Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Did it Again

I think I've talked about this here, but I'm not sure. I LOVE contest. I enter them all the time. I've only won a couple, but it's worth it because I challenge myself. When I write, I love to stretch myself to see where I can go. Usually I'm pleasantly surprised.

This time I saw a link on a couple of my groups and I knew about it for maybe a month, but I wasn't sure if I would enter. If I won my round of votes my excerpt would be seen by an NAL editor. The problem...there's a possibility the NAL would ask for a full. An 80k story! *gulp* So I kept, not this time. I don't have anything. It was for a Man in Uniform story and the excerpt had to be steamy.

The two days before the deadline...I decided to enter. I thought...what the heck. I wrote up my 1k excerpt that was required, sent it to my betas to see if they thought it would be strong enough. One of my betas said it was hot, but not enough. She could get a good feel on the characters. This is THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DEADLINE. lol I had to go back to scratch. So that night I wrote something up and sent that to my betas. This time it was a winner! I hurried up and entered it.

The voting started at the beginning of the month on a Sunday. Well this past Sunday it was my turn. Voting goes on all week. At the beginning of March I started with a 2k story. I am now up to 32k. I still have a LOT of work to get to 80k, but, as I said, I love a challenge! lol

If you'd like to take a peek and maybe vote on the two excerpts you like the best for this week you go to:

You'll need to create an account, but its free. Vote for the two excerpts you like the best and I'll hope one is mine. :) If you want to know which one is mine after you voted you can email me at and if you didn't vote for mine, that's okay because I want the two excepts people like the most to win.

Now back to my craziness. I have writing to do! lol

Monday, March 30, 2009

Such Dirty Little Stories…

When I first started pursuing and learning the writing craft my main focus was in the horror genre. Back then (we’re talking high school) a judge in a contest I had entered told me I could be the next Stephen King. To me that was a wonderful compliment. Several years later a friend introduced me to the romance writing market through Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I fell in love with that story and soon after her novel Remembrance became my favorite. I shifted gears in my writing…but not completely…

This is evident in my 2008 Halloween release Dirty Little Secret and in my 2009 Valentine’s release Dirty Little Lie where I embraced my horror roots once again for the two short stories. (For the most part the Dirty Little stories came about after listening to Apocalyptica’s song I'm Not Jesus.)Dirty Little Secret is not a romance in any sense of the word. It’s a straight up erotic spook fest, which after reading my critique partner said “Creepy.” Though the stories can be read as stand alones, the man who the woman had her sights on does show up in Dirty Little Lie, my first m/m story. He and his love interest go on a cruise and head for Grand Cayman. Dirty Little Lie though more of a romance was still said to be ‘very creepy’ by my crit partner and has a HEA… Well, at least in the minds of the two characters they’ll live HEA…Curious? Both Fantasy Games books are available at for only $1.59 each.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Calgon, take me away!

Another week has come and gone and I’m trying to figure out how to get back the time I’ve lost in the past 7 days. Impossible to do, but a nice wish, isn’t it? I love life when it gets so crazy hectic that you can’t even stop and think a coherent thought.

Yesterday was one of those very days. For example, we live on a dead end gravel road. That means the county does not acknowledge us for any type of road repairs. We six houses must keep the road plowed, lay gravel, have the oil sprayed for dust and general do whatever maintenance is necessary. For the past five years, my neighbor across the street has been in charge. This year the baton is passing to my hubby, who generously said “Since you don’t work outside the house, you can do it.”
Ok, that got my attention real quick. Now I’m in charge of getting the estimates on all of the above stuff, printing up notes to the neighbors, leaving them in their mailboxes and then badgering them about the money when due. Sounds like so much fun to me. Doesn’t it to you? Especially in this economy when every nickel counts.

I talked to my neighbor’s wife who will be handing over the folder of ‘road info’ to me next week and she told me one of the neighbors called to say he felt the road needed gravel laid. Of course it does. It’s his adult kid who drives like a banshee up and down the road at least a dozen times a day with his truck and landscape trailer. Still not sure why he is making so many trips as he doesn’t even live down the street anymore. And he sure as heck can’t read the 25 mile an hour speed limit sign that is posted. When he hits the gravel off the pavement you can watch that trailer bounce a good foot in the air. Worse part is we have little kids down here and you all know you can’t get good traction on gravel should you need to stop fast. And once you rake all the gravel out of the lawns where the snow plow pushed it, we’ll probably be just fine again. But the fun job is to rake it out of the lawn.

Better yet, the neighbor who wants the gravel laid does not like to deal with women. He is from the South and believes it’s the man’s job to handle things like this. On more than one occasion in the past, he has called here and told me he will not talk to me, he will only talk to my hubby because it’s between the men. Boy is he in for a shock. I’m no shrinking violet and the harder someone pushes me the more I fight back. Hmm, this could be a fun year. (G)

So, be forewarned, if you’re in my neck of the woods and you hear yelling, it’s probably just me being my pleasant little old self as the new “Road Mama” exercising my verbal rights to taking care of the road. Because the more you tell me I can’t do something, the more I will prove you wrong.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bite Me

By A.J. Llewellyn

Have you read the crazy wild story about the Connecticut woman who handcuffed herself to her sleeping, estranged husband and when he woke up and called 911 in total panic, she bit him?
Yeah, that'll keep a man in the palm of your hand.
Yesterday morning, my best friend Tony swanned into town to spend a couple of days with me and we listened to the report on the radio.
It was painful just listening to Robert Drawbough's agonized screams on the 911 tape as his deranged ex-wife kept chomping on his torso and arms.
"I need help!" the victim can be heard screaming. Followed by a horrifying, "Aaarggghh!"
"Turn it off," Tony shuddered and I suddenly remembered a time many years ago when his angry estranged girlfriend broke into HIS house and glued his dick to his poor, innocent balls.
Yep, she really did. I know, because we were roommates at the time and I was the one who drove him to the emergency room at three o'clock in the morning.
It wasn't funny then and it is sort of giggle-worthy now, but then it wasn't my twig and giggle berries that suffered such indignities.
I remember at the time that Tony's 'crime' against the girl was to break it off with her because her drinking was out of control and she refused to get help.
If you're a nutter and your loved one has chosen to extricate him or herself from your possessive grip, chances are, violent behavior will only cement their belief that you are certifiable.
Look, we've all done bizarre things for what Freddie Mercury called 'this crazy little thing called love.'
I know I have.
I'm embarrassed to admit I am famous in my circles for once doing a drive by on an estranged boyfriend's house. Yep there I was at midnight in my old Impala, craning out the window to see if he was with another man and oops...I took out a fire hydrant and all the neighbors' garbage bins right out front.
He came out in his underpants to see what all the noise was.
Smooth, AJ, smooth.
It never occurred to me to maim him. I'm a lover, not a fighter. Of course, this embarrassing episode has never been forgotten. I ran into my ex a few months ago and he asked me how things were and then casually said, "Been attacked by any fire hydrants lately?"
At least my moment of love insanity didn't make the news. It was an expensive mistake (new radiator, new garbage bins, city bill for fire hydrant repairs, ka-ching!) but spare a thought for the idiot woman who decided her husband looked tasty in the wee hours of a deranged, bad-idea morning.
Would you wanna date her?
Her mug shot makes her look scary and the 911 tape will be around in perpetuity.
I kept thinking of Hannibal Lecter and wondered if Crazy Ex-Wife would request some fava beans and a nice Chianti when the cops arrived...
This also got me wondering...I asked Tony whatever happened to his ex and he told me she runs a brothel out in Vegas.
I bet it's a damned kinky joint, too.
But this has me curious.
How deranged can YOU get? What lengths have you gone to in trying to hold onto somebody YOU love?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes – Lesson #5

This week we’re talking about the details that every love scene needs to have to be great. All the senses need to be put into play as well as having a good setting. This is where we start putting it all together. Enjoy!

