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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Blog: Harlie Williams: Music to Listen to When Writing...is it That Necessary?

I’m one of those writers that have to write in complete silence. It confuses me. I get into the song and then I have to sing it and dance around. I have no playlist that is my go-to when writing. No smexy music to get me in the mood when it comes to writing the sex scenes. In fact, when I was writing my sex scenes for The Couple, I had SpongeBob Squarepants on in the background, courtesy of my son. I hate SpongeBob to this day.

So why the post about music? When I need to clear my head, I listen to 80’s hair bands. If you saw my CD collection, you would think that I was a rock club or stripper bar DJ from way back when. I had friends that were in bands when I was in my 20’s and some of them even made it from the regional clubs. During my wild 20’s, I met Zak Wylde from Ozzy’s band, Dangerous Toys (a regional band from Austin, TX), Gary Cherone from Extreme, Peter Frampton and hung out with the guys from Pantera at a club called The Basement whenever they were in town. Yes, I will write about my times then but NOT until my parents and in-laws have passed. My younger brother and I have a pact.

After a really bad day, I turned on the Sirius radio and tuned up the Hair Bands channel. Lita Ford’s sexy song “Hungry” came on and I started to sing. After I listened to it, I downloaded the video to my YouTube channel and then read the lyrics. All of a sudden the light bulb came on and this song was the prefect song for my story.

Lita Ford “Hungry”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A148rQbZ0uk&feature=BFa&list=FL4GHHlBqWYor5GZMEaZdbIQ

Now, I know that there are some people that don’t like rock music and trust me, what I listened to ‘back in the day’ wouldn’t fly now. I miss the days when songs were about partying, sex, drinking and generally have a great time. I HATE Nirvana for killing music. Sigh. I digress.

What makes this song so perfect is that it’s honest, raw and sexy. Plus, come on…its Lita Ford. When I started going through the hardcore critique of my story a couple of more songs popped in my head and wouldn’t leave. For some reason, Rick Springfield’s song “Souls” kept ringing in my ears. I know, Rick Springfield. Hey, I still like him, so sue me. Again, did the same thing with “Souls”, downloaded the video (horrible) but then read the lyrics and BAM…another song for my story.

Rick Springfield “Souls”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhT97glh3zE&feature=BFa&list=FL4GHHlBqWYor5GZMEaZdbIQ

Of course, this song was cleaned up for our virgin…cough, cough…ears then. Listen now and it’s sexy as hell. I will leave you with one more song that I sing every day. It makes me happy and face it…it’s great rock and roll. Crue dude! And keep rocking with Dokken…

Dokken “You Just Got Lucky”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECr98ZOnsig&feature=BFa&list=FL4GHHlBqWYor5GZMEaZdbIQ

Motley Crue “Same Ol’ Situation”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXG0q0qesRw&feature=BFa&list=FL4GHHlBqWYor5GZMEaZdbIQ

BIO:
Reader of everything and writer of romance. Story must have HEA or I will put it down.HFN can apply but it must make sense.

Grew up in Dallas, TX and now I live in East Texas with my own hero and our son.

I love to hear from my readers.
Please email me at harliewilliams25@gmail.com

P.S. Yes, I’m that Harlie from Harlie’s Books

BLURB:
A woman has one thing on her mind tonight…sex. Dirty, sweaty, kinky sex with a cowboy. With her man gone more than he is at home, she needs the release.

After being away for two weeks, a cowboy goes looking for someone to play with for the night. Being away is part of the job but not having someone to come home to is hurting his soul. Feeling disconnected in his love life, the red head will be perfect.

Once they meet, can one night of pure passion led to more than just a one night stand for either of them? Communication is the key to every relationship. Can these two find a way to connect emotionally or are they destined for heartache.

Links:

Author site: http://www.harliewilliams.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marika67
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Harlie-Williams-Writer/224885394212458
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/marikaweber25
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/BriansMom
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marika-weber/36/a20/a63
Buy Link from Publisher (MuseItUp)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How American Idol Is Like Writing

How American Idol Is Like Writing 
By Janice Seagraves 


I’ve been watching American Idol this last month, and aside from the various antics from the cast and contestants, it’s been interesting.

In the Los Vegas round of critiques, I noticed that the judges’ use sentences to describe the singer's performances such as: engaging the audience, feeling the emotion of the song, and getting chills.

I thought about writing as I watched the show and how singers practice their craft by taking lessons and practicing, and writers take workshops/classes and write and read a great deal in order to hone their craft.

Make no mistake; writing is a craft just like singing.

As writers, we want the same things: to engage our readers or hook them, we want them to feel the emotion of what our characters go through in the story line, and we’d love our readers to get chills as they read our books.

With singing, the vocalist looks out into the audience, making eye contact to engage the audience.

While writing, we can’t see our readers, but authors try to engage our readers by writing an exciting beginning to our stories that’ll hook our reader.

For a performer to show emotions while they sing, they need to feel the emotion of the song by allowing the emotion to show on their faces. In other words, if the song is sad, the singer will feel sad and show that emotion. If it’s happy, then they’ll smile.

While writers, show the emotion of their characters by a written description of the feelings. In other words, showing and not telling.

