Don't Miss Out On Exciting News!

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a free copy of Andromeda's Tear!
* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday!

Last one of 2012! This excerpt comes from the second Disintegration prequel (which is being beta-read now): 

“Naughty girl,” he growled near her ear. “Are you forgetting who’s in charge tonight?”

Tanith gasped when he drew her earlobe between her teeth. She abandoned his clothing and settled for wrapping her arms around his waist. He escaped her grasp and backed away from her. “Pants off,” he ordered.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Since I'm still getting over this cold (yay antibiotics!) and I've already written about how I like to stay organized and on top of things, I've started researching my self-pubbing options for the Disintegration prequels. As I'm eventually releasing the bundle of all three for free as an e-book, there doesn't seem to be a conflict with using both Smashwords and Amazon's KDP. For me, both those options had their pros and cons, and I found it difficult to choose one. KDP is appealing because I want there to be a link between the prequels and my Amazon page/other books on Amazon. Smashwords distributes to many different retailers. The only potential issue I can see so far is assigning an ISBN number, but I'll deal with that when I get closer to the release dates. 

I created documents now so I can start working on the formatting. Both sites have comprehensive guides for the necessary prep work, which has been very helpful. Really, they're great. They've obviously been made by people who know what they're doing. There is some crossover between the two, but Smashwords is a bit more...particular, let's say. (Note: this is not intended to be a criticism at all; I'm glad they've gone into such detail so everyone can be assured that the final products are the best they can be, authors, readers, and retailers alike.)

I've been using MS Word for years, but as I have never been in a field that required me to make complex documents, I sort of figured I wasn't using it to its full potential. I know how to make tables and columns, and insert images/word art, and so on. Working with my editor on my first book taught me how to use the "track changes" feature, which is pretty nifty. Thanks to the KDP and Smashwords guides, I now know how to make a linked Table of Contents! Fancy! I've also learned a little more about styles and headings. Don't laugh at my previous ineptitude. 

The always-fantastic Boobulon has made a kick-ass cover for me (I paid him for his work, though I think he underpriced himself ;) ), and he even tweaked the image to make two separate versions, as the specs were slightly different for KDP and Smashwords. I LOVE this cover hard, and it's taking every ounce of restraint I have to not immediately put it up here. Patience is a virtue, or so they tell me.

Long story short, while I'm sure it gets easier, I'm not sure if I'd ever self-publish a larger project. There's just so much to worry about, and I'm very grateful that I have the fantastic people at Double Dragon Publishing to take care of all the nitty gritty details for me. As with everything, though, this has been a fun learning experience and I'm glad I'm trying it out!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

(And happy holidays to the non-Christmas-celebrating folks out there!) 

I'm still fighting off this pesky cold, but I've managed to partake in some holiday season festivities. (I've been keeping my distance from people, though, don't you worry.) It actually snowed here last night, so everything looks all pretty and peaceful. I do love this time of year, and I hope my good feelings will lead to productive writing while I have this week off. 

For a holiday treat, here's an excerpt from the first Disintegration prequel, which I'll release in full sometime in January. Have a great day! 

Meyta stood up after retrieving her dampened rag from where it had fallen, narrowly avoiding the underside of the table. She swished it over the grubby wood, and looked towards the open door. “Are you going to help me clean up in here or not?” she called to her friend.
“Shh!” Shiri waved her off with one hand. The other clung to the frame as she stuck her head outside, letting the breeze ruffle her long, blonde hair. “I think I hear them.”
“You know they’re arriving tonight. I don’t know what you’re so worked up about.”
Shiri giggled. “Just you wait and see. We’re going to have a good time this week!”
Meyta proceeded to the next table and repeated her cleaning routine. “I don’t understand,” she said. “If the squadron is training at the lake, I don’t know why they just don’t go out over there.”
“Too expensive,” came the response. “Honestly, we’re probably not going to make a lot in tips from them, but as long as we keep the drinks flowing, it’s bound to be a fun night!”
By the time the sun set below the rolling sands, the two waitresses had finished wiping down every bare surface in the small tavern. “They’re only going to be dirty again in a matter of hours,” Shiri grumbled. “I don’t know why we even bothered.”
“Because we’re used to your father yelling at us if this place isn’t spotless?”
“He’s not even here! He went to visit my aunt for a month!” She threw down her towel. “And you’d think he would have hired some extra hands to help us out while he’s gone.”
“I’m sure we’ll manage,” Meyta said.
“Oh, I know we’ll be fine.” An impish sparkle lit up Shiri’s eyes. “Maybe it’s better he’s away while the soldiers are in town....”
Meyta laughed. “You’re terrible!”
“I know.” Shiri unfastened the top button of her crisp, white blouse, smoothed down her hair, and winked. “I keep telling you to loosen up. You could stand to be a bit more ‘terrible’ yourself!”
“We’ll see.”
The first wave of patrons entered the bar. Five men in khaki uniforms strode through the doorway and took a seat at one of the tables. Shiri approached them, and set down a bowl of crackers. “Evening, boys,” she said. “What can I get for you?”
“A couple of pitchers of something ice cold and frothy,” one answered. “We’ve been out in that sun all day.”
“Of course.” She leaned closer to man at the head of the table, the most muscular of the crew. “Anything else?”
“What’s on the menu?” he asked. “I sure could go for a home cooked meal right about now.”
“Do you see a kitchen in this place? I didn’t think you were coming here for the food.”
He grinned at her. “So the sassy attitude is just a bonus?”
Shiri put a hand on the back of his chair. “Weren’t you just complaining about the heat? If we had an oven, it would only get even hotter in here....”
Meyta shook her head, and filled the pitchers. Another party of soldiers entered, greeting their friends as they sat at an adjacent table. Before long, a boisterous crowd filled the room.
“Does everyone have drinks and snacks?” Shiri asked.
“I think so.”
“Great! Let’s go make some friends!”
“Shiri, I don’t....” Meyta didn’t have time to protest. Her friend grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her towards the group near the door. She lingered near the wall as Shiri continued her flirty banter. Lifting one of the half-full glasses to her lips, the sultry blonde allowed the burly man to wrap his arm around his waist while she took a sip.
“Miss! Can we get another round over here?”
Meyta was grateful for the distraction, and hurried back to the tap. When she returned to the bar after serving the drinks, someone had taken a seat on one of the stools. “Need a refill?” she asked him.
“No, thanks. I’m good.”
“All right. Can I get you anything else?”
He leaned towards her and smiled. “They sent me over here to find out your name.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Who, Shiri? Is this one of her little games?”
“No, I was referring to the friends I came in with.”
“Why did they tell you to come over here?”
“Because I haven’t been able to take my eyes off you since I first walked through that door.”
The flush rising to Meyta’s cheeks did little to diminish her skepticism, and she looked down. “Does that line work on the girls in all the other towns you’ve been to?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tried it before. Never had reason to.” The soldier craned his neck, inserting himself back into her line of view. “I’m Callum.”
“I’m busy.” She grabbed some empty glasses and brought them to the sink in the corner.
Callum followed her. “I don’t want to get in your way. Maybe you can come by my table whenever you have a free moment?”

