My avatar's name is Ava Donja of Silk and Stone.
The other me writes general market romance. I play World of Warcraft. This is where I make two parts of my life merge in sensual fantasy romance novellas.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nothing In Particular

I really have nothing good to say. I'm sorry.

I've been working on four different projects -- and I've honestly been working. Hard. It's crazy. My neck hurts. I should probably look into ergonomics or something like that.

Let's see... it's summer which means it's warmish here on the coast. I don't like the extra crowds tourism brings, but I realize it's good for the economy. It's not like I'm a beach bum anyway. I'm way too fair skinned and the beach has a lot of sand. That, and the ocean has stuff that lives in it. I do like listening to the surf and the smell of the salt breeze. I don't feel the call of the sea, but it is soothing. That, and when I'm all wrapped up my stupid little problems, the vastness of it all is humbling.

Still sober. Coming on a year soon. Nothing especially exciting with that either. I have had no great moments of clarity or any of that.

Right now I'm waiting for my banana pudding popsicles to freeze so I can eat one. I'm also waiting for my toe nail polish to dry so I can put on my shoes.

Wow, this is really weak. Ummm... interesting and not-so-interesting facts about me:

If Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook cost money, I would owe a lot to some bookie type. I now totally get how people can be addicted to stupid things like slot machines. Never going to take that up.

I'm considering going vegetarian + fish. I don't know if I have the strength of conviction to really go for it.

I have lost contact with one of my closest friends. He was non-judgemental and always there for me during my early sobriety and I could tell him anything. It's my fault, I've let life interfere. He's probably got a job and a girlfriend at this point and I don't even know. I feel the loss and have no one to blame but me.

I'm totally bored with WoW. I log on, run around the fountain in SW. Occasionally I start some dailies or decide to find focus with achievements -- but I just don't care. My guild imploded, I took time off, and now I'm undergeared and lonely. Sort of sad.

And, last but equally unimportant, I'm really looking forward to Brave and sort of craving a green tea latte with almond milk.

So, there's my post. Perhaps radio silence would have been better. I will dedicate some energy toward planning next time.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

50 Shades of Meh

Yes, I read the book. I had to - the hype made me feel like I was out of the know. So I read it. I had heard many things, good and bad. And, since I have nothing better to talk about today, I will address them.

1. I'd heard it was poorly written. I disagree. It's written in first person point of view, so everything is from the main character's perspective. It's conversational and, at times, train of thought. It works for what it is. Overall, I enjoyed the read and never got taken out of the story by problems with the quality of writing.

2. It's like Twilight for adults. Okay, well, the female lead is lacking a strong personality in the same every-girl way of Bella. In fact, I don't even remember her name or what she looks like (I remember her outfits though - weird). Christian, on the other hand, is really fleshed out (insert naughty laugh here). In a way it makes sense. It's from the 1st person  and Christian, like Edward, is the object of the heroine's obsession. Both Christian and Edward stalk their female. Both are a super man in every regard, but emotionally distant.  I've heard rumors that this started at fan fiction, but I'm not interested enough to confirm.

3. It's about corrupting innocence. I disagree. Female lead jumps into feet first. Why? Because she's never been aroused before. Christian, once he finds out the scale of her innocence, it reticent about said corruption. Her virginity wasn't a big deal to her, so therefore not a big deal in the scheme of things. Now, if she was a nun who was a virgin based on the dictates of her conscience and he broke her down, that would be different.

4. It's a romance novel, not literature. Okay, well, I think romance novels are a form of literature, so there. However, romance genre fiction is qualified in part by having an emotionally satisfying happy ending where the good guys are rewarded and the bad guys are punished. Fifty Shades does not meet that standard. The series as a whole might, but I'm not interested enough in spending the money to find out.

Yes, the book is steamy. There are sections that I really enjoyed. I find nothing appalling about a little rough sex or even some light bondage. I do draw the line at actual pain for pain's sake. Yes, I understand that pain and pleasure are part of the same family, just in extreme forms -- that doesn't mean I secretly long for a spanking. If the reader is cringing and/or wincing during scenes that are supposed to be hot, it takes the reader out of the moment and breaks from the story. In that, the book should have stayed classified as BDSM erotica and not mainstream.

