Saturday, April 30, 2011

Totally flubbed last week's post...blech!

You KNOW you are getting old when your youngest child is turning 39...

No...that's not my daughter in the picture with Jimmy...I was just day dreaming and decided I wanted a sexy picture on my blog post.  Sigh...

I got two books subbed, got an R&R on the first, still waiting on the second.  I think I am trying too hard to stay within my length/genre lines.  Maybe the best thing for me to do is write a hot, sexy Quickie and maybe a free read for EC.  Anything to get out of the rut.

We'll see what happens...


Thursday, April 28, 2011


I don't mean to muscle in on Kat's big day,

but if I don't do this now, it won't get done - I'll be drinking wine ALL DAY tomorrow, probably starting at 7 a.m. and finishing up near midnight. That's some major tasting. Man I am going to be so smashed.

Anyway, while driving to SFO (San Francisco airport and why it's called SFO is beyond me) to pick up my arriving house guests, I got a phone call from the RWA chapter in Arizona telling me that Captured has won an award in their science fiction romance category. I guess it's the Golden Quill Contest for published authors.

That's all. Not much else to tell except I made Bolognese sauce with pasta, picked lettuce from my garden for a salad, steamed some fresh asparagus and made a whiskey cake for dessert - old family recipe. Gotta go - up early to get some fresh air before I get snockered!

I Have Questions!!!

Katalina Leon’s Sugar Roux Voodoo released April 22nd. This historical/paranormal romance will keep you riveted from beginning to end (and beyond)! Kat has graciously agreed to join us today to answer a few questions!

Tessie: This story is so unique, Kat. Where did the inspiration come from?

Kat: I wanted to write my version of a dark American fairytale with a paranormal twist. I was drawn to the New Orleans setting because its history is soaked in moodiness, joy and mystery. I wanted to write a tale where good clearly triumphed over evil, and I wanted Lark and Valcour to face big physical and emotion challenges. This setting did all that for me.
Be warned there are some dark elements in this story, including very manipulative sexuality and talk of abuse, but as we all know there is some dark stuff at the bottom our favorite fairytales. Facing the darkness and being victorious over it, is the heart of the story.

Tessie: I can’t even imagine the research involved in writing historical novels! When I read this book, I was literally swept away to New Orleans in the 1830’s. Tell us about the process.

Kat: It was exhausting bedding dashing pirates and freeing zombies! Never again, never again! Lol When I read for pleasure, I often pick up some sort of history book. I’ll read books of old letters, diary entries, maps, ship manifests—anything useful. As I read I try to “read” between the lines and look for what’s missing from the historical account. I go searching for the human being at the heart of the matter. I’ll ask myself who were they? Were they lonely? Why did they take this risk? Etc…
I love to put myself in that place and fully imagine what it would feel like to live in that time period under those limitations. For me writing historical fiction is like the ultimate game of make-believe.

Tessie: I absolutely love the ‘eerie’ qualities of SRV; dark magic, zombies…how was it to craft those elements into the story?

Kat: Fun! I think I’d like to try writing horror. I deliberately held back and made the story moody not horrific because “Sugar Roux Voodoo” is a romance, but maybe someday…

For this story I wanted to create an evil twist on a shape-shifter. The Amé Enchanger or soul-swapper is a manipulative man with supernatural powers. He gains control of men during their darkest hour or most guilty thoughts and uses those negative emotions to enslave his victims as zombies. Then he takes on their likeness and goes into the world exploiting the men’s personality and doing bad things. I couldn’t think of a more frightening violation than to have someone borrow your soul and do things to others that you would never do.

I wrote a lot of the eerie Broken Oak Plantation to entertain my husband. He’s was raised in New Orleans on pirate tales and he loves this stuff! He contributed quite a bit to the atmosphere of “Sugar Roux Voodoo”. The oak tree, the Spanish fort and the enchanted moss were his ideas.

Tessie: I’ve tried very hard to keep my questions broad enough not give away any of this fantastic story, but I have to ask about the card reading in the first chapter. I was on the edge of my seat right along with Miss Marietta. What’s real and what’s not??

Kat: First, it’s my job as a writer of fiction to make things up that feel real. I take my make-believe very seriously! Most scenes are a 50/50 mix of real historical elements blended with stuff I just made-up for fun. I’m no authority. I’m just curious about this beautiful world. Always take my writing with a grain of salt—it’s only meant as entertainment.

However, the card deck is a real deck, the Tarot de Marseilles is notable because it was the first tarot deck to be commercially printed and distributed. Here’s a weird bit of American history—the British stamp act, which placed a tax on every scrap of paper-product imported into the colonies would have included such diverse items as books, maps, ledgers, parchments, playing cards and the Tarot de Marseilles. The British wanted to collect a tax on everything that could be used for financial gain, including gambling and tarot cards though I suspect there wasn’t a huge demand for tarot cards in the original thirteen!

Beyond that I mapped out Miss Marietta’s character arch and compared it to the journey my heroine Lark needed to take. I scribbled a brief psychological profile on a post-it-pad of both ladies, and designed a card reading especially for them based on the traditional symbolism behind the cards. Once I understood that the cards were actually playing a third character in that scene, it clicked for me. I found it a pleasure to write the tarot scene because it flowed off the keyboard almost as fast as I could type.

Tessie: One of the many reasons that I’m such a fan of your stories, Kat, is your gift for seamlessly blending fiction and reality! Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into how this book came about.

Kat: I want to thank you Tessie for taking the time to interview me and for all your love and encouragement during the writing of this book. It’s much appreciated.

“Sugar Roux Voodoo” Available now from Ellora’s Cave Legend Line.

Big hugs to you, Kat!

Wishing every one a marvelous weekend~


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Second Excerpt from "Sugar Roux Voodoo"

This is another excerpt from “Sugar Roux Voodoo”. In this scene Miss Marietta has snuck aboard Lark’s fancy riverboat, and begs to have her fortune told...

Miss Marietta’s guileless eyes scanned every detail of the parlor. Her jaw gaped. “It’s absolutely lovely in here. Bright. Cheerful. I don’t know what I was expecting. Perhaps juju bundles, stinky herbs and dead things staring back at me.” Her shoulders relaxed. “This could be the drawing room of any of the best plantations.” She glanced up in awe. “That is a stunning cut-crystal chandelier.”

“Thank you it was a gift from a friend in Bohemia.”

“My goodness.” Miss Marietta turned in a slow circle, taking everything in. “I can’t
wait to tell the ladies how wrong they were.”

Lark smiled politely. “I know you’re not here to admire the decor. What can I do for

Miss Marietta glanced downward. “You may have heard, I’m newly engaged to Julian Vandersmith. He’s a wonderful man!” She gushed with forced enthusiasm. “He’s doesn’t interrupt with mindless chatter during church sermons. He sits stoically in respectful silence while I speak. He’s so refined, even his socks and handkerchiefs are perfectly coordinated with his trousers every day, and he never laughs with his mouth open. He just chuckles quietly with closed lips.”

“Sounds delightful, I’m sure you’ll be very happy.”

“Maybe.” In her nervousness, Miss Marietta gracelessly plopped herself on Lark’s curved, crimson-upholstered chaise. Her voluminous hoop skirts tilted and snapped upward, momentarily swallowing her face behind tiers of fluffy fabric exposing her pantaloons. “Pardon me!” Her hands frantically battled the cumbersome skirts back into place, but they immediately popped back up. “Damn!” She gasped at her own outburst as she fought to subdue the skirt that refused to stay down. “Please excuse me for swearing.”

Lark bit her lip in an attempt not to laugh at Miss Marietta’s comical struggle. “Don’t give it a thought, dear.”

When she emerged from beneath the mound of crinoline, Miss Marietta’s face was bright pink with embarrassment. She leaned forward on her elbows, anchoring the skirt. “I shall endeavor to compose myself and move beyond this beast of a skirt.” She drew a nervous breath. Her voice dropped to a solemn whisper. “My mammy told me you have the gift, that you can see the future. My mammy believes in you. That’s why I took the risk of coming here. I’ll pay you any price or do anything you ask if you will do the mirror of clarity card spread for me.” Her gaze sharpened. “I know you’ve done it for others, and I need you to do it tonight. I have to be sure I’m making the right choice.”

“I’ll assume you’re having doubts about Mister Julian?”

“Mister Julian is well-bred, well-to-do and absolutely wonderful.” Miss Marietta paused uncomfortably. “But there is another…”

“I see.” Lark nodded her head. “I have to warn you, the mirror of clarity reading is a difficult card spread to do. It will be draining on both of us, and you may not like what you hear. For this reason, I rarely perform the card spread. A glimpse of the future can be very disturbing. So please reconsider, Miss Marietta—are you certain about this?”

“Are you going to do it?” Miss Marietta’s eyes lit with delight. “I’m certain I want to know!”

“You understand I will ask a gift of service from you?”

“Ask anything, Miss La Beau. My daddy’s a wealthy man. He’s not obsessed with dynastic matchmaking like my mama. He just wants me to be happy.”

“I didn’t ask for your money, Miss Marietta, I asked for your time and trouble.”

Miss Marietta piously folded her hands over her heart. “I promise I will visit the Catahoula Parish orphanage and buy every child a new pair of shoes.”

“Lovely start, don’t forget to sit down with the children for an afternoon and teach them something—anything. I don’t care what.”

A broad smile lit Miss Marietta’s delicate face. “So you’re going to do it?”

Lark walked toward the bureau and picked up a set of brass skeleton keys and carried them toward an ornately inlaid ebony cabinet that stood on the carved paws of lions and opened the folding doors. Her fingertips sought out the delicate mechanism that triggered a hidden lock. A second compartment quietly slid open.

“Oh my, a secret drawer.” Miss Marietta’s eyes widened. “This is so exciting. Would you prefer I avert my gaze?” She stared onward in rapt fascination.

“You’re fine. Look all you like.” Lark knew the roux she had placed on her accoutrements cabinet was so powerful there was simply no way a casual vandal would ever get past the first protective layer of magic. Any overly curious or unauthorized person approaching the cabinet was in for a nasty surprise. Their fingertips would burn terribly and their eyes would water and itch incessantly until they found the good sense to abandon the invasion and step away.

Miss Marietta craned her neck in an attempt to see every tiny movement Lark made. “Aren’t you afraid someone might walk in here and steal from your cabinet?”

“No, not at all,” Lark answered confidently as she removed a rosewood case heavily embellished with carved scrollwork and symbols and inserted the largest of the brass skeleton keys into the lock.

She didn’t want to go the trouble of explaining to Miss Marietta the carefully designed system of locks and keys were there to keep power in, not keep the curious out. There was real power inside this box that generations of beneficent voodoo queens had contributed to. A shiver of anticipation raced up her arm as the brass key slid inside the lock.

As the key turned, the tumblers inside the lock dropped and played a brief but sweet chirping bird song. The hinge of the case released and the rosewood box opened on its own. A scant whiff of rose oil filled the air. She carefully lifted a very old, very powerful deck of tarot cards from the velvet-lined box. “I’m going to use the Tarot de Marseilles. This deck of cards came from France a long time ago and many powerful voodoo queens have used them. Are you absolutely certain you still want to see your future?”

Miss Marietta gulped hard and nodded.

“All right then, we’re ready to start.”

(Beyond this it gets good, lots of suspense and a very dirty dark tale is told…So go buy the book already! lol)


Here’s the link to book trailer, if you haven’t seen it yet please take a look.

“Sugar Roux Voodoo” available now from Ellora’s Cave Legend Line

Monday, April 25, 2011

Know that song Me & Mrs. Jones? I've got the Mister!

We've got a thiiiiiiiiiing goin' on.
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong to let it go now.
Well! This is one of my favorite songs. So I changed it to Mr. Jones. My editor at EC loved him. (slurp.) And he debuted, in the flesh...and text, last week over there.
But he is a great...lay. (Can I say that here?)
This guy has it going on, lemme just say. And in this little Quickie, I have him involved in M/F (of course), voyeurism, exhibitionism, BDSM and a yum yum bit with M/F/M/F/M.
Oh yeah.
In Paris.
Here's the teaser:

What woman wouldn’t crave an annual erotic, exotic rendezvous?

With a demanding lover who’s proven over and over again that he’s as scintillating and devoted in bed as out, Corin Campbell tears open her instructions for her yearly tryst with her insatiable Mr. Jones. Eager to experience what heart-pounding excitements Mr. Jones has created for them both this year in Paris, Corin knows that the Chinese love balls, her leather outfit, the masseur, the caviar and the five exhibitionists are only prelude to hours of intoxicating delight in Jones’s arms. What can he teach her this year about the enduring charm of his loving and the delights only he can summon from her?

C'est bon!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Release Day!

Members of this group are prolific!

Not me, but other members! Katalina Leon has a release today - all about a good Voodoo Queen, and wow, it looks tasty! Sugar Roux Voodoo!
Cerise Deland put out Me and Mr. Jones, a Quickie, on April 20th.
Amber Skyze has more releases than I can count!
Tessie Bradford recently released Pampering Jessica!

Go...follow these authors! They are awesome!

And maybe Fran Lee and I will have a release in the next few months too!
Congrats, ladies!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Mish-Mosh

Are there still seven days in a week 'cause these Thursdays seem as if they're arriving faster?!!

The fashion show last Saturday was spectacular!! My daughter's collection looked stunning on the runway, and I was able to keep my weeping noises below the decibels of the music!

Happy Release Week to both Cerise DeLand and Katalina Leon!

We received more snow on Sunday and Monday! Excuse me, but aren't we in the middle of April? I was looking at the blooming flowers in my front garden as I scraped the ice and three inches of white stuff off my car! Two weeks ago I was threatening to turn on the air conditioning when the temps hit almost eighty degrees.

My two WIPs are slowly but surely taking shape. My writing process continues to evolve, much to my own surprise. In the past, stories hit me like a ton of bricks. I wrote lineally, from beginning to end. If I got hung up on a scene, a conversation, a sentence for God's sake, I stayed at it until it was right enough for me to continue. Now, that isn't working for me. It helps to have more than one story going at a time so that when I hit a hard spot, I have something else to go to. I've even taken to writing random scenes in hope they will work into the story later.

Did anyone watch the first episode of Game of Thrones on HBO? I did, kind of by mistake, and am thoroughly hooked! I just read it's already been picked up for season #2 due to viewer response.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First Excerpt of "Sugar Roux Voodoo"

“Sugar Roux Voodoo” will be available this Friday from Ellora’s Cave. This is my first historical/ paranormal book and I’m getting very excited!

Here’s the blurb:

New Orleans 1834. Lark La Beau is a green-eyed beauty and respected beneficent voodoo priestess with the sometimes uncooperative gift of clairvoyance. 

Captain Valcour Curry is a debonair, larger-than-life buccaneer with ambition to burn and a taste for fine things. Following a whirlwind romance with Lark, he disappears at sea, leaving Lark with a riverboat and a child to rear—alone.

A guilty act of piracy causes Valcour to fall victim to a shapeshifting magician who practices the dark art of soul-swapping. For five years Valcour has been enslaved as an emotionless zombie with no memory of his loved ones or past. From dusk to dawn he is cursed to toil in the cane fields while the evil magician uses his soul to lure women near and have his brutal way with them.

Lark’s love for Valcour runs deep. She risks hell and journeys to the oppressive Broken Oak Plantation to break the curse. It’s a terrifying place. Her only tools to call Valcour’s lost soul back to life are beneficent voodoo and love.

This is the first excerpt from “Sugar Roux Voodoo”
Chapter One
Mississippi River, New Orleans, October 1834

Lark reluctantly picked up the sad, little bundle of tattered fabric, human hair and tiny animal skulls and handed it back to her disappointed client. “I won’t do this and you’d regret it if I did.” She paused. “I know your heart’s broken, chere, but that sort of revenge is always wrong. I don’t do that kind of magic, so don’t ask.”

A bitter frown creased the woman’s face as she accepted the rejected juju bundle into her hand.
Lark allowed the disappointed woman a moment of silence to reflect.

The riverboat’s massive paddlewheel thunked loudly against the murky water of the Mississippi as it slowly steamed upriver.

The woman parted her lips to protest the returned bundle at the exact moment the shrill, double blast of the Sugar Roux Voodoo Queen’s steam whistle blew and drowned out her words before she could even release them into the riverboat’s elegant parlor.
Lark’s palm rose in the air, silently signaling the woman to hold her words until the whistle finished blasting. She reclined against the wingback chair, adorned with cypress armrests carved into the likeness of snarling lions’ heads. Her fingertips absently stroked against the lions’ polished heads as the whistles blew. She knew it was senseless to attempt to speak over them, so she waited.

Lark’s head casually tilted against the nappy, red-velvet upholstery as she silently studied the offensive little bundle in the woman’s hands. She drew a tense breath, knowing once again she had been misunderstood and placed in an uncomfortable situation.

The whistle grew silent, but the lingering echo continued to ring in her ears. She leaned forward and gently confronted the woman. “Who told you I would do such a thing?”

