Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New(s) Year!

Okay, so that's a corny title for a blog post, but I couldn't think of anything else. Let me start by wishing everyone a Safe and Happy New Year! If you're going out tonight, drive save, drink responsibly and party like it's 1999 [again]. If you're staying in like me, have a cozy, enjoyable evening.

I seem to have a habit of finding out good things at the end of the year - which isn't a bad habit to have. This year I get a few snippets of good news:

Forbidden World: Ambrax is #10 on the Fictionwise Erotica Best-Seller list!

and #1 on the Amber Quill Best Seller list at Fictionwise

AND...I found some reviews for Hunter's Mate while Googling last night:

4 Angels! Hunter’s Mate is another fascinating peek at alien romance, and fans of SF romance will love it! – Jean, Fallen Angel Reviews

4 Ribbons! Hot alien action lies in store for the readers in this very creative and entertaining book, HUNTER'S MATE. – Anita, Romance Junkies

4 Lips! Hunter’s Mate is a fabulous short story by Bernadette Gardner. After reading this story I am hooked on the writings of Bernadette Gardner and am eagerly awaiting her next work. – Tara Renee at Two Lips Reviews

Happy New Year everyone! See ya' next year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mark your calendars!

I just got the release date for Skin, my next Ellora’s Cave release! It will be available on January 25, 2008! My first release of the New Year!

You can see the cover art up on the second Coming Soon page at EC!!

Here’s the blurb:

Her body is his canvas.

When Makena Brady walks into SkIntense Body Art, she expects nothing more than a little prick, and a small tattoo to satisfy her quest for independence from her ‘good girl’ lifestyle. What she gets instead is a sensual awakening.

Darq Stone is an artist and Makena’s body is the perfect canvas. He works his magic on her, bringing her to the edge of reason with a temporary tattoo airbrushed on her inner thigh. Enthralled by the excitement of lying nearly naked while he paints on her, Makena yearns for more, but can she handle the real thing? Darq is much more than he seems and once he brands her with a permanent mark, she’ll be drawn into his world forever.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Makena trembled when Darq Stone raked his eyes over her body. His gaze traveled from her mouth all the way down to her primly crossed ankles in a sensual sweep that left her weak.

He would do it. He would ask her to take her clothes off and he’d touch her and look at her and she’d love every minute of it.

He stood so quickly she almost jumped out of the chair.

“I don’t normally do this, but in your case…” She watched his Adam’s apple bob before he turned his back on her. With a startling swish, he pulled a dark curtain around the chair, forming a secluded alcove that was separate from the rest of the brightly lit shop. When he turned to face her again his eyes seemed darker, feral and piercing.

“This seat is reserved for private work, for the modesty of my customers. No one can see you from outside the shop. If you’d like to show me the areas you have in mind, feel free.”

Her eyes tracked over his shoulder. How private could this be after all? Of course, she thought nothing of removing her clothes in a dressing room surrounded by mirrors and hidden from other customers by nothing more than flimsy shower curtains or half doors. Other female customers, anyway.

“I’ll lock the door out front, if that’s all right with you. Our busy time isn’t until later. Since there’s no one else here, I can close for a little while.”

“Okay.” She realized she didn’t want to get undressed alone. That wouldn’t be any fun at all, and already Makena had decided this adventure was going to be fun. If nothing else, she was going to enjoy having Darq Stone look at her and touch her and whatever else she wanted him to do. The look in his eyes told her he was ready, willing and able to give her far more personal service than a private consultation about body art.

What had come over her? She didn’t care. She’d worry about it later, after she’d asserted her independence with this beautiful, sexy beast.

She was still fully dressed when he came back into the alcove. He gave her a curious glance.

“My hands are shaking,” she said. “Maybe you could help me.” She dropped her suit jacket on the chair behind her, but it slithered to the floor. She shrugged and tried to quell her internal tremors. If he continued to look at her that way, she might come from anticipation alone.

