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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fast Bikes And Hot Cars by Adele Dubois


It’s spring, and for me that means the long wait is over to drive with my convertible top down after a dreary winter. The characters in my work in progress will likely hit the blacktop and have some fun too.

I like to write about fast motorcycles and hot cars. Most of my books include a Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by a sexy, handsome hero. My REV ME UP and REV ME TWICE heroes personify the ideal of hunks on a motorcycle and readers tell me they love them.

My heroines tend to drive convertibles, like I do in real life. For me, there’s nothing more exhilarating than driving fast with the ragtop down. My DESERT FEVER and DESERT WILD heroines share my love of the open road. Though my car is a Sebring and theirs a Retro Thunderbird, we all savor the feel of the wind in our hair, the sun shining on our faces and the thrilling sensation of speed.

My Sebring hasn’t been new for years, and when my convertible needs replacing, I’ll buy another. My car is a guilty pleasure I share with my fast-driving story characters.  For as long as there’s a stretch of country road and I’m alive on this earth, I’ll be driving with the ragtop down.

What’s your favorite mode of transportation, either real or fantasy?
REV ME TWICE by Adele Dubois

Crystal is a bad, bad girl in the most delicious ways. She tries to be good and is tempted to commit to her Navy MP boyfriend, Tomas, but has no experience with an exclusive relationship or healthy family structure. She likes her life as a cable TV stripping weather girl and sex party host, and resists conforming to the traditional lifestyle Tomas craves. Without her weekly ménages and wild orgies, can she become the partner Tomas wants?

When Crystal receives death threats, a media frenzy erupts. During a break-in, the threatening letters are stolen, erasing evidence that thwarts an arrest. Tomas sports Crystal away on his Harley to protect her, but a deadly crash changes everything. Faced with the choice between self-interest and self-sacrifice, Crystal must decide if she will embrace a new life with Tomas or walk away.


Buy The Book! http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8865-50-rev-me-twice.aspx

Visit Adele Dubois at www.adeledubois.com/

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Calen by Rie McGaha

                                             Calen by Rie McGaha

Blurb:

When Calen MacLeod begins having dreams of an ethereal beauty who beckons to him, he passes it off as just having an itch he hasn't scratched in a long time. But when he leaves on a journey to find her, following the directions she's given him in his dreams, he begins to doubt his sanity. And when he finds himself high in the Mackinaw Mountains in a secret fortress with unicorns and a pink and white castle, surrounded by women, each one more beautiful than the next, it's a fantasy no man would want to wake up from. But Arianna is the only woman for Calen.

The women of the Fortress have lived in peace, hidden away from the humans who tried to annihilate them all. But now a 500-year-old demon is out to destroy the women's matriarch, Ariella, and he'll stop at nothing to complete his mission. When Calen MacLeod shows up, he throws a wrench into Damon's plans. Never let it be said Damon isn't ready for anything, but when he kidnaps Arianna and takes her to modern day San Francisco, is he ready to meet Calen, who will stop at nothing to save his ladylove?

Blog Blast 2011 by Rie McGaha

May 14, 2011 is a day you will want to save the date for the biggest blog blast I've ever done! I've teamed up with GA Hauser & Stormy Glenn for a day of fun and give-aways. More than one hundred blog hosts are participating in this, (courtesy Goddess Fish and Blog Exchange) and GA, Stormy, and I will be giving away autographed books, e-books, t-shirts, bookmarkers, posters and more!

The day will begin with a few questions on each of our websites that will direct you to the answers on the blogs. We'll be giving away e-books all day long, culminating with a podcast at http://blogtalkradio.com/ with host Marsha Cook. You will be able to call in to the show and talk to us, ask questions, and the chat line will be open as well. Following the broadcast we will be at the Yahoo Group Erotic Promo (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eroticpromo/) chatting, posting excerpts and giving away more goodies. If you're not a member of Erotic Promo, it only takes a moment to join and be there for Blog Blast 2011 with GA Hauser, Stormy Glenn & Rie McGaha!



Monday, March 28, 2011

Guest Blog with Author Grace Elliot





Lessons from a kissing guru.



Celeste stretched on tiptoe, all sweetness and curiosity she brushed her lips against Ranulf’s. She was reaching up, threading her fingers through his hair, pulling his mouth closer. Inexperienced as she was, parting her lips, beckoning, welcoming his intrusion, her willingness excited him further, igniting warmth into fire.

He found himself kissing her with urgency, as if his life depended on it. There was joy in his touch at the ripeness of her pink mouth, as his tongue slid over lips that parted in response. Sparks of joy made him giddy, excited as some green boy with his first kiss….

Celeste’s first kiss – an excerpt from ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’

Lucky for Celeste that her lover wasn’t tutored by an American writer, Henry Theophilus Finck, a relationship guru from Victorian times. In 1887 Finck wrote a book to guide the uninitiated in the mysteries of romance. Titled ‘Romantic Love and Personal Beauty’ it was a best seller in its day, so lets take a sneaky peek to see what we might learn from his wisdom.

Finck starts promisingly enough;

‘Kissing comes by instinct and yet it is an art which few understand properly.’

Fair enough, new tricks can keep a relationship exciting. However reading further it seems some folk had an alarming amount to learn;

‘A lover should not hold his bride by the ears in kissing her…’ (Oh my!) ‘As appears to have been customary in Scotch weddings of the last century [1700’s].’

To remedy this Finck offers helpful advice.

“A more graceful way, and as effective at preventing the bride from getting away, is to put your right arm round her neck, your fingers under her chin, raise the chin and gently but firmly press you lips to hers.”

Ok, so apart from trying to stop the woman running away, this sounds OK up to a point, as the thoughtful Theophilus goes on to offer reassuring words for those doubting the effectiveness of this new technique.

“After a few repetitions she will find out it doesn’t hurt and will become as gentle as a lamb.”

Hmmm, I think he might be missing the point somehow! How about making the woman feel desired, wanted and beautiful? So, when it comes to kissing, who would you choose - Theophilus Finck or Lord Ranulf Charing ?

Restrained power trembled through his body. Closing her fingers she drew Ranulf toward her until his hot breath tickled her bare neck. His skin smelt warm and musky as she melted into his arms.

Then the dam holding back passion burst. His hands in her hair, bruising lips seeking hers as her body responded willingly, greedy, eager to learn more of the heat that flooded her body. His tongue parted her lips, teeth bumping, his masculine presence filling her senses. He pulled the pins from her damp hair, sending long curls tumbling about her shoulders and back. Ranulf sucked in a breath.

‘So beautiful…’


Excerpt from ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’.


“Historical romance at its best.” Once Upon A Chapter

“Totally engrossing…sensual and evocative writing.” Fiction Books.

“Breathtaking sensuality…page turning drama…a wonderful talent.” The Romance Reviews.

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ - Grace Elliot.

Celeste Armitage has a plan…and it doesn’t include marriage.

Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country, where she finds a sketch book of nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This cynical lord is the exactly sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the sight of him!

Lord Ranulf faces ruin as a blackmailer uses his late brother’s debts to destroy the Charing’s reputation. When Ranulf unexpectedly falls for the rebellious Celeste he must chose between true love and family duty…but Ranulf underestimates Celeste’s resolve to clear his name and unwittingly places his soul mate in mortal danger….

If you would like to find out more please visit my blog at:

http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/

or

http://www.graceelliot.webs.com/


‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is available from Smashwords, Books on Board, Amazon and most eBook stores, price $2.99 / GBP 2.14

US link:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Dead-Mans-Debt-ebook/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1298137532&sr=1-1

UK link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Dead-Mans-Debt/dp/B0046REKBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298137608&sr=1-1

Author bio:

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.


Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon. $2.99.

To find out more visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Ah Hah Moment

In my opinion what makes the difference between an ok book and a great one is that all-important “ah hah” moment.

So what is an "ah hah" moment?

Ah Hah Moment ~ Taige Crenshaw Definition:A moment that elevates a story beyond just a book to a book that makes the reader remember a line or scene that makes them go back to it time and again. This is a true keeper book that has wear and tear from continued reading. The book you buy multiple copies of and don’t lend it to anyone.

These “ah hah” moments aren’t only in books. They can extent much further than that. They also happen in movies, TV shows and things that happen in your everyday life. In movies and TV shows these “ah hah” moments are those you remember and discuss with others. This is what happened to me recently. Some friends and I were discussing some of our favorite shows and movies. I noticed that each person had an “ah hah” moment when they talked about their show or movie they liked. In the everyday instances they ranged from falling in love, loss, and just a feel good or bad thing. Whenever I talk with others it is interesting hearing all these moments that resonated with each person.

No matter that type of “ah hah” they all had one thing in common – they leave a lasting impression. Resonate with you long after done.

Now back to books. So what makes an “ah hah” book? There is no sure formula. It has to be something that resonates with the reader. For me an “ah hah” moment is what makes the story more real. A book that from the first line they capture me. To that last line that makes me feel not only content but when I go to sleep I dream of the book. And long after that last word I think of what I read. Give me everything. Emotions laid bare. Build the setting so I can feel it like I am there. Bring me along with the characters step by step. Give me a plot that is intriguing and makes me flip the pages.

Then the most important thing of all “ah hah” me. Give me something in the story that will flip that special figurative switch inside. This will bring reading to an all-new level. When you hit that “ah hah” level you are on my automatic must buy and read now list. Again we go back leaving a lasting impression. One that resonates with the reader.

As a reader I seek out that “ah hah” moment in books. Those books are keeper ones that line my shelves and I read often. As a writer I strive to give the reader that “ah hah’ moment. Since reading is so varied and goes by what resonates with the reader I don’t succeed with everyone. Yet when I do with even just one reader I feel I have done what I set out to do - given that “ah hah” moment that will make me a keeper for a reader. I have a few readers who have contacted me letting me know that my story resonated with them in someway. That is it’s own “ah hah” moment that makes me as a writer proud.

What are some of your “ah hah” moments in books?

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com/

Indigo Rain - To save the world and humanity from extinction from a being that can herald Armageddon a woman must trust a man whose race destroyed the people she held most dear. There’s more at stake… their hearts.

Buy here at Summerhouse Publishing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Guest Blog with author Tess MacKall

Where Do You Draw The Line?


As a writer I believe I should pretty much be able to write just about anything. Now that doesn’t mean I will be at my best with everything, though. I love writing contemporary and historical. Some paranormal. I have a sci-fi sitting in my files as well as a fantasy. But with those last two, I think I’d be only adequate. But I still intend to one day finish them. It’s a challenge for me. But in my head, at least, I’ve drawn a line.

We draw those imaginary lines in our personal lives all of the time. Simple things like what types of movies we watch or TV programs, what to wear and just how low cut. LOL All of this got me to thinking about just where we should draw the line in what we write overall within the erotic romance genre.

It would seem that more and more, certain subject matters are becoming less and less taboo. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe four, that M/M was considered to be a taboo genre. But look at it now! It has been well accepted within the almost all female erotic romance reading community.

There was a time in which BDSM was only whispered about. Now? Even I have a scene or two here and there with handcuffs and, well, a spanking or two. LOL I even have one book in which I use wax play. It never ceases to amaze me just how sexy all of this comes across when I write it, too.

Menage is all the rage. I’ve got one of those I’m working on—IF I can ever finish it. I have trouble writing ménage as strictly romance, however. I’m pretty vanilla—well, I like a little chocolate syrup and a few nuts, too—LOL—but I don’t see the romance in ménage at all. I’m more of a one man, one woman kind of gal. But I have read a ménage or two that came close to showing me a loving relationship. I think my friend Ava Rose Johnson did a good job with her books. For me, though, ménage fits much better in the paranormal realms, maybe sci-fi too. But that’s just me.

Publishers usually list what they DON’T want to see in a submission. And I must say I agree with their list. However, there are publishers out there that will publish anything. We’ve all seen that. Today that has me thinking about just where I believe the line is sometimes crossed and places we don’t need to go. I don’t like to see blood drawn in BDSM books. That bothers me. I don’t like to read erotic romance books in which children are introduced as characters. And I’m not talking about children being a part of the actual story line other than being someone’s children, but just being in the story. If a character has children, and the romance starts, I like to see the kids packed off to grandma’s. LOL A sexy relationship with kids underfoot just loses its sexual tension for me. Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or isn’t being done. Just means it’s not good for me. So personally, I won’t write a book with children in it—unless it’s NOT erotic romance.

I also have a bit of a problem with polyamory. Or however that’s spelled, LOL. And it’s not the sex part of it all. Nope. It’s the way the relationship is presented. One man—two or three women. And these women get along???? No way. Two women in the same house???? There would be blood on the floor. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this does and has worked for a very long time in real life and we see these men and women on TV all of the time.

Yep, we do. And it’s usually when the FBI has gone in and rescued a bunch of them. OR it’s on a Lifetime movie. To me? That’s a “control” situation. A cult, brainwashing. And I have heard of polyamorous relationships that work just fine. But I do believe that is the exception and not the rule at all. So I don’t enjoy reading that particular subject matter.

What about “ick” factors in books? Anal without lube? Anal and then vaginal sex with no clean up in between? Those are two of mine for sure. Authors AND EDITORS need to pay attention to specifics for sure. What do you think of two brothers involved in a ménage? Or fisting? Tongues in orifices that should not be there?

Where do YOU draw the line? What’s your personal ICK factor? What genre do you feel is just not for you?



On another note, Black Cougar Curse, the book I co-wrote with the fabulous Natalie Dae is up for Whipped Cream’s Book of the Week! Whoo hoooo!!!!! Natalie and I would really appreciate it if you stopped by Whipped Cream and voted for us. Black Cougar Curse is getting the most amazing reviews and we’re thrilled with the way it has been received. Here’s the link if you have the time:

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/index.htm


Blurb:

Deep in the mountain wilderness, Lucia Chavez searches for closure to her father’s death, and the mythical black cougar he sought. Drop-dead sexy Cherokee Indian guide Sam Starr knows more than he’s telling. After he saves Lucia from being swept away in a mudslide, the bath they both need turns steamy indeed. Sam and Lucia are living proof that near-death experiences can bring two people closer together—they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Amidst danger and mystery, Sam and Lucia explore the lust that burns between them. If their desire gets any stronger it could bring down the mountains. Ancient secrets hold the key to their unbridled sexual need. Was their passion written in the stars?

One man. One woman. A curse that binds them—and could tear them apart.

Buy Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9014-black-cougar-curse.aspx

Happy reading and writing to all!

