Sunday, July 28, 2013

RaeLynn Blue Interview

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Like most writers, I've been writing stories before I even could write letters, form words, etc. I remember rewriting the ending of nursey rhymes or extending the story line as far back as I can remember. So, I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing.

How long does it take you to write a book? It depends on the book, but usually a short novella takes me roughly six months--on average to write.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? If I'm lucky and the day job isn't a beast, I write straight through the chapters until the characters have nothing else to add or until my body gives out.Then, I go back and read what I have written, ask the characters if I have it down right, and proceed to the next chapter.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? My most interesting quirk? Probably that I like to go back over a chapter, adding in details, fleshing out the scene again and again before moving on to the next chapter. Oh! I also write everything out long hand, but that isn't really interesting.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? Life. People. My personal history. The person history of friends. Porn. Comics. Everything. I mean, I have written an entire novel based on water left on the road after an accident scene.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? That it's hard. LOL!!

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? To date, I have written 59 titles. My favorite one?  Um, it would have to be, uh *looks over shoulder at mob of characters*...I  will have to get back to you.

What do you think makes a good story? A good story is one in which the read can relate. A relatable and entertaining story is not an easy thing to create.

What quirks (flaws) if any do your hero and heroines have? My heroes and heroines are human and as such they succumb to all the things we do--lust, jealousy, insecurity  and other human emotions.

 Which of your books is your favorite?My favorite book is THE ONYX SCION. It's about lost destiny, love, mystery, and intrigue as well as sex in an urban fantasy sort of like Kim Harrison's stories. 

 Which of your characters is your favorite? My favorite character recently is Aerial from ICING ON THE CAKE. She's a funny, smart, self confident woman and her fierce love for Brice is encouraging.

 What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author? My ideal career if I couldn't write? English teacher.

Have you ever been surprised by a controversy among fans or reviewers - for example, you created a character without thinking too much about what people would think of him, and found some readers loved him and some hated him? I have found that in my story,  WASABI HEAT, a few readers didn't feel I was being true to my heroine, but I was. There was a lot of volley between readers about whether or not a "real" African American would behave like my heroine did. It took me completely by surprise.

Where can readers find you (What websites, emails etc)?, #raelynnblue (Twitter)

What TV shows do you watch? I love NCIS, The Walking Dead and The First 48. I know, I know, none of those are romantic...

Tell us five things about you, that we wouldn't know. Whew. Okay. Here I go....

1. I'm only five feet tall.
    2. I do not eat chocolate.
     3. I'm asthmatic
     4. I love cats.
     5. I can change a tire.

Where can we find your book(s)? You can find a complete list of books here at

Thanks so much  for taking the time to answer these questions. No, thank you! It's been so fun.

MMP Title: Beauty & the Geek: Rocket to Love

Blurb: While recreational shopping, Jewel Isles and her friends discover all kinds of deals and steals at the Atlanta Shoe and Purse Expo. When Jewel heads to the ladies room, she nearly trips over a geeky, but surprisingly handsome man.

Ben Wook Sun, NASA scientist and Star Trek® lover, didn’t understand why beautiful women like Jewel Isles insisted on dating men who lacked intellectual depth. Adjusting his black-rimmed glasses, Ben made the conscious decision to convince Jewel that he was the best for her—period. It didn’t take a muscle-bound brute to scoop her up and whisk her away. He was more than capable.

But first, he had to get her to go out on a date with him. Astrophysics, this wasn’t. 

Bio:RaeLynn Blue is the author of numerous tales of erotic interracial romance and speculative romance. With an imagination that's varied and diverse, her tales explores love in all its many shades, situations and scenarios. She fell into romance stories at the ripe age of eleven and has been writing stories ever since. A humble scribbler of tales, RaeLynn is actively writing another story of lust, love, and romance.

