Reciprocity.

One is under no obligation to reciprocate.

However, in this business I am frequently reminded of the song by Allen Toussaint, performed by one of my favorites– the late great Lowell George of Little Feat-

Here’s a portion of the song, On Your Way Down, from Lyrics Database:

Sunrise
Sunset
Since the beginning it hasn’t changed yet
People fly high begin to lose sight
You can’t see very clearly when you’re in flight

It’s high time that you found
The same people you misuse on your way up
You might meet up
On your way down

Vintage wines from the year ’62
It’s your thing, it’s your thing
It pleases you
You got to frown when you cross town
You think it’s an honor just to have you around

It’s high time that you found
The same dudes you misuse on your way up
You might meet up
On your way down

FYI – It’s not because I’m stuck up.  Or because I don’t want to talk to you– I mean the reason I closed my FB account and the reason I don’t hang out much on Twitter.

I closed my FB account because FB was  annoying the hell out of me.  I don’t hang out much on Twitter because it’s too distracting and I don’t have much extra time.

Yeah, I know I’m out of the loop.  I know I miss most of the drama and goings on in Twittersville, but if you ever want to talk to me give me a holler.  I’ll respond.  Or you can always email me.

I guess you could say I speak when spoken to.

But that’s not really the point of this blog.  My point is simple.  There’s this person – no, none of you – who needed my help on his way up.  I provided him with help.  I was generous with my time.  When he made it big, I became a nonentity in his world.

To be honest, it hurt like the dickens.  When something like this happens, in either our personal or professional lives, it stings.  I think it’s really important to remember the people you meet on the way up.

So, although I ain’t up there, here’s some overdue thanks to the following authors, women who’ve stuck by me since day one of my return to the world of writing:

Fran Lee

Katalina Leon

Amber Skyze

Sandra Cox

Anny Cook

Tessie Bradford

Ladies, you are the best!

 

 

 

Hold the Presses! The Spirit of 2011 is upon me!

I’m feeling a might New Years-ish!  The approaching change looks interesting this morning!

Time to recognize!

For meritorious conduct in the face of wicked witches and heart attacks, Penelope, you have been inducted into the Legion of Courage, along with Amber Skyze, who put on a brave face after enormous tragedy and soldiered on.  Ladies, my hat is off to you.  I admire your strength and fortitude – and I envy your sites and readership!

These two authors have stuck by me from day one of my very first publishing contract – I owe them a big shout out – Anny Cook and Sandra Cox.  You are the best!  Anny writes paranormal romance and Sandra fosters cats and writes some great YA fantasy and nonfiction.

She who makes me laugh out loud – no matter how awful stuff is, author Mia Watts!  She also writes the only M/M stuff I read.  Her men are, uh, incendiary.   Fanning myself…Oh she of the golden prose…think Lord Dunsany.

These two authors go above and beyond, generously devoting their time and space to other authors – Rachel Firasek and Michele ZurloMichele hosts The Steam Room and Rachel, A Possessed WIP.  Great stuff!

The female bloggers who force the old neurons to fire:

TJ of Dreams and Speculation – OMG – she’s a bloody genius!  Talk about expanding your horizons!  Reading TJ’s site does it every time.

Jessica at Read, React, Review – If book blogging was an experiment, she would be the control.  She’s like…it’s too early in the morning to think of words…let me put it this way…Jessica sets the bar high.

Charlie at Smart Girls Love Science Fiction and Paranormal Romance – the name of her site pretty much says it all.  She is one of the most concise bloggers I know, always fills her blog with outstanding content and reviews, which leads me to my next smart woman -

Rebecca, of Dirty Sexy Books.   Rebecca, along with Stephanie at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust, are my go-to women.  Rebecca, believe it or not, answers her emails!  She’s interactive and like all the bloggers mentioned above and below, responds to comments.  Plus, like Stephanie, she subscribes to the concept of ‘economy of words’.  She doesn’t waste my time.  Speaking of Stephanie, she’s like scary smart, yet incredibly tender-hearted.  She has a real soft spot for animals and nothing gets to me like a person with compassion for our furry and feathered friends.  She, Penelope, TJ and Jessica are all academics who love romance, paranormal and speculative fiction.  When I read their posts, I feel like I’m back in college listening to the lectures of my favorite professors.

The best recs?  Julie, at Outlandish Dreaming.  I get good reading recs from many sites, but Julie and I have similar taste in romance.  I use her site like a shopping cart – What’s Julie reading now?  Whatever it is, I’m on it!  Most of the books currently sitting in my TBR pile are from Outlandish Dreaming.

The sweetest book blogger/reviewer on the planet?  Susi at The Geeky Bookworm.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a nicer person – and she’s one of those smart girls too!  She’s passionate about romance.  Her native tongue is German.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to read romance in another language, let alone review it?  She’s amazing!  And pretty funny too because she’s such a squeamish girl!  She reminds me of me.  Villains scare her!

Authors who always have something interesting to say?  Everyone on my side bar, but you have to check out Nina Pierce and Rosalie Lario.  Sometimes I’m guilty of skimming, but I read their posts from top to bottom.  They use their sites for teaching moments.  These two are great references for wanna-be authors.

Katalina Leon writes ephemeral erotica – my husband and I share a love of her books (and I worship at her feet) – we hold readathons to see who can finish them first, him on his Kindle, me on my computer.  Is your marriage/sex life stuck in the doldrums?  Read Kat’s stuff.  It’s like lightning in a bottle.  Go.  Read.  Enjoy.  Don’t hurt yourself.

The links I have on my sidebar are there because those authors and bloggers are special people.  Every single one brings a unique perspective to the romance genre.  If I had the space, I’d mention each of you.  I encourage readers to check them out when you have some free time.

Last but not least, many thanks to outstanding author Fran Lee, who is always available when I need a pat on the back or a kick in the ass.

Best read of 2010 – Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Best movie of 2010 – True Grit, with Jeff Bridges

Best star-struck moment – hearing from Laurence Gonzales, author of Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why – after my series of posts on surviving the canoe trip from hell.  His book saved our lives.

Other best star-struck moment – connecting with one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors, Tad Williams – His books are on the top of my recommended reading list.  He’s also pretty hilarious!

So, done.  Happy New Year.  And I love you all.  Oh Auntie Em, there’s no place like home

Welcome my friend, author Fran Lee!

Thanks for inviting me over to your place, Julia!  I love reading your blog. Now I get to play over here! Yay!

You asked me to give your readers a glimpse into the creation of the characters in my latest novella, “Nothing but Sex”, and to talk a bit about how they came to be. If you have read any of my books, you will notice that I tend to create characters that are as real and down to earth as you and me…and almost always with a humorous streak. Whether the hero is a hard-as-nails pro wrestler like David Chance in Out of Her Dreams, or a hard-working Native American rancher like Mike Running Elk in Nothing but Sex, my heroes are men with needs, wants, and insecurities just like every male in existence. These men are not perfect specimens. They sweat. They breathe. It isn’t unusual for my heroes to walk into the bathroom while the heroine is brushing her teeth and lift the lid to take a leak without bothering to ask if it’s okay with her. My heroes are just…guys. Even my alpha heroes sometimes need a kick in the pants to realize they are alpha. But once they realize what they want and need, they go after it with a vengeance.

I was surrounded by “guys” my entire life. Growing up, I had three male cousins who were all as alpha and as rock-headed as they come, and they drove my sister and I nuts. They were never wrong. They were never patient. And they were always getting into mischief and trouble. After my own sons were born, they followed the same path, and made life hell for their poor little sister. LOL! I firmly believe that in at least five of my many past lives, I was male. I was the worst tom-boy growing up. I asked for farm sets and ranch sets instead of dolls at Christmas. I never played with other girls. They were wussy! J

I can easily create a hero for my books by simply fishing into my memory banks and picking out the personality I am searching for, and then running with it.

My heroines are always just a little bit…me. Stubborn, loving to a fault. Self conscious and unaware of how others see them as people or lovers. Some of them are downright tomboy…others are alpha females. One of my novels from Resplendence (A Brief Moment of Pleasure) is about a female blackbelt in the traditional Japanese Martial Arts. She’s a toughie. But the hero is just tough enough to catch her. My heroines are normal, down to earth, and charismatic. And often I draw on my own real life experiences to plot my books.

No…that does not mean I do all the stuff that I write (grin) even though I would love to.  It simply means that something that happened in my past triggers a plot in my head, and I sit down to write.  I never plot out a book. I take an idea and start running with it, and never look back. While I write, I am “inside” my character’s heads. I am coming from their point of view. I use the language they would normally use, and that sometimes drives my editor nutty. When my well educated writer is thinking and talking, I use proper grammar and syntax. But when my hero thinks and talks, I use his point of view and voice.

I sometimes have an editor e-mail and ask why he swears so much. Why the heroine uses “frigging” while the hero uses the four-letter vulgar equivalent. LOL!  How many guys use the watered down term? Hmmm?  Most guys talk dirty when they are alone or in their own mind, and only clean it up when they have to. If in mixed company most will shift from WTF to “what the heck”. But not when they are alone or blissfully without a female audience.

I can’t write stuffy characters. It’s a mental and physical impossibility for me. I write what I know. I write what I feel. And I write what I like to see happen between my H/H.  I am very careful to round out my characters with background as I write, but I have noticed lately that there are readers who seem to skim right over the “filler” that gives them important info about the characters, and sets the scene for why they do what they do…and these readers are telling me that the story never explained how something happened. Or they didn’t get why the character did this or that.  I have to tell you…never skim in my books. If you do, you will miss something that is integral and important, and will come away thinking “Huh?”

When I put an entire story into less than 75 pages, the story is packed with loads of backstory, and loads of info. If you skim, you will undoubtedly miss a lot of that.

Nothing but Sex is a tight, fast paced 63 page novella that is a part of the Cougar Challenge Series. I believe that mine will be the tenth in the series, and is a stand-alone novella that can be read without reading the other nine…but I highly recommend that readers check out the others. The authors are hot and the books are great.

Here is a blurb and an excerpt:

Lee Blackhorse is hardly Cougar material, no matter what her friends over at Tempt the Cougar say. A forty-two-year-old woman who lusts after her thirty-year-old weekend helper is just plain nuts. Or is she? She’s been secretly hot for the man for years.

Mike Running Elk is the hottest thing ever to don tight jeans and a second-skin t-shirt…and he has no problem seeing himself in the role of lover. In fact, if he can just get the hot-as-hell woman to realize he’s plenty old enough to ring her bells, he plans to do more than just clean her barn and mow her grass. He’s waited for her long enough.

When her Saturday helper appears at her door with an injured hand, Lee can’t pull her eyes off his naked, ripped chest. And from her heated gaze, Mike can’t believe she’s as oblivious as she acts. The ice has been broken and he intends to heat things up even more…

An Excerpt From: NOTHING BUT SEX

Copyright © FRAN LEE, 2010

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Mike swore foully as he caught his glove on one of the murderously long barbs on the roll of wire fencing that he was trying to move and he tugged his leather work glove off to find that the barb had made it through to his palm. He shook his head and shoved his hair back from his face with his other hand before he tugged his unused handkerchief from his back pocket and wrapped it around his hand, which did very little to staunch the flow of blood. Swearing at his own clumsiness, he headed across the wide work yard to the back porch and stepped inside, knocking on the inside screen door.

She appeared from the archway to the living room, her face pink and her lower lip caught between her teeth as she caught sight of him and he realized that he hadn’t bothered to pull his damn shirt back on. He saw the way her eyes darkened as they slid over his body and he felt a shot of anticipation run from his gut to his cock. Her lips were full. Her eyes were smoky blue. A small vein throbbed in her throat. And it struck him forcibly that she most certainly was as aware of him as he was of her.

But before he could wrap his mind around her reaction to him, she was hurrying up the stairs to the bathroom and he was following, his appreciative eyes on the lush swell of her generous, gorgeous ass as he held the tea towel she had just handed him tightly to his bleeding hand. Sweet Jesus, but he loved her ass. He had loved it ever since he’d first seen her, when he was just eighteen, and he had asked her if he could do some odd jobs around the place to make some cash every week. Right after his dad had died. Watching her walk around in tight jeans had made him forget a lot of the pain in his life back then.

She filled a pair of jeans like they’d been poured onto her. His mouth watered and his cock grew impossibly harder. Even the stinging pain in his hand couldn’t distract his attention from that ass.

As she entered the bathroom and stretched up to the shelf above the toilet to lift down the first-aid kit, he almost whimpered. Was she trying to kill him? If she didn’t stop wiggling around, he was gonna blow.

“I can handle it from here,” he grated as she opened the box and started to take the soaked tea towel out of his grip. But she shoved his free hand away and gently placed his hand in the sink, rinsing it with icy-cold tap water that nearly made him yell at the pain. He stared down at her bent head as she probed and cleaned the wound and each time her body brushed his, he almost lost it.

He lost track of what was happening with his hand as every drop of blood in his body raged into his groin, threatening to explode. Maybe that was a good thing, because his hand might stop bleeding.

“I still think we need to get you to the clinic and get this stitched. It’s way too jagged to heal right, and it’s still bleeding.”

Her words were lost in the hot muddle of his emotions and body. But when she looked up into his face, he forced himself to pay attention. “Hold this clean towel in your palm. Press it tight. I’ll get my car keys.”

A Brief Moment of Pleasure, by Fran Lee

I’m not all that good at book reviews and I suck at uploading covers.

Normally, I prefer to let others express their opinion on a book.  However, author Fran Lee gifted me a copy of her book, A Brief Moment of Pleasure, to take with me on my trip and I have to say, the book is a delight.  It’s a joy to read a story about a woman who can hold her own, not in the business world for a change, but in the world of martial arts.  Fran Lee makes it clear that the world of Japanese martial arts continues, even now, to be primarily a world of men.  A woman has to work two or three times as hard as a man to be recognized and respected for her achievements and abilities.  The really cool thing about this story is I know the author, herself, is indeed a respected martial artist and she has stood in her heroine, Lisa’s shoes.  My question is…did she have a hot guy like James Rhee panting at her stiletto heels?  Hmmm?  Do tell!!!

The story is unique and the author’s sincere voice comes through.  Lisa’s relationship with James develops at a realistic pace.  The reader shares Lisa’s frustration – she wants the man in her bed with a deep passion, but he’s her boss.  First and foremost, she wants to earn his respect.  She has no intention of becoming his plaything – Lisa wants more than a brief moment of pleasure.  The story is sweet and serious at times, laugh out loud funny at others.  The bedroom scenes are smoking hot.  The book is one where you can flat out lose yourself in romance for a few days!

Unfortunately, Asian heroes are rare in our contemporary romance novels.  I hope James Rhee is the exception that proves the rule.

Buy link:  http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8_view_item.html?m8:item=186-201-101-446-3

Author’s website:  http://fran-lee-romance.angelfire.com/

Your header is a bit wonky in Opera, mate.

Translation, please?

Do you get spam like this?  I do.  The above is a good one.  Usually it’s more like ‘horny housewife wants to get with you tonight‘.  Yay.  Can’t wait.

News:  Author Regina Carlysle has a new release with EC – Drilled – part of the Cougar Challenge series.  Knowing Regina, the story will be great!  http://reginacarlysle.blogspot.com/

While I’m on vacation, not only am I strolling the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara – on my way to Disneyland – I’m enjoying Fran Lee’s A Brief Moment of Pleasure - her contemporary romance which is so much more than a brief moment of pleasure!  It’s not often you read an erotic romance and learn a new skills set, I mean other than the obvious LOL! – This is a very detailed and realistic story of a female martial arts teacher and her determination to be respected for what she can do, not how she looks.  For those of you who don’t know, the author herself is a skilled martial artist.  I’m loving the story of Lisa’s early training with Matasi Kanegawa and her meeting with her new employer, the deliciously hot, James Rhee.  http://fran-lee-romance.angelfire.com/ Good stuff!  Here’s the delightful blurb:

Lisa Hampton is serious about her martial arts career…but a woman in the traditional Japanese martial arts is seldom taken seriously. At least, not until one hunky and hot man takes her…very seriously.

James Rhee runs his own brand of martial arts studio…teaching advanced moves and technique to movie stars and competitors who want to win. Something Lisa genuinely doesn’t want any part of.

Being a serious teacher of serious stuff, she finds it hard to swallow his methods. But she soon finds it’s damn hard to refuse the maddening man anything…including her body.

Anyway – we’ll head on down to L.A. tomorrow, but we’re staying in a lovely bungalow tonight.  I love the central coast of California, especially driving along Highway 1, which we skipped this time because we poked this morning until we were about three hours late getting out of town.  See you later!  j