Details are everything.

If a character is fantasying about a certain body part, can you imagine what happens when they actually get that body part? Let your imagination run wild! If your heroine is fantasizing about touch the hero on the penis, make sure that you record every detail: the texture of his skin, the temperature of the room, is his hot or cold, or is he warm and inviting. There is nothing more exciting than when the characters are exploring each other for the first time. Here’s an example from my short story, Shopping Spree, and this is when she first touches him:

He didn’t have to wait long for ‘this’ as she crossed the short distance between them, the silk fluttering from the movement as she pushed them out of the dressing room.

“I saw you when I came in and decided that I just had to have you. But a girl has certain criteria, you know?” Running her hands up his chest, she reached his neck and pulled him forward.

“Really? Hey,” Jonas started to protest but was drowned out by her lips. She ran her tongue along his mouth and nipped at his lips before covering them with her own. Her tongue snaked out and began to war with his in a dance as ancient as time.

“You taste good,” she murmured, looking up at him. Pulling him to her yet again, her limber tongue caressed the inside of his mouth making him wonder what it would feel like on his cock. Reaching down, she ran her fingers along his bulge, grabbing him and pressing into him, making him yearn for so much more.

“You feel good down there too,” she said and pushed against him even more, making an already strained situation even more painful.

If he weren’t careful, he would lose his load before he even began.

“Ah, you might want to slow it down a little…I don’t even…” He groaned as she pulled his shirt from his pants and snaked her hands up his bare chest to tweak his nipples. God, this feels so good! he thought as he arched into her hands, allowing them to continue their play.

Leisurely, as if it were an erotic dance, she began to unbutton his shirt, placing light kisses along the way. At his nipples, she stopped and sucked until they were hot, tight peaks before continuing on down his body. Laving his belly button, she got on her knees and looked up at him, going even further, gently biting the front of his crotch.

And now, he first touches her:

Lying on his side next to her, he gasped as she continued to deep throat as much of him as she could. Realizing he wasn’t yet fulfilling his end of the bargain, Jonas urged her knee up and ran his fingers over her slick slit, looking at her very pink and pretty cunt. Gently, he spread her lower lips and gazed at the small nub he found there. Holding her apart, he leaned over and laved her top to bottom, careful to avoid her clit.

“Dammit…I want to be touched…there,” she whispered, and wiggled her crotch in his face. “I know you know where there is.”

“All’s fair in love and …teasing,” he answered, smiling against her, certain she could feel the movement.

“Arghhhh…not fair.”

Once again, he licked her and avoided the area of her hottest desire, making her moan loudly. Sliding two fingers in her, he took his thumb and firmly pressed against her clit in order to make her pleasure even more profound. Slowly, he began flicking his tongue over her pussy, paying special attention to her hard nub. Soon, she was bucking against his probing tongue as he moved it in and out of her.

“Deeper. Harder.”

“I’ve got just the thing.” He rose in one fluid motion and pulled her with him not even noticing he still had his clothes half on and half off.

“Hey…” she began. “I didn’t say to stop.”

“Don’t worry. It will be worth it.” He moved her to the bench next to the wall. “Sit down and scoot your ass to the edge.”

“Well…what about you?” she asked, confusion plainly written on her face.

“Right now, baby, it’s all about you. It’ll be about me soon enough.”

He could see her swallow hard as if contemplating whether this was exactly what she wanted or not. Suddenly, the control was in his hands and not hers.

“Sure…but if I don’t like it…I’ll tell you.”

“You’ll like it alright.” He smiled at her and forced her backside down on the bench. “Let’s turn up the heat a few notches.”

Notice that I give you a lot of detail. I give you every lick, nip and breath taken while these two are on their sexual journey. I use all the senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and tasting when doing a love scene. No detail is to be left untouched. If you want to see the whole story, just email me privately at and I will send you a free copy of this story because you’re attending this workshop.

Here are just some of the details that you shouldn’t forget.
1. Know the temperature of their skin – hot, cold, clammy or warm and inviting.
2. Know how the characters should look when making love – pink cheeks, rosy lips, closed eyes, opened eyes.
3. Know the texture of their skin – rough, smooth, slick
4. Know if their eyes darken when sexually aroused
5. Know how their breathing is effected when making love – do they seem as if they’ve run a marathon
6. Know the details of where they are making love – is it inside or outside, in the shower or in the bed

One big thing to avoid in any love scene is what is known as wandering body parts. Now these are easy to spot: her eyes fell out of their head, her legs jumped for joy, his mouth fell to the floor. If her eyes fell out of her head, how could they see that his eyes were blue? If her legs jumped for joy, what was happening to the rest of her body? If his mouth fell to the floor, how could he kiss her? Body parts need to stay in the correct positions at all times.


1. Take three of the five senses and write a sentence using that sense.
2. Show me the room where your characters will make love for the first time.
3. Write me a love scene from her point of view. Now reverse it and make it from his.

Remember, you can post your exercise here for everyone to see, or you can send it to me privately at Please leave me a comment so I know you’ve been here to visit. And have fun!

Until next week…


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Did you ever get to the point in your life where you're just sick of working? I don't mean, 'oh, I'm having a bad day', but just GAH! I have reached that point in my life, where I don't want to do this job. I want to be a graphic designer. But I need the income, so I shuffle through my days being miserable dealing with idiots who apparently can't think for themselves anymore.

Is this the way to live life? No, of course not. But we all do it to some extent. We hate our job or hate our boss or some other aspect of working (commute, shift, etc...), but we're stuck because we're getting a steady paycheck. What's the answer? Quit your job and hope that your writing career (or in my case the graphic design business) will take off? Wait for the redneck retirement fund (AKA the lottery) to kick in? In these economic times, what can you do? Toss a coin? Hope for the best?*sigh*

No. We're stuck. In a rut. We live our lives for the 'after 5:00 pm' or the weekends. Maybe I should just be grateful I have a job and quit whining...

Now, where's that darn lotto ticket....

