Friday, April 30, 2010

Late... It's my Gift

I know, I'm late again. It happens. As the boys would say, it's my gift.

What was I up to? I'd like to say I was caught up in some delicious story of romance and hot lovin'. Sadly, no. I had to work.

Seems like sometimes the times my characters want to just shout the next part of their story, that's when I just don't have the time to get it down. Thank Goodness I have my notebook. But still, why do they choose the moments when I can't write their story to annoy me?

Because they can. It's true. My pesky vampire character keeps niggling me with his decision for the lady in his life. And let me tell you, he's persistent.

So I'm off to work on his story since my work for everything else is more or less finished.

Ta ta!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why do you comment?

I find myself fascinated by the fact that we have more than 80 followers, and seldom get comments on our posts. Kealie, Megan, Jenny and I have talked about it and haven't been able to come up with an answer.

So... you -- yeah, you -- what makes you leave a comment? Do you answer questions when we ask them? Is it the hotties? When we're silly, or serious, or brief and loquacious?

Why do you comment?

Does a post need to stir you? Make you laugh? Cry? Think?

We ladies at the menagerie would really like to know.

And... in closing, and because I can't keep in my excitement, I have to share my book video for my soon to be released, "Shut Up & Kiss Me". What do you think?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Author Interview ~ Tess Lamont

Hey everyone. It’s author interview day! YAY! Something to brighten your Monday. Our guest author today is Tess Lamont. Let’s all make her feel welcome. Megan is joining us on the couch today… cuz she’s fun, and she was hanging out on the couches for interviews anyway… so I made her talk. LOL Say, “Hi,” Megan.

”Hi, Megan!” :::Megan waves:::

See, we don’t wonder at all if she fits in… So, welcome to The Menagerie, Tess. So glad you could join us today. Make yourself comfy and feel free to make the Cabana Boys wait on you hand and foot… well, you probably won’t have to make them do anything, they love taking care of us. Let’s get started: Where are you from, Tess?

I grew up in the southern part of New Jersey, affectionately known to locals as “South Jersey.” South Jersey is its own world, but I had to leave it to appreciate it. I didn’t even realize how much affection I held for the area until I set my first published series of stories there. It’s full of great diners and it has the pine barrens with it’s lakes and rivers and camping areas as a back-yard playground. We even had our very own mythical monster—the Jersey Devil.

Yup, it sounds great. I have to agree that you never know you’ll miss something or someplace until it’s gone.

Yup. So, tell us your latest news, because we love news.

My first published story Bound to be Mine, was released by The Wild Rose Press in February. It’s the first in a series of three stories. I finished and submitted the second two, and they were contracted as well. All three contain elements of light BDSM. It was so much fun to create and portray a tight friendship between three women whose mutual support and acceptance sustains them through unusual relationship choices.

Wow, congrats on your other stories being contracted. And believe me, those of us here at The Menagerie are all about the tight friendships and support.

Amen, sistah. Tess, we love a good based-on-real life story, how much of the book is realistic?

You know, Bound to be Mine, I tried to write a realistic story about an inexperienced couple who once followed their natural inclinations into the world of sexual dominance and submission, only to have the dom back off. The story begins when he returns with apology on his mind, but the love of his life has other expectations. The two main characters share a powerful connection—a perfect yin and yang, but they have to get over their hang-ups before truly enjoying all their connection has to offer. At the story’s heart is the process of embracing and exploring sexuality. But will readers accept that a dominant man could doubt his inclinations? I hope so.

Oh, I think that you did just fine getting that across. :-D Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finishing! I’ve been writing for years, but it took me a very long time to be able to finish. Then, it took even longer to get comfortable with the long and arduous process of revision. I find that using a text-to-speech program helps me see where the flow of a story is broken, and it has the added advantage of helping catch typos and pesky missing prepositions.

Ooh, what a nice idea... (sneaking off to figure out how to use text to speech).

LOL, I’m thinking you just gave all of us an idea that we’d never considered before. Thanks for the idea! Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

In romance, its definitely Laura Kinsale. I love the depth and vulnerability she brings to her characters. She creates heroes and heroines who aren’t universally lovable—but they are absolutely right for each other…no, not just right for each other, but essential to each other. Flowers from the Storm is my favorite.

I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve read her books before. I may have to look into her.

A good cover makes or breaks the book, so who designed the cover?

My ultra-hot cover was designed by Angela Anderson, who also edited my story. I feel like I hit the cover jackpot! She chose a shot that very accurately reflects the characters and the dynamic between them. I love it.

I have to admit that’s a GREAT cover! And I can see what you mean about the dynamic between them. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I set out to write because I’ve always loved writing. But I discovered that the process of creating a publishable product is so much more complex than what I thought, which was that becoming an author involved only inspiration and time. I honestly believe that writing consistently with the intent to publish has helped me grow a better work ethic and has helped me become less judgmental—of myself and, more importantly, of others.

And that is a great philosophy to have. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

When researching the second story in the “bound series,” I had a surprising and memorable experience. I wanted to use bondage tape, but I had no experience with it. I wanted give an accurate description of its texture and I needed to know if my hero could cut the tape with his teeth. I fretted before finally deciding to suck it up and buy some of the tape. I thought about ordering it, but using the mail seemed wasteful and not very brave since I live in NYC, literally yards from several of the kind of shops that would carry that sort of thing.

