Thursday, May 31, 2007

Me and Jenna Jameson

What do we have in common? (Aside from the obvious, lol.)

We're both, apparently, X rated.

That's right. It looks like the second book Anna J. Evans and I cowrote together, Demon's Triad, is going to get an X rating from Ellora's Cave. Because we are just. That. Baaaad.

EC has several thousand titles, I believe. Less than twenty are X rated.

This is EC's sex rating system (taken from EC's web site and of course, copyright Ellora's Cave):

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica® reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).

S-ensuous love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

E-rotic love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. E-rated titles might contain material that some readers find objectionable—in other words, almost anything goes, sexually. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry in terms of both sexual language and descriptiveness in these works of literature.

X-treme titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Stories designated with the letter X tend to contain difficult or controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

Now I don't know for sure we'll get the X, but our lovely editor seems pretty certain.

Why? explain reveals a pretty major plot point. Let's just say that Anna and I debated it, realized the book wouldn't work any other way, our editor agrees, and so there are some strong moments in the book and one scene which is very, well, strong.

The book won't be released anytime soon, unfortunately, because of scheduling. Look for it early next year, and of course I'll keep you posted.

I'm doing Friday notes today because tomorrow I'm going to be urging you all to rush out and buy Jackie Kessler's Hells' Belles.

So. Looks like I will not be calling my next demon book The Demon You Know, because mean old Christine Warren has a book coming out with that title. Down with Christine! Title stealer.

(For the record, I think Christine Warren rocks. Her Fantasy Fix was the very first book I ever bought from EC, and I thought it was the most amazing book ever. I still re-read it, too.)

What else? Oh. Okay, this guy is a fucking dildo. You have TB, and your doctors advise you not to go on your honeymoon, but you go anyway. Then, you find out you have a very rare strain of TB, and are ordered into quarantine, but decide that's just not fun enough, so you hop on a couple more flights and endanger the lives of hundreds of people so you can sneak back into the US. Then, you complain about the armed guards outside your room because you don't think they're necessary.

And all of that because you claim you were afraid you wouldn't have been given treatment if you'd gone to quarantine in Rome like you were told to. What did you think, they were going to throw you in a dungeon or something? Dude, you're an attorney and a US citizen, you can't tell me you honestly believed you were going to be allowed to rot in some sort of thrid-world disease gulag. (Which, btw, it's not like in Italian hospitals they're still putting mustard plasters and dirty bandages on open wounds, you know. They do have real medicine there, you asshole.)

I think he should be charged with attempted murder. At the very least, reckless endangerment. Fuckwad.

Is that it? I guess so. Oh, and I'm blogging at livejournal now too, copying posts there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lazy, lazy, lazy

Yep, that's me. I have been a lazy lazybones this weekend.

Well, not entirely. Actually I've been fairly active, I just haven't been blogging.

Saturday we went antiquing, which was really cool. The antique shop we went to is one of those cavernous warren-like places, with lots of little rooms and, unlike antique stores in Florida, actual antiques. Including an entire carved wall panel, about 50 feet long, with a mantel and door set into it. It was amazing. Plus several staircases. Antique fireplaces, furniture, an entire wall of stuffed dead animal heads...

It was most atmospheric, too. Lots of narrow little aisles made entirely of musty dressers and wardrobes. Lovely.

Sunday we went to Bristol. Yesterday we went grocery shopping. Nothing too exciting, but we certainly filled the time.

And now the long weekend is over, and the hubs is going back to work, and it's just me and the girls here alone for the rest of the week (it's Princess's half-term break.)

And I started the Blood Will Tell sequel, Blood on the Rocks. And I've started outlining the Personal Demons sequel, tentatively titled The Demon You Know.

So. On to the topic.

Kis asked:
...what if some of your stuff is erotic, and some is more mainstream, but it's all set in the same fantasy world, with the same history and cultures and races and languages and stuff? Same pseudonym? Different one? I'd be looking possibly at different publishers for the differing styles. Will this make contractual issues unnecessarily complicated as far as the options clause is concerned? Is this an issue for anyone else?

