Saturday, December 22, 2012

On the Writer's Resource Bookshelf: The Emotion Thesaurus

I suffer from acute blog phobia. Seriously. I never know what to write and I certainly lack the whimsical, fun attitude of some of my fellow writers. So, since my New Year's resolution (one of many, I might add) is to actually blog more frequently than the 12th of never every other decade I've decided to enter the geek sanctuary of my office and share with you all my take on writer's resource books.

I know. This may make many of you yawn, but you'd be surprised what I consider a "resource." A conversation with one of fellow writers in my local chapter (ARWA rocks!) made me recall a book I'd bought a while back and promptly shelved after thumbing through it.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression is chocked full of some wonderful assistance on how a character could/would/should respond physically, internally and mentally to an emotion. It also delves into cues for acute or long-term and suppressed instances of the emotion.

I purchased mine from Amazon.

The emotions run the gauntlet of what we as writers take our characters through all the time. Adoration, anger, anguish, desire, fear, envy, embarrassment, gratitude, guilt, happiness, impatience, loneliness, surprise and wariness are just a few of the many emotions found within the book. The authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have done a very good job, IMHO, at having a very eclectic array of potential emotions.

The positives of this resource are obvious--it's a treasure trove of not-so-hidden cues and brainstorming nudges for you to seize and run with while writing. The hesitation I have is the potential for falling into cliched responses if you don't pressure yourself to delve a bit deeper and make what you take from this book your own.

Like any resource, you should assign your own voice, world and subtext to it in order to make your story truly shine. No two characters should ever respond to a situation the same. They have different levels of investment in each situation they undertake. They also have different backgrounds, ambitions and fears which are all pertinent ingredients to what I consider a soup of emotions that are present in any scene. Whether it's gritty, hard-core sex or a fight to save a planet there will always be multi-layered emotions at play.

This book is a marvelous resource for beginning your delve into your character's responses. Just remember that the deeper you go the more realistic it will be.

On the Geeky Writer scale of 1-5 pencils, I'd have to give this one a firm 3. A great start that requires considerable creative input by the user.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Partying Ellora's Cave Style...

Well those who may know me will probably be shocked to hear that I braved not one but FOUR sardine cans with wings for the sake of what has got to be the BEST conference I have ever gone to.

Ellora's Cave held their RomantiCon this year and I was thrilled to attend. Since this was my first I was a bit more reserved than I probably should have been, but nonetheless had a blast hanging out with my fellow authors and the AWESOME readers.

Oh, and did I mention the Cavemen? Well, I'd post pics, but I think that nothing could do them justice because they truly did a wonderful job entertaining everyone their with their charisma, energy and killer performances.

I also did my very first signing. Again, those who may know me that I don't do crowds well at all. But Ellora's Cave had an awesome setup and I loved, loved, loved getting the opportunity to meet and speak with so many lovely readers. It truly made my weekend. Hell, my month.

The icing on the cake? Well, Passion's Training, the third book in my Pleasure Brigade series won a Kinkiest Choreography award. Yay! This was the 2nd for the series, so now I truly have a high, high bar for the fourth book, which is almost ready to turn into my editor, btw. I know some have been asking. :)

Okay, I'm off to get some rest and wash off the millions of recycled germs that have probably infested me from my time in the sardine cans with wings. I've gotta say, though. This conference made me willing to ride in ten times more of those planes if I had to.

I hope to see you all there next year!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I grew up on a small town in southwest Texas, the heart of ranch and farm land. Structure wasn't simply engrained within me, it was woven into my marrow from an early age. By the time I was four I knew that Monday through Friday I would leave the ranch at 6:00 a.m. and ride standing in the center of the truck between my grandpa and my uncle. Yes, I know. I'm showing my age because things like that get CPS called on you now. But it was life as I knew it.

I knew I spent half the day with strangers supposedly learning important stuff for later on. Naps, opening the milk carton, folding my blanket. God how I wish those were truly the only things I ever had to know.

The real education began when I was back with my grandpa, who would spend hours crouched on the floor of the shop with a piece of broken chalk. There I learned the power of words and what they could do when strung together.

Before I hit kindergarten I could read and knew most of my multiplication tables. Now before you go and think I was smart, I really, really wasn't.

It was structure and I thrived on it.

I'd memorized everything about each day. The patterns were my marrow, the tendons holding my existence together. It shouldn't surprise you that I became a financial analyst. Patterns, structure became my existence.

But it left me longing for the simpler times when I'd play with doodle bugs in the backyard or listen to wild tales about bears in trees and pixie dust.

Now that I've been writing while attempting to maintain my dreaded day job, those tendons are giving way to a brave new world where futures are uncertain and structure isn't really possible.

The creative side of my brain loves the fact that the world has become dynamic, breathing and flowing with unknown and untapped potential. As the world of digital publishing evolves and the throngs of authors press forward into new arenas, the little girl who crouched beside her grandpa and proudly quoted times tabled that she had no freaking understanding of can't help but cower in the corner.

Structure is what I've fought my entire life to sever. Determined to strike out and be the creative individual that I want, I can't help but realize now that it has become my crutch.

My goal for the next year is to press harder to move toward the creative grounds and slowly let the structure go, strand by strand.

May we all find that sliver of structure we wish to sever and let it ride the wind.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Contest Time!

To celebrate my recent release, Hard Day's Reward, I thought it would be fun to have a contest. :)

All you have to do to win a $10 gift certificate to Ellora's Cave is comment here and let me know what you're reading right now, or looking forward to reading. Or sign up for my Yahoo newsletter through my website.

