Monday, November 30, 2009

Green Eggs and Ham

Chances are you’ve probably heard of Dr. Suess’s story. Maybe someone read it to you as a child. Maybe you read it to your children. Even now you can probably hear pieces of it in the back of your mind.

I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here of there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Why am I quoting Dr. Suess? Because writers have a lot in common with the furry yellow hero of that popular story. We want to write, we know we should write, but more often than not when it comes to the execution, we put way too many restrictions on getting it done.

I can’t (don’t like to) write when my favorite show is on. I can’t write when there is laundry to do. I can’t write with the kids watching cartoons. I can’t write because I have to figure out what to wear tomorrow. I can’t…

If you can think it up, chances are a writer has relied on it dozens of times to put off writing. Because one thing most writers do as often as they write, is procrastinate. At the time our excuses seem legitimate enough, but if every writer held out for those optimal writing conditions (which is a little like waiting for lightning to strike), there would be a lot less writing getting done, and fewer books being published.

I used to write at night when my boys were asleep and my husband was out in the garage (that’s another blog post altogether LOL). But after my little girl came along last spring (which meant being up repeatedly through the night), I had to be more open-minded about when I write. It was either try something new or give it up for a while.

I went with trying something new. :)

If you want to succeed bad enough, then you find a way to make it happen. Even if it means plugging your nose and trying the damn eggs. :)And you never know, you just might find that being open-minded about your writing process will lead to getting more done.

So what kind of tasks do you find yourself finding excuse after excuse to avoid? Did finding a new way to approach the situation make getting it done any easier?


Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday in Southern California




For the first time this holiday season, it felt like winter. I woke up to a frigid 3:30 AM and braced myself for my toned-down version of Black Friday shopping -- Kohl's. In the past, I've always gotten great deals, and the lines are practically non-existent. Today was no exception. I was in and out in 20 minutes with all the items on my wish list in hand. It was a rush, in a way, power-walking through the store, wondering if the slippers or towels would still be in stock, dodging the slow-moving cart-pushers who seem to have little idea there are other people trying to walk through the aisles.

But that's as far as I'm willing to go for a deal.

Just for kicks, I decided to swing by the local Target and Best Buy, conveniently located next to each other for my observation ease. The lines had wrapped AROUND the stores -- both stores -- by 5 AM when the doors first opened. Here's the general idea:

I felt I should have been wearing a pith helmet; it was like studying an exotic species of dangerous mammal, one that would fight with children over a toy and push over grannies to get the last something-or-other must-have of the season. Do kids really have to have Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster? Did they have to have Tickle Me Elmo years ago?

I believe our insanity and materialism has reached an all-time high.

Or maybe the high is just in the rush of Black Friday shopping. Some of my friends love it, and are willing to wait for hours outside a store for the chance to snag a great deal. For me, my time and body heat are just not worth it. Not to mention my wallet might stage a riot if I tried to buy a big-screen TV, no matter how discounted it might be.

So how was your Black Friday? Did you sleep in, or brave the lines? Did you get a good deal? Most of all -- was it worth it?

~Skylar, who is heading back to bed as you read~

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

P G Forte I had a different post planned for today, then it occurred to me, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and what I really want to talk about today is things I’m grateful for. This is not going to be one of my usual really long blog posts and it’s definitely not going to be a comprehensive list—I’ll be focusing mostly on things that are writing related, but here we go:

#1. I’m thankful for my writing porch even if the room’s three walls of windows leave me with less wall space than I’d like, and even though it’s been getting so chilly these past few weeks that there were a few nights when I went to bed early because I was just too cold to write.


#2. I’m thankful for my husband who (even though he’d very much rather I come to bed early than stay up late writing) went to the hardware store early one morning last week while I was still asleep and bought me an electric heater that looks just like a wood burning stove—with really cute fake flames and everything—so that not only can I stay warm while I stay up late writing, but I can pretend I’m in a cozy cabin while I do it.

#3. I’m thankful for Alfred Peet—founder of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which is where the guys who started Starbucks went to learn about coffee. Without Peet’s there’d be no Starbucks and without Starbucks there’d be no gingerbread lattes. I have a serious seasonal addiction to those puppies. And without coffee there’d be a lot less writing getting done as well.

#4.  I’m thankful for my publishers who, it appears, almost never seem to think the stuff I send them is just too weird. Something that I occasionally worry about, if you must know. And by occasionally I mean all the damn time. Also, they seem genuinely happy to receive my submissions, which continues to surprise me.

#5. I’m thankful for my cover artists because they’re just the best.

#6. I’m thankful for the other eight naughty novelists (I know, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?) for helping to make promo fun again. And also because they make me laugh. Who knew rudimentary math discussions and disappearing blog posts could be so funny?

Like I said at the start,  there’s a lot more I could have mentioned, but it’s getting late and I have to hit the grocery stores tomorrow. Again. And re-think my holiday menu. Again. I just learned I’ll be having two more guests for Thanksgiving dinner and they’re vegan.

So that's my list. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Guest Blogger Shelley Munro - First Impressions






Thanks so much for having me to visit today. My name is Shelley Munro, and I write both contemporary and paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing.

Every time we meet someone new, we judge them. We look at their clothes, their hair, their body language, and we decide if this is a person we want to know better. We do this in both social and work situations, and it’s not often that we change our minds after making that first snap judgment.

So, how do you create a good first impression?

1. Smile.

2. Make eye contact.

3. Learn how to shake hands – this is a case where too hard or too soft is not good.

4. Dress for the occasion.

5. Make sure your shoes match the occasion as well.

6. Don’t slouch.

7. Don’t invade personal space.

8. Mind your manners – no burping, farting etc

9. Engage in conversation, but don’t make it all about you.

10. Ask questions and listen.

In my recent release Soldier of Fortune, the hero and heroine (who are both soldiers) met during a holiday in Fiji. First impressions worked well for them because they hit it off and spent the rest of their holiday together. Here’s a short excerpt from Soldier of Fortune as Louie our hero recalls first seeing Mac:

Simon studied her intently. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Your wife will be pleased to hear it.” Louie took care to keep his voice neutral. No way was he giving his mate an opportunity to rib him. Besides, Simon hadn’t seen her as he had with her hair spilling down her naked back, her lips wrapped around a cock. His cock…

Bloody hell. He had to stop his thoughts tripping into sexual territory. He studied Mac, trying to see what Simon saw. A tall woman dressed in khaki trousers, a sand-colored shirt, which didn’t exactly flatter or showcase her curves, and sturdy boots. He couldn’t fault her for that. This was work and her attire was suitable for the job and climate. She didn’t look much different from any of the others, which meant she wouldn’t present a special target for the militia forces. From a distance they wouldn’t realize she was a woman. Also a good idea in this Muslim country. She wore her brown hair tied back, confined in a low knot of some sort. Because it was bound so tightly, none of the rich array of colors reflected in the light, the strands of red and gold. In the sun her unbound hair had reminded him of autumn leaves. Her skin carried a light tan and up close there was a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her pert nose, just as he remembered. Thick, lush lashes surrounded golden-brown eyes—whiskey eyes he’d called them in Fiji—while her mouth was curved and luscious, the bottom lip plumper than the top.

Mac might look the soldier at the moment, but Louie would bet if any of them saw her the way he’d first seen her, dressed in a golden bit of nothing, swaying on the dance floor, they might reevaluate their opinions. He certainly wasn’t fool enough to let them into the secret.

And here’s the blurb:

Joanna “Mac” McGregor loves her father, and she’ll do anything to keep him safe after Alzheimer’s starts to steal his mind. That takes money, and Mac uses her only skills—those of soldiering—when she takes up a security contract in Iraq. She doesn’t have time for men, her last vacation fling in Fiji relegated as one perfect moment to hold close during the grim reality of war.

