Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Amazon's "Goliath" Tells Small Press "Davids" to Assimilate or Step Off is perhaps one of the last existing and most successful "dot coms" from back in the day. It has grown to become a corporate giant on the web, carrying just about every book under the sun.

A few years ago, Amazon bought MobiPocket, which is an online e-bookstore that sells a certain type of electronic books. Before this purchase, you could buy Adobe PDFs and other forms of eBooks on Amazon's website. But Amazon removed ALL other eBook formats in favor of their one and only MobiPocket. Now, you cannot buy an eBook on Amazon unless it's MobiPocket or Kindle, for their proprietary eBook reader (whose files cannot be read on any other device).

Now, Amazon is doing this again, however, with print books.

Recently, they bought a POD (print on demand) publisher named BookSurge. I have no personal experience with BookSurge, but I've heard scuttle that their POD offerings aren't as streamlined as Lightning Source's books, the POD extension of Ingrams, the largest book distributor in the world.

Well, Amazon is now telling small press publishers (of which I am published) to switch their POD services to BookSurge or face a virtual "blackballing" by having your "buy" links removed from your authors' listings. Whiskey Creek Press has already had their listings tampered with by "Goliath" Amazon. I'm not sure what POD service they use, but it seems as if it's only a matter of time before they sink their teeth into my publishers, Samhain Publishing and Champagne Books.

Both of these publishers use Lightning Source through Ingrams. We are unsure what Amazon will do with these listings, but it seems grim. Many authors are crying foul, that Amazon is trying to monopolize the eBook/Print industry from small press publishers. And of course, there's a fee for converting your POD books to BookSurge, the cheapest I've heard about is $299 per book. This is all hearsay, as I haven't read any reports to support this, but it's rumor floating around the blogosphere at the moment.

If Amazon succeeds in their iron fist tactics of "print through OUR POD publisher or be gone!", then a lot of small presses won't have the opportunity for growth that they had in the past. Samhain, for one, grew by leaps and bounds once they listed their print offerings on Amazon. New companies might not have such an opportunity in the future, especially if it costs an arm and a leg to convert the eBook files to BookSurge's print program, capital the smaller presses just don't have.

The short story is this: You might not be able to buy any more of my print books through, aside from what's available in their MobiPocket and Kindle store. Other booksellers such as Barnes & Noble and Borders are uneffected by this, so you can still purchase there. However, since Border's online site is driven by Amazon, who knows if they'll blacklist the "other" POD books as well.

This could be a devastating blow to electronic publishers everywhere trying to get their foot in the door with print. It was electronic publishing that turned the print world on its ear with hotter romances and paranormal romances. Now, everyone is jumping on the erotic paranormal bandwagon, even big name New York publishers. If electronic publishing isn't allowed to flex their proverbial muscles on Amazon any longer, will the potential they had to drive the market be lost?

Only time will tell.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bronwyn Jameson is My Hero

I'm sure a few of you have heard of this author, Bronwyn Jameson. On a whim, I checked out one of her books at the library because it was a contemporary cowboy story in the line I want to write for, Silhouette Desire. It just so happens this book was set in the Australian Outback. Awesome.

Little did I know the book I read was the first in a series. It was entitled THE RUGGED LONER. Soon after, I went back to the library and checked out the other two books in the series, THE RUTHLESS GROOM and THE RICH STRANGER. All I can say is:



These books are what you might expect from a romance with angst and misunderstandings and all those things. But what got me with Bronwyn's writing is the emotion. The showing vs. telling. The beauty of her prose. I love the way she tells a story. Silhouette Desires are between 50K and 55K words. That might sound like a lot, but these books are pretty thin if you've ever seen them at the store. What impresses me about Ms. Jameson's work is the amount of emotion and depth she's able to capture in such a small word count. I've read a lot of categories to get into the swing of them (as I'm planning on writing one at some point), and she's one author who stands out to me as someone who really knows her craft well.

I decided to pick up another of her books that was outside of this series just to see if it could compare to them. The book I chose was JUST A TASTE, a book in another series by a whole bunch of Desire authors about the Ashton Dynasty. While the book started out slow (as I have no interest in wine making :P), the emotion and angst were still there between the main characters.

The tension in her stories is thick and the way she writes it is like savoring a fine Swiss chocolate amongst the Hershey bars. While we all love the Hershey's, sometimes it's so wonderful to indulge in the expensive, glorious chocy. :)

I believe I've found a new favorite author. If you want to check out her books for yourself, you can find Ms. Jameson on the 'Net at


Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen

He is Risen Indeed.

