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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Having a Great June!

First I'll share my new cover for my October release with eXtasy! I'm VERY excited about it and love this cover!
Next, look what I found on Fictionwise!!

Freya's Bower

Based on data gathered within the last 20 days.

1. Magick Touch by Eden Elgabri [Erotica]

2. Murphy's Law by Kathryn Attalla [Erotica]

3. SheWolf by Teresa D'Amario [Erotica/Romance]

4. Mating Call [Dragon Queen Series Book 1] by Emily Ryan-Davis [Erotica/Fantasy]

5. Codename: Romeo by Kathryn Attalla [Erotica/Suspense/Thriller]

6. Dragon Dance [Dragon Queen Series Book 2] by Emily Ryan-Davis [Erotica/Fantasy]

7. In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories by Various Erotica [Erotica/Fantasy]

8. Breaking Faith by M. King [Erotica]

9. Moving Day by Jaime Samms [Erotica]

10. The Runaway Man by Jambrea Jo Jones [Erotica/Romance]

I've never been in a top ten list before. This is very exciting.

So along with my Liquid Silver contract for Semper Fi: Magnus and my visit to the Lori Foster Event, I would have to say June has been great!!!

Take a Trip with Ash

Thanks to everyone who sent in their answers to my survey last week! Your input was much appreciated.
Congrats to Caffey ~ you have won the drawing for a PDF copy of Dirty Little Trip!

Dirty Little Trip (available from on July 1, 2009) is the next story in my continuing Dirty Little stories series. In this short story, Bobby Joe’s estranged wife is having a hard time since he left her to deal with the house and kids. She’s turned to chocolate for comfort and her dreams of a handsome devil for escape. Here’s the blurb and excerpt. Enjoy!
Bound by a handsome devil and silken desire, there's no place she'd rather be.
Her family and self-esteem in tatters, Mary Jane has turned to chocolate for comfort. But when a dark handsome stranger comes into her life and eases her pain through pleasure she finds herself giving up one addiction for another.
~ Excerpt ~
I had another dream about him, my tall dark stranger, who comes to me in the night and takes away my pain and sadness…I stood about ready to enter my car, my eyes transfixed on the man, panther sleek, black hair, eyes, clothes. A gust of wind blew through the trees surrounding the modest establishment. His black trench coat flapped in the breeze but not one ebony hair on his head or in his goatee moved. A metal chain clinked against the lone gas pump. A street lamp behind him flickered. His approach seemed to skip and jump. One moment the crunch of gravel beneath his feet indicated he was a distance away. The next he had gained several feet then he was near. Soon, all that separated us was the car door. Thank God for that.
It’s like he reaches out and surrounds me in soft, thick angel wings to protect and comfort me. But his soothing presence has an underlying edge, a magnetic virility that terrifies me. I can sense his intentions and they are oh so bad, so deliciously wrong. He penetrates me with his dark-eyed gaze. I start breathing, heavy and fast like I’ve been running from something, to something. I’m not sure. His steady attention invades my soul and I can’t hide, not from him. He seems to know my innermost thoughts and secrets. The strange ease I feel around him includes a deep sense of longing. He makes me feel wanted and beautiful again, makes me feel like a woman who is desired above all else, sensations long absent in my waking world. I want to touch him, feel his large hands stroking my skin. I crave the strength, the wanton passion, he exudes. I think about him all the time, find myself wanting to sleep whenever I can just to catch a glimpse of him, learn his name, feel his caress. I lust after him when I’m awake too. I feel like I’m going slowly but surely insane with the want of him.
For information on my other Dirty Little stories, please visit:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Brocks Locks

There was an article in my local paper about a week ago of a young man named Brock Nowak, who for his 13th birthday donated 10 inches of his long blond hair to Locks For Love. He has been growing his hair for three years and even after they cut off the required 10 inches, he still has hair to his shoulders. This is an amazing young man in my opinion. To be so selfless at 13 years of age is a wonderful thing.

His mother is very proud of her son the article states and I can see why. She has raised a kind and caring individual who thinks of others first, rather than himself. Interestingly enough, Brock does not care what others think of him. He said in the article that "Sometimes it is better to be unique than average."

You know what, he is right. I would love to be thought of as a unique person rather than just being remembered as being ordinary through out my life. Brock, I applaud you for what you did and I hope others take note of it and follow suit. I truly believe it is better to give than receive.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Every Day!

A while back i saw a couple on a morning show saying that they had, as she had given him for his fortieth birthday, had sex every day for a year! OMG!
It has recently come back into my head because my ten years together, seven years married, anniversary is next Friday and i don't know what to get for my husband that is not too expensive but says, hey i have been with you this long i think i will stick it out for a while more. Does sex every day for a year say that? It certainly says hey i will be here for the next year. Don't get me wrong, i love my husband but dang, i don't think i would even like sex after a year of obligatory sex. That would not be a great gift to my husband in the long run then.
This couple claims they didn't miss more than a couple days a month, averaging 28 days of sex per month, which would be impossible for my husband and i since we often travel without the other, but not including that how is it even possible? Did they never get sick? Never have that time of the month? Or fight? What about little kids with nightmares or family functions. Ever try doing it quietly in a tent surrounded by tents full of family and children? Not gonna happen. Come on, it all just seems unrealistic to me.
Anyway they claim it helped them be closer and blah blah blah.
I remember my husband and i trying to get pregnant, that took over a year, then trying to go into labor ugh, by the end most of the sex seemed so objective oriented, not so much fun. Why ruin a good thing by making it mandatory? Its like in school when you take a class subject you enjoy in your spare time, then your forced to do it every day not when you feel like it but just because someone else says you have to do it, not so much fun anymore.
This isn't the only couple out there with this kind of story, and they aren't all a year. One claims 101 days, others a month- which seems almost plausible, and a more realistic goal.
So what will i get my husband for our anniversary? I don't know but i can almost guarantee it will last longer than a promise of a year of sex :) And most importantly he will know i love him just the same.
So what do you think?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

California's Hidden Homeless

By A. J. Llewellyn

This is my new baby kitty. Isn't he adorable?
He was slated for execution yesterday, but I saved him, by a whisker if you'll pardon the pun.
He's nine weeks old and pure, pure love. He is the sweetest boy, but like countless other cats and dogs, the state of California just wants to get rid of him.
I know in these harsh economic times that families are suffering, jobs are down, money's California, the water shortage is now a state emergency. Government employees are taking enforced days off each month, everyone's getting pink-slipped, but thanks to a new law signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, animals in shelters are being slaughtered in record numbers.
Animals brought to the state's shelters are given a scant THREE DAYS thanks to Arnie, to find homes. Or else.
Wednesday is D-Day for animals in the shelters and I used to receive a weekly email bulletin of all the adoptable animals slated for death. I had to drop the list since it rendered me hysterical each time I saw photos of wonderful, lovable animals in cages scheduled for euthanasia with the reason: LACK OF ROOM.
The prime victims? Puppies and kittens, because they're more work than adult animals. Also, whelping mother dogs and cats and their litters and any animal that requires extra medical care.
I know some people will roll their eyes that I am blogging about animals, but to me, they are the most innocent victims of our times. They are the true hidden homeless and there are many, wonderful people who rally each week and try and rescue all the animals they can but of course, countless numbers don't find a ninth life.
Please keep in mind, if you can, give a home to a shelter pet. If you can, foster a puppy or kitten, but above all, please think about emailing our Governor and asking him to grant our hidden homeless a longer life.

Aloha oe,
A. J.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Promotions & More RWA Dirt

All right, I know, I had promised to have a real blog this time. And believe me, I will but I just wanted to pass along a little more on the RWA front. Mainly in the form of links and the like because it’s time for everyone to form their own opinion.

You all should read every one of the links posted on Dear Author because they contain relevant information to anyone epublished. Yes, there is some rehashing over the whole problem but since last week, RWA’s President Diane Pershing has given us a rebuttal. Oh, joy. Look at the links and discussion here: as well as here: Lots of good information on both sites.