Friday, December 21, 2012


After almost a year and a half of not having to deal with anything worse then some seasonal allergies, my good luck ran out, and I have a cold. Not an awful cold - I've had worse - but a cold nonetheless. And it is making me CRANKY. 

I've been drinking orange juice like it's going out of style, and I loaded up on all sorts of pills at the pharmacy. I'm hoping to make it to the neighbors' cocktail party tomorrow night, but I'm willing to forgo it if I think I need the extra time to recover for all the holiday festivities on Monday/Tuesday. I still have to do some baking tomorrow (don't worry, I wash my hands religiously anyway). 

I've actually managed to get some writing done, but due to the crankiness, it doesn't take much to put me in a bad mood and kill my drive. I've been trying to knit more as well, but somehow, even though I own double pointed needles in every size from 1 - 17, the ONE size I need (size 6) has gone missing. (Luckily, my mom was able to send hers down with my father when he came by today.)

Bah. I'll try to check in before Christmas and try to be in a better mood. Until then, I'll try to keep plugging away at the writing and these cardigan sleeves. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Winners

The Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop has come to a close, and we have some winners to announce! Congrats to Kym, who won e-copies of Searching the Skies and The Edge of the Sphere on this blog, and to Aimee, Laura, and Debbie, who won a Kindle Fire, an Amazon gift card, and the swag pack, respectively!

I generally try to keep this blog lighthearted and fun, but throughout the duration of this blog hop, I couldn't help but think of current events; it just doesn't feel right to not somehow acknowledge the tragedy in Newtown, CT. I'm horrified and heartbroken, and scared because I don't know what the solution to these problems are. Plenty of other people have spoken far more eloquently on this topic, so I'll keep my remarks simple, and try tie them into the spirit of this blog hop: I loved reading all the answers to the question about romantic gifts, and it brought me some holiday cheer during this rough time. So many of you have received amazing gifts, not only in the gifts themselves, but by having such warm and caring people in your lives. No matter what or how you're celebrating this winter, if you can treasure those closest to you and be with them, you're automatically a "winner". Happy holidays! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop!

I love the holiday season. I love the music, wrapping and giving gifts, and getting together with family so we can stuff our faces. I don't even mind the snow! (as long as I'm not the one shoveling it)

The whole gifting aspect of the holidays is where things sometimes get hairy. Sometimes our loved ones just don't get it right. (But of course we always act gracious and appreciate the effort!) I've been thinking for a while on what I wanted to offer on this blog hop, as I wanted to 1) be generous and 2) give away stuff people actually wanted while sticking to my rather limited budget. 

So you, my lovely hoppers, get the best of both worlds! One lucky winner will get e-copies of both Searching the Skies and The Edge of the Sphere (both of which I assure you are superior to inedible fruitcake and ill-fitting sweaters). In addition, the winner will also get $10 to spend at All Romance eBooks on books of his/her own choosing. Everyone will be happy!

Not enough presents for you? There are three grand prizes in this blog hop! Leave a comment with your email address, and you could win one of the following:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! (US only)

I wish you luck, and a wonderful holiday season! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Talk is Cheap

I'm working on the second Disintegration prequel. (Watch for the first one to be released here after the new year!) As I was writing this afternoon, I finally got to the point where the two featured characters meet up. After that, it was smooth sailing until I had to leave my house.

I love writing dialogue. For me, it's one of the easiest things to write. I've been told many times in the past that I write the way I speak, and I speak a LOT. Really. If we met for drinks, I probably wouldn't stop talking for the entire evening. I suppose that's made its way into my writing - I've taken part in so many conversations over the course of my life, I don't find it that difficult to transcribe.

