Sunday, September 24, 2006

Taking a breather...

The picture's of me at Borders Express in Elyria, Ohio, while I was up there last month to sign books and meet my editor from Down Under. Seems I've been in Ohio and Michigan a lot this year, and I'm going back again Oct. 28 to Melissa's wonderful store, Paperbacks & Things in Westland, Michigan.

Meanwhile, I plug along, writing and dealing with family, not always in that order! Today has been a down-day, doing not much of anything but puttering around the house, playing with the kid and the cat...and trying to figure out myspace graphics. Gave up on that after a few minutes, after reinforcing my belief that technology was invented to make me feel incredibly stupid! One of my sons says he'll pretty up my page this week...he's good at that sort of thing, and at web design as well.

I'm working on d'Argent Honor 3: Eternal Surrender, hoping Sam Quill's a strong enough Dom to master his vampire lover...and that he won't be too angry when he wakens after saving her from a would-be vampire killer...only to find he's now a fledgling vampire, too. How will he cope, being consort to a vampire queen? And how will Alina reconcile her duty to lead her clan with her need to be Sam's loving, obedient slave?

If any of you have any ideas about how you'd like for these dilemmas to resolve, feel free to let me know. Years ago I was part of a group where we'd meet and "bounce" ideas off each other. Those sessions were invaluable--I wish we still had time to do them, but success and family obligations have intervened with all of us, so I have to work out questions on my own...unless somebody comes up with help!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Camille...

Your loving readers and fellow authors have so far amassed all but the last $1,500 or so we need to purchase the $5,495 machine that will let you keep on breathing--something that's very important to us, and I'm sure to you as well!

To all my friends: is going great guns, but the fund can use everybody's help. Every $5 or $10 donation adds up and brings us closer to the goal of purchasing this Inogen oxygen generating machine that can mean the difference for Camille Anthony between life and death. Let's get busy and help her so she can keep bringing us all more of her wonderful stories...and the smiles and friendship that mean more than words can say!

I'm going over to now and putting in the few dollars I might otherwise be spending this weekend while I'm in Akron for two EC booksignings on trinkets for my kids that would only clutter their rooms and make more work for me, LOL. My college boy, Jerald, has also asked me to hold back a few bucks from his allowance and use it to feed the "kitty"-- he met Camille and her teeenage twins in Baltimore last year, and it really got to him to find out she is so ill.

Hey, have I talked you into giving yet? I hope so, because I don't know of any worthier cause!

Thanks in advance, and drop over again for an update on how is progressing toward its goal of getting Camille Anthony the life-giving equipment and supplies she needs!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Help the Quiet Kitty…

I’ve heard it over the years, but this particular situation has brought the issue home for me. Authors, unless they’re covered by spouses or through SDJs (stupid day jobs), generally have little or no health insurance. Why? Because most authors, unless they’re Dan Brown or Nora Roberts types, don’t make enough money to pay astronomical premiums for individual policies—and none of the writer groups I belong to (Authors Guild, RWA, and NINC) has been able to get or keep group insurance policies even WITH astronomical premiums.

The reason for this is that most authors who need health insurance fall into a pool of undesirable insureds: middle-aged, female, with greater than average medical problems. Therefore, companies drop the groups like hot potatoes whenever the contracts come up for renewal, everywhere except in one or two states whose laws make it difficult or impossible to cancel group health policies.

Come on. Imagine a single mom, two teenage kids, who has suddenly become disabled. It’s taken her six months to get approved for social security disability, which in her state makes her total earnings about $100 per month too high for her to qualify for SSI benefits or Medicaid. Medicare doesn’t kick in until two years after she’s been on social security. But she has to have expensive treatment, on an ongoing basis, or she DIES. One piece of durable medical equipment she must have costs $5,500, although we’ve been able to locate one supplier who will give her a substantial discount.

This author is being inundated with bills and hounded by collection agencies, but still she can greet you with a smile, offer wisecracks when others might be dissolving into depression or hysteria or both. She still cares enough to offer her time and skill to help other authors. Most important, this amazing woman has stories in her head that she wants and needs to write.
I want to help her cope, make it possible for her to function without the daily intrusion of collectors, the constant worry that the treatments that keep her going will be terminated once those bills get too high. And I want you to help, as little or as much as you can afford. Visit for more information, and to learn how to contribute via Paypal or your personal check.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I was just thinking, as I sent edits back on this upcoming book, about how many times I've gone back to visit Dani and Brand since they came into my mind back ...oh God, it's been fifteen years since I blindly created a hunky football hero/southern aristocrat and made him fall in love with the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Since the situation I envisioned reminded me of a catchy '60s song, I decided to call the story "Rag Doll".

Back then I was chasing rainbows, certain all I had to do to gain fame and fortune as a romance author was dream up a hero and a heroine, load them up with hopes and dreams and a good dose of reasonably credible conflict, and write their story without making the sorts of mistakes that used to make my college composition instructor bleed red ink all over the pages. A completely unexpected finalist ranking in the 1991 Moonlight and Magnolias contest for unpublished writers fueled my belief that, hell, writing romance was a piece of cake.

I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if someone had been kind enough back then to let me know pro athletes were near the top of no-no occupatiions for heroes. It would also have been helpful if someone had pointed out that being able to churn out "A" term papers didn't mean I had a clue about the how to write commercial fiction. It took me a while, but I finally figured after half a dozen rejections and as many revisions that RAG DOLL had a place only in a corner of my heart. I set it aside, going on to write and sell three steamy contemporary stories with ghosts to Berkley...and the sizzling novella, "The Barbarian," that sold to Red Sage for SECRETS 3 and started me on the road to writing erotic romances as Ann Jacobs.

But RAG DOLL refused to die. In 1998 I dusted it off and sent it to my then-agent, Natasha Kern, who answered a call for completed manuscripts by published authors and sold it to Kensington for its new Zebra Bouquet line. I gulped when she called to tell me, horrified because I thought of the goofs I'd made before learning basic things like point of view and so on--writing skills I'd learned by trial and error, and from some incredibly generous authors who shared their knowledge at conferences and online workshops.

But RAG DOLL had finally sold, and it was revision time once more. In three weeks, I tore the story apart and reassembled it, fixing the most glaring mistakes and tailoring it to fit the tight word count requirement of the Bouquet imprint. Thus was born ENDURING LOVE, a title no one particularly liked but which probably beat the whimsical "Rag Doll" that nineties readers weren't likely to connect to the lyrics of that old, obscure song.From the cover it looked like a sweet, family story...when in actuality the heat Dani and Brand generated scorched the pages of the book and shocked more than one reviewer with its wide-open bedroom doors and the lovers' overwhelming sexuality.

Fast-forward eight years... I'm now exclusively Ann Jacobs, working on my fortieth erotic romance or thereabouts. ENDURING LOVE had sold fairly well, but the Bouquet imprint was long gone. I asked for and received the rights back on it and a second Bouquet book, COMING HOME. With a good bit of hesitation, because although ENDURING LOVE was hot it didn't put out the steam heat Ann Jacobs had become known for, I sent it to SueEllen Gower, my editor at Ellora's Cave.

As it happened, we were working at the time on preliminary edits for WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME, my second BDSM contemporary suspense book featuring pro football player heroes. SueEllen saw a possibility that intrigued me: bringing Brand into WRONG PLACE then tying his story back into WRONG PLACE and TIP OF THE ICEBERG while doing a complete rewrite of ENDURING LOVE--and making Brand and Dani frankly dominant and submissive in the process.

It was deja vu. Once again I sat at the computer with the book that had marked my first attempt at writing romance, the two EC stories open in other windows. Brand came back into my head as if I'd never really let him go as I brought him into Wrong Place as a major secondary character--in a menage a trois. It amazed me that while I'd originally written Brand and Dani's story as a conventional vanilla story about a secret-baby-with-a-twist, they were naturals for BDSM. He was a born Alpha male, and his profession and his backstory made him a natural Dom. Dani, on the other hand, had been shaped into a cautious, conservative woman--a woman who could let herself go and find the ultimate joy in sex only when she relinquished control, let Brand force her to let go her inhibitions.

Hey wait. I've got to leave some surprises for readers about the evolution of a beginner's effort at writing a love a NY-published category OUT OF BOUNDS, a layered tale of erotic romance that brings out Brand and Dani's hopes and fears and hopefully will sweep readers up in all the emotions that drive them.

Tonight I'm feeling, after more than fifteen years, that I've finally brought these lovers full circle. Maybe they've matured as characters at the same time I've been growing as an author. You know, I can't help thinking maybe someday I'll bring them back...but that's for another project, another time.

Later... WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME? is coming out this week, and I'd better spend some time promoting it!

Friday, July 07, 2006

WRONG PLACE has a release date: 7/19/06

Following my rant on covers, I've gotten a lot of new ones--some replacement covers for older ones of my books. If rolling gifs work, you'll be seeing a selection of recently done covers by Syneca...

If not, then you'll just have to drop by my website to see this gorgeous artwork, and to take a chance on winning autographed copies of BLACK GOLD: SANDSTORMS by doing the scavenger hunt described on the Newsletter page and emailing the answers to me by July 15. The hunt is to celebrate the releases of FOREVER ENSLAVED: BRANDED as a single-title ebook at Changeling Press on July 14, and WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME? at Ellora's Cave on July 19.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


There's been a lot of talk lately on another blog about the quality, or lack thereof, of cover art for e-books. Here are four of mine, two Ellora's Cave and two Changeling Press covers. The one on the right, I just received today, a new Ellora's Cave cover for one of my older books. I think it's downright beautiful. Syneca's the artist--I've never seen one of her covers I didn't like. (She also did the very attractive one on the left, for my next EC book that I finally turned in to my editor last week.)

The Luna Ten and Obsidion covers at Changeling are Scott Carpenter creations. Scott's immensely talented, too (he did all the graphics for my website). All Wrapped Up, which I consider one of the best entirely software-generated covers I've ever seen, was created by Changeling art director Bryan Keller. Angela Knight created the gorgeous hunk on the cover of O Positive at Changeling.

Of the thirty-some-odd books I've had published electronically, I can honestly say I've been pleased with ninety percent of the original covers created for them. The artists have worked hard to depict their visions of the books as I've described them, and I don't think an author dares to ask for more! It stings when someone disses e-covers, whether they come from my publishers or not.

Yes, photo adaptations make for the most realistic looking covers. I prefer them myself, for that reason. But... I don't write heroes who're pink or possessed with wings or other oddities of appearance. Even my vampires look pretty much like human beings, and my futuristics have characters who're displaced Earthlings. My point, you ask? Well, an awful lot of ebooks feature winged creatures, mermaids and mermen, gargoyles and the like. It's damn difficult to catch such creatures and photograph them, much less find stock photos of them. Hence, the necessity of using software-generated cover art for a large segment of the ebooks being released.

That said, I can imagine plenty of readers buying books because of the cover, but I doubt there are too many who'd fail to buy a book by an author they love, just because they aren't impressed with the artwork. I salute the artists who've labored to make the covers of my books the best marketing tools they can be... Thanks, Syn...Scott...Bryan...Angela, and artists past and present, whether or not they've created covers for books of mine!


Oh, by the way, if anybody's having difficulty getting a Borders store to order Changeling print books, a reader pointed out that they can go to and place their own order, to be picked up from their local Borders store.

Monday, May 22, 2006


and here I am, with it (almost) all hanging out!

Thursday was the Changeling author lunch, and some of the authors are pictured top left. In front: Angela Knight and Changeling owner Margaret Riley. Behind them: Kate Douglas, Morgan Hawke, Dakota Cassidy, editor Sheri Fogarty, me, and Kira Stone. Next you see Tawny Taylor (my roommate) and JC Wilder at the bar after the Faery Ball.

On the bottom are pictures of the Faery Court and of me in my "Sultan's Faery" costume. Wow, that was terrifying, stepping out of my room with my bare belly hangin' out for all to see. After the initial horror wore off, though, the event was fun, with the court twirling around a maypole held by a hot cover model before being escorted to our individual tables by other buff guys. I was so excited I could barely eat dinner--not even the gorgeous chocolate cake. EC's own Tawny Taylor and Stephanie "Flash" Burke took half of the costume contest prizes, Tawny with a saloon girl outfit and Flash in white face and all black costume--holding a wicked looking sword. Somehow I didn't get a decent photo of Flash in her costume--but I'm sure somebody did.

