Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Dance of the Seven Veils

This week I’m celebrating the eighth anniversary of the publication of my first Ellora’s Cave book, Danceof the Seven Veils. I signed the contract in June 2004 and had to wait until January 28, 2005 to see it actually available to the public. What a delirious high.

In those days I didn’t think of a four-book series, or that I’d have twelve books out by January 2013, I just knew that I wanted to be an Ellora’s Cave author, because they were the publisher who put erotic romance on the map. Previously, editors had loved my writing but consistently told me to tone down my love scenes. Imagine how delighted I was that I could push my own personal envelope as far as writing about sex was concerned!

Dance of the Seven Veils is the coming-of-age story of a 39-year-old heroine whose ex-husband psychologically abused her. It took great courage for Lyssa to let her friend coax her to a masquerade party at a private sex club. Costumed as Salome in diaphanous veils, she receives many a compliment from admirers, giving her the impetus to act out when she hears Richard Strauss’ erotic music from the opera Salome played over loudspeakers.

This is part of what happens at the party:

Excerpt from Dance of the Seven Veils
© Cris Anson

He pulled both sides of the slicker apart and hauled her up against his naked length. One hand came around her shoulder; the other took hold of her hand as in a normal dancing stance. He slid the hand down from her shoulder to the small of her back, tightening his hold. With the other he positioned her palm on his hairy thigh. And started swaying to Coltrane and the blues, snuggling his erect penis against her. “I’ve always dreamed of holding Marilyn Monroe in my arms,” he murmured into her ear. “And now I’ve got her. All soft curves. All woman.”

For a moment Lyssa went shell-shocked at his comment, then relaxed a bit and reveled in the warmth, the safety of being wrapped in strong, male arms. She relished the feel of his hard cock pressing between her legs, evidence that she was a desirable woman. Heat from his swarthy skin radiated through the thin silk into every pore, raising her internal temperature almost to a point where she had to reciprocate.

Suddenly she felt heat on her back as well. Someone—unmistakably a man, naked as well—pressed against her from behind. Large, callused hands settled around her waist. She felt the slight scrape of five o’clock shadow against her nape, warm breath in her ear. He, too, seemed decidedly aroused, his engorged penis finding the cleft between her buttocks and moving his hips suggestively.

A shiver that was half panic, half desire, zapped through Lyssa. Eyes closed, she allowed herself to live in the moment, to examine her dichotomous reaction to what Kat had once laughingly called a “man sandwich” with her as the filling. In the prim, repressed part of her mind that George had boarded up tight, she knew she shouldn’t be allowing this, that she was merely a handy receptacle for two indiscriminate males in heat. Yet, in the part that was awakening to adventure, she knew that nothing would happen without her consent. That Kat had somehow known she wasn’t frigid but only needed an opportunity to discover that fact. That she had had some part in arousing these two sexually sophisticated men who took more and more intimate liberties the longer she stood quiescent.

She could feel the two penises, hard, hot, urgently seeking, which had somehow snuck under her veils and stroked her, skin against skin, skin against pubic hair. Their breathing became more ragged, and hers along with it, their hands touching, caressing, stroking her in every place they could reach.

“No.” It came out a whisper. She opened her eyes, cleared her throat. “No,” she said, more forcefully.

She knew she was blushing furiously. She couldn’t meet the fireman’s eyes as he slowly, regretfully, took a step back. The other did as well, his hands slow to leave her waist, trailing his fingers as if trying to prolong contact. Would they think she was merely a cockteaser? So what? She’d never see them again.

One didn’t just jump into something like this, she rationalized. Why, even with salsa she started out mild, only gradually building up her palate to the point where she enjoyed the sizzling chilies. To herself she could admit that the feelings she had experienced in the past several hours had exceeded anything she’d known in her life. But to give these two strangers access to her orifices because she had allowed them to arouse her—she just couldn’t.

