Sunday, March 27, 2011

Research...Do I Research?

To some extent, I do have to research some subjects.

For instance, while writing Teacher's Pet, suddenly the hero was slapped with a sexual harassment suit. Since I knew nothing but sketchy details, I had to stop writing; call a friend on the school board to find out specific actions, as well as contact a lawyer for his input on policies.

Same when I was expanding All She Ever Wanted; the issue of Health and Building Code violations came up, and again I was calling people to find out about fines, what constituted a violation, and how to go about contesting it.

I guess my favorite 'research' happened while on vacation. In 2002, my family spent a week in Estes Park, Colorado, at Nicky's Resort. We toured the strip malls in Estes Park; we spent hours in various parts of Rocky Mountain National Park, and ate at some terrific restaurants. I was actually writing another book at the time, but kept a diary of our travels, a habit my mom started when my children were little.

Fast forward to 2007. I'm happily writing away and getting my convict's story down, when all of a sudden, one of the minor characters decides he's not going to be so minor after all, and reveals he's in Denver, Colorado. Suddenly, he's exploring the park and meeting people. An entire subplot develops, and suddenly I can't remember what was on the menu or the decor of Nicky's. So I called them.

The hostess was thrilled I was putting the establishment into a book, and eagerly rattled off some menu items. Then I gently asked about some landmarks in the town, and she confirmed my memory was good. I thanked her and hung up.

Right now, I've got three 'research' projects going on: One story involves a convention, so I have to 'table' it until I can actually GET to one, or at least wait until the characters speak to me again; 2) Since my Discovery Channel episodes were deleted, I'll be watching the next season with interest, and again, hoping my characters talk to me; and 3) Since my 'Dancing with the Stars' storyline is balking, I'm going to have to start watching the show or take up my dance lessons again. I also got a great idea for a subplot, but as an illness I know little about is involved, yeah, I'm going to have to do some research and interview a good friend. Wish me luck; since Spring Break is over, I plan on diving back into Word War at least 2-3 hours per day.

And of course, there is also the research my alter-ego likes to do:
She picks up the phone and calls her BFF:

"I need you to stretch your memory..."

E: "Oh lord, what now?"

"Remember the time you and I met those basketball players, and we used to play euchre with them in the lobby? And one night the RA let us go over to the boys' side for ten minutes, only we took fifteen and he threatened to write us up?"

"Ye-es, I think so...why?"

"You whispered something to him and he changed his mind. What did you say to him?"

"You honestly expect me to remember that? Get real!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

"I Dare You..."

Back in 2007, I was challenged by a former blogmate to increase my heat level. I wrote the upcoming Teacher's Pet with much blushing and minimizing the screen whenever a child would happen to walk by, or even the husband. I was uncomfortable typing certain words and phrases (scroll down to see last week's post!), but I knew if I ever hoped to be an Ellora's Cave author, I'd better use them.

After a while, I got used to all the description; the story was flowing, and I was also challenging myself in my first NaNoWriMo, to see if I was capable of a) writing and meeting a daily word count goal and b) keeping my heat level up. I nearly killed myself, but I eventually accomplished both goals. I had a 50, 038 word document, and sex, sex, and more sex all the way to the end. I was so exhausted and sick of my characters, I didn't go near that document for three months. Mission accomplished, and you know the rest of the story.

My next challenge came a year ago September. I had crashed a class reunion, with people I'd not seen in over 30 years. They found out I was an author, and soon, after a few drinks, three people came to me with 'ideas'. I came home, started writing, but stalled. Then an email from a reader changed that work around. Who knew a simple change of setting, character names, etc, would spark the creativity? I should be receiving a contract for 'Class Reunion' soon.

But my largest challenge is a storyline which came to me last year. I'd gotten hooked on a certain Discovery Channel show, and an idea sparked. But, I know little about this lifestyle. How can I write about something I know only slightly about?

I decided to get the basics down. I saved several episodes on my DVR, and started writing. Disaster hit; I not only hit a wall with the story, but someone deleted every single one of my episodes. I'm hoping the characters 'call' me to finish their story! Same goes for a 'Dancing With The Stars' storyline I have going. I've not touched it in two weeks, and even then, the story's not flowing. I have a bunch of disjointed scenes and really no motivation to tie them together yet. Again, when the time is right, it will call me back. For the moment, I'm concentrating on another story I began about ten or so years ago, but didn't know where it was going. Well, now I do, but the war in Iraq has filtered into it. Now I need to do research on VA hospitals and rehab. Sheesh! This is not the book I'd intended to write, but the characters are adamant it stay in. Wish me luck.

I've said it before; I need peace and quiet. I need to lock myself in a hotel room for a month. No kids, no husband. Just me, my computer, a hot tub within easy access, good food, and plenty of cookies. Preferably Fig Newtons or Chips Deluxe. And a hefty supply of Hershey Bliss Milk Chocolate squares. Or Dove.

Now I have a challenge to my friends James and Travis: Finish our story! I wrote about a disgruntled worker three years ago, and you suggested zombies for the next scene. So where is it? Get it written already!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Women Have Spoken!

After posting this on FB, within an hour I had several women drooling (and a few men as well!) over their computer keyboards! I only had one negative comment, from a non-erotic romance reader, who thought this couple 'didn't look real' and 'they don't look as if they even eat, much less cook!'. And my SU and oldest son were staring at the I say this is a good one:)

The book is slated to arrive in September, and I'm still hoping Teacher's Pet will be released late spring/early summer, so there is plenty of 'breathing' space between the two. Now I can go ahead and get my bookmarks, and maybe a cover flat and some CD covers made. Starting to get excited again:)

Tomorrow, I'll be over at the Romance Books R Us blog, talking about my imaginary friends. Won't you come join in the discussion?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sample Cover Art

The longer I stare at this one, the better I like it:) The first thing I said to myself when I saw it was, "She's not blond"...and "Wow! This is what one would expect on an erotic romance story!"

The first thing I said when I saw this one was "Awwwww....sweet! And she's blond! And I like his expression!" But..."They have their clothes on..."

So I posted them to FB and within an hour, I had several women friends drooling all over the 1st one. So I emailed my artist and said, "Let's go for it!"

What's your opinion? Does it matter that my heroine is blond, yet the cover model is dark blond/ brown hair with highlights?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking the Romance Out Of Sex or Words Which Makes You Cringe....

Warning: The following content may cause eyebrows to raise, heart palpitations, or fainting spells. On the other hand, if you're here, you're over the age of eighteen, so you've been warned:)

There are certain words and phrases I certainly don't associate with romance, yet when writing sex scenes, they invariably creep in to the vocabulary. Sometimes my male characters have potty mouths, and yes, sometimes the women will get carried away.

-'Box'. Last time I checked, it was not in the shape of a square.

-'Cunt'. This brings to mind Penthouse or Playboy prose. I dislike it intensely; however, I'll use it maybe once in a story, and only because I need another word.

-'Pussy'. Same reason as above.

-'Twat'. Who the hell thought this one up? See above.

-"Give it to me baby..." This implies rough sex; not love-play.

-"I can't wait to do you..." Does this guy think that's a turn on? Not me!

-"He slid into her dripping entrance..." or 'Her pussy wept with moisture..." I'd hate to fall asleep in his arms afterward; all that wetness? Euuuwww...who wants to immediately change the sheets? Who's even INCLINED to strip the bed when one is exhausted from their lover's antics?

-Am I the only one who thinks shower sex is impossible? I don't mean foreplay; I mean the actual ACT. I've put it into some of my scenes, but as one who hates cold surfaces, or water pouring into my face...forget it.

I realize the genre I write certain descriptions are used; however, I'm not about to write something I can't stand to read. I wrote the first four books in order to get my foot in the door, and now I'm there, I'm staying on the tame side. What I thought was 'burning sex scenes' four years ago has become 'spicy' or 'steamy'. And I'm happy with that.

The most romantic thing anyone ever said to me was the morning after: "I want to make love to you again." I melted. Instantly.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hung Jury: Pros and Cons

I'll admit, I was slow to catch on to the 'e-book craze'. I found out they existed in either 2001 or 2, when I first saw the founder of Ellora's Cave on Montel Williams. I went to the site, signed up for my free newsletter, and perused the front page. Several thoughts went through my mind:

"Oh my god...these sound GREAT!"

"But wait....they're all about sex!"

"So what? You write bedroom scenes; just...not this explicit."


"'re nearly forty years old, and blushing because there's a naked couple on the cover."

"Say I were to write a book like this: What will my family say? Or even my parents?"

"I repeat: You're old enough to quit blushing. You have two kids, for Christ's sake! Everyone KNOWS you've had sex!"

"That's not what I'm objecting to. Isn't"

"Didn't your agent say you were writing erotic romance?"

"Well....yes. But still, I didn't use words like that excerpt had! That sort of language belongs in Playboy or Hustler."

"But you heard Jaid...her books are being snapped up by the thousands! Get over yourself and be a part of that market. Sex sells, woman!"

" the hell do you MARKET an e-book?"

That one had me stumped. How did one go about marketing a virtual book? Could you download it to a CD and sell it? Get a laptop and hope people would fall in love with the premise and download it on the spot or remember twelve hours later and pull out your business card?

I liked having a book in my hand. I already spent enough time in front of the computer, reading my email and writing my own books. Would I be comfortable reading a book on the computer?

I settled on two books which sounded interesting, and got the consent of the SU to order them. I read them both eagerly, and was slightly disappointed they were so short. One left me hanging...until it bugged me so much I had to reread it. And discovered I'd read it wrong. I actually found myself reading that book four more times.

And then locked myself in the bedroom and tried to conquer my shyness over the use of certain anatomical slang terms. I wrote on and off for several days...then hit a wall. I still have it; I just haven't gotten around to typing it up yet. I think it's got the potential to be a pretty damn good story; my brain's just been busy with other projects. When the time is right, Brock and Tricia will clamor for their story to be finished.

But in the meantime, I was determined to get my 'other work' out there. My first two books actually arrived in print form first. And I timidly handed them out to people, convinced I was about to be raked over the coals for the language and the content. Surprise, surprise...people liked them!

And during the time the second one was being published, I discovered how one markets an e-book. Chat loops, blogging, social media. And yes, I could certainly show off my tasteful e-book covers and explain the CDs aren't audio. Sales have been good; especially since my e-books are considerably cheaper than the print ones!

So yes, this jury is unable to make a decision which is better. Although....if e-readers and books had been around while I was growing up, I'd have had one: I was the kid who packed an entire suitcase full of books for a two or three week vacation...and still ran out of reading material!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Various Scenarios With My Favorite Hero

Reprinted from 2008; these are a series of strange/weird/wacky dreams I had, back before I had many followers. Enjoy:)

I’m lying in bed, restless because you’ve been on my mind all day. I toss and I turn; Heart’s “Alone” is playing in my head, stuck on a loop that plays over and over.

I finally resign myself to the fact I’m not sleeping; I have an itch between my thighs and an aching in my lower body that refuses to go away. I’ve tried pressing my legs together and even putting a pillow between them, trying to relieve the pressure, but no luck. My body is crying out for one thing, and it is several miles away.

I get up; some inner force directs me to the computer. I check my email, and there is something from you! My heart leaps…is it good news? Bad news? With shaking fingers, I position the mouse over the address. And as it loads, I childishly shut my eyes, hardly daring to breathe…I send up a silent prayer for a positive message…I’ve had so many bad ones lately, I don’t know if I could take another. Especially not from you.

I crack my eyes open. Two words…Come over.

I breathe deeply and read it again. Come over.

My heart dances and flutters. He wants me! We’re on the same page! Oh god…it’s been hours since I’ve showered…and I need to brush my teeth! When did he send this? Oh lord…two minutes ago! Is he still on? Wait…there’s more to the message….

Email me back if you get this by X o’clock.

Yay! I eagerly type back, Give me ten minutes to leave…I’ll be there in forty. Is this okay? I hit Send and anxiously wait. I check a couple of sites, tabbing over so I’ll know the minute he writes back. A few minutes tick by, and there it is. I’ll be waiting.

I send up a silent Thank you to the god who wants us to be together and log off. Hurriedly, I brush my teeth, change my clothes, skipping the underwear as he prefers me to go commando, throw on some shoes, and briefly let my drowsy teenager know I’ll be back in an hour.

As I’m driving, the internal dialogue with my conscience begins.

What the hell are you doing?

I want to see him.

What self-respecting mother leaves her kids to go meet her man?

A mom with a healthy sex life. Shut up.

But this late at night? And why won’t he come to you?

Because there’s more privacy and less people at his.

You’re being a sex-starved hussy.

I don’t care.


For him, yes. And only him. Now I said shut the fuck up.

Okay…it’s your life.

That’s right. This has always been my choice.

With my conscience settled down, I arrive. His lights are on. I get out of my car, my legs shaking, still at war with half my brain. Will he think less of me? Will this set the stage for future trysts?

The door opens and there you stand, your tall muscular body surrounded by light. You’ve had a haircut; your eyes are smiling; you still have that tiny patch of facial hair instead of the goatee I’ve come to like; your lips are open and inviting me to kiss them, but not yet.

Your arm reaches out to guide me inside, and once the pleasantries are exchanged and your arms encircle my body in a tight hug, our lips meet, our tongues entwine, and all my doubts and insecurities melt away. This is my man, my lover, my soul mate. Everything is right with the world when I’m in your arms.

Our clothes fall off; your hands are eagerly at my breasts, squeezing and caressing the nipples. Your mouth descends; I clasp your head as your tongue and teeth scrape over my taunt buds, drawing them painfully tighter.

I reach down and lightly grasp your engorged cock, feeling the warmth of you in my fingertips and hearing your intake of breath. After all these years, it still amazes me that I can still evoke this response from you, and that your massive length can fit inside me to the hilt!

I sink to my knees and carefully take you in my warm mouth. I feel your hands in my short, tousled hair as I lightly play with the head, swirling my tongue around and sucking lightly. I suck as much of your length down my throat, wishing I could take it deeper. I reach up to cup your balls and gently squeeze them. My ministrations are causing impatience; you tug me up to crush my body to yours again.

This time, there’s no gentleness. I’ve pleased you, and it shows. You lead me to a soft bed of blankets and lay me down. Your tongue invades my mouth, roughly giving me a taste of your desire. I answer with my own hunger and eagerly spread my legs, wrapping them around your hips and reaching down to assist, ripping open that packet you've handed me and rolling that damned latex over you. Your hips settle into the cradle of my thighs and we let out simultaneous sighs as your thick dick finds its way into my wet passage, and we feel a wondrous contentment. Why do we wait so fucking long to be together? Is it just the delicious self-denial? The knowledge of delayed gratification? Are we simply afraid it will go stale?

And then you start to move and the song in my head is suddenly replaced by Heart’s “Surrender to Me”, and I want nothing more than to keep you trapped deep within me, going slowly even though we’re both starved for this feeling. We kiss, we gasp, we moan with desire as your hard cock plunders my soft pussy, over and over. My arms hold you tight; your eyes burn dark with desire; you reach down and caress my clit, trying to bring me closer, but what you don’t know is I’m already there…I love having you inside me, and this roller coaster of sensations is the only one I’ll ride. I’m excited; I’m calm; I love watching you attain your ultimate pleasure and knowing I’ve made you happy.

And when I’ve achieved several, and you've emptied your essance into the protection of the condom, I want nothing more than to hold you close and cuddle as we recover. I want your arms around me, holding me close to your chest. I love hearing your heartbeat; I love the conversations which follow.

All too soon, it is time to reluctantly leave your warm arms and return to my cold bed. But I’ve got happy memories to sustain me until the next time you have time for me. I’m sensing a Heart theme here…as I’m driving away with your kiss still on my lips, I’m hearing “I Didn’t Want to Need You”

And when I’m safely back in my solitary bed, my brain brings up ‘Will You Be There in the Morning?” and long for the day when we could actually wake up in each others arms in the morning.


