Friday, June 28, 2013

Flirty Friday - Heat Up The Night by Skylar Kade

Today's Flirty Friday is from Heat Up The Night by Skylar Kade. Enjoy!

Sammy’s text flashed on the screen. We’re good to go tonight. He’s excited to meet you!

Tovia’s stomach lurched from nerves and apprehension. Six months ago, Sammy had talked her into becoming a cocktail waitress. Four months ago, she’d held Tovia’s hand as she got the belly button piercing she’d wanted since she was sixteen. And one month ago, Sammy had made her over and thrust Tovia into the luscious, kinky world of Apogee.

A sex club.

Okay, she was being overdramatic. As Sammy had drilled into her head, it was a kink club. A BDSM dungeon. Yes, sex was allowed, but calling it a sex club was “just so plebian.”

Somehow, Sammy had made the statement sound haughty even as she’d been naked and halfway tied up.

She pointedly exited out of the texting app, not wanting to see any of the four messages her mother had left during her shift. She didn’t need to read them—each was written in Amelia Douglas’s tongue of guilt, with an acquired accent of emotional manipulation.

Learning that language had been courtesy of Sammy as well, and about a decade too late, in Tovia’s opinion. After all, she was twenty-seven, living at home, and still playing referee between her mother and sister. Never mind the fact that Tovia’s mother still thought she worked at the Rio Hotel’s buffet as a waitress and would just keel over if she found out the truth. Some variations of but all those men leering at you…selling your body…you deserve more respect than that…

If she discovered the job change was partially impelled by Tovia’s need for a down payment on her own place—yeah, she didn’t want to go there. Not tonight.

Tovia craned her neck left and right to work out the knots, rolled her shoulders, then slithered into her almost-too-beautiful-to-wear emerald leather corset. With her work uniform hotpants, she was ready for Apogee.

Her heels got chucked into her bag atop her work shirt, and she snagged her most comfortable flats from the bottom of the pile. When serving on the casino floor, she enjoyed towering over most of the patrons in her four-inch wedges, but at the club she preferred flats. When her knees went weak from whatever a Dom was doing to her, she didn’t want to worry about twisting an ankle.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday (a little more than) 13: Summer Barbecue

Since we're spread out across North America, we can't have a real barbecue together this summer. But if we would be awesome. Here's what we'd each bring. 
In the comments, tell us what you'll add to the potluck!

1. Mike's Hard Lemonade (Kelly Jamieson)

2. Tabouli with tomatoes and peppers from the farmer's market (Meg Benjamin)

3. Margaritas (Sydney Somers)

4. Bean salad, because I love it. (PG Forte)

5. Oriental coleslaw. (Erin Nicholas)

6. Some hunky firemen--pictures provided upon request! (Juniper Bell)

7. Barbecue potato chips (Kate Davies)

8. Party music. This is a great summer playlist. (Skylar Kade)

9. Lemon-dijon chicken breasts (Kelly Jamieson)

10. A bottle of vinho verde, or possibly NZ Sauvignon Blanc--you know how I love it. (Meg Benjamin)
11. Watermelon salad. (Sydney Somers)
12. Wine because I love it (PG Forte)

13. Cups--how else would we drink margaritas and wine? (Kate Davies)
14. Salmon with a soy glaze. (Meg Benjamin)
15. A cooler filled with dry ice and lavender ice cream because I can't believe no one mentioned dessert yet. (PG Forte)

 16. Brandy slush--but I'd have to share PG's cooler and dry ice. (Erin Nicholas)

17. Bruschetta because it's my all time favorite summer meal (Kate Davies)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Move Over Gordon Ramsay???

If you’ve read my posts here or on my website before then you know I’m not a fan of cooking.
I’d rather sharpen rusty garden hoes with a nail file (in preparation for the zombie apocalypse of course) than plan, prep and cook a meal. I’ve always been content to let Master Chef run the show while I chip in with setting the table and cleaning up.
But recently (after I was clearly abducted by aliens in my sleep and experimented on) I’ve discovered that cooking isn’t so bad and that I can even *gasp* enjoy it. Okay, so those times may or may not include dessert based dishes or foods that have been traditionally labeled as bad for us, but I still consider that progress.
Some of my experimenting (I’m obviously waaaaay to creative to stick to the basics) have worked out well and others…not so much. I happen to be a huge mushroom lover. I’ve even brought Master Chef, who had little use for the fungi family, over to the dark side. He rarely eats steak without them anymore.
And so I thought I’d give this recipe a try. Gordon makes it look sooooo simple, how could it go wrong, right?

 Which leads me to 5 things I learned so you don’t have to:
  1. It’s not as easy as it looks to scoop and toss those babies around in the pan like that. Apparently that’s what culinary school is for. Better to practice while procrastinating on a book.
  2. Avoid making recipes that don’t actually tell you how much of an ingredient is being used. Watching the clip and making shit up guesstimating may not yield accurate results.
  3. Following this recipe (or doing whatever the hell I did) may turn off even the most hardcore Fungus Forever mushroom lover.
  4. They pretty much taste like cold mushrooms sprinkled in cinnamon/nutmeg. *gag*
  5. I will not be replacing Master Chef in the kitchen anytime soon. I’m not even sure he’s letting me touch the utensils anymore.

