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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brethren of the Coast

Katalina Leon:

I’m a pirate and I’m proud of it!

Not a sleazy thief of intellectual property pirate. I don’t care for those folks at all. I’m a sleazy Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum pirate… At least I like to dress up as one and go to pirate festivals and fairs. Pirates are a big part of my life. My husband loves pirate lore and clearly remembers being drawn to tall ships as a toddler and knowing it was part of his distant past. He started drawing beautifully detailed Spanish galleons before he knew his alphabet. For many reasons, I’m convinced he was a mapmaker and a seaman in another time and place.

Many years ago on a whim I had a friend make him a beautiful blue-gray sea captain’s coat with dozens of brass buttons. When he first slipped the coat on a deep transformation took place. Some long buried part of him said these are my clothes. A Captain’s personality came forward. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun so I invested in some 18th century clothing as well. I found them to be much more comfortable and far more flattering than my regular clothes. Something changed for me as well.

Last autumn we renewed our wedding vows at a pirate fair. A fellow pirate chief preformed our ceremony. My cousin and her husband renewed their vows with us. We hand fasted with a piece of ship’s rope to bind our wrists. We included our son in our vows. Actually he included himself when he saw us hand fasting he ran over and put his little hand on top of ours. Beautiful symbolism of how much a child takes over a marriage! The pirate chief tied the three of us together. We sealed our vows by jumping over my husband’s sword while bagpipes played. It was a dream wedding for us and very personal. I got a dragon dagger as a wedding gift. A girl can’t do better than that!

This autumn I have something different planned which I hope to turn into a book. I shall only hint to ye moderne ladies of bright wit and good breeding it shall be Confabulous!

Do you literally have something in your “past” that you love that may need to come out in the open? Have you ever had the feeling you’ve lived before?

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Motivation Needed


A lot has been going on in my life the last few months and I can't seem to shake out of this rut I've found myself in. The dog is healing nicely from his surgery, after a few return visits to the vet. UGH! It's taken me well over 3 months to finish a book that would normally take me one. I'm frustrated with my lack of motivation.


A writing duo I know asked me to look over their story yesterday. They wanted my opinion if it was worthy of Ellora's Cave standards. They only sent the first three chapters and the last. I was very impressed. I hadn't read their work before. One of the lovely ladies has a book out and I have it in my TBR pile. Reading has fallen by the wayside too.


Reading their story sparked the desire to write. I tend to stay away from reading when I'm writing, but it really charged me - temporarily.


On Sunday I sat down and forced myself to start a new story. Having heard good news from one of my publishers - they are interested in a M/M story I submitted. It's my first ever, but I had so much fun writing it. The contract hasn't arrived yet, so I'll have to make a formal announcement at a later date. The story I started on Sunday is another M/M, called Stealing Home. I only managed 108 words. What's that???


This morning I've been plotting a totally different story. I've got the first few scenes worked out in my mind. Now I have to sit down and write it. I'm a panster by all sense of the word, but it feels good to have some direction here.


So, why haven't I started writing? My to-do list is a mile long. I've let things back up big time. Okay, while that's true, it's an excuse. I have no motivation.


HELP!!!!! What do you do when your muse seems to be on an extended vacation?

Monday, September 28, 2009

MEN, "MARS", AND "MAN BRIDGE"

"Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus".

Yes, we've all heard that a million times and know that one important sentence speaks the truth. How many times have you wondered why a man and woman will both hear or see the same event/happening, and yet have distinctly different versions of what they saw or heard?

My husband and I play bridge with a couples group once a month. Most of the women play more often than their husbands since we belong to a "Friends" group that offers lots of daily activities for women. When it comes to couples bridge, I confess that the women in the group prefer NOT to have their husbands as partners all night...we like to spread the "male strategy" form of bridge playing so none of us get stuck with any one "Mars" player all night!

Men and women don't think alike, not even in our bridge group. The women follow certain rules of playing and tend to adhere to careful processes when bidding and playing out the hands. Men, on the other hand, see every hand as a challenge to conquer, and that's when "Man Bridge" takes effect. Strategies on playing depend on points, but men seem to overbid, assessing their cards to be better than they really are, inflating the true value of their cards.

Happened again two weekends ago at couples bridge. I will admit, some "Mars" partners I had did well, but others decided to revert to "Man Bridge" with me, and things didn't go so well for us. It's hard to keep a smile pasted on your face when a male partner puts down his cards for you and you realize he had way less points than he indicated...and, in fact, should never have bid at all! AND...now you're stuck trying to make your combined bid work!

Twice during the night, the guys yelled out, "Man Bridge" when just men were at a table. There they could play out their own rules, and we women gave each other a confidential wink...sort of a sigh of relief...to signify that we were happy they could get their "playing by Mars rules" out of their systems.

It's not just bridge, is it? How about leaving the toilet seat up? Logic would say "Leave It Down", but that somehow doesn't penetrate a "Mars" way of thinking. And, replacing the toilet paper? Why do "Mars" leave two sheets and think that's okay? Is it so hard to replace the damn roll?

I could go on and on, but we all have our own "Mars" stories to tell. I tend to think of my heroes as somewhat "Mars" when it suits my plot or scenes, but want them to rise above that definition. My heroes would never play "Man Bridge", leave the toilet seat up, and would always replace an almost empty roll of toilet paper.

How about you? Do you have "Mars" stories to tell? What about in your books or books you've read?

"Sexy Games" by April Ash is now available at www.ellorascave.com
www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back in time? What's the best erotic fantasy?

As I add to my contemporary romantica with my new medieval romantica in 1207 England in the reign of King John, I want to have a show of hands on when you find the most delicious erotica fantasies? Now or earlier?
I am finding that I can move easily--and have enjoyed the diversity. It is that old major in English (and Oriental) history in college and grad school. But the beliefs and practices don't always translate as equally well.
Language is one example. A lot of those 4-letter words we use as authors to provide drama and reality to our contemporary novels, just did not exist in 1207. I had to find powerful synonyms. NOT EASY!
Then, too, birth control for responsible sex was not a practice. Withdrawing was the only cure for that, sweetie. Sure, the Chinese used lemon rinds and juice from about 200 B.C.E. But condoms? Not until the 16th century in Europe do we have use of goat skin as French Letters.
Another aspect of medieval beliefs that I know you will smile over is that those who lived in those centuries thought that a woman who got pregnant showed the proof of her enjoyment of sex.
And as we all know, only men were considered the ones who could be virile and potent.
Woman, sigh and alas, was only the vessel.
THANK GOODNESS, times have changed!
Hope you have read HER THREE-WAY MERGER from EC and will look for the first of my medieval series, Swords of Passion, titled AT HER SERVICE out Nov. 30 from TOTAL-E-BOUND. (P.S. Off to a week of family fun as we head up to Chicago for a family wedding! Writing here again Oct.11!!!!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Her Own Set of Rules ~ Available NOW at Ellora's Cave!


Her Own Set of Rules

Fran Lee
Ellora's Cave 2009

Bored with her sex life with a husband she still loves, but who has the Saturday-night, three-minute orgasm—his—down to a fine art, Haley takes the first step on a journey of sexual discovery when Josh, younger brother of her closest friend, expresses a decidedly carnal interest in her. The result is more than she imagined in her raunchiest fantasies.


Josh has had a crush on Haley since he was a kid, gangly and too damn tall for his weight. But he isn’t a kid anymore, and he grew into his six foot five inches, plus some. He’s come back home for one thing only—for a shot at the girl he fell for when he was too damn young to do much about it.


