Monday, November 03, 2008

Guest Blogging With The Plot Monkeys

The Monkeys are Julie Leto, Leslie Kelly, Janelle Dennison and Carly Philips. They kindly invited us to blog this week as part of our promo for "Changing Hearts" which comes out this Friday.

I hope you will take a minute to stop by and say hello. Tante Kay is speaking her mind today! She's our Cajun traiteusse's godmother and mentor.

We are also blogging about "Changing Hearts" at Romerotica Writers.

AND we are participating in a huge bloggy carnival over at Bitten By Books! So come find us and say hello.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Time For The Raven Happy Hour Scavenger Hunt

Win one of 52 prizes! Click on the graphic to go to the contest homepage and good luck! You can win a tarot reading from Marilu Mann!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sapphire Tease Gets First Review

I personally think that this is the best romantica I have read this year. Read and recommend to your friends". WOW! The first review for Sapphire Tease is a great one. I am dancing on air! I hope you'll read the full thing. :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sapphire Tease Is Almost Here!


Coming next Wednesday, September 10 2008 from Ellora's Cave.

Ever have your clothes removed by a sexy man as punishment?

What if you were trying to steal from him and he is determined to teach you a heated intimate lesson you will never forget?

Cath Monroe learns just how much she can take from the man she mistakenly marks as an easy target. Kentaro Ramon introduces the lovely thief to more than his mastery of weapons in this arousing tale of a very erotic game of cat-and-mouse.

SAPPHIRE TEASE by Marilu Mann (excerpt rate R)

Ramón knelt in front of her, between her legs. He touched the plastic restraints holding her wrists to the arms of the chair. His hands were warm and slightly calloused. Not what she'd expected from an obscenely wealthy playboy. He slid his fingers over the restraints and over the skin of her wrist.

"Since you won't confirm that Brown sent you, maybe you'll tell me who you are?"

Cath shook her head again, more slowly this time. She couldn't take her eyes off him.

"What is your name?" As she shook her head, he slid his hands up to her elbows, kneading the skin there. His gaze went from her face to her breasts and back again. Her nipples were so hard they were almost painful. If her hands were free, she'd be pinching them, cupping her breasts and offering them up to his hot mouth and begging him to take them between his teeth.

"I didn't see any pockets in your shirt. I'm assuming you don't have any identification on you, just in case you get caught. From the way you came in here, I'm sure this isn't the first time you've attempted robbery." His hands were at her shoulders now. He kneaded the skin there too, leaning forward slightly so that his ribs were between her knees. "You're slender and muscular. You're nimble and you felt
confident enough to try to fight me. For a thief, you have remarkably soft skin."

"Look, you've still got your sword, why don't you just let me go? And it's not robbery. It's re-appropriation." She hated the breathlessness in her voice. She also didn't care for the fact that she wanted his hands on her. Now she wanted him to cup her breasts and squeeze, she wanted him to pinch her nipples, suck on them, and bite them. She wanted him to mark her, claim her.

"Not yet." As though he'd heard her, he slid his hands down until he covered her breasts. He squeezed slightly, his eyes on her face. Cath couldn't stop her quick inhalation of breath. He wasn't using enough force. She shuddered in sheer pleasure when he squeezed again, harder this time.

She almost protested when he moved his hands down to her waist, pulling the front of her shirt completely away from her body. "You're the most beautiful thief Brown has ever sent against me. What hold does he have on you to make you do this?"

"Let me go."

"Not just yet." He unbuttoned her pants and Cath started to struggle, raising her hips and twisting her body in the chair. Unfortunately, her struggling gave him the leverage he needed to yank her pants down off her hips. Only her widespread legs kept him from removing them. The fabric bit into her thighs as he leaned back to stare at her underwear and a wide smile split his face at the sight of the black lace thong.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm Too Busy!

I've got another release coming out September 10, y'all! I'm recycling a blog from Romerotica Writers. :) Enjoy! And don't forget to keep an eye out for Sapphire Tease next week. I'll share an excerpt in a few days.

Juggling Woman

I’m too busy…

All of us have said that at one time or another, right? I’m too busy to take on another project. I’m too busy doing this or that with the family to do something for myself. I’m too busy being everything to everyone. I’m too busy to write. Or am I?

If I’m totally honest, sometimes I use the excuse of “I’m too busy" to write. I say yes to those projects I know I shouldn’t out of guilt. I let other stuff get in my way. I need to do the laundry THEN I’ll write. I need to walk the dog THEN I’ll write (ok so that one’s important). I need to read this book THEN I’ll write. What do you let get in the way of the thing you love to do?

How do you balance your own need with your career? For writers, how do we find time to write among all the other things we have to do – the day job (for those of us still working at something other than our writing), the family, the pets, the bazillion responsibilities that come with being a member of the human race. Sometimes it’s a matter of saying no to others and sometimes it’s a matter of saying no to ourselves.

Once we identify what matters, then we can proceed. We can’t do only the thing we love. It really is a matter of balance, isn’t it? We prioritize, we MAKE time for things that are important to us. We make time for our friends, our family events, our writing and occasionally for some fun stuff. And if we are very lucky, sometimes the fun stuff intersects with those other things.

Even our characters have to prioritize, don’t they? In the case of Changing Times, the heroine is a doctor. To be more specific, she’s a physician in a busy ER. Carly doesn’t have time or the patience for foolishness. She’s a busy woman with a very level head. When confronted with a gorgeous injured man named Tony who tells her something unbelievable, Carly still has to prioritize. Does she have time to deal with this man who just might be insane? Can she possibly deny the attraction between them? What about when her life is put in danger by her association with him? What will her priority be then?

Well we certainly don’t have to prioritize our lives based on men who think they turn into large animals. We don’t have to worry about our partners friends kidnapping us and trying to kill us. Still prioritizing is mandatory for all of us. How do you decide what is a “Must Do Now" and a “Want To Do Now"? Where do you draw the line on choosing which takes importance over the other? It’s all a matter of juggling, right?

Juggling our time is something we all have to do. In order to make things easier, we often look for shortcuts – here’s one the heroine of Changing Times, Dr. Carly Chambers, has taken in the kitchen– I hope you enjoy it.

And let me know how you prioritize. I am always up for learning new ways to get my crazy life in hand.

Marilu Mann Tag Line

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How To Survive The Literacy Signing At Conference

1. Madelynne Ellis
2. Mardi Ballou
3. Kayla Perrin
4. Toni Blake
5. Christine Merrill
6. Jennifer Greene
7. Denny S. Bryce
8. Carolyn Jewel
9. Rochelle Alers
10. Shari Anton
11. Liz Carlyle
12. Gail Dayton
13. Sharon Sala
14. Melissa Schroeder
15. Cindy Dees
16. Jane Graves
17. Karen White
18. Donna MacMeans
19. Karen Hawkins
20. Kathleen O'Reilly

The above represents a random (thanks to The Randomizer) sampling of the over 500 authors who will be signing at the RWA 2008 Conference July 30th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. It's at the San Francisco Marriot located at 55 Fourth Street. It's THE place to be for book lovers. And it's for a good cause! The publishers donate the books, the authors donate their time, and RWA gives all the proceeds to ProLiteracy Worldwide.

To see the whole list, go here.

So that's a whole lotta books and even more people, chere! Whatcha gonna do? Are you going to be waiting in line with a plan or are you gonna be overwhelmed and miss out on your favorite writers?

Say it with me now. Ya gotta have a plan. And if you have a friend along, do it as a team!

  1. Print the list of authors.
    • Or, if you are green-conscious, drop the list into Excel and start sorting...

  2. Circle who you want to see.
    • Or highlight. If you are really Virgo coughanalcough about it, you can color-coordinate your authors and make all the erotica in pink and the paranormal in orange etc

  3. Make a short list.
    • You know how to make a short list, don't ya? You just put your lips together and ... well you know.

  4. Prioritize
    • (hugely popular like Nora and Suzanne and Teresa equal lines out the door)

  5. Divide and Conquer!
    • Split the list and split up if you have a partner in can each buy what the other wants

  6. Kiss your feet goodbye.
    • No really. Do not wear the cute-but-painful shoes to this. Go for comfort!

  7. See above regarding your wallet
    • Sorry! I have no helpful hints about this one. But hey! It is for charity, right?

  8. Try at least three authors
    • You don't know because they may be next year's darlings!

  9. Say hello to the person in front of you or behind you in line as you wait to check out with your treasures
    • You're going to be standing with them for quite some time (no matter how fast the VOLUNTEERS on those 10-keys are, it still takes a little time!).

  10. Take your camera
    • You never know what interesting things you'll see at the booksigning - remember Sherry Kenyon's "black swan hat?"

