There should be some kind of standard for soap.  If you sell it in the grocery store, it has to actually clean things.  I want to start a government agency that requires stuff actually work.

Here’s what happened.  I was in my third drugstore in as many days looking for a specifc cold medicine for my son. I finally found the medicine, but didn’t have the energy to make it to a grocery store.  So I wandered through about twenty aisles (when did drug stores get so big) looking for dishwasher detergent.  Of course the only thing on the shelf was some very fancy, very expensive brand.  Desperate, I bought it and used it.

It was a miracle.  For days, I’ve been dancing around my kitchen like an actress in a commercial – thrilled with my suddenly sparkly glasses, and squeaky clean plates.  I had given up the ghost on clean dishes after several years and three different dishwashers.

Who knew?  Well, me.  Years ago I was complaining about how my dishes looked dirtier after the dishwasher was done than before I put them in.  A wise friend, opening my under sink cabinet,  told me I should switch brands.  I ignored her.  Even Consumer Reports suggests no brand is much different than another.  Their most highly rated brand was Trader Joe’s – which is among the ones I used.  What difference could it make?

Turns out, a big difference!  Gone are the days of pre and post washing dishes.  So yes, I was back at the store buying the very expensive brand – and I’m still happy, albeit a little bit poorer.

Now, about that government agency . . . .

Do you love romance?

The wonderful authors of the new Crimson Romance imprint would love share their newly published books with you!  Crimson Romance is a newly launched imprint of F+W Media.  Every week Crimson releases five new books.  There’s a little something for everyone, historical, suspense, contemporary, and spicy!

During our Blog Hop – November 17, 2012 through November 21, 2012, please read what our writers have to say about how great books can take you to great places.

For each comment you leave on a blog, along with your e-mail address, you’re entered to win one of three gift cards from either or totalling $200.  There will be one grand prize winner of a $100 gift card, and two $50 gift card winners.

Escape & Enjoy!

Thank you for inviting me to blog today.  Let me introduce myself, I’m Sylvie Fox.  Yep, that’s my pen name and I’m sticking with it.

Why do you use a pen name?

I came up with various pen names long before I ever wrote a book.  I started reading romance novels about the time some publishers required pen names.  I used to study the cover art and the author’s name.  Then I’d look at the copyright page and try to imagine why they came up with such a name.

I spell out my real last name about nine thousand times a day on the telephone.  I decided to give my readers a break, and spare them that agony.  Every time my husband walks by my office, he laughs and tells me it’s not too late to change my name.

My thirteen-year-old pen name was Taylor Donovan.  I loved that name.  To this day, I still keep it in my back pocket, just in case.  Sylvie Fox is actually just a play on my middle name and my husband’s last name.  We came up with it on a train ride from Shaker Square to downtown Cleveland.  And no, when we thought of it, I still hadn’t written a book.

Married or Single?

I’m married.  Last year, dear husband and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary.

If I didn’t live in Los Angeles, where would I live?

When I was sixteen, my family took a three week road trip down the California coast.  It was my first trip to the west coast and I was hooked.  I promised my teenage self if I ever got the opportunity, I’d live in California.  I got here eleven years ago and I’m not leaving.  If I had to move within the US, I’d live in my hometown – New York City.  Outside the US, I’d live in our family’s apartment in Budapest, Hungary.

Why do you write romance novels?

I write romance, because I love romance.  My senior thesis in college was on romance (that took a lot of convincing).  I want to give readers that very satisfying feeling I get following the hero and heroine to their happily ever after.  My first romance novel was the Taming of Tamsin.  I found it on my grandmother’s shelf when I was about nine or ten, and I never stopped reading them.

What else do you write?

I also write women’s fiction.  I love to throw an unsuspecting heroine into an awful situation and see what she does with it.

The best part about my writing life is:

The best part about writing is doing it in my pajamas.

The worst part about my writing life is:

Realizing that it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and I haven’t gotten out of my pajamas.

Sylvie Fox is the author of romance and women’s fiction.

I’m a late adopter of most technology.  I often wonder what in the heck I need it all for.  More to pay for, more to worry about, more to insure . . . . .

If you don’t know me, you’ll just have to glean all you can from the fact that I didn’t have cell phone until 2011.  (And let me tell you, I’m still not sure of the point of the damn thing).

So, many are surprised to find out that I, quite the voracious reader, don’t have an eBook reader.  I still have, buy or borrow lots and lots of paper books.  I have bookshelves full to bursting (though I’m still not sure why my husband things books stacked two or three deep is a problem).  I always have a book in my purse, a book in the car, and a few by the bed.  Honestly, there’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere without something to read.  I even vacation with tons of books.  I take only two pairs of shoes on any trip and between five and ten books – depending on the length of the flight and trip.

But the world has a way of catching up with me.  Some of my favorite authors have been going the indie publishing route, and only releasing eBooks.  I think I may want to take more than two pairs of shoes on my next trip.  Oh, and I’m about to publish my first novel, which will of course be available in a digital version before print.

I finally did it.  Today I ordered a Google Nexus tablet.  It’s not an ereader per se, but I didn’t want to be tied to one retailer.  I think it’ll be lighter in the purse than the 300 page trade paperback I’m carrying now.

I was reading this morning and it made me think about condom use in romance novels.

In real life, I can’t imagine having lots of sex and having multiple partners without using condoms and likely some other form of birth control.  One to prevent unwanted babies, the other to prevent nasty diseases.

I’ll admit I grew up in the 1980s when there was a HEALTHY FEAR OF AIDS.  One of my middle school projects was about AIDS and what we could do to prevent the spread.  Back then, we didn’t know a lot about AIDS, and I guess people were a lot more cavalier about sexually transmitted diseases.  Penicillin had been discovered, of course.  So the condom, condom, condom message was drilled in our heads over and over and over again.

In romance novels, though, I’m going to have to admit, I’m NOT a fan of condoms.  A good sex scene has a certain flow, and when the hero pulls a condom from wherever, I’m usually pulled right out of the story.  I want to know where he got it.  Was he planning to seduce the heroine, because why else would he have that damn thing on him.  If he didn’t plan it, is he just carrying condoms in his wallet hoping a woman would fall in his path?  Did he check the expiration date?

Although I must admit when the hero says, “I’m clean.” I wonder about that too.  Who gets STD testing regularly who’s not a porn actor? (Sorry, I live in the San Fernando Valley and we think about these things here).   In my previous life, about half of my clients had STDs.  So somebody was getting tested, I guess.  I was always shocked by this.  Who knew they were so prevalent?  Sure we read a lot about them, but it’s never a topic of cocktail discussion.

So, I’m going to sit on the bad side of the fence.  Since I love the friends to lovers trope, and love, love, love the secret baby trope – I’ll have to say no to condoms in those books.  If you can’t trust your lifelong best friend, then who can you trust?  Can you have a secret baby with condoms and the pill as backup?  Nope, didn’t think so.

But for those books where the hero/ine picks up the other at a bar, on the street, in an elevator during a black out, etc., I say please use a condom, and I’ll forgive you.