Hi all, Just want to say that BUILT is officially released today! To celebrate I'm answering questions on Danette's blog at http://nenscl.blogspot.com/ and tomorrow one lucky commenter will win a copy of BUILT.
And yesterday I blogged at http://toberead.wordpress.com/ on how writing is like dieting! LOL...no, really it is!
BUILT received a 4 star review from RT: "...scorching romance that will ratchet up the heat....have a fan handy."
Joyfully Reviewed said: BUILT is a great gathering of sexy stories sure to entice, and tantalize readers.
I haven’t posted for a while (kids, family, deadlines), but just had to say "hi" now that my August book Blood Rose is popping up in stores!
I also have a thrilling announcement to make. SIN, my regency set erotic romance about the daughters of an erotica artist, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for erotic romance at the Romance Writers of America National Conference.
I was stunned. I believe I made a brief acceptance speech in Klingon. Then tried to order a glass of wine, only to discover I’d left my wallet upstairs. It was all very exciting, and rather poignant, as I’d just turned in the last book in that trilogy, Hot Silk, on July 3. Writing the short epilogue, which gathers all my characters together, was surprisingly sad. Like saying the last goodbyes at a family reunion.
Another surprise for me—I had copies of Blood Rose to sign at the conference’s literacy signing even though Blood Rose wasn’t officially out until July 25. It was great to reel in those passing readers with the promise that they’d get a book NO ONE else could get.
To celebrate Blood Rose’s release (with that delicious cover above), I’m posting a quick excerpt. And a contest! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Blood Rose in the subject line, and I’ll enter you for a draw to win a gift certificate for Godiva chocolates (redeemable online).
From Blood Rose:
Her mouth dried as she saw his abdomen—the solid planes of muscle, more soft golden hair, the enticing indent of his navel. Her gaze dropped to his small clothes, riding on his lean hips…
It was as though she had stepped into one of her scandalous dreams.
"Do you know what happens to housebreakers, Miss Lark? Sometimes they get transported."
His voice was silky. "And, like me, sometimes they serve a sentence in prison—and learn about all the perversions of mankind." His eyes narrowed, hard and cold in the soft light. "You should be thankful that I found you. I don’t know what Sommersby would have done if he had."
Serena knew she couldn’t show fear. "And what will you do?" she asked.
He reached down and picked up the journal she’d been reading. She caught her breath—waiting to see his reaction. He threw it back to the table and grinned. Astonished, she felt her jaw drop. How could he smile at such monstrous thoughts?
"Meaningless scribble to me," he said.
"You—you mean you can’t read?"
"I was born in a whorehouse, love, where women serviced rough men for pennies."
"But Lord Sommersby—the previous Lord Sommersby did not teach you? I thought he had taken you in as an apprentice."
He shrugged. "From your look of shock, I take it that to a governess a lack of education is sinful indeed." Mr. Swift’s deep voice lingered on sinful and her quim dampened in response. "I could teach you to read," she offered. Perhaps it was a way to convince Mr. Swift not to have her arrested, to convince him to help her, but mostly she wanted to help him.
He had desired her in that brothel. He desired her now. She could read the heat, the male promise, in his beautiful green eyes, and it set her heart racing even faster.
"Why would you want to do that, love?" He paced to the table and leaned on it. Beneath his shirtsleeves, his muscles bunched, and she licked her lip nervously. Mr. Swift looked utterly unconcerned about being half-naked. But why should it startle her so? Vampires were often naked.
"You don’t know much about me, do you?" he asked, his voice husky, with a gentleness that wrapped around her heart.
"No, Mr. Swift," she answered with equal softness. "I do not." She read vulnerability, poignancy in his emerald eyes.
"I would like to know about you, Miss Lark. You fascinate me. Why does your past matter so much to you? You can’t bring your parents back, sweetheart."
"I know." She blinked away tears—tears at having to lie. "But my past has made me who I am—and I don’t know anything about it."
"What do you really want, Miss Lark? Vengeance on the vampire who took your parents? Perhaps that vampire is already dead. Is that the most satisfying thing you can imagine, Miss Lark?"
This is Crystal Jordan, checking in for the very first time on the Aphrodisia Author blog. I think I'm the newest author to sell to Aphrodisia, and I'm very excited to be here.
On to my tale of wonder. I have to share how I sold to Kensington, because it is hands down the coolest story I have to tell. Here's how it went:
I arrived in Dallas, Texas late Monday for an early Tuesday tourist day before the Romance Writers of America conference began on Wednesday. I sleep in Tuesday morning and am woken by Eden Bradley, a fellow naughty writer, and we discuss what we'll be doing for the day.
