Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Meg and Cat, I will get you back for this.

Meg Allison and Cat Marsters *both* tagged me for this 8 Random Things meme. Darn them. I'll get you, my pretties, and your little dogs, too. All right, here goes...

Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 random facts/habits about me …

1. I am very interested in female empowerment. This is one of those reasons I'm not a fan of porn--it's far too degrading to women. Even if the particular female stars choose that career, the "storylines" are awful. (Which is why that whole "getting caught with the porn in the trunk" thing was so embarrassing, yet hilarious--it's so not me!) It's also why you won't see links to porn (although many erotic romance authors do have these links) or find pornographic images anywhere on any site I make.

2. Along the same lines, I think women should take charge of their sexual destinies. This is one reason I love writing and reading erotic romances. These are female-centered stories of strong women who aren't afraid of their bodies and who go after what they want. Of course, this genre isn't for everyone, but then again, what is? Even in my mainstream paranormal (non-erotic) romances (The Guardians' League Series from Samhain), my female characters are strong and don't sit around crying and waiting for the Big Strong Man to come save them.

3. I think "gentlemen" are an endangered species. It's sad but true--rudeness is growing around the world. I like living in Texas, where it seems like there are more gentlemen in the mix... just wish it wasn't so hot here, LOL! I also liked Talk To The Hand by Lynn Truss. Funny book that falls into the "sad but true" category.

4. Despite strongly supporting many different charities and organizations, I am officially affiliated with none. People sometimes (not often, admittedly, but enough that I want to clarify this) ask me what charities I'm affiliated with. Because you can never control everyone in any charity or other group, I don't do official endorsements or affiliations. This is why you won't see any blurbs on my books saying things like, "A percentage of this book's sales will be donated to ___." The organizations I *unofficially* support are listed on my links page on my website, if anyone's curious, but I strongly urge people to research and choose for themselves.

5. This blog gets a lot of hits from religion-centered websites and blogs. Of course, everyone's welcome to come visit here--stay, read, have a good time!--I'm just really mystified how they find me since this doesn't seem like their cup of tea. On my old blog where I had the Google Ads, I also had tons of religious ads pop up, which is similarly mystifying because the Google Ads are supposed to put ads up that have to do with the content of the blog or website. One of these days, I'll have to invest in that Google search link thingie the SBTB ladies have that tells them the search string that popped up their website. I'm really curious.

6. I am horrible about keeping up with regular car maintenance. Yes, all the talk about female empowerment and here I go with the classic "chick" stereotype. *hangs head in shame* I'm especially bad with keeping my tires in good shape and properly inflated--something that bit me on the ass yesterday when I had a blowout, changed the tire to find that my spare was flat, and when I limped into the next town to fix the flat tire, found out that 2 of the other 3 tires had the steel belting showing through the treads.

7. I am very lucky. Mostly because I survived the above--the blowout didn't make me lose control of the car, I had the money for 3 new tires, and the nice gentleman who stopped to help me had an air compressor in his van and was able to reinflate my flat spare so I could get into town in the first place.

Of course, about 50 miles after I did all this tire stuff, I hit a goat going 70mph. (Er, my car was going 70, not the goat. If it had been going that fast, it could've dodged better.) So the luck thing might not really apply... yes, yesterday was Adventures In Driving day. Oy.

8. Despite being passionate about nature and the environment, I won't swim in the ocean. Ever. I hate swimming in the ocean and Will Not Do It--jellyfish somehow KNOW when I'm coming and they always attack me--but I love walking on the beach and hearing the waves rushing in and out. So very peaceful and beautiful--it's like listening to the Earth breathing. I might make an exception to the ocean thing if I had the chance to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, but other than that... nope, huh-uh, no way.

Whew! Made it through it... now, who to tag... *bwahahaha* How about I start with some of the authors I had the pleasure of meeting at RT last Friday?

Alexis Fleming (lovely and charming as always)
Bianca D'Arc (hilarious lady with fabulous jewelry--Send it Care Of Jesus, Bianca!)
Lyn Cash (who never fails to make me laugh so hard I'm in danger of shooting my drink out my nose)
Kate Rothwell (okay, she wasn't at RT, but she gave me such a hard time because I was going and she wasn't, I thought she deserved this. Enjoy, Kate. Hee hee.)
Sophie Green (what do you mean, she's a character, not a person? She's got a blog, it still counts!)
Nell Dixon (because her blog is even pinker than my website, and that deserves some punishment)
Judy Jarvie (a delightful lady whose book Taking The Leap is AWESOME)
Josh Lockwood (yes, a MAN who writes romance--gasp! And not only is he good at it, he's one of those endangered gentlemen, too. Amazing!)(Don't tell anyone I said nice things about you, Josh.)
And Jennie Adams (and don't whinge about it. Snerk.)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ooh, looky!

