Friday, August 30, 2013

August's Round Up


Summer's winding to an end, but there's no need to feel melancholy.  Not when we have lots of exciting news to cheer you up! 


Medium Rare, the second book in Meg Benjamin's Medium series is out now. If you haven't picked it up yet...well, what are you waiting for?


There are no skeletons in her closet…only ghosts

Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…

Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.

When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…




The third book in Kelly Jamieson's San Amaro Singles series, Slammed, featuring pro-surfer bad boy hero Dylan Schell, releases Tuesday September 3.  

He never saw love coming…until it crashed into him.

Brooke Lowry has a mission: fly to Tahiti, pluck PR nightmare Dylan Schell out of whatever party he’s in, bring him home and clean up his image. 

It was her idea for Jackson Cole clothing company to sponsor the pro surfer. But the chances of saving this deal—and her career—look pretty slim when she finds the sexy party boy “shooting the curl” with two beach bunnies.

Dylan is finally getting back on track, and the next big event would put him over the top…if it wasn’t being held in San Amaro, where he’d be forced to watch his best friends Matt and Corey tie the knot and move on without him.

He’ll do anything to keep that from happening, including taking shameless advantage of a tropical cyclone—three days cut off from civilization—to distract the lovely Brooke into his bed.

Despite her moment or three of weakness, Brooke won’t be deterred. And suddenly Dylan finds himself facing a lot of things—his hometown, his past, and something he didn’t see coming. Love. 


Product Warnings
Check it, dude, this book contains a bad boy surfer who gets slammed by fierce waves but gets back up, a buttoned-up woman who learns to chillax, and some righteous shreddin’ the gnarl. 

Pre-order it now on Amazon  Or from Samhain

Skylar Kade's "A Love Worth Living", a contemporary romance set in Washington, DC, releases September 10th from Samhain Publishing. She'll be doing a live reading in San Diego at the Lady Jane's Salon on September 24th.

When the nightmares yawn beneath her feet, the scariest part is letting go.

Dr. Carrie Farrow has dedicated her life to finding justice for the dead, but not without a steep cost. Years spent seeing the worst of humanity have left her determined to keep the living at a distance. It’s the only way she knows to keep her heart safe. 

A dig in Rwanda changes everything. When she returns, her sexy neighbor’s concern and care slip past her iron defenses—and she finds comfort in a night of passion. But not the whole night. Before the sheets have cooled, she’s out of there. 

David Cameron has walked a fine line, being there for her without pushing the bounds of their friendship. When she falls into his arms, he believes the years of loving her from afar are over—until she makes it clear one night is all he gets. 

Knowing one night will never be enough, David sets out to show her life is worth living, and love is worth claiming…if she’s brave enough to choose him.

And he’s brave enough to open his heart wide enough to catch hers. 


Product Warnings
Contains a strong, independent woman who discovers a love worth risking her heart for; a sexy psychologist with secrets of his own; and sex so good it can heal the soul. 

Lady Jane's Salon San Diego: http://ladyjanessalonsd.com/home/rsvp/

On September 17th, look for It Takes Two, the second book in Erin Nicholas' Counting on Love series.

How do you fall out of love with a man who’s all in?Isabelle Dixon never should have said yes to that first date, but she couldn’t resist Shane Kelley’s larger-than-life personality. Except now Shane seems determined to make their no-strings fling into something more.

If she thought dating Shane was hard work, breaking up is proving to be much harder. Especially since she’s planning on making some major life changes that don’t include staying out all night, Jell-O shots, and a sex toy shop punch card. She needs a restful cabin getaway—alone—to gather her thoughts. And the strength to finally end things for good.

Shane has always prided himself on being the good-time guy. Exactly Isabelle’s type…or so he thought. Yet ever since he suggested her moving in, she’s been pulling back. Thing is, Shane does everything with gusto—including falling in love. 

He’s not about to let her get away that easily. Even if it means chasing her heart down a crazy road to prove that no matter what life throws at them, they make a damned good team. 


Product Warnings
Contains a strange road trip with several weird tourist stops, some hot sex in a car wash, and two people who are just crazy enough to be perfect for one another.  

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Takes-Two-Counting-Love-ebook/dp/B00ER55JX2
Samhain: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/it-takes-two-p-73002.html

Kate Davies has news to announce. Her Strip Trilogy is being re-released by Samhain, with new covers. Dates to be determined, but hopefully soon!

And, finally, we have this awesome cover reveal from Sydney Somers:


Primal Temptation, the fourth book in Sydney's Pendragon Gargoyles series, releases in October. So check back here next month for more information!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday 13: Soundtrack of Summer (Part 1)

Summer is almost over, and we're reminiscing with 13 of our favorite summertime songs. Check back next Thursday for 13 more, and don't forget to leave your favorite summer song in the comments!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why I Read

 Life is hard.

Ups. Downs. Restless limbos. Good times. Bad times. Stressful times. Carefree times. Sometimes it's as if life (sadistic bitch/bastard that it can be) randomly scoops you into a black-out box, shakes until you can't breathe and are almost in pieces, and then it sits back and waits to see how long it'll take you to get back on your feet. The only thing you can usually count on is that it'll get harder before it gets better. That almost makes me sound like a pessimist, doesn't it? Really though, I'm a silver-linings girl through and through. I always try to look for the good with the bad, but sometimes it's can be tough.

Sometimes we need help getting through the dark places, a boost to get us back on their feet, a way to remind ourselves that things will get better. Sometimes we just need that moment, that breather, to forget how crazy our lives are (good or bad) and just...escape.

