Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: January 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

How Hot is Too Hot?

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I thought I'd toss it out on the blog. For those of you who enjoy reading sexy romances, how hot is too hot? (And by the way, since there is no contest involved this week, if you would feel more comfortable about posting without your real name, feel free.)

I have always enjoyed romances with wonderful love scenes. I started reading Lori Foster in Harlequins long before I knew who she was, and I really enjoyed the way she wrote her sex scenes. I started reading Bravas for the same reason.

Now, new publishers and lines are popping up all the time... Kensington's new Aphrodisia line, for example. And by the way... that line is being marketed as "erotica" and not romance. Do these distinctions make sense to you as a reader? Does it matter?

I'll admit that there are certain words and situations that turn me off. But since I can't be anonymous, I won't write them down here. Ha! But I do have my preferences when it comes to the nature of a sex scene. For one thing (and I will admit this), I hate to see a woman do anything stupid or dangerous in the name of sexual fantasy. I can't separate my judgment about what is safe and smart from the fantasy aspect.

In other words, you'll never see me write about a woman having sex with a total stranger she just met in a dark bathroom. See what I mean? The guy could drug her or knife her, or who knows what? Even though I have written (and will still write) super sexy scenes, my mental editor stands by my side making sure my heroines are doing these fun, sexy things in relatively safe scenarios.

And what about language? Are there words that are "too" coarse? Maybe I shouldn't get into that here... but I do wonder. For example, I never curse in real life, but my characters do. Does that make me a hypocrite? I'm writing fiction, and everyone is not just like me... so that's my take on it. But everyone may not feel the same.

I guess in a way, romance novels are a lot like TV. When I was a little kid, Lucy and Desi were still sleeping in twin beds. Now, if you're watching cable, almost anything goes. The world has changed. Books have changed, too, and one thing I love about the romance genre is that there is something out there for everyone... from sweet inspirational romances to fantasy worlds where sexual taboos are ignored.

So tell me what you think. What spoils a sexy romance in your opinion? What makes your heart race in a good way? And if you need to answer under an assumed identity, we promise not to reveal you for the scamp you are. :)


P.S. Don't forget to stop by my website and enter my February contest. I have two fun prize packages up for grabs. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Joni's post on the Scamps, Vamps & Spicy Romance about her gorgeous hot tub got me thinking about the things we dream for. And I thought it would be fun to share some of those things.

What would you like, but you don't think you'll ever have?
What would like and you hope to have someday?
What would you like and are willing to sacrifice big time to get in the next year or two?
What would you like and you plan to get soon without the big sacrifice?

Here are my answers:
What would you like, but you don't think you'll ever have?
A castle or a villa as a part time residence.
What would like and you hope to have someday?
My children's happiness.What would you like and are willing to sacrifice big time to get in the next year or two?
A hot tub (the kids aren't the only ones who want it LOL).
What would you like and you plan to get soon without the big sacrifice?
A toaster oven for my office.
Your answers don't have to be limited to material things...this is about sharing the desires of our hearts and those aren't even always measurable.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

I need a hero...

Well, not really... but the kids have been on a Shrek binge and I've been forced to listen to the soundtrack for Shrek 2 like ten times in the past two days. Fortunately, it's a pretty decent soundtrack, but now I have that song stuck in my head...

So what's your favorite kind of hero? Funny, charming, upbeat... the kind who's drawn to protecting people...or maybe the dark, tortured one?

Me... it's not so much the tortured hero, although I do like them a little dark and broody. But I like them best when they are misunderstood.
Like Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dance With the Devil. Or Dash from Lora Leigh's Elizabeth's Wolf. Granted, Dash had more of a problem misunderstanding himself than a lot of others did, but still... makes for a great 'angsty' plot.

Or... *G* one a lot of readers are looking forward to.... Rhage, from JR Ward's Lover Eternal. I got to read it early and Rhage is definitely one of my fave heroes. Even many of his brothers don't understand him completely and when your best friends don't see you clearly, well... again, more for a great plot with a lot of emotion.

Of course, my all time favorite hero isn't from a romance book~Duncan Reever from the Stardoc series by SL Viehl, also writes as Lynn Viehl. I couldn't make up my mind, even from book one, whether I hated him or loved him.

Of the characters I've written, I think some of my personal faves are Blue...from Once Upon A Midnight Blue. He turned out to be a more complex character than I expected, and he ended up taking over the story, even though techinically... he wasn't the hero. I like complex. And Joel, from His Every Desire, oh yeah, I think he was definitely a little misunderstood. A crook, a con artist...even a killer, but all for reasons.

So who are some of your fave heroes and why?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Sexiest Man in 2005

Besides the men we have to list: husband, lover....Who is the sexiest man from 2005. I have to say thet Johnny Depp still rocks my world. Oh, yeah! All he has to to do is crook his little finger and I'd do the Depp. There's something about him. Dark, mysterious---okay, forget the Chocolate Factory. The only thing that looked good in that movie was the chocolate!

Johnny Baby, you got to listen to me here, don't do a movie like that again. You went from Sex Symbol to---dare I say it---GEEK!!!! Thank goodness you have your next Pirate movie coming out. Definitely a Bad Boy there!

So, who rocks your world?

If you give it up and tell me who you secretly drool over I'll put your name in a hat for a drawing. Three winners will receive a copy of their choice of either Southern Comfort, Southern Exposure or Bad Boys With Expensive Toys! How cool is that???
Karen Kelley

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Diet Blues

I love food. A mudslide frappuccino (introduced to me by Shiloh Walker) is God’s little gift to the word via Starbucks. (God works in mysterious ways). And then there’s the pastry cake. There is nothing like double-chocolate cake and butter icing. And what about a cheeseburger? Barbecue rib...I love ribs! Chips...are chips not the best thing ever. Potato, grease, salt...what more could a girl ask for?

Summer’s coming and RT is in Daytona and there’s the get-together in June and there will be no more sweaters to stretch over my fat. So, I have to diet and worst of all...exercise and not just my fingers on the keyboard. I have to tread on the mill. I hate treading. I like sitting.

Last year I joined Curves...great idea...then I realized you actually had to go, not just fork over the money, to lose weight. Awk! I paid them, what more do they want? It’s good enough to get results from the electric company...I pay them and they give me light. I pay the telephone company and I get to talk. I pay Curves, I lose weight. Right?

Not exactly. So, I am now on Weight Watchers and counting an apple is one point and an apple pie is a gazillion. A rice cake is one, fried rice uses all my points for a year.

Anyone else out there ever diet? What has worked for you? What doesn’t! What was your worse diet? I did the cabbage soup diet once and drove my dh right out of the house with the stench. We had to Fabreeze the house.

I need inspiration, guys! Anyone got any inspiration to share? A trick to shedding flab? I have a lot to shed between now and May!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hair Today, Gone Tomorow

As some of you guys already know, my hair is ever-changing... blonde, red, long short, curly striaght. My question is: does hair color really matter? Do blondes have more fun? Do gentlemen prefer them? Are blondes less intelligent that brunettes? Are redheads fiesty, hot-temperred? Do people treat you diffenently because of your haircolor?

I've been blonde most of my life....natural as a child and then I lightened my hair from my sophomore year in high school on. I think my hair color pretty much fit my personality but recently I've gone red....ginger actually and my husband swears that my personality has changed. (He wants his sweet blonde back LOL)

So what do you think? Does hair color really matter? Alter your personality and how you are treated? I think, yes.

This is an interesting question for authors too, because I put a lot of thought into my characters hair color. There was a question at a conference once about red-headed heroes. You almost never see them. Would a red-headed hero turn you off, keep you from buying a book? Or are red-headed guys hot too?

