The MotorCity Storytellers

I’ve come to the conclusion that most writers – heck most artists – are slightly insane. I mean that in the clinical sense as well as the figurative sense. One of my frequent lines is that I wish I’d realized I was artistic back in high school so I could have enjoyed my angst more. Ha!

Writing is a solitary profession – unless you write with a partner, and then it’s still solitary for the greater part. And when you get a group of sensitive people in a solitary, creative profession that exposes them to all sorts of criticism and review… not to mention the family members who sneer and call what we write porn (hey, I’m all for porn, LOVE it, but it’s NOT what I write)… Well, is it any surprise so many of us are medicated? lol

So, the thing I’m most thankful for this week is my writing group. The MotorCity Storytellers came into being because I met the amazing Isabelle Drake at the 2009 RomantiCon, and we started talking about how the local writing groups we’d visited just weren’t a good fit for us. I said something like, yeah we should start our own (an idea that Tawny Taylor had long been promoting). Isabelle said something like, that would be so cool! Count me in if you do.

I was totally dumbfounded. I mean, Sierra and Tawny would sorta have to come – they’re my friends! But here’s this whole other person, a stranger, willing to hang out with me, too! (Okay, I’m making it all about me. Very likely Isabelle was coming to hang out with Tawny, whom she already knew. I’d like to think it was for me, though.)

That was the seed that became MotorCity Storytellers. We’ve got seven regular members – some of whom come over an hour each way! – and a couple of new faces we’re trying to lure into the fold. I cannot express how important this group has become to me. They’re an incredible resource for all things publishing, but more than that they’re a support system. When I was… injured… at work, no mama bear could have been more fierce than my writing sisters. When my mom began failing so rapidly, I didn’t have to go looking for hugs – man, Rosemary Gun gives excellent hugs, and has a great shoulder for crying on. I know I can turn to any one of these women and they’ll have my back and do whatever is in their power to help me out.

So my favorite thing this week, and many others, is the MotorCity Storytellers! Long may we write!

Much love to:

Sierra Summers


Tawny Taylor


Isabelle Drake


Stephani Hecht


Ava March/Evangeline Collins


Rosemary Gunn

and our newest member, the fabulous Bonnie Dee

Bad Reviews and Burning Bridges…

I was referred to the following link on several of my writing loops this morning, in addition to the one twitter I occasionally check on.

Books & Pals

Oh, Dear.

I have to agree, this was funny. At first. Ms. Howett’s responses were so ridiculous that I found myself believing they must be a publicity stunt.

Then people got vicious. An argument could be made that Ms. Howett “started it”. Her comments were certainly unprofessional and inflammatory. And yes, there was definitely a certain amount of entertainment value. At first.

My concern, though, is the never-ending bullying thread that followed. Congratulations to Al for not feeling the need to participate. That showed a level of professionalism that we could all take a lesson from.

It’s “fun” to vent. And it’s easy to pick a common enemy and, as one commenter on the blog said, “dog pile” on them. The problem is, as another commenter noted, we are then lowering ourselves to their level.

Clearly Ms. Howett needs some remedial writing, or the services of a good free-lance editor if she plans to self publish. She will also most likely need a pen name that is in no way associated with her current professional name. But clearly the rest of us need to remember that bullying isn’t reserved for children, and if we want our kids to learn better, we have to DO better.

Will I read her books? Probably not. I most likely wouldn’t have on the strength of her writing, but I definitely won’t spend my money – my scant amount of money – supporting an author who is clearly not grateful for it.

I thank God every minute of every day for my readers, editors and reviewers. ESPECIALLY the ones brave enough to point out my weaknesses and give me the tools to improve.

‘Nuff said.  Heck, MORE than enough said!