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Island of Estrogen in a Sea of Testosterone

Although I do not live alone, there are days when I feel I do. I am the lone female in our home. I have been married to a wonderful, loving man for almost 15 years. We have 4 sons, ages 13, 11 and 8 year old twins. Even our two dogs and the bird are male. I am outnumbered in a major way. Don't get me wrong, I love men. It's just that living with all of these boys can make a girl a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

1. Boys have three speeds. Full Speed. Sleep and that vegetative state that takes over during TV or video games.

2. Boys have absolutely no volume control and no awareness that sound travels.

3. Until the age of 13 they do not understand the necessity of showering. They find it merely an irritating annoyance that interrupts their loud activities.

4. They find farting the creme De la creme of hilarity....the real ones....arm farts take a close second.

5. They have no filter and say things like, "Mommy, when you married Daddy you didn't have as many lines on your face."

6. There is the innate inability to get clothes into a laundry basket. Items land around the basket but never in it.

7. A similar aim issue comes into play when using the bathroom.

But you know what the best thing about boys is? They don't hang onto stuff the way women and girls do. When girls fight about something, they tend to hang onto it and have years of drama. Not boys. With boys, they fight and when it's's over. They are much better and shedding things than we are.

For all their loud, crazy, stinky stuff....I love having boys. Although there are moments when I don't really understand them, I'm having a blast figuring it out. So no tea parties or Barbies for me. I'm putting on my sneakers and heading out for some backyard basketball with my boys.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day At Panera

stephanihecht72: Hi!

pattishenberger: Well, it's another Sunday morning here in chilly Michigan and time for Stephani and me to post our blogs. This week we thought about doing something new and exciting. Okay, maybe it's only new and exciting to us.

stephanihecht72: I'm pretty sure it's only new and exciting to us.

pattishenberger: Me to, but it sounded cool when I wrote it.
We're sitting here in Panera's. Heaven knows we do nothing without food being involved.

stephanihecht72: No, food coffee and Pepsi are always a must whenever we get together. Coffee for me, Pepsi for Patti.
Of course, if there are cookies too, who are we to complain?

pattishenberger: Not me. I'm always up for a good cookie.
So while we are sitting here trying to figure out what to order for lunch, we thought about interviewing each other. I know you've all seen the regular interviews about us, but now how about some down and dirty, insider information type questions.

stephanihecht72: The really nitty gritty stuff that not even our own families know about. It goes much deeper than stolen sock monkeys and evil children.

pattishenberger: And with that in mind, let's start the ball rolling. Stephani, tell me what do you prefer on a guy, any guy, not just your hubby. Do you like boxers or briefs, or better yet commando?

stephanihecht72: Wow, we are just jumping straight into the fire pit! LOL Okay, I much prefer boxers. But, not the goofy ones with smiley faces on it. I want a man, not a tool. How about you? What do you like covering your man's twig and berries?

pattishenberger: Well, first and foremost I would prefer a thick sturdy branch, not a twig with a few withered berries. I'm going for the boxers also. Preferably the red or black silky ones.

stephanihecht72: Not the ones with the elephant trunk? Okay, now my turn for a question? Have you ever had whoopee in a car?
And yes I just said whoopee.

pattishenberger: Yes, I have. Though it's been years. These old bones don't do so well crawling around the back of a car anymore and the new compact jobs don't give you enough room up front.
Wow, it's really getting hot here in Paneras.

stephanihecht72: Yes, it is and we are sitting in the middle of the old crowd too. If they only knew.... I made whoopee in a tiny S-10 truck once. Mind you this was when I was much, much younger and much, much more limber. Since I live in a small town and I know many of the police force I was worried that I would see an old family friend knocking on the window with his flashlight to ask us what was going on.

pattishenberger: Can you just see the headlines now. Local author gets caught with pants down. Ok, let's talk fantasy now. If you could spend the night with anyone, guy or gal and your hubby wouldn't be upset, who would you pick?

stephanihecht72: Former Red Wing, Brenden Shannahan. That guy is so hot I just want to take him home and feed him milk and cookies. Dark haired with the cutest smile, I loved watching him play. I was so sad when he left Detroit. How about you? What man floats your boat?

pattishenberger: Definitely Bruce Willis. I have lusted over him for years it seems. From Die Hard, to The Story of Us, to Moonlighting, he's the one for me. Hmm, wonder if he would feel the same way.

stephanihecht72: Of course he would! You are one hot tamale. Even now there is a guy in the corner checking you out. Granted he is so old he has to take his teeth out between bites, but hey, it's a guy all the same.
Sent at 11:09 AM on Sunday
pattishenberger: Oh yeah, somehow I don't think that's a compliment. If he requires oatmeal thru a straw because of the teeth, count me out! I had a great aunt who used to take her false teeth out all the time, put them in a drawer and then promptly forget where she put them. So every now and then you would open a drawer to get something and there would be her choppers smiling up at you. Not a pretty sight.
All right Stephani, of all the things I do know about you, there are still things I don't know. How about what's your favorite color? Favorite day of the week? Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Sent at 11:12 AM on Sunday

stephanihecht72: My favorite color is dark blue, because it makes me look thin when I wear it. My favorite day of the week if Sunday because we have no activities with the kids that day, so we can all be lazy and watch bad movies on the Sci-Fi channel. My favorite ice cream is the Birthday Cake Batter one at Cold-Stone. I kid you not; it tastes just like the cake batter we all used to lick from the bowl as kids.
How about you, Patti? What is your favorite color? Day of the week? Ice cream flavor?
Sent at 11:18 AM on Sunday

pattishenberger: My favorite color is really two colors - forest green and burgundy. Favorite day would be Sunday because, you said it Stephani, it's a lazy day and I'm really good at being lazy. Ice cream I'm much more boring. Normally I tend toward plain old chocolate ice cream, but we have a farm dairy out my way that has the best chocolate almond ice cream. The cows are so friendly there that you can pet them and the high school kids poster paint them every Halloween. I kid you not.
Sent at 11:23 AM on Sunday

stephanihecht72: Oh, I know that dairy farm! I used to go there as a kid. Okay, next question. What was the first romance book you read?

pattishenberger: The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiness. A classic back then and now too.

stephanihecht72: Shanna by the same author. Then I went on to read every book I could get written by Julie Garwood. I was addicted to her book like a fat kid is addicted to Mild Duds.

pattishenberger: Mine was Jude Deveraux. I've read everything she's ever written. Hey are Mild Duds anything like milk Duds? (G)

stephanihecht72: Be nice, I'm trying to type while eating my soup. The soup really is yummy at Panera. I love the French onion.

pattishenberger: I've got the Cream of Chicken with wild rice. Very good. Ok, let's kick it up a notch as Emeril says. What's the first dirty movie you ever watched, not counting skin flicks from the video store?
Sent at 11:31 AM on Sunday

stephanihecht72: I'm going to say Blue Lagoon, just because I was so young at the time it was dirty to me. My mom kicked me out of the room, but I still peeked around the corner to see what was up. A couple of years later, I watched Fast Times at Richmond High. I was attending a private religious school at that time, so it just shocked my socks off.
How about you?

