Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saturday's Contest Winner

Congratulations to our winner from Saturday's contest...the winner of the Last Call e-books by author Moira Rogers.

The winner is...MONA!!

Congratulations, Mona! We hope you enjoy your free Last Call e-books.

To receive your prize, please email us at thedeadlyvixens@yahoo.com with your mailing address. Thanks for participating in our blog and congratulations again! Don't forget to check back each Saturday for a new contest!

Please note: New winners will be chosen from the remaining entries if prizes are not claimed within one (1) week from today's drawing. No exceptions are made.

The Deadly Vixens

I'm still here!

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been MIA lately, but things have been a bit crazy. I've been in the process of moving to Texas for a few months for work and it's been more of an ordeal than I'd planned. Well, I've made it, I'm actually here in Texas. Yay!

Now for the bad news... I still don't have internet. My internet service provider is down in many parts of Texas because of Hurricane Ike and I'm not able to get service yet. So, I thought, that's okay. I'll just take the laptop somewhere and use wi-fi. LOL, word of caution to everyone, never plan anything in advance :D. My daughter spilled coffee on my laptop and now the keyboard is fried. So, I'm sitting here in Texas with no internet (which isn't a problem now because I don't have a computer to use).

Lucky for me, the apartment complex I'm staying at has an office center with computers for the residents use. Yay! The only problem with that is that there are only 3 computers and most of the time they're full up. Luckily for me, I work the night shift, so when I'm awake, most other people are sleeping ;) . So tonight, at 3 minutes to midnight, I'm coming to you live from the office center of my apartment complex. (And I'm the only one in here at this time!) It's great having the place to myself. At any rate, that is why I've been missing in action and hopefully, things will get settled before my post is due for next week.

Well, there you have it, that's what's been going on in my life lately. I'm having a wonderful time so far in Texas. I love exploring new places and meeting new people. I've already met some wonderful people that I'm enjoying getting to know better. Although, I've certainly missed getting to talk to all of you lately. I'm having withdrawal symptoms, shh, don't tell anyone. ;)

I'd love to hear from you. What's been going on in your life lately? Catch me up! What have I missed? Leave me a comment and let me know how you're doing. See you next week.

Sierra

Saturday, September 27, 2008

WEEKLY CONTEST

Welcome to our weekly contest on The Deadly Vixens blog! I apologize for getting this posted so late today. My day has been crazy and hectic with sports, starting with karate and ending with football.

Good luck to all participants!

The winner will receive BOTH of the current Last Call titles by our Thursday guest blogger, Moira Rogers! That will get you ready for the release of her third Last Call book: Tequila Sunrise.

So, if you're interested in entering this contest, tell me what you like best about the concept of the Last Call books. Leave your comment here in the Weekly Contest section.

One winner will be picked and announced on Tuesday, September 30, 2008.

Be sure to check back and see if you have won.

If your name is drawn as the winner, you will need to e-mail us at thedeadlyvixens@yahoo.com with your e-mail addres to claim your prize.

*WARNING* Some books may contain explicit material and are for persons 18 years of age or older. If you are not at least 18, please do not enter the contest, as we have no way of knowing your actual age. By entering this contest, you are accepting these terms and are stating that you are at least 18 years of age or older. Thank you. *WARNING*

Please note: New winners will be chosen from the remaining entries if prizes are not claimed within one week of drawing. There are no exceptions.

Best of luck!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Angels...Is there one watching over you?

Hi, my freaky vixens! *waves* It seems like a long week not chatting with you all after last week’s week-long guest blogger event. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I’m at the tail end of our remodel *jiggy dances all over the place* and my boys have been busy playing football and testing for karate and Jiu Jitsu, so we’ve been busy. Really, is a mom’s job ever NOT busy?

"I always feel like somebody's watching me..."

Angels...
"And I have no privacy, whoa - oa - oa..."

Are they among us? Are they even real? Do you believe in them? Are they heavenly sent?
"I always feel like somebody's watching me..."

Is there an Angel standing over your shoulder right now as you read this blog?
"Who's playing tricks on me?"

*grins* I'll shut up with the lyrics now. Why it even made me think of angels, I'll never know. *laughs* That's my kooky brain at work. ;-) Just in case you were interested, the lyrics were from Somebody's Watching Me, by Beatfreakz, which was sung by Michael Jackson and Rockwell.

There is a lot of lore out there about Angels from the Holy Bible to just the difference in basic beliefs and concepts.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, states the following facts:

“The word ‘angel’ in English (from Old English and German Engel), French (from Old French angele), Spanish, and many other Romance languages are derived from the Latin angelus, itself derived from Koine Greek: άγγελος, angelos, ‘messenger’.”

Hmmm…. Angel off Buffy the Vampire Slayer—and of course let’s not forget his own show entitled appropriately enough just Angel—wasn’t his real name Angelus?

Okay, back on track because this isn’t about the fictional vampire Angel. Wikipedia goes on to state the following:

“In Hebrew and Arabic the primary term for "angel" is ‘malakh’ (מַלְאָךְ), ‘malaika’, or ‘malak’ (ملاك) derived from the Semitic consonantal root l-'-k (ל-א-ך), meaning ‘to send.’ This root is also found in the noun ‘Melakha’ (מְלָאכָה), meaning ‘work’, and the noun ‘Mal'achut’ (מלאכות), meaning ‘message’. Other words referring to angels include כרוב kruv describing young children, from which the English word ‘cherub’ is derived. Another Hebrew term is Gil-Gulim, meaning ‘revolving,’ and angels are sometimes depicted as wheels with wings. Derived from this is the Hebrew term ‘Gal-Gal,’ ‘the rotation of fortune, change.’”

While that is all fascinating and I love the way the Hebrew and Arabic spellings look (they’re so pretty to me), it is still a little technical and boring for me as well. For me the word Angels inspires biblical principles and ideologies. Growing up in the church, one cannot run from the teachings of Angels. Biblically, Angels were often times messengers of God. Sometimes Angels were sent to lead God’s people. They were always sent by God though. In Revelations, Angels are harbingers of plagues and destruction.

But where there is good, there is also evil. That I believe even for today. There’s good and evil in the world, unfortunately identifying between the two isn’t always easy.

Most of us know that Satan was considered the most powerful, most beautiful of all angels before he rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven to wander the earth. It is referenced in 2 Cor. 11:16 that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, being the proverbial false prophet.

But beyond that, do you believe in Angels? If so, what do they represent to you?
For me, do I believe in Angels? Yes. But when I think of Angels, I do not necessarily picture the winged angel prevalent in popular culture today. Neither am I picturing Leo off of Charmed, although I rather liked that one. I do believe we sometimes meet angels disguised as humans and we may not even be aware of it. I believe there are different types of angels also.

There are those among us, guardians if you prefer, that protect us and even send us messages from God. Whether we hear those messages, is strictly up to how perceptive or open we are to the supernatural noise around us.

I also believe there are warrior angels that fight demons, do God’s bidding. Maybe, they’re even whispering in the ears of our military guiding them, leading them to safety, giving them a helping hand without any of them ever being the wiser…calling it intuition if you so desire. Maybe, angels are whispering in the ear of evil dictators, staying their hands for one brief show of leniency before allowing them to further inflict bloody atrocities against humanity.

Whatever their real purpose, for me I believe they are here to oppose the minions of Satan and to uphold the law of God.

But what I was most interested in was how you all feel and what you think about Angels. So, I posed this question to my fellow internet sisters on Sn.tv: “Do you have any opinions about angels? Do you believe in them at all? If so, what specifically do you believe about them? Do they help us? Or are they only for God's direction and loyalty? Are they messengers or harbingers of disasters, like the mothman prophecy? Tell me anything and everything you'd like to share with me about your thoughts.”

They were not quiet on the matter. So, once you finish reading their comments, share with me your beliefs.

MANETH
“I don't know if I believe in them, I've never SEEN them so I really don't know. I'm open to anything really, I don't care if they exist or not, I just live my life, not worrying if anything else is out there unless I FACE it.”

NIGHTSHADEISIS

“Far as the angels....hell yes I do.

I've always been a believer in God and everything he stands for. Even though I believe in all of this other spooky crap as well, but there are reasons for things that God just doesn't want us to understand. We're given free will to do what we choose here and be tested. And I don't see how a person can believe in demons without believing in the counter- Angels- in the process. There isn't just EVIL. There's good too. And if that wasn't the case than nothing would repel the bastards.

I’ve came face to face with demons. I've been possessed. None of the above were fun. But I’ve witnessed miracles from God in my life and my daughters on the same token, and felt his love and power in my life when I didn't ever think I deserved it. I wouldn't EVER turn my back on that belief or doubt that.

I'm a complete believer that they are out there. God even said that Angels as well as Demons walk the earth among us. So that leaves one to wonder and think about it.