I'll announce a winner on Sunday, January 29th.

Good luck and happy reading :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

EC For Men Release Launch Today

I'm thrilled to be one of the authors helping to debut the new EC for Men line at Ellora's Cave. This line, in case you haven't heard, is erotic fiction geared toward men. If you like your stories smoking hot and the pages sizzling, go grab you a copy of them all. :)

So without further ado....

Here are a couple of excerpts from the stories releasing today. Check them out for yourself at

Hard Day's Reward
Cara Carnes
There weren’t many things better than a cold beer after a shitty day. Only one came to Chad Barlow’s mind immediately—one of Shelly’s surprises.

He knocked on the apartment door and edged closer to the entrance. She’d driven him crazy most of the afternoon. The hands-off-at-work bullshit was getting old, but she made up for it when they did get together, so he couldn’t bitch too hard.

The door creaked open and a curvy brunette answered with a smirk on her full red lips. Her blue eyes scanned him in silent appreciation and his cock hardened instantly at the perusal. Her I’d-fuck-you-hard-any-day look almost made him forget why he was here.

A red, thin-strapped shirt hugged her palm-sized tits and stopped short of nice, full hips. Snug shorts stopped mid-thigh, offering him a bountiful feast of tanned skin, which ended at dainty red-polished toenails. But her lush lips and long, curled hair drew his gaze back to her bemused grin. His hands itched to run through the thick mass and press her to the floor. Maybe then he could sample exactly what that hot little mouth could do.

“You must be Chad.” She stepped aside. “Come in and join the party. Shelly’s told me all about you.”

Crap. He’d fucked up already and hadn’t even gotten in the door. His cock throbbed, aching for relief from the tension his thoughts had stirred. Shelly never went for drama, but getting a hard-on for whoever this was probably wasn’t the best way to start the surprise.

“Hey, baby.” Shelly wandered in, her long blonde hair swishing around her shoulders as she flip-flopped her way to him and stood on tiptoes to kiss him. Her hand ran down his chest and dipped lower to cup his balls. He groaned into her floral-scented hair. “I knew he’d find you hot, Marcy.”

The appreciative lilt in her voice revved his libido into overdrive. He’d make sure she purred good and hard tonight.

The white lace bra and panty set he’d gotten her for her birthday taunted him from beneath a white lace kimono. He never cared much what she wore. Her sexy-as-hell molten lips and the sensuous swish of her hips always captured his attention first.

The wicked grin he recognized lit up her face. She’d planned something naughty. “I’ve put out a beer for you.”

That’s one thing he always enjoyed about Shelly. The no-frills d├ęcor of her house made him welcome—from her eclectic black-and-white scenery photographs to an endless assortment of shot glasses. Nothing in the place matched and he loved every inch of it.

Marcy angled toward the loveseat and perched on the edge. “I was worried he wouldn’t since you’re so gorgeous.”

He’d lost track of the conversation somewhere between the gorgeous tits and sultry lips, but he didn’t much care. Shelly’s soft laughter tumbled through his jumbled mixture of shock and excitement. Fucking woman loved to shake things up—and damn if he wasn’t ready for whatever she was about to dish out tonight.

Copyright © CARA CARNES, 2012

Take Me At The Ballgame
Cassandra Carr

JT Lovejoy looked out over the baseball field, still lit from the game tonight, with its cross-cut grass and cleat marks forged in the dirt around the bases. The home team he covered for the local newspaper had just squeaked out an 11th-inning win and he’d been lucky to make his deadline—working so late he was now alone in the press box. His fingers were cramped and he could use a beer.

Too bad they don’t let us drink in the press box. Would make for some interesting stories for the paper.

JT was about to pack up his computer when he heard a noise behind him. He turned to see the team’s public relations intern, Sydney, standing just inside the door. His cock began to harden as he took in the tight team polo shirt stretched across tits he’d dreamt about more than once and a flippy little black skirt that made him wish for one of those under-the-skirt cameras so he could see what was hidden underneath. She tucked a strand of her long, brown hair behind her ear and smiled. It was anything but innocent.

“Hi, JT. I saw the lights on, but wasn’t sure anyone was up here.”

Sure you weren’t, honey.

They’d been flirting for weeks now, and JT decided then and there to do something about it. “Yep, still here. Just turned in my assignment.”

“You, um, got everything you need?”

He raised an eyebrow.

What an opening…

“As a matter of fact, no.”

“Oh? Can I get you something else? Wait, you sent in your story already, though, right? You must have.”

“My story isn’t what I was talking about…”

What I need is you. Your tits, your pussy…

Sydney’s brow furrowed. Was she really this obtuse? JT would bet not. “Another feature?”

“Sort of.” He motioned her closer. “Come here and I’ll tell you.”

Her gaze darted to the closed door just behind her. “All right.”

She approached and he gripped the arms of the chair to keep himself from reaching for her. Sitting down in one of the adjacent chairs, Sydney then leaned forward a little, almost as if she were offering herself to him.

Hopefully she will before long.

He took a deep breath and went for it, staring out the window at the now-darkened field.

“You’re what I need.”


“Yeah. Under me, on top of me, hell, side by side is fine…” He checked to see if she looked repulsed or about to slap him, but all she did was lick her lips. Images of those lips tightened around his cock flooded his sex-deprived mind.

“That’s pretty forward.”

“I’m a forward kinda guy,” he lied and held his breath.

Her eyes darted down to his lap and when she looked back up he could see the heat in them. “Well, we can’t have you needing something and not getting it, now, can we?”

Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr