Monday, June 16, 2014

Smutty Smut McSmutterton

I found myself recently embroiled in a conversation revolving around a rather interesting topic: What is the difference between Romance, Erotica, and Smut? And the longer the conversation went on, the muddier the definitions seemed to get.

So I pose the same question to all of you, as writerly types. What do you consider the differences to be between the traditional romance, erotica, and smut genres?

For me, when I think of Romance, I remember the traditional bodice-rippers from my youth. Flowery prose and descriptions that turn sex into something damn near magical. There's a pretty traditional storyline behind it, and the sex is "Important" but secondary to the ongoing story of the characters. By the time the characters fall into bed, it's a game changer and small galaxies are moaned and gasped into existence from the lovemaking madness. Also, babies. And relationships. Long lasting ones.

Erotica, on the other flogger-grasping hand, tends to be darker in nature. Not that the stories are gothic and dark, but there's an overwhelming sense of "purpose" behind the sex that has nothing to do with flowery words and longing glances. Where Romance is about relationships, Erotica is about sex in all its many purposes. It's hot, naughty, irresistible. It's not hidden behind overtly flowery prose. This prose is purple in the best way. No "heaving bosoms" but plenty of "bouncing breasts". Gone are the "manly swords embedding themselves in feminine sheaths", replaced by "hard, glistening lengths of cock, plunging deep into the warm, wet folds of her sex". It's dirtier in tone and wordplay. The sex is no less significant, but it's significant in a different way...less lovemaking, more self-discovery. And there seems to be more inclusion of taboo-esque themes: BDSM, anal play, toys...and multiple partners.

And then there's Smut. To me, it's Erotica stripped of all "nicety". There is zero pretense in Smut. Sex is the star, period. If there's a story, it's tough to find behind all the "thrusting cocks" and "dripping cunts". It's the F-bomb of the sex world. It's groping hands and compromising situations and sexxx-periences that make even the open minded-est reader blush a little and squirm uncomfortably. It's porn on paper, stripped bare, holds unbarred.

Now, granted, there are exceptions to everything above. I've read absolutely amazingly well crafted and written Smut. I've read incredibly titillating Erotica. Hell, I cut my teeth on traditional Romance, both good AND bad.

But I ask you, is there truly a difference? Where do those lines exist?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Release Final Notice

Jennifer L. Hart for Writers Gone Wild.

Long time no blog! Sorry gang,  but I've been crazy busy and as much as I love you all, sometimes the blogging has to take a backseat to the, yanno, writing thing. I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me.

To make it up to you I'm offering you a discount, 75% off my new release, Final Notice! That's right, get the first book in my brand spanking new mystery series for only $.99! Just copy the coupon code below to use at Smashwords. The deal is also available on the Kindle version, no code required, but act fast because it's only good through June 30!

 She's serving up mayhem in the Magic City....

 Dishing out bad news is Jackie Parker's job. So when her boss grabs her assets one time too many, she serves him her notice and hopes he chokes on it. There must be a better way for a certified process server to make a living in Miami than working for a lousy lecherous lawyer. Whatever Jackie decides, her number one priority is to spend time with her husband, Luke, preferably without his brother Logan--AKA the Dark Prince.

Despite Logan's objections, Luke asks her to join forces in their own property management team, Damaged Goods. Drawing the line between professional and personal lives proves challenging, especially when Logan serves her an ultimatum--tell Luke the truth about what really happened the night they first met, or he will. Sexual harassment is looking better and better.

Fester Gomez is three months behind on the rent for his pricey South Beach condo and Damaged Goods is on the job. Either they convince the tenant to pay up or he'll face eviction. The simple task turns deadly when the team discovers Gomez missing and a Jane Doe slowly decomposing in his bathtub. Serving a killer up to justice, wrestling family secrets--it's just another day on the job for Damaged Goods.