Also, if you are serious about challenging RWA’s stance on ebooks, epublishers and epublishing, you might want to join the RWAchange group. It is planning to change the name here shortly to reflect what the group is as a whole and to not get RWA any more upset than they probably will be. They just don’t want to be sued…but then…who does? You can join the yahoogroup at and just to give you a few stats, this group was formed on June 20. It already is planning an election of officers and has a membership of 527 as of this writing. Pretty impressive if I say so myself.

Still, like I said, this is the time for individuals to decide just which side of the fence they are going to stand on. This is much bigger than just the local chapters loving the epublished authors and national not. It looks to the future and as we all know, time waits for no one.

Moving on…what I really wanted to talk about this week is…promotion.

Now, personally I have a promo group who does a lot for me. I don’t usually post any excerpts, they do but I do send out notices for things like this blog. I also have to prepare exactly what the promo group is sending out so I know what’s being posted. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll even have someone do that for me but right now, I like the control.

I belong to many yahoo promo groups as does my promotions manager, so she gets to post things about me in over a hundred different groups. Recently, I caught the tail end of an email, which stated that many of the promotions groups were changing their rules because so many authors didn’t know or understand promotion etiquette and they were tired of the blatant disregard of those rules.

That bothered me because I know I go out of my way to make sure I and my promotions group does everything correctly. What is correctly you might ask? Here are a few tips on how to promote yourself well.

1. Make sure you follow the rules of the group perfectly. This means, if they want a certain thing in the subject line, put it there. For example, if you must label your excerpt as PROMO, then do it exactly as their example shows. This would include making sure you post on the correct day and their requested way. Don’t be surprised if your promotional item doesn’t show up if you haven’t followed the loop rules.

2. Make sure you don’t inundate the loop with the same promotion repeatedly. Between me and my promotions group, we belong to roughly 200 lists. We have a set schedule of who posts what where and how many times for that month. A good rule of thumb would be to promote heavily on release week, up to once a day on the loops for the first week, then only once a week thereafter. If the book is from your backlist, then once to twice a month is sufficient unless it has a tie in to your current book. Example: I have a Christmas elf series. About 2-3 weeks before release day, I start promoting book 1 of the series all the way up to the current book. The items on the current book are usually little teasers with a full excerpt on release day. Then I promo the heck out of it the first week dwindling down to just a couple times a month for as long as I want to promote that particular book. And yes, I promote all my books, even those published in 2004.

3. Do one to four guest blog spots a month in addition to your own blog. Not every blog is the same and you will not necessarily find the same people on all the same blogs. This means, you can recycle material if you need to. Most of the time, the owner of the blog will send you a set of questions to answer. They post them and you need to check for comments several times during the day. Make sure you answer everyone who comments. This goes a long way with the readers. Everyone wants to be recognized for something they did or for stopping by. By doing this, you are exposing yourself to a new group of readers at least once monthly.

4. Try to participate in one loop chat a month but never do more than four. Reason, being there more than once a week can really make readers annoyed. At least that’s what I’m hearing from many of the promotion groups. You need to keep your content fresh and interesting. If you’re there every day, it can be hard to bring readers back again and again because they’ve heard your spiel before.

5. Don’t overstaturate the market. Exposure is good, overexposure is bad. I’ve taken many marketing classes before and have been told it takes about 10 times before someone remembers your name. Another 10 to remember your product and then another 10 to associate said product to you. This means a minimum of 30 times before you start getting name recognition. With the digital age, it’s not hard to do at all. The trick is doing it in such a way people look forward to your excerpts, blogs and chats not gloss over them because they’ve had too much. If you only have one book, this is hard as readers do get bored with having the same item over and over again.

6. Last, join promotion groups and loops to see what promotional opportunities are available to you. Here’s a couple of links to get you started.
This is a website/group started by authors to teach about promotion. They have good articles and are extremely good at helping a beginning author.
This is a yahoogroup that gives you a daily message regarding where you can post your promotion. It is very good as you will get reminders in your mailbox. To subscribe to this loop, use this link

Happy promoting! See you all next week!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big News's big for me and I can't stop grinning! Liquid Silver contracted my story Magnus. The first in a series I'm calling Semper Fi. My head is still spinning. Let me share my time line with you. lol

On Saturday, June 6th I made my pitch to the Liquid Silver editor. She requested my first six chapters. The event wasn't over until Sunday and I needed Monday to recover. lol

Tuesday, June 9th - Friday, June 10th, I polished, with some help, my first six chapter. Around 11:00am that Friday I send in my chapters.

Friday at 12:44pm I get the message that the LS editor has my 6 pages and synopsis

Friday at 9:33pm (About 9 hours later!!!!) I get the request for a full.

I spend Friday night through Sunday polishing up the rest of the story.

Monday at 11:38am I get a nudge to send the full (can you hear me screaming here? lol)

Monday at 12:55pm I get confirmation that they have the full

Tuesday at 11:08am I get an email offering me a contract!

See why I'm on cloud nine? lol

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buyers of books ~ I need your input!

I’m doing a brief survey for myself and my fellow authors in regards to how people learn about the books they want to buy. Leave a comment with your yes/no answers and I’ll put you in a drawing for a PDF copy of my July 1st release Dirty Little Trip.

1. Do you read the promos/excerpts on the yahoo loops & have you bought a book after doing so?
2. Do you read the reviews of books posted on the various websites/blogs & have you bought a book after doing so?
3. Do you attend author/publisher chats on the yahoo loops and/or in chat rooms/forums & have you bought a book after doing so?
4. Do you buy books from seeing an advertisement/banner for them?
5. Do you read interviews/author spotlights posted on various websites/blogs & have you bought a book after doing so?
6. Do you belong to on-line book groups/fan sites (facebook/myspace) & have you bought a book from the information found there?
7. Do you buy books from author name recognition?
8. Do you buy books from a family/friend referral?
9. Do you buy books from reading blogs/bulletins?
Have something additional to add? Feel free to let us know if you learn of books a different way than what’s listed above.

Thanks for your input on this! It’s much appreciated! The drawing for Dirty Little Trip will be held on Sunday, June 28 at 6 PM PST and the winner will be announced on my blog Monday, June 29.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day!

Here it is the middle of June and another holiday. Where has the time flown? I want to wish all the fathers out there a wonderful day. They earned it, they deserve it.

My own father died at 19 years of age. The victim of a tragic car accident that was hi sown fault. The most I know of him comes from the stories family tells me and the few photos I have.

My great grandfather who raised me was a wonderful man. He and my great grandmother took me in when they were in their 60’s. Dad (as I called him) taught me many things. The most important being the only person’s opinion that matters is your own. He also said to listen twice as much as you talk. Very sage advice from a man who never made it past the sixth grade.

My husband Randy is another wonderful man in my life. He is the father of my children and the love of my life. He has seen me at my best, my worst and everything in between. He has been there through sickness (cancer) and in health (now), through rich (hahahahaha) and poor (ok, not there yet), till death do us part (hopefully a long time coming).

Earlier this week I asked what he would like for Father’s Day. Randy said he wanted nothing. I pressed again; he said he only wanted to be able to enjoy life. This morning, we went out for breakfast before he headed to work (he works in retail, so at work today too). Tonight we will go to the daughter’s for dinner. That is her present to him. He hates it when anyone spends money on him. He would much prefer we save it, or even spend it on ourselves. I know that if there is something he truly wants, he will go out and get it for himself. And that’s fine by me.

This year he won’t get to speak to our 23 year old son Brian, who is now deployed overseas. Last year Brian wrote his dad a very nice sized check and a thank you for Father’s Day for all the money his dad had loaned him over the past two years. It floored my hubby and brought him to tears. To Brian it was a way of giving back to his father who had given so much to him.

So Happy Father’s Day to all you dads, step-dads, almost dads, and everything along the way dads. You deserve a wonderful day and I hope you get it. Whether it is a gift from a loved one, time spent on the golf course, or dinner with your family and friends at home or a local restaurant.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Romance Novels Pulped For Road Resurfacing

By A.J. Llewellyn

I have a mate who constantly ribs me about my erotic romance novels. He sends me snide little emails asking how the business is treating me. He asks how the panting and kissing and slobbering are going.

I email back, telling him I am making a living from the books he sneers at...well, I'm able to pay some bills, anyway. He, however keeps tilting at windmills. Not that I have anything against him tilting at windmills. I am a dreamer, myself.

But I am sick and tired of people putting down romance novels. This morning, he forwarded me an online item all the way from Wales, written by Robin Turner who reports that thousands of Mills & Boon novels [the British equivalent of Harlequin romance novels] have been pulped 'into tiny fibre pellets, called bitumen modifiers, and are used to hold the ‘black top’ in place, resurfacing roads such as the M6 and M4.’

According to the article, 'a mile of motorway consumes about 50,000 books and several million Mills & Boon novels have gone into them.'

That's better than burning them, I suppose.

If you check the quoted lines above, it is clear that not only romance novels have gone into filling roadways, but romance novels take a licking and despite all the teeth gnashing, they keep on ticking.

The truth is, the publishing industry world-wide has been trashing, pulping and otherwise destroying books for decades.

This is the big ugly secret that publishing doesn't tell it's starry-eyed new authors. I knew about it because I worked in bookstores for years and I used to cry at night when I was forced to rip the covers of perfectly good books to be shipped back to publishers.

It was like killing babies to me.

I also work in a public library and I know how quickly newly released books become obsolete.

I am also a published author and I learned early on that the average shelf life of a new book in the stores is two weeks.

That is why ebooks are breathing new life into publishing.

An ebook can live forever. Paperbacks resulting from them also can live forever because most are POD, meaning when you order from Amazon or whatever, the book is printed immediately and shipped to you. Most of the big NYC publishers are going POD now for this reason.

No more pulp, no more street fillers.

I want to remind all the high-falutin' authors out there that it is predominantly romantic and erotic fiction that sells in ebook format.

We have paved the way, literally, for the rest of you. So remember that as you pen your next Great American Novel, Romance Lives Forever.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RWA, Reviews and More

Don't you just love this picture? It's of the Eilean Donan castle in Scotland and is very calming which is always needed before discussing a controversial topic.

Okay, I really thought that I was done with the RWA thing and then on another loop someone posted that ESPAN, a special interest chapter in RWA for electronic and small press authors, posts a kick-ass expose from one of the best agents in the industry, Deidre Knight. Here’s the link below and I think you all should read it.

What is so very vindicating is the fact she basically says the same thing about the industry as a whole I have over and over again. Since she has a lot of clout, I’m hoping the industry will sit up and notice, especially RWA. So I thought I would Google the whole RWA and epublishing thing. OMG! There are 6300, count them, posts regarding this very thing. And believe me, this is one thing I will really, really get the word out on. RWA…are you listening now?

Here are a few of the more of the most interestng links: (NOTE: I went 10 pages in before I stopped…6300 references are a lot to look through…LOL!)

Now the last link has is a whole list to other blogs and things which looks at what the RWA president, Diane Pershing, said in her last column.

Now you all might think I hate RWA and I have to tell you I don’t. I love RWA. I’ve served on its board, founded chapters and used to go to every conference until my mother got sick. Then my focus had to change and it’s only been in the last four years or so that I’ve come back to the fold so to speak.

What I hate is the shortsightedness of this stance. One of the above blogs directs the focus of the problem by comparing what RWA is doing to the record business who got too big for their britches when they tried to control everything about the recording business including how CDs were produced and sold. Hello…notice there are really no record stores anymore? Except of the collector variety? Most cars have a jack for an iPod and I know I wish mine did because I buy everything off iTunes put it on the iPod and move it around as I need it. And I’m no spring chicken. I have kids over 30 and I wasn’t a baby when I had my oldest either. If I can adapt RWA can too.

Okay…off my soapbox…LOL! Maybe I’ll just get a petition going or something. I’m sure there are RWA members out there who would really want to sign it.

One of the other items I want to talk about is reviews. Most of the reviews now days are done online which makes it easier for all those involved as they are very accessible. At least, in my mind, that’s what it’s all about. I have received lots of reviews over the years from many different places. Some are good and some are not so good as expected. But come on now, almost five years after the release date? To give the reviewer some credit, she did give me a good review and she probably didn’t receive the book until recently. It’s been known to happen but is still a surprise.

Now, my question to all you authors out there, what is the longest time you’ve had to wait for a review? I’ll give anyone their choice of eBooks if they are past the five year mark. Just let me know through blog comments and I'll email you privately offline.

One final bit of news is in the form of some music. All right, all right, I’ll admit, I’m a music slut. I will listen to almost anything and I like something from every genre imaginable except maybe the polka. LOL! Here’s a new group I ran across via another blog, The Divine Madness, and I thought you all might like their music. Someone had used it in a book trailer and the music was just so perfect. Check them out and I think you’ll see what intrigues me so much. Here’s there link:

Remember you must comment to be entered into my drawing for a basket at the end of the month. I plan to put in a lot of goodies including an iPod and all sort of sexy toys. Sorry there isn't a picture but I forgot to take one this week. :-(
Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and see you next time!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Excited to share ~

The continuation of my Si’Ludo saga carries on with today’s release from ~ Prelude to Eternity!

Only she knows what the past means for the future.
Determined to protect her family and JT, Calissa submits to the next step in her training – Hyzendro. The water meditation propels her into reliving past lives – the trip, accused of being a witch, ancient war, and a life on an alien planet. Lives she has only dreamt about until now. Puzzle pieces about herself, the abiding love between her and JT, and the upcoming danger that people will face come together and offer her keys on how to proceed into the future. She just hopes she hasn’t learned the lesson too late.
~ Excerpt ~
She took another deep breath, slowly let the air out of her lungs and slipped beneath the surface. She lay down in the water’s embrace and rolled so she faced the surface, asking to be shown who meant her and her loved ones harm.
The image of the beach winked out and utter darkness consumed her.
All senses and sound ceased. A flash of stark white light flared on her mind’s screen. Suddenly she sensed she was moving, slipping, sliding and spinning around like she was in a water park chute. Streams of pastel colors whizzed and blurred around her. She clamped down her emotions, determined not to ruin the meditation. Once upon a time, I must have performed hyzendro and survived so why fear the ritual and end it with undue panic?
The blues, pinks, greens and yellows burst into millions of sparkles to reveal a little girl in a white tank top and pink shorts, her black hair pulled up into ponytails on the sides of her head. She played with a hula-hoop in the middle of a street in an apparently quiet neighborhood. Though she had never seen the child before, deep within, she understood she was the girl and the scene was from a past life.
A woman’s voice called out from a house down the street. The girl cocked her head at the summons and so did she. Startled, she realized she was in the child, seeing and experiencing life from her view, but unable to control her actions.
“I’m coming, Momma!” She picked up the white and red-spiraled hoop from the hot asphalt and turned to the house.
An engine revved nearby. She spun at the whine of the machine. From around a corner appeared a long red and white fifty’s style vehicle, the kind with the overgrown steering wheel, tiny windows and fins on the back. The car sped in her direction. The girl screamed. Calissa willed herself to control the youngster, tried to reach out with mind and soul in an attempt to push the child out of harm’s way, but her actions were of no use. Calissa had no influence, had no control over the events. She was merely a spectator within a body.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interview with agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh

Hey everyone, today I'm posting an interview a very dear friend of mine Cheryl Smith did with agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh, from the Judith Ehrlich Literary Management, NYC.

Cheryl does these interviews for our local RWA newsletter The Heart of Detroit and she does a fabulous job! So without further ado....

1-Can you tell us a little about yourself? Do you have a family? Pets?

