23 December 2009


This week I'm going to admit to laziness and I'm going to copy verbatim a post I read by Meljean Brook. This is such an issue in romance that I thought the palgerism was worth it.

Meljean says:

In the past couple of weeks, I saw yet again another claim that romance novels were nothing but chick porn. I have to admit, the opinion of non-romance readers doesn’t really bother me that much. What does bother me, however, is that I always get the sense that these “chick porn” people think that women are too dumb to know what real porn is.

You know porn when you see it, right? And I’m telling you, I have seen porn. And I wish that one of these “it’s just chick porn” people would have told me five years ago when I got my first contract with Berkley that all that I needed to do was create porn, so I wouldn’t have bothered with all those fricking wasted years of writing and editing and revising and writing and tearing my hair out. For god’s sake, I’d have just taken some pictures.

Like these.
(I’m putting them under the cut because these images are NSFW.)
NO, SRSLY. Make sure you want to click before you do.


Okay, this is your last chance.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


I can’t believe I’m posting this.

Real Romance Novel Porn by Meljean Brook

Oh, yeah! She's reaching in and touching herself. This must be a really, really good part!

He's going DOWN on that page! That book is so hot!

She's taking it hard from that big, thick book! He's got almost all of his 439 pages in there!
Ooooooh, looks like girly needed a rest! But these two hot specimens of man-titty never run out of steam!

Oooooh, she's getting bookended! She can't get enough!

Mmmmm, she's going to be feeling that tomorrow!
So, yeah. No difference at all, right? ....
Thanks Mejean :)
PS: more pics at Oddshots.
This is my last post for the year - So, Merry Christmas & a Happy New year ot you all !!!!! :)

15 December 2009

Yoga positions for the intoxicated

One of my friends, who knows I enjoy yoga (not that I get round to it as often as I would like), sent me some pictures I decided to share. Yoga positions for the intoxicated - clearly not the advised technique.

Music: LCD Sound System
Currently reading: 'A Madness of Angels: Or The Resurrection of Matthew Swift' by Kate Griffin.
Blurb: Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home. Except that it's no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable...despite his body never being found. He doesn't have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer, and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

I'm not sure what I expected when I started this book but it wasn't what I got. This is an good story, with interesting magic, and well a thought out protagonist. The writing however, is part of the fascination, it took me a few pages to get into the style then I couldn't put it down. This book's uniqueness lies not so much with the story, but the way it is told.

08 December 2009

Black Roses of the Wild Rose Press

I'm blogging today over at Black Roses of the Wild Rose Press on finding time to write and great Christmas traditions. Come on over and join me :)

02 December 2009


I was watching a sketch on advertising and it hit rather close to home. The way advertisers target men and women to get them to buy their products can be very different. For women they play on our insecurities, and for men they play on reward yourself because you deserved it. Although not all adds work this way (more adds, for instance, are starting to play on men's insecurities) enough do that you can see the trend. Think about the Lynx adds (wear our deodorant and get laid), compared an add for woman's deodorant (wear our product because otherwise everyone will see those nasty white marks on your clothes and you'll know you've failed as a human being).

from 'Mitchell & Webb' :

Music: Beck
Currently reading: 'The Gold Falcon' by Katharine Kerr

25 November 2009

Romance covers

I was having a chuckle at some romance covers the other day and thought it might be fun to post a few. I know we've all laughed at some of the old-fashioned bodice ripper covers, but modern covers can be just as embarrassing to be seen with in public. We all know authors have almost zero input into their covers so I hope by putting up some recent covers I don't jinx myself - I will add that I like my first cover.

These covers come from a competition that's run every year and I've added comments from the voters :)

2000: - ...This is the most attractive man in an extremely buff SEAL team of extremely attractive men?
- ...choices of colors used on the cover... ack. Big Ugly
-...while the line is Tall, Dark and Dangerous, the cover shows Short, Chubby and Goofy.
[NB - from LD: like most of Brockmann's books this good is a good read, definitely not one to judge by it's cover]

2002: - is the heroine was really doing what we think she's doing?
-surely someone in the art department noticed that the hero was getting a hand job. What really makes the matter worse is the hero's bored expression.

2002: - for most voters one word said it all: zombie. Many, many voters compared him to a cast member from Night of the Living Dead, and no one seemed too surprised that he was "solitary."
-how can he be a sexy hero if he's a zombie after your braaaains?