I went in to a shop on a random Tuesday afternoon. Luckily, the place was empty but for myself and the clerk, a sweet and helpful grey-haired lady. I was the color of a brick wall, I knew, as I tried to find the tape myself. After she asked a few times if I needed help, I finally just blurted, “Bondage tape, please.” “Oh, good choice,” she exclaimed. “But what color, Ma’am?” Wanting to sink into the floor, I replied it didn’t matter. “Oh it makes quite a bit of difference.” She said. It was one of those moments I know I’ll remember a lifetime. I bought the tape. Turns out that it feels and acts sort of like saran wrap (only sticking to itself) and, yes, in a pinch, a hero could cut it with his teeth. Who knew?

Well, and the other surprising thing you learned was that you CANNOT die of embarrassment. :-D

Hmmm, tucking that bit of bondage tape information back for later uses.

ROTFL, Megan, you’re not the only one. And now Tess, it’s time for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with writing” questions: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

I hate how I look in pictures, even though I’m pretty comfortable with my body. Seeing a picture of myself lets me study details, and, especially now that I’m older, I don’t really want to dwell on the “fine print.” My sister offered to photograph me for my author shot. We spent all afternoon traipsing around the village. We had so much fun, but when it came down to it, there was only one shot out of well over 100 that I was willing to post!

Yup, those details are hard not to notice.

LOL, it’s not your fault, Tess, those stupid cameras get more and more advanced and they can take a picture of you and see your Gramma’s crow’s feet… Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

Hand writing is such an interesting topic. I once had an army pen pal who wrote beautiful, even script in perfect rows on unlined paper. I always wondered what that said about him. When writing by hand, I tend to drop letters at the end of words, especially “r’s.” When typing, I randomly capitalize. It’s annoying, because I can’t spell-check it out of a manuscript.

I randomly capitalize all the time… ask Megan and Mysti how many times I’ve typed: wHo or tHat. I think we’ve lost count at this point. You’re in good company here. What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from?

In the 90’s I worked as an administrator for a consulting firm of engineers. They had all seen and loved the movie Major League. In the movie, an announcer describes a few very, very bad pitches as “a little outside.” Somehow, within the company, the phrase came to mean unusual or crazy, as in “If our client wants accurate models finished in under 2 hours, they’re a little outside” or “It’s a little outside to expect me to troubleshoot network problems and finish the billing at the same time”. The phrase embedded into my vernacular. I still say it.

LOL, I think it’s great how things like that imbed themselves into YOU like little ticks. There are so many inside jokes just with my sister regarding stuff like that. Have you ever eaten a crayon?

Ha! What an interesting question. No, I can’t say I ate a crayon. But speaking of crayons, I did this art project in 5th grade where we “painted” by melting them. Um, imagine tables of 10 year olds with candles melting crayons--that must have been a fire hazard! I always wanted to try that again, though.

:-D We love zany questions! You’d be surprised how many have actually tried them. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea… mainly because a Green Apple crayon is false advertising! They taste nothing like Green Apples. :-D

What? You can’t eat them? Just thought I’d ask and no, I’ve never partaken.

LOL, suuuuure you haven’t, Megan. Tess, have you ever made a crank phone call? If yes, explain what you did.

Well, my honest answer is… kind of. My sister and I have identical voices. Once, in high-school, I called her boyfriend and broke up with him as her. But wait, it’s not as bad as it sounds! She asked me to do it, I swear.

Uh-huh, sure she did. Hee hee.

LOL, I had the same thought. But we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, Tess. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Yes. Pepsi is good, but too sweet for me. I’m a diet coke person all the way. I try to eat healthy, but diet coke will always be a weakness. I crave the caffeine fix.

LOL, sometimes it’s all about the caffeine. Well, that brings us to the end of our interview today. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today, Tess. It was a blast getting to know you better… and laughing. Laughter is always great during an interview. Feel free to hang out the rest of the day and put the Cabana Boys to work… like I said, they love to please. :-D

Tess Lamont tried to be a good girl. Really. But despite her best efforts, her imagination kept right on wresting her away to places where powerful men appear to dominate, but willing women keep them both guessing and enthralled. Tess has been writing stories since she can remember; however, only within the last 2 years did she finally summon the courage to take her dream seriously and banish her inner censor. Tess lives in New York City with an often incredulous, but marvelously supportive husband. She enjoys writing romance, reading romance, web surfing, laughing with her best friend ‘til her sides hurt, wine and cheese. She hopes her tales of wicked, lusty love leave her readers breathless.
Visit Tess at

Bound To Be Mine by Tess Lamont

Stripping had not just been profitable for Lisa Emery; it had given her the power, the control, to be the woman she wanted to be. She’d had a stimulating job and the perfect man at home—her master. Together, they were exploring the darker side of passion, and both seemed to bloom with the knowledge. Why then had he suddenly disappeared just when things were going so well? And why now was he back?

Ben Johnson knew the “life” he and Lisa were living had been wrong...just knew it. Something that felt that good couldn’t be right. According to his therapist, “only by atoning for your wrongs could you really grow and change as a person.” Why then, after so many months apart, did he still need to dominate Lisa, to bend her to his will and give in to his baser instincts?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boook Commercial ~ Bound to Be Mine by Tess Lamont

Bound To Be Mine by Tess Lamont

Stripping had not just been profitable for Lisa Emery; it had given her the power, the control, to be the woman she wanted to be. She’d had a stimulating job and the perfect man at home—her master. Together, they were exploring the darker side of passion, and both seemed to bloom with the knowledge. Why then had he suddenly disappeared just when things were going so well? And why now was he back?

Ben Johnson knew the “life” he and Lisa were living had been wrong...just knew it. Something that felt that good couldn’t be right. According to his therapist, “only by atoning for your wrongs could you really grow and change as a person.” Why then, after so many months apart, did he still need to dominate Lisa, to bend her to his will and give in to his baser instincts?


Want to see your book commercial here? Email us at to find out how!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm Late.... Again

No, not that kind of late. Nope, I finally got a chance to come over here and post. My personal blog is almost forgotten because I keep getting side-tracked.

