Tagged: Foody Friday

May 10, 2013 by

Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop

Logo for the AW blog hop

Welcome to a stop on the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop, where we’re showcasing erotica and erotic romance authors from the Absolute Write forums. Each day, interviews will be posted, and when it’s all said and done, some lucky commenter will win a huge prize! Click here for the entire blog schedule and details about the contents of the prize, and how to win an armload of ebooks, a $25 Amazon gift card, and more.

Today, I’m hosting Thea Landen.


Nook, Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad, Smartphone, Kobo, Paperback, or Hardcover? Why?

I have a regular Kindle and a Kindle Fire. I do most of my reading on the former, and I looooove it. I like having millions of books available at the click of a button, and it doesn’t take up much space on my already-packed shelves!

How big is your personal library? What genre do you read/collect the most?

I do my best to stay within my budget, so it’s not all that huge. I read in just about every genre, but I do love a good mystery. (I always wished I was smart enough to write them!)

What are you reading now?

I haven’t started it yet, but Tina Fey’s Bossypants is next on my list. I’ve also been flipping through some free erotic shorts. Research purposes, y’know. *cough*

I love the manga-style character in the header of your blog. Who is she? Are you into manga/anime?

One of my friends did a little doodle of a character named Thea from the old game Phantasy Star III. He cleaned it up for me after I expressed interest in using it (hey, I needed something!). I’ve thought about changing the header or site design a few times, but I don’t like change, so she’ll probably stay there for a while.

I’m actually not into manga/anime at all. I’ve watched a couple episodes of…something with another friend. While it was entertaining enough, I’ve never felt the urge to seek out more. (I already have too much to read and write and play and….)

You have an artwork section on your blog. Are the images commissions or fanart? How do you feel about fanart of your work?

Two of the more complex pieces were commissions, while the others are fanart. (Mostly from friends, but they did it of their own free will!) I know the topic of fanart and fanfic can cause a heated debate among authors, but I have no problem with it. I wrote fanfic before trying my hand at original works, and I still write some every now and then. If someone is so inspired by the universes and characters I create that it inspires them to create art of their own, I’m certainly not going to tell them not to! I think fanworks strengthen communities and can lead to a more dedicated following. Of course there’s the risk of poorly-written improbable situations, but I think there are far more important issues to get all worked up about.

What’s the best advice about your writing you’ve ever received?

I’m a musician, with quite a bit of performance and teaching experience under my belt. We used to have a saying for the younger students when it came to their dynamics, accents, and other markings – if the little old person in the back row can’t hear the expressions you’re putting in, it doesn’t count. Writing is similar, in a way. (Some of this I’m paraphrasing from my editor.) Take out the “almosts”, the “seems”, the “maybes”. Pull out all the stops. Be definitive with what your characters are doing. I’m not saying to exaggerate every little subtle nuance, but I do believe that strong writing has a better chance of connecting with readers.

What’s the best advice about writing you can give to others?

Write. Keep writing. Talking about writing is not the same as writing. Asking a million questions on an internet forum is not writing (sorry Absolute Write! I love you anyway!). Creating characters with intricate backstories that go all the way back to their first diaper change is close, but it doesn’t count as writing unless they’re actually doing something. Then once you’ve written, read it out loud. If it’s difficult to read out loud, it’s probably not easy for someone else to read. And lastly, when you share your work with others, if someone gives you constructive criticism, do not be nasty to that person who took the time to read what you wrote. Writing is subjective, and you’re never going to please everyone. Might as well accept that as soon as possible!

What genre do you write mostly and what appeals to you most about your genre?

I’m still trying to figure out if I’m an erotica author first and a sci-fi/fantasy author second, or if it’s the other way around. (I’m leaning towards the former.) I love erotica because I’m a romantic at heart and would always grow frustrated when, right after the main characters realized their true love, the scene would “fade to black”. Sci-fi/fantasy is appealing due to the infinite possibilities. Anything my imagination can come up with is fair game!

Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written?

Ro from Disintegration is probably my favorite. Not only is she an “onion” character – more and more layers are gradually peeled away as the story progresses – but she’s got some of my favorite smartass lines.

I know a lot of authors do soundtracks for their books; are you among them, and if so, what songs would you pair with your books?

I was originally going to answer this question with “no, I never choose soundtracks for my books”. Despite having a degree in music, I’m one of those people who very rarely listens to music when I write. (Probably because I find myself paying more attention to the music than the words!) Then I remembered how when I was writing the first two sections of The Edge of the Sphere, where our heroes are physically separated and trying to find each other, I had “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart playing on a loop. The lyrics fit well, and it’s a beautiful song all around.

What’s the one thing readers can always count on when they pick up a book written by you?

Not only will there be plenty of steamy sex, I always strive to capture the emotional reactions of the characters and integrate the erotic scenes into a compelling plot.

What’s the best piece you’ve written? Why?

I’m still completely enamored with Disintegration, my latest release, and I think it’s my best work. It’s got some of the hottest sex I’ve ever written and takes place in the most complex universe I’ve ever created. There’s a lot going on plot-wise besides the sex, but the erotic scenes are so integral to the story, it wouldn’t be nearly the same without them (which is what I like to see when I’m reading erotica in my spare time).

