RT Wrap-Up and Offer to Book Clubs

I’m baaaaaaaccccck from RT11 and i had a blast. What a fun week. I attended a bunch of great workshops like one on writing romantic suspense, and one on increasing heat in urban fantasy. I got to sit in on a terrific editors panel, and listen to experts talk about the best way to write powerful fight scenes. But the place i learned the very most was from the wonderful writers i met who shared information and friendship generously. One evening i literally “sat at the feet” (at a cocktail party with too few chairs) of the great erotic romance writer, Lynn Lorenz, and listened to her talk about setting up your spreadsheets to keep track of your books and their success. I heard about the power of gender fluidity in paranormal worlds from Belinda McBride, the use of graphics from Lex Valentine, and writing BDSM from Cherise Sinclair. Z A Maxfield talked about writing her first vampire story, the fantastic Notturno, which was the best-selling ebook at MLR Press for 2010 and one of my all time favorite vampire novels. And then i walked up to my idol and mentor, Jet Mykles, to introduce myself and she said, “Hi Tara, i’m reading Genetic Attraction“. Talk about your highpoints!! I would have gone to RT just for that!. 

Everyone was so nice to me and i had so much fun, i wish you all could have been there. But i would like to share. I have a bunch of Genetic Attraction bookcover postcards left over from the show and also some magnets. If you have a book club, reader’s group or even casual group like of fellow college students who enjoy erotic romance and you would like some of these to share, let me know and i will mail them to you. You can email me at tara@taralain.com and give me your snailmail address.  Or, of course, you can leave a comment here. 

Also, if there’s anything you would like to know about RT, just leave a comment and i’ll try to answer. :  )

The Future of the Agent

I just returned from RT in Los Angeles and one of the big topics of discussion, both formally in workshops and informally in conversations, was “do you need an agent?” Opinions were all over the map. I talked to everyone from writers who adored their agents and couldn’t imagine living without them to those who passionately stated “why would i give someone 15% of my earnings to do what i can easily do without them!”. Those in the middle usually said, “I have an agent for anything i want to pitch to the New York publishers, but i do all my own ebook pitching and negotiating myself”.

And therein lies the crux of the argument. Yes, if a writer wants to do multi-book deals with traditional New York publishers, an agent is an advantage — but these days isn’t absolutely required. In a panel of editors i sat in on, the moderator asked were there any of the pubs represented that would NOT accept an unagented submission and not one person raised their hand. These editors represented everything from the large traditional pubs to the smallest indies. So submitting to traditional publishers is possible without an agent, but if you want to feel secure about getting the best deal for future books, usually an agent is important. But lets face it, the future is in digital. Print won’t go away, but any publisher ignoring digital is a dinosaur living in neverland.

Currently, agents have little place in digital contracts with indie publishers. These agreements are usually generous in terms of royalties, promise little in the way of advances, and require relatively little of the author except to produce a quality product and give the publisher first right of refusal on sequels and series.(That’s not to say that really successful e-pubbed authors don’t do a lot more in terms of self-promotion, creative submissions, business planning, etc, but it’s not required by the contracts.) Those terms that are at all questionable in e-contracts are generally negotiable between the author and the publisher. If a writer wants to submit to a digital-first publisher, they can usually go to the website and read the guidelines, follow them and submit. A very few e-publishers are “by invitation only” but there are so many others to choose from, authors don’t have to care. Successful e-published authors make substantial annual incomes without the need for an agent.

But what about the future? Already, a few agents are starting to stake their claim in the digital turf. As New York pubs become more aggressive in the digital arena, agents will find their roles becoming more important again. BUT, agents must wake up and smell the future. The future agent will understand digital publishing, respect it, and  create ways to add value to the author’s work. Above all, they will be partners with the author in ways that today’s traditional agent can barely appreciate. A friend that went to an agents’ workshop at RT said that some of the agents were sneering and joking at authors who submitted to them. I can’t imagine that that attitude works well for them today. I feel very certain it won’t work in the publishing world that’s coming — a world in which truly creative and collaborative agents will find ways to stand with their authors at the top of the digital heap.