So what about you guys. Love to cook? Hate it? Have you made anything your family just won't let you forget?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guest Blogger Heather Long - Weddings & Carpe Diem: Marine Ever After

As always, thank you so much to the Nine Naughty Novelists for having me today! It’s funny, one of the Internet trends of late has been weddings, weddings, weddings. Who doesn’t appreciate the possibility of happily ever after? Think about all the ‘flash mob’ wedding proposals? Or the rocking out father/daughter dances? Or even the wedding party madness such as dancing to Thriller by Michael Jackson? These wedding hijinks are as much a part of our culture today as the wedding affair or hookups have been in the past.

Weddings are a time to make new connections or rediscover old ones. They are almost a slice of life carved away from the every day and they are packed full of possibilities and chances to do or be someone different. In fact, the last wedding I went to seemed so surreal, I giggled through most of it—yes, it was my own, but I digress.

What Happens at a Wedding…

While the phrase what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is well known, what happens at a wedding most often stays at a wedding, too. Groomsmen hook up with bridesmaids, guests reconnect, or make a first time connection. You’re drunk on ‘happiness’ and the chance of a ‘happily ever after’ whether you’re a romantic or not.

I knew when I sat down to write Marine Ever After it would all kick off at a wedding and not just any wedding, a wedding for the couple that launched my Always a Marine series. It is one thing to promise a happily ever after at the end of a book, now I wanted to see where that happily ever after took my couple.

Mixing It Up

If you’ve ever been in a wedding party then you know you’re as often as not spending a lot of time with people you didn’t know BEFORE the wedding and sparks can happen in the most unexpected places. That, of course, is how Paul and Lillianna meet. Without the wedding of Luke and Rebecca, it’s doubtful they’d have ever crossed paths, but the chemistry they shared blew me away and since yes, life happens when we’re making other plans, I wanted to see where life would take these two.

Bridging the Distance

Their romance had a lot of challenges, including Paul’s deployment, Lillianna’s history, and a little thing like a baby. But the passion between the two of them—made significantly hotter by a little secret Paul kept from me until the right moment—had an unexpected twist. The friendship they forged seemed very real to me and it was the combination of friendship, romance, challenges, and passion ultimately made this couple one of my all time favorites.

While I usually find it hard to gush about the characters that I write, I’ve never had this problem with Paul and Lily, I think it’s because I met them at a wedding and they definitely turned out to be people I loved getting to know better. I hope you do, too.

What’s your favorite “it happened at a wedding” story?

A national best selling author, Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. In addition to military romance, Heather writes a wide variety of romance from paranormal historical western romance to contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She loves characters and the stories they have to tell. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Website | Always a Marine Facebook Page | Author Facebook Page | Twitter


Marine Paul Torres is used to women who enjoy the pleasure of the moment and whom he can bed with a wink and a smile. But with so many of his friends settling down, he’s turned on by the allure of finding the right partner as well. Even more so when he meets Lillianna Hansen while attending a wedding.

After a passionate night, Paul wakes to find her gone and though he wants more than a one-night stand with the alluring Lily, his limited leave is up and he’s forced to return to active duty.

All Lillianna thought she wanted was a good time. But Paul’s attention—even from thousands miles away—is hard to resist, and while she tells herself repeatedly she doesn’t want a relationship with a Marine, she can’t deny the consequences of their passionate night.

When she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s forced to reach out to Paul. But is she ready to let the father of her child be her Marine Ever After….


Sadly, the evening wedding meant the sun was already sinking as they exited, and the shadows lessened the chance he could tell what color her eyes were.

Photographs would be next and then a drive to the reception at Mike’s Place. If he played his cards right, they’d be in the same limo. But we have to dance…. A smile curved his mouth. He would have plenty of opportunity to stare at her eyes and determine their color then.

“Paul Torres,” he murmured.

“I’m sorry, what?” She glanced at him, a distracted smile softening her expression. It hit him like a fist to the gut. He needed to revise his earlier opinion—gorgeous didn’t do her justice.

“I’m Paul Torres, you must be Lillianna.” The only bridesmaid who’d missed the big rehearsal dinner. Not that I can complain…. He almost missed it, too. His flight landed an hour beforehand and only some skillful driving with Damon managed to get them both there in time to be in place before the bridesmaids did their obligatory walk.

“Yes, sorry. I can’t get over how happy she looks.” She let go of his arm and offered her gloved hand to shake. “And I’m Lillianna Hansen.” The urge to kiss it was a little too romance-novel for him, so he shook it then held onto it.

“The captain looks pretty happy, too. I think he got the better end of the bargain.” Paul chuckled. Every man from his unit seemed to be settling down in civilian life, marrying or pairing off. He’d served with most of the men in the groom’s party and earned his invitation when the wedding coincided with his leave. Unfortunately, one of Luke’s best friends—Brody—hadn’t been able to make it. The lieutenant remained on active duty in Afghanistan, but promised to visit the happy couple on his next trip through Dallas—probably to see his girl, the artist, as much as to see Luke.

“I hope so. There’s a tiny part of me that doesn’t like him.” Her announcement surprised him, but the photographer summoned them to join the bride and groom so he swallowed the question.

Five hundred photographs later, the dismissed wedding party made their way to the small fleet of waiting limousines. Jazz and her husbands loaded into one, the freshly marrieds got their own, James and Lauren claimed the third. Paul drifted back a little, and fortunately Lillianna waited for him as Damon and A.J. helped their bridesmaids into a limo and joined James and Lauren.

