Unconventional Love at Fall For the Book


I’m going to be talking about Unconventional Love at a Fall For the Book panel on Sunday, September 14th.  I hope you take a look — it’s free and it’s going to be mondo interesting.

UnconventionalWe’ll discuss romances that were once far more unconventional than they are now — like interracial romance, as well as m/m, f/f, and all sorts of variations therein.

These romances are being folded into the mainstream — but we’ll also look at how some communities WANT to remain unconventional when it comes to their kind of sex thang.

And that’s cool, too! Personally, I love how the romance world is often a big gob of acceptance.

Meanwhile, I leave you with Tom Waits, dreaming about Tony and Maria from West Side Story finding “a place for us.”  The original is below —

Eye Rolling Goodness in Sexy Saturday Round-Up

It’s Saturday. (Sunday if you’re me.) You’re bored. Trying not to eat the fridge. And there’s nothing on TV. You’re longing.  Perhaps for a man, but maybe some engaging romance news, sex tips, and an update on the romance industry will do.  Sexy Saturday Round Up is what you want, missy.  It’s got bizarre stuff, salacious stuff, and the obligatory cute article with a kitty in it.  >**<

Sometimes romance ain't pretty.
Sometimes romance ain’t pretty.

So long no longer, mah friends, here are the last eight SSRU’s from Lady Smut. Just click on a date below and–voila! Hours of time suckage.

July 6th (many levels of sex, trantric sex)

June 29th (swoon worthy heroes, the fake tongue wheel, giving great blow jobs)

June 22nd (best couples in horror)

June 15th (eyeball licking, deep point of view, cosmo super lift twist!)

June 8th (weirdest sex stories of the ancient world)

June 1st (hair archeology, how to flirt, how not to suck at promo)

May 25th (swirling, desperation breath, how to ask for oral sex)

May 18th (best condoms, keep sex toys safe, sex advice from cougars)

As Liz always sez–“Stay sexy.” Check out more of Lady Smut here–And please follow my blog!

Ready to Meet n Greet? Words of Wisdom from Barbara Vey

p, Barbara-Vey-CuddleHi friends! Barbara Vey spoke to Virginia Romance Writers last December and had some great wisdom to share about getting the most out of public romance events.  Barbara blogs at Publisher’s Weekly and she thinks like a reader–a very smart reader.  She goes to all kinds of romance events so she is an expert at connecting with readers both in person and online.

What I like about her advice is that it’s easy to follow.

Barbara talked about being at an event in person:

1) Project warmth.  Be personable.  [It’s actually hard to project warmth and be nervous at the same time.]

2) Readers love games and giveaways.  If you’re at an event with romance readers then join in the fun.  She noted that a highly successful author, Cathy Maxwell, is out there on the dance floor with readers, even at the end of a long day.

3) Reader’s love recommendations and discovering a new author.  If you’re sitting next to a reader, start chatting with them about who they’re reading and offer your own suggestions.

4) Drop references to your hobbies, pets, or other interests–the reader next to you may share these interests too. Barbara always mentions the television shows she watches and her son.

However, Barbara does not consider a romance event as just taking place in person.  She sees an event as an opportunity to connect online–before, during, and after an event. Here’s her advice about how to prepare for an event online.

1) Do social media a lot.  Announce the event you’re attending, and link to the event.

2) Blog about it.

a) Who is going to be at the event.

b) What you will do at the event.

c) Then after the event–blog about what was talked about.

3) Now, you may not be into blogging yourself.  You’ll be happy to know that there’s a way around this.  Barbara says:

a)Find someone who’s blogging about the event.

b)Read their blog & leave a comment.  (Use your URL address when doing so.)

c)Repost the other writer’s blog (making sure it’s clear to readers who wrote the post.)

There it is!

But what if you’re talking with other romance authors — highly successful, and busy romance authors? What do you talk about then–their latest book?  I asked one highly successful romance writer about this.  She said sure, you could ask them questions about that book, but she has probably finished that book so long ago, it’s a distant memory.

