Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I spent several hours writing up a recap of MarsCon for my personal blog ( so if you want the general report, that's where to go. This'll be a quick review of the panels/activities for which I was an official guest, plus a little treat at the end. ;-)

But before I dive into that, a little announcement. Last week, Lynn and I submitted the collection of flashfic that we spent most of last year working on, and only a couple of hours later, it was accepted! It looks like Whetting the Appetite is going to be out sometime in March from JMS Books, and if we sell enough copies of the ebook, then it will be scheduled for print publication! Whoohoo!

Anyway, MarsCon:

The number of erotica/romance authors was fairly small this year, so most of us wound up on the same panels over and over together, but that was okay. Sadly, neither Helen Madden nor JM Snyder made it this year, but I got to sit with Kat Lively and Michael O'Brien (Shokolada) again, and my new authorial friend this year was Nobilis Reed, who was a bit at loose ends, not knowing too many people at the Con, so we sort of scooped him up on a few occasions.

Friday night started with the "adult" version of Match Game, which was sort of like Cards Against Humanity, only without the actual cards to keep us in check. A sample: "The Blue Fairy is a dominatrix now. She told Pinocchio to stick his nose in ______ and lie."

We had some pretty raunchy fun with that, oh yes we did.

And when that was done, we had the "adult" version of Fairy Tale Rewrites. Each author chose a story, and then the audience provided some additional bits to work in. We wrote for about twenty minutes while the MC led the audience through a sexy MadLibs game (...I'm so mad at myself that I forgot to get a copy of that! but maybe Lynn kept hers?). Then we read our stories out loud to general amusement. They weren't judged, but I can tell you that I'm pretty sure Michael would've gotten first place, but I think I had a fair shot at second.

I'll post my story for you at the end of this post. (That's the treat.)

Saturday afternoon, I spent about an hour sitting in the signing room, which was mostly a wash, as the only book I sold was a pity sale to a friend, and I could've just as easily have sold that book while wandering the halls. Oh, well.

After that, I sat on a panel to discuss the Hunger Games (book and/or movie). That went very well, actually -- the other panelists were well-prepared and thoughtful and insightful, and the audience was lively and participatory (a couple of them maybe a little too participatory, as they had to be reined in to let the others get a word in edgewise once or twice).

That night was four hours of panels about erotica and romance and writing and publishing. The first couple were pretty simple -- talking about publishing and finding a home for your work; the second was a discussion of why erotic fairy tales are so popular. The third panel on the schedule was "Erotic Role-Play" and we decided that we didn't really want to get too deeply into bedroom roleplay, so instead we talked about introducing sexual situations in roleplaying games. And the last panel was supposed to be about masturbation, but from what I was told, the person who proposed that panel and offered to run it dropped out... so we just talked about whatever we felt like talking about, really, taking audience questions and moderating discussions. It was good. But boy, were we wiped by the end of it!

Sunday, I did another Fairy Tale Rewrites (this time PG); the results of that can be found on my personal blog report (link up at the top). Once again, not judged, though I think the solid winner would have been Danny Birt (and that once again, I'd have been a solid contender for second place).

I think this year went even better than last year, though, and I'm looking forward to next year already, so very much!

And in celebration, I have a coupon code that's good all the way through Friday this week -- enter "MarsCon2014" at checkout at or and get 20% off your entire purchase!

And now, for your patience... an erotic retelling of The Princess and the Frog.

I chose the fairy tale; the audience selected for me:

A person: a Frenchman
A sexy situation: accidental nudity
A location: Central Park
An object: butter

And keeping in mind that we only had 20 minutes to write (I've fixed typos here, but nothing else), the story:

Agnes sat by the pond in Central Park, weeping.

"Whah are you weeping, ma chere?" said a voice.

Agnes looked up and blinked away her tears, then rubbed at her eyes, not certain she had seen correctly. The man was wearing a ragged coat over a dirty striped shirt, and trousers rolled to his knees, soaking wet to mid-thigh. Despite his unkempt appearance, however, his face was strikingly handsome, with full lips and bright green eyes. A long pole stretched over his shoulder; at the end of it was a tightly-woven net containing a dozen or more frog carcasses.

"I... I dropped my golden ball in the pond," she responded. "I can't find it!"

The man's face lit up. "Ze ball!" he exclaimed. "I have found zis! One of mah frogs had swallowed eet!" But then he paused. "And what are joo giving moi, for your treasure?"

Agnes bit her lip. "Anything," she gasped. "Oh, anything!"

The Frenchman took Agnes' chin. "Anything?" he asked archly. Agnes trembled in his grasp as he leaned in for a kiss.

Startled by her own longing, Agnes stepped back -- and tripped over a branch, falling into the pond. As she fell, Agnes' summer dress, caught on the branch and tore, revealing what she wore underneath -- which is to say, nothing.

She wiped mud from her face and looked up at the Frenchman with wide eyes, lip trembling.

"Ah, ma chere," the Frenchman murmured. "Come, come with me, and we shall see you properly settled."

He helped her from the mud and muck and tucked her arm through his, leading her through the park to a secluded spot covered with cardboard. He lit a fire in a small grate and helped Agnes remove her soaked dress. While she warmed herself, he tossed the frogs into a pot to cook. "Will you dine with me?"

Agnes could not help but grimace. "No, thank you."

"Ah, ma chere," the Frenchman chided, "you must not turn up your nose. In France, we know that enough garlic and butter makes *anysing* delicious." Agnes did not want to be rude to her host, so she tried a bite -- and was soon devouring the delectable frog legs, melted butter running down her chin and over her breasts.

The Frenchman smiled as they finished their feast. "Will you come and lay upon my pillow?" he asked, gesturing to a nest of blankets.

Agnes hesitated again, but before she could refuse, the Frenchman took her hand and led her to the nest. The blankets were amazingly soft, and Agnes forgot all as the Frenchman dipped his head to lick the butter from her breasts. Agnes gasped softly, and forgot all her protests.

The Frenchman roused her to climax once, twice, thrice, before sinking into her to sate his own desires. She fell asleep in his arms.

She woke to the sight of the sun, a golden ball rising to reveal her Frenchman wearing a fancy suit and Gucci loafers that could never have stepped in mud. Behind him was not a cardboard hovel, but a magnificent brownstone. "Joo have freed me," he exclaimed. "I thought I would be trapped as a frog-gigger forever, but for joo! Marry me, ma chere, and joo shall never want for whatever baubles -- or butter -- you desire."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grammar an' Gunk

One quick reminder: MarsCon is this weekend -- if you're planning to come, please find a minute to look me up and say hi! (My schedule is at if you need it; more info at

Let's talk about the use of family words today!

By "family words", I mean exactly what it sounds like: words such as "mom" and "father" and "grandmother" and "cousin".

Paricularly, let's talk about capitalization. I see a lot of these, both of which are wrong:
  • Bob waved to his Mom across the room.
  •  I handed mom a napkin.
Here's a rule of thumb: Substitute the word "cat" (or "dog", if you prefer) into the sentence for the relative with no other adjustments. If the sentence is grammatically correct (though possibly silly), then the family word should not be capitalized.If it reads awkwardly, then you're using the family word as a name and it should be capitalized. Like so:
  • Bob waved to his cat from across the room. That seems perfectly reasonable, and therefore, the correct sentence is: Bob waved to his mom from across the room.
  • I handed cat a napkin. Not only is that silly, but "I handed cat" just doesn't sound right, unless "Cat" is the cat's name. In which case, this is being used as a name and it should be "I handed Mom a napkin."
An exception: If the family name is prepended to a proper name and they're used together as a set (e.g., "Uncle Dave",  "Grandma Jean", or "Cousin George") then you always capitalize the family name.
  • Bob waved to his Uncle Dave from across the room.
  • I handed Cousin George a napkin.
Got it? Leave your questions and special cases and nitpicks in the comments!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ugly History

It's a joke I see pretty often, in various incarnations: Friends help you clean up after a party.  Real friends help you clean up after a murder. Best friends promise to clean up your browser history after you die.