“Good one, Anderson!” Ben shouted back and rolled his eyes. He tapped the rim of his shot glass. “One more, please.”
The bartender nodded. He refilled Ben’s tequila and sloshed it a bit.
“Hey!” shouted Race, his fellow scientist.
The bartender, a big beefy man with a lot of facial hair growled at Race. “Shut that hole, nerd.”
“Yeah, well, your momma!” Race shouted back.
“Race!” Ben snatched the wiry scientist by the collar and out of the bartender’s face. He said to the hunk of ancient human DNA serving drinks. “Ignore him. He’s had a lot to drink.”
“I could’ve handled it,” slurred Race, hiccupping to punctuate the sentence. Unfocused eyes roamed all over the place.
“I think you need to be cut off. You’ve had way too much,” Ben said.
“Whoa!” Race ignored Ben’s advice and fell to the floor, banging into a few of the other scientists. They yelled at him, but quickly went back to chatting about whatever suited their fancies. Race clamored, clumsily rising to a standing position.
With eyes wide, Race said to Ben. “Did you see them?”
Ben followed Race’s blatant stare to a trio of women who strolled into the restaurant. The scent of floral and expensive perfumes still lingered on the otherwise stale air. Sun-kissed skin, strappy sandals, and long cinnamon-toned legs dressed in brightly colored sundresses. Goodness, he loved summer. Oversized sunglasses pushed into shiny, full hair completed what Ben could only describe as beauty dipped in sunlight.
No wonder Race fell over.
“I do now,” Ben said and reached over to close Race’s gaping mouth. “Good call.”
“Damn. That’s one hot rocket, huh? I’d like to launch her blasters,” Race commented.
“Which one?”
“The one in blue,” Race said.
“Wookie, those women are gorgeous, like that Beyoncé. African-American women are so gorgeous. Stunning. The one in the pretty blue, she could launch my rocket.”
“Kill the rocket jokes,” Ben said, hearing Race’s slur on the s.
Ben saw her. The average pronoun couldn’t even begin to convey the extraordinary woman in red. He wiped his hands across his khakis. Red had been a good choice because she was a firecracker. Cinnamon brushed legs went on forever. Ben’s heart actually skipped a beat. Then another. Could be the tequila.
The woman’s ka-pow landed a huge wallop on him.
“Wow,” Race said again.
“Those kinds of women are all about money,” Ben countered.
Race shrugged. “We got money, well, except for Thomas, but his ex-wife took half.”
Ben tossed back the dark amber liquid. The shock of the burn acted like lightning. More awake, he tried to blink back the weary vision. No doubt. He’d had way too much to drink. Probably shouldn’t have started with beer. No. He should’ve stuck to beer.
“Yeah, we have money, but women like them don’t date guys like us.”
“We’re not some other species, though that didn’t hurt Captain Kirk’s chances at all,” Race countered.
Ben nodded.
He could do complex equations in his head, but he’d never understand why woman wanted dumb mates. All brawn, but no brains. Ben shook his head.
“Brad Pitt we aren’t, Race.”
Race’s expression fell. “Yeah.”
Their moods sobered, Ben pushed back from the bar, rotating the stool around and putting his back to the bartender.
“Look, I’m going to hit the sack. I’ve got that panel at 8 a.m. on Astrodynamics.”
Race’s unfocused eyes met his, but then slid back to the women sitting in a booth. Only the tops of their heads could be seen from his position now, but one of the women, dressed in a scarlet red dress, held his attention. Even if the only thing he could see was the top of her curly ponytail.
“Yeah, sure? I’m on the same one, so call me to wake me up,” Race said, or that’s what Ben thought he said. “Will you, Wookie?”
“I’m not your mother. Get a wakeup call.”
With that, Ben clapped Race on the shoulder, threw a fifty on the bar, nodded to the bartender to keep the change, and headed out of the restaurant and out of the thundering noise of the television, the shrieks of drunken laughter, and the roars of multiple conversations. The world spun sluggishly. Steadying himself by using the wooden stools and his co-workers’ shoulders, Ben made his way toward the exit. Race had been pulled into the circle of remaining associates at the bar. Ben heard him lamenting the loss of an old computer, a Commodore 64, his mom threw out two decades ago. Frowning at the lot of them, Ben realized no one would be at his panel. They’d all be hung over.
He smirked.
That was if he made it.
Most of his coworkers could talk about any aspects of rocket science in their sleep. World experts, most of his friends had a life of lecture, academia, and books. Few married. When they did, Thomas happened. A woman would divorce him because she couldn’t compete with being married to one of the world’s smartest men. At 36, Ben had a lot of life left. Sure, not all the scientists were male. Quite a few of the most brilliant minds on the planet were women. So, he had his flings, but those faded fast, dissolved by the acidic strength of competition. He didn’t date other scientists any more.
“Hey, Wookie!” Race shouted.
Ben turned and the step that should’ve been there suddenly wasn’t, and he fell. His glasses clattered against the tile and out of reach. Everything blurred without his glasses and all he could make out of the fuzzy blobs were shades of scarlet and nutmeg.
Then, a heavenly voice, tinted with a sexy husk, asked, “Did that guy just call you a wookiee?”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take the Plunge this Summer into Something New...

The annual Mocha Memoirs Press Anniversary Sale is winding down. It ends July 31st, but you still have time to visit our website, Mocha Memoirs Press, and download our horror, science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances for $2.00 or less.

This is an exciting time to try genres you may not otherwise try for an inexpensive price. So walk on the wild child, and take the leap into something new.

You may discover you like it.

After all, a little diversity spices things up.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gotta get a move on it.

The Mocha Memoirs Press sale is going to start winding down pretty quickly and as I've done my due diligence to promo I realized I really need to get a move on starting my second collection of horror shorts. Second you say! Why yes, the first collection of 31 Horror short stories called Into the Realm of Mystery and Night is currently on sale. I loved writing this collection because if you haven't noticed, I'm pretty eclectic as a writer and even when I have the best of intentions I can be a bit macabre. I can't help it, I have quite the dark sense of humor. I also love all things that go bump in the night.

So revisiting my collection to promo it made me realize just how behind I am. Yes it's barely August but it takes quite a bit of brain power to dredge out all the things I find unsettling, creepy, and just plain weird and craft them into coherent stories. I like to make sure I have some that are deliciously wicked and some that are darkly sad. 31 days worth because at the end of the day, this is my homage to the highest of high holy days, Halloween.

The good news is, I have about three stories outlined. Only 29 more to go...sigh.

Here's an excerpt from the book (Day 21 to be precise) to give you an idea of just what I'm talking about and what you should be anticipating.



It’s just a dream.

