VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.

I've also made available at Amazon BIG BAD WOLF a COS Commando book, an earlier manuscript about Killian Nicholas Langley. You can sample the first five chapters right here. EBOOK now available for KINDLE, NOOK, and at SMASHWORDS for $4.99.

I appreciate all your emails. If you'd like to buy Virtually His NEW, please contact me. Thank you.


Big Bad Wolf Author's Note/CH. 1

Big Bad Wolf CH. 2

Big Bad Wolf Ch. 3

(more chapters on left side bar below)

To read excerpts of VIRTUALLY HERS, scroll down & click on the links on the right.



VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010! Discounted at Amazon!

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Iconic Reads In The Romance Genre

I was talking about my dream wall-shelves and that led to me playing with my older books.  I have many, most of them reissues, since I bought mine when I was in my early teens and the original ones are all probably lost in a drawer at my house in Malaysia (my mom is also a stasher).

Anyway, I thought I'd make a list of, IMO, the top  Iconic Books that changed/expanded/influenced the Romance genre. The list below is not in any particular order.

1) Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers
It changed everything.  Sweetness and light? Sorry. Here's the first taste of the Extreme Alpha Male, a hero that is thief, mercenary, bandido, everything a bad boy is.  I remember all my romance books afterwards changed direction in portraying the hero.

Today: No longer popular. Bodice-ripping and rape are considered politically incorrect, but I think it's making a comeback disguised as paranormal romance vampires and weres who could use supernatural strength and magic to bind the heroines.

2) Born In Fire by Nora Roberts
I think Nora's "Born In" trilogy made romance more mainstream. I've met readers who don't read romances who still read Nora today because of this book.  Also, this book made trilogies of connected characters popular.

Today: Nora is still the queen of trilogies ;-).

3) Naked In Death by J.D. Robbs
A modern futuristic with romance. Fast paced. Dark. Brutal. It's not your mama's romantic police procedural. I know truck drivers who read this series.

Today: So many tough heroines who carry the story. Some of them are too tough and their snarkitude grate.

4) Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann (actually tied with McKenzie's Pleasure by Linda Howard because they were both published in 1996)
Those of us who have never heard of SEALs and their speshulness would never be the same again. We don't need no mo cops. We want SEALs! A whole team, if possible, with one romance for each, with lots of heroic military action, please. We don't want the aftermath (war heros with PTSD).  We want them actively macho, waving weapons and making hot love.

Today: Oh man. Or rather, men in Spec. Ops. outfits. Cindy Gerard. Roxanne St. Claire. Marliss Melton. Cherry Adair. Many, many more.

5) Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
She started the whole trend of vampires that aren't really vampires. She made "mated" a religious incantation. She also made world-building a challenge for future authors of this sub-genre. How complicated can you make your blood-suckers universe? Umm. Sherrilyn Kenyon, anybody?

Today: Feehan's Carpathians are still going strong. Sherrilyn Kenyon. JR Ward. Kresley Cole.

6) The Ultimate Betrayal by Michelle Reid
This is the Harlequin Presents of Harlequin Presents.  It starts with the first two pages of the heroine finding out that her husband of seven years has cheated on her...and the whole book deals with the aftermath of this discovery. Although the heroine does come across as unbelievably naive and the very successful husband's ability to hide his family not probable in this day and age, this read packs an emotional wallop that still gets me today.  The confrontations were very realistic; the husband's guilt and angst very well done.  A classic read.  Haters of cheating in their romance will be surprised at the ending. It's not what you think.  I think this book gave permission to explore the heroine's position in a different light.

Today: I can't think of one Presents from then till now that equalled this one. A couple of Reids have come close. In spite of the "sameness," the Presents line has done different things through the years including a virgin hero. The authors of this line is also very long lived. I've been reading some of them since mid- to late 70s and they're still writing! I mean, wow. Reid. Graham. Bianchin. Thorpe. Donald. Mather. Forty years and counting, folks!

7) Bad to the Bone by Debra Dixon
A Loveswept that gave the heroine the power to kill.  The first assassin and not your namby-pamby virginal spy that you come across in your series romance these days. This heroine has angst in spades and her secret is not a baby. I loved this book. It gave me permission to write my kind of heroine.

Today: Many heroine-centric urban fantasies today. Many romantic spy thrillers.

8) Lord of the Storm by Justine Davies
Another classic that changed all futuristics, imho.  The heroine is the warrior commander.  The hero is a kept sex slave, with an electronic collar with which one could control his emotions.  He couldn't tell his feelings from the manipulated ones.  Space romance has never been the same. LotS opened doors for those who wanted more space SF instead of medieval-oriented planets with Conan/Fabio warlords who are into spanking.

