Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Book Sale!

Looking for a way to relax over the long weekend? What better way than with a good book? Oh, I know, a good book at a discounted price! Friday September 4 - Monday 7th ALL Parker Publishing book are just five dollars! No matter if print or ebook is your game, you can quench your craving for just five dollars a book. From anthologies, to single titles, we have what you're looking for. Don't miss this opportunity to stock up!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silver lining

Good morning,

I came here to blog on my regular day and ended up first on the blog itself. So I read Miriam's post. And I'm sorry but it made me laugh. Okay people, I'm not a sadist person. No, if anything my emotions lead me to do many things based on empathy and sympathy. I laughed because I saw myself in Miriam's post. I laughed because she's a good writer and made it humorous.

Life has a way of not going the way we want, of knocking us down, of making us question every decision we've ever made. It makes up sometimes want to do things contrary to our nature.

People we care about let us down. They cease communication without explanation. They make us feel devalued, lied to, and as though the relationship has become one way.

All of this is a part of life I've learned. We can not control others and can barely control our reactions to their actions. I've learned that generally at the source of our pain there's a human or two in the background that we imagine is sticking it to us.

Knowing this I limit myself to the amount of control I give to humans to affect my life. I shut myself off from them in order to protect myself. Then I look for joy in the oddest places.

Last month when I was once again questioning the why of this blog and my participation I received a reply which carried me through and made me write this month's post. So I'm going to share with you one of life's little unexpected pleasures.

For the past week or so I've had sporadic Internet service. On Friday I talked with a tech for almost 2 hours and we fixed it. Then on Saturday the same thing happened. On Friday the tech was in India, on Saturday Mexico.

These are the things I learned on Saturday about the tech that was supposed to be helping me fix my problem. Her birthday was Sunday and she made 27. She can not cross the border into the US. She was a troubled teen who took the wrong path doing many things and becoming pregnant at 17. Her daughter lives in Calif with her father, her son lives in Mexico with her. Her mother died of cancer several years ago and for an unknown reason her mother's family broke off contact with her and her father. She's an only child. She wants to go to university. Her 5th grade teacher once told her mother that she was a talented writer but she's never tried. She admitted to me that she wanted to be a writer.

When she asked me questions about myself that I thought were not supposed to be viewed I realized that my talking to her was not about fixing my Internet problem but about encouraging her to go for her dream. After a two hour conversation where my tries to gently get her to do something to fix my computer wasn't working I gave up. The call was meant for me to talk to her. So be it.

When the conversation ended I was sputtering, "but we haven't fixed my computer." She promised someone would call. Which they didn't by the way. LOL. But I stayed on the page I was on trying to remember what the guy from the day before had told me to do. After about another hour I got my Internet working and it's been working since.

The point of this post is this: While encouraging this young woman to go for her dreams I became encouraged myself. How can I tell others not to give up if I give up myself.

I'm writing and submitting my work regardless of the depressed market, regardless of publishers being inundated with the same things that I write. I'm a writer and I can't give up. Writing is not for the faint of heart.

So Miriam, and all, take heart. Each day is a new opportunity. Look for the unexpected joys and hang on.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's today

I don't know what today is. I thought it was August 11th, but that was yesterday. I'm a day late ... again. That seems to be a chronic condition lately along with a number of other health issues I was starting to really worry about. I haven't been able to focus and I cry easily, I feel like I just can't cope. My skin itches and my rash comes and goes so quickly, I can't keep track of my creams. I'm restless and can't sleep. I can't seem to stay on task for anything. What used to take me a couple hours is now taking me half a day. I knew there had to be something wrong. I'm too emotional, too whiny to be me. Yeah, I know a lot has gone on in my life the last eighteen months. Life-altering changes, but nothing that hasn't happened to other people. So why am I in such dire straits?

Time to go to the M.D.. Complete blood workup and what not. Went back yesterday to find out that I actually had a real, medical reason for being so out of sorts. I have a B vitamin deficiency. Serious enough I got a shot in my butt and have to return for the next 6 months before I have another blood workup. And I have to eat spinach. Yeah, spinach. Daily! Twice! I actually like spinach but I don't think I can manage it twice a day. I'm thinking what I'm going to do to hide spinach so that I don't know it's in my dish. I feel like I've created a new monster, Halloween Spinach, coming to a theater near you on October 25. Be careful of spinach leftovers caught between your front teeth.

Wow, that really crept up on me. Funny how you start making excuses for being exhausted, for not quite completing your last project, for crying without any real reasons, for thinking you forgot the grocery list only to discover you left it in the car and could have just marched right back out and gotten it.

I think I need a cruise. Jackie, Seressia and I originally booked one for October, but it didn't work for Seressia, so we've moved it back to February or March of 2010. We're thinking a short 5-6 day cruise to Cabo San Lucas. Drinking, maybe some writing, sleeping, maybe some writing, chasing guys, maybe some writing. Then I got to thinking why not invite the rest of you guys. I realize the economy is not going to be looking a whole lot better next spring, but I think a cruise with balmy breezes and sweet palms trees swaying in the wind would be just the thing to recharge us. Anyone interested? We'll keep it small and intimate and just plan to have some fun, some brainstorming, drinking, male ogling and mind boggling se...better not go there.

Let me know how you feel. Miriam

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Hey Guys, sorry I didn't post last month. Family vacation took me to Virginia and to my brother's wedding all in the same month. Talking about hectic but I have to admit it was the best time I've had in a long long time. It has been almost two years since I've seen my baby brother and my husband ended up being his best man. We live almost 600 miles apart so planning was kind of tedious but in the end it all worked out. Now I can let out a big sigh of relief right? Wrong! My mind is now consume with back to school stuff, registration and football season. My teen age son 14 by the way is driving me crazy. Books, clothes, expensive Air Jordons and uniforms is the topic of each day in my household. Anyway I promise to have more for you next month.

P.S Is there any other parent/author out there who wants to share the back to school blues or should I say happiness!!!!

Janie De Coster
Broken Commandments

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Multicultural is blooming...

I'm sorry I've missed a few blogs. I've had a rather interesting and busy year. Hopefully I'll be on track going forward.

As far as the title of this blog's my observation that multicultural books are suddenly becoming mainstream. I say that in the most affectionate way. For the past six months I've been browsing plenty of bookstores and I'm very impressed with how they're being laid out. I've seen special tables dedicated to African American and Multicultural books, including end caps and more... It makes my heart go 'pitter-patter' because it seems like people are branching out. Readers are beginning to explore different stories and voices and allowing more of an open-mind when they choose their books. Seems like I worked a long time to see this explosion and just recently, I've become more hopeful.

For instance, a good friend of mine, Jeannie Lin recently won the Golden Heart and sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon for her historical set in China, all in the same week! It's amazing how Harlequin took a risk on a storyline like this and I'm ecstatic that this could mean the door has opened up for many multicultural writers like me.

So my advice is for all your multicultural writers to keep plugging away because once the floodgates open, we want to be the first one through the door.

For all you readers, please take a chance because you might discover something special in our stories!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Chosen One EBOOK by Abigail McKenley

The Chosen One by Abigail McKenley is now available for download in PDF from and in Kindle format at

Worldly and sophisticated, Rachel Penniston thought she had seen it all. That is, until she entered ‘The Palace’ a club where a sign warns visitors that they must be ‘comfortable with nudity or open sexuality.’

When Clinton Scheff arrived at ‘The Palace’, the last thing he expected to do was find the woman of his dreams.

Rachel is determined to put their encounter behind her. Achieving success has been an uphill struggle, besides should anyone find out, both their jobs and their reputations would be in jeopardy.

Suddenly the calm of their everyday existence is shattered and Rachel and Clint find themselves in a fight to save not only their careers, but their lives.

What they didn’t know is, before that night at ‘The Palace’, Rachel had already been chosen.

"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose."

Genesis 6: 1-2

Praise for 'The Chosen One'

"Abigail McKenley is fresh, hot, and intelligent. Gripping and suspenseful, her debut novel will keep your heart racing and the pages turning to the very end. "
~Jax Cassidy, Author of ART OF SENSUALITY

"Having had the pleasure of reading 'The Chosen One' in its entirety, I can say in all sincerity, Abigail McKenley is a talented fresh new voice in romance."

