Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And all that jazz...

Music is a huge inspiration for me when it comes to coaxing my muse to come out to play. To say I have eclectic taste in music would be an understatement.  Lately, I've been immersed in all things musical theatre. It may be tied to my having dragged myself back to ballet class or it could be my need for the dramatic, but I'm all about shouting at the top of my longs while flashing my jazz hands. Strangely it's helped. I've got a tight window to get out new stuff before the day jobs (yes plural) absorb all of my attention and every word and sentence I'm able to eke out is a small victory.

I think my penchant for musical theatre as an inspirational source is also tied to the fact that I plan to BIG and BOLD when it comes to my writing in the next year. I want to create stories that carry people through the spectrum of human emotions. I want to have depth and breath to the tales I craft. I WANT TO BE THE ONE! Okay, maybe not that egomaniac, but I want to be greater than I am today.

Possibly with top hats and gold lame.


Janet

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Something Old and Something New, Nothing Borrowed, but Something BLUE...RaeLynn that is...

 In the last few weeks, Mocha Memoirs Press has published some titles in print and has republished some of my former titles for your reading enjoyment.
Today, I am super happy to announce that all three southwest themed stories, Speed Demon, Sand Storm, and Hot Summer Shimmer have been collected and published in a collection titled, SOUTHWEST HEAT. It is available in both print and ebook format.
 

Blurb: The Southwest United States is a region filled with enchantment, mystery, and a heat unlike any other. Bestselling romance author, RaeLynn Blue, takes you on three distinct journeys into the land of enchantment and through a region renowned for flavorful green chile, kick butt barbecue, and cultural distinctiveness.

This collection offers three tales of romance, southwest style. From a cop chasing down a hunky speedster on the back roads outside Albuquerque, to the strange trader selling Native American wares at a state park, SOUTHWEST HEAT conjures a rousing seduction that will leave you spellbound, breathless, and more than just a little heated.
 
 
The next title that has been re-released is Turbo Lift Love. This short romance is one of my favorites because it takes place on a spaceship. If you don't think sf romance is your type of thing, I encourage you to give this story a try.
 
Get a copy here.

Blurb: Upon graduating from the cadet training academy, Janna Jameson’s career as a spaceship engineer had been bright, shiny, and full of
promise. Assigned to the galaxy-class spaceship, Sirius, she’s managed to incorrectly configure the rear thrusters, burn out the food replicas in
cafeteria six and manage to lose both her glove and her left boot—rookie mistakes, that Janna suspects aren’t. Nevertheless, she’s off to a rough start.
Summoned to the captain’s meeting room for a meeting that has been weeks in the making, Janna swears her day can’t get much worse, until the turbo lift comes to a shuddering halt. Janna’s not simply trapped inside of a turbo lift; she’s trapped inside the turbo lift with the one man who excite her more than a brand new stunner array—Trent Taylor.
Years ago, newly promoted, junior commander, Trent Taylor, held back his love for Janna to allow her to pursue her career—a necessary choice that pained him. Finding himself locked inside a turbo lift with Janna, he’s going to take full advantage of his second chance. He wasn’t going to waste it. He hadn’t ever been wasteful. He wasn’t going to start today.

 


 


The final title that has been re-released is A Love Reborn. A paranormal tale of a selkie and the woman who loves him is perhaps one of my top five all time creative stories, next to Soul's Kin. If you missed its release before, I invite you to try it again. This story is one of my most controversial ones too.

Get a copy here.


Blurb: On the isle of Aquatrion, there is a legend that speaks of the Sirens’ gift to those who drown at sea. Once one has been consumed by the waters, for his sacrifice, he will be turned into a selkie—both man and seal, to live amongst the sea, for his soul would forever be tied to both, that to which had been born, and to that which had died.

Kikomo mourns the death of her husband-in-waiting, Takumi. Lost saving her life during a storm at sea, Takumi’s body was swallowed up the roaring waves and choppy seas. A year later, Kikomo’s father demands she marry the local merchant, a fisherman and a man of great political power. Distressed, she flees her home to the sea. There she cries seven tears in to the sea. At once a selkie appears, and he bares a striking resemblance to Takumi…
 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Seven Questions with SJ: Alexandra Christian

Welcome back with another round of seven questions with Selah Janel! This month my victim is the lovely Alexandra Christian. I've known Lexxx for a while and am always in awe of how well she mixes romance with horror, erotica with smart characters, and sassy humor with everything. Here's what she had to say...




SJ: What author, living or dead, do you just want to punch in the face and take their place? Who has so much talent that you just can't stand it?

AC:Most definitely Stephen King.  If there was a demonic force that would allow me to switch evil genius brains with him, I would be hard pressed not to take him up on the offer.  King’s gift for description and characterization is something that I both envy and strive for. He’s what I measure myself and other authors by.  …but no pressure…

SJ: It’s your funeral, and the only thing people are talking about is your writing. What kind of creative legacy do you hope you leave behind?

AC: I would hope that people would say that I brought legitimacy to the erotic romance genre.  That my stories were not only sensual, but also smart, funny and well-crafted. 

SJ: Since you focus on erotica writers, do you think they're perceived as being really down-and-dirty, or all y'all just human like the rest of us?

AC: I think that there’s this fantasy that all erotic writers are one of two things.  Either we’re all these smoldering sexpots that write fictionalized versions of our own sexual escapades OR that we’re all crazy cat-ladies writing dirty books on our lunch breaks from our jobs at the local library.  I like to think that most of us are like me:  somewhere in between.  I am highly imaginative, sexy, flirty, smart, classy, goofy and generally a nice girl.  I think that if you write erotic romance or erotica, it’s kind of your responsibility to act like an intelligent, classy and talented author so that all of us will be taken seriously.  I have witnessed an awful lot of authors who put this “down and dirty” image out there and then get upset when they 1—get treated like a bimbette who is writing garbage and 2—get disgusting propositions from creepers on social media sites.  If you want to be taken seriously as an author then you have to project an image of being a serious author. 

SJ: If you were stranded on a desert island with three characters you've written, who would you: 1. want around to help you survive 2. want around to populate the island with 3. want around in case you need to resort to cannibalism.

AC: Hmmm…. I think I’d want Sascha from Beast of Burden to help me survive.  She’s such a strong and ingenuous person that I think she could help us slaughter animals for food and build a bamboo hut.  When I got ready to repopulate, I’m not sure who I’d pick.  I’ve written so many sexy heroes that I’d be hard pressed to choose.  Andre from the Strange Bedfellows series and Seth from Sanguine Kiss are amazing lovers with their vampire stamina, but of course, they wouldn’t be much good for repopulation.  And then Jack Leannan from Second Skin could help me spawn a race of Selkies that would take over the island.   As for resorting to cannibalism, Saraqael from my first novel, Hellsong, would be the best choice.  Duh—he’s an angel.  He’s got wings.  He could fly us right outta there….

SJ:What genre do you really want to write in that you haven't gotten a chance to yet?

AC: I’d really like a high fantasy.  Something straight out of Lord of the Rings with elves and dwarves.  I think the world-building would be so much fun.  Of course, for me the hardest part would be keeping the romance out of it…

SJ: What author do you feel is the hidden gem in the world today?

AC: You, of course, Selah! Seriously, I think that all of my writer friends are amazing talents that haven’t been fully realized by the world just yet.  I always gravitate toward people that are incredibly talented storytellers.  Tally Johnson, Susan H. Roddey, Crymsyn Hart, Selah Janel, Stephen Zimmer and Lucy Blue are among my favorite “unknowns.” 

SJ: Why MMP? What's your favorite part about working with them?


AC: I met the publisher at MMP, Nicole Kurtz, at a convention a few years ago.  She had such a clear vision about where she wanted MMP to go and the types of authors she was looking for that I immediately wanted to help her on the path to world domination.  She had a great business plan that was about being profitable for everyone, but also helping to nurture good authors.  My favorite part about working with MMP so far has been all of the wonderful people I’ve met who are so helpful and supportive.



To learn more about Lexxx's different titles, check out her blog!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SK Presents: HUNTRESS!

Good morning, Darlings!

