Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worth Playing For?

I'm fascinated by the show Survivor. It's a bizarre mix of Machiavellian tactics and the Darwin Awards. The physical challenges test strength, stamina, teamwork & mental acuity. It's an intriguing melange for any student of human nature. Right before each challenge, the host will announce the reward for that challenge and then he'll say, "Worth playing for?" Just once, I would love to see a survivor say, "Nope. Sorry, Jeff. That just isn't tempting enough for me. I think I'll sit this one out." Hasn't happened yet (that I know of) but I'm still watching for that moment.

For the last month, I've been pretty vague about the contents of the "Gigolo Kit" that will be award to the winner of the month-long contest here on the blog. Today I'm gonna tell you what you're playing for.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Gigolo Kit, which admittedly bears a much stronger resemblance to a Gigolo Basket than it does to a Gigolo Kit. I was gonna have it look all medicinal like a First Aid Kit, but then I saw this ribbon and it made me laugh so hard I had to wrap the kit up in it. It's pink ribbon with pink sparkles on it and written on it very faintly in pink script are the words It's a Boy! I just thought that was too funny to pass up.

  • Pink aromatherapy "Romance" candle
  • "Sensual Exotic" incense sticks (Orchid, Patchouli & Nag Champa)
  • Be Mine rose-scented soap petals
  • A soft stretchy pink & purple scarf (ideal for tying to bedposts)
  • Pink "Love" rhinestone-studded leather collar
  • Sweet Seduction "Freesia Romance" Body Butter
  • All About Me "Cranberry Tart" Body Lotion
  • All About Me "Lavender Moonlight" Body Lotion
  • "Love" Strawberry-scented Shimmer Splash
  • Epic Romance warming massage oil
  • Purple & white feather duster (cuz I had to put something ticklish in)
  • Flavored lubricated condoms (vanilla, banana, strawberry)
  • A variety of sample size lubricants (warming, sensual, strawberry-kiwi, peach)
  • Sexology "Tongue Dinger" (tongue vibrating ring)

So the Gigolo Question, now that you've seen what my (imaginary) gigolo brings when he comes a'calling, what is the one of life's little luxuries that would always be worth playing for in your book?

Friday, February 27, 2009

On the Prowl by Kaye Chambers

Now available in a bookstore near you! On the Prowl, an anthology featuring two urban-fantasy shape-shifter novellas by exciting new authors Kaye Chambers and Taryn Blackthorne.

Who would you trust with your life…and your heart?

Tiger by the Tail by Kaye Chambers

Sasha DeStephano’s spent her childhood insulated from the dangers of growing up with the “tiger mafia”. Now that she’s been summoned to appear before the elders, she’s urged on every side to give up her birthright for a new regime.

But not Colton Reyes, a rogue alpha. Cole thinks the tiger society is headed down a one-way street to disaster. And she is their only hope. In this game of danger and intrigue, Cole’s best chance to protect her…is to pretend to claim her as his mate.

Except pretending is the last thing on Sasha’s mind.

Even for Me by Taryn Blackthorne

Once, Aislyn had a life, a family and a home—until a witch cast a spell that shattered everything. Now Aislyn is holed up in Denver and fighting the Changes that ravage her body and threaten her hold on humanity.

All Jackson Havens needs is quick proof that Aislyn is the Ghost Cat Killer, and his wallet will be fat again. One pair of handcuffs and a double-crossing employer later, Jackson finds himself bound to the sexy Aislyn—and racing to catch the real killer before someone puts Aislyn down. For good.
Being a rabid reader as well as a writer, going to writing conferences is a lot like going to the Oscars (just without the couture and gazillion dollar jewelry). I try not to have too many "Oh my god, you're the Linda Howard!" moments, but sometimes my inner groupie shines through and for weeks afterward I will find reasons to name drop like the unsophisticated dweeb that I am. "When I spoke to Roxanne St. Claire at Moonlight and Magnolias, she said..." "It's interesting you should mention that because when I met Julia Quinn at the Emerald City Conference..."
Luckily, the name-dropping is only a temporary affliction. But this week, I had the most fun name-dropping I've had to date. A friend of mine, someone I knew before she had her name on the cover of a book, released her very first book in bookstores. I got to go to my local B&N, pull that puppy off the shelf (an endcap, no less!) carry it up to the cash register and brag my lil heart out to the clerk that "I know Kaye Chambers." It was awesome. The clerk thought that was pretty damn cool, but I predict on a day not too far from now the response will be, "Oh my god, not the Kaye Chambers." And then I'll get to brag that I knew her before she'd published a single word.
Today's Gigolo Question: Which author would you most like to meet in person?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Un Petit Pet Peeve

I just finished reading Dark Desires After Dusk by Krelsey Cole. Good book, ridiculous cover. Honestly, the cover was laughably bad. Not that it was ugly. Nooooo. That is one studly piece of manflesh and the colors are pretty and the font is easy to read...

