Saturday, March 31, 2007

I have the best readers--correction

The wonderful woman who sent me the gift, has informed me that it is a sake set! How cool is THAT?

I have the best readers!

From time to readers will send gifts to writers. It might be something as simple as a birthday card or a note telling us how much they enjoyed your story.

One of my readers, Dynamint, as she is called on LiveJournal attended the Hounen festival in Japan. This festival is commonly called “the penis festival.”

For more information on this fertility festival check out this link.

This is the package she sent me.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A penis (with a face vase), a vulva bowl, a penis incense holder and coupled vulva and penis candies! These will be treasured indeed! Since I’ve started writing, I’ve received a variety of gifts from coffee to gift cards and from porn to jewelry now I have ceramic penises and vulvas!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My First Rejection Letter.

I pulled nearly everything out of my shed and started going through it. Some things needed to be pitched and some things came inside the house. While rummaging down memory lane, I found what would have to be my first rejection letter.

I’d queried them and they rejected me. They were really rather nice and told me that they thought I was “probably a good writer for someone who wasn’t quite yet thirteen.” The woman who typed the letter went on to explain that all stories presented to them must come through an agent and that they wished me the best in my writing endeavors and life.

On the upside, she told me that I could use the Star Trek characters for anything that wasn’t for pay, but if it were to be published I’d have to get it licensed.

Now, if only my current rejection letters were that nice. Maybe, I should start telling publishers I’m twelve. Oh, wait, that won’t work well for erotica would it?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Looking for an old friend and writer!

The erotica writing world is small. It seems as if everyone knows everyone else and reputation, good, bad or indifferent, travels faster than introductions.

And yet, I can’t track down a particular writer.

Jennifer and I attended the same college, Christopher Newport University, during my freshman year. She was a English major and at the time I leaned toward history. I laughed and talked to her more than I attended class and it showed in my grades.

She was extremely influential in my life. More influential than she’d ever realize. Jennifer was the first Democrat and feminist I’d ever met—college student by day, stripper at night and erotic writer for SMUT magazine during her free time. I know that some people do not think that stripping and being feminist can exist in the same person. She made it work and she told me one time, “What’s more empowering than seeing men give me the most valuable thing in our society, money, for looking at me in what could be considered a bikini? They grovel. They really grovel.” (We lived in a state that where strippers were and still are not allowed to get fully naked.)

She loved Rocky and Bullwinkle (her secret passion) and bondage (her not-so-secret passion). While introducing me to the gloriousness of Vermont Maple Sugar Candy, she’d tell me stories about Republicans that I’d never heard before. I was raised in the Republican household and hadn’t yet found my own political affiliation.

Jennifer wrote under her real name telling me, “If I write something, I want full credit for it. I want everyone I know to know I wrote this.” She defined what it meant to me to be a sexy, confident, intelligent woman.

After she graduated, she tried to get her Master’s Degree in Alabama. A good ole boy told her, “Ya know, you’re pretty enough that you don’t need college to get a husband.” And she came back to Virginia for her MS.

For as much as I cared for her and as influential as he was in my life, I cannot recall her last name. If anyone knows anyone who fits the above description, please let me know. I’d love to talk to her again. If anyone knows a writer for SMUT magazine (circa 1993 and/or 1994 at least) with the first name of Jennifer, please tell me and I’ll try to track her down that way. Even if it’s 12 different Jennifers.

When I knew her, she was about 5’6” or 5’7”, maroon hair (possibly a natural brunet), had the body to be a well paid stripper and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about a damn thing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Good Enough?

A friend of mine threw a book at me the other day and said, “You write better than this, why aren’t you in print?”

Well, she’s a friend and that’s part of her job, right?

She threw another paperback at me. “This is another writer I know and I read her stuff because she’s a friend. I’d never tell her this, but you’re better.”

Ok, well, I’m helping her pack and move. She might be feeling obligated to boost my ego.

This went on for three hours. At first my reply was, “I have sex in my books. They won’t publish me.”

She threw one more book at me—one from the Anita Blake series. I was willing to shut up at that point, but she continued. I’ve not read a single book from that series and I know about the sex in it. The woman became a book-canon. Every time a book hit me, I heard her say, “Sex.”

Ducking behind boxes, I started checking the books and figuring out the publisher. Tossing them back at her, I countered, “Agent needed.”

Eventually the pulp assault stopped. “So,” she asked, “Why don’t you have an agent?”

I don’t know why I don’t have an agent. I haven’t tried to get one for one thing. I always figured that since I have no sales figures yet, I’d be crazy to approach an agent. Why would they care about me? Why would they be interested in me? Fact of the matter, in my mind, until I can point at sales figures and have some quantitative way of measuring myself, I’m not good enough for an agent. Not good enough to even try.

She grabbed my shoulders as I was trying to help her pack and she bore a hole through me with her eyes. “I read these books. I put them down and went about my day. I don’t ask them if they’ve written more because I need to know what happens.” She does that to me. Sometimes on an hourly basis. “You know me, Cup, I don’t care about the male physique. It does nothing for me and their hangy-downy parts smell like beets.” She hates beets. “But, I want to read your stories despite the sex.” Despite the sex? All this time I thought people read my stuff just for the sex. Then she paid me one of the biggest compliments I’d ever received. “I want to meet your characters. I want to hang out with them.” I write them that real? “I love Anand and Father Daniel’s tortured soul grabs me.” Whoa…she’s serious. “Even Scott, that sick bastard, I want to meet him.” She looked around the room and shook her head. “I don’t want to meet any of these.”


I remembered what one editor told me, “You’re better than you think you are.”

Another editor contacted me about one of the free stories I have on my website. He told me, “I wish I’d written that.”

Another writer and editor, who I absolutely adore and (kind of) idolize, told me, “You’re one of my favorite authors.” My titles aren’t even out yet. How can I be one of someone’s favorites? Much less one of the favorites for someone who is one of my favorites.

As writers, how do we separate ego stroking from genuine praise? How do we know when it’s time to start looking for an agent? These are questions I can’t answer.

I still don’t feel that I’m ready to run with the big dogs and their agents, but I don’t know why I feel this way. I think it has to due with sales figures, but some people get agents for their first books. This is an irrational concern.

At one point, I told myself I wasn’t good enough to get published. Now, I’m telling myself I’m not good enough to get an agent. I was wrong about getting published. Could I be wrong about getting an agent too?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Best name for lube EVER!

Anand, the doctor in my story "About to Sin", keeps a tube of Moist: Lube-On-The-Go on his keychain. However, at home, he's getting a tub of Boy Butter and I can NOT forget to give him a Squeeze Bottle too!

I hope these companies don't mind the free product placement! LOL!

That's all, back to work for me.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Synopsis Help

I hate writing synopses. I dread them and they terrify the crap out of me. I never feel that they are compelling or interesting.

Needless to say, I need a lot of help when it comes to honing my synopsis skills. They are a critical element to every submission package out there. I must and all other writers must learn to write these damnable things well.

Claire at the HEA Café has posted a workshop
that is extremely informative and helpful. I urge everyone to read what she’s posted.

Dialog Tags

I was reading over here about dialog tags.

I hate dialog tags. They irk my nerves. I’m reading along and I’m all sucked into a story when all of a sudden someone says something and THEN the writer tells me they said it. One, the quote marks are enough of a clue, thank you very much. Two, the word “said.” Can’t we come up with something better than said? And a string of “saids” is enough to send me in the shower with a scratchy luffa.

Yes, yes, there are some people who go over the top with their dialog tags. And, yes, yes, there are times where they are needed. And yes, yes, there are those few rare times where “said” really is the best for the situation.

Fine. Fine freaking dandy. I’ll accept that. A few “saids” sprinkled here and there, I can handle. Yes, one of my editors goes behind me and tacks them in there. Usually when I break a piece of dialog with an action tag and haven’t punctuated it properly. Personally, I think it’s her form of punishing me for not punctuating correctly, but I digress.

I like action tags. You’re already having the characters doing things maybe they’re setting the table, killing the bad guy, feeding the cat, or scratching their noses, but whatever they’re doing in the story can be used to identify the speaker of the sentence.

The best writing advice I have ever read was “use what you have.” That meant to use the characters you’ve created. If a character such as a desk clerk can also be the one who talks to the police about the make and model of the suspect’s car then use the desk clerk. Don’t create a new character when you have a side character that’s being lazy.

However, I think it holds true for action tags versus dialog tags. As humans, even in bland conversations, we do things. Remember non-verbal communication makes up somewhere around 75% of the information conveyed. Body language, eye contact, voice inflection—all of that is a part of communicating in real life. It needs to be there for your characters too.

Do they doodle or fidget with things? Are they sighing, rolling their eyes, or making or avoiding eye contact? All of those things can be used as action tags as well as SHOW the reader something. If a character is avoiding eye contact, are they being dishonest? Trying to distance themselves from the topic of conversation? Or are they really bored and more interested in the butterfly on the other side of the window. All of these, if done well, can give the reader insight into the character.