Do you ever have that problem? I mean, besides gazing at the scenery, I have to work for a living and as much as I love my various employers (you didn't really think I did that did you?), sometimes trying to balance the duties of a youngling, a day job, and three horny vampires... I have no time to do what I want (Sorry boys, yes, you're what I want, that's not what I meant).

For example, right now, I should be blogging. So, I start. And as I'm typing, I see a slew of dirty glasses that should be in the sink. Do I continue working? It looks like it cause the post is done, but no. I retrieve the glasses, put them in the sink, wonder if the dishwasher is empty, clean, filled with dirty dishes, or drying... (Living with three vampires isn't easy. When I'm awake doing things for the day, they sleep like the dead... oh wait, they are the dead... well, don't mention it to them, it makes them cranky. And you don't want to have to deal with three cranky vampires.).

So I go back to the computer and back to my post, but then I think, gee, I'd like a drink. Off I go to get the soda. As that happens, the cat strolls by and I can't just let him stroll without reaching down to scratch his ears.

So, yeah, that's why my writing career is running late... again. Maybe one of these days I'll get to explain to the characters in my why they didn't get their stories told right away and maybe, just maybe, they'll understand.

Or maybe they'll revolt.

Who knows?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Who I Am

I read a lot about "are you a plotter or a pantser?" around the writing blogosphere and I used to try to pigeonhole myself into one or the other.

But the truth is? I'm neither. Or maybe I'm both.

You see, I write in much the same way as I cook. I drive my DH crazy, because he'll say, "So-and-so really liked that thing you made last week. Would you send them the recipe?" My response? "Uh. No. I can't. I'm sorry."

Because when I cook, I don't really use a recipe. I start with one, for certain, especially if I haven't made whatever it is before. But, even when I swear I'll stick to the recipe as written, sometimes my hands have a mind of their own and they add this or take out that or use a little more of another thing.

I bake by the handful. A teaspoon of salt? About *this* much poured into my cupped hand.

My MIL is the type who uses a knife to level the ingredients in her measuring cups. I even had a friend who would measure the water for her Kraft mac and cheese ("But it says 'use a quart of water'!" :::rolls eyes:::). Not me. And sometimes the things I make aren't edible, sometimes they're passable and sometimes they are absolutely stellar.

Same with my stories.

I usually start with a recipe (i.e. a basic plot with the characters I'll be using). I *think* know where I'm going or what I'm going to end up with. But then I'll get into it and the characters let me know I'm on the wrong track and I'll add or subtract or change.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But unlike cooking, the final product isn't done until I say it's done. I can go back and change and change until I'm happy with it.

Still... plotter or pantser?




PS I couldn't resist adding this book video since I titled the post after the song. I think it's one of the best songs about what makes a character: it's not the hair color or the clothes... it's this:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeling A Little Bit Writing Bi-polar...

Yup, you read that right. I'm feeling a bit battered and bruised and neurotic as I write this post. "Why?" you ask? Cuz I got a response from another ePublisher for my Cowboy story... and they're passing. *sigh*

Once again, the editor was perfectly nice and informed me that I had a great voice and was very talented... BUT she's going to have to decline this story. Have you ever just wanted to bang your head on your computer? That's how I felt... and still do. But, where does the bi-polar part come in? Glad you asked!

I had the pleasure recently to take part in a series of online workshops given by funny, sassy, wonderful author D.D. Scott. She does great classes about Muse Therapy. In one of the classes of the workshop she talks about "Writing Bi-Polar: I Suck vs. I'm a Genius". Go ahead, laugh, and nod your head all you authors out there... cuz you KNOW it's true and you know just what she's talking about. But if you ever have a chance to take one of her "Muse Therapy Workshops" I'd suggest that you RUN not walk to participate.

Anyway, in one of her lessons she gives suggestions on how to get past the lows of rejections and... "I suck!" moments. One of those suggestions is a "Quotes to live by" document or shoebox to help get over the downers, and keep you in the uppers (wow, that sounds bad... but truly it's not). And since I am currently dealing with my own personal "I SUCK!" moment, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite quotes from my own "To Live by" document:

“When the world says, ‘Give up’, Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’” --- Author Unknown
This one is probably my mantra right now. This story has been worked and reworked to the point that it doesn't even really resemble the original story... okay, except in a purely superficial way.

"Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!" Swing Time with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Frank Sinatra did his version of it as well.
This one has actually been a part of my life...well, for most of my life. I have been dancing (ballet, modern, jazz, etc.) since I was ... well, let's not say how young I was and suffice it to say I've been dancing almost 30 years and just go from there. Anyway, it's something that is a bit of a dancer mantra... everyone falls, and if you quit just because you didn't get it perfect the first time, you're never gonna make it in this business. The same can be said for writing for publication. If you let the first, second, third... hell, the HUNDREDTH rejection make you quit, then maybe it's not the business for you.

"The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground." ~ Author Unknown
This one gets me in soooooo many ways... and you know it does you too. Yes, sometimes we're little nuts. LOL And yes, if we hold our ground, we may just get to where those roots will help us grow.

So, while I'm feeling a bit down, and wondering why in the world I do this to myself, I think that my years and years of dancing, auditions, rejections and sometimes downright nasty comments about my physique (yes, those horror stories are true in most cases) have lent themselves to my philosophy on writing for publication. Nobody got it perfect the first time.

Heck, it's something I tell my little dance students, "Do you think that when I first tried this step that I got it perfect on the first try?" Granted, invariably they tend to nod their heads and think I did in fact master it in one try, but I quickly correct them, "NO! I fell, I tripped, I had to do it over and over again sometimes over a matter of years before I got it just right, and sometimes I STILL mess it up and I've been doing it for 30 years! The point is that you keep trying and eventually you'll get there."

Yeah, I know, I need to take my own advice. LOL And on that note, I think I'll go and set my Cowboy aside for a bit. Not for good, just until I can take another look and see if what is truly wrong with it is something I can see. Until then, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again with another story. How about the rest of you? Do you have something that helps you get past rejections? Do you have a quote that you want stapled to your forehead so you can always remember it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Author Interview ~ Wendi Zwaduk

Hey everyone, today is Monday. Yes, yes, I know you don’t really need (or even want) the reminder. And yet, here I am reminding you. Monday means author interview! YAY! LOL, yes, I’m a bit giddy today. Don’t ask. Anyway, today we have my very good friend Wendi Zwaduk on the couch today. Let’s all make sure she feels welcome… although I’m sure the Cabana Boys will take care of that for us.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Wendi! I know, you’ve hung out with us before, but this is the first time you’ve been on the couch as a “guest”. So sit back, get comfy, and let our Cabana Boys take care of you. Let’s get started.

Where are you from?

Ohio – in the middle of farm land and the unique scent of cow poops.

LOL, not so unique… pungent I’m sure. Are experiences in your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I lived near Mansfield Ohio growing up so the C-130’s mentioned in my Total E Bound story are what tended to fly over the house a lot. I also went to a college that had a flight program and the pilots in that program... whew. So yeah, a little personal, but not enough to embarrass myself.

Why… am I not surprised? Oh, because I know you! :-D If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Lora Leigh – because she’s down to earth, she’s willing to give advice and she doesn’t take herself seriously.

Gotta love an author who’s down to earth… Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I found a love of Joey W Hill’s books. I like her unconventional characters. The more I read Kelley St John’s fuller figured heroine’s the more I love them.

Ah, yes, a girl after my own heart. Do you see writing as a career?

Maybe if I get with a NY publisher. Right now I’ll stick to being a mom. I mean, if I had my druthers, I’d love to be the next big thing in the publishing world, but I also look at it that there are thousands of authors out there.

That’s a reasonable way to look at it. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Waiting! Tom Petty wasn’t kidding. The waiting is the hardest part. Between waiting for the response (being contracted) to the moment the book is in my hot little hands—patience is not my virtue, but it became that quick.

LOL, again, so not surprised. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Floating body parts – don’t use them unless you have Thing (from the Munsters) in your story. Readers don’t want to have to figure out whose hand you’re referring to.

You mean his eyes can’t travel down her body? LOL What does your family think of your writing?

My Dh loves it because he’s willing to sacrifice himself as my research partner. Yeah, it’s a hard job. But the rest of my family... Mom and Dad love it. Mom wants to open a chili cart where she can sell my ebooks out of the back. My extended family blushes, hems, haws and generally squirms, but I think they still love me. It’s just a bit of a hassle to convince them that even though I might write about a ménage, I haven’t tried one. And my gramma thought a ménage was a massage and wanted to try one... Yeah, that took some strange explaining.

They ALWAYS love being our research assistants… it’s the standing back and leaving us alone when the muse is in control they don’t always understand. And I think I would have liked to see that massage conversation… but you know I’m perverse like that. :-D So, now for our favorite “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Cats. They have attitude, but they still know when to give you attention. Plus, they are the best crit partners. They can listen to you mutilate a line and just blink. Then when you write something you’re really proud of, they still just blink and knock you down to size.

LOL, which is probably why I don’t have a cat… You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Going to prom on my own. Yup. I did. I think I would’ve put myself out there a bit more and asked the guy I liked. Or even gone and done something else a bit more fun—cause watching everyone else pair up isn’t my idea of a hot time. I just look back at it and think, gee, that was a waste of money and time. But you live and learn.

Like I’ve told ya before, I’d have been there with ya… causing all kinds of trouble. And we’d have had a blast. Too bad we don’t have a time machine… or maybe a good thing. :::shrugs::: What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from?

NO WORRIES! Which is hilarious because I am a notorious worry wart. When someone asks me to do something, like fix a line or crit their work, I reply, “No worries. I’ll get it done.” I think it came from those Outback restaurant commercials. But I could be wrong.

And how did I know that one? Oh, because now you have me saying it too… Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

There are so many—oy. Forrest Gump. I didn’t like Jenny much, but I could empathize with her struggles. But I gotta say that it ripped my heart out when he buried her and talked to her. Gets me every time. So yeah, I’m a sap.

Yup, love that too. Do you like thunderstorms?

I don’t mind them, but my bassett/beagle HATES them. She freaks out and wanders the house whining and drooling, so I don’t get to sleep through storms. Oh, and she thinks the bass on the surround sound is a storm. She spends a lot of time on edge—poor thing.

Poor thing… and poor you. Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not?

Yes, because my son has a nightlight that would blot out Las Vegas. Yeah, it’s a bright light but he HAS to have it on. So if I leave my door open, yup, I have light in my room.

LOL, you’ll have to test that theory out whenever you make it down here. Well, we’ve come to the end of our interview. As always, Wendi, it has been a blast hanging out with you. Not sure I’ve laughed this much in a long time. Thank you so much for joining us on the couch today. Congrats on your releases! I am so happy for ya, girl. Hang out, badger the Cabana Boys, and just have fun the rest of the day.

Wendi Zwaduk always dreamed of writing the stories in her head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are her favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. She earned a BA in education at Kent State university and currently holds a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University. She loves, NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and her menagery of animals. You can keep up with her online at her web home.

Right Where I Need To Be by Wendi Zwaduk

Logan Malone needs an acting job and fast. With his string of broken hearts, his professional life lies in shambles. To resurrect his career, he must audition for a television role which could be the job of a lifetime.

Cass Jenson needs an actor for her made for TV movie. The previous actor dropped out, leaving her stranded. Her savior shows up looking sinfully sexy and totally right for the part, but what part is she auditioning him for - her movie or her bed?

Learning How To Bend by Wendi Zwaduk

Their marriage is about to fall apart, but not if she can help it and he's willing to bend.

Abby Donovan imagined nothing could change her simple life as a librarian. Her loving husband Seth, a mechanic in the Air National Guard, is scheduled to return from a short deployment in Iraq. Before he gets home, a letter arrives. It seems Seth is asking for a divorce. She must decide whether to walk away without a fight or to wait and confront him with the thing he's always dreamed of - a ménage à trois. But all is not as it seems.

Seth Donovan wanted an idyllic life to go along with his career in the military. Then he sees the atrocities of war firsthand. A conversation with a colleague ends up as fodder for the rumour mill and so much more. Seth never wanted a divorce. He wants his wife. Will she accept him despite the rumours and advances from another man? Or can their relationship withstand the turmoil of war?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Commercial ~ Right Where I Need To Be by Wendi Zwaduk

Right Where I Need To Be by Wendi Zwaduk

Logan Malone needs an acting job and fast. With his string of broken hearts, his professional life lies in shambles. To resurrect his career, he must audition for a television role which could be the job of a lifetime.

Cass Jenson needs an actor for her made for TV movie. The previous actor dropped out, leaving her stranded. Her savior shows up looking sinfully sexy and totally right for the part, but what part is she auditioning him for - her movie or her bed?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ooops! Ran out of Time...

Like the title says, I ran out of time today and almost forgot this, so.... I thought I'd use a pic or two that I poached off of Wendi Zwaduk's blog. These two guys, whoever they are, are yummy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Brains

I like writing from a man's POV. I do... it's fascinating, but can be difficult. I've had more than one crit partner tell me, "Men don't talk that much. Cut back on the dialogue."

It's true. Men DON'T talk that much, at least not about relationship stuff, etc. Maybe about, oh, fishing or cars or guns, but not about how they feel.

It's an exercise in understanding the opposite sex.

Yesterday, I saw this video on a friend's Facebook page and it was absolutely PERFECT. Take a look and be prepared to laugh.

What do you think? Did you sit there and nod all the way through?

And, do you enjoy writing from the POV of the opposite sex? Why or why not?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Author Interview ~ Emma Lai

Hey everyone, today we have with us an amazingly nice lady… who just so happens to be an author! LOL Our guest on the couch here at The Menagerie is Emma Lai. Let’s all make sure she feels welcome. And I’ll make sure the Cabana Boys take good care of her.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Emma. I’m so glad you could join us today. Get comfy and we’ll get started. Where are you from?

This question never failed to get a rise out of me when I was younger. Since I’m of mixed heritage (Vietnamese/Anglo), this question was often used by people to try to figure out my ethnicity. I can be a pretty, perverse person sometime and would sometimes be deliberately obtuse in answering.

Q: Where are you from? A: From Houston.
Q: No, I meant where did you grow up? A: I lived in Houston until I was 10, in Dallas/Fort Worth area until I was 17 and then back to Houston.
Q: No, I meant where were you born? A: In Arizona.
At which point, the person throws up their hands. Sometimes I would take pity and sometimes I wouldn’t. Like I said, perverse.

In short, though I have travelled around the U.S. and lived in Richmond, VA and Roswell, NM for brief periods of time, I call Houston home.

LOL, nothing wrong with perverse. Don’t forget where you’re at today. Why don’t you tell us your latest news?

Well aside from giving birth to my first (and probably only) child last September, my first story, His Ship, Her Fantasy, released with The Wild Rose Press last August. The second story in the series, His Hope, Her Salvation, released in December. I’m currently working on the third story in the series. And, I’m working on edits for an erotic Regency, Twice is Not Enough. Readers can check my website, for updates.

So, my news varies from “The baby likes green beans,” to “I just heard back from my editor and …”

Hee hee, but at least you have news to share. :-D I’m tempted to ask if the baby likes peas too. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

LOL. I’m not sure I do consider myself a writer. I’m still in shock about my contracts. I thought when I signed my first contract, I would feel like a writer. Then, I thought when I received my awesome cover, the feeling would come. Next, I was sure it would arrive with the release of the story. What about after repeating the process? Nope. Maybe, after I sell a full-length and hold the finished product in my hands?

Maybe… but I think you should consider yourself one now. Just sayin… How did you come up with the title?

I love coming up with titles. For His Ship, Her Fantasy it was simple. Ellie was in love with a ship (her fantasy) and Alastair was charged with protecting the ship (his ship). For His Hope, Her Salvation the heroine needed rescuing and the hero had lost hope of ever finding his true love. And, for Twice is Not Enough, well I’ll leave that up to everyone’s imagination. (Remember, it’s erotic.)

Gotta love when it comes to you so easily… mine keep getting stuck with titles like “Max’s Story”, lol. What book are you reading now?

Besides, Rainbow Fish? (Baby book on colors for those who don’t know.) I have multiple books in progress. Forbidden Eternity by Skhye Moncrief. Her Reluctant Rancher by Anne Marie Novark. The latest book in Steven Erikson’s Tales of the Malazan Empire series.

Aside from the baby books, I read whatever strikes my fancy. Erikson’s books are weighty and require attention. Skhye’s books have an intelligent humor that I like. Anne Marie’s book, well who doesn’t love a cowboy? I also have a dozen books within easy reach in case I’m in a different mood.