The problem is this: the model on the cover is the wrong species to be the hero. Seriously. The hero is a demon. He has horns. Big-ass horns. Kind of a major plot point here, boys and girls. It's bad enough that he's supposed to be blond rather than the swarthy, dark-haired stud on the cover. Now we can't even get the basic physiological features of his species right, like horns for cripes sake.

The previous book in the same series was almost as bad. Studly open-shirted man revealing all his rippling adbominal glory. The rippling abdominal glory that is supposed to be covered in an enormous scar from where he was gutted and died. Thus to be brought back to life again as a vampire. No gutting. No vamping. So where is my fricking scar?!? (He's also supposed to have bright red eyes, but who am I to quibble over Stud Muffin's browned-eyed beauty?)

Am I wrong that the dude on the cover is supposed to be the hero? Is that an unreasonable assumption? So why can't he look like the fricking hero?

If the character has a distinguishing characteristic (scars, tattoos, horns) then I am of the opinion that either that portion of the character should not be shown on the cover (you can still show his studly manflesh, just cut him off at the neck) OR the cover should actually get those major distinguishing characteristics right.

Maybe I'm too literal-minded. I'm not a cover artist, nor am I a marketing guru, so maybe I just have no comprehension of what makes a good cover. But seriously, y'all, horns. WTF.

What are your book cover likes/dislikes/pet peeves?

For info on the Gigolo Contest in progress, click here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kindle 2: Rise of the Machines

I was in Walmart the other day and I asked the guy in the electronics section if they were going to carry the new Kindle. Blank stare. He had no flippin' idea what I was talking about. In the electronics section!

Ebooks are becoming more and more popular, but how are they going to catch on if none of the companies producing the ereaders ever advertise? Have you ever seen a commercial for an ereader? A billboard? A print ad? I haven't.

Then yesterday, this:

Now, I personally find the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, to be kind of a creepy dude. It's the way he laughs. Not that I have anything against people who throw their whole bodies into laughter and rock back and forth with mirth at the drop of a hat. His laughter just seems so forced. Like he's really an archvillain prentending to be a jolly old elf. (Admittedly, my attitude toward him might be impacted by the fact that I tend to think of Amazon as an evil empire populated by soulless minions. Bless their greedy little hearts.)

Oh my god! I just realized who he reminds me of! Data! From Star Trek! You know how when Data is trying out emotions it's always forced and weird? Hello, Jeff Bezos! It's like someone told him not to be too serious on The Daily Show (lack of humor will alienate the kiddies, you know), so Jeff went out and downloaded laughter, but he didn't really know how to use it so it got a little out of control. He laughed long and hard, with very little provocation, but he certainly can't be accused of being humorless.

So aside from the creepy over-laughing, I'm super psyched to see someone spreading the word about ebooks. Awesome. It's about time.

Today's Gigolo Question: How did you first learn about ebook readers? What prompted you to buy your first or what would it take to get you to buy your first?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans

Now available! Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans is here! And is that or is that not one sexy mama of a cover?

Can a bad witch go good in thirteen steps? Not if Lucifer has his way with her!

Amy Atwood is a witch. Not the harm-none kind…the Satan-worshipping, devil-made-me-do-it kind. But after catching Lucifer in a particularly wicked hex act with her goodie-two-shoes Wiccan sister, Amy does what every self-respecting witch would do. She pops a Dove chocolate in her mouth, ends her affair with the devil, and swears an oath never to use magic again.

She wants to be normal. Human. Even if it means no more fun—and she’s looking for a nice, normal guy to complement her new lifestyle. And ice-cream-loving firefighter Adam Foster looks like perfect hero material.

