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e-maginings: New Orleans Dreaming

February 16, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Today is Mardi Gras, “fat Tuesday” in French, the last day to feast before Lent. Mardi Gras is the cumulation of the Carnival season which begins in early January. The date of Mardi Gras fluctuates since it’s tied to Easter.

When Americans think of Mardi Gras, we think of New Orleans, which is on my mind lately since I’m planning a trip there for EPICon2006. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, and this will be my fifth trip, and the first since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Some day I’ll set a book or short story in New Orleans; it’s such a great location, romantic and sensual, but with a seamy side. This is a photo of a painting of antebellum New Orleans painted by Orry-Kelly, fabled head of the wardrobe department for Warner Brothers. It’s a little hard to see, but it shows a carriage moving toward Jackson Square. Orry-Kelly dressed Betty Davis in Jezebel (1938) and may have gotten his inspiration for this painting at that time. There’s more about him here.

Here are a few links about New Orleans history that you might find interesting:




I hope to have a trip report for you next month. In the meantime, Happy Fat Tuesday!

Linda McLaughlin
aka Lyndi Lamont

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e-maginings: Passion, Heat & Ecstasy

January 16, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Next month, I’ll be teaching an online class on writing erotic romance with Dee Ann Palmer w/a Carolina Valdez. Passion, Heat & Ecstasy: Writing the Erotic Romance is sponsored by the Yosemite chapter of RWA and runs from Feb. 1 to 26. Details are at http://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/6.html; scroll down to find our class.

I’ve been compiling my section of the bibliography for the class, and decided to pull out a couple of books to recommend here. Both books are available at Amazon.com if you can’t find them in the bookstore.

Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Angela Knight, Loose Id, LLC, 2007. In my opinion, this is the best book to get if you want to write erotic romance. Knight understands the genre and has some useful tips, like her “romantic conflict” chart.

Knight distinguishes between sensual and erotic romance by looking at what drives the story. In her opionion, what drives sensual romances “isn’t sex, but not having sex”. In order to maintain sexual tension between hero and heroine, the writer devises external and internal reasons why going to bed with each other is a bad idea. The actual act of making love often signals a significant drop in sexual tension and the writer then has to find a way to make the conflict kick in again.

Erotic romance is driven by what she calls “romantic tension”, in other words the central conflict that makes the HEA ending seem problematic. This means strong conflict, esp. in a full-length novel.

Conflicting Desires: Notes on the Craft of Writing Erotic Stories by Han Li Thorn, Velluminous Press, 2007. A good how-to book geared to mainstream erotica but not romance. Chapter 4 on The Erotic Promise is particularly useful and there are several appendices, including an Erotic Lexicon.

In the above chapter 4, Thorn posits that writers of erotic literature make three promises to their readers: to arouse, to entertain and to offer something deeper, whether in depth of charaterization, complexity of plot, or eliciting an intellectual or emotional depth. In erotica, the first promise must be kept, but if you can deliver on the other two promises, you work will stand out.

He also states that “erotic conflict is at the heart of erotic story”. Otherwise it’s a spiced-up romance or mystery or whatever, but it doesn’t qualify as “erotica”. This is often easier said than done.

If you’ll forgive a bit of blatant self-promotion, I think my novella Alliance: Cosmic Scandal is a good example of erotic conflict. Here’s the blurb:

When Myrek, heir to the Ziganese throne, becomes ambassador to the planet Mhajav, he hopes to find a cure for his son’s hereditary illness. Then he meets a lovely young geneticist and passion overwhelms his sense of duty. All he can think of is making Khira his own.

Khira is a rarity, a Mhajavi virgin of 25. A child prodigy, she skipped several grades and was underage when most of her classmates went off to sex camp before attending university. Though hopelessly in love with Myrek, she knows their love is doomed. Under Ziganese law Myrek must wed a virgin, but Mhajavi law forbids virgins from marrying.

An erotic encounter in a brothel leads to a fateful decision that defies the laws of two worlds and causes a cosmic scandal.

In this story, the couple fall in love but are unable to marry because of the respective laws of their worlds. Prince Myrek is legally required to wed a virgin, something prohibited by Kira’s world Mhajav. Their solutions to the problem are creative as well as sensual.

As the title of our class says, erotic romance calls for Passion, Heat and Ecstasy.

Have a good weekend.

Lyndi Lamont
website: http://www.lyndilamont.com/

(Disclaimer: Both writing books recommended in this blog were purchased by me personally, not provided gratis for endorsement. LL)

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e-maginings: e-Publishing Update by Lyndi Lamont

December 16, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

A couple of things have happened in the e-book world this month. For one, the new Barnes and Nobel nook reader made its debut to a less than stellar review in the New York Times. Reviewer David Pogue states that “Every one of the Nook’s vaunted distinctions comes fraught with buzz kill footnotes.” He blames B&N’s impatience to bring the nook to the public prematurely. He found the device slow and balky and concludes: “To use the technical term, it’s slower than an anesthetized slug in winter.”

However, it might be a good gift for the hacker in your life. Wired.com reports that the nook has already been “torn open, hacked and rooted”. I’m not a hacker, so I don’t understand all the details, but apparently doing this lets you hook the nook, with its Google Android operating system and a free cellular connection to the internet directly to your computer. I’m sure B&N didn’t foresee this development.

In the area of digital rights, Random House is playing hardball by insisting that all their contracts, no matter how old, inherently include digital rights, no matter how vaguely worded (or perhaps nonexistent) the contract language may have been. They tried this some years ago with Rosetta Books and lost twice in court. Yesterday the Authors Guild protested their action. Click here to read the statement.

I’m being featured this month (as Lyndi Lamont) at the Rainbow Studio of TRS. Stop by and read the interview if you have a moment.

Happy Holidays to all.

Linda / Lyndi

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e-maginings: e-Book Reader Market Heats Up by Lyndi Lamont

November 17, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

The e-book reader market is heating up this fall with the upcoming release of Barnes & Noble’s nook. B&N is hyping it as “the world’s most advanced eBook Reader, and I have to say, it looks great. It features e-ink display and AT&T’s Wi-Fi, so you can browse, buy and download books anywhere you find the network, including the B&N brick-and-mortar stores. At $259, it costs as much as Amazon’s Kindle 2, but offers the option of adding a memory card for additional storage. A nice feature is the full-color touchscreen at the bottom of the display where you can browse for titles or use the keyboard.

The only feature that has authors a little concerned is the nook’s “lend ebooks to friends” feature. Some of us are saying, WTF? Their site says books can be loaned for up to two weeks. I’m assuming they disappear from the reader at that point as library e-books do after the due date. I’d have to see that in action before I can endorse this feature.

The December issue of PC World magazine has a review of e-book readers, alas too soon for the nook to be included. They liked the Sony Reader Touch Edition at $300, but rated the Kindle 2 as the best buy at $259. All Sony and Kindle models were rated Very Good, with the Interead Cool-ER listed as Good. Two they did not recommend at this time are the Astak EZReader PocketPro and Foxit eStick Reader. Both need to do some “catching up” in PC World’s opinion. Click here here to read more.

PC World’s point about the e-book market being Balkanized is right on the mark. The problem hasn’t just been coming up with great hardware; there’s a software problem, too. And as long as publishers and distributors insist on using proprietary content it’s going to continue to be that way. It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out.

Lyndi Lamont
aka Linda McLaughlin

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e-maginings: Naming My Muse

October 16, 2009 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , ,

Hi all,

We had a great OCC Birthday Party on Saturday though I had to leave early and missed the yummy looking cake. While there I signed up for the new online class called Muse Therapy by D. D. Scott. D.D. has given us some interesting homework assignments, and I’m going to share what I’ve learned about my muse so far.

D.D. suggested we name our muse. Mine is a 1960’s flower child, so she needed a hippie name. I considered Sunshine and Starshine, but those are both too constant for this fickle little lady. So I decided on Zephyr since she’s about as easy to pin down as a gentle breeze.

Zephyr loves: history, science fiction & fantasy, anything paranormal or New Age (astrology, Tarot cards, etc.), books, movies & music (folk, rock, New Age, movie soundtracks, some classical, a little country Western but no rap or hip hop). Music helps the two of us get anchored in a story, and I usually pick a movie soundtrack for each new book or story.

Like me, she lacks patience and stick-to-itiveness (not good traits for either a writer or a muse). Also like me, she’s easily distracted.

Zephyr loves the ocean and mountains, is OK with the desert if it’s not too hot (she really loves Sedona). Big cities are fun once in a while but too distracting. So much to do and see.

Unlike me, she doesn’t seem to have a temper, but she can sulk big time, not to mention just disappearing on me for long periods of time. It’s very passive aggressive of her, lol. She’s been AWOL for a while now, but recently made a reappearance. Problem is, every time she shows up, it’s usually with a new story idea, not how to finish the current WIP.

She’s earthy with a dirty mind as well as a potty mouth, and an active sense of humor. She does have a serious side, though, and a surprisingly formal writing voice. Or maybe that’s because it’s all filtered through my more logical brain.

What form does your muse take?

Linda McLaughlin
w/a Lyndi Lamont

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