Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Drink champagne, eat chocolate and kiss the one you love. Have a wonderful, romantic holiday.

BJ

Happy Valentine's Day

Drink champagne, eat chocolate and kiss the one you love. Have a wonderful, romantic holiday.

BJ

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Two Nominations!!!

Thanks for the congratulations, but as it turns out I have TWO nominations for RT Reviewers Choice awards!

Fangs For The Memories by Cricket Starr in the category Best Erotic Romance & Erotica Novels 2006 - Paranormal/Fantasy/SciFi Erotic Romance.

Beloved Enemy by Janet Miller in the category Best Small Press 2006 Small Press Paranormal Contemporary/Fantasy/Futuristic.

So both sides of my split writing personality as well as two of my publishing houses, New Concepts Publishing and Ellora's Cave are nominated for awards.

I was totally stunned, thrilled, and honored by the news.

Cheers,
Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Way to Go Cricket

Congratulations to Cricket Starr
RT Reader's Choice nomination for Fangs for the Memories - Best erotic novel 2006.

Way to Go Cricket

Congratulations to Cricket Starr
RT Reader's Choice nomination for Fangs for the Memories - Best erotic novel 2006.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dreams & Desires: An Anthology For Charity

January is half over and my To Do List has very few strikethroughs. I was feeling optimistic about what I planned to accomplish. Maybe a five-page list was a bit unrealistic. LOL At any rate, here's one thing I can cross off my list - my blog post here.

Just wanted to share a bit of exciting news ... I was invited to participate in a charity anthology, Dreams & Desires, which will be out in February. Not only does this anthology contain wonderful stories written by 18 other authors, ALL net proceeds will be donated to a battered women's shelter in Florida. Thus, none of us - including the publisher - will profit from this book. So please help us support a great cause - and read a bunch of great stories - by buying the perfect Valentine's Day book.

To purchase, please visit Freya's Bower or BarnesAndNoble.com. For more information on the book, as well as an excerpt from my story, "Romance For One", please visit my web site.

Wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Best Wishes to all. Have a very merry holiday.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What makes a hero unforgettable?

I was walking the dog this morning, which is something I do every day. It gives me time to think about the work in progress and what I'll write on any particular day. Today I got sidetracked (not unusual) and started thinking about heroes in romance--what makes them not only hot and yummy, but unforgetable? What makes you, as a reader, sigh and wish the hero had his shoes parked under your bed? Because I'm most familiar with the men I write, I went back through my "men of Wolf Tales." In order of appearance, I've got Stefan Aragat--brash and cocky but with a soft heart and a powerful desire to please his packmates. There's Anton Cheval, the most powerful of all my Chanku. A wizard as well as a shapeshifter, he's also one of the older characters, and, in Chanku Journey (fall 07) becomes a father for the first time, something that scares him spitless. There's Lucien Stone from WTII, Mik and AJ, and Tinker McLintock--all alpha males, but each with a character trait -- call it a weakness, if you will -- that gives them a softer side. Do you see where I'm going with this? Even Jacob Trent, my Chanku "bad boy" has secrets that make him vulnerable, and that, I think, is the necessary ingredient in creating a perfect hero. It's not how handsome he is, or even how good in the sack. It's that vulnerability that tempers all the tough-guy traits. If he's always hard-edged, always the tough guy without a bit of softness, he doesn't need love, right? But, if he's vulnerable in some way, a vulnerability he shares with the heroine, it gives him a sense of humanity the uber-alpha male lacks. At least that's my opinion. I'm curious about what you think? Do you want your hero to have at least one small chink in his manly armor? I'd love to know what makes a hero unforgettable for you, and if you disagree with me, do your best to change my mind!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Exposure

Have you seen the "Britney" photos on the internet?

I'll admit to writing a scene where my heroine "forgot" to wear her underwear, but the act was intended for the "hero" never for the "public" at large.

I'll never create a heroine like Britney or Paris or Madonna and I really don't care what they do, but why do romantica writers take so much heat?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Resolutions!

