Monday, September 27, 2010

Mysti's on Tour!

Please join me in welcoming Mysti Holiday to my blog today. Mysti's here today to talk about her new book, but she also shares some fun and interesting things you might not have known about writers. Or her! Comment for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to the online book retailer of your choice and follow Mysti on her tour here for more chances to win! So, let's find out some more about Mysti:

What 3 words best describe your writing?
Fun, sexy, sweet (yes, I’ve been told I write sweet erotic romance ... apparently it’s not an oxymoron *G*)

Why erotic romance?
I sort of fell into it, to be honest. I’m actually published under a different pen name in mainstream romance, but I had a friend challenge me to write an erotic story. Never one to turn down a challenge, I accepted and did so. And I discovered that I really had fun doing it, so I’ve kept on.

How do you come up with your story ideas?
That’s a really tough question, actually. I think stories are everywhere – and sometimes it only takes a picture, or a word, or .... anything to spark an idea. I’m more a pantser, though, so my characters can let me know their stories, too. Usually I need the characters and at least one scene in my head (plus the conflict) in order to start a story. But, being a pantser, sometimes other things come first! How’s that for a non-answer?

Is there anything of you or your real life in your stories?
I bartended for several years, like Karin in “Blue Light Special”. The bar was even named The Roadhouse, and we had a bouncer named Z. Bartending is a great job, lots of fun and lets you meet an amazing variety of people. I’d go back to it in a heartbeat.

I suppose I bring other parts of “me” to stories, but it’s not intentional.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends. I wrote my first full length, published novel (under my other name) during NaNoWriMo – so less than 30 days. OTOH, I have others that I’ve been working on for years. My first published erotic short story, “Shut Up & Kiss Me” was written in two days. “Blue Light Special” took longer. The first erotic story I ever attempted still isn’t finished. ::shrugs:: I’m full of ambiguous answers today! The truth is, though, that I thrive on a challenge, which is why NaNoWriMo is so much fun for me.

If you had a room full of your readers in front of you, what would you say to them? What would you want them to know about your you and your books?
Oh wow.. that may be the hardest question I’ve ever been asked! I suppose I’d invite questions about what they think about books, especially in the much-maligned romance genre (I mean ... why hasn’t Oprah ever picked a real ROMANCE as her book selection?) and how they choose what they read. What attracts them to a particular book, especially when it’s a new author?

As far as me and my books... To be honest, I don’t think who I am is all that important, but I do want them to enjoy my books. I do my best to make them as romantic as possible, I want my readers to feel the stories in their hearts, first. I want them to know that they can always get a happy ending with my work, no matter what.

What are your long term goals as a writer?
To be a NYT bestselling author, of course. To sell as much as Nora Roberts. What else is there? *G*

List 5 things about yourself that most people wouldn’t realize.
1. I like to eat peanut butter off the spoon – and sometimes, I dip it in hot chocolate powder first. Mmmm...
2. I crave sunlight. I used to live in an apartment that get very little sun, and in the winter when it was too cold to be outside much, I would curl up in a ball in the one spot on the floor where sun came in and just lay there, soaking it up.
3. I read the ends of books first. Really. Because I HATE sad stories. I’ve been doing this ever since I was little and was absolutely destroyed by the end of “Where the Red Fern Grows”. I think that book also molded my desire to only write stories that end well.
4. I can’t stand having hair touching my face. I always wear my hair back, no matter what length it is.
5. I can NOT stand rap music. I used to think it was fun – back in the 80s, “Bust a Move”, “Funky Cold Medina” but anymore? It’s just angry, profane, irritating noise. Not that I have a strong opinion or anything.

Tell us something about your book that isn’t in the blurb.
Caleb knows who Holly Hobbie is. Do you? *G*

You can visit Mysti at:
Her website:
Her blog:

Here's a blurb of Mysti's book, Blue Light Special:
When Karin Lattimer moves across the country and her over-protective brother asks his friend Caleb Hawkes to keep an eye on her, she’s more than annoyed…she’s turned on. The attentive cop is a walking wet dream, but Karin knows he’s only hanging around out of a sense of duty. Acting on her crazy attraction would reveal more than the man’s buff body—it would also reveal her heart.