2004: LD - Okay we don't need voters for this one I can cover it. what the heck are they doing and how?
other comments:
-Nancy: "Ummm..what are they doing? I mean really, is it what it looks like? He's either doing her a favor, or she's just killed him and is trying to drag him into the backseat so she can hide the body."
-Michelle: It's simply a grab bag of images pasted onto the page. Here a torso, here a leg, there a hand ... Very uncomfortable and the car door looks uncomfortably like a shot gun in the male back.
-Shelly: "I'm completely confused about what it's showing. They're in a car right? Are those the heroine's legs going through the roof? Or is he with a guy? Because that hand on his waist looks masculine to me. I guess it could be a MxMxF threesome in a backseat. And a paranormal one at that, if the lightning shooting out of his butt is any indication. Plus the scene out the window makes it look like they're floating through space - I hope the windows have good seals. Sheesh. So the cover tells me this is about a ménage a trois in a spaceship designed by aliens with Earth auto fetishes, in which the lightning propelled buttocks of one man thrust him with such vigor into the woman she kicks a hole in the ceiling, causing an air leak into space that they must figure out how to stop before they die. Let's hope that other guy is MacGyver. Did I get it right?"

2005: - Wasn’t this guy the cyborg in the 2nd Terminator movie? Too weird. And his legs look like toothpicks.
- He looks like one of those cheap rubber "action" figures that aren't flexible enough to move the arms and legs.
- “Eww! Half man, half ... ALIEN? Plus, he looks constipated. And could the colors be any weirder??

2006: - ...Where, I ask you, is her other leg?
- I think when they're done, they'll need skin patches and a chiropractor! Looks like a painful interlude to me..
- why would you be rock climbing with no shoes? In a evening dress! And I'm sure it was no easy trip on him either with no shirt. I guess it doesn't matter since the tsunami is going to kill them both.

2008: - the flames and lightning bolts shooting out of his pants are disconcerting & the way the model is staring at his crotch in surprise is not reassuring.
- ...I saw on the Weather Channel that crotch lightning is the most dangerous type of lightning there is.
- ..Nothing says romance like a guy being electrocuted. Look, it’s even blown his fly open! Perhaps the stunned look on his face means he’s realized his crotch is on fire.

2009: LD - I'm thinking of making this my nomination :)
A flaming car coming out of the guy's crotch, isn't that going to hurt?

Want to add some other cringe worthy examples? Feel free to post them in the comments. Or you can be involved, 2009 nominations in progress (best & worst).

Music: Miles Davis
Currently reading: 'A Time of Omens' by Katharine Kerr.
The 15th and last book in her Deverry series is now out (and my Christmas present - yay me) so I'm re-reading the entire series. These early books are going pretty fast because I've read them so often. This is one of my all time favorite fantasy series. It's long but it's worth it - and now she's finished you know exactly how many books there are (and that she's not going to do a Robert Jordan and die before it's finished).

19 November 2009

Market Forces

Oops - I just realized I hadn't done my blog post for the week, and the week is almost over.

I thought I would share a little video with you this week. I was watching old episodes of "A bit of Fry & Laurie" last night - as you do. It's been quite a few years since we last pulled out the DVD but this particular sketch delighted me all over again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

There's a couple of little snap shots then it starts about 21 seconds in - quality isn't wonderful but humor is.

PS: those of you who enjoy "House" might enjoy this glance into the past of Hugh Laurie.

Music: Chris Isaak
Currently reading: "The High Lord" by Trudi Canavan
This is the third book in the wonderful 'Black Magician Trilogy' trilogy. I finished reading 'The Magician's Apprentice' a prequel to the trilogy (set several centuries earlier) and had to drag out the trilogy for a re-read afterwards. I highly recommend this if you're interested in fantasy but aren't looking for High-fantasy (elves, dwarves etc...), these books are more about people, politics and relationships.

11 November 2009

Pretty pictures: how small can you go?

Last week was a really word heavy post, so I thought this week I would make it visually fantastic. Check some some shots from 35 years of the world's best microscope photography:

2009: Florescent actin protein filaments

2009: part of flowering plant

2006: mouse colon

2004: quantum dot nanocrystals deposited on a silicone substrate

2003: filamentous actin and microtubules

1996: doxorubin in methanol & dimethylbenzenesulfonic acid

1987: crystals of influenza virus neuraminidase isolated from terns

1985: formalin-fixed whole mount of a spiral nematode

1981: collapsed bubbles from an annealed experimental electronic sealing glass

1978: gold, vaporised in a tungsten boat, in a vacuum evaporator

Some very cool pictures. What I find fun is my brain trying to put some meaning and order into the image before I know what it is (and sometimes even afterwards). It's like entering another, weird and wonderful world.

