Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Party Plans


Today begins the final days of summer for me. Soon the days will chill, the kids will go to school, and the snow birds will depart for their northern homes. Wait...there's a bad side to this, somewhere. (grin) Anyway, we're planning those grilling events for the Labor Day weekend, right? I'm beginning a series of great ideas to share to make those summer parties shine.


 Lena Austin


Monday, August 23, 2010

Keep the Kids Busy until the School Bus comes

My grandchildren are driving my eldest nuts. It's too hot, it's boring, etc. Yep, it's the Dog Days of Summer. Here are a few ideas to keep them busy until that glorious day when the bus comes.

Copy and keep this picture. I want to melt a few Peeps myself.


Lena Austin


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pirating Rant

So, I got up early this morning, intent on having some alone time with my new laptop (on sale at Best Buy and bought out of necessity. Long story. Don't ask) to learn how to use the little black square instead of a mouse. Not easy for an old lady with stiff fingers, let me tell you! Anyway, what do I behold in my email but another dreaded Google Alert. I forgot today was Sunday, when Google informs me where my pseudonym appears on the net. Normally, I know where they are already, but lately at least one or two are pirating alerts. (sigh) As usual, I check them out and pass them on to Andrea, our cybercop for her to deal with. (Blessing Andrea's name, heart, and worshipping at her feet are optional, but recommended.)
I realize some pirates feel they have the right to steal my work and steal what little money I get. I damn sure ain't Nora Roberts, honey! If I had to live on my income, I'd be typing from a cardboard box under a bridge. They're positive I won't miss a few copies. The math is simple, even for morons with defective moral standards. If you assume I make one dollar from every book sold, which is close to accurate, then 1000 copies downloaded for free is $1000 I don't get and could make a sizeable dent in my mortgage payment.
Today, however, takes the cake. On a new site I've never heard of, someone is already asking for a copy of my upcoming Collection, Night Critters!! My god, the darn book hasn't even released yet. Can't I earn a little before you steal me blind?
Kate Douglas recently announced that, thanks to piracy, she's closing out her incredibly successful Wolf Tales series. She even hinted that she, wonderfully talented and beloved by her fans, is disheartened and hurt by the piracy enough to rethink her career. The pirates are driving even the best in the business out of business.
I know I regularly question my career choice these days. With my family struggling just to pay our mortgage and the economy in the toilet, I've seriously considered offering myself up to (gulp) a temp agency in hopes of making enough money to keep my struggling family afloat. Early in my career, we lost our home to foreclosure and bankruptcy, and I can tell you the humiliation sticks with you for a very long time, not to mention the IRS bill. We're still paying Uncle Sam almost a decade after that foreclosure.
Anyway, so here I sit, wondering why I sit for hours at my keyboard, sweat deadlines, and ruin my hands with carpal tunnel when I could make three times as much with a "real" job. It would be nice to only work forty hours, come home, prop my feet up, and watch TV with the DH. Gee, what's it like to have weekends off? What's it like to be a safely anonymous figure in the crowd instead of promoting everywhere I go? I'm really beginning to consider freshening up that resume, because it's bad when a romance writer ain't feeling the love.

Lena Austin
http://www.lenaaustin.com/

Monday, August 16, 2010

TMI, or How to Write A Real Hero

My Boss M wrote this, and then was forced to take it down because one gay male got offended. Sorry, dude. I live with a gay male hairdresser who is my crit partner. His name is Dante. He tells me often that my heroes sound like him, giving TMI. So, nuts to you. This is the truth, and I'm sorry you don't like it.

**Re-posted with Permission** 


TMI...Or: Have you written a flaming gay hairdresser/ fashion consultant instead of the hero you wanted?