She did point out that almost everyone is highly interested in what’s going on in the publishing world.  The Random House merger for instance, or issues about Brand thieves…these are all things happening right now in the industry.  Of course, I’m always fascinated to hear about another writer’s process–from doing research to final edits.  Last but not least, there are those common interests you may share.  Kids, pets, television shows, other romance writers—I once bonded with a major author about being vegetarian.  By the end of the conversation it felt like we had really connected and we both were beaming.

Speaking of upcoming romance events–I hope to see you all at Love Fest–the romance panels at Virginia Festival of the Book in a week and a half.  It should be fun.  Last year some fans came twenty minutes early to get a seat.  I talked to one and told her the romance authors were off meeting with VRW members.  She said “I know, the author is tweeting about it,” and flashed her smart phone at me.  Doh!



It’s Like Auditioning On THE VOICE

There’s nothing I love better than transcendence. The Voice is all about transcending that point in your career where you’ve paid some dues and want to reach the next level.  I was agog watching the auditions, and can’t wait for the battle rounds to begin.

Next week I’m headed off to my own transcendent experience– I’m headed off to New Jersey Put Your Heart Into A Book conference.  I’ll be pitching my latest manuscript there.

Yes, New Jersey is calling me.  It’s a lot like auditioning for The Voice.  You walk into a room full of editors and agents.  You sit down in front of one, and then you’ve got just a few precious minutes to convince her that she must see more of your work.

Last year I was nervous and I kept perseverating on the idea that without a Coach purse, I wouldn’t be classy enough for NJ and all the slick folk from NYC.  My DH scoffed at this.  Finally he stopped all my whining by saying, “Get a book contract and we’ll celebrate by getting you a Coach bag.”

When I went into the first workshop at the beginning of the conference, a woman came over and sat next to me.  She placed her glorious white Coach bag between us.  Not one to throw away a good omen, I immediately complimented her on her bag–and she introduced herself.  Her name is Elizabeth Shore, and we’ve been friends ever since.

I also got the unique chance to volunteer in the pitch room. That was a hoot.  I stood amongst the tense, nervous authors almost all of whom were sweating bullets, but still felt a strong sense of volunteerism while trying not to hurl.  The woman in charge said they needed someone to wrangle overly-enthusiastic would-be romance authors,  someone who could get them out of the room at the end of a pitch session if they just wouldn’t leave, and I heard the call. So for the next few hours, I became an editor’s bouncer, if you will.  Does it sound weird to say I enjoyed it? A part of me feels sympathetic towards people who don’t behave.  After all, if you think about it, most characters in romance novels don’t behave — if they all did, the plots would be exceptionally dull.

But the most heady part of going to NJ was when it was my turn pitching to editors and agents.  I learned that I just l-o-v-e pitching.

Why? Because pitching is a nugget of storytelling in miniature.  It’s a form all its own.  It’s story DNA.

Like the smell of a man’s cologne when he kisses your cheek, the perfect pitch presents you with a delicious sense of possibility.

Last year, meanwhile, I was totally new to the idea of having a ‘platform’.  I had about ten friends on Facebook.  That was so depressing.  This year, I am within range of 1,000.  But who cares? What really matters it that I’m going to have an absolute blast meeting people at NJ–both friends from last year as well as new people.  I feel like a whole new person–I blog, I tweet, and I’m a part of  Lady Smut.


Lady Smut (since you’re wondering) is a group erotic romance writers–including that same Elizabeth Shore of the white coach bag–who blog about all kinds of erotic romance books and related topics.  It’s classy, it’s funny, and it’s going great guns–in no small part to some or all of you who’ve subscribed :).  (I’m feeling the love, folks.) I’ve also become the person who organizes LOVE FEST –a day of romance panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book every March.  So this year, if someone asks me if I have a ‘platform’,  I can talk about the people I adore and efforts I’m involved in that bring me great joy every day.

I’ve also got a killer pitch in my back pocket.  So wish me luck–in a few weeks I’ll be back with tales of adventure!