In two long steps he crossed to stand in front of her. The musky scent of his cologne reached her and her head swam. Darq Stone was nothing like she’d expected him to be. In fact, with his long-sleeved casual shirt and black Dockers, he didn’t even appear to have any tattoos of his own. She wondered if she might convince him to show her all of his body as well.

“Would you like me to unbutton your blouse?”

She nodded. “Yes.” The word came out as a breathless whisper. She held herself utterly still until he obliged, raising his hands and clasping the first tiny button.

It popped open under his expert touch and Makena gasped. Good Lord, if just having him open one button felt this good, what would it feel like if he actually put his hands on her?

She’d come apart under him.

The next button went and Makena felt his warm breath on the vee of flesh exposed above her collar.

“Are you considering an image above one of your breasts?” His voice had gone thick. His eyes were locked on the third button of her blouse.

“I’m not sure. Maybe the small of my back, or on my shoulder. Or my inner thigh.”

“That’s a very sensitive area. You might not be able to wear a tight skirt or pantyhose for several days after the work is done. That could interfere with your job.”

“I have vacation time coming.”

Two more buttons. Makena wanted to put her hands on his broad shoulders and lean on him. Her legs felt rubbery and each breath hitched in her chest. “Pull my blouse out of my skirt, please.”

He hesitated only a second then tugged the creamy yellow silk out of her waist band. She didn’t need to ask him to push the blouse off her shoulders or to run one finger under the strap of her bra.

She bent forward to ease the intense ache that crawled up from her pussy to her womb. Her stomach clenched when his breath hit the bare skin of her shoulder. “Do you see a spot you like?”

He didn’t answer. Instead he curled his fingers around the satiny strap and pulled it down, almost exposing her breast. He ran his fingers over the skin below her shoulder and then into the cup of her bra.

Every nerve in her body went tight and she gasped when his fingers grazed the smooth skin just above her nipple.

“You’re very sensitive here as well. The process can be painful in certain areas . I wouldn’t want to see you in discomfort for a long period of time…unless you like pain. Some people do…they get a sexual satisfaction out of being tattooed.”

“I don’t know if I would…ah…”

“Turn around.”

She obeyed on wobbly legs. In her mind’s eye, he put his hand on her back, just between her shoulder blades and pushed forward so that she bent over the chair. She pictured herself spreading her legs for him and biting her lower lip hard while he lifted her skirt and probed between her thighs for the hardening nub of her clit.

Instead he merely removed her blouse, sliding the cuffs over her wrists. He placed the garment on the stool he’d been sitting on and then brought his hands up in delicate strokes along her spine to the clasp of her bra.

“Will you allow me to—”


Friday, December 28, 2007

The Un-Resolution Post

Back in December 2005 I started my Un-Resolution Post tradition. I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions years ago and have been much happier for it. Instead I look at each New Year as a time to look back on what I’ve accomplished the previous year rather than set up what usually become unattainable goals for myself in the coming year.

This year has been a good one career wise. I signed with a literary agent, I released eleven titles [among them anthologies of previous published stories included in two print books.] I attended my first book signing at NJRW in October, and I was interviewed for Romance Novel TV!

If 2008 sees as many firsts as 2007, it will be a banner year, so I can only hope my career continues its upward climb.

Over the previous twelve months I’ve learned a few things about writing. Working as an editor has helped me hone my craft, taught me things about commas I never knew {LOL} and gave me a keener eye for detail. I’ve learned some about the publishing process [chiefly that it’s slow, time consuming and frustrating] and about my own weaknesses as a writer. [I start strong and then I doubt myself when I hit the sagging middle of the manuscript.] I’ve learned that a good portion of promotional activities are a waste of time [gasp!] and the best way to further your career is to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. Blogging, podcasting, designing fancy book trailers, chatting until my fingers fall off or running contests until I go broke on postage are not productive for me. [No offense to authors who work hard doing those things. They’re fun and creative and they often do endear you to readers], but the best way to be a writer, is to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, then submit and WRITE some more.