Lucifer, however, isn’t about to be nice about letting her go. Stalked by Satan, manipulated by the angel Gabriel—and surprised by Adam’s true identity—Amy finds herself up to her black hat in trouble of Biblical proportions…

Want a taste? Click here for an excerpt!
Gigolo Question: If you were a witch, what spell would you most want to cast and on whom? Would you use your powers for good or for evil?

New Ghost Shrink Buzz!!! Ciar Cullen recommends The Ghost Shrink!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Devilishly Delicious

Tomorrow is the release of the final installment of the Tickle My Fantasy Anthology: Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans! The first three TMF books have been tearing it up, receiving great reviews and selling like hotcakes and now Misty's book is the icing on the triple-chocolate cake. Devil's Food Icing, that is.

Amy Atwood is a witch. Not the harm-none kind…the Satan-worshipping, devil-made-me-do-it kind. But after catching Lucifer in a particularly wicked hex act with her goodie-two-shoes Wiccan sister, Amy does what every self-respecting witch would do. She pops a Dove chocolate in her mouth, ends her affair with the devil, and swears an oath never to use magic again.

Lucifer, however, isn’t about to be nice about letting her go.

I love a little Lucifer humor, whether it's the devil as a lounge lizard in Stephanie Rowe's Date Me Baby One More Time or Elizabeth Hurley sexing it up as the Devil Herself in Bedazzled. So what's your favorite representation of the Unholiest of Unholies? The classic Faust? Maybe a little Southpark irreverence? What form would your tempter take?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kill Me Now

I love romance novels. They fit nicely into my happily-ever-after worldview. (Huh, I wonder if romance book readers are by nature more optimistic than their more depressing literary counterparts?) I love reading romance and I love writing it.

However, there are some parts about being a romance author that I would happily do without. I'd be a happy camper if I never had to look at another rejection letter. I'd kiss the person who told me I never had to write another query letter or boil my book down into a catchy tagline (I suck at taglines). And, as much as I want people to read and enjoy my work, there are some people I would prefer never read my books. But one of the downsides of publishing is that after my book hits the open market, my ultra-stubborn, hyper-conservative grandmother can buy her own copy and I can't stop her.

That is what happened this week. My grandmother read my book. My oh-so-proper grandma read words like "stripper" and "handjob" and "gigolo." Written by yours truly. Not to mention the words of the four-letter variety. You wanna hear the kicker? She's reading it aloud to my blind grandfather. Just take a moment to picture that, if you will.

I cannot talk to my grandmother about my sex book, so my aunt is acting as an intermediary. She informed me that my gran found the book to be "well-written" and wanted to assure me that they still love me and know that I can still behave like a lady - no matter how my characters may act.

At least my father has agreed to forego the pleasure of my literary genius until I write something more to his taste. (Thank you, Daddy!) I've promised he will be the first to read my manuscript if I ever write a Ken Follett-esque novel. And someday I will. Pillars of the Earth III: Judgement Day. Even if my dad is the only one who ever reads it. In the mean time, he couldn't be prouder, and we both pretend he doesn't know what I write.

Today's Gigolo Question: Is romance your dirty little secret? Is there anyone out there you would rather not know you read (or write) romance?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Geeking Out

**Ooops. So I swear I hit "publish post" but since the post did not, in fact, publish, I'm thinking I probably hit save by accident. So let's try this one more time...**

For the record, I am a huge nerd. I embrace my nerdiness. I get disproportionately excited about the strangest things, my nerdy little obsessions. One of my obsessions, which isn't necessarily a huge geek-factor, is baseball. It is the depth of my passion for the greatest game on dirt that exposes my geekery.

I believe in curses and streaks and the metaphysical, non-linear character of a game that simultaneously revolves around statistics. I know some people think the game is slow or boring, but I love it because it is all about timing. About having that one opportunity, that one moment up at bat. You can seize that one chance to become the next Babe Ruth or strike out so hard you fall on your butt, or you can be so terrified of failing that you never even swing. Baseball is a metaphor for life and I loooooove it. Especially baseball of the Seattle Mariners variety.

So why am I talking about baseball in the middle of February? Cuz spring training has started and Ken Griffey Jr is coming back to Seattle! Wooohoooo! Now, I know this news is not nearly as exciting to the average citizen, but, as I said, I am a huge nerd. So I'm gonna do my Snoopy Dance in Junior's honor and if you feel so inclined, you can dance along.

