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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A WIP Revisited

A couple of years ago, I started a column I called ‘My Creative Process’ about how I write. I am happy to convey the story I talked about is almost complete and I’d like to start the column again with my original post from 2008.

Yeah, yeah...I know...a couple of years to finish a book. BUT the reality of the situation is this book always got put to the side because of other projects. Last year, I started with a new critique group that was relentless in making sure I got this one finished. This week I will be putting the last words on paper and will be doing the happy dance as this is what I’m calling my breakout book.

It’s hot and fun and oh so good. And while this first scene may have changed a little bit, not much else has. Except I’ve gotten better at what I do and that’s always a blessing.

I hope you like this glimpse into my past. I won’t keep you waiting so long this time!

My Creative Process: Your Glimpse Into a WIP
By Lynn Crain

Okay, I’ll admit when I decided to let you all in on my creative process, my first thought was “What creative process?” See, I considered myself a pantser. You know some one who is always writing by the seat of their pants. Amazing isn’t it, since most of my stuff appears seamless?

See, years ago, I planned everything to the nth detail. And with good reason too. When you do sci-fi or fantasy, those things need to be planned out. It’s one of the reasons that the Crusin’ project is going so slow. When I write those type of stories, I usually write a section and then make sure what I did was correct for the world I had built. And that takes time. There are some stories that I’ve let languish for months just working out the right scenario in my head. If it doesn’t work for me, it certainly won’t work for you.

Now the real reason I can be a pantser today is because I have internalized most of what I used to write down. And somehow, I manage to keep all the facts straight. So basically, I play these little head games with myself whenever I’m at the computer. Sometimes I do write the answers down on a page which I then save to my idea folder or particular story folder. A lot of the times if the story is contemporary I don’t need to do that at all any more.

So just what fuels my creative process you might ask. It can be a lot of things. Some times it people, some times it’s a picture and some times it’s a title. So let’s start at the beginning with a picture this time and I’ll take you through the whole process. And yes, you are seeing the beginnings of what is known as a work-in-progress or a WIP. I always have about ten projects going at any one time because I tend to get bored easily. With all those projects I am never bored.

First, let’s look at this picture. Intriguing, isn’t it? Wait a minute…we can’t put pictures here…LOL! So I’ll have to describe it to you. The picture is of a woman standing there with her underwear around her knees. Send me an email and I’ll send you a copy of the mock cover I’ve made. But onward – I love the colors and I just love her stance. And the first time I saw it, I laughed my ass off. Once the humor aspect was done, I started to look at it carefully. Okay…I had this wonderful picture…which brought some very naughty thoughts to mind. Now, just how was I going to use those thoughts?

I stared at it for a few minutes and came up with the title and or tag line “Where’s My Underwear Anyway?” And then I came up with another one “My Underwear is Missing – Do You Have It?” And finally, “Explain to Me Again Why You Have My Underwear?”

I really like, “Where’s My Underwear Anyway?” and decide that’s what I’m going to keep as the title of this work-in-progress. You might ask me how I determine the length of this new venture and I will honestly have to tell you that I won’t know until it’s done. That’s another joy about being a pantser. The stories call me and I answer their call. They tell me how long they are going to be and who the characters are. I follow that train of thinking and work accordingly. Most of the time I have a general word count in mind but it is no way carved in stone.

So, now I have a title and a cover picture. Thank goodness I always put together what I call concept art that goes in with a manuscript. Basically, I put something together and then let my publisher know I want either that cover or something very much like it. Yeah, my creative juices don’t just flow in the writing arena. You’ll see my concept of the cover at the end of this column.

Okay, the next thing I think about is the first line. The first line in any story is the hook. One of the best writing talks I ever went to was called ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ and it was about the importance of having a great first line. I have given many a talk on the importance of this myself. Once I had the concept down myself, I quickly won a few first line contests put on by the various publishing houses in the late ‘90s. Unfortunately, a great first line can’t be the only thing your story has going for it.

So what am I thinking now in regards to the first line? First, I have to set the scene. We have this woman, who doesn’t know where her underwear is obviously…so who would she be talking to about this? Her girl friends more than likely, right? You betcha! I can see them sitting around a table in a quiet section of the local bar/pub discussing the turn of events. Here’s what I see for that first line and the beginning of this quirky story.

“So…you really don’t know where your underwear might be?”

I stared at my best friend across the table. It sounded so much better when I really wasn’t thinking about it. “Do you have to be so loud?” I put my head in my hands and peered through my fingers at Monica, who’s been my best friend since grade school.

“It’s not my fault that you have the mother of all hangovers. Again. How many times have I told you to stay away from the tequila?” She sighed and sipped on her hot tea. “We’re in Scotland. You’re supposed to be drinking whiskey.”

“I know, I know. It’s to-kill-ya. But please, I gotta figure out where my underwear is.” I sent her my best ‘you have to help me’ look.

“I’ll try but this is just way too funny.” She looked around the almost empty pub. “Just think…this place was the scene of an…underwear napping.” She laughed then winked at me.

“This really isn’t funny, you know.” I lay my head down on my hands. Just thinking about it was making me queasy.

“You’re on vacation, why are you so worried?” She shrugged her shoulders in that typical Monica way.

I looked up at her and groaned. “It’s a working vacation. I’m a lawyer for heaven sakes. I’m supposed to be a model citizen.” I really wished I could do more than just look at her with distain. What I really wanted to do was wring her neck and get that smug expression off her face. “And I’m here with bunch of damn lawyers!” My voice rose and my head immediately began throbbing like a percussion band. I really needed to watch that, I thought as rubbed my forehead.

Monica sat back in her chair and sipped her tea daintily once again. “You really need to get into this Scottish tea. It’ll do wonders for that aching head.”

