Erotica

Writing romance is a balance. We all know that. Writers walk the line between all the elements whether it be suspense, paranormal, inspiration, erotica or history and the main theme of boy meets girl and girl allows him to love her. Really it’s a lot of things we juggle to keep the reader engaged and turning pages.

So recently on author Rachel Barrett’s blog she was talking about something she read that totally pulled her out of a story. After reading her post I agreed that perhaps the author may have stepped away from the character when writing a particular piece of dialogue. (I bleed dialogue onto the page trying to make sure my characters remain true to themselves … I feel for this author.) But truthfully, I’m not sure it would have even stopped me in my tracks. I think we all have our own triggers.

Ya know … those things, especially word choices, that drive us crazy.

Because here’s the thing that I noticed as people commented on her post … we don’t all have the same trigger. What completely squicks some readers out might be a total turn-on for another. Something that could cause a book to fly from one reader’s hands might not even ping the radar of another.

Let me tell you, authors work REALLY hard not to upset readers. We want you to turn the page, not chuck the book against the wall. So obviously what works for one reader may not work for another.

For one of my crit partners it’s belly. I love that word. I think there’s something sensual and intimate about it. But my crit partner–drives them off the short diving board into the deep end of crazy. It sounds childish and completely pulls them out a story. *sigh* So what are we to do? Even if the author totally thinks a character would say or do something there’s ALWAYS going to be a reader that thought there’s no way on God’s green earth that that character would EVER act that way or say that thing. There’s no way to please everyone. (Or silence the critics.)

Here’s a list of some of the things that I’ve heard readers say they don’t like to see …
His stride ate up the distance between them.
deafening silence
a dance as old as time (and other versions)
silken channel
satin heat over steel
tongues tangling
pearled bud

That’s only a small sampling, but see, here’s my thing … there are only so many sensual words for wet body parts. And even when I’m in the head of the hero and he’s thinking what a mind-blowing … er … um … KISS he’s getting from the heroine, the fact is, it’s still lips and tongue and … well, you get the idea.

Do readers cut the author a little slack knowing that a nipple is a nipple? Peaked or otherwise? I know … it’s about the characters. It’s their reactions to each other that keep it all fresh and new. So does that mean we’re forgiven a groaning cliche now and again? or are there just some things that stop you dead and have you picking up the next book in your to be read pile?

I’d like to welcome guest blogger ADELE DUBOIS who’s latest release Rev Me Twice is available from Ellora’s Cave!

Welcome Adele …

Hi Nina. Thanks for having me. Readers often ask where authors get their story ideas. My new release REV ME TWICE is the stand-alone sequel to my novel REV ME UP, which was sparked by a real-life incident. I witnessed a hunk on a Harley lose control of his bike and nearly crash while he watched a beautiful woman walk along a sidewalk. I wondered what would have happened if the woman flashed him while he watched her, and a book was born.

REV ME TWICE is the natural extension of the first book due to reader demand for secondary characters Tomas and Crystal’s story. These lovers were the gritty pair in REV ME UP who lived life on the wild side. REV ME TWICE has given them license to go as far as they like. I’m happy with the way the book turned out and hope you are too.

REV ME TWICE Summary:
Crystal is a bad, bad girl in the most delicious ways. She tries to be good and is tempted to commit to her Navy MP boyfriend, Tomas, but has no experience with an exclusive relationship or healthy family structure. She likes her life as a cable TV stripping weather girl and sex party host, and resists conforming to the traditional lifestyle Tomas craves. Without her weekly ménages and wild orgies, can she become the partner Tomas wants?

When Crystal receives death threats, a media frenzy erupts. During a break-in, the threatening letters are stolen, erasing evidence that thwarts an arrest. Tomas sports Crystal away on his Harley to protect her, but a deadly crash changes everything. Faced with the choice between self-interest and self-sacrifice, Crystal must decide if she will embrace a new life with Tomas or walk away.

EXCERPT from Chapter One:
When the light turned green, Tomas Alvarez revved his black and chrome Harley-Davidson CVO with red flame graphics, engaged the clutch and hit the shifter with the sole of his right leather boot. The front end of the bike lifted off the asphalt and leaped forward like a bull from a rodeo gate.