Where You Can Find Tess:

Tess’ Website: http://tessmackall.com

Three Wicked Writers Plus Two Blog: http://threewickedwriters.blogspot.com

Three Wicked Writers Plus Two Yahoo Group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/threewickedwriters

Join the Risque Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/risquenewsletter

Friday, March 25, 2011

20 Questions with Author Layla Hunter!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


You can find my website at www.laylahunter.com. As for a list of my publications, here you go:

Short Stories: Full Exposure, Masquerade, Whisper Sweet Nothings: Something about Sam, Parts 1 and 2, Second Chances, Masquerade: Amidst the Poppies, Part 1 and 2 can be found at http://www.everynighterotica.com/?s=layla+hunter

Dark Desire, an erotic short part of XOXO Publishing Halloween Anthology, Vol. 1, can be found at http://xoxopublishing.com/shop-online/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=89&products_id=81

Winter Rose, a free short story can now be found at Manic Readers, http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=bookDetail&bookid=11312

And Skin Deep, my first novella, can be found at Secret Cravings Publishing, http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/LaylaHunter.html (and I’m donating 10% of my royalties from the sales of Skin Deep will be donated to The Scleroderma Foundation.

BIOGRAPHY:

Layla Hunter's love of romance began at age of eleven when her grandmother (referred to lovingly as 'Nanns') slipped her a couple True Romance comic books, along with her first romance, and it was love at first sight. Before long, she was writing her own stories and has been doing so for over three decades. Along with erotic contemporary romance, she enjoys writing erotic fantasy/paranormal romance, and has several works in progress.

A New Jersey native, she currently resides in an 1890 Folk Victorian with her husband and daughter. They share this century-old home with a bevy of delightfully comical cats. Oh, and let’s not forget the ‘ghost mice’ … unseen to the human eye, her cats dutifully chase these invisible intruders throughout the house at three o’clock in the morning.

Although the siren call of writing commands most of her time, she also enjoys reading, photography, ghost hunting, belly dancing, shooting sports, movies, music, and actively supporting several causes near and dear to her heart.

Butterfly-inducing romance and a deep emotional connection between her characters are integral to her writing, as is giving readers a chance to escape into her character’s world for a little while where they can be assured of a HEA (or at the very least, a HFN ending).

She is a member of RWA, NJRW, LSFW, Passionate Ink, FF&P RWA, Elements RWA, Erotic Readers & Writers Association, Savvy Authors, Absolute Write, Romance Divas, GoodReads.com, Romantic Ideas Online, WOW, and Truly Madly Deeply Romance Authors.


How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

I’m sure this will sound strange, but I’m blessed to have amazingly vivid and emotional dreams (likely tied to my very overactive imagination), so many of the seeds for my stories have come from there.

I love playing the “What if …” game when I see a striking picture or drive past an unusual building. Television (especially the History Channel, Discovery channel or documentaries) can be a wonderful source to spark an idea.

Music! Whether it’s the title or lyrics to a song or even the ‘mood’ of a song, an idea for a story can spring from there.

I also take advantage of one of my writing group’s Flash Fiction prompts to stir up a sleepy Muse (as if that is ever the case … my Muse seems to be on 24/7 … but I’m not complaining!).


What is your process from idea to first draft?

I let the story grow in my mind for a while before I begin to write it, although I do jot down tons of notes as they come to me so I don’t forget all the little details I’ll eventually weave together. I have dozens of those composition notebooks! *laughs* You would never be able to make head or tails of what’s in there but that’s part of my process. I jot down dialogue; sketch a scene out, whether it’s the layout of a town or simply a room; I play with names and their meanings. I love the feel of a pencil against paper and in some ways, that itself is inspiring and a lot less intimidating than a blank screen and a blinking cursor.

Before I type the first word, I have a general idea of how the story (now a mini-movie in my head) will play out. Part of the fun for me is to let the story and the characters take me to unexpected places. Granted, it’s a bit more work that way as I have to go back and fill in details and modify back story, but the journey is much too fun to do it any other way.


Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

I start by shutting down Word and just putting the story away for a little while. Instead, I will research something that interests me that has nothing to do with the current WIP. I’ll watch a movie (or three *winks*). I will play the “What If” game or ‘story tag’ with my daughter. Go for a long walk. Read something outside the genre I’m writing in. Google! Amazing what you can conjure up when clicking from one link to another, etc. Usually, any or all of the above work and I’m cooking in no time!


Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Granted he doesn’t know it, but Josh Whedon. Brilliant man, brilliant mind! The writing for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel was remarkable and hooked my from the very first episode. After I would watch an episode, I’d re-watch it and pick it apart to figure out what made it work! *laughs* Oh, the things I do for fun.

The writers for the Vampire Diaries have caught my attention too (Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec) and if you haven’t had a chance to watch the series (especially lovers of all things paranormal), I’d suggest you catch up as quickly as you can!

Personally, we have a remarkably supportive and creative group of authors at Secret Cravings Publishing – everyone seems ready and willing to support their fellow authors in a variety of ways, whether it’s critiquing or offering promo ideas; cross-promotion; help with creating book trailers or banners. Take a peek at mine – fellow author Drea Becraft surprised me with that beautiful banner!


What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve found workshops to be extremely helpful! Working full-time and having a family to take care of, my time is at a premium. Luckily for me, there are many online workshops available that make taking one (or more) quite convenient! Most are very affordable and there are quite a few free ones as well. Here are some of my favorite websites:

http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/

http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php

http://romanceuniversity.org/

One of the most incredibly fun and memorable workshops I’ve taken was given by Leanna Renee Hieber entitled “Direct Your Book! Theatrical Techniques to a Blockbuster Novel.” Amazing workshop AND conveniently, she’s offering it again through Elements RWA … here’s the link:

http://elementsofrwa.com/workshops.html#April2011

Currently, I’m taking a workshop on Past Life Regression for the Writer's Soul.

I will extend one word of caution - you have to be careful when it comes to becoming the perpetual student and putting what you’ve learned to use and actually writing a story you plan to and follow through on submitting. For me, it was quite easy to become ‘addicted’ to the workshops and stay safe from putting myself out there.


What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

I thank my family and friends foremost because without their unilateral support, and loving but insistent nudging, I may have stayed ‘inside my box’ (as my daughter puts it) until the end of my days.

But it was my Nana, a.k.a. ‘Nanns’ who slipped me a few True Romance comic books and a romance novel when I was about eleven, and it may sound corny, but it was love at first sight. I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on AND after a couple of years, I wanted to write stories that would make others feel the way the books I read made me feel.

Sadly, she isn’t with us anymore but if she were, she’d be my biggest fan. I wish she had the chance to see me published! And yes, she would have loved the genre I’m writing in … she was a spitfire of a woman!


Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I’m actually in the process of writing a short story for Truly, Madly, Deeply Romance Authors Free Read Blog using “Dante’s Prayer” by Loreena McKennitt for inspiration. And you guessed it; the first theme for our free short story reads was Song Titles. If you love free reads, be sure to check us out! http://trulymadlydeeplyromanceauthors.blogspot.com/


Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

Normally, I prefer it to be quiet. This way I can hear the characters ‘talking’ in my head and it’s easier for me to visualize the scene. After the first draft, though, I’ll listen to music that will set the tone as I go back and add depth to the characters and/or scenes.

For general scenes, music by Nina Gordon, Annie Lenox, Pink, Jewel, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Evanescence, Willy DeVille, One Republic, Train, etc., can set a different mood and provides great background noise.

When I’m working on more intense scenes, I love listening to music by Basil Poledouris (Conan the Barbarian soundtrack is one of my favorites!); Bear McCreary; Vanessa Mae; TransSiberian Orchestra, etc. Anything with an ‘epic’ feel will set just the right mood!


Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

Actually, I do! I love everything from thrillers to biographies; history to how-to’s; self-improvement to, of course, romance! I’ve always loved to read and I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on when I have the privilege of having time.

When I’m writing, though, I tend not to read in the same genre. For me, it’s simply a matter of focusing and immersing myself in the world and lives of my characters and I’d prefer no ‘intrusions’ even if subconscious. Truth is, I hardly read at all when I’m in the thick of a WIP.