Score. We get the last one to ourselves.

“Everything all right?” She eyed him expectantly.

“Fine, I just wanted to check a button.” Lame, Paul. Lame. But it was the first excuse to pop into his head. He motioned for the limo and she shook her head and led the way. Beating her to the door, he opened it, handing her inside before slipping off his cover and joining her.

She sat opposite him in the wide area of the stretch, and on the far side. He considered swapping seats, but he liked looking at her better—even if only in the illumination of passing headlights. “I hope you’re ready for a big party.”

“Me, too.” Lillianna didn’t sound ready. He raised his eyebrows and she moistened her lips.

Damn. Mind out of the gutter. He gave his body the order, but too late to prevent the shock of reaction running riot through his system. If he hadn’t already been curious about her before, he definitely was then. Out. Of. The. Gutter.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Marketing Monday: 5 Uses of Instagram

Instagram has been around for a couple years, but it wasn't until they merged with Facebook and added an android app that they became a powerhouse social network.

Unfortunately, Vine was released at the beginning of 2013. This app allows you to make 6 second looping videos and is closely tied to the Twitter platform. As of the beginning of June, Vine videos were more popular on Twitter than Instagram photos.

As you may have heard, Instagram is fighting back. The app now allows users to film 15 second videos and add filters. You can also share it directly to more social networks. Here's a thorough breakdown of the network differences.

In my opinion, this makes Instagram preferable because of its versatility--and really, do we need *another* social network to be active on? I'm personally still working Instagram into my social media routine, but here are five types of image/video post that support an author platform. In the comments, let me know what kind of photos resonate with you!

  1. Highlight an event: Are you holding a book signing, attending an RWA meeting, or even grabbing lunch with other authors? Snap a photo (get permission before capturing people in the pics though!). Take advantage of hashtag functionality and add the conference or meeting tag to the end of your photo description.
  2. Share what you're reading: Take a photo of the book cover/passage you like (or screen capture it on your phone).
  3. Promote a giveaway: Take a photo of the swag you're offering and add appropriate hashtags to increase the reach.
  4. Talk about your WIP:  Take a photo of your outline or your draft or even take a picture of your computer screen. You can even take a photo of the pen and notebook you're using to brainstorm, or the location you're in to work. Include any relevant hashtags and context in your photo description.
  5. Show your personality: Let your friends and fans get to know you--post about something you enjoy, or something you're doing, unrelated to reading or writing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Congratulations Kelly Jamieson!

Congrats to Kelly on her upcoming release, How to Love!

How to Love is available June 25, 2013 and is available for preorder at:

Barnes & Noble
Samhain Publishing

San Amaro Singles, Book 2

Relationship, no…but threesome, hell yes!
Ever since Jules’s new neighbor moved in, she’s been undressing him in her mind. Mike is the fresh inspiration she needs to make her erotic photography studio a success, if she can convince him and his equally buff roommate, Carlos, to strip for her lens. And maybe indulge in a little off-camera fun as well. 

But Jules isn’t too worried. She doesn’t do relationships, but she loves men and sex—and in her experience, most men are okay with that.

Judging from the raw emotions leaping from the images in Jules’s gallery, Mike senses there’s a lot going on beneath her flirtatious, slightly cynical exterior. He and Carlos are happy in their committed relationship, but they’ve always felt there’s a piece missing. They want a woman. Jules could be that woman.

A threesome with two committed men? Sounds like an emotionally risk-free dream come true for Jules. But when they make it clear they want more, her deepest fears push to the surface, straining bonds forged in incredible heat to the breaking point…

Warning: The book features two hot men brave enough to climb cliffs, strip naked for erotic photographs, have sex in a portrait studio and on a cliff, and who have the courage to teach a commitment-phobic woman how to love.

Friday, June 21, 2013

First BOOK Friday-- PG Forte

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 week we're featuring the first book by PG Forte, Scent of the Roses.

A note from PG:

This is one of my favorite scenes from Scent of the Roses, partially because I can still remember exactly where I was when I wrote it. I was seated at a table on the terrace at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco with a cup of coffee scribbling in a notebook while the rest of my family explored the tall ships at the marina across the street. Even now, years and years later, I’m still transported back there in my mind every time I read it.  


There’s something magical about the tiny coast town of Oberon, California…

When a slumber party prank goes awry, magical forces are unleashed that will forever alter the lives of four teenage girls. Twenty years later, Scout Patterson is tired of running from the mistakes and mysteries in her past. So she’s coming home to Oberon, hoping to lay a few of her ghosts to rest.

For Nick Greco, his memories of the girl he’d loved and lost were all he had to see him through the empty years. When Scout’s homecoming is followed by a recurrence of deadly attacks, Nick must rush to solve an all-but-forgotten crime or risk losing her again—this time for good.

But magic, once raised, is not so easily dispersed. As the residents of Oberon are about to discover, some mistakes aren’t easy to mend and some mysteries can be murder.


Nick pushed his way into the house, almost colliding with Scout in the dimly lit kitchen.  She gasped, and all but dropped the pizza box she was holding.  They regarded each other in silence.

There it was again, he thought irritably.  That same wary, frightened look he’d seen in her eyes earlier.  Twenty years he’d been waiting for her.  Was one lousy smile too much to expect?  Couldn’t she even give him that much?   

“Is- is something wrong?” She stammered breathlessly.

“Yeah.  Why are you so damn jumpy?”  Nick snapped at her, in reply. 

Scout blinked.  “I’m not . . . jumpy.”  But he could see her hands clench more tightly on the box. 

He grabbed it away from her and dropped it on the counter.  She closed her eyes, briefly, involuntarily it seemed, almost as if she expected him to strike her.  And that thought caused his temper to flame even higher.  Dangerously so.  Christ, what the hell did she take him for, anyway? 

“Yeah, you are,” he insisted, taking a step closer.  “You look like you’re scared to death of me right now.  And you’re shivering.”  His hands closed on her arms.  “What’s going on here, Scout?  Do you want me to leave?”  His voice was low, hoarse, and he didn’t know what he would do if she said yes, since leaving now was out of the question. 

  “No,” she whispered.  

That whisper was going to drive him mad.  He let her go abruptly, backing away from her, his hands tensing into fists at his sides.  His next words were out of his mouth almost before he thought them.  “Are you seeing that jerk Glenn again?”

Her head snapped up at that.  “Am I seeing—  No!  Why on earth would you ask that?  I hadn’t seen him for twenty years.”

“But you saw him on Monday, remember?  You had dinner with him?  At least that’s what you said yesterday.”

She looked away.  “Oh, that.  When you said . . .  look, the situation . . . it’s awkward, okay?  When he showed up I just, well I couldn’t exactly tell him to get lost, now could I?”

“Why not?  Because he’s your lawyer?  Because you’re hoping he’ll help you find out what happened to your stepsister?  Or is it awkward because you slept with him?”

“All of the above, I guess,” she answered, reaching for the wine bottle on the counter to pour herself another glass.  “You know, Nick, this is really getting old.  I feel like all I’ve done for the past week is apologize for mistakes I made when I was a kid.  Ever since I got here, I keep having to deal with all these people who think I screwed them.”   

“Only, in Glenn’s case, it’s literally.”

She made a face.  “Gee.  Thanks for bringing that up.”

“Unlike me.”  


“You didn’t . . . literally . . . screw me.”

“Oh.”  She colored slightly, and took a long drink.  Her eyes studied him appraisingly over the rim of her glass.  “Yeah.  But, you know, I don’t really think I can take any credit for that,” she said as she lowered the glass.  “You just got lucky, is all.”

Lucky?  “Interesting choice of words.  How do you figure that?” 

She turned on him, suddenly.  “Look, Nick.  You’re still mad at me for something that happened twenty years ago?  Well, fantastic.  Join the club.  I made mistakes, sure.  People do that.  Only I learned a long time ago that for some reason, I was never going to be allowed to forget about mine.  Which, by the way, is yet another reason I never came back here before now.  And why I don’t plan on staying an instant longer than I absolutely have to.  But as far as you’re concerned, I think it’s time for a reality check.  You got off easy.”

“You think so?”

 “Yeah, I do.  If we’d kept going the way we were going, then yeah.  You’d have been screwed all right.  Legally, as well as literally.  And maybe then you’d have a reason to hate me.  But it didn’t happen, so…”   She shrugged, and took another sip of wine.

“Oh, I see.”  Fury raged inside him.  He took a deep breath, and reminded himself to stay calm.  “So, you came to your senses just in time, and dumped me for Glenn in order to save me from myself?  I’m touched, really.  But I gotta tell you, if that’s your definition of getting lucky?  I could think of a much better one.”
Scout’s frown turned puzzled.  “I dumped you?  Where did that come from?  Is that what you thought?”

“No, Scout.  What I thought is that you were just a kid who liked to play games.  You must have gotten a pretty big kick out of pretending you were attracted to me just so you could piss Lucy off.”

“Look, I—”

“Forget it.”  Nick shook his head.  Jesus Christ, some great seduction this was turning out to be.  How in hell had they gotten off on this tangent, anyway?  “It was a long time ago.  What difference does it make now?  Water under the bridge, right?”  He reached over and flipped up the cover of the pizza box.   

He picked up a slice and took a bite.  “Come on, we better eat this.  It’s not gonna get any warmer.”

She didn’t move.  And for a moment, she didn’t speak.  And then, “You’re wrong, you know,” she said, staring at the island in front of her, her voice low and husky.  He looked at her.  Two bright spots of pink burned on her cheeks.

Now what?  He eyed her wearily, chewing pizza with dogged determination, although he might as well have been eating the box for all the flavor it had for him.  “Wrong about what?”

 Add it to your library here!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June Pick your Pleasure: Boxers or Briefs?

Today we introduce a new feature at the Nine Naughty Novelists.We'll post an important philosophical question, and discuss the answer. At the bottom of the post, you'll have a chance to vote on the answer--with a little visual inspiration to boot!

Today we're pondering.... boxers or briefs.

Well, it was supposed to be boxers or briefs, but at the Nine Naughty Novelists, nothing can be that easy.

Kate: Damn. Can I be wishy-washy and vote for boxer briefs? Because they're
my favorite. :)

PG: Can I answer outside the box and say Commando?

Meg: Okay, briefs. But boxers look really cool too.

Kelly: I'm with Kate - boxer brief, low rise.  

