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Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview with Romance Cover Artist, Jon Paul Ferrara

It gives me great pleasure to introduce this man. He is by far the most talented artist known today and his paintings have graced many romance covers from countless best selling authors. His art is unmistakably recognizable, unique,and awe-inspiring. If you read or write romance, chances are you've seen his work at some point in time. Please give a warm welcome to Jon Paul Ferrara.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
Jon Paul:  I'm all Italian… American born. I have two brothers, one older and my other brother is my identical twin brother. We are all very close. I am basically a shy person, to a degree. Especially when I meet someone for the first time, whether it is business or social, though once you get to know me I love to talk. I love, of course, talking about art and history. I am very passionate about my art and I would have to say it is my true passion in life. I live and breath my art ... talk to me about Michelangelo, Rembrandt, etc.. you will be my friend for life (lol)

Q. How did you get your start in the world of art?
Jon Paul:  I had a small one man show at a local gallery. I was 22 years old at the time. At the show, the gallery owner said, there is this Italian man with a very strong accent that would like to meet with me, for he was an admirer of my work. When I met this gentleman, he asked me if I would like to do book covers of Romance Novels. At first, being young and naive, I said, no, ... for I thought of myself as this quote "Fine Artist." Well he said, " before you make a judgment, let me take you over my friend's house, for he was an illustrator". Of all people, he takes me over his friend's house who happens to be one of the greatest Romance Illustrators of all time, Pino Daeni.

I remember walking into the Pino's house and my breath was literally taken away looking at all these beautiful Romantic paintings that were covers of the most recent novels of the time. All I could say it was like falling in love for the first time... After that, I knew for sure this is what I wanted to do, be an Illustrator of Romance Novels. I felt after seeing Pino's work, that some of the best art in the country was not only in galleries, they were on book covers as well.

I was always a Romantic, whether in real life or through my work and after seeing Pino's work I was hooked and this was the avenue I wanted to pursue and I never looked back since. 1200 covers later, I still love what I do and every piece is just like my first piece.

Q.  Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Jon Paul:  Without question, I always wanted to be an artist. I am a very visual person and I like to express myself through pictures, whether it be drawing, painting, or photography. As long as I can remember, I was always involved in one of the three.

Q.  Is there anyone who has influenced your work?
Jon Paul:  It's hard to pick one person in particular that influence my work, for there are so many great artist out there from past to present that had some kind of influence on me. I have to say that I do love the Renaissance Masters and the later Flemish Masters, though I fell in love with the late 19th century painters like John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla. Anders Zorn etc. I love their brushwork.

Q.  When did your career first take flight?
Jon Paul:  My career took off at a pretty young age. It was after I met the admirer of my work at the gallery of the one man show I had. I was just turning 23 years old at the time and then he introduced me to the world of book covers. I wouldn't say it was a turning point, for I was still learning and I would sporadically get commissions here and there, it was not steady work in the beginning, even though I had work published. It was years later, after developing my own style and becoming more consistent that it became steady work.

Q. What publishers have you worked with?
Jon Paul:  I really have worked for every major publisher in this country and abroad. Just to name a few, Harlequin, Harper Collins, Warner, Berkley, Bantam, Dell, Kensington, Dorchester, etc... and the list goes on.

Q.  I see that you have studied at the National Academy of Design under Nelson Shank, the official portrait painter for the late, Princess Diana. What was it like to have that experience?
Jon Paul:  When I studied with Nelson Shanks at the National Academy of Design, I was still very young. I believe I just had turned 20 years old. He was great teacher and I loved that he was a realist, for back then realism was not in favor as it is today. Most art schools, especially colleges taught abstract expressionism or conceptual art.

Q.  You have painted so many different time periods and settings. Do you have a favorite, either as a personal interest or as a period you simply favor to paint?
Jon Paul:  I would have to say I love the Victorian Period. For some reason I am just drawn to that period. If I could time travel, I would want to go back to 1880's up until just before the first World War. They call this period "La Belle Epoque" French meaning for "The Beautiful Era." To me the period was so elegant, the dresses the women wore ... gentlemen were gentlemen and ladies were ladies... until they got behind close doors (lol)

Q.  What was the hardest project you have ever been commissioned to paint?
Jon Paul:  I can't really recall any job that I would considered the hardest one I ever did. For to me every job presents its own set of problems and it really becomes problem solving and I am an artist that always likes a challenge. I have to even admit, I like working under pressure, for I feel my best work comes out of me in situations where the deadline might be tighter than usual … reason being for I don't have time to fuss or over think things.

Q.  What was the oddest thing you have ever been asked to paint?
Jon Paul:  One time I had to do a novel that the publisher wanted a typical clinch scene of the hero and the heroine in a passionate embrace, though they wanted a huge knife in the hero's back. I thought that was kind of strange (lol) I guess it was a Halloween special (lol).Though that is a true story :)

Q.  Do you work out of your home?
Jon Paul:  Yes, I work out of my house. I had a professional studio built in my house that serves as a professional photo studio and a paint studio... I love working out of my home. Outside my studios window, I have over two acres of forest and it is absolutely gorgeous. When it snows, my backyard literally looks like a winter wonderland off of a movie set. Wouldn't give it up for the world :) And on top of that, all the beautiful wildlife I see at my windows is breathtaking in my artistic opinion. I post images every now and then on my Facebook page of images taken from my studio windows.

