Thirteen Reasons Why You Must Buy THE DARK GARDEN!
1. Three words: whips, chains & leather. 2. Because if you don't, I'll cry. (and you don't want that. It's ugly. My mascara will run. I hate it when I look like Alice Cooper. Even though I love Alice Cooper.) 3. Because you love me, so you have to. 4. Hot men, hot sex, whips, chains & leather. 5. Because you could learn something about how BDSM actually works, the psychology behind it, and why pain is fun! 6. Dirty fantasies we all secretly have. (Yes, you do! Don't lie.) 7. Hieronymous Bosch. I love art, and there are a lot of references to art, philosophical discussions about art, and how it relates to life and sex. (which is, of course, the best part.) 8. Dungeons. Yep, back to whips, chains & leather. 9. Because my heroine, Rowan, has more of me in her than any other heroine I've ever written. Aren't you curious now? 10. Because pain never felt so good. (Trust me on this.) 11. Because your friends and family will never believe you read stuff like this...and isn't it fun to shock them once in a while? 12. Phone sex, kinky sex, sex toys...and whips, chains & leather. 13. Because I have to make the best seller lists so I can get a million dollar contract next year and fly you all on my private jet to my beachside writer's retreat. Okay, maybe not ALL of you.
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
THE DARK GARDEN CONTEST COUNTDOWN TO THE RELEASE OF MY DEBUT PRINT NOVEL JUNE 1ST!!!
Watch the countdown as I wait for the release of my debut print novel, THE DARK GARDEN on June 1st, and be eligible to win a signed Advance Reader Copy of my second novel, THE DARKER SIDE OF PLEASURE, plus a few other goodies! The ARCs of my second novel were just shipped and it hasn’t even been reviewed yet, so you may be the very first to see it! This is all you have to do: 1) First, check with your local bookstores and make sure they have copies of my book available-do it now! It takes 2-4 weeks for them to order books! If they haven’t already ordered it, simply tell them you and a few people you know are interested in the book, and they’ll put in an order. 2) Then, after the book is released June 1st, go to the bookstore and photograph yourself and/or your friends or family with the book, and send the pictures to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org Two prizes will be awarded, and there are two ways to win: ~Take the funniest or most unique photo. I'm not going to tell you what to do here-feel free to use your imagination! Just don’t break any laws. ~or~ ~Take the photo with the most people in it. You’re welcome to drag-uh, ask- other bookstore customers to join in your photo-they don’t have to be people you know. 3) If you have a blog , you can paste this code into your sidebar or in a post to join in the countdown to the release of my book-and invite others to do the same! Don’t forget-all photos must include someone holding THE DARK GARDEN, or it must be on the bookshelf, or otherwise prominently displayed. (THE DARK GARDEN will most often be shelved in the literature section, but some stores may carry it in romance).All photos must be taken between June 1st and June 15th, and submitted by midnight PST on June 15th. Winners will be announced on June 20th.
*Disclaimer: Photos may be posted on my blog. By submitting photos to me, you agree to have these photos posted or used at my discretion.
