Saturday, March 31, 2012

Regency -- sweet and/or sexy?

If there had been no Georgette Heyer, would the Regency novel that we know and love ever have come into existence? There is no sure answer to this question. Of course, there was (and will always be) Jane Austen, but she did produce only six perfect diamonds! Barbara Cartland wrote hundreds of books – many people think it’s the same book written in hundreds of different locations with differently-named characters. Could be. Or not.

Fortunately, we don’t need to have an answer to the above question, because there have been possibly hundreds of authors in just the last 40 or so years to supply our habits.  If you love Regency, you NEED your Regency fix! Actually, there are two major Regency categories to supply that fix: Traditional (no sex, please) and Historical in which nearly anything goes. In this writer’s opinion (I’m also a devoted reader) attention must be paid to the customs and morals of the era, whilst wallowing in the historical settings. The books MUST be both witty and literate.

What is there about this 9 year span that is so endearing and compelling to so many people? (I’m basing that number on the technical Regency period of George, Prince of Wales from when he assumed the position of Regent as substitute for his ailing father George III, until he became King in his own right – George IV.) I know, many people claim any—or all—of the years between 1800 and 1830. There was too much change in the air after 1820 to suit me, but I will happily include those early years – 1800 to 1811.

First off, there was the lure of Napoleon. Bold, brash, unlike any other military personage since Charlemagne, it was apparently impossible not to fall into his thrall. The Duke of Wellington was more than equal to the challenge, however, finally claiming his terrible victory at Waterloo, and sending Napoleon to his final prison at St. Helena.

It was the era of the poet. In England, it was mostly Byron, but also Keats and the Shelleys (both Robert and Mary). Germany contributed Goethe and Schiller.

Musically speaking, the giant of these years was Beethoven, firmly planted in Vienna, also the home of Franz Schubert. However, the music of Mozart and Haydn was still very fresh in the minds  of music lovers—especially their operas!  Obviously, not all of these artists lived during the Regency itself, but their work was still fairly new at the time, so it could still be considered as influential.

Visual artists during  that time were  the French Jacques-Louis David, and the British John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner.

It was an age of very conspicuous consumption, when the 1% were known as the Upper Ten Thousand. Or maybe less. Rigidity of class and adherence to these customs were mandatory or lifetime banishment could be the result. It’s very hard to imagine some of these standards in this day and age, but they did exist. There was a definite formality to that time and woe betide the author who willingly ignores it.

Thanks to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around the possibilities of Regency. Long live all of them!

Which variety of Regency is your favorite?  In addition to traditional and historical, there is also fantasy/paranormal with ghoulies and ghosties and other things that go bump in the night! I’d really like to hear from you.  Toodles!    Hetty St James          (hettystjames@gmail.com)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest blog with Paul Martin

Paul's here today to tell us about his wonderful book A Witch's Wish. Please give him a warm welcome and leave a comment to show your love.  :)

Hello!! How is everyone today? Today I would like to talk about wishes. We all make them, from tiny ones such as, I wish I could find my keys, to, I wish I were rich. I’m sure most of you are like me and make wishes daily. I wish the rain would stop, or if you’re still in school, I wish it would snow real hard so they close school. I know I’ve made that one many times.

Do these wishes ever come true? Some may, but it is probably only a coincidence. But what if you had a way to make a wish come true? Aladdin had his genie in the bottle, not to mention Maj. Nelson on I dream of Genie. Now there is another wish I made many, many times; Barbara Eden who wanted nothing more than to grant my every wish!!!!!!! I realize it was a G-rated TV show, but come on, she was HOT!!!!!

Then we have the fortune tellers at the carnivals, the Magic Eight Ball and lucky rabbit feet to name a few others. None of those can grant wishes either. But what if you were a witch? A witch who could cast a spell that actually worked? What would you wish for?

Would you wish for money? Power? Fame? True love? Aha!!! Most people I know would give up everything they owned for true love. To find that perfect mate, one who would be true to you forever is everyone’s quest. Some have been fortunate to find that mate without magic, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have sped the process along? To find that person all the sooner, so you could spend more time in their presence?

I believe I’ve found my perfect mate and I did it without casting a spell, other than using my considerable charm and debonairness. She is everything I’ve wished for in a woman and more. So maybe wishes do come true after all?

In the second volume of the Wexford Coven series, A Witch’s Wish, Maggie Wells casts a spell to find her true love. Does it work? She doesn’t think so when she sees who it is. Chief Eric Rose has been her nemesis over the years, giving her more speeding tickets than she could shake a broom at. Add in a serial killer and you have a very interesting courtship!!! Below is an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

A Witch’s Wish

Maggie walked out to the pool area and her eyes zoomed in on Eric’s chiseled body. A sudden desire to run her hands over that muscular chest curled her lips into a wicked smile. She waved to him, but instead of waving back, he jumped head first into the water. What the hell is wrong with him? Is our big bad Sherriff afraid of little old me? Hmm? Maybe I should have brought the French cut? To see the Chief sweat a bit would be a nice change. What the hell am I thinking? He’s a cop and I don’t do cops. But then, I do like to make them miserable.

Maggie lined up her fanny so when she bent over to lay her towel down, Eric would be sure to get an eyeful. With extra emphasis on the hip action, she sashayed over to the high dive and took her time climbing the ladder.

