Saturday, March 31, 2012

X-RATED Snippet starring Zance, Timber Wolf Shapeshifter


COMING SOON...

From the Kougar's Writing Den ~ my latest WIP ~

Her Midnight Stardust Cowboys

X-RATED *Unedited* Snippet starring Zance, Timber Wolf Shapeshifter

NOTE: This is from Chapter Thirty-four, so the heroine and her heroes have gotten to know each other.

~~~~~~

His mate's smoky green eyes settled on his face. "How do you want me?"

Every which way but loose, Zance's mind answered.

"How about lettin' this big bad wolf mount that beautiful ass of yours?" Zance felt his wolf growl with need low in his loins. "But only after I get a long taste of those pearly breasts of yours, sweetheart."

A wild little moan escaped her. Her breaths quickened, and she raised upward rolling toward him. Zance stared, appreciating her trembling voluptuous breasts.

"Rough as she can handle, right, darlin'?" Behind her now, Dontoya stroked her back.

"Looks like you're the big bad wolf for the job," she crooned, playing the seductress.

Yet, Zance heard her shy side. Rising, he knelt on the bed, his shaft bobbing near her rosy mouth, swollen from Dontoya's kiss.

"Lollipop," she sultrily murmured. Reaching out, she daintily slid her thumb and forefinger up his length.

Zance's breath jerked inward, and his abdomen muscles tightened, looking like an old-fashioned washboard. She stopped at his engorged head, then slipped her fingers down his shaft.

Dontoya moved off the bed, silent as a big cat. "Headed for the bathroom. You're on your own, pard, till I get back. Careful, darlin'. Looks like Zance-dog's six shooter is about to fire."

"Yep," Zance groaned out, but couldn't move for the life of him, even as his cock turned into an achy torch.

"Suckable," she praised. Her fingertips caressed his crown, her touch so delicate Zance thought it rivaled the touch of an angel. And he damn well liked it. Too much.
~~~~~~

