Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Virginal Heroes?

I read on yahoo today that the number of teenage pregnancies had rose in 2006 from what the numbers had been in the 1990s and are still rising. Oddly enough, I was talking to my teenage daughter last night about sex. At this time, she is in the mindset of waiting until marriage. Though, I am not disillusioned that that might change. We discussed how girls her age and younger were turning up pregnant at school. Yes, we live in Mississippi and it was number 5 on the list for rise. At least we weren’t number 1 like everything else.

I also asked her if she expected to marry a man who had waited. She replied with a yes. So I proceeded to ask where she thought she would find a man who waited. I wanted her to really think about it because I’m not sure the guys she’s hanging out with will fit that category.

Now that doesn’t mean they are bad kids, but let’s face it, do guys really wait for marriage? We live in an age where you’re an adult at 18. Yet we treat the group of 18-25 as children calling them young adults where once teenagers were thought to be young adults. More and more they are still living off their parents. And parents are allowing this. They take care of them financially and don’t require them to grow up. But they are. At least their bodies are if not their minds. By the time a girl is 25, she’s been able to have a baby for 12 years. In some cases even longer. We happen to be created with natural urges. And while we might be living longer, women still reach a point where her childbearing days are over. Yet we wait to married later in life after college and a career. In a lot of cases, a woman feels like she has to choose between kids and a career.

Historically, women have been the expected sex to wait until her wedding night. But even that has changed. Girls no longer see it as the moral thing to do. Sex is in their face from a very early age. If you allow your kids to watch TV at all, it’s drilled into their brains. Forget about the movies. There are rated R movies that I would let my kids watch before some PG-13s. They’re filled with sexual euphemisms from start to finish, but yet we tag these as okay for 13 year-olds? These kids are in junior high and no way ready to handle the responsibilities that come with having sex. Yet about 54% of all girls ages 15-19 are having sex. So what does that say about boys?

Okay, so what about the romance hero? How many romance stories have you read with a virgin hero? I don’t think I’ve read any. I’ve read some with the heroine being a virgin. Usually these are historicals or stories where she’s 18. (This does not include inspirational or Christian as I have not read those genres.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching one way or the other about abstinence. I’m just observing the lack of virgin heroes in romance stories. Why? Because I’m writing one and curious as to what readers want. Does being a virgin make the hero any less of a hero? Does he have to have had sex with lots of women to be heroic? Does being a virgin actually mean that he couldn’t possibly be a good lover? What if your hero has chosen to wait? Are there no men in the world that could choose this?

I for one will actually think twice about writing a romance with a virginal hero again. Why? Because he’s moody to start with and really needs to get laid. Second, once he gets laid, that’s all he wants to do. I had plans to move this story along, but he’s getting sidetracked and wants to add about ten sex scenes. I had to put my foot down on that one. But he’s still insisting on at least three more than I had plan. Two, I’ve written. But he wants one more. Men.

So what do you think? Virginal heroes or not?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Trailer

Check out this book trailer for Autumn Piper's upcoming release Trouble Under Venus. Coming Feb 1. from Lyrical Press.

For some love lasts a long time, for others a lifetime. Can theirs outlast space-time?

Randi’s summer vacation plans? Attending Professor Sudo’s Time Travel Academy so she can blast back to 1980 Miami and figure out where her father disappeared to. She’s the head of her class until hottie Mitch arrives disguised as a geeky geologist and totally messes up her meditation. Goodbye Soulful in Sedona, hello Yearning in Yoga. So long solo time-travel, hello pushy partner--who happens to be a buff tri-athlete, a sympathetic listener, and an ace FBI agent on a top-secret mission. With his help, she’ll conga her way into the Cuban mafia, try not to destroy the delicate fabric of the space-time continuum, dodge a few bullets, and solve The Mystery of the Missing Dad. And maybe fall just a little in love…

Content Warning: A new adventure in women’s fiction, with a heroine who boldly goes where no chick has gone before, tons of danger and intrigue, a roller-discoing Granny, life and death betrayal, steamy Miami nights and one hot FBI agent.

Buy Link


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Diehard Fan…Or Bandwagon Jumper?

In sports, you have two types of fans. First, you have the ones who are the true diehard fan. They stick with their team whether they’re winning or losing. They stick through the rough spells and always hope for a better outcome next season. Then you have the bandwagon jumpers. The ones who jump from team to team depending on who’s winning. And if you’re like my daughter, you go with the team who has the hottest guys playing for them.

