Category Archives: Hot Topic

My new indulgence

Now, you all know that I’ve been a die-never Firefly fan for a good number of years. But I must admit, I have a new love in the sci-fi TV department: KILLJOYS

To impart what a big deal this is, you’re talking to a person *points to self* who works ridiculous hours and doesn’t spend much time indulging in TV. So, that means it’s got to be worth my time.

Now, about this show — It’s got some similar elements to my old love, Firefly, but not so much that it’s a duplicate or even close to a copy of that beloved show. Yes, it has a strong female lead, fighters who are good with both hands and guns, and well-placed funny moments, but I believe that’s where the similarities end.

Let’s talk about the characters a bit, shall we?

The HBIC: Dutch

Hannah John-Kamen plays Dutch. She is the only Killjoy I’ve “met” whose bounty hunter (aka Reclamation Agent) license has no last name on it. She’s simply “Dutch”. The woman is kick-ass, literally. She’s beautiful, well spoken, has a firm grasp on things that others don’t expect her to, such as the nuances of politics. She’s loyal to her team, vulnerable in her own way, yet she has a shell of steel over her heart that makes you want to care for her even as you watch her take down three men that outweigh her by a good forty pounds each. Oh, and I totally want her purple leather jacket — I can’t help it! Her outfits and gear are to die for!

Dutch – Level 5 RAC Agent and all-around badass

The blurb on the Syfy site sums this character up pretty well. “A gorgeous, complicated and deadly flirt, Dutch is bold and fun loving on the surface. She has a unique gift for earning people’s trust and respect regardless of their class. But under her banter and protective flirtations, there is pain, maturity, and a deep solemnity. As close friends as she is with John when we first meet them, she has always withheld a part of herself, a history of which she is deeply ashamed…” ~~ Killjoys: Dutch on the Syfy Channel

As for books of mine, if I were to pair Dutch up with anyone, it would be Scharsi from the book, “Hide No More”. They are almost two peas in a pod — their histories are less than wonderful, their growing up years were full of heartache and pain, they both wield weapons like nobody’s business, and they are loyal to those they love. I think they would have been good friends.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Scharsi ~ Gen 8 Super Soldier.
Scharsi ~ Gen 8 Super Soldier.

Next time, we’ll talk about more awesome characters of @Killjoys:
~ Pree played by Thom Allison @thomallison
~ Fancy Lee played by Sean Baek @SeanBaekTO
~ Alivis Akari played by Morgan Kelly @Morgansam

Killjoys is telecast on the SyFy and Science channels. They’re currently filming for Season 2. After the Season 1 finale, this author can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

OMG, I’m a NYT Bestseller!

I am thrilled to announce that MASTERED, featuring my book, JUICY, has hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. Congratulations to my fellow authors.

It’s a goal I’ve been working toward for YEARS and I’m absolutely thrilled to share this news with you.

Thank you so much to everyone who purchased the boxed set. And to those who haven’t, get a copy. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mastered-Ten-Tales-Sensual-Surrender-ebook/dp/B00L1HYMSW

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mastered-opal-carew/1119730751?ean=9781928115014

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-masteredtentalesofsensualsurrender-1581509-166.html

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mastered-ten-tales-sensual/id887927200?mt=11

 

Yeah, I’m empowered!

Welcome to the Authors Against Bullying Blog Hop Day!

While this isn’t a thrilling or adventurous type of blog hop, it is no less important. If you have a kid (or if you were a kid) that had to deal with bullying, we are banding together to bring attention to this important issue.

After my post, PLEASE VISIT THE OTHER AUTHORS via the links at the bottom of this page.

First, let’s be honest – bullying isn’t going to go away. As long as you have idiots in the world and there is no impending gene pool cleansing, bullies will exist on the Earth. Our goal here is to talk about it.

Second, bullying should never be ignored. And I mean EVAH!

I remember being told I looked like a pitbull because I had dark skin and ‘black’ features. I was called nappy headed, ugly, skinny, black dog and more. I was told I would never be anything but a poor whore. Yeah, being black in American could really be fun *pffft*. Unfortunately, those names were thrown at me by other black students. At school. Every damn day.

It’s part of the reason why this song became my anthem (no, this song didn’t exist at the time, but my thoughts and sentiment were the same).

Anyway, I remember a girl named Sylvia stomped into my class in middle school and demanded that I go out into the hall to fight her and a group of five girls *yeah, like that was going to happen, right?*. The reason: One of the popular boys in school liked me. The end. The teacher sent those girls packing. Then she sent me to the principal’s office with an escort so I could go home early so they couldn’t have a chance to jump me after school.

Guess who met me at the principal’s office? I’ll give you three guesses, though you will only need one. Sylvia and another girl named Trina plus a whole new batch of cronies were waiting. The end result was that there was a group of almost ten girls that wanted to kick my ass for no other reason than I wasn’t in their clique.

But I had a tough mom. I could tell her anything. Not to mention she taught me to take care of myself and to fight if I needed to. My mom also came up to the school and let them know in no uncertain terms that she would applaud me and take me to Baskin Robins in reward for taking care of myself if the school couldn’t control those crazy bitches.

These days, schools are more likely to punish a kid who stands up for him or herself than they are to punish the bullies. I don’t understand it, honestly. So, parents need to really be aware of what’s happening. Ask your kids if they are having any issues at school and share your own experience with bullying. This way our children won’t feel embarrassed if they know we were once in their shoes. We also don’t want our kids to feel ashamed or weak if they’re scared. It’s normal to be afraid.

If a child doesn’t feel comfortable talking to a parent about being bullied, then guess what — that’s the parent’s fault. It’s tough talk, but no less true. So fix it. Make sure your kid feels that they can tell you anything. That, to me as a person who had to deal with being scared to go to school each day, was the most comforting thing ever.

And when my own kids were bullied, they knew they could come to me. They also knew that this mama bear would put up with no one messing with her cubs. Yes, I made trips up to the school. And yes, I had big sister wait for her little brother at the bus stop and she witnessed her 3rd grade brother getting pushed around by a 5th grader. We told the Vice Principal. Nothing was done. So when my daughter witnessed her brother get thrown to the ground so hard he smashed his face on the cement and broke his front teeth, dear darling daughter beat the crap out of that bully with her lunch box.

And both my kids got ice cream that day.

Now, many people would say, “Oh no. You should never fight. It doesn’t solve the problem.” And they’re right, to a point. But I can say that bully went on to mess with someone else’s kid rather than mine.

The end.

THE KICK-BUTT AUTHORS AGAINST BULLYING!

Ain’t no sunshine…


I remember an old song by Bill Whithers called, “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” I think that song is one of the saddest yet profound ever created. It shows how a man acknowledges that without his true love, he’s just a hot mess!

So this week’s Snippet Saturday theme…well, it kind of speaks for itself. Enjoy the Snippet and then visit the other Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom of the post.

Late one night after falling asleep in Bix and Carin’s living room, Shinju woke to find her friend sitting at the kitchen table staring down at the polished wood surface with a dazed look on her face, grinning. Shin lay on the couch watching for a moment, expecting Carin to simply snap out of whatever she was thinking about, get up and head to bed.

After about ten minutes, the woman hadn’t moved, but the smile was bigger and her skin appeared somewhat flushed. Was she ill? No, probably not. She certainly wouldn’t be showing that many teeth with such a happy expression if she didn’t feel well.

Shinju rose slowly, careful not to startle the other woman, and moved toward the breakfast area.

“Carin?” she called softly. No answer. “Carin, you all right?”

After a second or two, the good doctor blinked rapidly and swiveled her gaze toward Shinju, goofy display of teeth still in place.

Okaaay? This was weird.

A big contented sigh filled Carin’s chest, then came out a satisfied whoosh.

“Hey, Shin. What’s up?”

“Uh, I was going to ask you the same question.”

“Oh, nothing much. I was just talking to Bix.”

Huh? Talking to Bix? Shinju looked around but didn’t see or hear anyone. Not to mention Jon Bixler was a big-n-tall, dark-haired, distinctive-looking man. Definitely hard to miss.

“Carin, should I call Dr. Lyons or someone?”

“Girlfriend, I’m not sick. I was talking to my man.”

“But, uh…” Shinju said warily, still looking around the huge apartment. Maybe he was in the bathroom and they were speaking psychically? If that was the case then Kenoe must be back in their apartment waiting for her! She needed to go.