A call beeps in. It's not a number I recognize, and I consider not answering. Then I realize it might be one of my online friends that I've never spoken to over the phone...who might be calling from the lobby (Note to self: if the 212 area code pops up on caller ID, it's time to spiral into gleefully panicked hysteria). I tell Eden I'll be right back and click over.
"Hi, this is John Scognamiglio..." My first thought is that's not how I say his name in my head. Mild buzzing in ears. "I'd like to offer for your story..." More buzzing. He wanted to buy my polar bear shape-shifter story. Oh. My. Holy. Jesus.
I babble something incomprehensible before I click back over to Eden and start screaming and jumping up and down on the hotel bed. I apologize to the Hyatt Hotel...I don't think I did any real damage to the mattress. Eden cries and I call everyone who's ever met me.
There's a certain life that comes with being an author. Certain sacrifices of time and energy that go into writing a book. So to sell to Kensington while surrounded by a bunch of people who understand what I do on a daily basis was simply priceless.
Then I had to find an agent and run around conference subtly stalking every agent I'm interested in. (Also, my friends dragged me out and bought me my first tattoo and then to a tranny karaoke bar).
Two weeks after I got home I have an awesome, fabulous agent and now I'm looking at a whole new career. It's wild and crazy, but I'm really excited. Here's hoping for a bunch more tales of wonder to relay to everyone.
It's been an exciting week. Nicholas, the first book in The Lords of Satyr trilogy has begun arriving in stores. When I saw it in Barnes and Noble for the first time a couple of days ago, my husband and I celebrated with wine. It seemed appropriate, since these half-satyr brothers--Nicholas, Raine, and Lyon--carry on their family legacy in a vineyard in Tuscany, where they also guard ancient secrets.
As an art historian, I must've studied thousands of Greco-Roman urns and frescoes over the years. Those that depict satyrs (followers of the wine god Bacchus/Dionysus) lusting after nymphs in ritualistic, carnal winegrape harvest celebrations were the ones that really caught my imagination. This series combines my love of romance with my studies of the mythology behind these artifacts.
I'm currently typing away on book 3, about youngest brother Lyon and am awaiting copy edits for book 2--Raine, The Lords of Satyr--from my editor at Kensington. I've heard there's a delicious cover in store for Raine, but haven't seen it yet. I'm not sure the Nicholas cover can be topped though. The pose is so dramatic and talk about hot! My editor said it reminds her a bit of Michelangelo's sculpture of David. Aphrodisia has some of the best covers in the romance genre.
The other Aphrodisia authors have been really supportive over the past year. It's great to be part of such a generous, talented group, and I thank them all for the advice and friendship.
Elizabeth Amber NICHOLAS, THE LORDS OF SATYR erotic paranormal historical romance (Kensington Aphrodisia, August 2007) www.elizabethamber.com www.myspace.com/elizabethamberromance
Posted by Elizabeth Amber ::
6:14 PM ::
Today is my very first blog post as an Aphrodisia author. Talk about an honor! There are so many talented authors writing for this line, that it's a humbling experience to be a newbie among their ranks :) I got to meet several of these talented ladies at RWA Nationals a few weeks ago, and they are all as kind, welcoming and fun to party with as you might imagine from reading their books :)
For today, I want to share with everyone my new book, CEREMONY OF SEDUCTION, which will officially release on July 31st, but which has already been sighted in some Borders around the country, and even from one reader in the UK.
Yes, as you can see, the cover gods were extremely kind! And yes, the sensual waterfall scene is an actual scene out of my book.
You can head on over to my website or MySpace page to read an excerpt and see the terrific book video that was designed by Scrap Fairy designs. To say the least - both are just as HOT as the book :) So have a cool drink and some hot company handy, if possible!
Since I'm new here, I'll tell you a little bit about myself. Like most writers, I've been writing since I was small, but other than the 6th grade play I wrote and performed in "The Embarrasing Moments of Santa Claus," I never seriously pursued publication until 2003. That was the point in which my husband told me to stop talking about it and get off my butt and go do it. :)
I could still kiss him for giving me that boot in the tush, because it made me sit down and write an actual novel. I sold that novel in October 2004, and haven't looked back. That first novel also recently won the Romantic Times reviewer's choice award for best Small Press Contemporary Paranormal for 2006.
Since then, I've published several paranormal romances, but CEREMONY OF SEDUCTION is my first forray into erotic romance. And oh, what a forray that was :) Talk about pushing boundaries! And I enjoyed every steamy page, and hope you do too. So mark your calendars for next Tuesday and go grab your own copy!
Here's what some of the reviewer's had to say:
4 Stars from Romantic Times BookReviews - "This is an incredibly creative read with likable characters. If you're looking for a sexy escape, you'll find it here. Ryan has crafted a sensual story that leaves nothing to the imagination."
5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance - "Ceremony of Seduction is the perfect erotic read with just the right touch of paranormal. Ms. Ryan’s Ceremony of Seduction positively sizzles and is not to be missed!"
4 Stars from Night Owl Romance - "Ceremony of Seduction is a captivating love story of magic and sex that will take you to new levels of sexual bliss. It's loaded with hot erotic sex that left me hot and bothered and I never wanted it to end. It's a great read that I highly recommend for hours of sizzling entertainment."
Hi, I'm Kate Pearce and this is my first post on the Aphrodisia authors blog. I don't think I'm even on the sidebar yet! Not only is this my first post, but I'm also anticipating the publication of my first Aphrodisia title next February,"Simply Sexual" an erotic Regency romance. I don't even have a cover to show you yet, but as soon as I do, you'll be seeing it!
To be honest, I'm still a little overwhelmed by the fabulous authors who already write for Aphrodisia. The first book I read from the line was Kate Douglas' "Wolf Tales I." After I picked my jaw off the floor, I emailed Kate to tell her how fantastic her book was, little dreaming that one day, a year later, I'd be emailing her to tell her that I was going to be an Aphrodisia author too!
Everyone has been very welcoming and I know that as soon as I see that first cover, I'll really believe its going to happen. I understand that I'm not alone and that this happens a lot for new authors, so I suppose I'll eventually get over my awe and sense of being an impostor :)
I'll finish with a bit about me. I'm originally from the UK. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area with my husband and 3 boys in 1998 where a 6 year wait for our green cards (and the birth of my daughter) gave me the opportunity to stay at home, learn about American culture (it took me 2 years to work out that you could put outgoing mail into your mailbox as well as collect it) and finally write a romance novel.
It would be lovely to say I sold that one straight off and went on to instant fame and fortune but sadly it was not to be. I gave myself a 5 year deadline to get published and accomplished my goal in the eleventh month of the fifth year after 40/50 rejections and 5 manuscripts. I sold an erotic Regency to Ellora's Cave and realized I loved writing really sexy edgy stories. Since then, I've sold more to EC and 2 contemporary erotic romance novels to Virgin 'Cheek'.
I'm still waiting for the fame and fortune but I'm not complaining...Three publishers keep me busy and I love my job so much I can't imagine doing anything else! My Aphrodisia books center on two very interesting Regency rakes who spent several years of their young lives as slaves in a Turkish brothel, (and not in a good Princess and harem kind of way). The books explore the impact on their sexuality and their choices after they return to England-and of course feature the women, and men, who complete and redeem them.
I'm looking forward to contributing to this blog and hearing about other readers reactions to the amazing variety of books the Aphrodisia authors write. Off for a nice cup of tea now! (something I failed to find at RWA this year)
Yesterday I totally had a plan about what I would blog about, today not so much. It's interesting how yesterday's great idea is today's "blah". I have plenty of great things to blog about...
My life is full. I have my writing, my publishing company (which wouldn't be nearly as much fun and rewarding without my business partner, Sable Grey), a very supportive husband, an arrogant (and yes spoiled) dog, and we're currently planning and certainly putting forth our best effort in the reproductive process.
I published for the first time in 2004 and that filled a hole in me that I hadn't realized was there. It's interesting how you can send your whole life writing (since I was 12) and not fully grasp how important validation is until you're sitting on top of it. Validation comes in spades these days. I've got 2 releases upcoming with Kensington (the third in my gallery trilogy- currently titled EXPOSED and a novella in the very popular anthology series SEXY BEAST). BARENAKED JANE came out at the end of April and the response has been absolutely wonderful!
"The sex simply sizzles and it proves how in tune they are with each other both physically and emotionally. Barenaked Jane proves to be a very entertaining novel that delivers in all aspects, the interesting plot, the engaging characters, good pacing, realistic dialogue and Mercy making appearances." 5 Stars, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"The second book in a trilogy that began with UNDRESSING MERCY, BARENAKED JANE steams up the pages right from the start. Mathias and Jane are strong, stubborn characters, well fleshed out. The writing is seamless and sensual." Jennell, RRTerotic Reviews
I'm starting the re-write on my Kyra Moray futuristic series-- that's proved interesting and more fun than I thought it would be.
