Friday, January 29, 2010

Fangs, fur, rotting flesh - what's your favorite paranormal subgenre?




My tastes in paranormal romance can be summed up as follows: Stake the vamps, burn the zombies, shag the werewolves. Shorter version: Don’t fuck dead things. (I thought about making one of those the tagline for my website but I’m just not sure.)

Even if you read an assortment of subgenres of paranormal romance, you probably favor one more than the others: vampires, shapeshifters, demons and angels, whatever. Heck, a new subgenre currently gaining popularity is zombie romance. Dead vampires are one thing, but I can honestly say I never envisioned zombie romance protagonists. I don’t want to judge before I’ve read one, but I just picture body parts falling off at inconvenient moments…

Some people like any shapeshifter romance, and the shapeshifters of today’s paranormal romance run the gamut – you got your cats (both big and house) and mice, birds and dogs, octopi (tentacle sex!) – you name it, some hero or heroine shifts into it. I only read werewolves; other shifters don’t interest me.

I’m not into vampires in general, because I don’t like dead things and I don’t think you should have sex with them. I read the Southern Vampire series, but honestly I’m hoping Sookie winds up with Sam (on paper – on TV, I have absolutely no problem with Sookie and Eric getting down and dirty. With lots of close-ups of Alexander Skarsgaard, please and thank you.)

The only vamp series I read in which I like the vampire heroes are Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn books and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (Vishous = YUM). The difference, of course, is that the Darkyn and the Brothers are alive – they have beating hearts and detectable pulses. The Brothers don’t even drink blood from humans. Viehl and Ward have removed a lot of the darkness from their vamps and turned them into rather traditional romance hero types – which doesn’t bother me at all, but that’s because I don’t like the whole dark, dead, blood sucking creature of the night thing. (One other thing I like about the Brothers: they eat food and drink alcohol. An eternity of no vodka and no solid food? No thanks.)

I’m not as picky when it comes to urban fantasy, which I read a lot – I love the magicians and the fairies and the witches and the demons and the whole throw-every-supernatural-being-into-the-mix plots (and dragons – I love the dragons). It’s just in my paranormal romances that I take it werewolf, straight up, no bloodsucking, no rotting corpses.

What about you?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yay! My insomnia is back!

jamieson_ding


And why would I be happy about that, you ask?

I once wrote a blog post about the link between insomnia and creativity. I had read about the work of Eluned Summers-Bremner, English professor and cultural historian at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, who wrote a book called Insomnia: A Cultural History. She believes there is a link between insomnia and creativity. A lot of poets and writers believe this, too. Many great artists and thinkers (Franklin, Edison, Wordsworth, Proust) were insomniacs.

At that time, I was going through an awful time with insomnia. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep, but I had trouble staying asleep for some reason. I’d wake up after a couple of hours and be wide awake. It is so frustrating to lay there awake when you know the alarm is going to go off in a few hours, when you know you have to get up and go to work and be somewhat functional and productive. And yet the harder you try to sleep, the more it eludes you.

However…I did come up with some great story ideas while laying there in the dark! My mind gets going and my characters become fully developed with back story and I get all these cool plot ideas…my writing at the time was incredibly prolific!

Of course, when my mind starts going on story ideas, sleep recedes even further away. I was a walking zombie during the day but I was writing like crazy. It made me wonder: does my insomnia result in creativity? Or is my creativity causing my insomnia?

Then recently my sleep improved. And my creativity seemed to dry up and my writing became slow and painful.

Ms Summers-Bremner doesn’t think insomnia causes the creativity, but because some people think it does, they don’t want to give up their insomnia. And I think I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t want to give it up either. Much as I hate dragging myself out of bed in the morning feeling like a bag of dog doodoo, knowing I came up with three great story ideas and I need to write them down ASAP gives me a little boost. So I’m going to embrace my sleeplessness.

What do you think? Does insomnia result in creativity? Or does the creativity cause the insomnia?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guest Blogger Juniper Bell - News Flash: Cat Person Learns to Like a Dog


This is a blog I never thought I’d write. Since I ought to be writing about my new release, “Doll,” the fact that I’m talking cats and dogs tells you this is an earth-shattering event.

I, Juniper Bell, lifelong lover of cats, sad owner of the late lamented Otis, scoffer at puppy antics, disliker of dog hair, vower of oath never to follow any animal around with a pooper-scooper … am happily dog-sitting a boisterous beast named Bubba.

Of course, I call him either Bubbalicious or Buddha, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

As a writer, I’ve always connected more to cats, who are independent and sleep most of the time. I like pets I don’t have to pay a lot of attention to. I’m not the only one. According to Barbara Holland, “A catless writer is almost inconceivable.” Robertson Davies says, “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”

I know plenty of authors who love dogs and even put them in their books. I admit I usually skip those parts.

So how did Bubba the Dog worm his way into my heart?

He’s wonderfully patient with our five-year-old, who adores him. Bubba lets her rain kisses all over his face. He lets her curl up with him in a tangled heap. He lets her teach him tricks like “shake hands” and “howl along to the harmonica.”

Bubba’s a lover not a fighter. He gets along with all the other dogs. He doesn’t even mind when the local bully-dog tries to hump him. He’s a beta dog all the way. And he has a budding (or perhaps already fruitfully multiplying) relationship with the local hottie. Fiona is top dog for miles around. She’s the product of two lead sled dogs who mated during the Iditarod. She’s never pulled a sled herself, but she’s a lead dog at heart. Even the bully-dog bows down to her. When she’s around, no one messes with Bubba.

I never knew how fascinating dog dynamics could be. I never knew how reassuring it feels to have a dog around. I never knew how fun it is to take a happy, curious pup for a walk in the snowy woods. I don’t even mind the dog hair on my sweaters.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love cats. But I finally see the point of dogs. And incredibly, astonishingly, we’re actually going to try to keep Bubba until his owner has a better living situation for him.

It’s not just a good deed. Yes, I admit – I love the silly Bubba-dog.

Where do you stand on the cat versus dog issue? Do you like reading about them? Or writing about them, if you’re an author?

Thanks to the Nine Naughty Novelists for letting me vent about my big news flash.

Also, I have a book out now from Samhain Publishing, a red-hot contemporary called “Doll.” Here’s the link for more about it.

Juniper Bell lives with her sweetie in a cabin in Alaska with no running water and a spectacular view of glaciers. She wound up in the frozen north after leaving her career as a stressed-out Los Angeles TV writer. Luckily, her love for writing survived the move. She’s been writing erotic romance for three years. “Doll” is her second book. Her first book, “The Extremist,” was published by Liquid Silver Books. Her next release, “Training the Receptionist,” will be released on March 2 by Samhain Publishing. Visit her website at http://JuniperBell.com, her blog at http://AuthorJuniperBell.blogspot.com, friend her on FaceBook or follow her on Twitter.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dutiful


It's the middle of the morning routine, with kids asking for milk and fighting over the fake promotional Disney Visa card that came in the mail on Saturday. I'm trying to keep everyone on track but it's hard.


I've been called for jury duty today.


It's the sixth time this month.


See, in our county, jury duty is for a month long stretch, and there are only four panels of possible jurors each month. So at least once or twice a week since the beginning of January, I've had to trek down to the courthouse, sit in a sequestered room with fifty or so other people, and wait for them to call us into the courtroom.