Today's Gigolo Question: What is your biggest, geekiest, irrational joy? What sends you into fits of nerdy rapture?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Knock Me Over with a Feather

Oh my stars and garters! Mrs. Giggles, a reviewer known for her forthright opinions and not pulling her punches, gave The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant a rating of 90! It's a keeper! She called it "a hilarious caper"!!! Check out the full review.

And Carolina Wolf and both got ratings of 86! Also, those of you with an eye on the My Bookstore and More Top 10 will know that both Carolina Wolf and are staying strong on the list. Way to go, Tickle My Fantasy stories!
The Gigolo Question of the day is about etiquette. I need a Miss Manners Guide to Publishing. So I got this great review, and I want to thank her for reading my book: will that be seen as sucking up or just a geniune thanks? Keep it short and avoid gushing? Or gush my lil heart out so she'll know how tickled I am that she liked it? What about with submissions? An editor acknowledges the receipt of my manuscript. Am I rude if I do not thank them or is it better not to inundate people with emails that have no information other than "gee, thanks!"? Err on the side of being the pesky uber-thanker or is discretion the better part of valor? I feel like I should have been learning this stuff when I was taught which fork to use. Editors and reviewers are people, too, but I'm betting they already get gazillions of emails. Would one more break the camel's back? What would you prefer?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oscar Buzz

Enough about books. Let's talk movies!

Oscar are just around the corner and for once I've actually seen every single one of the Best Picture Nominees. The choices for the Academy this year are:
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

If I were picking the winner, I'd definitely go with Slumdog Millionaire, though Frost/Nixon and Milk put up a good fight. I wasn't a huge fan of Benjamin Button, though I have to say the idea was very cool and the cinematography was gorgeous. And The Reader, eh, I wonder if I would have liked it better if I hadn't liked the book so much. Not that it was a bad adaptation, but there were no surprises for me and I think the impact of the movie relies on its ability to surprise the audience. So of those five, I choose Slumdog Millionaire. But was that the best movie of the year? I kinda loved Ironman and The Dark Knight, but I have a feeling it will be an icy day in hell before a comic book wins an Oscar...

Gigolo Query du Jour: What was the best movie of 2008?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Le Tour du Blogs

To spread the word that my book is out (my book is out! my book is out! woohoo!) I've been guest blogging my little heart out at some wonderful authors' blogs. Here are a few of the places I can be found these days:

Yesterday I was blogging about my favorite titles at the Samhain Weblog. Today's Gigolo Question comes from those musings on titular distinction: What's your favorite book title? Personally, I'm a big fan of Christopher Moore's The Island of the Sequined Love Nun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

RELEASE DAY: The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant

It's here!!!

by Vivi Andrews
A Tickle My Fantasy story.
ISBN: 978-1-60504-391-3

It’s not smart to piss off a poltergeist…

It’s bad enough to be sexually frustrated. But as a medium, it means until Lucy Cartwright gets some, she’s doomed. Oh no, not to death. Worse. To nightly visitations by recently deceased, wanna-be Cassanovas without the bodies to back it up. Then a living, breathing fantasy arrives on her doorstep, and Lucy thinks her dry spell is at an end.
Much as he would like to be Lucy’s personal gigolo, PI Jake Cox has a job to do. He’s been sent to prevent her from getting laid until a particular horny phantom—and key witness in his mob investigation—pays her a visit. The real challenge? Keeping his own hands off Lucy long enough to get the job done.

Or the lonely, geeky ghost of a murdered mob accountant could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe…

Warning: This book contains cheesy pick-up lines, amateur stripteases, and voyeuristic intentions – all by dead men. And the living behave just as badly…

Click here for an excerpt!
For those just joining us, the Gigolo Contest here at the blog runs all through the month of February. Just comment to be entered to win the Gigolo Kit. The winner will be announced March 2nd.
Today's Gigolo Question: What makes you pick up/buy a book?
a) The cover art (sexy? cute?)
b) Recognizing the author's name
c) The title
d) The blurb on the back
e) All of the above/Other

Monday, February 16, 2009

Twas the Night Before Release Day...

...and all through the house, the newbie author was freaking the hell out.

I have a love/hate relationship with Eves. Christmas, New Year's... the night before birthdays, the night before a big test or a new job... it's always the same. Eves slay me. I'm a twitchy mass of eagerness. I can't think about anything but the next day (which is vexing for a Live-in-the-Now kind of person). I can't sleep. I forget to eat. I live on anticipation alone. I don't like waiting, but I love anticipation. I hate the anxiety, but I love the possibilities. While it is still Christmas Eve, anything could happen on Christmas. The possibilities are endless, and they keep me up nights - dreaming and hoping and worrying.

Today, I ask you, my Gigolo confederates: What is your favorite Twas the Night Before memory? The eve of your wedding? A midnight kiss when you couldn't wait for the new year? What eve stands out?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

FREE READ: Love Potion #9

Got the post-Valentine's Day blues? Just click on over to the Samhellion for some Valentine's Free Reads including my new paranormal short: Love Potion Number Nine!

It'll take a helluva love potion to make Lara - Valentine Scrooge, practicing witch and potion expert - fall head over heels. Luckily, bar-owner Connor mixes a mean Cupid cocktail.

The first ever Karmic Consultants story!
I've been fussed at by a bunch of people for getting that song ("He broke my little bottle of...") stuck in their heads, so today's Gigolo Question is musical: What do you think is the most romantic song ever?

My picks (I couldn't narrow it down to just one) are: I'll Be Your Lover Too by Van Morrison, At Last by Etta James, Turn Me On by Norah Jones and These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding.
New Ghost Shrink Buzz!! --> --> I don't know who Gramma is, but I love her for liking my book! Woohoo!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Happy Valentine's Day! Got any big plans for hearts and flowers day? I, myself, am a Cupid-Free-Zone - though I might fire up a chick flick and live vicariously through pithy romantic banter. Maybe The Philadelphia Story or His Girl Friday. No one does romance quite like Cary Grant.

So I was thinking about a comment Kelly made last week (by the way, I am loving reading all the comments!) about romantic keepsakes. I'm not much of a jewelry girl and I don't have a stack of love letters saved in a box. The one romantic keepsake that really stands out in my mind is a pressed flower. Corny, I know, but thinking about it still makes me go all squidgy inside. Back in the college days, when I was still living in a dorm, my boyfriend of the time picked a purple wildflower and pinned it to the dry-erase board on my door. He wrote "Love You" next to it. Just that. It turned me into mush in three seconds flat. Still does, a decade later.

In honor of St. Valentine's Day, the Gigolo Question today is all about mushy romance: What romantic keepsake means the most to you?

Don't know what the Gigolo Contest is? Click here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Survey Says...

I saw this statistic yesterday and wanted to share:

Number of Romance Novels Read By Romance Readers in the Past Year:
54% - 1-5 books

17% - 6-10 books
14% - 11-20 books
8% - 21-50 books
2% - 51-100 books

I am definitely in the two percent. I am a book junkie. I devour romance novels. I'll read other types of books (just finished a great mystery by Elizabeth Peters), but romances are my fall-back. They're easy entertainment, a sure-thing.

At first I was a little discouraged - only ten percent read more than 20 romances a year? - but then I read a little farther into the statistical info and saw that the number of people who'd read at least one romance in the last year was listed at around 64 million. That means 6.4 million people read more than 20 romances a year and that was a number I liked. 6.4 million is a good start, ladies and gentlemen. It's all about world domination.

You know what else surprised me in this survey? They say that 22% of romance readers are male. How awesome is that? I had no idea so many men were picking up romance novels these days. I feel like romance has always been a female dominated corner of publishing, but maybe the times they are a-changing.

Although, this kind of makes me wonder what all counts as a "romance" novel. If Dan Brown's characters get it on, does that make it romance enough to qualify for this survey? What about Twilight? It wasn't marketed as romance, but it's pretty heavy-handed on the loooove front. Where do they draw the line? That always bugs me. Statistics should be about hard and fast numbers, but the wording can be so imprecise.

The Gigolo Question of the Day is: How many romance novels did you read last year?
a) 1-5
b) 6-10
c) 11-20
d) 21-50
e) 51 or more (anyone out there read more than a 100?)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday to Aaaaaabe...

It's Lincoln's B-day! Old Abe's been getting a lot of press these days, what with Obama in the White House and everyone going on and on about Lincoln's legacy. From the way people are talking, the US has only had two presidents of note: Lincoln & Obama. What about Roosevelt (both of 'em), Wilson, Kennedy and Reagan? Jefferson and Washington and Grant, oh my!

