From now until the end of September, you have several chances
to win as part of the release party to celebrate the last of the Dark Realm books, Darkness Captured.
Newsletter Member Contest
This contest is intended for my newsletter subscribers. If you aren’t already one, here’s the link! DD’s Newsletter
I love finding out more about your preferences, so come take a tour of my site and answer some questions. Email your answers with the subject line Newsletter Members Contest to: email@example.com.
There will be two lucky winners chosen by a random number generator from the answers to the questions below, plus one winner chosen from the comments on my blog from now until and including September 21, 2010 comments. Winners will be contacted privately by email and listed in the next newsletter. (Please note that your privacy is important, so only your first name will be used in the announcement.)
Prizes: 1) A tote bag signed by the authors attending Lora Leigh’s Readers Appreciation Weekend filled with: a one-of-a-kind beaded bookmark and necklace, an assortment of Delilah’s latest print releases, autographed of course. 2) A gift certificate from Amazon.com for $50.00. 3) AND…a separate blog commenter prize of a surprise gift pack from Lora Leigh’s Reader’s Appreciation Weekend
1. What do you like best about my new website and/or newsletter design?
2. Which book or series of mine is your favorite? If you’re new to my books, which book or series is on your wish list?
3. Read an excerpt on my site and tell me what you liked best about it. If you became suddenly addicted to reading excerpts at my site, tell me how many you read in one sitting.
4. Have you read any of my free reads? Tell me your favorite. Not sure where they are? HINT – check out the extras section at my site, which includes more ‘free stuff’ for readers and booksellers. If you haven’t read any yet, tell me which one you just downloaded and hope to read soon.
5. What’s the title of my book that releases on September 21, 2010 and where can you buy it? What makes you want it most: the cover, the blurb, or the excerpt?
6. Please include your full name, mailing address, and a statement that you’re over 18 years old to speed up the delivery of your prize should you be chosen. Your mailing information will only be used if you win.
Email your answers with the subject line: Newsletter Members Contest to firstname.lastname@example.org. They must be sent to the special contest email address to be included. All entries must be received by September 30th, 2010. Thanks and good luck!
Ask a few fans, and you’re most likely to hear a different answer from each person. Space opera, when the term was first coined in the 40’s, was meant as an uncomplimentary jab at bad sci-fi, a comparison to the radio soap operas of the time. By the 60’s and 70’s, space opera had come to be associated with sci-fi adventure novels, and as time has worn on, the original pejorative sting has faded away almost entirely.
A highly scientific sampling of opinions (from my friends who happened to be paying attention to Twitter when I asked) yielded up the following thoughts about what space opera means to fans these days:
Probably not the correct definition, but to me, it’s sci-fi that’s less about the tech than the characters, relationships and adventures.
Dramatic music composed only with the percussive properties of the space bar.
Seriously, space is vast, awe-inspiring, and boring as hell. Space opera uses human elements to highlight the first two.
Good science fiction 🙂 Science fiction with well developed characters that you can relate to.
And when it was revealed that I was writing about the connection between space opera and romance:
OH! Then clearly my response is “an orgy set to the Imperial March!”
The Fifth Element: a good example both of what I consider space opera, and how to choreograph an orgy.
When I try to put it together as a concept, I think I come down to a lot of the same themes. Space opera, to me, is generally character-driven, frequently focusing on unlikely protagonists who find themselves in larger-than-life situations. It tends to play to the underdog archetypes, the damaged or reluctant heroine who wins in the end, not despite her flaws, but so many times because of the humanity those flaws lend to the otherwise vast, awe-inspiring, and ultimately cold universe.
I’d argue that the space western genre, rolicking adventure stories where a space ship replaces the trusty steed, is firmly a part of the space opera family. Firefly is probably the most popular recent example, but nobody is likely to forget the place that Star Wars has in that company. In contrast, as my friend mentioned above, the slick grandeur and messy future sprawled out for us in The Fifth Element is every bit as much a space opera, complete with actual opera.
The themes in space opera tend to be huge. Saving the universe, or at least their own small part of it, is often the grudging lot of the space opera hero. Reluctant or unlikely, your space opera protagonists are often fringe dwellers; criminals with a heart of gold, idealistic young men and women who believe in doing what’s right, even if it’s dangerous. It’s a common bond that space opera shares with romance, where the bad boy or girl is almost always driven by a greater cause, or a personal demon they can’t shed.