Happy Easter.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Becka's Hottie of the Week

All right, folks, I knew (finally) a few days ago who I would feature today. DH and I recently watched a movie called "American Gangster", starring one of my favorite actors. I've actually lurved this man for years, I'm surprised I haven't featured him yet. He's made it to my "Top 10 Men I'd Leave DH For", even though I've never compiled a list of my Top 10. Heh, perhaps I should do that sometime. It would be fun. Maybe a Top 13? One of these Thursday 13's perhaps I will do that. Anyhow, I'm getting off course. Who have I chosen this week? None other than Mr. Denzel Washington.

Mr. Washington also has the honor of being my first black hottie. I've pretty much loved the man in any movie he's done. He's just so suave and cool, you just know he'd treat you right.

I especially love Denzel with facial hair. In fact, I love facial hair in general. How ironic that I never write any of my heroes with a mustache or goatee. Perhaps it doesn't "translate" well to the written word, but when men have facial hair that works for them, like my DH or Henry Ian Cusick, it's so friggin' sexy. At the Oscars this year, Denzel was a presenter, and he had a goatee. Mmm, yummy.

It's the swagger, the smile, the intensity, that makes him hot. You know he's also kind-hearted, and according to Wikipedia, a devout Christian. To me, those are hot traits as well. You know, Denzel has filled his career with box office hits. For once, I'd love to see him in a romantic comedy, or perhaps a comedy in general. I suppose he has been, if we count "Much Ado About Nothing" or "The Preacher's Wife". But it's been 12 years since the release of the last one. Perhaps he's due for another?

Congratulations, Denzel Washington. You're Becka's Hottie of the Week!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Good Lord, I don't know what I'm doing, but these pounds seem like they're melting away. In fact, I'm almost worried at how rapidly I'm losing. However, perhaps it's due to the fact my body is trying to adjust to this new diet and the extra things I'm doing to take the weight off.

It's shocking because I freely admit I don't exercise every day like I should. This past week has been particularly bad for me - I've hardly gone out and walked at all. However, running down the short hill on our cul-de-sac with my youngest daughter teaching her how to ride has probably helped out in that regard. :)

I fully expect to plateau soon, and in fact, I've already had one about 11 pounds ago. For over a week and a half, I was stuck, not losing, not gaining. I have no idea what I did to break through that plateau, but perhaps with this diet my metabolism is changing.

When you're losing weight, the first few pounds are always the "easiest", as you kind of shock your system. It isn't until you get to say... pound 100 that you're finally feeling the burn. So far, I've lost about 15% of what I need to lose. But I'm finally seeing results in the mirror. You know how it is, everyone can see results but *you*.

Well, I wanted to lose 25 pounds by Easter. Done!

Next goal, please. Okay, how about another 25 by the end of May? We're going on a camping trip with our circle of friends and I would LOVE to tell them I've lost 50 pounds.

But that's assuming this rapid weight loss continues. I've lost 25 pounds in 51 days. To quote my dietitian, "Dang, do you EAT?" lol Perhaps it's the combination of eating less, being active more, and taking Metformin. She says that drug is an appetite suppressant and she's seen doctors prescribe it to people who need to lose weight. DH says I'm "cheating". :P

Hell, I'll cheat my way to thin any damn day of the week!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Becka's Hottie of the Week

So I'm a little late posting this, so what? :P I couldn't think of anyone I wanted to post this week, so I decided to shake things up a bit. I *did* fall in love this weekend. With what, you say? With a bike. :D DH has a bike, and our two oldest kids have one. We just bought a new bike for our youngest daughter, and she's furiously learning how to ride it (almost there!). Now, we're going to get our boy a bike in the next two weeks to a month, and at some point, we're going to get me one too. The ultimate goal is to have family bike rides at the beach or on bike trails, or heck, even where we go camping. So which bike do I absolutely adore? The Electra Cruiser named "Karma".

It's paint job is called "purple fade", starting at pink and fading into purple. On the fenders is a gorgeous, fancy gold paint job.

Isn't it LURVLY? Wow, it was so beautimous that I instantly said to myself, "I MUST HAVE THIS BIKE." I haven't seen it in person, but I can't imagine it would look so awesome in pictures and not be breathtaking in real life.

