Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

ARe Erotica Bestseller ~ Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

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ARe Erotica Bestseller ~ Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

Wine Service is an All Romance eBooks bestseller title in Erotica>Contemporary, Erotica>Multiple Partners, and Erotica>BDSM. Woot!

Big thanks to all the readers that put me there.

See what all the hypes about buy Wine Service at ARe and/or read the first chapter online.

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RE: 25 Erotica Lit Tropes That Need to Die

This is my first time writing a response to an article I’ve read online but I couldn’t leave it alone and commenting on FB wasn’t enough.

So let’s talk about the Cosmo online article 25 Erotica Lit Tropes That Need to Die posted on 12 November 2014 at 1:29PM…

First things first — Erotica. Does the author of this article mean Erotica or Erotic Romance? For a long while, the two have been used interchangeably but they do not mean the same thing. Many industry people still use one to mean the other but Erotica is a separate genre from Erotic Romance. I could write an entire post about the differences, but it’s easier to just link you to Passionate Ink’s definitions. Since Passionate Ink is the Erotic Romance special interest chapter of Romance Writers of America© (RWA), I’m going to assume they know what they’re talking about.

Now the short response to this entire article is IT’S FICTION. We’re talking about woman’s FANTASIES. People read Romance (Mainstream and Erotic) and Erotica as an ESCAPE. Too much reality ruins the mood and the writing. But I didn’t start this blog post to give a short answer. Let’s jump into the article, shall we?

1. Women climax on demand.
If the title in question is a BDSM Erotica/Erotic Romance, then yes, she does climax on demand. I’m sure many women in the lifestyle could tell stories about having an orgasm on demand.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s talk about non-BDSM titles that include the same. The “demand” or “command” from the Hero is showing is alpha personality and how he’s in control of the Heroine’s pleasure. Since Romance is chock full of alpha heroes, of course he’s going to demand/command she orgasm and the heroine is going to listen.

2. “I come undone.”
I can’t say I’ve ever heard a woman say this, but then I’ve never had sex with a woman. Have I said it? Nope. To say that no woman has never said it aloud or otherwise is a gross generalization. “I come undone” is no different than saying “I lost it” or some other variation of that phrase.

3. Women come from penetrative sex.
The article author dismisses the notion outright. According to Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller’s blog post on the topic “researchers found that 55% of the women reported having reached orgasm during intercourse solely from penile movements at least once before…” Citing a real world study veers off the “it’s fiction” argument, but hey I like facts.

4. Women never have bad pain or hesitation when he wants to put something up their butts.
Granted this complaint is realistic. A lot of books I’ve read (hell I even wrote one before I did some actual research) just jump into anal without preparation. The human body doesn’t work like that and there are times when fiction has to bow before reality. This is one of those times. There are many articles on how to prepare for anal sex and they all pretty much say the same thing — take your time, go slow, and have lube on hand.

5. “My sex.” It’s called a clit.
6. “His length.” It’s called a dick.
I’m tackling these two together because my argument for both is the same. Euphemisms, synonyms, and allusions keep prose interesting. Every editor everywhere will tell you that word repetition is a HUGE no-no.

Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist (200x300)Let’s see an example from my Contemporary Erotica title Wine Service using the above mentioned suggestions:
 

****
She moved closer to him, placing her nipples near his undiminished dick. “Are you going to drink the wine now?”

“No. You are.” After uncorking the bottle, he tipped the bottle over his dick and poured enough to wet his dick. “There you are.”

She stared as the wine trickled down his dick and over his balls. “I can’t.” She swallowed with her lips pressed together to keep her tongue in her mouth. The urge to taste the wine and Mr. Malena’s dick with it urged her fingers faster, and she stroked her clit so she satisfied at least one need.
****

 
Now here’s how it appears in the actual title because the above hurts to read and I know my editor is probably itching to correct it…

 

****
She moved closer to him, placing her nipples near his undiminished erection. “Are you going to drink the wine now?”

“No. You are.” After uncorking the bottle, he tipped the bottle over his dick and poured enough to wet his length. “There you are.”