So far, I haven't been picked. I have, however, gotten a lot of story ideas out of the whole process. (Last week's two-day trial, which took jurors up to and including the person right next to me, sounded fascinating. I was almost disappointed not to be picked!) I'm not getting a lot of writing done this month, because the interruptions from jury duty selection have really thrown off my work and writing schedule. But I'll have a lot of fun stuff to work on once I'm settled back into the routine.


So I'm guessing today is my last time to be called. I'll schlep on down to the courts, notebook in hand, and wait for the process to start all over again. And if I'm lucky, I'll get another story idea out of it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Every girl wants to be a Princess!











I just got back from Disney World (seriously, yesterday!). It was a great trip. I mean, Florida in winter, Mickey Mouse, no e-mail access (well, okay, that bothered me a little but it did force me to just let go of work)… how could it not be great? Besides the fact that it was fifty degrees warmer there than where I live, and I got to spend seven uninterrupted days with my kids and parents, Discover card now loves me even more than they did before (which was really, really a lot anyway!).

But I thought about you all while I was gone! *G* I brought back some gifts! But to get them, you have to keep reading!

I want to talk about Disney movies. I love them. The animated ones in particular (though National Treasure and Pirates of the Carribean (I-III, though I is the best in my opinion) are definitely favorites). Pretty much all of them. I’m not crazy about Dumbo (I won’t go into why) and did not really enjoy Ratatouille (even animated rats in the kitchen kind of creep me out). But otherwise, I absolutely can not pick a favorite.

At Disney World, specifically the Magic Kingdom, you can’t walk more than fifty feet without seeing a Disney princess. Most of them are little girls (age 8 and under) dressed up, but of course you run into “cast members” depicting the heroines of these great movies from time to time. Which got me to thinking about heroines and why I like the ones I do. I have three favorite princesses. And, as un-American as it may seem, Cinderella is not one of them.

I love her castle. I love the Fairy Godmother. The mice are cute. But the girl herself kind-of bugs me. She just cleans and slaves for her step-mother, never tells her step-sisters to go to hell, rushes home so as not to miss curfew even when there’s a hot guy wanting to make out with her and then waits around for Prince Charming to come to her rescue.

Same with Sleeping Beauty. Now, okay, she’s cursed at birth. Not really her fault. But still, she needs rescuing. She isn’t even awake for it. And then there’s Snow White. Yeah, she finally runs away, but then becomes the housekeeper for seven men. At least Cinderella is cleaning her own house. And can you imagine the mess seven men could make? Yikes. Then she eats the poison apple, from an obviously disturbed old woman, falls asleep and again has to wait around to be rescued. Please.

The gals I like are, in order: Jasmine (the princess in Aladdin), Mulan (in, appropriately, Mulan) and Belle (in Beauty and the Beast). And I’ll tell you why. *G*

Jasmine is a strong woman. She stands up to her father, refusing to marry a man she doesn’t love. She also stands up to the evil Jafar, even at the end when he becomes a powerful sorcerer and could snuff her out with a flick of his wrist, she stands up and does what needs to be done, risking her own life to save her friends and her love. Plus, she gets to fly around on a magic carpet and she looks great in that blue whatchamacallit that she wears. Wish I could pull that off.

Mulan, similarly, stands up for what she believes. She even rides into battle, disguised as a man so that she will be accepted and allowed to fight. She’s tough, smart and sassy.

Finally, Belle. She’s a little softer than the other two. She doesn’t wield a sword. She’s the daughter of an inventor, preferring to spend time with books rather than people. But she’s tough in her own right. She puts herself in danger to save her father, she agrees to spend her life in a dungeon in exchange for her father’s release, and she faces the Beast in spite of her fear. Hard not to admire that. Besides, she comes to love the Beast for who he is, not how he looks. Good role model, eh?

So, are you a Disney movie fan? How about the Princesses? Who are your favorites and why?

Everyone who comments will get entered to win a Disney prize! I have two pins: one of Mulan and one of Belle (I couldn’t find one of Jasmine, dammit) and chocolate! I’ll give you a few days. I’ll draw the winners on Tuesday (the 26th), so be sure to include your e-mail in your comment so I can contact you!

Kind-of tan, definitely relaxed and already hating the ice and snow again,
Erin

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Primal Attraction

Since I’m operating on little sleep this morning (teething ten-month-old, enough said) and my brain in entirely fixed on crawling back into bed for another hour since the baby just went back to bed, this is probably going to be a short post. Of course had I done this last night...but that would mean confronting my procrastinating head-on, and well, there’s always tomorrow for that.

In case you haven’t already bought your copy ;) Primal Attraction is now available from Samhain Publishing. This is the second book in my gargoyle series, but can be read on its own. If you adore stubborn alpha males as much as I do, along with kickass heroines, then you’ll want to keep reading.

But first the blurb:

He’ll stop at nothing to claim her… If she doesn’t kill him first.

A lethal huntress, Sorcha lives to track and eliminate rogue immortals—until her latest assignment turns out to be a sexy, gargoyle shape-shifter. From the start she’s shaken by the lust his touch awakens inside her. Not only that, but the cat is convinced she’s his mate, and for the first time, she’s unable to kill her target.

Still mourning the loss of his mate, Cale is stunned to find Sorcha alive. Yet the woman he aches to possess doesn’t recognize him and is after the only thing that will save his brother—a mystical weapon that will lead to Excalibur.

Determined to protect his family and reclaim his mate, Cale ruthlessly takes advantage of Sorcha’s one weakness—her desire for him. Desire that could unlock their past…or cause him to lose her all over again.

TEASER

“You’re faking?”

He craned his neck to see. “Feels worse than it looks.”

She jerked at the armor, exposing the minor flesh wound. “It’s just a scratch.”

“Well that should make you feel better.”

Sneaky son of a bitch. “You tricked me.” Stealthy and cunning. She might have approved of the cat’s methods if she didn’t hate how knowing he wasn’t seriously injured actually made her feel better.

“You were the one who stabbed me.”

Sorcha shoved him off her, satisfied when his head thunked on the floor. “Maybe a second time will actually get the job done.” She reached for her sword.

One solid arm caught her around the waist, flipping her on to her back. Fully recovered from his scratch, Callaghan hovered above her, one hand flattened on either side of her body.

She couldn’t even lie to herself about not liking the way his eyes had gone all cat on her. Knowing she could push him to the edge of losing his cool helped make up for how much she wanted him to kiss her. The worst of it was how little she cared that kissing him complicated her life.

Complicated everything.

Not that she’d made up her mind to actually let him, but the memory of earlier had her gaze sliding down to his mouth. That fluttery feeling was back in her stomach, making her skin hot and her insides ever hotter.

“You never told me what you’re doing here.”

“It isn’t obvious?”

She shook her head, watching as his head lowered. Or was that her arching up? Either way, she snared his shirt, closing the distance.

Pick up your copy of Primal Attraction HERE or from your favorite online retailer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bend Over!

Sorry this is late. My internet has been down at home since Friday, January 12th. I live in a very rural area without the luxury of cable internet or even DSL. Yes, there is satellite internet, but I got a royal screw job on that one.

I'd called Hughes.Net and when the installers came out, I was quickly notified the "free standard installation" in my case did not apply. When setting this up with Hughes.Net over the phone, I had been advised the dish could not be installed on the roof or the side of a trailer. I do not live in a trailer, but a modular. Didn't matter to them. I had to write out a check for over $100 to the installers to have a post put in to mount the dish.

That was only the beginning.

