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Friday, April 30, 2010

Interview of Sandra K. Marshall, RBRU Member Author

It's my honor to interview a good friend, Sandy. I've known her for all of my RWA and Mid-America Romance Authors years, and she's one of the people who motivated me when I felt like quitting. Happy to have her here today!

Sandy, tell us about yourself!

Marianne, thank you so much for having me here today. I've really enjoyed myself in this relaxed atmosphere.

Bio: I worked for a major airline for thirty-six years and did extensive travel during that period. In 1999, I retired to write full time and seriously worked toward publication.

I had an idea for a book at the time the riverboat casinos were starting up in the Mid-west. To write this book, I did research by working for nine months at a local riverboat casino. After I started my first book I knew I had enough information for more books. Fortunately, there were secondary characters who wanted their stories told to.

Here's the title of my latest book, buy link, video link.
"ADDICTION" is my latest book, the buy link is http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/addiction.htm and my video link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e684nldayz0

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I was totally numb. I had worked so hard for so many years that it was hard to believe it actually happened. Who did you tell first? I was on-line so the first person I told was my mentor and critique group, and then my hubby.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you…beginning, middle, end. Why?
A: The beginning is the easiest for me. Those first few scenes just come to me, and I have to write notes so I won't forget them.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you…beginning, middle, end. Why?
A: The hardest part of writing a book is the end because I know what the end is going to be, but I have a hard time getting there. I think it's because I'm in a hurry to finish, and I need to take my time and get it right.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: I'll use the heroine from Addiction. Sandra Bullock looks like Jolene Dubois except Jolene is taller. My heroine is an alcoholic, so she battles that addiction every day of her life. She also is fighting for her life because someone is stalking her.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: I'll use the hero from Addiction here. Jake Farrell is a black-haired blue-eyed Irishman who has an ornery grin. I'm not sure who I would want to play him. An Irishman for sure. lol

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I love to read when I have time to. Also, I love to travel.

Q: Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
A:

http://www.skaymarshall.com
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
http://www.myspace.com/s_zinn_marshall
http://www.facebook.com/sandramarshall
http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com
I'm also on Twitter as SandraKMarshall

Q: Anything you’d like to add?
A: Here are two review sites for Addiction:
http://bkwalkerbooks.weebly.com/1/post/2009/12/-read-review-of-addiction-by-sandra-k-marshall.html
http://ddrreviews.blogspot.com/2010/01/addiction-by-sandra-k-marshall.html

I was pleasantly surprised by them. It gave me validation that I could be a writer.


BLURB for "Addiction"
Two men are after the same woman but for very different reasons.


Dark-haired beauty, Jolene Dubois has a serious problem, and it's not just battling alcoholism. Late at night, she receives whispered calls. "Jolene, I want you. I'm coming for you." Shivers climb up her spine and ice flowed in her veins.
What does he want? She must figure it out before she trusts the wrong person.


Jake Farrell, the handsome rogue is an operator with women, but is he hiding something dark and sinister under his cheery facade. The detective, Andy Martin, who investigated her father's murder, continues to ask her out. Les Voodré, an alcoholic she met at AA follows her everywhere, and Ron Keisler, her AA sponsor is always there when she needs him. Could her caller be one of these men?


To further complicate her life, she fights a host of addictions, alcoholism, smoking, gambling and sex.Jolene is determined to beat the alcohol and to stay out of the clutches of the fiend who phones her.


EXCERPT:

Jake pulled into Parma Woods Conservation area off FF Highway across the road from the Missouri river
“I’m glad the weather cleared for our target practice."


“Yeah, it’s a nice sunny afternoon.” Jolene jumped out of his dark blue SUV. Twenty minutes in the vicinity of Jake had put her through pure torture. She wished she could’ve thought of a way out of the demonstration with a reasonable excuse but none came to her during the day. How did she get herself into these situations? Because the man drew her to him like bees drawn to nectar with his laughing eyes, his daring manner, and that body.
  
Glad she kept some extra clothes in the office, she’d changed into a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved green t-shirt before meeting Jake. Leaning inside, she pulled her Smith and Wesson out of her purse, and pushed the lock on the door before she closed it.  

“Let’s go inside and pay for our hour.” Jake headed for the office. 

Well, so much for courtesy. He just walked off and left her. She surveyed the row of covered booths briefly, and hurried after him.  

Coming out the door as she reached it, he asked, “What took you so long? I thought you’d run off.”  

“I was looking around.” Damn, she would like to slap that impudent grin off his face. “There’s no way I’d miss showing you up.” 

“Hmm, we’ll see, won’t we?” Jake arched a black brow with a lopsided smile. 

She shrugged. “Yes, we will.” If he kept his distance and didn’t upset her hormones, she’d hit the target.  

“I’ve set up a target for you.” He pointed. “I’m going to try you at different distances, and we’ll see if you can really shoot.” 

Jolene squinted a bit and saw a human shape of white on black. “I’m not used to this type of target. Where am I supposed to aim?” 

“Aim at the heart for the kill.” He placed his hand at her waist, steered her closer to the object and stopped about thirty yards away. “Is this close enough for you?” 

“Fine.” Just get away from me, she screamed mentally and shook off his arm.  

Jake stepped back. 

Jolene raised her gun, clasped in both hands and sighted, then pulled the trigger. Smiling, she set her sights on the heart again and fired until she emptied the clip, released it then put another in. 

“Wait a minute, let me go check to see if you hit it.” He jogged toward the target. 

Scowling, she resisted the urge to see if she could make him dance. With the gun to her side, she yelled, “Well, how did I do?” 

As she watched him shake his head, dismay clawed at her. Could she have missed? Fool! She’d been so sure she could repeat the ten in ten bulls-eyes. Jake would think she was just a big bragger. 

“Come and see for yourself,” Jake yelled.  

You would think he would just tell me if I missed or not. Jolene walked briskly from the covered shooting range and strode up to him. “Well, did I hit the target?” She’d never live it down if she missed.  

Jake glanced at her. “Hey, where’s the confidence you had earlier today?” Taking her arm, he pulled her forward and pointed at the silhouette’s heart area. “This guy’s dead. There are ten shots right here.” He directed his gaze to where the testicles would be on a man. “I only see one miss.” 

She looked down at the crotch and laughed. “Oh, I didn’t miss. I meant to hit there.”  

“Remind me not to piss you off.”  

She heard a discharge, then a whishing sound as a projectile whizzed between them. It sliced through the target removing any evidence of the head. Shocked, she crouched down, staring all around, and then Jake shoved her to the ground and dropped on top of her.  

Someone had shot at them. Was it Rutherford’s friends? Trembling, she laid still until slowly realizing her face was in the dirt, and she couldn’t breathe. Panting, she turned her head gulping in air. All quiet. She wiggled. How long did they have to lay here? It had to be safe by now. 

In the distance, she heard a motor roar to life, and tires spin on gravel as the vehicle took off. Could it be the person who shot at them making a getaway? 

“Don’t you think they’re gone?” She humped her bottom up. Not a good idea, she realized when she felt something hard in the front of his pants. She flattened her body to the ground. “Did you have to jump on top of me?” She struggled against the hand Jake pressed on her head.  

“Shh,” he whispered in her ear. “I want to hear if anyone moves, so I’ll know where the shot came from.” 

Spitting out dirt, she just wanted to make a run for it. Bushes rustled on the bluff and a deer leaped from them. 

Jake waited a moment then removed his palm from her lips.  