Which of your books sells best? Why do you think it’s that one?

Disintegration seems to be doing pretty well, though it’s still new and shiny, of course. Searching the Skies has done well over time, and I think it’s because there’s a market for light-hearted reads you can finish in a day or so. (And there’s a sequel coming out soon, so that will likely give it a boost!)

What would you tell a reader reluctant to read erotica?

Sex is a part of life, and “mainstream” literature is starting to acknowledge that. There is absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about reading graphic descriptions of sex; there is also no law stating that you have to advertise everything you read to your friends and family.


You can find Thea and her books on twitter, facebook, and at her website. Go check her stuff out!

Thank you for visiting this stop on the Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop! Please be sure to visit Thea’s blog tomorrow to read an interview with Charlie Descoteaux, and comment for more chances to win the grand prize!


Cover of Thea Landon's DisintigrationDutiful soldier Callum Renwick wakes up in the underground laboratory of a mercenary organization. He learns he was the sole survivor of an attack that destroyed his unit, his hometown, and his family. In addition to the loss of his loved ones, he discovers that due to his injuries, half his body has been supplanted by artificial skin and cybernetic parts. Once he has recovered, he is assigned to the care of Ro Bernard, who leads the effort to turn him into a powerful assassin. She is outspoken, yet secretive, and uses unconventional means to mold him into a depraved killer. Mind games and rough sex are in her repertoire of training tactics, and Callum is both infuriated and fascinated by her. As he comes to terms with his grief and his new role, many of his biological body parts fail and must be replaced. Will he adapt to survive in Ro’s world and exact vengeance on the woman who ordered the attack that changed his life?

Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.

Apr 21, 2013 by

Mostly Free Promotional Tools

There’s this idea that promoting your books has to be expensive, that it has to take chunks out of your writing time. It really, really doesn’t. It can be free. It can be set up in an afternoon, and maintained in lunch breaks. It can be more addictive than writing.

I’m sticking to the stuff that’s (nearly all) free here. I’m experimenting with paid adverts at the moment, and I’ll let you know how that works out, but there’s always that danger that once you start paying for promo you may spend more than you make.

I deal mostly in ebooks, so for me, promotion means connecting with readers online. It’s great – I don’t even have to leave the house! Waterstones would never let me host an event in my pyjamas, but I can blog hop from bed.

Continue Reading

Apr 14, 2013 by

How to choose a publisher

This discussion popped up on AbsoluteWrite the other day. When you watch writer after writer fall into the same traps due to their own ignorance (and their ignorance that they’re ignorant) sometimes you just want to shake people until the silly falls out of them. But that’s assault, and also not how brains work. Instead, I thought I’d share my ‘choosing a publisher checklist’.

How did you hear of this publisher? Have you bought books from them before? Do you recognise any of their authors? If your only point of contact is a google search for “publishers” you’re probably on the wrong track.

Do they want your money? You can almost certainly do better. Yog’s law: money flows towards the writer. Do they claim it’s normal to pay to be published these days? You can definitely do better. You don’t want to be in a business relationship with someone who flat out lies to you from the get go.

Do they accept your genre/pairing/kink? If they don’t, you’re probably in the wrong place. Yes, I know your book is special and wonderful and you really want to work with them despite the fact they’re a romance publisher and you’ve written horror, but even if they did accept it (and be very wary of a publisher that launches itself out of its niche like that!) all of their promotion, connections, branding and their readers will be irrelevant to you.

Do they accept all genres/pairings/kinks? If they’re not a huge, (inter)nationally renowned publisher you can find in every section of your local brick and mortar bookshop, this is probably a bad thing. Small publishers do better when they focus their efforts on niches.

Is the website aimed at readers or writers? Readers good, writers bad.

How easy is it to buy a book?

Is the book you bought any good? Is it interesting, with a compelling plot and engaging characters? Is it formatted correctly? Is the grammar and spelling correct? Is the cover visually appealing?

If no to any of the above, why are you still looking at this publisher?
If yes to all of the above, buy another book. Repeat.

If still yes, congratulations, you have a new source of good books to read! Get distracted from your manuscript, spend next three weeks reading through your new haul.

Remember publisher. Go back to website. Try and ignore those tempting ‘buy’ links.

What does their ‘About Us’ tell you? Do the staff have relevant experience in publishing? This does not include ‘writing’. Especially if they’re all published by their own publisher. Google the staff – LinkedIn is especially useful for determining if a publisher is run by one person under ten names or ten people.

What are their contract terms?Are the contract terms available on the site? A copy of the contract may not be forthcoming, but most submission FAQs answer the obvious questions. If there is nothing, email and ask. If they refuse to release contract details to anyone other than contracted authors, wonder what they’re hiding.

