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Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Spotlight: AC Katt

Did you ever have a secondary character that jumped off the page, pounded you over the head and yelled, write one for me? I’ve had one for every book I’ve written. Although I have as of this writing, only one book published, I have four others in various stages of the writing process. In The Sarran Plague, the character of Mark Stern was so enticing, that he is going to star in his own sequel, eventually.

My current novel that is in the process of submission, Shattered Glass, Sam Stein, the perennial best friend and counselor to both protagonists is waiting to pounce. The book portrays a rock band ripped apart when two of the members who were lovers quarreled. Six years later, they meet again with the help of Sam, their former manager and drummer. To regain their love they must overcome, one’s reluctance to come out of the closet, the other’s tendency to play the child, deal with a deranged stalker who knows too much and help Rick, Sam’s brother ,and their former band mate try to overcome a powerful drug addiction. Sam is there in every scene, patient, kind, but always alone.

The third character that comes to mind is Jim-Boy from, A Matter of Trust. I am working on the final draft and Jim is loveable, funny and Johnny on the Spot when anyone needs help. The two main characters, Bear Drummond and Brian Murphy are a Dominant and his sub who are trying to work through a series of catastrophes to become lovers. Brian gets a man fired for discrimination and finds himself beaten by a gang being cheered on by an old lady with sponge roller and dirty bunny slippers. Jim calls Bear and they come to Brian’s rescue, but the hero gets all the credit. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I do post snippets of my Works in Progress in my blog, www.ackattsnips.blogspot.com, if anyone has an interest. I can also be found at www.ackatt.com, my main website. The Sarrans have a blog and a site of their own at www.thesarrans.com and www.thesarrans.blogspot.com. I am in the process of redoing my website and hopefully soon, all of these blogs will be found in a central location.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Author Interview: Rie McGaha

Whipped Cream welcomes Rie McGaha, who has several books out from Noble Publishing.

Rie learned to read at an early age (her mother said she could read at age three), and she doesn't ever remember not being able to read. "From reading, the natural path was to write some of the same wonderful stories I was reading. As a child I wrote fantasy stories, fairy tales, etc., and as a teen I wrote the requisite morose poetry and lyrics," she said. "As a young mother I went back to writing fairy tales for my own children. After the kids were grown, I decided I wanted to write for me and I did."

Rie was raised during a time when America was discovering free love and porn, she said, and has never thought that what goes on in the bedroom should have any limits beyond the people involved. "Whether it's between two people, three people, or more; includes handcuffs, whips and chains, whipped cream or candle wax, baby, whatever floats your boat should be fair game!" she said. Because of this, there are no boundaries she won't cross, as long as the sex in consensual between two adult, mentally stable people.

Rie told me that she and some other authors were having a discussion the other day about the differences between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography. "We came to the conclusion," she said, "that erotica is purely for titillation purposes, while erotic romance has a HEA or HFN ending. Both erotica and erotic romance must have a strong plot, with strong characters, believable dialogue, and the sex must flow naturally. In pornography, it's just an excuse to have sex!"

Erotic romance falls into a lot of different sub-genres, but it's not pornography, even though Rie said she believed that's a common misconception held by people who don't read erotic romance. "Personally, I don't even like the word 'genre' because I cross genre lines so often, usually within the same story!" she said. "I write erotic paranormal, shape shifter, undead, contemporary, historical, time travel...you name it!"

She never actually set out to write romance at all, though. She loves to read thrillers, mystery, paranormal, and books of that nature, so that's what she began to write. "These stories had a hero and heroine who became involved," she explained, "but the focus wasn't on their relationship so much as it was a kind of backdrop for the rest of the story. When I met Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing, I sent her a story I had written and she sent it back with a few notes. I followed her suggestions and returned the manuscript to her and she published it! That one is called Deadly Dreams and the erotic nature was added from Jill’s notes. She’s a fabulous editor and publisher, and since that time I have had other works published with Noble Romance. Jill has been much more than an editor to me; she’s been a mentor and teacher."

Rie has also written some sweet romances, but finds the erotic romance much more difficult. "I have no problems coming up with characters and story lines," she told me, "but all that sex is difficult for me to write. There's only so many ways two naked people can slide around on each other before you start asking yourself, 'Have I already done this?'"

As a matter of fact, most of the sex scenes she writes are embarrassing for her to write. "I have to say that when I wrote my werewolf story, i>Blood Line, some of the wolf sex was a little much when I wrote it."

In one particular scene, while the manuscript was in edits, her editor put a note that told her to insert another hot sex scene in one particular location. Rie thought to herself, "I don't know any more sex to put there!" But then, the challenge kicked in and her thoughts went, "Okay, you want another hot sex scene, I'll give it to you."

Her husband walked in the room and asked her why her face was so red. She told him what the note had said and said she was embarrassed at what she was writing. So, of course, he wanted to read it—and it embarrassed him as well!

Writing the ménage scene in Grounded was difficult for her as well.

"I’m always afraid the reader is going to think I personally do all the sex scenes the way I’ve written them," she explained, "or worse, they’re going to think I totally don’t know what I’m talking about."

One writer she finds who totally does know what he's writing about is Elliott Mabeuse. She told me, "He writes some of the sexiest stories I’ve ever read and he does it with such skill and feeling, it’s like being caressed while you’re reading!"

Another author she enjoys is Karen Marie Moning, especially her Highlander series. If Rie could entertain one character from a book, it would be Drustan, from Karen's Kiss of the Highlander. "I'd invite him to dinner," she said, "and just pray he'd ravish and plunder and f*** me six ways from Sunday!"

On a personal note, I asked Rie, "If you had to pierce a body part, what would you pierce and why?"

"I’m not much on piercing, but I do have my right ear pierced 5 times and my left ear is pierced 3 times. I’d like to have my belly button pierced and maybe an eyebrow," she said. "When my youngest son turned 16, I allowed him to have his tongue pierced and he wanted me to have it done with him, so after we’d gone out to dinner and I had drank a concoction called a Volcano and a couple of appletinis, I was ready for the piercing. The actual piercing didn’t hurt at all, but a few hours later our tongues were so swollen neither of us could talk! Mine lasted six months, but always felt sore, so I took the bar out and let it grow back. My son had to take his out when he joined the Marine Corps."

She finds many foods ideal for eating off another's body parts. Her favorite is hot fudge and whipped cream, but her friend Chelsea is a Passion Party consultant, so Rie's used those products many times, like the edible body lotions, Nipple Nibblers, edible body pens, D'Lickious, white chocolate body powder and, of course, the hot fudge cream.

"Sex shouldn't be scheduled or perfunctory," she explained. "If it becomes something you have to do—yuk! But when it's creative and exciting, who wouldn't want to stay in on a Saturday night and have that kind of fun?"

"What is your favorite food?" I wondered.

She laughed. "Aside from the ones in the last question? I love seafood—crab, shrimp, scallops, clams, calamari. You name it. If it's seafood, I'll eat it."

On the other hand, there are two foods she cannot bring herself to eat—hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. "I can't even watch someone else eating them," she said, gagging as she answered.

She, as well as a couple of her daughters, can tie a cherry stem with their tongues; she's a Coke girl all the way; and she feels getting pedicures and keeping her toenails and fingernails pretty is all part of being a girl. "And I love being a girl!"

Finally, I asked Rie what advice she would give a new writer.

"Just do it!" she said. "Join writing groups, get to know other authors, ask questions, we like talking about our writing and ourselves! And learn something about promotions. I had no idea that getting published meant becoming a PR person. Get your name out there as early as possible, get on My Space, Face Book, Twitter, join Yahoo groups, and become a familiar name before your work is published. There is no such thing as over exposure in the world of fiction!" You can keep up with Rie on her website, http://www.riemcghaga.com

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Beth D. Carter

NEW AUTHOR BLUES

After having many rejection letters from trying to publish my first book, I had sent off my second book, Black Leather Pants, without too much expectation. In fact, I sent it to only four publishers, one of them being Siren Bookstrand. I was at the post office when I got the message that they wanted to publish my book. I had to clamp a hand over my mouth to stifle my scream of joy.

After that, it was another month before anything else came from them. I bit my knuckles wondering if they had changed their mind! It’s been a whirlwind getting everything in order for the ebook release, but I somehow did it while packing up and moving to another state.