But Harry’s not done with his wife—not when he finds out that inside that prim repressed shell, she’s been hiding the sexual temptress he’s always hungered for. Now all Haley has to do is ask, and two men are ready to give her everything she wants.


Excerpt:

Josh dropped his gym bag with a thump and reached for her. Krissa wrapped her arms enthusiastically around her little brother as he swung her off her feet then set her back down on the doorstep. “I missed you, Krissie! When’s supper?”

He was always hungry. Had something to do with the size of him, he figured. Standing six foot six inches, and weighing in at a clean, lean two hundred and fifty pounds, he had a hard body because he worked hard for a living. He grinned down at his sister and laughed as she swatted at his hands and flushed prettily.

God, how he had always loved to watch Krissa and Haley giggle like that and put their pretty blonde heads together, thinking he couldn’t hear them if they whispered. Shit, he’d heard every damn word. But he never let on. He learned too much information to want to tip them off to the fact his hearing was excellent, even across the room.

“Haley here yet?” he asked casually, and Krissa grinned up at him conspiratorially.

“Be patient! You know I had to damn near threaten to break off our friendship if she didn’t agree to come. You know Haley…she’ll be here if she promised.”

He’d switched jobs to come back to Spring City and be closer to family—and Haley Grant. No, Haley Gregory now. But what the fuck? Getting around a husband wasn’t the hardest thing he’d ever done. And from what Krissa had told him, Harry Gregory was a fairly inattentive husband. So much the better for him. He’d waited twelve years for a piece of Haley, and a husband wasn’t about to stand in his way now. He’d fallen hard for her when he was a gangly ninth grader and she was the Junior Prom Queen.

He had wanted her from the day she flashed her hot little breasts at him. He’d only been fourteen, but when he’d seen those delightful morsels bared for his delectation, and her fingers pinching them to tease him, he’d decided she wouldn’t be averse to letting him touch them. If she hadn’t hooked up with Harry Gregory, and if Harry hadn’t been so fucking possessive of her, Josh would definitely have sampled those nipples.

Over the twelve years that had passed since she’d dared him to taste her, he’d savored that memory. He had compared those lush, youthful breasts to every other set he’d tasted and licked, and all the rest had faded from his thoughts once he’d enjoyed them. Oh, he loved fucking and sucking. He’d gotten damn good at it over the years. But it had all been practice…practice for the next time she bared those amazing round globes to him…and he planned to see them again—soon.

As Krissa led him into the kitchen, he waved at Jim, who’d poked his head out of the living room and yelled a welcome. Talking with Krissie and Jim was appealing, but right now, food was his objective. Food then a hot shower. Krissie had invited Haley over tonight, and he wanted to be clean and sweet-smelling for her. Oh yeah. For what he planned with Haley tonight, he wanted to be sweet and clean all over.

Josh had always had it bad for her. But Harold Gregory was the jock-stud-prom-king dude who had stolen her away after graduation before anyone less almighty got a shot at her. And Haley wasn’t one to take on some gangly kid three years behind her in school and dump Mr. Hotstuff.

When Haley had married after graduation, Josh hadn’t gone to her wedding, even though he’d been included in the invitation. He’d spent that whole day walking by the stream that bordered the pasture a couple of miles from his house. He’d walked there with Krissa and Haley many times. He’d imagined her smiling up into his face, tucking her slim arm around his waist as he bent to catch those lush lips in a hungry kiss. He’d gone home and jacked off pathetically as he thought of that prick Harry Gregory taking her to bed when it should have been him, Josh Barnes, in that bed with her, fucking her blind.

Josh Barnes had been a gangly, awkward and fairly shy kid back then. And that wasn’t what a girl like Haley wanted. But he wasn’t a gangly kid anymore, and he’d had enough experience with women to know that what he had to offer was not something a woman would stick her nose up at. Oh yeah. He had big plans for tonight.

* * * * *

Haley was nervous. She checked her hair and her makeup three times before sliding out of her car and making her way to the wooden front porch of Krissa and Jim’s home. Hesitantly, she climbed the three steps to the front porch and pressed the doorbell button.

She almost lost her nerve, and was debating on making a run for it when the door swung open, and she found Joshua Barnes standing there.

Filling the whole damn doorway.

Her eyes must have shown her shock, because his crookedly sexy smile was enough to blow her away. “Hi! Um, is Krissa here?” Her voice sounded breathless even to her. My God! She was acting like a teenybopper on her first blind date.

She almost lost her courage as he stood aside to allow her to step inside the house. He was so tall. And so gorgeous. Oh…my…God! He was all prime, succulent male. Leaning in slightly as she scooted past him, she couldn’t hide her telltale blush as she didn’t quite manage to keep her breast from brushing his chest. She heard the quick inhalation of his breath and knew he wasn’t immune to her, either.

Her nipple tingled as if she’d leaned into an electric wire fence. Fighting down her glandular reaction to his appearance and his proximity, she stepped into the familiar foyer, and wrapped her arms around her body as if that might insulate her from his potent presence. The experimental contact told her what she had wanted to know—he was very much aware of her sexually. What she hadn’t counted on was her own reaction to the little brush of tight nipple to hard, delicious male muscle! Holy shit. Was she nuts to be here? Had she been kidding herself? Deluding herself that all she wanted was to regain an old acquaintance with the neighbor’s kid?

Haley bit the corner of her lip as she turned to face him in the tight confines of the tiny foyer, waiting for Josh to make the next tentative move. He moved slowly, and she watched as he closed the door, and shot the lock home.

Her Own Set of Rules




Friday, September 25, 2009

Beauty and the Feast Coming March 2010!

Beauty and the Feast
by Chana Alexander (me)

Blurb and Excerpt


Coming 2010 Resplendence Publishing


Eva Raines is an uncomplicated country girl who’s all about food. Eva moves to the Napa Valley where her culinary skills come to the attention of the owners of a start-up and Eva finds her niche as a personal chef. Now all she needs is a man as perfect as her cooking, but she has serious doubts such a creature exists.

When wealthy entrepreneur, winery owner, and noted lothario, Gabriel Abbott, makes plans to seduce his flavor of the month, his assistant hires All Things to All People to cater a gourmet dinner. Eva expects to use her way with food to showcase the startup. What she unexpectedly discovers is that her culinary skills showcase far more. Gabriel Abbott finds himself seduced by her voice and the sensual flavors and textures of her food and his previous plans are quickly forgotten. He begins to obsess about meeting his little chef in person. He’s not alone. Once Eva hears Gabe’s voice and spends time in his home in the Napa Valley, she begins to wonder about the real man and her dreams of him are so hot they could ignite a barbecue.

When Eva and Gabe finally come face to face, the question is, how hot will their fire burn?

Gabe woke to singing. The room he lay in was dark and it took him a moment to remember where he was. When he smelled Eva, he knew. Gabe reached for her, but the spot where she’d lain was empty. He leaned back on the pillows, crossing his arms behind his head, and listened. It was an old Bonnie Raitt song, one he’d always loved—Angel from Montgomery. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the music. At first he thought Eva had turned on a CD player, but after listening for a few moments, he realized that there were no instruments accompanying the singing voice. It was all Eva. When she finished the song, she launched into a raw rendition of Lowell George’s Dixie Chicken. Gabe found himself grinning. If Eva would be his Dixie Chicken and he would most definitely offer to be her Tennessee Lamb. Gabe reached down to make sure he was covered in case she happened into the bedroom. He was relieved to find that she had thrown a quilt over his open fly. Maybe he’d covered himself. His memory was pretty vague.

Eva must be feeling better or she wouldn’t be up and about, and singing her lungs out. Her singing voice kept a smile on his face. It was smoky, peaty, and right on key. She sounded exactly the way she sounded when he’d awakened her with his late night phone calls. Warm, cuddly, sexy as hell. Just as Gabe began to wonder what she was up to, his nose started twitching and his stomach began to growl. She was cooking. If his nose was right, she was making Reuben sandwiches. Shit, he hadn’t had a good Reuben since the last time he was in Chicago and he’d taken his sister and her family to a deli.

Gabe adjusted his jeans and made sure to zip them up before he climbed out of bed. He stepped into the hallway and looked for the bathroom. When he came out of the bathroom, he ran into Eva just coming to wake him. He took a look at her long legs as she approached and he noticed that she wasn’t quite as stiff as he expected her to be. Despite the scrapes on her knees, she moved with an athletic grace he found extremely appealing. She still wore the man’s boxers she’d slept in. They hung on her slender frame so she’d rolled the waistband several times to keep them up. The ragged tee shirt didn’t cover much. Light from the living room shone through the thin cotton, framing her narrow waist and the gentle flare of her hips. He felt himself stir at the sight of her erect nipples poking against the material. He decided to be polite and look at her face.

“How’s your head?” He asked, studying the bruise on her forehead. She’d pulled her dark red hair back and braided it.

“It’s all right,” Eva replied. “It’s just a bump.”

“And the knees?”

“Sore.” She shrugged. “They’ll be better by the end of the week. Gabe…” she began.

“Hmm?” Gabe raised his eyebrows and waited.

“Thank you. Thanks for bringing me home and cleaning me up. I’m… I’m… I have to admit I’m more than a little embarrassed.”

Gabe felt his mouth twitch. “Why would you be embarrassed? Because I cleaned your cuts or because I stripped you naked and feasted my eyes on your beautiful body?”

Eva’s mouth opened and she sputtered for just an instant before she covered her flaming cheeks with her hands. Gabe heard a muffled, “Oh crap,” and he laughed.

Gabe took hold of her hands and he lifted them away from her face. “You have nothing to be embarrassed about, Eva. It was my pleasure. Truly. I would go so far as to say you are now in my top ten list of remarkable experiences.”

“Really?” Eva shot back, grinning now. “How high do I rank?”

Gabe ran a thumb across her luscious bottom lip. He heard her sharp intake of breath. “Number two, maybe.”

“Not number one?” she whispered.

“Give it time,” he teased, “I haven’t tasted you… yet.”

Eva lifted her chin. Gabe stared into her eyes, asking permission without saying a single word. He could see uncertainty warring with her strong desire to challenge him to do exactly what he threatened. Taste her. Everywhere. Starting with that delicious mouth of hers. He watched as Eva’s lips parted in anticipation, and he knew which side won. Before she could change her mind, Gabe slid a hand under her braid and he cupped the back of her head. He rubbed his lips against hers, as if testing the waters. Eva sighed softly in response, accepting him, but at the same time Gabe felt one of her hands press firmly against his chest as if holding him at bay. For an instant, he didn’t know which part of her to listen to, but then her tongue flicked delicately over his lips and he shut his mind up and kissed her.

The moment Gabe’s lips touched hers, Eva felt like butter left too long in the hot summer sun. At the same time, a tiny voice in the back of her mind reminded her that she really didn’t know the man at all. She’d been in his home, even in his bedroom. She’d strolled his gardens, picked his herbs, cooked for him, tasted his wines. Yet she truly didn’t know a thing about the man. The idea of pushing him away flashed through her brain, but her body decided not to listen. Her body responded automatically to the delicate touch of his mouth against hers. Before she knew what she was doing, Eva had licked his lips. Gabe’s body replied instantaneously. In fact, he practically combusted. An arm slid around her waist and Eva found herself drawn firmly against his hard chest, while the hand at the base of her skull tilted her head back to allow Gabe easier access to her mouth.

Eva had been kissed, but not like this. Not by a man this hungry. Not ever. His tongue explored her mouth liberally, uninhibitedly. It tangled with her own, tasting her as if she were a rare wine. Without realizing it, Eva dug a hand into Gabe’s thick hair and pulled him even closer, while her other hand clung to his shoulder. Eva felt the wall behind her back as Gabe rubbed his long, hard length against her, the material of her boxers moving with him as he pressed himself against what Eva considered her sweet spot. Caught entirely off guard by the strength of her desire, she heard herself whimper, feeling helpless, pleading for more.

A warm hand slid under her tee shirt and fingers moved up her belly. Eva found herself arching her back, giving him easier access. Gabe wasted no time in discovering the sensitive underside of her breast. He stroked the satiny skin with his fingertips and then, as his big hand cupped her breast, his thumb circled her nipple. Eva’s legs shook when he rolled her aching tip between his thumb and forefinger. She tore her mouth away from his, and tossed her head back, moaning, while his teeth sought her neck and he nibbled his way down her collarbone. Eva knew where his mouth was headed and she nearly screamed in anticipation. Abruptly, he shoved her tee shirt up and he arrived at her breast. Gabe closed his hot, wet mouth around a nipple that had become almost painful with desire. He sucked, closing his teeth around her taut point, biting, the action deliberate yet delicate at the same time.

Eva did scream, at least, she thought she did, and her hands sought the front of his jeans. She stroked his hard length through the taut material. She heard Gabe groan, his mouth still on her breast. He sounded as if he was in agony. In one fluid motion, Eva unzipped his jeans and she moved his boxers and freed him. A single thought raced through her brain as her hand ran down his steely length, Oh my God, and then it disappeared as her tee shirt was torn from her and her boxers were shoved down her thighs. Gabe’s fingers searched the delicate folds between her legs. She could tell she was incredibly wet and very slippery.

“Jesus Christ,” she heard him grit out between clenched teeth as a finger was thrust carefully inside her. Her body welcomed the intrusion and her mouth trembled as he took her lips again, thrusting his tongue inside, matching the rhythm of his finger. Eva teetered on the brink of what seemed like either a precipice or a cataclysmic orgasm. She wasn’t sure which. She slid her thumb over the tip of Gabe’s big cock, finding a drop of moisture there. The image had her panting. She heard him growl deep in his throat and her boxers vanished. She felt his hands reach beneath her bottom. Gabe began to lift her off her feet and… suddenly Eva smelled smoke. She pried open her eyes and watched, puzzled, as a gray haze drifted their way from the kitchen. For an instant the sight didn’t register, then the smoke detector above their heads began to shriek.

“Shit!” Eva yelped. “The potatoes!” Her feet found the floor. She shoved Gabe backward and bolted for the kitchen.

“Fuck the potatoes!” she heard him rumble from behind her retreating back.

Julia Barrett/Chana Alexander

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Play it Again

On Saturday, September 26, 2009, my brother John (my concert buddy) and I will be standing in the 16th row on the main floor of Cobo Arena in Detroit Michigan to watch KISS perform their umpteenth “farewell concert”.


I have attended their last two “farewell concerts” from a much safer vantage point and pondered the stupidity of those on the main floor. Now that the tickets are paid for, at a cost that I should be embarrassed about, I am concerned that my arthritic body and squitchy bladder might rebel over standing for hours on end while being bumped and squeezed between zealous fans far younger than myself. So why, why am I doing this?


I love live music. I love the fact that Gene and the boys still slap on the make-up and platform shoes as they enter their golden years. I love the fact that my children roll their eyes, ask me if I will ever grow up, and then laugh over how cool it is that I’m a ‘rocking’ grandmother. In the last months, I’ve seen Linkin Park, Metallica, Korn, and Marilyn Manson (twice).


