Monday, September 29, 2014

Writer Profile - Phoenix Johnson

Phoenix Johnson is an Australian erotic romance writer. I interviewed her to learn more about her. She writes for Naughty Nights Press. Enjoy learning about her life and interests, and buy her books which are listed at the end along with where to find her on the web.

  1. Tell me about yourself, your life, where you grew up, schooling, etc.
I grew up in a tiny town of 1100 people, where it was safe to walk to primary school (we lived down the bottom of the hill, it was on the top, 3 houses away). I was teased relentlessly, so I wasn’t too fond of school most of the time, and by the time I was half-way through primary school, both of my older sisters had moved out of home, so I was pretty lonely. Some of those whom I thought were friends weren’t really friends. Yet I still had some sense of a happy childhood, so it wasn’t all that bad.

  1. How did you come to be a writer?
I always kind of have been, on and off, but it was through encouragement from my aunt and a celebrant that I got back to it this most recent time (in 2009).

  1. Do you think Bono is a pretentious twunt?
Hahaha that’s a new one. I do think so, sometimes, yes. Talented, passionate and smart, but yes, also often pretentious.

  1. Who are you influences as a writer? Favorite writers?
Who influences me: Stephen King (Eyes of the Dragon), Anne Bishop, Kim Faulks (awesome Aussie author), Cassandre Dayne (fellow NNP author), James Clemens. Favourite authors? Well, I’d have to say the same, plus a few more: Tolkien, Rowling, Martin Middleton, Fiona McIntosh… So many, really, it’s hard to narrow the list down. I’m passionate in my love of the books I enjoy.

  1. Which person(s) encouraged you the most as a writer?
Well there’s Gina (Kincade, owner of Naughty Nights Press), of course, who’s always there with a supportive word or kick up the backside as needed. And most of my fellow authors, obviously. Plus my family is all pretty supportive and interested. But I think the most supportive person has been my fiancé; when he knows I’m in the zone, he’ll try to push me to the next word count goal, and the next… A good spur on.

  1. Do you like pizza?
Almost as much as I like chocolate and scotch (not together!). I particularly love Barbecue Meatlovers and chicken, ham and pineapple (Chicken Hawaiin we call it in Aus). Just so wonderfully yummy. Though duck is awesome on pizza. Seriously, try it.

  1. With or without anchovies?
Only seafood I accept on my pizzas is prawns. Oh jees yummy.

(Interviewer's note: doesn't anyone out there like anchovies?)

  1. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Well, besides the obvious “write, write, write,” the best piece of advice I ever got is one I’m happy to pass on: feel it. If you can feel it, then so will the reader. Don’t feel silly if you get upset, scared, aroused or laugh your butt off at your writing. That is a good thing!

  1. If you could be a color, which one would you be and why?
Easy: Black. Black is not emo or goth (though I do like goth styling). It holds all the colours at once. It is everything at once. Just as I am more than one persona at once. Mother, student, fiancée, writer, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend… I’m never just one at a time. Black is not a single colour. Therefore it is me.

  1. Why did you choose to write erotic and do you have familial and friend support?
I didn’t choose it, my characters did. I had an inkling The Wolf in the Neighborhood would be a little spicy, since it starts with naked sunbathing. But it’s a fun, hot ride as an erotica writer. I do have support from those around me, as well, though my mother won’t read *those* scenes.

  1. Cats or dogs?
Horses *chuckles*. They’re my favourite, and I couldn’t pick between cats or dogs. They’re both wonderful animals.

  1. Name your favorite books that you've written.
While it’s not released yet, Persephone is my favourite. It’s a sweet fantasy, not like what I’ve written so far, but I put so much into the story that I can’t help but love her. She’s just scored a contract as well, so she will be published and others can fall for her.

  1. Where can we find you on the web?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, my own site, Authorgraph, Amazon Central, Authorsdb and many more places. I flit around. I’m even about to restart my blog, The Naughty Pages of The Phoenix!

  1. Thank you!

Twitter: @Phoenix_Johnson

Friday, September 26, 2014

Haven - Closing Credits Theme

This is the theme to the closing credits of the TV show "Haven".

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No Rest For The Wicked - Lykke Li

I heard this on the second episode of "Forever".