I’ve lived in New York City for 10 years. I came out here for college and completely fell in love with the city and with publishing. Soon after I met my husband, Zach. Four years ago we adopted a crazy Cornish Rex named Mr. B. My family is in Seattle and France, and I’m grateful for always having somewhere beautiful to go to over the holidays. I was born in France but grew up in the U.S., mostly in Eugene, Oregon, a part of the beautiful Willamette Valley. My family, especially my mom, instilled in me a profound appreciation for the outdoors, but I am a city girl through and through. I have a “blended” family with two brothers, two sisters, two parents and three step-parents, and I adore every one of ‘em.

2-When you aren’t working hard to discover the next Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber, what do you like to do for fun?

Um...I read! Seriously. Beyond that I love to travel and going to new places. This year I’ll discover Puerto Vallarta (vacation) and Cape Cod (work). I’m a sucker for musicals and adore seeing B’way or off-B’way productions. My husband is a documentary filmmaker and likes to hijack my Netflix list with obscure movies, and then I get him back by making him watch Trueblood or 30 Rock. I volunteer a few times a year to provide food and fellowship to NYC’s homeless. The occasional hike or roller blade. Regular stuff!

3-Is there an activity, such as sky diving or knitting for example, you’d like to try some day but haven’t yet had time?

Hang gliding for sure. I’m not crafty at all! About all I can do creatively is edit manuscripts or color within the lines.

4-With summer coming up, everyone is looking for books to take on vacation. What type/genre of books would want in your carry-on?

Historical romance, including probably a little Elizabeth Hoyt. Paranormal romance—gotta catch up on my JR Ward and Nalini Singh. Fantasy, maybe the first Robert Jordan (hope I like it!). Young Adult—I picked up an ARC of The Maze Runner at BookExpo. And then I always break up my commercial fiction with some literary fiction and nonfiction. I’ve got The Namesake, Outliers, and The Female Brain on my bedside table.

5-You have an extensive background in publishing and as an agent. What made you decide to go into the field? What is the best part of being an agent?

I think my story is not so different from a lot of the people in publishing. I loved to read when I was growing up, starting with Nancy Drew and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. If I couldn’t write the stories I was reading, I wanted to help bring them into the world. That’s still what I love best about being an agent, helping an author bring their book into the world.

6-What is it about a new author and her voice that makes you want to call him or her immediately and offer representation? Have you signed any exciting new authors since you’ve been with the Judith Ehrlich Agency?
I’ve signed lots of great authors in the past year. It’s always after I get that amazing “what happens next” feeling and stay up all night to finish a manuscript. In romance, it’s that perfect blend of heated tension between the hero and heroine combined with a tightly woven plot that keeps the momentum moving forward.

7-Many new authors take the e-book route to break into publishing. Do previous e-books sales have any influence on your decision to sign an author?

Yes! I love it when an author has great e-book sales—it means they’ve already begun to build their audience. Same with contest wins. They’re a great way for a writer to capture an agent or editor’s attention.

8-What are some common mistakes new authors make when submitting to you? Have you ever had a submission that left you shaking your head?

The most common mistake I see is writers not fully researching their markets. I often get queries for strange multi-genre books such as “a paranormal, historical, romance women’s fiction” about a woman who finds a ghost in an old house. One ghost does not a paranormal make, and a flashback to a past life does not make a historical. One of the best ways to research your market is to figure out where, next to which authors, will your book fit on the shelf. What section of the bookstore will it be in? How do readers on various blogs categorize the authors whose work is comparable to yours?

Beyond this biggie, I still have to laugh when I get queries addressed to “Mr. Alspach” about a genre I completely don’t represent, like mystery or military.

9-I see you’re looking for paranormal and historical stories. What historical genre specifically is your favorite?

In romance, I love a good Regency. Also Victorian and Scottish Highlander. There’s a published, unagented Western author I’m chasing down for my list, but just one. I’d also love to do something more literary set elsewhere in Europe. And because of my background, I perk up anytime I read something set in France.

10-Many authors want to write a vampire book or an erotica to follow the trends. Do you see any genres on the wane or anything new coming up?

I love paranormals and it’s all about the world-building. In terms of trends, vampires are still hot, and so are shape-shifters (I like big cats), demons, angels, werewolves, dragons, and now zombies. That said, I would caution against writing to follow a trend unless you’re truly inspired by it. Writing for the sake of trend-following often feels stale when everyone is looking for fresh.

11-Do you accept straight women’s fiction or category authors?

I accept women’s fiction but I’m very selective. I’ve seen a lot of queries with similar themes: divorced/widowed/abandoned/newly unemployed woman inherits old house/moves back home/discovers old journal/takes trip abroad, falls in love again, is rejuvenated, etc. I’m looking a hook that’s unique, something I’ve never heard before. I also love anything gritty and urban. Take a look at my client Danielle Younge-Ullman's novel FALLING UNDER for an idea of what I like in women’s fiction.

I’m not looking to rep category with a couple of exceptions: great paranormals and/or you’re planning an epic, multi-book series.

Other areas I don’t do are contemporary romance or romantic suspense.

12-RWA National is around the corner. Do you have any basic tips for authors about pitches? Do you prefer short, like back cover copy, or something that touches on all the plot points and conflicts?
I like short pitches, but since pitch appointments last 10 minutes, be prepared to expand. I like pitches that are somewhat interactive, meaning you tell me the basic premise and then I ask questions about areas that interest me, like a character or plot point. Plan your pitch in advance. Practice telling it to your kids or in the checkout line at the grocery store. Practice telling it to strangers. If they say, “What happens next?” you know you’ve got a good pitch. Your pitch should include all the basic selling points an agent needs to know: word count (preferably between 75k and 110k), subgenre, and comp authors or titles, but most importantly it should tell the beginning of a great story, which means it should deliver a great hook. And here’s a little trick: tell us about the hero first. He’s the one we want to fantasize about. Then give us a heroine we can relate to, someone whose shoes we can try on. For example: a leopard shape-shifter is bent on avenging his parents’ murder, even if it means using an innocent woman—an empath struggling to conceal her identity. Sound familiar? That’s basically the premise for Nalini Singh’s first book in her Psy/Changeling series.

13-What is your turnaround time on a submission?

I generally respond to queries within four weeks and requested partials or fulls within two or three. There are exceptions but I usually make those targets.

Cheryl Smith is published in short romance fiction, a multiple contest finalist, and member of The Greater Detroit RWA. You can find her short stories at and at

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Happy Saturday-

I am going to shamelessly self promote today. First-here is a pic of me and my sister in law, I am on the left, we are wearing t-shirts with the cover of my coming short story, Lover's Stone. It will be released on monday at It is my first e-book and I am super excited about its release. I am chatting today about it at castle in the sky flight of fantasy, yahoo chat group. You can head over there and chat with me and win prizes :)

Now a little about the book:

June 15th 2009 (e-books

Lover's Stone: (An Entwined Destiny Short Story)
Jasmine Jones doesn't believe in love, or the power of the objects she is hired to find. She uses her secret ability to be the best thief around, better even than Cole Grubman. A super smooth thief who shows up on the same trail as her, more often than she likes. Will destiny decide that they are true lovers? Or will Jasmine's refusal to make herself vulnerable keep their passion a wistful memory?

She Doesn't believe in love, until it shows up behind her in silk boxers.