"With blazing hot characters and an engaging story, Abigail McKenley is definitely one to watch for!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'm thinking about putting something together with Parker author's favorite recipes as something for authors to give away for free to their customers. Anyone interested?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Parker Publishing authors chat today!

Hello. Stopping by to let you know Parker Publishing authors will be chatting today at Brenda Williamson's Group We'll be stopping in and out throughout the day with contests, excerpts, and fun. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What I'm doing today.

It appears that what I'm doing today is rewriting this post over and over. Every single time I finish and then delete. Why you ask? Because what I've written so far has turned into nothing but a litany of complaints and who the heck want to hear that?

I don't.

I started off earlier about expectations and doing things becasue of yours and others expectations. Such as this blog that we are faithfully doing each month without any feedback other than from us.

Then I wrote about some of the crazy and nasty emails that writers receive because the readers don't like what the writer has written. I've been interviewing a lot of writers lately and was a bit surprised to hear what kind of things readers have written to writers about.

Then I wrote about how writers have to hold their tongue in the public arena. Naturally this caused me a bit of annoyance. I find that the treat others as you would like to be treated is sometimes going a bit far.

Then I decided to blog about the state of the economy and how it's trickling down to the publishing industry. I deleted that one also.

Now I find half the day is gone and the only thing I can think of to blog about are things that annoy me. So for the sake of all of us I will do this:

I hope all of you enjoy a very good week.


Monday, July 6, 2009


Parker Publishing extends condolences to the families of Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahan, Karl Malden and Michael Jackson. May you all rest in peace.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

Every Fourth of July, I try to find the time to watch Independence Day with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. The movie has witty dialogue and some great special effects, but it's also a reminder to me that our freedom comes at a cost. Today, please remember our soldiers in foreign conflicts.

Have a great day, eat lots of hot dogs and hamburgers, cole slaw and potato salad. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Songs that inspire

My last post, I talked about really, REALLY bad movies. Now I want to talk about songs, great songs, love songs, angry songs. In general, I want to talk about songs that inspire.

Friends, family and people who know me know that songs inspire a lot of my writing, both the songs and their titles. Sometimes it's the music itself, like a "A Beautiful Mine", the theme song from the TV show "Mad Men." Or it could be lyrics in a song that speak to me as an author, like "The Book of Love" or "In Your Eyes" both by Peter Gabriel. Or sometimes I'll listen to songs to get a tone or a feeling. Anything by Jill Scott will do for me to get that sensual tone.

So what I want to know from you authors is what song or songs inspire you? Is it from one particular singer or a genre of music? From you readers, what songs inspire you in your life? What songs make you feel uplifted, recall your youth, feel sexy? Come on. Share.


Romance Writers of America

If you are a member of Romance Writers of America and are following the shoot-out between president Diane Pershing and Deirdre Knight regarding the 'legitimacy' of ebooks vs print editions from New York publishers, check out this link.

I have been a member of RWA since 1986 and the longer I stay the more I see that this organization is not representing me and my needs even though they constantly assert that assumption. They also have decided to sit in judgment on a number of issues mainly anything that has to do with digital content and the decision to make ebook authors second class citizens because they have chosen an alternate form of publishing. According to Ms Pershing ebook authors are not serious minded with an eye toward a career in writing and the only legitimate path is publication with a New York publisher. Any other form of publishing is considered not legitimate.

This is just my opinion, but I really want to tell RWA to grow up. Many New York publishers are jumping on the ebook bandwagon. Harper Collins recently agreed to allow Scribd to publish all their books in digital format. If the New York publishers can see the writing on the wall why is RWA holding such a stubborn path in the face of so much overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I find that I am weighing the issue of renewing because I'm being told that RWA is representing me and yet I don't see that. RWA also asserts that it's looking out for my interests. Pardon me, but that's a lot of BS. They are looking out for their interests and every time a new president is sworn in that person uses the office as a platform for their agenda.

Every year when I see the budget figures in the RWR I can't help but wonder why the RWR is still in print considering the cost of printing. Most chapters have already switched to digital newsletters. My chapter has done digital newsletters for over ten years. The local chapters seem to be a whole lot wiser than the leadership on the Board of Directors. Unfortunately, those of us who are smart tend to stay away from the national arena because of the base politics that seem to thrive at that level.

The ebook controversary has been a part of RWA politics for ten years or more, from the time all ebook authors were kicked out of PAN in the most graceless, tasteless, rude manner possible. The controversy continues.

I am saddened by an organization that has so much power chooses to use that power for only a select few, discarding others while at the same time alleging that they are looking out for our interests. If RWA was looking out for my interests than maybe they need to start thinking in a more global manner. Publishing with a New York publisher is certainly a goal many writers have, but the reality is, publishing is evolving away from the business model that has been in place for a hundred years or more. When we don't move forward we stagnate. RWA seems to be going backward, not forward.

Just my humble opinion. Miriam

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


When a girl wants Hot and Spicy she finds herself a Latin Lover.

Caliente by J.M. Jeffries, Simone Harlow, Kelley Nyrae and Monique Lamont.

When a girl wants Hot and Spicy she finds herself a Latin Lover.

In J.M. Jeffries’s Partners in Crime Vincent Mendoza is a CIA agent in charge of his first mission. He must liberate some top secret documents and he turns to jailed cat burglar Cleo Harris to help him. To gain her freedom, she must help the sexy agent. Little does Vincent know that the beautiful thief will steal his heart in the process?

In Monique Lamont’s Instructing Layla Marcelo Alcindor can’t believe after six years his old dance partner Layla Washington is back in his life needing his help. To win a dance contest, reteams with her ex lover promising herself she will not let the passion they feel for dance lead to the bedroom again. But Marcelo teaches Layla that love is the greatest dance of all.

In Kelley Nyrae’s Wanting Mia Two months ago Mia Hamilton spotted a handsome man she wanted for a weekend fling, but he turned her down. Antonio Rojas has wanted Mia from the first moment he saw her, but he was other wised engaged until recently. He finds the object of his desire determined to make her his and he not taking no for an answer.

In Simone Harlow’s Julia’s Second Act Once hot Hollywood agent, Julia Wade’s career is on a downward spiral. Not so A-list actor Matt Valdez is trying to recharge his career, but all he seems to be interested is his sexy new agent. She trying to get him noticed and he wants to get her into his bed. Who will win in this battle of the hearts?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Hey all. I'm running a contest over on my blog. Check it out HERE

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why does it always have to happen to me?

I suppose talking about rejection for writers is a subject that we can share everyday of the week and twice on Sunday and still have more to say. It seems in the past weeks a lot of writers have been reporting in with rejection. No way am I going to tell you that it feels good becasue lets face it, that would be a lie. Rejection hurts.

I think from the moment you think about making that serious move toward a career as a writer there is rejection whether it involves family, critique partners or your own internal editor.

But I want to chime in on this today because most of the time you don't hear the published writers telling of he rejections they receive. There are reasons for this besides pride. From the published authors I've talked to they state it's becasue no one wants to hear about the rejections of someone who has what they want. The thing of it is especially if you're planning to make writing a longtime career rejection is just a part of the game. A lot of writers (most if writers would admit to it) are dealing with, 'Why does it always have to happen to me.'

Well guess what? We all feel that way. Recently I interviewed a prominent AA author who has over 50 books in print. She informed me that she sold one book, the editor left, she had to wait three years before she sold another book. Three years later she sold another book. The publisher went out of business. Three years later she sold her third book. And would you believe it happened a third time? In nine years she sold three books. But she kept writing during that nine year span and when whatever happens when things are right for you, she was ready. She's now one of the writers who has to turn in a book every two months. She didn't worry about the Why does it happen to me part of the business. It happens to all of us. Sometimes it's because an editor leaves and the new one may not like your voice. Or the publisher closes the line and no longer needs what you write. With the state of the economy many publishers are closing up shop.