Sherilyn wasn't looking for a hero to save her and her horses... but two shapeshifters, Zance and Dontoya, found her.

~~~

Dreaming of a Wolf Shapeshifter Cowboy...

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Contract

Call Me Miz
Coming soon from Ellora's Cave.

Blurb: 
Missouri Hess spends more time hiding her gifts than using them. Unfair as it is, after she makes suffering disappear, folks want her to go away too. Content living alone in the hills of West Virginia, she ignores those who call her witch.

On the night of a full moon, she works her magic to save a beast's life. Though she’s accustomed to ingratitude, she doesn’t expect to be bitten for her trouble. After one little nip, her world begins to shift. 

As a government operative with special abilities, Thomas Hunter works for a sub-agency of the National Security Administration. He’s a shape-shifting jaguar, and on his new assignment, the hills are teeming with more than possums and snakes. Thomas has been brought in to track his own kind, but after Miz saves his hide, beast and man have only a motorcycle riding woman on their mind. 

Now Thomas needs to keep them both alive long enough to convince the independent healer she needs a familiar by her side.
Hi, everyone. I'm sharing news today about signing my first contract in a new genre. I once wrote a short paranormal western blog series about a healer in the Old West. I called it Cat Nip. It was pure whimsy, I had fun with it, but set it aside to write more traditional westerns.


Not too long ago, I revisited the short 2500 word Free Read and decided there was a story yet to tell about my main character's descendants. Encouraged by some author friends, I wrote a contemporary, paranormal, novella set in rural West Virginia, titled it Call Me Miz, and held my breath when I subbed it.


I'm happy dancing now. Call Me Miz was contracted by Ellora's Cave for their Twilight Line/Shifter IconNo cover yet, but I found the above picture on a stock photo site and bought it because it reminded me so much of  my Harley riding heroine, Missouri Hess.
*****


For release dates, news updates, contests and a little historical whimsy, sign up for Dreamcatcher Ezine, a monthly newsletter read by Gem's Fans.
Subscribe Now (next issue, April 1)


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Release Day to Me!!!

I am SO excited to finally have a new story out. DEEP BLUE releases today from Siren-Bookstrand. My publisher gave it the steamiest rating of "Sextreme." Gotta love that! It's different than anything I've ever written before. Here's the blurb.


Under the light of a full moon and lurking in the restless waves of the deep blue sea, someone or something watches a ship cutting through the dark waters.

Insurance fraud investigator Kate Hargrove is looking into the disappearances of women from a cruise line. She soon “disappears” herself when pulled undersea by a giant sea creature. Now, this beauty is trapped beneath the sea with a desperate beast.

100 years ago, Thaddeus Ryker was cursed and banished to the ocean depths. He has only three more days to find someone to love him in his monstrous half man/half sea creature state or he’ll spend eternity as a monster of the sea.

When her terror subsides, Kate realizes she’s both attracted to and repulsed by Thaddeus. As she gets to know him, she discovers a sexy, haunted man. Can she learn to love him – a monster – in just three days?

Available now!

You can learn more about Becca on her website, Facebook
or follow her on Twitter @BeccaSimone.

New release Shattered Glass by A.C. Katt from MLR

Blurb-

Liam knew he loved Milo, even as a kid. But their fame and fortune can’t buy him the happiness of taking Milo out of the closet and be able to freely express their love. Unfortunately, there is someone out there who will do anything to tear them apart. He conspires to break up the lovers in the most vicious way possible.

Six years later, Liam is older, wiser, and has rebuilt his life after the devastating loss of his lover. Forced by his loyalty to a friend, Liam agrees to a working reunion with Milo. When they realize what was done to them, they band together to uncover the web of lies that pulled them apart.





EXCERPT-

I need you so



I’ll love you forever



Give me your hand



I’ll never let go



Words without Music, Milo Stamis



Milo’s entire body flattened against the connecting door between the two suites. He got as close as he could allow himself. Liam needed time to adjust, and Milo couldn’t force the issue again. Hadn’t he learned his lesson? He never gave Liam the time he needed to grow and learn.



I grabbed, I always grabbed. I took him too soon. I should have let him have boyfriends, dates. I was selfish.



Milo lost himself in memories of other times they’d made love. How he’d needed to worship his baby’s body with his hands and tongue, but Liam got there first, making him shake and shudder, his mouth everywhere. Liam’s tongue traced the rim of his navel and the trail of hair which crossed his hard stomach to the juncture of his thighs where his cock stood straight up, leaking.



Liam called it a happy trail. It made Milo laugh, until Liam licked around his groin and somehow maneuvered his head to a place beneath his balls, where he accessed the sensitive underside of his cock, and the pendulous set of balls in danger of tightening up to shoot their wad too soon. Liam kissed and bit the skin beneath his cock and caressed his balls. He took each of them in his mouth and rolled them with his tongue.



Liam worked his mouth around to Milo’s ass. Liam swiped the crack with his tongue in an intense, rhythmic motion, until Milo’s clenched cheeks relaxed and flowered for Liam. Liam’s tongue moved between his cheeks to the tiny puckered rosette waiting for him. Liam dove in, circling the outside of the small pink center with a sweeping motion, then Liam plunged his tongue within.



The kid began to shake, and Milo worried he didn’t like what he did. But Milo didn’t have time to explain Liam got an A+ in lovemaking. He was so hard, so emotionally high thinking about how he would nail his Liam, he hadn’t given a thought to telling his baby how good he made him feel. He frantically grabbed at Liam’s torso and brought him up to the top of the bed.



Reaching over to the nightstand, he opened the drawer for a bottle of lube. “Baby, I’m going to fuck you. But we need to lubricate your ass. I don’t want to be responsible for hurting you and clouding your first experience with any lingering pain. Lay on your side.”



“I can take you. I know I can,” whimpered Liam in a frenzy of need.



Milo didn’t listen. He took the lube and slathered his fingers. Reaching down to Liam’s ass, Milo began to massage his cheeks, As he caressed the high hard muscle, he reveled in the satin texture of Liam pale skin, which made such a startling contrast to the long, thick, straight ebony hair touching his shoulders and back. Milo sunk his face into Liam’s curtain of hair as he spread Liam’s cheeks. Taking his two largest fingers, he circled Liam’s hole, stretching his anal passage. He worked him for ten minutes until Liam’s desperate moans reminded Milo that Liam needed this connection as much as he did.



He rolled Liam over so they were face to face, pushing Liam’s knees to tuck up under his chin. He forced a pillow underneath his baby’s lower back. This allowed Milo full access to Liam’s mouth, cock, and hole. His fingers probed Liam’s passage, searching for the elusive sweet spot.



He knew he found it when Liam cried his name followed by, “Please, Milo, please, take me. I’m forever yours. Come inside me. I want you inside me!”



Milo looked down and lost himself in Liam’s violet eyes. Yes, his baby wanted him. Milo’s eyes blazed in passion. He pulled on Liam’s leg, bringing him up and closer. Liam took his own arms and placed them so they helped to angle his hole for a direct hit by Milo’s ready cock. Milo could wait no longer. He took his cock and shoved it toward Liam’s bright pink hole. Nothing held him back from claiming what he’d always thought of as his. He pushed. Liam bore down, and Milo moved past the sphincter muscle into his tight, hot passage.



Liam moved his muscles, clenching and relaxing, massaging Milo’s cock. Milo couldn’t wait for Liam to adjust. Liam salved his conscience by yelling, “Move, Milo. I need you hard and quick, now!”



Milo began to pound into Liam. Soon his body and his brain coalesced, and all that was left was the feeling produced by his dick in Liam’s hole. Over and over and over, he rammed into Liam ass, his balls slapping his baby’s cheeks. Milo needed more. His mouth moved over Liam’s skin. His hand stroked his baby’s long slender cock as it twitched between them. Liam shout showed a complete loss of control.



“Good, Milo, so fucking good. God, I love you…deeper, harder. Please don’t stop. Love me, please, love me. I need you to love me so much.”



Milo felt the beginnings of his orgasm at the base of his spine. It traveled from his brain, along his spinal cord, through his balls and sent electrical shocks to his cock. He began to cum. He felt like he shot an endless flood of cum into his baby’s ass. He imagined the passage painted in his seed, coated with his scent, marking his lover as his and his alone. He felt Liam’s dick explode in his hand, the jism shooting up and over Milo’s chest and under his chin. Milo lay on top of Liam and smeared the cum on his chest, over Liam’s body, spreading Liam’s seed between them. They lay silent, staring at each other in wonder. How did this happen?



Milo kissed Liam on the forehead, and when Liam tried to speak, Milo put his finger to Liam’s lips. “I’ll be right back, baby.”



He went into the bath and ran warm water. He dumped the ice from the bucket and filled it. He soaped up a wash cloth and brought both the bucket and cloth back to bed. Milo went to Liam and washed him with great tenderness, kissing and loving each area he cleaned. He rinsed the cloth in the water and wiped down his own chest. He left the bucket and cloth on the nightstand, slipped under the covers, and pulled Liam in close. Liam pinned him to the mattress with his leg bent up over Milo’s stomach and his nose somewhere near his nipple. Milo sighed. It would take some time to get used to sleeping on his back, but he wanted Liam this close, so he only had to reach out and know he lay there beside him…


Buy Link

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zen for Writers, or How to Make Good Tea

Teaball.
A friend taught me the art of brewing good tea, and it's a skill that has helped me as a writer. There's something about the details of putting together hot water, tea, and porcelain or glass that soothes the mind. I'm not talking about dunking a little paper bag into a cup, mind you. Anyone can do that. I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness tea, sold loose and brewed hot.

Rooibos tea.
To reduce stress, you'll want a tea that has no caffeine, so that eliminates most black or green teas. Herbal teas are excellent, and you can purchase them in stores or online. But there are other types of teas as well. Rooibos (pronounced roy-bus) is an African bush tea.  Its properties assist with nervous tension, may reduce allergies, and soothe digestive problems. It comes in red and green varieties, and is created by fermentation. It has a grassy, malted taste. To brew it properly, bring the water to just under a boil (208 degrees), pour it over 1.5 teaspoons of the loose tea in a cup, and allow it to steep for no more than 6 minutes (5 for less strong taste). Strain and serve with honey or rock sugar.

White tea.
White tea is free of caffeine. It gets its name because of the fine white filaments that show on the unopened buds of the plant (camellia sinensis). This tea has a delicate flavor and can be ruined by heat and overbrewing. For best results, use a candy thermometer to gauge water temperature. It should not be above 175 degrees. Steep 1.5 teaspoons of loose tea no longer than 5 minutes -- 4 minutes for the sweetest flavor. This tea can easily take flavorings because it is so mild. Try drops of lemon juice, vanilla syrup, hazlenut syrup, and milk. A popular blend of white tea is Assam. It can be mixed with other teas to give them a unique flavor.
Teavana's Infuser.

To strain tea, use a fine sieve or microfilter. The company Teavana makes a beautiful tea infuser. You add loose tea, pour in the hot water, and allow to steep. When the time is up, you place the infuser on top of a tea cup or mug, and the brewed tea drains out the bottom. You can order one of these from Amazon by clicking here.

