Monday, August 31, 2009
According to the commentator, a good sign for the economy is when more men's underwear is sold. A spike in boxer and briefs sales coincides with a jump in the Dow Jones number and a good indicator that the economy will improve.
So...my creative mind wondered about men's undies. Does that mean men keep using the same ones for years and don't see the need to buy new ones unless they feel the economy is gonna get better? Is it a male thing about not making unnecessary purchases until money issues seem solvent? Maybe only then would they splurge on new undies.
Totally unlike women.
Sorry, fellas...we women need new underwear on a constant basis. What woman doesn't always want to look her best and feel "hot" under her clothes...no matter what economic crisis is looming in front of us? We want to look and feel sexy for the love of our life, and sexy bras and panties are our solution.
Women will buy fancy, sexy underwear in all economic times...good and bad. It's a mindset thing for us. Plus, we keep the companies that produce these items in business, thus keeping our own sector of the stock market (hopefully) in the black.
Hmm. Maybe now I'll have to start looking for a company that makes men's briefs and boxers and buy some stock. Of course, I'll have to check the numbers and see if sales are on a rise and raising the company's status. Any suggestions? Fruit of the Loom? Hanes?
After writing this, I think it's time to buy my husband more boxers. Maybe I can be helpful and be part of the movement to spur the stock market upward. Ladies everywhere...go buy your men undies and help the US economy!
Read April Ash and Marianne Stephens books to see what kind of undies my heroes wear! Visit www.aprilash.net and www.mariannestephens.net for information on my books.
Newest release, "Sexy Games" by April Ash, available now at:
Saturday, August 29, 2009
All of us have our dragons to fight...
But some of us write them into hot, fabulous stories. I've been thinking about a dragon shapeshifter, but the logistics just don't work. Now, big cats are another thing altogether, because even though they are big, and mean, and nasty, you can fit them in someone's SUV, into a bathroom, or into a closet. Try that with a dragon why don'tcha? They just don't fit.
Writing shapeshifter romance is marvelous. You can get your imagination running on high and let 'er rip. I had loads of fun writing Hallie's Cats. I dug deep into my wildest fantasies and found Gar and Cal. Hallie didn't mind, once she got used to the idea. In fact, she loved it!
When you write a hot shapeshifter, you have to think of an animal that dredges up fear, shivers, and goosebumps in humans. Now, you won't get that reaction with, say, a shapeshifter chipmunk. Or a shapeshifter Chihuahua. But two huge menacing leopards and a pack of werewolves will get the response necessary for a great erotic shapeshifter story.
Several of my dear friends have done dragons, and I applaud their fabulous stories. And maybe, sometime soon, I will try for a dragon shapeshifter, too. But I really, really like the big cats. And hot wolves. And hot vampires, too...but they aren't really shapeshifters, are they?
Why do we love a deliciously erotic, hot shapeshifter? Is it because animals don't lie? They don't mislead their partners? I have no idea why these marvelous hot guys who change into animals are so enticing. Oh, don't get me wrong...I adore writing hot, sexy m/f human only stories, too...but there's just something about the power and fantasy of shapeshifters. They capture the imagination. Anybody else feel the same way?
Friday, August 28, 2009
Music has to power to move us in so many directions. Lovers through the ages have resorted to music and song to express feelings that are difficult to otherwise put into words. Political movements use music to inspire. Music, drum beats, chanting, psalms - which are poems - are the backbone of religions around the world. In several of my books, the characters refer to modern singer/songwriters. A couple of my characters even sing - in My Everything, my heroine Grace Rafael is partial to Barry White. In my new work, Beauty and the Feast, coming with Resplendence in February, 2010, Eva Raines, personal chef par exellence, likes Bonnie Raitt and Lowell George.