I've been writing short stories and with that has come an entire slew of rejections. I've received a couple of sales and a couple of handwritten notes telling me they really loved two stories but they weren't the kind they publish.

Many of my friends have received multiple rejections in the past weeks and rightfully so have been feeling down about it. So with that in mind I thought it was time to talk about this subject once again. I know my heartfelt sentiments have not made my friends feel any better about getting rejections and in truth it was not what I was trying to do. I wanted them to just keep writing becasue one day the stars will be shining on them and like the author that sold three books in nine years they will be ready. And God no, before you even go there I'm not saying that you have to wait that long. You just have to hang on and keep writing.

The occasional letter from a reader saying they enjoyed my work keeps me going.Generally I don't read reviews of my work. Today I decided to. Two reviews below is what keeps me writing in spite of rejections. Find something positive that has to do with your writing, even if the compliment comes from a friend. And when the going gets tough remember the compliment and hold on. Why does it always happen to me can also be a good thing.

May 31, 2009
By Nature "Nature Girl" (Ariziona) - See all my reviews
This is Twlight for adults. This is a first book in the series. And after reading this I can't wait to start the next one. You care for the Vampire Adam, even though it seems that he has no redeeming qualities. His love for Eve. slowly changes him for the better. But he still is working on Eve, so that she will come to teams with her love for him, and to live in eternity with him.
This book is definitely for the Adults, very steamy...

5.0 out of 5 stars I want more Adam!, December 30, 2008
By PrincessDiva63 (Trenton,NJ) - See all my reviews
I am not a very well versed person who can take her thoughts and translate them to paper or net. I will start this off by saying "I wanted something different to read". I wanted romance but not the norm and mundane. When I first started looking, I had no clue about Vampires and their Love and Desires, until Adam Omega. I have read both books and I am anxiously waiting for the next...All I can say to the author is HURRY! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this series and can't wait to read what happens next.

Thank you ladies for keeping this writer writing


Thursday, June 11, 2009

When am I going to get a real job?

I don't think there's a writer out there who hasn't been asked the above question. When this statement was first posed to me, I'll admit, it hurt. At the time I simply smiled and said, "I have a real job. After all, I've published a number of books, they didn't write themselves."

Over the years, that statement has haunted me. I try to remember the source and this person’s fixation on wealth and status. But I often think about the answers I could have given, but didn't for the sake of peace and unity.

Answer #1. Define 'real job.'

Jackie and I probably spend 10 hours a week trying to figure out who the characters are who will people our stories, what they are going to do, what problem will need solving, what theme will be played out against the structure of the story, figuring out setting, locations, time periods, dialogue, plotting, mystery, sexual tension, what goes where and when they fall in love and when they make love. Phew! That's a lot of problem to solve in the course of one book. We also try to write every day, though that doesn't always work out. And when we do write, we have a certain goal to achieve. To me, writing is a job, but a fun one. I look forward to sitting down at the computer and working through my character's problems. I wouldn't do anything else in the world.

Answer #2. Why do I need a 'real job?'

I confess, I'm obsessed with writing. I don't want to do anything else in my life because I can't do anything else in my life.

From the day I found myself at age 13 writing with a flashlight and the covers pulled over my head at midnight when the rest of the house was deeply asleep, and I had school the next day, I knew I was obsessed. I had so much emotion inside me, I had to try to figure it out. I spent hours analyzing why I felt the way I did, and then I started creating imaginary people and spending hours figuring out who they were and why they haunted me. Finally, I realized these imaginary people had stories to tell and I had to tell them

Back then I was deeply afraid to confide in anyone (except my closest friend who also wrote). My first efforts to show my mother ended in a knowing, patronizing look and a comment that I 'would eventually grow up and put this silliness behind me." Her comment hurt so much I cried even though I was nearly 18 at the time and should have had more confidence in myself.

Answer #3. What would I do if I did go out and get a 'real job?'

One of the nice things about writing is that, for the most part, I'm my own boss. I get to work at home, set my own hours, work at my own speed, still be around for family emergencies, have the flexibility of working around my family's schedules, can work at night when and generally write what I want to write. I do not have to report for work at a specified time, listen to co-workers complain about their lives while they don't do their jobs, worry about getting fired, sexual harassment, and jokes I don't understand.

I realize many people cannot afford to work solely at their writing, but must have second jobs to help make ends meet. All I can say to them is, I hope your writing starts making money. If you love writing as much as I do, keep at it so you can quit your 'other' job and concentrate on writing.

My writing depends on my commitment to it. Self-motivation is the key to being a successful writer. Without it, we'll never get published. Any person who is self-employed understands how difficult self-motivation is. The fact that I am motivated is one of the keys that keeps me going. The nice result of that motivation is seeing my name in print and maybe getting a check that will allow me to pay off a few bills.

Answer #4. This is a fill-in-the-blank answer. I don't want a 'real job.' I write because _________________.

We all know what our reasons are.

Why don't I get a 'real job?' Because I have a real job. Just because I don't bring home a regular weekly paycheck or go to an office somewhere else doesn't mean I don't work. I work hard and I'm proud of what I do.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Build a Story Around This! (A True Story)

When my bathroom was under renovation, I paid a lot of attention to fixture commercials. One in particular caught my attention, not because of what it advertised, but for what it said. In the scene, a wealthy couple sat in front of a man who was obviously a high-priced architect. They plopped a Kohler product on his desk and demanded that he “build a house around this.” A whole house around a faucet and two knobs? A whole of anything built around an object, a picture or a sound?

How about a sentence? The last sentence in this excerpt popped into my mind on a day when in one split second I understood the frustration of people caught between the law and the deep blue sea. I could have said the devil and the deep blue sea. In this case, they were the same.

Here’s my unedited Work in Progress: Let me know what you think.

Mikey met the woman’s gaze with a cooler one of her own. Barbie-que, she laughed to herself. The blonde’s skin was the color and texture of cheap cracked leather. A hooked nose jutted a mile from her face. She had been eyeing Mikey since she walked through the doors of the obscenely opulent suite. You should be circling the skies hunting road kill instead of staring down your beak at me. She probably had local law enforcement on speed dial. If Mikey raised her voice (as she was tempted to do), one press of the button with a red-tipped claw would bring the entire five-man force crashing through the double mahagony doors.

Next to her, three smug men in casual-Friday attire sat around the conference table. Mikey had heard enough of their “pursuant to” and “therefore” mumbo-jumbo. She stood. “Gentlemen, I’ve heard enough.”

One of them let out a dismissive chuckle. “That may be true, Miss Lofton, but it doesn’t change the outcome.”

Mikey was already at the door with her hand on the knob. She tossed a short laugh over her shoulder. “So be it.” But I’ll burn it to the ground before I let you have it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Hi Guys,
sorry I missed last month posting. Working a full time job and writing sometimes wear the mind down and I needed time to regroup. I was just thinking what should I blog about this month and then it dawned on me. Father's day is just around the corner so here goes my take on fatherhood.

Lets begin with the meaning of the word Father. According to the American Dictionary the meaning of the word is a man who begits or raises a child. Fathers are different colors, shapes and sizes. There are some who are good fathers and on the other hand, not so good. There are children in this world who don't know who their fathers are. And it is sad to say there are some who knows exactly who fathered them but because of physically or emotional abuse wish they didn't. There are fathers who have dropped the ball in raising their children, especially the male child. No wonder some of our male children grows up to be offenders of the law, joining gangs just to feel as if they belong to a family, which leads them to an early grave. If only there were a good father, or father fiqure in their lives.

Fathers you are needed in your children lives. No matter what the circumstances between you and your child's mother, make it your business to be there. The bottom line is a child needs to feel that their father loves them. Whether or not he is a executive of a major cooperation or a garbage collecter. Your love and support is precious to your children. So I say to all fathers out there who are doing the best they can, keep up the good work. Raise your children with love, respect, and dignity and not only will you be rewarded, but the generation of our children will be better and so will the world we live in.

