Saturday, March 29, 2008

Manic Readers reviews Spring Training

Spring TrainingCristina from Manic Readers gives Spring Training 4 of 5 stars:
Andrea Spring loves men involved in sports. Having had many casual encounters over the years, she is a pro at leaving them behind. But what happens when one won't leave her fantasies? Especially when he's a coach for two of her former lovers that she left the season before? Will Mark finally be the one to tame her?

First of all, this is a part of a series starting with Double Header which I haven’t read yet but Spring Training works well on its own. There are a lot of references to sports and athletes and it would help to have a passing knowledge of any sport or even to have seen certain sports movies like “Bull Durham”. Knowing the lingo will help you to understand some of the inner workings taking place in the story. I love the use of the different toys which made the sex scenes very hot. There are multiple partners and the language is very to the point which elevated the heat level even more. Andi is a very interesting female character and though I wasn't so sure I would like her at first, by the end I was cheering her on.

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Pre-Order Me!

ARe screen capture
I get a kick out of the whole concept of pre-ordering an ebook. I mean, it's not like there's a limited supply, right? Regardless, it's kinda cool. The advance listing is really in preparation for the Romantic Times BOOKlovers Convention (Pittsburgh, 16-20 April), where Spring Training will make its debut.

That gives all you rabid Brio & Belegon readers ample time to buy the prequel, Double Header, and enjoy it -- not that that's necessary in order to comprehend Spring Training. It's just a damned good book with lots of hot sex in it.

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Friday, March 28, 2008


BookSurge.comWell, if this blogger is right, print-on-demand publishers (which comprise the majority of small press & ebook publishers) are about to be faced with a dilemma: Stick with their current printer (usually Lightning Source) and lose distribution through ... or transition to Booksurge (which Amazon bought in 2005) and lose revenue in order to retain that Amazon distribution.

*sigh* Yet another thing for authors to worry about. Personally, that availability on Amazon means more to me career-wise than the income. I suppose that's what Amazon is counting on, huh?

More from the WSJ here.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Publisher Polls

I was sick of hearing about the need for this, so I created a polling structure on LiveJournal. If it's used, fine. If not, fine.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Heart Selah ...

... and apples. Oranges? Not so much.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A rose by any other name...

All digital media is subject to unlicensed copying, including ebooks. Without protection, the industry would collapse. Whether it's considered "buying" or "licensing" -- the fact remains that what you're paying for is ONE copy of the product.

From Gizmodo:
If you buy a regular old book, CD or DVD, you can turn around and loan it to a friend, or sell it again. The right to pass it along is called the "first sale" doctrine. Digital books, music and movies are a different story though. Four students at Columbia Law School's Science and Technology Law Review looked at the particular issue of reselling and copying e-books downloaded to Amazon's Kindle or the Sony Reader, and came up with answers to a fundamental question: Are you buying a crippled license to intellectual property when you download, or are you buying an honest-to-God book?
I certainly don't think epublishers are out to fleece anyone, but YMMV.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Resurrection Reading

For Easter weekend, Phaze is having a 20% off sale and a drawing. The code for the sale is BUNNY08 and will be good from Saturday (22nd) through Monday (24th). The
drawing will be for a Phaze gift pack and other goodies, and it will go to a random member of the Phaze announcement list.

Happy Oestre, y'all!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

If you missed the show ...

If you missed the gab fest this morning, the show is archived on the site and can also be downloaded for offline listening. Go HERE.

We talked about the upcoming Philadelphia Book Festival, Romantic Times, promo, blog snark, cover art, and epublishers. It was a good time, and I look forward to doing it again!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On the Air!

I lose my virginity tomorrow. *grin* My radio virginity, that is. From 11am-noon Eastern tomorrow, I'll be chatting with Stella Price on her Blog Talk Radio show: Books Beyond the Boundaries

You can listen via the website or, if you wanna harass me, call (347) 945-6309. The show is live, so knock yourself out.

We'll be talking about anything and everything, from writing to cover art to promo and beyond. I'm looking forward to it. Hope to hear you then!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The E-volution of Publishing

A nice article about epublishing on eMuse-zine:

The E-volution of Publishing: The Pros, Cons and Misconceptions of Epublishing

By JacquƩline Roth

The moment has finally come. The house is quiet. No one will disturb you now for at least an hour. You brew that perfect cup of your favorite tea or coffee and curl up in your favorite chair. The lighting is ideal and the anticipation as you prepare to sink deep into the escape provided by your favorite author grows. You press the power button and the screen lights up and you begin to read.

Had ya up ‘til that last part, huh? Imagine being able to enjoy your favorite books any time, to carry them with you everywhere you go with out the hassle and weight of carrying multiple paperbacks or hardbacks around with you. Ebooks.

