Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BEA—BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2013



One of the biggest book shows in the world is happening this weekend in New York City. BookExpo America (BEA) will run from Thursday through Saturday at the Jacob Javits Center on 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th Streets.

And I’ll be there!

My publisher, Ellora’s Cave, will hold forth at booth #2126. According to Lisa Gray, the Company’s Event Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, their prestigious location in the Best Sellers Section is due “to the size of our booth, the content we publish and the traffic we bring.”

2012 BEA - my DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS cover on video screen (with Tara Nina and Caveman John)
In addition to the availability of movers and shakers from the Corporate offices such as She-E-O Patty Marks and Publisher Raelene Gorlinsky, highlights of the weekend include erotic romance authors available for autographs and gorgeous Cavemen Justin, Taylor, Georgio and 2013’s Alpha Caveman Nick.

2012 BEA - Cris Anson with Cavemen Nick, John, and co-author of TAKE IT OFF Taylor Cole
Daily contest drawings will be held for copies of TAKE IT OFF, a tell-it-all book written by Cavemen Taylor Cole and Justin Whitfield, both of whom have been male strippers for more than a decade. On Saturday they will also be debuting the high-octane sequel, TAKE IT OFF AGAIN.

Authors scheduled to sign are:

Thursday
10-12 Lynne Silver
12-2 Koko Brown
      
Friday
Saturday
10-12 Kate Poole
In addition to the excitement at the Ellora’s Cave booth, BEA is wonderful because an avid, determined reader can almost overdose on free books. Last year I came away with at least a dozen hard-cover and trade paperback books from some of the publishing industry’s biggest names. Yes, my favorite reading material is erotic romance, preferably from Ellora’s Cave, but I was like a kid in a candy store with an unlimited bag of coins, with publishers from the Big Six (is it Big Five now?) to the obscure start-up with only a few offerings.

2012 BEA - authors Cris Anson (in red) and Tara Nine (standing, right) with EC staff
The only downside I can see is sore feet from all that walking. The Javits Center encompasses 675,000 square feet of exhibit space. And for three glorious days it will be filled with books, authors, publishers and all the ancillary industries of the book world. And the Cavemen.

Heaven.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LUCKY THIRTEENTH


Now that I have a signed contract in my possession, I can announce that NO PATIENCE will be released by Ellora’s Cave on September 13. Yes, lucky Friday the 13th. In the 13th year of the millennium.

AND, this will be my 13th erotic romance release. How cool is that?

Thirteen is definitely a lucky number for me – I met my first husband on Friday the 13th and we got married on Saturday the 13th (the next Friday the 13th would have been too long for us to wait LOL).

Because of this fortuitous confluence of thirteens in my life, I Googled “Friday the 13th”. Besides the film franchise, I came up with a fascinating discussion of the phobia (technically known by an 11-syllable word I won’t foist on you) from the Urban Legends site. Here are some tidbits:

* The Chinese regarded the number as lucky, as did the Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs.

* Thirteen had been revered by ancient goddess-worshiping cultures due to the 13 lunar/menstrual cycles per year. Experts note that the "Earth Mother of Laussel"— a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality — depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. With the rise of male-dominated civilizations the emphasis gradually shifted to the “perfect” number of 12 (12 months of the year, 12 apostles at the Last Supper, 12 gods invited to the banquet at Valhalla, and so on).

* Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code notwithstanding, no written references have documented the fear of Friday the 13th prior to the late 19th century.

But let’s get back to my personal Friday the 13th. You may have read my recent blog “Lemons Into Lemonade: Blind Date Sparks A Story”. NO PATIENCE is that story. Here’s how it begins:

Ready to break out of widowhood and get some first-hand experience about BDSM, curvy Roseanne waits nervously for her in-person meet with a man who contacted her at an online fetish site. Emails and phone calls have led her to arrange this lunch with Greg, a self-professed erotic Dom not a sadistic one. She’s still too shy to reveal her sexual fantasies but he gets her to…(insert teasing music here)…

I haven’t gotten my revisions letter yet, but I’m so excited about this book that I want to share an unedited snippet from this first meeting:

* * * *

“This isn’t a fantasy. It’s going to be a reality in the next hour. I want you to go to the restroom and take off your thong. You are wearing the one you had on in that picture as I asked, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” It comes out a whisper.

“When you come back you’ll give it to me so I can bring it up to my nose and imprint your scent on my brain. And then we’ll go to the nearest mall where there’s a Victoria’s Secret, or even a Macy’s. Anywhere that has sexy lingerie. And I’ll buy you another thong to replace the one I’m going to keep.”

I can feel my nether lips swelling but I don’t say a word. I can’t.

“And maybe we’ll find a toy store for adults. I want to see you in a red corset that pushes up those beautiful tits and exposes that magnificent ass of yours. Would you like to do that?”