I don’t often have contests, but friends of mine who worked on an anthology for http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com are getting together with me to run a contest for “Resolutions.” What’s the book about? You got it! Four hot stories about friends who made their resolutions come true! My story, FREE FALL, is based on the time I went skydiving. Yes, I jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet with nothing but a man and a parachute strapped to my back. It’s called tandem skydiving (and bad girl that I am, it was terribly erotic, too). Unfortunately, the week before I did it, a couple died when their chute didn’t open. But I’m alive to tell the tale and you can read all about it in “Resolutions,” along with great stories by Leigh Wyndfield, Dee S. Knight and Vanessa Hart. To hear how you can enter for the chance to win a gorgeous tote bag filled with autographed books and other fun stuff, go to my web page, http://www.skullybuzz.com/contest.html

Also, I’m signing copies of my latest Berkley HEAT, OPEN INVITATION, tonight, 7:30 pm. at the Santa Clara Borders Express in Valley Fair Mall. That’s at the junction of the 880 and 280 freeways. With me will be Josie Brown, Jami Alden and Karin Tabke. Hope you all drop on by!

BTW, I just finished reading all three new books by these ladies, and let me tell you, they’re HOT!!!! Great reads, one and all.

And you might have guessed my question for all of you this morning. What’s your New Years Resolution?

Jasmine Haynes
http://www.skullybuzz.com

Thursday, November 16, 2006

what I love about the writing life

Lots of things! Like when I'm taking a walk and a brilliant line comes to me and I repeat it to myself over and over until I get home so I can write it down, oops, better do that now while I still remember...okay, wrote it down and I'm back! What else do I love? Ooh, that first moment when a new concept comes, a brilliant concept. Or when your character suddenly comes to life. There's always a trigger for me. Some characteristic or event in their past that suddenly makes them real. I love sitting with my Alphasmart on my lap and just typing away, in the flow, then downloading and realizing I have a whopping ten pages. And they're actually good pages, too! I love my writing friends. I love the flexibility (as in I'm taking off in 10 minutes to have my nails done and I don't have to tell the boss!). I love holding a new book in my hands. I love getting that first page onto a blank screen. I love typing The End. I love all the finagling of my characters that beginning and the ending. I guess I just love being in someone else's skin for a while, too. And you know, that's exactly what I love about reading, too. Going to far off places or just feeling an unexpected feeling.

What does everyone else love about writing and reading? Really, why DO we do it?
Jasmine
www.skullybuzz.com

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stuff

Now that I’ve moved to Pismo Beach I’m trying to squeeze my “stuff” into a house half the size of the Sebastopol home I sold. I have to throw or give “stuff” away. I gleefully tossed a lot of my “working” clothes and love spending the day in jeans and shorts. How many pots, pans and appliances does one really need?

I plan to toss out more "stuff" but I’m having a real problem getting rid of books.

My husband doesn’t understand why I keep books I've read. He doesn’t like watching a movie a second time either. If I had a walk-in closet I’d have a mini library. Space is at a premium in my small house and I have books tucked under my bed, in the truck of my car and in a bulging suitcase in the backyard shed.

Am I totally weird or do any of you have the same problem?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the release train rolls on...

I am a writer in the business of writing, and writing is a business.

So what do I mean by this? I mean that just about every day I have to deal with being a professional writer in one way or another. Unlike most jobs there aren't really any days off. You are working most of the time.

I've kind of lost track of how many books I've written or contracts I've signed. The earlier part of this year I had three books go from ebooks into print. Then in August Rogues was released in ebook, in September Ellora's Cavemen Dreams Of The Oasis III came out in ebook and print, October was the print release of the White Hot Holiday collections, November 8th Tasting Nightwalker Wine was released from Cerridwen. Ellora's Cavemen Legendary Tails I was just released in Spanish. Next month I have a Wild Winter quickie on December 22, in January Memories Revised will be released.

I just finished edits on A Promise Made, a new novella for New Concepts Publishing. And then there are the works in progress... another collaboration with Liddy Midnight called Outlaws, and a new Hollywood After Dark tale, this time for Ellora's Cave.

So either the time is spent writing, editing, promoting, in other words something to do with the business. If nothing else there is reading what other people write to keep up with what the market is putting out.

Of course that latter is mostly an excuse...and my favorite part of this business.
Hey, read any good books lately?