As with everything else, there's a trade off. I still sometimes feel my descriptions are lacking. I'm usually too lazy to use good metaphors. I don't have as much anxiety as I used to about writing action scenes (of the non-sexual variety), but they're still not my favorite. 

Some writers focus on creating complex worlds that make the reader feel they really exist. (An offshoot of that is writers who describe existing places with such vivid detail, the reader gets a perfect mental image even if he/she has never been there before.) Others come up with such intricate plots, I marvel at how their minds can even function that way. (I've often said I'm not smart enough to write murder mysteries.) Lastly, there are some who figuratively give birth to interesting, well-developed characters who are thrown into compelling situations.

A balance between all those areas would be ideal, I suppose. I don't know where I fall. I'm leaning towards the last category, and I think my love of dialogue plays a part in that. I like when each character (both those belonging to me and other authors) has a distinctive voice, and I find it a fun challenge to develop that through interactions with other characters. 

Or maybe I just need an outlet for all the voices of my head. One or the other. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday!

It's that time again! In addition to working on the Disintegration mini-prequels, I'm also working on a couple shorts to submit to some anthologies. I haven't written a whole lot of BDSM before, but I figured I'd give it a try! Here are six sentences from a short story tentatively titled "Deception":

He moved in front of her. She stuck her arms out and returned his sultry smile. Marek grabbed one of her hands. He raised it to his mouth and kissed the pale flesh below her palm, right over her racing pulse. She caressed the stubble dotting his cheek, and jumped when he snapped the next restraint around her wrist. The last cuff made a loud click as it clamped onto her delicate skin. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why Do I Blog?

I believe I've mentioned in passing that I knit and crochet. (Some would call me hardcore. I have made some awesome stuff, it's true.) A shiny new blogging group spun off from one of my favorite forums at Ravelry, and I'm enjoying adding to my list of blogs to follow. 

This month's prompt is either really simple or really complex (I haven't decided which): why blog? 

I blog here for a number of reasons. Firstly, I'm trying to make something of a presence for myself as I stumble through the world of writing and publishing. Google "Thea Landen", and this site is the first hit. As I've got links to my social media and retailers over there in the right-hand column, I can assume that's a good thing. 

There are some authors out there who use their blogs solely to advertise their work. That's all well and good, but I've also enjoyed musing and rambling about the writing process. I vaguely remember something from one of my college classes about metacognition and "thinking about thinking". I think writing about writing (or in this case, blogging about blogging?) can also be beneficial in a number of ways. A lot of writers claim that any writing is good writing, and I'm inclined to agree. It also gives me another opportunity to cut down on my bad writing habits. (Note how I haven't used too many adverbs so far!) 

Finally, it gives me my own space to be a smartass. Anyone who's met me in real life will tell you I'm sarcastic, snarky, and self-deprecating. (Along with other adjectives that don't being with S!) While I do have fun when I write, I'd say that most of my books and stories have a more serious tone than my "natural voice". Sure, I've got some characters with razor-sharp tongues and wits, but it's still not all snark all the time. I can be more relaxed here, even when I'm trying to beat back the adverbs with a stick. 

Questions for the comments: Why do you blog AND why do you follow other blogs? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Inbox of Happiness and Joy

The email I've been waiting for finally arrived today - Disintegration is a go! I'll print out and mail back my contract tomorrow, and then eagerly anticipate my (not really) favorite part: EDITING. 

Here's the shortest of the blurbs in its current form:

Dutiful soldier Callum Renwick wakes up in the underground laboratory of a mercenary organization. He learns he was the sole survivor of an attack that destroyed his unit, his hometown, and his family. In addition to the loss of his loved ones, he discovers that due to his injuries, half his body has been supplanted by artificial skin and cybernetic parts. Once he has recovered, he is assigned to the care of Ro Bernard, who leads the effort to turn him into a powerful assassin. She is outspoken, yet secretive, and uses unconventional means to mold him into a depraved killer. Mind games and rough sex are in her repertoire of training tactics, and Callum is both infuriated and fascinated by her. As he comes to terms with his grief and his new role, many of his biological body parts fail and must be replaced. Will he adapt to survive in Ro’s world and exact vengeance on the woman who ordered the attack that changed his life?

Now I really need to get back to work on those mini-prequels! 

Six Sentence Sunday

Time for Six Sentence Sunday again! I've been working on a number of shorter projects. Here's a brief excerpt from the first Disintegration mini-prequel: 

Without breaking their contact, he turned around and backed towards the bed. They sat down, and he dragged his lips towards her neck, skimming along her delicate skin. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I first met you,” he said near her ear. His words were sweet, yet there was a hint of a savage growl in his voice. “I couldn’t get my mind off you all week.”

Residual doubts lingered in her mind, their sharp barbs piercing through the arousal he incited. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I like to think of myself as a creative person. (I hope that would be fairly obvious, what with the whole writing fiction thing.) I've found unconventional solutions to problems in a think-outside-the-box way, I can visualize the way I'd like things to be and make it happen, and I am unstoppable with a hot glue gun. 

It seems as though there's a stereotype that goes along with artists of any kind - while they're always brimming with ideas, they constantly appear distracted, they fly by the seat of their pants with any sort of commitment, and a cloud of disarray follows them wherever they go. That's not me at all. 