Afterwards, though, when I’ve written ‘The End’ so to speak, I sit back and decide on which of the many books I have lying about waiting to be read to indulge in and treat myself!


Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

Since I’m a new writer myself, I can’t say that I haven’t had the chance to ‘earn my stripes’ to the point I’d want to give professional assistance to another writer, but I’ve certainly done my best to support new writers with advice on covers, let’s say … or agreeing the read and critique their writing … or even just helping them cross-promote. By far, sometimes the most important assistance is to just ‘be there’ for one another, offer encouragement and support during the rough times (there are plenty) and celebrate during the good times! I love the practice of ‘paying it forward.’

I’ve had several wonderful writers help me with critiques, encouragement, advice and that ever important drop kick from the safety of the ‘nest’ … especially those in my Let Me Get You Hot and Bothered Yahoo loop … and I thank ALL of them sincerely for everything (ad nauseam).

Sandy Sullivan, in particular, encouraged me to submit my writing to XOXO Publishing, who, much to my amazement, published Dark Desire!


What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Getting over the fear of having someone else read what I had written. The mere thought was terrifying to say the least and I was a prisoner of my own fear. Joining a couple of online groups was the best decision I ever made, and one in particular is wholly responsible for kicking me out of the nest (see above *winks*)!

And of course, getting published was and is a dream come true, to say the very least! I never take for granted how fortunate I am in that regard.


If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

This is a great question! I’ve actually read that dreaming about what you’d do IF you won the lottery is ‘good medicine for the mind and soul’ so I’ve thought about this before. Let’s assume for the sake of this question (and my lofty aspirations) that the lottery win in question was the Mega-Millions!

First, I’d pay off our mortgage and finish updating our home! Then, I’d be sure that my daughter, nieces and nephews, as well as the two students I sponsor through Futures for Children, would have access to the education of their dreams.

I would most certainly give a good deal of the money to charity! As for which ones, I have a few favorites that I already support … S.A.R.A., Inc. (Summit Animal Rescue) would be given enough to buy/run a shelter here in NJ; HomefrontHugsUSA, Futures for Children, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Freedom Writer’s Foundation and One Simple Wish (here in NJ too)!

Something I LOVE to do around the holidays is to play “Secret Santa!” As a winner of the lottery, I could indulge in the practice a bit more and reach more people! How amazing would it be to leave a $100 tip to an unsuspecting waiter/waitress; to slip $100 to the person who pumps gas for you each week; to anonymously pay for someone else’s dinner or fund an entire meal for a shelter? The possibilities are endless and I would have a blast!


What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

“Finish the damned book!” *laughs* I’m sure we’ve all heard or read that infamous advice somewhere before but it’s the truth. Write, write and write a little more. I’m a new author myself so short of telling others never to give up, ever, I’d have to saw write the book you love!

In the same regard, writing is sometimes a lonely endeavor, so join a Yahoo group with like-minded writers, or writers/readers in similar genres and connect!


If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

I’ve always loved wolves, but if I had to choose one animal for a mascot, it would be the cat! Cats are elegant, agile, fastidious and independent. There’s no pretense to a cat; they are what they are and if you don’t like it, too bad. Although we’ve attempted to ‘domesticate’ them through the ages, there will always be a part of them that is wild at heart. If they choose to stay with us, they do so because they want to.

I read somewhere that cats rarely fall in love and when they do, they fall hard and forever. Although I loved the notion, I wasn’t sure I believed it could happen. Then Jewel came into my life and let me tell you … it IS possible and in our case, it’s quite true!

As for me having similar qualities, I’m fairly certain that I fall short in the categories of elegance, agility and fastidiousness (looks around my office). I’d love to aspire to not being afraid to be who I am without question or uncertainty, and have the confidence to tell those who don’t like it where to go. *winks* I’m working on that …

As for the wild at heart part, if I’m honest with myself, that quality is truer to my nature than I’d readily admit, as is my passion for wanderlust, but I stay put because I love where I am and who I am with. I’ve fallen hard and forever.


If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

I’ve always loved music and had this aching desire to sing! Granted I can’t carry a note to save my life and my fear of being in front of large crowds would drop me to my knees, but for the sake of this question, I will indulge my fantasy and imagine myself a singer! While I was at it, I’d learn to play the piano and violin.

Second on my list would be a linguist. I’ve always loved different languages and although I am not fluent in any (yet) I’d love to learn Navajo (which I’m working on!), Italian, Gaelic and Latin to start. I’d need this career to enjoy my ‘super power’ below! *winks*

Third on my list is a belly dancer! I’d love to be part of a troupe or professional company and travel the world.


If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

I’ve always had this dream to be a wildlife photographer, so I’d jump at the chance to join a team like National Geographic (or the like) and travel the world to capture images of all the creatures on planet Earth - even the spookier ones … well, maybe I’d say no to spiders – and especially wolves!


What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

The characteristics I like to instill in my heroes start with a good-hearted (even if it’s at the core in the beginning) and loyal man. One who is able to love the heroine for the person she is and not try to change her. A little arrogance is in order but not so much that he’s unlikable. Passionate and sexy are a must, and he HAS want her to be just as satisfied as he is when it comes to lovemaking! I like my heroes strong but capable of being gentle; and he needs to have flaws, just like everyone else.

As for the characteristics I feel are necessary for a good heroine, first and foremost she should definitely have a mind of her own; should be passionate about something; be capable of learning from experience and growing; she needs to be kind; and as with a good hero, she needs to have flaws, just like everyone else.


If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Only two things? To be honest, given all that is currently wrong in the world, choosing only two is difficult but I’ll give it a go.

First, I’d have to say finding an end to hunger. There is no reason any man, woman or child should go to bed hungry! There just has to be a better way and we need to find a solution!

Second, I’d change the way we treat (or don’t, to tell you the truth) our veterans! So much more needs to be done to revamp a system that seems to make fighting for their benefits and services almost more difficult than the tour(s) of duty they endured to begin with.


If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

*laughs* I’ll confess this is one of my favorite questions and I could hardly wait to answer! I had to Google it just to be certain but Teleportation is indeed a super power!

How cool would it be, even if only for a day, to teleport yourself anywhere in the world? You could visit the Seven Wonders of the World; go from NYC to Paris; from the Great Wall in China to the Galapagos Islands; from the markets of Istanbul to the nomadic lands of Tibet; from Italy to Spain; from the streets of New Orleans to the wilds of Alaska to watch the Northern Lights. And let’s not forgot popping in on our loved ones around the world for a hello and a hug! Oh what an amazing twenty-four hours it would be!



BLURB:


Emily Monroe, a statuesque high school English teacher, is convinced that getting a tattoo to cover the remnants of her brush with Morphea is the only option left to open the door to self-acceptance, allowing her to finally move on with her life after the devastating diagnosis left more than physical scars in its wake.

Rick Sutton, owner of Skin Deep, a successful tattoo shop, has his own cross to bear. Crippling guilt and the specter of unrequited justice overshadow every aspect of his life, trapping him within the haunted corridors of his heart and soul; until the day Emily walks into his shop.

Instantly, he recognizes a kindred spirit in Emily, and a tenuous bond is formed. When the intimidating yet teddy-bear of a man offers her a glimpse into his passionate side, she is moved by what she sees and takes a leap of faith. Together they traverse the physical and emotional journey of freeing themselves of their perceived flaws, an erotic undertaking that proves to them beauty is only Skin Deep.