I've always been a dreamer. Sort of fits with my career choice :) and I haven't always needed a reason to read. I adore falling into a book because I love reading, discovering new places, going on wild adventures, and laughing and smiling my way through the pages in between real-life responsibilities and obligations.

Photo by El coleccionista de instantes
But life has given me a much deeper appreciation for reading than I had growing up. It's taught me that sometimes we need time-outs more than kids do. We need a way to release some of our stress, to feel positive emotions, to experience something that can, however briefly, give us back that sense of control in our lives or inspire hope.

Reading can offer that moment of quiet when you lock yourself in the (closet, bathroom, porch...) because you're certain your kids are under the control of the next full moon and wouldn't know how to quiet down without ropes and duct tape.

Reading can make those moments of sitting next to a loved one in the hospital a little more bearable, make it a little easier to send positive thoughts out into the universe despite an unfavorable prognosis.

Reading a favorite comfort read when bad news has just been dropped in your lap (pay cut, layoff, car broke down) may remind you that you still have the strength inside to claw your way back up and keep going.

I read for the smiles and laughter, the tears and heartbreak, the hope and excitement, and every other way it restores my optimism when life is just...hard.

What about you guys? Has reading helped you through a tough time? Made your day a little brighter? What was the last book you read that made the difference between a good day and a bad day?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Guest Blogger Christy Gissendaner - It's Football Time Again

It’s that time again. My favorite season of the year. With a hint (mind you, a very small hint) of coolness in the air and the feeling that something exciting is coming. Do you know what I’m talking about yet? Yep, my friends, autumn is upon us.

In the Deep South, autumn is synonymous with…well, fall…but it also means football season. I officially have four days until the kickoff of the first game for SEC’s gridiron giant, Alabama’s Crimson Tide. So what does that mean, you ask? It means a certain someone will be slaving over the stove, making appetizers for a football-crazed pack of the hubby’s friends. And by someone, I mean yours truly.

It’s not that I don’t like football. I do. (Even though after four years of marching band and I have YET to figure out the rules.) But I like football in the way a person likes window shopping. For me, it’s all about the people watching. While the hubby is cursing over a bad play, I’m over here like “Ohhh, pretty cheerleading uniforms.” As an aforementioned member of a marching band, I live for the brief moments of the half-time show. So I’m not what you would call an armchair watcher of football. I prefer to be there live and in person, enjoying the tailgating and soaking up the sense of camaraderie in the air.

Life in Alabama during the fall months can get quite interesting. With a die-hard Bama fan for a husband, I’ve been treated to some doozies in the years past. Most notably, the husband’s interpretation of the Gangnam Style dance after an incredible touchdown. My biggest regret is not having a video camera in my hands at that exact moment. He even went so far as to high-five our wall where the game was being projected. Yep, I’ve seen it all. Laughed my butt off too! I can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us.

Bama has been having quite a run the past few years, but you know the Tide’s gotta turn at some point. Pun intended. The “bad” years shall remain unspoken, but rest assured there are a lot of beer bottles being tossed out in the trash with every disappointing loss.

So what’s a romance author, with little knowledge of football, to do when faced with such a situation? Why, she makes the heroes of her latest series members of the SEC’s winningest team. That’s right. You heard it here first. All the heroes in the Out of Bounds series were once college football players for Bama. Did I mention they’re also all paranormal? Yep, so far we’ve got the Welsh god of music and a werebear. Seems I’ve stumbled upon the secret behind all those National Championships. ; )

So why the hubby is yelling at the television and I’m asking dumb questions like “How do they paint the blue and yellow lines on the field so fast?” I’ll be taking note for the third installment in my series. (Psst…this one will be a dragon.) Now bring on the Fritos and the Rotel dip, it’s football season, baby!

Thanks to the Nine Naughty Novelists for having me today and…Roll Tide!

Christy Gissendaner is a romantic comedy author and believes that laughter and love should go hand in hand. She lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons and is always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation! Christy also writes historical romance as Robin Danner. Check them out at http://christygissendaner.webs.com and at http://robindanner.webs.com



Monday, August 26, 2013

Authors are readers too--but are we reviewers?

As authors, we know the value of a real, honest review. Readers often choose books based on referral or review rating, so the more comments on Amazon or Goodreads, the better.

Authors are also readers, inhaling our favorite genres as fast as free time allows. But should we leave reviews?

This is a discussion that has come up a half-dozen times this year, just among the authors I know. We want to do everything we can to support each other, but what do we do when we *don't* like a book? Do we stay silent, leave an honest review, give a courtesy high-rating, or just review books we loved?

I personally stay out of it. I hate not giving back and supporting the authors I've enjoyed, but I find the most comfort in staying neutral. If I love a book, I'll rave about it online, but not on a review site. If I were not writing, and just reading, I'd want to leave reviews for every book I read whether I enjoyed it or not--this kind of accuracy and honesty is something I value as a reader and writer. But I'm not good at tiptoeing around office politics, and leaving a poor review--even at its most constructive--for another author is something I still struggle with.

