Monday, June 30, 2008

Too Much Sex??

Is there such a thing as too much sex in a book? I never thought about it before, but then I read a book this weekend that made me ask myself that question. The book I read was about two couples who are at a swingers club. I knew going in there was going to be group sex, but for some reason it all threw me for a loop.

First of all there were a lot of sex partners who never even had names because they were there for one scene and gone... (For example, Blonde Woman, Fit Man, etc) Sometimes there were so many people, some unnamed and bodyparts it was difficult to keep track of who was doing

The other thing that bothered me was all the unprotected sex. I realize it was just a book and fiction, but it still gave me the creeps. In the beginning of the book it is mentioned everyone had to be tested before they were allowed into the "resort"... but people switch partners after oral, anal, and regular sex... I never thought I was a prude or anything , but I had a few ewww moments.

So does has anyone ever read a book that had a bit too much in it? I hate to think it's me and that I'm getting


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting the Hint

I watch too much TV. At least I think I was going to watch too much. 

I get bored on Saturdays and the lure of the TV draws me close. I start channel surfing. But almost every time I turn on the TV, one of my kids wanders in (is there some secret sound it emits that signals all children to run  near when they hear it?). Somehow the TV Gods have timed it so that at the exact moment someone under age 12 enters the room, whatever show I was watching becomes Unacceptable.

Either the comedian I'm watching suddenly decides to drop f-bombs (even though the show is on at 11AM), or the FitTV show where they were discussing science of digestion goes off on a tangent where 7 male volunteers are going to eat raw garlic every day and then we all get to hear how their erections improved. (This led to a long digression where I tried to convince my 8-year old that they were actually talking about erector sets... I think he bought it.)

Not sure about you, but this isn't family TV in our house. I am not one to ask for censoring of TV or books. Ever. I have the magic power to turn the set off or not buy the book if I don't want it around. We have the responsibility of using that power on ourselves, not on others. Unless they are our own personal kids.

I don't DVR the shows, either, because I'm never going to have a kidless moment to get back to it.

I think what I should actually realize here is that Someone Somewhere is trying to tell me to turn off the TV and go get some writing done.

So I will.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Inspiration? Where can I get me some of that?

Inspiration is a funny thing.

It can strike at the oddest times. Standing in the shower, thinking about nothing. Watching the birds outside your window or the squirrels tear through your neighbors garden.

And it can be the most finicky, most persnickety, most stubborn bitch that ever put her hand in your face and told you where to get off.

When it does strike, you think you've got it made. But what happens when you keep waiting for it to show... and it decides to do a disappearing act worthy of David Copperfield?

If you're on deadline, you can't wait for the muse to ring your bell. So how do you find inspiration in the minutia of everyday?

Hell if I know. But what I do know is, if you don't write, you won't be inspired.

Writing, in itself, is an inspiring act. Even if you only write two paragraphs a day, you've created something from nothing. Maybe it's only two lines of dialogue, but if you've read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (I just finished FEARLESS FOURTEEN) you know how much Ranger can convey with just one "Babe."

Some people can spark their muse with writing exercises. I personally think if you're going to write, make it count. Collages? Can you hear me gakking from where you are? I'd rather pull out my eyelashes with tweezers. Long walks? No, but I do some of my best thinking when I run, usually because I'm trying to take my mind off the fact that I still have two miles out of a four-mile run to go.

So, what recharges my battery? There's absolutely no substitute for reading a good book. Even one you've already read. Sometimes, an old favorite is better. It's a known quantity, like those comfy sweats you break out when it's dull and gray outside and you've just gotten your 10th rejection out of 10 submissions and you polished off a pint of Cherry Garcia.

Revisit old friends who made you happy.

And try to recapture the magic.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm here - and I'm inspired

Hello readers!

I know I've been missing in action for a little while, but I am back now and feeling pretty terrific. You know that run down feeling you get when it's been too long since you've had a break/vacation/breathing space? Well that was me for about a month, but I am back from five days of heaven on earth and my batteries are recharged.

Where was I?

The "Remember The Magic" conference of the International Women's Writer's Guild ( I spent five days at Skidmore College connecting with other writers and my own muse and I am ready for the months ahead.

The Guild is open to all women writers, published or not, and is the best use of $45 that I can think of. The monthly newsletter comes backed with info and paying markets, membership includes a list of Guild supporting agents, and then there's the discount to their conferences and events. I have a book that I am pitching to agents in New York in October at their "Big Apple Workshop" and I am totally excited.