Sydney: Same goes for me as Kate and Kelly. But I love PG's answer too :) 

Juniper: I like it when my hubby wears his boxers that are decorated with flames and the words "Let me stand next to your fire." ;-) 

Erin: I like boxers best too! Need some with flames on them around here though...

Kinsey: Boxer briefs! 

Skylar: boxer briefs *are* really sexy!

Boxers or Briefs? free polls 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Blogger Sarah Castille - Finding Your Sparkle

“Your name is Twilight Sparkle.”

Three years ago when I was working as a senior associate at one of the biggest law firms in the world, I would never have imagined having the time to play fairies with my littlest daughter “Princess Christabel Sunshine”. Nor would I have ever imagined I would be living a lifelong dream of becoming an author.

I have always been a writer. From the day I won my first contest at the age of five with a terribly misspelled story about an evil witch who kidnapped children and made them eat vegetables, I was hooked. And what better way to pursue that dream than...becoming an attorney. Yes, I traded in imaginary worlds for the black letter of the law.

Curiously, my imagination did not thrive under the stress of billable hours, endless days and nights, and the pressure of climbing the law firm equivalent of the corporate ladder. I put away the writing journals, never saw my Christabel Sunshines (I have three!), and raced to court. Not to say I didn’t love it, because I did. But it was never my dream.

And then one day, something changed. A near fatal illness gave me the opportunity to revaluate my goals. During the year it took me to recover, I rediscovered my writing journals and I rediscovered my sparkle.

I took a few writing courses, read a few writing books, and let all the information settle over me like blanket. Then I pulled out the laptop and began to write LEGAL HEAT knowing only that it had to have three things.

First, it had to be about attorneys. Sometimes the old adage holds true. Write what you know. And after spending so many years in the courtroom, law was all I knew.

Second, it had to be a romance. As an attorney for many years, I have seen legal romances of all shapes and sizes, from the forbidden to the hidden and everything in between. I have seen relationships develop into marriages and marriages disintegrate through affairs. I have seen careers destroyed and families built. I have seen scandal and I have seen true love. Law may be black and white but it is tinged with red.

Third, it had to have intrigue and suspense. This I blame on my mother and her love of true crime novels. How could I not write suspense when she was never without a crime book in her hand?

With the assistance of a patient family and my not so patient Christabel Sunshines, it all came together. I received offers to write more books. I decided to put the briefcase on the shelf just a little bit longer.

When I am not writing, I am Twilight Sparkle. Sometimes I am Rainbow Moonlight. On bad days I am Black Midnight, the evil witch who makes her children eat vegetables. My girls used play dress up with my suits and heels. Now they want to be writers. We lie in the sunshine together, make up stories and illustrate them with crayons.

One day, I might go back to the legal profession. But right now, I’m living the dream. Although at night when the kids are in bed, and I’m sitting at the computer, Twilight Sparkle has a very naughty side.

Recovering lawyer, karate practitioner, and caffeine addict, Sarah Castille worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. Her steamy, contemporary romantic tales feature blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.



Twitter: @sarah_castille



Amazon Author Page:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Next Year's Book

Here’s a little-known truth of writing: you’re always in love with next year’s book. Next year’s book is the new guy at work, the strap-hanger on the bus who looks a lot like Ryan Gosling, the new barrista with the cute smile. Next year’s book makes your heart race a bit, and the more you work on it, the more in love you fall.

This is it, the One, the relationship to end all relationships. Nothing can stop us, baby—you and me now and forever.

And then, into this little bower of bliss, an editor drops the ultimate bring-down: last year’s book. You know, that past relationship, the guy you thought was so cool, the one who was going to be the One. That one.

It is, of course, fruitless to complain, to claim that you’ve moved on, that you don’t want to look backward toward that old relationship. You have to go back to him, at least for a little while, because there’s no way your editor will let you off the hook on this. The two of you will be a couple again for the length of time it takes to fix all the weak spots you didn’t see when you were in love.

At first it’s a painful process. You find yourself shaking your head in disbelief. Why didn’t you notice how weak he was in secondary characters? Why did you think his plot structure was so great when it’s clearly a mess? And oh, how could you have missed how shaky he was in the subjunctives? That alone should have been a tipoff.

But as you spend some quality time with last year’s book, it’s possible you may fall in love again, at least a little (although it will never be as good as what you have now with this year’s book—or so you tell yourself). You remember how he made you smile with that little bit of dialogue. You find yourself growing nostalgic over that elegant Big Black Moment. Ah, good times, good times.

Still, it has to end. Yes, the relationship was good while it lasted, but it’s over now. Time to move on. You bid last year’s book an affectionate good-bye, sending him on his way to find other lovers (you hope), who’ll appreciate him for all the sterling qualities that made you fall in love with him in the first place.

And now it’s back to your new love. Next year’s book is so fantastic, so beautiful, so clever. He’s everything you’re looking for in a book. Perfect, just perfect. And he will never be last year’s book. Until, of course, he is.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Reads

So how's your week going? Are you glad it's over? God knows I am - I haven't written a word in two weeks (don't tell Sky!) I've been weeded like hell with expert witness research on, like, twenty people. I'm a very thorough, somewhat OCD researcher to begin with, and if you do EW research correctly, it's very time-consuming and involves combing through many, many documents. (OK, I know. Enough with the librarian talk, Kins.)

