Favoritism

We all have things we’re partial to.  Restaurants and food. Authors and books. Clothes and colors. The list can go on and on. Last night I asked my Yahoo group to tell me which of the sex scenes (or love scenes if you prefer) that I’ve written were the hottest and why.  Just a little informal poll. I want to see what they say and I have a reason for doing so.

This week I started dismantling The Bar. The writers are all busy with other things in their lives and a couple of them went in and removed their posts because they have copyright concerns. When it became obvious that rather than leave a disjointed story up there, the whole thing would need to come down, I emailed the other authors and removed all the readers from the board so no one could access it but the writers. Then I began the process of taking it all down.

As I was copying my posts to a Word doc to save, I realized that some of the scenes I’d written really stuck out in my mind. They were favorites for whatever reason.  Then it hit me that even in my published works, I had scenes and characters who were my favorites.

Unlike some authors who spit out their work and never look back, I use my prior work to fuel whatever the current manuscript is. I use it to evoke a specific headspace and mindset that I need to produce a scene.  Sure, there are some books I have that are old and well-loved and I use those too sometimes. In my own writing, I know just where to go to dig up the emotions needed to complete a specific scene. For instance, if I need to write a scene filled with despair and pain, I’ll go read Rousing Caine, the part where Jason’s in the hospital, Chris is dying and Jason finally gets all the lessons Caine tried to teach him.  I cried when I wrote it. I cry when I read it and it has fueled other scenes.

I suppose that makes those scenes my favorites. And I’m curious to see if the people in my group have the same feelings as I do about some of those scenes.  I think that if they are feeling what I feel, then I am absolutely doing what I am supposed to do when it comes to writing. So I can’t wait to see these responses. If you would like to play along, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite scene or character that I’ve written. Show me your favorites!

Today’s Marcus is a beauty. I always feel that Monday cannot go wrong if his naked chest is on my blog.

I posted over at Flirty Author Bitches last week about how my brain isn’t maturing at the same rate as my body. I’m still looking at hotties younger than me and my kid just turned 21 yesterday. If you get a chance, stop by Motley’s Facebook or Socially Dead and wish her a happy 21st.

Hope you have a great Monday!

Blowing Smoke

Where There’s Smoke, Book Three of the Phoenix Prophecy, releases today and I am having a contest that starts tomorrow. Liquid Silver Books, the publisher of the Phoenix Prophecy, has a blog where authors do Morning After posts. Appropriate since the blog is called the SEx Blog. LOL So tomorrow (if my login gets fixed) I will be doing a Morning After post HERE. Every commenter on the post will be in a drawing to win all three books of the trilogy. The contest ends at 6 am Pacific time next Monday when I will draw a winner and announce it here on my regular Monday post.

I seem to have been waiting a long time for this book to see the light of day. Now that it’s here, I’ll have more promo to do. I did send signed cover flats with Dee Carney to the Romantic Times convention this past week. Hopefully, that gorgeous Anne Cain cover drew some interest in the book and series. Since I’m already promo-ing Insolence, it shouldn’t be too much extra work to toss in an additional post for WTS.

Last week I received a very nice review from BookWenches for Insolence. It’s always nice when someone who doesn’t like a particular genre reads your work in the genre and LIKES it. Apparently, Bobby at BookWenches is rather indifferent about BDSM stories. Now, I’m no hardcore BDSM author. There’s a little spanking (on a Sonny Black spanking bench), a flogger, handcuffs, and nipple clamps in this story. Mostly all in one scene. That’s pretty tame stuff really. But everyone has their likes and dislikes so despite the fact that BDSM usually leaves Bobby cold, she truly warmed up to Insolence. She gave it a 4.5 of 5 rating. Yay for Insolence!

I’m on the last leg of Common Ground and it will be going to my editor SOON! (I promise!) I know a lot of people have been waiting for the next installment of the Tales of the Darkworld and this story in particular. Giving Marius his own story has been rough though and I’ll be glad to see it finished.

Here on the home front the clusterfuck with my license plates is almost over. I have to pick up a bracket for the front one (it’s currently hanging by a coat hanger) from Dodge and have it installed and voila! Plates will be all perfect. Then the car can go to the CHP office by my work and the last two tickets will be signed off on. Hallelujah! And since I have different plates now, if I park on the street the parking nazis won’t tow my car for having too many tickets for no front plate. I feel like I’ve been bent over that spanking bench from Insolence and paddled repeatedly for no reason for months with this stupid situation. It’s almost done though. Then I won’t care quite as much about the neighbors being asses about the parking spaces.

