Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Blogger Alex Beecroft - Some Thoughts On Fifty Shades Of Grey

First of all, I should probably say I haven't read it. From the reviews and sporkings I have read (with great enjoyment - thank you for reading it so I don't have to), I'm confident that it's really not my thing, and therefore I see no reason to force myself to read it. But I am kind of in awe of how very much people either love or hate it. Maybe it's just that those who are indifferent to it don't bother saying so? Or maybe it really is the kind of thing that even its enemies can't ignore.

I'm struck, I suppose, by the thought that the protest against 50 Shades of Grey is in itself an attempt to control the expression of women's sexuality - an attempt to shame women for liking the stuff that they like.

Here we have a huge bestseller by a woman, which has made that woman rich and successful beyond anyone's dreams. It's based on another huge bestseller by a different woman which made that woman rich and successful beyond anyone's dreams. Both runaway bestsellers became so by virtue of apparently giving women what they wanted to read.

And what happens? Do we celebrate the fact that women are getting rich from giving other women what they want? That female authors are on top of the world? Do we celebrate the fact that some women are discovering that they can talk about their sex drives in public? Even while we're shaking our heads in bemusement that their kink is not our kink, do we feel happy for them that they at least are feeling safe enough to express themselves? No. What happens is that the world comes together to denounce those women for wanting to read what they want to read, and to belittle those authors for giving it to them.

So it turns out that what an enormous amount of women want to read about is not what people think they ought to want? Does that mean that the appropriate response is to attempt to shove those women's sexuality back into a more acceptable shape? Or to shut them up to make us feel more comfortable? I thought it was widely understood that you can entertain rape fantasies without actually wanting to be raped? That we can acknowledge that some "heroes" are enthralling to the mind while we would never want to meet them in meat space? (Spike, Loki, both Malfoys, etc etc, I'm looking at you.) That most mature humans are perfectly aware of the difference between fantasy and reality?

Although, speaking of reality, it's not that long - in evolutionary terms - from the days when girls could expect to be married off to men who were older and richer than them, and who had all the power in the relationship. There are still plenty of countries in which that's how it still goes. A story of how a woman ends up stuck as the sexual plaything and property of a terrifying man, and slowly figures out a way to live with him and make him love her, so that she can survive and even thrive in that relationship - that's a story that might have been some of our female ancestors' only hope. No wonder it still retains power, even in these days, where she would do better to just leave him.

It's not as though my part of the romance genre – m/m romance – is any better. 50 Shades may have the problem that it appears to glamorize rape, domestic abuse and all kinds of misogyny, but m/m romance is not exactly free from abusive relationships. I tread carefully in the genre these days because I'm well aware that you can rarely go anywhere without encountering Alpha/Omega stories in which relationships that start out with rape end up with happily married bliss. Definitely not my thing - it turns my stomach in fact. But I know that nobody is responsible for what they find hot.

50 Shades of Grey and Twilight before it, and whatever newly launched ex-fanfic of Twilight that comes after it - not my thing. But I can still be impressed by the kind of explosion of success that happens when an author taps into a monster of the id that huge numbers of readers share. I could wish that human nature was something other than it is - that our id was as quick to catch up with emancipation as our reason. I wish we could all admire healthy relationships, where both (or every) partner respected the other, communicated well with each other, were always careful to be sure everything was done in a consenting and joyful manner, and were consistently kind to each other. Those are the kind of relationships I like, the kind I like to write about. But I’m well aware that as a concept they rarely set anyone on fire with excitement.

I wish we didn’t admire and lust after things that hurt us, but I've long realized how futile that wish is. And in fact human nature is probably not anything I should change even if I had the power to. God knows, I would probably make it worse.

~*~*~*~

Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years.Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist. Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

Alex can be found at her blog, website or Facebook



Monday, April 29, 2013

Where at RT are the Nine Naughty Novelists?

If you read Kim's fabulous post about last year's RT, you may have noticed there was some mention of some of us getting lost. We certainly don't want that happening! So here's a handy list of all the events we're scheduled to appear at. If you see us there, be sure to say 'hi'!


WEDNESDAY:

SPECIALTY: PARSING THE SMEXY: EROTIC ROMANCE DEFINED

How do you define erotic romance? Is it all about the story, or all about the heat and kink? Is it just smut with an HFN? Should it be a subgenre at all? However you define erotic romance, even if it’s just “I know it when I see it,” join authors, reviewers and industry professionals in what's sure to be a lively, thought-provoking discussion of this hot topic. 

1:15pm - 2:15pm
 Mezzanine Level
Room:  Van Horn B

Naughties in Attendance: Kelly Jamieson and PG Forte

READER: COVER MODEL KARAOKE

Come sing along to your favorite hits, with hunky cover models! Join the Smutketeers and the Nine Naughty Novelists, who will be your doo-wop back-up singers, for a fun-filled hour of musical mayhem. There will be gift bags, prizes — and we mentioned the hunky cover models, right?!

 3:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: Ballroom Level
Room: New York A

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell, Meg Benjamin, PG Forte, Kinsey Holley, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade, Erin Nicholas

SOCIAL EVENT: ELLORA’S CAVE BAD GIRLS OF ROMANCE DISCO INFERNO

Burn Baby Burn! Put on your platform shoes, take it down to Funky Town, and get Super Freaky to all your favorite 1970s dance tunes from Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Rick James and more. Boogie Down with Ellora’s Cave Bad Girls of Romance, and Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough!