Now that the ebook of Black Leather Pants is due to be released July 30th, I find myself wondering how do I promote myself? I want my book to get out there, to be discovered and noticed, but I have no experience in selling myself. I’m not one of those people who can sell ice to Eskimos, I wish I was, but alas, it’s one of the reasons why I could never work on consignment. Only now, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So here I am, trying to figure out where to go for blogging and interviewing. Black Leather Pants comes out in paperback in February, so all my friends are waiting for that. In the meantime, I have a goal I would like to reach for selling my ebook, and wondered how realistic it is. Thanks to Whipped Cream for being my first interview!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Beth D. Carter

READING YOUNG ADULT

I have found myself reading more Young Adult and I have to wonder, where the heck were these books when I was a young adult? All I got were the books required by school and Babysitter’s Club.

I’ve discovered wonderful worlds of faeries, vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, undead students walking around, and a girl who can explore people’s dreams. Young love, unrequited love, immortal love, bad-for-you love, every type of love possible I have discovered.

I want to list some of the books I have fallen in love with because I’m always excited to talk about great stories. First on my list worth mentioning are the Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare. There are three books in this series and it’s about a young girl who finds out she is a nephilim, a human with angel blood, who fights off demons. The next books worth mention are by Lisa McMann. They are the Wake Trilogy and focuses on a young girl who falls into people’s dreams. She learns to help people through dreams and learns to catch bad guys for the police. And my third set of books I need to mention are by Kelley Armstrong. These books are about a girl who gets her magical “gift” of raising ghosts when she has her first period. She is sent off to a home for troubled teens because she doesn’t understand what she’s able to do, and there she meets others with unusual abilities.

There are so many more worth mentioning, so many great authors that really stimulate the imagination. I can usually find these books at my local library but those I have specifically mentioned I have bought at put in my personal collection.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Beth D. Carter

WHAT IS IT ABOUT VAMPIRES?

I remember when paranormal started popping up popular themes in romance. My first experience was with time-travel, a Zebra romance by Constance O’Day-Flannery titled Timeless Passion. I was thrilled. I read that book in one night! Over the years time-travel became a popular theme but I noticed that it seemed authors became almost desperate for plots. The quality of the stories declined even as the hunger from the readers grew. And now I see that happening with vampires.

Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires! I love the bad-ass bad boys that vampires frequently are, those rogues a mere human girl can transform into devoted lovers. And there have been great stories written. But I’ve started reading some books that seem almost, well, atrocious. Even for open-minded, suspension of disbelief portions.

Perhaps the public has been too overwhelmed with vampires in society. After all, we have the whole Twilight saga and movies, the Southern Vampire novels and its HBO show “True Blood”, and this fall we’ll have a new teenager WB series called “The Vampire Diaries”.

And fast on the heels of vampires are the werewolves. They are next becoming the “it” bad boys of literature. It has me thinking which mythological creature I can jump onto and start writing about so I can be the first to capitalize on the burgeoning love of sexy beasts. I just read a fantastic book from Angie Fox titled The Accidental Demon Slayer whose hero is a griffin. Wo-zer! Makes me want to meet a half-lion half-bird man myself!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Beth D. Carter

FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

I am a mother of an almost-three-year-old little boy named Hadrian. He is a wonderful son, except he has the annoying habits of many toddlers such as not eating a wide variety of foods, screaming when you say “no”, and memory loss of where he’s hidden your keys after taking them from your purse.

My family and I have recently moved from Southern California to Louisiana and it’s time to enroll him into preschool. I thought I would find this a big relief because he’s a smart little boy and loves playing with kids at the park. I thought I would be happy to hand over shaping his brain and teaching him a wider variety of manners. I also thought it would be nice to have a few hours to myself everyday. What I didn’t count on was feeling incredibly sad that my baby is now big enough to leave me for hours every day. He’s getting ready to take that leap into making friends and having a life that I am not supervising every minute of the day.

His father and I took him today to check out the preschool, located very close to home. The other children were napping so put our fingers to our lips and whispered, “Shh!” which he understood. We told him “school” and he pointed to the ground and said “circle.”

Afterward, we decided to be very bad parents and treated him to McDonalds. In between the cheeseburger and fries, we tried telling him that he will be going to school in a couple of weeks, and he just smiled widely, pointed to the round light and said “circle”. Alas, I don’t think he’s catching on but he sure is cute.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Beth D. Carter

PARIS

If one types in “most romantic city in the world”, Paris is the number one answer. Just the name conjures classic elegance and style. Yet Paris is more than just a tourist destination for lovers; it is a city steeped in history and blood.

The Gauls of Parisii tribe settled the area more than two thousand years ago around the Ile de la Cité, upon which the Notre-Dame Cathedral sits today. It is the center of Paris, its heart, around which the city prospered.

In fact, the city got so big the residents had to move the massive amount of bodies in cemeteries, which had been overflowing and causing diseases. In the late 1700’s, the tunnels and quarries underneath Paris streets were used to house the bones of the dead.

Through the years, Paris became a city invaded by almost every army imaginable, first by Julius Caesar, and then by the Huns, Normans, English, and Germans. And in between those periods of being conquered, France, itself, became a bed of violence and greed. How could one forget the storming of the Bastille which led to the Revolution and the beheading of King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette?

Even today unrest still roams the streets of Paris. Twenty days after the attacks of September 11th, military guards roamed the streets with FAL Battle Rifles and every trashcan had been sealed off to prevent bombs in front of national monuments. And this past June, a 17 year old Jewish boy was attacked and beaten up by a gang of black and Arab members, provoking not one bit of surprise in the neighborhood. So while Paris is a city glittering with romance, exoticism, and culture, keep in mind that these attractions have been paved with brutality.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Wish Jar by Kealie Shay

“Could it get any freaking hotter in here?” Mia groused. She swiped her forearm across her sweaty forehead and leaned down, putting her face closer to the small oscillating fan on the kitchen countertop. It wasn’t very big, but it was what she could afford. The summer sunlight filtering through the window over the sink glinted off of something in her peripheral vision. It drew her gaze to the colorful, decorated glass jar on her counter.

Mia’s “Wish Jar”—a gift from her aunt. It wasn’t a joke to her aunt so much as it was one to Mia. Mia could just hear her aunt’s voice repeating what she’d told Mia when she’d given her the jar. “If you want things to change, you need to put it out there. Baby-girl, if you put it out into the Universe, then the Powers That Be will bring you what you need.” Aunt Tara really was convinced the Universe did truly work that way. Mia knew otherwise but she’d done what her aunt said to do. And there her wish jar sat upon the counter, full pieces of paper with her “wishes” written upon them.

The knock at her back door drew her attention from the contemplation of her wish jar and the Universe, but she wasn’t inclined to move from her spot in front of the fan.

“Who is it?” she hollered.

“Uh… it’s Leo.” His deep voice came clearly through the door and Mia shrugged. “Come on in, Leo, the door’s unlocked.” She held back the laugh trying to bubble up from her chest as a very disgruntled Leo pushed through the door.

“Dammit, Mia, how many times have I told you, you need to keep your doors locked?” he asked, head down as he concentrated on locking the deadbolt.

“Oh, I dunno, probably at least a hundred times.” She laughed and propped her elbows on the counter. She watched Leo’s head snap up from his preoccupation with her door. She gave him her full attention. His gaze traveled from the tips of her bare feet to the top of her red head. She didn’t miss that he lingered on all the interesting bits in between. Hmm… that was new. Wasn’t it?

She didn’t think she’d ever seen taciturn Leo check her out before. She glanced down her own body. Nothing new there, small but still perky breasts, waistline that wasn’t tiny but was an actual waistline. Rounded hips that could probably do with a little exercise, but not too bad. Her butt might be too big, but hey, not everyone could be model thin. Nope, nothing new there.

“You feelin’ okay, Leo?” She watched transfixed as a bead of sweat rolled down his cheek and dripped off his jaw. He blinked back at her and his gaze shifted to her ass, prominently displayed by her position against the counter.

He cleared his throat. “Just a little hot, is all. Did your A/C give out on ya, hon?”

Hon? Mia shook her head to clear the confusion. She must need her ears cleared out. What the hell was wrong with him?

“Uh, yeah, it just figures my air would go in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. Would you like a glass of water, Leo?” When he nodded she spun around to get a glass from the cupboard then gasped as he stepped closer to reach over her head and grab the glass.

She could feel the clear impression of his erection pressing against her ass. The unfamiliar and completely unexpected feeling caused her to jerk out of his semi-embrace. The sweep of her arm along the counter knocked the colorful Wish Jar from the counter. Unable to catch it before it sailed off the counter, Mia could only watch it hit the tiled floor and shatter at her bare feet.

“Christ, Mia, don’t move.” Leo growled and before she could form a protest Leo had grabbed her about the waist and lifted her to sit on the counter. It just seemed natural to spread her legs enough to stand between them. Then she remembered his erection and wished she’d thought to close her legs.