His engine roared, rubber smoked beneath his feet and his laughter rumbled with the exhaust system as he left the pussy in the pimped up GTO in his dust. The driver in the restored classic car had been hot-dogging him for miles and it was time to shake him loose. He chuckled and savored his tiny victory.

Tomas revved again and then held the grips tight, flexing his arm and shoulder muscles with the movements. Glare from the late afternoon sun glinted off his black-as-night shades. As he picked up speed, he relished the hot wind gusts slicing over his skin. Warm grit flecked his face. The smells of clean air and fresh tar wrapped around him like his favorite cologne.

Crystal Miller swatted his stomach with one hand while she tightened her hold around his waist with the other. She screamed over the engine noise, “Did you have to do that? Don’t forget I’m back here, you moron!” Both hands wrapped tighter around his abs and then fisted his t-shirt like a woman wringing laundry.

Tomas only laughed and sped up. “He deserved it and I know you liked it.” Crystal was as hooked on speed and danger as he was. More so, despite his officer training. The brush of Crystal’s breasts against his back when her nipples hardened during acceleration proved his point. When she rested her cheek on his shoulder, he knew she’d closed her eyes to intensify the thrill. Her breathing quickened and she flattened her palms on his stomach as the Harley roared down the highway toward the Washington Monument.

She could yell at him all she wanted, this chick loved to fly.
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If you’d like to learn more about Adele please visit her website, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. She’ll be hanging out today responding to comments and enjoying a margarita and perhaps a massage from the cabana boys. Feel free to ask her anything. Like her characters, Adele is an open book. LOL! Okay, not quite that open, but you get the idea. 😉

What’s in a name? Everything I say. I can’t start on a book until I have figured out the perfect name for my characters. Never mind that I know very little about the story or about where I’m going save for a very vague map of where I’ll end up.

I have to have names.

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about my science fiction story “A Touch of Lilly”. People love the story. What they’re not enjoying are the odd descriptions of aliens and names of planets and such. Interesting. It never occurred to me that I could drive people crazy by reading weird names.

Kind of silly that I didn’t think of that since I’m one of those readers that actually “says” every word I read in my head. I have a hard time enjoying a story if I can’t decipher the pronounciation of every character. But here’s the thing I think that makes wrirting different. I created the characters/places/aliens. They’re logical in my head. Silly I know. But there it is.

Here are some of the aliens and names in “A Touch of Lilly” …

Xerick
Ka’al
Braugtot
Drikspa
Thaegan
ba’alkin dagger
Znedu
Beta Mrenn
Ickbata
Krystallos Three

That’s most of them. I’m sure there are more. What do you think? Difficult to pronounce? Would they drive you crazy as you stumble through them in a romance?

What’s really interesting is that I pride myself on finding new and inventive words when I’m creating a new world. My intention is not to create a stumbling block–just the opposite in fact. I just want to create a something new and different that the readers can fall in love with. But now I’m wondering if I’ve gone a bit far. What do you think? Have you put down a book because you couldn’t get past the names the author chose?

Here’s an excerpt from one of Lilly’s encounters with an alien:
“Happy you make with human leader?”

Lilly wanted to laugh at the ridiculous interpretation the translator had made of the Ickbata’s come-on line clicking and popping in her ear. In her relaxed state, her energy had filled the air. Just as well, she could use a little distraction and the televid certainly wasn’t providing it.

She smiled over at the Ickbata’s hopeful expression as he slithered onto the stool beside her. They weren’t bad little aliens if one didn’t mind the smell of leather. “Kal auct ral tsk, pa?” Buy me a drink, stranger? It was a question she could ask in the twelve most common languages.

“Several. If that’s your wish,” the Ickbata clicked, moving closer. One of his scaly appendages snaked along her thigh-high boot. “If your body was sexy, press me against it?” It was the contact males craved when they were near her. The energy was power and power meant control.

Lazily, Lilly trailed a finger down his arm. The flesh rippled and she watched with satisfaction as the Ickbata’s jade eyes glazed in a sexual fog.

