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Farewell and Many Blessings…

17 Apr

Dandilian farewellDear readers,

After much discussion and attention to the long range plans of the authors on this blog, we’ve decided it’s time to shut the doors on Passionate Reads. We’ve enjoyed connecting with you and sharing our tales. For me as one of the newest bloggers here, it’s been a great experience and honor to post on the blog, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all.

But for now, we must stay goodbye and turn our attention not only to our individual blogs, but our writing too. You can find us all at the links below and the best part is most of us regularly blog at these places.

Nara Malone
naramalone.com
Tea and Strumpets

Nara’s Nook
Therian Verse

Marilyn Campbell
marilyncampbell.com

Siobhan Muir:
The Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked
Buy a Book, Tell a Friend

Brandi Evans
branidevansauthor.com

Shannon Emmel
Shannon’s Blog

Thank you all for joining us on this blog. Take care, be well, and stop by our respective blogs. If you follow them, you can get announcements when we post. Thanks again, and many blessings.

Enter the Dream World of OpenSim Interactive Fiction

20 Feb

Have you heard of interactive fiction? Years ago it started with those old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novels where the authors had written multiple endings and paths to get through the story depending on which choice the reader made at the end of each chapter. It was very cool because you could get a different story each time you read it.

Now, in the Twenty-first Century, we have things like SecondLife and OpenSimulator which allow us to build actual avatars (characters) and wander around a fictional world. A new kind of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in digital worlds.Tarot 2-3-14

This week, my good friend Nara Malone has introduced one step higher in interactive fiction. She’s asked me and several other authors to write OpenSim stories so readers can come visit, wander through our worlds, and get a story along with the adventure. You can visit Tina Glasneck’s suspense tale Letter to Charlie that takes you through Greyville Writer’s Colony, drop by Shara Lanel’s Good Karma Tarot shop, or trip across worlds (grids) to Nara Malone’s Blue Harbor. And if you like your stories a little more sensual and romantic, follow my Incubus Dream through Cloudburst, Colorado and beyond.Incubus Dream cover

How do you do this? Nara has a gift for teaching others and she’s posted a great article of how to get started. It says it’s for authors, but anyone can use the information therein to visit the Metaverse and Greyville. Greyville is where you start all the stories. Once you log in, just find the park with all the books in it and you’re off. Shara Lanel wrote a blog post on her experience and what you can expect. We’ll all be around at one time or another, time zones permitting, to answer questions or tell you the tricks we’ve learned putting this together.Dragon Temple Book intro

We hope to see you there.

For those already familiar with SecondLife and the Metaverse, you can tromp on over to Nara’s Nook and see for yourself at: world.narasnook.com:8900

Comment Karma: Help Good Luck Find You

21 Jun

Karma Guen 2008 - 07

If you’re at all involved in social media, or blogging, you know that leaving comments on other blogs can help grow traffic at your blog. But there is much more to comment karma than many commenters realize.

First, your comments show up in Google searches of your name. I know when my editor is considering a manuscript or deciding to invite someone to submit, she’ll search their name to get an idea of their writing style and the sort of person they might be to work with. Keep that in mind when you comment. Be certain the things you say on other blogs, on Facebook, and on Twitter are things that represent your best qualities.

Second, comments can land you jobs from places you might not have thought to look. Not long after I first started blogging, and right about the time I had signed my first contract with Ellora’s Cave, I commented in the RWA Online forum that I really wished game developers made romance video games. A member there pointed me to a thread at Smart Bitches Trashy Books where Sarah Wendell posted about game developer Darek Rusin and Orchid Games, who were committed to producing games for romance readers. They were offering up a free game to her blog readers, Heartwild Solitaire Classic (still free at this link), a really clever blend of a loved card game with short stories by loved romance writers. I tried the game, commented on how much I enjoyed it, and mentioned that ever since I played Plundered Hearts–an old eighties style text adventure game by Amy Briggs–I had been waiting for another great romance game to come along.

A few days after I commented, I got email from Darek asking me about Plundered Hearts and how he might track down a copy. I told him what I knew and wished him luck. He later sent me a free copy of Heartswild Solitaire (Author’s Edition) for helping him out and that might have been the end of it, but I mentioned I’d recently found another romance game produced by a new company, Passion Fruit Games–Tiger Eye, Curse of the Riddle Box, based on a novel by Majorie M. Lui. We struck up an email discussion about romance stories and video games. That eventually led to an invitation to submit. One of the stories I submitted, Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch was accepted, developed, and released by Orchid Games this month.

