Wednesday, January 25, 2012

USA Today Happy Ever After Interview

It was such a thrill for me to be interviewed by Joyce Lamb at USA Today - Happy Ever After blog.
If you'd like to check it out, here's the link:

Joyce asked some really cool questions. Here's a sampling:

Joyce: Welcome to HEA, Kathy! Why do you write erotica?

Kathy: It's fun to write about sexuality with complete and open abandon. It's like riding a rollercoaster and racing down the big dip with your eyes wide open and your arms straight over your head. Some might prefer to hang on with eyes closed. You still get a good ride, but perhaps miss some of the thrill. Besides the explicit details, I enjoy writing the love story. I love happy endings.Why do I write erotica? What's the goofiest question anyone has ever asked me? My website says I'm a cytotechnologist, how does that and my interest in quantum physics feed my stories?

Joyce: Please tell us about your story in SWTWC, Tattoo Witch.

Kathy: Tattoo Witch is about a couple, Anita and Sam, who love each other, but their relationship is strained. They're argumentative and their love life has cooled. While vacationing in Ocean City, Md., they watch a couple having sex on the beach. Later, that same couple presents them with an offer they can't refuse — magical tattoos that will grant scorching sex beyond their wildest sexual fantasies. And it does. Their love life has never been better or more exciting, but there's a catch. This is dark magic and each tattoo comes with a curse. Like a drug, they want more despite the curses, until it gets out of hand. It's a love-conquers-evil story. Dark and sexy and romantic in a twisted kind of way. Of course, there's a romantic HEA. Recently, I saw a movie with a similar theme — Limitless. Instead of tattoos, the magic was a drug in the form of a pill that expanded the brain capacity. This pill had consequences, too.

Joyce: What's the goofiest question anyone has ever asked you about writing erotica? For example, someone once asked me how I do research for the love scenes in my novels. Naturally, I came back with a smart remark that left both our faces pink (had something to do with IRS tax deductions).

Kathy: I like the IRS tax deduction answer. I'll have to remember that one. Sometimes I get the question: Do I physically research all my love scenes to make sure they're accurate? I've responded a couple of ways like, "Stephen King writes about serial killers and ax-wielding, murdering writers. Would you ask him if he kills people for research?" On a rare occasion, I'll come back with a smart remark and answer, "Of course, every sleazy scene. The most exciting research I ever did was for scenes on planet Somerled in my sci-fi erotic book. I really enjoyed the interstellar travel to another planet, and oh my, a threesome with a shapeshifting dragon. Well, don't knock it until you try it."

Joyce: Your website says you're a cytotechnologist. A cytotech-who? (Imagine Joyce making the Scooby-Doo "ruhr?" face.) How does that and your interest in quantum physics feed your stories?

Kathy: As a cytotechnologist, I look for cancer under the microscope. I also assist doctors during biopsies. I guess I'm a bit of a science geek. I'm a huge sci-fi fan and have read (skimmed) a couple quantum physics books. I don't claim to understand it. Quantum physics is weird science. It's probably as much a philosophy as it is a science. How can you apply logic, never mind prove theories, to forces and events in the universe that don't behave logically? In my Demons in Exile series, I used an alternate universe (an artificially created world) that exists between dimensions. A couple quantum physics theories sparked this idea. One theory says that the universe is constantly splitting into parallel universes — billions of them. Another known theory says we inhabit 10 dimensions, 11 if you count time. How do they know that? Don't worry, I don't explain HOW the world was created or give readers lessons in quantum mechanics. Quantum physics is interesting, but reading more than a page or two at a time is a great cure for insomnia. Erotica is much more stimulating and entertaining.

For the full review, check out the HEA website for January 25, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

25 Healthy Snacks that Won’t Kill Your Diet

Eating on the run is one of the biggest enemies for people trying to stick to a healthy diet.

Fitness and Nutrition experts recommend eating small meals throughout the day (5 or 6). So what do you eat between breakfast and lunch and that long stretch between lunch and dinner that’s healthy and nutritious too? To help you keep on track with healthy eating with a weight loss program or weight maintenance program, skip the high carbohydrate, high sugar snacks such as pretzels, bagels, chips or cookies. Add in some protein, fruit or veggies to curb the hunger pangs. Here are a few suggestions.

1.      Green apple

2.      5 olives (45 calories)

3.      2 oz. turkey breast wrapped around a sliced tomato or pickle

4.      ¼ c. hummus, 3 carrot sticks (80 cal.)

5.      1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss wedge, celery sticks, or cracker thins

6.      6 almonds

7.      1 container Greek yogurt (unflavored-100 cal.)

8.      1 c. unshelled edamame (120 cal.)

9.      ¼ c. chicken salad made w/ chopped celery & low fat mayo

10.  2 pieces proscuito, 4 dried figs (154 cal.)

11.  1 (100 cal.) Balance Bar or low cal, low carb, low sugar protein bar.

12.   1 P90X Protein Bar (great before a workout)

13.   Shakeology shake

14.  1 hardboiled egg

15.  Non-fat cottage cheese

16.  Shrimp w/ cocktail sauce

17.  Celery and peanut butter

18.  1 string cheese

19.  Ham and low fat cheese slice roll-up

20.   Small piece beef jerky

21.  Orange slices

22.  Frozen grapes

23.  Sunflower seeds

24.  Roasted soybeans mixed with raisins

25.  1 Rice cake (brown, whole grain rice) w/ peanut butter or melted low-fat cheese

Carry healthy snacks with you to prevent over eating like unsalted almonds or trail mix. It’ll keep you from buying that giant cookie at Starbucks. And protein will give you added energy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pirates Get Published

If you get PublishersLunch, you might’ve seen the post on Thursday about “Plagiarized Titles Plague Kindle Stores”. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me considering I have to Google myself regularly to find pirating ebook sites giving away free downloads of my ebooks.
What’s the next logical step? Unethical people steal this material, re-title, slap a new book cover, add their name as the author and self-publish it on Amazon and on other ebook stores.

Erotica titles have been hard hit with this type of plagiarizing on Kindle.

FastCompany is investigating hundreds of plagiarized titles from Literotica, a free erotic fiction site. They found one author (thief) Maria Cruz had over 40 plagiarized titles, another Robin Scott had 31 books. Even after Amazon removed all 51 of Cruz’s titles, after all of the complaints, she posted new material days later.

Why? How? Why hasn’t Amazon and the other ebook stores banned her forever? And I do hope the money made off of those books will eventually be distributed to the rightful authors. Oh, and she is being sued right? At the very least. I have images of breaking fingers and smashing computers, and I’m not a violent person. I’m an ethical author. And any ethical author understands the hard work and time it takes to write a book.
It takes three seconds to steal one from the comfort of your laptop.

I don’t know if SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the answer. There’s good and bad about that. But there has to be stronger enforcement.

Fast Company suggested a simple solution. Amazon would require an author to submit a valid credit card before self-publishing on Kindle. If later they’re found to have plagiarized, then $2,000 would be deducted from their CC. I don’t see that working either. For one thing, people can get debit cards with limited withdrawal amounts. And these “authors” are making a ton of money on these stolen ebooks, $2,000 is nothing. Not a deterrent. Ban them? Yes. Run content through plagiarism detectors like Turnitin or iThenticate? Yes, if they’re accurate. And legal action for theft.
I don’t mind competition with talented and honest authors, but it makes me ill to think thieves are on the Best Seller’s List with work they didn’t produce.

Friday, January 6, 2012


by Liz Davies, Guest blogger

People with cancer often find the treatments are more taxing than the deadly disease itself. Treatments can drain energy leading to high levels of exhaustion and weakness. Nausea and vomiting are also common occurrences during treatments. This is not the way anyone wants to go through life, but cancer patients should know this is not the way they have to live. Many people have not thought of exercise as a way to curb these side effects. Daily physical activity allows cancer patients to reclaim strength and feel healthier. This is true no matter what type of treatment a cancer patient is undergoing whether is it surgeryfor brain cancer or chemotherapy for the treatment of mesothelioma.