Print edition also available 
  • ISBN-10: 1499516592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499516593

Excerpt from Final Notice: By Jennifer L. Hart

 That creep had grabbed my ass for the last time.
 I raised the clipboard I’d been holding up over my head—ready to smash it down on the booty grabber’s cranium—when Marcy Regan snuck up behind me and snatched my makeshift weapon out of my hands.
 “Don’t, Jackie. He’ll file an assault charge.”
 “Then I’ll file the sexual harassment charge.” I seethed.
 “Think of the paperwork,” Marcy hissed. “And the lawyers.”
 It was not an idle observation. Marcy worked for the Miami-Dade County Clerk’s office and she spent her days up to her eyeballs in paperwork. And I was currently employed by Stan Cunningham, the ass grabbing lawyer. Neither of us wanted to bring the job home with us.
 Ugh. She was right, I knew it but as I glowered at my still smirking boss seated behind his ostentatious mahogany desk, I wanted him to suffer. Boils and sores were too good for this hump. “Dude, what part of ‘I’m married so keep your paws to yourself,’ don’t you understand?”
 His face went blank “I didn’t do anything.”
 As I stared into his doughy face, one thing became clear. No job was worth such crap, especially not the peanuts I’d been paid.
 “Give me the clipboard, Marcy.” My voice remained steady.
 “What are you going to do with it?” Her tone was wary, but she handed it over.
 I flipped over the case we’d been going over, scrawled I quit, you big tool, and dropped it on his desk. Terminating my employment on a notice of termination—how appropriate. “Cough up what you owe me or I’ll send my husband for it. With his entire marine platoon.” Their version of collecting was of the turn your head and cough variety. I doubted the pervert liked them apples.
 The smarmy grin slid right off Stan the Shyster’s face. “Take it out of petty cash.”
 “Gladly.” After backing away slowly, I pivoted on my heel and made for the front office, cleared out the petty cash and moved to the glass door.
 I gestured to Marcy. “Let’s go, lunch is on me.”
 We headed down to our favorite little Panini cafe where I ordered a PiƱa Colada the size of a fishbowl—a reward for my restraint. Though I offered one to Marcy as well, she declined.
“Some of us have to go back to work,” she groused.
 “I’ll make it up to you this weekend.” I owed her, big time. If I had hit Stan the Stain and he took me to court, I could’ve lost my process serving certificate. Then I’d really be out of luck.
 I slid my oversized sunglasses up and took in the scenery. A cloudless blue sky, palm trees swaying hither and yon. Pedestrians in micro dresses, short-shorts and swimsuits strolled by. Oh, to be able to loll around and enjoy the sea breeze.
 “So, what are you going to do now?” Marcy took a delicate bite of her mozzarella and tomato Panini.
 “Tell Luke I quit. After I throw him a bang, of course.” My husband was always so much more agreeable while basking in post-coital bliss.
“Did he find a job yet?”
“He’s doing security with his brother.”
 Marcy’s big blue eyes got even bigger. “Logan’s back? Why didn’t you tell me?” She fanned herself. Apparently the wind off the water wasn’t enough to contend with her heated thoughts of my brother-in-law.
 “Sorry, I didn’t think you cared.” The lie scalded my throat. Truth was, I’d done my best not to think about Logan Parker for the six years Luke and I had been married.
 “He’s the hottest guy on the face of the planet.” Marcy fluffed her blonde hair as though just mentioning the Devil’s name would draw his notice. “Is he seeing anybody?”
 “A therapist, I hope.” I drained my drink. “I should get home. Do a little feminine maintenance before I break the big news.”
 Marcy grinned. “Or you could look for another job.”
 “Oh you and your zany ideas.” The thought of going to work for another sleazy lawyer made my skin crawl. We had some money saved up and I could afford to take a little while to consider my options.

Monday, June 9, 2014


There’s a blog tag going around the writing community where different authors explain their writing processes—showing us for the diverse creatures we are! I was tagged last week by my 2013 Golden Heart finalist sister Sharon Wray, and I’ll tag a writer friend at the end of this post.

What am I working on?

I’m feeling a little scattered at the moment, so I’m flitting around between three projects: revising a completed short contemporary manuscript; finishing the first draft of a novella; and finally plotting a humorous paranormal that’s been floating around in my head for years. I’m also exploring whether to self-publish my Golden Heart finalist manuscript, Confessions of the World’s Oldest Shotgun Bride.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I hope I’m not sabotaging my chances of ever selling any books by saying this, but I think my heroes are less alpha than those of a lot of authors. They certainly aren’t wimps—Steve in Confessions is an Air Force fighter pilot--but they’re nice guys, and they aren’t threatened by strong women.

Why do I write what I do?

To entertain people. I don’t have any literary aspirations; I just want to write stories that make people happy.

How does my writing process work?

