Much like the Not Ready for Primetime Players, there is a group of amazingly talented authors on the cusp of stardom. They gather here at the Not so Famous Author's Blog to tell you all about writing and smashing your head on a desk. No just the writing part. .


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spotlight for the Playing Darlene Blog Tour!!

Playing Darlene: The True Double Life of a Public School Teacher & Professional Dominatrix

by Darlene

Published August 31, 2012 by Chances Press, LLC

Erotic Memoir/Tell All

Available at:



In this eye-opening true story, one woman recounts the double life she led working in two very different professions…one revered and the other reviled. Darlene spent over twenty years being thought of as a well-mannered teacher in a Southern California public school district, but her colleagues and students would have never imagined that for eighteen of those years she also worked as a professional dominatrix in a dungeon.


“Playing Darlene” lets the reader take a peek into the mysterious lives of professionals in the sex industry and some of the jaw-dropping encounters she had with the thousands of clients whose fantasies she helped come true. With everything from roleplaying a shopaholic wife being spanked by her husband to wrapping up a muscular cross-dressing client in plastic and watching him wiggle, Darlene helped men realize their most secret desires…while she wasn’t grading school papers on her breaks.


Darlene's true stories of balancing her two different personas are frequently shocking, at times hilarious, and occasionally touching, but at the heart of the story is a woman on a personal journey not only to reconcile with her past, but also to discover the full potential of her own sexuality.



Since I believe that there are no accidents in life, it’s not surprising that one day I happened to notice among the newspaper racks a paper that had scantily-clad young lady on the front page. Of course I took one to see what was inside it. It was full of ads for private dancing, massage, bachelor parties, escorts, lingerie shows, fantasies, fetishes, and things I’d never heard of. I wanted to somehow get involved in something, but I had no idea where to start. And these things were totally beyond anything I’d done in the past. I mean I had studied ballet and ballroom dancing, and acted in legitimate theater. Were the activities in this newspaper even legal? I couldn't risk getting arrested and losing my teaching credential.


I finally called a place of business that offered private, nude dancing. When I got there I saw it was a real business, not someone’s house. It had been there for many years, which proved to me that whatever was going on in there was legal and, therefore, safe for me to do. I was nervous all right, but curiosity won out. I went in and saw a handful of young ladies lounging around in various states of undress. I asked the slimy (too much grease in his hair, rumpled clothing, and he badly needed a bath) guy behind the desk what I had to know how to do in order to work there. He looked at me as if I were crazy. I still looked like a soccer mom. He said something like, “This isn't the place for you.” He was right. I don't know how to describe the “type” the girls were, but I wasn't it.


But I wanted very much to be that type. To play that type. I told the guy I was a dancer, looked great when dressed/undressed the way the girls were, and really wanted to try it. He sort of rolled his eyes, but finally told me to come in at noon the next day.


I showed up with my “costume” in a bag: a lacy bra, g-string, hot pants, and spike heels. I got dressed and positioned myself on one of the sofas in the lounge. When Mr. Slime saw me, I could tell from the look on his face that he was thinking this may work out after all.


He then explained the way things worked. Some guy would just walk in off the street, look around at the girls, and choose me. I was to take him to one of the rooms and pull the curtain across the doorway. (There were no doors). I could dance around and take off some or all of my clothes, but I wasn’t allowed to touch him. He could touch himself, and there was a bottle of oil provided for this. The first time I was selected, I felt a twinge of panic. I was used to performing dances that had been choreographed and well-rehearsed. No one had ever taught me how to do a striptease on purpose. Where was I supposed to look? Should I gaze into his eyes and smile? Should I pretend he isn’t there? Or should I flat-out stare at his dick and wait for the explosion?


I worked there for a couple of months. I’d go in at noon, work/dance until five, change clothes, and teach my ESL class in the evening. I got a kick out of it. Now and then, one of my students would ask me something like, “Teacher, what did you do today?” They wouldn't have believed me if I had told them.


I didn’t make much money with this dancing thing. There wasn't that much business. Most of the time I was just sitting around the lounge reading a magazine or talking to one of the ladies. What I preferred, though, was listening to them. They discussed other aspects of the sex industry that I knew nothing about.


Then one fateful day -- someone mentioned slaves, whips, chains, and dungeons. That sounded like some kind of theater (oh, good--acting again), and I wanted to know more about it. I heard the word “Castle”, but that was it. The conversation was interrupted, and I didn’t know where it was.


I went home that night and went through the phone book. There must have been dozens of businesses starting with the word “Castle”. The Castle Liquor Store, The Castle Nursery School, and even The Castle Laundromat. I started calling. And calling. I was on a mission. “Is this the place with the whips and chains?” I'd say over and over again. “Sorry, lady, you've got the wrong number,” was the usual response.


This place had to be in the phone book.


And it was. Finally a guy on the other end of the phone said in a slow drawl, “Yeah, we got that.”


I went right over.


About the Author:

Darlene was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up in Pasadena, a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. She received a BA in German from California State University, Los Angeles. For several years she worked in television and film. Credits include General Hospital, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the female lead in the film Monstrosity in which she played a spaced-out punk rocker. She even photo-doubled for Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (when they were 14 and 12 respectively). For the past 20 years, she has been a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she can be found indulging in her favorite hobby, ballroom and country-western dancing. Her next book is scheduled to be released in early 2013. You may also email her at


Darlene will be featured in an upcoming episode of Discovery Fit & Health's “Shocking Family Secrets.” The episode will air on Thursday, Dec. 27th at 10PM (9PM Central).


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Networking is Vital

So, you have written a book and now the journey of getting people to read it begins. Well, if you are dreaming of the big contract and the six figure salary of the greats, get to networking.

The truth is there are a number of indie authors out there with great books just waiting to be discovered. The reason why you may or may not have heard of them is due to networking.

As an indie author the bulk of your advertising will fall on you. Even if you secure a contract with a publisher, there may be a clause in your document that states you will be responsible for 50%to 100% of the book's advertising. Is this this the company pulling a fast one. No, it's just a sign of the times. Writing the book is only half the battle, the remainder of the chore is getting your name out there and here are a few ideas:

Facebook:  Make you an author page outside of your regular Facebook page. Author pages can be used for advertising yourself and your work. Also Facebook provides a number of great groups that an author can use to gain attraction. Remember you want readers and support from your fellow authors so choose wisely. If your choice does not seem to work with you, then unjoin.

Twitter: Yes, build up those tweets. In fact join a group on Facebook that will retweet your links and build your audience. Of course you must retweet other author's work and that is the way it should be done. You can't take, take, take.

Google+: Another strong dimension for building up your audience is Google +. This site provides you with groups much like Facebook and you can attract a whole new audience.

Myspace: Same concept as Facebook

Chat Rooms: Take the time to chat with authors and readers. This helps in building your audience, getting your name out and learning the ropes.

Goodreads: This site is built up of authors and readers. This is a perfect site for posting your book, hosting giveaways and conversing about other author's work. This is very important in building your support.

With a host of new and upcoming social media sites, there is always an outlet to getting your name in the mainstream of the author's world. It won't happen overnight, but be persistent and keep going. You will attract good people and that is what you want on this journey.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Godzilla - Official Teaser Trailer [HD]

I still love the original movies the best (and I don't want to talk about that Roland Emmerich one), but this one has a bit of tension in the trailer. Could be fun. Plus, I saw Bryan Cranston in the trailer and that is always an easy sell for me....

First Time Jitters (Or, OMG, I Have to Actually Talk To Readers)

I recently signed up to do my first book signing. And if you know me, you will understand just how much this terrifies me. I am a painful introvert by nature, and the thought of actually having to interact with people who may or may not read my work is paralyzing. I....I can't even.
This is putting it mildly.

The powers that be (my writer friends) tell me that this is one of the best ways to reach new readers. And honestly, who doesn't want to do that? I don't have overinflated expectations, mind you. I'm not anticipating on bringing a cartload of books and selling out in minutes. Or at all. I hope to sell a couple of copies, sign a few, and smile and chat like any other normal person. You know, talk a little about my books and thank people in general for coming out to see us.
Perhaps a little less desperate. Okay, not really.
The problem is, I am terrible in these situations. TERRIBLE. While on paper, I am able to execute a modicum of eloquence, in person, I end up like a stuttering idiot. I am hoping to draw strength from my fellow attendees, betting on their confidence to boost my own. It really boils down to the fact that I have produced a product for sale, and now I have to market and promote it. I am not a famous author. I do not have a cabal of PR people and marketing geniuses orbiting around me for the sole purpose of getting my book in your hands. Nope. It's just me, people. Little, terrified, me.
Yep. I'll be sitting there, sharing a table with some lovely fellow writer (who's probably done this before and can whip out a smile and an autograph in heartbeat), with a few books and maybe some candy. I'll have on a slightly cringe-worthy smile, hoping that it desperately hides my awkwardness. More than likely, I will forget how to spell my own name. And so it goes.