Leo bent to pick up the folded pieces of paper. When he paused and read a couple of them she had a hard time not jumping down to snatch them from his hands, regardless of her bare feet and the glass all over the floor. Leo stood slowly as one piece caught his attention. He held it as he stood. His eyebrow quirked and a wicked smile bloomed on his face.

Crap, which one had he fixated on? When his full lips opened she knew she’d soon find out.

“So, Mia, you want a guy who wants you as you are? You want a man who will lust after you even though you are overweight.” He read her “wish” word for word off of the piece of paper he held.

Mia groaned and buried her face in her hands. This couldn’t be happening.

“Mia, you are not overweight! You are so freaking gorgeous I have to put my hands in my pockets to avoid dragging you to the nearest flat surface every time I see you. And, baby, I want you just the way you are.”

“Really?” She heard the sound of glass crunching beneath his boots as he stepped forward and slid his hand under the hem of her summer dress. His calloused fingertips rasped against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs and Mia’s belly clenched as liquid arousal slid from her core and coated her thighs.

“Really,” he murmured, focused entirely on his hands as he lifted her skirt up a centimeter at a time until her pink silk panties were revealed. His gaze lifted to hers and, when she would have questioned him further, his lips pressed down over the top of hers. She whimpered as his tongue pushed into her mouth to tangle with her own.

Mia lost all sense of propriety and tugged at his shirt until she could get it over his head. He had to release her lips to let her do it, but he came right back. When she moved to the button on his jeans his hands against her inner thighs became insistent as he tugged at her panties. He slid them down her legs then tossed the scrap of cloth over his shoulder. With a wicked grin Leo grabbed her hips and tugged her to the edge of the counter until his hard denim-covered cock was pressed firmly against her naked pussy.

He groaned when she finally released his engorged dick and pumped her hands up and down. He reached down and pulled her leg around his hip. The flared head of his cock pressed into her slit.

“Are you sure?” he asked, hesitating at her entrance. When she nodded he took a firmer grip on her hip and pushed into her wet core. Mia gasped and let her head fall back in ecstasy from each hard thrust. Her climax raced up out of her so fast she was left gasping and quaking in his arms as he pumped several more times before he joined her in his own orgasm.

Leo let his forehead drop to her shoulder and they held each other tightly as their heartbeats slowed and they could breathe a bit easier. “Why the heck did you have a piece of paper that said you wanted me to fuck you?”

Mia groaned and buried her face against his neck. “That is so embarrassing. That was my Wish Jar.”

“Oh, I’m so glad I was one of your wishes… you’ve been mine for a long time.” He slowly pulled away from her and out of her. Stepping back he rearranged his clothing and went in search of the broom and dustpan to clean up the glass all over the floor. “My next wish is to do that again in a bed.”

“Well,” Mia murmured. “Your wish is my command.”

About the author: Kealie Shay is the alter-ego of a shy, quiet, SAHM by day. Taking kids to and from activities, grocery shopping and being the family manager are the activities that comprise her daily life. No one looking at her would suspect anything out of the ordinary.

But by night Kealie transforms into a wild woman writing of wicked men and women. She is a sex-crazed nymphomaniac who routinely holds bondage parties in her garage, owns a Great Dane named Brock, and plays regularly with Juan, her Cabana Boy--twin to Carlos, the cabana boy of Jenny Kat Shepherd. And she does all this while wearing a pair of red, thigh-high, stiletto boots. Who cares if it's all in her imagination! Visit Kealie at http://www.menagerieauthors.blogspot.com

Author Interview: Lynne Logan

Whipped Cream is pleased to have with us Lynne Logan, whose latest book, Bribes, Blackmail and Bondage was released this month by Red Sage Publishing.

Lynne told me that people are often shocked when they discover she writes erotica. "I'm usually one of the last ones in a group that 'gets' a dirty joke," she said. "I still blush even after having sold four very steamy books."

Her favorite erotic book is Awaken My Love by her all-time favorite erotic author Robin Schone. Lynne picked up one of Robin's books years ago, by accident, but ever since she read it she eagerly, and impatiently, awaits the next release. Awaken My Love has a paranormal element, but Lynne said that it is the hero, Charles Mortemor, who is memorable. "He is truly what I would call a hero," she told me. "Dark, sensual, and intoxicating. That's one of the few books that I will read over. If an author can put me in the scene, make me believe I’m living the hero or heroine’s life and make me FEEL for the characters, then I think that writer has done a damn good job!"

As a matter of fact, if anyone is interested in writing erotica, Lynne highly recommends they start by reading everything they can find by Robin Schone. "She really knows how to wring out the emotion from the pages of her books," she said. "By the last chapter, I’m captivated by her characters."

Lynne does a lot of her research on the internet, even though she has a few books she's picked up over the years. "I'm always careful that I get the information from reliable sources," she assured me. "And when it comes to the sex scenes, much of that is just plain ol' imagination."

Lynne started off writing contemporary, non-erotic romance as Carol Webb and has two books published under that name. In her critique group, there were two erotic authors and since, at the time, her writing wasn't getting very far, she thought she would give erotic romance a try, just to see if anything would develop. She sent her first endeavor, Burn Baby Burn, to The Wild Rose Press' steamy Wilder Rose line. "Much to my surprise," she told me, "they bought it. From there one I've been writing steamy romance. Ten years ago, if someone had told me I would be writing erotica, I would have laughed in their face. It's just that I never thought my writing career would veer in that direction."

Lynne, under her Carol Webb pseudonym, is currently working on a paranormal suspense series she likes to call her Shrouded series. They are still works in progress, but all three have done well in contests.Shrouded in Darkness won the Ready-Set-Go Pensacola RWA contest and finaled in the Suzannah North Louisiana RWA contest; Shrouded in Mystery took first place in the Emily West Houston Chapter RWA contest and finaled in the First Coast Romance Writers Unpublished Beacon contest; and Shrouded in Illusion placed first in CTRWA's Connection Contest.

"I find them harder," she said, "because the plots are more complicated. I not only have to worry about the romantic development of the story, but I also have to focus on the suspense element. I do enjoy writing erotic novellas and find them fun to write. I think of them as whipped cream—delicious and naughty."

I asked Lynne what her family thought about her writing, and if they read it.

"No. Strangely, no one reads in my family. I even had a used bookstore for a while, and even with all those books, I couldn’t get anyone around me in the family to read. They really don’t know what they’re missing! All those books with amazing characters and stories."

On a more personal note, I asked Lynne, "If you could be anyone you wanted, who would it be?"

"I really can’t say I would want to be anyone else. I love my life. But then again, my dog’s life might be better. Actually either one of my dogs. They’re spoiled rotten. Sleep and eat. You can’t get much better than that."

She's a diet Pepsi drinker at home, but will break down and have a Coke at a restaurant if that's all they have to offer. Her favorite foods include chocolate and raspberries, with chocolate being at the top of the list. But, don't serve her scallops. "Just the idea of swallowing one whole makes me want to gag," she said.

She's heard a lot of rumors about people who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue, but she's never been able to pin a person down.

Her favorite letter is B. "I don't know why," she admitted. "I just love it as an elegant cursive. It might be why I decided on the name of Bella Entertainment for my book trailer business."

She told me that she doesn't think she has any strange habits. "Annoying, now, that might be a different story," she said. "I have to make sure all the lights are out and the electrical cords are pulled in the bathrooms before I leave the house."

To relax when she's not writing, she votes for reading in a bubble bath with a glass of Merlot at her elbow. And, her toenails are always painted. "My daughters would be horrified if they were unpainted," she told me.

If someone were to portray her, Lynne said it would need to be in a sit-com on television instead of in the movies.

"One of my best friends insists that I’m like Julia Louis-Dryefus on The New Adventures of the Old Christine," she said. "I have to admit the character’s life seems to be mirroring my own a little too closely."

Finally, I asked Lynne, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"I would first ask them one question and that is: Do you REALLY want to be a writer?" she told me. "If their answer is yes, then I would tell them to never give up. I’ve heard of too many stories where an author’s persistence paid off. Sherilyn Kenyon is a wonderful example. Her story is absolutely amazing and is exactly what happens if a person believes in themselves and their writing." You can keep up with Lynne on her website, http://www.lynnelogan.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Nina Pierce

Plot or Pants … Only one for me thanks

I've been writing seriously for four years, though the first year doesn't really count since that's when I pounded out thousands of words of crud. But that's an article for another time.

Anyway, I just signed my 8th contract. Yeah, I'm very proud of myself (but this article isn't about that either). I've written one series and have just started a second. All my books, save for one, are suspense. One of them (still uncontracted) is a complex romantic suspense with a stalker and FBI agents and a couple of dead bodies. I like complicated plots with twists and turns. Anyway, I did all those stories by the seat of my pants. Ya know, starting with the "what if" question and letting the story unfold organically from there. I didn't know there was another way because I'd only been on the reading side of novels.

