Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's a serendipitous day

You know how some days are just made to be uber-special? Today is one of those days.

When I woke up this morning (after having a rather sleepless night) I was groggy and tired and craving Dr Pepper. Fortunately, I had a frosty one and popped the top then drank it down. Ah... waking up now.

Then, I played some Words with Friends and Wham! I scored a 102 point word with a triple letter Z on a triple word. Hey, hey, the day is looking up.

Next I moved to my email where I discovered the FBI had replied to my rather desperate plea for help and assigned me an official FBI contact. Whoa! Hello? Am I dreaming?!

The next email I saw was a lunch confirmation from my BFF whom I haven't seen in a couple of weeks. That not only means I get to spend a good hour with her over yummy Mexican food, I also get a margarita.

Then I realize it's Tuesday and that means another new page from Elfquest. Do I hear choirs going?

Enlightened is now available in print!! Want to buy your own copy? Here's a link...
After that, I toddled on over to Amazon to look for my name (hey, it's a thing, okay?) and found out that Enlightened [Sexual Magic Book 2] is now available to order in print!!
I admit to squealing like a little girl and probably even crying a little bit. Or a lot.
It's an unbelievable feeling.
It's surreal.
It's FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, sorry, toning it down. Sort of.
I'm actually bouncing around like I'm Tigger on crack.
My cheeks hurt from grinning but it's a good kind of pain (you know, like the kind I write about)
People, it's not even 11 o'clock in the morning?!
It makes me wonder what other kind of gloriousness I have in store for me today.
Oh Lucky Cats, what other wonders are in store for me today?
Have you ever had a day that was serendipitous? That totally surpassed all you could have hoped for?
I hope so!
Happy reading,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Another snippet from my upcoming Soul Shadows book:

When she hit the freeway, he expelled a sharp, relieved breath and slouched into the tattered passenger seat. “Okay, you can slow down now. We’re safe.”
She immediately let off the gas. “Why do I get the feeling you’re leaving out a 'for now'?”
“Because you’re a smart cookie,” he murmured.
“Don’t forget it, either, buster.” 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Empowered is out today!

It's here! It's here!
Today is the release day! Empowered [Sexual Magic book 3] is now available for purchase at Siren. Look for it in the next few weeks at Amazon and B&N.
Even better, it's on sale right now! 15% off!! Who can resist a sale? Not me!

Madelyn Girard is the lucky lady in the middle of this two Dom story. I've always seen her as an ultra-sexy Snow White and I was elated that my cover artist Harris Channing portrayed her so well. Just gorgeous! Madelyn and Noah have been Enrichers for the Council for ten years. They've shown countless people the joy of BDSM sex and walked away without a single backward glance. Neither is prepared for the jolt their relationship receives when they're given the case of businessman Gabriel Fleming.
Gabriel, on the other hand, can't believe he's been singled out by the Council. He doesn't know a damn thing about being a Dom. But under Madelyn and Noah's exquisite tutelage, he finds himself not only excelling at it but he begins to crave it. He also falls under Madelyn's spell much to the annoyance of Noah.
But someone with a grudge and a lethal agenda is stalking Madelyn. Can Noah and Gabriel set aside their differences in time to save her?

Happy reading,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My favorite ways to procrastinate

Last week I mentioned that writers are neurotic. It's the truth. We have more foibles and superstitions than baseball players (but cleaner laundry. Probably).
Anyway, one of the things we ALL do is procrastinate. We could be doing it to put off writing THE END on a project (my current procrastination). It could be to put off starting a new project. Or maybe the middle of the book is driving us nuts and won't cooperate, so why not procrastinate?
Yep, however many words there are in any given project, there is an equal number of ways and reasons to procrastinate writing.
Oh, eventually it'll get done. Probably. There's a great likelihood. Mostly.
But for now, when you need that little writing "time out", I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to not be writing until the last possible second:

Come on B7. BINGO, damn it, BINGO!
1. Video Bingo. This is a new one for me. I found www.gsn.com on both my computer and my iPhone. Tragic. Now I have TWO ways to procrastinate. GSN has all sorts of fun games like slots and video poker but my absolute favorite is Video Bingo. You don't win anything (except the glory of yelling Bingo!) but I find the excitement of begging the uncaring electronic unit for B7 for the win. It usually goes something like this: "One number," I'll mutter. "One number for a double bingo. There are 16 numbers left to call. Surely I'll get it. Come on. One number and I score 10,000 tokens. Do you know how many cards that is? That's three games of three 1,000 token cards with 1,000 left over. Come ON! B7! B7! Wait, that's B3. Not what I need. Oh, G57. I see, you're taunting me now. Whatcha gonna do next? Throw me I17? Oh. No. You. Didn't. I hate this game. So uncool. Come on, B7. Wait a second. O69? Bingo!! Yes!!!" And so it goes... It can get disturbing.

2. Sorting. I know. You're thinking "What the hell is she talking about?" But seriously, sorting is a great time waster. Especially if you have multiple items of multiple items. I, for one, am well known for my office supply fetish. It's a sickness and no, I don't plan on seeking therapy for it. I have so many pens, notebooks, journals, highlighters, paper clips and index cards that I could open my own storefront and probably never run out. So, when I'm feeling peckish about where the book is going and I need to "think" (by the way, this is a code word for procrastinate, don't let anyone tell you different) I will pull out my office supply apocalypse box and start sorting. First, I sort out the above mentioned supplies from each other. I now have lots of lovely piles. Then I start channeling the Hogwarts Sorting Hat (without the royalties, more's the pity) and sort into smaller piles. The pens get sorted by ink type (gel or roller or ballpoint) then by click or cap then by ink color. If I'm feeling REALLY procrastinate-y I will sort them by barrel color. This can get even deeper because then I have to do it all over again. Next, I'll move on to the notebooks. Color, size, wide ruled, narrow ruled... you get the drift. And so on and so forth. When I'm done, it all goes back in the box for another day. Hey, I never said it was logical. It's procrastinating for Pete's Sake!