Relaxing with tea is an art. Plan for fifteen minutes from beginning to last sip. Begin by heating the water. While it prepares, measure and add the tea to your infuser or cup. Place sweeteners or flavorings on the table, and remove any cream or half and half from the refrigerator. Why not use a pretty placemat for your relaxation break? The humblest cup is a treat when filled with delicious tea, so don't worry about having matching sets for tea. One local tea shop purposely mismatches sets when they serve, for an eclectic look.

Pour the hot water over the tea and set the timer. Lay out a few small cookies or sweetened crackers. A piece of fruit also goes well with tea. Sit down, fold your hands, and close your eyes. Listen for the timer. When it goes off, strain the tea and pour it into the serving cup. Take it to the table, sit down, and mix any sweeteners or flavorings into it. Stir with a spoon -- gently -- to allow the flavors to mingle. Sip. Let the tea rest on your tongue for a moment. Swallow it, and repeat.

Enjoy the break away from writing and hurry. Life takes time to live. Using some of the time you save to savor life guarantees you'll appreciate it more. Bon appetit!
- - -

About the Author
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find...well, the unfindable. And sometimes (shh!) make them disappear again. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. You can find her on the web in these places:
Homeworld http://kayelleallen.com
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Blog http://kayelleallen.blogspot.com
- - -
Images White tea: GNU Free Documentation License. / Teavana infuser (Amazon) / Rooibos (Copyleft_attitude) / teaball (Photoxpress)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Because I love it

A conversation that I’ve had a few times in the past and more recently got me to thinking. A lot of blood, sweat, time, sleepless nights and tears go into anything that you love. Whether it is sewing that fabulous outfit, painting a picture, crocheting a throw or any other number of things you do. With each it takes all of what I mentioned above on my your to get to that finished point. It is the same with being a writer. Let me break it down.

Blood – I’ve typed so hard that I’ve left blood on the keyboard or gotten paper cuts while reading through pages of my manuscript. Hey paper cuts hurt something awful. (grin). I put my figurative blood into each book I write. My heart and soul are on each page.

Sweat – I’ve broken into lots of sweat as I pounded away at the keyboard trying to get a scene just right. Talked with a reader which I love to do. Since I am shy this is the hardest for me. Hush those who know me that are laughing. I am shy, just not with those I know and am comfortable with. But I digress. I’ve sweated about a variety of things. Waiting anxiously to hear back on a submission. Edits for my book. Opened a review of my book.

Time – The amount of time spent with writing the book, doing self editing, then again self editing, crit partner editing, your editing again and then off to publisher who you will have to wait for a response. And if you get that all lovely response of “yes” then even more waiting to get to the process. When in the process even more waiting to get through the process. Then after process even more waiting to actual release. Then release then more waiting to see what people think. Whew I am tired of even imagining the time. Yet each moment is worth it. So worth it all.

Sleepless night – The idea in your brain that will not understand that you are sleeping that forces you out of bed in search of paper to write it down. The book you are writing that will not let you rest until that last scene is just so or that last word is complete. The excitement of a new project. The wait for the submission that you sent. Or waiting for a note/call from your editor on something.

Tears – Oh the tears I have cried as I write a scene in a book or read a letter from a reader who actually got the story as intended. The awesome review that said that one phrase that made you smile that the story did as you intended it to do. The bad review that even though they didn’t like the story there was something constructive in it that you took away for future reference. The tears of completion that you finished the story and it was written to the best you could get it. The tears of relief for the contract that you went after or publisher you wanted that story to be with. The tears of making hard choices that will be best for your career.

I could go on and on with a list of what all the things above mean in correlation to writing. I’ve been asked many times why do I write. My quick response is “it’s in my blood, soul and heart”. The more complex one is “because the blood, sweat, time, sleepless nights and tears go into it because I love it.” I get lots of confused looks when I give the complex one so I usually give the simple explanation. With the complex response I’ve never tried to articulate what I meant until now. There are so many layers to it all. So much to say. If you think about it all those points cover many things you do in your life. I have many creative outlets that I pursue. I draw, love to sew, do crafts and cook. Each are things I love and that I want to be my best at.

No matter what you are pursuing. The things that you put your heart into – that you bleed for – figuratively and in reality. The things that bring you closer to people you would never have expected to have anything in common with. Things that may, take time away from family and friends. What you sweat over because you want it to be you upmost best and create a reaction – good or bad. The nights you cannot sleep because your thoughts are consumed with whatever project you are working on. Or the wonder when it is seen by the world and how will they react. The tears you shed to get there, between going there and as you get there. Each tear has a purpose to make you go forward. They each make you learn and grow.

In each thing you do that involves blood, sweat, time, sleepless nights and tears none of it matters because it all boils down to one thing. You do it because you love it.

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml

Wilde Rapture - When a woman ducks into an alcove at a wedding she meets the man who is intriguing and will tempt her.

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Writing Erotic Romance... to cliche, or not to cliche...


The ultra sexy, Kevin Smith, who played Ares in Xena, Warrior Princess.

The following remarks were originally written for my blog yesterday, and ARE ONLY MY OPINION -- and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section or by penning your own post.
~~~~~~

As an Erotic Romance Author... to cliche, or not to cliche... well, here we go, my darling authors, aspiring authors and readers... cliches. One could argue there is a reason cliches work for life, they're actually true, and often cut to the heart of the matter. And, in all honesty, this Big Cat author sees no reason not to use an occasional cliche simply as a reflection of real life. Obviously, the heroine or hero would be thinking or speaking in those terms at times. Don't we all?

So, today the Kougar was surprised to learn -- her eyebrows actually raised -- that "Oh, God" during a sex-passion scene is considered to be cliche. She doesn't quite understand how this came about, or precisely when this decision was made. However, here are some online definitions of cliche ~

Cliché - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it. 2. : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation. 3. : something (as a menu item) that has ... ~ merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clich%C3%A9 ~

Cliche - definition of Cliche by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus ...

A trite or overused expression or idea: "Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use . . . scholars were giving it increasing attention" ... ~ thefreedictionary.com/Cliche ~

Cliché - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially ... ~ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clich%C3%A9 ~

~~~

Has "Oh, God" lost its original meaning, its original affect?

If so, well, the Kougar is now raising her hand high and for all the world to see because she is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY of using this cliche!!!

Likely, she will remain guilty of using this cliche simply because that is how 'some' of her contemporary para-fantasy heroines would express themselves during certain moments in their sex scenes with the hero[s]

You might ask, what is our beloved heroine supposed to blurt out? How about: *Oh, Satan.* Gosh, if she's not a satanist, why would she say that? Unless, of course, it's a Halloween party scenario and the hero is costumed as Satan. Or, the supernatural hero of the story is Satan himself.

Now, of course, if an erotic romance takes place in a sci fi-fantasy world, then made-up words would work for that extreme moment of oh-wow pleasure. Or, our heroine could simply blurt out, *Oh, Harvey*... and we all might hope that is the hero's name, or she's in a world of hurt, and so is he.

But, really and realistically, how ubiquitous are the words: *shit and fuck* in much of erotic romance and erotica these days? Gosh, are those now cliche words as well? If so, this Big Cat hasn't gotten that memo-email-text-twitter yet. But, then, she's not at all that cyber-savvy or trendy.

So, gee, in the throes of passion, in that state of mindless pleasure, what do you say? Perhaps, one could practice an erudite speech that expresses the intense feelings that are occurring, then recite it to one's partner or partners, all while having one's brains f*cked out.

Possible example:

Oh, my darling, your colossal and incomparable cock has induced in me a state of rapture that is beyond the heavens. Oh, yes, I see the celestial stars before my mind's eye because your fucking rhythm is perfection itself. Oh, don't stop, for if you do I will not reach the divine heights. Only you can transport me... [it is at this point our heroine gives up on her speech, and succumbs]... "Oh, God. Just. beam. me. up. baby..." An ecstatic scream might occur at this point. That is up to the author's discretion.
~~~

However, back to the discussion. If we're talking an overused expression during sex, well how cliche is: *Oh, yes* or *yes...yes...yes* or *Oh, yes, more* and *More, Harvey, more. Oh, yes, hit it, Harvey, hit it hard. Harder... harder... * [suggest substituting your personal faves here -- be as graphic as you like].

This erotic romance author submits to you for your consideration, dear authors, aspiring authors, and readers, that human nature being what it is sexually -- and while we humans/humanlike beings are inhabiting the heady sweaty realms of sex -- that *Oh, God* or comparable words, is a natural and normal expression of what cannot really be expressed in words.

That said, if you are someone who considers "Oh, God" to be overused in erotic romance/erotica, then should we authors offer a count of how many time it's used... or...

