Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

Another year is about to come to an end, so it's time to look back on what I did in 2010.

I had eight books published with Ellora's Cave--six new releases and two re-releases. I'm proud of that.

I read over 100 books. I'd promised myself in January that I would read more this year and I succeeded. Many of those were short novellas that are quick reads, but I enjoy those as much as long, detailed novels.

I lost a dear friend and my writing partner, Randi Monroe. I'd known Randi for over 20 years. Her death hit me very hard. I still think of her every day and miss her so much.

I went to RomantiCon and got to hang out with five of the Sizzling Scribes. We had so much fun! We ate together, drank together, and cracked jokes (some so funny I couldn't stop giggling). We gave a workshop on group promotion that was so successful, we hope we can give it again at the next RomantiCon.

I went to Ontario, Canada for the first time in my life. My good friend and fellow Scribe, Nikki Soarde, graciously invited me to her home. I've known Nikki for many years, but this was the first time I got to visit her beautiful country. She was a wonderful hostess and I had a blast.

I discovered after years of bronchitis that I have allergy-induced asthma. Now I'm taking allergy drops and am feeling much better.

I spent lots of time with my sister. That's always so special. She's the best sister ever!

So what's up for me in 2011? More books to write, more books to read, more scrapbooks to create, more travel (hopefully), more time with family and friends. How about you?

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Tongue-In-Cheek Holiday Cheer

The holiday season is upon us – falalalala or CHA-CHING! Is it me or is everything just too freakin expensive to make any sense? This year I said I was cutting back (I say that every year and then find my self running like a motor with a screwed-up piston trying to at least make the tree look like it’s got something under it. I know I end up with that ‘deer in the headlights’ look as I’m leaping around milling mall customers, knocking over the occasional old lady or two, and trying to find something more for say maybe the granddaughters. Something that isn’t cheap and cheesy, yet not too pricey cuz you know damn well it’s going to break after three uses and end up in the garbage anyway.)

And oh, let’s talk about the forty acres of trees that end up in my daily newspaper or mailbox in the form of holiday coupons. Holiday Coupons??? Give me a break. There’s 10% off, 15% off and even …. Drumroll ….1/2 OFF!!!!! Come now, don’t miss the sale, it’s the deal of the year. So like the damn idiot I am, I fell for it again this year. I was one of those numbskulls that couldn’t sleep so I got up at 3:00 in the morning—mind you the wind is blowing, it’s zero outside and it takes the entire 20 minute ride to the nearest town for the car to get close to warming up. I’ve got my lists and coupons tucked all nicely in my wallet cuz damn, I’m going to hit some bargains. So I shoulder my way through the crowds while wishing for that cold car because now I’m hotflashing and rethinking my turtleneck under my sweater. I grab this, I snatch that, I clutch at the gift of the year that’s going to make me look good, all the while calculating that percentage off and telling myself that the deep freeze to the hotflash just may have been worth it. So I get up to the counter and reach for my glasses that I had hanging by a bow on my sweater and what to my wondering eyes appear? Absolutely nothing. Somewhere in the crazy holiday melee they fell off and ended up somewhere on the floor. So I retrace my route through the shopping crowd that despite the Christmas music and beautiful decorations, is now getting ornery and rude. Assholes. No glasses. Admitting defeat, I return to the counter that now has fifteen people in line in front of me. I wait patiently, caressing my coupons and trying to convince myself that yes, this is still worth what I’m going to save. FINALLY! It’s my turn. With great aplomb I drop my purchases onto the counter and snap those old coupons right on top of them with a smile of pleasure… Until the store rep and says, “Well, sorry, Ma’am,” (I hate Ma’am—I’m not my grandmother for crissakes) “These coupons won’t work because this item and this item are all considered “Great Values” and this item doesn’t fall within the category, oh, and this item? It’s listed on the special event list so…”

So what did I do? I shoved the freakin coupons back into my purse wondering if I should just roll them up and smoke them on the way home. I pulled out my credit card with teeth gritting cuz damn, I wasn’t going to be a rude and ornery customer.

On the way home as I’m choking on the taste of rolled coupon, I told myself that next year I’m simply buying gift cards.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Recipe Contest

I've often struggled with cooking. I'm terrible at it.
My husband and Kids are great cooks but I'm not.
I'm one of those who has to follow a recipe to make anything.
So I'm calling out to all those great cooks out there for help.
Post your favorite Christmas Recipe and be entered to win
your choice of a copy of Devilish Delights or Night Prey in e-format.
If you'd rather have a hard copy, I have Arian's Angel or Eyes of Stone
in print available.
Every recipe you post and share gains you another entry and another
chance to win.
I'll start this off with one of my Mom's favorite's.
3 packages of plain gelatin
6 tbsps cold water
1 1/4 cups of boiling water
1 cup sugar
1 can of crushed pineapple
1 can of strawberry pie filling
3 containers of cool whip
1 large angel food cake
1 package of coconut

Soften gelatin with 6 tbsps of cold water then add 1 & 1/4 cups of boiling water and mix.
Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Mix in pineapple with its liquid, add strawberry
pie filling and 2 containers of cool whip and mix together well. Break up the angel food
cake into small pieces then stir into the mixture.
Line a large bowl with plastic wrap with plenty hanging over the sides. Pour the mixture
into the bowl and cover with extra plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Uncover the top of the bowl and flip onto a serving platter. Gently remove plastic wrap
from the cake. Spread the last container of cool whip and coat with the coconut to give
it the snowball appearance.

Enjoy. I look forward to learning some great new recipes.
Tara Nina

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Here in the States, we just celebrated Thanksgiving. It has now become my favorite holiday. In fact, I feel like it’s the under-dog of holidays. Poor Thanksgiving kind of gets lost between Halloween and Christmas. (And don’t even get me started on the Christmas decorations out in October! Oy!)

I love Thanksgiving because I go to my parents’ house and stuff myself silly with my mom’s awesome cooking. I don’t have to write out 100 Thanksgiving cards, buy Thanksgiving presents, or go to Thanksgiving parties with people I only see once a year and really don’t like. It’s one day—granted with a lot of cooking and cleaning involved, but no one is waking me up at 4:00 am to see if the Thanksgiving turkey left anything for them by the chimney.

I also like that Thanksgiving includes a long weekend to sit home and revel in the turkey coma I’ve put myself in on Thursday. Ahh, bliss.

Soon enough, I’ll have to write out Christmas cards, go to ridiculous office parties where I don’t remember anyone’s name, and have to shop until my credit card weeps or melts. But for this weekend, I’m just going to relax and enjoy the holiday. The Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, that is.

Here is wishing you all much to be thankful for this year and the years to come.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Genre Jumping

I'm a creature of habit but recently my writing has been taking me in an entirely new direction. I read primarily romance novels with the occasional segway into some longtime favorites. For the most part what I write has directly followed what I've been reading. But lately I feel myself drawn to genre's I have never been a huge fan of. Perhaps it's because many 'romance novels' now link into so many other markets. Yes romance is still the focus, but they venture into fantasy, crime, mystery, sex and perhaps in the case of some series, horror. Or perhaps I'm just getting back to my 'roots' so to speak. I never started out as a huge fan of romance, in fact my younger teenage self held it in much disdain. My first love was crime in the shape of Dick Francis novels and a little horror/suspense from Dean Koontz, nothing too gruesome but the creepier the better.

Lately I find the people in my head taking me into unexplored writing territory and instead of trying to wrestle them back into submission I've decided to shrug my shoulders and let them lead. "You want to go into this abandoned building with blood dripping from the walls? Ok, but when we meet a big scary monster you have to protect me." I've found that I either need to do it that way or we just won't be writing anything today.

So tell me, do you know of any authors who genre skip successfully? Have you followed them when they have? Have you done it yourself? Tell me your stories.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, what a week!

I had knee surgery this past Wednesday – you gotta love modern medicine. I got to the hospital at 10:00 am, fifteen minutes before my call time (what can I say, I was anxious) and did the pre-op paperwork. It’s same-day surgery and I’ve brought a book to read because I can see by the scheduling board that he’s already done four procedures this morning and has two in the queue, neither one of them me yet.

But after only a few minutes, my name is called and I’m in my little cubicle changing my clothes (don’t you just love hospital gowns?), getting my IV, answering the same questions for the second time today and the fourth time this week. No, I’m not wearing any jewelry (my husband will put my wedding ring back on me later in a small ceremony we always do when, for whatever reason, the band has to come off). Yes, I was born on January 19, 1957 (Fifty-three is a good age to have this kind of thing done, by the way. You’re old enough to appreciate the few days enforced rest and young enough for it to be only a few days enforced rest). No, I don’t smoke, drink to excess or take any illegal drugs. Yet. Wait till after the surgery and then give me something GOOOOD!

My husband joins me and now the wait really begins. I’m told my anesthesiologist is cute, but when I see him he’s dressed in his blues and I can’t see much of him. He’s kind and, since he apparently is the same guy that gave me my drugs for my other knee last April, he’s figuring to give me the same cocktail this time. Only he says he’s going to up the local and reduce the overall knock-out drug so I can be on my way home quicker. Judging by the assembly line feel of the line of curtained cubicles, I’m not surprised.

