Friday, December 28, 2007

All the best for the New Year!

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season and wishing you all the best for the New Year!

I won't be blogging again until the week of January 8th so check back with me then!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Words in Motion Conference

Announcing - WORDS IN MOTION 2008 The International Affaire for Romance Writers & Readers

Theme: Romantic Suspense

January 2nd-6th 2008

Lamplighter Conference Center Main Street Community Forumswww.cobblestone- mainstreet. com Hosted by Cobblestone Press, LLC Free to attend and participate! !!!

Words In Motion (WIM) is an annual online conference developed to offer support, marketing, and networking within the romance and erotic romance industries. Our goal is to provide affordable and convenient opportunities for authors, publishers, and other professional individuals. Authors, Publishers, Agents, and Groups such as RWA chapters, review sites, and writing groups are encouraged to attend and participate in this exciting event. The theme this year is Romantic Suspense and we are currently scheduling special guest speakers, tables for authors, publishers, groups, and agents – agents will be offered private chatroom to set up meeting with authors they meet during the conference. We are also scheduling group chat parties as well.This is going to be the largest online event for the romance industry yet and we hope you will join us to celebrate!

It's absolutely free and the best part? You can show up in your sweats and nobody has to ever know (wink).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

To condomize or not to condomize!

A few days after World AIDS Day and at a time when health experts are reporting that there are a whole lot more new HIV infections than previously thought, it's probably a good time to bring up the topic of condoms.

A lot of writers worry about introducing rubbers into their stories but there’s no hard and fast rule.

Some publishing houses take the view that their books are fantasies and who would fantasize about condoms? So they don’t require it. Who wants to think about sexually transmitted infections when they're getting their groove on?

Other houses, concerned about any messages they may be sending about unsafe sex, require writers to, at least, mention that their characters are using condoms. How the writer chooses to introduce the topic is up to them. It could be a one liner where a character mentions using it or discarding it after sex or it could be something lengthier where putting it on becomes part of the sex play.

So whether you choose to condomize or not really depends on the writer and their particular publishing house. I don’t mention condoms in The Gladiator’s Woman, not because they didn’t have condoms in ancient Rome, they did, but because it being a historical I didn’t feel the pressure to do so. People just weren't as worried about those diseases back then and there was a lot more ignorance about signs and symptoms. In a contemporary, I probably would bring up condoms. In another life, I was an HIV educator and I'd feel I owed it to my readers.

What you do depends on you and on whether the publishing house you're targeting would allow it. If you're unsure, look up the guidelines, read other books they've published, or, just ask the editor.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Smell!

Whether you’re writing erotic romance or erotica, you’ve got to employ the five senses if you want to paint a picture for your readers, one that will have them gasping along with your protagonists.

One of the most important senses to convey in your work is the sense of smell – if you’re in the heroine’s viewpoint tell us how her lover smells to her or vice versa. His hair, his skin, his balls, his feet – all of these will have a smell. When you’re writing, think about your characters – what would you like to convey about a particular character in your description of the way he or she smells? Someone who smells of vanilla and milk for instance is probably going to be a softer, more gentle and innocent person than one who smells of musk and cardamom. Similarly, in readers’ minds someone who smells of the earth after a rainfall may be a better person than someone who reeks of some cheap cologne.

Scientists tell us that pheromones, our scent markers, can determine if we like or dislike someone. Think about that the next time you’re dreaming up your characters and, if like me, you’re one of those people who do a detailed description of your characters before then be sure to include how they smell too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not just philosophy and great architecture!

The Romans built great bridges, roads and public buildings. Their philosophers are still read and re-read. What is less known is that they were a randy lot who had no problem paying for it!

In pleasure-loving ancient Rome, brothels were perfectly legal. Known as lupanars or whorehouses, some were quite grand with gardens and fountains while others were little more than places to flop down on a mattress and have at it.

Most had paintings on the wall designed for the inspiration of patrons. The variety of positions suggested included woman on top, doggy-style and one requiring some athletic prowess with the man standing and holding on to the woman’s butt while she held herself up off the bed by the arms, her legs draped over the man’s shoulders. Guess they weren’t into vanilla sex!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ten Kegels a day!