I know the other Naughties have been busy. Poor Syd is sick, and I'm doing this Friday read.

Soooo. Whatchoo been reading?

I'm reading a few things that I'm enjoying. Here they are, in order of my interest in them (not that you asked):

1. Skippy Dies. I'm about halfway through and I'm afraid that Skippy will really die. This book is amazing - funny, heartbreaking, weird, poignant, everything. The only reason I haven't read it in one sitting is that, as I said, I'm afraid Skippy is really gonna die. The book's been pretty unflinching so far and it doesn't strike me as one where Everything Turns Out Okay In the End. Trust me - even if you don't think a book set in a semi-elite boys' private school in Dublin is your cup of tea, this one could surprise you.

2. Absurdistan. Every once in a while, despite my best efforts, I fall for a "literary" writer, and Gary Shteyngart is one of them. I loved The Russian Debutante's Handbook, and I love Absurdistan. He's a fantastic prose stylist, he has a hilariously deadpan sense of humor, his insights into American and Russian culture are deep and searing and, unlike Skippy Dies, I'm not the least bit invested emotionally in any of Shteyngart's characters. I know that sounds awful - how can you like a book if you don't identify with or care about the characters? Trust me. You can doo it. (Say that last line in a Rob-Schneider-in-an-Adam-Sandler-movie voice.) (If you don't watch Adam Sandler movies then congratulations, you're better than me.)

3. Bill the Vampire - The Tome of Bill series is self-published and, at least in this first volume, it kind of shows. There are parts of the book where the humor feels forced, or the narrative goes into a little bit too much detail - but this is nitpicking on my part. It's a funny book. The protagonist is a great mixture of dweeb and hero, and I like the relationship he has with his two best bros/roommates, who are quite believably nonchalant when they discover he's become undead. Whatever its flaws might be, it keeps me turning the pages. And I really want to find out why Bill bursts into flames when he touches a mint condition Optimus Prime action figure.

Okay, that's me. What about you?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday 13: Favorite Summertime Activities, Part II

We're so excited about summer, one Thursday 13 couldn't contain it! Read Part 1 here.
  1.  Infusing gin and drinking gin & tonics on the front porch. (Skylar Kade)
  2. Going camping with the family. (Kate Davies)
  3. Finding new farmers' markets. (PG Forte)
  4. Playing in the garden. (Juniper Bell)
  5. Visiting wineries and drinking wine on whatever patio they've got going. (Meg Benjamin)
  6. Blockbuster releases like Man of Steel! (Skylar Kade) 
  7. Gardening (Kelly Jamieson)
  8. Sitting around the fire at the campground with friends and a glass of wine. (Sydney Somers)
  9. Family vacation time (Erin Nicholas)
  10. Bitching about the heat while cranking the A/C down to arctic range (Kinsey Holley) 
  11. Enjoying the light that never ends here in Alaska!(Juniper Bell)
  12. Running outside instead of on my treadmill (Kelly Jamieson)
  13. Wearing sandals 24/7 and showing off a cute new pedicure. (Skylar Kade)

Thursday 13: Favorite Summertime Activities, Part 1

Ok, so the first day of summer isn't until June 21, but we're already eager for it to get here! This is what we live for this season. In the comments, tell us your favorite summer activity!
  1. Attending fairs and festivals. This past weekend we went to the Art and Wine Festival in Walnut Creek. Later this summer we're going to the Mid-state Fair in Paso Robles. (PG Forte)
    (photo from Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce)
  2. Going to an island in Maine to see my family. (Juniper Bell)
  3. Reading a book in the sun. Possibly by a pool or other body of water. (Kate Davies)
  4. Traveling just about anywhere in Colorado, but Steamboat Springs (where we're going this weekend) in particular. (Meg Benjamin)
  5. Going to the beach (Kelly Jamieson)
  6. Taking the kids to the beach, where they can play and I can read. (Sydney Somers)
  7. Baseball--especially watching my son (Erin Nicholas)
  8. Swimming pools (Kinsey Holley)
  9. Seeing all the Disneyland tourists--the people watching is unparalelled! (Skylar Kade)
    (Photographs by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
  10. Spending a couple of nights down the coast in a quaint B&B located in a vineyard. (PG Forte)
  11. Sitting on my deck reading a book (Kelly Jamieson)
  12. Eating loads of delicious barbecued food. (Sydney Somers)
  13. Wearing flip flops or sandals wherever I go :) (Erin Nicholas)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Mustache You A Question...

Last week, my coworker was out sick for several days. When he returned, he looked different - a little paler, perhaps, or he'd changed his glasses? I noticed that he'd cut himself shaving, but other than that, I couldn't figure it out.

It wasn't until someone else commented on his appearance that I realized the significance of the little cut above his lip.

He'd cut himself shaving.

His goatee was gone.

Now, I fully admit that I'm not always the most observant person. But not noticing his facial hair was no more? Pretty bad, even for me.

(Although my husband will sometimes tell people he's shaved his mustache when they ask why he looks different. He hasn't had a mustache since before we met. He might have worn his contacts instead of glasses that day, though.)

Coworker is starting to grow back his goatee already. And I, for one, am glad. How else am I supposed to recognize him? Erm, except for those times I don't even notice the facial hair - or lack thereof.

