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Friday, March 31, 2006

Toddlers in restaurants

Why do we do this to ourselves?!

Just because we never go out, we decided last night to take the kids out to a restaurant. Can you say NIGHTMARE? Okay, it could've been worse (I suppose). But it was far from the relaxing, enjoyable evening we'd pictured.

Our youngest, Jacob, isn't quite two years old yet. But he's well on his way to full-fledged "Terrible Two's". What can I say? He's advanced. LOL He was squirming and whining before the waitress made it to our table to take our drink orders. Why we didn't just get up and leave is beyond me. But we decided we'd tough it out. We were determined to sit there and eat our meals. Thank goodness the other kids were good so we only had one causing trouble.

Long story short, the seven year old and my hubby ended up with Coke all over them, the hubby didn't get to eat his dinner until after I'd finished mine and we vowed to NEVER do that again :) Oh, and my hubby has hopes that one of our children will indeed someday be a starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers 

Sometimes we're too stubborn for our own good. Bull-headed. That’s what my grandmother used to call me. Being the woman she was, she said it with all the love she had. The woman adored her grandbabies. But she was right. I am bull-headed. And I believe it is/was that bull-headedness that has carried me through the trials of becoming a published author. I’ve gotten plenty frustrated over the years, still do. But it’s my blind determination to not give up that’s gotten me where I am--which I admit, isn’t so far...yet.

So here’s to bull-headedness! It’s an asset in this industry. Sharpen up those horns...and charge!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:01 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Drool alert!



Stolen Goddess by Tawny Taylor (Coming to Ellora's Cave April, 2006)

When Kylie Mannings answers the door on Halloween evening, expecting a couple of toddlers in pumpkin costumes, she quickly learns that Snickers bars don’t make the most effective weapon against kidnappers. In quick order, two thugs have her overpowered and unconscious. To her chagrin, she wakes up nude, tied to a bed, and the prisoner of a strange man. A powerful, very sexy man who insists she’s his wife and some kind of goddess. Uh…hello? She’s pretty sure she’d remember a little thing like being married. And a goddess…puhleez. If only she could convince her whip-wielding captor of his minor confusion.

Xur Phoenix has gotten his wife, the Goddess of Celestine, back at last. But much to his surprise, she claims she doesn’t know him. Whether her supposed memory loss is genuine or a part of another sexy role-playing game doesn’t matter. With her bound and helpless, a victim of her own darkest desires, he’ll refresh her memory in no time. For her own safety, and his sanity, she needs to remember who her Master is—and fast!

Unfortunately, with a killer on the loose, there’s bound to be a few more surprises for them both.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:16 AM | 4 comments

The agony ends...

Okay, so I'm still waiting for a lot of stuff, but at least I've had some relief.

I found out my novella Stolen Goddess will be published sometime in April (Yay!!).

I just received the cover art for Stolen Goddess (OMG, it's hot!).

I found out About Monday, my paranormal romantic comedy (published under my pseudonym Sydney Laine Allan,) received 4 stars from Romantic Times (HUGE sigh of relief!)

I'm doing some happy dancing today! Wanna join me?

Oh, and I'll post the RT review and Stolen Goddess blurb separately, so they don't get all mushed together. Stay tuned. You WANT to see the cover for Stolen Goddess. I promise you :)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:10 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Patience, thou art my friend.

I HATE waiting.

No doubt about it, I'm a girl of the twenty-first century. I expect everything now and I lack the patience to wait for anything. {sigh} I pace in front of a microwave while waiting for my pre-cooked, pre-packaged frozen beef tenderloin dinner to cook. Those three minutes feel like a lifetime.

And wouldn't you know it, I picked a career that requires not just a small amount of patience, but boatloads of it!

I've tried to keep busy, to distract myself from the agony of The Wait. I swear I have. I keep writing, writing, writing. Submitting, submitting, submitting. But my nerves are constantly on edge. I'm waiting for so many things--edits, releases, responses to submissions, my first Romantic Times conference. Every day, all day, I feel like I'm on the verge of getting either extremely wonderful or absolutely horrible news. It's driving me crazy.

Anyone else feel this way? Is there a cure? Besides healthy doses of valium?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:52 AM | 4 comments

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Give it to me straight...