Caleb is well aware that Karin is all woman. He can’t keep his eyes off her and his hands itch to touch her. But she’s not one-night-stand material, and he firmly believes cops make lousy partners for long-term relationships.

Still, thinking clearly isn’t a top priority when Karin and Caleb finally touch. Sparks fly and barriers melt away as easily as their inhibitions, but can she convince him there's more to life than playing it safe?

And of course, a hot and sexy excerpt:
   Caleb grinned and tapped his watch. “Time for last call.”

   “Who died and made you my boss?” Karin sauntered to the other end of the bar, purposely adding a little more swing than usual to her hips as she walked away, sure in the knowledge his gaze was locked on her ass. So what if he was a jerk who was “babysitting” her as a favor to her brother. Just because she was miles away from her home town in Missouri didn’t mean she needed a keeper. No matter why he was there, fact was he stirred her up in the worst way and she didn’t figure it was right she should be the only one feeling all het up.

   “Hey, baby!” The shout was followed by a fair number of cat calls from the pile of barely legal boys hanging on the far end of the bar.

   Karin turned and smiled at them, then took three slow steps to where they stood.

   “The name’s Karin, honey. Not Baby.” She knew exactly how to piss off Caleb and took great pleasure in leaning over the bar, her breasts all but falling out of her low cut tank. She made eye contact with the boy closest to her, walked her fingertips up his chest, and ended with a tweak of his cheek with her perfectly manicured nails. “But, with the right incentive, I’ll answer to just about anything.” She purred the words and touched the tip of her tongue to her upper lip. She’d need to give the boy a napkin for his drool pretty soon, but hell, the tips should be good.

   When he didn’t say anything else, she shook her head. “Last call, boys. Can I get you one final drink?” She trailed a finger down her throat to the V-neck of her shirt before she continued. “A Slippery Nipple, maybe? A Piece of Ass or a Bald Pussy?” She licked her lips again and kept them parted, warm and moist, for a heartbeat before continuing. “Or, my personal favorite—a Sloe...Comfortable...Screw?”

Thanks Mysti! I really enjoyed your answers!! Good luck with the book.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Got Cover...and a teaser excerpt

Hopefully, you've noticed by now, but I wanted to highlight the cover for my upcoming book, PAY UP. Man, those are some abs :). This is my first 'custom' cover as such and fits the hero, Rio so well. He's a hot, ripped firefighter with everything going on, you know? Sigh...  Below I've included the blurb and a short teaser excerpt from the book. ENJOY!


Neighbor. Friend. Lover.

At least that’s what Carly Wagner wanted Rio Reyes to be. She’d settled for two out of three for almost a year and it just wasn’t enough. Not anymore. When Rio proposes a shockingly sexual bet, she knows it’s out of character and he’s not really serious, yet she can’t resist. The pay off could be finally getting her hands on the gorgeous firefighter she’s drooled over since she moved in next door.

The timing had never seemed right for him and Carly, but that hadn’t stopped Rio from imagining wild and wicked things about her. It had been a joke—sort of, but Rio’s shocked when she takes him up on the dumbass bet. Now he’s in a world of hurt, because regardless of who wins, he might be crossing a line he never thought he would and jeopardize a friendship that means more to him than anything.

Warning; excerpt contains a very pissed off heroine :).

    Carly shoved the ice cream carton she still held in her hands back into the freezer and slammed the door, wincing when it opened slightly again before finally closing. No way. No way. She wouldn’t be a fucking stereotype, sitting home alone on a Friday night shoveling vanilla bean ice-cream down her throat and fantasizing about something that was completely out of her reach. So, she got dumped by her boyfriend today. Greg had actually dumped her. So what? It wasn’t even that she was hurt all that much, but the jerk hadn’t had the decency to give her an adequate reason. He hadn’t even had the decency to do it in person and she didn’t need an audible reminder that she didn’t have anyone to have wild monkey sex with. That the guy she did want to have sex with was giving it to someone else.

    So yeah, she was mad. Good and mad. Because she’d had doubts about Greg for weeks, maybe months and she should have been the one to end things. Because she’d never actually had any sex that would qualify as “wild monkey sex”. Ever. Instead, she’d let things slide with Greg, thinking perhaps a less than perfect boyfriend was better than being alone. Because then what would she do? Drool and fantasize about Rio, that’s what. And what do you know? It’d been less than four hours and she knew she’d been right. It sucked.

The book releases on October 15 and I'm so excited! I absolutely loved writing this book.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another first...

This is probably one of the most exciting and definitely the most fun first I've had so far! I'm one of the contributors on a new group blog called Passionate Reads! We've had it up for awhile - getting it established, ironing out the 'kinks' :) and figuring out the logistics of how we'll run it. The group of authors are a wonderful and amazingly diverse group. They're all so supportive and encouraging and so very, very talented. At the moment, we all share the same very awesome editor, Grace Bradley from Ellora's Cave.

We have a number of exciting features on the blog:
SexyScope - this is a sexy horoscope for those adventuress enough to take a peek!
Cook Naked - I know what you're thinking, but get your mind out of the gutter! This segment is authors and their characters chating and cooking unencumbered, without rules or restrictions. Is there any other way?
Character Q&A - where we interview the sassy kick-ass heroines and to die for heroes, from our very own books.

We'll also be regularly guest blogging, posting excerpts and book news and doing interviews. We may also have a surprise guest here and there.

We're kicking off the blog officially this Sunday the 19th on the Ellora's Cave Chat Yahoo Group from 12:00 - 3:00 pm EST. Yeah, you'll have to join, but if you're not already on this loop, you should be. It can be risque, sometimes thought provoking and educational and always a bunch of FUN.

So, what are we doing to celebrate and get this baby going? We're having the chat party, doing interviews, we're giving away prizes and books AND we're running a pitch contest to EC editor, Grace Bradley!! Grace is actively acquiring new authors and we'd love to be able to help her find more talented writers for her 'stable'. Come by and check out the blog, keep an eye on it and come by the chat on Sunday for all the details!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just Published - Erica Anderson

Well, I thought it was about time I talk to an author published through my very own publisher, Ellora's Cave. Please welcome Erica Anderson to Just Published this month. Erica and I also share an editor, so this should be interesting :).

The specifics of Erica's very first book are:

Title: The Antaren Affair
Genre: science-fiction erotic romance
Words: 31,895 / 107 pages
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Date Published: July 2010
Colonel Rákōsy Avar is an officer in the Imperial Forces sent to the planet Antares to negotiate an alliance. He’s learned the hard way to trust no one and has only one passion—duty. But when an Antaren kebara is sent to serve him in any way he desires, she proves too great a temptation for the battle-scarred warrior. Although he suspects a trap, he still wants her on her back. In his bed.

Meraya is a woman trained to provide sexual pleasure. A woman whose duty is to serve. She has never known freedom. Or desire. She discovers both in the arms of the barbarian colonel. But Meraya is a pawn in a deadly game of interstellar politics that could cost her everything…including her heart.

When Avar discovers he wants more than the paradise found between Meraya’s lovely thighs, he must play for the highest stakes ever, gambling with the life of a woman he can’t resist. A woman whose betrayal would destroy him.

You can read the awesome excerpt here.

Erica, how would you describe what you write?
I write character-driven M/F romance—either historical or science fiction. I’ve published one Regency-set historical and I’m working on a medieval. Also in progress are a couple of sequels to my science-fiction erotic romance The Antaren Affair.

And what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
Complete and utter pantser. I start by writing a scene that has been pestering me for a few weeks. It’s always just a random scene involving a hero and heroine. And then I figure it out from there.

For example, in my Regency-set ER, I got the image in my head of a man and a woman having a sexually provocative chat at an inn. So I wrote that scene. Their characters grew out of that encounter—I had to think about what kind of woman would engage in that sort of dialogue in the 19th century. Certainly not a proper lady. So I decided to have the heroine grow up in India with an eccentric father who ignored all social mores. Then I thought about what kind of hero has a one-night fling with a strange woman at an inn? A man who can accept the idea of an independent woman. A man who is intelligent enough to be aroused by a clever woman adept at conversation.