3. Investigation Discovery aka Discovery ID. Dude, they even have their own hash tag on Twitter #IDAddict) There are only a few shows that I won't watch. I love 'em all. I'm always intrigued by just how dumb criminals can be but also by how incredibly smart and scary they can be. Plus, I'm always looking for new ideas and what better place than an entire network devoted to crime?! Hm, so would this count as research and not procrastination? I think I have a good case for that.

4. Jeopardy! This is a great procrastination vehicle because it's got a time limit. It's only 24 minutes long (less if you have a DVR and can skip commercials). Plus, it makes me feel smarter or dumber, depending on how well I do in the categories. I usually rock baseball and music ones. Math and Geography are my Achilles Heel(s).

Ah, the smell of fresh laundry.
5. Laundry. I know what you're thinking. WHAT? Are you nuts? But not really. It's kind of like sorting as mentioned above except I get the added benefit of clean clothes. AND I get to use my handy dandy Flip N Fold. If you don't have one of those, get one. They are freaking awesome. They fold shirts, pants and towels quickly but they also smoosh them down to a smaller size which means more clothes fit in the drawer which means you can buy more clothes which leads to another fabulous procrastination technique - shopping!

There you have it! Five fun ways to procrastinate. But do not abuse these methods or that book will never get written. During the final pages of Empowered [Sexual Magic 3] I admit to using Method #1 a lot. A LOT, A LOT. But the book came together and will be available in two short days. So, procrastination, when used for good, can really help. It's just a matter of knowing when to say when.

Happy reading!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

He pulled back and met her gaze.
“I’m going to kiss you, Sheridan Aames.”
“Are you asking permission?” she whispered.
He shook his head and one lone lock of hair curled over his forehead, dipping down toward his incredible, startling green eyes. They shone eerily from the inside as if they were backlit by some mysterious source. “I don’t ask permission, something you’ll soon learn.”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Muse Protection Program

Photo courtesy of Svilen Milev www.efffective.com (yes, three F's!)
As writers, we're a pretty neurotic bunch. I suspect more than half of us are also superstitious. I know I am. When I write, I have to have the same music on (Original Cast Recording from the Phantom of the Opera starring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford), be in same clothes (smurf pajama bottoms and a t-shirt), have the same drink at hand (Dr Pepper for story stuff, Llano Blush for the sexy stuff) and be at a real desk (I've tried to write propped up in bed or lounging in the chaise and it's just so unproductive!). I also follow the exact same routine when I get on the computer and before I start writing. I like to think of it as priming my muse. Getting her out of bed and ready to face the writing day.
First, I check my email. Then Facebook. Then Twitter. I scan my favorite news sites (5 in all) then finally open up my music player and hit play on Phantom. I'm ready to go and so is my muse. She settles down and we kick some serious writing ass. That blinking cursor and white screen don't scare us!

It hasn't always been this way, though. In fact, it's only been a few years since I got BACK into writing. I was in a void of creativity for two years and it was a most depressing time. I was often grumpy and empty yet every time I tried to start anything, even write one lousy sentence, my muse dove for the covers and refused to come out. She'd been beaten near to death with a very large stick. And probably a bomb made of C4.

Unfortunately what was going on wasn't quite that obvious. It was subtle and stealthy and nearly lethal to my creative side. When I finally realized that the situation was killing my muse, I removed myself from the situation but my muse refused to come out to play.

Squee! The Muse and  I
celebrate our first
As I said, it took her two years to come back out. I lured her out with Julie Cameron's The Artist's Way, good, supportive friends, sheer determination and a rope. It was one of the hardest things I'd done but it was a positive thing. Not long after, I published Her Dark Master, my first book. I was elated.

Things went swimmingly for a while then I ran into another roadblock when I was unexpectedly waylaid by a wall of censure and cold shoulders. The thing that made this really bad is the attitude emanated from people I trusted and confided in. I fought for months and I felt my muse slipping further and further away. This time, though, I was determined not to let her go. I threw the rope around her teeny little waist and yanked with all my strength.

Then, I sat down and had a talk with myself. It was rough and often rude and there was lots of crying (hey, I said we were neurotic. Not only do we hear the voices in our heads, we often argue with them.) When the tissues were sodden and the chocolate consumed, I had an epiphany. She and I worked out a deal to protect her at all costs: write for myself, my characters and no one else. Ever since I had that brainstorm, my muse and I have been happily burning up the keyboard with lots of books (nine of them with more on the way!) and even more ideas. I can quite often be caught with my face frozen, mouth agape and brain working feverishly. Thankfully, my family is used to this expression and now, instead of calling an ambulance, they hand me something to write on.

The lesson of Muse Protection came to the fore again today when I was involved in a discussion with fellow authors about how to handle the things we all have to face like rejection, critics, ridicule and the ever popular "You write what?!" I offered my two cents, then my muse and I happily went back to writing a chilling little story that makes my skin crawl and her cackle with absolute glee.

I'm not sure about the story, but she's having a blast and really, if your muse is happy, who cares?

So, protect your muse. Protect your writing. Cull from your life those who would drag you down and pummel your muse into creative unconsciousness. She deserves much better than that.

P.S. My muse just happens to be the adult form of Ember, the daughter of Cutter & Leetah from Elfquest by the genius and talented brains of Richard & Wendy Pini. If you don't know Elfquest, then you are so missing out. It's one of the coolest graphic comic series in the history of ever. Check it out! My Ember muse image is from the Gatherum. She's totally grown, sporting a huge assed sword and looking smug and defiant. LOVE IT.

