Friday, April 29, 2011

Judy Mays is not alone

I’m sure you’ve already heard about the story of Judy Mays, an English teacher meeting with much prejudice because she writes erotic romance. And yes, I'm simplifying.

Since her story has sparked much interest and support, I thought people might be interested to know that prejudice toward erotic romance writers is not that rare.

I have been denied employment more than once and even lost jobs because they found out I wrote romance novels. People might be surprised to learn the prejudice a romance novelist faces in small communities. I love where I’m from, but they do not support me.

Naturally, I'm not about to name names or start a fuss. I don’t want to mud-sling, but to expose attitudes toward myself and other writers.

For example, I've got a neighbor that I've mentioned before who really seems to believe I and my writing are evil because I graphically describe sex. She prevented me from getting a job at one local business (she works there also, a fact I did not know at the time) by telling the owner I wrote smut.

I worked at a local university for 2 years before getting my first book published. I was so excited that I told someone (whom I thought was a friend) about getting my first contract. She worked in the IT department. A few weeks later my computer was hacked and made to look like I was looking up porn. A coincidence? I think not.

After that I was working in a different business when the owner found out that I wrote erotic romance. He made a point of mentioning that his wife did NOT like him looking at my website. Three weeks later he fired me for no reason at all.

I was interviewed at one place where the interviewer had found out about my writing. She asked what kind of books I wrote. When I said romance she (I kid you not) snorted rudely and laughed until I finally asked, "Is that a problem?"

Needless to say, she did not hire me.

I am truly sorry for what Ms. Jays is going through, but I'm here to say she is not alone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guest Blogger - Cindy Spencer Pape

Please help me welcome my guest today, Cindy Spencer Pape.

THK: Tell me about yourself.

CSP: Geep. I think of myself as pretty average, but then people laugh. I guess average people don’t have voices talking in their heads, or hear their kids say something and reply, “that is SO going in a book.” Let’s see: I’m short, fluffy, and kind of snarky. That’s a survival skill when you live with a bunch of males. I’ve been married over 25 years and have two sons in college who still live at home. Since my desk is in the family room and so is the X-box, much of my writing is done to the sounds of gunfire, explosions, and profanity in the background.

THK: Tell me about your current and upcoming releases. Please include a blurb and a link to where the book can be purchased.

CSP: With pleasure! Photographs & Phantoms is a novella connected to my Gaslight Chronicles series at Carina Press. It’s available as a FREE download to celebrate this week being steampunk week at Carina. You can find it here

I had loads of fun writing it, and hope you enjoy the blurb and snippet below. Also, if you’re interested in my steampunk/fantasy/romance world, the full length novel Steam & Sorcery is also available from Carina Press.

THK: What genre do you write it? What drew you to write in that genre? If you mix genres talk about that too.

CSP: I write whatever appeals to me at the time. I blame my genre-hopping on a short attention span, but part of it is also me challenging myself to try new things. Most of my books are paranormal romances, because I really love the mix of a happy ending and fantasy elements. With the Gaslight Chronicles, I’ve branched into steampunk-ishness because I find the mixture of historical and SF/fantasy utterly irresistible. The clothes and jewelry are really cool too. (wink)

THK: How many books have you written? How many have been published?

CSP: Counting short stories, well over 40. I have two fulls out on submission with my agent, one horrible first novel buried at the back of my hard drive, and all the rest have been published, or are in edits at the moment.

THK: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

CSP: Probably the humor that runs through even the most serious moments. I don’t mean to write funny, but somehow it ends up there, even when I think I’m being serious. I think I just have a quirky outlook on life and it ends up as funny in my writing.

THK: What is the hardest part of writing?

CSP: Not letting the bad reviews, rejections, or difficult chapters get you down. I’m kind of thin-skinned by nature, so that’s something I’ve really had to work on to survive in this business.

THK: What do you read for fun when you’re not writing?

CSP: Romance, all types except sweet or inspirational. Some fantasy or SF or mystery, especially if they’re also funny. I cried when Douglas Adams died.

THK: Any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

CSP: See #6. You have to develop a tough hide and you have to KEEP GOING, even when you think it’s hopeless. I came so close to quitting right before I sold that it scares me. Don’t give up. Always send that puppy out to just one more house, and write just one more book.