I’m cracking my knuckles, sharpening the virtual pencils and pulling out the new legal pads. Yep, I’m ready to start a new project. Both exciting and daunting.

This project is a little easier as it’s a story about characters that already exist. Characters I created and came to know through the process of writing about them already. That makes that tiny piece of the story process easier. But … and here’s the biggie … it means finding out more about them. Delving deeper into their relationship. Pushing them harder. Throwing them into new situations that will test their bonds and ultimately their commitments to one another.

I’ll share with you that’s it’s one of my menage stories that’s begging for another chapter. So far all of my menages have been m/f/m, meaning there is no sexual interaction between the guys. But I know readers are seeking out menages where there is also a relationship between the men. And I’m wondering if my guys want to go there. Do they want to take their brotherly bond to the next level?

I’ve been querying authors. (Because authors are amazing, giving people and always willing to help out.) With very few exceptions their response has been “let your characters lead the way”. And I get that. Truly I do. But anyone who reads this blog on a fairly regular basis knows that my characters rarely, if ever, “talk” to me. They don’t wake me in the night screaming that they aren’t getting page time. Lord knows, I wish they would. I’d be happy to trascribe for them. But that doesn’t happen to be the way it works for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, my characters are very real to me. Just the way the worlds I build become real. But here’s the cold, hard truth. Their mine. They follow my rules. They behave and think and love the way I want them to. For me (Please read that again “For ME”) they become, do, say, react the way I think they should. That doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with every scene to be sure it fits that character I’m molding, but their reactions to situations and other people in the story are up to me.

If I really want my guys to do more than fall in love with a woman, if I want them to want more from each other, then I will work them towards that end. I will throw them into situations that strain their relationship. Cause conflict if you will. It’s all about believability. It’s about bringing my readers along so that when the big moment happens, when characters, whether male or female, declare their love and devotion to one another everyone–characters and readers–sigh with the satisfaction that all the troubles and hurts and hard work brings the ultimate satisfaction.

Every writer is different. We all approach a new project differently. Our writing processes don’t come from instruction manuals with easy to follow illustrations. A seamless, believable, well written story is hard work. But work that is rewarding beyond even this writer’s description, especially if readers absolutely fall in love with your story.

So here it is … Nina’s insatiable curiousity … do you think two guys who have done nothing more than share women in the past can now take their relationship to the next level and admit thier love for one another? And would you want to see that in a story?

I’m squeeing happy. I got the release date for my next book “Bonded Souls” which will be out APRIL 21! Yay! That’s only a few weeks away. That book is the prequel in the Shifting Bonds series. And to make a wonderful week even better Sensual Reads gave “Bonded by Need”, the next story in this series a 4 STAR REVIEW.

Kimberly had this to say:

Nina Pierce makes a statement with Bonded by Need. The characters are intense and passionate while the story just pulls you in. This is a great paranormal story that will appeal to readers who enjoy shifter stories. Bonded by Need is a four star work with an amazing sense of sensuality and sizzle. I am looking forward to the second book in this Shifting Bonds series.

I’m so pleased I’m snoopy dancing! I thought I’d share an excert from “Bonded by Need” with you:
She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.

“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.

Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”

Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”

The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.

Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”

“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”

“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”

“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”

She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”

Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”

His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”

“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”

“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.

“Okay, I’m shifting.”

He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit. Zane needed to focus. Obviously Jayda was upset.

“What’s wrong with me? I’ve never had problems.” She looked at him, frustration and fear drawing deep lines on her face. “I can’t feel it. My wolf isn’t here.” She pressed her hand over her heart and Zane’s did a little stutter step of its own. “What’s wrong?”

Zane knelt before her, working to ignore the fact that her body was even more alluring without clothes. Unshed tears were glistening in her eyes. She needed him. He pushed her back on her haunches, creating distance between her luscious lips and his. With gentle fingers he lifted her chin and forced her to look into his eyes. “How do you usually shift?”

“I’ve never shifted without Cole. He helps me…relax.”

“How?”

She grabbed the flimsy top and covered her breasts. “Zane, this is just stupid. We can find another way up. Maybe you should just try to take me up.”

