So I’m extremely happy to share with you the review from Night Owl Romance for The Healer’s Garden. Lisa at NOR gave it a 4.5/5 and said this:

“This wonderful fantasy culture where women are dominant and men disrespected is a very interesting twist and carries a strong plot well. Strong characters, their struggles with ethics, justice, and morality, coupled with excellent dialogue and attention to detail, make this book a fantastic fantasy read! The sex scenes were very well written – so hot, Hot, HOT!!!! Get the air coolers running!”

But even more exciting is that she gave it a Reviewer’s Top Pick rating! w00t! w00t!

So that’s some wonderful news that I needed in the middle of my week from h**l! This is the week I’ve been dreading for months. And things seem to be chugging along. Clothes are being sorted for my trip and last night Little Boy Blue and I went through the packing list and got the bulk of it done for him. Yay! Today… I pack.

Notice in the middle of all this I haven’t mentioned writing.

Sven isn’t very happy with me. If I’d been doing what was recommended I would have already written approximately 40,000 words since beginning this challenge. Ummm… you’re kidding me right?

I’m not sure I’ve even reached the 5,000 word mark. (Of course I think you’re supposed to count editing which I’ve been through 90,000 with the Tilling Passions Series, but I’m not counting editing… seems like cheating. 😉 )

But everything is a learning experience. What works for some doesn’t work for everyone. Sven is supposed to make you accountable for your writing. But all it has done is make me feel bad. And that is just not right.

Having other people looking over my shoulder (which they’re not really doing) isn’t motivating me to sit at my computer and work on my novella. For some this works, just not me.

What is going to push me through is the fact that by the end of this month two other authors are expecting that my novella will be finished and all three of us will be going into edits. I hate to let people down. So it will all come together. I’m not really stressing about it. But my story is the last thing on my mind when I fall asleep and the first thought filtering through my dreams in the morning. And this I’ve discovered … is how I write books.

I think it was Hemmingway who said “writing is 90% thinking and about 10% actual typing”. Or something along those lines. It definitely applies to my own writing journey. Cole and Jada (ohh, I just found her name… I’ve been wrestling with this) are going to tell me their story at their own pace and not Sven or his cronies are going to make that happen any faster.

Sweating with Sven is wonderful for some people. He just doesn’t do anything for me.

So what motivates you to get something finished?

Congratulations to Donna who won a copy of I Dream of Dragons Anthology II which includes Nina Mamone’s Hard to Guard.

Thank you to everyone who took time to stop by. 

Today I’m pleased to welcome author and friend, Nina Mamone. Nina grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. After she discovered Nancy Drew, she could always be found in a corner with her nose in a book. Now she lives in Maine with her husband and daughter, writing in between looking at piles of laundry and being a stay-at-home mom.

Her newest release, Hard to Guard is a fantasy novella.

A construction worker by day, a Guardian by night, Connor has had it with the irresponsible antics of the wyrms he vowed to keep secret from the human world. The only reason he keeps going is to be near the sassy, sexy, but totally out-of-his-league Sorcha. However, for the past five years, Sorcha’s not-so-subtle digs have convinced him that she only sees him as a stuffy, wet blanket.

Sorcha lusts after Connor and may even love him. But after five years of poking, prodding, teasing-anything to get some kind of reaction, even a frown-she’s given up hope of having a relationship with him. He has made it very clear that working with her to find a kidnapped wyrm is the very last thing he wants to do.

An unaccounted-for wyrm is a deadly wild card, and after a dangerous aphrodisiac appears on the streets, Sorcha and Connor will have to join forces to ensure the safety of everyone they care about.

Whew. Hot. Hot. Hot.

* Please tell us about your newest release Hard to Guard.
Hard to Guard is a classic “they’ve been in love with each other for years – how could they be so blind!” story set in a world where dragons are real and need…well…babysitters. Both Sorcha and Connor are Guardians, which means they’ve each been assigned a dragon and it’s their job to make sure said dragon never becomes unhappy enough to burn down an entire city block. Sorcha is snarky – she was so much fun to write. And what’s even better is that Connor can be really quiet and calm – until he gets around her. She just drives him crazy. They have to work together to recover a kidnapped wyrm, and hot sexin’ and adventure ensues.