In closing, on the off chance that you do make it out to see me and some other talented writers, I'm waving and thanking you now. It might take me a bit to get warmed up and crawl out from under my rock, but I'll get there eventually. And if my hand shakes a little when I sign, or I misspell my name, be gentle. There's a one in a million shot your book could be a collectible one day. Probably not. But it doesn't hurt to hope.
Maybe. Not likely, but maybe.
Tara S. Wood can be found lurking on the internet. Or in these fine establishments.
Moon Rose Publishing

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Characters All Around You

Hi there. I thought this time I would focus on finding characters when writing. There are so many different ways to develop characters. You can start with what you see in your eye and there is also outlining. As for me, I love monitoring the people around me. It is interesting what quirks you find in the everyday people that surround you. Little things such as personal ticks, tilts of the head and even a crooked smile, can bring your character to life and make them more attractive to your reader. No one is perfect, not even the super skinny super model. There is always something you can pull from nearby. Here are some that pull from.

1. Chain smoker - Oh my gosh, I worked with someone who smoked constantly and she had this thing like she would go out of her mind if she didn't get another drag. Then to top that off, she always had a large 32 oz insulated cup of coffee. She always kept it filled and drank on it all day. Loud perfume and a very loud personality to top it off and there ya go. 

2. The Bitch Diva - I use the term Bitch in a loving way. This lady is always on her game and will chew a man to pieces. Her clothes, hair and nails are always done and there is usually a smile on her face because someone else is picking up the check. Selfish, yes, but very much a lover of the church and is a true believer. She loves her family, but they tend to use her. But when it is time for her to wild out, she don't play.

3. You Can't Out Do Me - We all know someone like this. This person believes in what they say only. The one I know has a commanding presence as if they should be the center of attention. However, deep down there is a ton of insecurity and pain.

4. I'm the man - Pick anyone you know. This can be male or female. The one I am thinking of thought he hung the moon and stars and felt that just because he looked like a Backstreet Boy, he had it going on. By the way, he was about 5"6 which made him smurf like to me.

Anyway these are some of my favorites. Take your time and observe the folks around you and I guarantee you will find a plethora of characters to mame, fall in love with, hate, adore or kill in your next book.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Formatting Made Easy

Formatting a book, and the quality of that process, is critically important. As an editor and consultant, I know how expensive this process can be. With that in mind, I am always fond of giving seminars and advice to those in need, who perhaps do not have the money in their budget.

Grab this very simple walkthrough on how to format your novel for print, make a very simple book cover, and then how to set up a CreateSpace account. 

All of this for only a $1!

Click on the link following checkout to have access to the guide. Do not close out your checkout until you make sure you have the link! 

Let me know if you need anything by contacting me at

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab, But I Plotted This Story Instead...

After a vigorous plotting session, one of my writer friends posted this as her Facebook status: "Brainstorming with Tara is like going to rehab."

Like this one, only with more wine and shenanigans.
Naturally, I was pleased as punch. It's not often that one is compared to rehab, but I took it like the compliment it was. When it comes to brainstorming and/or the pesky business that is plotting, I generally have an easier time helping out someone else than in coming up with stuff for my own stories. It's hard, and I overthink.
And then this happens.
I am a co-dependent plotter. I need someone else to make the ideas flow and make sense. For a while, I felt bad about this. I felt almost unoriginal in a way. But, it's not the big picture that I need help with; it's the getting from point A to point B to make the big picture come into focus. This is where I second guess myself. This is where outside input can be a great resource. Especially when my brain stops working.
This is where the wine comes in. With more wine.
I have a small group of writers (and one or two avid readers and all-around smart people) with whom I can call on at any moment for that little bit of plot help when I'm in a bind. I know for a fact that I get too wrapped up in what I know should happen in the story to actually make it happen. It's like tripping over your own feet. I'm getting in my own way. And sometimes it takes the different perspective of an outsider to help you stay on track and keep the story moving in a positive direction. I love these moments. I love helping other writers talk out their story issues.
What I feel when I help out a friend. True story, yo.
If you have writer peeps or reader peeps who help you out, feel blessed. So many times in this business we make so many acquaintances and colleagues that true friends are few and far between. I'm lucky to have an ever-expanding circle of awesomeness. And if they want to compare my brain to a trip to rehab, then I can't complain.
Not bothered in the least.
Tara S. Wood can be found lurking on the internet. Or in these fine establishments.
Moon Rose Publishing

Q and A with Waking Up Dead Author - Margo Bond Collins!

