Me, myself, and I – the “Olivia Outlaw” version of me, that is – have made the lead book in the “Sultan’s Toy” series free.  You can grab it free almost everywhere except Amazon.  It’s available free NOW at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Diesel and a host of other online sites and it is or is about to be free at Apple.

It’s only 99 cents at Amazon.  If you’d like it free there, I suggest you scroll to the bottom of the product page and report a lower price.  If readers complain, Amazon might match the freebie.  If not, go to Smashwords or Barnes & Noble and pick it up there.

Who wouldn’t want to get captured by a handsome sultan?

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A fun new MTV article talks about Fifty Shades of Grey fans who want to pay PERMANENT homage to the books.  Yes,  there are people who have various Fifty-related images and sayings tattooed on their persons — in various and sundry locations.

Don’t get me wrong, I like “Laters, Baby” as much as the next Christian Grey fan, but I don’t want it emblazoned on my chest, neck, fingers or toes. And I really don’t want Christian’s tie tattooed on my ankle.  (Why would you have a tie tattooed on your ankle?)

IMHO, the most devoted of the tattooed fans in the MTV piece is the one with quotes from the book inked on her body.  Yes, that’s right.  Check it out for yourself.  By all the ducks in the pond, I don’t even want quotes from my books tattooed on my skin.

Someday these ladies are going to have children and they will have to explain that key to the “red room of pain tattoo” not to mention all the sex toys.  Good luck with that…..

 

 

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Hey babies, it’s your rockin’ and rollin’ favorite angry old fat dude here. It’s been a long time since the last post, so I just wanted to reassure you, Mary Anne’s/Olivia Outlaw’s readers, that we’re doing OK and nothing super bad or good has happened. We’re just busier, that’s all.

A second job for yours truly has resulted in more neglect to the website, and the Crazy Duck Lady has had her full-time hours reinstated for her day job, so she has less time to grind away at video slots the latest books in her two ongoing projects, the Carnal Collateral male/male series and the Forever faerie series.

Well, I finally had to break down and update some more behind-the-scenes stuff on the website. Of course it had stabilized so now Yahoo is hard at work trying to screw it up again. At any rate, I got the updating done tonight, so the site should comply with their little rules and regulations and they can stop bothering me so I can stop thinking about ripping their faces off and rubbing course sea salt onto their raw exposed face muscles and letting diseased rats chew on their fatty little cheekbones.

Night night! Sleep tight! Don’t let the rodents bite!

P.S. I’ll update the website a little more soon with proper cover pictures while Mary Anne gets her freak on with the man-on-man action.

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I just read a very interesting piece on Yahoo Finance (of all places) about successful indie romance authors. It’s titled:  “These romance writers ditched their publishers for ebooks and made millions.”  The piece focuses on a number of now indie authors who were first published traditionally: Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy and Courtney Milan.  They are the indie answer to publishing’s “Big 5″ – Andre, Freethy and Milan are the indie “Big 3.”

I wonder if they’d mind adding a member?

The piece points out the speed at which all three ladies turn out new books, which is something I truly, truly envy.  They’re able to do it, of course, because writing is their life and their livelihood.  I’d devote myself to writing full time, gladly, and I’ve been hoping to do that for some time.  But until my writing income outpaces my legal loot, I’ll keep trudging to my office where I’m thankful my boss can tolerate having an insane duck lady churning out pleadings, memoranda, briefs, opinion letters and all sorts of other legal scribbling.

The income numbers for all three ladies are very impressive.  You go, lady love-scribes.  I hope to join you soon.

(more…)

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Angry Hubby here, posting a quickie. Mary Anne… I mean, Olivia… has started her new series Carnal Collateral and the first book has just been published on the Kindle.

Also, I have added most of the buttons necessary to reflect where you can purchase all of Olivia’s books.

Catch ya later, gators.

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Unfortunately, this week I had a close encounter with a dentist. I say unfortunately, not because this dentist and his team aren’t amazing (He’s even smart enough to have an office manager named Mary Anne) – I say it because I have a deep and profound terror of dentists.  I have the same feeling about ophthalmologists.  I know I fail in both areas so I feel like I’m taking a test I know in advance I will fail.  But some encounters can’t be avoided, and thanks to a riled and rowdy tooth, this was one of them.

It turned out that the tooth and I had to part ways, so I saw the dentist twice this week.  At one point, we discussed my romance writing and the dentist mentioned how much his Grandmother loved reading Harlequins. I enjoy reading those too, but they’re not my first love.  My first love is reading historical romance. My dentist’s comment made me think back to the beginning, the first time I encountered the genre.  I picked up a book at the public library and started a love affair that still burns strong today. Yes, the book I found was the one that started it all.  It created a genre and blazed a trail for future authors to follow, including a certain crazy duck lady.

The late Kathleen Woodiwiss had a 600 page MS titled “The Flame and the Flower” and she believed in the book.  It was rejected across the board by agents and publishers of hardcovers, so she submitted it to paperback publishers directly.  The first on her list was Avon, and it snapped the book right up.   From an initial 500,000 run for its first publication in 1972, the book sold over 2.3 million copies in its first 4 years — and it created an industry.

Woodiwiss wrote historical romance.  I suppose the term was invented to describe her work.  Susan Elizabeth Phillips – a NY Times Bestseller and absolute genius at her craft –  says thatWe all owe our careers to her. She opened the world of romance to us as readers. She created a career for us to go into.”  Another of my favorite authors, Julia Quinn, says “Woodiwiss made women want to read. She gave them an alternative to Westerns and hard-boiled police procedurals. When I was growing up, I saw my mother and grandmother reading and enjoying romances, and when I was old enough to read them myself, I felt as if I had been admitted into a special sisterhood of reading women.”

You know what Woodiwiss brought to the literary world?  Passion.  She created heroines readers adored from the first page and paired them with deeply flawed heroes. Her work, like most of the early historicals, have been criticized by the PC Police as “glamorizing” or “advocating” rape. Today people call her books and the early historicals “bodice rippers.”  I find all of that to be hogwash.  I’d agree with a review on the “Amazon” site by “A customer” who says that perhaps the heroes in Ms. Woodiwisses’ work should have been redeemed earlier.  Or, if not redeemed, that readers should be given more reason to like and understand them a bit earlier.

But it’s hard to criticize Woodiwiss too much because the passion in her stories is as contagious today as it was back, lo, many years ago when I first found “The Flame and The Flower” in the library as a young teen.  The characters carry her story and they carry the readers right along for the journey.  I think readers today wince too quickly and put stories down too fast. If they read a little further, they would experience more than a bodice being ripped. Maybe, they’d ignore the opinions of others and realize for themselves that in a Woodiwiss book, the hero dominates physically, but the heroine dominates emotionally.  In the end, it is the heroine’s love that saves the hero.

Ms. Woodiwiss is no longer with us, but her work lives on and today, it is available at Amazon for your Kindle.  If you’re an independent free thinker who doesn’t follow the herd (like a certain duck lady), then I suggest you boogle on over to Amazon and pick up the book that started it all.  Give “The Flame and The Flower” a read for yourself and see if you can find in the book the seeds of brilliance that started a genre.

The lesson I take from it all is that if a writer creates strong characters, puts them in an interesting situation and listens very hard – they will tell her their story. And if it’s done right, the passion in the tale will continue to burn bright enough to illuminate readers for generations to come.  That’s my hope, every time I sit down at a keyboard.

Oh, and BTW, if you pick up “The Flame and The Flower” and read it for the first time, you might boogle back by and leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  I’d love to discuss!

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I’ve been working on Olivia Outlaw’s new m/m erotic romance – an “Isle of Bliss” novel. I’ve gotten more writing done this weekend than in the last few put together.  You know who I have to thank for that?  Amazon.

Yes, that’s right, the source of  most of my writing income has now put out an excellent tool to help me increase it. It’s the new streaming music service for Amazon’s prime customers. I thought the free book borrows, free movie and TV streaming and the two-day shipping were already great reasons to pay for Prime. The streaming music service absolutely earns its keep and, in my house, more than pays for itself.

The single greatest enemy to my writing is distraction.  The story must flow in my head.  I have to be with the characters, in their skins, to know what they are going to say and do.  Television is a wonderful thing but if my head is in a program then it’s not in my writing.  Sometimes, I can have a news channel or a reality program in the background and that works until something catches my attention – which is what the programs are designed to do, after all – and bingo – I’m distracted.

Music is great to write to and I love my oldies. To me, the best years of music are between the 60’s and the 80’s.  Not too much great stuff has been written or recorded since then, save for a few things in the 90’s. We have a local station in Myrtle Beach, Sunny 103.1, and it play’s some great stuff. I Heart Radio has a Great Classic Oldies station that also spins some fine stuff.  And I often listened to Q105 out of Tampa Bay, Florida to get the beat of my writing.

The problem with all of the great online radio is that sooner or later something would play that I didn’t like or an annoying ad would play and it would be a lot louder than the music.  Either distracts me into changing the channel, looking for a new one, or leaving my writing and boogling over the the internet. Then the flow is gone and writing is all about the flow.

Amazon’s streaming music for Prime changed all that.  I download my favorite music. It’s a mix too eclectic for any radio station.  Seriously, on my streaming Prime I have pop, disco, rap, country, gospel, metal, and patriotic music. I have Corey Smith’s “Carolina” – one of the great tunes of all time.  I have Susan Boyle’s “Hallelujah.” And, on Father’s Day as this is written, I’m very glad that I have Judy Collins’ “Amazing Grace.”  It’s the best version of the hymn ever done or that can ever be done.  My late Father ran an upholstery shop and when that song played, he would stop whatever he was doing, his face would glow and he would be happy. It’s how I remember him.

I presently have 234 songs from 16 different genres streaming.  And the service has a music player that shuffles so no matter how I uploaded the songs – grabbing all the Charley Daniels in a row or two versions of “Hallelujah” – it plays randomly. If I’m not in the mood for one then I hit skip, knowing the next tune is one I’ll also love. And while the music plays, if one spins I really like, then I look in the sidebar.  Just like the “readers also bought” feature, Amazon will tell you about the songs people who got this one also bought.  And there’s another one to snag for my collection.

So, I’m tossing a big “THANK YOU” to Amazon for the streaming music service. It keeps me primed for writing which makes me happy, keeps me out of my family’s hair, and makes my creditors feel like dancing. And if you’re not already a Prime customer, then the streaming music service is the best reason going to join today. If you’re a creative type then you can’t afford not to have streaming prime music because it’ll keep you in the same place it keeps me – flowing towards a happy ending.

 

 

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Of late I’ve been following some of Konrath’s advice – well, I didn’t know it was Konrath’s advice, actually, until I read a great writing blog in my Twitter stream.  Konrath says more writing and less of everything else.  Unfortunately, that has led to……  less blogging as well.  However, the recent piece by William Giraldi for New Republic has been stewing around in my unstable brain recently, demanding a response.  I’ve dusted off my soapbox for the occasion.

Have you read Giraldi’s piece?  It is absolute proof that judgmental ignorance still flourishes amongst those who consider themselves ‘better than the masses.’  What masses?  Well, their readers, their fellow writers, pretty much everyone with any other opinion.  Yes, those people.  I’d bet Giraldi is a card-carrying member of the P.C. Police and anyone who reads this blog knows my opinion of those specimens.

Giraldi’s piece is part book-review (read book hatred) for a book by a woman, Eva Illouz, discussing and analyzing the “Fifty Shade of Grey” affect on culture and society.  From the perspective of the New Republic article, I expect that one of the biggest of Illouz’s problems is biology – she’s a WOMAN. And Giraldi doesn’t think much of women, especially women like Illouz and the amazing author of “Fifty Shades”, Erika Leonard a/k/a “E.L. James.  Illouz, Leonard and even, yours truly, the insane Duck Lady, have a big problem – we don’t know our place.  Rather, we don’t know that our place isn’t at a keyboard.

How does Giraldi feel about “Fifty Shades,” its author and its fans?

A great many women indeed have been living it up while dumbing it down, titillated by a charlatan amorist who goes by the nom de plume of E.L. James. I’m made distinctly queasy by uttering that sacral American surname when referring to this empress of inanity, so let’s use her real name, Erika Leonard. She who has done so much to help debase our culture should stand revealed.

To be able to pontificate so profoundly, Giraldi must have made a close study, a dissection even, of the Fifty Shades trilogy, right?  Well – not so much.

This is probably the spot to say that for the sake of this assignment I made a good faith effort to read these books at my city library, but I wasn’t self-punishing enough actually to finish them and had to stop the agony halfway into the second volume.

If you haven’t read it, from cover to cover, you are NOT in the least qualified to discuss it. The same goes for romance novels.  What is Giraldi’s opinion of the genre?

The trilogy’s assembly-line asininity is really a fomentation of the worst that can be believed about both sexes. Romance novelsparochial by definition, ecumenical in ambitionteach a scurvy lesson: enslavement to the passions is a ticket to happiness.

Sorry, no – actually, that’s the BEST thing Giraldi says about the romance genre. IMHO, the worst is this:

Dreck of this stupendous caliber has a particular advantage over literature in that one doesn’t have to read all of it to surmise, accurately and eternally, that it is all uniformly awful and awfully uniformromance novels, like racists, tend to be the same wherever you turn. It’s pointless to spend much time impugning these books as writing because they really aren’t meant to be considered as actual writing, the same way a Twinkie wasn’t meant to be considered as actual food. Books ejaculated this easily have the inverse effect of being extremely difficult to read. Leonard’s creations are the cartoonishly erotic suppurations of a hamstrung, not terribly bright adult trying to navigate a midlife crisis, and you get the feeling that the sentences arrived on the page as if by osmosis, unaided by even a sub-literate serf.

So, Giraldi thinks that romance novels aren’t literature and they aren’t writing any more than a Twinkie is food. The New Republic writer finds that romance novels are cartoonishly written and are to the literate world what racists are to society.  You know what I find?  I find that Mr. Giraldi’s opinions of the romance genre are every bit as well-informed as his opinions of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.  It is so much easier to spout generalities meant to sound superior when you are not troubled by having any knowledge of your subject.

Giraldi says that just as Twinkies aren’t meant to be “actual food”, romances aren’t meant to be actual writing. I agree that Twinkies aren’t meant to appease physical hunger.  A hungry person is more apt to reach for a hamburger than a Twinkie. A Twinkie is meant to appease a craving for something else, something more than physical hunger.  A person might eat a Twinkie when she needs her mood lifted or wants to reward herself. In the same way, romance novels – like “Fifty Shades of Grey”, like my/ Mary Anne Graham “Forever Series”/ like my Olivia Outlaw “Sultan’s Toy Series” – romance novels feed the soul and elevate the spirit.  Like a Twinkie, a romance novel sometimes just helps you go on believing, hoping, existing.

If you want to read something that makes you feel like eating a bowl of prunes, wearing a monacle and sneering at the world,  then perhaps you should pick up something by Mr. Giraldi.  If you want to read something that makes you feel like eating a Twinkie, wearing a smile and cheering for the human experience,  then perhaps you should pick up a romance novel.

Most women – and some very special men – are smart enough to know that sometimes you have to feed your heart, your soul and your spirit.  If we don’t do that often enough we risk becoming a prune-eating, monacle-wearing nation.  A romance novel, anyone?

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Hey guys, it’s me, the hubby.

As promised before, the Sultan’s Toy Bundle is now up and available for the Kindle. We’re having some technical difficulties getting it onto Barnes and Noble for the Nook, but we’re working on it.

That’s not the only place where gremlins have chosen to attack.

Too late...

Too late… I hate you little bastards…

The website has been going blinky at times, saying “Error in connecting to database” or some such thing. It looks to me as if the current WordPress version has problems with spam busting it open, but who knows. All I know is I’m the poor schmuck who’s got to deal with it. Called tech support the first couple of times it happened and got them to fix it. I then think I figured out how to fix it myself.

As I was typing up this post, it tried to go sideways AGAIN. Ugh… what a pain in the ass.

I swear, if this keeps up, I’m moving this stuff over to GoDaddy… for obvious reasons:

Highly technical reasons.

Highly technical reasons.

 

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A quick thought after tonight’s episode of Grey’s – the beginning of the end for Cristina.  Yes, it looks like she’ll head off to Zurich to become the Superwoman of Cardiac, but it feels wrong and empty.

The Burke Shonda showed tonight was not Burke until his last scene with Cristina. “The way I loved you was consuming,”  – that was the Burke we all knew.  And he admitted that if Cristina worked with him they would end up back together.

Yes, there is a reason for that.  It’s because Burke is Cristina’s soul mate the same way Derek is Meredith’s.  And I’m enough of a romance author to feel that Shonda got it wrong tonight.  I’m glad Cristina will head off to conquer the next generation of medicine. And I’m glad she’ll be at the forefront of that. But being a pioneer at anything is a lonely business and Cristina deserves better.

Even if Owen leaves the hospital and moves with her – it’s not enough.  It would be the same as Grey’s fans imagining a Dr. Burke who settled instead of one who moved Heaven and Earth to have it all.  Cristina’s happy ending should include a consuming career and a consuming love.  We want to imagine that Cristina is out there, forging a future with her soul mate the same way Meredith is forging a future with hers.

No matter what happens now, it will feel like settling.  I think Shonda got this one wrong and I think she was influenced by the bad things the actor playing Burke did that got him tossed from the show.  This feels more like Shonda punishing the character for the misdeeds of the actor — and shortchanging Cristina in the process.

The Cristina/Burke arc is one circle that Shonda should have finished.

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