As to the idea of a movie, I cannot see it being anything other than a porn because it's all about sex. Picture the remake of the Thomas Crown Affair but without the side plot of the art theft. Plus, I kept seeing Christian Bale as he was in American Psycho.

So my overall opinion of Fifty Shades -- it was fine. I read it, was intrigued by it as much as any romance novel. I'm not addicted. I also will not be requesting to be tied up with a tie any time soon. Probably.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

10 Months Sober and My Birthday. Damn.

Okay, so here we are - it's May 1st. This is significant because it's my birthday. Yay for me! I'm older now. I might get some frozen yogurt later to celebrate.

Today also marks my 10 months sober. This is my first sober birthday and NONE of my friends have called. Why? Because they're really uncomfortable. How does one party whilst sober? If you ask my friends, the answer is YOU DON'T! Me? I would suggest nachos and Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill.

So, happy freakin' birthday to me. Honestly, I would rather not see them. They're all so understanding without understanding a damn thing. I mean, how's one drink going to hurt? Or one night of drinking? Man, each time I hear that I really want to buy in, to believe that I could just drink with my friends for a night. But I know that once that happens, there will be nothing standing in the way of my alcoholic rational mind from me taking that one night to mean I'm fine so why can't I have a margarita on my own? Or a pitcher. There is no such thing as moderation.

So, what am I doing today? I'm sleeping. I plan to get naked, put aromatherapy stuff on my pillow, and climb between cool sheets. I will lock my door and put on my white noise rainstorm. If anyone tries to call, they will go directly to voicemail because I decided not to charge my cell phone.  When I wake up, I will write and it will be good.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm a Pretty, Pretty Panda

So I took the bait and cleared room on my hard drive to install the beta of Mists of Pandaria. I even, against my better judgement, made myself a panda monk. Why? Because I'm an idiot.

SO MANY PANDAS! Seriously, my computer couldn't take it -- and that was with the graphics on low. I froze and reboot twice. I did get my hand-wraps equipped, but never was able to make it to a training target. Because I care enough, I'll try again on Monday morning when American kids are at school. Of course, the German and Russian kids are in a different time zone, so I'm probably equally screwed but with less English. 

Die frau macht der fussball.  Yep, I remember my 7th grade German enough to be annoying.

Anyhow, my panda. She's cute. People with furry fetishes are going to be all over panda chicks. I assumed she'd be about as sexy as a Tauren, but she's much better -- more on the same level as when Bugs Bunny was in drag.

I have a friend and fellow blogger who plays WoW. She has had a couple kids and struggled with her weight. She enjoys being hot in game. Pandas are not hot unless you have really diverse tastes.

As for me, I'm hot in rl so I don't need my avatar to help me fantasize. In fact, I look just like my blood elf (I'd say a ne, but I don't have the Popeye arms and man hands). That being the case, I wonder why I don't have any dwarf, tauren, or undead toons?

No Photoshop used in this image. None. Zip.
And, just for fun, here's a very pixelated Snickers commercial from a few year back that pops to mind whenever I think of pandas. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Not in the Mood

 I've been charting religious practices, social strata, names, holidays, traditions, etc... in world building within my United Factions, the Allied People's Republic, and the neutral cities of Seraph and Selph within the world of Azuramer. I've also been continuing to work within my two works in progress, Control and Surrender.  I've become a hybrid planner/pantser and I like it.
The problem I'm having is that I'm at the BIG sex scene. You know, the genre required scene toward the climax (he he) of the story where the couple realize it's true love, etc... These scenes have never really been a challenge. Once I get my writing groove on, the scene flows. Yes, I have some tidying to do, but in all the scenes are well written and get the intended emotional content across. And, I shouldn't have to mention, they're hot.

This is my problem right now. My real world influences have been decidedly not hot. Life is, well, life. I've been sick with an upper respiratory thingy (not hot), I'm broke (not hot), and work is crazy. To top it all, I recently watched Bridesmaids. While I really enjoyed the film, the residual imagery it left with me has made sexual content really laughable. I am not able to suspend disbelief long enough to allow a mood to establish.