Maggie stood at the extreme end of the board testing its springiness and to make sure she had Eric’s full attention. Moving back, Maggie took a deep breath, expanding her chest to the fullest, and then ran out onto the board. A small jump placed her at the tip of the board and as it sprang back up, she used every bit of her leg muscles to gain maximum height. Nearly hitting one of the hanging lights, Maggie spread her arms and soared.

In her temporary freedom from the bonds of gravity, Maggie understood what it must be like to be a swan gliding gracefully down to her watery home. Cool air caressed her face and whipped through her long, unbound hair. Adrenalin coursed through her veins. Her nipples hardened as Eric came into view, just ahead and below her. The expression on his face was priceless.

I wish I had a camera. Could you imagine that puss on utube? The caption would read, Harrisonville Chief gawks at gorgeous swan! That ought to make him squirm. But then, I’d rather have that hunk of man squiring underneath me as I ride him to heaven. If he wasn’t a cop, that is.

Maggie brought her hands together and split the water. The cool water excited her further.

Inspiration hit when she saw Eric’s hairy legs in front of her. Swimming around him, she turned and shot out of the water to land on his neck and back. Her hands clasped together on top of his head and pushed till he went under. She was still giggling when he resurfaced.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Motivation (or lack thereof, in my case)

This is the definition I found in my Webster dictionary – “that which incites to action, or moves the will; to impel; to induce.”

If I’m not mistaken, I’m sure there has been at least one blog on how to motivate an author to write. And the answers would vary; take a break, read another genre, write short stories.

But what if the lack of motivation is a physiological problem? That would be me.

I hope I’m not grossing out anyone, but I’m in the initial stages of menopause. And while this is another transitional phase in a woman’s life, I’m finding it to be a pain in the ass.

Why? Well, let’s see. One of the physical aspects such as no more menstrual cycles (yay!) is helpful – my cycles were fairly regular, so I knew when to expect them. But other aspects such as the weight gain, forgetfulness, body changes, insomnia and hot flashes / night sweats? I can do without those.

The one trait that hit me very hard this past winter was depression. Everyone has their ups and downs, including yours truly – but when you feel as if you’re at the bottom of a well and can’t get out, that is NOT good. And I felt like that for three months. It was scary and it was aggravating.

And the mood swings? Oh ho, let’s not go there! I made my younger female colleague at work very nervous. She knew what was going on, but didn’t know how to handle it. Poor thing; she got many profuse apologies.

But what I’m getting at is, as an author, my writing hit rock bottom. Yup, you couldn’t get me to look at the computer unless I had to (and I had to at work). When I got home, all I wanted to do was sleep and eat and be left alone.

A dear friend had very gently suggested medication (and she wouldn't suggest it unless she felt that she had to). At one time, it was enough to raise my ire. But now I’m starting to seriously consider it. You see, my friend has told me that I’ve changed, and not for the better. The revelation hurt, but I had to really analyze myself to finally understand that yeah, I’m different. I’m not the outgoing, talkative, energetic, motivated gal I used to be – I’m the absolute opposite. I sure hope that changes when my hormones settle down.

But in the meantime it means – ta da! – zero writing. Thank heavens I’m not on deadline, or I’d really piss off my editor. And oh yeah, the best part? This could go on for another TWO years!!

Thankfully, the weather here in Toronto, Canada has improved immensely; more sun and warmer temperatures, which has improved my mood. But seriously, other than taking pills, how the hell can I ‘motivate’ myself to continue writing during this so-called ‘transition’? I’m exercising a bit more; I haven’t seen any results yet, but I’m going to keep at it. Another friend suggested concentrating on short stories – I’ll give that some consideration, too.

Anyone “been there, done that, got the t-shirt?” Any other suggestions would be gratefully received.

P.S. My posting is on a Wednesday, and I’ll be at my EDJ, so please don’t think I’m ignoring you; it just means I haven’t had a chance to look at the blog!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

As I wing my way home from a research trip, I give you these.

Yes, I am in an airplane, probably over the Atlantic by now.  As I wing my way home from an overseas trip to do research for a new book, I thought I would give you glimpses of a few of my past research trips all over the world.
Pictures of wonderful places I've been and loved—and the books which reflect those travels!
Tuscany: MIA DOLCE
Florence, Rome, Paris: UNTIL TWILIGHT
Montserrat, Spain: opening venue for
    up-coming UNTIL TOMORROW
Toulon, France

LAS VEGAS! (Yes, The Venetian)

This is the entrance to the Cathedral at Montserrat, Spain, where the 4th thriller in the Nemesis series begins,
UNTIL TOMORROW by Desiree Holt and me!  Coming soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Hell everyone.
Well y'all know I write romance and I have to admit sometimes I get my best ideas when I’m in bed – and no, it's not what your minds think! The other day I was to do a guest blog post here and was in a conundrum what to write. There I was sitting in bed at an ungodly hour (it was still pitch black outside and way to early to consider getting up). I was having my own private pity party about what to blog about when lo and behold an idea about the perfect man (aka the hero) sprang to mind. The words flew from my fingers to the page – I had plenty to say on what made a man perfect. But to cut a long story short. Same scenario, laptop, bed, dark outside, and a blog post to write. Determined not to be considered sexist (does the Y generation even know that word?) I thought it only fair that I even the score and write about the perfect woman.

