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2010 in review: one author’s highlights

December 31, 2010

Spanked! was published by Black Velvet Seductions in October

A writer’s life moves slooowly…you spend a lot of time at the computer, and while you might knock out 1,000, 2,000, or even 3,000 words a day, that’s still a long way from a completed novel. And then there are revisions, which can take LONGER than writing the first draft. You read and reread your work over and over until you’re sick of it.

Then you submit the manuscript and you wait. It’s accepted and it goes into editing and you wait.

It seems like much doesn’t happen. But as I look back on 2010 I realize I had a fairly eventful year. I started January with just one novella, Intimate Submission, a erotic romance/spanking story published by Black Velvet Seductions. My second one, Secret Desires, had been submitted but wasn’t published yet.

And then this is what happened in 2010:

  • Secret Desires was published as an ebook (July)
  • Both Intimate Submission and Secret Desires were published in the Spanked! paperback and ebook anthology (October)
  • Spanked! received good reviews from Two Lips Reviews and Night Owl Reviews
  • I wrote, completed, submitted and signed a contract on a new novella, Spanking Melania, the start of an erotic romance domestic discipline series.
  • I wrote the first draft of the second book of the series, Disciplining Emma
  • I joined Romance Writers of America and the Passionate Ink chapter
  • I started this blog (April), and wrote 63 posts
  • I joined Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads

Holiday wishes and a little rum cake….

December 21, 2010
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I’ll be taking a break from blogging during the holiday, so this will be my last blog of 2010. I have many things planned for 2011 including more author interviews, guest blogs, and discussions about erotic romance and spanking. In the meantime, I wish you and yours the merriest of merry and would like to share one of my favorite recipes for rum cake.

This one is quick and yummy, easily thrown together from ingredients on hand when you need an emergency dessert. It comes from the Eddie Bauer Legendary Recipe Collection.

Rum Cake

½  cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 pkg of yellow cake mix

1 (3 ¾ oz) pkg of vanilla instant pudding

½ cup light rum

½ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan. Crumble nuts in the bottom of pain. Combine cake mix and pudding mix.  Add water, rum, oil and eggs. Mix for about 2 minutes. Pour in pan and bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes.

Let cool in pan on wire rack for approx. 3 minutes. Remove cake from pan and pour glaze over the cake.

Glaze:

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup light rum

1 stick of margarine

¼ cup of water

Place ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes.

Note: I usually make only half the amount of glaze to cut back a little on the fat and calories. It’s more than sufficient. I’ve made this without the glaze, and it turns out like a pound cake.

Amazon secret…converting a PDF for Kindle

December 20, 2010
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You can find great deals for Kindle books on Amazon. But sometimes the deals are better direct from the publisher. For instance, Ellora’s Cave novels are typically cheaper on the EC website. But when you buy from a publisher, what you get is usually a PDF file.

 You can read a PDF on Kindle…but not always comfortably. The first time I loaded a PDF onto my new Kindle, I knew immediately it was NOT going to work.

 The type size was way too small. Picture the fine print in a legal document and you get the idea. I couldn’t imagine reading an entire novel in print that tiny. The scalable fonts don’t work on a PDF document. Few of the Kindle functions do.

 I had to convert the PDF to the Kindle (.AZW) format. It’s easy to do, but HARD to find the directions on the Amazon site. Apparently, they’d rather you bought your books directly from them, rather than purchase ebooks from a publisher and convert them. Go figure!

 However, I was determined, so despite their best efforts to hide the information on the Amazon web site, I found it. (Ha!).

 There’s two ways to a convert a PDF file to a Kindle .AWZ file: one is free and the other costs a small fee (about 15 cents, depending on file size). The fee option, of course, is the easy way.

 Easy way for a fee:

1. Attach your PDF to an email

2. Type “convert” (and nothing else) in the subject line. (And that means don’t include the quotation marks).

3. Email it to:  “yourname@kindle.com.” (This is the Kindle name Amazon assigned you when you bought your Kindle).

 Amazon will convert your PDF to an .AZW file and send it via Whispernet to your Kindle. It takes longer than purchasing a Kindle book, sometimes as long as 15-20 minutes. Be patient. Don’t email it several times like I did the first time.