Happy reading,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

THE Romance Writer's Conference

RWA's Annual Conference begins July 25 in Anaheim, California
Photo by Hilde Vanstraelen / www.biewoef.be

Starting tomorrow, the Romance Writers of America's annual conference begins in the bright sunshine of Anaheim, California. This four day long event is chock full of writers (both published and pre-published), editors, agents and various romance reading enthusiasts.
I so wish I was there.
Since my first conference in 1999, I have missed very few of them. Each one is different, held in a different city with a different theme. The only constant is the absolute level of enthusiasm that permeates the event. Being a writer, surrounded by other writers who get you and by potential publishers, is thisclose to Nirvana. The conference is jam-packed from the time you rise in the morning until you drop into your bed late, late at night. Workshops, seminars and editor/agent appointments are in full swing usually from 8 in the morning until sometimes 10 at night. Afterward, the hotel bar is the place to be. A lot of interesting conversations are held in the bar. If you're lucky enough to be in a city where the RWA conference is being held, you should meander on down to the conference hotel and just hang in the bar. Fascinating.
On the final night, RWA announces its Golden Heart and RITA award winners - basically the Oscars of the romance writing world.
That's usually held on Saturday night. On Sunday the hotel empties out pretty fast and I'm certain the staff breathes a huge sigh of relief that can be heard on the opposite coast.
In the years I've gone, I've been treated to some phenomenal experiences. Things that I'm forever grateful for. Here are some highlights:
I love this JG novel. In fact, I loved it so much, I named the heroine
of my upcoming book Empowered after the Madelyn in this book. She was such a great role model. I re-read this one all the time and it never goes stale.
Honor's Splendor
1999 -Chicago. My critique partners and I are sitting in the lobby of the hotel trying to figure out what to do next when one friend sees my ultimate favorite author strolling by. Without a qualm, she yells out "Yoohoo! Julie! Julie Garwood."
Julie looks over and my friend points to me and says "This is your biggest fan."
Julie smiled, came over and spent the next 30 minutes talking to us. I was in absolute heaven.

2001 - New Orleans - A good friend and I signed up for the Walking Tour of New Orleans and saw so many beautiful bits of architecture, history and downright spookiness. I fell in love with New Orleans that trip and long to return. During our tour, we passed by Anne Rice's house. Unfortunately for us, she was not in town. Our tour guide said that when she is, she always brings out a plate of cookies for the tour groups and chats with them. How cool would that have been?

The Hawkins brothers return with
Hayden's poignant story of redemption,
confession and absolute passion.

As Good as His Word
2002 - Denver - The first time I hooked up with the rocking cool Susan Gable for what would become conference tradition.

2003 - New York - This was my first trip to New York City and I was pretty darn impressed. I walked and shopped and played. One of the most fun things was going to Jekyll & Hyde's restaurant. The atmosphere was appropriately creepy even if the food was mundane.

2004- Dallas - The conference was in my hometown and I got the chance to show off Texas to my out-of-state friends. We rode the bull at Billy Bob's in Texas. Wow.

2006 - Atlanta - This just happened to be right after the Georgia World Aquarium opened and Holy Carp! If you've never been, you must absolutely go. It's breathtaking.

He's a Texas lawman carrying
a badge...and a grudge.

And he could die protecting
his unintended bride.

Laws of Attraction
2007 - Dallas - Yep, it came back just a few years later. This time I had the double pleasure of getting Diana Duncan AND Susan Gable with me. We had an absolute blast and I'm pretty sure we drove a lot of people nuts.

2008 - San Francisco - I was fortunate enough to go with another writing friend who was getting back into the business after a little bit of time off. We walked everywhere in San Fran and truly enjoyed the city. The views and people are breathtaking. Our particular favorite were the Pocket Gardens that littered the city. This was also the year I met with my future Red Sage Publisher for the first time. She was a delight.

The final book in Sophie Oak's
Fae Trilogy is not to be missed.
A lost princess, dark magic &
two men determined to find
their own true one.
2011 - New York - Quite possibly one of the best times I'd ever had at conference. I attended with Sophie Oak who is one of the smartest, wittiest and best writers I know. She is also a huge foodie. We went to dinner at Cirque where we feasted on a five course dinner that was out of this stratosphere. I still dream about that dinner.

Throughout the years, many other things have happened but those things are NOT for publication. Although, I'm sure if you make it to the conference hotel bar, you will hear some stories. A lot of stories. Most of them are even true.

Each year, RWA sponsors a free literacy booksigning that is attended by hundreds of authors. The event is free to attend to the general public and the authors are eager and excited to talk to you. They won't rush you off and they are truly delighted to see you and interact with you. So, this year the event is being held in the Anaheim Convention Center. You can see a list of all the authors signing at the link above. All of the proceeds benefit local literacy programs. So stop by, buy a book and give your favorite author a thrill by telling her (or him) how wonderful you find his work. Honestly, we really, really love to hear from you!

That being said, stop by my Facebook author page and "Like" me! I'm also on Twitter (@Jennifer_August) but I'm a bit saucy, so be warned.

For updates on my newest releases and the craziness I get into, check out my website at JenniferAugust.com. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter and get even more dish!

