Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Ten Commandments of Writing (from another blog)

This was so true, I had to give praise to this author for articulating what perhaps has not been said before with such clarity.


So as I go through this whole writing journey, I spend a lot of time observing other authors--be it in person or, more likely, on the internet. I want to know what makes one so successful and the other not as much. What makes one likable and another unapproachable. In other words, what separates the good from the great. And so, based on my very unscientific observations, I've come up with my own Ten Commandments. These are the things I've seen successful authors do and the things I strive to emulate. So here we go...

The Ten Commandments of a Successful Author

1. I will always strive to make the next book better than the last.

This is one that keeps me awake at night sometimes. The desire to make this next book better than the first one, to improve on every new project. We put so much effort into THAT book, you know the one to get the agent and the book deal. It's the best we have to give on a page. Then the dream happens and you're faced with book two and oh, you have a time limit this time, and oh if this one tanks, there may not be another book deal. *breathes into paper bag* The best authors out there manage to do this, even on tight deadlines, even when the check is already in the bank. They keep topping their own work.

2. I will not fear risk.

It's tempting to be safe, to stick to what you know and what you know works. But the best authors don't just put out book after book that follow the same formula. They take risks, they push boundaries, hell, some of them even test out different genre waters. With no risk, there's no challenge. Write the stories you want to write. If some don't work out, that's okay.

3. I will never believe "I'm the sh*t." Well, at least not for an extended period of time.

We've all seen it. The author that hits whatever level and now seems to wear the "I'm the sh*t" tiara. Don't do it. No matter if you top every bestseller list. It's okay when you get a good review or hit a list or write a passage that rocks to think to yourself--yep, I'm the shizz nizz, baby. But keep it to yourself--please--and don't let it go to your head. No one's that awesome.

4. I shall not wallow in a pool of self-pity and doubt when someone doesn't like me or my writing.

Someone, probably many someones, will absolutely hate your writing. It's inevitable. You can't please everyone. If you let negative feedback get in your head, it will eat away at your confidence like cancer. This goes for rejections too. Feel the sting, eat a piece of chocolate or take a shot of whiskey--whatever you're preference--and move on.

5. I will never respond to a bad review.

I said never. You hear? Never. Unless to say, "Thank you sir, can I have another?" I'm sure most of you saw the brouhaha on Twitter/Facebook/message boards the other day over a writer who lashed out at a reviewer online. At some point in your career, you will want to do this. It's human. You will want to yell, scream, insult, bestow your wrath upon someone who said something bad about your book.

Don't do it. This is what friends and spouses are for--call them, let it out, cuss the jerk who gave you the negative review. But never lash out publicly or at the reviewer. This will only serve to make you look petty and childish, which will make people not want to deal with you or buy your books. (And remember, lovelies, the internet is viral. One untoward comment can make the rounds faster than a case of croup at a daycare.)

6. Covet your neighbor's success. A dose of envy does a writer good.

There are all these posts out there about writer envy and jealousy telling you how you shouldn't waste time being envious of other writers and what they have, their level of success, etc. Yes, that's true. If you spend all your time burning green, you won't get anything else done. BUT, a little bit of this can be helpful. So and so got an agent and you haven't yet? Your crit partner hit the bestseller list but you can't seem to? Feel that envy and USE it. Use it as kindling under your butt and light a fire to keep going, to get what you want, to grab that success too. Envy with motivation can be very productive. Envy with whining and no action is what you need to avoid.

7. "Good enough" will never be good enough.

The best authors don't settle for good enough. If you've sold a bazillion books and you already have a deal for the next and everyone is lining up just for the privilege of sharing your air, it could be tempting to just write something that's "good enough". But the best authors don't. They put as much heart and guts into every book they put out every time.

8. I will not apologize for what I write.

Do not apologize for your passion. There are stigmas against all kinds of genres, not just romance like I talked about last week. But this is your writing, your story, and your blood on the page. Playing down what you write is playing down who you are. I know this one will be tough for me because once my book comes out, people in my life will know exactly what I write. I know some will judge me for it. I do not want to apologize for it. I'm proud of it.

9. I shall pay it forward.

The best writers give back. If any of you stopped by the blog Monday and saw the Operation Auction information, you know this is true. No we can't help others all the time. If Stephen King answered every email from a newbie on how to be a writer, he'd never get anything done. But he did write On Writing, which is a way of giving back what he's learned (even though, granted, he did make money writing that book.) So no matter how busy you get, try to find time to help others out. Maybe it's to offer a query crit to someone who hasn't queried before, maybe it's having a blog that gives information that everyone can benefit from, maybe it's volunteering your time at conferences or judging a contest. Whatever it is, find something. Think of those who've helped you in your journey. Don't you want to be one of those people another writer can think of?