I'm the child of two Type-A personalities. Clearly, there was no hope for me. I enjoy lists and spreadsheets. I've never been late for anything in my life, barring unforeseen circumstances (and ever since the advent of cell phones, I call if I even think I'm going to be late for anything). Bills are paid on time, phone calls and emails are returned promptly, and I keep an organized calendar. Somehow, those traits almost seem incongruous with my "creative", "artistic" side. 

I've always been a person who needs routine and structure. When I got laid off from my job in June 2010, I spiraled into a pretty bad depression for the first time in my life. It wasn't necessarily the joblessness - I was substitute teaching, and the pay wasn't terrible - but more the not knowing ahead of time what each day would have in store for me. It took a bad toll on my physical health as well, which turned right around as soon as I decided to go back to school and had that new routine set in place for me. (Interestingly, though, it was during that time that I rediscovered writing. Silver linings, right?)

So what does this have to do with writing? I forget if I mentioned this, but about two months ago, I picked up a small, steady writing gig for an indie game company. Nothing earth-shattering, but it's fun. While the pay isn't that high, they pay regularly and it's good to have a steady flow of "fun money" into my Paypal account for knitting patterns, Etsy purchases, and all the other little things. Not long after I started, I discovered an additional bonus: when I had an assignment with a set due date that I had to complete, I found it easier to get into good writing habits with my personal writings. 

This was verified last week, when we all had the week off from working on the game. I figured it would be a good chance to get a chunk of writing done on my current project (the first of the Disintegration mini-prequels). Yeah, I was wrong. I pissed around on the internet and played a lot of online card games instead. I did get *some* writing done, but not as much as I wanted, and it was sort of a slog. We're back to the assignments this week, and guess what? My first prequel is into its last scene already. 

(And yes, I do make outlines and schedules for myself with the gaming assignments. I get way too happy when I finish ahead of my schedule....)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Waiting Game

Disintegration (aka RoboCock) has been formatted and shipped off. Now it's time for my least favorite part: waiting for confirmation that it's been accepted. 

Even after doing this a couple times, I still get antsy, and I'm terrified of jinxing anything. I truly, honestly believe it's on par with, if not better than, what I've had published already. (Always on the quest for improvement, right?) In my cockier moments, I think, "Why wouldn't it be accepted?" Either way, my pulse races as soon as I see I have a new email. 

Rejections sting, plain and simple. I know. I've been there. Yes, it's good to always put yourself out there, they can lead to learning experiences, it's awesome when the people respond to you with personal constructive criticism....

They still suck. 

I'm resisting the urge to go back to all my other confirmation emails and record how much time passed between me sending and them accepting. I'm also resisting the urge to go make sure I spelled everything correctly in my submission, as my brain's been derping a lot lately and insisting that it's spelled "Disintigration", and I know that it is not. (Though my editor's cool and [probably] wouldn't hold it against me.) Bleh.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

K.E. Skedgell was kind enough to tag me for this blog hop, and I'm still marveling at the fact that  my internet was finally fixed, so let's answer some questions about the book I've been working on!

What is your working title of your book?
Disintegration. (Though I've been jokingly referring to it as "RoboCock" whenever I talk about it elsewhere.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Originally, this was going to be a Phantasy Star Online fanfic that wasn't going to go more than a few chapters. In the game, you meet Kireek, a battle android, right off the bat in your first quest (the tutorial). Depending on certain events you can trigger, he wants to kill you and you have to fight him a number of times. I was going to write about him originally being a human back on the home planet everyone in the game escaped from, which is an idea completely from my own imagination and there's nothing suggesting anything like that in the actual game. As it was going to be largely an original idea anyway, I decided to turn it into a book, incorporating a couple similar elements.

What genre does your book fall under?
Sci-fi/erotica. Or erotic sci-fi. I don't know which element is stronger.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oooh, this is tough. In a perfect world, I'd have a young Dolph Lundgren as Callum, my MC. I don't really pay too much attention to TV and movies, so I'm having difficulty coming up with a more current pick. (I'm open to suggestions for who resembles a young Dolph Lundgren, though!).

I'm leaning towards Mila Kunis for Ro - she's sassy, outspoken, and confident, but there's still a sweet side to her...somewhere. ;) 

I'm still thinking about my minor characters. This is harder than I thought it would be!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"RoboCop meets 50 Shades". Oh wait, that's going to be my advertising campaign. ;) Let's try this again. 


An injured soldier and family man transforms into a cybernetically-enhanced stone cold assassin under the guidance of a team of mercenaries, including his flirtatious handler who has an appetite for rough sex. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither, really. My previous books have been published by Double Dragon Publishing / Carnal Desires Publishing. They've always been great to work with, and I hope I can continue our relationship. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the last word of the epilogue yesterday, woo! According to my file manager, I started it on August 26th, so about 2.5 months? Seems longer. Also, as I've mentioned before, I commit the grievous sin of editing as I go. :P

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
To be perfectly honest, while I know there are books about robot sex out there, I have not read them. Maybe it's bad research, maybe I didn't want to be influenced by too many outside sources. (Same reason I haven't watched RoboCop yet. But now that I'm done, I will!)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Isn't that the same as the second question? (I'm nitpicky, I know.) One of the reasons the idea appealed to me is that robot sex doesn't seem to be your run-of-the-mill erotic romance, and I wanted to see if I could 1) do it, and 2) make it convincing.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I like to think that one of the book's themes is the concept of humanity and what makes people who they are (and how sex figures into both those things). Also, it contains some of the steamiest scenes I've ever written. *blushes*

And now, the tagging. I was looking through my blog list, and I could only find three fellow writers that don't seem to have done this yet, so I'm going to break the rules and only ping three!
Jennifer R. Donahue
Anne Glynn

Rules you shouldn't break:

Rules of the Next Big Thing
Use this format for your post
Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Winners of Autumn!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Autumn's Harvest blog hop! I loved reading everyone's comments. (Maybe autumn should be my favorite season now! ;) )

Congratulations to Kaci, who will be receiving her signed copy of The Edge of the Sphere in the mail sometime soon! More congratulations go to Tina, Sarah, and Lynn, who were the hop's grand prize winners! 

Don't forget to keep checking back for more book information and giveaways!

(This post has been brought to you by the flagrant overuse of the exclamation point.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn's Harvest Blog Hop!

When people ask what my favorite season is, I never have a good answer for them. Truthfully, I love all the seasons for different reasons, and the hyperactive part of my brain is always ready for a change. I love the colors of autumn, the crisp, cool air, and the fun of digging out my handknit sweaters and getting all cozy. Oh, and boots. I love boots, and probably have more pairs than is justified. 

In the beginning of The Edge of the Sphere, summer is drawing to a close. The change of seasons is just another reminder to Stephen of how his life has stagnated. While he's not unhappy, he can't really claim happiness either. He takes enjoyment from very little, and not much excites him. (Obviously, that all changes.)

I've written some racy, red-hot romance/erotica that got right to the point, but EotS is more of a slow burn. I like to think it's perfect autumn reading - the type of book you pull out when you're curled up in front of the fireplace with your mug of tea, waiting for the steamy parts. (Maybe the anticipation alone is enough to get you to shed a layer of clothing or forgo a blanket!)

Okay, now the part you've all been waiting for: the STUFF! For my part in this blog hop, I'm giving away a signed paperback copy of The Edge of the Sphere. Leave a comment, follow me on facebook and twitter to get your extra entries, and if you win, I'll email you for your mailing address! I even ship internationally! 

The grand prizes for the hop are listed below. Be sure to comment on each post (with your email address!) in the hop to enter as many times as possible! Good luck!

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! (US only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Getting to the Happy Ending

First things first: get thee over to Footsteps of a Writer, where I have a guest post about happy endings (or lack thereof). Be sure to leave a comment with your opinions!

Nextly: the power is back on at my house, and it was good to sleep in my own bed last night. However, the phone/cable/internet is still out, and it might be our house's connection (rather than the general signal). Someone from the company is coming out tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed that it can be fixed quickly and easily so I can stop coming up to my parents' house to borrow their wi-fi!

Last but not leastly: though I could, I'm not going to get on my soapbox and rant about politics today. (One would think that people reading the blog of an erotica writer would skew a certain way, but one can never be too sure!) I was always firmly decided on which candidate(s) would get my vote. There are a ton of different issues, and I don't always agree with my registered party on 100% of them. It becomes a matter of which issues are most important.

Ultimately, I think I vote based on who I am, or what makes me who I am. That's about as open-ended of a question as the one about issues, but I can summarize: I like to think I'm a strong, confident, compassionate woman. I like to write about strong, confident, compassionate women, and hope that strong, confident, compassionate women (and men!) will read about them. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, one party clearly values and respects that more than the other. I just hope that there are enough strong, confident, compassionate people who feel the same way. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back in the Land of Heat and Electricity

Long story short, we got spanked by Hurricane Sandy. And not a fun kind of spanking. I've been without power since about 7:30 on Monday. My parents (who were trying to fly back from Europe) found out they had power, so they offered us their house. Unfortunately, our driveway looked like this:

My windshield (on the red car) didn't make it. The hood's a little dinged, too. 

We had gas and hot water, which was nice, but the house was getting rather chilly. Our awesome neighbors (who own the tree that fell) whipped out their chainsaws to help cut us out, but "Captain John" (retired from FDNY) only made one cut in the main trunk before he decided that it wasn't wise for him to deal with this mess:
The fire chief declared this "non-urgent". 
We agreed with his assessment and decided to stick it out. A hot shower did wonders for me, and I loaded up on shirts and socks and gloves. Rest assured, I also managed to work on the book-in-progress after it got too dark to knit.
Going old-school. In my pajamas and a "Buy More" sweatshirt. 
This morning, we decided we'd had enough. My parents had landed in New York, and the neighbor told us to just drive our intact car down our side lawn to his driveway. We'll be back and forth for a while checking on the tree situation, but I estimate we'll be camped out up here at least through Sunday. Oh well. Things aren't super, but as a walk around our neighborhood showed us, they could be a whole lot worse!

Also! To lift your spirits, check out my guest blog post over at Romance With a Bite. If you haven't read The Edge of the Sphere yet, you can try to win an e-copy! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Sometimes I make outlines for my WIPs, other times I don't. Some of these outlines are more detailed than others. My notes for Chapter 19 simply say "ragesex following failed attempt #2", and then some brief snippets of dialogue I wanted to include. Very comprehensive, I know. Enjoy!

Her face was less than a foot away from his. Callum’s emotions jumbled together in a violent hurricane as he looked over her shimmering eyes, moistened lips, and heaving chest. He didn’t know what to do with her. Part of him believed he never would. This is wrong….

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Winners, Hop Up and Down!

