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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 At An End


On this eve of New Year's Eve, 2011, I am reminiscing and giving thanks to a year of good health, a still working imagination and wherewithall to use it. A list, checked and added to more than twice in 364 days in 2010 begins with thanks for still being in business as an independent bookstore owner. Yes, Virginia, there are still readers in the world! There aren't many Nook or Kindle owners in my little Ozark town, just readers who like to go about it the old-fashioned way, for which I say hooray!

And to the readers of my books, I raise a glass brimming with appreciation. I write because I love it and because I have a huge collection of 'people' running around in my mind, talking to me at all hours about very personal things and they want their stories told. How wonderful to have others besides me interested in what they have to say. Thank you, thank you.

To Leanne Burroughs, chief editor of Highland Press, thank you for inviting my stories to be part of HP's family of authors. Patti Howell, my editor, a thousand thank yous for your insights, opinions and wise words, and to Lightning Press, I thank you for turning those words into well organized, nicely bound pages.

To my family near and extended, much gratitde for support, encouragement and promoting what you believe to be stories everyone you know needs to read.

To all you writers, may 2011 bless you with continued opportunities to write your stories of the heart and to our readers, keep picking up those books!

Polly

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goals for the New Year

Do you make goals for the New Year, and never accomplish them? I'm one of those people who make so many goals that it would never be possible to do all of them. Grin!

The ones I do accomplish are fine, but I'm always disappointed because I didn't get all of them done. So this year, I decided to set my goals lower, and then I thought if I do that I might not finish anything. Just maybe setting so many goals makes me accomplish more. What do you think about that?

Goals for 2011:

Read more books ( I only read 4 or 5 books the whole year of 2010)
Spend more time with family
Revise two older books that never published but are really good.
Spend less time on social media forms (started in 2010)
Take care of my health
Do the required promotions for my publisher, Eirelander Publishing
Play more instead of work all the time (Especially, get off the computer)
Try to get a short story published

The first book in The Odyssey Mysteries, The Catalyst, will be re-released in January from Eirelander Publishing.

That's all for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more before New Year's Eve. Grin.

I wish all of you a Happy, healthy New Year. Stop and smell the roses, my friends.

Sandy AKA Sandra K. Marshall
Author of The Odyssey Mysteries, The Catalyst, Addiction and The Deceived
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
http://www.skaymarshall.com

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Blog: Emma Paul: Four Things I've Learned the Hard Way

Four things I learned the hard way as a writer.

Well actually I learned a lot more then four, but if I were to list every one this blog may never end. So, I'll try and squeeze the most humbling into four lessons.

Like most writers I strive to be published. However, it's not the only reason I write. Truth is I've been writing for several years. Since elementary school. I know it's the same story as several other writers. But I believe, the fact we writers have this in common is a testament to how important writing is in our lives.

For me it is both therapeutic and fun. I enjoy my stories just as much as I hope my readers do. Still, even though I've been writing most of my life, I truly didn't know "everything" I thought I did...


Number Four: Just because you can doesn't mean you know how...

Okay, so many of you reading this are probably saying right about now, "what is she effin' talking about?" Trust me there is madness in my method and eventually it will all make sense. Twenty-five or so years, probably more, is how long I've had a passion for writing. In my mid teens, I'd write lyrics for the songs that my heavy metal rock band, Paper Dolls, would one day play for thousands of screaming fans. I never did learn to play that guitar...and...I never did start that band. Anyhow, I did write an awesome song. Well, at the time they were awesome. Now when I pull one out and start to read it...

In the land of paper dolls...
no one knows my darkest hour...
into to the night they hear my calls (pronounced C-O-L-L-S)
the wind takes me away...
I'm amazed by your power...

Okay, okay, I'll stop. Hope none of you lost your lunch on that one.

Hey at least it rhymed...sort of. But that is my point. Not the rhyming part, but the fact that I could write, yet I had so much to learn. And the learning doesn't end. Oh I got better as I got older...and past my "dark Period". However, it wasn't until I took my writing to the next level of "publishing it" that I truly learned how to do it.

Don't be ashamed to admit that you might just need that grammar course or the creative writing workshop...read everything you can about what published books have that yours might not. Absorb the knowledge like it's your first day in kindergarten and you're about to learn your ABCs. I shot my load to fast with my first MS. Thinking it was going to WOW the publishing world...I would get deals up the yin-yang and become the next Kenyon, or Jaid Black...

Boy was I mistaken, the only thing I got up my yin, was a foot full of yang from several editors, who suggested I go back to..."the Basics" and take a few grammar classes. Despite my crushed ego, they were 100% right. Today I have four short erotic stories published with Every Night Erotica, and an MS being considered for possible publications with Sizzler Editions, an imprint of Renaissance E Book Publishers.

Number Three: Never take criticism about your work personally...

When I got back all those rejections on my first MS, I decided, well actually it was strongly recommended by an editor at Loose Id, that I join a critique group. I joined four. I took the suggestion very seriously. My first few crits were eye-openers, to say the least. The master-piece that was my MS, was run through the ringer and then back. Some crit partners were very supportive, and constructive. Still others were straight forward, no-shit-give-to-ya straight-and made me cry. It was the rough ones that almost had me toss up my hands and give up writing forever. Fine, if they hate my work that much then, screw-em all! I'll just go learn how to play that guitar that's been sitting in my attic gathering dust for the last twenty or so years.

Then it hit me. Duh! The rejections from all those publishers, this was what they were talking about. All the areas of work my crit partners pointed out...that's why my MS was being turned down.

"LIGHT BULB" Hey what if I take those critiques, find a few courses and workshops and then apply it to my MS. Slowly the old spark of determination started to get brighter. My dashed hopes turned into sudden realization that the critiques of my work were tools to help me NOT hinder. Tools that would bring me more then half way to my ultimate goal. Eventually I began to get "Bravo" comments from my crit partners. I was so proud of my self.

Number Two: Thank you goes a long way...

Rejections are going to come your way. I don't care who you are. No matter how good you know your novel is, when you finally get it critiqued, polished and ready for submission, someone is going to reject it. Just move on.

Don't send a nasty letter back explaining how you slaved over, revised, edited your ms; and how all your crit partners, some of which are in the publishing industry absolutely LOVED it and that they wouldn't know a GOOD story if it slapped them in the face. First off, do you really think that editor is going to be convinced to give your MS another glance...? I don't think so. If any thing they will most likely take your MS and put a burning match to it.

If you've worked so hard on it, and know it has potential, then send it to someone who is looking for that kind of stories. Like everyone else, editors and agents have different tastes and preferences. It's not you, it's just your particular story was not their forte or they just didn't like it. And that's okay.

However, always, always send a thank you to that editor and/or agent. Keep in mind that you may at some point want to submit to that publisher again. Don't burn those bridges. You may think that it's a waist of time, no editor is going to bother reading your "Thank you for your time or consideration..." And that may very well be true. But what if they do. What kind of an impression do you want to leave with that publisher?

Number One: Stay humble, keep an open mind and never discourage another writer...

Although I've never been one to toot my own horn, I have come across some very arrogant writers. I find it abhorrent for a writer to tell another aspiring author that their work simply sucks. Yes, I have come across some people who have used that very word to describe stories they have read. My preferred genre, writing style, topics, premises...etc...may not be what you prefer to read and yours may not be mine, but don't tell me it sucks...if you find technical issues with some one's work, point it out and make suggestions. If it's not your genre, refer that writer to someone with similar tastes. Never discourage another writer from doing what they love. Everyone has to start somewhere.

I once had a friend of mine email back my short story I sent her with an icon of a cartoon Satan, ripping it in half and tossing it into the fires of Hell. I was so depressed by that. What really hurt was that she hadn't even read the whole story, just the first two paragraphs. She told me the whole sci-fi premise just wasn't what she was "into". Eventually, she apologized. I still kicked her ass, the Bitch. But that was for a whole different reason.

In conclusion Keep writing and let your imagination take off. Here is my motto...,

Read, Write and Live.

Emma Paul

Monday, December 27, 2010

Celtic New Year



Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you all have a Happy New Year. I write Celtic romances and the New Year celebration, called Samhain, was as important to the ancient Celts as New Years is to us. Even more so as the long cold days of winter were dangerous to ancient man and the Samhain rituals helped keep them in the gods and goddesses’ favor, increasing the tribe’s chance of survival. Here’s a New Year excerpt from my brand new release a Paranormal/ Erotica/ Romance The Wolf and The Druidess

Excerpt:
“Yes, Druidess. It is the best new year celebration ever.” The young woman’s freckled face beamed.
“It is, isn’t it?” Seren sighed as she envisioned sitting with the ghost of her mother and sharing the feast. “Will you gather treats for me, I am off to visit my mam’scairn for Samhain?“ Her throat tightened. Seren’s father had died in battle with the Silures, when she was young, leaving her mother to care for her.
Today, ten months after her mother’s death, she would sup with, talk to, and spend time with her again.
“We have oat cakes, druidess and fresh, juicy apples.” A maiden with long nut-brown hair handed her a wicker basket.
Seren peeked inside at the shiny red apples, crispy oat cakes, plump black pudding links, fat turnips, wild carrots, and handfuls of roasted hazelnuts.
“Druidess, tell me, do you have someone special to couple with around the bonfire this night?”
“No, I need to bring this fare to my mother.” Seren shrugged. She would like to share this night with a handsome man, but as the druidess her days were full with serving the tribe. With little time to kindle a romance, she longed for love, but mayhap it was not meant to be. “What of you?”
“Yes, I will spend the eve with Hywell. He and I shall hand-fast soon.”
“Blessings upon you. He is a good man, a brave warrior.” Seren pulled the white hood of her druid robe over her head. “I need to hasten to my mother’s cairn. Happy Samhain to you.”
“And you, Druidess, as well.” The young woman’s mouth curled up into a bright smile. “Here, for your trek into the dark woods.”
Seren took the lit torch from the freckle-faced maiden. With the basket looped through her arm and a firebrand in hand, she set out for the forest.

And here’s a Samhain or New Year excerpt from my Celtic/Paranormal/Romance, Druid Bride:

Excerpt:
As a yearly tribute to the dead, the New Year’s feast insured the gods saw the tribe through the hard winter. It had to be perfect, and it fell on her shoulders. Not to mention, she’d never put on a Samhain feast alone. Sulwen and Rhys always did it, and she merely helped. She began to relax, taking deep breaths as she strolled to the pasture where the cattle grazed. Tanwen walked through the herd and selected the cows to slaughter for the fire festival.
Then, she headed to the chief’s wheelhouse. “Good morning, Ciniatha. Have you chosen the nine maidens to cook the feast?”
“Yes, we just came from the garden. Come see.”
Though too busy to take the time to squeeze and smell the fruits and vegetables, Tanwen deemed they looked ripe. The bright, red apples appeared sweet and juicy, and the oblong, yellowish, purple-capped turnips were fat and sure to be crisp and filling.
Tanwen’s nose wiggled at the strong smell of the long, green leeks. “You’ve done well. I can tell this is the best of the harvest.”
“And taste this.” Ciniatha held out a spoon of yellow butter.
Tanwen glanced to the corner where two maidens pumped wooden churns. She dipped her finger into the spoon of butter and popped it into her mouth. So creamy and sweet. Rich. “It is good enough for the gods.” After licking her finger, she ran her tongue over her lips to get every dab. “Delicious.”
As she inhaled the mellow scent of fresh baked bread, she imagined the taste of a soft, warm slice with the soft butter. She had to leave before she started eating the food intended for the feast.
“I see all is well here.” She smiled at the chief’s wife. “There will be plenty of bread for the visiting spirits.” Tanwen turned to leave.
Ciniatha called after her. “Did you see Brude today?”
“Yes, he’s hunting boar for the feast. Now that we have caught each other, we have no time to spend together. There are feasts and battles, but after Samhain, there should be more time for us.”
“You have much to do. You are a druid. And rest assured, I have the fare for the feast well in hand.” She flashed a sweet smile at Tanwen. “Calach and I welcome you into the family. My son is making a wise choice.”
“My thanks.” She reached out and hugged Ciniatha, though Brude was still on her mind. Did he still feel that way? He seemed so disappointed about the hunt. She released her mother–to-be by marriage, smiled, then turned and continued the many tasks she’d set aside for that day.
After she ate the evening meal that Huctia brewed over the central fire of her wheelhouse, Tanwen laid on her pallet. Exhausted, she fell into a heavy sleep.

Of course us modern day folk like to party at New Year’s Eve too. So here’s a partying excerpt from The Wolf and the Druidess as the ancient Celts bring in their New Year.
Excerpt:
After the nine warriors had made many a trek up the hill, a bonfire towered before Seren. Chief Neithon handed her a firebrand to light it. The bard of the tribe came forward with harp in hand and strummed a lilting tune as the fire roared in a bright blaze.

Seren raised her hands high, twirling and chanting. “Fire sparks, veil parts, ancestors come near, feast, dance, sing with us here. Great powers abound. Circle comes round. All hail Samhain.”
The roar of the blaze, the cheering crowd, and the magic of Samhain rushed through her like an inferno. Seren slipped off her white gold-speckled robe, which had been woven by her mother and was the last gift from her before she died. Seren longed to see her once more. She tossed the garment to one of the women
to hold for her.
One of the nine maidens, Elund, beat the goatskin drum in a savage rhythm. Seren’s skin felt as hot as the fire as she moved in a swaying motion. Needing to bare her body for the gods, she danced to, she untied her hemp belt and her plaid skirt dropped to the dirt. She yanked her red tunic off and threw it down. The haunting twitter of the pipes and the ethereal tone of the harp joined the bodhran in the jubilant song of Samhain.

I wish each of you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Happy New Year,

Cornelia Amiri

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Series Addiction

I have series addiction. I freely admit it. I have difficulty writing a single stand alone book. Other characters besides the hero and heroine begin clamoring for their stories as I write and plot bunnies multiply in my head until I find myself stopping in the middle of a book to jot down plots and characters for what will later become a sequel or part of a series.

Little did I know back in early December 2008 that my little Christmas freebie Christmas Hookup would be a popular download. And I certainly never realized that a year later I would feel the urge to return to the fictional town of Heil, California for a pair of sequels. Once I'd done the sequels though, I knew I'd do another and another. Somehow I'd expand the world of Riley and Elle and Forbes Ranch in order to create a Christmas love story every year. The key elements: a cowboy or cowgirl with some sort of tie to Riley, Elle, and Forbes Ranch and a Christmas Eve HEA. This year's book was released last week and a kernel of an idea came to me for next year's. I had to re-read Christmas Catch to get the kernel but it's there now and I'll nurture it to fruition come next December.