Me…I’m a diehard fan. I’ll stick with my team through the losing streak and cheer anyway. Go Panthers!

So what about writing? Or reading?

I guess this could apply too. Maybe you stick to one or two genres. Or maybe you go with the market, reading or writing the next trend. Now of course, unless sports is your business, your income doesn’t really depend on what team you follow. So following the trend isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Writing is a business. I can see the positives and negatives in both writing approaches.
Staying with your one genre helps readers to know what your stories will be about. They can open the book and get the story they’d hoped for. You can build a fan base of readers and hopefully they’ll pass your name around. Plus, the more you write the stronger and more knowledgeable you get in your genre. On the down side, the market might not be strong in your genre, therefore buying fewer stories. And you could be alienation yourself from a huge reader base in other genres.

Now, on the other hand, if you follow the market it could be harder to build the “diehard fan” fan base. Most authors write under different names for different genres to let the reader know what type of story to expect in each book. But then you have to build fans for two different authors. Of course, you hope to land more contracts by writing what the publisher wants at any given moment. And hopefully the fans you make in one genre will take a chance on another genre written by you.

Both of these approaches could work. It really just depends on what drives you and how you want to write. I just can’t seem to write for the market. I’ve tried and I lose heart in the story. Or nothing comes out. I spend more time reading or researching than writing. And by the time I feel like I might be knowledgeable enough to write that genre, the market has changed.

It’s not that I will write one genre and one genre only. (Makes me think of Blades of Glory - We skate to one song and one song only.) I’ve tried my hand at a couple different ones. But I’m a romance girl with a couple of different sub genres I like. I have written erotica and mystery. But they just don’t seem complete to me without the romance.

Of course, hoping genres goes deeper than this. You have all kinds of sub-genres in romance. Some authors stay true to sub-genres and some hop around in this too. Again, I like to stay in a few or mix a few in the same book. I tend to stick with contemporary, but want to try historical and sci-fi. My current WIP is historical. I also tend to stick with erotic romance, but my current WIP is also a sweeter romance. Then, even if I don’t try to, at least half of my work seems to have a mystery going on. I’ve written a straight mystery. And I plan to write a sequel to that book. But even if the market moved from romance to mysteries, I don’t think I could stop writing romance. It was hard enough not to turn my mystery into a mystery romance. No. I consider myself a diehard fan, diehard writer and diehard reader.

So what are you?


Friday, January 15, 2010

Guest Blogged

Hey everyone, I blogged at Avoid Writers Hell today. It's called Keeping the Ball in the Air. For anyone who feels like writing can be a juggling act between writing and family you might want to take a look.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Starving Artist? …Or Just Starving

Everyone has heard the phrase “starving artist”. But in today’s economy, more people than just artist are plain starving.

This year over the holidays, I found it heartbreaking when the news and radio stations did stories on the local shelters. Reports of all-time-low food supplies with all-time-high requests for help. But not only did this stretch to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks. In my community alone, two animal shelters were completely out of dog food. I imagine the last present people gifted this year was another mouth to feed. I felt horrible and donated what I could spare, which wasn’t much. Maybe bought 50 lbs of dog food.

What’s more is that hard working American’s in the land of plenty with jobs are finding it hard to feed their families. The budget’s tight. Stress is high. And people are having to change the way they live.

I feel blessed. I haven’t felt the crunch like some have. My hubby has a good job even if I had to give mine up. Mind you, I had to stop working for health reason not because of the economy. But we still lost a complete salary. So, I’ve changed a few things; took the steps most people start out with. I’ve cut the extra $20 here and there to places like Netflix. We really didn’t do a good job of sending them back anyway. Plus we have HBO and since we’ve been a customer with DirecTV for like more than five years, they gave us a year of Showtime for free. (I think it was Showtime. I don’t watch much TV anyway. That’s hubby’s department.) I also cut car insurance we were paying on a car that is broke down right now. With no money to fix it, why pay for the insurance? I also cut the temperature by five degrees. It seemed really cold at first and everyone complained. But after about two weeks of it, I think we are adjusting. Trimming these small things seems to have added up to just over a hundred dollars. (Not including the electricity. The verdict or bill isn’t in on that one yet.) To some, that might not be much. To others it’s a lot. But the big savings…

Eating out.

