Friday, March 28, 2008

Brought to You by the Letter D By Barrie Abalard

Yes, my kid grew up on Sesame Street…

Before I go any further, I want to thank Divas of the Dark for allowing me to guest blog. You gals rock!

I was thinking about what to write today, when I was struck by how many fun words begin with “D”—for example, Divas and Dark. As a writer, I have a love affair with words, and I think those who love to read feel at least some of the same affection for them.

So, let’s meditate on the letter “D” for a moment.

When thinking about “D”, I came up with Delectable (as in, delectable cheesecake), Divine (as in, divine chocolate), Dirty (as in, dirty sex), and Deep.

Deep is how a lot of us would describe our favorite stories. Deep is rich, complex, even complicated (as in complicated heroes and heroines). Deep is overflowing with emotional power and love and passion. Deep is not superficial—deep extends well inward from the surface, and deep pushes boundaries. Deep is mysterious—and who doesn’t want a little mystery in their romances? Deep can also mean a low-pitched, sexy voice—mmm, Barry White, anyone?

In short, a good story has deep, complex characters, emotional depth, and a little bit of mystery, too, whether it’s the darkest of paranormals, or the lightest of romantic comedies.

The letter “D” also stands for the hero of my latest book, “Hot to Trot”. Dylan Decker is handsome, brilliant, self-made wealthy, and irritatingly alpha. Is it any wonder that his ex, Patti North, can’t resist him? As you may have guessed, it’s not a dark story, but a wry tale of two exes who can’t stand each other, but who must have each other, in the bedroom and out. “Hot to Trot” will be available April 1 from Loose-Id. I’ll be posting an excerpt on the Loose-Id author’s blog tomorrow (http://looseidauthors.blogspot.com).

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought —and thanks again to Divas of the Dark for giving me the space to blog!

Barrie Abalard

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oh my aching back! (xPost)

Yesterday we started our move to Washington...sort of. In my Sunday post I mentioned the madness of trying to move. We're doing a 6 month stint in a new house until we move away for good. While the rental madness all worked out, my back is protestingl. Loudly. We moved so much stuff! Where the hell did it all come from? Now, look, I am the QUEEN of 'throw it away.' I don't do the pack-rat thing and I'm quick to have the Salvation Army come and get anything I haven't worn in a year or two.

So, after having them come take away the desks and livingroom furniture, and tossing out all the stuff (and I mean ALL the stuff that we haven't touched in a while) I'd like to know how we still ended up with a garage full of crap that we don't have room enough to throw away? Anyone? Anyone? I'd give half my right leg to know how this happens.

Oh, I did learn one thing - I know where at least half of my missing socks ended up...behind the dryer! Gack!

So, TJ is living on Advil for the next day or two. And we've still got cleaning to do at the old place. If I weren't looking forward to hitting the coast here soon, I think I'd just sit down in the middle of the floor and blow a gasket! ROFL!

Okay, as for book stuff...I don't have any internet connection the next few days while Comcast gets its $#@%! together and shuffles over to my house to hook it up. So perhaps I'll actually get some writing done on a cute little contemporary I'm working on. We'll see...


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not sure what to chat about & An excerpt

Well, as you can tell from the title, I really wasn't sure what to chat about for today's post. I also just got back from a specialist appointment, so I'm running super late. I haven't even had any lunch yet. :/

Anyway, just thought I'd mention that I finished the 40k BIAM novella last Thursday. The first draft weighed in @ 40,059. So, yay! Now it's time for it to sit alone for a while, but that didn't stop me from taking notes already. Yeah, I'm hoping to make it a longer tale during revision.

This week - which is now almost over - will be dedicated to revisions. As will April, I think.

Here's the excerpt I spoke about:

“I’m sorry, did I scare you?”

She stared at the cotton wool at her feet and nodded. Luckily she was still holding onto the bottle of disinfectant.

“I’m so sorry.” He picked up the cotton wool and placed it on the counter. “I just wanted to tell you that there’s no need for any first aid, as you call it. I’m completely healed.”