I suppose you could say that my problem lies in the fact that I vest myself in my characters, even the secondary ones. I know them. I know their motivations. Even the secondaries have depth. And that's why it's hard for me to let them go. I've already put time and thought into who they are and why they are. Why waste that? Besides, readers seem to like series an awful lot. I know I've received fan email regarding characters in books.

After Hot Water came out, I received fan mail about Corey Green who got his own story Sunstroked this year. When Sunstroked came out, I got email about Wilson North. (Yes, I'm working on Will's story now.) When Where There's Smoke came out, I had email asking about the world of the Vashon clans and the cobra shifters. And everyone wants more Holden Antaeus and Garret Renquist from Fire Season (which they'll get in Fire Storm.) Probably my biggest request is for Sean Antaeus though. The head of the black dragon Antaeus family is equal parts hero and asshole, but he intrigues a lot of readers of the Tales series. And my newest requests are for more stories from the fictional town of Forza, California, the setting of Afterburner, my DADT novella in the Honorable Silence anthology.

Something about Forza and it's history, even though it's bare bones, must have appealed to readers. And their suggestions that Afterburner's hero Sebastian Marchetti had plenty of quirky family members to fuel other stories struck home with me. Could it be that creating those memorable characters - whether secondary or not - and creating a memorable setting be the fuel, the catalyst, for not only my own imagination but that of the people who read these books? Are they just as addicted as I am?

Regardless of my addiction (and any reader addiction), at some point a series has to end. Take the Tales series for example. This is a ten book series that I've already stretched a little by adding a 6.5 book, a sequel to Sunstroked because of reader (and my editor's) comments about Wilson North. When the series does end upon the release of Sean Antaeus's book Force Majeure, what the heck do I do then? This publisher has an option for all things Darkworld and I'm not sure that with book ten I'll be ready to leave the dragons and other creatures behind. There are a lot of layers to this world. And so, when Tales ends, a new series will begin, but it won't be anything like Tales. In fact, the new series will take readers back into the Darkworld's dragon history and begin anew with a dragon warrior who discovers she's a princess.

Don't ask me for details. Don't ask me for names or titles. I've got a long way to go to finish Tales. When it's done, or close to done, I'll reveal this new Darkworld series. I'm nurturing this idea and bringing it along slowly, incorporating the ideas from the original Dark Realms stories I wrote more than twenty years ago. But if you like fantasy, well, the new series may well be your thing. It will still have romance and explicit sex, but it's more of a traditional fantasy world with swords and sorcery.

You see? My addiction knows no bounds. When it comes to ideas, I'm like a dog with a bone, gnawing at it, chewing on it, unable to leave it alone until I've found my way to the sweet marrow. For me, it means a lot more work. For the readers, it means more books and more books in worlds they already know from prior books. I have a couple of stand alone stories to bring you hopefully in the next year, but other than those, my work is all series related. From a trilogy to a series that stretches to ten books, you'll find that my addiction is a key ingredient to the drive that keeps me turning out books for you.

I don't know about you, but to me, this addiction doesn't seem to be such a bad thing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Interview of Author Willa Edwards

It's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Willa Edwards.
Latest Book: Naughty List
Buy Link: http://www.cobblestone-press.com

BIO:
Willa has wanted to be a writer since she was four years old typing away at her grandmother’s typewriter. She wrote her first novel in fourth grade about the trials and tribulation of twin alien princesses. Since then Willa has dabbled with many different genres, including sci-fi, paranormal, mystery and suspense. When she read her first romance at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back. Willa is now a contemporary and historical erotic romance writer who lives in New York. When she’s not writing you can find her curled up in bed with her two fur babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.


Christmas is the season of giving, gift giving that is. It is an art to find someone the perfect gift, but it’s also a lot of work. Being a good present picker takes really thinking about person you’re buying for, determining what they want, what they won’t buy themselves. It takes time, creativity, understanding, and some memory, to remember what they might want as well as where you hide it to be retrieved once Santa’s in flight.

The greatest gifts are the ones we don’t expect. The gifts that show us we’re loved, appreciated, and valued. But these are also the hardest gifts to find or give. It’s easy to give a Barnes and Noble gift card, but to find a present that shows how you care takes a lot more effort.

The best gift I’ve ever received didn’t come in a box or with a bow. It didn’t come on Christmas morning either. Instead it arrived in the form of an email on Labor Day. It was the acceptance for my first ever published work, Naughty List, from Cobblestone Press.

Everyone always talks about dancing when they receive their first acceptance, or screaming to the hills, but not me. I froze in disbelief. It took me almost an hour to reach out and tell someone, my best friend and phenomenal beta reader. It’s still hard for me to belief my work has been published. All my life I’ve wanted to be an author and now I am. It’s the greatest gift I could ever ask for.

For the heroine in my story, the only gift she’s interested in is Eric. Check out my novel to see if Callie gets all she wants for Christmas, or just a lump of coal.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The easiest part for me to write is the beginning. When the ideas are fresh and flowing. I love the sense of discovery that comes with writing a first draft. Discovering a character’s past, uncovering how your hero and heroine fall in love, and what will undoubtedly make that journey more difficult.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The first revision is always the hardest part for me. It when my evil critic has to come out. She has to crack the whip, and sometimes it can be painful. Sometimes she demands that I delete the words I love because they’re not clear enough, repetitive or just don’t work. There’s no more Ms. Nice-Guy when she gets her turn.

It’s a necessary part of the process but it’s definitely the longest part for me. Thankful with each new work the revision process gets easier. Maybe one day it won’t be so difficult. I can always dream.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: When I first started writing, back in middle school and high school age, I wrote a lot of horror and paranormal. At the time it was Buffy and Harry Potter knockoffs but I’d definitely like to expand into telling that type of a story eventually. I have a few ideas floating around in my head but none have knocked me down and forced me to write them like my contemporary and historical stories have. I hope to be able to get some of those ideas down in the near future.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I froze in disbelief. I couldn’t believe someone would actually want to publish my writing. I read the email over and over trying to find the loop hole or the gotcha clause I hadn’t noticed yet. After about an hour of that I told my best friend and amazing beta reader, at which time the celebration really started, and hasn’t really stopped.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I don’t normally eat while I’m writing. Having your hand in a bag of chips while you’re typing just doesn’t work. But I drink a lot while I write. As an added bonus, a lot of drinking means a lot of bathroom breaks to get up, move around and stretch.

I love to drink coffee while I work, with lots of cream and sugar, so it’s more like a dessert than a drink. But with how much time I spend writing I can’t do that all the time or I’d have more than just a little extra roundness, so usually I just drink water.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: Have a few that I hold dear to my heart, due to their significance to me as much as the amazing story, characters and words.
Margo Maguire’s “The Bride of Windermere” was the first romance novel I ever read. I bought it by accident, because I liked the cover, unaware it was a romance novel. But as I read it I realized the type of story she wrote, the way she wrote, the characters she described were the same as what I wanted to write. It felt a little like coming home, finding my place. It sounds odd, but it really was that effecting for me.

It was her debut novel, and since then I have watched her career change and grow. I hope that I can be as successful as she has become.