* Your hero sounds dreamy. Will we see him in any future works?
Oh, yes. Right now I have one more Guardian story to tell, maybe two. Connor’s best friend, Cisco, is my next victim. Cisco’s story is almost done, and since Connor knows him better than anyone, he’ll be around to support Cisco in his time of ne-…I mean, as he’s falling in love with his heroine.

* What led you to write fantasy and more specifically … dragons?
I’ve always been a paranormal fan. It’s what I read, so it was easy to make the leap to writing it. As for the dragon part, Samhain put out a call for stories for a dragon anthology. The story could be anything, but it had to have a dragon in it. I thought about it a while, of all the different roles a dragon could play. The idea of making the dragon the comic relief really appealed to me.

* I understand Louis (the dragon) adds humor to your story. How’d you come up with a personality for him?
All of the dragons are self-absorbed and clueless. They are rich, physically powerfully, and live for centuries – so their reality is a little different than ours. They don’t have the same worries, the same trials. Also, when I wrote it my daughter was three, which can be a very demanding age. That might have had something to do with it.

* I’m looking to buy new glasses … you like this pair … or this one?
Hmmm. Those. The pink cat eye glasses with rhinestones. They’d look very cute on you.

Oh, and I thought the red ones with gold filigree made me look intellectual … hmmm … but cute is good.

* Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have favorite drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
Writing the story is my favorite part – the first draft, finding out who the characters are and what happens to them. That can come out relatively quickly. Revisions are my least favorite thing, but are the most important. I want the story on paper to match the story in my head, and that’s what revisions are all about. I’m a mixture of plotter and pantzer, which is a cruel, cruel joke the writing gods played on me. First I plot, then I pantz, or is it the other way around? Actually, my writing is a lot of trial and error, and I listen to the voice in my gut that lets me know whether I’ve got it or not.

Listening to music is one of my favorite things to do, but usually not while writing. And I will drive waaay out of my way to get a Starbuck’s coffee. It’s one of my kinks.

*Note: Nina has scoffed down two double mocha-chino lattes while sitting here watching me drool. Did she offer me some … ummm … no!

* I know you’ve entered several contests and done very well. Can you tell us about that experience and a little bit about the books that finaled/placed?
I highly recommend contests. To me it is a win/win, even if you don’t place. My experience has been very positive. I have a paranormal romance series I’m working on that deals with a fey sorceress and a curse that affects seven brothers and sisters. I’ve been told it can be difficult to sell a series this early in a career, but since I don’t know how to write anything that isn’t a series the couple of wins, plus the judge’s comments, have really let me know I’m on the right track.

* If you had spare time would you go shopping or to the movies?
Movies. Definitely.

Oh, so sad. I was going to offer to take you on a shopping spree at the new Chip ‘N Dales store they opened just around the corner … but you go enjoy your movie … I can shop for hunks on my own.

* Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Just that I’m grateful to my readers. I love my stories, and it warms my heart when other people do too. Thanks, guys. Also, if you have a chance, check out the rest of the dragon anthology. I read them all and enjoyed every one.

Thank you for visiting, Nina. I’m happy to say she’s agreed to stay and visit for awhile. She is also generously going to give away a print copy of I Dream of Dragons Anthology – Book II (or an ebook copy of Hard to Guard for my readers over the pond) to a commenter drawn at random. The drawing will held Tuesday, April 8 around 6 pm EST.

For more information on Nina, please visit her website or her MySpace page.

Click HERE to read an excerpt of Hard to Guard.

Nina’s Hard to Guard is available in the I Dream of Dragons Anthology – Book II and can be ordered from Amazon or Samhain Publishing.

So I woke up this morning with my feet hitting the ground and my muscles already working my legs in a dead run. *sigh* It’s one of those weeks in my life that I’d just like to wish away and that’s just an awful thing to say. But, come on … it’s happened to you too. 

Baby girl celebrates her 19th birthday this weekend which means shopping and wrapping gifts and dinner out (around work schedules) and cake and ice cream. Which would probably be all right if I had a clue what to get her for her birthday. Shopping today … party tomorrow.

I’ve also been invited to a last minute bridal shower. My opportunities to socialize are few and far between and though this will be fun, it also is happening today. I still can’t decide if I’m going to go. That will be a last minute decision!