Soldier Louie Lithgow is tired of fighting, the constant danger, and has decided this is his last contract. He wants to retire, sink his savings into a place on the beach, and find the sexy Joanna, his holiday lover.

Mac’s arrival in Iraq causes consternation. They’ve both been economical with the truth, but the attraction sizzling between them flares hot and bright. They embark on a clandestine affair—professional and confident during their high-danger day, passionate with the release of emotional stress during their torrid nights. One thing is clear—they have different goals and the future is both murky and dangerous. If they survive their contracts.

Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-7810-127-soldier-of-fortune.aspx

Website: http://www.shelleymunro.com

Blog: http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog


What things do you notice when you meet a person for the first time?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods


So tomorrow I take off for South Texas to spend Thanksgiving with my sons and their significant others. Only we’re not going back “home” (where we used to live). Instead, we’re heading for Fredericksburg—a Hill Country town not unlike my very own mythical Konigsburg (except for no Toleffsons). A few years ago we started having Thanksgiving at a Fredericksburg bed and breakfast (there are a lot of them—it’s like the capitol of Texas bed and breakfasts). We knew just the place we wanted to rent. We’d stayed there in the summer, and it was light and airy with a creek running through the live oaks and pecans out back. Perfect.

Only the name of the place was very similar to the name of another bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg. And I was frustrated when I made the reservations because the online service wasn’t working right. And…well…I reserved the wrong cabin.

We didn’t realize this until we’d gotten to Fredericksburg after dark, mind you. Then we had to frantically phone our sons, who were driving up in their own cars. I saw the outside of the cabin and told myself (repeatedly) that everything would be okay. It was, after all, a historic house, even though it had no creek, no live oaks, and no pecans except for the pie I’d brought. But it was Thanksgiving. And we’d all have a great time fixing dinner and eating it.

Once I saw the inside of the place, my Pollyanna genes had to start working overtime. The owner had decorated it with “antiques,” which meant she’d stuffed every room in the place with junk. “Vintage” clothes hung over the doors, sort of like someone had just dropped by and left their undies behind (my older son was particularly taken by the black one-piece and rubber swimming cap with floppy flowers that were hanging in the bathroom). My sons, who both inherited my sarcastic tendencies, began referring to the place as the Bates Motel, expecting to find Norman’s mom reclining in a rocker somewhere underneath the detritus.

Then I heard my daughter-in-law whisper to my older son, “There’s no oven.” I looked around the meager kitchen and realized she was right. Hotplate. Microwave. Coffeepot. No oven. I had a smoked turkey breast, a couple of bags of stuffing mix, and a bag of sweet potatoes. And no oven in which to cook them. That was the point at which my husband took my arm, handed me a glass of wine, and ushered me into what would be our living room for the next three days (although it was also the room where our younger son was sleeping—maybe a little more togetherness than I’d planned on).

We made it. On Thanksgiving day we went down to our friendly neighborhood HEB (South Texas’s fantastic grocery chain) and bought the biggest toaster oven they had. We cooked in shifts in the tiny kitchen and washed dishes whenever the counters got overloaded. And afterward we played Trivial Pursuit and got royally plastered.

This is the point at which I should draw a moral and say that Despite All Our Difficulties, It Was The Best Thanksgiving Ever. Except it wasn’t. It was pretty much a disaster. But the next year (and all the years since, including this one), I managed to reserve the right cabin. And it’s been smooth sailing ever since. The sound you hear is me, knocking wood. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Harlequin Hubub



By Kinsey W. Holley

If you’re not a Twitter devotee and you don’t hang out on book blogs, you may not be aware of the controversy surrounding Harlequin’s new “self-publishing” line. If you’re vaguely aware of Harlequin’s announcement, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. I’ve dashed off some thoughts because, frankly, the post I’d planned to write for today, about writing what you know, turned into a long, gooey mess. I’m going to work on it, but in the meantime this Harlequin thing exploded and the more I think about it, the more appalling I find it. And, at the risk of sounding patronizing, I’d like to address some issues that might be unfamiliar to aspiring writers. If you’re an aspiring author and you’re not familiar with the business of publishing, feel free to post your thoughts and questions.

Feel free to comment as well if you disagree with what you read here. This post represents my opinions only. This is a complicated issue with a whole bunch of knotty ethical and practical implications, and I think it merits discussion. I’m only going to scratch the surface here.

First off, for an excellent recap of the whole thing, go read Jackie Kessler's superb summation. When you’re done, come back and read this, because I’m going to focus on just two things: self-publishing vs. vanity publishing, and why I think what Harlequin proposes is deeply deceptive to aspiring authors and potentially damaging to published authors.

You’ll notice I put self-publishing in quotes up there, as if I don’t think Harlequin Horizons is really a self-publishing venture at all. And I don’t, because it isn’t. Self-publishing is, by definition, something an author does herself. If you want to get a really firm handle on the subject, go read about it at Moriah Jovan’s website. Self-publishing is a valid, workable business model for some authors, and Moriah is one who’s doing it right (and profitably). Thanks to the Internet in general (Amazon.com in particular) and print on demand technology, some of the stigma that’s long adhered to self-publishing seems to be wearing off. There have been some recent success stories involving authors who published their own books, caught the attention of New York publishing houses, and went on to sign contracts. I expect to see more such stories in the future.

But.

What Harlequin, in partnership with Author Solutions, proposes to do isn’t self-publishing – it’s vanity publishing.

In self-publishing, an author contracts with various people and companies – editors, artists, printers, distributors, etc. – to handle those aspects of production that she can’t do herself. Most importantly, the author owns the ISBN and keeps all the profits from the book.


That’s not what Harlequin will offer writers. Harlequin Horizon will charge authors to have their work critiqued and printed. How much an author pays depends on what she wants. A first chapter review will cost $342.00; a full-length manuscript edit could cost $6,000 or more. Harlequin won’t market or distribute the book – the author will have to pay for that, in addition to paying for the editing. And on top of that, if the author manages to sell her book – by putting it on Amazon, convincing local bookstores to carry it (good luck with that), going door to door, whatever – Harlequin will take half – HALF – the revenue. The only difference between Harlequin’s proposed venture and what vanity publishers have done for years is that the Harlequin Horizons double H logo will appear on the spine. The book won’t carry the traditional Harlequin brand.

A favorite maxim of writers is that money flows to the author. Nowadays that rule isn’t as hard and fast as it used to be. Over the past few years, it’s become standard for authors to spend their own money on advertising and promotion. Only the most successful authors are given big promotional budgets. Charlene Harris, for instance, published a bunch of books before the Sookie Stackhouse series exploded, but it wasn’t until the success of that series that her publisher paid for her promotional tours.

Paying for advertising, though, is a far cry from paying a publisher for the privilege of seeing your book in print. That’s where Harlequin is trying to hook the aspiring writer, and that’s why Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and a whole lot of other writers in America and elsewhere think what Harlequin’s doing is sleazy and unethical. It’s not, as some have alleged, that authors are afraid of increased competition. The publishing industry has always been intensely competitive. What Harlequin aims to do will take advantage of unpublished authors who may not be familiar with the publishing industry. I’m a capitalist, a free market proponent, and a big believer in caveat emptor, but that doesn’t mean I won’t call something sleazy when I think it is.

If you’re a writer, and you’ve spent years trying to sell your book, you might think this represents a new avenue of opportunity. Sure, you have to pay out in the beginning, but you’ll get to be a Harlequin author, right?

Wrong. The writer won’t be a Harlequin author. She won’t have the benefits of Harlequin editorial expertise, Harlequin distribution channels or Harlequin marketing, or even Harlequin branding. (Too heavy on the italics? Sorry. I'll stop now.)

