Saturday, May 31, 2008

Write Like the French, Kiss Like the French

When done right, with measure and wit, humor and modesty, love letters are entertaining and inspiring. Sometimes gems of grammatical gymnastics too. I mean, you need to get your hands on a couple of lettres gallantes from 17th century Madame de Sévigné to appreciate the charm and irreverence that can go on a piece of paper. So, when written by someone who knew what they were doing, sure, love letters make my inner Chihuahua high-five her tail.

But mostly, love letters make me cringe.

I liken it to couples holding hands and looking deeeeeeeply into each others’ eyes over the restaurant table. I’ve never understood the need for that. As if the more they “shared” their love with the unwitting public, the deeper the feeling. To me, it’s like peanut butter, the less you fear you have, the more you spread it around...

There was this one time on a cruise ship a couple of years ago, I was sitting on one of those long chairs with the blanket (just like in the movies, man, I was impressed) and reading when wet sounds pulled me out of my story. I look around and see this couple (not teens, folks in their forties or something...adults) sitting by the pool feeding each other food from their respective plates then kissing. I’m talking the deep-throat exploration kind. Tongues like goddamn excavators. My first reaction was “Mfft!” and a snort of disbelief. Like, come ON! I don't think it was the public display that made me snort the most, but how they seemed to be playing this game where the one who showed his True Love the most would win something. Sex, is my bet, but I could be wrong. Or, maybe I'm just a cynic. Oh well, I'll live.

So to me, love letters are like that, just a weeeee bit over the top. I think they had an important role back when people had nothing else with which to communicate over long distances. I would’ve been just as happy as the next medieval gal to get a letter, any letter, from my man on the other side of the country/crusade/war/whatever.

Although I think that love letters are still with us, but have mutated, shortened. E-mails, Instant Messages, Text Messages...ever seen a bunch of IMs from teen lovers? Damn, they might use shorter words (or made-up words, for that matter), but the sentiments expressed are the same as those of Madame de Sévigné’s time.

Not for me, love letters. But I say to those who enjoy them, write, baby, write! And tell them you *heart* them!

Want to hear a bit of French reading from a great love story about a ménage—yes, a MÉNAGE—in 14th century Louvre (where the court used to be held before Versailles was built)?! Hell yeah!! It’s the story of a young woman of humble origins who appears at the court for the first time, catches the prince’s eye, who asks to marry her. She says, “WOODAM, like YAWHH!” Okay, she might have said “Oui, votre majesté” instead. Then enters the duke de Nemours, famed for his good looks sword. He falls for her too. Falls hard. What’s a girl to do?! Take the two!

Click on this image to reach the French audio book, then once at the site, click where I've put the red arrow. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Love Beyond

I knew there was something I forgot to do Friday morning. Post this. Well, my excuse is a busy busy day of non-stop work and then an evening of SciFi channel. I love Battlestar Galactica! Really miss Stargate, but that's a different kind of post.

Here's the one for Friday and my apologies for not getting it posted on my real day. (G)

A lot has been written about love letters by my sista hussies which were most eloquent! But what about those love letters from beyond the grave?

There are countless stories of the eternity of love that even death cannot stop loved ones from communicating. I've had personal experiences that levae no doubt in my mind that Sam was right in the movie, GHOST, when he told Molly that you take the love with you. What a wonderful line that was.

My personal experiences have been through dreams and signs that were so profound and obvious anyone would have recognized. A phrase a loved one used that is repeated over and over every place I turn, on TV, radio, internet, in conversations with others.

The other side is trying to communicate with you, are you listening? Well, some might wonder how to listen. It's simple. You just become aware of everything around you and you can hear the whispers of loved ones.

Sometimes our loved ones manage to manifest in front of us for brief moments and actually give an audible message. This obviously requires a great expenditure of energy, so the appariation itself is a visible declaration of that love that goes beyond words.

You can read some real life documented cases of such contact here. Entire books have been written about such cases and many have witnesses to these personally delivered messages, but if you aren't so lucky to have an astral athelete in your group of loved ones who have passed on, then pay attention to their messages. Usually these are constant.

You may catch a whiff of cigar smoke when there is no one smoking and be reminded of your grandfather. A brief pungent scent of roses might fill your nostrils. A chill might shiver through you. A butterfly may flutter around your head reminding you of your mother's passion for painting them. Oftentimes these are called omens, but more appropriately they are cosmic love letters sent to remind you of that love Sam was talking about. We take it with us!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Not Gonna Write You A Love Letter

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love the to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach…
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Oh Puhlease! Let’s face it. If you got a wordy love letter like that you’d be rolling on the floor laughing.

Love letters are so not my style! Sure, I did write a few in the past, but grand, flowery declarations are just not me. Does anyone even write letters anymore? With all the wonderful means of instant communication available to us today, love letters seem to be a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down a love letter is someone wanted to send me one, but true proof of love comes from actions and how someone makes you feel.

Here’s some things to think about before penning a love letter. Most people save their love letters and read them at different times in their lives. Whatever you put on that piece of paper is how the receiver (or anyone else who gets their hands on it) is going to remember you. Be careful of promises and professions. If you have the horrible handwriting of a doctor, consider typing the letter. This gives you the added bonus of being able to use spell checker. Don’t scratch things out or deliver an otherwise sloppy letter. And give a great deal of thought to what you’re saying, both literally as well as what could possibly be misconstrued between the lines. Remember that a declaration of love in writing can be preserved for a long time.