I grimaced and wished she hadn’t reminded me. My law firm was an international company and when we found out an important conference on international law was being held in Edinburgh, Scotland, we jumped on the chance. Monica and I had toured the continent right out of law school but of all the places we went to, Scotland was our favorite. We had accrued plenty of vacation time and it only took a little time to convince our employers that it would be in their best interest to let us go to this particular conference.

“Would you just quit it?” I mumbled into the table.

“What was that? You don’t remember any of it?”

I looked up with what I hoped was the most ill and forlorn look I could give her. “I wish you’d just stop it.”

She pursed her lips before sitting her tea back on the table. “You know you really shouldn’t be so worried.”

“Why not? Half the lawyers here have already tried to jump my bones and the other half wished they had tried. How do you get away with them not slobbering all over you? And you know how I get when I ‘m drinking tequila.”

She let out a long, low whistle. “Hon, I’m not the all American blonde woman here. And you betcha, I totally understand better than anyone just how you are when you drink that poison. But really, you don’t need to worry as I know who has them.”

This was a shining spot in an otherwise dim day. “You do? Who?”

She smiled at me then with that all knowing bitch smile she uses when she knows she has the superior position. “Yeah, I do.” Monica paused for a minute for effect. If nothing else the woman was dramatic and very effective in the courtroom.. “The stud has them.”

I let my head thump back down on the table. This was worse than I thought.

Not bad for a first try. And yeah, I put this together just for this column. I might tweak it a little but it’s pretty good right out of the chute. I read it to my husband who was standing over me, even he got a kick out of it and that’s pretty hard to do. I’ve decided to do something so totally different with this story that might warrant me passing it off to an agent. We’ll see.

Next time we’ll talk about what I do next in the process. I promise not to leave you hanging too long! Later…and have a great week.

The sentiment is the same after two all have a great week...and I’ll have another installment for you!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time Management

The key to juggling a life and a writing career is time management... or so I've heard. I am still struggling to find that balance between writing, two full-time jobs and a full-time class schedule. Yes, I know. I'm insane for taking so much on. But then is it really so much when you think about people who have children and are still writing multiple 100k novels a years, working a full-time day job and still spending quality time with their children?

I can't whine about being stressed and pressed for time. Why not you ask? Well, because I did it to myself. I keep saying yes, when I really should say "I'm sorry I don't have time for that" or "No, I'm not going to take that class this semester because that means I will be running around from 5:30am to 11:00pm four days a week."

So when do I get anytime to squeeze in writing? Well, my car ride to work most days is 40 minutes one way. So I've learned to write at stop lights when there are any, and to use the voice notes function on my phone. I swear I'm going to get adventurous and start using the voice recognition software on my laptop to type my story as I drive. But good grief, I can only imagine what ELSE will get added to the story as I rant about crazy drivers and the jerk who just cut me off. :)

What are your tips for time management and juggling crazy schedules? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Welcome Guest ~ Tina Gayle

An "egg-cerpt blog exchange" ~ Presenting Tina Gayle's story
Mating Rituals
~ Blurb ~
With rock-hard fortitude, Marohka Taunton battles to maintain her position as top mineralogist and refuses to see why she should marry even if the law requires she take a mate. Fighting her attraction for Stihl Fermesium, she struggles to save her father’s company.
Stihl, determined to win her as his mate, is faced with the commission deal of a lifetime and needs the money to save his family land. He wrestles with her emotional resistance and discovers someone other than Marohka is unhappy about their union. In fact, they want to separate them in the most basic of ways, death.
~ Excerpt ~
Staring straight ahead, Marohka Taunton avoided eye contact with every man she passed. Moving along the edge of the dance floor, she wove her way back and forth across the assigned path. Her steps, jerky and clumsy, she hid her natural smooth gait. No man, in his right mind, craved an ungraceful wife. At least, she hoped not.
With the stairs a few steps ahead, she tasted victory and allowed herself a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness."
A masculine voice in front of her chuckled. "It’s not over yet, princess."
Marohka paused to inspect the stranger. The laughter reflected in his warm brown eyes—surprised, the intelligent focus—intrigued, and the dark spark of interest—captivated. A foreign response slithered through her chest. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Her heartbeat rang in her ears. Her hands turned clammy. Awareness of the man claimed her senses.
His face, framed by dark brown hair, showed rough lines of strength and fortitude. A crooked nose, a square jaw, and a chiseled chin marked his unique personality. Added together, the sum indicated the man rarely backed down from a fight. He’d stand up for his beliefs and defeat his opponents. His lopsided grin with a dimple at the corner of his mouth teased her.
A silly feature on such a stern face. The little mark claimed her heart and spoke of a rare sense of humor, a trait absent in most men.
A tingle ran down her spine. Her toes curled. Either as an appealing partner or a worthy adversary, the man presented a dangerous combination. Right then, without question, Marohka decided never to cross paths with him again.
"It is for me," she responded to his comment. She lifted her chin a little higher and repaired the chip in her armor with a sassy comeback. "But you’re welcome to any of the girls behind me. I’m sure they’ll enjoy your charm."
Marohka lifted her skirt and swept up the stairs. The sound of his laughter spoiled her intended snub.