Well what else is there to say – we are perfect LOL. But seriously, let’s get down to it. What makes the perfect heroine?

More years ago than I care to remember when I first began reading category romance the women on the page were often way younger than the hero simpering, and certainly not career women. They kinda molded to the Alpha male's dominance, though they did get their man in the end. I remember one book, the hero was a doctor – though it wasn't a medical romance and he was the heroine's guardian. I mean she had to only be 18 or 20. The hero was at least in mid 30s. Now today that would not hold up on the page. Firstly she's waaaay to young for him in fact it gives me the eeew factor, kind of stealing the baby from the cradle. (and mum yes I know if you’re reading this you were 12 years young than dad!) It felt as if she had just come out of school. Then to me even reading it years ago, she was 'mousey', didn’t really stand up for herself.

Let's skip pulling the poor girl apart and head onto today's woman. What makes her heroic on the page? She needs oomph, a bit of spark and able to stand up to her man, haul him in and make him tow the line. To do that she needs experience, so we no longer necessarily have the ingénue on the page, or the virgin because we readers (and writers) want to make it real. And because our heroines are no longer barely out of their teens (except of course in YA) these women are more experienced and I don't know many 30 year old virgins. So the advice here is for writers to make their heroines real.

There is of course famed author Barbara Cartland's Regency heroines. While some say they were a bit wimpy, I think probably they were quite strong and amazingly able to go after their men in a world that was definitely belonging to the men. They didn't worry about society's rules but went after their man, knowing he was the hero for them. There is a certain strength of character in such conduct for those times.

Back to today's heroine. As an older woman she's more likely to have a career. She's the one making her mark on the world, holding her head up high and equaling whatever the guys can do. Okay so she may have her back up against the wall in the beginning but she's coming out kicking and so we will let her get away with making a mistake or two – remember she's human.

We need to make her more than one-dimensional. She can be sassy and have good come-back dialogue. One of my favorite heroines I’ve written is Angel from TO KISS AN ANGEL. She's come from heaven, is funny, quirky and determined to get her man and to teach him a lesson. I really loved writing her. I mean how many heroines get to talk to the Boss Angel and nickname God the Big Bopper?
Another heroine who I loved writing and readers loved was Tyler Sullivan from HE'S THE ONE. She IS a virgin and determined not to be. It takes guts to go and ask a guy if he's willing to make a deal such a deal.

Today's heroine IS smart, and in fact she isn't perfect. She doesn't necessarily have to be ten foot tall and have the figure of Posh Beckham. It's her inner strength that makes her our perfect heroine. It’s the ability to realise that the man she loves is redeemable and she's going to make darn sure he figures it out, or else. It's the fact that our heroine doesn't give up no matter what disasters strike, that she somehow finds the inner strength to keep going or at least find a way out through the mire that has beset her. In fact when we make our heroines real, what we’re really doing is making our heroine ourselves. Because we the writers are real, we have been through that mire whatever it may be and we've used our life experiences to write those words on the page and make that woman strong and independent and look out world here she (we) come.

So go us, go and our heroines and watch out heroes, because we're coming to get ya!

And just to tease you, here’s an excerpt from TO KISS AN ANGEL.