Your thoughts - beards? Goatees? Mustaches? Five o'clock shadow? Or no facial hair at all?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome Mari Carr, Shelli Stevens, Harper Fox, Joely Sue Burkhart

June 11th is a fantastic day for romance at Samhain Publishing! 

For one, it's the release day for the first book in my new series! :) She's the One is book one in the Counting on Love series and I'm so excited for you to all meet Ryan and Amanda!

But even more, I get to share the day with four other fabulous authors... some of my personal favorites in fact!

Here's a little more about each one... and a big giveaway at the end!

Full Moon, Mari Carr

Sometimes it’s not just the tide that rises…

Second Chances, Book 2

In the two years since her divorce was finalized, Josie Jacobson’s life has become one long, boring routine. Work, home, repeat. She has her hands full as a single parent, and while she’s not looking for a serious relationship, she sure wouldn’t mind getting laid.

When her friend Zoey challenges her to make a New Year’s resolution for a second chance at happiness, Josie goes one better and creates the “Howl List”. Every full moon, she will indulge in a different sexual fantasy. Right at the top? Sex without strings. 

Fate leads her to the Blue Moon bar in January. After all, what better place to howl? And when she meets Jake Stewart, the sexy bartender, and engages in some red-hot sex with a stranger, her year seems to be off to a great start. 

At least, until Jake declares he wants all her full moons… 
Product Warnings
This is NOT the shifter story you are looking for. While the heroine howls during the full moon, she does it in naked, human form only. Sorry—no wolves, but there is a really sexy bartender and lots of red-hot fantasies.


Girl Gone Plaid, Shelli Stevens

Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.
The McLaughlins, Book 1

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.
Product Warnings
A bad-boy hero who’s good with his hands, a heroine who’s trying to be good. Contains liberal consumption of Scotch whisky, a Highland Games competition, men in kilts wielding large poles, and a potential Sarah McLaughlin of the non-musical kind.


Brothers of the Wild North Sea, Harper Fox

His deadliest enemy will become his heart’s desire.

Caius doesn’t feel like much of a Christian. He loves his life of learning as a monk in the far-flung stronghold of Fara, but the hot warrior blood of his chieftain father flows in his veins. Heat soothed only in the arms of his sweet-natured friend and lover, Leof.

When Leof is killed during a Viking raid, Cai’s grieving heart thirsts for vengeance—and he has his chance with Fenrir, a wounded young Viking warrior left for dead. But instead of reaching for a weapon, Cai finds himself defying his abbot’s orders and using his healing skills to save Fen’s life.

At first, Fen repays Cai’s kindness by attacking every Christian within reach. But as time passes, Cai’s persistent goodness touches his heart. And Cai, who had thought he would never love again, feels the stirring of a profound new attraction.

Yet old loyalties call Fen back to his tribe and a relentless quest to find the ancient secret of Fara—a powerful talisman that could render the Vikings indestructible, and tear the two lovers’ bonds beyond healing. 
Product Warnings
Contains battles, bloodshed, explicit M/M sex, and the proper Latin term for what lies beneath those cassocks.


Her Grace's Stable, Joely Sue Burkhart

Silence is his only defense. But no truth escapes his lady’s whip.

A Jane Austen Space Opera, Book 2

Lady Violet Blackmyre, the daring “Black Duchess” of the Queen’s Light Dragoons, never thought she’d die a slow, miserable death. Yet only days after being named Field Marshal of the Britannian Army, she’s been diagnosed with consumption.

Giving Cole, her devoted stable hand and “pony”, his freedom is as easy as removing his collar. Convincing him to seek another mistress will be impossible should he learn of her condition. At all costs, she must spare him the pain of witnessing her demise.

Cole will not be pushed away so easily. When he stumbles across a magnificent “stallion” being abused at an illegal human auction, he is sure this wild, untamed brute is the challenge that will re-engage his mistress’s interest.

Arthur is desperate to return to the Iberian front, but betrayal and relentless torture have left him unable to trust himself with a weapon, much less lead soldiers into battle. What’s more, Lady Blackmyre’s dreadful secret is becoming more obvious by the day…and the scourge tearing at her lungs may not be natural at all.
Product Warnings
Ladies in positions of power and technological advances invented by the infamous Lady Doctor Wyre. A ménage a trois featuring a brute of a stallion, a mischievous pony, and the Mistress with the will (and the whip) to tame them both.


She's the One, Erin Nicholas

Sometimes you see love clearly. And sometimes it has to smack you in the face.

Counting on Love, Book 1

When a stranger walks up and punches him, Ryan Kaye assumes there’s a good reason. But he’s stunned to learn it’s over a one-night stand that never happened —with his friend’s sister, straight-laced Amanda Dixon. When Ryan confronts her about the lie, Amanda apologizes, but Ryan realizes he doesn’t want her to be sorry…he wants the night they supposedly spent together. 

Amanda’s not looking to add anyone to her long list of commitments, so she was only trying to let a nice guy down easy by telling him a fling with Ryan broke her heart. So what if the fling only happened in her dreams? But when Ryan Kaye tempts her with the chance to go crazy and fulfill a few fantasies, she can’t resist. Thank goodness one night isn’t enough time to fall in love…
Product Warnings
Contains a hot paramedic who knows how to get a girl to let her hair down, a girl who thinks she prefers her hair up, some naughty laser tag, some naughty role-playing and a lot of falling in love.