I can't post the next picture on my blog as it's way too big... It's basically the same pic as above, but bigger, showing it in all its glory. **Le sigh**

Congratulations, Electra Karma Cruiser. You're Becka's Hottie of the Week!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Am I the Only Schmoe On Planet Earth Without a Camera in Their Cell Phone??

Dang it all, people, today of all days, I wanted to have a camera phone. But alas, my phone is so "two years ago". I took the kids to the library today because A.) we had books due and B.) my contact at the library told me due to a change in the law, he needed a copy of my car insurance card before I could give a talk and book signing on their premises, so I went in to give him a photocopy of it. Strange, I know, and even he doesn't understand that little clause in da rulz.

(In case you didn't know, I'm giving a talk/book signing at my local library. LOL It will be at 2pm on April 6th at the Hillsboro Main Library, address is 2850 NE Brookwood Parkway, Hillsboro , OR 97124. If you're local, you're more than welcome to watch me babble on incessantly.)

Anyhow, to commemorate this event, they made a sweet flyer for their bulletin board. It was a little bigger than an 8 1/2 X 11 paper, with fancy script writing announcing my talk, and a giant pic of an open book with two of it's pages turned in toward the spine to make it look like a "heart", all tinted red for romance. It was AWESOME! And if I'd had a damn camera phone, you'd be looking at the pic right now.

DH is always ribbing me that I never charge my phone. Hell, if my phone was my iPod, it wouldn't be a problem. :P But no one calls me, so I forget about it. I never use it except to send the random text message to friends. I basically have it for emergencies if I'm out and about by myself and need to call someone. But if I had a camera on that phone, I think I'd use it more and have the batteries charged so I could take pictures and blog about what I see. It's what my DH does on his blog.


Well, my contract is up for my phone, so now I can upgrade. Have you seen those new *purple* Razr phones? Those are sweet. :)

Oh, and get this. I went to the doc today for a follow-up check on my diabetes. Lost weight, check. Labs look good, check. Cholesterol is good, check. Other weird things they check for in your blood is good, check. But... "I'm prescribing you a cream to put on your face for your Rosacea."


Guess that redness on my cheeks wasn't from being flushed all the time and I wasn't just "breaking out" in little *gross* pimples. It's not bad, meaning, it's not like those ghastly pictures you see on the Internet, but it's enough to make you go, "Hey, what's that red spot on your cheek all about?"

Great. One more thing. So now, I've got this cream I gotta put on every day.

I'm falling apart, y'all, I'm tellin' ya. Better get in as many books as I can before body parts start falling to the wayside. lol


Monday, March 10, 2008


Stepped on the scale yesterday morning only to find I'd reached the 20lb. mark. :D Yup, I've lost 20 pounds! Not too much, but a big step toward getting healthy and doing right by my body. When I lose 10 more, I'll be at the same point I was at when I finally gave up on my Weight Watchers a year and a half ago.

But this diet is much different than WW. While WW is cool in that you count points and can eat anything your heart desires, my diet focuses on cutting fat and watching carbs. Yeah, I was a little shocked when my dietitian told me I needed to watch carbs rather than sugars for things that really skyrocket my blood sugar. So, for meals, I am allowed 45 grams of carbs and for snacks, 15 grams of carbs. Three meals, three snacks a day.

Now, I do have to be careful, because even though I meet my 45 carbs for a meal, things like cheese and meats don't have carbs, but they can still be fatty. Since my weight is compounding the diabetes problem, I have to lose weight as well as watch my carb intake, thus the need to also be eating low or non-fat.

But I draw the line at non-fat milk. We've made the switch to 1% milk rather painlessly (we used to drink 2%), but it will be a cold day in Hell before I drink milk-flavored water. **shudder** But we do have the non-fat cottage cheese and the non-fat sour cream on hand.

I've managed to cut chips completely out of my children's lunch meals. Now, they only eat chips if we happen to go out somewhere for lunch. They have their sandwiches and a piece of fruit, usually, or a handful of Goldfish, which is actually not that bad fat & carb wise. Sometimes they have graham crackers or raisins as well, but they really love having bananas, apples, oranges and nectarines on hand. :) Still working on their veggies, though. They all seem to love raw carrots, but then again, they all loved carrot baby food back in the day and they all turned a lovely orange hue... no joke. LOL

But anyway, I now (again) fit into my slimmer jeans I had hidden (again) in the back of my closet. :P However I need to lose another few pounds before I can wear them comfortably in public. Heheh

Walked today while the kids were at karate class. Did a few laps at the Noble Woods Park, which is a nature park right in the middle of Hillsboro. I circled the entire paved section three times "power" walking, which actually wasnt that bad, even though there were a few hills to climb. If you keep up a good pace, going up those hills doesn't "hurt" as much, of course, perhaps I'm building some stamina. Here's hopin'. :P


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Everything Happens for a Reason

If you're an avid reader of my blog, then you'll know I'm a religious person. While this story isn't about "God" per se, I kind of got chills just from reading it, as it seems to me God's hand was leading this man on to make an incredible legacy, the kind we only see in movies. Seriously, this man's story would make a gripping book or a tear-jerking movie.