Happy reading,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When outside the box gets crazy

What's hiding in the dark? (Photo courtesy of David Schauer) 
I'm tackling a new challenge for a call for submissions from a publisher. The call really intrigued me because it's something that I never even thought of doing (you'll have to come back later to find out what it was because I'm not saying until I hear yea or nay). I'll give you a hint though - it's scary. The basic idea was to write a horror romance story. I'm assuming something along the lines of Zombie Make Out Session wouldn't work. Wouldn't things break off at crucial moments?!
Anyway, I had this idea for the story and started writing it. The only problem is that I'm scaring the pee out of myself. I'm not sure anyone else will find it scary but I have had to sleep with the lights on a couple of nights since I started writing it.
I don't know if it's the subject (ghosts) or that a lot of it takes place in the dark. When I sleep I have to have the entire place dark. Even the green pinprick of light from my smoke detector can wake me up. But I'm asleep in the dark. Being awake in it is super creepy.
Don't believe me? Try it one night. Turn off all your lights. Shut down everything from your computer monitor glow to your television to even your alarm clock. Make the room as dark as you can. Then just lie there. And wait.
Keep your eyes open and look around the room. Shapes are different. Objects that usually you don't take notice of are suddenly sinister and somehow oppressive. As if every time you look away they move just a bit closer. Closer. CLOSER. Until wham! They are on top of you. Strangling you. Sucking the life from your body. Smothering you... well, you get the idea.
Sometimes in the middle of the dark I'll blink and a face appears then disappears with the next fall of my eyelashes. No matter how hard I try, I can't bring the face back to study it. To reassure myself it was nothing.
Then I'm stuck thinking about it. Freaking myself out more and more. The more I think the more the items in my bedroom turn ominous. Usually it culminates in a total freak out when I look at my television and convince myself the chick from The Ring is crawling out with her blue tinged arms and black tangle of hair.
That's when the light comes on.
I'm determined, however, to finish this story. Even if that means I have to sleep with the entire house blazing for the rest of the year.
What freaks you out that you didn't think ever would?
Happy reading,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Jake traced a blue vein from her shoulder down her breast and around the side. He continued along the middle of her chest until he circled her navel. Her tummy tensed and pulsed and she grabbed at his wrist.
He stilled immediately. His blue gaze sure and hot.
Jake didn’t say a word but continued to caress her tummy, giving her the time she needed to relax. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Could you be an exhibitionist? by Cassandra Carr

Could you be an exhibitionist?
by Cassandra Carr

A few days ago, myself and two fellow authors released an anthology called Public Displays of Eroticism. As you might guess from the title, it's about public displays. I think the idea of a public display of eroticism turns a lot of people on, but would they really do it? Would you?

In this book, the couples take public displays to an extreme, or watch other people take them to an extreme. Or both. I think if most of us were going to try outdoor sex, we'd choose, say, a car in a deserted parking lot off a seldom-traveled road, not a public park like our naughty couples do. But hey, you've gotta start somewhere.

Not everyone has the desire, and even if they have the desire, not everyone has the drive to be an exhibitionist. And that's okay. The world needs voyeurs too. ;-) KIDDING (no I'm not). So if you don't think you could drop trou in an alcove, or a bathroom, or a field, that doesn't make you a boring person. But if you can, it makes you an interesting person, at least in our book (literally). 

Here's a little introduction to each story in the anthology:

The secret fantasy, sex in a public place. One couple's sexual antics at a local park inspires four other couples to bare it all in the open air. Featuring short stories by Cassandra Carr, Jami Davenport and Cristal Ryder.

Back to Nature by Cassandra Carr
A sub and her Master play hooky to indulge their exhibitionism kink and unknowingly start an entire chain of events.

Hail Mari by Jami Davenport
Meeting Mari Simms for one night of hot sex each year for the past four years is no longer enough for Wyatt Bedford, a ten-year veteran of professional football. This time, he plans on telling her he wants more. While waiting for her in a park, he stumbles upon a sight that changes his game plan and takes their relationship to a whole new level. Can Wyatt and Mari find love in the final quarter with the clock ticking?
Taking it Outside by Cristal Ryder
Val sets up an afternoon of play with long-time boyfriend Tyler at a secluded beach.  After packing a goodie bag with playthings, she leaves a note for Tyler. While waiting for his arrival, through binoculars Val spots lovers on the distant shore, and when Tyler arrives, together they watch the couple. Voyeurism at its best. Turned on by watching the couple have sex, Val and Ty have their own public display of eroticism.
Taking their loving outside is a surprisingly erotic treat neither expected to enjoy as much as they do. But a bigger surprise awaits them, leaving them wondering if there is more to come.

A Whole New World by Cassandra Carr
After witnessing some dirty deeds in the woods, Miranda finds she has some kinks she didn't know about and discovers her boyfriend, Ross, is more than happy to help her explore them.

In the Open by Jami Davenport
Once a year, Jaid Angelini takes a break from her demanding career as a criminal defense attorney for a night of passion with young, hot pro-football player Alex Greeley. Despite misgivings about their age difference, Jaid desires a more permanent relationship and concocts a scheme to brand her name on his heart. After witnessing an exhibitionist couple in the park, her plan takes a turn toward the great outdoors. Will Alex and Jaid finally go for the long bomb or settle for minimum yardage?

And an excerpt from the first story, Back to Nature, which jump-starts the other four:

We make the short drive to the lake and park the car. Dmitri takes my hand as we stroll around the perimeter.

He soon pulls me out onto one of many scenic points overlooking the lake, and places me in front of him so we’re both facing the pristine, peaceful view. His erection nestles into my bottom as his hands steal underneath my shirt, kneading my breasts. Dmitri pulls the shirt up to expose me and I dart a quick glance around, wondering if the hikers at the other overlooks around the lake can see me. I lean my head back on his shoulder like I know he wants me to as he pinches and tweaks my nipples.

Turning me around, he grabs me and lifts me to his pelvis briefly before setting me back on my feet. He leans down and re-wets the front of my shirt as he sucks on my nipples again. I moan, grabbing Dmitri’s head. A twig snaps and I look around him to see another couple about fifty feet away. They avert their eyes and walk past the overlook. As the exhibitionist in me comes alive, I grin and Dmitri’s head moves to my other breast.

So, could you be an exhibitionist?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

From the Hellfire Ranch Book 1:

“They’re just eyes.”
“Bullshit, darlin’. They’re the kind of eyes men long to get lost in. The kind that will make him forget everything but you and what you want.”
She felt another blush rise and cursed the flare as she wasn’t used to compliments or this kind of flattery.
“One’s fake,” she blurted out. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ready? Set. WRITE!