And boy, am I going to need that.

So far today, I have researched:
  • Scotch (the drink)
  • Billy Joel
  • Bösendorfer pianos
  • Straightjackets
Which is a weird little list, but not all that terrible, I suppose. But then earlier this week, I was researching butt plugs, dildos, and cock cages.

I don't even have a boyfriend.

As might be assumed from the fact that about two weeks ago, I spent a half-hour or so trying to ascertain a reasonable, ball-park rate for a rent boy who makes housecalls. (Fact-checking that story also led me into some research on the gay porn industry and -- bizarrely -- custom-built refrigerators.)

Also in December: breeds of roses, recipes for red velvet cake, and military tour/leave policies.

I suppose it could be worse.

I could be editing murder mysteries.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    Happy New Year! Are We Ready for MarsCon?

    Holy crap, have I really not blogged since mid-November?

    The end of the year just destroys me, it really does.

    I hope you all had a great holiday season, then, whatever that entails for you! (For me, it includes my birthday, Thanksgiving, my son's birthday, and Christmas, most of which include multiple gatherings and events. This is why I have not blogged since mid-November!)

    I can't recall if I'd posted it here before, but I'm going to be a guest at MarsCon again this year.

    Back in late October or early November, the organizer sent around a list of panels and things and asked people to let them know what they were interested in doing.

    Last week, they sent me my schedule. Apparently, when I'd marked stuff as "I'd be willing to do this," they'd taken it all as, "I really want to do this!" because I'm booked for nine hours of panels and contests and events across all three days! Plus an optional, additional hour if I want to sit in on the book signing.

    So are you coming to MarsCon? Because if you are, chances are good that you'll be seeing me! And just to make sure you can find me if you're looking for me, here's my schedule:

    Friday (17 Jan):
    10-11 PM - Adult Guest Match
    We play TV’s old Match Game but with a MarsCon genre twist. Our guests will fill in the blanks, you try to guess what they will say. Match the most guests and take away a MarsBucks prize. This is an adults-only event, so expect raunchy fun.

    11 PM - 12:30 AM - Erotic Fairy-Tale Rewrites
    The host will give our writers prompts, the audience will give each some naughty element to include, and then keyboards will clatter and pens will fly as the writers race to create the best erotic fairy tales.

    Saturday (18 Jan):
    2-3 PM - Author Signing (maybe, if I can squeeze it in!)
    Get books signed by the MarsCon Guests of Honor and other participating writing guests.

    3-4 PM - Hunger Games Roundtable
    Did the second movie Catch Fire or fizzle? What’s the best thing about the Hunger Games trilogy? Join other fans for a roundtable discussion of The Hunger Games books and films.(Note: This is my only event that's not adults-only!)

    Genre erotica publishing block (no descriptions given, but the titles should be pretty self-explanatory):
    8-9 PM - Publishing Erotica: Finding and Accessing Markets for Your Work
    9-10 PM - Fairy Tail: The Popularity and Practice of Writing Fairy Tale Erotica
    10-11 PM - Role Playing Games for the Bedroom
    11 PM - 12AM - Hands Solo: The Erotic Possibilities of Self Pleasure

    Sunday (19 Jan):
    12-1:30 PM - Twice Upon a Time: Fairy Tale Re-Writes Game
    The host will gather improvisational prompts from the audience and then our writers are off, building improvisational fairy tales based on your favorites but with new characters, settings, and events thrown in at every step along the way.

    As you can see, I'm going to be insanely busy, but to be honest, they all sound like so much fun that I couldn't bring myself to ask the organizer to drop me from anything! (Though if you'd like to drop in to that four-hour block on Saturday night to bring me snacks or water, I'd probably be very grateful!)