Monday, May 26, 2008


In the midst of moving and meeting my VEXING THE VISCOUNT deadline, I grabbed a minute to visit with Tammie King and the gals at NIGHTOWL ROMANCE. If you haven't ever visited this review site, you're in for a treat. And I hope you'll pop over there right now to read my latest interview at I share a sexy snippet from PLEASURING THE PIRATE that will not be posted anywhere else. Warning: This one is for readers who are 18 or over!Enjoy!

DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, "Wickedly witty!"~Booklist
PLEASURING THE PIRATE, "Steamy . . . arrg!"~The Boston Globe, available for pre-order now.
VEXING THE VISCOUNT, coming March 2009

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 Ways to Make Sure You'll Never Publish

Anyone can give you ideas to help you get published. Here's a few helpful hints to make sure you never have to worry about getting The Call.

1. Never finish a manuscript. Surely just your premise scrawled quickly onto the back of a napkin ought to be enough. It's the idea that counts.

2. Don't accept critique from others. It's your story. You should be able to tell it from 37 different points of view if you want. And be sure to ignore the publisher's guidelines. Do they want your manuscript double-spaced in Courier New 12 pt? Well, isn't that silly? You can fit twice as many words if you single-space. And if you use Ariel 8 pt. I bet you can cram even more on each page.

3. Never be willing to revise. Why mess with perfection? Your mother loves your story just as it is.

4. Agent-schmagent! Who needs another hand in your pocket? Sure, the publisher's guidelines require agented submissions, but that's just for those other less-inspired writers. Besides, if you're a tough negotiator on your advance, that editor will think twice about trying to cross you with pesky revision requests.

5. Be as nasty as you can to other writers. After all, we're all going for the same finite number of slots. Leave the encouragment and mentoring of other authors to the Mother Theresa's of the writing world.

6. When you pitch, make sure you tell the editor how lucky he/she is to have found the next Nora Roberts. Of course, once she reads your 800,000 word manuscript, she'll realize how brilliant you are. But it never hurts to be cocky . . . er, I mean, confident.

7. Don't join RWA or some other writer's group. If they knew so much, they'd all be published. Besides, one of them might steal your idea for that genre-bending futuristic, erotic, chick-lit western mystery.

8. If you attend a writer's conference, be sure to stalk the editors. They like the attention. If you want to be totally memorable, shove your complete manuscript under the bathroom stall door to them. That'll get your work noticed! And I guarantee they'll remember your name. They might even tell their friends.

9. If you do finish a manuscript, make sure you don't start a second one before the first one sells. Just keep sending the same manuscript out to as many houses as you can, whether they publish your type of story or not. For good measure, if one editor at a publishing house rejects you, make sure you send it to all the other editors at the same house. Won't that first editor feel silly when the fifth editor buys your work? After all, it's not as if they talk to each other or, heaven forfend, consult with each other on their acquisition decisions.

10. Don't give away the ending in your synopsis. What better way to make an editor request the full manuscript than to finish up your outline with a coy, "If you want to know how it all turns out, you have to read the full manuscript!" Besides, they really need to read the whole thing to understand why you decided to kill off the hero on the last page.

If you follow these guidelines, I can virtually guarantee you'll never be bothered by a contract offer. However, if your goal is actually to see your writing in print, you might want to forget these rules or even do the opposite.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


This morning I'm joining Rowena Cherry, Jade Lee and Melanie Jackson on We're talking about shoes and feet in fiction and it so happens, I do have a little tie-in to that topic with my current Work in Progress, VEXING THE VISCOUNT. My heroine, Daisy Drake is getting dressed to attend a masquerade as the French courtesan, Blanche La Tour. Part of her disguise is a cunning pair of Venetian platform-style shoes that elevate her 6 inches. (Real 18th century platforms might lift a woman up by as much as 22 inches. Contemporary diaries describe Venetian women of the day as 'giantesses' tottering about on stilts. A law was finally passed limiting the height of a shoe to 11 inches!) Here's a short excerpt of Daisy finishing her toilette for the masked ball.


“Are you certain this is the way it’s supposed to be worn?” Daisy eyed herself doubtfully in the long looking-glass. The stays built into the red tulle gown cinched her waist so tight, she could scarcely breathe.

That wasn’t so bad. She’d been laced snugly before, but this gown also seemed designed to shove her breasts up, presenting them squeezed together like a baby’s behind. Thanks to a hot bath and determined scrubbing, Daisy succeeded in removing the ink stain, but now her skin was flushed. Not only that, her nipples peeped above the scooped neckline, two little pink eyes peering uncertainly into the world.

Bien sur,” Nanette assured her. “Oh, la! I forgot the rouge.”

The lady’s maid dipped her thumb in a paintpot and then brushed Daisy’s nipples with the garish color. Now they were two little red eyes, tight and terrified. Daisy consoled herself that at least they matched the gown now. Then Nanette spritzed a liberal dose of jasmine perfume over Daisy.

“There,” Nanette said. “Much better, so?”

“If you say so,” Daisy said, coughing at the strong scent. She’d never worn anything stronger than a dash of rose water.