Lark sat up suddenly in her bed, heart racing and breathing heavily. She could feel sweat cooling and becoming sticky on her skin. She’d had that dream again, and it left her feeling empty and frightened. Her eyes were still clasped tightly, for fear that the residual effects of the dream would cause her to see things that didn’t exist in the shadows of her darkened room. If she didn’t find a way to get a handle on what her brain projected while she was asleep, she was going to go insane. Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes, and she knew she was going to lose it if she didn’t get up and out of her bed.
Flinging her damp covers off, she reached blindly in the dark for the lamp by her bed. Lark thought she’d left the blinds open when she went to sleep, but they were closed and the room was pitch black. The cool ceramic of her lamp under her fingers eased some of her anxiety, and she turned the switch, hoping to flood the room with blessed light. The soft click of the knob echoed through the room, but there was no light to answer its call. Frowning, she figured that the bulb would go out just when she needed it most.
She knew that sitting in the dark room wasn’t going to make anything better and stumbled through her bedroom to the door. Fear hadn’t quite abandoned her as she’d woken from the dream, and she could feel it lurking just at her shoulder as she navigated her dark hallway. Her fingers found the switch for the hall light, and she sobbed with frustration when the room stayed cloaked in darkness as she flipped it frantically. Why would the power have to be out now? she thought as she headed toward her bathroom. Unfortunately, that room didn’t provide her with a reprieve, and she fumbled toward the sink.
The cool feel of water being splashed on her face eased some of her worry, but now that panic had nestled back inside of her, making itself cozy and comfy, she couldn’t shake the sense that something was wrong. Breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, she tried to center herself and will away the gloom of worry that was hanging over her head. Splashing more cold water on her face, she looked into the mirror and let out a little shriek when the lights suddenly came on. Her reflection was worn and tired, and she could see the toll her nightmares were starting to take on her. She tried to force a wobbly smile to her face, but her reflection wasn’t cooperating and instead stared back at her with a grimace of worry and concern.
Lark didn’t know how long she stared at herself, but that feeling, the one that haunted her when she needed blessed sleep, rose up and sunk its teeth into every nerve in her body. It, that thing that stalked her, was in her house, and she knew if she turned from looking in her mirror it would be there waiting for her. She watched as tears rolled down her face that was a mask of fear, and just when she was ready to turn away, accept defeat, her reflection said, “You’re still dreaming.”
Lark lay in her bed, hearing the sounds of night and the low moan of her house trying to settle itself, and tried to scream but nothing came out. Her body was frozen but her mind was yelling that she needed to get up, she needed to protect herself because whatever was stalking her was there, just outside her room, and if she wasn’t ready it would get her. She could feel her heart beating rapidly and tears rolled down her face, and as she listened to “it” get closer, she prayed that she was still dreaming.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Miss Indie-pendendent

As I sipped my morning coffee last week, I scanned my Facebook news feed. After squeeing over a kitten picture or two, I came across a blog post from an author I follow regarding independent bookstores.

The full blog post I read is below:

I encourage you to read the entire post if you have time. The gist I got from it speaks on promoting your local indie bookstores. This article somehow penetrated my sleep-fogged brain.

As I make an effort to buy the work of independent authors and artists, the post struck a chord with me.  And I realized—to my shock—that I have never shouted about my support for local bookstores. 

I read a lot of work by indie authors. (Also I read work from large publishers and the back of cereal boxes. Everything, really.) Since I’ve been published, three bookstores that I know of here in Charlotte have closed.

One of the survivors is Park Road Books. Park Road was where I had my first book signing back in 2010. 

If you’re ever in Charlotte, stop by and say hello.  If you’re not in the area, you can visit them here:

Or check out this link to find your local bookstore and support your favorite independent authors:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tackling Another Writing Prompt and The Other Man is Out!

Greetings all! Last month, I interviewed the amazing fantasy writing Wynelda Ann Deaver. This month it's my turn to be in the hot seat by replying to a writing prompt she gave me. And what a writing prompt! I'll highlight the prompt in bold and then try to go from there.


A zombie, a vampire, a werewolf, and a druid are in a bar. Bottles and glasses sit before each, though they're just a pretense, an excuse for being there. What they're really after cannot be found within the confines of a mug or bottle, cannot be found within the buzz of alcohol. They give the appearance of jocularity and conversation, but they are all on the hunt. All have their senses attuned to the goings-on around them in the little dive.

"What about that one?" the werewolf asks, nodding to a long-legged brunette. She's already been approached by a businessman who's attempting to teach her how to play pool. She already knows how, but she lets him go through the motions. The wolf wrinkles his nose in derision at the tableau. He's already transformed, doesn't even try to hide what he is. No one cares in this place.

"No," the vampire growls after a look up from his phone. "Not enough brain cells if she's led that easily." He goes back to texting, unimpressed.

"Wonder what she's doing here," the druid remarks from the depths of his hood. "She doesn't seem the type. Not for this place." He doesn't look at most of those in the bar, not because the fabric blocks them out, but because there's no reason to. Very few even care about the old ways anymore, and the old ways are what he's bound to.

"Uuuuuugh," the zombie agrees.

"A lot of new blood here tonight, at least," the vampire points out. It's so hard being referred to as just 'the vampire,' but for the moment, that's all he is. That's all any of them are: a type, a creature, a possibility. He wonders if those that come in feel the same way about themselves or if they know the power they have. A shifter who's currently in the form of a large, sleek panther struts by with a petite blonde and it's hard to ignore the smug smirk on the lucky bastard's face.

"I wonder if this is how they feel when things pass them by," the wolf grunts, also distracted by those pairing off. A mermaid clings to a guy that looked to be in college, and a gorgon giggles at the end of the bar with a doctor.

"Who knows how they feel. It's impossible to know when we're at their mercy," the druid replies with a tired, exhausted sigh. "You guys are popular, at least. Who's going to actually take a look at one such as myself?"

"That's why you stick with us," the vampire insists. "Someone's bound to notice you with us." It was only mildly comforting. After all, all of them were shadows of what they should have been, their colors pale and faded against the ambiance of the bar.

"Gnnnnnggggggh," the zombie sighs and scratches an ear. It falls off into his drink, but he fishes it out, wrings it off, and smacks it back onto the side of his face.

"He's right. We've been here way too long," the werewolf mutters, digging into the matted fur on his forearm. Boredom sucked, but fleas really sucked.

"You want to try another bar then? Do you even know of another place that caters to our kind?" the vampire challenges. His eyes wander as a redhead who looked like she'd fallen out of a mall's goth store strides by, eyeing the pickings. Her blue gaze wander over them briefly, but she keeps moving. She perks as soon as she sees the resident elf rockers setting up and wastes no time going over there under the pretext of offering help.

"Coulda told you she wasn't into any of us," the druid snipes, then straightens. "Over there."
Everyone at the table turns, and the robed one shakes his head so fast, he nearly loses his hood. "Don't look all at once!"

"Maybe," the werewolf admits, and tried to lean back in his seat, all cool and confident as he flashed the grin his muzzle would allow. "She looks intelligent, at least."

"Definitely," the vampire hisses and stands, then sits back down. "Should I go over there?"

"Nnnnnnnngh!" the zombie snarls and tries to get to his feet. It had been so long, though, he only wobbles forward.

"He's right. Who says she's lookin' at you?" the werewolf challenges, ears flattening.

"I'm a vampire," the undead replies. "Isn't it obvious?"

"Being a vamp ain't enough anymore!" the were rants. "We've all been waiting just as long. You can't assume-"

"Uh, hi there," a soft, tentative voice says. It's the girl they were discussing moments before. She's not in cocktail wear, not falling out of a camisole or sporting a miniskirt. If anything, her t-shirt and jeans are typical and boring. She shoves her glasses up her nose nervously and tucks a strand of hair behind an ear. "I've never done this before, but I couldn't help but notice you..."

All four at the table perk, nearly falling over each other to get to their feet, drinks knocking over and long since neglected. They give each other 'told you so' looks and wait.

"Nnnnrrruuuughgh....?" the zombie finally asks.

"Yes, which one of us were you talking to, my dear?" the druid asks. It's been a long time since he's had to be smooth, but if it means moving beyond pleasantries, he'll do his damnedest. He smooths his robes, fussing with the ornate embroidery that he's never noticed there before.

"Chicks love weres," the wolf insists and puffs his buff chest out, though it's hard to see his definition under the gore and hair. He frowns and glances down. Was that blood there a minute ago?

"No, vampires are always going to win out on that one," Lucien insists, and is startled to realize that he finally has a name. The leather gear he's suddenly dressed in intrigues him. He wouldn't have pegged the girl for those kind of thoughts. He flashes a dazzling smile down to his fangs and his long auburn hair moves as he approaches her. "Isn't that right, beloved?" He's startled by the mix of young and old, wonders just what's going on in that head of hers.

"Gentlemen, isn't it obvious by our current transformations?" Bob Amberson, once a rebel against the viral project his goverment team was testing, now a zombie cuts in and the others blink to see that he already had the girl by the hand. His rotting teeth curve into a pleased grin and his patches of hair wobble with his head. His suit is musty and worn, his body decaying, but that doesn't put the girl off at all.

"Actually, I was thinking all of you...if that's okay," she explains, a faint blush on her cheeks. "I don't know if it's conventional or if I'm supposed to do this, but...well, I want what I want," she whispers, dark eyes flicking down to the floor, then back up. "And I want all of you."

Their breaths catch. Of everything they'd assumed and had planned, this was a development none of them saw coming. "Are...are you sure?" Lucien asks, suddenly unsure if he can live up to the demanding task.
He shares a glances with Cal the wolf (when did he know his name was Cal?) and sees the same hesitation in his eyes.

"Are ya sure you can handle all of us?" Cal barks, and looks down to the stained denims and motorcycle jacket he's now wearing. His coloring has come back and he looks to have grown a couple of feet, making him even more lethal, more dangerous.

The girl smiles calmly, though her eyes dance behind her glasses. "Oh, I think I can. There's nothing I love more than a good idea, and you, gentlemen, are some amazing ideas. You'll be phenomenal characters for what I'm planning," she breathes.

Ulhane the high priest of the lost forests of Yerna bows low and takes her other hand. "Then it is our pleasure to accomodate you, young one. You obviously have a deeper understanding of us that even we did not see at first."

They walked out in a little group into the night leaving behind Inklings, the bar that catered specifically to ideas without a home and the authors that look for them.

Like? Loathe? Not sure what you just read? Let me know! And if you're looking for something to read, I just happen to have a new release out this week!

All Andrew wanted was the typical American dream: a good career, a nice house, and a loving family. Instead, he has a dead-end job, a cramped apartment, and children who remind him of creatures out of a sci-fi movie. He’s also well aware that he’s not the only man who inhabits his wife’s thoughts and daily life. How can he put up a fight when he’s reminded of the competition every time Bethany turns on the CD player? After one eventful evening meal when expectations, disappointments, and secrets collide, life will never be the same.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Keeping Things In Perspective

E. A. Black writes erotica, erotic romance, thrillers, dark fantasy, and horror. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. Her Mocha Memoirs Press short horror romance "Alicia" is available at Amazon. If you like tales of star-crossed lovers, you will enjoy this story.


I've been having a bit of a rough time of it lately. Too many rejections at one time have left me feeling a bit weary. I even had three rejections in one day. Talk about laying it on thick! Three people bought my books and returned them only a day or two later presumably after reading them. These returns occurred within one week. I feel like I've been robbed. I understand this return business is a bigger problem with erotica and erotic romances than with other genres. Menopause is wearing me down. It's sweltering outside and I don't do well in excessive heat. I'm adopted and I just found my natural mother - but she died a couple of years ago. I barely missed her, and I'm kicking myself I didn't start this search sooner. Another lost opportunity. When one disappointment after another leave me wanting to unload on a shrink, I figured it's time to take a life assessment.

Things aren't really all that bad. It depends on how I look at them. The best thing for me to do to get outside my spinning head is to focus outward.

* I walk on the beach regularly, especially in the mornings before the oppressive heat (for Massachusetts, LOL) gets underway. I often set my fiction on the ocean, so seeing the churning waves and hearing the surf crash reminds me of what I need to write. Plus those long ocean walks are great for plot planning and brainstorming.

* I help things grow, namely plants. Tending to a garden and watching it thrive gives me a sense of accomplishment. This year, I've successfully grown plants from seeds for the first time after years of failure. That's quite a feather in my cap, and I will bask in my success.

