Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Author

Misc.

Hump Day Love Mix

For your hump day listening, here’s some positive love… for the most part.

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?

How I Use FileMaker #2

And here’s the second way I use FileMaker Pro… as a database to house all my book information — character names and attributes, lexicon, location names, etc. The database isn’t complete yet, but this will save me so much time when I need to go back and find a character’s eye color or back history or if I’ve used the character name already.

This is the book list. Similar to the book list in my royalties report but not related. I didn’t want to futz with trying to tie the two together and it’s not like it takes much to fill in the information.

FileMaker Pro Book List

Click the Book Info button and the database flips to a new layout (pretty, huh?) with the book’s copyright information.

FileMaker Pro Book Part Info

Click the Full Info button and now I have all the copyright info (yes, I know it’s redundant but I did it like that anyway) along with a list of characters, lexicon (I love creating words), locations, and settings (basically world notes).

FileMaker Pro Book Full Info

If I want to know more about a particular character, I click the Info button next to their name. This page tells me all the books where this character has appeared, the character’s descriptions, and any back history or notes about the character.

FileMaker Pro Character Info

And finally the Go To Character List button takes me to a full list of my characters. Easy, at-a-glance reference for which names I’ve used.

FileMaker Pro Character List

So that’s my setup. Again, something of a PITA to get started but a MAJOR life and time saver once I have all my books entered. I plan to revisit many of the worlds I’ve created. The trip will take a lot less time if I don’t have to re-read an entire novel to get reacquainted with my worlds and my characters.

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How I Use FileMaker #1

So I’ve mentioned FileMaker Pro a few times on this blog and in other social locales. I know some people are curious about how I use it. So here’s the first installment (note – there are only two installments).

These are screenshots of my Royalty FileMaker. Obviously I smudged out all my earnings info since I don’t want the world knowing stuff like that. 😛

First up is the Book List. This is a list of every title for which I have an ISBN (ie – my contracted titles).

FileMaker Pro Book Data

Each title leads to a full information page where I can enter my sales figures by date and vendor. Also on this page is a running tally of books sold and royalties earned.

FileMaker Pro Royalties Data

From the above two databases, I can create sub-summary reports that shows my royalties (and earnings) by year and month.

FileMaker Pro Sub-summary Report Royalties

And by year and title.

FileMaker Pro Sub-summary Report Titles

I can create other sub-summary reports that breaks it up by year, title, and month as well.

So that’s my setup for my royalties. It took a little bit of fiddling and Google-searching to get this database the way I wanted it, but all the effort is totally worth it. Inputting and tracking my royalties is so much easier now.

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New Actor on My Fav Actors List

Karl Urban has joined the top ranks in the My Favorite Actors list. The list isn’t that long. I have actors I love to watch because they are pretty to look at but only a few actors actually count as favorites. Karl Urban is now one of them. I loved the man in Star Trek (2009) and Legion (2009) — in fact, he made Legion for me. He’s a fun actor with great range. After watching Dredd (2012), I like him even more.

Not because of that movie mind you. I waited for the DVD for a reason. Dredd was violence for violence’s sake and not that great on the plot and it left a lot of things unanswered, but whatever. According to the hubby, the movie stayed pretty close to the comic, which is another reason I’m happy I never bothered reading it.

The reason Dredd made me like Karl Urban even more is because of the helmet. He NEVER took off that helmet through the whole movie. Not once did you see his whole face. I didn’t even know it was him until the end credits started rolling. Once I saw his name, I recognized his voice, but I genuinely didn’t know. And that’s why he made the list. I absolutely LOVE when an actor puts aside his ego to play a role.

The top spot on the My Favorite Actors list belongs to Hugo Weaving — the infamous Agent Smith from the Matrix trilogy, or more recently Elrond in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The man got my attention with those movies. Hell I kept watching the Matrix Trilogy because I wanted to see what Agent Smith would do next. Hugo Weaving earned the top spot because of his role as V in V for Vendetta.

Before him, I had never seen an actor pull off so much extreme emotion. And he did it without showing his face to the audience. He made me see tears and anguish while wearing a mask with a permanent smile. His voice alone gave so much to the character that I stopped seeing the mask. To this day, I can’t look at a Guy Fawkes Day mask without hearing Hugo Weaving saying, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Just writing this paragraph makes me want to re-watch the movie for the (what has to be) five hundredth time.

For those who are curious, also on my list of My Favorite Actors is Robert Downey, Jr. He isn’t at the top, but he is on it and his role as Iron Man put him there. He’s not afraid to act behind a mask and no one better epitomizes Tony Stark than Robert Downey, Jr. That’s what I call PERFECT casting.