IMHO, it’s the little things that tug at the heart strings more than a gushy letter. An ex-boyfriend of mine knew what he was doing. He worked as a property appraiser. This meant he was constantly driving all over town and taking lots of pictures. He would stop by the building where I worked and leave me little notes in those old black 35mm film canisters with the gray lids. I’d leave work and find them tucked under the windshield wiper on my car. Inside would be a small scrap of paper with a hand-written note telling me he was thinking about me and couldn’t wait to see me. I loved getting those notes! Hmm…why did I get rid of him? Oh yeah, now I remember. Um…never mind. LOL!

The point is that there are millions of ways to express your feelings through actions, which do tend to speak louder than words. I mean really, what are you going to put more stock in, a love letter telling you what your SO thinks you want to hear or a sweet and simple unexpected reminder through actions?

I'm not gonna write you a love song
'cause you asked for it
'cause you need one, you see
I'm not gonna write you a love song
'cause you tell me it's
Make or breaking this
If you're on your way
I'm not gonna write you to stay
If all you have is leaving I'm gonna need a better
Reason to write you a love song today
(Sara Bareilles)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Talk

Yay, it's Wednesday and y'all know what that means—books! This is the final week Ellora's Cave Publishing will be releasing 10 yummy books. To make it even more speical The Posh in Pink Hussy and The Dude (aka Sahara Kelly and SL Carpenter) have a book out today! Coming Attractions is a hot, steamy, exotika story...yeah, baby!

Releasing Wednesday:

Coming Attractions, Sahara Kelly & S.L. Carpenter

Hand-dipped Pleasure, Leannan MacLlyr

A Lady In Waiting, Samantha Kane

Dangerous Boys and Their Toys, Shayla Black

Releasing Thursday:

Risking It All, Anna J. Evans

Built to Last, Sierra Dafoe

Releasing Friday:

Eternal Rapture, KyAnn Waters

Unbreakable, Amarinda Jones

Icefire, Lynne Connolly

In a Dark Embrace, Simone Bern

The Hussies would like to extend a warm welcome to new to Ellora's authors Leannan MacLlyr and Shayla Black. We wish you all the best!

Happy Reading!

So naughty it's scandalous!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Power of Music

I graduated from high school in 1974. (You do the math.) All through high school, I listened to The Beatles, The Monkees, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Bread, Bobby Sherman. (I had SUCH a crush on Bobby Sherman!) Yep, I was a pop music junkie. While most of my friends had their radios tuned to country music, I bebopped around my bedroom to The Partridge Family.

I've always loved music. Any job became easier if I could listen to music. When I started writing, music naturally went along with it. The type of music depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes I want to bebop along with those great 70s tunes. Sometimes a movie soundtrack will put me in the exact mood I need. Classical, rock, soft all depends on the scene and the characters.

Imagine a funky bubblegum song playing instead of the "da dum da dum" you expect when the shark is in the water. Doesn't work at all, does it? It's the same with writing. The music has to be right or the mood is broken.

I write erotic romance. I have to really concentrate when I write a love scene for I want it to be right. I want the reader to feel everything my characters are feeling. Listening to songs with lyrics distracts me during those crucial scenes, so I turn to New Age instrumentals. The strings, harps, and flutes all go along with the sexy mood I'm trying to convey. "Da dum da dum" definitely wouldn't work while writing a love scene.

Does music play an important part in your life? Tell me about it.

Lynn LaFleur

Monday, May 26, 2008

A dying art?

This topic - this whole "love letter" thing - got me thinking. (Superficially, I'll admit, since I'm reporting in from the Hussy Washington Bureau this week, and the sight of the Capitol is a bit distracting.)

Is the entire notion of writing a letter, especially a love letter, a dying art?

I Googled "love letters". Got some interesting links too. And guess what? Most of the love letters history has deemed worth recording for posterity were written before the nineteen hundreds. Catherine of Aragon wrote a famous one in 1536, ending it with " Lastly, do I vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things." Nice turn of phrase there. Unfortunately she was on her deathbed when she wrote it.

In the seventeenth century, Ninon de L'Enclos penned a long and rather instructive love letter, advising him toward the end "At least, give my prescription a fair trial, and I will be answerable for the success." It is to be hoped the anonymous recipient took her advice.

The eighteen hundreds were the "hot years" for love letters, it seems. Everyone had a better chance of learning to write and avenues of physical communication were opening up enough to permit the delivery of letters across long distances. (Probably also bills, wanted posters and the occasional bit of century-appropriate SPAM.)

We have Byron and Bonaparte (not to each other as far as I know), Ludwig von Beethoven (wanna bet he wrote his on music sheets?), Charlotte Bronte - and of course the ever-popular Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Her missives to Robert Browning still come close to the top of everyone's list of well-written love letters, including - as one does - the phrases " And now listen to me in turn. You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me - my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything....".

Can't beat that with a stick, folks.

