Friday, February 26, 2010

The Problem with Thinking

I'm a pantser, which is a shock to anyone who knows me. I make lists, obsessively organize, and would kill for a top-notch label maker. But for the life of me, I can't seem to plot out a story. So I usually just sit and write and the story develops on its own. It makes for far more revisions and tweaking, but it's where I've been comfortable.

And then I moved, acquiring an hour-long commute to work. The first week, I was bored out of my mind. The second week, I started going on semi-autopilot, having gotten used to the drive. It was just enough that my mind could wander unrestricted. Wander... and plot.

I've had more writing insights while driving to and from work than ever before. It's kind of incredible. Where my hour-long commute was formerly insufferable, I now almost look forward to where my plot bunnies will wander next. I've found that my writing not only flows better, but more freely, when I have a good grasp on where it's going. This is a revelation for me, because writing, while I love it, is -- was -- always such hard work, pulling just the right words while simultaneously figuring out where the story was going in the next line. Now, it's more about giving the right tone to the perfect words and less about the scene's structure.

This gets to the heart of my anti-plotting problems: I over-think everything, and then my mind freezes under the potential paths each scene could take. But when I can only keep plotting in the back of my mind, there's no way to get mired down in either the minutiae or the complexity.

Some people plot in their dreams, others need elaborate diagrams and graphs. I need... driving. What do you require? How do you give your muse free reign to inspire?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meet the Heroes-- Part 3

More sexy heroes to get to know better!
Meet Ben and Carter!

Hero: Dr. Ben Torres
Hero of Erin Nicholas’s upcoming (March 2010) release Just Right from Samhain Publishing.

How did you end up in Omaha?
Because I didn’t have anywhere else to be! But seriously, I came back because of my mom. This is where she grew up and where she settled after she retired. I’m an only child, my parents were missionaries, so I’ve been all over and didn’t really have any other ties. I guess I got here without thinking about if I was going to stay or not. It was just where I had to be at the time. Now it’s a no-brainer! No where I’d rather be.

What’s the biggest turn-on/turn off about Jessica?
Oh, boy, I could get in a lot of trouble here! But one of the things I love most about her is that she’s got a great sense of humor (right, honey??) so... what turns me on most is that she tries so hard to be this good girl but she’s got this big naughty streak and she’s very comfortable letting that streak loose around me (thank you, God). She’s also great at everything she does, she’s incredibly dedicated, she raised her two younger siblings (and did a great job), she takes care of everyone around her. I could go on and on—obviously! Turn off? Well, she always thinks she knows what’s best for everyone else. Come on, Jess, you do and you know it. Hell, you’ve made it an art form. Okay, truthfully, I get turned on by that bossiness too…

Thong, crotchless panties or nothing at all?
Wow, I’m just not that picky! As long as she’s got that gorgeous smile on! But if I have to pick… thong. Definitely. I was trying to ignore my insane attraction to her and then one day she bent over, I saw the outline of the thong through her scrub pants and I was a goner.

Read more about Ben!

Hero: Carter
From the novella Challenging Carter, available now from Kate Davies and Samhain Publishing

How did you end up in Seattle?
I've lived here all my life. When I decided to open my outdoor gear company,
it made sense to set up shop here. Plus all my friends and family are in the
area, including Dani.

What's the biggest turn-on about Dani?
She's this amazing combination of the girl next door and the sexiest,
hottest woman you could imagine. When she started taking those strip
aerobics classes, you can bet she sure opened my eyes!

Turn offs? When she doesn't believe in herself. She's so fantastic, and
sometimes she just doesn't see it. Her confidence has definitely improved
lately, though!

Thongs, crotchless panties, or nothing at all?
Doesn't matter to me, as long as the reveal is as slow as possible. Taking
off her clothes one piece at a time -- heaven, man.

More about Carter here!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Queries, Synopses and the Assorted Perils of Submission

My editor blogged recently about query letters--how and how not to write them--and it got me thinking. Well, that and the recurring Twitter #queryfail. See, I really hate writing query letters--maybe not quite as much as I hate synopses, but it's close--and I'm not alone in this. I know a lot of writers who feel the same way.  It really doesn't matter that both queries and synopses are short and somewhat simple things--hardly on the same scale as, oh, let's say, world building; something at which many writers excel. But faced with writing either a 100K book filled with complex characters and set in a time and place that's purely imaginary or a fairly straightforward three page synopsis--I'll choose the book. Every time.

Here's a few reasons why I think that might be the case.

#1. I'm not naturally concise. If I really believed the story could be adequately told in a couple of pages or a handful of paragraphs, well there'd be no reason to spend weeks and months writing something considerably longer, now would there? Boiling an entire novel down to a few sentences is not as easy as it looks. 

