Friday, October 28, 2011

Andrea Speed Interviewing her character From Pretty Monsters

Hello, I’m Andrea Speed, and I’m interviewing the star of my new short story series, Josh, from Pretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned #1). Available from Riptide Publishing October 30th. Josh is your average convenience store night shift worker, except this Quik Mart has an unusual feature that makes it far from your average job. Hopefully Josh will tell us about it.

Andrea: Hi, Josh, thanks for talking with me tonight.

Josh: (shrugs) 3:30 in the morning’s the dead time anyways.

Andrea: Okay. Well -

Josh: That wasn’t a zombie joke. It’s just that, between now and four thirty, not a lot of people come by the store. It doesn’t really start picking up ‘til about five, and I’m almost outta here by then.

Andrea: So you’re a night owl then?

Josh: (shrugs) I guess. I don’t like getting up before noon.

Andrea: You knew about the dimensional vortex in the parking lot before taking the job?

Josh: Yeah. He had to warn me so I didn’t freak out when the lizard guys came in. It’s still a little freaky anyways. 

Andrea: Have you ever seen the vortex?

Josh: You can’t see it. It’s like this black spot, just nothing on nothing. It only opens at night, and in it’s in the back by the Dumpster, where the streetlight’s never worked. But sometimes, if you’re turned just the right way and kind of look at it out of the corner of your eye, you can see a shimmer. It doesn’t photograph, though. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Andrea: And you know it’s there by what comes out, right?

Josh: You mean the lizards and the zombies and stuff? Yeah, I guess.

Andrea: Do you believe it’s gateway to hell or something similar?

Josh: (shrugs) I don’t believe in hell, so I dunno. I don’t think so. I mean, they’re all kind of weird, but they aren’t vicious. Well, most of them. (The bell sounds, signaling a customer entering the store. From the rotted gray flesh, torn clothing, and general smell of death, it’s easy to peg the customer as a zombie.)

Andrea: They don’t bite, do they?

Josh: Not sure. You could ask nicely, I guess. (He then smiles at his own joke.) 

Here's the blurb:
Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot. Still, he likes to think he can roll with things. Sure, the zombies make a mess sometimes, but at least they never reach for anything more threatening than frozen burritos.
Besides, it’s not all lizard-monsters and the walking dead. There’s also the mysterious hottie with the sly red lips and a taste for sweets.
Josh has had the hots for Hot Guy since the moment he laid eyes on him, and it seems Hot Guy might be sweet on Josh too. Now if only Josh could figure out whether that’s a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between. After all, with a hell vortex just a stone’s throw away, Josh has learned to take nothing at face value—even if it’s a very, very pretty face.

This title is #1 of the Josh of the Damned series.

For more about Pretty Monsters, visit Riptide Publishing. You can read an excerpt and purchase, all on the same page.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Storm Grant on Why Riptide

I’m very pleased to be included in Riptide’s debut line up. My story, SUCKS & BLOWS, is the epic (but short!) love story between a vampire and his dentist. Here’s the official blurb Riptide Editor Rachel Haimowitz crafted.

SUCKS & BLOWS: Deeply in debt to a loan shark, oversexed dentist Cary Drewel lives in fear of foreclosure and bodily harm. His new practice is missing one rather crucial element: patients. Which, terrifyingly enough, is the one thing his creditors also don’t have.
Pierce Sharpe, a powerful vampire with a drinking problem—or, more accurately, a problem drinking—can’t feed through the pain in his damaged eye teeth. In danger of losing his standing in the vampire community, Pierce seeks Cary's dental services. When Cary extracts his canines, Pierce must turn to other bodily fluids for sustenance.
Together, Cary and Pierce find a mutually pleasurable solution to both their problems. Turns out, though, there’s more to this dentist-patient relationship than simple suction, and what began with raw hunger from each of them might just end in love.

SUCKS & BLOWS came about when long-time LGBT author Greg Herren put out a submission call for vampire stories. He requested “dark and sensual,” and yet I sent him “laugh-out-loud and sensual.” The story was rejected, but Greg wrote a personal note saying how much he’d enjoyed reading it and was sure it would get published elsewhere.

I submitted it to Torquere who also have my story TART AND SOUL. That story is long enough to be up on Amazon, but as I understand it, they don’t put short stories on Amazon, so S&B didn’t get the wide exposure I would have liked. It did garner all glowing reviews. Apparently the m/m community likes a good laugh once in a while. Who knew?