Her eyes wandered down to the dry blood along his left side. “No one completely heals from a shark attack so quickly.” How could it happen so quickly? “What happened to you out there anyway?”

“Sharks like to prey on seals. It’s one of their favorite meals.” Dylan shrugged.

“Oh, right, I’ve heard about that.”

He stared at her, appearing puzzled.

“You know, how they mistake humans for seals when they’re underneath the water? Anyway, let me take a look at your injuries.” She turned the tap on until the water was warm.

“It’s not necessary.”

“Nonsense.” She’d already stuck a wad of cotton wool under the running water and reached for his side.

Dylan awkwardly lifted his left arm out of the way as she dabbed at the blood. She needed to keep her thoughts straight so she didn’t concentrate on how smooth his skin looked this close, or how the smell of the ocean emanated off him. When she’d cleared away the blood, Marisa was stunned. It wasn’t possible.

“Where…where is your wound?”

“It’s already healed.”

Marisa ran her fingers along the smooth, hard expanse over his ribs and sighed. There was no bite. She’d cleared nothing but the dry blood.

She straightened, hand still at his side. Their eyes met and she spotted the flash of desire buried within his. He looked away, but it was too late. Marisa had already noticed.

To conceal her confusion, she glanced at his side again. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m a fast healer,” he whispered.

Marisa ran her palm up and down his skin. She didn’t want to break the connection. It played havoc with her emotions, had her feeling things which weren’t possible with a complete stranger. She could also see it affected him as much as her.

“No one heals this quickly.”

“Some species do.”

“But not humans…”

“I am more than human.” Dylan moved his face a little closer to hers, seemed to be testing the water.

She craned her neck a little, enough to feel his warm breath play along her face. Marisa closed her eyes as she stroked the ribs beneath the luscious skin. He was so perfect, she couldn’t stop touching him.

“Maybe you should have a shower to clear away the rest of the blood,” she whispered.

“Maybe you could join me.”

SELKIE SKIN is now available from Whispers Publishing.



Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger Seressia Glass

A note from Divas of the Dark:
Winner of Amazon gift certificate is Tuesday and winner of a copy of Kitty and the Silver Buller is Savanna Kougar. Congrats winners! Email me and I'll get your prizes right out to you. Didn't win? Don't despair. Comment today until midnight and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Dream of Shadows or Vegas Bites Back

An author friend of mine recently asked me for an interview: Of the interracial, contemporary, and paranormal romances that you've written, which genre is your favorite? I told her that I love all the stories and genres that I write in equally because at the end of the day, my stories will still be 90% about the romance, if not more.

Sorry Dyanne, I lied.

I love paranormal romance. This love is deeply rooted in some of my favorite childhood experiences. I grew up reading comics, fantasy and science fiction. (Did you know that A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times as being too different? I love that story!) I also watched every incarnation of Superfriends that I could, including the Wonder Twins and that stupid space monkey. Anyone remember Land of the Lost? Anyway, stories of the fantastical have been part of my life since I discovered the joy of reading all those years ago.

My first prose attempts were fantasies (aside from one autobiography of a piece of bubble gum.) Then sometime in my teens I discovered romance. I don't remember what the first one was, other than it was probably a historical, a subgenre which in itself is a bit of fantasy to me. I continued to read historicals while working my way to being published in contemporary romance.

Then I discovered paranormals. More specifically, Forever and the Night by Linda Lael Miller. I quickly began reading every paranormal I could get my hands on, even after I sold my contemporary single titles. In fact, my first paranormal didn't come until seven years after my first contemporary, a little novella about a black female werewolf and a djinn in an anthology called Vegas Bites.

Why paranormals? Because they combine the best of both worlds. The provide the true other-worldliness and in the best cases, terrific world-building that fantasy and science fiction deliver. And of course, they also deliver the promise that romance novels offer.

