Thursday, December 18, 2008

IWOFA contest on now!

Where would authors be without readers? The holiday season being one of fun,
friends, family and being thankful for what we have, IWOFA (Infinite Worlds
of Fantasy Authors) is giving something back to the readers we love!

Join us from Dec 15th through Dec 31st for the IWOFA Holiday
one of four yearly contests IWOFA will be holding. Sponsored by 73 of the
more than 300 IWOFA authors, the scavenger hunt is split into three
sections, to appeal to the tastes of all spec fic/paranormal readers. Sweet
Cocoa is for straight genre, sweet romance and YA books. Spiced Cider is for
traditional to sensual cross-genre romance books. Hot Toddy is for erotic
romance and erotica cross-genre books. Entrants can enter only their
favorites or for all three. The choice is up to you.

The prizes are as varied as the styles of the sponsoring authors. From
t-shirts and bath items through Celtic goodies, stuffed animals, jewelry,
and a fluted ivory vase, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The authors are
offering a sum total of 89 books valued at more than $600, four gift
certificates, not to mention the grand prize of three $100 gift

Rules for entry can be found at this
Good luck and happy holidays from the authors of IWOFA.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Mermaid's Mission - Available Now!

Princess Antalya, First Daughter of the Nereid King Tushar, is sent as a Gift Prize to Gregory Landau, the owner of a private Caribbean island whose development threatens her undersea home. She needs Gregory to stop construction if she is to save her people, and she will do anything he asks, but Gregory has never met a Nereid before and is deeply suspicious of her. Can he overcome his doubts and act on the attraction he feels for the mysterious woman? Owning an island resort has been Gregory's dream for most of his life but Antalya awakens feelings in him that he's never known before. Can he hold on to his dreams and still have his mermaid princess, too?

The Mermaid's Mission is available now from New Concepts Publishing. Click here for more info -

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Time Management

Okay, so today I’m going back to time management for writers. Previously, I gave you my two best tips – learn to say ‘no’ and do a little something every day. Today I’ll give you some other tips that work for me.

One. Draw up a schedule for your manuscripts. Every six months I make two tables. On the left side of one I write down the names of the manuscripts I’m working on or which I hope to start and then under the headings of First Draft, Second Draft, Third Draft, Critique Group, I write my proposed dates. As an example, let’s say I’m working on a novella - Neptune’s Treasure Box – I might want the finish the fist draft by 30th October, the Second Draft by 1st December, the Third Draft by 30th January, and get it to my Critique Group by 15th February.

My second table will have the names of manuscripts that have been critiqued and amended as per any suggestions I felt were warranted and then the headings of the different publishing houses I want to send them to. Under each heading I’ll put the date I received any correspondence from the houses and the outcome. The schedules help to keep me focused and to know where I need to be with any particular manuscript. Do my schedules get screwed up? Sure, they do. One of my children gets sick, I have to pinch-hit for a co-worker, relatives drop in from out of town and, despite points one and two above, I have to revise the schedules. That’s life. It’s like an exercise program – because I can’t go running for a week or two doesn’t mean I give up and stop altogether – it means I just have to work a bit harder when I come back to it.

Two. Buy an Alpha Smart. I’d been reading about these great little machines on yahoo groups for a long time before I gave in and bought one and what a difference it made! I went away on a business trip that required me to spend a long time in airports and by the time I got back home I was about halfway through the manuscript I’d begun when I left. The Alpha Smart is just a word processor – it doesn’t have the internet and it doesn’t allow you to see more than a few line of script at a time so you’re not constantly double-guessing yourself so it’s just you and your writing. Now I’m not a pantser – I outline everything before I write – and, if the work requires it, I do ton loads of research so by the time I whip out the Alphie, the story is pretty much there in my head. I hear from other writers, however, that Alphie is just as super for pantsers – they can do that whole stream of narrative thing without worrying about whether it’s really coming together on the page. The best thing about the Alphie is it runs on three AA batteries which last and last so you can use it anywhere – even during a blackout.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yay! Sleep is Out!

My new novella, The Vampire Oracle: Sleep, is out now from Cobblestone Press. I had a lot of fun writing the story of a New Orleans vampire, captured and taken to Haiti in the 1800s to serve a witch doctor's need for power. Gabrielle and the hero Kai are two of my favorite characters ever. Kai is an ambitious agent with an organization dedicated to paranormals. When he finds out about Gabrielle, the first thing he thinks about is how rescuing her can propel his rise in the organization. But the search for Gabrielle turns into more, much more than he could have foreseen and changes his life forever. The following is an excerpt - the witch doctor has been captured by the organization but Gabrielle has fled from her rescuers.