She listened for more gunshots. Would someone pepper them with bullets? Her heart pumped frantically, and she wanted to run, not lie there like a willing target caught right in a potential killer’s crosshairs. When nothing happened she squirmed under him. “Get off of me.”  

He hugged her body a minute longer before he slid to lie at her side. His hand stayed firmly on her back and held her in place.  

After a few seconds, she asked, “Don’t you think it’s okay to get up now?” 

“He was on the bluff across the road.” He stared at the high steep bank across the road. “I don’t see anyone there, but let’s go in a zigzag to the nearest cover. Do you think you can do that?”  

“Yeah.” Anything would be better than waiting for something to happen.  

Adrenaline pumping, with the gun in her left hand she put her right one in front of her chest ready to push up. Would someone shoot them before they had a chance to run? Her stomach knotted into a thousand little nerves. At the same time Jake grabbed her around the waist and jerked her up. Her feet hit the ground running with Jake’s arm guiding her.  

As they neared the Conservation office building, Jake pushed her next to the wall and peered around the corner. “I think it was a warning, or otherwise we would both be dead.” 

“Warning of what?”  

“I wish I knew.”  

Jolene struggled loose of his grasp and peeked around the bend, too. “What are we waiting for? I don’t see anything.” 

“We’re staying here until I determine no one’s still there. He could’ve moved to a new place and be waiting for us to come out of hiding to pop us off.” He crouched down. “Just in case, I’m going to make a run for my SUV and bring it around for you.” 

“No way, I’m going with you. Besides, you don’t know if that shot was for me or for you.” She bent over and took off. A hand grabbed her around the waist, and Jake forced her to his side away from the road and half-carried her to the SUV. 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Trying to get yourself killed?” He pushed her down next to his vehicle, unlocked the door with the clicker and opened it. “Get in and stay down.” 

Jolene did as she was told. Crouched on the floor, nerves screaming, she waited for Jake to open his door. What in the heck was taking him so long? He should be on the other side by now. She raised her head to see if she could see him. 

Not detecting him, she started to exit the vehicle just as the driver’s door opened. 

Jake climbed in. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”  

She slid back onto her seat and closed the door. “I was coming to look for you.” She stared at his taut jaw as he started the engine. “I was worried because you took so long.” 

“When I tell you to do something, do it.” He clenched his fingers around the steering wheel, backing up and driving down the long driveway. 

“Well, aren’t you the bossy one.” She’d worried about the stupid man for nothing. “What were you doing?” 

“I let the guys inside know about the shots because they might need to call the police.” He turned east on FF highway. “I gave them our names and phone numbers in case they needed to contact us.” He glanced at her. “It could’ve been hunters who strayed off their grounds, but even if it were the next person might not be so lucky.”  

Does he expect me to fall for his story about hunters? The tautness of his forearms told her he didn’t buy what he was selling either.


Thanks to Sandra K. Marshall for doing this interview. She can be found at this blog's Yahoo Group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BLOGMANIA CONTEST

Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow, April 30th is the big blogmania contest. I hope you'll start with my blog, http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com and enjoy and all day shopping spree right in your own home.

1. Be at any of the blogs participating in the Blogmania Event as early as possible on April 30th. The easiest way to find a Blogmania Blog is to look for the Blogmania Badge.

2. This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones. My advice is to start early and stay late to catch all the blogs.

3. Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible. If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend some time exploring, copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.

4. We will have a 100+ blogs for you to visit. Each one will post their number like this. ( This is blog 47 of 100) This is to help you keep track of which blogs you’ve visited, and which ones you still need to reach. I’d suggest that you prepare a blog sheet which is numbered from 1 – 120, then mark off each numbered blog as you visit them.

5. All blog links provided will also have a number like (Blog 89 of 100). Look for the blogs that you haven’t yet visited and follow those links until you’ve checked off all the blogs on your sheet.

6. We have all types of blogs participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse. I have previewed many and they are awesome.

7. Why not contact a friend and partner up. Compare notes, share loot, or organize your own friendly neighborhood Blogmania Competition.

Best of luck everyone.

Sandy aka Sandra K. Marshall
Author of Addiction
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/addiction.htm

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How bad do you want it?

Do you stew every second of the day, thinking about it? Do you imagine grandeur moments of receiving a phone call from a huge publisher seeking to publish your book? Taste it with each typed word? Well, if you’re a dedicated author, determined to succeed, then yes, you do. And why wouldn’t you? Like me, you’ve worked hard to hone your craft.

You prepare a submission, send it off and wait. After a few weeks, most of the time months, a response arrives. Sigh...it’s a rejection. So, do you give up? Hum, your determination isn’t great and powerful enough if you do.

So you join a critique group. After posting some of your novel, you wait for your fellow critique partners to comment on the story. They do and the blinding red splotched across the pages inspires a defensive reaction. Why? Don’t you want to hone your craft? Remember, all the people whom you hope will buy your book will each have a different interpretation of your story. So what do you do?
Give up? Or look through the comments and see which ones are common and which ones are opinionated. You make the corrections and post again. You’re learning and growing with your craft.

Hurray! You’re finally published and the finished product sent off to a reviewer. You wait for what seems like forever. A review shows up on your Google alert. Yes! You zip over to read it and your mouth drops open. The reviewer hated the story. So was your book that bad or was the reviewer having a bad day when she read your work? Time to look inside and see if the problem is with yourself and your writing. It’s your call on whether you’re being honest and admitting maybe, just maybe there’s some truth to the reviewers comments. If not, then ignore it. Not everyone will love or understand your story.

Next, you receive your cover. Omigod! It’s the worse cover an author can have. The hair color for both hero and heroine is off. Their faces aren’t what you described in the book. The colors are hideous. Embarrassed, you rush an email to the editor but it doesn’t do any good. The cover stands as is. Do you accept it and move on or complain and whine until you make the editor and publisher angry?

Writing takes a tremendous amount of discipline and dedication. There are many ups and downs. An author must realize this at the start. If you don’t then the trip down the writing yellow brick road will end up worse than Dorothy’s and Oz will remain simply a mirage along the horizon. Writing also takes some intense soul searching too. For me, writing is humbling and reminds me I’m not perfect. I strive everyday to improve my ability by learning more and more about the craft. Why? Because I want the reviewer to love my story, I desire my critique partners to love my story, I yearn for readers to develop a passion for my books, but most of all, I crave to do the best I can with my talent.

So, how much do you want a publishing contract? Do you step on the roller coaster ride to publication or do you talk the talk but skip away from the walk? Let me know what writing and seeking publication means to you.

Be sure and take a minute to look at my books on my website.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Beautiful Strangers are coming!"

Beautiful Stranger

Katalina Leon

My new novel length e-book “Beautiful Stranger” was released yesterday and is now available from Ellora’s Cave Publishing. This story is part of the Sophisticate Line. I couldn’t wait to share the cover and short blurb with you all.

Blurb:

Lily Fontaine is a former beauty queen and news anchor but those roles don’t suit her anymore. She’s healing from a hurtful divorce and ready to make big changes in her life, but first she needs her sexual confidence back.

She wants a lover without the risk of heartbreak and considers hiring a male escort as a special treat. Her best friend offers a provocative solution to her request. On her birthday, Lily returns to New Orleans, the place of her birth to meet a special man. She plans to fly in and fly out for a three-day weekend of cool music, great food and hot sex with no emotional attachment and no further contact with the man. She wants to pay to play and hopes to stay in control -what can go wrong?