So I'm stuck on my w.i.p., unable to finish the scene. Since a big part of my process is seat of my pants, I can't just write the last scene and be secure in the knowledge it will be the organic extension of their sexual moment of clarity.

To add insult to injury, I Googled "romantic imagery" for this blog, and this was the 2nd image suggested.  WTF? Thanks Google, I needed the help to be not turned on.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? A lot.
I wrote Mind, Body, and Spirit as a stand alone. That gave me so much freedom. The world creating, details about culture – I could just throw things in to land where they may. Writing follow up stories in the same word? Now I have to think about it. I even have to draw a map (I admit it; I have already drawn a map).

When I started writing Control, I made a table to lay out how each magic user actually used magic. Mages manipulate molecules, primarily through academics. Warlocks have links to the soul, it’s almost parasitic. Druids tie in to ley lines and rely on the balance of nature. Yes, I have more details than this, but they’re not relative to this post. The point here is that planning is now required. Structure. I don’t respond well to limits.

One of my biggest obstacles now are character names. I can’t just flippantly choose something that sounds cool. I can no longer just throw in a random apostrophe or replace vowels with the letter ‘y’ simply because it looks neat. No thinly veiled references to Arthurian legend (which are fine when the story itself has something to do with said legend). I have to consider the rules for naming, masculine and feminine, in the elvin cultures. Actual thought is required. Damn it.

I have already (and thoughtlessly) named Evanesse and Malccino. That sets the precedent of names ending in ‘o’ being masculine. It’s not a far reach from our own western culture naming habits. My sun elf bad guy, Thassian, is from a different culture and will have slightly different norms. In Control, my main male is sun elf – his name has to follow similar structure. I had named him Torvyn, but it was just because it looked neat. I haven’t ruled it out, but it has to fit the rule book for the culture.

In Surrender, my elf rogue was named Cagasi. Not only was this hard on the eyes (an ‘a’ followed by ‘g’ followed by ‘a’), it ends in a long ‘i’ sound. Is that within the parameters for elvin male names? That problem is that I don’t know the answer to that question – and it’s something I should know. It’s something most fantasy writers have plotted long before they start their writing. I am an romance writer who threw on some magic sauce, so this is a learning experience.

I am looking forward to this becoming so second nature, the world so fully fleshed out, that I can screw with it. Once the world norms are set in stone, I can joke with my readers. I might throw out elvin equivalents to Apple or Ochocinco and my readers will realize they’re anomalies.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

Laura Kaye's Hearts in Darkness is one of my favorite books, with Caden one of my favorite heroes. I have since read her other works. I just finished In Service of the King. Though I'm not into vampires, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys erotic paranormal romance. It threw me, though, because in her created vampire lore, when vampires mate they get a mark, a tattoo, as a visible sign of the spiritual connection.

I did the same thing in my novella, Mind, Body, and Spirit.

As soon as I read that, I put down my Kindle and checked the publication date. Her book came out a month after mine which means there was no way I could have copied that detail.

I had another moment of panic a month or so ago when I read Zoe Archer's Rebel. In the big, meaningful sex scene where they both realize they are meant to be together (one exists in every romance), it is from behind with some hair pulling involved. Slightly animalistic (which makes sense since Lesperance is a shifter). My final big "You are mine" scene had a very similar choreography.  This bothered me a little, but not too much since, in sex, there are three basic positions and the chances of having the same sequence of events are high.

But mating tattoos? What are the chances? I really thought my story device was original. I happen to really like ink and carried that through into my story. Kaye must like it too (Caden). I just have to tell myself that great minds think alike, right?  The only thing that irks is that she did it better than me. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

NOT Getting My Drink On

The other day I bought some alcohol free wine (Fre) and mixed it with Sprite for a white trash wine cooler. It had the right feel and filled a gap. The gap is really big right now. I don’t know if it’s the nicer weather, or the fact that I’m raiding and writing more consistently, but I really miss the warm fuzzy  buzz.