I realize this tidbit of information has nothing to do with authoring, but it does give another interesting insight into what makes Tessie tick!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The High Art of Low Fiction.


The High Art of Low Fiction.

The other day I was thinking about how much my reading habits have changed since I was a child. I love to read. When I was a kid I depended heavily on our local library for books. My mother would drive me there every week and let me loose on the book stacks. In my teens I rode my ten-speed bike through harrowing traffic to get to the library and ride home with the books precariously balanced on the bike rack. Rain or shine this was my weekly habit. The large chain booksellers had not arisen on the landscape and books were only available to me through thrift stores, the library and a tiny mom and pop bookstore on the boulevard near our home.

For a number of reasons I was a very poor student but a devoted reader. I tried to make up for my shortcomings by forcing myself to read books on a wide variety of subjects. My goal was to master a subject from each of the library stacks. A noble goal indeed and one that was never accomplished.

On the way toward intellectual mastery I stumbled across a spinning wire rack filled with bestselling pulp fiction donated to the library by well meaning individuals. This twirling treasure trove for teens was filled with Jacqueline Susann, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Kranz and Erica Jong to name only a few. I was irrevocably drawn into the limbo realm of high art-low fiction. Trashy books so good they could not be dismissed and too naughty to be seriously discussed in polite company. Books that demanded my full attention in secret and I remember them well to this day.

I was only thirteen when I scooped a battered copy of Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying” off the book carousel and pedaled home with it. My poor mother thought it was about a woman who was afraid to fly aboard commercial aircraft. Perhaps an inspiration book? She soon found out what was between the covers and I was pronounced “A little alley cat looking for smut.” Yes, I agreed. That’s exactly what I am and I’m grateful everyday that my true nature showed itself early on and allowed me to be who I am. What my mother didn’t understand was that “Nice” women were also sexual and they were getting into the habit of speaking their minds, living out their desires and they really enjoyed reading about other women’s sexual adventures.

There was a beneficial side effect to reading naughty fiction. To stay in good standing with the librarian I also checked out lots of quality books and used them to hide the Jacqueline Susann novels in the middle. In that way the Bronte sisters, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov were just as likely to enjoy my full attention.

I remember the books I read in my teens more clearly than I remember what I read last summer. I think that’s sad. There are certainly a lot of wonderful books to read these days but the choices are overwhelming. It's almost too much, nothing like the “old days” when I read a favorite book slowly, in secret and went back to read it again.

Did you ever have a favorite forbidden book?

XXOO Katalina Leon

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Amber's Ramblings


Welcome to another Tuesday with me Amber Skyze! I've been having a rough two weeks. The day job is sucking the life out of me and one of my three dogs has been very sick. He's been hospitalized for the third time last night. They couldn't find a reason for this 100lb dog to be so sick. He's lost 10lbs (wish it were me), but seriously...it's frustrating and devastating to watch our dog grow sicker every day. They've run a battery of tests on him and all come back negative.

Last night it seems that they may have found an obstruction after all. Mind you he's had x-rays and ultrasounds, coming up empty-handed. They're going to do one more ultrasound this morning to be certain. If he has something in there he'll be whisked off to surgery. Mind you we don't have pet insurance, but you can bet your sweet #$% we'll be getting it after this. I'm sure by the time this is all over our costs will top 6k. But for a 4 yr old lab I can't justify putting him down or letting him suffer any longer. Please forgive me for going on about my woes, but I felt it necessary to explain why my recent posts have been excerpts. I just didn't have the strength to do any serious writing. So now that I've gotten my woes off my chest I'll change the topic to writing.


The other day on my local chapters loop they started discussing what do writer's wear when writing? I'm sure everyone has heard the stories of writer's who are dressed in pj's all day long, wearing fuzzy pink slippers and even a boa if they want. I must confess it was always my fantasy too. Oh and I remember about 20 years ago thinking they were all drunks too! :) I'm glad to find out that most aren't alcoholics.

Back to writing attire. I found out that some NY and National Bestsellers in fact do write in their jammies. Flannel seems to be the pj's of choice and only in certain colors. I must admit I work from home so I too write in my jammies. I write at 4am so it's understandable. I'm not picky about what I wear as long as it isn't tight fitting. I don't like clothes that constrict. That was the one benefit I found from working from home. No more business suits or business attire.


So for all the writer's out there what do you wear when writing...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Critique Groups - to Join or Not Join?

Critiquing refers to getting together with others, reading some of your pages, and receiving plot suggestions, help with editing, etc. Some groups work well while others will fail.

There are lots of ways to critique that include face-to-face small groups that meet on a fixed schedule, larger groups (like a club/chapter) where you may be very limited page-wise in what you read, online groups (which require you to critique other members works in return), and limited partner online critiquing.

Club/chapter critiques have the writer reading aloud maybe three pages, depending on time/number of people participating (but not actually handing out copies to everyone to look over). Limited partner online critiquing involves a few people sharing pages. In the last three cases, pages are supplied to all members of the group. I'll discuss the fixed scheduled and online group experiences I've had.

The first thing to remember before entering into a critique group is to leave your feelings at the door. Two things to keep in mind:
1-The comments received are just suggestions and don't have to be utilized.
2- Not everyone views pages the same way...nor will they make comments on the same things.

I've always enjoyed the differing viewpoints that my critique partners mention. It's great to have someone note grammar and spelling mistakes, while someone else catches that break in a story's continuity. I once had a critique partner who read her pages only to have me question how the heroine could talk to her mother when she'd been declared dead in the first chapter.

Things to consider in critiquing:
1- Story flow. Are scenes disjointed? Seem logical in progression? Move the story along?

2- Conflict. Without conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart, there's no story. Is it consistent throughout the book? Enough to carry through the entire story? Heading toward an understandable resolution? What makes them want to solve their conflict, both internal and external conflict?

3- Grammar/spelling/point of view. Too many grammar and spelling mistakes can frustrate readers and they may lose interest. Some are simply typos (we all go through days where those happen), but other consistent mistakes may mean the writer needs additional help from other sources and may actually slow down a face-to-face group. Or, cause the writer to be less likely to receive online critique group help.
Point-of-view. Can a reader follow the story and catch those character POV changes? Too much head-hopping could confuse a reader.

4- How do those in your group relate to each other? I've been in at least five face-to-face critique groups. Some dissolved after people realized individual thoughts on how/what to critique didn't mesh with the others. People not open to criticism (suggestions) can cripple a group's effectiveness.
Keeping everyone on task can become an issue. Some consider it more of a social talk time rather than business. Doing more socializing that actual critiquing is not productive.
Not writing in the same genre doesn't necessarily create a problem for a critique group. While I don't know the correct terminology for regency romances, that doesn't stop me from checking spelling, story flow, etc.

5- Character development/appeal/actions/reactions. Readers have to like the hero and heroine and feel that connection with them. Do the characters grow and learn as they handle conflict and relationships? What about how they act/react in different situations? Logical? Believable for their patterns of behavior?

6- Physical location/movement/position. Setting and location for story. Can readers visualize what's in the writer's head and on paper? Have characters done the physical movements necessary to get them into a room, a car, in bed? Position? The heroine can't see the look of anger on the hero's face if he's standing with his back toward her.

My face-to-face groups have been the most helpful. Although we read only 10 pages at a time, I enjoyed the quality of comments I received from my last group. Sometimes we read query letters or a synopsis. But whatever I read, I was always eager to hear what they had to suggest.

The online group I participated in had pros and cons. While I could get a chapter critiqued, it usually took a month and I had to critique chapters for others. That wasn't a problem until I realized I did more critiquing than receiving critiques. I liked having a month to do a critique, but felt obligated to read all the stories so I wouldn't lose the story line/train of thought being presented. It made more work for me so I dropped out of the online group.

Advice for those ready to critique: Understand/set guidelines. Be firm on time in face-to-face groups. Don't let one person monopolize the time and shorten others' critique times at your meeting. Check for things listed above; notice what "jumps" out at you.

A critique group can help in polishing a manuscript/query/synopsis. Use the suggestions or don't. The choice is yours to make.

News from me!! "Sexy Games", an erotic romance book, is available at Ellora's Cave at: http://www.ellorascave.com/p-7393-sexy-games.aspx
You can always find out about me, my books, contests, news, etc., at www.aprilash.net
Also check www.mariannestephens.net for my sensual mainstream romance books.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can you handle 2 partners at once? 3? 4?

Oh, yum. Could I actually handle 3 men at once?

I am working on it.

Literally.

All those hands and mouths, fingers, eyes and other accoutrement. Delish.

But what kills me when I write it is the choreography. And which man has what special talent so that you needn't quote his name, rank and serial number every time that fine man moves or speaks or...does other interesting things.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MEN/Partners separate in your mind?

I would love to hear about this one!

Join me! Tell all!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Going on 53 hours without sleep...


Sleep deprivation is a bugger.

I'll make this short and sweet.

See you after I get about 20 hours of uninterrupted sleep.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Eeek!



There's a Mouse in My House!


I would like nothing better than to promote my new releases and my soon-to-be releases, but I ain't got none! Everything is coming out in 2010 - You Might Just Get It - a short story included in the Cougar Anthology will be released by Logical-Lust on February 14th, 2010.

Beauty and the Feast - a contemporary romance comes out in March, 2010, with Resplendence Publishing - under my other pen name, Chana Alexander.

Daughters of Persephone, Books One, Two and Three - Exile, Return, Reborn - futuristic romance, also with Resplendence, arrive in July and August of 2010, again by Chana Alexander.

And then...a sequel to Beauty and the Feast - if I can get my act together - three current WIP - and OMG! Two little brown mice just ran across my kitchen floor and my cats are nowhere to be found. This is their job! Gotta go find the dang cats and make them patrol the kitchen!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are You Talking to ME?

I think I’m finally getting used to being called Tessie.


Oops – did I fail to mention that Tessie Bradford is not the name I was born with? I first typed that Tessie is not my “real” name, but that’s not exactly true, is it? It’s my alter ego’s real name, and she’s me, too! How we selected it still makes me smile.


Originally, I wasn’t going to publish under a pen name. How was everyone going to believe my work was my work if my name wasn’t on it? My uncle, an attorney, advised that in this internet world, where people can find other people pretty easily, it might not be safe. My mother-in-law, who shares my first and last name, had some concerns that her friends might think she wrote the books, which could be good or bad, depending!


As is my way, I asked my family for help. My older brother’s contributions, though hysterical, were more suited for porn actresses. My younger brother only had suggestions of what he didn’t want; which was anything that might let someone know he was related to me! The ones my husband came up with were just plain boring (sorry, honey).


Once I had a list of suggestions, I talked to my daughter, who was away at school. We laughed uproariously during the conversation but realized we hadn’t hit on the right one yet. She said to me, “Mom, what about your stripper name?” I stuttered for a few minutes before asking, “WHAT?” “It’s the name of your first pet and the first street that you lived on,” she replied matter-of-factly. Tessie Bradford rolled easily and comfortably off my tongue.


Next thing I knew, everyone who heard the story was talking about their stripper name. Some of my favorites are Frosty Harrison, Victoria Burningtree, Captain Aspen, Pumpkin Maple Lane and, believe it or not, Ben Dover!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Katalina Leon Wednesday September 16 2009

“A Fetish for Fetishes.”

A fetish is a magical talisman, an inanimate object that holds an inordinate amount of power over the person who desires it. It can often be a symbol for someone’s entire sexual focus. It can be something one must absolutely possess to feel complete.

It sounds exciting and obsessive doesn’t it? It is but I don’t want to disappoint or mislead anyone into believing that I am going to talk about true fetishes. I’m sorry. I promise to get that another time. The fetishes I want to talk about today are the rather mundane fetishes many of us have incorporated into lives.

Anthropologist will speak of “Primary” cultures as being “Fetishistic” and prone to infuse things, statues, amulets, jars, and masks etc… With unfounded magical powers that are irresistible to those who wish to possess those powers. Guess what? We fall for that same desire every time we open a magazine and see an advertisement telling us “A diamond is forever.” The implication is if a man gives you a diamond he is magically bound to you-forever! Do you think there might be some diamonds out there that don’t have a loyal man attached to them? A diamond is just carbon and though it’s very beautiful, expensive and rare it’s actual value has been greatly exaggerated and mythologized. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s a parade. If you’re fortunate enough to have a diamond and you love your diamond –as I do, you have to realize you love what the diamond stands for. In our culture a diamond is a very powerful fetish.

My Grandmother always carried a lovely golden, bejeweled compact in her purse so she could powder her nose in public. She used that glittering compact the way ladies flirted with fans in the 17th century. The delicate angle of her wrists, the ladylike gesture, the flash of a smile in the mirror, was so alluring. Time had marched on for my Grandmother but her power to draw interest was still potent. Every time that compact came out she reminded those next to her that she still respected herself as a woman. I wanted that compact! That compact was definitely a fetish item.

Can’t afford diamonds or jeweled compacts? Either can I. How about a tube of mascara? Mascara is fast becoming a fetish item. I love the mysterious sound of the word “Mascara.” It brings a glamorously dramatic image to mind. Apparently the possibilities are endless there’s a “New!” mascara introduced every month. Have you seen the new vibrating mascara wands? It sounds like trouble to me. My hand is already unsteady… I buy mascara almost superstitiously. I’ll buy any new trend from one company while never touching a rival brand. I am brand loyal. A single bad experience with something as essential as mascara is enough to put me on guard for years. I can count the days of my adult life on my fingertips that I have left my house without wearing mascara. Despite the evidence I still believe in my hearts of hearts that there is a magical mascara out there that will length, protect, thicken and curl my tiniest lashes while remaining completely free of smears, clumps and flakes. Perhaps I’m placing my faith in false god? lol

Is there anyone out there whose lashes actually did curl when they used a lash curling mascara? Would you like to share your favorite Fetish with Seven Sexy Scribes? I’d love to hear it!

XXOO Katalina Leon  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shameless Self Promo Day 2

I know I should be writing a blog about writing, but I'm on a shameless self promotion week. Today I'm sharing a tidbit from Mistletoe Studs. With the holidays just around the corner (ack!) I'm not a winter person, though I live in the northeast, this story will warm you up on a cold winter's night!


Blurb:

Meg Trainor has one wish for Christmas every year: Two men who will fulfill all her fantasies.

Santa's in a giving mood this year.

Brothers and co-owners of Turquoise Toys, Brad and Shane Griffin will give her a Christmas she'll never forget.


Excerpt:


Meg couldn’t believe her eyes. These were not the toys she had imagined. She thought he was talking about children’s toys. These were not intended for children. These were adult toys in every sense of the word. There were floggers, paddles, butt plugs, ball gags, straps with dildos attached and handcuffs—all Turquoise, explaining the name. Meg wasn’t naive about the BDSM world. When she realized her desire to submit she wanted to know the who, what, where and why. She read everything she could about the subject. She knew enough about it to understand.


She’d even bought a few toys to experiment with. Like the ping pong paddle she’d purchased when she was curious to know what it felt like to be spanked. It wasn’t something she did regularly but when she was in the mood for a good orgasm she’d slap her cheeks a few times before using her favorite vibrator. She never had dated a man who was actually part of that world.