She stared as the wine trickled down his shaft and over his balls. “I can’t.” She swallowed with her lips pressed together to keep her tongue in her mouth. The urge to taste the wine and Mr. Malena’s dick with it urged her fingers faster, and she stroked her clit so she satisfied at least one need.
****

 
I’m sure you noticed the difference. Which do you prefer?

7. Men are infinitely more sexually experienced than their partners.
[Begin Sarcasm] Because there’s nothing I want to read about more than two people fumbling their way through sex. [End Sarcasm] When the Heroine is a virgin (and she usually is), the Hero needs to know what he’s doing. On those rare occasions when the Hero is the virgin, the Heroine needs to know what’s happenings. In either scenario, someone needs to have some kind of experience beyond “the colors of the wind.” (See Disney’s Pocahontas if you don’t get that reference).

It’s also a sad commentary on our society that we expect men to be experienced while women stay chaste. However the chaste woman who has never done this before ever should totally be a natural, because that’s how sex works. (<- more sarcasm)

8. Quivering thighs caused by sexual arousal.
To answer the article author’s question — HELL YES. If your thighs aren’t shaking/quivering/quaking, then you’re doing something WRONG. There should also be toes pointing, eyes rolling back into your head, and heavy breathing bordering on panting too. And I’m not referencing books on this one. I’m talking real life experience and I’m sure several women would say the same.

9. Climaxing from almost nothing, like, he blows on her nipple.
I’ve never had it but a psychological orgasm is a thing. Ask anyone in the BDSM community. A skilled Dom/me can make someone climax from words alone. A single touch or blowing across the skin can trigger it as well. It’s all about preparation, anticipation and possibly blindfolds.

10. No one sees anything when sex is had in a car.
I gotta agree with this one. It’s all part of writing not to have characters get caught when in real life they would have been brought up on public indecency charges, but that’s the fun of fiction. No one gets caught unless it’s part of the plot. Is this something I think should stop just because it lacks realism? No. This goes back to the women’s fantasies argument again. And maybe the car has really dark tinted windows.

11. Desire “pools in [a woman’s] belly.”
Ummmmm… I’m not sure how else to describe the sensation. Arousal causes certain physiological responses in a woman’s body from a tingling sensation to a dull ache (voice of experience). And the “pool” comes from the vaginal walls lubricating in preparation of the intercourse to come. Since everything in that part of the body is inevitably blamed on the stomach (or belly), that’s where the sensation is described as happening.

12. UTIs don’t exist.
Yes this is Erotica/Erotic Romance’s worst lie and everyone knows that. Leave it alone. While I would never write an anal-to-vaginal scene without a condom change, those who do aren’t going to talk about possible yeast infections et al in the middle of a sex scene or after. Yuck. Talk about ruining the mood. WOMEN’S FANTASIES. No one gets a UTI unless it’s a plot device. Just like no woman who’s been letting the hero go bareback for the entire book ever gets pregnant unless it’s a plot device.

13. The “sex god” likes to wash her hair when they take showers together.
Not every guy in the world is a hound dog only concerned with sex. As one person said on my FB wall when I posted about this article there, her fiance not only washed her hair (he offered), he also shaved her legs.

14. Shower sex is the HOTTEST THING EVER I COME UNDONE OMIGOD. Shower sex IRL is never as good as regs dry sex.
This is a matter of OPINION. The article author is allowed to have said opinion but to enforce that Erotica/Erotic Romance authors should stop writing about it because her experience with shower sex wasn’t that great is ridiculous. I wouldn’t do it. Knowing my luck, the hubby and I would end up in the hospital from a slip-and-fall accident. But I’m sure there are plenty of couples out there that swear by shower sex and would have it all the time if their water bill and water-heating bill allowed it.

15. The couple does it like seven or eight times a day and still has time to go out to eat and work at jobs.
FICTION! Enough said. Is it realistic? I don’t know. There might be a couple out there who has managed to fit in seven to eight sessions of sex in their schedule. Maybe they work from home or have quick-quickies. Maybe they have no kids and thus can have wake up sex, after they get ready sex, lunch break sex, after work sex, before dinner sex, after dinner sex, and pre-bedtime sex.

16. Women have magical orifices that are not only resistant to infections but also require no lube ever.
The original #16 had two typos I corrected. But moving on… Speaking from personal experience again (TMI ahead)… I don’t need lube. I get plenty wet all on my own. Soaking panties, dripping wet. Since that’s what I know, that’s what I write. Not all women are like that. Some women don’t create moisture (or not enough) and require lube. Some women (like me) create plenty on their own and lube would just be redundant.

17. The relationship is always love/hate.
It’s called conflict. Last time I checked, lack of communication was one of the top issues in any relationship. So if the heroine is beating herself up and hating on the hero for something “she made up some stuff in her head about him” then that’s falling in line with real life.

18. She always loves giving blow jobs. And swallowing. She acts like his penis is a damn cupcake or something.
This is SUBJECTIVE. It took me two seconds to find an article by a woman who LOVES giving blowjobs. It’s not my thing but there are women who love doing it. There’s a whole line of flavored condoms to backup the idea that women (and men) want to suck dick. I’m betting one of them is cupcake-flavored.

19. All guys are really super excellent at finger-banging. Finger-banging is like the vegan, gluten-free pizza of sex acts. It’s never your first choice from the menu.
SUBJECTIVE! Again subjective. There are videos all over the Internet about how to bring a woman to orgasm from “finger-banging” alone. The man (or woman) who knows how to do it properly has a partner who is ordering that off the menu first, last and always.

20. Finger-banging in public — like, you’re at dinner with his boss — is common.
See my comments for #10.

21. The man always has impeccable and sexy fashion sense.
What author is going to write about a slob unless he’s a fixer-upper for the heroine? In which case, My Fair Lady here we come.

22. And can dance really well at da club.
Unless bad dancing is a character trait to make the hero endearing, then yes, he will know how to dance. What’s more the heroine will know how to dance as well. Gender has no bearing on ability to dance. Youtube has proven this many times over.

23. His penis is always the size of a firetruck.
Going back to the women’s fantasies argument again. Most authors aren’t going to be writing about a guy with a half-inch dick. Sorry guys. Hard truth.

24. The characters get aroused and speak with periods. Between. All. Their. Words.
It’s. Called. Emphasis. Sometimes italics don’t cut it. There are certain things that have to be punctuated in weird ways in order to properly convey how they are spoken in real life. It’s not the like hero is saying, “Come. Period. For. Period. Me. Period. Sexy. Period.” You don’t read the periods as part of the speech. Just like you don’t read commas or question marks either.

25. Everyone orgasms every time they have sex. The man, the woman, the woman again. If. Only.
FICTION. WOMEN’S FANTASIES. What about that is so hard to understand? You’re reading this for escape from reality. As such, yes, everyone orgasms every time. The only time someone doesn’t orgasm is if it’s a plot device. Why would a reader keep buying an author who has sex scenes with no orgasms? I won’t even go into the personal side of always having sex and never having orgasms. That sounds like a conversation to be had with your partner and his/her inability to satisfy you.

That’s my response. Thoughts?

25% Off at ARe for Changeling Titles (Today Only)

23 Oct 2014 - 25% Off Changeling Press Titles

Today only (23 October 2014, Central), Changeling Press titles at All Romance eBooks are 25% off!!

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Proposal Reversions Denied, Two Series Die #notchilled

On 27 September 2014 at 11:22PM eastern (according to FB), I posted on my profile a statement about the Ellora’s Cave’s situation. I posted that same statement on my FB fan page for those following me there.

At the time I said I didn’t want to talk about it. My feelings on the matter have changed. What follows are FACTS backed up with EVIDENCE. I could rant and rave and carry-on but what’s the point?

Fact #1
14 August 2014, 10:01PM HST ~ I sent a request to Ellora’s Cave asking that the twelve (12) titles I have contracted on proposal be terminated and the rights reverted back to me. Three (3) of the twelve titles were finished and submitted in May 2014 but never edited due to my editor being in and out of the hospital. I had hoped to revert those three titles (Enticing the Curious, Surmounting the Past, and Probing the Truth) on the basis of them lapsing the 3 month editing clause in my contracts.

Fact #2
20 August 2014, 5:10PM HST ~ I receive a form letter reply from Ellora’s Cave addressed to “Dear Author,” informing me that they would review my contracts and get back with me in six months.

Fact #3
31 August 2014, 11:31PM Eastern ~ I email Ellora’s Cave a change of address notification as I moved from Hawaii to Maryland. I received an auto-reply the same day at 11:32PM Eastern.

Fact #4
03 September 2014, 12:26AM Eastern ~ I sent a follow-up email to my rights reversion request stating the titles are not published and thus shouldn’t be subject to the 6-month reversion timeline stated in the contracts.

Fact #5
03 September 2014, 9:14AM Eastern ~ Ellora’s Cave sends another “Dear Author” email stating no contracts are being terminated and Ellora’s Cave has the option to publish a LINE edited manuscript without author participation (Section 5 of the Ellora’s Cave contract).

Fact #6
17 September 2014, 12:58:46PM Eastern ~ I mail a certified letter from Ft. Meade post office to Ellora’s Cave with a follow-up, follow-up rights reversion request for the return of my proposal contracts stating I have no intention of submitting the proposal titles, which means Section 6: Termination for Non-Delivery should be in effect.

On this same date is when I check my post office box that I rent from the Ft. Meade USPS to see if my Ellora’s Cave royalty check has arrived. It has not.

Fact #7
26 September 2014, 11:37AM Eastern ~ I receive USPS return receipt confirmation that my certified letter was delivered to Ellora’s Cave on 19 September 2014 at 12:36PM Eastern and signed for by Kendra Rumschlag.

Fact #8
29 September 2014, 1:39PM Eastern ~ I receive a series of text messages from my husband who is now stationed at Ft. Meade. I have given him my post office box key so he can check my mail since he’s down that way and we are currently a single car household. He reports my Ellora’s Cave royalty check has arrived and the amount.

The pictures that follow are said check (with the account information covered), the dateless metered envelope it arrived in, and the statement of royalties earned. Sorry for the blurriness of the images. I took them with my iphone. As you can see, I’m not a high earner.

EC-check EC-statement EC-Envelope EC-FullChecks

And for those who didn’t know, the D. in D. Renee Bagby stands for Deatres. I choose to go by my middle name because people kept butchering the pronunciation of my first name.

Fact #9
03 October 2014, 3:11AM Eastern ~ I email Ellora’s Cave, Patty Marks (at her Ellora’s Cave email address), and Tina Engler (aka Jaid Black) another follow-up rights reversion request citing Section 6: Termination for Non-Delivery yet again. I also note in my request that the Ellora’s Cave contract has no specific language that pertains to the termination of proposal contracts. The contracts mention NOTHING about proposals whatsoever.

Fact #10
03 October 2014, 8:33AM Eastern ~ Ellora’s Cave sends another “Dear Author” response with a definite and final NO to my request, citing there is no contractual reason to revert them.

Fact #11
03 October 2014, Approximately 10:30AM Eastern ~ I get a phone call that wakes me up. I check my email and see the above reply. I decide it’s time to put my timeline on the Internet. I also decide to put on my website a notification in bold giant red lettering that the Daily Grind Series and the High Relief Trilogy are now on indefinite hiatus.

IF Ellora’s Cave decides to publish Enticing the Curious (Daily Grind 3), Surmounting the Past (Daily Grind 4), and/or Probing the Truth (Daily Grind 5), it is without my cooperation after repeated attempts to have these contracts terminated.

I find it funny (in a non-humorous way) that after spending almost an entire year sending certified letters and making phone calls to secure the reversion of rights for A Valentine’s Gift for Tori from Red Rose Publishing (yes, I WAS an author there as well way back when) that said book is now tied up in a rights reversion tug-of-war at Ellora’s Cave. I had planned to rework (read — completely overhaul) the title and release it as part of the Daily Grind Series.

So these are my FACTS. I’m sure posting this isn’t going to make me a favorite person with some people and I don’t care. This is cathartic for me. I need this off my chest and out of my head so I can move on to other projects that need my attention more than this.

