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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Win a Kindle Wi-Fi!!!

NOR (Night Owl Reviews) is having one helluva contest.

Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Wi-Fi (Grand Prize) and five ebooks from Silver Publishing!

Over a 100 prizes will be given out. Contest runs from October 1 through October 31.

Click on the icon to learn more.



Monday, August 29, 2011

And now for a commercial break

Sweet N Sexy Divas

Each month at Sweet n Sexy Divas we have openings for guest interviews and guest posts.

I'm currently scheduling for November and December. If you have an uncoming or current release you'd like to blog about, we'd love to have you. If you just want to connect with the blog's followers, that's good too.

Simply email me at tina@tinadonahue.com and we'll set a date.  :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CONTEST and interview with J.K. Coi!!!

Let's welcome J.K. to Sweet 'n Sexy Divas today!

Her interview and contest details follow.  :)

__________________

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


http://www.jkcoi.com/

Available Now

FALLING HARD, Carina Press





IRON SEDUCTION, Ellora’s Cave Quickie

HOWLING SACRIFICES, Ellora’s Cave Quickie

THE MORNING AFTER, Ellora’s Cave Quickie

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY, Samhain Publishing

Coming Soon

BRAZEN GAMES, Ellora’s Cave

FAR FROM BROKEN, Holiday Anthology with Carina Press

CAGED, Agony/Ecstasy Anthology with Berkley Heat


J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.


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

Ideas can come from all of the above! It’s turning them into something viable, that I can successfully make into a story that will hold my interest (and hopefully the interest of my readers) for up to 90,000 words…that’s the trick! It takes more than just a flicker of an idea to make a story, but at least that gets me started and then it becomes a matter of building on it with more and more layers. It’s both the hardest and the most fun part of the process.

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

When the muse is uncooperative, I find I have the most success getting back into the groove by forcing myself to just keep going. Even if what I write is crap and will have to be self-edited later (with extreme prejudice) as long as I keep at it, things will come back into sync eventually. But if I stop entirely and do something else, my mind and body are like “hey, this is much easier. Why am I wasting my time doing all that hard work anyway??”

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I have a whole host of talented and creative people at my disposal in the form of my Romance Writers of America chapter. If I ever have a question about anything—publishing, craft, social networking, etc.—they’re the people that I go to. I was so lucky to have found them, and in fact, I’m glad that now I sometimes get to be the person who people go to for information!

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

I’ve taken a number of workshops over the years, and while I think that the best way to learn about writing is to do two things: READ and WRITE, the ones that I would recommend to absolutely everyone are by Margie Lawson (http://www.margielawson.com/lawson-writers-academy-courses). I’ve taken two of her workshops, including her Deep Editing program, and she is wonderful at showing the writer how to recognize when their own work is missing something.

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

I want to thank my son for inspiring me. When he was a baby (not too long ago) I remember being at home thinking that it was an awkward time. He was old enough to be going to bed early and sleeping through the night so that he didn’t need me every two hours for feedings and changings and cuddling, etc. But of course, it’s not like I had any social life. I was still stuck at home every night…and the television shows sucked big time. Although I’ve written since I was in elementary school, it had been a long time. But being a mom gave me that little push that I needed to get back into it. After I started writing, though, it was the online community that I met which kept me going. I really appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from the many different writers I’ve met over the years.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

Yes! I LOVE music! Usually, I just have a generic playlist on in the background while I’m working. Something to keep me in the mood of the story, but music was such a large part of writing FALLING HARD that I had a really hardcore playlist that was very specific to the tone of the book. It included songs like Misery by Maroon 5, Love the Way You Lie by Eminem/Rhianna, I Don’t Wanna be in Love by Good Charlotte, When They Come for Me by Linkin Park, and Dance With the Devil by Breaking Benjamin (I know, it sounds really depressing, doesn’t it??) The thing is, that book was so darkly emotional, and Gabriel was such a hard character to write. (Truthfully, he’s not an easy person to like, either—although there are reasons, and once I came to understand where he was coming from, I really fell in love with him). However, the darker, harder music helped me to immerse myself in him while I was writing.

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 do read a LOT of paranormal and urban fantasy, which is what I write. I think that’s why I write it, because it’s usually what I want to read. But I also read a TON of other genres. Everything from straight horror to contemporary and historical romances, and the odd biography. Basically, I’ll read anything that has strong characters. If it influences my own writing in any way, I hope it’s for the better. I think it’s important for writers to read in order to keep improving.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

When I have an idea, I have to think about it for, like…ever. I can’t just start writing until I have a good idea where I’m going to go with it. I have to be sure that I can turn the idea into something that will carry all the way through. Then when I start writing, I write in a very linear fashion. I have to go from start to finish. I’m not the kind of writer who can write scenes out of sequence. I AM the kind of writer who ends up editing a lot as I go. I try not to, but it always happens anyway. It makes for a longer process from beginning to end, but when I’m done the manuscript is pretty clean and I usually only have to give it one more read-through.

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

I love to help other writers. I offer my services as critiquer extraordinaire when I can, and I’m always up for brainstorming, character naming, titles, or whatever else! I’ve received so much help and support from writers throughout my own career that I hope I’ll never have to turn someone down who honestly wants my assistance.

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

Every time I get an email from someone who has read and loved one of my books, I feel such amazement that something I’ve created has had an effect on someone else’s life, even if it’s only because they passed a few hours lost in my world instead of having to do laundry! It makes me want to continue writing just to make sure that people all over the world won’t ever have to do laundry again  LOL

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

I would really LOVE to go to China and walk along the Great Wall. Then I’d travel to Egypt and visit the pyramids. After that I’d relax in Italy for a few weeks and eat lots of homemade pasta before going to Paris to soak in the ambiance from the most romantic city in the world.

Although I love my home, there are SO many places throughout the world that have stories of their own to tell. As a writer (and a history major) I want to see them all! Scotland, Russia, Africa, Spain…

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

Gabriel, the hero of FALLING HARD, is a difficult person to like because he’s had a difficult past and he’s a rock star, with all of the selfish, egotistical failings of many rock stars. He has a quick temper and a serious potty mouth, and he doesn’t trust easily. BUT he’s also loyal, very strong, and he really wants to do the right thing. I wanted readers to see that he was far from perfect, but to look beneath that and find there was someone who would love FIERCELY.

In a bit of a twist, Amelia was the protector of the book, the one charged with saving the day. But she was also thrown out of her element, and she had to keep it together for both their sakes. I thought it was important that she be strong and be able to adapt, but also be feminine and vulnerable.

I’d love to answer any more questions that might pop up in the comments, but I’ll also take this opportunity to say thank you to the ladies here at Sweet N Sexy Divas for having me as their guest! I really appreciate the opportunity!

JK Coi

Website: http://www.jkcoi.com/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jkcoi

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JKCoiAuthor

*** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT ***

Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a digital copy of Falling Hard and a set of J.K. Coi's romance trading cards. Winner chosen at random.

Friday, August 26, 2011

CONTEST and guest post with Denise Agnew!!!

Please welcome Denise to our site!

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Romance novels have a happy ending, and that's one of the reasons why I love them. That doesn't mean that I don't like a novel with grit. You know, the type of novel that really is heart-wrenching, makes you think something seriously bad is happening to the hero and heroine and that they will have to fight for their lives and their happiness.


While I love writing contemporary novels, I've found my true voice in historical romance. Here I feel like I can sink my teeth into everything dramatic, romantic.

Research isn’t something I shy from when I’m researching a historical novel. In fact, it’s one of the elements I find compelling. Not only do I discover what I need to accurately portray the people and times for that novel, I love learning about a new time period and place.