Q.  Is there anything you do to prepare for a project before making it come to life?
Jon Paul:  It all starts with an art director sending me a fact sheet of a general description of the characters of the story and the time period the story takes place in. Some art directors will send along a small sketch with notes on what they specifically are looking for. Once I've read through the material I start my research. I search everywhere to collect reference and information pertaining to the project at hand. These days a lot of my research comes from the Internet. Once all my references are in place for the cover, I begin my search for models I feel that will fit the characters in the story. Then it is on to a photo-session and from there I pick the photos I feel are the best. It is usually a combination of several photos I use, though you would never know it. I take body parts from one photo and use them in another so I get the perfect motion and feeling that I am looking for. My backgrounds are ninety percent of the time from my imagination.

Q.  About how long does it take you to paint a romance novel cover once you put brush to canvas?
Jon Paul:  Whether it is traditional or digital, the artwork takes less then a week, it's the setup, getting models, costumes, etc., that really takes up most of the time. Most publishers will give you a 4-6 week time period to do a cover ... it varies according to the deadline, sometimes it can be longer and at other times it can be a lot shorter.

Q.  When you paint a romance cover, do you work from memory, do you paint using actual models, or a combination of the two?
Jon Paul:  We always hire real models for the covers... I could only recall, maybe several times where I didn't use any models... where I had to create a city street scene of people … it was easier for the people weren't close up and I used an impressionistic style, other then that, to get the detail that I have in my work, it would be impossible without real models. My backgrounds though are always from my imagination like it that way for it adds to the fantasy or it would just look like another photograph.

Q.  What is the best thing about your job?
Jon Paul:  Best thing about my job is that it doesn't even seem like work for me, for I love what I do. I always loved doing the romance novels and that is why I am still doing them to this day—especially doing the historical novels. I love doing them, for I love history. I always say, it's like being a time traveler for I get to visit so many different periods... Who wouldn't love a job like that, where you get to daydream all day and travel through time, through your own work?

Q.  Now since this is a romance blog, I’d like to ask you some questions that romance readers would really love to know. Have you ever read any of the books that are adorned with your work?
Jon Paul:  No, never from one of my own illustrations to be honest. Though years ago, when I was first entering the industry, I read one of the books the artist Pino did the cover to... I was so moved by his painting, that I had to read the story that was behind the artwork. It was a Historical novel that took place during the Spanish Inquisition where this young Spanish girl falls in love with a nobleman in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. To be honest, I really enjoyed the book. The author’s history was so on target and authentic to the period, she brought these historical figures in history to life... Ninety-nine percent of these authors are like historians and that keeps me on my toes ... for they know if something doesn't belong in the artwork for the period that the story is being told.

Q.  If you could narrow yourself down to one type of historic hero, which one would best represented the kind of man you are?
Jon Paul:  I would like to think I have some of the characteristics, though I don't think anyone can live up to the historical figures we read about in history books, for their standards of what we have read were so high. So all I can do is hope and live my life in a loving and respectable order that people remember me as a nice person that gave his all to his passion in his life which is his art.

Q.  Knowing that you are a romantic at heart, can you describe what you would consider the perfect romantic date?
Jon Paul:  A perfect date to me is just being with the one you love... It really doesn't matter where you are, when you are with that special someone.

Q.  And lastly, if you could paint the perfect heroine, what would she look like?
Jon Paul:  I have painted many beautiful women and to me they are all beautiful in there own way. I wouldn't say I have any particular type, for true beauty comes from with in and beauty of course is in the eye of the beholder.

*Places to find Jon Paul Ferrara:

Renee Vincent:  Jon Paul, you have no idea how honored I am to feature on Romance Books R Us blog and to have your work displayed in my home for all to see.

(FYI - Jon Paul had painted Gerard Butler in the Phantom of the Opera - a limited collector's edition - and I am lucky enough to have this one hanging in my very living room.) 

Your talent is beyond compare, Jon Paul! Thank you for being with us and please keep those breathtaking covers coming.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I am so sorry. I have a calander too. I thought tomorrow was my day. I got in last night from Halloween on the Hill Martini Corner and began working. What do you like to do on Halloween. I learned my friends are really into dressing up. I showed up at their house and saw tubes of zombie blood both black and red and different hues of dark body paint to make bruises and bloody scabs. I'm not all for being scary and went as a vampress. Yeah, I don't plan all that much. Simple. They took about three hours to get put together. I watched them take elmers glue and toilet paper to make their faces up. I rubbed my face against my friend Liza's and it was rock hard. Totally cool and she'd found a you tube tutorial on how to do a zombie face. After the glue and TP set she took a bobby pin and eased it in to pull some away to make it look like putrid decaying flesh.

When we arrived at Martini Corner the five bar included place was hopping. The entry fee was forty bucks for unlimited well drinks and beer from eight in the evening to midnight. We got there an hour late and the fellas were of course upset. Too funny. I saw some great costumes! Met some funny people and others who took tons of time to get made up.

There were about two hundred people at this mega costume contest and live band gig. Liza and I jumped up on stage and danced, she totally rocked the zombie act like a pro. I haven't had so much fun in forever.

Yeah see what I mean. Rock hard abs and pecs, never was so glad to be a Vampress! Ha :P

I totally loved their make-up but don't remember who they were dressing up as.

Found a Cowboy! There were some fantastic costumes and of course time for me to hand out my cards who knows if they'll remember ha but I like networking! My friend Hutch looks like Mr. Tee he won a hundred bucks but that's just how he dresses everyday!

We had so much fun and I ran into the character who scared me as a child...Who?

And we can't forget Our Man dressed as a female! With hard busoms and all!

I hope everyone has a great Halloween. I'm handing out candy tomorrow but that is it. I've done my major event for this holiday.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and all the kids in the neighborhood are excited about going trick or treating.  I love to see them come in their costumes.  Some are cute and pretty, others are scary.  One thing they are after is all the sweets they can get.  Smile.

The thought of ghosts, goblins and things that go knock in the night doesn't usually appeal to me.  I can't watch horror and bloody movies even though I know it's not real. 

I remember going to the cemetery with a bunch of kids on Halloween to tell scary stories and see who was the most frightened. 

Back then stories of Dracula, witches, black cats and ghosts were popular.  Or the headless man galloping about in the dark.  We all know the superstitions about black cats, and I for one don't believe in a single one.  Probably, because we have had two black cats, and they are wonderful pets. 

Some of you may remember the author, Caroline Burnes, who wrote Harlequin Intrigues with the black cat, Familiar, as the detective.  I loved those books.  She later worked in a dog to work with Familiar, but I don't remember his name. 

I once wrote a book with a black kitten in it, but it never sold.  It was about a black kitten that was saved from drowning by a young boy.  Both the kitten and boy were secondary characters since the story was a romance.

Have you ever written a story with a black cat as a character?  Do you like animals in stories?

Happy Halloween!  Don't let the googly gooks get you.

Sandra K. Marshall

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blog: Mary Corrales: Be Free and Write!

October 28th is the birthday of the Statue of Liberty; an American icon of freedom and democracy. It makes me smile to see the proud way this majestic female holds up a torch for all to see, beckoning and encouraging the world to have hope.

I think of the ways that we as people are blessed in this country to have the freedoms that we do. We have the freedom to vote and voice an opinion, the freedom to respectfully disagree, and the freedom to be creative and express ourselves. Writing or even reading erotica and erotic romance isn't to everyone's taste. I understand that.

In a way, those of us who journey upon the writing path know that we will at some point face adversity. It may be in a rejection letter, an unfairly bad review or perhaps a disparaging remark about our writing, but the burning need and desire to write does not diminish within our souls. It burns bright like the Statue's glorious light.

So we sit back down at the computer, pull out those unfinished manuscripts, and return to our craft. That flame of creativity never dies though it may flicker low at times. When we're burned out and without hope, we continue to read books, fueling our imagination.

Why do any of us ever have doubts about the path of writing? Given the freedom to write, express our passions and share our creativity, there is no reason to hesitate. Sit down and put words to the page. This is your right as an author, an America and a human being to let your torch shine bright.

I may sound like a cheerleader, but I will always celebrate the accomplishments of writers and authors alike whether the write in my genre or not. I know the struggle. That said, nothing should nothing stop us from achieving our dreams, least of all ourselves. Go write!

Mary Corrales

Mary Corrales is a multi-published paranormal erotic romance author. Her newest book, Love's Demon Ways is available now through Siren-Bookstrand. She is currently working on the sequel, which is tentatively titled Sin's Way.

Alexine Coridan is lonely and unlucky in love. Vowing to live her life with no more regrets, she decides to have a one-night stand with the Nightfall Art Gallery’s reclusive owner, Ren Aloysius, but is he more than she is looking for? What forces will be unleashed when she sheds her inhibitions for a man who promises ecstasy with just one touch?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday's Thirteen: Scary Sounds

Our cat Ninja

In honor of Halloween which will be here in just a few days, I’ve listed 13 spooky sounds.

1. The hiss of a cat.

2. The howl of a wolf.

3. The squeak of a mouse, or is it a rat?

4. A creaking door when you’re alone.

5. The sound of something being dragged outside.

 6. A long low moan, but you’re not sure if it’s the wind or a person.

7. Wind, whistling around the corner of a building.

8. The crack of thunder right over the top of the house.

 9. Noise on a staircase and you know you’re alone, or do you?

10. The knock on the door, and then the impatient jiggle of the door knob, but when you answer it there’s no one there

11. Scuttling noise that makes the hair stand on the back of your neck, and you don’t want to turn to look because you’re afraid of what you’ll see.

12. It’s late at night and you’re cuddled up in your nice warm bed, then you hear a footstep . . . in your bedroom behind you.

13. Someone one is whispering your name in a really creepy voice. You hurry to the door to give your friend a piece of your mind for scaring you, but when you open the door you see . . .

What noise really scares you?

Although my book is a erotic contemporary romance, There's some scary things that happen on my couple's little island.
 Windswept Shores, now available  from Pink petal books.
Windswept Shores by Janice Seagraves
Cover Contest Winner
erotic contemporary romance
novel (approx 50K)
price $4.95
Cover Art by Pink Petal Books with assistance from Winterheart Design
The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

Janice's website:
Janice's main blog:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hello From Briny Bay

Hi, y’all. I hope you don’t mind meeting in my bridal boutique. You see, Dreema Driscoll is due in about thirty minutes for a fitting. Besides the fact I need every minute of her fitting because I have to grease her down to get her in the dress, she can be a bit persnickety and a regular faucet, so I don’t dare try to leave in case I can’t get back in time. I do love to talk and sometimes I find it hard to stop. You know how it is when you’re the unofficial AP for a small town.

Grab yourself some coffee. I have hot water and tea bags too. You choose. Now to why I’m here. My sister hijacked Bobbye’s blog again. You see, Trix is a bit out-of-sorts with Bobbye. Again. Seems our author has been finishing another manuscript and not working on ours. As Trixie says, The Shadow Knows needs to be finished yesterday because it comes out in December and will explode into popularity making bigger commotion than a bunch of ammo in a lightning-struck barn. She figured it was only fitting I explain why. Okay, the plain truth forces me to fess up to the fact I threatened her beyond an inch of her life if she tried to sneak in here and take over until I’d had my say.

