Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hard or Soft

Yep, you are dirty minded folks aren’t you because I see that glint of the gutter in your eyes. This is actually a blog about books, you sick puppies. I will start this blog by saying I know that most of the authors have no choice in what format their books are printed. Most of the time, the publisher decides what format in which books will be released. I have no idea what criteria they use to determine the format. It could be anything from word count to what is going to sell better. I really am clueless, but that is neither here nor there. This is about hardbacks, trade, and paperbacks—the joys of each one or not so joyous things of each one, depending on your point of view.

We will start with hardbacks, the books of our ancestors. Okay, not really. But I wish it were because I love leather bound books (even though I really can’t afford them). But once again, I digress. One of the reasons I love hardback books is the weight. I know I am strange like that, but I think a book is more than the words in it. It is about the adventure that it takes you on and a hardback book always makes me feel like an adventure or romance waits just inside its covers. That is my fanciful side. I, also, like hardbacks because they are more durable. I carry books around with me all the time. If you open my bag on any given day, you will probably find one or two books in it (it is also the reason I give for carrying a huge bag). The only books I will not carry with me are my autographed ones. They stay on the shelf and are only opened to look at the message or signature, to remind me of something I want to remember.

Trade paperbacks, I buy them only because I have no choice. To me, this is the publisher’s way of making more money without the expense of making them hardbacks. They are only about five dollars cheaper than a regular hardback. There are some good things about them. Usually the print is bigger and that is important as I age. Yep, I am almost ready for a nursing home. The trade paperbacks do give me the feeling of weight that I like so much.  I also like the way they look on my bookshelves. Okay, I am grasping at straws here. So I guess I should move on to regular paperbacks.

Paperbacks, what can you say about them? They are easy to carry, and I normally carry several of them. The great thing about paperback books is that it made books more accessible to anyone who has to watch their book budgets. For the price I spend on a trade paperback, I can normally get two regular paperbacks. If it is a book I love and want to read multiple times, I usually buy it twice. One book can sit on my shelves and one can be read. I do carry them around so they get roughed up quite a bit.  These are the first kind of books I can remember seeing. My grandmother had a bookcase built into the wall of her house that had nothing on it but Barbara Cartland books. This is also the first kind of book I can remember buying.

I guess I should add eBooks to this list as well. I never thought I would be a fan, but I have grown to like them. Yep, it almost pains me to say it. I almost feel like I am betraying my hardback books. Yes, I talk to my books and they have feelings so shush. The best thing about an eBook is convenience. I do not have an eReader, but I am sure it is just a matter of time. I like that I can get the book within moments of it being released. Yes, impatience is my middle name. The ability to make the print bigger or smaller is a huge plus as well. Now, onto the negatives. The cost is still out of whack as far as I am concerned. The price is close sometimes to the cost of the actual book. I miss the way an actual book feels in my hands when I read it on the computer. It is like reading a newspaper without the noise and trying to fold the damn thing neatly.

I guess the important thing is that we are all still readers. No matter what format you get your books you are still invested in the stories. What are your thoughts on the different kinds of books? Do you buy actual books or are you strictly an eBook reader?

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Monday, 28 October 2013

"Real Life Romance versus Fiction in Romance: Creepy or Sexy" by Guest Blogger TJ Michaels

So, ladies and gentleman, this is something I’ve been thinking about since I put a post on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that said, “Reading a book and the leading lady is turned on by a COMPLETE STRANGER walking up to her and running his fingers down her BARE stomach WITHOUT HER CONSENT.”

One response I got from a guy *imagine that – cough cough* said, “Hey, if both are feeling the energy and locked eyes before he did it, I say its fair game! The consent is in the eyes.”

I immediately called bullshit, excuse the ‘not-French’. Better yet, don’t excuse it. I felt pretty strongly about it and still do.

Him: “it’s all about the atmosphere, the setting, the connection, there so much involved with a man daring to come up and just randomly touch a woman. It’s not just on a whim like some hip hop club where a good song comes on and u just grab a woman’s waist and hope to not get slapped lol.”

Me: “dude you're making a lot of assumptions here, handsome. When I say COMPLETE STRANGER, that's exactly what I mean. In this particular book the woman is afraid of this guy (he's a big biker dude that looks like a Hells Angel) because she's known him for all of ten seconds and they haven't even spoken. He gets off his bike, walks up to her and touches her [on her bare bikini-wearing stomach]. Sorry, but there is no reason for a man to touch a woman he doesn't know without asking. Ever. CONSENT. CONSENT. CONSENT.”

After that, I started talking with other writers of erotic romance who’ve felt that some of their own work is kind of skeezy because they felt the need to get the hero and heroine into bed faster. By the way, this post topic will make a reappearance on my personal blog soon because I’m ganging up on…uh, I mean teaming up with other authors to explore this topic more thoroughly.

So, what’s the point of this blog post? I’d basically like to know if there are any circumstances in some of today’s uber-hot romance novels that would actually be okay with you in real life?

We’ve ready plenty of books where the hero and heroine meet at a party and end up making out. Or where they’ve run into each other at least a couple of times and end up in a hot embrace or even sex. And considering my example above where the guy touched her bare stomach without even introducing himself, I might enjoy reading about a heroine being seduced by a bossy hot dude but some stuff is just creepy. In fact, in real life, strangers touching me is a total no-go.

Basically, if you’re a guy and you touch me intimately without my permission, I will punch you in the face and then kick you in the balls. After that I will run away screaming bloody murder so my friends will know you’re in need of punching, too. We might, maybe…well, maybe not, let your friends take your punk ass to the hospital to remove the boot marks from your forehead.

Thoughts, people?

TJ the Ball Kicker

 Amazon Author Page:

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Hottie Closet

This is one blog I am happy to write.

Let’s see, how I became the Hottie Queen. I blame Luna Wildwood. I was just a shy, innocent woman lurking (shut up and stop laughing) on Sherrilyn Kenyon’s message boards.  For those of you who've never had the chance to go there, I will describe it. On each post you made it showed your name and your comment. Underneath it gave you the option of putting a banner of some kind. I had no idea what to do with that space and one of the other members was nice enough to explain it to me. Someone began calling them undies since they showed up under your posts.  She did graphics on her computer, and she made me a really cute one. I then met others who made banners and I loved them all. I believe I had all the ladies on the bbs make me banners at one time or another. Those were some seriously talented ladies.

Luna and I bonded over all my hotties, and she loved doing the graphics. So she became my undie dealer.  I began to branch out and look for guys who kind of fit the descriptions of the characters in the books. It was tough sometimes to find the right guy for a banner with a quote from the book, but I took it to heart and found lots of sites for models. I began hoarding them and some of the other ladies would come to me for hotties. Thus, began the reputation I gained for being a hottie hunter.

I always try to get the hotties names but, sometimes, it is impossible. So many hotties, so few names. I got to the point that I would recognize some of the men by sight then I would stumble upon their names in another place, and I would jump for joy. I then would use my bestie, Google, and find even more pictures. I began folders of each model (yep, I am ocd like that) and keep them nice and organized. 

I needed to find a safe place to store my hotties, just in case—Gods forbid—my computer crashes. I was told of this site called Photobucket. I went there and set up an account then placed my hotties with loving care and proceeded to give Luna the password so she could peruse at her leisure. I think there were nights that she got lost looking at hotties. It then became a joke that I had this huge closet to store all my hotties in, if only that were true.

My photobucket now has well over 1500 pictures, I believe. Photobucket has a stupid rule about nudity (even though my albums are private), and they started deleting some of my pictures. The HORRORS of it all. I lost a lot of pictures because of this rule. So off hunting I would go looking for all my lost hotties. I decided that I would just back up all my hotties on jumpdrives so I never had to worry about losing them again.

Since I started reading erotic romance, I have branched out in my search of hotties. I have found some seriously hot sites that I frequent to search for some delicious pictures. I have moved on from just hot men to hot couples and a personal favorite of mine, hot male/male pictures. I am picky about my pictures. I don’t just like any nekkid men pictures. They all have their place but, for me, I want pictures that convey feelings and emotions. I am not saying I don’t have some just good old dick pictures, but I try and find pictures that will speak to anyone who is looking at them.