Cool New Review from the Deviant Divas

Hi everyone –I’m at the RT Booklovers Convention in LA. Having a marvelous time. In browsing Goodreads i found this delightful review of Genetic Attraction from The Deviant Divas. I thank them so much for taking the time to read the book as well as for their great comments. Had to share: 

Emmaline and Jake are two research scientists heading up an important cancer research study. Think Nobel Peace Prize level there has been sexual tension between them for a long time. Em notices Jake touching her a moment too long here and there and lives for those moments. Being professionals she dreams of being able to show more than a passing interest and revealing her love for him.

A weekend invitation to Jake’s place in the countryside reveals another side of Jake Em didn’t foresee. Jake has a lover, Roan. Jake is gay and loves Roan. Disappointment doesn’t have time to set in when she figures out his plan for her. Roan and Jake both want to have a relationship with Em. What the hell, it’s a long weekend, a little fun can’t hurt.

Jake has been planning this moment, Roan and Em. The two people he loved most in the world. He and Roan had talked and dreamed about how it would go. It was better than either had imagined a menage. A photo is released that could cause serious damage to their reputation. Now Em, Jake and Roan have to decide. If this Menage is truly worth everything they have worked so hard for.

I enjoyed this book and now want to think a menage could work. These three characters were very hot and the book was well written. I enjoyed all of the dynamics in this relationship.
Reviewed by SubPage
5 Divas

Genetic Attraction is a tantalizing tale full of drama and sexiness featuring a distinguished research scientist, her sexy assistant, and a gorgeous supermodel. In these modern times, some sexual preferences do not fit into standard sexual norms. Em knows that the ultra-conservative academic world where she conducts her research is not going to be accepting of the wonderful yet extraordinary relationship she’s involved in. It takes her free-spirited mother and a supportive colleague to help her make the right decisions regarding matters of her heart. This story is well written with just the right amount of erotica and kinkiness to keep it stimulating throughout the entire read.
Reviewed by Trixxy
4 Divas

Warning, this book will cause the female reader to search for toys or a convenient male for sexual gratification. Ms. Lain created drool worthy men.

Ménage a trois with a sexy smart scientist and a molting hot model can definite cause a woman to stop thinking straight. Ms. Lain provided a buffet of delectable males to choose from. From the very beginning, her characters pull the reader into the life of academia. She reveals the narrow minded and petty politics which many people are unaware. This provides a perfect backdrop for the story’s dilemma. Enter the pompous Dr. Kovak whose hidden agenda is never quite revealed. Does he enjoy frightening people with his thinly veiled blackmail threats? There is no doubt Ms. Lain generates heat in her sex scenes. To be clear, the sex in this book is hot. Readers will devour every sex act and live vicariously through Emmaline, the lead female character. While it’s unrealistic for two sexy men to also be blessed with noteworthy equipment, a girl can still fantasize and enjoy the ride. The dynamic between the triad is realistic and endearing. Ultimately, the story’s question is – will Emmaline choose her career over the men?
Reviewed by Book Addict
4 Divas

The object of two fine ass men dreams, so wish it was me. Genetic Attraction is a roller coaster ride of sensual pleasure and erotic expedition. Tara Lain did a marvelous job in sculpting three characters with excellent depth. I love this novel!
Reviewed by Kishia
5 Divas

A novel that is fan worthy,Genetic Attraction is a steamy read. Emmaline, Jake and Roan have a blazing chemistry. The problems the three face are realistic and believable. The author’s way of bring the characters together was fantastic!
Reviewed by Novel Diva
4 Divas


ADULT Excerpt: Genetic Attraction

It’s been a while since i posted an excerpt from Genetic Attraction, my M/M/F menage now available from Loose Id, Amazon, and other retailers. It also received a Best Book rating from Whipped Cream Reviews. In case you haven’t seen the Book Trailer, click here.

Although the book is M/M/F, this scene is M/F. My hero (one of them), Dr. Jake Martin, has had a falling out with the heroine, Dr. Emmaline Silvay, his lover and boss, because she won’t move in with Jake and his male lover, Roan. She attends a faculty party where she’s being hit on quite politely by another professor and then she sees Jake. Here’s what happens (remember — RATED R at least):

“Well, little rock dweller, can I get you another glass of wine?”

