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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Real Life Hassles

I'm here but not blogging much. Too many real life hassles right now--

A teenager who wants to move home a few days before school starts. I now must gather a bazillion documents and orchestrate a move from one school district to another with no advance planning. Grrrr!

A hubby who is taking two of our children with him to Chicago tomorrow. Therefore, I'm washing laundry and packing, stocking up on Dramamine, you know, all those little last minute details.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:52 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For those brave enough...

Miss Snark is looking for Crapometer submissions!

You have EXACTLY 12 hours to submit your query and first page. Email your entry in the body of the email, no attachments, to Miss Snark at her gmail address between Friday, September 1 at 1pm Eastern time up until 1am Saturday morning.

Have questions or need more details?

Check out the 8/28/06 blog entry.

Good luck!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:13 AM | 2 comments

Monday, August 28, 2006

An interesting question



I'm a member of Charlotte Dillon's RWC Yahoo loop. Last week (yeah, I'm a little slow reading Yahoo messages) someone posted an interesting question for the weekly talk prompt regarding whether it was easier writing saleable books after being published, and whether it became easier to sell future books.

First, you see there are two different issues here: writing and selling.


Let's look at writing first:

The overwhelming response on Charlotte's loop was no, it didn't get any easier to write books.

Some folks mentioned an author's drive to always write a better book, the pressures they put on themselves to improve. They labor over their projects, worried it won't be as well received as their last book.

I know this feeling well. Personally, in order to finish a book, I must feel it's better than the last one I've written. If not, I'm likely to abandon it and move onto something else.

Charlotte mentioned some other, more concrete reasons why it is in some respects harder to write--like time constraints and the need to balance promoting, editing, proofing and writing. With all those other obligations, it's more difficult to find the time to write. I agree with this, oh yes, I do!

But, in other ways, I believe it DOES get easier to write saleable books. As a published author, I've had the experience of working with an editor and thus I have a bit of an advantage over an unpublished writer. I've learned what sells and doesn't sell within my house. I've learned through edits what my weaknesses are as a writer. I no longer make "newbie" mistakes.

Bottom line: the answer in respect to writing and whether it gets easier is Yes and No. LOL

Let's look at the second part of that question now. Is it easier to sell once you've sold?

Possibly. And then again, maybe not.

A lot of factors come into play here.

*How were the sales of your last book? Your second book? (in NY, this is HUGE--each should do better than the last one)

*Are you writing for an epub (epubs *tend* to accept future submissions from in-house authors faster. Note, I said "tend" not "do".)

*Have you established a name for yourself? (ex: Jaid Black and Lora Leigh)

*Are you trying to "break out" and launch a BIG book, or move into a new genre? (How many series romance authors can I name as examples here? More recent examples: look at Julie Kenner. LA Banks.)

*Are you writing a genre that is over-bought, tired or "unpopular" with publishers right now? (current ex: chick lit or Regency romance, and in some houses vampires)

*If submitting to NY houses, do you have a well-respected agent submitting on your behalf? (I've posted about agents in the past, take a look at my archives for more info here.)

*Do you have clever, REALLY outside-the-box ideas for promoting your books? (this can help a lot if the potential is big--will lead to national media coverage)

The past few months have been interesting. A lot of "established" epubbed erotica authors have been pursued by larger houses, sought to fill slots in new erotica lines. They have a slight advantage over new authors in gaining contracts. But they still must submit outstanding work. And they must also realize that the market is cyclical and what was once all the rage (take chick lit a few years back) will eventually become yesterday's news. Readers will get tired of reading the "same old thing". Authors and publishers will need to react to the fickle marketplace. Authors whose sales do not continue to rise will be dropped. Lines will close. Both authors and publishers must adapt to a market that is like a living, breathing being to survive.

So again, in respect to sales, my answer is Yes and No. An author who has made a name for herself, is writing within a "hot" genre, is seeing gains in sales, and is able to adapt to the demands of the market, as well as being creative in promoting her books will have an easier time selling once she's sold. An author writing in an over-crowded genre, has a less-than-helpful agent (or no agent at all), or is unwilling or unable to adapt to the market or do any kind of promotions, is bound to have a harder time.

My two cents. I'm sure others will disagree.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:20 AM | 2 comments

Sunday, August 27, 2006

LOTS of great news!

I'm doing a promo post today, but I promise to get back to more craft stuff soon. If you have any suggestions for topics about writing, promotion, whatever, please post them in the comments.

1. I have a new book available in print from Ellora's Cave: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is available for order from EC's eBay store. And remember, EC offers free shipping within the continental USA!

http://www.ellorascave.com/ebay

Note: This book is an anthology, containing the novellas SEXUAL HEALING, LESSONS IN LUST MAJOR (both by me) and NAUGHTY MISTRESS NITA (Jodi Lynn Copeland)

2. SEX AND THE SINGLE GHOST is in stores! I paid our local Borders Express a visit yesterday, and they had the book on the shelves! I'm giddy and nervous and thrilled!
If you prefer to order online, you can BUY HERE. Note: the book won't be "live" until Sept. 6 but you can preorder and it will ship on/around Sept. 6.

3. I just received the most AMAZING review of MARK OF THE BEAST from fallen Angel Reviews!

"Ms. Taylor really reached outside of the box and created a remarkable tale... I hope this is only the beginning of a concept that has so many possibilities it would be almost criminal not to explore them further." CLICK HERE to read the entire review.


CLICK HERE
to read an excerpt or buy

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:41 AM | 2 comments

Friday, August 25, 2006

I went. I saw. I got free stuff.



So...this afternoon I packed up the kiddies, threatened them with death if they misbehaved (not really, but I did promise adequate rewards if they were good) and headed out to a local KMart to check out KMart's Sizzling Summer Reads tour. How could I resist? Check out this lineup!

Jacquie d'Alessandro
Mary Balogh
Sabrina Jeffries
Candice Hern
Allison Brennan
Karen Rose
Susan Andersen
Brenda Novak
Susan Kearney
Marjorie M. Liu
Gena Showalter
Gemma Halliday
Pamela Britton

I mean OMG! I was in TOTAL geek-fan-girl mode, and I swear, I set a new record for number of words spoken in a 60-second timeframe. LOL. WHY oh why can't I behave when I get in front of an author I admire?!

Regardless, it was wonderful meeting the folks I've emailed, chatted with, or merely admired from afar. I bought several books and they'll find themselves perched on my keeper shelf forever.

For those who might be within driving distance, here is the agenda for the rest of the weekend. All locations are in Michigan:

Friday

5:00 Kmart, 33400 Seven Mile Rd, Livonia

Saturday

10:00am Kmart 16705 Fort St., Southgate

11:30 am Kmart 21111 Van Born, Taylor

2:30 pm Kmart 31200 Schoenherr, Warren

Sunday

12:00 Kmart 12730 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc

2:30 Kmart 5100 Dixie Hwy, Waterford

5:00 Kmart 100 E. Maple Rd, Troy

Pictures!


Gena Showalter. Absolutely gorgeous. I felt like a total frump standing next to her. But she's also very kind and forgiving of stuttering fan-girl authors :)

Allison Brennan has taught workshops on the Romance Divas. She's a lovely woman, and very nice.

Me with fellow Diva, Gemma. She came all the way from California! I was so happy to meet her at last!

The kiddies played with those blue "clappers" all the way home. Good thing it was a short drive :)

That's it for pix. I would've taken more, but I started to feel funny. No one else was running around with a camera snapping photographs like a madwoman, LOL.

Seriously, I had a great time, every single one of the authors were super friendly and tolerant of the crazy, yammering wanna-be author (me).

Hope they have a successful tour! Save travels!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 5:00 PM | 5 comments

Avon's having a fanlit contest!


(Image borrowed from Avon Fanlit site. Copyright information not available.)

Check this out--

"From August 23rd to October 27th, HarperCollins editors and Avon Romance authors invite you to join thousands of fans online to collectively create an original e-book — one chapter at a time."

Currently, they're asking participants to vote on the story premise. There are several categories to choose from--medieval, Regency, contemporary and paranormal, to name a few.

Join the fun by following this link: Avon Fanlit

Good luck and enjoy!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:29 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Jar of Peanut Butter...

Plus a two-year-old...







Equals....






A Resees Peanut Butter Baby!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:42 AM | 6 comments

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Seeing Stars


I spent the past weekend doing book signings in Ohio. It’s always a joy meeting people who have read my books, talking to them, finding out what they enjoyed (or hated) about my stories. And it’s incredibly flattering when someone looks at little ole me with stars in their eyes, as if I’m someone special or important.

I’m just a suburban housewife with a bazillion kids.

But, I can relate to being star struck. I’ve been on the other side of the table MANY times.

At the Romantic Times Booklover’s convention this past spring, I stood in line for close to an hour to meet one of my all-time favorite authors. When I finally stood in front of her, I stumbled over my words, stuttering and sounding like a total lame goon.

Who have I made a fool of myself in front of?

Let’s see...there was MaryJanice Davidson and Erin McCarthy. And I can’t forget about when I met Jaid Black and Lora Leigh for the first time...and many, many others.

Who am I dying to meet?

Katie MacAlister
Janet Evanovich
Dan Brown

And guess what? This week I get to be a total stuttering fan! There’s a bus full of authors heading my way, including Gena Showalter (happy squee!), Susan Kearney (goofy grin), Allison Brennan (yippie!), and Gemma Halliday (giddy giggle)! I. Can’t. Wait!

So, what authors put stars in your eyes? Have you met any? And who would you love to meet?

I’m giving away a free print copy of my upcoming Kensington release, Sex and the Single Ghost to one lucky reader! Post a response on Access Romance's All-A-Blog for a chance to win. I’ll randomly draw a name before noon on Thursday, Aug. 24. Good luck!


posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:59 PM | 3 comments

A Blogging Contest!

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at
dearauthor.com.

To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and

you are entered to win the following prize package.

  • $200 Amazon gift certificate

  • Signed copy of Slave to Sensation
  • New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh
  • ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game

You can read about the experiment here and you can download the
code thatyou need to participate here.

SLAVE TO SENSATION

Nalini Singh

Berkley / September 2006


Slave to Sensation



Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind
clash brutally against those of the heart.

Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its
emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel
are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities
and memories destroyed.

Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation,
lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial
murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to
their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest
temptation.

Excerpt


posted by Tawny Taylor at 4:48 PM | 0 comments

Tawny Does Akron



(Is that the worst Photoshop job ever or what?! LOL)

Sidenote: The title of this post sounds like the title of a REALLY bad porn movie, doesn't it?


Anyway, I just know you all are anxious to hear how my trip to Ohio went this past weekend. I'll give you the (semi) short version.

Day #1
A one-hour delay, sitting on I-75 staring at the back of a rental RV...

Another hour delay staring at the back of a semi truck, waiting to get onto the Ohio Turnpike...

God, will I EVER get there????

Smooth sailing after that (thank God!), with the exception of the terrible nausea that hit me just as I got on the Turnpike. I was popping non-drowsy Dramamine while driving. (Did you know that stuff makes your mouth numb if you don't take it with adequate water? Also, they lie. It does too make you drowsy!)

Arrival at Raelene's house, where I trip over the steel support for the dog fencing and look like an ass (my glasses create a blind spot...honest! It wasn't the three tablets of Dramamine I downed while driving...no way. *g*)

Tried to eat (still feeling yucky from the drive), enjoyed Raelene's dogs, and finally met my editor, Sue Ellen.

Back to the hotel. Crashed by 10pm.

Day #2
We slept in until 9:30! I still felt like I could sleep at least another three hours. Dragged my tired butt out of bed, stumbled down to get my free breakfast before they closed it down. Ate and then got ready for book signing #1.

Drove to the signing and found it without a problem. (yay!) The signing itself went well. The store manager was sweet as could be and the employees were wonderful. Poor Jaid (as in Jaid Black, "The Queen of Steam") couldn't make it. She was sick. So I "stood in" for her. No one believed I was her. (pout)

(Tawny pretending to be Jaid--check out the window display!)

I passed out bookmarks, inviting people over to meet the "almost famous" person. That became the joke of the weekend, LOL. (Yes, Brenda, I'm going to get a t-shirt and wear it especially for you *g*)

Afterward, had a great time with fellow EC author Mandy Roth. I've forgiven her for directing me to the wrong freeway, LOL. Thanks to the detour, I took a nice tour of the western suburbs of Cleveland. Cleveland is BIG! And scary! Her hubby and I played out that movie, "Cellular". I kept begging him not to hang up, LOL.

Again, I crashed early, which ended up being a good thing because the hubby called me at 6:30 the next morning, giddy about the Free Press article...which leads to...