So who's on your "gotta see" list for this year's Literacy signing? And remember, this is open to the public, so let folks know!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

145 Restaurants Near RWA Conference 2008 Hotel

  1. Mel's Drive-In
    801 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415-227-4477(0.06 miles away)
  2. Denny's
    816 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415-243-8800 (0.06 miles away)
  3. Jack In the Box
    808 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415-543-3081(0.06 miles away)
  4. Burger King
    35 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-6340 (0.15 miles away)
  5. Jamba Juice
    865 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 357-3640(0.15 miles away)
  6. Quiznos
    28 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415-348-8845 (0.18 miles away)
    125 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    11 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415-348-1713(0.19 miles away)
  9. Carl's Jr
    1 Hallidie Plz, San Francisco, CA
    415-391-5799 (0.2 miles away)
  10. SUBWAY
    795 Folsom St # 795A, San Francisco, CA
    415- 777-3657(0.3 miles away)
  11. Jack In the Box
    400 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-673-0868(0.3 miles away)
  12. Firewood At Metreon
    101 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415-369-6199(0.06 miles away)
  13. Sanraku
    101 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415-369-6166(0.06 miles away)
  14. Buckhorn Grill
    101 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415-369-6150 (0.06 miles away)
  15. Jillian's
    101 4th St # 170, San Francisco, CA
    415-369-6100(0.06 miles away)
  16. Luna Azul
    101 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415-369-6067 (0.06 miles away)
  17. Long Life Noodle Co
    101 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 369-6185 (0.06 miles away)
  18. Lj's Martini Club & Grille
    101 4th St # 2nd, San Francisco, CA
  19. Asia Chinese Food
    825 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-4237 (0.07 miles away)
  20. Ice Bee
    829 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 882-7800 (0.07 miles away)
  21. Citizen Cupcake Cafe
    2 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA
    415-399-1565 (0.09 miles away)
  22. Four Seasons-San Francisco
    757 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 633
  23. Les Joulins Jazz Bistro
    44 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-5397 (0.11 miles away)
  24. Cafe Madeleine
    43 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-362-1713 (0.12 miles away)
  25. Armani Cafe
    1 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA
    415-677-9010(0.12 miles away)
  26. Lark Creek Steak
    845 Market St, San Francisco
  27. Straits Cafe Singapore Restaurant
    845 Market St # 4, San Francisco, CA
    415-538-8490 (0.13 miles away)
  28. Mr Hana Fresh Japanese
    845 Market St # A, San Francisco, CA
    415-538-7894 (0.13 miles away)
  29. Bistro Burger
    845 Market St # Fe10, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-2266(0.13 miles away)
  30. Beard Papa Sweets Cafe SF Ctr
    845 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415-978-9975 (0.13 miles away)
  31. Buck Horn Grill
    845 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415-978-9770 (0.13 miles away)
  32. Sorabol
    845 Market St # Fe3, San Francisco, CA
  33. Zazil
    845 Market St # 400, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-6379 (0.13 miles away)
  34. Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe
    845 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 896-6358 (0.13 miles away)
  35. Pasta Moto
    845 Market St # Fe6, San Francisco, CA
    415- 546-6686 (0.13 miles away)
  36. Andale Mexican Restaurant
    845 Market St # Fe7, San Francisco, CA
  37. Asqew Grill
    845 Market St # Fe12, San Francisco, CA
    415- 227-0306 (0.13 miles away)
  38. San Francisco Soup Co
    845 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-0472 (0.13 miles away)
  39. John's Grill
    63 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-986-0069(0.13 miles away)
  40. Blondies Pizza
    63 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
  41. Wetzel's Pretzels
    865 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415-977-0200(0.15 miles away)
  42. Villa Pizza
    865 Market St # C08, San Francisco, CA
    415-974-5499(0.15 miles away)
  43. Portico Restaurant
    865 Market St # C34, San Francisco, CA
    415-777-9922 (0.15 miles away)
  44. Steak Escape
    865 Market St # C12, San Francisco, CA
    415-344-0018 (0.15 miles away)
  45. Panda Express
    865 Market St # C24, San Francisco, CA
    415- 243-9775(0.15 miles away)
  46. Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill
    865 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415-957-1389(0.16 miles away)
  47. Bangkok Noodles
    110 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-2199 (0.16 miles away)
  48. Cheesecake Factory
    170 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 391-4444(0.17 miles away)
  49. Wolfgang Puck Express
    170 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 296-4858(0.17 miles away)
  50. Boudin Bakery & Cafe
    170 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 296-4191 (0.17 miles away)
  51. Lori's Diner
    149 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-677-9999(0.17 miles away)
  52. Silky Bar & Restaurant
    55 5th St, San Francisco, CA
    415-974-6285 (0.17 miles away)
  53. Cafe Venue
    67 5th St, San Francisco
    415- 546-1144 (0.17 miles away)
  54. Del Taco
    711 Market St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 975-0855(0.17 miles away)
  55. Sherbercs Mexican Restaurant
    161 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 362-8001 (0.17 miles away)
  56. Little Joe's
    85 5th St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 896-1317 (0.18 miles away)
  57. Jester's Restaurant & Lounge
    50 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415-974-8800(0.18 miles away)
  58. Ducca Restaurant & Lounge
    50 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 977-0271 (0.18 miles away)
  59. California Pizza Kitchen
    53 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 278-0443(0.18 miles away)
  60. Double K Cafe
    23 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 282-9999 (0.18 miles away)
  61. Jollibee
    200 4th St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 904-8615 (0.18 miles away)
  62. King of Thai Noodle On Union
    184 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 677-9991 (0.18 miles away)
  63. Puccini & Pinetti
    129 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-392-5500(0.18 miles away)
  64. Center For the Future of China
    140 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 398-8816(0.18 miles away)
  65. Cafe 36
    410 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-3363 (0.19 miles away)
  66. Veranda Restaurant
    55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA
    415-392-8000 (0.19 miles away)
  67. Siam Thai Restaurant
    55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA
    415-362-7456 (0.19 miles away)
  68. Vitrine At St Regis
    125 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 284-4049 (0.19 miles away)
  69. Chez Papa Resto
    414 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA
    415-546-4134 (0.2 miles away)
  70. Kuleto's Restaurant
    221 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-7720(0.2 miles away)
  71. Cafe Kuleto
    225 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-3621 (0.2 miles away)
  72. AME Restaurant
    689 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 284-4040 (0.2 miles away)
  73. First Crush Restaurant & Bar
    101 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA
    415-982-7874(0.2 miles away)
  74. Buca Di Beppo
    855 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 543-7673(0.2 miles away)
  75. Daniels Cafe
    154 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-956-1760 (0.2 miles away)
  76. Hana Zen
    115 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 421-2101(0.2 miles away)
  77. Pizza Prada Inc
    239 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-982-0166 (0.21 miles away)
  78. Dojima
    219 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-956-0838 (0.21 miles away)
  79. Jade Cafe
    18 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-981-6138 (0.21 miles away)
  80. New Delhi Restaurant
    160 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-397-8470(0.21 miles away)
  81. Samovar Tea Lounge
    730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 227-9400(0.21 miles away)
  82. Mocca On Maiden Lane
    175 Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA
    415-956-1188 (0.22 miles away)
  83. Caffe Museo
    151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 357-4500(0.22 miles away)
  84. Bistro 69 Inc
    69 Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA
    415-398-3557 (0.22 miles away)
  85. B Restaurant & Bar
    720 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-9800 (0.22 miles away)
  86. Restaurant Santorini
    242 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-402-0060(0.23 miles away)
  87. Little Delhi
    83 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA
    415-398-3173 (0.23 miles away)
  88. Luce
    888 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 616-6566 (0.23 miles away)
  89. XYZ At West San Francisco
    181 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 817-7836(0.24 miles away)
  90. Punjab Kabab House
    101 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA
    415-447-7499 (0.24 miles away)
  91. Farmerbrown Restaurant
    25 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415-409-3276 (0.25 miles away)
  92. Anzu Restaurant
    222 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415-394-1100(0.25 miles away)
  93. Chevys Fresh Mex
    201 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 543-8060(0.25 miles away)
  94. Taquerria Castillo V2
    10 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 986-0426
  95. Oak Room
    335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 774-0264(0.25 miles away)
  96. Michael Mina Restaurant
    335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 397-9222(0.25 miles away)
  97. Lefty O'Doul's
    333 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-982-8900 (0.26 miles away)
  98. Sunflower Cafe
    284 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-986-6016 (0.26 miles away)
  99. Emporio Rulli Union Square
    333 Post St, San Francisco
    415- 433-1122(0.26 miles away)
  100. New York Pizza Kitchen
    127 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA
    415-409-1212 (0.26 miles away)
  101. Daily Grill
    347 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-616-5000(0.26 miles away)
  102. Tempest Bar & Restaurant
    431 Natoma St, San Francisco, CA
    415-495-1863 (0.27 miles away)
  103. Cafe Mason
    320 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415-544-0320 (0.27 miles away)
  104. Kusina Ni Tess
    237 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA
    415-351-1169 (0.28 miles away)
  105. Anjou Restaurant
    44 Campton Pl, San Francisco, CA
    415-392-5373 (0.28 miles away)
  106. Windsor Tea Room
    334 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415-283-4832 (0.28 miles away)
  107. Lori's Diner
    336 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
    415-392-8646(0.28 miles away)
  108. Sushi Club
    251 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-8138 (0.29 miles away)
  109. Morton's The Steakhouse
    400 Post St, San Francisco, CA
    415-986-5830(0.29 miles away)
  110. Campton Place Restaurant
    340 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 955-5555(0.29 miles away)
  111. Kiku of Tokyo
    333 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-441-5458 (0.29 miles away)
  112. Cityscape Bar & Restaurant
    333 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 923-5002 (0.29 miles away)
  113. Sushi Boat Restaurant
    389 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-781-5111 (0.29 miles away)
  114. Zaza Cafe & Restaurant
    12 Tillman Pl, San Francisco, CA
    415-677-9292 (0.29 miles away)
  115. Soup Freaks
    90 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 369-9600 (0.29 miles away)
  116. Naan-Ncurry
    336 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-346-1443 (0.3 miles away)
  117. New Asia Asian Cuisine
    50 Post St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 956-3392 (0.3 miles away)
  118. Fountain Cafe
    50 Post St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 981-3005 (0.3 miles away)
  119. 63 Pizzelle
    50 Post St # 308, San Francisco, CA
    415- 362-2228 (0.3 miles away)
  120. Chili-Up
    50 Post St # 303, San Francisco, CA
    415- 693-0467 (0.3 miles away)
  121. Leila Mediterranean Restaurant
    50 Post St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 217-0099 (0.3 miles away)
  122. 360 Degrees Gourmet Burritos
    50 Post St # 3, San Francisco, CA
    415- 398-4800 (0.3 miles away)
  123. San Francisco Soup Co
    50 Post St # 3, San Francisco, CA
    415- 397-7687(0.3 miles away)
  124. Niji Japanese Grille
    50 Post St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 391-5588 (0.3 miles away)
  125. Sorrento Catering
    50 Post St # 63, San Francisco, CA
    415- 377-8048(0.3 miles away)
  126. Thirsty Bear Brewing Co
    661 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415-974-0905(0.3 miles away)
  127. Fang Fouson
    660 Howard St, San Francisco, CA
    415-618-0554 (0.3 miles away)
  128. Lulu
    816 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 495-5775(0.3 miles away)
  129. Sultan Restaurant
    340 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 775-1709 (0.3 miles away)
  130. Max's On the Square
    398 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415-646-8600 (0.3 miles away)
  131. Azie
    826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 538-0918(0.3 miles away)
  132. Pine Crest Diner
    401 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 885-6407 (0.3 miles away)
  133. Ayola Restaurant
    118 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415-348-0808 (0.3 miles away)
  134. Garden Court Restaurant
    2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-1111(0.3 miles away)
  135. Kyo-Ya Restaurant
    2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-1111(0.3 miles away)
  136. Maxfield's Restaurant
    2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-1111(0.3 miles away)
  137. Mo's Restaurant
    772 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 344-0536 (0.3 miles away)
  138. Working Girls' Cafe
    122 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415-537-1170 (0.3 miles away)
  139. Chipotle Mexican Grill
    126 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 512-8113(0.31 miles away)
  140. Scala's Bistro
    432 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-395-8555(0.31 miles away)
  141. Luques Restaurant & Bar
    433 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 248-2475(0.31 miles away)
  142. Chancellor Cafe
    433 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 248-2475 (0.31 miles away)
  143. Zesty Restaurant
    850 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
    415- 777-3228 (0.31 miles away)
  144. Cafe Madeleine
    149 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA
    415-227-4077 (0.31 miles away)
  145. Sears Fine Food
    439 Powell St, San Francisco, CA
    415-986-1160(0.31 miles away)