When I worked, I was too tired to cook. My health just would not support me working and running a family. We ended up eating out a lot. Both my husband and I ate out for lunch every day. And dinner was either takeout or some overpriced, prepackaged, readymade meal. We bought a lot of throw in the microwave and if we didn’t get takeout everyone fixed their own prepackaged meal. I know we had to have spent at least five hundred dollars a month on takeout. And I’m only talking about fast food or the cafeteria at work, not high-end restaurants. One meal at Sonic for a family of four is around forty dollars. But I had the money to blow then and no energy to do anything else. The grocery bill was anywhere from one-fifty to two hundred a week.

Now I don’t have the money. So, I’ve been cooking for the last month. I set up a menu and spent as little as I could at the grocery. I went shopping for two weeks, and I spent a bit under two hundred. I’m feeding a family of four, three meals a day. That includes kids’ lunches at school and soft drinks for my hubby at work.

So, what are we eating? Well, it isn’t steak. But we are eating. If I make a dinner for five dollar, we have saved twenty-five to thirty-five dollars when compared to takeout. But what can you make for five dollars? Last night I made a casserole. Mum, yummy right? It wasn’t that bad. First I cooked up a pound of ground turkey. Yes, turkey. Check it out. It’s better for your health than beef and cheaper too. I can get a pound of turkey in the roll for under two dollars. Sometimes you can find it already seasoned like taco or Italian. Then I made a box of mac-n-cheese. It doesn’t have to be the fancy noodles. You can get the cheapest and still buy Kraft for under a dollar. Then I added a can of condensed soup about a dollar. Last night I used cream of mushroom, but I like broccoli cheese better for this or any kind of cheese soup. Then I added a can of corn (about seventy cents) and threw in a package of biscuits (about a dollar). The only name brand in this was the mac-n-cheese. You’ll never know the difference from name brand or store brand soup or corn. Now this comes in at about five to six dollars. But guess what? I added one can of peas last night at about seventy cents and stretched the meal so that there were leftovers for my husband to take to work for lunch. Instead of him buying a plate at work for five-fifty, he took seventy cents worth of leftovers. Now we’re talking a dinner for four and lunch for one; forty plus five-fifty of eating out verses six-seventy. A savings of thirty-eight dollars. And the kids didn’t even complain because they had mac-n-cheese.

Another thing I have discovered is frozen meatballs. They come in a bag and you can even get store brand. I throw eight per person in the oven and heat up some spaghetti sauce. Then cut some hoagies for meatball subs and add some cheese; sliced or shredded works fine. Serve with chips or a better bang for the buck is fries. The meatballs are about five dollars a bag, the bread two to two-fifty and the sauce anywhere from seventy cents to two dollars depending on what brand and size you get. The bonus here is that there are enough meatballs in the five dollar bag to make this twice, cutting the price to two-fifty for the meatballs per meal. Bread comes six hoagies to a bag, leaving two for nice sandwich lunches. And if you make a menu and time it right, you can buy a large can of sauce and split it between the subs and a spaghetti dinner, which is another cheap meal.

Tonight is the trusted pot of beans with cornbread and turkey sausage; which, by the way, flavors the beans better than ham anyway. I buy a lot of different types of dried beans and add some of each kind to mix them. Soak them over night and cook them on low the next day. I season with the link turkey sausage, Zatarain’s Creole season (there’s also one called Tony’s Creole, but I like Zatarain’s better), an onion or minced onions and turmeric. I like black, red, navy, kidney or most any been. Lima not so good. Lintels are the cheapest and I add them for filling. They don’t taste too great on their own, but with the other beans, you’ll never taste them. And they are the best bean for you.

Artists have been starving for years. So, I bet we have a lot of great tips to stretch the food budget. I’d love to hear more great tips from all of you.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Eye Catching Cover

I saw this cover and it caught my eye.

Ravenwing by Carol Mayer
Cover art by Amanda Kelsey
Published by Eternal Press

How beautiful is this? Amanda Kelsey is very talented. I love how the browns and greens flow seamlessly.


Astral Projection, peril... and romance.

Ravenwing’s voices have always protected her, and when they tell her to use her astral projecting powers to first help an injured cavalry officer, and then the war effort, she ‘travels’ and has a brush with death in the process.

Paranormal, Western, Romance, 24,120 words

Buy Link


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marital Affair Excerpt


“The test came back negative.” More bad news from Dr. Wendell.