I’ve played with variations on Italian cream soda, mixed tonic with cranberry juice or just a squeeze of lime, and been drinking everything out of wine glasses or champagne flutes (Almond Roca syrup with soda water makes a reasonable almond champagne). Still, I miss getting my drink on. It’s not just the taste of a nice wine or the social aspect of drinking with friends. I miss the lack of inhibition and, well, being drunk. You’d think it would be easier the father removed from my last drink I got, but no. In fact, after the first month I was on a euphoric high. Look at me! I am a success story! I took control of my life and am not a loser! I stopped going to AA (I have issues with the higher power thingy and excessive hugging) and compartmentalized my alcoholism. In fact, I shoved it into a little box under the bed and pretended it didn’t exist.

But man do I want a drink. Sure, my writing was sloppy when I was drinking, but it was prolific. Words flowed from my finger tips. Words, often redundant and misspelled, but that wasn’t a big deal because I could always edit tomorrow.

This past month I have missed it all the time. It’s morning and I’m drinking orange juice and 7-Up out of a wine glass. Why? Because it feels luxurious and is an effort to patch up the hole.  Later I’m going to run FL with a pug. The last time I had a good time with that, I was shitfaced on lemonade and EVERCLEAR (yes, I was an idiot). I puked all night in various places and shook for three days. But I had a great time while raiding (horrible dps though) and I was a lot of fun on Vent. That was June 30th. Technically my sobriety started July 1st, but I had not made the final decision until July 4th (my first AA meeting).

So now, here I am, coming on 8 months. I’m not really any stronger or more sure of myself than I was on July 1st (only now I’m not shaking from alcohol poisoning.) I’m writing and don’t feel I have to rely on the freedom that comes with a  buzz to produce good work, but I still miss it. Well enough of the pity party. I have a deadline to meet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've been frustrated with the way my guild crashed and died. That, coupled with my lack of time in general, has meant less WoW time. I don't even know my main's hot keys any more. My other 85's are too undergeared to run the new content. Ach whore that I am, my ineptitude shouldn't be a reason not to play. I mean, I can still do stupid things like fish, right?

Dark Moon fair was my only glimmer of hope, but any pay off from that is way off. As a result, I'm bummed about WoW. And, on top of it, I suck. Even sober. Maybe if I got my drink on, I'd remember all the content that I blurred through in a happy buzz. Or not. Today I ran a low level raid w/a friend and just was a spas. Seriously. And, besides dying, I couldn't find my way back to the instance. Repeatedly.

This inspired the blog title, sucktastic. I think that sums up my playing ability. Screw the new raids, I can't even do lowbie ones. How do I fix this? Start to care again? Join my friends on Star Wars instead? No -- I'm jumping back into dailies to relearn my toons. The good news? I'll get a lot of leather out of it.

Sad, really. I'm much better at writing about WoW than playing it.

How's your day?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hook, Line, and Sinker Blogfest

Justin at In My Write Mind is hosting a blogfest today.

Where: In My Write Mind blog, and your own
Objective: Post your 500-1000 word hook and critique other hooks posted by participants

Suggestive topics to consider when critiquing:
  • Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
  • Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
  • Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
  • Lastly, would I read more? 

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's contribution and welcome any comments on mine. Below is the first 500ish words from my work in progress Control (which I hope to have finished by the date this posts).

 She took a sip of her sparkling wine and sighed. Closing her eyes, she let herself enjoy the simple, physical delight in the way the bubbles tickled her tongue, the back of her throat. She needed this time for herself. To feel. To do. For once not to carry the burden of power or have everyone watching and weighing each action.
Tonight she was no one special. Just another mage in a city full of all walks of life. To any onlooker, she would appear as a simple human woman looking to turn off her brain for a few hours. She took another sip. Maybe she should drink something stronger.
The only way to escape her own mind was to be someone else. Instead of her usual elegant and respectable style, she put her body on display in the usual way that women do to get attention. Judging by the drink sent her way, she had done just that.
She remembered to let the smile reach her eyes as she nodded her thanks and took a sip. Sighing, she let the amber liquid roll across her tongue, enjoying the flavor, the warmth. It was too bad the drink had come with the attention of the muscular human male approaching.
He leaned against the bar, cutting into her personal space. “You looked like the type of woman who would appreciate aged port.”
“Do I?” She took another sip and avoided his eyes. It was always disappointing to see the dullness of spirit that so often accompanied attractive men. “And what does that type of woman generally look like?”
She smiled over the rim of her goblet. The man certainly did have nice arms. He would probably be an excellent companion tonight if sexual satisfaction were something that would be soothing. It certainly seemed to be something people enjoyed. She just was not one of those people.
Taking another sip she realized the young man was still talking.
“I prefer Dwarven Stout myself, but beautiful women have more refined taste. I’d bet you could probably teach me a thing or two.”
Ah, he was answering her question, and being suggestive.
“Teach you? About stout, women, or taste?”
He leaned closer, invading her space further. In any other setting she would assume he was trying to intimidate, to control the encounter by forcing her to retreat. But here in the Tavern at the Edge of the World, he was probably trying to create the illusion of intimacy – that is, if he thought about his actions at all.
He abruptly stopped whispering and straightened up, his face blank. She did not have to turn to feel the power pulsing behind her. She had another companion.
He leaned low, closer than the young buck had been. “He ordered the port because it was the special tonight.”
She smiled at the information. “Of course.” She whispered in response.
“I am surprised a woman of your power would waste her time with a talking muscle like that.”
His breath was harsh against her ear, sending a chill down her spine. Was she afraid? How exciting.