Then I started meeting other writers and learning the basics of the craft. Words that become second nature to writers. Words like goals and motivation, internal and external conflict, hero journeys, black moments, character arcs and backstory. Huh? What do you mean it's boring for the reader if I tell the whole childhood history of my heroine in the first 18 pages? But she's so scarred and flawed ... everything else will make so much sense if you know that her Aunt Betty was actually a man in WWII with a penchant for wearing lady's underwear.

Back when I first made the decision to become an author, I was blissfully unaware of any rules in writing. I was happy just sitting at the computer letting my characters stumble into life-threatening situations, argue, kiss and eventually fall into bed (actually, the falling into bed part seemed to come waaaay to easily to me *wink* anywho...). I was naively typing away letting my characters roam through my stories until something really bad happened which often times included killing the bad guy and then riding off into the proverbial sunset.

But I've grown. I've matured. I've learned that other writers actually plot out their stories ... ya know ... like an outline for a research paper. Oh, I was a scientist in my former life, I've done a lot of research papers. I could do that. As a matter of fact, I thought I might actually thrive plotting a book.

So I signed up for the best plotting class I could find. These instructors were writing pros, presenting the plotting process one step at a time. I'm a good student ... I have always done all my homework ... and I dutifully kept up with the class assignments. We had to describe our hero, heroine and villain, if we had one (ha, mine was eeeevvvil) ... no problem. Then we had to talk a little bit about their childhood, their fears, their dislikes and goals. Okay, I was shaking a little bit ... I'd never really "met" my characters in any of my books until I threw them into some nasty situation. But that's okay ... I pushed through. I tried to discover who they were and what they wanted before writing chapter one.

Then, I had to write ALL their conflicts, internal and external along with the journey I was going to take them on during this story. WHAT? Like I had to know before actually writing the scene at the warehouse what the heroine was going to do with the antique glass vase when she got to the lake? I was breathing in paper bags and bathing in calamine lotion to control my breathing and the hives breaking out on my skin.

When the instructors (all smiles and sweetness) nicely sent out spreadsheets so we could outline our chapters ... well, that was my undoing! How the heck could I tell you what was going to happen in chapter 20 when I didn't even know if my heroine would still be alive past chapter 15? Heck I didn't even know if the story was going to be longer than chapter 10!

I COULDN'T DO IT!

Sorry. *deep calming breaths ... in through the nose out through the mouth* It's still a bit overwhelming when I think about it. But I'll recover. I've set aside all their pretty charts and excel spreadsheets. I gave it a shot. More than one. But my poor muse has an apoplectic fit every time I pull them out. It's just not worth the pitchers of margaritas and soothing music it takes to pull her off the ceiling.

So I'm going to admit it now. Hi, my name is Nina ... I'm a pantser. I've tried plotting because so many writers look so happy with all that information spread out in front of them. Smiling as they happily take their characters on the journey they've taken weeks sometimes months to discover. I can't do it! I just can't ... please don't make me. It's just not in my wiring. I'll happily write my next book having no clue where I'm going or what terrible thing lies around the next corner, but knowing I'll be happy as I travel through the story and even happier when I arrive at the end.

Nina Pierce is an award-winning author of 7 erotic suspense stories. She spends her days typing without a direction, her characters happily wandering the pages chased by villains and of course falling into bed. You can visit her on the web at www.ninapierce.com. And if you want to read her daily babble, she’s also on twitter www.twitter.com/ninapierce.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Nina Pierce

140 Characters of Pure Marketing Power

What the heck kind of marketing could be done in 140 characters and less than twenty minutes a week? One word—Twitter.

One word that has totally sucked me in. I will admit—I’m in love. Addicted. Totally enamored of this social meda tool that is creeping up on Facebook and MySpace, putting the estimated number of unique monthly visitors at between 6 and 8 million. (Wikipedia)

Twitter is the brainchild of Jack Dorsey who posted his first tweet on March 21, 2006.

I didn’t make the leap until the beginning of this year. Now, I open it before my email, before my blog, before my writing. Which is baaaad very bad and I know this. I’m like a kid with a new toy, unable to put it down.

So what exactly is twitter? It’s an opportunity to follow and share with people snippets of thoughts or activities in 140 characters or less. Like any social media, when you open a profile at twitter.com you are given options to customize your page. In the upper right corner of your home page there is a “setting” button. Here you can fill in a profile including a one line bio. On this page you can add an avatar and customize your background.

Once you have your profile ready, you are now free to roam the twitterverse. Being alone is a bad thing. In order for Twitter to work as a marketing tool you must venture out and search for people to follow. Follow? Why would you want to follow people? Twitter is about connections. The updates of those that you choose to follow will display on your home page. Your updates will display on the home page of your followers.

I would suggest using the “search” function in the center of your home page to find people who interest you. When the search screen appears you can type in keywords like “author” “editor” or in my case “multiple sclerosis”. A list of tweeters pops up and if you click on their picture it will take you to their home page where you can read their profile and check out their recent tweets. If you want to follow them, simply click the “follow” button below their picture. Easy-peasy.

Soon, others will begin following you. Once you have followers you should try to post an update a couple of times a week. To increase your readership, I would suggest popping on twitter at least once a day and spending a few minutes updating and replying.

Why reply to others' tweets? Because this isn’t all about you. Move your mouse to the right of any post and a star and arrow appear. When you click on the arrow, the @NAME appears in your update box. Simply type your response to their post and hit update. You’ve started a give and take conversation--very similar to instant messaging. On the right hand side of your home page you’ll see an @YourNAME tab. Click on that tab and it will display all messages from people who replied to your posts.

Under that you will see a “Direct Message” tab. When you click on this you will see a box where you can send a message to ONE person directly. Direct messages will not display on your home page. It’s like sending a personal email.

There are some advanced techniques like hashtags (#). Anything with a hashtag can be searched so you can follow a complete discussion without having to follow all the people. For instance, people who twittered about the Romantic Times convention in Florida used #RT09. If I wanted to know what was happening I could type “#RT09” in my search function and it would take me to a page with all the twitter posts listed under that heading. Every Friday there is #followfriday. This is awesome if you’re looking for recommendations for people to follow.

When you see “RT” before someone’s post that translates to “ReTweet”. Meaning someone found this post interesting and reposted it for others who may not be following the original poster so others can see the post. It is good twitter etiquette to include both the original poster and the retweeter if you use this function.

So why do I do this? First and foremost … I LOVE IT! Ask my homegirls at my local writing chapter. I sing the praises of Twitter all the time. I’m following a little over 800 people and nearly 700 are following me. It’s advantageous to keep your follow and followERs pretty close so you don’t look like a spammer. Yes, like everywhere on the Internet, they’ve invaded Twitter.

And you’ll know them. You’ll get a notice that someone with 1,679 follows and 18 followers and 2 posts has chosen to follow you. They’re spammers. Why? I have no idea. (But I don’t understand why someone named v$CKy emails me every other day to offer me products to increase the size of a penis I obviously don’t have. Anyway …)

Celebrities are jumping on the twitter wagon. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Larry King of CNN (@CNN) had a race to 1 million followers. Ashton topped the mark first. Morning show celebrities Ellen Degeneres (@TheEllenShow), Al Roker (@AlRoker) and Elizabeth Hasselbeck (@EHasselbeck) are tweeting. And more recently Oprah (@Oprah) began tweeting with tens of thousands of people following her before she even posted her first update.

Purists believe this kind of exposure will crumble the original purpose of the twittersphere. Since I too jumped in without having any expectations, I’m not sure if they will change the flavor of twitter. I guess that remains to be seen.

All I know is that it’s a very powerful tool. I have met other writers and editors and enjoy the information people have shared. I try to be entertaining and hope it will be enough to pique people’s curiosity and perhaps they’ll check out my books. I know I have found new readers of my blog and one reader specifically bought a book because I was chatting about it on Twitter. Remember, like any social media, it is important to do more than market your books on Twitter. That’s boring. Readers want to know about you, care about you and if your posted tweets are only about your books then they don’t get the added dimensions of your personality. Reply to others. Chat with them. Again … twitter is NOT all about you.

All I can say, it’s like other kinds of marketing. Try it on. See how it fits. If it feels good, work with it. All I know is that I’m having fun hanging out over there and hope to see you there!

You can find Nina Pierce hanging out and chatting with anyone who will listen on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ninapierce. She is rambling about her experiences as a writer and marketing her newest releases. Visit her on the web at http://www.ninapierce.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Nina Pierce

Romance, Love, and Everything Natural

Okay, so you’re sitting at the computer, your fingers poised over the keys and the words won’t come. Why? Because your muse left you? Because the washing machine’s banging out the end of the rinse cycle? Or your email is begging for your attention? No, none of these reasons are why you can’t get the flashing cursor to turn into letters, words, or sentences. (Though they’re all reasons we get stymied, that’s an article for another time.) It’s because you’ve hit that crucial moment when your hero and heroine are going to do “it” and the thought of putting those words on paper has you quaking in your slippers and beads of sweat pearling on your upper lip.

Relax. You’re not alone. Many writers find love scenes more difficult to write than just about any other part of their manuscript.

We all know how it works, biologically speaking. There’s arousal which causes vasocongestion in both men and women (umm, blood flowing into tissues… you get the picture) and fluids being exchanged and all that other stuff we learned in health class. But let’s face it, romance readers don’t want another biology lesson. They want just that—romance. They want to feel the bond and believe these two people were meant to be together and ultimately, they want the satisfaction of seeing them make this leap into intimacy.

Love scenes are a composition; the poetry of movement dancing with the senses and the music of the emotion propelling it forward. Whether it's a threesome; the sacrifice of one’s soul to a vampire; a quickie in the backseat between young lovers; or a tender, oh, so slow seduction; in the end, readers (especially woman) want the same thing: wonderful sex equating with love.

So how do you do it?

Try getting the mechanics down first. How much detail you include and the language depend on your genre. Once everything has been slotted properly, go back and layer in the senses. How does her perfume smell or his lips taste? What’s the feeling of her hair on his thighs or his whiskers on her belly? Did he sigh into her ear? Remember all five of them.

The scene looks pretty good now, huh? But you’re not finished.

The last and most important part of your scene is the EMOTION! Think deep point of view. How does the whole thing make your characters feel?

Is your character a Chopin/candlelight/slow seduction kind of person, or a rip your clothes off and do it on the stairs 'cause they can't wait to get to the bedroom type of person? Both scenes have their place in our romances. When the reader is finished do you want them panting for more, or smoking a cigarette of satisfaction? Did your scene achieve that goal? If not, try short, choppy sentences for that faster paced, need to satisfy at all cost kind of feeling. Longer, more descriptive details slow the reader down and pull them in.

Remember, the emotions should be wrapped around everything; from the first heavy-lidded look to the tremulous smile through the feather touch across a temple straight to the cuddling at the end (or the walk out the door)—it’s all about the feelings. The actual act isn't what makes a sex scene memorable. It's the interaction between the lovers that connects us to our readers and makes the scene sensual, exciting, and yes, titillating. It makes our readers sigh with satisfaction and dream they had that in their life.

It makes them remember why they fell in love.

Nina loves writing hot scenes of love and eroticism for hr characters. Her newest release, “Bonded by Need” was her first m/f/m ménage. Check out all her titles at www.NinaPierce.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Nina Pierce


Getting Around the Writer’s Block

If you write more than one book … it’s inevitable. That feeling that the words have failed you and you can’t write another sentence worth printing. The cursor blinks tauntingly on the blank page, daring you to fill the emptiness. All your wonderful prose and pithy dialogue have gone out the proverbial window and now you’re a has-been before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy the success of your first sale.

Not to worry. You’re not alone.

Writer’s block happens to many writers. The first solid advice I can give you is not to panic. Though you may not believe it to be possible, it will pass. There are several tricks of the trade that may help you through this time.

If you are not under a deadline …

~ Walk away. Do something relaxing. I have found often times when I am stuck it has to do with a problem I haven’t yet resolved in the plot. By giving myself permission to take a day off I take the stress and worry away. While I’m working on another activity I find relaxing like gardening or scrapbooking, my mind wonders and I stumble upon a solution to a problem I didn’t conscientiously know existed.

~ Work on something else. If you have other stories you have thought about starting or are currently working on, try picking up something new and working on that story.

~ Try some free writing. I often write short snippets of stories called “flashes”. These are 100 word stories of varying subjects. Creative writing inspired by a theme or a picture. Since they require no plot and are simply disjointed scenes it often is enough to release my creativity and I find I can go back to my book with a fresh eye.

~ Character sketches. If you haven’t done it already (some people do these before writing a story) sit down and do a detailed description of your character. Who they are, what they want, hurts in their lives that have brought them to this point. If you’ve already done character sketches try writing a diary entry. Sometimes thinking in the first person gives you enough insight to help you through this difficult piece of writing.

If you are writing with a deadline …

~ Skip a scene or two or simply go to the next chapter. Start at the next point in your story where you know what is happening. Often this will trigger the missing scene(s) and you can go back and fill in the blanks.

~ Write just the dialogue. What are your characters saying to each other? Write the dialogue and go back and fill in the actions and prose to make the scene complete.

~ Write the end of the book. Some writers write completely out of order. The first three chapters then the last three chapters, then a couple more at the beginning and a couple at the end. Writing out of order may help you through the difficulty of a complicated scene.

~ Switch point of view. Perhaps the character you want to experience the scene isn’t the one with the most at stake or the most information to share with the reader. Try writing from someone else’s perspective.

These are only a few of the tools I have found that work for me. I hope you never experience writer’s block, but if you do. Stay calm and know that soon those words will once again be flowing.

Nina Pierce’s muse is a fickle creature. She often takes unscheduled vacations with deadlines looming, leaving Nina to plow her way through countless roadblocks—alone. Fortunately for her, the characters in her head keep screaming for her to write their stories so she pushes through! See all her books at www.NinaPierce.com.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Nina Pierce


Hi, I’m Nina Pierce. They let me hang out here for a week … silly, silly LASR. Anyway, I’ve been writing seriously now for 4 years. (Of course like most writers, I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon, but that’s another story all together.) People often wonder what ever possesses a writer to actually sit down and pound out their first manuscript. I think the most common is answer is that they were driven to do it. Nothing works right in their world if they’re not sitting down letting the characters in their head have some play time on the page.

But my story is different. Much different.

Let me first start by telling you I have a degree in Marine Biology. Not English or European literature—Science. I grew up on the beautiful coast of Maine where the tide pools are plentiful and the water is clear and cold. Very cold! I dreamed of one day working beside Jacques Cousteau. But as I went through college I found out something else about myself … I love to teach. Anything. To anyone. And darn if I wasn’t good at it. So I minored in education and got my secondary education teaching certificate.

About 15 years ago I landed the job of my heart. I taught environmental science at an outreach facility where students from pre-K to adult came for my classes, many which took place outdoors. I was in heaven! I loved working there and would have happily continued if fate hadn’t stuck her foot out and tripped me up.

You see, in the early 90’s I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, (http://www.multiplesclerosis.org) a degenerative disease that eats away at the sheathing around the nerves in your brain causing faulty wiring. It attacks people differently causing different symptoms and problems. People with MS rarely look the same to doctors. Unfortunately there is no cure, but wonderful advances in medicine to keep disability to a minimum. I lived years without showing symptoms.

But five years ago it was becoming painfully obvious that the disease had progressed to the point where I would be unable to keep up with the physical demands of my job. Not one to sit around and do nothing, I searched through my bag of talents and tried to find something I thought I could do sitting on my butt. For whatever reason, I looked to writing. (Probably because I’ve always had something to say.) Anyway, I took a writing class at the local university, joined RWA, found a local chapter of like-minded authors and VOILA! a career was born!

And I haven’t looked back.

When asked what the hardest transition is I’d have to say changing my thought process. Because I taught science I always catalogued the world around me, put it in simple terms to use later in a lesson plan. Now, I look at the world as a whole lot of “what ifs”. What if that couple in the store were having an affair? What if someone were running drugs up the Maine coast? What if shapeshifters actually existed? A whole TON of possibilities.

I am really happy writing stories, letting my imagination take my characters places I can’t go and living out those naughty sexual fantasies. My stories do seem to all take on a suspense twist … ‘cause you know … I couldn’t completely let go of that naughty scientist inside me!

Check out all of Nina’s books on her website at www.NinaPierce.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Author Interview: Bridget Midway

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Bridget Midway, who writes multi-racial characters and/or with interracial romances "because," she said, "when you have a box of chocolates, you have to taste each one and enjoy the differences."

I asked Bridget my standard question, "How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?"

"Erotica is sexually explicit fiction that normally does not have a happily-ever-after ending. It's more like a slice-of-life piece of fiction," she explained. "Erotic romance is just like a standard romance story, however, the sex in it is graphic and explicit. Pornography is a word the government likes to use for a medium that makes them blush...in public. But we all know behind closed doors they're all reading it, watching it, filming it or doing it."

