Thursday, September 9, 2010

How To Go About Promo Without Feeling Too Dirty

Okay, so as you all probably know by now, tomorrow is the release day of my first actual real novella from Ellora’s Cave. I know, right? Me. An Ellora’s Cave author. But anyhow, marvelling over that fact is not the purpose of this blog post. Oh no no no.

You see, the fabulous and amazing authoress, Cara McKenna, also has a release tomorrow at the Cave. And because both she and I feel all funny about shoving ourselves forward and doing promo stuff, we came up with this stupendous plan.

I would promo her earth-shattering work on my blog, and she would promo mine on hers. Brilliant, eh?

Okay, so you don’t think it’s brilliant, Bertha. But just shut up, cos no-one cares what you think. Cara McKenna thinks it’s brilliant, and she’s like, a genius or summat. She writes erotic romances that are not only hot, and cool, and excellently written, but that also have an authenticity about them, a realness to the characters and their actions- no matter how wild the actions might be.

I can see why they do the things they do, and that’s a big thing for me. Sometimes I think some erotica and erotic romance writers think you can just have you characters do anything, and who cares about things like authenticity or motivation? But Cara cares, and that’s why I like her work.

Anyhoo, enough gushing. Or rather, not enough gushing, because now I’m going to read to you the ode I composed, in her honour:

Oohhh (there’s always an oohhh at the start of an ode. Shakespeare said) Cara!
How delightful you are
With your love of round birds.
As opposed to square birds,
Which I don’t think exist.
Or at least,
I hope they don’t. That would just be frightening.
But anyway where was I-
Oh yes. Cara!
With your watching of shows like Hoarders,
Which sounds to me like
A program about serial killers who keep people’s skins.
Or maybe that’s just
Because I’ve seen Silence of the Lambs recently.
I’m sure you would never watch
A program about serial killers who keep people’s skins.
I don’t know how I started
Talking about this.
Instead, let me talk about all the ways in which you
Are brilliant.
When I think of you,
I always think of you total acceptance
Of my man lusting ways.
And also of that picture you took.
Of you kind of eating your iPad.
Because you seem to me a mixture
Of dedication and brilliance
But also fabulous crazy.
And that’s the best sort of person.
The sort of person who
Writes utter brilliance
But doesn’t take themselves
Too seriously.
Don’t ever change, fabulous Cara.
Alan Rickman’s voice won’t love you,
If you do.

I know, I know. Masterpiece, the next Shakespeare, get Derek Jacobi on the horn to boom it out on the London stage etc etc. Just shut up, all right, I don’t even really know what an ode is! But I do know what an interview is, and since you’re probably wondering a little bit about this amazing brilliant writer who loves round birds and people’s skins, I did one with Cara! Check it out! She tells you stuff about her fabulous new release, and other things!

1. Okay, so first off I'm going to ask you the most vital question to be asked of anyone. No writer can live, without answering this deadly serious and completely normal question: Is Planet X going to crash into us in 2012?

I don't have the tinfoil hat scientific expertise to address that issue, but if Planet X does exist, it needs to bear in mind that the ancient Maya are scheduled to do the same thing, right around Christmastime. Unless they're like, in cahoots? I don't know the details, but Jessica Andersen does. Ask her. Read her books. Give her your first-born because she is hilarious.

2. Shut up (Ed: Why am I saying shut up so much? God I need to shut up). It's a serious question. Even more serious: If it is going to crash into us, what book do you want to write before we all die horribly, like from half the world breaking off and floating into space, or giant tidal waves forming a nuclear tidal wave so big it leaves no water on the ocean floor, or summat like that? If you don't believe this is going to happen, go to question three.

I'm going to assume that either Planet X or the Maya will destroy us in 2012, because I like to err on the side of caution. And before the world does asplode from planets or conquistadors or whathaveyou, I'd like to see two things published: my ridiculous yet-to-be-finished erotic novel The Ant Farm (that batshit battle royale Orwellian kidney stone with seven main characters you foolishly volunteered to beta read for me) and my favorite mainstream romance, Between Brothers. The latter is not, as its title might suggest, about incestuous male siblings. It's about a gal in a big romantic pickle with a pair of foxy Kiwis (Ed: All I can think of is Jemaine Clement and Rhys Darby. But then as you know, my man lusting wiring is all wrong). Grarrr. I love that book, and if I ever get around to starting my quest for an agent, I might even sell it.

