Friday, May 29, 2009

Viola Estrella

Hello Again,

Today I am pleased to welcome another one of my critique partners and fellow Vixen, Viola Estrella, to the Harmless Smut Blog.  You are correct if you believe that I ruthlessly and mercilessly strong arm all in my acquaintance to bow to my will.

Now without further ado, here's Vi!

M: Tell us, how long have you been writing?

V:  I finished my first manuscript a little over six years ago. 

M: Wow!  You were doing what I was supposed to be doing.  Stoopid grad school!  Anyhoo, what attracted you to the romance genre?

V: Good question. I find the dynamics of a burgeoning relationship very intriguing. The pursuit of love or, in some cases, the denial of love, and all the conflict that arises with this process is fascinating. I have a lot of fun bringing the couple together and watching as they struggle to find their happy ending. It always gives me a huge sense of satisfaction to get them to that place.

M: I totally agree.  I'm a sucker for a happy ending (and not the kind given after a massage.)  Wait!  Tangent.  Back now.  So, how many manuscripts had you completed before you sold?

V: Too many! I was working on my sixth full manuscript when I contracted my fifth, so five, I guess. 

M:  That's so cool.  Congrats on even finishing!  Now, what we want to know!  Tell us about the day (the minute, the second) you got ‘The Call.’  What was your initial reaction?

V: I got “The Email” which was fine with me because I would’ve been a blithering idiot if I’d received a phone call and they might’ve changed their minds. With the email, I read and reread to make sure I wasn’t just reading another funky rejection letter. When it finally clicked that the editor was offering me a contract, I hazily remember walking upstairs and telling my husband. I was in shock so I think my announcement sounded more like a question. I think I’m still in shock actually. After pursuing a goal for so long, it might take just as long to fully grasp that I’m now a published writer. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.  


M:  That's hILaRIoUs!  Even more so because I can picture it!  Tell me that you at least did something to celebrate?

V: We went to dinner, I think. Like I said, I was in shock. LOL


M: The truth.  Anyone you wanted to call and say 'Ha!'?

V: I’m not really a rub-my-news-in type of gal. Bad karma. But if I were, I do have a particularly unkind agent in mind.  

M: That's why we work so well together, Vi.  We balance each other out.  You are WAY nicer than I am!  Tell us about your current release.

V: Angel Vindicated is a sexy urban fantasy now available from Here’s a blurb:

Abby Angel doesn’t always enjoy her job, but she excels at it. Deporting unruly demons back to Hell is her specialty. Her personal life, on the other hand, could use a little work. The virtuous gene seems to be missing in this particular Angel, getting Abby into more trouble than she likes to admit. To date, her biggest vice has been Siméon Keller, a half-demon/half-human, who effortlessly managed to seduce Abby five years ago. She’s avoided him ever since but can’t seem to knock the bad reputation the blunder has branded on her. 

Now the threat of a demon rebellion has Angels, Inc. overwhelmed and Abby must trust Siméon to help her find the fiends threatening to destroy Earth’s only salvation. Staying out of Siméon’s bed is the least of her worries as she fights for the lives of all Angels and humans everywhere.

M: Sounds great.  Got my copy ready to go for my trip to Costa Rica.  Where can we buy it?

V: Angel Vindicated is available as an eBook from My upcoming release, a paranormal romance titled Bewitching You, will be available in print and eBook form on October 30th, 2009 from Don’t forget!

M: Can't wait!!!  What are you working on now?

V: I’m promoting my current and upcoming releases, and I’m working on the sequels to both of these. 

M: You are a superwoman!  So, any advice you have for us ‘Soon To Be Published’ writers (as I like to call us)?

V: Stay confident and don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals. If you believe in yourself then there’s no stopping you. So “Soon To Be Published” is exactly the right attitude to have.  

M: Well said, sister!  And now because we all know I like to have a little fun, here comes the 'sexy' portion of our program.  Boxers or Briefs?

V: Boxer briefs are so sexy!! Love them on my hubby and I put them on all my heroes, well, the heroes that actually wear underwear.

M: Now that, I like to hear!  Although there is something about a hero that goes 'commando'.  Hmm...naked.  Wait!  What?  Where was I?  Oh, so who’s your ideal hero?

V: Hmm. I could answer this question a number of ways but I’ll just go with what I like in a fictional hero:

Confident but not arrogant. Bold but not audacious. Sexy without flaunting it. Intelligent but not pretentious. Smells good without pouring on the cologne. Funny but also laughs at other people’s jokes.

Hey, you said “ideal.”

M: You're right.  I did.  And I want your ideal!  

Thank you so much, Vi, for stopping by.  I'm sure that all my readers never even got this far because they're all 'RUNNING' over to buy your book!  In case you have to ask, my rating for 'Angel Vindicated' is a 'RUN!!!'

Later Gators!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Helen Hardt!

Hello and welcome to my inaugural 'First Sale Friday' bog.

Today I have with me my wonder and superbly talented friend and critique partner, Helen Hardt.

Welcome Helen!

Monica: So, tell us how long have you been writing?

Since I learned how.  But only seriously with the hope of publication since the fall of 2006.  I started writing romance in 2007.

Monica: What attracted you to the romance genre?

Nora Roberts, actually.  Though I used to read romance a lot when I was younger, I hadn’t read one in about a decade.  I needed a fun read for a plane ride in September, 2006, and I picked up her new novel, Morrigan’s Cross.  It was amazing.  I hadn’t read romance in so long, and I’d never read paranormal romance.  I devoured the next two books in the trilogy, then decided I wanted to try writing a romance.  It’s the relationship that gets me.  I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned happy ending.  With heart-pounding emotion and sizzling sex built in, of course.

Monica: How many manuscripts had you completed before you sold?

Quite a few.  My first completed manuscript was a young adult fantasy fiction story.  Then two historical romances, though the sequel still isn’t complete.  Then my first NaNoWriMo project, which is a contemporary western, a novella, and two shorts.  One of the shorts, Seduced in Seoul, was my first sale.  So I guess that’s seven altogether.

Monica:  Now what we really want to know!  Tell us about the day (the minute, the second) you got ‘The Call.’  What was your initial reaction?

I actually didn’t get “the call.”  I got “the email.”  But it was still amazing.  Total elation!

Monica:  LOL!  Isn't that how it goes nowadays.  At least tell me you did something to celebrate?

It was a Friday, and it was my sons’ last day of school in June 2008.  My older son had a truckload of friends coming over for a party, so I couldn’t go anywhere.  My husband and I popped open a bottle of wine and celebrated at home.

Monica:  The truth.  Was there anyone whom you wanted to rub your news in his/her nose?

Yeah – the agent (who shall remain nameless) who wrote me my first rejection letter.  It was nasty!  I stopped writing for two weeks.

Monica:  I hate her already.  It's a good thing you got back to it!  Otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell us about your new release.  Give us some details!

Thai’d Up is my third release.  It’s an erotic short, part of the Destination Pleasure series at The Wild Rose Press, Wilder Roses (  My first two releases, Seduced in Seoul and Passion in Paris, are also part of this series.  


Visiting Bangkok to do an interview for her employer, Heidi Clarke is intrigued by the wild and raucous nightlife. When a handsome and engaging stranger, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, offers to escort her into a BDSM club, she's too curious to refuse. As the man behind the mask introduces Heidi to new and exciting pleasures of the flesh, she can't help but wonder who he is. Or if she really wants to know.

Monica:  Sounds awesome!  (And it is because I've read it!)  But for the rest of us, when can we get our greedy hands on it?

Right now!

Monica: Sweet!  Where can we buy your books?

At the Wild Rose Press’s Wilder Side,

Monica:  What are you working on now?

I have several other releases scheduled for 2009, so I’m knee deep in edits.  I also have several works in progress -- two historical novellas, a cougar story, and an erotic novella.

Monica: What advice do you have for us ‘Soon To Be Published’ writers (as I like to call us)?

Self-educate, self-educate, self-educate.  Never stop learning.  I went from dreary contest results, to winning contests, to being published in less than two years.  I attribute this to self-education.  Writing a romance is more than being able to formulate a colorful paragraph.  The genre has rules, and a romance author needs to learn them and apply them.  There are wonderful resources available, so take advantage of them.

Monica: Okay, now for the fun questions!  Boxers or Briefs on your man?

Boxer-briefs.  My husband has a great butt, and he looks amazing in boxer-briefs.