The Interview!

Tell us the story behind that cover!
The cover was designed by Kelly Abell of Select-O-Grafix. I love the way the shadowy figure on it fades out to nothing at the bottom!

What can we learn from your main character?
When I was working on Waking Up Dead, someone asked me why I would want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost, unable to easily interact with the world around her.
I didn’t have a good answer then, but I’ve thought about it a lot since.
And here’s the deal: I love writing about Callie and her limitations. Because ultimately, that’s what many books are about, right? The limitations we face when interacting with the world around us. Callie’s limitations are just more immediate and obvious. She has to really work to have an impact on the world, and that’s something we can all sympathize with. Who hasn’t had days when getting anything done felt like swimming through peanut butter? When, try as we might, we can’t seem to communicate with the people surrounding us. When our attempts to move people or things fall flat and we have to start working on new ways to try to be seen and heard.
For Callie, these obstacles are instantly recognizable, but her attempts to make connections echo the attempts in our own lives. So why would I want to limit my protagonist by making her a ghost? Because sometimes, we’re all ghosts. But if we keep at it, we can overcome that little problem.

What has been your greatest compliment as an author, your worst criticism?
The single greatest compliment is always “when is the next book coming out?” The second greatest compliment is writing a review—it doesn’t matter whether the review is positive or negative; the fact that someone took the time to read the book and write the review is always amazing to me!
And I don’t mind criticism, so I don’t think of it as “worst.” I generally first try to see if there’s any merit to the criticism (I’ve gotten some great comments that have already improved my fiction writing!) and then, if I disagree with the criticism, I simply assume that this book (or my writing style) isn’t right for that reader.

What part of the story was the hardest to write, the beginning, the middle, the climax?
I think probably the middle. The beginning was relatively easy, as it set up the character and her dilemma, and once I’d figured out where the novel was going, the end was pretty clear. But getting my characters from point A to point B in a way that makes sense and makes for a good story is always the hardest for me!

Is your main character based on anyone in particular? Did you have a muse for this book?
My main character isn’t; she just showed up full-blown in my head one day (though there’s always a little of me in all my characters). But the character of Maw-Maw (a reader favorite) is actually largely based on a combination of my own grandmother and great-grandmother--the only real difference is that they were white and from Texas rather than black and from Alabama. Otherwise, she talks like them and acts like them. It's my great-grandmother's voice I hear in my head when I write her dialogue, my grandmother's movements I see when I picture her walking around. Physically, I imagine her looking a bit like Ruby Dee in the television movie version of The Stand. But her attitude? That's straight from my own family! I loved writing Maw-Maw. Every time she opened her mouth, she delighted (and sometimes surprised) me.

Fast Round

Names of your pets: Roscoe, Mickey, and Bastet. (Bastet was named after that famous Egyptian cat statue—all black and sleek—because when she was a kitten I thought that’s what she would grow up to be. Instead, she looks like a huge ball of greyed-out black dryer lint. That’s what I get for giving her a pretentious name.)

Favorite ice cream, color, book, and television show
Ice cream: Vanilla.
Color: Pink.
Book: Unfair question! Too many to list. I have a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature and also read fantasy, science fiction, and romance. So a little of everything!
Television Show: Only slightly less unfair. This week, I discovered (late to the party) Big Bang Theory. I’ve been watching it obsessively. I went to graduate school with those people . . . and may have sometimes been one of them. . . . Usually, though, I watch supernatural dramas like Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead.
Fame or Fortune: Fortune.
Grapes or Raisins: Grapes.

Zombies, Vampires, or neither: Both! I write about vampires in my upcoming release Legally Undead, but I’ve been preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse for years!

The Book!

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.
I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists--fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little--clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones--but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.
But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.
Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone.
I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been alive, I might have been able to save her.
If I could have cried real tears, I would have. As it was, I was sobbing hoarsely and calling the man every dirty name I could think of.
I was still cursing as I followed him around the kitchen. First he opened the pantry and pulled out a box of Hefty garbage bags. Then he grabbed a knife out of the block on the counter. And finally, he picked up Molly’s body and carried it to the bathroom.

Author’s Bio: Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.


Twitter:  @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page:

Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves:

Book Trailers: