Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Book Week

Library at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Check out the blog post at my publisher’s blog on September 25th at Redlines and Deadlines ( It’s about National Banned Book Week September 25- October 2, 2010. This is an annual event sponsored by booksellers, libraries and publishing organizations to celebrate the freedom to read.

The slogan this year is “Think for yourself and let others do the same.”

Here’s a link to the list of the top 100 banned books from 2000-2009: Some of the titles may surprise you.
A few of the books on the list include the Harry Poster series by J. K. Rowling; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; The Color Purple by Alice Walker; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson; Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut; Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451, truly surprised me since it’s a story about banning and burning books to the extreme. Check out the complete list. I have to smile because many of the books on the list were required reading when I was in school. Hats off to the New Jersey school system!

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland

Books are challenged, according to the American Library Association, to protect others, mostly children from difficult ideas and information. Shouldn’t that be the parents’ and teachers’ decision? Books should never be banned. A warning as to the content should be sufficient. And parents should monitor what their children read and watch on TV.

The top three reasons that cause a book to be challenged:
The material is sexual explicit.
The material contains offensive language.
The material is unsuited for all age groups.

To protect our First Amendment rights, Noam Chomsky said, “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said, “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is it about Twitter that’s so addicting? I think partly because it’s a fun and easy way to network and socialize. For someone like me who’s usually three steps behind the masses when it comes to a new social network, a new computer program or the latest gadget, Twitter didn’t take long for me to get started.

I’m certainly far from an expert and I’m still learning more and more while I mostly fumble around, lurk some, Tweet a little and feel my way through twitterverse. Recently, I decided to do some research about “following”. Why some tweeple have tons of followers and others don’t. I found numerous posts and blogs on this. I’ll share what I found and my own thoughts. Here are a few tips:

If you’re wondering why people are NOT following you on Twitter, maybe you’re using it wrong.

  • Is your Profile incomplete? Post a picture of something, even if it’s not your face. What do you do? Where do you live? (Not your exact street address) and do you have a website or blog URL posted?
  • Are you ALWAYS talking about yourself? Talking about the mundane things in your life isn’t necessarily bad. After all, when you first meet people for the first time, let’s say at a conference, what do you talk about? The weather, the traffic, food in the hotel, the speaker or workshops, clothes, other people, etc. If you can make those topics interesting and entertaining, even better. People usually want to know things that relate to them. For instance, they may not care if you just cooked dinner unless you give a link to a fabulous recipe. Twitter is a social network so you will talk about yourself, but maybe not all the time.
  • Then there’s the other extreme: Are you presenting yourself as a business, or as a person? On the other extreme, no one likes to be spammed. We like to talk to people. Entertain, inform, and be social while sometimes promoting your business.
  • Are you on a following frenzy? People look at the “following” to “followers” ratio. If you’re following 1500 people but only 50 people are following you, you may be guilty of this. This is a red flag that someone is looking to spam. Start a conversation, be social and people will follow you.
  • Are your tweets negative and whiny? Whining and complaining turns people off—No brainer here—and can spiral into arguments.
  • Always lurking, never Tweeting? Well, get out there and tweet. Reply to someone's tweet. RT (Re-tweet) someone's tweet that you found interesting. Brag about some else's accomplishments.

    The Right Way to Tweet:
    There should be a balance between the types of Tweets you do: Informative, Social or Communicative, and Retweeting. Retweeting and copying another person’s Tweet whether it’s a Tweet of information (Announcing a book signing or workshop) or social/communication (interesting and fun stuff) and sending it out again so your followers can see it.

    It’s a good idea to have about an even number radio of Followers versus those you Follow.
    Give Twitter a try if you haven’t already. You can follow me at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dragon Trivia- DRAGON WITCH Release Day!

I"m celebrating the release of DRAGON WITCH today at Ellora's Cave with a few fun DRAGON trivia—not necessarily facts. And a sexy excerpt at the end. Content warning: Over 18 years of age please!

Dragon Stone- Is a precious stone said to be found in the brain of dragon.
Dragon Scales- Dragons are covered by tough, shiny scales that are shaped like a tear drop.
Dragon Colors- A wide varied of colors are found in mythology. From dark blue-black to mother of pearl, to all hues of red, and every shade of green, brown, and yellow.
Fire Breathers- A dragon’s weapon said to store phosphor (P4) when expelled to the air combusts into fire. There are also Frost/Cold Breathers- Supposed to be composed of Nitrogen (N2). And Acid Breathers-secreting gastric acid probably hydrochloric (HCL). Eeeks.
Dragon Slide-The mating process for dragons where they flying high in the air, embrace and free-fall during the brief coupling. Apparently, the mating is over before they crash. I suppose the thrill is the speed and risk?
Live Span- Can be as long as five hundred years or even a thousand if they don’t die during their mating ritual.
Dragons and Treasure- In some folklore, dragons are hoarders or guards of treasure even obsessively. These treasures are usually hidden within caves.

Do you have any fun Dragon trivia to share?

ISBN: 9781419929717

BLURB: Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life, not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.

Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. With Jaida’s sassy, wicked ways, the three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.

EXCERPT (WARNING: Over 18 years old only, Please): Jaida Chel slipped off her raw silk sarong and flung it over the hook on her kitchen wall. Now naked and cooler, she rushed back to the bubbling pot of blue-green slurry on her stove and waved her applewood wand over the steaming brew, reciting a blessing as she stirred.

Oh, guardians of this distant land,
protectors where the sargassia dwell,
Infuse no ill or bane for Somerled.
I ask you charge my magic spell.

After lighting a candle and white sage incense on the counter next to the stove, she took a quick sip from her glass of lialade. The afternoon sun streamed in through her wide windows and open door raising the heat in her tiny adobe cottage.

Outside the warm breeze rustled the leaves of her citrus trees and abundant garden of grapes, vegetables and herbs. Closing her eyes, she inhaled the sweet-scented breeze and enjoyed the brief swirling coolness on her bare skin. Her nipples tightened and hardened to the gentle touch of air, like a lover’s breath. It had been much too long since she’d had made love—half a year on Somerled.

What if she took a lover from town? Nothing permanent, just a casual affair. After three years on this planet, the colonists had forgiven her for her devastating mistake at the last settlement. Most agreed this was a more hospitable planet even if it wasn’t their first choice. It was all her fault they had to relocate here. The colonists had made the adjustment. If only she could forgive herself.

She might find a willing partner now. Nothing permanent, just a casual affair. She doubted there would be a man from the colony willing to ostracize himself and be her life mate, but she might find a secret lover. A few ideas came to mind on how she might accomplish such a plan. The only concerns were to keep the other colonists from finding out and making Kai understand her needs. Kai could be very difficult and jealous at times.

She glanced at her shelves containing jars and bottles of elixirs, teas and ointments that she sold or bartered with the colonists. Her Dragon Tear Elixir, the most prized product on Somerled for its medicinal purposes, was nearly out. To make more she had to travel to the coast for the sargassia harvest, the elixir’s key ingredient. Mmmm. The twice a year harvest had its other benefits too—seeing Trent again. She smiled and felt her pussy clench.

Noticing the layer of green slime on the surface of the bubbling mixture, she quickly skimmed it off with a flat spoon. The aquasam had to be poured into the containers before it jelled or she’d have one hell of a mess.

The warning bells clanged, signaling a guest approaching her house. The bells were her magical guard dog. The garden gate squeaked as heavy footsteps trod up her stone walkway. She rolled her eyes to the ceiling and sighed. Mr. Moretti. Forgawdsake.

She eyed her blue tunic hanging on the hook out of reach and then at the pot of aquasam that she dared not stop preparing. As the last of the thick skin was removed, she picked up the pot and began pouring it into the small jars.

Caught naked in her kitchen again. Was Mr. Moretti making a habit of arriving early on pick-up days, or was it her imagination? He distributed her wares in the village store since most colonists dared not visit her, and she avoided trips into the village unless absolutely necessary. “Mr. Moretti, you’re early. Could you wait outside? I’m almost finished.”