ISBN: 978-1-935348-58-0
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Book Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy
Find at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Book and the Rose

By A.J. Llewellyn

The Book and the Rose, my next release with Amber Allure, the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press comes out on April 25, exactly a month from now. I am already jumping up and down with excitement.
I love the cover (I think Trace Edward Zaber is not only an awesome publisher but an incredible artist who puts his heart into our covers) but I am ecstatic because I asked especially for this release date - and I got it!
The Book and the Rose comes out on a day that may not be especially significant in the US but in Europe is celebrated as St. George's Day.
In Barcelona (where the book is set), it is an especially significant day. It is Diada de la Sant Jordi - a festival dubbed the Book and the Rose.
Last Thanksgiving, I met and befriended a wonderful couple, Marisa and Jason. When they found out what I do, they told me how they met in Barcelona 54 years ago.
I was agog when they told me about the wonderful tradition of the Book and the Rose. It is a bigger holiday in Spain than Valentine's Day and culturally, it is wonderful.
All the book stores open for a week, non-stop. It is tradition for women all over Barcelona to shop aggressively for the most wonderful, perfect book to give their men. The men meanwhile, shop equally aggressively for the perfect rose to give their women.
In a society where we are actively closing down our beloved brick and mortar bookstores, I am over the moon about anything that celebrates books.
Created over a hundred years ago by an innovative bookseller, this festival draws thousands of tourists to Barcelona every year.
I love that romance, the spirit of St. George, slayer of dragons and that books, beautiful books are celebrated. I also love that it is not commercialized, like Valentine's Day.
I learned so much from Marisa and Jason who encouraged me to 'borrow' their love story. Since mine involves too hot guys, a whole different world emerges.
Stay tuned next month for an excerpt of The Book and the Rose, but in the meantime, I will say this.
The Book and the Rose is about Evans McCoy, a Hollywood TV producer who meets a mysterious, hot Barcelona businessman, Mio Alejo-Cortez. Invited to spend Diada de la Sant Jordi with Mio, Evans soon learns that Mio isn't your garden-variety successful businessman. He's a recently retired gay porn star working has a high-priced rent boy.
Can their love survive The Book and the Rose?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interesting Things From The Web

As a writer, things frequently come across from my desk from which I get a hearty laugh or I learn something important for my writer’s journey. Some are downright comical while some have a great message for each of us no matter where we are in our career. Here’s my most recent list of items from the web...I hope you enjoy!  

This is an absolutely fun Aids awareness ad from France. 

An absolute must see if you are doing an e-query!  

Writer friend Kerri Nelson’s blog and how she just got ‘The Call’ which is interesting and very informative.

For those looking for some fantastic free blogging templates. These are some of the best I’ve seen!

This is what NOT to do during your pitch session. Watch and learn how to turn everyone against your book! LOL!

Great video about getting an agent. This one is a little slow loading, so give it some time.

A very good in-depth blog about working with agents and editors.

A list of romance publishers with workable links. This list is by no means complete but it is a great place to start.

This RWA chapter offers some great online workshops at very reasonable prices. It’s worth checking out as the classes are fairly quick and the ones listed would help any author. 

This is another site for online classes. They look to have some heavy hitters here and post things in blocks of six months. All classes appear to be of good quality and importance to beginning or seasoned writers.

Well...there you have it...ten websites to make you laugh...and help you learn. Hope this gives you all some inspiration! See you all next week with more tales from the writing world!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Future of Publishing

I saw this video over at Obsidian Bookshelf and Lily at I Love Books. It was prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films. I really won't say much about it, because the video more than speaks for itself. I do think it will touch readers and writers, alike.

-Stephani Hecht

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Titanium Ovaries

As of Wednesday, I really didn't have anything to write about, but we all know that the Goddess has a sense of humor, and she bitch slapped us on Tuesday. For those of you who know us, you'll get a kick out of this...

We have a neighbor, and I'm not saying who it is, that constantly complains about cats pooping in her yard. I know. I know. She's obviously not paying attention to what's going on around her, or she's so bored with her life that she has time to worry about a cat pooping. Sad, but true.

Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon, my partner and I found a Notice of Violation from the City of Fort Worth tagged to our door. Yes, really. I couldn't make this up. Us. The people who pick up strays and have them fixed because it's the responsible thing to do. The same people who take injured cats to the vets, nurse them back to health and find them homes. Yes, us.

The "Notice of Violation" states that we failed in:
1- Restraint of Animal(s)
My animals do not ever leave the house without me.
2- Failure to provide/display current rabies vaccination.
Don't you have to be asked for it to consider it a failure to show proof?
3- Unaltered animal(s)/no intact permit
All of our animals sing soprano, why would I need an intact permit?

Additional Comments from the code officer states,
"getting complaints that you allow your cat to leave your property."
Okay. Okay, I give...only when he asks nicely for the car keys.

Really? This has to be some kind of a joke...
I called the "officer" and asked which one of our animals were seen leaving our property.
His response was "read the pamphlet."
Did that answer my question? NO. So, I asked again, and again he came back with one of two standard answers, either "he's your cat" or "read the pamphlet."
He said and I quote, "a cat was seen leaving your property."
In my infinite wisdom, I asked, "If birds fly over my house, are they considered mine too?"
His response guessed it! "Read the pamphlet."

This continued for twenty minutes.
I asked for a supervisors name and after another twenty minutes of the officer yelling and threatening me that his supervisor would side with him, he finally released the "secret" name. I called and left a message. Can you believe I still haven't heard back from him?

Here's what has me chapped.
1- My animals don't ever leave my property without me. Period end of discussion.
2- This Code Compliance Officer is accusing me of violating city code when he can't even give me a description of the cat that allegedly pooped in my neighbor's yard. As if it's my problem and
3- The alleged cat was considered mine because he was seen leaving my property. Really?

Is this truly about the cat? No, but it's going to cost me time, energy and money to prove the cat isn't mine, so I don't get fined.
It's about this ill-mannered officer trying to force us into taking responsibility for the cat because he failed to do his job and that's not my problem.
My animals may be fixed, but my titanium ovaries are intact, baby. Bring it on!

Shame on you Fort Worth and Mayor Moncrief for allowing city employees to treat the city's residents so poorly.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Should Writers Sue Reviewers?

By A.J. Llewellyn

Current Mood: Bouncy

It doesn't matter how great YOU think your book is. It matters not one whit that you're selling huge numbers of copies, or that you've gotten awesome reviews.
It takes one clown to post a negative review and you feel like total crap.
Then you start to think, "Will this affect my sales?"
Should this lead to a writer suing a reviewer for a bad review?
I ask this question in light of director Joshua Newton suing the showbiz bible Variety over its very bad review of his movie Iron Cross. Until this lawsuit was filed, I hadn't read the review. Since then, Variety yanked the review from its online archives (it's now back again) and sacked most of its long term review staff. You can bet freelancer Robert Koehler who penned the review won't be getting any work out of the trade paper again).
Here is yesterday's article detailing the lawsuit.
I've since located a copy of the review and yeah, it's a bad one.
Koehler dismisses Iron Cross saying, "It will be remembered as [the late actor] Roy Scheider's Swan Song and little else."
Personally, I hate bad reviews. I hate the ones that seem to derive pleasure out of being hateful. I hate the ones that have the characters' names wrong and a storyline that doesn't resemble what I wrote.
But should writers and directors sue?
I don't think so.
I understand Newton's point, though. According to him (and others I have spoken to) Variety's reviews are positioned to not only critique a movie's content but its marketability. Have you seen Iron Cross at a movie theater near you?
No, you haven't and according to Newton, he couldn't get distribution once the review came out. How likely is this? I wonder.
To be honest kids, I've had books that had rave reviews and didn't sell so well.
I've had books that have been rated poorly and I've even had my covers attacked.
My book A Vampire Christmas had the dubious distinction of being awarded the Worst Cover (thanks Jessewave!) yet remains one of my best-selling and, most pirated books.
So, go figure.
I say ignore the bad reviews, preen over the good ones if you're having a sucky day, but mostly, don't place too much value on their financial influence.
Reviews can help you sell. Sometimes not. It's a crap shoot. It really is.
Having said that, I think reviewers need to be mindful that while it's fun to dish out sarcastic and negative comments, remember that there is an author and a publisher behind the book.
Should this temper a reviewer's comments? No.
Depending on the reviewer, I find the negative and positive comments helpful. However, I find very inexperienced reviewers are the ones who are most often quite...vile in their critique and not especially insightful in their comments.
A few years ago, I took on a gig as a sub editor on a daily paper in Los Angeles. There was a college student who came in that summer as an intern. She was excited to be reviewing rock concerts. She was even more excited once she landed the plum assignment of reviewing her favorite band.
I happened to pass her in the hall the morning after the concert and asked her what she thought of the show.
She raved about it. Her eyes shone and she bubbled with joy.
Then I got her review. It was horrible. I couldn't believe it.
I could have edited it and sent it to bed (as we say in newspapers) but I called her to my desk and asked her to take a seat. I was gentle with her, but I needed to know.
Why had she raved about the show to me, yet panned it in print?
She blushed. She confessed it was harder for her to put into words what she appreciated and loved about the show. She was worried about what people would think.
"It's so much easier to write a negative review than a positive one," she said.
I disagreed and sent her back to rewrite it. She didn't. The review went to another sub editor and I've often wondered if that writer ever thought twice about her actions.
She, to me, was a sloppy sort of writer and I hope she got editors in the future with a lot more power who could make her write an honest review.
As for the paper, they had to endure irate calls from the promoter who had gone to great lengths to provide her front row seats, backstage passes...yeah.
Life sucks when you are held accountable.
You can bet when the intern graduated, the paper wasn't so keen to hire there are always consequences.
That's not to say reviewers shouldn't speak their minds, they should. Be mindful however that there should be legitimate reasons behind your bad review, beyond wanting to be cool, sarcastic, amusing and bitchy.
How about you? How do you feel about bad reviews? And should people sue? I really want to know your thought.

Aloha oe,


Currently listening:
The Legend of Pele: Sounds of Arthur Lyman
By Arthur LymanRelease date: 1998-06-09

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Travel and Grandbabies

Hi everyone!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. I haven’t written anything for two weeks and the last thing was the post for this blog. I’ve had a harrowing two weeks which I’m sure all of you are dying to hear the details. LOL!

On March 1, I went to New Orleans to participate in one of my yearly conferences, EPICon. This conference is for authors specifically in the ebook field and as I have a lot of friends there, always have a great time. This time though, it started more auspiciously than I could imagine.

I boarded the plane here at 10 am and we took off in beautiful weather. I landed in horrible weather and had my first real moment of thinking that a plane I was on might actually crash. The wind sheer was so bad that two hundred feet from the ground, we were called off the landing. The bumpy climb back up was horrendous but when the pilot calmly quipped, “As you can see, we didn’t land” I knew I was in good hands. It took us another eight to ten minutes to get down to torrential rainfall. During that whole time all I could do was think about just how bumpy my characters on my spaceships had it. If I hadn’t done that I would have been sobbing. Sigh.

Once on the ground, I took a taxi to my hotel and not once could we see two hundred feet in front of us because the rain was coming down so hard. That coupled with the fact the ride cost eleven dollars more than had been posted on many NOLA websites didn’t make the trip begin well. This was all forgotten when I got to my first hotel, Chateau Bourbon, which was beautiful. I had one of the most expensive rooms for a very cheap price as worked its magic again. And I did the lazy thing. I had room service and soaked in the huge tub to work out all the kinks.

The next day, I packed up and went to the conference hotel, the Sheraton on Canal Street. This was the same hotel I had gone to twice for RWA, so I knew it well. I had to actually wait three hours to check in, so I walked to the nearest spa and got their $99 special because heaven knew I needed a massage and facial. It actually calmed me down from the previous day’s happenings and I finally began to relax. And this day was sunny and a little warmer than the day before.