Monday, July 21, 2008

ROUND 9: I Wanna Be A Diva!

I Am In The Top 6!

Please help me advance to the next round! Check out the six contests and then vote for the one you like best. I hope you will choose mine!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Louisiana Ghost Story

Deep in the bayou, late at night, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might see a light moving just over there. Now, some folks’ll tell you they ain’t nothing but swamp gas. You can believe that if you like, but let me tell you about le feu follet ‘fore you go traipsing through the swamp in the dark. It’s not just the gators you have to watch out for.

Le feu follet…the old Cajuns say they are those souls escaped from Purgatory or maybe they’re the souls of babies who were never blessed in the Church. Perhaps you believe them to be Fae or elves holding dances over those marshy places set to trap unwary wanderers in the swamps and bayous. Whatever you believe them to be, le feu follet hold a grand place in Louisiana folklore.

If you wander into the bayou, down where the darkness holds sway, where the ‘gator and the water moccasins hold court, you might see those dancing lights. If you’re coming home after dark, poling your pirogue along in the black water, don’t be surprised if those lights are following you along the shore – they can’t cross the water to get you. So don’t be afraid, but do be wary when you step back on land. The other way to stop those restless spirits from following you is cold iron – take that pocket knife and thrust it into the ground behind you – that’ll hold ‘em for a bit. An elderly Cajun woman told me she didn’t trust a knife. She preferred needles saying that the feu follet just couldn’t resist trying to fit through the eye of the slim bit of steel.

There have always been tales of mysterious lights luring travelers to their doom. The Scots have the will o’ the wisp and the Slavic people tell tales of ghost lights. The Danes and others chase those lights knowing there is a treasure buried beneath it. But in Louisiana to this day, you can buy a beer in a bar and listen to someone who escaped a feu follet just last week.

Go down to Gonzales, Louisiana just outside of Baton Rouge. Get directions for Bayou Narcisse Rd and Cante Rd. Expect to hear dire warnings about what will happen to those foolish enough to follow the lights though. Some will tell you the Gonzales feu follet is harmless—others will tell a more compelling story of terror.

I’ve seen the feu follet dancing across the bayou late at night. Once, gazing out my bedroom window while dreaming about a boy I hoped would call me, a flicker of something caught my eye. I remember straining my neck forward trying to make it come into focus, but it just danced at the edge of the water seeming to mock me. Some Fey part of me cried when I realized I shouldn’t follow the flickering wisp of brightness. When I went to tell my mama, she told me not to mess with the Devil and go to bed. She called me a foolish child, but I heard her stick that steak knife in the front porch.

There are no feu follets to scare you in Changing Times. Just a werepanther trying not to fall in love with a human doctor even as his enemies threaten her life. I hope you will enjoy Tony and Carly’s journey.

Read an excerpt from Changing Times. Then come back and share your own ghost stories with me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Changing Hearts

Changing Hearts will release at Ellora's Cave on November 7!

Just to whet your appetite, here's the cover and blurb...for an excerpt, visit my website:

BLURB: It just got hotter on the bayou. Louisiana has never been this steamy. When injured shapeshifter Malcolm Slade, an alpha running for his life, meets Cajun faith-healer Joie Landry, hearts are going to be changed. Human to his wolf, she prefers dealing with the animal because animals love you unconditionally. Malcolm believes love is for weaklings and he can't afford to be weak. Hunted by his own Pack, having to face his own demons, he doesn't have time to cater to the sensitive feelings of a human female. Still...there's something about this female that turns him inside out. Can Joie tame this predator in bed and out?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: Sensual E-Cataromance

Tony and Carly could not help themselves. The sexual tension between them grew until they came together beautifully. An excellent tale of good vs. evil where power corrupted the evil Turn Skins combines with an undeniable love to produce Changing Times, an excellent start of a new series for Marilu Mann.

Read the full review.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Deadly Vixens & Ghosts Oh My!

Let's talk about real life ghostly experiences. Come visit with me as I share a "shattering" experience in a haunted Victorian home in Arkansas. Deadly Vixens & Ghosts! Oh My!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Crisis Scheduling


"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."

~ Henry Kissinger 1923-

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could schedule our crises?

“I’m so sorry, Brenda, I can’t. I have a crisis scheduled for 10am Tuesday. Can we reschedule for later that afternoon?”