Once the one-year contract with Torquere had expired, I tweeted on Amazon that I had this very funny short story I didn’t know what to do with. The great thing about Twitter, is even though I was tweeting back and forth with Murphy Jacobs, Vashtan/Aleks was able to join the convo and say, “I might have an opportunity for you.” That was back in June. I had to keep quiet about Riptide for several months. It nearly killed me. Thank goodness I’m buddies with Cat Grant, whose very sexy ONCE UPON A MARINE ( is also part of Riptide’s debut line up so we could talk to each other about it.

Now I’ve known Aleks for several years. We don’t live on the same continent, but we are part of the same community. A couple of years ago, when Amazon started “accidentally” pulling GBLT titles from its rankings, Aleks and I, along with several other key players, were at the forefront of the AmazonFail protest that used any and all of available media to bring this outrage to the world’s attention. Once Neil Gaiman picked up the thread, Twitter went postal and Amazon fixed their problem. (Of course, we’re still waiting for our apology, but…)

Aleks is always quick to share information, and call publishers on shoddy practices. He’s earned my respect and if he wants my short story, I’m honoured to share it.

What surprised me most about Riptide, is that even though SUCKS & BLOWS had already been through the editing process with its previous publisher, we then went through rounds and rounds of editing—three in all. I’d never had that kind of attention paid to a piece of writing. It was awesome. That’s when I met Rachel. Not only is she a terrific editor, but she’s a very nice person and really funny. The blurb she wrote for my story is every bit as funny as the story itself. (I refuse to say funnier, even if it is.)

But suddenly my real life grew wacky, including everything from getting kicked out of my home by the renovators, an old dog who needs to be carried up and down stairs—ow! my arthritic wrists, and a stint on Jury Duty waiting to be called to do a trial, and then getting rejected by the Crown Prosecutor. I stopped reading the posts from Riptide at that point. They were planning a lot of promotion for their debut books and I figured my short story wouldn’t really figure into their awesome plans.

That’s when I met Chris. I got a very nice, very supportive email that walked me through all the necessary pieces of promo required. She had me at nice. If she’d been mean, I would have reacted by being self-important and resistant. But she was so nice, that I immediately crumbled. I got all the missing material in on time, and still felt guilty they’d had to chase me. I’m just not a last-minute kinda gal.

In fact, I felt so guilty that when Aleks asked if I would consider writing another story for them, I immediately wrote them another story—this one approaching novella length. FEW ARE CHOSEN is about an apprentice warrior who encounters an apprentice wizard when each has been sent by their respective Orders to take down a nasty demon. At first they get in each other’s way, but after separate failed attempts, they realize they need to work together to succeed. Then they discover they have more in common than fighting demons, and share a tender moment. First kill leads to first kiss, as it so often does, and then to first… other things. Of course, there’s a surprise ending you didn’t see coming. You expect no less from me, right?

So check out the love story of a vampire and his dentist in SUCKS & BLOWS, coming from Riptide Publishing in October. Then watch for my new story, exclusive to Riptide, FEW ARE CHOSEN.

Thank you for reading.
~ Storm

Sucks & Blows will be released on October 30 and is now available for pre-sale at Riptide Publishing.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rachel Haimowitz on Why Start a Publishing House?

One of the questions I get asked the most these days is, “Why start another publishing house?” The impetus was, in a nutshell, fair contracts and great editing, but the catalyst, well . . . that was a BDSM novella called Master Class and an itchy author (me!) who’d decided it was time to stop waiting.

Let me back up for a minute and tell you the story of Master Class’s road to publication. I’d written it quite some time ago—long before I ever published Counterpoint, actually; Devon and Nicky have been kicking around in my brain for years, pulling out the whips and chains to spur me to write their story. I’d written Sublime: Collected Shorts featuring them as well, and those I put out on my own as an experiment in self-publishing. They did well, but the one thing people who read them kept saying over and over was that they wanted more. Ten shorts is a fun way to explore a whole big pile of different kinks, but maybe not the best way to connect with the characters. That’s where Master Class came in.

But I didn’t want to self-publish Master Class. I thought I really had something special there, and I wanted to do something special with it. I first subbed it back in October of 2010 to what I’d consider the most editorially prestigious house in the epub-first romance space. They loved it, but they wanted more romance. While it is a romance—or the start of one, anyway—it’s also very much erotica. More so than anything, I’d say, given the deep focus on the psycho-sexual journey of the submissive. While the editorial feedback was by and large brilliant, I wasn’t quite comfortable with requests I felt would change the nature of the story. I thanked them profusely and set the piece aside to edit and resubmit when I had time.

Alas, time got away from me. Fast-forward to April of 2011. I finally wrapped up the first draft of Crescendo and had a week or so to go back over Master Class. Several edits later, I sent it off to one of the larger M/M publishers I hadn’t yet signed with and wanted to try. Their submission guidelines said six weeks. Antsy though I was to finally get this story out the door, I sat back and waited.

And waited.

Six and a half weeks later, I still hadn’t heard back. I was also deep into a conversation about contracts and editing with Aleks Voinov. Our frustration with not being able to find “the perfect house”—the one with Manhattan-quality editing, great covers, great marketing, and truly author-friendly contracts—was growing by the day. We both had projects to shop. Neither one of us knew where to take them (although we were in the midst of a wonderful experience with Break and Enter at Samhain Publishing). And oh boy was I anxious to do something—anything—with Master Class that would get Devon and Nicky’s story out to all those folks who’d read Sublime and were waiting, eager, to learn how the two had met.

Well, at this point, you know the story (and if you don’t, check out our About Us page, where we share it from start to finish). Riptide Publishing was born that afternoon. I told Aleks I’d write to the publishing house where Master Class was currently sitting, thank them for their time, and withdraw my submission.

Turned out, I heard back from the house in a matter of hours after I withdrew the submission. They wanted to buy Master Class. But by then, the wheels for our own house were already in motion. It’s kind of sobering to think that if that house had been just one or two days faster, Riptide Publishing might never have been born. Or at least, probably not for a while. I think eventually Aleks and I would have reached the same conclusion anyway, but at the time, it was Master Class that lit the fire under our asses and spurred us to pursue this dream.
And boy are we both glad it worked out that way. I love what we’ve done here, and I hope you will too.

Here's the blurb from Rachel's book, Master Class:

Performing before a crowd of thousands? No problem. Baring his heart before a crowd of one? Better tie him down first.

Broadway darling Nicky Avery is a shooting star by night, but by day he bounces from one heartless one-night stand to the next. A quick flogging, a rough lay, a new whip-hand to manipulate—yet still he yearns for something he cannot even name.

He finds his first true hint of satisfaction in Devon Turner, a self-possessed film star and expert Dom. Devon knows what he wants the moment he sees it, and what he wants is Nicky Avery. Nicky’s never learned to trust and has a nasty habit of topping from the bottom, but he learns fast that in the bedroom, Devon won’t tolerate his actor’s masks.

Nicky's a broken boy, but Devon knows exactly how to put his new sub back together. With patience, care, and all the punishments his little pain slut can handle, Devon breaks Nicky down one scene at a time, revealing a mind that yearns to trust and a heart that hungers for the ecstasy of true submission at last.

This title is #1 of the Master Class series.

Master Class will be released on October 30, but is available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Riptide - Peter Hansen

Peter Hansen

Why Riptide?

When Aleks Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz approached me about writing for Riptide, they were taking a risk. At that stage in my career, I was inexperienced, unpublished, untested; their First Wave includes some of the big names names in m/m fiction, and no one had ever heard of Peter Hansen. I felt slightly like a Pomeranian who had wandered into the Rottweiler kennels, and I wasn't sure whether to expect a dogfight.

That's not how Riptide works, though. If the owners put their faith in my ability to deliver a story they'd love, they were also putting their faith in their own ability to mentor me and my fellow Riptide authors into the writers they deserved. I've received thoroughgoing editing, had serious discussions about title and cover art, and swapped military history and photos of disturbing marine creatures with the Riptide team--all for a single slim novella. At every step, Riptide showed a commendable degree of respect for my style and my vision ... while remaining firm on their developmental edits and ensuring that "First Watch" fit the image of their company.

Since those initial stages, I've had the good fortune to meet my fellow First Wave authors and to hear about their projects and their careers. At every turn, they impress me with their sensitivity to trans* issues or their eloquence and erudition; at every other turn, they make me howl with laughter. It's been an honor to get to know them, even though I still feel awed at times to be in their company.

I could say that I submitted to Riptide because I believe in start-ups, or because I was new to the market myself, or because I was a huge fan of the founders--and all of that would be true, to an extent, but none of it is why. What matters is that when I submitted to Riptide, they promised to respect my work and improve my craft, and I'm still surprised every day at how well they delivered.

Here's a blurb from First Watch:
What price would you pay to survive?
Do you want to live? In the darkness of a WWI battlefield, young Legionnaire Edouard Montreuil lies dying. As teeth nibble his flesh, a voice whispers, Do you want to live? Frightened and desperate, Edouard bargains his freedom for a second chance.
Aboard the Flèche, a grim submarine captained by the nightmare who granted Edouard new life, Edouard pays the price for his survival. Each night, he gives his body to his captain as the bells sound first watch. But surviving is not living, and as the days stretch into months beneath the waves, Edouard grows desperate for escape.
Can Edouard’s old comrade Farid Ruiz help him break this devil's bargain, or will Ruiz fall to the same fate, trapped beneath the waves at the mercy of a monster whose hunger knows no bounds? Edouard and Ruiz served together once before, and slept together too, but courage and passion failed to save them from the eldritch beasts who roamed the night. This time, the cost of failure is nothing so clean or simple as death, and the spoils of victory are not just life, but love.

Peter's book, First Watch, is available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing  

Visit Peter on the web:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Damon Suede on Why Riptide

Hi, I'm Damon Suede and I'm the author of Hot Head and Grown Men. I wound up at Riptide almost by accident which a medievalist would remind me is another word for Fate. LOL

I first met Rachel [Haimowitz] at Rainbow Book Fair in Manhattan and we grooved on each other instantly. J We share a similarly fast and snarky and twisted view of the world. I’d read and loved her book, Counterpoint. Learning she worked as an editor in her day-job came as no surprise, because the worldbuilding and deep POV work in that book showed such cleverness. When we left that day, I knew we’d be hanging out in the city when we could…

Fast forward a couple months.
Rachel and I communicated a couple times about work and craft and friendly gossip. She hinted a couple times that she had something brewing.

In June of 2011, my first M/M romance was published by Dreamspinner and surprised a lot of people (myself included) by barging to the tops of all its lists and parking its ass there. Almost the DAY that Hot Head released, a flurry of activity began because the book broke a bunch of rules and exhibited a kind of rawness that found favor with many genre readers. Now, my experience with Dreamspinner with the book was phenomenal and supportive. Elizabeth [North] consistently went out of her way to give me what I’d asked for, and things I hadn’t THOUGHT to ask for. I lucked out there. They’ve been and continue to be marvelous to work with.

Trouble was, in the leadup to June, I’d been writing a book called Grown Men which didn’t feel like a Dreamspinner book. I knew they could and would publish it, but I didn’t know if it played to their strengths as a “house” in the genre. Dreamspinner publishes sci-fi, wonderful sci-fi…but this Grown Men novella felt odd and kinky and internal in a way that made me want a strict editorial eye on it and an ongoing dialogue WITH my editor.

As a matter of policy, Dreamspinner edits in many passes, but a large part of that process occurs anonymously: authors receive edits from different people without knowing the source, and often without editorial contradictions reconciled clearly. With a third person contemporary like Hot Head, that setup presented minimal challenges. But Grown Men fell into strange terrain: not hard science fiction or cyberpunk or space opera, a cast of just two, and explosive angst that needed careful handling. Hell, it starred a mute giant with dubious intentions and a satirical sci-fi world that needed clarity and ruthless attention to detail.

I knew I’d need a lot of mindful back and forth to get it into the best shape possible. Anonymous editorial seemed likely to drive me batshit and make the process impossible.
Here’s where the Fate part happens…

Sometime in May, Rachel dropped me a line to check in to see what I had in the hopper that wasn’t contracted because she might know of an invite-only publisher “obsessed” with a sample they’d seen of my work. Then Hot Head came out and kind of went bonkers on the various lists and sites, a process for which I’m eternally grateful and a little mystified.

That first day, Rachel called me to say that she and Aleks [Voinov] had read and loved Hot Head. Then she got extremely candid and pitched Riptide: their business model, their rigorous personal editorial process, their marketing support... She basically CLAIMED Grown Men for Riptide’s vanguard with the force of her enthusiasm, praise, and acumen. LOL She bought the novella sight unseen and stressed that she wanted to “cultivate a career, not a book.” This is something I say all the time about writing and a resonant assertion for me on many levels.

Was I nervous that Riptide was a startup? I guess, except they were asking the right questions and focused on the right challenges. I dug their monoscopic focus on strong books and a short list of authors because it’s hard to get lost in an intimate circle. I loved their ideas for handling promotion and creative marketing. Chris Hawkins turned out to be a hands-down, flat-out, A-bomb GENIUS about the nutty business of horn-tooting. Rachel and Aleks both know this business and the art that makes it possible. Add in the fact that both of them have dayjobs as editors, and Riptide has set the bar high for product and process. If they stick to their guns, they will be making some crazy waves in M/M and LGBT fiction.

Did I have any concerns about Rachel and Aleks as captains of the Riptide ship? Well, no and yes and yes and no. I knew they were both smart and ambitious. Both seemed savvy and competent and experienced in the genre. So professionally, I knew they had the changes to run something cleanly. On the other hand, they both had a reputation for writing rougher, darker stories tending towards BDSM, so I was wary of being tugged into an imprint skewed towards the hardcore BDSM niche. I dig that subgenre, but it isn’t my main interest as a reader or writer so I had concerns. Likewise, as writers their aesthetics overlap deeply, but are SO different from my own; no way did I want to lock horns with two folks of shared tastes and tone who would try to wrestle my voice into submission. I didn’t think it likely, but I did worry for a moment. But it became an instant nonissue, the moment I saw the wide variety of their launch lineup.

Did I feel strange being used as part of their “First Wave” authors? At first, yes. LOL Rachel and Aleks admitted right up front that I represented something of a wild card: brand new author, zero backlist, strong opinions, bold choices as a writer and a business person. My experience falls in other media and genres. Turns out those anomalies were the very things that drew them and that my name had been among the first mentioned as the “kind” of author Riptide needed. They trusted my craft and talent, and gambled that we’d play well together. So hell, if they were willing, so was I! J

Was I put off by Rachel’s “brutal” reputation as an editor? Not especially; I knew Rachel liked to joke about the implicit sadism of editorial but I’ve worked in entertainment in New York, London, and Hollywood for 20 years. Those people will kill you, grill you and feed you to weasels. To extend the syllogism, if the editorial process resembles BDSM, it is similarly complex and subtle; if anything the BOOK is the Top/Dom for which we all sub and serve. A gifted editor submits to the text and supports the voice. A professional author pushes past discomfort to synthesize the input creatively and productively. Besides, Rachel and I had so much of the same humor and weirdness, I suspected we’d develop a work grammar quickly, and we did!

Am I still working with Dreamspinner? Sure am! Dreamspinner believes in me just as much as Riptide and they bust hump to make the most of everything we do together. Three months later, Hot Head is still ranked at #1 in Gay Romance at Amazon, which seems unbelievable to me. I’m chiseling away at the sequel (Hard Head) even now, and I’ll be writing it in earnest shortly. Under Elizabeth’s capable hands, Dreamspinner has been just as revolutionary within the genre as Riptide aims to be now.

Did I feel like I was jumping ship or betraying my Dreamspinner crew by joining Riptide? Not for a moment. Elizabeth, Anne, Ariel, and Lynn are all amazing. That doesn’t diminish my excitement for the way Riptide has positioned itself for our evolving genre and my hopes for the work we’ll do together. Rachel, Aleks and Chris enshrine quality over quantity, and craft over quickness. What working writer wouldn’t get behind a company that wants to help us kick our own asses productively? Everyone brings something different to the table.

I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: gay romance has grown up. Professionalism and craft matter more than ever before. Fans are fickle and inundated with shoddy product. Standards and demands will only escalate as the readership grows. New York has its eye on us. Epublishers represent tremendous threat and opportunity for ancien régime. Bottom line: we all need to pull on our big boy pants because the market and the challenges will not be SHRINKING anytime soon. The companies and writers that evolve will flourish, the rest will go a la Dodo.

Being part of the little Riptide family allows me to strike out into a different terrain and I plan to do exactly that, yo! Part of the genre’s evolution is that the various imprints are developing a “feel” in the kinds of books at which they excel. As I write more fiction and develop my craft, I like the idea of cultivating relationships across those boundaries in the fictional landscape. J

Rachel, Aleks and Chris have been receptive and enthusiastic about my suggestions for the company, which also makes me feel a part of the companies evolution. Before they’ve officially launched they’re already striving to improve. And THAT’S a reason to join anybody. LOL

Here's a blurb from Damon's book, Grown Men:
Every future has dirty roots.
Marooned in the galactic backwaters of the HardCell company, colonist Runt struggles to eke out an existence on a newly-terraformed tropical planetoid. Since his clone-wife died on entry, he’s been doing the work of two on his failing protein farm. Overworked and undersized, Runt’s dwindling hope of earning corporate citizenship has turned to fear of violent “retirement.”
When an overdue crate of provisions crashes on his beach, Runt searches frantically for a replacement wife among the tools and food. Instead he gets Ox, a mute hulk who seems more like a corporate assassin than a simple offworld farmer.
Shackwacky and near-starving, Runt has no choice but to work with his silent partner despite his mounting paranoia and the unsettling appeal of Ox’s genetically altered pheromones. Ox plays the part of the gentle giant well, but Runt’s still not convinced he hasn’t arrived with murder in mind.
Between brutal desire and the seeds of a relationship, Runt’s fears and Ox’s inhuman past collide on a fertile world where hope and love just might have room to grow.

This title is #1 of the HardCell series.

Grown Men, which will be released on October 30, is available for pre-sale at Riptide Publishing.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh the Humanity!

By Inara Scott

If you've read any of my blogs about my latest novel, Radiant Desire, you may have discovered that my story has a Beauty and the Beast theme. Kaia, my faerie heroine, begins the novel as the object of every man's desire. She uses her beauty to seduce - and punish - men, at the behest of her queen.

But for Kaia, as for the Beast in the classic fairy tale, pride comes before a fall. When she angers her queen for showing weakness, she is stripped of her faerie magic, and forced to live like a human.

With all the indignity that we women suffer.

(Wait, did I mention that, despite the loss of her magic, she has to find a way to make a gorgeous, powerful man fall in love with her? Yeah, that’s why they say authors torture their characters!)

Here's a taste of Kaia's attempt to adjust to her new life and restore some of her previous beauty. I think it’s a struggle we can all relate to...

In this scene, she’s talking to the queen's imp, a pesky creature who follows her around to make sure she doesn't use her magic (and to make fun of her—he’s that kind of creature!).

Kaia washed her hair several times, meticulously shaved the hair that grew back every damned day on her legs and under her arms, and sat beside a fan with a comb to try to coax some of the natural waves she had once loved back into her long mane… 
"It’s rather amazing,” the imp mused, cocking his head as he watched her drying her hair. 
“What?” Kaia’s hair tangled around the comb and she pulled it out with a growl. 
“How boring you are. I mean, I knew humans were plain, but I’d never expected you to be quite so—how shall I put this?—ordinary?” He grinned, exposing perfect little white teeth. “I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure Garrett will love a boring, ordinary human woman.” 
Kaia threw the comb at him and stifled a cry of frustration. She had not even realized how much of her body’s perfection was due to her magic. She had been seducing men for so long, she had unconsciously learned to shape her body to suit their needs. When men remarked that they loved her long, silky hair, her hair became long and silky forevermore. When men praised her tiny waist and exquisitely rounded hips, they became part of the body she always assumed for seduction. 
But it was not natural, and it could not happen without magic. So the hair that had once curled in perfect waves around her shoulders and back would, she now realized, hang limp and lifeless to her hips. The fingernails that had in the past assumed the shape of perfect pink half-moons would be broken, uneven, and of indeterminate color. Her skin would have imperfections, her breasts would no longer bounce just so, and her underarms, unless corrective substances were applied, would generate a tremendously unappealing odor. 
Humanity was not attractive. 
Kaia had known this before, but she understood it now on a far deeper level.

Poor Kaia! LOL! But hopefully, you’ll see in the course of the book that Kaia manages to find something beautiful about humans.

Something worth falling in love with.

What about you? Do you love the classic fairy tales? The pride goes before a fall lesson, or Beauty and the Beast story?

Does the indignity of being human drive you crazy? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Industry News

Heartbreakers to newsmakers and everything in between.

Disturbing news broke last week regarding questionable business practices of Aspen Mountain Press, a Colorado-based publisher. There are some serious allegations being made by former employees and contracted authors in regards to unprofessional behavior including dubious accounting practices, nonpayment of royalties, selling books without contracts, and refusal by the owner to respond to various forms of communication, all which are violation of established contracts. Several authors have posted requests for consumers to not buy their books as they are not receiving royalties. All this was occurring while AMP was still soliciting and accepting manuscripts. Absolute Write has several posts from authors and former employees dating back from August when the Senior Staff quit en masse.

Currently, the AMP web site now states that it is officially suspending operation. Some authors have posted that their rights have been released back to them but other authors are still currently in limbo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is Cinderella Still Relevant? by Karen Rose Smith

Remember the furor over the royal wedding?  Kate became a princess and William became Prince Charming.  We watched the vows with tears in our eyes and couldn't wait for that first kiss.  Cinderella might be an ages-old fairytale but the storyline encourages dreams from the little girls who watch Disney-princess movies to the women who faithfully follow the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.  Subliminally, our curiosity in relationships and interest in public romances is all about the happily-ever-after storyline.  Can two people fall in love and commit to each other for a lifetime?

My husband and I recently celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary.  I wouldn't be able to write romances from my heart unless I believed in them.  When I was a little girl, I remember pretending a lace curtain was a bridal veil.  My girlfriends and I reenacted the marriage ceremony.  Recently, my BFF's daughter asked if she could play dress-up with her mom's wedding gown.  Are the dreams of little girls now any different than ten or twenty or forty years ago?  Loving and being loved drive our collective consciousness.  Have you ever been in the midst of a crowd at a wedding and watched everyone grow misty-eyed?  The emotion that takes over—other than the love we have for the couple saying the vows—is hope.  The Cinderella fairytale gives a woman hope that she can find love, look beautiful in a bridal gown and believe in the vows she recites on her wedding day.

Little girls aspire to be princesses. Many women long to believe they will find their one true love who is kind, gentle, charming and the man they can spend the rest of their lives with. Prince Charming doesn't have to be a "prince" on a white steed. He just has to convince the woman he loves that she's his Cinderella.  Are fairy-tale endings possible?  I believe women long to believe they are.  That's why the romance genre lives on and why our hearts melt when a couple says, "I do."

Karen Rose Smith is the best-selling, award-winning author of 75 published romances.  Readers can visit her website @, follow her on Twitter @ karenrosesmith and on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith author), and access her e-zine In Touch @ for new releases and contests.

Check out Karen's interview of ONCE UPON A GROOM at The Romance Reviews and get a chance to win awesome prizes! Contest ends October 31.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Romance for Romance Writers

Dear Readers,
This is Rayka Mennen, romance writer. So we write about romance—all day, all evening, late into the night. We write those to-die-for-romantic moments; we write those too-sexy-to-go-to-bed-alone love scenes. But what do we do for ourselves in terms of romance in our own lives?

A few months ago, it occurred me to me I was simply too tired every day. Day job in the morning, writing books in the evening, chores and writing and catch up on day job all weekend. So we instituted a couple of things in our home. Friday is date night—dress up and head to a nice restaurant. If we’re too exhausted to do that, we order in and still spend time over the meal and a couple of drinks. Unexpected presents is another fun thing we do for each other. Fun, quirky, or spicy—they can perk up your day and your relationship. I’m the one that sometimes packs lunch for us (if we have left overs, mostly). Adding a treat—chocolate or a cookie with a little love note, adds a smile to the day.

That’s just some of the ways, I bring a little romance in to my everyday life. How about you? Leave a comment and one person will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of Enchanted Destiny.

Enchanted Destiny by Rayka Mennen 
Destiny’s never looked so good.
Kat never believed she’d fall victim to her family’s stories about destined soul mates—she makes her own fate, thank you very much. When she walks by a construction site and admires the same sexy architect for the zillionth time in a week, the last thing she expects is to be slammed by a vision of his death.
Which activates the spell that will change their lives forever.
Jake is a single dad with a singular focus—create a stable life for him and his son. His ex-wife cured him of any desire to fall in love, but when an intriguing woman saves him from what should’ve been a deadly accident, he can’t shake his fascination. Too bad she’s crazy, claiming she’s a witch and that they’re soul mates—not exactly the “stable life” he had in mind.
Kat’s destiny comes with a deadline. If they don’t fall in love by her twenty-fifth birthday—a mere three weeks away—Jake will never find the peace he seeks and Kat will lose her magic forever.

Available from:
Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Diesel       Books on Board

Friday, October 14, 2011

Giveaway: The Christmas Wedding by James Paterson and Richard DiLallo

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married—and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day—she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise—she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

Review coming soon!


Little, Brown and Company is sponsoring a giveaway for 5 print books of THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING!

The usual rules apply:
1. Each household can win only one copy of the book.
2. Enter your name into the drawing at The Romance Reviews site (Click here to enter).

Winners will be announced in November. Watch this space.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Industry News

Heartbreakers to newsmakers and everything in between.