I’ve read a few erotic romances and my fair share of erotica but I don’t remember reading any where the woman knew about Kegels and practiced them several times a day. Pity because ten Kegels a day may not keep the doctor away but they’ll sure keep those orgasms coming. If you don't know what I'm talking about, keep reading!


To find the right muscles, the next time you’re peeing, try stopping the flow. Those are the muscles you want to strengthen. (As a bonus, it’ll stop those annoying squirts when you laugh too hard!)

The next time you’re sitting at a stop light or standing in a long line, squeeze your Kegels for ten counts. Do ten sets of ten. Then do a quick set of pulses – ten will do to start with but as your muscle gets stronger you can go up to fifty or even a hundred.

You'll notice the heightened sensation when you’re with your guy or enjoying a bout of solitary lovemaking. Just squeeze your muscles and enjoy the thrills!

(One more tip – several online sex shops sell Kegel exercisers you might want to check out.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Three sexy jobs for your characters

Are you plotting a new contemporary and having trouble coming up with a hot occupation for your hero or heroine? Below are three you might want to consider.



1.) Car designer. They give a car that look, the one that says to you, "buy me," "buy me." They're usually paid well, they drive hot cars, and they're smart - what's not to love?



3.) Freelance photographer. They travel all over the world on assignment for all kinds of magazines so they are never at a loss for conversation and they always know the best places to go on vacation.



3.) Stunt double. The guys and gals who do a lot of the real work in action-adventure films - they're usually in top shape, good-looking and unafraid of danger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hot Reads!

Really busy this week but if you're interested in some free sexy reads, check these out.

http://www.phaze.com/phazeflare.html

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Covers

You know, I was browsing through my bookshelves last night and something struck me - I only have a few books with a couple on the cover. Funny, I not only write romances, I read them too, and that genre is known for its clinch and couple covers. How have I managed to escape them?



It seems I tend to pick up books with neutral covers - no people at all, just maybe a ribbon or a rose or a piece of lace or something like that. A ship or a castle in the distance. If there is someone on the cover, it's most likely a woman and her face is turned away or she's got her back to the reader - like in Kushiel's Chosen, for instance. If it's a man, and this is less likely, he's staring off into the distance.



I don't know what this says about me - maybe that I like some mystery about the book or that I don't like the characters presented to me because I want to imagine them for myself. Hmm, now I think about it, I guess those are my reasons.



What about you? What are your views on couple covers?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Do you write erotica?

If so, I've got just the tip for you. Burrow Publishing (http://www.burrowpublishing.com/) wants your story! See below for details.

Burrow Publishing is seeking submissions for the hottest and rawest erotica compilation to drop in 2008. Stories should prominently feature men of color (e.g. Brothas, Papis, Caribbean men, etc.) And the various types of men (e.g. Thugz, Bears, etc.) Stories should be fresh, unique, and sex-filled, but also have an engaging storyline and character development. We are open to various writing styles, content, and sub-genres. Only one requirement. You know what turns you on. Unleash what you got and show us your skills. Non-fiction stories will also be considered.

Stories must be between 2,500 and 5,000 words. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2007. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for a response to your submissions. Email submissions will not be accepted. However, email inquiries are okay. info@burrowpublishing.com
Please note: Stories that have been previously published in any format (including postings on the Internet) will not be accepted.

If you are interested in submitting a story, write your best story and submit to:
Burrow Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 7091
Princeton, New Jersey 08743
United States

REQUIRED: Please include your contact information and a brief biography. Your contact information should include your full name, current mailing address, phone number, and an email address. You must be 18 years or older.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yay!

Yay! Yay! Yay! I'm doing a wild dance over here. I got the release date for my short story, The Gladiator's Woman. It will be out January 28 from Phaze.com and then I've got an interview set up with an online review site for February 2 so you know I'm just rearing to go!

Hopefully by the time it comes out I'll have figured out more about posting pix and banners and what not to this blog so you'll get to see the cover.

Basically, The Gladiator's Woman is about a healer who joins a ludus (gladiator school) and falls in love with a black gladiator who comes up against Spartacus just before the latter's famous rebellion. I love history and the history of Rome and Egypt in particular so you'll see more from me set in those times. And yes, blacks or Aethiops or Nubians as they were called, were definitely around in ancient Rome. They were soldiers, merchants, scribes, gladiators, slaves, traders and prostitutes among other things. Apparently, Roman men found black women quite alluring!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cobblestone's Blog Party!

