Shippers, Unite!

One of the hottest relationships right now, in my opinion, is the Olicity – the Oliver/Felicity ship that draws me to Arrow every week. All I need is a touch, a wink or a hot look and I’m soaring – and, to be fair, Stephen Amell on the salmon ladder doesn’t hurt the old eyes that much either!
😉
But Olicity is just the most recent of my shippy obsessions… as I look back there’s been pairings that drove me mad either with the wanting and not having, or the actual having and the problems therein.
So here, without further ado, are my shippy addictions – do you agree/disagree/swoon with any of them as much as I do?

Picture-Jack-SamSam/Jack from Stargate SG-1: From the first time I saw this show I knew these two had to be together. Yes, I wrote the fanfics and I shipped da ship for these two to break free of the darned rules and become a couple. I swooned over the sexual tension and about fainted when Jack confessed his love for her under duress (he was being accused of being a spy because the truth machine was saying he wasn’t telling all…) and Sam caught between the man her rebel alien mental partner loves (rather complicated, I know) and her want for Jack, the old grizzled sexy man. Who couldn’t be rooting for them to have a happy ending? In my world, after the series ended they both retired and moved to a nice house in the country for plenty of shippy moments!

THE X FILES: David Duchovny (L) as Agent Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson (R) as Agent Dana Scully. ©1998 FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY. CR: Mark Seliger/FOX

Mulder/Scully from X-Files: Possibly the most obsessive of all my shippydoms – and I can’t say otherwise because it brought me my sweet husband! Who couldn’t feel the sexual tension in the air between Moose and Squirrel when they dashed into paranormal danger? I wrote over two hundred fanfics (yes, that’s 200) where either they got together or came darned close… and thanks to some sweet fan mail from an eager reader, I met and married my hubby! I’m excited for the new episodes next year but… I’m worried that they won’t continue the relationship. Moose and Squirrel together forever!

Oliver-and-Felicity-arrow-37655284-1920-1080And, of course – Oliver/Felicity from Arrow: This is the sort of success story I love to hear about – an actress gets a bit part playing an IT on an action/adventure show and the producers realize there’s something here, some chemistry between her and the male star that works a LOT better than the canon relationship between Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance. Suddenly Emily Bett Rickards jumps from being in the background to being one of the major character and SO MUCH LOVE with Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen. The writers did a faboo job of building the relationship over two seasons until we got a hot, HOT love scene last year, affirmation by the two characters of their twu luv and it’s continuing into this year… how can this go wrong?
DON’T TELL ME! DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME!

😉

So what couples have you swooned over in the past? Spike/Buffy? Angel/Buffy? Willow/Tara? Everyone on the Vampire Diaries? Moose/Squirrel/Castiel from Supernatural? What’s sending your pulse in triple digits in fanfiction and on the screen?

Coming October 20th, 2016

Strictly Business

StrictlyBusiness72lgYou can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Hooded Pleasures, Book 1

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.
Warning: Contains a hard-core computer geek with a tender side, and a Domme who can’t afford to expose her greatest weakness—him. Geekery combined with flogging. Enjoy!

Buy Links:
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B&N
Samhain
iBooks
Google Play
All Romance eBooks

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No matter where you go, there you are…

When I first started writing, I had to figure out where I was going to set my stories. I’m a Canadian married to a sweet-talking American living just south of Pittsburgh; settled in a rural area for fifteen years. To me it was obvious – set the story in Toronto, my hometown and where I spent most of my life.

But I was told it’d be a foreign setting by other authors and unfamiliar to many readers; so I should take that into consideration where and when I started writing.

To me it wasn’t an issue. But to some of my readers, specifically my husband, I might as well placed my characters on the moon.

For all the similarities between Canada and the United States there’s still areas that are very much Canadian and very much reflect the culture. For example – a private investigator would automatically be assumed to be able to carry a weapon in the US. In Canada a PI is just the same as anyone else; subject to the same gun controls and regulations as a civilian. A criminal could get a weapon, of course – it’s not like pistols and shotguns don’t exist in Canada – but it might not be as easy to explain away if stopped by a policeman.

