Time to get your freak on!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new kind of freak-fest going on. That’s right…Friday Night Freak-Fest.

This little gathering of authors and readers was the brainchild of several erotica authors after a comment Jennifer Sage’s Facebook page turned into an impromptu online writing session.

They worked together to come up with a great idea: the aforementioned Friday Night Freak-Fest. This is a Facebook page found here where writers come together at 9PM EST every Friday night for some “ad-lib erotica.”

What this means is a story idea is tossed out and the first author takes a few minutes to gather her thoughts. She tosses out a freshly written segment within her allotted time, then the next author reads it, takes a few minutes, and then tosses out her segment. This keeps going for an hour! An hour of authors coming together and throwing out unedited, never before seen stories for the readers who are on the page.

Awesome!!

Last Friday, the 23rd, was the first attempt at this, and it was great. They already have over 200 likes on the page. I had to miss getting my freak on last week, but I will be there tonight and I’m so excited.

How fun to put authors on the spot like that! To make them think of something amazing right then, and put it out there for others to read, and for it to be a continuation of a story started just moments before.

Okay, so I may be a little too giddy about this, but honestly…this is so cool!
I hope you’ll pop in tonight! If you do, make sure to wave and say hi!

Romance Buzz Kill

Okay, I don’t know about the rest of you, but clean, fresh from the laundry sheets are a must. I am the type who checks for bed bugs in hotels and motels. So, when I saw this  Article on Men Changing Sheets Survey, I sort of went EEUW.

Then I immediately marched downstairs to my 27-year-old son’s room in the basement (yes, he lives with us while he is still in school), and gave him the Mom lecture that dirty beds are a romance buzz kill. Not that he is bringing any lady friends home to mom. 🙂

The next thing I knew — dirty sheets were in the laundry, and he went out and bought three new sets of sheets. Hey, who said adult children don’t listen to their mothers?

Share other romance buzz kills — and I’ll share them with my son. He’s proven to be educable.

A week without writing. Harder than it seems.

I don’t take a lot of vacation time. You see, I work part-time at my library, so every week is like a little vacation. And I write, which I love, making my work feel like the greatest pleasure. However, hubby gets 4 weeks vacation every year. We try hard to take time off as a family. Typically, we go down south for a week in January and we play it by ear in summer.

We just finished our summer vacation week with the kids. It was a stay-cation. For the whole week, I promised myself to leave writing alone and refresh myself, taking time out with the family. Just one little week. Easy peasy.

Right?

Wrong.

I come to you now, much as a nerve-rattled smoker who is suffering withdrawal. My hands are shaking and there’s a queer feeling in my tummy. By the end of the week, I was trying to find little ways to get hubby and kids out of the house, just so I could reread a passage and keep my mind fresh. It’s only been 7 odd days, and I feel I’ve lost touch with my WIP. I couldn’t even remember where I left off.

I missed writing so much. It became clear during my “vacation” that writing is simply what I am meant to do. It’s my vocation and I suffer without it. I guess that’s a good thing, knowing you love your career so much you don’t want to take time away from it. God only knows, I never felt that way about taking time off from other jobs. You couldn’t get me out of the building fast enough.

So am I writing this week? I won’t be able to do much, as I’ve taken on some extra shifts at the library, thus my pain continues. Hopefully I’ll be able to sketch out a scene or two. My publisher asked me the other day when Gemini Island Shifters 3 would be ready. Soon, I say, soon…I have a mysterious tiger shifter visiting Gemini Island in this one, and a little lynx woman who is none too pleased to see him. If I don’t finish their story, I will go insane.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with family. However, I won’t lie and say I’m not excited to see the boys go back to school soon. Mummy time is important too.

And I can’t wait to get back to work!

Mondays & Music!

Musicians have all the cream. They really do. Musicians own the whole talent thing, lock, stock, and barrel.

I can name a song for every traumatic aspect of my journey in life.

Can I name a book instead? Maybe if I stretch things. OK – Pride and Prejudice for first romance. When? Where? No clue. Talk to me about first times and music and I can ramble for hours.

It’s all about firsts and must haves.

Not making sense? Walk the path with me for a sec.

The first song I ever slow danced to—Samba Pa Ti. Sigh. Are there more beautiful guitar notes than the first few of Samba Pa Ti?  Strange thing is, I don’t remember the guy at all, just the moment underneath the stars moving in perfect harmony. My memory is peculiar and fickle. I recall he smelled of beer and Brute, that he was way too skinny for a plump girl like me, and that he had devastating brown eyes. His name? Go figure.