I’m a plotter through and through. I envy writers whose characters speak to them and tell them exactly what to write; but mine don’t. I need a plan. Otherwise I end up staring blankly at my computer screen for hours. So I start with a detailed outline, often using the worksheets and techniques I learned from Laurie SchneblyCampbell in her classes, Plotting Via Motivation and From Plot to Finish. I allow myself the flexibility to make changes along the way if inspiration strikes, but I have that outline to fall back on as a safety net.

I tend to do a lot of editing as I go along. I can’t help myself. This means my first drafts are usually pretty clean, but it takes me a long time to produce those first drafts. I’m working on changing this, I really am. Don’t hold your breath, though. ;-)

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing how I do whatever it is I do. To keep the fun going, I’m tagging my San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA) chapter mate Tricia James. After more than 20 years in corporate America, Tricia recently found her way back to writing—a love and dream of her earlier life. Look for her post on June 16.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Smitten by a Kitten

Smitten by a Kitten  by Maree Anderson  (for Writers Gone Wild)

Hi y'all,

I know, I know: the inter-webz abound with all things feline *eye roll*. So heartfelt apologies for adding one more kittenish post to the squillions already out there. Because, after a year of no pets at all and me being truly alone in the house during weekdays when kids are at school and the hub is at work, I finally caved.

Yep. There was a little fur-beast who needed a home so the Anderson household has a new baby... who is as yet unnamed, because even though I'm the one who feeds her, entertains her during the day, and cleans her litterbox, everyone else in the family seems to think that they have a say in naming her... and no one can come to a consensus. Sigh.

(Confession time: I've never had a kitten before -- I usually take on older cats who need homes -- so I was woefully unprepared for this little bundle of energy.) Anyway, I'd like you to meet our 10-week-old kitten, who's temporarily being called "Missy", short for Mischief. Though I'm telling ya, "Dora" is on the cards, because she certainly is an explorer!

As you can plainly see from where she likes to hang out, it's just as well I made my deadline before we got this little minx -- it's not exactly easy typing with one hand while cradling a purring kitty in the other and trying to convince her to nap! But you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Gotta go play with my kitten do some work now.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Great Amazon Take Over

The Great Amazon Take Over by Jennifer L Hart

It's bedlam out there, I tell you, sheer chaos! Dogs and cats living together, pandemonium!

Okay, now that we got the freak-out out of the way let's discuss Amazon's impact on publishing in a calm and rational manner. Or try to at least. There are many strong feelings on this topic, which make sense as it's talking about people's livelihoods. Authors, editors, cover artists, proof readers, pretty much anyone who makes a dime off of selling books. Big publishing has been cautioning that it's ill-advised to let Amazon take control of the ebook market. While Amazon doesn't hold a monopoly as of this post, it's looking more and more likely that the online giant will come close to that in the near future. And what will that mean for readers and writers alike? Time to do as nature intended and adapt.

A little over a week ago, I received an email from ACX, stating the change to their current royalty rates starting on March 12 (tomorrow.) If you don't know what ACX is, put simply it's Amazon's audiobook arm where authors/ publishers can turn their books into audiobooks that are then put up for sale on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most popular is a 50% royalty share deal. Today, that deal means the audiobook producer/ narrator splits half of whatever the audiobook earns with the publisher/ author. The more audiobooks you sell, the more money you each make.

Starting on March 13th that deal is changing, meaning narrators and publishers split a flat 40% in half. Which yes, that's less. Tagged on to this email was the caveat that the bounty program which rewards publishers and producers for bringing new blood into the audible membership program is increasing from $25.00 to $50.00 when they sign up for the contract.

Okay, so let me see if I'm getting this right. You want to reward me for selling my own books? You killed Kenny, you bastards!

No seriously, it irritated me at first. I was in touch with both of my fab narrators and plots were hatched to get contracts in under the wire so we would all continue to make more under the terms of the old contract, at least for the next seven years. And I'm sure I wasn't alone in this. Considering my audiobook royalties make up almost a third of my income, of course I want the bigger piece of the pie. I'm writing this with a tech hangover because I was up furiously waiting for Amazon to update a book so I could claim the rights on ACX and get that contract in. Something that was comfortable, almost leisurely for me turned into a mad scramble and it hacked me off. I was forced to adapt to something I thought I had in the bag. It's really not any different than early man catching some rays out on the savanna and then a freaking lion shows up he has to deiced between running away or being eaten. Okay, slightly different consequences but you catch my meaning.

I'll survive and thrive because I recognize that I need to adapt. Amazon can be a total pain in the ass about certain things, I'll admit it. Pesky lion always stalking closer and wanting to eat me. But 40% of however many audiobooks I sell is still better than where I was a year ago, with 100% of 0 audiobooks up for sale. I'd wager Suzanne Cerreta and Hollie Jackson would agree.

This isn't about loyalty to Amazon, it's about making the best decision for my career. If another audiobook production company springs up tomorrow with the old 50% structure and same or better distribution options you bet your sweet ass I'd jump ship and drag Hollie and Suzanne with me so we could all make more money. That's adapting, not just surviving but thriving. And guess what, if Amazon acts like a big overblown tyrant, someone will come up with a better option. Frankly, I'm more upset that I have to pay state sales tax on anything I buy from Amazon now (Thanks a heap, WalMart.)  As for the future of the publishing industry? I write, you read, 'nuff said.

What are your thoughts? One random commenter will receive an audiobook credit from the lion,
 errrr, I mean audible.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Opal's Wish is (almost) here!

Opal's Wish is (almost) here!  By Maree Anderson  (for Writers Gone Wild)

Hi y'all,

Yeah, I know: it's been a while. Because I've been busy busy busy! with the fourth book in my Crystal Warriors series, Opal's Wish. And I'm pleased to say it's here... well, almost!

I have a cover:

I have blurbage:

Opal’s Wish

Book Four of The Crystal Warriors Series 

When the Crystal Guardian, Pieter, handed over the danburite crystal to eight-year-old Sera, he intended her mother be the one to release the cursed warrior from the crystal. But Sera’s heartfelt wish upon the crystal somehow frees Danbur from his prison. Worse, she bonds with him. Danbur now has no chance to break his curse, and despite all the magic at Pieter’s command, this is a mess he has no idea how to resolve.

Danbur is entranced by the little girl. In the weeks remaining before the crystal takes him again he resolves to protect her— even if it means clashing with her mother, Opal, a damaged young woman who doesn’t trust any man… let alone a warrior struggling to make sense of an alien world. Danbur is drawn to Opal, and if he had more time he would do his utmost to thaw a heart frozen by fear of pain and betrayal. But his priority must be helping her young daughter cope with the side-effects of the bond.

Resisting this complex, compelling stranger is taking all the willpower Opal possesses. And then her past catches up with her, catapulting her back into the media spotlight and bringing her to the attention of the powerful man who once ruined her life. With Sera in jeopardy, Opal is forced to turn to Danbur, the man she can’t bring herself to fully trust. All she can do is hope his claims about his mysterious ‘connection’ to Sera aren’t the stuff of fantasy after all. But what Opal doesn’t realize is that the clock is ticking. And Danbur’s time is about to run out.

I have a release date:

31 March 2014

I have a pre-order!

So you can ...

Pre-order Opal's Wish now for US$4.99

(or foreign currency equivalent)

I don't have an official sample/excerpt available quite yet, but that's on the way.

And don't forget:

The Crystal Warrior (Book 1 of the Crystal Warriors series) is currently FREE at a bunch of stores where eBooks are sold; download links to all the stores are available on my website Books page.



Monday, February 24, 2014

And The Bee Goes Buzz, Buzz, Buzz...

This year, project wise, is off to a fantabulous start for me. Not just in the writing arena (which, let me tell you, my creative juices are floooowing), but also in the audiobook scene. I've got some incredible projects in the works with some of the most amazing authors! Honestly, if I have this much awesomeness only two months into the year, I can only predict 2014 will be a year FULL of greatness!

Now, the question on my mind today, and it's a weird one... what do you do when you literally loathe your main character? I'm not talking about the momentary, potentially story-driven, dislike of a new main character. One who is meant to evolve, overcome, and adapt to becoming a better person.

I'm talking full-on loathing, wishing nothing but bad things upon said character because you literally cannot see HOW they have any redeeming qualities. That... moment, when you're in the middle of a scene, and you find yourself wanting to just drop an airplane toilet on them to put them out of your misery?

I ask, because I've had a few characters like that. Those tend to be the stories that never see the light of day, despite some of the plots being really quite good. But it's not the plot that's the problem.

I'm sure few of us actually start off hating our characters (even the baddies have to have SOME substance there to make them compelling) but when faced with a character you really can't stand, do you simply write them out? This sort of thing rarely happens from the outset, it's something you notice only later. After spending so much time on them, do you change them completely and start over?

How do you salvage a character that started out plausible and interesting when you began, but lost their shine somewhere along the way?

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