 The free way

1. Attach your PDF to an email

2. Type “convert” in the subject line

3. Email it to “your kindle name@free.Kindle.com.” (Note this email address is a little different)

4. Amazon will email you an .AZW file

5. Download the file to your computer

6. Attach your Kindle to your computer with the USB cord you received

7. Using the mouse, drag the .AZW file to your Kindle OR use the “move” command, to transfer the file to Kindle (the latter is what I do)

 Tip: If you buy a PDF book from a publisher, pay attention to the file name that you receive. I bought several books from Ellora’s Cave and when I received them, the file name was the UPC code. Not a problem if you have only one book, but when you have several books in your Kindle named with numbers, you don’t know what the titles are. Before I send UPC-named books to Amazon to be converted now, I change the file name to the book’s title. Be sure you keep the .pdf extension if you change the file name.

 Here’s the Amazon link with all the info:

Sending files to Amazon

E is for erotic e-book…my favorite publishers

December 19, 2010

Read more…

My favorite erotic romance and spanking blogs

December 17, 2010

What makes a good blog? For me, it’s two things: it has to informative and it has to be entertaining. I’d like to share my favorite blogs related to erotic romance and spanking:

Erotic romance writing blogs – These blogs offer insight into various aspects of romance writing, author interviews, book excerpts, new release info, and promotion tips.

Kaily Hart

Naughty Author Chicks

Nice n Naughty Authors

Nine Naughty Novelists

Romance Writers Behaving Badly

Writers Gone Wild

Editor Blogs

Redlines and Deadlines – Written by the editors of Ellora’s Cave, an erotic romance publisher, it offers great info. about the craft of romance writing.

Spanking blogs – I like the blogs that provide insight. Why people spank, they various ways they do it, what they think and feel about it, how it affects their relationships. There are three that I regularly check:

My Bottom Smarts – A good go-to source of information for all things related to spanking.

Finding Sara – This site offers the reflections of a woman in domestic discipline marriage.

Husbandly Touch – This blog offers the perspective of the husband in domestic discipline marriage.

Coming soon: my favorite erotic romance publishers!

My favorite erotic romance books of the year…

December 13, 2010

With the close of another year, I find myself reflecting on the best the year had to offer…the best books that is. And specifically, erotic romance.

As I look over the novels and novellas on my Kindle, one thing became clear: certain books I remember vividly, others, while enjoyable at the time, are already forgotten. The books I’m going to list are the ones that stand out in my mind. These are the “keepers,” some that I might even reread because I enjoyed them so much. What these books share in common is that they are all well-written with good solid stories and are hot!

These books weren’t necessarily published this year, that’s just when I read them. These are my top picks:

For humor and eroticism…Training the Receptionist by Juniper Bell

When ever-cheeky Dana applies for the receptionist job at Cowell & Dirk, she has no idea how significant her “other related duties” will be, but she proves she’s game for anything.  Many erotic romances have flashes of humor, but this book was hilarious from beginning to end—and still erotic. The boss/clerical assistant BDSM theme is not an uncommon one, but in this novel it’s handled uncommonly well by Juniper Bell. The heroine has a very unique voice that makes this book an absolute delight to read. It’s ties for first place as my absolute favorite book of the year.

For uniqueness and creativity…La Queue de Cheval by Michele de Lully

Angie desires to become a bejeweled, pampered plaything of a rich man. She wrangles a position at the Bathshire Stables, a kinky sex club for the titled and wealthy in hopes of seeing her dreams come true. This book gets high marks for some unique and creative sexual role play, specifically “pony play” (and I DON’T mean sex with equines!).  I won’t spoil the surprise, other than to say I doubt that I would ever have thought of something like this. I’m not this creative or daring. I don’t know if I’m disappointed or relieved by that…

For guts and poignancy…Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

The rape fantasy is still common, but giving it rein and writing about it is still taboo. Cara McKenna handles it deftly and with poignancy in her erotica novel Willing Victim. Laurel is intrigued by blue collar amateur boxer Flynn, when he rescues a woman from being assaulted. When she learns he’s turned on by really rough sex that mimics rape, she’s game enough to give it a try. Despite the violence of their sexual acts, there’s an inherent tenderness to Flynn that is very touching and poignant. This erotica novel ties for first place among my favorites.