On a personal note, writing paranormals allow me to provide extra seasonings to established genres. In Vegas Bites, the core family are werewolves given their Were gifts after they escaped from a plantation in Louisiana . So much history to mine there, history that defines their characters and conflicts. In my first single title, Dream of Shadows, the women of the family have psychic gifts that have been handed down since the first of their line was given her gifts by an African goddess. In writing paranormals, I get to indulge my fascination with Egyptian and Nubian history, African folktales, and more. With paranormal romances, you may know how the love story ends, but everything in between is wide open. You get to ask yourself, What if? and the answers are endless.

Seressia Glass
Dreams of Shadows Available Now:
Click here to order from Amazon.
Click here to order from Parker Publishing.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

How do you write a kick-ass series? by Carrie Vaughn

A note from Divas of the Dark: All this week 3/17 to midnight 3/23, leave a comment in any of the posts and you'll be entered to win a $15 gift cerificate to Amazon.com. Happy commenting! Winner will be announced Monday 3/24!
TODAY ONLY 3/21 until Midnight- Comment and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Carrie's Kitty and the Silver Bullet.

When I realized Kitty was turning into a series, I thought long and hard about this question. I had some examples of good series to study -- and I had some examples of series that had gone horribly, horribly wrong. I also had my own anti-series bias to contend with: I prefer a good stand-alone story to a series pretty much any day.

One exception to this is the Miles Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, and that's what I've used as my ur-model of series writing. Bujold has written something like a dozen books covering about 15 years of military genius Miles Vorkosigan's life. I've read them all, and I'll follow him anywhere. So how did Bujold hook me in like that? What could I do to hook people in like that and make them follow me anywhere? Here's what I've come up with.

1. Make each book a stand-alone story in its own right. The goal here is to have someone be able to pick up any book in the series and still get hooked. Don't make it harder for readers to get into the series by forcing them to figure out what order it goes in, or confusing them if they get it wrong. The first Miles book I read was Mirror Dance, which is not only in the middle of the series, but in the middle of a three-book story arc. I still loved it enough to rush out and read everything else -- completely out of order. But I never felt lost. (It did result in a lot of "oh, that's why that happened!" moments, but that's okay.)

2. The main character has to grow and change. Writers are taught that a novel should have a character arc, that through the story the main character should learn something, should be changed somehow. That the main character is the one most affected by the story. This shouldn't change just because it's a series and the character continues across many books. The character still needs to be invested in the story, each and every time.

3. There's a corollary to this: The main character needs to be the kind of person that lots of life-changing stuff happens to. Let's face it, for one person to face a dozen life-changing character arcs over the course of a series might be pretty unbelievable. But not if that person is naturally that kind of person. Over the course of his series, Miles flunks out of the military academy physical exam, gets into the academy anyway, graduates, starts a military career, accidentally becomes admiral of a mercenary fleet, becomes a pan-galactic super spy, screws up so badly he destroys his career, has to find a way to pick up the pieces of his life and find a new career, and he does, as an investigator which takes him on all sorts of new adventures, and then he meets the love of his life, and then -- you get the idea. Miles is the kind of person who will never run out of adventures.

So, the short version of this: don't be afraid to have your characters grow up. Don't be afraid to throw vast, life-changing problems at them. That will make the series more interesting, more realistic, more vivid, and will make your reader that much more invested in it.

4. The corollary to that is: Don't write the same book every time. Readers are following the characters, not the story formula. If they love your characters, you can do just about anything -- mystery, horror, romance, thriller, all of the above. Challenge yourself, try new things, don't fall into a rut.

5. Stay true to the characters. Don't bend and twist your character to fit an interesting plot. If you want to try a weird plot, consider: what would the character you've already established do with that kind of plot? Make the stories organic, and know what the character would do in every situation. If you want to do something crazy, think about what it would take to push the character into doing something out of character. But always remember: you'll have to sell it to the reader, make them buy it, and then deal with the consequences realistically.

6. Supporting cast. A good supporting cast can do wonders for a series. Miles wouldn't be Miles without Ivan, Mark, Gregor, Aral and Cordelia, Elli Quinn and the rest. Don't make them stereotypes, make them great in their own rights. Think of it this way: they're your main character's team, and they're all in it together. They're not little satellites there to orbit the main character.