As for the chills, performers and authors both hope for the maximum delivery of their talent and skills, in hopes that their audience can appreciate it and receive the desire effect.
------------------------------

Windswept Shores is back, and better than ever with a replaced missing scene.

 It’s something warm to read while it’s frosty outside.

Blurb: The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas. Then she finds a nearly-drowned man. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck.

With only meager survival skill between them, will they survive these windswept shores and can they find love?

For the first time available as a trade paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4084680 
And for the Kindle: https://www.createspace.com/4084680
Janice Seagraves’s website: http://janiceseagraves.org/

Monday, February 25, 2013

Interview with NY Times best selling author, Angela Knight


Hello readers, writers and everyone else who has stumbled upon us today. It's a special day here at Romance Books 4 Us because we have New York Times best-selling author, Angela Knight visiting us. Get comfy because Angela is about to share with us a little bit about her work and herself. 

Q: Thanks for stopping by today, Angela. You’ve had a lot of releases between your publishers and I couldn’t help but notice that you’re reaching the magic number 50. As you reach this milestone, can you tell us what you think about reaching this amazing number?
Well, damn. I hadn’t even thought of it that way. I usually just think “fifteen novels and thirty-three novellas and e-books...Which come to think of it, adds up to 48. Actually, if you count my comic book publications, I’m at 52. Which, by coincidence, is also my age.  Ooops, did I say that?  Ack. 
I’m a bit bemused at that. I just love writing, and I must say this is the best job I’ve ever had. Stressful, yes – thus the ulcer. But still, a fabulous job. :)
Q: I read that you used to be a newspaper reporter? How much of a role does your previous career play into your current one?  
Oh, being a reporter has really paid off for me in a lot of ways. I was a bureau reporter, which means I was the sole reporter in a town in my paper’s coverage area. So I went out on everything from town council meetings to fires to murders. I saw assorted dead bodies at traffic accidents, which is a painfully sobering experience. I interviewed the families of murder victims – which I enjoyed even less than seeing the dead bodies. But I learned a great deal about how police departments deal with violent crime. And several of my books grew directly out of those experiences, including Jane’s Warlord, Master of the Moon, Master of Wolves, and Master of Fire. Jane in the first book I mentioned is a small town newspaper editor/reporter. The book opens on her standing outside the scene of a violent murder all alone at night, collecting mosquito bites and waiting for some detective to come outside and talk to her. Which was exactly my experience on several occasions. That’s a seriously creepy experience, I must say.
Then Master of the Moon and Master of Wolves were inspired by a story I wrote for another paper about a K-9 officer and his dog. I’m interviewing this guy, who had such huge affection for his dog, when suddenly I thought, “What if the dog was a werewolf, and the cop was a woman who didn’t KNOW he was a werewolf, and what if he fell in love with her...”
Bam. Got a whole series of books out of that idea. The Direkind, which were featured in several of the books and novellas for Berkley, grew directly from that stray thought.
Q: How did you make the career transition? What inspired it?
Cindy Hwang, a Berkley editor, contacted me after reading a really filthy little e-book I wrote in 2001 called Bodice Rippers. At the time, she was looking for someone who could write hot, and she was having trouble finding anyone who really could do it. This is before e-books really took off. So she e-mailed and asked if I’d like to talk to her about writing for Berkley. I called and said, “HELL, yeah!” And so she asked me to get up a concept and pitch to her the following Monday. Over those three days, I brainstormed both the Mageverse series and what would eventually become the Time Hunters. I pitched them, she liked the idea, and I was off to the races.
I quit my job not long afterward, because one of my bosses was an abusive....Ahem. Never mind.
Q: You invent amazing characters in your books. Some paranormals can be cookie cutter, but you step outside of the box and create some very unique storylines. What inspires you to weave such magic?
Wow, really? Thank you!  What a huge compliment. I just really enjoy world-building, I guess. I love thinking about my worlds, and ideas stream out and I chase them, and next thing I know, the 007-vampire idea has become a whole vampire/witch thing crossed with the Knights of the Round Table.
Basically, I just like to think weird thoughts.
Q: Have you ever considered trying a new sub-genre? Are there any that interest you?
Urban fantasy. Of course, that’s kind of what I’m writing now. But I also like romantic suspense. And I still love reading historicals, so I’m toying with doing one of those.
Q: Out of all your books, is there one that still calls to you? Maybe one that you wouldn’t mind picking up again and telling a new chapter to their tale?
Well, yeah, there are a ton of stories to be explored in the Mageverse. I’ve got a literal parallel magical universe there; who knows what could sneak over into the modern world? Could be fun. Or scary. Or both.
Q: Your characters all seem to have one thing in common. They have incredible charisma. How do you keep your mind constantly flowing to come out with these characters which make us smile?
You are just totally inflating my head like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade thing.  As to keeping the ideas going, well, mostly I pace around the house a lot. And cuss.
Also, I like to think weird thoughts. Like about the werewolf/witch heroine in wolf form, trying to avoid getting eaten by the love of her life. Which might sound like fun at first glance, only he’s currently a wolf the size of an African elephant, only considerably faster. And while she’s bouncing around trying to avoid him, I suddenly thought of Bugs Bunny diving down a rabbit hole one jump ahead of Elmer Fudd. So she conjures herself a titanium rabbit hole. He starts trying to dig her out, just like a dog after a field mouse. She talks to him and gets him to change back.
For the rest of the book, she calls him Fudd, and he calls her Bugs. 
I think weird thoughts.
Q: Your latest, Master of Darkness came out in August of 2012. Can you tell us a little bit about this one? Do you have a favorite character from it? 
Actually, that’s the book I was talking about. Of all my couples, I think I like Miranda Drake and William Justice the best, because they were just fun together.  This may not make sense, but some characters are just FUNNY. Now, why one couple is while another couple isn’t, when I’m the one writing both of them, I have no idea. It’s just that I see them in my head and I hear them talking, and  if they’re funny, they’re funny.
I would like your readers to know about my next book, which will be out March 5. It’s in an anthology called UNBOUND, and it’s actually more novel than novella, at two hundred manuscript pages rather than the usual 100.
The story is “Enforcer,” which is the final book of the Time Hunters trilogy. The previous books were Warrior and Guardian. Jane’s Warlord, my first published novel, is actually a prequel to the trilogy.
The idea of the series is that you can’t actually change history, which means it’s safe to send people into the past to see what actually happened. Turns out that historians, like everyone else, lie. All the time.  
So in the future, you have temporal tourism, which means you have temporal cops to protect the tourists and keep temporal criminals from committing crimes. You know the stories you read about lost art objects? “The what-sit by Leonardo Da Vinci disappeared from Lady Granham’s mansion and was never seen again?” Time crook got it.  If we know it vanished, the bad guys reason maybe it vanished because their future self took it. So they go try to steal it. But maybe my temporal cops realize what they’re going after and stop them.
So the story in Enforcer is that my chief time cop, Alerio Dyami, is locked in a deadly contest with a gang of genetically engineered fanatics who are leaping through time killing people. Alerio is a Warlord, a genetically engineered cop who can go into a berserker state called riaat. One of Dyami’s agents is Dona Astryr. He’s been helplessly attracted to her for years, but though the Enforcers don’t have a rule about fraternizing with subordinates, Dona is determined not to get involved.
Dyami, however, is really, really persuasive. And gorgeous, as she realizes when she watches him in combat practice with an android double for a traitor agent named Ivar...

To find out more about Angela Knight and her books, please visit her author page at http://www.romancebooks4us.com
 EXCERPT
The chief fell on the ‘bot like a starving wolf on a deer. One hand clamped around the droid’s throat as he cocked a fist. Coldly, deliberately, Alerio hit "Ivar" once, twice, then a third time, the blows landing with punishing force. Dona would have winced if the android hadn’t been wearing the traitor’s face.
There was a dark satisfaction in watching Alerio beat the shit out of “Ivar,” especially when the bot slumped into unconsciousness, simulated blood spilling from its nose and mouth.
Alerio’s firm mouth twitched into a grim smile as he rose and backed away from his beaten foe.
“Match complete,” the main computer intoned. “Chief Alerio Dyami is the victor.”
The Ivar projection vanished, and the bot rose slowly to its feet. “I am damaged,” it announced in a voice that had developed a definite wheeze. What the hell had Alerio done to it? “I will not be available for further sparring until I have been repaired.” With that, it limped back to its storage bay, presumably to undergo servicing for whatever damage it had suffered.
“You broke the combot.” Dona slid the gravbar back onto its rack and walked over to join Alerio. The big Warlord fell back against the bulkhead, breathing in pumping pants as if exhausted.
Which was no surprise. The practice ‘bots were notoriously tough. But then, they had to be. Most Enforcers were combat rated cyborgs who did not pull their punches even in practice matches.
“Don’t be too impressed.” Grimacing, the chief grabbed a towel from a nearby shelf and wiped his sweating face. He started rubbing slow circles over his broad, slick chest. Dona's eyes helplessly tracked the towel with more interest than was good for her.
“I doubt I’ll be able to walk tomorrow,” Alerio continued, apparently oblivious to her fascination. “That 'bot can hit almost as hard as Ivar.” He dug long fingers into the thick trapezius muscle that bulged between his neck and left shoulder as if trying to massage a knot that had coiled there. “But then, I did recalibrate its strength to match Ivar’s. I think the Xerans upgraded his tech again.”
“I thought so too.” They'd done so at least once before, judging from the previous fight Dona had with him. “When we fought six months ago, Ivar was a hell of a lot stronger than he’d ever been before, but he’s even more powerful now.” Dona frowned, absently rubbing one hand over the side of her face, where Ivar's big fist had left so many bruises. “He certainly kicked my ass.”
“What do you expect? He’s half a meter taller than you are -- and fifty kilos heavier,” Alerio told her bluntly. “Add in the genetically engineered bones and the nanobot lattices reinforcing his muscles, and you’ve got a battleborg monster. That’s not just a figure of speech either. What he did to Lolai Hardin…”
“Yeah, he's definitely a psychopath.” Dona frowned down at the carpet. “I don’t know whether he’s always been so twisted, or whether the Xerans did something to him…”
“Doesn’t make a difference.” The chief reached out and took her shoulders in his big hands. “I’m still going to bring him to justice.”
Feeling heat gather at his touch, Dona looked up at him in helpless fascination as he took her shoulders in both big hands. “If you’re ever in the position of having to fight that bastard, run," Chief Dyami told her with blunt honesty. "Consider that an order. You can probably outrun him, but you can’t outfight him. Don’t even try.”
Stung out of her hypnotized fascination, Dona straightened. “I’m not exactly a wimp, Chief. I’m combat rated. Hell, I went in for a level six upgrade just last year. I could wipe up the floor with five humans Ivar’s size.”
“Which means exactly nothing when it comes to fighting Ivar."
She gave him a tight smile. “Never underestimate the power of pissed.”
The chief sighed. “Look, you're one of my best agents. You're smart, strong, and hell on wheels in a fight.” His gaze met hers with rough honesty. “But Ivar is not human. If he manages to get you alone, run like hell. I don’t want you ending up like Lolai Hardin, and you came too damned close to it yesterday.”
“But Hardin’s life was at stake.” Dona lifted her chin and met his gaze without flinching. “I couldn’t leave her, not as long as she was still alive.”
Brooding, she remembered the cuts that raked the woman’s body. “Hell, maybe I got exactly what I deserve. If I’d been more suspicious before Ivar defected, less willing to believe whatever shit he fed me, maybe I would have realized he was a traitor.”
“Stop,” Alerio growled impatiently. “Just cut it out. I’m tired of watching you torment yourself.” He stepped in so close she could feel the heat radiating from his body.
All she had to do was reach out and touch that bare, sweating chest. She could feel the heat, the vital male power...
“You aren’t the commander of this station, Enforcer Astryr," Alerio told her, apparently unaware of her hungry gaze. "It’s not your job to protect your people from greedy, treasonous assholes. That was my ball to drop.”
“I’m still Temporal Enforcement. And it is my job to know when I’m being lied to. But when it came to Ivar, I completely missed all the signs.”
“So? All that proves is that you’re human,” he said roughly.                   
“And so are you.” She stared up into the hard, precise angles of his face, the wide mouth he held in that tight line. So completely controlled.
Yet flecks of fire shone in the perfect stellar darkness of his eyes. A warlord’s eyes shone red like that in riaat, or in moments of passion.
Rage or desire? Dona thought. Which made those black eyes burn?
She reached out, scarcely aware of what she did. The tips of her fingers brushed the hot skin of his chest, still heaving from his fight with the combot.
A bead of sweat rolled slowly down his right pectoral, sliding around the taught, brown peak of one male nipple.
Dona had never felt as starkly aware of a man as a being of raw sex, raw aggression. Raw need. She could feel his heart pounding under her fingers.
Staring up into his eyes, she watched those crimson sparks brighten, as if the emotion he felt grew hotter.
“Dona,” Alerio said hoarsely, “Aren’t you tired of slowly drowning in regret?” His head lowered until his breath puffed warm against her lips. The sensation teased and maddened her. “Don’t you want to feel something more than icy guilt?”
His mouth covered hers. Just a soft brush of lip on lip, not demanding. Requesting.
Parting her lips with a soft sigh, Dona let him in. his tongue slipped inside her mouth in a slow, lush stroke. The heat of that delicate probe raced right to the base of her belly.
Which is when she went up in flames.
Heat raced through her, a blaze of need stronger than anything Dona had felt for any other man.
So she spoke the stark truth she’d always fought to hide. “I want you. I shouldn’t, gods, I know I shouldn’t. It’s not smart.”
“No, it’s not smart at all,” he breathed against her mouth. “And I don’t give a pile of Soji shit.”
ZZZ
Thank you so much for joining us today, Angela. I’m sure all the readers here will agree with me that today has introduced us to some books we just have to add to our shelves. Before you turn off your computer today, be sure to stop by Angela's website to catch an excerpt of Master of Darkness.
 A bit more about Angela ~ 

In 1996, she discovered the small press publisher Red Sage, and realized her dream of romance publication in the company's Secrets 2 anthology. She went on to publish several more novellas in Secrets before editor Cindy Hwang discovered her work there and asked her if she'd be interested in writing for Berkley. Not being an idiot, Angela said yes.


Whatever success she has enjoyed, she attributes to the marvelous editors she's had over the years.David Anthony Kraft and Dwight Zimmerman at Comics Interview taught her the nuts and bolts of fiction writing. Alexandria Kendall of Red Sage discovered her talent for romance writing and encouraged her to believe in herself. And she will be forever grateful to Berkley editor Cindy Hwang, who has been unfailingly supportive.


Angela lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a polygraph examiner and hostage negotiator for the county's Sheriff's Office. The couple have a grown son, Anthony.

Be sure to check out all Victoria’s work by visiting her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. And look for her upcoming Berkley Enforcer Anthology, Time Hunters #3. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013



The Last Cupcake

With a sigh I pulled my special cupcake from the refrigerated case and set it on the counter. Though several customers had wanted to buy it, I wouldn’t sell. I’d made it for Brett, only he hadn’t shown up. Like a cake kept in the oven too long, disappointment burned through me. It was closing time for my bakery. I wouldn’t see Brett today.
The large cupcake, chocolate, with pink buttercream frosting and topped with a dark red buttercream rose, sat on the counter as if mocking me. I’d take it home and eat it, and swallow my bruised pride along with the sweet treat. I’d had such hopes that today - Valentine’s Day - Brett would finally ask me out.
My shop had done a booming business. Cases where my Valentine’s Day cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies once rested were now bare. I should be happy, but my heart was breaking a little. No Brett had walked into my shop, his long-legged stride and lopsided grin brightening my day.
Brett, construction manager at a site down the street, had been coming to my bakery every day for a month. He always bought a chocolate cupcake, then stayed to talk and flirt a little. I knew he was unattached and I’d wanted him to ask me out almost from the first day. Had I read him wrong? Maybe he wasn’t attracted to me after all. Maybe I should ask him out - but what if he said no?
Tamping down self-pity, I pushed away from the counter and headed toward the door to lock it. As I put the key in the lock, I looked out the plate glass front window and saw Brett hurrying down the street. My heavy heart lightened as excitement rose in me.
I opened the door to him, then locked it after he slid through. We stood for a few seconds and stared at each other. His longish dark blond hair was ruffled from the breeze. His green eyes lit with a delicious gleam as his gaze scanned me.
Nervous as a teen with her first crush, I smoothed a hand over my hair. “Brett, I didn’t think I’d see you today.” How lame. Thankfully my voice sounded normal.
He gave me that lopsided smile I’d come to love. “It’s been a really busy day and I couldn’t get away till now. I had to come in for my daily cupcake fix.”
I laughed, feeling some of my nervousness dissolve. “I saved a cupcake for you.” I walked to the counter with Brett following close behind.
When I handed him the cupcake, his eyes widened. “Wow, Janie, that’s beautiful. You’re a true artist. It’s almost too pretty to eat.”
“It’s meant to be eaten. Enjoy. It’s on the house. My Valentine’s Day treat to you.” My face heated as soon as the words were out. I was giving him a Valentine’s Day gift and I didn’t even know how he felt about me. What if he’d lied about being unattached?
“Thanks,” he said softly. As he took the cupcake from me, our fingers touched, shooting sparks up my arm. I knew he felt something too, because his eyes darkened with awareness.
He took a bite of the cupcake and moaned softly, his enjoyment showing on his face. When he flicked his tongue over his lips to lick away the icing, my knees wobbled like an unset soufflé. An erotic image of Brett licking his way down my body flashed in my mind. I gripped the edge of the counter for support.
Brett held out the cupcake. “Have some.” I took a bite, relishing the rich taste. Brett watched as I licked the icing off my lips.
“Delicious,” he whispered.
I could have baked a dozen cupcakes in the heat arcing between us.
Very slowly, he took the sweet from me and placed it on the counter. He drew a deep breath and raked fingers through his hair. “Hell, Janie, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to say it. This is my last cupcake.”
I felt as if five pounds of sugar settled in my stomach, weighing me down and smothering my hope. He was going to tell me he had a girlfriend or that he was moving to another city for his job.
I swallowed. “What do you mean?”
He patted his stomach, his flat, muscled stomach. “Since I’ve been coming to your bakery, I’ve had to add extra workouts at the gym. I’ve got to stop with the cupcakes.”
His gaze softened, and he took one of my hands in his, pulling me toward him. “Your cupcakes are exceptional. But you’re extraordinary. Why do you think I’ve been coming in here every day?”
A bud of hope grew in my chest. “For my delicious cupcakes?”
He laughed, then framed my face between his strong, work-roughened hands. “You’re more delicious than any cupcake. It’s taken me all this time to get the nerve to ask you out. Will you go out with me? I want to get to know you, to be with you, but if I keep coming to your bakery on the pretense of needing a cupcake, I won’t be able to fit through the door.”
Happiness swirled through me, sweeter than whipped cream. “Oh, yes, I’ll go out with you. I never thought you’d ask.”
To cover my embarrassment at the words I’d blurted, I stepped back and looked up at him. “What do you mean it took you all this time to get the nerve to ask?”
“You’re so beautiful. And talented. You intimidate the hell out of me.”
“If I’d known you felt that way I would’ve messed up a few cupcake batches.”
He threw back his head and laughed. Then he grew serious and looked at me with darkened eyes. Desire curled in my stomach.
He moved closer and skimmed his thumbs over my cheekbones. “Will you have dinner with me tonight?”
I nodded. Words froze in my throat. He bent and took my lips in a tender kiss that poured out his longings. I wound my arms around his neck, savoring the feel of his lips moving gently, a little hesitantly, over mine. He tasted of chocolate, buttercream and the promise of sweet days and nights.
He pulled away and gazed into my eyes. “You taste better than I’d imagined.”
“You too,” I whispered.
“I think I’m going to enjoy having a girlfriend who looks like an angel and bakes like one too.”
I stepped back and raised an eyebrow. “So I’m your girlfriend now?”
“I hope so.”
I touched his lips with my finger. “I thought you were worried about your manly physique. As my boyfriend, you’ll be eating lots of baked goods.”
He gave me a wicked grin. “I know some very inventive ways to work off the weight.”
“Really?”
“Really.” Then he kissed me again, a slow seductive kiss that whetted my appetite and left me wanting more, so much more.  



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Guest Blog: Christine M. Fairchild: Creating Suspense That Keeps You Guessing

As an author AND an editor who can predict most storylines (you don't want to see a movie with me, because I'll guess the ending), I crave to be surprised by a story.

One reason I love reading Romantic Suspense is that the genre often includes mystery and action that propels characters into tense situations, where you never know what they will do, but you're on the tip of your toes waiting to find out.

That's the reason why I love writing Romantic Suspense as well. In my heart, I'm a love-story author. But I also love the action and mystery aspects of film, so I embed that into my plots. And I like the tension created by hovering danger and conspiring villains and getaway plans that fly out the window because the car exploded... anything to get my heart racing. Okay, anything to get my heart racing besides the sexy hero's smoldering kisses!

Anyway, back to my need to be surprised even as the author... I try very hard to keep readers guessing about my story's characters and plot by using unpredictable dialogue and behavior, new character "reveals" (about their past or beliefs or fears) in nearly every scene, and unexpected external events that shock the characters into action.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT
Sam and Jules, my two heroes in An Eye For Danger, have complicated backgrounds with lots of emotional, career and relationship baggage that comes back to haunt them at the worst moments. Jules is a former war photographer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The day she decides to jog past her five-block "safety zone" she runs right into a murder scene and must stem a panic attack to save her skin and the life of one of the thugs who's about to be killed. While Sam, an undercover cop posing as one of the thugs, has to save Jules' life by blowing his cover and later save his own skin by taking her hostage to escape the cops. Both act like half-crazed, half-heroic people, so that makes them unpredictable.

Even their upbringings are a contest of opposites. Jules comes from money, has a respectable degree, is a renowned artist, and used to travel the world. Now she's a recluse who can't stand crowds or going beyond five blocks of her apartment. While Sam comes from the hard-knock life of a much tougher New York, a street kid who ran off to join the Army as a way to get to college and get a ticket out of the slums, gangs, drugs, and violence. Then he becomes a cop who goes undercover, back to those same streets to fight those very issues. And he's been stabbed in the back by every person closest to him. A man who wants to save the world despite feeling betrayed by it.

These characters are fun to write because they surprise me. When I'm writing a scene, they'll pop up and tell me "no, I wouldn't do that. That's the safe way. I don't do safe well. I'd rather do dangerous/crazy/menacing/jealous/vengeful/loving/heroic instead." So they keep me on my toes!

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW MIGHT HURT YOU

Because I write in first person point of view (POV), it's easier to make these feel real, because we only see life from Jules' limited perspective. Much is truly unknown to her. So the reader finds out information at the same time she does.

Unfortunately, I have to work much harder to help the reader see/hear/guess what is going on in Sam's head, since we are never in his POV. But that makes him more mysterious and unpredictable. Sometimes we even see his intentions before Jules does. Readers have written to tell me they want to smack Jules upside the head because it's obvious to them what Sam is doing/feeling and she's still clueless. My explanation: she still has emotional blind spots that the reader doesn't.

Like most romance authors, I use misunderstandings and secrets, so my characters are not always on the same page and there's more tension. And not just between the two love birds, such as when Sam sends Jules on a date with his nemesis, but between Sam and his team, or between Jules and her handlers.

Many suspense authors write a few chapters in the POV of their villain. I purposefully do not do this. How can that character's actions or motivations create surprise when we already know what he/she is thinking?

My preference is for bad guys to show up at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. And I want the bad guys to hide in plain sight as the good guy. Nothing like a good turncoat character to keep readers guessing! From the cranky doctor to the surly FBI Team Lead to NYPD's Detective Stone McCarthy, the reader never knows who is friend or foe and what their motivations are until it's too late. Heck, even the bad guys do good turns once in a while.

TRUE CHARACTER IS REVEALED UNDER DURESS
Another favorite aspect to writing suspense is the action, and a lot of action in my books is driven by events that are unpredictable, especially to my heroes.

Things that explode, witnesses who disappear, or snipers who ambush the good guys... Basically, I like fast, rich, complicated plots with multiple subplots and a cache of villains (why settle for just one?). In other words, a roller coaster ride to make the book feel like a James Bond movie with a Happily Ever After For Now ending... until the next book, when all hell breaks loose again!

Just when the hero/heroine think they are safe, the villain is at their heels, so they have to be quick on their feet and toss aside their loner ways to work as a team. Mainly, I want to see my two heroes in untenable situations to find out their true grit, their true character, and their true love. Because when a situation goes belly up, your strength and character and love are all you have left. So, frankly, I want to see if my characters can finally learn that when the bad guys are closing in, love is all they really have to live for.

After all, I'm a love-story author at heart!

BIO:
Christine M. Fairchild, aka the Editor Devil, is a former journalist with 25 years' experience as a writer/editor, from technical to marketing to exec communications to entertainment. She specializes in "tactical" editing and storytelling techniques for authors, offering writing tips and tricks at http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com and through her Editor Devil Guides. Her debut romantic suspense novel, An Eye For Danger, is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO.

BLURB:
When former war photographer Jules Larson braves a PTSD attack to jog beyond her five-block safety zone in Central Park, she runs right into a murder scene.

Taken hostage, Jules provides escape for Sam Fields, an undercover cop desperate to avoid capture by his nemesis and former mentor, Detective Stone McCarthy. Sam can’t afford to blow his two-year investigation of Goliath, a band of crooked cops who clean up New York City streets vigilante style. Especially if Stone is one of them.

Fighting for underdogs is old habit for Jules, and Sam’s rough-around-the-edges charm has a way of roping her into helping with his investigation. Though Jules fears Sam's violent world will land her in a psych ward--again--three years of self-imposed isolation since her fiancé’s death is a long time to be lonely.

And then there's Stone. His park murder investigation keeps leading to Jules' door, and he's on the verge of discovering her involvement. Not only might he be crooked, Jules is just the kind of uptown girl Stone covets. Especially if she belongs to Sam.

As Goliath closes in on the only surviving witness, Sam and Stone must work together to protect Jules. But Jules can’t grow too close to Sam, even when his touch melts her armor, or accept Stone’s increasing advances, even though he's twice the gentleman Sam is, for fear either man might discover the truth about her fiancé’s accident.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I always loved fairy tales

Leave a comment. One lucky person will win a copy of this great love story.

You know, the impossible happens and you get a Happy Ever After that you didn't expect? I translated that into one of the first stories I sold to Ellora's Cave. Although I usually don't reread my work once it's published, this story just sticks in my mind. I pulled it up yesterday, in fact, and read it again. So here's a taste for you. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Where can you buy it?
Amazon 
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks
Ellora's Cave


Loraine “Rainie” McIntyre longs for just one weekend to let down her hair and find a man who will help her live out all her fantasies before her conventional wedding to her very conventional fiancé and continuing her very conventional life. Despite Stuart's protests, she knows she has to do this or she'll always feel she missed something in life. Goodbye Loraine, hello Rainie.

And hello Joe, the sex god with lion's eyes she meets at the beach. Hopping on his motorcycle with him, she roars off to a weekend of the wildest sex anyone could ever want. But things are not always what they seem and life is about to hand Rainie a few surprises.


“Sounds like you should have a talk with Stuart.” They were silent for a long moment. Joe picked up one of her hands and played with the fingers. “So Rainie-who-wants-to-be-wild. Do you think I’d do?”
She frowned. “Do?”
“You know. For the weekend fling. I’m healthy, momentarily unattached and I can promise you the sex will be better than you can imagine.”
Her heart was beating in a stuttering rhythm. A flutter deep in her womb began to increase in tempo.
While she chewed on her lip, Joe made the decision for her. He swallowed the last of his drink, rose with lithe jungle grace and held out his hand to her. “Come on. I promise you an adventure you won’t forget.”
Rainie looked up at him. A wildness glittered in his lion’s eyes, a hint of something feral and untamed beneath all those tanned muscles and that amazing grin. Anticipation rolled over her.
“All right.” She stood up, hitched the thin strap of her flat purse over her shoulder and gave him her hand.
He tossed their drink cups in a trash barrel and led her toward the street.
“Where are we going?”
“I rented a house down the beach for the weekend. How does that sound?”
She paused. “I don’t have any clothes except what I’ve got on. And my car’s in the garage here.”
The amber eyes darkened to a deep gold. “If things work out you won’t need any clothes. And your car’s safe at the hotel. Anyway, I’ve got the transportation covered.”
They stopped at the curb where a gleaming silver Ducati motorcycle rested on its kickstand.
Rainie’s mouth flopped open. “Is this yours?”
“Sure is.” He winked at her and handed her a helmet. “Here. You’ll need this. Don’t want to splatter your brains before we get to that wild sex.”
Suddenly Rainie threw back her head and laughed. What the hell. This was what she wanted, wasn’t it? “Okay, Joe. Crank ‘er up.”
She hopped onto the motorcycle behind him, wrapped her arms around his hard, muscular body, her hands clasped against sun-warmed male skin and inhaled. A cologne so light its fragrance was almost elusive mingled with the scent of the sun, the Gulf waters, the lingering coconut aroma of the piña coladas and the male essence that was uniquely Joe. She had to squash an irresistible urge to pull up his shirt and lick his skin to see if he tasted as good as he smelled.
They roared down the street with wheeling seagulls squawking overhead and the rushing slipstream of the wind sweeping away the last vestiges of restraint.

www.desireeholttellsall.com
@desireeholt
/desire01holt

desireeholt@desireeholt.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Interview of Author Lynda Kaye Frazier

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Lynda Kaye Frazier.

