Monday, December 29, 2008

Format Vanishes

The Kindle version of The Rat Catcher is no longer available. I know, because I took it down. The formatting was all screwy--random double indentation. I spent a little while playing with it, but couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong, even after reading all sorts of boards and FAQ.

Also gone: the Kindle version of The Italian Gourmet-Baby-Food Baron’s Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress. The cover wouldn't translate into Kindlese and some of the authors were hesitant about charging when it was free elsewhere. (Amazon made us charge at least 99 cents)

I still think this Kindle thing is the wave of the reading/publishing future. Now I think that particular future's a little farther (further?) ahead in the timeline. Not this week. Or last week, or whatever.

Look! Buy! Enjoy!

Summer's (and Charlene's and Shannon's) book is out! Better read this a couple of times. So far it's my only 2009 release.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Xmas

I hope you got what you wanted for the presents? Anything good?

Here is our messy tree in our messy family room. Note the traditional lobster. Also in picture: on the piano bench, a cookie partially eaten by the fat man and a carrot nibbled by reindeer. By the lamp, the CVS reindeer that sings "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer." Missing from photo: Flirty Fir. No tacky singing object this year. I guess my friends have stopped loving me.

The 25 year old bagels are gone, eaten by a mouse sometime between last Christmas and last week when we pulled out the box of mousy-turded and nibbled decorations.. Not so much of a trace of the two bagels remained.

I will now go use my new Mr. Coffee to make more coffee.

Monday, December 22, 2008

SBD Guernsey Literary

I wanted to love this book and almost succeeded. The first half, yes. But the second part nearly wrecked the first half. Much of the small, but important, charm dissipated (as it turned into a regular sort of a story with the sort of ongoing action we're used to in books rather than introspection)...and it had too many incidents that bordered on twee.

Cold, hard reality pushed away with books and reading--that was the point of the whole exercise and it was lost in that second half which was too modern, not to mention too neatly tied up when the truth is sometimes you can't do more than cope and that's why books help.

I took the failure personally and I think I finally figured out why.

When I was young I had an English friend named Rosemary who could and would drag up quotations to fit any moment. Rosemary was at least 40 years older than I (older than me is what I want to write, so it must be wrong), but she was my friend. She didn't allow nonsense like age get in the way. She'd lived through WW2 as a WAC and she mentioned poems that kept her going. She didn't go on and on about how dark days were made better, etc. She didn't analyze it at all. She'd simply quote a bit of verse and say it had been something she thought of often.

Rosemary wasn't unusual--it had to be a national characteristic, based on all those characters in books who start quoting things in conversation. Everyone in Barbara Pym's books can summon a bit of literature. Rumpole has his Wordsworth. Even woolly-headed Betram Wooster is pulling up bits of poetry--perhaps mocking the national tendency. ** The first half of TGLAPPS felt like a love-poem to Rosemary and other people I've known like her. It was a tribute that I especially appreciated because all the people I know like that are dead.. except Margaret. She's still kicking around, thank God.

There's something elegant about a book that, if it isn't creating art, at least uses the words by the poets rather than delving into the actual lives of the poets. The first half of the book was a celebration of literature, the second, a kind of MTV version---for instance that island visit from Oscar Wilde that seemed to mean more than the actual words he'd written.

In the second half the people were less real. The letter from the whistler annoyed me. The Frenchwoman didn't seem like a human, just a representation of refugee. A whole passel of action/stuff was shoved in to entertain rather than add depth.

Literature had added a new way of seeing and living through tragic conditions. The second part seemed to ignore that and only the conditions are described, and they weren't new or seen in a new light. Yo, and the story got silly, what with Bille B and what not. Certain characters threatened to go over the edge of precious in the first half. They jumped right off the cliff in the second.

It wasn't terrible. Actually if I hadn't fallen in love with the first half, I would have enjoyed the story just fine. It wasn't really bad by my usual standards (and my usual standards are lax. After all, I read a lot of trashy romance and love the stuff. See entry below this).

