Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Denise Rossetti, author of the upcoming Ellora's Cave release GIFTS OF THE GODDESS and finalist in the 2005 Zircon Speculative Short Fiction contest, presents The Campfire and the Craft.

Are you weighted toward the storyteller, the wordsmith, or balanced happily between?

Denise is writing an interactive erotic story through her newsletter, and it's hopping great fun. Check her out at

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News2Use In Depth: Singularity Bomb

So I stumbled over this interesting guy and his interesting theory. The guy is Ray Kurzweil and his interesting theory is the coming singularity.

In Kurzweil-speak, the "singularity" is the event horizon where technology forever alters humanity. Kurzweil, a leading thinker in from the artificial intelligence community, posits that technological advances will leap ahead exponentially in the next century, changing our society, our economy and our basic humanity.

The keystones of the singularity seem to be the advent of nanotechnology, the rise of machine intelligence, and the ushering in of the post-human age. I'd run across the term "post-human" several years ago, along with the equally interesting and disturbing "trans-human."

Some of this stuff sounds banally utopian. No more poverty, because molecular manufacturing will make supply of goods limitless. No more wars, because death will be meaningless in an age when we can upload ourselves into immortality. My cynical self just cannot imagine any technology that can overcome human greed for wealth, power and control.

And projected negative singularities abound for that cynical self to gloat about: the infamous gray ooze into which rogue nanobots could reduce the world, the possibilities of terrorism at molecular and genetic levels, the looming threat of Skynet-esque artificial intelligences.

There is enough story gold in the singularity for numerous blog entries and articles, and over the summer that's exactly what I'll be doing: dropping the singularity bomb.

For heavy duty beach reading, here's an archive of singularity-related articles

For thoughts on post-humanism, read today's John Shirley blog

The folks at The Daily Grail provide a nicely organized Kurzweilian library

Friday, May 26, 2006

Felled by the flu, I've fallen behind. So here's everything in one big juicy bite


  • Silhouette Goes from Intimate to Suspense

  • Write the Next Chapter for Swimming Kangaroo Books

  • Science Fiction Poetry Association First Web Poetry Contest

  • Check the full listings at Speculative Romance Online's Website.


    With all the talk about the demise of the romantic historical, blah blah blah, we're happy to introduce you to Vintage Romance Publishing.

    They feature romantic fiction set anytime before 1969, and they have a Perfectly Paranormal line. Read our interview with Vintage Romance's Editor and Business Manager, Dawn Carrington..


    Today's most ironic comment on the male brain: Repetitive Stupidity Disorder, by Chris Bauer, as featured in the current issue of Aberrant Dreams.

    Today's most poignant exploration of love and trust: Love's Resistance (Crossing the Wheatstone Bridge), by John Borneman, a poem featured in this month's From the Asylum.

    And finally, for an off-beat romp, check out the stand-alone Prologue to The Syndicate, by Jules Jones and Alex Woolgrave, which has the delightful subtitle "Because Geeks Have Sex Lives Too…"

    I only had time to read the prologue today, which does not have any sexual content, but does have a clever speculative premise as well as a pair of interesting characters, Allard and Vaughan, who become a spirited couple in the further adventures. So, you know, don't get all freaky if you are of a mind not to like that stuff, because you've been warned. I happen to dig that stuff up one side and down the other, and plan to order the book.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    NEWS 2 USE

    Just could not wait to share these lovely stories, plus one unrelated but hilarious blog link. So much for the uniformity of my blog schedule!

    Homeland Security, Rah Rah Rah

    As part of an ongoing literary experiment, a University of Florida grad student posted a short story to his LiveJournal called "I Am Ready To Serve My Country," about an Army recruit who prepares for war by killing people.

    Six months later, authorities asked him to provide fingerprints and a DNA sample, to be sure he really hadn't murdered anyone.

    Read more at the excellent and fun blog, Dark But Shining.

    We should just elect Keystone Cops clones and embrace the horror.

    Will There Be An LKH Unseelie Court Cult? I'll Join!

    British authorities raided a "sex slavery sect" based on John Norman's Chronicles of Gor. Since everyone there was a consenting adult, however, no arrests were made.

    Read the whole sordid story in the Telegraph here.

    Imagine with me the confrontation between bewhiskered English bobbies and sect leader Lee Thompson, together with three or four leashed women on their knees…heheheh.

    The Face That Launched Another Deep Bout of Depression

    Scottish researchers have created a male face they believe is irresistible to women.

    See it, and some hilarious commentary, at The Retropolitan Presents: Tales to Astonish.