“I can tell you where she is now, but if you’re down there and she breaks and runs we’ll be out of radio contact, and I won’t be able to help you,” Ivor broke in. “You’ll be on your own.”

“I’ll stay,” Kai said. “But, by myself. Nobody else.”

“What?” Devlin looked at him as if he was crazy.

“Why, Kai?” Ivor asked. “Devlin and his men are experienced in these situations.”

“Yes, but I know her.” Kai was desperate to make them understand. He had to do it alone. “I discovered her and I…I can’t explain it, but I know her.” He couldn’t tell them about the dreams. “I can do it. I can find her.”

“Devlin?” Ivor deferred to the commando’s judgment.

“We’ve captured Vixama, and the zombies who haven’t been eliminated are neutralized so there’s no danger on that front.” Devlin rubbed his chin. “As for the vampire, clearly, she is fearful of us. I think it might be a good idea to let him try on his own. One man is less threatening than several. She might respond better to him.”

“All right, then,” Ivor said, shouting to be heard over the noise of the helicopter’s descent. “That’s it, Kai. We’ll give you twenty-four hours, and then we’ll be back.”

“Thank you.” Kai shook Devlin’s hand, already impatient for them to be off.

“She’s cowering in a cell about twenty feet north from where you found her,” Ivor said as the helicopter rose back into the air. “Be careful, Kai. You’ve seen what she did to Jamal. Be very careful. Make no sudden movements. Avoid contact. Her long captivity could well have turned her mind. You don’t really know what you’re dealing with here. It may be fear or it may be worse.”

“She’s Gabrielle,” Kai replied, plunging back into the dark, chilliness of the citadel. “She was once a beautiful woman, who men desired and women envied.” He said the words aloud, as if repeating a mantra. “Jewels shone in her hair and on her fingers. She wore silks and satins from fabulous lands and ate only the choicest of meats.” Kai sensed Ivor’s worried puzzlement, but the other man remained quiet until a burst of static and then dead silence indicated he’d lost radio contact. “She was as beautiful and mysterious as a dark tropical moth. Her lips were designed for lovers’ kisses, her glances thrilled men’s hearts and stirred their longing.” It wasn’t the Song of Solomon, but it was the best he could do as he descended into the dungeon to look for the woman whose face and body had haunted his nights ever since he’d found out about her.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Time Management

One of the questions that writers are often asked is ‘how do we manage our time?’ Sometimes my answer is “I don’t; it manages me.” I mean, really, that’s how it feels. I’m a parent, I’m involved in neighborhood activities, I have several hobbies, oh, and, of course, I also have a day job. Meeting all the obligations that those and other claims on my time demand isn’t easy. But writing is what I love. It’s what I always wanted to do from the time I was a child so how do I balance everything?
One. I don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Some parents wanted me to run for head of the PTA last year and it was something I think I could really have been good at but I knew my writing would have suffered so I had to say ‘no.’ I continue to help out on class trips and I drop in by the school once a month to back up the teachers but I cannot do more. Similarly, some friends wanted to go on a trip this year but I had to say ‘no’ – I would have loved to really, but I needed my vacation time to finish off some manuscripts. Is it easy to say ‘no’ to friends and family, or even to strangers? No, of course it’s not but I’ve got to do it if my writing is going to get the attention it deserves – if I want to finish that manuscript I’ve been working on since Methuselah was a child, if I want to attend writing workshops to improve my craft, if I want to network with other writers and learn all I can about this glorious business.
Two. Every day, I devote time to working on a manuscript. I might only write a page, I might only review an outline but I have to give my Muse that kind of attention or risk her going off in a sulk and refusing to respond when I finally make time for her. It’s not always convenient, sometimes it means that I have to ignore a house that looks as if the Tasmanian Devil swept through, but I have to get it done. Shut the door on your kids and on your man, don’t answer the phone or the door, skip the after-work social. Don’t become a complete hermit, that won’t help your Muse either, but weigh every social engagement to keep your balance. If you went out shopping with your best friend last week, surely she’ll understand if you can’t do lunch this week. And don’t feel you have to use all the time you save on your writing, sometimes sitting on a park bench just watching the pigeons can be as useful to your unconscious as diving into a research book.
I’ll continue these tips in my next entry so stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Scoop on Epublishing!

Now that I've got a few etitles under my virtual belt, I have a few tips to share with those of you who might be considering going this route. (Of course, most of this advice also holds true for print publishers as well.)

1. Do your research. As with regular print publishers, it's important to know what the particular company is looking for and what they don't accept. Most epublishers will publish erotica for instance but only a few will accept 'sweet' or tame stories with no explicit sex. Checking out the publishers website and being on the alert for special publishing calls will ensure that you submit what the particular editors want. (Special publishing calls often have deadlines so you'll want to be quick off the mark!)

