Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunday Book Blog (on a Wednesday)

Sorry about the last post. My Internet is kind of wonky and so my blogging had been put on hold but I did find enough of a signal to send this.

This weekend I discovered a new author. Anna Windsor.

Well, I didn't 'discover' her so much as ran across her book at Barnes & Noble and the book sounded good.

Bound By Shadow (The Dark Crescent Sisterhood) Book 1


A Trio of Demon Hunters called Sybils are out protecting Manhattan. The lead warrior Princess, Riana, meets NYPD homicide detective, Creed, as he is on the hunt for the killer of a senator's son. Creed is part of a super secret division of the NYPD that deals with the occult. She instantly senses that he's a demon but she also knows that he's the sexiest man she's ever met and they have a problem keeping their hands off each other. But can a Demon hunter and a Demon ever find happily ever after?

Let me just say that I loved this story. It's inventive in a way that very few paranormals are anymore. Paranormals seem like they are a dime a dozen but there are new voices that stand out among the pack, like Ms. Windsor and Nalini Singh (who if you haven't read, you need to go, run, not walk, to buy ALL her books!) The plot is also engaging. Not a dull moment in my opinion.

It's also dark, which I like. And the sex scenes are awesome! In part because Ms. Windsor used to write for Ellora's Cave (something we may have in common in a few months).

But what makes me absolutely ecstatic about this trilogy is that the books are coming out in June, July, and August. NO WAITING!!! I enjoy trilogies but I have to say that waiting six months between books can be so frustrating! I don't always remember that I want to read the next story.

Her next book, Bound By Flame (The Dark Crescent Sisterhood Book 2) is already out. And Bound By Light (The Dark Crescent Sisterhood Book 3) is out August 26th but is available for pre-order.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Good News!

So, as you you, my novella was rejected by Kensington but I decided to power on. I submitted to two e-pubs. And I have heard back from one of them. I made it past the gatekeeper and my partial is now in the hands of an acquiring editor.

Holy Shit!

Wish me luck!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday Book Blog

I know that this is going to be a very popular feature of the Smut Blog (as I've decided to call it in just this last second). As usual, I spent a day at BN. Can I just say again how much I LOVE bookstores?

Anyhoo, my book blog will appear every Sunday or as close as I can get. This week we have two of my favorite authors, La Nora and Angela Knight.

First, can we talk about Nora Roberts? Anyone who is anyone in publishing should know about her. She is one of the most successful authors in romance let alone any other genre. The woman is a marvel. She puts out something like 3 books a year. That is amazing. One of the things they tell aspiring authors is that they should be prolific. Well, Nora is the definition of prolific. I hope to model my career after her and anyone who wants to write any type of popular fiction should feel the same.

Tribute by Nora Roberts

The Summary:

Cilla, a washed up former child star, moves to Virginia to rehab the house that once belonged to her grandmother, a famous Hollywood starlet who tragically killed herself in the prime of her life. Once there she meets Ford, a graphic novelists, who sees her and decides to use her as fodder for his latest project.

All seems well. She finds some letters in the attic that leaves her wondering if her grandmother's death was really a suicide. Then someone starts a campaign of intimidation to get her to leave. She and Ford fall in love. They solve the mystery of her grandmother and everyone lives happily ever after.

Okay, first off, I enjoyed the story. I'm rarely disappointed with Nora. I think there was only one, Northern Lights, that I wasn't able to get through. I really liked the H/H. Nora does a really good Beta hero that I hope to emulate (because in my current WIP my hero is a Beta hero). Ford is not a macho guy but he's steady and sexy in a geeky way (again, love the geeks).

I only have a couple beefs. First, the sex scenes could have been a little more. Had some oomph. Also, I think it was a bit too long (it was told in 3 parts). The story with the grandmother was interesting. I didn't like the way it ended. There was some loose ends for me. But overall it was an enjoyable read and if you like Nora, you'll like this.

I still don't have a rating system. I want one fun and kitchy like on Talk Sex with her Hibachi of Love. But until then, just go buy it.

Warrior: The Time Hunters

The Summary:

Jessica, a 21st Century artist, is seemingly targeted for death by 24th C. art thieves so they send Temporal Enforcement agents to save her. It turns out that it's not so simple as art theft. Actually, it's a big, bad, mercenary who tries to kill her. The time agent, Galar, is assigned to guard her until they can figure out why she was targeted by these people. They fall into bed and fall in love. Meanwhile, the assassin is still on the loose and wants Jessica. Jessica, meanwhile, has been infected with Alien DNA and they think that she's a traitor. She gets involved in some sort of religious war and ends up happily ever after with Galar.

Oh, Angela. Another one of those always on my must buy list.

I liked this story. It seems to be an offshoot of Jane's Warlord (a book I LOVED with a passion!!!!!). I liked the H/H. The sex scenes were HOTT! I did get a bit confused in the plot. I'm not sure what the Selas (read the book!) actually were. It seemed just a bit thin to me and some things were too easily resolved. It left it open-ended because I think it's the start of a new series. I'll definitely read the next one.

I say buy it. The reviews on Amazon are extremely favorable. And it's Angela Knight. Enough said.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Writing is a Business

There once was a time when all an author had to do was worry about their writing. They stayed holed up in their office, chain smoking, frantically bent over an IBM Stylus II (that's a typewriter for all of you born after 1982). At least that's the image I have in my head, a type of Truman Capote-ish wonderland where the work was all that mattered. I'm sure that is all a part of my own feverish imagination. But it's nice to have a dream.

That was a long time ago. These days authors have more on their plates than just churning out engaging stories. They also have to worry about promotions and websites and blogs and all manner of non-writing activities. That can be hard to balance. Especially of you're like me and you have a full time job and a life. Okay, okay, I exaggerated about the whole 'having a life' thing.

Now some people, like La Nora, either don't do a lot of promotion or they can afford to hire people to do the job for them. But promotion is a HUGE part of a contemporary author's life. Whatever the genre you're in.

This mean making bookmarks and magnets and ordering pens and creating book trailers. In my opinion, part of the reason for this is Americans are reading less. According to some study that I read last year, less than 50% of us even read a novel last year. In fact, I think it was closer to 25%. Another reason is the rise of e-pubs. Now don't get me wrong. I love e-pubs. They are the main source for the erotica that I read. But there is something about the feel of a book in your hand, the smell of a bookstore or a library. It brings such a sense of contentment, it's indescribable. But we'll get to that later.

Even agents want to know that you're serious about your craft. They look for people who have websites and blogs and are members of their genre-specific writer's associations (Like RWA). They want you in critique groups.

This is a delicate balancing act that all authors are coping with. It's why I have this blog. And why I'm working on a website. It's par for the course. And I've never played golf.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A New Feature

I love bookstores. I spend a least one day a week just in Barnes and Noble. They let you sit and read and they don't bother you. I love it. Just being there. I hear from other writers that all aspiring authors should try to get jobs in bookstores to get a feel for how they work. And don't misunderstand. Bookstores have more to do with the publishing industry than providing a place for their wares to be hocked. Bookstores are as integral to publishers and authors as our hands. They decide which books get on the shelf. Which books are bought. Publishers pay bookstores to put their books in conspicuous places. Those huge displays at B&N are not coincidence. They are not randomly chosen. Publishers want you to see their books. They want them in your face and they don't want you to forget it.

But this isn't about bookstores, per se. This is about books. As a writer, I am also an avid reader. I read between two and five books per week. I only wish that I wrote as fast as I read. The reason for this is twofold. One, I love reading. And two as a writer, I need to be at the top of my game. I need to know the market. I need to know what's selling, who's buying what, and how I can incorporate that into my writing.

