Monthly Archives: September 2009

Lines I Will Not Cross

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I will read just about anything, but there are lines I will not cross. If you had asked me what those lines were a week ago, I would have waffled a bit.

Not now.

A few days ago, I visited a used book store near my house and found some old romances in the clearance section. One of the books was written by an author I used to love — I’ve read twenty or more of her books, and some of them are my all time favorites. A couple of them pushed the envelope, but I didn’t actually dislike them. I really hated this book.

The author is dead, but even so, in deference to the many books of hers that I read and loved, I’m not mentioning any names here. This subject has been on my mind recently, because others have talked about it, too. Many romance readers my age (not young) started with Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books, as I did.

Those books aren’t considered very PC today, but I dearly loved them back in the day. Attitudes have changed and the books written today have different sensibilities. I didn’t used to have very strong feelings about this — I just figured we had evolved, and the books with us.

The book that inspired this blog was written about fifteen years ago — not really old, but certainly not new. The writing wasn’t bad — this was an experienced author — but the hero was not today’s Alpha. No, he was a violent, jealous prick. Excuse my language, but I found that I do have lines that I will not cross, and the hero of this book crossed them.

When a hero manhandles the heroine by choking her to the point she passes out, has a ring of bruises around her throat and can barely speak for days, do not expect me to forgive this creep, no matter what his provocation was. I don’t want to see the heroine coming over all understanding and forgiving — I have two words for her: Balls. Off.

I was so upset when I finished this book (and yes, I did push through to the end), I very nearly threw it against the wall. I usually pass on books I’ve read (except the favorites), but I am reluctant to do so with this one.

Do I really want to inflict this hero on an unsuspecting friend, thereby becoming a sort of enabler? Or do I break a lifetime of treasuring books and actually throw it out? (I am stumbling over the words, they so go against everything I believe — but still . . .)

What about you? What lines won’t you cross when it comes to romance, erotica, romantic suspense or paranormal? Or any book, for that matter? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tricky topic.

Some Like it Hot

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I just changed the setting for this blog to “mature.” It’s not especially mature right now, but I have a lot of friends who write erotica and/or hot romance, and I’d like them to be able to post excerpts of their books here.

I admit I have one of those cute Vera Bradley book covers to hide what I’m reading from the public. I tend to use those if I’m sitting at the airport, where I don’t want skeezy (is that a word?) guys snickering at what I’m reading.

But, these days, I’m not so shy about admitting that I like my reading on the sizzling side. I’m no spring chicken, and if I feel like reading something that stirs my blood, it’s no one’s business but my own.

Lora Leigh? You betcha. Hot vamps, a la J.R. Ward or Kresley Cole? Oooh, yeah. Shapeshifters, selkies, dragons and werewolves? Give me more Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, G. A. Aiken, Shana Abe and all those many paranormals that I love so much!

What about you? Do you read the sizzlers, or are you uncomfortable with the more graphic side of romance? If you like the steamy books, who are your favorite authors? I like Lacey Alexander, for one, and I recently discovered Beth Kery. There are many more on my must-read list, but I want to hear about YOUR favorites!

By the way, if you think hot stuff is something new, just go to Google and search: Édouard-Henri Avril. Or go to Two Nerdy History Girls today, and read a piece of historical prose that sings the praises of Signor Dildo: http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com

“The Call” – Cyber-Style

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I’m thrilled to welcome guest blogger Gabriella Edwards, aka Ohio Valley Romance Writers member Rosie Murphy — who also happens to be my critique partner — as she blogs about her first sale!

Two weeks ago, just like any other Friday after a long day of exhausting work, I wanted to unwind with some mindless cyber-chatter. Normally more tenacious about checking my messages as soon as I get home, I succumbed to my family’s antsy cries for dinner. They dragged me away from my beloved laptop and distracted me with comforting meatballs smothered in cheese at the local pizza place—I’m so easy.

Once home again and still glowing with good food and company, I sat down at my laptop, which quickly forgave me for my desertion, and I started checking my messages. Pouring through numerous notes and announcements from chapter mates or other loops I’d developed a fondness for lurking, my eyes snagged on an unfamiliar address with the title of my novella in the subject line. Since I’d recently received word through a contest final that a leading ePublisher’s managing editor was interested in seeing my MS, I promptly opened the message.