A writer will submit a manuscript. Harlequin will say “sorry, we don’t think your book is right for our markets. But hey – if you really want to get published, why don’t you pay us and we’ll print the book? And if the book sells, maybe we’ll offer you a contract and (maybe) we’ll take over the distribution and marketing and everything else.” Meanwhile, if the book has sold well enough to merit this contract offer, Harlequin’s already been making money on it.

So an author puts up all the money and assumes all the risk, thinking she’s been offered an opportunity to become a “Harlequin author,” when in fact Harlequin’s participation will be, as far as we know at this point, invisible to the reader.

Harlequin has risked nothing, paid for nothing. The author has assumed all the risk, but gets only half the reward. A writer could pay a freelance copy editor a lot less than Harlequin proposes to charge, could contract with Amazon’s Create Space to handle the printing and distribution, could do her own marketing and, probably, would sell just as many books as she would if she’d paid Harlequin.

Know what I think could happen? Maybe I need to be fitted for a tinfoil hat, I don’t know. But I’m wondering – why wouldn’t Harlequin cut the number of contracts they’re offering (cut it further, that is, than they already have) and instead start offering their “self publishing” option to those authors whose books they think might sell? In other words, the books they would’ve paid for before, they’ll now charge for. The publishing industry is suffering from the recession, just like everyone else. The big houses are slashing their staffs and buying fewer titles. Even midlist writers are losing contracts as publishers pour all their money into their established best sellers. If Harlequin’s come up with a risk-free way to make money off new authors, why won’t they do it?

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the company Harlequin’s partnered with, Author Solutions, doesn’t have a particularly good reputation among authors.

As it stands right now, RWA and MWA have stated that this venture will result in Harlequin’s removal from these organizations’ lists of approved publishers, which in turn means that Harlequin writers will be ineligible for the RITA, the Golden Heart, the Edgar, and other awards. Science Fiction Writers of America may be moving in the same direction.

This whole situation seems to be changing by the hour. Harlequin, I think, is kind of shocked by the reaction, which indicates to me that they didn’t properly think this thing through. I was so pleased – thrilled, really – when they announced the formation of Carina Press, their new epublishing arm, and that Angela James would be the Senior Editor. That was a savvy move on their part. This one, not so much. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them announce that they’re reevaluating the idea in the coming days, in which case much of what I’ve written here might be moot.

In the meantime – anyone have any thoughts? Let’s hear them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Scavenger Hunt Winners

Congrats to our winners: 2nd runner up Susan (suehussein@...), first runner up Tracey (booklover0226@...) and Grand Prize winner, Pamela (pamelafryer@...)

Check your inboxes for all the info on collecting your prizes. Thanks so much to everyone who entered.

Excerpt Thursday - First Scenes

Meg Benjamin
First scene from Venus in Blue Jeans

Cal Toleffson saw the love of his life for the first time at 5:47 p.m. in the Dew Drop Inn, downtown Konigsburg, Texas.
He wasn’t exactly dressed for the event.
He’d spent the forty-five minutes preceding Happy Hour tending to a sick goat. “Tending to” was the polite way of describing it. The goat was large, sturdy and attractive from a goat’s point of view. From a human’s point of view, even a vet like Cal, it smelled like, well, a goat. And so did he, after about ten minutes in the goat’s company.
He’d cleaned up, sort of. Washed his hands and face, dropped the jeans and T-shirt he’d been wearing into his clothes hamper (his housekeeper would probably be asking for a raise by the end of the month), and put on his last clean denim shirt.
His desire for a Dos Equis outweighed his need for a shower. And the Konigsburg male population wasn’t too fastidious anyway. He doubted somebody like Terrell Biedermeier would even notice a little eau d’goat, given Terrell’s personal ripeness.
Terrell, a lump on a barstool, didn’t notice. But Steve Kleinschmidt, also known as “Wonder Dentist” for reasons Cal wasn’t clear on, moved a few inches down the bar after Cal took his seat on the stool beside him.
“Trying to make a point there, Idaho?”
Cal grinned. “Nah, just thirsty. And it’s Iowa.”
“Idaho, Iowa, same thing.” Wonder had spent most of his life in Texas, and he wasn’t interested in moving. “You do realize what you smell like, right, Toleffson?”
“Might be goat, might be sweat. What’s your opinion, Wonder?” Cal rubbed a hand through his beard, scratching. Dried beard sweat was a bitch.
Wonder snorted. “If I had to guess, I’d say bullshit. But then I’m a dentist, not a vet.”
Hank Ingstrom, the bartender and owner of the Dew Drop, pushed a bottle of Spaten in Wonder’s general direction and made a half-hearted sweep at the bar with a grubby rag.
“Dos Equis, Ingstrom.” Cal leaned against the bar, ignoring the slightly sticky surface under his elbow, and scraped his boot sole against the brass rail.
Ingstrom frowned as he headed back down the bar, tucking his rag in his back pocket. “That’d better not be goat crap.”
“See?” Cal grinned at Wonder, nodding in Ingstrom’s direction. “Ingstrom knows his animals.”
“Not surprising. Ingstrom is an animal.” Wonder sucked down a quick swallow of beer, wiping the foam from his upper lip with his index finger.

Read the rest of Chapter 1


PG Forte
First scene from Sea Change

Bodies have memories and hers remembered every touch; even the ones her mind could not recall. Especially those. And that, Cara thought, as she stared out the car window at the swiftly passing landscape, was precisely the problem.

"You’re awfully quiet this morning," her boyfriend Liam observed, taking his eyes from the road long enough to shoot her a worried glance. "Is everything okay?"

"Mm-hm," Cara lied. She smiled at him reassuringly. "I was just thinking." Certainly, everything should be okay. After all, they were on their way to LA where later today they’d board a cruise ship for their first vacation together since they’d started dating, six months earlier. The prospect of the trip––four days at sea with stops in Catalina and Ensenada, culminating in a New Year’s celebration aboard ship––should be making her ecstatic. But her happiness was marred by one small problem: Her body. And those goddamned memories.


Erin Nicholas
first scene from No Matter What


One-night stands were a lot like apple pie as far as Jaden Monroe was concerned.
The notion of having sex with someone just for the sex had honestly never appealed to her. Like apple pie. Jaden had believed her whole life that she didn’t like apple pie simply because she’d never seen or smelled one that tempted her. But the truth was, her senses just hadn’t been introduced to the right one. Once she tasted the apple pie, she couldn’t get enough.
Especially à la mode.
The man now sitting at table sixteen near the front door of Big Billy’s Bar and Grill was the one that could change her mind about one-night stands. He wouldn’t even have to talk. He’d just have to be there, completely naked—of course—with those eyes that had been on her all night.
This guy didn’t just look at her, he didn’t just watch—he seemed to be studying her, even appreciating her, like someone did a painting in an art gallery. He took in every detail of how she moved—and breathed for that matter. She could feel it.
It wasn’t creepy, though it probably should seem a little stalker-ish. It made her hot and tingly and a bunch of other things she hadn’t been in a long time.
Looking at him now, Jaden couldn’t think of one reason why ice cream and sex couldn’t go together too. But with this guy it couldn’t be just vanilla. It would have to be something much more decadent. Double Fudge Brownie, maybe. Or Peanut Butter Passion. Spread all over him. And she definitely wouldn’t need a spoon.

Read the rest of the scene!


Kelly Jamieson
Opening scene from Sexpresso Night
I decided to use the opening scene from my latest release, and it's pretty short! And oddly, reading it now, I realize I never identified Danya by name in this opening scene...hmmm.