"It was one AM when Jasmine slipped into the dark house. Dressed in a black cat suit and gloves, she blended with the shadows—not that anyone was around to spot her anyway.
She crept through the rooms, letting her senses guide her flawlessly through the lightless spaces clear as day. She made it to the bedroom and found the stone carelessly stuffed into a nightstand. Obviously Mr. Wellesley didn’t think the stone was that precious or priceless, or perhaps he was just that confident in his security. Jasmine couldn’t contain the scoff at his stupidity.
She held the unassuming thing up in the moonlight. It appeared to be nothing special—a smooth black stone about the size of her palm. But it was heavy, easily three times as heavy as it should be for the small size. It heated in her palm and she wrapped both hands around it, drawn to its warmth. The warmth soon spread up her arms and into the rest of her body. Jasmine closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of it, of the comforting warmth. It was like being held tight by a familiar lover. "
I hope you all go check it out on my website. Thanks for letting me shamelessly self promote for a minute :)

Courtney Breazile

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy King Kamehameha Day

By A.J. Llewellyn

I did a couple of author chats this week and as is the custom with these things, after it was my turn to talk and answer questions, the chat moderator ran a small contest in which the participants would answer a question. The first one to get it right would win a free copy of one of my published books.
It disturbed me that two nights in a row, very few of those present could answer the question: What is the capital city of the island of Oahu?
Since 99% per cent of my books are set in Hawaii and the book I was promoting is my upcoming June 15 release, Pelo's Heart, I was sad to know how few Americans know their own country's geography - not to mention history!
I mentioned that Pelo's Heart takes place today, June 11, which is a big day in Hawaii.
Today is King Kamehameha Day.
I am Hawaiian by heart and I wish I was there today to help celebrate. I was last year, which prompted my story of an innocent man released from prison on the mainland, who goes home to Hawaii in search of the past, to heal his truth.
What is significant about this day to me is the preservation of culture.
This morning, as I went through the final galley edits on my book, I listened to the radio and I was horrified and stunned to learn that 86% of children in public schools now qualify for free hot breakfasts and lunches. As schools struggle to come up with their share of the bucks to pay for these meals, the cafeterias themselves are reporting that many children showing up for their free hot breakfast, haven't had a meal since their free hot lunches from the day before.
It is devastating.
Our children are our future.
Our children, our vital legacy are in distress. I personally do not understand any parent not feeding their child. I have, in bad times, in fact all too recently, not been able to afford to eat, but I sure made certain my pets got to eat.
One of the things that always appealed to me about Hawaiian culture and King Kamehameha is the love of children.
I think today is an important day, not just in Hawaii but every place.
Today is a reminder to cherish our children, to cherish those who need us.
Happy King Kamehameha Day to you.
Aloha oe,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

eBooks, ePublishing and RWA

First, let me apologize about this blog being so late in the day. My computer hasn’t been cooperating the last couple of days. I can only surmise it is as under the weather as I am feeling with sinus headaches and hurting joints. That’s what happens in the desert when you get clouds and humidity for a few days. Your body is forced to get used to something not normally here. It took me two days to adjust and it just might take the computer a little more.

Second, the blog topic for this week is epublishing and ebooks. As much as this pains me to say, the blog Dear Author had a very relevant topic with the following blog today. Here’s the link, so please go read it and take the poll. This is one blog the industry pays attention to a lot and I suggest we participate.

While the Dear Author blog is not known for playing nice in certain areas, they have actually tackled a subject which should be near and dear to all of us. They are also fierce supporters of ebooks and that is good for all of us.

Here’s the link:

When I read the blog, I had to pull out my RWR and look to see if they were telling the truth. Sigh. Sadly they were and all I could think was another RWA president put their foot in their mouth before really thinking about a large chunk of their membership.

In the letter, RWA President, Diane Pershing says because of the lack of advances, epublishing does not serve the RWA membership well. Apparently, RWA feels that anything less than $1000 up front is not good, not even the industry standard of 37.5%+ royalty base serves the membership as well. I would like to know just what planet this woman is on.

I am a past RWA board member and I just don’t understand how, in this economic climate, RWA can not see the benefit of their members receiving a monthly or quarterly paycheck instead of a biannual or annual one which may or may not see any cash in hand. I receive monthly royalties from a couple of my publishers and am quite happy with the arrangement. I didn’t get an advance and to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. I would miss my monthly royalties if I didn’t receive them at all.

Now, I expect another RWA battle in the works and it’s not going to be pretty. BUT the only way to be part of the solution is to state our opinions and let the world know just how you feel about the ebook and epublishing industry. I know I am.

I know I did when I voted on this poll that RWA and NYC industry leaders will see. Even NYC is seeing the writing on the wall and has the foresight to understand ebooks are the wave of the future. Most books in print from NYC also have an ebook component. It’s a necessity to survive in publishing today. Why can’t RWA see this? Why can’t they ride the wave of the future? What is it that’s holding them back?

I don’t understand and I’ve been a member of this organization since 1984 for the most part. I’d like you all to let me know just what you think and go vote on the Dear Author poll. It might just help us all.

Remember, for all of you who comment, you’ll be entered into my June contest. I plan to give out basket full of books and goodies as a celebration of me being back writing full time and my birthday. Yeah, I’ll be a year older this month. And the solstice never looked so good. LOL!

Till next week…


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Lori Foster Experience

First let me say that I went for only a day last year and the whole thing this year. This year was SO much better! Now let me tell you about my trip!

Thursday: I took my son to school came home and finished packing. Left the house and got about a minute away and realized I’d forgotten something. I had to turn back and it was then I should have known something was going to go wrong. I picked up my item, got back in the car and went on my way.

I made a pit stop at a gas station to pick up a few snacks. Then it happens. I take a wrong turn. *sigh* Of course I took this journey before, you’d think I would have learned last year…but no, I’m VERY directionally challenged. I didn’t get far and turned around because I figured out right away. I’m good now, right. Getting lost once HAS to be enough. I was wrong. Very, very, very wrong.

I read that stupid mapquest thing right. I know I did…but I made another wrong turn. The name still looked familiar so I just kept going. Luckily I had the actual map part, not only the directions. It looked like I was going in a parallel direction. The cities looked right, I was still heading south. I stopped at a BK for lunch and asked the woman at the counter about the interstate I needed. I WAS going the right way. Once I got on I75 it was smooth sailing. I finally got to the hotel. I only added another hour to my journey.

As soon as I got to the hotel, I did what any internet addict would do…I hooked up the lap top. Is this where I admit…Um…I had TWO lap tops with me. Mini Me and then the big girl. I hooked up the big girl and we had internet access in the room. I was only on for a few minutes when two of the woman from my International Heat blog showed up.

We talked while waiting for a group to go see Wolverine. Sarah McCarty takes the early birds to a movie every year. Thanks Sarah! It was a great movie. I just needed more Ryan Reynolds.

Lol After the movie we went back upstairs and got ready for bed.

Friday: We woke up early so we could go to breakfast and the scheduled tour of Jungle Jim’s. Kathy put the wonderful event together for us all. The Bob Evans breakfast was nice. I was sitting at the table with Alyce Mitchell, a wonderful writer. I know her from Avoid Writer’s Hell. A wonderful group that we are both a part of. Also at my table was Allie K. Adams aka Eve Adams, Harrison Turner and his brother, Laura Baumbach, Valerie Tibbs, Vivian Arend and Jami Davenport aka Sofia Hunt. We had a wonderful chat.

Laura is a great source of information on m/m and it was very nice to hear her talk. After breakfast we went to Jungle Jim’s. Me, Valerie, Allie and Jami ended up skipping the tour…sorry Kathy. We did go shopping. The store was great! When we were finished we dropped some people back at the hotel and went to pick up Mari Carr and Rhian Cahill. When we got to the airport it was as if everything clicked and the five of us were long lost friends. The only thing missing was the other members of our group.

We got back to the hotel and got together our baskets or totes for the giveaways our blog did, all chatting away. We got Sherry Ricardo on the web cam so she could join in. She was supposed to be there, but got transferred before the event.

After getting the baskets together and all the gifts out of the way, it was time for registration. It is still hard to believe 300 people attended. I met so many people it is hard to keep track of them all. Of course my brain is still mush from the event so I know I’ll forget a lot! Lol

That night we met up with Jayne Rylon and I LOVE her. She is so much fun and fit right in with our group. It is wonderful when you connect with people on line only to find out it is just as great in person. Bianca D’Arc came in that night too and what a blast we all had. Wait…I THINK that was Friday. It could have been Saturday. Lol

After dinner we went back to the room, talked some more and went to sleep.

