28 April 2011

Where does freedom end?

Yep, I'm breaking out the red ink for this one, which means someone has hacked me off royally.

Years ago, I met a new writer online named Judy Mays. Judy is, by far, one of the sweetest-natured writers I have ever crossed paths with...and talented to boot. She's a credit to the market, and her fans love her, with good reason.

This week, a group of parents in her small town have formed what amounts to a closed-minded and bigoted mob against her, demanding she be fired from her day job or give up her writing forever. Why? Though Judy has kept her writing life and private life separate for at least the last seven or eight years that I know of, some busybody came across the information that Judy writes erotic romance and went off half cocked, demanding she be fired...as a high school English teacher.

Now, mind you, Judy has never brought her writing into the classroom. She's never brought her pen name into the classroom. Some of her former students said they knew what she did, and it never bothered them that she wrote erom. So, what's the problem? Nothing but a bunch of bigoted, self-righteous fools that are trying to tarnish the good name of a great author and teacher and have outed her pen name, in the process.

I'll diverge here long enough to say that there is no inherent expectation of privacy on the internet. Unless you never use pictures of yourself, chances are, someone will find out what you do eventually, but the way it has been used against her is beyond the pale, and these parents and "news outlets" should be ashamed of themselves.

Nothing in her teaching contract says Judy can't write in her free time. Nor does it say what she's allowed to write. Considering the pittance teachers are paid, how they make ends meet is none of the school district's business. Not to mention that schools aren't paying teachers for their free time, and as such, they have no right to dictate that to teachers, as long as the teachers keep it separate, as Judy did. The parents brought it into the schools, not her, so she shouldn't be penalized for their stupidity.

And having a published author as a teacher means a stronger English teacher for the kids. Try going through edits a few dozen times and tell me it doesn't hone your understanding of the language.

Worse, her local news station seems to have taken the side of the mob. Not surprising, since controversy sells, but appalling. And while they are not approving all the comments in support of Judy (case in point...my own comment has not been approved, mild in comparison to some of the others posted though it is), a Facebook site started in support of Judy yesterday already has almost 4100 fans and hundreds of comments.

Show your support. I would love to get Judy over 10,000 supporters by the end of the day. It's certainly possible, so let's try it.

24 March 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to EPICon!

What, you might ask, is the point of this photo? In it, you can see 5 of the 35 banners...no kidding, 35!...Apple's iPad has hung in the (roughly) 60'x40' main room of Boston's South Station right now. They range in size from about a 4'wx8'h banner with just the name on it to huge 12' long or so models.

It was disconcerting, but it sure made an ebook author feel right at home!

Wahoo! Back around again and with lots of news!

Some of you folks know I've been out of touch for a bit. Between severely spraining both ankles (6 weeks in and still trying to heal), three weeks so far in a leg brace (but isn't the embroidered spider design too cool?)...and getting through EPICon (which I was co-chairing this year), I haven't had much time to blog.

So...what has everyone missed?

You folks probably remember that I finaled four books in the EPIC eBook Awards this year. I finaled THE COUGAR BOOK and COMING TOGETHER: INTO THE LIGHT in Anthology Erotic Romance/Erotica and BRIDE BALL and THE MASTER'S LOVER in Fantasy Erotic Romance.

And the big news is?

That's not the only news. BRIDE BALL was the #8 bestseller for Phaze in 2010. Not bad for a book that three NY agents and a NY editor turned down and said: "You can't do that in an urbanized fairy tale!" Not only did she final for the EPIC eBook Awards, but she also spent two months at the top of Phaze's site sales, weeks on top at Fictionwise, and then took one of the bestselling of the year!

WRITTEN IN THE STARS isn't sitting on its laurels, either. She took Joyfully Reviewed's Book of the Year for 2010!

Isn't Niki Browning's art for BELDON fab? EPIC seems to agree. The art was a finalist for the ARIANA cover art award this year!

OMG! The new releases since you've talked to me last! I've had five releases in just over two months.

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January 2011:

Hunter's Moon (NWW4) from Phaze in e-book

February 2011:

Raised to Be His Own (NWW- Histories) from Phaze in e-book

All's Fair... (IAGTM1) from Silver Publishing in e-book

BINARY STARS 8: Choosing A Mate/Starting A War (NWW-BINARY Histories) from Phaze in e-book

March 2011:

Daughters of Man: Prize Match (AW2) from Phaze

And I still have more coming in the first half of the year!

May 2011:

May The Best Man Win from Phaze

Spring 2011:

Monsters of Myth from Mundania Press, LLC. in e-book

Isn't that cover just gorgeous? I think so.

01 February 2011

Still Alive!

Yes, I'm still alive. I know some of you were wondering about that. Grinning. It's been a busy few months for me, so let's catch up.

I'm working as the Administrator for Silver Publishing (just named Love Romances Cafe and More's publisher of the year for 2010!). For those of you not familiar with Silver, we put out primarily sensual and erotic romance books...a few traditional heat level tossed in. The catalog is weighted toward quality M/M, but we also do M/F, and we have some of the best names in the industry working with us.

That takes up a lot of time, especially December, when we released about 35 books onto 13 distribution channels in 25 days...seriously. But I'm still finding time to write, as well. In fact....

I have THREE book releases scheduled in the next two weeks!


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Raised to Be His Own (Night Warriors Histories) -

What if...Veriel had managed to steal Erin/Jayde but Anna was killed or left behind?

What if she'd been raised in seclusion, lied to, denied her training...crafted into the perfect mate for the beast? What would she have been told? What would she be like?

Would she have chosen him in the end? Or would she have embraced her true mate, given the chance to? It all happened in an earlier beast war.

Welcome back to Night Warriors Histories, where Gaffin and a team of other Warriors have tracked Veriel to the greatest prize of all...Ragath.

Available from Phaze

Cover art by Anastasia Rabiyah

HEA-yes, VIOLENCE-moderate/high, LANGUAGE-moderate, SEX-sensual

HUNTER'S MOON- Set in the years between the two sections of NIGHT WARRIORS, this book answers questions about what happened in Hunter, while the search for Erin went on. The Hunter men need heirs to the house. In "Stephen's Sacrifice," the headstrong youngest brother learns that what you say is not always what you do. Mated with the spunky Gabrielle, he has to defend her when she uncovers a plot to track the missing Hunter daughter by way of court records. In "Colin's Challenge," Colin learns that you should never say never. Tracked by a reporter he saved, he has to convince her to accept his protection and drop her story before it gets her killed. By the time he convinces her to let him be the mate he swore he would never be, she may have alienated the entire Hunter house. Finally, in "Laura's Luck," we learn the answers to the questions raised about the prized Laura Briony in the first book. Can a formerly mated man find happiness in the arms of another woman? Will Corwyn finally get his happily ever after?

Cover art created by Kendra Egert

Coming from Phaze 8 Feb 2011!


All's Fair...- All's Fair in Love and War. It better be. When a grudge match between the gods of love and war catches the next generation in their battle, sparks will fly. But they won't be sparks of anger.

Five millennia ago, Davon -- Horseman of War, son of Ares -- insulted Eros, God of Love and Lust. Young and headstrong, Eros decided to teach Davon a lesson about his own nature. Until the young horseman can embrace the god of love with affection, he will be impotent. Such a loss for his lovers.

While Davon cannot stomach the idea of embracing Eros with anything but his hands around the other man’s scrawny throat, Love will eventually find a mate and produce heirs that Davon might have a chance of liking, despite their parentage. After all, it is Love's nature to do so.

When two strange men who don't show up on film save Khrystal from a mugger, her life takes a turn toward the strange. Considering the fact that her mother is a psychic who is completely besotted with her husband, a man that left them two decades earlier, saying Khrystal’s life has become weirder is saying a lot.

Cover art created by Reese Dante
HEA-yes, VIOLENCE-moderate, LANGUAGE-moderate, SEX-lightly erotic

Available for PRESALE NOW at Silver Publishing! Releases February 12th, 2010!

12 January 2011

EPICon(TM) Special Events for the Year!

I've already told you about the special guest speakers this year and the class tracks... What about other special events?

The Awards Banquet and Awards Ceremony is pretty much assumed to be stellar. The banquet meals alone this year are fab! We have a choice of Flat-Iron Steak, Potato Crusted Atlantic Salmon, and Vegetable and Pasta with a choice of either Potato and Corn Chowder or Garden Vegetable Soup on the side. Lisa has some great entertainment plans. I'll have to check with her to see how much I'm allowed to tell you about that.

Saturday afternoon, we are having a New Voices Celebration. We'll award any winners attending, and we'll have time to rub elbows with the kids. In addition, there will be a fun buffet snack served: chocolate-dipped apple wedges w/ carmel sauce, fresh buttered popcorn, nachos w/ guacamole and salsa, hot pretzels w/ dijon mustard and yellow mustard...soft drinks, bottled water, iced tea, and lemonade. The celebration is open to all attendees, young and old.

Speaking of which... The New Voices track on Saturday (which includes lunch, the celebration, and classes) is only $35 for attending teachers and students (middle and high school aged). If you know a school that would like to take advantage of this, they can also purchase the 3-day passes to the historic district from us for their attending teachers and students...and use the convention hotel on our con fee prices. Since we're not limited, why not?

The Friday break will be in the morning and will be the Colonial Williamsburg Signature Ice Cream Bar. My doctor is going to hate me for this one, but who doesn't like a good ice cream sundae?

The Friday keynote luncheon is a special buffet the hotel makes called the "Cascades." It includes:
Chopped garden salad
Woodlands signature ranch dressing
Ale-braised potted beef with vegetables and mushrooms
Roasted vegetable and potato casserole
Bakery-fresh rolls
Warm orchard apple pie with vanilla bean sauce
Coffee, tea, decaf, iced tea

The Saturday keynote luncheon is a plated lunch with a choice of Grilled Basalmic-Laced Vegetable Wrap, Grilled Chicken BLT Wrap, or Huzzah! Deli Sub Sandwich and a choice of vegetable soup or beef and barley soup.

The Friday dinner will be a costume optional meal. It's not something we typically do at EPICon(TM), but it sounded like WAAAYYY too much fun. If you own (or want to own) historical clothing -- from any era...let's make this fun -- and want to make this meal more fun than it will already be, come dressed to amuse yourself and amaze others!

The meal is called the "Colonial Feast" and will include:
King's Arms Tavern Peanut Soup with Sippets
Poached fillet of flouder atop a bed of herb-seasoned rice with creole sauce
Southern-style fried chicken
Roasted pork loin with pork au jus lie
Country Style Corn Fritters
Sweet Potato Pudding
Sauteed Zucchini with Snap Beans and Pecans
Salmagundi (an 18th C combination of garden greens, VA ham, roast turkey breast, aged cheddar cheese, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, and herb dressing)
Loaves of Sally Lunn Bread
Sour Cherry Trifle
coffee, decaf, tea

The Colonial Feast is served on a Lazy Susan, and servers will be coming around with pitchers of ale during the meal. MAKE SURE to bring your ID, or you will not be served, no matter your age. House rules.

The Sunday morning Farewell Breakfast Buffet will include:
Tomato Juice
Seasonal fruit and bananas
Assortment of cold cereals with whole and skim milk
Scrambled eggs
Sweet Country ham
Skillet-fried potatoes
Buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup
Breakfast pastries
Butter and preservatives
Coffee, decaf, tea, milk, and skim milk

Remember that a Continental Breakfast is included in the hotel and will be available for every morning of our stays, including anyone not staying late enough to enjoy the Farewell Breakfast.

Most attendees are probably aware that you can purchase a 3-day pass to Colonial Williamsburg with a con attandence...or for guests of attendees. The historic district has all sorts of demonstrations and events, some for free and some paid events. I've heard that the two ghost tours are fantastic, for instance.

If anyone is bringing children, there are costume rentals for children and a "children's tour" that includes things like helping to churn butter and learning how to make candles. Children are HIGHLY discouraged from taking the adult ghost tour and attending the witch trial. They are very intensive events and not suited to young ones.

EPICon(TM) Scheduled Classes for This Year!

Our wonderful class track coordinators, Elizabeth and Ashley, have come up with a great little collection of classes this year.

Friday classes-

The Paranormal: Reality and Myth, Investigation and Investigators, and Equipment Used
Do Your Homework
Researching and Writing Historical Fiction
Point of View- Types, Pros and Cons, Choosing a Head, Head Hopping
More Than Throwing Punches: Writing Great Action Scenes
To Be or Not to Be and Other Editing Quandaries
Angela Knight- Writing Sex Scenes
World Building in Erotic Paranormals/Fantasy/Science Fiction
Sensual/Erotic Publisher Panel
Bringing Pirates to Life
What Editors (Don't) Want to See in A Submission
Social Networking

Saturday classes-

Plotting and Pantsing- Finding Your Writing Style
Savvy Searching for Writers
Mike Woodcock- Hostage Negotiation
Publisher Forum
How hard do you have to work to make history boring?
Manuscript Corsetry: Tighten Up that Story!
Building a Character- Voice, Characteristics, Stereotypes, Archetypes
Bobbin Lace
Leveraging Electronic Publishing in the Standard Publishing World
Promoting: Before and After

EPICon(TM) Who is coming this year?

Registration hasn't closed yet, of course. We still have three weeks to go, and we always get a spate of last-minute registrations, as we announce the schedule...coming up next!

Julia Rachel Barrett

Marci Baun

Sean Brennan

Lisa Brennan-Webb

Leslie Roy Carter

Margaret L. Carter

Ashley M. Christman

Larry K. Collins

Lorna Collins

Marie Davies

P. June Diehl

Lucinda M. Dugger

Brianna Gainer

Zena Gainer

Treva Harte

Kathleen Heady

Toby Fesler Heathcotte

Sara Hermann

Norma Huss

Ilena Holder

Pamela K. Kinney, aka Sapphire Phelan

Honey Jans

Angela Knight

April L'Orange

Michelle Levigne

Brenna Lyons

Kagami Kat Lyons

Anne Manning

Darlene Marshall

Cate Masters

Linda McLaughlin

Karen Morris

Kathy Overton

Hank Quense

Janet Quinn

Mona Risk

Debra Webb Rogers

J.M. Snyder

Ellen Spain

Debi Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan

Cindy Vallar

Tom Vallar

Lt. Michael Woodcock

Pamela Woods-Jackson

EPICon(TM) Special Guests!