Many writers disagree with me on this. Do you? As a writer or a reader, how do you feel about authors leaving reviews for other authors?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flirty Friday - Sex and the Single Fireman


Today's Flirty Friday comes from Jennifer Bernard, one of the Naughties' favorite people! Here's a taste of Sex and the Single Fireman:

Sabina clung to Roman’s broad shoulders as a feverish sort of madness overloaded her senses. With one iron arm banded around her middle, Roman bent her backwards and kissed her with ferocious intensity, as if nothing else existed in all of San Gabriel but the two of them. Blood pounded in her ears to the rhythm of yes, yes, yes.
His shoulder muscles felt like boulders. The phrase “built like a brick shithouse” zipped through her mind. He was all rock-solid man, through and through, and the way he kissed her … ravenously, lavishly, as if every corner of her mouth had some secret to discover. She returned fire with fire, kissing him back until her lips tingled and her insides went hot and liquid.
He wrenched himself away from her, panting. “We shouldn’t do this.”
But in the next second he was on her again, cupping her face in his huge, calloused hands and consuming her mouth with devastatingly thorough greed.
This time she pulled away. “No, you’re right. We should stop. Right?”
He stared at her with burning eyes and swept his hand through his black hair, more rattled than she’d ever seen him. “I don’t know. I’ve been trying to stay away from you. You don’t know how hard it is to be around you and not toss you on the training room couch and ravish you.”
Ravish me?” She liked the sound of that.
“Okay, fuck your brains out.”
She gulped, speechless.
He lowered his voice to a hot, secret growl. “Or back you up against the wall in the apparatus bay. Do you know how many times I’ve pictured it? If the department could read minds, I’d be out on my ass by now.”
Sabina slid her palm across his wide chest, edging her fingers under his black leather jacket. It made him look tough, all man, very Italian, and extremely sexy. “I wish I could read your mind right now.”
“Jones, you don’t have to be a mind-reader to know what I want.”
She glanced around to make sure the street was empty, then slid her hand down his firm stomach, feeling the heat of his body through his shirt, down past his belt buckle, to the hard, rigid lump beneath. When she touched him, he groaned, low and gritty.
“I give you three seconds to stop doing that. After that I can’t answer for the consequences.”
Slowly, deliberately, she traced the long shape pushing against his jeans. “One.” With her hand firmly on his erection, she found an opening in his shirt and licked his chest. “Two.” Moving the heel of her hand down his hard length, she whispered hotly into his neck.  “Three.”
In a voice as thick and hot as a triple espresso, he growled, “You were warned.” He swooped her up, caveman style, opened the passenger door and tossed her into the Jeep. He scrambled to the driver’s side, using one hand to half-vault himself over the hood.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

9 Things...we always have in our purses

Aside from ID, cell phones, money, lipstick...you know, the essentials...here's what you'll always find us packing. In the comments, tell us what you'll never leave home without!

  1. Pen and a small notebook. Always. (Kinsey)
  2. I'm with Kinsey--I'm never without a pen. Sometimes, I end up writing on myself if I don't have paper. (Skylar)
  3. Gum, dental floss, and tiny one-use toothbrushes. I'm very into oral hygiene :) I breathe on people a lot during my typical work day.(Erin)
  4. Lip balm. In Colorado, you never travel without it. (Meg)
  5. Bandaid blister stick--it's a miracle. (Kelly)
  6. Hairbrush and deodorant. With those two things, I can make myself presentable even after a hike through the Alaskan wilderness. (Juniper)
  7. Extra jewelry for my piercings and a portable USB charger that doubles as a flashlight.(PG)
  8. Whatever random paper crap (receipts, coupons, handouts) was given to me by my husband and/or kids. (Kate)
  9. All over color stick. I love the ones from ELF--a quick swipe on lips/cheeks/eyes and I look semi-presentable. (Skylar)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Random things that have annoyed me this week, but none enough to make me ranty or anything. Just...out of sorts.

1.   Diva returned to school yesterday - which made me happy. But over the summer, the school decided to make drastic changes to how children are dropped off and picked up, and they did not communicate these changes to parents in anything approaching a timely or coherent manner, nor, I suspect, with any idea how it would work in practice. It's a very small school -- just under 700 students from Pre-K to 12th grade - but the bulk of the student body is contained in K thru 8th grade. In a (laudable) attempt to increase security on campus--the church/school campus is large and rather open--they decided that all students in K through 8th will be dropped off and picked up in one line attended by teachers. Which would take a REALLY REALLY long time in the mornings and afternoons. And in the afternoons it could be a tremendous pain in the ass for parents of multiples who, depending on their ages, may be dismissed at 2:45, 3:00, 3:15 or 3:30.

There was a much complaining on Facebook over the weekend, and both yesterday and today a lot of parents wandered the parking lot thinking "Where the FUCK am I supposed to take/get this child?" (It's an Episcopal school but I know many of these parents, and I know that's what they were thinking.)

As of this afternoon, the PTB have decided middle school students can be dropped off as they always have been, and collected in the parking lot. But who knows what they'll say tomorrow.


2. After picking her up from school (in the parking lot) and running by the grocery store, while we were pulling into the garage Diva said "Mom! I just remembered! I need a book cover for my Latin book and if I don't have it tomorrow, I'll get a pink slip!" (No, pink slips don't mean you're fired - but three in one marking period equals a detention.)

There was no mention of book covers on the school supplies list that I printed and took shopping WEEKS before the start of school. I didn't even know people still used book covers and you know what? They're not at a lot of stores that sell school supplies. We eventually located them at Office Max, but we were late getting home.

I was sorely tempted to shoot off an email to the Latin teacher to the effect that next year, if it ain't on the school supplies list that I get over the summer, then I ain't buying it. But then that would make me one of "those parents," and as my friend Amy says, you don't want to become one of "those parents" unless you absolutely have to.

3. I've always deplored the idea that just because a woman hits 35, or 40, or 50, or whatever, she has to cut her hair off. (I know Kelly Jamieson and PG Forte will back me up on this.) So I liked seeing this article in the Daily Mail about how keeping your hair length might actually help you look more youthful.

But I absolutely DESPISE the phrase "mutton dressed as a lamb" when referring to a woman of any age, as well as the notion that every decision we make regarding our personal appearance must be made with an eye to looking younger.


4. EL James has made ninety-five million dollars on Fifty Shades of Gray. That shouldn't bother me, but it really, really does.