I learned new ways to create my characters, develop plot, and beat writer's block... or mom's exhaustion, which kicks in a lot more often. I have rarely been around a group of more supportive and talented (and non-competitve) women. You can email me at if you have any questions or want to hear more about the conference. Or go to the Guild's site. You will NOT be sorry.

Off to my work in progress!

May you be filled with inspiration,

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Attention Writers from the Northwest Florida and Southwest Georgia

I love my local chapter of the RWA in Jacksonville, Florida. The gals there rock. But with the rising cost of gas, it isn't economical to drive 3 hours to Jacksonville for a meeting. So, I am looking in to starting a RWA chapter here in the Tallahassee, Florida area. Published and unpublished writers are welcome.

A local RWA chapter would meet once a month, usually one Saturday a month. We may start out at every other month. Right now I am looking at the Leon County Library system to be the place where we would meet. Each meeting we would present a workshop in the morning and have a chapter meeting where members vote on issues pertaining to the chapter like holding contests, fund raising, etc. We can also do critiques for each other, or whatever the members need to advance their writing skills. Basically, the chapter is a support group for writers serious about the craft and paving the way towards publication.

Be aware that members of a RWA chapter must also be members of the RWA national organization. Visit their website at

If you are interested in helping start a local romance writer chapter, please contact me at mariannelacroix (at)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Michael McDermott inspires me

When I write I tend to listen to music by Michael McDermott. (Note* Michael MCDERMOTT, not to be confused with Michael Michael is from the Chgo area and I met him back in the early 1990s. He has got to be the most talented man I have ever met. He is an amazing musician, song writer and lyricist. With just a few lines of lyrics he can make my heart race or tears form in my eyes. His music is influenced by so many factors... religion (he grew up Irish Catholic), love, lust, drinking, dreams, lost love... I wish everyone knew him or at least got to hear his music. His website is Or if you want a real treat, go search him on Youtube and check out some of his videos and live performances. I highly recommend the songs Dance With Me, Arm Yourself, and A Wall I Must Climb. If they have a copy of Just West of Eden don't blink or you'll miss me cuz I'm in that video, dancing in the crowd.

If you check him out let me know what you think...

and btw... he is also bursting with fruit flavor... (my bad

happy listening


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Writing the Naughty Bits

The first sex scene I ever wrote into one of my stories, I wrote in high school.  I was hopelessly naive and inexperienced. I showed the scene to my best male friend and asked him if what I'd written was physically possible. To his credit, he was all seriousness as he read it for me and signed off on the logistics.

The detailed scenes I write now make me blush when I reread them. I've even claimed to have typed a few with my eyes shut. And I still edit the scenes out before I let my mom read any of the books. Not because she'd run screaming from the room. Quite the opposite: she'd want to TALK about them. And I just can't do that with my mom.

I love writing books where the characters get to the point in their relationship that the passion overcomes them and they  take that next step. Over and over again. I also love reading books like that. A strong plot, but with sex an integral part of the plot.

But I don't want to discuss it with my mom.

My grandma maybe, but not my mom ; )

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sex, Fantasy and the Erotic Romance

For the past week, I've been writing sex scenes.

I love to write sex scenes--when I'm in the mood for them. This week, I was on a roll. Four scenes, one with light bondage, all of them explicit and hot. I mean, why go to all the trouble of getting naked and having sex if it's not going to be sweaty, full-out, break-the-bed sex? Right? The same goes for sex scenes.

Sure, a nice, sweet I-love-you tumble is okay. Now and then. But most of the time, don't you want the fantasy? The kind that gives you multiple orgasms (together, no less) and leaves you sweaty and drained. Ready to go again. And so is he.

My characters have been doing it on a pool table, on the couch, on the bed, in the shower and up against a wall. That last one is all about the fantasy of strong men with bulging biceps who can hold us up against walls, no matter what we weigh. And make it good. And really, who doesn't want that? Big brooding gorgeous guys with muscles (not too many) and long, dark hair (yeah, I have a thing for long, dark hair) and big cocks. Yes, big cocks. I mean, come on, if we're going to have the fantasy, let's go whole hog.