For those unfamiliar with them, electronic books are not just copies of someone’s manuscript being hocked on a questionable website. They are not a fad. Just as you can carry your daily organizer, phone, stereo system and computer around with you in your purse or pocket, you can now carry your library. From clay tablets to papyrus to scrolls to leather bound books to paperbacks, the format of the written word has changed throughout human history. And it’s changing again. What was originally met with skepticism and dismissal by publishers and readers alike has become the next step in the natural evolution of publishing that has exploded in popularity among those same readers and publishers.

Brenna Lyons, President of EPIC (Electronic Publishing Internet Connection) an organization that represents readers, authors and publishers of ebooks, says there are good reasons for the acceptance being enjoyed more and more by ebooks. Lyons sites issues such as ease of storage, lower costs, longer shelf lives of books as well as privacy and ease of purchase. According to Lyons, ebooks even get a doctor’s stamp of approval, “PDA’s and e-ink screens are actually better for your eyes than a computer screen or a paper book. Ophthalmologists actually suggest these readers to their vision-impaired patients.” Most ereaders (ebook display devices) have adjustable contrast screens and adjustable print fonts. “Many programs like ReadPlease and Adobe Reader can turn your ebooks into audio books.” Lyon’s also jokingly notes that ebooks could be considered hypoallergenic in that they do away with the dust and book dust that bother some.

The publishing companies, including the big boys in New York, are also succumbing to the attractions of epublishing. For publishers and authors the appeal of ebooks are undeniable. An electronic book is a much less expensive book. The editing and cover costs remain, many ebooks have beautiful award winning covers. But the overhead cost of printing, binding, storing, shipping and refunding paper books can be massive and do not exist with the ebook. Early forays by the NY publishers into epublishing were limited, but Lyons and many epublishers believe that now that the indies have worked out the kinks in the system, NY is jumping into the loop with a passion, especially in the romance, erotica and science fiction genres.

Even authors enjoy a distinct advantage in the world of epublishing. Deanna Lee, Publisher of Cobbleston Press—one of a handful of indie publishers that has put romance and romantic erotica at the forefront of the epublishing revolution—sees great advantages for the author. “Epublishers can take risks that print publishers can’t because our overhead is low. At Cobblestone, the wait time on submissions is less than ninety days and the time frame from contract to publication is currently less than six months –so those two points are pretty attractive all on their own for writers.”

EPIC’s 2008 ARIANA Winners Ebook Cover Art

EPIC President Lyons states that while New York editors and agents are welcoming of those with epublishing credits, giving them the respect and credibility they deserve, it is not all a matter of warm hugs and Kumbaya for epublishers and epublished authors. “To be honest, I’ve seen more snark and dismissal from certain old-school writers’ organizations (surprisingly the romance ones are more accepting these days than the science fiction/fantasy ones, which seems odd, considering the technology we’re embracing) and from individual New York published authors.” Lyons went on to say that these people are “few and far between.”

While Gorlinsky and Lyons disagreed on the reception of ebooks in the science fiction genre, both noted that the willingness to embrace ebooks seems to be highest among romance readers. Romance, whose figures also include women’s erotica, is the highest selling genre worldwide. In the US, while romance readers are often subjected to unflattering stereotypes, studies show they are the most prolific of readers, show the most author loyalty and are the most discriminating.

Every epublished author, it seems, has a story to tell you about an encounter with a print published colleague or a reader who refuse to read their work in e-format. “When are you going to write a real book?” or “I’ll just wait ‘til it comes out in print,” top the list of demeaning questions and comments that frustrate authors.

This is an attitude that isn’t isolated and ebooks are still not an easy sell to the American public. Recent polls show that less than one third of readers have tried an ereader and over half of those polled said they wouldn’t want to. But what the poll did reveal was that among those who had tried ereaders, especially those who reported themselves as high volume readers reading at least one book per week, the level of acceptance of the epublished books skyrocketed.

Acceptance aside, once a reader embraced ebooks, one of the issues in the beginning was the availability of reading devices. The pool of readers who wanted to sit at their computers or laptops and read their books was small. But into this void stepped Sony, Franklin and most recently These high end readers offer a variety of bells and whistles, including a wireless connection from Amazon’s Kindle. Readers can now think of a book and have it downloaded onto their reader in minutes, ready to read. The main problem is that these devices go for a big chunk of change. Fortunately the increasing popularity of PDA devices and the introduction of less expensive readers by Ebookwise and Franklin have eased some of the problem.

Variety used to be an issue as well, but a visit to Amazon’s website shows us that a large percentage of their books are available as electronic books. In fact, many new releases and most mass market paperbacks are available for download. Fitting with Lyon’s observation about the epublishing acceptance within the romance genre, legendary Harlequin Romance has also begun offering their entire catalogue as ebooks. Add to this distributors such as and the indie publishers’ websites and there is a huge assortment of books available.