So...what happened? After the early nineteen hundreds, there appears a scarcity of love letters worth recording. I'm sure there were many passionate epistles sent home from warriors fighting abroad during time of war. I'm sure there still are. But with the invention of the telephone, letters dwindled in importance, apparently. Today? Yep. It's all done via text or IM. And I will admit that "I luv u. C u l8er. LOL" doesn't really compare too well with "I am thine and shall be until the last star dies in the sky". Although they probably mean pretty much the same thing to the couples involved.

We're probably all guilty of "shorthanding" our emotions as much as we shorthand our mails these days. The pace of our lives has changed drastically over the intervening centuries, and finding a pen today is as much of a challenge as bringing in the crops was in 16-something-or-other. Try reading a Poe story. Or Dickens. Pages of literary description, florid and - yes - a bit overwhelming to a generation used to sixty second sound bites and fifteen second commercials. Yep, love letters have changed along with our lives.

That said, I'll just add that I believe they still mean every bit as much. No matter how it's phrased, or what media it uses, a sentiment to a loved one expressing passion still warms the heart and softens the soul. Whether it's a card on a bunch of flowers written by an unknown florist, or a quick IM text message from an airport gate, "I love you" still means exactly that. And in this crazy world of global warming, gas crises and endless wars, knowing someone loves you is priceless. Doesn't matter if you're a Shakespeare-wannabe or a Blackberry addict, the message is the same.

Go tell someone today you love them. IM them, text them, email them, or hire a sky writing airplane and spell it out across the sky. Who cares? It's all about the sentiment. The media doesn't matter, does it? It's what you're saying that counts!!

And if you happen to find a few classical words to toss in, so much the better. Although how you'd text "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" I'm not quite sure.(grin)

From the Nation's capital,
Hussy Sahara sending hugs and "I love you"'s to everyone!!!
(Lord knows we could use a few more love letters here in this particular spot!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Plucking the heart strings

This week we're going to be sharing some of our ideas on writing love letters. I have to say that despite being a writer, composing a love letter has always been difficult. There's too much I want to say and not enough "right" words to say it with.

However, while I may not be able to compose a letter than conveys all I want to say - and have the meaning be as clear as I intend, I have discovered that music speaks the language of love in a way that mere words cannot. So, over the years I kept my ears open, waiting for that one song that said it all, that one song that when I'm gone, if he remains, my childen can play for him as an expression of love and gratitude for all he means to me and how he has blessed my life with his love.

Luckily I found that song. I can still remember the first time I listened to it with him. It was 5:45 am in June of 1996. It was a Wednesday. My honey and I were on our way to the gym for our usual early morning workout. Just as we pulled into the parking lot this song came on. I heard the first few notes and reached out to stay his hand as he went to turn off the car.

"I really need you to hear this."

We sat and listened, looking at each other. I cried. He reached over and put his hand on the side of my face and smiled. When the song finished I said "She wrote that for me. To say all of the things I don't have words for. And for all the things I want you to know."

He smiled again,kissed me and held me close. And my love letter, the only one I'll ever need was delivered.

While words may convey the message, music drives it home in a way that's powerful and moving. And so my love song is and always will be ....

So what's your love song?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Public Speaking: or, the Fear of Too Many Eyeballs

Ever had to stand in front of a crowd and say something? The sight of so many eyeballs and faces can be if not distracting then at least a bit unnerving. The attention of so many turned to you, the expressions, the hidden agendas, their body language. Am I boring them, you ask yourself, sweaty-palmed and belly-cramped? Making a fool of myself? Oh God, do I have something in my teeth?!

I remember back in school, when our teachers would tell us that “we’d need these skills later in life”, that we had to practice, had to “stretch those public speaking muscles”. In my school, they’d call these slow and dreadful torture sessions “Oral Presentations”. With their Water Torture, the Chinese have nothing on our school curricula (the water torture method invented by a 13th century Italian doctor/lawyer, by the way...yeah, I find the mix ironic too). So to me public speaking sucked, sucks now and will probably always suck French poodle balls. But you *can* develop skills that will make The Event go faster, even a bit easier.

Nat’s Tip to Standing in Front of Many Eyeballs and not Make a (bigger in my case) Fool of Yourself:

Basic, yes. Can never have too much of that stuff. Go for the clear stuff. You do NOT want everyone to be looking at those lovely white “waves” on your shirt.

Learn your stuff
You *know* there’s going to be a jackass with a 1,000 dollar question. Nail him/her with an answer.

Do. Not. Grab. The. Lectern
Established or improvised public speaking gurus tell you to hold onto the lectern. Don’t. You KNOW how funny and a bit dumb it looks from the audience’s perspective when the guy or gal up front is pinching the lectern’s corner, thereby confirming to everyone he or she really IS nervous and unsure. It’s akin to blood in the water. And the sharks WILL come circling. Act cool, move a bit. Don’t stand there like a lamp post.

Uncle Tony
We all know a big, burly guy. Bring him along. Stand him near the dais corner and have him cross his arms. Oh, don’t forget the black suit. He *has* to wear a black suit. Believe me, people will laugh at your jokes with an Uncle Tony figure beside you.

That the audience are people, just like you
That they’re happy it’s not them up front
That they wear funny, ratty, frilly, sporty or no underwear
That they’re hungry, thirsty, tired

Are you up for a laugh? View the following short presentation by standup comedian Don McMillan.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Releasing The Scared Little Hussy Inside

Nic hit upon something that is so vital to releasing your inner hussy and that is getting in touch with your ‘true’ self.

For me, that meant delving into the scariest aspects of my life which revolved around the things that haunted me since I was first cognizant – the paranormal. Growing up in an idyllic family, I always felt loved and nurtured, so there was no reason for me to make-up anything like monsters or ghosts. I had no desire to see the things I saw, nor did I enjoy being terrified by creatures and beings who emerged from shadows and moved through walls.

The term that made me cringe was ‘over-active imagination’. That was how my parents explained what was happening to me even though at 3 years of age I knew the entities I was seeing were not my imagination. They were not vivid dreams. They were real.

And so I became very embarrassed whenever I would wake up my mother and father to tell them I couldn’t sleep. I quit saying some creature had waked me and wanting me to help them find something or get somewhere. It had been decreed, it was my imagination so what was the point of trying to explain.

Wakking my mom or dad was something I dreaded doing with all my being, almost as much as returning to my room and the creatures waiting for me there. My siblings and cousins didn’t understand and made fun of me. So I learned early on not to talk about what was happening to me and by the time I was an adult, I guarded that aspect of my life with great secrecy.

I had no one to talk with about it. The majority of people in the world don’t have the kind of experiences I do and so why should I expect them to possibly understand what I was seeing?

So, I didn’t tell anyone about the monsters I saw or the premonitions I had or the empathic feelings or how sometimes I knew what people would say before they said it. It freaked me out, so why wouldn’t it freak everyone else out?

My solution - to desperately try to block and deny who I was. It was an inner battle that I eventually lost when I turned twenty-one. It wasn't a singular thing that forced me to face myself and my abilities. I was tired of trying to run away from it.

This was when I finally accepted my abilities and reconciled them with how I wanted my life to be with how it was. Educating myself was the first step. I studied for ten years; reading every book ever published at the time about paranormal, ghosts, psychic abilities, philosophies, religions, etc. This was when I began to realize I was not alone after all.

A new strength emerged within me and the validation I never received from loving, well-meaning parents who simply didn’t understand what was happening to me came at last - from myself. As I matured and learned, I discovered I didn’t need anyone to believe me. My experiences were real and I had discovered many truths over the years. I didn't care if no one believed me. I had nothing I needed to prove. I was content. The truth was the truth. Simple.

In the eighties, a Renaissance of sorts emerged and suddenly people were opening their paranormal closet doors and talking about the same kind of things I'd always experienced.

Because of my abilities, I was invited to participate in a 3-year paranormal research project and at last connected with other people who shared similar stories. And, while my seer abilities were not something I expected most people to understand or even relate to, I knew there had to many others like myself who were still locked away in their paranormal closets.

So, I decided to reach out to them and in the process liberated myself in a final public coming out of sorts. I founded a monthly paranormal workshop and discussion group and eventually hosted an online paranormal talk show. And I was rewarded by meeting hundreds of people who all had similar stories to tell. They, too, had been ridiculed by people who could not relate to what it meant to be clairvoyant, psychic, intuitive, whatever label was placed upon their abilities.

Stepping out of the security of my paranormal closet and telling others about my experiences was not easy, but it was the last remaining part of the stigma that needed to be purged from my psyche. And, it worked. Three years later, I handed over the reins to my friend Melissa Alvarez who later bequeathed the workshops and discussion groups to two other members.

The workshop and discussion list were outward signs of the progress I had made and those who joined had made. I still have the emails from people who were grateful and relieved to have a safe haven for the first time in their lives where they could discuss their experiences without fear of ridicule.

And the common thread running through most of those stories is something I’d read years ago- The seer’s path is supposed to be made as a lone practitioner in order to truly be of value.

Based on my experiences, I understand the necessity of going it alone. It was so important to find the way on my own so I could claim whatever I discovered as purely belonging to me and not being confused as something inherited from a mentor. And while I would have loved having a teacher to make my path less painful, I can now say I’m grateful for the solitary path. It forced me to explore deeper for those answers and realize the only one who could validate me was there all along - me.

So my inner hussy was released in stages and not the way most people might expect. For me, it was a perfect unfolding, custom-designed to fit me. I discovered my true essence of who I am just as we all must do - by myself. It’s very difficult to do the work necessary to release your inner hussy and embrace all she is, but the rewards are never-ending!

Several years ago when an astrologer told me, “underneath your business suit beats the heart of a hussy,” I was like, yeah, baby. You found me, too!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Hussy Power!

Ciana, Sahara and Nat have done a good job of explaining the original meaning of the word “hussy” so I won’t rehash it all again. Instead, I’m going to tell you about my personal experience with letting my inner hussy out to play and how it has made positive changes in me.

While growing up, I was painfully shy. Attempting to help, my mother was always putting me into social situations with lots of other people hoping to bring me out of my shyness, like birthday parties with dozens of kids running around. What it succeeded in doing was stressing me out and made me feel inadequate. New people in mass quantities put me into a panic. What we found that worked was one or two new people consistently over time. I would be quiet at first, but as I got to know them I’d open up.

I have no idea why I was so extremely shy. I didn’t have a childhood trauma or anything, it’s was just part of me. I think that growing up in a neighborhood where I was the only girl helped foster my shyness. Guys don’t feel the need to talk constantly. The boys weren’t bothered by my being quiet until I got comfortable enough to talk. Through my school years my only friends were the ones with the patience to wait for me to reach my comfort zone.

When entering the work world, I chose safe jobs working as an operator, file clerk, and customer service positions where I dealt with the public only by phone. After some personal upheaval, I made a drastic move and went into the Army. There’s no being shy in the military. When anyone of higher rank asks you something you have to reply, and not in a shy whisper. My time in the military, although only two brief years, did wonders for conquering my shyness and giving me confidence but I was still very quiet and reserved.

After that, I managed to earn three college degrees (I love school) and even aced my public speaking class. In my work as a CT scan tech my supervisors observed my leadership skills and I went through the hospital’s management program. I had thought I’d conquered the worst of my shyness, but one day I got an email that changed my life.

Nothing I’ve ever experience prepared me for having one of my stories be released to the public. Talk about putting yourself out there…OMG! When Passionate Realities released, I felt like I was standing center stage under the spotlights, naked, with all my most private, taboo sexual thoughts exposed to the whole world. Thankfully, book releases have gotten easier since then and writing e-books is perfect for me. Sit behind my computer to write and talk to readers online. All very safe for a shy person.

It was another email that really brought out my inner hussy. The email was from an author who I greatly admire asking me to be a Hussy. The five of us found that we clicked really well in all our online interactions, but then it came time for the Romantic Times Convention. I’d gone to RT once before and to say I found it intimidating is an extreme understatement. Not this time though. This time I had the power of The Hussies behind me.

I haven’t talked about my personal experiences at RT much because I’m still blown away. Through the whole convention, I was bold, confident, outgoing, and put myself out there as I have never before. It wasn’t an act or simply putting on another persona, it was the real inner me. I didn’t feel awkward, inadequate or shy, and I had such a good time meeting new people, which in itself is astounding. My inner hussy shined bright! And I wasn’t a wallflower either—far from it. There was no hiding when I put on a sexy red backless gown and entered the party with my stunning Hussy sistas. When I walked across the stage on Rodney’s arm, I felt… Damn, there are really no words to describe how amazing I felt.

My shyness did rear its head at one point—the print book signing. There’s just something about that event with the power to make me sweat! Nat even got a picture of me, before they let the readers in, sporting my deer-in-the-headlights look. I hope you ditched that, Nat! LOL!

The best part is that I didn’t leave those feelings of empowerment and confidence behind when I came home as I'd feared might happen. My inner hussy got a taste of freedom and she’s here to stay! No more inhibited tomboy for me. Everyone who knows me noticed the difference right away.

Oh, I’m sure there will be a few situations able to bring out the timidity, but I’m not stuffing my hussy back in a box. Not that she’d let me. No how, no way! She's here to stay. I can tell you from first hand experience too, confidence truly is sexy!

Hussy Power, baby!

She’s in there somewhere, and trust me, letting her out can be life altering. Isn’t it time you let your inner hussy out to play? I highly recommend you do!

So naughty it's scandalous!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Book Talk

It's a great week for books with ten new releases from Ellora's Cave Publishing, and one of them is by my hussy sista, Nathalie Gray. Woot! Any book with The Lethal, Take No Prisoners Hussie's name on the cover is guaranteed to go BOOM, baby! Oh yeah!

Releasing Wednesday:

Emerald Green - Desiree Holt (Contemporary)

9 ½ Years - Cheryl Dragon (Romantic suspense / owym)

Crimson Thrall - Aubrey Ross (Vampire / light bondage)

Samantha and Her Genie - Daisy Dexter Dobbs (Paranormal / Rubenesque)

Releasing Thrusday:

Love Thy Neighbor - Amy Ruttan (Contemporary / owym)

Too Tempting - Karen Erickson (Contemporary / owym)

Releasing Friday:

Knight's Emerald - B.J. McCall (Paranormal)

Dr. Feelgood - Alice Gaines (Contemporary / owym)

Claire's Hostage - Trinidad West (Paranormal)

Mechanical Rose - Nathalie Gray (Futuristic)

You're still here. What are you waiting for? Go forth, grab the books and get carried away in a sexy story.

Happy Reading!

So naughty it's scandalous!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Onomatopeia Is Bigger Than Yours!

She drives large vehicles filled with screeching carbon-based life forms! She works eighty hour weeks! She cleans after colleagues, spouses and offspring! She cooks for six on a budget for two! She still manages sex between conference calls, appointments and loads of laundry! Sheeee’s...


You all know one. Or maybe you’re one yourself. The lioness, bitch, sister, chauffeur, mother, blogger, huntress, pilot, store clerk, astronaut, stay-at-home parent, and diver. Me, I’m too lazy to be a Superwoman, but hell do I know a few! Good on them, I say! And why not? I don’t subscribe to the point of view that warns these women are ticking time bombs, that a person can’t do it all. Women have been “doing it all” for thousands of years. We’ve hunted and gathered, for Pete’s sake! We’ve waged wars, killed ourselves some wooly mammoth (yum!) and have flown to space. It’s not feminism (don’t get me started on that bullshit), it’s not emancipation or a paradigm of modern thinking. It’s being a Woman. A Hussy. Husswife. House Goddess, as Roseanne said. Different names for the same thing. It’s not new and it’s not going away either.