Brad was gay so he wouldn’t be offering. What a shame because she could see them having fun together!

Could he be carrying a bagful of goodies? Maybe Santa was going to be extra special to her this year. Please Santa I’ve been a good girl all year long. Please tell me you sent Brad with something extra special for my stocking this year.

Halfway though the job, Meg decided it was time to go back to her stranger. He’d been out there long enough. By now, he knew she was aware of his secret.

Turning she ran smack into his broad chest again. “We really need to stop meeting like this.”

Clearing her throat, she took a step back only to come against the copier. “I was just coming out to see you.”

He stepped closer, closing the small gap between them. “How are you doing?” His voice dripped with desire.

“Fantastic. Your copies are just about done.”

Damn she wished he’d step back. He was much too close. He turned her on.

“Are you sure?” He traced his finger along her cheek.

She gulped, her body overheating.

He bent closer, taking her lips. He kissed her slowly. She melted against him; her arms snaked around his neck. He touched her breast, causing a moan to escape her lips. His bulge brushed against her. He wanted her.

While he kissed her, his fingers unzipped the back of her dress then unsnapped her bra. He pushed the garments down around her waist, exposing her breasts.

His mouth covered her nipple, sucking until it puckered. God his mouth felt good. How long had it been since a man had his mouth on her? Too long. Lisa was right; she needed to get laid, but not by Kenny.

When Brad moved to the other breast she thought for sure she was going to crumble to the floor. Her hands gripped the edges of the copier to steady herself.

“I’m going to f*ck you Meg, right now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Food and Sex

Ever notice that some authors talk about food in their books? Eating meals together can make for a very sensual scene when you read about how food is eaten, what's said while eating, and how certain foods seem to stimulate sex drives.

CHOCOLATE. I don't think there's a woman on this planet that doesn't want chocolate and dreams of the tasty warm feeling it makes as it slowly melts in your mouth and slides down your throat. It's an aphrodisiac, a food that spices up a romantic encounter. Don't lovers give their valentines boxes of chocolates on February 14th?

Yes, it's a comfort food and used in times of stress...or anytime the urge strikes. But mix together candlelight, chocolate, and an adoring hero, and how could a heroine avoid rampaging hormones? Feeding each other chocolate, the taste, smell, of it will send your sex drive into overtime.

One of my books (Gone to the Dogs by Marianne Stephens) has a scene with the heroine and date indulging in an ultimate chocolate fantasy splurge...eating at a fondue restaurant and having chocolate fondue as a dessert. From experience, I can tell you that it's the most wonderful tasting adventure I've had. I poured my own feelings into the heroine's scene and made sure she enjoyed every mouthful.

However, this scene didn't lead to any sexual activity for my heroine...her date turned out to be a jerk and she realized it while at dinner. Didn't stop her from enjoying that wonderful tasty chocolate!

Other books I've written have food scenes...some even involve eating during foreplay or using food on various body parts to stimulate sexual cravings. In one book (Gone to the Dogs by Marianne Stephens), I mention using honey. In another (Strip Poker for Two by April Ash), cannoli cream plays an important part in leading my hero and heroine to sexual gratification.

Do you have your heroes and heroines eat sweet treats to heighten sexual arousal? Any favorite foods you indulge in to advance your romantic encounters?

Visit www.mariannestephens.net and www.aprilash.net for information about my books.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I already posted BUT you have to see my newest cover

THANKS FOR HAVING ME!


I am thrilled to be here with these talented, dedicated authors!
As I have entered the romantica market, I have met extraordinarily talented writers who are eager to band together to share the success of becoming better known and more widely read.
Knowing the many challenges of being pubbed in print (I have 18 novels in hard and soft and quite a few awards to go with them), I find this side of the publishing aisle to be more hassle-free. AND WOW, am I grateful for that.
As we go on here together, you, dear readers, will hear more from me!
Meanwhile, keep reading. EVERYTHING that appeals to you.
Only with a literate populace does any democracy survive, let alone flourish.
Hope, too, you will read and enjoy my newest from www.jasminejade.com due out this Friday, a menage, HER THREE-WAY MERGER!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday's Scribe Here...Finally!

Just got my release date for

Her Own Set of Rules

Got an e-mail the other day from my editor. I barely finished this one and thought I would have a 30-45 day wait, but this one is coming out on
September 25, 2009!

I can hardly believe this! Four books in four months...I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round. I'm certainly not complaining. I'd rather be busy than not. Now I gotta figure out how to get another published in October! (I had better get busy on another one fast!) Have to dig through my stacks and find another short one that I can spruce up and sub before the weekend is over! I think I have one, but I had better run through it with a fine-tooth comb and make sure I don't beaucoup edits back.

I am learning how to avoid edits. I edit my own as I go. LOL! It does work! I watch for pov, grammar, spelling, and over use of words as I go. It's the edits that kill you when you are a writer. Hurrying doesn't work in this business. You just get it back again and again! :P

Well, better get a move on. Let's see...where did I put that hot one that I was looking at last week? Ah! There it is. Well, gotta go. Have a wonderful weekend.

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com

OH! PS! I am having another FREE book contest in celebration of my upcoming release, so follow the link above over to my website and toss your hat in the ring!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Biker and the Chick


Why we love biker dudes


When I was a teenager, I sneaked out of the house all the time to ride with my biker boyfriends. You see...my parents didn't allow me on a motorcycle. But my grandmother was a different story. I'd spend the night at her house and meet my boyfriends there - one at a time - I mean. I had a series of biker boyfriends. There is just something about a guy on a Harley that is sexy as hell.

Rick, of course, was the sexiest with his really big Harley, and we dated for a year. Then there was Cal, the older biker dude who belonged to a motorcycle club in the nearby big city. We spent a lot of time cruising the countryside. The last of my teen crushes was Happy who nearly got me killed when we wiped out on a steep, wet, winding brick street. We were young and still immortal and we'd been making out at the Black Angel (look it up) in the middle of a thunderstorm. Just going too fast, I guess. When I was in college, a biker boyfriend bought me my own Honda 250 to ride to my university classes. I loved that little bike. Riding with nothing between myself and the wind, aside from the helmet he insisted I wear, made me feel free as a bird. Our breakup was friendly and I gave him back the bike.

I watched Sons of Anarchy last night for the first time and all those fine memories came rushing back. Even after I got married and had kids, I still had this thing for bikers - not a crush - but a trust. Once my husband, our three little kids and I were camping through Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas and found ourselves in the middle of the Sturgis crowd. Every campground was packed, but the bikers made room for the family of five in the mini-van towing the pop-up tent trailer. Every morning it was - "Mornin' ma'am." and "Can I help you carry that load of firewood, ma'am?" and "Night, ma'am." I don't normally sleep well on a camping trip because I worry about grizzlies and crazy mountain men. I slept soundly on that trip because I had every confidence that those bikers would watch out for us like they watched out for their own. They did. They rode my kids around the campground. They helped my husband chop wood and ate s'mores with us. They pushed our van down the road to get her started when the alternator went and then they replaced it for us for the price of a steak dinner.

So...coming soon...The Biker and the Chick, by Julia Barrett.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are Fish Really Pets?


My ‘writing cave’ is a corner of my family room on the lower level of my house.