“Sorry,” she said, head bent down in something akin to guilt. It was the George syndrome all over again, an inability to satisfy a man, freezing up at an inopportune moment, her congenital inadequacy surfacing with a vengeance.

“Sweetheart,” the man behind her murmured, “you’ve nothing to be sorry for. You’re the hottest firecracker I’ve ever lit. If the other guys knew the feel of you against them, how shivery you react, they’d be lining up for a chance to touch you.”

Original cover from 2005
He brushed his lips against her nape in a parting gesture. “And I’m sure as hell not going to tell them. I want to be first in line.”

And he was gone.

In her peripheral vision, Lyssa noted the fireman, incongruously barefoot with his slicker, still stood near her. She lifted her head, thrust out her chin, ready to flinch at a stinging putdown she was sure would come.

“I second the motion.” He smiled, a slow, sensuous smile full of hunger, and turned to snag a longneck bottle of beer from a passing waiter’s tray. “To you,” he said, lifting the bottle in tribute. “The new Marilyn Monroe. Sex goddess incarnate.”

And he moved into the shadows, leaving Lyssa alone while her heart pounded and her breasts rose and fell with her labored breathing. She could hardly believe it. She, whom George had called a fat cow, had captured the interest of several attractive, virile men. Were they just seeking new blood? Or was Kat right, and she was a desirable woman?

Find Dance of the Seven Veils and all my books at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks and other venues.

Lyssa dared to find her sensuality. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beyond Kama Sutra: SEX UNLIMITED

Dr. Charley Ferrer is a world-renowned Clinical Sexologist and Relationship Coach. She is the award winning author of thirteen books on relationships, sexuality, and self-empowerment. She conducts workshops throughout the US to help men and women fully embrace their sensuality and derive more pleasure from their lives. Her charismatic approach to helping others has made her the Sex Expert for various magazines, newspapers and radio shows.

Tell us a little about yourself and your qualifications.
Well to share a little about myself, I hold a Masters in Counseling Psychology, a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. I am a certified Sex Educator, Sex Therapist, and Clinical Sexologist. I am also a trained Hypnotherapist. I am a world renowned Clinical Sexologist and have lectured in the US, Canada and Latin America on sexual health and reform for over 13 years. I’ve also conducted two ground-breaking studies on sexuality which will be coming out in 2013. I’ve also been a professor teaching psychology and human sexuality courses at various colleges and universities throughout the US including Evergreen State College and Rutgers University. I’ve also created various workshops to help medical and mental health professions when dealing with sexually related issues. Sex Unlimited is my 13th book and is focused on dating, seduction, and erotic pleasures.

Love the title. Tell us a little about Sex Unlimited. 
Sex Unlimited provides valuable information on what to doing when you’re dating; addressing issues such as who pays for dinner, one-night-stands, should you shave or not, and more. But that’s not all, there are seduction exercises that everyone should know and, more importantly, “Sexercises” created especially for you to help get your body into sexual shape for those deliciously wicked encounters. Sex Unlimited provides candid examples on ways to improve and enhance your sexual repertoire to derive more pleasure from your love life. This is not your grandmother’s dating manual and it goes beyond any Kama Sutra book on the market. Sex Unlimited holds the ultimate secrets to make your love life so steamy hot you’ll need to have the fire department on standby. I’ve provided an excerpt of my book below. 

As a participant in your 2012 BDSM Workshop for Writers, I learned a lot about the lifestyle and have been incorporating it into my books. Are you planning more such workshops this year?
It was such a pleasure to have you at the BDSM for Writers workshop last year. I enjoyed reading your Blog on your experience and seeing how much you learned and experienced. 
Yes, I will be conducting another workshop this year for writers in New York City and even one in Des Moines, Iowa to help writers learn more about Dominance and submission and the power exchange relationships. This year, I’ve also added a day of psychological thrills on criminal minds to help authors enhance the emotional and psychological connections of their characters. Individuals can register now for 2012 prices. For those who can’t attend in person, you can always join me for online classes and/or download the MP3/Digital recordings which I’m putting together. 

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
My mission in life is to help men and women derive the ultimate happiness from their lives.  I strive to accomplish this by helping to empower them and by helping men and women overcome past misconceptions and limiting behaviors. In a way, I’m helping individuals get out of their own way and stop sabotaging themselves and their relationships so they can embrace their sensual and sexual divinity. 
 A majority of my clients are outside of NYC and so I offer confidential consultations via the phone and internet. These consultations are just as effective as if we were sitting face-to-face only there was no driving involved.  I offer individual and couples Coaching & Mentorship services to assist individuals with their relationships, improve self-esteem and self-empowerment. I also provide Coaching & Mentorship services to individuals who wish to learn more about the BDSM lifestyle and incorporate it into their lives and/or find comfort in their desires. 
For authors, I provide Coaching services to assist them with creating realistic characters and scenes whether that’s in the BDSM genre or with criminal characters; ensuring a well-rounded believable novel.  
It’s always a pleasure to talk about my work and help others embrace their full potential whether that’s geared toward their writing abilities or their personal lives. To celebrate the debut of my book, I’m offering a special discount on Sex Unlimited.  Readers can purchase an eBook copy for only $4.99 through my website and/or order a paperback copy and receive a free eBook copy they can share with a friend. 
Live with passion,
Doctor Charley…
Excerpt from Sex Unlimited, all rights reserved
  Delicious Sexual Appetizers

Have you ever woken up horny needing to be ravished or perhaps wanting to ravish someone yourself?  Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have your partner grab you and quench that sexual craving you had instantly—that very second?  In bed, against the wall, on the kitchen table, in the shower, in a car, while you’re fully dressed or not—it didn’t matter as long as it happened immediately!
What is so awesome about Quickies anyway?  And more importantly, how can you reap the rewards of their erotically charged orgasms repeatedly? 
Quickies are those intensely sexual encounters that last merely a few moments, yet the memory of it teases you for hours, days, even years. 
What makes those devilishly brief pleasures so sinfully delicious? 
Contrary to popular belief not all men see Quickies as a way to get off and forget about your needs.  For many men, Quickies are a way to affirm their love and affection—a way to be close to you—and receive affirmation of your affections in return.  It’s their way of connecting with you when they don’t know what to say or do to make things better.  At times, Quickies provide them with a sense of security and yes, even helps to eliminate their fears.  If you’re in a committed relationship, how much more affirmation of his love and desire do you need?   If you’re just starting out, isn’t lust grand?  
Don’t forget, men haven’t been taught to communicate their emotions like women have.  They were taught how to express themselves physically—and even aggressively—anything else would mean they were sissies or worse.  Thus, how can we now blame men for what they’ve been taught all their lives?  Instead, let’s meet them halfway.  There’s nothing wrong and definitely nothing sinful about Quickies!  Yes, a man may be more inclined to want a Quickie than a woman, but that’s because women have been socially conditioned not to want sex itself.  Plus, men have this amazing capacity to be “in the moment” allowing them to derive the most pleasure from any given situation.  True, they’re not worried about getting pregnant or their reputations, however with a little pre-planning on your part, once you’re in a relationship, you can derive just as much pleasure as men do.
If you were to release your inhibitions and perhaps the misconception that Quickies are just for a man’s pleasure, you might find that you enjoy Quickies much more than you ever imagined.  You might even start demanding them.  Engaging in a few Quickies throughout the week will ensure you both want to make time for that long amorous encounter later that week.  You’ll discover that you want more time to enjoy all those sensual feelings together and are more willing to make the time to express your physical desire and love. 
There is nothing wrong with getting what you need or giving your partner what he or she desires even if it’s based in primal animal hunger and lust, or merely to alleviate his fears and cultivate his desires or yours.  We all need affection and affirmation.  Sometimes the swift appeasement of our sexual hunger is enough to make life worth smiling about. 
If you want those four- and twelve-hour long romantic lovemaking sessions, then you have to get with the program and let that naughty bad girl inside you come out to play and discover the thrills of passionate surrender. 
Feed your wildness! 
It is that same wildness that feeds your pleasure when you’re sharing romantic love and have those long drawn out sessions with him.  Don’t limit your sexual power.  Have fun.  Grab those Quickies wherever and whenever you can.  Quickies are not just a cheap thrill, they are a delicious sexual appetizer—the prelude to a luscious main course.