3. Seriously, you don't believe in Planet X? That person totally saw it in Australia one time. It wasn't the moon, okay? It was Planet X. Roland Emmerich and Nicholas Cage made a film about it, I think. And then his kids went to Pandora only it was like Eden, IDEK. Is this a question? Not sure.

I don't like Nicholas Cage…except maybe in Moonstruck, because he played a punchy baker and his arms were all jacked and filthy and that was pretty sexy. Next question please.

4. So enough about Planet X. Let's talk, instead, about something equally important: bad eighties movies. Which do you prefer- My Demon Lover, Teen Witch, Adventures In Babysitting, or that one with Charlie Sheen in where he's haunted by a car or summat?

I don't like Charlie Sheen, either…can I chose E) None of the above? Can I write in an answer? Because I totally would NOT write in Tron. That movie so did not live up to my childhood memories. I'd write it in and then scribble it out and write Batteries Not Included in big fat marker on top of it (Ed: Yesssssss! Tho my favourite old people in the eighties movie is defo Cocoon).

5. How on earth have you not seen My Demon Lover? It's clearly the greatest movie of all time. No really, it is.

I know, I totally didn't…and I worked at a video store for four years. I have no excuses.

6. You like reality shows. I've never even heard of half the ones you like. Most of their titles make me think- I bet a reality show based on Cara's life would be more interesting than something called "Hoarders". Is that even real? Never mind. Tell me more about this fabulous new television show that I've just invented, The Cara McKenna Show:

Well, I'm the host and every week there's a new guest, like Alan Rickman, or a willow ptarmigan, or Julian Barratt with his clothes off, or like six button quails (because they're so small). I stick my face through a hole in a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Charlize Theron's body and ask my guests to tell me how it is I manage to be so awesome. Not sure if the face-hole is like, where her face should be, so somewhere totally unexpected. Tune in and find out!

7. So now you have your own TV show, and you're rich and famous and everyone loves you. Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt all hit on you at the launch party for your new show "Why I Like Round Birds". Who do you take home? Also: details plz.

Hmmm… George's salt and peppery beard is tempting, but…

8. If you don't take any of them home because, quite frankly, they're all boring and not as handsome as Sharlto Copley, who do you take home, and why?

I would politely rebuff George and Brad and Johnny and attempt to seduce Survivorman host Les Stroud into my limo. He would gently (while sharpening a hunting knife or setting a snare) remind me that we're both happily married, and suggest we go on a platonic camping trip instead. I would accept, then figure out a way to push him into an arctic lake while we were hiking, assuming he'd have to get all naked while his clothes dried by the fire. I would emphatically endorse that strategy by citing any number of instances where this happened to Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild, and then Les would get offended and leave me to die in the tundra.

9. If you say Sharlto Copley, I will end you. You knew I was launching my own show, Masterchefing While Dancing With The Stars! He would have loved me then, I hate you forever. How do you feel about that?

I would never attempt to steal Sharlto from you, not even by distracting you with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Evan Lysacek, because as everyone knows, you are a fickle, fickle slut. Oh, sorry—I forgot you're English. Slag. A fickle, fickle slag. (Ed: I wish I could defend myself, here, but well. You all read my blog, right? New man every Monday. Me, slutting it up all over him. He feels degraded. I do not care).

10. As you can see, I'm extremely good at conducting interviews. I mean, no-one can come up with such brilliantly insightful and sensible questions as me. Some of my questions aren't even questions, because I'm post-modern or summat. But I've got to ask, if you could have been asked different and probably better questions, what would you have had me ask?

Well, I like talking about unshaven dudes fighting each other. Why not ask me, "Cara, which two unshaven dudes would you totally want to watch battle it out in 300-style monoschrome muscly slow-motion detail?"

