Tag Archives: authors

Favorite Author ABC’s

I love to read, so I’ve got a long list of favorite authors in several genres. There are too many to name them all, but I thought I’d try to hit every letter in the alphabet for author last names. Obviously, some letters were easier than others.

A — Lara Adrian
B —Mary Balogh, Meljean Brook, Lois McMaster Bujold
C —P.C. Cast, Jayne Castle, Janet Chapman, Loretta Chase, Kresley Cole
D — Kathleen Dante, MaryJanice Davidson, Doris M. Disney, Christina Dodd, Autumn Dawn
E — Cynthia Eden
F — Christine Feehan, Jacquelyn Frank
G — R. Garland Gray
H — Laurell K. Hamilton, Molly Harper, Charlaine Harris, Sandra Hill, Emma Holly
I — Washington Irving
J — JAX, Stephanie James
K — Sherrilyn Kenyon, Angela Knight, Jayne Ann Krentz
L — Stephanie Laurens, Marjorie M. Liu, Kathy Love, Tara Lain
M — Patrick F. McManus, Teresa Medeiros, Karen Miller
N — E. Nesbit, Kim Newman
O — Baroness Orczy, Robin Owens
P — Mary Jo Putney
Q — Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn
R — Anne Rice, J. D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Michelle Rowen
S — Nalini Singh, Linnea Sinclair, Fred Saberhagen, Kerrelyn Sparks, Robin Schone
T — J. R. R. Tolkien, Vickie Taylor
U — Allen Upward
V — Lisa Valdez, Piper Vaughn
W — J. R. Ward, C. L. Wilson, Kate White, Cynthia Woolf
X — umm…okay so I don’t know an author whose last name starts with X.
Y — Rebecca York
Z — Roger Zelazny because that’s the only “Z” author I’ve read that I can come up with.

Well, there you have it. X was the only one to stump me, so I’d say that’s pretty good. I guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for an author with the last name Xavier or Xu.

A Pageant of Authors – Q9 & Q10

“The interview is the single most important part of the pageant. It counts for 30 percent of your total score.”

“What’s the other 70 percent? Cleavage?”

– Miss Congeniality

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It’s the final round. Time to focus on some really serious topics: cartoons and birthdays.

Question #9: Which cartoon character would you like to be and why?Although this question was free-response, three characters got multiple votes. All the choices were interesting for different reasons.

“Wonder Woman. She’s smart, strong, has a rocking bod and an invisible plane. What is not to like?”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog
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“Wonder Woman. She was strong and caring.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com
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“I’d like to be Wonder Woman, but I fear I’m more like Lucy from Peanuts.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/
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“The Road Runner. He has fun and gets to screw with Wile E Coyote’s head all day long.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com
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“The Roadrunner. Speed and snark without words.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com
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“Jessica Rabbit….duh…have you SEEN Jessica Rabbit???”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com
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“Jessica Rabbit. Heh heh. Yeah, she’s gorgeous, and she’s got that voice to die for. (What woman wouldn’t want Kathleen Turner’s voice?) But those reasons are only the symptoms behind why I would like to be Jessica Rabbit. Jessica said ‘I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.’ Gotta love a woman who knows her faults and deals with them.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/
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“Are we counting Miyazaki films as cartoons? If so, I’m torn between Ponyo and Chihiro. The first because I love the water and think it would be great fun to be a magical fish, and the second because I love how Chihiro’s character overcomes her fear and grows throughout the movie.”

– Allie Ritch
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“The Pink Panther—he is too cool for words.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com
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“In the mid 1970’s there was a cartoon called Battle of the Planets. Along with Speed Racer, it was one of the first Japanimation cartoons that came over to the States that I know of. I used to play Princess from BOTP on the playground with a bunch of boys in third grade and still have a certain fondness of those memories. I was the only girl allowed to play with a group of cute boys. What wasn’t to like?”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com
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“I would want to be a female Dark Schneider! If anyone is familiar with anime, they might know of Dark Schneider, the chaotic wizard who wanted to take over the world because he could. And he is the good guy! He has weaknesses that he is not ashamed of, power beyond all belief, and a sense of humor that is dark and outrageous. I would love to hold that much power and be aware that my actions could have a catastrophic effect on the world yet still choose to do the right thing. The anime is called Bastard!! and he can be one. But he can also be tender and loving. He is a complex character and is very self aware. I love that.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/
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“I’d like to be Cinderella because she gets her prince and does it with a killer pair of shoes.”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com
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“Oh boy, I read DC comics, and I always thought it’d be so cool to be Batgirl.”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com
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“LOL, depends which day. I can be either The Tasmanian Devil, or The Brain (with just as little success in conquering the world).”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/
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“Betty Boop. She always had the coolest shoes!”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com
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“Egon Spangler from the Real Ghostbusters (definitely the cartoon, not the movie): he was brilliant about science, endearing, and utterly clueless about relationships… but he loved life.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com
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“Which cartoon character would I like to be? That’s a no brainer! Alice in Wonderland, of course. Life is like the rabbit hole and I live each day finding new things along the journey.”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com
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“Superman. I could disown all of humanity because I’d be an alien. I’d have a fortress of solitude. I could fly. I could repel bullets. Unless Superman, as an alien, also menstruates. Because if he does, the deal’s off.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20
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“I watch a lot of anime, so Motoko Kusinagi from Ghost in the Shell. She is just plain awesome. Strong and smart, she’s a kick butt heroine.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net
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Question #10: What do you want for your birthday this year?