Daisy slipped on the plumed mask that covered half of her face. The slanted slits tilted her eyes up at the outer corner, making her seem almost feline, despite the feathers. With the top-heavy powdered wig, a black heart-shaped beauty mark affixed near one corner of her mouth, the mask and the deep d├ęcolletage, when she looked back into the mirror again, Daisy stared at a stranger.

An exotic, stunning stranger. A creature of night and passion and dangerous allure.

Daisy had never considered herself more than mildly presentable on a good day. The woman in the mirror was decadently gorgeous. “Oh, my!”

“You are lovely, oui?” Nanette said, obviously pleased with her final product. “The soreness, she is gone?”

“Mostly.” When Isabella had ordered the full toilette of a courtesan for her, Daisy had no idea that entailed the removal of all the small hairs from her body.

Even in her most intimate places.

Nanette’s hot beeswax had left her skin smooth and sensitive. When Daisy tottered across the room on the tall Venetian-style platform shoes that added a full six inches to her height, the air moving beneath her voluminous skirt caressed her in unexpected places.
Strains of the string quartet wafted up to her.

“It seems the masked ball has started,” Daisy said. She thanked Nanette for her unflagging efforts and glided to the door, mastering walking in the tall shoes more gracefully with each step. Even the slight pressure of her own thighs on her freshly denuded sex sent a shimmering tingle through her.

Isabella was right. Her body did possess a power of its own.

“Forewarned is forearmed,” she murmured, determined to ignore the strange warmth in her groin. She drew as deep a breath as her stays allowed and pushed open the door. Thanks to the boning built into the gown, her posture was perfectly erect.

Now if she could only bolster her confidence to match.

She’d wanted an adventure, she reminded herself. Only her own timidity would ruin this one for her. She’d seen other women, perfectly respectable women, sporting a neckline just as low as this one and without the benefit of being masked. Only last week, Lady Lucinda Throckmorton bared her nipples as part of her d├ęcolletage at the opera in a daring froth of Parisian lace. It was unthinkable that a courtesan would do less.

And yet, Isabella’s advice echoed in her head. Whatever happened tonight, she would have to wash her own face in the morning. Even courtesans should be allowed modesty when they wished it. Perhaps she could be a courtesan on holiday, not seeking a patron and therefore, not displaying her wares quite so boldly.

Daisy skittered back over to the dressing table and selected a filmy fichu to tuck around her neck and into the deep-cut bodice. Her rouged nipples still showed darkly through the delicate fabric, but the slight additional covering gave her a measure of relief.

She caught Nanette scowling at her in the mirror. “You wish to say something?”

“Only that mademoiselle has ruined the line of the gown,” the lady’s maid said with an injured sniff.

“Perhaps,” Daisy allowed. “But now the line of my conscience remains untroubled. ‘Blanche La Tour’ is not trying to entice a new patron this evening. This is daring enough.”

Uncle Gabriel always said she could have had a career on the stage, if only it weren’t so tawdry an undertaking. She would look upon this evening as if it were a play, Daisy decided. The Venetian shoes lifted her to a new height. The gown was more daring than plain Daisy Drake would ever think of donning. She would speak nothing but French for the rest of the night. Her accent was excellent and the nasal quality of that tongue should effectively disguise her voice, even if she met anyone she knew. No one would penetrate this disguise.

Daisy slipped into the role of Mme. Blanche La Tours, bird of paradise, albeit with a few of her finer feathers discretely tucked. With a lace-gloved hand on the brass railing, she descended slowly to join Lord Wexford’s party already in progress.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

My husband didn't know he married a hooker!

Ok, I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. Sorry, I just practiced a little "catch and release" on you.

I'm talking about making sure my writing has hooks, those little barbs of tantalizing information that keep a reader turning the pages. Last night, my dear husband was reading my current WIP (VEXING THE VISCOUNT) --yes, I am the luckiest writer on the planet to have him. He's my faithful first reader--and he kept saying he was going to stop as soon as he hit a chapter break. But the end of the chapter came and I "hooked" him into reading on. He finally had to stop mid-chapter at a Point-Of-View switch.

So what exactly is a hook? It's a sliver of promise of what's to come. A twist that sends the readers' thoughts in an entirely new direction. It's a surprise, an element so out of place and yet so inevitable, it makes the reader plough forward even though it's long past midnight and they have to rise at 6 AM.

For examples of prime hooking masters, read Dan Brown or Mary Higgins Clark. They propel their readers along, setting hooks with almost every sentence. There's a smooth pathway in their prose and if there's any sign of slowing, they throw in a twist that sends the reader careening forward.

Sometimes it's the initial sentence that so smacks the reader with questions, they have to read to figure out what in the world is going on. Nora Robert's opener for Carolina Moon is one of these. When I read 'She woke in the body of a dead friend.' I knew this was not your average story. Have you read any good hooks lately? I'd love to hear what caught your eye.

My hooking skills are still in the refining stage, but I'm working on it. So be forewarned. My goal is to keep you up some night.