It takes two tries to bring up enough saliva to speak again. “I-I thought this lunch, here in a vanilla setting, was for getting to know each other. Like, what kind of banking do you do? A local community bank? Financial giant? Or, I don’t know, movies? What kind of music do you like?”

His low laugh makes my toes curl. “Roseanne, we met on a sex site. Ergo, we talk about the kinds of sex we like. You want to know about me? I have a hairy chest but I shave my balls and pubes. I’m like a bunch of M & M’s, I melt in your mouth, not in your hands. I’m not sadistic, I’m more of a romantic Dom. But make no mistake, I want to see more of you. And I mean that in every sense of the word 'more'.”

* * * *

Because it’s an erotic romance with an emphasis on BDSM, Roseanne gets all the first-hand experience she could wish for in the story. I’ll be giving you more information (more teasing) as Friday the 13th approaches, but I couldn’t resist talking about the phenomenon. Meanwhile, please do check out all my other books at Ellora’s Cave!

What’s your Friday the 13th story?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

SPRING BEAUTIES BEGET SPRING FEVER



Sitting on my back porch or meandering through my burgeoning garden in April and May generates spring fever in me, because I love flowers. I love the perennials that bloom in spring and yes, Spring Beauty is the name of a five-petaled wildflower that looks like peppermint candy. But there are other spring beauties close to my heart. I want to share some of them with you, but please, do not reproduce these copyrighted images without my express written permission.
Tulip bed copyright Cris Anson

Iris, oriental and California poppies, peonies and clematis are perennials that charm year after year. Bulbs such as crocus, tulips and daffodils are earlier but no less cheerful splashes of color that return every March and April.
Closeup of tulip stamen copyright Cris Anson
And yes, I admit that spring fever also nudges my attention away from my writing. (Not really, if you consider the phallic image of the interior of a tulip. I'm always thinking of *ahem* love scenes.) But honestly, I’m doing research in between getting dirt under my fingernails and using up my camera’s pixels. I’ve experienced my first flogging and after I process all the sensations and emotions that came with it, look for a blog on that subject.
Virginia Bluebell copyright Cris Anson

Meanwhile, this week I just wanted to share photos of some of my garden’s beauty. And the unseen beauty of perennials is, of course, that once they’re planted, they come back year after year.

Creamy iris duo copyright Cris Anson
Pink peonies with white frills copyright Cris Anson

Tiger lily closeup with green bug copyright Cris Anson

 Not a bad harvest for a skinny suburban lot, hey? What’s in your garden? Do you have a favorite flower?

~~ Cris Anson

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

EPIC eBook Award Competition – Get Your Entries Ready!



This week I'm interviewing EPIC's fearless eBook Award Competition Chair, Debi Sullivan.

Hi, Debi, thanks for stopping by. First, please tell us what EPIC is. Why should anyone be interested in joining?
EPIC (The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) is an organization comprised of epublishing professionals from all facets of the electronic publishing industry: authors, publishers, editors, artists, and others. Incorporated in 1998, EPIC’s mandate is to provide a strong voice for electronic publishing and our members work together in a unique collaboration to further this mission within the industry.
Interested parties should stop in and visit our website (www.epicorg.com) and blog and see what we are about.  IMHO, once they see our focus and passion for the industry, are exposed to the vast knowledge and comradery of our membership, see first-hand what they gain by joining EPIC, they will be ticked it took them until now to find us.
And, just between us, it requires a secret handshake and complicated password before you can join our merry band.  *lol*   Doesn’t that sound fun? But I’m just kidding!  If there is a secret handshake to join our eclectic group, somebody forgot to share it with ME…and I’m the Queen of All Things Competition. *wicked grin* 

You have been managing this contest for quite a few years, akin to herding cats. How long have you taken on this challenge?
I initially volunteered to work behind the scenes and started out as a judge, moved to category judge coordinator, then inherited *grin* the Competitions Chair position in 2007. At the time I was already the New Voices Young Writers Chair, which made for a VERY chaotic and wacky first year as EPIC’s overall Competitions Chair.

What are the biggest challenges you face?
Entrants following the rules; doesn’t matter if they are young or old, folks just don’t pay attention to the details. *sigh* Best suggestion I can give any entrant: Read the RULES! *grin*

How does a book qualify for entry?
Any English-language e-book published and available for sale to the public between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.
How many entries do you usually receive, and how many awards are presented?
We usually average 700 entries within a 4 week period.  The numbers of awards we present vary as we constantly update the current categories to reflect genres within the electronic industry and past entries. This year we are offering 24 categories for the eBook Competition and 11 categories for the Ariana eBook Cover Art Competition.

How do you recruit judges? Who is eligible?
I am blessed to have a loyal group of volunteers who step up every year, for both the eBook and New Voices Young Writers competitions. But we can always use more. For eBook, we seek published authors, publishers and/or editors; for New Voices, we add teachers and librarians to that mix.