To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to say to this one, so I turned to Briana St. James, editor extraordinaire, who's been in the business for several years at Ellora's Cave, knows everyone, and is smart and great and all of that stuff. Briana is my editor and likes my work, so that right there tells you what a genius she is.

This is what she said:
I can’t really advise, but it usually isn’t a good idea to split a series over imprints or a publisher. It will make it much harder for the readers to find it, and often times publishers would much rather have an entire series.

I'm guessing as well there would be legal issues with this, as so many contracts do have option clauses that ask for the next work with the same characters or whatever. If you have an agent the agent would help negotiate all of that, but my best advice here--which, you know, probably isn't worth doody--is to heat up the non-erotic stuff a little bit more and just sell it as a series with varying degrees of eroticism. In a series, part of the appeal is going to be the world and the characters, so readers will forgive some variations.

You could try different pseudonyms in that same series to differentiate if the books are really that different, or give them a series title: "A Gwellian Whores Book/A Soldiers of Tarok book" might clue the readers in a bit.

At least that's my thought. You could try emailing Evil Editor to ask, or any one of the great agent bloggers in my sidebar too (*sniff* no more Miss Snark.)

Personally, I'm worrying that readers will get sick of reading about the same two people having sex over the course of more than one book. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why LKH turned Anita Blake into such a vagina-centered waste of space. At least it's something new to write about.

Anybody else have some thoughts on either of those topics? Kis's question, or my worries, or both?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What's in a Name...

(First, three quick things. First, my faboo cp/wp Anna J. Evans had a release yesterday, her Naught Nuptial quickie (short story) with EC. Check it out here. I loved this story when I read it, so you will too.

Second, my friend Annie, as you all know, just got a great deal with Ace books!

Third, my friend Bam made herself a sweet sale to Liquid Silver Books!

Congrats to my awesome friends.)

Okay. Now.

I'm pretty sure all of you know that "December Quinn" is not my real name. Because it's not. I love it, I answer to it, I'm used by now to being called it. But it's not my real name, it's a name I created specifically for my erotic books. For a number of reasons which I'm sure I don't need to detail, I decided that keeping my identity rather more secret while writing primarily about people having sex in a variety of positions, places, and orifices, no matter how romantic the story may ultimately be, was a good idea.

My real name has other distinct disadvantages. I've never particularly liked it, for one. My married last name has an unfortunate similarity to a vulgar word (all it takes is one lazy vowel sound) which again, if you're writing erotic, you want to avoid that. Plus, and this is rather more personal, not long after moving to the UK my husband fell out with his father, for reasons too complex to go into here, and they haven't spoken in about a year. Suffice it to say that my husband has never particularly cared for having that man's name--he's thought of changing it for 25 years--and we don't want to anymore.

So we're changing our name. And the reason this matters to you is, we're changing it to the last name of my new "other psuedonym"" Stacia Kane.

And the other pseudonym is news to you because it is the name under which Juno Books will be publishing Personal Demons early next year as a mass market paperback!!

So although legally my name is not yet Stacia Kane, it will be (okay, I'll probably keep my actual first name, which is Stacey. But "Stacey Kane" was already taken as a domain name, and I've always liked Stacia a little bit more, although it still doesn't thrill me. But it sounds good with Kane, and the hubs and I are sold on Kane.)

Nothing changes here, although I may add "Stacia Kane" to the title of the blog, because when the new SK site is up and running I'll simply direct that blog here as well. The name change is simply for branding purposes; I want people to know that when they pick up a DQ book they're getting HEA romance with (most likely) lots of sex; when they pick up an SK book they may get a more ambiguous ending with less focus on romance and less sex (though they'll get some sex either way, never fear. There's what I think is a cracking hot sex scene in Personal Demons and there will be more in future books too.) Hopefully they'll like both. I don't think the voice is all that different, just the subject matter and focus.

So there you go.