Another is Joely Sue Burkhart’s “Dear Sir, I’m Yours.” I met Joely through a writers group and started exploring her backlist. When I saw Dear Sir I was immediately interested. I’d always been curious about Dominant/submissive relationships, and her book fascinated me. Her work was my introduction in the ebook world, as well as erotic romance and BDSM, which I have now started to explore in my own work. She has a very unique voice and shows what many might consider an unorthodox relationship as beautiful and romantic.

Over the years since I read that novel Joely and I have become friends, and she is an inspiration to me every day. If I could mature into a writer like her I would be truly blessed.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: I’ve always been a good multitasker, I’m sure I could find a way to use everything available to me.

That is when my man isn’t chopping down coconuts to make pina coladas, fishing, building me a fire or a cute little bungalow.


Tell us where to find you!
http://www.willaedwards.comhttp://www.willaedwards.com/naughty-list.html
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000708705071
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#%21/home.php?sk=group_168336059845071

BLURB:
Eric has been in love with Callie since the day they met, one month after someone else put a ring on her finger. Since her engagement ended Eric has been biding his time, waiting for her to be ready. Until he finds a naughty list of Christmas wishes hidden between her couch cushions with his name on the top.

He's willing to do anything to make Callie happy, including take on the role of dominate Santa Claus and spank her to blow-your-stockings-off orgasm. But is she ready for everything he wants? Does she want his love?

EXCERPT:

“This is really what you want to do with your birthday?” Callie asked, looking up at Giselle with a quizzical stare. Personally she’d rather be in a bar, drinking peppermint martinis, but it wasn’t Callie’s choice.

“Yes.” Giselle responded quickly, handing out holiday pens like she did to the children in her classroom. Grabbing a sugar plum ballpoint for herself, Giselle dropped down on the cream-and-rose-striped couch beside Callie.

Giselle’s elaborate ranch-style home, decorated in every shade of beige, was at least much quieter and less crowded than a bar. And due to the crystal bowls filled with potpourri upon every end table and bookcase in the house, with the smell of pine and cinnamon to celebrate the season wafting from each dish, it probably smelled better too.

“How exactly does this work?” asked Amy, their friend and the drama teacher at their school, her bright smile infectious as she helped propel the gathering forward.

“Write down what you want you want in a partner on the page.” Giselle motioned to the elaborate holiday paper stacked on the Chippendale coffee table around which Callie and their three best friends sat. “Once you have the determination to ask for what you truly want in a man, the universe finds a way to guide him to you.”

Callie sucked on the end of her silver bell pen, thinking of the different traits she wanted to write down. Caring, empathetic, loves children, crystal-blue eyes, soot-black hair. There was no point in writing any of it. The man who fit that description felt nothing for her. Why seek to guide him her way?

“Like what kind of characteristics?” Mallory asked with a devilish glint in her almond eyes. “Big cock. Talented tongue. Stamina.”

Amy giggled. Giselle scowled.

Callie admitted the idea had promise. Her body heated as she fantasized of a thick cock buried deep within her, a black head buried between her legs, a warm, wet tongue stroking her sensitive flesh. She’d always been bored with a man buried between her thighs before, but with her Mr. Right she’d be willing to try again.

“If that’s all you want in a man,” Giselle snapped, and Mallory nodded enthusiastically, a large artificial smile spreading across her face at Giselle’s biting tone, “then yes.”

“How does it guide him to you?” Krista asked, hazel eyes bright with curiosity. From anyone else the question would have sounded sarcastic or insolent, but Krista’s tone was straightforward, the mathematical part of her incapable of discounting any theory without testing.

“Through positive thinking,” Giselle responded, as if such information were common knowledge.

Callie huffed out a breath. She’d always considered herself optimistic, but where had that gotten her? A bitter broken engagement, robbed of confidence, and in love with someone else who didn’t want her.

Mallory turned toward Krista, cupping her hand around her mouth to mimic whispering a secret. The words projected loud and clear from her lips. “Otherwise known as magic.”

Giselle rolled her eyes, her hands fisted on her hips. “Not all of us can spend our days sleeping around with rock-and-roll trash.”

Mallory only smiled, her lips turned up in malicious glory. “Maybe you should give it a try. It might loosen you up a bit.”

Giselle’s jaw clenched, her face as bright red as Santa’s suit.

With such polar opposite personalities, Giselle and Mallory hardly ever agreed, but were still close as sisters. They came to each other’s aid whenever needed. Just as they had when Callie’s lying ex-fiancĂ© Josh’s secret was discovered.

“Where’d you get this idea?” Amy shouted across the circle, attempting to distract the group, always the peacemaker. Her normally small, soft voice paralleled her slender, short frame.

“Oprah, of course,” Giselle respond, to no one’s surprise. Giselle worshipped at the shrine of Oprah and Martha Stewart.

“Of course.” Mallory swallowed her red wine, using the glass to camouflage an exaggerated eye roll.

“It’s my thirtieth birthday, and you all agreed we could do anything I wanted tonight.” They hadn’t actually agreed, but Amy had, dragging everyone else along with her.

“I don’t get it. What’s the point in making a list for only one type of guy? There are tons out there.” Mallory shifted her long black hair streaked with green stripes, the ends dangling below the waistband of her dark jeans.

“It’s not for finding ‘a’ guy.” Giselle arched one golden brow. “It’s for finding ‘the guy.’ Your soul mate.”

Mallory brushed away the ancient notion of loving, long-term monogamy with a sweep of her hand. “What’s the point? Guys are like Christmas toys. What’s all the rage this year will be thrown in the garbage by Easter, and then you’ll be looking for something new.”

“Some of us are just looking for a toy worth playing with.” Callie chuckled.

Around her, her friends’ faces dropped, laughter and jokes ending on a deep sour note Callie hadn’t intended to play. She meant to sound like any other single thirty-year-old woman, but instead everyone still saw her as a betrayed, wounded soul, nursing a broken heart.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone.” Amy’s eyes glowed with concern, bordering on pity.

“Someone who deserves you,” Mallory added, placing her hand on Callie’s with a comforting squeeze.

Callie bit down on the inside of her cheek to prevent herself from groaning, the sympathy around her so thick it was choking.

Everyone forgot she’d called off the engagement. The discoveries of Josh’s life on the road, released to the paparazzi days after she’d returned the gaudy ring, overshadowed that truth.

Callie refocused on her paper, the pressure of her friends’ concern weighing on her neck, forcing her to stay harnessed to her pain, like a reindeer to Santa’s sleigh. She wrote “What I Want” across the top of the page, nibbling on the end of her pen as she tried to envision her perfect man. But every physical attribute she considered, every personality trait she desired, returned to one man. Eric.

She’d been in love with Eric for longer than she could admit. He’d been caring, sweet, and devoted since she’d called off her engagement, but that wasn’t what she wanted. Not anymore.

She wanted red, hot, raw. Her fantasies about Eric were dark, uninhibited, and rough. Exactly how Eric would never see her. To him she was a good friend—sweet, not sexy. She couldn’t be in another relationship like that, even if he set her heart flying and her stomach tumbling.