I have a few new ebooks planned- short stuff but it's currently all up in the air.
Next month I'm hosting a BIAM challenge on Cobblestone Press's forum Main Street. All are welcome to join me- starts August 1.
Howdy all!!!Talk about being slow getting to the dance. I now have three Aprodisia titles out with, I think, four more in the pipeline so it's about time I jumped onboard the blog here. Hmm. Let's see, if I was reading about some broad named Vonna Harper, what would I want to know about her? Not the personal stuff 'cause that's pretty boring and doesn't sell books. Okay, how about the stuff she writes followed by the question of why anyone would want to read what I write? Okay I can go with that 'cause I'm having a ball!!!First a little name dropping and blame credited--both of which go to our own Kate Douglas. Ya see, several years ago a gal pal and I attended a conference where Kate was enthusiatically explaining the then new erotica concept. She was writing for an epublisher, something I'd never considered but since I was eager to try something new, I sat up and paid attention. Hmm. Can I write about sex, real sex, not the flowery stuff I'd been doing for Harlequin and Silhouette? Not sure until Kate emailed me one of her stories. OMG, talk about real!!! Talk about a turn-on!!! Yeah, I can do this. I just can't tell my mother or sons.It was definitely a matter of being in the right place at the right time because nearly everything I submitted to that epublisher was accepted. And, surprise, surprise, my stories started coming out mere months after I'd written them instead of years as had been the case with Big Apple publishers. I had a personal e-friendship with my editors and felt as if we were all in this grand new adventure together. Down the road a couple of years with a growing number of stories under my belt, I was again in the right place at the right time when Kensington started looking for books for the new and edgy and fun-as-hell Aphrodisia line. With my soon to be ex agent's (long story) encouragement, I submitted something to an editor there and had an acceptance less than a week later. Hammered out the details while standing by the mountain lake where the family cabin is, barely remembering to swat mosquitos I was so excited.Probably because what I'd initially sent them was a bondage/BDSM theme, that's what they want from me and since I always try (okay, sometimes) to do what I'm told and paid for, that's been my speciality. I keep wondering if I'm going to run out of ideas with that theme but not so far. I truly dig the covers Aphrodisia come out and am really excited about the one for my Dec book Night Fire which shows a naked woman's rear torso with her hands cuffed behind her. Sexy! The earlier covers (Surrender, The Cowboy, and Roped Heat) are also winners but were a little harder to make out the details--well, except for the hunky cowboy.A question before I fade into the woodwork: how important is cover accuracy to readers? Night Fire's model has artificial nails and the cuffs are fur lined whereas much of the story takes place in ancient Aztec times where neither of those things existed.Waving good-bye--until next month.Vonna Harper
Posted by Vonna Harper ::
10:35 PM ::
Hello everyone! I know, long time, no post. So long, in fact, that I just had to convert my old blogger username into the new one.
Anywho, for me, the highlight of RWA National is what happens before it. Every year, the Beau Monde chapter (which is for those who write in the Regency period), hosts its own conference in the same hotel. We start early in the morning (breakfast) and after taking a break for the Literacy Signing, we finish up late with our Soiree.
This year, I got to give a talk about "Sex During the Regency", which was both prurient and scholarly. Which means, not only did I display pics in my powerpoint slides that were, shall we say, frank, I also had lots of research from the local university library on sexuality to share.
But the absolute highlight?
The Soiree -- the conference organizers had hired a contra dance troupe (which is American-style apparently) and a whole bunch of men came along!!!! This is the first time we've had more than two males in the room (and one of them is Sir Reginald, one of the authors cross-dressing --- although I must say she does it very very well) -- so it was really nice to dance with someone taller than me.
Also, I did not manage to trip over the hem of my extremely long gown, although I stood on it a couple of times...
2200 people, mostly women, all of whom either write, read, publish or agent romance! That was Romance Writers of America’s national conference in Dallas this past week. Predictably, the bar almost immediately ran out of the pomegranate syrup for their special martinis! OK, no, I didn’t spend the whole conference in the bar - though I do thank fellow Aphro P.J. Mellor for the bellini she bought me, at the top of the rotating dome.
Aphros were all over the place. Kate Douglas has posted a ton of pictures, which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet, because I just got home and haven’t even unpacked yet. Check them out at http://www.katedouglas.com. Not only were we Aphro gals visible in the bar, our members presented workshops, attended the bookseller tea, and won awards. I had trouble keeping track of everything, so I’m hoping other authors will chime in here and blow their own and each other’s horns. I believe Sharon Page won a National Reader’s Choice Award for “Sin.” Kate D. came second in the paranormal category of the Booksellers Best Awards for “Wolf Tales” (I think it was her first WT book) and third in the PRISM. And I think Vivi Anna got a second in the Passionate Plume contest. Forgive me if I’ve messed up on the details!