“N-no one.” The distraught woman stuttered. 
“Everyone knows your name. You’re the queen of the river. You’re reputation is legend. I know you could do what I’ve asked. You’ve helped many others. Why won’t you help me?” Fresh tears trickled down the woman’s cheeks. “I’ve been wronged!”

Lark rose slowly from the throne-like chair. Her aubergine satin dress and layers of crisp, horsehair crinoline crinkled softly as she stood. “I would never deliberately harm an innocent woman.”

The woman scoffed. “She’s not innocent. I can assure you of that. She’s a rouge- cheeked-help-yourself hussy!”

“I’m going to pour you a bourbon.” Lark spoke gently. “You’re going to drink it, and you and I are going to talk.”

She walked to an elegant, glass cabinet and removed a slender, cut-crystal decanter of amber liquid and poured a generous slosh into a crystal goblet that caught the flickering candlelight. A splintered burst of tiny rainbows cast against the lacquered walls of the parlor. She ceremoniously handed the bourbon to the anxious woman.

The woman eagerly accepted the goblet with narrowed eyes. “Did you cast a roux on this?” she asked hopefully. “Is the potion enchanted? Will this bring my man back?”

Lark sadly shook her head. “No roux. Its not enchanted potion, it’s just good bourbon.”

The woman looked painfully disappointed but took a sip anyway. Her lips tensed against the bourbon, as if it burned. “I can find a way to pay you more if that’s the problem?”

“It’s not the problem,” Lark spoke firmly. “I never charge anyone. The most I ask of others is that they do a kind service for someone else in need.”

A dismissive frown darkened the woman’s face. “I’m the one in need.” She gulped the bourbon in a single swallow...

(Lark does use Beneficent Voodoo to help this woman but the sexual situation and the Voodoo gets way more intense with the next client who walks into Lark’s riverboat parlor.)

 “Sugar Roux Voodoo” is available Friday April 22nd. It’s part of Ellora’s Cave Legend Line, but be warned there are paranormal elements, wicked soul-swappers, magic and zombies—and that’s a good thing!


PS My husband is making a lovely book trailer for “Sugar Roux Voodoo”, which I hope to post very soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Not I...In fact my mind has been wondering What’s that? I’ve certainly forgotten. In the last few weeks I wrote 1200 words. All my self imposed goals and deadlines went straight out the window. Instead I’ve been doing nothing. When I say nothing I mean nothing. Until this morning.
I received final proof edits this morning for Hit Me coming from Loose Id on May 17th. The next few weeks should bring edits for Sex on the Beach, which will be published with Ellora’s Cave. So I HAVE to do something.
I decided to set aside Looking Thru the Glass. I’m about 14k into it, but I’m not feeling the characters right now. Maybe that’s the reason I’m not writing.
This morning I started a new story for a theme line EC is doing. The story I Wanna Sext You Up flowed nicely. I managed to get a little over 1k on paper. Now if I can keep the flow going only 20k more to write…I’m sure it will be longer, but I have a tight deadline.
In between writing I’m concentrating on planting flowers and picking out paint. The DH put five colors on the wall yesterday. As they were drying I liked two. This morning I didn’t like any of them. Off the paint store for more samples!
Hope everyone else is having more productive times than me!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Remodeling our kitchen...and my brain. A moveable feast.

From left to right: What it was, what it was becoming...and what it is now finished!
For more on the joys and trials of home remodeling, come to my blog today, tomorrow and the next for more words...and more pictures! Where?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Romance is in the air...

And my two latest print books are out!

Yes, I received word yesterday the Resplendence Publishing has released A Brief Moment of Pleasure in PRINT!  Ihave been told that my author copies are in the mail. Whoo hoo! Can't wait!

Sigh...I love getting those lovely large glossy books to hold and kiss get the picture. :P

Once I get them, I am going over to all my favorite bookstores and touting all my print books...because author name recognition is important, even if nobody buys the books...they are still there on the shelf for non-e-book readers to see and thumb through. And eventually someone will buy one...or maybe two.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Big Month!

I know...I know...I'm late as usual, but blogger hates me and won't let me schedule posts in advance!

So this is a big month - my birthday, my sister's birthday, my grandmother's birthday and our wedding anniversary. Oh, and we already celebrated my dad's birthday. Major month. And my parent's wedding anniversary on the 23rd. Wow!