All good things must come to an end, and the Alpha Male Blog Hop has come to a close. I had a blast hopping from link to link and reading everybody's comments (both here and elsewhere). My "to-read" list has gotten even longer! Big huge thanks to Carrie Ann for coordinating the festivities, to all the authors who participated, and, of course, all our faithful readers!

Okay, okay, I'll get to the part you're excited about. The winner of the giveaway I hosted (e-copy of Searching the Skies, plus $10 to spend freely at All Romance eBooks) is Kat! The three grand prize winners for the entire hop are Marie (Kindle Fire), Jessica ($130 Amazon Gift Card), and Natasha (Swag Pack)!

Keep checking back for more giveaways, book information, and my own self-deprecating musings! Thanks again!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"No Day But Today" is Yesterday, But Still A-Okay

We always remember the books/movies/music/TV shows/etc. of our youth fondly. They're the words that awakened us, touched us, and spoke to us in a way that made us think they were written just for us.

There's a category of culture that I think can only be truly appreciated if you experience it at the exact right point of your life. Take Catcher in the Rye - I know there are people out there who love it, and people who hate it. I kind of fall in the "indifferent" camp, because I'm in the group that believes that your opinion of it depends on when you read it. It was never assigned reading for me in high school, and I finally decided to pick it up in college to see what the fuss was all about. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed - I'd heard how this book was amazing, it had changed lives, how it had spoken to so many people...and it didn't really do anything for me. However, I do concede that if I had read it 3-5 years earlier, I think I would have been all over it and firmly on the love train.

Then there's the category of stuff we outgrow. On one of the online forums I visit (I don't remember which one), I remember someone making a passing comment (half joking) about how she had loved Rent when she was younger, but now that she was an older, responsible adult, she just wanted to yell, "Get a REAL job and pay your damn bills!" to all these characters. I saw her point.

I was getting bored with the CDs in my car, so I decided to switch them around today, and put in ones I hadn't listened to in a long time. Among the new ones was the Rent soundtrack. I remembered that comment that poster had made, and part of me agreed. While they're entertaining, I don't really know if I'd want to be friends with any of these people in real life. (Well, maybe Joanne. She could be the type who'd organize my filing cabinet and make a spreadsheet with me and have fun doing it.) I appreciate devoting oneself to one's art, but at the same time, there comes a point where yes, responsibilities take over and the rent must be paid.

That said, it still holds a certain magic for me. Firstly, the music and lyrics really are just so well-written. That alone makes listening a worthwhile experience. And while I may be all old and responsible now, like many appealing works of fiction, there's still that element of fantasy, of imagining a different life filled with drama and passion. Again, I don't know if I'd truly want any of it, but it's nice to daydream sometimes.

Even though I haven't listened in years, I still knew most of the words. "Another Day" continues to be one of my favorite tracks, and is a fantastic song in general. Apologies for the sub-par video - most of what YouTube turned up was from the movie version, and I'm just used to the original arrangement.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Alpha Male Blog Hop!

"What makes an alpha male?" That's like asking "What do women really want?" It's highly subjective, and I don't know if we'll ever agree on a solid definition.

Some traits immediately come to mind. Dominant. Confident. Strong. But even those can take us into a gray area. Are we referring to just physical strength, or other powers and talents? Do we want someone who can lift cars over his head, or will we be equally satisfied with someone who could, say, inspire crowds of people, or simply help us talk through the issues that plague us?

When I was writing Searching the Skies, I wanted to write two different men, each appealing in his own right. At first glance, Ash is probably more the "traditional" alpha male - military man, proficient with weapons, muscles that go on for days, assertive in the bedroom. While Marcus may not be as outwardly domineering, he still has a lot going on for him - wealthy, intelligent, charismatic, and doesn't tolerate any bullshit. Is one more "alpha" than the other? Mileage may vary. Geneva, our heroine, is faced with a difficult decision.
To commemorate this celebration of alpha males, I'll let you decide which type you prefer. Firstly, for the blog hop, there are THREE grand prizes! Don't forget to leave a comment here with your email address so you can enter as many times as you possibly can! The prizes are:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack! (US only)

Next, you can also enter to win an e-copy of Searching the Skies, along with $10 to spend at All Romance eBooks in pursuit of your favorite alpha male! Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog hop!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yes, Oysters and Yarn

Whoops, haven't checked in here in a week. The past few days were busy with writing like crazy for a deadline, and then celebrations of oysters and yarn (not in the same place) as my mom and I road tripped it around New England. There was lots of good food, my list of knitting projects has grown, and I got paid for reaching that deadline. (The amount I got paid, alas, is a fraction of what I spent at the yarn convention. Oh well.)

I had to neglect my novel-in-progress for a while, but I'm happy to report I'm back in that routine again. Things may be hectic, but I do better when I'm occupied, as opposed to sitting around, looking for things to do.

Now I just need to balance writing with playing with all my new pretty yarn....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Imperfect Timing

I hate having to admit that I haven't had as much time to work on my book-in-progress as I would like. The best excuse is that I picked up a little side writing job (one that actually pays weekly, albeit a minimal amount), so starting from when I get the assignment, that takes priority so I'll be sure it's done by the due date. The not-so-good excuse: bah, I just have a lot of STUFF going on.

I have a wedding to attend today (and yet, I'm still parked on my couch in my PJs). The rehearsal dinner for said wedding (I'm not in the wedding party, but my husband is) took up a large chunk of Friday. I'm leaving Thursday afternoon to go to an oyster festival and a yarn convention, and I won't be home until Sunday. I'll have the laptop with me, but I'm not sure how much writing I'll get done with other people around.

In a way, though, having all these other things going on has been beneficial. My weekly writing assignments are nicely broken down into ten different chunks. Sometimes I create the schedule of completing two per night, and once I hit that, I'm already in a good writing routine, so I can go back to working on the book. If I know something time-consuming is coming up, it can have the effect of making whatever writing time I squeeze in more productive. For example, I had plans with my mother last night, and I really wanted to finish up the chapter I'd been working on. She surprise!texted me to tell me she'd be at my house an hour earlier than expected. I worried for a moment or two, but guess what? The chapter got done.

I do have the added bonus of not having to get this book done by a specific deadline. That said, I'd prefer not to spend the rest of my life writing it. It'll get done, I know, but things just keep getting in the way!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't Ever Leave Me, F7

Cool story, bro: when I was in the first grade, I was eventually banned from participating in my class's spelling bees because I kept winning all the time. The teacher tried to make things fair by letting me pick some of the words, but then there were complaints that the words I picked were too difficult. (For example, I tried giving "spring" before the class learned the -ing ending. Bah.) Don't believe me? When my best friend gave his man-of-honor speech at my wedding, that's the anecdote he chose to open up with. Good times.

Regardless of my spelling prowess, there are certain words that I just can never spell correctly on my first try. I don't know what it is. I try memorization, mnemonics, repetition...nothing works. I have a mental block. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but here are a number of my most frequent offenders:

fluorescent (I think these two have similar issues)
insistent (why is that E not an A?)

For the record, when I hit spell check just now, sure enough, I'd missed a couple and had to fix them. All hail the mighty spell check. I would be embarrassed without it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Without a Care in the World

Meet Ro. She's a badass.
That security camera never stood a chance.
My good friend Boobulon knocked out this sketch when he needed something to draw the other night. I love it. I haven't really written a character like Ro before, and I'm loving that too.

Ro (aka Agent Rohalia Bernard) doesn't care what you think of her. She doesn't even care if you like her. The filter between her brain and her mouth is almost non-existent, unless you ask her something she doesn't feel like answering. (Or, as another good friend put it, "She speaks her mind, but doesn't bare her soul.") Some could argue that she's selfish and insensitive. She still wouldn't care.

As with everything else, I need to strike the correct balance with this character. She's the female MC in this book, and while she may not care about how she comes across to other people, I don't want her to be completely unlikeable. (Or maybe I want readers to like her for being unlikeable? Here I go running in circles again.) She has to have some redeeming qualities (and I assure you, she does). It just becomes a question of how to peel away the layers in a convincing way.

Either way, she's fun and fearless, and quite possibly my favorite character to write so far. I can only write good things about her, you see. Or else she'll kick me in the face and possibly stab me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

For this installment of Six Sentence Sunday, we revisit my first book, Searching the Skies. Sometimes I look at it and think, "Wow, I could have done so much better," or "Wow, I've come a long way," but I'll always be rather fond of it. This is from one of my favorite chapters/scenes to write, even though editing it drove me up the wall:

"I could turn on the light," he helpfully suggested.

"No! Then someone will know we’re in here!"

He chuckled as she shoved the remains of her panties into her pocket. "For someone who’s seen so much excitement in her life with the military, I thought you would have been used to living dangerously by now."

"There’s a fine line between ‘living dangerously’ and getting caught by your superior officers with your pants down!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Finite Pool of Possibility

Last night, when I was futzing around the internet instead of writing, I was reading a brief article on a website I frequent about a remake of "RoboCop". I'd never seen the original, knew nothing about it (other than, presumably, it involved a cop who was a robot), but the website is humorous and the article was short, so I read on. As I read the one-paragraph summary of the movie, I started feeling queasy. "Shit," I thought. "This sounds an awful lot like the book I'm writing."

Panicked at the thought that I would be accused of ripping off a rather popular franchise, I rushed over to wikipedia to read about the original movie. Long story short: while there are some similarities, enough was significantly different from my book to allow me to breathe a sigh of relief. But that got me thinking - how many "original" ideas really exist?

Back in my high school music theory classes, a friend and I were being all philosophical one day, and we pondered whether there would ever come a point in time where every tonal melody or logical chord progression has been written. (The comedy group Axis of Awesome may have proved we're closer to this than we think.) The same can be applied to literature - have we run out of ideas? Are writers just taking the same basic plot outlines, character archetypes, and other tropes, and just twisting them around?

There's a large group of people out there who believe Suzanne Collins's mega-popular "The Hunger Games" trilogy is a ripoff of an older Japanese novel (later film and manga) "Battle Royale". She claimed that she had never read/seen it prior to writing THG. Some people believe her, some claim there are too many coincidences and she must be lying. Me, I never strongly cared one way or the other, but I fell on the side of believing what she said was the truth.

It never seemed too strange to me to consider that two people in two different places (even at two different times) could come up with similar ideas. There have been plenty of such occurrences over the course of history. But let's come back to my near heart attack from last night: As I said, I have never seen the movie "RoboCop", or anything that spun off from it. I was vaguely aware of its existence, but I knew practically nothing about it. Until I read the wiki article, I'd assumed for some reason that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in it (I was wrong).

Will I be accused of stealing ideas from this movie I've never seen? Possibly. I know the truth. Regardless of whatever similarities there may be, I also feel that there's a big difference between a novel and a 90-minute movie. I'm not saying one is necessarily a better form of entertainment than the other, just that they're different experiences. I like to think that I can develop my characters and themes enough that my story will truly become mine. (And let's not forget about the erotica component.)

However, I'll also make sure that when I write up the blurbs for promotion, I'll highlight the points that make my book different and unique. (That is, if anything's really unique these days!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

I finally crawled out from that rock I live under and officially signed up for Six Sentence Sunday. For my first participating post, here are six sentences from my current WIP (sci-fi/erotica):

“Don’t sell yourself short. I admit to being curious as to the various ways your…condition makes you different. But I liked what I saw in our initial training sessions. It’s been a while since anyone’s actually impressed me.” The trademark smirk made its appearance again. “And don’t forget, we’ve already been on top of each other.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Hate That

I know it's blasphemy to some, but I edit as I go along. In The Edge of the Sphere, I edited at the end of every "part" (there were four main parts, a brief interlude, plus a short "Part Five" with a shorter epilogue). The current project isn't broken down that way, so I've decided to edit every 10,000 words or so.

I was going to write another blog post about my editing experience. However, it has become clear to me that while I think I'm learning things as I keep plugging away at writing, I'm probably just fooling myself. I decided rather than rambling on about the same nonsense for another couple hundred words, I'll just provide an illustration to speak for me in regards to what I've been doing today and yesterday:
Fear my mad MS Paint skillz.

I know "that" is unnecessary, like, 95% of the time. I've been trying to avoid it. I KNOW IT IS WRONG. And yet, "that" keeps sneaking in there. Between "that" and the adverbs I've also been slicing mercilessly, I'm surprised my word count is still above 10K.

From now on, whenever someone says "I hate that" in reference to just about anything in the world, I will agree. And I will not be lying. I really do hate THAT.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Artistic Vision

We've all been there: writer's block. Back when I was working on The Edge of the Sphere, I needed some inspiration to get the creative juices flowing. I do have a deviantArt account for my crocheted dolls, so I went over there, plugged in some vague search phrases related to the setting of the scenes I wanted to write, and flipped through a few pages of results. I bookmarked several pieces of artwork that I really liked. One of them was this painting.

I looked through the rest of the artist's gallery, and fell in love with her style. Some of my friends had commissioned artwork via dA before and encouraged me to contact her to see if she ever did them. While we were exchanging notes, I saw that the original painting that I'd admired so much was for sale. She quoted me an extremely reasonable price, and I couldn't turn it down.
I didn't even screw up my DIY framing job that much! My photography leaves a lot to be desired, though.

I told her I'd be in touch regarding a commission sometime over the summer. As always, stuff happens. EOtS came out ahead of schedule, I moved into the new house, and so on. A few weeks ago, I finally got my act together and worked out the details and sent in my request. I included a brief snippet from the book, plus a summary of the details.

The results were amazing:
Liora, one of the main characters of EOtS

It was a bit of a self-indulgent purchase, but I don't care. I love it. And I can't wait to hang it on my wall. I do a lot of my writing in the bedroom, so I'm tempted to hang it in there for inspiration, but I also want it to be visible to our guests because it's gorgeous!

Go check out the incredibly talented Oviot. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Like Tanks

On the spectrum of female stereotypes, I'm probably more on the "tomboy" side than the "girly" side. I'm at my most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, and I still get together with my (male) friends for marathon video game sessions. (However, in the interests of full disclosure, I do own a ridiculous amount of shoes.) That said, many of the stereotypical "male" interests do nothing for me. I don't care about cars or guns. When the aforementioned gaming sessions revolve exclusively around first-person shooters, I'll sometimes whine. (Hacking stuff to bits with a sword, though? Sign me up.)

There is one of those areas that gets me almost excited as my guy friends: tanks. Tanks are cool. Tanks are fun. I'll quit my bitching about games I don't really care for if I get to drive a tank. Also, in the history of movies and television, I am always entertained by tanks running over stuff. It's just funny. I tried to go old-school and find the clip of Major Frank Burns losing control of a tank on M*A*S*H, but my search skills were failing me. You'll have to settle for Tim Taylor impaling a sign and demolishing some golf carts:

See? Never not hilarious.

Now, what does this have to do with writing? My current work-in-progress is a sci-fi/erotic romance. Unfortunately, I sometimes find myself lacking when it comes to the "sci" half of "sci-fi". Luckily, I have a friend, the invaluable Boobulon, who is willing to 1) teach me all the SCIENCE, and 2) is doing some artwork for me in an art exchange we worked out.

I was working on "It was Chapter Three, but now it's Chapter One" that I referenced in my last post, and got to the point where my main character gets severely injured. He was already riding in a fairly basic tank (with a few snazzy futuristic upgrades), but he needed to go up against something bigger and stronger. I asked Boobulon for help. I believe my words were something like, "I want it to be more than a standard tank, but I don't want to get into hokey Transformers territory or anything like that."

He read my mind and managed to verbalize exactly what I was going for. After a lesson on how different vehicles could move over different types of terrain, and what sort of weaponry the enemy tank could have in order to maximize damage to the MC without killing him, he knocked out a super-quick sketch for me:
Unless he's the operator of the tank, that guy down there is probably gonna get fucked.
That is one badass tank. I love it. I want to find more opportunities to use it in everything I write. If I ever get the urge to write a contemporary romance or a murder mystery, that tank is making an appearance.

I like tanks. Tanks are awesome. Happy Labor Day!