A blast of horn, the screech of brakes and the acrid smell of rubber laying a path on the asphalt wrenched Angel back to reality.
Earth could be deadly.
Too late.
She fell backwards. Hard! Her head slammed against the pavement.
Dear God, was her life repeating itself? She cast a pleading glance skyward, praying Beatrice and just maybe the Big Bopper had their eyes on her. She hoped so.
She tried to move. She couldn’t. Something heavy was holding her down. Something warm, heavy...and breathing.
She twisted her head, only to come eyeball to eyeball with chocolate brown eyes. They reminded her of Hershey’s chocolate. Dark. Rich. And very tempting.
She liked chocolate.
“You okay?”
The heavy breathing lump shifted, but not before she realized it was a man. A cute, eye candy kinda man.
Earth was looking up a tad and suddenly this job had taken on a degree of enjoyment. Watching eye candy had definite benefits for an angel’s equilibrium.
“Angel, you’ve got a job to do, quit drooling,” Beatrice’s sharp tone cut into Angel’s thoughts.
Darn it. For a moment she had forgotten her boss was of the all seeing and all hearing kind. Her gaze swiveled left and right checking Beatrice wasn’t actually physically in the vicinity. Seeing and hearing albeit from the distance of cloud headquarters was quite enough thank you.
”Okay, okay, keep your wings on,” she grumbled, struggling to sit up, only to fall back to the hard asphalt at her back.
Whoa. Deep and throaty. Sexy. Angel’s eyes flicked open. Suddenly the headache that had been threatening, the hunger gnawing at her innards, had evaporated. This cutie pie was far more enticing. She pasted a smile on her face, though her body hummed and her head seemed to be swimming with the sharks. But heck, her eyesight was 20/20.
She heard the distinct tap, tap of Beatrice’s toe tapping and the frantic beat of the woman’s wings. But none of that mattered. Oh, no. Only the vision divine in front of her.
Beatrice’s chastisement reached her in a soft whisper. Angel’s lips pursed. “Go away.”
“Can I help you up? Sorry I landed on you.”
“I’m not.”
“Um...I mean use me for a landing mat any time.”
“Are you okay?”
Those sharks began biting at her brain cells and her vision blurred. She swayed.
Strong arms snaked around her waist, guiding her to a half concrete wall at the side of the pavement. “Here. Sit down.”
She must remember to pass out more often if it meant hunks would come to her rescue.
“A regular knight in shining armor,” she said, trying to feign fluttering eyelashes at the guy.
And still dark eyes stared down at her, brows creased with concern. “Yeah well, I’ll try not to land on you next time.”
“There’s going to be a next time?”
“No...I mean...”
“I don’t mind. Really I don’t. If you want to tackle me to the ground go right ahead. Are you a footballer?”
“An athlete?”
He shook his head.
“Okay, okay,” she whispered skyward.
“Okay what?” Mr. Sexy-eyes questioned. His voice definitely matched his eyes. Sexy. Warm and smooth as velvet.
Darn. She must remember not to speak aloud, at least not to AB. More than likely she’d be committed to the funny farm if she carried on like that.
Someone passed her a paper cup of water, but as she took it, her hand shook and the water spilt across her newly acquired designer outfit. “Oh no.” Angel’s gaze lowered to the spreading water on her cute skirt.
Her cute skirt with a tear in it, plus her heels, the ones she had found out were Manolo’s, were now Manolo’s minus a heel.
“You’re not going to faint on me are you?” Her hunk took the cup from her fingers and held it to her lips.
Angel took a quick peek at him. He sure did concern well, plus the hunk factor had to be considered a major ten out of ten.
Her gaze, in all its fuzzy glory slid from his beautiful head and chocolate eyes down...and then right back up. If he asked, she could always say it was because she was dizzy.
But she’d been wrong giving him a ten. The man was definitely an eleven plus.
She took her opportunity and rested a still shaking hand on his as he held the cup for her. There was a zing, and a definite tingle from him right through to her.
Beatrice’s warning came instantly. “Concentrate 459.”
How the he...heck could she do that? She’d been nearly killed. Again. Plus squashed by someone who really should be playing quarterback. Angel blinked several times, trying to gather her wits, though not quite sure if they still were where they should be. Her brain wouldn’t work. All shook up. “Oh, jeez, I’m sounding like an Elvis advert now.”
She shook her head. Silly move. Pain pinged every square inch of it. She squeezed her eyes shut.
“Nope,” she said, relishing the darkness for a moment, “he’s definitely left the building; actually he lives on cloud 27.3, not far from the Big Bopper. Did you know that he’s one of BB’s favorites?”
Suddenly, Angel realized everyone around her had silenced. She opened her eyes slowly. They all stared, that wide eyed, what have we got here kinda stare. The...oh, she’s nuts stare.


Happy reading.
Jane Beckenham

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Novel Inspirations Deux

Yet another confession: I tend to write plot-driven rather than character-driven stories. Trying to put more emotion into my characters, I wrote Temptress of Time (which started life as That Other Diane). Well, I lucked out—Ellora’s Cave contracted the book, but required some pretty major revisions.
That worked out great—mainly because Kelli Gwen’s Revisions Rock had me all fired up. Then, in an effort to dig even deeper into my newest characters, I applied Theresa Meyers’ techniques for using backstory effectively.
Chapter One, despite my intentions to avoid an info dump, was just that—too much backstory. Gotta love critique partners for letting you know.
So I took another technique from Theresa and did a little numerology voodoo on my major characters. While I’ve used numerology to pick first names (I practically live in Ellin Dodge’s You Are Your First Name) I hadn’t applied it to a character’s first, middle and last names. Wow! All sorts of possibilities for creating internal and external conflict came forth with layer upon layer of new depths I can add.
Hooked, I did a numerology exercise for a few of my minor characters—first names only because they refuse to tell me any other names they may have. Despite lacking all the analysis, their first names revealed exactly the kinds of people I want them to be!
So I rewrote Chapter One of my Work in Progress—four times so far. Which, of course, meant major revisions to Chapters Two and Three. I have to wonder if Nora Roberts, Allison Brennan and Brenda Novak go through these machinations. I bet their characters flow from mind to page like the truly heroic and villainous people these talented ladies envisioned from line one, page one—even word one!
Now I’m trying to press on to finish the story without polishing the first three chapters as if I’m entering a contest. No insult intended, but finishing the book and making it the best my critique partners and I can make it, is my primary goal. What I’ll learn about my characters will satisfy my pantser soul.
So, as the Devil said to the souls in Hell, “All right, everybody, back on your heads.”
That means, Lady Muse, it’s time for you to get back to work. Lady Muse? Hey, you! Get back here. Right now!

Dee Brice
Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden

This hot cover is from my upcoming romantic suspense. No release date yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Unicorn Among Us

Reader Warning: This Post Contains Hot Excerpts including one distinctly homoerotic one...if that is not your thing, move along. If it is...carry on. Oh. And a Giveaway...

A "unicorn" as defined by the smart asses at Urban Dictionary as:"A very pretty, white, majestic, non existent mythical creature that everyone talks about, but you never actually see first hand."

