Monday, April 30, 2012

Authors being Interesting... or Irritating?

So, I really want some input from readers here.  Honestly!  Pretty please, even! *g*

I’ve been around romantic fiction for a long time.  As a reader and fan for a LONG time, paying attention to authors I love in a variety of ways.  And now I’ve been around as a published author for almost three years.   

So, I want to know—in regard to author postings, what’s interesting and what’s irritating?

I have a couple of favorite authors who post political and religious opinions on a regular, passionate, basis. 
 I find it a turn-off, frankly.  I even agree with them in most cases, but still find that using their Facebook page or blog—where I go to find out about them as *authors*-- to promote their religious or political interests is obnoxious.  Am I alone?

Now, authors supporting causes—that’s another story (no pun intended  *g*).  I am impressed when authors take up a cause like supporting our military men and women, battered women shelters, or animal rescue groups.  

But I’ll be honest, even at the risk of sounding cold—that can get old too.  I mean, I love that they do it and yes, I’ve bought books where the proceeds go to charity.  But I don’t know that I’d want to hear about it constantly.  Their pages and posts should be about this *and* other stuff too, in my opinion.  

Okay, so what about Facebook and Twitter posts about reviews or sales rankings or contracts?  Do you care about that stuff?  Would you rather it came from another source?  Other readers raving about books, posting links to reviews, gushing about rankings at Amazon?   

Of course, we all know—and have seen (oy!) examples of authors behaving badly—when authors respond to negative reviews or postings on Goodreads, etc.  But I’m talking about authors going on and on about *good* stuff.  Is that really different after awhile?

I’m curious because, not only do authors I like do these things, but I’ve done them too.  I’ve posted about reviews, for sure.  I’ve shared excitement over new contracts or nice things readers have said.  But is that fun to hear?  Or annoying?  Or, as I suspect based on my personal experience reading other authors’ posts, is there a fine line?

Anyone want to share some input?  Where is that line?  What do readers want to know?  What should we keep to ourselves?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to know what you think! *g*

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Close

A funny thing happened when I sat down to write this post. I had it all planned out, knew just what I was going to talk about, but when the time came to actually get it down in words, my muse balked.

She's been on an extended vacation for most of the past six months...okay, closer to twelve if I'm being honest. And, now, that the words have finally started to flow again, she doesn't want to stop. It's big relief to be writing again, because I'd gotten way behind on what I'm supposed to have written by now. On the other hand, however, I'm now only pages away from being finished with my current WIP and putting it aside to do anything else including eat, bathe, write blog posts.

In spite of all of that, I love this stage of the book, when you're so close to the end that it's officially inevitable. When you find yourself slowing down because you're not quite ready to give those characters up. When you find yourself obsessively pondering possible titles. When you realize that, barring a power outage or some other tragedy, you're going to be finished with this book very, very soon.

So you'll forgive me if I don't give you the post I was going to write and if I cut this one short as well, but I have a book to finish. And that's the first time I can say that in almost a year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Blogger Leah Braemel - Are Anti-Heroes Hot?

When I was preparing to submit the manuscript for my latest release Hidden Heat to my editor, I had to come up with some possible taglines – the one that kept coming to mind was "appearances can be deceiving." You see, the hero Troy McPherson is not the man all his friends think he is. His boss knows he used to be a sniper for the government but not that he still is. His friends know of some of his past – about how he was orphaned during the Troubles in Ireland, but not the whole story. And very few people know his real name. Which made him such a fun character to write.

In the very first paragraph you learn that Troy McPherson's an assassin.

The red dot of the laser site centered on the target’s forehead milliseconds before a hole appeared in its place. Not until the body dropped to the ground did Troy McPherson lower the pistol.

“Subject neutralized.”

He's very good at his job. Which creates all sorts of internal conflicts for him—you have to read the book to find out why it disturbs him.