I think Thomas Jefferson and I share a birthday, April 13th. I think Abraham Lincoln died on my birthday. I'm pretty sure some pretty (historical) evil people were born around my birthday too. Yuck. Lots of stuff happens in April - must be the Aries influence. We're pushy buggers.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Spring! love, Julia

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grinning From Ear to Ear

Saturday April 16th is a very big day!

My daughter is showing her first collection in the Spring Fashion Show at Central Michigan University. If that’s not exciting enough, she is up for three different awards; Buyer’s Choice, Best Fall/Winter Collection, and Best New Designer!!!

She’s worked so very hard these last four years! We, the parents, grandparents, brother, sister-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, boyfriend and friends are beyond proud to share in the joy of her successes.

Hubby’s and my plan is to try not to embarrass her by shedding our happy, happy tears too loudly during the show!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Sugar Roux Voodoo"

Here’s the first taste of my new book from Ellora’s Cave, “Sugar Roux Voodoo”.

Just like a good jambalaya “Sugar Roux Voodoo” has a little bit of everything thrown in for flavor. Of course it’s a love story. It’s also a historical. Gritty pirate tales are told. Voodoo priestesses practice “beneficent-magic” aboard elegant riverboats and handsome men are enslaved as zombies.

As a bonus, I created something special just for your entertainment, an Amé Enchanger—or soul-swapper. This man is a shape-shifter, so evil and dank he borrows the bodies and souls of charismatic men and goes into the world seducing women and making trouble wearing their likeness, while the real men work as zombies in the cursed cane fields. Naughty, naughty.

I loved writing this book. 

Blurb: “Sugar Roux Voodoo
“New Orleans 1834. Lark La Beau is a green-eyed beauty and respected beneficent voodoo priestess with the sometimes uncooperative gift of clairvoyance. Captain Valcour Curry is a debonair, larger-than-life buccaneer with ambition to burn and a taste for fine things. Following a whirlwind romance with Lark, he disappears at sea, leaving Lark with a riverboat and a child to rear—alone.

A guilty act of piracy causes Valcour to fall victim to a shapeshifting magician who practices the dark art of soul-swapping. For five years Valcour has been enslaved as an emotionless zombie with no memory of his loved ones or past. From dusk to dawn he is cursed to toil in the cane fields while the magician uses his soul.

Lark will risk hell and journey to the oppressive Broken Oak Plantation to break the curse. It’s a terrifying place. Her only tools to call Valcour’s lost soul back to life are beneficent voodoo and love.”

If you’re curious about what a “sugar roux” is, or want to know how to cast a love spell that can pull a man’s soul back from limbo—I’m not telling! You’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself.

Seven Sexy Scribes resident expert Amber Skyze informed me that the gorgeous man on the book cover, playing the part of Captain Valcour Curry is indeed cover model “Angelo”…sigh. I feel truly honored to have a Syneca created book cover featuring Angelo. Thank you Syneca!


Katalina Leon “Sugar Roux Voodoo” will be available
Friday April 22nd from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


In the beginning of the April I attended my local chapter’s writers meeting. The guest speaker talked about self-publishing. She’s been published with Carina Press and Source Books. She had a few books that were getting rejected for various reasons, but they were stories she knew she wanted to publish. So she did. She hired a freelance editor and had a cover artist produce the cover art. For around $350 total she had her book published with Kindle, Smashwords, B&N, Sony and all the places where e-books are available. Having great success with the first book she did this for two more. Here’s the kicker…since November she’s made over 30k. The money is all hers. There’s no publisher or editor to get their cut. Granted she’ll pay taxes on the money earned, but seriously. In the almost three years I’ve been publishing I’m nearing around 10k. I’d rather cut out the middle man and make some serious cash. I realize this is best served to those who have a following, but I believe anyone with the drive to promote their books can succeed. I’ve decided to take one of my contemporary romance (non-erotic) books this route and see what happens. I may succeed. I may fail. But I won’t know unless I try. What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Smelling the roses. New habits in life. Do you make them?