Wheeee! I sold my urban fantasy!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007


(With apologies to Rebecca for the title *wink*)

Does anyone else do this?

You're in the bathroom, getting ready for bed. You brush your teeth and wash your face, and then decide this might be a good time to trim your toenails or some equally innocuous but necessary grooming task. You do that, and while doing it you realize the showerhead is dripping.

After spending several minutes trying unsuccessfully to tighten the knob enough to stop the drip, you grab a sock from the hamper and drop it in the bottom of the tub to at least muffle the dripping sound so you can fall asleep.

Wait! Is that hair in the drain? You better get that before it creates a clog. So you grab some toilet paper to protect your fingers and reach down to grab at the hair.

But in the process of doing that, you realize there's a lot more hair than it originally seemed. The drain is basically a plate like those old plastic things we used to turn 45 records into 33 1/3, remember those? You'd fit them in the big hole in the middle of the record. Anyway, the drain is that same sort of shape, with several big holes. And there's some hair tangled under the hole.

So you grab a Q-Tip and start digging around, using more toilet paper to yank at the ahir as you pull it up (sorry, I didn't actually intend for this post to be so disgusting) until finally the drain is clean.

And you've wasted half an hour doing something basically useless. All that work garnered you a ball of hair about the size of your own thumbnail, which is not really big (even though I do have long nails.)

Does anyone else get obsessed with dumb stuff like that right before bed? I've been known to venture into eyebrow plucking, teeth bleaching, and cuticle trimming as bed-delaying tactics as well.

Two pieces of news:

As the Lady Wishes, the book the wonderful Anna J. Evans and I cowrote for Ellora's Cave's "Torrid Tarot" series, has a release date! November 16! Which is also known as the Feast of Hecate, which is rather exciting. So I'm quite pleased by that.

And, I'm very pleased to announce that The Black Dragon will be re-released with new material by Cerridwen Press, the mainstream arm of Ellora's Cave. I don't have any news on a release date yet but we're hoping to start edits soon.

And that's basically it. Except for the tragedy that happened in London this morning. The Cutty Sark has been destroyed by a fire. This is seriously awful news, and I really hope the damage isn't so extensive it's unable to at least be rebuilt. (Which won't be the same, it will be a replica, but at least it will be something.) Apparently some sections of the ship were away being repaired. I hope they were large sections. This is just horrible.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday notes

So I have a real New year's book to blog about (Hell'e Belles by Jackie Kessler) but I wanted to mention this one, because I'm rereading it, and every time I read it I love it more.

I'm a huge fan of Sharon Kay Penman anyway, but the mysteries--of which The Queen's Man is the first--are seriously almost an obsession. And in true December fashion, it's because the hero, Justin de Quincy, is just...he's just so hot. I can't even explain why he's so, so sexy. He's not like a super alpha or a strong, silent type, he's not a reckless bad boy, he's hot.

In fact, he is so hot he inspired what I believe is the only gushy fangirl email I ever sent, which I admittedly thought was going to, like, Sharon Kay Penman's PA or something but in fact was sent right to her. In which I said something about how Justin was my favorite hero ever and I am so in love with him I want to cry, or something equally dorky, thinking a fellow fan would see it. And of course I got an email back from Ms. Penman herself, which I was too embarrassed to reply to. (In my defense it was just a "Thanks so much, I'm glad you like him I do too!" kind of thing.)

Anyway. Seriously. This is a great mystery. It has some very creepy moments and quite a few incredibly sexy moments, at least if you're like me and you fell in love with Justin almost immediately. So go read it. Buy it here.

Second thing: I blogged over at Deliciously Naughty about sexy songs. I put my two must-listen-when-writing-sex songs on there, with videos (sort of) so go check them out and give them a listen, because I'd love to hear what you think.

Shoot, I know there was another snippety thing I wanted to post. I may update later.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Now Hiring Rabid Fangirls


So with the internets going all crazy everywhere and all this stuff about loyalty and all this jumping to people's defense and blah blah blah, something has occurred to me.


I have, at this moment, NO rabid fangirls.

How is this possible?

If someone were to, say, start attacking me personally on a reader blog, I don't think anyone would leap to my defense, creating sock puppets and littering the comments with bad spellingz and "1"s instead of exclamation points. WHERE ARE TEH FANGURLS, YO?

Am I not worthy of fangirls? Do I not deserve them? C'mon, people! Not even one! Not one person?

Look. Become my fangirl, and you can buy this t-shirt. See that? Who wouldn't want that?

Here's the image closer up:

You think I'm joking. I'm not.

(Yeah, okay, of course I totally am.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oh so many things

Wow, I do not know where these last few days have gone. I've been working my little fingers to the bone, trying to finish one story and write a synopsis for another, and doing some big reworks of The Black Dragon in anticipation of taking it elsewhere. Selling a book as a reissue is always tricky; I figure if there's a decent amount of new material and changes to the old that can only help. Plus it's amazingly fun for me, because there were a few character issues I was dying to explore but left out of the original version. See, I actually wrote that book about five years ago now, and romance has actually changed considerably in that time. Things that might now be daring or interesting wouldn't fly then. So it's been lots of fun to add it back in, although I've felt terrible for my poor hero because of it. He was fucked-up enough to begin with, now he's got even more issues. And if all goes well you'll all have a chance to see just what I've done.

Also, the hubs and I were, as I said, away all weekend in Bristol. I met Glenn Fabry (fangirl squeee!) and he did a Constantine sketch for hubby & me (he did a Jesse Custer for our friend george, for those of you who are Preacher fans. It was so nice we wanted to keep it for ourselves.) I was touched slightly inappropriately by a semi-drunk Simon Bisley, who told me about the size of his balls (and is enormous in general, seriously. The man is like a tree.)

Am I the only one who finds that as my writing improves my speaking skills get worse? On paper I am witty and concise (in my humble opinion.) But in person, I'm Miss Chattie McMotormouth and I feel all shiny and awful. And the rain didn't help, because my hair frizzed up all over the place. I looked like I had some terrible 80's perm on Sunday.

I didn't used to feel that way. I used to be very confident about my people skills. But maybe since I spend most of my day at home with a toddler, writing and watching Playhouse Disney, people just tend to make me nervous. I used to like crowds. Now they make me itchy. I used to love meeting new people and felt confident I was a charming, likeable kind of chick. Now I'm convinced they think I'm an idiot.

I've also spent a lot of time researching profanity, because I wanted to use "fuck" in Black Dragon but couldn't find out for sure just how old the word is. (I'm using it, because I found convincing enough evidence that it was around then). Point is, my research took me to The Uncyclopedia's "Fuck" entry, which is very funny. I think my favorite example of the word is under "Lust": "I'll fuck you with a rake." Because nothing says lust like garden equipment. (I think you can all figure out that an entire webpage about the word fuck is NSFW, right?)

All told I had a great weekend and couple of days. Good news all over the place. Tomorrow I will make up for the relative lack of content of this post, too.

But do reassure me and tell me I'm not the only one who walks away from meeting new people--especially people one would like to impress in some way--feeling like they shouldn't be allowed to interact with other people without medication?

****PS Check out the fantastic review Mrs. Giggles gave my new friend Rebecca James!****

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An Important Announcement

Per my request, as of May 11th Triskelion Publishing returned all rights to The Black Dragon to me!! I am no longer associated in any way with Triskelion Publishing!

This is excellent news for me and I couldn't be more pleased. While I certainly wish Triskelion and all of its authors the best in future, the company was not a good fit for me and I am thrilled to be able to take my book elsewhere.

Break out the champagne!! YEEEAAAAAH!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday notes

I got a little carried away discussing favorite men's body parts over at the Deliciously Naughty blog, so go check it out and let me know what you think while I take a cold shower.

I will be away this weekend. We're going to the Bristol Comic Expo and so, while I'll be able to check in in the evening, I will be basically incommunicado all day both days.