Great advice from Dr. Charley Ferrer! Get your copy of Sex Unlimited now.
--Cris Anson

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The legendary Alice Orr spoke about the perfect pitch to the Liberty States Fiction Writers meeting in Edison, New Jersey last weekend. The author of No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells, published by Writer’s Digest Books, Ms. Orr is past president of the New York City Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and past Vice-President of Sisters in Crime Mid-Atlantic Chapter. She was named Agent of the Year by both the New Jersey and New York Chapters of the Romance Writers of America, as well as Editor of the Year by the National Booklovers Convention.

Intensity. Power. Drama.

Those are the qualities your pitch needs when you are offering your book to an agent or editor, according to author, agent and editor Alice Orr.

You’re sitting next to an agent in a “pitch session” at the conference. Or the only person in the elevator with you says, “So tell me about your story,” and she’s the elusive editor you’ve been dying to meet. If you can’t encapsulate your story in two or three sentences, you’ll lose their attention and that offer to read your manuscript.

So how do you make the perfect pitch?

Use three or four high-impact words, what Ms. Orr calls “WOW” words. If your story is dark, consider words like rage, brutal, savage, ordeal, snarling and the like. Action? How about plunge, rip, burst, agony/agonizing, et cetera. Positive impact? Magnetic, electric/electrify, fascinate, enflame. Negative impact? Shatter, paralyze, cripple, devour. And of course, for romance authors, words like lure, quench/unquenchable, torrent, lash, vibrate, hunger.

Get the picture? Intensity. Power. Drama.

Ms. Orr’s handouts included a sheet from which I chose the above words. The sheet listed columns of positive, negative, action, love/lovemaking, dark emotion, and danger words. You can compile your own list as you come across words that make your adrenaline surge.

Although the Hollywood pitch (Godzilla meets Pretty Woman) has been overused, it’s possible to convey your story in this way. Just be sure the citations you use are universally known (for example, someone suggested Inception, but many in the audience went, Huh?).

For a hands-on exercise, we broke into pairs and listed these story points in our completed manuscript:
  • short description of the main character
  • his/her love interest, if germane to the story
  • the antagonist or villain—who or what is fighting your character
  • the time and place of your story
  • the intense conflict between character and antagonist
  • what motivates your character to act on this conflict

Then each pair brainstormed to construct a two- to three-sentence pitch using WOW words, remembering that, as Ms. Orr stressed, “conflict is the essence of story”. Here are two results:

* Pitch for Cris Anson’s Redemption and Glory (I cheated. This isn’t a completed manuscript; it’s my work in progress, the sequel to Mercy and Redemption).

Tormented by his attraction to a bewitching Domme, groupie-magnet Adam fights his inclination to submit to any female. Yet the famous sculptor can’t turn away from the fiery redhead, and his obsession becomes a journey to self-revelation.
(red = WOW words)

* Pitch for Rose Carole’s Sanctuary (a completed manuscript I’ve read that is, in my opinion, worthy of publication)

Having fled her brutal husband, Georgia socialite Suzanna Brown captivates her new employer, Matthew Turner. As their passion grows under the backdrop of New York City, Suzanna fears what will happen if her terrible secret is revealed.
(red = WOW words)

Caution: a pitch is not a blurb. A pitch is meant to lure an editor or agent. A blurb is back-cover copy to lure the reader. Here’s an example of a blurb (for Mercy and Redemption):

While searching an old cemetery for likely gravestones to illustrate her colonial cookbook, Mercy Howe meets two hunks who are tracing their ancestry, and sparks fly. Literally.

When Mercy casually touches Seth and Adam, her vividly erotic vision involving all three of them feels like a memory, not a dream, and awakens long-dormant sexual urges. Their kisses are achingly familiar, and she welcomes each in turn into her body. Then she spends a no-holds-barred weekend with both men in her bed and discovers an intimacy—and a past—that blows her mind.

As memories resurface from three hundred years ago, Mercy will have to choose whether to relive the experiences from their joint past or forge a new bond with either Seth or Adam. Or both.

Do check out Ms. Orr’s  No More Rejections. If you are a serious writer, consider attending the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference to be held Saturday, March 16, at the Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge, New Jersey. And of course, every reader should have a copy of Mercy and Redemption, available here (Ellora’s Cave), here (Amazon), and here (All Romance eBooks).

What's your perfect pitch?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Yes, Mercy and Redemption is being released today and I’m excited. This book follows the three characters who met in the epilogue of Punishment and Mercy. Here’s the blurb:

Searching in an old cemetery for likely gravestones to illustrate her colonial cookbook, Mercy Howe meets two hunks who are tracing their ancestry and sparks fly. Literally.

When Mercy casually touches Seth and Adam, her vividly erotic vision involving all three of them feels like a memory, not a dream, and awakens long-dormant sexual urges. Their kisses are achingly familiar, and she welcomes each in turn into her body. Then she spends a no-holds-barred weekend with both men in her bed and discovers an intimacy—and a past—that blows her mind.

As memories resurface from three hundred years ago, Mercy will have to choose whether to relive the experiences from their joint past or forge a new bond with either Seth or Adam. Or both.

Inside Scoop: Contains m/f/m and mild m/m and one doubly satisfied heroine!

~ * ~
I posted some teasers on Facebook in the past week. In case you missed them, I've reproduced them below. For a full excerpt and to buy Mercy and Redemption, check out the Ellora’s Cave site here.

Here's the first excerpt with Adam. Seth will have his turn soon.

He was right behind her and she bumped into him.

Whoa.” He lifted his arms, grabbed hold of her biceps and pulled her flush against his lean, hard body. “Just where I want you.”

Adam,” she chided, “it’s time for you to go too.”

"In a minute.” His gaze dropped to her lips. “I’ve been wanting to taste you ever since I saw you striding down that hill like you owned the world.”

She wanted that too, but damn if she’d tell him that.

Slowly, inexorably, he lowered his head until his lips hovered a scant inch from hers. She could see the shards of gold in the green irises, could see his pupils dilate in desire. He circled her shoulders with one arm, slid the other down her hip to the curve of her ass. The heat of his palm all but branded her.

Here's the second excerpt with Adam. Seth will have his turn soon.

She surrendered the last bit of half-hearted resistance and let herself fall into the kiss. Fireworks crackled behind her closed eyelids as he tightened his embrace and ground his pelvis into hers. Their mouths fused as though they were long-time lovers. It felt right to her, right to be kissing this man she’d just met.

He licked the seam of her mouth and she opened to him like a flower to the morning sun, accepting his foray with a hunger that surprised her. His taste, his smell, were as familiar to her as the back of her hand.

Now it’s Seth’s turn.

She’d been acutely aware of Seth’s presence as he alternately followed or preceded her through the downstairs, aware of the piney, masculine scent of him, of the way his clothes hugged his lean body. Aware that they had deliberately refrained from brushing against each other in doorways.

Aware of the stark desire in his deep, dark eyes, the bulge in his jeans that he did nothing to hide.

Just last night she’d allowed a complete stranger to take greater liberties with her body than she’d ever encountered in her thirty-five years of existence. And tonight she was contemplating even more with another stranger.

Here's the second excerpt with Seth.

“Seth, everything you’ve just said to me was a negative—‘I’m sorry.’ ‘I don’t want this.’ ‘I don’t want that’.” She shook her head. “What I don’t want is…”

When she didn’t continue, he blew out a breath. “What?”