On the other hand -- apparently there's now a musical of FSOG. (Yes, it's a parody.) My sister-in-law is booking a VIP table (near the stage, wine and cheese) for all the girls, and she's paying for my ticket and booze as an early birthday party.  So I have that to look forward to.

Good luck to everyone sending monsters back to school!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest Blogger Amy Sandas - Creating the Perfect Male

Hello everyone! Before I get started, I want to thank the Nine Naughty Novelists for having me as their guest. Today, I thought I would share a little about my creative process.

When I first get an idea for a new story, it often originates with a character. It may be the hero or heroine. Sometimes they pop up in a fully envisioned scene or situation. And other times they come into existence with nothing more than a single specific trait or motivation. From there I ask myself a series of questions (Who are they? Where did they come from? Why are they there? What do they want? And so on and so on…) until I am able to flesh them out and get a sense of who they are in the world.

When it comes to plot, depending on what aspect of the character I discovered first, I may already have an idea of what type of conflict surrounds them, what danger lurks in their attic, or what they want most in life. But sometimes the plot must grow out of the relationship between the hero and heroine. We are talking about Romance after all!

Either way, perhaps the most important step in developing a new story (and certainly one of the most enjoyable for me) is in discovering that first character’s perfect romantic match.

When I was writing ROGUE COUNTESS, I knew right away that the heroine’s best friend, the wicked and irreverent Leif Riley, would need a story of his own. He was just too handsome, too arrogantly sure of himself, and way too naughty not to imagine him getting flipped on his arse by the right woman.

But who was she?

In considering any character’s ultimate mate, I want someone who will challenge them as much as they intrigue them. Someone who pushes them out of their comfort zone and forces them to be honest with themselves about who they really are. The perfect romantic counterpart has to be the one person capable of revealing some vital truth that the hero/heroine has never acknowledged before. To me, that is what makes a romance powerful and the relationship between the hero and heroine super sexy.

So when it comes time to create this person, I ask myself who might embody traits that are the exact opposite to my originating hero/heroine? If my heroine is a free-spirited eccentric, then perhaps her match might be someone steeped in tradition. If I have a hero who is reckless and more than a little wicked, maybe he needs someone unsophisticated and untarnished by the vices he has lived with so long.

In RECKLESS VISCOUNT, Leif Riley is an unrepentant scoundrel and womanizer. For him, sex has always been a means to an end. His intimate relationships are a matter of business and the skills of his trade; seduction and manipulation. Then he meets Abbigael Granger and discovers the only woman who rouses his passions to a point that he forgets to follow his own rules. Unfortunately, the innocent Irish debutante is on a serious mission to find a suitable husband, and Leif is as far from that as a man can get. She wants security, loyalty and a family of her own. All Leif can offer is a momentary diversion into a realm of sensual thrills where a girl intent on a respectable marriage dare not tread.

In romance, conflict is what sparks passion and ignites the change that must occur in our hero and heroine if they are to overcome the obstacles that limit their happiness. But conflict cannot be all there is. When two people are meant to be together, there has to be an undeniable thread of harmony that exists between them. It may not be visible at first, but it constantly draws them to each other despite their differences or cross-purposes. Discovering that connection as they challenge each other to reveal their own personal truths is what makes the hero and heroine fall in love.

Though Leif has always been certain of his goal to finance the restoration of his family legacy, in coming together with Abbigael, he is exposed to feelings he did not know he was capable of. This shoves him from his plotted path and forces him to consider his life in a new light. He starts to see in Abbigael the kindred spirit of someone who has also been judged unfairly by those close to them. With each other, they do not need to keep up the pretenses they developed to protect themselves. Their bond forms through a mutual sense of being alone together against the rest of the world.

Of course, this kind of revelation does not happen right away. In learning to trust each other, the hero and heroine first have to discover the truths they kept hidden within themselves. It is through their relationship with each other that this becomes possible as they realize that in spite of the differences which appeared to stand between them, buried beneath the surface, they are not so different from each other after all.

Here is an excerpt from RECKLESS VISCOUNT in which Leif encounters Abbigael for the first time. The differences between them are obvious, but there is something in their interaction that hints at the way they are attuned to each other on a level they are not yet aware of.

She was not a beauty by any means. At least not in comparison to the stylish ladies currently gracing the drawing rooms of London. Her forehead was a touch too high, but her arching brows, pert little nose and the soft bow of her mouth lent her an other-worldly attractiveness. There was even a constellation of pale freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose and the crests of her fine cheekbones.

No, not a collection of features that would bring her acclaim as a great beauty, but there might be some who managed to see past the oddness of the delicate details to appreciate their uniqueness.

The eyes, he realized belatedly, were easily the most unusual of her features. A green so pale and bright they seemed to be lit from within. They reminded him of the sea on those rare days when the brightness of the sun washed away the darker blues, leaving behind a crystal purity unmatched by even the most precious gems.

Uncomfortable with the poetic bend of his thoughts, Leif allowed his gaze to dip below her neckline. Just long enough to note that if he’d had a champagne glass, he could have proven that her breasts had the potential to rival the perfection of Marie Antoinette’s iconic bosom.

He broadened his smile into a roguish grin and was pleased to see her sea-foam gaze flicker in reaction. Enjoying the stunned look on her interesting face, he decided to see how far he could push the encounter. He gestured toward the door behind her with a sharp nod of his head and repeated his question.

“Anything interesting?”

She opened her lovely mouth as if to speak. When no sound came out, she closed it, took a deep breath and tried again. This time when there was no sound, she clamped her lips shut and eyed him warily. A subtle crease found its place between her brows.