“I want to sell a million books!  :-)”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog
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“Gift Cards to B&N, Yankee Candle, LL Bean, Godiva, an ice cream cake and oh, yes, World Peace. Had to add in that last one. Couldn’t resist.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K
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“To cook dinner for the whole family.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com
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“Amazon.com gift cards so I can put yet more books on my Kindle.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com
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“I’d love to go on a movie set for a day, just to observe. Film fascinates me from behind the scenes in all its aspects.”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com
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“I want a week in Aruba! I want hot pink sands and crystal clear blue water! I want to bask on a beach and drink something made with rum out of a pineapple or a coconut shell! I want to be able to totally relax and let the worries and cares of the world drift away. And barring that, A TOR or Kensington contract would be great.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/
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“A coconut lemon birthday cake from Wildflower.”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com
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“That would be next year. My birthday was in January. By then, I’ll want the most up to date Kindle. I’m amassing quite a collection of books and I plan to read every last one of them. They’ll probably bury me with the darn thing.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/
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“What I want every birthday, Pinky…giftcards to my bookstore and Amazon.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/
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“Another tattoo.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay
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“You know, I love simple things. Basic, practical things that I can use and re-use until it’s worn and old. This year, I’m dropping hints about a new monitor. I think this one is about to pack it in.”

– T. K. Toppin
Website/Blog: http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com
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“A real working Millennium Falcon, complete with Wookie co-pilot.”

– Jaleta Clegg
Website: www.jaletac.com
Blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com
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“The knowledge that I’ve released at least one (hopefully) two new books.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com
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“Last year, I had a quilt made for me—picked out the fabrics/block design/quilting design—for a bed warmer and matching bolster pillow (a narrow throw that goes across the foot of the bed.) This year, I want to do something else quilted—but I’m not sure.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com
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“I want the person I love to propose to me. (Is that asking too much? My birthday’s near Yule/Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice: the season of miracles and everything!)”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com
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“I want sales for my birthday this year! I’m preparing to submit book two and want the readers to enjoy my characters as much as I do. So, yeah…I want sales!”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com
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“Ten million dollars.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20
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“I’d like the house my husband I and I are having built to be finished EARLY.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com
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“World peace (these are questions for beauty contests, right?). LOL. Okay, if I can’t have that, I’d like a trip to Washington State’s San Juan Islands because it’s my favorite place on earth.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/
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Oh, Jaleta, now I want a Millennium Falcon too! Think they go for more than $10 million, Clancy? Hopefully everybody will get their birthday wishes.

A final big thank you to all the authors who participated. You gals are terrific. I know my approach to interviewing guest authors was unique (Oddball? Who said oddball? I heard that!), but you really came through. I hope you had as much fun as I did. You’re all winners!

A Pageant of Authors – Q7 & Q8

“Just imagine that she’s me and there’s something you wanna know, but I don’t wanna talk about it. What would you do?”

“You want me to beat it out of her?”

– Miss Congeniality

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Question #7: Which word do you not like to hear at all? Why?  The responses to this one were really interesting. Overall, the verdict is that writers don’t like C-words. There’s more than one C-word we hate, though.

“That four-letter C-word applied to women and their genitals. I know it’s frequently used in erotic romance today, but I’ve heard it more often as an insult to women, so it has a bad connotation for me. That’s why you’ll never see it in my work. I don’t judge others for using it, but that’s my bugaboo.”

– Allie Ritch

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“C*nt is the most derogatory word I can think of. I hate hearing it and seeing it in a book, makes me throw the book at the wall. I HATE it.”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog

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“There is one bad ‘c’ word that I just hate, hate, hate. It’s demeaning and distasteful.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: http://www.pamlabud.net

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“Um, I can’t even TYPE it, I find it so offensive. It’s a nasty, slang term for a female body part.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

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“‘Can’t’ is such a nasty word. Think positive and ‘TRY’!”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com

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“‘Can’t’  I hate it when people say can’t, because if you think you can’t, you’re right. So much of what we do is mental. If you think you can, then you’ll most likely find a way.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

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“Can’t. It limits you.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K

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“Can’t, ‘cause you usually can.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

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“‘Try’ or any version (tried, trying).”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

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“Should…oh boy, I say it enough in my head, but really, should I take that word seriously?”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

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“I hate the word no. When I hear it, I black out and wake up in a pile of drool and chocolate wrappers. LOL I really hate the word no. It is so final. And in my philosophy there are only two sure things—death and taxes. No means that there are no other options. That goes against my dogmatic nature. But I believe in that finality, it would make me not want to try. No is a bad word… unless it is used in some situations when someone is impugning your personal rights. Then scream no to the rafters.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/

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“‘No.’ Because usually that means I’m not going to get something I want.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

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“Sorry (we’re out of ice cream.) Oops, that’s more than one word.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/

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“‘Discoverability.’ I hear it all the time. It’s awkward, jargon-y—and important.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

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“Can I have words instead? I hate the phrase, ‘You need to understand that…’ They use it all the time on TV shows and it drives me insane. It’s such a controlling phrase. Why don’t they just say what it is they want the character to know?”

– Jaleta Clegg
Website: www.jaletac.com
Blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com

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“Gay, but only in a negative context, such as ‘That’s so gay.’ It’s the equivalent of the ‘n’ word or disparaging someone’s intelligence. All names that name one group lower than others remind me strongly of the Holocaust.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

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“Faggot, because most of the time you hear it said by a homophobe, and someone who condemns another for loving who they love is not a person I want to know.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

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“Words are meant to communicate. Almost any word is acceptable if it’s used to convey something that’s not hateful or threatening. The words I object to, however, are ones I can barely manage to type here because they epitomize hatred to me on such a dark and dangerous level. The ‘n’ word, for one, and anything having to do with Nazism makes me sick to my stomach.”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

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“Besides words used as racial slurs, I like pretty much all words.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

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“Not sure. If I don’t like something I either turn away from it, take steps to change it, or investigate the reason why I don’t like it so I understand and can change it.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

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Question #8: According to you, what is femininity?

“Hey, we all know from Kindergarten on that boys and girls are different. To me, femininity is not a stereotype or a constrained way of being, but it is that indefinable quality that unites our gender. Femininity can be soft or strong, nurturing or tough, dominant or submissive, but it will always have a different energy and flavor to it than masculinity.”

– Allie Ritch

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“Femininity is caring enough about yourself to be proud to be a woman and not want to be a man. I may want to be as physically strong as a man but that’s all. I like being a woman. I have the mental and emotional strength that men don’t have.”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog

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“Strength, Intelligence, sensuality, courage, cleverness, creativity and emotion.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K

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“Passion.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

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“Femininity is the rendering of your gender or sexuality in your actions and words. It’s different for everybody because each person sees their gender/sexuality as something different.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

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“Femininity is a way of relating to the world that rounds off the hard edges. It softens even as it strengthens. A woman can be tough, but if after she’s done kicking ass and taking names she enjoys reading a romance novel in the bath? She’s as feminine as they come!”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

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“Ack! That is a hard one to define. But for me, I guess femininity is the ability to accept and understand the part of me that is not the aggressor. Not to say femininity is weak or meek—I am a mother who has had to defend her children before and there is nothing weak about the way I went about it. More like the part of me that desires the calm and peace, the part that wants to be protected until I am ready to fight again, the part that knows and accepts my weaknesses and accepts they make up the facets of my femininity.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/

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“I believe femininity is when a woman has the self-confidence to feel sexy. No matter her age, size, or what she’s wearing, nothing is hotter or more feminine than when she gives her man a saucy smile.”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com

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“Being independent, strong and compassionate.”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

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“Femininity is not working to prove you’re not feminine for fear of being perceived as weak if you show a softer side.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/

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“Long answer: Quiet strength, strong touch with the inner female (compassionate, loving, understanding, patient, etc). Short answer: the opposite of me.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

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“It should mean being happy and confident in yourself as a woman and not being defined by your body size, shape, or someone’s unrealistic idea of beauty or behaviour.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

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“Ah, this is a good one. I didn’t realize what a big struggle I had with this until I wrote my SF series. The main character, Dace, grew up in a society where womanhood and anything associated with it meant second-class status, if that. Women were for creating the next generation of workers. When Dace escapes that world, she refutes anything that has to do with being female—she chops her hair short, wears baggy coveralls, and doesn’t have a clue how to handle a man being interested in her. Book 2, which will be coming out—I just got the contract signed, deals partly with her learning to be a little more feminine. I’ve had similar struggles, at least in my head. I love science and math and taking things apart. I’m a geek. I was voted an honorary guy by a group of male friends once and was very flattered by it. But as I grow older, I’ve come to terms with my female side. I’m still not big into makeup, hair, and shoes, but I’m happy with who I am these days.”

– Jaleta Clegg
Website: www.jaletac.com
Blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com

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“Whatever it wants to be. Often there’s an XX chromosome involved, but not always.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

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“A confidence in yourself and sticking to what you want out of life. It includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being willing to ask for help when you need it.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

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“Inner beauty, inner strength, a sense of humor, and the good grace to make everyone welcome.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

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“Anything pink? Just kidding. I’m with Leslie Feinberg on this one: it’s like masculinity: a narrow term which needs to be expanded. Or, failing that, it needs to be one term among dozens that women and men can use to describe themselves without fear.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

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“Oh, I love this question! Femininity is power! It’s the soft curve of a round hip, the smell of honeysuckle in a strand of hair, the way a woman looks down and to the left when she asks her hero to kiss her because he’s too nervous to offend her sensibilities. It’s the way crimson lipstick is left on the rim of a white coffee mug, the way direct eye contact tells him more than words ever could. It’s that precious moment when her ass sinks against the mattress and the gorgeous man presses his hips against her to enter her for the first time. Yeah, femininity kicks ass!”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com

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“An arcane concept meant for a binary world. Horribly outdated, often used for repression. The yoke of the man. Maybe I should change my answer to number 7, because this word is really pissing me off.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

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“Femininity is the expression of the softer, more giving side of humanity.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com

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“I think it’s embracing what it is to be female. It’s certainly the challenge we face in a gender separated world. We are equal to men, but we are still different. Our brains work different, we have more complicated thought processes. I think you can be a strong and smart woman and still be feminine. It’s also motherhood and sisterhood. It’s the ability to express one’s emotions and not being afraid to speak and listen. We are so much more than just the estrogen brigade.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net
*

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Fantastic answers, everybody. I think Pauline had one of the best definitions of femininity I’ve ever read, and Jaleta now has me super curious about her work.

Be sure to return for the last installment of interview questions. Whom do these authors identify with, and what are they looking forward to in the future? Find out next time.

A Pageant of Authors – Q5 & Q6

“I haven’t seen a walk like that since Jurassic Park!”

– Miss Congeniality

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Welcome again to my guest authors. Let’s get back to grilling them with some hardcore beauty pageant questions.

Question #5: What would you like to change in yourself and why?

“I’d like to change my body. I really hate my body but don’t hate it enough to do much about it. I’ve started exercising and that is helping, but I’d really like to wake up and have Raquel Welch’s body. Oops guess I dated myself there didn’t I. All right I’d like to wake up and have…um…Jennifer Lopez’s body. How’s that?”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog

“I’d like to be more organized.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K

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“I’d like to be able to do 30 chin ups – the reason’s obvious.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

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“I’m sure a lot of my fellow writers would disagree, but I really wish I was more productive. I’m an excellent time waster!”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

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“I’d like to become less critical of myself and my work so I can take more enjoyment in the process.”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

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“I would like to have a new back and a new knee. This pain thing can get out of control at times. It takes away from my goals of taking over the world one book at a time. LOL But I like the struggles I have been forced to fight my way through. They helped shape me into the person that I am today, and it took a lot of self discovery to learn to love myself, faults and all. If some painful event in my past changes, then I may not be the Stephanie Burke that I am today.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/

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“I’m at the stage in my life where I don’t want to change too much about myself. I’d rather learn to work with my strengths and weaknesses. I can be impulsive and curious about a lot of things. Sometimes I jump into things without really knowing what I’m doing! Like when I began writing a few years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into.  But I’m glad I was like the fool in the Tarot, just took a step off the cliff and never looked back!”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

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“I would give myself more patience. Why? Because I can be too impatient.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/

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“I don’t know if I’d change something. I’ve been trying hard to feel comfortable in my own skin and being okay with who I am. Well, maybe that is the ‘something’ I’d change…to be comfortable with myself.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

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“I wish I wouldn’t make snap judgments. I think it costs me sometimes.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

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“My purely lazy attitude. I live with a guy who wakes up at 5 to go exercise and kayak and . . . just writing it makes me exhausted.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

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“Become more fit mainly because my asthma bothers me less when I’m at a healthy weight and able to be physically active.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

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“Sometimes I can be too negative.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

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“I judge myself too harshly, and in doing so I judge others the same way. I lose sleep, sometimes lose friends, and definitely lose the chance to smile more often all because I judge myself against impossible standards.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

*

“I would change my obsessiveness over things I cannot change. I mull over things that are out of my control as if I actually have any control at all. I would definitely change that.”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com

*

“I’d really like a faster metabolism and to have no ulcer. A faster metabolism, because then I could eat what I want and not worry about it. No ulcer because, well, that hurts a lot and makes me crabby. I assume you meant physically in myself, right? If not, I’d like to be a Time Lord.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

*

“I would be more outgoing. I’m far less shy than I used to be, but parties are still a little uncomfortable (not that I go to many parties!).”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com

*

“I would be way more organized. Why? I use more energy trying to stay focused on one thing at a time.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net

*

“My lack of patience. I want whatever I want, and I want it right now.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

*

“I’m 5’4” so I wish to be taller. I’d love some long, killer legs.”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com

*

Question #6: What do you think is the most important discovery of the last century? Why? There’s definitely a consensus on a few of these, and there are some more unique responses, too.

“Microwave ovens. They make life so much faster and easier. Microwave popcorn comes in a close second, followed by chocolate candies. And then there’s the neck basket. How did I ever get anything done without my neck basket?

There are so many discoveries in science, technology, exploration of the oceans and other planets, it would be hard to pick just one and say it’s the most important. All of them interconnect. Understanding one new discovery requires knowing about so many others.”

– Jaleta Clegg
Website: www.jaletac.com
Blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com

*

“The microwave. See question 5. No, the computer—I’m a cruddy typist. I’d write ‘the vibrator’ but it was actually invented in the 1800s.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

*

“The Internet. It has completely changed people’s lives. Even those without a computer have had their lives changed, just in the way they shop and are offered products to buy.”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog

*

“The Internet and penicillin and the pill. Sorry, couldn’t pick just one. The Internet because I can now satisfy every curious whim, penicillin because it saves lives, and the pill because it gives us women choices.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

*

“I would have to say the internet. It bridged the gap between so many people who otherwise never would have connected. Suddenly people from all over the world discovered that there are people out there who are just like them.  Be it people uniting in geekdome to people who had kinks that they felt no one would understand, the internet has brought them together. It gave rise to small press as it is evolving today, to information that would never have been accessible before, to cultures and people from a world away. And of course, porn. (I had to say it). But like any innovation, it can be abused. We have to be smart when navigating the cyber world and not be drawn in by a lot of negative people and false information. But overall, the internet has improved our way of life dramatically.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/
 *

“The Internet because this has made people think globally as well as locally. It’s also a curse at times, but everything has its yin and yang side.”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

*

“The internet. It connects people who would never have met, and allows anyone interaction no matter who they are or where.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

*

“The most important discovery, I believe, is the internet. It has changed the way the world communicates and has opened the door for many communities and cultures to relate.”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com

*

“The computer chip. Need I say more?”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

*

“Hands down, the computer and the internet. It changed the world. It led to ebooks, which opened up the publishing industry again.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com

*

“Birth control pills because of the freedom it has given women to explore and express their sexuality.”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

*

“Birth control. Without it, women could not truly be a viable, steady workforce.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

*

“DNA. The use of that information has so many applications, both factual and fictional. It can do so much good if used appropriately.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

*

“Absolutely it’s the discovery of DNA and the advancement of medicine in general. Second, I’d pick the development of Computer technology and the internet. Kudos to those guys.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net

*

“The automobile. I think the invention of the automobile has, more than any other invention, changed the way we live our lives.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

*

“I still think Penicillin is the most important discover of the last century. It’ll be hard to beat that, not impossible but hard.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

*

“Smart phones. I mean, really. Without the birth of smart phones, you wouldn’t have iPods, iPads, and whatever else that’s to come. Holding one of those devices makes you feel like you’re part of the future. I can’t wait to see what else comes along.”

– T. K. Toppin
Website/Blog: http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com

*

“Well, it’s a tossup between Velcro and Wet Wipes. Both for obvious reasons.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

*

“Pasteurization, I guess. Or maybe the ability to split atoms. Electricity? I dunno, they’re all pretty good.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

A Pageant of Authors – Q3 & Q4

“Smilers wear a crown, losers wear a frown.”

– Victor Melling in Miss Congeniality

 ***

And we’re back. Let’s find out more about our lovely pageant contestants…I mean scholarship candidates…no, wait, make that our wonderful romance authors and what they have to say about success and money. Thanks again to all of the writers for participating and for sharing their beautiful imaginations with readers. As for me, I just had to put my two cents in here and there. Hope you enjoy.

Question #3: How do you define success?

“Success is fulfilling your potential. It’s setting goals and reaching them, or at least knowing you gave it everything you had.”

– Allie Ritch

*

“Reaching a level of achievement that is personally satisfying.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com

*

“Success at what? Success is defined by what you’re trying to accomplish. Without knowing what we’re talking about, it’s hard to quantify. Conan the Barbarian once said, in his famous movie from 1982, that what is best in life is, ‘To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.’ I don’t know if that’s success, but it’s something I can get behind.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

*

“Doing something interesting that you love and not starving.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

*

“Success for me is a feeling I get when I accomplish what I set out to do and can still look at myself in the mirror with no negative emotions there. Or when I can finally afford to force my husband to retire and become my naked pool boy who waits on me hand and foot. His job is getting in the way of that. I guess when I can get him in those thongs and have him fan me while feeding me peeled grapes then I will consider myself successful. Believe me, I am still working hard to achieve that! I want him to do the dance of the pool boy for my amusement so badly! LOL”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/

*

“I define success as being able to get up every day and do the thing I love. For me, that’s writing. But whatever it is a person loves to do, if they get to do it on a daily basis, they’re successful.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/

*

“This is an interesting question and one I ponder from time to time. For me, success is being respected by my peers, and reader’s positive responses to my books. I have no way of knowing how my books are being received unless I hear from my readers, because reviews don’t always tell the tale. I don’t always define the success of my books by how many I sell. There are stories I’ve written that are close to my heart but aren’t my biggest sellers.”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

*

“To me, success means knowing I have given my all. I may not always reach my goals, but I can be proud I tried my best.”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com

*

“Success is the ability to call the shots. For me that would mean being able to write full time from the location of my choosing. I’m a travel nut, so exotic locals are definitely on the menu!”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

*

“Success, to me, is when you are happy with your own accomplishments, however big or small they may seem to someone else.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

*

“Success to me on a personal level is being happy, healthy, and in a loving relationship. On an author level, it’s steadily increasing my readership, finding readers who love my books, and making good royalties.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

*

“Making enough money to hire a full time housekeeper.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net

*

“I measure how successful I am by how much joy is in my life.”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com

*

“True success is finding balance between the three necessities of life: vocation, passion, and peace.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

*

“Have I met my goals—short, mid and long term.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

*

“Being able to do what you enjoy without feeling you need to compromise to make a living.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

*

“Usually unrelated to the outside world, my definition changes all the time, usually to adjust to whatever I’m doing. No need to feel like a failure after all. Sometimes it’s writing 10 pages a day, other days it’s getting out of bed. I also start any to-do list with a couple of things I’ve already done so I can cross them out and feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

*

“For me, success is about being happy, content, comfortable and loving whatever it is that is making you happy.  You could have the most incredible job, get paid a gazillion dollars, but if you’re not happy about, content that you’re doing what you love, and comfortable doing it.  Then, what part of that is successful?  But like everything else, attaining it, is very hard work.”

– T. K. Toppin
Website/Blog: http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com

*

“Being happy with your achievements, however small they might seem to others.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

*

“Happiness.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

*

“Being happy.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K

*

“Success for me it getting my book published and out there for people to read.  Extra success is when they like it enough to do a review for me.  I guess you could say I’m very successful.”

 – Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog
*
*
 ***

Question #4: If you were given a dollar, what would you do with it?

“Put in my ‘change’ jar and save it for a rainy day.”

– Cara Bristol
Website: http://www.carabristol.com

*

“Thank the person who gave it to me and put it in my wallet. I mean, it’s a dollar. That’s not exactly retiring in Mexico money.”

– Clancy Nacht
Website: http://clancynacht.com/
Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/charlottesome-20

*

“Give it to one of my kids.”

– A. R. Norris
Blog: http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/

*

“Add it to the other dead presidents in my wallet! Right now I am full up of George Washington so this one will feel right at home with his three brothers. LOL I need all the money I can get to pay off my bills and maybe get my kids through college. Every dollar counts. Charity begins at home.”

– Stephanie Burke
Website/Blog: http://theflashcat.wordpress.com/

*

“Find the best cup of coffee one dollar can buy.”

– Tarah Scott
Website: http://www.tarahscott.com/

*

“I use my dollar bills for tips at the coffeehouse. The baristas deserve them for making such great cappuccinos!”

– Viki Lyn
Website: http://www.vikilyn.com
Blog: http://www.vikilynromance.blogspot.com

*

“In the words of Bill Gates, ‘I’d spend it on PR.’”

– Casey Crow
Website: www.caseycrow.com

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“I’d probably try to figure out who lost it and give it back to them! Lol.”

– Tibby Armstrong
Website: http://www.tibbyarmstrong.com

*

“One dollar? Buy a Twix bar. I really like Twix bars.”

– Cassandra Carr
Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

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“Buy a Lotto ticket.”

– Jami Davenport
Website: http://www.jamidavenport.com/

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“Right now? Save it for retirement.”

– Pam Labud/Leigh Curtis
Website: www.pamlabud.net
Website: www.leighcurtis.net

*

“I would put that dollar toward a Diet Coke!”

– Pauline Allan
Website/Blog: www.paulineallan.com

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“Hold onto it until I have two more. With three dollars I can take paratransit to one more karate lesson.”

– Emily Carrington
Website: www.emilycarrington.com

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“Give it away—I use them for tips.”

– Lynn Lorenz
Website: www.lynnlorenz.com

*

“Depends on where I am and if someone needs the dollar more than me.”

– Qwillia Rain
Website: www.authorqwilliarain.com
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

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“Buy a cheap e-book on Amazon. Or give it to one of the guys hanging around Times Square.”

– Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon
Website: http://katerothwell.com
Website: http://summerdevon.com

*

“Probably keep it. I have pat-rack tendencies.”

– T. K. Toppin
Website/Blog: http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com

*

“Give it to my children—we’re in the UK so we don’t see dollars very often.”

– Pippa Jay
Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay

*

“Find a way to pay it forward.”

– Jianne Carlo
Website: www.jiannecarlo.com

*

“I’d save it.”

– Selena Illyria
Website: www.selenaillyria.com
Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0075NG31K

*

“Go to the dollar store and get paper to write on.”

– Cynthia Woolf
Website: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com
Blog: http://www.cynthiawoolf.com/blog

*

“Fold it into a ring and wear it. And maybe use it to buy lunch. I work at a school, they’re still cheap. Wait, I’d need two dollars. Score! Two rings.”

– Jaleta Clegg
Website: www.jaletac.com
Blog: http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com

What’s In A Name? Naming Heroes & Heroines

“My name is Muerte.”

“Nice to meet you, Morty.” – Undercover Blues (1993)

 

I don’t know if other authors struggle with this as much as I do, but I have a terrible time naming my characters. It’s like naming your children. Whatever you pick is what they’ll be stuck with. That’s a lot of pressure, especially since different names have different feels to them, never mind their connotations thanks to real people you may know.

Generally speaking, you wouldn’t name a six-six, totally ripped bounty hunter or professional boxer Bob – not unless you plan to use the irony as part of your character building. Charlaine Harris calls one of her vampires Bill, but she does point out the humor in the beginning.

Science fiction offers a universe of possibilities. Writers can create their own original character names. This can be a lot of fun, or it can go horribly awry. I’ve seen names with so many apostrophes and consonants that I never could figure out how they were pronounced, not even in my head. Consequently, I struggled to keep track of who was who. That sort of thing makes it difficult, if not impossible, for readers to immerse themselves in the story.

Just like children at school, characters can be made fun of because of their names. Look at old “Notso” in MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead and Unwed. Never mind all the nicknames, cruel or cool.

Names are a label and an identity. It’s a touchy business doling them out. Will that rose really smell as sweet?

One-liners (Part 1)

We’ve all read them: those lines in a book that pop out at you and stick in your memory long after the last page. Some make you laugh; others make you think. Oh yes, and a few make you blush, too.

For this post, I’ve collected some of the best one-liners from a fabulous group of guest authors. I’ve also thrown in a line of my own from Switching Positions that others have told me they especially enjoyed. I hope you have as much fun reading these as I have.

 (Warning: this post contains content of a sexually graphic nature. Not appropriate for minors, so run along kiddies. The rest of you, read on!)

_

“Before she could protest, he slid down her body and pressed his mouth to her lips, and he didn’t aim for the astonished ones on her face.” – Switching Positions by Allie Ritch

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Switching-Positions-Allie-Ritch-ebook/dp/B01C55XURC/

“I’ll let you in on a secret — my favorite champagne glass is the one between your thighs, the finest crystal in the world.” – Manacled in Monaco by Jianne Carlo

Website: http://www.jiannecarlo.com

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Manhandled-Wind-Dancer-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01836GW5O/

“The way she saw it, she had three choices: disappear and never see him again, convince him she has a biting fetish, or tell him the truth.” – In the Cards, The Vampire Oracle: Life by Kaye Spencer writing as A.L. Debran

Website: http://www.kayespencer.com

Buy link: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/life.htm

“The air grew stifling, the world shrank inward, her eyes widening, nostrils flaring—it was as if he possessed a net of seduction, as if lust was a tangible thing, drifting through the air and laying heated atoms of itself upon her body, her skin, her lips, her groin.” – Three Days of Dominance by Cari Silverwood

Website: http://www.carisilverwood.net

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Days-Dominance-Cari-Silverwood/dp/1515081370/

“And have you heard the word ‘f**k’ before?” – White Wolf by Jianne Carlo

Website: http://www.jiannecarlo.com/

“I’m gonna make you scream so loud and for so long you’re going to be hoarse for days, and I’m gonna keep at it until you pass out.” – Talk to Me by Cassandra Carr

Website: http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Talk-Me-Cassandra-Carr-ebook/dp/B016NVQJ1I/

“It was the first performance of the Pageant of the Masters in which the statue of David featured a perfect hand print on his ass.” – Volley Balls by Tara Lain

Website: http://www.taralain.com

“I counted three vibrators on that kitchen counter, one Deep Throat DVD, the whole Debbie Does Dallas collection, and Candy Stripers. Tell me, Ms. Parker, exactly what were your plans for this cabin?” – A Paratrooper in a Pear Tree by Jianne Carlo

Website: http://www.jiannecarlo.com/

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Sinner-Hades-Squad-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00SAVCYZK/

“That he liked her strength was somehow…intoxicating, because already, she liked the idea of surrendering.” – Iron Dominance by Cari Silverwood

Website: http://www.carisilverwood.net

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Dominance-Steamwork-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B0141TS3DG/

“As he gasped and writhed under the Green Man’s touch, Scarlet’s beautiful features flowed from one exquisite expression of pained pleasure to another.” – Bound for the Forest by Kay Berrisford

Website: http://kayberrisford.com/2011/04/10/about-bound-to-the-forest/

Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/g-k/kay-berrisford/the-greenwood-bound-for-the-forest.html

“The most beautiful man in the world sucked your f***ing cock?…Baby, that doesn’t make you gay, it just means you’re smart.” – The Scientist and the Supermodel by Tara Lain

Website: http://www.taralain.com

“If you start making double entendres about sausages, I’m leaving.” – Liar’s Waltz by Becky Black

Website: http://beckyblack.wordpress.com/

Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/a-f/becky-black/liar-s-waltz.html

“You’re sex on wheels, Shoe. I pop a boner at the sight of your left eyebrow.” – Broken by Jessica Freely

Website: http://jessicafreely.com

Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/g-k/jessica-freely/broken.html

“He quickly found it was impossible to feel righteously indignant while he had an erection.” – Stowaway by Becky Black

Website: http://beckyblack.wordpress.com/

Buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/a-f/becky-black/stowaway.html

“You named your…” Her gaze swept between their bodies to the bulge at his crotch. “St. Pete? Pourquoi St. Pete?” – Carnal in Cannes by Jianne Carlo

Website: http://www.jiannecarlo.com/

One-liners definitely make for great hooks. They’re like amuse-bouches for the imagination. I don’t know about you, but I found these lines definitely whetted my appetite for more. Be sure to catch Part 2 of this post next week for more great lines from some of your favorite authors.

Links for Writers

Anyone who’s been writing for any length of time already knows this: writing, and especially getting published, can be a lot of hard work. If writing is truly what you want to do, though, then don’t give up.

To help the aspiring writers out there, I thought I’d take time to include some of the links I’ve found very helpful. (Please note that I am in no way affiliated with these sites or responsible for the accuracy of their information). A word of advice: if you do decided to submit, always check the publisher or agent website for up-to-date guideline information, although even this can change at the drop of a hat.

(1) www.karenafox.com – Karen Fox has a wonderful list of romance sales on her website, which provides information not only on which author is being published at which house, but also reveals the agents who represented the authors for those deals. 

(2) http://aaronline.org/ – The Association of Author’s Representatives is a useful resource if you’re looking for an agent.

(3) http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ – At this site, you can research authors, editors, agents, etc.

(4) http://pred-ed.com/ – Preditors & Editors is an excellent resource. Not only can you find warnings about shady houses and agents, but you can also find recommendations for the really good ones.

Conventions and the author acknowledgments in the front of books are also a good way to learn more about agents and editors.

Hope this helps.

Hot Authors, Sizzling Romance

Previously, I addressed the pros and cons of writing spicier romances in Some Like It Hot: Erotic Levels In Fiction. I find this an especially interesting topic since I’ve written everything from sweet love stories to erotic romances, with Switching Positions being the first work that I cranked up to quite that level of sizzle.

For my own writing process, I usually know at the moment I have an idea for a novella or book just what heat level the story should have. I can’t say exactly how this happens. I suspect it’s like a chef getting an idea for a new recipe. She/he knows right away whether they’re aiming for something sweet, salty, or savory, although the nuances of the flavoring may come later.

Well, I wanted to see what other authors had to say about heat levels – the pros and cons of hotter works, their own writing process, etc. Let’s hear it for guest authors Kayelle Allen, Caitlyn Willows, and Cassandra Carr, who took time to share their thoughts!

Kayelle Allen is a multi-published author whose works include For Women Only, At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, Surrender Love, and many more. She has some fun book trailers on her site if you want to learn more. Kayelle was kind enough to comment on the original post with her take on heat levels in romance. To see all her remarks, please click on Some Like It Hot and scroll to her comment, but here are a few great points she makes:

“There are times when leaving what happens next to the reader’s imagination produces a high that’s more satisfying than the details. If your lovers have been passionate throughout the book, it doesn’t hurt to leave while they’re engaged in an activity that you can tell will lead to more. In contrast, [in] an erotica (at least one or more steps more intense than an erotic romance) leaving the reader without the details may prove more frustrating than satisfying. Marketing the book to the right genre and readers is important.” – Kayelle Allen – Blog~ Books~ Twitter~ Facebook

Excellent summary, Kayelle. Authors, like other artists, are entertainers. We have to know our audience and what they’re looking for.

Caitlyn Willows is a multi-published author whose books include To Die For (Amber Quill Press, 2011), Soleil (Loose Id, 2010), and several other tempting works. She shares her advice and perspective on striking the perfect balance between physical passion and the deeper emotions in erotic romance:

“It’s a very fine balance to find the perfect blend of story and sex when you’re writing an erotic romance. I think the market and the wealth of erotic romances out there have made these even more challenging. I’ve learned it’s very important to make sure you aren’t having sex in the story just for the sake of putting sex in there. The sex must mean something, bind the individuals, show growth, help move the story forward. Still, it is erotic and I feel it’s important for the author to go the daring route. Think outside the box of what is ‘normal’ and dare to explore what someone might fantasize about but would never do. And never forget to include the emotion of the encounter. Emotion is as breath-taking, if not more, than the act itself. It is the anticipation that draws the reader forward. These individuals are falling in love. Show it. Make the reader feel it. As an author…make yourself feel it too.” – Caitlyn Willows – http://www.caitlynwillows.com/

Some really wonderful points, Caitlyn. Authors have to be fully engaged with their characters to bring them to life both inside and outside the bedroom. Erotic romance offers a sort of open-door policy, but the key word is still romance.

Cassandra Carr is the author of Caught, coming in December 2011 from Loose Id; Talk To Me, published by Loose Id in March 2011 and named a Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews and The Romance Reviews; and the story “Circling” in Uniform Behavior (Andrews UK, Nov. 2010). She also has a really fun blog, but then I’m a sucker for anyone who’d include A Fish Called Wanda in a post. Cassandra shares her process for creating erotic romances and the advantages and disadvantages to writing spicier works:

“I didn’t ‘choose’ to write with one heat level or another, it just naturally grew out of my books. My heat level is pretty high compared to other erotic romances I’ve seen, but I didn’t go into any book with the intention of it being really spicy. Reviewers have said that although I have a lot of sex scenes in my books, they’re all necessary to the plot and show the emotional growth of the characters, so I guess I’m on the right track.

“There are a few pitfalls with writing spicier stories. First, you have to make sure the story isn’t all about the sex. At the end of the story the reader needs to believe that the two (or more) main characters have fallen in love. Sex scenes can’t be superfluous or just there to titillate the reader. The advantages of writing spicier books are that I think they’re overall a sexier read, which I personally enjoy. I also love it when an author can write a really smoking sex scene and I imagine other readers feel the same way.” – Cassandra Carr – http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com/

Again, Cassandra makes the point about love and integrating love scenes so that they’re integral to the plot. Without romance or other emotions and plotting going on, sex scenes could disintegrate into something resembling an instruction manual or sports review. Eg. “Insert tab A into slot B,” or, “He dribbles, he pivots, he surges up the line. He scores!” That sort of thing may make for a few funny lines, but that’s not exactly a fulfilling read.

So writers of erotic romance have to know their audience, connect with their readers, and give them what they want. These guest authors certainly know how to do that, and I’d like to thank them again for taking the time to share their experience and perspectives. And isn’t that what we like to see in our heroes? A man who knows his lover, connects with her (or him) – and, through her, the reader – and gives her what she wants? Sounds good to me. I think we could all benefit from a “really smoking sex scene.”

Let’s Get Hairy: Hair Length on Heroes and Heroines

Anyone who has read a romance, even one of the darker ones, has probably noticed a certain trend: long hair. The heroines have cascades of hair reaching their lower backs and beyond, a silky waterfall with which to tickle and curtain their lovers in the bedroom.

I’m reading a sci-fi romance by a very popular best seller now — an author whose work I like and respect — and the heroine has hair just about down to her ankles. A powerful visual image? Yes. Easy for the reader to visualize during action scenes? Not so much. Maybe I’m too practical minded when it comes to extremes like this.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I grew my hair out for many years to donate (it finally went to Wigs for Kids), and I managed just a foot of extra hair. Let me tell you, I did feel very sexy with it at times. I also cursed it daily as I tried to keep the knots out. Hair past a certain length gets blown in your face, pinned beneath your shoulders or wrapped around your neck in bed, and can generally be a nuisance. How can a heroine with ankle-length hair fight off men using martial arts, run through dense forests, or swim for her life, let alone roll around in bed with the hero without careful choreography?  Maybe it’s just me. My only real point here is I think there should be some careful consideration of the character’s background, role, and actions before the author gives her such a striking attribute.

And what about the heroes? Long locks are not confined to the fairer sex. Whether we’re talking about a soldier who wears his hair longer than regulation length or hot Alphas with ponytails, the long-haired hero is in. Oh, and they always have their hair held back by a leather thong. That’s a must

Personally, I like variety. I like to visualize all sorts of yummy heroes with different physiques, styles, etc. All authors have a preference for a certain type, and there’s nothing wrong with writing about what you like. It’s more a question of balance.

Laurell K. Hamilton obviously likes long hair on her male characters, Nathaniel’s being the longest. Since most of her books’ men have long hair, I was kind of happy when Richard shaved his head despite the motivation behind it. J. R. Ward has displayed variety among her vampires with Z’s shaved head vs. Phury’s beautiful tresses, although Wrath keeps growing out his hair longer to please his shellan. Then again, Wrath is acting as king now, so it makes sense he might wear it longer than he did when he was always fighting in the field.

Mind you, I thoroughly enjoy the works of the authors mentioned above, so this should in no way be construed as criticism. I simply find it interesting how different writers describe their characters’ physical appearance. The trend right now definitely seems to be slanted to long hair. Maybe the next hot thing will be balding men, women with shaved heads, or mohawks on both sexes. It seems our fictional worlds are subject to the same fashion changes in clothing and appearance as our real one.