Monthly Archives: June 2012
Next week, Fire Kissed, book one in my new Shadow Kissed series, releases. I’m excited that the day is almost here… and I can’t quite believe it either. My blog tour got started yesterday at Vampire Book Club. You can check out the rest of my blog tour on my site.
The world is growing dark with it as mysteries from antiquity and legend creep into our time, bringing a new world of danger, beauty and…
Dr. Cam Kalamos has dedicated his life to studying its strange properties, but nothing is more intriguing than a woman whose soul is split in half, one part under her control, one part bent on…
How can he resist the lure of a lover with no inhibitions and an insatiable desire to possess him? Both Ellie and her shadow want Cam, but there is an innocent child to be rescued from the forest and the strange fae creatures of…
Love, loyalty, betrayal – which will rule? As Ellie sends her other self into the darkness, there is only one certainty: Trusting in shadows is a dangerous game.
Which language do you speak? I’m talking about Love Language. This is the notion that everyone experiences feeling loved and appreciated in different ways – but that those ways could be slotted into one of five bins. The original concept was published in a book called The 5 Love Languages. In brief, the languages are catagorized as:
- Quality Time – people here feel most loved when a partner focuses time and attention.
- Gifts – people in this bin feel loved when a partner offers gifts.
- Words of Affirmation or Affection – these people need verbal praise in order to feel loved and appreciated.
- Physical Touch – this group requires physical affection before they feel loved
- Acts of Service – Acts of Service people feel loved when someone performs a service for them – this could be a chore, or something as simple as making tea, but if there’s any hint of martyrdom in the loved one performing the service, it won’t count.
You can tell which type you are by how you approach your loved ones. The way in which you express your affection is most likely to be the way in which you would like to have affection expressed TO you. It’s likely that if you trace back through your life, you’ll find that your template for expressing and experiencing love was laid down in childhood. For the record, I’m a combination of Quality Time and Acts of Service – these were the ways my birth family handled relationships.
My husband is distinctly a Words of Affirmation or Affection person. Guess what I’m bad at doing? Yeah, that would be coming up with some sunshiny thing to say to anybody – not just him. Guess what he loathes doing. That’s right. Anything on earth that smacks of ‘chore’. His notion of quality time never ever involves hanging out with me, chatting, while we polish the miles of rusting stainless steel on the boat.
Of course neither of us is wrong. We each simply have different needs. The hard part is learning a partner’s love language when that language isn’t your own.
It’s interesting stuff and I rarely see it used in romance novels as a device to heighten conflict. I include my own books in that summation. Maybe because when we live with someone who has a different love language in real life, we want our characters to have it a bit easier than we do. Except, that isn’t really our jobs as writers. We’re supposed to make things hard on characters.
Yes, some days, I do wonder how people speaking different love languages ever manage to get together, date, fall in love, get and then stay married. But it happens. Often enough that someone could write a book that became a self-help best seller.
Interested in which language you speak? There’s a super-short online quiz for that.
I think it’s the attraction of the anti-hero. I mean, a vampire is a clear anti-hero. He lives by his own rules, he kills when necessary (and his idea of ‘necessary’ might be different from ours,) and he often has little interest in humanity. But there is something in us, in our deep down romantic selves that wants to save the bad guy from himself. To be the one who sees the good and somehow makes the hero see the good in himself.
Don’t believe me?
Well now. Let me ask you this. Have you seen Phantom of the Opera? If so…didn’t you root for the Phantom? Just a little? Yeah, he was murderous and probably insane. But there was something so dangerous and sexy about him. Could the right woman save him?
Or, who was sexier—good Angel or bad Angel? (Yes, we’re going back to Buffy and Angel times here). But really. Good Angel was sad, brooding, and even full of self-hatred. Bad Angel was, well, funny. Sarcastic, dangerous, and sexy as hell. He knew what he wanted and he went out to get it. Yeah, he had to go. But while he was around, the show was at its best.
If you were living in Star Wars times…who would you choose? Hans Solo or Luke Skywalker? Luke was a good guy—honorable—selfless—sacrificing. Hans wasn’t. Yet when it comes to sexiness, there’s no comparison. Why is that? It’s because an anti-hero is the ultimate bad boy. And we romantics sure like the bad boys, don’t we?
How about a bad boy with a gun? If you haven’t seen Timothy Olyphant in Justified yet, you really must. He’s a U.S. Marshal who shoots a lot of people in ‘justified’ situations. Yeah, he makes his own situations.
Rick Blain in Casablanca is often hailed as an anti-hero. Sure, he’s selfish, sarcastic and rude. But he’s revealed as a classic bad boy with a heart of gold. Who makes the ultimate sacrifice for good.
So what is it about the bad boy? He breaks the law, he makes his own laws, he even disregards the law. But…when he loves…he does so completely. The bad guy, the anti-hero, when he falls in love, his incredible power is focused completely and absolutely on that one woman. Her safety, her happiness, becomes his goal.
Now that’s sexy.
I missed my last post. I wish I had a valid reason, like I suddenly won the lottery and was busy collecting my winnings. Or I was in the middle of writing one of the longest, hottest love scenes of all time. Or that I was stuck on a deserted island with Joe Manganiello.
But I wasn’t. Sadly enough. I just forgot all about it. I didn’t even remember about my blog day until the day after. Talk about a cringe-worth moment. Eh.
So what am I going to blog about today? Magic Mike. If you haven’t seen the trailer for this movie, you must. Right now. I’ve watched the “safe for television” trailer several times, but it’s the red band trailer that left me speechless. Seriously. Google it if you haven’t seen it yet. At about 44 seconds in you’ll see why I was dumbfounded and determined to watch this movie.
It releases next weekend and I foresee millions of women stampeding to the theaters. I plan to be one of them. But that isn’t all the naked skin I’ll be seeing. Next Saturday I’ll be headed to New Orleans for a burlesque show. It’s for research. Honest. But it means I’ll have a whole weekend planned of people taking off their clothes. Ah, the life of an erotic romance writer. It’s such a hard job.
So are you planning to see Magic Mike?
Let me start this post by saying I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. I have a to-be-read pile that’d make your head spin. (Being unable to read while I write helps that stack grow to insurmountable heights.) BUT even if I didn’t have a bookshelf full of “unreads”, I don’t think I’d give the novels a shot. Let me tell ya why.
1-People either love them or hate them. My beta-reader called me one day screaming about these books. “Move them up in line!” she said. “Read them before the others I gave you!” (Those “others” would be The DaVinci Code and Nora Robert’s Chesapeake Bay seres.) Yet, when I went to spin class last night, the entire class was hashing over their hate of the books. To my surprise, they didn’t *not* like them because they were “smut” (which I was totally expecting), but because they felt like they were waiting for something “magical” to happen. They were waiting for the plot to wrench directions. They were waiting to be excited in something other than the sex scenes. And that waiting never paid off. Being a plot-driven writer and reader, I simply don’t think it’d be my cup of tea.
2-I didn’t care much for The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty written by Anne Rice as A.N. Roquelaure, when she ventured into BDSM and hard core erotica. (Aside: Have you seen what the Shades Trilogy has done for those books? They were off-the-grid until the release. As of right now they’re #75 in erotica on Amazon and holding strong.) Although I like the dynamic of a knowledgeable, powerful hero bedding an innocent, gentle heroine (and teaching her things she didn’t realize she’d enjoy), it didn’t pay off for me when Anne Rice ventured there and she’s a wicked storyteller!
3-It’s fanfiction of Twilight. While I’m all for anything that gets someone writing and furthering the creative process, I’m personally not a fan of reading books based on other books. Well, okay, I *might* give Harry Potter fanfiction a shot. But Twilight? A book that didn’t really get my goat in the first place? It rubs me all shades of wrong. Heh.
4-I’m not up on trends. Ever. I didn’t like Uggs until they were fading out of style. (I still wear mine every winter.) I tend to dislike music until it’s “old” and off the radio. Hell, I couldn’t appreciate Metallica until twenty years later. I didn’t read Twilight until some of the buzz died down. And instead of letting myself get carried away in all the hype, I tend to be cynical, looking for ways it doesn’t measure up to the standard I’ve built in my head. No, I like figuring things out for myself. I like making my own decision about something being cute, or smooth-sounding, or good reading.
I may read Fifty Shades eventually. I may pick it up years down the road when no one is talking about it anymore. (Hunger Games is still on my shelf, waiting to be picked up.) But for now, I’ll settle for reading my “must reads”. (I’ve got Monica McCarty’s The Saint and Lauren Kate’s Rapture on my lap, *waiting* to be devoured!)
What about you? Did you read the books? Did you love them? Go on. Tell me what I’m mising out. Convince me I should read them. Or are you like me, leaving Shades on the shelf until the dust accumulates and it’s too much to bear?
I love readers’ conferences and a couple of weeks ago I got to attend a fantastic one. It’s called Arizona Dreamin’ and you can find out about next year here.
This year was my second year (and the second year of the con). Next year will run two days to this year’s one and a bit, so I know there will be more activities, but I don’t know what they are. This year there was a meet-and-greet party, speed dating authors, a romance model contest, a dinner hosted by the authors, and my favorite… the bookclubs.
Each bookclub is hosted by an author, who spotlights their books over a half hour. Several bookclubs go on simultaneously and when I wasn’t hosting, I was attending. Authors get to plan what happens during their bookclub—games, a reading, giveaways. But that’s not all there is to it. See, I’m a reader too, and I have been longer than I’ve been a writer. So to get together and gab about books in a really laid back setting was wonderful. It was intimate, hilarious, naughty, and I came away with tons of friends. In fact, after the last bookclub of the night, a bunch of us ran over to see Snow White and the Huntsman.
I owe a special thanks to Jessica Jordan, Karen McCoy, Heather Lire, and Melanie Sands for their wonderful support and help. I’d had surgery the week before the con and was a little wobbly. They got me thru (propped me upright). We gabbed too much, laughed a lot, and I can’t wait for next year.
I was eight. Maybe nine. We had our thirteen year old baby sitter, her ten year old sister, my six or seven year old sister and me. We were in a pitch black, windowless basement that was used to house storage units for the apartments above. There was a bucket of water and a flashlight. A weak, batteries about dead, flashlight.
Look into the reflective surface (mirrors are best, but water works, too), the eldest said. Say the name three times and you’ll see Bloody Mary’s face. She’ll come out of the mirror, or the water, to get you. If she does, you die. Cut to four girls running, shrieking from the basement. For all I know, that bucket of water and Bloody Mary are still down there. I didn’t go back.
And we called this a ‘game’?
Recently, a band I’m fond of, The Silversun Pickups, released a single called “Bloody Mary”. In an interview, one of the band members said he’d written the song after he and some friends were sitting around talking about the games they’d played as kids. One friend lived life in fear because things weren’t right at home. This person was too busy surviving to get to play any of those games. The song came from that conversation. Here’s the actual article if you’re curious. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=25884
Here’s the song, too (note you do have to endure a brief commercial first):
It was the song that got me thinking about the games we played as kids. Remind me again what the point was of scaring the crap out of ourselves? I mean, it wasn’t just Bloody Mary. It was the ghost stories at every sleepover and around every possible camp fire. There must be a psychological point to that behavior, but I cannot for the life of me look back and figure out what it was.
Because let’s face it. That stuff stays with you. You *know* Bloody Mary is just a kid’s game. Nothing’s coming out of the mirror to get you. Ha ha. Such silly notions. Yet, when you get up to pee in the middle of the night, do you keep your gaze averted from the mirror?? *I* do. To this day.
It’s raining here in the Pac NW – like crazy. So, besides writing, we’ve taken in a few movies lately. I just went to Snow White and the Huntsman, and I enjoyed it. Okay, I really enjoyed watching Chris Hemsworth in down and dirty warrior mode. And Charlize Theron was amazing as the villain. There’s nothing I love more than a good villain—well, except for a down and dirty hero.
But I did get to thinking…how has this story survived for so long? The original Snow White was a German fairy tale from the early 1800s! And yet, it’s on the silver screen yet again. Is it the symbolism? The red of blood and the white purity of snow? Or is it the everlasting theme of good vs. evil? Or is it the hero/heroine’s quest?
Maybe it’s all of the above. You have large themes, horrible consequences if things go wrong…and hope. And, good wins over evil.
I mean, really. What more could we want?