To Tattoo, or not to…?

Lately I’ve been thinking about getting some ink. Nothing major, just a small gesture toward creative freedom and expression. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and never had the nerve to. Mostly because it hurts.

The other thing that held me back for a long time was my upbringing. Both my parents are anti-tattoo. Not for cultural or political reasons, but because a tattoo is permanent. As my mother pointed out, “what if you change your mind?” Plus, she’s terrified that I’ll fall victim to bacterial infection.

However, the loudest anti-tattoo factions seemed to be motivated by prejudice. In the course of my research – because, let’s face it, there’s no way I’d make a decision so permanent without extensive research into the history, process and benefits of tattooing, not to mention the best places to go – I’ve found a lot of negative press. The sad part is people who go to tattoo forums specifically to rant against tattoos. Two of the comments that came up most often were “tattoos are dirty” and “people with tattoos are criminals.”

I don’t understand why a practice that has existed for millennia, often conferred as an honor upon the best and brightest, is now regarded by many to be abhorrent.

Can anybody shed any light on this for me? Why do so many people hate tattoos and look down upon those who have them?

Why writers need to keep a pen handy…

My fellow romance authors are probably familiar with the phrase “you write porn.” And, like me, it probably annoys the living daylight out of you. Here are some of the other frequent comments about writing and the E-publishing industry that make me want to stab people with a pen. Comments in brackets are the things I’d like to say in response.

It’s not really work (and yet, while you spend Saturday afternoon watching football/shopping, I’m hunched over my keyboard)

E-publishing isn’t real publishing (there are global sales figures that disagree with you)

E-books aren’t of the same standard as physical books (#%$^*&$@ speechless with rage – the people who say this know that I’m a writer AND editor)

I could write a book (so why don’t you?)

My job just doesn’t give me time to write (yes, because working ten-hour-plus days in the corporate world, being on call on weekends, and two hours per day commuting left me with oodles of time)

And now, on to the romance specific insults…

You write porn (have you even read a romance novel?)

Men can’t write romance (This is like saying women can’t play sports. I take offense on several levels, but mostly because I edit some male authors, and they rock!)

Only lonely women with a hundred cats read romance (will all the men and women with families and fulfilled lives please raise their hands)

Romance novels aren’t real books (seriously? And yet so many romance novels make the NYT list)

Anyone can write a romance (please, go ahead. I dare you)

Romance novels are just sex with a pretty cover (again, ever read one? no? hmm…)

Mommy porn (My teeth itch every time I hear this. Really, could you sound any more like an uneducated, close-minded fool?)

Anybody got any others to add? I’ve been practicing my deep breathing exercises to prevent myself from plunging that pen into someone’s chest, but I’ll gladly share my outpouring of angst!

Nostalgia

When I was thirteen, and then again when I was fifteen, my parents took my brother and me to the Gold Coast for a holiday. For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, that’s approximately two days drive from where I live in Melbourne. Mum and Dad, wisely, planned the trip with lots of bathroom and leg-stretching breaks, but there were still some loooooong periods in that car, all four of us together. The only thing that prevented arguments? Music.

I was born in the ‘eighties, so Elvis Presley and the girl groups of the sixties were not my normal listening fare. Until those trips. Mum bought a double CD of Elvis’s Greatest Hits, and during those drives, my brother and I became extremely intimate with over forty of the King’s songs. I can now sing many of those, and more, word perfect, and I can honestly say that I’m an Elvis fan. To the point that I visited Graceland while I was in the States. Anyone who has ever heard an Elvis song should make the trip. The man was so much more than just a singer, and his home and the museums were a revelation to me.

But between the wonderful Rock’n’Roll hits that I so love to belt out, there are some truly beautiful ballads. One of my favorite songs, full stop, no questions, is If I can Dream. Look it up on YouTube – the lyrics are wonderful, and the music so powerful. Sad songs, the ones that make me tear up? In the Ghetto, Don’t Cry Daddy, and An American Trilogy. Songs that made me laugh? Anything with a high note that my brother tried and failed to hit 🙂

Anyone else out there an Elvis fan? Or, who was the unexpected musical influence in your life?

Comfort Reading

Comfort reading, like comfort eating, consists of glutting oneself with your old favorites.

Last week was below par. This week, although it’s only Monday night, is already crappy. Beyond crappy. I can categorically state that it would take a major lottery win – or equivalent – to make this week even marginally acceptable.

And it’s only Monday.

So, in a desperate attempt to feel better without packing on the kilos, I’m curled on my couch with my favorite blankie. The season one DVD of Big Bang Theory is playing in the background, and as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to dig in to my comfort books.

I’m sure you all have comfort books – not to be confused with your favorite books, although they may overlap. They’re the ones you reach for when you’re bored, when you feel bad and when nothing else interests you. Maybe you’ve read them so often you have multiple copies.

The number one book on my comfort book pile is Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Although many of her books make me feel good, WtT is the ultimate. Don’t ask me why, because I can’t answer.

Next: See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson. This one ties with True Confessions, also by Rachel Gibson.

After that, in no particular order, are the Syndicate series by Jules Jones and Alex Woolgrave, Julie Garwood’s Ransom, and Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair.

If I’ve worked through all these and still don’t feel better, I’ll trawl through the bookshelves – I have a lot of them – and through my ebook files and just grab whatever catches my fancy. I can pretty much guarantee that Nora Roberts, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Michelle Pillow and Shelley Laurenston will make the list. And usually David Eddings, too, although lately he makes me sad because he’s dead and will never write another book.

So, share: what’s on your comfort pile? If the week keeps on like this, I may need new material.

Catch A Shooting Star!

In just a few days, Catch a Shooting Star will be released by Ellora’s Cave Blush! Nathan and Jess are two of my favorite characters, and telling their story was a lot of fun.

Social misfit Jessamy James pays the bills with a cleaning job so she can do what she really loves—tell stories to children. She meets NFL superstar Nathan Powell while cleaning his house. Jess has never met a man with so much trust in the world, and he’s never met anyone he couldn’t charm. Outwardly, they’re complete opposites, but Nathan is intrigued by Jess’ reclusive attitude, and she’s drawn to his open personality. The attraction between them is inevitable.

When Nathan is dragged into a drug scandal, Jess is caught up in the media storm and finds her own vocation slipping through her fingers. As they struggle together to clear his name and rescue both their careers, they discover things about themselves that only strengthen the bond between them.

In honor of release day, on the 15th – really close now! – I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. What do you have to do? At the bottom of this post there are buttons to share on Facebook or Twitter. Click on one of them, and you go into the draw! The giveaway is open until Sunday 18th March.

In the meantime, click here for an excerpt!

Louisa has new cover art!

Louisa Masters has the new cover art for her 2012 release, One Night in a Bar. Head over to http://www.louisamasters.com to check it out. You’ll note the alleyway where Karen and Daniel…erm…well, anyway, go have a look!

Censorship in Children’s Books

This is an issue that raises a lot of backs. I want to go on record now as saying that nothing in this post is intended to offend anyone. It’s not my usual lighthearted fare, but it’s something that’s bothered me for a while.

I am anti-censorship. I have been an avid reader since I could first sound out the words, and before that I was an avid listener. I had to start buying books when the library couldn’t keep up with me.

One of my favorite childhood authors was Enid Blyton. The Wishing Chair, The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five, Malory Towers, and yes, even Noddy, were all intrinsic parts of my youth. To name a few. These books are considered classics, and were written for CHILDREN. Not adults with dirty minds (whoops, that might be a bit too strongly opinionated). We also need to keep in mind that a lot of these books—and many others—were written in a different time.

Noddy was turned into an animated TV series. In recent years, it’s been removed from TV because, apparently, Noddy and his friend Big Ears are clearly gay, and a “poor” influence on young children. Aside from the fact that homosexuality is not a “poor” anything, I challenge you to find an episode of Noddy and point out to me where/how any gay undertones appear. And whether they would have been perceived as such before our overly politically-correct society got through picking it over (also very opinionated of me).

Let’s look at another Blyton series—The Faraway Tree. The number of things that have been picked on in this series makes my teeth itch, but the worst, in my opinion, is changing the characters’ names. Jo, Fanny and Bessie are now Joe, Frannie and Beth. Why, I ask you? It’s an old-fashioned book with old-fashioned names. We won’t even mention the discussion about removing the entire character of Dick from The Famous Five.

