Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big Block

Carolyn and I have both been struggling with the big B recently, you know ... the dreaded writer's block. And I saw on Facebook our friend Cheryl also has the big B.

I know that my blocks usually are life related. The more I might stress in real life, the less my juices for any creativity run. So as I plan on buying a home, adjust to a new boss at work ... I cook less, clean less and write less.

Carolyn is free to correct me but hers seem to run concurrent with her tiredness. she yawns, she doesn't write. She's perky and feeling good: big words come flowing.

I've read some people argue that writer's block isn't real. "Just write through it, you lazy so and so" they claim. I imagine that they don't understand the inability to write a word that pleases you or to create anything that works in any way.

Writing takes place on a lot of levels. The best writing is when the story uses you as nothing but a typing machine. When you don't have to play with the words or think about what comes next: you just type and it writes itself. It's not mystical, it isn't pulling the words out of the air; it's just that sometimes the story is already complete in your head (whether or not you realize it) and so it flows out easily.

Many times it isn't quite as easy and you fight for the proper words, struggle to get it right. That's much more common and is so rewarding. Knowing your story and working to make it right.

And then sometimes words refuse to come. Everything is wooden or leaden and has no flow. No interest. Then you fight the dreaded block or give into it hoping it'll pass and you can write again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Travails of a New Computer Owner (a continuing story)

The battle - the epic battle - with the computer continues. I'm not quite sure what the score is ...

Finally managed to get the Resurrection file into the new computer, started working on the last unfinished chapter, saved it and ... it was gone! As in disappeared. Couldn't find it anywhere. And don't you know it was probably the best writing I'd ever done in my entire life! Heh.

Anyway, for those with Microsoft Word Starter 2010 - don't use the save button under file on the left side of the page. It may be saved, but you'll have a hell of a time finding it. As in nevah!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Favorite Crusie


I think - no, I know, that Agnes and the Hitman has to be my favorite.

I absolutely loved Agnes. I liked that the hero and all his macho shit was written by a man (but thank God it wasn't John Ringo!)

The plot got a little convoluted, but the vibes between Agnes and her hitman were right on. She captured him with food, lol. Loved it!

I could reread this book forever, because Agnes not only had a relatively unused name (which I don't care for and never did), but her peronality (ever so slightly paranoid) had me laughing out loud.

I might could be persuaded to another Crusie book as favorite (thinking Charlie at Night here), but it will be a hard sell. *grin*


I have reread Crazy For You a million times and I'll read it a million tmes more. I learn more about writing from that book as it moves the characters through growth arcs that hang together, make sense and just rock the house down.

However, I'm going to say Welcome to Temptation is my favorite because it was my first. In Welcome I discovered Crusie magic: how she weaves food and music, strong heroines, sex and humor into a wonderful stew of character foibles and ultimate growth.

Welcome to Temptation had one of the first literary charactors I wanted to boink (on the edge of a dock, on a pool table ... c'mon Phin, let's do it!) and a heroine who skated on the edge of bad. Sophie and her scamming, sex movie filming ways.

Oh goodness, if you haven't read it, do. It's just that damned good.

So what is your favorite Cruisie?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here I Is

Man, this has been rejection month! Not only was our piece of crap rejected, but my damn computer got into the act too.

I was sooo miserable! I was lost, I was isolated, I was mute! No Word. No writing because I no longer do pen and paper, mainly because it's unreadable and who wants to be frustrated like that? I mean, you know you wrote the most wonderful,witty thing, you can't remember it, and you can't read it.

I decided to take a hiatus.

So then, the new computer comes. Yes, y'all, it's here. And it is most definitely IN CHARGE!

Perhaps one day, I'll be writing in Word again. Geez, it took me a whole evening getting the damn program open and that was only because I called the vendor! (I do apologize for all the exclamation points, but I mean, really - it's just one of those weeks). It's Word 2010, might as well be 2050.:p

Anyway, I kept thinking of Jane Austen. Not that I'm Jane Austen or even one of them there bodice ripper famous authors, but - what would Jane do? If she broke her quill or something. Perservere, that's what. And so I shall.

Now, after having broken God knows how many writing rules, I shall leave you with this question: when the hell did Word become a separate computer program costing $119.00????

I shall make do, because I'm trey cheap. But really!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Final Rejection

After 17 weeks and 4 days, Carina Press has rejected Bodice Rippers.

In summation: we received 2 revise and resubmits, one request to add more sex, one editor who said that marketing something as bizarre as our story would be a major challenge and a few straight out rejections.

We're disappointed because we want you to read our story. We really do. We don't want to charge you, we want to make you laugh.

We also don't want to post it here on this site because it's freaking impossible to edit other pages here. So we're wondering if any one of you knows how we can either make a file available to download or is there a place we can just throw our work out there for an audience.

Please let us know. We dream of universal domination via absurd, tongue in cheek romance writing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

When Life Hands You Farts, It's a Little Disgusting

These old farts are currently finding themselves a little bewildered by life recently.

Carolyn has had a complete and total computer melt-down. she's waiting for her new computer and her old one is getting ready to become target practice.

Lori (me) is house-hunting and starting edits on a second book. Since the first one isn't completely finished with edits, it's a little overwhelming.

We're trying to catch up. Wish us luck.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Social Media + Authors= Marketplace Glut?

I Love Facebook and I adore Twitter. I don't do My Space and Linked In and all those other sites ... I just love what I love and that's what I love. On Twitter I follow maybe 100 authors or more. On Facebook I have a friends list of well, mostly the same authors.

I will admit here only, because we're all such good friends, that I don't know who some of these people are. I'm ashamed. Right there on Facebook snuggled up to my favorite coworker is some author whose work I don't know posting about her vacation to sunny somewhere and her word count for the day. She's not as fascinating as my favorite coworker who is going to her great-grandmother's 90th birthday party but still I follow.

And follow and follow and follow..

Some authors I'm hot and heavy for (Victoria Dahl, I be heavy breathing your name!!). But some are writers of esoteric Amish bicentennial erotica with an epress that I'll never read. Yet still I follow.

As a soon to be esoteric author myself I'm told that I need to be on all these social media sites and promoting myself without appearing to promote myself to people who might not be interested in reading my chain-smoking, trangendered alien from the Planet 69. In other words, I should add to the glut of authors trying to get your money via social networking while looking like a fun and interesting person who really doesn't want your sale (soft marketing, I'm softly panting in your ear).

Anyway, are you like me? Do you follow everyone who puts pen to paper despite their stories published only by Invisible Press? Do you follow authors at all? Are you on Facebook or Twitter or My Space or Whatever Else There Is?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remembering Mad Max

Once upon a time, Mel Gibson was hot. He was a swaggering, sexy Australian who was married to his sweetheart and popping out tons of kids and he was hot. Smoking hot. Now he's an embittered alcoholic with a receding hairline who spews racially insensitive hatred and beats on his fame fucking girlfriend.

Once upon a time, Jake the Bachelor was hot. Now he's a maniacal fame whore with a vacuum cleaner for a soul.

Once upon a time Charlie Sheen was a hot bad boy. Now he's a multi-marrying substance abuser who can't make a single positive choice.

There are so many of them. Hollywood created fantasy men who reveal their truer selves and our hearts plummet more than a little at how far they are from fantasy.

George Clooney remains hot and brilliant yet his girlfriends stay the same age as he gets greyer. My joke is that soon my 9 year old will be able to date him.

I miss seeing these men through romance covered glasses. I miss when Mad Max made me melt and I thought George might one day find a wife and damn it, when Hollywood lust meant more than just he hasn't been busted yet.

Am I just feeling like this because I'm older or are these men destroying something precious?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thank You For The Good Parts

Thank you to Amy Barnes and for an awesome interview and contest.

Thanks to those who commented and our own Lea wins the short story. Check your inbox Lea for your hot prize. (Okay, not so hot but lots of fun. Yeah, hot too.)

Coming up in the following weeks: um... we'll get back to you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Paper Bag Press Interview and Give Away

Paper Bag Press,, is a small press specializing in erotic short stories and the discovery of new authors. Amy Barnes is the owner/publisher and has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for aspiring authors and lovers of the smexy stuff.

Amy, what do you think the hottest trends in publishing are currently?

The trend right now is publishing electronically--everything is being published as an ebook. With the arrival of the iPad, ebooks have become the subject of all publisher’s conversations. Will the Kindle die a slow, miserable death? Will all textbooks in the near future be read on portable devices? Do people read ebooks?
I can answer the last question--yes, they do. I’ve been publishing ebooks since 2005 and sales have only increased since then.

As a publisher, what do you look for in the submissions you receive?

Above all else, I look for quality. I have a great front-line editor who reads the slush pile for me now, which was not always the case. Before that, I would read every submission and decide on the quality. The story must not only be arousing to the reader, but must also have some sort of story, a real connection between the characters, and must have a good flow. Part of my decision-making is subjective, as all publishing is. “I’ll know it when I see it,” is unfortunately the way publishing quality is often judged.

If authors follow our submission guidelines then their work will be read all the way through. If the submissions are full of mechanical and grammatical errors, it is guaranteed it will be unread past the first page, and rejected. High-quality writing means paying attention to the little things, too.

Most of our stories have strong dialogue, characters that show us their personalities through their actions, and hot sex of all kinds.

I believe that ebooks are the best venue to find stories that you’d never find in a bricks and mortar store. What have you found that made you do an arm pump and say yeah!?

One of our recent stories, “The Holy Book of Holy Fuck: They Begin,” by Joy Green,"is a near literary masterpiece. It’s as if she is channeling James Joyce while writing, but her story is more clear and a bit less stream-of-consciousness. I’ve got the second installment of that story in my email inbox right now--I am so looking forward to reading it.

Other stories that I think are far from brick-and-mortar are the “Rites of Spring” series by M. Christian, and “The King’s New Harem Boy,” by Wayne Mansfield.

Let’s not forget “!” Is Mitch a cougar, Lori? I like to think so, and if so, the story is very current and hot to boot.

Where did your interest in publishing begin? And with that question I’m also curious as how you balance out publishing, being a wife and mother and having another business also? When do you sleep?


I became interested in publishing when I was writing my first book. I wrote it to make money (it is how-to nonfiction), not necessarily to entertain. Because I was writing and formatting it all myself, I decided to publish it myself, as well. I wanted to make sure that it was done right, and since I knew I would publish electronically, I didn’t see the point in having someone else do it. Like the how-to nonfiction, I like to do things myself. I enjoy Home Depot a lot.

Balancing my life is a bit ridiculous. It helps a lot that my husband works for our craft business from home, and can also do the laundry. He does the majority of the cooking, as well, thank goodness. I am pretty good at compartmentalizing my day: exercise is different from work is different from time with my daughter, etc. I try to focus on one thing at a time, and do it to completion.

What kind of story would you love to see in your inbox? Do you have a desire for a space opera, dominatrix threesome?

Right now I am looking for lesbian erotica, ginger characters (love the red hair!), and sure, space opera. Why not? I have no idea what that would be like--are you going to write it? Gay stories sell very well, as well as anything else that has a specific focus.

Thank you for joining us Old Farts. We’d like to give you a chance to tell our visitors more about Paper Bag Press. So the floor is yours.

From the beginning, I’ve wanted Paper Bag Press to be the place that people come for The Good Parts. I have read erotic romance novels, and while they are good, they are also tedious. If I’m reading erotica to become aroused, I don’t have time to get to the good parts. I figured that I’m not the only one--so I created Paper Bag Press.

Short stories of high quality are arousing but quick, easily consumed, and impart joy to the reader. I also enjoy the visceral response that the reader feels when reading erotica. This response is what makes erotica more of an art form than pornography, in my opinion.

One more thing-- I love having the opportunity to work with authors of such great professionalism and character. Some folks think it’s crazy, but I love payday. I love paying authors their royalties. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, knowing that the business I have created can help someone else out, financially.
Paper Bag Press is growing all the time. Very soon I will publish our first audio book, which is another trend in publishing, what with the relative ease of digital editing technology. I envision commuters all over the globe turning on their iPods and listening to a scandalous story, while the rest of the folks on the train have no idea about the source of that grin. Ha! It will be another great addition to our catalog.

I encourage all authors to give erotica writing a try. You never know where your talents may be hidden.

To celebrate Amy's visit to our blog and the fact that it's Saturday and that alone is worth celebrating, one random commenter will be winning a copy of from paper-bag-press. It's hot, it's funny and it's free.

Comment away!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Factoids

Smart Bitches is giving away 6 ARCs of the newest Loretta Chase. Enter. If you win, remember I sent you and Loretta Chase is my sun and moon. But don't think I'm trying to take advantage of any of y'all.

Saturday we'll be featuring a hot interview with a hot publisher with a hot giveaway. I promise not to say hot again.

Summer is here. It isn't cold. (See, I made a promise and kept to it.)

Have we announced that Lyrical Press has contracted Sugar B's Back in Town by our own Lori? They did. We plan on celebrating by winning the Smart Bitches ARC.

Man, we're hawt.

In Praise of Quiet Men


As I've aged, I've come to appreciate the beta males, both in fiction and in real life.

I think what it boils down to, is that the young are rather selfish. Many relationships at that age are more about 'what can you do for me?' Thus the histrionics over forgotten anniversaries (how could you forget our 3 month anniversary!!), that he has other interests besides you, and that flowers and gifts are NOT what are always on a man's mind. We all know what is. *grin*

A muscle bound significant other would only make me shy about my own imperfect body. A guy trained to kill with toothpicks would have me sincerely hoping he never had a bad dream whilst I was lying beside him! Oh, he'd be pretty to show off. But what's on the inside?

I think I put this in another post somewhere. As I age, looks and masculine superiority become less and less important, at least in my RL.

I want a partner; someone who knows me and allows me to know him. Someone who lives his life without drama, but can step up when necessary and won't allow others to run over him. Someone you can exchange back rubs with, lol.

These men aren't flaming comets rushing across our skies. They are the moon, always there, and while perhaps predicable, they are constant.

An example of a good beta is Sir Gerald Singleton in Mary Balogh's "A Precious Jewel". Another is Charlie in Jennifer Crusie's "Charlie All Night".

Don't get me wrong - I love alphas or I wouldn't be reading Ilona Andrews, lol. But in fiction only, I think. For RL, I'll take a beta every time.


All excellent points.

In real life the man who is able to make you comfortable in your skin and your life is a treasure. ruthfully, after a few years hairlines recede while stomachs impede. Pretty men are on television but the good men are the ones droning through their jobs and responsibilities and making people comfortable.

I laugh at the descriptions of some of these alpha males; almost seven feet tall but trim and muscle-bound and their thick hair is pulled back in to pony tail...

Bet none of them would take out the garbage or rub your feet after a long day.

I like Alpha males in my imagination. I like to imagine a well oiled Dwayne Johnson at my beck and call. But even in my fantasies he washes out his coffee cup and puts the seat down.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Bachelor/Bachelorette

I love me some reality television. I'm not a fan of all of it but Bachelor/Bachelorette and Survivor are my favorites (as well as Top Chef and Next Food Network Star).

I didn't care for The Bachelor until I saw The Bachelorette. The very first show with Trista when the cars started pulling up and all these handsome men alit from the limos with their smiles and their wish to impress her and I was hooked.

My fantasy: to be the Bachelorette. Seriously. In fact I play with the idea of writing a story based on it because the images are such a rush to me. All those men wanting one lucky women. One lucky woman getting to choose between a bevy of bachelors who are handsome, employed and photogenic. Sign me up Chris Harrison!

However, if you've been watching lately (especially last night) then you joined me in seeing two things that were heart-breaking for the show. The Jake/Vienna nightmare of a final confrontation and the previews showing Frank with his real girlfriend as he confesses to do the show for no other reason than to be on television (okay, I'm surmising that was his reason).

To say the romance is gone wouldn't be entirely true. But like all relationships, the shiny stuff is rubbed off and the tarnish of the reality is very present. And the reality of this reality show is that it's time to say wham bam, we're finished ma'am.

I watch The Bachelorette to fall a little bit in love. Or love by proxy. I want to see romance and feel the sweep of emotion. I want to believe that two people can meet and fall in love and I want to watch it happen.

I know there's some sincerity there. I think that Ali will have Roberto (oh my, Roberto *sigh*) and Chris at the end and they both seem real. They both seem like men that HEA's can happen with. But there's a feeling that with Frank and Justin and possibly even Ty (with his guitar strumming, big earred self) that people doing these shows are only interested in their 15 minutes of fame.

The romance is gone. The glinty eyes and fame whoring is in.

Which brings me to Vienna and Jake. I wasn't the least bit surprised to see Vienna acting like an emotionally disturbed teenager. Had she shown class or maturity that would have been a surprise. No, the true surprise there was Jake.

How did Jake go from being the sweet pilot who warned Jillian about Wes to the manipulative, cold man who barked at Vienna and showed no emotion at her pain? Why is Jake pursing an acting career?

Why is Jake still standing? If I'd been Vienna I would have taken a baseball bat to his legs. (By the way, I think Jake is going to come out in a year or two and then we'll really wonder why he did The Bachelor and not Adam and Steve.)

My point? I don't really have one. I was just disappointed last night watching this and seeing that the romance I counted on is waning. The bloom is off that rose and not likely to come back.

It makes me feel very sad.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nom Nom Nom

I love reading about food. I don't qualify as real foodie because pate makes me gag, quail eggs would not be welcome on my plate and any intestines would have me heading toward the door.

But I love reading about food.

It's been a real challenge finding an author to satisfy my food cravings and I've finally thrown my hands up in despair. I had high hopes for Louisa Edwards but the anonymous sex that started her second book hit my hot buttons and I couldn't go on. Susan Mallery has a series that starts with Delicious but it missed a beat with me.

Right now I'm getting my addiction taken care of with non-fiction food writing. Ruth Reichl writes of food with bone melting beauty that even if it's something you'd never put in your mouth, the words are savored with the same pleasure as the author savored the dish.

I have Gael Greene's autobiography to read. I've read Jeffrey Steingarten, Julia Child and the Best Food Writing of 2009.

I'd love to read a fiction where the food is written about with the same sensuality and lyricism as the non-fiction writers.

Any suggestions?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Long Weekend from Two Old Farts

I wish to take this opportunity (now that I'm finally off work!), to wish everyone a happy Canada Day and happy July 4th from both Lori and myself.

It's barbecue time!!

This year I have a grill, so I won't have to go to the local BBQ place and stock up. I also have a male to run the grill. So, wouldn't you know it, they want hamburgers. Sheesh.

Do you get creative with your holiday menus? We'll probably have potato salad, hamburgers and hotdogs, baked beans and watermelon. I'm definitely open to suggestions though, as long as they come with the recipe. (I don't cook well)

Oh!! I just had a thought - believe I'll make a cheesecake too. It's so easy even I can do it.

So what're your plans? I just hope none of you have to dive into the holiday traffic. A definite bummer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What I Love in Romance

Victoria Dahl has a new book out which is getting mixed reviews Crazy For Love and I simply must and will get this book.

I love Victoria Dahl almost the same way I love mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon. Yeah, that much.

Jennifer Cruisie. Erin McCarthy. Loretta Chase. Vicki Lewis Thompson. Kristan Higgins.

What do these authors have in common? Smart heroines and witty dialogue.

Want to win my heart? Make me laugh. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Cruisie started my contemporary romance obsession. Nobody can do funny and touching the way she can.

Funny is hard to write. Trust me that I know how hard it is. These authors who can write believable romances while making a reader giggle have done a service as valuable as making apple pie for lepers.

Victoria Dahl: you have rocked my world in ways that are frowned upon in polite society.

I'm a sucker for funny and smart. The heroines I love don't have the ability to kick your ass but once they unleash their smarts you'd wish they'd have beat you instead.

What rocks your boat?