For what they do, I believe firmly that they are watchers, observers, messengers. They look out over God's work, make sure we all are alright. But also in times of dire need, will do what needs to be done, because God commands it so. It isn't unusual in biblical times for cases like Dean's to spring up where God commanded someone to do something, and it was needed to be done. Angels are known to be messengers of God. I wonder as far as the whole Mothman prophecy, however. Have to lean towards the side of his being a harbinger personally. But that's just me. But yes as far as angels, I firmly believe that they look over us, watching out for us. HELPING when it is necessary, PASSING ON MESSAGES when God asks of it, and even STEPPING INTO THE FIGHT when it becomes a major case of need.”

ALESSANDRA

“Being raised Roman Catholic I was taught to believe in God and therefore Heaven, Angels, Hell and Satan. I attended Church every Sunday, said my prayers, went to Communion, etc. At 10 I was becoming more aware of world events and could not understand how God could allow all the suffering and cruelty to exist without interfering; this is when I stopped believing He existed or more to the point this is when I no longer needed to believe in Him and therefore Heaven/Angels, etc. When I was 16 I stopped attending Church knowing my parents would respect my wishes at this age. I did, however, continue to go at Easter and Christmas knowing it would please them as well as pray for a friend or family member in need as this would give them comfort. That might seem hypocritical but just because I didn't need to believe in Him doesn't mean it is wrong for others to believe.

I know if evil exists, which it does, then good must exist as a balance. But the question remains are God and his Angels and Satan and his minions actual physical entities or just labels used to represent good and evil; or is this just 2 aspects of humanity with no preternatural connotations?
As you can see Belief is very difficult; having blind Faith is simply not in my nature.

I have never felt the presence of my Guardian Angel, we all have one apparently. Having said that I have beaten certain death twice (without medical intervention) and grievous injury, also twice, with nothing more than a few bruises.

Was that just luck or do Angels and therefore God really exist?”

AISLINN

“I know that Angels are sexless, neither male nor female, but when they come to us they come to us in a form that we are familiar with. They too have free will, hence Lucifer's fall. Some say the UFO's are actually Angles, Ezekiel had a vision of a fiery wheel that some say would look liked an UFO, written about in the first or second chapter of Ezekiel. Contrary to popular belief we humans cannot become Angles after death.”

POCKETS

“Lets see do I believe in angels. Lets work on the definition here do I believe in winged harp playing messengers from God? No. Do I believe in some sort of being that isn't nessecerily in a bodily form on this plane of existance that has a purpose to guide and or guard the human race as a whole or has one or a group of specific charges? I'd certainly like to and due to various evidence, personal experience and the amount of people who can hold testimony, Alessandra for example narrowly escaping death and the like. I'd probably err onto the side of believing.

I like to keep an open mind on every matter of this type. On the one hand I believe that once your lights are out, there is nothing, the bare bones science of things has yet to completley discover souls and such and thus on that thought pattern there is no question that we are just organisms and thus will behave like them..But on the same note I am a person who holds a faith and I would certainly like it if my 'beliefs' held true, I have faith in that which I pray to and I would like to not be talking to myself. That said I'm a paranoid person and often wonder. But my Gods don't care! They'll stick around and wait for me to get over myself and I believe that if any thing that is what 'angels' whatever they may be, are there for. A messenger, possibly not but a go between certainly. I'm not egotistical enough to believe a higher power would have a message for me but I do think that if such higher power exists then they will send their underlings to help me on my way to being a better person in life and faith and guide and guard me in my life because everyone needs someone.”


Hope you enjoyed your history lesson on Angels. ;-) Have a great weekend everyone! *waves*

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Please Welcome Author...Moira Rogers!!

Hello, and thanks to the Deadly Vixens for hosting me today! My name is Bree, and I’m one of the two twisted minds behind the shared penname Moira Rogers. Along with my partner in crime, Donna, I spend my nights penning dark and dangerous tales of the paranormal, and those things that go bump (and grind) in the night. I’m here today to talk about our Last Call Series, books featuring supernatural creatures with paranormal needs, and a bar they can visit to find some relief.

The Idea

The premise for the bar started with one idea: no matter how hard they try to blend in with human society, supernaturals will always have needs that would expose them at best, or cause serious bodily harm at worst. We envisioned a bar that was highly exclusive—supernaturals only—and outfitted with all of the finest in both magical and mundane security. In fact, the very first hero is a werewolf who also happens to be a high-tech security specialist.

The Specialty Menu

The focal point of the series (and the reason each title is named after a drink!) is the Specialty Menu. We figured it could be hard to make sure everyone was on the same page as far as those exotic supernatural needs went, so we came up with a system: carefully coded drinks, each with their own symbolism and long tradition, so that everyone in the bar will know exactly what you're looking for. Order a drink, get a room key. As it says on the menu, Last Call's Specialty Menu provides supernaturals with a chance to find someone who is willing and able to accommodate those otherworldly needs in a safe, magically controlled and human-free environment. ;)

Current Titles

Kamikaze: Werewolf in heat, looking for a temporary mate.

Zoe Bennett is an inexperienced werewolf in the grip of her mating cycle. With no pack and no mate, Zoe must brave the supernatural crowds of Last Call, the bar where your drink order tells everyone what you need.

The chase is on, and security specialist Connor O'Malley intends to win, if only because the sweet young woman at the bar looks unprepared for what the night might bring, in and out of the bedroom. Little does he know that, when he catches her, he may not be satisfied being just a temporary mate.

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=966

Hurricane: Contents under magical pressure, experience required.

Artist and witch Fiona Logan hasn't had an orgasm since a bitter ex cursed her five years ago. Whenever she gets aroused, bad things happen. Now, she's come to Last Call in hopes of gaining an audience with--and help from--its owner, a powerful wizard named Benito D'Cruze. If anyone can break the curse, it's him. And if he won't come downstairs to meet with her, she'll bump and grind until his bar caves in from the backlash.

Ben doesn't get involved with patrons....not even the hot, sexually frustrated ones. But when a lush looking blonde threatens to wreck his bar with her curse and her need, he decides it's time to take matters--and her--into his own hands. After all, even if he can't break the curse, he can certainly ease her frustration. And what powerful wizard doesn't love a challenge?

http://www.changlingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=983

If you’re interested in learning more about Last Call, you can find plenty of tidbits, excerpts and information about upcoming releases at our website: http://www.moirarogers.com/ And I leave you with the promise that one lucky blog reader will be winning BOTH of the current Last Call titles! That should get you ready for the release of the third Last Call book last month: Tequila Sunrise. (Looking for domination.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Skhye's Contest Winner Announced!

Thank you, everyone, for entertaining me with fabulous psychic experiences. I handed a list of your names to my husband who chose Toyhabilitation as the winner. So, Toyhabilitation, you win a pdf of one of my available stories. Please contact me at skhye@skhyemoncrief.com and tell me which story you'd like to have! Have a wonderful week, everyone! ~Skhye

Television!

Now that Autumn is here and television shows are starting to get into full swing again. I felt it was befitting to do a blog about TV. I do have to admit that even though I'm not a tv-aholic, I do enjoy a few choice shows. TV doesn't really interfere with my writing since I write during the wee hours of the morning, as you can tell by the time stamp of this blog. haha

A few of my favorites this season are:

Prison Break - Mmmm! I thought this show was really interesting at first, but then I figured since it's about breaking out of prison, how long could it really last and be interesting? Well! It's proven me wrong. It is still as fascinating as it was in season one, and it's in its fourth season. And then well, there's Michael Scoffield. He is smart and oh, so fine. Yet he also has a sensative side to him that is really touching. I think I'm developing an idea for a new character. Oh no! If you're interested, it comes on Mondays at 9pm EST on Fox.

Supernatural - My absolute favorite! I love this show the most of any I have seen. The brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, are hot and kick booty. They have great funny episodes as well as amazing serious/scary episodes. I love how in each episode they deal with a different supernatural creature. Although they have been focused on demons recently, but hey! When I watch them, nothing can really be boring. They fit into my type of genre. =) They are on Thursday at 9pm EST on TheCW.

Kitchen Nightmares - I have also been watching this show, which I first saw the British version of on BBC America. If you've seen Hell's Kitchen then you know who Gordon Ramsey is. He's pretty amazing. In this show, he goes into restaurants that are in danger of going out of business and helps the owners to get things together so that they won't lose their livelihoods. Makes me almost wish I had a restaurant. Darn. This show is on Thursday at 9pm EST on Fox. Now if that's not conflict, then I don't know what is. Thankfully enough, I have another TV with a VCR so I don't miss anything.

Well, that's about it. I have had a strange fondness for Ice Road Truckers, but we won't even go there, right? *winks*

I hope you all have enjoyed learning more about what kind of tv shows I like. I'd love to hear what you're watching! Leave me a comment, so we can talk about it. =)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please welcome author Skhye Moncrief!

video

Thanks for having me, Deadly Vixens! I'm sorry I missed my scheduled day during hurricane Ike. I was evacuated. (LOL, this reads executed when I reread it!) But Sarah was kind enough to invite me back. I've posted hurricane Ike pictures at my myspace www.myspace.com/skhyemoncrief. Check out what was ripped apart, sandblasted, and grounded...

