Aphrodisia Authors

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Between Contracts

I've been writing for two, almost three, years now, and in all that time I've never had any kind of writing down time. There was always a project to work on, a book to finish, a deadline to meet, a contest to enter. You get the idea.

I just finished my first two book deal with Kensington, had a wild selling streak and sold everything that was out for submission (woohoo!), and...now I have nothing to do. I'm waiting for edits and contracts to come back to me, but right now I have nothing. to. write.

I know some will say I should enjoy the down time, but...it's so not in my nature to have down time. I mean, I work full time and pretty much write full time, too. Call me a workaholic, I'm okay with it.

I suppose I could write a new proposal, though I just finished three of them. Or I could write a short story for one of my e-publishers. But it's just odd not to have to do anything. I usually have very specific word count goals every day. I write every day. No exceptions. I don't care if I'm sick or dying or had an icy fall down some very cement steps (March was a bad month for me is all I can say about that).

And now...I can watch TV after work and not have to feel guilty about not doing what I should be doing. It just feels dirty and wrong.

Anyone read any good books lately and want to recommend them? I've already burned through my TBR pile in the past five days. This is why I started writing in the first place, I'm easily bored without something. to. do.

I watched the Netflix movie that's been sitting on my DVD player for a few weeks now. I Am Legend. Will Smith with no shirt is yum. Post-Apocalypse meets Cast Away premise is interesting. Special effects were laughable, and the pacing of the movie was off to me. But Will Smith had no shirt on and he was all sweaty, so I forgive the movie for not being made of awesome.

I've also been cruising around YouTube like a fiend. There are some really weird things on that website. Also, some of my favorite songs have fun videos. Who knew?

So that's my fun update. I'm between contracts and driving myself crazy. Quick! Someone put me out of my misery!

-Crystal Jordan

Posted by Crystal Jordan :: 10:03 AM :: 21 comments

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Between a Rock & a Hard Drive

My husband says all the technology in my life is conspiring against me.

And unfortunately, I’m starting to think he’s right. There’ve been several examples: the garage door opener that only works for me intermittently, but always works for him; the DVD player that refused to load for me on ANY disk I tried, and worked for him on the first try; and even the AMC theatres pre-bought ticket machine yesterday…sigh.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when last Wednesday I booted up my trusty pink Mac and got a flashing file folder with a question mark instead of my friendly background picture. Unfortunately, hubby wasn’t able to get the Mac to work like he does with everything else and we had to take it down to the Apple store. They promptly told me my entire hard drive was toast, and they hoped I had backed up my data. EEK! Luckily, they exchanged the hard drive for a new one for free, and I did have backups. I had an entire laptop backup on Time Machine from a month ago, and before I left to speak at the Heart of Denver Romance Writers last weekend, I backed up my writing file and a few other folders I couldn’t live without.

Anyway, I consoled myself with Starbucks on the way home and the knowledge that my hubby has an affinity with technology and could fix my “baby” good as new.

I was having some serious laptop withdrawal when he came into the living room looking like someone had died. That’s when I got that icy cold sensation of dread curling inside my belly and making me nauseous—you know the one I’m talking about. Yup—my month-old backup was corrupted and wouldn’t load. That meant everything I hadn’t backed up the week before—pictures, emails, desktop, tax spreadsheets, and a hundred other things that flashed through my mind were gone.


I let myself pout and rail against the universe for all of about five minutes before taking a deep breath and reminding myself that A) I had only lost about 8K on my WIP from what I had done Sunday after I’d gotten home from Denver, and then Monday and Tuesday. And I did have all the work I’d done on my Alpha Smart since the demise of my poor laptop, and B) the situation was what it was and whining wasn’t going to buy me anything but stress.

My hubby closeted himself back inside the office messing with my laptop all the rest of Friday and all a good chunk of Saturday.

Anyway, much to my surprise, he found a program somewhere on the internet for $100 that allowed him to fix 95% of the corruption issues within my backup and restore most of my files. Woo Hoo! What a man! Gorgeous, sweet AND he recovered most of my data!! :)

So, yesterday morning when I woke up, I found my trusty pink Mac on my recliner in the living room, and I started the process of restoring the files I’d backed up right before I left for Denver, and finding out how much data I had lost from a month-old backup within my non critical files.

I think the biggest gap is on my emails—some of my accounts didn’t keep the email account history on the server, so those are gone. (So, if you wrote me and haven’t heard back, you may want to try again!) and my Sent history for the past month is totally gone.

Anyway, that’s my computer saga. And as much as I work with technology, it does become frustrating at times—like my automatic backup failing just a few minutes ago, for some unnamed reason! Sigh! But I’m thankful for what was saved, and thankful I can get back to my book today now that life is back to normal. Hopefully, that 8K won’t take too long to make up, and here’s hoping it’s even better the second time I write it.

Does anyone else have my same luck with technology? Or is it just me? LOL!


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Posted by Casie Ryan :: 12:02 PM :: 10 comments

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Hi from New Author - Shelli Stevens

Hi all! Deanna Lee is letting me fill in for her today. I’m Shelli Stevens and as of Monday, a brand new Aphrodisia author! I am totally excited to be among such fantastic friends and fellow writers.

Though working with a New York publisher will be new to me, being published isn’t. I’ve written many books for two epublisher, from sexy contemporaries to scorching futuristics. My upcoming books with Aphrodisia are going to be scorching futuristics.

You know, I can confess to not being the biggest sci-fi/futuristic fan, but shows like Firefly (Serenity the movie) certainly caught my interest. Or was it just that really, really sexy captain on Firefly. Yummy. Intrigued by this genre and watching and reading more of it, I decided to write a book in a futuristic setting. And while it’s set in the future, I’ve been told it still has a bit of a contemporary flare.

So one of my favorite premises in a book is Capture/Abduction. I love them! Love them, love them, love them. They may not be politically correct, but they are so delicious and the perfect breeding ground for conflict and good hot lovin’. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in my book. Publishers Marketplace summed up my book as:

On a planet where females are on the endangered species list, a woman who has spent her life in erotic servitude to the three wealthy and powerful men who own her finds freedom and passion in the arms of her abductor, a man who should be her fiercest enemy.

Capture isn’t my only favorite premise. I also love the friends to lovers, premise. Life in danger, needs protection, premise. There are just so many great premises out there, and honestly, I love reading them in any genre or time period. Historical, futuristic, paranormal, contemporary. The theme is timeless.

So what are some of your favorite premises in a book? Share, share, share! I’ll draw a name later and the winner will receive a copy of one of my ebooks off my backlist!

In the mean time, if you want to know more about me (Shelli!) feel free to drop by my website at http://www.shellistevens.com.

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Posted by author :: 8:17 PM :: 19 comments

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't Wanna Be Serious

Going Down won't be out for another month but I had to share this cover. I'm particularly taken with the coloring. To be honest, I squirm every time I look at it because I'm darn ticklish on that part of my anatomy. How my heroine is able to sit there and simply enjoy is beyond me. If it was me--and believe me, no one wants to see that part of my anatomy on a cover, shudder--I'd have already kicked the poor man where it counted.

Okay, as I hinted in the title, I'm not in a serious mood today, probably because I'm doing my dangness not to give into this gray and rainy day. (what a contrast after record breaking heat last week). A couple of days ago I updated the news on my website www.VonnaHarper.com and described what my office looks like. Fascinating reading, not. Today I decided to dig into my brain and come up with what my ideal office would look like. How's this for priorities?
1. Ice making machine so I don't have to keep going downstairs to replenish my trusty ice water.
2. Snack drawer. (oops, better not)
3. Perfect-running computer. Mine isn't bad, but it's pushing 4 years old and I'm getting a little nervous. I don't care what operating system it has just as long as I somehow am as one with it. No glitches of course, never a need to call the dreaded customer support.. Having it the size of a tissue box would be kinda cool. No games of any kind loaded into it because I might be the only person on earth who doesn't give a darn about that stuff. I was going to mention some of those interactive video games but without my grandson around to educate me I'd just sound like an absolute idiot.
4. 25" monitor. The one I have is 19" and I love it, but if I'm being greedy--
5. Seamless Internet connection. Always on but of course absolutely and completely safe from viruses and spam.
6. Chair molded to my tired old bod. The one I'm sitting in is pretty good but it better be because I swear I sat in every chair for 20 miles around. But the perfect one has to have arm rests that hold up. In less than 2 years, this plastic stuff has started cracking and occasionally jumps up and pinches me.
7. No glare window to look out. The current one is probably 4 by 4 but sometimes I have to close the blind to keep from going blind. And while I'm at it, how about cutting off the roof of my next door neighbor. If it wasn't for that, I could see forever instead of just half of forever.
8. Bose stereo system with killer speakers.
9. A room full of self-watering plants.
10. Expertly hung pictures of landscape scenes by famous photographers. Start with the Grand Canyon.
11. Massive bookshelf filled with every research book I'll ever need.

I could probably keep going forever but I keep getting this funky message about how Google blogging connection has been lost and I might not be able to save my blog. Better put that seamless Internet connection at the top of the list.

How about other people? What's in your perfect ideal room? Is it an office, a denlike retreat, maybe a patio, a sexy bedroom? Anyone who says laundry room will be kicked off the Aphrodisia site and never allowed back.

Posted by Vonna Harper :: 12:33 PM :: 5 comments

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just Catching up

Since this was an open blog day and I have not blogged in awhile, I thought I would take a moment to share some new cover art, news, etc....

First, I am happy to report that I'm temporarily out of deadline heck. Yep, that's right. I finished and turned over Heart of the Wildcat to my editor Monday. This novella will appear in the Sexy Beast 6 antho and paves the way for Soul of the Wildcat, which will continue the story of my Cherokee Cougar shifters in the mountains of North Carolina. Small yah, as this is one that I just couldn't seem to get started on. I whiled away two months with severe depression, convinced I could not possibly do justice to the subject. There was so much to cover with Native American history, legend, lore, cougars, etc... that I felt I could not possibly write the novella in a way that would make sense. Skip forward to the end weeks and many tears later: it's now done and I can't believe I'm saying goodbye to the characters so soon. I was just getting started with Kathryn and Joe. Now that I am not pounding the keyboard day after day I feel lost. What do I do now? (Write another book is the obvious answer. And that is coming. My editor and I decided to call the Flesh and the Devil sequel "Man After Midnight", which I like. Brat Princess Dani Wallace is to become the unwilling bride of a Jadian Shapeshifter.)

I'm also happy to unveil the cover of Embracing Midnight, my late Nov 08 release. I have to admit I love the cover. It's fabulous and so totally right for the book. I'm going to have a poster made and framed for my wall.

Lastly, I am thrilled to share the news that the TRIO Anthology with myself, PF Kozak and Jane Ledger releases next Tuesday. :) These are three hot stories, folks, and the theme is *grin* threesomes.

Lastly, I edge around the the purpose behind this post. Writers, do you ever go through blue funks about your WIPS and if so how do you conquer the worm? Readers, have you ever read a book where it seems like the writer was just going through motions to complete the work on deadline?

Posted by Devyn Quinn :: 6:36 PM :: 6 comments

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Are you embarrassed?

I know you’re not embarrassed to read spicy books or you wouldn’t be here at our site.

But are you embarrassed to buy them? Do you order online? Do you slink around the bookstore? Here in Canada, Aphrodisias are shelved under Erotica, not Romance, so you have to go into a whole different section and basically proclaim, “Hello, my name is Susan and I read erotica.” (Which, actually, I rarely do. Especially not literary erotica. I much prefer erotic/spicy romance. But here it’s shelved as erotica.) I admit, in the beginning I was nervous about browsing the erotica section – and partly it was because there were so few books and the covers were, uh, kind of freaky sometimes. But that was before we Aphrodisiacs, and our colleagues at Heat, Red, Spice and so on began to dominate the shelves with our pretty, shiny, sexy covers.

Do you pick up your erotic romance and hide it under another book, then linger near the cashiers until you see a friendly looking female who might – gasp! – even read this stuff herself?

How about reading spicy books in public? Do you read your erotic romances at home, as a private pleasure? Or do you proudly carry them around in public, cover visible, and read them on the bus? (And if you do, do you ever get comments?) Personally, I’m not big on reading sexy stuff in public. It’s not so much that I’m embarrassed to be seen with it, as that it’s hard to really get deeply into the story and enjoy it fully (if you get what I mean ).

As for you writers, are you embarrassed by what you write? I bet most of us will say no. If we were embarrassed about it, we wouldn’t do it. But what do you say when, after you’ve told someone you’re a writer, they ask you what you write? My answer is usually, “Spicy contemporary romance.” It’s not because I’m embarrassed but because I think the general public doesn’t really understand what “erotic romance” means. They think “porn”, and that’s definitely not what I or my fellow Aphrodisiacs write. I figure, “spicy contemporary romance” gives the normal reader a much more accurate picture. If they ask, “How spicy?”, I’ll grin and say, “Pretty darned spicy,” and they get the picture.

So, now it’s your turn to fess up. Are you embarrassed? Or proud and bold?

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Posted by Susan Lyons :: 11:44 PM :: 20 comments

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Conflicted About CONFLICT!

I've spent the past couple of days (well, OK--weeks!) working on a new proposal/synopsis, and once again my agent has been saying "the romance is overshadowed by the other stuff" and "not enough CONFLICT between the hero and heroine."

I scratch my head and roll my eyes and think, jeez, what is this? About the 27th or 28th book I'm working on here? And how many times have I taught sessions on internal and external conflict? And how many times has my agent had to point this up as the only--but essential!--element I need to improve on.

Is this because I wish the true love part could be that steady, upward line to the happily-ever-after? (Now, there's a fantasy!) Is it because I, by nature, avoid conflict whenever possible and always seek to please and pacify in real life?


But finally this morning, I made a few changes in my characters' backstories: made the femme fatale drama queen "villain" (who is bipolar) more positive and sympathetic; a woman who skips her meds because they interfere with her psychic abilities, which are how she earns her income. Made the heroine AFRAID of all these psychic types she's meeting up with in the seaside town she's fled to, from an abusive ex, and made the clairsentient numerologist hero really concerned that he'll lose her--like he lost his first wife--simply because his extrasensory powers frighten her. But that's who he IS. Can't change that about himself.

Not that difficult. Not that earth-shattering--but I finally spelled it out in specifics, which means I finally had to put it into words instead of just *thinking* I knew what was going on. And this afternoon I finally got my agent's e-mail saying "MUCH BETTER!" with a smiley-face.

Whew. For a couple days there, I was wondering if I'd lost it!

Now back to revamping that synopsis!


Posted by Melissa MacNeal :: 3:25 PM :: 5 comments

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Breathless with anticipation....

The writing life's been wild and wacky lately. In February I accepted an offer from Harlequin Blaze for a book that would never fly with my editor at Kensington. I love knowing what will work and what won't with my Aphrodisias. It's taken time to learn, but as things move along, it'll save me time. And time, for writers on deadline, is more valuable than gold.

I'm probably one of the, ahem, sweetest of the Aphrodisia authors...not a lot 'o kink in a Bonnie Edwards Aph, so here's hoping I have some cross-over readers. {ok, I suppose some people would substitute the word boring for sweetest - LOL - and if you're one of those people don't tell me}
The Aphrodisia call came a couple weeks ago. So....big cheers here!... I'm also signed on for two more Aphrodisias.

First up is my single anthology, BREATHLESS, which will be released in 2009. BREATHLESS is a trilogy of novellas linked by underwear above the waist: a corset with a time-travel twist, a Vegas showgirl's bustier and a body art competition. I've got a mystery, one last visit to Perdition House, and a sexy carpenter in BREATHLESS. And I can't wait to write them all...I think it's a great combination of stories. A little of this, a little of that...just fun!

Like I said the writing life's been a little wild and wacky. This is the first time I've had to balance so many projects at once. I have two editors to answer to. I'm thrilled to rise to this challenge, but it meant some heavy duty thinking about how to write so that all my books have enough time to gel.

I write four drafts of every book. That's four official drafts...that's not counting the endless revising I seem to do on a daily basis. So, yes, this takes time and balancing my writing life with my family responsibilities was a challenge this time.

Life emergencies happen and when you can see them on the horizon it's better to add time to your due dates at contract time, than to ask for an extension when the books are due. It was difficult to sort through my life (and those life emergencies that are a guarantee) for the next year. Talk about needing to see the future!

So, it'll be 2009 before BREATHLESS makes an appearance on the shelves. Here's hoping the second Aphrodisia isn't such a long wait. That one will be a single title.

The wait seems impossibly long for me, I just hope readers will be happy to hang in there with me!

Back to work for me,

Bonnie Edwards

Posted by Bonnie Edwards :: 11:28 AM :: 6 comments

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

On grandkids and fan mail and life in general

It seems to be a common theme among authors, this sense of being overwhelmed by deadlines and projects and life in general, and that’s exactly how I was feeling today when we pulled into the driveway after a whirlwind visit to see our four grandkids. They aren’t always together, since our son and his family live in Hawaii, but Jon, Mel and Ella were here in California for a brief visit and my husband and I spent the weekend being grandparents with four amazing kids age six and under.

I have an amazing respect for our daughter, who claims three of them and who was also babysitting the fourth. She does it with such amazing aplomb that I asked her what kind of drugs she used...she just laughed and kept right on doing what young mothers do—being a mom.

Anyway, I’m getting off track here—something I do a lot! I got home exhausted, helped hubby unload the RV, carried stuff into the house, put in a load of laundry, watered some plants and started fixing dinner. I was feeling sort of blue because I never feel like I get enough time with the babies, when I came upstairs to check my email.

Went through a gazillion messages and then came to an absolutely wonderful note from a reader, telling me how much she enjoyed my books. And I will admit it, my depression was gone, my energy was back and that sense of always playing catch-up sort of faded away.

Oh, it’ll be back tomorrow, but for one brief moment, all was right with my world because a reader took the time to send me that very thoughtful note. I freely admit that I save all my mail from readers. They’re the proof I often need, a reminder that there is more to writing than just the creation of a story for my own enjoyment or to meet a deadline or make my editor happy. Ultimately, the reason we write is for our readers.

That’s probably why it’s so meaningful when they take the time to write to us. So that’s my question—authors, do you ever write fan mail when you read a book that really moves you? And readers, do you ever take the time to send a note to an author? I’m going to make a point to do it more often. Today’s note was a reminder just how important that very personal connection can be. Maybe I’m just needier than most, but it sure made my day!

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Posted by Kate Douglas :: 11:24 PM :: 9 comments

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Fun With Food & Late Again

I am behind, it seems a way of life as of late. Or maybe not. You see, I am actually not behind for the first time in months, but it still feels that way. Perhaps because I am in between contracts and that makes me feel a bit out of sorts. Perhaps because my day job keeps taking over my nights and weekends and making it almost impossible to get out new proposals. Perhaps just because I have been behind so much I can't recognize what it feels like to be on top of things.

Anyway, I was supposed to post yesterday and update the blog covers then, too. But I didn't remember. So I just updated the new books for May. Aren't they lovely? Yeah, I thinks so, too. And this month I actually get to pick a few up and read them. Lovely indeed! As much as I enjoy writing, I think I still prefer reading even more. That I have gotten to do some this month has been wonderful. It also has had me thinking...

How do you feel about playing with your food? Now personally I am one of those who feels anything goes in a sex scene, particularly in terms of erotic romance. If it sounds like the characters are having a good time and it's presented in a believable manner, it works for me. But going by some recent reviews--both my own and others--not everyone feels this way.

So what do you think? Is it okay to play with your food? Or have your lover do so for you? Now obviously some foods really are sort of gross to consider, but the basic fare you might see pop up in a sex or sexy scene?

~ jodi



Posted by Jodi Lynn Copeland :: 11:41 PM :: 5 comments

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