7. Goals, and a series arc. While each book should stand alone, that doesn't mean some part of the story can't continue on from book to book. Give the main character a goal, or a problem that never gets solved, that continually develops complications. This gives the entire series an arc, and will help hold it together as a series. It's part of defining the character: what drives this person to keep going even while all this crazy stuff is happening?

This also gives you a way to end the series with a bang, if you decide to end the series. The character accomplishes that big goal, the big problem is finally solved, the ongoing villain is finally overcome. In Miles's case, his ongoing problems were finding a place in his world, reconciling his sense of adventure with his sense of duty, and finding a woman he could settle down with (who would put with him) and start a family. At many points, he despaired that any of this will happen. Then he met Ekaterin. The last Miles book (and I don't know if Bujold has any more planned) ends with the birth of their children. It's a beautiful, perfect ending.

I know what the last Kitty book looks like. I know what happens. I know what her goals and problems are, and I know what we're heading toward. I don't know exactly when that last book is going to happen -- I've got a bunch more ideas up my sleeve before I get to that point. But I love having that structure, that big arc, to work with.

And no, I'm not going to tell you what happens in the last Kitty book.

Carrie Vaughn
Carrie has a blog!

Kitty and the Silver Bullet in 2008
Vampires. Werewolves. Talk Radio.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

xPost - More Prostitution?

We were listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about the legal and moral implications of the Elliot Spitzer issue in New York. You know the one, where the Governor of New York resigned his post because he’d been caught getting it on with a prostitute.

The talk show host floated the idea of making prostitution legal. Why? As one caller pointed out, you can sell eggs from your ovaries, men can sell sperm, you can sell blood, you can sell kidneys, you can sell liver, and on it goes… So what’s the difference if a woman (or man) chooses to tell their sex?

On the other hand, prostitution is illegal in most states because of moral qualms. But should morality play into the law? For example, there are plenty of folks who die from the legal use of alcohol. Isn’t there a bit of immorality in that? How many people die each year from having paid sex? Hmmm… Anybody have statistics on that?

My daughter called in and expressed a college student’s view. Did you know that kids pay for sex from their peers? In school? They call it, giving a ‘Love Lesson’ where one kid wants to date another kid, but they can’t, or the other kid isn’t interested. So they offer to compensate the other kid for their ‘time.’ Now that kinda sounds like prostitution to me.

So, not taking a stand on either side of the fence, I’d like to know what you think about this. Should the Governor of New York have resigned especially since he only stepped down because he got caught? Whatcha think?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New & Tenth Release

Hello, how's everyone doing this week? We're supposed to be in autumn right now, but are having some beautiful summer weather here in Sydney. I'm certainly not complaining. I don't like winter much.

Later this week, my tenth eBook from Cobblestone Press will be released:

Jemma’s attraction to the mysterious man in the park puts her life in danger.

Mason will do whatever it takes to keep the woman he wants safe.

But the only way to defeat the fiery threat that walks the city streets is to face the danger together.

I'm very excited about this novella. The cover's absolutely awesome. It was made by the very talented Melissa Findley. The connection between Mason and Jemma made every single word come very easily. I had a great time writing this story and hope that you enjoy it too.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Fever

A note from Divas of the Dark: All this week 3/17 to midnight 3/23, leave a comment in any of the posts and you'll be entered to win a $15 gift cerificate to Amazon.com. Happy commenting! Winner will be announced Monday 3/24!

This weekend is Easter. Already! And with Easter comes the promise of spring.

Aaaahhhh spring!

For those of you who don't know, I live in Michigan. There are colder places to live than southeast Michigan, I know. And this winter wasn't colder than average. It did, however, bring us record amounts of snow. It's been three cold, grey, sloppy, blah months. Winter. Ugh.

Once the Christmas holidays are done and over, I hunker down like a bear in her den, venturing out only when I have to. But by March, I'm twitchy and eager to smell damp earth and grass. To feel the sun warming my skin.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. With it comes longer days (yay!), flowers, green grass and buds on trees. We have two flowering trees in our front yard, and by the middle of April our yard is a riot of pink and white blossoms. Absolutely beautiful.