We went to see Spider-Man 3 last night. Despite the less-than-stellar reviews it's been getting I really liked it...except one thing at the end. I won't post a spoiler, but I will say that James Franco could do a movie where all he did was sit in front of a camera and talk about pH levels in soil and I would watch in rapt attention, because he is just so gorgeous I can't stand it. Seriously. I will buy the movie about dirt.

Wouldn't you?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The turning of the worm

It's official. Old Project is now my huckleberry again, and New Project, for a number of reasons, has lost my interest. I still think it's a great idea, I'm just not desperate to work on it at the moment. It's not, you know, finished and edited the way OP is.

Plus, I had occasion to re-read OP the other day and still really like it. So there. Let's hope I'm not the only one.

Not to mention I have so many projects on my plate right now it's not even funny.

BUT, that's not the point of this post. The point here is about Rex Harrison, and irritating heroines, and why they're irritating.

I mentioned the big old vacuous bitch heroine I wrote. Did I mention the plot of that story? It's a vampire "My Fair Lady", but she's Professor Higgins.

Yeah. Turns out, persnickety, rude, arrogant women aren't nearly as sexy or interesting as Rex Harrison.

In a man, that sort of commanding presence is waaay attractive. In a lady? Not so much. (BTW, I know I've been using "ladies" a lot lately. I'm not sure why.)

It just made me wonder what other sorts of personality traits and behaviors are good for the gander but not for the goose.

See, it's not just a matter of being unappealing in a woman. It's a matter of making the hero look unappealing.

If she pushes him around and he lets her, he's unappealing. If she's always has the upper hand, he's unappealing. If she keeps secrets from him and he just goes on his merry way, he's unappealing.

Life isn't necessarily like that, no. But in books I like my heroes to always be stronger, faster, smarter, better. The heroine has to be a good match...but he's always a step ahead.

Must be exhausting, being a romance hero.

What other rules can you think of for heros and heroines?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

OK - 8 Random Facts/Habits About Me:

1. I cut and dye my own hair. Haven't had it professionally done in like 4 years.

2. I desperately want to go home.

3. I secretly want to write horror and mysteries, but no matter how hard I try romance keeps sneaking in there. And how do you write a book without a sex scene?

4. I'm rather vain about my hands and my pretty nails.

5. I only use two or three fingers when I type. I type about 50 wpm on average (I've never tested myself, but I can do 2-3k words an hour easy if the story is really flowing.)

6. If I could afford it I would totally have plastic surgery. So it's vain; so what?

7. I ended up with a GED and didn't actually graduate high school, because I was half a credit short in math. My GED scores were enough to get me into any college I wanted, though. If I could do it all again, I would drop out at 16, get my GED, and get an AA degree before turning 18.

8. One of these days I'm going to take fencing.

Okay, and I have to tag people now. So I tag Robyn, Scary Monster, Arin Rhys, Rashenbo, Rebecca, Writtenwyrdd, Bernard, and Michele (trying to tag people I haven't tagged before, have I tagged you guys before?)

Monday, May 07, 2007

On to the the next geekfest

The hubs and I finished out X-Files marathon yesterday. We watched all the way through Season 5 and then the movie. Which, not that great. It was bad enough after watching the episodes all in a row night after night. I can't imagine what my fury would have been if, after watching the show faithfully for five years, I'd gone to see a movie that promised a Mulder/Scully kiss and got no freaking kiss. I remember the press. I remember them saying there would be a kiss. Screw you people!

So now we are on to the next level of geekitude, and have started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Or, as we refer to it, Star Trek for ladies.

Which is a good thing. DS9 is my favorite, and I think is a lot of womens' favorite, simply because it is rather more soap-opera-y than the others. There's more romance. There's a war, which kicks ass. There's interpersonal relationships and everyone hangs out in a bar and there's all sorts of sexual innuendo (or as The Todd would say on Scrubs, "in-her-endo") all over the place.