“Maybe in a minute; right now I need a rest room.”

“Actually, I noticed a pretty long line outside the one in the hall.” He made a discreet point skyward. “But we VIPs happen to know there’s a little-known bathroom up in Howard’s bedroom.”

“Oh great.” She hopped off the stool, only feeling a little hit from the glass of chardonnay, and turned toward the stairs.

He gestured to the upper floor. “Want a guide?”

“No need. This house has a similar floor plan to mine. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Up the carpeted stairs lined with old historical photos, the noise died down and the lights were dim. She sagged against the wall for a minute to catch her breath. Jesus, Kovak; just what she needed. And then there was Isaac. He was an attractive man, very attractive actually, and single, and her age, and appropriate. Under ordinary circumstances, she’d be interested.
“Daydreaming about the new boyfriend?”

Guilt made her face heat. Shit. Jake.

“What are you doing here?” She turned and looked into his angry but still oh-so-beautiful face.

“This is a faculty party. Last time I checked, I was a member of the faculty.”

“You know what I mean. You haven’t been anywhere near this campus after five o’clock all week. Why the sudden social bent?”

Six-foot-two of upset man loomed over her. “Not happy to see me, Em? Afraid I’ll cramp your style with Dr. Loverboy down there?”

Okay, too much. Tears started running down her face. Shit, she was crying. “Stop it, Jake. There’s never anyone I want to see more than you.”

He stared at her, torn it seemed between anger and some other softer emotion. His hand shot out, grabbed her behind the head, and pulled her into his arms. And there was that ravenous mouth. Consuming. For a moment, words like Kovak and Isaac and Dr. Winton flashed in her mind. Oh, but this was Jake. She opened her mouth and accepted all of that questing tongue. The frustration, anger, hurt, and longing of the whole week flashed into passion, heat. Her body pressed against his, writhing on the huge erection that pressed into her abdomen. Oh God, somehow she had to get that where it belonged. She tried to climb him, thrusting her hips against his body, but the height difference was just too much. He pushed her back against the wall behind her, bent his knees, and came up with that rock-hard bulge pushing against her clit. Oh, shit, yes.

Still thrusting, he pulled his mouth from hers and gasped, “We can’t stay here. Where can we go?”

She grabbed his hand, slid herself out from under him on the wall, and led him into Howard’s bedroom two doors down the hall. There were some coats and purses on the bed, so guests might come in. She located the bathroom and pulled him into it. It was a smallish room — nothing like he was used to in Connecticut — just a shower stall, sink, and toilet with a cabinet above. Right now it looked like the Taj Mahal to her.

He pulled her into a heated kiss again, thrusting that tongue deep like she loved. She sucked on his tongue, her hands pawing at his fly, trying to open it. Never breaking the kiss, he took over the effort. He opened his belt, unbuttoned his pants, and pulled down his fly. She slipped her hand in and wrapped her fingers around that beautiful cock. She started to kneel, but he pulled her back.

“No,” he panted. “May not have much time. Want to fuck you.”

He looked around at the sink, but seemed to decide against it. He pulled his trousers down around his knees and sat down on the toilet seat with his big, wet cock pointing up at the ceiling.
Oh, wow. Mindless. The only goal in her universe was to mount and ride that big dick. Stripping off her thong, she straddled him and lowered herself to the one place on earth she wanted to be. Oh, sweet, sweet —

His head fell back. Eyes tightly shut, he moaned, “Em, oh, Em, please.”

She began to ride. Her hands planted on the wall behind the toilet, she pressed forward and rode up and down and up and down, her body shaking with pure lust. How had she lived a week without this? Vaguely, she heard some voices in the bedroom outside, but she simply didn’t care. This was too wonderful.

Confessions of a Book Convention Virgin

I’m going to RT. Whew. It gives me a butterfly or two. You see, I’ve never been to a writer’s conference of any kind. Of course, I’ve only officially been a novelist for a few months, since my first book, Genetic Attraction, a M/M/F menage, came out from Loose Id in January. 
It’s funny to say I’m a convention virgin, because I literally made a living doing presentations for conventions and trade shows for many years right out of college. I started out standing up in front of crowds with a microphone extolling the virtues of some new computer system and, in later years as a PR person, dragged the poor members of the press into my client’s booth for interviews. But RT will all be new. Just getting ready for this conference, however, I’ve already learned a bunch of important facts:
It’s all about the bar –If all the people who say they are going to meet me in the bar meet me in the bar, there will be no one left in the sessions.
Swag R Us — At my first trade show years ago I was dressed as a rabbit, a singing and dancing one, and I ran around between performances collecting candy –it was the National Confectioners Association. At RT, we writers are the candy givers. I now have a stack of postcards, magnets, little mirror compacts and such to hand out. It should be fun.
  Build the Back List, baby – At RT, I’ll be in the less than ideal position of having only one ebook available. My next release isn’t until May, then June and beyond. Under ordinary circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have picked RT for my first conference, but it’s in my backyard so I couldn’t resist. I realize with some delight that by this time next year I should have seven or eight books in the backlist including a few in print.
Workshopaholics Anonymous – I adore workshops. It’s how I trained myself to be a novel writer after a lifetime writing nonfiction. At RT, I will go crazy because at any given half hour there are multiple events I want to attend. And, of course, there’s the bar!
Ready for the Pitch – There are so many great opportunities to pitch publishers and agents at RT, I wish I had a manuscript to present. All my work this year, however, is spoken for and I’m not complaining. It’s a great problem to have.
I’m looking forward to the Conference and will be reporting back during the week with details as i learn lots more things. I’ll be signing at the ebook Fair on Friday afternoon, so come see me there. Anything you know i shouldn’t miss? Leave me a comment.  :  )

KIM S WINS! Doesn’t Have to Use Her Birthday Money!

Congratulations, Kim S!! Those good birthday vibes must have been working for you because your name was drawn at random from our many entries in the contest. You’ve won Genetic Attraction on CD (unless you’d rather have an e copy which is okay too) plus some fun swag that i’ll be taking to RT.  Please email me with your snail mail address.

I got great suggestions on how to survive RT. Here’s a few:

  • Keep good notes for followup
  • Plan who you want to meet. Get organized!
  • Make time to visit your favorite authors.
  • Bring a camera
  • Bring a collapsible cart
  • Definitely go to the RT Virgin meeting
  • Leave room for new books
  • Lots of water
  • Take a few minutes to do NOTHING
  • Hand sanitizer!
  • Decorate your name tag to make it easy to see
  • Have fun, have fun, have fun!!!
Thanks to everyone who entered. For a pretty new author, i sure meet the best people.  Thank you again. (I expect to have extra postcards after the show, so if you have a book club or group you’d like to give them to, let me know after April 10 and i’ll send you some if they’re available.). 
BTW, if you happen to go to this link on Amazon and leave a rating or review it would be much appreciated!! 

The Special Lure of the Non-alpha Male

If you have read my book, Genetic Attraction, or read my blogs, you know i have a special love for beta males, the men who seldom wear wife-beater t-shirts, have little chest hair, cry occasionally and have a vocabulary of more than 25 words. And since i write M/M and M/M/F menage romances, my beta males are sometimes quite noticeably gay. I love guyliner, a touch of jewelry, and even a bit of glitter. One of my favorite pre-readers commented on my hero, David, in the upcoming Volley Balls, “He seems a bit effeminate here. Did you intend that?” My answer was a decided “Yes!” Of course, he has two of the alphay-est alpha males around to offset him. My supermodel, Roan, in Genetic Attraction and The Scientist and the Supermodel (coming May 31) is beautiful and wise and strong, but not truly an alpha male. He is gentle and submissive by nature, and, for many readers, he is their favorite hero.

But i’m not alone in my love of beta males. I’ve learned from the best. Jet Mykles has made a wonderful specialty of the non-alpha male, even including a few cross-dressers and transvestites. My favorite of her books, The Sursein Judgement, stars a most blatantly gay hero beautifully balanced by a wonderful, almost oafish farm boy. Lynn Lorenz writes very alpha males mostly, but one of her best and most popular books is called Edward Unconditionally, featuring a flamboyant, effeminate hero who it’s impossible not to love — or to forget. You probably know how much i love Sloan Parker’s book, More. And my favorite of her three heroes? Matthew, the gentle heart of the threesome and the book. Josh Lanyon and Ethan Day also create some wonderful betas.