Red flags include:
– life of copyright contract without solid reversion rights (with epublishing and POD, out of print is basically meaningless)
– a grab for rights they don’t appear to be able to take advantage of, e.g. translation rights, audio rights (unless audio versions are available, obviously!), film rights etc
– royalties based on net, without a strong definition of net (preferably limited to retailers cuts)
– right of first refusal to future works without well-defined circumstances in which you can turn them down (e.g. if you get a better offer, or limited to direct sequels)
– detailed demands relating to your role in marketing your books
– use of the phrase “Your book will be available TO stores” as opposed to “Your book will be available IN stores”, and similar weasel wording. A good contract should not be vague.
– misuse of legal terms
– a contract that appears to have been used by another publisher first. Copyright infringement is bad!

Are their current authors happy with them? Try googling the name of the publisher plus words like “scam”, “problem”, “complaints”, or “non-payment”. Check sites like AbsoluteWrite, Preditors & Editors, Writer Beware and genre-specific watchdogs such as EroticRomancePublishers. Email several of their authors to get a wider picture of their satisfaction.

Are they currently accepting submissions?

If you can answer all of the above confidently and without niggling doubts (now is a really, really bad time to start lying to yourself) submit your manuscript. Buy some more books to keep yourself busy while waiting for a reply. If it’s an acceptance, and you get a contract, ask someone with experience in publishing contracts (not housing contracts, not employment contracts, not insurance contracts…) to go over with with you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t rush yourself.

Always remember: being badly published is worse than not being published at all.

Jan 10, 2013 by

Happy New Year!

gingerbread house advent calendar, complete with tiny me, tiny bf, and tiny santa!

It... doesn't look like this any more.

So it’s a slightly belated one, and I can’t say I have any real excuse. Been cosying up to the bf, watching wintery films and eating christmas leftovers. Yeah, we still have some – he made me a gingerbread house for an advent calendar that we’re still chewing our way through.

So, what’s the plans for 2013? Well, this time last year I said:

One problem with the inertia was the number of half finished manuscripts I’ve collected over 2011. A contemporary romance that requires serious editing. A steampunk romance halfway through mutating from a short story to a novella. The roughest of first drafts of a science fiction romance (that will hopefully become a rather smoother second draft shortly). So while I may decry resolutions, I do have a goal or two: I’m hoping all this change will change the statuses of these manuscripts, from drafts into complete.

The contemporary and the steampunk fell by the wayside, but the sci fi romance (still titled Space Romance for lack of a better name!) is about to be subbed any second now, and I somehow accidentally wrote a sequel to Tease, which is currently seeking a BSL deaf community beta reader (anyone know any?). There’s also a gothic horror novella that’s two scenes from completion too. So, not the books I set out to write, but not a bad haul anyway.

So this year’s plans line up as follows:

– name Space Romance. Sub Space Romance.
– find beta-reader for Tease sequel. Sub Tease sequel (which has a name: Flirt).
– finish and sub  gothic horror novella.
– put together previously published erotica into a self-published anthology.

And if I get all that done, there’s also the second gothic novella percolating in the back of my head (it’d be set in 1630s Venice), and maybe revisit that contemporary romance and the steampunk. And and and…

See, this is why I don’t make resolutions.

Dec 1, 2012 by

Christmas Mix CD

I’ve been totally overpreparing for Christmas this year. Started in October. I learned to knit this year, so I’ve been making scarves like mad (1 and 3/4 left to do!), plus making mincemeat and christmas cake and gingerbread and soap and chocolates and all that sort of thing. I’m not normally so into DIY Christmases, but I had so much stuff to hand and it’s a good channel for my excess creative energy. It’s the first Christmas living with the bf, so we’re really making this Christmas our own (even if we are spending the day itself with my parents) and making advent calendars for each other.  I’ve already started buying decorations for a tree we haven’t got yet and planning food for a party I haven’t organised.

Anyway, part of the aforementioned advent calendar I’ve made includes a mix CD, since we swapped xmas mixes last year and it’s is a ripe time of year to find some more unusual tunes. Since he doesn’t read the blog, I can safely share the one I’ve put together for him! I’ve done a cover for it and everything (because what is a mix CD but an excuse to have a play on photoshop?) but that’s on a different computer, so I’ll add it when I get a chance.

I’ve gone for a sort of “well, it could be worse” kind of theme, as you can see!

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues feat Kirsty McCall
Another Christmas Song – Stephen Colbert
Father Christmas – The Kinks
Christmas Tree on Fire – Holly GoLightly
Santa Ain’t Comin’ No Mo – Eraserhead
Christmas Down the Pub – John the Chippy
Christmas Night of the Living Dead – MxPx
Post Apocalypse Christmas – Gruff Rhys
Chiron beta Prime – Jonathan Coulton
Christmas in Prison – Emmy the Great ft Lightspeed Champion
Dear Santa – Persil
A Cold, Cold Christmas – Stephen Colbert
But Hey, Happy Christmas – the Strawheads
Ding Dong Merrily on High – The Singing Loins

If you guys are interested, I’ll post last year’s too, though I may not link all the songs (since I ripped most of them off CDs I already own). On the other hand, why should you care about my domestic xmas projects? 😛