Latest Book: Rescued from the Dark
Buy Links: http://www.blackopalbooks.com
Amazon


BIO:
Well I’m an avid reader of romantic suspense and started writing about a year ago after a vivid dream. I know, sounds cliché, but that’s how it started. I work full time at a Cardiology clinic, then at night you will find me in front of my computer writing. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but now live in Arkansas, surrounded by the Ozark Mountains where I get to enjoy the four seasons without a long, cold winter. Other than spending time with my wonderful family, my favorite things to do are writing, reading and listening to music, but my most favorite is going to the beach. Surf, sand and a good book, my stress relief.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I grabbed my granddaughter and danced around the living room. My book was released a week early on Amazon and I found out about it on facebook when a friend of mine sent me a message to say she bought my book. I was in shock until I checked Amazon, and there it was. Once I finished dancing I started spreading the word.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write?
A: Mercy and Jason’s first kiss. Why? It was actually one of my dreams and I basically was able to watch it unfold and when I woke up I just wrote up the events. A lot of my scenes were actually written by the characters in my dreams. Pretty cool, but when you dream about a fight scene, you wake up exhausted.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you?
A: For this book it was the end. Why? I had a hard time finding the right ending. This is the first of eight books and I wanted to end it just right to where you feel like the story was resolved, yet leave you with a little input for the next one. It was hard to get it right, and I hope I did.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Mercy. She is strong, independent and focused even when she struggles with her memory loss.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No. When I start a book I write out there personalities and character traits. This gives them a image in my head when I write.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I’m addicted to popcorn and cheez-its. So unhealthy but that’s what I snack on.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I love to read and do book reviews for a BTS eMag. I find that I have the best of both worlds. I get to read great books and tell the authors how amazing their stories are.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I have a vivid imagination and very life like dreams. Something I’ve always had, just never thought to use as a source to write a book.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? A: I love Scifi, but could never write one. I’ve tried. I am at awe with the authors that can come up with these amazing names to other planets, species and make their descriptions so amazing it’s like these places actually exist and makes you want to visit. I have a hard time making up a new world and all the aspects that go with it and make it real. Maybe one day.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I’m addicted to facebook. If there was a support group I would be one of the first to sign up. I enjoy my blog and twitter still confuses me, but I’m learning.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Web: http://www.lyndakayefrazier.com
Blog: http://lyndafrazier.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynda_kaye
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009L7TK04
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7794016-lynda-kaye-frazier

BLURB:
She has no memory of their love...

Kidnapped by terrorists and sent into a drug-induced coma, FBI intern Mercedes Kingsley awakes with no memory of her ordeal—or the intimate interlude that left her pregnant. Convinced her child was fathered by her ex-fiancé, she walks away from the only man she has ever loved, determined to make things work with her ex, a man the FBI suspects is implicated in her abduction.

He knows the truth, but no one will listen...

FBI undercover agent Jason Michaels remembers what Mercy can’t and those memories are breaking his heart. Forced to keep his distance from his lover and their unborn child, Jason risks his life to protect Mercy from a cell of international terrorists who have vowed to get the secrets locked in her memory, no matter the cost. Can Jason convince Mercy to trust him until she remembers their past, or will he lose her to a man who will trap her in a nightmare world of darkness from which there is no escape?

EXCERPT:
An explosion ricocheted behind Jason Michael’s eyes as the pressure mounted in his head. The rush of panic consumed him. He struggled to move, tried to swallow, but nothing. His throat burned as the flames engulfed his lungs. He needed to breathe but couldn’t. Shit. He strained to make out the muffled voice, but the pounding in his ears erased all hope. His head started to spin and he succumbed to the realization, this was it, the end. He won. The flames dampened and his heartbeat slowed as the drums subsided, then the voice became clear.

“Give it to him now you son of a bitch. What were you thinking? We still need him.”

In a split second, Jason sucked in a breath, causing stabbing pains to shoot through his chest. Every muscle fiber burned as the cold blast of air shot through his lungs releasing the oxygen his body craved. He arched his back, raising his chest up to pull in more air when his head snapped to the side and the crack from his neck echoed in his ears. The pain ripped through his jaw, racing across his cheekbone. Before he could gather his senses, intense burning set his face on fire. What the hell?

The slap against his cheek stung, and his eyes snapped open. He wrenched upright, hitting his head on the roof of the SUV. His gaze darted back and forth looking for something familiar until he locked onto the ice-cold stare of the devil himself, Shaun Flanagan.

Damn that was close.
Jason could not blow his cover, even if it meant he would die as David Logan and not Jason Michaels.

“You’re finally awake, my boy. We almost lost you,” Shaun cold, emotionless laugh caused Jason’s blood to boil. “You stopped breathing, I think. It’s hard to tell with this new stuff. I hope you’re not too injured. We’ve got work to do.”

Jason’s vision blurred, but his other senses were sharp. Shaun had known exactly what the drug would do and the burn in Jason’s throat was a harsh reminder. Shaun’s sarcastic tone spoke volumes to him. He was evil and did not play by anyone’s rules but his own. Jason had spent the last two months undercover, playing their games and doing their dirty work to buddy up tight to this family. He’d earned his spot with Thomas Flanagan, but his son Shaun had issues trusting anyone, even his own father.

Jason’s anger burned inside of him, but he couldn’t afford to make mistakes, not now. He was too close. It’s time to step it up, but first the drugs had to stop. He rubbed his aching jaw with one hand, clenching his other into a fist to hide his visible shaking. He had to get control of this game before he lost everything.

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