Just after I'd submitted the manuscript, I watched the movie RED and the scene where they introduced Karl Urban's character made me sit up in my seat. He's planting evidence, and then very calmly kicks the chair out from under a guy who is strung up by a rope and watches him hang – all while calmly talking over his Bluetooth headset to his wife discussing mundane events of their marriage. I can totally see Troy acting exactly the same way.

Given the nature of his job, I figured Troy would be an adrenaline junky, so he'd probably love having a little adrenaline in his personal life as well. And since I write hot romance, I brought all that adrenaline and testosterone into the bedroom. And threw in a spice of naughty-and-nice in the form of his love interest, Sandy Hallquist – one of the few women able to keep all the Hauberk men in line. In the office, that is. Once they're out of the office, all bets are off. But the handcuffs go on. ;)

But still I wonder whether some readers might not find a man who works as an assassin (even for the right reasons) sexy? Do you like anti-heroes like Troy? Or would you only find him sexy if he is redeemed and changes occupations?

Be careful what you don’t wish for. Fate might snatch it away.

When handling Hauberk’s managers, efficiency is Sandy Hallquist’s watchword. In her personal life? Excitement all the way, baby. That’s why she escaped Minnesota—and her marriage-minded mother—for a job with one of the hottest bodyguard companies on the eastern seaboard. What more could she ask for than to be surrounded by all that alpha-male testosterone?

Invisibility is Troy’s stock in trade, the only way he can manage Hauberk’s international offices while answering the call of his other career: assassin. Nothing about him is real, not even his name.

In one moment of weakness, he allowed Sandy a glimpse behind his carefully crafted mask. The more he’s around her, the sharper his yearning for stability. A home. Love. Pity those are the last things she’s looking for. And revealing that she’s the one true thing in his life could be the very words that drive her away.

At the first whisper of the “L” word, Sandy’s first instinct is to hit the brakes. By the time Sandy admits to herself that Troy is more than a passing fancy, though, his next mission could take the decision out of her hands.

Product Warnings: This book contains sexcapades in secret clubs, voyeurism, a touch of bondage and risqué office shenanigans.

 Read an excerpt now.

Hidden Heat releases from Samhain Publishing on May 1st, but you can pre-order it now from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Samhain

Learn more about Leah and her books on her website, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or  Pinterest.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bare-Faced Naked

Recently, I saw an extraordinary article in USA Today. A couple of women in Charlotte, NC, decided to run an experiment. They were the leaders of a workshop on self esteem for young girls and they frequently fielded comments like, “You keep telling me to love myself as I am, but you wear makeup.” The two decided to see what life without makeup would be like, so they pledged to go for sixty days without it. Also without having their hair done or shaving anything.

That strikes me as courageous, but that’s largely because since I started wearing makeup at twelve, I’ve seldom appeared in public completely without it (that, of course, doesn’t count sneaking to the hotel Starbuck’s bare-faced because I desperately needed coffee before my morning shower). Now that doesn’t mean I wear full warpaint at all times. For me, the minimum is eyeliner and lipstick. Others might choose mascara, and I know a couple of pale beauties who swear by blush. But I know of very few women who are self confident enough to venture out with nothing at all, not even moisturizer.

Which is probably sad, when you think about it. Yeah, makeup is fun—like other women, I enjoy playing with different eye shadows and lipsticks. But the underlying assumption in that play is that without makeup, your face isn’t quite…right.

It would probably be better if I felt happy enough with my face to wear nothing at all. The fact that I don’t—that the idea of going to the grocery store bare-faced makes me uncomfortable—is probably a measure of how well I’ve been socialized to believe that beauty is a function of artifice. And unlearning that belief is incredibly hard. All the women in my strength training class, for example, wear some makeup, even though we’re going to be sweating and groaning and doing extremely unbeautiful things during the course of the morning. It’s not that we’re trying to entice the elderly men in our group (trust me). It’s just that none of us is quite gutsy enough to show up without the usual cosmetic support.

So I wish these women luck. And I hope the girls in their workshops decide they don’t need makeup to be beautiful. But I’m not sure it’s going to work, at least not for women like me. I wish I could say that I’ll follow their lead, but I just don’t think I will. Maybe it’s enough that the rest of us start thinking about why we’re so nervous about being seen without artificial help.