And there are even more reasons for writers and the readers to “go e.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Just a brief snippet of M.C. Jeff Strand's EPPIE Awards Banquet presentation.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pile On!

Posted without comment. Or, rather, posted AS comment re this (and past and future) blog dramas:

Mob justice

One of the side effects of the massively many-to-many publishing model that is the blogosphere is the following math:
1. controversy is fun to write
2. controversy is fun to read
3. piling on is safe and fun
4. undoing 1, 2 and 3 is no fun, hard work and easy to avoid.

When I was a kid, there was a fair amount of mob justice. A bunch of kids would spread a rumour, a posse would appear, ask no questions, beat the crap out of you and move on.

A friend of mine is now in a similar situation (and, as Arlo Guthrie famously said, "you may find yourself in a similar situation..."). And the question is, what should he do.

If he takes the time to point out to those bloggers that they're wrong, that they've taken one data point and blown it out of proportion while ignoring the facts (and there are many facts that they've ignored) he's just adding fuel to the fire. "Of course you'll deny it," they've said to him on the phone, "that just proves we're right".

Bloggers love a good fight. They love the give and take and the comments and the links. So my friend keeps his mouth shut and waits for it to blow over.

And it will blow over. Blogging is about speed, and no news is bad news if you're in the hunt for an easy score.

So that's the right way to deal with the mob, but it's not fair. It sucks, actually. The mob wins and nobody learns anything.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I've done my share of 'em. The single most common question asked of me (and, I believe, all authors of erotic fiction) is some variant of: Do you write from experience?

My somewhat evasive response is typically: I've never had a reader accuse me of not knowing what I'm talking about.

The question itself (and its prevalence) tells me that folks reading erotic fiction (be it erotica or erotic romance or whatever label is applied this week) want to know they're getting accurate information. My experiences--sexual or otherwise--are my business. If I choose to share them, that's also my business.

Now, however, some are saying, "Whoa! TMI!" in regard to that very same information and are casting aspersions on those who choose to share. It has me scratching my head. These people seek--SEEK--information about authors from blogs, chats, workshops, etc. but recoil when they get it. Some even go digging for it in the places authors socialize online so they can point to it and hold it up as a dripping example of depravity. WTF? Further, they paint an entire community with whatever color offends them the most.

It's like a cavalcade of repressed church ladies with their steamy novels tucked into their handbags. They find all those menage scenes titillating, but when they learn that the author has admitted to experience with menage, they're aghast: "OMG, what a total slut! I'll never read her work again!" or "I'll never submit to her publisher."

Smacks of hypocrisy, dunnit? When it comes to other authors, in some cases, it also smacks of desperation. The genre has undoubtedly grown more explicit. Those accustomed to writing "traditional" romance feel increasingly pressured to include sex scenes that fall outside the realm of their experiences just to stay in the game. So, they research. They seek information--just as one researches weaponry or historical fact. It seems the first place they look is to other authors. Personally, if I want information about a sexual (or any other) practice with which I've no experience, I'm not gonna ask a fiction writer.

However, in that vein, I recently presented a Passionate Ink workshop along with Eden Bradley and Lillian Feisty entitled Everything You Always Wanted to Know about (Writing) Sex but Were Afraid to Ask. We covered a lot of subjects and openly answered questions about a wide variety of experiences with the intent of helping authors achieve authenticity. Alas, no good deed goes unpunished.

No author can force someone to read their words--be they on a blog or in a book or on a website. No one can force another to attend a workshop. So I question the integrity of those who react negatively to such things.

Anyway, speaking of interviews. Here's a lesson from the 2006 La Jolla Writers' Conference by Sara Lewis. I attended two of her sessions that year. She provided one exercise to jumpstart your writing that I found interesting, and I've used it for stalled works in addition to launching new ones.

It's kind of a "trick your muse into cooperating" approach. The rules are thus:

a. Write longhand. (No typing.)
b. Write continuously for 20 minutes. (No stopping to "think.")
c. Write script-style as if you are interviewing a character.

Author: Who are you?
Character: My name is ____.
We did this as an in-class exercise, and at the end of 20 minutes I had 6 hand-written pages of character development for a pre-teen girl who'd been abandoned by her mother & was now living in a broken down VW van with her older sister whose pimp beat her. Surprised the hell out of me. I had no idea that little girl was milling around in my subconscious waiting to be written. (Okay, yes, she's STILL waiting ... but I've got her on paper now. I won't forget her.)

One thing I noticed as each of the attendees read their scripts aloud was that there was a distinct point where the character kind of "took over." The author's questions became fewer & further between ... and the character emerged. Way cool.

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