10. Don't forget to have fun--you love this, dumbass. (Even when it's hard.)

It's easy to get caught up in the day to day--this chapter is so hard, I have a saggy middle, why won't these agents answer my queries--rut. But never forget, this is your dream. Enjoy the act of writing. And good Lord, if you do get the elusive book deal and become published, don't spend your time whining about the minutiae. It's okay for authors to tweet if they're struggling with an edit or whatever, but too much of that sounds like a whole bunch of whine. So many people want this. If you get it, be thankful and for heaven's sake, enjoy it! You get to make stuff up for a living.

So those are the ten writing commandments I'm working toward, what are some of yours? Which would you add? And which authors do you think emulate these things?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drink Recipe: Irish Tea Hot Cocktail

This seems like the perfect drink for a rainy day.
Recipe Link:,2498,FINE_22197_5799745,00.html

Irish Tea Hot Cocktail

Hit hot tea with some Irish whiskey!

A favorite of the Spirits of Gillet caterers in "brrr, I'm cold" Gillet, Wis.,
the Irish tea habit is also alive and well on the Emerald Isle. Super simple if
you use tea bags, but why not make this cocktail extra-special by brewing up a
pot of loose-leaf Irish tea before adding the whiskey?

1 sugar packet or teaspoon granulated sugar 
1-1/2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
Fill mug with hot tea to 1/2-inch from top, leaving the tea bag in the mug.
Garnish with cinnamon stick.

St Patrick's Day Recipe: Slow-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage


3 1/2 cups Swanson® Beef Broth or Swanson® Beef Stock

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 medium onions, cut into quarters

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about 5 cups)

5 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 corned beef or beef brisket (about 3 pounds)

1 head green cabbage, trimmed and cut into 6 wedges (about 2 pounds)

Bouquet Garni

  • Stir the broth and vinegar into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, beef and cabbage. Submerge the Bouquet Garni in the broth mixture.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours or until the beef is fork-tender. Remove the Bouquet Garni.


  • Bouquet Garni: Lay a 4-inch square of cheesecloth flat on the counter. Place 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon pickling spice and 2 bay leaves in the center of the cloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie with kitchen string into a bundle.
  • Time-Saving: Or you may cook the recipe on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
  • For thicker sauce: Remove the beef and vegetables from the cooker. Stir 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. Add to the cooker and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens.



Lena Austin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe: Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake III Recipe
Pistachio Cake III
"A green tube cake made by altering a cake mix with pistachio pudding and green food coloring."
Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
50 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 15 Min

Servings  (Help)

Original Recipe Yield 1 - 10 inch tube pan


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 7 drops green food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
  2. In a large bowl mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil, almond extract and green food coloring. Blend ingredients, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
  3. Pour into prepared 10 inch tube pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 242 | Total Fat: 9.8g | Cholesterol: 61mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database

Lena Austin

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Promo ADULT Excerpt: Level Up by Lena Austin (Bisexual, Menage, Futuristic)

Level Up

by Lena Austin

Cover art: Bryan Keller

ISBN: 978-1-60521-605-8

Genre(s): Futuristic

Theme(s): Ménage, Bisexual and More

Length: Novella


Megan's late again, and David is getting tired of waiting on her. However, Megan and her roommates Jared and Michael are going to make it up to David in a big way. They're hoping he'll level up his domestic situation and join them in a never-ending foursome.


When next he awakened, the clock on the bedside table read ten minutes before midnight. Frustration and anger rose in David, but he didn't know what to do about it. For the moment, they were both stuck in dead-end, poverty-level jobs. He'd been offered a position in The Sphinx Hotel's famous Amarna restaurant after graduation, but he'd still be the lowest chef on the roster for at least another couple of years. There was nothing to be done until they could afford the tax penalties of pairing off. He might as well go home and beat off in the shower.

The vid screen blared a little loudly, playing some Jazz Era hits from the cable company's selection of music channels. Dave wondered if Jared and Michael had come back early. They often curled up on the couch together to read while listening to music and then fell asleep there. No matter what, they'd get a notice from the property manager's office for noise violation if they left the music up that high. Dave tiptoed toward the screen's control panel. He'd just turn down the sound a notch or two on his way out, and then leave. Quietly, so as not to disturb them if they were asleep, Dave crept softly over the carpeted dining area, then froze in his tracks.

On the floor, Michael and Jared were busily pleasuring one another in a mutual sixty-nine. Naked, with the lights of the fractals on the screen reflecting off their bodies, both men were even more beautiful than he'd thought possible.

At first, Dave didn't know what to do. The front door was across the living room, and he'd have to step over them to make it to the door. He could of course return to Megan's room and simply wait there, but he didn't do that, either. His boots seemed rooted to the floor, his eyes glued to the tableau in front of him.