So what about you? What’s the absolute minimum makeup you’ll wear in public? Do you ever appear bare faced, or do you, like me, figure everybody would wonder why you look so weird?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Deja Vu of a Very Particular Sort

So today I was sitting in Diva's orthodontist's office when I got this rush of deja vu that I couldn't immediately identify. And then it hit me--more than a year ago, I sat in that very same spot on that very same couch and wrote the first draft of the chase-through-the-woods scene of Yours, Mine and Howls.

The scene was ultimately revised so much that very little of what I wrote that day made it into the book, but still, I can recall exactly what I struggled with (the journey down the gravel path that led to the creepy abandoned house) and exactly what I was very happy with (my description of the creepy abandoned house) (which my editor later said was way overdone and unnecessary, which figures!) I have almost total recall of what I wrote that afternoon in Dr. Mizell's office, which is weird since I normally have trouble remembering what I did yesterday or where I'm supposed to be tomorrow.

Of course I started thinking of my other two books and wondering if I had the same kind of recall regarding certain scenes. Turns out that I do.

Kiss and Kin, my first book, was written as a submission for an anthology call; it was the second book I ever finished and it gave me fits. I wrote a great deal of it beside the pool at the YMCA while Diva took swimming classes. I remember so clearly working on the first sex scene of the book--where Taran appears in wolf form at the sliding glass doors and scares the crap out of Lark. I was thinking to myself, "How weird is this??? I'm writing an explicit sex scene while all these people are milling around and my child is just a few feet away!" I felt like I had some big cartoon sign over my head saying, "Hey! This lady is writing smut! Right now, in front of your children!" (If anyone saw the sign, they were too polite to say anything.)

Ready to Run, my last book (literally, if I don't get off my ass) was also written in response to an anthology call; at the last minute I decided it wasn't appropriate for the anthology and just submitted it as a novella. But, while I was still planning to submit it by the submission deadline, I spent a whole weekend with my butt glued to the couch, fingers flying over the keyboard, and every time a member of my family looked at me I'd snarl, "No! I can't! I'm on deadline! Bring me another Diet Coke!"

At the same time, I was spending lots of time in the chat room at Romance Divas, where writers congregate for timed writing sessions. There I posted the scene where Sara drives up to her grandmother's house. The setting is described in detail, as is Sara's mood and what she's thinking and all that. Inez Kelley loved the scene, and I was joyous. "Inez Kelley said it's good! That means it's good!!!"

I sincerely hope that a year from now, I will have crystal clear recollections of where I was when I was writing scenes from my two current WIPs.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


As you may know, I was in Chicago last week for the RT Booklover’s Convention. I could go on and on about how much fun I had meeting new people, seeing friends I made last year, laughing and laughing with the other Naughties who were there, talking to others in the industry like editors and publishers…it was so great. But I'm not going to blog about all the dirty naughty things we did and said, or about all the wine we drank or the taxi driver whose day we made by talking about fellatio in the back seat. I mean, we were talking in the back seat about fellatio.

No, I'm just going to blog about CHICAGO! And my imaginary friends who accompanied me.

My husband came with me to Chicago (he's real, not imaginary) a few days early and we stayed downtown so we could do some sightseeing. I knew once I got to RT I wouldn’t set foot out of the hotel (okay I did once, but that was just to go buy more wine, hence the above noted taxi ride) and I wanted to see some of Chicago since I’d never been there.

I have to tell you one of the main reasons I wanted to see this city is because I’ve written a couple of books set there – Breakaway and Rule of Three. Yes, I wrote books set in place I’d never actually been. These days with the internet it’s surprisingly easy to do. Of course you can include a lot more detail and description of places you’re more familiar with.

In Breakaway, Jason Heller plays for the fictional NHL team the Chicago Wolves. He takes Remi on a date to Navy Pier. He takes her on the Ferris wheel and builds a stuffed bear for her and they eat at the Billy Goat Tavern. In fact, the book takes place in the spring, at the end of the hockey season when his team is struggling to make the playoffs, which is pretty close to this time of year!