I’m non-linear, so I write whatever I feel like at the moment. If I had to start at the beginning and write through to the end, I’d never finish anything. I have several WIPs and I switch back and forth between them. It just depends on which hero I wake up with in the morning .

That's funny. It sounds like the way I write. I call it 'writing all over the book'. I don't write linearly either. What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I have two complete novels that will never see the light of day—one medieval romance and one traditional Regency. I learned a ton writing them. But I eventually figured out that I was very interested in the physicality of social relationships, which I enjoy both reading and writing.

I’ve been writing fiction fitfully since 2000, but in 2009, I decided to try erotic romance. I felt freed up by the shorter lengths possible in e-publishing. My problem was that writing 100K bored me, but working with a shorter story arc, somewhere between 30–40K, felt just right.

So, how did you pick your publisher?
Once I decided that my niche was ER, I went straight to Ellora’s Cave. I submitted my story there and sold it. I suggest that authors read books published by the publisher they’re targeting in order to match up their work with the right house.

What’s your ‘call’ story?
Not as exciting as you’d expect. I got an email from the editor to whom I’d submitted and she just said that she’d like to contract my story. I was excited, but I also felt that sooner or later it would happen as long as I kept hacking away. I did dance around the house a bit, which really freaked out the cat. And then I called my sister and gushed for about fifteen minutes straight. My sister is my biggest fan and supporter and she was as excited as I was.

A 'call' is a call, right? Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
Nope. No agent. One of the benefits of writing for e-publishers is the ability to get serious consideration without an agent. I think I would seek out an agent if and when I try to break into print publishing. But I’m not convinced that the future of erotic romance is in print publishing. This is an exciting time to be writing—change is happening so fast.

I agree. It certainly is an exciting time. What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
I’ve been very happy with my experiences at Ellora’s Cave, and Grace is one amazing editor. She has both an eye for detail and a great sense of humor—trust me, that’s a good thing in an editor!

So far, my submissions haven’t needed much revising. But I tend to self-edit an MS to within an inch of its life before I submit. I’m sure the time will come when I need to revise by (re)writing or deleting large chunks of text, but I want to avoid that as long as I can. One key, at least for me, is to let an MS sit for a few weeks after I’ve finished it. Then, when I go back and reread it, I have a much more critical and distanced eye and can spot problems before I submit.

I totally understand the desire to type “The End” and turn around and submit. But I just close the file and start working on something else, which takes my mind off the finished MS and allows me to be productive while I get some distance.

Of course, I have to agree about Grace! After all, she might read this :). How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
I adore my first cover. I was thrilled. Overjoyed. And very, very lucky. My input was limited to a brief description of the H/H. I’m fortunate to write for a publisher that puts time and money into cover design. I think some e-publishers make a major mistake by going cheap on covers.

What was release day like for you?
Anti-climactic. And since my coworkers in real life don’t know what I do on the weekends, I couldn’t exactly crow over the water cooler that my erotic romance was just released.

LOL. How did you market your book?
Promo is a massive part of e-publishing—more than I realized at first. I try to maintain a web presence through my blog and by posting frequently on Goodreads. I have so far refused to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts because of the time involved. I realize that I’m probably missing out on readers, though. The more I get involved in on-line groups, blogs, commenting, etc., the more I realize that I have to set boundaries.

That said, the on-line romance and erotic romance communities are amazing—I’m convinced that romance readers and writers are some of the nicest, most supportive people in the publishing business.

Yes, I'd have to agree! What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
This isn’t a surprise so much as it’s a self-realization—how addictive writing can be. When I’m really involved in a story, I actually resent having to do anything else, including eating and sleeping!

I also discovered that in e-publishing, you have to maintain momentum—months between releases, rather than years. That’s the thing about our technologically driven world—time is compressed and faster is better. That’s a lot of pressure for a writer!

What do you think were the factors that got you published?
Two things: 1) editing until the MS was as perfect as I could make it and 2) matching my work with the right publisher.