Pepsi clearly appreciates and understands the power of music. They've borrowed from the iconic Bob Dylan. His songs are sheer genius and I am particularly fond of Pepsi's shortened version of Forever Young. The song exemplifies my generation in so many ways and it expresses my philosophy about life probably better than I ever could in my own words. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I can go on a creative surge so all consuming that I barely eat or sleep for days and then swing violently into stretches of complete literary nothingness. Mercifully, though, I do seem to be able to focus on edits when they are called for.
As a reader, if an alpha male hero has what I perceive as a less than macho name, I don’t believe in him. If he’s got any form of Rock, Steele, Hard, Stone, or any other cliché in his name, I feel manipulated and again, don’t believe in him. I get confused by names (not nick names) like Chase, Grey, Hawke, Wolf; what parent looks at their newborn son and picks those? Don’t even get me started on names that are so ‘out there’ in spelling I can’t even figure out how to pronounce them in my own head.
As an author, I’ve erected even more stumbling blocks on the road to male moniker assignment. I write erotica and proudly tell everyone I know. I work with 35+ men. All of their names are off limits in my mind, or I’d be spending a great deal of time explaining that I wasn’t writing about them, or blushing because maybe I was?? Names of my immediate relatives are also off limits, as are the name of an ex or a kid I hated in school or any unusual name I equate with another author’s character. Do you see my problem?
So I spend a freakish amount of time pondering and agonizing before choosing, and by the time I’ve selected, my man is his name.
Recently, I faced a test of monumental proportion. I was told that a hero in one of my books (I shan’t divulge whom) had an overused name and I had to change it. But…his story was written, his name was selected to perfectly fit his personality and emotions and to meet all of my crazy requirements; I almost succumbed to a fit of the vapors! Almost being the operative word.
I am a newbie; supremely aware that I have much to learn. I did some research and found that the name was indeed too common in romance. I kept the root word, changing it just enough so it didn’t lose its appeal to me, and the dynamic of the character was not compromised in the least.
Note to self - lighten up, sweetheart!
I’d love to hear your name hang-ups. What ones have you clenching your teeth or rolling your eyes? Or what about the perfect name for the perfect hero of your fantasies?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
What do you expect from a juicy romance novel? Why did you buy it? Please don’t take the easy out and say you just wanted something to read or pass time with. You could have picked up a respectable newspaper or a mystery novel for that. There’s something special about a romance novel and you know it. At its best a Romance novel can mirror our unspoken, or unrealized desires back to us and that’s a very powerful thing. An Erotic Romance novel is a safe place to explore our shadows and our sexual selves.
If you’re an avid reader of erotic romance as I am. You most likely have certain expectations from the books you choose. Certain hopes that the secret naughty things you’re craving are hidden within the book you just bought and if they’re not you’ll be terribly disappointed. Perhaps you read a novel hoping to discover something new about your private self. Perhaps you hope a new fantasy or new desire will awaken. Perhaps you live vicariously through the heroine and learn from her experiences? Perhaps you long to have your fantasies confirmed and want to find out once and for all that yes, you’re normal! It's very reassuring to know there are others out there who also want alpha male shape shifters to obsess on their alluring qualities and be willing to fight to the death for mating rights. And doesn't every woman want a dashing pirate chief to whisk them away from their everyday life and force a myriad of erotic possibilities on them preferably while their wrists are tied to his bedposts? Maybe...
The fantasies don't even need to be extreme. They can be as simple and sweet as being loved for who we truly are. A good Romance novel can take you there.
Unlike real life asking for “Perfect love” in a Romance novel is perfectly acceptable. What forbidden pleasures do you most want to see in a romance novel?
XXOO Katalina Leon
My new Quickie "Adult Education" is available from Ellora's Cave Friday August 28! Click the link to check it out!
My new Quickie "Adult Education" is available from Ellora's Cave Friday August 28! Click the link to check it out!
"Adult Education" is a second chance to have your first choice.