David is perfect, the man of her dreams. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and knows how to take charge. The attraction is instant. With just the clothes on her back Lily sheds her old life and follows a Beautiful Stranger into bayou country for the adventure of a lifetime.

(I will say Lily’s plan does go wrong. She and David do fall in love and end up on an adventure that will take them both far from where they started…. Bring a tissue, because I just love messing with lovers! lol)

XXOO Kat

Monday, April 19, 2010

"You're The Meaning In My Life...You're The Inspiration..."

What inspires you to write?

Music is one method; life experiences are another.

My dad liked classical music, and while riding in the car with him, or listening at home, my brain would conjure images of a storyline. I was bored one afternoon and put on his favorite mix tape. Soon I was acting out a trial; being a conductor (2001 Space Odyssey); acting out the lyrics to One Tin Soldier and Those Were The Days. In fact, several weeks later, I wrote my first story based on the song One Tin Soldier and my creative writing teacher enjoyed it, although she told me if I was going to write fiction, to be careful about using actual people (I'd had the stone guarded by several prominent sports figures, plus our own Jr. High football teams!).

As I began my writing career, I'd put the kids down for naps, turn on Hooked On Classics, and write for two hours. I'd go to the laundromat, play the juke box, and write while my clothes spun around in the washers and dryers.

I've written to Prince, Madonna, Aqua, Bon Jovi, and Frank Sinatra. This drives my husband crazy, because he'd rather watch TV. So I've learned to write during hunting shows, Discovery Channel, and even SyFy and History channels. And when my toddler was growing up, I wrote to the sounds of Nick Jr...Wonder Pets, Dora, Diego, and Backyardigans.

While watching the Olympics this past winter, the eventual Ice Dancing winners wowed me with their original dance routine, and I envisioned a love story. I've kept it on my DVR, much to the family's disgust. But until I'm ready to write that story (characters are still only whispering snippets in my ear), it will remain. Yeah, I know; I could probably find it on YouTube....

I've also listened to news briefs on the radio and had characters jump into my head (Wild At Heart is a perfect example). I've been out in the community and certain situations will send the brain spinning (like the time I discovered I was being flirted with at a store) or I'll overhear a conversation and the creative wheels will take off.

My latest endeavor was simply brain storming with others, and a suggestion from a reader. Sometimes many elements will come together to inspire the muse to insist I sit down and write.

Lately, a certain reality TV show has inspired a bizarre 'what if...' situation to begin churning in my brain. I'm only on page 3, so don't want to jinx myself by talking about it too soon. But if it manages to come together and sound halfway plausible, I'll be thrilled. And two weeks ago I attended a ballroom dancing class and suddenly another wip's plot seemed to come together.

After four months of my muse being on vacation, this is a welcome change. Now if I can just get the family to leave me alone so I can write!

So what kick-starts your muse?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Excerpt from my latest book, The Third Rose


This is the book I've worked the longest on and researched the most. All about spies, secret codes, set in the time of Waterloo but definitely not a regency. Too much sex, for one thing. It's coming out April 29th, which is soon, soon, soon.

I love the cover, which conveys some of the suspense in the book. Here's an excerpt from near the beginning of the book, when Wolf is beginning to realize he likes Sara more than is safe for either one of them.

"The night of the opera found Sara dressed early, and sitting in the parlor as rigid as one of its porcelain ornaments. She’d sent Samantha and her aunt to their rooms, saying merely she needed time alone to compose herself. Instead she found she could barely put one thought in order. She finally just sat, twisting her lace handkerchief, with her eyes fastened on the door.
She heard Walters open the door to a distinctly masculine knock, and still sat motionless. His deep voice greeted Walters, and then Wolf stood in the doorway. A magnificent Wolf, in black formal attire which became him enormously, its close fit emphasizing his virile, muscular body. He was impossibly handsome and elegant.
She raised great, wounded eyes to his.
He reached her side in an instant.
“My dear Sara,” he said, pulling her to her feet and holding her lightly against him. “Whatever is the matter? Surely you are not frightened of appearing in public with me?”
“It’s not you, my lord, it’s appearing in public.” Her voice quivered as she found she could no longer meet his eyes.
“But I will be with you every moment.” His tone was puzzled as he did not quite understand what so upset her. This intrepid girl, who’d accosted him with a pistol? And proudly assured him she was equally adept with a rapier?
She would not look at him.
“I should never have consented to this, my lord. What if your friends remember my father’s scandal? I’m sure you must have pieced the story together by now. What if somehow it reflects on you? It will, you know, and then I’ll have injured your mission instead of helping it. I’ve been purely selfish.”
She was looking at the floor and didn’t see his eyes fill with pity, but she felt the small shake he gave her.
“How ridiculous!”
He knew sympathy would ruin what was left of her composure. “All years ago. The ton needs a new scandal every fortnight, and generally finds one. They don’t have the brains to keep nattering away at one subject for long. Your name will probably only bring blank stares. Do you think some old story can compete with the fact the Duke of Danfield’s granddaughter just eloped with her French tutor?”
She raised her golden eyes, a spark of laughter in them.
“She didn’t!” Sara exclaimed.
“She did. And just yesterday. You are stale news, my dear. Not really very interesting.” He lifted her chin with one finger and smiled at her.
He found his smile getting warmer as she gazed at him with eyes not nearly as wounded as before. He breathed a small sigh of relief. Whether for himself or for her he didn’t stop to analyze.
“Shall you call for your aunt now and we will be on our way? You are devastatingly lovely, by the way. Sara. That deep bronze color is unusual and just right for you. If you cause a sensation tonight it will be because of your outstanding beauty.”
If she’d been more worldly he would have caught her hands in his and kissed the inside of her wrists, slowly and warmly, letting his lips linger. Not the thing to do with Sara. But how he would have enjoyed it, seeing if her skin was as warm as his whole body felt. He might even have moved his lips to her seductive mouth.
Well hell, he’d like to move his lips to her breasts and other places on her supple body. He shut off his thoughts. At least his words of praise seemed to please her. Her sudden smile brought even more heat to the room, as well as his unruly loins. He felt as if she’d somehow grabbed his heart and twisted it.
“You are a blatant flatterer, but a brilliant and perceptive conversationalist.” Her smile now blazed at him. “Therefore I accept your verdict. Let me call Aunt Lavinia, and we’ll go to the opera.”
She sailed out of the room, her head held regally high, and Wolf breathed a sigh of relief. It was only he didn’t like his plans interrupted. Surely her feelings couldn’t matter to him. He’d soothed her only as one would an injured child. He’d meant one thing he said, though. She was a beauty. And he found it delightful she’d not protested when he called her Sara."
t

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I decided that I would blog on my assigned day...

Instead of missing it again...

I seem to have forgotten to do my regular posts every week on a couple of my other co-op blogs, so I felt it might get the ball rolling in the right direction if I managed to post today.

Such an auspicious day...tax deadline day. I finally got mine done, and put the checks in the mail. This is the first time in my life I have not gotten a refund. I suppose now that I am self-employed as a writer, there are MORE taxes I need to pay. LOL! Plus, I found out the hard way that my retirement only deducts Federal taxes...so I owed over a thousand in State taxes. Sheesh!

Ah, well...at least I still have roof over my head.

I just wish I could get the royalties from all the pirated copies of my books that are running around out there. So far, the total in lost income edges a bit over $12,400. It would sure be nice to have that in my pocket. And that's only from the top three sites.

Better get busy writing, so I can afford my taxes next year at this time. LOL!

Hugs!