For goodness and wholesome fun…Librarian by Day by Paige Tyler

Jennifer is an extremely shy librarian who writes erotic spanking stories under a pseudonym. When her boyfriend Nik discovers her secret he decides to surprise her. Pretty soon shy Jennifer isn’t nearly as shy. I loved the concept of this book. If this were a movie, I’d call it a “delightful romp.” It’s a fun read from beginning to explosive end.

For a pleasant mix of history and kink…Seeking Truth by Francesca Hawley

Marriage to Lord Eaudin Kemp rescues healer and psychic Verite from the evil clutches of a nasty nun at the convent, where her father had banished her as punishment. I don’t read many historical romances, but I really liked this one and it made me a Francesca Hawley fan. It’s wonderfully written, and for a historical, delightfully kinky. Thumbs up.

For variety and fun…Spank! By DL King

This erotic spanking anthology came out the same time as Spanked!, the anthology that contains two of my stories, which is why I read it. Spank! (like Spanked!) offers a nice compilation of well-written spanking stories by a variety of authors…a little something for everyone. DL King is the editor and author of one of the stories. My favorite story in the book is “Elementary, My Dear Sir” by Anna Black, a historical mystery. Lady Rowena Fairchild was acquitted of the murder of her late husband. However Inspector William Maxwell doesn’t believe she’s innocent and takes it upon himself to spank the truth out of her…

And those are my favorites. I keep a running list of books I’ve read (click on the tab in the header), which will be erased and begun anew in January. I also write short reviews (click on book reviews on the sidebar) of books I like.

Me and my Kindle…honeymoon’s over, but marriage still strong

December 11, 2010
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For better and for worse, I still love my Kindle. But like any good marriage, there are ups and downs.

Five months and 45 e-books later, I’m still pleased with my Kindle. I wouldn’t go back to paper.

Topping my list of favorites in the number one position is the instant gratification I get when I buy a book. The ability to order a book anywhere, anytime can’t be beat. I buy at least twice as many books as I ever did, but I actually spend a little less, because of my second favorite thing…

Freebies. Kindle offers a number of free reads, which helps to offset the costs of the books I do buy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are even free erotic romances available. In addition, publishers such as Ellora’s Cave offer freebies, which I can load onto Kindle. Before I pay actual money for a book, I get the free sample, which gives me a pretty good idea of what I’m buying, saving me from mistakes.

My third favorite thing is the general user friendliness and comfort of Kindle. I recently read an actual paperback I’d been meaning to read for while and found it quite cumbersome to hold and keep the pages open compared to reading on Kindle. You’d think it would be impossible to improve upon a book…but Amazon did.

Because the fonts are scalable and I can make the type larger…I think I’ll be even be able to delay getting bifocals due to Kindle. Yay!

But just like finding out your beloved leaves the cap off the toothpaste, my experience with Kindle isn’t totally rosy…

Kindle is fantastic for reading novels and other works of fiction. Nonfiction books with a lot of charts and graphs…not so much. It might be different on the larger DX version, but the Kindle I have is too small to see a chart or graph in full. You can change the view from portrait to landscape, and that helps somewhat, but you still can’t see the entire chart.

I would hesitate to buy another nonfiction book on Kindle.

I miss being able to highlight key passages and to locate something in the text by simply flipping through it. Yes, you can electronically mark passages, but it’s saved in a separate file and it’s not the same as being able to flip through pages and spot your markings. Also, when I want to reread a specific passage I haven’t marked, it’s more cumbersome to scroll through Kindle than to skim through a book.

But, all in all, I’d say “I do” all over again.

 Related Kindle posts