Sunday, February 24, 2008

Damn, What A Bummer

I’ll admit I was initially disappointed. In what? Well, in the mid-January print release of WANTON WINTER, an Ellora’s Cave anthology containing five winter-themed novellas from authors Cheyenne McCray, Daisy Dexter Dobbs, Katherine Cross, Shelby Reed, and moi…disappointed, that is, because it was released after the winter holidays. To me, the timing was too late—I wondered why anyone would be interested in a winter-themed book after the holidays.

But then I got to thinking about my own book-buying habits. I clicked over from author mode to reader-only mode and realized it wasn’t such bad timing after all…

See, here’s the deal. I’m a very fickle person, and I often yearn for what I don’t have. For instance, where I live in northern Wisconsin, it’s freezing cold right now. In the midst of all the snowdrifts, ice coating the roads, and biting winds rattling my windows, I find myself reaching for books on my shelf set in the sultry heat of the tropics, or stories during spring or summer holidays like 4th of July.

BUT (yeah, there’s always a “but” with me *grin*) the key phrase here is “reaching for books on my shelf”, books that are already there on hand, because since I’m lazy, I tend to buy ahead. I don’t want to have to go out and purchase an item when I need it—I'm impatient and I want it to be there when I'm ready. So just like in a department store where I might buy bunches of winter items off the clearance rack in, say, February or March and save them for the next season, I kind of use this same pattern when shopping for books. (Clothes out of style by then? Eh, I’m not one to care.)

Are you getting my twisted line of thinking yet? Confused? Heehee, me too. But let me explain it this way… The summer-set books I’m dying to read in the dead of winter are already sitting on my shelf from previous summer (online usually) buying sprees, while the winter books I’ll be hungering to read come summertime, I might buy now during the cold season in anticipation of the heat. Yep, I lubs me some book hoarding. And since I typically hate to shop, I do a lot of it in one huge seasonal spree, and then when the mood strikes me, there’s no need to drag my ass out (or online) and *groan* shop. All I have to do is peruse my overloaded, sagging bookshelves and pick out a book that will instantly transport me from, for instance, this freaking Arctic I’m trapped in, to the scorching heat of Hawaii.

So see, as a reader, I decided WANTON WINTER’s mid-January release isn’t all that bad because I’d typically buy a holiday- or winter-themed book while it’s still cold. I’d then stockpile it for summer when it’s so sweltering hot I can’t breathe, and I’m longing to escape into a story where the hero and heroine are making wild love in front of a crackling fire, or skiing down a chilly mountainside in pursuit of the villain.

What sort of book-buying habits do you have? Are they hit-and-miss without rhyme or reason? Do you buy based on current seasons or holidays? Or do you ruthlessly plan ahead like I do, buying and then saving books in anticipation of cold winter days or sizzling summer nights?

Titania Ladley is a multi-published author writing for Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, and Red Sage. Upcoming books include FIRES WITHIN (Red Sage - April 2008), BREATHLESS (Ellora's Cave Exotika - April 4, 2008), and KABANA HEAT (Samhain - TBA). Please visit her at or at , her other naughty half's website.

Monday, February 18, 2008


As some of you may have noted, I have a thing for cabins isolated out in the middle of the woods. The aptly titled Cabin Fever features an entire mountainside that isolates Daniel and Isabel from the stresses of the city, and in Secret Submission and Submission Revealed, Phillip’s home is a cottage centered in a hundred-acre wood. In both, the city represents all that keeps them from their dreams…only in the remote cabin are the characters free to be who they wish.

Why do I point that out? Because my husband and I have just realized a long-held goal. After years and years of looking, drooling, dreaming…we bought our very own cabin in the woods.

Fate has a funny way of twisting itself around you sometimes. In a conversation with our neighbor (whom we’ve known for fourteen years), she made a brief reference to the fact that they were selling their cabin and her husband had gone out to show it to a couple who were interested in buying it. My dearly beloved and I looked at each other. “Cabin?” I said. “Cabin?” he said. Neither of us had ever known they owned a cabin.

We prodded for information and discovered that they and another couple had bought the land (twelve wooded acres on a mountainside in New York’s Southern Tier) back in the ‘70’s and they’d built a 1600 sq ft cabin on it. Now, I have to tell you…1600 sq ft was the size of our first house, so this is no tiny little place! We avidly listen and pump for more information. We let her know we are VERY interested in looking at it and for the price they were asking…we’d almost buy it sight unseen.

That weekend, we went down to get a good look. Three miles out of the nearest town, the roads turned to dirt. Another three miles later, we turned off into a farmer’s lane. I’d like to say the fall colors were at peak and the sun shone brightly…but the reality was it was pouring buckets full. Inside and out.