My own “Champagne Rules” won two Booksellers Best Awards, one for mainstream romance and one for best first book. Woo-hoo! When they announced my name twice, I couldn’t believe it. Then I had one of those Sally Field “you like me, you really like me” moments, because it’s so thrilling for an erotic romance to achieve that kind of credibility. (By the way, that was the night I discovered those pomegranate martinis . Thanks to the gals from Oregon who helped me celebrate.)
What else was great about RWA National? (1) The amazing sense of camaraderie and support, and all the positive energy buzzing through the air. Seriously, it was even stronger than the meat-locker air-conditioning. (2) The news from bookbuyers and booksellers that romance is not only by far the biggest genre in fiction sales, but it’s steadily growing. Yay, us! (3) Terrific sessions put on by RWA’s Published Author Network, with bookbuyers, booksellers, multi-published authors and more - and the other great workshops on the regular conference program. (4) The parties, like Kensington’s cocktail party for their authors, and a fun dinner with the ladies from Romance Divas. (5) The special events, like the Kiss of Death Chapter’s pre-conference tour - featuring three search and rescue dog + handler teams. (6) The inspirational luncheon speeches by Lisa Kleypas and Lisa Jackson, the great RITA and Golden Heart awards ceremony, and the literacy signing. Imagine 2000 people in one room, all passionate lovers of romance novels. What a wonderful celebration and validation of what we read and write. (7) Having Kris, the editor of LoveLetter (the German romance magazine) bring me copies of the June issue with my story on Awesome Vancouver. Of course I couldn’t read a word, but it was so exciting to see my name, and the pix were fabulous . (8) And, as always, hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones.
Those are my off-the-cuff fond memories of conference highlights. How about the rest of you who attended? What was special for you?
Posted by Susan Lyons ::
10:09 AM ::
Conflict in erotic romance is a truly interesting thing. In most any other genre, a healthy dose of both internal and external conflict is a must. But with erotic romance, I often see where one or the other is getting away as a stand alone. For example, a story might be based on the internal conflict (those internal issues each struggles with) keeping the primary characters apart solely. Or it might be that the primaries are separated by external conflict (those external forces at work to keep them apart) and there is no real internal conflict. In particular, I see this a lot with the shorter story, the novella.
As I embark on writing my next Aphrodisia, I am left wondering about this whole conflict deal. Is erotic romance different in that both internal and external conflict really aren't needed, particularly in the case of the shorter story? Or does the average reader still prefer to see strong conflicts of both kind at the heart of the plot? And in keeping with this theme, is a heavier plot preferred in a shorter story over a more sexual one? Or when reading erotic romance, are the internal (or external) conflicts and the hot sex that derive from them truly the nature of the beast?
Just exactly how rocky do you want the conflict in your novels?
I got a delivery the other day. I was hoping it would be some cover flats for BUILT, but alas, it wasn't.
But it *was* from a publisher. A few months back, I was invited to share my thoughts on writing erotic romance in a revised version of a very popular how-to book.
Vanessa Grant's WRITING ROMANCE was a huge hit when it came out a few years back. Now, it's been updated and revised to reflect the changing face of romance.
I was asked (along with Kathleen Lawless who writes for Pocket) to talk about writing erotic romance. I just re-read my contribution and golly gee...I surprised myself. I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about! LOL (ok, so that may be all in my own mind)
Vanessa very kindly asked the publisher to send out books to all the contributors. Some of my favorite authors are in there: EC Sheedy on writing romantic suspense, Jo Beverly on writing historical romance, MaryJo Putney on writing about controversial issues. Vanessa includes new sample synopses from Gail Crease and Judy Griffith Gill.
The updates are fabulous. There's even a cd rom in the back with too many features to mention. (so okay, there are even 2 novels included!)
It was an honor to be included in this book and my deep appreciation goes out to Vanessa Grant for asking me.
If you're thinking of writing or even just interested in the process because of curiosity, I recommend this book:
Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant (3rd Edition) ISBN: 978-1-55180-739-3
Writing Romance is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Posted by Bonnie Edwards ::
12:35 PM ::
Blogging doesn't come easily to me. For the most part, I have the type of life that is same old stuff, different day. Sometimes it's even hard to tell the different days apart, such is the rote and routine of my life. So after racking my small brain for a subject, it occured to me I already had one. Something I struggle with constantly. You guessed it: writer's block.
