Friday, November 27, 2009

100 Words About: The Guilt of Gratitude

I have a stupid amount of things to be grateful for, and for most of them I'm grateful with my whole heart, but there is an uglier kind of gratitude that plagues me this Thanksgiving.

I lost someone very dear to me this year, but for all of my personal pain, I feel like I can't show it as much. He wasn't my husband, my father or my son, my sibling or my best friend. What right do I have to be miserable?

But worse than that is the guilt of gratitude, because I can't help but be grateful that it wasn't my parent, or my sibling, or gods-forbid my husband.

My head says it's not wrong to be grateful that it wasn't me. But my heart calls my head a liar.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Internet Marketing: Blog Goodies

A no-frills beginner blog is good, but there are a few tools, modules, and/or gadgets that you should consider adding to it.

First, you want some sort of site counter. This is a tool that keeps track of how many times your blog is viewed, how long people are there for, where in the world they came from, etc. Since many people stop by blogs without leaving comments, this is the best way to find out whether or not people are reading what you're blogging.

Depending on what blog manager you are using, there may be a counter tool offered as a module or gadget. Otherwise, there are a number of ones available on the internet for free which may require you to add HTML code to your blog. Fortunately there are lots of great websites out there that can walk you through how to do that if you find a particular counter that you like.

Next, you want to make it easy for people to follow you. Most blog managers should have some sort of "follow" function, which allows readers to flag your blog so that their account is notified when you make a new post. That's one gadget or tool you definitely want to set up.

Speaking of making it easy to follow your blog, add in buttons like "Share This." This allows people to click a button and post a link to your blog post on their account on Facebook, Digg This, Twitter, or whatever buttons you care to include. (You'll notice I've been too lazy to set this up.)

Also consider including your Twitter feed if you have one, a Facebook Fan Box if you have a Facebook fan page, an RSS feed if you have another blog, you get the idea. If you have unique content posted somewhere else, you want to let your readers know about it!

Do you have a favorite blog toy I haven't touched on here? Leave it in the comments!

Next week: Making your blog work for you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Story Published at Mainstream Erotica

Galina's looking for a date with more backbone, but is she ready to submit completely when she meets up with sexy top Stefan?

I'm pleased to announce that my short story "Floggers Last Longer Than Flowers" is available to read over at Mainstream Erotica. It's available for free, although you do have to make an account at the ezine. There are lots of free stories there so take a look around!

Friday, November 20, 2009

100 Words About: The Bad Boy

Face it, gents. Women are hopelessly attracted to the bad boy. The outlaw. The one our mothers warned us about. I have to wonder if our mothers warned us because they knew we'd be stupid that way, or because they knew we wouldn't listen and hoped we'd get it out of our systems early.

What is so fascinating about them? The impression—hopefully illusion—of danger? The allure of the anti-authoritarian figure? That air of knowing more than you do, which they actually might, or which may just be insufferable ego? Regardless, there is something insanely attractive about a guy who will mug someone to buy you flowers.

What are your 100 Words About the Bad Boy?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Internet Marketing: Blog Basics

Blogs are one of the easiest ways to start building your platform. You don't need to know much about computers or the internet in order to get a blog started, nor do you need to learn fancy tricks in HTML to make it look good.

The first things you need are access to a computer and an internet connection. Most of you likely have these things at home, but one can successfully blog using library or school computers as well.

Next, you need an email account. You should have one of these anyway in the name you are writing under. See my Tuesday Tip about Pseudonyms for more info, but basically, get a gmail or yahoo or other free internet account if you don't have another one.

Next step, create an account on a blog manager. The ones I see recommended most often are Wordpress and Blogger. I chose Blogger because most of the blogs that I follow are on Blogger, and I like getting the occasional hit from people who see me post in those blogs and follow me back to mine. Also, I hear Blogger blogs are ranked higher in Google searches, because Google owns Blogger. However, there are many blog managers out there and you should look at several of them before making a decision.

Pretty much all you should need to set up a blog account is your email address. Once your account is activated (you may need to go to your email and click a link) then the manager should walk you through setting up a blog. There should be a few templates to choose from that govern the overall look of your blog, and there will be features and modules you can change to customize your look, but basically, once you decide on a title, you're good to go.

So, now what?

