Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Writer's Guide to Avoiding Salesman Molestation: Part I

Today I was in Walmart when a young gentleman still ten yards away looked at me and said in an overly friendly voice, "Hello, ma'am, how are you today?"
To which I sighed and mumbled, "Aw, shit."

It's true the people down here in Texas are way friendlier than those in the north, but they're not that damn friendly. I wasn't even in his Social Zone yet, which can only mean one thing: he wants something, and that something is invariably going to take up my time and his, and we're both going to be disappointed in the end. These salespeople work on commission, making them like pit bulls with their jaws clamped on your meaty calf.

Here's how the rest of the conversation went, and picture me slowly pushing my cart away from him as I try my best to shake the dog loose in the nicest of ways.

Him: May I ask if you have satellite or cable TV?
Me: [glancing at the table behind him with a DirecTV sign on it & becoming instantly optimistic I can get out of this quickly] Oh, sorry, we rent our house so we can't get satellite TV.
Him: The owners won't let you mount a dish?
Me: Nope! Sorry.
Him: Well, that's okay, because we can just use a tripod.
Me: Well, my husband makes all the decisions on things like this, so you'd have to talk to him. (I use this excuse all the time.)
Him: That's not a problem, we can call him right now and talk to him.
Me: [now walking backward as I continue to push my cart away from him] Can't. He's at work. [shoulder shrug that says Whaddaya gonna do?]
Him: Okay, what time does he get off of work?
Me: Next...year? (Yes, I phrased it as a question.)
Him: Next--Oh, I see. Have a good day then.
Me: [apologetic smile] You too.

Was that not ridiculous? Sometimes I hate that I can't just ignore them and walk away guilt free. I even let telemarketers go through their schpiel before telling them no. After all, I understand that it's their job to be annoying. I can't bring myself to say "kiss off" when they're just trying to make a living. (Plus, what if I'm super mean to a telemarketer and they're already in a really volatile position in their life and my rudeness and lack of respect is the last straw and they end up on a fast downward spiral until they end up going completely postal and taking out a bunch of innocent people kind of like Michael Douglas in that movie Falling Down?! I don't want that on my record when I have my chat with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.)

Later I was thinking of all the things I could've said right off the bat to shut him down quicker, still without being rude. I mean, I'm a writer for chrissakes, I should be able to spin a tiny yarn or two to get me out of uncomfortable situations, shouldn't I? The problem is, I'm the least witty person off the top of my head. Unless I can think about it and rehearse ahead of time, I'm useless when it comes to lying.

So, I've decided to come up with a few elaborate lies that will hopefully stop these people in their tracks. They're trained on how to come back from almost anything (as you can see from the above conversation) so I need to do one of two things: say something that covers every possible base so they don't have anything else to toss back at me, or say something so outrageous that it stuns them for at least a good two seconds so I can make my getaway.

In Part II I'm going to let you know a few that I come up with. What about you? Do you have a funny or crazy story about being molested by a salesman? Have you ever told them something crazy to get them to leave you alone? Share it in the comments!

Ciao, bellas!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wee-Bit Wednesday: Pizza & Beer Edition

Hello, faithful followers and newcomers alike! Welcome to Wee-Bit Wednesday where I share just a wee-bit of my current WIP (work in progress), which according to that super obnoxious heart on the right is the third book in my Prophecy of Souls trilogy, SOUL SEDUCTION. I'm pretty much giving you snippets from each scene, which is like getting snapshots of the whole book!

If you'd like to get caught up with how Gabriel and Ava met (and how she drives him crazy) check out these past WBWs:
  1. Desert Walker Edition
  2. Calendar Guy Edition
  3. Eye Orgasm Edition
  4. Pussy Cat Edition
And now for this week's edition!
#     #      #

A half hour later, Gabriel and Ava were eating frozen pizzas in his living room. When they’d arrived back at the shop, he’d been about to show her to her room for the night when her stomach growled. Against his better judgment, he invited her in for a quick meal. Apparently his guilt from earlier hadn’t been assuaged with taking on her lodging and mechanical problems pro bono.

“Oh, wow,” she mumbled around a mouth full of cheese and sausage. “This is so fantastic. Seriously. Like, the best food ever.”

Gabriel lifted his bottle of beer and took a swig before setting it back on the coffee table. “Considering you’re eating generic frozen pizza that I damn near burned, I think it’s safe to say you have very low standards.”

A saucy grin curved up one corner of her mouth. “Low standards are one of my best qualities, Gabe.”

He watched in amazement as she picked up her fifth piece and tucked into it with all the appreciation of a starving food critic at a five-star restaurant. The subsequent moans, however, reminded him of an entirely different activity and had him leaning forward in his seat to hide the reaction between his legs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Review: DOUBLED by Charlotte Stein ~ 5 of 5 stars!