We have several special guests this year, and I'm proud to announce them.


Our main keynote will be Lucinda Dugger, Outreach Coordinator of the Copyright Alliance. Since EPIC has shown a marked interest in copyright issues of late, we arranged for Lucinda to join us and talk about copyright with us.

Lucinda is the director of outreach and field initiatives for the Copyright Alliance where she is leading a grassroots movement of creators. Previously she was the research associate for education at the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. While there, she encouraged mayors and councilmembers to create partnerships with their school districts in order to improve public schools.

Before moving to Washington, DC, Lucinda worked at the Research Center for Arts and Culture in New York City where she sought funding for and engaged in research on current artistic practices surrounding aging artists. As a visual artist, Lucinda has taught art to both children and adults in numerous settings, including the Kalamazoo Public Schools, the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center, and Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II in Peru. She has also exhibited her own paintings in galleries within the United States and abroad.

Lucinda is currently chair of the Takoma Park Arts and Humanities Commission in Takoma Park, Maryland. While serving on the Commission, she visualized and coordinated the city's successful annual community-wide Open Studio Tour.

Lucinda holds a master of arts in arts administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor of fine arts in painting and a bachelor of business administration in advertising and promotions from Western Michigan University.



The New Voices track keynote will be Debra Dixon. Attendees from last year will already know that Debra is part owner of Belle Books and an accomplished author. Her Goals, Motivation, Conflict class is renowned. This year, Debra will be talking about Developing the Writers' Voice.

Why does everyone harp on voice? Voice is a writer's most valuable asset and can be the difference in editorial support versus just "filling a slot" in the list. Discover how to develop your voice and use that unique "you" to connect with readers. Learn how to value the experiences of your life and let them shine through your writing. Every author should bring something special to the page. Competent just won't cut it. You need voice to find and hold audiences in this ever crowded marketplace of competent writers. You need command of your voice so that you can bring something new and authentic to each genre you write. Explore the secrets of the writer's voice with Debra.

Debra Dixon knows her way around publishing. She's written ten books, contributed to twelve anthologies, served as Vice-President of Romance Writers of America, and developed novel writing courses for a local university. Debra's popular GMC:Goal, Motivation, and Conflict workshop spawned a book now in its ninth printing.

She's also President of BelleBooks and its imprint Bell Bridge Books. In the ten years since opening their doors, they've released over eighty titles, had an author on Oprah, and seen their titles picked up by major New York publishers in subrights deals for mass market paperback, foreign editions, book club and large print. In the last year, their titles have repeatedly claimed Top Ten slots on the Amazon Kindle Paid Bestseller List and been featured in the Apple iBookstore. Their authors include NYT Bestsellers Sarah Addison Allen, Jill Barnett, Sharon Sala, Sabrina Jefferies, and Deborah Smith.

In 2010, Debra began working with NYT Bestseller Jill Barnett to publish her incredible backlist of romance novels in ebook formats for the first time. In addition to working with some of the company's reprint titles, Debra is the Acquiring Editor for Bell Bridge Books science fiction, fantasy and young adult lists.

Debra believes that sleep is completely overrated.



* Angela Knight will be joining us this year and giving a class on writing sex scenes! For anyone unfamiliar with Angela...

Angela Knight is the New York Times bestselling author of books for Berkley, Red Sage, Changeling Press, and Loose Id. Her first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. A few years later, she read The Wolf and the Dove and fell in love with romance. Besides her fiction work, Angela's publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name.

In 1996, she discovered the small press publisher Red Sage, and realized her dream of romance publication in the company's Secrets 2 anthology. She went on to publish several more novellas in Secrets before editor Cindy Hwang discovered her work there and asked her if she'd be interested in writing for Berkley. Not being an idiot, Angela said yes.

Angela lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a polygraph examiner and hostage negotiator for the county's Sheriff's Office. The couple have a grown son, Anthony.

* Lt. Michael Woodcock, Angela's husband, will also be joining us. On Saturday, Mike will be teaching a two-hour class on hostage negotiation for us. Like the fabulous forensic archeology class we had last year, this class has wide-ranging appeal for all sorts of writers.

* Barbara Satow of the LoC will be joining us on Saturday morning to talk about savvy researching for writers! Sounds like a stellar class.