"Adult Education" is a second chance to have your first choice.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
TALK DIRTY TO TOPAZ
Aspen Mountain Press
Rating: 4 Cups
Teagan Topaz has no faith in love. After catching her fiancé in the arms of another woman and the betrayal of her best friend, she never wants to be vulnerable again. That is until Frank; but she is confused by the crank calls from a man who sounds eerily like him.
Frank Black is determined Teagan will be his. No matter what it takes, he is the one to show Teagan what true love is. Frank has a plan and with the help of someone who cares for Teagan, his plan will be a success. The question remains as to whether Teagan is ready to love again and if she can trust Frank not to break what remains of her heart.
Talk Dirty to Topaz is an original story that is a pleasure to read. Teagan is a realistic portrayal of a betrayed woman; I found I could sympathize with her pain. Frank is a very sweet man who is determined to get his woman. A very relaxing read to fit into a busy life.
DelaneReviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
Monday, August 24, 2009
I wrote one book using the prologue technique. When I first thought about writing "Streets of Dreams"(by Marianne Stephens), using a prologue popped into my head as the best way to gain reader attention right away. The prologue is in the killer's point of view, and I hoped it would capture a reader's immediate attention.
One book I'm working on now also has a prologue. I want to give the reader a glimpse of the hero and heroine's "history" so that Chapter One can start months later. With this book...once again...the idea of catching the reader's interest required a prologue.
Epilogues. I've written two in romance books I haven't published. These books need "polishing" and lots of editing. But, once again, after I finished my last chapters for each book, I sensed a "need" to tell a little more about what happened to the hero and heroine in their future.
As I mentioned above, I like reading both prologues and epilogues. I like that glimpse into the past and future. A prologue can eliminate some "backstory" insertions in the book so can be helpful to the writer. Epilogues can be helpful for those writing a series...an author can use this technique to hint at the next series book and inspire curiosity and interest. Or, for single titles, it can just give the reader a "little something extra" about what happens after that final chapter.
My two erotic romance books by April Ash, "Strip Poker for Two" and "Sexy Games", don't have prologues or epilogues. I liked where the stories started and how I ended them. I didn't see a need to lengthen the story at either end.
What do you prefer? Do you enjoy reading/writing Prologues? Epilogues? Both? Neither?
"Sexy Games" and "Strip Poker for Two" are available at Ellora's Cave. Visit www.aprilash.net or www.mariannestephens.net for information about all my books!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Never give your heroine ones this big. Your hero will bounce back out the door if she breathes deeply.
Now, I would NOT recommend that any of these lovely ladies try jogging as a sport. Too dangerous.
Have a Fun Sunday!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I am thrilled to be here on this co-op blog with five super authors!
Yes, I write hot, sexy books. Yes, I insert humor and joy into every book I write. Yes, I have been told by readers as well as reviewers that they find my characters funny and hot. Quite a combo...funny and hot. I love to create books that bring enjoyment to my readers. And with the news lately, I think we all need a little laughter and excitement.
I have two books out now... Out of Her Dreams and Hallie's Cats. My next book, Dictated by Fate, is being released from Resplendence Publishing on August 25th, and I have a contest to win a FREE copy over on my website at:
I am also giving away tons of other great free stuff as secondary prizes! So come on over and check it out.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I got into the writing business years and years ago. I guess I was sort of born into it. My grandmother was a playwright, one uncle was a journalist who actually got to interview both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones - oh my cousins were so lucky - on their first North American tours. Another uncle wrote and edited college textbooks. My father is an excellent writer as are my two sisters. I grew up painting and writing poetry. I majored in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa with its well-known Iowa Writer's Workshop. My mentor there was the head of the International Writer's Workshop and I had the opportunity to hang with authors from all over the world. Pretty amazing!
Of course, writing is a tough career choice...I learned that lesson quickly. After a series of rejections, I returned to school and became a nurse. I've never regretted my decision. Better a meal on the table than a starving artist and my experiences have been priceless - they've provided me with an endless supply of material.