More tomorrow! The booksigning was a resounding success that deserves its very own page!

RT's over for another year... what will you remember?

The Ellora's Cave Fantasy Party kicked off the festivities with a bang as we authors came on the scene in dress-up finery in black or red (or fanciful costumes) escorted by EC's buff cover hunks.

Chocolate flowed, literally, from fountains. Card decks featuring EC authors' covers were the hits of the party...and the convention itself as readers fought to get as cards signed by authors so they might win a gift certificate to be used at the booksigning on Saturday.

Wednesday brought workshops, strolls down promo lane to Club RT to look at all the gorgeous gift baskets from authors and publishers...and shopping. I swear, every costume was more gorgeous than the last one! That's Eve Vaughn with the whip and partners in passion Sahara Kelly and S. L. Carpenter, a few of many making merry at the Vampire Ball Wednesday night. Stephanie "Flash" Burke looked stunning every night--and even in the daytime Thursday before the Changeling author luncheon when I caught her wearing a lovely Japanese kimono.

This was only the beginning of a spectacular week of meeting new friends and renewing old acquaintances! I'll be posting more each day this week...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

RT Panicville... the convention starts next week!

You have no idea the effort it takes to get into convention/party mode--at least for this aging participant who's been luxuriating for months with the idea that for once she won't be having to ship promo goodies via Fedex, enriching them while impoverishing herself...and stuffing six days' worth of clothes and costumes into two huge suitcases to haul through faraway airports.

So have I been able to kick back, relax, and keep up with writing during the hectic weeks BEFORE the fun begins? No. Instead, I've been thumbing through websites, figuratively speaking, trying to persuade myself I shouldn't go hog-wild just because I'm driving a car--not a delivery van or a truck mind you--to Daytona Beach, and that the promo items that now are littering my office are sufficient to get my name out before the eager readers and booksellers at the convention.

Bookmarks, excerpt booklets, brochures...postcards... When one has so many books to promote, the list of goodies tends to grow to massive proportions! That doesn't count the giveaway baskets...or the bigger non-paper giveaway items I've gathered.

There's still that growing panic that I've forgotten something vital...or worse, that I'll forget something vital when I finally get around to packing. If past experience is an indicator, I *will* leave something important back home--and I so don't relish a three hour drive through Orlando's weekday traffic to go retrieve it!

Then there's the worry nagging in the back of my head that the Sultan's Fairy will garner laughs instead of oohs and ahs when I step out in my gorgeous Connie Perry costume at the Faery Ball. And that I'll trip over my feet while one of EC's hunky cover models escorts me into the Ellora's Cave Fantasy Party. Oh, yeah, I also picture myself screwing up royally in front of a room full of booksellers when I present a workshop on tax deductions...all by myself since I couldn't entice a pal into sharing the spotlight. You'd think this was going to be my first RT when I've actually been at the last three--but this will be the first time I've intentionally made myself quite so *visible* as I'll be at this one. My usual thing is to mingle quietly, keep my goodies stocked on promo lane, show up when I'm signed up...and otherwise keep pretty much anonymous, which no author should do. I'm petrified!

RT's an event unto itself, something no avid romance reader, bookseller or author should fail to experience. Still, it's scary for an author who's basically happiest in front of her computer or interacting with people in small groups to get into party mode and look forward to mingling with more than a thousand people at the annual party of the year!

I'll have fun--I always do once I'm there. It's just the anticipation that has me kvetching and losing sleep the week ahead of the convention. If you're there, come up and say hello, so I won't be lonesome. I'll be the one huddling in the bar with a diet coke, the one with the look that resembles that of a deer caught in the headlights of your car.

Monday, April 10, 2006

& A Rant About Pet Peeves and Names
First of all, Sandstorms has arrived in the Ellora's Cave warehouse and should very soon be available at EC's EBay store,,, and so on. It's my featured release for next month's RT convention... and Syneca's gorgeous cover's featured in a full-page color ad in the June issue of Romantic Times.
Enough shameless self-promotion, because I've got something else to whine about... and that something is NAMES.

Every character has to have one, and I’ve nothing against them. Most of the time. When they’re used so often they whack me over the head while I’m reading an otherwise dynamite story is when I want to remind the author there are such little words as personal pronouns. And words of address other than people’s given names.

Whoever heard real conversations like this one?

“Mark, I’m gonna kill you.”
“Oh yeah? Go ahead and try, Sal.”

More likely it would sound more like this:

“Motherfucker, I’m gonna kill you,” Sal said.
“Oh yeah, asshole? Go ahead and try.”

Or this, as a hot sex scene’s coming to a close?

“Oh, Susie, I’m gonna come.”
“Daviddddddd. Don’t stop!”

Try, “Oh, baby, I’m gonna come.”
“Yessss. Don’t stop!”

My point? People don’t usually address each other by name. In fight scenes, they’re more likely to toss in the occasional epithet, and in sex scenes they’ll use pet names or endearments—or nothing at all.

Now I’m not totally prejudiced against using names—occasionally in one-on-one scenes, to remind the reader what the character’s names are. It’s necessary to use them more often in scenes where there are more than two characters, or where the two characters are of the same sex. Often, when the character’s voice is strong enough, it isn’t necessary to identify him or her by name more than once or twice during a two-person scene.

Overusing character names when they aren’t necessary for identification purposes sounds unnatural in dialogue and reeks of “telling” rather than “showing” in narrative. It pulls me straight out of stories I’d otherwise be devouring and makes me want to toss the books they’re in—into the nearest wall or at the author, if only he or she were handy.

He, she, him, her, his, hers… Short, sweet stand-ins for names! Authors should use these personal pronouns often, whenever there’s not the least doubt as to who the POV character’s thinking about. That’s pretty darn often in scenes where the hero and heroine are alone together. I recently read a sex scene—an otherwise very steamy, yummy sex scene—where my guess is that the two participants said or thought each other’s names at least several hundred times. Those names got me where I was ready to screeeeeeeeeeeam before the scene was done.
End of rant... What jumps off the page and knocks you out of a scene when you're reading?

Saturday, March 11, 2006


There's no such thing... I'm certainly not, and neither is my DH of over half my life, who's clowning with the kids in the picture he'd kill me if he knew I was posting. We met my first year in college, got married, and have now spent over thirty years raising a family and coping with the strain of caring for sick, elderly parents and trying to guide seven kids through the joys and tragedies of growing up. Come to think of it, we're still plugging away at seeing our younger kids morph into productive adulthood!

What first attracted me to him was his dark, rugged good looks--and his reputation of being a hot stud on campus. What kept me from walking out when things got tough was his sense of humor...his strong work ethic that has kept him going despite health problems that would have laid many men low...and the fact he has no problem letting me know I'm pretty much the center of his universe while giving me the bit of gentle control I need.

There's a little bit of him in every one of my tall, dark, to-die-for heroes...not only the twinkling dark eyes and commanding presence but also the deep-down goodness that makes heroines fall in love and in lust--the way I fell with him.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Whatever happened to Wrong Place, Wrong Time?

Darlene and Vlad took a long siesta about halfway through their story, while I went vampire hunting. A contracted story for Changeling crept up on me and had to be written in time for a Feb. 23 release, and Ellora's Cave decided it wanted rewrites of the first two urban fantasies I'd sold to them--for release in February and March respectively.

Now I'm back on track to wind up Wrong Place, Wrong Time? hopefully within the next couple of weeks. Then, it's off with it to Joey W. Hill, my incredibly talented critique partner...and my good friend Stephanie Burke, who's promised to whack me over the head if I've screwed up Darlene's character too badly! After they've done their thing, and I've fixed up messes they've pointed out, it will go to my EC editor... and hopefully the book will be released before too very long. Not in March, and probably not in April, either-- think May or June if I'm lucky and EC has a slot for it somewhere around that time.

Back to work! Blogging could definitely become a habit that would eat into my writing time! Happy reading, writing, or whatever it is you're doing today!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm on a vampire roll!

I just realized this... four books in a row, all dealing with fanged heroes-to-die-for! First there was "Bound by Blood," the Changeling Hot Flash based on a short story I wrote a couple of years ago but steamed up in a mega-way as a centuries-old vampire finds the reincarnation of his first love in the person of a modern police lieutenant.

Next comes the first of my urban fantasy series, d'Argent Honor, from Ellora's Cave. Claude d'Argent, the baby of his venerable clan, finds a soulmate with a stripper with a serious problem--a problem Claude will have little trouble alleviating for her once he's made her one of his own! Number two in this series, Eternally His, has been scheduled for release March 29, which will bring the d'Argents to Chicago where a serial killer vamp is stalking the woman Stefan would like to make his own.

Tucked in between, coming out this week, is my humorous take on vampires and BDSM... a bit of a change of pace since I don't write light all that often. Don't miss this short, hot read that's part of Changeling's continuity series, Speaking of PMS, click on the series name or the icon at the top of the blog, and go scavenger hunting! We have two nice gift certificates to award to winners...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Is she a hooker...or his soulmate?

The d’Argent vampire clan is chasing the Fox, a vampire serial killer whose madness threatens the existence of all their kind… Around the world, in cities and in the country, the search will go on until they destroy their immortal enemy.

Claude d’Argent is on the hunt, on sultry Miami Beach. Instead of the Fox, he encounters a mortal creature of the night…a sexy lady who offers him a night of unsurpassed passion—for a price.

Stripper Marisa Delgado has only one option if she’s to get enough money, fast enough to save her younger brother from the local drug lord—a temporary foray into the world’s oldest profession.

Her act of desperation may have brought them together, but as the night passes and the soft light of morning approaches, Claude discovers the submissive of his dreams; Marissa, the Master of her soul.

The choice is Claude’s--convert the dusky beauty and risk losing her forever, or walk away and spend an eternity without his soulmate by his side.

Note: d’Argent Honor 1: Vampire Justice is based on a previously published short story—Dance of Darkness. It has been completely rewritten and expanded to three times its original length for this edition.

(I couldn't resist showing you all this gorgeous cover by Syneca... This sizzling novella is tentatively scheduled for release by Ellora's Cave on February 15.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The latest in the kitty saga: Meet Blue Boy!

He joined our family yesterday. Two years old--almost (his birthday's in March). Russian Blue, and the sweetest, purring ball of soft smoky gray fur you ever saw!

This one's ours--we bought him from a breeder. He's already neutered, a well-mannered boy who likes to look up at us with his beautiful lime-green eyes and find the softest spots to relax and chill out. He's sharing space for a week or so with our daughter's two calicos while she moves from her apartment--doesn't seem to care for them much, but then that's not a whole lot different from the attitude my DH has toward them.

Blue has only been home for a day, and already he's established himself as king of the castle--the calico girls don't come near him, even though he's made no effort to stake out his turf with any more than a semi-polite growl. Fingers are crossed that he'll stay inside--so far he's made no effort to go further than the patio door, where he looks out at the birds and licks his chops. We hope it stays that way, and that he stays out of harm's way.

Friday, January 13, 2006

This is Anthony Wilder. Vampire...Dom...and looking for an O POSITIVE mate...

Enter the Paranormal Mates, online matchmaker for hot lonely hearts around the world.

Here's a bit of unedited excerpt to whet your appetite... an intro to Tony's heroine. Tony invades your imagination February 21, 2006!

It sucked, literally.

Erica Stone rubbed at the bruise she’d gotten on her ass not from the flogging she’d wanted the masked Master to give her, but from having been booted out of yet another Atlanta dungeon.

All because she’d fucking scared another big, strong Master with her fangs.

Pretty soon she’d be reduced to self-flagellation whenever she wanted satisfaction. Unless she could remember to keep her lips sealed, and that was mighty hard to do and still perform the cocksucking every Dom she’d ever run into seemed to want as proof of her submissiveness.