“I don’t want you to hold back. I want you to follow whatever urges you—”

He ground out an oath, thrust his hands under her arms and lifted her several inches from the floor. “That worktable. The first time, it has to be in front of the fireplace.”

A scant moment later, Mercy found her ass plunked on the table as Seth bent her backward to position her on the scarred and weathered oak, then hoisted her legs to wrap around his hips, with him curved above her, overwhelming her mouth with the intensity of his kisses.

Here's a peek at Mercy with both Adam and Seth.

“Just let go,” Mercy cooed. “Arms up so you can’t touch me. I’m in charge. You just…enjoy.”

Adam’s smug smile widened as he positioned his arms up to grasp the vertical posts of the headboard. She lowered her head into his armpit, relishing the unique, piquant smell of him, the sandy tuft of hairs soft and tickling against her face.

From a corner of her eye she saw Seth move up to Adam’s opposite arm. The snick of metal made her blink. Handcuffs! Before Adam had time to react, and with her holding down his other arm simply by the weight of her body on it, Seth reached across to cuff Adam’s other wrist.

I hope you enjoy Mercy and Redemption. Meanwhile, I'm working on the final book in the trilogy, Redemption and Glory.

Friday, January 4, 2013


This was posted on the In Memory Of Ruben Dario Riguero-Brito Facebook page on Friday, January 4. I hope that everyone who knew him, especially those who commented on my tribute to Angelo, “Now A True Angel”, after his murder will read this and write a letter as requested below.

By now the news has probably spread about Ruben's killer. He was freed and charges dropped as it was deemed that he acted in self-defense in killing an unarmed man at point blank range. As it stands now, this will never see the inside of a courtroom.

But we can change this! We would now like to ask you all - the friends of Ruben to write a letter that describes his character and the positive influence he had in your life. The letter must be mailed as it will have more weight than an e-mail. E-mailed correspondence will not be given the same importance as you can make up different e-mail IDs to write multiple e-mails. However, postmarked correspondences from all over the United States and internationally will have more of an impact!

We have a volunteer that has agreed to receive the letters and make copies so that they may be turned in to the different authorities. If you love Ruben please do not sit still and let this travesty of justice play out. He did not deserve to die and he absolutely did not deserve to die like the aggressor he was made out to be. His autopsy report stated he was in excellent physical condition and there were absolutely no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system. No alcohol....he was in a drinking establishment and there was no alcohol in his system. Does this sound like a man that had no sense of control?

Please friends, help us get justice for Ruben. We will be working furiously behind the scenes to fix this 'wrong' but we need your voice in letters - mailed correspondence, will be our saving grace right now as it will galvanize all of your experiences and knowledge of Ruben in one concentration. Please just write about your experience with Ruben and the man that you knew him to be. We do not need angry letters or letters spouting hate for the killer. Letters like that will be useless. We need character references for Ruben. We especially need letters from the friends that were with him the night he died. Please mail your correspondence to the following address:

Friends of Ruben
c/o L. Lowery
4041 Long Prairie Road
Flower Mound, Texas 75028

Thank you for all your help and support. Ruben needs us now more than ever!!! We will post updates as they become available....

~ * ~

There's no way the man I knew as Angelo Riguero was aggressive or threatening, unless he was threatened. Please, if you knew Angelo, please support this effort to bring his killer to justice.
~~ Cris Anson

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Yes, you read it correctly. Spend MORE rather than LESS.

You see, I’m of the old school, use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Absorbed by osmosis into my very pores since I was old enough to read letters on a page.