When I walked down Navy Pier I kept feeling like I’d been there already, and I kept thinking about Jase and Remi being there, how she was so nervous being up so high on the Ferris wheel, how Jase kissed her when they were right at the top, and the “puck bunnies” who approached Jase in the restaurant for autographs in *ahem* naughty locations.

I started to tell this to my husband and he just gave me a weird look and said, “You know they’re not real people, right?”

And I laughed and said, “Of course I know they’re not real people!

Except they are real to me. I didn’t say anything more about it, but I was still thinking about it as we wandered through the little shops and as we had lunch. I guess it added a little to my experience. J

We also went to the John Hancock Observatory, on the 94th floor. What an amazing view from up there! Lake Michigan was beautiful, although the beaches were empty. And that reminded me of Kassidy and Dag and Chris in Rule of Three. Right down there was the beach where Dag and Chris rubbed sunscreen onto Kassidy’s body! Ahem. Yes, I know they’re not real people either.

We took a boat cruise to look at the Chicago skyline and learned a little about the history of Chicago. We had deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Uno. We went shopping on Michigan Avenue and I drooled over the Jimmy Choo shoes in Nieman Marcus. We went to Millenium Park. And we went to Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues bar. I found Chicago to be a very clean city with friendly people and beautiful architecture. In fact one of the reasons I think I liked it so much is because it reminds me of home. It turns out that at the turn of the century, the city where I live (Winnipeg) was one of the fastest growing cities in North America, being a central hub for the railroads. Many architects from the Chicago School came to Winnipeg to build buildings (Jase tells Remi about this in Breakaway). Winnipeg has stood in for Chicago in a number of movies, especially movies set in older times, because we have a neighbourhood where all those turn of the century buildings have been preserved. Also, Winnipeg is known as the second windiest city in North America. :-)

I’m so glad I got to be a tourist for a few days in Chicago. Some day I will definitely go back and see more of it! And I’ll probably write at least one more book set there so I have more imaginary friends there.

Anyone else been there? Live there?What do you think of Chicago?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BlogBlocked - Now With Hot Guys!


Today's my day to post, and I' nothin'.

I didn't go to RT, so I have no stories to tell. I don't have any exciting news to share (yet). I'm not currently outraged about anything. Well, okay, I'm mildly irritated that every week after Glee I have to have a teachable moment with my kids because the characters consistently do the EXACT WRONG THING. "See what Finn/Puck/Blaine/Mercedes just did, kids? Don't EVER do that. EVER."

But as far as a blog topic goes, I'm drawing a blank.

Oh! Wait! Here's a theme - my new favorite quote, which I found in a Nora Roberts book last night.

"It's hard to resist a bad boy who's a good man."

So here. Have some pictures of some bad boys and/or good men. And I'll do my best to come up with something interesting to talk about next time around.

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine

Richard Armitage

Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith

Mark Harmon

Joe Manganiello

Jensen Ackles

Alex O'Loughlin

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Blogger JoAnn Ainsworth - Surviving Rejection

Rejection. Hard on the ego. A given for an author. A fact of life for everyone. Allow me to share some life experiences with you for surviving rejection.

Stay unhappy for only a short time.

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it, but it can be done. The trick is to focus on your mood instead of on the event.

My firm went out of business during the recession and I lost my job. When not focused on the job hunting, I spent the day listening to music, watching comedies, and meeting with friends who consistently cheered me up. I left only a little time to grieve—just enough to get it out of my system, but not so much that I got stuck in it.

I find that negativity dampens my energy level and eventually makes me sick. Depression blinds me to potential resolutions. By keeping my mind alert and my mood elevated, I have the energy to find my way out of the circumstances created by the rejection.

See if there is a lesson in the experience.

It seems to me that sometimes life causes bad things to happen to put us on a new path. Is life telling you that you’re in a rut, that it’s time to try something new? Maybe you should you be writing in a different genre.