Yep, me and that big black void in my head are really good friends. So good that it visits me several times a year. Like an unwelcome realtive, it parks itself on the couch in my mind and refuses to budge as it gnaws away at my few good brain cells. Not just for a day or two, but weeks, sometimes months. And where, you ask, is my muse in my darkest hours of need? Well, he (yeah, he) is a stubborn cuss and lazy, lazy, lazy. Here's a little snip of the usual convo between Devyn and her muse. For identification purposes I shall identify him as Bubba, because he's kind of dense and absolutely useless.
Devyn (staring at empty screen): So Bubba, ready to go to work?
Bubba (yawning, still in bed): Nope.
Devyn (pissed off): But I've got a deadline to write a new novella and the days are ticking off. How can I do that if you refuse to get your ass in gear?
Bubba (rolling over and putting pillow over his ears): Why do you need me anyway? Don't you already have the plot all worked out.
Devyn (scratching head): I have a synopsis, but no plot. It's up to you to supply the meat and bones.
Bubba (showing no interest): I'm sorry. You're just going to have to figure these things out for yourself. You're the one who wanted to write. Not me. I've got better things to do--like sleep.
Devyn (whining): Work with me, please....
I've sat for hours day after day staring at this nice 19" inch monitor of mine, wondering where the heck the words would come from to fill the required number of pages I needed to turn over to my editor. Dunno where they are. I can't find them. I've looked high and low. I've read books, studied the dictionary, taken long long drives to free up my mind. The days tick off, my deadline draws ever closer--and I've still not written a word.
So what to do to get over it? I honestly don't know. I usually reach the point where I just sit down and just write the darn thing. Doesn't matter if I have a plot or not. I just start writing. I don't worry about typos, I don't stop and proof. I just sit and write. Most times I pick a few songs that seem to convey the mood of the story and play them. Over and over and over. Then the miracle happens. Some how, some way, it all seems to come together, and on time.
So there's my sad tale of woe. How about you? What do you do when your lazy muse has packed up and moved without telling you goodbye?
Posted by Devyn Quinn ::
3:42 PM ::
Up until recently, I thought I was a face girl. Give me a man with a beautiful pair of eyes framed by long lashes, along with a full set of soft, kissable lips, a sexy smile, and my heart – and other body parts – instantly melted.
Oh, sure, the guy’s body was important, but it’s his face that had always captured my attention first. Because it’s his face that I had to stare at 95% of the time during our interactions.
But, now, I feel a change in the air.
After reading Bonnie Edward’s blog about What is Sexy? and writing my guest blog titled I Need a Man – both at Naughty and Spice – I’ve been forced to admit the obvious.
That I’m becoming a total body girl – broad shoulders, rock hard abs, muscled thighs ... There is no body part that I won’t admire (though I will admit that feet are at the bottom of my list).
And, if that wasn’t enough, I fear that I’m becoming attracted to men in uniforms.
While walking down the street last week, a police officer stopped me. Was my heart racing because my mind was scrambling to determine which law I’d broken? Or was it racing because of the muscular body and flat stomach encased in the navy uniform? The authoritative hand-on-the-holster stance? Or the half-smile playing on his face and the mystery lurking behind the sexy shades? When he asked me for my number, I decided that the law was not the source of my thrill.
Then, there are the men in motorcycle leathers. Now, until I bought a bike and started riding, I was completely immune to the appeal. But now, one glimpse of a muscled chest, back, or thigh encased in leather as a big, gleaming, bike passes by me and my heart does this odd little jump.
So is it just me – or do you find that what you once found physically attractive about a man is changing?
And while I have you thinking about men, please stop by the SEX LOUNGE Finding Derek CONTEST and check out the hunky guys competing to be Derek Mitchell, the hero of Sex Lounge. (And don’t forget to click on their photo #2s, as those are the somewhat risqué ones).
Rumor had it that Jack Kerouac wrote "On The Road" in three weeks. According to the legend, he made a giant scroll of paper so that feeding new sheets into the typewriter wouldn't slow him down, sat down, and hammered out this masterpiece in twenty-one days.
I grew up believing that rumor. When I finally landed New York contracts and my editor asked me how long it would take me to write a single title, this rumor came to mind. If Jack Kerouac could hammer out that masterpiece in three weeks, how long could it take me to write an erotic romance?
Luckily, my agent talked sense into me, and I didn't offer to write anything in three weeks. It took me four months to write my first single title, five months to write my second, and six months to write my third. I hope that this increased length reflects my growth as a writer, but in the back of my mind, I keep hearing that Jack Kerouac rumor.
And it's been making me feel like a literary slacker.
But I just heard something that made me feel a lot better. It took Jack three weeks to TYPE "On the Road," and it took him substantially longer to write it and revise it and revise it again and again. In fact, it took him closer to seven years to write "On The Road," and he had one hell of a time selling it. According to NPR, he had to publish bits and pieces of it in magazines, and he had to wait for the old NY editors to retire and new blood to come in before he saw his work made into an actual book.
"On The Road" turns fifty in September, and it still sells 100,000 copies each year. So congrats to Jack and the agent that completely believed in him!
And Jack, if you're listening, I'm so very glad you didn't write "On The Road" in three weeks, and to my internal psyche, if you're listening, please don't take seven years to write anything.
I don't often share reviews, other than snippets on my website and sometimes in my newsletter, but I have been super anxious to see some feedback on Body Moves. Two stories make up Body Moves and both are closer to my heart than any other story I have written for Aphrodisia, or probably any of my publishers.
Of course, putting my heart on the line means opening myself up to potential hurt when readers don't get it and reviewers outright hate it. After releasing a couple dozen books and getting back hundreds of reviews, my skin has tended to thicken enough to ignore the really bad reviews. But still I know if they are there and still I wonder how might I make those readers like my next book?
The answer for most is that I can't make them like what they don't, and changing my style isn't worth it. So for now I'll continue to do my best to ignore them and adore those who do get my writing.
As for that first review of Body Moves, here is a snippet from Candy Cay of Coffee Time Romances:
“Ms. Copeland has done a fantastic job captivating her readers with her wonderful writing. Yummy, delicious and erotic are only a few words to describe this story. Be prepared to be panting heavily...it will definitely knock your socks off.”
Thanks so much, Candy! You made my day complete. :)
One of the most often asked questions of a writer is: "Where do you get your ideas?" If you write erotic romance this question is sometimes followed up with: "Do you interview people and use their experiences in your books?"
I can't imagine doing that. My response to that one is usually: "No, that would be journalism, wouldn't it?"
The truth for me is, the ideas come too fast to keep track of. I don't know where they come from, I'm just glad they show up!
Maybe I saw too many ghost movies when I was growing up. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" wasn't only a movie...it was a short-lived television show, too. And Disney produced some good, fun ghost movies, with kindly, helpful ghosts. I seem to recall a few set in castles with the ghosts having strong British or Scottish accents. And who could forget the all time most popular ghost story? Every Christmas season we're hit with a varied selection of Scrooge movies. Those visitations may not have been fun, but they did serve to improve the old miser's life in the end.
Maybe all of these things combined to help me create the ghostly madame and working girls of Perdition House in my Midnight Confessions stories. In every interview I've done about this series, the question of where I got the idea for the haunted bordello has come up. I haven't yet answered that question satisfactorily. Instead I've recounted how it landed full blown in my head or where I was when it came to me.
But where it came from? Maybe I have a parade of ideas that pass by the screen in my mind and I pluck one or two out as they march by.
That's it! Yeah, an idea parade...works as well as any other explanation I suppose.
If you have time today, please click over to the blog at naughty-and-spice.com where I'm asking the question "What is sexy?"
Love those sexy covers! This is my new one for the next book, coming out in January 2008. You know when you see a cover like this that the book is going to be hot. Sizzling hot. Firecracker hot, right? (Well, it IS the fourth of July!) So how do we do it? What lifts a story beyond mere romance and makes it erotic?
How about taking three little steps to better sex...
Someone asked me the other day what the secret was to writing those really HOT sex scenes without blushing. I laughed, because I know my answer wasn’t what she expected. I told her there were three things to keep in mind. One, she had to get rid of her mother. Not actually, of course, because we love our mothers—mostly—but figuratively speaking, it’s almost impossible to write hot sex with that imaginary mom hanging over your shoulder. Remember, the one who said you can’t SAY those things?
Much less, write them!
Okay...so you’ve taken care of the judgmental grown-up. Hypothetical Mom’s not frowning and shaking her finger at you. Step two? Turn your inner bitch free. We’ve all got one—she’s hovering in there behind the rules and responsibilities and the daily chores that keep her chained, but she’s in there. I like to think mine’s an alpha bitch. We’ll call her AB and she’s the one who can use those words that Mom said we can’t say. AB calls a cock a cock (or a dick or even a penis, but never, in her wildest imaginings, would she refer to that part of the male anatomy as a purple helmeted warrior or a steely pleasure shaft!) and she’s not afraid of her own body—or the bodies of her characters. She knows that sex is messy and not always perfect, but AB’s convinced that she deserves an orgasm and isn’t going to be happy with a man who ignores her needs. She’ll take a good vibrator over a bad lover any day, but she’s really holding out for “Mr. Perfect.”