#2. I'm not objective. I laugh when I hear people (editors and agents, for the most part) tell authors "no one knows your book as well as you do." Because that's both true and false. Sure, by the time I'm done writing, rewriting, editing, polishing and everything else one must do to a book, I can generally recite huge blocks of it verbatim. I've lived with the characters in my head--talking to me--for days at a stretch. I know them inside out. I've seen the locations in my mind, walked myself through each scene, but what that really means is I've gotten too close to the subject.   I've spent too much time, I've invested too much emotion. So, don't ask me what I think of my book because half the time I'll be convinced it's brilliant and the other half I'll be sure it's nothing but a big ol' mess.

#3. Copy writing is an art onto itself. You wanna know how similar ad copy is to a novel? Not very much. Just 'cause I can do one, doesn't mean I can do the other. Since the Olympics are on so many people's minds, let me give you an Olympic metaphor. Take ice dancing and speed skating. Sure they've got ice and skates in common but you only have to look at the thighs on the speed skaters to know how very different they are as sports and how unlikely it is for there to be a lot of professional level cross-over. 

#4. I want you to like me. Sure we can fool ourselves into believing there's nothing personal about a query letter. It's about selling the book--nothing whatsoever to do with the author. For that matter, we can pretend that the book doesn't reflect on us much either. But deep down inside we know we're lying. We know we're Sally Field. And the fear that we might write something in our letter that will keep you from liking us can be downright paralyzing at times.

#5. Love me, love my book. You know how, every once in a while, you run into really horrible, overbearing, parents who seem to want to smother their kids with their attention? Parents who can't let go, who can't separate themselves from their kids? That's authors with their books. Well, at least part of the time it is, anyway...and it's usually at its worst right after the letter's been sent.

#6. Rejection is never pretty. Even so-called 'good' rejections hurt. 'Nuff said. 

All right. That's what's on my list. Whaddaya got on yours?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Bianca D'Arc - Zombies Can Be Sexy!

Zombies can be sexy. Okay, well, not the zombies themselves... but the men who hunt them are seriously sexy. Take my word for it! Or better yet, you don't have to go by my opinion, you can decide for yourself by reading my new series for Kensington Brava. The first novel in the series, ONCE BITTEN, TWICE DEAD, is in print now. It's available on Amazon already and should be showing up in bookstores soon, so keep an eye out!

Here's more information on the book, in case you're interested...

Once Bitten, Twice Dead

March 2010 - Kensington Brava

ISBN: 978-0-7582-4729-2

Thrills, chills, and a smoldering sexy hero combine to unforgettable effect in Bianca D'Arc's irresistible new novel of paranormal romance...

When police officer Sarah Petit investigates a disturbance in an abandoned building, she expects to find a few underage drinkers. Instead, she's attacked by creatures straight out of a horror movie. Waking a week later in a hospital, Sarah is visited by Special Forces soldier Captain Xavier Beauvoir. The zombies who attacked Sarah are the result of military research gone terrifyingly wrong, and Sarah's immunity to the virus makes her the perfect person to help Xavier eradicate them. But his smooth Cajun accent, whiskey-colored eyes, and dizzying kiss are risky to her in a very different way.

Sarah attracts danger like a magnet -- and the smart, fearless cop attracts Xavier too, instilling a bone-deep need that's undermining his steady façade. Enlisting her aid is a necessary gamble, but vicious undead creatures are not the only enemy they face. And the only way to keep each other safe is to trust in an instant connection that could be their greatest strength--or the perfect way to destroy them both...

Read an Excerpt

Amazon link:

Amazon Kindle version:

As a special thank you to readers, Bianca is giving away a prize pack of SWAG and romance books. (For details on the prize, check out her blog contest page.) All you have to do to enter is send an email with OBTD Blog Contest in the subject line to BIANCADARC at gmail dot com, with your mailing address, before March 31st, 2010. The drawing will be held April 1st and the winner will be announced on her blog at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad Girls

This particular musing has its origin in a couple of blog posts here a while ago. First, M.J. Fredrick blogged here about her love of bad boys, and judging from the comments that followed, she wasn’t alone. Then my fellow Niner Kinsey Holley blogged about her discomfort with heroines who are promiscuous, and I’m with her on that too. So my question is this: Do we feel the same about bad girl heroines as we do about bad boy heroes? I don’t think so, or at least not exactly.

In my case, I’m willing to accept bad behavior in a hero (provided it doesn’t last very long), but I’m less likely to be understanding with a heroine. I don’t think this is the result of sexism. It’s more because I can’t identify with that kind of heroine so readily. It’s one thing, for example, if the heroine has been forced into a situation where she has to be promiscuous (like the occasional courtesan heroines in regencies, who are almost always victims), but it’s different for me if the heroine sleeps around because she doesn’t feel she deserves anything better. Maybe it’s cultural conditioning, but I want my heroines to value themselves.

This isn’t to say that sexually active heroines aren’t acceptable. Kerry Greenwood has a wonderful series of historicals set in twenties Melbourne about a detective named Phryne Fisher. Phryne has more lovers than Sam Spade, but we know she’s smart and very much in charge, and we know she has a very clear sense of who she is. She may have a long list of exotic men in her life, but she doesn’t seem damaged in the least.