Oh, my goodness, where are my manners? I’m Roxie Turner. Whatever lies my sister told you before, please ignore them. She’s still miffed I was the baby and got all the attention, not to mention I am only in my early forties while she’s twelve years older and facing senility. Oh, and then there’s the fact she’s married to Floyd, the Great White Couch Potato, while I am the gay widow. Gay as in happy, let’s not spread any rumors. Of course, she won’t admit such sister envy, but it’s obvious why she is, don’t you think? <pats the side of my hair>

Now, to the point about popularity. The Briny Bay mystery series is all about mysteries—yes, I know it’s evident. But it seems that when a person is writing amateur sleuth books, that’s what Trixie and I are, especially when they’re set in a small town, a writer like our Bobbye, can draw a person into the story with all its Southern charm and the idiosyncrasies of the small town. The town becomes its own character. These techniques make the sudden twists and turns contrast and it seems to delight folks who read about the escapades.
Now, as Trix told you, I’m sure, because she just blurts out everything she knows, our first book in the Briny Bay Mysteries, Buried in Briny Bay, was released in March from Turquoise Morning Press. The second book, The Marriage Murders, came out in June and told all about a marriage party’s murders, which I, of course, solved, even though I gave my sister and Greg some credit. Especially Greg, as that set of murders brought us closer together. I mean really close, if you get my drift. We also got rid   Marlowe Malone, snarling red-nailed she-lion that she was, not to mention competition for my love-bug’s affections..

Now I’m really in for it, because Greg has discovered he has a grown daughter and she’s coming to visit. She arrives just in time for a bunch of brand new murders, all men and all missing…well, you know. Only the shadow knows why someone would want to cut off the little things, but there you go. Why the murderer keeps dumping the bodies next to Greg’s dock is beyond me. .And then there’s the fact his mother died trying to save the original Genital Reaper back more than twenty-five years ago.

I suppose I’ve jumped too far ahead. First you need to join me as I get out of hot water and keep Greg and his father from joint jail sentences for the murders.  Time to go back to that fortune teller who can tell me who the shadow is. Check out The Shadow Knows in December, but the other two books, Buried in Briny Bay and The Marriage Murders are on sale now at Amazon and most electronic retailers.
Whoops! Gotta go now, I hear Bobbye coming back with a cup of tea. She’s such a Southern lady. See ya’!

Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of several different genres. She writes fantasy and science fiction under the pseudonym, Daryn Cross. Her science fiction series, The Cash Chronicles, currently includes two cyberpunk novellas, Frozen Assets and Full Moon Rising. Writing under her real name of Bobbye Terry, she pens mystery novels set in small Southern towns, including the Briny Bay Mystery Series and the Climax, Virginia series beginning with Coming to Climax and continuing in November with Nick of Time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blog: Jaxx Steele: Guy Meets Guy and Falls in Love - It Happens!

I'd like to share how I started writing gay romance. As a kid I was surrounded by readers, both parents, aunts, baby sitters... Anyway, one day I was at the baby sitter's after school and she put her book down to make me something to eat and I picked it up. I was hooked! I read everything she had on her shelf. When I had tackled the many Danielle Steel and Barbara Cartland books I took my first Bertrice Small book from the shelf. Once I read that and the Thea Devine novels she had, well, the rest, as they say, is history.

I was a mere boy of 14 at the time and couldn’t wait for my own relationships to be like that. I wanted to be that guy in the books, to be loved unconditionally, adored by his lover. I wanted to see that look of bliss on my lover’s face when I was done that was described and I didn’t even really know what making love was at the time. By the time I was 17 I knew girls were not in my future, but I still wanted to be that guy. I loved the romance and the sex I read in Ms. Small and Ms. Devine's books. I hunted them down and read as many as I could find. After a while I wondered if I could be that guy as a gay man. I had only seen examples of that type of love and affection in hetero books. Was there anything like that for gay men? Romance novels with gay men falling in love, going through their drama and finally ending up together with the culmination of mind boggling sex?

At that time there was no Internet so I took my search to the library doubting I would find anything, but wanting to confirm it anyway. When I turned up empty handed I decided to write my own. Thus began my journey into the writing world. In college I took elective courses to improve my writing and asked my English and writing teachers as many questions as I could without giving away what I was really doing. And then, lady luck smiled upon me...or should I say gentleman luck. I ran into a gay teacher! He wasn't out of course, but kindred spirits and all that. Anyway, I gave him one of my stories and he loved it! With someone other than myself liking my work I kept writing. The Internet blew up a few years later and I finally was able to see that there was plenty of gay romance to go around out there! Knowing that encouraged to me to write even more and eventually search for a publisher.

I graduated and went into my career. I am still friends today with that teacher and I have never forgotten the three rules he taught me that I still use today.
1) Find your voice and stay true to it.
2) Keep improving your skill as a writer.
3) Learn all you can from other authors who have been there and done that!

BLURB: Papa Knows Best
Dominick 'Papa' Pappas was a handsome, young photography teacher at Indiana University given to impulsive behavior and an overwhelming passion for his craft. Professor Bradley Louis taught philosophy at the college and had the reputation of being the sternest and most unsocial of all the teachers on campus. When Papa first laid eyes on Professor Louis it was love at first sight. Professor Louis was handsome, intelligent and twenty years his senior. Papa approached him, but the professor turned away from his advances claiming they had nothing in common and belonged to two different generations. Because of that he didn't think they had a chance to survive as a couple. Can Papa convince him of otherwise or will Professor Louis' theory on May-November relationships prevail?

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but I escaped and I now live in Indiana. My dream is to buy a house near the beach and write all day and make enough money to live off of. I spend most of my time working a nine to five and traveling, when I can, to new and wondrous places that I can incorporate in my stories (or that will at least inspire me). I do have love in my life thanks to my life partner, Hou, and our cat, Judo, who graciously lets us live with him in his house. So, all in all, I have a full and happy life.