In hindsight, those changes often are for the best–different friends, different job, different place to live, different hobbies.

Project onto family, friends and business associates who rejected you or your ideas those qualities you like most about them.

At the time you want to hate them, I’m telling you to do the opposite. I’m suggesting you focus on why you loved them in the first place or wanted to work with them.

What’s my reasoning? The goal is for you to become happy again as quickly as possible. Why wallow in the things that make you unhappy?

Visualize the relationship perfection you’re seeking. See family, friends and co-workers exhibiting the kinds of personality traits you love best. Often expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies. See the best in others and, maybe, that’s how they’ll respond.

Visualize the successful outcome you want.

When I stay focused on what I want to have happen and don’t let the problems of the moment throw me completely off track, I can find the energy to take baby steps away of the mess and toward the solution.

Here’s where you have to be patient—with yourself and with others.

Baby steps take patience. Often, we want to jump right to the solution. I’ve found an immediate solution rarely happens. Instead, I have to work my way out of a problem little by little.

Eventually, I get to a point where I can taste the end goal. Excitement sets in. I’m back to my old self and enjoying life.

Keep getting up when knocked down.

Life taught me there’s always another chance to succeed if you don’t give up. Get up, dust yourself off, get happy and set a new goal. Remember, Abraham Lincoln’s first two businesses went bankrupt. He ran for public office six times and lost. BUT on the seventh, he won the presidency of the United States.

What if he'd given up because of rejection?

Best to you and yours,
JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

JoAnn Ainsworth’s debut medieval romantic suspense novels received four stars from RT Book Reviews and comments like "this is a keeper" and "I loved it" from other reviewers. JoAnn has a lifetime of achievements, but she's most proud of becoming an author as a senior citizen.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We're baaaaack!


Kinsey, PG, Erin, Meg and Kelly are back from RT! (Well, this is being written Saturday night, so as long as our planes don't crash, we're back). (Not that any of us are nervous flyers. Just sayin'.) We had a blast and met lots of great people and even brainstormed titles and covers and crazy parody story ideas (just wait!). Here are a few pics and some things overheard at RT for your entertainment. Some of them are out of context and may or may not be dirty. Some of them are totally in context and are definitely dirty!

Our NNN poster!

I love you but I don’t want to bruise my hand right now.
Put your finger here.
Tie it tighter.
Everyone has to do it once.
I don’t know where we’re supposed to put it.
You don’t have to stick it in anywhere. Just kiss it.
I have a flogger and I’m not afraid to use it.
I’ve got the vibrator and the lube.
We need medication but we’re not on it.
Do not play with them unless you know where Dawn is.
If you don’t pace yourself, Saturday night will be a waste.
I grow on people. Eventually.
I have a box.
All of us at this table have a box.

Kinsey & Kelly going to the Gangster Ball

I found one in my bra last night.
It was in the freezer because there was wax spilled on it.
You need to come to my room - I have something I need to give you. It has a prick on it.
Lorelei James gave Eliza Gale a cowboy cocksucker.
My pants are around my ankles and I`m too tired to notice.
He pays me to pimp him out.  
Pull ‘em out, pull ‘em out and show everybody!

Erin and Viv Arend

Why is it coming out of his mouth?
I’m banging it.
I've been deflowered.
I don’t think I’m getting a happy ending.
Get down on your knees.
I got to grab Kelly’s ass, my trip is complete.
I have to unbutton my sweater more.

PG's newest tattoo - it's an N cubed, if you can't quite make it out

It’s so small we can’t twist it off.
Give it to me, I can twist off anything.
It’s too hard to pull it out.
If I can’t go to the bar I can’t write it off.
I have a tool.
Your thing is not popping up on my thing.
Where should I put it?
You owe me a goat.
You can feel my charger any time.
If you can’t tweet it, it’s not really happening.
It comes right off.
I’m pretty sure we can take him down.
You all are some high maintenance bitches.

Reader Kim's NNN pedicure

I can handle a man with a giant sword.
This American money confuses me.
“Where’s my husband?” “I don’t know but he just left my room.”
Everybody should be having hot dirty sex.
If it could have come out,  it shouldn’t go in.
I have to get the wine bottles out of the bath tub so I can take a shower.
I have a present for you between my legs.
She took a boy up to her room and taught him how to spank.
I just signed the stomach of a married man.
It’s not the sex you have to research, it’s all the other stuff.
I love RT!
Smutketeer-NNN Cover Model Karaoke Party

Friday, April 13, 2012

Home Alone Continues!

The party is still going strong and the girls at RT are having a blast. Miss you guys! Remember to leave a comment and be entered to win ebooks and goody bags. See Wednesday's post for more details.

More RT Q & A

What author would you be lining up to get an autograph from?

Juniper: Anne Rice.

Kate: All of the Naughties! Because then I'd be hanging with them instead of at home working the day job. /pityparty

Skylar: Jamie Craig! Though there are TONS of authors I'd love to meet!

Sydney: Since I've yet to attend RT, I think I'd be too star-stark by so many favorite authors in one place to manage to get any books autographed at all.

What shoes would you be dancing the night away in?

Juniper: It’s still winter here in Alaska, so I’d dress appropriately. If you can call it that.

Kate: Something blingy and eye-catching.

Skylar: The Roger Vivier rose stilettos.

Sydney: Boots. Is anyone really surprised? lol

What would be your hangover cure?

Juniper: The best hangover cure I know is sleep, but of course at RT that’s not an option. Last time I barely slept for four days. In Ireland they recommend burying yourself up to the neck in moist river sand. But Chicago has a lake, not a river. So I guess it’s back to the old standby.

Another Cowboy Cocksucker, anyone?

Kate: Uhm..... Eric Sheffer Stevens! :)

Skylar: More alcohol!

Sydney: Not drinking so much the night before so I don't have a hangover to begin with. :) But if that doesn't happen then lots of H20 before bed and OJ in the morning.

What about you guys? What are you wearing on your feet? What author would you kill to get an autographed book from? Any hangover tips for the girls at RT?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To Organize a Successful Group Blog & Connect With Readers

As you know by now, Meg, Erin, Kelly, Kinsey and PG are in Chicago at the Romantic Times Convention. In addition to all the fun, wine and laughter, we're also actually imparting knowledge. Or something.

We are presenting a panel called How To Organize a Successful Group Blog and Connect With Readers.

We decided to post our presentation outline here for our participants and for anyone else who wants to know what we know *g*

In the case that you can't be with us in person, or you are here in person and want to ask us a question but don't get a chance, please post it here in the comments! We'll answer everything asap! Or something. *g*

I. How We Got Started
* Why we did it

* How we did it

* Decisions to be made

II. Chemistry
* You can't plan chemistry
*What we have in common
* Benefits of working as a TEAM - Together We Achieve More

III. Group Projects
* Bonding
* Group Promo
* Supporting one another
* Picking a project

IV. Guest Bloggers

• Why you want them

• Where to find them

V. Pros and Cons

• Group participation - some might, some might not

• Real life often intervenes and you have to deal with it

• You don't have to do it all by yourself

VI. Reader Perspective

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home Alone Party!!

While Erin, Kelly, Kinsey, Meg and PG are partying it up in Chicago, the rest of us are kicking up are heels at home. Well maybe except Sydney who is spending the next three days packing and moving. So why not join our "If we were going to RT..." party. Every comment today, tomorrow and Friday goes into the pot to win an ebook from Sydney, Juniper, Kate and Skylar's backlist, plus our NNN peeps at RT will be collecting swag for one fantastic goody bag winner.

And now on to the party Q&A!

What would you be wearing to the awards celebration at RT if you were going?

Juniper: Since the Naughties are obsessed with wine, I’d pay tribute to my crew by wearing this lovely dress actually made from fermented wine. One can’t move in it, sadly (the cloth is made by layering the cellulose around the body and letting it shrink to one’s form), but that’s okay. I can still hoot and holler for Meg.