Now, to move away from Ms. Blyton, what about the famous Huck Finn? Things in the South have definitely changed from Huck’s days, but I think it’s pretty clear that this is not a modern book. Yes, some of the language can be deemed offensive, but it is a piece of history, a memory—not necessarily a good one, but a memory nonetheless—of a different time. If parents are concerned that after reading Huck their children may be tempted to use the “N” word, then perhaps they should discuss why that word existed in the first place, and why we no longer use it. Considering the level of literacy in today’s society (oooh, another nasty opinion), by the time a child is old enough to read Huck, they’ll probably already have learned this in school.

I’m going to hop off my soapbox now, mainly because if I don’t I’ll keep going for several thousand more words. And then I might start on censorship of adult books. Um, like Shakespeare.

Catch a Shooting Star excerpt

Wow! My baby brother is now a married man, and I’m finally catching up again! First off, huge congratulations to Jon and Mala. I love you both, and seeing you together is inspiration for a thousand books.
So now, on to the fun part! Catch a Shooting Star is due for release on March 15th and I have the excerpt right here…I hope you enjoy it!

The penis pointed right at her.
Jess was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor, when she looked up and saw it. Semi-erect and bobbing in her direction.
It was attached to a man, of course. A totally built, gloriously naked and sleepy-looking man, stumbling across the room, very likely about to trip over her.
“Watch it!”
He yelped and leapt about a mile in the air. Jess scuttled backward to avoid being stepped on, and sat back on her heels.
The man clutched his chest and stared at her. “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m your cleaner.” Wasn’t that kind of obvious?
He shook his head. “Oh no, you’re not. Mrs. Poole is my cleaner.”
She smiled pityingly. “Mrs. Poole won the lottery and quit. She’s decided to move to Ireland and become a poet.” He looked incredulous. Having met Mrs. Poole, Jess knew why. “The cleaning company assigned me to take over.”
He looked her over, seemingly unimpressed. She knew what he was seeing—spiky short ink-black hair, pale skin, blue eyes. Body like a twelve-year-old boy, dressed in ripped and faded jeans. Multiple piercings in each ear, one in her nose, and her left eyebrow—he couldn’t see the belly or nipple ones—tattoo peeking out the neck of a baggy t-shirt that was once black but now washed out to a dingy grey.
“And you are?”
She sighed. She’d really hoped to avoid seeing him. “Jess.”
An eyebrow lifted. It seemed incongruous combined with his nudity.
“Just Jess?”
“Jess James.”
He smirked. “Really? Jessie James?”
As if she’d never heard that before. “Actually, it’s Jessamy.” She spoke through gritted teeth. He really rubbed her the wrong way. And his dick was still hanging out there!
“Jessamy,” he repeated and smiled. “That’s really pretty.”
His expression had softened, and she looked away, embarrassed.
He suddenly seemed to realize that he was starkers.
“Uh—I’ll just…” He hightailed it back out of the kitchen, and she admired his very tight ass as it went.
She knew who he was, of course. That was partly why the cleaning company had chosen her to take this job, because she knew and didn’t care. She’d never been a fan of sports, and football was a complete mystery to her. The fact that Nathan Powell was the client meant nothing in her world.
He came back, wearing a pair of boxers and nothing else. Surely he could have taken the time to get properly dressed, but he seemed perfectly happy to flaunt his tanned, toned and muscled body. He leaned his hips against the bench, crossed his arms over his chest.
It made his biceps flex.
“So,” he said, “I guess we’d better work this out.”

Sound good? You can buy CaSS here from March 15th!

Louisa Masters Giveaway winners…

Louisa wound up her virtual book tour on Friday, and has selected her giveaway winners. To see who they are, or to check out the excerpt and blurb for Inter-Office Relations, head over to her site, www.louisamasters.com

Cover art for Catch a Shooting Star

I have been given an amazing cover for Catch a Shooting Star – it completely captures Nathan and Jess’s personalities! I’d love to hear what you think…

I also have a release date: March 15th! Not too far away, so keep checking in for upcoming promo and giveaways! On release day, you’ll be able to buy CaSS here.

%d bloggers like this: