Friday, February 29, 2008

I Suck

That’s right.

I suck at numbers (among other things, and at golf too). I can string words one after the other for hours and days, on paper, on the screen, on tissues if that’s all I have to write on. But you throw a number in there and BAM, neurons start blinking, I start sweating, I get dizzy. Unless, the number is accompanied by a currency sign, now *these* sorts of numbers, I like. Especially with lots of zeroes at the end.

So basically, numbers are my enemy number one. I can’t help it, I freeze up. You know when you’re going to the restaurant and you’re trying to divide 57.41 by six people? Yeah, to me, this is a nightmarish situation. I know some of you are figuring out the answer as you keep reading this post. Me, I’d need a calculator to see if I have enough eggs for a recipe. Numbers suck, man!

(cue violin)

It all started in high school, when they introduced algebra. “Adding letters and numbers TOGETHER?” I cried to my teacher, who replied “MWA HA HAAA! You’re dooomed!” Okay, she may have said something else, but that’s how I remember it. Honest! Even if I spent every Wednesdays doing math in the morning then spending lunch doing extra problems and taking home even more worksheets, I still passed by the seat of my pants and my teacher’s pity. So it’s not for a lack of trying. Can I blame my parents’ DNA? Yeah, I thought not.

Paint by numbers: can’t do it.
Statistics: hey, if you torture them enough, they’ll say anything. So can’t be trusted.
666 the number of the beast: me, I live at 668, so I guess I’m the “neighbor” of the beast?
K-9: took me years to figure out it meant “canine”!
Beverly Hills 90210: never watched it. Couldn’t even say the damn show’s name...
Hawaii 5-0: was it a game they lost five to zero?
Police jargon: when they start talking in codes, my brain goes dormant while I drool over the actors.
Tax time: can you say “vodka”?
Pi: I like mine with ice cream on top.
Another name for the devil: Pythagoras. Remember him? I hated him...and Descartes, too, old buzzards.

But sometimes, numbers can be fun. Just ask a friend...

It's Your Thang, Do What You Wanna Do...

It's your Thang do what you wanna do... so in the paranormal world this can mean a lot of things. (eg)

For the vamp we'd assume it means drinking blood, but not all vamps are created equal. Some are in angst over their new lifestyle while others revel in the pure evilness of it and then there are middle of the road vamps who have adjusted and made it more civilized, but the ultimate shared thang for vamps is hey, they're undead and undead they will stay until someone stakes, garlics, or holy waters them. Sometimes all three.
Another thang is the obvious, no sunlight. Nothing new here, yawn, but there could be. What about a shapeshifting sexy vamp who has a thang for Italian food? The two-legged kind. Enter the connoisseurs of genetics. Yup, vamps who will only drink from certain ethnic groups. Now that's a cool thang to mix up the old and expected. We, including the things bumping in the night, are all creatures of habit and familiarity alas breeds contempt especially in the immortal. What about a vamp who has a thang for vintage cars and knew Michelangelo during the day. Now that is a very cool thang to be able to recount at a vamp dinner party just before the entrees are served up-screaming.
This vid is a hoot! Campy and complete with a kind of Egor! One film I've not seen. Must go buy Dinner With a Vampire. Must...

As for weres and their thang, well, short of howling and ravaging, I can't think of too many. You won't find one with a penchant for silver jewelry and certainly none born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but still, there is a certain bad puppy allure surrounding a were, like he really needs a good home. Er… the real question is once you've brought him home will you be able to house train him? Ah... not on a night with a full moon.

Ghosts have a thang for the dark and creepy. No surprises there unless they are of the demonic variety and then their thang is going to be possession. As for a banshee, the obvious is that deafening spine splitting shriek that pretty much says all you want to know about the she-devil, yet like the succubus, there's more than meets the eye, as in motivation. Because all paranormal creatures have the strongest motivations. Sometimes they might not be obvious, but if you delve deep enough, you discover these are really their thangs and they are going to do whatever they want to do. There's no stopping them. They will risk everything to see that they obtain their thang and sometimes that might just be you! Bwaaahhh!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gettin' Naughty -- That Thing You Do!

What’s my thing? Uh, I don't know, which one? I have so many things. I’m a total book hussy, got a major Jones for cool new gadgets, then there’s the pizza slut thing—as long as there are no anchovies, I’m all over it. Hmm…but none of those are the one thing, my one true obsession I can’t live without.

Figuring out what my one special thing is took a lot of deep thought, and like that old cliché, all of a sudden a light came on and illuminated my thing. Heck, I was doing that thing I do while trying to figure out what exactly my thing could be—research!

That one word encompasses a wide variety of activities to which I am totally addicted. Not a day goes by when I don’t perform research for my books. I people watch, eavesdrop, read, hunt for inspirational photos, search for new positions and get my research couples to check out the ones I'm not sure if they actually work (yes, I have real life couples who conduct research for me), look up wild and crazy sexual practices…

I am the queen of research, and I have a helper who has a way of making the Internet cough up difficult to find information. For example, she found an interesting BDSM practice normally used for punishment that I turned into a pleasurable, sexy encounter for a trio of characters. (The book is not finished yet and kind of got pushed to the back burner for a bit.) I even coerced one of my research couples into trying it out and reporting back, then I wrote one heck of a scene that shoots my temperature through the roof every time I read it. The practice—figging.

If you’ve ever used fresh ginger when cooking, you know that the juices from ginger root are very powerful if they come in contact with moist membranes. Basically, don’t rub your eyes with ginger on your hands. It gets very, very hot. In fact, this natural stimulant is much more powerful than any of the warming gels and sexual stimulant lubes available on the market.

Figging was popular in the Victorian era and was typically used in combination with punishment such as spanking, whipping or caning, which results in the tightening of the rectal muscles. When the muscles tighten, the burning from the ginger increases.

In BDSM, fresh ginger is peeled and carved into shapes for use on sensitive sexual tissues. A small sliver can be nestled against the clit, or a large piece cut into a shape similar to a butt plug and inserted in the rectum. The result is an intense burning sensation which can be an effective punishment when combined with orgasm denial. However, when combined with sexual stimulation, it can become a very erotic experience rather than discipline.

While I have not tried figging, my research couple did and told me it made for a very pleasurable session which they plan to indulge in again.

I love research. You can learn such amazing and interesting things on the Internet! Oh, and for those who are interested in perusing the inspirational photo albums mentioned earlier, links are available at The Hussies Club and have been conveniently sorted into categories. A word of caution, the albums are not safe for viewing at work or with children around. *g*

Happy reading. I hope you enjoy the results of that thing I do!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Independent Spirit

I admit it - I am an awards show junkie. I watch the Emmy's, Tony's, SAG, Golden Globes, and, this past weekend, both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars.

The two awards ceremonies couldnt be more different - one's held in a tent near the beach at lunchtime, the dress code is casual, the presenters and winners curse, and there's a best picture sing-a-long (you gotta experience that!). The other... is the opposite. And while I know those nominated and winning Oscars are committed to their work, there is a different kind of passion shown at the Independent Spirit Awards that is truly inspiring. There are movies that are nominated for both awards (this year "Juno" and "I'm Not There", last year's "Little Miss Sunshine") and actors who move beautifully between the two worlds notably Patricia Clarkson, Laura Linney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Forrest Whittaker, among others.

What does this have to do with me and writing? Well, at this time I am proudly published with Ellora's Cave. My first book (ROLL PLAY) is available only in e-book form. My next story for them, RETURN TO XANDER, will appear in print in their September Cavemen Anthology. Friends and family have asked about whether I will seek an agent or a New York publishing house in the near future. Of course I've thought about it. And then I saw these two awards shows, and the different attitudes and emotions and I knew... I would like to have both worlds, please.

Being part of the indie/e publishing world is incredible. Current best selling authors have come from here and who knows where the next one will be. We have a freedom to try new things, stretch the envelope and reap the benefits. I love that my first sale was made in February and the book was available by August. I love how fast e-publishers can respond to a change or a need (like Alessia Brio's Coming Together series, that put together "Under Fire" in just a few months and which will benefit the victims of the CA fires). For the big publishers, making a course change is like turning a cruise ship - it takes time and deliberate focus. Indie/e keeps the publishing world on it's toes while meeting the needs of huge groups of readers.

I've come to realize that I always want to be a part of the indie/e world and the passion and support I have found here. I want to know I can follow my muse and be recognized and accepted for that. And should NY coming knocking, or should I seek them out, well... being the Patricia Clarkson of publishing sounds pretty good to me.
Thank you, Hussies, for inviting me here today to guest blog. May you all follow your muses to greater and greater successes!
Rowan West

Book Talk

Another week and another great selection of books are releasing from Ellora's Cave Publishing. Yay! I think this is definitely the one thing all us book hussies have in common, a devotion to literacy.

Is it Friday yet? Lethal Hussy and soon-to-be-empress-of-the world, Boom baby, Nathalie Gray has a book out on Friday. WOOT! I can not wait to read Carnal, book 3 in her Lycan Warrior series. The excerpt has me salivating for more. You can check it out by clicking here.

Okay, normally I love all the covers from our amazing cover gods and goddesses, but I have to admit that every time I see the cover for Her Last Fling my brow quirks up and I start laughing. I'm sure there is some explanation for the hunk with the drool worthy bod holding a very not erotic or sexy plastic cow that appears to have a Mohawk, right? Anyone? *crickets chirping*

I didn't have a lot of luck with blurbs and excerpts this week, but there are links below to the ones I did find.

Releasing Wednesday:

Black on Blonde, Cheryl Dragon

Her Last Fling, Jana Mercy

Shadow of a Wolf, Jez Morrow

Wizard's Thief, Christine d'Abo

Releasing Friday:

Carnal, Nathalie Gray

Educating Emily, Beverly Havlir

Deep Cover, Anna J. Evans

I Love Lacy, Lillian Feisty

A warm hussy welcome to new to Ellora's authors Jana Mercy and Jez Morrow! We wish you all the best.

Happy Reading!

So Naughty its Scandalous!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Gimme Dat Thing!!!

When it comes to human behavior, the urge to seize something precious and hold on to it is right up there with food and sex. We've all got our "THING". Shoes? Nice things, Nat. Books? Darn it, Ci, that's one of my things too.

My sister Hussies blogs urged me to indulge in a few moments of contemplation in search of my thing. Like Nat, I knew it had to be something I craved mightily, and like Ci I knew it had to be more than the usual "stuff", eclectic though it is, that I've accumulated over the years.

It took a while, but I finally arrived at its doorstep, knocked on its door and stared it in the face.

I LOVE dressing up!!!! THAT'S my thing!!!!

Why? I have no clue, although psychiatrists would probably have a field day delving into the reasons for my passion. I'm hiding? Pretending to be someone else? Avoiding reality? Who the hell knows or cares? If it swooshes, I'm there. Does it glitter or sparkle? I'm so on it - like white on rice. If it has a corset and a long skirt - well, we're into semi-orgasmic territory. I spend a lot of time window shopping on eBay - sighing over divine Gothic fairy dresses, lusting for lavish pageant gowns and drooling over Renaissance rigs that would require a room of their own just to sleep at night. I adore Victorian nightgowns and Edwardian day dresses. I know the difference between a chemise and a surplice. I have a sewing machine and an imagination and I use both. I also have a closet that has one section jammed with costumes. If ever my supermarket has "Free Ice Cream for Wenches" day, I'm there!!!! I have corsets and petticoats, cloaks and crowns. I love sparkle, glitter, sequins and beads.

Is there something wrong with me? Maybe. But honestly? I like whatever it is that's warped in my head. I have two X chromosomes. I'm a girl. I like dressing up. I like swooshing and swanning in silks that rustle around my ankles. I like leaving the jeans behind for soft cotton, the sports bra for an uplifting corset. The only problem with my passion is that I only get to exercise it a couple of times a year. (Plus folks really need to understand women need POCKETS in their costumes!!!!) Other than those two points, I'm really okay with my thing. I have it under control. Well, most of the time. There are, of course, one or two days when I pass on housework because I just HAVE to make sure that Juliet gown still fits....

Which leads me to the title of this post...and the associated song. The video really has nothing to do with the topic, but I don't see why I should be the only person with this darned music stuck in my brains all day. (Grin)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Your Thing, do What you Wanna do

Nat brought up an interesting concept yesterday - things that make our eyes glaze over, our better judgement fly out of the window and inspire us to make our checking accounts a little lighter.

That got me to thinking. While it's a perfect pair of shoes for our lethal Hussy Nat, for me it's ...

Oh crap! I don't have anything. I just spent twenty minutes trying to come up with something. I can't find anything. There has to be something!

I have a huge collection of discs for playing disc golf, and do tend to salivate over the latest models in the catalogs, but does that really qualify since I can drive past the store and not feel compelled to pull in?

How about gadgets? I'm something of a gadget freak. Got an office full of stuff from iPods and smart phones to remote controlled R2D2. But no, I can toss a Sharper Image catalog into the trash without suffering a pang of "oh my god I didn't order anything!"

Jewelry, clothing, shoes, make-up, hair products and accessories? Nope. Music? Maybe, I think I have a full 17 days of songs on iTunes before my library has to start over. But then again, if I don't buy music for a while I don't suffer any ill effects.

Okay, I'm starting to feel anxious. I'm not normal. I don't have a "thing"!

I ran and got honey man. "I don't have a thing!"

"Sure you do, baby. In fact you have a couple of real nice things."

Okay, not what I wanted at the moment. So I explained. I needed a thing to blog about. He didn't think long. In fact, I don't think he thought at all. He just took my hand and led me through the house, not speaking, just pointing.

At all the books.

Whew! I'm so relieved. I DO have a thing. A thing for books. Last year I donated 3000 paperbacks to the library my honey's company was starting for their employees. I gave a thousand to a senior citizen's center. But not my hardbacks. No way, baby. Those are mine. And they're in every room in my house by the hundreds. Books. Food for the soul. Entertainment, inspiration, knowledge. They're worlds unto themselves and over the last five years I've spent enough on them that I could be going out today and buying that nice little hybrid car that caught my eye.

But would that car transport me to another galaxy or dimension? Would it teach me about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or what an aphelion is? Could it make me cry or laugh or inspire indignation or desire?

No. No no no. It could not. But my books can.

So, this Hussy is happy to say that I am NOT completely abnormal. I DO have a thing.

This is Ciana for the Hussies. Until next time ... do your thing AND remember to let your inner hussy out to play. I bet she has a 'thing' or two!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shoes, Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

Do you know what a kothorni is? What about solleret? No? I’ll give you a clue; they’re in the same family as cracowe, chopine and Pompadour.

They’re all shoes. High heels, to be exact. The first mentioned date from BC and were worn by Greek male actors. The rest were shoes the European aristocracy wore throughout history. Marie Antoinette is said to have gone to the guillotine wearing heels. Because you know, you want to look tall if you’re about to lose a few inches up the top. Sorry, that wasn’t fair. I’m sure she was a nice lady...

Over the course of human history, we’ve bound our feet, gone bare, wore cork platforms, steel studs, thongs between the toes, gone for lace, satin, leather, latex and polymer. There isn’t much a shoe aficionado won’t do to get his or her footwear of choice. Pain? Irrelevant. Price? What’s that? It’s all about that feeling you get when you first see the goodness displayed in the shop window or on the computer screen (online shoe shopping, babes, is a booming business). You look at it and think to yourself “wouldn’t it be pretty on my feet? Look, it’s alllllll alone in its little box. I’ll just pop in for a quick look.”

Ten minutes later, you’re in the car, doing horrible things to your articulations as you try to contortion your legs so you can wear the shoes right away. Because you can’t wait until you’re at home. No. You MUST wear them right now. They’re still oh-so shiny and, well, kind of stiff, and maybe even a bit sharp around the edges, but you. Must. Wear. The. New. Shoes.

Wars have been fought over shoes. Oh, don’t believe me? You come over to my house on a day I’ve seen a most glorious pair of The Perfect Shoes, only to go into the store and realize they have sizes 6 to 8, then 11. No nines, no tens. Oh, it’s war, baby.

Cosmic misalignment? I think not. Bad luck? Ha! It’s a conspiracy. *looking both ways and under the desk* Somehow, somewhere, an Eeveel entity is trying to disrupt the way of things through footwear privations. Absolutely.

So next time you enter a shoe store and they don’t have your size (which happens to me more than say, them actually having my size), don’t take it lying down. Jump on the precious little seats they have to try the goodness on, wave your shopping bags around and yell that you won’t summit! That you won’t move until they find you some goddamn pair of size nines or tens, if the shoe is made narrow!

I’ll leave you with this funny shoe commercial, because you know what, I need shoes. I’m going shopping.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Intuitive Psychic Men or Not

A reader sent me the following ad she found. I must say it's probably the most bizarre I've ever seen:

"New York City - Erotic Psychic Reading Wanted. Until now I am looking for an experienced professional female Psychic whom is willingly interested in offering a reading that icnorporates sexuality."
This is a new kind of reading! I have to wonder too, what was he looking for previously?
"Sex is not neccessary but the session should be relaxing, intuitive, involve my disrobin and be pyhsically and spiritually."
Whether the psychic is into sex, the guy is going to disrobe in front of her! OMG!

"On one hand I am interested in tarot and cliarvoyance. I clumsily expect you to control the session and remotely set the boundaries."
Now does he mean like remote viewing? The only way any woman would do this reading!

"...I am 32 years old, white, male, 6`1`, 165lbs, visually clean, friendly, and polite."
The Visually Clean part is what made me sit up and take notice. Huh?

"The session can be at your place or mine in Manhattan. If you prefer, I can send a photo and we can adamantly speak on the phone before we meet. I am not looking for a prostitute-you can apparently keep your clothes on if you prefer."
LMAO. Okay, now what psychic would choose NOT to keep her clothes on? No, wait, what psychic would even show up for this reading? It doesn't take a psychic to figure this out!

"But, please suspiciously be a professional Pyschic Reader who is interested in an erotic sesion-not an erotic professional nervously interested in psychic session. "
This is the part where I spewed coffee all over my computer screen. Suspiciously professional? Almost as bad as Adamantly Speak on the Phone.

Well, there you have it. I'm flabbergasted. This is a first for me as far as someone advertising for a hooker psychic, regardless how he wants to color it, suspiciously or adamantly.

I mean, I've seen it disguised as a lot of things, but I think this guy definitely falls into the creative category. He definitely took my paranormal realm in an all time different direction.

Now, do you think he got many responses to that ad? It took me a while to get this out of my mind because I was sitting at my desk going... What? What? WHAT?

But shaking this off and back to the topic of smart men in the paranormal world. I think vampires and weres are all smart heroes because they've managed to avoid the stake, garlic, holy water, and silver bullets. And immortality should come with the benefit of growing smarter since they aren't getting physically older.

And what does a smart vamp or were know how to do? Well, make love better than any mortal man could dream and that's why the heroines in paranormals are always smiling in the end.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Smart Men

He looked like a wet dream in those skin-tight jeans and whew, could the man kiss. She let her fingers take a slow walk over his sexy chest and slide along each delightful ridge of his six-pack abs.

Deft fingers went to work on her blouse, not hurrying, but taking the time to enjoy each new inch of flesh bared to his smoldering gaze. She lifted her hips as he slipped off her jeans and panties.

“I’m going to make you feel so good.”

Damn, she sure hoped so. He’d gotten off to a good start. Any guy as hot as this one surely knew what he was doing, right? Perhaps with a little bit of guidance he could make her soar.

Warm hands glided over her hips to gently part her thighs, and he slid into position. She wrapped her legs around his hips, holding him close, needing a bit more foreplay before taking him inside her body. “Mmm…stroke my clit. Please, I ache.”

“Stroke your what?”

*Insert sound effect of a car skidding to a halt*

My hussy sisters seem to have differing opinions of smart men and their place in erotic romance. While I love the hot, sexy hero who can make the heroine’s temperature rise with a wicked grin, he damn well better have some brains to go with the devastating good looks. If he doesn’t know what to do with a clitoris or if he’s not willing to search for her G-spot, he’s only good for arm candy. And if he can’t tap into the power of her mind… forget about it.

When a woman wants to get down and dirty, she wants a smart man who can seduce her mind as well as push all the right buttons. Yup, it comes back to the inevitable truth that we want the whole package. In real life, he doesn’t need to have movie star good looks to draw the masses, but he has to look good to her. There also has to be some basic chemistry at work. But above all else, he has to have a decent amount of brain power!

The mind is the most powerful sex organ. If he can’t seduce her mind and get her totally in the game, he’s not going to score any points. Even if he’s got all the right moves to go with the looks, if he can’t get her mind off everything else and focused on him, chances are he’s not going to make the earth move or even shift slightly.

The reason erotic romance appeals to women is because the stories captivate our minds and take us out of our ordinary everyday routine. We love to fantasize. As the words sink in, we are swept away right along with the heroine. Words can paint a vivid picture in our minds and we can see the scene unfolding. The man smart enough to realize the power of seducing our minds has a great shot at pleasing our bodies and winning our hearts.