After using the satellite internet service, I found issues with connecting in the evenings. I turned to the internet for information regarding Hughes.Net and found something about satellite internet service that I never knew. Something very important. Something you are not told in the commercials, over the phone or is even revealed in any of their documentation.

To keep from "hogging" the signal, you are allotted so much download per day, then you are cut off for up to 24 hours. However (and they act like this is such an "oh goodie" thing), the hours from 2-6am is considered "free time" and doesn't count against you.

When my husband would come home in the evening, he could not get on the internet. I even tried only doing email stuff during the day, but that didn't help.

The download allotment issues was not disputed when I called customer service. In fact, I was advised that anything the computer does in the background (such as check for updates, virus scans, etc.) are part of the download. I was told to change the settings of my computer to have such things scheduled for the "free time".

Over $400 out the window.

In this rural area my only choices are dial-up (at a wonderful 24K), satellite (to screw me over), and the local wireless service. I could go with broadband from my cellphone provider, but after you go over your limit they set for you charges kick in. With 4 laptops and an Xbox 360 in the house, it wouldn't take long to reach our monthly limit.

So, I'm back to my local wireless service who has grown too big to handle with what they have. Anyone in town you talk to has the same complaint, but we are at their mercy and boy do they know it. When you call for an outage, it can take up to a week for someone to come out. Once I was out of service for almost two weeks. I had been told someone would come out, but I was bumped for higher paying customers (as if my $50 per month wasn't enough).

The last time I had "dropping" issues, I was advised they would come out once and if that didn't work, they could not service me. Since then (which has been months now), I've been trying to get by with two minutes working, down several minutes, working a minute or two, down again. My son is rarely able to play his Xbox online. Since last week, I am lucky to catch it working for even a full minute.

Last year when the gas prices rose, my ISP began charging a fee to come out no matter what the issue.

Ever get the feeling it would be a miracle to go through a day without getting gouged, screwed over or robbed in some way? Perhaps if I didn't stop at a gas station, buy a $5 hamburger which doesn't even resemble real meat, or even look at a $2 cup of plain ol' coffee I could escape it.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way....so tired of being screwed over. Did getting what you paid for ever exist? Was there ever such a thing?

Thanks for letting me vent. Any opinions/stories you want to share?
D. (Diane) McEntire
www.dmcentire.com
The Watchers Series by Samhain Publishing

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year, New Challenges

I used to think that writing was one of the hardest things to do. Then it got edged out of top spot when I became a mom. Finding ways to balance family life and writing time was suddenly more of a challenge then finding out what to do with a blank page. (We won’t talk about how it became even harder when my daughter came along. Denial is a nice cozy place, so it’s best to leave me there, k?)

But I’ve recently added a new challenge to the list. Kicking the sugar habit. Except it’s one challenge that’s kicking my ass.

Of course it’s only been a couple days, but man am I jonesing for a chocolate bar. Hell, I’d have a spoonful of peanut butter if I wasn’t afraid I’d cross the line and my husband would walk into the kitchen to find an empty jar of peanut butter and my licking the spoon clean.

Hmmm, does the mention of chocolate and peanut butter make anyone else think about Reece Peanut Butter Cups?

See I’m my own worst enemy. But I’m determined to persevere since I know that the first few days of staying away from sugar are always the worst. And I also know that if I stop eating foods that jack my blood sugar levels up then those levels won’t later crash and force me to see out more sugary goodness. Vicious cycle, right?

It would just be so much easier if vegetables tasted as good to me as junk food. But like I said, I’m determined. I plan to stay healthy to keep up with my family. I also plan on having a long career and eating right and exercise (though I’m still in denial about that one too) are part of the package.

So help a girl to keep her hands off the chocolate by sharing what you eat when you want to snack on something tasty, but healthy. My sticky keyboard and I thank you in advance. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dexter -- Love him or hate him?







I recently got caught up on Dexter. Well... almost caught up. For those of you who don't know the TV show, its a dramedy about a serial killer who works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. The twist -- the love/hate part -- is that he's a killer with a strict code: he only kills killers. This is where my dilemma arises. Of course, that kind of behavior cannot be condoned in society, but at the same time, I applaud taking such people off the streets, even in a fictional world.

Many would argue our justice system is broken. I've got no idea how to fix it, but in California, where we spend $50,000 a year on prisoners and $5200 a year per student, even I can see that something is wrong. Is Dexter the solution? Not only no... but hell no.
So why the fascination? Because it plays on the idea of a spectrum between good and evil, an idea that's been infecting my plot bunnies for years. I'm intrigued by the concept of one person's immorality being another's salvation. Or of someone typecast as evil doing good in the world.

Have you seen Dexter? Do you love him or hate him -- or both? And is it possible for someone so inherently evil to benefit society in a symbiotic manner?

~ Skylar ~

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Excerpt Thursday -- HOT scenes (not for the faint of heart)

Beware of innocent peeping eyes behind you -- the following excerpts require A/C and possibly a cold shower. Enjoy... Happy Thursday from the 9NN

***
PG Forte – Let Me Count the Ways
I schooled my features into neutrality, glanced up at her face and frowned. “Did I tell you to open your eyes?”
“What?” Her eyes widened in surprise. She stared at me. I stared back.
“Close them.”
For the space of maybe three seconds we continued to stare at each other. Then she breathed out a shuddery little sigh, and did as she’d been told.
My hands went back into motion; slowly smoothing across her ribs and up her sides, retracing their previous movement. “These last months, working with you, I’ve been like some little boy with his nose pressed up against the candy store window; admiring all that lusciousness, coveting it, but never expecting to actually have it. Never even expecting to get any closer to it than I was. Until tonight.”
My fingers met each other again, in the center of her chest, and then parted, sweeping outward once more and then down and around. “Tonight, you opened the door. You let me come inside. You should have known what would happen if you did that, Claire.”
“What?” she asked again, breathlessly.
Although I hadn’t so much as touched her breasts, her nipples were hard and had been so almost since I’d started. Now, as I bent close and blew alternating currents of warm and cool air across the tips, she shivered in response. “You should have realized I’d have to taste every last piece of candy. That I’d never be satisfied until I’d sampled everything you had to offer. That, even then, I’d want to sneak back in when you weren’t looking and go for seconds on all my favorites.”
Claire’s throat worked for a moment. “Mike?”
“Yes?”
“I’m not looking now, am I?”

Read more here.
***
Meg Benjamin – Venus in Blue Jeans
Docia caught her breath as he dropped his shirt to the floor beside her blouse.
She’d never seen a chest that broad before. His pectorals curved down to his flat stomach muscles. A thick pelt of dark hair covered the surface, arrowing down to the waistband of his pants. He looked primal, like a warrior, like someone who’d lurched out of the forest seeking a mate.
Not that he’d have to do much seeking from what she could see. He could probably just crook his finger and a dozen potential mates would come tripping through the woods without further ado.
She forced herself to breathe in and out while she sorted through appropriate adjectives. Magnificent. Glorious. Spectacular.
“Wow.”
Oh, very good, Docia. Four years of college English and that’s the best you can do?
Cal raised his eyebrows, questioning.
Docia couldn’t stop herself. She reached toward his chest, burying her fingers in the dark, crinkling hair, touching the point of one brown nipple with her pinky. She heard his quick inhale.
His eyes looked slightly glazed. “Now you,” he gasped.
Docia’s fingers dropped to the button at the waistband of her pants, and suddenly her shoulders stiffened. Right then, she could remember every one of Allie’s scones she’d consumed over the last month, not to mention all those plates of tapas Lee had fed her, laden with cheese and olive oil. And then, of course, she also remembered Donnie’s cracks about her love handles.
Oh well, maybe some men like doughy hips. And she couldn’t do much about spot reducing at the moment. She was who she was, after all. She’d learned that much over the last couple of years.
Docia pushed her pants down to the floor and stepped out of them defiantly. At least she had on some of her better underwear.
Cal watched her for a heartbeat or two, his eyes hooded. Then he stepped toward her, raising his hands to cup her breasts. Docia closed her eyes, feeling the warmth spread outward as the rough calluses of his palms rubbed across her skin. Heat stretched over her body and down to her thighs. His fingers moved and the catch at the front of her bra opened. Her breasts slipped loose as he pushed the straps from her shoulders.
And she stood in front of him, wearing only a scrap of peach-colored silk at her crotch.