    He looks nothing like James Woods, young Mickey Roarke and certainly nothing like the Sexiest Man Alive, Christopher Walken. Crazy Scots, what do they know of a woman's heart?

    Monday, May 22, 2006


    My Dolphin Has A First Name...

    Research funded by The Royal Society of London has concluded that dolphins recognize each other not by sound or scent or sight, but by individual whistle patterns that correspond to our idea of personal names.

    "I think it is a very exciting discovery because it means that these animals have evolved the same abilities as humans," said Dr Vincent Janik, of the Sea Mammal Unit at St Andrews University.

    Read the news article here.

    The big question is could a dolphin learn our names? Does a dolphin realize we are intelligent? Alive? So long, and thanks for all the fish takes on new meaning...

    Clyde Was Smarter than you Think

    Research out of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that orangutans and bonobo chimpanzees show the capacity for future planning--one of the cognitive gifts thought to separate humans from animals.

    When provided a tool to reach a treat, such as grapes, 50% of the time the research animals kept the tool and used it later. Researchers state, "Our results suggest that future planning is not a uniquely human ability, contradicting the notion that it emerged in hominids only within the past 2.5 to 1.6 million years."

    Read the story here.

    Read on to find out what those chimpanzees were once planning ahead for...

    Will the RWA let us write about this???

    Recent studies suggest that early humans and chimpanzees not only shared a common ancestor, but for a while they shared a whole lot more. According to Australian National University anthropologist Colin Groves, the new findings show "that human-chimp speciation may have occurred over a long period with episodes of hybridisation between the emerging species."

    In lay terms, that means chimps and the earliest humans were not only able to interbreed, they did so on a fairly regular basis.

    Read all about it here.

    The best, and I mean best, part of this article was author Stephen Cauchi's last paragraph: "Dr. Groves said that even today it could be possible for humans and chimps to have sex and produce offspring, although there would be ethical problems." Do you think?

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Saturday Fun!

    I'm of two minds about evil. Gotta hate it, cause gosh, it hurts. Gotta love it, though, cause gosh--it's so damn much more interesting than being good.

    Favorite book bad guys?

  • Dr. Hannibal Lechter. Nobody'd have to pump me full of psychotropic drugs to run off to Brazil with him.

  • The sexiest ugliest viper in science fiction, Angus Thermopyle from Stephen Donaldson's GAP series.

  • Yours?

    I think that while we go about our good, upstanding citizen lives, washing our cars, paying our bills, not wantonly breaking things or other people, we all secretly long to be Bad Guys. So today, after a crappy work week, let's see What Type of Villian Are You?

    I'm sure no one who knows me will be surprised to discover who I am.

    What Type of Villain are You?

    Thursday, May 18, 2006


    Okay, it's not Friday. But it's almost Friday! actively seeks paranormal and science fiction romance at novel length.

    Silver Moon Erotic Books, a division of Coyote Moon Publications, seeks novellas for their anthology Bitten By Love: Romance For All Hallows. Submissions should be paranormal (no other sub-genre) romances with a Halloween theme.

    Loose ID wants you if you "unleash your plot and characters from traditional romance and genre fiction conventions to create powerful, inventive tales that delight the most responsive readers in the history of publishing." They're looking for sensual and erotic stories.

    At Samhain Publishing, they "encourage authors to let their muse have its way and to create tales that don’t always adhere to current trends." They accept submissions in all genres plus non-fiction, which is a little different.

    Qamara Press "explores romantic literary fantasies with a flair for tasteful erotic storytelling." They're looking for cross-genre in paranormal, fantasy, time travel and historical. They are also looking for editors and proofreaders.

    Full listings with links are, as always, at SpecRom's Market Update page.

    And a bonus note for you blog readers. In his livejournal Monstrous Musings, Realms of Fantasy slushmaster Douglas Cohen interviews Nancy Fulda from the editorial staff of Jim Baen's Universe. She gives insight on what it is they're looking for at that much-anticipated start-up. Read the May 15 entry here.

    Remember, if you have a market tip to report, email me. Market updates appear every Friday, and a month's worth go out in SpecRom's newsletter.

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006


    "Stains of the Past" by J. Kathleen Cheney visits a Byzantine-esque fantasy world where a psychically-gifted courtesan changes her life when she falls in love with a stoic soldier with a psychic talent of his own. It's archived from the February issue of The Sword Review.