Monica:  Nice!  Who’s your ideal hero?

I’m such a sap.  My husband.  Trite, but true.

Monica:  Aww!  Not trite.  Sweet.  If you could have sex with one celebrity who would it be?

Monica, you already know the answer to this question ;).  I truly am desperately in love with my husband, but if Gerard Butler came knocking, I just might go for it.

Monica:  And I told you before, I'd fight you for him.  Bitch parts, remember!   Final question.  What’s the funniest or most interesting line in a book you’ve ever written or read?

Okay, I didn’t actually read this, but another erotic romance author told me about it.  It was a historical romance, she couldn’t recall which one, and the opening line was:  “My what a beautiful cock!”  And they were talking about a rooster!  I wish I could take credit for that one, LOL.

Thank you, Helen so much for visiting Harmless Smut.  I'm so glad you could be with us.

Now to all of you readers out there, GO BUY THIS BOOK!!!

Later Gators!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guest Bloggers!

So I have the line up for my first few weeks of guest bloggers.

Here it is:

5/22 My Wonderful CP: HELEN HARDT will come by to discuss her newest release 'THAI'D UP'

5/29 My Other Wonderful CP: VIOLA ESTRELLA will be talking about her new release 'ANGEL VINDICATED'

6/5 A great author that I met at RT: LILLY CAIN will talk about her status as the very newly contracted.

And (date TBD) JAYE WELLS!  

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book Blog and an Announcement

Okay, first an apology.  I know that I am a horrible blogging person but some days I just don't want to write.  Shocking I know!  This week has been one of those.  I'm forcing myself to write everyday.  Not always successfully.  I think a lot of it has to do with some things that are going on personally that I won't go into because either A) I'm delusional or 2) I'm in total denial and long for some escapism.  Either way, I'm sorry for the crazy not blogging in a week thing.

But now...


I am pleased to say that I am going to start hosting a new a FEATURE on my blog 


This is where authors will come in and do a guest blog for me about the first time they received a contract and all the hard work it took to get there.  I wanted some inspiration for us 'Soon To Be Published' peeps.  

I've got some great people lined up thus far and hope to have more soon.  I'll announce the line up tomorrow as soon as some things are finalized.

Until then...


Mackensie Elliot is more at home behind the camera than in real life.  Which is why when she 'meets' Carter Maguire again for the first time, her focus shatters.  Carter is everything men in her life haven't been, stable, reliable, sexy as hell and nothing she's ever wanted.   

Carter Maguire has had a crush on Mac since they were in high school but she never knew he existed.  So when they run into each other again, the attraction is instant.  Mac, despite running a wedding planning business with her three best friends, doesn't believe in love.  Carter is determined to prove her wrong.

Okay, I am an admitted Nora Roberts slut.  I read any and all of her work, even as JD Robb.  This book is a straight up and down contemporary romance.  The kind that I love.  The kind that she does oh-so-well.  She has such a snappy and witty way with dialogue and characterization.  I think she must spend hours just people watching and listening to conversations because she writes the way I (a twenty-something professional) would speak to my friends.  She has such a beat on the pulse of the characters she's writing.

And Carter is exactly the kind of Beta hero that I love but know I can never write.  He's Nerd Sexy.  I love those kinds of guys.  I can't write them but I love them.  My only things is the same thing it always  I wish there were more but it's so wonderfully written that it's only a passing criticism.


Ajax Petrakos was promised a true love, Shayanna Angel.  He was not, however, told that he would have to wait over two millennium for her.  Just as he had given up hope, she comes to him.  Or rather screams to him as she being attacked by demons.

Shay has always seen demons and wants to fight them alongside her brothers, something they have forbidden.  When she meets Jax, she's not sure what to make of him.  Or her attraction for him.  Together, they must work together to solve an ancient prophesy, retrieve a priceless artifact, and kill a few demons in the meantime.  Oh, and falling in love doesn't help with any of that

This is the first book by Ms. Knight that I've read.  I got it free at RT and I have to say I enjoyed it.  I tried reading one of her earlier books but couldn't get into it.  I had no problem with it this time.  Maybe it was the mythology behind it.  Or maybe the fact that I've seen '300' about a million times and I kept imagining Gerard Butler as Leonidas.  Either way, it was a satisfying read.  Very 'Southern-style' paranormal most of which I understood because I was raised in Virginia for part of my formative years and I get the phrase 'No home training' and 'His mama didn't raise him right.'