So, if I must resolve anything for the coming year it’s this: I resolve to waste less time on the Internet [gasp!] and spend more valuable time writing.

I’m vowing to drop in on my loops less often [I may devote one day a month to messaging]. I’m not going to spend endless hours tweaking MySpace. I’ll update when I have a new book coming out] and I’ll also spend less time aimlessly surfing and hopefully spend less time playing Alchemy at Yahoo Games.

Here’s to 2008, may it be a banner year for everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Wishes

Sexy Comments Galore!

I'll be off for a couple of days enjoying the holiday. Have a wonderful Yule, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Art of Sleep

I had this thought as I was lying in bed this morning pretending that the alarm wasn't going to ring in three minutes. The Art of Sleep is something that it may actually take some skill to master.

Okay, you may say, what is she babbling about now?

These are the things I think of in the wee hours. Sleep doesn't often come easy for me. I toss and turn and I worry a lot which keeps me up. DH falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. I have a hard time getting comfortable. My feet have to be warm, but not too warm. My pillows have to be propped just so. I can't sleep in long sleeves or if the room is too bright. DH can practically sleep standing up. I fall into my deepest sleep just about the time the alarm is set to ring. During the four minutes between turning off the first alarm and the time the snooze alarm goes off, I can go back into REM and have a complete dream. I always vow once I get the kids off to school, I'm going to climb back in bed and finish up that extra and much needed hour of sleep. I've done that exactly once and I've regretted it because I felt groggy and tired all day.

I've come to the conclusion that getting a really good sleep is an art form. You have to finesse it. The right atmosphere, the right attitude, the right ambiance, maybe even the right outfit.

I'd give up a lot for a really good, refreshing sleep, but I'm not quite sure how to achieve that without hitting the snooze alarm every four minutes all night long.

What do you do to get a good night's sleep? What's the best sleep you've ever had?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Controversy begets controversy

And this is from the 'You've got to be kidding me,' file.

With regards to the pregnancy of 16-year-old Jamie Lynne Spears [sister of the quintessential Britney] I read this today on Yahoo news:

Her mother, Lynne, who will soon be a grandmother of three, saw her planned book on parenting high-profile children placed on indefinite hold by her Christian publisher.

Can someone explain to me what would make any publisher think Britney's mom knowns anything about parenting, Christian or otherwise?

This is even better:

A spokesperson for the publisher declined to comment on whether Jamie Lynn's pregnancy contributed to the decision to shelve the memoir...

Which is a delicate way of saying, "Hell, yes it did."

Maybe I should suggest a book on how to be a mom and a erotica author at the same time. Sounds like it woud be right up their alley.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back Home

The Romance Divas Forum is on its way to being restored. Whew, it's nice to be home. Cyberspace does not want hundreds of displaced Divas prowling around with no place to hang out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Chosen

The Chosen
by Gwen Hayes

is available today at Freya's Bower!

Daniel “Morgue” Morgan hunts demons. And likes it—until the day Madigan Carter cuts through his life like a blade of sunshine. She is everything he isn’t, and for the first time in his life, he questions his calling when it means he will be forced to turn Madigan into a killer. Just like him.

Madigan doesn’t believe in demons, until the day she fends one off with her Louis Vuitton bag. She doesn’t want to be an Expeller, and she really doesn’t want to be trained by the most aggravating—and sexy–man she has ever met. When the Expeller instincts, and the unnatural hungers that go with them, threaten to overwhelm her humanity, will her connection to her mentor be enough save both their souls?

Rating: Tangy
Book Length: Novella
Price: $4.75
Genre: Paranormal/Vampire/Werewolf/Contemporary/

Want to know more?

Read an excerpt
Buy the novella

Monday, December 17, 2007

All in a day's work

Here's another confession:

Sometimes I prefer weekdays to weekends.