* I have a loving husband and a fantastic son. Lots of people don't have familial support, and I do. I'm very grateful for that.

* I am owned by four cats who won't put up with my bullshit moods. They want feeding and petting, and nothing will stop them. LOL

* I have supportive friends online and colleagues who enjoy watching me succeed. There is no schadenfreude coming from anyone in my life, and I like it that way.

* My natural mother may be deceased, but her niece (my cousin) wants to talk to me. So I may finally meet someone I'm actually related to by blood. I wonder if we look alike? I'll find out in a few weeks.

* Today, I'm meeting a Facebook writer friend at Readercon in Massachusetts. I've known him online for a few years, and this is the first time we'll meet in meatspace. I'm very excited about it! He's from the southwest, and my husband and I are taking him out for a typical New England meal of lobstah and clam chowdah (if he wants it). Our treat. Such fun!

Sometimes I need a swift kick in the shorts to get out of a blue funk. As the old Oscar Wilde saying goes, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fully Leaded

I love writing. 

Not just the craft of writing a story. I’m talking about putting actual pen to actual paper. Or in my case, pencil. Something about a freshly sharpened pencil lead gets me in the mood to write. (Maybe it's the act of blowing off the excess shavings when the pencil has just come out of the sharpener.)

Although the lion’s share of my writing time is spent at the computer, I love scribbling ideas in my journal or on little stickie notes.

To me, there’s something beautiful about the written word and I can’t imagine never again pushing ink or lead across the page. When I was in school, cursive writing was still part of the curriculum. And my mother the teacher, had me spend countless hours perfecting each loop and swirl, making sure to stay within the lines.

While my penmanship is still awe-inspiring, it’s evolved. I’m comfortable with my Art-Deco inspired capital “B”. It doesn’t matter that my capital “L” touches the lines above and below it. And don’t get me started on my lowercase “z”.

It’s gorgeous.

That’s how I feel about the craft of writing. Learn the rules of grammar and punctuation and the traditions of your chosen genre. Then change them to suit yourself.

Because at the end, you must be happy with what’s on the page. Er, screen.

10x10: Unraveling

A gentle warning dear reader: this has none of the humor of Dragon's Champion. And yes, it is a little bit of a stretch for the 10x10, however my Mad Hatter poem isn't ready yet :)

Dear John,

There are so many things that I miss, that it’s hard to contain them all. I miss walking on the beach at sunrise, holding your hand. I miss the way air travel used to be an event, ladies with their high heels clicking across the floor, their dresses swishing down the aisle. Even though I could not ride with them, trapped beneath them in the cargo hold, I always felt a part of them. I’d dress in my favorite pleated dress, with matching heels with even a hand bag tucked in with me in that glorious rosewood box. I could hear them and it sounded like a grand time.

Almost as grand a time as when we used to watch the balls through the banisters. Do you remember that?  Do you remember your promise to wait for me always? I remember the first ball, after the change. You led me through the tangle of jeweled women and severe men, taking me to where…


I am tired. I have lived, if it can be called that, way past my time. I have watched generations come and go, and yearned for not a one of those people. Mostly, I am tired of missing you.

You are and always have been my beloved.

Belinda sighed. The sand felt wonderful between her toes. For now, she was the sole occupant of the vast expanse of shoreline. For now, though, there was nothing between her and the twilight breeze. With a small smile, she withdrew the letter from her handbag. It perfectly matched her pumps, which sat perfectly lined up on the right. The sliver plated lighter came out of the purse. She flicked it open, and lit the letter on fire as the first rays of sun came over the horizon.

Yes, this is what she’d missed. She held onto the letter, even as the ashes left to dance with the wind. The sight of the sun over the ocean brought tears to her eyes, but she didn’t wipe them away. Let them be her last will and testament. 

The first hint of light caressed her, and she leaned into the glorious nothing of unraveling to become one with the wind. 

You can find me at where I blog books, writing and parenting

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

One is in California...

And I've learned quite a few things....

1.) Hispanic baby showers are the place to be people. Why doesn't anyone else know about this? Do I have to hunt down my Latino brethren on the EC and MAKE them celebrate the lives of their young?

2.) Mexican. Food. Everywhere.

3.) Wave surfing will possibly result in the loss of your shorts and your inevitable involvement in sending young boys into early puberty. True story bro.

4.) Rancho Cucamonga is as hot as elephant balls in leather pants in the summer. Do yourselves a favor, put it on your wish list and just NEVER. GO. THERE. Unless of course you LIKE being mistaken for bacon...

5.) I am CLEARLY in the most awesome city EVER....Like...really...EVER....

Feel Good Things

"So, you write porn?"
No, dear, I don't or your mum wouldn't read it. Actually she would read it, she just wouldn't tell you she does.  Sigh. The porn/smut debacle follows erotic romance writers everywhere, usually with the air of disdain. 
Look, if I did write porn, why not celebrate my liberation? There wouldn't be such upturned noses if I was a man. I'd get a slap on the back, a nudge in the ribs and a "can I get a copy?" 
My femininity has much to do with the 'eww, porn' stance. Why are women prevented from owning their sexuality? Reading and writing something that will not only stimulate their mind and hearts but what goes on below the waist as well? What's so wrong with enjoying the risqué? The open bedroom door? The tingle in the nether regions? Is it because I'm not waiting for a man to teach me, my husband? Probably not the best idea considering I lose keys very easily and I don't want to be the one to call the fire brigade to cut said man out of the handcuffs I put on him.
In any case, I don't write porn. My words are not solely geared to sexual titillation. When I write, I want to share a story, a truth, a secret. Said the Demon is about empathy and the link between a person's humanity the spirit world. Playing Dead is all about a dying medium solving a 40 year old murder. If it was all sex, I'd be more bored than you and I write to entertain myself. Sex? It's just icing on a cake of horror, thriller, intrigue and above all romance. When I read, that's what I look for first - the romance. It comes well before the kiss kiss bang bang and always will. I still enjoy it. Maybe that's what really concerns people. A woman enjoying a bit of sex without any guilt. (Waits to give a damn. Could be here a while.).