2. Do more research. Not all epublishers are created equal. Some rival small print publishers in their output and sales while one or two have very limited sales and output. In the same way, some publishers have a better reputation for dealing with both their clients and their authors than others. Google the publisher's name, troll publishing blogs, get to know the good and the bad points of any publisher you want to submit to so you can make sure you are making the right choice for you and what you want. (Some epublishers will also put out print versions of books so if that's something you'd like, get to know what the criteria are for choosing which books go to print.)

3. Be prepared to spend time on the web promoting your book and promoting yourself. This includes setting up a website or at least a blog, visiting the blogs of other writers, contributing to your publisher's blog, doing online interviews, getting yourself and your book/s listed on as many writing sites as possible, joining yahoo groups, writing articles, and participating in online discussions. Doing all of this won't guarantee that your books will be bestsellers but it sure will improve your name recognition.

4. If a publisher wants an exclusive look at your story, give it to them but put a deadline on it (a month on a full should be okay). It's my experience that epublishers generally get back to you pretty quickly and you don't want to start hemming and hawing, holding out for another publisher to get back to you, with an offer on the table. Not because the first publisher will lose interest but because there's no point in starting off any relationship like that. The lesson here probably is that you should start with your most preferred publisher and work your way down the list.

5. Stick to your editing guidelines. If the publisher gives you edits and wants them back by a certain time, either do it or let them know why you may have a trouble with the date. They're not ogres, they'll understand if you have some commitments that might make it impossible but you do need to give them some notice. It's the professional thing to do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Amira Press Release

Woohoo! Forty-six Days in the Caribbean: A Girl's Guide to Sun, Sand, and Sex is out now from Amira Press! This is my latest release and I'm very excited!!! Basically, it's a sexy take on your regular travel guide so if you've been thinking of a trip to the Caribbean - this is the book for you!

Here's the blurb -

Secret blogger, SexGirl is young, hot and sexy! When she’s assigned to do an in-depth magazine article about a special promotion organized by a Caribbean airline in conjunction with several hotels around the region, SexGirl sees an opportunity to combine two of the top blog genres on the Internet – sex and travel. For forty-six days, she blogs about sex with the men she meets on islands as diverse as Jamaica and St. us while dishing information about the hotels she stays in, the historical and other sites she sees, Caribbean recipes, island aphrodisiacs, and much more.

And here's an excerpt -

"What’s playing on my iPod? “It’s a Punky Reggae Party” by Bob Marley.

My jackrabbit. Check. Sun block lotion. Check. A hundred Elexa ribbed condoms. Check. Three swimsuits. Check. Two dozen warming condoms. Check. That’s right, y’all, I’ve got my first assignment, and it’s a doozy. Forty-six days in the sunny Caribbean! All thanks to the Caribbean Tourism Association and one of the regional airlines, Caribbean Airways. They’ve teamed up with hotels from Jamaica to Barbados to offer a really great island-hopping package. And they want travel mags, like my own dear place of employment, to come on down and check it out! The other writers here are already up to their necks in assignments, so I’m the lucky one who gets to go. Yay! It’ll almost be like going home since my mother is from the beautiful island of Antigua. I spent a couple summers there when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, as Gran used to say, but I haven’t been back in ages. Thank goodness I did like the boss said and got my new passport ready. The old one would have expired next week. Eeek!

More than ten islands in forty-six days! It’s gonna be hectic. B., my coworker, says the local tourist boards will frog-march me from one attraction to the other, but I definitely aim to keep up with this blog.

I mean we’ve got our travel blogs, and we’ve got our sex blogs, big shout-out to my pal, Bacchus over there at Eros, but SexGirl is gonna be the first to combine two of the hottest blog genres on the Net. How cool is that? I’m getting wet just thinking about it. You guys know how much I like a little bit of public sex, a little bit of sex with strangers, okay, a lot of that! A little bit of the train thing, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and now, ta-da!— I’ll get to do all those things on a different island every week and blog about it. Don’t hate me, please. I can’t help being lucky! Anyway, I promise I’ll share everything with you."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good Reviews for The Gladiator's Woman

I know I haven't blogged in a while but I've been really busy at work and I've also taken on some freelance writing work - who knew it would be such a time-suck?!

Anyway, below are a couple of reviews that have come in for The Gladiator's Woman, my short story that came out from Phaze a couple months or so ago.

"Tula Neal creates a brief but sensual story of violence and love. The characters are easy to envision and are well developed for such a short tale." Nicole, Manic Readers. To read the whole thing, click on the link.