Well, we write the fantasies that make women happy, and that means we OWN Mr. Perfect—or at least we need to convince our readers we do! Unless we’re comfortable with the language and the detailed descriptions of the sexual acts themselves, (even though we’ve probably never done half the things we write about) our readers are going to know we’re faking. Our discomfort will show through in every word we write. If we feel awkward writing those graphic encounters, our reader will feel the same way.
So, get rid of Mom and get comfortable with your new vocabulary.
But what’s the third thing, you ask? (and if you’re not asking, by golly, you should be!)
We need to fall in love. Simple, right? And who is the object of our affection? Our characters—all of them who might be tumbling in or out of bed—or wherever we want them to do the deed. If we don’t love them, we’re not going to make our readers love them, and if our readers don’t feel a deep emotional attachment to the characters in a story, they won’t give a rat’s ass about the sex in the story. Without emotion, without the bond we, as writers, create, the sex becomes mechanical and boring. We all know how it’s done—there’s no mystery there. Creating those sexy scenes within the context of a good story filled with strong characters and powerful emotions is what lifts the truly erotic far above the level of what could easily degenerate into nothing more than crass pornography.
By the time I get to the first sexual encounter in my books, I’m already so heavily invested and involved in my characters that the graphic sex scene is the next natural step in the progression of character and/or plot development. I write the scenes because the story requires them, not because my editor wants more sex in the book.
There’s an amazing sense of freedom in creating well-developed characters, letting them fall in love and not shutting the bedroom door in the reader’s face. It’s simple, really. Just tell Mom to go away, let your inner bitch out of her closet, and turn yourself free to fall in love.
I signed with A back in October of 2005. My first book WHAT SHE CRAVES released in March of this year. Took along time from sale to release! I have a novella, KISS OF THE DRAGON, in the SEXY BEAST III anthology that releases in September 2007 as well as another single title called ANIMAL LUST that will release in March of 2008.
I write historical, historical paranormal, and contemporary paranormal, erotic romance. Phew… that was a mouth full.
What I love about writing this genre is the attention to the 5 senses. Smell, Sound, Sight, Taste, and Touch.
Watching two lovers make love…seeing their arms and legs shake and quiver as pleasure is sought and captured, feeling that same trembling against your own limbs as you provide that pleasure and seize you own. The smell of your lover, of sex and cunny overwhelming your senses, and the sounds…moaning, whimpering, groans, the sharp intake of breath as sensations overload, skin rubbing and wet wet wet…
It is all amazing, rich, sensual, sexy… Mmmmmm.
That is why I write what I write… I love all those sexy details that flood the pages of erotic romance. Since I started writing this genre, I am much more aware of all those details in life. In ways I feel writing erotic romance has made me appreciate and savor more sensations than I had before I began my journey. Though I was always a bit of a sensation lover! Grin.
Why do you like to read Erotic Romance? Why do you enjoy writing it?
Today is special, the first of many days you will see this blog bursting with author insight, antics, comings and goings, new releases, contests, and plenty of other stuff. And so for this very special day I had composed a post about the point at which my writing went from an oyster to a pearl and back again. But then my husband called as I was about to put up that post, and told me that just down the road someone was selling a play structure my almost two-year old daughter has been eying for days now. So instead of posting, we hopped in the truck, went down the road and bought her new play structure. And my daughter had the simple, glee-filled response that lit up the entire evening in a way not even the fireworks exploding overhead could accomplish. And so today's post is a simple one about the little things in life that make it truly worth getting out of bed every day.
Some of my little things are:
My daughter's goofy little girl grin and endless, just-for-attention "Mamas," even when I am already talking to her.
The not nearly frequent enough visits with my parents and siblings.
Ice cold beer on a really hot day.
The love of a good man.
Food. I love food! Especially anything with "real" flavor.
Afternoon naps with the windows open on warm, breezy days.
A book that leaves me smiling. I will always be a reader first and foremost.
What are some of your little things? Those simple things that fill you with warmth and leave you smiling long after afterward (okay, so the beer doesn't fill me warmth for a long time, but I do really enjoy it on a hot day *G*)? Because I really do want to know, I will give you incentive to share, and select a random winner from those who comment to receive a book of their choice from my backlist.
Posted by Jodi Lynn Copeland ::
9:49 PM ::