Looking forward to your comments!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bad Reviews

I have not (yet) had a bad review. I like to think that if/when it happens, I'll be mature and professional enough not to argue with the reviewer. Of course I'll probably grumble to myself about it, but I pray that I wouldn't embarrass myself by discrediting someone's valid opinion. In writing you learn that a critique is a gift -- even if it doesn't feel that way at the time.

I have written negative reviews (under a different name) and had people jump down my throat. My comments were never confrontational, just pointing out my experiences with a book. I do read indie authors. Because of the wild price ranges, I also read the reviews and the sample before buying (most of the time). Reviews effect my opinion.  These books call me to review even more than the ones I loved. Like a higher power is calling on me to state the truth to the innocent readers about to select "Buy now with 1-click." Now that I'm an indie author, I'm a little wary of giving negative feedback. What if those authors get vindictive? I've seen it happen in comments -- why not just hunt down my book and give it a bad review out of spite?

That said, I would welcome a negative review if it was sincere vs. malicious. It would tell me 1) people are reading my book and 2)my writing elicited an emotional response. To me that's a win/win. 1 star? I'd be surprised. But even if that was the case, my average would just appear more realistic. Nothing but glowing reviews tells me that the only people reviewing the book are friends of the author (I mean, seriously, if the books is that epic, why self-publish?). Of course I asked some acquaintances from within the online writing community to read and post a review. I did not stipulate that it had to be 5 stars, but I imagine they were kinder than they would have been if they were reviewing a complete stranger. Then again, if they want their reviews taken seriously they should be honest.

I started writing this series of Silk and Stone novellas with the intention of self publishing from the get go. They're novellas and could never be stand alone books. They are, however, perfect little $0.99 reads. If you read my story, write me a review. I'm a big girl and can take it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thank You for Your Reviews!

Mind, Body, and Spirit was released on 1/8/2012. I did not do any big release day, I just let my blogging go on as usual and inserted links to purchase the ebook at every possible location. I bet I have over 20 links within my blog since then. I should count them. Here are two more: Amazon US or Amazon UK. In case there is any question, yes, I really want you to buy my book. You can do it -- it's only $0.99.

Right now my book jumps wildly around on the bestseller list of Amazon's Kindle Shop. Sometimes it's 60,000th, and sometimes it's 270,000th. Doesn't seem to have rhyme or reason. There are, however, reviews (not all written by me or my friends).

Kathleen wrote, Mind, Body, and Spirit is "full of fantasy-adventure action and steamy (but sweet) romance. The author takes you away to another world with great detail and character development... perfect for a long, hot soak in a bathtub." She gave it 5 stars.

M. McKinley said, "This book brought me into a world of elves and magic that felt real - a huge feat in a short story. I couldn't put it down, and felt a connection with every character - even the bad guys! It was sexy, funny, and full of action." He/She gave it 5 stars.

Happily-Ever-After wrote, " The sexual tension is thick, the sensual content is hot hot hot... I found this story entertaining and heartwarming, and not just a little arousing. It gave me everything a romance novel promises plus the sense of magic." He/She also gave it 5 stars.

Erin, a fellow blogger, wrote that she "was able to lose [herself] in the story, loved the chemistry between Eva and Mal. [She] also loved how the alpha male fell hard when he realized what they had together and how Eva was unwilling to commit -- a little role reversal. Very romantic and very sensual." She gave it 4 stars. I was relieved by this, especially since her blogpost about the lack of quality control in self-published ebooks. I passed muster.

So far the reviews have been very complimentary. I have not jumped full force into marketing because I just don't have the time right now. I plan to attack it with a little more hutzpah when I make my next Silk and Stone novella available. As it is, right now I am very grateful to my readers for their support and their kind words.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Indie Author Tag-Party Blog Fest

Francine at Romancing the Blog is hosting this Tag-Party blogfest. I'm excited to participate.

My novella, Mind, Body, and Spirit is available in ebook from Simply click the link below (or any of the other links on my blog page). For UK readers (or US readers who want to help in the UK sphere, go to THIS link).

This is my first self published work. Ava Donja is a pen name, but she is fast becoming my alter ego. There's a certain freedom in anonymity. Yes, I still have to pay attention to my name branding, but I don't have to worry about what would happen if my Mom read my blog. Or my Mom's choir group. Or *shudder* my boss. So, I am free to be somewhat less than lady-like and it's wonderful.

Maybe that makes the real me a coward. Nah... just sensible. Or both.

My writing as Ava Donja started off as fan fiction just for fun, but quickly became something else. Yes, there are still some  hints of the original Warcraft inspiration, but they're so removed at this point that it's not worth commenting upon. I still plan to do my fan fiction for fun (and not for profit) on this blog, but my published works are fantasy romance.

When I'm not Ava Donja, I work with troubled teens. Writing in this genre is a real stress release for me and a necessary escape. When I feel the need to have a drink, I whip out my notebook and start writing. This has led to a lot of good writing time. I'm currently working on the 2nd installment of Silk and Stone novellas

I appreciate you visiting my blog. Look through past posts to get to know me better. Become a follower or not. Definitely visit my book on Amazon and vote on the tags. Right now I'm something like 147,000 on a list. I've got a long way to go. Thanks for supporting me!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classy Schmassy

In my rl I strive for my writing to be classy. Yes, it's sexually explicit but always in context with the story and never for gratuitous reasons.

Not so much with this. It's quite freeing, really. This alter ego sets my very repressed rl personality a little more free to go crazy. Add in the fantasy world and everything becomes possible (in my fantasy world, elves can hold their breath for a really long time).

Yes, the sex still works into the story, but there is a little more than you would expect, but not quite erotic romance. The character's sexual encounters all lend toward character building and story. But I'm throwing in side characters with sexy side stories just to throw the readers a bone (pun intended).

For example, my current project is about a Mage and Warlock. He has the ability to summon a demonic minion. She has the ability to cast a glamour to reproduce herself. Both the minions and the clones are under the control, or linked, to the main characters. While the main characters are becoming aroused by verbal sparing and displays of magic, the minion and the clones channel their master's arousal in a much more basic way. It's sexy, but doesn't draw away from the development of my Mage and Warlock. I don't even think it's a cheap trick, because it helps them both realize things about themselves that will lead to their eventual happy ending.

So, I've released the need to be classy, but I have not released my ethics in regard to storytelling. I look forward to opinions on this. In Mind, Body, and Spirit did the sun elf orgy  enhance the story? Or just add titillation? I hope for both, but I'm not objective.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things NOT to do While Trying to Raid

I haven't done a World of Warcraft related post for a while. I've been to caught up in getting Mind, Body, and Spirit out there and getting my next project ready.

I have recently been leveling my horde belf hunter. Too much in-guild drama for my regular alliance toons, so I'm taking a break on that front. By the time I play them again, I'm sure my gear will be obsolete (it probably already is, at least on my shammy).

Anyhoo, I was playing a bit ago and some Real ID friends asked if I wanted to join them in the raid finder. Besides feeling all warm and fuzzy for being included, I realized there was no good way to be in a raid while making tacos (what I was doing during flight paths between elders -- they were delicious, btw).

Hence, the inspiration for this blog. The following things are all from personal experience.

Things NOT to do while trying to raid:
  1. Eat a carne asada burrito.
  2. Color your hair. You have a specific time frame before you have to wash out the chemical solution and your party may not appreciate you needing to take a shower break mid boss.
  3. Get a back massage. Distracting.
  4. Watch Blue Mountain State. SERIOUSLY distracting. Also not a good idea to have a full bladder whilst watching this show.
  5. Smoke a cigar. Even a girly cigar. I can't heal and smoke at the same time. And I hate having to relight the damn thing for every puff.
  6. Be drunk. I used to think this made raiding more fun. It does -- for me. The rest of the party get really annoyed. Not-drunk me is a much better healer/dps, though not nearly as entertaining on Vent.
  7. Have a meaningful conversation with a sensitive family member. They will sense you are distracted and feel insulted. Worse, you may shout something like, "Die, ass hat!" into the phone. Not good. Sorry Mom.
  8. Write. Do not try to write. I have had Word open and alt/tabbed between screens thinking to multi-task. It is a fail on both ends. Not worth it.
Hmmmm... That's only eight. Any list worth taking seriously needs to have 10. What am I missing?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Porn is NOT an Instruction Manual

I was telling a friend about my blog post about how guys should read romance in order to learn from it. She busted up laughing and proceeded to tell me about some ex-boyfriends and her friend's ex-boyfriends that learned all they needed from porn.

Edited for your innocence.
That means they thought shooting their load (I almost said 'ejaculated' but it sounded so clinical) all over the woman's chest was hot. They also thought switching positions multiple times was a good way to establish the rhythm necessary to give their cooperative woman pleasure. I bet they even turned their head to the side slightly when going down just so the imaginary camera could get a good shot.

Seriously guys, pornos are made for you, for your fantasy. Women, if you want them to get something out of the experience, need a little more finesse and a little less showmanship. Romance novels always talk about the 'responsive lover,' the man who reads the woman's physical queues and acts accordingly. Do this. And don't tell me that they're hard to read. The one time something when near the back door, my physical queue was to tense up my whole body, clamp everything shut, and yell, "Hell no!." It was pretty obvious. Likewise, I will even verbally encourage certain acts or move the hand to the right place.  When the woman says, "Yes, that's perfect. Don't stop," that means keep doing what you're doing.

Don't be too insecure to ask if things are going well. If she's into it, she's more likely to want it to happen again later. If she's exhausted from your porno inspired acrobatics she might not ever initiate.

And, if you want to read a short but sexy romance novel just to find out what it's all about, check out Mind, Body, and Spirit at

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Formatting is a Bitch

So I uploaded my manuscript to Amazon a few days back. Everything was awesome until it came to preview the document. There was general funkiness at a few places where there were short dialogue paragraphs. What did I do wrong?

I searched and read through threads in forums and found out this is common. I turned on my formating to view where paragraphs breaks happened, where indenting was autoformat and where it was tabbed. Everything good? Nope. Reading more advice I saved it as a Pdf. Big mistake. More reading, saved as Html. Indent problem was fixed, but the font was changed and really was not friendly on the eyes and there were issues with spacing between the copyright info and such.

So, more searches and more advice. I pat my head and rubbed my tummy (yes, I have that skill). I said the alphabet backwards from W to C and then lit some red candles in the western window of my home. Eventually I turned everything over to my hunk of male love because I was going crazy. 47 attempts later it is in reasonable shape. He ended up having rewrite html code, something outside of my scope of skill and interest.

I could have just left it as it was, but it takes away from the professionalism from the read. With the lack of controls in self publishing, it is uber important to me to do this right. This is the start of my name branding and I don't want it to suck because of formatting (if it sucks because it's a bad story, that's another problem). I've read ebooks that had bizarre formatting and use of italics that tore me out of the moment. I don't want that to happen to my readers.

Click on the my book cover link at the top of the page and check out my formatting to give your opinion. How important is the formatting to you?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Romance Novels as Love Making Manuals

It's been said that women should not read romance because it gives them unrealistic expectations. I disagree.

Main stream media paints the picture of the woman as the seductress luring in the defenseless male. The burden of sexiness is placed on the woman, the man just grateful to have someone paying attention to his penis besides himself. This is all male fantasy.