It's actually enough to make me want to write a futuristic/sci-fi romance, which is something that just doesn't interest me (sorry, my sci-fi friends.) I especially like the evil Kardassians, because they're cruel and selfish and the greedy Ferenghi, because avaricious men are sexy. They're ugly as sin, both of them, but if they weren't I'd be drooling (actually, I drool a little anyway.)

Funny, for me it's the vices of the heroes, as much as the virtues, that make them appealing. I like heroes who are a little arrogant, or rude, or who drink a little too much, or are selfish and greedy. I think that's one reason I like writing vampires and demons et al so much.

Just as it's the insecurities of a heroine that make her appealing just as much as the strengths. One of my books--the one I'm editing now (unsubbed yet)--needed some serious work, and still does. Because I did my job a little too well, you see. The heroine was supposed to come off as fairly shallow and unlikeable. But I made her loathesome. So irritating neither of my betas could finish the book, in fact. So irritating that the hero, a perfectly good hero (sexy and handsome and all that) seems like a moron for liking her. It was hard for me not to have him realize that, too. Once or twice I had to stop him from just getting up and leaving, because she really was mean to him.

So I'm going back and softening her up. This leads me into the post I will probably do tomorrow, about what's good for the hero and not for the heroine, and then this week I will also have a New Year's resolution book to write about (I've been too broke to buy books lately, which is why I haven't done any in a bit) and the post Bernard inspired about romance and friendship.

So hopefully we'll have lots goin on here this week!

What vices and virtues do you particularly like your characters to have? Which ones make you throw the book across the room?

Friday, May 04, 2007

You can tell by the way I use my walk...

And everybody here knows the rest, right?

Thassright. Because "Staying Alive" is one of the greatest songs ever written.

"But it's disco!" you cry. (Or okay, maybe you don't, but for my purposes you do.) "And December, you're into stuff like the Stones and the Devil Dogs! How can you think a Bee Gees song is so great!"

It doesn't matter how or why. It just is, baby. It just is. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. I know who The Seeds and The Sonics are, and I own a copy of The Great Twenty-Eight, which if you don't have one you're missing out on some of the best rock n roll ever created.

Who can honestly listen to Staying Alive--with lyrics like "Well now, I get low and I get high/And if I can't get either I really try", or "Life goin' nowhere/Somebody help me/Somebody help me, yeah" and not be totally overwhelmed with a sense of emotions and thoughts beneath the surface? The way the beat and that guitar line drives the whole thing and makes your blood race?

That's what a song should do. It should make you feel connected to it. It should make you feel less alone.

I firmly believe "Staying Alive" is one of those litmus tests. If you're on my side and think it's a great song (or at least that there's something special about it), we can relate. If not...well, I just don't know. (It's like asking a woman if she's ever wanted to fuck Mick Jagger. Which, for the record, HELL yeah. I don't care how old he is, he's Mick fucking Jagger. I'd be up for Keith, too. Just sayin'.)

I think we all have certain songs or movies or of course books that we see that way, although I do think songs tend to be more visceral for us. I'm friends with people who didn't think Free Enterprise was a hysterical movie. I'm friends with people who preferred "Catch-22" to The Caine Mutiny, which is my favorite book. And yes, I can be friends with people who don't like Staying Alive. My husband doesn't agree with me that it's one of the greatest songs ever written (although he does like it, and we both firmly believe that there is at least some god out there who looks like Barry Gibb did in 1977. Because if you were god, wouldn't you?)

But c' have to admit, the song has style.

What are your litmus tests?

A few end notes: One, the website is in the process of switching over. The url should work but there may be some glitches in the next week or so. FYI. The link in the sidebar should always work.

Two, the Smart Bitches are doing an onomatopoeiac cover contest. I can't decide if I want to vote for #7 or #10, because they both make me giggle like a fiend. Seriously, go check them out.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Vive le Romance Blogger!

Well, as much as I hate to put up a new post, thus moving my lovely cover and release date stuff down, I suppose I must.

So. One quick thing first. I've posted a new recipe at the Overflow blog, if anyone cares, for slow-roasted pork. This is fast becoming my favorite dinner, because not only is it really delicious (and pork is quite inexpensive over here, which is a big plus), the amount of effort I put in to it is about on a par with the amount of effort I put in tracking down the latest Lindsay Lohan gossip. Which would be none. I rub some herbs on a pork roast and put it in the oven, that's it. And it makes the house smell good for ages.

There's a new kerfuffle in town. This post at Dear Author is probably the best overview, but reading Karen S.'s review and the comments (linked to in the DA post) is worth your time as well (if you're interested.)

I'm sure you can all imagine what I think about it. Without commenting on the letter purporting to be from the head of RT Magazine, for various reasons, I just feel the need to say yet again that people have a right to their opinions, that we live in a free society, and that furthermore we live in a capitalist society. Which, contrary to popular belief, means that consumers can demand--and get--what they want. The Czar isn't forcing us to read badly written books because nothing else is available, and the government can't force us to read only reviews put out by certain sources, despite attempts by some people to act in that capacity.

What gets me is, it's like these people think readers never talked to each other before the internet. Yes, the internet makes it easier, and a fantastic community of readers has sprung up that does the genre an amazing amount of good. These blogs provide places for readers to get together and discuss books. They provide a place for authors to communicate with readers in a way we never could before.

The more bloggers like Karen Scott and Sybil and Smart Bitches and the Ja(y)nes and Mrs. Giggles and countless others out there, the better. You know why?

Because they change the public face of romance, that's why.

I'm tired of people thinking of romance writers as morons or shrinking violets, as silly women dictating purple prose to stenographers while eating bon-bons and adjusting their orangeish support hose. I'm tired of people thinking of romance readers as lonely middle-aged fat women with fetishes for babies and assholes (the men, not the, ah, actual...never mind.) I'm tired of people thinking of women who read erotic romance as sex-starved idiots who think with their ladyparts and who'll read anything as long as they have fresh batteries in their Rampant Rabbits.

But you know what? I can write as many books as I possibly can. I get get them all published (please!) and have great success (pretty please!!!) And it won't do shit to change the public perception of romance. You know why? Because only romance readers will read them.

You know what's going to make this genre more accepted? It isn't the dumb slogans ("Have we got a story for you!" Which isn't terrible, but still). It isn't the bullshit "graphical standards" where you can't put boobies or butts on your covers. It isn't "defining romance" to keep those nasty gays or those horrible women who like to use the word "cock" OUT and keep romance where it belongs, safe with baby Jesus.

No. What's going to change the face of romance, and make romance more accepted, are the smart, funny bloggers talking about how much they like reading romance. What's going to change it are the smart, funny bloggers demanding with both their words and their dollars that publishers listen and give them, and all of us, good, solid content. Stories with plots and characters we can relate to. Smart, funny bloggers who attract the attention of people who've never tried romance novels before and think, "Hey, this chick isn't a sad loser with too many cats and a grudge against her ex-husband! This chick is smart! And funny! And cynical and sarcastic and cool! And if she likes these books...maybe there's something there for me, after all."

When Ellora's Cave opened and started putting out ebooks with graphic sex instead of purple prose, but still including a strong romance women could love, they changed the industry. Ebooks? Who ever heard of an ebook?

You know who? Romance bloggers, that's who. You know who started reading ebooks? Romance bloggers. You know who made them popular? I'll give you one guess.

Do I sound like I'm kissing romance bloggers' asses? Yeah? Because I am. Because they deserve to have their asses kissed. Because without them this industry wouldn't be half as interesting or exciting as it is today. Without them we wouldn't be as diverse, we wouldn't be as driven, we wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun.

So long live the romance bloggers, and long live their right to say whatever they like, in whatever way they like. Do you honestly think if nobody writes "This book is shit" on a blog, it means the book isn't shit?

I'm not some weak little girl who can't take it if a reviewer says something bad about my book. I'm an adult, and I do this writing thing professionally, and if I don't want to hear people's honest opinions I should stop.

And so should everyone else who can't take it. And if you feel threatened by bloggers, that's your problem.