Archive for November, 2009

Passport to Romance

November 30, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 3 Comments →

Passport to Romance

         In my travels there’s been many unexpected and amazing things and the memories of those are only the beginning of the fictional adventure.  From earthquakes in Hawaii to being chased by enraged water carriers in Morocco to a deep-sea fishing trip gone slightly askew in Venezuela, it all happened.  While most of my trips haven’t been earth shaking adventures they are still incredible vignettes into another world. 

The scenes of foreign lands play vividly through my mind long after I return home.  And it is these scenes where my hapless characters land but soon it is not them but me who is hapless as they lead me through adventure after adventure.

            Like my travels, a story is a passport to live in another world and in someone else’s life.  But what do you love most about a story and what makes it unforgettable?

            I’ve always thought that it’s character that makes a story unforgettable.  One character that you remember long after you leave the book behind.  As a writer you always strive for that unforgettable story and a lucky few find it.

            I find that it’s setting that is the catalyst for my stories.  Is that the key?  What about character?  I don’t know but I do know that I love the setting almost as much as my characters.  In fact, in a way, it is a character.  I can hear the leaves brush on an ocean breeze, feel the sharp grains of sand roll under my feet and taste the raw ocean salt that so easily blisters lips.  The ocean whispers to my hero and terrifies my heroine.  It’s always there lurking in the background, providing that ambience, making it real for me as I write.   And it’s not just foreign lands, setting is everywhere, past, present and future.  Like a nickel, five senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling it all.  For me that’s what takes me into a story – that nickel.  And for every author that gave me a nickel’s worth of setting and more and made the journey unforgettable, I like to give something back.  It might only be a nickel – I can only hope it’s more.

YouTube Preview ImageRyshia Kennie

Ring of Desire, November 2009

From the Dust, December 2007

The Rainy Day Melody

November 28, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger No Comments →

This fall season has been a roller coaster of weather all over. The season has had some really warm days then it plunges into slightly cold, colder, and coldest. Also there has been the rain. Dressing appropriately for the weather has been a challenge. On day it is warm people start to loosen up and walk around with less layers to cover them up. But by the time it hits later in the day you need those layers as it gets colder. The Colder days get even more clothing added but by the end of the day you are stripping off layers feeling too warm. LOL.

Now on a day like a couple days, ago a rainy misty day I like. It wasn’t raining so hard yet that you had to rush for cover or walk like they were in a race. You could be a little slow and enjoy the rain a little.

As I strolled to get to my day job that morning I listened to the rain. There is a tempo when it its various objects. The car, street, lamppost or sidewalk. A sort of a melody that is interesting. It made my mind start to plan a scene for a book that takes place in the rain. It is everyday things that garner the best ideas. As I got inside my day job and got ready for the day I thought of this the rainy day melody and the things it has inspired me to do before. Take a long nap while it rained, bundle up and watch movies, organize my cupboards and any other number of things. Each time it rains it is a different melody that inspires me to do something according to what I hear in those drops of rain. The variety of stages of rain made me chuckle.

When I left my day job later that day it was still raining when I got home so the melody inspired me even more. Then it lulled me to sleep. Try and get out and enjoy the weather wherever you can. Listen for the melody around you and let it inspire you. Let me know what happened and type of weather you had. Have a great day.

McKenna Jeffries
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

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Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules.Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotionallowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

Victoria Janssen – Setting and Characterization Through Food

November 24, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 2 Comments →

Setting and Characterization Through Food
Victoria Janssen 

I love food, both eating it and reading about it, and that interest sometimes translates into my work.  I use food for several different purposes, most notably to establish setting and to deepen characterization. 

My December 2009 Harlequin Spice book, The Moonlight Mistress, is set in the early days of World War One, and there are scenes set in Germany, England, and France.  Not only did I take into account local cuisines of those places, and what people might ordinarily eat in 1914, but what might be available to eat in the specific situations I was portraying. 

For instance, in an early scene, two characters are trying to escape Germany.  They stop in a small town and buy “sausages, cheese, fresh bread, a thermos of strong coffee, and bottled beer and lemonade,” even though the French character would really rather have croissants.  This idea is revisited when they’ve arrived safely in France:  “She could really have croissants, with thick creamy butter and clots of strawberry jam.”  In fact, they get buttered rolls and an “omelette…dense with soft cheese and thin ham and fines herbes,” subtly giving an impression of safety through plenty of good, fresh food. 

So far as characterization goes, the character Crispin likes a particular kind of chocolate, “nutmilk choc,” and it appears several times, as a gift from his sister and when he shares his favorite with others.  This is a fairly simple use of food as characterization. 

I got a bit more complicated with a werewolf character, Tanneken.  Her appearance, a small woman in widow’s weeds, contrasts with her sometimes savage werewolf nature.  I tried to show these contrasts through the ways she eats while in a tea shop, and also show that she has recently been through a terrible experience.   

For example:  She…ate a madeleine in one bite, then another.  She chewed, swallowed, and said, “You will not lock me up.  I would kill you first.”  She took one of the cream pastries and studied it a moment before popping it into her mouth.  She’s very hungry, but also somewhat detached from the everyday business of it.  Her words are at odds with her behavior. 

The waitress set down their plate of sandwiches.  Madame Claes took one and popped it into her mouth.  She did not appear to take any pleasure in the food, Pascal noted.  She simply ate it for fuel, like a soldier too long in the field.  The point of view character picks up on the above and learns something about her. 

“I prefer to strike directly whenever I am able, since my government will not allow me to be a soldier.  Even though I can rip out a man’s throat in less than a heartbeat.”  She picked up the last remaining madeleine and nibbled on it, delicately.  And, here, the contrast between manners and words is even more direct. 

Food detail also works wonderfully as contrast between the actual situation and what the characters feel.  A conversation about afternoon tea takes place in a shell hole, while the two soldiers are under bombardment:  “What was tea like at home, when you were a boy?  Cucumber sandwiches and little cream Napoleons?  Or beans on toast?”  We learn much more about the characters through this seemingly innocuous discussion than we would if they had simply continued to talk about the military situation. 

I’m only sad that my book is set too early in the war for me to include ANZAC cookies.  Which are delicious!

A Fictional Thanksgiving . . .

November 23, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 15 Comments →

November 23, 2009


Since Thanksgiving is only three days away, I thought I’d write an unusual blog entry for today. It involves some of my fictional characters and how they’d cook a traditional turkey dinner.

How do you and your family cook yours? Is it just you, stuck in the kitchen for hours? Or does your husband fry or smoke the turkey? Do you make your sister or the kids peel potatoes? Who concocts dessert?

See, I imagine the characters in my current series as one big family, odd though it may be. Since the series is about an agency that recovers stolen art, I figure that one of them would probably have to recover the turkey first. Right? It only makes sense, since these people are recovery agents.

So here’s what I envision. Sheila, who is the ARTemis, Inc. office manager in all three books (TAKE ME IF YOU CAN, TAKE ME TWO TIMES and TAKE ME FOR A RIDE) buys the frozen turkey in the first place, probably with a company-issued grocery store gift card. Can’t you imagine Sheila, in some tight, leopard top that showcases her assets? With her teased blond hair styled seductively and maybe a pair of hot-pink reading glasses on her nose? Yup, I can see her, pushing a shopping cart around the local food-mart in some sprayed-on pants and high heels. She’s muttering and complaining and popping her gum while she loads the cart with sweet potatoes, bags of stuffing, cans of pumpkin and a huge, 22-pound turkey.

Sheila checks out and brings the load of groceries back to the ARTemis offices, where her husband, Marty (the firm’s accountant) complains bitterly about the bill. Sheila ignores him and sticks the turkey in the fridge to start defrosting. But in the morning,

it’s . . . gone!

Who has stolen the turkey?

There are several  prime candidates: Avy Hunt, kick-ass co-owner of the firm, who tends to shoot first and ask questions later. Sir Liam James, her (retired?) master-thief fiancé, who’s never met a luxury item that he didn’t like. (See TAKE ME IF YOU CAN.) Then there’s Gwen Davies, who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth but can now kill a man with a spike heel. Or her blue-collar turned white-collar hottie of a husband, Quinn—who’s a man not to be messed with. (See TAKE ME TWO TIMES.) And finally, there’s hard-living ladies’ man Eric McDougal, who’s got to learn that not everything in life is easy—including, to his shock, himself. (TAKE ME FOR A RIDE.)

Any of these characters could have stolen the turkey. But let’s say that it was Kelso, the other co-owner of ARTemis, Inc.—the guy nobody has ever seen. He operates out of the ether, using digitally-altered voices, and enjoys driving his employees crazy.

So, to keep this short and sweet, it was Kelso who stole the turkey and McDougal who finds it and steals it back. The problem is that it’s still frozen! What’s a bunch of art recovery agents to do on Thanksgiving morning, with a dangerously frozen bird?

Avy wants to hack it apart with a meat cleaver and then toss the parts into the microwave. (Nobody ever said she could cook.)

Liam offers to massage it for hours with warm olive oil. (He’s a sensual kind of guy.)

Sheila swears at it, pops her gum, and goes to the phone to call KFC for some fried chicken instead (while Marty protests the added expense).

Gwen raises her beautifully groomed eyebrows and contacts her favorite caterers while Quinn offers to barbecue on the backyard grill.

And McDougal? Well, he’s got several lady friends who’ve invited him for dinner, so . . . he’ll see them all later. That McDougal, what a player . . . 