Give me your thought. Color me curious ;-)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Romance can lead to...

Babies! Surprised you, didn't I??? Okay, fellow bloggies (is that like Trekkies???). Today's blog topic may be a stretch, but I felt like having a bit of fun...

My daughter is expecting her second child - due date January 31. She and hubby decided this go-round "not" to find out the sex - they want to be surprised. So... I thought it would be fun to have a little contest...

Between now and Wednesday at midnight, please post your vote. Tell whether you think it will be a boy or a girl, guess the birthday, and guess the weight. When the "poll" closes, I'll record all the "entries" and save them 'til the baby is born. Then I'll throw out all the ones who guessed the wrong sex. Of the remaining entries, I'll see who came closest to the correct birthday. In the event of a tie or ties... I'll use the birth weight to decide the winner.

I know this is silly, but I hope - entertaining. Do you feel lucky?? In case it influences your vote, their other child is a girl... our sweet Anastasia.

I'll let Caroline know who hits the closest. We'll send you a picture of the new baby with bragging rights, and I'll add a $15 certificate for Cracker Barrel. I think you can find a Cracker Barrel most anywhere, but if the winner doesn't have one near, I'll make a substitution.

We've already missed the full moon, so you'll have to use some other "mumbo jumbo" to do your prediction. And may the best "bloggie" win. :)


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Life's little mysteries...

Why is it easier to leave the toilet seat up than down? Why do teenagers all seem to have PMS, even the boys? Why does your mom call whenever you're talking long distance to a friend? Why do all casinos smell of cigarette smoke? How does a guy with a skull and crossbones tattoed on his bicep get a job in customer service at Toys R Us? Why does he want one?

Okay, maybe those aren't mysteries to you, or even something you care to think about, but what about this?

I'm not a ranter, but Shi's post got me thinking about Amazon reviews. It probably started earlier with the realization that a lot of the negative reviews on Amazon for my books are by the same reader. What is up with that? I don't understand why someone would read more books by an author she totally dislikes, much less take the time to post a snarky review on Amazon. Okay, maybe I'm naive, but there just seems to be something wrong with this picture.

And she always says something to the effect of, "Ignore all these other glowing reviews. They don't know what they're talking about." That really annoys me. Because, okay...if this woman really despises my books, fine. Really. Not everyone is going to like every author's work. Anyone will tell you that, but how incredibly arrogant to just assume she knows better than the other readers who have taken time to read the book and review it.

On a positive note however...I got another snarky review that to paraphrase, accused me having overblown emotion in my work. But see she compared me to another author and said we both have this "problem" and well, I thought that was pretty cool. I love this other author's work and the emotionalism in her stories. So, I ended up feeling really complimented. Nice.

How about you feel the need to share when you hate a book and what do you think of reading more and more books by an author you purport to dislike? Am I nuts in thinking this is odd?


Thursday, January 12, 2006

So what makes you buy a book?

Here it is... my last bit of procastination before I finally go and clean....

So what makes you buy a book?

Is it the cover? *G* See my new one? It's for my first standalone title coming from Berkley in June.

Is it the author?

Or the description on the back? What about recommendations from friends or seeing reviews on places like amazon?

Part of what made me decide to blog about this was a friend's commentary on Romancing the Blog. She was questioning the credibility of reviews on review sites and places like amazon. I'll be honest, I'm going to put a bit more stock into a review that comes from a halfway professional organization like RRT or the RT magazine. There's several very good review sites out there, but I rarely buy based on reviews... especially ones on Amazon. Professional review sites generally aren't full of errors, and if they don't like a book, they can usually tell why without running the book into the ground and bashing the authors.

Now I LOVE getting a good review there, but the more I read the variety of reviews on there, the less stock I put in them. Ones that are poorly written, overly glowing, or so full of spelling errors I need a translator... I don't pay much attention to.