Songs I cannot sit down to—honestly my rear and my legs have a mind of their own when Play That Funky Music or December 1963(Oh, What a Night) starts—anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

Songs that make the waterworks in seconds flat, My Way sung by Sinatra. Has to be Sinatra. It’s Too Late by Carol King, The Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler…that list is never ending.

Ok and to segue on that, what about Never Ending Story? Or Take On Me? My toes start tapping the second I hum that cute little lick of music in the middle of Take On Me.

To me that signifies happy feet and snoopy dancing. Can anything get better than that?

Ok—so what’re your songs?

First Slow Dance

Can’t Sit Down

Waterworks

Happy Feet

Oh—got to drop one more in there—Michael Bublé singing Save The Last Dance for me.

Such a happy way to start Monday.

Cheers,

Jianne

 

Guest blogger Pauline Allan!

When I embarked on my professional writing journey just under two years ago, one of the first authors I had the pleasure of meeting was Pauline Allan. Our debut books came out around the same time and we found ourselves in many of the same circles. I immediately gravitated to Pauline’s kind nature and wonderful talent, and enjoyed reading her first book See Me. (I still think about a certain strawberry scene!)

Therefore, it is my great pleasure to welcome Pauline as she celebrates the launch of her new book Gilded Lily.

PA_GildedLily_coverlg

 

I hope you’ll sit back as this incredibly talented author shares how to be the architect of your own story. Welcome, Pauline!

“Be the Architect of Your Story”

            There’s a term in publishing. The word is elusive, coveted, and unique. Well, if you plan on selling any books you better damn hope it’s unique. Voice. The word has slipped across your ears a thousand times, but in writing the word is pivotal. Critical. If crafted, it’s the one word that will get you bee-lined to an editor’s desk. If your voice is fragmented or lost. The manuscript you’ve slaved over for two years falls into the slush pile with the millions of other wanna be novels that didn’t declare a voice. No voice. No contract.

The concept of the writer’s personal voice is essential for any genre, but unmistakably invaluable when writing erotic romance. The reader plays a movie in her/his head and senses the tone of the book according to the writer’s voice. The weaving of a writer’s craft is a direct reflection of how an author relays everything from how the character sips from a glass of wine to how she puts her bra on in the morning. Every word is constructed from our personality, experiences, and nuances all rolled into one.

When writing erotic romance/romance we draw from experience. All of us have had bad, unhealthy relationships. The way we build a story reflects those feelings about the highs and lows of that union. It’s the subconscious spilling out on the pages. The plot is determined by the journey of our life. In erotic romance it is imperative that the reader make an emotional connection with the characters. If they are not feeling the heroine’s angst and the heroes self-torment then they quickly lose the connection with the book. You have to bond with your characters. They have to speak your voice to the reader through them.

When I received my first contract I asked my publisher, “Why me? Why this book?” When I read the email I was floored. She said it was my voice  that had struck the editor. My voice? What in the hell did that mean? I dove into research about this voice concept. During this process I discovered that I did in fact have a distinct voice. The development of a voice is two-fold. One, you can’t wa-la have a voice overnight. Your uniqueness develops over time. And two, once you have discovered the motivation behind your style the sky is limitless. Remember. Sell your voice. Sell your book.

Just as Gena Showalter adds humor to her stories, and J.R. Ward adds kick-ass-ed-ness to her books, I add a tone of darkness to my novels. I work off the concept of the sacred and profane. I was a religious study major in college so every book I write has an undercurrent of the sinfully forbidden and quiet redemption of crushed souls. I, at first unknowingly, craft characters that appear to be too broken to be put back together. Somehow by the end of the book they are not perfect, but they gain self-acceptance and see the light leading them to happiness. I push the boundaries of what is acceptable, both for the reader and the publisher.

In See Me there is a scene regarding rape and attempted murder of the heroine. In Gilded Lily, set in the heart of Louisiana, the shacks on the property have a horrific history. My next two projects push those boundaries again delving into suicide, mental illness, infidelity, drug use, and prostitution. I must add that peppered through these dark threads are points of humor. I honestly have no idea where these little nuggets originate, but they just seem to appear. Again, the subconscious playing its part.

A productive task when learning the style of your voice is to write down certain events in your life that have affected you. Correlate those events to a feeling you experienced. Do you see a thread? Is there a common theme of how you reacted, dealt with those situations? Now, brainstorm a list of story concepts. Same thing goes. How would these scenarios play out in reference to how you handled the real life experiences? Do you use humor as a coping mechanism? Are you quick to get angry? Do you problem solve quickly? Do you laugh at your own mistakes? These emotions are embedded in who you are and can be siphoned into the natural dialogue and essence of your character’s personalities.