9:00pm - 11:55pm
Location:  Mezzanine Level
Room: Exhibit Hall B

Naughties in Attendance:  Juniper Bell, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade...and whoever else decides to drop by!

THURSDAY:

GENRE: EROTICA: THE NEXT GENERATION

What's the next move for erotica? How is all the buzz changing the industry? Get the scoop on erotica and erotic romance from editors and authors. Learn what editors are buying. Find out how to break into the erotic romance market today, and what it takes to break out.

2:45pm - 3:45pm
Location:  Mezzanine Level
Room:  Chouteau B

Naughties in Attendance: Skylar Kade

SOCIAL EVENT: E-BOOK, INDIE PUBLISHER & GRAPHIC NOVEL EXPO

Come meet more than 300 authors whose books are available as e-books, self-published and independent press books. All e-books at this event will be available through All Romance E-Books (ARe).
This event is also open to the public. Tickets are $5.00 and you can purchase a ticket at the door the day of the event.

 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Mezzanine Level
Room: Exhibit Hall A

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell, Meg Benjamin, PG Forte, Kinsey Holley, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade, Erin Nicholas

SOCIAL EVENT: SAMHAIN’S SAFARI

Lions and tigers and shapeshifters... oh my! Enjoy jungle beats, tasty treats and gaming feats with the staff and authors at Samhain Publishing. This year we celebrate all things shapeshifter with food and drink, games, music and prizes including e-readers, Samhain store gift cards and plenty of books. Take a walk on the wild side with us!

6:15pm - 7:45pm

Location:  Lobby Level
Room: Gillham Hall A

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell, Meg Benjamin, PG Forte, Kinsey Holley, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade, Erin Nicholas

FRIDAY:

SOCIAL EVENT: FOUNTAIN CITY JAZZ CLUB MIXER

You can’t come to the City of Fountains and the home of Kansas City jazz without swingin’ by the Fountain City Jazz Club Breakfast! "In the Mood" for cold mimosas and hot jazz? Come scat with the cool cats for great food, champagne fountains, live jazz, games and prizes.

 8:30am - 9:45am
Location:  Lobby Level
Room:  Gillham Hall A

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell/Jennifer Bernard (and whoever else she can wrangle)

SOCIAL EVENT: AVON’S RED SLIPPER LOUNGE

Trade in your ruby slippers for some kickin’ high-heel shoes and join Avon Books for a toe-tapping celebration of romance! Mix and mingle with authors from Avon, Avon Impulse, William Morrow, Harper Voyager and Epic Reads/Harper Teen, and you’ll leave with a veritable passel of signed books! Afternoon sweets will be served during the event. Attendees can enjoy stylish libations, compliments of Little Black Dress Wines – like their namesake, classic and timeless, Little Black Dress Wines are perfect for any occasion!
  
6:15pm - 7:15pm
Location:  Lobby Level
Room: Gillham Hall

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell/Jennifer Bernard

PROMISE HARBOR BACHELORETTE PARTY

Join the authors of the Promise Harbor Wedding series who'll be there to play Dirty Minds and give away naughty prizes.

8:00pm -?
"The Bar" (we hope there's only one)

Naughties in Attendance: Erin Nicholas, Kelly Jamieson and Meg Benjamin (and whoever else feels like playing)

SATURDAY:

SOCIAL EVENT: GIANT BOOK FAIR

Meet more than 400 authors who will autograph books, posters and bookmarks. Bring your “keepers” and have them signed! 

The Saturday Giant Book Fair ticket is included in the full general convention registration fee.
This event is also open to the public and can be purchased as an individual ticket for just the Giant Book Fair. You can pre-order a book fair ticket here (Choose Day & Weekend Passes and Individual Tickets in the dropdown menu) or you can purchase a ticket at the door the day of the event. Pre-ordered tickets will be picked up at the hotel on the day of the Giant Book Fair.

You may bring in your books from home to get them autographed, however, they must be checked in and stamped (invisible ink so no damage to your books) before you enter the book fair. Also only two books from home per author are allowed.

PERK FOR FULL CONVENTION ATTENDEES:
Attendees signed up for the entire convention and who have a badge will be allowed to enter the Giant Book Fair 15 minutes earlier (at 10:45am) so they can beat the crowds of local fans waiting to get in to meet the authors.

11:00am - 2:00pm
Location: Mezzanine Level
Room:  Exhibit Hall A

Naughties in Attendance: Meg Benjamin, Jennifer Bernard, PG Forte, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade, Erin Nicholas

FAN-TASTIC DAY: FAN-TASTIC DAY PARTY

Meet a revolving door of hundreds of authors as they make appearances every 30 minutes in this high-energy event. Be one of the first 500 to sign up and receive a goody bag filled with free books and promotional items. Choose “FAN-tastic Day Pass” when you register for a pass that includes the party, the goody bag (first 500 registrants), the workshops and the Giant Book Fair.

There will be 50+ door prizes, including e-readers, lap desks, books, gift certificates and more! 

6:30pm - 7:45pm
Location:  Ballroom Level
Room:  Chicago, New York, San Francisco

Naughties in Attendance: Juniper Bell, Meg Benjamin, PG Forte, Kinsey Holley, Kelly Jamieson, Skylar Kade, Erin Nicholas

SOCIAL EVENT: CARINA PRESS COCKTAIL PARTY

Join Carina Press authors, Executive Editor Angela James and other members of the Carina Press team for an hour of cocktails and light snacks starting at 8pm. Kick off your evening with delicious treats and take part in a fun activity designed to help you get to know Carina Press authors better. Participants will be entered into our drawing for an iPad 2 (the winner will be announced at the end of the party).

 8:00pm - 9:00pm
Location:  Mezzanine Level
Room: Exhibit Hall A

Naughties in Attendance: PG Forte...and anyone else who decides to stop by.

And there you have it. Hope to see you all there!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flirty Friday - Hitched


This photo reminded me of my upcoming book Hitched, which is book four in the Promise Harbor Wedding series that I had the extreme pleasure of writing with three of my Naughty Nine friends, Kelly Jamieson, Meg
Benjamin and Sydney Somers. The photo definitely depicts a wedding and some fun! The only difference would be that when *my* bride gets carried off and kissed it's not by the groom! :) Hitched comes out April 30th!





Gavin headed for the rental car, mostly because he had no idea where else to go.  It was right in front of the church, parked crookedly at the curb, the keys still in the ignition.

Just how he’d expect someone to park who was about to break up a wedding and steal the bride.

Break up a wedding.  Steal the bride.

Hell.  What had he just done?

Had he really just carried Allie out of her own wedding?

Gavin felt a trickle of sweat slip down his back—and it wasn’t that hot out here.

Holy shit.

He’d really done it.

And looking down at the woman in his arms, he knew he would do it all over again. 

It was moments like this that being a selfish bastard—as his father so eloquently put it—was a good thing.  He wasn’t going to lose any sleep over Josh Brewster and the wedding without a bride.  Maybe Josh really loved Allie.  Maybe his heart was in pieces right now. But Gavin didn’t really care.  This was about him and the fact that he was in love with her.  Josh was on his own.

Yanking the passenger door open, he nudged Allie inside and slammed the door before jogging to the driver’s side.  He slid behind the wheel, shifted into drive and pulled away from the curb, aware of Josh’s angry presence by the church’s side door.  Gavin kept his eyes on the street until they were a block away, then he glanced over at Allie.  She was watching him with those big green eyes that had made him mush for years.  

“You okay?” he asked, giving her a little smile.  She would be if she wasn’t now.  He’d make sure of it.

“Strangely enough, I think I might be,” she said.  

One corner of her mouth curled up at the corner and Gavin knew he was right to interrupt the wedding.  It wasn’t like declaring that he still loved her and wanted her back could have really waited until after the wedding.

Hitched, by Erin Nicholas. Pre-order at Samhain now!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday 13: Best Conference Cities


Can you tell we're excited for the RT Convention? While we're thrilled to be seeing each other, and our favorite authors, again, we're not exactly chomping at the bit to spend five days in Kansas City. It's a nice place, sure, but these are our 13 dream US conference destinations:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Charleston, SC 
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. New York City, NY
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Albuquerque, NM
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Las Vegas, NV
  11. Nashville, TN
  12. San Antonio, TX
  13. San Diego, CA

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time to get Hitched!


It's almost time!  It feels like this book has been in the planning stages for, geez, three years! Maybe because it kind of has!

That's right... the first time Kelly, Meg, Syd and I talked about writing a series together was in the summer of 2010!


But it's finally here!  The first three books in the Promise Harbor Wedding series have been released and it's now less than a week until the fourth book, Hitched (*my* book :)) is out!

If you hang out with any of the four of us (or hang out with all four of us) you're probably sick of hearing about this book series.  So today I thought we'd talk about...

Oh, just kidding!  I'm talkin' about this book, darn it!  I love talking about this series!

But here are a few things about the series that you might not know (to keep things interesting):

1.  Promise Harbor was, at first, Promise Cove.  We had to change it because Samhain already had a series that used the name Cove.

2.  The four of us got together on the project, not because we're all part of the Naughty Nine, but because three of us share an editor (and the idea of doing a multi-author series with us was hers :))

3.  We were originally going to release the books once a month, but we decided that was too long in between, but that weekly was too fast, so we settled on every other week during April, (since that's the beginning of wedding season).

4.  The first titles we proposed were The Bride's Tale, The Groom's Tale, and so on.  Our editor didn't like that.  Then the titles were Someone Like You, Nobody But You, Something About you and 'Til There Was You.  In fact, our first drafts were written under those titles. Then our editor didn't think they sounded fun enough :). Kinsey Holley and PG Forte were the ones who came up with the awesome current titles.

5.  We were originally going to write about four siblings who were running the family restaurant together.

6.  Meg named Greta and Josh's mom, Sophie.

7.  Erin named Allie's dad, Owen.

8.  Meg was the one who decided Sophie and Owen would have a romantic relationship.

9.  Syd suggested that her heroine, Hayley, and my hero, Gavin, were BFFs in high school. And that they were *troublemakers*! (which I loved, btw :))

10.  Kelly named Barney's Chowder House... and made their specialty the hickory burger.  (I want one every time I read about it...)


You really should check this series out!  You can read the books in any order, really, (though my book, number four does give a few things away about the others at the end).  The timelines run simultaneously, so the events in book one are happening at the same time things are happening in book three (and so on).  So just grab one--either our smokin' firefighter groom, our hunky archeologist, our hot hockey player or our rugged wildlife vet-- and dive in!



The Promise Harbor Wedding Series

Into even the best-planned wedding a little chaos must fall...


Join the residents of Promise Harbor, Massachusetts for the wedding of the
season! Or, at least, for the most entertaining wedding of the season.

The groom's been left at the altar, the Maid of Honor is MIA, the Best Man
is in handcuffs and the bride has been swept off her feet--literally.

There's definitely love in the air, but things are going to get a little
crazy before anyone gets to happily ever after.



Jilted, Promise Harbor Wedding book one, Kelly, Jamieson, March 19, 2013
Bolted, Promise Harbor Wedding book two, Meg, Benjamin, April 2, 2013
Busted, Promise Harbor Wedding book three, Sydney Somers, April 16, 2013
Hitched, Promise Harbor Wedding book four, Erin, Nicholas, April 30, 2013







Hitched

The Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 4

Erin Nicholas, April 30, 2013


And she thought the bridesmaids dresses were her biggest problem...

Allison Ralston would rather be anywhere other than this wedding. Even if
the wedding is hers. Especially since the wedding is hers.

But Allie's determined to restore her family's happiness, and if tying the knot with longtime family friend, Josh Brewster, is the way to do it, then she'll walk down that aisle, toss that bouquet and drink that champagne. Oh, she'll definitely drink the champagne.

There’s only one thing that could get Gavin Montgomery back to Promise Harbor.  And she’s about to say I do to another man. Now he’s back to claim what’s his—even if he has to do it in the middle of her wedding.

Allie is shocked—and okay, a little turned on—when Gavin literally sweeps her off her feet. Safe in his arms, she succumbs to fatigue, stress, and yes, the champagne, only to wake up in his bed. In Alaska.

Now that he’s put four thousand miles between Allie and all her responsibilities, Gavin’s determined to show her that they can make a life together.  If he has his way, the next wedding Allie will be planning will be theirs.

Warning: Contains a guy so in love he’s willing to break up the wedding of the season, a bride who just needs to get to, well, anywhere else, and enough hot sex to take them from New England to Alaska and back again.

BUY

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Blogger Eva LeFoy - Nine Naughty Inspirations

Since it’s my first time here (thanks for having me, ladies!) I thought I’d start out kind of easy on ya’ll. No kink, no risqué photos…. Well, maybe just a few!! But I figured why not show a few things that over the years have inspired my imagination – some of them more than once, heh – and see if anybody else feels the same way. I mean, I don’t exist in a closet, right?

Hello? Gosh, it got dark in here all the sudden!

Okay, here we go:

1. Chocolate. Yeah, this is a pretty easy one, especially when paired with # 2. I mean, what’s not to like about deep rich dark chocolate – IMO the darker the better, over 80% rocks! – to soothe a girl’s nerves? Does chocolate inspire your fantasies?

2. Wine. *hic* Red wine preferably, especially in the winter, which is just now ending. I’m lucky to live a wine area with about 500 wineries! Yep. It’s wine city. My favorites are Syrah and Merlot, but I’m not too fond of Cab Sauv. It’s too…oaky. Wine is awfully relaxing, and has that nice warming effect. Note: too much doesn’t make a writer very productive though! Zzzzzz….

3. Hiking. No, I’m not wandering in my backyard drinking wine and eating chocolate, and thinking I’m in another place, I’m talking hiking UP and OVER, huffing and puffing and sweating like the dickens. Yep. Sometimes just getting from here to there is worth the journey because along the way your mind just gets real quiet. You enter this kind of… meditative state I guess I’d call it. It’s a brain refresher, and that’s oh so helpful when you’re writing. How is hiking naughty? Well, it’s naughty if you know you have to be back at work in fifteen minutes and you just keep going….

4. Okay, enough of the easy stuff. I’m just gonna lay it on ya: Star Trek. Yep. I’m a Trekkie. Have always been, since I was a little kid. Over the years, ST TOS, TNG Voyager and DS9 have fueled all sorts of fantasies in my pea brain. Yes, a lot of them were naughty. How could they not be? I mean, all those alien species and their parts to consider…. Not to mention all the tight uniforms.

5. Jane Austen men. What? That’s seems like an about-face I’m sure. I write hot foodie romance with sex and I read straight-laced historicals? Yes! And I have to say the men that play those roles are just downright yummeh! I’m still on the fence in the Matthew Macfadyen versus Colin Firth debate of who played the better Darcy. But I say, don’t neglect the other cuties in the BBC versions of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. Even though they’re blond … which is just so very tragic IMO … they are quite inspirational.

6. Reading what other authors write, even in other genres. I don’t write for Harlequin at the moment, but sometimes nothing but a Harlequin Presents will do. You know what I mean? True, most the guys are asshats from page one, but the stories are just so…well they draw you in. That’s all I have to say about that. Also Sherrilyn Kenyon has some great paranormal stuff out that certainly feeds the imagination. Ahem…

7. Movies. Sometimes it’s the actor that’s *hot* like Hugh Jackman, or sometimes it’s the movie sex/seduction scene that’s steamy – think Blade Runner. Either way, movies can be a great way to get your inspiration going. My favorite movie as of late is Skyfall, with the sexy (even though blond!) Daniel Craig. I liked him even better in Casino Royale though. Also, some of the Hobbit characters are quite interesting…

8. Music! The inspiration for my book Sweet Cravings was actually the Timbaland and Justin Timberlake music video, Carry Out. Really! I can’t help but get naughty ideas about food and sex every time I watch it. I dare you not to!