I was introduced to the romance genre literally by accident. Several years ago, I was in a climbing accident which required several surgeries to repair the damage I'd done to my knee. I was laid up for months and a friend brought me over a stack of romance novels. I devoured them and said - more please! Then it hit me - this is in my blood! I can write this! All I have to do is what I was taught - write what I know. Every book I write contains a big piece of me. So, every Friday, join me right here with my fellow Six Sexy Scribes!
Beauty and the Feast coming from Resplendence February 2010!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I have tried my hand at sci-fi with Oasis of Pleasure, which is in the early stages of editing at Ellora’s Cave. My next release, Training Randi, is coming November 10, 2009 from Resplendence Publishing as part of the Carnal Reunions anthology. My fourth book, Possessing Eleanor, is contracted with Resplendence but has no release date yet.
Now that I’ve summed up my very new writing career, what might someone want to know about my person? I live in Michigan with my husband of almost twenty three years; have two grown children and one infant granddaughter. I work full time as a Human Resources Manager for a local governmental entity. Animal rescue is a cause most dear to my heart and currently two pit bull mixes and an ancient cat allow us to live with them. I love to cook, read voraciously and am addicted to a couple of reality TV shows. I hate all things house cleaning.
I’m incredibly excited to be part of Six Sexy Scribes. This is my virgin voyage into the world of blogging and hope not to embarrass myself or the other fabulous authors who have graciously invited me to participate!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hello, My name is Katalina Leon. I’m a brand new author. I write for Ellora’s Cave. I’m so grateful to have a platform where I can express myself. I’ll be blogging at Six Sexy Scribes every Wednesday and I’m looking forward to meeting and hearing from you.
Before I was a writer, I was primarily a painter. The last several years I’ve truly enjoyed shifting gears and learning a new craft. The learning curve was steep and the challenges were many but the work was such a pleasure I just kept going. I cherish my writing time and look forward to the peaceful retreat it provides. My stories tend to be untraditional romances laced with BDSM thrills. I try to add a surprise every page or two.
I was drawn to this genre because Romance and Erotica have always been my favorite guilty pleasures. I love Science Fiction and the Paranormal also, so why not combine them all? For me, a really good Romance novel is better than chocolate, stolen kisses or new shoes. I could even go so far as saying a good Romance novel is better than kissing a new pair of stolen chocolate shoes…
My third ebook is a Quickie named “Adult Education.” This is a “Romantica” (Romantic-Erotica) story that plays on one of my favorite themes: that we all deserve a second chance to have our first choice of lovers. There’s lots of sensuous leather and playful kink too. “Adult Education” will be available through Ellora’s Cave Friday August 28.
I’m looking forward to hearing your comments and hearing about your favorite guilty pleasures.
XXOO Katalina Leon.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Now to introduce myself.
I write Contemporary Erotic. Most of my books have BDSM weaved into the story. I write for three publishers: Ellora’s Cave, Aspen Mountain Press and Noble Romance. Each publisher brings something unique to the table and I love working for each of them.
I didn’t start off writing erotica. Way back, when I was a stay at home mom, I devoured romances galore. One day I decided, “Hey, I can write just like these famous authors.” Boy was I wrong! I didn’t have a clue about sitting down and writing a full length novel. But I did it anyway.
I wrote one called Freedom’s Highway. It was a Danielle Steele type book and is still in a drawer somewhere collecting dust. My next attempt was a YA. That too is hanging with the dust bunnies.
Finally I wrote something shorter and sent it off to Modern Romances. Surprisingly, they bought it. For the next fourteen years I wrote for True Confessions and True Romance. But it wasn’t enough. I longed for something more. That’s when I discovered erotica. I scooped up every Ellora’s Cave book I could get my greedy little hands on.