Sadly, this isn’t the first over-the-top response I’ve seen to a negative, or even indifferent review. It’s just the most explosive. I’m thinking of one author in particular, who sent a scathing email to a reviewer who’d given his book 4.5 stars (or whatever), written a glowing review with maybe one suggestion to improve. He was livid. And vocal. (To this day I’m not sure what his gripe was – it was a good review…) And for a good year no one at the review site would touch his books.  This particular author, on another loop, also called me a homophobic bigot (??? Has he READ what I write???).  The thing that he did which was smart, though, is he kept it contained to private loops.

Will I buy his books? Um. No. Will I recommend them to others? Most likely not. Will I feel compelled to smear his name all over creation? No, not really. I don’t feel the need to lower myself to that level, and I’d like to think I’m not that vindictive. (Which isn’t to say I didn’t bitch long and loud to my close friends when he called me names. But I confined it to my friends.)

As for us (Sierra and I), the very first review for our very first book, Carrie’s Answer, was brutal. Mrs. Giggles hated the story, hated Marcus, loathed his best friend (and 3rd in the ménage) and thought Carrie was a wuss. Interestingly, it’s been pretty much our most successful book to date. Happily, Sierra and I took a deep breath (in my case it took a few minutes, as I was sobbing hysterically, lol), and then we really, critically looked at the review to see if there was merit in any of her criticisms. And maybe in one or two cases there were… What we did NOT do is attack her for not loving our baby and thus alienate her forever. Which was a good thing, because our third book (featuring that best friend she’d so loathed) she gave a 98!

*An exciting note here – While The Worthington Group is no longer available from Liquid Silver Books, look for its new incarnation as “Corporate Affairs” coming soon from Ellora’s Cave. Carrie’s getting a MAJOR overhaul – which it needed, and we are crazy proud of the suggestions our editor made. Yes, that’s right, our editor made suggestions to improve the work. And they were spot on. What a concept! lol *

Burning bridges is never wise.

*Another note – this was an awful lot of words without any eye-candy. Let me remedy that here:

I’ve got a theme here, cuz Sierra’s taking me to see 30 Seconds to Mars next month so I can drool over Jared Leto in person!

It’s Monday, and that means….

That’s right! Monday means yummy, scantily clad boys! This particular boy kinda reminds me of Kefir, the Feline Lord from the next Merab book, Nuriel’s Cougar.  Sierra’s on deck with the opening scenes, but I’m really looking forward to starting my portion of the story – which is HUGE considering the writer’s block I’ve been dealing with since… well it feels like forever, but it’s actually just since last August when the mama drama started.

Anyway, Kefir’s a naughty boy, a little reckless, a lot carefree, but he’s got a little edge to him, too. I’m liking him a lot.

This one reminds me a little bit of Kefir, too… Gotta love partially clothed, pretty men in the sunset!



Likker: Cures All Life’s Ills

It would be easy for today to become a continuation of yesterday’s whine. I’m still tired. I’m still depressed – maybe even more so. All the shit that was piling up, continues to pile up with no end in sight. So as I was whining to my very good friend and occasional muse (who also happens to be the lady who digs her bony little elbows into my back and makes me cry), she recommended very intensive therapy. First, according to Miss Mia, who has never yet steered me wrong (as evidenced by the fact that putting honey on a burn really does make it heal faster), I should dump a box of baking soda into a warm bath, submerge myself, and soak for like twenty minutes.

During this time my job is to think about all the things tormenting me, examine them, and then just let them go. I should, she says, be prepared for a major cry.Of course, I don’t have that kind of time, so I asked her for a Plan B.

Plan B: Get likkered up.  Seriously. I reminded her that I’m not much of a drinker – don’t generally care for the taste, etc. So, my amazing Mia recommended either Chocolate Wine (hmmmm….), or Tequila Rose.  Served over crushed or shaved ice, she says, it’s rather like a high octane strawberry shake.   So, enterprising little researcher that I am, I went looking for more info.