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Monday, June 10, 2013

She's the One

Tomorrow I'm releasing a new book!  I'm always excited on release day, but I'm especially excited this time (though I say that a lot too :)) because this is the start of a new series for me!

Well, kind-of.

This series, Counting on Love, is a spin-off of my Bradford series and well, honestly, this was kind-of greedy of me.  I had so much fun with my Bradford guys and girls that I wasn't quite ready to let them go.

Here's how the two series are connected... for both of you who care :D

Conner Dixon is a paramedic at St. Anthony's hospital (fictional) in Omaha, Nebraska (not fictional).

One of his friends, Ryan Kaye, is on his crew.

The Bradford guys (well, four of the five) are paramedics at St. Anthony's too.  The fifth Bradford guy is a doctor at St. Anthony's.

So, they all know each other.  (In fact, Conner showed up in Just For Fun, Just A Kiss and Just What I Need, the epilogue)

The other three guys in the new series are a cop (Shane), a doctor (Nate) and a firefighter (Cody) so they all run into each other on scenes and have worked together on emergencies.

AND... the five guys in the new series also play football for the Omaha Hawks (an amateur league team-- the league and the team are also fictional.  Omaha, Nebraska is still real).

Confused yet?  No?

Okay, well the GIRLS in the new series are Conner's sisters.  Except, of course, for the heroine of HIS book.  That would be gross.  SHE (Gabby) is also a paramedic.

What?  You think that's not especially creative?  Maybe.  Or maybe it's really, really awesome.

I guess you'll have to read to see! :D

Anyway, that's all a little hard to follow.   You can figure it all out on my Counting On Love page on my website:

Or you could read the free short story that bridges the two series, Just Count On Me (First published in five parts on my blog:

OR, you could just read the Bradford books and then pick up She's the One now and follow along as Counting On Love continues in September, November, February (2014) and April (2014)!  :)

Sometimes you see love clearly.  And sometimes it has to smack you in the face.

Counting on Love, Book 1

When a stranger walks up and punches him, Ryan Kaye assumes there’s a good reason.  But he’s stunned to learn it’s over a one-night stand that never happened —with his friend’s sister, straight-laced Amanda Dixon.  When Ryan confronts her about the lie, Amanda apologizes, but Ryan realizes he doesn’t want her to be sorry…he wants the night they supposedly spent together. 

Amanda’s not looking to add anyone to her long list of commitments, so she was only trying to let a nice guy down easy by telling him a fling with Ryan broke her heart.  So what if the fling only happened in her dreams?  But when Ryan Kaye tempts her with the chance to go crazy and fulfill a few fantasies, she can’t resist.  Thank goodness one night isn’t enough time to fall in love…

Warning: Contains a hot paramedic who knows how to get a girl to let her hair down, a girl who thinks she prefers her hair up, some naughty laser tag, some naughty role-playing and a lot of falling in love.


Ryan signaled Carrie, the waitress. “Two of whatever each of the ladies want,” he said, pointing to Emma, Isabelle and Olivia. He looked at the girls. “Stay here and mind your own business. Or at least mind someone’s business other than mine and Amanda’s.”

Emma grinned. “You and Amanda have business in common?”

He looked down at the woman beside him. He still held on to her elbow and he became aware that she smelled really, really good. Yes, it appeared that he and Amanda had business in common. How interesting. “Just stay here,” he finally said to Emma.

He tugged Amanda through the crowd to the corner near the back door. It wasn’t exactly private, but it would work for a few minutes. That was all he would have, he was sure, before Conner realized one of his friends had one of his sisters off in a dark corner alone.

“Yes, I talked to Tim Winters,” Ryan said when they were as alone as they were going to get. 
“Right after he clocked me and knocked me on my ass.”

Amanda gasped. “He hit you?”

“Yeah, because I slept with you.”

“I… Oh… Um…”

Ryan fought a smile. “But it’s weird. That really seems like something I’d remember.”

She rolled her eyes. “We all probably blend together after awhile.” She said it quietly, more of a mutter really, but he heard it.

“What’s that mean?” he demanded. He put a finger under her chin and tipped her head so she had to look at him. “Amanda, what does that mean?”

She shrugged and pulled her chin away from his touch. “It means that it’s got to be difficult keeping track of everyone in and out of your bed without making them all wear name tags.”

He grinned. He couldn’t help it. She was sassy too. He liked that. And liked even more that it didn’t show all the time. Emma was pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get. He liked knowing that there might be layers to Amanda Dixon to discover.

“Where would they pin the name tags?” he couldn’t resist asking.

For just a moment, Amanda seemed surprised. Then she smiled. “You’ll have to get the adhesive ones, I guess.”

“Might cover up something I need to see.”

“You could try only dating women named Jennifer or something.”

He smiled. “But then Tim Winters wouldn’t believe whatever you told him about you and me.”

Amanda pressed her lips together. Then said, “I’m really sorry he hit you.”

“I’ll live. What I want to know is why he did it.”

“I thought he…told you.”

She actually blushed and Ryan wondered if he could remember the last time he’d seen a woman blush. Not off the top of his head.

“I want to hear it from you.”

She looked at the collar of his shirt instead of his eyes. “I told him I had a one-night stand with someone and had feelings for him.”



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