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amber Skyze - Pretend With Me



I'm Amber Skyze and I'll be posting on the 14th of every month. I have a new release coming on the 23rd and I'm going to share a blurb and excerpt with you today.

Pretend With Me is Book 1 of 3 in my Freedom Fantasies series. So sit back and enjoy!

Blurb:

Make all your wildest dreams come true at Freedom Fantasies.
After threatening divorce Paige gives up her fantasy of hot sex with two men, especially when Tommy, the other man she wants to have sex with, is the reason for her divorce threats. When Paige confesses she’s considering leaving Jed to her best friend and owner of Freedom Fantasies, life takes an unexpected turn. Paige finds herself pretending she’s having a hot sordid affair.

Paige is appreciating all the pleasures she’s unable to find at home. Being spanked in the corner, tied to the bed or getting it on in the shower, Paige is experiencing more orgasms than she thought possible. To heighten the excitement her pretend lover brings in a friend.

Can pretending save Paige’s marriage?

Excerpt:

An Excerpt From: PRETEND WITH ME
Copyright © AMBER SKYZE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Chapter One

“I want a divorce,” Paige declared. She slid her hoop earrings on for another day at the office.
“What?” She could see Jed’s look of shock from the mirror, but she didn’t care. She was tired of their non-sexual marriage.
“You heard me. I want a divorce.”
“I don’t understand.” He stopped adjusting his tie and walked over to her.
She turned and looked at him pointedly. “I’m tired of being second best in my own house. I’m tired of not having my husband!” As her voice grew louder Jed tried to hush her.
“Paige, he’ll hear you. Can’t you please keep it down?”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass who hears me! I’m tired of playing second fiddle to him. So I hope he hears me. I want a divorce because of him.”
“He’s had a hard time and you know it. Can’t you cut him some slack?”
“Slack? How about cutting me some slack. The two of you are inseparable. I’m always left in the lurch. When’s the last time we had sex, huh? Bet you can’t remember, because it’s been that long.”
“Is this what this is all about? Sex?” The disdain in his voice didn’t go undetected. This only fueled her anger.
“You bet your sweet ass it’s about sex. I’m a woman with needs and if you can’t fulfill them then I don’t need you. I have vibrators who spend more time with me than you.”
She knew her words were like a smack across the face, but it didn’t matter. Since his best friend Tommy moved in, over three months, ago their sex live went sailing out the window. Everything to do with their life went out the window and she was tired of it. She longed for her husband back. She wanted to go for long walks along the beach. She wanted the romantic dinners they used to share or a night out at the movies. Recently, her vibrator became her husband. Whenever she felt depressed she turned to her trusty pink friend. She’d used her vibrator more in the last few months than she had previously in their whole marriage. It was unacceptable as far as she was concerned.
“You’ve been pleasing yourself with your vibrators?” he whispered.
“Of course. Did you think I’d go months without sex?”
“I just thought…yes. I told you the reasons we aren’t having sex. I’d feel bad if Tommy heard us having fun when he’s so depressed.”
“Oh well. Too late, I don’t hide the pleasure I get from the vibrators.” She knew her words were bold and packed a punch. Maybe, just maybe he’d finally realize she was serious. She wasn’t waiting around for him to give her sex. And if he didn’t start acting like a husband she wasn’t sticking around for him.
Hurt covered his face. His brown eyes lost the sparkle they’d always had. She couldn’t stand the idea of hurting him this way, but she couldn’t continue to hide her pain and frustrations either. Something had to be done even if it meant a divorce. Jed had to make a choice—Tommy or her.
“I’m late for work.” She grabbed her briefcase off the bed and promptly walked out, leaving Jed with his mouth hanging on the floor.
He chased her out of the bedroom and down the stairs out the front door.
“We need to talk about this, Paige.”
“We’ll talk when you get your friend out of our house.” She threw her briefcase onto the passenger seat as she climbed into her car.
“I can’t do that.”
“Then I can’t talk about saving our marriage.”
She left him standing with his mouth hung open for the second time in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t know what to do, Kim.” She'd been pushing a tomato in her untouched salad around for the last half hour.
“You need to fix this, Paige. You can’t just let your marriage end because of a roommate.”
“Yeah, Kim’s right. Kick him out if you have to. Your marriage is way too important.”
Paige looked from one best friend to the other. She’d known Brooke and Kim since grade school when she moved to Melville. They were as tight as any two best friends could be, but they made room for her. Poor little shy Paige. The new kid on the block. Paige had come a long way from that shy girl. She’d grown into a confident woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to ask for it.
“I don’t know. Jed isn’t going to throw Tommy out and truthfully I do feel sorry for him, but seriously using my vibrator is getting old.”
“I could hook you up with something fun at the Manor,” Kim offered. Kim was the proud co-owner of a club on the outskirts of town called Freedom Fantasies. She’d opened it as a place for women to live out their deepest darkest fantasies. Paige knew Kim’s biggest reason for starting Freedom Fantasies was to live out her own fantasies with David McKnight, her business partner. She figured if they spent enough time together they’d eventually fall into each other’s bed. So far her plan wasn’t working. David constantly talked about how happy he was to have a co-owner who he’d never slept with. David didn’t believe in mixing business with pleasure. His beliefs didn’t worry Kim. She wasn’t afraid to wait. She knew in due time David would be hers. Paige on the other hand always believed she was setting herself up for failure. She hoped she was wrong in this case, but so far it didn’t appear to be that way.
A room at the Manor was by appointment only and Kim had to approve all guests before they were allowed into her place. She didn’t want any crazies. She ran a well respected place and wanted to keep it that way.
During renovations, Paige had thought about how she’d live out her fantasies with Jed when Kim finally opened for business. She wanted to be first in line. Her fantasy was to be with two men. Two men who would cherish her body all night long. For the longest time Paige thought about how she’d broach the subject with Jed. She didn’t see him as the sharing type. She also didn’t know how to tell him she fantasized about being with him and his best friend. That was until he came to live with them. After a week of Tommy being in their guest bedroom all her thoughts of living out her fantasies went flying out the window.
“You mean like have an affair?” Paige bulked at the idea.
“You’re talking about leaving your husband and this comes as a shock to you?”
Paige studied Kim’s face. She looked dead serious.
“Maybe sex with a stranger is exactly what you need to recharge your failing marriage,” Brooke interjected.
Brooke was single too. The only difference with Brooke was she didn’t have any prospective partners. Brooke was still mourning the death of her fiancĂ© Carl, who’d died in the war almost two years ago. She still wore his dog tags hidden under her clothes. Carl had died days before he was due to come home. A suicide bomber ended his life. For all intents and purposes, Brooke looked like a happy-go-lucky woman on the outside, but Paige and Kim knew she was still hurting on the inside.
“I’d have to give that some serious consideration. I’ve never thought about having sex with anyone except Jed. I don’t consider a vibrator cheating, though if you seen the look on his face when I told him how much I’ve been using it. You’d think I had cheated on him.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yes, You're Stuck with me on the 12th


Hello! Linda Kage here. I guess I get to boreI mean, ENTERTAINyou all on the twelve of every month. So, I’ll just introduce myself this first post to give you some fair warning about what you can expect from me every thirty days or so.

I love to read all sorts of romance: contemporary, suspense, historical, paranormal…you get the picture, right? If it’s a romance, I’ll devour it. But so far, I’ve only written mainstream contemporary romance.

My first book, The Stillburrow Crush, was released this February from The Wild Rose Press. It’s a contemporary Young Adult story, and strangely enough, the only YA book I’ve finished to date. The other three books I have coming out are all adult romance—not erotic but definitely on the steamy side (Oh yeah!).

The Trouble with Tomboys will be released in August from The Wild Rose Press. It’ll be available in both ebook and print. Then in November Champagne Books will release my third book, Hot Commodity. Hot Commodity will also be available in ebook and eventually print. And my fourth book, Delinquent Daddy, is currently being edited by The Wild Rose Press. They’ll probably release it sometime in 2011 (just a guess).

If you’d like to read more about any of my stories, please feel free to visit my website at www.LindaKage.com. I just love visitors!

Now, if I were a smart person, like Molly Daniels/Kenzie Michaels and Marianne Stephens/April Ash, I would’ve gotten myself a split personality and had two different pen names: one for my YA story and one for my adult work…but nope, I’ve never been accused of being a genius. So, there’s just little ol' me.

But, I digress. So onto my personal life…

I live in Kansas with my husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks (though we only run one clock at a time because, honestly who wants to wind nine cuckoo clocks every morning and evening—though technically, you don’t wind a cuckoo clock; you pull a string. Sorry, I’m not up-to-date on the correct cuckoo terminology on how to re-energize a cuckoo clock!) Anyway...


This February was a HUGE month for me because not only did my first book come out, but my first baby was born too! I know, WOW, right?

Seriously can’t believe my little Lydia Marie is already two months old. Before I know it, she’ll be walking, talking, and moving off to college. My writing time has greatly decreased since she’s been alive, but stories keep swimming around in my head, so I’m sure I’ll continue to use what spare time I can find to keep up on writing…or reading. I really miss reading as much as I used to read before she came along. But it’s still worth it. She’s been a blessing, an exhausting blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.

So, that’s the basics about me. It was nice to meet you all, and I’ll see you again next Twelfth!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Interview of Claire Ashgrove, RBRU Member Author!


I've known Claire for a number of years, and watched as her career has taken off! I'm honored to interview her and let her tell you what's happening!
Claire has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to the Wild Rose Press in 2008, and she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne line.
Writing, however, isn't her only passion. When she's not sitting at the computer ticking out plotlines, she raises and trains Oldenburg, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horses. Time allowing, she competes in the sports of Show Jumping, 3-Day Eventing, and Dressage. Many of her favorite barn friends make cameo appearances in her horse-themed novels.
Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, one goat, and five dogs. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.
Please give us the title of your latest book and buy link.
"Timeless Valentine"
Buy Link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/claire-ashgrove-m-646.html?zenid=03303abd12deba6b232310147c747da3

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you…beginning, middle, end. Why?
A: The easiest part of writing a book for me is, hands down, the beginning. Because I’ve spend so much time planning the story, I usually have the scene completely staged down to the itty bitty details by the time I get to putting it in words. That momentum stays for probably the first fifteen chapters.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you...beginning, middle, end. Why?
A: This actually depends on the book. Some books require such a significant ending that the ending will bog me down. I know I have to make it impacting, but I’m on the rush of conflict resolution and I have to force myself to slow down and not skip over important things. Other times, I’ve put so much planning into the beginning and end, that the middle takes a lot of focus. If I know the end is going to have fireworks in it, the middle makes me want to rush to the end. So pacing myself when I’m writing becomes key, in either situation.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book(s) and why?
A: To date, my favorite character in any of my books is Bahadur Mamoon, the horse in my coming release, Waiting For Yes. He was stylized after my own stallion, and although my horse doesn’t have near the issues this one does, he embodies a lot of his positive qualities. Things that few people would really recognized unless they knew him as I do.

In Timeless Valentine, however, Olivia wins that award. She’s eccentric, outspoken, and when I see her in my head, she dominates the vision. Beyond her personality, and her journey in the novel, Olivia’s past is fraught with little inside jokes – things my girlhood friends and I still laugh about to this day. All authors joke about, “If you make us mad, we’ll knock you off in a book.” Well, in this case, I knocked off about five people in one. No one but my most intimate friends would recognize the nuances, and that makes it even more entertaining. I had a blast developing her!

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: Twitter. Although in all honesty I have a very hard time getting into the social networks. I could (and have) spent full days doing nothing but social networking. Facebook plagues me with Farmville. I can zone out and yap all day long on Twitter. So I force myself to take long periods away from them. Otherwise, my productivity goes out the window.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: Peek into any other aspect of my life and it’s chaos, but I am meticulously organized when it comes to writing. I have Giant charts to keep me on track with deadlines and goals. I plot every story often to the nth degree. I force my schedule to allow for time enough to write a chapter a day. I save every query, every piece of correspondence, every everything – all in neat little organized stacks and files. My bookshelves, even my reference books, are arranged in alphabetical order by author – it’s really quite anal retentive. Part of this comes from being a former Project Manager and getting delirious over having boxes to check off as “complete”. However, I hold myself to some very rigid and high goals – such as composing seven books last year. The only way I can meet expectations is to make sure everything has a time slot – even to the point of planning ‘wiggle room’.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I do a lot of speed-reading so I can keep up with the industry, honestly. Mainly because, while I know it does help my own writing in following what others are doing, especially in my genre, it feels like unproductive time. That said, I tend to latch on to a small handful of authors, so my book preferences almost always end up author preferences. Last year I discovered historical author, Karin Tabke, while looking for paranormal romances in Pocket… I opened the first pages of Master of Surrender and was hooked. She’s now my idol Not just because of her writing ability, but because she’s succeeded in multiple genres, which is my absolute goal. I hope that my career will be as rewarding as hers has become.

Q: Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
A: My website is: http://www.claireashgrove.com where you can also sign up for my monthly newsletter. I maintain a blog, although use it more as an announcements blog—which I am hoping to adjust as this year goes along: http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com – the link is also on my website. You’ll also find me on Facebook as Claire Ashgrove, and I do keep my former Myspace page somewhat up to date – again, Claire Ashgrove. I’m on Twitter also – ClaireAshgrove
I’m published through The Wild Rose Press – http://www.thewildrosepress.com

Q: Anything you’d like to add that I didn’t mention?
A: I’ve started 2010 out with two sales – Waiting For Yes, and A Christmas To Believe In. Both maintain the theme of horses I began with my first book, Seduction’s Stakes, and the savvy reader will even find a link back to Seduction’s Stakes in A Christmas To Believe In. Both titles should release in 2010, although at this time the release dates are pending.
I will be presenting a program with fellow author, Jackie Bannon, on “The Joy of Sex” – an analysis of the level of heat in today’s market, where a book falls within that spectrum, and what makes a book hot or not – in May, for the Heartland Romance Authors in Kansas City.

TIMELESS VALENTINE BLURB:
Childhood hatred fired their blood. Yet, a Valentine's Day experiment inflames their hearts.

When Lucas Benning relocated to Kansas City, his best friend’s sister became his roommate. Problem is, they’ve despised each other since he cut off her hair when she was fifteen. But with Valentines Day looming, his sentimental side can’t accept Olivia’s jaded perspective the holiday’s for fools. He vows to prove romance doesn’t go hand-in-hand with sex. Except, a game he starts to prove a point awakens a frightening passion he can’t escape.

Eccentric artist, Olivia McDaniels, finds Lucas’ proposal laughable. Yet, when her brother commissions a portrait of Lucas, she sees a different side of the man--tender and selfless. To her horror, he chips away at the walls around her heart. Only, Lucas belongs to another woman, and the feelings he stirs can only lead to pain.