Sensual Reads & Reviews has nominated my short story, BEST LAID PLANS, for their June Book Of The Month! It's up for a vote, so if you have time, do a little clickity and show some love. Thanks, everyone!

(I can't figure out why the huge space before the voting box, but if I make it go away, the voting box doesn't work anymore... I guess we can just pretend there's a few pictures of gorgeous men there, right?)

Vote for June's Book of the Month
Slicker by Jade Rivers
Three Wishes: Best Laid Plans by Amelia Elias
Drinyian by Ann Cory
The Unforgiven: Nicholas by Tracy Ranson
The Unforgiven: Raphael by Tracy Ranson
Time Warp by Alessia Brio
Giving Chase by Lauren Dane
Alyssa's Choice by Trista Bane
Bound by Blood by TC Lotempio
See Results

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Interwebs have gone MAD, I tell you, MAD!

Some planet has to be in retrograde or something. The crazies are out in force and I've spent the day blog-hopping and shaking my head in a delightful "WTF?" fog. (I'm sure there were a couple other things I should've been doing, but hey--I'll blame the crazies!)

So, Tony Catanzaro, romance cover model, guy with rock-hard abs, just flipped his nut over at the Smart Bitches website. Is it just me, or are threats and wishes for bad fortune and death followed by, "But instead, I'll pray for you," in the top 10 of the most offensive things anyone can say? Why do people think that "I'll pray for you" is a free ticket to say the most vile, loathsome things? It's not. And this guy should be widely castigated for this.

Go check it out. The brand new 'People Being Stupid' tag is really getting a workout these last couple days...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Romantic Times responds...

... and makes me create a new blog post label called "People being stupid!"

This is the full, unchanged text of Carol Stacy's comment on Laura Baumbach's blog. Read it yourself, draw your own conclusions. I won't tell you what to think. I'll tell you what *I* think, though--this woman needs a few public relations courses. And she also needs to reread the results of the poll that RT ran asking readers if they'd like to read reviews of gay, lesbian, and alternate sexuality romances--60% said a strong YES, and only 18% said a strong NO.

With that being said... read her comment and make up your own mind.

For the Record...

I have tried to reach Laura several times today to discuss this and she has not returned my phone calls and probably won't.

For the Record (Promo Items at the RT Convention)...
Promotion Lane where Ms. Baumbach's promotional items were displayed was in fact in a "public space" and so RT had no say in what the hotel decided to do.

For the Record...
After the hotel took down the poster and removed the promotional items we (RT staff) returned the items to promotion lane in a different spot sans the poster. So we did support the author despite our responsibility to comply with the hotel.

For the Record (Regarding RT's Policy to not review m/m books in RT)...
Ms. Baumbach and I have been through this over and over and over again.

My decision to not review these books has nothing to do with being homophobic. Some of my best friends are gay and in fact several attend our convention and have been friends for years and I love them dearly.

My decision is based on my "print" readership and the fact that the majority of my "print readers" are not interested in m/m books at this time.

As I have explained to Ms. Baumbauch if that readership changes in the future so will my policy to review this type of fiction.

This is a space consideration AND a business decision. If you will forgive the analogy: one does not cover yoga in a NASCAR magazine if you get my drift.

It's that simple.

For the Record (Regarding Advertising)...
When the issue of Ms. Baumbach advertising and not getting a review of her book came up months before the convention we offered her a full refund for her convention fee and her participation at the faery Ball. She refused and said she was OK with our decision.

For the Record (Regarding the Book Fair)...
Ms. Baumbach was included in the Book Fair along with every other author. She was treated like every other author i.e. she was seated alphabetically with the "Bs" and we ordered her books for her to sign the same way we ordered every other small press and e-book author's books. I have no idea how many books she sold but "For the Record" she was included.

For the Record...
The Book Fair was in a "private space" (unlike Promotion Lane which was in a public space) so her poster and/promotional items were allowed.

For the Record...
No one sid the Hyatt does not welcome gays. The Hyatt was responding to their guests who objected to the poster who were passing by the poster because Promotion Lane was in a public space that was in the path of the way to the parking lot. Please don't skew the facts.

My Personal Comment...
What boggles my mind and I cannot understand is why Ms. Baumbach continues to spend her money with my magazine and our Booklovers Convention when we are stating in no uncertain terms that we do not believe that she is reaching her target audience. Why not avoid these conflicts and look to other magazines and or organizations to spend her money where she could sell more books and expand her readership. Why does she insist on advertising with RT and attending the convention?

Carol Stacy
Publisher of Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and organizer of the RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION.

4:15 PM

Homophobia at the Hyatt?

How's that for a headline guaranteed to grab attention? Good. You should be paying attention.

Last week, the Romantic Times Convention was held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown in Houston, Texas. For those who haven't heard of it, this is a huge event designed to put authors, publishers, fans, agents, editors, romance cover models, book lovers, book reviewers, romance-specific website owners, librarians, and romance aficionados of all sorts together for a week or so of fun, mingling, marketing, and networking. It's a blast for all involved--I took a train there to spend Friday just soaking up the atmosphere, since I couldn't attend the entire event.

It's also a major, huge, ginormous, important, *add other impressive adjective here to express mega enormity* marketing opportunity.

Authors spend months planning and procuring their promotional materials for the RT Convention. They spend hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars on them. They put together bookmarks, CD-Rs of book excerpts, posters, giveaway baskets, pens--you name it--all in the hopes of attracting new readers.

So, since one of the biggest reasons authors attend this convention is for promotion--in fact, the RT Convention website even states, "Enter to win dozens of prizes provided by authors and publishers and take home lots of FREE promotional materials including bookmarks, buttons, magnets and much more" which shows that the convention organizers fully recognize the importance of this aspect of the event--why would one author's tasteful promotional items be removed from "Promo Row" without notice?

Because she writes gay romances, apparently.

No, really. I'm not kidding.

Laura Baumbach has written award-winning gay romances which have attracted a strong fan following. Her promotional items featured this poster:

None of her other promotional items were risque in the slightest--and this poster, besides being hamana yummy and hot and, IMO, completely brilliant, was NOT the hottest offering on Promo Row. (I'd have to give that honor to the cover image of a naked woman on her knees in what I can only describe as "blow-job position" in front of a naked man.) The only indication that Laura Baumbach writes hot sexy man-love on most of her promotional items was the website address,

You should visit Laura Baumbach's blog because she tells the story way better than I could ever recount it. I especially like the "piss off" she got from the Hyatt's ***CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER***! Gee, wish I could've gotten away with that sort of "no, I don't want to deal with you, goodbye" dismissal when I worked customer service. Truly, nothing says "We care about our guests" than getting told to blow by the person in charge of dealing with complaints. Well done, Hyatt. Your commitment to service is evident has impressed me deeply.

(Not sarcasm--I can see exactly how committed they are to service, and I am deeply, and unfavorably, impressed.)

You've just got to wonder why this happened at all. It truly does seem like homophobia, until I look though the promo materials I chose from Promo Row on Friday. I have items from:

  1. Amber Quill Press--who publish gay romance.
  2. Aspen Mountain Press--who publish gay romance.
  3. Freya's Bower--who--you guessed it--publish gay romance.
  4. Author Island--a website which promotes, amongst others, authors of gay romance.
  5. J. J. Massa--who writes both straight and gay romances.
  6. Love You Divine Publishing--who publish gay romance.
  7. D. Musgrave--who writes lesbian erotica.
  8. Stephanie Burke--who writes gay romance.
  9. Plus many, many lovely items showing scantily clad men and women in suggestive poses.
And I hardly picked up anything, people. I'm already a fan of tons of the authors whose materials I passed by, and elected to leave on the table for others to pick up. (Plus there might've been more examples--my German Shepherd was attracted by the lavender-scented bath sachet stored in my bag that one author gave away, and she not only ate it, but demolished several bookmarks, a magnet, something that might've been an excerpt booklet, and one very shattered CD-R in the process. Darn dog. I was really looking forward to using that sachet, too.)

But back to the point--if this was a move against homosexual romance, why did they only remove Laura Baumbach's promo materials? That doesn't compute. If it was a move against suggestive images, again, why leave all these others, including the one of the woman giving a hum job? That makes no sense, either. This strikes me more as a move against her personally. Why? Did she spit in someone's coffee? Did she spill ink on someone's hair? Did she make the heinous mistake of wearing the same dress as someone else? Apparently the only ones who know, aren't talking.

Either way, it's going to be a cold day in Hell before I stay at the Hyatt again. Intolerance cannot be... er... tolerated... um, there's got to be a better way to phrase that, but you know what I mean. They don't give a crap that I'm mad, but they will notice when my money doesn't go their way. I'm waiting to hear Romantic Times's explanation, too, because I understand that when Laura Baumbach brought her complaint to them, they did jack shit. This convention is expensive, people. Authors go with a reasonable expectation of equal treatment and fairness. If they'd yanked Nora Roberts's bookmarks off that table, you can bet your fluffy tutu RT would've interceded. It's inexcusable that RT left Laura Baumbach to swing on her own.

Now go check out Laura Baumbach's books, buy a few, and enjoy some hot manlove. It's good stuff. I hope that getting a (rather ranty) spotlight here will help to replace some of the promotional time she lost due to the Hyatt's dumbass move. (That's also why the links with her full name, in case anyone's wondering why I never just say Laura!) She's a classy lady who handled the situation with calm logic and professionalism... too bad that Hyatt didn't do the same.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Call for help!

Can anyone tell me who does the background music on this awesome fan-made YouTube of Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series? I'd love artist, track name, and if you've got an album name too, that's bonus. There's a free ebook in it for you if you can help me out!