Janie De Coster
Author of Broken Commandments

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What White Boyz Ride


What White Boyz Ride (Print Edition)

Five delightfully erotic interracial stories of wicked women and devilishly charming men.

Baby Its Cold Outside, Karen White Owens presents Resa Warren who relectantly accepts a job in ice cold Michigan. She meets a handsome skier who sets fire to her heart. But is this sexy ski bum hot enough to keep her warm on long winter nights?

In Natalie Dunbar's Knight On A Just Ski, Alexis Calhoun works on a secluded island. After nearly drowning, she is rescued by a hunky actor on a jet ski. Will their passion survive once they are off the island?

Seressia Glass's Regina Lieberman in Rode Hard is in a rut. She agrees to take a ride on the back of a studly man;s custom-made motorcycle. Can these two unexpected lover keep moving when a secret threatens to derail their desire?

Enjoy the Ride by Kelley Nyrae presents Evangeline Sinclair blowing off steam after passing her bar exam. She heats thes lops with a hot snowboarder in a affair hot enough to melt snow off the mountains. But will their fling last longer than a thrilling down hill ride?

SImone Harlow's Robey Wade is a girl in control of every aspect of her life until she she takes her first surfing lesson. She meets a handsome surfer who takes her on the wave of a lifetime. Will this mismatched couple learn to go with the Flow and let love rule?

New Books Arrived


Freedom's Fight by Gary Phillips
(Print Edition)

World War II changed the landscape of the world and the heart of America. As the war rages across Europe and Africa, a battle is also being fought on American soil. Eager to join the fight, black soldiers are denied the right to defend their country.

One man is charge with a duty that could change the course of the war in Africa. On a spy mission he searches for a traitor, but as he gets closer he must choose between his obligation to his country and his duty to his race.

A woman reporter finds a deep buried secret that could shock the nation. As she digs deeper into a national conspiracy she finds her life in jeopardy. She must chose between the truth and her life.

A patriotic lounge singer gives up his career to serve his country. To do so, he hides his identity and in the heat of battle makes a choice between the man he thought he was and the man he truly is.

A group of courageous people defy the odds and fight the war of their conscience to keep themselves and their country safe.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Introduction...

Hi! I'm Eugenia O'Neal and this is my very first post for the Parker Publishing blog so I thought I'd start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I was born and grew up on the lovely island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (south of Puerto Rico) and have lived there for most of my life.

My first degree was in journalism from Temple University in Philly - I loved Philly! Loved the Farmer's Market in Germantown (which is no more), the trolley line which I could pick up right outside my apartment and ride all the way to school, the cheesesteaks, John Wannamakers - all of it. After graduation, though, I returned home and wrote for a local newspaper for a while before joining the civil service where I've been fortunate to hold a variety of jobs.

Writing has always been my passion and after Greenwood Publishing released From the Field to the Legislature: A History of Women in the Virgin Islands which was based on my thesis for an M.Phil degree from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) I decided to go back to an old fiction manuscript I'd had lying around since my early twenties. That manuscript became Just an Affair which was followed last year by Dido's Prize, released by Parker under Kymberlin Reed's stellar guidance!

In the coming months, I'll tell you more about myself and blog about my road to publication (it wasn't as easy as the above might suggest), my writing habits, Dido's Prize, my work-in-progress, the history of Dido's Prize, and lots more.

Besides writing, I love to read (which writer doesn't?), garden, and travel. Feel free to visit me on Facebook.

Bad movies

On another forum, we chatted about really bad movies we've seen. I've recently got addicted to and I recently watched a truly, truly waste of celluloid called "Troll 2." The story was bad. The special effects, if you can call them that, was laughable. And the dialogue was so amatuerish, it was like it was written by a junior high school student.

So what I want to know is what was the worst movie you ever saw? What made it so bad? Did you watch the entire movie or did you stop it or walk out?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm a TREKKER--You Should Be TOO!

I am a TREKKER. Yes, a woman, African American and every inch of me lives and breathes TREK(as in Star Trek). I am not a casual fan. I have been to conventions, dressed in Star Trek outfits, gone to the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas (twice) and have been to the museum several times. Yes, I have teeshirts that declare me a Star Trek geek and yes, I even own my very own Starfleet phaser replica.

So, you know I saw it! It being the movie of the summer.

A friend and I drove the hour to Raliegh to see the latest STAR TREK film on an IMAX screen. It was something to behold. We had to sit up close and I felt like I'd been swallowed up in the action. I loved this movie. Loved it! I was so exhausted from viewing this intense film, when I got home, I ate dinner and went to bed. For me, it was that intense. Please be warned that I am planning to list events from the movie, so if you haven't gone to see it (shame, shame on you), then don't read any further. I liked a lot of things about J.J. Abram's reboot of my beloved series. So many in fact I doubt I will be able to name everything in this one blog. I will be going back to see it again on Sunday because I am sure I missed something.

Without further delay, here is my list of things I think ROCKED in the new Star Trek film.
1. Spock and Uhura's relationship. This may have created a ton of enemies amongst loyal TREK fans, but this one thing has created new fans. Four women who were never into TREK before told how much they loved this interaction and how SPOCK was suddenly very, very, HOT!
2. Chris Pine as James T. Kirk-Loved Pine's portrayal. Somehow he managed to human Kirk in a mannner Shatner had never quite been able to do. Some of it was the script itself--it called for a more realistic portrayal of all the characters and less the "utopian" version the original set up. I know people will disagree, but I have to consider that Chris Pine's KIRK was much better than Shatner's.
3.Simon Pegg as Scotty-This is a personal shout out from the fan inside me. I LOVE Simon Pegg. LOVE HIM! I think he is very, very funny (I am also a fan of British humor). Hot Fuzz, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and RUN FAT BOY RUN are DVDs you'd find at my house. More to the point, Pegg's portrayl of Scotty--although brief, was solid and spot on.
4.Sets-The sets of this Star Trek film were sleek, sexy and way cool. My hat's off again to Abrams and his crew. They did their homework, but moreover, they wanted to do it right. That came across in the film--especially on IMAX screens.
5. Storyline-This one made sense, meaning I could follow it and so could my friend who is not a diehard TREK fan. She's a Star Wars lover, but I can forgive her for that--after all, she did drive to Raliegh. But yes, even she could follow the plot and I think that says a lot about the movie's appeal to other non-TREK fans.
6. Humor-This movie was funny. Not slapstick, goofy funny, but humorous at the right moments--humor you find in every day life.Throughout much of the movie, I kept thinking how when we reach this period in our evolution, this is how it would more than likely unfold. Things that weren't planned would happen, and sometimes those things would be funny.
7. Engineering-This is set apart from my comments about the set because I found the engineering room in the film to be what a real, starship's engine room would look like. Tons of different places for the cores (it wouldn't be just one) and water pipes and lines of pipes and well, like it does in the movie. The engineering room stayed with me long after the movie had hustled on to somplace else. I couldn't believe how in-depth and awesome it was.
8. The destruction of Vulcan-This is part of the plot, and I liked how Abrams & Co. did let the bad guy get his shot in. Starfleet didn't arrive in time and they didn't save the day. I LOVED that, because although I am a fan, I hate that the crew of the Enterprise always win. My favorite TNG episode is when Captian Picard is taken by the Borg. I believe this is also why The Wrath of Khan is a popular Trek film too. Kirk lost something big in that film--his only son. These were episodes where we didn't win outright. Starfleet was outmaneuvered. Although Nero and his crew of very bad Romulans get theirs, it made me happy to see that he got part of his revenge in their too.

There is so much more I can write about, but truth be told, I am running out of time tonight. I've got to put my little ones to bed. Take care.

Best, Nicole Givens Kurtz

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Passing It Forward

Good morning,

Last Saturday I was once again one of the authors giving a workshop at Mayor Daley's Book Club event. When Bill and I made it to our assigned room for the second workshop and saw the doorway filled with kids standing and waiting for us (a couple were sitting) it gave me great joy. It was also the first time I'd had younger students in my workshop so I knew I had to adjust the presentation. I still had information that they could use. Getting to know about their dreams and their writing was the catalyst for a very lively discussion.