Since I work at home most of the time, I don't necessarily get a 'day off.' In fact, I don't get a day off because even though there are days when I don't write, I still work.

Take yesterday:

I rolled out of bed around 8:30 and handled the usual morning routine, feeding the pets, making breakfast, making the bed. The rest of the morning was spent preparing for son's birthday party, which, thanks to the weather, was held at our house. Icing the cupcakes I'd baked the night before, straightening up the house so a passel of 9-year-old boys could wreck it. Fortunately DH took over the festivities which centered around playing video games. This way I could get on with the real important stuff, like diving into the mound of laundry that needed to be done.

While washing enough towels to dry a small army, I balanced the checkbook and messed around some with visiting my friends on MySpace [I consider this work, btw, I really do]. Then between the pizza and cupcakes [eaten standing up of course] I finished reading Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf again and took notes for the sequel I have planned for 2008. More laundry followed, then editing.

Once the party had cleared out [magnanimous husband told the boys to call their parents and ask if they could all stay an extra hour!] I made dinner, fed the pets and did more laundry. After dinner, I ordered everyone to put their clean clothes away [always a dicey proposal. DS tends to toss his clean clothes into the bottom of his closet and 24 hours later can't tell which ones are clean and which ones aren't.] Then I started on today's batch of cupcakes for the Winterguard bake sale and finished off the evening with two hours of editing while the family played a raucous game of Star Wars Lego...something or other in the other room.

At 10:30 I plopped on the couch and announced, "My work day is done."

Saber gazed balefully at me a few minutes later so I hauled my butt off the couch and let him out, then sat back down and declared, "NOW, my work day is officially done."

Who needs weekends? I get more rest between Monday and Friday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

You would even say it glows...

File this under 'I've heard everything now.'

Saw this on the news today and I had to look it up to see if what I was seeing was really what I was seeing.

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.
In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.
Is that too much or what? Read the rest of the article here.
Now, the idea of a glow-in-the-dark kitty certainly has commercial value. Topper could stand a little bio-luminescence as he's pracitcally invisible during the day when he closes his eyes. Think how many injuries would be avoided if people no longer had to worry about tripping over the cat in the middle of the night?
On the down side, this technology is designed to help cure human illness [that's not the down side obviously] the downside is that what if we end up with people who glow in the dark?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

Sometimes I go back and read my old blog entries and the other day I was looking through January 2007 where I had included a post on happiness. The idea came from my having read an article in a magazine [while hanging out at the dentist with DD] that listed 50 Ways to be Happier.

Most of them, I felt, were somewhat insipid. You can read the original post here if you scroll down to January 16.

While I’m torn on the subject of happiness [I believe our happiness is something we’re all personally responsible for, and I also believe there are times when happiness is impossible to achieve] I do have a short list of things that I’ve discovered can help boost, if not create, personal happiness. This is along the vein of the original article, btw, so it’s not a list of those elusive things that would make anyone happy like winning the lottery, getting an uber multi-book deal from a major publisher, making the NYT bestseller list...etc. Those of course, are givens.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered this year that have made me happy, or increased my overall contentment level. Don’t laugh.

Getting a cat. [My kitteh may try to eat the Christmas tree, and I think he’s giving the dog an ulcer, but he’s a joy to me. All black velvet and glowing golden eyes, he’s always looking for fun and he sees the world as one big adventure. I adore him.]

Having the carpets cleaned. [Who would have thought, but wow, the house looks a thousand percent better and my anxiety over cleaning has dropped to a manageable level.]

Finding a new [or rediscovering an old] hobby. [Having something to do besides working and cleaning house goes a long way toward personal happiness. This year I’ve rediscovered painting and drawing and it’s made me feel a lot better.]

Advanced preparation. [stealing a bit of time to get a project done ahead of schedule had reduced my usual anxiety about a lot of things, whether its writing out Christmas cards or shopping for school supplies, doing it before it NEEDS to be done makes life easier.]