Historical novels are calling on me at all levels lately. In summer 2010 Samhain Publishing released a reprint of my Jack The Ripper novel (original title Midnight Rose) under the title Dark, Deadly Love. On January 4, 2011 Samhain released For A Roman’s Heart. Both novels have stunning covers! Thank you to the wonderful artist Kanaxa. In June of 2011 Samhain released Before The Dawn and it also has a beautiful cover. Each novel started with a kernel of an idea and blossomed into a story I loved writing.

And what about the future? I have six…count ‘em…six historical novels either in the works or in the idea stages. The six are broken into two separate trilogies but they all involve paranormal elements.

Here’s a tidbit of BEFORE THE DAWN (Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com) to tantalize you.

**

A fallen woman must decide to stay down, or rise and fight…

Elijah McKinnon has been found innocent of a heinous murder, but it doesn’t erase the hellish years in prison he endured. He boards the train to Pittsburgh a changed man, certain he will never feel free until he’s wreaked revenge on the brother who ruined his life.

The passenger who catches his eye is intriguing, but he’s seen her kind before. The kind who puts on airs—and looks down on Irishmen. Still, he can’t seem to stop himself from stepping between her and a pack of ruthless cads.

Mary Jane Lawson is grateful for the handsome stranger’s help, but her journey has a higher purpose: to rise above her shattered reputation and declare her independence, come flood or famine. Propriety says she should refuse Elijah’s suggestion they pose as husband and wife—for her own protection, of course. Her practical side says it won’t hurt to pretend, just this once.

Come nightfall, though, their little charade must be carried all the way to shared sleeping quarters, where their vulnerabilities become painfully clear. And when danger past and present threatens, trusting each other becomes a matter of life and death.

* *

Product Warnings

A hot Irish accent mixed with high adventure may cause combustion. Beware of falling for this hunk. The heroine says he’s hers.

* *

She stumbled along in his wake, no energy to ask why they pushed onward into the woods where no one from the train could help them. Thinking that far ahead caused more trepidation, so she concentrated on planting one shoe in front of the other. After what seemed an endless time, a rocky outcropping and massive hill rose in front of them.

“Thank the saints.” He tugged her forward. “Here.” He released her hand long enough to shove aside shrubbery and reveal a tall opening. She saw his throat work as he swallowed hard. “Damnation. I don’t want to go in here, but we must. I’ll go first, you follow.”

His voice snapped like a general, and she flinched. His eyes went hard, unyielding.

The darkness beyond the crevice appeared to be a wide mouth without teeth. What horrors lay inside? Unreasoning fear stilled her courage. She sucked in a quick breath. If Elijah could conquer his apprehension, so could she.

He crawled in, headfirst. When he disappeared into the maw, all went quiet. Even the wind didn’t stir, and the rain stopped. Her entire body quaked. Nightmares of deep, unknown places from childhood tormented her from the edges. They beckoned, dared her to stay brave and to remain sane.

Elijah’s hand came out and then his head. “It’s larger than I thought. It’s a deep rock shelter.”

She clasped his hand and leaned down. He released her once she started inside. She crawled on hands and knees and discovered enough headroom to stand and several feet on both sides. Light penetrated from a large crack in the ceiling.

He inched around in front of her and made certain the hole stayed thoroughly covered by the foliage. Turning back, he stopped. He put one finger to his lips in a gesture of silence. He pulled his weapon from the inner waistcoat pocket and held it, prepared for use. They stayed that way for several minutes. Time stretched in front of her, an eternity of waiting, of anxiety ridden breaths and heart pounding apprehension. Safety still felt far removed. Now that they had stopped running, she heard her own breath rasping, her heart pounding in her ears as her body slowed. Reaction came without remorse. Tears flowed and fell to her cheeks. She regulated her breath by slow turns, and yet her body remained tense. After what seemed an eternity, he made his way past her and sat against one wall. He gestured for her to come closer.

She eased towards him on her hands and knees, her crinoline bunching up in the way. Frustrated, she frowned. She never hated fashion more than this moment.

“Take off the crinoline. We’re leaving it and the corset behind,” he said.

She hesitated and then realized the wisdom in his request. Mary Jane rose to her feet. “Help me. I have to remove the dress first.”

He nodded, his face etched with a harsh determination. She turned away from him. Methodically he unbuttoned the back of the dress while she pulled the hatpins out of her hat and hair. As his fingers moved, a fleeting thought raced by. Even in these desperate moments of flight, his fingers brushing with heat through dress, corset and chemise somehow made her incredibly aware of him as a man. Then the thought fled.

She tossed the pins in a corner and flung the hat aside. She was surprised the thing had not fallen off before now. Her dress stuck to her, sodden with rain and made the buttons more difficult to undo. She would have to dress in it again once she removed the corset and crinoline, but what choice did she have? Before she knew it the shoulders and the tight sleeves eased away from her skin. Eager, she pulled the garment off her arms until she peeled it all the way down and it fell around her waist. She wriggled to shove it off her hips. She stepped out of the dress and worked on the ties that held the crinoline in place. As they remained quiet, a sense of urgency filled the air. They must hurry in case his brother found them and they must fight. She shoved the horsehair padding downward, and he came around to the front and knelt in front of her.

“Here,” he whispered. “Lift your legs one at a time, and I’ll pull it off.”

She complied, and quicker than she expected, Elijah crumpled the nuisance and shoved it into a corner. Without speaking he returned to stand behind her and made short work of the corset laces. When it loosened around her ribs, she sucked in a breath. That felt so much better. Though she never worn her corset particularly tight, removing the garment was liberating. She took one deep breath after another. When he loosened it completely, he pulled it over her head. It, too, went into the corner.

Now that she stood in nothing but chemise, pantalets, stockings and boots, she trembled with cold. His hands rested on her shoulders for a second, and then he turned her around.

His eyes had lost their harshness, but they held no awareness of her as a woman. He had shut down for the fight, all efficiency in the face of danger. “I know the dress is cold and wet, but you have to put it back on. If they find us here…”

She put her fingers over his lips. For a few unguarded seconds, his eyes flared. She’d never imagined green eyes could burn this bright and hot with emotion. Quickly he shut it off, like a flame doused under a rush of water. He helped her back into the dress, which went much faster.

Once done, he sat, propped his back against the wall and stared at her. He drew up one leg and propped his forearm on his knee. With his disheveled hair, sweat beading on his forehead, and a harsh look in his eyes, he looked every inch the dastardly criminal. Part of her wanted to run from him too. After all, she was in this predicament because his brother had a vendetta with Elijah. His rumpled waistcoat hung open, dirt and something red smeared over one side. Worry speared her.

She sank to her knees in the damp earth in front of him. She grabbed the lapels of his waistcoat and parted them. “You are bleeding.”

“No. I’m not. That’s the blood of the man I killed.”

Her lips parted but nothing came out at first. She struggled with her words. “We both… I hit that man with a rock, Elijah. I killed him.”

“I know, darlin’.” His voice softened, the rough understanding lowering his husky voice. “I know.”

More tears came, and as they rained down, her face crumpled.

“Shhh…” He reached for her and pulled her into his lap.

He cuddled her close, his powerful arms providing shelter she desperately craved. She wept quietly, holding back the rage screaming fear. She shuddered and quaked. She saw a misery in his gaze, a genuine sorrow. She touched his face and felt the bristle of beard growing there. In those quiet moments, Mary Jane heard nothing more than gentle breaths, felt nothing more than his heat beneath her, cradling and comforting.