What makes this award different from other writing competitions out there?
EPIC's eBook Competition has garnered a reputation for excellence from both entrants and judges, a reputation that continues to shine as we move into the future. I am extremely proud to know that I play an integral part in the progressive changes to our competitions.

What do the winners receive? How about the finalists?
Our eBook and Ariana competition finalists receive gorgeous certificates and are prominently posted on our website.  The category winners receive stunning trophies and are honored at our annual EPICon (http://www.epicorg.com/epicon.html) awards banquet before being announced on our website.

What is EPICon?
EPICon is EPIC’s annual convention.  It is three days chock full of marvelous and informative workshops reflecting the current needs of the industry, both electronic and print. You never know who will be there - whether it is a well-known author or the latest marketing/promo guru and/or agent. It is the perfect venue to mingle with publishing peers. And there is so much going on that there is sure to be something for everyone. 

Can only members attend EPICon?
Any industry member, or reader, is welcome.  I would definitely suggest checking http://www.epicorg.com/epicon.html to learn about the fabulous events they have scheduled for March 2014.  And it is taking place in one of my favorite cities – San Antonio, Texas!  What’s not to love about cowboys, ghosts (the Menger is chock full!), the Alamo, the Riverwalk, great food, the Reader eFiesta, door prizes, and incredible workshops?

When does the contest begin this year?
Both the eBook and Ariana eBook Cover Art Competitions open for entries on June 1, 2013. 

Where can authors get more information?
There are links to all our competitions at http://www.epicorg.com/competitions.html. 

You've expounded greatly about EPIC, now tell us a bit about Debi Sullivan. What have you published? Can you give me a bit about your background? Is there a book you'd like to promote here?
I am a freelance editor, not author or publishing house or cover artist as some folk might think.  I have the privilege to guide and consult wonderful authors (both published and new to the craft), to interact with houses, to be a sounding board for fellow editors, and to recommend other industry professionals as needed. 
 I have been blessed to have the opportunity to live my dream.  Who wouldn’t want to be exposed to magic every day? Anyone in this business will tell you - Magic is in Words.  And I believe in magic. :D

~~ So there you have it. Authors, if you have a book whose release date qualifies for the EPIC awards, get your submission ready for June 1, and good luck to all!
~~ Cris Anson

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

LEMONS INTO LEMONADE: BLIND DATE SPARKS A STORY



Authors are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”
The answer is, “Everywhere.”
For example, a blind date I had that turned sour.
As an erotic romance author, I write about—and do research on—various aspects of kink and BDSM, so it’s natural that I joined a fetish site to read what people are doing and thinking. My profile was modest, saying only that I was curious about the lifestyle. I’ve had a number of male denizens of this site write to me, trying to strike up a conversation.
Usually I ignored them after the due diligence of checking out their page. Until one correspondent attracted my attention by his articulate and intelligent profile. Cautiously I began a conversation with him by email, which evolved into his agreeing to give me his phone number so I could call him (using the *67 blocking mechanism).
Long story short, all green lights in our phone conversations, so I chose a time and place to meet for a Saturday lunch, with a Safe Call in place. Again, small steps, cautious steps, and still no red flags. We roamed around a mall after lunch and he insisted on buying me some lingerie and a box of chocolates. Although I nixed bringing him home or spending the night at a hotel with him, I figured it was in the cards at some point, since we did some enjoyable teen-age style petting in the dark parking lot of the mall. Even the discomfort of cramped quarters was more fun than I expected.
Note that he was a self-professed Dom, but I had held all the power thus far.
The following Monday morning I opened an email from him in which he called me selfish and controlling and therefore he would be deleting me from his email and phone address lists. Whoa! Because I went too slowly for him? Because I was calling the shots? (As any self-respecting Dom will tell you, it should take several in-person meetings and a lot of discussion and trust before you put yourself in his hands. Plus, the submissive has all the power because s/he can say the Safe Word at any time and call a halt to whatever is going on.)
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I realized how lucky I was to have learned of his impatience and intemperance so early in our relationship. He’d acted like an adolescent, as though he didn’t like the way the game was going so he grabbed his baseball and went home.
Instead of a scathing rebuttal, I hunkered down at the computer determined to write a story about the atypical way we met and about what could have happened if he had turned out to be my Fantasy Man. I was so provoked that I wrote 22,000 words (yes, that’s twenty-two thousand) in a little over a week, giving myself—er, my character—an erotic roller-coaster ride and a romance-style happy ending.
But the real happy ending is, my editor loved it. And as soon as the contract work is completed, I’ll tell you more.
That’s one helluva pitcher of lemonade.
What’s your lemons-to-lemonade story? Please feel free to share it.

~~ Cris Anson