Reality is that most women don't think about sex that often. For a woman to be turned on it's more complicated -- and that's not because of unrealistic expectations, it's because our minds are busy. For a man to get aroused there must be oxygen in the atmosphere.

If it is reasonable for a man to pick up a woman or initiate sex by grabbing her boob, then, yes, romance novels give us unrealistic expectations. I can tell you from experience that it's not a turn on when the man goes straight from a kiss to a crotch grab. Neither is, "Hey, wanna do it?" in anyway going to make me horny. And the man wants the woman to be horny, doesn't he?

In a romance novel it is all about the seduction, the anticipation. Sure, the man's perfect body is great too, but really it's the mental arousal that gets the body in gear.  If the woman is in a sexual frame of mind, she will be more than just a willing partner who's really thinking about cleaning the bathroom. If she's into it rather than just cooperating, you'll find she initiates it herself more often.

My recommendation? Men should read romance novels. Ladies, if you read something you find particularly hot, share it with your guy. AND guys, don't mock it. If it turns her on, it's worth your time. You may not have known that she loved the idea of being in front of a mirror or in an open window. Maybe you didn't realize that little nips on the ear lobe were sensual. You won't know unless you are part of the same world she is. If she reads romance, obviously she likes it. It's true, the sex scene isn't just a paragraph, it's ten pages -- but that alone should tell you something.

I don't think women have unrealistic expectations, I think men should step up. Use the romance novel as a how-to manual. Probably too much information, but after my man read (in effort to help me edit) Mind, Body, and Spirit, some awesomeness happened that still makes me smile.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alcoholism, Crazy Hot Sex, and Dopamine

Hello random strangers. My name is Avadonja and I am an alcoholic. No, I'm not joking. I've been sober for five months and it was the best decision of my life. And, no surprise to anyone dealing with addiction, the hardest.

The first month was the worst. I would go to AA meetings and sit there crying. I got all sorts of phone numbers that I knew I'd never call, but it was nice to know other people felt as crappy as I did. Misery + company, you know the cliche.

One of the big problems was redefining my life. Everything I did involved a glass of wine or a gin and tonic, margarita (on the rocks, no salt), so co, or whatever. Writing was the hardest of all. Under the influence of glass after glass of wine I was crazy prolific. The buzz loosened me up, made me less inhibited (I'm super uptight, I'm sure you've heard the coal/diamonds adage). My writing was really messy with a lot of repeated words, but it flowed. Stopping drinking stopped my writing. Cold.

Now I had lost two things I loved. I had my month long pity party, got my chip, then never went back to AA. I think what had changed was that I was identifying myself as an alcoholic and not a writer.

I actually wrote Mind, Body, and Spirit as a challenge to myself. To see if I could write sober. More specifically, to see if I could write sex scenes sober (I've mentioned I'm uptight, right?). Good news = I'm still a writer. The writing flowed. I knew the characters and where I wanted the story to go and it went there. The sexual content was super hot and I wrote unabashedly. I felt awesome. Successful. I was proud of my work again.

I have since learned that part of the difficulty in giving up something like drinking is that we view the drink as an award. It comes with a chemical high from our bodies, not counting whatever the alcohol itself provides. That little burst of dopamine that comes with sipping that glass of old vine zin is our brain's version of a kudos. Same happens with infatuation - just thinking of that special someone makes you slightly buzzed. Some people are addicted to new relationships, always chasing that infatuation high. I was/am addicted to alcohol. I love that I also get that happy-buzz from writing. Addiction to writing - I think I  can handle that.

I still struggle, but it's the specific beverages I miss more than the getting my drink on. I also miss the camaraderie that comes with drinking. In regard to World of Warcraft, my dps has improved substantially but Vent is much less interesting when I'm sober. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Haven't been playing much. I really like the new content (and the new gear - screw transmogrification), but there has been guild drama and it really sucks the soul out of the game.

I have been writing. Mind, Body, and Spirit has a cover and has gone through edits and is about to go live. Feels good. It looks awesome on my Kindle. Control is well underway with only rl standing between me and project completion.

This year my resolution is to write a minimum of four novellas and self publish. Marketing will be my challenge, but I'm excited about it instead of being daunted by it.

What do you have planned for this year?