Hmm. Strawberry Creme Liqueur. Yum. And check out the drinks to be made with Tequila Rose:

Creamy Pussy (um, but I like, um, cock)
Pink Russian (Mikhail Baryshnikov?)
Beauty and the Beast (this sounds promising)
Pearl Necklace (you know you’ve been writing “porn” too long when you see “pearl necklace” and think “anal beads”)
Buttery Nipple #4 (this must be a paranormal if there are THREE OTHER buttery nipples)
Alrighty Then! (Which is about what I say to the idea of FOUR buttery nipples!)
Thorny Mexican (Which is slightly better than “horny Mexican”)
Cherry Popper #2 (Again with duplicate body parts – you’ve got TWO??)
Hot Pink Pussy (Okay, OUCH)
China Girl (Two Words: David Bowie)

Bloody Pussy (No, seriously, OUCH)
Slapper (Which might explain the hot pink and blood…)
Dirty Condom (And, ewww)
Check out the following link for more fun with Tequila Rose:  Tequila Rose® strawberry cream liqueur information

I am tired.

There it is. This week’s Wednesday Whine. I am so fricking tired of being so fricking tired. The day job is more soul sucking then usual. The mama drama has moved to frightening and never-before reached levels. My kid is… being a kid. All in all, I just wish for four or five more hours in each day during which I could sleep. Of course, as a coworker pointed out, I probably wouldn’t sleep. No, I’d find six other things that just HAD to be done.

Amusingly, I have several other, well thought out and personally meaningful Wednesday Whine topics. I’m just too tired to write about any of them.

So I must console myself with extra mancandy. I deserve it, and so do you…

So, how come when THEY are all tired, it’s sexy? When I’M all tired it’s just smeared make-up and bags under my eyes. SO not fair!

It’s Monday Mancandy!

So, today Sierra and I did a guest blog at The Forbidden Bookshelf. Well, actually, the staff and owner of Club Velvet Ice did an interview that will be posted here.

In honor of Brady Ryder’s rare public appearance, I’m posting a PG rated picture I affectionately call “Brady, but not really”. Cuz, I ain’t yet managed to find a pic that fully expresses the wonder that is Brady Ryder! (I promise I’ll eventually get to the R and NC17 pics. Really.)

So, is he hot, or what?

I hope you’ll go check out the interview, and stay tuned for news on the next Scene From Velvet Ice, “Molten Velvet”, which is sent in and awaiting acceptance. It’s a m/m (my forte, thank you very much) and explores wax play and unrequited first love – or lust as the case may be.

Happy Monday!!

Oh Dear…

Only one week in and I’m missing posts! Well, I’ll try to hit two birds with one stone, and keep them both brief.

Wednesday Whine…

I work in a unionized job. I won’t argue whether this is a “good” thing or a “bad” thing (though I will mention that when my dad complained that unions were taking food off his table I replied that MY union was actually putting food ON his table as I buy the groceries – but that’s neither here nor there), because people tend to be married to their viewpoint and one of the quickest way to end a relationship is to argue politics.

What I will argue is the unfairness of lumping all unions together. Opponents of the unions will tell us that collective bargaining is all about money and benefits. Then they’ll point to the NFL player lockout. I would ask that you speak with a local firefighter or police officer and ask them what exactly their unions are bargaining for? More money? Or more people on the job, keeping each other and all of US safe? Speak to a teacher. Are they after big bank? Speaking for the teachers I know, they’re bargaining for smaller class sizes – like 30 kids instead of 40 – for materials, for support when they have more than eight or nine special needs kids in their classes. Do police officers, fire fighters and teachers care about salary and benefits? Of course. Who doesn’t? But the money these union workers are snatching out of the hands of non-union folks isn’t PRIMARILY for salaries and benefits. It’s for safe and tolerable working conditions. I’d ask the people who say unions have served their purposes and are no longer needed to look at the single mom working 40 hours a week at some fast food restaurant with no benefits and still not making enough to feed her kids. Unions are not fundamentally evil or unfair – no INSTITUTION can be fundamentally evil or unfair. And there are just as many non-union workers who make ridiculous amounts of money and have unreasonable benefits as there are union workers. And there are just as many union workers who are struggling and barely getting by as there are “regular folk” out there. Our economy isn’t a victim of the unions; it’s a victim of a flawed political system. How do we fix it? I don’t know. People much smarter than I have been trying and failing for years. What I do know is that turning on our fellow citizens does nothing but make a bad situation worse and divide our country, making it weaker with every acrimonious word.