Reading a new genre. [Science fiction and romance, adventure and romance, paranormal and romance, I love them all, but I’ve had a ball reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series which really doesn’t fall under any of those catagories.]

What have you done this year that has increased your happiness level?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No wonder kids can't write

Ursula is having a fit.

This has nothing to do with any work she's editing right now, but with a book my son is reading for a Fourth Grade Book report.

Let me start by saying, book reports are hell. There's nothing that sucks the joy out of reading more than having to answer insipid questions about a story like: Why do you think the author wrote this book? [To make a living?] or What was another way the main character could have solved the problem in the book? [If I knew that I'd have written it myself?]

Anyway, as if book reports aren't torture enough, guiding a 9-year-old through a book report in which the actual writing part of the assigment must fit onto a paper shaped like a snowman [I kid you not] is something right out of the Seventh Level of Hell. What's infinitely worse is that the book my son chose to read is GOD AWFUL.

Now, as an author, I don't like to pan other people's work. I really don't because I recognize how difficult it is to create a manuscript, get it past an agent or editor and get it sold. But EGADS! This book, written for the 8-12 age group, has atrocious grammer, pointless dialogue and it seems the author tried to make up the most ridiculous character names she could, I suppose assuming that children would find it amusing.

I'm reading it with my son because his book report grades are rather dismal and if I don't know what the book is about, I can't guide him through the questions he needs to answer about it, since his response to most things is, "I don't know."

After reading a paragraph together that contained three sentences using 'had had' as the verb, Ursula stepped in and started making comments under her breath. I tried to shush her, but when a one-eyed cat rolled its eye[s] she had a conniption. A one-eyed cat can't roll both of its eye[s]. Did an editor not notice that?Please.

When one of the characters used the word 'screwed' and not in the 'putting in a light bulb' context I had my own conniption. Now, I'm not a prude [by any stretch] but as a parent, I'm not sure I want to explain what 'screwed' means to my 9-year-old. [Okay, maybe he should already know, but the book is about animals for heaven's sake, not human relationships.] In a book where the narrator is a Labrador I just don't think there's room for the word 'screwed.' Sorry.

What kills me is, this book was published by a well known educational publisher that specializes in YA and scholastic novels and text books. I'm desperate to know, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

I'm now beginning to understand why new writers make all the same mistakes - even though most of them are avid readers. When early examples of published writing are so horrendous, how are children supposed to learn how to craft a sentence or a decent paragraph?

I really don't want to start a movement, or a crusade, but is it too much to ask that YA publishers go for books that aren't just grammatically correct, but are well-written besides??

Monday, December 10, 2007

Divas Down!

The Romance Divas forum has been down all day which puts a major cramp in my style. I consider Divas my co-workers and my friends and not being able to stop in and chat on the board a few times a day is like being banished to a windowless room in an office full of people. You know everyone is out there, but you can't see them or talk to them.

What a bummer.

Hopefully my virtual water cooler will be back online soon. Until then, if any Divas stop by and want to chat, feel free to do so!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Read my

DD and DH went to the NY Anime Fest yesterday and in addition to a box of Crushed Almost Pocky [gotta love that stuff!] I got some t-shirts!

I love One-Up mushrooms. I don't smoke them or anything. I just think they're cute.

This one is for Ursula. LOL.

DH bought this one for himself. He is the master of chaos, so it's perfect for him. He's long wanted the shirt that says:

667 - Evil and then some

but I told him he should get this one:

333 - Only half evil.

He was not amused.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Elusive Perfection

I've been editing this week. [Okay, Ursula has been editing] Some of my stuff and some for other people and it's got me thinking how far should we go in the pursuit of the perfect copy?

Don't get me wrong, I think a manuscript should be as clean as possible. If you're submitting to an editor or agent, you don't want them sidetracked by typos or stray punctuation or stumbled by copious backstory or passive verbs - BUT no manuscript is perfect.