Whilst editing, I ran into a common problem, and decided it was time to try to explain why your straight hero reads like he’s gay. So I asked my Darling Husband (DH), who produces our Encounters, in addition to his many other endearing qualities, “If there was one thing you could point to about our heroes that makes them unbelievable, what would it be?” 
I expected some down time on that, and a studied response. Nope. 
“No one’s ever average.” 
OK, so that needed some prompting to get a better explanation. 
“These guys are all ‘Heroes’ and ‘Hunks’ with great faces and weight lifter bodies. Any guy I’ve ever met who looks like that knows it, and he’s a real asshole.” 
True, but not where I was trying to go. 
However I was as intrigued by what it took to get the explanation as the explanation itself. Having pondered this conversation, I’ve come to one general conclusion.  Men written by women tend to talk too much, too fast, about the wrong things. 

**Note from Lena: I checked with my DH and Dante. They agreed with this statement. Often a romance hero sounds like a girl in guy's clothing. 

1) Clothing -- men don't notice clothing details -- this one’s where I started, and I couldn't pry a word about clothing out of the DH no matter how I tried. If your explanation of clothing from a Male POV goes beyond “Red Dress” it’s TMI. 

2) Bodies -- yup. Women have ‘em. Usually with curves. The curves make ‘em “not men,” which is good (If he’s straight). He knows by looking what size she wears? TMI. He’s just met her and he remembers what size she wears and goes shopping for her? Oh, yeah, he’s gay. 

3) Hair -- yup. Women have that too. Apparently it comes in colors -- red, blonde, and brown -- and two lengths. Long and short. Waves Vs Curls? Auburn? Sable? TMI. 

4) “I love the way that burgundy dress brings out the color in your perfect oval face and your hazel eyes. Great lines.” Oh, yeah. Gay fashion designer TMI. 

5) Three pages of spoken dialogue about -- anything other than battlegrounds (Sports are condensed battlegrounds) -- especially before, during, or after sex -- TMI. In fact, full sentences during sex -- TMI (I'm way guilty of this one). 

6) Explanations of anything involving past, present, or future emotions as they relate to one another outside a shrink’s office? Way TMI. 

Yes, we've got to compromise. Our men need to talk. In full sentences, even, upon occasion. But sometimes our heroines need to work a little harder to get information out of them, and really big things -- like “I love you” -- ARE really big, and probably need to be valued a lot more. Don't throw that line away. For a guy, it’s a major, major deal. And it doesn't come with becauses, or in spite ofs. 

If a guys sees a gorgeous woman in a red dress with real curves, he doesn't give a shit about the dress size or the size of her boobs or the span of her waist or the length of her perfectly coiffed hair. He sees “Blond, Red dress.” Whatever it is that makes her gorgeous to him, he probably can't tell you. Or her. But the most important thing he sees, we often overlook completely -- the thing men see that makes a woman most attractive to them? 

She’s looking back at him.


Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Friday the 13th!!

Therefore, Changeling Press is having a party in their Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChangelingPress) and a coupon code for 5% off! Code is: Fridaythe13th (Duh.)











My thanks to Lori Foster for the image.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ice cream recipes

It's too hot to cook! Let's do something that doesn't make you sweat! I scream for ice cream!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ADULT Excerpt: Blue Rose by Lena Austin

Did you know I consider this book my magnum opus? I present to you my greatest achievement to date:




Blue Rose

Author: Lena Austin
Artist: Renee George
ISBN: 978-1-60168-183-6
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Publication Date: 02/06/09
Sexual Content: Erotic/M/M/Menage

Buy Link: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/fantasy/fantasy/blue-rose/prod_213.html

Synopsis:
Ever read Dante's Inferno? The old boy must have a new nickname—Pinwheel—for all the turning over in his grave he's doing.  
     This time the tourists in Hell are a poisoned warrior princess and her two suitor princes, both of whom have secrets of their own. Their guide is not a gentle philosopher-poet, but a sassy demon with his own reasons for being their escort through all nine levels. They have to find the blue rose in the deepest part of Hell and make it into an antidote potion before the next full moon or the princess dies.  
     Things have changed a little—okay, a lot—since old Dante made his visit. Hell is timeless, existing in all times simultaneously. Along the way they'll meet the Furies, a little thief named Dodger, a few gods and goddesses, and step over Satan's chewing gum and they're getting quite an education in the process.  But time is running out for the princess....

Excerpt:

At long last, her father stood, signaling with a wave that the dancing would begin. Servants rushed to obey, but Zara rescued the bowl of grapes and hid it in a niche behind a tapestry. It would serve her well to have a cool, sweet treat to see her through the hours of dancing ahead.

Defiantly, she popped another into her mouth and grinned like a conspirator at Prince Kennit when he hid a large goblet in the same niche. He leaned over to whisper, “I shall share my water, if you share your grapes.”

Nodding agreement, Zara allowed her father to sweep her into his arms for the opening dance. At least dancing quickened the heart and brought a flush to one’s cheeks. She would take what she could get in the way of exercise. Undoubtedly by now the stablemen had their orders to tell her that her stallion had a rock in his hoof, a sprain in his foreleg, or any other lie to forestall her riding him away, even for an hour.

No sooner did her father relinquish her hand than a dance slate was pressed into her palm by the seneschal, who’d kindly–he thought—taken a list of partners for her. She glanced down, and read quickly. No prince was permitted more than two dances in a row with her, though there were conspicuous empty spots left on the list for her to discreetly signify her choice by permitting more than two dances with any prince that caught her eye.

Naturally, Prince Bram the Perfect was first on the list. King Ragnar was making his preferences perfectly clear. She was beginning to hate that word.

Zara handed the slate back to the seneschal with a nod of thanks, and raised her arms for Prince Bram to take her back out on the floor. She ignored the tremble in her stomach, and told her fears to settle. He may be boring, but he was the best choice so far.

But her stomach did not settle. It rumbled and grew worse. Her face felt flushed and her fingertips felt as if they were ice cold. She could no longer feel her feet, and every step became an agonizingly icy stab. Zara persevered, knowing it was likely she’d caught some small illness from all the newcomers. Tomorrow, she promised herself a morning of rest.

Many of the older courtiers retired, including most of the contenders after one dance with her. The drunkards stumbled through a dance with her before being discreetly removed by the staff, and the oldsters confessed themselves quite worn out and retired from the field. Only one contender had to be threatened with being fed his balls before he stopped fondling her, so Zara thought she got off lucky.

Finally, only Prince Bram and Prince Kennit remained. Kennit took pity on her feverish face and asked that a small table be set near one of the open windows, permitting a cool breeze to dry the sweat pouring from Zara’s brow.

Prince Bram, not to be outdone, fetched her grapes from their hiding place and fed them to her one by one, pausing only when she turned and shared Prince Kennit’s goblet.

Finding a common subject to discuss had been difficult, for they, all three, had vastly different interests. The three of them settled on a card game made fashionable in Bram’s kingdom the previous summer, and he taught them to play “Bell and Candle” with enthusiasm.

Zara noted their differing styles with interest. Bram played with reckless abandon, bluffing and making daring plays to get desired sets of matches. Kennit played with care and precision, rarely making a bluff but devastating when he did because it was unexpected. She counted the cards and noted the matches already made, and could guess at what would be dealt next. Between them, they rang the bell provided by the staff equally well.

Soon, Zara’s illness began to tell upon her. She fought her wavering eyesight and surreptitiously wiped the sweat pouring from her brow, using the ruse of setting the water and grapes on the ledge of the open window to cool them as an excuse for sticking her face in the wind as much as possible, even if the breeze seemed to stick a thousand icy needles in her skin. It dried her sweat and made her appear less like an apple-cheeked peasant, didn’t it?

Kennit had escorted her to the window, ostensibly to get a drink for himself from the goblet. He leaned close and whispered, “You are ill, Zara. End this charade and stop teasing. Pick Bram and have done. Go to bed. Your wedding and bedding of his perfection can wait a few more days.”