Dear reader, do we authors now put a warning label on our books? Such as: If you find "Oh, God," to be an unacceptable and/or boring cliche during an erotic love scene or any type of love/sex/passion scene, and do not wish to be subjected to the usage of such a cliche, then it is advisable you do not purchase this book.
~~~

~ Happy Springtime Reading ~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~~~~

Savanna Kougar is the best-selling author of twelve ebooks, with seven books in print. She pens love stories because that’s her deepest heart. She writes in the futuristic/fantasy/paranormal subgenres because that’s her fiercest passion. And, she writes erotic romance because she ferociously enjoys ripping the damn doors off.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

13 Simple Steps to Creating an Author Banner by Kayelle Allen

Popular Banner Sizes (chart). 
Banner sizes vary (see chart) but for the most part, authors want a standard size for their books. I'll discuss other options and uses in an upcoming post. I suggest you read all the directions before starting.

This material was shared in a slightly different format on Marketing for Romance Writers. This group is a center point for workshops, advice, and shared promotional opportunities. You can learn more here. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MarketingForRomanceWriters/
Or visit the Facebook group page here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/mfrwauthors/


1. To make a standard sized banner (468x60) begin with a rectangle 1404 pixels by 180 pixels, and set the resolution to 300 dpi.
2. If your program makes "layers" set the first one as your background. We'll assume this one is light. Use the "bucket" icon to fill it with a color from the program's palette.
3. The second layer will be your logo, book cover, or some other graphic.
4. Create a layer for text and enter your name. Use as much space as possible to make it easy to read when you shrink the banner (which will be 2/3 smaller).
5. Make another text layer for your website. To save space, on this version, use the short version (i.e., KayelleAllen.com) Use upper and lower case. It's easier to read in small print, which this will be when finished.
6. If you can arrange all of these items to fit on one visible layer, then you're finished and you have a static (non-animated) banner. If you can't make them all fit, you can make an animated version.
7. Assuming everything fits, save the document, and then look for the option to "Save for Web." In the "Type" section, choose GIF or PNG. They are smaller in byte size than a JPG or JPEG and have more clarity.
8. Making your banner in more than one type will allow users to pick what they prefer for their site.
9. If your first banner was light-colored, now is the time to change the background color by using the "bucket" icon and filling it with a dark color.
10. Ideally, make one banner with a white or cream background, and one with black. These are not the only background colors on web pages, but they are the most common.
11. You may also need to change the color of your text. Do this by selecting the text, then clicking on the color you want in the palette. Save again using the same principles as above.
12. Consider a 1 or 2 pixel border to set your banner apart from the background. To create this, select the brush icon, set the size to 1 or 2 pixels, and then move to one of the corners. Hold the shift key down, and drag the brush along the edge. The shift key ensures the line will be straight.
13. Change the size to 468 x 60 and click Apply. Save it, naming your banner in such a way that when you send it to people they can differentiate it from banners by others. If everyone named their banner "banner.jpg" how would anyone know whose it was?

Standard 468x60 banner

Helpful hints
Add DK or LT to the name of your banner so you can tell which is which when attaching them in email.
You can change the colors of a program's palette by double-clicking a color. Use the color wheel's sliders to create an additional or custom color.
Right click and download the image in this post and save it to your hard drive for reference. The image shows banners in their actual size.
- - -
About the Author
Kayelle Allen is the founder of The Author'sSecret, an author-support company that creates banners, logos, book videos, provides training, and phone support for social media. She is also an award-winning, multi-published author. http://kayelleallen.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Cover ART

Cover by Syneca of Ellora's Cave
Tentative release date--Summer 2012.


Publisher: Ellora's Cave Series: Eclipse Heat
Blurb: Naomi Parker needs to follow the trail of marauding Comancheros who have kidnapped her students. But the best tracker in the state is Charlie Wolf McCallister and he works for cash.
Not one to let unfavorable circumstances stand in her way, Naomi bargains with him–a night of seduction for his services. Though their sexual encounter leaves her amazed and bemused, she has no illusions. Charlie Wolf agreed to help because he’s after a huge outlaw reward.
Charlie laughs a lot at the know-it-all school marm’s ideas. For all her smarts, sometimes she doesn’t have a lick of common sense. He has a whole different reason for joining Miss Parker’s hunt. The bounty Charlie’s after is Naomi’s heart.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Evolution of a cover

I originally posted this on Regan Taylor’s blog, but as this story comes out later this month, I just had to share again. Enjoy!