pattishenberger: It would have to be The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea. An obscure movie that I wonder if anyone but me, my grandmother, my aunt, and my great grandmother went to see. They wanted to see it because it had Kris Kristofferson in it. And it was weird. The kid was watching his mom and Kris going at it through a peephole in his bedroom wall. Then later in the movie this kid (very troubled) performs surgery on the cat without anesthesia. At that point, my family walked out. They are huge animal lovers. So apparently the sex didn't put them over the edge but the cat did.
Very weird movie.

stephanihecht72: Wow! That sounds like one crazy movie. The cat would put me over the edge too.
Speaking of animals? Not very many people know this, but my Ugly Ass Cat has a crush on you. Do you want to take her home?

pattishenberger: Yup, in a heartbeat. I think Peep is so cute, even if she doesn't have real fur. She looks like Dr. Evil's cat in Austin Powers. I bet my annoying rodent boy Ace (really a grey cat) would love her to death.
Even if he couldn't do anything about it.
stephanihecht72: I would be lube at first sight. We could write a romance novel about it. Call it Ugly Cat and the Rodent. I can just see the cover now.

pattishenberger: OMG! I am cracking up. I love that title. The cover would be so scary it would warn people off.

stephanihecht72: We could give ugly cat fifty pounds of flowing blonde hair and one of those bodice ripping gowns. Rodent would have to have no shirt on and a mullet would be a must.

pattishenberger: This makes me want to go home, take a picture of Ace and head for Photoshop.
Ace with a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet. Swiveling his hips to Achy Breaky Heart, while Peep stands at the side of the stage, tossing her flowing blonde hair over her back and then tripping on it when she walks.
If nothing else, it makes for a nice bed for them to sleep on.

stephanihecht72: Then she could throw her itty, bitty kitty panties at the stage!

pattishenberger: Oh good, I almost choked on my sandwich with that one.

stephanihecht72: Why are all the people at Panera looking at us like we're loons. You would think they'd never seen two grown ladies laughing their asses off. Although Patti's would be suitor did put his teeth back in so he could smile and wink at her.

pattishenberger: Oh gross. Okay we are seriously digressing now. See what caffeine does to us?
One last question and we'll send you all back to your regularly scheduled programming. Stephani, finish this sentence about your writing. In five years, I can see myself..........

stephanihecht72: I would like to be writing full-time and making enough to put my son through college and keep my daughter in dance shoes. Hey, if Steven Spielberg ever wanted to make a movie out of one of my books, I wouldn't complain about that either.
Now, it's you turn Patti. You finish the sentence.

pattishenberger: hmmm, this is a toughie. In five years, I would like to be making enough money to not worry about not having money. I would love to be a NY Times best selling author by then, but wouldn't argue if it happened sooner. And most of all, I want to still be writing the books I love to create.

stephanihecht72: Well, we better wrap this up since the manager just came over and kicked us out for causing such a ruckus. He also gave us notice to never, ever, ever darken his doorway again. So next time we will be doing our chat a brand new location. Stay tuned.

pattishenberger: Wait, stop, unhand me. I’m a paying customer. Oh look they have cookies.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Brilliant Creatures

By A.J. Llewellyn

Like just about everybody else in the world, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of actress Natasha Richardson yesterday.
I didn't know her well, in fact, I knew her only to say hello to and this is the reason I decided to blog about her today.
I met her a few years ago in New York City. The apartment she and her family had was the only other apartment on the same floor as my friend Crystal's apartment and I stayed there for a few weeks to help Crystal sort through her grandma's belongings when she died.
Natasha and her family were private, lovely people. To this day I have no idea if this was their permanent residence or a pied-à-terre , but the first time I encountered Natasha by the elevator I was struck by her beauty and her natural warmth. She had a smile a mile wide and she never seemed happier than when she was with her husband and children.
The second time I saw her, we rode the elevator in the lobby. These were private people and unlike Los Angeles, in New York, it's almost mandated that you pretend not to recognize a celebrity.
I have disliked seeing her portrayed as "Hollywood Royalty" in the media since she died as a result of a freak skiing accident. She was not Hollywood. She was a wife and mother whose acting legacy goes far beyond the movie business.
What I treasure most was the moment she and I came out of the lobby, that day. Natasha's husband, actor Liam Neeson was coming out of a taxi. I will never forget the way his face lit up at the mere sight of her, or at the way she looked at him.
I have held onto that memory and used it as a model for my Phantom Lover characters Kimo and Lopaka and for Jimmy and Tem in the vampire series.
What struck me was that this couple at that time, must have been together for 12 or 13 years, yet the sizzle between them was tangible. I have seen this crackle of electricity between my friends Tracy and Chris, also a long term couple. It's my inspiration and confirmation of hope to see this kind of love.
Yesterday, when the first news reports cropped up of her accident, I felt a tremor of terror when I read that she was laughing and joking after she fell during a ski lesson. Afterward, she complained of headaches.
I feared the worst because this was how my friend Pedro Alcazar died. A lovely, talented boxer, he lost a brutal fight to Fernando Montiel at the MGM in Las Vegas a few years ago. I spoke to him after the fight and he was crying.
He kept saying, "I can't go home without my belt. I can't go home without my championship." He was subdued hours afterward when I spotted him in the casino with his friends.
I asked how he was doing. He said he had a headache. As we spoke, the ringside physician who had treated him after the fight was stopped, urged him to go to the emergency room.
He didn't. I have always wondered what would have happened if he had because the next day, I saw him again and he still had the headache.
The next morning, he was dead. Gone. The autopsy said his brain had swollen and bled out as a result of blunt force trauma.
My heart still aches for the three children he left behind, that he was raising as a single father.
And now, another wonderful human has left us.
I don't know why God takes away such bright, loving people, but continues to give breath to serial killers, child rapists and con men. It's a fact of life and love nobody can ever explain to any satisfaction to me.
All I can think of today, as I can only imagine what her husband and sons are dealing with is the line from Yeats in The Wild Swans at Coole:
"I have gazed upon these brilliant creatures and now my heart is sore."

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes – Lesson #4

One cannot write a good story without some good research or some first hand knowledge. This week we go over some books that a writer needs in their bookshelf for writing great love scenes.

Get some good research material.

It is always important for a writer to know where to get good research material. And the best place to start doing your research today would be the internet. It is an invaluable resource that you can use from the privacy of your own home. I can tell you that I would have been mortified at first when I started doing research for erotic romance. But being able to look for books on line was a different matter.

The first thing to do is to know what you are trying to research. Once you have honed in on a subject the next thing would be to compile a list of websites and from those websites a list of books.

Good research books are invaluable.

There are certain books that a writer must always keep on hand. Find yourself a good English rule book. I personally use Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference. She also has an electronic version. She continually updates the book and makes it better each time it comes out. I have a very old version.

Another book to have is The Chicago Manual of Style. While this many be more geared toward the college student, one can always find something of interest in this books. What the first book doesn’t have, this one will.

If you are writing for a specific genre, there will be a ton of genre related books on the subject. Writer’s Digest books have some of the best known genre books out there and their Writer’s Basic Bookshelf is a must for any beginner.

Another two books I have on my shelves are The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book and The Millennium Phase Book. These books are great when you are stuck and can’t think of a term you need. They also help when you need a little push in the right direction but just can’t put the words together.

Now for writing love scenes, there are some very special books to look for which will help add steam to your scenes. One would such book is the Sexicon. It is the end all book on sexual terms. It has everything you’ve ever thought of and many of those things you haven’t.

For writing tamer scenes, The Idiot’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Published and Writing Romance are the best two I’ve read in recent years. I don’t know if any of you have ever purchased the Idiot books and I have to admit at first I was reluctant, after all who wants to be viewed as an idiot? BUT I found some new information in there and was really surprised when I got this book.

Now one thing I think important on any sensuality level are picture books. The three books I have on my desk, and yes they are in plain sight, are the Kama Sutra, Ultimate Sex and The Better Sex Guide. These will help you visualize if a position is even possible and they will help overcome any fear you have about writing physical contact scenes. First, I didn’t know that there is a name for every sexual position and I’ll bet you didn’t either. The rest of the world does not view sex the same way we do in America. Part of what we have to do is to get over any of our inhibitions regarding the sexual act. These books will help you do that because these are not porn books but are books where the sex act is brought to life in a positive, loving way. If an author feels that sex is dirty, it will show in their writing. Sex always, no matter at what level, needs to be portrayed in a positive manner.

All these books are easily found on Amazon by just typing the name in their search engine.


1. Pick a research topic and give five website references concerning that topic.
2. Give me a list of ten research books. Pick five and tell me why they would be good research books in your opinion.

You can post your exercise here for everyone to see, or you can send it to me privately at Please leave me a comment so I know you’ve been here to visit. And have fun!

Until next week…


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Things that stick with you...

Do you ever have a book that stays with you? How about a movie? Those characters become part of your life and you can't let go. It seems to happen to me a lot more often than it used to. Maybe it's because I read a lot more now than I did when I was younger. I recently read a book by Maya Banks (Amber Eyes) and it stuck with me for days. I don't know if it was the female lead, or the men in the story, or the subject matter that touched me, but it just would not let go. Besides crying through the book (and making my husband look at me funny), I just couldn't shake it off.

Certain movies do that to me as well. Whether it's a fun movie or one that scares the bejeebers out of me, they seem to have something that sticks in my brain. I would end up dreaming about it and usually wake up in a cold sweat from the scary ones, or find myself daydreaming at work about a scene or event, and maybe pretending I was the heroine in that movie or book.

Has that ever happened to you? Or am I just weird? OK don't answer the last part... :D

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hello Celia Jade!

Hello Celia Jade!

This week we take a look at Celia Jade. I asked her some quirky questions back in January and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome Celia!
Celia Jade writes for the following publisher(s): Extasy Books & Eternal Press.
In regards to her favorite colors Celia says “I’ve always liked earth tones, and my favorites are red and brown.” Her favorite ice cream flavor is dark chocolate. When asked if she’s a cat, dog or both kind of person and if she’d ever own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet her answers were ~ “Definitely a cat person…I must have been a cat in a former life because I identify with them so much. & Not really. I believe exotic animals belong in their natural environment.” Concerning her preference for warm weather or cold she states, “Sun and warmth for sure! I live in Montreal where the winters can be brutal.” As for where she’d live if she could live anywhere in the universe, “I’d say Europe for sure. I enjoy its landscapes, architecture and culture. More specifically, I have a soft spot for France because it strikes a good balance between city and country—not to mention those mouth-watering croissants! ” In regard to what time of day she prefers, Celia says, “Neither one actually, because I can be crabby in the morning, although I prefer waking up early to staying up late.” Her favorite day of the week is Saturday and when asked about her favorite number she said, “I don’t have any, but if I win the lottery, I’ll let you know, lol”. When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, she responded: Sneakers & Soda
Here’s a scenario posed to the author: “You’re at a conference and an agent comes up to you and says, “I’ve seen your name on the web. I’m interested in taking you on as a client. You have a couple of minutes to wow me to convince me that I should.” You can only plug one book in this short amount of time. What book would you plug to land this contract and why?” Celia’s response: Oh my, I’m one of those smart alecks who’d probably reverse the question. What could you do for me? Humor aside, the question can’t be answered directly because it would depend on what kind of books the agent represents. Erotic romance comes in several sub genres. For instance, if he or she were interested in ethnic, alpha male stories, I’d definitely suggest my upcoming books: The Greek Bachelor. This story would fit the genre well because the Hero is both alpha and foreign, and fulfills all the criteria for the category. The story will be out at eXtasy books this May. I would accompany my pitch with an enticing excerpt from The Greek Bachelor.
For those interested, visit my author’s group for book news, excerpts and other fun events right here: Thank you so much for this interview CM!
And thank you for the information about yourself Celia!
~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with her ~

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What's Your Sign?

I've been doing a ton of research since I pitched a series of 12 novellas to eXtasy Books. My editor Jay gave me the go ahead to start writing and my first novella Midnight Encounters will be released August 1, 2009. The rest of novellas will follow every other month.

For the past two weeks, I have been immersed in books on horoscopes, astrological signs and a book based on the specific date of your birth.

For example, I am an October 7th baby. A Libra, the sign of the scales. Libra's are indecisive one moment and then suddenly rash and impetuous the next. Others are likely to be caught off guard by the strong will Libra's keep hidden. This makes the Libran a staunch supporter for causes they believe in. The date also shows that Libras waffle between periods of intense energy to bouts of quiet do nothingness.

Is this me? Yup, more than I even care to admit. I am a big waffler but once I make my mind up, there's no going back. I am a fierce opponent when I believe in something or someone and will fight to the bitter end to prove a point. In regard to waffling, I've been known to write 42 pages in a weekend, then do nothing but read for the next three or four days straight.

A very dear friend Stephani Hecht was born on November 25th. This makes her a Sagittarius. Here's what the book says about Stephani. She has a vivid imagination and possibly psychic. The Sagittarius is deeply sensitive to the needs of others. People born on this day tend to be writers (hello), publishers, artists, musicians or actors. The love life and have lots of affection to share.

Is this Stephani? In my humble opinion, yes it is. Stephani has a very vivid imagination. Just look at the cast of characters she has created for her Angel series. She is the kindest, most caring person I have ever met in my life. Always there with a kind word to cheer you up, a pat on the back when you need it, and a shoulder to cry on should times get tough. And she really loves life.

So what do you all think? Those of you out there that know Stephani and myself, are the 'books' right? Is this us? We might surprise you someday and do something totally out of character.
Until then, take care. Patti

My Family

By-Stephani Hecht

Yesterday I had to go to a wedding shower for my cousin’s fiancé. Now, I’m not a big fan of showers, but I would do anything for Mike. Even play cheesy games, fawn over gifts and make nice with others. The one huge silver lining is I got to get together with the females from my family.

My family is close. Most of us live within blocks of each other and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. My best friends growing up were my cousins and now our kids are best friends. I know that no matter what, my family will be there for me.