Read several books by your favorite authors. Those books are on your keeper shelf because you bonded with the author’s voice. You somehow connected with the tone of the book. Let’s be honest here. How many ways can a vampire find his human, a wolf find his mate, or a captain rescue his woman from the hands of a pirate? This isn’t rocket science when looking at sweeping romantic themes. So, why do you choose Lisa Kleypas’s over Charlotte Featherstone or Cara Bristol over Cherise Sinclair? You connect with the way the writer speaks to you. Think of the voice as the soul of the story. While we can construct plot, arcs, appearance of the characters, the nature of the story is buried somewhere deep in yourself.

The most emotional and gripping storytellers can’t tell you where exactly their style originated. They can tell you they wrote a scene because it was funny to them. It was heart breaking to them. Or it was scary as hell to them. The essence of those feelings make the exciting world of the writer’s voice.

So remember, when you’re preparing a manual for submission, are you in this story? Are your feelings hidden in the pages? If not, rethink the tone of the book and study yourself to make the pages shine.

If nothing else, take this piece of advice and tuck it in your thoughts when you sit in front of your next manuscript. No voice. No contract.

Gilded Lily Blurb:

Adam’s ferocious sexual appetite for submission has left him frustrated and alone.  He turns to the photo in his wallet. The woman’s full lips smile with laughter. The yellow sundress hugs her soft curves. The beautiful muse. His elusive flower.

Lily has a dark secret. A submissive without a Dominant, her life had derailed with grief, solitude, and rejection. Until a mysterious stranger’s erotic education led to unfathomable pleasure.

Tony knew Lily’s training would be his last attempt to escape the void in his life. An experienced Dom with the very nature of his control shaken, he has to run. There’s one last responsibility to take care of before he can leave.

Lily, his once timid sub, is testing her boundaries and craves more. A love he can never give.

Tragedy leads Adam to Lily’s plantation in Louisiana. While packing his brother’s belongings, Tony offers the one precious thing Adam could never deny. The submission of his elusive flower.

The clock is ticking. Tony wants freedom. Adam demands total submission. Lily must choose. Does she cling to the safety of Tony’s commands or risk the rejection of Adam’s love?

Either way, a submissive’s trust is a fragile thing. Once broken…it’s lost forever.

Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/gilded-lily.html

How to reach Pauline Allan:

http://www.facebook.com/paulineallan.author

http://www.twitter.com/paulineallan

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5780480.Pauline_Allan

 

 

Guest Blogger Terry Odell

Terry Odell coverI’d like to welcome fellow author, Terry Odell, to the purple velvet couch today. Terry is a prolific author of romance with a twist of mystery and suspense. She has three main series:  Blackthorne, Inc., Pine Hills Police, and Mapleton Mystery Series.

Thanks for being here today, Terry. Tell the readers a little bit about your background. Um, I did read you are a rara avis, a native Californian.

 Born and raised in the Los Angeles area until my husband got a job in Florida. I kind of thought it would be appropriate to go where he went. Now that he’s retired we live in the Colorado mountains, and I love it.

Tell us a little bit about your different series.  What distinguishes them from one another?

My Pine Hills Police series is set in a small town in Oregon, and features a small town cop. The romance plots in the books have more of a ‘down home’ feel, as opposed to my Blackthorne, Inc. series. This one features a team of elite covert operatives, and they see a lot more action, but the romances still manage to shine. My Mapleton Mystery series books aren’t romances (although that doesn’t mean there aren’t relationships). They’ve been reviewed as part cozy, part police procedural. In them, I can stick with one central character as the hero of all the books.

 What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?

I’ve always loved mystery—in fact, I thought my first book was going to be a mystery, but my daughters told me it was a romance. Trouble was, I’d never read a romance, and didn’t really care for the genre until I discovered romantic suspense, which blended both genres. I think of my books as “Mysteries With Relationships” because I realized I favored series mystery and was equally interested—maybe more so, even–in the relationships between the series characters than the actual crime-solving side of the books.

 What are you working on now?

My editor has my 5th Blackthorne, Inc. book, which is Jinx’s story, and while she’s helping make it the best possible book, I’ve started my 3rd Mapleton Mystery.

 Do you work on one project at a time or multiples?

One—my brain can’t handle two sets of characters. When I get my edits back for my next Blackthorne, Inc. book, I’ll stop working on the Mapleton Mystery until I finish edits. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’d get Jinx and Gordon mixed up!

Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?