Zara planted her trembling hands on the ledge and ate another grape for its cool sweetness in her hot, dry throat. The floor seemed wreathed in smoke. How odd. Was there fog and the window allowed it entry? Shame washed over her as she realized that’s what both the princes thought–that she was teasing and being coy. How wrong they were! “I’m not teasing, Kennit. I can’t decide.” The fog rose higher, swirling around her thighs. She reached up to close the shutter, and her hand met only air.

Bram’s chair scraped. “Watch her. She’s going out the window!”

Kennit’s hand closed about her wrist. “Stop, Zara. Stop. If you can’t choose, then go to bed. None of us will die before the morrow.”

Zara swayed and fell into Kennit’s arms. “Pardon. Are you sure, Kennit? Why can’t you be perfect too?” The fog wrapped around her and enveloped her.

His soft voice was the last she heard. “I am. I’m perfectly me, and that’s all I want to be.”

Buy Link: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/fantasy/fantasy/blue-rose/prod_213.html

 
"Write Drunk..., Edit Sober..." Ernest Hemingway
Lena Austin

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recipe of the Day: Tender and Tangy Ribs


TENDER AND TANGY RIBS

1 cup white vinegar
1/2-cup ketchup
2 tablespoons splendor
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1-teaspoon ground mustard
1-teaspoon paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8-teaspoon pepper
Two pounds pork spare ribs
1 tbsp. canola oil

Combine the first nine ingredients into three-quart slow cooker.  Cut ribs into serving size pieces; Brown in a skillet in oil.  Transfer to slow cooker.  Cover and go on low for 4-6 hours or until tender.



"It's easy to write. Just sit at your keyboard and bleed." Ernest Hemingway
Lena Austin


Monday, August 2, 2010

Outstanding Gay Fiction: Berdache by Lena Austin

Outstanding Gay Fiction: Berdache by Lena Austin: "Golden Blush Award Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press Genre: Western {M/M} {M/M/F} Reviewer: Chocolate Minx"

Woohoo!! Thank you Chocolate Minx!

Adult Excerpt 2: Blue Rose by Lena Austin (Paranormal, Erotica, GLBT, Menage)










Blue Rose

Author:
Lena Austin
Artist: Renee George

ISBN: 978-1-60168-183-6
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Publication Date: 02/06/09
Sexual Content: Erotic/M/M/Menage

Buy Link: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/fantasy/fantasy/blue-rose/prod_213.html
Synopsis:
Ever read Dante's Inferno? The old boy must have a new nickname—Pinwheel—for all the turning over in his grave he's doing.  

     This time the tourists in Hell are a poisoned warrior princess and her two suitor princes, both of whom have secrets of their own. Their guide is not a gentle philosopher-poet, but a sassy demon with his own reasons for being their escort through all nine levels. They have to find the blue rose in the deepest part of Hell and make it into an antidote potion before the next full moon or the princess dies.  
     Things have changed a little—okay, a lot—since old Dante made his visit. Hell is timeless, existing in all times simultaneously. Along the way they'll meet the Furies, a little thief named Dodger, a few gods and goddesses, and step over Satan's chewing gum and they're getting quite an education in the process.  But time is running out for the princess....


Excerpt:


Zara watched from beneath her slit eyelids as Kennit rose from the table, rubbed his eyes, and knelt before her fireplace. Oh, would he? She hoped he'd build up the fire. With his slim back to her, she couldn't see what he did until the fire roared to life. Three "chunks" echoed as he fed the hungry beast with large logs. Slowly, the temperature of the room climbed to an almost comfortable range, even though the sturdy bricks of her fireplace glowed with heat.  
Kennit rose with a satisfied smile, and took off his velvet jacket and vest, leaving him clad only in a thin lawn shirt and his tailored velvet pants. He looked as sleek as the dark lions that ranged the mountains, predatory and deadly. His long lean body silhouetted against the bright firelight, and his glasses were not visible. Suddenly, he was even more attractive to her than that first meeting on the cliff. Now she knew his mind and his humor, and found more and more to like about this mysterious prince. 
Her blood fired, as it had not in many a moon, adding to her odd fever where her brow was hot but her hands and feet frozen. Zara wanted to leap from the bed, tear the clothes from his body, and bear him down to the floor until her lust was satiated. Someone had been kind enough to remove her dress, leaving her clad in only a chemise, which would make the job easy. 
Kennit's eyes lingered on her body, where the chemise did nothing to hide her hardened nipples. "I take it you're awake?" 
There was no sense in denying the truth. Zara sat up from the pile of pillows. Swallowing her insane lust, she attempted normal conversation. "Yes, and I have been since you found the poison used upon me. I have one moon cycle?" 
Disappointment shuttered his eyes for a brief flicker, and Zara realized he'd recognized her lust for what it was. He had been hopeful, yet he remained politely respectful of her choices in such matters. Kennit brought her the tome, and put it upon her lap. 
Zara squinted to read the blurry writing. "Where Azi chews is where the antidote lies, but the Lord of Lies demands his price. With the turning of the moon from blood to bone, the victim joins the damned unknown." She looked up at Kennit's serious face. "I don't understand." 
"I do. Azi is the snake that embodies falsehood. This refers to Satan, who is also the Lord of Lies. I don't know what Azi chews upon, but I think we'll find out. The turning of the moon from blood to bone is easy. T urning from dark to light, or from dark to full." He sighed and reached for a goblet. "You have until the next full moon before you join the damned in Hell." He held out the goblet. "Fire whiskey? I thought you might need it." 
Zara snatched the goblet and slugged down the brew usually known only to the roughest mercenaries in her father's army. She coughed and wheezed when the whiskey reached back up her throat to remind her head it was an intoxicant, but welcomed the spin it provided. Perhaps it would restart her heart. She handed back the empty vessel. "So when do we leave?" 
"We?" Kennit raised one elegantly winged eyebrow. "I think not, Zara. You're fevered and you shiver when the room is not hot enough to bake bread on the table. You're in no condition to journey to Hell." 
Her hand took a fistful of his shirt and twisted until his face was inches from hers. " T hen Hell would be warm enough, would it not?" Zara jerked again, bringing his lips to hers. She demanded, and he gave grudgingly, each of them fighting a different war. 
He fought to maintain propriety, and even perhaps his dignity. Were it not for the lust in his kiss, and the way his tongue sought her mouth eagerly, Zara might have thought him to be the innocent virgin she should have been. One groan, and he lost the battle he didn't want to win. 
Pushed back on the pillows, Zara squeaked in surprise and let go of his shirt. His mouth crushed hers, and her left hand tangled in his right as if he would hold her down. Hah! As if she would fight him to prevent what she so desperately wanted her cunt ached and clenched. 
Kennit gentled his kiss, but did not release her hand. Finally, he relinquished her lips but not her hand. "You're insane with fever, Zara. We should not." 
Zara wanted with all her heart to reach up, fist her right hand in his hair, and force him to her desire, but here was a man who was honorable and actually considered the consequences. She had to admire that strength of will. Most men would tumble her without a thought. "I'm tired of being at someone's will and whim, Kennit. Decisions were made in my name and without my consent, including someone attempting to end my life. No more, I say. Tonight and henceforth, I fight my own battles for my life and future. I choose you to celebrate my freedom. Won't you join me?" 
His eyes darkened with thought, and turned inward. The silence lengthened. Zara could hear the frogs croaking in the moat while he pondered what she'd said. Finally, he nodded. "How could I refuse such a gracious invitation to aid in a worthy cause? I will celebrate with you tonight. Tomorrow, we shall consider how we'll journey into Hell."






"Write Drunk..., Edit Sober..." Ernest Hemingway
Lena Austin


Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

Best way to reach me is by email: voiceomt2002@yahoo.com

Lena