UNLESS... and this is a big unless... Unless there's a review that just downright trampled a book. Mrs. Giggles, anybody? I know there's tons of readers out there who picked up a book she despised, simply because they had to know if it was really that bad. There's been a few books I picked up because the review on amazon was so awful, I had to wonder... why did this reader hate that book so much? Those are the few times I'll actually buy a book I was ambivalent about... based on a review. And if you're actively bashing the author... oh, there's a good chance I'll end up buying the book. Bashing an author is useless.

Review descriptions like... Well, the book just wasn't to my taste. That is ambivalent and people are less likely to be intrigued. So if you're writing the review to dissuade other readers... descriptions like Oh man, this book blew... the hero grossed me out and the heroine was a purple haired leprechaun freak who got off teasing the hero... Well, I can't speak for every reader, but I am a reader and always have been. That sort of review is more likely going to perk my curiosity than dissuade me from buying. Of course, the author in me wants nothing but good reviews for my books, but I know that's not going to happen and I'm okay with that. Over the past year or so, I've slowly stopped worrying quite so much about reviews... or try to. **and yep, i made that review up... never read it's just an example.**

What else plays into my book buying?

Cover? Eh... sometimes I'll pick a book up because it had a great cover. I'll read the blurb, and I may skim the first few pages to see if it hooks me. But it can have a cover that would put Michelangelo to shame, if the plot doesn't catch my interest and if the writing inside the book is flat, I'm not buying it.

Author? Ohhhhh... absolutely. I'll buy just about everything that SL Viehl and Nora Roberts/JD Robb write. Certain series... like Lora Leigh's breeds, JR Ward's Brotherhood or Mary Wine's Dream series, I'll grab them the minute I can, unless I can somehow work an early read out of them... **i've already read Lover Eternal... ;o) ** And I adore Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. So yes, the author can play into it, as well as the series.

Reviews...already discussed that.

Here's a big one, especially if it's somebody I haven't read. Recommendations from friends. A friend of mine recommended a book I didn't think I'd like, Natural Law by Joey Hill. More serious BDSM, not necessarily hard core, just a lot more serious and it played into the book. Plus, the hero in the book was the sub. My big reason for not trying it... but oh man... Mac was one of the best alphas I've ever read. Yep, an alpha whose preferences were to be the sub. I kept telling my friend, nah... I won't like it... nah... then Joey posted an excerpt on a list, and I was hooked. I didn't like it. I loved it. So reader recommendations from friends, especially those who know my likes and dislikes, are a major factor. That was how I started reading Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and too many others to name.

Does an author recommending a book... like the little quotes you see on the covers...does that play a deciding factor for you? For me, rarely. Although I do have to admit there are a couple of authors who I am so in awe of, that I will pick up a book if they say they loved it. But those are few and far between.

So reviews~rarely. Covers? Nope. Author? Oh, yes... Series? Definitely. Recommendations from friends? Yep.

I've listed what does it for me when it comes to book buying... what about you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A New Year

How is everyone doing on their New Year's Resolutions? I'm really trying harder this year, but 2006 is really making it difficult for me. Okay, it started in 2005 because that's when I decided I would lose weight this year. Maybe that's the problem. Never start New Year's resolutions until the new year begins.

Anyway, I wrenched my back and stopped exercising. Lots of Ibuprofen and a week or so later and 7 pounds heavier, I began again. Hey, someone had to clear all the leftovers out of the house.

I think that's where I've gained all my weight over the years, by the way. Have you ever decided you were going to start a diet but first you have to get rid of all the goodies? I always gain at least 5 pounds because there is no way those Twinkies are going in the trash! Nope, not in my house.

Okay, so I get started on counting points again. Three days later I fall. This is so not fair! My leg is still swollen, bruised and I'm back on Ibuprofen. I'm thinking maybe I'm not meant to lose weight. Then I watched a motivational speaker and he said we are what we think. He got my attention.

