Monthly Archives: May 2013

Shape Shifting Loner

black-pantherI’ve never really been into the whole werewolf thing. Several authors do excellent work in their stories, but I know a little too much, maybe about the social structure of the wolf pack to want to join their numbers.

Life is fine if you’re an Alpha. Pretty much the same way that any period in history is great – if you’re rich. But if you’re not, if you haunt the lower strata of the social construct, life isn’t much fun. This is all my way of saying I’m not very good at the social contract stuff.

Thus, my creature of choice is  the black jaguar. If I can’t have ALL the critters of the sea, earth and sky at my shape shifting beck and call, I want to be a melanistic jaguar.

These big cats are loners. They’re silent when they move. They’re invisible, and they’re deadly hunters. They’re afraid of nothing. And just look at that cat. Why wouldn’t I want to be something gorgeous and almost supernaturally graceful? Gods know grace isn’t something I’ve got going on in spades in *this* body. I’d be all about the novelty.

The jaguar range is amid the forests of South American and Central America. When the United States was a younger country (but not by much) jaguars ranged into the southern US. My mother remembers jaguars calling in the forests outside her Arkansas home when she and her sisters were kids. She says they sounded like women screaming. And every time the girls heard that sound while they were out on the sleeping porch, they raced as one back into the inside of the house.

It’s probably small of me to want to inspire that kind of awe and terror. The only other shape shifting thought I had was even more terrifying.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASmilodon populator. These animals ranged from 450lbs to nearly 900lbs. While Smilodon species are a part of the felidae family, they are only very distantly related to modern cats – they occupied a separate branch on the family tree, but they, too, seemed to have been excellent predators. For all that they’ve gone extinct…

Do you suppose my interest in being something huge and powerful reflects some weird Napoleonic complex?

On one hand it would be fascinating to be so unique a creature – million year old throwback the modern world isn’t equipped to handle. On the other hand, I’d be the only one of my kind and that would be sad. And lonely.

Can you imagine the kind of hunting territory a critter this size would require? And as a matter of curiosity, is there anyone out there who aspires to shape shift into something tiny so she could spy??

I Have Anger Issues (And Other Reasons I’d Be an Orca)

Sporty womanToday’s lovely MANhandler photo comes from a secret photo donor who sent me this file as a little “thank you” for the happy hormones the MANhandler posts generate. Way to go, girl. You and I are TIGHT! Great (okay, simple) minds and all that. Enjoy!

I was looking around my room today and realized my furniture is black, my bedding is white, my walls are sort of a silvery blue, the floors are dark and my accent colors are deep blues. I think my goal was a spa-like feel when I started re-doing my room. What I ended up with was an underwater haven. It’s appropriate given today’s topic. If I could be any shifter in the world, I’d be an orca.

DSCN0523Orcas are the supreme beings in the sea, with no known predators except man. And put an orca and a man in the water in a fair fight? I’ll tell you who my money’s on. Every. Single. Time. I want to know what it feels like to swim fast and free, to jump and play and scratch  my belly on the sand. I want to feel the cold arctic waters and then move south along the coast of California and experience it all. I want to toy with tourists and splash the hell out of them with my tail. I want to blow total blowhole breath on them and watch them gag. (Trust me on this. Whale breath = HOLY HELL) I want to see the pure wonder in a woman’s eyes when she looks at me and is so moved by the power of nature she can’t breathe. I’ve been this woman and want to be on the receiving end of that absolute awe. But most of all? I want to be part of a pod of matriarchs, communicating through clicks and pings, moving as a unit and watching each others’ backs. I want that experience, and I want it badly.

brownlayNow, if we’re going to open the whole world up, I’m going to amend my choice. I’d want to be a dragon because, hello? DRAGON. Fast, sexy, free to fly and dive and spin, unstoppable, magnificent, scary as hell. Yeah, a dragon.

It seems I’d take to the sea or the air, forgoing the land I’m bound to now. Interesting, as I think about it. Both of my choices are top-of-the-food-chain killers. Clearly I could have chosen a chinchilla, but I didn’t. I went for guts (my prey’s) and glory (MINE, ALL MINE!). I seem to have some rage issues to work out.

What would you be if the world was laid at your feet and you could be anything you wanted to be?

I Want It All

If I could be a shifter, what would I be?

I want it all, the whole shifter experience. Like Sam Merlotte in True Blood, able to turn into any animal he can visualize.

Sam Merlotte
Sam Merlotte Pictures

Every fantasy made manifest.

Fly like a bird.


Run as fast as a cheetah.


Swim with the dolphins.

dolphins 002

Hunt with a wolf.

Gray Wolf in Snow

The idea makes me greedy, hungry to taste the whole of what the earth has to offer–experiences that humans either don’t see or use technology to access. But let’s face it, flying in a metal plane couldn’t possibly come close to catching a wind current in your feathers.

Yes, I want it all. What about you?  Could you pick just one?

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Lora Leigh…

Lora Leigh.

For those of you who love erotic romances and romantic suspense, you’ll probably know who I am talking about. I started my erotic romance writing career cutting my teeth on reading every book that came out by Lora Leigh.

Her books (and a few other pioneering Ellora’s Cave authors) inspired me to write erotic romances. Lora Leigh’s books introduced me to daring ménages and adult toys. She made me fall in love with hot, sexy, heroes and strong yet vulnerable heroines. When I first read her “August” trilogy – Marly’s Choice, Sarah’s Seduction, and Heather’s Gift (Ellora’s Cave) I was soooooo hooked I couldn’t think straight. Instinctively I knew these were the types of books I wanted to write. Her stories were unique and they affected me physically. They aroused me, seduced me and teased me into reading more and more from her.

marly's choice

sarah's seduction

heather's gift

As she wrote more stories, I became a ferocious Lora Leigh reader. Harmony’s Way, Submission, Seduction, Wicked Sacrifice to name a few.

Hers are the types of books I ache to write. I aspire to be like Lora Leigh. I doubt I will ever be as good a creator as she is, but if I can come close, I will have achieved a cherished dream. Lora Leigh is the author I want to write like and if I ever get a chance to meet her or have the luck to work with her some day, I will have experienced another passionate dream and I will die with a smile on my face. *grin*

Here are some more stories by Lora Leigh.


Happy Reading!


The Eddings Effect

Just before my 13th birthday my parents moved house, which involved me changing schools. The new school was bigger than my previous and had two advantages – the first being it was mixed sex, and the second being the student-run library. I signed up to be a library almost immediately. I got a shiny badge and access to a roomful of books. If heaven’s not like that, then I don’t want in.

pawnprophecyMy librarian duties meant spending my lunch hour tidying and organising books, after which I could do whatever. I usually sat down in a corner with my packed lunch and a Sweet Valley High story. I could polish off both in about half an hour. I read everything in that library, but what I loved more than anything else was The Belgariad series by David Eddings.

Many, many years on and I still love the fantastic world Eddings created. Somewhere in my house is the book he wrote about doing that, which contains advice to aspiring authors. I bought it because I wanted to write something as epic, with princesses and knights and dragons. The first fiction I wrote, at about 15 was about a princess. I never finished that novel, never mind a stack of them.

Though I’m perfectly happy being a science fiction author now, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am had I not read The Belgariad and its sequel series The Mallorean. That desire to write something as epic, as in the vein of Tolkien only with less death, is the bedrock of who I am as an author.

Dreaming of the Breakout…

indoor plants

Sorry for the late post today. Frankly, the weather’s been so nice, after being crappy for so long, my head is full of gardening and birdsong LOL! Thank goodness for auto-reminders, although I only just saw that too, having already been out with the dog and having drank a cup of tea sitting on the patio. Here’s just a little of what I did yesterday, after a trip to the plant store. So lovely to be in an apartment with good light again, and have plants indoors!

So, to get to the question of which author I’d like to be, well, that’s an interesting one. There are so many authors whose work I love and admire, some of whom have already been mentioned by others here, but there really isn’t any one I’d truly want to be, because then I couldn’t be me, and I’ve grown quite fond of my strange, quirky self (and it’s about damn time too, after all these years!). What I’d really love, though, are some of the attributes of other authors, kind of smooshed to fit my personality and voice.

I want the imaginations of Stephen King and Charles de Lint (to name just two of many!), the prolific abilities and business acumen of Nora Roberts or Maya Banks, the opportunity to write books that become classics, like JRR Tolkien–you know, stuff like that. But really, what I secretly dream of–although it won’t be a secret anymore after this–is the ability to create and sustain a character people come to love, like John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport in the Prey series. I love how Sandford makes the setting and people come alive, how Lucas has remained recognizable throughout the series but has also grown and changed, just like people really do. If you read the first book in the series and then read the last, it would be like seeing someone you haven’t seen in years but instantly recognize because they were memorable and, although time has brought changes, they’re still the same person. Another character like that is Harry Bosch, created by Michael Connolly, and yet another is Jack Reacher, in Lee Child’s immensely popular series.

Of course, characters like that are generally more suited for genres other than romance, but Nora Roberts did the same thing with her In Death stories, embraced wholeheartedly by romance readers, so there’s still hope for me! I’ll just keep plugging along here, hoping for the day a character rises up and says, “You know, I could be a series…” *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

What are your favorite characters that have stood the test of time, and what is it you love about them?

Journeys Through Seduction

Anya Richards/Anya Delvay books available from Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters Indigo.

Following the King

Becoming a writer isn’t easy. SURPRISE!!! I know you’re stunned. I was!

Reading is so simple, so wonderful, so engrossing, that I thought writing should be exactly the same. I should be able to lose myself in the world I created just as easily as I do those of my favorite authors. BUT, it doesn’t work that way. Writing isn’t just fun. It’s honest-to-god, back breaking, agonizing, sweat inducing WORK.

Finding the perfect words are hard. Creating the right characters is tough. Building a story is like building a multi-trillion dollar skyscraper–screw up your inner structure, and it’s going to come tumbling down like Jenga blocks.

When it comes to who my writing idols are, I wish I could make it look as easy as they do.

Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Catherine Coulter, Susan Donovan, all these women create stories that read so easily! They’re my favorite books to read, they’re fun, full of love, life and laughter.

But my all-time idol, the man who has inspired me over and over again since I was just a teenager, is the master of horror himself.

Stephen King got me interested in books other than my usual fare. Someone gave my grandmother a big box of books, and she gave them to me one day when I was staying with her for the weekend. There were lots of different genres in there–thrillers, contemporary novels, love stories. But the book that kept sticking out to me was DOLORES CLAIBORNE.

I read the first page countless times. The whole story was narrated! It was in first person! The story was told so deeply from her point of view, because she was telling the story as she remembered it. It was odd. Frightening at first, a little off-putting. But eventually, I got it. I realized how I was supposed to read it. And since that day, I’ve read that book a billion times. I worked my way through some of his other classics. CARRIE, PET SEMATARY, THE GREEN MILE, and MISERY, to name a few. God, I loved MISERY.


His book ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT inspired me to write my first mainstream novel (as Gina Lamm). And since then, his advice to write what you love, not what you know, has permeated my books, making them (I hope) much more driven and appealing.

So yeah. Stephen King is my writing idol. He writes 2,000 words a day, every day, no matter what. I need that kind of drive, that kind of persistence. And I know I can do it. He’s my inspiration.

Who’s yours?

Who I Wish I Could Be

Brace yourselves. I usually whine about how hard it is to answer some of the topic questions, right? Not this week.

Which writer in all the world did I secretly (or not so secretly) wish I could be? Easy. Andre Norton.

There are books by other authors that I wished I’d written. Several of Robin McKinley’s books fit that bill. So do some of Anne McCaffrey’s and Charles de Lint’s. And while I admire all kinds of writers and envy the ever-living heck out of their writing skill, Andre Norton is the one author I wanted to be. To this day, I still have this tiny voice in the back of my head urging me to live up to her example.

51-PycaTtxL__AA160_Andre Norton began publishing in the 1930s. At first, it was YA adventure and even a few westerns. But when that upstart, hack genre, science fiction, got started, she jumped in with both feet. She wrote and published over 70 years. By the time of her death in 2005, she had over 300 works published. SFWA inducted her into their hall of fame. She was awarded Grand Master of SF in 1983. in 1998, she won the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. All great stuff to aspire to.

Those are all the impressive, but ultimately dry facts about a woman whose books affected me deeply growing up. I suspect most of us remember being lonely from time to time. Especially as kids. Maybe the fact that I was born a complete and hopeless geek in a time before anyone even had a word for what was ‘wrong’ with me made it worse. But it was pretty common for the other kids to ditch me so they could go do whatever they were going to do without the odd duck in their midst. Yeah, yeah, here! A tiny violin. Let me play you the whining song of my people. It retrospect, it was a good thing. Turns out the neighborhood kids were larcenous. I grew up without a police record. And when I got left behind, I made up stories that occasionally involved their messy deaths.

Then one day, when it was my cousins and sister who ditched me, my aunt Betty pulled out a box of well loved paperback books. All by Andre Norton. She handed them to me. I started reading. And suddenly, I was reading stories about strong, determined women – often isolated, sometimes the last of their kind – always people who don’t belong anywhere, but who manage to carve out a sense of purpose and belonging.

I want to have the longevity in publishing and the story-telling skill that she had. I’d really like to be as prolific, but I have a long way to go on that. But most of all, I want my stories and my characters to have the kind of impact on someone that hers have had on me.

I’ve given up wanting to be Andre Norton. I’m happy being me and writing the stories I’m driven to write, but everything I write – maybe the fat that I write at all – is due to that first, dusty box of books that made me realize that strength doesn’t often come from running with the crowd, but in going it alone on your own path.

Muppet-flailing, Fangirling and Restraining Orders

Alright, my fellow MANhandlers. I searched through many files to bring you this week’s delightful pic. Too delish.

This blog cycle, we’re talking about the author we’ve always wanted to be. This is a hard one for me because there are a so many authors I I seriously admire. Picking one would be like trying to pick my favorite MANhandler pic. Can’t I just love them all? Okay, okay. Let me think…

It’s no secret that I love Diana Gabaldon with a crazy passion that probably alarmed her a little the first time I met her. I’m 6’1″ and a naturally exuberant person. She’s probably 5’3″ and incredibly soft-spoken and even a bit reserved. It’s impossible to be as tall as I am and not feel like I’m looming over such petite people. And then, when the conference coordinators have her seated to meet her fans, I have to either bend over to shake her hand or kneel in front of her. Of course I knelt. What did security think would happen? Yeesh. Anyway, Diana’s literary voice is rich and varied, and I’ve coveted the almost melodic “sound” of her storytelling since I read the first page of Outlander. I’d love to create the passion in readers that she’s cultivated over the last twenty years. I’d also like to find myself still writing after that long. Above all, I’d like to look back over the stories that will create my legacy and know I touched readers, gave them respite from the world’s demands if only for a while and helped them fall in love with my characters the way I have.

Another un-secret is my passion for absolutely anything written by Larissa Ione. When we started chatting on social media and privately, there was some very private Muppet-flailing and a few total fangirl moments. When she first emailed me? I may or may not have screamed, depending on your definition of “scream.” She’s been amazing to me, and I want to do the same for other authors who are finding their way through the difficult world of publishing. But back to the point of this paragraph — I’ve found that, the more I write, the harder it is for me to read. I can’t turn off my internal editor. It seems like I’m always rearranging scenes, catching typos, counting the “to be” verbs — all the things we authors aren’t supposed to do if we want to find success. With Larissa’s books, I get sucked into the vibrant world, the relationships, the (hawt) sex, the storylines. I admire her ability to write such clean, crisp stories. Her creativity is off the charts. The way she crafts her worlds and scenes engage every one of the readers senses. That, that, is what I want to look back and know I’ve done.

Finally? I have to be very frank and admit that I want to be me. What I spend my days doing is a total dream come true. There’s no way to describe the feeling of getting that first contract, landing a superstar agent, having your editor call you (insert your definition of “spastic” here), or finding out your book received an awesome review from Romantic Times magazine. All of these things and more have come to mean more to me than I can explain. I love what I do. I’m passionate about it. It’s everything I ever dreamed it would be. It’s also infinitely more difficult, unbelievably frustrating, guaranteed tear-inducing at times and worth every damn minute.

There’s no one author I want to be, but the two listed above are people whose talent, compassion and magic I admire and aspire to. If I could mash their skill together and mix it in a potion, I’d drink it right down. At the very least, I’d end up with a restraining order. At best? I’d be everything I want to be. Instead of scaring these two lovely ladies, I think I’ll just bust my ass and do my best to follow in their footsteps. It might take longer, but it’s the only way I want to get there. Plus I don’t have bail money.  😀

Who are the authors that inspire you? If you could be any author in the world for a day and experience what it’s like to have their skill, who would it be?

What Author Do I Want to Be? I’ve Got To Be Me

The topic of the next two weeks is:  Which author did you or do you secretly want to be and why?
Whether its arrogance, stubbornness or plain stupidity, I don’t have any particular desire to be another author. There are certainly other writers I like and learn from, but that’s a far cry from wanting to be them. For my own sanity, I focus on being the best I can be.  A little envy is good to get the fire ignited under one’s butt, but too much is paralyzing. My life has taken its own unique turns and twists, so at this point I’ll stick with Sammy Davis Jr’s version of life and belt out my answer: “I’ve got to be me, I’ve got to be me, who else can I be but what I am?”

Sammy Davis 1956

I want my own style, my own voice, my own way of doing things. You may have gathered by now I’m not all that much of a joiner. I think that’s our role as writers, to share things in our own perspective of universal truths, packaged up in hopefully emotionally satisfying and well written prose, and some laughter and satisfaction along the way. Sure, I’d like J.K. Rowling’s fan base (and bank account) but really, that’s about as far as that goes.

Rather than selecting another writers,  I’ll list things I  wish I had done:

1) I wish I had started writing earlier, by that I mean actually finishing something. I’ve started and stopped so many times, throughout the years.  As I am by nature a glass-half-full kind a gal, I am just glad that I started.
2) I wish I had believed in myself and my potential more, rather than spent my life trying to please others (and this may explain number one).  But I do now, so I am running with it.
If instead of sitting around, wishing you were (fill in author), why don’t you wonder over to a blank page, write all over it and enjoy being you. We already have (fill in author), we need you.
When all is said and done, in the end, we walk our own paths, so I just embrace that reality, sit down at my computer and keep writing. Some days its sprint, others a jog, and others I go backwards. But its mine and I’ve gotta be me.  And I’ve got a new book coming soon.  Ain’t he beautiful?nextmove_msr
What are things you wished you’d done but didn’t and what are you doing about it now?

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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