My First Review for Ripping the Bodice

5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Caught My Eye, February 28, 2009

By Ruth SmithSee all my reviews

I haven’t read anything else by this author, but the title caught my eye and I decided to take a chance. I’m glad I did. The writing is excellent, the story kept me interested at all times, and I was not disappointed at all. It was perfect entertainment for a snowy weekend in the end of February, and it was a great way to escape from all of life’s little problems.


Picture me as the cat.  Then imagine the toy as Time.  MY time.   My increasingly decreasing FREE time.  Is it any wonder I clutch it to me with teeth and claws much as Bug Bear hordes his favorite stuffed mouse?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking.  “This is just another excuse to show a cute cat picture, isn’t it, Dana?”





Maybe just a little bit.

But after taking the last week off of writing and now getting back into my schedule with a new book deadline of May 1st, I really do feel like Gollum with his Preciousss when it comes to free time.  I guard it jealously.  And unlike Bug Bear and his toy, I don’t play fetch with it.

A Nice Surprise

I just found out my story YOU’LL NEVER BE LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN, published in the Mondo Zombie Anthology (edited by John Skipp) received Honorable Mention in  The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection.  The other mention was here.  I found it when signing up for Shelfari and looking to see what books of mine they had on file.  My name popped up, I did a ‘search this book’ in Amazon…and there it was!  

Nifty, eh?  

Let’s Put on a Show!

This is me and my best friend and ex-business partner, Maureen.  I’m the one with the gun and Maureen is the one with the justifiably smug expression.

Maureen and I met in high school and bonded over Daphne DuMaurier, Gene Kelly and a mutual desire to wander around moors at odd hours wearing flowing capes.

We also shared a belief that we could do just about anything we set our minds to, very much along the lines of ‘Hey, let’s put on a show!  We can use my parents’ barn…Sophie sews and she’ll make the costumes!  And we’ll get all our friends to act!’  We ran a mystery-oriented theater troupe, did haunted houses for Maureen’s sister and her friends when they had parties, and much more.

We honestly didn’t know what we were doing or the odds we faced at actually pulling any of these ventures off, which gave us a wildly inflated optimism at our ability to succeed.  And because we didn’t know any better, we generally did accomplish our goals. We also managed to drag friends/family and assorted actors and musicians along with our enthusiastic plans. Sometimes we made money and sometimes we didn’t.  But no one ever complained, probably due to the quantity of freshly-baked treats we supplied.

So no no-one in our circle was at all surprised when Mo and I decided to make a movie. We dashed out a script in a week or so, cast it amongst ourselves and our circle of actors, found a friend who’d taken film courses at UCSD and had a video camera, and got to work. We knew nothing of lighting.  We had no microphones and figured we do all the dialogue not caught in the actual filming after the fact (I’ve since learned it’s called ADR and have, in fact, done dubbing for other actors…but that’s another story).  We found locations, including a B&B in Idyllwild, California, run by my ex in-laws, set up a shooting schedule, and set about filming.  The film was called Passion’s Purple Prose and was about a young woman so caught up in her fantasies, she can’t recognize true love when it stares her in the face. I played the heroine and Maureen the best friend. 

We filmed about two thirds of the script before the loss of our leading man (divorce/moving out of town) effectively put the kibosh on our careers as successful Hollywood writer/director/producer triple threats.  I still have three videotapes stuffed full of footage.  Every now and again I threaten Maureen with a public viewing.

I was going through a suitcase of my old writing a couple months ago and found the script for Passion’s Purple Prose, lines of dialogue highlighted in fluorescent yellow.  Re-reading the script, I both winced at some really cheesy dialogue and painfully bad jokes…and genuinely laughed at some of the humor.  It had possibilities.  A rewrite was definitely in order, but…it had possibilities.  “Hey,” I told myself.  “Let’s turn this into an erotic romance!  It has good characters… they could have sex…and I could pitch it to Ravenous!”  So I sent the synopsis and first 25 pages of the script to Holly, changed the name to Ripping the Bodice, and she said I could use her barn if I made the costumes!

So any of you who read RtB and are REALLY curious…come visit me in San Francisco and if  you get me to drink enough wine, I might just break out the original footage.

(P.S. I’m still doing a happy dance ’cause Ripping the Bodice is currently #4 on the Top 10 list and #1 in the Contemporary Romance category.) 

Random Observation for the Day

When I exited the Muni train this morning and went upstairs in the Embarcadero Station, there was a five piece ‘orchestra’ playing Sleeping Beauty’s Waltz.  Not very well, mind you.  Definitely more enthusiasm than musicality…they have a ways to go to get the sort of tightness any musical group needs to be professional.  And yet…it was utterly charming.  It brought a big old smile to my face, hearing the slightly out of time and out of tune notes of the Sleeping Beauty Waltz waft across the station and watching the enthusiasm on the faces of the musicians.

My point?

Music doesn’t always have to be perfect to be enjoyed.

Ripping the Bodice Cover!

Or ‘Squeeee!!!’  EIther expression works.  Anyway, I just got the jpg of my new book cover with Ravenous Romance and am VERY happy with it.  To quote my own sell sheet:

Got sex and romance on the brain? So does Cassandra Devon. She also has hard-boiled private eyes, dashing pirates, jet-setting super spies and other sexy rogues entertaining her in her surprisingly explicit subconscious. All these erotic daydreams make it hard to stay focused on Cassandra’s current dilemma: namely, rebuffing the advances of Connor, a wild Irish rascal who wants to play the starring role in her fantasies. Cassandra is only interested in getting together with Raphael, the tall, dark and handsome man of her dreams. May the best romance hero win!

Walter Mitty meets Erica Jong in this wickedly funny and sexy hot comedy-romance from the author of Succubusted.

My original cover concept was this:

A play on a stereotypical historical romance cover from the ’80s: our heroine, Cassandra (lots of long, wavy dark brown hair) bent over backwards in the steely armed embrace of a tall, dark auburn-haired, muscular man kissing her neck. He’s either bare-chested or dressed in dashing pirate/cavalier garb. Cassandra, however, has her green eyes covered with glasses and is reading a romance novel, cover clearly visible, over the man’s shoulder. Her expression and interest are clearly more on the book than the man holding her.

While I still love my idea, I am equally fond of the cover the Ravenous artists came up with.

Ripping the Bodice will be out on Ravenous Romance…(drumroll) tomorrow!  So if you like comedy, romance and a little bit…okay, a lot of sex, please check it out!

A Brief Respite

As you all know (‘all’ being you kind people who follow my adventures via my blog posts), I have been working on a non-fiction book, What Women Really Want in Bed, along with fellow author and childhood friend Cynthia Gentry.

The draft is due the end of President’s Day Weeked, so when I’m not at my day job, I’m working on my chapters for this book.  Okay, I took last night off ’cause it was my birthday and there was champagne to drink, friends to hang out with (they threw me a surprise party!) and presents to open (I’m up to date on The Walking Dead graphic novels!). But tonight it’s back to it.

I discovered this weekend that good zombie movies (as opposed to ones like Zombie Night or The Dead Live, which are so bad, they have their own drinking games now) are the perfect background for working on this project.  I’ve seen them all, so they don’t distract me too much and I can focus on the work.  However, they also provide a backdrop that prevents me from getting glazed or eye-strain from staring at quotes and my computer screen hours at a time.  I know, I know…I’m weird.  But hey, it works!

Tonight, however, instead of zombie movies, I turned on the TV and found Zorro, The Gay Blade on the Fox Movie Channel.  Truly George Hamilton’s finest hour…well, hour and a half or however long it runs.  “Remember, my people…there is no crime in being poor…only in dressing poorly!”

This movie cheers me up no matter how depressed I might be…perks me up when tired…and makes me giggle every time Zorro’s FAbulous brother Bunny shows up in one of his brightly colored Zorro outfits with matching fringe on his gold hat.

Okay…back to work!