Another light bulb went off. I can write this! And so the journey began. EC had themed submissions. I thought, “This is my way in.” I had three novellas I felt were perfect for them. I sent each off. Eight long months later I received my first rejection. Not offering much of a reason, but I still had two other hopefuls sitting on an editor’s desk.
The second rejection arrived a month later. Again, no real reason. Then, a more detailed rejection came. Well, I wouldn’t call it a rejection. It was more of a revision offer. So I revised the story and Splashing Good Time was contracted.
In between the second rejection and the revision letter came an offer for contract for Mistletoe Studs, from Aspen Mountain Press. This book was published 21 days after I received the contract. Fastest turnaround I’ve seen yet!
It’s hard to believe that December will mark my one year anniversary for my first contract. I’ve had five books release since signing that first contract and another due out in September. I’m riding the high of doing what I love best – writing.
My most recent release is Talk Dirty to Topaz from Aspen Mountain Press. You can check it out:
You can find all my releases and what I’m doing daily at: http://amberskyzeblogspot.com/
Until next week…
Monday, August 17, 2009
This week, we'll be introducing ourselves to you, and I get to go first.
April Ash is a pen name I use for the erotic books I write for Ellora's Cave. I've written mainstream romance books for EC's Cerridwen imprint under the name of Marianne Stephens. After writing three Cerridwen books, I decided to write an erotic romance book...and sold it! April Ash came to life and now has two erotic romances published by Ellora's Cave.
"Strip Poker for Two", my first erotic romance, has strip poker games, a handsome Army captain, a contest involving men's boxers shorts, cannoli cream...and a tuba! To find out how these all come together for a romance, you'll have to read the story!
"Sexy Games", my newest erotic romance, involves my heroine and hunky hero donning costumes and role-playing games...to test new adult games for the "Naughty Games Company".
Having a history together and lusting after each other definitely makes playing these games more interesting!
I've always been interested in writing. Reading romance books gave me a way to escape everyday life and enjoy HEA books similar to the "old" romance movies I loved to watch. I started reading Barbara Cartland books, went on to contemporary romances, and then ventured into other genres.
One day, I decided to sit down and WRITE a romance book...and it was awful! Actually got some agents to read it and received well-deserved rejections. But one agent gave me hope and the motivation to continue. She suggested I put DIALOGUE in the story...since I'd written most of it as a narrative fiction book! I had much to learn.
I found Romance Writer of America and through them a local chapter, Mid-America Romance Authors. Thanks to MARA workshops and critique groups, I've learned how to improve my writing skills.
So, here I am. Two pen names and two different types of romances. I have "voices" in my head...heroines and heroes...begging me to tell their stories. I'll continue to write romance stories as long as "they" keep talking to me!
Visit my websites at: www.aprilash.net or www.mariannestphens.net for more information about my books, blurbs, news, and excerpts.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Um...that is, when we are writing. When we aren't, we are six normal, everyday women with a zest for life, and we want to share that zest with our readers.
Now, the picture at the top left is how we would love to look...but we are normal, everyday people. We don't eat chocolates all day (unless we can get away with it), and we don't lie around in lingerie (well...maybe a bathrobe). Our hair isn't always picture perfect (unless we just left the salon), and we don't live in mansions. We don't drive those expensive designer cars...you know..those Maseratis or Ferraris. Heck...we feel lucky if we can keep gas in our Pintos.
We write books because we love to write. We write romance because we can create a world where the "happily-ever-after" exists. Now, in writer's jargon, that's HEA. We want our readers to experience the glory of love, whether it's contemporary mainstream romance, shape shifter romance, erotic romance, paranormal romance, or just plain old "I Love You" romance.
Beginning on Monday, we will introduce ourselves to you, and tell you a bit about ourselves. So stick around. We have loads of wonderful things we want to share with you. And on Sundays, we will sometimes be giving things away, putting up FREE READS, sharing mouth watering recipes, having special contests, or???
So bookmark us, and come back often. One thing is for certain...with six romance writers, there'll never be a dull moment!