(excerpted from the Cobblestone Blog)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Octoberfest Blog Party!!

It's October already and you know what that means...yes! It's time for Cobblestone Press' 2nd Annual Octoberfest Celebration.Shifters, vampires, ghosts, and everything in between. Octoberfest is about celebrating all things paranormal and in celebration of their Octoberfest releases the authors of Cobblestone are having a MONTH long Blog Party.You know what happens at parties, right? There are gifts and this party will be no exception. Stop by an author's blog during thier week and comment and you'll automatically be entered to win a copy of their Octoberfest title! Woot! And you'll be able to read excerpts, some that may not be seen anywhere else.So let's get to the good stuff. Here's the schedule. Starting us off with releases this coming Friday, October 5th are Sable Grey, Ericka Scott and Shelli Stevens.So from today October 1st to Friday, October 5th stop by their blogs and leave them a comment. The winners will be announced Friday, October 5th here on the CP Blog and on each authors blog.

Click here - http://sablegreysdragonflies.blogspot.com/

And here - http://www.erickascott.com/

And here - http://shellistevens.blogspot.com/

for your chance to win!

Good luck to all!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The last book I read

I read about sixty or seventy books a year and I read in all genres - historicals, fantasy, thrillers, mysteries, literary, and, of course, romance. Non-fiction also takes up a significant percentage of the books I read.

If I start a book and I don't think it's very good, I stop and go on to another book. Soem books I get to a certain point and I flip to the back - if I can figure out how the characters got from where they were to where they are at the end of the book, I'm usually not motivated to read it. I guess that means I like surprise endings, and twisty, unpredictable plots.

A few days ago I finished Season of Storms by Susan Kearsley and I absolutely loved it- it's about this aspiring actress who travels to a very special villa in Italy to take on a role written for her namesake a century before. Why is the villa special? It was the home of the playwright, a known libertine, who, late in life, fell in love with the actress for whom he wrote his most famous play. A mystery surrounds the place and danger waits but our heroine finds love and creates a family for herself away from home.

Well-written and well-paced, the book is an example of the kind I'd like to write - though with lots more, ah, smut!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A serious moment here

Greece is one of those places that seem made for romance, particularly of the erotic variety! All those beaches and ruins! But there is a dark underbelly to sex that many visitors don't even guess at and that certainly doesn't come up in romances set in those fabled isles. Read the following (taken from the Amnesty International website) and then take action - forced sex and the erotic don't go together!

Protect the Rights of Trafficked Women in Greece

Greece has been a transit and destination country for trafficked persons since the early 1990s and has seen a continuous increase in the number of women and girls trafficked and forced into prostitution. The women mainly come from Eastern Europe and Africa. They often believe they are being brought to Greece to make a living but rarely know that they will be forced to work in the sex industry.

Many trafficked women remain unrecognized as such and face detention and deportation on charges such as unlicensed prostitution or immigration offenses. Only a few manage to overcome obstacles to being recognized as "victims of trafficking" by the authorities. Even then, the protection and assistance available to them comes at a price: they must "cooperate with the authorities" by testifying against their suspected traffickers whatever the risk of reprisals. In practice, the protection offered to them is often inadequate.

Trafficking of women and girls into forced prostitution is a human rights abuse and a crime in international and Greek law. The Council of Europe's Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings outlines the measures states must take not only to bring to justice perpetrators of this crime but also to protect and assist its victims. It is not yet in force, however, because it has not been ratified by the required number of states. Greece has signed but not ratified this Convention. Similarly it has signed but not yet ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the "Palermo Protocol"). Write to the Minister of Justice and ask him to protect the rights of trafficked women in Greece.

To learn more, click here - http://www.amnestyusa.org/index.html

Friday, September 14, 2007

Writing Sexy

Sometimes you want to write, you've got a story in mind, you've got your characters but the story just isn't coming so what can you do to get the juices flowing?

Here are three tips that tend to work for me -

1.) Put some great music on the stereo - you know, something sexy to help you get your groove on. Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" are perfect (can't beat the old school jams) and you should also check out Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" and "Kinky Reggae". Sexy songs will get you in a sexy frame of mind and can help your writing flow. Try it.

2.) Read in other genres. That's right - reading a great thriller or a horror can give your muse the kick in the pants she needs. Try a genre you haven't read or go back to an old favorite. Here's a secret - reading poetry helps make my writing more lyrical and gets me thinking about word choices I might not ordinarily use.

3.) Write out the summary of your plot and think on the theme or themes. Doing this kind of prework gets you thinking more deeply about your story and helps you to go from the beginning to the end. This isn't to say you mightn't change a plot line or two along the way but that's okay.

Good luck!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sleep! From Cobblestone Press!

Thought I'd tell you a little bit more about my upcoming novella, Sleep, which is going to be part of Cobblestone Press's Vampire Oracle anthology. (Read more about the series here -http://vampireoracle.blogspot.com/)

I check the submissions sites of epublishers periodically but had never gotten up the nerve to submit to any until I saw Cobblestone's call for submissions for this great series. Vampires! The Tarot! I was in!

I hadn't checked Cobblestone in a while and it was one day before the deadline when I did. I remember staring at the cover for Sleep - a woman lying on a bed, her dark hair like a pool of ink around her face. The card signified freedom and movement and I had to include those themes in my story. At first nothing came to me but then I thought ok, what about if somebody the vampire loves is trapped somewhere - could I make a story out of that? I could but how about if it's the vampire who's trapped? Then, who would have the power to trap a vampire? For a long time I've wanted to write a story about voodoo, how could I work that in? What would such an entrapment do to a vampire, to anyone?

And slowly, slowly, the story started to take shape. See the blurb for Sleep below!

When Kai Duncan discovers a cache of old papers he finds a reference to a female vampire from the American South. The woman, a beautiful mulatto, was supposedly ensorcelled by a powerful Haitian houngan in the early nineteenth century and taken away from her New Orleans home. Kai is intrigued and begins to dig into the story. He finds out enough to convince him the abduction really happened and sets out for Haiti to discover what happened to the vampire. His search leads him to the houngan and a violent battle ensues to free the captive vampire. Kai wins but he fears the woman he saved may be beyond his help. And beyond the reach of his love.

Gabrielle has been brought to the edge of madness by her long captivity. The houngan made use of her for his own dark and twisted purposes. Now another man has rescued her but can she trust him? Can she believe in Kai and surrender to the healing power of love?

Monday, September 3, 2007

When did she find the time?

No one knows for sure how many lovers Catherine II of Russia had but all agree it was more than a few. Serge Saltuikov, a Russian noble, became her first lover when Catherine the Great was just twenty-three. She had already been abandoned by her husband, the Grand Duke Peter, who took twelve years to consummate his marriage vows but who had once planned to divorce Catherine and marry his mistress. Peter went on to become Peter III but he was deposed in 1762 and replaced by Catherine.

Catherine went on to have several more affairs, including with Gregory Orlov who helped her to seize the throne. Gregory Potemkin, another of her lovers who assisted with the coup, went on to become her procurer after his own time in her bed had ended. (That means he identified willing, able and suitable young men who could offer her the pleasure he once had.)

She took her last lover, Plato Subov, at the age of sixty and he remained with her until her death in 1796.

During her reign, Catherine extended Russia's borders by thousands of miles and made the country the dominant force in south-eastern Europe. A great lover of the arts, she did much to support writers and painters. The Hermitage Museum now houses most of her personal collection.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Get your groove on with these aphrodisiacs

Sex has been around since, well, since Adam and Eve and so have drinks and foods designed to give you that loving feeling. (That's right before there was Viagra there was raw turtle eggs!)

Here are a few well-know aphrodisiacs from the Caribbean. Check 'em out and let me know if they help!

1.) Raw turtle eggs.
2.) Guinness Stoutt mixed with milk.
3.) Goat-head soup.
4.) Pepper sauce.
5.) Cow-cod soup. (soup made from the penis and testicles of a bull)
6.) Peanut porridge.
7.) Seamoss.
8.) Fish-head soup.
9.) Coconut water.
10.) Linseed oil. (not clear whether you drink it or, um, apply it.)
11.) Bois bande. (a tea or liqueur made from the bark of a tree and also called maubi in some islands.)