He didn’t answer, but out of the corner of her eye, she saw a figure standing in her doorway. The dazzling sun peered into the house behind him, only allowing her to see his silhouette. She felt his gaze travel over every inch of her.

She dribbled a little of the blue-green syrup down one of the jars and groaned. “Grant me power,” she mumbled, then called out to him. “You can leave my delivery at the door while I pack up your order.”

Still no answer.

Nudity wasn’t uncommon among the settlers—Somerled was a tropical planet most of the year—but it wasn’t exactly proper for a married man to be alone with a single woman, especially when she was naked.

Then she heard two thunks outside her door—her bags of rice and flour. “Great. Have yourself a seat under the lia lia trees, and I’ll get you something to drink in just a minute.” Already the solution was darkening and getting thick and hard to pour.

But the shadow remained, leaning casually in her doorway, arms crossed. She felt herself flush and a shiver crept up her body. Mr. Moretti was a stout man and at least fifteen years her senior, not her type. And it was not like him to be so bold and impolite.

Finishing her chore, she turned to face him, a bit annoyed with his rudeness. But the man leaning casually in her doorway was not Mr. Moretti. He was tall, broad in the chest, with well-defined muscular arms and dark hair cut short. With the sun so low in the sky Jaida could not see the man’s face. Nor could she guess who he might be.

She swallowed, took a step back as her mind raced trying to recall the other settlers in the village who could fit the dimensions of this man but couldn’t. A twinge of fear shot through her at the thought of space raids, but she hadn’t heard the sirens. “Are...are you here to pick up Mr. Moretti’s order?” she stammered. Who was this man? She glanced at her sarong, suddenly feeling exposed but hesitated to grab it because she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of showing her discomfort.
“Did another freighter or shuttle arrive today?” she asked with her power voice, the confident tone used to evoke the goddess and nature spirits on this planet to do her spells.
The man chuckled. A familiar, sexy laugh. “Hello, Jaida.”

Her stomach twirled with excitement, her nipples tightened and her body ached with need, all from the sound of his voice.

Damn you, Captain Brayden Stokes. Her heart ached too, although she thought she’d put that part of their brief encounter all behind her. She breathed in the white sage, burning in a censer, in an attempt to block the erotic memories of Brayden that flooded her mind—his mouth, his hands pleasuring her. Closing her eyes, her thoughts drifted to many hot, passion-filled hours, making full use of every spare inch of his tiny, private bunk. An involuntary throb began between her thighs, remembering his hard cock plunging deep inside her. The sage did nothing to ease her desire. Already, she felt dampness and a swelling in her clit. She was clean shaven. If Brayden glanced down would he see the evidence that betrayed her desire? Crossing her arms over her waist in a casual pose, she then turned on an angle and crossed one ankle over the other in an attempt to hide her pussy. She glared at his silhouette. “Hello, Brayden. What brings you planetside?” she asked coolly.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Building Paranormal Worlds isn't Rocket Science. Or is it?

Writers of speculative fiction strive to create rich worlds of the fantastic, but believable. The closer you stay within the boundaries set by the laws of physics, the more believable your worlds will be. You can always bend the rules a little. The scientists are.

So you want to write a fantasy, paranormal or a SciFi novel? Do you need to go out and get a degree in quantum physics or a working knowledge of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, or James Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory? Your story has a space ship. Hmmm. Then I guess you should understand rocket propulsion or try to come up with a possible futuristic method to make your rocket go fast. How about antimatter? Every elementary particle has its corresponding antimatter mate. When the two come into contact, they completely annihilate each other. The result is a pure energy boost—propulsion. That could work for a space ship of the future, you think?

Adding SCIENCE to you spec fiction will make it believable, right? Isaac Asimov did it. How much science to do you need? How about working some Quantum Physics into your novel? Quantum physics talks about the origin of matter (extremely over simplified). Is the fundamental particle of matter the atom? Or is matter infinitely divisible into smaller and smaller bits? And then there’s the String Theory. It states that the fundamental particles are tiny vibrating strings. There are at least five different theories on this, and the ‘M’-Theory or Membrane theory and the mathematics needed to prove these theories are either so complex that hardly anyone understands them or the mathematics haven’t even been developed yet!

Yikes! Do you really want to get that geeky in your story? Forget about it. Technical details are fine, but don't go overboard. Your readers’ eyes will glaze over.
Oh, and then there are these guys—scientists—the brainy ones who are so smart they exist on a different plane (or dimension) than the rest of us. They’ve set out to take on Einstein’s theory of relativity and change the laws of nature. So what goes up, doesn’t necessarily come down. No kidding. Don’t you love rule breakers, especially those who can warp the laws of nature? And prove it? Max Planck and his work on gravity is doing just that.
Establish rules for your world and don't break them (unless you have a very good reason.)

I was at a writer’s conference and a gentleman mentioned he wrote a book about the origins of God and the universe using the theories of quantum physics but said he thought he’d bore me with it. I asked him if he based his book on the big bang theory, bubble universes or the void. His jaw dropped.

Do you get the feeling I’m a bit of a science geek? A little. Science is my field of study and I’ve worked in a variety of laboratories—research and development and medical for more years than I’ll admit. I’ve also been a Science Fiction reader since I was a kid. And a Sci Fi book club member for years. So this background helps me somewhat when I craft my paranormal stories. I also do research for that “flavor” in my books and for my own warped curiosity. I’ve referred to books on Mythology and Folklore and I also have two books on Quantum Physics. “Quantum, A Guide for the Perplexed” by Jim Al-Khalili. And “Patterns In The Void” by Sten F. Odenwald.

Both are easy to read even if you’re not a science geek. Recommended reads if it's your kind of thing. A cure for insomnia if you try to read more than a couple chapters at a time. No, you don't need to go crazy with long drawn out details in you spec fiction novels. Sometimes using words or phrases found in these research books and understanding a basic background is enough to “flavor” your story to give it the richness you’re looking for, without going overboard and making your readers yawn. Crafting speculative, paranormal and fantasy fiction doesn’t take a lot of rocket science but a little research and geekiness does help. Or just let your imagination take flight.

On September 15th I'll be celebrating the release of my Erotic SciFi novella: DRAGON WITCH at Ellora's Cave A little sci fi, fantasy and very sexy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hot Movies and Cool Nights

My dh came into my office the other night and said, “The leaves are falling already.” I told him, “No, put them back!” I’m not ready to give summer up yet. The 95 degree weather has given way to cool breezy 60 degrees. I do love fall and the fall colors. I think about baking apple pies, apple crisp, apple anything. As the nights become too cool to sit out on our porch, watching movies become the option.

I love movies. All kinds from old classics, action-adventure, SciFi, suspense, comedies, some scary (not overly gross scary), and sexy/romantic movies are some of favorites.

I started compiling a list of the ultra sexy flicks and would love to hear from you for suggestions. A few favorites that come to mind are DECEPTION with Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams. An “accidental” switch of cell phones draws McGregor into an ultra wealthy and secret sex club called “The List”. What seems like a happy accident for McGregor turns into murder and corporate embezzlement.
WILD ORCHID, an older flick, but one of my favs is a fun, sexy movie with Mickey Rouke (when he was still hot), Jacqueline Bisset, and Carre Otis. It’s a sultry, erotic story set in Rio de Janeiro. I like exotic settings. It’s a tangle of raw sensuality and emotions.
BODY HEAT with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. Again sex and murder makes for a classic, sultry and compelling combination.
BASIC INSTINCT- Very hot and suspenseful with twists and turns with Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. Sharon Stone had a run of a few sexy flicks: SLIVER and BASIC INSTINCT 2. And Michael Douglas had FATAL ATTRACTION.

So these are just a few movies to keep you warm on the chilly nights. What are your favorite ultra sexy flicks??

NOTE: Reminder DRAGON WITCH is due out on September 15th at Ellora’s Cave.

I’ll be doing a book launch party with Author Island on October 2nd at: and giving away a copy of DESERT OF THE DAMNED mark it on your calendars. I hope to see you there.

Guest Blogging with Fang-tastic Books and giveaway on September 28th

Guest Blogging with Castles And Guns October 17th