“Shin, are you telling me you haven’t talked to Kenoe since he left to go hunting?” Carin’s expression morphed from dreamy to incredulous.

“Of course, I have. He calls me on my cell every evening.”

“Cell?” Carin chuckled. Shinju didn’t see what was so damned funny. She was miserable without Kenoe’s presence, little more than a dim light in the corner of her mind rather than the vivid companion who accompanied her when he was close by.

“Shinju, I thought you and Kenoe had mated and bonded already?”

“What does that have to do with it?” She hadn’t meant to snap but this was a subject she so didn’t want to talk about right now. Not when uncharacteristic tears were so close to the surface at the thought of Kenoe in possible danger so far away. Before Kenoe had gone to hunt Dan the Mouse, she hadn’t mentioned completing the bond and he hadn’t asked. Could that be why he was barely a blip on her radar? She closed her eyes in regret at having avoided the subject of bonding.

“When a vampire mates, the couple shares a certain connection. Wait, Kenoe explained this part to you, right?”

“Yeah. We can speak when Kenoe is close by. But you said you were talking to Bix, who happens to be with Kenoe halfway around the world. That doesn’t seem to qualify as close by.”

“Duh.” Carin sighed. “Back to the point. When you find a bondmate and accept the bond, the connection is profound, much deeper than a mating. Bix and I are bondmates and I can talk to him as clearly as I’m talking to you no matter where he is. The only thing we’ve found that can keep us from communicating is a special neuron-inhibitor that acts as—”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! First off, it makes my eyeballs cross when you and Kenoe launch into the biotech stuff. And second, you mean that once you made a commitment to the bond you could talk to Bix anywhere?”

At Carin’s nod, a hole formed in Shinju’s stomach, turned into a lead ball and fell out the bottom. She’d been the one putting off the whole bond thing. And, patient as he was, Kenoe hadn’t pressed her about it. And what had been her reason for avoiding the whole magical business when she wanted nothing more than Kenoe anyway? There were plenty of grounds before. Now, she couldn’t think of a single one. What if something happened to him? She wouldn’t know where he was or what was going on. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

She went back to her cocoon on the couch and slipped into a fitful sleep filled with all kinds of gory possibilities involving Kenoe.

The next day, the members of the Council who planned to spend the rest of the summer there at the V.C.O.E. estate showed up in one fell swoop. Shinju found herself walking on eggshells except around Carin and Bix’s children. Everyone was cordial and welcoming, but she was still finding her place as part of this vast household.

As for the children, Alaina was a three-year-old “old lady”, a mini-brainiac version of her mother with her father’s dark good looks. The child was, in a word, sharp as a blade and had a real knack for talking her way out of trouble. What three-year-old had a vocabulary that included the word “peptides”? And little Russian Bixler was the fattest, happiest baby Shinju had ever met. He wasn’t much for sleeping when he should, but at barely a year old, the kid could put away steak and eggs for breakfast if Carin let him have it. Not to mention he was into everything, almost walking like a pro and had several teeth already. Must be the vampire genes.

Both of them were too cute for words and occasionally playing with them gave Shinju an outlet for her teaching skills and kept her mind off of other things, like missing a certain Hatsept.

If she let them, the events of the past months sent her into a tailspin funk. First, discovering the man of her dreams was a vampire, then her brother and his Second had dabbled with their own genes by doing business with a human that trafficked vampire drugs, then almost getting herself killed by sheer stubbornness, and seeing both herself and her brother brought back from the brink of death only to watch Kenoe waltz off to take down rogues as if he were going to a Sunday tea. Not to mention leaving her behind when she definitely had a dog in this fight.

Then there was going to bed alone at night in a suite of apartments bigger than her whole house in Japan. Sleeping alone was something she’d been doing since she was a toddler, but now it felt downright lonely and wrong without that damned debonair and dangerous white-haired vamp of hers. The man had been correct—they called to each other, spirit, soul and body.

At least Max’s secret didn’t have to be a secret any longer. Kenoe knew all about, and accepted, her family. As long as Max stayed clear of vampire criminals, he was safe from V.C.O.E. law enforcement.

