Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thirteen Books I Read this Year I Want to Pimp

I don't read as much as I'd like to. Between husband, kids, house, job, and (most time-consuming of all!) writing, I just don't seem to have much time left over for reading. But, I did read some pretty good books this year and, as my early Christmas present to you, I want to share.

I'm listing these in alphabetical order by the author's first name, thereby avoiding any possible accusations of favoritism.

  1. Kink by Amie Stuart
    Totally lives up to its title. In the best possible way.

  2. The Average Girl's Guide to Getting Laid by Annie Dean
    Sassy and scorching, Ellie and Ash are tons of fun and smokin' between the sheets.

  3. Bounty Hunter by Deanna Lee
    Hot, tortured (and highly modified) hero plus kickass heroine equals one action-packed and very hot read. The sci-fi world-building is excellent, too.
  4. The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
    Lyrical yet gritty, you'll feel like you're actually in Yorkshire in the Georgian period. And it doesn't hurt that Harry Pye is one unbelievably sexy land steward.
  5. The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
    Sexy and incredibly real with a hero to swoon for. The only problem you're likely to have with this book is that you'll want Simon for yourself instead of letting Lucy, the heroine, have him.
  6. Birthday by Ellie Marvel
    A wonderful story about finding love with your best friend (and with none of the naughty bits left out).

  7. Reign of Pleasure by Emma Petersen
    Not for the faint of heart, but man...if you like to rock, this'll rock your world.
  8. Postcards from the Dead by Ericka Scott
    Fascinating premise, spicy romance, and a touch of suspense.
  9. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
    Okay, technically, I'm still reading this one, but I was intrigued by the discussions about the movie and its supposed "atheist" prosetylization. I find the book "draggy" in spots, but the controversy is entertaining enough to make it worth the read.
  10. Something Wild by Sable Grey
    Jack the Ripper with a twist and a great love story.
  11. Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
    This one's sort of cheating since it won't be out until 2009, but Tessa has written a witty and touching Regency romance that you are really going to love (when you can finally get your hands on it ;P).

  12. Fire Within by Yolanda Sfetsos
    Fascinating interpretation of the phoenix myth.
    and last, but definitely not least...
  13. Carnally Ever After by Jackie Barbosa
    Yeah, I know, it's out of order alphabetically. So sue me! And you didn't think I wasn't going to pimp my own book, did you?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thirteen Reasons I've Been Slacking at Blogging

I missed two Mondays running. Bad blogger, bad blogger. But I have good, reasons. Promise.

  1. I've been judging contest entries for GOTCHA. It takes time. Lots of time.
  2. What do you mean, it's Monday?
  3. Oh, you mean it's Wednesday? Who authorized that?
  4. I've been writing like crazy. Really. 10,000+ words in the past week.
  5. There's no Internet access at Chuck E. Cheese's. Cheapskates! Next time, McDonald's.
  6. I've been doing my Christmas shopping. NOT! (But I've been thinking about it. That counts, right?)
  7. Bitchy, whiny, needy clients. Who can spend hours on the phone.
  8. Did I mention I hate talking on the phone?
  9. Emma's been querying and getting requests. I hate her. (Just kidding. I envy the bejesus out of her, that's all. But I'm so thrilled for her, I can hardly sit still!)
  10. No news is good news.
  11. I've been dreaming of a white Christmas. (Or at least a white New Year. Yes, I live in sunny Southern California, but I booked a weekend in Yosemite after the first of the year.)
  12. Do you ever just get sucked into watching episode after episode of Law and Order on USA? It's kind of like crack--you know it's not worth it, but you just can't stop.
  13. It's my blog and I'll blog when I want to! (But I really do want to blog more. I've just been a little nuts the last few weeks. I'll try to do better next week.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Monday, November 19, 2007

On Hold

Carnally Yours is on hold for the moment, as I've had a bit of a breakthrough on another project. I expect to get back to it and finish it before Christmas, though.

It would appear that An Officer and a Jezebel remains the clear favorite as the title for Jack and Callie's story, so when I get around to posting it to the website, I expect that's the title I'll use.

And Dawne', if you're out there, email me at I owe you a Cobblestone gift certificate!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And the Winner Is...

The randomly drawn winner of the titling game sweepstakes is Dawne'. Dawne', please email me at to claim your prize.

So, several of you really liked the idea of An Officer and a Jezebel. I have to say, it's a great play on an existing title, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with referring to the heroine in the title as a Jezebel. The word just has an awful lot of Biblical baggage I'm not sure I want to saddle Callie with.

What do you think? Is Jezebel too negative a word? Please share your thoughts.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Late Post and A Little Contest

I know, it's late. Sorry!

This Friday, the Manuscript Mavens will be playing hostess to Deanna Lee, author and co-founder/co-owner of Cobblestone Press, the publisher of Carnally Ever After. (She's also my acquiring editor, which means I extra adore her for adoring my book.)