As the holiday arrives, will Cupid’s arrows forge a timeless bridge between their differences, or will they eternally miss their mark?

EXCERPT
At the close proximity, Lucas' chuckle reverberated through Olivia, setting off butterflies in her belly. The faint scent of his cologne – a touch of spice blended with the faintest scent of vague cinnamon – wafted to her nose. Everything inside Olivia arced forward, seeking contact with his powerful frame, yearning to feel those hard planes of muscle. Mere inches away, all she had to do was reach out one fingertip to trace his firm jaw, his full mouth.

His eyes held hers, unblinking. In the next heartbeat, his smile wavered, replaced by a strange softness that sent her pulse bounding and her heart hammering against her ribs. God, if he had been any other man, those signals screamed go. Warned loud and clear kissing came next. Kisses she hadn’t had, or wanted, since Robert.

“Did you finish the portrait?” Lower now, his voice hung in the awkward silence.

She swallowed, finding only the strength to whisper, “No.”

“I think you need inspiration.”

Unbelievably, his gaze dropped to her mouth, lingering long enough to send a wave of heat coursing through her.

She moistened her lips, tamping down a burst of nervousness. “What kind of inspiration?”

Reaching out, he caught a lock of her hair between and twirled it between thumb and forefinger. A jolt of electricity raced down her spine, raising the downy hairs on her arm.

“Not sure,” he murmured. “Tell me what the pose is."

Doing her best to ignore the pleasant sensations of his fingers and the heat that seeped into her shoulder where his wrist almost touched her, she swallowed again. “A… kiss.”

“Hm.” He pushed the lock of hair behind her ear, but instead of turning her loose, slid his fingers through the lengths and drew them over her shoulder.

She’d have sworn the gesture drew him closer. As she glanced down at his chest, he was so near, if she shifted at all, she’d brush against him. God, how she wanted to. One hint of welcome, and that mouth would find hers. She felt it in her soul.

Thanks to Claire for being with us today! Look for her books and find her at various sites. She's also a Member Author at this blog's Yahoo site http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus

Friday, April 9, 2010

For Love Of The Beta

Alpha male, alpha male, alpha male – as aspiring romance authors, we are told time and again the heroes readers love are the alpha males. Who wouldn’t? A touch of dominance to appeal to our innermost feminine, confidence that oozes off the pages, and strength to make our villains cringe. Shoot, other than the occasional arrogance issues, alpha males are take-charge kinda guys, who know what they want, how to get it, and how to make the world bend to their needs, including heroines. Complimenting that set-up, no weak-willed, pansy heroine could satisfy him, and so the heroines are equally strong. A combination almost assuredly guaranteed to make sparks fly – in the romance and in the rest of the plot.

But what about the beta hero?

I have always envisioned the beta hero as the man more likely to be found at the grocery store, taking his dog to a dog park, or simply fixing the leaky faucet. In other words, the beta hero is more common. More what we’d find in our own proverbial backyards.

And I love a good beta hero. One who knows his own faults, nurses his own set of insecurities, and yet, has that one outstanding characteristic that sets him above and apart from his alpha counterparts, who would go to their graves before ever acknowledging personal faults.

Ironically, so does the movie industry. Look at some of the heroes in film.

1. Frodo, from The Lord of the Rings – Frodo has minimal physical strength. He doesn’t want the responsibility initially, he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of it at times, and quite frankly, his sword arm stinks. His redeeming qualities? Courage. Determination. Innocence. Purity. Honesty – both with himself and those surrounding him. We love him, we want him to succeed. Contrasted to a more alpha figure with Aragorn, or even Gandalf, both of whom are confident in their abilities, he is a weak player. But his normalcy makes him strong.

2. Sam, from Transfomers – Sam’s a weak teenager. He can’t make the football tryouts, he’s not particularly socially skilled, and he lacks self confidence. Compared to the Alphas with the military and the Transformers themselves, he’s destined to fail. He openly admits his fears and insecurities. He’s normal.

3. Ahmed, from The 13th Warrior – Ahmed stands out completely. Surrounded by men who are nothing less than completely alpha, he knows he can’t participate at their level, particularly in battle. He is, however, intellectually superior, apt to solve problems with reason, full of quiet strength, religiously faithful to his morals, and he even gets the girl (though that’s a minimal part of the story.)

Beta heroes have been classified as “The Best Friend”, and in today’s contemporary romances several heroes follow that set up. What makes them enjoyable to read and to write is the slow, consistent growth arc these individuals go through, the absolute reality of their normalcy, and often the majority of the conflict is with himself, not with the world surrounding him. (Classic Man vs. Himself).

And in a romance, the end result is a believable love story that, because of the nature of the individual, is guaranteed to stand the test of time.

I took my love for a good beta hero, my love for horses, and A Christmas To Believe In, took life.

Meet Clint King, a man who isn’t afraid of a woman’s tears. A man whose gentleness shows in the touch of his hands and the quiet murmurs of his voice beneath the stable’s rafters.

A man who needs someone to believe in him.

BLURB:

Struggling Thoroughbred breeder, Clint King, hasn’t been home for Christmas in five years. This year, his prize mare's due to foal any day, and in the wake of his father’s death, Clint can’t stand the idea of returning. Except, Alex is getting married on Christmas Eve, and their mother’s put her foot down.

With his mare in tow behind him, Clint prepares to meet a sister he’s never known and Alex’s unexpected triplets. The one salvation he looks forward to is childhood companion, tomboy Jesse Saurs. Yet when he reunites with Jesse, he uncomfortably discovers she’s become all woman.

Jesse has everything she needs – financial security, a home, and a foster child who’s about to become her son. With Ethan’s final hearing scheduled just before Christmas, her dreams will come true. When she learns Clint and his brothers are returning, she anticipates a holiday reunion that’s sure to entertain Ethan. But on the night of Clint’s return, the ‘brother’ she expected leaves her trembling after a hug. Even worse, Ethan makes it clear Clint's not welcome.

Will Christmas destroy hopes and dreams, or will it become the gift they've all been longing for?

EXCERPT:

Clint approached his mare with a faint smile. He stroked the side of her neck, her shoulder, her expansive belly, and Jesse stared, transfixed. In all the years she’d known Clint, she’d never seen such compassion. Such respect. He moved around the mare, murmuring in a voice so low she couldn’t make out the words. But the expression on his face left no doubt about what he said. Praises. Little whispers of affection.

When he bent forward and pressed a kiss to her velvety nose, Jesse’s heart lurched. She’d listened to him babble about the race horses he’d worked with that long ago summer at The Woodlands. Back then, she’d known he loved his job, but she’d never fully grasped what took him away from Kansas City to Kentucky. Now, watching him, a little bubble of pride burst deep inside her soul. He’d gone after his dream. He was good with this horse. Damn good. And his love for his mare was unmistakable.

He stepped away from the horse, her halter in hand, and joined Jesse at the stall’s rail. Elbows propped over the top, he leaned forward and watched his horse.

“She’s really pretty,” Jesse whispered.

“She’s my future, Jesse. Everything’s riding on that foal.”

“How so?” Jesse tipped her head up to look at him. She took in the firm line of his strong jaw, his high-set cheekbones, the way his hair dusted the top of his ears. The shadows intensified the hint of whiskers on his chin, and she curled her fingers into her gloves, resisting the urge to run her knuckle over the stubble.

“I had some bad luck the last several years. So, I changed my tactics. I’ve still got good runners back home, but this one…” He nodded to the horse in reference. “I dumped all my savings into her and this foal. Pray that baby doesn’t make an appearance before New Year’s.”