The women of Leif’s acquaintance would not be caught dead displaying such an artless combination of embarrassment and helpless pride.

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to call you out for misbehaving. I happen to appreciate bad behavior.” He smiled at her guarded expression. “Especially in fair ladies.”

“No,” she interjected abruptly. Her cheeks blushed a bright pink, and instead of detracting from her appearance, it made her more endearing. “You do not understand. It’s not…it is not what it looks like.”

There was a thread of emotional strain in her voice. Strain and the delightful lilt of an Irish brogue that unfurled in a lovely cadence.

He felt an urge to put her at ease, but he was not the comforting sort.

He cocked an eyebrow in disbelief. “You weren’t listening intently at that door just a moment ago?”

The woman’s stiff spine slumped just a touch before she straightened again. She waved a slim-fingered hand toward the door at her back with a graceful turn of her elbow.

“Well, obviously I was listening, but it was with no malicious intent, I swear it.”

“You were drawn in by irresistible curiosity, then?” he teased.

The woman licked her lips and her pale-green eyes slid to the side as she tried to find a way to answer him without incriminating herself any further.

“They must be talking about me again.” He offered with a swaggering grin that usually made women twitter with captivated interest. “You can admit it. I am a fascinating subject. But whatever they are saying, it is only half true. The more scandalous half, they know absolutely nothing about.”

His charm had no effect on the girl as she pursed her lush lips in growing distress and shook her head. A few strands of strawberry-blonde hair slid from her chignon to caress her pale cheeks.

“No, not you,” she insisted with a note of distraction. She paused to draw a swift breath and her hands fluttered before she clasped them together and continued in a nervous rush of words. “I do not even know who you are. They are talking about me. About my future. Or rather, whether or not I am to have a chance at a future.”

The smooth feminine texture of her faint accent slid like soft silk over Leif’s senses. If it were possible to bathe in the warmth of the rolling and dipping sounds he would have stripped naked then and there.

“Of course,” she went on, her anxiety seeming to loosen her tongue, “I would not typically listen so rudely to a discussion clearly meant to be private. Such behavior is simply inexcusable. It is just that…the conversation currently taking place in that room is infinitely important. At least to me,” she added slowly as her elfish features folded into a fierce little frown and she tilted her head to eye him critically. “But you don’t really care about any of that, do you?”

Leif blinked, jolted by her sudden sharp perception. In truth, he had only been half-listening to her run off of words. Why did women always feel such a need to explain everything? The entire time she had been talking, his attention had been ensnared by the movement of her lips, the full bottom one in particular, the delightful nervousness in her fluttering hands and the way that in spite of her obvious innocence and utter lack of social polish, or perhaps because of them, she kept her pale-green eyes fastened to his face.

Forcing himself to recall what she had said, he saw no reason not to reply honestly.

“You are right. Your explanations are lost on me. I am in no position to judge another’s behavior. I have done far worse than eavesdropping in my lifetime.” He folded his arms across his chest in a casual posture. “Hell, I’ve done worse already this morning.”

“Afternoon,” the Irish lass corrected, obviously comfortable with having found her voice.

Leif grinned and shook his head. It was not the first time he’d been corrected in such a manner. “I have been out of my bed for barely an hour. It’s morning.”

Her expressive gaze flashed with surprise. “And you have already done worse?”

Leif laughed at the innocent curiosity in her question. He couldn’t help it. The girl was so refreshingly…fresh.

“Irish, you have no idea,” he murmured in a sensual drawl. “I’ve committed half a dozen sins in my mind during the last fifteen minutes alone.”

Amy Sandas’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep. She dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.

You can find Amy on her blog at http://amysandas.wordpress.com on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmySandas?ref=hl or Tweet her at https://twitter.com/#!/AmySandas

**GIVEAWAY** Visit Amy’s Facebook page between August 20th and September 3rd and leave a comment referencing the Nine Naughty Novelists and earn a chance to win one of three free downloads of RECKLESS VISCOUNT! (Winner chosen by random.org)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Getting Real - Medium Rare, Book 2, Ramos Family Trilogy

For the past four or five years I’ve been writing stories about Konigsburg, Texas. It’s a Hill Country town with lots of hunky guys and strong women. It’s also imaginary, which makes it really easy to write about. Need a winery outside town? No problem. Need a hideout for some inept bad guys? Got it. Towns you invent can provide you with everything you need just when you need it. All you have to do is remember what you called that street the last time you had the heroine walk up it.

But when I decided to do a trilogy of stories about a family of mediums, I didn’t want to set them in Konigsburg for a lot of reasons. I wanted someplace real and someplace spooky. Someplace you could actually visit if you were curious, and a place you could believe harbored a ghost or two. I settled on San Antonio’s King William District, one of the town’s oldest surviving neighborhoods (some older San Antonio districts were wiped out in disastrous floods). And there went all the convenience of having my very own town to play with.

You see, when you’re dealing with a real place, you have to respect the real details. For example, I couldn’t make up street names anymore. King William has streets and they have names. If I wanted my characters to walk along the river I had to specify that they were walking along Washington and not, say, Riverside. And they had to cross the river over real bridges, not something I concocted for the purpose of getting them over the water (fortunately for me, King William has the Johnson Street Footbridge—a really cool way of getting across the San Antonio River).

Moreover, I needed to be true to the way King William actually looks, its mixture of Victorian limestone mansions and smaller, woodframe houses from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This wasn’t hard when I lived in San Antonio—all I had to do was take a drive through the District to get a feel for it. But now I live in Colorado, and reminding myself about what the District looks like required finding photos on line of the things I needed to see (for a taste of King William, you can check out my Pinterest board).

Fortunately for someone who wants to write about the district, King William is a full service location. Along with the Victorian mansions, perfect for ghostly visitations, it also has the Blue Star Arts District with its cafes and galleries and the Southtown district with its boutiques and funky clubs. And I was able to create a few things without doing to much damage to reality. My characters love to have dinner at funky cafes along the San Antonio River, for example, and I’ve created a couple that fit the bill.

In the end, I enjoyed my stay in King William a lot. I hope you’ll stop by and visit sometime, or at least visit my family of mediums.

Here’s the blurb for Medium Rare, Book 2 in the Ramos Family/Medium Trilogy, released tomorrow by Berkley InterMix:

Medium Rare

There are no skeletons in her closet…only ghosts

Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…

Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.
When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…

And here's a quick excerpt:


His lips drifted down the side of her throat, leaving liquid heat and need where he touched. His hands moved along the sides of her body, stroking lines of fire along her breasts, her belly, her hips.

“Rose,” he murmured against her ear, “Rosie.”

A deep ache began throbbing low in her body, and she cupped her hands on either side of his face, pulling his mouth back to hers.

His lips moved against hers again, his tongue slipping in. She tangled her fingers in his hair, rasping her own tongue along his.

Her heart rate accelerated almost painfully. Her clothes felt too tight, and there were far too many of them. She wanted to pull them off and toss them at her feet. No, she wanted him to pull them off and toss them—anywhere.

She moved her hands to his chest, fingers tugging at the buttons on his chambray shirt. His hands moved to her waist, jerking her T-shirt free and moving to the button on her shorts.

Something hard hit the window with a shuddering thump that seemed to echo throughout the room.

She jerked back from his embrace as Helen galloped into the room beside them, snarling at the curtains.

“What the hell?” Evan flipped his shirt back over his chest, but not before she’d seen a sizzling expanse of muscle and dark hair.

Well, damn!

She turned to check the front windows. A crack ran down the entire length of one of them, smaller cracks radiating from the center.

Helen danced in front of the lacy sheers, barking frantically now.

“Helen, cut it out,” Rose murmured, moving beside her. The fog still swirled, silvery and dense, just beyond the glass. She leaned forward.

A large black object ricocheted off the window next to her, shuddering the glass in the wooden frame.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble



Friday, August 16, 2013

First BOOK Friday-- Erin Nicholas





It's First BOOK Friday!  For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from each of the Nine Naughties.  Sometimes people find us further down our backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up our first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes our first book was so long ago even we've forgotten!  (just kidding... it's true that you never forget your first!).  So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for each of us!


This month we're featuring the first book from Erin Nicholas,  No Matter What.


A note from Erin:

My first book was No Matter What and was published by Samhain Publishing in November of 2009.  No Matter What has always been special to me, not just because it was my first, but because the heroine is a physical therapist-- something I know *a lot* about! :) Everyone always said to write what you know, so... I took it to heart and made Jaden Monroe someone I could easily identify with.  I loved being able to bring my two passions together and to have it be my first published book made it all the more fun!

Blurb:


Adam Steele is good. Good at using his money to get his way. Money always works—until he realizes he can’t buy his daughter’s way out of her new wheelchair. Three private physical therapists later, he’s almost given up on Emily walking again. Then he meets Dr. Jaden Monroe. And his match.

Jaden doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”. But she knows a lot about “fired” after a public blowout with her ex jeopardizes the donation her hospital was counting on. Now the most tempting man she’s ever met has made her just the offer she needs to save the new children’s rehab wing—one million dollars to rehabilitate his daughter. In return she finds herself making Adam rash promises: that his daughter will walk in time to take the lead in the school play. And that he won’t entice her into his bed. No matter what.

But Jaden didn’t anticipate a teen whose injuries are more than physical. Or a man so passionate and devoted—and as tenacious as she is. As Adam wears down her defenses with kiss after kiss, the only thing harder than keeping her promise will be keeping a hold on her heart.



Excerpt:


“You’re not nervous at all about my attraction to you and your equal attraction to me? You’re not even a little anxious about me kissing you and where that might lead?”

She shook her head again and managed to pry her lips apart. “Even if you did kiss me—and I’m not saying that I think that’s a good idea—it wouldn’t lead anywhere. I think you should know that up front.”

“You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Jaden,” he said soothingly, rubbing his palm up and down her arm where he still held her. “But I think that you should know up front that I’m very certain, eventually, I will kiss you and it will lead to something.”  He moved in a little closer, making her press her back against the rough side of the pool. “But because you’re skittish about this, today I’ll settle for this.”

He slid his hand down her arm slowly, creating goosebumps in the wake of his touch. Then he took her hand and lifted it to his lips, pressing a firm but gentle kiss to the center of her palm. A shiver went through her and she knew that it did not escape his attention.

He pulled himself out of the pool and shook water from his hair. He stood on the side and shrugged out of his jacket, tossed it onto the chair, pulled his shirt from the waist of his pants and began unbuttoning it. He peeled it off, wadded it into a ball and squeezed water from it. Jaden watched every move, unable to tear her eyes away even when he turned and saw her studying him. He kicked his shoes off, watching her the whole time. She didn’t move. But when his hands went to his belt, she shook herself from her daze.

“You’re not undressing right here!”

He looked around. “I can’t go dripping water through the whole house.”

She pulled herself from the pool and stomped to the chair where there was another dry towel.
She tossed it toward him. “And I’m not skittish.”

He began toweling off. “That will make seducing you much easier.”

She spun toward him in the midst of pulling on a long T-shirt, only one arm poking through the sleeve. “Seducing me?” Her voice was almost a shriek.

Shrugging, he asked, “What did you think all the kissing would lead to?”