In celebration, I'm hosting a little contest here this week. You see, I have an idea for a story that won't go away, but the only title I can come up for it just doesn't seem to be flying with test audiences thus far. I'm posting the "hook" I've written for the story below. Since I realize you might need more than 100 words to come up with a title, and since the hook really focuses on the hero, you can check out this post for more information about the heroine.

Here's the hook:

The Peninsular Wars may have ended more than a year ago, but they’re not over for Colonel Jack Prescott. Cursed with an eidetic memory, Jack can recite the names and see the faces of every man he sent into battle, hear their dying howls of agony, and taste the bitter flavor of their fear. Awake or asleep, he can’t escape the twisted, violent images or his remorse for having knowingly condemned so many soldiers to certain death. That is, until he chances upon perhaps the one woman who can accept him without judgment or condemnation.

‘Tis pity she’s a whore.

Now, for the rules and prizes. You may enter as may title possibilities as you like. One lucky poster, drawn at random, will receive a $5 Cobblestone Press gift certificate. That's enough to buy Carnally Ever After and still have a little left over. I'll draw next Monday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Quick Post

Not much writing has gotten done in the past week. Between the fires and then the things we did to distract ourselves from them (movies, Disneyland, more movies, dinner out, Chargers game), I haven't had much time to write. Which means I simply must buckle down this week and finish up Carnally Yours by Sunday. (That's a tall order, because it means 2,200 words per day. And today I have written

In the meantime, I thought I'd promo the Mavens' fun-filled activity one more time!

From now until Halloween, the Manuscript Mavens are running a Choose Your Own Adventure® story, in which YOU vote on what happens next! Every morning brings a new author, from the Mavens to the just-sold to the best-selling. And every night brings a new twist!

Get your Choose Your Own Adventure® votes in by 8:00pm EST (5:00pm PST) and you’ll be eligible for random prize drawings. Vote every day, and you’ll be eligible for the Grand Prize–autographed books from Maven pals and Guest Mavens!

(Already read the intro? Skip to today’s story. No idea what’s going on? Read the “rules.”)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Just a quick post to say the fire threat has abated. Everything that's still burning is well east of us. Which is bad news for those folks, but good news for us.

I just heard George W. Bush has arrived to congratulate himself for not fucking up. I think that constitutes bad news.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Going Up in Smoke

No, our house isn't on fire, although there's no guarantee it won't be before the end of the week.

That said, the approaching flames combined with having all three kids home (and trapped in the house all day) since Monday is definitely interfering with my mojo.

For more, check out the map and photos on Jacqueline's blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Dangerous Allure of Secondary Characters

I was chugging along on Carnally Yours, making decent (if not speedy) progress. Then, I went and wrote this scene (warning: dirty words and still a first draft!):

“Maybe if I suck you a bit more, you’ll be able—” The courtesan broke off at Nathaniel’s warning glower.

He sat on the edge of the velvet-upholstered armchair next to the bed and pulled on his breeches. For the first time in his life, his cock had failed him. Never before in his life, even at his most inebriated, had he failed to make wood at the appropriate time.

But tonight, despite being ridden hard by nearly a week of unrequited lust, his prick had simply lain there, limp and unresponsive. Even when he’d closed his eyes and tried to imagine it was Eleanor fondling his balls, Eleanor taking his cock into her mouth, he hadn’t been able to rise to the occasion.

Because his senses knew she wasn’t Eleanor. She didn’t smell right, didn’t taste right, didn’t feel right.

Calliope sighed and stretched to a sit. “I suppose this means you won’t be coming back,” she said, reaching for the silk robe draped around the bedpost.

Nathaniel stopped in the midst of pulling on the first of his Hessians. Though her expression remained carefully neutral, there was no mistaking the disappointment in her tone.

“Probably not,” he admitted.

“A pity.” She slipped her arms into the garment, then ran the backs of her hands under her hair to free the blonde tresses. “You’re my best customer, you know.”

“I know. I’m very reliable.”

Whenever he came to the Red Door, he always requested Calliope first. Of all the girls who worked for Madame Upshaw, Calliope best suited his taste in women. Tall and pale-skinned with small breasts, narrow hips, and long, slender legs, she was his idea of the perfect fuck. Or had been until Eleanor had burst into his study and into his heart.

Heart? That was getting a bit sentimental, wasn’t it?

Maybe too much self-abuse made one soft in the head. He resisted the urge to look at his palms to make certain they hadn’t sprouted hair. At least he was certain he
hadn’t gone blind.

Calliope smiled and shook her head as she tied the sash around her waist. “I don’t mean it that way. You’re not the only gentleman who prefers blonde and bony—”

“You are not bony,” he interjected.

She chuckled, but held up her hand to forestall further protestations on his part. “You are my best customer because you always give as much pleasure as you take.
And so I shall miss you.”

Nathaniel’s throat thickened, and so he merely nodded before returning his attention to donning his boots. Sentimentality apparently was caused by excessive wanking.

“You must love her a great deal.”

He jerked his head up to stare at the pretty Cyprian, realizing that while he’d known her repeatedly in the Biblical sense, he didn’t know her at all.

“No, I don’t.” The denial sprang reflexively to his lips. Love was for the lovable. Not for him.

Calliope raised her eyebrows.

For some inexplicable reason, he felt obligated to explain himself. “She’s a lady. Unmarried. An Eligible. I have to marry her to fuck her, that’s all.”

The courtesan’s lips formed a skeptical grin. “Perhaps. But that’s not why you couldn’t fuck me tonight.”

I finished the scene, but once I was done, I couldn't move on with the story because Calliope interested me. Who is she? What's her background? Why did she become a prostitute?

So what did I do instead of writing the next scene in Carnally Yours? I wrote this:

Caroline James had learnt at the age of fifteen that she had precisely two saleable talents, both of which involved spending a good deal of time on her knees. That was the spring she’d hired on as a scullery maid in a wealthy lord’s London townhouse and, within a few days of taking the position, began serving her employer in a much more entertaining capacity. Before long, she was performing similar favors for the lord’s oldest son and the butler, a turn of events that pleased her greatly. Fucking men was, in her opinion, a great deal more enjoyable than scrubbing floors and the three of them kept her rather too occupied to do much of the latter.

Matters might have gone on in that fashion indefinitely had the cook not complained to the lady of the house that none of the scullery work was getting done, and quick as you could say mince pie, Callie was tossed out on her ear with neither pay nor references. She’d couldn’t have cared less about the lack of references, of course—one wasn’t usually asked for them when selling one’s wares on a Picadilly street corner—but she’d missed the money rather acutely, for sleeping in alleys had a way of making one rather less attractive to even the most desperate members of the opposite sex.

What a long way she’d come since then. Gone was the gutter born and bred Callie James, replaced by Calliope, an alluring fiction as flimsy as the diaphanous white gown she wore to mimic the Grecian goddess from whom she’d taken her name. No one from the Seven Dials would recognize her now, a posh and perfect lady in every respect but one.

God help me, I already love Calliope and must write her story. Like I don't already have enough to do! This happens to me all the time--my secondary characters just demand to be written. Anyone else suffer from this problem?

Speaking of things to do, I'm putting important papers into boxes and packing up the family photos on account of this:

This is southeast of our house and it doesn't look like it's going to reach us unless the winds change direction significantly. Still, it's a possibility.

Finally, pimpage:

From now until Halloween, the Manuscript Mavens are putting on a Halloween-themed Choose Your Own Adventure® story, where You The Reader get to vote on what happens next, and a different author will continue the story each day based on your feedback. The Mavens are giving away tons of prizes to commenters, including autographed books. Definitely bookmark it!

Choose Your Own Adventure is a trademark of Chooseco LLC, Waitsfield, Vermont. Check them out at The trademark has been used by permission herein. Thanks, CYOA!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good News, Good Stuff, and Where to Find It All!

Good morning! (Or afternoon, for those of you who still live over there on the right hand side of the planet :->.)

I just got back from a busy weekend of camping (complete with rain, ensuing mud, and my youngest child learning to ride his bike without training wheels...woohoo!) and I'm still trying to find my brain, much less finish unpacking all the gear. (Remind me again why camping is fun?)

Since I'm currently sapped of my cleverness by mundane concerns like laundry and devoid of any exciting news of my own, I'm turning over today's blog to others in the Internet universe:

  1. For exciting first sale news, go here.
  2. For an awesome contest with exciting prizes, go here.
  3. For the funniest damn romance novel writing lesson evah, go here.
  4. For just plain funny, go here.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for Ecataromance Sensual's Cobblestone Press Authors Day this Wednesday, October 17th. I'll be there with bells on (and hopefully with my brain back!).

What's up in your little corner of the world?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Welcome to My World!

After months of vacillating, I decided it was time to break down and launch a blog. Those of you who are used to conversing with my alter ego, Jacqueline Barbour, can still chat with her on Fridays on her blog. Those of you who don't "know" Jacqueline are also welcome to pop by.

Meanwhile, I'll be blogging here Mondays and whenever else the mood strikes me (but I promise Mondays barring illness, vacation, or the odd emergency). So, I hope you'll be joining me on Mondays, when I promise to dish about anything I can think of: reading, writing, publishing, sex, love, and maybe even rock and roll! So pull up a chair and a cuppa something--I drink tea, like a proper Brit (we'll ignore the fact that I'm a native Southern Californian)--and settle in for a good time!

See you next Monday!