    The strength of this story is the narrator's wistful, lyrical voice. And the hero made me ache a bit, for his plight. Not sure I enjoyed the message about sex, but many of you will appreciate the more mainstream theme about romantic love. Yeah, yeah, not all of you out there are as out there as me. So here's a good one for you.

    Monday, May 15, 2006


    Anything But the Guppy Sneak Mate...

    When faced with swimming with predators or dealing with unwanted sexual attention, female guppies choose the former. When continual courtship displays go unrecognized, male guppies "will attempt sneak mating with them [female guppies] when they aren't looking," according to researchers from the University of Leeds. To avoid such a fate, the drab-colored female guppies hide in predator-infested waters, where the brightly colored male guppies dare not follow.

    Click here for the press release from Eurekalert.

    Sneak mating and continual (and seemingly unimpressive) courtship displays. A female guppy's life is like one big disco. I'd swim with the sharks, too. Interesting, though, that a female guppy would rather risk death than produce offspring cursed with what she perceives as inferior genetic matter. The researchers thought the significance was more ecological. If guppy predators, like most predators, are the first to go extinct in an unbalanced ecosystem, the result would be more sexual harassment and assault of female guppies.

    Sneak Mate, Homo Sapiens Style

    According to research done at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 62% of all reported sexual assaults involve victims being drugged. Whether the drug is recreationally self-administered or if it is unknowingly introduced into a victim's system, the report states the result is impairment of a victim's "ability to identify a dangerous situation or to resist the perpetrator."

    Click here for the Eurekalert press release.

    So when guppies want to escape sexual danger, they make themselves vulnerable to predators. Seems like it's the opposite for human women. Except the guppies hide among predators who have no sexual interest in them. Lurking in here is the Perfect Speculative Erotica plot: hunky gay vampires stalking the streets, saving vulnerable women from the real creatures of the night.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Market Updates for your Friday!

    For you writers of the erotic, Jovian Pleasures is looking for hot science fiction and fantasy stories.

    For you writers of the twisted, From the Asylum calls for submissions for its anthology "Loving the Undead...An Anthology of Romance. Sort of." They don't want necrophilia, so a story sitting in my archive won't work. Nobody pushes the envelope far enough, I swear.

    See the full listings by clicking right here.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Website Updates! Website Updates!

    Our newsletter should go out Friday, but I've already posted some content on the site. You lucky bloggers can have a sneak peak at the month's News 2 Use and our Market Updates.

    Because I am web site challenged, when I tried to update our home page to show what's new, it didn't quite work. When you get there, try clicking on "SpecRom Home" in the left hand menu to find what should be on the home page. FIXED THIS! HA HA, TAKE THAT HTML. TAKE THAT, COLD FUSION!

    Also, for some unfathomable reason, the link to the Awards page doesn't work, so to see the Sapphire nominees, click SpecRom Awards on that handy left hand menu. FIXED THIS! HA, HA, TAKE THAT HTML. TAKE THAT, COLD FUSION!

    Rae Dawn Carson captures the longing for and necessity of romantic love in her moving story, "Becoming," available now in Issue #18 of Abyss & Apex.

    While the emotions touched me, the non-linear structure of the story captured me as well. Writing and reading only at novel length, you risk missing out on the clever ways that shorts use form, not just plot, to tell the story. Pay attention, all you Zircon hopefuls!

    (What's the Zircon? Our short story contest. Check for details. Updated rules, entry template, etc., should be available in July.)

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    News2Use: A Good Licking To All

    By routing data from external sensing mechanisms like sonar or cameras through the tongue and directly into the brain, the military hopes to enhance human sensory capabilities and create the super soldier.

    Check out the news item here.

    Hey, just in case we didn't have enough romantic or erotic uses for the tongue!

    Incidentally, over at, author Michael A. Arnzen came up with a few other adaptations for transforming or augmenting the human tongue. None of them would suit the military but intrigued the hell out of me. Think multiples. Then sign up for his newsletter to read more. It's a great resource for all of us hoping to tap the horror genre to cast a shadow on our love stories.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Authors John Shirley and David Brinn ponder whether addiction (such a negative word) is really just a special way to single out the habits reinforced by neurology and brain chemistry that we don't find acceptable.

    SpecRom pondered similar topics in my article "Love Science."

    If love is in fact grounded in biochemical reactions and evolutionary patterns that led to success, can other less positive emotional states be just as addictive as love? John Shirley says maybe racism. David Brinn suggests self-righteous indignation. And if our brain chemistries can be manipulated...

    Just how vulnerable are we, as individuals and a species, to being yanked around by our dopamine levels?