Isn't that why we read erotic romance? For the fantasy? To get hot and bothered and fall in lust and love? I know I do. Some people skip through sex scenes to get to the rest of book. If I don't like a book, I skip the plot to read the sex. And if the first scene doesn't do it for me, the book goes on the pile for giveaway.

Which is where most of my books been going lately, especially the erotic romances. I think some writers, when they jumped on the erotic bandwagon, forgot an erotic romance needs a love story, character development and a plot in addition to hot, sweaty sex. There has to be a reason those two guys are in love with each other and that woman. A reason why she wants to be tied down to the bed so her partner can take her. A damn good reason why, if the guy's a vampire, she's going to give up her life to live with him in the shadows.

That said, I'm reading Louisa Burton's Bound in Moonlight. I probably wouldn't have picked up the book in a store. I received it at the Long Island Luncheon last week. I'm only a few pages into it and I'm already hooked. Hell, I was hooked from the back cover and the first few pages have only bolstered my favorable opinion. I can't wait to get back to it tonight. Then again, I may have to go get the first book at the book store tonight so I don't read the series out of order.

I also have a Samantha Kane book waiting for me, one of her Brothers In Arms books. I'm dying to get to that but I've been saving it for a night I know I'll be able to read the whole thing.

Both of these authors blend romantic fantasy and hot sex in equally pleasing ways and completely different ways. Burton's prose is almost lyrical, Kane's writing is raw and emotional. Both have managed to draw me in completely.
And that's what I strive for in my own writing, that moment when you have to take a deep breath because you haven't been able to for several minutes. That clench in your gut and, yes, the tug lower, between your legs. That connection the reader makes and the one that stays with them after they've finished the book.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Raining Men 2

More Raining Men...

I love Hugh Laurie, but I think my fave in the show is Omar Epps. I remember him from ER and really disliked how they made it sound like he killed himself. Nice to see Omar back.

I watched this movie this weekend. For a good laugh, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I could use some rain myself...

Wow. Just watched the video in the last post. {fans self} We don't get rain like THAT in Virginia.

In fact, it's been frightfully HOT here these past few days.

Ever notice how some men (and women maybe? I don't know... not running around smelling EVERYBODY! giggle)  smell YUMMY on a hot day, and some just...stink?

I read an article in Psychology Today a few months ago that discussed the fact that women who like the way their men smell have a much lower divorce rate. Made sense to me. Smelly guy... push away. Intoxicating scented guy, bring him closer. No study necessary.

But the study went on to mention that they'd also taken shirts worn by various men and allowed a group of women to smell them, and typically the women were attracted in person to the same guys whose shirts they picked out as smelling good.

Must be something to it. I LURV the way my husband smells. Any day of the week.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Ahhh...It's raining men...

Ahh...the romance. Regency men...there's nothing like 'em... Images like this are why I write in this era. ;-)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

NY, Here I Come (Hopefully)

I just sent the revisions on my big fat paranormal romance off to my new agent.

Cue the whining to my husband that I should have done one more read-through, the whimpering to my writer friends about the flooded market and the downturn in the economy, and the 10-ton elephant that settled on my shoulders as I begin (again) the wait for someone to buy my baby.

I've been agented before. I know you receive rejections a lot quicker with an agent. I also know that this book is in the best shape it can be. At the moment. Of course, there's always work that can be done but at this point, in my mind, it's ready to go. I really hope my agent agrees.

I too look longingly at NY, wanting to be one of the chosen. Dreading the emails that say, thanks but we're passing, and praying for the phone call that every writer would give their eyeteeth for.

While I wait, I know it's time to work on what's next. For me, that's finishing the fifth story in my SEDUCED series for Ellora's Cave, finishing a new story to submit for EC's Caveman anthology and allowing myself to dream about the day THE CALL comes.

And maybe about what the cover for my big fat paranormal romance will look like with my name on it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking the next step

Seems everyone and their mother are getting NY contracts these days. Me...I have one for the Pocket novella that was done via Ellora's Cave. In my mind, I don't even count that as being NY published. I know, I know, I should, but I don't. Granted, I am excited to walk into the store and see my book on the shelf. (I actually went to B&N this weekend and saw both Royal Bondage AND Pirate's Misteress on the shelf. It was quite a thrill. However, I still don't feel like I've done much of anything. I hear authors who entered the scene a year ago getting multi deals and I want to scream.

It is only my fault I am not in NY at this point. No one elses but mine. I actually have to submit. No one is going to come knocking unless I make the first move and write up a proposal and send it in.