He leaves and my husband and I are waiting again. The doctor himself has yet to make his appearance. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in this cubicle now for only about 40 minutes since the start. And there were two people in line ahead of me for this particular surgeon. But it is while we’re waiting for him that I get to hear the best line of the day.

The woman behind the curtain to my right is apparently going to have a tonsillectomy. This doesn’t worry me. If they get us mixed up her doc’s going to take one look down my throat and know he’s got the wrong patient. My tonsils were taken out when I was six. Back then it was a three-day hospital stay. Today, it’s same-day service. Wow.

Anyway, apparently the woman gave birth two weeks prior and is breastfeeding. Not currently, she left the baby home (thank goodness!). But her anesthesiologist questions her about the drugs he’d planned to use. She says…get ready for it…, “You can use whatever you want. I’m not going to feed him from my breast, I’m going to pump it first.”

Honey, I want to tell her, milk is milk, whether you feed it to him from a bottle or from your boob. That baby’s going to get whatever drugs you get.

My doc came in shortly thereafter, followed quickly by my drug contact. I kissed my husband and they wheeled me out. The anesthesiologist (that word is way too long to keep spelling out) paused the gurney long enough to shoot a syringe of something into my IV. The operating room was a short jaunt down the hall and by the time I got there, I saw they had two of everything inside, including two of my own doctor.

That was it for me. I woke up as they were putting me back in my cubicle. I ate a couple of saltines as the fuzziness at the edges of my vision cleared, had a glass of ginger ale and within another 40 minutes was in the wheelchair being shown the door. Total time at hospital? Two and a half hours. Told you – assembly-line surgery!

But the doc is good (he did my other knee last April). He scraped out 45 years worth of accumulated arthritis and discovered that, somewhere along the line, I’d ripped the meniscus a little so he smoothed that out, too. No big deal for him to deal with. It’s the convalescence afterward that takes the time.

No bending the knee, no squatting, no kneeling of any sort. No pressure on the knee although walking is encouraged (shuffling is more like it at the moment. I walk like I’m 90 now so I can walk like I’m 30 in six weeks). No driving, no biking, no roller skating, no skiing and no skateboarding. Drat! I was going to show off my ollie this weekend! (not!)

So I’m somewhat housebound for a while. My plan is to use the time to write (did you know that the Quickie Love in the Afternoon was conceived, written AND edited in the weeks after my last knee surgery? Nothing like enforced housebound-itis to get those creative juices flowing!). This time around I hope to finish a full-length that I’ve been working on for the last year. I’d set it aside when I couldn’t get the main characters to cooperate and wrote two short works instead (Love in the Afternoon was one, my Naughty Nooner Remembered Love is the other. Have you picked that one up yet? Why not? It’s free!).

But the characters for this current wip are talking again and I’ve written several thousand words in the past two weeks. I’m currently about half-done with the first draft and hope to have it totally done by the end of the month. Keep your fingers crossed!

So that’s been my week! Turn those lemons into lemonade and, as always,

Play safe!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


(cross-posted from Diary of a Sex Diva)

Over the past few days I've had a lot of conversations about labels. There are so many kinds of labels. There's the washing instructions that tell me not to dryclean my clothes. (Silly people. As if I needed to be TOLD not to waste my money). Then there's the label on my pillow that is illegal to remove. (Can you hear the RRRRIIIIPPPing sound as I take those instructions to heart?). Then there's those cruel sizing labels on my jeans. Labels that try to convince me my waist has expanded, when I KNOW that to be a lie. There are warning and instruction labels. All of which provide us with essential, valuable information. But no...none of these are the labels that my conversations have revolved around.

It all started with an acquaintance at work very earnestly asking my opinion on some relationship labels. Seeing someone vs. dating someone. Friendship with benefits vs. buddies... or even "Fuck buddies." Despite the fact that I have been out of the dating circuit for...well...actually I never really WAS in the dating circuit, she was adamant that I'm one "in the know" and I should have some ideas on the subject. Never one to NOT have ideas, I had to concur with that evaluation...and I shared my thoughts with her...such as they were.

Actually, the definitions that we came up with aren't really all that important. But what I did find fascinating was the realization that what these labels are....the function they really all about another nasty word: EXPECTATIONS. Good or not...positive or not...each of these labels conjures up a set of expectations for each of the parties involved. Everything from how many times a week do I call or text this person? To how many times a week do we fuck? To whether or not you're allowed to "see" or "date" other people. The trick, of course, is to make sure that these sets of expectations match. That one person's definition of "dating" and all it entails is essentialy the same as their partner's definition. Because if those two definitions differ, hence the expectations differ, you're in for a shit load of trouble.

So, in this way, labels can be a very dangerous thing. I mean who among us wants to get tagged with labels like "nerd" or "blonde" or "slut." Labels tend to lead to assumptions about people and we like to attach all the characteristics that go along with a particular label to the person or, of course, relationship, in question. and assumptions are almost always a bad idea. In relationships, more so than any other facet of life, communication and clarity of expectations is paramount for any relationship to continue successfully.

Now I had a friend at one time who was very big on keeping our friendship casual. He wanted a friendship with, and I quote, "No expectations." I basically told him that this notion was BULLSHIT. There is no such thing as a friendship or any relationship for that matter, with NO expectations. Even the idea of having no an expectation! Whether it's the expectation that you call that person all the time or that you never call them... Whether it's the expectation that you get together for coffee once a month, or the simple expectation that you pick up the phone when the other person calls.... Insignificant or not, each of these are expectations. And when expectations are not met it always, always leads to conflict, often heartache. And possibly the use of automatic weapons. Essentially, a relationship without not a relationship.

So, having said that I would put it to you that labels, while generally unavoidable and somewhat dangerous, are also a necessary evil, and perhaps we should see them as a good starting point. Personally, I'm in favour of taking on my labels and, rather than denying the images that they illicit...working towards changing them.

Think of the word "gay" for example. Thirty years ago that word brought up very different images and reactions than it does today. At least for a significant portion of the population. It took a lot of work on the part of the gay community to change that, and I'm really not sure that simply avoiding the use of the term i.e. the label, would have gotten them there any sooner. What abour words like Muslim, atheist, bisexual, submissive, masochistic. How about fuck vs. sex vs. making love? Sodomy vs. anal sex? The list of labels, and the list of characteristics and perceptions that we attach to these labels is endless.

I guess my ultimate point is to use labels cautiously, always be clear on what that label means, be open to new ideas and new definitions, and always, always be clear on the expectations that go along with them.
Relevant or not, I just have to end with this line that I heard in a movie this week:

Why do women fake orgasms?

Because men fake foreplay.
Maybe they should've defined foreplay a little more clearly!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Whenever I see the word "vacation", I think of the Connie Francis song. If you don't know which song I'm talking about, you're much too young. :-)

I had a fantastic time this month. First there was RomantiCon, Ellora's Cave's second annual conference in Richfield, Ohio. I got to visit with authors, meet readers (EC has the best readers), attend great workshops, and visit with good friends, including five of the Scribes. Oh, and ogle the Cavemen. Eight tall, hunky guys who are just as nice and polite as they are gorgeous.

After the conference, the second part of my vacation began. I've known Nikki Soarde, a sister Scribe, for almost ten years. We met online while we wrote for the same e-publisher before we discovered Ellora's Cave. We clicked and have been friends ever since. I live in Texas and she lives in Ontario, so visiting has been difficult. Not this year! I flew into Toronto, rode to the conference with Nikki and her husband, then rode back to her house and spent eight days with her. I had such a good time! I saw so much pretty scenery, including Niagara Falls and lots of autumn color.

Nikki and I went to a play in Stratford, a wonderful production of Dangerous Liaisons. I stood on the beach of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This picture is of Lake Huron shortly before sunset. I tried poutine and a Beavertail and the famous Tim Hortons coffee.

I got to meet her three teenagers, who were all such polite young men. They made me feel very welcome. The Canadian Thanksgiving was on October 11th, so I got to enjoy Nikki's turkey and stuffing. And I was part of the family's weekly pizza and movie night.

It was a wonderful trip that I'll always remember. Nikki said she has other places she wants to show me. I hope I can go back soon!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Contests and Judges

Every once in a while someone (or several someones) in my writing circle gets the results back from a contest and it’s almost never what the entrant wants to hear. We all provide sympathy, electronic hugs, and make sure the author knows that the contests are subjective. It doesn’t hurt to inform the author knows that the judges are brainless twits with no literary taste (that’s what friends are for, after all).

But sympathy and support should only go so far. Here’s the truth…if you enter a contest, you need to accept the outcome. You asked the question. You asked someone to look at your baby and tell you if it’s ugly and if they say “yes” you can’t just ignore it and turn to someone else hoping for a different answer.

Not all comments are valid. Not all judges are good or smart or kind but I think there is merit in at least listening. Even if a comment isn’t valid, the author needs to look at their story through that judge’s eyes. Something about it bothered them. Something triggered a response. If there is confusion to something you thought was obvious, maybe it isn’t obvious.

Now, some judges just shouldn’t judge or they’re judging the wrong things. People who hate vampires shouldn’t judge vampire stories but it happens.

You need to think about what you want out of a contest. If it’s just someone to tell you your stuff is wonderful, send it to your mom, your best friend, your neighbor.

I think you enter contests for two reasons…

1) You’re getting close to being published and this is a way to get your manuscript in front of an editor who buys the stuff you write

2) You want someone who hasn’t been involved in the process (someone not from your critique group or you haven’t discussed the story with) to read your story and give you comments from the standpoint of a reader off the street.

Now I know, that the second one doesn’t always happen. We’re writers. We want to fix things and tell other authors how to make it better. But in my mind, if a judge asks a question or makes a comment, dismissing it as “they don’t know what they’re talking about” is dismissing a reader’s confusion.

Review the judge’s comments, get irritated and then put them away. Come back in a week and read them again. When you read them the second time, come to it thinking “They might have point. I should look to see if I agree.” You might not. That’s good. It’s your story.

Don’t dismiss comments because it isn’t what you wanted to hear. That won’t improve your story.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hi everyone! I woke up this morning and checked my notes for the following week and almost fell over. There in bright red letters was my reminder that it’s my turn to blog this week. YIKES! I’ve got every minute planned between now and next Sunday night. You see, my youngest son is getting married next Saturday. We are here…the wedding…it’s finally within grasp, the best week of my year! I’m thrilled to gain another daughter, although she’s like my kid anyway. I couldn’t be happier for my son and I couldn’t be more thrilled for my family!

But all this comes on the heels of Ellora’s Cave’s Romanticon in Ohio last week. I was really fretting about it before leaving, wondering what the hell I’d been thinking of to register and be gone for nine days so close to the wedding. I had a good friend who told me you won’t be sorry. Just go and have a great time. And that’s what I did! Once there the stress was gone and I was back in the writing world I’ve so missed. Networking with all the great EC and CP authors was wonderful! Oh, and let’s not forget the buff men of our covers. Yalsa! Are they just getting hotter or am I getting more needy? LOL! Not to take away anything from the entire long weekend but if I had to choose, I’d say the very best part was seeing all the great authors from my writing group, the Sizzling Scribes! Lynn Lafleur, Cait Miller, Tara Nina, Diana Hunter, Nikki Soarde and myself we all able to make the conference. These gals are my soul sisters and women I know I can depend on if I need something. I so hope that next year Tielle St. Clare and Arianna Hart can join us. Then we’ll be complete.

The six of us who attended held a work shop on being a part of a writing group and what it takes to make it run smoothly and how a group effort can work well. We had fun and hope to do the same next year, only expound a bit more on exactly why it works and why authors should think with a group effort mindset.

So with that, I’m going to sign off and get my ass in gear! I thought the mother of the groom was supposed to sit back, enjoy the atmosphere and just show up for the wedding. NOT! LOL! But I wouldn’t give up this coming week for anything. My husband and I were literally giggling over breakfast this morning and vowed to enjoy and remember every second for the next week and tuck those memories away in a safe place. I’m sure when it’s all over I’ll most likely dissolve into a puddle, but that’s okay. I just plan to mop myself up, dust off my writing chair, and get to work on my next submission! Be good and don’t let the goblins get you on Halloween!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

S T R E S S !

For the last few days I have been struggling with a topic to blog about. There have been several really good suggestions but none of them really felt right. This morning I was woken up by a killer migraine and realised I had been clenching my teeth all night. Inspiration struck in the form of a sore jaw and a pounding head.


I get stressed easily. It’s mostly my own fault since I have a tendency to internalize everything and this last couple of months have been high stress for me. Whether it be the book that won’t co-operate, money, personal issues or just work, work and more work we all have things that stress us out to varying degrees.

For me this is my busiest time at work – bet you didn’t know midwives had a busy time of year? Think back 9 months, what was happening? Yep Christmas and New Year and parties with copious amounts of alcohol and *celebrating* LOL! So September is hard work for us. Add that to all of the things I mentioned above plus several pending projects and well, I am wound tighter than a spring. There are a lot of articles out there about how to avoid stress or how to make it better but none of them seem to work for me so I guess I just have to get on with it.

Is anything stressing you out at the moment? How do you deal with it?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Familiarity breeds....comfort

(This entry is a cross-post from my Sex-Diva Blog)

Last night I came to bed very late. After working a busy 3-11 evening shift I always take a little time to wind down, read a few e-mails, play some Bejewelled and, of course, have a small bowl of my favorite cereal. (Cereal is my all-time favorite comfort food. With a dash of nice cold milk...and maybe some fresh peaches.... Mmmmm....) Anyway...I digress...

Needless to say it was close to one o'clock by the time I got all that essential stuff done and managed to crawl into bed beside my softly snoring honey. He was lying on his left side, and since I always sleep on the right side of the bed (This dates back to our first apartment when the right side of the bed was closest to the washroom. Somehow washroom positions changed, but my spot on the bed never did. In fact...come to think of every place we've had since I've been farthest from the bathroom! Hmmm...) Anyway...I digress...

Since I always sleep on the left side of the bed and he always insists that I am to snuggle up to him when I come to bed, even if it risks waking him, I did just that. The thing was, just as I was snuggling up, I realized I needed to take off my earrings and turned over to lay them on the bedside table. When I turned back to the honey...I had to chuckle because his right arm was hovering in the air. Why? you may ask? Because he had sensed me get into bed and had raised his arm in anticipation of my arm slipping under his in our usual, and very familiar, spoony position. I finally snuggled into position with my arm around his waist, his arm draped over mine and our fingers entwined... and I don't think he ever quite woke up.

I love that position. Whether it's my front to his back or vice versa, with his arm wrapped so strong around my waist, there is no better way to snuggle down under the covers and feel safe and warm and completely comfortable and at ease.

There are a lot of things in my life that are routine, predictable and, yes, very comfortable. Things like pizza and movie night with the boys on Fridays. Sitting down to dinner at 6:30, the moment Dad gets home from work. Cereal for breakfast. And sex with the same man for the past 22 years.

Sure things get changed up every once in a while. Variables occasionally come into play...things like vacations, work schedules, bacon and handcuffs. These things are good for variety and to add spice, but in a way they also help us to appreciate the return to the comfortable--the familiar.

There's nothing wrong with having dinner with your family at the same time most nights. And there's nothing wrong with sex with your lover becoming a tad routine. A tad...familiar. Familiarity doesn't necessarily equate with boring. Familiar can also mean that you know what you're doing. You know what works and what doesn't. When your partner's mood is not conducive to long foreplay...and when it is. When to skip the usual oral and go directly to fucking! It's like a waltz...a series of steps and moves, dips and swings, that you've learned so well together over the years that it becomes second nature. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I've never really understood the old "familiarity breeds contempt" addage. It only breeds contempt if you're living in misery, if you don't like your partner in the first place. If you've picked the wrong music and don't know how to waltz.

I love to get down and boogie just as much as the next gal...but the waltz is definitely more enduring and more elegant...and I plan to keep doing it for many more years to come.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The word sends a shiver down your spine. That shiver could be from fear, or it could be from excitement.

Vampire romances have been around for decades, yet have seemed to explode in the last few years. I doubt if there's anyone who hasn't heard of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Laurell K. Hamilton's vampires are famous, as are Charlaine Harris'. True Blood, the HBO series based on Charlaine's books, has vaulted her into superstardom.

I haven't read a lot of vampire books, but have recently discovered a series that I'm enjoying very much--The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. There are currently eight books available. I'm reading number six. Ohmigosh, they are so good! If you haven't read them yet, I can't recommend them highly enough. Absolutely incredible.

As for my own writing, I've penned one vampire romance--"Diverted Destiny" in the Seasons of Seduction IV anthology from Ellora's Cave. My vampire took blood as others of his kind do, except he drew strength from a woman's orgasms. The more she had, the stronger he became. Sounds like my kind of vampire!

I'm currently writing a three-book series for Ellora's Cave about triplet brothers. Once that is done, maybe I should return to the world I created in "Diverted Destiny" and write more books about my vampires. Now my brain is whirling with ideas of characters and plots...

How about you? Are you a vampire fan or not?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Forgotten Beauty

I think when you live some place it’s easy to get complacent about the beauty and attractions around you. Every place has some reason to draw tourists, right? I live in Alaska. I’ve been here for 38 years. I can’t count the number of times that when I mention I’m from Alaska, people say to me “I’ve always wanted to go there.”

And my first reaction?


It’s never been a destination for me. It’s always been home so while the rest of the world sees it as exotic, to me, it’s every day.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Alaska is beautiful. And there are days that even the most long term residents can’t help but catch their breath. I still slow my car and marvel when I’m driving work and see a moose munching on my neighbor’s tree. Or I stand on tiptoe to see Mount McKinley (some 200 miles away) from my doorstep. Or even the clear blue sky on a cold winter day.

But sometimes it takes a tourist to remind us of how special our home is. I recently went on a day trip that included a short train ride, a raft to the base of a glacier and then a float down a river. The tour was filled with tourists and three Alaskans. There was a collective gasp as we came around the corner and saw the massive glacier for the first time. I was amazed at the brilliant blues of the glacier ice. I got to touch an iceberg and stick my fingers in a glacial lake.

It rained all day so Alaska wasn’t showing herself off in her best light to the visitors but I could see through the clouds and it reminded me of the stunning beauty that’s minutes away. I’d forgotten that and really needed the reminder.

I think sometimes it’s cool to play tourist in your own land so you see the world through new eyes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stop the clock!

August? Already? I can’t believe how fast time flies now that I’m older. I remember as a kid feeling like summer went on forever, the wait between Thanksgiving and Christmas was endless, and it felt like decades between birthdays. Now, I blink and half my summer is gone! Poof!

In the summer I like to read and read and read. I try authors I’ve never heard of, re-read some of my favorites, and haunt the “New Books” section of the library like a bar fly at last call. During the school year I have to limit my reading time and so I stock books for July and August. By the end of June my “To be read” pile no longer fits on my nightstand, in fact it’s BIGGER than my nightstand.

I think summer vacation shouldn’t end until my pile of books is finished. That’s not unreasonable, right?

So what about you? Do you have a pile of books by your bed or maybe a list of unread books on your ebook reader? Are you more disciplined than me and only get the next book when you’ve finished reading what you already own, or do you grab a stack of what looks good at the library and save your own for a rainy day? Do you get nervous when you don’t have a few back up books handy?

More importantly, what are you reading? And do you have any suggestions for me, because I’m always looking for another good book.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


M.F.S. is my new way of life at the moment.
As women, we survive many changes, childhood, puberty,
awkward teenage years where these objects that catch boy's eyes pop out
of our chest and start our amazement at what thrills the male species.
Until we blossom into women, where we learn, we grow
and realize the power we maintain within ourselves.
It doesn't stop there. We become girlfriends, wives, mothers and
leaders. Yet that's not enough to assuage the curse of Eve and that Damn apple.
We were cursed to bleed in a monthly cycle. Ever wonder what we'd be like if
one woman hadn't slipped into temptation? Should we blame her for that one fault?
Nah, because if it hadn't been her, it would have been another down the line.
We women are sensual creatures. We control the world's finest asset...ourselves.
Yet, still we can't find a cure for menopause.
Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and changes in diet wage war on our
systems and suspend our normal way of life. For some it's quick and last a year or
two. For others, it drags on over a long period of years.
Myself, I started what's called peri-menopause a few years back (yes, I'm older than
I look). It began with night sweats ,but not every night. Then my cycle changed and
became heavy and more frequent so I chose to take a shortcut out of this downward
spiral in the female agenda. I had an ablation. It's a simple procedure where the
uterine lining is cauterized to prevent future periods. For me, it freaked my system out
and when the time for my normal cycle came, I was catapulted into menopause.
It was a week from hell. I was irritable, mean, cranky, weepy, and sweating buckets around
the clock. Thanks to one of the nurses I work with, I found an herbal supplement that seems
to help me, for now. It's called Estroven, maximum strength. It's not the perfect solution.
I still get night sweats occasionally, but not every night.
As sisters in this trek, I'm open to any and all ideas for easing this unwanted chapter of
the feminine life. I look forward to hearing your suggestions for alleviating the symptoms
of menopause because Menopause Fu***** Sucks!
Tara Nina

Monday, July 26, 2010

Past, present, future

The following entries were originally posted on another blog. I thank them for the opportunity to look at my own journey and wanted to share it with you.

What Comes First The Reader Or The Writer?
Whenever anyone discovers that I write one of the first questions they always ask is, “So how long have you been a writer?” I’m never really sure how to answer. I suspect they mean how long have I been published, which to me isn’t correct because I was a writer long before I was published though I probably wouldn’t have called myself that then. Back then I just loved to read and often would write when the story didn’t go the way I thought it should or just for my own amusement. I have very early memories of my grandparents visiting on a Monday night and being excited to show them what I had written that week. I also have a very funny story written by me (about a golden fish who deid) in a letter to my dad when I could barely spell let alone read. So does that make me a reader or a writer first? My mum encouraged my love of books taking me to the library regularly letting me wander for hours among the stacks. The smell of the library is still one of my favorite things, to me it represented people and adventures and possibilities. The air of hushed anticipation of all the experiences that waited between the pages complimenting in a strange way the quiet pursuit of knowledge. I was upset when the town library installed a coffee shop and the pungent scent of brewing coffee banished the smell of paper and ink. I devoured Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and fell in love with Watership Down. Then my mum introduced me to Dick Francis, probably earlier than she should but I was already reading way past the levels of my peers. From Dick Francis I moved onto Patricia Cornwell and my own writing changed into mystery and suspense. By this time I had read almost everything I was interested in in my local library except for the romances. So I had a look and I found Tami Hoag and Jayne Ann Krentz and a new passion was born. Eventually I followed romance through to paranormal romance thanks to Jayne Ann Krentz’s A Gift of Gold, Anne Stuart’s A Dark and Stormy Night and Rebecca York’s Light Street series. The internet came to our house and my world expanded again. My next love was ebooks. I found an online community of writers and authors and joined several groups, one of which belonged to Angela Knight. One day we began discussing the question which started my journey; how many of us who read also wrote?

The Accidental Author
It took a long time for me to pluck up the courage to admit that I was one of the group who also liked to write. The discussion changed to what we wrote and I read the snippets that the others sent to the group with interest and trepidation because I knew they expected me to contribute. I was terrified. No one but my family had ever read any of my stories, how could I put myself out there in a public forum for people who were essentially strangers? But the others had done it and I didn’t want to be a coward when they had the courage to put themselves out there for me. So I did. I had been working on a story about a shapeshifter who needed to find his mate. I called it Jack and Megan because I couldn’t think of a title. I only had half of a chapter and had no idea where it was going or if it was going anywhere but I posted it anyway. I bit my nails and waited on tenterhooks for the rest of the day for responses. To my delight they were overwhelmingly positive. There were gentle and some not so gentle prods asking me for the rest of the story. Rest of the story? What rest? I wrote a little more and sent it too admitting that it wasn’t complete. Once again they loved it but this time I received the private email that changed everything. It seemed that one of the members of the group was an editor for a publisher called Ellora’s Cave. I had heard of them. I had even bought books from them. ‘When you finish it, send it to me.’ She said and sent me into a tailspin. I was entering my final year of University, how could I finish a book? I had no time. I had never written anything that long before. I never even contemplated trying to become published, I’m not good enough.
I’m not good enough.
Remember those words because they will come back to haunt me. It took me almost a year to finish Jack and Megan and that long to think of the title, Believe In The Magic. I dithered over sending it talking myself into and out of it too many times to count but eventually I did. Two days later I received an email offering me a contract. Seems someone thought I was good enough.

All The Firsts
When my first book came out I was flying high and when the first cheque arrived I kept my promise to myself and used it to travel across the Atlantic to the Romantic Times Convention. I had been living it vicariously through various email groups for a few years and had always wanted to go. I wanted to meet the people who had been so supportive of me in person and I really wanted to meet all the authors I had grown to love. When I put on the badge saying published author for the first time I felt like nothing could get better. I was wrong, the next day my publisher surprised me with a box of my books in print. I sat on the floor in a corner of the room with the chaos of other Ellora’s Cave authors stuffing promo in bags around me and I breathed in the scent of those books and I cried. It’s difficult to describe how much that meant to me. I love ebooks. I love the convenience of them, the instant gratification that comes from finding a book at buying it and reading even if it’s 2am, not to mention that they are usually cheaper and as an author I love that I get more royalties from them. But there is nothing like holding that paper copy in your hand. It brings so many memories of my childhood and all the time I spent wandering among the bookshelves. Ebooks are the future but they will never replace print.
There were a lot more firsts at the Convention that year. First time someone recognised me, first time someone asked me to sign something just for the pleasure of having my signature, first book signing, first time I saw my book on a bookshelf in a store. I met so many friends I had made online as well as many new ones. It was an experience that guaranteed my attendance at the Romantic Times Convention every year for as long as I could afford it.

The Great Depression
I came home from my first Romantic Times Convention inspired and ready to write the second book but my personal life had changed. I had been forced to move away from my friends and family to work and the job was far from perfect. We were short staffed and a job that is stressful at the best of times was made worse because I was inexperienced and the support I needed wasn’t there. I was travelling 400 miles every week and working full time. Eventually my days off weren’t enough, I was tired all the time and had to force myself to get out of bed every day. I lost a lot of weight. I caught every cold flu and minor ailment that came my way. All my emotions were close to the surface and I just never felt well. I was miserable my writing was one of the first things to suffer. I had no motivation to open up that document and when I did I would sit and stare at that blinking cursor and nothing would come to me. It took all my energy to keep going, I had none left to be creative. I felt isolated and alone. For almost a year things piled on top of me until I couldn’t see the light anymore and I was just going through the motions. I knew something was wrong I just didn’t know what so I went to my GP. At the end of the consultation my doctor said ‘Do you think you could be depressed?’
My first reaction was denial. Of course I wasn’t depressed. Even working in the medical field I had falling for the stereotypes and I didn’t fit them. I left the doctor’s office scoffing at the whole idea. Deep down I knew he was right but it was a label I didn’t want. Soon afterwards a series of awful experiences at work made me re-evaluate my life. I admitted to myself that my doctor might have been right. I couldn’t continue on the way I was going for very much longer, I needed my family, I needed to be home. Within 4 months I had found a new job, it meant a pay cut and a daily commute of 90 miles but it didn’t matter. I moved home, joined a gym and even went so far as cutting my waist length hair to my shoulders. It took a while but with the support of my friends and family I began to reclaim my life, pulled my creativity out of the black hole and started writing again.

The Only Way Is Up
I wish I could say that everything went smoothly after all of those changes but it’s seldom as simple as that. The second book was finished in my initial burst of renewed energy but it wasn’t long before life got in the way again. I was closer to home but I was still working full time twelve hour shifts, mixing days and nights. It was difficult to keep my motivation when all I wanted to do on my days off was relax. Some weeks I was writing nothing and some I was only managing a few hundred words. I spoke to other writers about how they managed to work full time and write as well and all had different strategies. The common theme was 'write something everyday' otherwise it’s harder to maintain your forward momentum. I eventually finished a novella and sent it off only for it to be rejected. It stung but I figured it was my turn and the book perhaps didn’t fit. I rewrote the novella submitted it again to two different publishers and was again turned down. Those horrible words I asked you to remember started creeping into my head.
I’m not good enough.
I decided to take a break from writing for a while, focusing on work and other things until eventually the stories and characters started niggling at me again. Write me, write me. I joined Twitter and far from being a distraction, I found that seeing other writers talk about their craft and posting when they were writing was making the urge to get back to it stronger. They encouraged each other and shared word counts and I found that I wasn’t all that different. That some did only manage a few hundred words a day and rejoiced in it. We won’t talk about the ones who write five to ten thousand. Eventually I joined in. Since their voices were the loudest I pulled out the much rejected novella and totally re-wrote it. In the process I fell in love with the characters even more, pouring my heart into the story and finding joy in creating it. I shared it with my proofreaders and they loved the story as much as I did. The confidence I had lost was restored, this time they would find their place.

The Big Rejection
I suppose the title of this entry kind of gives it away. The novella didn’t find its place. This time when I submitted it, it got a hard rejection. Not just a form letter or a ‘sorry not right for this project’ or ‘if you re-write this’. This time it was thanks but no thanks, I didn’t like it. Also included was a helpful breakdown of all the things they didn’t like and no positives. I was devastated. I felt like I had put everything I had into the story, had had such confidence in it and it wasn’t good enough. Yep. There are those words again. They just keep coming back to haunt me.
It was at this time that I had what I like to call the online meltdown. I was terrifically upset and I wasn’t in a place where I could hide it. I tried to be objective, to let it go over my head but every time I read that email all I heard was ‘you’re not good enough’. I was ready to quit. Why would I keep putting myself through the wringer like this?
Yeah, I hear you all shouting at your PC and trust me, if I had been on the outside I would have done the same. I had lost sight of the fact that I was in a better place than some in the same situation. I had two books published already. Everyone was supportive but there were quite a few offers to kick my ass for being so negative. So why would anyone keep going? The answer is obvious but I wasn’t in a place where I could see it yet.

Never Give Up
It took a week before I was able to pull myself together after the big rejection and answer my own question. I would keep going not because I might find someone to publish another book or because I had already had some measure of success already or even to prove that I could. Those are good reasons but not the best one. I would keep going because I’m a writer and I can’t do otherwise.
I’d love to say I don’t care whether I’m ever published again but it would be a lie. Of course I care. Even before I started this crazy journey part of the joy of creating new worlds and characters was sharing them with others, even if it was just my grandparents. However I’m going to try not to let the bumps in the road get in the way. It would be nice to finish with the news that I have had another book contracted but I am still working on that.
Every writer’s journey is different and we all have obstacles to overcome. My biggest is self doubt. I’m sure I’ll never get rid of that hateful voice that says I’m not good enough but I am learning to embrace it. I have to listen just enough to keep my work improving and not enough for it to steal my confidence again. This is the story so far of my writing life, thank you for letting me share it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes…”

My husband directs theatre in real life. For the past several weeks he’s been in rehearsals for RENT, one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals. He works with Geneva Theatre Guild in Geneva, NY and their performances are at the Smith Opera House, a nineteenth century structure that came alive in a very different way this past weekend.

Several things struck me as I watched, enjoyed and participated in the performances of truly gifted singers, musicians and technicians. One, I love live theatre even more than I love the movies. Two, the struggle of life – of love and friendships – is a timeless theme that never grows old. And three, I really, really, really want to write a play that speaks to an audience the way RENT spoke to me.

Caveat: I am not a RENThead. I saw it on Broadway with my husband about three months before it closed and the show was dated and tired. I saw the movie in the theatre and enjoyed it; we bought the DVD and its still in the plastic, unopened. So my comments are not based on a fanatical devotion to one musical but rather based on the ability of theatre to teach, to entertain and to broaden one’s philosophies.

As I sat in the audience last night (Saturday) and watched the “family” break apart, I found myself thinking about what makes one play better than the next one and realized it’s the same elusive, amorphous “thing” that sets one novel over others. Every one of us has a book that we read again and again, finding new “stuff” each time until we know every character, every word, every theme. I’m no closer to determining what that “thing” is now than I was before, but I can tell you RENT has it. So does ROMEO AND JULIET. And PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. And FRANKENSTEIN. And…you fill in the blank with the novel/play that spoke to you.

Several years ago I wrote a short scene between John Adams and Private White of Boston Massacre fame. A few months ago I dug it out and re-read it. Concept is great, execution? Not so much. Needs work. A LOT of work. This morning I started the scene that would need to precede that one and found myself digging into 1770 Boston and the men whose opinions helped to form our country. They had a lot to say and some of it bears repeating in these unsettled times.

So, I have the inspiration (thank you to my husband and his cast and crew of RENT), I have an outline (thanks to the work I started years ago) and I’m ready to give it a shot. A new medium and a new experiment…but isn’t that what makes life worth living?

And, if I’m being honest with myself, listening to Roger sing “One Song, Glory” struck a chord so deep inside me I don’t look very often. “One [book]. One [play] before I go…Find glory in a [book] that rings true, truth like a blazing fire, an eternal flame...”

Maybe its time I wrote from my heart again…

Play safe,


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Two Lovers for Molly

I have a new release from Ellora's Cave coming out this Friday, July 9th. Yay! Two Lovers for Molly is the third book in my Lavender Lace series, and wraps up the series with everyone getting their happily-ever-after.

I hope you enjoy this spicy excerpt.


* * * * *

She looked from Lane to Julian and back again. "Julian started to tell me about the morning after your night with Claire. I want to know about that."


Julian sat close to Molly and slipped his arm around her shoulders. She could feel him playing with her hair, yet she focused her attention on Lane's mouth as he spoke.

"I'd been dating Claire for about a month when Julian came over for dinner." He glanced at the other man. "Julian and his girlfriend had recently broken up and I figured it was my duty as his best friend to get him drunk."

Julian chuckled as he nuzzled behind her ear. "He did a damn good job of it too."

"Were you sloshed?"

"And then some."

Molly returned her attention to Lane when he slipped his hands beneath her skirt. He went no higher than her knees, but his touch on her skin quickened her breathing.

"Claire was a flirt and loved attention. When Julian went to the bathroom, I told her she should kiss him. Her eyes lit up like fireworks. One kiss led to another, and soon clothes started coming off."

Julian tugged her closer. She leaned against him, her back to his chest. His hand slipped down and released the first button on her blouse. Lane watched Julian's hand for a moment before continuing.

"The three of us spent a wild night together. I doubt if there was a position we didn't try."

Julian nipped the side of her neck while his fingers danced over the flesh spilling out of her bra.

Lane continued to watch Julian's fingers. He slid his hands beneath Molly's knees and pulled them far enough apart so he could slip his knees between hers.

The second button on her blouse came loose.

"Claire and I had a fight the next morning." Lane's warm hands caressed the backs of her knees, down her shins and up to the top of her thighs, still beneath her skirt. Molly's heart began a stuttering tattoo in her chest. "I don't remember what it was about. She left in a huff and I went back to the bedroom with Julian."

Julian unfastened the third button and pulled her blouse open. He groaned softly. "Damn, you're wearing a red bra."

"I bought it today." Her voice came out sounding soft and breathless. She gasped when Julian cradled her breasts.

Lane's hands crawled higher up her thighs. "Are you wearing panties to match?"

She nodded. "A thong."

"A thong?" Julian asked, the surprise evident in his question. He squeezed her breasts as he buried his face against her neck. "God, I have to see your ass in that."

Molly didn't respond. Her voice ceased to work when Lane's fingers brushed her pussy through the thong. He moved to the edge of the coffee table, using his knees to push her legs farther apart, and ran his thumbs back and forth over her clit.

Pleasure rippled through her body. She sat there, on the verge of a climax and they all still wore their clothes.

"Do you want to know what I did then?" Lane asked.

