on a story, I fiddle, I fidget, I surf, I wear myself out. I eventually get something written and I have weird periods of intense production, but when I'm working my way through a plot, I take the long, meandering, scenic route.

I wish I had the discipline the way Nora Roberts (or substitute famous author name) does. I think she once said that she writes every day at 9am and whether she's inspired or not, she's sitting there at 9am, ready to type. Me, I'll say, "Oh, I'm going to work on my book today," and then I'll sit and I'll do "research". I'll play games online. I'll fret about work. I'll email. I'll think of the cleaning that I've been avoiding for the past two weeks...

Thankfully, the writing is more motivating than the cleaning. I'd rather continue to procrastinate on tidying up than procrastinating on writing my book. I just wish procrastination wasn't so tempting.

I'm getting better as far as writing. Romance Diva's chatroom helps a lot with this as I can pretend I'm procrastinating and actually go in and get some writing done. Maybe that's the trick? Tell my procrastinating mind that I'm really just going to have fun, avert boredom, be silly or chat for a few minutes and then I actually use the time to get a few pages done?

Hmmm....I wonder if that would work with getting the bathroom done...Nah. When has scrubbing toilets ever been fun?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nothing to Write About

I come into this blog intending to write brilliant or at least remotely interesting topics. Today, I'm drawing a blank. So, I figured maybe it's time to explore what happens when you have nothing to write about.

Do you ever just get stuck sitting in front of the computer, pad and pencil, or--god forbid--the typewriter? You know you have to write something but you just can't do anything but stare at the blank page?

Sometimes, I want to write and I look at the screen and think, "I have nothing to say." Other times, it is more that I have a lot to say and I have nowhere to begin.

What do you do when nothing comes to mind?

(On a silly side note, this reminds me of the end of the movie Ghostbusters. For anyone who actually remembers this 80's icon & relic, there's a scene where the ghostbusters are confronted by a being who will bring to life whatever is on their mind. So, they all decide to think of nothing. Except for Dan Aykroyd, who thinks of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.)

So to end this ramble about nothing, please share your thoughts about what you do when you can't think of anything to write?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Do Your Heroines Resemble You or Anyone You Know?

When I first started writing romance in the eighth grade or so, I generally chose dark-haired heroines. I had a thing about making a blond heroine the star of the books. I also tended to write about tall heroines (I'm a 5'8" brunette). Today, I write heroines of differing hair colors and heights, but I wonder if there is a natural tendency to write heroines that look like us or maybe even a sister or close friend.

While I do sometimes pick actresses or models who resemble my character, I haven't yet made a character look like a friend. However, there is one particular story that I plan to write eventually in which I will base the look off of a girl I've seen who works at a local bookstore. I just noticed one day that she had beautiful features and looked like what I want my heroine to look like. Interestingly, a friend of my mom's looks a lot like this character and like an older version of the girl in the bookstore. But, these things kind of came to me after I already had the character in mind.

So, do your characters look like you? Or, someone you know?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's in a name?

Thursday, I will be blogging at Deadly Vixens. The topic will be ex-boyfriends and how and where they can show up in your writing.

Today, I'm going to talk about a problem that often comes up for me...making sure I don't keep repeating the same names or the same first letter of character names. This one is tough for me. A couple of years ago, I wrote a few chapters of a medieval romance with paranormal elements. My heroine's name was Astrith. Her father's name was Alden. Her brother, who died several years before the story begins, is named Alaric. And each one is important to the story to some degree. But, talk about problematic for a reader. I contemplated changing Alaric to Eric, but I still couldn't figure out what to do with Astrith and Alden.

My novella, Secrets Uncovered, is an altered version of a story I wrote in high school. The theme is the same in the two stories, but the plot is different and Secrets Uncovered is three times longer. But, my subconscious mind had a definite idea of who the characters would be in these stories. In my high school story, the heroine's name was Elizabeth and nicknamed Eliza. The hero's name was Jared. The best friend's name was Margaret. In my current novella, the heroine's name is Elena (short for Eleanor) and the hero is Jamie and the best friend is named Melissa. Even the annoying secondary character has a similar name. I had a character named Constance in the first story and in Secrets, the other woman is named Cherise.

And, recently, I had an idea for a fantasy romance series set in a medieval world. The heroine's name is Eleyne/Eleyn. I wanted something like Helene, but I may use that name for an older story idea I had, so I looked up Medieval names and came up with Eleyne. But, doesn't that look and sound a lot similar to Elena?

I have this odd connection to heroines whose names start with an E or an A. I just can't seem to help myself. But, in order for my stories to be effective, I have to help the reader. Which means I can't keep overusing the same names!

Do you find you have favorite names or name sounds that pop up over and over? Did you ever read a book that you could have really enjoyed if it weren't for the fact that too many characters had similar names?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What do you love about your hero?

My first polished historical romance novella, Secrets Uncovered, is a Victorian piece about an American widow who journeys to England with her best friend in search of a man she thinks is her father. Along the way, she meets a sexy earl--Jamie Davenport, Earl of St. James--who cannot seem to take no for an answer. He teases and provokes her at every opportunity and catches her doing things that a proper lady would not do.

In the past, I've written stories and lost my momentum somewhere in the middle. No matter how much I wanted to write a long, intricate piece, it just wouldn't happen. And, I could not get myself to edit and revise.

Something happened with this book. Namely Jamie Davenport. When I did not know what to write, when I was frustrated, when I was unsure or when I was bored, Jamie was there, convincing me to keep writing. To keep putting his words on the page.

There's that old cliche that romance authors fall in love with their heroes. I suppose it is true. I have heroes of mine that I've liked before, but I will admit that I love Jamie. He's quite demanding. In a good way.

What do I love about Jamie?

Besides those incredible dark blue eyes (I liken them to sapphires and the sea at dusk), I love the way that Jamie is completely sure of himself. He never doubts his abilities. There is an innate confidence and assertiveness that just emanate from him. It's a quality I've always wanted, but apparently, it seems to manifest itself most often in my books rather than my life. Jamie can be very patient, but he is always persistent. After three months of being somewhat ignored by the heroine, he is still as determined as ever to win her over. He doesn't have a concept that life won't bring him what he wants. He assumes that all it takes is a new tactic or more patience.

So, what do you love about your hero? Or, if you are not a romance writer, what do you love about your favorite film or literary hero?