I'd Love To Change The World - Jetta

I heard this song playing on "Person Of Interest".


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Popular Books vs. "Literature"

There's another one of those endless, obnoxious Facebook memes making the rounds. List 10 of the books that have changed your life, greatly influenced you, were most memorable for you, yadda yadda yadda.

Nearly everyone I saw listed books they probably haven't read since they were in high school. I'll admit I was guilty of doing that. I listed "Siddhartha", "The Catcher In The Rye", "The Bible", and "The Art Of War". Your friends read your list and talk about how much you have in common because you've read some of the same books. Yup, you and your Facebook friend both read "Crime and Punishment" because Mrs. Naugahyde or Sister Mary Dogface ordered you to read it for English Lit. class. Your Facebook friend feels your pain. Then you bond and sing "Kumbaya".

Alexis Kleinman saw those lists and cried "bullshit"! She wrote "This exercise is just one humblebrag after another. "I'm just trying to keep up with my friends! This is what everyone's doing!" you say as you look up a the top 100 best novels of all time and write down the ones from that list that you've read. You're just trying to make yourself feel smarter and make everyone else feel dumb."

I don't agree with her last statement. I think it's more the case that you don't want your Facebook friends to learn the last book you read and loved was "The Davinci Code".

Here is Alexis's list of books that people are reading in Real Life:

1. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
2. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
3. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
4. The Phantom Tollbooth
5. The Hunger Games
6. Fifty Shades Of Grey
7. Gossip Girl
8. A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One
9. The Lord Of The Rings
10. Where The Sidewalk Ends

There's nothing wrong with liking popular books even if some think they "dumb down" the world. I've read plenty of them and they taste delicious.

In light of this article, I've changed my list of books that have greatly influenced me. Here is my REAL list:
1. Everyone Poops

2. Snape/Mary Sue fanfic (all of it)

3. A Sale Of Two Titties
4. Harry Potter and the Amazing, Wonderful Royalty Check
5. How To Write Good
6. Fancy Coffins To Make Yourself

7. Every Dad Is A Good Lover 

8. Scouts In Bondage

9. The Beginners Guide To Sex In The Afterlife

10. Why Cats Paint

(The first and the last five are real books.)

Oh, and just so you know, the book I'm currently reading is George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One". And I'm loving every second of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Food and Drink Cravings From Books and Movies

I recently finished binge watching the American remake of "House Of Cards", and I absolutely loved it. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's about political corruption and it's very entertaining. The main lead is played by Kevin Spacey. Television isn't the actor's graveyard it used to be. Now, major stars head very good TV shows. Kevin Spacey is a case in point. I'll watch anything he does.

One scene that repeats quite a bit in the show is how Spacey, as Democratic Majority Whip Frank Underwood, frequents a BBQ rib joint in a rather sketchy part of Washington, D. C. This guys ribs are amazing, and it's one of D. C.'s best kept secrets – including the fact that a major politician sneaks there to get his ribs fix. Watching him rave about the food while he scarfs it down has made my mouth water so much I begged my husband to make ribs for us.

We ate them Sunday night, and they were delicious.

Movies, TV, and books have influenced my eating and drinking habits. Here are a few examples:

Multiple cozy mysteries – Grand Marnier
"The Avengers" (Starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg) – Champagne. It's my preferred alcoholic drink to this day.
"Like Water For Chocolate" – Quail in rose petal sauce. One of these days I will make it. Until then, I will simply serve roasted quail.
"Twister" – Steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
"Downton Abbey" – Water out of an antique water carafe, specifically this one:

The Harry Potter books – Jelly Belly jelly beans and chocolate bars.
"Rebecca" – Ravioli. It's frozen, but it'll do. It's not goose liver ravioli, though. When I crave goose liver, I blow $30.00 on a pound of fois gras at a local gourmet shop, but I don't do that very often.
"Tom Jones" – Raw oysters and red wine.
"The Shining" – Bourbon, although I loathe the stuff. That said, I'm going to the Stanley Hotel in October for a writer's retreat. Stephen King stayed in the Stanley Hotel, and his stay provided direct influence for his book "The Shining", so I have to drink at least one glass of bourbon during my stay, since it was Jack Torrance's drink of choice.

Those are a few choice examples of how my reading and TV/movie viewing influence my choices in food and drink. What about you? Has a book, TV show, or movie ever made you crave foods or drinks?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ne Me Quitte Pas - Edith Piaf

I like this version better than the Jacques Brel. I've always loved Edith Piaf's voice.

Ne Me Quitte Pas - Jacques Brel

I heard this one on "The Leftovers".

Where Are The Readers?

A writer friend of mine recently contacted me to wonder about a Yahoo group that rejected her post. It was a group for erotic romance so she didn't understand why she was rejected. Turns out the post had been in moderation status for 14 days, which is the maximum period of time for a group moderator to validate a post. The moderator didn't do that for whatever reason and her post didn't make it to the group.

I moderate two groups on Yahoo groups, or at least I used to since I don't use Yahoo groups anymore. Ever since Yahoo changed its format for posting my posts no longer go through. I tried to post during a scheduled posting day in Love Romances Café's group but none of my three posts went up. Maybe Yahoo doesn't like Safari. Doesn't matter. I gave up on Yahoo groups.

Does anyone out there still use Yahoo groups? I don't think there are any readers there anymore. Nothing but authors spamming the groups with promo posts. What a waste of time! Where have the readers gone? My guesses are as follows:

Book blogs

What do you think? Where are the readers?


Here's where to find me on the web:

Elizabeth Black - Facebook

Elizabeth Black - Twitter

Elizabeth Black - Amazon Author Page

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Erotic Fairy Tales

I'm putting together a book of erotic fairy tales. I've already written several, including erotic retellings of the usual suspects like Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper, and Cinderella. I'm often asked to tackle specific ones, and popular suggestions are The Three Pigs and Beauty and the Beast.

I grew up with Disney's versions of classic fairy tales, but I have also read many of them, and I'm very much aware of how dark and sinister most fairy tales are. I prefer the stories in their original forms. Snow White was not only felled by a poisoned apple. The wicked queen began her assault with a poisoned comb and then a too-tight corset. The wicked queen also did not die in a fall off a cliff per the Disney version. Granted, Disney's version was pretty grim (pardon the pun), but in the original tale she was tortured by being forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she keeled over dead.

A friend of mine had taken her daughter to see "The Little Mermaid" and she wanted to buy the book of fairy tales so her daughter could read her favorite one. I warned her The Little Mermaid does not get the prince in the end. I also told her about how when The Little Mermaid walked she felt as if her feet were being cut by sharp knives. Each step was excruciatingly painful. Neither fact was in the Disney version.

Fairy tales are chock full of symbolism that lends itself easily to an erotic retelling. Many of these tales are about protecting the innocence of girlhood. Others were about sexual awakening. Cinderella is one of the latter. Cinderella's glass slippers and feet were small, hinting at her virginity and her intact hymen. Rapunzel is clearly about a girl reaching womanhood, especially since she becomes pregnant in the original tale. The tale dances around her pregnancy, though. The witch, unaware of the prince's visits, asks why her dress has become so tight. Then later, Rapunzel is shown with two children. She had sex with the prince! Oh, horrors! LOL Red Rdiing Hood was originally ravished by the wolf. In French slang, a girl who loses her virginity is referred to as "elle avoit vû le loup" – she had seen the wolf. The connotation is clear.

While it's easy to eroticize fairy tales, it's also easy to fall into stereotypical traps. Cinderella's prince has a foot fetish. Snow White has a ménage with seven men. Red Riding Hood is accosted by a rake. Rapunzel's pubic hair grows out. It can be a bit tough to take these tales in a non-stereotypical direction.

In addition to the more common fairy tales, one friend suggested I eroticize The Dancing Princesses, which is one I don't hear very much about. That got me to thinking about obscure fairy tales. Why not tackle one or two of those?

My favorite fairy tale is very obscure. It's Scandinavian, and it's entitled "The Enchanted Wreath". This one is about preserving girlish purity in my opinion. Have you ever noticed it's always the youngest and most innocent of the daughters who attracts the magic? Here's the synopsis: (from Wikipedia)

A man had a wife, and both of them had a daughter from an earlier marriage. One day, the man took his daughter to cut wood and found when he returned that he had left his ax. He told his wife to send her daughter for it, so it would not grow rusty. The stepmother said that his daughter was already wet and, besides, was a strong girl who could take a little wet and cold.