Cheers,
Janet/Cricket

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sgt. Pepper and All That

For the first time in ages, I’ve just listened to the CD of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Even though they're not in the same order as on the original album (yikes, an actual record to be played on a turntable), the songs struck me with as great an impact as the first time I heard them in the late sixties. So what if “When I’m Sixty-Four” is coming back to bite Paul McCartney in the butt? So what if I I could weep looking at the pictures of the young John and George -- and Paul and Ringo. The songs are as fresh and energetic -– I have to sing along and get up and move -– as they were then. Maybe more.

The other “album” that hits me in the gut the way much of the Beatles does is Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. I’ll never forget the first time I heard their rendition of “Silent Night”. A friend who’d bought the record gathered a group of us and told us to shut up and listen. We did.

A flood of memories, 20-20 hindsight, and all that. Surely it all was as I remember it, right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I've Got a Cover For SEX LOUNGE!

I feel as if I'm spamming the Internet but ... I'm so excited, as I FINALLY received the cover for my May 2007 book, Sex Lounge. With each thing I receive -- copy edits, cover flats -- my book feels more and more ... real! Since the lead time from contract to publication feels so long ... is it just me or do other authors worry that their editor is going to call one day and say, Gee, we made a mistake. We don't want to buy your book after all ? LOL

At any rate, here's the back cover blurb:

Manager of a San Francisco talent agency, Nichole Simms is poised, professional, and cool - but her private notebook reveals a much more daring woman who loves explicit, uninhibited sexual fantasies. Her dream lover is a secret. Until he finds her notebook …

Famous chaise designer Derek Mitchell can't believe his eyes when he stumbles upon Nichole's secret book - in which he stars. Derek is hot to explore each sinful scene and every red-hot obsession with this demure, quiet beauty … and fulfill her every desire.

And here are the quotes they used:

"A sexy page-turner. You'll love it!" --Lori Foster

"Rachelle Chase is the Goddess of Erotic Romance. The hot, steamy, and unforgettable romance sizzles in this page-turning novel." --Mary B. Morrison"

An amazing erotic imagination...the reader is simultaneously swept up in Chase's writing, drawn into the drama of her characters, and kept in a state of sexual arousal...takes you on a ride that is exciting and enlightening." --Dr. Michael Bader, author of Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies

I am just too thrilled!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Writers and their health

Okay, very boring subject today, but mucho on my mind. I sold my first book 3 years ago. I quit my day job two and a half years ago. Writing and being a published author has always been my dream. I worked toward it for over 20 years, getting financially secure, making the contact, hmm, and actually writing the books, too. So here I am!!! And what happens? My body starts to fall apart on me. I have a hard time typing on the computer all day and I lay awake in pain at night. For a while, I hurt so badly that I couldn’t even hold a book to read. Thank God THAT’S gotten better. I’m doing physical therapy now. I’ve got what’s called “multiple crush.” In other words, I’ve been staring at my computer screen day in and day out on a chair that wasn’t ergonomic using a laptop where I couldn’t get the screen and the keyboard in the right place, hence, I jutted my head forward to see it and ended up screwing up the nerves going down my arms. Okay, took a while to get myself into this place, and it will take awhile to get myself back out, but I do have a point, I swear it!

Writers have a sedentary job. I don’t even go to meetings or rush down the hall to the copy machine or printer or over to MIS or Customer Service, or maybe out to the factory floor to count some inventory. No, I sit in front of the computer until my butt ACHES! I wonder how many of us do that. I’m pretty sure those of us with new babies don’t! But what about the rest when we’re on deadline? Now that I’ve reached my goal, made my dream come true, I don’t want to lose it all to a broken-down body. So here are some of the things I’m doing to keep myself in good writing shape.

First, I go for my daily speed walk. I think I do about 3 ½ miles. I have a timer on my computer now to remind me to get up every half hour, if for nothing else than to walk about my office and stretch a bit. I bought an external keyboard for my laptop so that I can have my eyes and my arms in the right place! I do a series of exercise to help my posture. I take my vitamins to help keep osteoporosis and arthritis at bay. And don’t forget the fish oil, which is good for lots of things. I practice breathing from my belly instead of my chest (you know, that’s really hard to do!). And I get a monthly deep tissue massage. Hmm, that’s actually a bonus.

I’d love to hear what all of you do to keep yourselves in tip-top shape. I might just have to incorporate it into my routine!

Jasmine Haynes
http://www.skullybuzz.com

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wie Gehts!