For me, seeing cover art for the first time is one of the most exciting aspects of being a published author.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the whole cover art process, I’ll walk you through it. For my story DEEP BLUE, which releases later this month on March 29 (!!!!) with Siren-Bookstrand, I filled out a cover questionnaire that will be sent directly to the cover artist. The first thing they wanted me to do was write several blurbs in different lengths. Here’s one of them:

One hundred years ago, Thaddeus was cursed and banished to the depths of the ocean as a half man/half sea creature. He has only three more days to find someone to love him in his beastly state or he’ll live the rest of eternity as a monster of the sea.

Then I needed to provide basic information like word count (24k), genre (paranormal erotic romance), series name (Cursed Love), theme (Beauty and the Beast story) and setting (under the sea in a lair—it’s dark with very little light to see).

Then I described my heroine:

Kate Hargrove, 32, long auburn hair, brown eyes, curvy.

Thaddeus Ryker, 28 years old, long black hair, blue eyes, always bare-chested.

I explained objects central to the story, for instance the ocean is an integral part of the story; it’s always dark; hero is half man/half sea monster so the heroine only sees him from the waist up for much of the story.

I gave the cover artist links to covers and clip art I liked, told her the general feel and tone I hoped for (romantic, sexy and haunting), then sent it all in and…waited.

And the cover you see is what I got in my inbox last week. What do you think?

Becca Simone writes contemporary erotic romance from her home in the Pacific Northwest. DEEP BLUE is her second story. You can learn more about her on her website http://BeccaSimone.com.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday 13 - Sex Bucket List

I found a “bucket list” of 69 Things 2 Do Before You Die.  It’s actually a Playboy TV adult news magazine show that features exotic locales, adventures and erotic trends.  I picked a few that would be fun.  What would you put on your sexy bucket list?


1. Sensual massage in Hawaii.

2.  Take a trip to tantalizing resort, Maya Tulum,  for beaches, yoga & spa.  Clothing optional.
3.  Attend a fetish convention in the Caribbean.

4.  Visit Prague to see the Sex Machines Museum and pick up some tips from the ladies at a brothel.
5. Have sex on a balcony or porch.

6.  Take a bubble bath with someone special in a tub that actually has room to play in.
7.  Go boating naked in the Ozarks.

8.  Attend a male naked volleyball tournament.

9.  Check out a sex club in San Francisco.

10.  Take stripper classes in Vegas.

11. Attend a Sacred Sex workshop.

12. See a show at the world famous Crazy Horse Paris, in Paris.

13. Make love under the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Here's a link to another fun Sex Bucket List. 



The Sex Bucket List is an adult activity book written by Michael Lucente. It is intended for adult entertainment purposes only as a fun tool for two lovers to expand and experiment in their sexuality as an intimate couple. This book offers many fun and engaging ideas, and some challenges, to couples looking to try new sexual activities together before “kicking the bucket”


Mary Quast is a contemporary erotic romance author.
Check out Handcuffs & Silk a 1 Night Stand story.
Queen of Hearts a sweet romance.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Be a Successful Writer in 10 Minutes a Day (Humor)


Success!
A little humor to start your workday. Here's how you can be a successful writer without really trying. I can sum it up for you in one honest hashtag: #aintgonnahappen

But if you want a formula for what most writers do in a ten-minute period, this is accurate (for the most part).

Minute 1: Do warm up exercises for your hands to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Every writer should do these. The exercises are pleasant, and simple. They consist of lifting a coffee cup, sipping from it, and putting it back down. Repeat with the other hand.

Minute 2: Open a blank word processing document and save it as Chapter One. Be sure the proper formatting is in place. One inch margins all around, Arial, Calibri, Times, or Times New Roman in 12 point font.

Minute 3: Take a break. Play Spider Solitaire, Mahjongg, or a word search puzzle.

Minute 4: Repeat the warm up exercises before going back to work, to ensure your hands are limber.

Minute 5: Open a blank word processing document and save it as Chapter Two. Double check the formatting. Set a new format to indent automatically five spaces when starting a new paragraph, and name it Editing.

Minute 6: Take a break. Check email. (Note, if time runs over one minute, this is okay because checking email falls under marketing, another vital activity for writers.)

Minute 7: You have been sitting for some time by now, so stand up, and stretch your legs. If possible, take a walk, such as to the kitchen to fetch fresh coffee for your hand exercises.

Minute 8: Open a previously edited document and see if anything needs to be tweaked. Look for oft-used words. If you don't yet have a list of these, begin compiling these now. This should include phrases such as "shook his head" and "folded his arms."

Essential Exercise Equipment
Minute 9: Repeat the warm up exercises. Fetch more coffee if needed. Check the coffee, creamer, and sugar supply while up, and add to the grocery list if needed. While doing so, consider the meal plan for the week, and make additions to the shopping list.

Minute 10: Check email for notes from your editor and/or beta readers. Since this email visit is for writing-related purposes, check the blogs to which you've subscribed.

And there you have it. A ten minute process that has the potential to carry you throughout the day. Will it make you successful? That depends solely on your agent, whose job it is to land you a contract. Right? Right?
- - -
About the Author
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find...well, the unfindable. And sometimes (shh!) make them disappear again. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. You can find her on the web in these places:
Homeworld http://kayelleallen.com
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Blog http://kayelleallen.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ads, Awards, Luck of the Irish and EPICon


EPICon-2012


 Okay, I'm sharing a big squeeee!! My Eclipse Heat series title, Five Card Stud, is a finalist in the 2012 EPIC Awards@ EPICon this weekend in San Antonio, Texas.



                                                                                                  I am so excited, for the first time ever I'm promoing in paper/print. The ad is black and white, half page, and appears in the EPIC Award Program that goes to each Awards Banquet attendee. Michael Bookman of Hartshine.com (also my website developer) put this together for me.

I don't know how much attention anyone pays to these ads (I read them) or if it will have any impact on sales (I sure hope so) but seeing the final draft I'm totally in love with my book all over again.

My book is in the historical romance category and has some stiff competition. Of course, I've now read all of these, *cheesy grin* and I'm enormously complimented to have Five Card Stud included in this group. Here they are:
EPICon 2012 Historical Romance Finalists
Five Card Stud Gem Sivad Ellora's Cave Publishing
For Love Is New Jean Hart Stewart Passion in Print
Healing Hearts Taryn Kincaid Carina Press
Passage to November Phyllis DeMarco The Wild Rose Press
Red Bird's Song Beth Trissel The Wild Rose Press
On Saturday night, St. Patrick's Day, hubs and I will be out drinking green beer in a local bar not sitting in San  Antonio. But I'll raise a mug to everyone in the competition. Good luck to us all and hope to see you next year. 

May the luck 

Gem

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sweet Monday Mojo

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought I'd post something Irish to get your mojo going.

 If the handsome Irishman didn't do it then try a couple of my favorite St. Patty recopies.  I suggest making them and enjoying them with your special someone.

            Chocolate-Irish Cream Cheesecake

Ingredients:Chocolate-Irish Cream Cheesecake

·         1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (about 18 cookies)*
·         6 tablespoons butter, melted*
·         1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
·         1 8 ounce carton dairy sour cream
·         1 cupsugar
       ·         1 8 ounce package semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

·         3 eggs
·         1/2cupIrish cream liqueur
·         2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
·         2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl, combine crushed chocolate wafers, melted butter, and cinnamon; toss gently to mix. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the side of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.
2.  For filling, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and melted chocolate. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in eggs just until combined. Stir in liqueur, whipping cream or milk, and vanilla.

 3.  Pour filling into the crust-lined pan. Place springform pan in shallow baking pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.

 4.  Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 16 servings.


Chocolate Stout Shake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chocolate stout beer or stout beer
  • 1/2 cup prepared chocolate fudge ice cream topping
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1 cupmilk
  • 6 purchased chocolate-and-nut-covered pretzel rods (optional)

Directions

1. In a small saucepan heat beer and chocolate topping until warm and combined. Cool slightly.


2. Meanwhile, in a blender combine ice cream and milk, half at a time. Cover and blend until combined. Divide ice cream mixture among 8 glasses. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and, if desired, serve with chocolate-covered pretzel rods. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate Stout ShakePreheat oven to 325 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl, combine crushed chocolate wafers, melted butter, and cinnamon; toss gently to mix. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the side of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 16 servings.

 Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 16 servings.



Chocolate Stout ShakePreheat oven to 325 degrees F. For crust, in a medium bowl, combine crushed chocolate wafers, melted butter, and cinnamon; toss gently to mix. Press mixture onto the bottom and up the side of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes

 Cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen from side of pan. Cool for 30 minutes more. Remove side of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Makes 16 s