“We’re not kissing.”

“Not right now,” he agreed. “But that will change soon.”

“This is nuts. Is this the real reason Kathy and Cindy quit?” she asked, naming two of the three therapists who had come and gone from the Steele estate. “Because you were trying to get them into bed?”

Adam frowned at that. “The thought of taking either of them to bed didn’t even occur to me.”
The resoluteness in his statement left no room for doubt.

Jaden stuck her left arm forcibly through the T-shirt and finally pulled it over her head and down to cover her body. She crossed her arms and regarded him with narrowed eyes. “But it’s occurred to you with me, after only one day?”

Adam stopped drying off and walked toward her, stopping only when he was close enough that she could see the gold flecks in his eyes. He put one finger under her chin and tipped her head up to look into her eyes.

“Taking you to bed occurred to me the first moment I saw you.”

He had to stop doing that. If she lost her ability to breathe and think every time he said something like that, she was afraid she would quickly lose her professional credibility with him. If she hadn’t already. Finally, she spoke. “Maybe that should have come up when we were discussing the job with Emily.”

He dropped his gaze to her lips. “I have every confidence that you can do both very, very well, but if you’re concerned, maybe you would be more comfortable not being Emily’s therapist.”

Anger welled up in her so quickly she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. “You want me to concentrate on you rather than Emily?” Then she took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down. She shrugged. “Sure, that’s a great idea. You can bring in another therapist to work on her rehab while I have sex with you all day long. In fact, thank you for thinking of it. I was just wondering how I was going to accomplish all of that by myself.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “You would have an affair with me and let another therapist work with Emily?”

She took a step forward, her eyes narrowed, pink staining her cheeks. “You are unbelievable!”

Suddenly both of her hands were on his chest and before he could react, she shoved him as hard as she could.

Jaden stood at the edge of the pool, hands on her hips, glaring down at him when he came up for air. “Of course I will not have an affair with you and turn Emily’s therapy over to someone else! My first and only priority is Emily. You’re just going to have to find another…outlet…for your sexual energy.”

“So you’re staying?”

“That’s what I said.”

“No matter what?”

“No matter what.” Then she marched to the heavy glass door and jerked it open, turning for only a moment to tell him, “And, just for the record, I’m also not kissing you…no matter what.”


Add it to your library here!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Pick Your Pleasure: The Sophie's Choice for Readers

Skylar, feeling particularly cruel this week, set us up for this decision: Would you rather ONLY read your 10 favorite books for the rest of your life, or never be able to reread a favorite again?

Meg: OMG what an awful choice! Maybe never be able to reread, but I'd be crying a lot.

Kate: You [Skylar] are an evil, evil woman. My Sophie's Choice would be never reread, all the while cursing you to the end of days.

PG: Oh, I'd reread. They'd have to be my favorite 10 books though, otherwise all bets are off.

Kinsey: I'd have to take the second option. Rereading the same 10 books forever sounds kind of like hell.

Kelly: I will also go with never reading favorite book again (easy for me because I don't have one favorite book!) :-)

Erin: I pick never reread. But I hope I know when this starts so I can reread it ONE more time!! :)

Juniper: I'd have to go with read new books. I read so many, to be restricted to only ten would drive me insane.

Sydney: I'm gonna have to go with never reread favorites, but at least that way I could find some new ones!

Skylar: I don't know what I'd do without re-reading... and we still get to write new books, right? And beta reading doesn't technically count as reading a book...right? 

Which special kind of hell would you choose? Vote in our poll!

Would you rather...
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Not An Early Adopter

So a few minutes ago, I finished watching Firefly.

For the first time.

Yes, I know, the show went off the air over a decade ago. Yes, my friends and colleagues and editor had been bugging me to watch it for almost that long. Yes, I loved it as much as they all insisted I would.

But that's me. I'm not, generally speaking, an early adopter.

Sometimes, I wish I was more in tune with current pop culture, and caught up on stuff like this as it happens. There's something a little sad about watching something so awesome when no one else is watching at the same time. (I do so love Twitter for that reason - the few shows I do watch in first run are a blast to chat about in real time with other fans!)

But yes, Firefly. I'm outraged in retrospect by the untimely cancellation of this amazing show, I'm a little bit in love with pretty much every single character, and my not-so-secret crush on Nathan Fillion continues unabated.

So how about you? Do you watch stuff in the first flush of popularity, or do you catch on after the fact? And what other decade-old shows do you recommend I catch up on next?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guest Blogger Candice Gilmer - Dreams of an office…

Hi. My name is Candice Gilmer.

I am a writer.

I write my books on the corner of my kitchen table, which is not used for any feasting--this is my home office. Reference books stacked on one side, leaving just enough space for my laptop. A lovely bowl that’s supposed to just hold pens, winds up catching any loose knick-knack I find. My mouse pad is an upside down magazine, that also serves as my scratch pad, until it no longer holds together.

I dream of an office with a door. A room that I can walk into, shut off all outside noises, and write. (Don’t we all?)

I have dreams of all the things I want in this office.

I want a wall of bookshelves for all my books (they currently reside in storage tubs--I know, it’s horrible). I want a work table, so I can throw out my notecards when I’m plotting. A desk, and a really comfortable chair are important too.

Oh, and I want soundproof walls.

You see, I live in a tiny house with two very active children and a husband, all of them are very loud. We are looking at houses right now, trying to find the perfect place for our little family.

Including my office. It must be out there. It is. I am really tired of trying to pen my amazing romance masterpieces to the tune of SpongeBob Squarepants. I even wind up putting kids show references in my books, without intent.

It happens. More than I like to admit.