RedHotRomance

Ja, I’m sprechen German at you. Why? Because I’m in Germany this week.

Why? Well, that’s a long story involving the day job and the need to learn things best learned from those who have the most experience. One impact of working for an international company is that occasionally you have to go international to do your job.

Fortunately I rather like to travel as anyone familiar with http://26tickets.miramontes.com/ can testify to. Hey, at least I have enough time to do laundry on this trip.

Mmmm, clean socks tomorrow…

Traveling from a writer’s perspective is a little different. Your schedule is thrown off so even doing random things like working on a blog entry can become a challenge. Making progress on a WIP can be difficult because you don’t have the notes you left in your office at home.

Besides you used all your energy up just driving to and from work, coping with strange traffic signs, unfamiliar roads, and communicating with the waitress in German to order dinner.

On the other hand when you are staying alone in a hotel room, there can be nothing better to do than write. Last year I wrote most of Pleasure Maid, my Ellora’s Caveman story in Dreams Of The Oasis III, during a similar three week trip to Germany. This year I just finished up edits on my Christmas quickie, Perfect Hero.

I’ve got another week here and long evenings to work on stuff. Who knows what I’ll accomplish?

In the meantime auf wiedersehen!
Janet/Cricket

Monday, October 23, 2006

Learning Italian

As I’m required to take 150 hours of instruction every five years to keep renewing my California teaching certificates (Rant # 47, which I’ll spare you), I’m currently taking a class in Beginning Italian at Foothill College. Since I know lots of French and a little Spanish, Italian is easy for me. The instructor, a native speaker, is quite good. The mix of students has come as a pleasant surprise. Other than difficulties parking, I find the experience very positive—especially having the chance to learn this very beautiful language and to have the mental shake-up that getting into a new language demands.

One of the features of Italian that really impresses me is the sense of style that imbues the pronunciation and the construction of the words. In addition to being euphonic, Italian is molto elegante.

The question and challenge is, how to get the feeling of the language, like the feeling of being in Rome, into a story?

Meeting old friends

I write a tightly connected series with characters who appear and reappear throughout the ongoing storyline. This week I started a new book, Wolf Tales V, which is actually the ninth story in the Wolf Tales saga. The heroine is new but the hero has been around for a couple books. I realized, when I wrote his opening scene, that I felt like I was saying hello to an old friend. Bay hasn't had his own story yet. He's been an important yet peripheral character in the lives of other characters, but he's always been fun to write. Now, however, he's the star and I actually feel excited about finally giving him a romance of his very own.

For those of you who write series, do you connect with your characters as if they are real living, breathing people? I do. Baylor Quinn is at least as real to me as many of my friends in cyber-space, and almost as real as the ones I see every day in "real" space. I know his background, I've met his sisters and I sympathize with all of them for the dysfunctional upbringing they had. Most of all, I really like Bay. He's the kind of man I'd want to know--intelligent, warm-hearted and loving, yet with a streak of vulnerability, a sense of need about him that gives him an even greater appeal. I get to take all these bits and pieces of the man I've essentially created out of whole cloth and turn him loose. I've only written one scene with him so far. I can't wait to see what he's going to do next.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bella ponders how to write the BIG ideas...

Ever since I had my second child 2 months ago, my brain has been brimming over with high concept book ideas. This happened last time I gave birth--I don't know if there's some kind of weird body-mind connection between birthing a baby and an idea? But I digress...

I've run several of my hooks by my agent and she loves them all. Okay, great. That means I can go ahead and write the proposal chapters, right? Well, sort of. I'm usually the kind of writer who just jumps right and works it out on the page. I love beginnings because anything seems possible. It's the end of the book where I tend to drag a bit. Very much a different process from many of my writer friends who slave over the beginning and then race to the end.

This time around, however, I feel like the hooks are so solid that I don't want to mess up and get it wrong. Of course, all this thinking does is mess with my brain, and I sit here worrying about the writing, rather than getting to the writing.

Yes, I understand that each book I write is supposed to stretch me as a writer (or are they really? can't we coast sometimes and still write good books? another digression...), but I wouldn't mind it if I get lucky and when I sit down to actually attack the first few chapters, they flow easily and beautifully.

I'd love your thoughts on being stretched as a writer and how you deal with ideas that seem too big to get down on paper.

;-) Bella

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