I have a favorite actresses list too, but that’s a topic for another post.

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Update: Writing, FileMaker and Blog

It’s 2013 and I’ve already let the blog slide a lot. I’m thinking of redoing my schedule. Yes again. Since other things are taking up my time, rethinking my blog schedule will have to wait for a bit.

~ Writing ~
On the writing front… I haven’t been. 😛 After finishing the Serenity, I decided to rest for the rest of the year. 2013 flipped over and my EC editor said she would have CREAM back to me soon. And she got it to me last night.

I spent today working on it and got through Chapter 4 (pg 36 of 103). It’s mostly finding replacements for overused words and elaborating on certain points to firm up my world building. The thing that’s slowing me down is FileMaker. I created a database in Filemaker to house book information for easy reference should I ever feel like revisiting a created world or characters. And there’s only one way for the information to get into that database — I have to put it there.

So as I’m doing my edits, I’m keeping an eye out for important data to add to the database. Important data such as character names (so I don’t reuse them), character descriptions and personality traits, major plot points and random information about the world created in the book.

The whole point is so I don’t have to re-read an entire novel to find one small factoid. I will enter all my books in the database, whether I plan to revisit them or not, because of the character names. I don’t want to reuse a name by accident and have people thinking the books are related when they aren’t.

After I finish the edits for CREAM, I’ll jump into writing the synopsis for the Serenity sequel and doing a final round of self-edits before I send the book off to submissions. Which, that final round of self-edits will also be when I enter the book info into the database. That will pretty much be how I do things from now on — final round of self-edits equals database updating. I can’t do it while I’m writing the book because there’s too much chance I’ll change/tweak stuff.

Post of Randomness and Excuses

As anyone who is following my blog has noticed, I’ve been missing days and late posting and all sorts of wackiness this last week or so. Part of that is due to the move from Blogger to WordPress (hosted) and the other part is due to me being distracted easily.

There’s no Saturday Sound Off today because I got distracted with Filemaker Pro — a databasing program I’m using to track my royalties. It’s a great program, though it has a steep learning curve. I spent most of Friday learning how to use it.

I love it to bits. It makes interfacing with my information sooooo much easier. I plan to create a database for my characters as well — names, descriptions, where they appeared — just so I can keep everyone straight. I also don’t want to reuse names and have people thinking a bit character is skipping around books, because s/he isn’t. 😛

Beyond updating all three of my blogs with appropriate tags (which is a project that will take weeks, if not months), I’m back to normal operations… I think. The blog should be back on schedule starting with Excerpt Sunday tomorrow.

Daz3D Creation: Troll Lover

Skipping the manga review today to put up something else. I’ve started dabbling in 3D rendering with Daz Studio. It’s an interesting program (and free) that’s a lot like playing with virtual dolls. Except these dolls can be posed in a million different ways that are both fun and frustrating.

So this is my first render, named Troll Lover. The heroine is an elf and the hero is a troll. This is just me playing around. As soon as I get the hang of it, I’ll start creating promo images to go along with my books as a gift with purchase kind of thing.

Click the image to see a bigger version.

For those wondering why I would do a troll rather than a traditional human hero, I totally blame Marguerite Arotin and her book The Last Sorceress. Fun read.

Cooking My First Turkey

Sooo… I said I would chronicle my first time cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving and here it is. 😀

Day One – 20 November 2012

After going out shopping one last time to get my meat thermometer (digital with timer as suggested by Alton Brown on the Good Eats Thanksgiving episode) and a flat turkey pan, I came home to start the first part of my turkey prep.

Making the brine…

And weaving the bacon (thick-sliced peppered bacon) that will sit on the breast while the turkey cooks. The rest of the bacon will be wrapped around various parts of the turkey.

Day Two – 21 November 2012

Time to brine the turkey. I did this late in the day for two reasons. I wanted it to brine overnight, and I didn’t want the ice to melt, putting the turkey in poultry danger zone, while I was sleeping.

This is the turkey in the brine, bucket and ice.

This is the bucket (with the lid on) sitting in the sink, which helped radiate the cold. I also covered it in a large garbage to help insulate it even more.

The ice totally lasted — still cubes there when I got up the next morning. Next year I’m getting a water cooler and doing the brine in that.

Day Three – 22 November 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I got my happy butt up at 6AM (which is like six hours before I even think about getting up normally) so I could do this turkey. We were due at our friends’ house at noon, so I wanted to leave plenty of time in case of turkey shenanigans.

Sooo… this is the turkey after being in the oven for five minutes. I forgot to take the pre-cook picture. So I rushed in, whipped it out, took the picture and then shoved it back in the oven again. 500 degrees for 30 Minutes.

This is the turkey in the oven. 😀

This is the turkey after dropping the temp down to 350 degrees and sticking in the meat thermometer (on the counter next to the oven). I really love this digital thermometer. You set the temperature you want (in this case 161 degrees in the breast) and, when the bird gets to that temp, the alarm sounds. No fuss, no muss cooking.

A little under three hours later… TURKEY! These are two pictures of the finished bird. The bacon isn’t burnt, just really, REALLY crispy. 😀

Wrap up the turkey and a quick trip for Andy, Tiff, and me out to Jared and Autumn’s place to have Thanksgiving dinner. Autumn made the most amazing Thanksgiving Apple Cider margaritas (pictured below). YUM.

The three bowls are for making rims on the glasses — one bowl has lemon juice, one has raw sugar, and the last has crushed graham crackers for the spiked egg nog served later. 😛

And this is all the food. The turkey in the left corner is not mine. That’s the second turkey. Corn bread, two types of gravy (white and brown), stuffing, two types of mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, candied yams,  and green bean casserole.

Sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pumpkin dip with vanilla wafers, and orange marshmallow fluff.

But you all wondering how the turkey turned out. I carved my turkey (first time doing that too). I can tell you I can’t carve worth a damn. I sliced off the first small piece and decided to do the taste test. I did cook it after all.

Instant joy-gasm. BEST TURKEY EVER!

Juicy, tons of flavor, and a huge hit with all the Thanksgiving guests. Even after sitting out for the five hours of eating and yapping and then driving home, the turkey was still juicy and delicious. Everyone had tons of compliments for my first turkey. I owe it all to Alton Brown and Good Eats because that recipe of his is a total WIN.

Sidenote: The bacon is not part of Alton Brown’s recipe. I added that because I wanted to do a bacon-wrapped turkey. I will be using different (thinner sliced) bacon next time around.

I feel confident that I can do this again and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Happy Thanksgiving

No regularly scheduled blog post today. Just a heartfelt wish for everyone to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving… if you celebrate it. To those who don’t, please carry on with your Thursday as usual. 😀

ElfQuest Love

Usually Tuesdays is a manga review, but I decided to switch to American comics for today so I could indulge in ElfQuest love.

I just found out today that the ENTIRE ElfQuest series is online at ElfQuest.com. I’d heard about the site before, but I didn’t realize that the story was still on-going and that all the back issues were there.

I love, LOVE ElfQuest. I used to check it out of the library (and re-check it out) all the time. I read and re-read those books so many times that if I had any drawing talent I could probably recreate the whole thing from memory. When I got older and had my own money, I started buying the books. I have the first ElfQuest story in hard cover, color edition, the rest in black-and-white trade paperback.

I was first introduced to ElfQuest after moving to Richmond, VA in the 1990’s. My friend and her gamer family (I thought it was so clue that they were adult gamers — a foreign concept to me at the time) had a few of the books. My friend let me borrow them when I wouldn’t put them down. I fell in love with Cutter and Leetah from the first moment I saw them. They were my first interracial fantasy couple… Okay not first. That would be Storm and Forge from X-Men, but first outside of comic book land.

I love everything about that series even if I did start reading it just to learn more about Leetah and Cutter’s relationship. My collection of the above mentioned books are in storage, so this website is a lifesaver. I get to re-read and catch up on the story, as well enjoy the new weekly installments.

For those who like elves and shifters and magic and an absolutely wonderful story, you should stop by the site and get lost in the world of Two Moons and the story of the Wolfriders.

Late and Missing

I’ve already missed one post on Saturday (just slipped my mind) and it looks like I will be missing another. No manga review today. I got buried under a bunch of stuff (promotions for new release, first chapter blogs, contests, newsletters, etc) and was also preparing for a house guest.

At the end of the day, I have a migraine and absolutely no inclination to write a manga review post. I’m also running late on my newsletter. I’ve got it started and a slow internet connection made me postpone finishing, thinking I could finish it today. That didn’t happen. I’ll try to get it out tomorrow.

Anywho. Just thought I would post a quick note. I might do two manga reviews next week to make for the missing one this week. We’ll see.

Extreme Waterfall In Thailand

Image: Piyaphon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Q&A: Juice or Soda?

I’m a juice person. I’ll drink the occasional soda, but I don’t drink nearly as much as I did as kid. I prefer juice but will drink Sprite (or the equivalent) when I’m out at a restaurant because they don’t usually serve juice, which is a shame.

I’m the same way with my mixed drinks. I prefer alcohol mixed with juice than soda. Cranberry and Vodka is the way to go. 😀

Juice or Soda?

Touch By The Light

Image: prozac1 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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