11. Now answer the question you would have had me ask, were I an actually competent interviewer:

Ooh, good question, Charlotte…possibly the most insightful interview question I've ever been asked, considering this is my first interview (Ed: fanks. And this is your first interview? Can I make a popping your cherry joke?). I'd have to go with Vincent Regan (who's already in 300, how convenient) and the evil Slavic guy with the shaved head from Universal Soldier: Regeneration. Let me IMDb him…hang on…Andrei Arlovski. Yes, that'll do nicely, thank you.

12. If you could bonk any one of your characters, which one would you bonk, and why? Come on, don't be like Charlaine Harris, all "none, because they're not real". Of course they're not real! But isn't it fun imagining bonking them, in your head? If the answer to that is no, please don't tell me. I want to remain pure in my love for you.

Oh geez…the only character I've written who I could actually imagine myself dating is Colin, one of the two heroes from that romance I mentioned earlier—Between Brothers. But that's no fun, since no one except my faithful beta reader Amy has read it yet. Well, I wouldn't mind getting it on with Patrick from Ruin Me. I like me a desperately horny and morally conflicted working-class man of few words.

13. Finally, we'll do some sane things. Like: you have a super fabulous orsum book out. Of course it's super fabulous orsum, because it's you writing it. Everyone knows that. But I want people to hear it from the horse's mouth. Why is your book super fabulous orsum?

Do you feel as dirty as I do, getting down to the actual pimping? (Ed: You know I do, bb) But yes, Backwoods is out tomorrow, September 10. It's the pre-quel (yeah, stupid word, but accurate) to Shivaree—the story of how Shane and Gabriel's smoking-hot codependent whatevership began. Strictly male/male. Well, strictly unsuspecting-straight-guy-becomes-obsessively-infatuated-with-another-man. I absolutely love writing Shane's POV, and if anyone out there read Shivaree and enjoyed him as well and digs m/m (and digs Shane constantly dropping mf bombs), give it a try. Unless you like happy endings…if you've already read Shivaree you know Shane and Gabriel have a complicated thing going on, to say the least, and it's not all glitter and butterflies. Mostly it's sketchy power dynamics and filthy sex and hangovers. Poor Shane. But I promise he'll get his happy ending in the next six months, if Ellora's Cave buys Shivaree's sequel, which I'm fairly close to finishing.

14. Once people read this super fabulous orsum book, they're going to want to read more by you. They're salivating as we speak. Tell us a bit about your other books, and why they rule:

Well usually I'm Little Miss Prolific, but the only other story I've got coming out soon-ish is Dirty Thirty, [link: ] which I'm really rather proud of. It's coming out October 8 from Ellora's Cave. It's an m/m/f menage—emphasis on the m/m—about Evan and Margie, a young married punk couple, plus Evan's thirtieth birthday present—Paul. It's a short story, and actually quite sweet underneath all the filthy filthy sex. And for people who haven't read my stuff before, I had another book out last month called Willing Victim [link: ]. It's somewhat controversial, but so far reader response has been crazy-positive, so I'd recommend that one, if you aren't put off by its kink.

And that was the interview! Told you she was orsum. And here’s the link to her orsum new novella, Backwoods, to prove it:

But wait! There’s more. If you want to comment and say hi to Cara, or hi to me, or talk about your dog, Peter, you can totally do that. And then I’ll enter you into a competition to win a copy of Backwoods! How brilliant is that?

But there’s even more! If you do decide to enter, or you enter the competition on Cara’s blog to win a copy of my novella, The Horizon, here:

You will also be in with a chance of winning actual $5 Good Vibrations gift cards, courtesy of the lovely Cara McKenna, who thinks of doing things like that and then buys them to give away, unlike me, who doesn't and is a fool and then isn't sure how to pay my half for this deal, and offers to buy her a book cos she lives across the ocean and it seems weird to send three quid through Paypal. Not only that, but her post about me is orsum and contains hamsters, and she knew to put in all sorts of important info like twitter stuff. Which I've totally forgotten to do! You can find her on twitter, and she's hella funny and amazing so follow her immediatly!

Me and her are getting orsum at this pimping lark. Well, she is. I'm kind of sort of maybe. Possibly.

I'm not at all, am I.

ETA: The competition will close on Saturday, like Cara sez! Yeah, I'm really bad at this promo stuff.


  1. Best. Interview. Ever.

    Just saying.

    And Cara sounds like twelve kinds of fascinating and so does the book!

  2. Mmmmmm author interviews,I'm such a voyeur. Hi Cara, nice to meet you "waves"

  3. Hi all, and thanks for saying hello! And thanks, Charlotte, for letting me camp out here on your cushy literary street corner in my finest fishnet thigh-highs.

    How long are comments open before I pick winners? Until like noontime on Saturday? Also, is anyone else down here in the comments neighborhood getting a little turned on by the sextasticalz book covers running down the right side of Charlotte's blog?


    Love the musical motif on the Backwoods cover and also Willing Victim sounds totally fascinating (The only rule of sex0r club is don't talk about sex0r club?)

  5. Bronwyn- Hee hee! Inorite? Together we made interview heaven. Such reasonable, sane questions and answers! And she is.

    Elise- I loooove finding out weird things about authors. Probably too much.

    Cara- No probs, bb, you're a delight and a pleasure. Thanks for letting me do the same! And I've STILL missed summat! Yep, I'll run the comp til Saturday. Have added that to the blog!

    Rachel- You are entered, mah dahlink! Oh, and Willing Victim IS amazing. Get it immediatly!

    Thanks so much everyone, for stopping by and making Cara feel so welcome!

  6. Oh and I meant to say, Kiwis are so sexy! Go to Wellington and walk around and you'll see…New Zealanders are a fit and foxy people.

  7. You must enter me! Into the comp, I mean.

    Someone should also commission the Cara McKenna show post haste.

  8. I think you have invented a new interview art form!

    I read "Willing Victim" and I think Cara is a great writer. Her descriptions have an immediacy and a real physical power. "Backwoods" is already on my to-buy list!

  9. Hi Charlotte! Hi Cara! Well, I don't have a dog named Pete, let alone a dog, so I won't talk about that.

    This was one of the most entertaining interviews I've ever read. :)

    Hopefully there'll be the added bonus of me winning. But who knows, I never win anything.

    ciara at ciaradallas dot com

  10. Many thanks for the interest and kind words, Justine, Janine and Ciara!

  11. Justine- totally agree. EMMYS! AWARDS! SHEER GENIUS!

    Janine- It's called "ask stupid random things until the interviewee thinks you're on drugs". Luckily, Cara knows I'm on drugs. Also- I couldn't agree more. Tho I don't have to agree. The Great Janine Ashbless Has Spoken. Cara McKenna is a brilliant writer.

    Ciara- dammit! I wanted to hear about your imaginary dog, Pete! And fingers crossed, eh?

    Thanks again, everyone, for stopping by. You've made this whole silly cross pimping thing so much fun!

  12. Hi Charlotte! I don't call in for a while and all hell breaks loose... just another day on the Charlotte Stein blog I suppose!! :o)
    But I'm pleased I don't do my rugby player interviews any more, they would look pretty inferior compared to this!! Hahahaha
    PS I've had another exotica flash fiction accepted. It's called Study Time! Sauciness in a library, what more could you want??
    Good luck with new book
    Nicola x

  13. I found this delightfully entertaining in addition to informative. :) Fabulous interview, and congratulations to both of you on your releases!


    Thanks to everyone to stopped by to say hello! Without further ado, here are the winners:

    Copy of Backwoods goes to Ciara!
    Good Vibes gift card goes to Rachel Randall!

    Looks like I've already got Ciara's e-mail, and Rachel, if I don't sleuth yours out in the next day or so, please email me at cara [at] caramckenna [dot] com with your mailing address so I can get that card out to you.

    Big thanks to Charlotte for hosting me! Here's to our many future simultaneous releases!


  15. No probs, dahlink! It's been a joy and pleasure. Congrats, winners! And thank you to everyone for stopping by and making this so much fun.