This year, spring has even more meaning--I'm heading to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in mid-April and my first Aphrodisia title, Dark Master, is releasing later in the month. I expect copies to appear in bookstores within the next couple of weeks. Yay!

I can't tell you how bad my spring fever is this year.

For the hubby, spring means the start of baseball season. Not my thing, but hey, he's a guy :)

So what's spring mean to you?

Wicked-Hot Erotic Fiction
Dark Master, coming April 29!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I’m a Dreamer by Sasha White

A note from Divas of the Dark: All this week 3/17 to midnight 3/23, leave a comment in any of the posts and you'll be entered to win a $15 gift cerificate to Amazon.com. Happy commenting! Winner will be announced Monday 3/24!

I’m a dreamer … and I thank God every day for giving me a mother who instilled me with the belief that I could do anything if I set my mind to it, and then encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Not everybody had that.

As a waitress I get to meet people from all walks of life, and I’m always somewhat shocked when I meet someone who clearly has a passion for something, yet they brush aside that passion because “It’s not practical.” Or “I could never make a living at it.” I just don’t understand why they don’t go after the life they want.

I think that can lead to a very boring life. And really who wants boring? Okay, so not all of us dream about an Alpha were-wolf who’ll call me his and growl with lust when I walk into the room, but hey,.. At least I keno which dreams I can chase and which ones I can well…write about.

Not that I write about were-wolves. I do write about people chasing their dreams though. Leaving a crummy job behind, or a small town, or a bad relationship and going after what they really want. I think it’s a great theme to have in stories. I wish my mind worked in a way that my dreams of were-wolf dream man could come out by my fingertips, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

I do have a paranormal book out right now though, and it’s called SEXY DEVIL. No werewolves, just gypsies, a demon, and a few psychics – and a couple of hot sexy men. A heroine who chases her dream man, and a hero who chases the dream of love and acceptance for the real him.

My point? I’ve gone after many of my own dreams, I’ve traveled the world, climbed mountains in Nepal, been on safari in Africa (as well as lived on the beach and swam with wild dolphins) and several pub crawls in Ireland. Those are just a few of the dreams I’ve had, and succeeded in living. Another one is writing a novel (and I want to thank all the readers or romance, especially erotic romance, for going out there and buying books. Without you, I’d not be able to continue to live one of my dreams.)

I can’t really have my dream of finding an Alpha were wolf to love me and call me his, except in books. (And I do so regularly.) In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if he’s a were-wolf or not, I fall in love with the heroes who are heroes… the ones who end up doing things they don’t really want to, but feel they need to – especially if it’s to protect or to make happy, the heroine. After 19 years of bartending, I’ve seen heroes, and some very non–hero’s…but that didn't stop me from chasing the dream of finding one of my own.

What about you? What dream do you chase? In real life and in books?

Sasha White
Latest release: Wicked (Karl's story)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

What Genre is Unique for your ‘Voice?’ by Beth Kery

I’ve heard that given your unique writer’s voice that certain genres will work for you better than others. You might have the perfect voice for a paranormal or suspense but a rotten one for chick lit or even a contemporary. As a relatively new writer, I’m still not only trying to figure out where my voice fits best, but also trying to pin down what, precisely, my voice even is.

I recognize other author’s voices instinctively—the tone, the vocabulary they tend to use, the shadows of their unique life experiences, even the nuances of their personalities. Some writer’s have such a distinctive voice you would know them without seeing the cover (From my own personal experience I think of Sandra Brown, Neil Gaiman or Sarah McCarty, to name a few off the top of my head.) I try to picture Sandra Brown writing a fantasy/sci-fi or Neil Gaiman writing a category romance novel. Uh uh. No way. First of all, I’m going to take a wild guess and say neither author wants to write in those genres. But does your preference for genre directly relate to your voice?

So far, I’ve written contemporaries, paranormals and historicals. I’ve done both erotic and ‘steamy’ romance. I started out wanting to write paranormals, maybe because they’re what I like to read the most. I discovered along the way that I love writing contemporaries, however, even though I didn’t expect that I would. Something about writing real people with real emotions fits with my writing style better than I thought it would.

I contracted with Berkley Sensation for contemporary novels and just recently got another contract with Berkley Heat to do a couple paranormals, so I suspect I’ll have something more to say about it in the future. In the meantime, I’m just wandering along my writer’s path, gawking at the amazing, unexpected sites like a girl from corn country on her first trip to the city and learning as I go along. It does make me wonder, though, what other writers think about the matter. How did you choose the genre(s) you write? Do you think a ‘good’ writer should be able to cross genres, regardless of writer voice?

Beth Kery

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

xPost - Quivering Thighs!

Author and Sister-girlfriend, Ashlyn Chase, recently had a book released called Quivering Thighs. Now when I first saw the title, I thought, “Oh. My. Freaking. God!” And knowing what an awesome writer Ashlyn is, I knew the book would be a hit. But I talk to Ash all the time. This time I figured we’d do something different. So, ladies and gentlemen, meet Kendra Dempsey, heroine and star of Quivering Thighs. She’s an interesting chick, so CLICK HERE to see what she had to say…
Quivering Thighs by Ashlyn Chase

Standalone sequel to Heaving Bosoms

Kendra Dempsey took her gangster boyfriend's money and ran. The problem is, it was supposed to be split three ways. Going back to Las Vegas is out of the question, so she goes after the fresh start she needs. Indulging her fantasy of living in paradise, escaping the mob and having a career that utilizes her drawing talent, she moves to Hawaii and apprentices as a tattoo artist. Since all the mobsters are in prison now, she can finally relax, right?

Jake Jensen is a cop assigned to work his first undercover assignment at a suspected chop shop, Bump and Grind Auto Body, but he doesn't look the part. The quickest thing he can do to roughen his clean-cut edges is to let his hair grow and get some cool tattoos. When the dyslexic tattoo apprentice makes a mistake in the lettering, will he be a laughingstock? Should he blow his cover and help her when she's in more danger than he is?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Writing & Selkie Skin

Hi guys! Well, I'm going to start with the winner of the contest I held last week. And the winner is: rebekah. Yay! Congrats, Rebekah. Send me an email to yolanda@yolandasfetsos.com, and let me know which of my eBooks you'd like, as well as what format you'd prefer. :)

Thanks so much to everyone who commented. It's cool to share goals, and I hope you all meet them.

The last week has been filled with a bunch of new words and edits. I've hardly had any time to read the books I'm so eager to get stuck into. :/ But still, maybe things will slow down a little from now on. Can you believe Easter is just around the corner? I'm looking forward to having a four-day weekend with the hubby and daughter.

So, in between everything else that needs to be done, I've now written 19,215 words on the BIAM I'm taking part in. This story's a little different to anything I've written before. I mean, sure, the dark edge is still there and so is the paranormal slant... but it feels different. Maybe it's because it's a futuristic novella. I'm not sure, but it's still a lot of fun and I'm really finding my groove now.

Before I forget, on March 14, my first Whispers eBook will be released. This is the tale that placed third in their Seven Wonders of the World Contest last year.

Here's the cover:

Sometimes, an attraction to a stranger can awaken a secret spark deep inside.

It's a very sexy cover, thanks to Rene. As as you can tell, the Wonder of the World that I chose was the Sydney Opera House. There it is in the background. This is a paranormal romance tale about a Selkie. I love the myth behind this mythological creature, and once I chose this location, they both fit so well together. Marisa and Dylan's story was a lot of fun to write.

If you'd like to check it out, you can go here. This Friday's the day. In May, it will also be released in print. As part of an anthology, with the other stories that placed in this contest.

Well, that's it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful week.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tawny's Tuesday: Emotional Themes in Books

Good morning! Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I went to our regular monthly family themed dinner thing on Saturday (this month was Irish food). As usual, it was a great time. Ironically, my siblings and I spent some twenty-something years hardly ever seeing each other, not even during the holidays. And then last summer, we got together for some reason I can't remember, and we talked, and talked, and talked. By the end of the day, we decided we just needed to see each other every month. It wasn't just about eating, although a big part of it is, but also about healing a family that had been broken.