The same holds true for all “foreign” settings – be sure to do the research and know what differences there are between what you’re used to and what the audience will be expecting. If you set a story in London you’ll have even more stringent gun control and having a shootout between the police and a gang of crooks might be difficult to set up – it can still happen but you’ll have to spend a bit of time explaining how it came together; something you wouldn’t have to worry as much about if you set it in Philadelphia instead.

Almost all of my books have been set in Toronto, and many of my Canadian readers might recognize certain neighborhoods and shopping centers although some have changed with time. But if I were to set my books in another city I’d be sure to do my research before writing; visiting if I had the time and money. I’ve been a big fan of Robert Parker and his Spencer novels for decades and know that if I ever went to Boston (and I did once, for a Worldcon!) that I’d be able to literally go over most of the same paths the fictional Spencer and Hawk have due to the details in the book. Never discount the power of having the city become almost another character in your book; adding a flavor that marks it as apart from those set in generic settings.

This isn’t to say that you can’t imagine and create new cities – J.D. Robb’s New York City is decades ahead of our own and in an alternative universe where cars fly and technology has drastically changed the way we live but it’s still New York City with it’s own unique people and charisma; just slightly different. In my “Tales on the Edge” series the stories take place aboard the Bonnie Belle, a spaceship and also on mining bases set in asteroids and populated by weary men and women drilling out the interiors, their work only interrupted by the arrival of courtesan ships like the Belle. But what make the Belle different from the Serenity, from the Enterprise, from the Millennium Falcon is the ship’s personality – whether they talk or not.

An imaginary setting can be almost more alive than an actual village or city. Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove almost steals the story from the characters, the rich descriptions and vivid images forming the perfect background for her Regency English romances.

If you’re placing your story in a real city or town, do your research and see what gives that place its particular flavor – do they have street festivals? Do they have specific neighborhoods known for their foods or for their culture? Grab tourism guides and see what you can incorporate into your story if you can’t actually visit the city. If you’re creating an imaginary setting, think about what drew people to that area. What prompted it to be settled so many years ago – was there a gold mine nearby; a fertile area producing extra produce? A strategic point to fight battles from or to defend the frontier – an outpost on the edge of civilization at that time, calling the brave and the daring to settle here. From there you can extrapolate what your town would be like; how the local politics could go and what attitudes the residents would hold. You don’t have to dump all of this into your book but it’s excellent background to have on hand for making your characters, from the main ones to the secondaries, more realistic and centered.

Writing wonderful characters is only part of the story, in my opinion – having a lovely, complicated background for them to romp through makes everything that much more realistic and increases the reader’s enjoyment of your story. Why not go back and reread some of your favorite books and see if you agree with my thoughts?

Coming October 20th, 2016

Strictly Business

StrictlyBusiness72lgYou can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Hooded Pleasures, Book 1

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.
Warning: Contains a hard-core computer geek with a tender side, and a Domme who can’t afford to expose her greatest weakness—him. Geekery combined with flogging. Enjoy!

Buy Links:
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B&N
Samhain
iBooks
Google Play
All Romance eBooks

Dommes I Have Known

When I decided to create Kate Dubois, the Domme in “Strictly Business”, I thought over the other Dommes I’d read about – what made them special, what made them unique in my mind and what made them interesting characters. There have been plenty of wonderful stories and enchanting women but I’d like to share those that first caught my attention and drew me into not only the story but the world they inhabited.

natural law

Violet Siemanski from Joey W. Hill’s Natural Law was my first introduction to a Domme and it was a glorious experience. Violet is a cop, a woman in a man’s world, who has her own secrets and desires. Mackenzie Whitehorse is a homicide detective working a horrible case – submissive men are being killed and he has to go undercover to find out who. He meets Violet and, well… you can guess the rest.

I loved Violet and Mac’s relationship from the start and thrilled to see them show up in other books in the Nature of Desire series. If you’re looking for a great place to begin reading about a Dominatrix and the man she loves, I couldn’t recommend it more.

Servicing-the-Target-200x300

A few years ago I came across Cherise Sinclair’s Shadowland series, and while the first book didn’t focus in on a Domme the most recent installment; Servicing the Target was a great read, focusing in on Mistress Anne and the man who wants to be hers and hers alone. Ben is one of the Shadowland’s premiere security men and knows what he wants – and he wants to be with Anne. But it’s not going to be easy.