How long was he going to just lie there?
Not that she minded being on top, but dammit, she just wanted him to take charge for once!
Chris looked up at her, his mouth curving into a lazy smile. “What?”
The softness of his touch, his erection brushing her hip, his gentle smile, made her want to weep with longing for more—forceful hands, demanding kisses, the weight of a hard body pressing her down. She closed her eyes against the dark hunger rising inside her, the craving to be pushed, taken to the edge.
And he had no clue. She searched for the words to tell him how she felt. Her eyes fell on the silk neck tie he’d discarded earlier, draped over the night table. She reached across him for it.
The cool silk slid through her fingers as she held it up. “Here.”
He blinked. “Huh?”
“Tie me up. Do whatever you want.”
His body jerked so hard she actually tumbled off him. He sat up, his eyebrows pinched together, mouth a tight line. “What the hell? Tie you up?”
She swallowed and pushed her hair off her face. And laughed. “I’m joking. A joke.”
He subsided back onto the pillows. “Oh.” Not laughing. Not even smiling. Well, that had been a genius move.
Cheeks scorching, stomach tight, she flopped to her back and stared at the ceiling.


Skylar Kade
opening scene from the novella Lawful Pleasures (final edits incomplete; out in 2010 from Parker Publishing)

Lia Delgado moaned in ecstasy. Tired eyes fluttering in satisfaction, she reached out to the passenger seat of her car and fumbled around until she struck gold – there was another French fry hiding at the bottom of the grease-stained brown paper bag that had just held her salvation. Yep, definite proof that God is a woman – crispy French-fried goodness. She popped the fry into her mouth like an addict taking the next hit and let out a contented groan, the sound encompassing not only her cheeseburger-fries-and-shake-filled stomach, but her TGIF bliss.

As the secretary for Brantforth Walker Kensington III, Esq., Lia was constantly buried under paperwork, legal briefs, and dry cleaning for His Royal Hiney, the District Attorney. And if working for the arrogant bastard wasn't a huge gold star on her resume, she wouldn’t have been able to stand him.

But despite the craziness of the week, it was Friday, and Lia had a date with her sweatpants and Denzel Washington DVD collection. Maybe also with that gallon of truffle chocolate chip ice cream in her freezer. She shook off her In-N-Out-induced food coma and finally got out of her worn Civic. Lia snagged her briefcase before kicking the car door shut and hitting the button to close the garage door. Trudging to the door of her condo, she fit her keys to the lock and reached for the knob. On the verge of pushing open her door, she felt an eerie tingling on the back of her neck. She’d learned early on to listen to those instincts. Backing up a step, she looked at her door. Nothing was off. She replayed the last two minutes – car locked, keys out, cell phone in hand, door unloc… The door lock hadn’t clicked open when she’d turned her key. The door hadn’t been locked at all.

Look for the novella next year in Parker Publishing's Curvalicious anthology.


Kinsey W. Holley

First Scene from Kiss and Kin

***Warning: This Excerpt Is Rated R***

Lark inspected her reflection in her antique full-length mirror. Applying final touches to her makeup, she pursed her lips and smudged her gloss just a bit. She pulled her auburn chestnut hair into a carefully messy chignon, touchable stray wisps framing her face the way Taran liked it.

Dressed in a purple lace bra, boyshorts and four-inch stilettos, she struck a little pose. Which dress to wear?

They both showed off her legs. The chic black cocktail number featured a fun little twirly skit, and she fancied herself a fun twirly kind of girl. On the other hand, she liked to look like a bad girl sometimes, which she did in the lavender sheath with the plunging neckline and the slit up to mid thigh.

She held up each dress beneath her chin, one at a time, and eyed herself critically. Lavender, black. Lavender, black.

She heard Taran getting ready in the bathroom, but when he suddenly appeared behind her—a werewolf could move so swiftly and silently it seemed he teleported—he wore nothing but skin.

Taking a hanger in each hand, he tossed the dresses aside. He laid a large, warm hand on her stomach and pulled her tightly against him while his other hand cupped her breast. His thumb rubbed circles around her nipple through the thin lace.

“What are you doing here?” he growled softly. His stubble tickled her neck as he nuzzled. It made her laugh.

He rolled her nipple between two fingers and she sighed, reaching back to run her fingers through his dark gold hair. His other hand now cupped her mound, barely touching, and she ground her hips, silently urging him to press harder. He chuckled.

“I’m trying to choose a dress,” she smiled. “Which do you like?”

“Neither,” he replied. “I vote for naked.” He nipped her shoulder and slid his hand inside the boyshorts.

Their gazes met in the mirror, the only way she could maintain eye contact with him. Lust glittered in his eyes, making them shine like emeralds. Her dark blue eyes melted in submission. In heels, she stood almost as tall as he did, but she looked petite against his much larger body.

“I can’t go to dinner like this, and neither can you,” she murmured.

“True.” He ran his tongue lightly down the back of her neck. “Anthony’s has a dress code. Reservations at eight, right?”

“Yes.” She shivered.

She gasped as his middle finger sank into her folds and stroked.

“So…” he smiled against her neck, “…I’ve got ten minutes to make you come. I can do that with one arm tied behind your back.”

He took his hand out of her panties, spun her around and pinned one of her arms behind her. She moaned in anticipation as his mouth came down on hers, and she woke up.

Damn it. Shit. Damn, damn, damn, shit.

Lark rolled over and slammed her head into the pillow.

She couldn’t even manage a decent sex dream about him—she always woke up when it got to the good part. Her subconscious just rolled its eyes and said, “This is too farfetched for me to handle, kiddo. Dream about someone in your league—like George Clooney, maybe. He’ll ask you out before Taran notices you’re grown, much less shows any interest.”

She showered, trying not to think about Taran as she did it.

Want to read the rest of Chapter One?


Kate Davies
Opening Scene from Challenging Carter

"You have got to be kidding me."
Carter looked up and smiled. "And good morning to you too, sunshine."
Dani narrowed her gaze at him, jaw set. "Don’t try to sweet-talk me, you spendthrift."
Ah, so that was the issue du jour. Carter leaned back in his ergonomic chair, fingers laced behind his head. He kicked one foot onto the desktop. "Spendthrift. I can never remember—does that mean stingy?"
"You know damn well what it means." She slapped a computer printout on the desk next to his foot. "Reckless with money. Extravagant. Wasteful."
"Hey, now." Carter shifted his sports-sandal-clad foot slightly to the left. "Watch the prototype."
Her brow wrinkled in confusion for just a minute before she glanced down at the sandal and rolled her eyes. "New product?"
He nodded, lifting his foot off the desk. He tilted it to the right and back again. "For the spring line. This new closure we’ve developed is going to knock Velcro on its ass."
"If you say so." She looked dubious, which was pretty much her daily facial expression. Then she scowled again. "And don’t try to distract me."
"Ah, but it’s such a lovely sandal," he crooned, waving his foot back and forth, back and forth, in a soothing motion. "You’re getting veeeerrry sleepy…when you wake from this trance, you will no longer be concerned with the bottom line…"

Read the rest of the scene here!


D. McEntire
Opening scene from Midnight Reborn

"Here’s the last box from the van, Mom." Robyn Andrews walked into the small, one-bedroom apartment and dropped the box on the floor in exhaustion. She had been helping her mother, Rachel, lug boxes of their belongings from the rental van up two flights of stairs all morning.

There weren’t that many boxes since they didn’t have much in the way of belongings, but it was exhausting nonetheless.

Robyn was fourteen, or fourteen and a half as she liked to remind everyone. She and her mother had lived alone since her dad walked out on them two years ago. Now, Robyn and her mother had to get by with only her mother’s salary as a cashier at the local Wal-Mart. Unable to continue paying the high rent for their house, they had to find cheaper housing, thus the move to the small apartment.

Robyn understood the reasons for moving and the situation they were in, and it broke her heart to see her mother struggle. She wished that she could help somehow, but she was only fourteen.

Most places required the minimum age of employment to be sixteen.

They would persevere just as they had for two years, giving each other little pep talks every step of the way, but Robyn had found herself having to play the role of cheerleader more and more these days.

Out of the blue, it seemed their prayers were answered. Her mother was taking a lunch break from her shift at Wal-Mart when a friend of hers began talking about a waitress job at Chester’s, a bar and grill located in a small town just outside of Houston. Robyn’s mother didn’t hesitate to make a trip there to ask for the job. Chester Roy, the owner, hired her on the spot to work nights and weekends. She had come home excited about the new job and the prospect of good tips, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

The waitress position at Chester’s was what launched the search for rental property in the small town. As luck would have it, there was an available apartment only blocks away from the bar.

Although the apartment was extremely small, her mother called it a blessing and assured Robyn that everything would work out fine.

Robyn believed her mother, that was until her mother brought home Jake Carter, a man whom she met at the bar. They began spending more and more time together, which concerned Robyn. Not because she was feeling left out or that she was losing the attention of her mother to her new boyfriend. In fact, she would have been totally happy for her mother if the man had been anyone but Jake.

Jake made Robyn feel uneasy whenever he was around. He was nice looking with his long, dark hair kept pulled back into a ponytail, and his dark, sun-baked skin. But Robyn couldn’t see any positive qualities beyond his looks. She was a firm believer that beauty was only skin deep. What you saw on the outside was not always what was on the inside.

It was his eyes that caused Robyn the most concern. He watched her every move like a predator searching for weaknesses in its prey and the perfect time to strike. She had never seen such cold, calculating eyes before. Saying that the man gave her the royal heebie-jeebies was an understatement. Jake frightened her. So much so she found excuses to leave the apartment whenever he came around.

The day she feared finally came. Her mother walked into the apartment after her shift at the bar with Jake on her heels as usual. They were laughing but quieted when they saw Robyn sitting at the table, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Robyn could see the look of uncertainty in her mother’s face and alarm bells started blaring in her head.

"Hi, sweetie. We’ve got something wonderful to tell you," her mother said with a bright smile.

Oh please, please don’t say you’re getting married!

Click here to read more from Midnight Reborn and the other novels in the Watcher Series


Sydney Somers
Opening scene from Primal Hunger

“What are you going to do, fire me?”

Bold words for a woman who adored her job, even if she was the one holding the hose, and Kennedy Beaumont knew it.

Drops of water from the warning shot she’d fired glistened on the bar between her and the two men who looked ready to tear each other’s throats out. Despite the pounding beat of music—courtesy of the house band—more than a few heads had swiveled in her direction the second she’d snatched the hose from beneath the counter and promised to drench the pair if they didn’t knock it off.

Not that the threat would have been a problem if both men were drunk or hassling her. Unfortunately, the quiet regular with dark blond hair and a wicked-looking scar that curved from the corner of his mouth to his ear had never uttered a disrespectful word to her, never even needed to be cut off and dumped in a cab.

The other guy was her boss—sort of.

Read the rest of the scene HERE!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How do you like your coffee?


Hot, dark, steamy...? Sounds like a good romance!

Most of us probably drink coffee in some form. Coffee is a highly traded commodity and one of the most popular beverages in the world. My preference is a cup of quality dark roasted coffee freshly ground and brewed, and I drink it straight up - black. I occasionally like a latte or cappuccino, but for me, those are a treat, like candy. We buy our coffee from a small independent roaster (Here, Trevis, a plug for you Black Pearl Coffee) and that’s partly what inspired my two stories about coffee.

As I researched, I realized the incredible story of what happens between the coffee grower (coffee is grown in over 70 countries, primarly in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa) and the barista who hands you your steaming cup in the coffee shop. What rich potential for story telling!

Someone who’s the very best at what they do always inspires me and I find that sexy, so I was fascinated to learn about barista competitions, and my barista hero was born. But Carter in Sexpresso Night is more than just a barista. He owns his shops and seeks out quality coffees direct from the growers. I learned more about how that happens and the contrast between that business model and the big multi-national companies who buy boatloads of coffee beans. I learned the difference between direct trade and fair trade. I learned about the difference between arabica coffee and robusta coffee, which is bitter and has less flavor, but is more disease-resistant and can be grown in areas where arabica can’t. Often it’s the robusta coffees that are turned into those flavored powders you mix with water (and I will admit to drinking that on occasion!). I learned a bit about the science of roasting coffee and some crazy roasters who use popcorn poppers to roast their own beans to the exact right degree of darkness, and about cuppings, or coffee tastings, and what a sensual experience that can be. I incorporated a coffee tasting into Sexpresso Night.

I invented the fictional South American country of Matagalpa. In Sexpresso Night, both Danya and Carter have spent time there. In my other book involving the coffee business, not yet published, my hero and heroine travel to Matagalpa and get involved in a dangerous escapade there in pursuit of an exquisite, unique coffee bean.

Here’s a short excerpt from Sexpresso Night. This is part of the coffee tasting scene:

“Let’s talk about some of the characteristics of coffee,” he said. “Acidity could be described as the brightness or sharpness of the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, soft or edgy, subdued or wild—like sex.” That got some laughs.
“Body is sometimes called mouthfeel. It’s the weight or heaviness of the coffee in your mouth. Think about thickness when you taste, the physical feel of the coffee in your mouth.”
Christ, he couldn’t stop making sexual comparisons tonight, and as he caught Danya’s eyes he knew she was thinking the same thing.
“Then we have sweetness. Sweetness eases the acidity of a coffee. You need the balance of the two to appreciate both. Just like the balance between pleasure and pain.” He caught another wide-eyed look from Danya and grinned. “And finally, there’s finish. As I mentioned, there’s an aftertaste that lingers and it should be clean and sweet.
“Make mental notes as you taste,” he encouraged, walking behind his guests. “Really think about what you’re tasting. Which one do you find sweeter?”
Most of the people made a face of uncertainty. Danya pointed to the Columbian. “This one.”
He nodded approvingly and she beamed. “Yes, that one is sweeter. What else did you notice about it?”
She took another delicate slurp, making him smile, then said, “Um…chocolate?”
“Very good! I also think there are hints of caramel in it. You might perceive it as burnt sugar. But it’s not burnt.”
She nodded, hanging on his every word. Sexy as fucking hell.
“This Ethiopian coffee has a nice fruity cup.” He indicated which one. “And the Costa Rican is full bodied and spicy—you might taste hints of cinnamon and cloves. The Sumatra is intense, earthy and aromatic.” He inhaled deeply over the cup, eyes closed to deepen the sensory experience. When he rose and opened his eye to see Danya staring at him, cheeks flushed, lips parted, heat sizzled through his veins. “This Arabian bean is wild and exotic. And our French roast, which is our darkest roast, is smoky and intense.”
He clamped down on the arousal that was threatening to derail his cupping.

So...how do YOU like your coffee?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Release day! SEXPRESSO NIGHT


My second book from Ellora's Cave is out today!

Don't let the cover fool you - it's not about wine, it's about coffee. The cover is standard for stories in the "Beverages" or "Wet" theme.
Here's the blurb:

After a disastrous D/s relationship nearly destroyed her, Danya swears she’ll never go back to that lifestyle. She tries to deny the dark hunger rising inside her, a craving to be pushed, taken to the edge, until the night she ends up at Karma Coffee for Sexpresso Night. There she discovers how sensual and sexy coffee can be--and how sensual and sexy barista Carter Jarvis is. Carter senses gorgeous Danya wants to let go of control with a man. When they end up back at his place ‘for coffee’ she submits to him so beautifully he knows she’s meant to be his. Carter seems perfect for her–not wishy-washy, but not a sadistic pervert–until he shows her his BDSM playroom.

Tomorrow I'm blogging right here about some of the things I learned about coffee while researching this story, and in fact I learned so much I wrote another book about the coffee business!


My newsletter subscribers have a chance to win a free download of every new release, including this one, so if you aren't a member come join (I only send out newsletters with new releases, so don't worry about your inbox being filled with junk).