If authors could create perfect manuscripts, we wouldn't need editors. Editors exist because there comes a time when an author cannot see their own errors anymore. How many times have you read over a manuscript and skipped by an obvious mistake because your brain told you to see what you wanted to see? It's a normal function, really. Our brains are actually wired to try to make sense of things that don't make sense. That's why we see shapes in random images, that's why abstract art works, that's why we can comperhend wrods taht are not speled rihgt.

It's not just about typos though, or poetic license that allows us to sometimes skip a comma or toss in a semi-colon in order to make a sentence read exactly the way we want it to read rather than the exactly grammatically correct way. Language of course should be fluid and adaptable as well as having reliable rules to follow.

But I digress. What I'm really interested in is, how much time do you spend in the pursuit of perfection? Do you edit your own work once, three times, ten times before submitting it? Are you grateful for nitpicky CPs and anal retentive editors [Ursula takes offense at said comment, btw] or do you appreciate every single tweak in a manuscript even after you'd read it over until your eyes fall out? Or...and I know there are some of you out you finish writing, kiss your ms goodbye and feel that it's up to the editors to polish your work until it shines, that you've created the bones and muscles of a story and the editor will be putting the cosmetic touches on for you? [Don't feign shock! There are such authors out there. I know it.]

Do you think the pursuit of perfection is your highest responsiblity or a waste of time?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Been editing Rogue Heart all day. I think I'm high on orange Sharpie. [My red one ran out of ink.]

I also loaded an update of Explorer - so now everything looks a little different and works a little different and I hate it all. Why can't these tech people just leave well enough alone?

Here's a funny for the week. I sent this to DD the other day and it Cracked. Her. Up.

Maybe I think it's funny because I've been working twelve-hour days all week and I'm high on orange Sharpie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Dreaded Nap Attack

I was hoping to be very productive today, but I was caught unawares by a nap and it wrestled me to the couch and knocked me out for two hours.

I hate when that happens.

I have a rule I follow on the days I'm working at home. I never go anywhere near the couch all day long. As soon as I sit down and get all comfy, I'm a goner. Today, I couldn't fight it.

I worked in the morning, made some revisions on Rogue Heart [tentative title for the sequel to Rogue Theta] and decided to go back to Chapter One and do some major edits. Then I went out to lunch with my mother and my aunt and when I got home my eyes just would not stay open. I faced the dilemma of sitting at my desk holding my head up with both hands while I tried to read or accepting the inevitable descent into unconsciousness if I parked myself on the couch.

The couch won. I closed my eyes at 2:30 and at 4:30 woke up when my son looked up from his homework and said, "Did you have a nice nap?"

Ah well. I guess I can make up for it by staying up a little later to get some work done.

I hate when naps attack.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Mixed Bag

I can't seem to settle on one coherent blog topic lately, so I thought I'd just toss up some random updates.

I've been drawing to keep myself entertained in the evenings. I've been desperate for a hobby to work on while watching television since I don't have the patience for sewing anymore and my crocheting is generally crappy.

I'm closing in on actually being ready for the holidays this year - the Christmas cards are all written out, I just have to get to the PO and buy some stamps. Most of the shopping is done. I even have supplies in for a nice, traditional Christmas morning pancake breakfast.

So far I'll have four releases lined up in 2008: my second Ellora's Cave story, Skin, will be coming out, Thieves in Paradise from Amber Quill will premiere in May and La Mirage will be available in print Samhain's Sand, Sun and Sex anthology also in May and later in the year the long-awaited [hopefully somone's been long awaiting it anyway] sequel to Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf will be part of Amber Quill's Howling at the Moon...Again Pax.

Whew. It sounds like a lot - in addition to my plan to turn out at least two more stories related to Rogue Theta for EC and the second of my Forbidden Worlds stories for Amber Quill.

Now all I need is a bunch of uninterrupted writing time. Not sure where that's coming from. If anyone has any spare time they'd like to lend me, I'll fax you a cupcake. Thx!

Off to procrastinate! Have a day.