Exhibit A: My latest book, Under His Nose, about Fairy Godmothers who take on men:

“Time out.” Stephanie waved her hand in the air, moving closer, though still not within arm’s reach of either Christy or Cupid. “So you’re a fairy. Where the hell were you when I had the shittiest teen life possible? Aren’t you supposed to help kids?”

“This is real life, not Fairly Odd Parents.” Christy let out a sigh, flipping a strand of hair out of her face. “People aren’t assigned a Fairy Godmother until they’re mature enough to handle it. And even then, only some get godmother help.”

Stephanie put her hands on her hips. “Well, who decides?”

“You do, actually,” Christy said.

“Me? I don’t remember that class in school,” Steph replied.



Someday, I will have that office, where I can hide from the world and write to my heart’s content. Hopefully it’ll be my favorite place to go to escape, too.

Where do you like to run off and escape from everyday life?



Candice Gilmer leads a dangerous double life as a mommy and a writer. In between boo-boo healing and fixing broken toys, she writes stories usually to the tune of children’s television shows.

Growing up in the Midwest, Candice stays close to her family, especially the ones with basements when the tornadoes come around. She also works as a hairdresser, which she’s done for over fifteen years, and brings her laptop to work so she can write between clients.

When she’s not writing, styling hair and taking care of her family, she gets together with her girlfriends for gossip and coffee while her husband hunts ghosts with Wichita Paranormal Research Society. All in all, she stays very busy, but really, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well, maybe a little less children’s television.

Website: http://candicegilmer.com

Blog: http://candicegilmer.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/candicegilmerauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/candicegilmer

Email: candice.gilmer@gmail.com

Monday, August 12, 2013

How may day job makes me a better author Part Deux



Last month I blogged about some things I've learned and some skills I've developed in my day job that have helped me manage my writing career. It turned into a long post so I cut some -- here's the rest of it.

Don't think I'm the most organized person in the world, because I am SO not. My office area is a mess that makes my family shake their heads. I usually know where things are but sometimes I don't and that frustrates the hell out of me.


Over the years I've developed a system of organizing my work. I keep folders on my USB/computer, one for each book as I write it, also one for each publisher and within that folder another folder for each book for AFTER it is contracted, where I store documents like edits, cover art requests and blurb forms, as well as publisher-specific information (e.g. who to contact) and royalties. I have numerous other folders too, such as one for blog posts, one for critiques, one for each course I take, one for writing ideas, articles on craft etc etc. I had to learn how to organize reviews, and I have a folder where I keep copies of all my reviews. I create a Word document that includes the entire review, the link to the website, and a short quote from the review. Each review is named with the title of the book and the review site. This makes it easy to quickly find the review with a quote and the link to the review site when I want to promote that book.





I make a lot of handwritten notes when I'm working on a book, and I have a paper file folder for each book as well as a digital folder. I have a new file cabinet where I keep those files; in the bottom drawer are books that are already published; in the top drawer and more accessible are ones that are in progress, or are finished but not published, because I'll need to access them at some point when I have to fill out a cover art request or write promo blogs. Also sometimes I re-use research that I've done for a particular book.

Recently I was having a look at  Microsoft's OneNote - it looks like it could be a really valuable tool for me. Rather than a paper folder with scribbled notes, I could have an electronic folder where I keep notes, research, links, pictures etc. The only problem I see with it is, I write on my lunch hour at work on a laptop and I don't have internet access on it. Not sure how to get around that one. Anyone else use OneNote?

I have folders for magazines and newspaper articles I clip and save for ideas. I have folders for paper correspondence from my publishers, the IRS, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), etc. I also have a binder where I keep notes from courses and craft books I've read.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track submissions, and another to track sales/royalties, with formulas created to automatically add up monthly entries so I can see at a glance how much money I've made this year, or how many books I've sold of any particular book. My tracking is pretty basic, however, as I've been learning that some authors track their sales in much more detail (especially self-published books). I also developed an Excel spreadsheet that I now use to help with planning my books (I'm not really a plotter, but it helps my pacing and keeps me on track to hit the major turning points at the right time).

I'm not the best at organizing my business expenses and receipts. I tend to dump those into an "in" tray and collect them all year. It would be smart to have a spreadsheet for those too, adding them up so I can see where I am and whether I need to increase my advertising or cut back on spending, but this is one area I'm working on improving! On the other hand, in terms of prioritization, I don't see that as my biggest priority.

Client Service - my day job is in a service business where all we provide is a service. It is our most important competency. And although writing might not seem like a service business, I do see the people I work with as my "customers". This includes my publishers, as I am building relationships with them and meeting their needs; it also includes readers. I enjoy building relationships with readers through my books and through communication with them, and I know that not satisfying them will lose me customers/readers/money. That means putting out the best book I possibly can. It also means responding to inquiries quickly and politely. I reply to every email I receive from a reader, whether it is just an email that says "I love your book!" or an inquiry about when the next book in the series will be out. Not responding appropriately (or at all) to that inquiry could very possibly lose me a sale of that next book. I am able to see the bigger picture of the publishing business, identifying barriers to client service and what could be done to overcome those barriers (which I have sometimes suggested to my publishers ― for example, pricing of e-books, books being available for pre-sale, etc. ― in a hopefully professional manner!).

There are other competencies that have been valuable to me as well, such as managing conflict (I have a Certificate in Conflict Resolution), which goes along with the teamwork (there is always conflict when you're working with other people, and yes that includes the publishing/editing team), analysis (for example, analyzing that sales spreadsheet to look for trends) and decision making.

I treat my writing career as a business, and even though I'd love to quit my "day job", I appreciate all the things I’ve learned from working in the business world so I can apply them to my writing.