I'm seeing a TON of anthologies being published lately by the Big Houses (aka publishers in NY) for their new erotica lines. There seem to be more anthologies/collections than full length stories. Yet, when I'm at work, it seems that readers steer clear of anthologies when they're buying, with the exception of a few ladies who prefer to read a complete story in one sitting.

So I ask, do you like reading shorter works like novellas? When it comes time to plunk down your dollars on a book (to the tune of $12 or more) will it be a full length novel that you choose or an anthology?

I'll admit, as long as one of my fave authors are in an anthology, I'll buy. But I will NOT purchase an anthology full of authors I don't know. I tend to try new authors with novels. Kind of strange, but for me that's the way it is. It takes something really compelling to convince me to pick up the book of a new author. A really catchy title or premise. Rarely will I see something that compelling in an anthology.

Anyone want to share their thoughts? I'm anxious to hear.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:02 AM | 6 comments

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm a Guest :)

Tawny Taylor at Kate Steele's blog this Monday! Tawny will be sharing 'the call' story for her upcoming Kensington book!
Visit Tawny and Kate at
KateSteele.com
This Monday!

Check out Kate's cover for her upcoming print release, To Trust a Wolf. Is that gorgeous or what?!


posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:08 PM | 0 comments

A FANTASTIC (and free!) writing workshop!

I'm veering from my usual Manic Monday fun and frolic to post a blurb about a terrific writing workshop going on right now at www.romancedivas.com.

This is proving to be a very challenging and insightful workshop about creating compelling conflict. I'm taking copious notes and learning a lot.

Here's the info. The "teacher" is Robyn DeHart:

CREATING COMPELLING CONFLICT
March 25 - April 1, 2006

We all know that conflict is a necessity to good fiction, but with so many acronyms and charts , creating conflict can be downright confusing. We'll take a look at all aspects of conflict, from how to create it within your characters to how to make it strong enough to sustain your plot, but allow for a satisfying ending. We'll dig deep and take a concentrated look on internal conflict and how this applies to your character arcs.


posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:10 AM | 0 comments

Friday, March 24, 2006

The pleasures and perils of writing contests...

For many authors, published and unpublished both, today is an important day. It's the day finalists for the Golden Heart and RITA awards are announced.

For those following the finalists, here is a link to a site keeping up-to the minute lists of all finalists: http://www.melyndabethskinner.com/finalists.htm

I've never won the Golden Heart. Never won the RITA either. Never entered either one.

For those who don't know, the Golden Heart is an award given by the Romance Writers of America. Only unpublished authors are allowed to enter. The RITA is the published author's equivalent.

Why I haven't entered either contest is a complicated issue. I tried entering a few RWA chapter contests and learned pretty quickly it's not easy to win if you tend to write stories that are a little "outside of the box". Finaling is largely a matter of luck--not getting one of the judges who feel they must be particularly tough for the authors' own good. My luck tended to suck in that department. The few contests I entered, I got two great scores and one horrible one. By luck of the draw, my books always landed in the hands of those judges.

Did my lack of contest wins hold me back? Heck no!

Do I think writing contests have their purpose? Perhaps, though I don't see them being a particularly effective way for unpublished authors to get manuscripts in front of editors and agents.

{Gasp!} Did I just say that? I'll say it again, I don't see writing contests as a particularly effective way for unpublished authors to get manuscripts in front of editors and agents.

I read somewhere that the percentage of manuscripts contracted among contest finalists/winners was exactly the same as manuscripts contracted from the slush pile. If that statement is true, then a unpublished author entering a contest is spending a great deal of money for *the chance* to get their manuscript to an editor... when they could spend a great deal less and get it there for sure.

Hmmm...

What about time? Will the manuscript--assuming it is a finalist--be read quicker if it's entered in a contest?

We have to consider the time it takes for an entry to be collected, judged by first round judges, returned to contest coordinators and then shipped to the final round judge. Then the final round judge reads and ranks the finalists and requests those that seem promising...and THEN the copy that the author hurries off to the editor goes where? Into the slush pile.

The entire process will take months at the least.

Hmmm...

So, if contests are not an effective "shortcut" around the slush pile, what good are they?

They are a good way to build your name recognition (assuming you win).
They are a good way to build a writing resume (again, assuming you win).
They are a good way to network (in the case of the American Title competition).
They are a good way to build your confidence (assuming the negative feedback you're bound to receive here and there won't completely destroy it).
They are a good way to get (somewhat biased, see below) feedback on your work.

Here's the deal with the feedback:
When you enter an RWA chapter contest you will get a feel for how your project strikes a very small population of romance readers. RWA contest judges are (generally) not your average reader, the kind who walks into a bookstore once a week to slap down twenty bucks for a week's worth of escapism. Most readers "Out There" in bookstores are not writers. They might think about writing but not seriously. They are just readers who have come to appreciate the entertainment value of a good book.

In contrast, contest judges are almost always writers, and usually unpublished writers in varying stages of learning their craft. They're familiar with "The Rules" of romance. There's the "Deep POV" rule. The "No Headhopping Rule" the "Hero and Heroine Must Meet Early" rule and the "No To-Be Rule". They nitpick contest entries, examine them and measure their worth based upon a scoresheet.

But, we're not trying to measure our book's appeal to the average reader, we're trying to measure its publishability, its potential appeal to editors and agents. Those people do care about "The Rules." Right?

Yes...and no. While it's true a poorly written book will not be published, there's no guarantee that a book that follows all The Rules will be published either. Why? Because it's not just about the writing. It's not just about those first three chapters. It's not about how well a book fits a scoresheet or a checklist. It's about The Story. Have you noticed how many manuscripts win contests over and over and over again but are never published?

I repeat: It's the Story. The beginning. The End and Everything in between. It's what makes the book unique in a marketplace stuffed to capacity with products all vying for a customer's dollar. It's the book's potential packaging.

So, what's my point in all of this?

1. Just because your book may tank in a contest does not mean it isn't the stuff of a NY Times Bestseller.

2. Enter contests with realistic expectations.

3. Don't get caught up in becoming a "contest slut", producing two, three, four or more unfinished-but-contest-winning manuscripts.

4. Spend your money on postage (submitting to agents and editors) and books.

5. Read, read, read. Find a niche, a hole in the market, and take a chance.

6. Write, write, write. Finish one book, two, three, more. Write every day.

Do these, and you just might be the next Dan Brown...or Angela Knight. Who knows, you might even with the RITA someday :)

Congratulations to the RITA and Golden Heart finalists!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:58 PM | 6 comments

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This week's review quote and what I'm reading

Wow, I missed a day. One day. And I felt guilty as heck. I guess this blogging thing IS becoming a habit :)

I just received a terrific review this morning from Susan White, Coffeetime Romance. It was so great, I thought I'd post a bit of it here.

Ms. Taylor is a wonderfully gifted author who never fails to use her creative imagination to keep me totally enthralled in her fabulous stories. I recommend Light My Fire to anyone who likes dragons and tales of the paranormal. I hope we learn more about the Guardian Protectors and their people in future books. More Immortal Secrets please!

A HUGE thank you to Susan!

I thought I'd also share what's on my to-be-read list. I'm an avid reader, although I don't have nearly as much time as I'd like to read. My TBR list keeps growing and growing, but here's the top couple on the stack.

Currently reading: The Spy Who Loves Me by Julie Kenner.
I've read a couple of other single titles by Ms. Kenner and LOVED them. Carpe Demon. LOVED it! Givenchy Code. AMAZING! This one is shaping up to be a keeper, just like the others.

Next: Master of the Night by Angela Knight
I KNOW when I pick up a book by Angela Knight it's going to be GREAT. She's an auto-buy author for me.

What's sitting at the top of your TBR stack?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:12 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

March SURE is ending on a great note!

The month started like a lion, really chewed me up! But the flurry of good news is making up for all the yucky stuff I had to deal with earlier this month.

Check out what came in the mail yesterday.



It's kind of hard to read the text, so here's the Tagline:

"Go ahead, make my afterlife..."

And the back cover copy:

THERE IS NO SEX IN PURGATORY.

Nine years ago, Claire Weiss died, which put a serious crimp in her plans. Now, she's caught in Purgatory, waiting for that Big Day when she can reanimate and return to earth and have sex at last! Nine whole days of chocolate! Cute shoes! Real beer! And, most important of all, a chance to reconnect with the object of her long-denied lust, hunky Jake Faron. The minute she materializes in front of her favorite old haunt, er, bar, Devil's Night--complete in a Halloween get-up of lingerie and high-heeled mules--she locks eyes with Jake, who is as hunky as ever.

Hard-muscled body? Check.
Bone-melting smile? Check.
Big...hands? Check, check, check.
Goodbye, Purgatory--Hel-looo, heaven.


The rules are that Claire has nine days to investigate her mysterious death, solve the crime, and do good deeds for others (not as easy as it seems, people) before returning to Purgatory. But she also has nine hot, steamy nights to do absolutely everything she's ever dreamed about doing with Jake. And that's a good thing, because not only does Jake have a secret that could change her whole afterlife, but he's perfectly capable of showing a love-struck ghost plenty of heaven on earth...

Coming from Kensington, October, 2006
ISBN 0-7582-1507-X

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:00 AM | 0 comments

Monday, March 20, 2006

Whoo hoo!



It's just a matter of time before I have some more good news to share :)

I just turned in edits on a new novella for Ellora's Cave. The contract is on the way. As soon as it's received, I'll post a blurb.

STOLEN GODDESS is a sci fi erotica with bondage and an uber-sexy hero named Xur who has a bod like Vin Diesel.

Yummy!

Anyone else have good news to share today? I'm in the mood to celebrate. Oh, and what do you think of my inspiration?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:58 AM | 2 comments

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hello, I'm Tawny and I'm a Blogaholic

It's official. I have a blogging habit. It started when I decided I needed to set up a blog. For professional reasons, you know (guilty smile). Because all the authors are doing it (I sound like my teenagers).

It’s been two weeks. Now, not only do I blog every day (when I had previously thought there was NO WAY I'd be able to find something to blog about EVERY SINGLE DAY), but I caught myself blog surfing last night, looking for fun stuff to read.

Should I start a 12-step program? Blogaholics Anonymous?

Forget that! I’m not ready to quit yet! Hah!

So, my question to all of you today is: Do you blog? Why? What’s your blog URL (I need to feed my fix)? And what are your fave blogs to read (more, gimme more)?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:53 AM | 3 comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hoping you all enjoy a little luck of the Irish today! (And drink more than a little green beer)

Sadly, I won't be drinking any beer. I'm at home with a sick 7-year old. Have a few (or more) for me, will you?

Good Luck Omens to Look for
on St. Patrick's Day

The Wonderful World of Longmire

1. You find a four-leaved clover while removing belly-button lint from your navel.

2. Green water is flowing uncontrollably from all water outlets in your home.

3. You notice a leprechaun's bloody shoe in your dog's mouth.

4. You hear an echoed voice saying "Manly, yes, but I like it too" while you're showering.

5. You follow a rainbow to its end and find a pot of steamin' hot Cheez Whiz.

(Click the link above to read the rest)

And of course it wouldn't be St. Patty's day without a few limericks :)

St. Patrick's Day Limericks
by Tinbender

A lass, one beautiful morn,
Fell in love with a male unicorn,
She purchased a spell,
Recited it well,
Now she's with him with hooves, tail, and horn.


A man, while drinking Light Bud,
Crashed his car with a sickening thud,
The car that he hit,
Had a warlock in it,
now he lives as a frog in the mud.


A man, while drinking green beer,
Felt a tail push out of his rear,
The changes weren't done,
As he started to run,
And went into the woods as a deer.


He carefully recited the verse,
To halt his dread werewolf curse,
He didn't do well,
As you plainly can tell,
For now his curse works in reverse.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:27 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, March 16, 2006

graduations, leprechaun traps and Mont Blanc pens

Today is a big day. For a few reasons.

First and foremost, it's Family Day at Ft. Jackson for the graduates of Army boot camp. Sadly, March being the horrible month it has proven to be this year, I wasn't able to make the trip (see the first post). My oldest son will graduate from boot camp tomorrow. Talk about big time guilt :( Why oh why couldn't we have one last week's Big Game drawing?! I'm so very proud of my son. He's overcome so much to get to this point. Years of medication for seizures. Learning difficulties. He suffered a broken rib in boot camp, still he kept going. He didn't quit.

Jonathan, I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of you!

But there is a brighter side to this day. My first-grader had a project due today--a Leprechaun trap. If there is one thing my seven year old is into, it's science. He has obsessed about this project for weeks. This morning, he walked into his classroom with the HUGEST smile on his face, carrying a three-foot structure he'd built out of plastic Tinker Toys. Ah, the joy of accomplishment! And the joy of watching a child reap the rewards of his hard work.

Speaking of rewards, I've had a couple (moving into writer mode).

I won second place in the PUTTING PASSION INTO PRINT pitch contest :) My Mont Blanc pen is in the mail! Yay!

Some people may ask why a multi-published author feels the need to enter writing contests. I had one judge actually write that on a contest entry once. It's simple--I need to challenge myself. To put my work out there in a competitive arena where everyone is on a level playing field. Where an author's name won't sway the judging. Where dollars spent on marketing won't matter. I need to see how I can improve, how I can grow. How I can make my writing stand out. There's another reason, I'll admit. I think I have something to prove to myself yet, even after selling over fifteen books. I never finaled in an RWA contest. Not a one. It was always the same--two great scores and one REALLY bad one. And so, I keep plugging away, entering writing contests here and there, hoping someday I'll get a call (or email). Granted, I can count on one hand the number of RWA contests I've entered, but some folks win on their first try. Makes me wonder how I'm missing the mark? Also makes me wonder if contests are really a measure of the publishability (is that a word? lol) of a book. Some of my best selling books did awful in RWA contests, including the one that scored a Top Pick from RT.

Anyway, that's a subject for another day :)

And the second bit of good news...I received a terrific review of SPELLS AND SEDUCTION. I always obsess (yes, it's a family trait) as I wait for the first review of a book. That one's the scariest. If it's bad...then I get really depressed and avoid reading future reviews. If it's good...then I celebrate!

This review was particularly great. Here's a bit:

Ménage a trios scenes aren’t as uncommon as they once were, matter of fact they’ve become predictable and almost expected. Not the one in Spells and Seduction! It was so delectable and innovative, I had to go back and read it twice. Combine it with sex so hot it would make the sun envious and a heart-tugging story of lost love found, and you have another one of Tawny Taylor’s can't miss, spanking good reads!

5 Kisses
Shawn Monique Grimes, Romance Divas

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:51 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Villains and Van Helsing

I'm going to shift gears today and blog about something that might seem unrelated to writing, but actually isn't.

I admit, I'm WAY behind the times when it comes to movies. I have a house full of kids. My DH and I don't get out by ourselves but maybe a couple times a year. And when we do, we don't go see movies. We don't share the same taste in movies, for one.

And because our televisions are always tuned to PBS Sprout or Nic, I don't even get to watch movies on cable. HOWEVER, I just made a new discovery :) I'm a total dimwit for not figuring this out earlier...but I can watch DVD's on my computer!!! Oh the joy!

What was the first movie I checked out at Blockbuster? Well, I was writing a vampire book...so Van Helsing sounded like a good choice. Took it home, popped it in my DVDrom and off I was, swept away into the dark world of Dracula.

So, here's my question--anyone else think Dracula was the coolest, most fascinating character in the film? Or am I warped?

I admit, his methods were a little shaky, but his motivation was extremely compelling--who couldn't relate to a man who wanted his children to live? A man who suffered because he was "hollow" and couldn't feel love?

And OMG, I thought that costume ball scene was so sexy. (Are you all shaking your heads at me?) Seriously, Dracula was an extremely well-drawn character, IMO. He had a sympathetic motivation for what he did, which in many ways redeemed him. Would I ever want to meet someone like that in real life? Heck no! But for a fictional character, his depth and complexity makes for a compelling story. IMO his character MADE Van Helsing a movie worth watching.

I'm following a workshop right now on www.romancedivas.com about romantic suspense. Allison Brennan is the teacher and is she doing a bang-up job! In the first session, she talks about the villain, his motivation. How it must be compelling and make sense. And it made think of Van Helsing, what the writer had done right in that movie. I'm ready to tackle my current project now, and create a villain who is complex and darkly intriguing. I can't wait!

Anyone else want to share a villain that stood out, lingered in your mind long after you finished the movie or book? I know I won't be forgetting Van Helsing's Dracula for a long time.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:46 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is that a pick-up line?

Last week, I posted about titles. What kinds of titles attract a reader, what kinds of titles don't. And while I realize tastes vary a great deal, and the handful of responders could not possibly represent a statistically accurate picture of romance readers in general, I learned some things. Thank you to everyone who responded!

Today, I'm exploring the first sentence.

I've seen it written (or posted) that in a bookstore, folks look at covers first. Then check title, author's name and back cover blurbs. If the book has still held their attention, they open the book and take a look at the first few pages.

I know as an author I strive to make that first line do more than set the scene. I want--I need--it to much more than that. And I can spend an entire day getting it just right. Sometimes it'll be dialogue. Most times not. Either way, it has to set the mood of the story--will it be dark and spooky? Sexy and funny? More importantly, that first sentence must raise some important and compelling questions. Questions that will inspire the reader to tuck that book under their arm and head for the cash register.

The results of my efforts:

Being dead has its advantages. (SEX AND THE SINGLE GHOST, Kensington, Sept 2006)

Dead just took on a whole new meaning for nightclub owner Sylvie Durand--a much more literal one. (My current wip, DRESSED TO KILL)

The blast threw Malcolm Forester back close to a hundred feet, slamming him into the stone wall behind him with enough force to kill an average mortal. (SPELLS AND SEDUCTION, Ellora's Cave)

If there was one thing Jane Wilde knew it was that she'd trade her left boob to avoid another pathetic Saturday night at Diana's, swapping complaints about the slim pickin's in the man department. (WET AND WILDE, Ellora's Cave)

"I know, I know, I'm a rotten friend--" (REAL VAMPIRES DON'T DRINK O-NEG, Kensington 2007)

How many books have you purchased just because the first line grabbed you? I'm talking, really stood out? Can you quote your favorites? Writers, want to share your first sentences?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:59 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Writers has this ever happened...

Writers, has this ever happened to you?

Backstory:

I'm working on the launch book of a really cool new series for Ellora's Cave. I'm extremely excited about the project, about the premise, about the possibilities, the conflicts, the characters. For all you paranormal fans--yes, there are vampires...along with all kinds of other fantastical creatures.

Now, here's my dilemma. I started reading Angela Knight's Master of the Moon a couple nights ago. And while she has this whole King Arthur, Magekind, alternate world stuff going on that I don't have, there are enough similarities in the suspense element of the plot to make me reconsider where my story's going. The last thing in the world I want is for readers to think my story is a second-rate Angela Knight knock-off. {sigh}

So, although I'm not back to the drawing board on the whole concept behind my series, I'm having to go back and change the suspense thread. Change the motivation for the villian, the nature of the crimes, etc.

Anyone else read a book and have an "Oh My God! That's just like my story!" moment?

Please, share. What'd you do?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:31 AM | 2 comments

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spreading the word

Hello readers! Spreading the word--Romance Divas is hosting a chat with some of Ellora's Cave's most popular authors TONIGHT. Get the skinny below!

Romance Divas will be hosting a chat with several Ellora's Cave authors on March 10th, from 9-10 pm est in our chat room.

Come with your questions and meet some of your favorite erotic romance authors. Denise A. Agnew, Jaci Burton, Kate Douglas, Kate Hill, and Jory Strong will all be ready to heat up your weekend.

Denise A. Agnew's award-winning novels have been described as suspenseful, erotic, edgy, thrilling, romantic, and adventurous. One thing they share is that they are all exciting reads. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine called her romantic suspense novels "top-notch" and her erotic romance PRIMORDIAL received a TOP PICK from Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine.

Denise has lived in Colorado, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom, giving her a lifetime of ideas. Her experiences with archaeology have crept into her work, as well as her numerous travels through England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. She now lives in Arizona with her real life hero, her husband. You can find out more about her extensive booklist, and Denise herself, at her website - www.deniseagnew.com.

Jaci Burton is a multi published author, with over twenty-five books published by erotic romance publisher Ellora's Cave. Jaci writes in multiple genres, including paranormal, contemporary, futuristic, fantasy and BDSM. Among her many awards to date are the Cupid and Psyche Award for Best Contemporary Erotic Romance, the Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award and two Reviewers Choice nominations by Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Romance Writer's Ink, Passionate Ink and EPIC. Jaci has recently contracted with Bantam Dell for mainstream paranormal romance, and with Berkley HEAT for erotic romance. These books will release sometime in 2007.

Jaci lives in Oklahoma with her husband Charlie who inspires her to create stories about sexy, stubborn alpha males who don't always do what the heroine wants them to. She has three children-two grown sons and one teenage daughter. She loves animals, has five dogs and one fish who keep her company while she writes. Her favorite activities are travel, reading and long afternoon naps. Find out more about Jaci, and check out her bookshelf, at www.jaciburton.com

Kate Douglas has been privileged to call writing her profession for almost thirty-five years, producing everything from radio copy to news stories to contemporary romances and erotica. With thirteen titles currently in print, numerous ebooks with various publishers, and eight more books in her erotic paranormal Wolf Tales series scheduled through 2008, at least she knows what she'll be doing for the next couple years!

Kate and her husband are currently dividing time between two homes while they remodel the house in the mountains where they hope to settle when her husband retires. When she's not loading or unloading the car, Kate's either writing or playing with the grandkids...and trying to figure out when she can go to Hawaii to see her newest granddaughter, Ella, born Feb. 6. Visit her web site at www.katedouglas.com

Kate Hill is a thirty-something vegetarian New Englander who likes heroes with a touch of something wicked and wild. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications both on and off the Internet, and she has over twenty books available at Ellora's Cave. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. Visit Kate's website at www.kate-hill.com

Jory Strong has been writing since childhood and has never outgrown being a daydreamer. She's written several series for Ellora's Cave, ranging from romantic suspense, to paranormal, to futuristic. When she's not hunched over her computer, lost in the muse and conjuring up new heroes and heroines, she can usually be found reading, riding her horses, or hiking with her dogs. Learn more about Jory and see her full book list at www.jorystrong.com.


posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:07 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Titles (Or a Rose by Any Other Name...)

There are few things an author labors over more than the title of a new book or series. I'm no exception. Since I am primarily an e-published author, my titles are (generally) selected by moi (slid a little French in there for kicks, LOL). I will devote hours and hours of time to web surfing, searching for inspiration for The Perfect Title. I read song lyrics. Book titles. Excerpts. I read my dictionary of common expressions and try to think of ways to tweak a cliche. Spend hours looking up key words on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. If all else fails, I turn to writing friends and plead for help. I have a few buddies who are extremely gifted in this area. Thank Goodness!!

Do my titles always "work" the way I want them to? No, I can see they don't. I tend to like more "mainstream" sounding titles. Titles that are snappy and clever. Twists on words. Titles that can mean more than one thing. In the world of erotic romance, that's not always a good thing.

I thought about these things as I brainstormed titles for my new series, and the launch book for the series. Did I come up with The Perfect Title? I hope I did. I love it. I think it's intriguing. But then again, like I said, my tastes fall toward the mainstream fiction side.

What title did I choose? Not telling yet :) I want to hear some responses to this post first...at least, I hope I'll hear some responses. At this point, with the blog being so new, I'm thinking I'm mostly talking to myself :)

What titles have caught my eye as a reader? "Carpe Demon" (is that freaking clever or what?!); "Undead and Unwed" (Mary Janice Davidson); "Bite Me" (Jaci Burton has some really fun titles); "It's a Vampire Thing" (Dakota Cassidy is another author with clever one-of-a-kind titles); "A Girl's Guide to Vampires" (I just discovered Katie MacAlister and I will be sharing a common title: "Light My Fire").

Any readers out there who want to share what kinds of titles make you take a second look? I'd LOVE to hear!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:53 AM | 12 comments

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Starting a new series!

I'm Sooooo excited! Starting a new series today. Yay!

There's so much that goes into the planning of a new series. Thought about the world it will take place in. The kinds of creatures, if it's a para/fantasy. The characters that will connect one book to another.

I have a killer series title. Really stirs the creative juices. And a super hot title for the launch book. I have the hero and heroine's names. All of that took hours and hours of research. I gave the Google engines a healthy workout between last night and this morning, LOL.

A lot of new writers ask where the characters' names come from. I tend to go to baby name sites for mine. Before I start searching, I usually have a vague idea of the "feel" of the character's name. Will it start with a "hard" sound (k, b, d) or a "soft" one (s, soft c, h). My heroes tend to demand short mono-syllabic names, though there are those few who didn't (Malcolm, for example). Their names tend to start with hard sounds, the heroines' with soft sounds.

After I have found the first names that best fit the characters, I Google the nationality of the characters, along with the word "surname". That usually brings up a handful of sites with lists of last names. Then it's a matter of saying the names together, first and last, until something clicks.

Any writers out there want to share how they select their characters' names?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:21 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Late Nights with sick kids

Being up late at night with a sick kid is no fun. Pacing the floor, carrying a child who can't sleep because of the pain of an ear infection, is something I consider a rite of passage for all parents. Aren't too many who get away without having to go through that misery at least once.

It's funny, but it's often in those wee hours of the morning, while I'm cradeling my sleepy baby in my lap, my eyelids at half-mast, my brain muddy, that I have my best writing revelations. Not that I look forward to when I have a sick child because I don't. But while I'm awake, my mind tends to wander, since it's dark and quiet. I often think about my work in process, mull over a problem I'm having. And very often the answer comes to me in a flash of inspiration.

There's only one other place where I've had those kinds of inspirations strike--in the shower.

Any writers want to share when they most often have their "Ah-ha!" moments? In the bath tub? While driving to work? On the subway? I'd love to hear.

Tawny

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:19 PM | 0 comments

Monday, March 06, 2006

I hate Mondays

I hate Mondays, especially Monday mornings. They're always chaotic. Why is it that kids get up at the crack of effing dawn on Saturday and Sunday mornings when you don't want them to, but Monday mornings, you have to threaten their life, limb and future generations to get them to drag their bodies out of bed?

Anyway, I figured since I suspect Mondays aren't rough for only me, I'd do something special on Mondays for my loyal blog readers (...uh, if there are any, LOL).

I'm officially calling Mondays "Manic Mondays" and will be posting jokes, links to fun stuff or pictures of hunks. Anything to put a smile on your face.

What will I do for my first Manic Monday?

How about a quiz? If you know anything about me, you know I LOVE ice cream. So, why not take a quiz to see which flavor I am?

Here's my result:



Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!
What is your Icecream Flavour?

Find out at Go Quiz

How'd they know I always eat the chocolate?!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:18 AM | 2 comments

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pet Peeves

As expected, last night's book club meeting was terrific! We had a "special guest", Scott Carpenter, of romantica fiction and cover art fame. What a great sport! He fielded questions like a pro, and even pitched out a few for us to answer.

Scott--can't wait to read your erotic-shape-shifter-alpha-vampire-bondage-comedy!

Everyone shared their likes and dislikes. Female-on-female activities in the bedroom was one of the top ones. Submissive heroes. And overall lack of story too. We all agreed what makes a yummy hero for fiction would make a not-so-yummy hubby in real life. Fiction is fiction. Fantasy.

Me--I'm a girl who doesn't enjoy reading long paragraphs full of repetitive angst. Not a fan of submissive hero. Ick.

Anyone want to share their dislikes in fiction?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:48 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's Saturday....

and I'm heading off to work. For those who don't know, I work at a local bookstore. It's a whole lot of fun, but extremely hard to come home without spending my entire paycheck on books.

Tonight is the Book Club meeting. As usual, I haven't had a chance to read the book. But this time, I don't feel so guilty going anyway. Really, it's more "girl time" than anything. Fun, fun, fun. It's one of the few chances for me to get away from work and/or kids.

Any working moms out there want to share how they spend their no-kid times?

Tawny

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:08 AM | 0 comments

Friday, March 03, 2006

Whining about Lions

They say March comes in like a lion, but I thought that expression referred to the weather!

Believe me, I have no prejudices against animals of any kind, but...but...Someone give me some good news, please! Gaaaahhhhhh! It's been the week from H-E-double hockey sticks :( Won't go into any details, but we're talking bad, bad, bad.

Tawny {shooing away the lions and hoping the happy, gentle, bounding-though-the-fields lambs will come very soon}

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:52 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 02, 2006

OMG! Will wonders never cease?

I did it. *I* did it. Techno-moron with absolutely NO knowledge of HTML (uh...what color *is* ffffff?) actually uploaded a template, customized it. And...and edited the font style, colors.

I'm so proud. LOL

Well, I have no idea how often I'll post, but I figured it was time. I've let this blogging thing intimidate me for too long.

So, I'm facing my fears (What if no one reads it? What if I can't think if anything to say?) and giving it a shot. Yay me!

Tawny

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:40 AM | 9 comments
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