The biggest news this past week is the passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. Now that doesn't really affect romancelandia in general but it will be interesting to see if Apple can maintain the hold of Agency pricing without the charismatic personality of Jobs (especially with the pending price fixing lawsuits which also names Apple as a defendant).


USA Today has a new romance blog called Happily Ever After being helmed by author Joyce Lamb. Is this the sign that the genre is finally getting some respect from mainstream media or is USA Today just hoping to draw in some female viewers to their site?

'Chick porn' no more?


Romantic Times posted the US Publisher's Marketplace review of book deals. It looks like the chances of new authors getting a deal of over $500K have decreased but the chances of getting good deals are increasing as publishers have increased their overall buying. Romance seems to have 'declined' but that is questionable since it's mixed in with 'Women's Fiction', which is a very broad term for any book which has a female as the center character.

RT also did a cool article for aspiring authors on ten publishers accepting new manuscripts.


Lastly, the new Kindle Family has been introduced with a very approachable pricing structure just in time for the upcoming holiday season. It will be interesting to see if Barnes & Noble or Sony will respond. If you're not already an e-reader convert, will the new prices make you one?

YES! Party at The Romance Reviews - November

A Year End Splash (YES!) party to end the year 2011 with a bang!

Lots of awesome prizes and games await readers and authors alike! Just a few weeks more...

In the meantime, if you're an author and you're interested to join the festivities by providing giveaways or purchasing an ad, please email me at carole @ (take away the spaces) for more information. Limited slots left! Deadline to participate is October 20.

For a sneak peek, here's our event page:

Scroll down the page and play the game! Try it out! It's a memory matching game, wherein you'll rely on your memory to match two similar covers. This is merely a trial version. When the contest goes live, each time you complete the puzzle, you'll be given corresponding points to increase your chances to win the weekly and grand prizes. Random covers would appear for each instance of the game.
You can find a list of participating publishers and authors (thus far!) below. More forthcoming!


MLR Press
Dreamspinner Press
Loose Id
Samhain Publishing
Noble Romance Publishing
Circlet Press
Riptide Publishing
Passion in Print Press


Kat Martin
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Nicola Marsh
Hope Tarr
Anna Campbell
Leigh Duncan
Delilah Devlin
Dale Mayer
DC Juris
DJ Gross
Gemini Judson
Kasi Alexander
Morgan Ashbury
Myne Whitman
Linda Nightingale
Sarah Grimm
Sharon Buchbinder
Suzanne Barrett
Krista Kedrick
Brenda Whiteside
Michele Hart
Caitlyn Fox
Kathy Lane
Sasha Savage
D.L. King
Theresa Ragan
Rebecca Sinclair
Barbara Weitz
Alexandra Kane
Autumn Jordon
A.Y. Stratton
Tara Lain
India Masters
Elizabeth Lang
Beth Trissel
Rachel Van Dyken
Natalie-Nicole Bates
Bev Pettersen
Stacy Juba
Dianne Hartsock
Christina Phillips
Lucy Monroe
Cecilia Tan
Gail Pallotta
Jessica James
Misty Evans
Cassandra Carr
Zelda Benjamin
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Coleen Kwan
Sofia Hunt
Sibelle Hodge
Vanessa Devereaux
Toni LoTiempo
Tonya Kappes
Suzanne Rock
Suzie Grant
Stephanie Beck
Savannah Chase
Red Haircrow
Nova Chalmers
Michelle Pillow
Lily Harlem
Linda Banche
Victoria Blisse
Kimber An
Kari Gregg
JoAnne Kenrick
Jennifer Labelle
Jami Davenport
Heidi Cullinan
Faith V. Smith
Edie Ramer
Desiree Holt
Dede Craig
Christine DePetrillo
Christa Paige
Alison Chambers
Andrea Speed
Cassandra Dean
Josee Renard
Liana Laverentz
Linda Mooney
Miranda Baker
Nancy J. Cohen
Natalie J. Damschroder
Patricia Leever
Rhonda L. Print
Frances Pauli
Alianne Donnelly
Anne Patrick
Sommer Marsden
Elizabeth Black
Jen Wylie
Ingrid Michaels
Gail Koger
Silvia Violet
Mitzi Szereto
Debra St. John
Louise Delamore
Serena Shay
Mari Fee
Lee Brazil
Rachel Randall
Amber Scott
J.F. Jenkins

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