If you’re a fan of the Shadowlands this is an automatic buy – other characters from other books in the series wander in and out, making this a great read. It’s also a wonderful example of how to make your Dommes seem like real women and their submissives real men – it’s too easy at times to fall into the trap of having Dommes be nothing more than stereotypical bitches who hate men and write submissive men as doormats, waiting to be beaten and stepped all over.

Both these books portray strong women and the strong men who love them – keeping far away from lesser works that not only misrepresent the relationship between a Domme and her man but give you underdeveloped characters and, in the end, a less satisfying read. If you’re looking for some new reading, I can’t recommend either author emough – the Nature of Desire series and the Master of the Shadowlands are hypnotizing, enveloping reads that will pull you in and you’ll lose hours with these Dommes – and their men!

Coming October 20th, 2016

Strictly Business

StrictlyBusiness72lgYou can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Hooded Pleasures, Book 1

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.
Warning: Contains a hard-core computer geek with a tender side, and a Domme who can’t afford to expose her greatest weakness—him. Geekery combined with flogging. Enjoy!

Buy Links:
Amazon
B&N
Samhain
iBooks
Google Play
All Romance eBooks

Romance – What’s It Good For?

When people ask what I do for a living and I respond, “Author”, I usually get some interesting replies. They vary from “What have you written lately?” to “What are you working on now?” to “Cool! I’ve got an idea!” and so on. But when I clarify and say I’m a romance author… things change.

It’s odd. I’ll get a sideways glance and a shrug, something along the lines of “Well, that’s not REAL writing” to “Oh. Like that Fifty Shades thing?” to “That’s got to be easy to do.” As if suddenly my choice of genres changes the actual work involved and warps reality.

But imagine a world without romance; without romance authors. What a bleak world it would be!

No historical romances – no Highlanders brandishing their swords, no ladies looking for love under the strict social rules of the Ton. No pirates running amok and no steampunk soldiers sailing through the air to save society and the man/woman they love.

No contemporary romances – no women finding their true love under the strangest of circumstances; no coincidental meetings or family interference bringing together two souls who need to be togther.

No westerns – no cowboys. ‘Nuff said.

No… well, you get the picture. Imagine a world where there are no romances, no sweeping love stories to show us the possibility of true happiness when we’re feeling down – the promise that out there, somewhere, is your match. And if not for you, then for your friends and family.

A world without romance novels would be without romance.

And what a bleak, hopeless world that would be.

As for me, I’ll continue to write and read romance. I’ll thrill to Tessa Dare‘s Spendor Cove series where women take charge; I’ll race to the store when J.D. Robb‘s Eve and Roarke set out on another case. I’ll hold our breath for every Julie Kenner new release and I’ll threaten anyone who gets between me and the newest Nora Roberts.

Because I think a life’s not really worth living without romance.

And if I can add my voice to it, give one reader a few minutes of happiness in a world where bad news lurks in every corner and on every screen, I’ll do it.

Because I’m a romance author.

And I love to write romance.

Coming October 20th, 2016

Strictly Business

StrictlyBusiness72lgYou can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Hooded Pleasures, Book 1

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.
Warning: Contains a hard-core computer geek with a tender side, and a Domme who can’t afford to expose her greatest weakness—him. Geekery combined with flogging. Enjoy!

Buy Links:
Amazon
B&N
Samhain
iBooks
Google Play
All Romance eBooks

Cover reveal! Strictly Business – Book one of Hooded Pleasures!

I’m thrilled to announce the first cover in my new erotic romance series with Samhain Publishing – I give you Strictly Business, Book One of Hooded Pleasures!

StrictlyBusiness300

You can lead a Domme to love…but you can’t make her fall.

Kate Dubois is a Domme-for-hire for the highly exclusive Hooded Pleasures, a service offering private BDSM sessions to those who can’t—or won’t—risk appearing in an actual club.

Lately, though, she wonders if professional burnout is causing her to have painful flashbacks to a past heartbreak. When her boss insists her next client will be a breath of fresh air, Kate reluctantly agrees to an interview.

Alex Hanson dominates the world of computer game programming, but secretly he suspects he might be a sub in the bedroom. There’s only one good way to find out—hire a professional to show him the ropes.

Their first meeting puts both of them to the test—Alex’s self-control, and Kate’s realization she might just like him a little too much. But there’s no denying their emotions are inextricably entangled…a dangerous step Kate’s not sure her heart is prepared to take.

Coming October 20th from Samhain Publishing!

SamhainLogo-300x125

And there’s two more books on the way!

Strictly Pleasure and Strictly Yours – due to be published in March and May of 2016!

So set aside a little reading time to meet Kate and Alex – you won’t regret it!

But wait… let’s take a look at what Kate Dubois is all about–

StrictlyBusiness72web

Strictly Business

Kate Dubois was bored.

She looked down at the man nuzzling her bare ankle. She’d let him strip off the leather boot after he’d pleaded for the privilege, begged for ten minutes.

His lips ran over her ankle, soft kisses caressing her skin. He sighed as he worshipped her body.

A memory resurfaced of Carl, kneeling at her feet and doing the same. It’d been different, felt different—his body tensed up like a watch wound one twist too tight.

He looked up, and she knew it was over.

Kate gulped.

“Mistress?” Dan looked up at her with wide eyes. “Am I doing something wrong?”

Damn.

“No, pet. You’re perfect.” She reached down and patted his head before tangling her fingers in his long black locks. A gentle tug brought a moan from the kneeling man. “But I don’t recall giving permission for you to speak.” Kate ran her fingers along the leather collar. “Do you?”

The momentary flash of panic in his eyes warmed her heart.

She tapped the leather paddle she held in her left hand against her leg. “I thought not. I think a few strokes should remind you of your manners. Continue your venerations while I make my decision about how many you’ve earned with your disobedience.”

He shook with a mixture of need and fear before bending down.

Kate switched the paddle to her right hand and eyed the already-pink skin on Dan’s exposed behind. She’d worked him over for a good half hour, bending him over his couch like an errant schoolboy.

He could take ten more strokes.

Maybe twenty.

Dan gasped as the black leather snapped against his sensitive skin, but said nothing, continuing to lick and kiss her bare foot.

Nineteen to go.

The soft chime from her phone reminded her she had fifteen minutes left. Kate smiled and continued the count.

Never leave a good job unfinished.

Never leave them fully satisfied.

She’d pulled on her track pants and sweatshirt while Dan was in the washroom, trading her boots for a pair of comfortable sneakers. Most times she could slip her trench coat on over her attire and leave, but it was a bright and sunny day outside and the coat would only raise more questions than it’d quell.

Dan met her at the door, wearing a pair of shorts and with a damp towel around his neck. The leather collar was gone, safely tucked away. He was still munching on the chocolate bar she’d given him during their post-session hugging. His pupils were focused and clear, showing her he’d come back to himself after the intense emotional trip.

“Thank you.” He held out his debit card. “Really needed this today.”

She smiled. “Glad I could help you.”

In another life, Dan was a high-priced lawyer, one of the best in the city. He ran his law firm with an iron grip and was famous for his vicious verbal attacks in court that eviscerated lesser lawyers and their clients.

Here, he was a bad boy needing to be punished and put in his place for imagined slights.

Dan couldn’t go to a regular BDSM club—the danger was too high he’d be recognized. Thus he’d become a client of Hooded Pleasures, the company Kate worked for.

In retrospect, she wondered why no one had thought of doing something like this before. Safe, sane, consensual and all within the privacy of your own home. There were plenty of men and women who wanted the experience but couldn’t or wouldn’t go to a club. Or who wanted the thrill without the relationship.

This was perfect.

She ran his debit card through the slot on her cell phone and handed it back to him. “Two weeks from now, then?”

He nodded, his steely blue eyes a thousand miles away from the meek sub she’d had at her feet earlier. “I have a big murder case coming up. Definitely need the time.”

“I understand.” Kate hefted the duffle bag onto her shoulder, the leather paddle safely tucked away with her other toys. “Please call the switchboard if there’s any change. I’ll see you then.”

He opened the door to let her out. “Nice sweats.”

Kate smiled, going with the joke. “Feel the burn.”

“Next time, then.” Dan raised his voice as Kate walked out into the hall. “Need to work on my cardio.”

