Friday, July 27, 2012

TIE ME DOWN, new cover love for shibari master, # 2 in my series KNIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER

Lickilicious, oui?
Rancher Case Turner is a shibari master and his ideas to tie down luscious attorney Samantha Marlowe are useful arbitration!
Release date at Ellora's Cave, TBD!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sassy 7 Readers convention like no other!

Ever attended a convention with BDSM demo, sex toy demo and male strippers?
Say wha? Did not hear you. I know you've attended lots of conventions in your day. My 9-5 type conferences focused on financial planners. Stock brokers. Team bonding. TOTAL SNORES, right?
But I have one for you that you won't EVER FORGET!
The Sassy Seven's Naughty Sleepover in February in San Antonio at The Menger Hotel.
And for ladies who want to have a great weekend, laughing and learning about stuff that perhaps you've not known too much about before, this is your weekend. In a safe environment. Controlled. Only with other women.
Women who read erotica.
Women who write it.
Women who enjoy getting away from their significant others and maybe taking home a bit of knowledge to spice up their love life.
And if that cake needs icing, we have all of this:

  • GIVEAWAYS of books and bling.
  • A great little city that you can safely walk in. 
  • A hotel, historic and comfortable, as well as affordable.
  • The Alamo across the street, just in case you need a shot of history with your strippers, BDSM demo, line dancing, fun games and Tex-Mex dining. 
  • A conference fee that includes 4 meals and one Chocolate Extravaganza.
  • Authors to schmooze with.
  • Editors to pitch your story idea to!
  • Sassy Seven babes who are giving away tee shirts, books, bling of their own!
  • Raffle baskets.
  • (Yes, you will need another suitcase cuz your carry-on will NOT hold all this!)
  • And love.
  • So what are you waiting for?
  • Got to 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things: Plots and a giveaway!

Some plots just trip our switches.  To launch a new blog series about my favorite things, I thought plots the best place to start.
What are mine?
My Marriage of Convenience plot,
Regency style!

I love a marriage of convenience. People who decide or who are forced to marry for a reason neither likes, but for some other reason must give in to is one where I get to savor a conflict that many experience.
Some wed for fortune. Others because they are blinded by fame. Others because they mistake friendship for love. And still others because they mistake lust for love.
Working out these troubles in a romance is a joy to read for me. A joy to write for me, too.
Here are a few of my favorite buddies’ plots. And yes, all are members of the Sassy Seven!
First up, Desiree Holt! (
“I like a kickass woman who meets an alpha male in a thriller of a story. As they fight over who protects whom, they fall in lust and then in love.
"Another favorite is when old friends reconnect after many year."
My pal, Regina Carlysle ( says, “My favorite all-time plot line is friends who become lovers. I just think it's sweet and I love seeing two people realize they are 'more' than what they'd thought.
“Call me a sap but I also love stories where the heroine is insecure about one thing or another and through the love of the hero, she learns that she is GREAT just as she is. So many times, writers believe their heroines should be 'picture perfect' but let's face it, nobody really IS. I love to see the heroine re-discover herself and like who she is.
“I also love stories about heroines/heroes who have had some tough knocks in life but through the love and acceptance of hero (and often his friends and family) she finds home and support.”
Friend Brenna Zinn ( declares, “I like the angst. Woman can't stand man.  Man feels the same way.  Angst is high and there's loads of sharp banter.  But their attraction is as strong as the angst and they can't deny their feelings.  They give in to lust, then quickly find they can't be without each other.  They are two halves of a whole.
My second favorite is where the man truly loves the woman and I get to read through all of his thoughts and feelings about her.  He does what he can to step up to the plate and win over the woman of his dreams.”
Sassy 7 buddy, Nicole Austin ( says, “I love stories where the hero and heroine are total opposites, they just clash, but all that intense clashing creates undeniable passion. A passion neither can ignore for long. Where there's smoke.
I adore a kick ass heroine who is equal to the alpha male in every way. They don't need to be coddled or taken care of. In fact, they are more likely to save his ass when he does something stupid.
My favorite have to be heroines who go against societal conventions. Whether it be in a historical where the woman refuses to be quiet and demure while sitting and doing needle work all day or a modern story where she's going against rules set for her by men, such as the corporate glass ceiling. She not only crashes through that ceiling, she obliterates it so other women aren't limited by the damn thing.
“Yes, the common denominator is strong women! IMHO, there's nothing worse than a whiny heroine who can't take care of herself and must have a man do it for her.”
Oh, AMEN, Nic!
Now, what are your favorite plots?
Tell us! And to one who comments, I will give away one of mine of your choice!!!
And do Get Naughty with all 7 of us Sassy ones at our NAUGHTY SLEEPOVER in February. (