EDIT 03 October 2014 at 5:49PM Eastern — Fact #12
03 October 2014, 5:01PM Eastern ~ Tina Engler/Jaid Black replies to my 3:11AM Eastern email (with Patty and Contracts included in the reply) saying Ellora’s Cave’s email is backed up and they will get back to me about my request as soon as possible.

Since the email from Ellora’s Cave Contracts email (Fact #10) sounded pretty final on the subject, it’s interesting to get this reply from Tina.

Also, I’m not the only author who is walking away from a series. Lolita Lopez, who has an agent, ran into the same answer as I did with a quote to buy the rights back and came to the same conclusion — the series is dead.

EDIT 04 October 2014 at 5:32PM Eastern — Fact #13
04 October 2014 at 10:45AM Eastern ~ Contracts sent another resounding NO. I have no clue who is replying to the Contracts email address, but said person felt the need to tell me I cannot publish the books in any form or under a different title. I hadn’t planned to. It suits me well enough to let them die, like my subject line says.

This matter is closed until the day comes when I get my rights back or not. Naomie and Dane from the Daily Grind Series were fun characters that I hope to work with again one day. Until that day comes, they are buried deep under my ever-growing To-Be-Written pile.

New Release: Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist
Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

Buy Now
Musa PublishingAReKindleNook

She offers satisfaction above and beyond what is requested.

Lexie’s job as a housekeeper at a five-star hotel doesn’t normally include the unique and risqué form of room service that important hotel guest Mr. Malena has requested, nor the generous tip he’s offered. Lexie can’t resist, and what should have been a one-time thing turns into an introduction into the sensual world of customer satisfaction. She finds much enjoyment in her “work,” but is it worth risking her job?

Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Erotica, MF, MFM
Themes: BDSM (D/s)
Price: $3.99/US

** Read Chapter One Online **

Buy Now
Musa PublishingAReKindleNook

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Goodreads Group for D. Renee Bagby & Zenobia Renquist

Tired of Yahoo Groups losing mail, holding mail, being generally wonky? Tired of Facebook’s algorithm dictating which of my posts you can and cannot see?

I know I was so I created a Goodreads group:
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/139893-q-a-with-d-renee-bagby-zenobia-renquist

Come visit and ask questions, read excerpts, get book news, and read my random ramblings about whatever comes to mind first. Basically this group is similar to my weekly newsletter but more as-it-happens. There’s no rule that says you can’t join both.

Seeing the Ineffictiveness of Promotion

Most authors bemoan the inability to quantify good marketing efforts beyond sales numbers. The idea is to get sales but to also remain a thought in a reader’s head past closing the book. When a reader is asked to name her favorite author and your name is the first to come mind, that is proof your hours spent writing and promoting have paid off.

Rarely does an author get to see or want to see how ineffective her/his marketing efforts are. The obvious indicator is low sales. Nothing drives home the message like a tiny royalty check. Sometimes though there are other ways to tell.

For instance, 01 July I took part in the #IndieBooksBeSeen promotion started by Mark Shaw on Facebook and Twitter. My hubby took a picture of me holding the covers of Serenity and Kristar. I came to the promotion late and didn’t think much would come of it but what could it hurt, right?

Imagine my surprise when a reader commented on my fanpage stating she’d been waiting for the release of Kristar.

*blink blink*

Kristar by D. Renee Bagby (200x300)Kristar has been out in ebook since December 2013. It hit 3rd party retailers in January 2014. It’s been in print since late May. Since I got the cover late November 2013, I’ve been posting about it because I knew how many readers wanted to read Chigaru’s story.

Goodreads, Facebook (my fanpage and several promotional groups), the Siren Yahoo group, headline ads on The Romance Review, cover ads on The Romance Studio (website, blog, newsletter, and release party site), guest blogs, promotional spots on blogs, almost daily tweets from Cover Reveals that I retweet, tweets from my first chapters promotional blog, four separate new release announcement newsletters, updates on my website, updates on this blog, a street team, a promotions company… The list goes on and yet that comment still remains.

How effective are my marketing efforts for gaining new readers when someone waiting for the book didn’t even know it had released? I’m shouting into the crowd and unsurprising enough, very few people hear me.

So here’s the question to those reading this now: Before this post, did you know Kristar is the sequel to Serenity? Did you know Kristar is available for purchase in ebook (Bookstrand | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo | Nook) and print (Amazon | B&N)?

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Oahu Does Have (Thursday Thirteen)

Oahu, Hawaii DOES have…

Thursday 13 Aloha Style

(in no particular order)

1 – Americans (because Hawaii IS a state even if it’s in the middle of the Pacific)

2 – Kentucky Cardinal

3 – Brazilian Cardinal

4 – Myna Birds

5 – Hawaii 5-0 Cast

6 – Loco Moco (probably the best tasting, bad-for-you thing you’ll ever put in your mouth)

7 – Ben Franklin’s Crafts Store (there are three of them)

8 – Mongeese (or mongooses, if you like, also known as Hawaiian squirrels)

9 – North Shore (surfing, surfing and more surfing)

10 – Rainbows (tons of them almost everyday. There’s a reason they are on the license plate.)

11 – Sushi restaurants (Genki Sushi, Ninja Sushi, KurKuru Sushi, Kozo Sushi, Doraku Sushi, Yanagi Sushi, Gyotaku, Banzai Sushi Bar, and so on. You get the idea. Lots and lots of sushi. I love it.)

12 – Starbucks (aren’t these things everywhere?)

13 – Hibiscus in almost every color imaginable (state flower, pictured above)

What else does Oahu have? Leave a comment with stuff you think should have made the list.

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Oahu Does Not Have… (Thursday Thirteen)

Oahu, Hawaii does NOT have…

Thursday 13 Aloha Style

(in no particular order)

1 – Snakes (pets don’t count)

2 – Active volcanoes

3 – Seagulls

4 – Raptors (the birds, not the dinosaurs and not outside of a zoo)

5 – Rabies (and they want to keep it that way)

6 – Squirrels

7 – Sonics

8 – Olive Garden

9 – Chipotle

10 – Applebee’s

11 – JcPenney

12 – Pro football team

13 – Daylight Saving Time

Leave a comment to add to the list.

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Snippet: Pliable Inhibitions by Zenobia Renquist (Book Hooks)

Pliable Inhibitions (High Relief 1) by Zenobia RenquistPliable Inhibitions (High Relief 1) by Zenobia Renquist

[Paranormal Interracial Erotica, Menage]

A hypnotic coin, a sure bet, and a woman willing to succumb.

Buy Now
Ellora’s CaveAReKindleKoboNook

Emily’s negative body image is killing her marriage. She doesn’t believe her husband Lucas when he says she’s desirable, especially since their sex life is nonexistent.

Lucas has a radical solution to their problems—hypnosis. Emily was wild in her college days and he’s convinced she can be wild again with a little help from a so-called magic coin. While college was a lifetime and several dress sizes ago, she’s willing to play along. She’ll experiment with friends, neighbors, coworkers and whoever else Lucas chooses if it means renewing their wedded bliss.

She knows the coin is a fraud and hypnosis isn’t real…but what Emily knows and what really happens when Lucas uses the magic coin are two totally different things. And what happens is sex so mind-blowing neither Lucas nor Emily will ever be the same.

Inside Scoop: This title contains lesbian and ménage (m/f/m and f/f/m) sex scenes so steamy they’ll leave you gasping for air.

MFRW Authors Blog

Lucas snapped, “You’re the same woman.”

“Minus my inhibitions and any sense of responsibility. That coin of yours is alcohol without the hangover and the liver damage.” Her smile softened along with her tone. “Lucas, I’m not mad. Either version of me. Sure the aware version was freaked but she enjoyed Joseph to the utmost. If she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. If she hadn’t, she would have asserted herself over me and put a stop to it. Remember the failsafe—anything I don’t like will drop me out of the hypnotic state.”

Lucas leaned against the counter with a tired sigh. “I didn’t mean for this to happen. Not like this. It was supposed to be a little fun while winning a bet. How did it get this jumbled and messed up?”

“It’s not messed up.”

*** Want more? Check out the full first chapter at DRB1stChp Blog. ***

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Ellora’s CaveAReKindleKoboNook

*** More Book Hooks from the MFRW Authors ***

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Retro Release: Eris (Time Travel MFM Romance)

Eris-50Off-promo

ERIS is a retro release at Siren-Bookstrand. That means it’s discounted for a limited time.