So there you have it. I can't guarantee that any of the eleven will put the pepper in your sauce but try them when you're writing and who knows what heights of eroticism your stories might reach!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Girl gets guy, then what?

Romance novels usually end when the hero and heroine finally get together - maybe with a wedding or just with the promise of one. Now the happy couple has to slog through their marriage. If they were hot and heavy for each other before the wedding, will they keep it up after the honeymoon? If they were chaste but full of longing, will they be able to maintain the spice after the novelty of sex wears off? Will lust drown in a sea of familiarity and tedium after fifteen or twenty years? How can you keep your spouse interested?

Hmm, these are worrying questions. I mean, living with someone day in and day out, isn't for the faint of heart. Quirks materialize that you never suspected. Beauty secrets are revealed. Questions of hygiene arise. Suddenly, the happily ever after looks doubtful. Well, never fear, Tula is here to help you keep your lovelight burning long, long into the night! How, you ask. Easily. With some tips and advice to get you and your spouse thinking carnally again.

1. Keep your aura of mystique. Have you ever seen Brad Pitt take a piss? Or Sandra Bullock sitting on the toilet taking a crap? No. And there's a reason for that - we just don't want to know. Take a lesson from them. Now that you're married, there's no reason to leave the door open while you do your business in the bathroom. I can't think of anything more likely to chip away at my lust for a man than seeing him evacuating - you know, what I mean. And that goes for flossing, too!

2. Part of the way we ratchet up sexual tension is by employing anticipation - we do this as writers and we should also do it as halves of a couple. Call your lover and promise him or her a special treat of the physical kind when they come home. Leave a sexy note for them where they can find it. Email your lover an erotic poem. As he's going out the door in the morning put a picture of you in edible underwear in his hand and tell him you're expecting he'll take it off that night. Be creative!

3. Read some sexy stories and poems to each other in the evening. Hot authors to look for are Anais Nin, Zane, Kate Douglas, Kayla Perrin, Saskia Walker, Lyric James, Eileen Wilkes, Nancy Madore and a host of others. Reading about other sexy couples will put you and your lover in the mood and may even give you some new ideas!

4. Titillate your spouse! When you're at a formal function with your partner, let him know you're not wearing any underwear. Expose yourself to your woman while you're driving but don't let her touch you, no matter how much you both want her to. Perform a strip tease.

5. Buy a sex toy and try something new. Here are a couple websites you can check for teh wide range available - http://www.xandria.com/, http://www.tabutoys.com/, http://www.goodvibes.com/.

So, there you have it. I hope these will keep the spark alive. (Oh, and one thing, don't wait until your partner is dead tired to try these out.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

How I got started

Where do my story ideas come from? That's one of the top questions my friends and others ask me. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I'm tempted to be snarky and say something like "from a story box I bought on eBay." I usually explain, though, that stories can come from anywhere - from a painting, from a song, from a news story, from an overheard conversation. You've just got to be alert and receptive and, most importantly, ready to write down or, in some way, record whatever you heard that caught your attention.

I'll give an example - the story of Spartacus has always intrigued me. A hero who fought against the odds, willing to die for his freedom, who inspired the loyalty of thousands of men who believed in his dream. Whenever I came across something about gladiators, I'd make sure to jot it down and keep it in an ideas file. But the months and years went by and I didn't write anything remotely to do with Spartacus or gladiators.

Then I hit a publishing slump, I'd gotten an agent but she couldn't sell the novels I'd written and I began to doubt my future as a writer. So I decided to just go completely out on a limb and do something totally different from what I'd written before - the result was The Gladiator's Woman which will soon be forthcoming from Phaze.

It's a short erotic story about a woman who falls in love with a gladiator on the eve of Spartacus' rebellion and, for it, I, finally, used some of the information I'd collected over the years. Spartacus appears in the story but he's not the focus. He was the spark. If he and his struggle hadn't fired my imagination so long ago, it's doubtful I'd have ever written The Gladiator's Woman.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Introduction - Ta Da!

Hi - I'm Tula Neal, a writer of erotica and erotic romance. This is my first effort at starting a blog but stay tuned - here you'll find excerpts from my stories, info about publishing events, tips to spice up your love life, sex in history, advice on writing hot, and lots, lots more!