Ahh, a girl after my own heart. I usually have any number of books going at the same time. And now for the “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

I generally hate how I look in pictures. I always think they make me look fat or my smile looks fake or my eyes are half-closed or or or... The real problem is I thought Barbie was the definition of beauty when I was growing up. And, I’m almost as far from a Barbie doll as one can get. I think this is why it’s easy for me to write heroines that aren’t the ideal body type.

I can certainly understand that, and I think a lot of us have that issue. Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

I sign my capital M’s two different ways depending on whether I’m signing my name or writing some other word. I also like to put two exclamation marks at the end of sentences and add a smile underneath.

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

I have lots of truly horrible experiences in my past, but I honestly think they’ve all helped to make me the person I am. I’ve dealt with them and moved on. How do I know? Because I don’t define my life by these things. So, while I still feel sadness for the girl who went through the turmoil, I wouldn’t change any of it.

That’s a great outlook to have. What do you want to know about the future?

As morbid as it sounds, I want to know how the world ends. Is a giant asteroid going to strike the earth? Is a supervolcano going to erupt? Is the earth going to enter the shockwaves of a supernova? Is the sun going to die and swallow the planet? So, many fascinating possibilities.

LOL, to each their own. Do you like thunderstorms?

I love thunderstorms if I get to snuggle under a blanket on my couch with my favorite book or husband or both. Living in Houston, we get some powerful storms that result in flash floods. It’s better to be inside. This knowledge paid off when we lived in Richmond, VA. A tropical storm settled over the city and poured rain for hours before the work day ended. Rather than try and reach home, we found a nice dry restaurant with power and watched on the big screen as the stranded motorists were rescued from their vehicles.

I have to agree, there’s nothing better than hanging out under a blanket with your sweetie when it’s raining outside. Well, Emma, that’s the end of our interview. It was so great to hang out with you today, and to get to know you better. Thanks so much for being here. Stick around and let our Cabana Boys take good care of you.

Emma likes nothing more than a challenge. First,she tackled the male-dominated field of engineering. Next, she expanded her understanding of the world by studying international relations. Finally, her husband dared her to use her experience and knowledge and devote herself to writing. She accepted his challenge and has been writing ever since.

Writing keeps Emma sane. Her characters demand their stories be told and nag her incessantly until she complies. The characters are very insistent about her remaining faithful to their individual adventures. As a result, Emma writes a range of genres and levels of heat. She never knows what the next set of characters will demand!

His Ship, Her Fantasy by Emma Lai

Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But who is he and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Pants or not to Pants... what the heck is it?

I was asked the other day if I was a pantser or a plotter. After crooking a brow at the asker, I casually mentioned that I had leather pants on, so I'd say I was a pantser--even if I prefer my CB's out of their pants.

The asker's eyes widened to the size of saucers and her mouth plopped open.

Now that's when my good friend Kealie stepped in and murmured in my ear that the person wanted to know if I plotted out my stories or wrote by the seat of my pants.


Well, I replied, that's not nearly as fun as my version.

So, I guess that means I need to answer the question.


Really, do I look like the type that plans a whole lot of anything out? No, I like to just let the characters decide where things will go (literally) and then let things play themselves out. And yes, things can go awry or totally awesome if you take this method. Then again, things can get out of hand and end up like crap, too.

I did try to plot a story once. And then when I sat down to pen it, everything ended up skewed, so I decided what I'd plotted was a waste of time other than I knew my characters pretty well.

But I yammer and digress and need to get back to the boys. They'll go to bed soon and are restless.

Ta ta!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Dancing!!!

I finally have a release date for "Shut Up & Kiss Me" -- this story will be available from The Wild Rose Press, Wilder Roses on May 21st!


Now that I have a date, I've started setting up some promotion. I'm working on getting some interviews out there, a couple of guest blogs and I've arranged to do a mini Virtual Tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

I'm also having them make a book video for me which I hope will be ready soon.

:::shivers with excitement:::

If anyone would like to have me come visit their blog, I'd sure love the chance. Email me? I'm at mystiholiday AT gmail DOT com

And, who has more ideas about promotions? I'm open to suggestions.

In the meantime, would you mind if I shared a little bit of the story with you?

Here's the blurb:
Kasey Davenport and Cole Roberts—adversaries since junior high when Cole did nothing but pull her hair, snap her bra strap, and tease her mercilessly—find themselves unexpectedly thrown together when Kasey is in town on a layover. As always, sparks fly between them, but this time the attraction simmering close to the surface explodes into a passion neither of them expected or wanted.

After years of mutual avoidance and denying their attraction, can Kasey and Cole stop arguing long enough to discover if what they feel will last more than just one night?

And a excerpt to tantalize...

“Look,” he said. “You can stay. I’m on call this week anyway and working a million hours. I probably won’t be around much.”

“Still working for the nuthouse?” she taunted.

“The psychiatric hospital, yes. I’m nearly done with my residency.”

“Ooh...then you’ll officially be Dr. Jerk.” She got to her feet, and tipped her head back to see his face. She was normally at least eye level to a man, but Cole had more than his fair share of inches. She wondered if he had more than his fair share of inches somewhere else, too. Her tongue darted out to moisten her suddenly dry lips and her gaze slipped down to his zipper.

“You’re going to want to stop doing that, Kase.” Cole’s voice rumbled low in his throat.

“Doing what, Cole?” She was less than a foot from the man and her fingers itched to grab hold of him and yank that body against hers—a desire she’d had since she found out just how much fun a man’s cock could be. Maybe even before then.

“Looking like you’re ready to have me for dinner.”

His hands squeezed into tight fists at his side, and she was amazed to find quite a bulge in the front of his jeans. For her? He’d never shown the slightest bit of interest before, but there was no mistaking his interest now. Maybe it was time to dance with the devil.

“ that you mention it, I am hungry.” A slow smile lifted the corners of her mouth and she raised her gaze from his crotch to his eyes—brown eyes so intense they nearly pierced a hole straight through to her heart. There was no denying her desire, or his. “Care to feed me?”

Hope you enjoy Kasey and Cole as much as I do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Author Interview ~ Honoria Ravena

Hey, all, it’s great to see ya… :-D Glad you could join us today here at The Menagerie. We have on our couch author Honoria Ravena, let’s all make her feel welcome.

Welcome, Honoria! So glad you could join us today. Make yourself comfy, but one (or two) of the Cabana Boys for a drink, and let’s get started. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Actually, I caught up with a friend from high school in my US History class. She wants to be a paranormal romance writer, so I offered to critique her work. She's very good, and doesn't make a lot of the mistakes that newbie writers make. And the small portion of her manuscript I critiqued left me wanting more. I hope to see her books on shelves some day.

Awesome, you’ll have to let us know her name when it happens. Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely. My goal is to be able to support myself as a full time author. Lol, at the moment I'm basically a full time author, but I'm far from supporting myself.

LOL, I think we all have that goal, in one way or another. How long does it take you to write a book?

About six months, I'm very slow, especially since I'm going to school. I only take two classes, but it puts me in such a foul mood that I have trouble writing. I love to learn, but not in a school environment.

LOL, school can put most people in a pretty foul mood. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read and watch TV. I love to shop. Clothes, shoes, and electronics. I really want a new cell phone. Though I don't know why, it’s not as if anyone calls me. I don't text message and I imagine all the extra games and such on phones cost money. That's just not something me or my mother are willing to pay for.

Not many of us are. What do you think makes a good story?

A high action plot. If nothing interesting is happening I'll put a book down, and promise myself I'll finish it, but then I never will.

I’ve found myself doing that a lot lately, lol. And now for the “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Cats. I'm a cat person. I don't really like dogs. They're too loud, and they jump, and nip, and follow you around. I want an animal that will ignore me once in a while. But I don't hate dogs. My mother is a dog breeder, so we have puppies here all the time, and any baby thing is cute. And I've always wanted a Siberian Husky, or Alaskan Malamute, but its kind of cruel to have one in the Texas heat.

What is your strangest habit?

Lol, I actually have quite a few. In another interview I mentioned that I wear my socks inside out. Well my food also can't touch on my plate. For example, on a turkey dinner, the turkey can touch the stuffing, but the stuffing can't touch the mashed potatoes, and the mashed potatoes can't touch the turkey. My father says "Who cares? It's all going to the same place." and my aunt says "They have medication for that."

LOL, I completely understand the no food touching thing… my hubby says the same thing as your father. It drives my foodie aunt up the wall when I won’t eat something she prepared the way she prepares it cuz I don’t want my food to touch… See, you’re not alone. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Tossing and turning, trying to sleep. It takes me anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours to get to sleep. It doesn't matter how much physical activity I had that day, or if I've been on for 24 hours straight, it will still take me at least an hour to get the sleep. And usually, the more tired I am, the longer it takes.

Yup, know all about that too. :-D Good thing I don’t mind being a night owl. What is your favorite animal?

I love big cats. Mainly tigers and mountain lions. And just so you know, if you ever research mountain lions use that term. If you type in 'cougars' you get older women looking for younger men, and if you type in 'puma' you get shoes. Sometimes researching on the internet is not a joy.

ROTFL, yeah, it’s interesting what things you will see when you punch in a seemingly innocent search term… What is your favorite pizza?

Pizza with eggplant. You can't get it down here. I had it when I was on Spring Break in Connecticut. But that was years ago, and I'm dying for some. So if anyone is willing to ship pizza to Texas, I'll tell them where to send it.

LOL, sorry, I’m nowhere close to Connecticut. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Yep. I like Pepsi. It's sweeter. Coke is kind of sour, and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

And that’s the end of our interview. Thank you so much, Honoria, for coming to hang out with us today. It’s been fun. Feel free to hang out and enjoy the scenery… :-D.

You can keep up with Honoria at her website: .

Biohazard by Honoria Ravena

Hunted by his people, the shapeshifter, Jayden, sheds his human skin after escaping his execution. 200 years later he’s still on the run. When he’s attacked in the remote woods in Wyoming, the last thing he expects is to be saved by a human woman.

When Maura finds a rough looking group of men hunting a tiger in her forest, she doesn’t hesitate to pull a gun on them and release the animal. What she doesn’t expect is for that frightening cat to change into a gorgeous, surly man with a tortured past.

But when his people threaten her life, will he save her, or leave her to the wolves?

Friday, April 2, 2010

What a Week...

I knew I had to write a post for today, but I had no idea what to write about.

So I thought and thought, and borrowed my CB's for a while...

I was then tired and still not sure what the heck to write about.

I settled on this: waiting. Yessir. You can probably tell, I hate to wait. I'm a princess kinda girl. Not to the point of putting people off, but I know what I want and how I want it... and when I want it. Kealie told me about having to wait for a response on her Cowboy. If it were me, I'd be in knots and clawing at the furniture...well, not in that way, but in that way. I mean, if they want the thing, why can't it just happen?

Because we have to...grrr....wait.

But in other news, I also sent my most recent bdsm story to my critique partners. It's my first and only first person story and it's not long, so we'll see what happens. I hope they like it and see the romance in the hot and heavy.

He he he he...

Oh, I saw him on Lucy Monroe's blog and thought maybe Mysti would like him as a present. What do you think? His name is Miguel.

And now back to my boys.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Special Guest Interview: Genella deGrey

Give a warm Menagerie welcome to author Genella deGrey, who was brave enough to take a turn on the Menagerie couch, in conjunction with the Goddess Fish Promotions virtual tour for her latest release, "Love Divine"!

You can find a listing of all her tour stops here, and remember -- Genella will be giving away a PDF of Love Divine  to one randomly drawn commenter, so let her know you were here!!

Now, we turn the couch over to Genella...

Genella, when and why did you begin writing?

I wish I had a definitive answer for you :) – I've been fooling around with writing stories since about high school, then picked it up again in late 1995. I seriously set out to get published in 2003. The why is even fuzzier. LOL I guess subconsciously I figured I was amusing myself with my stories, perhaps it was time to try and entertain someone else.

Obviously that wasn't the case, since your publisher enjoyed your book!! If you had to choose, which published author would you want to be your mentor?

Aside from all the wonderful authors already standing by me with their undying support, I'd really love to be in contact with Jude Deveraux. I cut my romance reading teeth on her historicals. A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Judith McNaught, who is also one of my early, super-favorite authors. :)

HEY.. they were two of my favorite authors when I was growing up, too!

So... we know "Love Divine" is your current release. What are your current projects?

I have an historical erotic romance coming out in June called, "Unmasked" which I'm really excited about. It takes place in very early Regency (1795) and features two heroes and two heroines. :) Right now I'm working on a sexy Victorian romance I call "Cat and Mouse" (but that's only a working title) about a feisty heroine who is forced to turn to thievery to survive. However, the poor girl isn't exactly proficient. LOL I also have a few sexy historicals in the queue awaiting to be given the green light from my publisher at Resplendence.

It seems as though the authors have to answer all the questions. Why don't we turn the tables? Do you have questions you’d like to ask your readers?

What would you like to see more of in the hero category? It seems us gals love the great hair, a devilish smile with the killer dimples—and of course, the tall. Broad shouldered guys – but is there anything you haven't seen and would like to?

Great question! I hope you get some clever answers.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Well, because I have a 9 to 5, it's rather sporadic. I work against both that ever-present word count and the clock. ;) Any time I can type in a few words, I do it. If I'm somewhere a computer isn't, I jot down thoughts on what ever will accept ink.

Sounds familiar. I'm sure most of our readers could sympathize with you. Besides your EDJ, what do you like to do when you're not writing?

Usually I watch movies. But when I really need to get out, I go see a live jazz or swing band. If I'm lucky, the venue will have a dance floor and a few guys who know how to lead. :)

And now it’s time for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions:

What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

I grew up with Dalmatians, exotic birds—I even had a rat and a hamster. So you know I love animals, but right now I have enough on my hands taking care of my five year-old. ;)

What is your strangest habit?

I have plenty of habits, but I'm not sure if they would be considered strange or not. One that I know of that isn't usually practiced is my infatuation with the paranormal. Not vampires and were-creatures, LOL, but the spirit world.

What’s a saying you use a lot?

What a fun question! Well, a few come to mind: "That's all, brother!" From my grandmother. "Well, bye." A quote from the movie, Tombstone. And there is always, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! (That's WTF, BTW. LOL)

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

I am the sappiest person I know. My feminine emotions hover close to the surface on a regular basis, not just PMS time. LOL The very worst movie for me was "City of Angels." I think I cried from the first scene of that film through the credits. I've seen the movie twice, and it was the same the second time. It just touched me on so many levels.

What is one thing scientists should invent?

A cure for cancer would be nice. And although I'd love to travel through time, I think history classes would not be able to catch up with the changes that would occur. ;)

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

I'd wish for the hatred between humans and religions would stop. I feel that there will never be peace on this earth unless we learn to co-exist and treat each other with respect. Common courtesy really isn't that difficult a concept and we need to teach it to our children from the very beginning. If I may quote Elvis Costello: "What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?"

Thanks, Genella!

Now, let's learn a bit about your book.

In the Highlands of Britannia, 420 A.D., Aslyn, was raised a Druid by her late mother.

Now Rome has returned, but in place of a legion of solders, a single man peddles a new Roman god.

Ryus Jorian was sent on a mission for the new religion. But instead of a cave of barbaric souls in need of saving, he finds an intelligent, beautiful, hedonistic distraction whom his Bishop finds equally delectable.

Ryus must choose between the salvation of his soul and the woman he loves.

Aslyn must escape before she becomes the Bishop’s newest sacrificial lamb.

An Excerpt:

Reaching up to entwine her arms around his neck, Aslyn’s heart raced when his mouth softly coaxed her lips part. She nearly toppled over when he groaned as her tongue touched his. The wood post which bordered the stable separated their bodies, and Aslyn longed to be rid of the thing.

Suddenly remembering that anyone who had a view of the stable could see them, she broke out of the kiss.

“We shouldn’t be—”

“I know, I’m sorry.”

Aslyn glanced over her shoulder and back up to Ryus. No one was about, but that could change at any moment. Her breath came out in a huff that may have been part laughter. “Let me finish. We shouldn’t be doing this here.”

She saw his eyes light up like flames. “Then where?”

“Come to me after sundown,” she whispered, unable to believe the words actually came out of her mouth. Oh, she was thinking them, but once they passed over her lips, the bones were cast. He would be leaving soon, and it would be good for her to take a few more memories with her to her grave.

Without another word, Aslyn pushed away from the stable fence and headed straight for her lodging.

She paced in her room and wrung her hands, the same way in she did just before she met Ryus in the ancient grove of Ardwinna.

Aslyn almost yelped when he came bursting through her front door.

“You have more faith in me than I do if you think I can wait until sundown.”