Not sure if any of you have heard about Greene vs Sonoma County but lots of authors are trying to help Clay Greene’s cause by donating a portion of their profits on books sold at ARe. I’ve offered up my two GLBT books there – Fire Season and Christmas Catch – and 25% of my royalties on sales of those two books during the month of May will be donated to NCLR who are representing Clay Greene. So if you’ve not purchased Fire Season and have a yen to read my bestseller, do buy it at ARe.

Okay it’s time for me to stop blowing smoke and post my Monday Marcus.

No one fills out jeans and a pullover better. *sigh*

Oh, yeah. I forgot… today is Rott’s birthday. I don’t think he wants one though so I’m treading lightly. LOL Don’t forget to check out the SEx Blog tomorrow so you can enter my contest! Have a great Monday!

Wicked Me

No rest for the wicked seems fairly true to me this morning. It’s 7 am and I just feel drained.  I finished up a trailer I’ve owed author Renee Wildes forever. I’ve so not been in that sort of creative mode and I was deathly afraid of trying to force myself to make one when I wasn’t in that headspace. Strangely, it came out fine. Probably in part because there are two other trailers in the series and choosing music wasn’t an issue at all. It’s been Evanescence all the way for the Guardians of the Light series.

I also used that momentum to redo the Phoenix Prophecy trailer.  I changed a couple of images to better ones and added the covers. It looks pretty sharp. This series will have all three books out come May 3. I will be posting to the Liquid Silver SEX Blog on the Morning After release and besides touting the book, I’ll be offering up a contest where you can win all three of the books in the series. All you have to do is leave a comment using a valid email address. I’ll post more on that when it’s close to the date.

I spent Saturday writing my fingers off and got significant progress on Common Ground which is probably why I whined to myself all afternoon yesterday about not being able to write cause I was making the trailer. Meh. I’ll survive. LOL I spent Sunday morning at Ethan Day’s Gay Day which is always a fun thing. Also, last week, my construction was completed and the Lex Valentine site is all done and prettied up. I’m really happy with the jewel toned purples.

On the personal level of stuffs, I got Rott the NASA channel. Not sure what the fascination is there for a channel where people don’t really talk but damned if he didn’t have it on all weekend. Go figure. I have to give Nikki money to go to an LA Museum to study paintings for her Color Theory class. She’s really not liking the teacher so of course, she’s not liking the course. It’s sad when that stuff happens.

My SMART Girls blog with a bunch of other ladies who have SMART goals about eating, dieting, or whatever is taking off but I forgot to post last week. UGH. I had an up and down week with trying to eat healthier. However, last night I ate a steak and peas. No bread. No potato. And yes, Nikki… I ate PEAS. They were good which is weird in and of itself. Generally, I hate peas with a passion. I guess I don’t when I’m in the mood…

Ahhh, my tired ass needs a very hot Marcus today. Love the expression in his eyes here.

I think that’s a wrap for me this Monday. You all have a great day!

Construction Zone

So I was tired of the Lex Valentine website. I put up a temporary one for release day this past Friday. If you have a new book out you often get lots of hits on your website. I’m not a stat checker so I don’t know for sure. But I did know that I wanted something new. I wanted something sleeker and more code-modern. I couldn’t find anything that I liked that I could tweak. I put up a really simple template, slapped my pen name on it and let release day happen.

Late last night, I got an idea. Like a dog with a bone I couldn’t let it go. So I tweaked on this thing and messed with it and studied it and messed with it some more and tweaked on it some more. And then, I really started to like it.

Now, I’m no code whore. I know enough to make me dangerous with a template so I always have backups of backups because God knows no one can render a template useless faster than me. But for some reason, last night I looked at that CSS and the logic of it just fell into place in my head. At least where color is concerned. I may not know CSS very well, but I know a hex code when I see one! So I figured out how to customize the color.

It still has issues that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around yet, like this whole featured article stuff and how to make a static header, and how to make it start on my welcome page and not my blog. (No, it’s not the standard WordPress setting, it has it’s own specialized settings just for this template.) But I’ll figure it out and if I don’t and I get stuck and frustrated, well, I’ll throw some money at someone and let them fix it for me. I know I’m more than halfway there now so that’s very satisfying.

The funny thing is that I used the same template I used for Jason Edding’s site. If you look at his and you look at mine, you’ll do a double take. They don’t look very alike at all. That’s the beauty of a template that has customizations built in and then gives you the option of changing it even more.

Now, my reason for wanting the site in better shape than the temp template I had up? I got a release date for Where There’s Smoke. Yep, May 3 – Rott’s birthday. Although, I have to admit, when I told him about it, he put his hands over his ears and said, “I can’t hear you!” when I said it’s a gay book. For another, he said he doesn’t have birthdays anymore and he’s still 21. (He’ll be 44. LOL) But yeah, I’m excited to have this book come out. And eventually, the construction zone will move here, but I’m just not there yet with ideas. And yes, the bats stay.

So this morning, tired as I am from a lack of sleep (I have a cut on my leg and it throbbed so badly I couldn’t really sleep) I’m feeling jazzed about some things. So I need a very nice Marcus today.

I wish I had a bigger image but it’s kinda cool anyway.

I was gonna talk about my trials and tribulations with a very cool tribal cut out aluminum computer case by Raidmax, but I’m too disgusted to even put the facts on paper as it were. Just UGH. BIG UGH.  Suffice to say, I’m not ever buying an aluminum case again no matter how cool it is or how many features it has that I want. It’s steel or nothing baby. Okay, maybe I could be talked into a plexiglass case…*eyeroll*

Here’s hoping you all have a simply awesome Monday!

Catch and Release

That phrase is usually associated with fishing. However, it can be applied to people too. There are people whom you deliberately set out to snare and make part of your life. When the time comes that they no longer fit in that place, you release them.  And by snare, I don’t mean it in a bad way but rather like cultivate. You meet someone. You like them. So you foster the relationship whether it’s a love interest or someone you just want to be friends with. When things happen in your lives and you realize this person doesn’t belong in your part of the world anymore, you let them go.

The other thing I like to apply this phrase to is writing. Authors do the catch and release repeatedly throughout their careers. You catch an idea. You work it. You hone it. You milk it. You get it all on paper and fuss over it, tweaking it until you’re ready to let it go. Then you release it to the public.

Can you tell where this is leading? It’s release week for me.

My first release of 2010 is a little tale about two friends who have known each other since the second grade. You think that when you’ve been best friends that long that you know everything about them. For Aric and Ainsley, this isn’t the case. As adults in their early thirties, each is hiding things from the other, most notably, a raging attraction to the other.  When Ainsley finally acts on it, the two embark on a weekend of sex that becomes far, far more.

Insolence takes two childhood friends, one who is a Dom running a BDSM club called Insolence, the other a forceful woman with a reputation for being a whirlwind sweeping all before her, and bares the desires they’ve been hiding for years. Ainsley offers herself to Aric as his sub for the weekend and everything he ever thought he knew about her suddenly comes into question.

This story is told entirely from the point of view of the hero. It wouldn’t be told any other way. I couldn’t force myself to write from Ainsley’s point of view. It was Aric’s head I saw with brilliant clarity. I think it gives the story a twist and flavor you don’t often see in an erotic romance. Because this character has known the woman he’s attracted to for many years, the story doesn’t go through the whole meeting someone thing. Instead, it delves into feelings Aric’s buried deep inside him.

I don’t think I’m all that far off on the male psyche either. Men feel and have emotions. They just don’t act on them or obsess over them the way women do. Or at least, mostly they don’t. I probably should have gotten myself a male reader to ensure I wasn’t way overboard or something. I just don’t think I am. My gut tells me I’m right on target with this story. It’s hot. It’s different. And it sucks you in. Pretty perfect combo IMO. And even better, I drummed up an idea for a sequel involving Aric’s club Insolence. Insolence: Defiance will be about one of Aric’s employees and a patron of the club.

Insolence releases on Friday at Cobblestone Press. Here’s some info on it:

Cover art by Christine Griffin (She did the Pixie Prince cover too.)

Blurb:

Aric Calderwood owns a BDSM club called Insolence. When his childhood best friend offers to be his sub for the weekend, Aric discovers that a decade as a Dom is no match for his long held feelings for the arrogant Ainsley Connor. Once he touches her, Aric’s control is overcome by a flood of memories and emotion, and by then he’s not even sure it’s her submission he wants. A weekend of intimacy with Ainsley shows Aric what he’s been missing in his life and he realizes that regardless of whether she’s submissive or insolent, all he wants is her.

In other writing news, my little lunchtime project is complete. I just need to run a self-edit on it. My friend  Regina is reading it right now. I’ve figured out a major plot point with Common Ground that kept me from finishing it. So now I can go back and fill in the blanks and write the last half of the book. No release date yet for Where There’s Smoke, but I’m sure it’s coming soon.

Now, to wrap up this wet Monday (well, wet here in SoCal) I’ve got… a Marcus! You knew he was coming. He’s what keeps my Mondays from being blah.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Insolence, head on over to Flirty Author Bitches and leave a comment on my latest post, A Whore By Any Other Name.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!