Finding pictures has become a hobby of mine and my bookmarks are out of control. Finding pictures has also lead me into the world of porn. I am now a connoisseur of good porn. Sometimes, if my besties are good, I will share some of my favorites.  I pity the techs if I ever have to take my computer in to be worked on. Those poor geeks will probably be scarred for life.

Now you know the origins of the Hottie Closet. If you are good, maybe, I will share some pictures with you. Oh, who am I kidding? I like to keep my hotties all to myself.

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Happy Autumn and the Electric Journey - Heather Long

I love autumn, more than most seasons. It may be that I grew up in Texas and autumn is such a welcome relief from the brutal heat of summer. This autumn is particularly challenging because the weather has been so bi-polar the last couple of years and in my area, we desperately need a cold wet, winter to kill off the bugs and pollens. I can’t go through another winter of allergy attack on top of allergy attack. I just got back from Vegas, and I have lots of news to share—I just can’t share it yet.

So, speaking of autumn, this one has been wildly busy for me. It’s also seen some great stories come into their own with fantastic payoffs like Raising Kane. I was really worried about this book when I began writing the novel because it was Kid’s book. While my readers have all shown such deep affection toward Kid since the beginning of the Fevered Hearts series, I’d felt much the same way.

I also knew just how challenging his book would be to write, and how dark his journey would turn. That said, there were moments that literally had me grinning from ear-to-ear in the book as well.  I always know a great deal about my characters when I begin writing them, but other parts of their personalities reveal themselves as I go along.

Kid’s journey became more remarkable due to the potholes along his path and his very, very violent struggle against taming his gift. I knew from book one that he would have to break before he consented to taking the road he needed to be on. That said, it was never easy for me to see him torture himself or be so very tortured by his abilities.

But with the release of Raising Kane, something truly amazing happened. Every reader who reached out to me to seemed to have been electrified by Kid’s story in a different way. They were touched by his dedication to family, his gift for self-sacrifice or conversely angry with the family (Jason in particular) for slights against him.

While the journey I take when I write a book is very specific, the reader’s journey seems to be as unique to the story as it is to the reader. So as the weather turns and cools, I’m delighted at the turns in the road the stories I write are taking—and more than that, I am grateful for the readers who are along for the ride.

Happy autumn, everyone. What are you reading?


Friday, 18 October 2013


I am sure this is a blog that I will have to have someone edit—a lot. I am very passionate about this subject and lots of people are going to disagree with me. If they would like to write a blog and tell me about it, that would be awesome. But nine chances out of ten, you will not be able to change my mind.
Now onto the blog. This is about author behavior.

I have touched on this subject before but never really went all out on it. The reason I am writing this now is because an author that I have liked for years has done something that I think is wrong. I know that authors are regular people and they have opinions—just like anyone else. I respect that. You should be able to voice your opinions. Your author wall is probably not the best place for this to happen, especially if it is about a reader.

In the last few months, I have seen authors go after readers who have given bad reviews. I understand being pissed, but you should never, ever go after anyone who gives you a bad review. If there are inaccuracies, most definitely correct them but never make it a personal attack on the reviewer. In one case, the author actually sent her fans to attack the reviewer as well. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN!!!! I don’t give a rat’s ass if it was the worst review ever written. To me, this is the actions of a bully. It was someone’s personal opinion. Everyone is entitled to one.

Yes, I understand that this is your livelihood and how you support your families. If you can’t take bad reviews, you have a couple of options: stop writing or don’t read the reviews. You can also ask your readers who have read the book and liked it to go and write a review, too. Take the high road and just accept that not everyone is going to love your book.

I have actually stopped reading an author for a comment she made about the genre that made her a best-selling author. Basically, she insulted me and anyone who reads romance. She said that she would never write another romance because she is better than that now. Wow, now really go ahead and tell us that we read crap and how much better your new series is compared to the one that put you in the position to write it. Now I can’t even read the original series because she ruined it for me by what she said.

This is not the only author that I have stopped reading. Though, technically, I never made it to one author. I had this author on my to-be-read pile, and I was almost to her name when I found out that she was not just slightly unhinged but off the frame completely.  She has insulted not just readers but also other authors. Apparently, the whole world is out to get her and is jealous of her looks and her talent. Does this sound like someone you would support? 

The really sad part is she is a NYT bestselling author. Hell, even her publishers have problems dealing with her. I have a friend whose cousin is a manager at a major bookstore chain. This author came to the store to do a signing, and they had so many problems with her that they refused to let her sign there again. I mean how bad do you have to be that a bookstore will refuse you when you are a bestselling author?

If I wouldn’t want you as a friend, I wouldn’t want to support you as an author—no matter how great your books are. I am not saying that authors should cater to their readers or ass kiss in any way. I just want them to respect us as readers.  Don’t act like an ass then expect us to put our hard earned money in your pockets by buying your books.

One of my biggest complaints is that some authors are putting out inferior books.  I have read a few authors who, when they started their books, were so good and original. Now it seems like they are more about quantity over quality. They are writing them so fast that they sometimes don’t seem to put all their efforts into making sure it is quality work. I don’t believe they mean to do this or that it is done in any way maliciously, but it is not to the standards of their other work. I know that everyone has off books and off days but, if I can’t distinguish between books other than the characters names, then there is probably something wrong with either me or the books.

I understand that for most authors, this is a learning experience and yes, you are going to make some mistakes along the way. Just remember, if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Be the bigger person, no matter how much it hurts. Call your best friend or burn voodoo dolls or do whatever will make you feel better but never ever insult the people who put money in your pocket. You may think we are all bat shit crazy and yep, some of us are. But we are also your fans. We are the people who will go to bat for you and still buy your books when you think they are crap. We tell our friends about how wonderful you were when we went to a signing; that you listened and were willing to answer questions about your books or characters. These are the things that will endear you to your fans. Remember, at some point, you might have thought I don’t want to write anymore but then you remembered I have someone out there who wants to read this book. We are those people. Respect us as readers and most of us will go to the ends of the earth for you.

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name ......

I know the title is ambiguous. I just want to be a little mysterious today. I am feeling sassy, can you tell? Today’s blog is about names. This is one that I think Mia Ashlinn should write but, alas, I am the one writing it.

Well, lots of things are in a name. The decision what to name a character is not a simple task. Many of you know that I beta read for Mia. We have discussed what a character’s name should be several times and at great length. There are so many things to consider when passing out names. It is as painful as naming your child. The only good thing is you don’t have to worry about crazed family member whining about naming the baby after someone.

Now, she has told me that sometimes the characters come already named. Does that sound weird? Well, it does to me and that is all that matters. Anyway, in the end, I have went through baby books by the dozens. I have a list and Mia has a list and, sometimes, we have to go through even more books to find just the right name. It has to fit the character and yet not be too common. For instance, how many times have you read the name Jack, Dylan, Ryan……you get my drift? I have nothing against those names but, if you read as much as I do, then sometimes you have trouble remembering which Jack belongs to what series. Now some are such strong characters that you have no trouble—think Sophie Oak’s Jack and Sam from the Texas Siren series. Not men you are likely to forget or, maybe, that is just me.

As much as you don’t want the name to be too common, you don’t want to go to other the extreme either. If it is hard for me to figure out how to pronounce a character’s name then it takes me out of the story as well. One example of this is Sherrilyn Kenyons’s Dark Hunters. It took me forever to figure our Acheron’s name and, when I met her, I realized I was saying it wrong all along. Not a deal breaker but still a bit annoying. If they are from a foreign country, I understand and I end up giving them a nickname in my head. Which brings me to another point.

I love nicknames for characters, especially if it is name given to them by someone special. I also like it when they have pet names. I will admit I give everyone a pet name. I am horrible with remembering names so I try and give them something that I might actually remember. I like it when a guy gives the woman a name that is special. I don’t even care if it is just Baby or Sweetie. It makes me think that by giving them a nickname, they are showing that she is special to them, that they don’t want to call her by a name that most people can use.
Still with the theme of exotic names the spelling of some of the most common names sometimes makes me think the characters owner (author) doesn’t know how to spell. I like a name like Caden that is spelled the Scottish way of Caedon but if someone spells it Kadin, it freaks me out a bit. The first time I usually think it is a typo till I figure out that they are just spelling it strange.

Now before you name a character you also have to make sure that it fits not just him but also his job. Does that sound stupid? No. Good. I think that a character’s job helps define them, so you don’t want someone who is a bull rider named Archibald. Or a ball busting woman named Willow. You want the name to be as strong as the character. 

Once you have a first name, you need a last name. This may be a bit harder than picking out the first name. First, you have to make sure that it would be a name you would find in the town that your characters are living in. If it is a big city, it is much easier. But if you are writing about a small town in the middle of nowhere then it will need a backstory if it is too unique. I grew up in that kind of town. Not a lot of say Russian names to be found in the phone book. So you have to make sure it fits. Now you also have to make sure that the first name and the last name sound good together. For instance, you don’t want a Richard Peters. Yes, I do know someone named that and there were a lot of Dick Peter jokes. You also have to make sure that when you are putting the names together, you stay away from names that sound like a movie star or a porn star.
So do you have issues with character names or am I the only one??

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

What BDSM Means To Me - Lexi Blake

I started reading romance again after a long period again a couple of years back. I was a housewife and had been since after the birth of my second baby. Ten years had past and I had read some off and on, but I hadn’t been the kind of reader I’d been in college. The truth was I allowed a lot of the people around to influence my reading tastes and I almost never talked about what I liked to read. I secretly wrote three romance novels over the course of those ten years, but if you had asked me back then, I would have told you I was a playwright and then I wrote a couple of comic books and then maybe if I got to know you very very well, I would mention the romances.
Don’t take it the wrong way. I also wouldn’t have talked about the fact that I watched every episode of Farscape, Star Trek and Buffy. I was educated in a gifted and talented program. They would have accepted the sci-fi, but not the romance. So I grew up pretending that I only read the classics.
Seriously, when I read Dickens or Austen, I wonder about how much better the books would be some hard core love scenes. But I never told anyone I thought that.
Flash forward to after my third child. I was thirty seven and I needed something different. I started reading again. I read Maya Banks’ Sweet Series, and a book called Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair and they talked about BDSM. Now, BDSM is about sex, right?
No. What I discovered was that BDSM was about choice. BDSM was about acceptance.
Every reader is going to find something different in a book. Anyone who has ever written a book and lovingly put it all together and presented it to the world and then made the horrible mistake of going out to Goodreads to check the progress of their baby has discovered this truth. Readers find their own truth in your book. You can put your heart into a story, but a reader doesn’t really care about what you meant to say. They care about what a book says to them. You could read these books and say Lexi, you’re crazy they mean something else. But those books gave me a glimpse of something inside me and that was the need to choose to be who I am and not who I thought I should be.
I began to research and found this whole weird world of people who just accepted themselves. I’m not saying that they’re aren’t douche bags in the lifestyle. Oh, no, they are totally there, but there are also people who I grew to love and respect and to learn from. My husband held my hand on this journey, each of finding an strength in questioning everything we knew before. In taking sex seriously for maybe the first time in what had been a fifteen year marriage. Not love. We had that down, but sex. I had to come to the conclusion that sex was important. He was really glad I figured that out by the way. Sex in a loving marriage is important and sacred and should be fun and we should laugh and try new things and I realized that my needs were important, too.
I hope I’m not giving you way too much information, but I think it’s important to explain why I write BDSM romance, why I believe so many people read them. Sure the sex scenes are hot, but at the heart of it is a woman’s journey.
Somewhere in all this research and in becoming fascinated with a lifestyle that seemed so foreign from the outset I learned a few things.  It made me think about the word discipline in a different light.
It was my father’s favorite word. Like really. He was a former drill sergeant. He loved discipline and I thought it was kind of awful.
Discipline in BDSM for most people means spanking and whips and floggers, but I saw something different. In a really great BDSM novel, the whips and chains are backdrops like a ranch is to a cowboy book. The heart of a truly great BDSM novel is real discipline and discipline is the act of getting what you want. Discipline is the act of figuring out the things you need in life and then not allowing life to dissuade you from the seeking of those goals.
A great BDSM heroine for me is a woman who learns to accept herself, her body, her sexuality, her desires not just for sex, but for life itself.
A great BDSM hero stands by that woman, giving her the support she needs as she finds herself, challenging her to be more than she thought she could be.

I don’t hesitate to tell people what I read anymore. And I watch a whole lot of Doctor Who, too. I write romance and I love my job. I’m proud of what I do in a way I wouldn’t have been at twenty. As my now friend Cherise Sinclair would say, This is who I am and I’m finally comfortable saying that.


You can find more about Lexi and her books at 

You can follow Lexi 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Who Are You?

You are singing that song now aren’t you? My evil plan has worked. Mwahahahahahaha! Now back to the regularly scheduled blog about pen names. You had no idea what I was going to talk about from the title did you? I hope not because I like to keep you guessing.

So moving on to the topic of pen names.

I understand the reason authors use pen names. I always feel like they should have a cape or secret powers to go with that name. I guess they do really. They do have the power to take me away to another time or place. Now there is a multitude of reasons they have pen names but the one I hear the most is that they want to keep their public life separate from their private life. They are smart to do that because there are some people who shall remain nameless (Luna) that are stalkers.  I, however, am a dedicated follower (yes, I totally stole that Luna).

Why keep their private life separate, you ask? For a variety of reasons. Let’s face it. If you read or write erotic fiction, you are somewhat thought of as perverted. I wear that badge proudly but for someone with a judgmental family, it is harder. They have to keep it a secret because of their children as well. Either so the kids won’t know because they are too young or they don’t want them to be ostracized at school.

They, also, use pen names to try out different genres. At first, I had no idea what they were talking about. But as I talked to more and more authors, I learned lots of new stuff about them. Most authors work really hard on creating a name for themselves and, if they try a new genre, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily fail but it is not the raging success that their first pen name reached. They are usually still proud of the work, but they don’t want that name to tarnish the successful one. 

Another reason I have heard is that if the genres are different then chances are the readers are as well. I have no idea what that is about because, even though I am not a huge fan of some genres, I know that if one of my favorite authors is writing a book in a different  genre then I want to at least try it. I have yet to find a book by one of my favorites that I didn’t like because of the genre. But anyway, let’s get back to the reason they use a different name for each genre. It is so that the readers are not confused by the books and can easily find the genre they want to read.

Another reason authors use multiple pen names is because they are writing for different publishers. This is probably the most popular reason. Publishers are picky about their authors. Sometimes they own an author’s pen name and, for that reason, the author cannot use that name for a different publisher.  Why do authors use different publishers? Sometimes it is because their contracts say they can only submit a certain number of books a year but the author can write more than that number. So why just submit to one publisher? I almost went off track right there when I put the word submit because all the sudden I heard a whip in the back ground. All right, I did go off the rails, but I am back on them now.  Authors need to make a living, too. If a publisher limits the number of books they can submit then that is cutting into the living of the author. I understand this is one of the biggest reasons that authors use the pen name. I don’t blame them for this one because, if an author is selling, why would you want to limit the number of books they produce? Sorry, another blog topic for another time.

The only drawback I can see for an author using a pen name is all the extra work it must create for them to do promo and whatnot for more than one name. I am sure, if they have to keep the names secret, it must also be quite the hardship because most authors are yappy or the ones I have met (and you know who you are—Mia and several others). For readers, it is a little different. Sometimes when authors use different pen names, if I don’t talk to them a lot, then I have no idea that my book collections are incomplete. I tend to collect authors and not series or genres. So I want every book they have ever written.  
So do you like pen names or do they annoy you?

Sinfully Sarcastic,