Music: Tiki Taane
Currently reading: 'Blaze of Memory' by Nalini Singh

09 November 2009


I'm blogging over at the Black Roses of the Wild Rose Press Blog.
Talking about plotting and the difference between plotters and pantsers, feel free to come over and join me :)

04 November 2009

Christain Romances

I was browsing the Harlequin website (as you do) and came across the guidelines for writing a Christian romance. Once I had stopped laughing, all I could think was – I’m so totally glad I’ve no interest in writing for Steeple Hill.

I can’t imagine writing a romance and avoiding all of the following (what’s left?).
Direct from the website:

Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel:
Breast (except for breast cancer if necessary)
Buttocks or butt (alternatively, you can say derriere or backside)
Damn (try "blast" instead)
Devil (except in the religious sense, but the circumstances would be rare)
Dang or Dagnabbit
Father (when used to describe a religious official)
For heaven's sake (can use "for goodness' sake" instead)
For the love of Mike
For Pete's sake
Geez/jeez (but "sheesh" is acceptable)
Heat (when used to describe kisses)
Hell (except in the religious sense, but this would be rare)
Holy cow
Need/hunger (when used to describe non-food-focused state of being)
Sexual attraction
Tempting (as applied to the opposite sex)
St. [name of saint]
Swear, as in "I swear..." - Christian characters are not supposed to swear.
Undergarments - of any kind

The following are allowed only in the context mentioned:
Angel - only when used in a Biblical context
Miracle - only when used in a Biblical context
Oh my God/Oh, God - ONLY allowed when it's clearly part of a prayer
Heavenly - only when used in a Biblical context
Although you can say “He cursed” or mention cursing, do not overuse. Furthermore, only non-Christian characters can curse.

Situations to be avoided:
Kissing below the neck
Visible signs or discussions of arousal or sexual attraction or being out of control
Double entendre
Nudity - people changing clothes "on screen" or any character clad only in a towel
Hero and heroine sleeping in the same house without a third party, even if they're not sleeping together or in the same room
Also, Christian characters should not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (except in historical novels they may dance but please limit to square dances and balls, no “sexy” dancing like waltzing cheek to cheek), and terms associated with these activities should only be used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such.
Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don't want to sound quaint or absurd.

Good lord, you’re right that’s the last thing we’d want “to sound quaint or absurd”.

I will say though, they have made a few good calls. Unless the story includes a two year old the following should never been see in a romance (or any really book, unless for the pure stupid humour value): Dagnabbit, Doody, poop, & pee (does this leave room for pee-pee?).

Okay, I can understand that the goal to living as a good Christian is to avoid the bad things like swearing and drinking to excess, but on what planet do no Christians ever do these things; smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (dance – what century are we in – the waltz was no longer scandalous in the 1800s. The Prince Regent himself blessed the waltz in 1816, and by the end of Victoria's reign, waltzing had become the dance of choice at many a private ball and public assembly). And how can you be redeemed if you’ve never slipped even once?
It feels like they are sucking all the fun out of life (I notice sucking is still allowed ;) ). If I’m going to read something with such a huge disconnect from reality I’m going to stick to paranormals & fantasy.

The other thing that got to me: Why can't a religious official be referred to as Father? And you can’t even mention priests? I understand we don't want anyone to say "Crap!" (I notice they left out the F-bomb), but what do characters do when a priest walks by? Do Catholics, Anglicans, or Episcopalians not exist in Steeple Hill? I’m sorry but I’m starting to get the heebie-jeebies about the level of fundamentalism involved here.

Harlequin do add that because Steeple Hill sells to both CBA and ABA bookstores, they must adhere to CBA conventions - that's the Christian booksellers association.

All that said, my curiosity is aroused (oh wait, can’t use that word)… I’m intrigued, I might have to read one just to see how they do it. My admiration goes out to the writers who actually manage to write a good romance sticking to these guidelines.

Music: Airborne
Currently reading: ‘Ultimate Weapon’ by Shannon McKenna

27 October 2009

Crazy hair

Yay for long weekends, as far as my brain is concerned today is Monday.

As those of you who know me are no doubt aware, when it come to dealing with my hair I'm a brush-and-go kinda lass -- I don't even own a hairdryer. My hairdresser looked at me like I was a freak from another planter when she discovered that -- it's not my fault it broke after I defrosted part of the freezer with it (patience is not my middle name) and I wisely decided I didn't want sparks near my hair (I might not fuss much with my hair, but I don't want it burnt to nothing).
So, when I saw these pictures I simply had to post them - my goodness the time involved, and getting your hair to look normal again afterwards!

And since I putting up pictures that completely twist my brain...Music: Daft Punk
Currently reading: 'Dead Beat' by Jim Butcher

19 October 2009

Award ceremonies

Uber frustration - no internet all day! Nada, nothing, zip. Fie on you Mr. internet for thwarting my will.