I didn’t know we, the three generations of us in a two-bedroom row house, were poor. The weekly delivery of a block of ice into our “ice box” was a fact of life, as was the outhouse in one corner of our lot in a hamlet of a couple hundred first-generation Americans and their immigrant forebears. I remember watching Dad shave in the “kitchen” at the deep sink which needed a pump to draw water. Other accoutrements in that room were a Hoosier cabinet that held dry foodstuffs, a round oak table and chairs, and a huge coal-fired stove on which Mom cooked and which supplied the bulk of heat for the house. Heat that didn’t reach into the attic where my sister and I slept huddled together in a double bed.

I remember the kind of “treat” we kids looked forward to, sitting on the back stoop on a hot August afternoon with Dad before he left for his four-to-midnight shift at the foundry: a tall glass of water with a few chips of ice in it. Didn’t matter that it was merely water, it was time spent with Dad, and crunching the ice at the bottom of the glass was indeed a treat.

Fast-forward to me now, an old broad on Social Security, after a lifetime of reusing bags both paper and plastic long before it became ecologically hip to do so. Of making do with one square of Bounty instead of two to pick up spills, of dribbling the shower instead of enjoying a mini-massage at full blast, of turning off lamps whenever I left a room. Keeping the Subaru for over a hundred thousand miles instead of trading up or even trading in before it was necessary. Cutting my own hair (gosh, how did I have the temerity to buy L’Oreal in those days? How profligate I was!)

You get the idea. I scrimped and saved and put whatever I could into an IRA for when I’m too old or too tired and cranky to haul in a paycheck.

So here I am, in the last ten? twenty? percent of my lifetime, husband buried (yes, I did buy a double gravesite and headstone), no children or grandchildren to leave a legacy for, and just like Mom in her lifetime, I’m still buying the cheap cuts of beef, still avoiding the fresh, plump asparagus at $3.99 a pound and instead, waiting until June when they’re ninety-nine cents. Never got into the habit of eating out or having a few drinks with or without meals. Anyway, even a single glass of wine makes me sleepy.

Kathy Kulig's legs, er, shoes
Jewelry? My wedding ring and a modest wrist watch mostly. The holes in my ears closed up long ago. Shoes? Sure, five-inch heels look great—on Kathy Kulig. For me, the bunions decreed old-lady shoes, which were far cheaper. My one extravagance was to keep myself supplied with Dove dark chocolate Promises.

This isn’t to say I’m a miser whose wallet emits moths when opened. No, I donate regularly to my church and other worthy causes, I send books to the troops, gave all my business suits and costume jewelry to Dress for Success. I help neighbors and far-flung friends in distress. I actually upgraded my DSL to FIOS in 2012, even though it cost twice as much. But that’s an expense necessary to my writing, to being connected to readers and fans and research, so maybe it doesn’t count. I attend three writing conferences a year (especially RomantiCon!), same rationale, even though it’s FUN to spend time with readers and other writers. It would be fun to sleep on the floor of the Grand Canyon too, but that costs an arm and a couple of legs.

I need to start spending some money on ME, because let’s face it, there are no pockets on a shroud. So. Having that New Year’s resolution in mind, I bought two 8-ounce lobster tails on sale at ten bucks apiece. That’s a start. And, as a Christmas present to myself, I replaced my forty-year-old paring knife with a genuine Wusthof and gave it a big brother as well. (Did I really spend a C-note on two knives?) I’m slowly replacing gadgets received at my first wedding shower in 1969: a new self-cleaning garlic press, ergonomic tongs, a bright red skimmer. I’m even thinking of replacing my 300-watt microwave that we originally bought for the RV in 1993. Yeah, I’m gonna go wild in 2013!

I’ve resolved to call the local spa for a full-body massage. Decided to use the toll bridge (E-Z Pass makes it easy to ignore the dollar here and there) instead of going a circuitous route to the local free bridge from the Farmers’ Market. Let’s see, upgrade my digital camera that’s too old to take a 4GB card? Get *gasp* a cell phone? Might even spring for a box of Moonstruck Chocolate at more than two bucks a mouthful. Because, as a totally unrelated commercial says, I’m worth it.

Whaddaya think? Should I go for it? What’s your New Year’s resolution?