Kate: Something with a little bling - where else will I have the opportunity to wear couture?

Skylar: Something vintage-y and rockabilly.

Sydney: Definitely something sexy and fun.

If partying with NNN crew at RT, what drink would you be found sipping on at the bar?

Juniper: I still have fond memories of downing Cowboy Cocksuckers at last year’s RT. I had no idea what was in them, so I looked it up.

Cowboy Cocksucker
Drink Type: Shooter
3/4 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps (more Butterscotch Schnapps drinks)
3/4 oz. Irish Cream (more Irish Cream drinks)
1 splash(es) Goldschlager (more Goldschlager drinks)
Blend in shot glass. Serve

Pretty simple! I couldn’t find a photo of one, however, so this pic will have to do.

Kate: A lemon drop.

Skylar: Sangria!

Sydney: I'm a complete sucker (not to be confused with Juniper's drink) for Margaritas. So you'd definitely catch me sampling different flavors in search of the best. It's a rough job but someone has to do it.

What song would be belting out at the joint NNN/Smutketeers Cover Model Karaoke?

Juniper: I’d channel Elvis Presley, with some strategic rewriting:

Well, since my Naughties left me
I found a new place to dwell.
It’s down at the end of lonely street
At Heartbreak Hotel.

Sob! Miss you guys!

Kate: On the Steps of the Palace, from Into The Woods. Because I love a good show tune.

Skylar: Mockingbird by Carol King and James Taylor

Sydney: What's Karaoke without a little, Don't Stop Believing by Journey?

Who would your sexy date be to the Highland Party?

Juniper: For the Scottish Highland party, I’d bring this handsome hunk of Irish manliness. Even though he’s not Scottish, I defy you to find anyone who wears a kilt better than Liam Neeson, circa 1995 (in Rob Roy.)

Kate: Eric Sheffer Stevens!

Skylar: Gerard Butler, no question!

Sydney: Hope you like to share, Skylar. :)

What would you be wearing, drinking, and singing at RT this year? Feel free to include links to pics. :) And stay tuned for a post tomorrow from our RT peeps and more "If you were going to RT..." Q&A on Friday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Blogger Nikki Duncan - Naughty Projections

Given that I’m guest blogging for the Nine Naughty Novelists, it seems only right that we talk about something a little…naughty. Specifically naughty nights.

We all have a wild side or naughty desires or a wicked fantasy, right? Some people have all of the above.

That’s part of the fun about writing romance. I get to be all kinds of people and have all sorts of dreams and desires. The better part is that when I know what each person wants I then get to watch them all play out on the page.

The hero of my newest release—ILLICIT INTUITIONS—is an empath with some unique abilities. These abilities had unconventional sparks flying between Dr. H and Ava. Some of those sparks caused trust issues. Others ignited internal doubts. Others still awakened sleeping secrets and an emotional connection as real as a touch.

Tell me, if you found yourself involved with a true empath, someone who could read your emotions as clearly as if they were your own, how do you think you would handle it? Would it bother you, or do you think the connection would make your relationship more powerful?
ILLICIT INTUITIONS releases Today from Samhain Publishing.

Love could be their greatest liability.

Ava Malia knows three things. She was once a kickass covert operative. She will eventually adjust to her new team, the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit. And the only way to finally be free of her professional past is to solve her first case and get her hands on a game-changing technology. The only problem? Success rides on her ability to swallow her distaste for the persona she must adopt in order to earn the trust of a mysterious scientist.

Dr. H escaped childhood captivity with three things. His sister. Complete control of his gift. And an engulfing distrust of anyone in the government. Adjusting to a life of freedom hasn’t been easy, but he’s found peace in solitude. The sexy woman auditing his empathic studies, though, has a way of getting under his skin that’s both arousing and disturbing. Plus, his psychic ability warns him of secrets so deeply buried in her psyche, they’d be better left alone.

Yet their instant attraction strips away all their protective barriers, down to the foundation of a new, fragile trust. And a vulnerability that, when an old enemy opens fire, could blast away any chance of a future.

Read an excerpt of ILLICIT INTUITIONS now!

Purchase the ebook!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Nick Blackthorne’s World Blog Tour

The Nine Naughty Novelists blog is the eleventh stop on Nick Blackthorne’s World Blog tour. Here you’ll find an exclusive snippet from Love’s Rhythm PLUS a line from Nick’s International Number One bestseller, Night Whispers.

If you’re not sure what Nick Blackthorne’s World Blog Tour is, check out contest details here at  Lexxie Couper’s blog There are prizes galore including right here! To be in the running to win an ebook from Lexxie’s backlist make sure to leave a comment or ask Lexxie (or Nick) a question. A winner will be announced at the end of the day J

His music moves the world. Can his love move her heart?

Nick Blackthorne knows all about words of love. They’re the reason he’s the world’s biggest rock star. The irony? He turned his back on love a long time ago, lured away by the trappings of fame.

An invitation to a friend’s wedding is a stark reminder of how meaningless his life has become. When he enters that church, there’s only one woman he wants on his arm—the one he walked out on a lifetime ago. But first he has to find her, even if all she accepts from him is an apology.

Kindergarten teacher Lauren Robbins once had what every woman on the planet desires. Nick. Their passion was explosive, their romance the stuff of songs…and it took fifteen years to get over him. Then out of the blue Nick turns up at her door, and all those years denying her ache for him are shattered with a single, smoldering kiss.

But molten passion can’t hide the secret she’s kept for all these years. Because it’s not just her heart on the line anymore…and not just her life that’ll be rocked by the revelation.  

Product Warnings
Remember your first crush on a rock star? Now add smoldering sex, a raw and undeniable passion, soul-shattering orgasms. And secrets… 

Exclusive Snippet from Love’s Rhythm

Nick rose to his feet, slowly, until he stood directly before her, their thighs brushing, holding her stare the entire time. “You kissed me,” he repeated on a low murmur. “Just like this.”

He lowered his head and took her lips with his. They were soft, as he remembered them being. Soft and sweet and warm. He stroked the tip of his tongue over them, an exquisite tension spreading through his body as they parted. Her tongue touched his, hesitant, almost shy. It was enough. Enough to bring their past, their passion, their desire, rushing back to him. He groaned, low and unabashed, and plunged his tongue deeper into her mouth, his hands snaking around her waist to snare her shirt in two tight fistfuls. She whimpered in reply, the sound pushing him over the edge.

With another groan—this one far more aggressive—he yanked her to his body, taking utter possession of her mouth as his hands roamed her back. She fit to his frame with perfection, firm and soft and lush. Nothing had changed. Her body against his ignited a primitive need in him he’d never been able to vocalize, not in song or word, no matter how many times he’d tried. It sparked a want beyond the physical.

He raked his hands up her back and tangled his fingers in her spun-copper hair, shorter than it had been the last time he saw her but no less silken, no less intoxicating with its thick, unrestrained waves.
Lauren moaned, her hips pressing harder to his. White-hot awareness shot through him, a sizzling tension that made his pulse quicken and his balls throb. He plundered her mouth with desperate greed, drinking in her breath, her equally hungry need. This…this… Why had he walked away from this? Was he insane?

She moaned again, her hands sliding up his shirt, slipping beneath his collar. Her skin touched his and there was nothing hesitant about the contact. She splayed her fingers over his shoulders, up the back of his neck and into his hair, pulling him deeper into their kiss. Her tongue mated with his, fierce and demanding. A noise sounded to Nick’s left—distant and unimportant—like someone coughing. But he didn’t care. Lauren was kissing him. His Lauren. His goddess. She was kissing him and grinding her sex against him and holding him as if she never would let him go again.

Christ, she infused him with heat. With life. Why the fuck had he ever—



Line from Night Whispers 
And I want to cry but I can’t find the tears

Buy links for Love’s Rhythm