Said the Demon to Little Miss Eva and Playing Dead are both in the Mocha Memoirs Anniversary sale at $2.00 each. Get to it! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can't be a domestic goddess of creativity all the time...embracing your mortality and harnessing the power of no.

So, I am back!  MMP has asked me to do a series of blogs to titillate your taste buds.   I'd like to say this is a brand new offer and venture but alas it was kinda partially my idea from way back and then I ran off and happily watched others get voluntold to do it.  Just kidding ( sorta).  If you've noticed  MMP has a host of UBER TALENTED WRITERS on board. And several of them contribute monthly in one way or the other... there are interviews and quizzes, funny stories and thought provoking essays.  Me, I had no clue what to write.  So, I kept pretending that I didn't get the invite to pick a day.

If you're a fan/friend, you know I've been on a writing hiatus. Life was just to big and bold for me to balance creativity and domesticity with a full time job, an intra-state move, medical emergencies, a budding new business and well — life.
Sure, we've all had to balance such things, but there comes a time in the precious balance when one side ways more heavily than the other and in order to keep theses arms gloriously soft and divalicous vrs. one side soft and the other side she hulk, something had to just be set down.

For a while there I was looking like a Hindu Goddess Statue; I had arms and legs going every which way while standing daintily on one toe as if I were a seasoned ballerina. Sweat poured into my eyes, my lips chapped from constant licking, or being tucked into my teeth, my eyes closed tightly and my breathing slow but laborious.
 Ok, so I really DIDN'T look like a Hindu Goddess, because those DIVAS are BAD.  They always have tight abs, perky boobs, hair laid for the gods and a blind justice, take no shit stare that lets you know that what ever demons are tromping around in their domain are doing so because Mistress permitted — nay! COMMANDED them to do so. Those chics have life on lock!

I, stand (sit) before you ( this laptop) a mere mortal. And while I may do a damn good impersonation of a domestic goddess of creativity, sometimes thats just stage make up. Sometimes I just have to admit it. I can't do it all. I can't even do half of it. HELL, I CAN"T DO A FRACTION OF IT.
And what is MORE... I don't want to.

Wow, that felt scary and freeing.  Saying "I DON'T WANT TO."  Those for little words are close and often synonymous for one word "NO".  No, is the hardest word in any language to say with out quantification, qualification, or supplication.

When we learn the word no in infancy, its usually to our displeasure. We want something and some giant person tells us "no no no no no no" and immediately we learn no is bad. No, isn't what we want. NO is EVIL.

AHHH, but we learn to say it back. Learn that these giant people don't like NO anymore than we do. Especially when our tiny mouths are chanting it at the top of our lungs. NO gives us power. NO, Takes the giant people aback and makes them tired and weary and they give us what we want. We know no other word than NO. No means yes! Glorious resounding victory of the YES. We are free with the NO. Lyrical, with the NO.   NO, becomes the song of our people. We march around screaming, squealing, chanting the No as if we invented the NO.  WE OWN THE NO.

 And then we learn that we aren't entitled to say NO. That if we say NO, we aren't going to like what the giant people do to us before that  short little word finishes escaping our voice box. ( I am not the only one who remembers my mother cocking an eye brow and saying " before you fix your lips to say no to me, you better remember to whom you're speaking."  Hey, every notice that your mom's grammar got PHD level good when you were about to get your life threatened?")

We take that lesson with us as we grown. NO is all but eradicated from our vocabulary. It doesn't exist. Its not an option.

Until we rediscover it.  Now here is were it gets dicey folks. the rediscovery of No.  The rediscover of no generally happens three ways before morphing into a genuine ownership of no.

A) We discover no comma.   You know what I mean.  The conditional no.  No that means eventually yes.  No, but I could do—, No, not right now, but tomorrow, No (soul sigh) ok, when do you need it.
this isn't a real no.  This is no, but don't un-friend me/dislike me/add to my work load anyway/make my life any harder/its simpler to just say yes no. We supplicate the no. Prayer fully we beg no, knowing full well that we  are going to just go on and  say yes because we feel there is no other way. "Lord, no, but if its your will, then yes". ( Yes, I went there.)

B) Some of discover the silent no.  The yes, but no. The yes, with out delivery.  We accept with a big smile on our face then walk away promising to get something done, but knowing full well we aren't going to do it.  YES, means no.
"SURE!, OH, THATS FINE! NO, REALLY I GOT THIS!"  and weeks later we haven't delivered. Let me tell you from personal experience, this NO is dangerous. Even if you don't mean to use this as a no, it can creep up on you and something you fully intended to deliver on, but with out a good reason you just don't.  Its better to use the NO, I don't want to . Than to use the Yes, means no too often.

C) HELL TO ALL THE NAWLS NO.... this is the pissed off no. Most of us come to this no, well, pissed off.  Thats it. That does it. WE ARE DONE. Not only are we done, we've discovered that we are actually the same size as the giant people and we can say NO with all the enthusiams as our infant selves. Not only can we OWN THE NO, we can ELABORATE The NO. ENUNCIATE The NO. Qualify and Quantify The NO. We not only get lyrical with The NO, We not only chant The NO, We not only make NO the song off our people. We create dances to The NO, we GRANDSTAND THE NO.  Now this no is useful, but some times we get a little to happy with this NO.  We use this NO when a simple No will do.  We take extra pride and pleasure in this NO and we for get our selves. We start saying NO, when we should be saying yes.

But eventually we find OUR no.  That personal no that isn't weak or brassy.  That simple no, that doesn't come from a place of sheer exhaustion, tears, frustration, anger.  Not the whispered no. Not the shock value no. Just plain old no.  Not anyone else's no. Not go to hell, no. Not the not right now no.  JUST NO. Plain, simple, quite no.
With the birth of our no, we then learn what it means to say YES.  Yes because we actually, truly want to say yes. Yes, because it feels good. Yes, because we have time and we WANT TO. Yes! YES! YES!

Now, right about now I bet you're saying, "Wait,What? How did she go from creative domestic goddess to no to yes."

Weren't you paying attention!?  In order to be a domestic creative goddess one must have discovered her no and in doing so find her yes.

I went the long way about it. But, I found my no.  I had to let go of being the multi armed, mutlifaceted domestic goddess of creativity and just be plain old every day me. ME had to learn to take off the cape and be mortal. Find my no. Understand that my no was my own, and that I didn't have to be apologetic for my no. When I learned the sound and taste of my own no, I discovered my yes. My very own custom made yes. Smooth, and sultry with a slight hiss on the end. Not reluctant or hesitant or rushed and cacophonous. Just yes.

In my YES, I found that I can be The Domestic Goddess of Creativity all the time. Because I have harnessed the power of THE NO.

See you on the Seventh of August.

Drea Riley.

It’s Our Anniversary Month, but We’re Giving YOU gifts…

Happy Anniversary!
Mocha Memoirs Press was founded in July 2010. This is our birthday month!
We DO love our speculative fiction (horror, science fiction, and fantasy), and we want to share our love for all things fantastic with you!

So, as our gift to you, all science fiction, horror, fantasy and paranormal romance titles are on sale the month of July for $2.00.

That’s right. $2.00 USD. The sale starts Monday, July 8th EST, so get your e-reader ready to download these fantastic and fun flavors.

Check out fantastic flavors and try something new for less than the cost of a good cup of gourmet coffee.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sci-Fi Heroes for a changing world...

'Hope everybody had a great fourth!  I spent the evening as I do most every 4th - Standing on the Cambridge Esplanade looking up at expanding globes of green, gold, purple and red stars exploding in the sky amid cascading showers of gold and floating fire lanterns.  We Americans love huge displays.  In film as well as patriotic tradition.

As a science fiction writer, I'm gratified to see sci-fi making a cinematic comeback, and in a a tasteful and artistic way.  Two sci-fi films I recently enjoyed very much were "AfterEarth" and "Man of Steel."  Both were huge special effects projects, with all the subtlety and restraint of a fireworks display.  But, they still found room for human feeling and genuine character development.  Proof the genre is coming of age.

"AfterEarth" is a visually dazzling space opera whose premise sounds an ecological cautionary note:  The human race is forced to colonize a distant solar system after pollution and climate change render Earth uninhabitable.  (Feeling the blazing heat of the summer sun this month, I feel that reality fast approaching.)  Against that backdrop, the story is one of father/son conflict and bonding.  The two main characters are played by sci-fi film veteran Will Smith and his real-life son.  The story is familiar enough.  Dad's an old army man and his son's heart just isn't in following in the old man's footsteps.  But, he wants and needs to prove himself (to himself as well as to his father.)  When the boy washes out of military training, the strained relationship between father and son comes to a head.  An interstellar father/son outing dad is hoping will bring him and his boy closer together takes a dramatically surprising turn when their starship crash-lands on, of all places, Earth.  Earth has been uninhabited for a thousand years and has reverted into a prehistoric wilderness, infested with ferocious mutant animals.  Father and son are (conveniently) the only survivors of the crash.  Dad is badly wounded and immobile.  His son must survive on his own in a savage wilderness and retrieve a radio device to summon help and save the day.  Somewhat cliched yes, but a classic coming-of-age tale and a baptism of fire that makes for an effective adventure.

 Computer-generated big jungle cats and giant birds make for a powerful man/nature story.  The boy's struggle to survive, served not always by a willingness to kill, but sometimes by a compassionate respect for nature is reminiscent of another visually spectacular fantasy film "Life of Pi."  The ultimate threat in "AfterEarth", the boy's primal fear made flesh, comes in the form of an immense and deadly alien predator which hunts by scent, rather than sight.  Here, the story gets points for originality by inventing its own lingo and mythology (as all good science fiction must, to establish its unique brand).  The military elite of a beleaguered future humanity is able to face these alien monsters through a martial arts fighting technique known as "ghosting."  The alien monster's sense of smell zeroes in on the smell of human fear.  So, the human warrior who faces the monster, George-on-dragon style must be able to suppress his fear.  To the alien, the human is like a ghost;  present, but without scent, and therefore undetectable.  As in any classic dragon slayer myth, the monster embodies our darkest inner demons.  The real struggle is internal, since the hero must conquer his own fear in order to win.  A timeless tale, "AfterEarth's" weakness is in its predictability.  It's strength is in its human emotion and classic hero mythology.  Beautiful and modern as the special effects in a film like this may be, the human factor is still the most important.  Science fiction has come a long way from its early, soulless beginnings in the pulp fiction of yore.

And speaking of yore... An iconic, all-American comic book hero, Superman, is brought to life again in  a movie which was, without doubt, the most spectacular and visually beautiful special effects display I've ever seen.  The cost was nothing short of obscene, but worth every penny.  That said, the story, again is definitely a human one.  Alien in its premise, but very human at its core.  Again, a tale of fathers and sons.  The familiar tale of Krypton's last son sent to Earth by his idealistic (and perhaps somewhat arrogant) father as the final legacy of his dying planet is reminiscent of the long-running TV series "Smallville," the coming-of-age Superboy fable which centered on the theme of destiny; choosing to be who you wish to be, not what society expects you to be.  The rarest of achievements.  The one who can manage it is the one who will restore hope to a world desperately in need of it.