A friend of mine attended his very first writer’s conference this weekend and was blown away. He came back literally shell-shocked and walking like he had two pounds of sand in one shoe, a fifth of vodka in his gut, a smile to rival any toothpaste ad and a maniacal, calculating gleam in his eye.

Most writers know this gleam. It’s the “Wait! I’m having an idea/epiphany/discussion with my characters” gleam. I’ve been known to drift off from the middle of a conversation when struck by this gleam. It usually happens when I’m at a restaurant with my son and we’re discussion myriad topics. He’ll sigh and hand me a napkin knowing I’ll soon be scribbling down whatever idea popped into my head.

photo courtesy of Kriss Szkurlatowski at www.12frames.eu
In light of his awesome experience and the rush that comes from knowing just what he’s done and will now do and has done for several years (WRITE!) I decided to issue a challenge/contest this morning. For this week, May 21-25, put your name in the hopper either here or at my Facebook page and report in each day how much you’ve written. At the end of the week, I’ll hold a drawing for a random name and the winner will receive a couple of free books along with a few other goodies.

A few rules:
1.       You must sign up.
2.       You must write.
3.       You must chime in at least once a day with your total word count.
4.       You must have fun!

Pass the word! The more, the merrier!
Happy writing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chips, Salsa & Sex Toys

One of the greatest things about being a writer is all the research we get to do. Through various forms of media, I’ve been to Scotland, in a dungeon, on the battlefields with William the Conqueror, fitted for chainmail and in the midst of many intense whipping scenes (God bless YouTube!).
However, nothing beats hands-on research. Or, failing that, personal recommendations. I have a group of friends with whom I lunch now and again. We are all erotica writers and, inevitably, the conversation turns dirty. How soon just depends on how quickly the margaritas start flowing. Which is usually when we sit down. I mean, really, chips and salsa are awesome, but chips, salsa, margaritas and sex talk rock the universe.
During one of these gab sessions, I heard about a fantastic new toy that is guaranteed to drive a woman absolutely wild. As in money back guarantee (but don’t think about the returning of such an item, it’ll just freak you out.) This led to a discussion of some of our favorite toys ever. Here are just a few of the samplings:

Don Wand Pink Glass Nubby Boyfriend
Don Wand Crystal Wands - These lovelies are available in myriad shapes and sizes. They are absolutely fantastic. Made of a Pyrex, they are chip-resistant (but you must be sure to examine them before each use), easy to clean and easy to use. One handy little side benefit to a Don Wand is that you can immerse it in either hot or cold water before play to heighten the sensual experience.

NJoy Pure Wand
Pure Wand - The all steel dildo! Just looking at it gets a girl’s motor running (among other body parts). This hefty, 24-ounce pleasure toy is curved to hit the G-spot and features two sizes of balls on either end. It, too, can be warmed or cooled with water. Don’t put it in the freezer though. I especially enjoyed the visual feast that is the Pure Wand’s display: a jeweler’s quality box with lined material.


Womalia - This European concoction will drive you wild and to extreme orgasmic heights. It’s curved to hit all the right spots and warms to different intensities based on user settings. The Womalia has nine different settings to blow your mind. Keep a towel handy. The only downside (and it’s so small I feel ridiculous mentioning it) is that prior to the first use, the wand requires a 12 hour charge. A small price to pay for ultimate indulgence.

Tantus Little Secret Spoon
Tantus Little Secret - these discreet yet powerful vibes are just the thing when you don’t want to pull out the big guns but you want big orgasms. Each model has a different feature such as a flickering tongue, scooped “spoon” and clitoral stimulation, among others. This is not the best for penetration, but it definitely gives a good ride.

OhMiBod Freestyle G

OhMiBod Freestyle G - I love music. I love orgasms. Put the two together and holy crap! Now that’s a screaming O accompanied by a crescendo of your favorite playlist. Connect this badboy to any mp3 player and it pulses in time with your music. Beginners are urged NOT to try the 1812 Overture the first time out. It is a bit pricey, but it is worth the money.

So, while none of these made it into Enlightened, book 2 of my Sexual Magic Series, I did use quite a lot of the information gleaned to tease and taunt my heroine into many, many orgasms - forced and spontaneous. Hey, she’s a sub. She got in trouble.
Figging, anyone?
What about you? What’s your favorite toy?

Wishing you many naughty thoughts!
Twitter: @jennifer_august
Facebook: Jennifer August

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shopping for CPs is like shopping for a bra

A good support system is vital.

Photo courtesy of Arlen Roche.

As a writer, a good support system is as important as having a good bra. The fit has to be right, the lift has to be good and the straps shouldn’t hurt. And for God’s sake, make sure there isn’t any side boob hanging out. Okay, that last one is really just for bras.

In my writing career, I’ve had many mentors, many detractors and many people who’ve asked me for help and guidance. Because I received so very much assistance in the beginning, I feel very strongly I should give back to those just starting out. Though I always preface my critiques with the disclaimer that I’m being honest and hopefully helpful, I try incredibly hard never to be rude.

I’d much rather tell a writer, new or otherwise, that her heroine is showing severe lack of judgment by going downstairs naked, carrying only her vibrator for protection to check out that noise. Some people would simply scoff and say “She’s TSTL (too stupid to live).” That may be the case, but the heroine is only a manifestation of the writer. It’s the writer’s feelings you’re going to be hurting if you tell her something so harsh. And, as we have been told for years on end, show don’t tell. Don’t just tell the author, show her why. I’m not advocating re-writing, either. Just guide.

Finding a good fit for a critique partner or group isn’t always love at first read. It might take a few weeks or months before everyone is comfortable with the various critiquing styles. There are a few rules to keep in mind when selecting your CPs:

1. You hold the power. You’re not indenturing yourself to anyone. Not working for them but with them. If you don’t like the situation, leave. Even if the beginning is great and it disintegrates later, the choice is still yours. Gracefully exit the situation. Don’t burn bridges. Writing is a small community and word gets around.