Healing, forgiveness, redemption. Loss. Grief. So many people are familiar with those kinds of emotions, which I believe is the reason why books written about them tend to be so powerful...and so popular.

Have you noticed any recurring emotional themes in the books you read? Are you drawn toward stories about certain kinds of conflicts? What tugs at your heartstrings?

Lately, I've done a lot of soul-searching and struggling with my writing. I know I can't play it safe anymore, that readers are looking for more from me, from my books. But it's scary. Writers make themselves vulnerable by tapping into the pain they've experienced in their life and weaving those emotions and conflicts into their books. Take Sherrilyn Kenyon, for example. Recently, she posted a blog on Myspace about how she's taken all the horrific experiences in her life and used all that bottled-up anguish to tell her stories. That's incredibly brave. I admire her courage.

In the past six months, I've been pushing myself to be more like Sherrilyn, to let all the ghosts in my past run amok as I write. The result: you're going to see a very different kind of story come from Tawny Taylor in the months to come. Yes, there will still be plenty of hot sex, as well as the occasional bad guy. And my voice is still pretty much the same. But there will also be scarred heroes and heroines. Deep emotional conflicts--recovering from severe child abuse, grieving death, issues with sexuality, and struggles with guilt, regret, loneliness. For example, my recent Ellora's Cave release, Double Take. It's a menage, and there is LOTS of kinky sex, of course. But it's not just a story about how many ways three people can make a threesome; it's a story about WHY three people need to make a threesome.

I think it was bound to happen, that my craft would take me to this next level. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

I'll end with a question: what books have struck an emotional chord with you and what was it about that book that made it so powerful? I'd love to hear.

Wicked-Hot Erotic Fiction

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Home for Paranormal Erotic Romance

I recently learned that one of our fellow authors is creating a business targeted toward the Paranormal Erotic Romance genre. This is awesome because while there are plenty of romance-centric blogs and such, there are few sites dedicated to paranormal erotic romance. So I caught up with my bud, Mari LaCroix and got all in her business for a minute. And she was so cool about it, that she gave me the okay to share our IM (instant message) chat with ya'll...

TJ MICHAELS: Hey Mari! Thanks for letting us be the first to spill the beans, er, spread the love, about the new site for paranormal erotic authors. Actually, I'm just nosey and you're being really nice to me! So, give up the scoop, girl, and tell us about what you're doing.
Marianne LaCroix: Thanks for asking me to join you. As an author of the genre, I have noticed that there was no real "place" for us to gather and be appreciated.
PNR is wonderful, but the fact is that many ebooks, especially erotic paranormals, are neglected.
Marianne LaCroix: I thought, why not make a spot for paranormal erotic novels? So, paranormalerotica.com was born.
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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Month & New Goals

Wow. The weeks sure are going pretty fast. It's a new month, again. :/ We're leaving behind the summer that never was, and entering into autumn territory. Let's hope it's a mild one, huh?

Okay, firstly, I just wanted to say a huge HI! to all the wonderful guest bloggers we've had at Divas of the Dark during the last few weeks. Lotsa cool books to check out there, that's for sure.

It's March now. A clean slate as far as the writig goals go. So to speak. After all, I did get that novel finished last week. Yay.

This month, I'd like to get several novellas revised and subbed. I'd also like to make a start on the revision for the two novels I've written during the last few months. This will include some synopsis writing. Yikes! Oh, and I'm also taking part in this challenge. I know, as if I don't already have a bunch of things to do. ;) But the story's in there, inside my head, wanting to get out.

Anyway, I've already gotten a few things out of the way, and that feels really good. And you know, because I'm in a good mood, I've decided to have a little contest. Just leave a comment to this post, letting me know what your personal goal/s are for this month, and I'll choose one winner. I'll announce it next week. Oh yeah, the winner gets to choose any one of my currently available eBooks. So, check them out here, and leave me a comment. ;)



Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Five years ago--or even three--would you have ever guessed that Menage-a-trois stories would be SO popular with romance readers? I can tell you I didn't! But now that I've read some, and written some, I'm soooo glad they are. We're even seeing menage stories coming out of NY houses these days. Menage is everywhere. Menage-a-mania.