Right now I am working on a novel I have a lot of positive feeling about. It is actually good. Hopefully I will have it done and ready to send out and then announce my own book deals in the near future. After the NCP fiasco and my disappointments in epublishing, I am ready to take the next step. FINALLY!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Making readers out of us...

I wonder sometimes, if some of us are just born to love to read. But that would mean some of us aren't. 

I like to think we are all readers, but some of us just never found The Right Book.

My daughter got her summer reading list and came home mad about it. She likes to read what she likes to read and doesn't like anyone telling her what to read. Tough cookies, right? Especially for a rising 6th grader.

It was funny, after she looked up the books on her list, and read what each was about, she had a hard time deciding which ones she DIDN'T want to read!

My children both love reading, but like I pondered above, sometimes readers take a different path. I knew a man- well, actually he and my mom dated- who had never read a single book. Even for school. Faked or flunked his way through. 

And one day he picked up GRAPES OF WRATH. Loved it. Couldn't put it down. Carried a copy of it with him EVERYWHERE. For YEARS. Probably still.

Hey, even if you only fall in love with ONE book in your life, that's pretty wonderful. Just like finding the Right Man, finding the Right Book has got to be a special thing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

When You're Also a Fan...

For as long as I can remember, I've been a reader. I love being swept up in a story, of being taken to another place, whether it's Terry Brooks' fictional Shannara or Stephen King's very real Maine.

As a teen, I devoured King, Brooks, David Eddings, Dean Koontz, Bertrice Small, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Judith Krantz. And so many more I can't remember. I loved horror for the thrill, fantasy for the world building and story scope but romance was where I found my heart.

I searched for romance in every horror and fantasy book I read as a teen, but I remember only being fully satisfied when I read King's THE STAND and met Stu and Fran. Finally, a couple to live, laugh and cry with as I followed along on King's post-apocalyptic journey.

And though it's been many (many) years since I've read Brooks' Shannara series, I can still remember waiting for Shea to find a girl and live happily ever after.

Then, of course, there was Small and Woodiwiss. The day a new book with either of their names on it appeared in the bookstore was a day for rejoicing. Back then, I didn't know there were things such as laydown dates. There was no internet to check websites to find out when my favorite author would have a new book out.

Today, with a few clicks of the mouse, I can find out the exact date I need to be in the store to get a favorite author's book. Tuesday was one of those days.

LOVER ENSHRINED, the new Black Dagger Brotherhood book by JR Ward, sat on the shelf awaiting my arrival. Since I have my own writing to do, I couldn't get to the bookstore until after lunch. And then I had to wait until later in the day to actually read it. Of course, I finished it Wednesday night with a wistful sigh and the thought that I should go check when Lover Avenged comes out so I know exactly how long I have to wait.

I picked up Ward on the recommendation of a friend and immediately fell under the brothers' spell. Ward skillfully interweaves the lives of a dozen or more characters, good and evil, and creates a world I want to return to on a regular basis. She combines romance, horror and fantasy in a way that satisfies the teenager in me who yearned for those elements in one book.

It's this blind faith that I hope, one day, to inspire in my own readers. And can't wait for the day a reader writes to tell me how much she's enjoyed my world.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Less Kiss

Being a writer is only one of many identities that color my life. Being a mother to two very active boys (8 and 5) is the one that takes most of my time.

Recently, my younger son showed me that he now knows how to buckle himself into his car seat. He was so proud to be able to do this. I was proud and glad - one less thing for me to do when we are trying to get on the road. Then I realized something. When I buckle him in, I have to reach across his lap and in the process, before I go to my seat, I always give him a kiss. Now that opportunity is gone. I have one less kiss with him during the day.

Each step forward that we celebrate with our children is also a step away from us and comes, for mothers, with a drop of sadness.

I remember when my sons started to sit up and hold their own bottles. I thought - whew, a little more flexibility for me in my days. And then I thought - no more holding them for that moment. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to be out of the helpless bottles-burping-bib stage where you have to be on alert for all their waking moments, but their independence means less dependence on what I have for them. I am thrilled for his accomplishments, but miss some of the things I used to do for and with him.

So I cheer for my son every time I hear the seatbelt click.

And I'm on the lookout for ways to sneak in an extra kiss or two.

May you notice the many moments of joy children bring to your life,

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