And that’s the story of how comment karma smiled on me. Here’s your chance to accrue some comment karma. Do you know any good romance video games? Tell me below. I’m always on the lookout for a new one.

Maybe now that romance readers are playing games more, more companies will finally invest in this extremely underserved market. Linden Lab, creators of the Second Life virtual world are preparing to launch a modernized version of text adventure games (the format used for Plundered Hearts) in the near future. It’s supposedly a platform that will allow players to write their own stories, so perhaps romance writers will be able to show their stuff and generate interest in games for romance readers.

In the meantime, let’s show Orchid Games some romance reader love for standing by us and continuing to put out the kind of games we love. They have a very generous free trial of Spirit Walkers: Curse of the Cypress Witch on their site. Download the trial, play and tell me in comments what you think. You never know when comment karma might smile on a lucky commenter. 😉

Sex Magick + Female Power = Passion’s Portal

1 May

Do you prefer to do it alone or do you have more fun in a group?

Of course, your answer, like mine, may vary depending on the activity. A few months ago, I was invited to participate in a group writing project by Brandi Evans and Nara Malone, two other Passionate Reads bloggers. Although my usual preference is to work independently, their idea really appealed to me and we were quickly joined by two more of our bloggers, Shannon Emmel and Charlotte Stein.

Over the next couple months the five of us easily overcame the challenges of living in different time zones and having different ideas. I am very pleased to say that through the entire creation, production and submission process, no one was inflexible, tried to take control or slack off.  Since this was my first time with such a project, I don’t know if our experience was common among women writers or if we were exceptionally lucky to have come together as we did, but I am anxious to continue the special relationship we formed in the process.

If you’ve had a group writing experience, good or bad, please feel free to share by commenting below.

The end result is that our group project, PASSION’S PORTAL, has been approved for development as a paranormal, erotic romance series at Ellora’s Cave. The stories will be individually written but tied together by the Sisterhood of the Elemental Goddesses and Shadowling Manor, a spooky old mansion on the northeast coast of Maine. Witches, wizards and warlocks, werewolves, shifters, dragons and selkies… Shadowling Manor is an Equal Opportunity Paranormal Environment. Every room has a secret, every portrait a history, and any door just might be a portal to another realm. Sex magick is at the core of the Sisterhood’s power and the energy created during sexual activity is what keeps Shadowling’s portals open.

In hopes of intriguing you to stay tuned for release updates, here are some teasers of the first five books –

     Serving Nicole, by Marilyn Campbell (Alchemy)

Nicole Claret’s abilities as an empath began awakening at puberty, and by the time she was in college, the intuitive gift had turned her into a human lie detector. That quality made her a successful private investigator but resulted in her choosing a very solitary personal life. Though occasionally consumed with sexual need, celibacy has been her only option.

At Shadowling Manor, she is promised a solution to her self-imposed isolation and celibacy. Her challenge and tutelage await her in the form of Brett Donahue, a high-level wizard whose specialty is Continue reading

Sexy Male Bunnies…The Reprise

8 Apr

“Oh Yummy…White and Dark Chocolate Easter Sundae Sexy ( Male) Bunnies” was the title of my post LAST Easter Sunday and it has been one of my most popular to date. It started out like this:

Yeah…just give me a spoon  and some whipped creme coz they BOTH look good enough to eat!

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I do at least make an effort to tie it into writing…on some level.   This week I  had a list of good intentions and good writing tips and then it  hit me.

That’s when I realized that my post would fall on “Easter Sunday” and, setting aside any and all serious or religious connotations, my mind went directly to (what else?)

 Chocolate Easter Bunnies!

Then it went straight… into…the gutter.

I thought of “Playboy” bunnies and, being a healthy, red-blooded female past the legal age of consent, my mind wandered next to their sexy male counterparts.

Before I knew it, visions of nearly naked men proudly displaying their bow-ties and cuffs,  and those irresistible tails that you can’t keep from reaching out and grabbing onto (uh-hummm…those would be the tails conveniently located at the front side instead of the back side),  danced through my head like sugarplum faeries…

LOL…If you want to see where it headed after THAT , here’s the quick link to that blog:

Oh YUMMY Easter Blog

On this Easter Morning, I’d like to share with everyone something equally as “yummy”, a little project some of your “Passionate Reads” authors have been working on!

I am extrememly pleased to announce that EC has just approved a new series that takes place in coastal Maine at Shadowling Manor.