I let myself into the house. He is sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes.

"We need to talk," he says, looking serious.

Uh-oh...I don't like the sound of this. "What's the problem?" I set my briefcase down by the front door and make my way over to him.

He stands, and we leave the crowded living room for the spacious master bedroom. I lay down on the bed and curl up on my side, watching him pace.

"I was In front of the stadium. I bought hot dogs for the kids and saw you."

Relief flows through me. He came to the signing after all! But..."Why didn't you come over to the table?"

"You had several people at your table, and you looked so beautiful, so animated, and it hit're going to do well with this! And where does this leave me?" He sits on the edge of the bed, and I see the little boy who just wants to be loved and appreciated.

"I will never leave you," I whisper softly. "I love you."

He get up and spoons his body around mine. "Can we research some more?"

I feel his hands unbuttoning my shirt. "You've been reading Sommer's blog again..."


I am in New York, on a 'field trip', of sorts, with the girls from One Tree Hill. Brooke was to meet with a fashion designer; Peyton was there for support, except she met a guy we were convinced was a mob figure.

The hotel we were staying at was the same one in which my character had a suite in which he lived.

We dodged the Joan Collins-type chaperone character and I discovered the suite. Nothing happened; we simply talked. But later, as the antics of Brooke and Peyton grew outrageous, I called on my friend for help. It was one of those frantic phone calls in which the only information revealed was 'Help! Peyton's being chased by this unsavory guy and Brooke can't find her...'

But in the end, the guy was miraculously apprehended; the girls were tearfully returned to the hotel; the chaperone and the rest of the crew blissfully ignorant of all actions.

And myself? I knocked on my friend's door and asked quietly, "How did you know?"

"Because I know you, and I've come to expect things like this."

I entered the room. His son is playing a video game, and there is a strange woman and young child sitting on the couch. I introduce myself and apologize for the interruption.

" did it all with one phone call," I continue. "You never left; We never saw you. And yet you still managed to be the hero in the end." I'm thoroughly confused.

"Kenzie...I can't explain it. I've matured over the past several years, but you refuse to see it." He's getting slightly angry. "Now don't you have a plane to catch?"

"Actually, we're leaving in the morning." I shoot another inquisitive glance at the silent woman still in the room.

He shifts in his seat. "I think your friends would like to see you."

"Why?" I challenge him. Somehow, my shoes are off, and my cardigan sweater is unbuttoned. I don't remember doing anything to my clothes.

"Because I have plans tonight." He frowns and leans over to hand me my shoes and pull my sweater together, so my tank top is covered.

Suddenly, the woman pipes up, "That's okay; if your wife needs you..."

I shrug and give her a smile. He is not amused.

"She's not my wife," he snaps.

I fasten my sweater and pull on my heels. "That's right; just an Old and Dear Friend, right?" My sarcasm overflows as I feel my own anger rise. I get to my feet and head toward the door. "Enjoy your evening."

Suddenly, his hands are at my shoulders. "Awww, Kenz..."

(Note: What is it with these weird dreams? And I wake up just when things are getting interesting? What does it mean when you and your 'soul mate' argue in your subconscious?)


I'm with my favorite hero, and we are at a party/outing with friends/something like that. Things are going well; he's by my side and making me feel pretty darn special.

But there's another girl who is also being witty herself, and I can't help but feel slightly insecure; after all, I've been in this position before. I was confident of my hero's love and was therefore shattered when I realized the idiot had just dumped me for the other one.

I feel like I need to trust my sweetheart, but at the same time, I can't help wondering if in another week or so I'll find out they've been seeing each other behind my back? I try to stay calm and civil; after all, any show of jealousy will ultimately destroy our relationship, and give him ideas that may or may not be already crossing his mind?

And then the scene shifts...and we are alone, eating breakfast.

"I thought we'd just stay in today, Kenz, and laze around watching football and eating popcorn." He reaches for my hand and gives me that special smile.

My heart melts. I love lying in his arms, sharing a bowl of popcorn while we cheer on out teams!

Maybe I really do have nothing to worry about??