If you have a moment to watch the trailer for Skin Deep …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9Dr9IM1csQ


General Excerpt


"Don't…don't kiss me because you feel sorry for me," she said, her voice barely a ragged whisper.

"I'm not about to kiss you because I feel sorry for you." His warm breath danced across her lips.

This is what it should feel like…the earth shifting under your feet… butterflies in your stomach…heartbeat quickening…that shiver in your spine…a stirring deep within your very core?

When Rick slipped his arms around her waist, a shiver coursed through her as their bodies touched, now face to face, chest to chest, thigh to thigh. A slow heat simmered just under the surface and she wanted to feel more. Reaching up, she moved her hands through his hair before wrapping her arms around his neck, urging him closer, melting into him.

Letting loose a small sigh, she pressed herself against him, lips parting in invitation, one he eagerly accepted by delivering a tender yet hungry kiss that promised of something more, something richer and deeper than she’d ever felt before.

Nothing else existed but this moment, this stolen moment in a wind-blown parking lot with a remarkable teddy-bear of a man who made her feel more like a woman than she had in a decade. The effects of his lips traversed her entire body, from the top of her head to the tips of her toes and she was lost, in no hurry to be found.

His hands moved up and down her back, slow, unassuming. In response, she opened for him further, Rick tasting dark and dangerous, the feel of his tongue sliding against hers more sensual than she could have imagined. Drawing in a quick breath, she slipped deeper into his embrace, raising her arms up and over his back, her fingers drifting through his thick hair.

The soft strains of music and laughter drifted towards them on the wind and she knew this moment was just that, a moment. But one not likely to be forgotten.

When his lips left hers, they took with him welcome warmth, leaving behind an all-too familiar chill.

"Kiss me again?" she whispered and stretched towards him, tentatively brushing her mouth against his lower lip. Laughing out loud, he pulled her close as his mouth covered hers in a searching kiss, waking her body as if from a deep sleep.

She brushed the tip of her tongue across his bottom lip, eliciting a soft moan from him, and he mimicked her, engaging her in a sensual dance as she lost herself in his arms once again.

The blaring of a horn shattered the moment and startled her back to reality. Breathless, she pulled back first, wanting to say something, but words failed her.

A knowing smile lit his face and eased the tension between them. Reluctantly, he let her go. Opening the car door, he waited like a sentinel until she sat safely inside.

"Goodnight, Emily. I will see you on Monday."

With that, he closed the door, retrieved his cane and walked off into the night.


Adult Except

Still shaken from the overt sexual reaction to his touch as well as the sight of the breathtaking canvas of her back, she let him guide her back to the table and help her up. With legs swinging nervously over the edge, she watched anxiously as he dipped the brush into the powder, tapping it against the side of the jar before returning to stand before her.

Her feet stilled as the brush swept over her breasts again and again until she lost herself in the resultant rush of heat, responding with a soft cry before stopping herself.

"God, Em…you're driving me crazy."

"I…I could say the same." Her voice caught and made a small noise that sounded almost like a purr.

"Do you trust me, Em?"

"Yes."

He rid himself of the jar and brush. Then, placing the pillow behind her, gently urged her back against the table until she was lying down, all the while searching her gaze for any sign of dissent. Apparently confident she wanted him to proceed he sat on the stool and rolled himself into position in front of her.

Those large hands hid the gentler truth of a tender touch as he eased her legs open, sliding his palms underneath her backside and raising her towards him.

As his tongue grazed the sensitive flesh of her inner thighs, she drew in a sharp breath before releasing a deep sigh, followed by a deeper moan.

"It's been a long time Rick." You just might want to let me dust the cobwebs off first, she was tempted to suggest but remained quiet, curious.

"That's a real shame. You don't mind if I remedy that unfortunate situation," he replied playfully, lowering his head between her thighs.

About to protest, the first rush of warm breath against the silky fabric of her panties quieted any objections. Moving his mouth along the outline of her mons, he seemed in no rush, intent on exploring her fully. Following the contours of her outer lips, he gently nipped and pulled against the fabric, rousing a scintillating need within.

A soft cry escaped her lips when he nuzzled her, his nose brushing against the swollen pearl nestled in damp folds. Undulating waves of warmth and wanting rippled over her from head to toe and her hips arched instinctively as the ache for something more began to grow.

Damn, it had been so long, too long. The intimate feel of his mouth refreshed her memory, reminding her first and foremost of the passionate woman within, before revealing with stunning clarity that she was still sexy and desirable, despite her perceived flaws.

Reaching down, her fingers moved through his hair, his locks slipping over her skin, tickling as if she’d just passed them through a spider's web. When she urged him against her, he stilled, lifting his head.

"Rick…" Her voice filled with an almost desperate pleading and when he didn't respond immediately, she panicked, the old fears creeping back in to steal this moment from her.

Lifting herself on her elbows, she looked into his eyes, her gaze searching his.

"You want more, Em?" He grinned at her mischievously.

She smiled despite herself. "Yes! Tease.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sweet N Sexy Divas Easter Blog Hop Contest Begins Today!!!!

PRIZE

SweetnSexyDivas Easter Blog Contest

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE GOURMET GIFT BASKET


RULES:

1. On the participating author list below, click on the first author's name and go to her website to find this contest icon



(Hints are provided after each author name on where the icon is hidden.)

2. Once you find the icon, click on it (or on the link provided near it) and it will bring you to the next author's blog/website.

3. Go from author website/blog to website/blog to find the hidden icon.

4. Keep a list of the links (pages) you found the icon on.

5. Email list to tina@tinadonahue.com by April 24 (contest runs from March 24-April 24. Winner announced April 25)

Winner chosen at random from those contestants that have found ALL icons and have emailed Tina Donahue the list.

If you have trouble with any of the links, please email Sarah at: starcriter@yahoo.com

Good luck!!!


Author List (hints on where to find icon after author name):

Sandy Sullivan – books

Aileen Fish – books/regency

James Hatch – blog

Rawiya – home

Julia Knight - reviews

Kristal McKerrington - links, then blog

Katalina Leon – coming soon/nice package

Rita Hestand - home

Roxy Jacobs - books

Diane Wylie – book trailers

Cheryl Pierson – right sidebar

Fiona McGier – free short story

Selena Robins - excerpts

Taige Crenshaw - booklist

Juniper Bell - sidebar

Willa Edwards – coming soon - holiday

Delaney Diamond - contests

P.A. Brown – home – forest of corpses excerpt

Victoria Allen – bookshelf

Andrew Grey – gym series

Renee Vincent – silent partner

Myla Jackson - contests

Adele Dubois - bookshelf

Olivia Waite – about the books

Shelly Munro - books

Ari Thatcher – books

Mahalia Levey - reviews

Stephanie Julian – forgotten goddesses

Dawne Prochilo – facebook connections

Kathy Otten - excerpts

Sarah McNeal - links

Tina Donahue - reviews


(Icon courtesy of Photobucket)




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Your Public Persona


Your Public Persona

            I know that, when Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride is released, I will need to promote it by visiting blogs, doing interviews, posting on Facebook, maybe a Tweet or two and announcing its release on the loops.  I will be on my best behavior,  We all know how important it is to be pleasant and forthright without coming off seeming arrogant or aloof but what may escape us from time to time is that our behavior, attitude and acknowledgement show up every time we enter the social media.
            When other authors blog or post excerpts, do you acknowledge them or comment on their work or their blog?  When someone compliments you, do you thank him or her?  Sometimes readers and other authors have questions about your writing habits, your work or your opinion on a given subject.  In cyber space, it’s easy to ignore them if you’re in a hurry or you don’t think it’s important.  You can always say you didn’t notice that message or you were busy and meant to come back later but forgot. 
            We are our own ambassadors and publicists.  The impression we leave by our words or lack thereof will be remembered.  If you show distain or make a snarky remark, it’s there forever and so is the impression you leave.  We all have bad days.  Day jobs can be hazardous to your emotional and mental health.  Families can be relentlessly demanding.  Emergencies and health issues happen regardless of our plans or wishes.  However, just like TV and movie personalities, we have to stand guard over the things we say when we’re involved in the social network.  It is evident from what we’ve witnessed from some personalities that it is quite possible to be your own worst enemy when you say something you can’t take back or you ignore someone who just might be your next avid fan.
            The cyber world is a huge arena with the power to help you increase your fan base and make sales or it can destroy your public image and your reputation.  It all depends on you and the persona you want to portray to the public.  Now go, Grasshopper, make friends, increase your sales and get a standing ovation from your fans.  Yoda has spoken.
           

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

THE HEROINE'S BACKSTORY--HOW MUCH DO I TELL?



What has made our heroine into the person she became for the purposes of our story? What occurrences in her life have shaped her personality? And how do we decide on the balance between what we, as the writer know about our heroine vs. what the reader needs to know?

Obviously, we don’t have room to tell the reader all that we, the writer must know about her. Nor would the reader be as enthralled with that deluge of information as we are. It’s not necessary for the reader to know every single thing—yet, as writers, one of the hardest parts of creating believable characters is giving them a past, and knowing how much of that history we need to go into.

In my novel, Fire Eyes, one thing we learn about the heroine, Jessica, is that she married young. She thought she was marrying for love, but as it turned out, she grew to understand that she was not in love with Billy, nor he with her—at least, not in the way she had always dreamed of. This is a huge issue with her after Billy dies. She tells Kaed, “The next time I marry, it will be for love.” This shows how much it means to her, because her existence as a single mother is not easy, and the threat of Fallon is still there.

There are many reasons for her to hold onto that dream so tenaciously, but I didn’t have room to talk about in the novel. Her life before Billy was not easy, and marrying Billy was just the ‘icing on the cake.’ But rather than me tell you about Jessica, how about letting her describe her background to you?

My name was Jessica Lea Beckley. That was before I married Billy Monroe, when I was only seventeen. I thought I was in love with Billy. He was handsome in his own way. I was glad when he started courting me, because he was the only boy my father seemed to like. Once he started coming around, it seemed like word got out we were ‘a couple’—and the other boys quit coming by.

That suited Pa just fine though. I was the only girl in a family of boys—four older brothers and one younger. My ma died when Mitch was born, and somehow, Pa always seemed to blame him for it. I had to come between them many, many times. Pa was always heavy-handed. Mitch was determined to prove to Pa that he was worthy. He ran off when he was sixteen. Said he wanted to be a marshal. We never heard from him again. I missed Mitch more than my other brothers. He was always special to me. But Mitch is dead now, killed by Andrew Fallon’s men.

They killed my husband, Billy, too. I did what I could to save him, but he was just hurt too bad. Most of what I did was just making him comfortable as he slipped away. It took him two long days. Even though I didn’t love him, I was sorry for not being able to save him. Something really sad was this. Billy never wanted to be touched—he wanted to do all the touching—what little of it there was between us. How I would yearn for him to just hold me sometimes! But it wasn’t in him. Still, just before he died, he opened his eyes a little and said, “Jessica, would you please just hold my hand awhile?” Even then, I knew I couldn’t touch him the way I wanted to—just pull him close and hold him. I took his hand in mine, and he smiled. It wasn’t long after that, he passed.

Somebody had to bury him, and there was no one but me to do it. Me, two months gone with our baby. But I lost it, too, when I buried Billy. Nearly died myself, from bleeding, but my good friend Rita, and her husband, Wayne, took me in and cared for me.

In an odd twist of fate, after Rita had her baby girl, she was bitten by a copperhead a few weeks later. Wayne waited too long to come for help, and Rita passed. If Wayne had come sooner, I might have saved her. I think he knew it, too. Not long after that, he asked me to marry him. It made sense, me with no husband, him with no wife and trying to care for little Lexi. But I didn’t love him, and he didn’t love me. I had to keep true to my promise I made myself, to only marry for love. A few days later, he showed up at my door with the baby, asking me to take her. I felt sorry for Wayne, but I was glad to see him go. Gladder, still, that he left me precious Lexi.

It was good to leave home. Sometimes I think my pa just wanted me there to cook and clean. I wanted my independence, and maybe I saw Billy as my ticket out of there. I’ve never been back, even though it’s less than a day’s ride from here. Pa was a hard man to deal with, and I was glad to see my older brothers marry and leave, one by one, too.

I’ve always felt bad about not saving Rita and Billy. I’m a healer. Had to learn that, being raised as I was with all those boys. They were always getting hurt somehow. I believe things happen for a reason, though. If I hadn’t gone through those hard years of growing up where I did, I wouldn’t have been able to save Kaed Turner when Standing Bear dumped him on my porch. He was hurt worse than Billy, but he had more to live for. I wasn’t enough for Billy, but to Kaed, I was everything.

Remember when I said that I wouldn’t marry again except for love? Kaed’s the best man I’ve ever known. When I look at him, I see love in his eyes—for me—every time. But more than just the love, I see understanding. And that’s just as important, I’ve learned, because, love can be many things to many people. Kaedon Turner knows my soul as well as my heart. We’ve both suffered loss and despair. But now, we have each other. And when he says, “It’ll come out all right,” I know it’s true.


And now, you know what I knew when I created Jessica Monroe Turner. A lot goes into making up a heroine's personality--a lot that the writer must know about her. This knowledge makes the heroine a well-rounded person to the reader, although you, as the writer, might not be able to include everything. Still, snippets of conversation and insights will provide for a deeper look into the heroine's character. What about your heroines? How did you manage to convey their backstory to the reader?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee-

Have you ever written or read about the cowboy hero of your novel sitting around the campfire drinking coffee? In my mind I always pictured a small campfire outlined with rocks where my handsome hero sat pouring coffee from a blue speckled coffee pot. How the coffee got into the pot never crossed my mind.

Well, if your story takes place before the end of the Civil War, your hero’s coffee beans would have been green. They were sold by the scoopful from barrels in mercantile stores. Once the coffee was purchased the beans then had to be roasted on the stove or over a fire before they could be run through a coffee grinder. It was easy to burn beans this way and one or two burned beans could ruin the flavor of the coffee. Exposure to the air also caused the roasted beans to become stale and rancid.

Then in 1868, two brothers, John and Charles Arbuckle, who owned a grocery store in Pittsburg, PA patented a process for roasting coffee beans and coating them with an egg and sugar glaze to seal in the flavor.

Their coffee was packaged in one pound, airtight bags. The packages had a yellow label with the name ARBUCKLES’ in large red letters across the front. Beneath that was the trademark Flying Angel, over the words ARIOSA COFFEE® in black letters. The coffee was shipped all over the country in wooden crates with one hundred packages to a crate.

The coffee was an instant success, especially with cowboys out on the open range. On the bottom of each bag were printed coupons which could be redeemed for things like silverware, curtains, handkerchiefs, scissors, razors and even wedding rings. Inside each package of coffee was a peppermint stick and chuck wagon cooks would call out, “Who wants the candy?” to tempt a volunteer into grinding the beans for the next batch of coffee.

Depending on the size of crew, the coffee pots used by chuck wagon cooks were usually 20-36 cups, and made of copper, cast iron, steel or enamelware. Pots were washed daily and once a week cleaned with inside with vinegar. On a trail drive the cook would rise around three in the morning. He would take the coffee pots off the spits and either poured out what was left from the night before or added it to stew for flavor. He would add fresh water to the pots and bring it to a boil. The grounds were placed directly into the water to cook (about 2 ½ cups of grounds for 20 cups of coffee). After about five minutes the coffee was done. He would add a cup of cold water to settle the grounds and serve it black. Any man who added sugar or evaporated milk invited teasing from other cowboys who labeled him a greenhorn. If you were refilling your coffee cup and someone yelled, “Man at the pot,” you were obligated to serve refills.

However, most men riding alone in the old west didn’t carry a coffee pot. Instead, they brewed their coffee in a small pot the same way the chuck wagon cook did. Cold water was brought to a boil then the coffee grounds were thrown in (one rounded tablespoon for each two cups of coffee). The coffee was brought to a boil again then removed from the heat. A splash of cold water was added to help the grounds settle then being careful to keep the grounds inside the pot, the coffee was poured into a tin cup for drinking.

Add some wood smoke and maybe a bit of ash and you can make cowboy coffee at home. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SEX-Why is it so controversial?

I have asked myself this many times and still I have no answer. As a human being, there are biological imperatives we are born with, connected with having physical bodies. We have to eat and drink or we will die...that leads to having to eliminate. We also have an inborn drive to procreate, which reaches a fever pitch at some point in our lives...in men when they are awash in hormones and hard 24/7, and in women when their biological clock demands that they try to get pregnant. Some are born with a low sex drive and can take it or leave it, some are born with the kind of sex drive that doesn't allow them to ignore it. Not a choice...a condition of biology.
What I totally don't understand is why we are not supposed to talk about sex. Or write about sex. When in reality, trying to suppress people from talking about, reading about, watching other people, and having sex, just results in twisting what should be a normal biological drive that is easily satisfied, into a travesty that little resembles what it should be.
When you feel urges you can satisfy yourself...unless you are taught it is forbidden, in which case you will try
to ignore those impulses until that is all you can think about.
When you are attracted to someone you can choose to have sex or not to have sex. If you are a man, you are thought of as a stud if you do have sex with many women. If you are a woman, you are called nasty, insulting names if you have sex with many men.
SIGH.
Why is sex so different from other appetites? We not only eat and drink openly, we celebrate it by going out to restaurants to do so. No one thinks of that as odd or prohibited. So why is sex considered so "nasty"? For women, that is, not for men.
I blame religion and the tendency of people to want to tell others how to live. Religious people don't want anyone to enjoy their bodies because they figure that's not the important part of you, though I have never understood how doing things to make your body feel good impacts your immortal soul. And personally, I have no interest in learning what anyone else does in their bedroom or any other room of their house for that matter. So keep your nose out of my sex life, I'll ignore yours, and we will all be the h
appier.
As for why I write graphic sex scenes, I do so because I'm telling the story of two people who fall in love, and to me having sex is a natural, normal part of falling in love. Everyone in the world will/has fallen in love at some point in their life. Or in lust. That is universal. So why does it make some people so uncomfortable to realize that? Why is it that the people who are most interested in poking their noses into the prurient details of other people's sex lives, and in trying to be sure that no one enjoys it, at least not in the way they feel to be wrong, are the ones who are shocked at the idea of reading about it?
Hypocrisy much?
I guess I'm just confused as to the whole shame thing that is supposed to accompany writing erotic romance, or romance of any kind. If I wrote books that involved cutting to surf waves washing on the beach after the hero and heroine kiss, would that be alright? Boring, yes, but acceptable? If that's what you enjoy reading, there are books written for you. But I got bored with euphemisms and suggested activiti
es that are never shown, back when I was in high school...and that was a long time ago!
I don't write porn or one-handed reads, unless some scenes in my books inspire you in that direction, in which case, I'm flattered and you're welcome. I write stories about real people who have dreams and aspirations, and lives of their own. When they fall in love it will involve sex. Not ONLY sex, but it will be there. If you don't like to read graphic scenes, don't read my books. But if you do, I hope you enjoy mine as much as I enjoy writing them!

Fiona's website is: www.fionamcgier.com, where in honor of St. Paddy's day, her first page blog this month involves what she learned from her Dad about the religious strife in Ireland.

Prescription For Love, the 6th book in her Reyes Family Romances series, is available as a free download at:
http://smashwords.com/b/18367
Blurb: Enrique Reyes was named after his grandfather, and together they visited his hometown in Mexico, where Enrique is now happy being the doctor. The only thing he is missing is a wife. When Tanora Doyle, a bi-racial research biologist arrives in town, he is intrigued. But will the baggage she carries keep them apart? Or can Enrique cure whatever ails her, and solve his problem as well?

And coming April 1st from Whiskey Creek Press/Torrid will be her latest stand-alone novel:
The Reluctant Bride

Veterinarian Pamela Wilson always used to run away from home to get attention from her status-conscious, preoccupied parents. Years ago she met a man who loved her unreservedly, but her parents didn't approve of his blue-collar job, so she ran away from him too. When the ambitious lawyer she's marrying answers a phone call while she's walking down the aisle, it's the last straw! She runs away again, this time to a cabin her parents don't know about, owned by the mechanic. Does he still own it and is he still single? Will she finally stop running away and make the right decision for her future?


Saturday, March 19, 2011

New York! New York!

Like kids, the Big Apple never sleeps. Admit it—you fantasize about shopping at Jimmy Choo’s, followed by a power snacking at Magnolia Bakery, while you imagine Alicia Keys singing Empire State of Mind in the background.

I’ll admit that when I had attended BookExpo America, this visualization was a fleeting thought. For an author, BookExpo America is the equivalent of a child’s first trip to Disney World, seeing the Cinderella castle and cast of characters in real life.

After being published, the concept of having something in common with Nora Roberts, Stephen King and my idol, Harper Lee—in that at one time, like me, they were unpublished—hadn’t really sunk in, until I was invited to sign my novel at the autograph party. I sat at the same table that Carl Reiner had signed his book (yes, it’s a toupee and he’s proud of it), meeting people who had actually heard of me. Okay, so Mary Higgins Clark, Henry Winkler and Gloria Estafan had hundreds lined up for a copy of their best sellers and I had 10 to 20 people at a time, but who’s counting? As an author and avid reader, the experience of signing my book in the diamond capital of the publishing world was like a week’s worth of Christmas mornings, unwrapping Victoria’s Secret goodies.

A Broadway play producer (actually, she’s an off-Broadway producer) met with me to discuss the possibility of turning my first published book—Sabrina’s Destiny—into a play. Okay, so there were more than a few “offs” added to the off-Broadway, I still experienced what some may call an out of body episode. My lips formed the appropriate words, but my mind was in SoHo picking out a pair of strappy black Manolo Blahniks to go with my Vera Wang gown, for my red carpet walk at Radio City Music Hall for next year’s Tony awards. Did I mention fantasies are an author’s right of passage?¾mine can rival the Empire State of Mind, big time.
The highlight of my trip was meeting fellow author, Michelina Pagano, Manhattan native and author of “The Road to Jude.” After a year of communicating via telephone and email, we cemented our bond even tighter during my week’s stay in her city. We ventured to Brooklyn where we taped a radio interview, at the WNYE studios. A station that reaches nine million households in the tri-state area. We shared our musings about friendship, the art of writing and the common mystical themes in our work.

This trip was a new author’s paradise, and the collection of memories may show up in one of my books someday. You can be sure the heroine will be wearing trendy shoes and carrying sinfully expensive bottled water.