Good stuff? I liked the fact that the little girl didn't turn into an easy soul and that she adopted a horrible lisp. And I think the character of uber-heroine Elizabeth was sort of OTT but she didn't fall completely apart in that second half. She went almost entirely Mary Sue, but the fact that she could annoy people (and you could see why they were annoyed) was good.

Anyway it was the contrast between the two parts made me see how the Old Ways are dying and that makes me sad.


**Never mind that the poor little chickabiddies in English schools were obviously forced to memorize reams of poetry, a probably useless exercise. I got the reward of their hard work.

The most I can manage are old Beatles songs and some throwaway lines from Archy and Mehitabel. There's a dance in the old dame yet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CHAPTER SEVEN The Italian Gourmet- Baby- Food Baron’s Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress

golly, I've never had people waiting for me to blog. Maybe I should put this off a bit. Make you read the details of my last dentist visit or a cute story about my kids?Ha? ha? No? Jeez ok, ok.

The Italian Gourmet-Baby-Food Baron’s

Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress

He needed children for an advertising campaign. . .

All Cesar Machismo wants is to ensure the bambinos of the world experience the flavor explosion of his company’s newest baby-food, Thai Shrimp in Peanut Dressing. But when he goes to an orphanage looking for a new spokes-baby, he finds twins with eyes the color of pureed Cornish game hens. Mama Mia! He must take them home!

What he got was a ready-made family!

Content with her lot in life, Chastity Bliss slaves for her stepmother at the orphanage. This way she stays with her babies, though she can never acknowledge them. When Cesar adopts her twins, she follows as their nanny. What can she do? She has no choice, because though he doesn’t know it . . .

Cesar is their father!

December 15th - Carolyn Jean posts chapter 1
December 16th -
Ann Aguirre posts chapter 2
December 17th -
Tumperkin posts chapter 3
December 18th -
Bettie Sharpe posts chapter 4
December 19th -
Carrie Lofty posts chapter 5
December 20th -
Meljean Brook posts chapter 6
December 21st -
Kate Rothwell posts chapter 7
December 22nd -
Lorelie Brown posts chapter 8
December 23rd -
Dionne Galace posts all 8 chapters

The Italian Gourmet Baby Food Baron’s Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress will eventually be available for download through Amazon and Scribd. Story concept and project vision by Tumperkin; cover design: Bettie Sharpe.

~ 7 ~

At three am, Chastity woke and found herself alone. She left the huge, empty bed and searched for her husband for an hour, going from room to room. At last she found him in his office, sitting at his gold filigree desk feverishly scribbling notes.

“What are you working on?” she ventured softly.

“New flavors,” he growled. “Sometimes difficult.”

She smiled, delight flooding her that he willingly shared with her the heavy troubling load of his workaday whirl of wonder that was his baby food kingdom.

“I have wondered,” Charity said hesitatingly. “A flavor such as artichoke royale,” she stopped and picked at the hem of her gossamer gown, “it could be molte bene.”

He grunted and scribbled the words artichock royal moltebene He didn’t look up nor did he acknowledge that the lass from Bramblecombe had spoken words in his native tongue.

“Go away,” he grunted. “Go back to bed. I will service your insatiable needs later.”

Her delicate skin grew hot and yet her love channel moistened, as the contemptuous words rang in her ears. Insatiable. He mocked her love for him even as he inflamed her senses with his low, rumbling voice that seemed to vibrate her very core.

She fled to the bedroom to find comfort, but her pen lay on the floor, uncapped and dried now, a victim of their rapacious love play. She trailed down the hall to gaze down at and sniff the cherubically angelic sleeping forms of Marv and Mirc.

Yet when she entered the nursery, instead of two small huddled forms in the canopied four-poster cribs, she encountered two forbidding hulks that emerged from the shadows. They came toward her, chuckling and smelling of garlic, sweat and rampant male lust. “No! my babies!” she cringed. Her whispery scream died in her throat as the world went black.


Cesar showered and dressed in his best white silk suit that showed his tanned skin to perfection. He slipped on the gold chains and gleaming patent leather shoes and went in search of his errant wife. The servants didn’t wish to tell him the truth but at last he wormed it out of them. His family had vanished in the early hours of the morning.