Today's Gigolo Contest Question is taking a historical perspective: Who's your favorite Prez, living or dead? If you aren't American, then who's your favorite international political leader?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Page 56

Life is random. I, myself, am feeling particularly random today, so the Gigolo Contest Question is taking a detour into a random little game.

The closest book to you challenge...
Step One: Grab the book closest to you.
Step Two: Go to page 56.
Step Three: Find the 5th sentence.
Step Four: Write that sentence as your comment.
**Don't go looking for your favourite book, or the coolest one you have - just grab the closest one.**

Mine is: She bit her lip and stared at her feet.
It's from a book I finished a couple days ago and left on my computer desk.

In case you're just joining us and missed the rules and rewards of the Gigolo Contest, you can click here for a refresher.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ParaMatch.Com by MK Mancos

Available today from Samhain Publishing: by MK Mancos!

She can match anyone. Except the man she can’t resist.

Dating in today’s world is tough enough. Pair it with a paranormalady, and Lucille Wainwright is living the recipe for loneliness. Born a talentless witch in a family of legendary spellcasters, she’s managed to carve a niche for herself with, a matchmaking service for paranormal beings.

What she lacks in the magic department, she more than makes up for with her uncanny ability to conjure committed relationships out of any combination of traits and backgrounds. Until now.

Enter Jager Cronus, deposed king of the Titans and successful paratrader. As a client, he’s a nightmare. As a man, he’s irresistible. When he demands a date with her to the annual Legion Halloween Dance, she’s hard pressed to refuse. With her professional ethics warring with a deep need to prove herself, she gives him two more chances to find love.

That’s all the opening Jager needs. After all, he didn’t survive his downfall without learning a few things about prevailing in the face of the stiffest negotiations.

Now he’s about to negotiate the deal of a lifetime—a future with Lucilla.

Click here to read an excerpt.
I love stories that bring mythology to life. A Titan? Woohoo! Sign me up, baby. Today's Gigolo Contest Question: What mythical god/creature would make the perfect hero?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Adventures in E-Dating

Tomorrow is the release of the second fabulous novella of the Tickle My Fantasy group - by MK Mancos.

Dating in today’s world is tough enough. Pair it with a paranormalady, and Lucilla Wainwright is living the recipe for loneliness. Born a talentless witch in a family of legendary spellcasters, she’s managed to carve a niche for herself with, a matchmaking service for paranormal beings. What she lacks in the magic department, she more than makes up for with her uncanny ability to conjure committed relationships out of any combination of traits and backgrounds. Until now.

Online dating. I will confess I tried a certain e-dating site last year. It wasn't right for me. However, it did inspire one of my current works-in-progress: How Internet Dating Ruined My Life: A Love Story. Now, to be fair, e-dating didn't ruin my life and I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of people out there who met their Mr. or Ms. Right with the help of an online profile. Yes, it is convenient. Yes, you are exposed to a lot of profiles. But how many do you actually meet? And how do you know which ones you should meet? As you're shuffling through the hundreds (not exaggerating) of supposedly compatible men, you have no way of knowing if you might have had explosive chemistry and an amazing intellectual connection with the man you disqualified because he didn't list an interest in exotic travel or had only read one book in the last year.

Though, to be perfectly honest (and shallow), you know what bugged me the most? They wouldn't stop matching me with short guys. I had listed height as very important on my little questionnaire thingy - I am five-nine in my bare feet and I luv wearing heels - but I kept getting matched with guys who were five-one and five-two. I don't care how big your Napoleon complex is, that just don't cut it for me. I grew up around men who tower over me. I like being tall, but I also like being around people (men) who do not make me feel like an Amazon. I do not want to spend my life feeling gargantuan and ninety percent of the guys that were supposedly perfect for me were five-seven or shorter. Grow a foot and you've got a date.

Gigolo Question of the Day: Are online dating sites the best way to find The One in this teeming sea of humanity or just another way to bilk the lovelorn out of their hard-earned dollars? What is the right way to meet Mr. Right these days?

In case you're just joining us and missed the rules and rewards of the Gigolo Contest, you can click here for a refresher.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Apunctual Groundhogs

Okay, I know I missed Groundhog Day by almost a week, but it's my blog so I get to make the rules and I say we get to go back and revisit Groundhog Day. It's good to be the blog dictator.