I have to admit that occasionally a bad girl heroine can be appealing, provided she’s on her way to something better. Susan Elizabeth Phillips has several, although her bad girls are more spoiled than slutty and they’re usually trying to change (which makes them sort of reformed bad girls). There’s the heroine in Ain’t She Sweet, for example, who tries to make amends for having been a bitch on wheels in her youth. You know she’s been awful because Phillips shows you just how awful she was, but you can’t help rooting for her because she isn’t awful anymore.

And sometimes I find myself even liking a bad girl heroine who isn't yet ready to save herself, like Grace Hanadarko, the heroine of TNT’s Saving Grace. I have to admit, I didn’t much like Grace at first. She’s all the things I usually object to: promiscuous, alcoholic, frequently self-destructive. But she’s also brave, forthright, and a very good cop. And she’s a damaged person trying to find herself, much like some bad boys. Like the classic bad boy hero, she slips under your defenses until you end up caring about her in spite of her bad behavior.

So maybe that’s the point in the end. Bad boys and bad girls can be heroes and heroines, but only if they’re not really bad. Somewhere in that welter of bad deeds, there has to be a good person trying to worm her way out. In fact, I doubt that we love real bad boys and girls—they’re usually the villains. What we love are the bad boys and girls who have the potential to be good. And given that we’re talking romance here (with the mandatory HEA), that potential has a very good chance of being fulfilled.

So what do you think? Do bad girl heroines work for you?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Waiter, There's a Movie Star in My Romance Novel

One of my pet peeves in books is when an author describes the hero or heroine’s appearance by referencing a celebrity, as in, “he bore an uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt,” or “her friends always told her she looked a lot like Nicole Richie.”

For one thing, I think it’s lazy. If your hero is blond and handsome with a killer grin, then say so. If your heroine is elfin with a flair for boho chic, then say that. Besides, you’re running the risk that some of your readers won’t know who you’re talking about. Okay, most everyone on the planet who can read knows who Brad Pitt is, but very few celebrities have achieved his level of fame. I was surprised to find that someone in my office didn’t know who Nicole Richie is – but then again, not everyone lives on the Internet like I do.

You want to avoid “dating” your book. Think about the last time you read a book which mentioned a specific consumer item* that’s no longer popular, or a celebrity who’s passed away or is no longer in the public eye. You’re reading merrily along, really enjoying the story, and then the author says the hero’s got dimples and stubble like Don Johnson. And the story screeches to a halt in your head.

If you’re under thirty, you go, “Who?” If you’re over thirty (okay, okay, forty), you go, “Oh yeah – I’d forgotten about him. Damn, he was pretty hot, wasn’t he? Hmm. What is it about Melanie Griffith that sucks all the hotness right out of a man?” And then you start humming the tune from Miami Vice (which, by the way, isn’t easy to do), and you shudder as you remember your hair style circa 1985, and the hot senior who drove that TransAm, and…congratulations, you’ve been pulled completely out of the story. Even if you get back into it, there’s now a distance that didn’t exist before.

Maybe the biggest reason it bugs me, though, is that I don’t want to be told how to picture a character. As it happens, I always envision celebrities as characters in the books I read, but I do it involuntarily. I don’t open a book thinking, “Okay, I’ll picture Clive Owen as the hero,” but if the hero is tall and dark and rugged, not classically handsome, Clive will just pop into my head. That’s fine – that’s how my overactive imagination has been reading books since I was a girl.

I want to be told what a character looks like, how he or she dresses and moves. But I don’t want the author telling me who to picture in the role. I read that the hero is lithe and blond, I imagine Alexander Skarsgard (actually, I imagine Alexander Skarsgard a lot anyway.) Then the author says he looks like Orlando Bloom and I go, um….no. Don’t think so. Orlando’s a bit emo for my tastes, and now the hero’s gone emo on me, and that’s probably not how the author wrote the character.

Sometimes it happens all on its own. I read JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. My favorite Brother is Vishous. Somehow, at some point, Vishous started looking like a character Eric McCormack played in a TV series fifteen years ago. Clay Mosby was the anti-hero of Lonesome Dove: The Series, and McCormack played him with long curly hair and a full beard. He was hot – way hotter and more macho than in any other role I’ve ever seen him play. Not bulky enough for Vishous, and the hair is too long, but still – that’s the image I got, and that’s the image that stuck.

I know someone who thinks Vishous looks like Dave Navarro. Now, I think Navarro is hot, but he’s not exactly macho, and the Brothers are all about the macho. Then again, take pretty little Orlando Bloom again. The guy on the cover of Rehvenge’s book, Lover Avenged, looks kinda sorta like him, and now that’s what Rehv looks like in my mind. Which is all kinds of wrong – Rehv’s a big guy with a Mohawk. But in my head, he’ll always look like Legolas. Or Will Turner.

I’m sorry, Rehv.

I don’t invoke real people when I describe characters in my own book. Cade MacDougall, the hero of my first (and so far, only) full length book (submitted, but not yet accepted) also looks like Eric McCormack-as-Clay-Mosby, and again, I didn’t really do it on purpose. He sorta popped up like that. Lark Manning, the heroine of Kiss and Kin, looks like Olivia Wilde, who plays 13 on House. Taran looks like the model on the cover of Lynn Viehl’s Dark Lover. But I wouldn’t actually write that in the books, because lots of people would have no idea who I’m talking about, and people like to cast books for themselves.

Who am I to argue with them?

*And don’t get me started on the habit some writers have of dropping brand names every other page)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meet the Heros - Part 2

Meet the Heroes ~ Part 2

Here's our next interview post to let you get to know some of our heroes a little better. This series is running on Thursdays--different heroes each time. And if there's anything you're dying to know about one of our guys, don't be shy! We've put them in the hot seat for you, so ask away.


Hero: Dario Martoni, hero of Skylar Kade's upcoming novella “Lawful Pleasures” in the Curvalicious anthology from Parker Publishing.

How did you end up in Los Angeles?
I’ve lived here my whole life. My grandparents immigrated here from Italy, and as soon as they landed on Ellis Island, they used every penny they had to come out to California. My mother still lives in the house my grandfather built.

What's the biggest turn-on about Lia Delgado?
Lia is a firecracker in bed. I thought I was creative, but that woman has shown me things with ice cubes and hot chocolate that send tingles down my spine anytime I see them… actually, the other cops at work have started giving me funny looks.

What kind of lingerie do you like on Lia?
She has this little yellow number that sets off her dark Boricua skin to perfection. She’s a vision in it – the only problem is I can’t keep my hands off her long enough to truly enjoy the sight.

Hero: Carter Jarvis from Kelly Jamieson's Sexpresso Night:

How did you end up in Santa Barbara?
I grew up not far from here in Ventura. I’ve moved around up and down the coast and I’ve done a lot of traveling in South America, but when I wanted to start my own business I thought Santa Barbara would be a good place. I found the perfect location for my shop, Karma Coffee, right on Cabrillo and I’ve been here ever since.

What’s the biggest turn-on/turn off about Danya?
Oh man. Everything about Danya turns me on, but I have to say when she looks at me with those gorgeous green eyes, hangs on every word I say, and does just what I tell her to do – anything I tell her to do – that is so effing hot. Turn off? Uh...I dunno. She’s a horrendously messy cook – when she cooks a big meal the kitchen looks like a war zone after. She’s a good cook, though. (Grins and winks.)

Thong, crotchless panties or nothing at all?
(Evil grin). Okay, crotchless panties are kinda cheesy to me. I figure you might as well just go without. I guess it depends on the moment – there are times I tell Danya to wear nothing at all, and knowing that the whole time we’re out somewhere, is hot as hell. But she has some really pretty panties that look so sweet on her cute little ass...okay, enough. I gotta go...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coming out of the closet

Last week I came out of the closet.

My family knows I write, and friends know I write. But I don’t tell acquaintances, even if someone asks what I do, and I have NEVER told ANYONE I work with about my writing. But last week I was at a one-day workshop, no one else from my work was there, just total strangers, and when we had to do that usual “icebreaker” introduction at the beginning and tell everyone what we do when we’re not working, I told them “I’m a writer. I write fiction.”

Note, I didn’t say I write romance.

I was waiting all day for someone to ask me about it – what do you write? Are you published?
I’m proud of what I write, but I know romance has a certain reputation and is looked down on by many people. And I wasn’t sure how I was going to answer that if someone asked. I’m prepared to defend the romance genre, but so far I’ve never had to do that face to face with someone who disapproves of it.

Well, nobody asked, and in the end I was kind of disappointed. Especially when, during one group discussion, talk turned to books people are reading. A couple of intimidatingly intelligent sounding girls were talking about going on vacation and taking Warren Kinsella’s book with them. Light reading? Oy. But then one of the girls said, “I’m taking some trashy romance novels, too. I like those.”

Well, I was just thrilled! I still didn’t get a chance to tell her that’s what I write but it all felt okay. And next time when someone asks me I won’t be so worried about how to answer.

So who's out with me? And who's still in the closet?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guest Blogger J. K. Coi

Hey, I’m glad to be a guest today and want to say thank you first and foremost to the Nine Naughty Novelists!

My newest book was released this month from Ellora’s Cave as a Quickie, and it’s called The Morning After—for reasons which become fairly obvious on page numero uno.

I have to admit to being surprised by the response I’ve had so far. I thought I would be getting a lot more flack because it isn’t paranormal. Not a demon, vampire or other dangerous creature in sight. This book is strictly about the relationship between a normal man and a normal woman who are having their fair share of problems in a marriage that is on the rocks. That’s a new path for me, but I’m glad to say it’s one my readers haven’t seemed to mind.