"This was a short sexy read that was fun at the same time. Scipio is attracted to Collina from the first time he sees her. Collina’s attraction starts soon after and before long the lovers are together as often as possible. Collina is filled with trepidation when she finds out that Scipio is a tiro, or a rookie, and has never fought in the arena before. Will his first match be his last? There is also the decision to be made whether or not they will follow Spartacus into rebellion." Night Owl Romance (

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Toussaint L'Overture

Gabrielle, the heroine in my upcoming Cobblestone Press novella, Sleep, was brought to Haiti a few years after the death of Toussaint L’Ouverture but he’s such a fascinating man I thought I’d tell you a little bit about him.

Born a slave, Toussaint was more than forty-five years old when he joined the revolution of the Haitian slaves who wanted freedom from their French overlords. At first, Toussaint only attended to the medical needs of the troops but he was an excellent horseman and a natural leader who soon led his own regiment. By 1797 he was in charge of an army of more than 20,000 men. With the help of arms and supplies from his American neighbours, he fought off the British and Spanish troops which had invaded St. Domingue as Haiti was then known. He then went on to crush the coloureds (the mulattos) who’d wanted to divided St. Domingue and establish their own republic in the south.

In two years, he had defeated all his enemies and was recognized as the governor-general of St. Domingue. He encouraged the former slaves to go back to work in the fields in exchange for a share of the profits and persuaded some of the planters to return. He later invaded and conquered the Spanish side of the island, Santo Domingo, but Napoleon Bonaparte was now in power in France and he wanted France back.

In 1803, Napoleon sent his troops in. Two of Toussaint’s black generals, Dessalines and Christophe, capitulated. Betrayed by the men he’d trusted the most, Toussaint also decided to enter into negotiations. He agreed to give up his leadership but the French knew they couldn’t allow him to remain on Haiti, not if they wanted to re-introduce slavery. The French general lured Toussaint to his camp, arrested him and deported him to France where he was imprisoned in the icy mountains near the Swiss border. He died there that same year.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Some of my favorite blogs!

Thought you might be interested in taking a peek at some of my fave blogs! - the romance blog for all seasons, writers and readers! - the blog to go to find out more about the erotic e-publisher Phaze. - Agent Kristin Nelson blogs about the publishing industry. - home to some of the best crime writers! - where the writers for Cobblestone Press's upcoming vampire series hang out. - I just love, love, love those sexy men of the week!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New design!

Yay! Yay! Yay! I got a new design! Don't you love it?! It was done by the wonderful Luna Stone Designs. Check them out here -

It's a whole new attitude, baby!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

If you've ever written about wolves or even werewolves, you should check this out. The following is the text of a news article by Associated Press writer Matthew Brown and it's about the legal killing of wolves in the Northern Rockies.

"Feds loosen wolf rules
BILLINGS, Mont. -- A new federal rule would allow state game agencies to kill endangered gray wolves that prey on wildlife in the Northern Rockies.

An estimated 1,545 wolves in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are scheduled to come off the endangered species list in coming weeks, which would allow public hunting of the predators for the first time in decades.

The rule released Thursday is a separate action that would give the three states more latitude to kill wolves even if their removal from the endangered list is delayed. It was part of a deal struck with the state of Wyoming to proceed with delisting of wolves in the three states.

Opposition to the rule, which could go into effect in late February, came within hours of Thursday's announcement. Environmental and animal rights groups characterized the federal proposal as cover for states eager to kill as many wolves as possible.

An attorney for the legal group Earthjustice, in Bozeman, Mont., pledged to file a court challenge as soon as the rule is published in the Federal Register next week.

The rule would empower state wildlife agents to kill packs of wolves if they can prove the animals are having a "major impact" on big game herds such as elk, deer or moose.

It also would allow hunting guides and others to kill wolves caught harassing dogs or stock animals on public land. Previously, only cattle or sheep ranchers whose animals were being harassed could legally shoot the predators."

If you want to know more about what you can do to stop this abomination, go here - According to Earthjustice - ten wolves have already been killed since the end of March.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I’ve been taking a look at the senses and so far I’ve covered touch and smell. Today it’s hearing. At first you might think that this is one sense that doesn’t require much attention when writing erotic romance or any kind of story for that matter but think again. Have you ever been introduced to a handsome man with a reedy voice? Or to a beautiful woman who sounded as if she were talking through a mouthful of gravel? What about the other way around?

I know a man who has the most gorgeous voice – deep and melodious – he wouldn’t even need to talk sex for you get off on the sound of his voice. I first met him over the phone when I was setting up a regional meeting. Months later, still unable to get his voice off my mind, I made a point of looking for him during the same meeting. Well, he didn’t look at all like what I’d expected. I’d kinda imagined Denzil but he looked more like Martin Lawrence. We talked and I liked him as a person but that was it. I was very disappointed but there you go, that’s the power of hearing to fire your imagination.