Also critical was constantly reading and writing—reading because you can’t be a good writer without being a voracious reader and writing because you can always improve.

I worked in publishing for several years and one of the things that amazed me was encountering writers who felt that altering a single word of their work was a desecration of their art . That’s a completely counter-productive attitude.

Yes, I think you have to constantly grow as a writer. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
Wow—I have so much going on and a bottomless pit of story ideas. First up is to finish the three stories that I’m working on which are set in the same universe as The Antaren Affair.

Then I want to finish a book-length medieval erotic romance and submit it to a print publisher.

Then I plan to return to a Regency-set erotic romance WIP that’s been languishing for months.

I’d like to eventually support myself by writing, but I’m a long way from that point in my life. I’m sort of embarrassed to say that I don’t have a plan, other than to keep writing as fast as I can, as often as I can. Having a day job is sooo annoying!

Sounds like a plan to me :). So, what’s next for you?
My sequel to The Antaren Affair features Lt. Jholtan, who was a character in TAA. It’s called The Vanoran Affair (really original, right?) and you can read an excerpt here.

What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
1) Develop a thick skin;
2) Understand that you can always improve your writing;
3) Write--unplug from the net, shut the door, turn off the phone and get your butt in the chair.

Awesome advice! Number 3 in particular. Thank you so much for being here today, Erica. I appreciate how much you opened up about your journey and the insights you've shared. I learned some things about you I didn't know! If anyone would like to learn more about Erica or keep up to date on her books or anything else, you can visit her on her blog.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Got Edits?

Well, I finalized my edits and PAY UP is awaiting a cover, release date, official blurb and excerpt!! My second book will be out soon from Ellora's Cave and I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm so excited for this story because it's the first 'friends to lovers' story I've ever written. It's also the first firefighter hero I've done and Rio is one HOT man in uniform (or out of it)! This is quite a bit longer than PICTURE THIS and I enjoyed the luxury of having some more words to tell a bigger story. As soon as I have news I'll post more details, but thought I would post a teaser excerpt:

  “Yes, yes, Rio, yes…oh…God, yes…”
   Not again.
   Carly felt heat flare in her cheeks, not to mention the other parts of her body. It washed over and through her all at once, leaving her weak, her breathing unsteady and just plain…hot.
   What the hell did Rio do to get them to moan and scream and gasp that way? She’d never called out like that in the throes of passion or anywhere else for that matter. She was also pretty sure it wouldn’t have been with that sense of utter abandon or lack of regard for who might hear her. And let’s face it, she just wasn’t that great an actress.
   One of the reasons she’d bought her condo in this building was for its construction, specifically the interior concrete walls. It should have been impossible, but some freak design with the ventilation system meant…they had to be going at it up against the entry wall that backed directly onto hers. Why hadn’t that occurred to her? They’d barely made it past his front door, before…
   Carly inhaled quickly at the sharp pull low in her abdomen. She swore she could hear a faint rhythmic thumping and muffled groans too, but it could just as easily be her imagination taking over. It didn’t take much to have her picturing Rio’s big body and what he was doing with it to get that kind of response. God, he’d be hot and sweaty, his big body gleaming with exertion, his dark hair damp and sticking up where urgent hands had been buried in it, maybe holding on to him, urging him on. He’d have his shirt off, but maybe he’d been impatient, unfastening his pants just enough, having thrust them down roughly so he could—
   She took a deep, shaky breath. She really, really needed to get a life. Unfortunately, she’d heard the whispers and giggles for a long time about how awesome Rio was in bed. About how built he was…down there, and about how he knew his way around a woman’s body like few guys did. Hearing the evidence of it for the second time in a week didn’t help.


I also wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it's a nice to relief to know my first book wasn't a fluke LOL!

So, what's next? I'm putting the finishing touches on a third book. Gabe is burned out and used up until Lily provides a much needed breath of fresh air and a touch that he didn't know he was craving. It's been a great  and fun story to write. A couple, seemingly unmatched on the surface but perfect for each other. I hope to share it with you soon.