The kids were so enthusiastic and had so many questions. One thing that I got from that was that I need to write a book for teens and preteens. LOL. I don't really have books to give them.

Anyway, that was not the point of this post. I wanted to talk about the turning point from when I thought I had nothing to give to where I now know that I do. When I began writing I did so many things wrong, from formatting, submitting to houses that did not publish what I wrote to not knowing a think about promotions. I also wasn't aware where to go to get this information.

Once I realized that I wasn't the only writer out there that had to learn through trial and error I found I did have something to give. This post wouldn't be the proper place to post all the things that happened to me in the beginning. Green. That was me.

So I now pass forward information that I know for sure, links that I've researched, conferences, books of interest, and the websites of others. And as always happen, the more I do, the more I'm asked to do. But the information I need to pass along, always in some manner is passed to me. I learn more by sharing with other writers and aspiring writers.

Lately, I've heard of a lot of jealousy in the industry, authors not wishing others well because they have not achieved the dreams that they wish for themselves. The why them and why not me syndrome. Perhaps the WHYS are passing it forward, giving and receiving in return. Try it. Seriously. Try to be happy for others, pass on any useful information you get that can help someone else, including things you want for yourself.

Pass it forward and see what happens.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Back to me

Today is the 11th and our turn, Jackie and I, has rolled around again. I've thought a little bit about a topic and don't really have one. at least I don't think I do. Maybe if I just wander a bit. My life has been a little off track the last few weeks. Well, maybe, a lot off track. So much happens that on a day to day basis it seems okay, but when I look back and see all the turmoil I wonder how I got through it all intact and sane. Which started me thinking about insanity. I recently read a book in which the villain was insane and the author used insanity as motivation for all his acts of violence against the heroine. I felt cheated.

As a writing teacher with almost 20 years of teaching under my belt I constantly tell my students that insanity is not an option as motivation for his actions unless even his or her insanity is well motivated. I think insanity is used when a writer can't find a good motivation for a villain's actions. To me this is cheating the reader. Yeah, Hannibal Lector was insane, but he was insane for a very good reason and in his mind, his reason was well-thought out and motivated even if it's a reason so alien to us that it makes us cringe. But having a character insane for no other reason except to provide the conflict for the sake of the story is a cop-out.

A villain should be as well-motivated as the hero and heroine. For whatever reason his savagery exists, it should have its basis in the story. In Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs are cast as the antagonists, Even though they are animals, they are still motivated not so much by their savagery (except in the case of the velociraptors) but because it's more than their nature to be savage. In their world weak animals die, prey to stronger and more savage animals. So they developed strategies to be strong because their motivation is survival. I find survival a pretty good motivation for a lot of characters, especially for villains. As warped as they may be, many of their actions are based on a need to survive. And while their survival is in conflict with more civilized behavior, their reasons are more unreasonable than reasonable, it's still logical to them. And it's the weird logic they use that should put them in conflict with the other characters, not the fact that they may be, or are insane.

I have no aversion to insane villains, but I prefer my villains a little better thought out than just a casual comment made by some character that 's/he's just insane.' Why else would s/he do what they do? That isn't good motivation.

Now you have my two cents. I guess I had a topic after all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Most Maligned of Literary Texts"

This is America. I respect the opinions and the rights of readers who won’t touch romance with a ten foot pole. For them, the happily ever after ending is just too predictable, the hero too chiseled and perfect and the heroine just too damn beautiful and flawless to be believed. Because I have my own no-fly list, I understand their position. Some stories are not for me. I’m not paying good (or bad) money to be depressed or disgusted. That’s what cable news is for.

Notice I said stories and not genres. However, I still give credit to those readers who have tackled romance and decide it’s just not for them. The people who give me pause are those who have never read a romance novel but speak with authority on the simplistic story lines and alleged “purple prose”. How the heck do they know the color of the prose (excuse my sarcasm) if they’ve never cracked open the book? And then there are the snobs who’ve decided that romance writers suffer from limited intelligence, as if we need flashcards to remember our own names.

To my many reader friends, I do understand. Romance, like many other genres, is not for everyone. But to the misinformed, I offer a quote from Joanne Rendell, an attendee at Princeton’s symposium on romance fiction. “ the Princeton conference continued, I realized that it was too hasty to rush to this conclusion. Romances are not one kind of thing. Neither are their readers. And to draw fast conclusions about the genre and its audience is to perpetuate the kind of stereotyping which has always made romance the "most maligned of literary texts." The entire article (which includes our own Beverly Jenkins) can be found in the May 3 edition of the Huffington Post. And to my fellow authors, I paraphrase a favorite phrase from the 60's: "write on, write on!"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Exercise to Inspire...

Eeek! Late to the party--Where did April go? I missed my May 1st post so I'm making up for it now. This month I thought I'd talk about being Inspired. It seems that there's a whole lot of grumbling going on with authors. There's always an excuse waiting at the tip of your tongue and no amount of complaining is going to get you to finish your writing. The best way to help make things easier on yourself is finding elements around you that will keep you excited about your work in progress (WIP). I love the research aspect before I start any process. I usually come up with an idea and then it just grows into one big ball of excitement. I love to write about far off places and learning the history, sights, cultures, etc. Inspiration doesn't have to be epic things. It can be such a small kernel that will pop into a grand imagination.

If you're still stuck, I've got a visualization exercise to help jump start and hopefully inspire you.

1. 1 poster board
2. Several magazines
3. Glue Stick
4. Colored markers
5. Sparklies and scrapbook trinkets optional

Okay, you're probably thinking what the heck is she up to? It looks like a kid's project.

You're partially right. And what I'll add to this is that the power of the mind is the strongest feature you have...if you believe in it.

What I want you to do is to stare at the blank poster board and imagine you're populating it with your story. What does your hero and heroine look like? What is your story about? What important elements make up the story? What is the monkey wrench in the h/h reaching their ultimate goals? What is the setting? What is the color scheme? What is the emotion?

These seem like simple enough questions in your head, but when you can lay it down on some artistic visual outline, it makes the story more real in your head. That's where the magazines come into play. Now, I want you to map out the story through cutting various items that applies to the questions I threw out. Make sure to glue them down once you've done a make-shift map. Then, with your markers, label the elements and jot down notes on the story. This exercise is like a large scale journal. Some people use stickies and place them in order on a poster board--but I love using images. The whole color scheme and feel of your visual piece will make the story fresh and alive in your mind for when you start writing.

This project has two parts. After you've created the first piece...the poster board outline...The second part is to really absorb the imagery. Soak it in, feel the emotions of the story, find the missing gaps of your story and you'll soon be in the mood to write. Don't think too hard as you write. Don't edit. Just write as much as you can because you'll find the story will flow through the visual map you've already created. You will be amazed at how many pages you've written and when you're done, you will see that the poster board was just the beginning imprint of your completed story.

Even with no artistic talents..your creativity will come through in this project and it's a matter of taking time out to exercise your mind so you won't put too much pressure on writing. This is a sort of release from all those writing tips and guidelines that keep you stifled from creating. When you use your visual brain to lay out the foundations of your story, it makes the overall picture so much clearer.

Trust me on it. I'd love to see what you've done with your collage...please tell me if this exercise helped.


I'd like to see your attempts at this exercise. Just post an image of your masterpiece on your blog by next Sunday, May 10th. If you've done this project, make sure to comment on this post with your link so I can view your entries.

I'll have judges choose the most creative Visual Collage. One lucky winner will receive an awesome writer's package through the mail. Unfortunately, international folks will only get an Amazon Gift Card and the ebook of my current release ART OF SENSUALITY...

Jax Cassidy

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's in your purse?