There was something about the sex scenes that I found a little skewed but not enough for me to stop reading.  I won't tell you what, you'll just have to read the book and decide for yourself.


Until next time. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I am Technology's Bitch

I joined Facebook today.  I hate Facebook.  

Meanwhile, I haven't even looked at my MySpace in like two months.  I'm a follower.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Revisions Hell!

Current read: Goal, Motivation, & Conflict by Debra Dixon

So, what am I doing, you ask? Well, you didn't.  Maybe the voices in my head did but I'll answer you both anyway.

I am in the process of revising and re-writing not one but TWO stories.  One for a LooseID call for submissions and one for the FOUR requests that I received at the RT Convention.  

This is hell.  It's not just that I have to change parts of the plot, but also the characters themselves.  Plus, I have like fifteen different rad ideas for stories that are hammering me to be written but I can't until after I've finished what I'm doing.  That is worse than hell.  It's like being in hell and being forced to watch Steven Sagal movies over and over again until you want to drive stakes into your head.  It's that bad.  

But I guess that's the joy and the pain of writing.  Some days I love it and some days I want to crawl into a hole and die.  Or do something gloriously melodramatic to fit in with my crazy creative mind.  Like cut off an ear.  Van Gogh was the shit!

Sorry this is so short but my CPs are yelling at me to go finish my word count for the day.

Later gators!

Oh, and go on over to the Vixens blog to find out which two Vixens slept together to win a prize!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Book Blog

Okay, seriously, let's just call a spade a spade.  I haven't written this blog on a Sunday since I first came up with the concept.  It should have an asterisk after the name.

Jake Bannaconni has survived a childhood of abuse but in order to do it, he has become a man as emotionless and as ruthless as the leopard that lives inside him.  When a shocking twist of fate brings Emma Reynolds into his life, he knows immediately that he has to be the one to possess her.

Emma is different from Jake in every way. Soft where he is hard.  Loving where he is cold.  She knows that he wants to control her life and she allows it.  She has her reasons.  But when strange forces try to harm her children, she will show them, and Jake, just how a mama protects her cubs! 

Okay, I can't deny it.  I am a Christine Feehan slut.  I will read anything and everything that she puts out.  Even if it is shit, I will eat it and say, "Um, um, yummy!"  That's just the relationship that she and I have.  

But, that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a fabulous book.  Jake is the Alpha of my dreams.  Emma is his perfect foil because she simply smiles at his edicts and does whatever the hell she wants.  She is not a shrinking violet.  She goes into the relationship with her eyes wide open and acknowledging what kind of man he is.  In the end, he is the one that is profoundly changed and not the other way around.


Sasha Trudeau thought she knew everything there was to know about werewolves.  Having been bit herself, she takes medication to control the infection and works with an elite Special Ops group determined to bring down any and every werewolf they see.  Little does she know that everything she believes to be true has been a lie or that a chance encounter with the enigmatic Max Hunter will change her life.  Whether it is for the better still remains to be seen.

This is the first L.A. Banks book that I have ever read.  It's also one of the few that I bought from RT because I liked her so much.  Alas, you know that it didn't get signed.

Anyhoo, I have to admit that I stayed away from her books because for some reason, I got it into my head that she writes in first person.  I am vehemently opposed to first person (except in the case of my LOVELY CP VIOLA!  Whose book, comes out in a couple weeks, BTW!).  So I was pleasantly surprised that it was the dear old third person.  And that it was a kick-ass book!

Technically, I guess this book is Urban Fantasy, or Dark Fantasy as the spine reads, but I think of it more in the lines of Fantasy with romantic elements.  It's clear that this is a series much like J.D. Robb's 'In Death' books.  

I also have to say how much I enjoyed it.  I'm so glad that I got the next two books in the series so no waiting there.  I'm also going to check out her Vampire Huntress books.  I love her style of writing.  I'm also so digging Sasha.  She's my kind of bad ass.  Her and Hunter burn up the pages and there is still plenty of action so if you want to trick your man into reading a romance, this would be the way to go.