However, there was one thing Shinju still hadn’t shared with Kenoe—her knowledge of the butt-kicking arts. She wasn’t deliberately hiding it, but somehow after all they’d recently been through, it just didn’t seem as important as it had before. Now, something else consumed her thoughts, something she absolutely must find a way to accomplish. And that something was number two on her list of things to do. Number one was jump Kenoe and keep him ensconced in their apartments for at least three days after he returned.

In the meantime, the daily occurrence of breakfast was something to look forward to with Carin, and Carin’s adopted mother, Alaana Serati, the Matriarch of Clan Serati. The history of vampires and their contributions to various societies and cultures down through the ages was quite interesting. Though learning that some of the people around her had been teenagers during the French and Indian Wars was a bit disconcerting. And the stories Ms. Alaana’s bodyguard and second bondmate, Jaidyn, told about the Musketeers? Forget about it!

Snippet Saturday Authors
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Leah Braemel
Eliza Gayle
Mandy M Roth
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane

When Bad Scenes Happen to Good People

As you all know I’ve been exploring the BDSM scene in my area and plan to write a themed romance around what I learn. So I attended another local Munch last week and first off, I was thrilled to learn that they all remembered me though I’d only attended once, and that was some time ago. A very, very nice group of folks.

After dinner the meeting/learning session began and boy, oh boy did I ever learn some stuff!

As you can tell by the topic, this was definitely one I’m glad I didn’t miss. The folks that shared their stories were brutally honest and while some of the tales were ridiculously funny, some were absolutely horrific. I guess the old addage that “shit happens when you play naked” is definitely true. So here goes:

Story #1: Fire Play
A sub was on a table ready to enjoy some fire play. Now, fire play is about the sensation of the warmth, not pain. Typically what happens is that alcohol is swathed over the skin to the point where it is almost evaporated so when flame is introduced the alcohol, NOT THE SKIN, flares and is then immediately extinguished by the Top with a simple pass of the hand. The tool of choice is a fire flogger.

In this particular case the bottom was being topped by someone that was not her Dom. The person asked permission, as is correct, and both the Dom and Sub agreed (NOTE: Being a Sub doesn’t mean you’re a slave…unless you want to be. We’ll get into roles next time). The Dom stepped away, as was appropriate (RULE: You do not interfere with a scene unless you’re in it. Why? Because the Dom or Domme’s attention needs to be on the bottom at all times. Distractions can be a very very bad thing) and the scene started.

The problems began when the substitute Domme began to play to the crowd instead of paying attention to the sub. That was mistake number one. The second mistake was when the Domme chose to use lighter fluid instead of alcohol. Major blunder! Not only did the fluid cease to flame as alcohol would have, but since the Domme was playing to the crowd it took her a moment to realize that her sub was ON FIRE! The result: Second degree burns up the sub’s back. Second result – the sub won’t play with that Domme ever again…and neither will half the local D/s community.

Bottom line: Dom, you should be watching your bottom’s headspace. Is it where you need it to be or not? Pay attention. If the headspace isn’t there, call the scene done. Subs, if the Top’s eyes aren’t on you, use your safe word and call the scene done.

Story #2: Spanking
Is this particular scene the couple was outside. They planned to use a specific kind of bench for their speanking scene and had set it up on a concrete slab, but while they went back to their car to grab some blankets to drape over the bench for the sub’s comfort someone stole the bench! Gah! So they decided to simply use a plain old wooden chair. Can we say equipment malfunction, boys and girls? The chair collapsed and the sub goes tumbling off the edge of the concrete slab. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the slab hadn’t been…on the side of a very steep hill. The Dom went to grab her to keep her from falling and they both ended up tumbling down the incline naked into a ditch complete with brambles and trees! Luckily no one was hurt and they laughed their butts off as they made their way back up the hill.

Bottom line: Try to make sure that your equipment is in good working order and well away from any potential harmful areas, like cliffs or inclines ;D But sometimes “oops” is unavoidable and you’ve just got to laugh it off.