A WWII pilot was shot out of the sky over the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea, fell into the jungle, and from there, a story of faith and hope was born.

Now, I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as "coincedence". Everything has a reason for being. While at the time, this pilot may not have known the reason for being lost in the jungle, starving and sick, but hindsight is 20/20. Now, decades later, we see the "reason".

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
~~1 Corinthians 13:13

Read the four-page article to the very end. You'll be glad you did.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Becka's Hottie of the Week Three-Fer

Okay, folks, I'm well aware that I've slacked off the past couple of weeks for my Hottie. Therefore, I will be showcasing three men for your eye-candy enjoyment. First up, we have a man I've actually "followed" since I was a child. I first saw him on Silver Spoons back in the day and thought he was cute even then. Nothing's changed. When DH and I began watching Arrested Development after the show was canceled (because we were morons and didn't watch the show when it was on the air), I couldn't help but realize how handsome this man grew to be. Who am I talking about? Mr. Jason Bateman.

He's a few years older than me, but hey, we're both in our 30's, so it's all good. LOL But yeah, he's still got it, from teen pin-up back in the 80's to now, he's pretty much shed his child-actor persona. Good for you, Jason!

Next up, we have a guy that makes me want to watch the news more often. Yes, I realize my posting of Brian Williams as one of my previous Hotties should have clued me in, but this man has solidified my opinion. Heck, I don't even care what he's reporting about. I don't even have to listen to any of his political views. Just turn the volume down and stare, my friends. Who am I talking about? Mr. Anderson Cooper.

Who knew that beneath the suit was a hot bod? I love his salt-n-pepper hair, and there's not many men I can say that about. Did you know he's the son of Gloria Vanderbilt? Neither did I. Cool. I'm going to look for more broadcasts where Anderson goes out into the field just so I can see him wearing something other than a stuffy suit. This is one man I actually prefer seeing in every day clothing over dressing up.

And last but not least, we have Hottie number three, a man people might not lump into the "Hottie" arena, except for myself and a few other geeks, of course. He stars on Stargate Atlantis, and while he might not be as knucklebiting as Joe Flanigan, I find him extremely good-looking in his own right. If you watch Stargate Atlantis, you might think his character is annoying, and rightly so. But that's what endears me to him. I didn't like him much when they had him on the original show (SG:1) before the spinoff, but now that they've fleshed him out a bit more, I just cannot live without Rodney McCay. :P Who am I talking about? Mr. David Hewlett.

Funny trivia about David--his sister on the show is his sister in real life. :) He seems like such a geeky guy himself, someone DH and I would love to have over for a game of D&D or something. lol

Congratulations, Jason Bateman, Anderson Cooper, and David Hewlett. You're Becka's Hotties of the Week Three-Fer! :D


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #30 - Why Romance is NOT Chick Porn

Recently, my DH and a few of our mutual friends ribbed me for writing "chick porn". Perhaps they were trying to get under my skin, but I believe that they believe what they said for the most part. "You do know that's what you write, don't you? Porn for women?"


Well, as fate would have it, this very subject is being hotly contested on a site I read, Dear Author. It would seem ignorance is everywhere. Therefore, I've decided to educate the readers of my blog with 13 reasons why romance is not chick porn.

1.) Let's first examine a porno. Hot horny housewife calls dishwasher repair man and the two bang a gong for an hour and a half in all kinds of kinky ways - roll credits. A romance novel, by comparison, is different, as there is love involved, not just hot sex.

2.) Further, romance novels end in happily ever afters, meaning the hero and heroine "get together" in the end.

3.) Romance novels have a plot. While pornos have a thin, laughable plot just so the characters can have sex, romance novels have sex that furthers the plot, either complicating the relationship between the hero and heroine, or defining their love for one another.