Each week we would know exactly what was going to fall apart and when. We’d have advance notice so we could allot the appropriate amount of time to deal with that particular problem.

And we could compare calendars!

“I’m free Wednesday after 3 and before 8 or Friday’s completely open.”

Dynamite Crisis

Never again would we have to drop everything to respond to a friend whose partner just walked out (or in) on them. No more “But mom! It’s my turn to bring 50 cupcakes for snacks today.” Everyone would be in perfect synch and we could get on with doing those other things that get pushed asked during panic moments.

Of course, this isn’t possible and I’m sure Mr. Kissinger knows that. So we learn to cope no matter what. Somehow we figure out that if we keep writing with this hand, we can still pick up the crying baby or answer the phone with the other. We can still get to ballet/soccer/softball/chess practice. There is an unspoken belief that we will get things done regardless.

I can remember a time when my life seemed to be nothing but one major crisis after another. I survived those times by leaning on friends and talking myself through things. I learned a lot about the power of positive speaking in my own life. I learned that there are things I can control and things I cannot. I’m trying, even now, not to stress over things I cannot control.

crisis wavecrisis wavecrisis wave

What about you? How do you deal with the inevitable “THE SKY IS FALLING RIGHT NOW” moments of life? Can you take life’s lemons and make lemonade while on a dead run for your next appointment praying the car doesn’t die? Do you hide under the covers and pretend the alarm never went off or do you charge forward, ready to tackle whatever is presented to you, no matter what? Do you blow up before you have a chance to take a breath and see if this crisis really will end the world as you know it? I’d love to know how you deal with those “WAH” moments…

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Interview: Carly Chambers

I caught up with Dr. Carly Chambers in the cafeteria of the hospital where she works. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that she'd returned my call and agreed to meet with me. We sat at a small table in the corner of the cafeteria and even though it was nearly midnight, the place buzzed with activity. Dr. Chambers, Carly, as she insisted I call her, is about my height, but that's where the similarities end. She's blonde with blue eyes and seems to be in constant motion, even when she's sitting still.

I noticed that her gaze moved from my face to the entrance of the cafeteria several times and wondered if she was expecting someone else to join us. I sipped at some really bad coffee then cleared my throat and picked up my microrecorder.

MM: Dr. Chambers, thanks for agreeing to meet with me. I promise not to take too much of your time. I know you're originally from California, how did you wind up in New Orleans?

CC: (laughs) I actually graduated from Tulane Medical School. I did my internship here and wound up falling in love with the city. It was kind of a case of wanting to get away from the family for a bit and then just deciding to stay here.

MM: Wow, I didn't realize you'd gone to medical school here. For some reason, I thought you'd come after Katrina.

CC: No. (hesitates) I was here before Katrina, but I worked in a different hospital. Some co-workers convinced me to leave. I wish I hadn't, because I know how much doctors were needed here. (hesitates again) But I'm back now, and I'm not leaving again. This is my home now.

MM: Speaking of home, you live close to the French Quarter, don't you?

CC: Yes, I have a great apartment, more of a condo, really. It's two stories with a great balcony in the bedroom. I love sitting out there when I get off work. I usually take a cup of tea or hot cocoa and watch the sun come up and then go to bed. It's interesting working the night shift, you know? You meet a whole different kind of people.

MM: Really? That sounds interesting, tell me more.

CC: Well. (She took a deep breath) Just last night I met someone who really intrigued me. He’s very good looking. He has this incredibly long black hair with golden skin and beautiful green eyes. His name is Tony. I wouldn’t mind getting to know him better, it’s just that he has all these secrets and he thinks he’s a ….well, I just can’t say it out loud. It’s too crazy!

MM: Carly, you can tell me. What kind of secrets? Is he a Mafia hit man? A politician?

CC: (laughs) Not exactly. When his friends kidnapped me...

MM: Wait a second! Kidnapped you? You were kidnapped? When? How? Who? Did the cops catch them? Oh my god! Are you ok?

CC: Wow Marilu, slow down a bit. They didn't really kidnap me so much as escort me abruptly to take care of Tony. See, he'd been shot and poisoned. His friends took great care of me and I didn't report it once I realized they had to do it that way.

MM: Can you tell us more about this mysterious Tony? You said he had secrets? Or did you say you thought he was crazy?

CC: Well, how do I put this? He thinks he can change shape…into an animal.

MM: An animal? What…does he think he’s a werewolf?

CC: Not exactly. See he’s not a werewolf, he’s a were…Oh hell! (Carly jumped and reached for her pager. I saw people rushing from the cafeteria and heard some garbled announcement on the paging system.) I have to go. It’s an emergency! Sorry!

Unfortunately, Dr. Chambers had to rush off to the ER. I guess I’ll have to catch up with her another time to find out about this mysterious Tony. I was left with half a cup of really bad coffee and more questions. Never a good thing for a writer!

I think maybe I will see if I can't get an interview with the owner of that hot spot "Animalia". Apparently you have to know someone who is already known there. I heard the good doctor was seen there.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where Do You Start The Story?

Start the story where the story starts. This is SO hard to learn. I naturally want to set people up. Make them comfortable in my world. Show them how my hero got to the point where he is standing in Times Square wearing only a towel and one red high heel. And his real concern is why he only has one shoe? Come join me and talk about where you like your stories to start.
Romerotica Writers

TwoLips Review For Changing Times

"Delightful story" "Fast-paced" "Hot read"

Read The Whole Review

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Put Some Sizzle In Your Summer!

This month I'm joining some of the steamiest writers in romance and erotic romance for a massive contest! Click on the contest Icon below to go to the Contest Main page.

I'm really tickled to be a part of this Hussy contest because they are a fun bunch of wicked, wanton women! Who could ask for more?

Well except for some steamy, sensual studs...but I digress.


There's a website I've frequented since first becoming serious about writing. It's given me invaluable, impartial advice. I just found out that two lawsuits have been filed against the site.

You can learn more about it at the Preditors and editors site or AbsoluteWrite.

It is interesting that P&E got targeted when this is not the only site with warnings in place.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

RRTErotic Reviews

"Changing Times" just got reviewed at RRTErotic. We are tickled!

"The characters are engaging and the relationship between Tony and Carly sizzles. Their reactions to one another and the various situations are realistic. The secondary characters
are well rounded and beg for their stories to be written."

Read the whole review!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Romance Studio Diva Contest!

TRS Diva Contest!!!

Vote now for your favorite author! Hint hint! I hope it's me! LOL

Just Another Paranormal Monday

Ok ok, so it's Tuesday! Sue me!

I've joined in on the Just Another Paranormal Monday blog. It's various members of the new email group Just Another Paranormal Monday. This is a brilliant group idea because it is only open on Mondays! So you only have to worry about being slammed with emails one day of the week. And you will read tons of excerpts and even get some sneak peaks at what's coming up for some of your favorite authors.

If you'd like to join, just click here to send an email.

I hope you will join us and tell others as well. It really is a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EC Convention

More news from our publisher - if you're at ALL interested in an Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press/The Lotus Circle Convention, please read and respond to this message from Jeania with Ellora's Cave. Thanks!

Hello Everyone,

We've decided to hold the first EC Convention (2009)in Akron, Ohio.

I spoke with the convention center this week and should have bids from several area hotels by July 1st. I will meet with them again on July 2nd to schedule some appointments with the hotels we are interested in. If all goes well, we should have details for you by the end of July.

We are looking at the following dates (all Friday-Sunday):
Sept., 18th - 20th,
Sept., 25th-27th
Oct., 2nd – 4th

Please put a post out on your sites to see if your readers are interested in attending. This will help a great deal to estimate the number of rooms we will need. Ask them to respond with name, address and Ph# (optional) via email to conventions@ ellorascave. com (notice that "conventions" is plural).

Mention the above dates and the following "tentative" outline.
Friday Night –
EC/CP/TLC Celebration Party

Saturday Morning –
Continental Breakfast
Day – Workshops
Night – Awards Banquet

**The city is working on something fun for you to do (if interested and thirsty) after the Awards Banquet.**

Sunday Morning –
Continental Breakfast
Afternoon – Book Fair
Evening – An author sponsored event. RT has a movie and popcorn night at their farewell gathering.

If you want to participate or have a suggestion please let me know. Once I have an idea of the number of interested people (authors, readers, book stores, models), and we decide on the hotel, food, etc., we'll be able to determine the cost.

Thank you in advance and I'll keep you updated.

I will be setting up an EC Con yahoo chat loop soon.


Publicity Excitement

Beyond Her Book!!!