...in revision hell. 'Cause that's where I'll be for the next few weeks. Exotica needs a lot of work. I knew it did, but I was too close to it, and I didn't know exactly what it needed until my editor told me. My editor is brilliant, I swear. Every single suggestion she makes rings true the moment she says it. Darn her. I have tons of work to do. But it'll be a much better book in the end. Meanwhile, there will be no meals cooked, no housecleaning, no long phone conversations with my friends, no shopping trips or lunch with the girls, no idle nights in front of the television (okay-reality check-it's season finales for Lost and American Idol, but that's only three hours of TV a week, less if I DVR it and fast-forward through the commercials). But this is what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer. So, I may sweat a little blood in these next weeks, I may tear my hair out and chew my nails. And trust me, there's going to be a lot of whining. But no matter how hard it is, it's worth it to me. Most of us have no idea going in how much harder this gets once we sell a book. I'm just beginning to get used to all of it. To remembering to allow time in my writing schedule for this sort of thing: revisions, copy edits, galleys to proof, life. To every day being a work day. To that guilt when I spend the day goofing off instead of writing or editing. My first print book, THE DARK GARDEN, is coming out in a few weeks. My boyfriend and my parents and I are going to go to the bookstores together on June 1st to see my book on the shelves. We'll take pictures. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry. And if I cry, my step-mom will start in, and the guys will stand there and roll their eyes. I can hardly wait. So-this is why we do this. This is why we tear ourselves up getting all that pain and joy on the page, why we sweat it out waiting to hear back about a submitted manuscript, drown ourselves in chocolate when we get a rejection. Because some day, we just might see one of our books in an actual bookstore, sitting on the shelf, waiting for someone we don't even know to buy it. Wow. This is what keeps me going through the times like this: knowing that in only a few weeks, that'll be me on the bookshelf, right between Shelley Bradley and Celeste Bradley (I've checked), and maybe even close to Marion Zimmer Bradley. Hopefully I'll live long enough to see it. These revisions may kill me-at least, that's how it feels right now. So, I'm loading up on chocolate and sympathy and locking myself in my office. See you in a few weeks! Onward and upward! Eden
Fellow erotica author Laura Bacchi mentored me through my first e-book, HEATWAVE (still available at www.Phaze.com). It was a difficult process, but I lived to tell the tale-and many others!-and am a much better writer for it. Laura writes sizzling and sensual stories, with a little something for every taste. I love that she's unafraid to push a few boundaries-that sort of honesty is rare, even in the recent blossoming of erotica and erotic romance. Read on and get to know this prolific and talented author
Tell me a little about your writing journey. When did you first begin to write? How did you get from there to being a published author? And I want all the gory details!
Once upon a time there was this quiet gal who worked in a public library… Her libido, caught up in a surge of thirty-something hormonal craziness, was making her husband very happy but very tired. I liked to read romance, but couldn’t always find titles with enough sex in them—or the kind of sex I liked—so I resorted to daydreaming. Meanwhile, a local RWA chapter would hold their monthly meetings in the library’s conference room, laugh really loud, and bring good-smelling food. I was intrigued but too shy to get involved. When the authors I liked couldn’t write fast enough for me, I began to wonder if I could write my own stories. When I moved on to another library, I decided to quit whining and find out for myself. That was four years ago, and I’ve been writing ever since. Being a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers taught me a lot about the craft, and while a member, I sold a few not-too-naughty short stories to Sun magazine, a sister publication to The National Enquirer. These stories were fun to do, but I really wanted to write longer and dirtier. I met good friend Bridget Midway at CRW, and since we both wrote erotic romance, she encouraged me to try for two publisher writing contests in late 2004. I placed in both and have continued to find a home for my work at epublishers ever since.
Gory details? Let’s see… there was the first time I ever typed a body part. The word was “nipple” and I kept giggling like a kid who’d just made his first underarm fart or something. Writing about it now, I can still feel how hot my cheeks were and how utterly embarrassed I was, my eyes barely able to look at the word onscreen. What would my mom think? My co-workers? Finally I told myself that if I had these smutty thoughts and wanted to be a writer, I damn well better be able to type every nasty word out there. And I think I have ;)
One of your latest releases, Topping Tora, was a long time in the making. Tell me about the book and what was different for you in writing it?
I’m fascinated by the idea of people confronting their desire to be dominant or submissive. What makes them go after the sex they want? How do they make it happen? And what about when things don’t go as planned? Tora wants to be dominated, but when a rival who tops her at work shows up to top her at play, she can’t believe her bad luck. Jovan has wanted Tora in a bad way for a while, but after all the fun and games are over, she may not want him.
Tora’s not the nicest character, and I’ve caught some flack for that. When she decides to explore her submissive side with someone more experienced—and much more dangerous—Tora learns that “Be careful what you wish for” is more than just an expression.
As for differences, there were many. It was my first interracial and my longest story at 47K. Writing longer forces you to get deeper into your characters’ heads, for better or worse. There were days when I looked like a zombie while the characters took over my brain. I’m really a short story/novella writer, so anything over 25K drains my brain. The logic errors and timing flaws, keeping the tension going…quite a challenge for my pea-brain.I also wrote my first FF scene for this. Plus Topping Tora was quite violent in places. My hands literally shook while typing one scene, and I stayed nauseous for hours each time I worked through it. I’m also pretty stubborn and when two writers had a problem with part of the plot, I had to step back and realize they were right, then gut a big chunk of the tale. In the end, the story was better for it, but it was a painful thing to do.
Tell me about the glamorous life of a published author. What is an average day like for you? Do you have daily or weekly writing goals?
There’s glamour? I missed that part! I have a pretty challenging day job as the Director of Marketing for a nursing certification board. Then I come home and spend time with my husband and child until about I’m also the proofreader for Ruthie’s Club, an online literary erotica site, and that takes up at least three nights a week. I write with whatever time remains and basically set quarterly or yearly goals. As a slow writer, I have to think in terms of projects rather than time.
Does your family know you write erotic fiction? If so, how do they respond?
They know and they’re supportive. Well, my grandmother knows I write some kind of romance, but Mom hasn’t told her the full scoop. My immediate family laughs about what I write, but they’re all afraid to read it so far.
You write a lot of kink, as I do. What do you feel are the challenges involved in writing kinky material? And do you feel a need to educate your readers, or is your intent purely to entertain?
Kink is so big these days that authors have to stand out in the crowd to get noticed. They also have to write with authenticity even though they may not be experts in a certain area. But, hey, nothing is more fun than researching kink in my opinion. Writing with an eye for detail, getting the terminology correct, delving into the sensations—all of this is crucial. When writing BDSM, I often try to work in negotiations, safewords, etc. because I respect that lifestyle, but I don’t feel pressure to do so. It all depends on the story, the characters, the setting, etc.
What are the particular challenges in writing erotic fiction? What do you think are the most common mistakes made by new writers, or those new to writing the genre?
Keeping the sex fresh. Finding the right balance between story and sex. Making a “happy for now” ending resonate with the reader. There are many more challenges, and goodness knows there’s always room for improvement in my own work. Common mistakes for new authors include writing stale, mechanical sex and the repetition of certain words. Move, slide, wet, tight… yeah, we use them, but we have to do so judiciously. I catch a lot of echoes in my own work and actually keep a list of my “favorites” to search for and substitute with another word during the final run-through on a story. And don’t forget to know the market and read the sub-genre in which you plan to write.
Do you have a few guys in your mind’s eye that you model your heroes on? Anyone I might know?
Johnny Depp and Gerard Butler. Please tell me you know them! I’ll give them back in, oh, a few weeks no worse for wear—I promise!
What would be the personality traits of your perfect hero?
Strong. Giving. A deep thinker who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Trusting and open to change. Submissive would be nice as well, but this he could learn ;)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? In a beautiful Tuscan villa overlooking the sea. Or maybe a rugged castle in the Scottish highlands. I like the idea of living somewhere exotic as long as there aren’t too many bugs. Or taxes.
You’re an art fan, as I am, and an artist yourself. How does art influence or inspire you? I think being an artist hopefully helps me describe things well and visualize scenes better when I’m having trouble writing. Sometimes when I have writer’s block (and that’s often), I browse istockphoto.com for “exotic places” or “sexy blond man” to see what pops up. Seeing images can feed a scene, help build a character, or add detail to setting.
Who are some of your favorite authors, of any genre? I don’t have a lot of time to read these days (bad, bad author, I know) but I love Emma Holly, and I’ve read many a Johanna Lindsey and Amanda Quick. Loretta Chase is a great writer—Lord of Scoundrels was about as perfect as you can get. Judith Ivory is another author who rarely disappoints. As for epub titles, I enjoy buddy Bridget Midway’s writing. I’ve got several MM authors in my TBR pile, as well as Lisa Andel and Joey Hill. The excerpts I’ve read by the last two hooked me right away.
What are some of your favorite sensual, but not necessarily sexual, pleasures? Dining out at a good Indian restaurant. Top-notch wine. Drinking that wine outside on a crisp fall night when there’s a breeze and a full moon. The brush of a friendly cat against my bare feet. A toe ring hidden under a sock in winter.
The cover for Heart of a Hunter is a personal favorite of mine! Tell me about the book-although I’d buy that one for the cover alone! Trace at Amber Quill rocked that cover—and the cover for the sequel, The Heart of a Man, curls my toes as well. I’ve always had a weakness for those alien-comes-to-Earth-to get-a-mate stories. In The Heart of a Hunter, Asher has been sent across the galaxy to find his brother’s bride, but of course wants to keep her for himself. It’s a short but fun romp through the stars.
As writers, we all have those days where we doubt ourselves, wonder if we should really be writers…how do you deal with days like that and move past them? Ha—I’m stuck there now, dealing with the aftermath of two back-to-back Rs. I guess it’s the love of the words and the stories they create that keep you going. Even though I’m in a rut (and often am), I came up with a scene while driving home today. When writing’s in your blood, you can’t give up. You’d be even more miserable. So we forge ahead and keep believing that some reader out there will find pleasure in the worlds we build, and the stories and characters we offer.
What projects do you have in the works, and when and where can I find them? I’m currently working on two shorts that I hope are accepted for Sasha White’s next Secret Thoughts anthology for Samhain. The release date hasn’t been set, but one story will be MM and the other MMF with a woman who has a thing for twins. Claimed and Charmed, two novellas to complete a futuristic trilogy, will hopefully be released at Amber Quill later this year or early 2008. I’ve submitted a paranormal MM to someone new (to me) and hope to hear something soon. There are a few more WIPs, but I’m dragging my feet on those, trying to write longer and be more of a plotter. Hopefully they’ll be finished and publisher-bound soon.
What is your best piece of advice to aspiring writers? Treat it like a business but love it like a hobby.
Well...all I can say is this was a very wild time! I think the earliest I got to bed was 2AM, the average was 3, and one night it was 4:30. Yeah. I'm way too old for this. I came home with no voice, but a happy smile on my tired face. I went to a few workshops (I know-I never go to the workshops!). In particular I loved Sasha White and Vivi Anna's on Bad Girls. Our group was there-Lillian Feisty, Karen Erikson and me. The fabulous Feisty attended with cocktail in hand-a white chocolate martini, I believe. A wonderful, interactive workshop-fun and a little dirty! We love that! My pal and brilliant webmistress, Jax Crane, also presented a workshop on web marketing with Cathy Clamp and Rob Preese-2 hours long, and they did an amazing job! Really detailed info. Of course, they probably could have done without Kristen and I sitting in the back row giggling like a couple of school girls-all I can do is plead exhaustion. Jax is just lucky that Kristen didn't get up, spit on a wad of tissue and wipe her face, as she kept threatening to do after we both fawned over how pretty she looked, how brialliant she was, what a good job she was doing, like her two mothers. I met some wonderful people there this year-way too many to list. And it was great to see some of my old Diva friends I only get to see once a year. The costume parties were insane! In a good way. I'm such a costume geek-that was my favorite part. I really never wanted to take my fairy wings off ever again. They'd go so well with my pj's and fuzzy slippers while I type away in front of my computer every day. Hmmm...they just might, at that... Okay-here are some pics, although those of you who want to see the full load can go into Chit Chat at Romance Divas and look for my RT pics post with the link. This was about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on!
A very happy RG Alexander with the Ellora's Cave calendar models. A lovely way to start the convention!
The Divas do Moulin Rouge-the first party.
RG, Jax, me, Feisty, Karen.
Author Tawny Taylor & me-Moulin Rouge party
Fairy Ball-myself & Jax with Tawny Taylor, winner of the costume contest! Well-deserved-she makes hers by hand!
Phaze fairies! Will Belegon, Alessia Brio, Kat Lively, me, Robin Slick, Eliza Gayle.
Diva fairies! Me, Karen, Feisty, Jax and RG, our little woodsprite, in front.
3AM-night of the Fairy Ball-cuddling with Karen Erikson
Me Feisty & Jax-Wild West Vampire Ball
Author Adrienne Kama & Me-Wild West Vampire Ball
My darling RG Alexander and Jax. One of the few pics I have of anyone not in a costume!
Too much fun, too little time to straighten up. It got worse-this was only day 3.