For years I worked at my own business and wrote novels, articles, lots of non-fiction, even did a weekly business column (shoot me, please) for the local newspaper. With one husband, 3 children and a dog, I ran like crazy.
Recently, I closed the business. After 21 years, it was Time. The children are gone. Grown. Educated. The husband is still here! And am I glad of it!
I write full time. And am thrilled to do it, too. This is what I always wanted to do. Indulge my creativity to the max. Indulge my desire to perfect my cooking. (Which I do to the questionable benefit of my waistline largely because good wine must go with that, yes?)
As I divested myself of clients over the past few years--and wrote more, I also took time to learn yoga. I am limber but cannot do every noodle pose they've invented. I also go to the gym more. Trrrrrrrrrying to get in the habit of 3 x a week to do my circuit. And I allllllmost make it. (It's the circuit that kills me. Exhausts me. But I sleep better, by golly.)
I have also begun to grow herbs. Yes, it was a huge challenge in hot, dry, sun-scorched southwest Texas.
Now, this spring I have added to my repertoire. How?
Growing roses! A new step for me, where here in southwest Texas the only things that grow naturally (and without major injections of nutrients) are the cacti, your hips (from the queso and chips) and the deer who eat every thing (and would eat every ONE if they could).
But after 15 years of trying to grow plants and herbs here, there and everywhere in my garden (where things fry from approximately April through October), I have got a system down.
What is it?
Yep. Growing everything in pots. And fencing! All for my herbs. Pansies. Geraniums. Impatiens. And now--ta-dahhhh--we are going to nurture roses.
These, seen here, are my first pot. (Like great lingerie, I always try out one before I buy more). This is right after I transplanted it. Spoke to it. Whispered sweet nothings. Fertilized its little ass. And so stay tuned here, as I show you more as the season wears on!
Wish my green thumb well!
And tell us, are there things you have wanted to do to smell your own roses in life? Have you started? Can you soon?
What have those activities done for your state of mind?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finished Cal's Omega....

Just finishing up on my sequel to Hallie's Cats...

So many people wanted to hear Cal's here it comes.  Hopefully I will have it subbed before the weekend is out. Have not heard back on the wip I subbed a few days back. Still have my fingers crossed.  I will let you know what happens with that one as soon as I know.  

I need to get some stories written this year. I really do need to get my fanny in gear if I want to be able to get ready for Romanticon.  But this year I'm not spending $1,000 on promo stuff. I will be smarter. Hopefully I will have another print book out by then.
So cross your fingers for my sequel...because I can't walk with my toes crossed, too, and I need all the good vibes I can get! LOL!

Fran Lee

Friday, April 8, 2011

How do ya like those apples?

New cover - mine and mine alone.

I'm introducing the cover for my new book here - yeah, you get to see it first! This is me dipping my feet into the world of self-publishing with Incorporeal, a paranormal romance.

No release date yet, but I'll let you know - with bells on!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mini Review of "Just Another Rainy Day"

Blurb for “Just Another Rainy Day”

Tired of their ho-hum sex life, Jack decides to spice things up by planning a surprise for his wife. After sending the children off for an overnight with their aunt, Jack handcuffs Beth to their bed.

Beth awakes naked, blindfolded and at the mercy of her husband. The day starts off with being fed by Jack and quickly turns into hot and heavy sex. She soon learns that a slip of the tongue can lead to stinging ass cheeks.

This rainy day will be spent pushing their sexual limits. Whether in bed or out, Jack will leave Beth begging for more—until she says something unforgiveable.

I read Amber Skyze new book this weekend “Just Another Rainy Day” and really enjoyed it.

This “Quickie” is a fun, steamy read that jumps straight into the action but there’s also deeper emotional content hovering just below the surface that anyone who has ever experienced the stresses and benefits of being in a long term relationship can easily recognize.

The story starts off with Beth awakening one rainy morning to discover she has been blindfolded and handcuffed to the bed by Jack, her husband of fifteen years. The children and even the dog have been sent away for the day. Beth is told she is at Jack’s sexual mercy for the entire day (Lucky girl!)

I was hooked. Talk about getting a dream weekend...

Jack’s gone to a lot of trouble to ensure the surprise will be fun and boundary expanding for both of them. They play hard and some raw emotions come to the surface. Beth says something she regrets and the mood shifts toward one of mutual trust building and reconciliation.

What I loved about this story was it was genuinely kinky and tender at the same time. It showed a little snip of Beth and Jack’s married life and how clearly a sensitively handled BDSM weekend enhanced their closeness as a couple.

Amber Skyze books come across to me as clear, direct and real. I enjoyed the adventurous experiences Beth and Jack shared. I highly recommend “Just Another Rainy Day” to readers who love a good BDSM romp but also to anyone curious about how the BDSM dynamic might enhance a committed relationship-if only as a cherished fantasy. Don't wait for a rainy day to read this terrific book.


Amber Skyze “Just Another Rainy Day” Ellora’s Cave Taboo Line. Available Now!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What do Readers get from E-books versus Print books? Hmmm.

As the controversy over e-pub sensation Amanda Hocking and her decision to go Print within (breathless?) moments of author Barry Eisler quitting the Land of Tradition for the new territory called Electronic Publishing, I thought I would put up a list of the good stuff about the growth of e-books.
Not from the Author's Perspective.
But from the Reader's.
Here are mine--and I hope you come back and put up yours. (And Yes, the pix at the left is shameless self promotion of my latest Regency E-book over at
And with all that disclaimed, here I go!
Positives of E-book reading:
1. Affordable: books cost less. Great in an economy struggling to get back up after the Wall Street Smackdown. (sorry. could not resist that crack at the Boys who Brought Us Low.)
2. Variety of reading material: True the e-publishers who have made a huge splash at the electronic side of publishing tended to open with erotica, the material few would publish. But now that opening affords other publishers with similar non-traditional tastes/views/ topics, the ability to publish. And they are making a great go of it. To the readers' benefit.
3. Increasing and encouraging literacy: By the abundant nature of the material available for a reasonable price, books--both fiction and non--are now published which Traditional Print Houses [TPH] would not handle. Sensitive political subjects and viewpoints come to mind. (T this moment, I write a non-fiction book of that nature myself.) But others which TPH did not consider worth handling included GLBT and graphic interactive novels. I'm certain you out there can think of more.
4. Portability: Being able to read any number of books, any place, any time certainly means less wear and tear on the arms, the luggage (wow, am I happy for this one!), and the problem of what to do when you've just finished your latest and you are 35,000 feet over the Atlantic with hours more to go and nothing to do but watch the movie you saw at home last week!
5. Versatility of works available in terms of length, type and price: Okay, so this is sort of relative to some of the points above but I thought I would list it separately. WHY? Because I am FED UP with established authors who write 60-70-80,000 word novels and either repeat the same old plot I've read years ago, or who come up with a really stupid one, or who have NONE at all and still the editor lets it pass.... Why? Oh, various reasons not pertinent to this blog.
E-publishing houses have learned that works of all lengths can sell. Readers have flocked to these different lengths. (And authors? Well, I will joyfully exclaim for myself that some books are meant to be shorter. Some are more dynamic in the shorter versions. Traditional Publishing Houses found that their distribution systems demanded a conformity in size and type, ergo price as well. Ah, I am off topic here.)
6. Privacy: YES! As new e-readers hit the market and tablets abound, readers can sit comfortably ANYwhere and not proclaim to the world what the heck they wish to devour as intellectual fare. In a society that sadly sees some of its citizens more interested in condemning others for their lifestyles and their choices, than applauding our freedoms to choose the life we want, privacy of reading material is vital to preserving our democratic underpinnings. If many criticized the "bodice rippers" of old, imagine what they would say about the new-new covers and packaging of some works!
I know you must have more ideas about the benefits of electronic publishing to readers.
Come on and list them for us!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just sent in my latest wip...

It took three months longer than I set myself for my New Year's Resolution...

But I got my wip completed and subbed it!


Now all I have to do is start on another, and not take ten months to finish it this time.  Not sure which one I will spruce up this time. I have so many I started, then stopped...started, then stopped...

I think I will finish Cal's Omega, the sequel to Hallie's Cats. It's finished, but needs a good rewrite.  That one seems to be the choice.  I should be able to fix it up in a month or so, as long as I can keep myself grounded and not distracted.

Thanks so much, everyone who prodded, poked, encouraged, and commiserated...I am back.


Fran Lee

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tomorrow is the big day!

I've been stuck for two weeks, doing a whole lotta nothin'!

According to my eye doctor, as of Saturday, I may resume my life. Yay! That means I can work on the garden I planted before my eye surgery, hike with my dog, lift, do laundry, cook, shop, get out of my scrubs and my Uggs and maybe I'll feel like doing something with my hair besides washing it with Baby Shampoo. When I saw him on Tuesday, he made me feel so good - he said, "Wow, lots of people still have really bloodshot eyes ten days out, but your eyes look great!"
Oh yeah! Party time!
Have a wonderful weekend. I intend to!