Perhaps more woman like alpha males than favor my more gentle heroes, but i try to give a variety to choose from. Clearly, however, enough women like effeminate pretty boys to keep people like Adam Lambert and Bill Kaulitz very popular. Most of my heroes don’t wear feathers — yet!  LOL.

What kind of heroes do you like to read and write? Are you alpha all the way? Or like a little variety?

Conference Survival Contest!! FREE Book CD

Hi everyone — I’m blogging this week (Tuesday March 22)  at Literary Escapism on a topic i called “Confessions of an RT Virgin“.  You see, in April i’m attending my first ever author/readers conference (RT in Los Angeles) and i’m looking for advice.  What are the tips from readers and authors who have attended (or are planning to attend) any conference for surviving and thriving in this busy crazy world of workshops, pitches, networking and trips to the bar!!

Give me your best advice and you may win a CD ROM copy of Genetic Attraction (so if you’ve read it, this makes a perfect gift) plus a selection of my RT swag — a little mirror compact, some signed postcards, a magnet or two.

So leave me a comment below. It doesn’t have to be brilliant — the winner is decided by drawing.  If you follow the blog your name will go in the contest drawing twice. Okay? Make sure i have a way to contact you if you win. If you leave your email, let me know if i should add it to my email list.

Come on –all tips gratefully received. So, comfortable shoes, but how do you stay comfy and still look good? What else?  :  )

Creating Book Titles: Before or After-thought?

Titles. They are sooo important to a book. How often have you bought a book almost entirely on the strength of its title? Belinda McBride has some winners. I could not pass up An Uncommon Whore or Blacque/Bleu because the titles are so provocative. One of my dear friends, the great Suzanne Forster, is a master (mistress) of titles. Her first book was called Undercover Angel. Who wouldn’t want to publish that book? One of my favorites of hers was The Devil and Miss Moody, and she’s most famous for titles like Blush, The Lonely Girls Club, Shameless and The Private Concierge.

Writers create titles in different ways. For some, the title is a post-book creation and they consider a whole list of possibilities. For me, it’s much more integral. I often think of the title of a book at the same time as the original concept of the story. Genetic Attraction grew right out of the basic idea, two geneticists have a secret yen for each other.The Scientist and the Supermodel was named practically on day one. I couldn’t resist the alliteration and i’ve always loved titles that have a this AND that quality (The Devil AND Miss Moody). These books never had any other titles.

My current work in progress, a romantic suspense, had a brief  title misstep.The story is a M/M/M menage, and one key character is a male ballet dancer. I originally named the book Pas de Trois. This is actually a perfect title for this story. Pas de Trois means roughly “steps for three” and it is a ballet term. Now, i’m a ballet freak and i speak a little French — but quickly i started to worry, if you don’t know ballet and you don’t speak French will this title be off-putting? I asked you all — on Twitter and at a couple Yahoo groups — and what i heard back was “better not”. Fortunately, an even better title for the book is The Golden Dancer which is both the name of a statue that is stolen in the book and a description of my beautiful ballet dancer hero.

My summer romance always had two title choices and when i polled my editors Volley Balls was the winner. I like it a lot.  Do you?

Which brings me to my title angst! The sequel to Genetic Attraction,  a M/M/F menage that involves a beautiful man who looks like a woman and an adorable girl who looks like a young boy, always had a title from day one. It was called Androgynous Dreams. I love this title and would buy any book called this — BUT, my editors do not agree. They think the title is not romantic and the more people i ask, the more people that agree with them. (Smart people those editors). So i am currently trying to find a title that we all like for this book. The funny thing is i realize that this process is AWFUL for me. The title is so much a part of the heart of a book in my mind that not having a title makes the book feel eviscerated. It’s actually a source of anxiety! Which is weird! As i go along as a writer, i’m sure this will happen many times and i better get used to it., but for now my book feels like an orphan! I will keep you up to date and may get you involved in the final selection.

So tell me, seriously!  What kinds of titles capture your attention? What are your favorites? I am going to need to know in the near future!!!  LOL