Cal stared, his pulse racketing in his ears. There she was again—Botticelli’s Venus with her wild red curls drifting around her face and shoulders. Perfect breasts, high and full. Waist narrowing to a gently rounded stomach. Long, creamy thighs stretching to muscular calves.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. If he was dreaming, this was when he’d wake up, hard and aching.
“Your turn,” she whispered.
He came down to earth with a thump. This was it. The point at which some of his past sexual encounters had come to an abrupt halt. The time when he’d need to get enough blood back into his brain to soothe, to reassure, to explain that, after all, size was relative and bodies did adapt to each other.
But he might as well get it over with.
He unzipped, pushing his slacks and underwear down together, feeling himself spring free. No point in delaying the moment—he wouldn’t get any smaller.
At least he profoundly hoped he wouldn’t.
Docia’s gaze was riveted on his groin. She stared at his cock, as he’d known she would. His throat was dry with wanting her. Somehow he had to figure out how to say all the things he needed to say to get past this moment. All the encouragement and reminders about how well they’d fit. How they were made to fit together. How if she lost her nerve now he’d probably go jump off a cliff somewhere.
She reached for him suddenly, before he realized what she was doing. Cool fingers wrapped around his shaft, measuring him, sliding lightly down the length of him.
“You’re very big.” Her voice sounded husky.
Cal swallowed, nodding. Even if he tried to speak, he figured his voice wouldn’t be more than a croak. And he wasn’t sure he could speak at all as long as her hand stayed where it was currently.
And then she grinned, eyes sparkling. “Fortunately, so am I.”
***
D. McEntire – Midnight Rose
To Vane’s relief, she finally plopped down on the seat. It wasn’t very graceful, but he knew she was beyond caring about anything.
Rosa burst out, "My hero!" then placed a loud smacking kiss on his cheek and batted her eyelashes.
"Rosa." Vane moved closer to her face so he could speak to her softly. When he did, her glassy eyes fixed on his mouth for several moments, before sliding back up to his eyes. His jaw clenched at her silent invitation, knowing he would have to refuse. It was not the time, nor the place.
Before he could dissuade where her thoughts were obviously leading, Rosa placed her hand behind his head and pulled him down to her mouth.
His heart was beating fast as he warred with himself. Rosa’s kiss was stealing his breath and making him burn for her. He knew her actions were solely the product of the drugs she had been given. He told himself to break the kiss, but found it excruciatingly hard to do.
When Rosa eased away from his lips, he hoped she was coming to her senses, but he quickly found he was wrong. She had released his lips, but kept her hand clasped behind his head as she slid her tongue down his jawline, then down his neck before she sank in her fangs.
Vane jerked. The quick prick on his neck was immediately replaced by something so erotic, so sensual, he had to clamp his mouth shut before he cried out in ecstasy.
He had never had anyone drink from him before. He had certainly drunk from both human and vampire females in the past, but nothing could compare to what Rosa was doing to him.
A part of him soared at such intimacy. He had dreamed of this, craved this for so long. But for Rosa, the desire to feed from him might not be the same. She might be following a compulsion driven by her drug-induced state.
***
Kelly Jamieson – Rigger
“Slow,” he whispered again, feathering kisses across her cheek, nudging her hair aside, his breath a warm tickle, his mouth a sweet torture. Her eyes fell closed. His body pushed her back into the softness of the bed, lifting her bound wrists above her head, and he kissed her again, soft and sweet, endless, long and slow and deep.
His tongue slid into her mouth and he licked inside, then softly bit her lips. The weight of his body was a delicious pressure and she arched a little to press her breasts harder against him.
She tasted him too, with a drag of her tongue across his bottom lip and he sucked her tongue into his mouth. Heat radiated off him and she felt the fine trembling of his body as the kisses went deeper, hotter, sweeter.
She longed to touch him, feel him, but the ropes were firm as she tested them. Stretched out on her back, her fingers curled into her palms above her head. He lifted his head to study her, the thin ropes still encircling her body, and she felt his eyes move over her like a caress, her nipples tight and needy.
“Roll over.”
She dipped her chin, then rolled over, arms still outstretched.
***

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Power of a Single Word


So today's post was going to be about dogs--my son's dog, in particular--and the blurred line that so often seems to exist between fiction and reality. Then I got home and went online and read some of the really stupid things people have been saying with regard to the Prop 8 trial going on now in San Francisco, and suddenly I was no longer in the mood to write about puppies--no matter how cute--which has led me to post this rant instead. Mea culpa. But, hey, at least it's sorta writing related.

For those of you who don't know, Prop 8--or Prop Hate, as I like to call it--is the measure that's once again placed a ban on same-sex marriage in California. The plaintiffs in the trial currently underway are challenging the measure's constitutionality. FWIW, both the Governor and the State Attorney General have declined to defend the measure because they don't think it's constitutional either. But that's not my point. Interestingly, the attorneys for the plaintiffs are David Boies and Theodore Olson who represented Al Gore and George W. Bush (respectively) in the Supreme Court Case that effectively resolved the disputed election of 2000. All of which gives a whole new meaning to the term "bi-partisan cooperation". That's not my point either.

Make no mistake. I realize this is a complex issue with many ramifications. Marriage is a legal and civil institution. It's a social contract. For many people it can also be a religious sacrament, the outward symbol of an emotional commitment or a spiritual union ordained by God. People tend to have very strong feelings about this thing we call marriage. And that is my point.

One commentor asked the question, "isn't this dispute all about nothing more than a word?" To which several people responded with variations of the "why can't gay people just call their relationships something else?" riff...which is when I began to lose my puppy praising mood.

Nothing more than a word? I'm sorry...what did you say? To an author, that's roughly analogous to saying, "Yo Mama!" It's an invitation to a semantic brawl. Words have power and meaning. They're not just random syllables. If Civil Unions and Marriages were actually legally indistinguishable from one another (they're not, btw, but that's a blog post on its own) perhaps it wouldn't matter so much what you called them. Perhaps. But "separate but equal" can never really be equal and if they actually were the same thing...why would there be any need to call them by different names?

No. With all due respect to The Bard, that which we call a rose...should damn well be called a rose no matter what color it is or who's doing the gardening.

When you think about it, the concept of marriage predates countries and governments and probably organized religion as well. I think the philosopher Hannah Arendt (who is my new personal hero, btw) said it far better than I ever could--way back in 1959:

"The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which "the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one's skin or color or race" are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs. [Dissent, Winter 1959]"

Wow. Okay...so if I might be allowed to say one more thing about the whole civil union v marriage issue, it's this: In my opinion, anyone who can't acknowledge that the word marriage carries more meaning, embodies more history and evokes a far greater emotional response than the term civil union is only deluding him or herself. If I had my way, they'd all be forced to watch every damn episode ever made of "Say Yes to the Dress." Back to back to back. With no break in between, no time off for good behavior.