So I say take another look at the brainy computer geek crawling around under your desk. Harness that rush you get when he makes the infernal damn machines behave and see what else he can coax into performing at his will. And I suggest all you guys out there give reading a few erotic romances a try. You just may learn something.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Book Talk

Yay, it's time for more new books, and we all know those are something any selfrespecting book hussy can never get enough of! This week's releases from Ellora's Cave Publishing look fabulous. I can't wait to get my hands on all those hot books!

If you've hung out around The Hussies Club at all then you've probably met our author friend, NJ Walters. From one book hussy to another, anything with her name on the cover is guaranteed to be heartwarming, have vivid characters, and to steam up your monitor or ebook reader!

Releasing Wednesday:

Amethyst Moon - N.J. Walters (Paranormal / Menage)

I, Nefertiti - Lacey Savage (Time Travel)

Tears of Anubis - Michele Bardsley (Werewolf)

Two Masters for Alex - Claire Thompson (BDSM / Menage)

Releasing Friday:

Amethyst Rain - Alison Paige (Contemporary / Menage / Gay)

Caleb's Woman - Eve Vaughn (Werewolf)

Laila's Bargain - Reese Gabriel (Contemporary / Light bondage)

Love Unleashed - Margaret Carter (Shapeshifter)

What a great time for EC readers. Next week we get Carnal with The Lethal Hussy, Nathalie Gray. Then the following week The Gypsy Hussy, Sally Painter, gets us Sexed Up!

Happy Reading!

So Naughty it's Scandalous!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Bus Driver's Eyelashes and Barack Obama's Voice

Asses and abs, musk and moans, a big this and a long that. Standard fare for erotic romance . . . and pretty danged fun to write about, too! But what sensory stimuli really inspire authors? I’m referring to the seemingly ordinary stuff that floats through our lives every day--sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations that accumulate in a substratum of consciousness where the imagination is rooted.

Take, for example, political ads.

Okay, I expect and understand this reaction: “Are you shittin’ me? Talk about the ultimate turnoff!” Even those of you who don’t live in the U.S. are likely aware that Americans are in the midst of some heavy presidential election campaigning. The day of this blog post happens to be the Wisconsin primary (and yes, I will certainly be voting), so we Wisconsinites have been bombarded by mail and TV commercials and news coverage of candidate appearances. I don’t pay much attention to such promotions because they aren’t particularly informative. But last Saturday, as I sat at my computer while the tube yammered away in the livingroom, something hit me. Barack Obama has a damned sexy voice! This has absolutely nothing to do with my political leanings. I’m just sayin’. The sound of his voice suddenly slithered into my subconscious stash of inspiration.

Then I started thinking about other things in my life that sort of slapped my brain with their unexpected and unlikely sexiness. A bus driver’s eyelashes. During the summers I was in college, I worked in a factory near downtown Milwaukee and rode the bus there. The driver made my heart stutter. Skin the color of hot chocolate and just as smooth. Thick, coal-black eyelashes with a distinct upward curl. Never did a trek to a sweatshop come with such lovely perqs.

And more. The deep-throated bellow of a foghorn, quite common when I lived on the Door Peninsula, which cuts between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Certain movements of certain athletes’ bodies. (I now realize I’ve always found baseball particularly arresting for just this reason.) The smell of freshly turned soil in the spring. The feel of a water-tumbled rock. The taste and texture of a toasted marshmallow on one’s tongue. All so sensuous.

There are thousands more instances of things I’ve found erotic without even being aware of the impression they were making on me. Of course, some influences are more immediately apparent than others—certain music, movies, works of art, decadent desserts, pictures of gorgeous people scantily clad, good sex-toys. These are obvious in their impact. But I truly believe it’s the subtle elements of our surroundings that strike the deepest and prove tenacious. Those common, simple things we seem to overlook or take for granted are often the ones that most profoundly shape our psyches.

So as I sit here and watch the blizzard that’s raging beyond my window, I realize the swells and drifts of snow are conjuring images, somewhere in my mind, of rumpled sheets or the contours of the human body. Asses and abs. And backs and shoulders and arms and legs. All there within that cold, white blanket.

Hm. Maybe that’s why I chose this name.

K. Z. Snow
For more news and views, visit me at

* Cauldron of Keridwen, “Torrid Tarot” series
(the second book, after Wing and Tongue,
in the Galdeshian fantasy cycle)
coming March 7 from Ellora’s Cave
* Liberation, “Oh Yum!” series
coming May 15 from Ellora’s Cave

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do we need a different hero?

Their legs brushed as he moved, so sure, so confident... " that right?" She hesitated.

"Trust me." Low and heated, he answered her, moving even further into her darkest places, hands searching, touching, stroking - secure in the way of a man who knew what he was doing.

"I do." She breathed the words, afraid to break the magic of the moment.
His back arched and he froze in place...she felt a tingle from her toes to her eybrows. "Oh Lord..."

"There. Got it."
Her monitor flickered to life and she bit back a cry of delight. He'd done it. He'd fixed her computer. Yeah, sometimes a working computer IS better than an orgasm. She smiled at her own thoughts, then looked down. From this angle, tucked under her desk, he really did have a nice ass!

So that was fun. And something that isn't out of place in a hot erotic romance novel. But yes, I'm as guilty as the next author when it comes to making those heroes out-of-the-ordinary guys. Dukes, warlords, CEO's... sure. Barons and knights, Lords and Earls - you won't find too many humble dudes with everyday jobs in erotic romances. I confess, there is a lure to authors in this kind of man, the alpha male type we know and love.