DH leaves Monday for a rare trip away for a work related convention. (Rare as in … he’s done this maybe one other time.) He’s going to Long Beach, California where I’ve never been and I’m a tad jealous. That aside, this means making sure he has all the work clothes cleaned and the shampoo and toothpaste and that kind of stuff we share. Plus there’s the whole traveler check/cash/banking kind of stuff that needs to be done.

In the middle of all this we need to get the week’s groceries gathered since I can’t do it by myself and I need to shop for comfortable outfits for myself for my own trip away. Because at the end of next week I’m headed off to my very first writing conference. It’s 7 hours of driving from my home … 5 of which I have to do by myself (booorring!) before hooking up with other writers for the tail end of the trip. 

At the same time Little Boy Blue is getting ready for a five day trip to New York with the high school band. So there’s the whole getting him ready this week as well. And I won’t be here to put him on the bus at 5 am and DH will still be in California, so Baby Girl has to get him there which makes me feel guilty beyond belief.

This week I came really close to cancelling out of the writer’s conference. I’ve never been and so I don’t know what I’d be missing. But I do feel the need to do some schmoozing with editors, agents, and other writers, so I stopped thinking of that as a possibility.

Anyway, all this is just overwhelming me. If only any one or several of these things wasn’t happening at the same time. There’s was a time when this stuff happened and I just took it in stride. But with the MS it is just about driving me over the edge of insanity! Shopping kills me. I’m good for about 40 minutes and then I schlepp back to the car. And it takes at least an hour or two to recover and be able to walk again. Urr! It’s all so darn frustrating.

Now, don’t misunderstand … I am married to an amazing man who is totally wonderful about my disability. Normally, he does the grocery shopping, but the birthday stuff … well, I’m a mom … I want to do that. And he certainly can’t buy clothes for me! LOL!

I feel like it’s finals week in college and the papers are due and the test schedule is stressing me out. But there’s no way around this week. I’m not going to wish it away because life is too short to do that.

I’m pulling myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and putting one foot in front of the other. (Hear the trumpets sounding!) Charge!

Okay, so I feel it coming on … a rant. You’ve been warned so read on if you dare.

Last week Amazon decided to stop carrying books by Print on Demand (POD) suppliers (which in turn affects most ebook publishers who go to print). Why? Well, I’m not sure. Something about they’ll only carry books printed by their business. Okay, I might have this wrong, but it’s something like that. I don’t know the facts because I haven’t been running all over the internet trying to understand exactly what they’re doing or not doing anymore and why they are or are not doing it. I know … you think I’m going to rant about it.

Well I’m not.

Is it a travesty? You betcha! But so is the fact that oil/gas prices keep climbing and corporate mucky-mucks get richer while I sit in northern Maine freezing my butt off because I can’t afford to keep my house any warmer than 65F. And the high cost of diesel is forcing the price of groceries up because companies have to pay so much to ship them to the frozen tundra where I live.

Medical care is out of control. Prices are going up even as insurance coverage is going down.

And it’s all pissing me off and I’m tired. So, please stop asking me to care about what Amazon is doing. Because as terrible as it sounds … I don’t.

Let’s face it … I have neither the time nor the energy to sit down and write to Amazon, Mobil, or Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I could ask you all to boycott Amazon and stop buying books there. But there are enough people who will continue to buy that I’m not sure Amazon will even see a dent in their second quarter profits. I could choose not to buy gas and walk, which I can’t physically do or ride public transportation, which we don’t have or I could simply park my car and drive it when only absolutely necessary … oh, I do that already. I could stop going to the doctor until my insurance company bellies-up to the bar … oh, wait, I already do that too.

So what’s my point?

I know one voice added to a collective can make a difference. But if corporate greed abounds and pockets are deep enough to weather a public storm of discourse then change isn’t going to happen no matter how many people stamp their feet and throw temper tantrums.

Hey, I’m not saying “don’t try”. I’m simply saying that I have enough stuff going on in my personal life that I don’t need to jump on the bandwagon. The economy bites. Prices of everything keep going up and home values keep going down. My car is worth less than I owe since nothing is holding its value these days. And this trend doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. I’m too busy counting pennies for milk (which in Maine costs more than a gallon of gas) to worry about whether or not my friend’s book is available through Amazon. Harsh, but true.