The education and friendships formed with authors from all over the world was worth every Atavan I popped for my intense fear of flying. I also learned that New Yorkers don’t really say, fuggetabout it, they’re not rude, and they don’t snicker or roll their eyes when asked for directions to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller center in mid-June.

I hope to someday return with my latest release; WHAT A GIRL WANTS.

Selena Robins
https://selenarobins.com/

Friday, March 18, 2011

20 Questions with author Ari Thatcher

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.

http://arithatcher.com

Celtic Rhythm (In Ellora’s Cave Flavors of Ecstasy II)

Honey

Death by Sex

Kyle’s Redemption

Maui Heat

Maui Rekindled

Honey and Heat (Anthology of all novellas except Celtic Rhythm)

Coming Soon: Demon of Desire

Ari Thatcher began writing as a child, but the world told her she needed a real job. She discovered motherhood didn’t pay well, dabbled in daycare, diesel mechanics and clerical work before finally accepting she had to write. When she’s not writing, she enjoys watching auto racing, quilting and spending time with her daughters and their husbands.


How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

Sometimes it’s a conversation or something in the news. Sometimes dreams, but most often the characters show up in my head and I have to talk to them and find a setting that will put their personalities in biggest conflict


What is your process from idea to first draft?

I start with characters, names, personalities and if they are shifters or whatever. I use Kathy Lloyd’s conflict grid to see where they are going to bump heads and what they fear. That gives me the black moment, which I plug into Michael Hague’s Six Point Plot Structure. I work out the turning points of the story, flesh out scenes that need to happen in between. Sometimes I write the synopsis at that point, others I detail chapter by chapter. But I’m learning I write a lot faster when I can glance at the plot structure and know what has to happen next.


Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Sometimes just burying myself in housework, quilting or crocheting frees up my mind and I can work out the problem. Or I walk the dogs. One of my best methods is brainstorming with my daughter. She has no desire to write but has some great ideas!


Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I don’t know that I have one. I have a few peers from a critique group who are at the same spot in their careers, and they help a lot, or authors on my publisher’s loop.


What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve taken some great ones and some that didn’t move me forward at all. It’s a risk you take. I became much more disciplined after taking Shelley Bradley/Shayla Black’s Storyboarding workshop. I don’t use all her methods but that’s how I developed my own routine to be able to sit down and whip out a story.


What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

Kristin Daniels. She was one of the critique partners I was using while trying to polish old MSs that really don’t need to see the light of day. She mentioned a submission call at Ellora’s Cave and I decided to try and write for it, also. Neither of us sold for the themed anthology we aimed for but both stories were accepted for Cavemen anthologies. She kicks butt as a CP!


Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I currently have a novel in the works inspired by Saving Abel’s “New Tattoo”. The premise, characters and hero’s secret all came to me while waiting in line at the bank’s drive-up teller. Road trip, anyone?


Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

On occasion, I’ll turn on music but I write more when it’s quiet. I tend to sing along with whatever is playing. I have been writing a lot this week with NASCAR racing in the background, though!


Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I read Regency romances more than anything, and my contemporary heroes often speak funny because of it! I will finally try my hand at a Regency story soon. In the meantime I often have to open a contemporary or paranormal book to get the voices in my head talking right.


Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I can’t think of anything beyond critique partners. I think having an experienced eye reading your work and telling you honestly what needs improvement is vital to getting published.


What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Death by Sex made it to #11 on Amazon’s Best-Selling Erotica list! I didn’t think to print it out until it had slipped to #12. But I have it printed for inspiration when my ego is weak.


If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

Oh, this is a constant thought process for me. Some would go to a variety of charities, but I think most important would be to start a business locally to create jobs. I think that would have a much larger ripple in the universe.


What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Finish your book. Don’t second guess it, rewrite it before you get to “The End” or let the inner critic tell you it’s junk. Once it’s written you can hack it to pieces, or shove it into some hidden folder, but you will be a better writer for having finished.


If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

My totem is a black wolf. I think where I connect is their tendency to run alone but with strong family/pack instincts.


If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

If skill were not an issue, I would have gone to Broadway. I sing but have three left feet, and hate crowded cities, so I didn’t pursue theater like I wanted. And in truth, writing is my first and best choice for a career!


If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Again, skill plays into it. I’d love to drive a race car on one of the major tracks.


What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

My heroes are alphas, even when in some cases it’s a covert aspect of his personality. And they love with all their beings. I write to a female reader, so my heroines aren’t always kickass. Some are insecure and have to believe in themselves. I think trusting in her ability to do what she needs to is what makes a heroine strong, but her journey is often finding that strength.


If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Everyone who wanted a family would have one and no one would lack in basic needs like food and housing.


If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

Ah, but here’s a secret! I do have super powers. I can wipe out evil with the keying of a fight scene. I can make love the ruling force in the world. And I can give a reader somewhere hope that her life is better than it appears, that she will find her own happy ending. There’s only one thing more powerful than hope and it’s love.


 
Blurb:
 
“I’ll call you.” That’s the last thing Gabe said fifteen years ago as Maggie prepared to fly home from a summer in paradise. When he didn’t call, she packed away the memories of their sexual romp and relegated him to vacation-fling status.


Now, as the ink on her divorce papers dries, Maggie returns to that Maui resort hoping to find the carefree woman she once was. When Gabe walks out of the waves on her first afternoon at the beach, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or run away. Hot, crazy vacation sex with no strings attached would be the perfect remedy for her bloody divorce.

Gabe thinks of Maggie as the one who got away, and he’s not about to let it happen again. The passion between them is as fiery as ever, but is it hot enough to rekindle the romance he knows they could share? He’s got one week to prove to her it is.


Excerpt: (PG)

The sound of waves lapping against the sand worked as well as a massage at loosening the knots from of her body. Settling back against the sand chair, she released a slow, steady sigh. She should have done this years ago.

A few young men rode their boards in the surf, maneuvering the small waves for the longest ride possible. A pair of girls, teenage or a few years older, splashed closer to shore. At some point, Maggie would go in the water, but not today.

She slid lower in the chair, only her shoulders propped up above the sand. A nap would be so heavenly. Her eyelids were heavy. Letting them drop, she stuck the base of her glass in the sand so it wouldn’t spill.

The waves continued their lullaby, only an occasional voice in the distance breaking the peace. She lifted her face to the sun, the heat purifying her soul.

Just before she dozed, she suddenly opened her eyes. A dark-skinned god rose from the water, a board tucked under his arm. She sat spellbound, watching his approach. Water rolled off him, sprayed off his short black hair when he shook.

Maggie licked her lips as her eyes traveled up his long body. His wet shorts clung like a second skin, riding low on his narrow hips. A bare, flat abdomen made her fingers itch to stroke it. He had swimmer’s shoulders, broad, strong, well defined. Damn, picture that arched above me in bed…

That was another thing she hadn’t come for. Sex. Men in general. She’d had enough of one man in particular to last this lifetime and the next few. Still, just once, it would be so tempting to have a man like the surfer between her legs again.

The water god smiled, his teeth bright against his dark-chocolate complexion. Her heart stopped. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t still be here after, what, fifteen years. No, he’d gone back to college when summer ended. Just as she had.

And he never called like he’d promised.

Closing her eyes, she forced the image of Gabe Brashiers out of her head. Maybe she should have picked a different resort. One without so many memories.

Focusing again on the beach, she saw the man in question walking toward her. As he grew closer, his features became clear. Dear God, it was.

Her heart jumped. “Gabe?”



BUY LINK: http://arithatcher.com/maui.html

Also on that page are links to the free prequel, MAUI HEAT