Check out the first chapter online at DRB1stChp Blog.

Buy Now
http://www.bookstrand.com/eris

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Knitting: Doctor Who Scarf

Yippee! I finally got around to this post. So let me tell you what’s going on first and then I’ll jump into my knitting/crocheting odyssey.

I have re-re-rediscovered crochet and tacked on knitting just because. I put so many REs because at one point my mom tried to teach me but I didn’t pick it up and then I tried it again and stopped and so on and so forth. Well this time around, I picked it up and kept going.

I decided to catalog my projects on my blog, because what else am I going to put on here besides new release announcements and the occasional movie review, right? So this is the first installment with many more to come because knitting and crochet are both relaxing for me. If I’m going to do them, I’m going to be making something. My first project was knitting.

It all started in November…

For the Doctor Who fans out there, you know November 2013 was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. A momentous occasion which called for a simultaneous world release of the 50th Anniversary special and a theatrical release. The hubby and I went to the theatrical release because why not?

While there, the hubby said he wanted the 4th Doctor’s scarf. You’ve seen it in online stores. But me being me, I thought, “Why not make it myself?” I’m handy enough. I could do it. But where do I start? A simple web search turned up the most FABULOUS Doctor Who site for those who want to knit the 4th Doctor’s scarf.

That site is http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/. Easy to remember, right? I was so stoked when I found this site. It would be smooth sailing from here. The hard part was over. The site has patterns for all variations of the scarf and what yarns to use and where to get them as well as tips. Perfect.

Now, I just need the supplies and to learn how to knit. That second thing was really important. My first stop was the Learn to Knit section of Lion Brand. The videos there are easy to follow, however they don’t have videos for every little thing. I’m a visual learner. SHOW me what to do and I can do it. Give me instructions and I might (big might) be able to figure it out after a few dozen mistakes.

YouTube was a HUGE help in that regard. For all that Lion Brand lacked, the many, many, MANY people on YouTube made up for it. Now that I’m so much further along in my learning, I can confidently recommend (for the beginning knitter) The Crochet Crowd. Yes. They do knitting too. :P Mikey is a wonderful teacher for pretty much everything knitting and crochet. He answers every question I could possibly have without me having to ask.

Another really amazing teacher whose videos saved me tons of tears is Liat Gat. So if you are getting into knitting, do yourself a favor. Head over to YouTube, look up The Crochet Crowd and Liat Gat, and subscribe to those feeds. You will thank me for that bit of advice. I didn’t find out about it until waaaaay after.

But I digress. I had my pattern, I was getting my materials, and I was practicing on acrylic yarn while I waited for my wool yarn to show up (I had to order a lot of the colors online because my local store didn’t have them). Because I wanted to stay with one type/brand of yarn, I chose to buy the Cascade 220 Superwash colors under the original pattern link of the Doctor Who Scarf site. They aren’t 100% accurate, but close enough.

Let me tell you one thing. It was NOT cheaper to make it myself. Wool is expensive. But I had already started and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like cost stop me. Also I had no clue what else to get the hubby for Christmas.

Armed with my pattern and my yarn and my knitting needles, I set off on my knitting journey. It took me the majority of December to knit using simple garter stitch all 12ft of that scarf, using 7 different colors, complete with fringe. I finished the night of 24 December and put the finished product in a Tardis blue gift bag under our “tree.” (Note: We have cats. There are no trees in this house, just the thought.)

Check it out. The hubby is holding it for me.

4th Doctor's Scarf

At this time I would like to note that I did not block the finished piece. My thinking is that’ll it stretch plenty on its own once he starts wearing it. That might be a knitting no-no, but it’s my project. So there. :P

This was my very first knitting project and by no means was it perfect from start to finish. I goofed a LOT. I was frantic when I dropped stitches because of not paying attention and stitches fell off the needle and almost cried when I had to rip back almost an entire chunk of color (one of the big chunks) because of a missed stitch that I couldn’t figure out how to weave back in.