Thanks for having me!
Jaxx Steele has left the building!

Monday, October 24, 2011



Halloween is almost here – the time when thoughts turn to the supernatural. The way paranormal is exploding in popular culture - books, TV, movies – it seems the supernatural is in our thoughts year round, and the trend for all things paranormal shows no signs of abating. I’ve heard it said that when times are hard, people gravitate to the supernatural as a means of escape. Or maybe the paranormal is so popular because anything otherworldly is just plain fun.

I love reading time travel romances, love books about beings who have magical powers, love shifter stories. I don’t much like anything to do with vampires, but that’s just me. Vampires have scared me since Bela Lugosi lured unsuspecting and “too stupid to live” people into that old castle. Vampire romances are still hugely popular. Editors now say they’re looking for magic themed stories rather than vamps and shifters and demons. But I think vamps will be with us for a long time to come.

My question today is: If you could have any magical power or be any supernatural being, what would you choose?

I’ve always wanted the powers of Samantha in the old TV show, “Bewitched.” I want to twitch my nose and have my whole house cleaned. Wow! Can you imagine that! I’d take it further. Whenever I wanted to change my wardrobe, I’d look at pictures of couture clothes, shoes and handbags, twitch the nose, and voila! A new wardrobe. Cool, huh?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to think something and make it happen? But there’d be a rule that you can’t hurt anyone. Imagine driving and some jerk cuts you off or runs a red light and almost plows into your car. Wouldn’t you love seeing the jerk’s wheels fall off his car when he pulls one of these stupid moves? And as a person with magic abilities, you could curse him that the minute he does something stupid any time while driving, the wheels would fall off his car. You could be a one-person avenger giving the jerks of the world what they deserve. But, remember, don’t hurt anyone.

I wouldn’t mind being a sexy witch, one who can mix love potions. Now that would be fun. I’d be beautiful with long black hair. Instead of a black cat, I’d have a white one, just to be different. In real life I do have a black cat named Killer. Umm? Wonder what that means? I posted her picture here showing her all pumped up for Halloween.

While I don’t read vampire stories, I do enjoy shifter stories and witch stories. One of my favorite series is the Mayfair witches from Anne Rice. Those are some darn scary witches. I plan to write my own witch romance someday, with a witch heroine who will have great powers, but she won’t be evil. However, she’ll be surrounded by evil beings.

I have a shifter story out now, “Cursed Mates.” My hero Nick was cursed to life as a werewolf in 1530. At each full moon he shifts into a great white wolf. I love real wolves and contribute to organizations committed to helping them survive. So it was only natural that I should write a shifter story about a werewolf. Have you ever wanted to transform into an animal? The only animal I’d transform into is a spoiled house cat, like my Killer.

Would you want to be a vampire? Think of all that power and immortality. Imagine drinking blood. Shivers. Or would you rather be a sexy witch who has the power to make men fall at your feet? Or a one-person avenger out to rid the world of jerks?

What supernatural being would you choose?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Cathryn Cade: Halloween...Time to Prowl!

...with Cathryn Cade, author of Red Hot Paranormals!

I love Halloween, and all the dark fun that comes with it. The moon riding behind tattered clouds, mysterious shadows slipping along the streets, dark beings on the prowl. The chill shivers of fear, and especially the sexy shivers caused by other-worldly males.

Mrrrow! Are you a vampire, a shape-shifting werewolf, or even a big, black cat? Come to mama, big boy.

There's fascination in the fantasy of being seduced, even coerced by an alpha male with a dark side. The idea that we, as ordinary women, could bring a such a powerful male to his knees … maybe even literally … is just sexy fun.

Of course, we expect to frightened along the way, right? Well, yeah! If it was easy to rope the big guy in, it just wouldn't make that great a story. And it sure wouldn't have the high stakes necessary to carry a romance novel.

Let him get angry that he's caught, probably for the rest of his virile life, in our tender trap. Let him growl, claw, rage and howl. Won't do him any good.

Because even at Halloween, love is still the greatest force of all, turning mighty shape-shifters and paranormal beings into big ol' pussycats, begging to be stroked.

To read a Free novella featuring a sexy Halloween adventure in another galaxy far, far away, visit me at

Or, try one of my Orion Series. The men of The Orion are all dangerous alpha males, capable of killing with their claws, laser weapons or even with the power of the mind. Taming them isn't easy.

Are you woman enough for the ride? Hop aboard The Orion, and find out.

BLURB: Deep Indigo
Commander Daron Navos. Renowned Indigon intuit, respected leader…a man running from half of himself. He can control the mind of any creature in the galaxy, even lock his dark, human sexual needs behind a wall of icy self control. Until he meets a woman who tempts him into using his powers for seduction—the lovely, innocent Nelah Cobalt.

As Nelah’s star rose with her burgeoning Indigon powers at university, she leapt at the chance to intern under Navos. But the hero of her fantasies fears her human half is too volatile to be trusted with the coveted position.

When they are forced to combine powers to stop a sabotage attempt, their incredibly intimate mind-meld turns a simple case of post-battle attraction into a night of passion neither thought possible. And, as Navos teaches her to use her powers to heighten sensual pleasure, he finds she isn’t the only Indigon with much to learn.

Except it’s clear someone is remotely using psychic powers to endanger the ship. Nelah may be the key, and Navos faces his greatest challenge ever—loving the woman who may have to sacrifice herself to save The Orion.

Product Warnings

Spock-like hero who gives into temptation and uses intuitive powers for sexual satisfaction, heroine who is more than happy to submit to his sensual control, and ship full of space voyagers enjoying the waves of passion emanating from the powerful couple. Voyeurism shockingly included.