The first line—Thanks for submitting Until Emie to Red Sage Publishing. I’m very taken with its sleek plot, full-speed-ahead pacing and—especially—its hot sex.—clearly sounded like there was a “but” coming. Doesn’t it sound like there should be a “but”?

Much to my delight, there wasn’t! We’d like to offer you a publishing contract…followed. The only thing I remember running through my head at the time was a sound. A guttural, high pitched squealing. It took my husband’s raised eyebrows and my daughter’s checking my pulse for me to realize that noise was coming from me! Then, I started giggling which finally turned into gasping words of explanation. I’ve kept the email and plan to frame it someday, but I love seeing those words over and over.

No, I didn’t get a call. I’d dreamt about receiving the fateful phone call every since I’d decided to make my dream of writing romance a reality. But oh, baby, an email message is just as good!

Thanks for sharing that wonderful news, Gabriella! You can find her website here:  http://www.gabriellaedwards.com/

What about the rest of you? Sadly, I don’t have my own “call” story yet *pauses to weep hysterically* but what about you? Have you had “the call?”

Weaving Dreams

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Dream Weaver, I believe you can get me through the night

Dream Weaver, I believe we can reach the morning light

Fly me high through the starry skies

Maybe to an astral plane

Cross the highways of fantasy

– Gary Wright, copyright MCA Music Publishing


Who isn’t fascinated by dreams?

For my immediate family, dreaming can be fascinating, but exhausting. We wake up, not refreshed, but feeling as if we’ve traveled through time and space:

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

Well, Rod Serling called it the Twilight Zone, anyway. Some people think we travel to a parallel universe when we dream. Others believe dreams are a way our subconscious communicates with our conscious mind. Dreaming doesn’t seem to be the same for all of us — some rarely remember their dreams, and others describe dreams that are flat and colorless, almost two-dimensional. Some don’t dream at all, or if they do, they are unaware of it.

My dreams take on a life of their own, and it’s not always a pleasant experience. I don’t remember every dream, but I do still recall some dreams from when I was so young I couldn’t read. I think the dream I had where I was falling from a cloud with Winnie-the-Pooh was triggered by an A.A. Milne story my parents read to me.

God only knows what brought on the dream of the “witch house,” that I’ve remembered since about age five. It terrified me, at the time — I can still visualize a cutaway of a huge, multistory house, with witches doing nasty things in every room. My family was in a room on the ground floor, oblivious of all that was going on in the rest of the house, and I was a distant observer, unable to warn them.

More recently, I had a dream that I was living in a nice Colonial-style house in modern-day New Jersey, and I looked out into my yard to see Revolutionary forces swarming down my street. I did, in fact, live in such a town and George Washington’s troops came through there. But I lived there a quarter-century ago, and wasn’t particularly caught up in Revolutionary history.

In one scary dream, the sky was filled with tornadoes that tore into the safe, suburban landscape. Then the sky turned black and a neon grid filled the heavens. Scores of spaceships — right out of Flash Gordon — rained down, clearing the path for a massive ship that I somehow knew was Venusian. It was far too realistic, and I still watch the night sky at times, imagining that bright grid stretching to the horizon.

I recently realized I dream about houses a lot. Not fancy houses – just normal, everyday houses. But I can picture every room, every detail so clearly, I sometimes wonder if those images don’t come from dreams but rather from some genetic memory. Maybe my relatives lived in those houses.

What about you? What do you dream about? Do you dream in color or black-and-white? Do you analyze your dreams?  I’d love to hear from you!

Welcome to my parallel universe!

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tranceI love to read about imaginary worlds, and most nights my dreams are so vivid I feel as if I’ve crossed over into a parallel universe. It looks an awful lot like the world I see when I’m awake, but things are just . . . different.

When I write, I imagine my characters in a world that is also just like ours, but — as in my dreams — it’s as if our world is reflected in a slightly warped mirror. Earth is still Earth, and people are still people. Just . . . different.

In WOLF’S MOON, an ancient thread of genetic material, long dormant, is jolted back to life, with deadly results. In WING MAN, Earth is invaded by angelic-looking aliens who bring peace, at a price.

All of my stories have romance at the heart, and all lead to a happy ending. Because, even in a reimagined world, love is all you need.