Lucas Sinclair turned to his wife, Colleen, sitting in the plush leather chair next to him. The when-is-it-going-to-happen look was plastered all over her face; blank eyes, lips neither smiling nor frowning, and pale cheeks. He grabbed the tissues from the inside pocket of his suit coat and handed them to her. Her cold hands trembled.

“Why can’t I get pregnant?” Colleen turned her head away, wrapped her arms around her empty belly and rocked.

Lucas rubbed her back and she flinched, letting him know his touch was unwelcomed at this particular moment.

Dr. Wendell fumbled with the chart on his desk. “You’re a real estate agent, correct?”

When Colleen refused to answer, Lucas offered the information. “Yes, we both are.”

“How many hours do you work in a given week?” Dr. Wendell looked at him.

This was the part of the visit where Colleen clammed up and refused to participate.

“Fifty to sixty.”

“Uh hum.” He jotted a note down. “And the new house, are you settled in?”

“We still have some unpacking to do, but the worst part is over.”

Dr. Wendell turned to Colleen. “Mrs. Sinclair, are you eating healthy? Getting enough sleep?”

“Why does it matter? You’re acting like this is my fault, like I can just will myself to get pregnant. Well, I can’t. I’ve tried.” She stood and walked to the wall of windows overlooking the city. “Nothing I’ve done has worked.”

“Colleen, we’ve been through this, no one is blaming anyone. I’ve run the test on both of you. Twice. There is nothing physically wrong with either of you, so at this point we need to evaluate the stress of your lifestyle. That’s all.” Dr. Wendell pulled out a calendar. “You need to plan intercourse when you’re ovulating, eat healthy, exercise. Those sort of things for the both of you.”

“We’ve been doing that for two years. I don’t need another chart. They’re all over the house now.” Colleen grunted as she shredded the tissues in her hands.

Dr. Wendell set their file down and took off his glasses. “I know I’ve asked you before, but would you be willing to talk to my colleague? She’d be happy to help.”

Colleen spun around and glared at the doctor. “Colleague? You mean a sex therapist. Someone to tell me how to have sex. Please my man. What, I don’t eat right, sleep right, work right? Now I don’t fuck right?”

Hope you enjoyed. Get your copy today for .99 at Smashwords.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Marital Affair re-released

Marital Affair has been re-released at Smashwords and with a brand new cover.


Lucas Sinclair is determined to give his wife Colleen her heart’s desire. Problem is, Colleen yearns for a child and they haven’t been able to conceive. With persistent pressure from their doctor, they agree to see a sex therapist who tells them to have fun and live out their fantasies. Colleen confesses to having one fantasy, but can she let go of her pain long enough to act it out?

This short erotica sells for $0.99. Be sure to grab your copy today, leave a review and let me know if you would like a sequel to this hot number.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

2010! Life sure does pass one by. Especially when one is on muscle relaxers.

Bringing in the new year is suppose to be about new beginnings and changes. Well I don't plan to have any new beginnings. Well, none for a while. What I want is an end. A few ends really. Ends to all the new beginning stories I have on my computer. I know, that will probably change, but right now I want to finish my WIPP and maybe drag out some other stories and shape them up to ship them off.

My current WIPP is at 24k now. I squeezed in a couple Ks in the last week. The goal is to be complete with this WIPP by Feb 14.

I have a new story coming out scheduled for May 10 right now. It seems so far away. It's called 0 to 69 in 5 Minutes. It will be released by eXcessica. I'm excited about that. The authors at eXcessica seem to be a lively and fun bunch. They also have a new website they released today and a new bookstore. How fun is that?

My review site is growing all the time. We went over the 1,000 visitors mark. We have new things planned for 2010. Since the Christmas special went over so well, we want to hold a Valentine's special too. So if you have a published Valentine story and would like a review, get it to us. We are going to start a reader voted book of the quarter. Books that are rated t least 5 hearts will be in the running. Also, we opened our doors and are looking for reviewers.

I still have All for an Angel on sale for .99 at Smashwords until Jan 10. Be sure to grab your copy and use the coupon code GL28P.

Gabe Hawkins has dreamed of Amy Bradshaw since junior high, but a game of revenge from his twin smashed those dreams when Lou seduced Amy, impregnating her. Amy wants Gabe. But having Gabe in her bed would cost her custody of Angel. Gabe’s persistence is wearing Amy down. She agrees to one night together to live out her fantasies. Will her fantasies force her into an unbearable reality?

I'm looking forward to great 2010.