Bridget writes full time, plus she has a day job, so she told me she doesn't get a chance to read as much as she would like to. Her favorite authors are Jackie Collins, Anais Nin, Yvette Hines, Alexis Ke and Seressia Glass. She also enjoys Angela Knight's works. "I'm sure when I get time to read more," she said, "I'll add more to my list."

The man in her life encourages her to write. "Just on the erotic side of my story and not the story itself, I know when my erotic story is good when I jump on my man," she confided.

Bridget has always written sexually explicit works. But when she went to college and learned about what sells in fiction, she backed off from writing erotica to write sweeter romances as Crystal B. Bright. "Eventually, my true writing self came through and I went back to writing erotica," she said. "I don't find [sweet romance] challenging at all. It's fun to write because I have to be creative with the sex scenes."

Erotic romance, in Bridget's opinion, has to have a strong storyline and plot with sex incorporated in it. It can't just be a story with sex for sex sake, but the storyline should have compelling conflicts just like any other story. And, she does a lot of research to make sure she gets her details correct.

"For my BDSM stories, there's a local BDSM group that I actually hang out with when they have meetings and play parties," she shared. "Plus I'm on their Yahoo group, so if I have a question, I can post it to the group."

Bridget told me, when I asked her who she would want to be if she could be anyone, that she was pretty happy just being herself. "I have a great man, and I'm afraid my story ideas wouldn't translate into the new body," she explained.

If someone were to play her in a movie, though?

"Queen Latifah," she answered promptly. "We both have the same body type and, I think, the same sense of humor. Plus she was nominated for an Oscar. What's not to like?"

Bridget's sense of humor came through when she told me about her most embarrassing moment.

"I once wore a hideous sweater given to me as a Christmas present from a friend. It was purple, way too big for me with tassels. I figured that if I wore it at least once, then I fulfilled my friend duties."

On a personal note, she's lately become addicted to string cheese. "It doesn't help that they're individually wrapped and can be easily transported," she explained. She doesn't eat seafood of any kind, however, even though she lives on the East Coast by the Atlantic Ocean. And, she's not a big soda drinker but she can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, declaring, "Coke is smooth, while Pepis has a bite, a bit of a kick."

"Have you ever known anyone who can tie a cherry stem with their tongue?" I wondered.

"In my younger days, I had a friend who could tie a cherry stem with her tongue. Needless to say, she was REALLY popular."

Her favorite letter? "Not sure why, but I love the letter X. I think it's cool"

Strangest habit? "I have four different e-mail addresses, and I have to check them in a certain order. Plus before I write, I usually play one game of Tetris. I lose horribly but it relaxes me before I write."

Favorite toenail color? "Fire-engine red!"

Finally, I asked Bridget what advice she would give to new authors and to authors who wanted to write erotica.

"The best advice I can give to a yet-to-be-published author is to never give up and to keep writing. Once you get picked up by a publisher, the first question your editor, publisher or agent will ask you is 'What else do you have?' When your first story is published, and readers love it, they'll look for more and more from you. To keep your name out there, you have to have work published consistently. Your next book is always your best advertisement.

"I would also advise authors that erotica has to be something they truly enjoy writing. Don't do it because you think you can make a lot of money from doing it. If you don't like the genre and you're asked to write more, you won't enjoy writing anymore. Writing should be enjoyable."

You can keep up with Bridget on her website, http://www.bridgetmidway.com

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Kissa Starling

Art and Life

I went to Savannah College of Art and Design right out of high school. The mindset there fit me perfectly. My sculpting professor took us to Build-A-Rama for a field trip. I had to drive; the man had no car. We perused the aisles looking for neat objects to create with and I'll never forget that.

I took one of those wacky quizzes in my drawing class and it confirmed a lot of things. I'm totally right brained. A good thing? Hmm, maybe not. According to the results I would be a famous artist someday and create art that all loved and enjoyed------but I wouldn't have the financial sense to market it or make any money.

In the few short months that I spent there I learned a lot of things that would stay with me- like not to be shocked when a three hundred pound black women walks into class, disrobes, lays on the table and goes to sleep so that we can sculpt her out of clay. And how not to let your parents talk to your music teacher who, while part of the local symphony, dresses in tie-dye and hangs out at the local bars.

Everything happens for a reason. I thought I would stay in Savannah and finish school but karma had a different plan for my life. I have found that each endeavor I embark upon stimulates some sort of creativity. Painting watercolors, writing romance or planning a family scavenger hunt, they all spark something deep inside of me and make me happy. I do therefore I am.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Kissa Starling

Tea Time Is Totally Terrific

I believe that tea drinking is a dying art. I'm not talking sweet southern tea because that will never go out of style. Hot tea is my drink of choice. I've never been a coffee drinker but you can hook me with an herbal tea any day.

There used to be a local tea room that served lunch. My mother and I went there as often as possible. Must not have been often enough because sadly they've closed down. When you walked in the front door of the establishment there were hooks full of the most fantastic clothing. My mother and I would 'dress' ourselves up and bedazzle ourselves with boas, hats, pearls, and anything else we could get our hands on. One time I remembered to take my camera along. Those pictures bring back great memories. We sat outside drinking our flower blossom tea in the clear teapot, eating sandwiches with no crust and laughing our heads off at the fun we were having.

I think afternoon tea, complete with snacks and treats, should be a staple in everyone's lives. Think of the stress leaving your body every time you stopped to take time for fun right in the middle of the day. I should run for office letting 'Tea Time' be my total platform!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Kissa Starling

Southern Cooking At Its Best

Cooking is a passion of mine and southern cooking is what I'm good at. Bring on the green tomatoes, breaded pork-chops, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, red hots, hash-browns, cornbread and turnip greens because those are the things I know how to cook. Most recently I've made a lot of okra and tomato dishes. I really should have a garden of my own but local produce stands provide all I need for now.
I'm not much for the slime so this is how I cook my okra and tomatoes:

Put a skillet on the burner and let it heat up, add about 3T of olive oil,
Mince two whole garlic cloves and add to heated oil
Wash and cut ends off of about three cups of fresh okra, slice width ways and add to mixture
Brown garlic and okra well
Dice two garden grown tomatoes and add to the mix- don't forget the juice!
Stir ingredients together and cook until tomatoes cook down.

I serve mine over brown rice or eat as a side dish.

Mmm, yummy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Kissa Starling

Writers Just Want to Have Fun

Fun is awesome and I spend as much time as I can having fun. My family means a lot to me and we do a lot of activities together. Card playing has been in my family genes for decades. Spades and Cribbage are the most prevalent ones but we also like Hearts and a few of use still remember how to play Yuker. Uno, Chicken Foot Dominoes, Phase Ten and board games such as Monopoly, Life and Clue are also favorites.

As for our outdoor games? Well, four-wheeling is number one. This last 4th of July we had a four-wheeling scavenger hunt that proved quite hilarious and a lot of fun. We also play washers, horseshoes and throw baskets of HORSE whenever we get the chance.

I can't forget to include visits to the drive-in. We live fairly close to the Starlight Drive-In in Atlanta and tailgate there a lot. Two movies for seven dollars is a great deal. One of my vices is hot dogs and a little place on the way to the drive-in (Zestos) makes a killer fried dog with chili.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Spotlight: Kissa Starling

Pets Rock! Or Pet Rock?

I love animals. There I said it. No surprise to anyone who knows me. I currently have one Siamese cat, two German Shepherds, two hermit crabs, and two stray cats that I feed outside. I think there's a sign outside my front door that says "All without food stop here, tilt your head and stick out your lower lip- owner will feed instantly!" I can't stand to see an animal mistreated and I always help out when I can. My pets are like my children, except they don't ask for money or leave their dirty clothes laying around.

I believe I've just hit upon a phenomenon, pets can't become teenagers! Oh yes, what a marketing ploy. Shelters across the country should advertise that their animals stay cute and adorable and always think you know best.

Back to my own animals. My Siamese is finicky; I guess they all are. He eats cheese, ice-cream and anything with salt on it. Best of all he cuddles. I love a cuddling cat! Kissa means cat in Finnish- no coincidence there.

Back in the 80's my mother and I made pet rocks and sold them. Oh, how fun are fads? I still can't believe people bought rocks with googly eyes and fabric glued to them!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Author Interview: Nicole North

Whipped Cream is pleased to have Nicole North with us today. Nicole has always enjoyed reading sensual, sexy romance with all the emotion and happily ever after and the Red Sage anthologies have always been some of her favorite reads. They were at a heat level she preferred, so she decided to try to write one. Since then she's sold three novellas to Red Sage. Two of them will be in Secrets anthologies (Volumes 27 and 29) and one, Kilted Lover will be published as a stand alone ebook.

As you might can guess from the title, Nicole not only loves writing hot sexy romances, she loves Scotland as well. Both her novellas that will be in the Secrets anthologies, "Devil in a Kilt" and "Beast in a Kilt", are set in Scotland. A lot of her research is done on the Internet and she told me that since she loves Scotland so much, it was just a lot of fun doing the research for those particular stories.

Nicole writes erotic romance and describes it as "simply romance that is a lot hotter than regular romance and sometimes structured a bit differently so the sex can come into the story earlier. It is also romance that contains a sexual premise, more frequent sex, or more graphic scenes. But at its heart, erotic romance is still a romance, a story about characters falling in love, developing a relationship, making a commitment, and having a happily ever after. Erotic romance should have lots of emotion just as regular romance does. The characterization and plot of the story are just as important as the sexual situations."

Erotica and porn are different. "Erotica is different in that a happily ever after isn't required," Nicole explained. "The characters are usually well developed and there is likely to be a good plot. The characters may or may not be falling in love or feeling emotions for each other. Erotica is generally a sexual journey for at least one of the characters.

"Pornography is mainly about bodies engaging in sexual acts. Tab A into slot B. There is likely to be little or no character development, little or no emotion. A plot isn't required. The only objective here is to arouse the viewer or reader with a string of sex scenes. Sometimes women are treated with disrespect in porn."

Because Nicole writes erotic romance as opposed to erotica, she has to make sure the story has the elements to be scorching hot AND contain lots of emotion. "I have to make the reader feel that these characters are falling in love and connecting on a deep emotional level while they're having sex or engaging in erotic situations," she told me. "As for the erotic portion, I don't simply want two people in bed in the missionary position. I love to include interesting, somewhat exotic situations you don't see every day, like maybe voyeurism, exhibitionism, aphrodisiacs, unusual positions or locations, etc. I have to feel that the characters are hungry for each other and that they have a strong emotional and physical attraction. I fall in love with my characters and I want the reader to do that as well."

Nicole also writes non-erotic romance and told me she finds erotic romance more challenging because she forces herself to come up with erotic situations she's never written before. "I push the envelope each time," she said. "Obviously, it can't be the same story, setting, position over and over. Since the erotic portion is more prominent in erotic romance than it is regular romance, the sexy stuff has to be more inventive and creative. But it has to also be balanced with the emotion."

Nicole comes from a conservative family, so they don't read her writing; however, her husband is incredibly supportive and encouraging. "He's always said I WOULD become published if I kept at it," she told me. "He's a wonderful guy! He does read my writing on occasion. I'm not embarrassed for him to read anything I write because we have an open communication when it comes to sex. There is one of my stories he especially loves and keeps saying it should be made into a movie. I could just hug him!"

I asked, "What is the most embarrassing sex scene you've ever written?"

"I'm not embarrassed when I'm writing sex. I enjoy it. The embarrassment might come into play depending on who is reading it. For instance, if the reader is used to reading hot sex scenes and enjoys them, then I'm happy for them to read mine. But if the person is easily shocked, say a friend of mine or someone I know, then if they read one of my spicy scenes I'd probably find that embarrassing."

If a writer wants to write erotic romance, Nicole thinks one thing is very important. "First, they would need to love reading erotica or erotic romance. If they're uncomfortable writing sexy, graphic scenes then they would need to ease into it, gradually writing hotter and hotter scenes until they lose some of their inhibitions and feel comfortable writing at a more erotic level. If the writer is embarrassed by what they're writing, the reader will be able to pick up on this and they won't find it appealing. I teach a workshop called Writing Hot, Delicious Love Scenes, and in that I teach the students a bit about anatomy because I've read some unpublished love scenes from contests, etc. which puts some parts of the female anatomy in the wrong places. So, I'd say be sure you've researched every aspect of sex if there are any areas you're unsure about. This can easily be done online."

Nicole told me that if she could be anyone she wanted, she would still choose to be herself. "But, with lots more money," she qualified, "from being a bestselling author, of course, so I could travel to Scotland (and everywhere else in the world) anytime I wanted. I traveled to Scotland a few years ago and fell even more madly in love with the place that I'd imagined I would. The scenery is breathtaking."

She's not into body piercing, but feels belly button piercing can be sexy on women with flat tummies. "It adds a bit of jewelry and sparkle to someplace besides the face or hands. A tattoo on a hot guy can also be sexy. I'm not brave enough to get either. Pierced ears is as far as I go," she said with a laugh.

Chocolate, along with being Nicole's favorite food ("dark and not too sweet," she specified), is also good to eat off any body part, she told me, but don't feed her oysters to get her in the mood. "My husband loves them but I can't bring myself to try one because of the way they look and smell," she told me.

Finally, I asked Nicole, "If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?"

"This is a tough industry but if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen," she said. "Keep working toward your goals. Rejections will probably come, but don't focus on them. File them away or burn them and send that manuscript out again. Never give up. Keep reading in your genre and improving your craft through workshops, critique groups, contests, etc." You can keep up with Nicole on her website, http://www.nicolenorth.com

Happy Birthday To Me by Lexie Davis

My birthday was the one event in my life that I wanted everyone to remember. I didn’t care if I got Christmas gifts from my relatives. I didn’t care if my husband remembered our anniversary after ten years of marriage. But, excited as a child waiting for Santa, I nearly ran down the driveway when the postman stopped to see who sent me a card.

To my surprise, there was only one card, signed and delivered from an address I didn’t recognize, handwriting I didn’t know. I frowned. Curious, I opened the fancy white flap of paper and pulled the cream-colored card from its confinements.

“Happy Birthday” was all it said in find gold script. I opened it and continued reading. “Go into the bedroom and look in the nightstand drawer.”

Thinking my husband left my gift in there, I walked up the drive to the door and tossed the rest of the mail on the entryway table before locking the front door. What was he up to? I sat the card on the bed and opened the nightstand. Inside was an envelope with my husband’s handwriting. I smiled, enjoying his scavenger hunt.

I lifted it out of the drawer and tore it open.

“There’s a surprise for you in the bathroom.” I tossed the card to the bed and opened our bathroom door to find a trail of rose petals leading to the garden tub. I gasped. Candles were lit, their flames flickering, shadows dancing along the walls. I stood there for a moment expecting my husband to jump out of the shadows. He didn’t.

A wrapped box sat on the vanity, catching my eye. On it was a card that simply said, “Open me.”

I couldn’t help grinning as I ripped the paper and opened the box. Inside was a large teal dildo with the words waterproof on the packaging. I laughed and glanced around the room. “Only my husband.”

Deciding he set the scene for me, I wasn’t about to waste it. I stripped and took the toy into the bathtub with me. Strawberries and champagne sat to the right of the tub and I poured myself a glass. I hadn’t expected my husband to go beyond the usual dinner and a movie date night we always did for our birthdays and this was a pleasant surprise. I sat back sipping the champagne and staring at the massive rubber cock I’d left on the edge.

Did he really expect me to use that thing? Did I want to?

I picked it up and tested it out. It came batteries in place and ready for immediate action. Or maybe he planned it that way? I sipped the cool champagne deciding I wanted to try it out for real. After all, it was the least I could do since he bought it for me.

The warm water sloshed against my nipples causing them to bead. The cool air surrounding me made the sensation even better. A movement caught my attention and I slanted my eyes to the doorway to see my sexy husband, standing before me. He was still dressed in jeans and a tight T-shirt from the construction site and looked pretty damn hot, if I did say so myself. He’d been sweating; his tanned skin gleaming from the droplets of moisture.

I don’t think I’d ever wanted him more than I wanted him in that moment.

“What are you doing?” he asked me innocently.

I grinned. “I was planning on trying out your new toy for me, but I think I’d like the real thing now that you’re here.” I tossed my drink back and sat the glass on the side of the tub. “Come join me.”

He bent to untie his shoes and kicked them off to the side before fisting his shirt and tugging it over his head. He crossed the room to where I was and sat on the side of the tub. “You sure you don’t want to give it a try?”

I knelt in the tub, facing him. “We’ll try it out later. Take your pants off and I’ll show you want I want to try now.”

My hands were on him before he could even move. His gaze raked over my stiff nipples making them harder, tighter with need. He pulled away to finish shucking his pants and reached for the dildo. I watched him, curious as to what he had planned, and waited for him to join me.

He slid into the water and pulled me to him. He kissed me, nibbling on my lips before saying, “Why don’t you try both?”

I knew my eyes widened by his expression. He pushed the dildo inside me and flipped the vibrator on, as high as it would go. He kissed my lips, flicking my nipples lightly with the rough pads of his thumbs. I cried out against his mouth gripping the edge of the tub behind him. He pulled the dildo out and angled it so the bottom half pulsed against my clit. I nearly screamed when I came. My whole body shuttering as I closed my eyes.

I didn’t know when he replaced the silicone cock with his hard, hot one. His hands gripped my hips and moved me up and down his length, taking me hard and fast. I arched back, resting my hands just above his knees. My nipples beaded in the cold air making me shiver with delight until his warm tongue swiped against a hard little nub.

That was all it took before I came again, taking him with me this time.

He wrapped his arms around me and held me against his hard, warm body. I couldn’t hide the permanent grin on my face.

“Happy birthday, baby.”

If only every day was my birthday.

About the author: Lexie’s love for writing began when she wrote her first play in fourth grade. With a big imagination and love for creating worlds, she wrote several more scripts that have placed first in contests. She loves to read but didn’t pick up a romance novel until high school and fell in love with the genre. Now she writes steamy stories, with heartfelt characters, letting her imagination take her wherever it may go. Visit her website at: www.lexiedavis.com

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Spotlight: Adrianne Brennan

What guilty pleasures turn people to read various erotic romance or erotica books? Is it an alpha male? Bondage? Sex magic? Werewolves? Vampires, werewolves--or just being bitten? What about menage or even “bi-curious” works?

When I look around for a good, hot read often what catches my eye are the books that write about the buttons that I enjoy being pressed. I greatly enjoy paranormal erotica including magic and I'll have to admit that a particular Mercedes Lackey book gave me my telepathy during sex fetish. Reading fantasy and paranormal erotica may never be the same again! Then there’s BDSM, particularly if well written. And when all’s said and done, who doesn't like a hot vampire?

Then there’s the exploration into different sexualities and modes of expression. F/f is one of my favorite pairings and not always easy to find. And who at one point hasn’t been curious about what it would be like to be in a hot threesome—or even an orgy—with either two hot men, or a hot man and an attractive woman? How about sex with aliens in a sci-fi novel?

Part of why erotic romance sells is that safe escape to enjoy things we may not necessarily have the courage to experience in real life—and in some instances, would not necessarily want to! We can try on new directions like one would try on clothing and test drive it for a while. Erotic romance allows us to indulge in our passions and have fun with our guilty pleasures, and that’s what makes both reading and writing erotic romance so enjoyable for me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Adrianne Brennan

"Hello, Anachronisms R Us... what can we do for you yesterday?"

Time travel historical romances, science fiction romances featuring time travel... time travel in general is pretty popular in the erotic romance genre. It allows the main characters from the modern day world to find themselves swept off to medieval Scotland, ancient Egypt, a future Earth--and many other romantic destinations. It allows readers to escape and wonder what living in that period was like. Does it have romantic or action elements you wouldn’t have otherwise, such as men fighting with swords or dueling with pistols at high noon? Or does it sweep you away to a far-off world in the future where the imagination can run wild as to what human beings have done and can accomplish? After all, where else can you read about having sex in zero gravity?

One of the things I like best about time travel romances is that it can span genres. Books involving time travel can be fantasy, science fiction, and/or paranormal works. They can even be more mainstream in genre and have time travel as the sole paranormal element.

In terms of the speculative fiction genres, I also greatly enjoy alternate history as a basis for developing characters and setting. This is part of why I think urban fantasy does so well; it’s a “what if” scenario where every day elements are mixed in with the fantastical, allowing the development of a whole new world that looks just like our own.

My favorite time travel series is sadly not a romance, but has held romantic plots as of late: Doctor Who and Torchwood. Fans of science fiction programming should check them out--especially if you like m/m and f/f as Torchwood contains elements of both.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Adrianne Brennan

Writer's block! Burnout! We all go through it and each of us have our ways of dealing with it. Here a list of mine, and why and how they work:

1) Keep more than one writing project going. If my Muse burns out on one, I can go to another. It keeps my projects from stagnating, my Muse from crapping out on me, and helps me to still get stuff done. I have at present three WIPs going on at the same time.

2) Write for yourself, don't write for deadlines. If all you want to do is write a crack!fic about your favorite fandom or a silly little piece that you'd never want to publish in a million years but you just have an ITCH to do it...just sit down and DO IT. As long as you're writing something, you're staying fresh--and you may get inspiration from doing it that will help with your current works.

3) Walk away from the keyboard!! It's okay to take a break. In fact, it's good for us and our writing. We may come back to find things we didn't see before in our writing that needs work and therefore have a fresher perspective on the material.

4) When you're completely stuck, just do the things you love. I play World of Warcraft online, watch episodes of Torchwood, read Doctor Who fanfic--whatever allows me to relax and give my chance for my Muse to get new material. Sometimes even watching movies in similar genres that I'm writing in allows me to be able to get inspiration I desperately needed.

5) If you can, take a vacation--especially if it's related to what you're writing about. I have on limited times and budgets gone on a holiday that lasted all of one and a half days with a single night overstay. The purpose was to gauge the area--namely, the West Village in NYC--for the backdrop of my novel, Blood of the Dark Moon. It not only turned out to be very educational for my book, but gave me a LOT of inspiration to fill in gaps in my story.

6) RELAX. Muses don't like to work under pressure. They like to be given candy and the freedom to run around. They do our best work for us when we're not wound up and barking orders at them, and the best way for us to do that is to make sure that we're in a good state of mind to be writing.

In conclusion, just remember...a happy Muse is a productive Muse. ^_^ The key is learning how to care and feed for yours so that it stays happy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Adrianne Brennan

I have a confession to make: I am one of many women who didn't understand the appeal of slash for a very, very long time. Comprehending what was hot about watching two men go at it was beyond me. Slash between two women I’ve always found hot, but never got into erotic romance novels between two men.

It actually was not until my favorite fandom pairing arose that I "got" it: it's really about two men whom you find to be hot and whose chemistry you find to be hot that makes it work. It's also about that lovely, perhaps-only-slightly-subconscious desire to be the filling in that sandwich. It is my belief that this is why m/m erotic romance sells well with women who want to appreciate men’s bodies and sexuality and find it to be a turn on.

The genre of m/m erotic romance definitely went mainstream recently, and I blame it on the British sci-fi television show known as Torchwood. Its pairing of two of the main characters, Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones, have sold the show for many people who may have never watched it. I personally got into the show because I am a fan of the original show it spun off from, which is Doctor Who. Torchwood broke through a lot of boundaries for the GLBT world with its loose boundaries and definitions of sexuality with its omnisexual main character, Jack.

Often times my writing is inspired by what I read and watch on television, and I write what I consider to be “gender blind” characters for the most part. So far, my books have featured m/f, f/f, f/f/f, f/f/m, and m/f/m pairings. I am in the process of writing some paranormal m/m that I suspect some may enjoy. No spoilers yet until I’m done, however!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday: Adrianne Brennan

I'm Adrianne Brennan, here to do an intro dance for you all!

*dances*

I’m a romantic dark fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction author and reader published with Freya's Bower, and a member of the Midnight Seduction Authors, Infinite Worlds of Fantasy Authors, Dream Weavers, Immortal Fire Authors, and EPIC. I've been an avid reader pretty much my entire life, and a writer for the past two decades of it. In short, writing is my passion, my life--and I can't get enough of it! :D I blame part of it on loving to read. I used to get in trouble as a kid for reading in class when I wasn't supposed to, and now I sneak edits and promo at work when I shouldn't. Some things never change. ;)

For my full time job that pays my mortgage and feeds my kitties and me, I work as a computer programmer. Someday I'd love to have my writing career be my primary career, and like a lot of people on here I'm sure, I continue to dream and work towards that day. I just started a new job doing, of all things, software development for the military. No joke!

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and watching science fiction and fantasy books/tv/movies. It's pretty much my genre of choice. I also dig paranormal romances, which is what my Blood of the Dark Moon novel is for the most part, along with the rest of the Dark Moon series. I also enjoy watching anime, playing RPGs or participating in LARPs (live action role play), playing World of Warcraft, or going out to goth clubs. Among my guilty pleasures includes various fandoms including Doctor Who and Torchwood. And please don't remind me of the latest news regarding David Tennant 'cause I'm still in denial. :( Oh yes, I ship Doctor/Master. That's my canon pairing. Non-canon would be either Doctor/me or Doctor/Master/me. :D

My favorite beverage is chai. My favorite *alcoholic* beverage is red wine, preferably either pinot noir or shiraz.

The latest anime I've seen lately is Tsubasa. I'm addicted and I highly recommend it. I've also been sucked into watching HBO's True Blood. Oh yes, and Dollhouse is great too. I'm beyond hooked on that. I'm also finally caught up with Lost. I recommend going to hulu.com to watch your favorite shows!

And um...yeah. Somewhere in between all of this insanity, I sleep. Really.