2. Piggy-backing on that is: Be compatible in real life, not just on the page. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with these people. Dinners, meetings, social and professional gatherings. If they pick their nose in public or loudly put down every person who walks by and these things make you cringe, walk away.

3. Be respectful, but honest. If your CP writes a scene that involves ten pages of describing nail polish, you must let her know it’s not going to work. Don’t put a finger in your throat and pretend to gag because it’s so vomit-worthy, but couch your critique in terms of professional assessment. “You only have a reader’s attention for a few minutes. Spending this long on such a minor detail gives them a place to put the book down.” Now, if that nail polish is crucial to the storyline, then by all means, wax on. Just don’t do it for ten pages.

4. Listen with an open mind. Don’t be defensive or argumentative when receiving critiques. Every single CP has a different point of view than yours and will “see” things differently than you do. It’s their job to point out the things that hang them up. It’s your job to listen and absorb. You don’t have to change the story element if you don’t want to, but you must listen. I’ve seen (and yes, done) this many times, myself. And I always get caught by saying something along the lines of “but I know what I mean.” Well, great. I know, but my reader (CP) doesn’t have a clue in hell what I’m trying to say because obviously I didn’t say it well enough.

5. The internet is forever. Really, need I say more? I do? Oh, okay. So, remember when you were a kid and your parents told you if you couldn’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all? The interwebs is the same thing. If you get into a spat with someone, whether it’s a reader (don’t!), an editor (God, no!), a reviewer (we ALL remember what happened there) or a CP (cue doom and gloom music here), keep the flames off the internet. No group is private, despite the rules. You write one email to the loop you think is private and the next thing you know, it’s gone viral and you’re in a shitload of trouble, dealing with hurt feelings and anger from someone who trusted you and vice versa. Or you post a snide comment on their Facebook page. Or you tweet that so-and-so is a dumbass because they didn’t like your nail polish scene. Guess what? It’s irrevocable. It’s forever. In the words of Stephen of Ireland, “You’re fooked.”

6. Don’t overload yourself. Most writers I know are ridiculous multi-taskers. A lot work at full time Evil Day Jobs, write on the side, take care of the kids, spouse and house, take care of themselves, volunteer countless hours for their writing organizations and just generally run themselves more ragged than a pair of cut-off jeans. Don’t let this happen to you in relation to critique partners. Too many chefs spoil the broth and too many opinions muddle your story. Oddly enough, having too many partners can also cause dissonance in the group and fracture it with CPs taking sides over a particular critique. How many opinions do you need? Only you as a writer can answer that. I’ve been in groups as large as seven and as small as two. Both, and those in between, have worked fine. Only when I added online groups to the mix did things get crazy.

7. The writing mix is important. If your entire group writes historicals, you’re missing out on the modern perspective and vice-versa. If you all write paranormals featuring shapeshifters and vampires, again, you’re critique awareness can become very one note. Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and it’s true in a CP, too. Just try to remember to complement each other while your complimenting each other.

8. Bring work. This might sound like an “are you kidding me? Duh!” kind of thing, but really, showing up to each session with new material is vital to the longevity of the group.  If only one or two members consistently brings a fresh read, you run the risk of frustration and concerns about commitment to both the industry and the group. Make a pact, a rule, a goal, whatever, just make sure all members are on-board and willing to actively participate. Not having anything once in a while is perfectly fine, just don’t let it become a routine. If it does, time to re-evaluate.

9. Location, location, location. Find someplace that is both comfortable and equidistant convenient for all members. With gas prices sky high these days, be mindful of travel distance and times. More and more, I’ve heard in-person groups changing up procedures to alternate meetings with electronically submitted materials.

10. Keep abreast of industry information. All members should pitch in with tidbits about the industry, whether it’s something practical like a plotting exercise they’ve just heard of or changes going on in the publishing world. The wealth of knowledge between members should be coming from all sides, not just one or two. This could also be called pull your own weight. Don’t be a laggard and just milk what you can from everyone else. Actively participate. Not only information but in the social realm as well such as on all the social media sites, blogging, interviews, etc.

In short, finding a critique group or partner is not the easiest thing in the world to do. If I had to sum it up, I’d say this:
Don’t be a bitch.
Don’t be a doormat.
Don’t be disrespectful.

Wishing you naughty thoughts and naughty reading,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Author - Wendy Moon

Naughty Ink is delighted to welcome debut author Wendy Moon to the blogosphere today. Wendy, thanks for being here! I hope you didn't mind our crazy questions...

Fantasy time:  Top of My Fantasy To Do List: I would have to say Gerard Butler is way at the top of my fantasy list. There is just something about him that oozes bad boy masculinity and sex appeal. I love the sound of his rough voice with that cute Scottish accent. His crooked smile and sexy eyes makes my heart thump abnormally (not to mention making other parts of my body twitch as well) and I can only imagine what it feels like to have him touch me. I shiver when I think about it. Did you see his body in 300? Yum….my! And he was hilarious in The Ugly Truth.
If money were no object, the most luxurious, craziest out-of-this-world thing I would buy would be a private island for a home base and a luxurious yacht that I could drive around the world. I’ve always thought it would be fun to live on a house boat and if I had lots of money, I could really do it up in style. I’d love to visit some of the Greek Islands and just have the freedom to travel wherever I wanted to go. I’d go everywhere. That would be really awesome.
Top three guilty pleasures are:  
Going on chocolate binges. Sometimes I can sit down and eat a whole bunch of those mini-candy bars and not feel one bit guilty. Of course my tummy let’s me know later that it probably wasn’t a good idea, but I’d do it again, and I do eventually. 
Spending time just browsing the web. I don’t allow myself much time to simply surf from site to site anymore but I really enjoy following links to see where they lead. When I’m researching new information in the erotic realm for my stories or just for fun, I can absolutely drift off on surfing tangents because I find that world so taboo and fascinating and fun.
Just sitting and zoning out on television. I don’t get to follow a lot of shows because of my time spent writing so I do use my DVR to catch my favorites, like NCIS, White Collar, Fringe, The Mentalist, for example. Then when I’m able to take a long writing break, I can get caught up on several episodes at once…and with no commercials. I love that part the best. Although right now I have so many shows waiting to be watched that our DVR is so full my husband is fussing at me because there’s no room for his shows! Now that I have Aphrodite done, I can take a short break and I’m looking forward to giving my brain a rest for a few days.

Most Awesome and scary thing I’ve done – Thinking back, the most awesome and scary thing I’ve done would have to be the horseback ride I took in the Colorado mountains when we went camping one year in Crete Colorado, an old silver mining town. My fear of heights has increased over the last few years and if I’d been as bad as I am now back then, I would have turned around, but at the time I remember riding horses up this steep mountainside and looking down the side of this sheer cliff and thinking that all my horse would have to do was stumble on a rock and down we’d go. I had to be brave because I didn’t want the other ladies that went to know what a chicken I was. It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful, but I wouldn’t be able to take that trip today, it would give me a heart attack.
We also rented a car and drove up the road to Hana in Maui. I nearly squeezed my husband’s knee off I was gripping his leg so tight. Oh my God, it was scary. That was the steepest cliff side road I’ve ever been on, ever worse than the horse ride and I didn’t tolerate that one well. I know I drove my husband crazy with my phobias, but we had a great time while we were there anyway.  
And one more scary thing I’ve done was putting my story out there today! I think everyone can probably relate to that, but I’m excited too.

Wendy's book Aphrodite's Aphrodisiac is available 
TODAY in the Kindle store and for the Nook.
Aphrodite’s fun and erotic premise came to me during a discussion at work one day. We have a diverse group where religion is concerned and we were all talking about our different customs and what we believe, and a co-worker from India was explaining that they have a money god, and other various gods that they pray to, and one other co-worker said, “With my luck I’d think I was praying to the money god but I’d get the sex god, instead.”
I screamed when I heard her say this, and I startled everyone. Right then I knew this was the germ that got the story growing. I immediately wrote the phrase down and then it gelled in my head until I could hurry up and get the story written. I had such a blast researching the various gods and goddesses and found the subject of mythology fascinating. Although I barely remember touching on the subject in school, I know now I’ll be spending more time delving into this area because I enjoyed it so. And the way the mythology idea worked so nicely with the erotic romance genre made it even more fun to write. I had a good time with creating this story. 

It sounds wonderful, Wendy! Thanks for taking the time to be with us today. Happy sales! You can connect with Wendy on Twitter (@wendymoon1) or visit her website at www.wendymoon.com.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest Author - Michelle Miles

Naughty Ink is pleased to present author Michelle Miles! Welcome, Michelle, thank you for taking the time to speak with us!

Michelle Miles

Writing the Gladiatrix
By Michelle Miles

I’m excited to be here today talking about my latest release with DCL Publications, Phoenix Fire. It’s the story about a gladiatrix and her assassin lover.
Here’s the blurb:

Kill, or be killed.

Elena Gaius is Hixyl’s most heralded gladiatrix, catching the Emperor’s eye with her unspoiled beauty and fiery temper. Determined to let no man have her, he forces her into a life of unwanted accolades—for slaughter in the Games. With independence out of reach, Elena knows each day could be her last.

Cassius Antonius is a former general hired by an underground secret order to assassinate the Emperor. When he refuses, they take away the only thing precious to him—his freedom. Forced into servitude, he meets Elena and manipulates her into helping him, forming a shaky alliance and a searing romance.

The two become unwitting pawns in the struggle to save Hixyl from the Emperor’s tyranny. But plans spin out of control with the discovery of their secret tryst, and for their ultimate act of betrayal, the Emperor demands one last entertainment—to be pitted against each other in the Games in a fight to the death.

Kill or be killed ...
I dreamed the story. Specifically, the heroine, Elena. I distinctly remember when I woke up what the story would be about. Elena was tough and strong. She was forced to fight in the arena against men, earning her right to live another day. I had specific imagines in my mind about what would happen and how it would happen. And the worst part of it all was she would have to fight her lover in the arena in a fight to the death. These things I knew for certain. I just didn’t know exactly why she was forced to fight or how she had become a gladiatrix.

That morning, I thought about it the entire time I got ready for work. I chanted the story over and over in my head while I drove through rush hour. As soon as I got to my computer, I started typing out the synopsis. I had it completed in about twenty minutes and I knew I had to write it. I knew I had to tell Elena’s story.

As I started writing, I began to discover things about Elena. I wrong a long, intend prologue about her early life in an orphanage. I based my world on Ancient Rome. In the early draft, I did call it Rome just to give myself a place holder for when I could figure out what to call my world. My world had centaurs and nymphs and other mystical creatures. There’s a chariot race and numerous fights in the arena. There’s an evil Emperor, a Senator who wants to control the government himself, and an assassin determined to gain his freedom.

That was over two years ago when I first conceived and wrote it. It will be published sometime this year (hopefully in the near future!) with DCL Publications. But it took a while to sell it. I lost track of how many rejections I received for it but I was determined. It was only after I took Margie Lawson’s Deep Edits class that I realized what the opening line of the story should be:

Elena lived to kill and killed to live.

It set the tone for the entire story. That short eight word sentence, to me, speaks volumes about who Elena is and why she kills.

It would be a long hard journey for her as she fought for her freedom, knowing she would never have a chance at it. That she would have to fight in the arena until the day she died. Until she met Cassius. He changed everything for her. He offered her hope and gave her a taste of what it could be like to be free. He convinced her to help him assassinate the Emperor and she agreed, knowing with his death, she could walk away from her days as a gladiatrix forever. But her freedom wouldn’t come without a price—her life or Cassius’s. 

It was one of the most difficult stories I’ve ever written. I loved every minute of it. :) Difficult because I wanted Elena’s story to be real. I wanted to show her fighting in the arena against the other gladiators. I wanted the reader to experience watching a chariot race through her eyes. Hopefully, I’ve accomplished that.

Michelle Miles writes contemporary, fantasy and paranormal romance and is published with Samhain Publishing, Cobblestone Press, Ellora’s Cave and DCL Publications. For more information about her books, visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Face Your Writing Fears - Guest Author Brooke Anderson

Today Naughty Ink welcomes aspiring author Brooke Anderson. Brooke is finding her way into the writing world, ready to take it by storm. She shares with us some sage advice authors of any level can take to heart. Welcome Brooke Anderson!

This has been a rough week for my writing. I have two short stories I’m editing. I haven’t touched them in over a week. Each time I’ve gone near either of them, I cringed and did anything else. Today, I put my foot down and made myself confront my fear. Why was I scared to finish my editing?

Nagging self-doubt... what if?
Basically, both stories are a reader’s nightmare. Awkward sentences, run-ons, unclear descriptions, you name it. This opened the door for nagging self-doubt. I’m not talking about the helpful inner editor that says, “That ‘but’ should be an ‘and.’ That is an awkward sentence.” I’m talking about the mean voice that says, “You’re not a good writer. There is so much rewriting to do, you might as well not have written anything at all.” 

Beyond this negative voice screaming in my head, I think my stories need to be longer. Both stories seem like they are introductions to something more. I’m scared of writing longer. I’m scared of making plot holes and flat characters. I just don’t know how to write longer. In addition, part of my process is to write in twenty minute segments. Thinking about writing 50,000 words in twenty minute segments seems daunting.

Need encouragement? Call a friend
So, what do I do? How do I overcome the nagging self doubt and move forward with my writing and career? First, I must remember good writing is good editing. This is especially true with these manuscripts since they were written as part of National Novel Writing Month. Second, my sex scenes need help because they are coming from my imagination rather than describing what I did yesterday, which is what I’ve done in the past. Third, I’m still developing my skills. They will improve the more I write. You can see this in the works of big name authors, especially if you look back to some of their earlier work. Lastly, I need to remember even Sherrilyn Kenyon has that negative self doubting voice. What does she do? She calls a friend who encourages her. 

I need to take heart and move on. How? Address the problems. For instance, I don’t know how to write a longer book and I’m scared. That is valid, but instead of running away from writing, I need to find a way forward. I could go online to various forums, groups and chat rooms to find a mentor. Someone who has written a longer book and can give advice and help guide me along. I can also look at how to books for advice. My other major fear to confront is the quality of my writing. I need to find a “first reader” or a “beta reader” to help assess my level of work. Someone who will give feedback on what I do well in addition to what I need to work on. Once I have that information, I can focus on improving my weaker areas.

Don’t let negative self doubt scare you away from writing. Look beyond those harsh words and find the real problem. Then take steps to address those fears so you can move forward. I leave you with a quote that was recently sent to me. “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou

Contact Brooke at brookeanderson@gmail.com 
Follow her on twitter: @BrookeAn11

Saturday, January 7, 2012

POLL: What's your favorite position?

The Kama Sutra is famous for its varied positions in which a couple can enjoy the rigors of sex.

Porn movies are famous for trying to incorporate (dare I say stuff?!) as many positions into one scene as possible.

Romance authors get to use words to describe all sorts of Tab As into Slot Bs.

Question is: In real life, what's your favorite sexual position?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Temptation Thursday

Temptation Thursday features gorgeous images of whatever resonates my inner naughtiness.

Today, I'm sharing an image of Hugh Jackman. The man is hot in just about anything, but garners lots of purrs from me as Wolverine in the X-Men movies. This picture of him, though, is intense and seething with layers of "do you know what I want to do to you?" <happy sigh>
What do you think? Like it or hate it?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The art of the Pin Up

I love pin up art! My favorite is stuff from Gil Elvgren. This talented artist created over 500 oil on canvas paintings of women from the 1930s until 1972. His compositions were always tasteful, playful and innocently sensual, even when displaying overt nudity.

I'm not sure what it is that draws me so much to his work, but I have all sorts of calendars and prints and saved images of his work. Sometimes when I'm working on a project, I'll flip through the file just to get a visceral reaction.

Gil Elvgren "Easy to Handle" 1948
Mr. Elvgren worked as an advertising artist and created illustrations for companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric and Sealy Mattress Company. He has become widely recognized as the Master of the Pin Up.

But before Gil, there was Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the famous Gibson Girl of the 1900s. His vision of the American female as both beautiful and determined still resonates with people. I love the way his subjects always look so refined and refreshed. Probably the point, huh?

Charles Dana Gibson "Gibson Girl" 1900s
While technically not known as a Pin Up artist, Mr. Gibson's work was featured for over 30 years in weekly magazines as pen and ink drawings.

Boris Vallejo "The Egyptian Queen"
Frank Frazetta "The Seduction of Lilith"
And what would a Pin Up favorites list be with Boris Vallejo? His fantasy works are absolutely astounding. His attention to realistic musculature detail juxtaposed with fantastical images of otheworlds is astounding. His artwork has been featured in paperback fiction on covers for Conan, Tarzan, Doc Savage and a host of others.

Where one finds Boris, one must also give props to Frank Frazetta. Another wildly popular fantasy artist, he, too finds the beauty and sensual in images of horror and unbelievable. A lot of his work is also available in calendar form, but he did many movie posters and album artwork, as well as tons of unattached paintings.

What about you? Have any favorite pin up artists? Any favorite images? 

Wishing you deliciously naughty thoughts,