I'm a little slow on the uptake this time around. Between conventions and new books real life deciding to crash in on me from twenty different angles, I can safely say I've been a bit busy. No matter... just because I haven't been around to run my mouth doesn't mean I haven't been working hard to bring you the best thing since Sliced Beatles.

[If anyone other than Selah or Lexxx gets that reference, you get a cookie. They already know where it came from.]

So I wrote Huntress a good long while ago, but never really did much with it. I wasn't sure it would work, you know. It was a little different, and a whole lot strange. It was erotic without being crass, and with the market as it was, I wasn't sure it would sell.

But enough of that... take a look and check out the Q&A!






Q&A:
HUNTRESS by SIOBHAN KINKADE
Paranormal Romance

1. Who has Vanessa hot under the collar?

2. What’s the house rule?

3. Something happens when she follows the rule. What is it?

4. What happens when Stefan gets involved?

5. Does she get what she wants? How?

BUY THIS BOOK: MMP Store | Amazon Kindle Store





South Carolina native Siobhan Kinkade has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the romantic fiction spectrum filled with strange twists and happy endings.  With five novellas, one novel and three short stories under her belt, she brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. In addition to writing she is also a voracious reader, wanna-be chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative and social media professional, and mom to a precocious toddler with an affinity for computer keyboards.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

DISTRACTED BUT COMPLETE

*Skids into the room a la Kramer from Sienfeld ( don’t act like it wasn't comedic genius) hip checks Elizabeth Black ( sorry, babe, I’mma let you finish* shrugs*) puts one hand in the air palm out while bending over clutching stomach and gasping for air.*

I TOTALLY FORGOT! I MEAN I DIDN’T FORGET FORGET, BUT, DUDE/TTE…I FORGOT!

I've been kinda scatter brained. Doing that whole domestic goddess of creativity thing again, but this time all of my own choosing. Anyway, mid stride something hit me. The thought of how we often judge how WHOLE or COMPLETE we are but all the things we are able to do or accomplish.
Often times, its those great milestones. Graduate college, get a job, have lots of bills, the ABILITY TO PAY SAID BILLS.  Am I doing enough, often enough, fast enough.  Throw in the complications of being a woman, a woman of color, without a degree AND an author and lord have mercy do the doubts start piling up.
Can it get any heavier… infertility. Yup, I’m going there. Not only facing all the crazy societal and self imposed ideals of completeness/success, add on to that the challenge of struggling with ones biological failings.  Its like my dna got dipped in a bad batch of primordial ooze * total tmnt reference in case you didn’t get it*
Ok OK, I know you’re wondering where the hell I’m going with it and what it has to do with MOCHA MEMOIRS...WAIT I’m getting there.
Just like that whole struggle to be a dgofc, the struggle to find completeness is REAL and FIERCE. 
I never felt moved by anyone else’s struggle…wait that’s a lie… I did, but I am kinda of a “worry about yourself” chic.  So while I was touched, moved, saddened even. I didn’t have a MOMENT… I didn’t bust out the ugly snot cry or anything. 




*NOTE THE COLOR CHANGE 'CUZ HONEY LET ME TELL YOU…THIS BOOK IS DRAMATIC IN HOW IT CAN AFFECT YOU*

I’m not going to give anything else away because if you've been paying attention I've given away plenty from the entrance till now *W*. I’m just going to say that I was supposed to be blogging about one of my favorite print books at MMP and Now I've done that. Stop by and get a copy, get a copy for your mom, and your girlfriends and even for a few of your guy friends.
You won’t be disappointed.

*signals for assistant to put the top down and step on the gas as i run and leap in to the convertible of my dreams and escape before security can catch me*

SEE Y’ALL ON TIME NEXT MONTH!

What I Do For Inspiration


Elizabeth Black writes erotic and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and cats. Look for her short story "Alicia", published by Mocha Memoirs Press, at Amazon.

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I like to challenge myself by writing stories that are outside my comfort zone. I'm worknig on one now in which the  primary theme is war. I've decided to tackle the Angels of Mons story, a legend that took place in 1914. It never actually happened, and it's based on a fictitious story too many people took for reality. Think of reactions to the radio show "The War Of The Worlds" and you have the right idea.

The Angels of Mons is quite a fascinating story. This legend supposedly took place during the battle of Mons during World War I. It involves German forces pushing back the British to the point that the British were going to lose the battle. British troops prayed to Saint George, patron saint of cavalry and soldiers, and in response the heavens unleashed a torrent of angels holding bows and arrows to drive the Germans away from the British, causing the Germans to retreat, thereby winning the battle for the British. Here's a famous painting of the Angels of Mons.


In order to inspire myself, I read period literature and, in this case history. I find the more familiar and comfortable I am with a subject, the easier it is for me to write about it. I've read the original story "The Bowmen", which is the basis for the Angels Of Mons story. The story also has a Lovecraftean edge, so those Angels aren't angels. They're the Old Ones! I've been rereading my Lovecraft books lately to get in the mood for this story.

Other things I do for inspiration is to listen to uplifting and trippy music. I like techno and trance, especially when I'm writing. I walk on the beach nearly every day, and listening to the ocean surf and walking in the waves helps to clear my head. I live on the Massachusetts coast, and the beaches here are like something out of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I drink my coffee while walking on the beach, and I'm going to keep doing it until it gets too cold to go outside. Considering the effects of global warming, I may be able to return to the beach more often this autumn and winter than I have been in years past. I sure hope so! I love walking on the beach.

So there you have it. I don't wait for inspiration. I actively seek it. I do my best work when I don't fight my muse.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10x10 Writer's Brain




Through strange events, the mountains (ok, foothills) that I’ve lived within sight of… disappeared. I’ve always lived close to hills, first in the bay area. Now, I’m about 1.5 hours away from the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, and their shadow graces my everyday life. Until the day that they, well, didn’t. 

Writing is mostly a game of the question: What if? I started playing it with my situation and decided to give you a peek into how a writer looks at the situation, in particular a fantasy writer. Ok, maybe it’s just me :)


  1.  What could make the mountains disappear? Natural disaster, bomb, magic. I’m choosing magic.
  2. What would the cost be to the magician? Magic always has a price when it’s written right.
  3. Why did the magician do it? Personal gain? War? To show that he can? To support his liege lord?
  4. What would the physical (earthly) ramifications be? Earthquakes, of course. And dust clouds for miles. But what of the water? The Rivers and lakes?
  5.  What happens to the people that lived there? Do they survive?
  6. What do they think happened?
  7.   What are the psychological ramifications of the mountains disappearing? Because it was very disconcerting to find that where once there was the sheltering grace of the mountains, now there was an ugly brown smudge of sky. While the smoke finally cleared for us, and the mountains came back—what would it be like for them to never come back?
  8. Where does the mountain go to? Does it just vanish never to return again? Or shift somewhere else? What would take more energy?
  9. What if the magician brought down the wrong mountain?
  10.  And then what happens? Because his boss… oh, he’s gonna be in big trouble!



Ta for now, my lovelies. It’s time for me to get back to writing! I’ve got a fantastic idea!

You can find me at http://wynwords.wordpress.com/ where I blog books, writing and parenting.

You can catch my debut story,
Dragon's Champion ,at Mocha Memoirs Press.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'm being productive!!!

So, yeah, I'm writing shifters. And I'm writing them for Nicole. Thus far 26k has been laid and I have myself some sexy bear lovin' going on. (growl) Isn't this wonderful? (clapping hands) Of course it is!!! Keep on the look out for "What A Bear Wants" for it shall be coming to you soon!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Choosing our Heroes and Villains...



In dramatic fiction, a key element is to design the right hero and the right villain.

Designing a character is always a complicated process, mapping out his or her back-story, envisioning the hurts and losses and triumphs that shaped him or her.  But, in a larger-than-life sense, the hero is key in what he represents.  He's what the audience needs or aspires to be.  He's what society needs to save it from darkness.  Ditto for the villain, for he embodies that darkness.  But, what faces the hero and villain wear depend entirely on your point of view.

Writers may try to aim for the needs of their target audience in selecting their heroes and villains.  And, the public selects its own heroes and villains from real life.  Whom we choose as hero or villain is a reflection of what defines us, individually and collectively.  How we respond to each defines us, too.  So, who are our real-life heroes and villains?

George Zimmerman.  Hero or Villain?  To the African American community, he's the villain of the piece.  If he was a comic book villain, he'd probably be called "The Profiler" (oh wait...that's taken.)  Maybe, "The Wraith."  That's what he did.  He hovered like a wraith, waiting (maybe hoping) to see someone sufficiently different from himself invading the confines of his sacred space so he could spring into action.  What drove him?  Fear?  Hate?  Or, just a desperate need to feel relevant.  And, heroic.  Yeah, he's the villain to everyone who's ever been stopped, frisked, interrogated or otherwise harassed because he "didn't fit."  (A euphemism for being one of that "other" group we don't want in our neighborhood.)  But, one gets the impression that Zimmerman is someone who desperately (and pathetically) wanted or needed to be a hero.  Society casts the young black male in baggy pants and hoody as today's villain; equivalent to the mustache-twirling top-hat wearing villain of another era.  See a villain, confront a villain.  That was Zimmerman's view.  And, he had on his side the "stand your ground" law which is basically a license for hero wannabes to create situations in which they then have an excuse to shoot somebody.  A law that tries to turn life into an action movie, casting our own selected heroes and villains.  The law seems designed (guess by whom) to allow a George Zimmerman to stand his ground, but not a Trayvon Martin.  Like Rodney King, Bernhard Goetz, and other cases that starkly outlined our society's racial divisions, forcing people to identify their heroes and villains, this grim drama has once again sparked national debate and revealed, as always, that attitudes have not progressed as far as we'd like to think.

Edward Snowden.  Hero or Villain?  Here, society wallows in ambiguity.  On the one hand, we live in an age of fear, of "trust no one" and "always keep your guard up."  In this paranoid age of looking for terrorists in our closets, we have come to vindicate, even idolize as our heroes government agents who invade our privacy, even kidnap, secretly imprison and torture their victims, telling ourselves their atrocities are necessary to keep us all safe. And so, we have no use for whistle-blowers, for wimpy, whiny, idealistic, goody-goody government clerks who tattle on our spy agencies.  To people who think along those lines, Edward Snowden is the villain.  On the other hand, we also live in an age of "don't trust the government."  Given that attitude of seeing Big Brother at every turn, an Edward Snowden, who punches a hole in the veil of government secrecy, revealing the fact that sneaky-peeky Washington agencies are monitoring our phone calls and emails, may be seen by many as the hero of the story.  I have to admit, he reminds me a bit of Winston Smith, the hero of George Orwell's immortal distopian novel 1984; a clerk who worked in an all-powerful government registry that watched everyone.  Smith secretly despised the despotic superstate and was just waiting for his chance to sabotage it from within.  Snowden's on-going story also contains elements of the kind of James Bond-esque international intrigue that makes for a good drama.  Whatever his ultimate fate and whether he lingers in our collective memory as hero or villain, there's no doubt that Edward Snowden has sparked another badly needed national debate on the proper reach and potential abuse of governmental information gathering and the invisible power of intelligence agencies.  (Of course, we all know our perceptions of Snowden are bordered by the fact he's as white as they come.  If he were black, we'd have the Tea Party hanging him in effigy, screaming for his blood and calling him an "Arab out to destroy America.")

Ronald Reagan.  Hero or Villain?  In the closing years of the cold war, he was the chosen hero of white America.  A Hollywood cowboy actor who made us feel good about ourselves again with a simple-minded comic book hero mentality of "stopping the evil empire."  For progressives, he was definitely the villain.  I still vividly remember him apologizing and making excuses for the brutalities of the white-supremacist regime that ruled South Africa then.  And, when the question arose of whether Dr. Martin Luther King should be officially remembered as a national hero, Reagan was one of the thinly disguised voices of opposition, holding out the possibility that Dr. King may in fact have been a communist agitator.

In short, heroism and villainy are pretty much defined in your head by who you are and which window you're looking out of.  Whether we admit it or not, race will always go to the heart of it.  Every society needs heroes, and villains for them to fight, but when a society is divided, it’s hard to choose them.