There comes a point when as a writer you stop reading for pleasure and you start analyzing the writing, The style, the voice, the pacing. I'm not quite there yet. I kind of go in between. But I think that's a sign of a good author. That me as the reader, can be so engrossed with the story that I forget that I'm supposed to be analyzing this.

But this isn't about that either. One thing you should know about me is that I love to write and I get very verbose and tangential. So bear with me.

The purpose of this blog is to introduce a new feature. It's called (tentatively) "Books I read over the weekend." It probably won't stay that but it's as creative as I can be right now.

So this weekend I read two VERY good books by two of my favorite authors. Another thing you should know about me is that I read almost everything along the romance genre spectrum. I read contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, and erotica, of course. So the two books that I read this week fall in two very different categories.

Here we go.

Death Angel by Linda Howard

I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this story. The basic premise is this: A mobster's girlfriend steals a lot of money after he gives away her sexual favors to a hired assassin. The assassin finds her. She gets into a car accident and is left for dead. She gets a new lease on life and decides to work with the FBI to catch her ex. The assassin finds her and they fall in love. A lot more happens but I can't tell you else I would ruin the story.

Now, at first glance neither of the protagonists seem very likeable. I mean, at best the heroine, Andrea, is a whore. She trades her body in exchange for financial security. She pretends to be an idiot. And she doesn't care about anyone or anything but herself.

Now the 'hero', Simon, is a whole different animal from anything that I've seen. Seriously, the man is an assassin. And not the typical military or ex-military hitman wo kills for his country or the good of other people. No, he's a straight up killer. He takes money from drug lords or political rivals and he kills them. It's not for the greater good. It's not kill one save a thousand. It's you paid me to kill and I'm good at wet work. Simple as that.

In my opinion, it takes a pretty talented writer to not only make these characters sympathetic but to also make the romance pop. But Ms. Howard pulled it off. I'm a big fan of both her and her writing.

I'm working on a rating system so until then, my advice:


Twilight Fall by Lynn Viehl

Again, I LOVED this book! It's book six (I think) in the Darkyn series. I highly suggest that you read all of them. I have and I haven't been disappointed. I don't know quite how to do a synopsis for this one so I'll go with what Amazon says:

Immortal Darkyn Lord Valentin Jaus and landscape artist Liling Harper are two lost souls. Brought together by fate, bound together by passion, Valentin and Liling find solace in each other’s arms. But the ties that bind them are deeper—and more dangerous—than either of them can possibly imagine…

Eh, it's adequate. But I think the reason it's so hard to encapsulate this book because it's more than Valentin and Liling. Their romance is at the center but it also weaves in characters and storylines from previous books. I was captivated. You learn why the heroines in previous books have been turned Darkyn. You learn more about The Breatheren. All in all, a complete story.

And my favorite part? The sex scenes! Whew! They were smoking hot. And just the tiniest bit of Domiance. If there is one thing that I do love it's a bit of BDSM. I also like the whole Master flexing his dominance thing. I love Alphas but when they can assert a little dominance and submission, Whoa baby!

So, again I urge:


Friday, July 4, 2008


It's a hard thing. I still can't look at the letter that I received from Kensington. But I soldiered on and submitted to Ellora's Cave and LooseID. I won't hear about those for a few months but until then, I've decided to take the constructive criticism to heart. I've decided to revise my story, to add a bit more conflict, which is what the editor's complaint was with my story. I'm submitted the story to my critique group with the rewrites so I can see if I'm going in the right direction.

Rejections are a part of the business. I know that. I know that I have to grow a thick skin. That and write, of course. I've never been good at rejections. I have this whole perfection complex so if I'm not good at something or I don't think that I'll be good at something, I won't try it. But I know that I'm a good writer so the rejection hurts. I wish that editors had the time to expand on what could be improved in your writing. I know they don't but it would be nice.

I have to take this rejection (and the ones that will inevitably follow) and improve. That's all. And all is a lot.