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Welcome, David Russell and SELF BLOSSOM!

Hello to David Russell who has sent us a few great reviews for his books!
Self's Blossom
Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to ‘spread their wings’ and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other’s minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other’s depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even does into ‘dreamscape’, making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced …

Self's Blossom
This is about a young woman's self-discovery. Selene is a 'success story', having become a top journalist, while retaining her dazzling looks. However, in the past she has had unhappy relationships, and feels she has missed out on hedonistic fun.  This she obtains, firstly with a young stranger on a beach, and finally with enigmatic Hudson: tryst is preceded by cultural tourism, and careful sizing up of minds. Afterwards Selene returns to her 'I stand on my own' attitude.
While she is on holiday, her mind is free to ramble, often into Selene's chequered past. Flashback blurs into the present, past-rooted interior monologue into direct observation. The dialogue is sparse. Selene is a cautious, premeditative type, in whom thought, reflection and analysis outweigh direct action.
Selene’s subtle, monitoring mind coolly observes and controls all the events. Maybe she is super-confident, or perhaps has a deep, underlying insecurity. She is many things to many readers.

Newly divorced and looking for interesting new experiences, Janice takes an art class with live models and the star makes her want more than a coincidental meeting. Art model, Cedric, thinks he knows the lady from somewhere when he sees her again at the pool. Body language says a lot and chance meetings lead to a desire for more. Will Janice ask Cedric over for a private modeling job and will he accept?
This short is all about rediscovering oneself – mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually. Janice and Cedric, who have both been in stale relationships, cross paths a few times before deciding that they both want more from themselves, for their lives. Determined to take a risk Janice makes her move, leading to sexual explorations with Cedric.
I liked Janice. I think she represents a lot of women who find themselves in a position of not being where they want to be in life or even who they want to be. Her feelings rang true, making this story seem more real and her risks even more worthwhile. I also like how Russell writes from Cedric’s point of view as well. I like being able to see where each character has come from, and how each character reacts to the same situation. I found Explorations to be a great read and very satisfying.
 Further Explorations , by David Russell, takes up where the first book, Explorations , left off. Janice and Cedric, who are recently divorced, have enjoyed their passionate interlude. They have experienced a rejuvenation of spirit but both are still striving for that transformation of self; to shed the constraints of their old lives and become the person each secretly desires to be. Their interlude was just the beginning of that transformation and although there are some misgivings and reluctance they agree to go their separate ways to experience all that life has to offer. 

During their time apart they keep in contact via email. They each encounter financial and career success which allows them to seek out the pleasures they had missed out on while in their respective marriages. Each shares a passionate encounter with another and learns more about what they like in the opposite sex. As well they learn much about what the other seeks. 
As the story approaches the end Janice and Cedric meet again. 

My Thoughts…
This is not a conventional contemporary romance novel. That is, it’s not a typical romance where boy meets girl, they split apart and realize in the end they are passionately in love with each other. Please don’t take that to mean that I didn’t like the book because I certainly did. It’s very thought provoking and explores the relation between aspiration / illusion and reality. What is real and what is not? Janice and Cedric aspire to transform themselves and experience all that life has to offer. Each is convinced that transformation has taken place. The average on-looker would have to agree. But is it real or is it all just an illusion?