If done well—that leads me to a word of warning about action tags. In the latest round of edits for “Tainted Past” I’ve caught myself falling into a lull of sorts. Certain things that I’ll have the characters do that in and of themselves isn’t a problem, but repeated over and over again IS a problem. Don’t be lazy like me and end up getting a habit you’ll have to break. Keep an eye on your comfort zones and make sure you’re not falling back to the same-old same old.

Also, do NOT throw in a bit of action JUST to use as an action tag. Readers and editors see right through that. If there isn’t a natural action that fits the scene, then use a dialog tag. Yes, use “said” if you must.

As far as punctuation goes...

Action tag. “Line.” A period separates the tag from the dialog.

Dialog tag, “Line.” A comma separates the tag from the dialog.

And it gets more complex from there.

It seems this is another habit I had to break. I had originally been taught that a period meant the action was completed by the time the dialog started and a comma indicated that the action was ongoing at the time of the dialog.

Gotta love the living ever growing English language.


I'm claiming this blog at Technorati. Supposedly this post with this...

Technorati Profile

Added to the post will help the Technorati crawlers talk to my blog. *shrug*

We'll see.

Work Hazard

I normally do the bulk of my writing in the overnight hours. The phone isn’t ringing and children aren’t running amok in the streets. Also, everyone in the house is quiet.

There is a hazard to this especially when it’s mixed with someone, oh like me, who gets startled easily. My desk is a few from the front door. So, picture this.

It’s around 3:00am and I’m working by the light of my monitor. I’m in my grove and feeling it. Thirsty, I sip my coffee and my front door opens scaring me half to death. I spill coffee all over my desk (luckily missed my keyboard). My roommate enters just as I’m about to spray the intruder with compressed air like it’s mace.

That’s when I realized the motion senor on the porch light went out.

So, I went link hoping looking for some ideas for home lighting at Maxim Lighting.

I found a few that I like. Some are pricey and some a reasonable and cheap.

I love this one. It’s a very unique design, but it also seems like changing the bulb would be a pain in the ass.

This one looks very elegant, but again I don’t want to disassemble it to change the bulb.

This is a very clean and design and I think even I could change the bulb. Same thing for this one .

This one is positively elegant and beautiful. Modern, but still hints at history.

These last two are my favorites.

Favorite Number One and Favorite Number Two they’d both fit in perfectly with what I want to do with my screened-in porch and look like the bulbs would be easy to change.

I want to do a medieval/fantasy thing on the porch. At one time, I had this huge tree at the corner and I wanted to put some gargoyles on the trunk to make it look like they were climbing the tree. The tree fell ill and had to be removed. I still miss that tree. I’ve found some faery statues that I can put on the supports for the porch. I’d like to put a bird’s nest in one corner and get a fake raven to put in the nest. Not an obvious touch, I figure most people will miss the raven, but I’ll know it’s there. Both of those lights would be perfect for that.

I have one gripe about the product descriptions on this site, I can’t tell if any of these lights have motion sensors built in. Maybe, once I decide, I can e-mail them and ask.

Oh, by the way, I just finished the fourth installment of About to Sin. That puppy capped out at just over 16k words. Whew.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I’ve been busy like crazy.

Full Circle is still waiting for cover art. LAP doesn’t normally take this long to get art work done. A comedy of errors happened with Full Circle’s cover art and the president of Chippewa, Rebecca, is personally involved with getting things right and rolling. I can’t ask for more than that. Problems will happen. That’s a given. How they are solved is what makes awesome companies stand out above the rest. I have no complaints about Rebecca’s efforts in solving the issues around my cover art.

Selling Foxx is in the hands of the proofreaders and art department.

Tainted Past
is in editing.

About to Sin has a deadline looming near. I’m currently working on the fourth installment. This little one-shot that started at 4k words way back when. Has become a multi-chapter story and the current installment is at 14k (and counting) words. >.< (Holy Shiznic! It just hit me that I've written about 12k words in 5 days. O.O I rock! XD)

I’m still helping my friend pack and trying to recover everything from my HDD crashing.


Well, back to work...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

While I was out…

While I buried my HDD, PayPerPost geared up for some major announcement. I haven’t a clue what the real announcement is, but they’re hinting at something that will increase site traffic.

We all know the most popular genre online.



But! What’s the most popular thing that Google is used for?


Oh, come on…there’s even a song about it! Ok, I’ll start the song and you join in on the keyword. “The internet is for…”


Yep, you guessed it. Thank you Avenue Q for wonderful music! Gotta love Broadway! (That show was on Broadway, wasn’t it?)

Now, I don’t think PPP (PayPerPost) is willing to drop their family-friendly ways. (That phrase has always confused me. To whose family are they being friendly? Not mine. My cats don’t care how many naked dogs in compromising positions with squeaky toys there are online. Why don’t they just say kid-friendly? That’s what the phrase really means. All right, all right, that’s not what it REALLY means, but that’s what they (that anonymous vague “They” that does everything) wants us to think it means. But, I digress.)

I don’t think PPP is jumping in bed with porn. Nope. I think they’re going to increase site traffic by gathering more adult oriented advertisers.

After all, what sells? And has been selling since 1066 and All That (that’s for anyone who read the book)?

_ _ _ sells.

I’ll give you a hint the three-letter word that fits into the blank rhymes with “vex.” Personally, I’d appreciate some more condom advertisers. Ya know, something that’s actually useful. Something juicy like the special line of products by Pyrex. Things that buzz, hum, whirl, and shake and things that help other things slide and slither.

Who wants to bet I’m wrong? Who wants to hope I’m right? Can you imagine a whole host of international bloggers getting paid to blog about the things that our Victorian roots would see us hanged for?

Kind of makes me wish I’d won that first writing gig I tried for. Ya know, that product reviewer job. The one that didn’t pay in money. It paid in things. Fic fodder things.

One generation ago, I’d be forced to hang my head in shame for typing this post. Ain’t life grand?

But, I can write.

I’m at 1,700 words for the first draft of the fourth installment of About to Sin. It’s moving slowly because I’m helping a friend move. Ever try helping a 50+ year old woman with ADD pack?

I don’t recommend it.

We’ll start in one room and before I know it she’s followed some “Red Ballon” into another room. I go behind her and repack all of the boxes. She’s the only person I’ve ever known who tried to put cosmetics, jewelry, weaponry, and physics books in the same box.

However, I have received permission to fictionalize her situation. In a way I feel helpless. I can’t wave a wand and heal her broken heart. I can’t snap my fingers and make her understand why her lover did what she did. I can’t wiggle my nose and allow her to remember 10 awesome years and erase one horrible day. I can’t do any of that, but I can write.

I want to see her with a happy ending and I can’t think of any way except writing it. I’m no therapist. I don’t understand, fully, what it means when she says that her therapist says her lover had been dissembling. But, I can write.

What are the ethics of fictionalizing fact? I can disguise it enough (no one, no reader, no publisher, no editor would accept the real way they broke up) to shatter the fact behind it. Also, I write m/m so even the genders will change. And the fact will be the start of the story not the meat or the end. So, I’m not worried about the other woman discovering the story, seeing herself and suing me. My friend has given me permission, so I’m not worried about her thinking I’m trying to capitalize on her pain.

Can anyone think of something I’m missing on why this is a bad idea? (No, not the story, but fictionalizing fact in general.) I’ve never walked down this road before. Is this something that's generally not allowed? I don’t want to put my publisher or myself in a compromising position. If I have to, I’ll write it just for her. If I do that, I’ll keep it lesbian which will be interesting for me to write. LOL!

Any advice?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Modernizing Tried and True Plotlines.

I’ve been quiet because I’m working on a couple of tight deadlines. However, I still found a plotbunny birthing site. While doing some link hopping, I found a site that lets you send Anonymous Email. Talk about taking the message in a bottle or a letter left by a secret admirer into the 21st century!

Yeah, yeah, you can use anonymous email for a lot of different things and there’s a section on their website that shows examples of that. For example, telling your boss that they are micromanaging a project to death, telling a friend who is struggling with something that someone cares (without hurting their pride) and there are other “touchy” situations where someone might want to send a secret letter.

None of those, however, pull at the heart like someone who loves someone else, but just can’t work up the nerve to tell them. There’s a plethora of reasons why Lead Character Number One might not want to tell Lead Character Number Two their feelings, but with this kind of thing in a contemporary romance novel, a writer can set up a dual relationship between two characters.

Hmm…I think I’ve found my next WIP. How much ya wanna bet it’s gonna have a happy ending? Oh! I could title it: “Message in an Inbox.” Nah…needs a better title. “He has Mail.” Hmm that’s a little cheesy. Ok, ok, the title needs help, but the idea is good.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Computer woes update

Greetings from my new HDD!

Let’s all take a lesson from this and learn to back-up more frequently. >.< Yeah, I lost a lot of work and I’m kicking myself for it. I didn’t lose EVERYTHING. I found a back up that I’d forgotten I made. WHEW!

Not only did I get a new HDD, but I also snagged a 4gig flash drive for back up. I’m gonna eventually get an external HDD and do a FULL back up every two weeks or so.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Computer Problems

My computer has crashed. I think I've lost everything. I think I'm going to cry for a few days.