Saturday: Woke up, went to breakfast. There were some giveaways and talking. Samhain had a meeting so I wanted to go. I was hoping to pitch to Angela James. Her talk was very informative. I’m glad I sat in. At the end I found out she wasn’t taking pitches, which I would have known if I’d read the schedule. Lol I left and went back to my seat. Did I mention it was my AUTHOR seat? Lol It had my name on it and everything! They did a few more giveaways and had some lunch.

After that I went to listen to Moni Draper from Liquid Silver. She too was very informative. Moni WAS taking pitches and I signed up and was up first. I was a little nervous, but this year I had note cards. I sat down, told her about my other published works and then told her about Mag. She asked a couple questions and told me it sounded like stories she writes. This encouraged me. She even offered me information on their urban series. I did find out she is from where I was born, raised and still live. That was VERY cool! At the end she told me to send her my first six chapters! SCORE! I’m VERY excited. I’ve heard REALLY great things about Liquid Silver and I would love to be a part of their company.

Everything else is such a blur after that. Lol We ate dinner, got changed for the luau. I got to talk to Faith Bicknell-Brown aka Zinnia Hope aka J. Emberglass, Trinity Blacio and Blake Deveraux. What a great group! Then I went upstairs for a night of drinking and fun with Jayne Rylon and her husband, Bianca D’Ark, Mari Carr, Rhian Cahill, Valerie Tibbs and Vivian Arend. I’m surprised no one called to complain. What a blast. I can’t wait to see them all again!

Sunday: It was sad getting up and going to breakfast because that meant our time was over! We packed up, almost got stuck in the elevator and went to our cars. Said good bye and I was on my way.

I didn’t get lost on the way back. I DID get a story idea. *sigh* lol I saw a car pulled over on an off ramp picking up a hitchhiker. This is the first time I’ve seen that happen. I guess I’ve lead a sheltered life. Lol So if you see an m/m and a hitchhiker is involved, you’ll know where the idea came from. Heehee

I took Monday off, which was a good thing because I needed a nap mid day! Lol It is Tuesday and I’m now back at work and ready to do some more writing!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Going Zen ~ Master the art of living

Going Zen ~ Master the art of living
In a past blog I believe I mentioned that I am a massage therapist. During my training I was honored to learn the ways of Acupressure and Shiatsu and the backgrounds of those techniques which stem from Traditional Chinese Medicine and the belief of the life force chi. From there I began to learn about the Tao. I haven’t been the best at practicing meditation and learning to just let go and let be because life gets in the way and old habits are hard to break. This year I’m hoping to change that and return to a simpler state of mind and being and in doing so I’d like to share some of the teachings with you.

The following is a good example of how I feel about my writing career since no matter what I’m doing, whether I’m at my computer or not, I’m creating…

The person who is a master in the art of living makes littledistinction between their work and their play,their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body,their education and their recreation,their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.They simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace in whatever they do,leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing.
To them, they are always doing both.
From the Zen Buddhist text

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Interview with author Cindy Spencer Pape

Hey everyone, welcome to another Up Close and Personal chat with Stephani and Patti. Come along for the wild ride as we learn more about Cindy that you ever thought possible. Part way thru the interview Stephani started having trouble with her computer so she would call me and have me ask the questions.

Patti: This week we have the multi talented author Cindy Spencer Pape joining us. Little does she know what we are really like when it comes to interviewing victims, I mean guests. Welcome Cindy, glad to have you here.
Stephani Hecht: Should I tell Cindy what my daughter brought home from art class
Cindy Pape: Go for it
Patti: Only the good stuff, don't scare her away yet please.
Stephani Hecht: I can't resist this one
Cindy Pape: I don't scare easily-- I have teenagers
Patti: So Cindy, tell us what's new and exciting with you? We know you just got back from Chicago.
Stephani Hecht: They made a collage with magazine clippings. Right in the corner of hers is a picture of a near naked stud muffin. All man titty and a tennis racket on his lap. Just so you know she's eight
Cindy Pape: Still recovering from the trip.
Patti: And we wonder why we are banned from Panera's.
Cindy Pape: Training her young, huh? I didn't wonder about Panera’s at all.
Stephani Hecht: I thinks she'd seen too many of our covers
Patti: No, you know us too well.
Cindy Pape: Sounds like it. My son introduces me to his friends as "This is my mom. She writes porn."
Patti: So give us the skinny. What's new with your writing and what are your current releases?
Cindy Pape: Current release is "Stone and Fire" out now at Ellora's Cave. It's book 3 in my "Heroes of Stone" gargoyle series. Coming up next is "After the Rodeo," in the anthology "Finding their Way Back" (Wayback, Texas) from the Wild Rose Press, out on June 26.
Stephani Hecht: sigh I love gargoyles
Patti: I have two in my backyard
Cindy Pape: One in my living room
Stephani Hecht: Patti, I thought you had bunnies in your backyard?
Cindy Pape: Do the gargoyles eat the bunnies?
Patti: I do, it's a nice combination of gargoyles and bunnies. Oh yeah and the occasional coyote which is getting more and more frequent. No, my dog tries to eat the bunnies and so does the coyote. I think the gargoyles just supervise.
Cindy Pape: Smart gargoyles
Patti: So if you had your druthers, do you prefer writing the paranormals or the contemporaries? And which genre have you yet to write that you would like to try your hand at?
Cindy Pape: Paranormals are my first love--even my contemporaries usually have a little touch or two of the woo-woo stuff. I have written very little historical, and wouldn't mind getting into a bit more
Patti: Anything you will never write?
Cindy Pape: tear-jerker women's fiction. I LIKE my happy endings
Patti: What are you currently working on?
Cindy Pape: Currently working on a full-length paranormal romance and a short contemporary erotic romance. The short is a contracted piece for Resplendence. Not sure about where the other one is going yet.
Patti: Congrats on the contracted piece. Those are always nice. So how many publishers do you write for now? Steph is having trouble typing on her new laptop.
Cindy Pape: Resplendence makes four--five if you count Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press as separate publishers.
Stephani Hecht: I got a mini one and my fat fingers keep hitting extra keys
Patti: Wow, five publishers is amazing. How do you keep them all straight?
Cindy Pape: yeah those small keyboards are tough
Patti: Glad you got back Stephani. With the way you type, those fingers should be bone thin
Cindy Pape: I'm not sure I do, Patti. One is British, and I can never remember which one I'm supposed to spell things for which way.
Stephani Hecht: I have to keep name tags on my kids to keep them straight and I only the boy and girl
Patti: Wow, British, which one is that?
Cindy Pape: Total-E-Bound
Patti: Hey I've called the kids by the dog and cat's name before.
Cindy Pape: Me too, Patti
Patti: Sad, isn't it? And they even know we really mean them.
Stephani Hecht: Patti, it's that country across the ocean
Patti: across the big pond. Ok we know Cindy is a wife and mom, she's also an author, what other occupation have you had that no one knows about?
Cindy Pape: What occupations have I had? Oh wow, this could take a while
carpenter's assistant, bank teller.
Patti: cool
Cindy Pape: receptionist, teaching assistant, college instructor, Sylvan tutor, museum curator, zoo educator, naturalist, camp counselor
Patti: Oh, like Night at the Museum, did they come to life every night? Sigh, I really need to get a life.
Stephani Hecht: Wow, you've had more occupations than that guy from Dirty Jobs.
Cindy Pape: Since I was in the zoology section, that would have been messy. Another job would be nature center educator.
Patti: But think of the great stories you could tell
Cindy Pape: substitute teacher
Patti: And you're not that old either
Cindy Pape: ha! I wish
Patti: So what do you think Steph, should we hit her with the down and dirty questions now?
Stephani Hecht: Okay
Cindy Pape: bring it
Stephani Hecht: Do you mop with a bucket or a cloth?
Patti: OMG
Cindy Pape: mop? That's why I have teenagers
Patti: boxers or briefs
Cindy Pape: boxer briefs
Stephani Hecht: What movie star do you want to take home and feed milk and cookie too?
Cindy Pape: milk and cookies? As in too young for anything else? Hugh Jackman, maybe
Patti: Oh good choice. Ok, change it to what star would you like to get drunk and do naughty things with?
Cindy Pape: Hmmmm...Johnny Depp? Liam Neeson? I'm sure there are others
Patti: Handcuffs and Captain Jack, good images
Cindy Pape: Liam in a kilt in Rob Roy...YUM!
Stephani Hecht: You can have anyone but Ryan Reynolds since he is already at my house dunking his Oreos
Patti: Pfft, pick a grown up man Stephani. You can have him
Cindy Pape: again, too young
Patti: Here's one Stephani likes to ask - where's the strangest place you've ever made love at
Cindy Pape: Strangest? Or Naughtiest? A grotto in San Diego's Balboa Park is possibly the naughtiest.
Patti: You go girl!!! Do you put any of real life and your experiences in your books?
Cindy Pape: Little bits and pieces. Funny little anecdotes have a way of making it into this or that story
Patti: Do you ever craft your bad guys after real life people who have ticked you off
Stephani Hecht: Please, please tell me the gargoyles are real
Cindy Pape: Ooooh, once in a while. Not usually the big villians, but the nagging coworkers or annoying people in the grocery store? Oh yeah. Tails and all, Steph
Patti: Just like pink ponies and rainbow cotton candy Steph. I'm a big fan of Inside The Actor's Studio and have stolen some of Jame’s questions. What is your favorite sound?
Cindy Pape: Sound? Huh.
Patti: Birds chirping, violins, sound
Stephani Hecht: Mine is silence.
Patti: Come to my house then, no one home but me.
Cindy Pape: Waves, probably and oddly, trains
Patti: What is your favorite food?
Cindy Pape: movie theatre popcorn
Patti: Hmm, a train fetish I think
Stephani Hecht: I have always lived by train tracks and I love that sound
Cindy Pape: lived by train tracks as a kid--so the sound actually puts me to sleep
Patti: Coke or Pepsi
Stephani Hecht: or Coke and rum?
Cindy Pape: diet coke. Lime. No rum.
Patti: Are you a glass half empty or glass half full person?
Cindy Pape: Both. I'm alternately eternally hopeful and horribly cynical.
Patti: Dream scenario as I know you are looking to acquire an agent. You dream agent walks up to you at a conference and says Cindy, I've got an opening in my schedule and I have 30 minutes to fill. I hear you've got a fabulous book to pitch. What is your response to her to seal the deal?
Cindy Pape: Probably incoherent stuttering
Patti: come on run with it, no stuttering.
Cindy Pape: which may explain why I don't have an agent yet.
Patti: mine is foot in mouth syndrome. did it last year at conference too
Cindy Pape: I suppose I'd try to get in my quick pitch for my WIP--all the agents have already rejected everything I've got finished and unsold

Patti: What is your daily writing schedule look like? Do you plot, or fly by the seat of your pants.
Cindy Pape: I usually start a book as a pantser. Toward the middle, I tend to do a few plot points, to make sure I get everything in.
Patti: Do you write everyday? And do you have a page quota you strive for?
Cindy Pape: I TRY to write every day. Life sometimes has other ideas. My average, if things are going well is about 2-4K per day. But that doesn't happen as often as I'd like
Stephani Hecht: Okay here is a very important one...Sam or Dean Winchester?
Cindy Pape: ?
Stephani Hecht: From Supernatural
Patti: Duh moment for me on Supernatural. Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune
Cindy Pape: Ah. Watched the first episode, thought they were both kind of whiny and never watched it again. I like my heroes to be a bit more stoic or funny, not introspective.
Patti: So tell us about your Jeopardy interview you just came home from.
Cindy Pape: It was fun. Left the room feeling like a total idiot, but everyone else in the elevator said they did too.
Stephani Hecht: Gasp! I love that show. It is my crack, Supernatural that is.
Patti: Hey a little bird told me when your sons are bothering you (one son in particular) you threaten to read blow job scenes out loud. Any truth to that rumor?
Cindy Pape: Just once. He was babbling about something--this is the kid that cannot stand silence. I told him I was trying to write a blow job scene, and if he didn't shut up, I'd start reading it out loud. He put in his headphones and shut up!
Patti: Stephani is having trouble typing again - so she wants me to ask this question.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what Stephani Hecht book would you bring if you only pick one? I swear she is on the phone with me telling me to type that.
I kid you not.
Cindy Pape: I like the beginning, so Archangel Warrior.
Patti: Nice answer, Stephani just said awww.
Cindy Pape: Hoping I got the title right
Patti: Stephani says we'll edit this part to make sure the title is right. She is so bad.
Cindy Pape: yup
Patti: Well, we've annoyed Cindy enough for one night. Thank you for coming out to play with us and we hope you had fun. Tell us your website addys so we can let readers know where they can find you and your books.
Cindy Pape: Website:
Newsletter Group:
Cian Fey:

Patti: Cool. Cindy thanks again and congrats on the new sale. We wish you many more.
Cindy Pape: Thanks Patti & Steph

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Behind the Scenes of the Story

Readers sometimes ask me about the creative process in writing a story and I usually respond with reference to my muse and the use of outlines so that it's structured. However, there is another major process involved, which is research. So, I thought it would be a nice blog subject.

It would be wonderful if I could simply sit at my desk and magically produce a great story, but this isn't the case. Once the idea for the storyline and characters is established, there is a significant amount of research that takes place before the story takes shape in a word document. Alas, I don't have staff to handle this, so I do it myself. Not that I mind. It usually is quite educational and enlightening, researching anything from unusual locales to food recipes.

It might seem like the easiest thing, but coming up with character names alone could be complicated, especially if they have to represent a particular nationality and you want to suit the name to the character. For instance, naming a muscular, rugged car mechanic Chip, doesn't really work, lol. I use four names sites in particular, which allow me to search for first names and surnames by origin and gender. Very handy. I remember it took about three hours to choose Kyla Ayslin's and Lord Egan's names in Her Warrior Lord--a medieval fantasy set in an unreal locale similar to northern Europe. I played with the spelling of Kyla's family name to give it an unusual look. There's a lot of sword fighting in that story, so I did extensive research on swords, sword fighting and fencing--yes, I now know that a rapier is a two-edged, narrow sword and quite a bit about parrying, crosscuts and lunges!

Sometimes, there's a scene that you really want to use and you get stuck because you don't have specific facts handy. In The Greek Bachelor, the hero meets the heroine at the airport on Zakynthos. Since I wanted them to walk to the parking lot together, I needed to have a basic visual of the place. Is there a designated area for this? (It's a small island after all). Is it outdoors? Is it close to the airport? I surfed every available tourist site for this piece of info and didn't find anything. Finally, I posted a couple of messages online and got responses from a few trustworthy sources. Otherwise, I would have been making a costly call to Zakynthos, lol.

Unlike the white-washed buildings in the Cyclades, architecture on Zakynthos boasts earth tones and catholic cathedrals because it was inhabited by ancient Venetians. Trust me, it's very hard to describe a place you've never set foot on. I used google maps, online geographical images, two good travel and Greek recipe books and got in touch with a restaurant whose location happened to be an important scene in the story. I needed to know how high the cliff at St. Leon was.

I would say that research accounts for about thirty percent of my writing. I'm constantly checking facts too, just in case. I don't want to assume something just because it seems correct. And in fiction, there's that fine line between facts you really need to stick to and ones you can play with.

Right now, I just finished writing the second book in the Greek Playboys series. It's got its own folder containing information from at least fifteen sources. My hero's a tycoon who owns cruise ships...there must a dozen web links in my favorites tab to mega yacht dealers and manufacturers, private yacht rentals, cruise lines, cruise vacations...I think you get the picture, lol. Whet your tastebuds with this one: . Allow a few seconds for images to load. And, I managed to find a really good name for him that didn't end in 'opoulos'. ;-)

Celia Jade

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Penis Envy

By A.J. Llewellyn

There isn't a man alive - I don't think - who hasn't done something absolutely crazy, stupid and otherwise mental in the name of love but cutting off your own penis?
That's just too much madness...even for me, the ultimate romantic.
A 25 year old man in Qena, Egypt just whacked off his wang a couple of days ago because his father refused - for two solid years - to allow him to marry the woman of his dreams. So according to news reports, he heated up a knife and sliced off his pecker.
I'm betting it won't get him to the aisle any faster...according to reports, his family is upper-class and they routinely marry other upper-class people, often extended family members. This last part might start to explain the nuttiness behind the desperate act.
The doctors in the hospital were unable to reattach his dick and the young man in question is still in hospital recovering.
Now what in the world is his beloved supposed to do with a guy with no er...twig? Will the giggle berries suffice?
Did he think this one through?
No, obviously not.
Now he's gonna have a miserable life as a soprano...sorry, a miserable life as a self-mutilated eunuch.
Having researched eunuchs for my book "Love's Blood" I don't envy his future. Until I researched the topic, I had no idea the pain and discomfort eunuchs experience.
The article does not mention what the doctors were able to do for the young man, but he will never be the same again. There will probably be a tube inserted so he can pee - like a woman - but in the end, I wonder if it - she - was worth it?
In America, most of us would elope. Especially at the age of 25. We take our freedoms for granted here, that's for sure.
I do wish him a speedy recovery, but it makes my one 'mad love' episode of driving into a fire hydrant seem so...normal.
What about you? would you chop it off? What's the craziest thing you ever did for love?
Aloha oe,


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Busy Week

I have a lot to talk about this week.

First, I’ll be turning in More Than Robotics this afternoon. Everyone who is a BSG fan will like it since it has a similar theme. It is the second book in the Orchid series and is about a group of people and another group called clonedroids. The clonedroids, bio-cybernetic units, have been programmed to replace key human personnel but there is a faction of them who think it is wrong and side with the humans. Then there are those of Orchid who have been genetically engineered or altered or had cybernetic replacement parts utilized when they have been severely injured on a mission. Not all members of Orchid are cybernetically enhanced but they understand their mission parameters and know they may become one of them.

The book covers a short period of time when a group of clonedroids are trying to take over the ship the Hannibal from Captain Bekka Taylor. She is being protected by the cybernetically enhanced Orchid operative, Lieutenant Javid Malik. But Bekka has her own secrets as she was once known as the Fiery Phoenix by those with her in the academy. She must reconcile just who she is before she love again and become a leader in this offensive against the clonedroids.

At this time, the book is slated for an October 1 release date. I’ll keep everyone posted but I am just so jazzed it’s in the can, so to speak.

Second, I was privileged enough to see the film What Goes Up with one of the producers Saturday evening in Las Vegas. I went with some trepidation as I had heard from my DIL, who's the producer's niece, that while she thought the first cut was good, it had some issues. And unfortunately, I am very critical when it comes to movies due to my writing background.

I have to say I was truly amazed at the quirkiness and depth of this story. Yes, it did have some issues. There were places where I would have liked to have more in-depth characterization, there were places I thought the pacing was slow and it had some disjointed action. The acting was good and dead on with what characters had on their plates. And in all honesty, this is the type of movie that comes out of the blue and ends up a cult favorite. It is that good in some strange way.

It’s about the week leading up to the space shuttle Challenger disaster. So, maybe part of this is because I can remember this week so well myself. I was just out of college and worked for Lockheed. We were on top of the world and it just came crashing down on us all that Thursday morning. I can't imagine having the whole week being that bad. LOL!

Then again, maybe it's the part about being adult enough to understand when you've done something so wrong yet there is no way to ever take it back. I remember this lesson well too.

Or maybe, it's just that the misfits are so true to life I can empathize with what is going on in their lives. I know I would have been devastated if my favorite teacher had died during my high school years no matter what the cause. Still, it would have been worse if said teacher had committed suicide. I was angsty enough then to have wondered if it were my fault in any way at all as some of these students did.

Adding all these elements up, you have one heck of a story that can appeal to the masses. And I have to say in an odd, quirky little way, I liked it.

And last, another author, Lex Valentine, is desperately searching for a place for her three adorable kitties. Something has happened so she has to give them up. She lives in Southern California, so if you all know anyone in need of some feline companionship, send them her way. Here’s her blog for you all to drop by and see them here:

That’s about it for this week. See you next.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lori Foster Weekend

Here is a picture from last year. I'm the one in red. It's a picture of me and Joy from Joyfully Reviewed. :)

I’m very excited because on Thursday I leave for the Lori Foster Event. Last year I went for a day and to do a pitch. This year I get to go to the whole event. It will also be my first event as an author. It is amazing what can happen in a year. I’ll be doing another pitch and meeting a lot of on line friends. I’ll be blogging a little about my time and I have another site where we are actually giving away a prize for those who can’t make it to the Lori Foster weekend!

Last year didn't start out too well. I got lost! lol But that really isn't a surprise. I have enough trouble with my left and right. When I was in basic training I would cringe when I heard, "Your OTHER left Jones." lol I map quest everything. I just hope that this year I don't miss my turn.

This year I'm getting in early and meeting up with Valerie. I met her for the first time at last years events and we have become really good friends. I also get to meet others from my other blog for the first time. AND...I get to watch Wolverine. What a great way to start the event. A group of us are getting together. So I anticipate having a blast.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New release! The Decision

(Blog contains an adult/x rated excerpt)
I’m on vacation this week so hopefully for next week’s blog I’ll have something fun to share.
For the time being, here’s a bit about my new release which is available today at ~

The Decision ~ Tarot: Wheel of Fortune
What would you do if fate gave you a second chance?
The Decision is an erotic, paranormal journey of a woman betrayed based off of the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card for eXtasy Books’ Tarot Series.
After the ultimate betrayal Jill Burke embarks on a very personal, erotic, paranormal journey. At the mercy of Lady Tyche and Herr Sehend, the spinners of the wheel of fate, Jill is sent on a quest. During her mission, Jill encounters a myriad of experiences ranging from voyeurism to same sex love to vampires. The choices she makes on her travels will determine if the end result of her adventure is good or bad. Either way, Jill is in for the time of her life.
~ Warning: Story contains m/f, f/f, m/m & m/f/m sex scenes ~
~ Excerpt ~
Dalvi threw back his head. A passionate groan escaped his mouth.
Fangs? She closed her eyes and shook her head to clear it of the vampiric images.
A breeze blew the inebriating smoke toward her. Another wave of pleasant dizziness swept through her. She swayed on the log, her eyelids fluttered. Strong hands gripped her arms. The men lifted her to her feet. Renfi nuzzled his nose in her hair. Dalvi, on her other side, kissed her neck. Trapped in a drug-like daze, she didn’t bother to fight off their advances. The men unclothed her and within moments, cool evening air glided over her bare skin. The men licked and stroked the length of her body. Their moist tongues left chilling paths in the wakes of their touches. Their hands swirled in light graceful motions upon her skin. She tilted her head back. Her eyes closed. She sighed in bliss, never remembering any of her sexual experiences being so deeply sensual or so erotic. Jill grasped the men’s heads, fingers entwined in their hair. Their mouths sought her breasts, each man taking a nipple and drawing the taut bud between his lips. Another moan escaped her as they fondled and suckled on her tits, their hands exploring her body.
Dalvi dropped to his knees in front of her and slipped a hand between her thighs. A finger edged its way between her folds and stroked her canal. His breath drifted over her pubes. A second finger slipped into her. His tongue flicked her clit. Mouth and hand brought forth cresting waves of passion within her, flooding the fingered area with moisture. Renfi continued to knead and lave her breasts. Dalvi’s tongue replaced his fingers. Thrill after thrill shot through her as they possessed her body in their titillating love play.
The fire crackled and snapped in a patterned clicking noise. The scrape of teeth along the inside of her thigh and on her breast jolted her out of an orgasm and back to the reality of her situation. An image of Renfi’s fangs popped into her head. Vampires, her mind cautioned.
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