Ok, I'm excited beyond belief! _Changing Times_ got "blurbed" on Barbara Vey's Beyond Her Book blog today! Check it out! And please? Leave us a comment. We'd love to know you stopped by.

This is kind of huge, y'all. So it would be really fabulous if you would really leave a comment in the notes that you came by because Marilu asked you too. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ides of June--Reject Me Baby!

Welcome to the Ides of the Month with Marilu Mann.

We all hear about those First Call/First Sale stories and rejoice along with those celebrating. What about the stumbling blocks on their road to success? What rejections did they face? More importantly--how did they face that rejection? Why did they keep going?

Here's two stories.

The first is from Sandy. She got a long, detailed letter from an editor. The response she got included a few books for her to read so she could get a better feel for that line.

That editor's rejection letter made me feel good. All of the rejection letters I received from SAVING FACE were good, but eventually, I knew I had to set it aside, so I could grow. After several more books, I found the rejections were getting tougher, and the contests I entered, the judges wanted to rewrite my work rather than make suggestions. It really was all wrong. Even though I was improving, I was losing my voice because I did everything anyone told me. I was desperate to get published. It didn't help because the next person would disagree with the first person. At times, I would feel so bad over a form rejection, or a contest score that I couldn't write for weeks and months. One thing that helped me was to go back and read every single good rejection I received, and then I could keep going. The better my writing became the tougher it became to receive a scribbled note on a query letter saying good luck, but it's not for me.

S Kay Marshall
THE CATALYST and ADDICTION coming soon from Forbidden Publications

Then I learned that sometimes wine and chips are the cure from Cara Marsi.

Red wine and potato chips. That's my comfort food of choice when I wallow in self-pity after yet another rejection.

When I open that rejection letter, or more commonly, that rejection email, I shed a few tears, vow never to write again, pour several glasses of red wine and open a bag of potato chips.

After several days of wallowing in self-pity, I pick myself up, brush myself off, go back on my diet, and start writing again. Hope springs eternal!

I'm still waiting to hear from a major publisher about a manuscript I submitted in 1998. One of my fantasies is that I've finaled in the RITA (we all share this fantasy), and an editor who rejected the book approaches me at the conference and asks me to send her something. Then I say to her, "I sent you this RITA book, but you rejected it." I recognize that on so many levels this would never happen, but it feels so good to imagine it.

Cara Marsi
Logan's Redemption
Available in ebook, print and Kindle
Cara Marsi

What about you? If you are a published author, send Marilu a note detailing how you dealt with that rejection letter. What kept you going? Let me hear about it and feel free to promo your latest book at the same time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Guest Blogger - Kacey Smith

First I’d like to say thanks to Marilu for inviting me to be a guest blogger.

So, my first release comes out soon with Amber Quill Press. Obviously, I want you to buy the book, but why would you want to? Well, if you like stories of magic, stories that revolve around the paranormal, heroes and heroines that have a little snark in their attitudes and aren’t afraid to show it, then I think you’ll like my story.

It’s a short story and yet it took me a long time to write. I didn’t know if I could even finish the story, to be honest. I didn’t know for sure where I was going to take it and even if I really COULD take it the direction it seemed to be going.

What I’m ‘tap-dancing’ around here is that I’ve written something I didn’t think I’d ever really write – a true ménage à trois. And yet, that’s exactly where this story started going.

I wrote two strong appealing heroes and then couldn’t choose between them for the heroine. I figured if I couldn’t choose, then neither could she, so why force it? Why not let her have them both?

Well, for one thing, that’s not something I have personal experience with – at all! All of the relationships I’ve had in my life have involved me and one other person, not multiple people. I started to wonder if I really could write this story with both heroes “winning” the heroine.

I finally just took a deep breath, and let the story flow. It turned out to be a good thing. (Grin)

When I’d finished the story, I sent it to a couple of trusted friends to see what they thought – they both gave me different ideas on how to make it better. I took what worked for me and left the rest alone.

Then, I bit the bullet and sent the story in to a publisher that I’ve been reading for some time. Once a year they sponsor a contest to find new authors – the rest of the year they’re closed to outside submissions. I honestly didn’t believe I would be one of the winners, but I thought I’d at least get some good ideas in the rejection (a whole ‘nother topic, right Marilu? (Grin) )

So, I read the guidelines, followed them and sent my entry in to Amber Quill Press. Then I waited, fretted, worried and wondered. When the day finally arrived for the winners to be announced, I HAUNTED my inbox and the website waiting for the announcement of the winners to appear.

Around 6PM that night, I sent an email to my “bestest bud” saying, “Well, I don’t think I won because I haven’t heard from them.” Then I went BACK to my email and THERE IT WAS! The subject simply said, “Amber Heat Wave Contest.” I had to force myself to open it – just positive I’d see bad news (hey, I’m SUCH a pessimist!) The first few words of that email said, “It is my pleasure…” and I knew at that point I was one of the winners!

There were over 200 entries and they picked MINE (and seven others)! Wow. Euphoria! Joy! All those amazing emotions zooming around my brain…

That started my journey to publication with Amber Quill Press – and that journey comes to fruition on June 15 with the release of Tales from the Graveyard Shift: Ghouls.

I hope you enjoy it.



PS – I was recently reviewed by Bitten by Books – here’s a link to that review: and if you’d like to see the cover and read an excerpt, please visit my website at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inside the Twisted Mind of a Copy Editor

By: Marie Force, Guest Blogger

Remember the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!"? For copy editors, our mantra is “Oh, the Stuff You Have to Know." I tease my husband for being like Cliff Clavin, the mail-carrying know-it-all on Cheers. Like Cliff, my husband knows a little bit about a lot of things—most of it what I categorize as “worthless knowledge." If only you could get paid for knowing a little bit about everything... But wait... You can!

Copy editors are the last line of defense on all things written. We proof newspapers, magazines, and books for accuracy, consistency, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s our job to know, for example, which four states are commonwealths (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—and we like to show off what we know). We’ve got the inside track on redundant phrases such as “general public" and know that something doesn’t become “annual" until it’s been held or done twice. Being a generous species, we’re always pleased to bring these interesting factoids to cocktail parties and social gatherings.

And where do we get all these rules? In the style manual, of course. I remember my first copy editing class in college when the professor said we were going to talk style. Oh cool, I thought, imagining I was in for a discussion about Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. I soon found out he meant publication style. In the journalism profession, the Bible is the AP Stylebook, published by the Associated Press. The publishing world’s Bible is The Chicago Manual of Style.

Within these style manuals are answers to just about every question a writer or editor could have. Are there periods in a.m. and p.m.? How do I write a date? Do I spell out numbers or use the numeral? Sounds trivial, right? Well, it sort of is, but think about it—if you have twenty different writers on your staff and each of them are doing these things in a different way, your publication descends into chaos. It’s the job of the copy editor to keep that from happening.

In my day job, I’m the editor-in-chief of a national trade publication that focuses on government financial management. When I started 13 years ago, I knew nothing about accounting, auditing, or financial management . No problem, my boss at the time said, and he was right. Words are words. I may not always understand them—although after all these years, I understand them better than I ever thought I would—but I can tell if they are presented incorrectly. It’s my job to make sure the words are accurate and consistent from one issue of the magazine to the next.

One of the first things I did when I got the job was draft a style manual for our publications that we follow to this day. Do I refer to it often? Nope. Why? I know it by heart after all these years. I like knowing it’s there if I need it, but because I eat, sleep, and breathe the rules it contains, I don’t need to check it all that often. So why have it? Because three other people work with me in my department, and I don’t expect them to be as anal retentive as I am. They use the actual document much more than I do.

Copy editors are compulsive by nature. I find at least one error in almost everything I read. Even dinner at a fancy restaurant can turn into a menu proofreading session. I edit street signs, maps, and, well, everything I see along the way. I can’t help it. According to my husband Cliff Clavin, I’m an irritating companion on road trips because I can’t shut off my need to edit. I could argue that at least I’m not spewing factoids about the largest ball of twine in the world...

I offered up two MS copy edits to Brenda Novak’s auction, thinking they’d generate a couple hundred dollars for diabetes. Well, they raised a couple thousand dollars. I was astounded that they went for more than some of the agent and editor offerings. I had no idea there was such a demand among authors for copy editors! This led me to hang out my copy editing shingle for romance writers only, combining my love of all things romance with my compulsive need to edit. I’ve included a link to my website below where you can find more information.

As a writer, this compulsive need to get it right makes for some interesting challenges. I learned early on that I need another set of eyes on my work. My friend Paula, former employee of a publishing company, copy edits all my MSs for me, and I’m always amazed by what she finds. Mistakes that are obvious to me in other peoples’ work are invisible in my own. However, Paula tells me my unedited manuscripts are cleaner than some of the stuff she reviews at galley stage, proof that my compulsion is paying off while driving me slowly insane. This is the so-called “blessing" of being a trained copy editor.