I write insanely cross-genre romance. That really should be a genre so readers aren't stunned by the jolt they experience when embarking on a strange journey into my fantasy romance. ;) If you're interested in Druids, fairies, ghosts, the afterlife, soul mates, time travel, shape shifting, astral projection, numerology, Tarot, alchemy, and heroes in kilts with a theme that questions reality, my work should appeal to you. I'm formally educated in geology and anthropology of which both lead directly into worldbuilding. Hence, my Time Guardian series loaded with hunky kilted men and the women they are bound to for eternity, i.e. soul mates. I hate to say this, but you're probably one of these lucky ladies. You just don't know it yet! And who wouldn't want to learn this big guy with a sexy accent and enormous time-travel key, sword, is ready to whisk her off across time and space? Yep. Space. Because the past is born of the future. The future is born in the past. There are no coincidences. There is only purpose... And everything start on planet Scotia Major. Or so it would seem. Those blasted fairies just can't leave things well enough alone.

A few Time Guardian titles are available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=232, and a few are coming soon. My novel HE OF THE FIERY SWORD where once upon a time King Arthur was a time-traveling shape-shifting dragon is available in print at www.amazon.com. I'm also excited about my Time Guardian Halloween tale releasing Oct. 1--NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE. Read into that title any way you like, you're probably dead on! *chuckle* Of course, it implies nothing of the psychic vampire...

NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE:
A demon stalks Druidess Aron MacKintosh, trying to use her to gain control of the timeline in present-day Scotland. Time plows toward Samhain when the doorways open between the Now and the Happy Otherworld. She finds herself in a strange alliance with an unusual time guardian, Cowboy. The duo struggles to defeat the demon. If Cowboy can't earn her trust, the integrity of the timeline could be endangered. Only Cowboy's charm and southern idea of chivalry has what it takes to leave an ancient evil bound NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE.

I invite the curious to read chapter 1. http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/2008/04/09/naked-on-the-staircase.aspx

I'm also fortunate in being included in a group of talented authors with the Wild Rose Press paranormal anthology, SONG OF THE MUSES, that's been released throughout this past summer. I took up the torch and ran with it into the dark Greek underworld with the series' first novella, ANCIENT MUSINGS. Each of the Greek muses gets a romance! And the series will be released in print as three anthologies in October! Plans are in the works for a second anthology featuring all the Greek muses once again. ;)

ANCIENT MUSINGS:
(One's darkness proves the other's light.) When Calliope challenges Zeus to end her immortal existence, she faces the reality of death in Hades. Only Jake Genoese, an archaeologist's soul, can outwit Zeus's Harpies and help her find new purpose. Far more is at stake when both realize they are no more than pawns for ANCIENT MUSINGS. ANCIENT MUSINGS was definitely a challenge to write because I knew very little about classical archaeology. In studying archaeology, my area of specialization was Mesoamerica a wee bit across the pond. Since I had always been interested in kilts and bagpipes, the Celtic mythology came easily throughout life. But Greek was literally Greek to me. ;) I found that the deeper I investigated the more fascinating Greek ideology became. So, I'm anxious to write another novella for the series.

On an instant-gratification note for those readers who love "free", my free read is available. VOW OF SUPERSTITION: DRAGON'S BLOOD is totally unrelated to my Time Guardians or the Greek series. If you like dragons, ritual, and poisonous blood, you can snatch up a copy at: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=232

As for what I do when I'm not writing, I'm usually hosting contests on my blog at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/ where I blog about reference books--everything from Scottish clans to life during different periods among different cultures, New Age interests, the paranormal, books on writing, and archaeology. That's not to say I don't post recipes, links to cool science articles (okay, maybe I'm the only person who finds them cool!), or blather about kids because I am a stay-at-home mom wrangling a three-year old 24/7. Everyone's invited to check out and enter my current contests. This week I'm giving away a photo mousepad and 5 romantic and inspiring gifts. So, stop by and enter!

As for the time you've spent reading this blog entry, I'm going to give away a pdf from the list of my available titles http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=232 to someone who'd like to share a psychic experience they've had with me by midnight CST tonight. I recently participated on a blog event hosted by a psychic author who informed me that I was a strong medium or clairvoyant based on things I saw and heard as a child. I've done nothing to check into this other than feel chilling gooseflesh and think maybe I don't want to see dead people. So, what about you? Have you had any strange experiences that made you wonder or investigate?

Thanks for having me, Deadly Vixens. I'm going to leave everyone with my favorite quote. "Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Ghandi

~Skhye
http://www.timeguardians.com/
http://www.skhyemoncrief.com/

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Please Welcome Author...Karen Erickson!!

I tried something different with my recent Ellora's Cave release, Hidden (buy link: http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419918506). Well, I have written a shifter before but this time I decided to embark on a shifter series. It’s about a hotel located in Las Vegas that’s employed by only shifters. Well, and with a few witches thrown in for good measure.

Yes indeed, the Swank Hotel is a different kind of place but people don't know exactly why. Though the guests do feel that weird vibe every once in a while...

Where did I come up with the idea for this? I'm not quite sure, actually. But hey, it's Las Vegas. Anything goes right? I believe it’s a place where many go and hide. And if they’re not hiding, they’re letting loose, revealing their inner selves. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas indeed.

Watch for more stories about the unusual employees at the Swank Hotel as part of the Sin City Shifters Series coming soon!



I’m giving away a FREE download of Hidden to one lucky commenter who leaves a comment here today! So please comment.

Book one in the Sin City Shifters series, now available at Ellora’s Cave.

As a shadow dancer, Daisy titillates the ever-growing crowds at Swank Hotel’s upscale Seduction Lounge. When Sebastian Collins attempts to steal her away to save his own failing business, she declines. Even in a city of freaks, she stands out. At Swank, surrounded by her own kind, Daisy’s safe.But that doesn’t stop her from being intrigued by the sexy club owner. With a little help from her bartending witch friend, Daisy transforms long enough to steal several orgasmically delicious hours with Sebastian. Afterward, he’s desperate to see her again—but the real Daisy might be too hot for Sebastian to handle.

ADULT EXCERPT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Are you Sebastian?”

The moment had arrived. He recognized her voice from their phone conversation. Turning his head, he found a goddess standing beside him, clad in a slinky black dress that accentuated every delicious curve of her body.

“Daisy?” His voice came out an embarrassing croak and he coughed, trying to cover it.

She nodded toward the chair across from him. He’d moved from the bar to a table when Mo the bartender had told him Daisy would meet with him out here. He thought it would be more intimate.

Right now he was thankful he’d made that decision.

“May I sit down?”

Her voice was husky, sexy, just as he remembered. It rolled over him, filling him with lust, making his cock surge against the fly of his pants, and he wondered what he would do if she whispered hot words into his ear.

A cold sweat broke out across his forehead. He’d probably come in his pants. “Yes, please sit down,” he said, waving her toward the chair.

She did so, leaving her chair cocked at an angle so he could get a good gander at the long, long legs she’d just crossed, the skirt of her dress slipping up even higher. Smooth, golden skin beckoned for him to touch and he clenched his hands into fists, settling them on top of the table.

If he didn’t clutch his hands he’d reach out and grab her, slide his hands up those smooth-looking thighs, test her soft, soft skin. Not the way to impress on their first meeting.

“Do you want something to drink?”

Daisy shook her head, a teasing gleam in her golden eyes. Such an unusual color, they seemed to glow, see right through him, and he felt momentarily hypnotized.

“Didn’t you want to talk business, Mister Collins?”

“Um, yes.” He cleared his throat again, straightening his tie, trying to look official.