But as the videos on YouTube said, that’s all part of knitting. Mistakes will happen. You just need to not freak and to know how to fix them. Rather than make you search high and low for terminology and such, here are the videos I used.

** Putting stitches back on the needle correctly after unraveling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmAc0BIdHKU

** Fixing dropped knit stitch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLizMfZybOM

** Changing Colors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckzi_bhg2UE

** Weaving in Ends
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O51m7EHMdEA

That is my first installment of my new hobby. I’m working on and off on a cheaper version of the 4th Doctor’s scarf using acrylic yarn that is true to the color names if not the show’s colors. I’m in no hurry with it so it’ll be a while before I post it. But I have many more projects to come. Look forward to those posts.

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Review: On the Case by Zenobia Renquist

On the Case by Zenobia RenquistSmile Somebody Loves You Reviews gives On the Case (Guardian’s Tales 2) 4 Hearts!!

“A truly intriguing tale of love, destiny, and mystery. Darah and Shirish form an incredibly strong and powerful bond… I think readers should definitely give this book a try… well written, and very erotic.”

Read the full review at SSLY.

Check out the first chapter online.

On the Case
[Guardian’s Tales 2]

Everything changes when the tree hugs back.

Darah took what she thought would be an easy assignment—wake up a tree. Nothing to it, except this tree rouses with a case of morning wood.

Shirish has been asleep for the last few decades and is eager to get reacquainted with the world, starting with Darah. She wants to believe they have a future together but the past has unfinished business with Shirish.

Family secrets long buried threaten to set fire to their budding relationship. Without help, Darah fears their final act of love will be to burn together.

Buy Now
Changeling Press

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Movie Review – 300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire

Release: 07 March 2014
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, and Rodrigo Santoro
Director: Noam Murro
Genre: Action, Drama, war
Length: 102 min.
Rating: R

Basic Premise
Based on the comic mini-series Xerxes by Frank Miller, this is the continuation of the story started in 300 (2006). Themistokles must unite Greece in order to battle Xerxes and his blood-thirsty general Artemisia and keep Greece free.

Personal Note
It’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review post on my blog, but I felt this movie deserved one.

Review
This story is not a sequel to 300 because the story overlaps. While the events of Rise of an Empire are taking place, so too are the events of 300. Know that first. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen 300, you might want to refresh your memory before going to see Rise of an Empire.

If you liked 300, then you will definitely like Rise of an Empire. The story follows the Athenians instead of the Spartans this time around, which is why the men are wearing blue instead of crimson. That was my major hangup when watching the trailers because it made no sense after 300 made a big deal about the crimson of a Spartan…except the men in this move weren’t Spartans.

It’s the same story-telling style, same pacing (slow motion emphasis of particular scenes, etc), and the same gripping and bloody action of its predecessor. Like 300, Rise of an Empire earned that R rating. There is only one f-bomb the whole movie and several scenes of partial nudity as well (for the parents in the audience).

Though the movie was full of battling men, there was a edge of girl power that I absolutely loved. The strongest general in the Persian army is Artemisia — a woman. She is competent and feared and a warrior. As well, Lena Headey’s character Queen Gorgo had a much more empowering role this movie. She was QUEEN. Not a woman whose husband was king but an actual queen. In charge and running shit. Not only that, she was a Spartan queen, which meant she was kicking ass.

I look forward to owning this movie on DVD and watching it back-to-back with 300. I also look forward to seeing if there will be a third. The rule of storytelling dictates there has to be a third, but we’ll see.

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Cover Reveal: On the Case by Zenobia Renquist

Coming to Changeling Press 21 Feb 2014!

On the Case (Guardian's Tales 2) by Zenobia Renquist

[Erotic Paranormal Interracial Romance, MF]

Everything changes when the tree hugs back.

Darah took what she thought would be an easy assignment — wake up a tree. Nothing to it, except this tree rouses with a case of morning wood.

Shirish has been asleep for the last few decades and is eager to get reacquainted with the world, starting with Darah. She wants to believe they have a future together but the past has unfinished business with Shirish.

Family secrets long buried threaten to set fire to their budding relationship. Without help, Darah fears their final act of love will be to burn together.

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