The “family” started with four sisters. Vera was the oldest, followed by Lonnie Kay, Donna and then , my mother, Barb. Grandpa worked at the railroad until he passed away when my mother was still young. Grandma never faltered, she took on housecleaning jobs and struggled to raise four girls on her own. She did a damn good job too. Even today she is the strength that holds our family together.

As the sisters grew up and had children, our family grew and grew and grew. I still remember that horrible day Grandma had a heart attack and we almost lost her. Every family member dropped everything and hurried to the hospital. As she was rushed into emergency surgery we gathered in a large waiting room. We huddled together, crying and trying to lend each other support. Finally, the surgeon came in.

“Who’s with Jane?” he asked.

The entire waiting room responded, “We are.”

The expression on the doctor’s face was priceless as he looked over all of us. It must not be everyday that a family fills up the entire waiting room. What he didn’t know was we had left all the youngest at home, so there were even more of us. But then he didn’t understand our family. Of course we would be there for Grandma. How could we not be? She’s the one who sewed our dance costumes. The one who took us out shopping and to lunch. The one who dried our tears when we didn’t make the cheerleading squad.

Years ago, the youngest generation dubbed her, Great-Grandma-Golden-Girl. She still has that unfortunate name and she beams whenever she hears it. She continues to try to take care of us, even as we step forward to take care of her. My son calls her every night to check up on her, the guys always make sure her cable and internet is hooked up, and my aunt takes her grocery shopping every week.

She deserves all the special attention. Heck, she should be treated like a queen. She earned that right a long time ago, because no one is more special than Great-Grandma-Golden-Girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

When I was in Honolulu over Christmas, a friend of a friend emailed me. I don't want to use his real name and embarrass him, so let's just call him Joe.
Anyway, Joe emailed me, saying he was excited that his paintings had been snapped up by a Lahaina art gallery in Maui and did I know anything about them because now he was worried. After feting him with meals and cocktails, the proprietors had showered him with praise, filled him with expectations.
Now they weren't even returning emails and he was sure he should have made at least one sale by now.
He said the gallery had his work on display for three weeks and his one conversation with the gallery manager should have, but didn't assure him his work was in the front of the store.
I not only knew the gallery on the main thoroughfare, Front Street, but by a bit of divine luck, I was going to Maui the following morning by Superferry to collect my friends Chris and Tracy and their daughter Eleanna.
I promised Joe we would act like tourists and go check on his work.
Long story short, Eleanna and I - otherwise known as The Superspies - trotted into the gallery and perused the paintings. We kept looking at each other. Joe's work was nowhere to be seen.
The gallery manager pounced on us like white on rice and I casually asked if they carried Joe's work.
"No, I don't think so. But look, we do have this lovely piece here."
I looked at a ten thousand dollar painting of a green apple. Eleanna did better work when she was in diapers.
I started to worry about Joe's work now. I loftily went into a monologue that even Eleanna believed. I described Joe's signature piece, a little girl with flowers and bingo! gallery manager remembered it.
"Oh," he said. "That's in storage."
Storage? We followed him out back and there they were, Joe's lonely, forlorn canvas babies, stacked against the wall with a piece of plastic thrown over them. Beyond this, I could see other stacks of paintings by equally luckless artists.
I suddenly felt very depressed.
It's tough to be an artist, whether you paint, draw, write...whatever.
The cruelest fate for your work
Chris and Tracy, wondering what was taking so long, came in and the four of us left the gallery manager a simpering wreck by the time we were done with him.
How could the work sell if he had it hidden in storage? Why wouldn't he tell Joe the truth and just send everything back?
I gave him my business card with my home number in Honolulu. I said he could always use my number as a local contact for Joe. I wanted to help the poor guy.
The upshot is that I emailed Joe and told him the truth. As far as we could tell, the paintings had been in storage for a while. He fought to get his work back, not easy when the pieces went "missing" and the galleryites kept waving his long term contract under his nose, but the last I heard, the paintings are on their way home.
But here is the rub.
Last night, in the middle of watching American Idol, I received a phone call from the manager of the gallery.
I didn't even know who he was at first. He talked to me like we were old friends.
He finally explained who he was and I remembered that I'd given him my business card.
I was stunned. I wanted to provide a local contact number for Joe, nothing more, nothing less.
This idiot had other ideas. He is in Los Angeles promoting his own work and is having a show down at the beach this weekend.
It was an audacious bit of networking to be sure. "I kept your card seeing as you're such an art lover and I remember you like florals. I'd love to see you there."
I was so incensed that he tried to play me that I cut him off. "Dude, please lose my number. The only way I would ever come to your show is if your work is in storage!"

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes – Lesson #3

Hi everyone! I sure do hope you’re enjoying this free workshop on adding steam to your love scenes. Last week we talked about using your own experiences and how you can weave what you’ve done into your stories.

This week, we’re adding another layer on what we’ve already gone over. And yes, I'm adding another sexy picture to get us started.

Remember, this workshop is not only about writing technique but what you as a writer can do to make the experience as pleasant for you as you are making it for your characters.

Add love scenes when the characters want to make love, not when you want them to make love.

This is one of the hardest things that an author has to do and that’s called pacing. Again, I relate it back to your own experiences. What happened when you rushed something? Did it work out well? Chances are it didn’t. It’s like rushing a cake; if you take it out too soon, it’s not done, too late and it can be burnt to a crisp.

Everything has a pace, be it fast or slow. When you truly listen to your characters, they will tell you when they need to make love and when they need to argue. Part of adding steam is to know when things are right for the characters, not when a ‘formula’ tells you a love or sex scene needs to be added.

I’m a pantser and all of my stories are character driven.

Some of you may have heard of this term and some of you may not. When I started my writing career, I was anal about planning. I had charts on characters, charts on plots, I played the ‘what if’ game and twenty questions for each of my chapters. I would plan every detail to the nth degree because I wanted things as perfect as I could make them.

Now days, I write by the seat of my pants most of the time because I work things out in my head and follow that plan but not so stringently because I’ve learned to listen to my characters. I know more about them sometimes than I do my own kids. I write what the characters want me to write, which is their story. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is true, however, that there are some stories I still plan to the nth degree and those would be my heavy fantasy or futuristic stories. Those are just as much about the world building as they are about the characters or the plot for that matter. If you don’t plan those, you can get caught in your own plot pitfalls because you haven’t done your planning.

What is right for the characters needs to be right for you as the writer.

There are times when your characters might ask you to write something controversial or not right for you to write. I know it sounds strange but if your characters need to do something that you find objectionable, then maybe their story needs to be written by some one else.

Now this isn’t the same as you being embarrassed over a love scene or something of that nature. When first learning to write love scenes, they can be very disconcerting if you’ve never done that before. I know that the very first time I wrote a BDSM scene, I would get up, walk away from the computer and mutter, ‘I can’t believe I just wrote that’ and mean it. It wasn’t until I had been writing the story for a month that I felt comfortable with it.

Part of the reason that I could continue to write their story was that I didn’t feel bad about writing something done in an adult consensual situation. Adults can and do make their own decisions. My characters were adults. They had adult minds and adult thoughts. They could handle what was going to happen to them. True, you say they were just characters but to me they weren’t and it’s all about perspective.