Beyond the blatant unfairness of attempting to deny someone a right most of us take for granted, I'm incensed by the idea that anyone would seek to deny another human being  the use of a word that is practically synonymous with love and commitment.Language belongs to everyone. That and opposable thumbs are pretty much humanity's claim to fame. And love and commitment--those belong to everyone, too. At least they should. They're not the kinds of things anyone should be allowed to regulate for someone else.

No, this issue is not "all about a word".  It's about denying people a basic human right. It's about the indignity of not being allowed to decide for yourself how you define what may be one of the most important relationships of your life...and what you choose to call it.


But, as an author--especially as an author of romance, someone whose day to day work is pretty much an on-going homage to the concepts of love and commitment--I think that even if it were "all about a word" that would be enough.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guest Blogger Maia Strong - Scratching a Niche


Hello, all! First off, a big thanks to the Nine Naughty Novelists for the guest blog opportunity. You're lovely and gracious, each of you!

Now, a quick intro: I'm Maia Strong and I write m/m fantasy. (Sounds like an AA introduction or something, doesn't it? LOL.) I have two books out now, The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing from Samhain Publishing, and a related novel, Client Privileges with Torquere Press. My latest, an m/m/f fantasy short story titled Play Music, Play Magic will be out from Torquere Press in the anthology I Put a Spell on You on 24 February. I also have an m/m erotic space opera detective novella (damn, that's a mouthful), False Dawn, coming from Torquere this summer. That's the facts. Here's the fun. ;-)

I love fantasy. Always have and, I expect, always will. From Susan Cooper to J.R.R. Tolkien, from Gael Baudino to Guy Gavriel Kay. LOVE IT. I also love m/m. Discovered that genre a little later in life--say, high school--but it is nevertheless a fave of mine. I spent much of college seeking out gay fiction from the teen f/f Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, to that classic of gay lit, The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren (which I've just discovered, much to my chagrin, I no longer own--what up with that?). I was even lucky enough to take the brand new Gay and Lesbian Literature course offered when I was in college.

So, naturally, I love when authors put fantasy and m/m together. Trouble is, that's not such an easy thing to find. When I wrote my first m/m fantasy novel, the abovementioned Ballad..., it never occurred to me what a tiny little niche I was digging into. I should have, really. I mean, I can count on one hand the authors I've found on the bookstore shelves who write it. Wanna know? Sure you do. Melissa Scott and (sadly now deceased) Lisa A. Barnett; Ellen Kushner (I'd add Della Sherman, but I've not read the book they co-wrote yet); and... that's it. And I've looked, you know? Gael Baudino falls on the edge of the genre, but she's more towards f/f and elves, and I've read (almost) everything by her already. All of which leaves me, a) in pretty damned good company, IMO, and b) scratching out a niche on the shelves for m/m fantasy, and apparently pushing the boundary into m/m/f.

If you have any m/m fantasy authors/books to recommend, please do! They don't have to be steamy or even romantic, just gay boys in a fantasy universe. Whodathunk it was so much to ask? And while you ponder that question, here's a short snippet (is that redundant) from my upcoming short story.

Play Music, Play Magic Excerpt:

Putting such heavy thoughts aside, Rhys let himself relax into the music.

He didn't know the song she played, but it hardly mattered. Noula's music was… enchanting. The notes intertwined like a tapestry growing on the loom of a master weaver. Complex, subtle, haunting. Beautiful. He'd listened closely to every Wand'ring Minstrel he had ever come across -- here in Yanto, back in Western Zephren, and everywhere in between -- and no one he had heard could do what Noula could do. And with such a deceptively simple instrument as a recorder.

Simple. There was nothing simple about what was happening. Colors and light that had nothing to do with the candle lanterns began to swirl slowly around the edges of his vision. Rhys sighed and leaned into his husband, resting his head on Isaac's strong shoulder. Isaac reached an arm around him, kissed him on the top of his head. For that suspended moment, everything was perfect in Rhys' world.

Subtly, the tone of the music changed. Where before it had buoyed him on pillows of flannel stuffed with the softest down, now it grew sleeker and less cozy, and yet no less welcoming. He floated on the melody, rich as silk, spicy as cinnamon, and exotic as the island paradise Noula had spoken of earlier. The music flowed over his skin and into his blood, warming it from within. The heat grew and centered itself quite deliciously in his groin, and he grew hard.

Isaac's arm around him squeezed a little tighter, and Rhys opened eyes he hadn't realized had fallen shut. The colors he had seen in the room had continued behind his eyelids, and now, as he opened them, those swirls and eddies of rainbow light were there with him in the room again, too. He turned his head and looked deep into his husband's jet-black eyes, sparkling like obsidian with every flicker of light. He didn't have to look down or reach out a hand to know that Isaac felt what he felt. Craved what he craved.

Together, they turned and looked at Noula. She played on, but a knowing and eager twinkle was in her eyes.

Wordless and as one, the three of them rose from the table and headed for the ladder to the sleeping loft. Noula played the men up, bringing the tune to a suspended end as they reached the top. Pocketing her recorder, she climbed up after them, humming as she went.

Links:

http://www.maiastrong.com

http://maiastrong.blogspot.com

http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/p-the-ballad-of-jimothy-redwing

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2160

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eyeliner and Earrings


On New Year’s Day a lot of Samhain authors posted their resolutions and other New Year’s musings on the Samhellion. My resolution was to wear eyeliner and earrings every day for 2010. I have to admit, I sort of tossed that one off (and in the interest of full disclosure, I also have to admit I’ve already broken it, at least as far as the earrings go). But in fact the resolution did spring from a serious concern for me—what happens when you switch from full-time work outside the home to full-time writing inside it?

For twenty-plus years I put on my working clothes and full make-up every day, along with appropriate jewelry and perfume, and trudged off to my teaching job at Enormous State University. As of last May, however, I retired. Now I could dress however I wanted and then wander into my study and start writing on my own time. I have to admit: while I was still trudging off to work, it sounded like heaven.

And it is. I don’t want to underestimate the pleasures of being able to do what I’ve wanted to do for a lot of years. Being my own boss beats even my very nice department chair at good ol’ Enormous State. But the problem with being your own boss is that you may become pretty lax about enforcing a daily routine, including the dress code. I think I started confronting this problem one day when I was choosing an upper body garment (or UBG, as we say around my house) and rejected a perfectly nice sweater because all I was going to be doing was writing. And why, I found myself asking, shouldn’t I look as professional when I write as when I go to teach a class? Doesn’t writing deserve the same kind of concentration and respect?

Ergo the “eyeliner and earrings” thing. It’s not much of a resolution, lord knows. But it leads to a much more ambitious one. I want to treat my writing as a profession, and that means establishing a routine that works.

Writing is based on creativity, of course, but it’s also based on discipline and scut work. If you’re going to get anything done, you need to be able to shove yourself in front of the computer on a regular basis and grind out those pages. Even if you’d rather be sleeping, watching TV, reading, or basically doing anything else. And one thing I’ve discovered over the past few months is that setting a routine is critical, at least for me. In essence, I needed to make my writing my job. And I needed to take that job seriously.