Molly didn't care, not as long as he kept caressing her clit and Julian kept tugging on her nipples. Without her realizing it, Julian had unhooked the front closure of her bra. "Wh-what did you do?"

"I sucked his cock."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gadget Geek and the Reading Revelation

So, I’ve discovered I’m more of a Gadget Geek than I expected or wanted to acknowledge. I’ve never been one who needed the latest toy. My computer is almost ten years old. My phone is the first of the 3G generation (that’s old in phone life). But I needed the latest toy…the iPad.

Now, I know it does pretty much the same things that my phone does, except work as a phone, but I wanted one. It was so cute and sleek. And I have to confess, I love it. Don’t worry, this isn’t a promo for the iPad but more the revelation that it represents.

I justified the purchase by saying I wanted/needed an e-reader and couldn't find what I was looking for. My first task was to download 3 e-reader apps (Kindle, Barnes & Noble and iBooks) plus a PDF reader so I can transfer all the books that I’ve already purchased.

The first night I got my iPad, I downloaded Amanda Quick’s The Burning Lamp and J.R. Ward’s Lover Avenged. In the week following, I bought and read another five books.

Now, I’m a big reader but in the past year, I’ve steered away from buying books. Lately I’ve been unwilling to try a new author. It’s like I’ve lost my sense of adventure. I don’t want to be disappointed so I’ve just stuck with familiar names, never branching out and walking out of the bookstore more often than not empty-handed. The e-reader seems to have inspired me, I feel more willing to take a risk. I’ve bought books and tried authors I never would have considered before.

Part of what I love about e-books is the instant gratification. When I want a new book, it’s just clicks away and poof, it’s loaded on my device. And I can act on recommendations. Recently, I was on vacation with my sister and she told me about a book she’d read and enjoyed. While we were talking, I went to Amazon and bought it, downloading it in less than a minute. Normally, I would have listened to her recommendation and mostly likely forgotten the name of the author or the book. Now, I have a new author to try.

I’m also thinking this will reduce the clutter a bit around my house. The paper books (read and to-be-read) pile up quickly, don’t they? When a book is a computer file, if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t feel compelled to give it away or sell it to a used book store. I just delete it. Instant clean up…I love it.

Being an e-book author, I read a lot of e-books and that means I’ve spent a lot…a lot…of hours sitting in front of my computer hitting the arrow and next page buttons. It was fine but not terribly conducive to reading before bed. Now, I crawl into bed with my e-reader and stack of new e-books and read until my eyes start to close.

And no matter what e-reader you have you can find some free (and legal!) books out there. I’ve recently been enjoying Ellora’s Caves Naughty Nooners. It’s a great way to discover new authors (Scribe sister Lynn LaFleur has one out…”Door Prize”. It was good fun!).

I haven’t completely abandoned paperback and hardcover. I have a few authors I just like to see sitting on my shelf but I’m a big fan of the e-reader. I feel like I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday, June 20, 2010

Sunday approached quickly this past week for me. I met it with a bit of trepidation simply because one of the busiest times of our working year is just ahead. Because we own a pizza business, I’ve been on a continuous exhausting roll leading up to the Fourth of July. This coming holiday requires that we begin to prepare a month in advance. Decisions to make, extra hours for all the prepping…it just seems to build like a threatening thunderstorm on the horizon. My husband and I have to force the mindset because basically we’ll work everyday until the 4th is over and we’ll have to disregard our long hours and just plow forward. It’s a little tough for me to back off and find some time to relax.

But this June 20th ended up being a celebration (one that I cooked for, cleaned for…you get the picture!) First off, it was Father’s Day. My dad will be 77 next month. He’s really slowed down due to some surgeries. He’s really aged the past few years and suddenly I truly looked forward to having a party at my house to celebrate all the fathers in the family. It turned out to be a gorgeous day with the sun shining and just a light wind to cool us off. Everyone turned out and we sat on the patio with kids, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and numerous family dogs racing about. Throw in a few drinks and some bocceball, a trip across the road to the lake for all those aforementioned to cool off with a dip, and of course a meal that put everyone but the kids flat on their butts in a comfy lawnchair, and I have to say it was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time.

I watched my dad with his youngest great-grandchild in his lap (Alex just turned one). He’d sing a Finnish song to him and the little guy would start humming back with a big smile in his near toothless mouth. Cracked us all up – especially my dad! And also made me hope that next Father’s Day we could repeat the day with no one missing among our continually growing family. It’s my dad’s biggest dream to be here in the future and celebrate his great-grandchildren’s life experiences. It’s kinda funny to see where he’s evolved through the years. My dad was a tough ‘coot’ to grow up with. No-nonsense and adhering to a strict straight-line path of obedience. Thank god he worked two or three jobs to support all of us and give us the best education that he could or there was a good possibility there would have been an uprising with me and my sister’s at the helm! Now he just shakes his head and can’t imagine that he ‘spawned’ the outspoken women that he did. LOL. And now he’s an active member of his descendant’s lives, finally having the time in his later retired years to enjoy what he created.

I also hit another milestone yesterday. It was mine and Jeff’s 35th wedding anniversary. We woke up yesterday and just looked at each other and wondered how in hell we got to this point. How does that happen? How does life pass by so quickly that suddenly we’re able to look back and write mental pages of our own life and the many things that happened along the way? It seems like we just got married and we’re heralding the birth of our first son! Now suddenly we’re at the point where we’ve raised our three kids and now they’re repeating the same process. I don’t feel any older…well, that’s a bit of a falsehood. I’m more in the phase of my body aging but my mind resisting! But I’m not near ready to lie down and just coast through this last phase. I’ve still got a lot of unchecked items on my personal bucket list (one which was to get this blog written and posted – teehee).

So in lieu of our 35 years together, I’d like to spotlight my very first erotic romance, Payton’s Passion. It’s about a couple who are on the verge of becoming very bored with one another, whose passion has waned due to work commitments, kids, and responsibilities, and how the two find their way back to what drew them to each other in the first place. Hope you’ll get a chance to pick this book up!

So to all the fathers, a happy belated Father’s Day to you all! And to myself? Hell, I’m searching for that purple heart I had on yesterday, this a reference to my thirty-five years with the same guy! You all have a great week!

Hugs and aging kisses, Ruby

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A 12 step program for book addicts? I bet there's a book on that.

I admit it. I have a problem. When I find a new author I like, I HAVE to read everything they’ve written. In order. It makes me crazy to miss a book in a series. I scour bookstores and libraries until I’ve consumed each and every one of their books.

And then I am sad.

I just picked up the latest book in a murder mystery series I love and I read the whole thing in one sitting. Now I have to wait an ENTIRE YEAR for the next book. It’s enough to make me cry.

I have to believe I’m not the only person with this problem. There must be others out there who are dying for the next book from a favorite author. What’s a girl to do in the meantime?

I’ve been to Borders and have seen their “If you like so and so, try so and so” but they only have a handful of authors. I need a lot more options!

So I’m soliciting suggestions. Who are some of your favorite authors? And when you are dying for their next book, who do you turn to?

Help me please! I'm a desperate woman!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Time Flies...

Did you realise yet that tomorrow is June 1st? I know it blew my mind. Halfway through the year. What the heck happened?
It's been eventful one for me so far but not in the ways I thought it would. In January I resolved to write more, get my next book published, lose weight and try to let work stress me out less. I promised myself I would crawl out of my reclusive writers cave and socialise a bit more and was looking forward to a dream trip to New Orleans and the Romantic Times Convention in Ohio.

Who new that six months later I would have had the rejection that sent me into writer meltdown and put some serious holes in my creativity? Who could have guessed that we would all have learned how to pronounce the name of a volcano called Eyjafjallajökul? Which to me sounds strangely like thatfrickinvolcano after it caused my trip to New Orleans to be cancelled. Luck was still with my trip to Ohio for the Romantic Times Convention however it deserted me afterwards and thatfrickinvolcano caused me to be delayed in Ohio and endure a 24 hour nightmare trip home. Of course the resulting exhaustion made me sick and I have lost a good bit of weight so I have achieved that part of my resolution. As to the last parts of my plan, well, work is still stressing me out but I have made a half hearted attempt to crawl out of that cave...unless...does eHarmony count?
So, this week I am taking stock and resolving to take another run at those resolutions. How has your year been so far? Has it worked the way you hoped it would or has fate stirred things up in that bitchy way she has?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Scribd and me

A couple of years ago, Heath Vercher asked me to do a joint concert with him in Second Life for Valentine's Day. He would play a few of his romantic compositions (Seduction is absolutely my favorite piece) and I would read some short, romantic stories. We called it our Love Stories collection and I wrote five pieces for this two-hour concert.

The concert was a success and we had a lot of fun with it. The five short stories I wrote existed as "in the air" pieces as they were too short for most publishers. Because of the nature of Heath's audience, they were sweet romances rather than erotica and I would use them as introductions when I did my readings in SL. I recorded three of them with the intent to upload them through Itunes and sell them as audio stories, but since I lack the knowledge of just how to go about accomplishing that, those files still languish on my computer.

And then I found Scribd.

Scribd is a great place to find both free and for-sale stories. Anyone can upload their stories and make them available to the reading public. A perfect home for these short works, I thought, and I created my Scribd account. I uploaded the first of the stories I'd written from the Ramayana (why I love that epic is another post in and of itself. If you want to know that story, tell me in the comments and next time its my turn, I'll tell you about the spell India and this magificent epic has put on me). Because the Ramayana belongs to everyone, and because I simply retold a story already well-known, I decided to offer it free of charge.

Next up was Love at Third Sight, an original story. This one I charge for because it is original. Scribd takes 20% of the price as thier share plus a $.25 download fee out of the price I charge. So I set $1.25 as the price, which means I'd make $.50 for each copy someone bought. I did the same with One Last Dance, one of my favorites of these short works. Gorilla Love, also original, I didn't charge for since it's barely 700 words long.

Unfortunately, the two works for sale aren't selling. I need some feedback. Is the price too high? Should I lower it to $.99, the same as a song off Itunes? What about the audio files I have sitting here on my computer? Anyone have the knowledge of how to post them to my website and sell them that way? Or should I just offer those for free, too? Where should I post them?

Check out the freebies (there are several episodes of the Tales from the Ramayana now...I wrote two new ones just this past month and uploaded them as well. You can find them on my profle page at the top. Scroll through the list to read them all!) and please, leave feedback in the comments! I promise, you won't hurt my feelings. This entire endeavor is an experiment. Let me know what you think?

Play safe,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

OMG...a different kind of review.

Oversized Male Genitalia. What did YOU think that stood for? Hehe.
I just thought it was time to sing the praises of this awesome book. Actually...the book isn't anything to write home about. Well...unless your mother is a smut-writing Sex Diva like moi! And if so...aren't you lucky! But otherwise, you may not want to mail this home to Grandma. Or give it to your priest. Or even nominate it for a Pullitzer. It's a goofy, tongue-in-cheek poke at the ultimate male fantasy. And it's a riot.

What really struck me about it, however...what makes it worth mentioning for me... is the story of how I came across it. It wasn't like I found it while perving Amazon for some cheap thrills. (Not that I do that. Ahem.) I didn't even find it hidden in the dusty back corner of the local sex shop and porn store. I came across this little gem as I stepped into the local Chapters store (For those of you unfamiliar with Chapters, that's the Canadian version of Barnes and Noble. An enormous bookstore and Starbucks chain for the literary and latte lovin' league.) I walked down the main aisle and there...there...THERE in the middle of one of the largest, most in-your-face, most blatantly publicity-seeking table displays of books sat this brilliant red and gold tomb, shamelessly declaring the word "PENIS" for all to see. I was...astounded. Flabbergasted. And amazed. I just thought this was the best thing ever. Even better than when Ottawa University students managed to run Anne Coulter out of town! Oops...this blog isn't supposed to be about politics. But then again Anne Coulter is kind of like the sexual Anti-Christ. Hang on...where was I?

Oh yes...the table display at Chapters (the Canadian version of B&N)! I was just so impressed at this blatant display of such a naughty word that I had to stop and pick it up. And after reading a few bits and pieces here and there, decided it would make the perfect birthday gift for my husband! No...he's not excessively endowed, and despite all the spam in his in-box, has no wish to be. However, I thought it would provide us with a good chuckle over chocolate birthday cake and ice cream. Ironically, our oldest son was much more enthusiastic about covering the book fromn cover to cover. And, no...we don't have that book sitting out when grandma and grandpa come over to visit. Shame, really.

So, anyway...if you know anyone who has issues with OMG...or who wishes they did, or who would just get a kick out of having the word PENIS emblazoned in gold letters across a book on his/her coffee table, I highly recommend this book! I mean...if you can't have fun with an enormous penis...what CAN you have fun with?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Taking a Break

Recently I spent nine days in Hawaii, taking a firm break from my day job and writing. It’s been years since I’ve gone on a trip and haven’t taken my computer with the intention to write or edit. But this time, I decided no writing, no editing, no working. I was going to relax.

My plans for the trip were to dive, golf and lay by the pool.

So, some quick highlights…

On my fourth dive of the trip, my dive buddy and I ran into a pod of Spinner Dolphins. We were about 80 ft. down and suddenly in the presence of about 30 dolphins. It was amazing but as a relatively new diver who’d never been to 80 feet, I had to keep dragging my attention back to the dolphins. My thoughts went something like this…

Oh my gosh, dolphins. Wait, 80 feet? How did we get here? Don’t worry about it, look at the dolphins. But I don’t want to go any deeper. Look at the dolphins. Wait, sharks eat dolphins right? Scans the water for sharks. Just look at the dolphins…

Thankfully, my dive buddy is an avid videographer and got some great shots so I can re-live the experience without constant monitoring of my dive computer.

Golf highlight…the golf course had peacocks! All over the place. Beautiful birds but when they cry out, they sound like a human screaming. Takes a bit of getting used to. Keep thinking I could use that in a book some day.

And laying by the pool…lovely, read three books while in Hawaii…James Rollins’ Excavation, Lucy Monroe’s Moon Craving, and Sabrina Jeffries’ The Truth about Lord Stoneville. All excellent reads. I highly recommend them all. Good reading at any time but particularly lovely while sipping a drink with an umbrella in it.

In the end, got my mental break, came back ready to write and with two new stories in my head. Ahhh, now that’s vacation.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pet Peeves

We all have them, those little things other people do that make us want to scream and tear out our hair.

I'm a very easy going person. I don't anger easily, and I get over my anger at something or someone quickly. But there are some things that push my hot buttons the wrong way. Since I always feel better when I vent, here are some of my nasty little pet peeves.

Leaving the shopping cart in the middle of the aisle. I don't like to move someone else's cart, especially a woman's when there's a purse in it. I'm always afraid she'll think I'm stealing her wallet. But sometimes I don't have a choice. While she's standing there, trying to decide which one of forty different detergents to buy, I have things to do. Get out of my way!

Not giving a turn signal. I'm coming out of a parking lot, patiently waiting for the approaching car to pass so I can be on my way. Does the car pass? No, it turns into the lot right next to me without giving a signal. And 95% of the time, it's a man driving. What is it with guys and no turn signals? Do they belong to the same club as guys who don't ask directions or read instructions? (No offense, guys, but I call' em as I see 'em.)

Whooshing by me on the highway only to pull in front of me and slow down to the same speed I'm driving. What is the point of that? I drive a Kia Optima. It isn't a big car. If I was in a big honkin' SUV or a diesel pickup, I could understand wanting to get around me to be able to see better. My little car isn't much of a hindrance to seeing what's coming.

You probably see my pattern. It's the lack of courtesy and simple manners that gets to me. It all boils down to one thing--treat me the way you want to be treated.

Now that I've vented and feel better, tell me what pushes your hot buttons.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Never enough hours

Sometimes I wonder where the day goes. It seems with each passing hour, I become more disorganized. My house is a disaster. The laundry is piled high and the floor needs a good
sweeping, dishes in the sink and the dishwasher's empty. Can anyone tell how to get a
teenager to notice this everyday crap that needs to be done and lend a hand? I've tried
offering to pay a weekly allowance for help. It doesn't phase them. I came home from work
and flipped. Instead of killing them, I sought refuge in my yard. Which is in dire need as well
for a good spring shape up so I spent hours in the yard until it got dark and I couldn't stand up
straight from the planting, weeding and mulching. I walked in expecting to have to cook dinner too but was surprised by an awesome smell. My daughter actually cooked and it was delicious.
I guess she's not completely blind to the household everyday issues.
I took a shower then enjoyed the meal. But guess who got to clean the Kitchen. LOL.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do you plan to continue Sarah & Phillip's relationship beyond Submission Revealed?

Not exactly. Phillip & Sarah make cameo appearances in my current work-in-progress as they help along a couple in distress. :) There also may be a podcast of a short scene between the two of them in the near future!

Ask me anything

will you be writing a follow=up book to "submission revealed" ? I have reaad both of those books and litterally fell in love with them. I really hope you can put together a third = or more - about these characters. thanks. sue davis

My current work-in-progress contains cameo appearances by both Phillip and Sarah as they coach another couple along, but other than that, these two only ever had these two books. But don't write that in stone...who knows when they might come forward again and demand another story?

Ask me anything

Ask me anything

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are you kidding me?

The other day my father in law came over and said to me, "I've got to show you my newest toy. It's amazing! I can't believe no one thought of this sooner!"

What was it you ask? Something to make children clean up after themselves? An automatic dinner maker? A robot who will do laundry?

No, it was a Kindle.

Now, I agree that Kindles are amazing, wonderful inventions, but HELLO! Ebooks have been around for ten years, thanks. Someone did think of it sooner, Sony, Mobi, and several others. . .

Very few people who are in my "regular/teacher/daughter/mother" world know I am also Arianna Hart (which explains why when Ari gets to play, anything can happen) so I couldn't burst out and say, "Yeah, I've heard of Kindle, they're line number three on my royalty statement." But boy did I want to!