Speaking of galleys... The proofs for my debut novel, “Line of Scrimmage," are sitting here waiting for my attention. I realized last night that I’ve been riddled with anxiety since they arrived. What if I miss something? How will I stand to see a real, live error in my book? This is the curse.

Here’s the shameless plug for “Line of Scrimmage," out on September 1 from Sourcebooks Casablanca: In the Hail Mary play of a lifetime, a sexy NFL quarterback has just ten days to convince his wife to give him a second chance before their divorce is final—and he has to act fast because she’s already engaged to her high school boyfriend. Read an excerpt on my website at

Thank you to Marilu for inviting me to blog, and I’ll happily answer any questions your readers have about grammar, style, or editing. If I don’t know the answer, I guarantee my husband Cliff Clavin will.

Marie Force is an editor by day and a romance writer by night. She lives with her husband and two children in Rhode Island. Her debut novel, “Line of Scrimmage," will be out on September 1, 2008. Find out more about her copy editing services for romance writers at
You can also find Marie at:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beware The Ides Of The Month




An invitation to blog with Marilu Mann

The Ides! The Ides! The Ides are upon us! Beware the Ides of each month with Marilu Mann.

Join Marilu Mann right here on Escape Into The Fantasy on the 15th of every month (Ides, anyone?) to see who's discusing rejection.

You've seen "The Call" blogs and articles and websites. We all know how to celebrate that first and subsequent success. What about the stumbles, falls and outright personal hurts all writers know as REJECTION?

This is a call for all published authors who would like to share how they dealt with their first or fiftieth rejection. Did you stomp your foot? Did you speak unkindly of the writing profession in general? Did you vow to send them your award-winning first novel when you finally found the right home for it? Did you eat ice cream or chocolate until you popped? Or did you find solace in a glass (or six) of wine?

Send Marilu your tales of woe and coping. 200-500 words is plenty. We'll post entries from different authors every month.

Remember to stay professional. No names, cat fights etc!

Note: The ides really just refers to the middle of the month. Hey! We're a writing team so of course we jazzed it up a bit.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Paying For Professional Critiques

Writer from clipart
The following was in response to someone asking about whether or not I felt it was worthwhile to pay for a professional critique of their work. My response…

On a personal note, I'd have a real problem paying someone to critique/edit my work.

Quite frankly, critiquing (just like judging) is a very subjective business. You'll get differing opinions on the same work from so many different people. There's the "newbie" who has just learned something – like POV shifts and why they're not good if done every paragraph – who will focus on that aspect and only that aspect of your work. That particular person will note EVERY SINGLE POV SHIFT whether it's appropriate to the work or not. Or you will get the one who simply must follow each and every rule. Any use of the word “was” will have you smacked for passive voice.

You'll get critiques from people who flat out state, "I don't read this genre." Then WHY would you volunteer to JUDGE IT? If it's not something you enjoy reading, why offer your opinion on whether or not it's good? For that very reason, I never volunteer to critique or judge Inspirational books. Not that I have anything against them, I just don't read them so I can't be objective about what makes a good one!

Of course, you're going to find editors who also "don't get" your work/your character/your GENIUS, but that's okay, because there will be someone else who DOES "get it."

I am a "first reader" for a publisher. The editor gets manuscripts, sends them to me and several other "first readers," asking for comments, concerns, questions, etc.,

I do three things with that manuscript:
Editor from Clip Art
• First, I read it. Not for critiquing purposes, not for editing purposes, I simply read it to see if I enjoy the overall story.

• Second, I look for GLARING errors. Misspelled words, obvious punctuation issues, standard grammatical errors - and I point those out.

• Third, I add comments to the manuscript - 'LOVE this!' 'Why did your hero do this?' 'Why is your heroine stalking the hero's sister?'

Ok, so those are complete fabrications, but you get the drift. Then and only then will I send it back to the editor with either a "Yes, I'd pay money to read this author's work and probably buy their books again," "Yes, I'd pay money to read this but might not be so quick to buy this author again," or "No, I wouldn't pay money to read this book."

Obviously, I'm not the final decision maker on whether or not that author gets offered a contract for publication - and I don't want to be. I'm just an avid reader who also happens to know something about the mechanics of putting together a manuscript and getting it sold. Have I argued with my editor over revisions? Not yet, but then again, her suggestions for revision have all been things that make my book STRONGER.

Learning to polish a manuscript is all part of the writing process, but at some point, you have to stop. You can polish all the joy right out of a story if you're not careful. Edit the (pardon the expression) snot out of it then put it aside for a few weeks (or even longer). When you come back to it, you'll be coming back with "fresh eyes," and may see things that can be improved. Rely on your critique partners & your first readers, but don't take their word as the gospel truth. It's YOUR story, you are the final decision maker.

Ask yourself this question. “Can I make the suggested changes and still love my story?” If you can, then by all means save the original copy and create one to try out the changes.

Recently I sent the first thirty pages of a WIP to a critique group. The one thing that came back? “Start the story where the story starts.” Though I didn’t really want to, I took the advice and the story is stronger for it. But I also trusted and valued the person that advice came from.

Long answer, but I guess what I'm really saying is rely on your own judgment when it comes to your story. You read, you write, you KNOW when something isn't working - you may not know WHY right off the bat, but with help from a critique partner or first reader, you CAN figure it out - without having to pay for it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Running with…

Admit it! You thought I was going to say scissors, didn’t you?

THEMES – let’s talk about them for a moment. What “theme" runs throughout your work. People would ask me that question and I’d give them the old wide-eyed blank stare. You mean on top of Goals, Motivation and Conflict, I have to have a THEME? Criminy, can’t I just write a good story? Ok ok, I need a theme. Someone just shoot me. Maybe I should go back to just reading books and THINKING I could write a great story.

Overreaction? Probably. But there are so many things to think about when it comes to the craft of writing a good book. So what is a theme? On my computer I can pick a theme for my desktop display that will give me matching icons and sounds and even a desktop wallpaper. I can tie everything together with the click of a button. But what is a theme when it comes to fiction? I decided to turn to my old friend, Google, and ask him to help me.

He gave me a link –surprise surprise! The Glossary of Literary Terms offered this definition of theme:
theme (theem): a common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work. A theme is a thought or idea the author presents to the reader that may be deep, difficult to understand, or even moralistic. Generally, a theme has to be extracted as the reader explores the passages of a work. The author utilizes the characters, plot, and other literary devices to assist the reader in this endeavor. One theme that may be extracted by the reader of Mark Musa’s interpretation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy Volume I: Inferno is the need to take account of one’s own behavior now, for it affects one's condition in the afterlife.

So it’s a deep, difficult to understand, common thread? Heck that ought to be easy to write. Right? Right. So think about it for a moment in a different way. A theme is what holds your story together. The Goals & Motivation of your characters should relate directly back to the theme of your work. Once I discovered this idea, my books came together more easily. I was able to identify the theme then tie it back to the GMC or vice versa. It really was an eye-opener for me.

In the second of my shifter novels, Changing Hearts, one of the key themes is “healing." The main characters (H/H) are both seeking healing though they themselves aren’t fully aware of it. If you weave your character’s motivation into every scene – the driving force that makes that character what he/she is deep inside, you’ll begin to see what the central theme is behind that work. Then you can concentrate your efforts on making sure you’re hitting that theme in every scene. For me I need to hammer that theme without being blatant and that can be difficult. No one wants to read a story that is a modern version of A Pilgrim’s Progress when they think they are reading a paranormal romance.

I had to figure out how to weave in "healing" along with a great story about two people who have given up on love. Of course in a good story, your character’s goals and motivations will change from the beginning of the story to the end, but the theme will follow them throughout. The conflict will arise from their changing goals and changing motivation, and the theme will reflect that conflict as well.
A few common themes in literature are:
  1. The Individual in Nature

  2. The Individual in Society

  3. An individual's Relation to the gods.

  4. Human Relations

  5. Growth and Initiation

  6. Time

  7. Death

  8. Alienation

I would have to say that Changing Hearts is a mix of Human Relations (it is a love story after all) and Alienation (both characters are trying to find out where they fit in this world.) The prequel to this is Changing Times which has a theme of The Individual In Society as the hero and heroine have to learn to love each other and protect their world from a group that would like to rip it apart.