“No, you can do this.” Zane cupped her face. “How does he help you relax?” he asked firmly. From the flush of her skin, he suspected he already knew the answer. Still, if he moved on Jayda before she was ready, that wouldn’t help her shift either. “How does he help you, Jayda?” This time his tone was more firm even as his thumb traced the line of her jaw.

“He takes my mind off it…but it’s stupid. I can do it myself.”

Zane held her gaze a moment before his eyes roamed her face and settled on her pouty mouth. He brushed his lips to hers. Her breath puffed, the sweet scent feathering his face. Uncertainty sparked in her eyes, but she didn’t pull from him. With a gentle caress, he sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. Jayda sighed and closed her eyes. He changed the angle and pressed his lips to hers. Soft heat exploded at his mouth and radiated down his torso, straight to his cock. He broke the contact but kept his face pressed to hers. “Feel me, Jayda. Feel the animal within. Give yourself over to it.”

He brought his mouth to hers again and sank into the sweet taste of her. Jasmine and honeysuckle filled his nose and he didn’t know if it was her scent or the summer breeze caressing his body. His tongue ran the seam of her lips, inviting her to open for him. A shock of desire jolted him as her silken tongue caressed his. Zane’s hand reached up to caress her breast but came up against the solid wall of muscle and fur as he filled his lungs with the scent of her,. He pulled back, witnessing Jayda’s cougar stretching and changing her bones. He hadn’t expected her cougar to emerge. Pride swelled his chest. He’d brought out this part of her.

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Today I’d like to welcome guest blogger Kathy Kulig. Her newest release Damned and Desired will be out JANUARY 6 from Ellora’s Cave. Take it away Kathy

Among the many paranormal romances out there, shapeshifters continues to sell well. Werewolves, panthers, leopards, jaguars, tigers, dragons and other creatures real or imagined find their way into these stories.

I think predatory animals, both real and fantasy, make the best shapeshifters for romance novels because the hero/heroine take on the persona of that animal. And predatory animals show strength, power, intelligence and control-all characteristics typical of an Alpha hero. Even though the Hare is in the Native American folklore, using a shapeshifting rabbit for a hero doesn’t seem very heroic or Alpha-male material to me. Although I did read an erotic romance where the hero was a shapeshifting seal or otter and it was an enjoyable read.

Beside the Coyote shapeshifting of the Native Americans, I’ve found a variety of shapeshifters in cultures. Various animals were feared or represented power, so it was not hard to imagine how these cultures created deities, gods, or mythical beings that were part human form and part animal.

Shapeshifters possess fearsome powers of strength and wit-compelling characteristics for an Alpha man. But the downside of those powers is that he’s usually in opposition to his environment and in conflict with the people around him, including a strong willed heroine. What if that heroine is a demon with her own power and agenda? Here lies the premise of my book, Damned and Desired.

Other shifters found in mythology include: A Norse god, Odin, has the ability to turn himself into an eagle at will or any other bird or creature. Tricksters are the mischievous and capricious of the shapeshifters and can be found to shift into a Raven, Coyote or Hare. In the Aztec mythology, the technique of shapeshifting and the sorcerers who had learned its secrets were called nabual. They were greatly feared. African sorcerers can shift into the form of birds or animals, or the soul of the sorcerer can inhabit these animals. There are many others. Plenty of sources for ideas for stories.

I see you had some photos of Sedona, Arizona several posts ago, Nina. This is the setting for my new release DAMNED AND DESIRED. I thought the Sedona area with its mystical feel would enhance this story. The story has demons and shapeshifters. I combined Native American mysticism with a twist on a Norwegian myth called Eigi Einhamr (not one-skinned) into the plot. The Eigi Einhamr myth says a person can shift into any animal by putting on the animal skin and willing to become that animal.

I’ve always been interested in Native American folklore, especially the more esoteric side after reading a couple of Lynn V. Andrews Books many years ago:  MEDINE WOMAN and JAGUAR WOMAN. I also set the first book in the Demons in Exile series in Arizona. (Book 1, DESERT OF THE DAMNED takes place in the Sonoran Desert).

Here’s the Blurb:
She’s a demon, he’s a shapeshifting leopard. From their first meeting in the Arizona desert, passion ignites and trouble begins. As a demon, Sakari Lock must harvest lifeforce energy through sexual seductions to sustain her exiled world. But when Sakari meets Brad, she breaks the number one rule of Anartia-Don’t get personal with your quarry.

Physician’s assistant Brad Montag is drawn to Sakari’s lustful advances with a blazing desire he can’t explain, unaware of how dangerous she is. No matter how enticing, she’s a complication he doesn’t need until he can conquer his past and regain control of his shapeshifting abilities.  Sex this wicked and good can only lead to disaster.

When immortals from an alternate dimension try to free their exiled world, Brad is caught in the middle of a battle that could destroy not only him, but the land he loves.

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Nina, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog!

You’re very welcome Kathy. There’s some left over eggnog in the pool house and of course the cabana boys. Hope you can spend a few more minutes and relax.

Two years ago my first book was published. Mind you, it wasn’t the first book I wrote, but the one a publisher thought worthy to send out into the world. “Healer’s Garden” is one of those books that has been with me for a very long time.

Brenimyn is the hero of my dreams. No, he’s not perfect, but he certainly wraps his heart around Jahara’s and works very hard to get her to fall in love with him. *sigh* I don’t tell my other guys, but I think he’s my favorite hero of all my books.

“Healer’s Garden” received wonderful reviews when it was released and has gone through a complete rewrite which only improved, tightened and certainly spiced up the story! Here’s the new cover from Ellora’s Cave designed by the most awesome Seneca!

Isn’t it beautiful??

I just finished edits and got the wonderful news that this book will be released by Ellora’s Cave on JANUARY 13!!

Here’s the blurb:
In the female dominated society of the twenty-third century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided-until now.  

Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.

Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his-body, mind, and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.

Now I guess it’s off to update the book trailer and find some excerpts to share!

Oh, and Happy 2010 one and all. May it bring you enough tears to appreciate the good times, enough sadness to appreciate the joy, many hugs to wrap your life in warmth and love abundant to fill your heart to overflowing.

I love this book. I actually did a bunch of research to get details about vineyards and wine making. It was a ton of fun. And then when Nick and Frankie’s chemistry became combustible … well, I was completely smitten.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt

Having Nick present while she visited with Joseph wasn’t really in her plans. Frankie had tried to talk Nick into taking the motorcycle to the hospital later in the morning but Margaret had come running down the granite steps swinging a picnic basket as Frankie was climbing into the truck. She handed it to Nick with two quick kisses on his cheeks and stood watching as he climbed into the passenger side of the cab and they pulled from the driveway.

Now they were headed into town, the midmorning sun hanging in an azure sky, its rays dancing on Seneca Lake. Normally Frankie would have loved a day like this but the cab seemed claustrophobic with Nick Gradin’s surly attitude sitting between them.

“It’s not my fault you didn’t know who I was,” she said quietly.

Turning to her, he cocked a skeptical eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest.

“You knew your father had a stepdaughter.”

“And a child bride,” Nick remarked coldly. “I expected my stepsister to have pigtails and braces.

Not…” His hand motioned up and down her torso.

“Well, you didn’t seem to mind the package yesterday.”

“Yesterday I thought you were Joseph’s assistant.”

“Funny, yesterday I thought you were a womanizing pig of a manwhore.” She shot him a patronizing smile. “Guess one of us was right.”

He frowned. “If you’ll recall, I wasn’t the one who came on to you in the field.”

“As I recall, it was you who was ready for action in the wine cellar.”

“I was simply reading the signals you were sending out.”

“Then you have a faulty GPS.”

“My wiring is just fine thank you.”

“I suppose you think it is, with all the woman you have tumbling into your posh Philadelphia bed.”

“Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, as if you don’t know.”

“I have no idea what you’re…oh, this is stupid. Pull over here.” Nick motioned to a dirt road that led to a small alcove near the lake.

She’d been parking there once in high school.

“I’m not going to see Joseph until we clear this up and can at least be civil to each other,” he said.