In this version, Krypton is painted as a Brave New World society in which everyone's destiny is decided at birth through genetic engineering.  (A vision graphically represented by the sight of babies growing like fruit on a tree in immense fluid tanks.)  Jorell and Lara commit the ultimate blasphemy by having a child the old fashioned way, leaving his future in doubt.  Their son Kal is the ultimate messiah of hope because of his own unpredictability.  His future is what he makes of it. His antichrist-like adversary General Zod is the exact antithesis of that.  Zod is a soldier because he is genetically programmed to be.  His mission to destroy the human race so he can turn Earth into the new Krypton is what he must do; it is his duty.  When he is robbed of that, his existence loses all meaning, and he has nothing left but hate.  As always, the backdrop of sci-fi must create its own world, but the characters still must be developed to move against that backdrop, as they would against any other.  Clark Kent is innocent and vulnerable.  He wants to know who he is, and he wants to help people.  His adoptive human father prohibits both, wanting only to keep his foster son's secret, fearing the world will never accept him if they knew.  The world's capacity for hope is tested by the appearance of this new potential savior.   A Kansas farm boy who suddenly finds the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Clark/Kal/Superman's moral code is simple and pure.  Through his uncompromising love of life and respect for his fellow man, he sometimes succeeds in turning enemies into friends.  But, there are other times when life presents him with irredeemable evil and choices that force him to kill as the lesser of two evils.  The effect is excruciating for him, as all growth must be.  His innocence is lost, but his ideal survives.

Superman has become a classic American fable.  Keeping it fresh and alive in the re-telling is the challenge.  The underlying theme is hope.  Hope for new beginnings.  Science fiction has taken a nose-dive in the post-9/11 years because hope had for a long time been replaced with fear.  The apparent resurgence of the genre may be a sign that, as in "AfterEarth," we're learning to overcome our primal fears and start over.  And, as in "Man of Steel," we're learning to hope again and forge ahead into a new future, no longer slaves of the past.

And, isn't that what the American dream is supposed to be about?  Happy Independence Day.

Tom Olbert ( Mocha Memoirs Press publications:  Along Came a Spider, Hellshift, Black Goddess)

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Watershed

If you are a writer, you’ve heard the phrase "show don't tell" until you are sick of it. People who claim to teach writing drum this into their students’ heads as the number one tenet. Editors criticizing rough drafts red pencil it above passages written with sweat and blood. But it is hard to quantify exactly what that three word phrase actually means.

Honestly, I doubt I can make it much clearer than anyone else, because it is something that suddenly makes sense to you when you see it – like the scene at the water pump in THE MIRACLE WORKER, when suddenly Annie Sullivan’s patient hand gestures in her palm “click” for Helen Keller, and the world unlocks for her. “Show, don’t tell” is that kind of epiphany. It may come in smaller stages, but in the end, it is as life-changing.

Here is a practical illustration. In my first published novel, THE BLOOD THAT BINDS, Stefan was crippled as a child by a dog. The scene was presented to the reader in the form of a flashback thought sequence by Roland, the other character present at the time. This is “telling” the audience what happened. Now, of course, without taking the action of the novel back in time so that the scene occurs chronologically, I can’t completely “show” the scene, but in the rewritten version of the book, THE LUCKLESS PRINCE, Roland has a conversation with someone about the incident, making it much more immediate and integral to the action – “showing” it much more clearly. (And, as a bonus, revealing more character details through the give and take of a conversation.)

Even more to the point is another example from later in the book. In the original version, Mendana thinks about the supplies she may need to replenish. The reader is told which herbs are low and so forth by virtue of an omnipotent look into her mind. Now, she is talking to another character as she looks through the baskets. He is offering suggestions, and taking down her requests on his tablet. The scene has now gotten a life; it shows what happens instead of telling about it.

And the thing about this is, it took someone who was not a writer, but a reader, to look at the scene and say “but wouldn’t it be better if…?” My husband became my Annie Sullivan by teaching me that italicized thoughts are rather boring and break you out of the story, but—in his words—“forcing” the world around the characters to provide the information you want the reader to know makes that world a lot stronger and deeper. 

Not only does removing the italics help keep the reader in the story (the change in font always catches the reader’s eye and breaks the flow somewhat) but it gives the writer a chance to expand their world. For example, in the scene mentioned above with Mendana, the second character in the scene originally didn’t show up for the first time until later. Now, his character is more developed, and the reader will care more about what happens to him further along. He becomes less “the messenger” of the original – created because someone needed to send a letter – and becomes a living being with other interests and talents.

Another example of “show, don’t tell” is the result of my new writing partner, who read through my original rewrite and commented about many aspects of the world-building that were never mentioned through both a professional “book doctor” revision and full—and thorough—edit before the book was published the first time. (I am convinced that part of this was because my editors were all women, and saw the book from a different perspective—having beta readers of both sexes is a much better strategy.) In trying to answer his questions, several characters have been added to the story. The history of the kingdom that the reader needs to know isn’t handed out in a block of narration, but delivered as a lesson in politics.

Flashbacks, thoughts, blocks of exposition…all of these are ways a writer uses to “tell” their audience something. Sometimes, they cannot be avoided. Sometimes, they really are the best delivery method for the information the reader must know, but far more often than you would think, they can be rewritten into dialog or interactive scenes that “show” the author’s intent. This is the most important lesson an author can ever learn—but it is the hardest for anyone to teach them. If you can break through that mental darkness like the blind Helen to understand the symbols in your palm, you will not be able to type fast enough to show the world your watershed stories.

I am still learning how to show my worlds, but it gets easier every time you practice. :)

[An earlier version of this post appeared somewhere in 2009, but I can't for the life of me remember where.]