Thursday, August 26, 2010

M&M Makin’ the Rounds

Big thanks to Minx for letting us come here and play today! We’ll get started with our first Q&A.

Ooo, ooo pick me! Pick Me!

Q: Do you have any favorite characters from your books? If so, who and why?

Michelle: Jiri. He’s from Tribes of the Vampire. Also, King Lucien of the Damned from Realm Immortal. These are both secondary characters that I get a ton of fan mail for. They’re total alpha, very much on the evil side, yet everyone asks me to redeem the unredeemable. As a writer, these characters can be more fun to play with than the hero and heroine. And, I like making a bad guy that people want to see get better.

Mandy: I’m going to go with Pallo from Daughter of Darkness. I think he’s just really misunderstood. I’m sure under all that alpha male vampire he’s a sweet, sweet, lovable lil kitten, right? I mean, there has to be more to him than pure sexual maleness. *grin* In all honesty, I really love everything about him. He’s not afraid to piss people off and he will, in extreme circumstances admit he’s wrong—well, if he wasn’t always right that is. LOL.

I think Michelle should work on Jiri’s book next. I also think he should be in love with a woman who is 5’6” curvy, has long black curly hair, green eyes and answers to the name Mandy or Mistress. Really, it’s up to her on the name.

Michelle: Huh, for some reason I opened up a couple WIPs tonight and they’d been edited with that very information. Strange… ;)

Mandy: Hmm, no clue what happened *hides all evidence of having hacked Michelle’s system*

Featured M&M Book of the Day:

Buy Here

Raven Books

Raven titles are available on as well as other third party sites

Mandy M Roth

Michelle M Pillow

Thanks for letting us hang here, Minx! Everyone, remember that to be entered in the contest at the end of the tour, you need to comment on the posts. You can enter as much as you like.   :)

Join us tomorrow when we visit Cathryn Wade where we answer the question Psst, look at the weird kid in the corner!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wine and Hot Tubs

I want to say thank you to Minx and the other Naughty Girls Next Door for inviting me to be a guest on their blog today. I'm delighted to stop by and chat with you all and talk about one of my favorite For all the naughty girls out there, I have to tell you about Red Cat.

I'm lucky to live close to the Finger Lakes region of New York and at least a couple times a year my hubby and I, and usually a couple friends, drive out to the Finger Lakes and tour and taste and buy wine. I'm not a wine snob in any sense of the word. I do know what I like, but you know those little containers on the bar...where you can dump the wine you're tasting if you don't like it?? I've never used one. I'm of the mind that any wine is too good to waste.

Just like wines have different tastes, wineries have different personalities too. And while I could compare many of the wineries (which ones are a little snooty and which ones turn wine tasting into entertainment), today I simply want to draw your attention to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards on Seneca Lake, and their very popular, Red Cat.

Red Cat is marketed as a party wine, good to share with friends and perfect to drink while relaxing in a hot tub. If you click on the Red Cat link, you can read the Red Cat story yourselves. And as a naughty girl, I'm sure you picked up on this one line, "It was quickly noted that as Red Cat was consumed, less apparel was worn in the hot tub." How can you resist?? In case you can't tell in the picture above - this is the label on the Red Cat bottle.

Oh, and the mug in the picture above? I couldn't resist buying that, along with my very own Red Cat T-shirt. Since it's not possible to read the text on the mug, I can't resist repeating it here. Then see if you don't want your own Red Cat mug - or your own bottle of Red Cat.

I love Red Cat because on the morning after I...
* ...realize why my neighbor calls them flower beds.
* ...truly sound ill when I call in sick.
* ...enjoy introducing myself to that other person in the bed.
* to discover my new friend's name tattooed on my butt.
* always amazed at how Alka Seltzer makes my coffee look like a cappucciono latte.
* ...realize the only cure is to hop back into the hot tub with another bottle of Red Cat!

Hmm...I just realized I've never written a wine-in-the-hot-tub scene in any of my books. I think I'm going to have to remedy that situation very soon. In the meantime, do you have any favorite wines? And do you ever drink them in the hot tub?

BOUND BY DESIGN - available now from Samhain
SEE ME - Coming in November from Samhain

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blueberry Temptations

- guest blogger, Mary Quast
I live in a small community in Mid-Michigan and every year during the third weekend in August we host the Montrose Blueberry Festival. (Yes, we do have many places to pick berries!) Every year I not only work and enjoy the festival but I gather inspiration and ideas for future characters and books. It's the best time of the year!!!

For those who have never attended our festival, let me tempt you to zip into my town for a visit.

1. Blueberries… everything blueberries! Yummy! Pie eating contest! (Don't forget to have save room for the Pig Roast.

2. Blueberry pancake breakfast on Sat & Sun. We serve 4,000 hungry folks. The sausages are the kids favorites. My family has been working the breakfast for years, so come to it and I’ll take a break to chat. I actually socialize more than work... don't tell anyone.

3. Medieval Village & Renaissance Faire. Montrose is Scottish for “mountain of roses”. In this hilly farming community, many wild roses grow around fields and in ditches. Only during the festival will you see a man in a kilt though.

4.Working with the knowledge of our Scottish heritage and members from the greater Renaissance Festival folk from the Shiabruck Medieval Village, we’ve put together an amazing village and faire. Stop by and meet my special friends, Gypsy and Hagrid. Gypsy made the original necklace Mike McAlister wears in my book "Lonely Soul".

5. The awesome parade. My boys have been in it every year! Oh... and don't forget the carnival. It’s a blast!

6. Farmers Market. The best food to put into your body is wholesome home grown! And yes... we do have some corn-fed, hay-balin', home-grown hunks as well.

7. Flea Market and craft show. I lose myself there every year; the boys have to lure me out with chocolate.

8. Classic Car Show and Vintage Snowmobile Swap Meet. When hubby gives me "that look", I simply shake my head and say, "NO. I didn't bring the checkbook."

9. Firefighters Demonstrations.

10. Demolition Derby. A great way to take out aggression.

11. Live music and a karaoke contest. No way… you won’t hear me sing! We also have an awesome beer tent.

12. Mud Drag & Mud Bog for those who enjoy getting dirty. Grab a beer ladies and let's go!

13. MI Championship Wrestling.

14. Softball,5-mile road race,horseshoes, Tug-of-War Challenge and more time in the beer tent. Great opportunities to see some shirtless men!

Throughout the town and township, there are a ton of rummage sales offering wonderful treasures and parties galore! I hope many of you take a break from your busy schedule and visit. If I’m available, I’ll let you know where the best "goodies" are. Hugs!

Visit the Blueberry Website for more info.

Mary Quast is a contemporary romance writer with three published books available. Feel free to visit her website or her blogs, Romantic Interludes and Romance Writers Behaving Badly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Selling the Unusual Setting

And now for something completely different.

A different time period, I mean. Since I've been following author blogs and forums related to the romance genre, again and again I've encountered the notion that unusual historical settings are a hard sell. There's less talk about erotica; it's a smaller part of the market and doesn't always overlap; it's its own niche, and I think sometimes there's more freedom of setting in erotica than in romance.

My post today is not to be taken as the be-all and end-all on this issue. Mostly, I'm just thinking through strategies that might work. Keep in mind that my World War One novel, The Moonlight Mistress, is erotica, which as I mentioned might be an easier market for unusual settings. I have not yet sold a romance novel, so anything I say about the romance market is extrapolated from observation and conversation.

Here are my thoughts on unusual settings in Romance. In romance, historical usually means Regency (often extended beyond the actual Regency period), Victorian, pre-Regency Georgian, a few French Revolution novels, and...not a lot else. There's a sprinkling of European medievals, usually set in England, and a few Westerns (America, usually post-Civil War), and a few others. I'm sure I'm missing some, and of course the periods and locations of the few books not set in eighteenth through nineteenth century England will vary according to market pressures and other things which I am not going to go into, since that isn't really the topic of this post.

My topic (finally she gets to it!) is how to make the most of the "unusual" period you've chosen. Bear in mind that none of my suggestions are guaranteed to work. If they were, I'd be selling them on television. My suggestions are just intended to help you to think about ways of selling your novel in a more holistic way than simply throwing it against the wall of Regencies over and over again.

If you're starting from scratch, I think the first step is to write the book. No, really. You're much better off trying to pitch something that's a little different if you already have it in hand. The editor can then see what the whole novel is like, and you can impress them with how cool it is and how relevant to today's world.

A simultaneous step is to know the market. Even if there's nothing else exactly like your novel out there, still be prepared to give examples of already-published similar works, not just books but movies or television series or comics, to give an idea of your novel's potential market viability. "Similar" might mean similar themes, a similar basic plot, or a similar sub-genre. For instance, you could compare your romantic suspense novel set during the Russian Revolution to one set during the French Revolution that features similar situations. Or compare your novel to a series of historical mysteries set during the Russian Revolution or some other revolution. Or even to a novel with similar themes set during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Knowing that there are similiarities will not only help you pitch the novel, if needed, but also will give you ideas as to how you might shape it to make it more marketable. (Yes, I said write to market! Those aren't naughty words!)

Third, you can set up a niche market for yourself. Perhaps you could write some short stories set in the time period and location of your choice. After you've sold a few of those, you can use them to demonstrate the possible viability of a longer project. At the least, you've made a little money from the short stories!

I'd welcome further ideas on this topic, so feel free to comment or tell me that my ideas would never work.


Victoria Janssen's erotic World War One novel The Moonlight Mistress was nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. She's also written the fantasy-universe novels The Duchess, Her Maid, the Groom & Their Lover and The Duke & the Pirate Queen, out December 2010. Find out more at her website.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Free Stuff Alert!!!

Don't forget that Michelle Lauren and I are giving away free books from RWA Nationals today during her all-day reader chat extravaganza.  Sign up at her message board - and come CHAT with us all day long :)

I'll be giving away two books by the amazing Robin L. Rotham, one of my fellow authors at Ellora's Cave. These books are super sexy sci-fi and not to be missed.

Michelle is giving away a copy of When Darkness Calls by bestselling author J.K. Beck and The Devil Inside by Jenna Black.

So I hope to see you there!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Naughty Girls at Nationals

Well, I'm back from RWA Nationals 2010.  Whew!  This year was one of the busiest yet.  I traveled with my BFF, Michelle Lauren, and we arrived in Orlando ready to par-tay.

Nora Roberts was the keynote luncheon speaker this year and her speech was inspiring. Her main point was that people who spend all their time lamenting how hard publishing is now are fooling themselves.  It's hard now, it was hard back in the day and it will always be hard.  That's what makes it so special.  I loved her speech and yes, I loved that she kept saying "Bullshit" over and over.  Love me some Nora.

Jayne Ann Krentz also imparted some interesting knowledge in her address.  She's had success in several genres and shared that you can write the core story of your heart and set it in different landscapes without feeling like you're selling out.  (She's written contemporaries, historicals and futuristics.)

Last but DEFINITELY not least is the swag :)

 Michelle Lauren and I will be unselfishly sharing some of our RWA bounty on Monday 8/9/10 during her all day reader chat extravaganza.  If you're not a member of her message board - GO SIGN UP NOW.

Did I mention we're giving away RWA swag?  See you there...