In real life, Cathryn Cade is an elementary school librarian–a lovely job, if she must work. She’s married to her sweetheart, has two tall, extremely handsome sons and a golden retriever. She loves quilting, golf, boating and shopping.

In her secret life, she drives a sleek space cruiser–often pursued by dangerous men in extremely well-fitted space uniforms, who want to unzip her flimsy, extremely well-fitted space uniform and perform sensual acts in their shifted state, as half-hunting cat or even half-dragon. To take her place, read her books.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Renee Vincent Features Romance Author Gabriella Edwards

Today it gives me great pleasure to introduce one of my best author friends. She and I first met at a local book signing event at Barnes & Noble and, right away, I fell in love with her spirited personality and beautiful smile. She was infectious to say the least and since then, I have laughed just about every day because of her quick wit and great eye-candy filled emails.

I remember how much I was intrigued by her, partly because she was signed and I, in turn, was looking to submit. I knew she'd have some great advice. And now, after what seemed like a long wait, her day has finally come to let the world read one of her romance stories.

She is a talented author and I am honored to promote her work here at Romance Books R Us. Please make welcome, Gabriella Edwards.

Tell us about yourself, Gabriella:
Where do I begin?  I’m the first generation American (youngest child) of Italian immigrant parents who thought the world of their children. They loved telling me they’d have to leave me here in the States when they went back to Italy—I’m still scarred by that.

What genres do you normally write in?
I usually write erotic romance, contemporary, paranormal and historical romance. I also write category under another name—nothing published…yet!  

When did you first sign with Red Sage?
November of last year was when I signed with Red Sage.  Until Emie was a finalist in LERA’s Rebecca.  Theresa Stevens was the final judge and she suggested a few changes wanting to see it again. I almost swallowed my lap top.

Tell us about your new release, Until Emie.
It’s kind of a coming of age story really. Emie needs to get Cut out of her system to move on. She’s been in love with him since she was 18 even earlier, but Cut’s denied his attraction for too long. She returns for her father’s wedding, and let’s just say their reunion isn’t what either expects.

Until Emie
Available at:  Red Sage | Kindle

Emie Sinclair-Douglas is ready to face her demons when she comes home for her father’s wedding. Getting Josiah, “Cut” Cutler out of her system may be harder than she thought, but she needs to move on, even if he’s not playing fair. Cut’s not above using sex to get the information he needs to clear his murdered brother’s name, and getting Emie in bed has been on his mind for seven long years. After giving in to their desire for each other, Emie realizes she can never get the man out of her soul, and Cut discovers he can’t save his brother’s reputation without risking his heart.

Exhaustion and, yes, longing washed over her, but Emie didn’t want to go there. For seven long years she had been running, hiding behind the fa├žade of glitzy party girl. Coming home was going to change that. This was her opportunity to prove to the world she hadn’t been wasting her time. She just hoped this bravado would hold until she sawhim… Cut.

Her cell phone vibrated against her side before she could dive further into the panic that meeting promised. Emie looked at the screen and sighed.

“Hi, Daddy.” This was only his tenth call. The man was nervous. After all, he was getting married this weekend—for the fourth time.

High-profile hardly scratched the surface of the occasion. The wedding was becoming the media event of the year, and her father was breaking under the pressure.

“Emie, have you landed yet?” Richard Sinclair-Douglas was never one to waste time on simple greetings, and he seemed pissed. Again.

She couldn’t resist teasing him. “I’m great, Dad, and how are you?” Still, sensing he needed humoring, she answered his original query. “Yes, I’m here. I’m picking up my bags now. I should be home in about an hour depending on traffic. Did you send a car?”

She barely registered his reply when a strong hand covered hers over the handle of her luggage. She glanced down and a charge of hot awareness shot through her. The thick scar winding its way from the index finger to streak a path under the palm belonged to only one man.

Shit, no! I’m not ready. Emie looked into the hard steel grey of the eyes she had never seemed to escape. Panic threatened her reason.

“You look disappointed to see me, Emie. I’m hurt.” Without asking, Cut took the phone from her.

“I’ve got her, Richard.” He ended the call with four words.

Snatching the phone back, she tried to rally her tottering control.

“What are you doing here, Cut?”

“Why, I’m here for you, princess.”

* * * *

What kind of hero is Cut?
Cut’s pretty no nonsense, alpha to the core. He’s not above using everything he has to get what he wants and when he decides it’s time to stake his claim, nothing will get in his way. He’s arrogant as hell, but he’s earned the right.
Was there someone famous he resembled when you wrote him? Or is he based off someone you personally know? OMG! I’m so happy you asked!  Thomas Jane!  Love him and he’s just the right color and build and tough man type…hubba!

What are your favorite hero traits that you cannot resist?
A man who loves so fully and genuinely, and who’s not afraid to show it. As I’ve mentioned before, when he knows what he wants, he doesn’t stop until he gets it/her!

As an author and essentially the “creator” of your hero, do you find yourself attached to him in a personal way? (Can you admit to loving him?)
Oh, I fall in love with all my heroes! I’m such a slut!

Does your heroine, Emie, take after you? 
Emie is definitely someone I’d love to be.  I think I might start out embedding my insecurities onto my heroines and then try to have them grow or push their boundaries to see where they end up.  I don’t have the courage to do that myself, but I’m working on it.

Did you mean to write her that way?
Not really.  I’m always amazed at how my characters seem to just pop out and evolve into the story

What else are you working on?
I once stood up at my RWA chapter meeting (after we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell what we write) and said I write premises.  LOL!
Seriously, I’m working on another erotic contemporary novella, a Presents wanna be, I like to call it, and I have an award winning paranormal I’d love to revise, edit and feel confident enough to submit before the year’s end, so…not much, really.

Places to find Gabriella Edwards:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview of Liz Crowe

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Liz Crowe.
Latest Book: Vegas Miracle
Buy Link:

Microbrewery owner, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, in a Major College Town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. When she isn't sweating beer inventory, sales figures or promotional efforts for her latest publication, doing pounds of laundry for her sweaty athletic children, watching La Liga on the Fox Soccer Channel, or trying to figure out what to order in for dinner, she can be found walking her standard poodles or doing Bikram Yoga. Liz loves her Foo Fighters Pandora station, and watching reruns of Deadwood, when there isn't any decent European football on the telly. If you want a beer education follow her: For writing related stuff, including her backlist, go to:

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: I really love Henri in Vegas Miracle. He’s the calm in the eye of the storm that is Grace and Ryan’s relationship. He’s the one thing they didn’t realize they needed but now cannot do without. As Ryan says, he always knows when to back off, when to engage and when to hug. He’s not perfect. No one in my books is. But he’s darn close.

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: Grace Irwin is a bit of an “old world beauty”, not striking or “all American.” I’d pick Emma Watson, using her best Yankee accent. Grace was a struggling author and book store manager until she met Ryan. Then everything changed. Now she’s wildly successful, with two series under contract with premium cable, married to one of the most handsome and wealthy men on the planet. But at a cost. Ryan refuses to even discuss having children. And while Grace agrees up front to this caveat to their marriage, it’s become a real hot button in their relationship—one that may tear them apart.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: I have two amazing heroes in Vegas Miracle. Ryan Sullivan is difficult. He’s giving, sexy, in control, and gorgeous. But he is a hard guy to love because of his inability to open up, to let the people he loves, love him back. I’d going out on a limb and casting Alexander Skarsgard. Not only is the man an uber HUNK, he does brooding and difficult VERY well. Ryan is a successful resort consultant, highly sought after and very busy---sometimes to the detriment of his relationships. He has never considered himself attracted to men at all…until he meets Henri in the South of France on a trip to convince him to open his new restaurant in Ryan’s resort casino.

For Henri Chistophe I’m going with an Italian actor, Riccardo Scarmaccio….uh huh. His soft eyes, and subtle skills in front of the camera are perfect for Henri’s commitment to his craft (he’s a celebrity chef), and his love for Ryan and Grace. Henri is Peruvian born, but French raised, is tri-lingual and can whip up an incredible meal for two, three, four or four hundred at his famous restaurant on the Vegas strip.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Absolutely. I head write a LOT, as I’m on the road a lot for my beer company. It keeps me from being bored.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I’m a big Bikram Yoga fan and have just recommitted myself to my studio 4 times a week. I also love to read….am on a MAJOR and embarrassingly Fan Grrrl-ish kick with JR Ward and those amazing Brothers…yowza.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’ve been told that I am great at taking “ordinary people” and putting them in “extraordinary circumstances” and telling a compelling, funny, realistic story about them. I also write kick arse sex scenes…I promise.

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

Ryan and Grace Sullivan have all the outward indications of a happy life: money, success, an undeniable physical attraction that quickly evolved from whirlwind relationship to marriage. But lately, Ryan's become moody and distant. As their relationship starts to crumble, Ryan discovers something about himself he can't admit just as Grace realizes the young man she encounters at an invitation only party, Henri Christophe, a celebrity chef with the most successful restaurant in Las Vegas, is her husband's lover. But Henri holds a secret himself. He wants to be more to both of them.

Trying to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan's deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone's happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio share, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn't solve. But when it comes to his own heart, Ryan may be too late.

The kiss started gently. Grace wasn’t usually the type to instigate, but as the afternoon wore on, she knew in her soul she had to at least taste him...just once. If he was shocked and pulled away then that would be that. But he didn’t. Ryan let her lead, let her part his lips with hers then let her break away first. Grace knew her flushed skin and glowing eyes betrayed how she felt but she no longer cared.

"That was nice," Ryan muttered before pulling her back and slanting his mouth over hers, his kiss very much an alive sort of thing, questioning her without words. She answered him by wrapping her arms around his neck, nearly off balance by the effort to stay on her toes to reach him. He tasted of gin, like summer, like a man. And his subtle cologne suffused her nose, making her dizzy, while his soft, urgent lips possessed hers. She whimpered, as his lips broke free and trailed down her jaw and neck to the tops of her breasts.

His hands started to roam up her sides. Grace felt her pussy clench in near agony. But when she heard laughter from above them, she pulled away and took a step back. Ryan put his hands in his pockets again. In the waning light, Grace saw clear evidence of his desire as the zipper of his thin cotton shorts bulged. She tried not to stare.

"Sorry," he grinned. "I, um, don’t usually............"

She laughed at the absurdity of him saying the words that were on the tip of her tongue but a strange panic nestled in her gut. This man was bad news. Never settling down, always traveling to strange cities and hotels where female staff and clientele were bound to be lying in wait for him. Yet that wouldn’t matter if they just had a quick fling. Would it? She had no desire to get married for crying out loud. And he obviously was commitment averse. So why not?

Grace’s heart fluttered. She was falling for a guy she'd just met? No. That was ridiculous. She’d had a few boyfriends but had never once jumped into bed with a man after just meeting him like she was poised to do with Ryan.

"Something tells me you have more experience with this sort of thing than I do though." Lame, it was all she could come up with in her lusty haze.

He sighed and looked up at the darkening sky while Grace bit her lip and waited.

"Maybe, but something about you, Miss Almost Famous, has me as nervous as a middle school kid. It’s sort of pissing me off if you must know."

Grace giggled, nervous energy getting the best of her. She covered her mouth with one hand but in the next second she gasped as Ryan crossed the sand between them and began running a finger tip over her lips.

"Something about you," with each word he pulled her closer until their lips were millimeters apart.

"Kiss me again," she whispered.

"With pleasure," Ryan obliged, sweeping into her mouth.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wired Differently

I guess history does repeat itself.

Growing up, I marched to my own drummer, or at least seemed to be either ahead of the times or lagging behind; you be the judge.

In school, even though I wanted to 'fit in', my best friends were mainly guys. I wore what I was comfortable in. I read books and wrote nonstop.

As a young adult, I was slightly fashion-conscious, and when I found a brand of clothing I liked, I pretty much wore nothing else. And continued to read books and write nearly nonstop.

Over the past year, I've studied other published authors; we've become close friends; I've finally written something publishable. So why the small gripe?

Over and over I hear others complain about the mainstream published books and the head-hopping; the not-always-HEA; the 'obvious' mistakes; and how they will quit reading a book because of it. Or give up on an author mainly because they've 'betrayed' them somehow.

I guess I'm still inexperienced enough not to let these issues get to me. Yes, I've noticed a slight tendancy over the years to think in the back of my mind, 'I would have worded this differently; like this...' or throw the book across the room (not literally) if I was unhappy with the ending. But the only times I've 'given up' on a particular author was 1) when every book dealt around something which didn't particularly interest me; 2) I didn't like the way the series was going; or 3) I discovered I was mislead by the blurb or excerpt and it wasn't to my liking, after all. And to be honest, I've only found one author who I will NEVER read again, strictly because this author's work is unappealing to me. I never even made it through his first book, and when his books arrive on the bookstore shelves, I skip over them. I don't even admire the covers.

But for the record, I don't mind an unhappy ending, especially if it ties up loose ends; the only books where the writing drives me slightly crazy are the 1st drafts of authors who can't spell or use punctuation/grammer properly (I'm not talking typos here...I mean throughout the entire 20+pages!); I don't mind the head-hopping, as I have no problem keeping the characters straight!

And in college, I was puzzled by my fellow classmates' 'confusion' when we had to read 'Common Ground', a book about the integration/bussing issues in Boston during the 1960's. The book showed three different families and how the issue affected them, alternating chapters. I was the only one, it seemed, who read the entire thing cover to cover and had no problem following the storylines of all three families, even when a fourth POV was introduced halfway. The only time I skipped around was while I was writing my paper, and that was stricly for footnotes, and to make sure I had my facts straight.

I guess I'm just wired differently.

Have you heard the news?  

Think back to when Prince's Purple Rain tour was one of the Hot Tickets in town.  Madonna wore a white wedding dress and sang "Like A Virgin".  Tom Cruise danced around in his underwear in Risky Business.  The ORIGINAL Footloose was in theaters.  When electric typewriters were AWESOME.  Pay phones on every corner (or at least at every gas station!).  Cosby Show, Cheers, and Night Court were the Thursday night lineup on television.

Or, just your own college experience.  Did you live in a dorm?  Off campus?  Or wanted to go but for whatever reason couldn't?

Relive those days with my Arbor University Tales.  We'll start in the fall of 1984 and go all the way to 2006....and maybe even beyond.   But first, meet Elicia Keller, Gretchen McLaren, Keri Patterson, and Stephanie Ridgeman in book #1, Love on the Rocks, releasing next Monday Oct 24th.

“The tape won't stick. I'm using a push-pin.”

“That’s a good idea.” Stephanie nodded. “Where do you work?”

Keri finished tacking up her last poster. “Nowhere yet. But I’ll be spending a lot of time in the lab and it’s harder than it looks.”

“But look on the bright side.” Gretchen squeezed past Elicia and leaned against Stephanie’s closet door. “If we ever have car trouble, Keri’ll be able to help us out.”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Steph looked at Keri. “What’s your fee for flat tires?”

Keri squirmed. “Normally, I only ask that you supply the parts. But for flat tires...probably a Big Mac.”

“I like you.” Steph nodded. “Can I take you home with me?”

“Sure. Just feed me.” Keri slipped her shoe back on. “I know Gretchen’s got a car but do either of you?”

“You have a car?” Elicia’s jaw dropped. “My parents want me to wait a year.”

“That’s what I get for being an only child. It was a graduation present.”

“Sit down.” Stephanie pushed aside her pillows on the bed and patted the space beside her. Gretchen did so, and Elicia settled herself in the beanbag chair in front of the window. “Sometimes, I wish I was an only child. I’ve got three older brothers.”

“Mine’s younger.” Keri made a face.

“No brothers, just an older sister.” Elicia looked at Stephanie. “How old are your brothers?”

“The oldest is thirty, Alex is twenty-five, and Greg is twenty-two. And all married, except Greg, and he’s engaged.”

“Damn.” Elicia snapped her fingers. “Don’t you know it’s a cardinal rule that someone must have an eligible brother?” They all laughed.

“Well, you’re all welcome to my brother, if you don’t mind a younger man.” Keri leaned against the wall.

“The closest I can come is to introduce you to some of the pilots at the base.” Gretchen hugged her knees to her chest. “Grandma has several officers and noncoms that she adopts and they even call her ‘Mom.’ It’s the best I can do.”

“You live on the base? And you’re not dating any officers?”

       “Are you kidding? Some of them are so rowdy in their off-hours; it’s ridiculous. And the majority are either married or have girlfriends. The others just treat me like a kid sister.”

Available Oct 24th at

Enter the Countdown Contest over at my blog for your chance to win a free copy of 'Rocks' next Monday!

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