When I started reading ebooks in 2002, NO ONE had heard of them. When I got published in 2003, ebook authors were low man on the totem pole. We weren't considered "real" authors because our books weren't "real" books. Even my accountant mocked me, "I just can't see cuddling up on the couch with a computer."

Bite me.

For years, courageous readers have enjoyed the benefits of ebooks and have had to explain over and over again what an ebook was. Now that Amazon has gotten into the game, suddenly ebooks are the cool kid in school.

A part of me, the part that reads the royalty statements, is thrilled that the masses have discovered ebooks. E publishers have heralded this day for years and years and it looks like our time has finally arrived. Huzzah, huzzah!

A little, teeny, tiny, non-conformist part of me is somewhat saddened by the mainstreaming of ebooks. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that others have discovered the joy that is instant book gratification, but it's kind of like when you discover a new band/author/artist/restaurant that you love but it/they haven't become hugely popular yet and then all of a sudden, you can no longer afford to go there because they are wildly famous now.

Okay, that doesn't make much sense, even to me. Ebooks aren't going to sell out like the latest New York Times bestseller in your local bookstore, but you get the point. I guess I just want a little credit given to all the loyal people who had to put up with, "what? you're reading a what book? Don't you miss having a real book in your hands?" for the last decade.

On the other hand, if you have only just discovered ebooks and you are reading me for the first time, welcome to the wonderful world of ebooks!!! ;-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rejected again...

This week I got another editor rejection. Nothing new I hear you say, it happens all the time. Rejection comes with the territory and if you want to be a published author then it's one of the things you just have to deal with. You're right. This is far from my first but for some reason this one affected me more deeply than any others in the past have. So deeply that I had a complete meltdown. There were tears, lots of them. My meltdown even spread to online where I shared my devastation with the whole of the twitterverse. I have no idea why this time it was more painful than any of the rest. Was it the way it was rejected (completely) no 'this was good, but'? One rejection too many? Was it my love for the characters and my belief in their story? The fact that this is the first time in a long time that I had finished something? Or was it everything else in my life that sucked this week just finally getting on top of me?

The proverbial last straw.

Whatever the reason, I was ready to give up. No more writing, it was getting too painful. Why continue with something that used to be enjoyable but was now causing so much hurt? Perhaps I wasn't meant to be a writer after all? And indeed, I haven't written a word since then (twitter doesn't count) until now. I'd like to thank everyone who sent me a message of encouragement, sympathy and empathy or anger on my behalf. Your support means the world to me. Now, almost a week later I am still upset, but not feeling quite so negative. Thanks to all of you, plus a little time and perspective I have decided to get back on the horse after all. Will I have the courage to submit anything again? I don't know yet. Probably. The fact of the matter is that I was a writer before I was published and I'm still a writer now. I am going to try to reclaim the things about it that made me happy before I saw my name on a book. The joy of escaping into a world of my own making, whether anyone else cares about it or not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

of spring, the earth and ebooks...

The weather here in the Finger Lakes has turned cold again after several days of positively balmy temperatures. While I know this cold snap is simply Mother Nature’s way of reminding us it’s still March, I certainly enjoyed getting out into the garden and turning over the soil in preparation for this year’s planting.

Being forced back indoors has given me time for reflection instead of action. An ardent composter, recycler, turn-off-the-lights-when-you-leave-the-room nag gives me the environmentalist label in our household. I hang some of my laundry out to dry; I make paper from the lint. I grow a few vegetables. We’ve been using cloth napkins for everyday for years and use the wax paper from cereal boxes instead of buying it new (and believe me, we eat a LOT of cereal! My son seems to think there’s no other food group and would have it for all three meals and snacks if I let him). In spite of all the things we already do, I find myself asking, what ELSE? What more can we do?

And the answer is, “very little.” I need to sell a few more books before I can put in the solar electric system my husband has his eye on. Same deal with getting hybrid cars and solar heating. The tax breaks help, but the price is still high. We manage to only put one grocery bag’s worth of garbage into the landfill each day(our town charges by the pound and believe me, that gave us incentive to recycle even more things), but I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce even that amount. Buying in bulk helps reduce packaging – sometimes. I hate when I buy a big box of something, thinking it’s going to be less “stuff” and find inside that they’ve simply put two of the smaller size packages with all the wrapping still intact. Now I not only have what I would have if I’d bought smaller, but I have the larger wrap around it as well. Grrr…

Of course, buying ebooks is always a greener way to go (shameless plug). Although there have been some debates about the use of electricity vs. paper mill pollution, I’m inclined to think the ebooks win. They certainly win as far as storage is concerned. Less clutter means less dust means less pollution, right? That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

Okay…so what are the ways you help the environment as the weather turns warm and we come out of our winter cocoons? Give me some ideas for my what ELSE?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

How do YOU make yourself feel sexy?

For years I didn't feel sexy.

When I was in my teens and twenties I did...sort of. In my teens it was dicey because I couldn't seem to get a boy to be interested in me. I wore the tight jeans--the kind that forced you to slide into your desk sideways and stick your legs out in order to avoid being cut in half--and I had the 80's hair. I smiled at a few boys, and even managed to get one to kiss me. But for the most part the boys in my age range weren't interested in a rather outspoken Sci-Fi freak whose abilities in math could shame even the nerdiest pocket-protector-toting geek. Let alone the star of the volleyball team. Apparently teenage boys don't like girls that are smarter than they are. Who knew?

So, not until I met my number one hunny at the tender age of 19 did I really start to feel like I had the kind of sex appeal required to lure all those good little Mennonite boys into temptation. Alas, however, the very first boy I dated was so perfect that I never needed to look any further! Therefore my exposure to the opposite sex, and hence the affirmation of my sex appeal, ended up being very limited.

So, through the years of marriage, home-ownership, pregnancy, lactation and wonderful hunny continued to always tell me how beautiful and sexy I was. And that is wonderful! However...I confess that after 20 years it started to lose it's...zing. And I confess that through those years of pregnancy and looking after toddlers I pretty much gave up on the whole sex appeal thing. What's the point, after all when you spend much of your free time wiping up poop and mopping up puke? But then...suddenly...and yes, I do believe it was right around that proverbial female sexual peak...I decided it was time to get off my ample butt and start to feel like a woman again! And I did. I lost 30 pounds, grew out my hair, and bought my first pair of low-rise jeans. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. But I still didn't feel sexy. Not...really. And at the time...I couldn't really say why. And then it happened--the epiphany!

I had gone out to a bar to meet some girlfriends for an evening of dancing. However...arriving at the ridiculously early hour of 10:00 pm....left me waiting for my girlfriends all alone. Not being particularly shy I got a drink at the bar and sat down to wait. The first to approach was a college age boy with a rye and coke and a goofy smile who sat down beside me and proceeded to inflate my ego exponentially. I'm not sure if he...flirted exactly, however I did come away from that table with a perpetual invitation to keg parties at his house. (I have yet to take him up on that.) But it was upon walking away from that table that the real fun began.

I heard my name called and was startled to discover two of those volley-ball playing jocks from my old highschool...two men who in 1982 barely knew I existed, and who had, on occasion teased my geeky friends and myself to distraction. seemed that NOW the distraction was on the other foot. These two divorcees on the make had eyes that were so big, and jaws that had dropped so far that I almost thought I was going to have to start mopping up their drool. I confess it felt good...damn good to turn away their advances with a little flick of my wrist. "Sorry boys. I am sooooo out of your league."

Okay...I didn't say that. Not out loud, anyway. But the way that little experience made me feel was...beyond description. It was the boost and the affirmation that I had been seeking...and I hadn't even known it. Of course I came home and told #1 hunny all about it. He was fine with the flirtation, but I think he was a little hurt when he said, "I've been telling you you're beautiful and sexy for years. Doesn't it mean the same coming from me?" And I replied bluntly, "You know I love you, but...No. It doesn't." Sad, perhaps...but true.
This is a man who looked at me during the bloating and pain of childbirth and still TRULY believed I was beautiful. That means something, of course. It means everything! But there is a part of me that wants to be seen as sexy just because of the way a pair of jeans hug my ass, and the way a push up bra sets off a low-cut top. It's about walking down the street and FEELING sexy. Feeling like you stand out. Feeling superficially special, I suppose.

I guess it is superficial...and probably somewhat sad, but I don't think I'm alone in that feeling. FAct is I've put a few pounds back on again, and I'm not quite as sveldt and toned as I was five years ago, but I still have that feeling. When I do myself up, and put on those low-rise jeans, I feel good about who I am. I feel confident and sexy, and when I walk down the street I feel good about myself. And if it meant I had to crush a couple of old highschool bad-asses to get that feeling...then too bad for them. And YAY for me.

I think we all have to take that feeling wherever we can get it. Whether it's by spending $150 on a kick-ass hair style, or picking up a sexy pair of thigh-high boots....Whether it's by lacing yourself into a corsette until you've got "bum back" and your waistline has been cut down by a third....Whether it's by getting your nails done or treating (hmm...not sure THAT's the right word) yourself to a Brazilian wax....

It doesn't matter.
Do what you gotta do to find your inner Diva...and make no apologies for it!

(This entry is cross-posted from Diary of a Sex Diva)