Yes, that’s right. The ceiling leaked. A lot. As I tell everyone we’ve brought there since, you need to look at it with the rose-colored glasses of potential, not the clear glasses of reality. Seems the two families had built the place on weekends for nearly three years after they bought it. Then the kids grew up and the couples went out less and less. For the last five years, the place had been virtually abandoned and it looked it. The leaks had rotted the floors in two places, a squirrel had chewed a hole over the back door and moved in…along with the field mice who’d used the uncovered insulation in the walls as nesting material. The wall-to-wall rugs stunk with animal odors and rot.

But what we saw…was our wish turned to reality. We’d already rebuilt our first house, we could rebuild this one. Shaking hands with our neighbor, we bought the shell and would build the dream.

So why do I write about this today? Because the sun is shining and the air temperature is thirty degrees and there’s no wind. Because I want to be out there working (I’ve learned to spackle!) and I don’t care if there’s no electricity, no running water or heat. It’s my escape and I want to be there. It’s where I’ll write when the weather turns warm and where I’ll dream up new stories and new characters…and I can’t wait to meet them. And although life keeps me home today, I look forward to the day when we can call the cabin home.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Why I don't want anything for Valentine's!

I mean it! It’s true. I don’t want, need or expect ANYTHING for Valentine’s. And, frankly, that’s how it’s been for years. My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years now, and we even had four Valentine’s days before that. In the beginning we exchanged cards and little gifts. I think I got perfume one year. And I’ve had a few nice dinners. But over the years that tradition…dwindled. We might still exchange cards, and I might get a rose, but I neither need or expect either. Why, you might ask? Have I just been so neglected over the years that I’ve given up? My husband is such an insensitive heel that there is simply no point in even reminding him about Valentine’s? No. Not by a long shot.

In fact it’s just the opposite. In fact, if I’m honest, I’m hopelessly spoiled. Here’s just a little sampling of what I’m treated to on a regular basis:

Shopping. My hubby actually ENJOYS taking me shopping. He delights in going to lingerie shops or looking for sexy clothes for me, and admiring me while I try them on. He also picks items out while I’m holed up in the change room…and he’s GOOD at it!

Nightlife. I get treated to dinner and club-dancing on a regular basis. We go out to eat, drink wine, and dance into the wee hours at least once a month if not more. And my husband actually enjoys dancing with me. And, over the years, he’s even gotten good at it! Lol

Massages. My husband has magic hands. I do not exaggerate when I say that I would have spent a mint on massage therapists if not for him. But he doesn’t just massage me when I have strained muscles or aches and pains. Massages, complete with scented oils and candles, are a regular treat that he never denies me when asked. And he has been known to massage me, from head to toe, through an entire movie.

Bathing. On the evenings that I decide I need to soak in a hot tub, he has been known to draw the bath for me, set up the candles and fix me a martini to help me soothe out the knots.

Every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, I am reminded over and over again, how much he loves me and how beautiful he thinks I am. I don’t need any gifts, or one special day out of the year to remind me of that. I’m damn lucky, and I know it.

So, that’s MY Valentine’s experience, and frankly, a bit of a Valentine’s gift for my hubby. But now….Having said all that….what is YOUR typical Valentine’s day like? What will you and your special significant other do this week to celebrate, if anything? Or….do you have a special memory of a particularly special Valentine’s that you’d like to share?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fan Letters

I wrote my first fan letter to an author many years ago. I read my very first LaVyrle Spencer book (Hummingbird) and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to tell Ms. Spencer that. I never expected to hear back from her. After all, I was only a little peon and she was a FAMOUS AUTHOR!

I was surprised and delighted to receive a postcard from her a few weeks later, thanking me for writing to her. Not only did I love her writing, but she was nice.

Now, in the days of electronic mail, it's much easier to contact the authors we admire so much. Most have websites with e-mail information on them. Many authors have blogs, such as this one. Yahoo Groups makes it easy for authors and readers to interact with each other. It's like we're all one big happy family!

I've received some very nice e-mails from people who've read my books. It amazes me that someone will take time away from his/her busy schedule to write to me. I received an e-mail this week that said she referred me to a friend, who bought five of my books. Wow! What a huge compliment.

I love writing. I truly love it. There is nothing in life that gives me greater joy than to create a story about two people falling in love. (Or three, in the case of my menages.) The ups and downs, the misunderstandings, the forgiveness for those misunderstandings, the realization that they truly love each other and want to be together forever... Ah, it's so sweet.

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? Tell me about it.