Exercise increases muscle mass which allows people to feel and act stronger. Cancer patients will feel weak from treatments so this strength will give them motivation to be more active. This will give them the confidence to take part in more activities letting patients see how gratifying life can still be. 

Physical activity also gets the heart to work at a faster pace which can help preventblood clots and other heart issues. A rising heart rate allows people to feel more alert. A healthy heart is one of the reasons cancer patients who exercise are less likely to see recurrence of the cancer.

Working out creates better psychological health. Exercise improves moves and creates motivation for people to connect with the world around them.

There are certain exercises and work out plans that are more beneficial depending on the type of cancer, level of fitness, and stage of treatment. One type of exercise that is beneficial for everyone is simply stretching. Improving flexibility allows for people to be able to partake in other forms of exercises and increase blood flow. Strength training is also a good thing to incorporate into an exercise routine because many cancer patients experience the loss of muscle mass because of their treatment. This can be in the form of resistance or weight training. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or playing sports are a great way to improvelung function and helps with weight management.

Like anyone mapping out an exercise regimen, it is important to choose activities that are appropriate. Running a 5k might be suitable for some while walking around the block is enough cardio for others to see results. Doctors and trainers who specialize in cancer are very knowledgeable on the correct amount of exercise that needs to be accomplished in order to see results as these vary by individual.

*Disclaimer: Be sure to check with your health care provider before starting any exercise routine.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, Liz. Keep up the good work!

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mari Carr Guest Author

I’m pleased to have guest author Mari Carr with us. She’s sharing an excerpt on her book Because You Love Me , due for release at Samhain Publishing on January 24.

Because You Love Me300dpi (1)

Check out Mari's other great books on her website:

-Tell us a little about the book and where did you get the idea to write this story. Because You Love Me is the sequel to Because of You. Both stories have romantic suspense elements and center around the James brothers. Because You Love Me was a fun story to write because I love a good old fashioned cowboy ménage story! Mark and Matt James are twins and while their faces may be identical, their personalities are anything but! Their lives are turned on their ear when Bridget crash lands into their world. She’s a New York city journalist on the run from a dangerous hit man. Lucky for her, both alpha cowboys are ready to offer her protection…in and out of bed. The book presented some fun challenges because I’m not a romantic suspense writer normally, so the story allowed me to stretch my thinking muscles as there’s a code the characters have to break to find the evidence the hit man is after. I’ve known ever since Because of You released in 2009 that I wanted to revisit the James family. Unfortunately it took me awhile to make my way back. Next up for this trilogy will be the final tale, a short story that features the youngest James brother, Jacob.

- What is your writing schedule like? My writing schedule isn’t a schedule at all. It’s a hit and run! I have a fulltime day job so my writing time is limited to early mornings, evenings and weekends. Unfortunately those times are also subject to change according to my kids’ social lives, laundry, housework, etc. Let’s just say I write fast and furious when I manage to eke out a few quiet hours.

- What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep writing. Rejection is a part of this career. I once joked I had the rejection letter from Ellora’s Cave memorized because I’d seen it so many times. The important thing is not to give up. With each story you write, your craft improves. My other advice is to read, read, read. It’s amazing how much you can learn about writing simply by reading.

- Have any of your titles ever been changed from your original choice? Oh—this is a fun question and the answer is YES! It doesn’t happen often and usually the reasons for the switch vary, but I thought it might be fun to tell you what some of the original titles were. Retreat was originally called Commitment. I can’t recall why that had to change. Because of You was Love’s Recovery, but my editor didn’t like that. I took the original title from my favorite Indigo Girls song. Power Play was True Colors and I think of all the titles I lost, that one made me the most sad. Again, my editor didn’t think it fit the story or was hot enough. Covert Lessons was Undercover, but EC already had a book by that title, so I had to make the switch. Kiss Me, Kate was At the End of the Day and yeah, that original title sucked. My editor simply said, “Um. No.” What can I say? I was on a huge Les Miserables kick at the time! Rough Cut was Darkest Night and that title switch was Jayne Rylon’s fault. She had a book called Night is Darkest coming out a month before my story was slated to release. She got to keep her title and I made the switch. I like to tease her and tell her she still owes me for that. J

- If you could turn any of your books into a movie which book or series would it be? Oh wow! Can I pick two? I’d love to see the Wild Irish series made into one of those HBO series like True Blood or the Sopranos. I think the Collins clan could definitely cook up a lot of red hot mischief week after week. Especially Riley. As for a movie, I think the four Compass Brothers books could be combined to make a really cool, sexy modern-day western. I can totally see Sam Elliott as JD.

- Do you have a character in one of your books that continues to haunt you at night or surprised you when you wrote the book? I don’t know if he haunts me, but Travis was supposed to be just a secondary character in Black Jack. However, from the first page of that book, he sort of took over. His story was crystal clear to me from the first time he spoke. After I finished Black Jack, I knew I had to write it. White Knight sort of fell out of me. Travis is such a tortured soul and his story was a sad one to write. Yet, I felt like, despite the abuse he suffered as a child, his book was a hopeful one. It took me a long time to come up with his heroine, Shea. Mainly because I knew the woman Travis gave his heart to would have to be very special. I was pleased when Shea showed up because I feel like they were a perfect fit for each other. Two lost souls stumbling around looking for a happily ever after. My favorite kind of story.

- Are you a morning or night person? Morning! I assure you 99.9% of the books I’ve written were put down on the page prior to noon. Most were probably composed before 9 a.m. I’ve never been one of those people who can burn the midnight oil. It’s all downhill for me after lunch!

- Which books were the most fun to write? The hardest to write? It’s interesting to note the most fun books were also the hardest to write. I love series books. If you look at the books page on my website, you’ll see I have very few stories that don’t have at least one other companion story. I think that stems from the fact that I become very attached to my characters and I start to miss them after writing the words “The End.” With a series, I can visit them once more. The Wild Irish series and the Compass Brothers books were the most fun to write. I loved the Wild Irish books because the Collins family became real to me. The same goes for the Compton brothers in the Compass series. I finished revising the ARC of Western Ties recently and I cried. It is so sad leaving those beloved characters and the awesome experience of co-writing with Jayne Rylon. Somewhere along the line, she ceased being a friend and became a sister. It was a new venture for both of us and there were some bumps in the road, but I think we’re both stronger writers for the attempt.

- What’s next? Oh my. Where do I begin? I plan to write a short story for Samhain to complete the Because trilogy. It will involve the budding relationship of Jacob and Rodney and it will be my very first attempt at a straight m/m story. I’m also in the midst of writing the second book in the Cocktales series, Screwdriver. Anybody up for a red hot ménage? After that, I’m tackling another co-writing project. This time, I’m pairing up with the amazingly talented, Lexxie Couper, to write two romantic comedies—Misplaced Cowboy and Misplaced Princess. Lexxie is one of the freshest, funniest voices in erotic romance, so I’m really going to have to step it up to hang with her! I can’t wait to try.

- For fun. What is your favorite kind of chocolate or chocolate dessert? (I love chocolate covered cherries) I’m actually not a huge dessert person. My extra weight is strictly caused by an overindulgence in carbs! Watch out potato chips and French fries! LOL. BUT…I love chocolate ice cream and candy bars (mainly Milky Ways and Reese Cups—they are my vice!).

Excerpt from Because You Love Me:

WARNING: Must me at least 18 years of age to read this excerpt please!

Walking into the hallway, she locked the door to her room and descended the wide staircase. Glancing in several of the B&B’s common rooms for Todd or Steven, the hotel proprietors, Bridget took a few minutes to study the beautifully restored old home. When they’d arrived yesterday afternoon, Rodney had hustled her to their room immediately, sequestering her there while he checked out the property and secured food for their dinner. It felt good to be free.

She was about to cross the foyer to check the other side of the house when the front door opened. Her new habit of hide first, ask questions later emerged and she panicked, trying to dodge back the way she’d come. In her haste to escape, her foot caught on the edge of the Oriental rug, and she took a hard tumble.

Four boot-covered feet appeared before her. She felt strong hands on either side reaching down to help her up.

“Sorry,” she said, keeping her head down. It was foolish to think anyone in this small, middle-of-nowhere town would know who she was, but Rodney had taught her well in the art of making herself as invisible as possible. She fought to suppress her trembling hands. Her heart was racing a mile a minute. God, why did she have to be frightened of her own shadow? She hated living like this, feeling this way.

“You okay, miss?”

All of Rodney’s tutoring went out the window as her nipples pebbled and a slight shiver of arousal wove its way through her body. She lifted her face to see the owner of that deep, sexy-as-hell voice. Identical faces etched with concern greeted her.

She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound emerged. Standing before her were twin Greek gods, kings of the western frontier, complete with rugged, dimpled cheeks, blue eyes that—honest to God—twinkled, and shaggy, made-for-running-her-fingers-through dark brown hair only partially concealed by cowboy hats.

If she’d lived a hundred years ago, she would have felt compelled to fucking swoon. Instead, her twenty-first-century sensibilities took over and she simply muttered, “Holy double wow.”

Both men grinned widely at her ridiculous comment. “I take it that means you’re not hurt, darlin’.”

Her pussy clenched at his term of endearment. Could there be anything hotter than a gorgeous cowboy calling her darlin’ with that slight country twang? Briefly she imagined him—hell, who was she fooling, them—whispering it to her while they lay together naked in bed.

She cleared her throat and forced herself to stop staring—and drooling—like a love-struck teenage girl. “I’m fine. Clumsy and embarrassed, but otherwise unscathed.”

The hot cowboy on her left chuckled. “Unscathed, huh? Pretty talk. Where are you from?”

“New York,” she confided before her brain engaged to scream a warning. Jesus. Rodney should have locked her in the room. She was going to blow their cover in under thirty seconds, and all because of a couple good-looking men. Stupidity due to horniness was not something her cop friend would forgive easily.

“City girl,” the other cowboy said, though his tone indicated interest more than disdain.

She nodded, determined to keep her mouth shut before any more little tidbits—like the fact she was hiding out from a corrupt judge—fell from her desperate-to-taste-the-cowboys lips.

“I take it you’re one of the guests staying here?” her hot cowboy number one asked.

She paused, decided the question was harmless and nodded once more.

“So what brings a city girl to our neck of the woods?” This question was posed by hot cowboy number two.

She and Rodney had sketched out a rough explanation for their visit with the intention of refining it this morning. Now, it appeared she would have to fly by the seat of her pants. “I’m here with my half-brother.” Shit, five words in and she was already straying from the script. She and Rodney had agreed to pose as a couple, but for some reason, she didn’t want these two men to think she was in a relationship.

That thought led to a major internal eye-roll.

Right, Bridget, like you have so much time to try to hook up with a cowboy—or two.

“Vacation or business?”

“Vacation,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at being a cowgirl.” Where the fuck had that come from? She’d never considered such a thing in her life until laying eyes on these two Wonders of the Western World.

“Well, now. If you need some help with that, Matt and I are pretty good teachers.”

Matt. Cowboy number one had a name.

“You teach a lot of cowgirls the ropes, do you?” she asked with a lilt in her voice. Christ, could her flirting be any more obvious? Why not post a sign on her forehead that said, Hasn’t been laid in a year.

Matt’s smile grew, his dimples deepening. A girl could fall into those bottomless caverns on his chiseled face and never be found again. She could think of worse places to get lost. “My brothers and I own the ranch next door. We train horses, give riding lessons. Stuff like that. We’d be more than happy to help you give that cowgirl lifestyle a whirl if you’re interested. We’ll even supply the rope if that’s what you fancy.”
Thanks so much Mari for being a guest at the Passion Sense Blog!
I'd like to ask readers what is their favorite Mari Carr book? Please share and tell us why it's your favorite.