I’m choosing to spend my limited physical resources trying to take care of my family and balance the family budget. I don’t have the energy to go on a letter writing campaign. Because I’ve done that before and nothing changed. The fact is POD and epublishing aren’t at the point of the big publishing houses in New York. Which is good. Without the constraints of high cost of printing, they don’t need to worry about quick turn around to keep their companies running. Wonderful, unique, and high quality writing is now available through these mediums that probably would never have been accessible to the public. People can find all genres, fiction and non-fiction, on subjects that may never have seen the light of day if not for POD and epublishing companies. Unfortunately, POD means people who want to pay to have their unedited, unpolished manuscripts printed could end up listing some pretty crappy books at Amazon. It’s a fact. So maybe that was the impetus behind their decision. I have no idea. Unfortunately it lumped some awesome epublishers who put out a great product along with them.

But here it is in a nutshell … Amazon no longer carrying high quality ebook to print companies on their site doesn’t change the fact that there’s some damn good writing out there that’s not with the “big boys”. It just makes it harder for people to find authors they may enjoy that will no longer be found by a simple search on Amazon. That’s a bummer, but not life threatening.

So have at your letter writing campaigns and boycotts, just don’t expect me to join in the fight. As apathetic as it sounds, I’m focusing my attention on my writing and my family.

 I’m just saying…

Well, Anne Cain has done it again! With just a little help from me (like giving her the basic character sketches and the barest story outlines) she designed all three covers for the Tilling Passions series… I couldn’t be anymore excited than I am!

Though all three covers are in my sidebar. Blind Love is the first in the series.

The edits are finished and as with my first book… absolutely painless. I did have to “beef up” one scene to give the reader more information, but it was totally worth the work. 

The powers that be at Liquid Silver Books inform me that they are shooting for an April release date! Yay!

I loved writing this series. Yes, it’s very sensual. Yes they are love stories, but each one of them is also a suspense. Hopefully a story that will keep you guessing until the end.

Here’s the back cover copy for Blind Love:

Uptight uptight CPA and oldest sister, JULIE TILLING, is the glue that binds her family. When her friend from high school dies, Julie is the only one who believes he didn’t commit suicide and takes it upon herself to investigate his death. Her search for answers finds her flirting on the fringes of internet pornography. But will Julie’s desire to find a killer and experience a sexual awakening push her moral boundaries to the breaking point?

DAMON COREY didn’t come to Maine to become shock jock, Demon Jones. When his dream career of becoming a concert pianist seems unobtainable, the radio station’s offer is too good to pass up. After mysterious brunette, Jewel, hooks up with him at the night club run by a college frat brother their one night fling wraps around his heart and won’t loosen its talons.

Will Julie and Damon’s secrets unravel the tenuous threads of their relationship? Can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic Demon Jones persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?

I’ll leave you with the trailer. I can’t remember if I posted this yet, but I’ve recently updated it with the new covers.

Sorry I’ve been out of the blogging loop this week. I’ve actually been editing and writing… yay me! Thanks to Denise for filling in this week. But I clawed my way out of my dark cave of manuscripts long enough to post my Thursday Thirteen. Even came up for air a little early, but I figure you’ll forgive me.

Sometimes I just need a pick-me-up and often the antics of my 17 year old son, Little Boy Blue, and the trouble he gets himself into just make me laugh. So (hopefully) for your entertainment, I’ve enlisted his help in letting you know the thirteen things he finds amusing…

1. Rude Public Nudity – of others, especially friends. As in mooning another guy from the passenger seat of your buddy’s car or hoe-downs (the pulling down of someone else’s pants, preferably in the school hall and in front of some cute girls).

2. Mascots fighting – the more furry and loveable the better. Imagine Mickey Mouse wrestling Winnie-the-Pooh.

3. Trying to explain new math to his parents who were both science majors and actually did well in college Calculus.

4. Controlled burns – Like GermX (gel hand sanitizer) squirted at a burning match then the entire bottle catching on fire. Probably funny only because no one got hurt and several other male 17 year olds had more GermX to add to the conflagration. (The resulting mass of plastic sits proudly displayed on son’s shelf.) Note to self: Don’t send hand sanitizer on school trips.