Day #3
I was woken at (almost) the crack of dawn by the sound of a digital rendition of Beethovan's Fifth Symphony. I haven't seen my hubby more excited about something in...forever! Not even the Tiger's last win got him going like that article did! It was cute :) After talking to an ecstatic man for a while, I dressed and headed to EC's new warehouse.

What a place! It's huge! Everyone has a nice office. And pets are allowed. Let's see...I saw a mouse, several varieties of fish (both real and virtual) and some cute little frogs. I didn't get to meet Manaconda, Patty Marks' snake. Maybe next time...maybe not.

After getting the official tour, Ann Jacobs and I busted up the editors' meeting to sign books. It was WONDERFUL meeting all the editors, especially Suz (my current editor) and Martha (my former editor). I gave Suz a kiss :)



The book signing was next.

The time went fast. And before I knew it, it was time to head back north.

Thus went the visit to my "home" state, the place of my birth, and a place that feels as much like home as Michigan. Looking forward to going back down sometime in the fall.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:24 AM | 2 comments

Monday, August 21, 2006

Look, Ma! I'm (almost) famous!

The following article (and my picture!) appeared on the FRONT PAGE of Sunday's Detroit Free Press! It was my very FIRST experience with the local press.

They actually contacted me (rather than the other way around). They interviewed me (via the phone). They scheduled a visit by a photographer.

I feel...almost famous. LOL

Link to Article

(My picture is in the left column. The black and white on the main article page is my pal and fellow EC author Jodi Lynn Copeland. Doesn't she look adorable? Wind blowing her hair, rose in hand...)

A BIG thank you to Marta at the "Freep" for the fantastic article! And for the opportunity!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 3:04 PM | 6 comments

Friday, August 18, 2006

Gonna be MIA for a few


Popping in to do a drive-by posting.

I'm driving to Ohio today to attend a couple book signings. Not looking forward to spending four hours on the Ohio Turnpike, but I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing my EC friends this weekend. It's going to be Ann Jacobs, Jaid Black, Kate Steele and moi. We're signing in Elyria (Saturday) and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Sunday).

Be back Monday! You kiddies behave yourself until I return :)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:36 AM | 3 comments

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What the F&%k is this?!

See what I find when I Google myself?

"Locating essential and good Tawny Taylor 39 S Mark Of The Beast Amp Tag Lines can be laborious. When we had a difficult think about this project we knew that we aimed to specialize in providing you the choicest places on the web for Tawny Taylor 39 S Mark Of The Beast Amp Tag Lines, we believe we have achieved that. Foraging for the best file on Tawny Taylor 39 S Mark Of The Beast Amp Tag Lines?"

The nearest I can guess, this site takes results of search engine search terms and inserts them into some kind of template. Kinda funny when you read the whole thing. Although "Tawny Taylor 39 S Mark of the Beast Amp Tag Lines" gets REALLLLLY long when you've read it a bazillion times. Wonder where the search engine picked up that "39 S...Amp Tag Lines" bit?

Weird.

CLICK HERE FOR LINK

So, tell me, what's the strangest thing you found when you Googled yourself? Curious minds want to know...

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:08 AM | 7 comments

Bombshell Bombs?

What is this rumor I hear? Of Harlequin giving Bombshell the ax? Could it be true?

It most definitely is:

http://community.eharlequin.com/webx?50@546.dictaByvTek.454181@.4a83db47/

And what is the reason for shutting down a line that has just gotten started? It "has not been able to find broad-based readership" aka poor sales.

There are tons of folks speculating on the reasons for this line's failure to reach an audience, the most logical being it was published by a house with a population of readers who have come to expect an HEA in every book they read. Bombshell didn't always deliver that.

I feel for the authors who launched series in that line, series that may never be completed. I feel for loyal readers who are saddened to lose their favorite characters. But business is business and publishers must make money to survive.

I haven't read a Bombshell, but I intend to pick a couple up. Why haven't I read one? Perhaps because I didn't really understand what they were supposed to be. A "category" action/adventure? Kickass heroines? Where's the alpha hero? I NEED an alpha hero!

I'm thinking Nocturne, which may not have originally been intended to replace the line, with its dark paranormal elements and alpha males will sell circles around Bombshell.

Hugs to the orphaned Bombshell authors! I've heard their books were wondeful! I hope their careers continue to grow and the line's closing leads to new and exciting opportunities for them.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:13 AM | 3 comments

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fly Paper and Toddlers


Look at this face. Is this the face of a child who leaves a trail of destruction in his wake? Beautiful blond hair. Big blue eyes. Adorable clefted chin. An angel.

Looks can be SO deceiving.

It’s boredom. I know it. He’s smart, even if he still isn’t talking and he’s two. He gets bored with his toys, and that’s when the trouble starts.

He was in rare form today. I cleaned up one disaster after another: this morning’s soggy cereal ground into the couch; Matchbox cars in the garbage disposal; a masterpiece painted in macaroni and cheese on the dining room wall; the list goes on and on. The pinnacle of today’s toddler-ness: when Jacob found the sticky fly glue stuff my hubby'd left in the kitchen...and glued his hands to his belly.

SIGH...

After trying an assortment of cleaners, including nail polish remover, gallons of liquid soap, and even a little WD40 (hubby’s idea) I went to my computer and opened a browser window.

Google: "Remove fly paper"

For anyone with toddlers who spend their days LOOKING for trouble, remember this: vegetable oil (apply liberally) works magic on gooey industrial adhesives!

Thank GOD for Google!

Funny though...wonder how long he'll smell like fried chicken...

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:40 PM | 7 comments

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pictures...and the Secrets of a Successful Signing



Left, Sarah McCarty; right, Erin McCarthy.

Yesterday was a BIG day in this little author's life.

1. I had a photographer come to the bookstore with the sole purpose of taking my picture for the newspaper. Maybe it's no biggie to most people, but this was a first for me. I was nervous as heck--I'm much more comfortable being behind the camera than in front of it. I'd say it took him a good hour to get a zillion shots. An hour of jittery nerves :) But I'm thrilled about the article (Sun. Aug 20 Detroit Free Press--for anyone who's interested)!

2. We had a book signing with Sarah McCarty and Erin McCarthy. Sarah is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Erin is quieter but sweet and sharp. I had a WONDERFUL time! I love going to book signings, especially the ones we have at our store because they are like parties. Also, as I've told several authors who have come to our store for a signing, they're well-attended because Melissa does a great deal of advance marketing of the event.

And this leads me to the relevant topic of the day: The do's and don'ts of book signings.

1. Advertise/promote the event locally in any medium at your disposal. Have contacts at your local newspapers? Have them place a notice in their local "What's Happening Around Town" section. Pass out fliers in nearby malls and give the bookstore manager promotional materials to distribute in their store the week before. Mail/email invitations to everyone on your mailing list. If you don't want to be sitting in a back corner, directing people to the bathroom for three hours, you MUST promote.

2. Dress appropriately. Whether you're small press published, have a POD through Lulu or are a NYT Bestseller, people have certain expectations of authors. They do not realize the significance of publishing houses or print runs. An author is a celebrity if they're published. Period. So look the part of a celebrity. Be neat and professional.

3. Bring a prize basket and hold a drawing. This can work for you in a number of ways. If you put "Door prizes" or "Free Drawing" on your flier/advertising, you'll bring in potential buyers. Also, if you ask for snail mail or email addresses on the drawing entry slips, you'll gather names and contact info for future use. Especially if it's a local store, those mailing addresses can come in handy in the future.




Debbie displays a tote she won through an online drawing. Readers LOVE prizes. This one is particularly clever.

4. If you're local, make sure the readers know this. They LOVE meeting local "celebrities".

5. Make small talk--and not necessarily about your book. Talk about the town, even if you're not from there. Know something about local attractions or events. This will give the readers a sense of connection with you.

6. Leave promotional materials behind when you're through and offer to sign any remaining stock. It's also a good idea to have business cards specifically intended for book sellers, with REAL contact information such as a telephone number. That way, if they'd like to have you back, they don't have to jump through too many hoops to find you.

7. If you can, follow up with a visit a couple weeks later to say hello, check stock, answer questions from store sales associates and leave more promotional materials. A book signing is not just about three hours (or whatever) its real purpose is to build a longtime relationship with a bookseller. This could potentially lead to more handselling, longer shelf time and perhaps endcaps, etc.

IMO a successful signing is not just about selling X number of books within X hours. A successful signing is one where the staff is so enthusiastic about an author they spend the next several weeks, months, whatever, talking to customers about the author, blogging about them, recommending their books.

It happens. You'll bet I'll be promoting Erin and Sarah in our store! And look whose picture is on my blog today :)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:07 AM | 5 comments

Friday, August 11, 2006

I Got Four Bugs!



If you aren't a second grader collecting insects for a science project, that's hardly something to brag about...or is it?

Click This Link and see.

Too lazy to look for yourself? Fine. I'll explain. My blog was "Frogged" aka reviewed by Frog My Blog.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, let me say it was worth it! And I'm not saying this just because my blog received a pretty respectable rating. It's worth it because you get an objective viewpoint on not only the formatting/technical particulars of your blog but also an opinion on the content. (Go! Submit! See what you can do to improve your blog's layout)

I learned a couple things:

1. I need to change the font color for links within the body of posts so visitors can see them.

2. I need to find a way to put a link to the main page on archived pages. Still haven't figured out how to do that.

3. The busy background might be too distracting. I might want to change that.

Handy stuff to know! Thanks Mrs. Ribbit at Frog My Blog!

Now, who can tell me how to fix that archive glitch?????

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:11 AM | 5 comments

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Look what came in the mail today!!!!

Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!


posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:51 AM | 5 comments

I made an editor's eyes bleed!


Should I be crowing about this fact? I admit it's not the kind of thing I'd normally be proud of. But the submission was intentionally BAD. I think her bleeding orbs and moaning in agony is proof enough of my success :)

Wondering what the heck I'm talking about?

Go here: Crabby Cows and read Game of the Week #2.

The exercise was quite a challenge, harder than you might think. You find yourself concentrating about aspects of your writing you wouldn't normally. I encourage everyone to give it a shot.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:16 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Those NAUGHTY words

Recently, I followed an interesting discussion centering around the words erotic romance authors use for genitalia, specifically words used for female anatomy. It appears people have very different opinions on what is most appropriate, based on wildly divergent impressions of a word's connotations. One term is sexy to one person while insulting to another.

Take, for instance, the word "pussy". There were some who found that word humorous, not sexy. Others felt it was perfectly suitable for erotic romance.

Another example: "cunt" This word was more often seen as an insulting term than a sexy one. Others felt is was the most suitable word to use.

It's interesting to see that even in the age of international communications--the internet and television,--that people still absorb and internalize such different views of words and their meanings.

And then there's the question of variety. Some authors felt there was no need to use different words for the same body part, since so many others were only named by one word--eye, for instance. Arm. Leg. One person voiced the opinion that the repetition of a single term as "lazy" on the author's part, since there were so many other choices available.

What's my take on this whole thing?

1. Using the same term for a woman's bits does not indicate laziness on an author's part. Puhleez.

2. "Cunt" is a insult hurled at a woman (usually by a man), most often meant to belittle and strip away her humanity. I can't use it in a sensual way.

3. "Pussy" is not a silly word. It's my word of choice. It's sexy and semi-sweet at the same time.

What words have you read or written in an erotic romance? Were there words that made you uncomfortable? Or made you laugh when they shouldn't have?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 5:01 PM | 5 comments

It's Confession Time


First, I confess, I couldn't think of anything earth-shaking to blog about today, so I'm posting a couple quotes from recent reviews of MARK OF THE BEAST. So far (knocking on my desk) this book hasn't been shredded by a reviewer. Then again, I've only seen three reviews so far. There's still plenty of time.

Here's the first, from Euro Reviews: "I highly recommend this book to any one looking for love, intrigue, suspense and erotic sexual chemistry. Mark of the Beast is the first book in the Animal Urges series. This book is a keeper on my shelf!"

What makes this review especially sweet is that it was written by a person who lives in Alaska (the setting of the book).

Second confession:I'll admit, I haven't traveled to Alaska. I relied entirely on information I found on the net when I was writing the book. The roads. The scenery. The locations of key buildings, the border patrol, etc.

An author who writes about a setting they haven't personally visited takes a risk of getting something "wrong" and having it kindly (or not so kindly) pointed out to them in a review.

BIG sigh of relief. Guess there were no glaring errors.

Second review (Romance Junkies):

"Action and adventure are staples in this book and the readers will find themselves in the middle of an amazing adventure. Love scenes are steamy with burning sensuality that readers won’t be able to resist. Tawny Taylor has done a marvelous job of penning a tale of excitement and passion that readers won’t soon forget."

Yay! More happy dancing.

Third confession: This novel was something of an experiment. I LOVE reading action-packed thrillers. Those tend to be slight on the side of romance and characterization, while being heavy on the side of whizzing bullets and bad guys.

In contrast, erotic romance tends to be heavier in the characterization (not to mention sex) and lighter in external conflict (plot).

Could I write something that melded erotic romance with on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, still keeping a touch of my trademarked "sassitude"? Or was that beyond my skills as a writer? And how would I maintain the sensual tension when the characters are dodging bullets?

There are other EC authors who are successful at such a balancing act, but that didn't mean I could.

Despite my insecurities, I had to try.

Was I successful?

So far, the reviewer votes are three "yays" and no "nays". I haven't received any comments from readers yet...waiting...wondering...hoping...

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:58 AM | 0 comments

Monday, August 07, 2006

What folks who don't "get it " see...

Check out this article (warning, it's LONG) http://www.orlandoweekly.com/features/story.asp?id=10781

Was that not the weirdest take on the RT conference ever?

Obviously, based on his short-straw comment, this guy went into the assignment expecting to endure something akin to torture. And what he found lived up to his expectations.

Interesting, looking at the conference from a very different (and yes, biased) POV. He gave everything a strange/nasty twist, to fit his preconceptions, but that's human nature. Gotta say, even though it makes RT look like a bizarre-fest of the worst kind, his writing is quite descriptive.

What's sad is that he's not alone in viewing RT, or even romance fiction in general, with such disdain. There are plenty of others who look down their noses at romance readers. However, I will give him credit for the comment about admiring the romance readers' zeal for the genre.

At least that he got.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:24 AM | 1 comments

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What are your passions?


Despite the fact that I’m an erotic romance author, I’m not talking about passions in the carnal sense. At least not this time. I’m talking about the things you do on your own time, the things that made life full and fun and thrilling.

Example: My 2-year-old’s passions are making messes and using my office chair as an amusement park ride. He does both as often as he can. His eyes sparkle with glee as he splashes in his spilled milk or spins round and round on my chair until he’s dizzy. Makes me *almost* not want to get mad at him .

I’ve always been the kind of person who either does something with everything she has, body, heart and soul. Or not at all. The things I love, I do with gusto--reading, sewing, writing...consuming ice cream. The things I don’t like so much--like cleaning house--I don’t do at all. Or at the very least, as little as possible 

Many of the characters in my books also have passions...and again, not just the carnal kind. They have plenty of those too, lol. I can name a couple heroines who are as crazy about ice cream as I am, one who is an animal lover, and one who is an eBay junkie. I think giving characters these kinds of traits makes them well-rounded and real.

So, what are your passions? Care to share?

Post a comment on my Saturday post on www.accessromance.com All-Ablog and enter to win a download of one of my books. I’ll randomly draw one winner Sunday August 6, no later than twelve noon Eastern US time.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:51 AM | 3 comments

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You Take the Bad with the Good

(Subtitle: Surviving a Bad Review)

Okay, so I'm doing something I NEVER do. I'm posting about a bad review.

Why, you ask, would I want to draw attention to a bad review?

Two reasons:

1. To let those who haven't yet been in the position of getting a bad review know that it's okay, that life goes on, and your book will NOT sit on bookstore shelves , gathering dust while readers snatch up last month's Top Picks.

and

2. To address an issue with the book that was reviewed.

Let's talk about the first purpose.

Chances are, if you're published, you'll sooner or later be on the receiving end of a terrible review. Regardless of who you are, how fabulous your books are, or how many hours you spent on revisions, it's going to happen. Why? Because reviews are opinions. And opinions are bound to be different because people like different things.

The first bad review is especially tough to handle. You've been sailing along on that I'm-Finally-A-Published-Author high when WHAM! out of nowhere comes this review that basically says you aren't talented enough to draft a grocery list.

You're ready to hide under the proverbial rock, afraid to face your writing friends, your crit group, your editor.

How could this happen to YOU? Your book won ten contests! It's the next DaVinci Code (ask an editor how many folks are writing the next Da Vinci Code. I'm thinking it's in the tens of thousands, LOL). This is so unfair!

This is life.

Here's my suggestion on how to handle it:

1. Find a safe person to rant to. And make sure it's not in a public forum. It's generally frowned upon for an author to fume about a bad review, no matter how scathing or unfair it might be.

2. Consume large amounts of chocolate, ice cream and comfort foods.

3. Once you've eaten yourself into a coma, move on. There are worst things in the world than receiving a "1" from RT.

A couple things NOT to do:

1. Don't email the reviewer and threaten bodily harm or tell him/her she's stupid and blind and had obviously missed the point of the book. That will get you nowhere.


2. Don't wipe your hard drive clean and quit writing forever.



3. Don't turn blame elsewhere. Regardless of all the individuals who are involved in preparing a book for print, ultimately when a book is published, the AUTHOR'S name is on the cover. Your name. Your reputation. Your sales. Your responsibility. Not the editor's. Not the cover artist's. Not the copy writer's. It's your responsibility to make sure the book is edited thoroughly(hiring a freelance editor is an option). It's also your responsibility to make certain the book's title, blurb and cover are acceptable. In the very least, they should accurately communicate the content (and mood) of the book. True, an author may have little control over the cover or cover copy, but remember, it still comes back to you. If the cover suggests the book is a mystery but it's actually an erotica you've got problems. Mention your concerns to your publisher.

That leads me to the second reason for this post.

Being a newbie to the NY publishing biz, I did what many newbies would do--I kept quiet about my concerns. It's my nature to go with the flow. And being new, I assumed everyone else knows a LOT more about stuff than I do.

Well, I think I made a mistake.

Here's a quote from my RT review:

"There's a nice bit of a mystery, but those looking for a traditional ghostly romance will be disappointed. A large chunk of this story reads like a rather typical erotic romance with mild BDSM."

Clearly, the reviewer picked up Sex and the Single Ghost expecting something VERY different from what she got. What was she expecting? A "traditional ghostly romance." What did she get? "A typical erotic romance" with "a good amount of mystery."

And why would her expectations be so off?

Perhaps the cover and/or the cover copy.

Looking at the cover and copy, there is no reason why a reviewer who is not fond of bondage to believe it's in this book. Nor is there any reason for Jane Bookbuyer standing in Borders, looking for something fun and funky to read, to expect hot sex and bondage either.

And so I post this message, spreading the word and asking you all to help me spread it even further. Sex and the Single Ghost is typical Tawny Taylor fare. It's funny, yes. But there's lots of hot sex and some mild bondage.

Please, if you have the time and inclination, post on your blogs, or better yet, post a review on Single Ghost's Amazon page.

Reader beware! Sex and the Single Ghost is not chick lit. It's erotic romance and it's hot.

Thanks so much!




posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:46 PM | 12 comments

A Handy Tool for Published Authors


You thought I was going on a home improvement kick, didn't you? Ha! Fooled you.

No, I'm not talking about hammers and screw drivers. I'm talking about PLOGS. Check it out. You can plog on your Amazon pages!

What, you ask, is plogging?

Here are the details:

The service is called "Amazon Connect
(http://www.amazon.com/connect).

This sends out "plog" messages (plog=publicity blog??)that you write to customers who bought your previous books. Those plog messages also show up on Amazon's front page to people who bought
your books or bought books "similar" to yours
, and they appear on
your books' pages.

Summing up: Your messages will automatically appear on a customer's home page if they have purchased either your book or one similar. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

I'm in the middle of setting up my author's home page. A caveat: this is not a quickie thing. It takes time. You must sign up for an account, list all your books and provide the name and contact info for one person who can verify your authorship of said books. And then you must set up the page itself.

Pain. In. The. Ass.

But it's supposed to do fabulous things! "It can cut through this aluminum can and then slice a tomato..." Okay, got a little carried away. But it COULD help you spread the word about your books. And that's a VERY GOOD thing.

Hope to see you on Amazon Connect!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:23 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The first review is in!


I'm bouncing around my office, squealing like a toddler let loose in Toys R Us!

A HUGE thank you to Keely Skillman (COOL name!) for this WONDERFUL review!

"Abby is a lovable softy out of her element and begging for help. Tarik is one very hunky, very brainy outdoorsman with all the right elements to make a woman drool. The villain is dastardly, heartless and perfectly hate-able.Ms. Taylor weaves these three amongst the other minor players of this tale in such a manner as to suck the reader completely into her world and in such a manner to create a story worthy of reading over and over just to enjoy her pure genius in creating a unique plot. This is one of the most exciting and suspenseful shifter stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Ms. Taylor just exploded onto my "gotta have it" list of authors with this little masterpiece."

Keely Skillman, eCataRomance Reviews (Click HERE to read the rest of the review)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:47 AM | 3 comments
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