I have two things to say about Groundhog Day:

1) Does anyone live in a place where the "eight more weeks of winter" thing actually applies? Is there such a place? I grew up in Alaska, so when someone tells me during the first week of February that there will only be eight more weeks of winter, I have to ask how they define "winter". The idea that all the snow will be gone and temperatures will be regularly above freezing by the end of March is just comic. But I know Alaska isn't the norm. Unfortunately, the groundhog thing doesn't seem to apply anywhere else I've lived either. Right now I'm living in Seattle and we've only had a handful of days that seem wintry to me. Seems like winter's already over around here. Does the groundhog prediction only apply if you live in New England? Does anyone out there put their faith in that shadow?

2) How awesome is the movie Groundhog Day? In case you haven't seen this brilliant opus (rent it! rent it now!), it follows one day in the life of a misanthropic weatherman (Bill Murray). The only catch is that he keeps reliving that one day over and over and over and over again. He can't age, he can't die, but he also can't get to tomorrow. Dear Old Bill (or rather Phil, as the character is called) gets a chance to do just about everything you can do in that town on that day - from becoming an expert at flipping cards into a hat to learning to play the piano to falling in love.

So my question is: What would you do with forever? If time weren't an object, what skill would you want to acquire? What adventure would you want to have? What would you want to learn? And how long do you think it would be before you got bored with immortality?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good People, Good Books

I recently read The Kite Runner for a reading group. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it: I really didn't like that book. I might even go so far as to say I hated it. (Which is particularly awkward since the chick who runs my reading group described it as "the best book she'd read in a decade.") Oy. That's gonna be a fun discussion this Monday.
What bugged me was the complete lack of honor, integrity and nobility in the protagonist. I can't say hero. He was in no way heroic. Maybe that's why I love romance novels so much. The hero (or heroine) in a romance novel would never just stand by and watch while someone close to him was attacked and molested. A true hero would have to be bound or drugged or paralyzed in order to display the level of despicable inaction in the face of crisis demonstrated consistently by the "hero" of The Kite Runner throughout the book.

The other day, I was venting about The Kite Runner to a good friend of mine who is a high school English teacher. She has it on the Recommended Reads shelf in her classroom because she is desperate to encourage literacy in her students. She recognized the fact that the protagonist was a terrible role model, but was having a hard time finding books to stock the shelf that had enough "literary merit" to be recommended without pissing off hyper parents yet still possessed characters that were actually good people who did the right thing.

So, in the interest of research, today's Gigolo Contest Query is of a slightly more serious bent: What books would you recommend that are 1) appropriate for high school eyes (light on the explicit sex & language) 2) at a reading level that will not frighten them off and 3) have characters behaving with honor and decency, even in the face of adversity?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reading Seasons

I'm an eclectic reader, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the books I've read recently. I've been on a real paranormal kick lately - vampires, in particular. I'm a binge reader. I'll tear through entire series or read through an author's entire backlist in a single shot.

I've always been a binge reader, but it was only recently that I realized my reading binges are seasonal. In the summer, I'm drawn to comedies - they're my ideal fluffy beach books, from Jennifer Crusie to Christopher Moore. When it's snowy and dark in the wintertime, I make a beeline for the historical romances and literary classics: Eloisa James, Jane Austen, Mark Twain & D.H. Lawrence. And when it rains (which, living in Seattle is pretty much every day, this time of year) I gravitate toward paranormals. I'm loving Kristin & P.C. Cast's House of Night novels at the moment.

Today's Gigolo Contest Question: Are you a seasonal reader? Do you go on reading binges? Do you have a system for working your way through your To-Be-Read stack (or in my case, the To-Be-Read bookcase)? How do you pick the next book you'll read?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Gigolo-ness Continues

According to the all-knowing oracle that is Jeopardy (yes, I am a total Jeopardy nerd; I watch it almost every day), February is Creative Romance Month. It seems like everything has a day or a month these days, from Administrative Assistants to Cats to Your Administrative Assistant's Cats.

Creative Romance Month might be gratuitous - what with Valentine's Day already amping up the love vibes - but I love any excuse to glorify romance, so I'm not going to complain.

In honor of the official hearts and flowers month, the Gigolo Contest question of the day is: What is the most creative romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? Or that they could do for you? Or that you have done? Or thought of doing, but never dared to do?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cops 'N Robbers

On TNT there's this new show that has me totally hooked. Leverage. It's all about thieves who band together for some Robin Hood action, stealing from the unethical rich and giving back to the poor wronged peasants. Every week is a new caper, a new heist.

I could never really get into any of the Law & Orders or CSIs, but somebody puts a show about crooks on the air and I'm instantly a fan. Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job, To Catch a Thief, After the Sunset, How to Steal a Million - I can't get enough of thieves stealing from those who deserve to have their assets reallocated.

I'm not sure what this says about my personal moral compass though I've often suspected that it doesn't point due North. For some reason, I love an unabashed thief.

Today's Gigolo Contest Question is this: Who turns your crank? Cops or Robbers? The Good Guys or the Bad Boys? Which side of the law do you fall on?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Carolina Wolf by Sela Carsen

Now Available from Samhain Publishing - Carolina Wolf, a paranormal comedy by the fabulous Sela Carsen!

All it takes is a spark of Grrrrrl power to set the swamp on fire!

Librarian Debra Henry is boring. And she’s okay with that. Really. It’s not as if the teensy amount of witchcraft that flows in her veins is worth getting excited about. Yet someone—or something—thinks it’s worth crawling out of the swamps to attack her. Those “somethings” are werewolves.

When one of them is hurt saving her, the least she can do is take him home and patch him up. Healing him stirs more than her senses. Maddox Moreau awakens the magic that sleeps in her blood. And suddenly, life’s not quite so boring.

A wildlife manager at Congaree National Park by day, Maddox likes being the BWIS—Big Wolf In the Swamp. By night, he lets his wild side out to play lone wolf. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Perhaps it’s best, though, if he holds off on sharing his preference for raw meat.

Rescuing her seals his fate—but only if he can protect her from a rogue of his kind. A werewolf with a nasty stalker streak…

Click here for a teaser.
Todays Gigolo Contest Question is multiple choice: "I can't wait to read Carolina Wolf because..."
a) I love me some hot werewolf action.
b) I desperately need a good laugh in today's brutal economy.
c) I have a real thing for naughty librarians - especially those of the witchy variety.
d) All of the above!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gigolo Madness: Day Two

Tomorrow the first novella of the Tickle My Fantasy Anthology releases as an ebook - Sela Carsen's Carolina Wolf.

Maddox Moreau likes being the BWIS - Big Wolf In the Swamp. By day, he’s a wildlife management specialist at the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. By night, he enjoys howling it up with different women. At least until he meets the one woman who can share his soul. Rescuing Debra Henry seals his fate, but only if he can also protect her from a rogue werewolf with a nasty stalker streak.

So in honor of Sela's release and its badass werewolf sexiness, today's Gigolo Contest Question is: Vampires or werewolves? Who is sexier? Jean-Claude or Richard? Edward or Jacob?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day One: The Gigolo Contest!

It's February! Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen... *Drumroll please*

It's Tickle My Fantasy Month!

The month when all four delightful paranormal romantic comedies comprising Samhain's Tickle My Fantasy Anthology will be released! Woohoo! TMF Month means fabulous new releases, funny Valentine's free reads, and the launch of the Gigolo Contest!!!

What, you may ask, dear reader, is a Gigolo Contest? No, I am not asking you to send me your gigolos so I can judge them on their respective merits (though the idea did cross my dirty little mind). So why is it called a Gigolo Contest? Well, my debut novella, The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant is coming out this month, and the prize for one lucky winner of this contest is the Gigolo Kit, filled with incense, scented candles, flavored massage oils, and other naughty gigolo accessories.

How do you enter? Post a comment on the blog! Every day I'll post a question or survey, just drop by with your thoughts and you're automatically entered to win!

Can you enter more than once? Absolutely! Every comment (up to one per person per day) will count as a new entry into the contest! You can comment more often than that, but only the first entry per day will be counted. So, as they say in Chicago, "Vote early; vote often." Increase your own chances to win!

The contest runs through March 1st. The Gigolo Kit Winner will be drawn and announced here on the blog on Monday, March 2nd. Happy posting!
TMF Month Kickoff Question: In honor of Superbowl Sunday, what is your favorite superbowl commercial of all time?