It wasn’t for her benefit.

Kate nodded at the nosy little old lady neighbor who peeked out from two doors down.

Mrs. Henderson never missed a chance to eavesdrop on what happened on her floor.

Good thing Dan enjoyed the ball gag.

And another one bites the dust… again…

Recently another small publisher announced they’d be closing – Breathless Press. The news came to me via two routes – the first being via a fellow author on Facebook who discovered that instead of spending today preparing for the new release of her latest book she’ll be worrying about getting her titles back from BP and what to do with them. The second came via a thread in the Bewares forum at the Absolute Write website where the various problems of this particular publisher had been discussed for months.

It’s a strange time to be an author. While there’s more ways to be published than ever before thanks to the rise of small publishers and the ability to self-publish there’s also many, many more ways to have your heart broken when the celestial wheel spins over and crushes you at the bottom.

Not all small presses are bad. Not all big publishers are bad. Not all self-publishers are bad. But there’s enough of a flux in the industry right now that I don’t think there’s any absolutes anyone can lean on. That small press you’re looking at might fold in a year – your large publisher might be bought out by a competitor in a few months and your literary line discontinued; your self-publishing debut could be lost in the flood of new releases coming out from good and not-so-good authors as we all rush to the public screaming for readers.

As an author it’s hard to know what to do. But the best we can do for ourselves and for our friends and family who have to deal with us when we’re running around the house screaming and ranting is to do our research. Be diligent no matter what path you take; research who’s offering that helping hand and don’t be afraid to back off if your inner gut is telling you to beware.

Check out that small press looking for submissions. That agent who approached you on Twitter thanks to a pitch you made one day. That big publisher offering you a contract because you got yanked out of the slush pile. That editing service looking to help you get that new novel out via self-publishing.

Sure – research can be messy and take time. A good place to start is the Absolute Write forum and Writer Beware – don’t be afraid to ask around and see what experiences others have had with your possible partners. Do the Google, do the asking. Yes it’s still possible that you’ll end up running into the field to scream at the stars but if you’ve done your research at least you’ll have the consolation of knowing you did the best you could with the information you had.

And in the end that’s maybe the best we can all do for ourselves and others as authors – speak up if you see small publishers doing wrong, sing out if you see author services abusing those who they claim to want to help. Send your thoughts to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware if you don’t want to speak up publically.

But let’s be careful out there. Right now I sense the whole publishing world is in a wee bit of a flux and no one really has all the answers. And anyone who tells you otherwise is probably looking to dip into your pockets somehow…

How I stopping worrying and learned to love NASCAR

nas-1Right off the top I’ll admit it – I know nothing about cars. To me they’re all boxes with four wheels that go WHEE! along the road and that’s it. I’m a careful driver, a nervous driver who is more likely to stay in the slow lane for fifty miles than tempt fate by passing a tractor-trailer. So when I discovered that I liked NASCAR I wondered exactly how and why.

Then it hit me.

NASCAR is the best novel ever.

Follow me, if you will, down the warped roads of this old writer’s mind.

NASCAR isn’t about the racing. Let’s face it – it’s “turn left, turn left, turn left and repeat” over and over again. The safety factors are such that (thankfully!) crashes are much less dangerous than they used to be and TPTB are constantly trying to keep the drivers and their crews safe from harm.

It’s the drama.

Oh, Lordy… the drama!

It’s like the BEST SOAP OPERA EVER.

Who’s the bad guy this season? Brad Keselowski? Is he going to get into fisticuffs with Jeff Gordon again? With Gordon retiring this year who’s going to take over the Grand Old Man position?

Danica-Patrick-Ricky-Stenhouse-Jr.-are-datingRomance? I give you Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – sweet lovebirds who don’t mind brawling on the track and smooching in the trailers. And Danica? A woman kicking butt in a man’s world? This was MADE for the bookshelves, people!

New young kids kicking butt and taking names, coming up the ranks and threatening the status quo. Brawls on and off the track, angry words tossed around in the post-game interviews.

It’s not about the racing, folks.. at least not for me.

It’s all about the drama.

So I’m going to be watching it this year more than ever, following the stories and enjoying the tension.

And hoping my girl Danica grabs the checkered flag!

So if you’ve ever thought about checking out NASCAR… maybe it’s not about the racing.

Maybe.

Orson Scott Card and me…

There’s been a kerfluffle lately about Orson Scott Card being hired by DC to write a new Superman comic – In a nutshell, Card’s an outspoken opponent of gay marriage and people really aren’t happy about him doing pretty well anything, much less lending his voice to one of the great American icons. I suspect it’s probably because they’re afraid he’ll portray Superman as anti-gay, or at least intolerant of others. (like this comic here!)

Me… I’m sort of betwix and between. While I respect the fact that people are going to have opposing opinions on things that, to me, would seem darned simple, they have the right to be wrong. It’s part of that whole freedom thang…

But… I’m also leery of the warning it presents – that as an author I must be constantly aware of what I say and do in public because it CAN come back to bite me. That’s one of the reasons you really don’t find much of my personal life in these posts or the ones on other blogs or on my Facebook page – I really don’t want to put out too much of my life in case people disagree with my views and my stories become overshadowed by my personal beliefs.

Take Card, for example. I can’t re-read Ender’s Game now without knowing where he’s coming from and wondering if I’m missing some subtle subtext in here against homosexuality. Or if the money I paid for the book is going to fund some anti-gay marriage group. In the end it’s easier just to NOT buy the book than to worry about it.

I’d like to think that one’s literary works should supercede their personal lives. I don’t need to know about J.D. Robb’s life outside of her writing and I don’t need to know who’s zooming who at the Hugo Awards. What I want is my stories to be enjoyed (hopefully) for what they are, not because I’m Catholic (extremely lapsed) or Canadian (10+yrs in the US, however) or married.

So… I’m not sure what to make of this Card thang. I can see both sides but I still don’t know what the right decision is. I *do* know that it’s a reminder to keep a close eye on what I put out there about me because I don’t want my works to be judged by my values or lack thereof.

Time for tea.

“Claws Bared” excerpt!

ClawsBaredFinalWe’re right on the edge of the release date for “Claws Bared“, book two in the “Blood of the Pride” series!

Here’s a little tidbit to get your mouth watering for this next episode with Reb and Bran!

*****

The bar door opened.

A man walked in and headed for the bar, strong hard strides across the hardwood floor in work boots that had seen better days.

He slid onto the stool beside me, his Felis scent splashing everywhere. Tall, blond and about five years younger than I was.

One finger went up, getting the bartender’s attention immediately. “Red Rock.”

He turned toward me and smiled, deep blue eyes daring me to fall into them.

I felt like I’d been punched in the chest. Felis may not technically be cats but we sure as hell could be cougars.

“Trace Bryson.” He held out his hand.

I took it, relishing the cool thrill running over my skin before reality chased it away. It wasn’t a coincidence he’d walked in here and sat next to me.

“Green truck?”

He slipped his hand out of mine, the calloused fingers falling away.
“Yep. That’s mine.”

His beer arrived just in time to let him stall for a second to sip the cool brew.

I allowed myself a scowl. “My shadow.”

He took another mouthful and swirled it around, thin lips curving into a smile. “Yep.”

I sipped my coffee. “If I told you to go to hell would it make a difference?”

He shook his head. His blond hair was just long enough for a woman to get a good grip.

“I hate to tell a beautiful lady like yourself ‘no,’ but…” He spread his hands. “You wouldn’t want me to get into trouble with my uncle, right?”

My heart sank. “McCallum.”

Trace smiled, showing bright white teeth. “Yep.” His tongue flicked out and ran over his lower lip. “Gotta do what the Board says.”

“That’s really beginning to annoy me,” I growled. “So what are your orders?”

He leaned back, the well-worn jean shirt tight on his frame. “Follow, watch, seduce… Oh, wait, I wasn’t supposed to say that one out loud.”

I didn’t smile.

**********

“Claws Bared” comes out on January 21st but you can pre-order it here at Amazon and here at B&N – along with, of course, Carina Press!

And if you haven’t picked up “Blood“… come on over and take a look!

NaNoWriMo and You! #Nanowrimo

As we rush towards November again I thought I’d share a few thoughts about National Novel Writing Month and how I’ve done it – and survived!

Both “Blaze of Glory” and “Blood of the Pride” started off as NaNo projects and later on became successful series with two different publishers – so it can be done and done well!

The trick, of course, is how to do it well… so here are my tips on how to survive November!

1)      Speed is Life.

It’s very easy to look at the calendar and do the math. 50K words divided by 30 days is 1667 words a day, right?

WRONG.

Yes, in theory that’s right. 30 x 1667 will give you the right number of words… but let’s be honest – that isn’t going to work.

November is a month of pre-holiday insanity. In addition to the American Thanksgiving ripping four days out of the calendar (depending on your celebrations) there’s also Black Friday for the rabid shoppers.

You don’t really have thirty days.

You *might* have twenty days if you pull out the weekends (because most people get busy on weekends with family and oh, that turkey thing, and don’t get their word allotment for the day.

So don’t just do 1667 words a day and kick back. If you can do more, DO MORE.  Write until you drop so you have a safety cushion in case (and when) you lose a day. Don’t get caught playing catch-up because you don’t need the stress.

And you can always just go out for Thanksgiving dinner, right?

2)      No, It’s Not Ready for PrimeTime.

We all know the horror stories – come December 1st the publishers and agents find their email boxes stuffed with queries and outlines for the Best Novel Evah that’s just been completed a few hours earlier.

Do I really have to point out the obvious? Yes, “Blaze of Glory” was a NaNo project but it was nowhere near ready for submission. It took a year’s worth of editing plus a R&R to get it into shape and accepted by Samhain Publishing.

Your special snowflake of a novel is not ready. I don’t care how many character charts you filled out or how complex you drew the map of your fantasy world or how in-depth your outline is.

It’s. Not. Ready.

Put it in a drawer and enjoy the holidays. Mark down on the calendar for January 2nd to pull it out and look at it with a fresh eye and start editing.

And, really – why ruin so many peoples’ holiday? Trust me, publishers and agents are busy enough through December without having to slog through a virtual CN Tower of novels, queries and outlines from NaNo winners. They have enough from their regular authors and clients to worry about.

3)      Don’t get swallowed up with the hype.

It’s easy to get sucked into the Internet; it’s the monster under the bed grabbing at every writer’s ankles. We check the email, we check our websites, we check our rankings, we check our Facebook and Twitter, we check our email… we go back to check on the NaNo boards about who’s in our area, who’s in our city, who’s in our state and check on local write-ins and can we get there and chat and check our email…

You get the idea.

And while NaNoWriMo offers a GREAT amount of support both in the forums and through local writing groups it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the chitchat and forget the main reason for being here.

Writing.

When I was in Second Life there were active groups who would invite writers to put their virtual avatars in a spot and plonk away at a virtual typewriter with others. With a scoreboard to put your word count into it was a great support group and let you go into another world to do your writing.

But as with all things it was easy to get distracted and away from the word count. And as we all know, getting those words down is the one single important thing about this entire writing exercise.

So keep visiting the boards, keep hanging out on the virtual caravan – but don’t forget that they’re all there to support you FINISHING THAT NOVEL. Not to let you make new friends and recruit possible beta readers or clients or readers.

4)      Don’t Panic.

It’s very easy to fall behind the first few days or weeks and begin panicking, tossing your arms up in the air and declaring the month a write-off and a waste and you’re a failure as a writer and…

Stop.

Just. Stop.

Panicking, that is. Not writing.

Keep. Writing.

Say you get sidetracked and only manage 200 words a day instead of over a thousand. Say it takes you three months instead of one to finish that first draft.

It’s Okay.

It’s OKAY to take longer than thirty days to do your first draft. Life has a way of tossing crap our way that can get in the way of getting 50K in 30 days.

But that doesn’t mean you stop writing. That means you keep writing into December and into January and as long as it takes to finish the book. You’ve done the work, created the world and written the outline and given birth to the characters – and now you’re going to leave them because of a lousy word count.

Don’t.

NaNo is a great way to give your writing a kick in the pants but it’s all about the long run – the editing, the rewriting and then the query letter, the submission and then more rewriting and editing. Don’t lose sight of the goal because you tripped over a hard word count and can’t finish it by December 1st.

Go forth and write, peeps.

And keep on writing!