I have a lap top, but rarely move it from my tiny computer desk; much to the confusion of my family. “It’s a beautiful day. Why don’t you sit outside?” or “Mom, wouldn’t you be more comfortable sitting in a chair that actually had some padding?” or “Are you hiding from us?” are common and, I readily admit, reasonable questions. This little corner is where I started my first book and I’m most comfortable creatively in the space. Is it because people know when I’m here, they shouldn’t bug me? Is it because I can have the big screen TV on Food Network for hours at a time? Is it because I can easily hop up and down to switch the never ending laundry? I think NOT! Fred is who makes this area special and he deserves recognition.

Sitting directly to my left is a thirty five gallon, fresh water aquarium. Fred is a freakishly big, bright orange parrot fish. Currently, there are three other fish in the tank with him, but they don’t really count because they are living on borrowed time – Fred eventually, always, eats his tank mates.

Fred was the first inhabitant when I set up the tank almost four years ago. I swear to God, he gave me the ‘please take me home’ fish face when I saw him in the store. The sales guy told me that parrot fish are known for their outgoing personalities. Personality, in a fish? The sales guy received my ‘yeah, right’ face.

I clean the tank every other weekend. Fred nibbles at my fingers throughout the process. He then spends days picking up the little ground covering rocks and moving them to where he wants them to be – I never do it quite right. When we make eye contact with each other, he spits them against the glass with attitude. If I get off of my cleaning schedule, he will dig up the plants in a show of rebellion. God forbid I’m sitting down here typing and it’s past his dinner time. I can feel him sending me the stink eye. He’ll swim to the closest corner and just float there until I do his bidding.

The best (and creepiest) thing about Fred is how he plays with one of my dogs. Maggie responds to visual stimuli more than any other dog we’ve had. She will focus in on anything shiny, or the smallest bug, or Fred. She sits in front of the tank. Fred watches her from inside his castle. It’s a stand-off. Fred usually makes the first move; darting up to bump against the front glass. Maggie counters with a quick muzzle jab of her own. This goes on until we separate them.

Fred is as much a member of my family as any of our other animal babies. I watch him going about his fish business when I’m stuck on something in a manuscript and he makes me smile. I tap my fingers on the glass and he always comes right up to see what he can do to help. I can say, without embarrassment, I love that fish!

Tessie
http://www.tessiebradford.com

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"The Man of Your Wet Dreams."


I just read a fascinating blog at my fellow Sexy Scribe Fran Lee’s site. She inspired me to write this blog. Fran asked readers if they had a “Dream Man” in particular she asked if they had a “Wet Dream Man” which is a whole other animal. I had to shout, “Yes I do have a Wet Dream Man!” Then I got quiet because I knew I would have to explain myself carefully to anyone within earshot. lol

A Wet Dream Man is a male so compelling and inspiring that the mere sight of him drives you crazy and more importantly drives you to take action. He’s the hero that wakes the sleeping beauty and turns up the volume on life. He’s more than just a handsome man and his image works it’s way deep into the subconscious. With his internal support it suddenly becomes possible to face any challenge or quench any fear. Shy women get flirty. Smart women go back to school. Timid women start taking risks. Sky Diving begins to sound like a great idea… The Wet Dream Man appeals to a woman’s inner Heroine and most of all to her libido. A visit from the Wet Dream Man is like falling in love except you fall in love with your life. Life gets more colorful-fast!

If you’ve been fortunate enough to meet one of these creatures in either your dreaming or waking existence I don’t need to describe the tremendous amount of positive energy these males bring to the table. He may bring out the “Lady” in you or he may awaken the inner Tomboy. You may find yourself newly obsessed with high heels or snowboards. Either way he brings balance and a refreshed view of life as a woman. He plays up your strengths. Your confidence soars. You begin to think you’re fine just as you are. How does he work this magic? He gives 100% enthusiastic approval. Hey I warned you-he’s a dream man!

Every woman can have her own Dream Man made to her exact specifications. I must add a Dream Man doesn’t need to be an Adonis to be a provocative figure. No one needs to be perfect but the Rolling Stones said it perfectly with “You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” And most of us need some of the energy and enthusiasm that has been drained away -returned.

Psychologists call this phenomenon the “Animus” or male animal spirit. I call it a breath of fresh air. In a culture where the feminine is constantly criticized and told it needs to improve the Dream Man offers a taste of approval, an invitation to adventure and some mind-blowing wet dreams. It’s really a great deal. When the Animus comes knocking-by all means open the door.

Have you ever awoken from an erotic dream feeling utterly consumed, inspired or changed? I’d love to hear about it.

XXOO Katalina Leon

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ideas Are Plentiful

I had one of the most insane weekends I think I've had to date. It started Friday with birthday party in Boston for my SIL, after I went home to bed until 3:45am when I had to work for a few hours. We had to be at the softball field for 7:30 that morning for two back-to-back games. We grabbed lunch on the way home. When we arrived at home, my daughter and grand daughter were waiting. It was my night to keep her over. So baby T and grandma spent the day running around getting birthday gifts for her mother and father and picking up the last minute stuff for the cookout/birthday party the next day.
Baby T went to bed around 9ish. I'm pretty sure I crashed shortly after. She woke up at 11. My daughter failed to mention that she doesn't like her pack and play. She needs the comfort of a soft mattress. So I had to do the one thing I do not like doing. I slept with her in my guest bed. I raised three children and none of them ever slept in my bed. So here I am kicking aside my own rules for the grand baby. Yes, I'm a pushover.
T woke up bright and early at 6am ready for her bottle. B, promised the baby would go right back to sleep after the bottle. HA! She was ready to play! So grandma and grandpa got up and played. In the process I made salads, cut up meat and got it marinating. Oh, did I mention we had to be back on the ball field at 11? Everything was set up for the party, except the deck. We had it stained the day before and we were still waiting for it to dry. I can't lift heavy things due to a condition(a pleasant one), so I asked the DH to call his friend to get the table and grill back on the deck. He reassured me he would. First mistake! Men lie.
By now baby T is with her mother and I'm off to softball. I grab something to eat and relax for a bit. Games over back home to host a party. Oh wait I picked up one of the cakes on the way home. I wasn't in the door fifteen minutes and the guests started to arrive. YAY! Let the party begin. I don't think the last guest left until almost 10pm when I finally crawled into bed. I woke the next day with a terrible sinus infection, so I did the only thing I could do - I spent the day in bed. Now I'm behind. I took the day off from work to finish my overdue edits on Heat Waves.
I almost forgot it was my day to post. So whats the point of this long boring blog? Well for all the activities I had going on I have various non-fiction article ideas and lots of fun stuff I can add to my fiction books to add a little humor.
My DH has a cousin who is not the most handy person. The stories she told me will surely show up in a future book. Like the time she fell into a floor vent while cleaning. She got stuck and her boyfriend had to tug her out. Or how she hung valances and stuffed them with paper towels and toilet paper. I never laughed so hard at her stories.
Off to finish edits. Hope I didn't bore you too much, but the bottom line is get around people whenever you can. They have such interesting stories to tell.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hate "Chain Letter" Emails? Not This Hunky Angel One!

I swear some people spend their days just looking for "chain letter" emails to send out. I rarely will forward anything to anyone, and never give a second thought to the "bad luck" I may get if I don't, nor do I wonder about the "surprise" or "good luck" I'll get if I do.

SO, BE HONEST...how many of you REALLY ENJOY getting them from every person in your address book?

Here's one I received and just can't resist sending to you through this blog. Forget the "cutesy" angels you normally get. This version is different.

Take some fairy dust:

Add it to one of those "cutesy" angels:









AND POOF!!!!



Did you smile? Have you finished trying to see up his loincloth? YOU JUST LOOKED AGAIN, DIDN'T YOU?