The idea of not one but two powerful men lavishing all their attention on a woman...total fantasy, and totally hot.

And then there's m/m/f menage, where the two guys do naughty stuff to each other as well. I can't say why m/m/f stories make me so tingly. They just do. This is why many of my menage books do contain m/m sexual contact (aka "boy sex").

This week, I have a new release at Ellora's Cave. It's a contemporary menage a trois story that touches upon some very serious subject matter. I'm anxious to see how readers and reviewers respond to it. Yes, there's lots of hot threesome sex. But there's also a very sweet and touching love story woven in.

This leads me to my one and only requirement in menage books. There's only one thing I need in a menage. What order the letters appear (m/f/m or m/m/f) doesn't matter. But there must be a deeper emotional connection between the characters. No casual threesomes for this girl.

Double Take
Ellora's Cave

March 5, 2008

Fallon dreamed of a dominant lover for years. Giving it all to a man who can master her sexually. What she never imagined was not one, but two dominant lovers, determined to make her wildest sexual dreams a reality. But perfect lips and to-die-for bodies aside, the identities behind her new Masters’ masks aren’t the only secret they’re keeping.

As Fallon is pulled further into the erotic web they weave, she realizes that being submissive to two dominant men isn’t just about the sensations they can rouse in her, but the emotions they unleash.

The biggest surprise is yet to come, the one that can either set her free to share a love and a life she never dreamed possible, or break her heart forever.
So what about you? Do you read menage a trois? If so, what do you like? What don't you like? And what are your favorite menage books?

Wicked Hot Erotic Fiction

Monday, March 3, 2008

Welcome Guest Bloggers Lena Matthews & Liz Andrews

Hi all, It’s Lena Matthews and Liz Andrews coming to guest blog with the Divas of the Dark. When we first received an invitation to blog we weren’t so sure if we’d fit in. Then it occurred to us, we both act like Divas and one of us is Dark. Eureka!!! We were made for this blog. So thanks to other wonderful Divas for the invite.

We dipped our toes into the paranormal pool a year ago January with our release of Myth of Moonlight with Ellora’s Cave, and promptly decided the water was mighty fine. So fine in fact we followed up with Shadow of Moonlight in September and are currently writing Guardian of Moonlight, the third story in our Werewolf series.

Was it as easy as that? One day write story, the next publish a story and then everyone lived happily ever after. HELL NO. Writing a paranormal story turned out to actually be....wait for it...work.

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to write the first book in the Moonlight series. Paranormals should be easy, we thought. World building, peshah. It’s our world we can do whatever we want in it. Man, were we wrong.

Paranormals are probably the hardest stories to write because when you build a world you need to incorporate elements you may never need. But if you forget them, guaranteed you will need them eventually. We discovered, much to our chagrin, we needed make rules for our world and then stick to them.

Looking back on it now it was actually kind of funny when our editor asked us how the Were government worked. We both scratched our heads in bemusement. The government?? How the hell did we know...wait...we wrote it...right.

To add to our problems we decided to have an ongoing mystery weaved through all the stories in the series. Thankfully, this has proved to be one of the favorite elements of readers and one of the hardest to incorporate. We have to stay consistent and remember stuff. We can’t remember which one of us is Liz and which one of us is Lena half the time, how are we ever going to remember who is framing who?

Despite all the drama (mainly from us) we are very proud of the world (as shaky as it is) that we’ve created. And even prouder to announce that Ellora’s Cave has put the first two stories of the Moonlight series into a one yummy bound book entitled Myths and Shadows.

So to all the readers out there, what elements are your favorites in paranormals? What do you like about the worlds authors have built? Let us know what you think. If you post you’ll be entered into a drawing for one free download or one free print copy of one of our books.

Peace and Blessings,

Lena Matthews
When you crave something more


Liz Andrews
Beyond romance, beyond fantasy, beyond your wildest dreams

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