The science in space operas isn’t always, or even generally, the focus. Small groups of flawed people navigate tense situations, and depending on the story, the technology can be integral to the plot, or shiny window-dressing, a costume drama set in a nebulous future. I love space opera for many of the same reasons that I like period romances; the details it adds to the world around the characters, the chance to see themes of love, loyalty, and adventure in another situation that lets them shine. In The Balance of Silence, the trauma that Ducks faces is a purely human one, and the story could easily have been recast in a contemporary setting, without losing he and Riv’s essential struggle to find a life after violent tragedy, and the love they stumble into along the way.
Space opera also gives you a great chance to play with expectations about sex, gender, and social mores. Most of the characters in our Ylendrian Empire stories are bisexual, with some skewing the scale towards gay or straight, and one of the founding races defaults to gender neutral, shifting to more masculine or feminine aspects as they wish. Lois McMaster Bujold, as an offshoot of her incredibly popular Miles Vorkosigan series, wrote Ethan of Athos, about a planet where the population is exclusively genetically male, and what happens when Ethan is elected to travel off-world and first meets and interacts with women.
I find the genre so appealing because I like romance that makes the same old tropes seem fresh. I like sci-fi that grounds itself in people. I like adventure, and life on a grander scale. I like seeing that no matter how far out into the universe we go, there’s always the push to go farther. A good space opera is about the people who inhabit it, and I think the best of them are all about the romance of life in the stars.
I have bursts of being a lady, but it doesn’t last long.
~ Shelley Winters
I feel like I’ve been away a very long time, but I haven’t gone anywhere. I tell you, I’m addicted to my blog. If I don’t start the day with a new post (of my own!), it’s like I woke up in someone else’s bed. Icky. Disoriented. Ooh. I feel a story coming on.
So I didn’t get to go to Lora Leigh’s big party. Everyone who went is sending messages to each other saying what a nice time they had, and I know the experience is like meeting a sister you never knew because you have EVERYTHING in common—or at least a love of books. I really hate that I missed it.
I wish I could say that I spent the time I was supposed to be gone working productively on writing the stories I have looming, but I can’t. In the back of my mind, I had set apart those days for play, and there was no reprogramming me. Didn’t help that I felt like crap too.
Fun stuff did happen though. Like until today I was #1, #6 and #10 on Samhain’s MBaM site after Four Sworn released. (That’ll change as soon as the new releases come out today!) And Pleasing Sir is cooking along on Kindle. I have a brand new obsession—hitting the refresh key on the sales reports on Kindle. Seriously, thanks to everyone who bought the books. I have serious cash flow issues coming up—something fun to add to my website that will cost me a bundle, but that I hope will add to your enjoyment of my new series starting in January.
In the meantime, I’m ramping up for the release of Darkness Captured next week, and I will be starting a countdown contest on Thursday to celebrate. If you want to win something, you better be paying attention!
Don’t you love today’s quote? Now, there was a woman who lived with no apologies for her excesses in men or food.
This ihe last of the guest bloggers I had lined up for when I was supposed to be away at RAW. I’ll be back with you tomorrow! ~DD
Everyone has experienced walking alone into a party or the first day at a new job, right? You’re positive everyone else knows everyone while you’re the new kid on the block, the unknown. Unless you do everything right, they’re going to gossip about you. Heck, they’re going to anyway.
That’s me, new kid on the Delilah Devlin blog block. Guess there’s nothing to do but introduce myself. First, to explain what I’m doing here, Delilah and I have been bumping into each other online for who knows how long. When she put out the call for guest bloggers, I thought, “Great way to reach out and potentially meet some new readers.”
So here I am, Vonna Harper, hopelessly addicted erotica writer. If you don’t believe it, check out my titles at www.VonnaHarper.com. I swear, I need an intervention to get me to slow down and smell the roses which are looking fabulous, thank you very much. Summer’s nearly over. I need to get out in my garden before the ground squirrels and deer make off with every last tomato and zucchini.
Instead I write. A lot. For Kensington Aphrodisia in print, Ellora’s Cave where I started, Samhain, and Loose Id. I’m also knocking on Carina’s door hoping someone will let me in. I’ve written book lengths, novellas, and quickies and love the different formats.
Back in the olden days when I was writing category romance, providing a synopsis for the various editors was a given. What worked for me was to play with the first three or so chapters until I felt I had a handle on my characters, setting, and plot. Then I’d put on my synopsis hat and sweat through a direction for the rest of the story.
These days, even with Kensington, I no longer have to carve out a point by point, at least not on paper. Most times I go by a page or so of absolute nonsense about my characters’ backgrounds, their goals, and what stands in the way of their goals no one will ever see as I jump into a project. And about opportunities for my characters to jump in the sack, can’t forget that. Crazy folks that they are, Kensington has been offering me three book contracts based on my track record. They figure I can get from point A to Z all by myself.
Ha! Time for reality to bite me on the butt, again. Awhile back I’d sent my Samhain editor what I call erotic suspense, about 50,000 words worth. Well dang it, she allowed as how she isn’t a suspense fan so decided not to offer me a contract.
What, a whole book wasted effort? Not gonna happen, at least not without trying to find a publisher. Enter Carina Press/Publishing and a recent call-out for more erotica on their part. By golly, I thought, I’ll give it a try. So I went to their site believing all I’d to do is send the manuscript in the right format to the right email address and then sit back and see what happens.
Wrong! They want a synopsis. From 2-4 pages as I recall. Huh? What’s that? I’ve forgotten. Gnashing my teeth, I sat down at the computer and opened two files, one with the story in it, the other blank and mocking titled SYNOPSIS. Back and forth I went, back and forth, trying to keep it short and yet illuminating. I’d written the story awhile ago and had finished several other stories since then. As a result, I’d lost contact with my characters. Their motivations and relationship was rusty to me. Because its suspense, there’s a pretty strong plot with twists and turns and suspects. How to keep track of them without giving away too much too soon?
I did it. Only took a whole day to write those four frickin pages. Will I do it again? If I have no choice. I’d rather fly by the seat of my pants, trusting that my writing muscles will continue to work. This explaining the process is hard work. I don’t do well ‘Writing It Backward’.
And while I have your attention, my newest Ellora’s Cave release Silent Heat will be out on Sept. 24. Here’s a peak at Silent Heat. I also have a couple of print releases out, Cougar’s Captive and my novella On The Prowl in the Sexy Beast 9 anthology, both with Aphrodisia.
Finally, a question. How do you research erotica you might be interested in? Do you rely on reviews offered by the various review sites both print and online? Recommendations? Trust in a particular publisher? Author name? Subgenre? As a writer, promotion is both fascinating and overwhelming.
Thanks for your time, Vonna Harper, writing addict.
Multiple personalities & a contest!!
By T.L. Schaefer
Howdy, all! I’m Terri Schafer (aka TL Schaefer, aka Keira Ramsay) and today I’m hijacking Delilah’s blog for a bit. As you can see from the very first sentence, I have um…identity issues. Actually, not so much, but when I started writing erotic romance as frequently as I was publishing romantic suspense, something had to give. I just couldn’t write super-steamy stuff as TL…it didn’t seem right, and I’d started writing as TL, so folks were used to reading more about intrigue than lots of explicit sex. As soon as my newsletter readers named me Keira as my erotic pseudonym, though, I was off and running.
Over the years, I’ve had a few folks scratch their heads over my multiple personalities, but after I explain, they get it…it’s not only part of my process, but almost more of a branding thing. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Regardless of what name I’m writing under, I’ve always been totally up front about what each of those names mean. At first I was a little hinky about being loud and proud in public (read, places where readers weren’t)…after all, I work for the DoD (as a civilian, not active duty), and big government isn’t exactly known for it’s liberal or artistic tendencies *G*. I quickly got over that when my boss (a full-bird colonel) introduced me to a colleague years ago. “This is Terri Schaefer. She writes pornography in her off-duty hours.” I turned about six shades of purple, shook the visiting colonel’s hand and fled to my office. I would have been upset with my boss, but he obviously took such pride and glee in saying it (he was proud of me and has NO social skills), I quickly got over myself, and started hamming it up. Since then there’s been no looking back, and I’ve been surprised at how much more accepting folks are. Women look at me with that little twinkle in their eye, and men ask for my website so they can show their wives. Not a bad gig at all.
Sooo, now that I’ve shown mine, show me yours *G*!! Tell me about one of your more embarrassing moments as they relate to reading or writing romance and I’ll pick a winner of a choice of any of my backlist, as either Terri OR Keira!! Contest ends 19 September.
Lastly, if you like your heroes in uniform (be they cops, firefighters, or military) and your heroines with a bit of quirk, then wing by www.tlschaefer.com and check out an excerpt or two to wet your whistle!
Crime-scene photographer Sara Covington hides behind her camera from the otherworldly ability that’s caused her nothing but grief her whole life. Yet denial doesn’t protect her when she runs across a serial killer with an aural signature she’s never encountered.
Suddenly she’s without a job and with nowhere to turn…except to an enigmatic, sexy-as-hell detective with a disquieting talent for seeing right through her defenses.
Brian Roney’s fascination with Sara compels him to bring her in on the case that ultimately gets her fired. Even though he senses her mutual attraction, something holds her back from stepping into his arms. He’s as determined to find out why she’s pushing him away as he is to keep her safe.
When the killer strikes again, Sara realizes the only way to stop the madman is come clean about her painful past—and embrace the gift she has so long denied. Before the grisly trail of bodies leads right to her doorstep.
Warning: A sexy alpha cop, a heroine with a past (and super spidey sense) and a maniac on the loose…what’s not to love?
Now—Dallas, Texas, Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.
If I’d known when I woke up this morning that my life was going to change in a major way—again—I probably would have pulled the covers over my head and hidden like the coward I am.
Instead, I was actually pretty chipper as I took Xena for her morning walk, both of us enjoying the springtime morning sun. Guess that should have been an indicator of things to come.
Around us, the residents of Deep Ellum were going about their business, strolling into the weirdly trendy shops, grabbing cappuccinos, letting their dogs run free in the pocket park. I’d bet if I tipped my glasses down most of their auras would be relaxed and happy. But even as carefree as I felt this morning, opening myself up to strangers’ auras and emotions wasn’t in the cards on any day. At least when I wasn’t on the job, that is.
I slipped Xena off her leash and she scampered through the grass, her tail waving like a flag. Yeah, a shih tzu is such a girly dog, but hey, what can I say? I’m a girl, and the pooch gives me unconditional love. These days I take all the simple joys I can get.
I rescued her from an animal shelter only a few hours before she was to be put down. Don’t ask me what drew me to the SPCA; it’s not like I was looking for a companion, but I found one, nonetheless. Maybe it was two lost souls calling to one another. I’m just glad we found each other in time.
At the thought, a shiver of foreboding rippled through me, making me glance left, then right. There was nothing different about the people surrounding me, or the day in general that seemed out of place. But even as normal as it seemed, I’d learned to trust my intuition a long time ago. I whistled for Xena and boogied back to the loft. With each step I took toward home, my spine became stiffer and my heart heavier.
As I climbed the stairs to my haven, certainty hit me like a punch. There’d be another murder tonight, in my division, and I’d be called in to shoot it. Not that there was any shortage of violent crimes in Dallas on any given night, but the cloud-blotting-the-sun feeling I’d had in the park told me this one would be different. Time to suit up and put my game face on.
Shit. Sometimes being “gifted” with the Sight was a good thing. Most of the time it was a bitch.
Many thanks to my guest today for her inspiring post! ~DD
When I realized I’d be doing my guest post on September 11, I drew a blank. The usual topics about writing process or what makes a hero hot seemed inappropriate on a date associated with tragedy, grief and rage.
Then I got an email from a friend that he and his crew would be taking part in Flags on the 48 and I knew what my theme would be.
This morning at roughly 5:45 AM, my friend Randy Pierce, his fiancée Tracy and a group of hiking friends gathered at the trailhead of New Hampshire’s 4459-foot Mount Liberty—with a big American flag. If all goes well with the hike, “their” flag will fly for a time on the top of this challenging peak, as flags will from all the 48 peaks over 4000 feet in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, in honor of those who died on September 11, 2001 and those who serve in the armed forces. On some peaks, during some periods of time, flags from other nations may join the American flag, since people from more than sixty countries died at the World Trade Center and they all deserve to be remembered.
On September 15, 2001, a group of six hikers who knew each other from Adirondack Mountain Club message boards ascended Mount Liberty with a big flag, some PVC poles and rope and a bunch of duct tape. To quote the event web site, “In a small demonstration of their helplessness and compassion in the wake of incomprehensible violence, these six hikers ascended with heavy hearts to raise the American flag from the summit of Mount Liberty. This was their personal tribute to the thousands of men, women and children who perished in the attacks.”
And since then, hikers have been climbing some of the more beautiful and yet most treacherous mountains in the country (there are taller mountains, certainly, but the White Mountains hold their own for spectacular scenery and spectacular ways to kill yourself) with flags and rigging in their backpacks, to commemorate the dead and affirm life.
What does this have to do with writing? It’s a reminder to look at familiar stories in new ways. Much of the narrative about September 11, 2001 has been one of anger, vengeance, or hopelessness in the face of world forces we can’t affect. Courage as well, but lately we’ve been hearing more about “Burn a Koran Day” than we have about 9/11/01 demonstrating courage and hope in the face of adversity.
So today, let’s think about flags flying on the 48, about what that symbolizes. About heroes and heroines who have the courage to chance the narrative, to take a story about anger and hatred and turn it into one of hope and compassion.
And while we’re thinking about courage and hope, let me mention an important member of the team hiking Mount Liberty with my friend Randy today: his guide dog Quinn.
Randy is completely blind due to a rare neurological disorder, which also causes near-constant vertigo. He still climbs mountains. He’s turned his passion for climbing into a non-profit, 2020 Vision Quest, that aims to inspire others to “Achieve a vision beyond your sight” and in the process raise funds for several organizations that work directly with blind people. (Check out the web site. It’s a hugely inspiring story.)
Here’s the other writing and romance-novel tie-in for today: Heroes and heroines lurk where you might not expect them and bravery takes many forms. I write paranormals, so my heroes and heroines have extraordinary traits as shapeshifting or powerful magic. They’re larger than life, face down demons, save the world.
But I hope someday to create a character who has the guts and determination that my friend Randy shows today, climbing Mount Liberty blind to raise a flag and people’s dreams, or the imagination and hope demonstrated by those first six hikers in an international time of grief nine years ago.
Teresa Noelle Roberts’ most recent book is Foxes’ Den (Duals and Donovans: The Different, Book 2), released in August by Samhain. To brighten the mood after a rather somber post, here’s a blurb:
Some guys just don’t take rejection well. Sure, Akane’s affair with an uptight sorcerer’s boy toy backfired, but two hundred years locked in a mortal body is cruel and unusual punishment for a Trickster avatar. To free her fox form, she needs sex magic with a male of her own kind. Except none exist.
Adorable Trickster-touched fox dual Taggart Ross-Donovan is the closest she’s found. Even better, he’s married to Paul Donovan, whose red magic sizzles the air around him. One night with them will generate the extraordinary power needed to set her free.
The last thing Tag and Paul expect to find under a sorcerer’s curse is a beautiful kitsune who gets under their skin without even trying.
No one goes into the ritual with more hope than Akane…or more fear. Failure will leave her forever entrapped. Worse, she’s falling for two mortals. And there’s only one thing that can kill a kitsune—unrequited love.
Warning: Contains sly fox men (with tails), foxy fox women (with multiple tails), sexy witches chasing tail, Trickster magic, cranky sorcerers, and enough gay, het and MMF sex to torch your Kindle.
M.J.’s an old friend of mine from Texas. We knew each other well before either of us was published. I’m so happy for her success! Here’s a note from her:
Sunrise over Texas is my first historical. 1820s Texas was a pretty wild place, and not very settled. I figured a woman living in that environment wouldn’t have the same restrictions put on her as a woman living in society would, so I could make Kit pretty darned independent. THAT was a lot of fun. She knew her own mind and could hold her own. See if you agree.
Texas Frontier, 1826
Kit Barclay followed her husband into the wilds of Texas only to be widowed. Stranded with her mother- and sister- in-law to care for, with no hope of rescue before winter sets in, Kit has only one goal: survival. So when a lone horseman appears on the horizon, and then falls from his mount in fever, Kit must weigh the safety of her family against offering aid and shelter to the handsome stranger.
Trace Watson has lost everything that ever mattered to him. Trying to forget, he heads to the frontier colony of San Felipe, not caring if he lives or dies. But when he wakes to discover he’s being nursed back to health by a brave young widow, he vows to repay her kindness by guiding the three women back to civilization, no matter what the cost.
Soon, Kit and Trace are fighting the elements, Indian attacks and outlaws—as well as feelings they both thought were long buried…
Note for Readers: You must be of legal age in your country of origin to read this excerpt.
Trace woke to the sound of rustling hay and turned on his bedroll to see a vision in white standing over him, lit in the moonlight that spilled through the open window at the
apex of the barn’s roof. He scrambled up to sitting.
“Kit, what’s wrong?”
She lifted his bedroll and nudged him with her knee. He scooted over obligingly.
“Almanzo is just over there,” he protested, raising on his elbows and trying to see his friend in the darkness.
“He’s gone to Graciela.”
He reached past the sleep cobwebs in his head to comprehend her words. “How do you know?”
“I watched him leave. I couldn’t sleep.” She tucked her arm across his waist and rested her head against his chest.
There was nothing sexual in her touch, but his body responded to her closeness, her scent. He stared at the window, willing himself to stay in control. “You can’t do this every time you can’t sleep.”
“Do you want me to go?” she asked, her voice low with the confidence of a woman who already knew the answer.
“Agnes is bound to find out.” A thought occurred to him. “You aren’t doing this so she will get mad, are you? To break away from her?”
“All I want to break away from is being sad all the time. You make me happy.” Her fingers stroked the fabric of his shirt. “I don’t want you to go out with the rangers tomorrow.”
He chuckled. “Don’t you have confidence in your teaching?”
She lifted her head to rest her chin on his chest, her face partly illuminated by the moonlight through the high window. “We’re only just now safe. And you’re ready to put yourself in danger again.”
“I want to do my part. We might not have fared so well if Almanzo and his rangers hadn’t arrived when they did.”
“I know but—I’m afraid.” To counter the vulnerability of her words, she cocked her head and smiled. “I’ve grown rather fond of you.”
Her confession warmed him more than he wanted to admit, and made his heart swell. He turned onto his side to stroke his thumb over her cheek. “Not just the lovemaking?” The question revealed his own insecurities, and he regretted it the moment it left his mouth.
She reached up to trail her fingers over his jaw, his lips. “Seeing you, hearing you, touching you. And making love to you.” She reached down and lifted her gown, then unfastened his long johns as she eased him onto his back, lying over him, her breasts against his chest, guiding him into her with a little gasp. He moaned at the suddenness of her move, and in surprise at how ready she was, how slick. She began to move, just little bumps and slides that were sweet and a little awkward and arousing as hell. He got harder and harder as her body moved shallowly up and down his sex in a strange rhythm, as her mouth sought his. He fisted his hands in the skirt of her gown so he wouldn’t tumble her onto her back and plow into her like a mad man. Without warning, she found her release, her sex growing slicker, clenching him, and she sat over him, straddling, bringing him deeper.
He couldn’t help himself. His hips surged upward, into her tight body, again and again until he came, pulsing into her body.
Perhaps creating a child.
It was the first time he’d had the thought follow so hard on the heels of making love to her, the first time he’d considered becoming a father again that the idea didn’t scare the life from him. Instead he drew her over him, wrapping both arms around her and pressing kisses into her hair as he caught his breath.
The first words he wanted to say were, “I love you.”
Now that scared the life out of him, because he did. Loving someone, then losing her, was the hardest thing he’d ever done.
“You’re very quiet,” she murmured, resting her chin on the back of her hand to look up at him.
“A touch overwhelmed.”
“By my need to be in control?”
“No, I like your need to be in control very much.” He gave into his urge to curve his hands over her hips, and then he slid them down her buttocks to her thighs.
She sucked in her breath, and her eyes darkened as he grew hard inside her again.
“Do you feel like taking control again?”
“I might be willing to—oh! To give it up. Just this once.”
With a chuckle, he tumbled her onto her back.
***** What kind of characteristics to you like to see in a heroine, historical or otherwise?