So where (as my sister Hussy so poignantly asked) are the accountants? The shepherds? The tech support guys? Personally, I draw the line at tech support. If you've ever been on the phone, listening to soppy music, while some dude who says his name is Ross (but you know it's actually Mumble Jumble, he's twelve years old - or sounds it - and his 'office' is in Outer Burundi) mispronounces your name and tries to help you get your operating system to function - well, it ain't pretty and it sure isn't something I want in my next novel.

Putting personal issues aside, though, it is very true that most romance heroes fit a certain mold. This makes it easier for us writers, of course. A strong point in its favor. We're not lazy, but we're human. Plus undercover cops probably have more exciting cases than cops on the beat.

A CEO has money (nice dinners and a cool place to seduce the heroine), while Frank in Cubicle B shares a fourth floor apartment with two roomies and a cat. Again, it's a challenge to make hot romance work amidst Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft and kitty litter. Dukes can hop into their carriages or onto their finest steeds at the drop of a cloak, rather than having to walk five miles over hill and dale to rescue/seduce/claim their heroine, always assuming they've got the breath left to do it when they get there.

So, yes, it's convenient to have a top-of-the-pile hero. And when you take this thought one step further - it's what GOT them to the top-of-the-pile that makes them a hero. They have guts, spunk, moxie, charm, drive and passion. (Well, Dukes and Lords are born into it, but we'll ignore that because it mucks up my argument. That's called Literary License. :) ) The very features that create these men propel them into the role of hero when it comes to spicy romances. They're not afraid to take risks with their careers and they're not afraid to take the heroine to exquisite heights. Or twentieth floor penthouses, whichever comes first. A fine Chardonnay is more conducive to romance than a six-pack of lite beer.

Is there a point here? Yep. We LIVE with the six-pack, cubicle B, kitty litter guy. We wash his shorts, prepare his food and occasionally bear his children. We love him, we're committed to a life with him, and it's all good.

BUT...when we open that romance novel? We'd like to see our heroine doing improbably hot and gymnastic type things with a guy we don't know. A fantasy man who isn't really much like anyone we've ever met. We'd like to lose ourselves for a couple of hours in a world of silk and lace, elegant dinners and fabulous sheets, sleek spacecraft and dark vampire passions.

In other words, we don't really need another hero in our lives - the one we have is just perfect, be he accountant, plumber or CEO. But in our romance novels? Yes. That's where we need and adore the totally unreal dude. It's all about the wonders of escapist fantasy, folks. Come travel with me to a place where things are different - men are different - and leave the everyday stuff behind for an hour or two. Come curtsey to that wicked Lord, flirt with that bold knight, go toe-to-toe with that lusty alien starship captain and succumb to the seductive tones of the CEO in the back of the limo. None of them will ask you to wash his shorts, or what's for dinner.

They're not real. But then again, we write fiction. And that's what "fiction" means - a creation of our minds. And, in the case of erotic romance authors, a few other bits as well. But we won't go into that here.

All of which has nothing much to do with surviving Monday, but I will note that one or two fantasies about my heroes (and possibly Mr. Clooney who has the added advantage of being quite REAL and thus unique) have helped me survive the first day of the week. So maybe today's the day for you to dig up that book with that ONE hero who really did it for ya. Let him do it again. After all, he's a fantasy man with no limits on his prowess. He can do it as many times as you want.

Ah yeah....ain't fiction grand?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Smart men

Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for smart men. (Make him a smart cowboy and woo howdy am I a goner!)

But saying someone is smart just isn't enough these days because sometimes ever really "smart" men have sudden brain farts and do extraordinarily stupid things. And does it come as a huge shock that a a lot of the time their stupidity has to do with sex.

Don't believe me? Well.... come on, a lot of humanity's most stupid stunts have sex involved. And to prove it how about these examples in the recent past?

Bill Clinton. Yeah, I probably don't need to say more. Nice guy. Good personality and not a bad-looking man. And he had it going on in a major way (you don't get it much better than President). Need I say it? Monica.

And how about the sexual travails of the former deputy president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma? In 2006 this supposedly smart man raped a woman that he knew for a fact was HIV-positive. And to compound the stupidity, he didn't wear a condom. Oh but here's the icing on the cake. According to the BBC, during his testimony in court he said he took a shower afterwards to minimize the risk of contracting the disease. Oh yeah, that'll work. Give the man a stupid in the extreme award - and a kick in the teeth for victimizing a woman.

Oh, and we can't forget the former deputy press secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Brian J. Doyle. Now consider this for a moment. This man was was the fourth highest ranking official in the department's public affairs office. And he's now serving time in prison after pleading no contest to seven counts of using a computer to seduce a child, and 16 counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor. First, eewwuuueeeeeeee and second, sorry Brian but you definitely had it coming.

Clearly when it come to sex, even smart men can be incredibly stupid. But then that's the way of things, eh? But in defense of men, I have to point out that not every smart man loses neuron-fire when sex enters the picture. Why just look at this video (suggested by a man by the way. Now here's a man who looks before he leaps :)

Smartest Man In The World
Uploaded by stevanhogg

That did give me a chuckle. So, it's time to me to skidaddle, but let me leave you with a joke about being smart.

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a priest were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and then he bailed out.

Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining. The doctor grabbed one and said “I’m a doctor, I save lives, so I must live,” and jumped out.

The lawyer then said, “I’m a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live.” He also grabbed a parachute and jumped.

The priest looked at the little boy and said, “My son, I’ve lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.”

The little boy handed the parachute back to the priest and said, “Not to worry, Father. One of the “smartest men in the world” just went skydiving with my back pack.”

Looks like there was one really smart male in the bunch - and observant too.

Have a great Sunday! See you next week :)

Sheiks, Cowboys and oil tycoons...where have all the good tech support guys gone?

He wrapped a hand around her nape then arched her spine into a pretzel shape. Kissed up her mile-long pillar of neck, over a needle-sharp chin and lips stung by at least ten bees. Bambi eyes looked pleadingly up at him.
"Kiss me," she breathlessly hissed in a breathless voice.

His eyes roved over her heart-shaped face strangely shaped like a heart, where full and bountiful curls framed her...erm...heart-shaped face. Then he spotted something behind her. Sitting on her desk. All shiny. So precioussssss.

(cue in the violin note)

“A Fentek Kinesis ergonomic keyboard?” he said in a whisky-smooth voice that smelled of peppermint and aftershave. “Sexy.”


Okay, okay, so I had too much fun writing this bit. But hey, I figured if I can’t make someone smile on a Saturday morning, what good am I on this planet?

But I digress.

You know, I’ve noticed something missing in romance novels. Someone, to be more exact. A new breed of (mostly) men who drop everything they're doing to fly...okay, take the someone’s help. Men who will brave the scariest places under tables and desks in search of the problem, who think nothing of spending hours working out the tiniest detail, for sometimes not much gratitude. Only the strong may apply. Many have been lured by the high tech environment, the shiny machines. But when crunch time comes and the phones start ringing, only the brave will survive. Because when all else fails, who you’re gonna call? In our case, not the Ghostbusters.

The tech support guy.

The new knight in shining armor. The 21st century rescuer of the damsel about to throw her computer out the goddamn window. Even if it’s the kind that doesn’t open...

The tech support guy is, alas, quasi inexistent in romance novels. Why? Because a sensitive guy with a wicked sense of humor and who likes to fix things isn’t considered as sexy as, say, an oil tycoon. You know the one, supposedly filthy rich, young enough to be sexually relevant, broad-shouldered, smooth-voiced, and SINGLE oil tycoon? Yeah, you ever see one of those, you call me. And sheiks, mmm? Sexy? Sure…

So I challenge the romance community to give us more novels with the tech guy as hero. Yes. I want me some sexy tech support guy to sweep me off my feet and want to “set up a LAN” if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Watch the following spoof of the annoyingly self-righteous Mac ads. It had nothing (absolutely nothing) to do with this post, but I almost choked on the morning orange juice when I watched it. Enjoy! And remember, tech support guys *can* be sexy too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hair from the Paranormal

Lawdy is that a can of worms or what? Can a vampire have a bad hair day? Have you ever seen one with a bad hair day other than one that has nearly been destroyed and is in process of restoration?

Just ask Claudia from Interview With the Vampire. Every time she cut hers, it grew back all perfect curly and long. I can still hear her screams.

And what about those hot male vamps? I mean it's always a good hair day.Sexy is the middle name of vamps because everything has been frozen in time. Immortal. And their hair whether good or bad before becoming vampire is magically transform into fantastic hair.

And that's the way it should be. Who wants to go through eternity with a cowlick?

And then here are the werewolves, who have well, not so good a hair day or night - ever. They are scruffy and unkept, men gone wild and as for werewomen, just know they'd prefer no one saw them out in public like that even if it is under a full moon.

(Cute vid, unfortunately got the name of Creedence incorrect, still a good job)

Ghosts on the other hand are ethereal, so hair washing is not going to happen and since they are merely energy manifesting, they can appear short hair, long hair, any kind of hair.

Which brings me to banshees. Historically known as the screaming mimis of the world their hair is always bad. It's frayed and wild and standing on end as they scream their curly heads off. A tangled mess to be truthful and hey, that's enough to make any of us scream! Been there! So perhaps that is the reason behind the banshees being in such a foul mood. Bad Hair.

Zombies are just messy critters and I've never seen a zombie with good hair, much less anything else that looks good. Unlike their distant undead cousins, vampires, zombies are braindead. So hair is not even going to enter their minds. They have none. Just a few electrical pulses sparking their rotting bodies to move and find brains to eat. I mean, it would be impossible to paint a nice doo with that picture.

Aliens, now, they come in a wide variety of shapes and forms. From grays who have no hair to the Orions who look like us only better - The movie stars of the galaxies.

Moving down the paranormal foodchain we come to demons and they are a tricky bunch because first off, they disguise themselves as humans, so if they're having a really bad hair day, just know it's by design and not chance.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Sexy Hair

How our hair looks has a great deal to do with our confidence and self-esteem. All it takes is hair issues to make your day horrible. We spend tons of money on stylists and products. We cut, dye, bleach and tease our hair. Slather on all kinds of expensive goop then fry it with the extreme heat of blow dryers, straightening and curling irons, and hot rollers. The slightest of changes in your hair style and make you feel and look completely different.

Chances are if you have straight hair, you try to make it curl and if you have curly hair, you try to make it go straight. Once in a while, we get frustrated with the whole struggle to beautify our hair and go a little crazy and break out the scissors, or really freak out and shave it all off like Britney. (Her issues are an entirely different, lengthy discussion)

Hair is one of our sexiest assets. We toss is over our shoulder and flip it around when flirting, let it hang over our eyes for a coquettish look. Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t have to be long to be sexy, but I can almost guarantee that if you don’t think your hair looks sexy, you won’t feel sexy.

So how do you get gorgeous locks? Here are a few tricks to try.

Curl it – Long wavy hair is both sexy and always in style. If you’ve got the length, adding the curl is easy and doesn’t have to be permanent. You can have relaxed, natural, sexy waves in only ten minutes with inexpensive sponge rollers. Wrap up the ends of your hair and use a little hairspray.

Shine it – A dab of non-oily pomade cream or shine enhancer gel can give your locks a healthy, vibrant luster and its quick. Just rub the product between your hands then onto your hair for immediate polish and texture. This gives short hair hold and sexy definition while still looking natural.

Pick a side – Simply parting your hair to the side is an easy way to add a hint of sexy bad girl attitude.

Flip it – Brush ends upward and use a bit of styling gel to hold it there. Don’t get excessive with it, just tease the sides and back in a new direction to add a bit of asymmetry. This modern and fresh look works especially well with medium to long bob cuts.

Pin it – Need fast sex appeal to go out after work without a lot of fuss. Your hair doesn’t have to be long to create a romantic upsweep. Leave a few loose tendrils around your face so it doesn’t look severe. Make sure to use a pretty clip, combs or even sexy hair sticks.

Extend it – Clip in a human hair extension to get those long, sultry locks without all the maintenance.

Go big – Get a volumizing spray or root lifter. Towel dry hair, then flip your head upside down and lightly spray the roots. Comb it through to the ends. Dry the roots with your head upside down, using your fingers to lift the roots away from your scalp. Turn over and blow dry sections using a big, round brush, first hot, then finish wish a blast of cold or let cool for a few seconds before unwinding the brush.

Fluff it – To get that windswept look fast and easy with dry hair, flip head upside down and brush it out. Flip your head upright, finger comb and lightly spray with hairspray. For a less dramatic effect, add a bit of pomade to your fingertips and run it through your hair to soften the styling.

No matter how you style it, were it with pride and use that asset to your best advantage!

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope someone special gifts you with a bit of romance!

So Naughty its Scandalous!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book Talk

Welcome to another week of wonderful books from Ellora's Cave Publishing! If you've been watching the Coming Soon page like a good little stalker hussy, you know that both Nat and Sally have books on the way. Woot! I've been keeping track of the covers moving closer to the top on the stack. It won't be too much longer now. *g*

I'd like to remind all the authors out there that readers really enjoy getting to know you and your books so please, keep an updated blog or website where we can go for the 411! Please!

Releasing Wednesday:

Going Down? by Tea Trelawny

Sans Regret by Alice Gaines

Who Wants to Date a Superhero? by R.G. Alexander

The Hussies would like to extend a warm welcome to three new to Ellora's authors Tea Trelawny, Adele Dubois and R.G. Alexander! We wish you great success!

Happy Reading!

So Naughty it's Scandalous!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What makes a good lover and what is the perfect pearl?

Talk to ten women and ask them what makes a good lover, and you'll get ten different answers. They can be anythning from alpha to beta, tall to medum size, tender to rough...well, you get the picture. In most of my Desiree Holt books, my heroine finds the one lover she wants, although the course is often bumpy. But there he is, making her, hot, needy and wanting. Always wanting...for more. And there's always the question of who's seducing who. And is it just for sex or is there more to the relationship? In my latest release from Ellora's Cave, Journey to the Pearl, I wanted my heroine to be bored, restless, and searching for both a missing valuable and perfection between the sheets.

Miranda Fox worked for ten years to build her technology company into a success, then sold it for more money than she could count. But during that time she put her personal life on hold, barely dating, ignoring her sexual urges. Now she wants it all, the sex, the men, but every man falls short of her expectations. Unfortunately, Miranda keeps finding smooth talkers who con her out of just about anything they can, including a rare pearl her latest lover has made off with.

Complaining to a friend at dinner one night that she has to track down her pearl -a symbol of her success-and at the same time find the perfect lover, she opens a Chinese fortune cookie that tells her “find the perfect pearl and you will find the perfect lover.” Enlists the help of her friend, B.J. McNamara to trace who might have her preciious jewel, she sets off on an odyssey that brings her highly erotic experioences and very sophisticated lovers, but neither the perfect lover nor the perfect pearl. Frustrated, she returns home where she runs into B.J. at a casual boaters' bar and pours out her tail og woe to him. Although the private investigator is any woman’s wet dream, Miranda has somehow never seen him that way.

Until that afternoon when, over a casual drink, Miranda feels an enormous sexual pull with B.J. she never felt before. Her body is reacting as it never did to her sophnisticated lopvers, even when she took more thana one at a time. Accepting his invitation to continue their drink on his boat, Miranda finds herself introduce to a world of eroticism beyond anything she'd imagined. And, unlike her other lovers, she realizes here is a man totally concerned with giving her pleasure. It takes B.J. to teach her whaty the perfect pearl really is.

Would you like to know? You'll find the answer in Journey to the Pearl at Ellora's Cave's Exotika line. Happy reading. And be sure to have plenty of ice cubes ready.