Book Stats: 
  • Genre: Erotic Romance
  • Steam Level: Ménage (m/f/m)
  • Length: Short Novel (88 pgs)
  • Publisher: Ellora's Cave
  • Publisher Line: Moderne
  • Book Type: Ebook
Book Blurb:

Bobbi has been friends with the Hoffman twins for one long, glorious year. They’re sweet, funny and kind, but there’s a problem…they’re also hotness personified. Times two. And when they lure her into a kinky little game involving a blindfold and some rather unexpected fondling, she finds them much harder to resist than she’d imagined.It seems they want to be something other than just good friends. They want a hot, steamy ménage, and all Bobbi has to do is decide if she’s up to the challenge. One big, gorgeous guy is enough for her.Two might be more than she can handle…

My Review:

Before I begin, can we just gush about this cover for a second? The more I look at it, the more I love it. 
  1. I love the font of the title and how its mirror-image is below it, playing on the word's meaning. 
  2. The female model is a total Doppelganger for Christina Ricci and just has a classic beauty to her that makes her sexy and alluring. 
  3. The twins in the book are swimmers--as in, swim team swimmers--and I really appreciate that Ellora's Cave kept that in mind and went with these two "hotties with the swimmer bodies" and not the typical "beefy-boys" gracing most of the genre's covers (Note: I am NOT knocking the "beefy-boys." I happen to love them just as much as the toned and streamlined.) 
The cover alone gets 4.5 stars of 5! (The only reason I've deducted a half-point is because I'd prefer for the one twin to be mostly-headless like the other one. That's how I like my cover models because the eyes make a man too specific, so I like them shown only from the nose down.) So I say "Bravo, Ellora's Cave" on a great cover, which we all know is so crucial to our stories.

And now on to the review!

I think my favorite part about this book is Bobbi's internal dialogue. Stein does such an amazing job making Bobbi a down-to-earth character we can love and adding in an awesome sense of humor. The book grabs you immediately with Bobbi guessing correctly--and very nonchalantly--which twin is which after they've secretly switched clothes and hairstyles during their weekly poker game. She's the only one who can always tell them apart, and it both intrigues and baffles them.

"I think you could come out of there naked with Twizzlers up your
asses and I'd still know who is who." ~ Bobbi to a frustrated Sebastian
But it also frustrates the hell out of Sebastian and as he hates losing at anything, insists on trying things to see if she can still tell, until it eventually leads to Bobbi being blindfolded to see if she can guess when she only has her sense of touch to rely on...which is when things get interesting real quick. ;)
In any book with twins, the personalities are going to be vastly different. Only an idiot would write about two people who are essentially the same person. But what I absolutely loved about these boys is how their personalities completely reverse in the bedroom.
Ordinarily, Sebastian is the twin who takes center stage with Tobias following comfortably behind. Not that Tobe is a wuss who needs his brother to forge ahead for him. Not at all. He just prefers to hang back and observe, until such time he needs to step in and check his brother when Seb gets a little too blunt or over-eager (which Tobe feels is often).
"We want to make love your brains out." ~ Sebastian to
Bobbi after Tobias tells him not to 'fuck-talk' her.
However, once they get into the bedroom, Bobbi discovers new things about her best friends that she'd never known. Like how Sebastian loves to draw things out and tease his lovers until they're ready to explode, whereas Tobias is more hungry and aggressive like a starved tiger who's just been thrown a steak.
But this is not only a book with amazingly great sex in it. It also brings a new dynamic to the male/female/male menage scenario that's very real and very human. This relationship is NOT formed out of some base need to get college-kinky, or a crazy bet or experiment gone wonderful. In fact, of all the m/f/m books I've read (and I've read a LOT) this is the ONLY story where the guys haven't done a threesome before. In every other book (of the ones I've personally read) threesomes are old hat to the guys. There are of course different reasons as to why (which could be an entire post all on its own), but the point is, they've done it more times than they can count.

Their first night of fooling around is a result of the number two reason people hook up spontaneously: classic Heat of the Moment (with the number one reason being alcohol)* We've all been there. You reach that place where Reality takes a back seat in the stretch limo (cuz it's waaaaaaaay back there) and oh, looky, Fantasy is riding shotgun and he's throwing Rules right out the damn window. Stein is great at showing Bobbi's conscience pop up often to poke her and basically say, "Girl, what in the eff are you thinking?!" which adds that humor I mentioned earlier.