I had a blast with this story, although I was amazed by how different it was to write. When you aren’t necessarily creating a world from the ground up, worrying about the rules of immortal warrior, demon harbingers of doom, or how to save the world from apocalypse, the focus really is on one thing only: The conflict that has to be driven to shattering heights between your characters.

That isn’t to say other genres don’t have conflict—they all do, it’s the driving force of any good book—but you don’t get those other shiny, glittery things to distract your reader with when you’re writing a straight contemporary. And I realized that this is what makes a book truly memorable, no matter the genre. When you think about it, if you’re writing romance of any sort—urban fantasy, a science fiction, paranormal or historical—and you can remove all the parts that pigeonhole it into that particular genre, but you’re still left with a moving, emotional story about two (or three) people that tugs at your heart, then I think you’ve got a winner!

So what are your favourite genres? Does it matter to you as long as the characters resonate?

Check out The Morning After from Ellora’s Cave here:


Waking up naked in bed with a man’s arms holding you close wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…except when that man is your husband.

Leslie has tried so hard to put Leo’s betrayal behind her—the ink was almost dry on the divorce papers. But when circumstances throw her in bed with her estranged husband one last explosive time, Leslie learns how quickly anger can turn to passion and hurt can turn to need, even while she knows there’s no way she can ever trust him again.

What Leslie considers goodbye, Leo insists is only the beginning. But the damage between them runs too deep, and sometimes, the only thing more devastating than the night before, is the morning after...


Consciousness came slowly.

It started with a groan, a deep breath, and a fuzzy sense that all was not as it should be this bright new morning. Indeed, the fact that warm light penetrated her still-closed eyelids at all was worrisome, since her large bedroom windows should have been covered by the heavy, thick drapes she’d spent a small fortune to have custom made.

The sunshine wasn’t her only reason for coming to the conclusion that this morning would offer a few extra challenges. The relentless pounding in her temples, and her pasty, dry throat was also a pretty big clue.

Being buck naked beneath the soft cotton sheet was another.

However, the biggest and most compelling sign that Leslie Stevenson was in serious trouble on this particular morning came courtesy of the heavy, even breaths raising gooseflesh on the skin of her nape. The warm, wide chest pressed up against her back. The thickly muscled arm draped over her waist. The hand cupping the weight of her breast. Especially when her memory of just how the as-yet-unnamed—and very naked—man might have ended up in this bed with her was proving to be an elusive one.

Daring to open her eyes, Leslie bit back an oath as a fresh spike of pain knifed through her forehead to the back of her skull. She didn’t think she’d had that much to drink last night.

How did I get here? Why can’t I remember?

Lifting her arm, she moved to push her hair out of her face, but stilled suddenly as the hand around her breast…squeezed.

She held a harshly drawn breath, waiting nervously. Was her mystery bedmate awake then, or just a grabby sleeper? Could she somehow slip out of here without having to endure the awkward morning after, since it seemed she didn’t even have the benefit of memories from the night before to make said awkwardness worthwhile?

She shifted her hips and started a slow shuffle out from under him, but didn’t get very far. The arm tightened around her waist, pulling her back into the cradle of his solid, warm flesh. She gasped as bold evidence of a raging morning hard-on pressed intimately against her buttocks. The hand clutching her breast repositioned itself, a calloused thumb flicking across her nipple—which tightened beneath this stranger’s bold touch. Her body betrayed her, sending a sharp thrum of intensity to her belly until she wanted to thrust her hips back harder against his erection.

She groaned and shut her eyes tightly as his hips pushed forward, as his cock slid deeper into the crack of her ass. Damn. There should be at least some small nugget of memory to tell her how she’d gotten herself into this particular tight spot, but the details of last night weren’t becoming any clearer, even as soft lips dropped to the curve of her shoulder.

It shouldn’t feel this good. To be held. To be touched.

She remembered her determination to go to the ritzy nightclub last night. Kind of a test. She also remembered forcing her feet to cross the threshold, and then making her way to the bar on the other side of the dark room. She’d ordered a drink in an attempt to numb her scrambled nerves. Leslie and crowds certainly didn’t mix, but she’d been working so hard to overcome the irrational phobia that had made her feel like such a freak for so many years.

But last night she’d felt strong, even though her temples had ached and her fingers shook while she waited patiently for David. Then came the call on her cell phone to say that he was working late and couldn’t make it. And she remembered all her hard-won strength falling away, proving that it had been nothing but a flimsy mask. She had lurched up from the barstool, desperate to be gone from that place.


He appeared across the dance floor.

With a gasp, Leslie clutched the bed sheet to her chest in a tight fist. She twisted around and glared into the face of the last person she should find herself naked in bed with…

Her husband.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feel the Heat

It's been a mild winter in our neck of the woods this year, with no snowfall and very few days below freezing. (Before all of you on the east coast of the US start giving me the evil glare, last year was a different story.) The weather has actually been pretty mild, the temperature staying in the moderate zone almost every day.