That takes me to Thursday “Things”. So, I went to one of the Border’s stores that is going out of business and spent an obscene amount of money. But I got so much cool stuff!  For example, I got an awesome Great Gatsby t-shirt like this one:

I also found the coolest young adult take-off’s of classic stories. Romeo & Juliet manga. “Jane”, a retelling of Jane Eyre. I’ve always been a big fan of the bookstore – before Lent I favored Barnes & Noble ONLY because they have Starbucks instead of Seattle’s Best coffee shops – and I hate to see them suffering in the vile economy. I’m thrilled,though, with the haul I made. Over $300 worth of stuff for less than $150. So, support your local bookstore – get out there and BUY SOME BOOKS!

Monday Mancandy… and Black Gold

So, I promised Mancandy, and I shall deliver. This week’s flavor is on the mild side, and is dedicated to Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid, authors of the amazing Black Gold. As I read, I was inspired to go back and dig out my David Bowie’s greatest hits album, and listen to it while looking at this:

So, look at him.

Listen to this:

And read this:

Because it’s wicked good and scorching hot!

Have a great week!

Thursday things, with props to CupOPorn

So, although I’m not Catholic, it has always seemed a nice gesture to give something up for Lent. Sort of a “Thanks for the brutal beating and crucifixion and all, God.” And I’ve always tried to give up something I’ll miss – that’s the point, isn’t it? – but something I know I actually CAN give up.

One year I tried to give up coffee. Yeah. Not so successful.  By the tenth day the folks at the EDJ were literally BEGGING me to cave. Things came to a head when a very sweet young lady brought me a cup of McDonald’s coffee, complete with cream and splenda, and said “Stop the insanity.”

So this year, and for the last several years, I’ve given up Starbucks. This will likely not mean anything to you unless you are an addict at the same level as I am.  You see, Starbucks isn’t just a cup of coffee. It’s a cup of REALLY GOOD coffee. And, more importantly, it is the home of the quad venti peppermint mocha. In other words, it is the home of the nectar of the gods. I don’t have one every day – or even every other day. I try to keep it to twice a week. Not only are they wicked expensive (upwards of $6 here, $9!!!! in Vegas), but they have something like 900 calories.

But so very, very worth it.

I am now close to 40 hours Starbucks-free, and I expect that by tomorrow morning I’ll be starting to feel it.  In the mean time, I’ll be keeping Coffee Mate in business – they are now selling peppermint mocha creamer year round!!!

So I hope you all will join me in a cup of creamy, minty, caffeinated goodness as we reflect on the blessings we all have.Nestle's gift to us all.

Wednesday Whine…

So, like many authors I have an “EDJ” – an Evil Day Job. Mine is particularly soul-sucking, as I deal with young adults who are by turns infuriating, frightening and heartbreaking.  I try so hard not to take it to heart – that way lies madness – but it’s incredibly difficult not to take personally a sixteen year old “woman” looming over you calling you a LITTLE BITCH.  Of course I AM little. And I AM a bitch. But she doesn’t get to say so.

This sort of thing makes it hard to write. I know this sort of drama spurs some authors to writing like demons. Sierra is one of those stress-writers. I can’t keep up with her on a good day, let alone when she’s dealing with extra crap. It’s the exact opposite for me.  I get stressed and upset, and my creativity dries up like it never existed. All my energy drains out through my toes, and all I can do is sleep. Which sucks on many levels.

So I’ve decided I need to win the lottery. Or something. So I can quit the EDJ and get on with my life – the life of a writer, dammit!