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Saturday, April 30, 2011

How Now Dear Author

How-to books have been around a long time. The first one I remember reading, a required reading assignment for high school sophomore English was How To Make Friends and Influence People. Afterward, no one begged me to let them be my friend claim that I had anything to do with their success, I'm pretty sure I applied absolutely nothing from that book to my real life. I just needed to know enough about it to pass the book test. A couple+ decades passed by before I picked up another How-To-er. For a book character, I wanted to learn about private detection work and the how-to book on that subject gave me very basic, easy to understand information.

Last week while at a large chain bookstore (maybe the ONLY one remaining in the USA), I meandered to the section of How-To books for writers thinking I'd get one on writing mysteries. I was stunned, stunned I tell you, to see that books about the craft of writing filled four rows of nearly half an aisle, eleven of them dedicated to writing mysteries. Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Bios, Humor, Horror, Children's Lit, YA, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy were also represented. A little something for just about anyone. It was like looking for my favorite brand of salsa at a grocery store I'm not familiar with. So many choices! I wound up choosing Writing Mysteries; Handbook by The Mystery Writers of America, edited by Sue Grafton, to use as a reference for an area of writing that is brand new to me. I'll let you know--many months from now--how that worked out for me. Or even better, I'll get that mystery published and you can find out for yourself!

In my secondhand bookshop, How-To books don't stay on the shelves long, especially those to do with home repairs and improvements. Some of my favorite non-household ones are: How-To... Talk to your kids so they will listen and listen when kids talk; Knit a Dog (I'm not kidding, this really is a book!); Lie With Statistics; Pay Zero Taxes; Think Like Leonardo da Vinci; How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish without a Trace. (Frank Ahearn co-authored this one.I turned to his books when I wanted a crash course in skip tracing and then had the good fortune to meet him at a Florida Writer's Conference. Excellent resource and fantastic speaker)

How-Tos are like a community-ed course between book covers. They can never replace a face-to-face with an expert in the subject you're studying, but when you don't have access to an expert in say, How To Not Look Fat, How To Eat Like A Vegetarian Even If You Never Want To Be One, How To Yodel, or How to Run the World, they can be be resourceful alternatives.

Do you use how-to books as references for your writing? Any favorites?

Polly

Friday, April 29, 2011

Identity as a Writer

Over the years, I've had many identities, but today I want to share myself as a writer. The life of a writer sounds glamorous, but in fact is lonely and difficult. Even those of us who are social do not have time to socialize unless it's through e-mail and medias like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, which is not the same as face to face.

The first story I remember writing was a skit I performed while in the third grade. All my life, I wrote letters to family members, friends and soldiers overseas. At the age of forty-three, while I still worked for a major airline, I started writing for publication. After that there was no turning back. The art of learning to write stories grips you around the neck and will not let you escape its' clutches. Unformed ideas swarm into your mind like bees, and they keep coming until you choose one and focus on it.

I write mystery romance with a women's fiction bent because I like to read stories that deal with real issues. These are the types of stories I like to read, and so I write them. I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries and others of that age group graduated to Victoria Holt, Sidney Shelden, Sandra Brown and numerous others.

There is so much to learn as a writer of fiction. You have to learn the rules before you can break them is a saying among authors and publishers. One of the things I had difficulty with was point of view. We're supposed to stay in one view during a scene, never matter that someone like Nora Roberts can get away with going into the viewpoint of a cat if she wants to. For new authors that is not an option if you want to get published.

Other things beginning authors need to learn is how to weave the different threads of the story together. For instance, romance and the suspense cannot be kept seperated but must be woven together.

Before you become a published author you need a website to build a name for yourself and to start promoting the image you want. I wanted something dark and mysterious because I wrote romantic suspense. Once you are published, you used this site to help promote your books by putting your bookcovers, blurbs and excerpts at your website and hook them to your publisher.

Promoting is a huge part of publishing. It's time consuming and takes time away from writing your next book. Would I have become an author if I knew what I know now? The answer is a simple 'no.' But, it's too late, I'm hooked.

My books, The Catalyst, Addiction and The Deceived can be found at http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
Also, they can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Smashwords along with the anthology, Fool Me Twice, written by myself and Sandra Sookoo.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the life of a writer.

Have a great day.

Sandra K. Marshall
http://www.skaymarshall.com
http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview of Writer Sharon Hamilton

Today I'm happy to present an interview of writer Sharon Hamilton.

BIO: Sharon Hamilton loves all things paranormal: angels, dark angels, Watchers, Guardians, Upogenie and vampires. She also has developed a series of erotic Navy SEAL stories. Her characters follow a spicy road to redemption through passion and true love -- not exactly what they taught you in Sunday School!

http://www.sharonhamiltonauthor.com
http://sharonhamiltonauthor.blogspot.com

Q: What genre do you enjoy writing and why?
A: I enjoy paranormal romance, on the sensual to erotic side. Contemporary SEAL romantic suspense.

Q: What has been the most encouraging thing that’s helped you stay focused in your writing?
A: Coming to writing late in life, don’t know if it’s encouraging, but a fire has been lit under my butt. I can’t spare 15 years to “break in.” Finaling in contests was a boost to my ego, going to chapter meetings (I’m in 5 RWA-sponsored Chapters), hearing about other author’s struggles and ways they stay focused. But after discovering how wonderful writing feels, even with all the other things that are not as fun as creating the original story, my family is probably lucky I didn’t find this out until now. I’d have been a recluse mom and wife. So now it’s time for me, and the readers I hope to find.

Q: What has been the most discouraging thing that’s happened in your writing?
A: Running across people who are selfish and unkind, perhaps jealous. I have no time for that, just move away from it.

Q: Do you do research? If so, what type have you done?
A: For my SEAL stories, I hung out at tattoo parlors and SEAL bars, interview some of the team guys. Real other authors. For paranormal, I let the characters lead me on the research.

Q: What do you think is the key to a memorable romantic story?
A: The love story, the tension between the hero/heroine. I want characters I want to spend time with, care about.

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: Dreams, mostly. My first angel book came from a dream. Music, especially instrumental music, works. I love to watch people, too.

Q: What part of the whole writing process is the hardest for you?
A: Editing, without a doubt. I get into the story. But polishing the WORDS, when I am so focused on the story and the arc of the characters, those are sometimes difficult to catch and replace. It isn’t as natural as the writing process. I can easily write 5,000 words a day.

Q: What part of the whole writing process is the easiest for you?
A: The ideas and getting started on a new book.

Q: Is there someone who’s been extra helpful with your writing?
A: Initially, my chapter mates Karin Tabke/Harlow, Virna DePaul, Sophie Littlefield. They gave me advice and encouragement to enter contests, get myself out there, and cheer me on. Tina Folsom and Bella Andrade for their vision of the self-publishing scene and what it could mean for me, as I pursue both avenues: traditional and self-published.