The name of the series is “PASSIONS PORTAL” and the select few that are mystically drawn to Shadowling Manor pass through magickal portals  and are swept into exotic locations and erotic paranormal encounters that rate off the scale on the “Sizzle Chart”.

The authors participating with the first 5 books in this series are Brandi Evans, Nara Malone, Marilyn Campbell, Charlotte Stein and moi, Shannon Emmel so we hope you will check back for more news and info including titles, release dates and steamy hot covers!

We have tons of fun stuff planned for this series that is still in the works, including a Continue reading

Visual Storytelling: Making of a book trailer.

1 Mar

Jolie_wal_photo copy

I had hoped to have my book trailer for Snatch Me done by today. I’m still finishing the last pieces of avatar art, but I thought I’d give you a sneak preview of what’s going into the trailer.

SntchMe_slide_3

At the start I decided I’d draw on what I learned about visual storytelling from video games and graphic novels. After all, a trailer is meant to get across the conflict of your story in a visual way. A story about a game and a girl who uses that game to escape her real world problems should be easiest to tell using a blend of graphic art and photography, right?

jail_sm

Creating the graphic art began with taking virtual photographs to work from. Getting avatars to hold still to have their picture taken, while getting the moon to just the right place in the sky, not so easy. Getting Jolie in a cell, easy. Figuring how to get her back out…took a little while. We were interrupted by guys interested in doing some capture role-playing, but they were all understanding about us being there to work rather than play. Hmm…does that make us working girls? 😉

clench3a

But even with the technical difficulties putting us behind schedule, I’m expecting a happy ending. It is a romance, after all. 🙂

In case you don’t want to wait for the trailer to find out what this story is all about, Snatch Me is available now from Ellora’s Cave, Amazon.com, and most e-book retailers.

Thanks to Hard Rust for letting me use Hard Alley in Second Life as a setting for my trailer.

Old York

11 Jan

Heaven in Old York

I took this snapshot on a magical night in 2008 when I looked toward the heavens for the first time and realized there were stars and a moon and magic in the air in a world supposedly only made of bits and bytes.

Housed on a server perhaps thousands of miles form my corporeal self, Old York was the creation of Roland Wampers in Second Life. I wandered its buildings and hidden grotto with a sense of wonder for weeks on end.

When I met the creator himself, he carefully kept his identity hidden from me at first. He wanted to know what I thought of his creation and didn’t want to scare me off from an honest answer. What did I say? Well, I gushed.

I remember saying something about feeling as if I’d stepped inside someone else’s imagination. How they’d managed to paint a 3-D picture of their inner world I could step into and experience while standing next to them. It was like walking through someone else’s dream.

Discovering Old York will forever stand out as a flash point for creativity in my own life. Like so many civilizations, it’s gone now and these snapshots are all that remain, along with many fond memories. I still mourn its loss. It’s the same sense of loss I feel each time I finish writing a novel.

While writing, I create a world and its inhabitants–paint a picture in my mind’s eye. Put it out into the world to share. Then, for me, that experience evaporates, leaving only a memory and a shadow of something wonderful on the page. A novel is like this snapshot–an imprint of my experience in the universe I inhabited for a short while. My only link from my imagination to you.

When we begin to create, it’s for ourselves. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how my characters will play out on the screen of someone else’s experience. While I don’t know for sure, I’m betting Roland didn’t think about it at first either. For my part, it’s too mind boggling and weighty a responsibility to contemplate that what I’ve written might affect someone else as profoundly as Roland’s work in Second Life affected me and my desire to create.

Our experiences form the sum of who we are, and without my days and nights dreaming in Old York during an otherwise turbulent time in my life I’m not certain I would have become the author I am today. I am guessing I passed on a little of Roland’s legacy to Nara Malone who now keeps a residence of her own in Second Life, and who has taken the journey into virtual worlds much deeper than I ever did. I admire her for that, and am a little in awe of her creations.

We never know how we will inspire others. Or when. Or exactly when that spark will pass from us to another, or from them to us. When it does happen, it can be the stuff of dreams. It’s a weighty responsibility, this act of creating, but one that I’m glad so many of us keep venturing to attempt. Each time we do, we share a bit of that spark of what makes us human as we reach to touch the divine.

As I finish the follow-up novel to No Apologies, titled Acting Out, this weekend I’m entering the phase of creation where I snip that golden thread and begin the journey of handing the story over to you. I hope the journey it takes you on will be as joyful and transcendent as it has for me. At times turbulent but never dull, Acting Out is everything I hoped for when I stared up at a night sky in Old York and dreamed of the ability to bring my own worlds to life.

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