Chastity, that whore, had fled, taking his babies with her. Puta! Prostituta! He stormed through the vast house, slammed down marble corridors past tinkling fountains as he plotted his revenge on her. He would have her thrown in prison. No! Not harsh enough, for if she was not near, he would not have access to her body nor would he witness her misery. He alone must punish her for her betrayal.

He paused in the bedroom door and looked at the rumpled silk sheets. Yes, she would be chained to the bed, her writhing, tiny body naked and blushing red with shame. Her adorable bottom would burn red with the marks of his handprints. No, no. His thoughts faltered and faded as if they’d never existed: the line was not ready for this. They’d only recently managed oral love play and weeping slits on iron hard manhoods. Naked and bound to his bed with fur-lined handcuffs would have to do. He absently adjusted his rock-hard manhood before he kicked open the mahogany and stained glass front doors of his palazzo.

Cesar glared around him as he furied across the well-groomed grounds. Upon his return from his restless walk, he paused outside the house. Who left that ladder out under the babies’ nursery window? He picked up a cloth stinking of chloroform that some careless servant must have flung out a window. Such a horrible scent should never be allowed to pollute his kingdom of vegetables roasted to perfection and pureed. It was her fault. He’d allowed himself to be bewitched and standards around the place had gone to hell.

Behind him, someone cleared a nervous throat. “Sir! Perhaps you should take a look at this!” A trembling underling of a peasant thrust a crumpled note at him.

Cesar read aloud. “We have the bitch and her two pups. We require one million American dollars and all production ceased on the new Cherished and Discerning lines or you will never see them again.”

His heart stopped.

After being dragged indoors and resuscitated, Cesar lunged to the phone but his hand, the wrist sprinkled with crisp dark hairs, froze an inch above it. They hadn’t written the words “don’t call the authorities” but he knew such matters inside and out. After all, hadn’t he, Cesar, held his rival, Carl Bambinorino founder of Bravado Baby foods, in this very villa until the villain spat out the secrets of his trade?

His precious auburn-haired offspring! Captured! And….his breath caught in his throat causing him to moan like a man…no, like a fool….in ….. love. His cara puta. His wife. His woman. His amore.

Oh, ché sciocco sono stato,” he whispered. He whirled on his underlings, his black eyes snapping. “Quick! We must replenish the bar on the jet! No that will not do. The helicopter! We will find them!”

They scampered off, scattering like so many dried leaves in front of the hurricane of his ferocity. He crumpled the note in his hand, as fury raged from his every pore. Wrath at the evil men who’d stolen his family, yes, but he saved a measure of that anger for himself.

Too late he was learning what mattered in life. He glanced at his watch and noted the date. So near the holiday season, too. That his heart should expand so many sizes only to be broken into three parts. One for each of his darling children and the last, greatest chunk for his delicate delicious Chastity.

He paced, his footsteps ringing out on the marble floor of his office. Cesar could not even bring himself to care about anything related to his vast baby food empire, not even the frightening news that a particularly nasty bacteria e bactolacampberiola had been discovered in several hundred cases of Turkey Feasting Delight.

“Artichoke,” he choked out when he looked down at his desk and saw the notes he’d absently scribbled the night before. His vision blurred. If only it was Chastity sprawled across the top of his desk, creamy thighs open and inviting—her body, instead of only her interesting idea lying there, cold and spiritless on the page. Granted, even her tiny weight would collapse this antique desk, yet, he wished it was she.

His Chastity.

So beautiful and yet also brilliant. Why had he not seen more than her lustrous curling soft auburn hair, alabaster skin, shy sparkling eyes and peach-perfect perky breasts? She had a mind as well. Artichoke Royale! O, he could only hope he was not too late to find her and tell her what he suspected: that she might not be only a whore after all.


Chastity awoke to the sensation of strong hands roughly tweaking and circling her breasts. “Cesar,” she murmured, but the harsh laughter that greeted her ears was not the low music that signified her love’s glee.