Your blog is more than just an oversize Twitter feed. You should use your blog to highlight your writing skills and to provide information about you and your work. Don't post whatever random thought comes into your head—make it relevant to what your blog is about. For example, I don't post about going to visit my family unless it's relevant to my work somehow, like my brother-in-law helping me set up my website this weekend. Maybe when I'm on the New York Times bestseller list I can start just posting whatever it is I'm thinking about, but for now, I need to stay on-message. If someone happens upon my site or follows me back to it from some other blog, I want them to know right away that I'm a writer and I'm serious about it.

You must post regularly. Should you manage to snag someone's interest, they need to know how often to check back. Nothing will make someone stop reading your blog faster than coming back to it a few times without seeing any new material. You don't need to post every day if you don’t have that much time or that much to say. I only post regularly on Tuesdays and Fridays, and if I have a lot going on, like I did the last week in October, I'll post more often. But if, like last week, I don't have much news, my regularly scheduled posts are still there on their scheduled days.

And speaking of blogging regularly, check out the rest of The Ten Commandments of Blogging from Eric over at Pimp My Novel.

Next week we'll look at promoting your blog and a few useful tools and modules that you should consider adding to it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

100 Words About: Doggie Kisses

I was never a doggie kisses kind of person. Truthfully, I was never a doggie person, period. But particularly I disliked dogs that jump up on you and ones that want to lick your face.

But then I agreed to adopt a rescue dog.

Suddenly I had a dog, when I was used to owning cats all my life.

How do you know when a dog likes you? Especially a sort of traumatized dog that didn't wag her tail for the first month she lived with us. (We'd started to think maybe she just didn't wag.)

But she's done kisses from day one. All of a sudden, I'm a fan of doggie kisses.

What are your 100 Words About Doggie Kisses?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Internet Marketing: Intro

This is the first of several Tips regarding internet marketing. In coming weeks we'll look at a number of aspects of internet marketing, but today we're talking broad strokes. We're talking about your platform.

I don't mean what software package you use. I'm talking your public image. How many people know who you are, and are they likely to buy a copy of your book? How quickly and easily can you get the word out to your fan base? If your book goes gangbusters, are people going to be able to find you on the internet? And what are people saying about you?

With more and more of a publisher's marketing budget going into fewer and fewer authors, it has become necessary for authors to learn to market themselves. Not only does it help an author once they have a book published (and, preferably, about-to-be-published), but it may actually help an author get published in the first place. While I haven't seen much hard data on the subject, the current thought is that a publisher considering taking on a new author may be more inclined to do so if that author can demonstrate that they already have a platform – fans on social networking sites, followers on their blog, high traffic numbers on their website, etc. Not only does that author already have potential buyers to bring to the table, but their platform reflects their work ethic; they are ready and willing to work to make their project a success.

But don't just take my word for it.

For people like me who prefer not to socialize online, this can be a daunting prospect. But never fear! If I can do this, anyone can. Follow me through my internet marketing adventures as I discuss what I've done so far, what has worked, and what hasn't.

And the great part is, you already are!

Next week: the ins and outs, dos and don'ts, and ups and downs of author blogging!

Friday, November 6, 2009

100 Words About: Perseverance

When you think about it, perseverance is what we humans do best, as a group. We find ways to keep on keepin' on. Whatever it takes, we move forward. It's noble, I suppose, but mostly, it's just survival at its most basic. There's a beauty in it; a sort of terrible, uncomfortable beauty that you really don't want to look at for too long, striking as it is. It skirts the line between valor and stubbornness, honor and pride. But we can only do as we are made to do., even when we don't understand why. Thank the gods.

What are your 100 Words About Perseverance?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"A Wild Hunt, Part Six"

A reminder that "A Wild Hunt, Part One", "A Wild Hunt, Part Two", "A Wild Hunt, Part Three", "A Wild Hunt, Part Four", and "A Wild Hunt, Part Five" are also available.

A Wild Hunt, Part Six
by Mercy Loomis

Kiran swallowed hard. "You're not very comforting, Ariane."

"I never claimed to be." Ariane let go of his hand as Kiran stepped reluctantly toward the mouth of the tunnel. He sucked in a startled breath as Gloria's spell took a firmer hold, no longer buffered by Ariane's presence. "Resist her as best you can, Kiran. Don't let her touch you if you can help it. I'll try to take her out before it comes to that."