Giving him a quizzical look, Jesse asked, “Why?”

“The Jockey Club ages Thoroughbreds on January first of every year. They compete, among other restrictions, by age. It will be a yearling come January first, which means that foal will have to run against horses a full year older. Situations like that don’t lead to wins very often.”

“But there’s a chance, right?”

“Slim.”

She turned her gaze back to the mare and fell into silence. She didn’t know much about horses, but the way the mare grunted as she turned around suggested discomfort. As Jesse watched, the horse turned her head and looked at her flank. Her belly moved with the shift of a leg.

“What’s her name?”

When Clint didn’t immediately answer, she inched closer and gave his elbow a jab. “Hey. You in there?”

Clint smiled down at her with a chuckle. He draped his arm over her shoulder and pulled her in against his side. “Sorry.”

At once, the heady aroma of spice and leather seeped into her awareness. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She could stand here all night long, soaking up his warmth, pretending he was someone else. Someone who wouldn’t mind if she rose up on tiptoe and stole a kiss.

Instead, she shifted and nuzzled her cheek into his chest. One palm over the steady drum of his heart, she let out a contented sigh. “It’s good to have you home, Clint.”

His voice reverberated beneath her ear, amplifying his low murmur. “It’s good to be here.”



A Christmas To Believe In is the third book in the Three Kings Series and will be available through The Wild Rose Press in December of 2010.

For more information about my books, and the other King brothers, please visit my website -- www.claireashgrove.com

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fighting for Your Man. . .

THE WINNER OF YESTERDAY'S SCAVENGER HUNT IS CHRISTINE!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Even if you’re the most gorgeous babe on Planet Earth, you surely have experienced what every other female has – being hooked on a guy who simply cannot commit. No matter how he craves your company and can’t keep his hands off of you, the thought of a forever relationship gives him the dry heaves. It’s easier to get him into a doctor’s office for a prostate exam than to corral him for one episode of Say Yes to the Dress.

And yet, you know in your head the bum loves you. He shows it when he takes your side against family members even though you’re the one who’s been way out of line. He’s there when you have the flu, holding onto your hair as you give up your lunch. He surprises you by doing the dishes and only expecting minor applause for his feat.

Yeah, he loves you. He just won’t admit it to himself. So you’re going to have to fight for him to make certain he does.

That’s the underlying premise in my most recent erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights where anything goes carnally, which leads to an emotional bond that surprises the hero and deepens the heroine’s conviction that he will be hers. Here’s a blurb and an excerpt:

BLURB:

Lush Velvet Nights - When wanton desires & love demand all…

During the day, Adriana’s a lonely corporate heiress, helming a supermarket empire. At night, she hires escorts, scripting provocative fantasies of kidnapping, lust, submission and endless longing. It’s all she has to excite her until she meets Nathan Wynn. Tall, blond and muscular—like a modern-day Viking—Nathan’s a labor relations attorney representing Adriana’s union employees. His imposing presence intensifies her basest desires. When he protects her from an escort he believes is an attacker, she knows he’s wonderfully dominant and unrestrained. Fascinated by Adriana’s underlying sensuality, Nathan brings her to his secluded mountain estate, determined she submit fully to his hunger. At a gentleman’s club, he makes certain she denies him nothing. Engaging in a seductive sexual journey, Nathan’s caught off-guard by his stunning need for Adriana. An attraction he fears because of past events in his life. A growing emotional connection she will not let him deny.

EXCERPT:

(In this scene, Nathan is trying to break it off with Adriana. She’s burrowing too deeply into his heart. However, she’s not about to give up on him. . .she intends to fight for her man. The scene begins in his POV.)


“Do you mind if we change our plans for tonight?”

A look of panic swept across her face. “Why?”

He couldn’t show her how he’d lived since deciding nothing much mattered except having a good time. She deserved better. After a nice dinner at an upscale restaurant, he’d let her down easily and hope to god she didn’t notice how deeply he’d already fallen for her and how bad it would be for both of them. “You wouldn’t like what I had in mind.”

“How do you know?”

He shook his head. “It’s too …” He couldn’t finish.

She did. “Kinky?”

“For lack of a better word, yes. We’ll have dinner at Melisse. I’ll call now and wrangle us a table. Get in.”

“No. I don’t want dinner.” Resting her hand on his chest, she slid her fingers past his suit jacket and tie to touch his tattooed pec. It jumped too readily. She murmured, “I want to know about you. Everything. Including where you planned to take me tonight.”

He frowned. “You won’t like it there, Adriana.”

“Will you be with me? Can I count on you to keep me safe?”

“Hell, yes. But that’s not the point.”

“Of course it is.” She cupped his face in her free hand, providing tenderness and affection he hadn’t known in too long. “Show me something wild, Nathan. Make this a night I’ll never forget.”

He sighed helplessly. “You’re fucking nuts, you know that?”

“I’m being honest. Show me.”

“It’s a gentleman’s club, Adriana. Anything goes, and I do mean anything.”

Her passion didn’t abate. “Am I overdressed?”

Nathan laughed, wanting to give her a bear hug, aching to be as guileless as she, knowing it could only lead to remorse for both of them. “You’re beautiful, but disobedient. You didn’t wear stockings.”

“Couldn’t with my sandals. But I did wear something underneath my dress I know you’ll like.”

She was killing him.

“Let’s go, Nathan. It’s too late to turn back now.”

The tenor of her voice, her words and expression made a persuasive argument. She wanted to know about him and didn’t fear whatever he’d show her. He wished to god he deserved her confidence. Because he did not, he’d have to convince her how misplaced it was. His explanation would never do. She’d have to see it for herself. “Fine.” He gestured her into the passenger seat. “I’ll take you to Zanes.”

The name had no meaning to Adriana and she didn’t ask for a description of the establishment or what went on there. “Anything goes” pretty much summed it up. With another man, she would have been terrified. With Nathan, she settled into a state of paralyzing expectation mingled with building bliss. The kind she’d experienced as a kid when her mare Penny attempted a particularly high jump and succeeded without killing either of them. Her love for the animal gave her the confidence to hope for the best and to see things through.

Nathan drove slowly and said little, apparently not sharing her mood. They left the Los Angeles basin and drove up the coast, away from too much civilization. In Malibu, he pulled up to a gated estate overlooking the Pacific. As with many mansions in the area, the public couldn’t see the home from the street. Nathan was well down the asphalt drive before Adriana caught sight of their destination.

Her heart made a weird twist in her chest. She’d been wrong to think Nathan’s Lake Arrowhead estate was as formidable as the chateau where O began her sexual journey. This place held the distinction. Gothic in appearance and constructed of what looked to be black granite, the three-story structure called to everything wanton in a human’s soul.

Nathan eased to a stop well short of the valet, a young woman with blonde hair hanging to her waist. Her breathtaking features made her an aspiring model, actress or a future trophy wife. She wore tight black pants, a low cut white blouse and spike heels. Adriana pulled her gaze away from the girl’s perfection and caught a glimpse of the rolling sea sparkling beneath the moon. Did Zanes’ patrons make love on the beach? She suspected they did not, considering the activity and locale too tame.

Nathan shifted in his seat. “Is your nickname Lizzie?”

Surprised at his question, she looked over. “Yeah—did Joe call me that when he grilled you?”

He nodded. “Did you tell him we met at a spa?”

“No. He knows you negotiated Greco’s union contract. Why do you ask?”