Anna James

Therapy Rapture
4.5/5 Stars
I have been reviewing David Russell’s work the past couple of days, and I must say that I have saved the best for last. Therapy Rapture is one of the most eclectic short stories I have come across. It combines a short story, art, and poetry. Crazy cool, huh?
Our male protagonist has an issue separating fantasy from reality. Throw in a therapist and a fitness trainer, and we have all the hot makings of a sensual read. After reading a few of Russell’s short stories, I see that he has an eye for romance and subtle details. His character lives in the moment, and each movement is filed with emotion and meaning. This builds quite the anticipation for lovemaking. And speaking of lovemaking, David has a soft hand for these types of scenes, preferring to keep the erotic details hidden. I find it refreshing and alluring.
I also really enjoyed how Russell changed up things a little with artwork and poetry. It was an unexpected break from the usual short stories, and one I liked very much. After reviewing Russell’s work over the past couple of days, I’ve come to know his work as truly unique. His writing is very abstract, sophisticated, and sensual, and I highly recommend Therapy Rapture!

My Dream of Madonna/An Ecstatic Rendezvous is two short stories written by author, David Russell.
The first story, My Dream of Madonna is about a dream the character had about his desire to be a sex object for Madonna - the pop singer. The story overall is a little weird but does have some sensual elements. The author's use of description in this story clearly shows that the story is a complete fantasy as it sometimes did not make sense and appeared very unrealistic. I understood the use of
references to songs by Madonna and even flamboyant scenes that appeared to act out scenes from her videos, but it sometimes made this story a little off-balanced.
The second story, An Ecstatic Rendezvous was actually more enjoyable and had more sensual elements. It was about a very handsome but shy man who yearned to have a one night stand with a sexy woman. One day he decided to step out of his comfort zone and gained enough courage to ask a girl out. Their sexual encounter was interesting. I liked the imagination that flowed with this
story. It showed how he overcame his shyness to live out his fantasy for at least one time.
Overall, both stories were "non-traditional" in terms of each story line, and sometimes appeared a little exaggerated as it seemed that both stories explore a man's fantasy about being intimate with a special female lover. What I liked about both stories is that is shows how
fantasies and dreams can sometimes be ambiguous and unclear but can make sense at the same time.
This ebook would be an interesting read for someone who is looking for something different.
Natasha Brooks

Find moe about him at Goodreads:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Corsets and Pinterest, do you pin?

French, late 17th century

Two weeks ago, my buddy and Sassy 7 gal, Nicole Austin, sent me an invitation to join Pinterest. I accepted, saying to self, another way to promote, and asking self, How Much Time will this one cost me?
But I am here to wave and shout and declare I am a convert!
Why? Cuz wow, I love being able to declare my interests by clicking.
Sounds weird, but I like it! And to my delight, I have folks who follow me!
1864-, American
1880, European. Silk.
Aside from astonishingly lovely pix of MEN (alleluia!) and couples in a clinch, I have a great time with finding vintage or museum quality attire that I crave to put into my historicals.
Looks painful!

Approx. 1775, French.
I have found items at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (one of my favorite museums especially for their medieval armor collection but also these) and at local museums which have been so kind as to post their priceless treasures.
Do join me on Pinterest, or as they say, FOLLOW ME! Here:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Very Teriyaki: quick yummy sauce, inexpensive, too!

All those sauces in the endless condiment aisles?
As Cee Lo says, (almost) Forget them!
Buying these ingredients means you have the makings for quick teriyaki (or to-die-for BBQ sauce) anytime.
And if you buy the largest bottle/bag of any of these whenever you can, you are saving BIG BUCKS.
She's a cook.
He's an Italian
with a craving for delicious things.
What to buy?
For teriyaki:
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Brown Sugar (I buy raw organic)
Ginger, ground
Cayenne, ground or
Chinese Red Pepper/Hot Sauce
Chinese mustard, prepared

For BBQ sauce:
Bottled BBQ sauce (any kind will do because you will doctor it up)
Worcestershire sauce
Soy Sauce
Brown Sugar
Yellow mustard or brown

The recipes?
For every cup of Soy Sauce, add
1T. Sesame Oil
1/4 c. of Honey
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1 t. each of ginger, cayenne or red pepper sauce, and Chinese mustard

BBQ Sauce:
For every cup of bottled sauce, add
1 T. Worcestershire and Soy Sauce
1/4 c. of Honey and 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 t. cayenne, tumeric
2 T. yellow mustard

Add a small can of crushed pineapple now and then for a Hawaiian flavor change!
Add garlic? You bet! To your taste. Mince and it will cook with the chicken.
Add salt? I don't because there is so much in the soy, but have at it if you like yours briny.

For chicken wings: marinate wings for 1 hour in sauce. Set over at 400 degrees and every 12 minutes remove them and baste.  Total of 35-45 minutes, depending on how big your chicken pieces are. Let cool in the sauce. It gets gooey and delicious, clinging to the chicken.

For baby back ribs, too?
Sure. But cook at 375 degrees, longer and slower!
Finger licking great stuff!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I write about Cowboys, ranchers and Texas Rangers!

Yep. I live in Texas and I live, breathe and meet Texas men every day of my life here.
I didn't always live here, breathe here, meet Texas men anywhere!
But I do love 'em.
Tall, short, slim or beefy, these guys have the corner on taking the bull by the horns! (mixed metaphor, yes.)
Why do I like them?
Let me count the ways:

1. I love their humor. Quick. Pithy. Wicked. They are funnier than a one armed cheerleader at the championship game. Always. (Comes from trying to eek out a living pounding desert and rocks!)
2. I love their hats. Big. Black. White. Tall. Gambler. Stetson. Resistol. Does not matter. Every man looks good in a hat. Tanned. Hard. Pale eyed specimens of testosterone.  Most are just plain beeee-u-tiful!
3. I love their hips. Lean. Muscular. ‘Nuf said.
4. I love their Friday night pressed- for-the-dance-hall jeans. A man hasta look like he’s courtin’!
5. I love that they know how to dance! Hot damn! The men here know how to do the Two Step and line dance. Give me a man like that, puleese, for a few spins around the floor.
6. I love that they open car doors and other doors. They take their hat off to you and darn, if they don’t smile and say, “Howdy, ma’am.”
Get to know a few of my cowboys and sheriffs and ranchers, would you?
My newest is a ménage a quatre, ROPE ME IN from EC. Three brothers, ranchers and business men especially when they sell themselves as a group to one lucky woman!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Life is NOT a Bowl of Cherries with Lisabet Sarai with prize to one commenter!

Please welcome prolific, wonderful author Lisabet Sarai!

I don't know why it is, but when I sit down to write M/M erotic romance, I seem to end up with stories that are pretty serious. My previous M/M novel Necessary Madness featured scenes in a psychiatric hospital, attempted suicide, murder, and gruesome black magic rituals. Now I've got a new M/M book, and it's even darker – set in a dystopic near future in a United States that's been battered by natural disasters, lost a third of its population to disease, and is now governed by a shadowy totalitarian cabal called the Guardians of American Greatness. The first part of the tale is set in a bleak prison camp in the arid wastelands of eastern Oregon. Later the action moves to the half-ruined, Plague-ravaged metropolis of Sanfran, where vicious cyber-guards patrol the debris-strewn streets and no one can be trusted. 

A lot of gay romance on the market is light and playful. I have one M/M novella (Crossed Hearts) in that category. Mostly, though, when I write M/M I seem to be hyper-aware of the obstacles to happiness homosexual lovers still face. Homophobia is alive and well. Every day men are beaten, even killed, because they're gay. Every day, gay men commit suicide out of loneliness, desperation or shame. There are still countries in the world where sex with a member of your own gender is a capital crime and even in more civilized countries, gays rarely have the same rights as heterosexuals. 

I really hope my readers don't find Quarantine too dark. The way I see it, my heroes' love blazes all the more brightly when set against the somber background of post-Plague America. 


When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.

Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay epidemic spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centres like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defences.

Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.

Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?
Excerpt (Rated X): All rights reserved. Copyright 2012, Lisabet Sarai

Somehow he and Rafe made it up to their room, tore off their clothing, and collapsed on the bed in each other’s arms. The mattress rocked beneath him like a boat pitched about by a storm. He was safe, though, held tight against Rafe’s solid chest, feeling the swell and dip of Rafe’s breathing. His legs tangled with Rafe’s muscle-corded thighs. Rafe was hard and strong, a man of ebony and steel, yet his lips were tender and pillow-soft as they nuzzled Dylan’s earlobe.

I love you,” the black man murmured. “You’re my life now.” 

Me, too.” Dylan’s words slurred but the emotions were crystal clear. “I love you too.” 

Rafe lavished gentle kisses on his eyelids, his cheeks, his jaw, licking his face like a mother cat. When he claimed Dylan’s lips, though, the usual urgency burned in their connection. 

Dylan tasted the fine whisky they’d both consumed, a sweetness edged with darker accents. More intoxicated than ever, he drank deep of his lover’s flavour. Rafe’s potent scent drowned him—long-dried sweat, ripe musk and a hint of semen from Kevin’s sheets. Blood rushed to swell his cock. Rafe’s fingers gripped his ass. He pulled Dylan’s pelvis against his groin, batting Dylan’s erection with his own massive rod. 

Dylan’s belly grew slippery with pre-cum—Rafe’s and his own, intermingled. He hooked one leg around Rafe’s thighs to draw him closer. The black man’s mouth was still sealed to his own. Rafe would back off for a moment to nibble Dylan’s lip, then plunge his tongue back down Dylan’s throat, taking full control.  

Dylan relaxed into the fierce embrace, more than willing to let Rafe take what he wanted. The black man’s cock, trapped between their bodies, felt huge. Dylan’s imagination ran fast forward to the moment when Rafe would flip him over and impale him. He couldn’t wait much longer. He could already feel the perfect, tearing ecstasy when the fat bulb pushed past his entrance, the ache of fullness as Rafe settled in his depths.


I want to thank Cerise for having me as her guest. This post today is part of my Quarantine blog tour, which will run  through the 24th of July. I'll be giving away an ebook to one commenter at each stop on the tour. So leave a comment – and don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you!

I'll also be choosing one commenter from the entire tour to win the grand prize – a $50 All Romance Ebooks gift certificate. Meanwhile, all comments at my own blog Beyond Romance ( during the tour will also go into the drawing for the gift certificate. 

You'll find the schedule for the tour in my July newsletter:

You can check out the intense Quarantine trailer here! And if you're interested in getting your own copy of Quarantine, just go to Total-E-Bound (! 

Bio: More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published four single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS. 

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory ( or her blog Beyond Romance ( 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Search Engine Optimization: HOW TO by Ann Everett! You need this info!

         What the heck is SEO and what does it mean to me? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and this is Wikipedia’s definition: SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or web page in search engines’ natural or un-paid search results.
     For instance, my website, has a blog, pictures, events calendar, and info about me and my book. So, what if you’re looking for a book that is a humorous, romance mystery? How in the heck will I ever get you to my page?
     If you know my name or the title of my book and you type either one into the search bar, BAM! I’ll come up all over that first page, but what about all those people looking for humor books, or southern books, or Texas books? That’s where the SEO comes in and it all has to do with KEYWORDS.
     As an author, I want Texas, humor, southern, connected to my website and book in order to be listed on the first page in the random search. Does that make sense? It’s very important to have the right key words connected to your site/book or product/business, etc.
     Okay, where do you find these key words? Do you just come up with some on your own?  You could, but how do you know they’re good key words?
     For example, let’s take the word romance. My book is a romance mystery, so that should be a great key word for me, right? Nope. Romance is searched approximately 13,600,000 times each month, which gives my book a competition of 363,000,000 of coming up on the first page of the search.      WOW!
Ann (SEO) Everett!
    You want your key words to be low in random searches, allowing your book/website/business/product a better chance of appearing on the first page, or at least on one of the first three pages. I’ve heard people will only look at the first three pages of a search, so if you’re not there, you will never be seen.
     According to  search engines “crawl” web sites, going from one page to another incredibly quickly, acting like hyperactive text scanners. They make copies of your pages, which get stored in what’s called an “index,” which is like a big book of the web.
When someone searches, the search engine flips through this big book that it has created, finds all the relevant pages and then picks out what it thinks are the very best ones to show first.
     Check out the link below. Here you can type in a description of your book and it will choose some keywords for you. As an example, I typed in southern humorous romance mystery. The list I got included: humorous book, comedy, southern, humor, humor book, humorous books, laugh-out-loud, good humor books, southern humor and a few more. Once the word list appears, it will have the word low listed by the selections. That means your competition is low and those should be good words for you.
     Now, once you have your words, how do you use them? Use a couple of them in everything you write. For instance on Twitter and Facebook, I post a Talkin’ Twang quote. When I do, I hash tag a couple of my keywords at the end of the quote.
     Talkin’ Twang for today: You can tell the minute a man touches you if it’s for his benefit or yours. #southern #humor
     When I thank someone for following me, I say. Thanks for following a #Texas girl…or #southern girl.
     If you blog or post other places and they have a place for tags, try to use some of your key words. Of course they need to be relevant to your post.
     You can also link other sites to your site and that will also help to get people there.
     Gee, and you thought writing the book and getting published was the hard part!!
     Man, so did I!
Follow Ann on Twitter @Talkin Twang
Find more marketing info at Ann’s blog
Friend Ann on Facebook @ Ann Everett’s author page
Purchase Ann’s book/books on or her website
Current title available: LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT

Ann Everett’s bio:
Creator of the White-Trash-Face-Lift, halter tops, and beer-bling bracelets, Ann Everett is a native Texan and award winning short story author.
For many years, Ann enjoyed doing stand-up comedy for businesses, corporations, and non-profit organizations.
Ann writes laugh-out-loud romance mysteries, with the perfect combination of Southern Sass and Texas Twang.
Ann lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas with her “current” husband of 45 years, where she’s busy adding to her line of White-Trash beauty and fashion, as well as working on a cookbook and her third novel.

Monday, July 9, 2012

History, its uses and joys for the author

     As a trained historian, I get a kick out of using history in my novels to point up truths. One of my main "causes" is to paint with words the truth of the past. Here, to the left, is an artist who "paints" as a sculptor. His truth about the fate of the American Indian is in every line of this huge sculpture in Oklahoma City's National Cowboy Museum. This picture really does it no justice. The magnificence of it can be breath-taking. Not only in the Indian's posture but his face, and of course, the horse is a perfect complement to his despair. I have never written an American historical western, but living in Texas where the very air vibrates with cowboy culture and a rich past, I now embark on writing one.
This will be a history of the families that settled my fictitious town of Bravado, which I populate in present day for my KNIGHTS IN BLACK LEATHER series for EC. The first of those is ROPE ME IN and the second, in edits as we speak, is TIE ME DOWN.
In this historical, I will focus on the Comanche, a tribe that lived in south Texas and is known even today as wild, ruthless toward the Anglos and Tejanos who took their land and their livelihood.
When you hear about Indians who were merciless to their Anglo captives, usually it is the Comanche who set the standard for that.
Texans were so determined to wipe out the Comanche that today, few Indians live in the Lone Star State. In fact, only the Kickapoo have a reservation near Eagle Pass along the Rio Grande. They do run a casino there and it is profitable. Not too far from the bridge to Mexico, this casino is one of the must see stops on any tour of the Rio Grande border with Texas.
The link to the casino is here:

Friday, July 6, 2012

50 Shades/30 Years: Part III

MAN CANDY: My nominee for Mr. Grey!
Reading 50 Shades of Grey, I know NOW why it has broken so many records. Aside from the marvelous (utterly spectacular word of mouth this series has obtained), the initial PR campaign must have been a hum-dinger. I saw the first press and was stunned by its claims of the books' originality, but that aside, the campaign really is/was a superior one to reach the depth and breadth of the romance and women's fiction market.

But on to my rationale for the success of 50 Shades and its sequels!
Dividing its qualities into 3 criteria, I will say, wow, for an author who claims to have written nothing else before this, she got it 50 Shades of RIGHT.


Let's begin with Part One or Writing Romance, 101: The Conventions the Author Employed.
1. The couple meet accidentally. Or as some call this, the cute meet-up.
This adds to tension and points up each person's motivation clearly.

2. The balance of power between male and female is uneven. In this case, we have the Alpha male who is rich, accomplished, suave, detached and articulate. And SMUG. We have Our Heroine who is younger, unaccomplished, naive in many ways, not dumb or poor but less advantaged than he.

3. Our Heroine is a (gasp!) virgin. No, we do not know that for a long loooong time. In fact, we do not learn this until Our Hero, gasping himself at the revelation, learns the fact. Makes us like her for her guts, even if her brains are in her panties.

4. We have a heroine who is clearly attracted to Our Hero. Yes, I know. Who would not be, right? BUT she has misgivings. Hey, wouldn't we all when meeting a man like this! We learn her misgivings, approach-avoidance extraordinaire! We learn them in copious detail. This, as we authors know, is part of her Big Decision to move forward with the affair or not. If she refuses, we have no book. Ergo, sum.

5. As she deliberates her Big Decision, we see Our Hero as a dynamic character who changes, adapts to her and (OMG!) grows, and not just in the physical sense. Ahem! In other words, he becomes more human, less caricature, and more believable.
Trust me, you will get sucked in.
(No euphemism implied there.)
Bottom line: He becomes a man who might be worth Our Heroine's time and energy, as well as the loss of her virginity.

6. We see, hear, feel, smell Our Heroine falling in love with this guy. Okay, so we want to wave a flag at her, send up flares that say, Honey, Beware. But in a romance, the heroine never listens. Because in a romance, we are promised the Big Bang. No not that BB. The HEA.

7. Happily Ever After, or its less enduring version, Happy For Now, is what a romance gives you at the  end of all this angst and growth and sensuous scenes of men and women being happy in their sexuality and their relationships!
Here, you get a dose of HFN and you hope for HEA. I leave it to you to read and see which and what and why, because I don't want to provide a spoiler in what is a technical dissection of this book.


Yes, wait, there is more that makes this book/premise work as a romance and as an erotic novel: This is Part Two: The Types of Presentation the Author Used.
1. The prose is written from the heroine's POV. This establishes the link between Our Heroine and the Reader, who is most often expected to be a female.

2. The prose is written in that most dramatic of POVs: first person.
Like the fabulous novel JANE EYRE, gothic predecessors of our romances wrote in this voice. Why? When expertly done with fast paced plotting and verbs (please god, let their be wonderful active verbs) first person is vibrant and immediate. It is a strong, knock you over the head kind of presentation. You cannot escape her thoughts, her actions, her needs.
Erotica is all about the "I" and this style delivers the drama of it.

3. As if that power were not enough, the author capitalizes on it by writing in the Present Tense.
Nothing is more immediate, more demanding of a reader's attention that the drama of strong verbs delivered in the present tense. Few can write this way. Few even try. Captured by a story that rolls out in front of you, as we speak, if you will, present tense is undeniably gripping use of verb tense.
The author of 50 chooses her verbs wit hthe precision of a scalpel. You are skewered and driven to read more and more and more.

PART THREE: A Few Extraneous Comments
1. Whoever named this "mommy porn" groped for a word that was quick, memorable and derogatory. They most likely have never read a romance. No, not JANE EYRE or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE or any of the hundreds of works coming out of any of the great houses of erotica and romance today. The term is derogatory, of course, but also shows a lack of understanding of the types of books in print and digital that now compose more than 50% of fiction sold each day.
Furthermore, this person/entity by the very use of the term has little respect for that 50% either as a group of readers or as an economic dynamic. Woe unto them!

2. Complaints about the lack of expertise on the part of the author, I would say, are unfounded. She wrote a fast moving, entertaining story in a Point of View and Verb Tense that is unusual for this day, but which rolls trippingly off her pen.

3. I have enormous complaints about the execution of the publishing. How so? The author's copyeditor, in my opinion, seems not to exist! Typos in any novel tear the reader out of the story and I am not alone when I say I gnash my teeth at them. My biggest compliant here was the the author LOVES LOVES LOVES ellipses, but has no clue how they are properly used. Sparingly placed, never as substitutes for M dashes, ellipses have a special punctuation all their own.
The copyeditor never learned how or why to use them. Her lack of expertise drove me crazy.
Please tell me she is about to get an education: 40 Days and Nights in Grammar and Punctuation Camp with a proper flogging for failure to perform! Thank you.

Bottom line: I enjoyed this book. It had a good plot, a commendable heroine, a hero who is true to his school (as a Dom) and it was written, as we say here in the States, at that 8th grade reader level that most novels are written in. (To reach the maximum audience, this level must also be good for the British market, too, where this was first pubbed.)

I think 50 Shades deserves its success.  I still want to know what PR firm did the campaign for this. (Anyone know? Hello? Hello?) They did a bang up job.
Now. Make an author happy. Go read whatever your heart desires!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nicole Austin and Brenna Zinn with 2 new book covers! Fanning self!

Don't you just love it when a book cover comes together?
And when 2 do?
Feast your eyes on these by my buddies, Brenna Zinn and Nicole Austin. Release dates TBD.
Pant, pant.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pesto, Presto! And how to use it recipes!

Garlic grass, Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Parsley, Basil (l to r.)
I have one.
And because I love to cook (and hubbie loves to pair a good wine with what I create), we grow herbs year-round. (I'd grow more, but hey, we live in TEXAS where the weather has only two seasons, Hot and Hotter.)
When I'm not at my keyboard, I am doing a Chinese Fire Drill to cultivate, water and weed my garden. Pictured here is this year's crop of herbs!
And those special containers? Ah. The only way to grow anything, except mosquitos, in south Texas requires a pot, baby! Why? So you can move plants out of the torrid sun, if necessary!
The last few weeks, I've been picking these plants back and making pesto for all kinds of dishes like marinaras and salad dressings. But it's been awhile since I posted a recipe here and thought I'd share this one!
So here we go:

1/2 c. olive oil (the good stuff, first pressed. I use LUCINI from Italy. Lovely. Light. Sweet.)
1/2 t. salt
1 c. of herbs (I use basil, parsley and oregano, but I use 3/4 cup of basil, the rest a mix of whatever I've got. I dice them all before I pack into the cup to measure.)
4-6 large cloves of garlic, diced (more or less to taste!)
Blend in blender.
Store in glass jars. Refrigerate.

RECIPES for this Pesto:

SALAD DRESSING (salad for 2; can be multiplied for larger quantities)
2 T. pesto
1/2 t. red or white wine vinegar
1/8 t. water

ROASTED SHRIMP (for 1 pound of fresh shrimp, service for 2)
2 T. pesto
juice of 1/2 lemon
Toss peeled shrimp in this mix.
Pop in pre-heated oven at 425 for 8-10 minutes. (Time will vary depending on size of shrimp)

To make a killer Margarita pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan, I baste my crust first with this mixture. I also use it on my crust in the spring when fresh figs are in season. 

PASTA SAUCE (for 10 oz of uncooked pasta, 2 people)
Heat in small pan 3 T. pesto sauce
Add 1/3 c. chicken broth
         1/2 c. white wine
Heat until bubbles begin to show it is boiling. Turn off heat. (You don't want to burn the oil, but you do want to cook the garlic bits!)
Drain pasta, toss with liquid
Toss pasta with freshly grated parmesan.
Add a salad—and dinner is served!

BASE for Italian dishes:
I will often throw in a tablespoon or more into a marinara, or use it with white wine to steam mussels.
Or just have a general High and rub it on your skin!
Just kidding.