4.) Reading a romance is no different than watching a rated R movie. How many sex scenes have we been subjected to in today's entertainment industry? So why the poo poo on romance novels? Every single "chick flick" under the sun could have been a romance novel made into a movie. Even a blockbuster such as "Atonement" could have been a romance novel, if told from the point of view of the hero and heroine (and had a happy ending). And that movie had hot against-the-wall-sex-in-the-library. Porn? Hmm...

5.) Porn is meant to titillate someone to become sexually aroused. Unless you're specifically reading "erotica", that, for the most part, is sex for sex's sake, a romance novel isn't read to go have fun with yourself (or your S/O) in the bedroom.

6.) Romance has emotion, meaning, there is plenty of angst and drama. Perhaps it is cheesy, perhaps it is cliche, but it is there nonetheless. When's the last time you teared up while watching a porno?

7.) Romance revolves around the premise of two people falling in love over the course of the book, not merely meeting to have a quick tumble in the sack. While yes, there are love scenes, the fact that they are open door love scenes connects the reader even more to the depth of their relationship, as sex is a very powerful part of loving someone. Therefore, if the book closed the door and moved on to the next morning, the subtle changes in their relationship would have been missed, because he might have been whispering loving words to her all night long, and then in the morning left her high and dry. Showing the love scene of the night before tells the reader exactly how deeply the hero broke her heart.

8.) Sex is a deep connection we have with our partners. There is no difference with that deep connection in a romance novel, which is why they are filled with emotion, drama, and angst. You do not get the sense of "deep connection" in a porno, aside from the obvious pun I just made that, no doubt, my friends are snickering at right now. But the point is valid.

9.) Sex is not "beautiful" in a porno. Sex is carnal. Something to be taken hard and fast, with much screaming and cussing. Sex in a romance, however, is tender, loving, and a coming together of the characters who are just realizing their love for one another.

10.) Sex in a porno is f**king. Plain and simple. Sorry if I've offended, but there it is. Sex in a romance novel is making love. Yes, Virginia, there IS a difference.

11.) There's "romance" in just about everything we read and watch these days. Even books that aren't on the romance shelf still have sex in them. And sometimes even explicit scenes at that. But the book isn't marketed as a romance, because that's a secondary plot to the big picture. But of course, that book is NOT a porn novel because it's high fantasy or crime drama or horror or whatever the heck. But shift the focus to the relationship and boom! you have a porno? Uh, pot, meet kettle.

12.) Romances focus on the fairy tale. If you think about it, women have been fascinated with Prince Charming ever since they first watched a Disney movie. Romance novels are fairy tales for women, where the girl gets the boy and has a satisfying relationship with him. The closest a porno comes to a fairy tale is if Snow White gets tag-teamed by all seven dwarves.

13.) If you want to get high and mighty about it, think about this - there is a romance novel in the Bible. The Song of Solomon is VERY sensual if you read it in the context of sex. Solomon isn't talking about real "wells of flowing water" and "mountains of myrrh", no, he's talking in flowery passionate prose to be sure. The men of ancient Israel weren't allowed to even READ Song of Songs until they were 40 years old. And yet we take it for granted. Perhaps we should read some verses, shall we?

"5 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies. (Did he just describe her breasts?!?)

6 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.

(I'm thinking he's talking about going "all night long" to her special place, if you know what I mean)

7 All beautiful you are, my darling;
there is no flaw in you." ~~Song of Songs 4: 5-7


"11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue." ~Song of Songs 4:11
(Look away! French kissing, ZOMG!)


"15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon." ~Song of Songs 4:15
(GASP! Is he saying his lover is *wet* for him?!?)


So, is the Song of Solomon a porno in the Bible? No, of course not. Why? Because it's a book of romance, about how a man desires his lover through the beauty of lovemaking. Wait, isn't that what I've been talking about all along?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bicycle! Bicycle!

Remember those idyllic times when you finally learned how to ride a bike? Our kids just learned within the past few days. We took their training wheels off a long time ago, but they were too "scared" to ride the bikes without them. This year, one of their best friends, our neighbor's kid, showed them how easy it was to do, and then of course THEY wanted to do it too.

So, we put some air in their tires and lowered their seats so they wouldn't be too scared of falling over - they could just put their feet flat on the ground. Once they got the hang of riding, we raised their seats and now they're riding fools.

Here's a video DH put together this weekend. It's cute. Enjoy it!

I Want to Ride My Bicycle from Jim Goings on Vimeo.