So breathe, ladies. Just breathe. You're not the first, the only one or the last. It takes a whole lot more than crazy hours and crazier jobs, no pay or too little of it, a few extra pounds or not enough curves to bring us down. We may not have Superwoman’s invisible jet or snazzy costume. But dammit, we’re more than half the population on this planet.

I’m no connaisseur of radical chic, mind you. I’m just a writer. I make stuff explode and sit in front of a computer screen all day. What do I know?!

But I am a Hussy.

As Time Goes By...

Since "Hussy" originated with the old Norse word for housewife, I hope you'll forgive me if I write today as a "housewife" - and specifically as a mother.

This past weekend I watched my son graduate from University and take the final step away from home into his own life as an adult. It's a bittersweet time, filled with memories, laughter, excitement and tears. The congratulations shower on the graduates (not unlike the rain in Washington DC yesterday) and these young people flower in the adulation and praise of family and friends. Which is as it should be. They have spent most of their lives in the educational system, and the last four years have passed in an intense fog of classes, projects, hangovers and keggers.

So as I sat on the Mall and found my eyes filling with emotion, helped along by the sound of bagpipes ushering in the graduating class of 2008, I got nostalgic and wondered where the time had gone, and if I would have done anything different.

The answer? No.

To anyone out there with kids - toddlers or teens or in-betweens - my message has never changed. Enjoy every minute you can with them. Appreciate the two year old tantrums, the impossible school projects, the first crush and the driving lessons. I sat in the drizzle and remembered the fuzzy footed sleepers and the ragged pink bunny. (Bunnicula. I still have him tucked away in tissue as befits a precious friend.) I remembered the Minke whale project. (No, I didn't save that. The Pepsi bottle cracked.) I remembered those first days of Junior High (aka Hell on Earth) and the first time he drove himself to High School, so proudly - and so carefully.

I remember the agony of waiting for word on early acceptance to the college of his choice and the way he yelled for joy and hugged his dad when it finally came through. And I remember the uniquely distinct "fragrance" of a college dorm room containing four freshmen. (Urp. Call the Haz-Mat squad!)

Some people asked me why I gave up what they perceived to be my life/career to be a full-time mother. I always considered myself blessed that I was able to do so, and never apologized for it. Yes, I put a lot of my own interests aside - parents have to, no two ways about it. I traded a fulfilling job for one that involved diapers, pre-school and GI Joe. I gave up a paycheck for Nintendo.

And this past weekend, I have never been more proud of any single thing I've ever done in my life. Yes, I'm very proud of every single one of my books, and rediscovering my love of writing filled those places that would be empty with my son gone. I guess I realized how truly I have been blessed over the last almost-quarter of a century. I've raised a son (with hubby of course) who is now ready to take on the challenges of adulthood. Who has a job. Who I admire, and who makes me laugh. Is he perfect? Nope. But who is? I've written a lot of books, gone to a lot of different places and happily travelled down a lot of new roads.

But when all's said and done, what I will remember most fondly is the day my son toddled from his bedroom in his sleeper suit, his blanket and his bunny under one arm and his first laptop under the other. It was at that moment I knew he was destined to walk his own path in life - and I had to let him.

Writing is now the major focus of my day. I like to think that each book is a tiny little legacy that will enable me - in some small way - to leave an impression on the future. That somewhere, sometime, a hundred years from now, a reader will stumble across one of my stories and find a smile or two.

But I realized yesterday that the biggest legacy I shall leave behind is my son. He IS the future - he and his fellow graduates.

And there is nothing that makes a Mom more proud than knowing that.

Give your kids a special Hussy hug today. Tomorrow you can go back to tormenting your man!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Releasing your inner Hussy

If you read the subject line and automatically assume that this is going to be about sex and men .... WRONG! We're talking inner Hussy, Not inner sex machine.

Funny how a word can be so misunderstood or evolve over time. Husewif was probably one of the earliest version of the word, meaning "mistress of a household, housewife." Note the word mistress. To be mistress of a house means more than being at the beck and call of everyone within the house. It means managing the house, making sure that it is cleaned, stocked, repaired and safe.

Sure the word was downgraded to mean something negative in the 1920s or 30s. But the original word still applies. Hussies are typically mistresses of the home. And a mistress comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some are soft-spoken and mild-mannered. Others are loud and bold. Everyone has their own management style. Some work exclusively in the home. Others hold down full time jobs and still manage the home. Yet others work and hire someone to manage the home.

Being a Hussy is simply being a woman. A strong woman, capable of taking on the responsibilities of the home and family and even adding extra to her plate with a job or career.

So to me, if you release your inner Hussy, you're just releasing your inner strength. You're being a woman, the strongest force in the Universe. How that manifests is entirely up to you. You can be colorful,bold, outrageous and opinionated or refined, cultured, sophisticated and soft-spoken. It's all up to you.

In short, it's all about attitude and what you want the world to see when they look at you.