But he didn’t feel very official. No, more like he felt the overwhelming urge to touch her, trail his fingers up her arm, cup those heavy breasts that were straining against the thin fabric of her dress. Maybe even scoot that skirt up a little farther and dip his fingers between her legs, testing just how hot and wet and ready she would be for him.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she murmured, her glossy lips parting invitingly.

~~~

For more information about Karen Erickson, please visit her website (http://karenerickson.com/) and her (http://karenwritesromance.com/blog) which she updates daily.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sonja's Contest Winner Announced!

Hello everyone!

This week's contest was a little different. On Thursday, we had Sonja Foust with us, and she held a contest in her comments section. She has randomly selected the winner, and that person is: Jesse!

Please email Sonja at sonja@sonjafoust.com to claim your prize. =)

On behalf of The Deadly Vixens, we sincerely hope you enjoyed our guests this week! If you can think of who we should have next time, or would like to guest blog yourself, just drop us a note at thedeadlyvixens@yahoo.com.

We'd love to hear from you!

The Deadly Vixens

Friday, September 19, 2008

From My Side of the Desk – Natasha Bacchus

Hello everyone! Today we're going to have Natasha Bacchus with us. She's a Senior Editor from The Wild Rose Press. It's an honor to have her here with us. There's a lot of wonderful advice here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask as she'll probably pop in off and on today! Enjoy!
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Sarah sent me a list of questions, which I will try to answer in the body of this article. Though I work for The Wild Rose Press and I am an editor, let me go on the record saying two things: First, I am an editor, I am not God. Please do not take my article as a Holy Grail on how to be published. Writing and publishing are subjective arts and these are my thoughts and opinions, and frankly, opinions are like lungs. Everyone has at least one, and they’re usually full of hot air. Secondly, and in relation to the first, these are MY opinions, MY experiences, MY philosophies and in no way, shape, or form, reflect the opinions of TWRP or the Deadly Vixens. Having said all that, let’s begin:

I edit romance stories. Romance has been criticized for being nothing more than formula. You want formula? Look at your newspapers. Day in, day out, the same tired story: someone’s dead. A country’s fighting. A sports team won, a sports team lost. The names and locations may change, but the basic gist remains the same.

In romance, you have a premise: two people, struggling with life and their personal issues to emerge victorious over those conflicts and win the heart of their lover. But the way that they can manifest is endless and I’m constantly amazed and delighted by the innovative and imaginative ways authors handle this premise. I love romance, I love happy endings. Life is hard enough without having to read some depressing story where everyone dies or goes insane. To me, that’s not entertainment, that’s torture. Give me a story with wit and intelligence—don’t treat me like an idiot (I hate it when I read stories that are so far beyond the stretch of the imagination and the writer defends it as “it’s just a story.” Never use “just” when you’re describing your story—it deserves more respect than that, and so do your readers. Deal with them honestly and they’ll stay faithful to you).

And as an aside to the criticism of romance, doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that an industry so female dominated is constantly put down? Yet, genres that are considered ‘male’ (mystery, science fiction, and the like) are not subject to these comments, but they use formula (because every piece of writing has a formula). In the mystery, the victim dies, the sleuth steps in and in bringing the villain to justice, rights the scales of justice and brings good and evil back into balance. In an action book, the protagonist steps into the fray (because a loved one is in danger, because it’s his job, because he (or she) is a moral person), must overcome a series of obstacles to rescue the victim (or find the treasure, or bring home the reward).

The ignorance when people think of romance irks the feminist in me. Back in the day, women were only allowed to do the light, brainless stuff—no reading of the newspaper, no holding a job. No, no. That was too hard for women, too mature. No, the historical female got to tend to home and hearth (y’know, because raising children and keeping a home is sssoooo easy) and let her man worry about all the tough stuff.

It’s no wonder then (to me, at least) that when women started breaking away, writing about what mattered to them, their hopes and dreams, the resident authority stepped in and rewarded these suffragettes with a benevolent, condescending pat on the head. And so, even though today’s romances can deal with everything from abuse to female war vets, ignorant, sexist and infantile stereotypes exist.

Rant complete. If you write romance, be proud, and ignore the ignorant. You’re contributing to a multi-billion dollar industry, and a genre that is one of the most popular in the bookstores and the world. Be proud, but be professional.

Get people to read your work before you submit and most importantly, get a cold reader (as in, someone who hasn’t heard you talk about the story/characters, etc. They’re coming in cold (hence their name) and are more likely to catch big errors). Print your story on colored paper, it helps catch typos. Put your story away for 4-6 weeks, then read it again.

When you are ready to submit, READ THE PUBLISHER’S GUIDELINES CAREFULLY. Many people get rejected not because the story is horrible, but because the house doesn’t publish that type of work. Next, if the publisher says “no simultaneous submissions,” listen and follow. To do otherwise is arrogant. I’m sorry if you are one of those people who believe rules don’t apply to you (but really, do you do the same thing with your company’s policies or your city/state/country’s laws?), but I find this behavior not just disrespectful to me as an editor (because you’re wasting my time. Why would I want to invest months into your story only to be told you decided to go elsewhere? It’s like two-timing a boy/girlfriend), but more than that, I find it incredibly disrespectful of the other writers who are willing to do the work and have the maturity to understand that for every editor there are something like thirty or fifty authors and being patient in submitting is the price paid if they want to be published.

I love authors who understand life on my side of the desk. I love authors who understand the nature of the industry and are willing to put in their time, effort, and energy in creating both a professional reputation and a stellar book—and I’ll let you in on a little secret. So do other editors, and here’s something else, we are far more willing to work with new authors who display a professional attitude than a multi-pubbed author who thinks he/she gets some kind of “cut in front of these authors” “let me act like a diva,” card for having writing credits.

So, now you’ve written your book and you’re sending it out into the wide, wild world, looking for a home…have you ever met an editor who thinks they’re opinion is akin to the stone tablets? Who passes judgment on your manuscript like Moses reading the commandments? Yeah, I can’t stand those types of editors, either. When I contract a story, it’s because the plot and characters resonate with me. I love smart stories with humor, where the characters act like real people and not cardboard cutouts. But remember, just because I don’t contract a story doesn’t mean the story lacks merit. Writers get despondent when they get a rejection.

Folks, please.

If you’re looking for a publishing house, agent, editor, or book sales to validate the worth of your story (or worse, your own self-worth), you’re in a lot of trouble (Trust me. I know. I have writing friends, and I too have been on the receiving end of a rejection). Finding a publishing house is like finding true love. Sometimes you just gotta keep putting yourself out there (and just like dating, don’t be needy or fake. Present a quality product (i.e. the book—I’m sure as a person, you’re already a quality product) and be patient.).

What defines a quality product? First of all, when you write your query, give the editor her/his name. Don’t do a “Dear Editor.” It’s sloppy and you come across as too lazy to do the most basic research. If an editor can’t trust you to do something that simple, do you think they’re going to trust that you know how to write a detailed, descriptive, tight book? Second, make sure there are no typos. No one expects you to be perfect (Seriously. I’m sure you can find 1000 typos in this article alone), but please, things like, “hse looked into his eyes., Why couldn’t’ their be piece in there lves?” is incredibly sloppy and does you no favors. I have no patience for stuff like this. I’ve heard authors say, “But it’s computers. I’m an artist and I don’t get technology.” Listen, no one’s asking you to build a desktop or become the next Bill Gates, but you do need to know the basic functions of your computer. You’re a writer, it’s your tool. Would you trust a dentist who says, “I’m a dentist but I just don’t get how to work this drill.”? Neither would I.

If you’re rejected, take it in the spirit in which it’s given. No one’s rejecting YOU. They’re rejecting the story—it’s a product.

It is.

I know authors hate hearing this, but it’s true. A book needs a market and it needs to sell. If you don’t ever want to get a rejection, self-publish—and I’m not saying that to be a smart aleck. I mean it honestly. If you feel your story would be corrupted by any type of edit or re-write, then hold to your vision and publish it yourself. On the bright side, you won’t have to share your royalties with anyone.

Some authors send hate mail, insult and abuse editors when their book gets rejected. This, I don’t get. I’ve seen stories with enough plot holes to hide Antarctica, and when authors send me these letters, I’m left rolling my eyes. Who are you writing for, yourself or the reader? Because editors are readers too, and if we don’t get your story, chances are, others won’t. Does this mean you have to take everything an editor says to heart? Never. But look at the comments. If they’re pointing out issues that are objective (for example: in an eighty-page story, you’ve used the word “was” 1200 times, and 90% of your sentences begin with, “I was,”), I’d say those are things you’ll want to change. But if an editor says they don’t get why Madison won’t help her brother with his company and you’ve explained on page three it’s because the company is a shell for the mob, then I’d say that editor read too fast and that’s a comment you can ignore (now, if the editor has a problem with its believability or exactly how it plays a role in the plot, then that might be worth a second look).

And most of all, beyond anything else I’ve said, please, please, PLEASE remember something: You have a sacred obligation, don’t screw with it.

Imagine a someone, anyone. They’ve been chewed out by the boss (or they had to chew out an employee), the car is in the shop and now the mechanic is saying the repair is going to cost three times the estimate. They forgot their anniversary, the kids have the chicken pox. In short, it’s been a really, really, bad, crappy, day.

They come home, eat dinner, kiss and make up with the spouse, tuck the kids into bed and now, in the quiet hush of evening, when the house is silent and dark, they reach for a book, your book. And in the small act of opening the cover, they are asking you for something: “Entertain me. Pull me into your world and make me believe this isn’t a story, but a true accounting of people I’d want to call friends. Let me forget all the stress and trials of my everyday life and for one moment, let me see the triumph of love, justice, and the happy ever after—let me see that despite conflict and obstacles, good people do win in the end.”

That’s who you are writing for, those people. The ones who have saved their change to buy your book, the ones who’ve turned off the t.v. to read your book. They have invested their time, their energy, their money, and their hope, in you.

Be worthy of that.


©2008 Reprinted with permission.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top Ten Signs a Book Was Written by Sonja Foust



I found an exercise a long while back that had you list out the top ten signs a book was written by you. I did it and thought it was a fun little meme, but didn't really put much more stock into it.

Lately, though, I've been thinking about that exercise and thinking about how important it is in the grand scheme of selling myself as an author. If I know the top ten signs a book was written by me, then I know what I write and, more importantly, what makes my writing different. It's that elusive "something different" that makes an editor request your full, or makes a reader buy your book after skimming the back cover. Those little pieces of "something different" are what you need to get across right away, whether that's to an editor at conference on your 15-second elevator ride, or in your query letter to the agent of your dreams.

So try it! Sit down and think about the Top Ten Signs a Book Was Written by You. Here are mine. Let me know what you come up with!

1. Lots of dialog. So much dialog that there's not much else.
2. Heroines with big mouths... Is this, perhaps, a comment on the author's tendency to have a big mouth?
3. Heroes with huge biceps. What? I like biceps.
4. Dry humor, especially from the heroines... Perhaps another comment on the author's tendencies.
5. Fated lovers-- soul mates, best friends, reunion stories, that sort of thing.
6. At least one funny injury scene. I don't know why, it just always seems to happen. Someone gets beat up and comedy must follow, because getting beat up is, like, the opposite of fun.
7. Unconditional love. So your career is in direct opposition to mine, and I'm obligated to hate you for it? Nah, I'm so past that. So you cruelly dumped me five years ago? It's ok, I understand why you did. So you're a different species? No problem, still love ya.
8. Parental figures. Yes, I write romances, but there's always a parental figure influence for the hero or the heroine, and sometimes both. Let's face it: we always need parental advice, no matter how old and wise we get.
9. Commentary on society, sometimes not-so-subtle.
10. They live happily ever after.

Sonja Foust is a romance author. Her short story, "Cat in the Mist ," features lots of dialog, a big-mouthed heroine, a huge-biceped hero, dry humor, soul mates, a funny injured hero scene, interspecies snorgling (with apologies to Cute Overload for yoinkage of the term "interspecies snorgling "), a dead-but-still-influential grandfather, commentary on the nature of humanity, and a happy ending. Visit Sonja at sonjafoust.com.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Interview with TWRP Editor-in-Chief Rhonda Penders

Hi everyone! Today is our very special interview with The Wild Rose Press's Editor-in-Chief, Rhonda Penders. Thank you for this opportunity, Rhonda. Let's give her a warm Deadly Vixen welcome! =) Feel free to ask questions as Rhonda will probably be around off and on. Enjoy!

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1. Tell us a little about The Wild Rose Press's history.

The Wild Rose Press opened its doors on May 1, 2006 with 2 owners and 6 editors. The company was started by RJ Morris and Rhonda Penders as a publishing house “by writers – for writers”. The owners knew what they did not want a publishing house to be like and set the world on fire by giving romance writers a kinder and gentler experience. The garden grew very quick and now is home to over 1100 titles and 500 authors. There are 14 sub-genres of romance and there are close to 70 staff members including artists, editors, professional readers, marketing folks, etc.

2. Where do you see The Wild Rose Press being five years from now?

The reputation of the company is such that in five years it will be considered one of the top romance publishing companies within the small press arena. It will rank up there with Samhain, possibly Ellora’s Cave, and a the others who today set the standards for small press.

3. What do you see in the future for ebooks? The romance genre?

eBooks are the future. I’ve said all along that today’s generation, the kids coming up who are in their early teens, and even early 20’s won’t care about holding a printed book in their hand. They are all about the download. They buy their music this way, their movies, they will buy their books in the same manner. eReaders will become more and more affordable and more and more people will own them. Once these become the norm, it only make sense that ebooks will skyrocket in sales. The romance genre will never go away. The readers of romance and the future readers of romance still want the happy ever after. They will evolve as they have today offering more and more choices – inspirational or erotic, historical or paranormal, there will be tons of choices of romance but in the end the boy will meet the girl, the boy will lose the girl but the boy will always get the girl back.

4. What draws you, as a reader, to romance novels?

That’s easy. The happy ever after. I’ve been reading romance novels literally my entire life –cutting my teeth at around age 11 on the old Harlequin Presents. I adore the fact that no matter how bad things get in the book, the hero and heroine will work it out and be together in the end. I need to know that going in. Life is tough enough, there’s enough heartbreak out there in reality that when I read for pleasure I want to know its all going to be ok. I think most romance readers agree with that. The second thing that draws me to a romance is that chance to feel that “high” of falling in love, whether for the first time or a reunion story, there’s nothing like that chemistry, that amazing feeling when the hero and heroine first kiss or first connect.

5. What do you look for in a manuscript for it to be publishable?

I like to be drawn to the characters and the storyline. I like that “need” to turn the next page. If I can set it down and walk away, its not working for me.

6. What do you like most/dislike most about your job?

I love the people I meet, whether virtually or in person. I love helping someone’s dreams come true. There’s not a lot I hate about the job unless it’s when I have to deal with sensitive issues. There are times when I’ve had to make an unpopular decision that leaves an author “upset” I hate that part. I hate it when due to poor communication or something, a problem escalates until it hits my desk and I have to sort it out, generally this means that neither party is happy with me.

7. What is your pet peeve when dealing with authors?

My biggest pet peeve is that an author on occasion thinks because she has one story published she is now Nora Roberts. She can call the shots and decide how things are going to go. She thinks we should publish everything because we published one story. There are very few authors who will see everything they write published. Authors need to realize that while their work is important, they are one author among many. I try hard to treat them all fairly and individually but they are one author in a house with over 500. Authors tend to think they should be the only project on an editor’s desk. It simply isn’t true.

8. What sort of reactions do you get when you tell people you work for The Wild Rose Press?

People in the romance writing world are usually very enthusiastic and love the company; people who aren’t in writing or romance reading really have no idea what it’s all about and can even begin to imagine how busy we are.

9. What is it like being an editor?

It’s a great job for the most part. Like any it has its ups and downs. Editing a really awesome book is such a huge thrill, seeing it come out in print and watching it evolve is great. But editing a book that isn’t so hot and you need to go back and forth with the author several times is basically very painful and tedious. I’ve made some wonderful friends in this business, authors who I never would have met had I not been in this job.

10. What is your favorite romance sub-genre?

I like contemporary romance. Pretty much that’s it. I’m not a fan of paranormal or historicals or suspense. I like a good sold modern day romance. My particular favorite are cowboys. Put a man in a Stetson on the cover, toss in a horse and a cute title and you got my money every day. So for The Wild Rose Press, I’m a huge fan of the Yellow Rose line.

11. What is your favorite part of the editing process?

My favorite part is the first read.

12. What is your least favorite part of the editing process?

Having to tell a writer this isn’t working especially when there’s nothing really “wrong” with the manuscript, you can’t put your finger on it, but the story is just boring or blah. Its hard to tell a writer you’re story has put me to sleep.

13. What is your response time?

I’m pretty quick. I can read a full manuscript in a few hours if I clear my plate, a few days for the norm. I also know within a very short few pages if the story is going to work or not for me. Sometimes it takes me a while to compose a rejection because I need to word it just right but generally I know within a couple days if the book is going to make it or not.

14. What is your advice to an aspiring author who wants to be published with your company?

Read what we publish. We have free reads all over the web site for most of the lines, read them. Study them. Read our submissions guidelines, don’t submit something to us we don’t publish in the hopes that we will take it “just this one time for you”. We won’t. We only publish romance and there are some amazing articles on our site that tell you what a romance is and what it isn’t. Once you’ve followed all the rules, go through your story for mechanical errors; don’t send us something with typos in it. Get involved if you are a new writer. There’s a Rose Trellis which is our critique group; there are loops and blogs, study them. Don’t just send something in hoping we’ll review it if its not ready to be reviewed. Study our self-editing articles that are in the Greenhouse. Once you’re manuscript is ready, follow our submission guidelines and send in the very best product you can. Write the story from your heart and put your passion for it in there. Remember the rules of romance writing – make your reader fall in love with your hero, write a heroine that we all want to either be or have as our best friend. Don’t try to write something for what you think is “the market”. Write what you are good at writing and what you like reading. Above all once you submit, be patient, but know our timelines and if you think its been too long past our deadline (we respond to queries within 30-45 days – if you haven’t heard something in 60 that’s a problem) you should politely inquire as to whether your query is still under review.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Steps to Being Published by Bronwyn Storm

When I was an unpublished writer, struggling not just to see my name on the cover of a book, but also trying to navigate the choppy, seemingly ill-charted waters of writing and publishing guides, getting myself into port—finding that glorious harbor known as ‘contracted writer’ seemed a mythic journey. I felt like a lost sailor, tossed and battered by unreliable crafts, lead astray by ill drawn maps, and everywhere I turned it appeared, “there be monsters.”

It was the unknowingness that drove me the most crazy. There are no true writing schools, no certificate you can hold in your hand and say, “Let me into these hallowed halls, I deserve to be here.” Writing isn’t like medicine—there aren’t ivy covered buildings where you go, learn the tools, do your apprenticeship, then set off on your own. And worse than not having a building is the fact that writing constantly changes. By the time I bought a book on ‘how to write’ from my local bookstore, it was already out of date.

What was I to do? What is any writer to do?

Well, a few years and several contracts into this non-traditional industry, this is what I’ve learned:

1) Be humble. You don’t know everything and your writing isn’t sacred. If it is, put it in a drawer. If you give your story to ten people and four of them have the same issue with your undeveloped characters or unusual plot, FIX IT. As soon as you utter the words, “Yeah, but” or “Let me explain,” you’ve confirmed the story is faulty. If you have to draw diagrams, the problem isn’t the interpretation. It’s you. Or more precisely, the writing. Go back. Fix it. Get them to re-read it. Keep doing this until the story is smooth and developed.

2) Take criticism like an adult. Editors and publishing houses have years and money invested into knowing their demographic and streamlining the stories that work. Just because they reject your story doesn’t mean they reject you. The story doesn’t work for their house. Sure, go ahead wail. Call them names, whatever soothes your ego, because that’s what it is. Ego. Grown up writers take the rejections, read them over. If the suggestions make sense, they edit and either resubmit or move on to another house. If they don’t make sense (and they may not. Stories are subjective and we all bring our personal biases into it. They’re suggestions may not make a lick of sense. Editors are editors, they’re not all-knowing gods). Professional writers do not send hate mail or argue with the editor. That just confirms the editor made the right decision in not accepting your work.

3) Write. True writers don’t talk about writing. They do it. Consistently. You don’t have to devote five hours or shut the world out, but figure out your bare minimum then stick to it. I have a friend who says, “Half and hour a day. That’s my writing time.” Another one has an eight page a day routine. As long as she gets those in, she’s golden.

4) Surround yourself with people who support you. I owe a great deal of my success to the people in my life who just didn’t say, “Good for you, wanting to write,” they followed up, took it for granted that not only would I write, but publishing was a ‘when it happens’ not an ‘if it happens.’ Find those kind of people in your circle. If they’re not there, find a new circle. Writing is hard enough without having to justify and fight for support.

5) Network. Find other writers and make friends—they’re not only a great base for support and knowledge, it’s just plain fun to get together with people who share your passion.

6) Stay on top of the industry. Even if the books are outdated, there are universal constants to writing: tight plot, developed characters, great description, lots of emotion. Find books that teach these skills. Read them, re-read them. I have a list of my favorites and before I start writing any new story, I re-read those books. They remind me what I need, what I’m aiming for.

Writing is hard, unforgiving and not for those seeking an easy path or guaranteed riches. If that’s why you want to write, put down the pen and go try something else. But if you’re writing because there’s a story dying to come to life, then grab that pen and hold tight. And when you get those rejections, your inner doubts tell you to give up, hold it even tighter. Write despite the fears, write to spite those fears and breath into existence something that’s all yours.

Good luck and happy writing!

Bronwyn Storm

Reprinted with permission. Bronwyn Storm is a super-hero in training—hey, one day being a klutz will be a superpower…if she doesn’t break anything vital in the meantime. When not tripping over her feet, she writes for The Wild Rose Press and plays butler and cuddler to her four furry boys. Check out her website www.bronwynstorm.com and drop her a line, she could use the excuse to stop petting the dogs and cats.

© 2008 All rights reserved.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Interview with Pandem Buckner

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Deadly Vixen's week of The Wild Rose Press. We're so glad you joined us for this very special week long event. Today we're presenting an interview we were able to snag with Faery Rose (light paranormal) Editor, Pandem Buckner. Enjoy and make sure to ask any questions you have for him as he'll be around on and off to answer them!


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Where do you see The Wild Rose Press being five years from now?
Five years from now, I think The Wild Rose Press will be a significant part of the romance e-publishing market. I'm not saying it'll be up there with Harlequin and Ellora's Cave. . .okay, maybe Ellora's Cave *s*. . .but if I see true, it will be a definite force in the market, and hopefully one that will explore print publishing more.

What do you see in the future for ebooks? The romance genre?
I don't think ebooks will replace printed books any time soon, but I can and do see them becoming a larger part of the literary market. In Japan, ebooks are available on cell phones, so I hope to see that come to North America soon. A factor that I think will help the market is, well, rising fuel costs. Rising fuel costs and improvements in metropolitan transit will push more people towards commuting, and, when they're on the bus (or train or rickshaw, whatever) they need something to do. As a means to fill that time, I think ebooks will become more and more popular as people start driving less and using public transit more, be it by cell phone or ereader.

As for the romance genre, I think it'll change over time, as men become a larger part of the market on both production and consumer sides. All genres change with time, and romance is no exception - but it will be interesting to see where it goes. Within the traditional framework (man and woman meeting, falling in love, having troubles, living happily ever after), there's a lot of room for creativity there, and I think that in the future, the more flexible elements of romantic writing, such as setting and conflicts, will become less traditional and more innovative.

What draws you, as a reader, to romance novels?
Ummmmmmm. . .I'm a hopeless romantic? *s* It's the fantasy everybody has, or at least I assume that everyone has, of finding that perfect person for you and winning their heart and devotion in the end. I have that fantasy, anyway, and while I've yet to achieve it, it's rather encouraging to see that so many others have it too. Plus, there's some good romantic ideas for men to be found in those pages *s*.

What do you look for in a manuscript for it to be publishable?
Literacy, or at least the ability to use spellcheck, is always good! Aside from what TWRP already has in its guidelines, I look for stories that really draw me in, that make me care about the characters. Believability is a plus, too, though I've enjoyed good farcical pieces as well. I guess what I really want is just a well-written story in a distinctive voice.

What do you like most/dislike most about your job?
I like the ladies I work with, and not just because they put up with my crap. *s* To a one, they've all been very sweet, helpful, understanding, compassionate, and I've learned a lot from them. If this job was in an office, they'd have to burn the building down to get me to leave. *s* They're all wonderful people who have made me feel very welcome, which was a bit of a concern for me, since I lack ovaries. I also like that we really are making dreams come true. Anyone that knows me knows I'll do whatever it takes to help someone, and I get to do that here in a way I've never done it before, in any way other than pro bono. *s* Even when we reject people, we direct them towards resources to help them become better writers, which is more than most publishers do. For those we accept, we make dreams come true, and for those we reject, we provide some steps that they can take towards making their dreams come true, and really, what's not to like about that?

What I dislike most. . .hmm. Maybe that it's not an office job and I don't get to see them all in person every day?

What is your pet peeve when dealing with authors?
Oooooooooooooh. . .this is the part where I get in trouble with Rhonda. *s* My pet peeve would be authors that don't handle the rejection well. As anyone can tell you, you're going to be rejected when trying to get published, and it shouldn't be taken personally. . .but some people take it that way. If I send out a rejection letter, complete with my reasons for rejecting the work and what can be done to improve it or the author's writing skills, and get back a scathing reply full of that author's prior publications and awards, recommendations from friends and loved ones, suggestions that I at least attempt what I'm fairly certain is an anatomical impossibility, and aspersions about my mother's native gender and/or species, all I'm going to think is that I did the right thing by rejecting that author, because they don't have the proper emotional distance from their work to handle going through the editing process.

What sort of reactions do you get when you tell people you work for The Wild Rose Press?
I don't tell people that very often, especially people I've just met. I did when I first started, but I came to realize that far more people out there have written work they'd like to see published than I had ever imagined, and even if it's not in the romance genre, they'll ask me to read it over and give my opinion. I don't have much free time as is; if I took on every manuscript proffered to me just to read over and give an opinion, I'd have none and I'd never get any sleeping done.

The people that aren't know me are a little surprised, but more that I chose to edit romance novels as opposed to me being in the literary field. That part isn't a surprise at all. *s*

What is it like being an editor?
It's more fun than you would imagine, and more work than you'd believe. You don't get to just read a novel once, make some changes and you're done with it; it can take seven or eight read-throughs, making changes every time, for even a good novel, and by that point, unless the story is utterly fascinating, you may get tired of it.

It's not easy to reject people, either. It has to be done, but it's not easy, and even when providing helpful hints, you still feel like you're stepping on someone's dream sometimes, especially if they dont respond to your rejection letter.

And then there's the paperwork. . .the endless, endless paperwork. . .but I blame Rhonda for that. *s*

What is your favorite romance sub-genre?
Erotica would be my favourite, though it's a close race between that and paranormal romance. I've had an interest in the paranormal for almost as long as I've been interested in sex. *s* But I'm very very picky about erotica, and almost as much so about paranormal romance.

What is your favorite part of the editing process?
The parts without paperwork. *s* When it's just me, the story, and a pen full of red ink, metaphorically speaking. I like tracking down the errors and knowing the best ways to fix them, I like researching to make sure the facts are correct and the context and setting are proper. . .maybe that's a bit boring of me, but it's true.

What is your least favorite part of the editing process?
The paperwork. *s*

What is your response time?
Depends on the length of the story, of course, but I try not to leave anyone hanging for long. I'm not a patient person by nature, so I definitely understand how much it sucks to be waiting forever for a reply! I think our website says to expect a response within 90 days, but really, if it takes me more than a couple of weeks, something's seriously wrong.

What is your advice to an aspiring author who wants to be published with The Wild Rose Press?
Read the guidelines before you submit. That's the most important piece of advice I can give. If you dont read the guidelines before you submit, and pay attention to them, you're just setting yourself up for a rejection letter. . .albeit a very warm and helpful one. *s*

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

WEEKLY CONTEST

Welcome to our weekly contest on The Deadly Vixens blog! Good luck to all participants!

The winner will get to choose from the list of books Diane Taylor currently has on sale at this moment in time. Go to her website at: http://dianet-write.weebly.com/.

To enter, just leave a comment here in the Weekly Contest telling us something, anything, about one of the blogs from this week.

One winner will be picked and announced on Tuesday, September 16, 2008. Be sure to check back and see if you have won.

If your name is drawn as the winner, you will need to e-mail us at thedeadlyvixens@yahoo.com with your e-mail addres to claim your prize.

Please note: New winners will be chosen from the remaining entries if prizes are not claimed within one week of drawing. There are no exceptions.

Best of luck!

The Deadly Vixens

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gracen's Guilty Pleasure Revealed... ;-)

Hi, everyone! I hope your week has been awesome. Mine has been filled with football, karate, 1st and 5th grade homework, and dust, dust, and more dust. We are in the middle of a bathroom remodel and there have been sheetrock men here this week. Boy, does that create a mess! I have mopped my floors three times now and still have not gotten the sheetrock haze off the floors. We’re wiping down walls and cabinets and chairs. Yes, we did put up plastic, but it didn’t keep out all the dust.

So, since we didn’t have a topic to discuss this week, I thought I would talk about my favorite television shows and which ones I’m looking forward to the most. I also encourage you to tell me your most anticipated shows and your guilty pleasures! ;-)

I will start off...My favorite show, the one I’m looking forward to the most is SUPERNATURAL!!!! It returns Thursday, September 18, 2008, on the CW, and I’m terribly excited!!!!!!! Dean was left in hell while Sam cried over his brother’s hellhound mutilated body. We all know Dean will come back from hell, the question is how and will it be believable?!? I am so excited about this premiere, in fact, that it’s really ridiculous considering my age. This summer I have ate, slept and breathed this show with a group over at Supernatural.tv called Bust Dean Outta Hell Brigade! We’re a wee bit obsessive over there, but we’ve become one big family too and I think I’ve created some long-lasting cyber friends! So, my blog this week is dedicated to my freaky darlings over at the Brigade! Love you all. Huggles!

Another favorite show is Stargate Atlantis, but sadly it’s been canceled. :-( I watch Prison Break with my boys, but after the first two episodes, I’m starting to think it is about time for it to be canceled. It’s just has not had the same fascination for me that the last three seasons have had.

I watch Ghosthunters, Paranormal State, House and I can’t think of anything else. lol I know there has got to be more, but I cannot think of them. I watched Fringe the other night and thought it was really, really good. I’ll definitely tune back in next week. I’m eagerly anticipating the Sanctuary on Sci-Fi. I hope it’s not a disappointment.

My guilty pleasure…big gulp...Nip/Tuck.

Your turn to tell me your favorite television shows and your guilty pleasures…

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please Welcome Author...Cathy Yardley

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! Cathy Yardley's newest release is CRAVE: The Seduction of Snow White. Her full length romantic erotica novel became available in trade paperback on June 3, 2008.

  • When/how did you know you wanted to write?

I’ve always wanted to write, but I never thought “real” people were authors… you had to be really special or really lucky. Fortunately, I found the Romance Writers of America, thinking that I could become a publicist for the books I enjoyed so much. They taught me that authors are not just real, they’re wonderful. And they helped me become a published author, as well.

  • How long did it take you to become published?

I started writing seriously in 1996 or so, and sold my first book in 1999. But if you take into account all the scraps of novels I wrote (never getting further than chapter 7!) then I started writing in 1992. It took me seven years to get published.

  • Who are some of your favorite authors?

Jennifer Cruise, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Dean Koontz, Sarah Addison Allen, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Laurell K. Hamilton.

  • Who do you count as your literary influences?

All of the above favorites! I also love archetypal stories: fairy tales, folk stories, myths. Neil Gaiman does a marvelous job of mixing different mythologies. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series does a good job of integrating classic Greek and Roman mythology with her own “Atalantean” pantheon.

  • How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

It depends on the book, and how far outside my comfort zone I’m writing. I’ve noticed that it takes more and more research the more books I write.

  • Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

Well, I think that “real” books is a misnomer. The story’s the key, not the medium. So hardcopy or e-copy, the story will still be king. Personally, I love the feel of books, and I love the physical act of browsing through a bookstore – browsing through Amazon just isn’t as fun! But I think that the distribution model of e-books, like iTunes, will level the playing field for a lot of authors. As more people get comfortable with screen-reading, I think that physical books will probably start to disappear, but not for a while.

  • How long does it take for you to write books?

Between three months to a year, depending on the book.

  • Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

I relate to an aspect of all my characters. The funny thing is, I usually find that when I’m done writing a book, the main character’s “problem” usually reflects something I needed to figure out about my own life. How’s that for your subconscious speaking to you?

  • Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?

I would like to shift into horror a bit, or more paranormal, but I really love romance and women’s fiction. Whatever I write will have elements of that, I think.

  • What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

Enjoy what you’re writing. The business can be soul-sucking, so don’t be hard on yourself now. And look for what makes you unique. You can’t be just a little different version of what’s out there. You’ve got to be original and yet understandable. (Yeah, easy to say, but tough to do, I know.)

  • What do you do when preparing to write a story?

I do a lot of character background and figure out what they want and why they want it. Then I do a really intense plot outline… I usually change that a bunch of time as I write, but it gives me a sort of roadmap. I've got the whole method in my non-fiction book Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel. It works for any genre of fiction. It’s a little nuts, though, and really comprehensive!

  • Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

I get a lot of ideas from songs on the radio, or from titles. I come up with the book title before I come up with the story idea sometimes! I've used composites of people I know for characters. Only once did I use a person I knew as a model: in my book Couch World, I used a good friend of mine who was a bouncer at San Francisco clubs. He’s “Sticky”, the main character’s best friend. And while the character was larger than life in the book, he doesn't even come close to doing justice to portraying the real Sticky. Sticky is a force of nature.

  • What is your favorite part of writing?

Plotting and idea generation. I love it when a plan comes together!

  • Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

I’ll have a second fairy tale erotica coming out in October ’08, called Ravish: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty, and then in April ’09 I will have two books out… the third fairy tale, Enslave: The Taming of the Beast, and a women’s fiction novel called Turning Japanese, about a woman who quits her job and moves to Tokyo for a year to become an intern at a Japanese comic book company. Other than that, I’m also writing a trilogy for Harlequin’s Blaze line, a miniseries called The Players’ Club. I have no idea when that comes out. Busy year!

  • Did it take a lot of rejections for you to finally get published or was it pretty easy for you?

I was insanely lucky: I got one rejection on a manuscript, and then my second book sold. It turned out there was a mini-series planned for Harlequin, and then one of the authors couldn't deliver a book, so they needed something in a hurry, and my premise exactly fit what they were looking for. So bam! I got a contract. Of course, then I got writers’ block and didn't come up with another book for a year and a half. But that’s another story.

  • Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?

I work straight on the computer. My typing speed’s 110 words per minute… if I tried writing on paper, my wrist would go numb keeping up.

  • Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.

The fairy tales are all modern-day versions of classic fairy tales. I tried to use the more grisly, “original” versions as jumping-off points, but I made them all new. For example, with Snow White, I made her a princess from a small country, the daughter of an actress-turned-royalty like Grace Kelly. Then, her stepmother was murderously jealous. So she ran away to a small agricultural cult in Pennsylvania, sort of like a Quaker commune, but with more ominous undertones, ruled over by seven “founders” instead of seven dwarves. I made sure to incorporate a lot of original elements: the apple, the mirror, etc. It was so much fun! I love that book.

  • When and where can we purchase your books?

These books should be available in all major and independent bookstores.

  • How do you feel about fans doing fan fiction and/or roleplaying on the web based on your or other author's works?

I’ve never had anybody do fan fic of my work. I think it would be strange: writing is so personal, it’s weird enough to know people are basically reading my “daydreams.” To have people reinterpreting my daydreams might feel a little wrong. But if they really enjoy it, or feel that my story didn’t address something (like a secondary character or something)… I don’t know. I’ll have to see.

  • What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, and it’s lovely. I’ve also just finished Odd Hours by Dean Koontz. Not bad… I mean, the guy’s great, and the character’s a winner, but the story felt like a set-up for the sequel. Not as good as Brother Odd or the original Odd Thomas.

  • What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?

I couldn’t possibly narrow that down to one!

  • What are your 10 favorite books —and why?

Eep. How about my 100 favorite books? J

  • Favorite films?

That varies. I love animated movies. Pixar embodies the creative spirit I absolutely adore. I like comedies, romantic suspense, old movies, indie movies, big budget action movies… really depends on my mood.

  • Favorite music?

I’m all over the place. I definitely have a soft spot for 80’s music – Oingo Boingo was my first concert! I love Sting for being creative and artistically brave. Sublime, for being inventive…Michael Buble, for that luscious voice…the Gorillaz, especially with DJ Dangermouse producing… the FloBots for being funny and socially conscious without being annoying… Amy Winehouse, for that totally modern yet utterly retro sound… Shakira’s La Tortura, and some other reggaeton by Daddy Yankee… Five for Fighting, for when I’m feeling emotional, or Rob Thomas/Matchbox Twenty… the Swedish Eagle mix of Depeche Mode’s “Drive” and “Route 66”… The Chemical Brothers, the Dust Brothers, some Beck, Cake… oy, I could go for hours.

  • Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

My first real job was at an ad agency. I was an assistant, and they kicked my ass. I wound up writing about some of the horror stories in my first Chick Lit novel, L.A. Woman. I didn’t name names, but I did once work 32 hours straight (stayed overnight, kept on working.) Insane! Hmmm… I’m a foodie, and I’m pathologically obsessed with ice cream. Some of my fav’s: Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream from Haagendaaz, Breyer’s vanilla, Karamel Sutra by Ben & Jerry, and just about anything homemade. I’m experimenting more with homemade flavors. This summer, I’m trying honey flavored ice cream with Macadamia Nut brittle. Yum! Finally, for a third weird/fun thing, I would like to write a comic book or have one of my books turned into a comic book someday. I read some manga, especially when I was writing Turning Japanese, although my all-time favorite comic book series is Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Love me some Death! J

  • What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

I love dark chocolate. (Food. It’s all about food.) I love music, I love dancing. I love watching movies with my 2 year old son. I hate running after my son when he makes a laughing, screaming break for it at the playground. I love finding a new author and reading a book that will keep me up until two in the morning. I love sinking into a cozy favorite, too, especially if I haven’t read it in a while. I find computer social networks fascinating and could easily spend ten hours straight on StumbleUpon if no one else was around.

  • When did you first realize that you were a writer?

I think the better term is “accept”. I didn’t accept that I was a writer until I won a prize in my local RWA chapter’s writing contest, which I only entered to ensure we had enough entries (I was president at the time.) But I’ve been writing stories since I was in kindergarten.

  • Who was the most influential author you have read?

It depends. I think Jennifer Crusie has inspired me in writing romantic comedy, Nora Roberts for sheer dedication to the craft, Stephen King for being atmospheric yet personable in horror… so many others. There isn’t just one.

  • How do you structure your day for writing?

It depends on whether or not I have one of the “Grandma Squad” watching my son. If they are, I write for a few hours straight. If they aren’t, I write after 7:30, when he goes to sleep.

  • Do you prefer pen, typewriter or PC?

PC, hands down. I type about 110 words per minute, a lot faster than I could possibly hand-write, and I love being able to edit onscreen. Also makes backing-up easier and faster.

  • What are your experiences with publishers and agents?

I’ve had a good experience with publishers and agents. I’ve had two agents in my career, both very lovely women who helped me get where I am now. I’ve also worked for Harlequin, NAL, Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, and now Avon HarperCollins. I’ve been fortunate to work with some wonderful editors.

  • What will the role of the Internet play in the future of publishing?

I think that the most important role the Internet is playing is the ability to explode word-of-mouth exponentially, thanks to social networking. As e-books like the Kindle become more acceptable, then you’ll also have an iTunes-styled ability to increase distribution and get out of the print publishing business model, but I think that’s still a few years off.

  • What's your next project?

I’m writing a 3-book trilogy for Harlequin Blaze: a miniseries called “The Players’ Club.”

  • Why and how did you get started writing?

I’ve always loved writing. I didn’t get started in a serious sense until I graduated from Berkeley and joined the Romance Writers of America (I thought I was going to be a publicist.)

  • Why did you choose your genre?

When I went to college, romance novels were the one thing that helped calm me down from all the stress. I started writing them because I enjoyed them so much.

  • What do you consider your best work and why?

In a weird way, I still think my very first book, The Cinderella Solution, is my best, because it’s so fresh and funny, and probably the strongest example of my voice. Also, I still enjoy reading it.

  • How do you create your characters? What determines their characteristics and names?

It’s sort of different every time. I like to create a character description and a “chronology” that gives a summary of his/her life from birth to present.

  • Have you ever gotten to a point where a story wouldn't come? If so, how did you get back on track?

That’s been happening a lot more lately. You just have to ride it out, keep showing up to the page, and hope for the best. Having a good critique group or supportive group of friends is important.

  • What do you think is the most important characteristic of a prolific writer?

A business-like attitude. If you look at each book as a work of art, determined by the whims of muses, you’re going to be screwed at some point when the muse decides to take a vacation.

  • Some authors start out with a plot in mind, others with characters whom they’ll follow to reveal the theme. What works best for you and why?

I start with the characters, come up with the story goal and conflict as a result of the characters, then write a plot outline before I go to draft. There are always changes, but that “other view” lets me keep the pacing tight. It works for me.

  • Do you use a pseudonym? More than one? Why?

I’ve always used the same name: Cathy Yardley. It’s my maiden name.

  • How did you research for this novel?

I did a ton of research on voodoo for RAVISH: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty, because it’s an integral part of the plot. Fascinating stuff, too!

  • Many writers have had success writing in different genres. Do you think it is difficult to switch over to another genre?

I’ve written in three different subgenres so far: romantic comedy, Chick Lit, and erotica. I think that the first two were fairly close so it wasn’t too far a stretch, but the third was like night and day. If I had that much trouble between subgenres, I think that the difference between genres like romance and horror or romance and mainstream could be brutal, especially once you factor in publishing’s desire to keep you in one recognizable category for branding’s sake.

  • Do you belong to a critique group or have a critique partner? Which do you prefer?

I belong to a group, and have had several groups over the years.

  • Would you recommend critique groups to other writers? If so, what elements, in your opinion, make a successful writer’s group?

I recommend crit groups, definitely. The kind of group depends on where you are as a writer. When I first started, my critique group was full of beginners as well, and we were all very gentle with each other because we were so afraid of sharing our work. As I developed a thicker skin, I joined a much rougher critique group, improving my skills and getting used to producing more. Now, I have a group that doesn’t critique a lot of my work, but they do provide a lot of emotional support and brainstorming. A successful writer’s group will be in a similar place in their career, and they’ll generally have similar goals.

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your writing habits such as where you work, how many hours a day you spend writing and researching, how you tap into your creativity to produce a satisfying day’s work, writing rituals, etc?

I could’ve told you that a few years ago, but since my son’s birth every day is different!

  • Have you ever experienced writer’s block and how did you handle it?

After I sold my first book I had block for a year and a half. I was depressed. It took a lot of reading to get out of it, and very supportive friends.

  • What advice would you give writers looking to get published?

Join a professional writers’ group if you can – the RWA is one of the best. And keep your love of writing as long as you can.

  • Do you ever look back and think, "I wish I had written this differently?"

Sometimes, but I try not to anymore. If you do that, you’ll make yourself nuts.

  • What's the hardest aspect of writing?

Keeping perspective. I usually call my best friend about halfway through every single one of my novels, and she always says the same thing: “Don’t worry. All does not suck.”

  • Is writing your full time job or do you have another job also?

I do some freelance editing and content writing, a lot of different weird things.

  • When you are researching a book, what is your most valuable resource?

Google! The internet is a treasure.

  • How do you cope with the inevitable stress of deadlines?

Chocolate, good friends, prayer.

  • How long does it take you to complete a book, from the time the idea for the book is conceived, to when you submit it to your editor?

I think 3 months is my shortest.

  • How many drafts does it take you before the book is just right?

Depends on each book. Thanks to the plot outline, my number of drafts goes down a lot.

  • How important is it to attend writing conferences?

If you’re unpublished, it can be good to meet editors and learn at workshops, but I think you can get a lot of that from your local chapters or online. I get burned out at conferences, so if you don’t make it to one, I think that’s fine.

  • Do you write more than one kind of book? Do you have a preference? Is one type of book easier to write than another?

Erotica is by far the hardest to do well, because the guidelines and expectations are so strict. I love writing romantic comedy, but alas, no one’s buying it right now.

  • What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I have too many authors to list one specific favorite.

  • What do you do to unwind in your free time?

I’ll admit I play video games like Diner Dash or Cake Mania or JoJo’s Fashion Show to relax. Very fun!


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Disclaimer (because we don't have a choice): The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.