It’s work. You have to sit in the chair and write. People who say, “Oh, I’ll write a book when I have some free time” have never tried it. I guess my more specific challenge is keeping everything straight. I keep meaning to write a “bible” for each series, but it looks like such a daunting task that I avoid it. (I had a reader ask if I’d tell Olivia’s story someday, and I have to confess I had to go back and look her up.)

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

I don’t think you can wait for a ‘mood.’  When it’s time to write, I go over the previous day’s scene and get a running start. I have a word count goal, and I write. It’s a job. You show up and get it down.

Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

Of course. As one example, when we moved from Florida (sea level) to Colorado (9100 feet), I incorporated our new living conditions by creating a character who was relocated to the area, and many scenes are based on the things I discovered.

 What is your favorite thing about writing?

Sitting at a computer creating characters who sometimes listen to me and sometimes don’t is a world I can’t resist. And writing sure beats cleaning toilets!

Do you have a favorite character from one of your own books? Who and Why?

That’s like asking me if I have a favorite child. At any given moment, maybe one is a ‘favorite’ but I love them all. I had a lot of fun with Blake from What’s in a Name? because that book started out as a Highlander fan fiction story, although when I turned it into a novel, it changed completely. But I liked having my hero be the “weaker” character for a change.

Do you characters talk to you?

Yes. All the time. Early on, when people praised my dialogue, I told them I just transcribed what the characters told me.

 Who is your favorite author?

Too many to mention, and I know I’d leave some out. JD Robb is an auto buy. Love Michael Connelly, John Sandford, C.J. Box, Suzanne Brockmann, Linda Castillo – the list is endless and it’s not really fair to single any one out.

What are you reading now?

As I write this, a novella by Lee Child (oops—he should probably be on the list above, too), called High Heat.  Next up is Hour of the Rose by Christina Sky. I’m also reading The Worst Hard Time,  by Timothy Egan, but that’s for my book club. Non-fiction, about the Dust Bowl, and it’s heavy reading. Not my genre by a long shot.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’d say chocolate, but I’ve long outgrown feeling guilty about it. I suppose it’s spending too much time watching Food Network shows. But I record them to watch on my schedule. Actually, at my age, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about most things.

 Get To Know You Short Answers:

 Favorite Food: Chocolate anything.

 Favorite Kind of Music: 60’s classic rock ‘n’ roll.

 Favorite Color: Teal blue

 What’s your Sign: Pisces [Mine, too!-MM]

 Thin crust or thick crust pizza: Thick

Favorite sport: Spectator: football. Personal: walking/hiking.

Favorite Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Hunt for Red October is a close second. As are the original 3 Star Wars movies.

Favorite Television Show:  NCIS (and all those Food Network shows)

Where can your readers reach you?

Web site:  http://terryodell.com

Email me at terry@terryodell.com.

Please like my Facebook Page.

Blog:  “Terry’s Place

Do you have an excerpt from one of your recent books you’d like to share?

This is from Rooted in Danger, Book 3 in my Blackthorne, Inc. series. But first, here’s a blurb:

Behind the public façade of Blackthorne, Inc., a high-end private investigation company, lies a band of elite covert operatives, and they’re back doing what they do best.

Foster (Fozzie) Mayhew, Blackthorne’s Intel Specialist, is cocky and arrogant, befitting his Aussie heritage. Put him in a helicopter with his surveillance instruments and he can spot the fleas on a squirrel’s balls from five hundred feet. He’s happiest when he’s rescuing hostages, getting them to safety while Uncle Sam is still negotiating. But Fozzie’s boss pulls him from the work he loves and sends him to locate Victoria Hamilton, estranged daughter of a rich client.

Torie Stoker, born Victoria Hamilton, is hiding from her father who needs her at home and married. There’s no love lost between Torie and her family. They shipped her off to a Swiss boarding school when she was thirteen, and at twenty-nine, she’s never looked back. When her best friend, Kathy, dies, Torie settles in Oregon, determined to give meaning to Kathy’s death by continuing the botanist’s quest for rare plants with potential medical applications. When a man shows up with a gun, Torie realizes how badly her father must want her back.

Fozzie wants nothing more than to locate his target, report to his boss, and get back to his real job. When he finds Torie being dragged away at gunpoint, his protective instincts kick in. Soon, they’re racing to discover why her father sent armed men after her. Or could it have something to do with Kathy’s pharmaceutical research to cure orphan diseases? The answers threaten to change Torie’s life forever.

The excerpt:

“Remember when we were in the car, on the side road? And the man from the pickup came over and you pretended we were making love?”

How could he forget? How soft she was, how well she played the game. “I remember.”

“Can you look me in the eye right now and tell me you were really acting?”

He kept his gaze locked with hers. “I wasn’t acting.”

“Neither was I. And I don’t care about tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. I don’t care if it’s nothing but a physical release. I want it. I need it. I want to feel now. I want you to hold me. I want to be in your arms. I want to feel your strength. I want to forget that horrible basement and the mind games.” She unbelted her robe. “I want you to take me into the bedroom and make love until the world goes away.”

“Torie, I—” Sweet Lord, she stood there, bathed in soft lamplight, her breasts round and firm, her nipples puckered into tight peaks. “I’m a man. Are you sure this is really what you want? Because in about thirty seconds, I’m not going to be able to say no.”

“Say yes.” She let the robe fall from her shoulders. With her soft curves, her lush figure, she looked like the goddess standing on the seashell. Whatever her name was. Right now, he was hard-pressed to remember his own.

“Yes.” It was more of a croak than a word. “Give me five secs.” He dashed for the bathroom, thanking the gods that he’d emptied his pockets before tossing his clothes into that laundry bag. He yanked open the drawer and snatched the condoms he’d taken from Palmer’s truck, hoping the guy had an active enough sex life so he replaced them regularly.

Torie was strolling to the bedroom. He watched her walk, her hips swaying with each leisurely step. Thoughts of being inside her, feeling her squeezed tight around him, kept his blood cascading south.

Sweet Lord, he’d had post-mission sex before. He knew what it meant to have nothing more than release as your goal. But no matter what Torie said she wanted, she deserved more. Because no matter what, tomorrow always rolled around, and they would both have to face the awkwardness that came with it.

Damn, he should let her go. She’d be upset for a while. But in the long run, she’d be better off without the regrets.

She gazed over her shoulder, beckoning with her eyes. Needy eyes. She crooked her finger. She might as well have grabbed him by the cock. “Coming?”

Not too soon, he hoped. He dropped his robe and followed.

Thanks for joining us today at Love, Lust and Laptops!

 

 

I Like Big Butts – Robin Danner

Big girls need love too. Right?

Unfortunately it’s not very apparent in the romances I read growing up. As a plump pre-teen, I was one of the lucky ones. I had good friends and was “smart”. So I escaped most of the teasing that chubby kids often endure. Apparently I’m also intimidating…which makes many think twice before crossing me. But in actuality, I just have a “Who cares what people think?” kind of attitude. It’s served me well my entire life. Not to say I’m a Witch with a B or anything, but I pretty much say what I mean and mean what I say. (I’m also stubborn, but we’ll save that for another day.)

Back to the topic at hand. When you’re a romance writer who is…shall we say…a frequent shopper at Lane Bryant, you start to notice glaring oversights in the romance genre. Thankfully in recent years, there has been a boom in the BBW market. Me personally, I don’t think you should write a plus-sized heroine just for the sake of writing a plus-sized heroine. The character should make sense. And PUH-LEEZE don’t give me that hogwash about a heroine being 250 lbs and having NO insecurities whatsoever. I’ll be quick to call bullshit on that one. No one wants to be the chunky gal when they grow up. So give me a heroine with real-life insecurities that rises above them. How many of us have dreamed of being rail-thin with long blonde hair and big boobs? In my case, two out of three ain’t bad. ; )

I also have a problem with “plump” heroines being phrased as curvy or size 12. Come on! In the world today, that’s normal. I want a gal with some meat on her. Go big or go home, I say! Pun not intended, I swear.

Now before you start saying I’m a cold-hearted person, let me just preface this by saying I’m a very plump gal who proudly shops Lane Bryant, squeezes into size 26 jeans, and possesses embarrassing cellulite on her thighs. Do I still wear a bathing suit in public? Hell yes, I do! Do I still have the wee moment of insecurity when I remove my cover-up? You betcha. But at the end of the day, I look in the mirror and I’m proud of what I see. Sure, I may be perilously close to three hundred pounds, but I’m well-proportioned. My hair may need to be trimmed, but it’s a pretty strawberry blonde. I may be blind as a bat, but at least I’ve got cute hazel eyes. My ass can rival J.Lo’s….wait, who am I kidding? NOBODY’s ass rivals J. Lo’s (but it’s pretty damned close.) The point of what I’m saying…who cares if you’re overweight? Love you for you and rest assured that a hero will too.

**In celebration of big gals, my latest heroine is a BBW. Look for her story in The Princes Needed, the thrilling conclusion to The Princes series, coming soon to Liquid Silver Books.**