Things have been kind of quiet here lately, so I thought I'd post something. I cleaned out my purse yesterday. How could such an accumulation of stuff fill up such a small purse? I try to keep a small purse otherwise I would put everything in it. I can barely stuff my Kindle in it. As I was cleaning, I found myself amazed at what was in my purse. Besides Target and grocery receipts, I have two checkbooks--one business and one personal, two bills that need paying and are still unpaid, a small pouch for my credit cards and other useless cards that stores think I need to get discounts on regular purchases, a coin purse that is open at the top and all the coins are at the bottom of my purse, two lips balms (in case I lose one), two pairs of reading glasses (in case I lose one), a dozen pens (in case the first one doesn't work), two small notebooks (I don't know why I have two), an alligator clip, two cell phones (one business and one personal), ten packs of Splenda, an empty business card case because the business cards are in a pocket that's easier to find than the case, and a second alligator clip (I don't know why I have this one either), a cloth to clean both pairs of reading glasses, a second set of keys (in case I lose the first set) and lint.

When I laid everything out on the table I couldn't believe I had all that in my purse. No wonder it was so heavy and my shoulders were starting to hurt. So I ask you, what's in your purse?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


After I posted my last blog post, I got to thinking about inspiration, mainly story inspiration. I've always wondered what inpsires other authors. I know how I get my story ideas. They come from newspaper articles, news stories, my own dreams, my friends, music or sometimes just a specific submission request.

When Kymberlyn e-mailed me about getting a story for the first White Boyz anthology, I got inspired by the subject matter. What do white men want? I thought they would want what anyone else would want: love. If Parker is goign to do What White Boyz Eat, I've already have story ideas for that one.

So here's my question for authors. What inspires you? Do you listen to song lyrics and get inspired? Do you watch a TV show or movie, and think you can create a better version of it?

Stay sexy,

Monday, April 20, 2009

A contest!

Parker Publishing has a lot of places you can find us on the net. To celebrate the our new spots I figured I'd have a little contest. Between today and this Friday at 5:00 PM if you friend request us on Myspace, follow us on Twitter, or join our chat group you're entered for a chance to win YOUR choice of one of my ebooks. If you do all three of the above, you're entered three times! Please makes sure you tell me you're from the contest. On myspace you can put it in a message with the request, on the yahoo group in the message to join and on Twitter just reply to one of our posts that you're from the contest. I'll draw a name on Friday! Good luck! Have fun! Spread the word! And check out the post below. It's a good one!

Yahoo group

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Introduction: Meet Cybil Lewis

As a relatively new member of Parker Publishing, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Nicole Givens Kurtz, and I write science fiction/mysteries, also known as hybrids. Wait! Hold up! I know, I know. I mention science fiction and many of you are already to click on to some other interesting blog post.

My novel, SILENCED, centers on a private detective, Cybil Lewis. She’s a tough, African descent, kick butt heroine and she’s not like anyone you’ve met before. This isn’t your Star Trek cookie cutter communications officer.

Oh no.

Below is a short except from SILENCED: A CYBIL LEWIS novel. It’s the first in the Cybil Lewis series and I hope you find her just as attractive and fun as I do writing her.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of the reviewers have said about Cybil and SILENCED.

“Nicole Givens Kurtz is a gifted sci-fi writer with a wonderful imagination. Her vivid descriptions of a future civilization instantly transport the reader into that time period. And with the extra benefit of a strong African-American woman as the main character, this adventure captures the essence of the future.”—4 Star review//Affaire de Coeur Magazine

“A missing-persons case takes us into an action-packed story. Cybil is no shrinking violet, and the tale is vivid enough to keep the reader looking forward to the next chapter in this new series. This is a fast-paced, enjoyable ride.”—4 Star Review—Romantic Times

“Congrats to Nicole Givens Kurtz for another well written novel…Be on the lookout for this one and hopefully more in the series. If you are not familiar with Kurtz’ works, seek them out, you will not be disappointed.”—Baryon Review

"Silenced" has all the hard-boiled elements of sex, violence, crooked politicians and dishonest cops and a story told by an engaging but difficult heroine. It is an excellent start to what promises to be a very interesting series.”—The Denver Post


Mayor Christensen did not sit in my only visitor’s chair.

With that well-bred posture, she remained standing as she scanned the walls of my private office taking it in. I knew what she was seeing, and I didn’t really care. Everything in the office came secondhand or was here when I leased the space twelve years ago. The walls were adorned with newspaper and electronic clippings of various cases I had either been involved with or solved. The yellowing on some of the actual paper ones had chipped and split along the edges. New jpegs had been enlarged and added with updated electronic articles about recent cases.

"Mayor, why are you here?" I asked tightly, my voice edgy and impatient. With amazing effort, I tried to hang on to some professionalism. It slipped out of my hands, like sands through an hourglass. "I do have work to do."

I had a good idea of what the mayor wanted. Still I wanted her to say it, to speak it out and to ask. There was something naughty in the smile I gave her. The edges curled up in a dark satisfaction of knowing that I’d refuse her request anyway.

She brought her eyes back to mine and pressed her lips together before talking as if trying to keep her mouth from saying things she might regret later. With three more attempts, she finally spoke.

"Miss Lewis, I am from tough southern people who aren't bothered by mosquitoes, wauto wrecks, or mouthy inspectors."

Her voice lost its sweetness and turned hard, like wet sugar left out in the cold. In place of the soft, worried mother, was now the voice of a hard politician who thought I would cower and obey her every whim.

Obviously, she did not know me very well…

"The Memphis regulators are idiots,” she was saying, her hands folded neatly in front of her. “They have bungled my daughter's missing person’s case and I want the bastard that took Mandy found," she finished, her voice demanding, her eyes seething with anger and raw emotion.

Will the real Mayor Christensen please stand up? There is something knowing, hell creepy, about someone who could flip the coin of her personality like that. It made me want to lock my satchel in the safe, and nail down the valuables.

She stood there in her immaculate gray suit that cost more than my monthly food budget allowed. The layers of make-up didn't hide the bluish circles under her eyes, or the new crop of wrinkles along her forehead the photos and media coverage seemed to have missed or airbrushed.

"In case you haven't noticed, this is a long way from Memphis," I said, my temper escaping into thin strips of exasperation. "And I don't respond well to threats and name calling."

The mayor's eyes held mine.

"I apologize," she said forcefully, as if she didn’t really mean it. "You're the best in this business, or so I'm told." She crossed her arms over her chest. "You solved that case that sent Governor Price packing to Alamogordo Cradle a few years back."

"Yeah, I did. But the answer is still no," I said back, inserting my own steeliness into my voice.

The Change met with certain death and several key political figures were apprehended, killed, or promoted depending on what side of the case they landed on. It garnished me some publicity and the client list swelled after that, like a monsoon rain, drowning me in payments, vile human actions, and action.

It had since dried up.

I came around to stand close to her, to face her so that she knew she wasn't intimidating me. I was taller by about three inches and weighed more than her for sure, which somehow didn’t make me feel all that great.

Just then the doors to my private office opened and Jane came in, cautiously. She stood inside the entranceway. She opened her mouth to say something and quickly closed it.

Smart girl.

Mayor Christensen ran her hand through her light brown Afro, ruining its puffiness.

"Miss Lewis, I have come all this way. The regulators are no closer to solving this than they were four weeks ago! Time is ticking away, and my, my baby is out there somewhere. These are dangerous times, as you well know. Help me find her, please."

Suddenly, she was the sweet, southern girl from Memphis, twang and all—the distressed parent, not the bullying politician.

This one was quite the actress.

I shrugged. "As a rule, I don't investigate cases where the regulators have already been called in."

My friend Daniel Tom, a regulator and the only one competent one on the D.C. staff would kill me for meddling in his case without his permission. I’m sure the Memphis regs felt the same way.

She stared me, aghast. "As a rule? This is my daughter, Miss Lewis, surely…"

"Yeah, a rule. You should know about those. They're kind of like regulations…laws. When you are self-employed you can make up rules for your business. That's one of mine."

I did not dance to the beat of anyone's drummer, but my own, especially not that of some big shot politician. She could bring all the muscle she wanted, but I wasn't budging unless I wanted to.

End excerpt
Want more? Read the first chapter of SILENCED online at Nicole’s website,

Nicole Givens Kurtz

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sorry...I Got Nothin'

I've been trying to come up with a blog topic all week, and I've been consistently drawing a blank. For writers, of course, one of our nightmares is not having any material to mine from the creative side of our brains. Writer's Block is like a death knell, and the simple thought of it is frightening.