What are some themes in the books you read? What makes you pick a book up? What makes you put it down? Can you identify themes that speak to you as well as ones that repel you? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Guest Blog: Karen McCullough On Handling Rejection

On a chapter loop, Karen McCullough, multi-published author, answered a fellow chapter mate's request for ways to deal with rejection. Any writer will tell you that rejection simply is. It's a part of the game of being published. Karen wrote such a great post that I asked her if I could share it here on my blog. I think it needs to be seen by more than just our chapter!

I've had more than twenty years of rejections, which means I could probably paper the walls of a couple of rooms with them, and the collection is still growing. I've had a few successes in there, too, but I'm far, far from where I'd like to be in the publishing world. At several points I've been seriously tempted to give it up and do something else. But I can't. I just can't. So I'm still working on getting to that next level, which means coping with a lot of rejections. Over the years, I've developed a kind of plan for dealing with them.

It's a multi-part program and requires some work. It won't remove all the pain of rejection, but it does help. Here's the results of my twenty + years of learning to cope with rejection:

First: Adjust your Attitude: This isn't easy, but there are some things that help and I'll get to those.

The attitude is accepting that if you're going to seriously try for publication, rejection is part of the process. It's part of the learning curve and it's part of the business. Repeat: Rejection is part of the business of being a writer. You Have To Make Peace With It. I hope this isn't disillusioning, but it's the truth. Even multi-published authors face rejection. Think I'm kidding? Just ask on this list how many published authors have never been rejected. This is key: learning to cope with rejection is as much a part of the apprenticeship to becoming a published author as learning to write great stories.

Yes, there are a few lucky people who sell their first novels, who sell everything they write thereafter, who become such big names that the publishers will take anything and everything they write. They're not the norm. In fact, they're the writing world's equivalent of the people who win the lottery. This isn't to say they haven't worked hard to get where they are. You don't get to their level without a lot of hard work. It's just that for every Stephen King or Janet Evanovich, there are hundreds of mid-list and unpublished authors working just as hard as they are and getting lots of rejections. And by the way, Stephen King almost gave up writing due to rejections... If you haven't read his book On Writing, you should do it ASAP.

Second: The Action Plan

Part One: Rejection stings, so do something to compensate. Give yourself a treat for Every Rejection. Surely there's some guilty pleasure that you only indulge on occasion... Mocha Lattes from Starbucks? Milky Way bars? Mine is peppermint bark. You can only buy it at Christmas time, so I lay in a good supply, then put it away, and I only allow myself to have a piece when I get a rejection. If Starbucks is yours, buy yourself a gift card and then only use it after a rejection. Find something that you can use to reward yourself for the rejection.

Part Two: Set a goal. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to reach one hundred rejections this year. AS of now I've only got twenty, which means I'm behind, but I'm going to start sending out queries for a new novel soon, so I figure I'll make it up. Here's the logic behind the goal: In this business, once you reach a certain level of competence in your writing, getting published involves a lot of luck. You have to hit the right agent/editor with the right project at the right time. There's only one way to maximize your chances of doing that, and that's to keep sending out lots of queries.

The more queries you have out, the better your odds of hitting the right person at the right time with the right thing. While you're querying set a weekly or monthly goal to get so many new ones out in that time.

Part Three: When you get a rejection, give yourself a few hours to be mad, to be hurt, to be depressed. I find some vigorous activity helps me get over it. My floors tend to get mopped after a rejection, or if the weather's good, I'll weed the garden. Then get to work on the next story/novel. The next one is going to be the one that blows everyone away. You should still have other queries out there anyway and you don't want to be drumming your fingers waiting for those to come back.

You want to be ready to be sending out queries on the new project before the final ones have come back on the old one.

Part Four: Analyze the rejections you're getting. Can you find any kind of pattern? If so, how can you address the pattern? The genre isn't one that is selling well right now. (You have to make your book so fabulous and outstanding, someone will have to buy it anyway.) You cross genres in ways that editors won't buy. (Can you rewrite it to make it lean more toward one genre?)

Or you can have my most recent experience. The book I've been sending around most recently is a cozy mystery with a background romantic element. It's gotten about fifty rejections all totalled now, and I now know that if it ever sells it will likely be to a small press or e-publisher. I got a lot of rejections of the "nice but I don't think I can sell it" variety from agents. Not too helpful. But then in one day (Whoohoo! Double helping of peppermint bark!) I got two rejections from agents that said the same thing and spelled it out. Both said, essentially, "nice writing, good story, but you need a strong marketing hook to sell a traditional mystery in today's market." I looked around, and sure enough, the mystery shelves were full of books with specialized appeal. Stories that centered on cooking, on gardening, on the art world, on various hobbies...knitting, quilting, etc. Light bulbs lit up in my brain. My book had no built-in audience the way those did.

By the way, if you get nothing but form rejections, that is a pattern, too. That tells you that some part of your writing is weak, so that it's not tweaking the agents'/editors' interest. Address that! Take some writing classes. Find a critique partner you can trust or join a critique group. Enter contests. All of those can help you spot what your weaknesses are so you can work on them. (Not finaling in a contest counts as a rejection, too, so you it works toward your goal and you get to treat yourself!)

Part Five: Examine yourself and your motivations. Will the rejections stop you from writing? If so, give it up right now and find a more rewarding hobby. There are plenty of possibilities. But if you know that in your heart you can't stop writing, then the next thing you need to do is decide is what you consider success. There's nothing wrong with wanting to write only to please yourself. There are people who do and enjoy it. Maybe you want to write stuff that isn't going to be commercially successful and a small press or e-publisher would be a better choice for you. All those are realistic options. Only you can decide what the ultimate goal is.

But if you want to go for traditional publishing, then be realistic about what it takes and what it means. And remember that the only thing you can control in the business is what you write and what you send out. And every rejection you receive is proof that you're making a serious effort toward your goal. As odd as it sounds, the more of them you have, the better! Every rejection is a step into the professional part of being a writer.

And now, I'll shut up. I only hope some of this is helpful.

By Karen McCullough
Now available from Cerridwen Press: Beneath a Christmas Moon
Shadow of a Doubt, Cerridwen Press
Wizard's Bridge, ImaJinn Books

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Those Raven Nights

Those Raven Nights!

Raven Radio, as mentioned in Romantic Times Magazine, is moving to nights! Tune in every Wed at 11-12 PM EST and join Authors Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth as they talk about everything, nothing and the paranormal. Guests include NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors as well as those wonderfully talented authors soon to be there, editors, paranormal tour guides, psychics, ghost hunters, specialists and more! or

Listeners are welcome to join the live chat or call in to the show to talk to us and our guests. The show will move to its new evening schedule, May 28th where listeners can catch us every Wednesday at 11PM to 12AM EST. We have a lot of authors on the upcoming line up and you can see a full schedule of guests here:

WANT TO JOIN THE VIRAL CONTEST AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT RAVEN NIGHTS? Go to Raven’s blog to learn how you could win free advertising packages! Contest open to authors, readers and other groups!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dinner Disasters

“Marilu, we’ve decided to have our family dinner at your house. We will be there at 6 on Sunday.”

Nothing can strike fear into my heart faster than that ominous phone call from a family member. It is worse than finding Freddie, Jason and Michael in my closet when the electricity is out and I’m home alone. In fact, I’d rather face those three than my family at the dinner table.

Not only do I have to clean my house so that my "Junior League" family members won't feel the need to pitch in and help me ‘pick up,’ but I also have to ensure that no "dinner disasters" take place.

You know what those are, surely... I mean, haven't some of you left the paper in the pie plate or left that icky giblet packet in the turkey by mistake?

Or served brandied fruit to the tee-totaler in the family? Or used a bad pint of oysters for the oyster dressing? Yes, there is nothing quite as bonding as a family trip to the emergency room.

Of course, if I don’t poison them on purpose and Uncle Bud doesn’t remind Aunt Sissy about that unfortunate marriage of hers, it will be a good dinner.
True stories from my family files include the Thanksgiving dinner when Mama proudly presented her very first pecan pie to a table that included her mother and her mother-in-law. I can’t remember which one took the first bite, but the reaction was not what my mama was hoping for. She’d left the piece of paper that separates the two pie shells IN. So along with a delicious piece of pecan pie, everyone got a nice hunk of roughage.

Then there was the time Mama was entertaining her boss and his wife. She’d made her special pork chops along with her good brown gravy. Her decision to offer the gravy in the china gravy boat was one any Southern Belle might have made. If only she’d wiped that one small drip of brown liquid from the handle. It might not have slipped—dumping a good cup of hot brown gravy in her boss’s wife’s lap.

So when I heard that I was going to be hosting Sunday dinner, I had to quickly figure out the menu least likely to become a Family Story. What are your family stories about food fiascos? I’d love to hear what you did that lives on in the memories of your kin.