9. That brings me to the end! Maddening, isn’t it? Well for number nine I’d have to say reader comments. I mean, they sometimes just nail it and other times they leave me giggling. I love to read the reviews on the other book I have out, Tentacles – the ones where they say they were shouting at the screen. Yes! It makes me squee!

So that’s some of things that inspire me to write down all my dirty thoughts and share them with others. I hope I can inspire readers and writers to find enjoyment in books, and to take a hike now and then. I’ll bring the wine! 

Thanks for reading!

And BTW if you read M/M romance, I’ll have a 1NS out from Decadent Publishing this fall set in exciting, fast-paced Mumbai, India. In the meantime, I’m working on a western. Check out my blog for sneak peeks.
Eva Lefoy writes and reads all kinds of romance, and is a certified Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, and hiking. One of these days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her job, and go travel the galaxy. Until then, she’s writing down all her dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.

Blurb:
Sweet Cravings Riding the waves of a sugar high, Violet Cunningham seduces the town’s newest pastry chef, slathering him with whipped cream in his secret kitchen. But all that is made of sugar melts, and her brazenness vanishes soon after their tryst, leaving her battling old insecurities about her waistline and appetites, courtesy of her mother. Positive she’s only made a fool of herself, she’s mortified when her boss sends her back to sexy Chef Max’s kitchen and into the proverbial frying pan.

After a red-hot date, her chef disappears, and Violet’s emotions simmer to a boil, forcing her to confront the awful truth: there’s more to life than pastry.

Genre: Contemporary, erotic romance, rubenesque, foodie romance, BBW

Buy Link: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=738

Monday, April 22, 2013

Marketing Monday: Best Conference Apps

With the RT Conference nine days away, it's time to start thinking about how you'll maximize your time and exposure to readers, writers, and industry professionals. These apps will (hopefully) make your time at any conference more streamlined, which translates to a more relaxed, happier you.

1. Travel Organizers: TripIt is a wonderful app that syncs with your email to gather information on upcoming travel. It then organizes all your hotel, ground transportation, and flight information into an easy-to-use itinerary. Your confirmation numbers and other booking information are all located in one point, so you don't have to rustle through a stack of paper tickets or scroll through emails to find your seating information. If you're flying, and especially if you have a long layover scheduled, GateGuru can be helpful. You can sync this to TripIt and all your travel information will be visible in this app. But beyond TripIt's functionality, GateGuru's Amenity List view will help you navigate the eateries, shops, and services in your airport terminal.

2. Note Taking: Even if you're a steadfast pen and paper gal, sometimes you'll need to save a note on your smartphone. For the hardcore digital noter, Evernote is the way to go. You can create notes from your browser, from a desktop program, or from your phone, and they will sync across all these platforms. You can also clip whole webpages to save for later reference. This is a wonderful research tool; for conference use, you can create your schedule, a list of authors you want to meet, or use their quick-add to create notes on the go. If you're more of a jotter, Google Keep is like a digital post-it note that takes text, photo, or voice notes. Both apps have a widget that I recommend sticking on your home screen so you can add one-touch notes.

3. Social Networking: While you should not feel obligated to maintain your posting schedule while you're at a conference or on vacation, your readers and friends stuck at home may appreciate living vicariously through your posts. All the big social networks now have apps on the Android and Apple markets, so download in advance and fiddle with it before you leave. You can even grab a Blogger or Wordpress app to post on-the-go.

For Twitter, I recommend familiarizing yourself with a third party app like Tweetcaster or HootSuite, which make it easier to toggle between multiple streams. Follow the #RT13 hashtag for all the conference tweets!

4. Local Navigation: You don't want to be stuck eating just hotel food, so snag an app like Yelp or Foursquare that uses ratings and check-ins to help you choose the best area food.

5. High-tech Promotion: I think everyone should have a QR code reader on their phones, but it's especially important at this year's RT convention, where the e-book fair is all QR code-based. Even if you're signing, and not shopping for e-books, download an QR reader in advance and test out your codes.

If you have your mailing list set up through MailChimp, downloading Chimpadeedoo is essential. This app, once set up, provides an easy, mobile way for readers to sign up for your mailing list. No waiting for them to get back to their computers; they can add their contact information on the spot.

Friday, April 19, 2013

First BOOK Friday... coming soon!

So, clearly *someone* forgot to blog today.  I'm going to blame it on the cold medicine.  I didn't take any today... that's probably the problem.

ANYWAY, I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that we're starting a new feature on the third Friday of the month called First Book Friday.  For NEXT month!  lol!

We're going to feature the first book each of the Nine Naughty Novelists ever published!  These are the books that started it all!

For some of us it was was longer ago than for others, but you never forget your first ;)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday 13: Ooooh shiny! (hot guy edition)

It's almost the weekend AND it's almost time for RT. To celebrate, we present this visual feast of beautiful men!

Who's your favorite?


1. Steve McQueen

2. Jason Momoa--in a kilt!


3. Eric Sheffer Stevens

4. Jensen Ackles

5. Richard Armitage
6. Brian McCardie--in a kilt!
7. Bradley Cooper
8. Paul Newman
9. Benedict Cumberbatch
10. David Tennant
11. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
12. Gerard Butler--in a kilt!
13. Taylor Kinney



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

R T-Minus Two Weeks!!!

Yep. Two weeks from tomorrow, I fly to Kansas City for the RT Booklovers Convention. And, as might surprise anyone who knows how horrible I am about writing deadlines, I actually began planning/packing a couple weeks ago.

I expect I'll have my clothes fully packed by Sunday night - over the past two weeks I've been pulling out the stuff I plan to wear, making sure it fits, setting it aside. But the clothes are the easiest part of RT packing. It's all the other crap you have to assemble.

Last year, I forgot to pack my promo items. Let me repeat - I FORGOT to pack PROMO material. I'm an author, at a booklovers' convention, and I left all my damn promotional material neatly packed in a box and sitting on my desk. On top of that, my publisher didn't have any bookcards for me to hand out at the e-book signing. None of that stopped me from having a hell of a lot of fun, of course -- but this year, I was determined, would be different.

So I've double and triple checked that I signed up in time for the e-book signing. I've designed my own promo cards and ordered 250 of them. I'm just a little bit proud of them (I'm a crappy photographer, though):



I found these spatulas at Target last fall; they weren't available online, and my local Target had only a few. I ended up hitting every Target in the west and southwest of Houston to find enough to send to the rest of the Naughties and have a couple left over to give away at RT:
 



A constant concern at RT (or any convention, I'd assume) is keeping your electronic devices charged; lots of people congregate in the lobbies and other common areas and you're always looking for an outlet.  So I got an Anker Astro3 charging battery which works for laptops and Android devices; you keep the Astro charged and throw it in your bag, and you'll have a constant battery backup for your tablet, phone, whatever. It comes with all the different plugs you'd need (but if you have a laptop, make sure you get the Astro that charges them, because some will only handle mobile Android devices.) A Zagg does the same for iThings:




Speaking of promo - which I WILL NOT forget this year - the Naughties have reserved a full table in Promo Alley - so stop by for goodies of all sorts. We needed a tablecloth and I thought it would be cool to decorate it with images of our various covers. I'm about a quarter done, and so far I like the look. Diva's holding it up for me - don't know if it gives you an idea but I promise it's gonna be cool:

(Don't tell anyone that I did one of Erin Nicholas' covers upside down. Hoping no one will notice.)

To be honest, ironing all those transfers on is kinda tedious. I was going to pay Diva to do some of it for me, and I then I realized - no, that's probably not a good idea:






Besides, she's already expressed discomfort/disgust with some of the covers already. Diva's a prude, which is fine by me because she's 11, and I hope she remains prudish for another 10 years but I'm pretty sure she won't.

It wouldn't be RT if we weren't worried or jazzed about shoes. I will, of course, be wearing mostly sandals and modestly elevated boots because I have horrible feet, but I did go out and buy a pair of mundane, low heeled black patent leather toe pumps. And then I decoupaged them with bits of my book covers and a few lines of text:

We'll see how long/often I can wear them.

Normally I'd be worrying about all this stuff I have to take with me, because all together it weighs a bit and I'd have to pay extra baggage fees. But this year, Erin Nicholas is able to drive to RT so we're sending her all our stuff to bring down for us.

Most important consideration: will she have room for all the wine???



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Naughty Nine... up close and personal


If you follow our blog, you know us.  You've listened to us go on and on about... pretty much everything at this point!  We love to hear ourselves-- and each other-- talk!  

But what is it really like to be around us?  We think it's probably hilarious (we're some of the funniest people we know!).  We also think it's probably pretty damned enlightening (we're some of the most fascinating people we know too!).  And we're sure that it's unforgettable! (yes, in a good way... )

Well, now you can hear about it from someone who took a deep breath, got on a plane and headed to a big romance convention just to meet us!  How cool is that?!  Here's how it happened for Kim-the-Amazing (that's what we call her anyway ;))



Until April of 2012, I had never been on a trip by myself.  I’ve always had friends or family with me on any trip beyond 250 miles. Last winter when I was reading all the posts from authors and readers, who were going to Chicago for RT, I was jealous.  I wished I could go.  Then I realized nothing was stopping me from going except my own fear.  I have only flown twice in my life and even though it wasn’t a horrible experience, the last time I was on a plane was August 2001 (yes, less than a month before 9/11).  I was a little nervous about getting on a plane to say the least. 

Then there was the issue of going to Chicago and not really knowing anyone.  What if I got lost? What would I do?  I initially planned on not telling anyone that I was going to RT.  I was just going to show up, introduce myself and hope that no one thought I was a stalker.  The “not knowing anyone” really worried me, so I decided to tell someone. I was just going to tell Erin and PG and still try to be a little bit of a surprise to Kelly and Kinsey (at that point, my NNN knowledge was pretty much limited to those four and Kate).  

Well, of course, I couldn’t keep it secret. I wanted to join in on all the tweets about the excitement and who was going and who was rooming with whom. 

I planned my trip perfectly. I think.  I decided one way to save money was to fly in early Thursday morning.  If everything went as planned, I would make it in time for karaoke and see the NNN.  I didn’t know how these things worked.  That might be my only chance.  I might only see them at that moment and just wander the rest of the weekend.  There were a couple of other authors I wanted to see, so it might be okay.

I arrived at the hotel, checked my bags, and headed to the sign-in area.  I was early but they checked me in anyway and one lady said “Go to the Goodie Room NOW, don’t wait!” So I went.  As I was coming out I saw Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon.  I didn’t say anything to these people. Don’t ask me why. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t.  I had my map and everything planned out.  I knew where the karaoke room was and there was something going on across the hall so I wandered in there to wait.  There was Mari Carr again. Shoving that awkward feeling aside, I approached her.  The next thing I know I am getting hugs, trading phone numbers and surrounded by International Heat.  But what about the NNN?  Are they going to be happy to see me, or are they going to be like, “Oh, no. It’s that crazy one. Don’t make eye contact and maybe she’ll leave”.

I debated on whether or not I should just walk into the karaoke room like I owned the place (while people were waiting in line) and thought better of it. What if one of these RT people asked what the hell I thought I was doing?  So, I waited in line.  When we were let in, once again, I thought this might be my only shot at seeing the NNN.  I walked up to the NNN singing away and held up my name badge.  They all looked at me with this blank expression of who the hell is this? Seriously. They really did. I was like oh shit this is bad.  It only took a second, but I think Erin was the first to realize who the hell I was, and Erin, Kelly, PG, and Kinsey all stopped and gave me a hug. Meg was still wondering who the hell is this? J  It was great! I got to meet them. How wonderful!  And after the karaoke was over they had another panel immediately following. I, with my memorized map, helped to get them there.  Erin soon had to leave to meet with Lindsey. I still wasn’t sure I would see her anymore and I had a “Mac” gift for her.  I chased her down as she was walking away with Lindsey to give it to her. Keep in mind, at this point I had no idea who Lindsey was, so I am sure that was like mad props that a fan gave this to her in front of her newly promoted editor. J

Much of the day was a blur.  I was working on about three hours of sleep – if that.  But I remember having lunch with PG, Kelly, Kinsey, and Meg. I also remember getting a really expensive club sandwich and talking to Kinsey about menopause.  This led to the subject of the NNN’s next serial. I said they should do one about menopause and call it The Menopause Games or Fifty Shades of Menopause. (I still think this is a very good idea)

You know what I now realize? They took care of me. I wandered around some and met new authors and fellow readers, but the NNN were watching out for me.  I remember coming into the lobby at one point and seeing Kinsey sitting there. She smiled and said “There you are.” How awesome is that?!

I guess you could say I was the NNN’s entourage.  One or all of them made sure I wasn’t sitting around alone, all the time. They didn’t know, but I carried my bag around with me with my camera and kindle cover everywhere I went. Even though I was there to meet them, there were TONS of authors there. I wanted to be prepared for the photo ops. J (If you haven’t been, you wouldn’t believe it. There is someone there handing you signed books and swag around every corner.  Some of the swag was super cool and I would always carry that back and share with the NNN.)

Let me tell you about the NNN I met…

Meg – She is a very interesting lady. She dresses like she just stepped out of a magazine.  She has a quick wit and she can hit you with some sarcasm with such a straight face that you find yourself saying, “Hey, wait a minute. Meg, that was freaking funny as shit!” several minutes later.

Kinsey – To be completely honest, I was a little nervous about meeting Kinsey.  I am not completely sure why.  It might have been her “tell ya like it is” tweets.  But let me tell you, Kinsey Holley is about the sweetest person I have ever met. 

Kelly – Kelly is a wonderful and popular author yet so down to earth. It was cool that we could be “fan girls” together with other authors. On the day we left, we sat together in the airport until I had to board. We just chatted and yawned – these are the things I will always remember.

PG – I love PG. She is a special lady. I wish I would have kept track of the number of times someone said, “Where’s PG?” We lost her a lot. Wonder where she was? And if there is anything I need to know, PG will have the answer. I have never met someone with such a broad knowledge base as PG.

Erin – My reason for going to RT. Several years ago I read my first romance novel (I had been a mystery and suspense girl). Because of Just Right I boarded a plane, flew to Chicago, and made some wonderful friends. Something I never would have done if I hadn’t read that book. Erin’s sense of humor is a match to her books and I felt as though I was hanging with one of the Bradford gang. Her smile is infectious and she does everything she can to make everyone feel special (while making sure everyone knows she’s the princess). She is freaking awesome!

Kate – Kate was not there, but she sent me a book. These ladies know how to make someone feel special. J

I am VERY excited and nervous about RT this year. There will be more Naughties at RT this year! I am 
hoping they won’t think I am the crazy stalker fan (I am good with crazy fan though). I am rooming with Skylar and horrified that I might snore. Seriously. But I am completely prepared to stand guard in front of the bathrooms for any and all of the NNN. And I will be back to tell you all about the new NNN I meet this year. 

~ Kim (-the-Amazing)  


If you're going to be at the Romantic Times Convention this year, please come find us and say hi!  We're... okay, maybe a little loud

:), but we're very friendly (and don't forget hilarious and fascinating!)  We'll be all over and generally where you find one of us you'll find at least one more! 


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Promise Harbor Authors


If you've been following Kelly, Meg, Erin and I around on our Blog Tour, you already know some of the behind the scenes stuff on how we brainstormed The Promise Harbor Wedding series or a little of how we wrote the books with overlapping scenes and time frames. Then there were the fun posts about town gossip and what not to do at a wedding.

Today I figured I share a few tidbits I learned about the authors behind this series while working with them. :)


Kelly - Is an absolute trooper. She took on the challenge of writing the first book knowing the pressure involved with being the lead book in a new series. She's also a fearless brainstormer. We tossed around a lot of ideas about this series (including what we would call the town) and anyone who can suggest Cape Grouper without hesitation is fearless :)


Meg - Is a lot more laid back when it comes to worrying about the small stuff than I am. I'm pretty sure she's the only reason I managed to keep a leash on my need to spreadsheet and pie graph all the people in Promise Harbor, what they were doing and when. :)  I also know that Meg needs to cook for me someday. Between the original series idea of a family-run restaurant and the fact that Greta in Bolted is a fantastic cook, I just know Meg would make a meal that's to die for.


Erin - Is more sarcastic than I am. If you've read my books you know I'm a huge fan of banter between the hero and heroine. I love movies that have great one-liners and love delivering them myself. But if I had to go head to head with Erin, I'm pretty sure she'd slay me every single time. Okay, so I didn't know that just from working on this series, but I did realize that like Meg and Kelly, Erin is also easy to work with and we all had a lot of fun.


And since Busted releases tomorrow (yay) here's the blurb :)


His game…Her rules

Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.

Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.

Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.

What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best of reason of all to come home—for good.

Warning: Contains a fiery powerplay both on and off the ice, skin-tingling forced intimacy, interfering grandparents, bear costume hijinks, a haunted house and the kind of game-changing chemistry worth fighting for.

Visit my Website to read the first chapter!










Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday Book Club -- Sort of


Welcome to the special Sunday edition of Friday Book Club. Special because I sort of forgot to post it on Friday. :)

Last month was all about steamy and sexy tropical reads to chase away the lingering winter chill. We dished about books set in Hawaii and some of our favorite Aussie authors.

This time we're chatting about Contemporary Romance, like the Promise Harbor Wedding series for example.

I'm shameless, I know. 
So curl up with your favorite comfort drink and let us know what contemporary romance books you've been reading lately. Have any favorite kind of contemporary hero? Favorite storylines? Ones that drive you crazy? Leave a comment letting us know. 

Next month -- Erotic Romance!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday 13: Best Movie Quotes, Part II


We have more rockin' movie quotes this week--Don't forget to leave your favorite in the comments!


1. Pitch Perfect
I ate my twin in the womb.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean
I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest... Honestly, it's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly...stupid.

 3. Sleepless in Seattle
When you're attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. So what we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match.

4. The Empire Strikes Back
[a tremor knocks Leia into Solo's arms] Princess Leia: Let go.
Han Solo: Shh.
Princess Leia: Let go, please.
Han Solo: Don't get excited.
Princess Leia: Captain, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited.
Han Solo: Sorry sweetheart. I haven't got time for anything else.

5. Some Like it Hot
Jerry: Oh no you don't! Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all.
Osgood: Why not?
Jerry: Well, in the first place, I'm not a natural blonde.
Osgood: Doesn't matter.
Jerry: I smoke! I smoke all the time!
Osgood: I don't care.
Jerry: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player.
Osgood: I forgive you.
Jerry: [tragically] I can never have children!
Osgood: We can adopt some.
Jerry: But you don't understand, Osgood! Ohh... [Jerry finally gives up and pulls off his wig]
Jerry: [normal voice] I'm a man!
Osgood: [shrugs] Well, nobody's perfect!

6. Conan
To crush your enemies. To see them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

7. The Big Easy
Anne Osborne: That's OK. I never did have much luck with sex anyway. Remy McSwain: Your luck's about to change, cher.

8. When Harry Met Sally
I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

9. The Big Chill
If you're going to sleep this late, you're going to miss a few mini-dramas.

10. The Empire Strikes Back  
[Leia and Han share a passionate kiss before Han is dragged towards the freezing chamber by the imperials]
Princess Leia: I love you.
Han Solo: I know.

11. Clueless
Anything happens to my daughter, I got a .45 and a shovel, I doubt anybody would miss you.

12. Pitch Perfect
I know you're all skinny bitches, but you have fat hearts and that's what counts.

13. The Empire Strikes Back
Do, or do not. There is no "try".

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BFFs

I love friends.

I love my friends, I love reading about friends, I love watching friends interact.

So when I started planning my novella trilogy, The Girls Most Likely To,  I knew that the friendship Tess, Bree, and Kelsey share was vital to the storylines. Although each book is about the journey to love for a different couple, the thread that holds them together is the friendship of these women who've known each other for so many years.

They share each other's memories, in a way. They remember the crushes, the inside jokes, the little details that make them individuals. They know what matters and what's fluff. And it's their friendship that helped shape them into the people they are today.

So even though the word count is limited in a novella, I included scenes where the three of them interact, whether the guys are around or not. (Although it does get interesting when they're included!) Because I know when dramarama happens in my own life, my friends have got my back. No way would these three leave each other to navigate the treacherous waters of their reunion alone.

Yeah, they snark and complain and are sometimes a little thoughtless. But in the end, they're there for each other. And that's what really counts, doesn't it?