Thankfully, I'm lucky not to be experiencing that particular phenomenon when it comes to my novels at the moment. In fact, all I've been able to think about is the story I'm currently working on and the one I'll be working on immediately after. And that's why when it comes to blogging this month, all I can say is: Sorry, but I got nothin'.

Lisa G.

Photos: Random so I could start my day with a smile. Yaay, spring!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Happy Monday

Hopefully everyone who reads this had a wonderful weekend. I am going to begin my monthly blog on the Parker Publishing site by telling you that this entry is being written by Dyanne, Frances and F.D. Davis. I don't know which one will start first though I think it's Dyanne. Basically what you will read will be nothing more than a writer's complaint, so if you're of a mind to, you can stop reading.

When I began writing as a career (JOB) there were many things that I gave up. The UPS man went first. I was addicted to QVC and so to the brown truck. That had to go. Extras that I may have wanted went. Lay-a-way became a new option. Also loaning huge chucks of money to love ones went. Hold up. Did I say loan? Scratch that, giving money to love ones went. We were down to one check and since I was and still am the person who either writes the checks for the bills or lie and say the check is in the mail I'm the one who knows what we can and can't purchase.

You would think as long as I wasn't asking anyone to pay my bills that that would be no one's business except Bill's and mine right? Wrong? Everyone had an opinion (the ones who were no longer receiving money from me) about my lack or willingness to indulge in overpriced ventures.

You need a job!!

What the Frak!!! (I love that word)

You know of course this tirade didn't just pop into my head so I'll tell you what brought it on and I'll do what's intended by doing so, give you a peek into a writer's life (mine)

My sister said those words to me yesterday as we were having a conversation about her recent shopping spree and my reasons for not making a purchase I badly want until I have the money in hand. (not plastic) She comes out with, "You need a job." And I answered, "I have a job."

And so I do. No, my job does not come with a regular paycheck and I can't make plans for purchases depending on advances or royalties. The pay I receive for my work has come in random spurts throughout my career. It is not something that I can promise anyone that I can do something on an exact date because I will have a paycheck. It is not like nursing where I received not only a weekly check but overtime and bonuses. But make no doubt about it, writing is a job. Most writers are not able to make a living at this job, but to say it's not a job is not only wrong, it demeans what we as writers do.

I've been asked in many interviews how many hours I devote to my writing. It's so hard to give an exact number of hours because even when I'm not sitting at the keyboard I'm running scenes in my mind. I write in my intimate moments, when I'm cooking, sleeping, bathing. It doesn't matter I'm always working. I have a job.

But having a job as a writer I've learned is one that most people who aren't writers don't respect and some that are writers don't as well. Family and friends do not value the time of writers. A call comes in. "What are you doing?" Answer. I'm working." The caller continues as though you've said nothing at all. Why? They don't think I have a job.

Now let's take the Internet. Three to four times a week someone sends me a sample of their work to critique. Never mind that they don't ask, don't know me and even go so far as to tell me they've never read my work. AHH there's that word again, Work. I work. I have a job. Then there are the ones that wants to give me ideas, tell me what to write about. And we can't leave out the ones who contact me to write their books for them.

Yeah, this is a long post I know. If you're still reading but wish I'd end this, sorry, I don't see an end in sight. Let me briefly hit you with the basics. First I write a rough draft of a book, then edit it and edit it again. Then it goes to my editor and comes back to me and I edit it three times before sending it back to her. Then there comes the galley and the proofing. This is just the tip of a writer's life. As a writer, heck as a human, you should give back and I try to do just that. I read contest entries for various contests, I attempt to blog occasionally. Take this blog for example. It was created for a way for Parker authors to connect with the readers. If readers are reading they are leaving no evidence. We're doing it for the readers but it's the writers who read it, if anyone reads it at all. So I work for little reward, but I fraking work.

The long and short of it is this: I'm not alone in this. I believe most writers walk a tight rope between taking care of families, trying to keep our friendships intact and not wanting to be seen as anything but nice. I think we sometimes go too far in doing that. If we don't respect what we do then what the heck of course no one else is going to do it. In my RWA chapter I have several NYT bestselling authors. I'd love to get a quote from any of them for any of my books. But guess what? I know they work, they're writers. They don't have time to read my work (YES WORK) and give me a quote. I'm sensible to know that if I'm busy here on the bottom rung of the ladder that they're even more busy. It took me three years and a lot of trepidations to get one of my favorite authors to give me a quote for my upcoming vampire book. She works, she's crazy busy. I respect that. I didn't want to intrude on her time. I didn't want OT be one of the people like the ones I'm writing about. After three years I caved and asked reluctantly. She was most gracious and gave me a wonderful quote which I knew she would. But, she's a writer, she has a job, she's busy. Writers work at least twice as many hours per week as any other profession

So, since I know this is being read mainly by writers I'm going to give some unasked for advice. Guard your work and your time. You have a job to do the same as every other working American. Turn off the phone on the long talkers who won't accept that you're working, send back the requests to read tons of unasked for material. You're working.

I do plan to take my own advice. I've been overworked (there's that word again) and stressed out for the past month. Why? Because I've been doing so much busy work that I haven't devoted any time to my job. I'm making up excuses to get out of going to dinners and parties. I'm drained, weary and just plain bone tired. And the one thing I want to do most is this "JOB" that people think I don't have. I may be wholly underpaid for the number of hours that I put in, but it brings me contentment. And it is a job whether I love it or not. It is a job.

I'm a fraking writer!! I have a fraking job! Now leave me the frak alone so I can do my fraking work.

F.D. Davis

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love is the 3rd degree

Thinking about love in all the wrong places this last few weeks. When I returned to my cruise, my son asked me if I'd found a man. Being a widow, I have to admit, I looked, but it's too recent for me. The idea of finding a man started me thinking about younger men. After all, I'm only 60, soon to be 61, but looking at the men on my cruise, they were all (besides married) pot-bellied, bald (so was my late husband especially after chemo) hunched over and already shuffling around the deck like they were 20 or 30 years older. So I decided I want a younger man. Not too much younger, maybe 45-50 (yes, and with an income). After all this is the day of the cougar woman looking at men and not being intimidated by her age or theirs. Which got me to thinking about the actress Ruth Gordon who married Garson Kanin 15 years younger than she was in 1942. That was 67 years ago long before cougars were more visually on the prowl. What a love story that must have been. To have thumbed her nose at convention during a time when women were not allowed to even have careers outside the home without suffering censure.

Today, Mary Tyler Moore is also thumbing her nose at convention with a husband many years younger than she is. If she can do it, if Ruth Gordon can do it, then so can I. Which did bring me back to writing. Though somewhat haphazardly. I started thinking about women in writing. For years, women had to write under a man's name because women were not readily accepted in what was once considered a male dominated career. Yet some of the best literature was written by women; the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, George Elliot, Mary Shelley, Pearl S. Buck, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou (I added her here because I consider her a bridge from the past to the future), Willa Cather and Dorothy Parker. These women changed the face of literature and did so with grace and intelligence.

March was National Women's History month and I'll admit, I completely forgot. So I'm celebrating now. To all those women who changed the face of history from Josephine Baker to Beyonce, from Toni Morrison to Nora Roberts, from Harper Lee to Benazir Bhutto. I salute you.

To all women everywhere - YOU ROCK!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Hero!

I had been looking for that man everywhere – on the Metro, at the grocery store, in the bookstore and on the street. A couple of times I thought I’d found him, but on closer inspection – well, you know…

So I turned to the internet. Oh, there ought to be a law! But it’s living proof of what my good girlfriend always says: “there is somebody for everybody!”

And then on the day when I least expected it, I found him! We were both at an event that lasted several days. I had ample opportunity to check him out. He was tall. He had a nice smile, which was good. He seemed to be a gentleman, which was very good. And then I made my move, even though he was with another woman. Here’s how it went:

“Uh, excuse me. I’m writing another book and you’re exactly as I pictured the hero. Can I take your picture?”

He realized immediately that I wasn’t trying to hit on him, especially since I had a just given the entire group the scoop on “From Dusk to Dawn.” He graciously agreed, and I lived to tell the tale, although I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. Blame it on moonlight over the Caribbean, but next time I’ll stick to a magazine.

Writers, how do you find the perfect image for your hero? Readers, have you seen a man on the street who made you say “that’s him!” (Not out loud, of course) (LOL)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Finding That Special Someone Begins With You.

This month I fiqured I would do an article on love. It seems as if we women and men are looking for that perfect mate to make our lives-perfect. Well maybe one day science will allow us to build our mate from the inside out, but until my article. Thanks.

Some people would say that finding the perfect man or woman is like searching for a needle in a haystack right? Wrong. It isn't the perfect mate we are so critical in finding, but the idea of perfection that we are trully seeking. Well unfortunatedly we're not living in a perfect world and life is not perfect, and neither are the people we love or hope to love in our future. We all have our faults and no matter how hard we try, we will never reach that scale of perfection. God made only one perfect man, his son Jesus. So we have to work with what we have here on earth. God has given us free will to choose what's right and wrong and it is up to us as individuals to determined what road we will take. We all are guilty of imperfection, so how can we expect our mate to be perfect when we ourselves are not? If we constantly expect something outside the scope of reality, then our dreams will certainly turned into nightmares. To expect perfection from one another is like expecting it never to rain again.

On the other hand, should we just give up and accept being hurt, cheated on, lied to and used? Of course not. We must take responsibility for our own actions in our pursuit of happiness and stop depending solely on others to make us happy. We must look within ourselves and strive to be the individual that we are seeking. If we want truth in our relationship, then we should be truthful. If we want trust in our relationship, then we should be trustworthy. If we expect honesty and integrity in our relationship, then we should have honesty and integrity in us. Therefore when we encounter that special someone, the qualities we desire and so desperately seek is brought to the table. In doing so, not making us perfect but instead, giving us the opportunity to pursue the level of happiness we want in our lives. Being happy and fulfilled begins on the inside of us. You heard the phrase charity begins at home. Well it is true. So if you are seeking that special someone, fill your soul with what you are looking for in that person, and in doing so you will find that man or woman of your dreams.

Janie De Coster
author of Broken Commandments

Friday, April 3, 2009

Those HOT romance HUNKS

I've been feeling a little down lately so I thought I'd talk about something we all love, men! LOL. I'm talking those sexy heroes in the romance novels we all devour. When I'm reading a book, the hero is instrumental in whether I love a story or not. I have to relate to the heroine in some way and I have to like her but I have to love the hero. Not sure if all readers are that way (or maybe I'm the only one who is man crazy) but it's true. All of my favorite books, those books that are on my keeper shelf, are books with a hero that I fell head over heels for. He stole my heart right along with the heroines. It's hard to say what my "type" is because a lot of the heroes I love so much don't fit the same mold. Some are easy going, some are tortured, some have big bucks while others are those sexy working men with callused fingers and faded blue jeans (*sigh*). Somehow or another he has to make my heart go pitter-patter. He has to make me fall in love with him.

I'm the same way when it comes to the heroes I write. I try to write a man that women can fall in love with. I have fun writing the heroes in my books. Trying to figure out how they would think, how a man would think and then half the time make them do the complete opposite. LOL. That's what's so endearing, IMO. When the hero is lost with the heroine. When he doesn't know whether he's coming or going and he almost always screws up.

A couple of the heroes I've written always stand out in my mind. One of them is Nico, from my novel, Unexpected Mr. Right. I love him because he's so confident, and sure of himself. He's a ladies man through and through yet Tabby gets him upside down. Even though Nico is in unfamiliar water, he never runs. He may not know what the hell he's doing, but Nico knows women and he sure is going to figure out what it is she stirs inside him. Plus he's fun, he's jokester and he brings that to Tabby's life.

Another is Ryan from my novella, Enjoying the Ride, in the What White Boyz Ride anthology. *sigh* I just love Ryan. He's a man, he's rugged, sexy. He has money but you'd never know it. He's a worn pair of blue jeans, cold beer kind of man. He's laid back, easy going, and loves to smile. He made me smile while I was writing him.

Do you read more for the hero or heroine? What kind of heroes do you like to read about? Who are some of your favorite heroes you've written if you're a writer, or read if you're a reader?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools on me...

The first of every month is my usual post day. For some reason, I couldn't get the dates straight so I'm a little late in the game. There's a lot of catching up to do but I am excited to announce that not long ago we received wonderful news that Publisher's Weekly would like to review our books! This is phenomenal news and proves that the industry is finally taking notice of our amazing authors! I'm thrilled and now need to get something written for one of our lines! :)

In another exciting news, The Romance Studio gave ART OF SENSUALITY a 4 1/25 out of 5 Hearts review!

This leads me to authors, we spend way too much time anticipating whether they're going to love us or loathe us. There's sites like Mrs. Giggles, Smart Bitches, and so on...that love to bash authors...not to say that they don't also rave when they like a particular book, but being at the receiving end of a bad's tough to take sometimes. I spent plenty of time not trying to pay attention to reviews, except for the ones that count (in my book) like the Romantic Times BookReviews or Publisher's Weekly. But what I've learned from all this is that whether a negative or a positive review is issued, I feel like it's free promotion. Even if it's a scathing review, chances are, a reader will pick up your work just to see if the critic has been too harsh. I know I view the reviews like movie reviews, there are often critically praised movies that totally disappointed me so I give those poorly reviewed movies a fighting chance.

Over the years, I've learned to grow a thick skin because in the journey of writers, not every book we write is our best work. It may be the best that we could write at that moment, but we have to keep in mind that even literary greats have been panned. We just need to remember that although most reviewers aren't writers, they don't know how difficult it is to finish a book, to tell a story the way we do, or to understand the workings of our mind as we write. When I see a poor review, I have the urge to tell the critic to try to write a book....let's see how quickly they'll understand all that goes into finishing one. Again, it's just opinion and the next time a review comes in, I am just grateful I have a book to submit to be read by someone.

So, how do you cope when you receive a review? What ticks you off, what makes you feel bubbly inside? I wanna know how you deal with reviews...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is it me?

I recently did a book signing event that had an author meet-and-greet session before the signing event. I told a crowd of folks about myself as an author, the books I've written and what I have coming up. One person asked me after I talked about my BDSM titles how I did my research. Of course there was a ripple of giggles going through the audience. So I was honest. I told them that I hung out with a local BDSM group that taught me the ropes, pun intended, about BDSM. That little revelation quieted the group.

A week or so after the event, I attended a luncheon with my BDSM buddies. As always, there was a demonstration after the luncheon. The demonstration consisted of stringing up a couple of submissives to a huge man-made spiderweb contraption and spanking, flogging, whipping and paddling them.

My Domme friends are never content with me just watching the action. So they put a flogger in my hand and showed me how to flog a submissive. For me, the feeling felt odd. To me, I was hurting this submissive, which is not my personal thing. To the submissive, he loved ever minute of it. He told me so afterward and even went so far as to kiss my feet (through my sneakers). When I turned around, my BDSM buds all had smiles on their faces. My Domme's submissive said that he thinks that I'm really a Domme in the closet.

I don't think I am. When I do my research, and I'm asking people who are actively involved in the Lifestyle about how they feel and the appeal of it, I understand it. I get it. I konw that they feed off of their submissive's reaction just as the submissive feeds off their Dom and Domme's power.

Here are my questions: for the readers, when an author writes something contemporary, why is it that readers think the author lives that lifestyle? No one ever asks an author who writes murder mysteries or horror if they've killed someone or if they have someone bound in their basement. Why is that? Why is one more possible than the other?

The other thing I want to ask is why is it that other people can see something in me that I don't think is really there? Maybe it's something they're projecting, something they wish I could personally produce. Do I need to necessarily live that life to write it successfully? I hope not. I'd like to think the world is my oyster as far as writing subjects. I just want to give you my pearls!