She opened her eyes and saw with horror an old man with mossy, crooked teeth and a hooked nose leaned over her. The dirty old man leered down at her as he pawed her. “I am Bambinonion” he sneered. He gave a wheezy chuckle and added, “Your husband ruined me and for years I have made plans for revenge. I will ruin all that he loves.”

“No, no,” she sobbed.

“Yes,” he smirked and his vile touch trailed down her body. She flinched away and he sniggered. “I will enjoy my revenge.”

“It does you no good. I meant no, no, he does not truly love me. You waste your time, Mr. Bambinioni.”

His filth encrusted fingers kneaded her thighs avariciously, his uneven dark nails a startling contrast to her snow white skin. “I disguised myself as a gardener to spy on your precious Cesar, mia cara, and I have seen how he looks at you, the desire smoldering in his eyes.”

Cara? This filthy fiend even knew Cesar’s secret name for her. She vainly tried to push his hands away and sat up. “Desire is not love,” she opined and he laughed again, a low, dirty gargling.

“Where are we?” She been tossed onto a straw pallet tucked into a dark corner of a rancid room. Huge stacks of plaster gnomes crowded one corner. In another, sacks of dirt were arranged on a pallet.

“The gardener’s hut on your husband’s estate. Even now he roars away in a helicopter. We will wait for dark and hustle you away from here.”

“He will come for me no matter where you take me,” she blazed. “He may not love me but he does not allow anyone to toy with that which he considers his own. He will find you and destroy you.” Then she recalled the garlic scented monstrosities in the nursery and she cried out in horror. “The babies.”

“Oh, yes, I have the brats too.” For the first time amusement vanished from his twisted sneer of a face. “They would not cease their endless wailing so I sent them to the basement with Paolo and Picayune.”

Panic seized Charity, tossed her about, left her gasping. She pressed her tiny fingers to her throat where her heart beat painfully. “What are you feeding them?”

His scornful thin lips drew back from greenish teeth. “Nothing but Bravado’s Best. Naturally.”

“My babies,” she shrieked and transformed into a tigress. “My bundles of sweetness! You must take me to them at once.”

“Of course,” he tittered. “But you will find that they are thriving on my pureed goodness. No allergens or bacteria, mia cara.”

“No. Never,” she hissed.

“Why not? It’s so delicious even I eat it.” He giggled and brandished a half finished jar of Bravado’s Best strained peas. She felt an ache in her heart recalling the many times she’d turned to peas as comfort food. Oh, Cesar.

“I meant never call me Mia Cara. Never. Do you understand?” Tears blinded her.

He guffawed at her defiance. “You will give in eventually, my porcelain goddess. Your Cesar has abandoned you. I made sure that he’d be distracted from his personal affairs by inoculating a batch of his precious product with a particularly virulent bacteria. If I know him, and oh, yes, I do, mia cara, he has rushed off today to perform damage control. By the time he returns, you will be far away.” He inched across the straw pallet shaking with silent amusement.

She shrank away but soon he had her trapped against the rough bare hewn wall of the stinking cottage. “He will never find you. Will you be able to resist a man’s touch forever? You are a lovely young thing with strong appetites that must be fed, and not just with strained peas,” he breathed in her ear followed by a quiet derisive snicker.

“Never,” she vowed, even as her loins quivered with unwelcome shivers of interest.

She might not come out of this man’s clutches unsullied and if she escaped, no doubt Cesar would believe that she welcomed the old devil’s caresses. But her heart would remain pure, touched by one man and one man alone.

The old man led her to the squalid basement, where Marv and Mirc slept on straw pallets even smaller and more uncomfortable than the one upstairs. The two babies quivered and whimpered in their sleep as innocent and cute as shiba inu puppies on puppy cam and even less able to care for themselves. Their tear-stained faces were streaked with green from the strained peas. The sight of the green spooge in their auburn locks broke what was left of her spirit and she sank to the dirt floor, shaking with fear.

Soon it would be Christmas and she would spend the most festive time of the year trapped in the basement on her husband’s estate while her beloved Cesar wrestled with the weighty issues of damage control.

Charity fell asleep on the hard-packed floor between her babies and didn’t wake until the gunshots and the screams rang out above their heads.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a question for readers

Are you more likely to write notes to authors about their free reads? Because I've gotten four this week and that's four more than I've gotten about any book for a while.

Tomorrow I will put up another free read. I only get one chapter. The fun part of this one? The basic plot was drawn up by someone else. Ms. Tumperkin is the director.

I liked this system. Feels like the best part of a reading exercise. Now I'm convinced that the best of all possible careers for me would be as a cog in a huge novel-writing machine, where I get handed an assignment ("this story will include three dogs, five mentions of corned beef hash and a ride in an airplane") and told to follow directions. I would have been a happy harlequin writer back in the days when they didn't let you have your own name.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm reading Eloisa James's latest, When the Duke Returns, and loving it. Been a while since I've liked a romance this much. Must be all the snow. (The snow here, not in the book. Makes reading feel cozier.)

curmugeon recalls lost skills

I was watching a kid edit video and remembered back in the day of Super 8 or 16mm. Catchunk, thump. Cutting the film, splicing the film. That's what they did when I was a student in the dark ages.

I started a list of jobs that have basically been transformed in my working adult lifetime. You know what I mean--the people who spent years perfecting their X-acto knife skills for layout stuff that's now done with a click of a mouse. My half-assed list includes:
film editors.
Actually anyone who does anything with movies, except maybe the actors
magazine/newspaper/book layout people
copy press operators (I remember Cathy at Gnomon copy doing calculations on paper for god's sake)
computer operators
Ummmmm. Okay.

And now I'm going to go look for some Kleenex and admire the snowfall. Coming down like crazee. Has to be more than an inch an hour.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Summer speaks, Kate whines

because it's Thursday Summer is over at Erotic Muses. Pure promo this week. I like last Thursday's post, even though we never did get a full 13 good euphemisms for vajayjay.

I can't seem to work--all I want to do is sip tea and moan. I'm surrounded by a jumbo box's worth of used Kleenex. OmiGOD, I hate colds. They are unpleasant and undignified. My nose has gone rabbit. I sound disgusting. And, jeez, I am not sick enough to make anyone actually feel sorry for me (other than me, but that's SOP). I mean, it's just a rhinovirus.

Here's a warning: don't lick your computer screen when you're on this site, because I swear it's a hell of a cold and probably that contagious. Don't lick it anyway because that's pervy, yet not interesting enough to be a new twist in smut

(speaking of which, I'm ready for a new twist because I am almost as sick of BDSM and spanking and the Hershey highway as I am of this cold. So maybe screen licking would be a good idea after all. Because the dabbling with bestiality with shapeshifters? the hemipeni lizard heroes? The knotting werewolves? No. No. NO. No. Makes me sorry about the dragon, guys.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Summer and Kate

1. Summer's release next month got its first review. It's a good one, too. Yay! This is an anthology with Charlene Teglia and Shannon Stacey. It really is fun being in a book with a couple of people I sort of feel like I know. I've even actually met (and embarrassed) Shan. We can send each other did you see that? notes and make obscene comments about the cover. We haven't done that second thing.....but we could if we wanted to.

2. And Kate. Sad, sad Kate. I started messing around at Lulu and got myself an ISBN. Delusional. It starts with an ISBN and any day now I'll be peddling it door to door. At least the book there is less than $14 now. Only 11 dollah seventy cents. So now you can buy The Rat Catcher from Mr. Lulu, buy it for your Kindle for $2.40. Or you can get it free at the link on the upper right of this page.

Here's a review from someone (who didn't say I could post her note, but then again, she didn't say I couldn't. I'll leave off her name and hope that's enough to keep me out of trouble):

It's a lovely story, very funny and sweet. The scene where Callie is reluctantly translating fragments of the French book to Cutter is hilarious. The dialogues between Callie and Cutter are beautifully done. Their conversations and reactions to each other and their internal monologues reflect their personalities and characters so well, and their words come across very true and genuine. Callie despite her naivety is such a spunky, independent-minded heroine and Cutter is a true knight in shining armour.

I wonder if I can pay her to post that on Amazon. Or somewhere.