It also goes on about swinger lingo and what not. But the word has been popping into my head lately as relates to The Dreaded Promotional Activity that many writers 1. despise, 2. ignore and the rest of us jump into with both feet, in the process aggravating the crap out of writers doing 1. and 2.

My unicorn this week is: The Reader's Group.

Yep, we are all in "author  groups" aren't we? Promoting to our navels, essentially non stop 24/7 without reaching the elusive, mythical one-horned creatures who (gasp) JUST WANT TO READ AND ENJOY BOOKS as opposed to reading to trash something someone else wrote because they're jealous or (worse) lift the entire story, change the names and "self publish" it somewhere else. 

I found one. And I am loving it. Luckily, my finding this particular group dovetailed nicely with the release of The Realtors, my contemporary erotic romance series from Tri Destiny Publishing.  This series needed exactly this sort of boost--just these types of folks eager to fall in love/lust/hate with my uber flawed alpha Dom Jack Gordon and his lusty, eager, yet independently minded potential sub, Sara Thornton.

Thanks to my New Group! I hope you are loving The Realtors (you seem to be so far...) and will stay with me for the long haul. I promise not to disappoint.

So to celebrate this and the release of the third in the series I'm offering one excerpt from the HIGHLY anticipated 3rd installment: Closing Costs AND a never-before-seen snippet from the 4th book.  This is no longer "just" a trilogy, thanks to it's popularity. I'm continuing the story with The Essence of Time--targeting a late May/Early June release. For those of you familiar with the whole story, this one will reach back and get you Rob and Blake's histories and future...and I warn you now there is tragedy lurking.
Closing Costs is being released in ARC format to many salivating reviewers tomorrow. It will be available for purchase Friday, March 30.  Click here for the latest review of Floor Time, The first of the Series. this one from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews. 

She wondered how her life could get so complicated just as she'd finally decided what she wanted.  Jack.  She had to do it before she backed out.  Jaw set, she stood.
“Where ya going baby?” He tugged her back down, pressed her back onto the thick rug. She looked up at him. He had his arms on either side of her and leaned down, brushing his lips against hers. “Stay.” He whispered.
“Okay but I have,” he cut her off with a kiss so fierce, so intense she moaned. His tongue swept into her mouth, lips firm against hers. He intoxicated her and brought her release all at once. She put her feet on the floor, needing to feel something solid, something to assure herself she hadn’t floated away on a cloud of desire from the mere touch of his mouth on hers. She broke away.
“Wow. What was that for? Not that I’m complaining.”
He grinned, making his eyes sparkle, in turn making her core begin its usual meltdown around him. He ran a finger down her face. The look in his eyes alarmed her—it contained regret, and very little hope.
She propped up on her elbows. “What? Really Jack why did you do that?  We haven’t touched each other in nearly two years. Why now?”
“Because you needed it.”
She made a frustrated sound and looked away from him. He pushed her back onto the rug again, in one swift movement had her hands pinned over her head. She struggled against him. “Fuck you, Jack. Let me go.” Her earlier resolve seemed to have vanished. Confusion flooded her brain. But her body thrummed, recognizing and loving his power over her. “Okay. If you insist.” He possessed her mouth once more, ran a hand down her breast, flicked her nipple while keeping her wrists still under his grasp. She shifted, wrapped a leg around his waist. His need pressed against her body and she arched into it, her world once again a swirl of dark emotion—a darkness she let herself own, gladly and willingly.
The hand slipped inside her shorts, reached her sex, pressed against it. Sara sighed. “You take orders very well,” she whispered into his neck as her long-neglected body fielded its first true release since…well, since the last time she’d been with him. He pressed fingers high into her, making her bite down on a squeal of pleasure. “May I? Please?”
He stopped, still as a stone, lips hovering over hers. His tongue flicked out, touched her lips. “Yes.” The one simple word, whispered deep in his throat, made her ears go quiet, shut out all sensation but his lips and fingers.

And NOW for all you Blake/Rob fans (a.k.a. man love readers) allow me to show you a quick moment that changes both of their VERY complicated lives forever:
Behind the Scenes with The Realtors
The Beer Festival (Blake meets Rob)

Blake stumbled, nearly fell onto the concrete which had suddenly buckled under his feet. He grimaced and braced himself against a metal pole holding up one of the hundreds of tents in the street. “Hey man, you okay?” A random voice filled his ear.  He nodded, waving the stranger away, unwilling to speak, lest he puke. Or cry like a little kid.

The crowd flowed around him. He held onto the cool metal for dear life, willed himself sober. Didn’t work. Never had. He ran a hand down his face, forced himself to get a grip. Christ almighty she was just a woman. A god damned female. He gulped, his hands curled into fists, still feeling her skin, her silky hair, heard her voice, her laugh, her…”Fuck!” He yelled, and pushed away from the tent, launched himself into the throng.

He smiled at the guy behind the nearest beer booth, shoved his sample cup across the portable bar. “Whatever you’ve got that’s hoppy.” The guy started babbling but Blake had stopped listening. The same words kept pounding his nerve endings. “It’s over Blake. I can’t be what you need me to be. I’m sorry. I don’t love you.”

He groaned, and sucked back the bitter brew, moving on to the next booth and the next filling, drinking, talking and hearing nothing but “I don’t love you” over and over and over again.  After another hour, he saw double and even triple. How he came to be sitting at a table, head in his hands, he never remembered. But he later acknowledged it as the moment that his life changed forever.