And yet my favorite item of clothing this season has been the flannel-lined jeans I got for Christmas.

It's almost embarrassing how much I love these jeans, especially when the temperature is well above normal and kids are running around in shirt sleeves. I shouldn't need flannel-lined anything in this weather.

But oh, my goodness, do I love them.

I also love fuzzy socks at bedtime, down vests over turtlenecks, and those footwarmer inserts you stick inside your shoes that keep your feet toasty for up to five hours. I'm the one putting on a sweater in the house even when the thermostat is at a perfectly acceptable setting. I openly covet my neighbor's fireplace insert, which boosts the temperature in her living room to an amazing degree. And I'd gleefully spend hours in a hot bath if only I could keep the water from cooling down.

So I suppose it's a good thing I live in an area that isn't known for it's lengthy sub-freezing season. I can only imagine how many layers I'd need in a part of the country that actually has winter weather during the winter season!

How about you? Are you more suited to the cold, or the heat? Or do you prefer a middle-of-the-road climate?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Groundhog's Day and other romantic holidays

I’ve known for awhile that I was scheduled to blog right before Valentine’s Day. Which I was not going to write about because… well, how cliché can we get, right? Romance writers talking about Valentine’s Day? Ugh. How un-original.

Then my Wonderful Husband, who is the least romantic guy in the world, (seriously—want to hold a contest?) sent me flowers.

For Groundhog’s Day.
Yes, that’s right.
Last year I got a dozen on President’s Day.
Year before that on the birthday of some guy he knew in high school. Who I’ve never met.

Now let’s be really clear here. WH has never given me a gift on V-day. Ever.

We knew each other for 6 years before we dated, then dated for 7 months, were engaged for a year and a half and have now been married for fifteen years. And I repeat: WH has never given me a V-day present.
I have however, gotten flowers annually on random days for no apparent reason. He also came up with the idea and has been diligent about celebrating the anniversary of the day we started dating (November 12th if you’re wondering).

I also have a beautiful wind chime, necklaces, books, CDs, and several other things “just because”.

So, maybe I have to rethink crowning him least romantic man in the world.

Not that I got it right away. There was one particularly teary V-day toward the beginning where he finally had to spell out that he doesn’t need a calendar or an overly commercialized holiday, multiple TV and radio ads, or “hints” of any kind to remember that he loves me or to tell me. And he doesn’t want to do it on a day when everyone else does (or help line the pockets of Hallmark… oh, he’s got a whole conspiracy thing going).

He did, however, figure out to send random bouquets of flowers before Valentine’s Day.
I happen to think it’s very romantic. I have a couple of friends who have a little crush on WH because of this, too.

So, okay, let’s just do it—let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! What is the best, most memorable/touching/ amazing romantic gesture you've ever been the recipient of?
What the heck? Let’s go crazy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meet the Heroes ~ Part I

Today's the first of several interview posts we have planned to let you get to know some of our heroes a little better. This series will be running on Thursdays--different heroes each time. And if there's anything you're dying to know about one of our guys, don't be shy! We've put them in the hot seat for you, so ask away.

How did you end up in Konigsburg, Texas?

Long, boring story. I was working as a vet in Kansas City, within driving distance of my hometown Lander, Iowa, which was sort of like never leaving home at all. Met this guy at a convention, Horace Rankin, who had a veterinary practice in Konigsburg and needed a partner. I bought in and came down here. I’ve gotta say that moving to Texas was sort of like moving to Mars, except that the natives were probably friendlier. Never regretted it, though. Particularly after I found Docia.

What's the biggest turn-on/turn- off about Docia Kent?

She’s built like Botticelli’s Venus, and sort of looks like her too. The minute I saw her standing at the bar in the Dew Drop Inn, I fell like that Galloping Gertie bridge. Not that she spends a lot of time at the bar now. Or then. Geez, Docia, I’m trying here, okay? Turn-offs? Well, there’s the whole not trusting men thing, but I think she’s over that now. Of course after she reads this she may not be as over it as I thought!

Do you prefer thongs/crotchless panties/nothing at all?

(bursts into hysterical laughter). Oh man, what can I say that won’t get me into trouble, big time! Whatever the lady wants, pal, whatever the lady wants.

To read more about Cal and Konigsburg, Texas visit Samhain Publishing or author Meg Benjamin's website

Hero: Conrad Quintano, In the Dark

How did you end up in San Francisco?

The year was 1856. I'd been living in New York when my partner and I had a falling out. After he seemed a good time to re-invent myself yet again. At that time, California was the place to go if you were wishing for a new start in life. Gold had been found there several years earlier and there were still fortunes to be made. Not that I was lacking for funds, you understand, but one can never amass too much wealth and power, especially when one is the head of so large a family as mine.