5. YouTube videos in other languages. Whether it be songs or parodies of presidential candidates… viewing them causes riotous laughter. The more bizarre the language, the greater the hilarity. German makes him roll on the floor. The fact is… YouTube in general (except for his mother’s booktrailers) is a great source of entertainment.

6. Using a make-shift slingshot to stick pencils into ceiling tiles at school.

7. Bunsen burners + just about anything = hours of hilarity. (See number 4)

8. Chuck Norris jokes – For instance: Some people wear Superman pajamas… Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas. OR Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there. OR When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. There are more, but Little Boy Blue was laughing too hard to be understood. 

9. Any Blend-tech “Will it blend?” Video. Please view video.

10. Names randomly yelled out in crowds then ignoring anyone who turns around.

11. Pretending you’re the voice message when an annoying girl calls your cellphone.

12. Southpark the cartoon – Mostly because parents find it so dang annoying.

13. Videos of males on bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades who fall and crush the family jewels. (Okay, so those weren’t his exact words.)

Regardless of age, kids are just generally amusing. Please feel free to add favorite gems from neices, nephews, friend’s children or straight from the mouths of your own precious bundles. 

I am so pleased to welcome erotic author Denise Rosetti all the way from down under. A multi-published author, she has agreed to stop by for a chat about her latest release… Strongman: Book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series. (ISBN: 978-1419914973 a male/male fantasy available now through Ellora’s Cave.)

When the credits rolled up for Brokeback Mountain were you in tears? Denise Rossetti was.

Then she got mad – two souls who were destined to be together, so much love, so totally wasted. All because of the society those men lived in. But what if a similar situation occurred in another place, at another time? In a world Rossetti knew well? Her writer’s brain started churning…

Enter Stage Center – Fortitude McLaren, a hard-bitten mercenary who’s had a gutful of mud and blood and death. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church on the fantasy world of Phoenix.

Enter Stage left – Griff, acrobat and knife-thrower, lithe and athletic, a man with a gift for friendship, for caring.

Put the players together and you get something like this…

When Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout, he’s shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus performer. Fort regards manlove with indifference and contempt.

Not for him. Never for him.

Although Fort fights with everything in him, Griff affects him like no one else. It’s not just his strong, supple body, the big mercenary is irresistibly drawn by the openhearted friendship the other man offers so freely.

Fort may have found a friend, but the cruel memories of his childhood are the greatest enemy of all. When a job for Jan the Aetherii puts Griff in danger, Fort discovers what’s really at risk-everything he is and everything he’s ever believed in. To save Griff’s life and preserve his own sanity, Fort must not only fight the battle in his soul, he must win it.

About the Author: When Denise Rossetti was very young, she had an aunt who would tell her the most wonderful fairy stories — all completely original. Denise grew up, as little girls do, but the love of stories has never left her.

These days, she lives in a comfortable, messy old house in the Australian suburbs and writes erotic fantasy and paranormal romance. Her work is intense, lyrical and excitingly different. One reviewer called it “erotically intelligent, intelligently erotic”.

Rossetti is currently published by Ellora’s Cave and Avon Red. THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW, the first book in her erotic fantasy quartet for Berkley Ace, will be released on 4th November 2008. She has also a story appearing in the Berkley Heat anthology, UNLACED (2nd December 2008), together with authors Jasmine Haynes, Jaci Burton and Joey W. Hill. She’s thinking of changing her name to Jenise to go with the flow.

Rossetti is small and noisy and dreadfully uncoordinated. She tends to wave her hands around a lot, which can be unfortunate if the tale she’s telling happens to have explosions in it!

Denise agreed to let me ask questions about her book, her writing habits and her personal life… silly Denise.

What advice would you give to aspiring erotic romance writers?
Hoo boy! There’s SO MUCH advice out there – and really, I shouldn’t add to it! But I guess I do have a couple of observations to make, can’t help myself. *sigh*

The first is that if you want to write erotic romance, you must be a WRITER, first and foremost. If you don’t get that right, not all the graphic sex scenes in the world will save you. The second is that you need to be completely at ease with whatever sex you’re writing. If you’re out of your comfort zone it will show. There’s a whole lot more in an article I wrote called Some Write it Hot: Musings and Myths about Erotic Romance

Back to being a WRITER. If you’re an aspiring author, take it or leave what I’m going to say, okay? Because if you take on board too many opinions and “systems” and bloody RULES, you’ll end up second-guessing yourself – every word, every phrase. I really abhor “how to write” books, even though many of them are both logical and insightful. But that’s because my head doesn’t work that way. You do what’s best for you, right?

Always remember that reading is a totally subjective experience and so is writing. One person’s “desert island keeper” is another’s “wall-banger”. Therefore, it’s essential that you stay true to yourself, and to your “voice”. Your take on the world is unique, no one writes quite like you. Celebrate your voice!

I know it may be unPC to say this, but I actually believe in talent. Yes, OF COURSE, hard work and persistence is important and will help you to improve, but there’s a “spark” you have to have in the first place.

After that, the only way to learn to write is to write! There’s no more magic to it than that. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my advice –

1. Write
2. Read
3. Trust your gut.
4. Write some more
5. Read lots more
6. Then write more and more and more and…

See what I’m getting at? *smile* You need to write in order to gather enough experience to know what the “rules” are so you can break them. You need to be confident enough in your own voice that you can accept constructive criticism with genuine gratitude. (Criticism? We’re supposed to listen when someone says they don’t love our baby as much as we do? Oh, yeah, that’s what editing is for…)

What’s your writing schedule like?
A  routine – if only… *sigh* The problem with my entire life is that I have next to no routine. And it would help so much if I did. I’m the Queen of Procrastination ruling over the Land of Clutter. I’m catastrophically untidy, to the point of losing things I really do need. As far as I’m concerned, putting something “in a safe place” is a recipe for disaster!

When I do have a writing day, I fluff around until lunchtime at least, doing emails, surfing and stuff. Heck, I don’t even know what it is that I do, except waste time. I usually start writing after lunch and if I’m serious, I have to move the laptop from the study to the bedroom because the wireless access doesn’t work in there. I sit on the bed with one of those tray table things over my legs. The dog lies on the floor and the cat lies on me. Everyone’s happy.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that I’m so careless with physical objects, I’m a very slow, very deliberate writer. I don’t often get carried away and have words simply flow out of my fingers. I have to dig for every single one, which means I need to concentrate. I have a timer on the computer and I turn it for 45 minutes. When it goes off, I’m allowed to check my email. (Did I say I need a 12 step program?) It’s amazing how little I can write in that time. Around 5pm I have this incredible desire to doze off, but the cat comes in and head-butts me until I fix his dinner. The dog just grumbles. So I yawn and go on. By 8pm, I’m firing on all cylinders and if I’m on a roll, sometimes I go ’til after midnight.

What do you wear while you’re writing?
Most of the time I just want to be comfortable, but every now and then, I’ll fish out my special purple dress. It’s one of those pseudo-medieval numbers, with long sleeves, a scoop neck and a floor length skirt. I like the way it swishes. And if I’m having an especially difficult time, I’ll throw a shawl over my shoulders. It’s really a delicate, open-work baby blanket my grandmother knitted for me a very, VERY long time ago. *smile* It always reassures me that I’m loved and that I can do this.

Do you have a “secret or private” drawer, box, shelf, etc. And, if you do, name five things in it.
Brace yourself! I actually have a three drawer bedside table. Five things? Okaaay…

1. A set of Tarot cards. Sadly, I’m too left-brained to let go and be truly intuitive with the Tarot, but I’m totally fascinated by it. I do use the cards for meditation and visualisation, even for plotting sometimes! I love my Robin Wood deck, it’s so beautiful, so rich in Pagan symbolism.

2. Writing stuff – pens and pencils, notepads, USB drive, backup CDs (not paranoid at all, oh no), dictionary and a thesaurus. The thesaurus is the New Oxford and it’s so huge (weighs 5.5 lbs!) that when I heave it onto the bed, My Beloved refers to it as the “co-respondent”.

3. The “smellies” – an oil burner, tea light candles and essential oils. Also a cigarette lighter. (No, I don’t smoke.) I love bergamot and lavender and rose and add a bit of lemongrass for mental stimulation when I’m writing.

4. My “comfort/inspiration” books. I have to have my own, of course, because they’re so precious to me – I print out the ones that are still in ebook. But I also have “Menage” by Emma Holly and “Natural Law” by Joey W. Hill, plus the occasional Georgette Heyer or whatever else I’m reading at the moment. Not that I have much time to read any more. *very deep sigh*

5. Music stuff – the radio/CD/Cassette player and CDs. Plus the remote control. Very handy.

6. The TMI things. You know what they are, because you have them too. And that’s all I’m going to say! *wicked grin* Oh, and spare batteries.

Thank you Denise for sharing yourself with us. Click Here to read an excerpt of Strongman from Ellora’s Cave. And to learn about my guest from Australia please visit her blog, website, or her MySpace page.

I’ve got her tied up… er… visiting for a couple of days. Please feel free to ask her questions about her books, her sex life and her writing.

Okay, get your head of the gutter. The mounds I’m talking about are paper… tons of it. Okay, so maybe not that much, but A LOT!

It’s everywhere in my house and all of a sudden it seems to have taken over. It’s stacked unceremoniously on the kitchen counter and the dining room table. (You mean I’m supposed to eat at that table?) Anyway, I got so tired of it because I wasn’t dealing with it… so I moved the bulk of it in here to my office (but still didn’t clear off said table) on the coffee table. It’s sorted in piles to a certain extent, but now it’s taken over that horizontal surface.

Now it’s staring at me. Taunting me to deal with it.

Where did it all come from? Most of it is mail, but some of the stacks include receipts for small items that I’ve learned over the years I need to save. (I actually have the monthly debit receipts in an envelope… yay, small victory.) And I keep plugging away at it, but it never seems to completely disappear. I file and recycle and shred and still… there are stacks.


I know I’m not the only one… the other morning on a news program while I sipped my coffee I dutifully listened to an organizational guru talk about how to deal with the baskets and piles of papers the anchor had stacked around her house. It seems this is an epidemic!

In a day and age when we should be concerned about our forests it seems the amount of junk mail and unnecessary paper waste is incredible. What happened to going electronic to save trees?

Oh yeah, they did that too… they call it spam.

So it seems everywhere I turn people are discussing erotica. Okay, I admit many of the blogs I visit are romance writers or somehow related to the industry. But still…

I belong to the national organization of Romance Writers of America. I didn’t join because I thought the national level could offer me much, I pretty much ignore them. I joined (and continue my membership) so I can be a member of my local chapter of RWA, Passionate Ink (the chapter for erotic authors), and soon will be joining the Kiss of Death chapter for suspense authors.

Why do I mention all this? Well…. there seems to be a portion of the membership that has started picking on erotic authors. Huh? Romance already gets snubbed by many people as “fluff”. I’m okay with that. Let’s face it, I don’t pick up a Sandra Brown novel to get entangled with the latest political views. I read fiction because it’s just that… fiction. Escapism.

I know erotica is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m good with that too. But to say it is nothing more than pornography does belittle some amazing writers out there. The Tilling Passions series involves plotlines with intricate twists. I don’t want people to skip from love scene to love scene… it’s not the point. Yes, there are electronic publishers out there publishing the bulk of the erotica, but major NY publishing houses like Avon, Bantam, and Kensington (to name a few) are or have opened erotic lines as well. The stories they publish are complex plots with character growth.  Throwing open the bedroom door doesn’t mean the writing has been “dumbed down”.  

Many people DH and I know are asking about my books. I’m comfortable enough with my writing to suggest to some people that they may not want to order my book and when I explain why they usually laugh and agree… though some have surprised me!

Anyhoo… many writers were up in arms over the discussion. It was blog fodder that sparked lively debates. I went to a couple of links that went to other links until I was shaking my head in disbelief over the controversy porn vs. erotica sparked. Eventually I stopped reading it. I’m actually coming to the party very late. I didn’t bother to get embroiled in any of the rhetoric. It’s not worth my energy.

I started writing because it gave me something to do after MS forced my hand. I continue to write because now that the dam has been broken… there’s no holding back the flood! The hours at my computer are pure joy… most of the time 😉

Oh, by the way… thank you for all the suggestions on the whole blockage thing. I’m happy to say that I’ve hooked up with a couple of awesome writers to do an anthology. Nothing I want to talk about until the words start coming… but suffice it to say… the research into something new and exciting has begun!





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