“No reason.” He pulled up to the valet.

She opened the passenger door first. Adriana shrugged out of her wrap, leaving it on the seat. To help her from the vehicle, the valet offered her hand. It was velvety soft, her manner so seductive heat rose to Adriana’s chest and cheeks, warming her despite the chilly night. The stiff breeze delivered the young woman’s fragrance—magnolias and ripe youth. “Ma’am,” she murmured.
Not lingering for a response, she went to Nathan’s door. There, the girl offered him a feline smile and barely contained excitement. "Nice to see you again, Mr. Wynn." She kissed Nathan on his mouth, driving her fingers through his wind-tousled hair. His hand went to her ass, his long fingers cupping and squeezing her right cheek as they necked freely.


Adriana’s heart dropped.

You won’t like it there, he’d warned.

At her sudden dizziness, Adriana locked her knees, unable to look away, watching the scene helplessly.

Too many seconds passed before Nathan finished the kiss. The valet suckled his neck one last time then got into his car. Looking over, he held out his hand to Adriana, a wordless command for her to join him. She met his eyes. They were absent of passion, unlike the times he’d kissed her. Instead, his gaze held renewed counsel for her to call this off.

No way. She would prove he belonged to her. No matter how many other women were inside, he would see and want only her.

With an accelerating pulse, she joined him and placed her hand in his. “Let’s go inside.”


Lush Velvet Nights is available April 14th from Ellora’s Cave

Buy link
Website/Blog: http://www.tinadonahue.com/


SCAVENGER HUNT RULES: (I'll announce the winner Wed, April 7)

1. Throughout the day, I’ll post four questions here and at my website (answers found on my website)
2. Keep your answers until all four questions have been asked
3. The first person to email me at tina@tinadonahue.com with the correct answers to all four questions will win her choice of one of my following titles:

1. Adored – 4 Stars Romantic Times; Second Place Winner NEC RWA contest

2. Deep, Dark, Delicious – nominated for Book of the Week Whipped Cream Reviews

3. Close to Perfect – 4 Stars Romantic Times – “A walk on the wild side for romance readers!”

4. Bad Boys with Red Roses – an erotic anthology with my novella Tempt Me, Tease Me, Thrill Me

5. Take My Breath Away – 4 ½ Stars Romantic Times – a Romantic Times top pick – Booklist wrote: “Fans of Lori Foster will enjoy Donahue’s light, sexy romp.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Evolving Romance Heroine


I fondly remember snatching an hour to read while my sons were taking their naps. That's been many years ago and I admit that the memories have as much to do with my children as the virginal historical heroines being saved and the domineering males who finally admitted they couldn't imagine life without them.

These days our favorite heroines are smart enough to save themselves and the heroes they end up with are more apt to admire them for it than be perplexed. How much of this has developed because of our own satisfaction at figuring out our problems and having the freedom to do something about it? Reader expectations have changed since the days when many heroes were at least fifteen years older than the heroine and expected to guide said heroine into releasing her feminine power.

Today's heroine is also more apt to be ten years or older than the hero and has discovered her feminine power many years before finding him. And he's not complaining. Perhaps that's a change brought about by the evolving hero. When you think about it, these heroes are of an age to have been raised by women from a generation who believed they could do anything. And did.



Which leads me to my personal favorite, the kick-ass heroine. She can be a demon hunter, a vampire slayer or a cop. Or someone who doesn't know how powerful she truly is and ends up taking a heroes journey with a hero who is helping her.


How about you? What kind of heroine did you start out reading and enjoying and what kind of heroine do you prefer these days?

Hugs,
Paris
http://parisbrandon.com

Friday, April 2, 2010

Meet Annie Alvarez

Hello Everyone,
I'll be posting on the 2nd of the month and I wanted to introduce myself. I have several ebooks published with eXtasy Books. I'm currently working on the Hightower Series, a F/F vampire story and on a love story between a therapist and her client, soon to be released.

I've been preoccupied with the arrivalof my sister and her family. My 10 month old niece is the cutest baby, I've ever seen and smart. She already has everyone, including her parents wrapped around her finger. I'm extremely proud that she has the "Alvarez" gene in her.

My 11 year old nephew is adorable. I know. I know. If he hears me call him adorable, he'd have a cow! I won't tell, if you don't. LOL

The family is getting ready to depart tomorrow, April 2nd and I am sad to see them go, but I know that all good things must come to an end. My hopes are that I can convince them to move to Texas.

My nephew keeps saying, "people are nice here." I hope that's incentive. LOL
In the meantime, I haven't written a single letter or vowel. I am feeling deprived from my daily routine of writing, checking emails, and posting. *sigh*


I'm excited to be here and I can'T wait wait to share with you next month.

Cheers,
Annie

http://www.anniealvarez.net/
http://naughtylittlevamp.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A HUNK For My Easter Basket!

Before I begin and you get to see my "dream" Easter gift, please check out our new ROMANCE BOOKS R US Yahoo group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus
Lots of fun for readers, pre-pubbed, and authors! We also have some Romance sites, Yahoo Romance Groups, and an editor who've joined. I'm looking for more people/groups! NO SPAM! Contests are posted every Friday. Schedule and more information can be seen on the Home Page. Just click on the link above! APRIL is a special month for me...my birthday month...and I'm celebrating with lots of contest giveaways...but you have to join the Yahoo group to participate!

BLOG:


Where's that Easter Bunny? I've got a terrific suggestion about what I'd like to find in my Easter Basket this coming Sunday. I've been reminiscing about all those childhood years and what I dreamed about finding in my basket Easter morning. Now that I'm an adult, all that has changed. Well...some things will always be desired, but then...


Chocolate? Hmm. Sure. Lots of that. But that's not my great idea.Jelly Beans? Marshmallow chicks? Colored eggs? Uh...yeah. But I've gone beyond that line of thinking. And, I've bought a giant Easter basket for my treat...(and the Easter Bunny can leave the chocolate, marshmallow chicks and colored eggs, too!)


Now, here's a basket I think will be big enough to hold what I want. Of course, I'll have to decorate it with 
lots of pastel Easter type of stuff, but that won't take long! It's already kinda colorful, don't you think? Has the right colors for Easter...just needs some "grass" and ribbons! 
                                   What, you might ask, can fit into this that I could possibly ask for?
 Okay, so he's asking about going camping for an Easter holiday vacation, but that doesn't appeal to me. Other things...ahem...about him do. So I figure the Easter Bunny can put him and his attributes in that basket...keep the tattoos and lose the shirt covering his interesting "package"...and I'll come up with something to keep him busy. The shirt won't be needed...he'll be covered with all colors of Easter basket "grass", chocolate, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks... Hmm. I'll have to eat my way to find him, I guess. Sigh. Nothing but work, work, work. What hardships we sometimes have to face!
This is DEFINITELY not an Easter basket for kids!

Story idea: Heroine makes a wish for the Easter Bunny to leave her something "tall, dark, and handsome"...and she finds my basket and HUNK in her living room on Easter Sunday! What should she do? What would you do?
For more about my books and updates, visit http://www.mariannestephens.net and http://www.aprilash.net
"Anything You Can Do" available at http://www.breathlesspress.com
5 STAR, Reviewer Top Pick from Diana Coyle, Night Owl Romance!
And, it's in the top 7.5% best selling list of romantic comedies at:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/category150_4.htmlPhotos: Flickr: carbonNYC, riptheskull,  inpastel's photostreams. Target.com. Rockshots.com







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