And a few just for fun questions.

THK: Chocolate or vanilla?

CSP: Oddly, vanilla. Though milk chocolate is still a major food group.

THK: Vampire or werewolf?

CSP: Totally werewolves, all the way.

THK: Night or day?

CSP: Given the choice, I think I’d be entirely nocturnal, except I love sunshine.

THK: Assuming you already had food and water, what one item could you not live without on a deserted island?

CSP: Someone to talk to. I’d be making up games out of sticks and rocks, and scribbling stories on palm leaves with blood if necessary.

THK: If you could have one super power, what would it be?

CSP: Healers crop up a lot in my books, so maybe that. Mostly I’d settle for a super metabolism.

THK: And probably the most interesting question: Master or slave?

CSP: Errrmmm-I don’t like to be bossed around in real life, but am pretty submissive when it’s on a more… intimate level.

Blurb & Excerpt:
Photographs & Phantoms
A Gaslight Chronicles Novella
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Available as a Free Download from Carina Press

Blurb: Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order’s most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother’s gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way. But it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…

Excerpt: (PG)

They wove among the tourists and barrows and tents. “Sergeant Peterson built me a steam barrow to carry my equipment and a small canopy. It even has feet rather than wheels to accommodate the steps.”

“Very thoughtful of him.” Kendall’s tone was utterly neutral. “Are you and the sergeant…an item, perhaps?”

“What? No, of course not.” While Michael Peterson was a nice enough young man, and relatively attractive despite his missing arm, he was far too…traditional for Amy’s taste. He’d hinted in that direction a time or two, but she knew he’d never tolerate a wife or even a lady friend with a profession of her own. “Whatever gave you that idea?”

“Just something in his demeanor. Whether you believe so or not, the man has a definite interest in you, Amy.”

“I’ve never given him any reason to. I’m not looking for a husband—or a lover, for that matter. Certainly not unless I find one who understands my need to work.”

“Your photography is a part of you—not just the way you make your living—is that what you mean?” He spoke as if he actually understood. “I’ve a cousin who’s a concert pianist. She feels much the same way. Her husband has learned to cope, so I imagine there are other males out there who can adapt.”

“If you happen across one, send him to Brighton,” she replied. “But I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m happy with my life the way it is.” Except—in the last few hours, she’d realized there were parts of the male-female relationship she wouldn’t mind exploring further. Kendall Lake did something funny to her insides in a way no other man ever had. He made her think of things, wish for things, that could certainly never be. He was a marquess, for heaven’s sake, and the heir to a dukedom. No good could come of imagining herself in his arms, his lips upon hers.

You can find out more about Cindy and her books at the following links.

Thanks so much to Tracey for having me here today!

Thank you, Cindy, for being my guest;) It sounds like you and I have several things in common. I've almost finished my latest book to the sounds of Dragon Age on PS3. Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm totally adicted to that game myself, by the way.

Your books sound great and I love the cover art. I wish you lots of sales and many more books:)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sex Symbol is out in print!

Lucy Harper always thought of herself as an ordinary woman, but she suddenly finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. Her sleepy hometown of Peace, Mississippi, turns out to be far from peaceful, what with shapeshifters, vampires and other departures from the “good ol’ Southern boy” stereotype cropping up. Her best friends are all hiding devastating secrets. Her ex-boyfriend is suddenly interested in making up. Her sexy new boyfriend is not only the hottest guy she’s ever met, he’s got some pretty big secrets himself, including what he really is and what he does—besides providing the best sex she’s ever had, that is.

And her new tattoo might be more than a picture of her favorite flower—according to the local werewolf pack, it’s a “sex symbol”. There may be a fight to the death over who gets to claim her as mate.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Blogger - Tina Donahue

THK: Tell me about yourself. Anything you would like readers know about you?

TD:I began writing when I was eight or nine. I wrote and illustrated my ‘books’, made copies, and like the little trouper I was (I had guts) went around the neighborhood and sold them to my friends’ parents. Did very well. Most people can’t resist a kid with that kind of spunk. As a kid, when I wasn’t writing, I was modeling. My face was plastered on billboards across the country. I modeled for Ralston-Purina, Keds (the shoe company), numerous major stores (most of them now owned by Macy’s).

I was also in all those kiddie contests you see on TV (Toddlers and Tiaras), only when I was little we didn’t have makeup and fake teeth and $500 dresses. I still don’t own a $500 dress. I don’t think my car is worth $500. :)

THK: Tell me about your current and upcoming releases. Please include a blurb and a link to where the book can be purchased.

TD: My most recent release is The Yearning, my first erotic paranormal and a Top Ten Bestseller. It was up for Book of the Week at Whipped Cream Reviews and received a Recommended Read and Five Lips from TwoLips Reviews.

Here’s the blurb and the link: To break this curse, they’ll have to turn the heat up. Way up. Jasmine Dante prowls Key West’s nightlife, fighting a losing battle against a jealous rival’s curse that forces her to seek carnal pleasure, no matter the danger. Weakened from lack of sleep, driven by insatiable lust, she spots a man who stirs her desperate craving, and begins yet another dance of seduction. Except the dark stranger who returns her direct stare is no ordinary lover. Inside his powerful body lies a raw sexuality that just might be enough to break her curse.

There’s only one way to find out: imprison him in her bed and feed on his passion. Former U.S. Marshal Mike Stearn is many things, but he’s no woman’s sex slave. The deadly telekinetic power he ruthlessly suppresses comes alive again at Jasmine’s touch. Beneath her bold, potent sensuality he senses vulnerability and desperation.

He may be in handcuffs, but she’s the one who’s enslaved. As Mike resurrects his power to free himself so he can find the curse’s source and defeat it, Jasmine revels in his masterful rule. Her ravenous yearning evolves into rapture as she surrenders to his hunger, her darkest needs—and the emotional connection that lies beyond. Unless the curse takes her life first… Warning: Tons of steamy sex, smoldering passion and a to-die-for love story with a hot Alpha hero who finds himself imprisoned by one sultry and desperate babe.

For upcoming releases, my next paranormal Unending Desire will be released by Samhain on October 17. It has an unusual take on vampires and an Alpha hero to die for. I’ve also just sold my next contemporary erotic romance Take Me Away to Ellora’s Cave. Pub date to come.

THK: What genre do you write in? What drew you to write in that genre?

TD: I write in many genres. I began with romantic comedies for Kensington, then moved into historical, contemporary erotic, and now paranormal erotic. I like to try new genres as it keeps my writing fresh.

THK: How many books have you written? How many have been published?

TD: I’ve written 24 – 20 have been pubbed.

THK: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

TD: I don’t know if I’d call it a quirk – maybe compulsion is a better word. I have to write every day. If I didn’t, I’d be antsy.

THK: What is the hardest part of writing?

TD: When the novels are finished. I really miss my characters. Don’t want to leave them.

THK: What do you read for fun when you’re not writing?

TD: I read works by Dean Koontz, Hilma Wolitzer, Cormac McCarthy and others.

THK: Any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

TD: If you hang in there long enough, treat writing as a serious endeavor – not a hobby or a whim – learn your craft and never give up, you’ll make it.

And a few just for fun questions. THK: Chocolate or vanilla?

TD: Chocolate

THK: Vampire or werewolf?

TD: Vampire

THK: Night or day?

TD: Day

THK: Assuming you already had food and water, what one item could you not live without on a deserted island?

TD: Internet

THK: If you could have any super power, what would it be?

TD: To fly

THK: And probably the most interesting question: Master or slave?

TD: Definitely master :)

Thanks so much for being my guest today:) Readers can find out more about Tina and her books at the following links.

Links: Email:

Sweet ‘N Sexy Divas Blog:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Awesome Birthday Present

Well, it wasn't intended as a birthday present, but it's just in time! lol I just found out that Sex Symbol, my first release with Ellora's Cave is going to print April 19th. That's next Tuesday! So, since my birthday is the 26th, I'm gonna go ahead and consider that an early present.

How awesome is this?!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Fling Web Hunt - Lots of Prizes

The Night Owl Reviews Spring Fling Web Hunt is under way. Over 100 prizes donated by authors, publishers and publishing professionals will be given away. Enter to win Signed Books, Gift Cards and eBooks in the Spring Fling Web Hunt -