9) Sinful by Susan Johnson
Her first book was Love Storm, but I think SJ hit her stride with this one. She started what is today known as romantica, a combination of erotic and romance. Her older books were meticulously researched, rich with historical flavor, and lush heroes and heroines.  Her sex scenes are epic and very, very naughty, and yes, being an erotic romance, her heroes are unconventional and...umm...long-lasting.  The historical genre has historically (heh) been hot reading, but Susan Johnson definitely upped it a notch. Several, actually.

I'll leave #10 for you to fill in.  I know many of you are long-time readers who have seen trends come and go.  Please add in the comments which of your reads would you consider an "iconic" book that changed/expanded the genre (creating over-saturation, but that's another topic!).

Also, if the past shaped our present genre, what do you think, looking at all the diversity, does the future hold?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on authors you've read that you think are different and made you rethink the romance genre.  This is a difficult one because we even have a Buffy the Vampire slayer mashed with Victorian era series!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

I Is A Dinosaur

I have this big expanse of wall space in my study, and I dream of getting shelves put there, from one end to the other. I've had this dream for a year (and some months) now. The shelves aren't wide like the store-bought bookshelves, but are from precut planks from Lowes or Home Depot--8 inches--so I could stack my books sideways, titles upright, and they'd al fit precisely up to the next plank/shelf, so that I don't have to dust.

In the course of this one-plus year of dreaming, almost everyone I know online has bought an e-reader or is thinking of one. Kindle. Nook. I-Phone. I-Pad. Sony. Many love their new lifestyle--no more heavy books, no more piles around the house, space is now free for other things.

From the standpoint of the new world of ebooks, I'm an utter Fail. You see, I have this nasty habit of browsing through my chosen novel, sometimes starting from The End.  Granted, it's possible to do this with an ebook, with e-reader of choice, but it hasn't given me the same odd satisfaction. I can't seem to flip backwards the same.

Of course, I realize that I'm just an odd duck and the industry is passing me by.  Almost every voracious reader is downloading like crazy--free ebooks, free samples, free galleys, buying more books than ever before--and here I am, still building shelves.

I mean, how medieval. People have virtual shelves now, showing off covers of their acquired ebooks, storing their library in the "Cloud," a place where virtual books exist to be called upon at leisure from anywhere in this world, unless, of course, you're hit by a natural disaster like a hurricane and you're knocked offline for 2 weeks.  Then your storage is off-limits till wifi and electricity return.

But even then, a savvy reader doesn't just have one source of ebooks.  There are those who know how to break the DRM and store their book files into their I-phones.  There are ebooks sold without DRM and these one could store in one's e-device of choice.

So I stare at my medieval shelves and wonder: why should I give these books space in my house when I could put them in the Cloud?  Imagine, a study with no clutter or piles of books.

Maybe I'm just a stasher by nature. I like to stash things, especially books. Shelves upon shelves of touchable books make me deliriously happy for some reason, that looking at virtual shelves does't. Besides, I'm not very organized by nature. I know where my physical books are, even if they're shelved out of order.  Over on top, all oldie Nora Roberts.  In bedroom, all Presents, especially Bianchin and Reid. Far right, a mixture of paranormals, with some Merline Lovelace SIMs that wandered in there that I hadn't gotten the time to move to another spot. And uh, those piles? That's my Loot from various conventions that I haven't gotten to yet. Sue me, but the Loot always makes me rub my hands in glee because I know I'll get to play with them some day.

I just know, if I jump to everything e-books, I'll never know where my files are.  Or, if I'm smart enough to put them all in one place, none of them would be arranged in a way that I could easily find an oldie for rereading. I look at my files in My Documents on my computer and know that would be how my virtual books would look like--everything saved haphazardly, with the odd folder for a manuscript. And somehow, looking at lines and lines of titles on a screen just doesn't give me the same glee.

This is how dinosaurs died off, you know.  They were too big and couldn't adapt to the new Age.

Off I go looking at that wall again....

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Post #2: Holy Meow and Helping A Good Cause

John Scalzi, one of my favorite bloggers and authors, went on hiatus for a few weeks while he set off to Australia (arrrgh, I'm so jealous of that) for a convention.  He's an interesting bloke and I "get" him, so I've been a fan since I was a young roofer ;-); in fact, my internet relationship with him has grown from Netscape Navigator at $3.99/month to Internet Explorer 8.

During his holiday, I didn't go to his blog because although he had some wonderful writing guests, it wasn't HIM, you know?  So, after remembering that he would be back around mid-Sept., I happily set out to catch up on all the news I've been missing while he was gone.

First, if you haven't heard, he has an awesome project with Wil Wheton to fight lupus.  Here's the announcement from his blog:

Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi and Subterranean Press are proud to announce the publication of CLASH OF THE GEEKS, a special and fantastical electronic chapbook. It features stories by Wheaton, Scalzi, New York Times bestseller Patrick Rothfuss, Norton Award winner and Hugo Best Novel nominee Catherynne M. Valente, Hugo and Nebula Award nominee Rachel Swirsky, and others, and is for the benefit of the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America.

The chapbook is available in multiple DRM-free electronic formats at It is free to download, but voluntary payment is strongly encouraged, via Paypal or by tax-deductible donation, with links to both provided at the Web site. All proceeds from this chapbook will go to the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America.

Yes, it's a free download, but for $5 (or more, if you could afford it), you get some very fine writing from wonderful science fiction authors.  AND CHECK OUT THIS COVER:

How could you resist THAT (Yes, that's Scalzi, who, in real life, isn't green)?

So anyway, geeks and fans of geeks, please help out a good cause and, with a small donation, get this chapbook.

And second, if that giant kitten doesn't get you, check out the following video, also swiped from John's site.  This is what kitties in heaven sing like:

Meow Translation: Donate at!

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Would It Still Be Self-Pub If You Need A Techie Assistant?

I just received my rights back to The Protector and Sleeping With The Agent.  I'd love to have the time to format them to sell them as edownloads at Smashwords, which, from my research, makes ebooks readable on all e-reading devices, including the Kindle, Sony, and Android.  Also, with the right formatting and following of instructions, these titles would also be available at mainstream sites, such as Barnes and Noble (and, very soon, Amazon too, they claimed).

It's not just the formatting part.  I'll need new covers (they belong to the old publisher) and new blurbs.  I want to change the title of Sleeping With The Agent, which I'd been against since the beginning.  I suppose I could also do the same for the novella, The Game, and expand on it too since I could make it longer!  And oh, Big Bad Wolf, too, since I wouldn't have to figure out Kindle's CSS instructions all by myself.

My dream Techie Assistant would do all this for me for a reasonable part-time fee ;-).  Wouldn't that be nice?

Yes, it's a brave new world out there for authors.  Maybe I'll call it Steamy-Print Punk Era.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Obviously I Need This New Talent

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Journey of a Technical Support Call to Dell

I'm in rant mood.  My extension for my business tax is about to run out (tomorrow) and I've been fighting the download (or upload, who knows) .exe whatever-engine for 22 hours now, thanks to DELL online and other various internet advice.  So bear with me while I just spew a mini tantrum about things that need to be stomped at.

This is written live, in between Dell Technicians Who Can't Help Me.

1) It says in the ad, that it only takes one hour to do your taxes with Turbo Tax (ya, rrrrright).  I guess we don't count the 2 hours to download/upload it and another two to update it.  That is, if the first try works.

2) When calling Technical Support for any online order (DELLDELLDELL), why do they shuffle you to five different foreign countries who don't know or care how tired you are about repeating the same problem? Who then, aggravate your pain by obviously reading a pre-written apology about the wait and waste of your cell minutes before shuffling you off to another department? DELL FAILS. And then, if you ask for a refund out of frustration, for a link that wasn't sent, you're politely told that they couldn't access the link either, so no refund? The most satisfaction I got today was to be able to cuss in Indian just to hear a shocked silence on the other end.  Ha. Yes, I'm a crude American and I know your language. Haha. HA. HA. HA.

While listening to the endless Muzak loop at STUPID DELL, I managed to come up with some deep thoughts as I stared

first at my feet: Why do we need nails?  Especially toe nails. I mean, it's not like they are hoofs, essential for bearing the weight of magnificent running beasts. They grow: women paint them; men disgustingly cut them on the the kitchen table. Toe nails, to me, are useless. LIKE DELL TECHNICAL SUPPORT.

secondly at all the cups and saucers that were peeking out from my open cabinet: Does one person really need a dozen cups and saucers? And fifty forks and spoons? Why can't I throw away a coffee cup just because it has some cute saying printed on its side? Should I make some coffee while I wait? I mean, it might take DELL TECHNICAL SUPPORT all night to figure out how to save the world before getting back to me.

My third rant came from the answer of one of the bright DELL TECHNICIANS.  He used the word I hate.  Detest. Loathe. In reply to my "Can you help me?" he said, "Absolutely." Absolutely demands intensity. A total commitment. A need to complete, perfect, make whole. There is no such thing as a casual "absolutely." In this case, as I knew from experience of anyone who used that word, DELL TECHNICAL SUPPORT ABSOLUTELY did nothing to help me.

My fourth complaint is: Why does it take 60 secs for my credit card to be charged but two to three weeks for a company to refund the money??? Surely if it goes out that easily into their pockets, it should be just that easy to flow back into mine.  Maybe they should pay me back with the interest they're going to make from my money (and many thousand others) sitting in their account.

A fifth discovery: Mahjong is a lot of fun when you're angry and frustrated.  Especially the double sets. Mahjong to Muzak is all DELL TECHNICAL SUPPORT LINE is good for.

And lastly: the meaningless "have a nice day." The nice day is gone. You stole it, DELL TECHNICAL SUPPORT. You totally blew my nice day out of the water. You destroyed my nice day. Don't make the poor technician read from his cards, "Thank you and have a nice day." Because he sounded like he was gritting his teeth and wishing me to go to hell, which would have been fine with me because I would have said:


Okay, phone call ended. I'm buying another download, this time from Amazon, which, I've been told by various sources, is owned by Satan (you tell me if Bezos doesn't sound like a demon's name).  So everything should go smoothly since it's a Turbo Tax software I'm buying. Taxes and death are absolute, aren't they?

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Friday, September 10, 2010

How To Entice Women To Watch Soccer

Excellent idea!  I'll definitely watch all the close-ups!  Headers!  Penalty shot! GOALLLLLLlllll!

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Zen and the Art of Writing Maintenance

A writer, new in her quest to take on writing as a career, asked me to give her ten rules/wise things to remember for the next ten years, since I've been around, to her knowledge, for that long.  That gave me a few moments of heart palpitations.  Geez. It's been that long?  Oh yeah.

Actually, I've been around longer, way before one could actually trace one's roots on the Internetal Wayback Big Brother Machine, but why let people know about my antiquity? I'll just pretend to be one of those Immortals I love reading about, morphing from one identity into another, living lives with no real roots ;-).

Okay.  Ahem. Ten rules/pieces of advice, she asked. I'll oblige to share my wisdom, with one caveat. The rules aren't set in stone and they might, depending on the direction of your writing career, even cause you to ponder your sanity for actually thinking you could make it.

Here goes:

1) Action is better than perfection.

2) Break your best writing friend's heart. Don't edit her. Make suggestions, but don't edit.

3) Don't ask for quotes from very famous authors you don't know who have personal assistants.

4) Plot matters. But it must also make characters interesting. Boring plot = characters standing around making noises.

5) Trilogies are for the brave. And the very famous. Unless you wrote all three books first.

6) Make your bed EVERY morning. The temptation to crawl into bed and pull the covers over one's head is always present, especially around deadline time.

7) Remember the paralysis of analysis.  Every page you print out for research, someone has already written another page.  Knowing everything about your topic will drown your story and kill your interest.

8) Remember to read a book for fun. Every roofstory is different and you might learn something cool. Or not. I can stand on the ground and look at a roof and know it's mine, and why I did certain things that way, and that's from walking on other roofers' finished roofs.

9) Know your editor. Know your business. And even then, when you least expect it, you'll get the equivalent of a silent movie's piano falling on top of you. Worse, it's your piano, for which you're still paying.

10) Your readers are not your personal psychiatrist. Share discriminately on the Net. Rant discriminately.

11) I'll throw in a freebie ;-).  Your Muse is not your bitch either.

There. The above has moved my writing journey along.  It's not a terribly exciting or new list of observations, I'm afraid, and there are actually quite a bit of in-between stuff that are missing.  Actually, the more interesting wise sayings have been left unsaid because wise sayings become gossip when names are thrown in, yes? ;-).

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Steampunk Confusion

The site, Regretsy, sells things.  And many of these things make one wonder.  And also not, if you had ever gone to yard sales and watched other people's junk being snatched up like treasures.

Anyway, Steampunk is being hailed as the new up and coming HOT TREND.  What is Steampunk, you ask?  Well, it's hard to pinpoint because many of the new books published under that heading have various twists of the founding (although they didn't coin the term) writers such as H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley.  Think Victorian age, steam-powered machines, and throw in some science fiction.  Many writers have incorporated alternative history and time travel elements, but definitely, the culture and feel of the setting is Victorian-ish, from fashion to speaking mannerism to architecture.

What has this to do with Regretsy?  Regretsy has a label at its site called "Things That Are Not Steampunk" which had me choking over my coffee.  First, they show the item for sale that the seller has labeled steampunk, then they used their own artists to render a Steampunk depiction using said Sale Item.

For example, ladies and gentleman, venture closer and marvel at the Steampunk Jesus Clock.

Real Item:

Regretsy's depiction:

You can read the hilarious comments HERE.  Personally, the hole where the hands are supposed to is very disturbing.  Also, why no hands?  You have to read some of the wittier observations, such as the hour the Lord is happy. *choke

Another item is this Steampunk Hat:

Okay, a space Jedi on a hat does not a Steampunk story make.  BELOW is Regretsy's depiction of this hat Steampunk-style:

You can check out the visitors' mockery HERE.


I suppose the readers' confusion will grow when more and more Steampunk books hit the shelves.  Especially when the werewolves and vampires start showing up.  Come on, you know they will.  Werewolves and vampires all wear Victorian clothes!  All righty, then.

Happy Labor's Day!

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Send My Publisher A Nudge