So here we go again—I hereby resolve that I will wear eyeliner and earrings from now on when I sit down at my computer (as well as enough other pieces of clothing to keep the vice squad from the door). “Hair cut and sneakers shined,” as David Bromberg used to sing. In other words, I will treat my writing as my profession, and I will do my best to live up to it.

Who knows? Maybe doing that will provide just the writing mojo I need.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Naughty Nine Party on the 9th!!

It's time for our monthly party! Seems like it's cold everywhere so we thought it would be nice to have a pool party!




There's a swim up bar...



And someone serving drinks...




I'll have a margarita please, on the rocks!

We're giving away more books!

1. An ARC of Primal Attractionby Sydney Somers
2. Sea Change by PG Forte
3. a choice from Kelly Jamieson's back list (go to http://www.kellyjamieson.com/, some are in print, too)

Today the Naughty Nine share 3 things we wouldn't want our mother to know!


forte_ding

1. How old I was when I first had sex. Granted, that was a long, long time ago but I suspect she'd still be shocked if she knew.
2. How my son got that scar right next to his eye. There are some things I wish I didn't know. That's one of them.
3. How much I weigh. We've been playing the "yes, I still need to lose a few pounds" game ever since my daughter was born. But I think the actual number and the fact that it ain't never gonna happen might be too much for her.


benjamin_ding1

1. I’ve written sex scenes that take place with the lights on using something other than the missionary position
2. Such scenes occasionally have some relevance to (ahem) personal experience
3. I have actually served roast beef without mashed potatoes and gravy, and my broccoli is bright green rather than moss colored. To date, the family has survived (okay, that’s four—sue me!)


jamieson_ding

1. I didn’t just try smoking, I smoked. Sort of. A long time ago.
2. I read those Playboy magazines stashed in her bedroom when she and Dad weren’t home.
3. I once found her partially-finished, hand-written romance novel manuscript under the cushions of the couch.



Photobucket

I made the mistake of taking a creative non-fiction class once. And letting my mom read my essays. So a lot of my "don’t-tell" secrets have already been spilled! But here are three:

1. That time I hitchhiked from Loch Lomond to Oban, Scotland, because the bus didn't show up as scheduled.
2. Exactly how late I stay up every night (I'd get in so much trouble for not getting enough sleep!).
3. The word my iPhone is now auto-completing.
(Of course, she'll probably read this, and I'll end up telling her anyway. Love you, Mom!)

somers_ding

1. How much like her I really am, and the older I get the more apparent it becomes. That's probably explains the increasing strands of gray hair popping up.
2. That I pretty much only get around to doing laundry when we're out of clean socks and underwear--much to my husband's dismay.
3. That I'll always, always prefer Harrison Ford to Robert Redford.


nicholas_ding



1. How many times I've lost my virginity
2. How high my Discover card balance really is
3. How many times I actually use "bad words" in a 24 hour period



1. My pen name (because then she could read my book!)

2. How much I know about sex toys

3. How much I regret not having a wilder youth


To enter the contest, just leave a comment below telling us something you wouldn't want your mother to know! We'll draw the winner Sunday morning.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rules and Conventions


I recently gave my sister a copy of my WIP, Rocky Mountain Howl (are ya’ll sick of me referring to this damn thing? Me too. Moving on…) and asked her to give me her thoughts. She doesn’t read a lot of paranormal romance, and I wanted a fresh eye.

Once she started reading it, she had two…well, not exactly complaints, but two things that surprised her, and not in a good way. She thought there were a lot of characters to keep up with, and she got frustrated because some things in the plot are only revealed and explained as the book unfolds.

I was taken aback. The number of characters in a book never bothered me if the book was well written and characters were clearly identified. And I like books that keep you guessing about what’s going on.

Then I thought about it. Paranormal romance is my favorite subgenre. You find large casts of characters in these books, maybe because a lot of titles belong to series. And paranormal romance often features mysteries or strange goings-on that aren’t fully explained right up front. My sister is used to reading romances that follow a certain set of conventions, and the books I read follow another.

I thought about this when PG Forte mentioned a reader who was convinced that the hero in one of PG’s books was the villain, and the villain the hero, based solely on the order in which the two were introduced in the book. I think maybe that’s taking convention a little too far.

Both these incidents got me to thinking about rules. Romance novels aren’t nearly as formulaic as they were just ten years ago. But authors know there are still certain – let’s call them conventions, instead of rules – that a lot of readers expect their romances to follow. Or at least editors think readers expect these conventions to be followed, and so unconventional books have a harder time getting published.

Now, my first instinct is to say “Boo! Conventions bad! Boundary-pushing romances good!” And I do feel that way. But…I’ll admit there are a few conventions I like, and I expect books to follow, and I tend to shy away from books that don’t.

I like alpha heroes. I like em big and powerful, and I don’t even care if the hero is an asshole for two thirds of the book as long as he’s redeemed at the end. I don’t like books where the heroine is stronger or tougher or richer or more powerful than the hero. I used to be ashamed to admit this, but I’ve decided – screw it, that’s my taste. I’m reading a romance novel, not setting government policy.

Another one: I can’t relate to promiscuous heroines. A colorful history, a life fully lived – that’s one thing. But a heroine who does casual hookups routinely – I’m probably not going to finish the book. I really want to read Loretta Chase’s Her Scandalous Ways and Eden Bradley’s A 21st Century Courtesan, but – hooker heroines. I mean, I just don’t know. Again, I’m kind of embarrassed about it, and I definitely think I should get out of my comfort zone, but….it’s so comfortable here!

Okay, your turn. What romance novel conventions do you find it hard to disregard, and which ones bug you? And if you’re a writer, which conventions do you yearn to smash?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fun with Food - D. McEntire

Midnight Reborn - The Watchers, Book One by D. McEntire


When Robyn turned from the microwave, the guys were all looking at her, smiling.

"What?" She asked, feeling a little uncomfortable at their sudden attention.

Rayne laughed. "Guess you don’t go much for rare meat, huh?"

Robyn bit the inside of her mouth so as not to laugh. "No, I’d rather my meat not squeal, say "ouch" or howl when I cut into it!"

They laughed and she retrieved her plate from the microwave, then yelped and dropped it on the counter, making everyone jump.

"Ow!" she cried, putting her fingers in her mouth. "I forgot to use the stupid pot holder!"
Hissing in pain, she ran to the sink and shoved her fingers under the cold water. Trigg stopped in the midst of putting the drinks on the table and walked over to her quickly.

"Here, let me see," he said as he reached for her hands.

"No, it’s okay. I just burned them. I’ll put some ice on them in a minute. You go ahead and eat before your food gets cold."

Robyn tried to smile up at him, but the pain on her face was evident.

Trigg didn’t wait for her permission. He turned off the water and looked at the blisters forming on the pads of her fingers where she had touched the hot plate. He stared into her eyes for a moment, then slowly raised her hand to his lips.

Robyn had no idea what was going to happen. Was he going to kiss it and make it better?

When Trigg opened his mouth and began to run his tongue over the burns, she thought her knees were going to buckle. The moist heat from his rough tongue invoked tingling sensations that coursed through her body and pooled in her lower belly.

Robyn realized this was turning her on, and from the look in Trigg’s eyes, he was there with her, or maybe even more so. They were glowing and showing a tint of red, but not fully red as they were last night when Vane had her against the wall in the kitchen.

Her breath caught at the look in his eyes—hunger and want. When he finished, he kissed her palm gently and slowly released her hand.

Trigg smiled at the astonished look on Robyn’s face. He could see in her eyes that there was something more, she wanted him. When she blinked, breaking the spell, he spoke.

"Your burns needed healing."

Robyn blinked again. "Wha-what?" She stammered as if she hadn’t realized he had spoken.

Trigg’s smile deepened. "Your burns needed healing. Our saliva has a healing agent, so I healed them." He watched as Robyn’s eyes seemed to refocus and he could see that the information finally sank in. Her face flushed as she thanked him before sidestepping him on the way to retrieve her plate from the counter.

Trigg handed her a potholder with a chuckle before she could repeat the incident.

When he turned and headed to his chair, he noticed Rayne and Vane staring at him with arched eyebrows and he scowled. He didn’t need either one of them reminding him that he was playing with fire. He was a vampire and she was a human. Nothing good would come out of a relationship between them.

D. McEntire www.dmcentire.com Facebook: Diane McEntire Vance

Fun with Food -- Meg Benjamin's Excerpt

This is part of the “dueling grills” pre-wedding barbeque from Wedding Bell Blues. Otto is Janie’s sort-of boyfriend. Pete would like to be more than sort-of.

She wandered toward the grill where Otto regarded a small fleet of burgers and sausages with narrowed eyes. He held a long-handled spatula in one hand.

“Can I help?” Janie managed a smile.

Otto raised his eyebrows at her. “Women grilling? Don’t think so, sweet thing.”

Janie’s jaw tightened, her smile fading. “I grill at home all the time, Otto. It’s never been all that difficult.”

“You have to have a feeling for it.” He shrugged. “Men know meat.”

She pressed her lips together hard. So many things to say. So little time. So little chance that Otto would understand more than a fraction of it. She walked toward Pete Toleffson’s grill, trying not to grind her teeth.

Janie blinked. Pete was grilling zucchini.

Also eggplant, onion slices, and what looked like a few portobello mushrooms. A bowl of tomato slices sat on the shelf next to the grill.

Pete glanced at her. “Got any idea what eggplant looks like when it’s done?”

“Is it marinated?” Janie stepped forward, peering at the vegetables.

“Haven’t a clue.” Pete grinned at her. “Reba handed all of this to me and I’m following orders.”

Janie removed the tongs from his hand and rolled an eggplant wedge to its other side. “Marinated. And it’s got grill marks.”

“You think I should salt and pepper it?” Pete’s brow furrowed. “You don’t salt meat, but I’m not sure about mushrooms.”

“Nope, it makes them sweat. Plus they’ve all been marinated.” Janie flipped the eggplant wedges then handed Pete the tongs. “There. Now do the rest of the slices. Only don’t turn the mushrooms—the juice will spill out if you do.”

“Okay.” Pete industriously flipped vegetables. “You want to put those tomato slices out? I figure they go last.”

Janie nodded, picking up the bowl.

“You’re letting her grill?” Otto’s voice was tinged with outrage.

Janie glanced over at him, feeling Pete stiffen beside her. “Pete’s doing the vegetables, Otto,” she snapped. “I’m helping.”

“Vegetables? At a barbeque?” The outrage was definite now.

Janie took a deep breath, turning toward Otto’s grill. “Grilled vegetables are really good, Otto. Besides, Cal’s a vegetarian.”

Otto looked as if she’d just told him Cal was a devil worshipper. He would have been hilarious if he hadn’t been her date. After a moment, he recollected himself and pushed his shoulders back slightly. His naked chest gleamed in the late afternoon sunshine.

Pete had put his shirt back on again, Janie noted with a feeling of vague disappointment. The buttons hung tantalizingly open, reminding her briefly of his thick mat of chest hair.

Janie took another in a series of deep breaths. Okay, she was being unfair. Comparing Otto to Pete wasn’t right. Otto was Konigsburg. Pete was…somewhere else.

She glanced back at Pete’s grill. He was nudging the vegetables with his tongs, his forehead creased in concentration. Olive sat at his feet, watching him carefully. “Take a look at this, will you?” he muttered. “I can’t tell if they’re ready to come off or not.”

Janie studied the vegetables. “A few more minutes.” She turned slightly to look at his face. “So why don’t you guys like football? You all look like a high school coach’s dream team.”

Pete’s mouth twisted briefly. “Football was our big brother Erik’s game. We all went out for other stuff. The football coach wanted us, but we didn’t necessarily want him.”

Right. The big brother nobody liked. “So you played basketball?”

Pete nodded. “And baseball. Even wrestled one year.” One corner of his mouth rose in a half grin. “It was a small school.”

“Hey, sweet thing,” Otto called. “Come and get it! Burgers are done.”

Janie picked up a plate and started toward Otto’s grill, then stopped. Pete was flipping vegetable chunks onto a platter. They looked a little charred around the edges, but overall good.

“Got any extra eggplant there?” she asked.

Pete glanced at her, one eyebrow raised in question. Then he grinned. “Have at it, ma’am. My veggies are your veggies.”

Fun with Food -- Excerpt Thursday

Yes, mother always told me not to play with my food, but I don't think this is what she had in mind...


***
Kelly Jamieson -- RIGGER, now available from Ellora’s Cave.

Their food arrived, the small plates like tiny works of art, perfectly arranged and garnished. “Which of this is raw?” she demanded, looking it over.
“It doesn’t matter,” Alek said. “You’re going to try them all.”
She clutched her chopsticks in her fist. “But…”
He gave her a look, square chin lifted, eyes intent, and she blinked. Loosened her hold on her chopsticks. And melted into her panties. She licked her lips and reached for a piece of sushi.
The spicy sauce warmed her mouth, the sesame seeds added a nutty taste to a delicious blend of shrimp, scallions and avocado.
“Do you like wasabi?” Alek asked, then popped a Dynamite roll into his mouth.
“I like a little. Too much clears my sinuses.”
He laughed, and picked up a morsel in his chopsticks. He was pretty dexterous with those things. He leaned toward her, holding out the food. She opened her mouth with a little twinge of fear at what she was about to consume.
It was delicious. Cream cheese, scallions and sesame seeds and several kinds of fish from what she could tell, so perfectly fresh it was sweet.
“It’s a Coral Reef,” he told her.
She swallowed and looked at him through her eyelashes. “It was raw, wasn’t it?”
He grinned. “Yup.”
She pressed her lips together as she decided which of the dishes she wanted to sample next. He reached over and tipped her chin up. “You liked it, didn’t you?”
She lifted her chin away from his hand and his smile widened. “Yes, all right, I liked it.”
“See. Trying new things can be fun.”
Her pussy clenched at the tone of his voice, rough and velvet like hemp rope rubbing over her skin.
Alek studied her intently, and she wanted to squirm, sure that he knew she was aroused, and from what? A few words from him. How could that be?