Kiran turned, walking backwards, hand outstretched toward her, but Ariane shook her head. She released her human skin, Kiran's pleading eyes fading from her sight in a heartbeat, his protesting words growing distant as she spun herself out into the air. Before Kiran had finished three steps she was flesh and blood again, darting up into the sky on crow's wings.

She climbed quickly, her gaze searching the landscape. The faint crunch of leaves echoed up from below her as Kiran made his way inexorably back to the clearing. It was that dry carpet of leaves that had made her decide on the crow—there was no hope of sneaking up on anything if you had to go overland. Marty might have been able to do it in his squirrel skin, but Ariane had never bothered with that form.

The clearing came into view as she rose above the trees. The earth was undisturbed, as if the giant had never made an appearance. Typical, and a sign that it had most likely been dismissed already. Gloria stood alone in the middle of the clearing, staring fixedly toward the sounds of Kiran's approach.

Where is the other one? Ariane wondered, scanning the trees anxiously. She didn't dare attack Gloria without knowing…wait, there!

A dark form stood shrouded amongst some bushes just within the treeline, perfectly positioned to see both Gloria and the end of the trail Ariane had taken earlier. The mage's hood was pulled low to hide the pale skin of her face, and a human would have easily overlooked her, but the crow's eyes saw her shape against the branches.

Gloria's out in the open like bait. I don't think I'll take it. Maybe if I get this one out of the way, it'll distract Gloria from her spells…

Kiran was already nearly to the clearing from the sounds of his footsteps. Ariane dove, planning on changing forms just before the branches got in the way.

Impact shook her. A sickening crack as her left wing folded mid-bone, and she was free-falling, flapping uselessly with her right wing, the pain and sudden nausea of the break stealing her breath. She struggled to let go of the wounded form, but she was crashing through the branches now, out of control, her wings catching in twigs and leaves and sending new shocks of agony through her that shattered her concentration. It was only that stupid instinct to keep flapping that saved her from a brutal landing as she finally broke free of the grasping branches, half fluttering and half falling at the mage's feet.

Except the robed figure wasn't the mage at all, but the female initiate. Ariane had last seen the girl curled on the ground clutching her head, and apparently her own rescue of Kiran hadn't bought the girl enough time to get control of her new powers. The girl stood slack-jawed and glassy-eyed, arms limp at her sides, and took no notice of the bird trying to right itself in front of her.

An unseen force lifted Ariane from the ground, and she froze.

"Julianne here was telekinetic," a feminine voice said brightly. The air next to the tree wavered, and the missing mage stepped out of her camouflaging spell. She tossed a stone into the air, which hung suspended for a moment before dropping back into her hand. She'd been wearing jeans and a t-shirt under her robes, apparently, and a necklace festooned with what looked like bulbous homemade glass beads. "I think I've picked up the basics very quickly, don't you?"

"Show off," Ariane squawked.

The mage cocked her head to the side. "See, that's how I knew you weren't just an animal. I can touch an animal's mind, understand what they're thinking. But you, I get nothing." The spectral hand holding Ariane tightened. "Should I snap your neck now, or see what use we can make of you?"

"Tabitha, have you got it?" Gloria called.

The mage, Tabitha, pouted. "Yeah," she called back, and started across the clearing toward Gloria. Ariane floated along in front of her, and Julianne stumbled behind looking like a movie zombie that hadn't started to decay yet.

Craning her neck, Ariane saw that Kiran had stopped at the edge of the clearing by grabbing onto a tree. Remembering his affinity to the Underground forest, she wondered just what kind of fae his ancestor had been. Still, from the look on his face she didn't think he'd be able to resist the summons for very long, assuming Gloria didn't just go to him.

Gloria didn't. Instead she waited for Tabitha to join her, reaffirming Ariane's belief that Gloria had been waiting in the middle of a trap all along.

"Stop fighting. Come here, Kiran Connor Eckhart," Gloria called, and Ariane made a mental note to get Kiran a new true name if they managed to survive until morning.

Kiran shuddered but held his ground.

Gloria clicked her tongue. "There's no need to make this difficult, Kiran. You never had use of your full potential before tonight, so how can you miss it? Once we've taken your memories you won't even know you ever had any abilities. You and Julianne will be right as rain in the morning." Gloria laughed, but there was a steely edge to it. "We did have to give Steve to the elemental, but since your little friend killed Deirdre it's only fair, don't you think?"

When he didn't reply, she turned her attention to Ariane. "Is this a pet of yours? Some faerie creature? I knew there was something odd about you, but with a power like yours I was willing to risk it." Gloria smiled sweetly. "A dangerous little thing, this pet. Now, if it were your familiar, the backlash from killing it could do serious damage to you—and I wouldn't want to risk that just yet. But I don't think you know enough to have a familiar, Kiran, so I can avenge poor Deirdre without losing the chance to finish taking your power." The smile vanished. "Unless you come here. Now."

Even in the dark Ariane had no trouble seeing the blood drain from Kiran's face, and her heart sank even before he let go of the tree he was so desperately clinging to.

"Don't!" she cried, even as he yelled, "Don't hurt her! I'm coming."

We are so screwed. Ariane closed her eyes and did the only thing she could think to do. Fighting through the pain of her broken wing, she let go of her skin.

The two mages gasped as she vanished. A truly skilled telekinetic could have held her aetherial form even more tightly than a physical form, but Tabitha was too new and still thought too linearly, and Ariane squirmed free. Still, it mattered little. The trap sprung into place almost immediately, just as she suspected it would. It was a common enough circle of confining, but to a skinshifter caught out of her skin it might as well have been a cage of cold iron.

The sad part was that yesterday this spell would have had no effect on Kiran at all, but now that the Underground had accepted him, he could be caught and held just like any other demon.

Suspended in the aether between one plane and another, Ariane gathered her strength and belled. The cry reverberated through the ley lines, a ripple that spread outward with a lightning bolt's speed.

Far, far to the south, an answering ripple.

With a shock like being thrown into a frozen lake, Ariane was ripped out of the aether into her human form.

"You!" Gloria said, staring down at her. "I suppose I should've guessed, the way you're always mooning after him in class. Ariane, isn't it?" She paused, frowning. "Why isn't your arm broken?"

The crow's injury pulsed at the edge of her awareness, echoing down through the aether, mixing with what felt like a hangover from hell. She crouched at the center of her invisible prison and glared, but refused to answer.

Gloria opened her mouth, about to snap a command like the one that had forced Ariane into physical form, but Tabitha interrupted her, nodding toward Kiran. "First things first."

The ripple in the south was no closer. Despairing, Ariane turned her attention to Kiran, praying he could stall for time, not knowing how to tell him without tipping off the two mages…her jaw dropped.

Kiran was crossing the clearing, but no longer reluctantly. He held his arms out from his sides ever so slightly, but that and the set of his jaw were the only signs of tension. He stalked forward with a liquid grace that would have made Ariane melt under the best of circumstances, but now, with the air around him literally shimmering with heat, she thought she had never seen anything so beautiful in all her life.

True, Gloria's talisman was sucking away Kiran's power. But unlike the last time he'd been this close to it, now Kiran wasn't mindless with shock and pain.

It was still his power, and it knew its home.

"Burn it!" Ariane shrieked. "Burn the talisman!"

Suddenly realizing her danger, Gloria tried to shield herself, but the same principle that let her spell keep draining Kiran through Dave's wards now gave Kiran access to the talisman even through the mage's defenses.

Gloria screamed as something caught fire under her robes. Shrieking, she tore at her throat, trying to pull a necklace out from under the cloth, but the metal was melting, running over her hands. The glass beads stuck to her skin, red glowing spots under the fabric of the robes until the heat singed the cloth away.

In the south, the ripple winked out of existence.

Panic seized Ariane in its grip. "Kiran, you have to stop!" she shouted. "Right now!"

But Kiran didn't seem to hear her. He'd stopped walking, head thrown back, arms outstretched, welcoming back the power that had been stolen from him. The grass and leaves under his feet were starting to singe.

Gloria was clawing at her chest, still screaming, her concentration completely shattered. Ariane was free, but she didn't dare approach Kiran—the heat coming off him was painful even from where she stood already.

"Kiran, please!"

He looked at her, his gaze electric with the impersonal passion of wildfire. Welts rose on her skin, but it was the complete lack of empathy in his look that scared her the most. He could kill her with a thought. The tears that rolled down her cheeks hissed and steamed.