I should have realized I was being deceived when I had an allergy flair up. This flair up blossumed into a full case of bronchitus in less than 48 hours and other than my own talk, I was in bed a lot during the conference. Of course, the nearly 80% humidity factor didn’t help either. I got the chills, a fever and a horrible, horrible cough which I could have done without.

Still, all in all, I had a wonderful time with my friends and meeting new people. I also did the online announcements for the awards ceremony, letting everyone know just what was going on that special night. Congratulations to all those winners.

On Sunday, I called my family while they were doing the normal family day and my DIL informed me that she didn’t feel well either and she would be going to the doctor’s the next day. One of the major reasons I decided to go to EPICon this year was the fact that the boys weren’t supposed to be born until March 24 when the C-section had been scheduled.

The best laid plans...sigh...I should have known. My DIL calls me on Monday to say that she was already dialated and they were going to do an amino that day. The results came back late that night and suddenly the C-section was moved up to the very next day, March 10. I scrambled and discovered that there was no way I could catch and early plane home with the bad weather everywhere and every flight booked solid.

I was really bummed and being sick didn’t help at all. I left the hotel Tuesday to get one closer to the airport. Close to the time of the C-section, I began texting my friend Brenda and we talked the whole time. So here are the first pictures of my grandsons, Michael and Joseph...aren’t they adorable? Joseph is the first and Michael is second. Sorry about Joseph being out of focus.

True, they were small, Michael was seventeen inches and four pounds while Joseph was sixteen inches and four pounds eleven ounces but considering they were early, the doctors were very pleased. And they have continued to thrive since their birth. But they will stay in the hospital until they weigh a little more.

Now, I’ve been home over a week and am just getting better myself. I got one peek at the boys after I landed but haven’t been back since as I don’t want to get them ill. I finally went to the doctor myself on Monday and got a lot of medication which is finally making this crap go away. Like I said, today is the first day I’ve even wanted to sit at the computer and type at all.

And overall, the benefits far outweighed the negatives these past two weeks.

Still, as the old saying goes, there’s no place like home!

Hope you all have a great week!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I would like to buy a vowel, please, Alex...

I would like to buy an AAAAAAAAAAA... whew! Okay, now that I've got that out of my system...

Remember way back when when you first started writing and you were told to write what you know? Use inspiration from your family, school, friends, work, etc. Well, if I were to do that I would have a very angry book on my hands. I, like many people, spend the majority of my time at the day job. My book would be angry because there are things I dream of saying and doing while at the day job that never get to come out. However, if I were to write about said job in a book all those suppressed thoughts, actions and emotions would spill over onto the pages. I'd have murder and mayhem and drama and probably more murder. I could tell people that I am still employed because believe it or not I really do know how to do my job. I don't need mirco-managed, and even though it makes you feel more secure, I don't need my hand held. Yes, this book would have a main character who had a pleasant demeanor to start, but then would morph into Alice from the Dilbert comics. You know Alice, right? Pointy red hair, has fist of death (I'm so jealous!) and she punches holes (literal holes, mind you) into coworkers. Yes, that chick is my idol.

So tonight, after a 12-hour day, I will go home, indulge in a glass of wine, and release all of my frustrations onto the screen. Watch out computer, I have a story to write!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The biz side of things

The past week to me seemed to be really long. Why? Because I was caught up in the business side of writing and not on the creative end which put me in what I've been affectionately calling 'website hell.' For quite some time I've wanted to get my own domain. Then last week I was creating some promotion items to send out and got caught in a bit of a snag. I needed to put my website info on the items but I didn't want to use the link I already had since I planned on a new site. So to take care of that problem I got my own domain ~ finally! Thing is, due to finances and my need to have control of said site, I had to set it up. Oh boy. Luckily, it has a program where one doesn't need to know HTML/coding to create a page. All I have to do is upload and type in information. Yeah, not as easy as it sounds. Very time consuming. Then of course once I had it all up, I thought, hmmm...I could do it a bit differently. So back into the 'hell' I went. It still needs a bit of tweaking. And I'm reconsidering new graphics than the ones that came with the template I'm using but at least now I have it, along with a personal blog that offers my latest news, reviews and interviews. If you're interested, you can check it out here:
Now that it's almost complete, I'm hoping my muse, Adam, will come back from vacation and I can get back to working on my 'Cat' series.
Have a great week!

C.R. Moss

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Joy of Reading

My son just took his ACT test this past week and while we were discussing it, he shared some troubling news with me. Out of all his friends and classmates, he’s one of the very few who actually reads books. He shared that he always aced language arts, while other students struggled to get a passable grade. Then he told me something even more upsetting, most of his friends had never read a novel, unless it had been assigned to them in class. Determined to prove him wrong, I started my own informal poll and asked several teens what book they were currently reading. More times than not, I got the same answer, “None. I don’t read.”

As an author, this shocked and distressed me. For as long as I can remember, I loved reading, from my first chapter book, Charlotte’s Web, to The Sweet Valley High Series and finally to romance novels. No matter how sad or upsetting my life was, I could always retreat to a book and get away for a while. Reading was never a chore, but rather an extreme pleasure that I always considered a gift.

I am fortunate, in that my children have inherited my love of books. My daughter loves to devour books on dragons, while my teenage son is addicted to Stephen King. They get excited about going to the bookstore and look forward to trips to the library. I had just taken it for granted. Not any longer. I’m glad they know the pure joy of reading.

Still don’t believe me? I found this link where somebody went on Chatroulette and requested “Show me your books” The results were very revealing.

-Stephani Hecht

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My baby girl!