In the next installment of When Bad Scenes Happen to Good People I’ll tell you about how one Dom didn’t realize that a certain activity gave his bottom panic attacks, as well as the importance of risk assessment, after care, follow up and damage control. There’s alot of responsibility for Dom’s, but subs have their responsibilities, too. For example, there should ALWAYS be an agreed upon safe word between the bottom and the top. Sub, if your Dom doesn’t feel you need one…find another Dom. The bottom should already know what to expect from the top as surprises in this particular genre of play aren’t always a good thing; the top should know how to watch for headspace. If you don’t know the rules, learn them together or you may want to hold off on playing…

Til next time!

TJ

RWA says NO to Harlequin

RWA – Romance Writers of America – has officially taken the stance to no longer recognize Harlequin as a publisher eligible to receive conference resources.

Holy crap, I must admit I never thought it would happen. Why? Because the RWA has been less than kind to the smaller presses by exhibiting a bit of ‘snooty-ism’ toward small press authors while brown nosing the big New York houses, such as Harlequin. It’s the main reason I happily let my RWA membership expire. My thought was, “Well, hell, if I’m not good enough to be recognized as a true pubbed author in your eyes, then why should I keep sending you my money?” Yes, I am a real author with real contracts and real royalties coming in. I’ve never paid anyone to publish a book, but have gone through the submission process just like the New Yorker’s. Yet being part of RWA was like trying to please the ever disapproving parent that was never going to recognize that you’d ‘made it’.

So why the fallout with Harlequin? Due to the powerhouse publisher’s launch of their self-publishing entity, Harlequin Horizons, a vanity press. Vanity presses require authors to pay to be published rather than the age-old (and wonderfully lovely model) of paying the author for their work via royalties and/or advances. And vanity presses are not recognized by the RWA.

Piggybacking on Ann Aguirre’s thorough post on the topic, here’s the skinny–>

ANN AGUIRRE’S BLOG POST Letter from RWA President

TJ

Books to Movies – Changing races

I’ve been talking to some friends of mine about what I would like to see if my book, Carinian’s Seeker-Vampire Council of Ethics Book 1, was made into a movie. The topic of race came up.

The Vampire Council of Ethics series is a multicultural series. And when I say multicultural, I mean REALLY. In fact, the whole series is a nice mix of folks from various backgrounds, races and just about everything. The main couple is of different races. The secondary cast is multi-racial, and even the bad guys get into the mix a bit. In the end, there’s Black, White, East Indian, Japanese, Native American, African, etc.

So here is the question that sent me to the blogs to get your advice:

If the books were made into a TV series or movie (like True Blood) would it matter to you if the main couple in Carinian’s Seeker (white male, black female) was switched around to black male, white female?

The thought from the film maker chicklet was that it is more socially acceptable to see a white female with a black male than the other way around and that swapping the races might attract a larger audience.

But that made me think of the recent Star Trek movie. I mean Spock and Uhura had a seriously hot thing going on. Now how many of us saw that coming? Not me! But did I think it was cool and that the characters made it work? Sure did!

Personally, I like movies that stick as close to the book as possible, but the other argument is that if the acting is done well, will people really care if the races were switched?

What do you think?

TJ

Copyright Infringement…by authors?

Yes, it’s a controversial subject and I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether I actually wanted to jump into this fray or not. So here goes…

I recently read a book by a fellow author and guess what? It was based on a book and movie called Howl’s Moving Castle. How do I know? Because it’s one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it a million times. So when I read this book and saw that from the beginning of the book through to the end was the plot and storyline of Howl’s I couldn’t believe it. While the names of the characters were different from the book and movie, the descriptions of the characters, their hair, dress, mannerisms and personalities were spot on to the characters in Howl’s Moving Castle.

Then the phone calls and e-mails started. Why? Because I’d recommended this author’s book to other folks (who happen to love anime, too) BEFORE I’d actually read the darn thing.

One of my reader friends was so outraged they even threatened to call the studio in Japan that created the movie, as well as contact the original author of the work. Now THAT put me in a less than welcome spot. What was I supposed to do?

Should I contact the publisher and let them know that one of their authors basically wrote a romance around someone else’s well-known work? Hmmm, not sure. What if the publisher decides I’m the troublemaker or simply claims that neither they nor the author was aware? Well, perhaps I should contact the author? Probably not – it’s not as if the author doesn’t know that the romance she wrote was based line-on-line and precept-on-precept on someone else’s work, right? Right.

So then where does that leave me? Frankly, I have no idea…