Dave stood fighting his morals and the wish to give the men he'd begun to call friends the privacy they deserved. Instead, he wanted to watch. He licked his lips. Maybe more. He mentally slapped himself.

Sure, they should have been doing the nasty back in their own bedroom instead of out on the floor of the living room, but Dave understood how sometimes location didn't matter when things got hot. Really, how easy was it to forget Megan could be home at any moment and that Dave had been asleep on Megan's bed? Well, okay, maybe they'd never checked the back bedrooms. They were going to have to bolt like a pair of rabbits for the room just as soon as they heard Megan keying in her entrance code.

However, Dave continued to stand right in the entrance to the hall, blocking their way to the bedrooms of the apartment. His gaze remained riveted on the two of them, and his feet refused to listen to the fading voice of his morals demanding weakly for him to go back down the hall. The sight of Jared and Michael giving each other the slow suck, tenderly teasing each other, gave Dave one hell of a woody.

Jared was on top, as usual. He was the more aggressive and outgoing of the pair, cocksure of what he wanted in life and how to get it. His short brown curls winked in the lights of the fractals on the screen, and in time to the slow, moody beat of the jazz. Why hadn't Dave ever noticed how the dude was in shape, with not one ounce of spare fat on him? Even his ass was smooth and firm. Jared lifted his head to suck slowly upward until his lover moaned beneath him.

Michael was almost sleekly feminine, especially when his longer blond hair was spread out on the carpet like a sacrificial maiden or something. Dave felt a kinship with Michael, who was a professional baker. While Michael mainly made the breads for the bakery, at home he often indulged his artistic side with decorated cakes worthy of weddings and events. Even now, his long, delicate fingers kneaded Jared's ass until Dave could see the pink-brown hole pucker before Michael's hands manipulated the smooth globes closed over it again in an erotic game of peek-a-boo.

Hell, Dave wasn't innocent of the games men played. He'd indulged once or twice during those adolescent explorations in school. Girls were more his thing, but Dave couldn't deny that he'd enjoyed himself. Dave's hand crept over to rub his hard-on through his jeans. Megan was good, but even without experiencing the blow job himself, Dave knew Jared was an expert. Michael was no slouch at the sword-swallow routine, either. Dave just forgot one thing. From where Dave stood, his reflection would show up on the glass of the screen, clear as day.

Jared lifted his head from Michael's cock with a soft pop. His green eyes glittered in the reflected light of the fractals as they exploded and changed to the next song before they focused on Dave over his shoulder. "If you want to watch, then you might as well come in and make yourself comfortable." There was no malice or hurt anger in his tone, just a mild amusement, like he'd just invited Dave to dinner instead of a peep show.

Dave's face heated up, so he knew he blushed like a girl. This was worse than being caught by his mother looking at porn on the vid. Mom had laughed at him and cuffed him for not having the protections set higher, but Dave had still been caught literally with his pants down. This time wasn't much better. "I'm ah… well, um… Sorry. I didn't mean to intrude. I was waiting for Megan and um…"

Michael released Jared's cock from his mouth and gave it a lick before rolling his head back until his chin rested between Jared's balls.

Dave wondered what having a five o-clock shadow rubbing your sack felt like and got harder. Then Dave realized he'd started to rub himself again and snatched his hand away like his zipper was on fire.



Lena Austin

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Garfield on the Oil Crisis



A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country.


Well, there's a very simple answer.


Nobody bothered to check the oil.


We just didn't know we were getting low.


The reason for that is purely geographical.


Our OIL is located in:






Coastal Florida


Coastal Louisiana


Coastal Alabama


Coastal Mississippi


Coastal Texas


North Dakota
















Our dipsticks are located in DC


Any Questions? NO? Didn't think So.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cover Hotness! Level Up by Lena Austin (Coming Soon to Changeling Press)

Lookee what Bryan made for me! 


Megan's late again, and David is getting tired of waiting on her. However, Megan and her roommates Jared and Michael are going to make it up to David in a big way. They're hoping he'll level up his domestic situation and join them in a never-ending foursome.

A new Review for Affairs of Dragons from TRS!

Thank you, Hollie!!

"...I love dragons -- the magic and the loyalty. There really isn't anything sexier. The first book in Ms. Austin's new Dragon's Mates series has all this an add sparkle that comes from the love only a true mate can bring."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Pictures of the Scottish Festival and Highland Games

Hi y'all!

As many of you already know, like my Facebook friends, I went to the NE Florida Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Green Cove Springs, FL this past weekend. I promised several of you (grinning at Kate Douglas, Cynnara Tregarth, etc) I'd post the URL to the pictures I took. Some I've even taken the time to put in captions and comments.

Yep, I even got Dante in a kilt.

Lena Austin

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