OMG! My baby girl is 5 now! I can't believe it. Her birthday was this week and she told me that she grew overnight, convinced that her feet were farther down in her bed than they were when she had gone to bed. And she is not to be argued with, kind of like her mother, she is always right. I am sad, so wish she were growing slower. I don't think I am going to make it through her first day of kindergarten without tears.

Knowing that there will be no more little ones for me, I am looking at her, now 5 and going to school in the fall, and think about what I will do next. She is going to be in school, no more reason for me to not do what I have been telling myself I am going to do when she starts school. Which is go back to school. I just haven't completely decided what for, I kept thinking I had so much time that I didn't need to decide right away.

So not only is she growing up and making me feel old and sad, she is also making me think about keeping that promise to myself. Will I decide finally if I want to go back to school or not? I could always use the excuse that she isn't going to be in full time school for another year. So I will put it off, I am an excellent procrastinator after all.

So today is her party and I went all out for it. We decided on having an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter tea party, costume party for her birthday. I made her an Alice dress, I am going to be the red queen, and made a corset out of playing cards. My hubby is the Mad Hatter, her big sis is the Cheshire cat. It should be a blast!

We all went to the new movie yesterday and it was really great. My baby girl was frightened a couple times, but for the most part she loved it. I was really surprised she got scared at all, she does run around telling people she is a vampire LOL.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Yourself Hot

By A.J. Llewellyn

So I was at an Oscar party like almost everybody else in L.A. on Sunday and one of the people present asked me about writing sex scenes for my books.
"Do you ever turn yourself on with your scenes?" he asked.
Hell yeah! I mean, if I didn't...if my scenes don't get me at least er...happy, how can I expect my readers to get worked up over them?
I think long and hard about each sex scene I write. Sometimes they're brief and hot, sometimes they're long and romantic. I am mindful of the fact that I have two groups of readers. Those who read and re-read every sex scene and remember every detail - and those who skip over them for the story. I guess it's a good sign that there's something for them to read when they're skipping over the sex, right?
But I digress.
Anyway, sometimes these scenes come naturally. They're no effort at all. I had a whole sex scene from page one in Diura that I swear just came into my mind like a movie. Sometimes I have to work on it...especially when it's part of a series and I think - hey, have I written one like this before? But after 60 books published, you do run out of original ideas considering each one has several sex scenes.
I look to a variety of sources for inspiration when I am feeling stumped.Beyond gay porn which is a sparkling novelty always guaranteed to ignite some creativity, I like to read. Right now, Nick Capra's blogs are providing a lot of grist for the mill.
He's not only one of the hottest porn stars out there but frankly the best of the porn star bloggers.I love his Confessions of a Recovering Hooker posts. I think he needs to write books and I've been encouraging him to do so.
He is a tremendous, important new voice in the world of gay erotic writing.
Porn star Erik Rhodes blog once inspired a scene for my Waikiki Vampire book Ma Ma Loa. The way Erik feels about his porn star career seemed perfect for my fictional gay vampire, Tem.
Steve Cruz's tales of traveling with a portable douche bag seemed perfect for my male escort Mio in the upcoming The Book and the Rose.
I recently renewed my Men at Play subscription and I've been enjoying those hot little trysts.Of course with two more books pending for me with gay porn director John Bruno, my thoughts are straying toward creating, not being inspired by such scenes since what I'll be writing in the Massive Studio series will be filmed.
I think the thing about writing love scenes and sex scenes is to make them as imaginative as possible while keeping them plausible. I have been accused of having an aversion to beds since most of my characters use them as little as possible, but hey, ya gotta keep it interesting. On the page and off.
What about other authors and readers?
How do you feel about this subject?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Two weeks ago I mentioned one of my guilty pleasures in the form of writing conferences. As I am currently at one of those right now as you read this, I thought I would let you in on a few more of interests.

Now as a writer, I have a wide and varied interest pool. By this, I mean there are many subjects that catch my attention and hold me in their thrall. History is one thing which can just suck me in and many times, it doesn’t matter what the piece is about because I am like a sponge in this area. So much so that I started a notebook for all the things I record on my DVR. And believe me, there are many times when it’s almost full. LOL! 

Here are just some of the things currently on my DVR waiting for me to take notes: Cleopatra-Portrait of a Killer, King Tut Unwrapped, Sci-Fi Tech (10 episodes), and The Doctors.

Last week, the Discovery Channel had a day of nothing but Egypt and I was gaga with pleasure, think I had died and gone to heaven! Egypt is one of my all time favorites and I just love the history. I had a professor tell me once that I was a natural at hieroglyphs because I could match the patterns so easily. The only reason I didn’t stick with it was because I wasn’t sure I wanted to relocate to would have been so fun!

Sci-Fi Tech is teaching me all about what is and isn’t possible in the science fiction world. Ever think about if warp drives could really work? Well, I do almost daily. The last episode that I did the notes on was about if a death star was even possible and there are some ways using some of today’s technology in which it might be possible. The series has a whole bunch of good science and great ideas. MOF, I am planning on using some of them in my Orchid series. That book will be coming out in the fall.

In regards to The Doctors, this series is both a guilty pleasure and something I watch to learn all the latest in the world of medicine. These people have some very practical advice as well as giving you the scoop on all the fads, weight loss ideas and even plastic surgery thoughts. This is a well done, audience driven show which gives me a lot of practical advice. Want to know the latest on the new diet craze? They’ll tell you. Want to know what’s the best product for teeth whitening? They’ll tell you. Want to get the scoop on how to live longer? They will tell you.

This series has made me look at things differently from diet to my mental state and I can actually say, listening to them has made me more aware of a lot of things. Since I started watching them in early November 2009, I have lost 18 pounds and plan on keeping it off. I can give these people partial credit as they do have some great things on their shows.

So, here’s how it plays out in my mind: while I may indulge myself with these guilty pleasures, I always get something out of it. How about your guilty pleasures? Anything you want to share? Please do and you’ll be in the running for my next release...which hopefully will be this month!

Just an FYI, I do have non-writing guilty pleasures as well. I can’t go a week without seeing Caprica, Bones, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice. I swear if Temperance and Booth don’t get together soon, my new flat screen may be feeling the effects...LOL!

Hope you all are having a great week! See ya next week!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Muse Is Confused...

Yep, that's right. I'm blaming all my writing issues on my muse--poor guy. I am thisclose to finishing my second full length novel (a contemporary romance) and every time I open the chapter to write, I go blank. Yet, when I don't have the chapter in front of me my muse is in overdrive knowing exactly what needs to be written. So why can't I get the words written?

So frustrating. I just want to kick Muse in the butt and say "get on with it!" Just one chapter. That's all I ask. One chapter of romance and happily ever after, and then I'll write the thriller you so want me to write. I mean, I love HEA as much as the next person, but to sink my teeth into writing a story about a serial killer--mind games, murder, stalking... loverly!

Hey, wait! Why are you running away? I'm not psycho or anything, I just like thrillers.

I hope you all have a wonderful working relationship with your muse and are playing nicely together. I'm off to fight with the final chapter, and hopefully between my muse and I there won't be any blood shed.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Hi all! Boy am I running late today!
I'm trying to catch up on some promomotion work now that I have another new book cover. Well, three actually for my upcoming 'Cat' series. And, said promotion concerns author interviews. One I finished and sent off this morning is an interview of Myrddin, the frisky feline familiar who's in my Look What the Cat Dragged In books. Then the next interview I'm working on had me looking up some information online. In my research I came across an interview of Jude Deveraux. She said a couple of things that caught my attention and I wanted to share. One is that she, "watches TV and movies more than I read because when I read, I start editing in my mind and it takes the fun away from the book." I found that interesting because I, and I've heard it from a couple of other author friends of mine, do the same thing. The second tidbit -- "I have an editor who keeps me from repeating myself. She circles the words that I use more than once on a page. Sometimes it's a real challenge to use different words. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to say the "roar" of the alligators without using that word in every sentence." So editors' pet peeves are universal! lol! Any-hoo, it's nice to know that whether you're a beginning author or an established money-maker, there are commonalities. For the full interview visit:
Oh, and if you're interested in seeing my new book covers, one is to the left and the others can be found on my website.
C.R. Moss

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Zombie Love

By A.J. Llewellyn

One of the most coveted, most stolen books in the Los Angeles Public Library System is a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I figured this title had to be a joke at first. I discovered the joke was on me when I realized Austen's novel of love and small minded British folk was not the only classic to receive the 'mash' treatment. Authors are weaving zombie tales set during the same era in and out of the original texts.
I took the time to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was fascinated. I love the movie 28 Days Later and had always understood from my work as a script reader that zombies are political metaphors. Suddenly, they are so much more than that.They are sexy.
Studio executives are turning away vampire stories in favor of zombies, but like vampires, the new breed zombies are hot and sexy...and romantic.
I did some research and saw that a few erotic romance authors are penning zombie tales. I pondered the thought: Can I do this?I decided the hot new trend being trilogies or collections of short pieces could be combined with erotic, romantic zombie tales could be a winner. I approached my publisher Tina Haveman who had to be convinced.
She thought I was smoking wacky tobaccy when I first suggested it until she went online as I cradled my phone against my ear and she could see how huge zombies are.
"My God," she said. "They're even putting zombies in Tom Sawyer!"
Yup. And now, thanks to my two frequent co-authors D.J. Manly and Stephani Hecht saying yes, My Zombie Pride, a trilogy of hot, lusty gay zombie stories has been released.
My story, With This Ring focuses on a TV writer who meets his dream man. Jude has an unusual problem, he can't sleep, has an erection that won't quit but there's something odd about him...I wonder what?LOL.
D.J.'s story Louisiana Lust combines voodoo and a hot prospect: zombie hookers.
Stephani's story, Salting Zombies is like a gay Romeo and Juliet.
Oh, the agony, the ecstasy! The Blood!
Check it out here:
And forget everything you ever thought about ugly, face-falling-off zombies. Zombies are hot, baby. And they have gay pride.

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Me & My Big Fat Butt Update

Okay, I just had to give you all the updated scoop on just what I did with me and my bottom for my EPICon New Orleans trip. After all, it’s my duty as a writer to put down my experience on paper and let the world know just exactly what happened to me.

Well, just like I told you last week I was so freaked out that they might throw me off the plane I just had to come up with something to at least make me appear a little smaller. Like I had said, I am working on it and lost another 2 pounds this week I’m sure from stress. So I started scouring the internet with things to wear in my search for a more slim body albeit unnaturally so.

I finally decided to settle on a body suit from HSN. I mean, it couldn’t be any different than the corset I wear for doing the renaissance guild stuff I participate in…right? So I place my order and wait for it to arrive. It had taken me quite a while to decide on what I wanted to do that I had to ship the item priority thus making it a mere $56 and change to get it to my house on time. And this was a bargain as well because when searching the internet I found I could spend up to $200 for something to help shape my dilemma.

Heck, I could have purchased another airline ticket for that price! LOL! My bodysuit would be a bargain. So, I waited.

On Friday morning I received a message from HSN stating my item had been shipped. I had a momentary panic as I thought they had just shipped it and the darn thing would arrive after I was gone. Copying the shipping number into the UPS system, I was pleasantly surprised to find the item would indeed arrive that very day.

My office is in the front of my house and has a big picture window where I can watch the world go by without people ever knowing I sit seeing their every move. So when the UPS truck pulled up I waited until he rang the doorbell. Going outside, I was surprised that I had to sign for the small package. Surely this wasn’t right.

The UPS guy, who I’ve known for years, just smiled at me. “Small package.”

I smile back. “Lingerie.”

He lifted his head just like he knew what was in the package. “Oh.”

I signed the pad and handed it back. “Now don’t get any ideas and go telling everyone.”

“Not a problem. See you next time.”

If I had my way, there wouldn’t be a next time. I close the door and race back to my office, shutting the door behind me. The teenager just knew it was for him and asked through the door what the UPS man had brought. I told him it was mine and not to worry.

“But what is it?” he inquired, loud enough to make the puppy think it was play time. It didn’t take long to hear their exchange. “Jasper, stop it…I’m talking to Mom…quit barking.”

As I tore open the package, I answered him. “It’s for me…don’t worry about it…why don’t you play with the dog? Work out some of his energy for me.”

“You can’t tell me what you got?”



Geez, same answer as the UPS guy. Then again, it wasn’t their business. They didn’t need to know what I was doing to conceal my butt size from the world. But holding this new fangled contraption in front of me, I wondered what I had got myself into and waited for the dear husband to get home. As I sat there writing and waiting for him, I verified again that they hadn’t sent me the wrong size as it was so small. That was the only way to describe it as I held it up to my body.

It wasn’t long until my DH got home and came into my office, inquiring if my package had arrived. I nodded and held it up.

“Oh,” he said and held it up. By now it was getting dark and my shade no longer worked as everything was back lit.

“Do you have to hold it up for the world to see?” I asked.

He grinned. “Let’s go see how it fits.”

“Come on now. It’s obviously too small.”

He looks at the size. “Actually, it’s a size bigger than what you normally wear.”

I frown at him. “Yeah, it is. I wanted to make sure it fits.”

“It should…see it’s stretchy.” He pulled the side out and let go, only to be smacked in the face with the darn thing.

I tried hard to conceal my smile as I got up, grabbed the body suit and walked to the bedroom. I hear the DH yell at the teenager not to disturb us and shake my head as I could imagine just what was going through his mind. I pull off my clothes and stand there holding the body suit. This would be an adventure in itself. Putting in one leg, I was surprised to find it did stretch to accommodate me.

Now to make a long story short, you really don’t want to know everything we both said as I struggled to get into this thing. Hell, this was worse than the corsets I wore with my garb. As I finally get it up over the bottom, I realize I’m going to have to lie down to get all the hooks closed. Yeah, it had a zipper along with hooks and eyes. God, I want to know what sadist invented these things.

At this point, the DH stops laughing long enough to tell me he’ll help me but he’s wondering just how I will ever do this by myself. As he hovers over me, he talks about how fun it would be to get me out of this thing. All I can do is to growl at him. It takes him a few moments of trial and error before he finally gets it right. I just lay there knowing this is exactly how a beached whale feels.

Slowly, I stand with his help and found it wasn’t half bad. I could actually breathe and move and bend and walk. I put on the pants I would be wearing on the plane and was told the black material actually looked slimming on me. Matter of fact, the DH informed me, it looked damn good.

I proceeded to wear the thing that evening to get used to how it moved with me and how I felt. I wanted no surprises on the trip. The only thing wrong was it really pulled on the shoulders. I didn’t discover the adjustable part of the strap until I put the thing on again on Monday morning.

So, Monday comes and I dress in the contraption again. I smile as I get on the plane since no one says a thing to me. I make sure the seat belt can fit before I even sit down. I put everything in the overhead bins and slide into the window seat. Slowly, I sit, thinking I am going to have a hard time getting into the 17 inch space. I slide in with inches to spare. I sit there realizing I probably hadn’t needed the contraption at all because I have at least almost two on each side.

I sit there reveling in the feeling as the seat belt slides on very easy. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I mean, I really needed the extra support to squeeze it all in. I give a tentative smile to the older couple who sit beside me. I eventually tell my row mate my dilemma and she’s smiles, telling me I really didn’t have anything to worry about. She then points out at least five other people around me who had a little more girth than I did.

I then realized, the woman was right and I really shouldn’t have worried about a thing. Just like the DH had said in the beginning when I had started worrying in the first place. The whole trip passes quickly except the landing during a storm. But that’s a story for another day. Just suffice it to say, I landed in New Orleans a little wiser about my body size and thankful I hadn’t puked in the plane from the bumpy ride. It would have been a first.

Do you all have an experience with something which didn’t quite turn out like you imagined? Share it with me and your name will end up in the hat for a copy of one of my books this week. See you next…until then…have a great one!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Exercise Grumbles

So I've finally gotten off the couch and started exercising. I've tried to walk every day for fifteen minutes. And last night I sucked up the courage to re-join Jazzercise. My legs hate me right now. After class I felt like I was walking on jello. This morning, I'm in pain. But it's a good pain right? Pssh! No, still pain.

Okay, so what I want to know is why is it that I go to class and sweat like a pig, my makeup runs down my face and I smell like...well, like sweat. And these two woman who are absolutely stunning look the exact same after class as they did coming in--hair perfect makeup fresh, still smelling like freakin' flowers.

I know I will grumble and complain for the next few months (I promise not to do it here on the blog) about the pain and strain of exercising, but I've got to believe it's gonna be worth it, right? I mean, by summer I should have a smoking hot figure, and maybe my core muscles will actually be able to hold me up. LOL

Anyone else start a new exercise regiment lately? I'd love to commiserate with you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Good Morning!

Good morning everyone! Can you believe it's March already? Where is the time going?
Today's blog posting crept up on me so I'm not really prepared, but since I've done some guest blogging feel free to see what I had to say at some other places...
Have a great week!

C.R. Moss
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