Besides which, a new Committee of Viglilance had just been formed in San Francisco to combat lawlessness, corruption and greed. As this was something I'd spent the past several hundred years doing among my own kind. I thought—quite correctly, as it turned out—someone like myself would fit in quite nicely. It was also most agreeably foggy. Why so many vampires continue to settle in Southern California instead remains a mystery to me, although they're certainly welcome to it.

What's the biggest turn-on/turn- off about Desert Rose?

Turn ons? Ah, that's easy. Her eyes, her hair, her youth, her refreshing naïveté. She's beautiful and she makes me feel young again. Something which, after eleven hundred years, is almost impossible anymore.

Turn offs...also easy, unfortunately. Those would have to include her reckless behavior, her extreme childishness—did you know she wants me to throw her a Christmas party? Oh, and her fondness for sunlight, her irritating habit of rising before noon...

In balance, however, I must admit that all the annoyances are really quite minor when compared to the great joy she brings me. Did I mention she's also quite tasty? She is. In fact, her flavor is so very satisfying that I find myself uninclined to share. So don't ask.

Do you prefer thongs/crotchless panties/nothing at all?

I do not understand anything about the undergarments your modern female wears. They are by no means utilitarian, and if they're worn to be shown off, then why cover them? I can only conclude they're meant to add to the sense of anticipation, to leave one wondering about what lies beneath. After several centuries, I must admit most of the surprise has worn off. So, if I were to answer your question, I suppose I would have to say 'nothing at all'.

To read more about Conrad and the rest of his family, visit Samhain Publishing or author PG Forte's website

Hero: Cale Callaghan Primal Attraction

How did you end up in Avalon?

I think the more interesting question is where didn't I end up? Between protecting the dagger I need to save my brother and tracking down my reluctant mate (did I mention she doesn't remember me and has orders to kill me on sight?) means moving around. A lot. But then, there isn't a place on Earth or Avalon that I wouldn't go to prove to Sorcha that we belong together.

What's the biggest turn-on/turn-off about Sorcha?

Biggest turn on would definitely be her sword. No, I'm not into S&M, but that confident look that comes into her eye when she knows exactly what she wants and that nothing is going to get in her way, fires me up every damn time. Nothing unleashes my animal instincts as much as a woman determined not to let me dominate her. :) Biggest turn off? Definitely her sword. Yeah, I'm twisted like that, but if you've ever been on the receiving end of it when she's pissed, you'd understand. *shudders*

Do you prefer thongs/crotchless panties/nothing at all?

Like any other hot-blooded male, you can't go wrong with naked. That said, having to first peel (or rip) off a pair of thongs is never a bad thing either. ;)

To read more about Cale and Sorcha , visit Samhain Publishing or author Sydney Somers' website.

Hero: Taran Lloyd, Kiss and Kin
How'd you end up in Houston?

I was born here. My family's been in Houston since before the shifters came out in the 40s. 
  What's the biggest turn-on/turn- off about your mate, Lark?

Nothing about her turns me off. she gonna read this? Swear? Ok, fine.

She leaves half-empty Diet Cokes in the fridge and she's incapable of putting a top back on something. Medicine bottles, tupperware, shampoo, whatever - she never closes anything completely. We went out of town last weekend and when she opened her suitcase, her shampoo had leaked all over everything. I tried to explain that if she'd just make sure she closed it...but she told me to f*** off, stop nagging, it wasn't my suitcase. Is that reasonable?

Turn ons: Her legs. Her hair. Her laugh. The way she's always happy to see me when I come home from work. She likes action movies. And she doesn't want my input on the wedding - all I have to do is show up with a ring.

So, yeah. Fuck the whole half-screwed top thing, I can live with it.
Do you prefer thongs/crotchless panties/nothing at all?

I think crotchless panties are hot as hell, but she always gets the giggles when she puts them on. And, you know - who cares. 

To read more about Taran and the rest of the pack, visit Samhain Publishing or author Kinsey Holley's website

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weather Woes - D. McEntire

Whew! I made it. Sorry, Nine Naughty Novelists Blog readers for the late post. With internet connection issues and this wonderful winter weather pretty much everyone here in the US has been experiencing, it’s hard to get anything done these days.

Speaking of winter weather, so many people are literally under the weather. I can’t imagine having that much snow. Where is it supposed to go? Cold temps keep it from melting so it stacks up. When it does melt… What a mess.

I have pictures on my website of last year’s snows and the ice storm. I wanted to post some pics I took yesterday, but alas, my internet service would not cooperate. Tried to upload them from my flash drive to photobucket while here at work so I can let y’all take a gander, but the uploader for photobucket is blocked here. *sigh*

So, how are you handling this weather in your neck of the woods? Are you outside enjoying the snow, making snowmen and having snowball fights? Or are you staying indoors, trying to keep warm and occupied? Are you getting caught up on your reading? Plenty of good books out there. (Shameless lead into my paranormal romance series, The Watchers).

I’ve been hearing more and more from readers The Watchers series has been capturing those who don’t tend to gravitate toward paranormal reads. The reason I’m given is because the Watchers themselves just so happen to be vampires. It isn’t entirely the focal point of the series. Sure, they have a vital job to do in culling the number of rogue vampires to protect humans and civilian vampires from becoming victims of the merciless killers. The Rogue’s bloodlust over runs their common sense in the fact mutilation of humans being discovered by the public would lead to the discovery of vampire existence, and things could get messy.

No, the series is much more than that. Each novel tells a story. Not just one of romance, sexual tension, erotic interludes and matters of the heart. There’s always something else going on, both behind the scenes and directly involving our hero and heroine. Action. Suspense.

I hope you get a chance to check out The Watchers series. I highly suggest starting at the beginning with Midnight Reborn to get a feel of The Watcher society as well as the setting – Louisville, Kentucky during the beginning of the Kentucky Derby festivities.

D. (Diane) McEntire

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Naughty Nine ~ Mardi Gras Party!

Well, it's the ninth of the month, so we must be partying. The theme this month is Mardi Gras--'cause it just doesn't get more festive than that!
We've got music and videos, a hottie, beads, giveaways and fun questions for you--and us--to answer. So, let the good times roll!

It wouldn't be Mardi Gras without the chance to catch some beads. We've got a bucketful. If you want us to toss some your way, email us at to be put on our mailing list and we'll send you a string. Sorry, you'll have to supply your own hottie. Offer good while supplies last and/or until Mardi Gras (next Tuesday) whichever comes first.

Instead of our usual contest, this month we're doing something a little different. We're donating a dollar to the Red Cross for every comment we receive today.

And now, onto the questions, the music and the fun...
1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
never ate it
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
mcdonald's diet coke
1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
Well, if it could be *anything*... In keeping with a well-loved theme--Matthew McConaughy. Or money. Better yet, Matt in a loin cloth made of hundred dollar bills (you know they'd have to use a lot of them!! *G*).
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
I've lived a sheltered life. Don't know of anything I've eaten that is really authentic, frankly. But I love any seafood. I don't however intend to ever try crawfish and don't appreciate really spicy food. Probably good I grew up North, huh?
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
I actually don't usually give stuff up for Lent :) I'm really not good with deprivation. But one year I did try to give up caffeine. I think I made it to day three. This year I think I'll give up dieting.

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
A new contract!
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
Due to my notorious sweet tooth I'm most looking forward to trying beignets someday.
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
Chocolate! (See sweet tooth, Q. #2)

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
I understand they toss beads – I would like mine to be diamonds. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
I love most seafood especially shrimp and I also love spicy food so I like Cajun and Creole food. I once ate ALLIGATOR. I thought it was Cajun-spiced pieces of chicken, just a little tougher. I won’t say that’s one of my favorites! One thing I’ve never had that I would like to try is beignets.
3. Hardest thing ever given up for Lent
I’ve never given anything up for Lent. Am I going to burn in hell?

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
A Zulu coconut

2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
Anything at Acme Oyster House and the beignets at Cafe Du Monde
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
Maybe Remy McSwain (Dennis Quaid's character in The Big Easy, the sexiest NOLA flick ever).
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
Fried oysters at the Acme Oyster House. Oh man, my mouth waters just remembering.
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
I don't usually give things up for Lent. But if I were to do it, I'd probably go with some kind of food, maybe pasta. Now that would take some willpower, believe me!

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
Kelly's magic review lamp? Or pralines. Pralines are always good.
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
Oh, man, what isn't my favorite? I love it all--from beignets in the morning, to bread pudding late at night with lots of oysters in between (fried, raw, in po boys--I'm not fussy). But lately I've been jonesing for Voodoo Shrimp. And pralines, of course.

3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
Don't really do Lent all that much. As a kid, I remember my school used to hand out little metal boxes for us to put our money in--they were collected at the end of Lent and sent off somewhere. I never really got the point of that. Were we giving up money for Lent? I really liked those boxes though--they were so cute! So, giving up the boxes--that was the hardest part for me.

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
A winning lottery ticket might be nice. Or a chai tea... mmm. Ok, I'm off to Starbucks...
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
I've actually never had New Orleans food, so I'll be taking advice from the other Nine on this one.
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
In my episcopalian middle school, I tried telling them I was giving up homework for Lent, but that didn't fly.

1. What would you like somebody to toss you from a Mardi Gras float?
A maid? I could really use someone to do the laundry so I can have more time to write. No maids, huh? Bummer. Well, I guess beads will work. Maybe I can use them to tie my husband to the dryer and let him look for missing socks.
2. What's your favorite New Orleans food?
Anything with alcohol. :) What? Liquor can so be a food group, and I've heard interesting things about the Sazerac.
3. What's the hardest thing you've ever given up for Lent?
Pop/Soda. My mother talked me into one year and I don't think I've ever forgiven her for it. :)