Understanding, like that she had witnessed before, warmed his eyes and softened his visage. His lips parted. She stared at that handsome mouth and wanted it on hers with undeniable desperation.

Closer, closer still, he tilted towards her until…his mouth touched hers with exquisite gentleness. When her lips parted under pressure, his tongue pushed inside. Retreated. Caressed. Owned her mouth with sweet, deep thrusts. She arched into that kiss, breath puffing into him, mouth moving in response, tongue tangling in carnal dance.

Elijah broke away with a gasp, eyes still blazing.

He leaned closer until he whispered in her ear. “If we were anywhere else and completely safe, you would be beneath me. Naked.”

Blunt as his words were, they excited Mary Jane and made her forget their harrowing flight.

“But we can’t.” His burning gaze lingered on her mouth, then recaptured her eyes. “I would put you in danger, and that’s the last thing I want. Promise me something.”

“Anything.” The word, so definitive and complete, left her throat without a pause.

“If they find us here and anything happens to me, you fight with everything in you. You fight to live. You understand?”

“No—I— you are not going to die.” Her voice broke. “That will not happen.”

“If there’s one thing I learned incarcerated in Eastern State, it was that bad things happen and you cannot always stop them. If that bad thing happens, and I cannot keep you safe…you do what you need in order to live.” His gaze was fierce and demanding. “You understand me?”

“Yes.” The excruciating thought twisted a hot knife in her breast. “Yes.”

*** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT ***

This evening I’ll pick one winner from the comments to receive a trade paperback from my backlist. Thanks so much for taking the time to say hello today!

Denise

http://www.deniseagnew.com/



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Blog with Willa Edwards!

Wonderful writer Willa has joined us today. Please show her your love and leave a comment. :)

_____________________

What Makes You Feel Sexy?

 
Everyone has a different version of what makes them feel sexy. For some people it may be a scent or specific touch. For some women it’s a short skirt that shows off their long amazing legs, or an open back that shows of her sexy shoulders.

For me, I feel sexiest in a pair of high heels (it’s an extra plus if they don’t make my feet hurt). A low cut top that shows just a little cleavage without being vulgar, the sensation of silky fabrics against my skin and a little spray of a deep rich rose perfume. And of course, lacy red underwear.

Finding out what makes your heroine feel sexy is very important for writing a romance. It helps you determine who your character is. A woman who feels sexy in leather, and dominating her partner, probably won’t work in a daycare (though now that I’ve thought of it I kind of want to write that story). A woman, who loves the smell of orchids and the sensation of grass beneath her feet, probably doesn’t work as a race car driver. Just like every other attribute of your character, why makes your heroine feel sexy determines who she is as a person, and creates a deeper richer character.

It also helps you decide who the perfect man is for your heroine. If a woman feels most alluring when she’s dominated and tied up, her hero isn’t going to be beta male. He’s not going to be the geek from mailroom that can’t stop looking at his shoes. He’s going to be the boss, the dom, the alpha. If a heroine feels her most beautiful when she’s being watched, when she’s in control, then bring on that beta. If she feels most gorgeous when she’s snuggled up into a man’s chest hair, you’re not going to set her up with someone who’s bald.

But most importantly knowing what makes your character feel sexy is a major component to writing a really hot love scene. If you can find what makes your heroine feel her most sexy, and then have it converge with the hero and some deep rooted emotion, you’ll have an explosive night in the bedroom, or couch, or office, etc…

Love scenes are always hotter when the heroine feels sexy. Whether its submission, hooker shoes or satin sheets, when the heroine feels beautiful and appreciated she is more open. She’s more uninhibited. She wants to make her partner happier, as well as herself. She’s feels powerful, and she’s not afraid to ask for what she wants. Whether it’s for just the right touch or a special place kissed, when a woman asks for what she wants the sex only gets better. The characters can become closer, and have more fun in the bedroom. What could be better during a love scene?
So what makes you feel sexy? Is it that high cut slit, that lacy tong? Leave me a comment and let me know.

What makes my heroine, Alicia, from my most release with Whiskey Creek Press, feel sexy is bright colored heels, being bored at work, and of course her yummy boss, Ted. Here’s a little snippet to show just what happens to Alicia when all these elements combine into one fun filled afternoon.





Blurb


When Alicia notices her boss Ted has had a long hard day, again, she decides to help him unwind in the most sinful way possible. Sashaying into his office on high red heels and with lust on the mind she offers to do whatever he wants.

Ted may think he wants to be good in the office, but Alicia knows otherwise. With long blond hair, smooth legs and curves in all the right places, Alicia’s convinced she can get him to loosen up.

But Ted isn’t as easily relaxed as she intends. It will take everything in Alicia’s arsenal to drag Ted away from logic and responsibility. But Alicia is determined to help him let go, and she won’t stop trying, until he is hers—for good.


Excerpt

Alicia tapped her heel against the smooth tiled floor beneath her desk. The phones had been quiet all day. No visitors had darkened their door since yesterday.

Never exciting, her job was duller than usual today.

Elbow braced on the desk surface, Alicia pivoted her chin in her hand, looking to the large white-faced clock on the opposite wall. Still five hours to go till she could return home and pour herself a glass of merlot.

Alicia glanced over her shoulder into her boss’ office. Ted sat at his desk, focused on several papers spread across its surface. He massaged his temples, blinking down at the small print. His smooth linen shirt hugged his strong shoulders, stretching tighter across his chest with the extension of his arms. The top button was undone, giving a taste of the soft dark chest hair covering his pecs.

Ted looked delectable. He always did. Half the reason she’d taken this job was so she could stare at him all day. Most assistants didn’t have anywhere near the view Alicia did. He was the kind of man that could make any woman hot and wet in all the right places. But today, fatigue almost overpowered his gorgeous qualities. Exhaustion was written all over him, from the stoop of his shoulders to the wrinkles sketched across his brow.

Her boss wasn’t just yummy, Ted was also the best man Alicia knew. He never failed to put everyone else’s needs before his. Just as he had last night, when he’d pulled himself out of bed before the crack of dawn to sit by the side of a scared wife while her husband underwent emergency surgery. He’d looked beat when he’d walked in this morning, and three cups of coffee later, he didn’t look much better.

She wished he wouldn’t work himself so hard. That he’d find a little time for himself. Maybe even take a day off.

If only there was something she could do. Alicia’s lips curled into a wicked smile. An evil plan formed in her mind.

She’d make him relax, even if she had to force him.

Flushed with excitement Alicia leaped from her chair, running to the thick wooden portal that separated her reception area and Ted’s office from the rest of the building. She twisted the ancient lock. The click of the bolt sliding home sent a shiver up her spine.

Alicia wasn’t the most skilled assistant. She wasn’t great at filing, and a message or two often got lost on her desk. Her computer skills were subpar at best. But she had other skills to offer up, and it was about time she started using them for Ted’s advantage.

She stepped to Ted’s office door, tugging her dress down so that her breasts peeked out from the top of the plain neckline to emphasize the shadowy valley of her cleavage. No reason not to put her best asset forward.

Alicia took a deep breath as she raised her hand to the smooth wood door. This wasn’t going to be easy. She smiled as she brushed the hair from her face. But it would be fun. For her as much as him. She rapped her knuckles against the wood, throwing the door open before Ted had a chance to respond to her knock.

He didn’t look up from his desk as she stepped to the entryway, giving Alicia a moment’s pause. His gaze trained down with iron focus. With bouncy blond hair, ample breasts and long smooth legs, Alicia wasn’t used to men maintaining that kind of concentration around her. Especially when she gave them all the signals she was interested in more than photocopying. Maybe she shouldn’t have bothered him. It wasn’t too late to abandon her plan. She could toss off some simple excuse and slink back to her desk with him none the wiser.

“What is it, Alicia?” Ted growled. Sable locks pointed out in disarray around his head, as if he’d been running his fingers through them all morning. Her palms twitched with the urge to comb through those silky strands and right his mane. To then use her grip to pull him close enough to smell the woodsy cologne and natural male scent he wore. Her desire to comfort him, to touch him, gave new life to her convictions and revived the power inside her.

Ted needed to enjoy himself, he needed to relax, and only she could give him that.

Her fiery red stilettos clicked on the pale smooth floor as she entered the office, giving an extra saucy sway to her hips. Ted’s eyes slid slowly up from the desk as he attempted to hide his stare. The draw of her steady steps and the brilliant flash of color were too tempting to ignore.

Due to their numerous conversations about her wardrobe during her first few weeks on the job, her heels were the only color she wore today. While she’d originally come to his office in vivid reds, pinks, teals, and purples, it hadn’t been long after that Ted’s visitors had started to complain.

Many of the older patrons found her jewel hues and flirty styles too sensational. She’d hated giving up the clothes she loved, the colors she enjoyed, but she hadn’t wished to make his life difficult by standing up to his guests on principle.

She’d conceded on her clothing, evident in the plain black dress and white unbuttoned cardigan she wore. But the shoes remained her rebellion. She couldn’t give up her bright flirty shoes, especially not with how he looked at them as she walked around the office.

She always felt powerful and beautiful in her bright heels. His warm caramel eyes followed her as she paraded around the office, clicking about the stiff floors with her vibrant shoes. Their clack across the hard tiles as she completed her tasks distracting him from his work. She loved the thrill that ran through her when his eyes would slip from her heels up her toned legs. She could almost see him trying to gauge how soft and long her legs were, imaging them wrapped around his torso. It made the thirty minutes she spent on the treadmill every day worth it.

“What are you here for Alicia?” Ted snapped, rubbing his temples again, trying to redirect his attention to the page before him.

“Whatever you want, Sir.”

Buy Link: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=598&zenid=4181e5115d2f2990cb163f1dddc61055


Willa Edwards has dreamed about being a writer since she was four years old. When she picked up her first romance novel at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back.

She now lives in New York, where she works with numbers at her Evil Day Job and spends her nights writing red-hot tales of erotic romance. When she's not at her computer, you can usually find her curled up in bed with her two furry babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.

Find me on the web at http://www.willaedwards.com/
Follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/#!/willaedwards
Friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/willa.edwards


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sexy Dads in Real Life & Fiction

Now, if we're talking about our own fathers, I'm sure most of you will say something like "I can't go there." However, let's talk about sexy men that are also dads. I don't know about you, but a man with a baby or a kid can be extremely sexy.

Look at this picture of Taye Diggs with his daughter and wife. Sure, he's sexy all by his lonesome, but here we see that he's a father, and somehow it just adds to his sexiness.


This next example is a photo of Ben Cohen, an English rugby player, who posed for this picture as part of the "Problem Shared" campaign that supported first time fathers. Again, on his own there is no doubt of his sexiness, but the look of happiness and complete trust on his daughter's face brings another dimension of sexiness to the picture.


I know when I think of my husband and why I find him sexy, his role as a father figures in to the equation. As writers, I think we should remember that our stories don't have to be limited to men without children. One of my favorite paranormal romance books is Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward, but I also loved the novella she wrote afterwards Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella's Story. It's a heart wrenching look at how the birth of his daughter forces Zsadist to deal with his past. I dare anyone to read that story and not be touched by the interaction between him and his daughter.

Recently I read Highland Mist and Highland Nights by Donna Grant. The first story in the series features Connall MacInness and Glenna MacNeil. Midway through the story he finds out he has a daughter, and I loved the way the author included not only his reactions to his daughter, but also the feelings of the heroine. In the second story of the series his daughter again makes an appearance, and the author shows us a special side of another character in relation to the little girl. In both stories I felt the scenes with the little girl were a wonderful addition.

There are many other examples of stories that include children, and I always feel it adds an extra dimension to the characters as we see how they react to parenthood.

How do you feel about heroes who are fathers? Would you rather have them single, carefree bachelors or do you enjoy learning about them as fathers?

~Brenda

Brenda Hyde has been a freelance writer of home and garden articles for over 20 years, and now she's also writing paranormal romance through short stories and novellas. You can find her at the Wayfaring Writer blog here: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's In Your Playpen? by Tim Smith

Every writer has a favorite place to meet their Muse. For some, it’s ‘neath the shade of a tree in the local park. Others may choose a cabin in the mountains. I know one writer who takes her laptop to the café at Barnes and Noble and pounds out stories while sipping Latte’s and munching biscotti.

My playpen is a spare bedroom in my house that evokes Fred Sanford’s junkyard. I like to think of it as organized chaos. The top of my desk is littered with papers that I’ve convinced myself are important, although at times I’m not sure why. I’m surrounded by posters from my favorite Bogart and Clint Eastwood movies. Alongside these I have a souvenir of one of my proudest achievements, a poster advertising a book signing tour I did in The Florida Keys a few years ago. There’s also a framed copy of a terrific interview I gave to a newspaper in The Keys.

Of course I have a bookcase filled with my favorite paperbacks by Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming. Another shelf is devoted to old books about movies. These fight for space with Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, The People’s Almanac and a dog-eared copy of Catch-22.

There’s a couch that no one can sit on because it’s piled high with promotional materials, half-finished manuscripts I lost interest in, a few cameras and a stack of rare Sinatra LP’s. I believe there’s an e-reader in the pile, too, but I can’t say for sure. If I dug deep enough I’d probably find that overdue book the Library’s been hassling me about.

I have a credenza that’s filled with research material, including brochures, newspapers and photographs from places I’ve visited. Since I tend to gravitate toward romantic adventure stories, I have a book devoted to firearms so I can be accurate when describing what kind of gun the hero pulls on the bad guys. There are also a few how-to books, like Romance Writing for Dummies and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published. I didn’t say I had all the answers. Another research book that’s useful is The KISS Guide to the Kama Sutra. Not only good for writing sex scenes, it’s warmed up a few winter nights as well.

I think most writers have notebooks filled with random thoughts that hit them while waiting in the Dentist’s office and I’m no exception. I looked through a couple of them and found the following nuggets, some of which I’ve used.

He had all the charm of a statue but not as much personality.

She was as nervous as a hooker in a Confessional.

The office itself wasn’t much – slightly smaller than the Astrodome, with a desk you could land a light plane on.
The men were going for the drug dealer wannabe look – Armani suits over white muscle shirts and garish jewelry – that concealed their drab lives as nine-to-five office dwellers.

“You think he’s telling the truth?”
“I wouldn’t put anything past him.”

“You’ll need to speak to my secretary, Singletary.”
Vic gave him a blank look. “Singletary the secretary?”
“That’s correct.”
“Must get confusing.”

So what’s in your playpen?

Tim Smith is an award-winning author whose books range from romantic intrigue to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. More information about his books can be found at http://www.timsmithauthor.com/.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pondering The Poignant Passage

Years ago, when I first started writing my historical romance, RÆLIKSEN, it was for pleasure. I loved to write, and I always have. I guess you could say writing was a hobby, though I've always wanted to be an author ever since I was a little girl. At the age of *ahem* let's just say in my thirties, it was a run-of-the-mill pipe dream, never thinking I had it in me to finish a work in progress.

But once I wrote the final words of my project, the idea of pursuing publication didn't seem all that out of reach. It made sense to want to take a computer document filled with my sweat, blood, and tears and turn it into an actual book I could hold in my hands. I aspired to have a beautiful cover, complete with copyright page, ISBN, and a dedication. Logically, it seemed like the next step. Fast forward a bit, and I found myself signed with a small press, my pipe dream turning into a reality.

Now, I'm not superstitious by any stretch of the imagination, but along the way, I took notice of a few sayings or poignant sentences that struck me to the point of either remembering them word for word, or displaying them as a daily reminder.

The first of those was a fortune I found in my cookie not long after I signed. It read: "You will be honored with a prestigious prize or reward." As an author, one can not help but think of the ever-coveted title of NY Times Best Selling Author! and for that reason, it's been taped to my laptop ever since. Chances are, I'll not get to earn that esteemed label anytime soon, but I desire it just the same. Having it in plain sight reminds me of why I'm working so hard.

Looking around me, I realized I've collected many other quotes that have a special meaning me. For instance, hanging at the base of my King Arthur of Camelot picture (one of the most well known romance legends ever), is a saying that sums it all up for us romance authors: "And they lived happily ever after." Though it's become a hackneyed adage throughout the years, losing most of its spontaneous flare, I can't help but smile at its moving relevance.

Another quote that reminds me of the simple truths in life is "LOVE reveals all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." No matter how hard I try to develop yet another compelling story into which my readers can immerse themselves, sometimes it seems my hero and heroine just can't make it work in the end. Reading this quote, I'm reminded that nothing is impossible. That I can, through the magic of my words, bring two unlikely people together in a love story one will never forget.

By now, you've probably guessed that I LOVE quotes. (Hence, my Saturday Soulful Quotes segment at Nice N Naughty Authors blog every month.) And because I enjoy the "quoted text" so much, I'd like to share a few of my favorite quotes that will forever remain embedded in my head:

  • Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  • There is no friend as loyal as a book.  Ernest Hemingway
  • All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them. Walt Disney
  • Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln
  • Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. William Shakespeare


And since we're on the subject, here are two quotes from my first two historical romances:
  • “You are correct in saying that desires often come from things we cannot easily gain—mine, being that of your love. By all accounts, I do wish I could steal it. But I am not that sort of man. I will wait. Forever and a day…I will wait.” Dægan Ræliksen, RÆLIKSEN
  • “Mara, you are my next breath. You are the reason I breathe at all.” Breandán Mac Laim, MAC LIAM


So, how about you? What quotes do you key into, either famous or made up on the fly, and use in your day to day lives? As a reader, do you swoon at the heart-stopping things the hero says to the heroine and make a mental note of its brilliance? And, for the authors in the crowd, what inspirational written text has remained planted in your mind?

Places to find Renee Vincent

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bring On the Sexy




Everyone has different things that they consider to be sexy. Some people are attracted to particular body parts, some of us get all hot and bothered for personality types, while others are into spicing things up with sexy role play.

As an erotic romance author, I see it as my job to incorporate as many different "sexy" elements into my stories as possible. While all things won't work for all people, if executed well, your readers will still be drawn to your characters reactions, and might even discover a few previously undiscovered kinks. :)

When trying to write what I consider a successful sex scene, the key is making sure for every physical action the character experiences, there is an equal emotional reaction. For example, if your hero and heroine (or hero and hero, or heroine and heroine)make love for the first time, the reader needs to see their internal reactions to those events.

Is the heroine shy about her body? If so, how does she react when the hero calls her beautiful the first time he sees her naked? How does he feel when she asks him to go down on her? Those glimpses of character insight not only enhance the sex scene, it gives us a greater view into your character.

In addition, these internal thoughts let you expand on what your characters view as "sexy". You can expand on those ideas with each consecutive love scene, which will also lead you to having a more powerful black moment. You'll have exposed their greatest fears when they are at their most vulnerable, making the issues they face to feel even bigger to the reader, who will be more emotionally invested.

Try it out! Play around with threading the action-response through each love scene in your book to get the most emotional punch from your characters, making them even sexier to your readers.


Christine d’Abo loves writing in the worlds of sci-fi, BDSM and romance. By combining the elements of those genres into tales of adventure and love, Christine creates the types of stories she loves to read. Christine is currently published with Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press, Carina Press and Berkly Heat. You can learn more about her at www.christinedabo.com.




Friday, August 19, 2011

They say you should write what you know, but my day job isn’t interesting, so who would want to read about it?

I have heard this statement many times, at conferences, on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and speaking with aspiring writers and even readers who want to dip their toe in the writing world.

What may seem mundane and uninteresting in our real lives can be transformed into compelling characters and a page turning storyline. One can do this by exaggerating what they do know into a bigger than life story. For example: Let's say in real life, an office clerk or administrative assistant may feel that what she knows about her career wouldn't make for a gripping read. However, as a writer if she can take what she knows and assign the clerical job to a lead character and giving it an intriguing twist--as in the clerk in her book is unknowingly working for a crime boss. Imagine the possibilities where the writer could take this character.

How about a librarian who lives alone and really doesn't have a lot of adventure in her life, and hasn't really done anything spectacular other than taking a Japanese linguistic night class. This librarian goes to the bank for a routine deposit, and suddenly the bank is held up, and she is a victim of a hostage situation. The bank robbers are speaking Japanese. She can understand what they are saying and what they are planning. Will she let them know she can understand them? Will that help the situation or make it worse? Again, the possibilities are endless.

Are you a hair stylist? How about a hair stylist whose has someone come in to her shop for a cut and dye job, and this person is on America’s most wanted or a famous celebrity?

Taking ordinary things in life things that a writer may perceive as being uninteresting can be turned into a wonderful work of fiction. It's all about taking ordinary characters and putting them in extraordinary situations.

Happy creating and writing!

About Selena Robins
Witty, humorous, suspenseful, sexy--words used to describe Selena’s writing style. A chocolate guru, in love with her husband, family, friends, books & red wine, she dances with her dog, sings into her hairbrush & writes in her PJ's.

Selena is the author of the contemporary romance, What A Girl Wants, paranormal romantic comedy, Sabrina's Destiny, Romantic Comedy, Short Story, Tempted by an Angel, and a children's novella, Pippy's Wish.

Selena's Website
Selena's Blog
Email Selena



Thursday, August 18, 2011

THE TRADITIONAL WEST--Branching Out!




In the category of “dreams come true”, here is my latest one. I became a member of the WESTERN FICTIONEER group about a year ago with the help of one of my friends, Kit Prate. Kit’s a fantastic western writer who’s been doing this a lot longer than I have, with many more “notches in her belt”—figuratively speaking—in the writing world. She put my name before the group and I was accepted—a greenhorn in the truest sense of the word.

I’m still totally in awe. Robert Randisi, Jory Sherman, Peter Brandvold, Kit Prate, Kerry Newcomb, James Reasoner, Livia Washburn Reasoner…the list goes on—these are the members of the WESTERN FICTIONEERS.

A few months after I joined up, they decided to put together their first anthology. Livia and James Reasoner worked tirelessly on it—collecting the stories from those of us who wanted to submit, editing, formatting, writing the introduction to the book, and even deciding the order of the stories. One of the other contributors, Pete Peterson, provided the gorgeous artwork for the cover of the book.

This book is not, by any means, a romance offering. But there are stories from 24 different authors with many different “takes” on the west. It’s the largest anthology of original western short stories ever put together, and though every one of them might not be to your liking, you’re sure to find some different authors you might want to try out for further reading pleasure from this fantastic collection.

My story is called THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. It has a LOT of paranormal twist to it, but it’s one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on.

I’ll leave you with a blurb and an excerpt.

Jericho Dean is on a one-man mission: to track down the outlaw gang that murdered his wife and daughters. When Freeman Hart joins forces with him, Jericho isn’t sure which side this peculiar stranger is on. Determined to gain his revenge no matter the cost, Jericho finds redemption in a most unlikely circumstance. Will he take that fork in the road, or will his thirst for revenge end his chance for a new start?

EXCERPT FROM “THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS”

Jericho gave Dan one final pat. “Ain’t many men lost as much as I did on that day, Freeman. My wife, my daughters, and my desire to exist in this world without them.” He pointed at the growing pile of wood. “No fire.”

Hart gave a sage nod. “I see. You’re expecting to be reunited once you complete your mission—kill the Comancheros. Once you die, you think you and Elena will be together again, along with Maria and Ana.”

Jericho stood completely still. How did this stranger know the names of his family? How did he know Jericho’s own heart and purpose so clearly?

Hart dropped the last two pieces of wood on top of the pile, then dusted his hands. “We need to have a talk, Jericho. A good long visit about things. I don’t aim to do it in the cold. And make no mistake, this night’ll be an icy one—way too cold to spend without a fire. Trust me, boy. They ain’t gonna know—or care—if you spend it warm or freezin’. Got a match on you?”

Jericho sized up the other man once more, a shiver running up his spine. No, things were not what they seemed, but whether for good or evil, he didn’t know. He cursed his luck, either way. He didn’t want to be burdened with whatever it was this Freeman Hart brought to the table. He hadn’t asked for it, either way. He remembered that he had deliberately not prayed, carefully refrained from asking God for any favors, so he wouldn’t have to be in His debt. Well, he still didn’t plan on owing Him anything, no matter how this all worked out.

He finally forced his legs to move, walking stiffly to his saddlebags. He put the brush away, and drew out the box of matches wrapped in oilskin.

Hart caught them when Jericho tossed them over, opened the box and struck one of them on the bottom of his boot. The match head flared in the gathering semi-darkness and Hart hunkered down, cupping his hand around the flame as it caught the base kindling of the pyre and the wood above it began to burn.

Jericho stood watching as the fire flared to life, remembering how he’d burned the cabin. After he’d buried Elena, Maria and little Ana, he’d poured kerosene throughout their home. The smell of it had made his stomach twist and roll over. He’d poured it over the cabinetry he’d built so lovingly for Elena, remembering how proud she’d been to have a pantry in her kitchen. He’d poured it across the bed where they’d made love. Made children. Made a family together.

He’d opened up the old trunk that had been Elena’s, full of her keepsake treasures. He had taken only one thing from the chest before he’d saturated the rest of the contents with the kerosene remaining in the can. He’d stood at the door and tossed in the match, watching as the trail of fire raced across the dirt floor of the cabin and began to eat the furniture, the woodwork, and finally the walls.

Then, he had turned his back on the entire dream he’d created and then destroyed, riding away from it as it burned. It maybe burning still, he mused. That entire northern part of Indian Territory could be nothing but acres of smoldering blackness destroyed by his hand. Right now, if he could, he’d set the entire world ablaze.
Yes. A fire would be good to have tonight.

“Say, Jericho. You hungry? Me, I’m so hungry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. I’ve got some tins of beans and peaches we can open up.” Hart rose and crossed to where his saddlebags lay, rummaging for the tins of food. He pulled them out and came back toward Jericho, who stood rooted to the spot where he’d gone moments earlier to get the matches.

Hart nodded toward the fire. “C’mon. Let’s get some grub. Talk a spell. I can see you’ve got some questions.”

“Who are you?” Jericho’s voice was hoarse.

Hart laughed. “I knew that’d be the first one.”

THE TRADITIONAL WEST is available at Amazon for Kindle
Cheryl's Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE

and here http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-traditional-west-western-fictioneers/1104416089?ean=2940012796264&itm=1&usri=the%2btraditional%2bwest at Barnes and Noble for Nook. The print copies are also available.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weaving History into Your Novel




Weaving history into your novel-

When I started writing, I was advised to, “Write what you like to read.” For me that was historical romance. Like most readers, I love the journey to another time and enjoy imagining how things used to be. I realized in order to draw my readers into yesteryear and thoroughly ground them in that world, I would have to invest a good deal of my time and energy in research.

If that is what you want to do, you must enjoy the research. If it is a burden for you, ask yourself why your story must be told in that time period.






When a reader opens your book, they will already have some awareness of that time. Regency and Civil War fans are incredibly knowledgeable. If what you present in your story doesn’t match with what they know, you will lose your credibility. Whatever facts your reader learns throughout your story, they must be accurate. Always look it up. Double check your sources. Just because it is on the internet, doesn’t mean it is true. A good writer will double, double check everything.

Be careful not to assume something is right just because it’s been done by someone else. Hollywood, for example, does the classic, shooting-the-hat-off-someone’s-head trick. It can’t be done. They tried it on an episode of Myth Busters. If you have doubts about something and can’t find the answer you need, don’t include it.

Before sitting down to write your story, look for general information first. Get a feel for the time period and then delve into your first draft. As you write, note the places where you have questions and begin a list. How does a lady mount a horse wearing a side-saddle? What is proper courtroom procedure in 1877? When your draft is complete you can dig for specifics. Be careful not to get side tracked. Having a list helps, but if your mind starts to spin off into another story, jot down your idea and get back on task.

The best way to ground your reader in your story is with your setting. While it is not necessary to use a real town it needs to feel real. Research the area to learn where and when certain ethnic groups settled. Use that information as you name your characters, keeping in mind names that are also appropriate to that era.

Avoid long descriptions and utilize the techniques of show versus tell. As you think about the five senses, use those sights, sounds and smells that are unique to your story’s time and place. Try to avoid using things overdone by other writers.

Weave the action of everyday life around dialogue. Show your hero loading his gun as he argues with the heroine just before the outlaws attack. And remember to keep the action tags brief so as not to take away from the emotional energy of the dialogue.

In talking about dialogue, watch out for modern phrasing. Using a word before its time in history is not a good idea. Your reader will notice. I had a character use the word, “okay.” An editor at a workshop I attended pointed out that the word didn’t come into use until WWI. Words have birthdays, as does every tool, piece of furniture and article of clothing. I also had my hero in LOST HEARTS wearing a Fish rain slicker. Double checking facts during edits I realized the rain coat wasn’t invented until 1881, and my story took place in 1877.

In developing your characters, be careful not to impose twenty-first century thoughts and ideas on them because you are uncomfortable with the mind set of society at that time. It can be hard to keep the characters true to their time period and still make them sympathetic to the modern reader. Etiquette books, letter collections, diaries, memoirs and books written during the time period can give you that extra bit of insight to help you achieve that balance.

Think about your character’s education level. Limit their knowledge to their social and economic level. A Boston debutante, an Irish immigrant or Scottish Laird will each speak and react differently in the same situation. Their knowledge of government and national news will vary.

Regency romances use snappy banter, and formal language. If your story takes place during a cattle drive, keep in mind the language of those men. Lasso is a modern word. The men who lassoed wayward cows actually called it a catch or throw rope. If you enjoy Civil War stories, remember to double check the names of the battles. A northerner might talk about the battle of Antietam, while a southerner would refer to the same battle as Sharpsburg.

Be careful not to include a history info dump. In my new book, LOST HEARTS, I wrote an entire paragraph about the system of signals outlaws used to warn each other of deputy marshals in Indian Territory. My editor wisely suggested I delete it as it took the reader out of the story action. Review comments from your critique partners carefully. Just because you find outlaw signals interesting, doesn’t mean it belongs in your story.

Historical information can be difficult to find. Again, beware of on-line sources. Search the bibliography of books you’ve read to see what sources that author used. Peruse those books on Amazon then go to the library and see if they can find them through their inter-loan library system. Contact reference librarians or historical societies in the area. Archived newspapers, old magazines and catalogs are another source for fascinating details that can make your setting come alive and really ground your reader in the time period. Museums, historical homes and antique stores are fun ways to gather information. I went to a gun show once not only to see the guns my heroes used, but to hold them, to feel the weight of them in my hand and learn how they were loaded.

Don’t be afraid to ask fellow authors. Join critique groups and writers loops. Writers as a whole are very supportive of each other and most are willing to share their odd bits of knowledge. As you spend time networking, keep an eye out for possible research links mentioned on various blogs and web sites. Write them in a small notebook so you don’t have to waste time later searching on Google. Reenactor’s clothing sites are good for costuming, and the color photos are helpful. Again, double check. Not all reenactors dress in accurate period costumes.

Text books, Audubon guides to plants and wild life, and maps can provide the tiny details that give life to your story. I would like to add that in researching LOST HEARTS, I learned that the native grasses of Oklahoma, which covered a large portion of Indian Territory at the time of my story are now gone. Man does alter the environment, creating lakes, cutting down whole forests, and adding to the shoreline with landfill. Make sure your heroine doesn’t bathe in a lake that didn’t exist.

Take careful notes. Document where your information came from; include the book, link, website, author, title, and page number so you can easily put your finger on the information if someone asks. While it takes time to do this it will save you from having to go back and hunt through books and web sites looking for the same information all over again. This will also save you time as you research your next book or short story.

Everyone has stories to share of mistakes made by authors, so glaringly obvious, the book became a wall banger. Don’t let that be your book. Take your time. Historical accuracy and authenticity are important.

As with the craft of writing, the more you learn the better you become as a writer. It is the same with research. The more you dig, the more you find you didn’t know. If you discover that you’ve made a mistake and it’s too late to change it, forgive yourself, let it go and keep on writing. Don’t let the fear of getting it wrong keep you from writing a historical. Assume your next book will be better than your first and the one after that even better yet. Have fun and think about all the knowledge you’ve gained for playing Cash Cab and Jeopardy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ball of Confusion=Planet Earth

Recently I was having a spirited discussion via e-mail with my sons and my husband, about the problems with the economy, and by extension, the world. One son said that it seemed to him that we all forget that all around us are confused people who don't know how to solve any of our problems...some seek answers in religion, but that's wrong because religion should be a quest, not an answer. Seeking to know God is the purpose of life, but there are no easy answers, and each answer is individual. Some seek answers from the government, but that is made up of people just as confused as the rest of us. Some seek answers in alcohol or drugs, in gambling, in just about anything that can be done to addiction-rates, because those provide what appear to be easy answers, or at least a temporary relief from the pain of asking questions. Some zealously hold onto all of their money because they don't know any other way to live, and the idea of giving some of it to help others, either via donations or enforced taxes, scares them too much. We are all scared and anxious and no one has the answers. We are living on a "Ball of Confusion".

Remember that song by the Temptations from 1970? Google it and there is an excellent u-tube video with images from our current time, shown along with the song being sung by the original Temptations. Remember these lyrics?

"Segregation, determination, demonstration,
Integration, aggravation,
Humiliation, obligation to our nation.
Ball of Confusion.
That's what the world is today." (Copyright 1970, Jobete Music Company, Inc.)

The words could have been written today. Yet each of us has no choice but to continue living our life as if these problems weren't so insurmountable. The rich/poor dichotomy has been with us since the first caveman had more meat to eat than the other one...one might have tried to kill the other for it, and you can bet there was a woman who was willing to sleep with the winner. The beginnings of romance?

We each try to find our own answers and hope fervently that we won't be judged too harshly in the afterlife for anything we might do wrong. Along the way we seek to find love, because to feel love and be loved is the only real security we can have. And love is available to even the least among us, as it is to those who have the most.

What was it the Beatles sang? "All You Need Is Love." More words as true today as the day they were written. And as authors, we seek solace in doing what John Lennon asked us to do: "Imagine".

In my latest book, I once again have an inter-racial romance. I guess I'm an eternal optimist, thinking that somehow if we can just remember that we are all humans, then color/race/nationality/religion will take a backseat to our essential shared humanity. The heroine is what euphemistically would be called "a free spirit", meaning that in college, she enjoyed the selection of eligible men so much that she joked she was trying to get the college to let her minor in sex! The hero is on a hardship scholarship that only gives him one chance to escape the ghetto he was born into, and he is determined not to waste it. A chance meeting brings them together, leading to a night of passion, which becomes a weekly affair. Just when they both acknowledge what they mean to each other, they graduate and she moves to another state. Years later, in the middle of a divorce, he decides he needs to find her again, to see if they can rekindle what they had in college.

http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=589&zenid=21d5b183b8c0fcac4cfb49e0f2f2d4a3
For mini-reviews of books I've read recently, and movies I've seen, and more about my books, my blog is the first page of my website: www.fionamcgier.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Get Your Own Personal Training

Determined not to end up like his seventy-year-old diabetic father, Holton knows he needs to make a change. His quest to improve his health drives him to the gym, where he meets Marcus, a trainer with the body of a demigod. For three months Holton works hard, watches what he eats, drops a few pounds—and catches Marcus's eye not only for his slimmer body but for his dedication.

Holton can barely believe it when Marcus asks him out, but he isn’t about to say no. Despite several common interests, though, Marcus and Holton have some roadblocks to overcome. A harrowing event from Holton’s past has made him gun-shy, and Marcus has insecurities of his own. If their relationship is going to work, they’ll have to get past their hang-ups and prove that what really matters is the man inside.

Purchase from Dreamspinner Press

Excerpt:

Marcus watched the door of the club. He knew the guy he’d signed up months ago should be in just about now. He came in at the same time every weekday, and over the past few weeks, Marcus had found himself watching for him. He’d just barely remembered the man mainly because of how shy he’d been when Marcus had signed him up. What had really gotten Marcus’s attention was the man’s transformation. The change was so dramatic, and not just in the way the man looked, that Marcus had actually checked the club records to determine when Holton had joined the club. Holton had become more confident. He actually talked to people now, and Marcus admitted to himself as he looked toward the door once again, the man was damned cute and getting sexier by the day.

Marcus hated that he thought that way. He knew that he should have more depth—that a person’s looks were only on the outside and what counted was who they were on the inside. He knew that, and though the man he’d signed up for a membership three months ago wouldn’t have turned his head, the man who’d just pulled open the door to the club captured his attention like no one he’d ever met before. Marcus remembered how Holton had looked at him during the one workout session they’d shared the day Holton had joined. Marcus knew he was good-looking, but Holton had looked at him like he was the hottest man on earth, and Marcus hadn’t given him a second thought, until a few weeks ago.

Catching Holton’s eyes as he scanned his card, Marcus waved him over, pleased when Holton walked over to his desk. “I noticed that you’ve been doing a lot of cardio,” Marcus began, hoping he wasn’t overstepping. “Have you given any thought to lifting?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know very much about it,” Holton replied, and Marcus saw him fidget nervously as he looked toward the free-weight area with a touch of fear. “The guys over there seem so big.”

“They’re really nice guys. If you want to go change first, I’ll introduce you to some of them, and I can show you some basic exercises so you don’t get injured.” Marcus flashed Holton a smile as he looked the smaller man over. “You’ve lost a lot of weight, and if you want to start building muscle now, you need to cut down on the cardio and start some strength training.”

“You’ll show me how?” Holton asked, and for a second, Marcus saw that look he’d seen a few months ago.

“Sure. Go get changed, and I’ll meet you over there.” Marcus flashed another smile, watching as Holton walked toward the locker room with what looked like a bit of excitement in his step. Standing up, Marcus wandered through the club, greeting members as he waited for Holton to come out of the locker room. When he saw him, Marcus felt a flutter in his stomach. Gone were the long pants and big shirts. Holton wore a simple pair of shorts that showed off his legs, and a white tank top. His legs weren’t long, but they were thick and strong.

“Do I need anything special?”

Marcus shook his head. “Not for today, but you might want to get yourself a pair of lifting gloves. They’ll protect you from the knurling on the bars. We won’t go heavy today, so you’ll be fine.” Marcus began to walk toward the weight area. “The machines in this area use real weight and are built to handle hundreds of pounds. I thought we’d start with a chest exercise.” Marcus pointed toward one of the Hammer Strength machines. “These will help you maintain good form while getting your muscles used to the work.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When a Writer Takes on the Head Trips!

Ever written a book that seemed to write itself and you feel it is just so different everyone is going to want it? Of course you have. So have I. Better Off Without Her is now ready for preorder from Secret Cravings Publishing. If that's not a blatant plug for my book I don't know what is.





But hey, I'm not just here to tell you about my newest book. Although feel free to place your pre-order at my publisher's site now. LOL

Better Off Without Her is different! Oh, you've heard that story before? Well, let me explain. When I began writing this book, I delved into Victor Frank's head, the villain. No, I didn't just write his part, I felt it, I felt his depression, I felt his helplessness, and the dark side of him that was perceived as evil. When I would stop writing for the day, I would have to bring myself up out of the defunct. Not an easy task, once you get to know Victor. Have you ever lived in a villian's head before? I have and it is a trip that is scary. It is hard to get out of, once you are there.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as though I wanted to go out and kill someone. No, it was rather the depression he suffered from his lifetime abuse. This was hard to crawl out from under. You see I knew what made him evil. I knew the man…no…not in human form, but on my paper, I knew him. I knew how out of place he felt with humanity. I knew how he wanted to smile but found it too painful to do. I knew how he so desperately wanted to fit in, but didn't, and knew he never would. I felt it for him. I endured what he endured. For a short space in time, I played his part in the story.

It's easy as a writer to play the hero or heroine's part in a book. They represent the good in people. But what about the villain. What do they represent? What makes them tick? What triggers them over the edge? My villain, Victor Frank has one redeeming quality that even he recognizes as good. However, although his reasoning is good, his actions take on a different turn. Can good become an act of evil? Can facing your demons make you a demon?

To create the ultimate bad guy, one must know him thoroughly. Become him in the mind.

I think I succeeded in Better Off Without Her, but you be the judge. I gotta go pull myself out of him, once more….

Pre-order Better Off Without Her at:

http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/RitaHestand.html




Saturday, August 13, 2011

Freedom Is Earned Has Come Back To Sweet and Sexy Diva's Blog


Dear All Sweet and Sexy Diva's,

This month we will be discussing and looking at the first book I ever published. The Hip Hop genre book that takes the rough grind side of Street dancing to the fore front of the Romance world. This so far has been my best book and this is the one that the Readers all get in touch with me more than any other book so this is a real treat for you.

Freedom Is Earned was the first book I ever published and it was what got me my contract with XoXo Publishing. It watches the struggles of Amber as she over comes the odds with Romance and physical challenges to lead her crew to victory and to save them against them being disbanded there is special guests appearances from Marie, from Marie's Tales and Layla from A Different Life as well. Nothing is what it seems in Freedom Is Earned. Can she really earn the freedom that she is desperately seeking.

Freedom Is Earned Blurb:-
Freedom Is Earned
What would you do if you saw two Street Hip Hop crews face off? Would you recover from a shooting, then go on to lead your dance group to victory; not only to save your training ground, but to find out who tried to kill you? In a love triangle of lies, who would you turn to? What would your life be like after a showdown like that? A confrontation that could tell you who tried to kill you, and disband the very people who were behind the attack: would it be worth the risk of you losing a crew that you had built up yourself with your own bare hands? Welcome to Ambers life in 'Freedom Is Earned'where its all about the Streets and what you have to do to survive?Can you heart take the heat?

Here is a an sneak peek at the book itself that has had some of my old crew members talking for weeks.

Chapter 1: Dinner of Wills

Grabbing my shoulder bag, I ran out of the Youth Centre hall while the bag thudded against my back. I was rushing because I knew that, if I were late again, my mother would be sure to go off her head on me. I hurried toward my beat-up Land Rover that everyone continued to call a tractor, even knowing how badly the name wound me up.

Yanking the door open, I threw my dance bag in the back and then leapt into the front seat. My hands were shaking frantically, yet I still tried to shove my key into the ignition. After several fumbling attempts, I finally got it in and prayed she would start.

Come on, Baby, don't let me down.‖ I spoke softly while I turned the key, awaiting the noise of her jumping into life, and was shocked when she did just that on the first try. I didn't take time with my seat belt nor bother to stick on the radio. I just pulled away from the car park. I leaned forward to see through the thin icy screen, heading toward home, where I just hoped that my mother would be in a good mood.

My mother was a weird woman really; she couldn't stand people being late or rude. She had a reputation in our small village of being a woman with principles, but she was very laid back when it came to having a good time. She was in a lot of ways all about appearances to all the age groups of the village. The friends she had saw her as a fun-loving person, while she played the overbearing parent to the other parents in the village. It had been my brothers‘ and my belief that she could have made a career as an actress if she hadn't gotten married so young.

Baby, my dear truck, had been my life for the past year, prior to which I had scrimped and saved to buy her for just two hundred pounds. Afterwards, I had realised how much work she truly needed, so I had taken up two jobs; one working at the local pub, The Parrot, the other as part-time dance instructor at the local youth centre.

Turning up the road that led to my family home was a steep hill. My mother and father had moved out to be closer to my sister, Andrea, who lived two boat trips away. Now my mother was back for a long weekend, which she did once a month to make sure that my brothers and I hadn't destroyed the house.

Dashing out of the car, I was hit with the newer, colder air and somewhat harsher winter winds of the day. My body shook from the continuous bombardment of the freezing blasts that were flying around the nose of the car to hit me squarely in the face. Fighting the wind now, I made my way down the path toward the front door going as fast as my tired legs would take me. I was determined not to burn out until I laid my head down on the pillow at the end of my shift at The Parrot.

My bare skin stung bitterly with the renewed strength of that icy wind through our small village that was so famous around our country.

Stopping in the shelter of the front door, I grabbed the handle, then took a deep breath. I knew what lay on the other side of that door and the questions that I would have to answer when I arrived inside.

Questions about the classes I was teaching and trying to make sure that I was helping the reputation that my chosen form of dance had. She would also be quizzing me on my hours at the bar making sure I wasn't overdoing it, but then would complain if I didn't have the money for all the bills.

I hope that you enjoyed Freedom Is Earned today. You can buy it directly at Amazon or XoXo Publishing along with any Ebook Store on the Web currently.  This week I also put in a special shout out onto my Live Show that you can catch every Friday over at www.justin.tv/kristal_mckerrington and you can also see the old shows from there too. It was an honour to be back again this month. Next month I will have even more treats for you including the news from my trip to England. Peace out to all of my Sweet and Sexy Diva's. 

Kristal McKerrington