Of course she'd occasionally thought of them since, in a halfhearted wouldn't it be nice if they accidentally rammed into one of my boobs sort of way, but nothing with this intensity. ~ Bobbi on her feelings for the twins

Steamy sex aside, I adored the inside look we get of Bobbi's struggle with coming to terms of what a permanent relationship with the twins means and how she'll handle it when people find out about their unconventional trio. And even though the book is told strictly from Bobbi's POV, Stein does an excellent job at showing us where the twins are coming from and what motivates them to take a chance on starting the whole shebang in the first place. It absolutely broke my heart when Tobias quietly states, "I wish we were one person," during one of the glimpses we get of their predicament of being so identical and yet so different, causing them to put the woman they love in an uncomfortable situation within society.
In conclusion, I read this book twice and eagerly give it 5 of 5 stars. It has all the usual qualities of a great read--relateable characters, realistic motivation, internal conflict, and steamy sex--plus a snarky heroine, witty twin banter, and rev-your-engine dirty talk. Run, don't walk, and get your very own copy. I guarantee you won't be sorry.**
* This is not based on actual facts, but rather a quick assumption made at 4am as I write this.
** This guarantee is not actually backed up by anything. If for some insane reason you are sorry you purchased your own copy of DOUBLED, we probably can't be friends anymore. (Just sayin')

Charlotte Stein has written over thirty short stories, novellas and novels, including entries in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance and Best New Erotica 10. Her collection of short stories was named one of the best erotic romances of 2009 by Michelle Buonfiglio, and her first novel, Control, was recently called "...a non-stop crazy hot sex book". When not writing non-stop crazy hot sex books, she can be found eating jelly turtles, watching terrible sitcoms and occasionally lusting after hunks. She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their imaginary dog, and can be found here:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Release Day, Ruthie Knox!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to promote the
debut release of one my all-time favorite people, Ruthie Knox.

I met Ruthie early last year in the Romance Junkies writing contest we had both entered. After reading her entry, I totally fan-girled her on my comment sheet (the first round was judged by romance readers and the other contestants) and gave her my email address in case she ever wanted to chat about writing.

Imagine my surprise when she actually emailed me as opposed to thinking I was a total nut job! (I totally fooled her. heh heh heh) I'm happy to say we became fast friends. I've done some beta reading for her (mostly I just gush about how great her stuff is) and she's taught me so much, like:

  • How to use "urtext" in a sentence
  • How to properly place a comma
  • How to cut 10K+ words from my manuscript.
In short, she's a genius.

But the real purpose of this post is not for me to go on and on about how totally orsum she is. It's to give you a taste of her contemporary romance, Ride with Me. This is the book that she entered the RJ contest with (and won 1st place, btw) which made me all ga-ga for her. Below you can read the first chapter and at the end you can click on one of the icons to purchase your very own copy for a mere $2.99. 

That's less than a Happy Meal, and Ride with Me won't clog your arteries. Such a deal!

If you missed my interview with Tom, the hero from this book, you can check it out HERE. I absolutely love Tom. He's grouchy and supah-haht. LOL

Okay, without further ado, I give you Ride with Me, by the wonderful Ruthie Knox...
 Scribd.Ride With Me Excerpt - by author Ruthie Knox

Happy Release Day, Ruthie! 
(I totes love you!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wee-Bit Wednesday: Pussy Cat Edition

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been a tad M.I.A. lately, but I've been busy moving across the country. I now reside in sunny San Antonio, Texas! So, I might a little discombobulated for a while (how long can I get away with using the move as an excuse for being flighty?) as I try to get us settled in and back to a routine.

I debated on whether to post a Wee-Bit today, but my Twitter friend, Serena Bell, encouraged me to share, so here it is. (You can catch the previous snippets of my WIPs here.) In this excerpt, Gabriel has driven Ava to her broken-down 1970 Barracuda on a stretch of desert road. She fell asleep on the ride over, and when they get there, Gabriel sees a gigantic cat lounging inside her car. Ruh-roh!

#     #      #

Uma Purrman: Ava's pet kitty
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” he called. “Be a good boy and get out of the car. It’d be a shame to ruin something as beautiful as that.” Adrenaline raced through his veins and his heart beat a rapid tattoo as the big cat leapt through the open window and landed soundlessly in the dirt.

“Gabe, what’s going on?”

Trying not to react to Ava’s sexy sleep-induced voice, he gave her a soft order. “Ava, don’t move. Stay right where you are.”

As expected, she didn’t listen to a damn thing he said, choosing to sit up in her seat instead. Great, that’s all he needed: a hysterical woman. He hoped she didn’t scream.

“Gabe,” she said in a careful tone, like she was trying to talk him down from a ledge. “Put the gun down. You’re going to make him mad.”