The girl found three doves perched on the axe, looking miserable. She told them to fly back home, where it would be warmer, but first gave them crumbs from her bread. She took the axe and left. Eating the crumbs made the birds feel much better, and they gave her an unfading wreath of roses, with tiny birds singing in it. The stepmother pulled it off, and the birds flew off and the roses withered.

The next day, the father went alone and left his axe again. The stepmother was delighted and sent her own daughter. She found the doves and ordered them off as "dirty creatures." They cursed her to never be able to say anything except "dirty creatures."

The stepmother beat her stepdaughter, and was all the angrier when the doves restored the wreath to its condition and the girl's head. One day, a king's son saw her and took her off to marry her. The news of them made the stepmother and her daughter quite ill, but they recovered when the stepmother made a plan. She had a witch make a mask of her stepdaughter's face. Then she visited her, threw her into the water, and put her daughter in her place, before setting out to see if the same witch could give her something to cure the doves' curse on her daughter.

Her husband was distraught by the change in her, but thought it stemmed an illness. He thought he saw his bride in the water, but she vanished. After twice more seeing her, he was able to catch her. She turned into various animals, a hare, a fish, a bird, and a snake, but he cut off the snake's head, and the bride became a human again.

The stepmother returned with an ointment that would work only if the true bride had really been drowned; she put it on her daughter's tongue and found it did not work. The prince found them and said they deserved to die, but the stepdaughter had persuaded him to merely abandon them on a desert island.

Another obscure fairy tale that made my radar is Hans Christian Anderson's "The Shadow". This one could be turned into a tale of dark and light mistaken identity. Here's the synopsis (from Wikipedia):

Once a learned man from the northern regions of Europe went on a voyage south. One night, he sat on his terrace, while the fire behind him cast his shadow on the opposite balcony. As he was sitting there, resting, the man was amused to observe how the shadow followed his every movement, as if he really did sit upon the opposing balcony. When he finally grew tired and went to sleep, he imagined the shadow would likewise retire in the house across the street. The next morning however, the man found to his surprise that he in fact had lost his shadow overnight. As a new shadow slowly grew back from the tip of his toes, the man did not give the incident another thought, returned to northern Europe, and took up writing again. Several years passed by until one night there was a knock at his door. To his surprise, it was his shadow, the one he lost years before in Africa, and now stood upon his doorstep, almost completely human in appearance. Astonished by his sudden reappearance, the learned man invited him into his house, and soon the two sat by the fireplace, as the shadow related how he had come to be man.

The learned man was calm and gentle by nature. His main object of interest lay with the good, the beautiful and the true, a subject of which he wrote often but was of no interest to anyone else. The shadow said his master did not understand the world, that he had seen it as truly was, and how evil some men really were.

The shadow then grew richer and fatter over the years, while the writer grew poorer and paler. Finally he had become so ill that his former shadow proposed a trip to a health resort offering to foot the bill as well, but on condition that he could act as the master now, and the writer would pretend to be his shadow. As absurd as this suggestion sounded, the learned man eventually agreed and together they took the trip, the shadow now as his master. At the resort, the shadow met with a beautiful princess, and as they danced and talked with each other each night, the princess fell in love with him.

When they were about to be married, the shadow offered his former master a luxurious position at the palace, on condition that he now became his own shadow permanently. The writer immediately refused and threatened to tell the princess everything, but the shadow had him arrested. Feigning his distraught, the shadow met with the princess and told her:

"I have gone through the most terrible affair that could possibly happen; only imagine, my shadow has gone mad; I suppose such a poor, shallow brain, could not bear much; he fancies that he has become a real man, and that I am his shadow."
"How very terrible,” cried the princess; "is he locked up?"
"Oh yes, certainly; for I fear he will never recover."
"Poor shadow!" said the princess; "it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly."

When the shadow wed the princess later that night, the learned man was already executed.

Here's another unusual one I'd heard of from years ago. It borders on bestiality. It's called "The She-Bear", and here's the synopsis:

After his wife dies, a King decides that the only woman in the world who matches his dead wife’s beauty is his own daughter Preziosa – therefore, Preziosa must now marry her deranged father. He tells her that if she will not marry him that very evening then ‘’when I am finished with you there will be nothing left but your ears’’.

An old woman then gives the terrified girl an enchanted bit of wood that will turn her into a bear when she puts it in her mouth. Preziosa – now a bear—flees into the forest and resolves never again to reveal her true form lest her father learns of her whereabouts. A prince discovers the wonderfully friendly she-bear in the woods and takes her home to be his pet.

One day when she believes she is alone, Preziosa takes the bit of wood out of her mouth to brush her hair. The prince looks out his window, spies a gorgeous maiden in his garden and rushes out to find her, but she hears him coming and quickly puts the wood back into her mouth. The prince searches throughout the garden but he cannot find the maiden anywhere—in her place is only his pet she-bear.

The prince becomes sick with lust for the bear-girl and begins to waste away. On request from her son, the prince’s mother sends for the she-bear who is now to reside in the princes bedroom, cook his meals and make his bed for him. The prince becomes overcome with lust for the bear, and begs his mother to let him kiss the animal.

While the mother watches and encourages them enthusiastically, man and bear lock lips. They are kissing so passionately that the bit of wood slips from Preziosa’s mouth and the prince finds that he now holds a stunningly beautiful maiden in his arms. Rejoicing, they get married, and presumably everybody lives happily ever after.

I may tackle these for my upcoming new fairy tale anthology. There are others, too, many of them Asian, that interest me. Look for my new book "Wicked Fairy Tales" coming out in the fall.

You may find information about my two current fairy tales at the top of this page. They are "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" (erotic Puss In Boots) and "Climbing Her Tower" (erotic Rapunzel). You may find information about my short story "Purr" (shorter erotic Puss In Boots) under the "Short Stories" tab.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tove Lo - Habits

I heard this song on the second season season finale of "Mistresses".

Monday, September 1, 2014

Author Behavior On Social Media And Its Effect On Readers

[This article originally appeared at the Erotic Readers And Writers Association blog.]

Have you ever quit reading an author because of the way that author acted on social media?

This question was posed on Facebook by several authors. I saw it on author Rachel Thompson's timeline, and I wanted to know if my readers and other authors had ever done it. I had read about allegations of child sexual abuse against Marion Zimmer Bradley and I was already familiar with charges of homophobia against Orson Scott Card. As I saw on Facebook and elsewhere, the news turned off many readers as well as writers. After all, writers are readers, too.

I asked the same question on m Facebook timeline and I received some fascinating answers.

In many cases, yes, an author's behavior may affect a person's desire to get to know their works. Diana Perrine noted that it's "sometimes it is hard to separate the Art from the Artist. Actors, Musicians, Authors, Painters and Poets. If I like the art, but if I find the artist to be particularly loathsome, I may not patronize him/her." Tess MacKall found certain criminal acts a deal-breaker. "If an author has committed a crime---and I'm not talking about income tax evasion or getting caught with a prostitute---but a real crime such as sexual abuse, murder, rape, etc., I'm never going to read anything by that author again." She said. "And I don't care how talented the author is. I will not put money in the pockets of a person like that." Darren Madigan brought up the career damage misbehavior can cause for an author or celebrity: "If you're really offended by some kind of behavior, then it will doubtless make you not want to have anything to do with the person associated with the behavior….  which is why celebrities lose endorsement deals when they get caught misbehaving. " He said. "It's normal and natural for people to feel alienated from everything they associate with a person when that person behaves in a way that offends them."

Some authors named specific writers. Karen Pokras Toz pointed out a fellow author had forwarded to her an interview by Nicholas Sparks where he puts down women authors. She said "Buh-bye." I've never read Sparks either, and now I definitely won't touch his books since I feel insulted. Jeanne Evans has never read, and will never read, anything by L. Ron Hubbard.

Not everyone agrees with these assessments, however, and these disagreements make some authors controversial. Still, It is helpful to separate the artist from his or her work. Devon Marshall said, "For me it's a case of don't confuse the house with the inhabitant. What an author (or an actor, director, or any creative person) does is create a fiction, whether within a novel or a role or a painting, or whatever. What they do with their creative fiction is not always who they are in reality. Liking a person's work doesn't obligate me to like that person in reality. And vice versa, I can like a person but dislike their work! It should also be borne in mind that what we read about people on social media (be they celebrities or not) may not always be either the whole story or even the truth."

Raye Roeske has had personal experience with poorly-acting or speaking authors. She said, "It's mostly been authors/artists/whatever who have personally been dickish to me or one of my loved ones." More personal experience from a reader: "I had an author follow me on twitter, then not long after they chatted/commented on tweets, even gave me a snippet of their book and once I said I'd bought the book they un followed me (keeping up their follower vs followed numbers) it irritated me so unfollowed them." Xenia Smith said. "They then commented on the fact I'd unfollowed them. Not really the way to keep new readers.

This distaste isn't isolated to authors. Dave Gammon said he was "very turned off a specific director that shall remain anonymous. This individual seems to relish in correcting other people who are simply stating their opinions and impressions and retaliating with his own opinions as abstract as they are as facts. I think its a sign of emotional insecurity to have to railroad someone else's opinion because it differs from their own. I think this individual has definitely tarnished my enthusiasm of seeing anymore of their films."

James Gummer was enjoying one particular author's works, but was turned off later. "I bought all of his books and listened regularly to his podcast," he said. "He acts and talks like he wants to interact with people. But he never responded to any of my emails or tweets when I had questions I wanted to ask." Authors really do need to keep up with their readers. It may be hard, but it's necessary. One key to success is friendly interaction.

One of the worst examples of author behavior I've ever seen was described by John Hancock, who pointed out a possible explanation for some of this behavior. He said: "I think the thing is that SOME authors are very solitary, lacking in social skills, so when they enter social media, they either think they can control or retaliate against fans or readers whose reviews they don't appreciate, or they simply come off as obnoxious jerks.
" He described a rather horrific personal experience: "I once wrote a negative review, in which I pointed out the misogynistic parts of the book I found repulsive (threats of cutting off a woman's breasts, and making her eat them, for example). The author, and a group of his friends hounded me and down voted all my reviews (even those for products unrelated to books) and bragged about targeting me. Eventually I told him enough, I'd remove the review if they'd stop harassing me. Simply not worth it. The sad thing is, everyone once in a while, due to his robo social media campaign, I get requests to follow him on Facebook or twitter. I would never read another book from this person. I wouldn't anyways, due to his repugnant attitudes towards women, but also because he's a bully to bad reviewers. God only knows how many bad reviews he forced to retract, like mine."

Some aren't affected by an author's actions or statements. "I feel missing a good book or movie because of that would just mean I can't keep my thoughts separated and distinct in my head," John Paradiso said. The opposite side would be readers who have picked up an author's books because of their pleasant social media personas. I doubt I would have read Trent Zelazny, Douglas Clegg, KD Grace, or Tom Piccirilli if I hadn't been exposed to them on Facebook. I'd never heard of them before social media, and due to my exposure to them and liking them as people, I discovered their works. John Ross Barnes said much the same thing: "I have bought quite a few books by authors I have discovered to be nice people on social media, and will continue to do so."

Some authors were exposed to new writers via different formats. Christine Morgan said, "I've picked up books I might not have otherwise just because the author seemed cool on a talk show or at a con or something, yes. And I've avoided books for the reverse reason." I recall about several decades ago hearing a show on NPR in which Donald Westlake discussed his new book "The Ax". Westlake was such a delight and the book sounded like such great fun that I soon after went to a bookstore and bought it. I later devoured his Dortmunder books with great delight. Some aren't greatly influenced by what they read online or hear elsewhere. Jenifer Baldwin Stubbs may "try an author because of social media...either I saw something I liked or someone I like recommends, but I don't let news, reviews or public behaviour really influence my reading or watching.

Author radio interviews, book reviews, and author profiles in newspapers and magazines are designed to sell books, but they bring the author into your living room in a very comfortable and easy-going way. You feel as if you're right there with the author. If the book sounds good, you're more likely to buy it if you get a feel for the author.

And finally, Shar Azade made the best point of all: "A lot of the authors I like are dead. So if they suddenly got active on social media ... I'd be a little weirded out, yes."