***
Kate Davies – Lessons in Love

She had chocolate on her upper lip.
It took every ounce of willpower Alex had not to reach across the little table and remove it for her. To take the tip of one finger and smooth it away—oh, God, to lick it off…
Alex shifted in his chair, thankful that Brynn was oblivious to the effect she had on him. She chattered away, cupping the stoneware mug in both hands, closing her eyes in delight as she sipped the hot drink.
He shouldn’t even be there. He should be in his office, reading over applications for the Laurivenia Trust. The annual ball was coming up in just a few weeks and he still hadn’t decided which projects were the most deserving of funding.
But he’d heard Brynn out in the hall, stomping and muttering, and he was up from his desk before he even realized what he was doing.
Alex picked up his own mug and took a sip. It was smooth and rich, the perfect comfort drink. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had hot chocolate. He was more likely to be served fancy espresso drinks. But as soon as they reached the empty kitchen, Brynn had insisted on preparing enough for both of them. She had puttered around the kitchen, plucking ingredients from the huge walk-in pantry, even sending Alex to fetch a container of cream from the industrial-sized refrigerator.
She was at ease in the kitchen, keeping up a running monologue while she whipped and stirred and blended. Her earlier embarrassment seemed to have faded, and Alex was glad. He enjoyed listening to her talk. They could have been any couple, hanging out in the kitchen after a night out.
Except he was the crown prince of Laurivenia and she was his daughter’s nanny.
He could stand it no longer.
Read the rest of the scene here

***
Erin Nicholas – Just Right

“You know that you don’t have a clitoris, right?”
Ben strolled into the kitchen where Sam was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches.
Sam turned away from the stove, an incredibly funny expression on his face. “Excuse me?”
Ben tossed him the bottle he’d found when looking for a towel in the bathroom. “Thought I should fill you in, just in case you were wondering why this stuff wasn’t working for you.”
Sam looked at the label that claimed the oil inside had a warming and arousing affect on the clitoris if applied prior to sexual activity. He grinned when he realized what it was. “Oh, it worked for me—indirectly.”
“Better than the leopard print panties?” Ben had also seen those in the lid-less shoebox in the cupboard under the sink.
Sam set the bottle on the counter and turned to flip the sandwich in the pan. “I do my best work when panties are not involved.”
Ben chuckled and grabbed a banana from the bunch on the counter. “So what is that collection?”
Sam shrugged. “Stuff people have left here.”
“People? As in, how many?” Ben bit off a huge hunk of banana.
Sam slid the golden sandwich onto the plate that already held two others. “However many are in there.”
“Three panties, a bra, a garter and the oil.”
“So, six,” Sam concluded.
“They were each from a different woman?” Ben asked.
“Probably. I don’t remember which is which anymore, though.”
“They didn’t ask for their underwear back the next time they were here?” Ben asked.
Sam shrugged again with a large grin as he added cheese to yet another piece of bread. “There’s no again around here. One night, that’s all they get.”
Ben shook his head and bit off another bite of banana. Wow. Sam certainly didn’t have any problems with getting too wrapped up in other people’s lives.
Read more of this scene here
Read more about Just Right here
***
PG Forte – Love, From A to Z

Pizza, I thought, had to be the most perfect food ever invented, although, admittedly, my experience, at present, wasn’t all that wide. And pizza and beer together--now that was surely an unbeatable combination.
“What do you call this stuff again?” I asked, picking a small, white blob off the top of my slice and popping it in my mouth. Creamy and warm with a distinct salt tang, I loved the way it melted on my tongue.
Zach smiled. “That’s Feta cheese. You like it?”
“Mmm.” It reminded me of sex. “And the green stuff underneath?”
“Pesto. Basil, garlic, olive oil...I don’t know what else.”
“It’s good.” Pesto tasted earthy and pungent. It reminded me of sex, too.
“Yep,” Zach sighed, sounding pretty content, himself. “Green pizza and red beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Nodding agreement, I leaned down and retrieved my bottle from the floor. After taking a sip I smacked my lips. “Delicious.” But it was better than that; really. It was refreshing in a dark, vibrant, exciting sort of way; like a cool, wet, never-ending kiss...
Come to think of it, everything reminded me of sex just now, even the soft cheese that was layered beneath the pesto. Soft, stretchy, springy; it brought to mind the tender sac that held Zach’s balls.
I moved my foot a little, stretching my leg as far as it would reach, until my sole was pressed against the bulge at Zach’s crotch. I rubbed him with my heel, back and forth in a little semi-circle, testing to see how much of that soft springiness I could feel through the denim of his jeans.

“Hey.” Zach swatted at my foot. “Cut it out. Stop that.”

He looked amused, however, rather than annoyed, so I decided not to take him seriously. I scrunched up my toes and pressed harder. “Stop what?”
Read the rest of the scene here

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Freaky or funny?



Since we joined the Nine Naughty Novelists, PG and I have found a whole lot of connections in our writing and in our lives. Here are just a few:

Kelly: PG has a book (
Iron) set in a fictional Irish town in Ireland named Kilbanning and I have a book (Irish Sex Fairy) set in a fictional Irish town in California named Kilkenny. Lots of Irish words and phrases in both stories! California is where PG actually lives and I’ve spent a lot of time there and set most of my books there, and she’s set a lot of her books there, too. I noticed in her dedication for Iron that her maternal grandparents are from Ireland - Counties Tipperary and Limerick - mine are from Enniskillen and Newton Butler Counties. Both our husbands are photographers. We’ve both written lots about food and wine and a winery (my winery story is still in progress). In the Dark includes a reference to my home city (Royal Winnipeg Ballet). The characters in Iron are named Gavin and Aislinn and I’ve written stories with the same names (only Ashlyn), we have other stories (Worth Waiting For and PG’s Scent of the Roses) where our characters have the last name, Patterson. And both are 'reunion' stories. I have a character who owns a coffee shop. PG has a character who owns a tea shop. We both hate vacuuming and love coffee, and I freaked out when PG mentioned Nastassja Kinski and the Snake photograph by Richard Avedon, because we actually had that photograph hanging in our living room for years!

PG: yes, and as I don't think I mentioned, I once borrowed the bracelet Nastassja wears in that photo from the designer to use in one of my husband's photo shoots. That was during my brief stint as a Photo Stylist.

So this week we were having a conversation on Yahoo and decided to share it with you for a laugh. Actual conversation:


Kelly: PG, did you see this? http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/were-loving-angels-instead-publishing-craze-goes-celestial-1850915.html

PG: Huh. Well, that's cool. Maybe there's hope yet for my sad little angel story. Being ahead of the trend--that' d be something new for me. lol! Thanks, Kelly!

Kelly: I was ahead of the trend too, but it didn’t work out so well LOL. The book that landed my agent was originally written about a girl who had a near death experience and came back with some super angelic powers, and a mission to fight an evil demon drug cartel. Her dead father was an angel in the book, too, he fought a demon for her soul and won, sending her back to earth with her mission. My agent said the paranormal aspects seemed extraneous to the story but if I wanted to rewrite it she would look again, so I did and she liked it. Still kinda bummed that the angel and demon thing didn’t work out, but truthfully it was so easy to take those things out of the story (I kept the NDE) she was probably right

PG: Okay, that's really freaky. In my original idea for Edge of Heaven, the 'angel' the main character falls in love with is a young woman, recently dead, whose mission takes her back to Earth to deal with the criminals who killed her and her father.

When I decided to turn it into a novella, I realized I had too much going on for under 30K, so I ditched the suspense angle.


Kelly: Sometimes I think you and I share a brain…

PG: Yeah, only I think you got the better parts.

Kelly: LOL! I so think this thread should be a blog post.

PG: we could do that.

Kelly: Whoever is up next…I’m Jan 6

PG: Jan 6...that's like the day after tomorrow. I think you're up first then. lol! I've got the following Wednesday.

Kelly: Oh holy crap, that is the day after tomorrow! And just to make it even freakier, I have to add that in my “angel and demon story”, the criminals the heroine comes back to fight were responsible for the death of her parents.

And I don’t think I got the better parts!

PG: Well some of the better parts, anyway. :)
I have a feeling we're just scratching the surface with all these similarities and coincidences. I'm betting we find a lot more as we go along.


So what do you think..freaky or funny?