Click to join KellyJamiesonnewsletter


Click to join KellyJamiesonnewsletter





And check out the trailer for Sexpresso Night:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Me Time


Yesterday I played hooky from home.

A group of friends who are all participating in National Novel Writing Month had planned a rolling write-in for the day, where we'd hop on the train, write like mad during the trip, then bop around Portland until the train ride home.

As luck would have it, the train goes right through my town. So I packed up my laptop, bought a ticket, and joined them on their adventure.

See, this particular group of women all live in the same area, about an hour and a half from where I live. And while I join in the discussions online, I miss 95% of the get-togethers and write-ins because they're such a distance. (Three hours of driving for one and a half hours of writing is not the most efficient use of limited time.)

So the opportunity to participate in this excursion was too good to pass up.

The train arrived in my town right on time, so I schlepped the laptop on board and started searching for the group. They'd already staked out a table and were working madly as I set up. For the next hour-plus the only sound at the table was the clatter of keyboards being used, interspersed with brief comments like, "What's another word for (blank)?" or "I really, really like this character."

Once in Portland we stowed the laptops and headed downtown for lunch and conversation, followed by a visit to Voodoo Donuts. (An amazing, mouthwatering menu. Highly recommended!)

And then, mecca.

Set four writers loose in the city block that is Powell's Books for an hour or two? Brilliant.

Then we toasted our day at a little pub that was walking distance from the train station before settling in for the writing journey home.

It's been a long time since I did something like this - just taken time for me, spending the day with friends, really focusing on the writing. And it's fair to say that I enjoyed every minute of it. I was with a great group of people doing things I really love to do - eat, write, and buy books. :) (And donuts, of course.)

And though it'll be a while before I can fit another day like this into my busy schedule, I know how important it is to do that from time to time. Because taking a day just to have fun and focus on me helps me be a better mom, wife, employee, and, yes, writer.

It's all about balance. And I'm so glad I had yesterday to remind me of that.

If you had a free day just for you, what would be on your agenda? How do you carve out "Me Time" from your busy life?

Friday, November 13, 2009

How young is too young for romance?


How young is too young for romance?

And when I say “romance” I mean romance. You know—the panting, pulsating and puckering kind of romance that I (and I’m guessing a few of you!) LOVE!

Okay, with that definition in mind… I have a twelve year old daughter who’s a voracious reader. And who not only knows that I write romance, but is quite proud of me. Of course, I’ve told her she can’t read my books until she’s older. And she doesn’t wonder why. She knows. Kind-of. It has to do with s-e-x. But she can’t just accept no… she has asked “well, when then?”

So, that’s what I’m pondering today. How young is too young for romance?

There are some reasons that I do wish she could read romances. There are things she can learn that as a woman I want her to know:
1. The qualifications of a true hero.
2. That women can be strong, independent and intelligent and be loved for it.
3. That true love really does exist and is worth waiting for.

But there are some things I don’t want her to learn quite yet:
1. A couple of “c” words, an “f” word … oh, and that other “c” word.
2. Why college guys actually giggle when the number 69 is mentioned.
3. Why a guy’s shoe size might be of interest.

I’ll admit it… my idea of romance was influenced by the fact that my mom let me start reading romance as a teenager. I don’t think that’s bad at all—I’m very grateful for it! Then again, I’m pretty sure LaVyrle Spencer didn’t use any of the “c” words or the “f” word!

So, what do you all think? How young is too young? If I was going to let her start reading romance where should I start her? Have your daughters read romance yet? When did they start?

Erin
http://www.erinnicholas.com/



Erin Nicholas’ first novel was released this month! And it does hit all the points on list one… and while her hero’s shoe size isn’t specifically given as large, it’s definitely implied!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Diane McEntire's First Kiss Excerpt

First Kiss Excerpt from Midnight Reborn

Unable to stop himself, he leaned down slowly, giving her time to move away, but when she didn’t, he placed his mouth over hers.

He kissed her tenderly, gently rubbing his lips over hers. "Open for me," he whispered onto her lips. When she parted them, he swept his tongue inside to taste her.

Trigg felt her tongue touch his fangs, which had begun to lengthen, and pulled back, looking at her face for signs of fear. She only stared into his eyes and leaned forward, wanting to continue the kiss. After a while, they parted slightly, both breathing rapidly.

"I don’t know much about this stuff. I mean…I never…" Robyn stammered. She was embarrassed to tell him she was a virgin, and her shame at the appearance of her body kept her from looking at Trigg as she continued. With marks scarring her body, she didn’t think she ever stood a chance with a man, especially when they got an eyeful of the packaging.

"Trigg, you don’t want anything to do with me, trust me. I’m damaged goods." She shook her head as the words came pouring out of her. "I…"

Find more excerpts and a chapter read at www.dmcentire.com

D. (Diane) McEntire
The Watchers Series
Samhain Publishing

First Kiss Excerpts

EVERYONE REMEMBERS THEIR FIRST KISS...

(even if you might not remember his name!)

Today we're each sharing an excerpt from the first kiss scene of one of our books. You can follow the links to learn more about the books or purchase them.

Enjoy!


Kelly's first kiss excerpt:

This is from Sexpresso Night, coming November 17 from Ellora's Cave (eep! that's next week!)

“I’ve been watching you for months, coming in to the store, so hot and sweet.”

Her body went liquid.

“I love your hair,” he continued. “It’s like caramel and honey. Thick. Smooth.”

He stroked a gentle hand over it and she tingled everywhere, a small moan escaping her. More.

She needed more.

She opened her eyes to look up at him. What did he see there? Something, because his fingers speared into her hair and he held the back of her head as he kissed her.

His mouth slanted over hers in a long, searing kiss, and she melted into him, clutching his waist with both hands. It was a hard kiss, demanding and devouring, and it should have scared her since she didn’t know him at all, but instead... Building Castles - Kelly Jamieson's Blog



Erin's first kiss excerpt: from No Matter What, available now!

For instance, what else stirred Adam Steele’s passions?

“So tell me, what is your kind of thing?”

The huskiness in his voice made her nerve endings dance.

She studied his full lips for a long moment before her eyes traced his strong jaw shadowed with dark stubble. Eventually, she moved up slowly to again meet the midnight blue eyes that seemed to pierce straight through to her soul.

“Arrogant millionaires, evidently.”

As his lips met hers, she momentarily stopped disliking anything about him.

Read a longer excerpt at http://www.erinnicholas.blogspot.com/


Kinsey's First Kiss excerpt from Kiss and Kin, available now from Samhain:

“Taran? Are you okay?”

“No,” he muttered hoarsely, his mouth hovering over hers. “Not really.”

Glimpsing a flash of lustrous green as he raised his eyes, she immediately dropped her gaze. She stared at the vein twitching in his jaw.

He’d thrown on jeans, but nothing else. She always took care not to stare at him overtly, lest he notice, but now her eyes feasted on the smooth golden expanse of his shoulders, the rippling biceps and wide chest inches away from her.

He rubbed his thumb across her cheek, skimmed it down her nose and dragged it slowly straight down over her bottom lip. She couldn’t breathe. Though his huge hand traced her face as softly as a breath, her skin tingled everywhere his fingers wandered. The currents ran all the way down her spine, and she closed her eyes as a small sigh escaped her.

His body vibrated with leashed tension, belying the controlled precision of his movements. Afraid to break whatever spell possessed him, she tried not to move, but she couldn’t sit still beneath his touch. She turned her head to kiss his hand, and impulsively ran her tongue across his palm.

He jerked, and when his mouth came down on hers, it wasn’t gentle at all.


Skylar's First Kiss excerpt: from Maison Domine, out now from Samhain

He, the famous Jaxon Greene, PhD, wanted her. The mousy little nerd. It was a sign of the Apocalypse, for sure. She opened her mouth to protest his assessment of her, true though it might be, but his mouth covered hers, shutting her up.

Oh, the taste of him! It was like sweet mint and sin, simultaneously cool and blistering hot. His tongue reached out to lick across her bottom lip, silently begging entrance. Who was she to deny him, especially when he was making her knees oh-so-weak? She forgot she was not that kind of girl.

Her fingers tangled into the lapels of his jacket, bringing the intoxicating scent of leather closer to her. Lara’s head swirled and her knees buckled under her. But Jax was there with an arm around her waist, holding her up. The other twisted into her hair, pulling on her scalp with little pinpricks of pain. It only served to turn her on more.



Kate's First Kiss Excerpt:
From The Devil Inside, available now from Samhain.


Sam narrowed her eyes. "It’s two in the morning, Cody. I’m tired and cranky and not in the mood. So save the cheesy innuendo for a better occasion, buddy."

"Yes, ma’am." He subsided on the pillow, allowing her to check his bandages and injuries with no further commentary.
She worked quickly and efficiently, refusing to let herself think about Cody’s comments.
Much.

And she’d told him she wasn’t in the mood? Liar.

The check-up finally finished, she pulled the covers back up and reached to turn off the light.
Cody stopped her with a hand on her arm.

Startled, she looked down at him. "Did you need something?"

"Just this," he said, reached up with his uninjured arm and threaded his fingers through her sleep-tousled hair. Then, tugging gently, he urged her head down toward his.



Meg's First Kiss Excerpt

From Wedding Bell Blues:


Pete’s fingers spread against the small of her back, nudging her closer as their bodies moved slowly back and forth. Her hips brushed against him, and she was aware again of the hard shape of his erection.

Okay, she wasn’t imagining it—something was definitely going on beyond a quick turn around the backyard.

The music faded and changed to a muted commercial. Pete stopped moving.

Janie felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice, looking down. She could step back. Or she could leap over the edge and fly.

Pete’s hand moved from the small of her back to cup her cheek, and Janie stood very still, looking up at him. His eyes were dark in the dim light of the backyard, but she could see the fire behind them as he moved closer. Then his lips touched hers.

For a moment, she tasted traces of beer and salt before heat blossomed in her belly, burning away the ache of the dance. His tongue moved across the seam of her lips, touching, teasing. She opened for him, winding her arms around his neck so that she could feel the heat of his chest against hers.

His tongue touched her lightly, rubbing against her teeth, her mouth, her own tongue. Janie rose against him, her legs opening against the warm heat of his arousal, trying to find the right spot as her head swam.

Trying to find the right spot? She was losing it—she needed to pull away, right now. But she didn’t.

She moved closer, slipping up onto her toes until the V of her crotch fit across his groin. Pete groaned, his arm fastening tight around her waist, pulling her flat against him.

And then he raised his head to stare down at her. “Janie Dupree,” he said softly, “you are lightning in a bottle.”



Sydney's First Kiss Excerpt

From WHATEVER IT TAKES (Spellbound Series)

“Let go.” She retreated a step, and he countered with one forward to reclaim the distance she tried unsuccessfully to put between them. “Damn it, Gideon,” she snapped.

He grinned at her. The jerk actually had the nerve to grin at her.

“You tried to get me to back off the night we met, do you remember that? Said I was coming on too strong.”

“You were.”

“I couldn’t help myself then. I can’t seem to now either.”


Read More Here!


PG's First Kiss Excerpt
from Touch of a Vanished Hand (Oberon: Book 5) available now.

“What are you doing?” Sinead protested, as he pulled her into the narrow space between two of the booths. It was dark there, quiet, away from prying eyes.

Adam leaned back against the side of the booth, braced one foot against the wall, and pulled her toward him. “Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” he murmured, as his heart began to pound in anticipation. Something he’d been wanting to do for a very long while. Years, in fact.

“Adam, I don’t think this is a good idea.” Her hands were fisted on his chest, and the look in her eyes was one of worry, as well as awareness. Still, she didn’t pull away, and her protests sounded half-hearted and weak.

“Well, I do,” he answered, as he settled her closer; his lips just barely making contact with her mouth. “I think it’s an excellent idea.”

The first kiss was meant to reassure her, it didn’t even ruffle the surface of his desire. The second sent little waves lapping through him. But it was the third kiss that sent him under; when she leaned into him suddenly, breasts flattening against his chest. When her hands unclenched and slid upward, until her nails were digging into his shoulders. When a soft moan of surrender escaped her lips.

He forgot about being gentle then. Forgot about holding back, conserving his energy, waiting for Lammas. Waiting for anything. His hands traveled over her back, pressing her closer, as though he could meld them, body and soul, with just his touch.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

D. McEntire and Paranormal Romance

Hello all. It's Diane McEntire, back for another blog. I thought I would use my next blog times to showcase the series that brought me to this point -- The Watchers series.

Samhain Publishing blessed me with picking up Midnight Reborn in 2007. When it released as an ebook May 08, I was on cloud nine. I've learned a lot since then and heartfelt thanks go to my editor Beth.

Louisville, KY, where I was born and raised, is one happening city in April. There's the kick-off to the Derby festivities with Thunder Over Louisville (a HUGE fireworks show over the Ohio river) and parites/events that lead all the way up to the first Saturday in May - the Run for the Roses...the Kentucky Derby.

Wow, can you imagine...one year a record was broken. Over 800,000 people packed the waterfront and that was the count on only the Kentucky side. I got to thinking...man...what a vampire smorgasbord. Thus, The Watchers were born.

Kicking off the series is Midnight Reborn. A Watcher who wants only to do his job, but when a woman steps off a bus and onto the city's streets, that job gets a little harder.

After suffering years of abuse as the virtual prisoner of a drug lord, Robyn Andrews has had enough. A carefully planned escape is her only hope for survival. Her past nipping at her heels, she boards the first bus out of town and heads for Louisville, Kentucky.

Trigg is a Watcher with two missions in life. One, to hunt and eliminate Rogue vampires. Two, to be left alone. Yet he can’t bring himself to harden his heart against the petite woman who looks so lost standing in the rain. And when Robyn joins him in a battle against Rogues, the little spitfire shows the bravery of ten Watchers.

She’s someone special, someone he needs in his dark life. Someone he can never have. He’s vampire; she’s human. A future for them is impossible. But the past has a way of
catching up and changing destinies with deadly speed.

Warning: This book contains violence, spicy sexual scenes and erotic biting!



and in print (amazon, barnesandnoble and borders)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What’s real in romance books?


We're delighted to welcome our very first guest blogger--Nikki Duncan! Nikki's first novel for Samhain is Sounds To Die By. To learn more about Nikki and her books, visit her Web site, http://www.nikkiduncan.com.


Okay, so when people find out someone writes romance, there seem to be three camps of thought.

Camp 1 is readers. They want the names of the books so they can go buy them.

Camp 2 is entertaining, at least for me. These people are the ones that assume romance writers have amazing, adventurous romantic lives. We have highly active, imaginative and adventurous sex lives. Our husbands are all super lucky that we practice our scenes on them. If it’s in our books then it must be real.

Camp 3 is frustrating and in need of education, though most of them aren’t open-minded enough to hear the logical points. This is the group of people that believe romance novels are dirty and nasty. They are not real books or they’re a waste of shelf space, or that a person should be ashamed to read one. Some feel that romance leads women (readers) to have false expectations from a relationship, after all who can expect to have what the couples in romance novels find?

So here’s the reality of our real lives. We romance writers do not live in alternate universes or on other planets. We do not pretend to be strippers, hookers, cops or whatever else to catch a killer. We don’t battle demons or have relationships with shifters. Sorry to disappoint.

There are some elements of our stories that are real. My favorite authors and books all offer the same things.
~ An escape from whatever is going on in my life for the time it takes me to read the book.
~ A meaningful relationship between two people who love each other.
~ A hero who know how to respect a woman, and while he may be a jerk on occasion, he has core values and does not cross the lines into abuse. He doesn’t hit her or belittle her.
~ A hero that always tries to make the right decisions.
~ A couple that is dedicated exclusively to the relationship and is perfectly happy to be with their chosen mate/spouse/significant other.
~ A couple that likes to be with each other. They are happier together than apart.
~ A couple that accepts one another despite and sometimes because of their flaws.

I shrug off a lot of the questions I get asked when people find out I write romance, but when someone asks if I base my heroes after my own husband, my answer is yes. Those people that feel a woman has unreasonable expectations if she tries to hold out for a romance novel hero are wrong. My husband and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. It hasn’t been all sunshine and butterflies, but he is my hero. He is the father of my children, my confidant, my biggest supporter, and my best friend. If you read my stories, you will find my husband in every one of my heroes-he is the best parts of each one.

My first story, SOUNDS TO DIE BY, just released from Samhain Publishing. The hero in that story is a grumpy blind man with some of the most amazing abilities. He also encompasses all of the character traits I’ve mentioned. They’re both flawed and far from perfect, but only together do they find the connection we all want.

So tell me, what’s your view on romance? Can you have what the book heroines find? Do you have it already? Is it all a figment of our imaginations?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time to Play


Love Books? Love being Naughty?


The Nine Naughty Novelists are having a Scavenger Hunt to help celebrate the launch of our new blog. If you’re up for discovering new authors, reading tantalizing excerpts and entering to win some great prizes then read on for all the details!

How to play:

Visit each of the participating authors’ websites to find the answers to their questions. There are nine authors, nine websites to visit, nine answers to find. Once you’ve found all the answers, just copy and paste the form below into your e-mail (being sure to include the answers) and send them to: ninenaughtynovelists@gmail.com with “Scavenger Hunt” in the subject line. Contest closes Midnight November 18th.

Want to know what you’re playing for?

2nd Runner Up wins an eBook.
1st Runner Up wins 2 eBooks and an autographed print book.
Grand Prize wins 2 eBooks, an autographed print book and $50 eGift Card for Victoria's Secret.

ENTRY FORM

Name:
Email address:
Would you like to opt OUT of being added to our newsletter list? This information will be kept confidential.

THE QUESTIONS:

Diane McEntirehttp://www.dmcentire.com/

What is Trigg's "profession" in Midnight Reborn?
Answer:


What is Adam's daughter's name (in No Matter What)?
Answer:


Kate Davieshttp://www.kate-davies.com/

What two books are in the print anthology Lessons Learned?
Answer:


Kelly Jamieson - http://www.kellyjamieson.com/

What is Shane Dunstan's profession?
Answer:


Kinsey Holleyhttp://www.kinseyholley.com/

Which characters from Kiss and Kin will get their own story?
Answer:


Meg Benjaminhttp://www.megbenjamin.com/

What's the name of the mythical Texas town where all of Meg's books
take place?
Answer:


PG Fortehttp://www.pgforte.com/

In Iron (my new release from Liquid Silver Books) what is Gavin O'Malley's profession?
Answer:



What is Lara Brunner's profession in Maison Domine?
Answer:


Sydney Somers http://www.sydneysomers.com

In Primal Hunger, how did Tristan scrape his face?
Answer:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nine Questions for Sydney!

Last but not least, right? ;) As I'm answering these, I'm finishing up my next book, entertaining my nightowl 8 month old and thinking I should totally have a whip to go with my kickass leather boots, no? :)

On to the questions:

1. If you had to choose only one form of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I'd have to say Caramilk bars. You just can't go wrong with creamy, milk-chocolately goodness drenched in the ooey, gooey caramel. Yum!

2. What author got you started reading or writing romance?

I have a really clear memory of my mother handing me a copy of Judith McNaught's, Perfect, and telling me to give it a try. I'd been reading a lot of suspense books up until that point, some Anne Rice and Stephen King too. I'd dabbled in writing off and on before that, but once I finished that book and glommed up her backlist, I was sold on the genre. Although a lot of her books rely heavily on the "big misunderstanding" type conflicts, I adore them, especially her historicals.

3. What's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

Well there is a light bondage scene in Enslaved and a steamy little shower scene in Primal Hunger. And that handcuff one in Unbreakable. Oh wait, the naughtiest thing I've done, not written? Hmmm, I guess that would be the time I @%^$#& %#@ &*(( #@$ #%$# @!%@ &*#.

Huh, wonder what's up with that weird formatting. ;)

4. What do you like best about the heroine in your latest book?

I love that Kennedy (Primal Hunger) isn't afraid to speak her mind or take a stand, whether that means pulling a water hose on her boss, or admitting she doesn't have all the answers and never letting that stop her from following her gut.

5. What is a must have in your writing routine?

Notes! I'm a plotter, so having something, whether it's a few lines of dialogue that came to me earlier, or a little behind-the-scenes description on a particular character's motivation, really helps keep me on track. Without some direction, I wander all over the place. Being a writer, I come across eccentric enough (with the voices and all) I really don't need to be sabotaging myself any further.

6. What was the most interesting thing you learned in researching your
most recent release?


Since much of my world building was inspired by Arthurian Legend, I've looked a lot of stuff up on the myths surrounding King Arthur. One of the things that surprised me was how many Knights of the Round Table have made appearances in the numerous tales written about King Arthur. From the portrayals in movies and the like, I always thought there were only a small handful of knights, not upwards of a hundred, as some authors have used in their stories.

7. You're marooned on a tropical island, what sexy celebrity and comfort
reads would you want with you?

Since I've just caught up on my Smallville episodes for this year, I'd be more than happy to be stranded with Tom Welling (Clark) and Justin Hartley (Oliver a.k.a Green Arrow). As for books, who would really be up for reading with them around? :) But since I'm craving a good romantic suspense/adventure at the moment, I'd love to have something of Karen Robbards with me, like Night Magic or Walking After Midnight.

8. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what's your favorite, or does it change from book to book?

Unless I'm working on a really intense scene, I absolutely need music to write. Once upon a time that kind of distraction would have driven me insane. I think I'm just used to listening to something to help drown out the sounds of Sesame Street running in the background. LOL As for music, my playlists vary for each book, but there are some bands I tend to favor over others. Like Lifehouse. I LOVE their stuff.

9. What's your favorite writing procrastination trick?

I could probably have another book written by the time I finished listing the many, many ways I've avoided writing. It's practically it's own art form. LOL But if I had to give just one, I'd have to say reading. Lots and lots of reading.

And just before you go off in search of whatever you do to procrastinate, here's the blurb for latest release, Primal Hunger.

When the sun goes down, passion is unleashed.

Kennedy Beaumont loves her bartending job, even if her spirited nature sometimes gets her in trouble. Like threatening to hose down one of Pendragon’s co-owners. When it comes to Tristan, she could use a good hosing down, herself—maybe it’ll help her stop casting him as the star in her wickedest dreams. Since he goes out of his way to avoid her, it ought to be easy to put him out of her head—until he reluctantly offers her a ride home.
Gargoyle shape-shifter Tristan Callaghan hasn’t had time for anything other than recovering the mystical dagger that was used to permanently lock his brother in a prison of stone. The cat inside him should have stopped craving Kennedy’s touch long ago, but now that she’s sitting next to him in his car, his very human need for her is sharper than ever.

The distraction is costly. In a split second, Kennedy finds herself thrust into a dangerous, millennia-old hunt for Excalibur. A hunt that marks her for death—and leaves Tristan with a painful choice—sacrifice his family, his quest…or the one woman meant to be his.

Drop by my Website to read an excerpt and get a sneak peek at Chapter One!