Q: Hero or heroine. Which is easiest to write and why.
A: I’ve always fallen in love with the flawed, or sometimes tortured hero, or the bad boy who is really good. I like them overly confident, and falling to their knees for the right woman. That’s a love story I could read every day.

Q: Hero or heroine. Which is hardest to write and why.
A: I’ve had difficulty writing “good” heroines because they are too boring, so I try to write flawed, overly confident women who get their hopes and dreams stripped down and dashed, and then climb back up. I don’t like vanilla people in real life either!

Q: Describe your writing routine (place, hours, time of day, mood, etc.)
A: I get up at 4AM most every morning, and write until about 7. I take care of our animals and have breakfast with my husband, and then go back to writing or blogging, depending on what is the promise. I try to write 10-12 pages every day, even weekends. When I take a few days off, I have to dust off a lot of cobwebs. I look at blogging and posting as doing that a little.

Q: Are you in a critique group? If so, tell us how it helps you.
A: I have a personal 1-1 partner and we meet once a week over coffee. We review 10-15 pages each week, sequentially. I am in a multi-genre critique group that also meets every week in person. We take turns, so I get 10 pages critiqued every other week. Online groups haven’t worked as well for me, but I think it’s mostly because of time zone issues or schedule changes. I’m working on something, and then have to switch and get something else out for a request or to post online.

Q: Are you ready to promo your work?
A: Yes. That’s why I’m here.

Q: What are you working on now, and do you have a publisher in mind to send it to?
A: I’m working on a contemporary SEAL series on request from a publisher. I’m also working on my 4th Guardian Angel book, the first one I will launch in May on e-formats. I also have erotica shorts and one longer piece I’m completing, self-publishing under a pen name, Angela Love.

Q: You’re on a deserted island in a comfy beach house (with a magical power source), a laptop, and two handsome cover models. What do you do?
A: First, I ask for and am granted a 20-something body with unsagging double Es, and a gorgeous tan, so we can spend the whole time naked. We play, swim, cook, pick exotic flowers that fill the house with scent, take long, long showers or baths in the two person tub, and generally do all the things I’m not likely going to do in my lifetime.

Short Stories:

 
BLURB: The Stimulus Package:  Candy needs to order from the Garden of Delights sexual toys online catalog in time for her sister’s bachelorette party.  She not only gets the toy, but a whole lot more for her money, and she’ll never ask for a refund.







BLURB: Buzz Words:  Meaghan won the grand prize at her friend’s bachelorette party: a huge purple voice-activated vibrator. But it malfunctions and she gets all the support she needs from Leo, the Garden of Delights customer service online rep.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Victorian Tea Time

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments. I appreciate it.
I drew two winners of eBooks of As Timeless As Stone.
My winners are Danielle and Teresa. Congratulations to them both.

Like most little girls, I grew up playing Tea Party. Ceramic and plastic tea sets are still some of the most popular toys, if you have daughters or granddaughters, they probably have at least one. I don’t know if you’ve seen a show called Pregnant in Heels, but they had a proper English tea on one episode, serving scones, and Spotted Dick with the tea. I learned the correct pronunciation of scones from that episode. I use to mistakenly say scone with the o sound pronounced as in bone when it’s actually pronounced as in gone.

I learned so much about teas during the demonstration at the Oklahoma Steampunk Exposition, I recently attended. The picture of me above was taken there. We were served cucumber sandwiches, lemon pound cake, devil eggs, scones, cookies, and three types of tea. Our charming, expert hostess also taught us the differences in tea time in England, France, and Germany. For in Germany they usually served coffee and cake while in France they drank chocolate and served cookies or pastries or baguettes with butter and jam.

At an English tea, once everyone is seated, the hostess pours the tea, filling each guest’s cup. The spout of the tea pot faces the hostess or pourer. A tea cup is shallow and wider than a coffee or chocolate cup to give the tea room to temper before drinking. The hostess offers lemons, milk, or sugar for the tea. Milk and lemon are never added to the same cup, as citrus spoils milk. Cream is not offered as it is much too heavy for tea.

An infinite variety of tasty sandwiches may be served at tea, sometimes filled with chicken or turkey salad and cucmber sandwiches are often offered as well. The crust is always trimmed off the bread.

Do not extend your pinkie finger when drinking tea, it is rude. When stirring tea do not clink your spoon against the cup, instead swish it gently to and fro. After stirring, place the spoon on the saucer behind the tea cup. Remove the spoon before drinking your tea. Do not swirl the tea in your cup or you might slosh and stain the tablecloth.

There is specific etiquette for gentlemen attending teas. They must stand when a lady enters or leaves the room, open the door for the ladies, and escort the ladies downstairs to their carriage or cab. One would never expect less of a true gentleman.

I enjoyed sharing my new found knowledge with all you especially this week with the royal wedding. Just think William and Kate may be having tea right now. I wish you all Happy Tea Time.

I am having a blog contest, just comment below and the winner will receive a free eBook PDF download of my Steampunk/Romance, As Timeless As Stone. Also please drop by my website anytime at http://MaeveAlpin.comHere is a trailer of As Timeless As Stone
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQEOp9l9ZFA

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Everyday Magic

At the beginning of the book, IT’S MAGIC, there’s a short prologue in which the mysterious magical matchmaker, Maxwell Magic, speaks to the reader explaining that adults no longer believe and dream like children. He goes on to speak about everyday magic, the simple pleasure of smelling the air after a summer rain, the tingle of excitement from a cool breeze off the ocean, the delight in tasting freshly fallen snow.

Want to have magic in your life every day? Break from your routine and enjoy simple things just for yourself. Here are my top ten suggestions:

10. Don’t anticipate, be spontaneous. If you plan too much it ruins the magic. Okay, so you’re a planner. At least write down my ten things and post them on your car dash. Then, in the middle of errands etc., just do one of the things on the list (uh, don’t do it while driving, okay?)

9. Have dessert first, or better yet, go to a restaurant and just order dessert (even if you’re on a diet, once will not hurt).

8. Take a disadvantaged person to the movies.

7. Buy a book in the bookstore for someone in line, or tell the person at the drive-through, you’re paying for a latte, burger, chicken dinner whatever for the next driver. Don’t do drive-through? Drive-through anyway and pay it forward for the person behind you.

6. Walk through the grass barefoot.

5. Read a book from a genre or an author you’ve never read before. Then leave a review for it--just out of the blue.

4. Go on a picnic lunch (Too cold? So? Dress warmly and have an insulated carrier—OR have the picnic lunch inside on the floor). It doesn't have to be fancy. I have had a picnic lunch outside composed of canned sardines, cheese and saltine crackers (one of my date’s selections a long time ago—and no, the lunch wasn’t part of the date—it was an extra). Okay, sounds hideous to most of you. But it tasted great out there communing with nature.