Hmm. My creative mind is spinning away with thoughts of a story centering on a hunky angel now that I have plenty of time to just stare at his...ahem...charm, grace, and saintly attributes.
RIGHT! Get a good look at this guy...don't you wish he was on one of your covers?

My newest release, "Sexy Games" has the hero and heroine donning costumes and testing adult role-playing games. Too bad I hadn't seen this hunky angel before I wrote the book. I could have written him and his costume into a scene!
www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday's Scribe Posting...

Upcoming release from Resplendence Publishing!

First and Ten ~ Carnal Reunions Anthology

Coming November 10, 2009!

I love sexy covers! You know my feelings about covers...and I have been very lucky with all of my covers so far. Note the strategically placed author name? :)

I have two wonderful publishers, and both have some excellent cover artists. Every time I write a new book, I pray to the cover goddesses and POOF! It works every time. LOL!

I have officially run out of subject matter...I am too pooped to pop, as my sainted mother used to say. I am rambling here because it is 4:07 a.m. and I am still at my computer, cleaning up edits, writing posts for my several blogs, and generally burning the candle at both ends AND in the middle. :P

I had better finish up here and hit the sack. I need my beauty sleep...(it won't help in the beauty department, but I sure need it.) Maybe by next Saturday I will have my brain screwed back in tightly and will have something interesting to blog about.

Wish me luck...I need it!

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com




Friday, September 4, 2009

A Re-introduction...


Hi, I'm Julia Barrett



It's time to reintroduce myself. I have lots going on, some good...some not so good. Some of the good has to do with my career as a romance writer. For instance, Julia Barrett - me - oh I so hate referring to myself in the third person - has had a short story accepted for The Cougar Anthology, coming February 14, 2010, with Logical-Lust Publications. Yay! I wrote my very first short romance and to my great surprise, the editor liked it. I'll be joining nineteen other authors - most of them multi-published and far more experienced in this business than me. I'm pretty dang excited about this, so excited that I've felt confident enough to submit another short story to a different publisher.

The main reason I'm re-introducing myself is because I have an alter-ego...Chana Alexander. She...here I go again with the third person...is writing for Resplendence Publishing. I have a contemporary romance scheduled for release early in 2010, Beauty and the Feast, and a futuristic series coming out next July. Beauty and the Feast is about a private chef and the client she falls in love with. Having worked as a chef, a pastry chef, a private chef and a caterer, and owned a restaurant in one of my lives, writing the book was a blast.

The futuristic romance is entitled Daughters of Persephone. The first installment is two books in one, Exile and Return. The third book in the series, Daughters of Persephone, will stand alone and the title is yet to be determined. Sci fi is one of my favorite genres, but this is my first foray into the future. So, stretching my wings! Hopefully I won't fly too close to the sun. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where's My Vampire Story?

My father was a movie buff of monumental proportion.

He could, and would, spout random facts from every aspect of the industry. When he talked about a film that particularly moved him, he would become a master story teller, mesmerizing those of us lucky enough to be around to hear. Our family room was decorated with classic movie posters and he would get as excited as a kid to be at the first showing of a new film on any given Friday. We were the first family in our neighborhood to have a VHS player, and my mom swore we were headed to the poor house because my father was hell bent to own every film possible.

One night, my dad came home with Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film. I flopped down on the couch, full of teen angst that our only TV was being commandeered to show such an outdated, did I mention silent, movie. I was riveted, terrified and slept with the lights on for days afterwards. Bela Legosi movies followed, as did those of Christopher Lee; I couldn’t get enough. When the 1979 version of Dracula, starring the ultra-yummy Frank Langella hit the theaters, my Dad and I were at the first showing. I went back and spent my hard earned money four more times that weekend, enthralled by the dark sensuality of the story, the actor, the music and the romance.

I have read and re-read every Ann Rice vampire book. I feel like I know Christine Feehan’s Carpathians personally. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Jean-Claude and Asher have brought me to tears. I’ve devoured countless other vampire tales, watched documentaries on the History Channel and laughed uproariously at the many comedic takes on the vampire character.

When those who know and love me learned I had actually finished a story, many of them assumed it had to be vampire. They know of my obsession, my love of the immortal undead. Why wouldn’t I try my hand at that which intrigues me so?

I have been forced to look deep into myself and admit I’m scared to death at the possibility of sucking at writing the little blood suckers! Oh, I have my hero all drawn out in my head. He is darkly beautiful, ultra-alpha and completely comfortable with who and what he is. But when I sit down at my computer, I simply stare at the blank page. What new spin can I put on the subject matter? What will make him and his story unique? Only time will tell if I can work up the courage to bring my vampire out into the light of day.

Tessie

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"The Darker Side of Tall, Dark and Handsome."

With the current preponderance of alluring Vampires, Shape Shifters and troubled mutants like Hugh Jackman’s character Wolverine, is there anybody out there who hasn’t gone over to the Dark side? If not what’s stopping you! A lot of hot action is taking place deep in the shadows on another plane of existence.

The undead have become a trend that just won’t die. Vampires are doing a lively business getting our blood pumping. The undead have wildly succeeded at rebranding their unsavory qualities and are now known as protective, chivalrous guardians of women.  Surprisingly this once manipulative and repulsive creature has become a symbol of dark, dominant sexuality and an ideal lover to the uninitiated. They represent a partner who knows how to take charge and gatekeepers to undreamed of erotic realms. This is a far cry from the skulking, decrepit, rat-like features of the 1922 “It” vampire "Count Orlok" Nosferatu. I wouldn’t donate blood to that man let alone consider him as a lover.

There are a lot of big-hearted animal lovers out there as evidenced by a slew of irresistible fantasy men with animal souls who shape shift between various states of being. Hugh Jackman’s super sexy character “Wolverine” instantly comes to mind. Actually Hugh Jackman comes to mind quite often just because he’s Hugh Jackman but I’m getting off message… I love warm-blooded animals. I love hot-blooded men. Why not combine the best of both worlds? Shape Shifters are like giant pets. A little love and understanding goes a long way. Shape Shifters are invariably territorial they want you as their life mate and only you. Except for the many two for one deals that involve the life long devotion of two deeply committed male Shape Shifters to the same woman. What a fantasy. You can’t beat that! On the whole Shape Shifters seem like a pretty good deal, they provide a taste of the wild and unconditional love. Though you would think the living arrangements might be challenging. Think damaged upholstery and lots and lots of hair in the sink…

What’s your opinion about lovers from the dark side?

XXOO Katalina Leon

PS. I want to Congratulate Fran Lee on her 4.5 hearts Top Pick review "For Out of Her Dreams" from Chris at Night Owl Romance. I also got 4.5 hearts from Elf for "Noblesword"-I'm so pleased! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eight to Date


That's the number of contracts I've signed since December '08. Am I bragging - NO. What I'm doing is telling everyone out there that if you want to be a writer and you work hard it's possible. When I signed my first contract I had two others out to editor's. My goal at that point was to have both contracted. By January's end that happened. I set a new goal - eight contracted stories by the end of the year. At the time I thought it was totally unrealistic, but I like to dream big. I'm a writer after all.
In May I thought about upping that number, but I was slowing down a bit with writing and decided against it. As I just signed the eighth one on Monday I realize it's time to change my goal. I'm now reaching for ten by the years end. Not impossible. But, I don't want to set myself up to fail, this time. Not that I could call myself a failure at this point.
So if writing and publishing is your dream, grab a pen and paper, or open a word document on your computer and start writing. Write every day. Read all you can on the craft. Devour books in your genre, study publisher's guidelines and no matter what you do -don't give up. Is it easy? Not a chance. But it's worth it when you see your book up for sale on a publishers web site. Just remember, Perseverance wins!