Suffice to to say my internet provider will not be winning any awards - if there are awards to for that sort of thing, which there probably are. There seem to be awards in almost every industry, even New Zealand building contractors have an awards ceremony. This year the awards looked at projects from million dollar bridges to removing a pedigree cow stuck in a boggy ravine. There's even an "Oh Sh*t award", based on people submitting pictures of embarrassing moments in contracting, such as diggers stuck in rivers and tipped rollers. The Oscars it's not :)

And I'm not sure if there's an award to this either, but there should be. The Italian state police have received a customized Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, capable of 325 km/h. I'm betting police around the world are green (or should that be blue) with envy.

And if you're after a bit of buff, Ancient Greek male body, tough and toned - check this out.

Okay, I may have outright lied about body, but the song cracked me up :)

Music: The Chemical Brothers
Currently reading: 'Hunter's Prayer' by Lilith Saintcrow

15 October 2009

Actual Vampire Killing Kit

As someone whose first book includes vampires I simply had to post this:
A genuine, antique, vampire killing kit. (It's a legitimate antique being offered at auction by Steven Auctions in Mississippi).
Lot #1553 (description): Rosewood case with mother of pearl cross inlay, pistol, silver bullets in coffin case, Holy water vials, cleaver, prayer book, looking glass & silver occult daggerI think we can all take this as a warning. If there are genuine vampire killing kits, then logic says there must be genuine vampires out there to kill :)

Music: The Clash
Currently reading: 'Night shift' by Lilith Saintcrow

13 October 2009

Mapping sin

In my wanderings around the web I came across this: American Vice: Mapping the seven deadly sins. It so intrigued me, I had to share it with you.

They say - "We're gluttons for infographics, and a team at Kansas State just served up a feast: maps of sin created by plotting per-capita stats on things like theft (envy) and STDs (lust). Christian clergy, likely noting the Bible Belt's status as Wrath Central, question the "science." Valid point—or maybe it's just the pride talking."

As a romance writer I thought I would post the 'lust' map. Number of STD cases reported per capita.
On a side note: Writing my last post reminded me about Hopscotch by Rebbecca York, a book I'd forgotten I had till thinking about spies. I couldn't remember reading anything else of hers so I popped out to the library and grabbed a few others. Very pleasant, light Intrigue reads.

music: Chris Isaak
Currently reading: 'The Final Sacrifice' by Patricia Bray
Last book in the trilogy, and it's a re-read so the series gets a thumbs up from me.

06 October 2009


Spies make great novel fodder, mysterious men and women who take us on exciting journeys.

Growing up I loved reading about 'The Saint'. Leslie Charteris may have written his stories in the 1920s & '30s but they're timeless (the movies didn't do the books justice IMO). So when I came across this I couldn't resist: SIS operational officer test for MI6. I got 8/8 and an apply now link - all my reading must have paid off, and of course as a writer I have to know how to keep a story straight in my head. Just a fun little test, not to be taken too seriously :)

Two most Spy-type novel in my collection:
Luck in the Shadows - Lynn Flewelling
When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them.
I read and re-read this one and its sequels :)

And Paranoia by Joseph Finder
Corporate espionage a go-go. Corporate Security give Adam Cassidy a choice: prison, or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor.

Plus a few romantic suspense authors that have that same element of danger:
Iris Johnsen, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, & this one that I read years ago and have never been able to throw out: Hopscotch by Rebecca York

Feel free to share your favourite spy stories (books or movies)?

Music: The Pet Shop Boys
Currently reading: 'Nylon Angel' by Marianne de Pierres
This is only my second foray into cyberpunk and so far it's great fun. I'm not sure I'm 100% convinced on the sub-genre, but I do have the second book in this series lined up :)

30 September 2009

Lookalike covers

We were on a bit of a covers junket before I went away, my cover, then different covers for the same book. Next I thought I would look at the flip side of different-covers-same-book, here we have same-covers-different-books (okay, not the same but very similar).

With the popularity of Twilight I decided to start here.

Some effort here to change what is clearly the same photo.

Identical photo.

Again some effort made to change original photo.

Same photo, second one zoomed out further.

Here's a three-for-one deal.

And a four-for-one. This one intrigued me because one of these is the New Testament of the Bible (guess which one).

Finish on this one because it amused me. The second picture is not actually a book cover, it's an add for cold sore cream.

If you know of any classic lookalike cover feel free to share :)

Music: St. Germain
Currently reading: 'Loving a Lost Lord' by Mary Jo Putney