She gripped her pen tighter, staring down at her paper, visions of Eric and her tangled together dancing before her eyes. Their bodies twirled in every position she’d ever heard her friends mention, and some she’d even researched online. All the fantasies Josh hadn’t been interested in fulfilling, too busy satisfying his own. Her heart pumped heavily as she turned back to the title of her page, finishing the sentence with “Eric to Do to Me”. Her pen flew across the sheet, detailing every erotic fantasy she conjured up around her best friend.

She smiled as Giselle gave her a nod. If her friend had any idea what she was asking the universe for, it might cause her perfect bobbed hair to stand on end.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guest Blog: Adele Dubois: Emergency Guest Goodies Recipe


Adele Dubois is a former newspaper and magazine columnist, features writer, and foreign correspondent published in the Caribbean, UK, and USA. She is also the author of several novels and novellas.

When not on the beach by the ocean, or walking along the quiet shores of a Delaware bay, she and her family enjoy their rural eastern Pennsylvania home where she is currently working on her next book.




Emergency Guest Goodies Recipe:
This delicious instant recipe for last-minute guests is a sure winner everyone will love! Keep these items stocked in your pantry during the holidays: gingersnap or gingerbread cookies or gingerbread cake and jars of lemon curd (found with the jams and jellies in your supermarket isle).

One package prepared gingersnap or gingerbread cookies OR prepared or homemade gingerbread cake.
One jar lemon curd, any brand, although I prefer Dickinson’s because of its clarity and rich lemony flavor.

To Prepare:
Scoop lemon curd into a small microwavable serving container and warm through until curd is smooth, approximately 35 seconds. Stir. Curd is ready to use when it’s spreadable. Spread warm lemon curd over gingerbread cake as icing. Slice cake and serve.

Serve the warm lemon curd as a dip or spread beside a plate of ginger cookies. Use tiny dessert knives to spread the lemon curd. This method is my personal favorite. Enjoy!

Visit author Adele Dubois on her website at http://www.adeledubois.com

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Does your family have a resident elf? Ours does, and he’s older than time, and you might be surprised to discover your family has a guardian elf as well.

Allow me to explain.

My ancestors on my mother’s side emigrated from Scotland and brought their folk tales and myths west by wagon train.

My grandmother told me as a child that she could barely understand what her grandfather was saying to her because his Scottish brogue was so thick. She had to strain to understand him but what she gleaned from him amazed her.

This great grandfather was an educated and skilled man from Glasgow. He worked as an architect in the rebuilding of London and designed great church organs with perfect pitch. These were days when a church organ filled the back of the building and the pipes were ten feet tall. He was a very tall man for the day, well over six foot and many jokes were made that he was his own ladder.

He came to the west because he couldn’t resist the call of adventure and he guessed rightly, other newcomers to the west would need his skills.

When he came to the frontier, he brought his skills, hopes and the family’s ancestral elf with him.

In the west in those days, a tall handsome man with an income didn’t stay unmarried for long—perhaps an hour or two? lol

He married my seventeen-year-old great great grandmother immediately on arrival. As their family of eleven children grew the stories of the old country and the family elf surfaced. 

These tales were rich, very detailed accounts of an ancient Scottish elf named “Capo Creamo” who traveled through time with all the children of our family and watched over them wherever they were. 

As soon as a new generations of children were born the family elf reappeared.

The children were told, Capo was a sweet but lazy elf that hated housework and there were many cautionary tales of his slovenly housekeeping skills. A Capo story would start with a statement like —children don’t be like Capo-Creamo. Capo put off washing his dirty dishes for so long he was forced to eat from a grubby soap dish before dragging a wheelbarrow full of dirty dishes into the rain to be washed clean.

If a sock or mitten was lost the children were encouraged to carefully retrace their steps and ask Capo-Creamo for assistance in locating the lost item.

If a child awoke from a nightmare, they could ask Capo to stand guard at the foot of the bed to keep the nightmare at bay.

Christmas was Capo’s time to shine. Elaborate tableaus were set up for the children to discover for themselves that indeed Capo-Creamo had visited during the night and left small gifts.

Capo-Creamo was clumsy and was known for spilling flour in the kitchen.

As a tiny child my mother remembered following a trail of tiny, floury footsteps all over the house until she found a hidden package.

Later when my mother was a very young widow with two small girls, she would dip her fingers in flour or coal dust and trace Capo’s footsteps through the house and through the snow for my sisters to follow on Christmas morning. My older sisters were too young to remember their dad but they do remember getting a great deal of comfort from knowing that some sort of beneficent male spirit was watching over the house.

As a child on Christmas Eve, I left small chunks of powdery doughnuts on a dish for Capo to enjoy. He left me a sugary trail of footsteps to follow to a hidden gift.

Capo-Creamo lives with me now. My son loves his company and eagerly plays along, although his version of Capo is pure mischief and he’s turning Capo into a warrior elf, but I don’t mind. It’s proper that each generation gets the Capo-Creamo they expect. 

I’ve told my son that when he grows up and has a family of his own he can ask Capo to live with him.

If you have children or grandchildren in your life, I encourage you to discover and name your own family elf and start your own tradition (Capo’s mine! lol). It doesn’t cost a thing but imagination. You might be surprised by how enduring your elf’s presence will be in your family. Capo’s been with us a long time. No one even knows when it started.

I can’t even say Capo’s name without thinking of my mother and grandmother who are both long gone but the memories of a few of their “elf pranks” are so sweet I feel honor bound to pass them on. My hope is that long after I’m gone, Capo our family elf may still be visiting a new generation of children.

On another note I had a new book “Nice Package” released last Friday from Ellora’s Cave. I hope you’ll check out this book. I had a wonderful time writing it and it’s very close to my heart.

Blurb:
Christmas chaos is over at the Emerson’s house, but the real holiday fun is just beginning. Jim presents Cora with a big beautiful gift box she is forbidden to open.

What’s in the crimson mystery box?

Cora finds out, slowly, over a twenty-four-hour period. The box contains tantalizing toys, temptation, tricky games and an invitation to an erotic adventure at a mountain lodge that will refresh their marriage and bond them as lovers. If Cora can endure one hellaciously prolonged tease, she’s really going to enjoy getting a nice package.

Reader Advisory: Novel contains a scene that includes light f/f interaction.
“Nice Package” Katalina Leon, Ellora’s Cave Moderne Line available now!

Also, the Ellora’s Cave Succulent Anthology Volume 1 is available now in print!

This is my first book in print and I’m very excited. Other wonderful authors in this volume are Margaret L. Carter, Kim Knox, Lena Matthews and Brigit Zahara
http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-9016-138-succulent.aspx

Merry Christmas everyone!
XXOO Kat

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Word Of Thanks...

Greetings romance fans. I truly hope everyone is doing well this holiday season. I, for one, am enjoying the hoopla of my new release from Turquoise Morning Press entitled Mac Liam and the positive responses I've been getting from readers and reviewers alike.

But I am not here to promote my works of romantic fiction. I am here today to give thanks to all my loyal fans who've made this journey so amazing. Without my fans, friends, and family, I would not have this great career. Sure, as an author, I will always write. But, without someone to read my books, my stories are only just stories.

Whether you realize it or not, readers of romance give life to an author's words and I want to thank you all for allowing my thoughts and my characters to live. Even if my characters are from the past, a period of time that no longer exists, you have given them a purpose. A reason to be who they are, whether it's the tortured hero who finds love for the first time in his pitiful life, or the ambitious heroine who gains more than she bargained for in the love of an unlikely hero. You, as the reader, bring what no other person can give to an author, both aspiring and successful. And that is the motivation to write more.

As authors, our sole ambition is to entertain - or more importantly - touch our readers with love stories they will never forget. And I've had the pleasure and privilege of doing just that.

How do I know? Because they contact me and tell me. Because they take the initiative to let me know how much they've enjoyed my books. Because they've taken the time to send me gifts or cards or letters expressing their appreciation for my hard work. And that cannot be matched.

So, thank you. To everyone who has taken the chance on my work. To everyone who has read my books - every word - and accompanied me on a beautiful journey to a different place and time. Your friendship, your loyalty, and your praise will never be forgotten.

I am very blessed to have romance fans like you. You know who you are...


With kindest regards,
Renee Vincent

Monday, December 20, 2010

Interview of Author Sarah Ballance

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Sarah Ballance.

Latest Book: DOWN IN FLAMES
Buy Link: http://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=136

BIO:
Sarah Ballance lives a charmed life as the mother of six incredible homeschooled children, all of whom are completely adorable when they're asleep. Her husband of many years (long, long years, he calls them) is the kind of guy who could teach those heroes from the books a thing or two about romance, not that he'd readily admit it. In support of her love of writing fiction he's generously offered to help with any necessary research for "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.

The whole boisterous lot of them live within boating distance of the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, suspiciously close to the setting of Sarah’s second novel – a romantic suspense which gives a whole new meaning to the idea of escaping to the beach.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Talk about surreal! The news came on the heels of another big shock. Days after I submitted the manuscript, we found out we were expecting our sixth baby – a little girl who paid no heed to the tubal ligation I'd had two years prior. I won't say I didn't give the manuscript a second thought during the submission period, but when the contract offer arrived I'm not sure I could do more than blink. I was STUNNED. I don't think it really hit me until I saw the book cover, and there are times I still can't believe it.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I've completed two novels, and in each one the last three chapters flew. I tend to write with a general story in mind but love the fireworks when the characters take over. The flipside is we – my characters and I – are often at odds earlier on and it can make for slow going. By the end, however, most of the decisions are made and I just need to tie everything together. (The alternative explanation is I'm just ready to be done and work faster to get it over with, LOL.)

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My favorite character in DOWN IN FLAMES is Jack. He's got a bad reputation and a past he can't seem to outrun, but he loves Molly with everything he's got. In spite of what happens in the story, it's hard not to love him back. As a reader, you feel the burden of the decision he faces and you know the ache in his heart, but in the end, no matter how much you like him, you've got to cheer a little when Molly gets the last word.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: At the start of each manuscript I find a picture to fit the general appearance of the character. Whether it's a famous face or a random Google image, it helps me to maintain consistency throughout the story. "Brown hair and blue eyes" is just too generic. That face helps me add the third dimension, and I couldn't write without it.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I am newly addicted to the instant powdered vanilla cappuccino from Sam's Club. I've yet to manage eating and typing at once, but the one thing I'll push the computer aside for is kettle-cooked jalapeno potato chips and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper. If someone tries to take one of my jalapeno chips, they risk losing a limb.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I'd love to write a romantic thriller. My new release is a suspense and that's close, but the difference I see is in the action - the page-flinging, breathless kind of wordage that makes the reader's heart pound and the rest of the world blitz to nonexistence. The first time someone tells me they stayed up all night because they HAD to read every word of one of my novels, I guarantee you I will launch into some kind of happy dance (at which point you will all want to look away, because trust me – no one needs to see me dance.)

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Website: http://sarahballance.com
Blog: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Ballance-author/125956520788499
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SarahBallance
Noble Romance: http://www.nobleromance.com/BrowseListing.aspx?author=97
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI

BLURB:
When Jack Gellar returns to Jefferson Heights after five long years and an unforgettable betrayal, is his appearance the last thing Molly Coleman needs in her tragedy-stricken life . . . or the first?

Molly just lost her entire family, and now her home and business are both on the line. An unexpected encounter with the one man who can put the pieces back together leaves her reeling, for he can just as easily destroy what little she has left. Jack has a lot to prove to win her back, but when a lapse in judgment turns into an ultimatum he can’t refuse, will his choice bring them together or tear them apart for good?

EXCERPT:
“Molly!” From behind her, Jack called her name in a breathless way that reminded her of the sex they hadn’t had.

She willed herself to disappear. No such luck. It wasn’t as if she’d actually be able to climb into her truck and roar off before he caught her, but the irony of the thought left her with an odd sense of satisfaction.

“Molly!”

The gravel crunched as Jack jogged past her, swinging around in her path to cut her off. Although the sun still hung low in the morning sky, the summer heat had already settled in. Jack’s shirt, dampened by the humidity, clung to every muscle, and she silently cursed the temptation of his rock hard physique.

“Hey.” Jack breathed the word, walking backward with rapid steps to stay ahead of her stampede.

Molly didn’t let up. She’d run him down if she had to. Not that she actually could, but the idea of ending up in a tangled heap with him wasn’t all bad. Properly executed, she could pin a knee in his groin, maybe an elbow. Of course, she could think of a few other parts of her body she’d like to position there as well.

“Jack, how have you been?” She kept her voice even, but on the inside she glowered. Seeing him now in the flesh, with that ridiculous pleading look in his eyes, sent wicked passion curling through her.

“I guess I owe you an apology.” He flashed a deliciously crooked grin.

Molly fought the urge to taste it. She imagined sliding her tongue into his mouth, sucking and nibbling at his lips, feeling those strong arms hold her close.

“For what?” She couldn’t let him off that easy. She was going to make him say it.

He stared at her as if she should have known, with no explanation required.

“For ditching you.

She blinked at him. Well, hell, he’d said it. Had she really waited five years for that?

“Thanks.” She stepped around him and headed for her truck.

Molly, please wait.”

Something in his voice stopped her in her tracks. She hesitated, bracing herself, before turning to face him. The emotion in his eyes poured into her, eroding the hardened edges of her soul. For a moment she saw the old Jack in front of her.

“That didn’t come out right,” he said, his voice softer. Tender, even. “What can I say? It sucked. I’ve thought about what I did to you every single day for the last five years, and in all of this time I still haven’t come up with a good way to say I’m sorry.”

Molly stared at him, speechless. Some incorrigible part of her heart caved, taking the rest of her stubborn pride down with it.

“You’ve thought of me every day for the past five years?” She angled toward him, trying to avoid the sun-drenched flecks of gold flickering in his hazel eyes, resisting the urge to coax away the flop of hair that brushed the bridge of his nose.

“Yes, Molly.” Sincerity raked his voice, unexpected and not entirely unpleasant.

Could she believe him? Did she even want to?

He took a step forward, lining his body up with hers and cocking his head ever so slightly in her direction. If she looked up to meet his eyes, his lips would be just a breath away.

It would be so easy to fall against his hard body, to press against him and let him envelop her. She tried not to imagine him burying himself inside of her, filling her in a way no man ever had before. She didn’t want to think about the way her emotions would flail and how her fingers would claw helplessly at his glistening back as he thrust into her again and again, sending her screaming over the edge. Or did she?

Molly lifted her eyes to meet his, leaning imperceptibly closer. Her heart pounded in her chest. If Jack really spent the last five years thinking of her, then she just had one thing to say.

“Good.” And with that, she turned her back on him and got in the truck.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My second novel, RUN TO YOU, released December 13 from Noble Romance. Hot romance and cold-blooded murder make interesting bedmates … if you've been dreaming of an escape to the beach, this one will have you thinking twice! Please visit my website for details.

I'd also like to thank my host for a wonderful visit and some awesome hospitality! To all of my readers, please know that every single one of you are part of making my dream come true. Feel free to contact me at any time, and thanks so much for being there!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Are You Ready for a Party?

We're taking over this blog for the day! You ready for a scavenger hunt?


I think we need to introduce ourselves first, Emma. Otherwise, the readers won't know or care about this post. Hi RBRU, I'm Angie Clayborn, one of the characters from Wild At Heart...

And I'm Emma Nichols, from the same book. Is Amber here yet, Angie?

Not yet, but she'll be here soon. As I was saying, Emma and I decided to throw Kenzie Michaels a little surprise party, since today's her birthday....

Um, I think you have that wrong. It's Molly's birthday; Kenzie was born in February.

They're the same person. How can they have two birthdays?




If you want to get really technical about it, 'Molly Daniels' was born somewhere between November and March. I don't remember the exact month. So does it really matter?

Hey, Amber's here! Did you bring us some yummy croissants?

Yes, I did Emma. Sorry I was late; there's still a lot of snow and ice outside.

I know. I think I'm doomed to stay here until Brad and I can fly back to Denver.

Okay...Amber, do you want to introduce yourself?

OMG...sorry, I'm not used to this online stuff yet. I forgot people can't see us....Hi everyone, I'm Amber Johnson, owner of AJ's Cafe in All She Ever Wanted....hey, while I'm thinking about it, do you know you guys joined me on Kindle this morning?

We did? What's the link?

Triple-dubya dot amazon....

Amber, here; let me do it. Click here for the link. That's how you do it here in blogger-land.


Thanks Angie. Okay, now can we get on with the scavenger hunt?

Wait, what about Elicia and Amy? Shouldn't they be here too?

They're in the midst of finals. Besides, personal computers and blogs weren't around in the mid-80's.

Good point. Okay, on with the rules! Angie?

Sure. Answer these four questions, found at either www.mjdaniels.blogspot.com or

http://kenziemichaels.blogspot.com, both on the 'Excerpts' pages. Ready? Monday morning,

Molly/Kenzie will pick one random winner (maybe more) for either a free print copy of her book

or a free download of either All She Ever Wanted or Wild At Heart.

Here are the questions:

1) What is the course Elicia has problems with the most?

2) What is the name of the junior college Amy attends in California?

3) Where does Marc take Amber on their honeymoon?

4) What's the name of Emma's ranch?



Okay; explain something to me. We're throwing Molly a surprise party, and....we give away her

books? Aren't we supposed to make people want to buy her books?

It's Christmas, Angie. There are people out there who can't afford to buy books right now.

Good point. Anyway, Happy birthday Molly:)

Happy birthday Kenzie:)

Now, who wants to go for coffee at my cafe?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Interview of Cover Model/Actor Anthony Catanzaro

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented Anthony Catanzaro. His career encompasses many avenues: cover model, fitness model, bodybuilder, advertising model, and actor! His resume lists a variety of items to include television and movie roles, commercials, and magazines.

Contest: One winner will receive: a tote bag and size XL tee-shirt! Sorry...US and Canadian residents only. Leave a comment (and put your email address with your comment, please!). Contest ends midnight ET 21 December.

Where to find information about Anthony Catanzaro: Official website: http://www.anthonycatanzaro.com
Face book: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#%21/profile.php?id=638961904
Email: tony@anthonycatanzaro.com

Q: With all the different career directions you’ve taken, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: I would love to be able to open up a small quiet restaurant later in life. A place where families and couples in love can come and have dinner. The most special moments of my life have come from family friends and loved ones being together at the dinner table. I feel that there should be more of that in the world today. Too many families are broken apart and need to get back together. It’s a true saying: a family that eats together sticks together.

Q: You’re an author! Tell us about your book, “Reach for the Stars”.
A: "Reach for the Stars" is an online book that I co-authored with writer David Robson from New Zealand. David and I have written many successful articles for bodybuilding.com. We both have a unique personality that makes for great articles. David is very scientific and goes by the book, where I’m very straightforward and go with my heart. The combination makes for great questions and answers. "Reach for the Stars" is just that a book that breaks down the reason and purpose for success.

Q: All the modeling work you’ve done includes the following magazines: Exercise and Fitness, Health & Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscle & Fitness, Fitness Plus, Men’s Exercise, Exercise for Men Only, New Living. How would you describe the competition for these jobs?
A: A lot of the magazines I’ve appeared in are very competitive. As much as everyone wants to be in magazines, the requirements very tough: shooting with the photographers that contribute to the magazines and having a look that is going to sell. I feel I have a lot to offer because I’m not just about the looks. It’s one thing to have a ripped body but another to have a warm loving heart to go with it.

Q: You’ve appeared on romance covers for Harlequin Presents and Kensington. Tell us What a “shoot” is like for a romance cover model.
A: Well, I’ve shot with a few romance photographers and it’s a lot of fun because you get to model in different costumes like a fireman, an Indian warrior, construction worker, etc.  Its great fun and the shoots really aren’t that long usually around an hour or so. The photographer in that time is trying to grab the most realistic shot. When I shoot with my wife its great because she’s comfortable with me but when I shoot with strange woman, they tend to be a bit shy and nervous. Either way, its fun for me.

Q: As a cover model, do you have any say into the process? Can you ask for a pose to be changed or not used? Have you ever done this, and, if so, what happened?
A: As a model, you pretty much just do your part and the poses pretty much come from the photographer. A lot of times, what seems comfortable to you doesn’t look good in front of the camera, so a good photographer will make the slight adjustments to really capture a great image. I have no say in the final shots that are used, but that’s totally fine with me I’m just glad their using me.

Q: Is there a difference between doing a “shoot” for magazines and book covers?
A: Yes absolutely! When I shoot for magazines, I’m more free and can hit my own poses. But for a book cover, the author or editorial director wants to create a certain image and sometimes will draw out the image and then I would have to act out that image.

Q: So many acting appearances in films and TV shows! Tell us about your acting experiences. Any favorite one?
A: I’ve been in some films and TV. I’m very happy when I play myself on TV. I haven’t really had the opportunity to really do so except for my infomercials. I would love to have a TV show with my wife Tina, called “Tony and Tina” It would be a really fun show! It would show how the two of us get along. My wife and I love each other very much but we argue like the honeymooners. So a show like that would be very funny showing us living with the difficulties of life but at the end of the show we understand each other and I give her a kiss and say “Baby, you're the greatest”. I think the world needs a show like that today. Most couples can relate to the day-to-day tribulations all couples face, but a lot of them give up too quickly on each other. It’s nice to show two people that have been together for as long as my wife and I have (over 17 years now) and still be able to look at each other the some way as when they first met.

Q: You’re a fitness motivational speaker and speak about personal training and nutrition. Give us some hints on how to get and stay in shape!
A: Well, it’s very simple and to keep it nice and short I have a saying that I have created: Just like the Father,  the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is the law of life, man and spirituality all come together. My saying for health and fitness: Weights, cardio, and diet. If you follow these three rules, you will have a fantastic body and a well balanced mind. To read more about my fitness, philosophies please visit my website at: http://www.anthonycatanzaro.com

Q: You list being a professional dancer. Have you been in contests? Tell us about your dancing experiences.
A: I have been dancing for years. I do all types of dance from ballroom to freestyle. I love to dance and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I haven’t entered any shows; I just love dancing and the feeling you get from expressing your feelings in a physical motion.

Q: As an impersonator of voices and characters, do you have any favorite people you enjoy impersonating?
A: Yes Absolutely I love imitating Tony Montana from Scarface. I think I do a Tony Montana impression better than Tony Montana himself.

Q: Okay, skilled cook. Can you give us a quick and easy recipe?
A: Sure here’s a great recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp, Garlic and Olive Oil.
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ lb. shrimp, cleaned
½ lb. of Spaghetti (cooked)
Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:
In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat:
Add garlic and sauté
Add shrimp and cook 1 minute, then turn shrimp.
Cook about 2 minutes
Add cooked spaghetti and mix well
For added flavor, squeeze lemon and add a pinch of paprika

Q: You’re married (to Tina) and had a “Tony and Tina” style Italian wedding…just what “real” Italians have! So did I, in New York, many years ago! All the Italian foods, music, and relatives from everywhere. Did you dance the Tarantella and sing songs in Italian?
A: Yes we had the true "Tony and Tina’s" wedding but thank God there were no fights and drunk uncles falling everywhere. Yes, there were some Italian songs but it was a real American dream wedding all around with lots of special moments.

Q: Tell us about playing Superman this month!
A: Playing superman was really fun this month I was hired to play him and was thrilled at the fact they were making a custom-made Superman costume for me. It really looked great and it was a lot of fun playing the "Man of Steel".

Q: Favorite food?
A: I have to say I love all foods that come from God. I hate processed foods and cannot eat them as they make me sick. If I had to pick a food that I love the most, it would be pizza from a good pizzeria!

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Water with lemon

Q: What jobs will keep you busy until the end of the year?
A: I’m working on a lot of stuff right now. I usually tackle one project at a time, but its been getting very busy for me lately. I have become overwhelmed with it all but I cant complain as I would rather be overwhelmed with work than waiting for the phone to ring.

Q: What would you consider to be the most romantic place in the world…just so we might get some travel ideas?
A: I would have to say hands down Aruba. I’ve traveled to many places all over the world and have seen some really great things. But in my opinion, nothing compares to Aruba and here’s why. Aruba is known to be a happy island. Everyone there is super friendly and stress-free. Now, living in NYC full-time can really stress a person out, so going to Aruba is a perfect getaway. The weather is always perfect 365 days a year. The food is great, the people are great...what more can you ask for!

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to take this time and thank you for this interview. I hope you and your viewers found it to be uplifting and informative.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Xmas thoughts and gifts for you

Xmas blogging and free books!

What a great time of year to blog!.So much wonderful atmosphere surrounding everything you see and do. No matter your faith or your beliefs, the carols and joyous aura of the season can’t help but lift your spirits. It’s the only time of the year I miss the snow we had when we lived in the east. But not enough to want to go back, but not enough to go back.

I’m interested in your Xmas traditions. Xmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate. Love’em all.I have one I follow without exception, and will continue as long as I can find the proper Xmas candles. I’ve blogged about my amazing grandmother before and I honor her in a small way at Xmas. As she always did, I burn a bayberry candle on Xmas eve. The saying she taught me was “A bayberry candle burned to the socket, brings health to the home and wealth to the pocket” Once you light it you must let it burn completely down to make the verse come true. Now it’s getting harder. Not only are bayberry candle difficult to find, at least in California, but we’ve gone for years to a friend’s house on Xmas eve. I scrounge around as much as I need to find a bayberry candle, and then light it and put it in the sink to burn to the socket You’ve gotta burn it clear down, so you’re left with nothing but a little wax in the saucer the next morning.

My children think it’s a charming custom, so I find candles for them too. Not easy, believe me, at least on the west coast. I imagine easterners don’t have this much trouble.

Here’s a little Xmas present for you, especially if you hate cooking the way I do. For a great appetizer, put a slab of cream cheese on a plate and pour cranberry relish over it. Wonderful with crackers or pita chips.

And for another present… I want to hear your traditions for the holidays. I’ll pick the two top ones and give them my choice of e-books, any of them. Druids, Mages, or historical. All are listed on my website or Amazon, and you can make your choice.

And to all of you, truly one and all, a happy holiday season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Interview of Author Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Carolyn Matowsky/Cara Marsi.

Latest Book: Murder Mi Amore
Buy Link:http://www.thewildrosepress.com/murder-mi-amore-p-4345.html
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/CarolynMat2

BIO:
When I was a corporate drone and cubicle dweller living in a fabric-covered cage, the creative energy of writing romance allowed my mind to escape the reality of my everyday world, at least for a while. No longer a corporate drone, I still need to give voice to the characters who inhabit my head.

For as long as I can remember I've made up stories in my head. Most were love stories. The Thirties and Forties romantic comedies that played on late-night TV when I was growing up helped shape my love of romance.

I’d always dreamed of being a published author. I worked in the corporate world all my adult life, but the dream of seeing my name on a book wouldn't die. One day in 1992 my friend Gwen and I, heavily into reading Harlequin romances, looked at each other and said, “We can write these." Hah! We soon learned it takes lots of talent and hard work to write an emotional and satisfying story. I write the stories I want to read. I love reunion stories and redemption stories, tales of second chances, and I like to throw in suspense, maybe even a little murder. I've discovered a love of short stories, and have been successful in selling them to the confession magazines.

My husband and I love to travel and I love writing about the places we’ve visited. We share our home with a fat, black cat named Killer.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I came home from work to find an email from the editor at Avalon. She’d tried to reach me by phone, but couldn’t. Would I please call her right away. I began shaking all over. It wasn’t quite five o’clock, so I called her. When she offered a contract, I shook harder and couldn’t talk. When we hung up, I ran outside and hugged my husband who was mowing the lawn. I excitedly told him my news and his face fell and he said, “I guess this means you won’t stop writing.”

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The very beginning because I’ve already written it countless times in my mind.

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: A young Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock. My character, Lexie, is plucky and determined and while she might stumble, she keeps her upbeat attitude and has faith in herself.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your hero? Tell us about your hero.
A: An Italian Matthew Fox who played Jack in “Lost.” My Dominic is a sexy Italian Interpol agent who is strong, harsh at times, but with a very protective instinct toward women. He believes in Lexie when no one else does.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I love to write sensual tension.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: “Green Darkness” by Anya Seton because it has everything: suspense, redemption, romance, reincarnation.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Website: http://www.caramarsi.com
http://www.thewildrosepress.com
http://romanticsuspense.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/carolynmatkowsky
http://twitter.com/caramarsi

BLURB:
Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems like the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

EXCERPT:
Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.

“Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.

Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.

Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”

“I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.

Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”

He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”

“Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay. You’re safe with me.”

She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?

Anything else you’d like to add?
My book, “Murder, Mi Amore,” is a romantic suspense novella set almost entirely in Italy. I also write short stories for True Love, True Romance, and True Experience. I love to hear from readers. Please visit my website. I hope you buy my book and that you’ll let me know how you like it.

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