“Hey, you all right?” Blake sat up, winced at the wave of nausea that flowed through him and tried to focus on the tall, blond man now kneeling next to the chair.

“No. Go ‘way.” He waved the guy off, tried to stand. “Whoa.” He sat, quickly, or more likely fell back in the seat. “Shit.” He glared up into the sunlight, pain already stabbing behind his eyes. “You are really….tall.”  The man smiled, and Blake had a minute of something like…”Oh hell, I’m gonna hurl.” He lurched up and stumbled around the back of the nearest tent, and emptied his stomach, mostly liquid, onto the curb. He sat, wiping his mouth, feeling like the world’s largest loser, until the edges of his vision dimmed and went black.

Sunlight pierced the fog of his brain. Blake tried to figure out where the hell he was, but all he knew at that moment was agony. A hangover headache to end all headaches had his skull in a vise.  He groaned and sat up, nearly losing the epic battle to keep the contents of his stomach in place.  “Welcome back sleeping beauty.” He glared up at the really good looking guy who towered over him, a glass of fizzy liquid in one hand, a soccer ball in the other. “Here. Drink this. Trust me.” Blake took the glass, sipped it and tried to put it on the table. The other man stopped him. “Nope. Finish it then lie back down for another few hours. It’s your only hope.”

Blake glared at the guy, gulped it down, moaned and laid back. A blanket found its way up his body, a hand landed on his shoulder and he leaned into it as if on reflex as the room faded again.

The unmistakable sound of a British voice calling a soccer game drug Blake awake again. He blinked up at the ceiling, took inventory of his head, his stomach, found that he might live after all and sat up.  The strange man, his savior, or perhaps a serial killer who preyed on drunk men at beer festivals, tossed a soccer ball from hand to hand, intent on the large television in front of him. Blake got to his feet, shaky but needing to find a bathroom.

“End of the hall,” the man pointed to the left. “Take your time. Towels are in the cabinet.”  Blake had about a millisecond of worry, then shrugged. If the guy wanted to kill him he had already passed on too many opportunities.  He took a longer look, fully appreciating the man’s long legs, bare up to a pair of soccer shorts, and his equally bare torso, lean and cut. He shook his head at himself. Cut the shit Thornton. Get a shower. Get out. Go home. Face reality.

He emerged, toweling his hair, back in his filthy jeans, embarrassed beyond belief. “I’m sorry. Uh, I don’t even know your…”

“Rob,” The guy stood at the far end of the hall and Blake did another double take. Jesus Christ but the man was a perfect specimen.  Bright yellow hair cut short, small hoop earring in one ear, a dark green tattoo of a hop flower gracing his left pec. Blake gulped, suddenly very uncomfortable and incredibly horny.  

“You’re a brewer?” He nodded to the tatt.  Taking a step towards the man, reaching out, compelled by something he couldn’t identify but would later thank everything he held holy. Rob's nearly hairless skin pebbled under Blake’s touch. He ran fingertips over the outlines of the intricate art on the man’s—on Rob’s—flesh. He sighed, closed the distance between them and let his hand wander up, grip the impossibly handsome rescuer’s neck. “You are really tall,” he whispered, before leaning in and capturing full lips with a kiss. Keeping it light, non-committal, he explored, and Rob let him.  

He tasted coffee, salt, toothpaste, but the feel of a man’s firm hard body under his hands again made him moan and his cock stiffen faster than it had in months. He groaned as Rob put a hand on his zipper, and another to his cheek, stopping the kiss but keeping their lips within centimeters of each other. “I loved watching you sleep.” He whispered, running a rough thumb over Blake’s lower lip.  “But you should probably go.” He stepped back, leaving Blake empty handed. He slumped, put his hands on his hips.

“Sorry.” He mumbled, and turned away. “Can I borrow a shirt? Mine is, ah…” he gasped at the feel of strong hands on his shoulders, turning him slowly, pulling him close. “Oh shit…Rob.”

“Sh…” Rob whispered, before covering his mouth, sweeping into his mouth, drowning out the sorrow, the anger, everything but the taste and feel of pure, unadulterated male. He slid hands down Blake’s back, clutched his ass. And the sounds of their moans as hot flesh met heat, as Blake’s magically discarded jeans got left behind on the hardwood floor and Blake’s life began, all over again was all he heard. And all he needed to hear.

Leave me a comment about "your unicorn"--that mythical thing that you can't seem to lay your hands on be it a person, an object, or an idea....I am giving away a free copy of my 'CHOOSE YOUR ROMANCE NOVEL' The Tap Room to one (oh maybe 2) lucky commenters...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Inspirations

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Everything is fresh and green, especially after a rain. I walk outside and find the flowers in bud, the first wildflowers poking up and the trees starting to grow leaves. I listen to the birds and admire the clear skies. As I do these things I notice my thoughts are clearer, and often I start getting new ideas for articles, characters, plots and more. Today I have a few pictures of springs, and some quotations about my favorite season.

Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

The air and the earth interpenetrated in the warm gusts of spring; the soil was full of sunlight, and the sunlight full of red dust. The air one breathed was saturated with earthy smells, and the grass under foot had a reflection of the blue sky in it. ~Willa Cather

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius

~Happy Spring! ~Brenda

Brenda Hyde has been a freelance writer of home and garden articles for over 20 years, and now she's working on a series of cozy mysteries while blogging about her characters in the fictional town of New Harvest, Michigan. Visit her at http://harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Should Authors Just Shut The Hell Up?

I decided to follow one of my favorite authors on social media to keep up with her news and book releases. We’d met at a Romance Writers of America conference after being introduced by a mutual acquaintance. Though I think I hid it well, I had a fan girl moment when we shook hands. She might never remember meeting me, but I was glad to put a face to the byline of the books I’d enjoyed so much.

To my dismay, the warm and fuzzy feelings I had about this author evaporated after only days of reading her personal pages. It turned out she had a cantankerous personality. Her negative posts on Twitter and Facebook turned me off so much that I stopped following her. My enjoyment of her books soured and the loss still rankles.

The same thing happened after a mid-list author trashed a few celebrity authors by name on her blog following the same RWA conference. She called some of the workshop leaders “stuck up,” “full of themselves” and worse. Her derogatory comments were so outlandish I decided I’d never read one of her books. Ironically, I don’t remember the names of all the celebrities she disparaged, but still remember hers.

Though I have definite opinions on just about everything, I hesitate to voice them on social media with my fans and author friends. I also refuse to get involved in attacks on authors and their work, publishers, and organizations, fueled by someone with an axe to grind who depends on the mob mentality to further her cause. It’s horrifying to watch these scenes play out and I avoid them like the plague.

In social media settings, despite good intentions, the occasional blunder is probably inevitable. But deliberate negative posts can ruin relationships and derail careers. I’ll never understand those who forget that our online personas leave indelible marks behind. But that’s just me. You might feel differently.

What’s your perspective regarding authors online? Should we speak our minds or just shut the hell up?

Best~ Adele Dubois

Visit Adele on her website at www.adeledubois.com

New Release! REV ME (trade paperback) includes full-length novel REV ME UP and its stand-alone sequel REV ME TWICE. Also sold separately in ebook format.

Buy The Book! http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9910-rev-me.aspx

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet N Sexy Soulful Quotes

Hello everyone and welcome to another addition of Soulful Quotes. Today, I have several great stories I think you will like for this month's feature. They are all from some of my fellow Turquoise Morning Press authors and their most recent releases.

Personally, I love hearing some of the great lines that fall from romance heroes' mouths and most times, I make a mental note of them. The books I feature are from authors who were not afraid to be soulful, sappy, and/or suggestive when it came to their heroes. So, grab a seat, and pick up a pen and paper so you can add these to your TBR list.

Happy reading!

Obviously, he had gone too far. Pushed it.

And dammit, this was not where he needed to be. In her bed. For a thousand reasons.

But he was.

With his thumb, he caressed her damp cheek. Taking her face into his hands, he kissed her lightly on the forehead.

“He’s gone, Kate,” he whispered, drinking in the essence of her. He couldn’t bring himself to say the word dead. “I’m sorry that it happened, but it did. He’s gone...but I’m not.”

“It’s not that simple, Michael.”

“I can make it simple.”


“You’re not ready. And I need to be patient. That’s about as simple as I can make it.”~ Maddie James, Murder on the Mountain

He stared down intently at her. "I was destined to meet you. The rest will become clear in its own good time. As for the vampire, let's just call him an appetite enhancer, you know, something to stir up the blood and get the juices flowing?" He eyed her with his best predatory look. "Other activities work even better."
~ Daryn CrossHoney Blood and the Collector

She crossed her arms over her waist. “Whatever. Just because you’ve retired to the country doesn’t mean you have to do things the same old way you’ve always done. Why not be creative? Try new things.” She waltzed to the center of the room, then spun toward him and halted five feet under his nose. “What are you afraid of?”

Tom drew in a deep breath. She didn’t realize how close she’d come to hitting the mark. It made him uneasy all of a sudden. He spoke without thinking, something he never did.

“You’re the one holed up here in the woods like a hermit. What are you afraid of?” He strode to the window and turned away from her. “What are you running away from?”
~ Suzanne Barrett, Risking It All

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Start to Finish

Writing a book can sometimes feel like a race. Most of the time it's a marathon where you have a longer stretch to write, edit, sell, polish and promote your book. Occasionally it becomes a sprint.

It's funny, I've experienced the sprint on two separate occasions, when everything fell into place both on my end as a writer (the story practically wrote itself) and on my publisher's side. The first was my sale of the Long Shots series to Carina Press. More recently though, I've gone through it again with my newest book from Ellora's Cave.

Dom For Sale was a gift from my muse. I heard the main character's voice yammering away in my head as I was trying to finish up edits for another book. Liz was a submissive girl who wasn't sure if that's what she wanted. She didn't know if this was a fad, fetish, or simply liked the idea. On and on she chatted about needing to find a way to test out if she was a sub safely.

Well, I had to write her story. The second those edits were done, I opened up a new document and wrote everything down. It was the first time I've ever written something in first person, but I heard her so clearly I couldn't imagine writing it as third. I finished the 20k novella in little under two weeks.

Then it was off to my editor. Who very quickly bought it.

Now, I have an amazing relationship with my editor, so we have things down to a bit of a science now. We flicked through edits quickly and everything was wrapped up in a week. I'm actually in the position where I'm waiting for the contract to be processed because everything else is done.


I wish every book came this easily. I'm coming off another book that I had to do a major revision of (actually had an R&R), so I don't want you to think they're all like this. But every now and again, it's nice to have the gift. :)

Dom For Sale should be out next month from Ellora's Cave


I’ve always had a thing for dominant men. I mean, who doesn’t, right? But it’s not the sort of thing I can throw out there when I’m dating. Hey, I think I like you, mind spanking me before we have sex?

I’m not really sure I am a submissive, or simply infatuated with the idea of being with a man who’s not afraid to be in charge. When my friend Connie pulled me aside and said, “Hey Liz, I have the perfect solution to your problem,” I knew I was in trouble.

So that’s why I’m here, standing in front of a stage at a charity auction, staring at Master Gareth and wondering if I can actually do this. Buy a Dom for the night. Actually give in to my desires and let a perfect stranger do what he wants to me?

Screw it. You only live once, right?

Multipublished author Christine d'Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she's not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband.

Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley. Please visit her at her website, blog, or come chat with her at Twitter Christine_dAbo.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Skinny Dipping with Pasta

Release your pasta from the constraints of its package, let it go skinny dipping, swimming freely and uninhibited in a sea of salt water.

Cooking pasta the right way. (A.K.A. cooking it the Italian way.) 

Here's how. . .

The Pot:

A good quality pasta pot is a great investment, however, it's not a necessity. Use a large, wide, deep pot.

The Water:

Fill the pot with cold water and bring to a full-on rolling boil.


This is important. Add a palm-full of salt to the water. You can use sea-salt, iodized salt or kosher salt. This is what will bring out the pasta's flavor. Don't worry, this will not interfere with the sauce you have planned for the pasta dish. The pasta doesn't absorb all the salt in the water, it's there to season it and ensure you don't serve bland pasta topped with sauce.

Pasta Al Dente - Not only tastes a lot better it's also healthier as it helps to keep your blood sugar in better control

I'm sure everyone has heard this term when it comes to cooking pasta. This can be confusing, as some people think it means the pasta is almost raw. Al dente means firm to the touch (or tooth when tasting). Follow package directions for cooking times. About two minutes before the directions say the pasta is ready, taste one. The pasta should have a nice bite to it with some resistance. Once you've bitten into the piece, make sure the pasta isn't white inside, you'll be able to see. If it's white, it means it will be too hard, and needs to cook for another minute or so.
Eating pasta al dente is also healthier, as less starch and sugar is released through this cooking method. Pasta cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index (GI).
Overcooked pasta not only tastes mushy and unappetizing it also sends your blood sugar higher. Two good reasons to take your time and cook it the Italian way.
Also, remember, the pasta continues to cook after you've drained it and then tossed it into hot sauce.

Facts or Myths?

Adding oil to the pasta water while it's boiling will ensure your pasta doesn't stick?
MYTH - NEVER add any oil to the pasta cooking water. I think someone started this myth, thinking that it would eliminate clumped pasta. Not so. If you don't want your pasta to stick together in a big clump, see above instructions about adding enough water.

Rinse cooked pasta in cold water?
MYTH - Never rinse cooked pasta. The starch (I know, a dieter's nightmare, but just have a small portion of pasta to enjoy) not only adds flavor but it will help the sauce stick to the pasta.
Exception to this rule: Cold Pasta Salad. You'd have to rinse the pasta in cold water to get rid of the starch for a salad.

Coat cooked pasta with olive oil before adding the sauce?
MYTH - Never coat pasta with any oil. This will not prevent sticking, it will prevent your sauce from properly adhering to the pasta dish. If you want to add some extra-virgin olive oil to the dish (especially if you are serving it with a tomato sauce), then yes, you can drizzle some on top of the dish, once the sauce has been tossed into the sauce and topped off with some vegetables or sauce. Then you can drizzle some oil on top.

White Pasta Recipe:

Here's a simple recipe that my family loves that's an alternative to tomato sauce with pasta. It's fast, easy and delicious.

Package of Angel Hair Pasta
1 cup pine nuts
1 head of roasted garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cook pasta as indicated above.

While water is boiling, heat up  large saute pan coating the bottom with oil, once oil sizzles, turn down heat to low and add: add garlic, pine nuts and parsley and stir. Cover and leave on the lowest setting on your stove.

Once pasta is cooked al dente, drain well, shake off any excess water.

Turn up the heat on your saute pan to medium-high.

Add the pasta to garlic and parsley, and toss in the pan.

Add cheeses and toss in pan.

Turn heat off.

Add breadcrumbs and toss all the way through.


If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here.

Until next time .  .  . Buon appetito!

Selena is the author of genre-defying, sexy, funny romances. In love with her family, friends, dog, books, laughter, lively discussions and red wine, she is a dragon slayer who enjoys reading and writing sassy heroines and hot heroes.

After giving up her dream of becoming a movie star/dancer/singer, Selena pursued her second-in-line dream of becoming a writer, creating fun characters with her version of happy ever after endings.

You can also connect with Selena on her blog, Selena Robins Musings, where she shares recipes, interviews other authors, holds drawings, giveaways...basically anything goes as long as her readers are having a blast.