For me, well, I'm not the shy type. I write erotic romance, create erotic images in photography and graphic arts and feel no shame in any of it. On the other hand, I'll take just as much pride in taking photos of a sunset or a child. It's all art and that's my thing so I embrace all facets of it and feel grateful that I have outlets for my creative expression. Sure, I still clean the bathrooms, mop the floors and pressure wash the patio. I pay attention to my family, remind my honeyman that he can ring my bell, and do favors for friends and family, helping out when I can. And I do that with as much care and pride because it's part of my life and who I am.

I'm an average woman who embraces her life and enjoys every moment she can. I'm a Hussy. I'm a woman. W O M A N. Or as the great Peggy Lee sang ....

And there you have it. Want to release your inner Hussy? Then hold you head high, pursue your passions and take pride in who you are.

Have a great Sunday!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Too much Said Can Really Hurt...

Too much said can really hurt in ways we never considered.

The first time I wrote erotic romance, I tasted real freedom in my writing. I was finally able to express the act of love just as I did everything else in my story. It is such an absolute feeling of creative expression to write erotic romance!

Now, that’s me and not all writers would agree. Which is great. I enjoy many genres of fiction outside of romance as well. That’s what makes the world go round.

At least to me it is great, but as with any profession, there is always going to professional snobbery. Folks can call it what they want, but it is what it is. I know there’s been a lot on various sites with rants about our genre. Whenever I read something written on a public forum that condemns and bashes something or someone, frankly, I don’t place a great deal of credibility on the person posting it.

In fact, I’ve lost respect for people I once thought rather highly of. Their public rants have afforded me glimpses into their inner selves. To make matters darker, when this kind of attack on erotic romance comes from authors, especially those who aren’t writing erotic romance, I have to wonder why they are even posting in the first place? I mean, if they aren’t writing in the genre, why do they care and more importantly what are they trying to achieve by criticizing it?
Yes, it confounds me. Greatly. It would be like me deciding to rant about mainstream SciFi because it doesn’t have sex and romance in it like my genre does. HUH? I mean, really... HUH? And on the flip side, you don’t see erotic romance authors slashing and slamming romance authors and their genre. At least I’ve not seen any. What would be the point?

It's really cliché, but hey I can be cliché - to compare is like comparing apples to oranges. Granted, they share the common element of romance, but truly, they are very distinguishable and separate genres.

As you can tell, I am just so completely confounded by these public displays of professional snobbery, that I have to stop and examine what their motives are. Hmm... still trying to grasp the mindset that stimulates such attacks. Well... Maybe...

It reminds me of when I was in college and working toward my degree in Commercial Art. I was humming along, happy to be learning a way to make a living from what little artistic talent I had. One day, a comment was made that floored me.

The Commercial Art Department (CAD) and classrooms were housed in the basement of the building while the main floor was occupied by the Fine Arts Department (FAD). One of my classmates, who happened to be the best artist I’ve ever known came into class furious. It seemed there had been some kind of an ongoing bashing from those enrolled in Fine Arts with those in Commercial Art. (Call me Forest Gump. I was oblivious to it.) The FAD (Fine Arts Department was apparently infamous for referring to those of us in the (CAD) as “PROSTITUTES”. You read that correctly. So I asked why and it was explained to me that FADs viewed our choice in life careers as commercial artists as opposed to fine artists as “prostituting our art for commercialization.”

Well, beyond the obvious ignorance of such a statement, can you imagine how that phrase made me and everyone else in my class feel? I mean come on! What kind of high school mentality is that? I burst out laughing and my classmates frowned at me. I mean it was the silliest kind of snobbery I'd ever encountered at the time.

Here we were spending money and a lot of time learning to utilize our talents in order to be productive in society by earning a weekly income to support ourselves. Some of us would become commercial photographers to help corporations best display their products in advertising, create sales flyers and advertisements, work for catalog companies, and any other numerous fields of commercial art. I did all but the photography and was a commercial and residential interior designer (the other part of my degree) for seven years. Never once did I feel like a prostitute for my art. (g)

Yet, because we were going to be earning money through a commercial means with our artistic talents, not starving for our ‘art’, we were called ‘prostitutes”. Nevermind we were going to have a greater percentage of our class - 100% - with potential income earning skills and typically very lucrative income and gasp, even careers. But, because we had chosen a different form of art expression, we were all lumped together, condemned, criticized and ridiculed as “Prostituting our art”.

And who were those doing all this condemning? It certainly wasn’t the CAD students, who were simply being studious in our chosen fields. It was those who based on percentages of success, would maybe 1%-2% ever get a painting into an art gallery. Which, I would have been applauding their success. All of us in the CAD would have been happy for them, until the slurs started. Until the ridicule and name calling started.

So I learned from that experience and encountered it in the many careers I subsequently had - professional snobbery was alive and well in every industry.

The need to feel superior is the nut of any such snobbery. But back to the individual slurs and insults. What exactly are these people hoping this get from all this? Aside from creating a controversy and gaining lots of hits on their sites and having a little moment in the spotlight. I can't see any other purpose.

Do readers even care about this kind of internal conflict and subsequent behavior? As a reader, I would have been appalled if one of my favorite authors was like this.

Seriously. Are you buying an author’s book because of her attacks on others? Because she can be clever and snark with the worst of them? Truly, being that way doesn't require much, just a lot of negative emotions. It's easy.

I’m really curious if this kind of personal opinion has anything to do with you buying a book. At least in a positive way as in "oh, I really want to buy her books now that I read the way she let that author have it." Whoo YEAH!

For me, the only thing these public rants have done for me is to cross-off authors from my automatic to buy list. Why? Because it's simply that I can no longer read their books without having their angry tirade echoing in my head.

I mean, I tried reading one such author the other day because I’d purchased the book several months ago and had no time to read. But between buying the book and reading it, she’d taken up a cause against a certain group and when I finally sat down to read her book, I couldn’t get past her anger and rage I’d read posted all over the internet.

The feelings conveyed in her internet posts invaded the book and the words of love she’d written rang false. The author intruded into the book and made it invalid. So I gave the book to Good Will. It was a very upsetting realization to me that I could no longer enjoy this author's work. Her lasting impression in my mind is not what she'd written in the book, but what she'd posted on the internet.

Who is to blame for reality intruding into the sacred place of make believe? Was it my fault for not being able to get past the internet blog posts or was it the author’s fault? Was there no fault at all? We all have the right to make our opinions known, but maybe sometimes it's just not the right career move to do so.

I don’t believe I can ever overcome the rants I’ve read these past months. I don’t think I can ever return to those authors as a reader. Too much has been said. Damage has been done that cannot be undone.

The magic of their books has been robbed from me-forever. And I'm reminded of something I read: “Once something is said, it will remain forever said, nothing can ever take it back or change it.”

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Summertime

Since we've covered the topic of erotic romance and I've already stated my opnion, I'm going to switch subjects. Sorry but I'm suffering with headaches this week due to the fires in Florida so if you could possibly see this cross-posted elsewhere.

The temperatures are rising and soon it will be summertime, when the livin’ is easy. Makes me want to kick back in a hammock with a good book and a cold drink. Have you made your plans? What are you doing this summer? Taking a family vacation or maybe going somewhere with a group of friends? Perhaps thinking of something a bit more…exciting?

I love traveling and have been planning my summer vacation since October. I wanted to get everyone together—family and friends—for a fun, relaxed vacation. My closest friends and I began looking for a really big rental house. We may have gone a little overboard, but we found an 11 bedroom, 2 million dollar lodge/house in the Smoky Mountains that we couldn’t resist.

I can picture myself sitting on that swing with a cup of coffee or a margarita. Oh yeah! (deep sigh)

For the Fourth of July holiday week the whole motley crew (15 adults—couples and singles—and 13 kids) will invade Gatlinburg Tennessee. The town will never be the same again. Only a few of us have met in person but we have all become good friends online. It’s a pretty diverse group. Let’s see, three of us are authors, one financial wiz, a stay at home mom, a Marine, a computer guru/super mom, a prison guard, a police dispatcher, a zoo administrator, a retiree, one set of newlyweds, a parts distributor for Boeing, and kids ranging in age from 4 to 17.

With such a large group coordinating meals and outings will be interesting. We still want to keep things relaxed so are not planning out every day. Instead we have a list of places we’d like to see and will play it day by day with the exception of going rafting. For that activity we’ll be making reservations in advance to make sure we all get to go. There’s something for everyone to do so it should be a very memorable trip. Theme parks, water parks, Knoxville zoo, Ober Gatlinburg, Ripley’s aquarium, horseback riding, rafting, hiking...I can’t wait! I do want my next trip to be an all adults one though. Or maybe just me and the girls. Now that has some potential.

Hmm…maybe if I write a story based on our vacation escapades I could write the trip off on my taxes. Oh, I’m getting some very interesting ideas.

If you’re single, you may be considering something a bit hotter, like indulging a summer fling. Oh, come on. It’s okay to admit it. The right person, the right set of circumstances… Yeah, baby! Perhaps two strangers sharing one amazing night. Or you’re on an extended trip by yourself and meet someone who is fun to be around and share in a bit of summer loving. Would you be able to keep it relaxed and easy going if there was an expiration date, like the end of vacation? I’m not sure if I could. Might be fun to try. Research, you know. All in the name of research. LOL!

What are your plans for the summer? Something naughty? Dish some details!

So naughty it's scandalous!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Talk

Yay! Ten more yummy books for, I mean all of us. If you judge by the covers—you can do this with the books from Ellora's Cave Publishing because the artists are soooo good—this week's books are going to be HAWT! And just wait until you follow the links to read the blurbs and excerpts. Whew! I advise you to grab a cold beverage first. You're going to need it!

Releasing Wednesday:

Drastic Measures - Shiloh Walker (erotica)

Long, Slow Ride - Mardi Ballou (Contemporary / owym)

Subtle Destiny - Beth Kery (Paranormal)

Gentle Control - Brynn Paulin (BDSM)

Releasing Thursday:

Liberation - K.Z. Snow (contemporary / owym)

Until Jake - Calista Fox (Contemporary / owym)

Releasing Friday:

Young Stud, Ruth D. Kerce (owym)

Perhaps Love, Madison Blake (fantasy)

Point of Combustion, Dawy Ryder

Law of Averages, Wylie Kinson

The Hussies would like to extend a warm welcome to new to Ellora's authors Calista Fox and Madison Blake. We wish you all the best!

Happy Reading!

So naughty it's scandalous!