She looked in the mirror, grimaced. There was no hiding the long, pointed incisors she’d grown overnight six months ago after dying at the bottom of a north Georgia ravine. At the time she’d been grateful to the good Samaritan who’d brought her around. After all, what twenty-something woman in her right mind wanted to be dead?

She hadn’t even minded much when she learned she’d traded maybe fifty-sixty years of mortal living for more or less eternal life as a vampire like her savior. $Admit it, Erica girl. You sort of liked the idea of drinking blood instead of chowing down on chocolates. Good for keeping the hips under control.
Being a vamp wouldn’t have been tough to take, at all, if only it weren’t for the $fangs. How was she to survive if she couldn’t find a Dom who was man enough to master a sub with fangs?

Erica sat in front of the computer where she wrote her bestselling erotic romances and stared at a blank screen, but words wouldn’t come. How the fuck was she to write about sex when she hadn’t had any for more than six months now? Disgusted, she clicked on Internet Explorer and started to surf. Had to find inspiration somehow. Some way. Inspiration or a mate willing to take on a novice vampire with strong submissive tendencies.

Google. Couldn’t hurt to try. Running her tongue over a fang—it felt strange but vaguely erotic to stroke the hollow tip—Erica gave a few minutes’ thought to the search. Vampire lonely hearts club. That had to be it. Wanted Single White Vampire.

Nothing. Nothing but a sidebar on the last search she tried. It linked to a site called Might as well give that a try. Vamps definitely fit the description of paranormal—though not as much so as some of the site’s former clients who beamed from the site’s home page with their testimonials of having found love eternal through the Society’s computer matching.

Her vampire heart beating less slowly than usual, Erica got out her credit card and started to fill in the registration form for the Heavenly Plan. In less than fifteen minutes the Society had taken her money for a three-month subscription, massaged the information she’d entered, and come up with the ad it assured her would attract just the sort of mate she wanted:

SWF vamp seeks SM, vampires only need apply.

Five feet six, well-nourished blonde with blue eyes and vamp-pale complexion seeks another of her kind for long-term relationship, possibly marriage and family.

The right guy must prefer taking his nourishment from cups, not throats, and he'll prefer high-rises in big American cities to dreary castles in Transylvania. Oh, yes, he'll also choose a bed for sleeping--and other things--not a musty old coffin.

Interested? E-Mail

Satisfied with the ad, Erica clicked “OK”, signed off the site, and sat back, hopeful that soon she’d find a Master who wasn’t intimidated by the fangs.

Maybe now she could get in the mood to get some writing done. If she didn’t, she’d soon be drinking her blood from living mortal victims instead of buying her supply from the local blood bank.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What's in an opening line?

Some are just ho-hum. Others tickle a reader's imagination. There are some, though, that have drawn me in so fast, so completely, that nothing can make me put down the book until I've found out what's going on.

Take Dakota Cassidy's latest Wolf Mates, Moonlight over Manhasset, just out from Changeling Press. Here's the opening three sentences--three paragraphs, really, but they're short: "Okay, so she had a tail./ Big, damn deal./ Well, it became a big deal if it scared off your potential one time boinks -- especially when the moon was full."

Don't know about you, but this tells me the story's going to be funny, and that part of the fun's going to be that the heroine's a werewolf. It reflects Dakota's inimitable voice and lets me know I want to *read* this just as quick as I can.

Other openings predict a story that's has something serious, maybe dangerous, about to happen. I like the way Cheyenne McCray opened Forbidden Magic, her USA Today bestseller from St. Martin. "Silver Ashcroft slipped through night and shadows, heart pounding and rage simmering." Chey's opening with action, but the sort of action that makes the reader's heart beat faster, anticipating...

Some authors enjoy starting books off with dialogue--I've done this myself, such as in BLACK GOLD: FOREVER ENSLAVED, recently released by Ellora's Cave. “You may leave me, my darling, but you will always be mine. My slave, forever enslaved by the love we share.” My intent here was to spotlight Bear, his torn emotions, his dominant nature and his determination to get back his wife who has just left him. Did it work?

I'm interested in knowing what openings you remember--because they're the ones that are really one-sentence/paragraph hooks. Let's talk about them...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year! May 2006 bring you everything you ever dreamed of, see every one of your hopes fulfilled.