3. Meditate outside for twenty minutes (the quieter the place the better).

2. Go on a long walk or a bike ride.

1. Spend a night at home with someone special and no television or computer.

You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after you break from your routine and see life through a brand new set of filters. It is, after all, magic!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bobbye Terry writes as herself as well as Daryn Cross in fantasy/sci-fi and Terry Campbell (as a co-writer) in romantic comedy.

Her latest book, ROSE, is a romantic comedy novella.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview of Cover Model Chris Winters

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented Chris Winters. His career encompasses many avenues; actor, cover model, software developer, rock band member, 2008 Romantic Times “Mr. Romance” winner. His resume lists a variety of items to include television/film, commercials, music videos, etc. Definitely a man of many talents!

Where to find information about Chris Winters:

http://www.modelmayhem.com/11326
http://www.nextcat.com/chriswintershttp://www.betweenyoursheets.com/content/cover-models/hosted-modelsactors/456-chris-winters 
http://covermenmag.co.cc/chriswinters/interview.html
http://www.patricemichelle.net/blog/2008/04/01/patrices-interview-with-cover-modelactor-chris-winters/ 
http://cindyholby.blogspot.com/2008/06/interview-with-mr-romance-2008-chris.html
http://www.romancenovel.tv/wordpress/2009/01/15/mr-romance-2008-chris-winters-an%20-interview-by-buffie-johnson
http://www.imaginginfo.com/print/Studio-Photography/So-Youre-Thinking-of-Writing-a-Book/3$1477
BLOG with my photos: http://dropdeadgorgeousguys.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/chris-winters/

CONTEST: Leave a comment for a chance to win a Romance Books R Us size XL Tee-shirt!
 Contest ends midnight 26 April.

Q: With all the directions you’ve taken with your career, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: Being an author! I would love to quit everything to do that. However, it would require precious time, a dimly lit room, and lots of peanut butter cookies. It is seriously an intense job.

Q: You worked in a HAZmat job…something dangerous. Tell us about that.
A: Wow! That was years ago...I think that was in my twenties! With HAZmat, it was a dangerous job. You also had to be educated in various things such as hazardous waste management, lifesaving techniques, proper wear, and so forth. It was also very, very arduous because you were inside various suits. For example, if there was an acid spill or something of that nature, you would have to wear lots of protective gear and the job was quite difficult. (chuckles) I always carried my little orange book called the Emergency Response Guide. That was years ago though.

Q: You were in a rock band. What instrument did you play? Any favorite song or songs?
A: Wow! You are going way back! Love it! (chuckles) Well, it was a high school thing actually. A loooong time ago. Most of the music we did was hip hop mixed with rock. This was back in the middle to late 80's. The music was distributed throughout high school and the surrounding places around my home town. It consisted of me, Randy Kelly, and James Lewis (who's now a full time author. He published SELLOUT not too long ago. http://www.jameswlewis.com/). Randy was the producor while James and I did vocals and some mixing. We started out with a track recorder, synth keyboards, samplers, Matel synsonics, and a BOSS DR-880 rythm machine.
We then progressed onto the demo scene (computers) back in the late 90's and started making MOD music. MOD music was computer generated music from samples in a sequence form. We ended up creating an album and selling it in audio stores. Kinda cool to walk in and say "We're sellin that!".

Q: You have a wonderful and long resume of your fabulous career. What will be added next to your list of accomplishments?
A: I think my interest in writing seems more realistic than becoming a medical serviceman. I have a lot of ideas and expressions and would love to get them on some type of media. I have a lot to work on like technique, grammar, and haha, English. I have the soul, the capability to write, conceptualise, and implement my ideas. Currently, I'm writing a huge novel, Invisible War, which I hope to be completed by next Romantic Times convention. People say you should always start off with a small novel instead of taking on a huge challenge. I had no idea that this is huge, nor did I anticipate the complexities of it. I am doing it and progressing because it IS the challenge.
The next story I want to write is a romance/drama that is quite intense. Damn - I should've started on that first. The third story is a really weird one that no one will probably ever get, yet we live by it everyday.

Q: Your resume lists a number of TV show roles. Which was your favorite and why?
A: I would have to say "A Haunting: Ghost Soldier". It is dark, interesting, and I have had so many people say it actually touched their lives in some way. That's the kind of productions I like. The ones that make a difference. I still, to this day, get email about how much it effected their life based on someone in the military.

Q: Film roles…tell us about them. Favorite one?
A: I don't really have a favorite, because I like them all. They can range from being small extra or lead roles. Paul Ben Victor asked me to be an extra on his movie, "Should've Been Romeo", whereas I got a lead role in "Check, Please!", a short film by Trent Duncan. Right now there are some other roles in the works. However I look at it, all production is fun production. I am not looking to get famous, be a huge star in a film, or a TV show. Playing with friends is what I enjoy.

Q: What’s the difference in preparing for a TV role vs. a movie role?
A: TV Roles move fast. Very fast. For example, you might get scripts a week in advance, and while you are doing the scripts a few days ago or a week ago, you are already prepping for the week after. The non-tv films, you get more dedicated time for the character build-up and production.
TV Roles are very interesting because of their ability to build up a huge story within a large amount of time, whereas movies tend to do it within a small amount of hours.

Q: Congratulations on being “Mr. Romance 2008”. What was the competition like? Did you notice a sense of goodwill or jealousy among the contestants?
A: Thank you very much for the congrats! I appreciate it!
You know, I went to this years' Mr. Romance competition and things are way different! First, the production has improved significantly. Probably, because you were in LA (chuckles) where we are the entertainment capitol. This year the men had to report in by midnight. Also, there are relaxed rules and work this year than the years I participated in.
The 2007 and 2008 competition was quite challenging and pretty intense. You were always up at all hours starting from 6am to 3am, mingling, participating in events, promoting authors, signing autographs, attending dinners, and then prepping for the Mr. Romance competition production. when I was introduced to the 2007 competition, I made a lot of friends, and I got to know about the writing/publishing industry. I had NO idea how this was but it was a lot of fun!
I would have to thank various people for it, but this interview would go over many many pages. In 2008, it was even more intense because I heard it was the biggest, and that year I had a huge army of wonderful people backing me up. I nearly fainted in the end when I won because I worked so hard, spent time with many people, hardly slept or ate. The production was also a thing we all had to come up with and worked hard at.
As far as goodwill, the men that typically compete help everyone out. When I competed in 2008, I had a few that laughed at me because of some of the practices I used, but I tried to explain you cannot practice making love to a woman. You have to love her, adore her, and appreciate every aspect of her. I also asked the question: "When you are in her room, would you pretend to seduce her?". I don't think so.
Actually, I think Frank Williams would have won. Him or Jimmy Gaskins, because they were just awesome
dudes. Frank Williams I truly loved because he was all pure heart and soul. Every women in that audience loved him. However, the stuff I pulled, without practice with the lovely ladies on stage, made the audience scream! The things I did on stage, reflected the same, true, lovable personality that many people came to know.
There's one thing I always tell new contestants that compete: It isn't about muscles, how good you look, or the people you know. It isn't about how much of a star you are, or how many people adore you. It is about the READERS, the AUTHORS, and the FANS. It is about the convention. Treat everyone as a human being, with respect, and love. You have to mean it. You have to be that guy who can show thousands of people who view romance like they do when they read/write.

Q: You speak Chinese? What prompted you to learn the language?
A: Ni Hao! Which means hello! Xie Xie Ni, means thank you very much! I studied that language a couple of years ago because I wanted to learn something new. I forgot a lot of it because I haven't used it as much, but I do remember words when I think about them or talk to some of my Chinese friends who speak Pûtônghuà, or Madarian. Pûtônghuà mean common language. The way you say that would be "puht-in-h'wah".
Someday soon, I think I will revisit the further studies along with Spanish-- which is a given to live in LA. :)

Q: What type of exercise regime do you follow? Any favorite sport?
A: Typically running. I love to run. When I do run, normally it is for a good hour. My pace is a regular 6-7 mph. Sometimes at the end, if I feel great, then I'll bump it up to 8 mph. I like to work out once a day, 4 times a week. If you overwork your body - you'll always feel tired.
I got into an accident a year ago that caused me to slow down a bit. My knee and back are affected. My knee I managed to heal up, but it requires constant consumption of dairy and seafood products. My back is different. Around the T-5 section it can hurt so much, that sometimes it's difficult to do simple things. However I cannot stop exercising because it does relieve any negatives during the day.

Q: You enjoy cooking. Any quick, favorite recipe you’d like to share?
A: My favorite: Mac Daddy And Cheese!
My Mac Daddy and Cheese is basically layers of macaroni and cheese with various cheese flavors baked in a little bed. The cheeses you use come from every flavored shredded cheese bag you can grab. There's never enough cheese. Then when making Mac and cheese, cook it enough so it isn't all the way done. Layer it in a pan, with some hamburger, some mixtures of cheeses, cream, and some pepper. Set it in the oven for about 10 minutes and pull back out. Finally layer it with all the cheese you can, in a maddening way. Pop it in the oven and bake away for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is a bit brown at the top. Bring appetite. Oh by the way, in case you use the mac cheese in a box, DO NOT use the cheese powder. Yucky.

Q: Favorite food?
A: My favorite food is nothing anyone would eat, all the time. I crave peanut butter. I love ice cream. I love to take peanut butter and mix in coconut flakes with bits of dark chocolate in it. I love chopped frozen spinach mixed with cottage cheese (large curd). I love sardines with mustard. I love oatmeal, cinnamon, and sugar to the extreme. My steaks have to have Worcestershire sauce(I say "wist-uh-sher" or "woostah-sher"). I love beans and vegetables! I still eat out of a can!

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Water. I don't care for additives or pretty floaty things.

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 say the most romantic place in the world would be a place where trees, critters, and nature are surrounding you. All of nature is there, with you both. You are able to enjoy the sun at its up position and when it goes to sleep. You both should be able to lay in the grass with the stars in the sky. No one around except you two. The sea should be making noise to entertain you, not the city. With nature around, it will bring out you and your partner's energy. Nature does that. It brings the energy out, making you both stronger.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Interview of Writer Fran Abram

Today I'm happy to present an interview of Fran Abram...someone I've known for years and a darn good writer...I'm expecting great things from her in the near future!

Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve come for a visit. Let me introduce myself. I am Fran Abram. I grew up on the south shore of the Great Lakes in a wonderful little city called Erie, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Mercyhurst College with a degree in Biology and married my high school sweetheart (37 years and counting!).  I have two grown children and one adolescent cat.

My own thoughts –

I started writing years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I sat down and tried to figure out why I am so drawn to this craft. Plain and simple, I love to read.

I started with all the childhood favorites, The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and Walter Farley. By the time I got to high school I discovered Mary Stewart, Isaac Asimov and T.H. White. I was the nerd who waited in breathless anticipation for the summer reading list. While my friends were groaning over “David Copperfield,” I was relishing every marvelous Dickensian word and phrase. My idea of heaven was sitting under a tree with a cold thermos of milk, a stack of Oreo cookies and a book.

It wasn’t just fiction, non-fiction enthralled me as well. I loved Carl Sagan’s “The Dragons of Eden” and any biography by David McCullough, especially “Truman.” Daniel Boorstin’s “The Discoverers” is still one of my all-time favorites.

I have always loved the power of language and the ability of words to create pictures in the mind. To be able to create pictures of my own and give them to a reader is the thrill of a lifetime.

I write romance, suspense, and adventure, probably because I sit at a desk all day in front of a computer and crunch numbers. I want to read things that take me away from that desk and give me a thrill, and I want to give those same thrills to my readers.

A friend in my book club challenged me when I was unusually critical of a book we were discussing. “If you think you can do better,” she said, “why don’t you try?” Try I did, and three months later I had my first completed manuscript. No, it wasn’t easy, but it was probably the most fun I have ever had in my life (with my clothes on!). I was hooked! I’ve been writing ever since.

I spend my time reading (always), playing bridge, traveling with my husband, gardening, laughing with friends in my local Romance Writers of America chapter, attending writing workshops, judging writing contests and always writing, writing, writing.

Q: What genre do you enjoy writing and why?
A: I especially enjoy paranormal. I’ve done a sci-fi and I’m currently working on a time travel. It’s the world-building I love. Maybe I’ve got a God-complex because I love making a world that only exists in my imagination and then bringing it to life and giving it to my (potential) readers.

Q: What has been the most encouraging thing that’s helped you stay focused in your writing?
A: My membership in MidAmerica Romance Authors has been the most helpful. Every time I go to a meeting I come away full of energy and ideas, ready to charge ahead.

Q: What has been the most discouraging thing that’s happened in your writing?
A: Getting stuck on a plot. I just can’t seem to move ahead unless I can solve the problem. I have to sit and let in stew in my head until I figure it out. Until that happens, no words go on the paper and the little cursor on my computer blinks at me (it has a very mocking blink). The answers generally come, but sometimes it’s a slow process.

Q: Do you do research? If so, what type have you done?
A: Since I write paranormal/sci-fi there really isn’t a lot of research to do.
I have a science background (BA in biology) so the technical terms are pretty easy. I watch sci-fi movies and TV – Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are my favorites. But I don’t want to “copy” the things I see there – so we’re back to the “letting it stew in my brain” thing to come up with an original twist.

Q: What do you think is the key to a memorable romantic story?
A: Easy question – making an emotional connection with the reader. The highest compliment a writer can receive is not “I couldn’t put the book down.” The greatest compliment a writer can get is “I didn’t want the story to end.” When you can do that, you know you have created a bond with the reader. The reader considers the characters to be friends and you never want to lose contact with a friend.

Q: Where do you get your story ideas?
A: EVERYWHERE! The idea for my sci-fi “Hungry Heart” came from watching a commercial for Weight Watchers. I thought – wouldn’t it be great if you could eat whatever you wanted and never had to worry about gaining weight. Then I took the thought further (that brain-stewing thing again) – no that wouldn’t be so great – you would become addicted to making sure you could find your next meal – you would become a predator. And so a character was born.

Q: What part of the whole writing process is the hardest for you?
A: It’s the butt in chair and putting the words down. I never seem to have time. I have to force myself to make the time and give writing a priority. This is sometimes difficult to explain to my family, but I come back from writing charged up and happy, so they’re getting used to it.

Q: What part of the whole writing process is the easiest for you?
A: The ideas and the openings. That’s why I’ve got three (count’em three) openings in the time travel. That manuscript is taking on a very different structure (insert chuckle here). I’ll let you know how it works out.

Q: Is there someone who’s been extra helpful with your writing?
A: Too many to name – every member of MARA – Heather, Keri, Gretchen, Carla, Sunny, Marianne. Marianne, Carla and Sunny are GREAT butt-kickers.

Q: Hero or heroine. Which is easiest to write and why.
A: Easiest – heroine – female point of view and dialog – those I get.

Q: Hero or heroine. Which is hardest to write and why.
A: Hero! – Male point of view, thinking and dialogue. When I know I have to write a male-heavy section or scene, I’ll sit down and watch a few episodes of Firefly or Battlestar to get my head in the right place – makes the writing easier.

Q: Describe your writing routine (place, hours, time of day, mood, etc.)
A: Mostly weekends when hubby is working – no music – no distractions. Take the ideas that have been stewing and get them on paper, as quickly as possible since time is a premium.

Q: Are you in a critique group? If so, tell us how it helps you.
A: I have been in a critique group – incredibly helpful!! I’m not currently in one – but will look for one when the time travel is a little farther on. I have found that critiques are not for when you are rough drafting a manuscript. They are better when the manuscript is complete and you have a full picture to work with – at that point a critique group is vital. Several more sets of eyes looking for plot inconsistencies, POV slips, dialogue, and those “what the hell were you thinking” scenes, can take the manuscript to the “ready for an editor level.”

Q: Are you ready to promo your work?
A: Not yet – nothing to promo.

Q: What are you working now, and do you have a publisher in mind to send it to?
A: The time travel is consuming me. I’m sending the sci-fi out to a couple of contests and researching agents/editors to submit.

Q: You’re on a deserted island in a comfy beach house (with a magical power source), a laptop, and two handsome cover models. What do you do?
A: WRITE! And have beach boy number one prepare the mai-tai’s while beach boy number two gives me a foot rub. (Am I getting old?)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's All In How He Says It...(part 2)

Greetings romance fans! I’m so glad you stopped by for the continuation of my favorite lines from my new release, SILENT PARTNER, taken from the mouth of my hunky hero, Grayson Anders.

The first segment was featured at Sweet N Sexy Divas blog, so you are more than welcome to visit there as well. In fact, I encourage it so that you can leave a comment for me there. This only increases your entry chances for my Blog Tour Giveaway.
See HERE for complete contest details.

And by all means, if there is one in particular you fancy best, let me know. I’d love to have your feedback. Enjoy!




#1)   He drew his face back, softening. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He then thumbed behind him. “You left your outside door unlocked. But don’t worry…I secured it behind me. Besides,” he added, purposefully drilling his pelvis into hers, “you had the music up so loud it was like a beacon.” He licked his lips. “Calling to me…”

* * *
#2)   “Come on, say something,” he crooned for her. “I brought your favorite sandwich from Beacon Hill Bistro and all I get is a half-smile?” He set the food down next to him, and reached out, cupping her chin in his large hand. “Give me something, beautiful. I’ve never heard your voice and I’m betting it purrs like a kitten.” 

* * *

#3)   “From the moment I first saw you, I knew you were someone I had to meet. And from the moment you danced with me, I knew I had found the only dance partner for me. For years, I had searched. No one had made me feel so sure of myself as you had. It was the reason I pursued you so adamantly. When I walked into your shop, I saw the real woman behind the passion. I’ve never felt this way for any other woman before. You moved me. You touched a place within me, once guarded by walls of wariness.”

* * *

#4)   He took a deep breath of courage and imparted his desires. “You had painted me with such content on my face and I realized it was the only time I ever felt fulfilled. When I woke, the morning after I spent the night in your arms, I was truly satisfied. You gave me that sense of peace. Now, I know I don’t deserve to ask anything more of you than what I’ve already taken, but if you give me a chance, I can be the man you painted on that canvas.” 


* * *

#5)  He turned around abruptly with a shit-eating grin on his face. “You looking at my ass again?”

 


If you like those, then hop on over to Sweet N Sexy Divas blog and read some more. And don’t forget to leave a comment at both blogs to increase your chances of winning my Blog Tour Giveaway!
See HERE for complete contest details.


Silent Partner is available now at:
Amazon and B&N print formats coming soon!


Below are my previous blog tour visits in case you missed out on reading some hot excerpts of SILENT PARTNER and/or wanted to add your comments for the contest:

#1 - April 12 Romance by Chance
#2 - April 13 History Undressed
#5 - April 20 Beyond Romance
#7 - April 20 Romance Junkies

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interview of Author Drea Becraft!


Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Drea Becraft.


Latest Book:The Thrice Princess






Buy Link: http://secretcravingspublishing.mybigcommerce.com/products/The-Thrice-Princess.html

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elq7SVy6Cik



BIO:
Married to her high school sweetheart, she has spent most of her adult life devoted to her kids and husband. As a stay-at-home mother of three growing girls, she often spends her downtime reading anything and everything she can get her hands on.

Then her overactive imagination decided to give way to really good ideas for stories of her own. So, in-between taking care of her children and running a very busy household, she began typing away at the keyboard. Watching what is inside her head as they are being molded into grand adventures, has been exhilarating. One day her hope is to share all her dreams, one story at a time.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Squeed like a little girl. My girls looked at me like I was nuts. lol

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The beginning. Its all so new and refreshing so the possibilities are endless.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: I am going to have to go with the ending. It's so hard to get it just perfect to where you know everyone is going to get their happily-ever-after.

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: Um, Angelina Jolie I guess. She's confident in herself without losing her humbleness.

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: Ian Sommerhaulder. He is loyal and sexy as sin.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Yeah they do and then I change the characteristics from there.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: No. I really just listen to music when I write.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Reading. I know it's not that good of a hobby but I will always be a reader...it's in the blood. lol

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: Now that would make you all blush and I am to much of a lady to air out all my dirty fantasies!

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: M/M/F. Eventually I will get there but for now it's just M/F.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I have all them so I chat on all and love them.

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

http://dreabecraft.webs.com
http://dreabecraft.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=487657730657&set=a.458293695657.247855.697075657#%21/pages/Drea-Becraft/103481939716429
http://twitter.com/#%21/dreabecraft
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WickedlySexyRomance/?yguid=325601404

BLURB:
While her fate was set during the previous great wars of immortals, Anastasia Gruff is nothing but mortal until the night she stumbles upon a scene that turns her world upside down. Now, she struggles to adjust to a world where nothing is what it seems, and feels more at home than ever before.

Devlin Miconis, heir to the vampire throne, is facing certain death. When a mortal woman saves his life, and gives him back his soul, he must figure out how to repay her. Now that she has given him something to live for, can he protect her from those who mean her harm?

EXCERPT: Warning: Adult
Stasia woke up with her muscles sore and her head pounding. Slowly taking stock one muscle at a time, starting at her toes and working up to her neck, she rotated and squirmed until most of the kinks were out. After each body part was stretched to satisfaction she turned onto her side to take in the room.

Staring aimlessly around the room Stasia arched her back and met a hard body behind her. Warm and hard, it took only seconds for fright to make her limbs contract and ready to blot from the bed. As if sensing her distress, strong arms banded around her waist.

“It’s all right, it’s just me, you are safe. I would never harm you, my Bandia.” The deep timbre of his voice comforted her.

The memories from the night before slowly leaked into her mind. One by one, the dots began to connect, remembering being carried to Devlin’s bedroom, being stripped down and him lying beside her, skin-to-skin helping to alleviate the pain of her turning.

Loosening her muscles, she slowly turned in his arms to look at his face. Handsome wasn’t enough to describe him.

Slowly lifting her hand to trace his nose, Stasia watched him with weary eyes, as she continued to his lips and down his strong jaw to the side of his neck.

“I can see the gears working.” Devlin spoke while rubbing his face onto her hand. “What’s going on in that beautiful brain of yours?”

Before she lost the nerve, Stasia ran her hands down his chest next stroking her way to his nipple.

Removing his hand from her hip, he caressed her lips gently with his index finger following each touch with a kiss. Making his way slowly down her neck, he nipped and licked while cupping one of her breast in his hand, making her nipple stiffen in response.

Fireworks shot through her body, and every nerve ending felt like pure lightning shot through. Feeling most of the heat concentrated on her now wet pussy, Stasia rubbed into his touch, grinding her hips against his long hard body.

Releasing a strangled moan, he looked into her eyes. The ice blue of his irises seemed to darken into a more aqua blue. The most astonishing part of them were his corneas, they now glowed bright red.

The sight should have scared her, but only added more arousal to her already drenched panties. Grabbing his hand from her breast and pulling it to her mouth. Kissing each digit then took the index finger into the recesses of her mouth. Swirling her tongue around the end and popping it back out just as fast.

When did she become so wanton? It must be the man that did it to her., either that or the power running rapid through her veins; Stasia secretly hoped it was the latter. With a groan, she began to rain peck like kisses down his arm, until she reached his mating mark.

Beginning to trace the tribal design with her tongue, showing each line very detailed attention and earning a very male groan for her efforts.

Leaning over she felt the warm air as he spoke softly into her ear. “Woman you must stop. I can’t contain myself if you continue to do that.”

Looking up into his irresistible eyes, she gave him the sexiest smile she could muster. “Who says I want you to contain yourself?”



Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity of being on your site!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Social Worker in Print Form

My goal when I was in college was to save every abused child in Indiana.

Didn't. Quite. Happen.

I discovered I was also very good at counseling domestic abuse victims, but when my senior year rolled around, I was so stressed from working a full-time waitress job and juggling 18 credit hours in order to graduate, I lost my fire.

I just wanted to finish the romance book I had been writing for four years and work some mindless job that didn't require me to THINK!

Couple my first job that I loved (except for having to drive in snow and ice, lol...) with an emotionally controlling idiot and you have a recipe for disaster. So after getting out of that situation, I decided to write about the experience, and it proved to be very theraputic.



But my counseling training is still swirling up inside my brain, and now whenever I write, the strangest twists come out. In Wild At Heart, it was the issue of attempted rape, which has now been changed to simply a breaking and entering, alongside a secondary character dealing with a gambling problem and needing an intervention.













Teacher's Pet
(arriving soon from Freya's Bower) deals with sexual harrassment and the issue of extreme emotional damage.














Appetite For Desire (arriving in September from Secret Cravings) seemed 'normal', until a character mentioned his ex had an eating disorder and was determined to foist it on the kids. All She Ever Wanted is a modern Romeo/Juliet problem, in which if you've read it, know that it does have a different ending than Shakespear's














One current wip seemed perfectly normal, until the heroine revealed why she reacted so negatively to a stranger's kiss. I was thinking maybe he simply reminded her of someone in the past? No. All of a sudden, it turns out she'd been raped as a teenager! Whoa...where the hell did THAT come from??

For the record, I've never been in that situation, nor has any of my friends been through this. But the past couple of Jody Picoult books have, so maybe my brain is wanting me to wear my social worker's hat alongside the one which says 'Author'.

Sigh...I'll continue to write and see where this takes me! Wish me luck...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention!

  Great time, wonderful people, varied workshops for all...just everything you'd expect from an RT convention! I left the hotel just once for a quick trip to a drugstore. Otherwise, there was plenty of food available in the hotel at different floors for breakfast/lunch/dinner.

Photos: Unfortunately, I had a "camera malfunction" and lots of my photos were black! AACK!  Above are two of the Mr. Romance Contestants...and me. I sat next to Scott at dinner and he was an absolute gentleman...entertained all of us at our table.

The hotel took some getting used to...in order to get to floors 2 and 4, you either had to:
1. take the escalator
2. take the elevator to three or one and walk down or up
3. take the stairs

Weird. But plenty of rooms for all activities.

The three major parties were fabulous. Ellora's Cave's "Bollywood" was beautifully decorated and the dance troop they hired were wonderful. Food was "different"...mainly finger foods and varied. EC authors got to walk across the stage escorted by the Mr. Romance contestants. Just my luck...I got to be first as April Ash/Marianne Stephens!

The Faery Ball was filled with those in costumes. Our dinner was delicious and the contest for Best Costume had contestants parade across the stage. Amazing detail in some costumes and very vibrant colors. (No photos!)

The Vampire/Zombie Party was decorated and those onstage performing a play were dressed in fun costumes. Some songs were involved. Unfortunately, we were served our dinner while the show was going on, and with the noise of those eating/talking, it was difficult to follow the play. (No photos!)

Mr. Romance Contest: what can I say? The guys were gentlemen all week, and performed one dance routine. Then they were dressed as heroes from shows, etc., and did little dances/routines. They also were "interviewed" and asked various questions. Some were a little nervous and others had no problem with this. They also wore classy suit outfits and did a runway walk. Fun time! Only a few photos weren't totally black!

Workshops: there were so many to choose from, and sometimes I had a hard time deciding what NOT to go to. 

Club RT: always busy with raffles and "meet and greets".

Various other sponsored "Meet and Greet" events were held...all with some type of food.

Kathryn Falk is a big military supporter...I went to the Military event and enjoyed a barbershop quartet performance.

BOOKS! Lots of free books were given out to everyone. And, two book signings were held...one for ebooks and one for print books.

Will I go again? Absolutely. It's a chance to meet old friends, make new ones, and definitely very relaxed for all.


Me and Mr. Romance 2010 (Jamie Ungaro).
Me with all the Mr. Romance 2011 contestants.
I'm sitting next to Scott (sat next to him at dinner) 
and Len Gunn, Mr. Romance 2011 is standing in the white shirt behind me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

springtime in California, and much more

After an unusual amount of rain, spring has finally come to southern California. This has been one of the rainiest seasons in recorded history for us, and the hills and meadows are springing to life in an amazingly gorgeous way. The desert, always so close to us, is covered with flowers not seen for some time. Apparently those seeds lie dormant, ready to show even after years of drought. The desert flowers are different than we're used to, clinging close to the sand. Tiny and creeping but lovely. It's quite special. I live between the ocean and the desert. Believe me, everything is beautiful and I dearly love this time of year.

I'm also experiencing a springtime of my own. After my husband's recent death, I had several long months of writing like an idiot. My critique partners were patient while I wrote drivel.

Now I finally feel in my bones I'm writing well again.

Here's an excerpt from my WIP, Seducing Simon.

Simon spent hours at his beloved piano, astonished that he’d ever neglected it. Dear heaven, he’d really been out of his mind. Sitting and perfecting his technique gave him more peace than he’d enjoyed for some time. Still, premonitions snaked around in his head, telling him Troy was in danger and he’d better be there to protect her. It made no sense, knowing she was already guarded by her father and his magic. Still the warnings in his mind loomed stronger, and finally he gave up fighting them.

Mentally throwing up his hands he headed for Hunter’s Haven and Troy. He pushed his car relentlessly, a sense of contentment filling him and assuring him he was doing the right thing. Every instinct told him Troy would need him soon.

He found himself wondering what Troy’s children would be like. Beautiful and bright, but maybe not his. Hers would be so special he couldn’t truly envision them. Quickly shutting off his thoughts he channeled his recalcitrant mind onto less dangerous paths. The best remedy he’d found so far was mentally reviewing the complicated fingering for his latest attempt in improving his music. Although even this escape mechanism seldom did much good.

The image of Troy always waited, ready to pounce into his mind and turn his thoughts to impossible dreams. Erotic visions haunted him both day and night. Troy stalked through his head at will, generally nude and glistening, her shapely arms reaching for him and her eyes pleading. He’d lay her on the nearest surface, sometimes with care and sometimes roughly. He’d caress her beautiful body, building them both to a sexual and intense peak that nearly shattered him. But every time, just as he started to insert his penis she vanished. 

His dreams always left him shaking but he forced himself now to focus on the road and get to Troy quickly."

w

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interview of Desiree Holt

I'm so thrilled to present an interview of Desiree Holt, a wonder romance author and friend I've known for years! DESIREE'S NEW BOOK IS HER 100th ROMANCE BOOK...WHAT A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT!

Latest Book: Downstroke
Buy Link: http://www.jasminejade.com


BIO:
Desiree Holt has lived a life of excitement that brings the color to her writing. She was a summer fishing guide, a summer field hand where she was one of only three women working, a member of a beginning ski team that skied in competition (and no, no broken bones!). She spent several years in the music business representing every kind of artist from country singer to heavy metal rock bands. For several years she also ran her own public relations agency handling any client that interested her. She is twice a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award, a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as a CAPA Award, winner of two Holt Medallion Awards of Merit, and is published by four different houses. Romance Junkies said of her work: “Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.”
You can find her at http://www.desireeholt.com and http://www.desireeholttellsall.com



To celebration her Virtual Book Blog Tour 11-22 April, Desiree is giving away a prize every day of one of her novels of the reader's choice from her backlist. Names will be drawn from those who post comments. At the end of the month, one lucky person will win a grand prize of a refurbished Netbook with digital DVD drive. After you (the reader) post here, go to Desiree's web site at http://www.desireeholt.com and enter to win the grand prize of the netbook at the end of the month. 


Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: This book? I did the happy dance all over the house, then poured myself a glass of wine.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The last chapter, because I finally know where I’m going.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The first chapter! LOL! I want to set just the right tone and while I can feel it in my head it’s not always that easy to translate to the written word.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Dallas Creed, because he’s not a kid any more but he’s still got all that sex appeal. He’s fighting an anguished past and trying to repair the breach with the love of his life.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Football and reading. My two other passions.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’d have to say my characters. My books are really character driven. I build the story around them.

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

http://www.desireeholt.com
http://www.desireeholttellsall.com 
http://www.jasminejade.com 
http://twitter.com/desireeholt
http://www.facebook.com/desireeholt
http://wildandwickedcowboys.wordpress.com
http://www.1800-DOMHelp/blogspot.com
http://www.temptthecougar.com/blogspot 

BLURB:
down-stroke: a stroke normally made in a downward direction, particularly on a guitar.

For Dallas Creed that describes his life since his rise to the top as a country music icon. When he turned his back on his family and his fiancé to pursue his dream in the country music industry he rocketed to the top under the guidance of flamboyant Sawyer Brown.

But the accident that nearly killed him took him to the bottom as fast as he’d risen to the top. His personal downstroke. Broken in body and soul, it takes him two years to mend physically and begin to write music again. Although he only wants to record and sell, enter Sawyer Black again who pushes him to tour again and in short order he’s back on top. But this time, his brother Morgan, with whom he’s reconnected, is along as his watch dog.

But suddenly Dallas’s death is at the top of someone’s to-do list, and it is to Dallas’s former fiancé that Morgan turns for help. Charlotte “Charley” Roper hasn’t seen Dallas for twenty years since their very bitter breakup, throwing herself first into her career as an FBI agent, then ten years with the world’s top private security firm and now into building her very high profile personal protection agency.

When Morgan Creeds wants to hire her to protect Dallas and find the killer, she wants nothing to do with it. She’s spent twenty years cutting him out of her life and she won’t take a chance on opening that door again. She still has too much unresolved anger and resentment. But despite her firm resolve she’s drawn by invisible strings that she’s never quite cut.

Against her better judgment she takes the job, even committing to lead the security team herself. Caught up in the bitter wash of memories, the tension of an unknown killer in stalking mode, she and Dallas begin a roller coaster ride that is suspenseful, emotional and erotic. Think Crazy Heart meets Charlie’s Angels. Downstroke, an erotic romantic suspense, is the story of Charley and Dallas and a whole lot more.

EXCERPT: Warning: Adult Content

He wasn’t prepared for her effect on him. Privately he’d followed her career—the years at the FBI, then a long stint with the Hillcroft Group, and finally opening her own agency, Roper Protective Services In all these years they hadn’t spoken or seen each other, but the moment she stepped into the room his body reacted. His cock stiffened, his mouth went dry and his balls tingled as he experienced the familiar impact her body always had on him.

Great.

He shifted in his chair, making sure his dark t-shirt covered the growing bulge behind his fly.

He’d dreamed about this moment, fantasized about it. With every new hit tune, every sold-out concert appearance, he wanted her there so he could show her what she’d missed. Wanted to make her eat her words. Wanted her to see the success he’d become. The success they could have shared.

The accident had changed all that. Made him take a good hard look at his life, at what he wanted and where he’d been going. With death flirting with him, he’d finally had to admit to himself everything was hollow without her. Years ago he’d tried to make a point with her but who had he proven it to? Certainly not himself.

He studied her as she moved fluidly into the trailer and stood to the side, next to Morgan.

Charley Roper had aged much better than he had. Her body was still slim although rounded in all the appropriate places, but now it was highly toned. Jeans hugged her legs and the soft material of her blouse draped over high breasts. Her rich, thick brown hair was still the same rich sable color pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail. Her face certainly didn’t show the wear that his did, but her clear blue eyes reflected a bitter wisdom that bothered him. And she still gave off the same go-to-hell attitude with her walk and the way she stood almost defiantly in front of him, hands stuffed into the front pockets of her jeans.

Her familiar scent teased at his nostrils, giving rise to a wealth of memories. He remembered how that body felt beneath his, all soft and pliant. How those full lips felt on his mouth or wrapped around his cock.

His hands curled as he fought the urge to reach out and touch her. After all these years she still had the power to steal his breath. He knew if the two of them were alone in this room he’d have her naked and under him in seconds. tightened, his cock hardened even more and he was back to that last defining night.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Living Without Romance is Never Easy...

In fact, writing Romance takes a great deal of thought and gumption...

I am proud to be a part of the Romance/Romantica contingent of authors who titillate and entertain readers every day of the year...giving those who love to escape the ugliness of newspapers and TV headlines and stories of war and hate something else to read.

Face it...we all love to escape once in a while. To escape to a place and time where people live lives like ours...but who also make time to make love and enjoy those lives.  I wasn't at all shocked to read somewhere that 75% of all the novels read today are Romance novels.  In fact, I have gotten so spoiled by Romance that I seldom read anything else.

While most of my author friends enjoy suspense, thrillers, and biographies, this old broad enjoys reading about hot love affairs, wonderful romances, and very little else.  Guess it has to do with the fact that I have lived a long life, and don't want to waste my time wading through deep dark thought processes or long, weighty discussions of things not Romantic.

I want my ROMANCE! So there! I want my mindlessly entertaining, titillating, mushy ROMANCE!  If I want to read about spies, I will open the pages of my newspaper. If I want to see hatred and lies, I will watch Fox News. And if I want to see drama, I will tune into  CSPAN. So spare me all the ugliness of life and send me a Romance book.

After all these years, I can always make room for another delicious Romance.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Write What You Know? Nah!



The other day I was preparing a blog for a guest appearance spot over at Nine Naughty Novelists. I was writing about adding real life to your stories. It got me thinking of the old adage, write what you know.
I’ll admit I’ve written many stories based off of things I know.
Body Shots has a hero who is a singer. Music is my first love. Back in high school thru my early twenties I dated musicians. I know more about drums than I possibly need to. I’ve spent summer nights just attending concerts. When I was growing up in Upstate New York, every teen spent the summer at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This was where all the good concerts took place. In 2003 when I was sowing my royal oats (I was celebrating my freedom from my ex), my best friend and I traveled all over to see concerts. In fact once at 5pm on a Saturday night we drove from Albany NY to the Comcast Center in MA (it was the Tweeter Center back then) to see Disturbed and Korn. A three hour drive one way AND we drove back home after the concert. Okay, so we were a little crazy what can I say.
Splashing Good Time the hero owns his own pool company. I’ve been in the business in the past and again in my present, someone close to me owns a few pool stores.
Gettin’ Lucky my heroine owns her own grocery store. My ex-husband and I owned a corner grocery store for almost ten years. And like Marcy, my heroine, the store was in a poor section of town.
Another story that will be published under my real name is about a woman’s journey to motherhood. She’s not taking the conventional way. After finding herself single, because her ex-fiancé doesn’t want children, Hailey decides to take out an ad for a sperm donor.
Granted I’ve never taken out an ad, but I’ve journeyed through the fertility process – more times than I’d like to admit. So I can add those little details to my story that make it that much more believable. Obviously my heroine will get a HEA, but the bottom line is I KNOW fertility.
But should we always write what we know? I say NO. Eventually you’ll come to a point where you want to diversify and move in a new direction. To do this you’ll have to learn something new and experiment. That’s what I plan to do.
I’m embarking on a new chapter or journey in my writing career. I’m taking on a subject and genre that is relatively foreign to me. But guess what? I’m excited about it. I may stumble along the way and I may suck at it, but I won’t know unless I try.
I’ll be honest – I’m scared witless. But that’s the thrill. That’s how I know it’s the right time to do it.
I’ve become too comfortable in my writing. I haven’t challenged myself in a very long time. A friend has thrown down the gauntlet and I’ve accepted the challenge!
Do you only write what you know? If not, how do you step out of your comfort zone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signs of Spring

Well, it's springtime in Michigan. The robins are back. The Canada geese are chasing people away from ponds and lakes, and the vultures are lurking in the trees. Vultures? Yep. One of the major signs of spring thaw. They can't eat when the carrion is frozen stiff, so they're one of our biggest migratory birds. Personally, as signs of spring go, I tend to prefer the lonely purple crocuses popping up in my front flowerbed, or the warm, sunny, 60 degree days. Now that I have my office space in our new window-lined family room, I get jazzed on sunny days.

This spring, big things are happening for me and my writing. Valentine's Heart received 4 stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews. Steam & Sorcery just got 5 stars from Night Owl Reviews. And Joyfully Reviewed Joyfully Recommended Motor City Witch. I just signed a contract for Midsummer Dreams, book 4 of my Holiday Hearts series, and just finished edits on the third Urban Arcana book, Motor City Werewolf. I'm working on revisions for a new publisher with my agent, and she has another book out on submission. Meanwhile, I'm working away on a Christmas steampunk novella. April 25, my free steampunk novella, Photographs & Phantoms comes out from Carina Press. (available now for preorder. And did I mention, FREE!) Whew.


Spring revitalizes my spirit and gets me moving, mentally, and physically. It's when I like to get out and walk, after hunkering inside all winter. And soon it will be summer, and the lake nearby will beckon for the occasional swim.


So happy spring to everyone. I'd love for you to leave me a note about what spring means to you. I'll give a free copy of Like Bunnies to one random commenter. And if you want a little something to get you in the mood, there's always my Spring Solstice Holiday Hearts story, Like Bunnies, which came out last year from Ellora's Cave. :-)  Click here for a little more about that.

Oh, and here's a cooool trailer for Steampunk week, coming the end of this month at Carina Press.

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