Have you ever put fat pictures on your fridge? I have. How depressing. It's enough to make me want to--eat. Think positive was the bottom line to what he had to say. Think positive and you create inner energy that will help you reach your goals--whatever they might be. Meditate every day and picture what you want in life. Let me know if it works for you.

Ypm-da-da-da....hmmmmmmm....Johnny Depp wants me so much.......yom-da-da-da....

Okay, maybe it won't work EVERY time. If anyone does meditate or have ever thought about trying it, let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

It’s Really Cold Out, So Bring On The Hotties!

Since it’s cold and gray and altogether rotten in Cincinnati and a lot of other places, I really need to think of something sexy hunky hotties to fill the temp void.

So, who is your favorite hottie?? Husbands don’t count. Which personality, singer etc really floats your boat? Judy F sends the scampsandvamps loop a picture of a hot guy every day...thanks Judy! But what about you? What guy would you send around?

I like the older rougher guys so Alan Jackson wins my vote. I have a life-size cut out of him that I take to my signings. Always draws a crowd and he’s great company...doesn’t complain about my driving or that I stop too many times to shop.

Come on, tell me who you think is hot!

And, is there anyone who you really don’t like at all?
For me it’s Jane Fonda...but she’s not a he so I guess Jane doesn’t count. Then I’ll go with Howard Stern. I loathe that guy. Would go out of my way to throw rocks at him.

Now it’s your turn. J


Friday, January 06, 2006

Winter blahs

Do you all get the blahs after Christmas? I LOVE Christmas... dread once it's over.

January is like the longest, most depressing month. had something to look forward to... release of the latest book from my fave author. IT's called Rebel Ice, written by SL Viehl. I loved it... hated for it to end... hate that I now have to wait I dunno HOW long for the next one. But now that I've already read the book, devoured it, literally, I'm tapping my fingers and waiting for Valentine's Day.

You wanna know how bored I've been? I've already started compiling receipts, invoices and crud for taxes. Taxes! That is so pitiful.

However, I am trying to make judicious use of my time. Spent quite a bit of time on my current WIP, a paranormal erotic romance contracted with Berkley. And I'm working on the follow up to an EC book, FireWalkers: Dreamer. But it seems a little be harder to get into anything when I'm suffering from blah-dom.

So what's the cure for blah-dom? I've already tried a dentist appointment with my son... gee, now that was fun. And I've hit the doctor myself. Obviously, visiting the doctor isn't a cure for blah-dom. A trip to someplace sunny and warm might help. It's been so overcast here, it's depressing. But I don't think I can justify a three week trip to the beach simply because I hate January.

Maybe the best cure is to attack my TBR pile. It's humongous.

What do you do when you're that bored?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year - 2006!

Well, I have just about finished day one of the new year - it was a good day. We had both girls, hubbies and baby here for the weekend. They all left about 6PM, and dh and I worked on putting stuff away for about 3 hours. We had left all the decorations up since the kids were coming, so now most of it is packed away, and I am about as tired as I can remember being for a long time!

But it's a good tired, and I am looking forward to getting back to my laptop tomorrow! I would have written this blog tomorrow morning, but I am determined to get my week off on the right foot with a productive writing day! :)

Tuesday is the official release date for Suite Fantasy, but I think most stores have it on the shelf. The photo is from our Books A Milllion, which is the first place I "saw" this new baby. :)

Notice Erin's new book, Heiress for Hire on the far right. I've bought it, but haven't read it yet... it's getting rave reviews!!

Be sure to stop by my website, and click on the contest tab for details of my January contest.

Monday always comes, doesn't it??? I hope all of you have a good week. And if you have a minute, tell us about any "resolutions " you may have made.

Mine are not set in stone, but I want to continue to develop a healthy lifestyle, spend more time enjoying friends, and being grateful for the blessings that come my way.

I wish for all of you a wonderful, challenging, surprising, and fun 2006.

More later,