Use it in your stories – does the hero’s voice sound like rum on the rocks or does it remind the heroine of nails being scraped across a blackboard? Describe it. Does she have a low, sexy voice or is her voice high-pitched? Does she make noise during lovemaking or is she silent? How does this make the hero feel? What is her reaction to his voice? Does he whisper or murmur in her ear?

Think also about the connotations attached to voices – a woman with a high-pitched whiny voice isn’t very believable as a femme fatale. Similarly, a hero who saves a child from a burning building and makes the heroine’s heart go bumpety-bump will rarely have a thin, reedy voice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Collina, a healer of her time

In The Gladiator’s Woman, Collina is hired on as a healer at a gladiator school which is where she meets Scipio, her handsome gladiator. Medicine was one of the few professions open to women.

The ancient Romans had a veritable arsenal of herbal and other weapons against illness and disease. A few may have worked but countless others were probably no better than placebos which worked because people believed they worked and not because of any particular inherent value. Some of these so-called remedies included animal dung, human fat, and urine. Clearly the potion that Collina offers the gladiators could have been worse!

After the games, the gladiators’ injuries would have been bandaged after being salved with wine, vinegar, pitch or turpentine, all of which were valued for their infection-fighting abilities.

Collina is half-Roman and half-Aethiopian (most blacks were called Aethiops back then) but many healers were actually Greek. It was really the ancient Greeks who improved the state of medicine in Rome by cutting out many of the old superstitions and quack remedies. In gratitude, Julius Caesar offered Roman citizenship to all foreign-born doctors. Asclepiades was the first of the Greeks to gain fame for his ability to heal. He emphasized a good diet, fresh air, exercise, regular baths and massage – advice that is as appropriate now as it was then!

Galen, perhaps the most famous of Greek doctors, learnt his trade attending to gladiators!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Short-Short for you

Izo stretched voluptuously under the firm hands of the masseuse. As the dark-skinned woman’s hands circled her breasts, Izo’s nipples tightened. She squeezed and re-squeezed the muscles of her inner thighs, her eyes closed, giving herself up to the melting pleasure. The woman’s hands went lower and lower, circling, stroking. Izo moaned and opened her legs, an invitation. Would the woman be pleased with her willingness? But she ignored her and mumbled something in her harsh, native language as she went on to massage Izo’s legs, her feet. When she was finished she bathed Izo again.

Izo sighed as the woman poured warm water from the brass jar over her head and then dried her off. It was months since Izo had been captured at the village well and brought to this place, with its high walls, lush gardens and soft, scented women. She had been poked and prodded, made to learn how to pluck the strings of an instrument she’d never seen before, taught to dance, taught to speak their common tongue. In all that time, no-one had spoken a kind word to her or looked at her with anything except detached interest. But today was special, the bath and the massage made that clear.

The woman opened the door of the hamman. Someone outside handed her a silk robe the deep blue color of a peacock’s feather. Izo shrugged it on, marveling at the softness of the cloth. Beaded, matching slippers were passed in next and fit her feet exactly.

The woman motioned her to follow and Izo hurried to catch up as she turned down first one corridor and then another. Izo thought she knew where she was going but it was only when she saw the guards in their white robes, their daggers hanging at their hips, that she became sure. She was in the sultan’s quarters. He had called for her. She’d suspected she’d caught the eye of his Chief Eunuch last week when he’d seen her in the pool and here was the confirmation. The guards opened the huge, double-doors and the woman pushed her inside.

To be continued…

Monday, April 7, 2008

E-publishers, big and small

Interested in getting your story in front of avid readers and potential fans? This short list of epublishers can help you do it. (Make sure you check out their submissions guidelines thoroughly before sending anything in.) - their covers just keep getting better and better and I'm truly not saying that because my novella, Sleep, will be published with them in September as part of their Vampire Oracle series. - one of the leading publishers of erotica. - new on the block which means they're hungry for stories and authors. - one of the powerhouses in the epublishing world. - an up and coming epublisher. (My novel, Forty-Six Days in the Caribbean, a hip guide for those who love to experience the delights of sex travel will be out from them in September.) - also up and coming. - the mack-daddy of the epublishing world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Vampire Oracle: Sleep

Not sure if I’ve blogged at length about it yet but my novella for Cobblestone Press’ Vampire Oracle series will be out in September. Yippeee!

Though it’s told from the viewpoint of the hero, it’s basically the story of this vampire woman who’s captured in New Orleans and brought to Haiti in the early 1800s to serve a houngan or witch doctor. The hero finds out about her almost two centuries later and sets out to free her even as the houngan’s powers grow.

I loved writing this story! I’ve always been fascinated by vodun, the Haitian religion, and this was my first chance to use some of what I know in a story.

To find out more about the other stories in The Vampire Oracle, visit our blog –


Many publishers of erotica and erotic romance such as Cobblestone Press, Amira Press and others don’t accept stories that include certain kinds of fetish sex (and you should always check guidelines before submitting) but there are certain fetishes that are more common than we might think. Today I’ll mention three.

1.) Golden showers. Some people like being urinated on or urinating on others.

2.) Rubber. Rubber fetishists get turned on by the look and feel of rubber and will wear latex underwear or even sleep on rubber sheets.

3.) Necrophilia. They don’t just see dead people, they like to fuck ‘em as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Gladiator's World

I love history and will use the slightest pretext to dig into my historical research. For The Gladiator's Woman, I delved into all my books on ancient Roman history, visited the library for more books, and surfed the Internet for hours at a time. What all that means is that I became quite well-acquainted with the world of Roman gladiators and with the various terms used to describe aspects of that world. The review at Literary Nymphs reminded me that not everyone is as familiar with the terms I used so today I'm going to talk a little bit about Scipio and what it meant to be a Roman gladiator.

When Collina meets Scipio he is a tiro, a rookie. He's never fought a gladiatorial combat before and he's just learning the ropes. He's been brought to the ludus, the gladiator school by Brutus, the lanista, the trainer who also happens to be the owner. Big, powerful gladiator schools would usually have an owner who was quite separate from the lanista or trainer but Scipio's ludus is a small one where it was common for the owner to double as the trainer.

Scipio goes on to fight in the retiarii style. The retiarus was the least well-armed of the gladiator styles - he didn't wear a helmet and he had only an arm guard to protect him but his lack of armour meant he was lighter on his feet. He also fought with a trident which gave him a long reach and he held a net he could cast over his opponent.

Spartacus, yes, that one, who fights Scipio used the secutor style (discovered this in my research) . Secutors were heavily armed - they wore helmets, a leg guard, and carried a small shield.

Other gladiator styles which I didn't go into in my story were the murmillo who would go into combat with a long, oblong shield, and the thraex or Thracian who carried a much smaller shield and a curved sword.

Gladiators and their lanistas were the social untouchables of the Roman world but, for all that, they could be quite rich and some gladiators were virtual sex objects - lusted after by the wives and daughters of senators and emperors.

Have a great Easter!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I promised I'd write about the five senses and now I'm way behind after doing "Smell" months ago.

So the sense I'm going to talk about today is touch. Touch is crucial to good erotica - you could probably write a really great sexy story and have the hero or heroine unable to smell or taste or see but they've got to have the sense of touch.

First - there are all kinds of touches - feather-light touches, hard touches, stroking touches, etc.. Practice some on yourself or your significant other and pay attention to your reaction. What turns you on? What doesn't? Exactly how does the sensation feel?

Second - rubbing someone's elbow won't garner you the same reaction as tracing light circles around their nipples. If you're writing a love scene for your characters, be aware of the kind of touches they're using and where. Know your characters likes and dislikes. One heroine might like having her clit lightly fingered while another prefers firmer pressure. One hero might go for having his backside lightly scratched during loveplay while another prefers his heroine to pay attention to his balls.

Three - anywhere on someone's body can be an erogenous zone for them. By focusing on the sense of touch you can avoid cookie-cutter sex and have your characters get turned on by touches few of us think of. Having your hero lightly stroke the heroine's inner arm can signal his interest in her and how she reacts to his touch clues him in to whether or not she's feeling him (pun intended)!

The next time you're reading a good love scene, check out how the author uses the sense of touch (and the other senses too) and try to incorporate some of what you've learned in your stories too. It will deepen your writing skills and make for a great one-handed read!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A review for The Gladiator's Woman

"The Gladiator's Woman is a sweet and sensual read!" - Literary Nymphs Reviewers!

My first review! I'm excited! Well I wasn't so much at first when it seemed that I only got a rating of 2.5 out of 5 but apparently the site coordinator made a mistake. It's 3.5! Yay!

Go here - - to read the entire review from Scandalous Minx! (You'll have to scroll down but I promise I'm there.)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hooray for writing women!

International Women's Day ( is coming up Saturday, 8th March and I think now's a good time to big up all women writers and all the publishers who bring their creativity to us. Let's express our recognition and appreciation for the freedom we have to write what we want. It's a freedom that shouldn't be taken lightly as the story below illustrates so take a moment out from your day on Saturday to honour your favorite woman writer!

India in dilemma over exiled Muslim woman writer
Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:36am GMT

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An exiled Bangladeshi Muslim woman writer threatened by radical Islamists has become a victim of political ping-pong in India, bundled from one city to another in a controversy critics say has shamed the secular state.
Authorities rushed award-winning Taslima Nasreen, who criticises the use of religion as an oppressive force, from her home in Kolkata last week after protests against her by Muslim groups led to riots, forcing the army to be called in.
The riots appeared to be the culmination of years of simmering anger at Nasreen. Some radical Muslims hate Nasreen for saying Islam and other religions oppress women and Indian clerics had issued a "death warrant" against her in August.
After the riots, police moved her to a hotel in the western state of Rajasthan and then she was quickly sent to Delhi at the weekend under police protection.
No one seemed to want her.
"Democratic we may be, but liberal we most certainly are not," wrote Karan Thapar in the Hindustan Times, criticising India for failing to defend freedom of expression enough.
The controversy highlights the delicate social faultlines of India, a nation born out of secular ideals 60 years ago but where communal politics still play a huge role.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Available now from Phaze!

Yay! My short story, The Gladiator's Woman, is available now from Phaze (

Enjoy the excerpt below.

Collina Flavia leaned on the balustrade that ran around the
central courtyard of the gladiator school and watched silently as
the men went through their paces under the fierce guidance of their
It was three days since the lanista-Brutus Aemilius had asked
her to be the doctor for his ludus, and she'd been too busy moving
in and purchasing supplies to pay much more than a glancing
attention to the gladiators who might soon require her services. But
the tall Aethiop with skin the color of night, a man of her mother's
own race, had caught her eye. He wore nothing but a loincloth and
she noted how his muscles rippled and bunched as he performed
his maneuvers. After practice, a masseur would attend to the men.
Collina found herself wishing it was her hands that would glide
over the Aethiop's oiled skin, loosening his tired muscles until he
was as pliable as dough. Then, if he had no objection, she would
massage him elsewhere bringing on the hardness she'd banished
from the rest of his body. She'd find out if what they said about tall
men with long hands was true. With luck, he'd feel obliged to
return massage for massage. The thought sent a finger of fire
snaking upwards from between her legs.
In front of her, the Aethiop executed a particularly complex
maneuver and then sank to his knees, chest heaving, exhausted.
Catching sight of her for the first time, he raised his wooden sword
in a mock salute, grinning as if he knew what she'd been thinking.
Collina Flavia nodded primly at him and hurried away. They had
not spoken two words since she'd moved to the ludus-she didn't
even know his name. Still, she couldn't get the gladiator out of her
mind as she sat in her treatment room that afternoon, pounding her
newly purchased supplies into powders and salves and measuring
them into their individual bottles. She must at least find out his
name, she decided. Maybe even strike up a conversation. How
difficult could that be?
In her mind's eye she saw again his naked, finely-built torso,
the muscles twisting in his arms and back, the look of
concentration on his face as he put himself through his moves.
He'd looked like some onyx statue carved by a master and brought
to life by the breath of Jupiter. She had to meet him.
Her opportunity to talk to the Aethiop came earlier than she'd
hoped. That same night, he came to sit beside her at one of the long
kitchen tables where the gladiators and those who worked with
them ate.
"I never saw you watch us train before," he said, bringing a
heaping spoon of meat stew to his mouth.
Collina paused before answering. She wanted to make sure her
voice didn't shake.
"I've been busy getting the treatment room to my liking," she
said, congratulating herself on the smoothness of her delivery.
"Ah, yes. I think if Tiberius hadn't conveniently died, Brutus
would have fired him. He wasn't all that good. I hope you're
Collina decided not to take offence. "I hope so, too," she said
"She's certainly easier on the eye," interrupted the squat, blond
gladiator sitting opposite her.
The Aethiop looked her over, his heavy-lidded eyes sweeping
from the top of her head to what he could see of her legs, while
Collina did her best not to look as uncomfortable as she felt.
"Much easier," he agreed, chuckling.

Tula Neal
The Gladiator's Woman, Available Now from Phaze

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen tropical fruits you might not be familiar with -

1. Tamarind - sweet and tart at the same time. (Except for the Phillipine variety which is just sickly sweet!)

2. Star apple (also known as Carambola) - slice it up to cover your plate with stars.

3. Sugar apple - tons of seeds but totally yummy - refrigerate them for a yummy treat.

4. Mango - lots of varieties - all yummy! And, yes, the skin is edible.

5. Soursop - looks odd but makes great drinks and even greater ice cream.

6. Mamee apple - custardy taste.

7. Guinep - mostly seed but that's no reason not to try them.

8. Banana - high in potassium.

9. Guava - makes for great jellies and tarts or you can just enjoy them raw.

10. Jackfruit - if nominations were open, I would definitely campaign for this to be the King of Fruits! For size AND taste!

11. Papaya - high in beta carotene and tastes great chilled, with a splash of lime.

12. Sea grapes - sweet and tart. Can be found on or near many Caribbean beaches.

13. Passion fruit - makes a great drink but I don't know that it'll do anything for your love life - some Caribbean men claims it cuts their nature (makes it hard for them to get an erection).