"Please," she begged, putting every ounce of emotion she could muster into her face, her voice. "Please, if you've ever trusted me, trust me now. They'll kill you if you don't stop!"

Something flickered in his eyes. Recognition. His face softened, the heat faltering.

The ley lines thrummed as the Hunt burst out of the barrow.

As Kiran released the fire—or it released him—the strength went out of him and he collapsed. Ariane sprinted to him, throwing herself down next to him as the first riders came pounding down the path.

"Say nothing!" she hissed in his ear. "Nothing at all, not your name, not a word, not a sound, do you understand me?"

For one gut-wrenching moment she didn't think he did, but then he met her gaze with dazed but lucid eyes and nodded.

The Hunt swept into the clearing, beasts and riders of every description ever penned in a fairy tale, and some that had never made it into the stories. Kiran stared with mouth agape, but Ariane ignored them all, save the one wearing the antlered crown of the Huntsman. He was one of the gentry, and she didn't recognize him, but then she tried to stay out of politics. It didn't really matter anyway—whatever station he held normally, for tonight he was the Huntsman, and his word was law.

"You called the Hunt, little hound?" said the Huntsman.

"I did, my lord." Ariane climbed to her feet and pointed to the mages. "Here are two that have wronged the fae. They have injured and bound me against my will."

Gloria was curled in a little ball, huddled moaning around her blackened chest, but Tabitha stood wild-eyed with terror. "We didn't know she was fae!"

The Huntsman turned to Ariane. "Is this true?"

Ariane considered. "They didn't know I was, that is true." She pointed to Kiran, still sprawled at her feet. "But they summoned him. The trap they bound me with was meant for him. For him, they knew."

The Huntsman turned his gaze on Kiran, and Kiran lost what little color he had left. "The accused summoned you?"

Kiran nodded.

The Huntsman frowned. "Speak."

Kiran turned a frantic glance toward Ariane, but she was already answering. "My lord, he has vouchsafed me his voice."

"She speaks for you?"

Kiran nodded again. Ariane could have kissed him. Except, she realized giddily, she would have anyway.

"Very well." The Huntsman leveled his gaze on Ariane, but she was a skinshifter, descended from the original fairy hounds, and the Hunt held no terror for her. "And you say he is of the people?"

"The path opened for him. The land aided him. He is of the people."

The words rang with an undercurrent of the hound's belling, and a murmur went through the gathered host. Ariane tried not to show that she was just as startled as they were.

"The land speaks through you." The Huntsman was suddenly disinterested. Settled was settled, and there were hours yet until dawn. "Take the condemned."

The Hunt surged forward en masse, dashing past Ariane and Kiran on either side, a rush of bodies that would probably have pulled Ariane into their frenzy if Kiran hadn't caught her hand.

The Huntsman smiled at them as the host retreated, Gloria and Tabitha and Julianne lost somewhere in the throng. "You'll run with us," he said, not asking, but Ariane nodded anyway.

I'll have to try and find Julianne, and make sure Gloria and Tabitha can't tell any tales. "We'll catch you up in a moment, my lord," she replied, bowing. With a knowing, amused look, the Huntsman turned and set off after the host.

Ariane let out a breath and pulled Kiran to his feet. "That was perfe—"

His mouth descended on hers, and all the passion of the fire's grip was nothing compared to the blaze in Ariane's heart. She kissed him back fiercely until he broke away, laughing.

"I do trust you, Ariane. Enough that I'm going to go with you now and trust that you'll explain what the heck just happened later."

She smiled back up at him and gave him another quick kiss before stepping back and taking hold of her horse skin.

There was a lot to explain, like how he wasn't quite human anymore, and yet wielded the most feared of all human powers. And how he could never, ever tell anyone he was pyrokinetic, because fire killed almost every living creature on Earth or in the Underground, and there'd be no end to the list people gunning for him if it ever got out. And that he'd have to learn how to shield his thoughts or telepaths might be able to find out anyway.

She shuddered briefly and knelt so he could climb on her back. She'd have to try and keep him from meeting Gabriel for as long as possible. Nothing scares you as much as a firebug when you're as flammable as a vampire. Ariane didn't think there was a favor in the world big enough to keep the vampire from killing Kiran the moment he found out.

Over my dead body.

But that was all for later, along with teaching him about the Underground, and all the varied creatures on both planes he never dreamed existed. And, of course, more kisses. Lots of kisses. "Hang on," she called back to him as she headed after the host. "It's going to be a wild ride!"


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Tip: Prioritize

My husband tells me I try to do too much. I can't do martial arts, Middle Eastern dance, one-to-three game sessions, and writing group every week, on top of writing and working a full time job. Oh, and trying to learn Arabic or Egyptian hieroglyphs, not to mention all the reading I do and my addiction to Plants Vs Zombies, plus finding time for laundry, dishes, balancing the checkbook, and spending time with a husband, two cats, and a dog.

Yeah. I try to do too much.

Oddly, I expected this would have been even worse while I was unemployed, but there were many projects I meant to do that I never got started on. I think this was because, suddenly having so much free time, I had to decide just what I was going to do with myself. And I decided that I couldn't pass up that opportunity to try my hand at writing full time.

I've been writing as a hobby for a very long time. And, as a hobby, writing ranked roughly equally with all my other hobbies—-it was just a hobby I stuck with a lot longer than most of my other hobbies, short of reading.

But now, suddenly, it was more than just a hobby.

Granted, I had made writing my #1 hobby before. The first time was when I decided that I was going to finally finish my novel. I dropped out of my martial arts class for three months, stopped going to dance practice, and made sure I parked my rear behind the keyboard whenever I could. And, wonder of wonders, I finished the bloody thing. That still ranks as one of the best feelings ever, when I finished my first novel for the first time. (Many of you writers will understand what I mean by finishing it "for the first time.") The second time I made writing my #1 hobby was when I wrote a short non-fiction book, my very first contracted work. I had a schedule and I stuck to it, and turned in the project early.

But this time was even more so than that. This was not a hobby anymore, this was business. This was when I proved whether I could do it, or if I was truly just a hobbyist.

What allowed me to do this was prioritizing. See, when writing was at the same priority level as all my other hobbies, I was only moderately successful at it (novel finished, but still unpublished), just as I was a moderately good dancer and a moderately good martial artist. But when I moved writing up my priority list, I was able to become more successful.

This sounds like common sense, but many of us go through our days without a clear sense of priorities. My top priority is my marriage. Beyond that, what I've mostly wanted out of life is to be happy. Simple, but frankly it's not terribly effective.

I've tried making written priority lists before. This works for some people, but I am not one of them. (This is strange, because I love making lists. I used to kill downtime at an old job by making lists of the most efficient way to grind out tradeskills in EverQuest. Ahhh, the number of Misty Thicket Picnics I made…the account is deactivated, but the carpal tunnel is forever…) But right now, my list looks something like this:

  1. Relationship with husband
  2. Covering the basic necessities (food, shelter, etc)
  3. Relationship with friends, family, and pets
  4. Chores (dishes, laundry, etc)
  5. Writing
  6. Reading
  7. Hobbies

I'm hoping that writing will be lucrative enough someday that I can combine it with Covering the basic necessities, but at that point it'll actually drop below Relationship with friends, family, and pets, because the husband will probably be the one doing the steady financial providing.

If lists work for you, great! If not, sit down and try to figure out what is most important in your life in a way that makes sense to you. For me, it was finally setting a more concrete goal than being happy. My new goal was to get fiction published. Now that I've done that, I'm working toward getting my novel published, and building my fan base will help with that. That means more stories for you!

Once you have a goal or a list or whathaveyou, figure out what steps you need to take. What do you need to do to achieve your goal? How can you best allocate your two resources (time and money) to make sure your priorities are being met in the proper order? And are you prepared to sacrifice things of lower priority for things of higher priority? Decide what's most important to you now, while you have the leisure. When the crunch time comes (job loss, overtime, deadlines, family emergency, etc) you'll be ready.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The October Roundup: Publications, Reviews, a Sale, and an Excerpt

Wow, October was a fabulous month for me, but also very busy! I had a great time at the wedding of two of my good friends last night, a perfect cap to a great month.

First up, Hungry For Your Love released on Thursday, and is already up to #1 on Ravenous Romance's website. This anthology has generated a ton of buzz already, including a quiz to find out if your boyfriend is a zombie, and even a mention in Publisher's Weekly, and the print rights have been sold to St. Martin's Press! The print version is scheduled to be out next year for Halloween.

I am incredibly excited about the print sale. St. Martin's is a big name imprint of Macmillan, and publishes books from such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sue Grafton. Not that I don't love the other anthologies I'm in, and Bite Me was available in print from the first, but it is going to be so freaking cool to be able to walk into my local Barnes & Noble and pick up a copy of a book that I'm in. Squee! Not to mention getting my name out there, which is half the point of writing the short stories, honestly.

Next up, we've gotten a couple of reviews over at GoodReads for Bedknobs and Beanstalks. Of the anthology as a whole, Carole says "It's always hard to rate an anthology because the writing skill and enjoyment potential is different for each story, but here the stories are of uniformly high quality. All of the stories are cleverly fleshed out, using the original tale as a skeleton and branching out into new and imaginative territory." And Kathy says "I love anthologies, but I've learned to expect that not all the stories in it are going to appeal to me. Well, this anthology threw that assumption out the window! There are nine very different stories and each one of them, in my opinion, is a winner." I'm told there will also be a review posted sometime today over at Rainbow Reviews.

Last week also saw two great reviews for Taste Test: Scared Stiff. The first review is over at Well Read. For the anthology as a whole, the reviewer says: "This trio of mini ghost stories may be perfect for Halloween, but don’t worry you are more likely feel amused and heartened by these romantic stories than scared out of your wits...I had a great deal of fun reading these stories which are perfect Halloween reads." And of my story, "The House That Pip Built By Mercy Loomis was a tongue in cheek look at a haunted house where the ghost is very friendly indeed." This is the second time a reviewer has commented on my tongue-in-cheek humor, which amuses me because that's not something I actually try to do on purpose. (I suppose that's why it apparently works!) There's a link to a longer review over at Reviews by Jesse Wave, but right now the page is not coming up. I'll post snippets from that later.

Two more reviews for Like a Thorn. Dark Diva Reviews says "This is a variation on The Princess and The Pea, and was a nice tale. I enjoyed the interaction between the Princess and her part-time maid/full-time lover. I enjoyed the role changes, in which the maid is the Mistress and the Princess is the submissive. There is a twist at the end that just makes this story." She also calls the story a "charming romp," and gives the anthology as a whole 4.5 out of 5 divas. After reviewing "Skin Deep" and "Last Mistress of the Chatelaine," Lisabet Sarai over at the ERWA website comments "The other three stories in the anthology offer somewhat lighter fare. The brightest is "The Princess and the Peony" by Mercy Loomis." And of the anthology as a whole, she says "The stories in this collection more or less fulfill the promise of the introduction. They are original, well-crafted, and varied. All are laced with at least a bit of darkness. My biggest criticism of this collection is that it is too short."

I also found out that my story "The Sub Fairy" will be published in May 2010 by Cleis Press as part of the Please, Sir anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Woot! I've been wanting to work with them for awhile now so it's exciting to finally get into one of their anthologies. "The Sub Fairy" is about a married vanilla couple and how they discover a wonderful D/s relationship.

And last but not least, here is an excerpt from Hungry For Your Love. This is the very beginning, because frankly without the beginning I couldn't think of an excerpt that would still make sense... This will also give you a little insight into Dave from "A Wild Hunt," although Dave and Joseph are different people. Enjoy!

"White Knight, Black Horse"
by Mercy Loomis

I don't know if I can rightly describe it to you, what it's like. When you are seized by the loa there is no memory, no knowledge of what passes. The loa, the voodoo spirits that act as intermediaries between God and men, are fond of using humans as their horses when they wish to pass on a message or join in a celebration. It's said that the loa displace their horse's ti bon ange, the little good angel, the spark of their host's personality. Either they hold it safe in their keeping, or no one has been stupid enough to try to steal the soul of a loa's horse.

I would imagine the loa would take a dim view of such a thing.

But God knows, I had been ridden before, and coming out of the ground was nothing like it.

The bokor, the sorcerer, called me from the earth, and I came.

I was bound. I was beaten.

And the bokor stole my ti bon ange.

I can tell you all this, for I remember it. It is not the same as being ridden, not at all.