Listen to your characters as they will tell you what they need.

This is just as important as any other issue talked about here. Characters will tell you what is important to them. In the story I mentioned above, the heroine needed to have a deep, dark fantasy fulfilled to fall in love with the one man she could. I gave her that situation and what happened in it was fulfilling for her.

Your characters need to be as satisfied with the outcome of your story as you are. Sometimes it won’t be a happily ever after but it will always be satisfying.


1. Give me a scenario where a love scene would be appropriate for your characters.
2. Give me a scenario where a love scene would be inappropriate for your characters.
3. What type of writer do you want to be and why? (Pantser or planner)
4. Why do you think it’s appropriate to listen to your characters?
5. When wouldn’t it be appropriate to listen to your characters?

You can post the exercise here for everyone to see, or you can send it to me privately at Please leave me a comment so I know you’ve been to visit. And have fun!

Until next week…


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Read an Ebook Week

I was going to blog about Read an Ebook week, but we all know they rock and I didn't know what to post, so just click the link and read away. lol

I really didn't prepare anything today so I'll tell you a little bit about a contest I entered. In case you don't know it...I LOVE contest. It makes me stretch myself as a writer and sometimes I'll learn something. I'm still new to the writing world and want to find what I'm good at. I'm always willing to try a new genre.

The contest I entered is over at Manic Readers. I had to put together a 1,000 excerpt about Men in Uniform. My man is a Marine. Yum. It also had to be steamy. I think I have that covered as well.

The second round of voting is up, but I'm not in the group yet. I'm not sure when I'll be up.

Here are a few facts from the site:
Beginning March 1, 2009, Manic Readers will post 20% of the entries at the beginning of each of the following weeks:
March 1st
March 8th
March 15th
March 22nd
March 29th
Each week registered users can vote for their top two entries (one vote per entry)
The top two entries from each week will be posted April 5, 2009 and read by Becky Vinter with NAL Publishing.

You can see why I might be a LITTLE excited. I'll give a little update when mine is up for voting. Now my name will NOT be attached to my excerpt. You will have to vote for your two favorite excerpts and I have to hope you pick mine. If you do, then I did my job! :)

A little more Jambrea news. The anthology I'm in, One Touch, One Glance is up at The Romance Studio They also gave it a nice review. Very exciting stuff. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hello Sara Taney Humphreys!

This week we take a look at Sara Taney Humphreys. I asked her some quirky questions back in January and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome Sara!
Sara Taney Humphreys writes for the following publisher(s): Extasy Books
Sara’s favorite color is cobalt blue and her favorite ice cream flavor is Karmel Sutra. When asked if she’s a cat, dog or both kind of person and if she’d ever own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet her answers were ~ “Dog, have 2 J & Ummm no.” Concerning her preference for warm weather or cold she states, “Love the occasional rainy day, love cold snowy days if I can be inside next to a fire…but a crisp sunny fall day is the best!” As for where she’d live if she could live anywhere in the universe, “Anywhere as long as I’m with my hubby and our 4 little boys.” In regard to what time of day she prefers, Sara says she’s a bit of both. Her favorite day of the week is Saturday and her favorite number is 10. When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, she responded: Sneakers & Soda
Here’s a scenario posed to the author: “You’re at a conference and an agent comes up to you and says, “I’ve seen your name on the web. I’m interested in taking you on as a client. You have a couple of minutes to wow me to convince me that I should.” You can only plug one book in this short amount of time. What book would you plug to land this contract and why?” Sara’s response: My book “The Amoveo Legacy” is about to be released with eXtasy Books. The series is about an ancient race of shape shifters that have lived secretly among humans for thousands of years. Traditionally they could only mate with another Amoveo, but evolution combined with their dwindling race has changed the rules. It’s Paranormal Romance of a Different Breed.
Thank you for the information Sara!

~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with her ~

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When You Wish Upon A Rock?????

Yes, you read it right. A rock. Not a star, but a rock. I wished upon a rock, or actually a pile of stones. This past fall I went on a cruise with my hubby, and friends. One of the day trips we took was an excursion to Aruba. My girlfriend Donna and I did this alone. We went to the aloe factory, such a cool place, and also the butterfly farm. Another cool place. After that, the bus took us on a tour of both the commercial side and the wild side of Aruba. The wild side is basically lots of bare land, wild burros, the old stone fort and the natural bridge which has recently collapsed. I love the wild side as you can stand on the rocky shore and take pictures from all angles of water, water and more water. The picture on the top is a view of the water and rocky shoreline on the wild side of Aruba. The picture in the middle is from the Butterfly Farm. Check out those butterflies. Their wing pattern is to scare away predators. And the photo just below is the collapsed natural bridge and if you zoom in, you will see a small pile of stones piled atop one another.

Now there is a tradition in Aruba that you take a stone, place it atop another stone and make a wish. You can see little piles of these wishing stones all across the shoreline, and also along the roadway standing like little sentinels of past wishes made. Of course I had to partake in doing this. So I found two small stones, and placed them atop a bigger stone and made my wish. What did I wish for you ask? Hold your wild burros; I’m getting to that (G).

I didn’t think anything of it until a few days ago when I realized my wish had come true since we left Aruba. Truthfully it totally escaped my notice (not a hard thing to do if you know me). My wish really did come true. You see, as I was making my little stone pile I wished to be a multi published author with a big book contract in the next year. About a week and a half ago, I pitched an idea to my awesome editor Jay at eXtasy Books and she responded incredibly favorable to the idea. I signed a contract for a 12 novella series, entitled The Zodiac Club. Each heroine’s birthday will fall under that month's sign and the heroine’s strengths and weaknesses will play off her astrological definition. The first release is August 2009 and will continue every other month through mid 2011.

I had totally forgotten about this wish. But it really did come true! Now I wonder how many other visitors to Aruba made a wish and did they remember that they had done so when it came true? I certainly hope so and if I ever get the chance to go back, I’ll make another wish. I’ve attached some photos of the island and my wishing pile. Enjoy till next time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Flight 5202

By A.J. Llewellyn

I don't know about you but I am sick of reading bad news. I am sick of the news hogs. I am sick of that crazy Octomom, Brangelina vs Jen, the bad economy, the stock market, that idiot guy from The Bachelor. I am farklempt that American Idol is so lousy this year, over-filled with talent-free yahoos with their fake, hysterical tears and delusions of glory. I'm upset that Farrah Fawcett has cancer, my favorite Monkee Peter Tork has cancer and I am sick, SICK that New York hotel room prices keep falling, whilst Hawaii rates climb higher and higher...
So I am latching onto good news. I like being a happy, peppy guy and I, for some inexplicable reason feel the need to blog about historic Flight 5202.
Yep, Flight 5202 made aviation history. On Monday, for the first time in history, an all-female, African American flight -womanned? - a domestic flight.
Captain Rachelle Jones, First Officer Stephanie Grant, and flight attendants Diana Galloway and Robin Rogers brought a lot of joy to travelers of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 5202 to Nashville - but still the newshounds want to drivel about...Octomom.
ASA has three female African American pilots, itself a bit of a record because there are only 10 female African American flight captains in US aviation history.
I wasn't on the flight, but wish I had been judging by some of the comments people have posted about these four women.
Captain Jones and Officer Grant have plenty to be proud of...on February 12, just a few weeks before their historic flight, they broke - air?? - making history for being the first all American- American female crew to operate a commercial jet revenue flight Atlantic Southeast Airlines.
I caught a tape online of Captain Jones' comment as she touched ground after her historic flight. This is what she said:
"It still hasn't hit me now. I was just excited. I called my mom, my family and said guess what happened today."
I hope she is still smiling. I hope she knows she has inspired a lot of young people out there who maybe stopped believing in dreams. I know she's inspired me.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes – Lesson #2

We’re in week #2 of our free workshop. In this one, we’ll be exploring just how you can use your own experiences to enhance any love scene. And since I told you last week to use visual stimulation, I thought I would add a little with some pictures I downloaded from istockphoto or canstockphoto.

Use your own experiences

I’m sure at this moment, you are wondering just what am I talking about. Your own personal experiences can’t be what people want to really see. Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. People must relate to your characters; they must find some common ground or your characters will be meaningless to them.

Have you ever caught yourself while reading a book saying some thing to the effect of, ‘I can see myself doing that’ and know you mean it?

And I don’t mean using the experiences literally…you all remember that blush first being in love…use it, use it to your best advantage because people like to read about other people. How many of you are sick of the heroine or hero always being perfect? I know that I am. Why? Because people are flawed, even the really great people have flaws. They put their pants on the same way we do. They wear underwear, they shower, they go to the bathroom and for heaven sakes’ most of them fart too.

But the point is that you know and can relate to all those things. Use what you know. There is an old saying ‘Write what you know’ and the reason is that if you write about what you are good at, it comes more naturally.

If you are writing romance, there are some things that only women know. Most women remember their ‘first time,’ so use it. You can remember what it was like seeing your spouse for the first time. I do. I thought he was crazy because it was freezing and he was wearing shorts. I also remembering me thinking he wasn’t bad looking and maybe I should get to know him. I’ve used different version of this again and again.

Another one, most women remember the first ‘real’ date they were on, so use it. My husband and I didn’t date at first, we gang dated meaning we went out with a group of people. And we always seemed to pair up differently. Sometimes I look at my husband and don’t know how I ended up married to him. But I do know I worked my butt off to get him. This is something I can use.

The same can be said for men. When I decided to write from a man’s point of view, I realized I was out of my depth. I don’t know what a man feels during sex. But I do know my husband and trust his judgment. When I’m writing from the male point of view, he reads everything. He tells me things like ‘a guy wouldn’t think that emotionally about this’ or ‘no way would a guy do that.’ To be accurate, you have to have resources you can fall back on.

You can use anything you have experienced to make your writing richer and fuller. Everything you do in this mode just makes it so a reader can more readily identify with your characters. If the reader can’t identify with your characters, they won’t finish the book or maybe they won’t even pick it up.


1. List ten experiences that you can use in a novel, be it romance, erotic romance, sensual romance or just a regular book.
2. Take one of those experiences and write me a whole paragraph about one of your characters doing the same thing.
3. What did you get out of the experience? Can you apply this to your writing.
4. List one outside resource you can use when you need it. It can be a person, a book, a library or even a place on the internet. The point here is to get you thinking about how you can find out the information you really need.

You can post it here for everyone to see, or you can send it to me privately at Please leave me a comment so I know you’ve been to visit. And have fun!

Until next week…


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Loopity Loop

Are you a member of a yahoo group? Do you participate or are you a lurker? If you lurk, what would make you become an active participate?

I love yahoo groups. We call them loops, groups or a café and it is a great way to meet people who have similar interest. I know over the year and a half I’ve been involved with groups that I’ve met some of my best friends from groups.
It is also a great way to meet author and for authors to meet fans. I know I’m a Stalk…er…fan of a few authors. Authors have their own groups and their publisher have groups as well. The cool thing about the publisher groups is you can meet more than one author. I have a few favorite places I like to “hang out”.

At first I was a big time lurker. Always afraid of what I might sound like to others, but then I bit the bullet and just started talking. I was amazed at how many people I met and how nice they were. I think the only problem I have now is how many groups I’m a part of. lol
Using yahoo groups can help you as well. I’ve learned so much from the different loops I’m one. It is like a small community. The funny thing is how many people I share multiple groups with. It is nice to join a new group and see people you’ve talked with before. It makes you feel more comfortable.

How do you view your groups? For me, I use the individual email. It makes it easier. I know some people will go the digest route. I recently did that with a few of my groups and I can’t wait to get back to individual mail. I know some people also go web only. I can’t do that because I would forget to check them. lol

So tell me…What would make you become more active? Do contest lure you out? If they do, will you stay involved or do you go back to lurking? Do you like questions? Will those bring you out to play?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hello Dee Gentle!

This week we take a look at Dee Gentle. I asked her some quirky questions back in January and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome Dee!
Dee Gentle says, “I attempt to multi-task, I’m the ParaNormal Romance (PNR) Reviews & Features Editor, the Paraphernalia Ezine Columnist, and editor for Red Rose Publishing.”
Dee’s favorite colors are purple and green and her favorite ice cream flavor is definitely vanilla. When asked if she’s a cat, dog or both kind of person and if she’d ever own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet her answers were ~ “Hmm, cat, they are low maintenance. & Yes, I own a gray rat snake now, and have owned various types of lizards, tortoises, and an array of snakes in the past.” Concerning her preference for warm weather or cold she states, “Sunny and cool, I dislike being hot.” As for where she’d live if she could live anywhere in the universe, “Off world, I would want to live on Saturn, I have always been fascinated by those rings. If I have to stay on Earth, New MexicoJ” In regard to what time of day she prefers, Dee says, “I do my best thinking at night, definitely a night owl.” Her favorite day of the week is Friday (night) and her favorite number is 3. When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, she responded: “Sneakahs” & “Sodah”

Thank you for the information Dee!

~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with her ~

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our Booksigning

By: Stephani Hecht

Yesterday Patti Shenberger and I had a very fun and successful booksigning at PaperBack Trade Inn in Clawson, Michigan. It was us two troublemakers and our good friend, Harlequin author, Michelle Celmer. There were cookies, punch and candy galore, alas there was no sock monkeys. Sorry AJ. My son was kind enough to stop by and take some pictures so of course I have to share them with all of you.

Here is us looking all professional like. From right, Stephani, Patti and Michelle. Note how Patti and I are twinkies. Totally unplanned. If I were going for a twinsie look it would have been matching pink rompers.

Me, doesn’t that vacant gaze just scream intelligence? Ma would be so proud.

Patti, doesn’t she look so nice? Don’t let those innocent eyes fool you for a second.

Michelle Celmer, I still can’t believe she agreed to go out into public with us. What was she thinking?
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