You can soon learn more about these in my upcoming book from Amira Press - Forty-Six Days in the Caribbean: A Girl's Guide to Sand, Sun and Sex! Isn't that just the hottest title? I'll let you know more about it, maybe even do a giveaway or two as the release date approaches.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fun condom facts!

* Charles Goodyear obtained the first patent on a crepe rubber condom in 1844. And our sex lives haven't been the same since!

* Gabriele Fallopio, the Italian anatomist after whom Fallopian tubes are named, claimed to have invented the condom in 1564 in order to prevent syphilis. He may not have known it but condoms of one kind or another were in use around the world long before then!

* The number of condoms estimated to be used every year worldwide hit the 5 billion mark a couple years ago. And continues to climb even as you read this!

* Young Malcolm X, he of "by any means necessary" fame, supplemented his early income as a shoeshine man by selling condoms. Woowee! Malcolm could have sold me one any time!

* In 16th century Europe, condoms were made of linen. A ribbon sewn into the open end allowed for it to be drawn snugly around the man's cock. The ribbon may also have helped add to the woman's pleasure!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bet you didn't know...

That in their temples the ancient Greeks used stone dildos to deflower high-born virgins? That’s when the priests weren’t doing it themselves, of course!

Just a quick tip to tide you over the weekend!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cobblestone Announces Contest

Wicked LineLength: 5 to 10k Contest : January 2 – 19, 2008 Be wicked for us.

They're looking for short story erotica with a very high level of sexual content within five to ten thousand words. HEA or romantic content not required. First and third person accepted (male or female POV).

First place winner will receive a standard contract, first publication slot for the Wicked Line and $100. Other entries will be considered for publication.

The contest is open to all authors currently unpublished with Cobblestone Press, LLC. They are interested in the following genres: contemporary, historical, paranormal, BDSM, multicultural, science fiction, and fantasy. Absolutely no fan fiction, forced seduction, rape, purple prose, pedophilia, incest, bodily functions, snuff, bestiality, and necrophilia. Submissions should be sent to:

Formatting. Use either Times New Roman or Courier New, 12pt. font 2. All paragraphs should be indented (without tabs-preferred). Double Spaced. One inch margins.

Attach the manuscript as an RTF file (no other format will be opened)Include a cover letter in the body of your email, please put WICKED CONTEST in the subject line5=.

On the first page of your manuscript include in the upper left corner the following: Title of Manuscript, Word Count- Calculated by your word processor program, Genre (or Line), Full Name, Pen Name (if applicable), Mailing Address, Phone Number, and Email Address

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My new cover!

I'm so excited about the cover for my Phaze short story, The Gladiator's Woman. The graphic artist, Stella Price, did a fantastic job! To learn more about her, check her out at -
The Gladiator's Woman will be out in February so make sure to get a copy!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Story excerpt

One of my short stories is available free on the Look for free stories on the menu at left here -

The excerpt below gives you a pepper-hot taste!

Noelene folded her arms and waited. People got kidnapped nearly every week in Brazil but she wasn’t afraid.

The houses glowed pink-gold as the sun rose to reclaim the sky. Small gardens in front of each house flaunted blooms in hot, tropical colors. Somewhere in the neighbourhood, a radio played. A woman’s thin voice floated over an insistent drum beat. Noelene was pleased her Portuguese was good enough to follow along.

The song told the story of a happily married woman who fell in love with a beach boy, the same age as her only son. Noelene had never heard it before but she hummed a few bars, experimentally, as if testing her affinity with the adulteress.

She leaned forward until her head rested on the seat in front of her and closed her eyes. Darkness dissolved behind her eyelids. She was not Noelene. She was the woman in the song. Older, her skin looser, her belly marked by pregnancy. She lay on a bed in a light-filled room and heard the boy’s quickened breathing as his smooth, lithe body jerked over hers. She watched his face contort, looked into his eyes, dark with need and a gloating sense of his own power over her.

“Bite me,” she whispered. The boy bent his head to her breast, suckled her nipple, bit down on the hardened flesh.

He was her obsession. The life she lived with her husband and her family became a dream. She came to life only with the boy. When she was not with him she yearned for him with every fiber of her being. When they were together she could not stop touching him, loved to tear his clothes off. He was a pool of clear water into which she dove again and again, rising naked, her hair slicked back, her loins trembling, a raunchy Venus.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Last day of Phaze sale!

Now through January 2, save 25% on all Phaze paperback romances! Sizzling works by Bridget Midway, Leigh Ellwood, Jade Falconer, Robin Slick, and the Coming Together volumes.

To get the discount, enter OHOHOH in the coupon code box when you check out.