Share your best (or worst) dinner disasters with me in the comments (or via email to ) and I’ll send you a link to my Red Beans and Rice. One lucky winner will get a complete set of my recipe cards featuring recipes my characters love to eat!

Originally posted on

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Review and Feature

It's been a big day for Marilu Mann today!

We are featured on Suspense By Tina a blog where the owner, Tina LaVon, gathers up MySpace links and shares them. She is up to 975 links! Can you imagine it?

CHANGING TIMES by Marilu Mann got a 4 out of 5 at TRRC.

Cover for Changing Times

"Changing Times is a sensual and excellent adventure of the paranormal. The story is the perfect length for an afternoon get away into the world of shape shifters."

Read the rest of the review.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Many of us use different character charts or GMC charts, but what about once those are done? Do you really have a three-dimensional character that will leap off the pages to involve your reader? How can you throw in some texture, some color, some unique design to make him or her real? One way might be by choosing a name then going to various sources to see what is said. For instance, here is what Source #1 says about Chase as a feminine name:

Your name of Chase makes you very idealistic and generous, with the strong desire to uplift humanity leading you into situations where you can express your desire to serve others. You want to assume responsibilities and to look after people; however, you can become too involved in other people's problems and tend to worry. Your name gives you a natural desire to express along artistic and musical lines. You desire a settled home and family life, and are expressive and attentive to your loved ones.

This immediately gives me ideas about her as well as some insight into possible GMC. Of course, you are the author and the creator of your characters. They live in your mind and through your actions.

Something we do is to cast astrological charts. See Source #2 for where we normally start. Most of us have a basic knowledge of the Zodiac - Virgos are neat, Leos are proud, etc. So if you have decided where your character was born and how old she is, then you can guess at their sun sign and play with variations of charts. We learned that one of our heroes had been abandoned as a child and raised in an unhappy home when we cast his chart. Slade is the villain of Changing Times Lusting Wild 1 available here but is redeemed in Changing Hearts Lusting Wild 2 coming soon from Ellora's Cave.

Tarot cards can also play a part in your characterizations. You can use the Major Arcana alone or with the Minor Arcana included to gain insight into your character. Try a three-card spread where the middle card represents the character and the card to the left stands for Internal Motivation and the card to the right External Motivation. Source #3 offers a variety of spreads for writers.

Death from the World Spirit Tarot

Finally, let your characters have wiggle room. Don't box them in at first. If you are a plotter, then plot, but let them step outside of the plot lines every now and again to see if any other layers show up. Your perfectionist nurse might be hiding a leather mini skirt in the back of her closet.

This was previously an article in From The Heart Romance Writers (RWA #177) newsletter in 2003. It's been altered a bit and pictures added for flair!

Leave us a comment and tell us how you make your characters pop! Or if you don't write, tell us what makes a character memorable for you!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Le Feu Follet

Deep in the bayou, late at night, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might see a light moving just over there. Now, some folks’ll tell you they ain’t nothing but swamp gas. You can believe that if you like, but let me tell you about le feu follet ‘fore you go traipsing through the swamp in the dark. It’s not just the gators you have to watch out for.

Le feu follet…the old Cajuns say they are those souls escaped from Purgatory or maybe they’re the souls of babies who were never blessed in the Church. Perhaps you believe them to be Fae or elves holding dances over those marshy places set to trap unwary wanderers in the swamps and bayous. Whatever you believe them to be, le feu follet hold a grand place in Louisiana folklore.

If you wander into the bayou, down where the darkness holds sway, where the ‘gator and the water moccasins hold court, you might see those dancing lights. If you’re coming home after dark, poling your pirogue along in the black water, don’t be surprised if those lights are following you along the shore – they can’t cross the water to get you. So don’t be afraid, but do be wary when you step back on land. The other way to stop those restless spirits from following you is cold iron – take that pocket knife and thrust it into the ground behind you – that’ll hold ‘em for a bit. An elderly Cajun woman told me she didn’t trust a knife. She preferred needles saying that the feu follet just couldn’t resist trying to fit through the eye of the slim bit of steel.

There have always been tales of mysterious lights luring travelers to their doom. The Scots have the will o’ the wisp and the Slavic people tell tales of ghost lights. The Danes and others chase those lights knowing there is a treasure buried beneath it. But in Louisiana to this day, you can buy a beer in a bar and listen to someone who escaped a feu follet just last week.

Go down to Gonzales, Louisiana just outside of Baton Rouge. Get directions for Bayou Narcisse Rd and Cante Rd. Expect to hear dire warnings about what will happen to those foolish enough to follow the lights though. Some will tell you the Gonzales feu follet is harmless—others will tell a more compelling story of terror.

I’ve seen the feu follet dancing across the bayou late at night. Once, gazing out my bedroom window while dreaming about a boy I hoped would call me, a flicker of something caught my eye. I remember straining my neck forward trying to make it come into focus, but it just danced at the edge of the water seeming to mock me. Some Fey part of me cried when I realized I shouldn’t follow the flickering wisp of brightness. When I went to tell my mama, she told me not to mess with the Devil and go to bed. She called me a foolish child, but I heard her stick that steak knife in the front porch.

There are no feu follets to scare you in Changing Times. Just a werepanther trying not to fall in love with a human doctor even as his enemies threaten her life. I hope you will enjoy Tony and Carly’s journey.

Read an excerpt from Changing Times here.

This tale was previously a guest blog on fellow EC author, Shelley Munro's blog.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Check Out Sensual!

Check out Sensual!
I’m helping to spread the word about the newly redesigned website Sensual. If you like your romance novels on the steamy side, you’ll love this site. It’s full of reviews, interviews, excerpts, information on the newest print and ebooks and lots more. You can even win books and other goodies. So check it out.
Authors, you can spread the word too! If you’d like a chance to win one of 20 Cover Ads and get a shot at a fabulous grand prize (a 3 Pack of their huge billboard ads - a $100 value!) just repost this blurb on your blog or website. Then stop by Sensual and leave a link to your post. All authors are eligible to enter and win so why in the world wouldn’t you? See their site for more information and official rules:

I’ll see you at Sensual!

Monday, May 05, 2008

If you want to make sure you don't miss any more notices on the other two books that are coming out this year or any other sales, please send an email to Marilu Mann Fans.

We are REALLY excited about the release of Changing Times on May 7th. To celebrate we are giving away a Louisiana themed basket (the first two books in the Lusting Wild Series take place in Louisiana).
Visit our website - Great MTA for more info. While you are there, sign up for our newsletter (which automatically puts you in the running for that basket). As long as you are a member by Tuesday May 6th you will be in the running!

And if you would like a promo item or two (Recipe cards/Pens), send your name and address to Marilu with a subject line of "GIMME SOMETHING, MARILU!" In the spirit of Mardi Gras, we'll throw you something.

Our whirlwind-never-leave-your-chair book tour has started!

Where can you find Marilu?

  • Well, we were one of the featured new authors in this month's edition of Lady Jaided's Newsletter. You can check that interview out at Ellora's Cave newsletter. We had some great questions with this interview. Do you know what part of the body Marilu finds the sexiest?

  • We were also one of the featured authors in the Passionate Ink newsletter for the month of May.

  • Saturday we blogged about waiting over at Romerotica Writers. This is a group blog and you just never know who is gonna say what.

  • Sunday came and we're the featured author on MySpace Authors this week!! R.M. offers this service to other authors as well.

  • And our first interview is up at Interviews With Authors. Crystal was such a responsive interviewer.

  • Tonight you can join us at the Love Romances Cafe Yahoogroup (Subscribe if you want to join us) from 7-10pm EST.

  • Wednesday is release day and that's the day we're hosting a chat May 7 on the Ellora's Cave reader loop (Subscribe if you want to join us) from 1pm-7pm EST.

  • Wednesday we will also be blogging at MomDOTCom about dinner disasters. Barb runs a fabulous website for moms.

  • Thursday May 8 you will be able to find us blogging at Shelley Munro's about some Louisiana ghost tales.

  • There will be a chat with Ellora's Cave authors Friday May 9 at Coffetimes Romance

  • Then Saturday May 10 we will be the featured author at The Romance Studio including a free book giveaway!

It's a big week for the writing team of Marilu Mann. Cai and I invite you to come along for the ride. We'd love it if you took the time to leave a comment on every blog just because we like the attention. Ha!

Changing Times, by Marilu Mann will be available for purchase from Ellora's Cave on Wednesday. Use this link on Wednesday to buy your electronic copy! Just download it and read it on your own computer or ebook reader. NOTE: This link will just take you to a blank page until Wednesday.

Escape Into The Fantasy...