Frankie acquiesced. He was right. It wouldn’t do Joseph any good to have them bickering in front of him. She turned the truck into the trees, their pumpkin and gold leaves floating passively on the gentle breeze. They bumped down the dirt tracks, the center lane overgrown with the dried weeds of summer. Frankie felt as if she was entering the lion’s mouth. Anger surrounded Nick like the cloud of dust trailing behind them. She had no idea why he was so pissed when she’d only spoken the truth.

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After another quick trip around Niagra falls we pointed the van west and headed for Ohio. We didn’t need to check into the hotel until later in the afternoon so we could take our time and meander our way through NY, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Mr. Nina became the king of the shanty town tour. It seemed every time he chose to take a detour we ended up in some interesting neighborhoods. Let’s just say I was glad we were traveling through them during the day. I decided his motto was “Shanty tour–all the sights unfit to be seen”. Of course I’m so blind I can’t read the map or the highway signs until we’re right on top of them so I have no right to complain where we end up. We did finally make it to Lake Eerie. Mr. Nina insisted I take a picture. So I did …

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Nope nothing exciting. he was just so amazed it looked more like an ocean than a lake (kinda smelled like it too). I couldn’t resist the picture of the gull. Then off we headed to the Lake Eerie state park for a potty break and picnic lunch. (The added bonus of travel with me and my pea-sized bladder is that you get to tour every rest stop and gas station along the route. Mr. Nina’s a lucky man!)

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We got to the hotel in Richfield Ohio late in the afternoon, checked in with Jeania and Val (who really were the backbone of RomantiCon), organized my promo stuff and settled into the wonderful room that Jeania fanagled for us. (Read that as a romantic suite with a king-sized bed. Yee-ha!) And then headed out for the unofficial beginning of Romanticon. It was hospitality hour and hanging with the Ellora’s Cavemen. I had sex on the beach (it’s a drink you naughty-minded people) and all these wonderful hunks …

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(Don’t believe everything you hear … I did NOT stalk Angelo all weekend.)

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Friday morning Mr. Nina and I hooked up with authors Adele Dubois, Dalton Diaz, Lee Pearce, and Samantha Cayto for a tour of Ellora’s Cave offices and printing press. It was so cool to see where everyone hangs out. We were the last to arrive and Patty still had the energy to show us her 15′ python that hangs out in a huge glass case in her office and tell us the history of Ellora’s Cave. I never knew any of the stuff she shared with us. Patty then toured us around the office and we peeked into everyone’s cubicles and offices. When we first walked into our publisher, Raelene Gorlinsky’s office I noticed three things 1) she’s immaculately neat, the books on her shelves are straight and stored by size 2) the numerous liquor bottles that fill the top of one of her book shelves and 3) the bullwhip on the leather couch. Turns out the liquor bottles all had sexy names and the bullwhip … well, I never did get the story on that.

From there we went to the printing press where Randy proudly shared the whole printing process. We got to see the pages roll off the printer, be cut, collated and bound. Adele, Samantha and Dalton all got to see their print books in the warehouse. Adele and Samantha for the first time. It was fun living vicariously through them. We actually watched them making the book on ther left. It was wicked cool. And you know how they say “hot off the press” that’s because the glue is still warm when they finish the process. I held warm books in my hands. When I hold my first print book I’ll remember that day.

Oh, and here’s all the beautiful pictures I took to share with you … Oh, yeah, Nina (the ninny) forgot her camera. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say the offices and stuff were really neat.

Dalton left early with Samantha and her GPS and we stayed to see a few other things. But we weren’t worried, Mr. Nina had Val’s printed directions to get from the office back to the hotel. Only one glitch … an accident closed the only road that took us back to Richfield. Seriously. The detour shot us back on the highway in the direction we’d come. We got off at the first exit had some lunch and got directions back to Richfield. Guess where they sent us? Back to the closed road with the accident. (And I thought Maine was the only place you “can’t get theah from heah”) THIS time we got directions from the young woman in the construction truck blocking the road. Let me just tell you 3 rights and a left is a lot harder than it sounds. Anyway, we FINALLY got back to the hotel with time to spare for the Friday afternoon workshops.

Come on back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the rest of the day. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures I took of some good looking cover models…

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