Here’s where YOU come in, readers. Whoever supplies the best/most creative/funniest solution for this problem will win a full set of my TAKE ME series—all three books! I’ll stop back by during the day to see what you’re coming up with. Have fun! And have a fabulous Thanksgiving of your own.

(Please visit me at for more information, contest, newsletter, excerpts, etc.)

Karen Kendall 

Impromptu Giveaway – A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine

November 21, 2009 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 24 Comments →

A BLACK TIE AFFAIR, (Forever; $6.99; January 1, 2010) a witty and sexy new contemporary romance by Sherrill Bodine. This heart-tugging follow-up to Talk of the Town will appeal to fans of Susan Mallery, Barbara Bretton, and Susan Wiggs.

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her hands on the Clayworth family’s couture collection for her exhibit.  So she’s thrilled when she’s called in to authenticate the gowns…until she falls ill while examining them and wakes up face-to-face with notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.


Drew doesn’t trust Athena one bit.  He still believes she betrayed him years ago.  So when his family’s gowns go missing and Athena offers her help in exchange for the dresses, he reluctantly accepts.  But they’re both taken off guard by the barely restrained passion that’s still between them…and the memories that are both bitter and sweet.  As they work together to find the dresses, can they resist the sparks between them?


Sherrill Bodine has been writing stories since junior high, when she won a pair of silver skates in a state-wide essay contest.  She has published 15 award-winning novels under two pseudoynyms (Lynn Leslie and Leslie Lynn).  Now she’s decided to be herself and write about the people, parties, and high-life in the city she knows best:  Chicago.  She lives in the Windy City with her husband, four children, Newfoundland and pug dogs.

Pre Order Book Today!   ****

We are giving away 5  copies of A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine. But winners for the books have to be US, Canadian and UK residents. BUT…you knew there was a but right LOL if you enter and your name is picked and you are international winner we will give you a replacement prize – a free read from the RJ book Vault.

Clear as mud?

Now how do you win?

Go to the Author’s Webpage and then come back here and tell us in the comments something of interest you found at her webpage. Will be picking winners December 1st.

Over and Out


Keeping Jane Austen Alive Through My Writing by Mary Lydon Simonsen

November 20, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

Searching for Pemberley 

A brief summary of Searching for Pemberley: Set against Regency England, World Wars I and II, and postwar England, three love stories intertwine in surprising and fateful ways. American Maggie Joyce, touring Derbyshire in 1947, visits Montclair, an 18th century Georgian country house, that she is told was the model for Jane Austen’s Pemberley. More amazingly, the former residents of the mansion, William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, were the inspiration for the characters of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.  Through letters and journals written by the Laceys, Maggie continues to search for signs of the real Darcy and Elizabeth. But when her search introduces her to both a dashing American pilot and a handsome descendant of the Darcy/Lacey line, Maggie must decide how her own love story will end.

Greetings! My thanks to Kim and Jenn for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I have been asked to write about keeping Austen alive through writing. I thought a little background on the Jane Austen sequel bonanza might be of interest to readers of the Romance Junkies’ blog.

Jane Austen is a literary superstar. While many of her contemporaries, such as Fanny Burney and Maria Edgeworth, are seldom read, Jane is a world-wide phenomenon. She has always had her fans, some quite prestigious, such as Sir Walter Scott, Anthony Trollope, and Rudyard Kipling, as well as a secret group of World War I soldiers who read Austen in the trenches. Imagine what reading about Jane’s pre-industrial world must have meant to soldiers who were staring out at a landscape devoid of any living thing because of modern technology.

But it is because of modern technology that admirers of Jane Austen’s works can write prequels, sequels, and screenplays or portray Darcy as a werewolf, Elizabeth Bennet as a vampire, and have the Dashwood sisters from Sense and Sensibility being courted by sea monsters. The oldest tie-in I could find was Catherine Anne Hubback’s The Younger Sister, published in 1850. There are a few sequels in the 1920s and 1930s and Jane Gillespie’s novels in the 1980s. But things picked up considerably in the 1990s, and it had become an industry unto itself in the first decade of the 21st Century. 

Jane first made the leap to the silver screen with the 1940 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Although the costumes were all wrong (having been used in the production of Gone with the Wind), the plot had been tampered with, Greer Garson probably could have played Mrs. Bennet, and Laurence Olivier was wooden, it was still a success because, at its heart, it remained Elizabeth and Darcy’s story.

There were other adaptations, a 1980 BBC production was particularly good and faithful to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but it was A & E’s 1995 production of that novel with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth that reminded everyone of just how wonderful a novelist Jane Austen was, and she crossed over into superstardom.

When I started writing my novel, Searching for Pemberley, in 2005, I knew of one Austen sequel, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, and that was because I was visiting my sister in Austin, and Linda Berdoll was being interviewed by the Austin Statesmen. So I went to the library to see if there were others. Oh my goodness! I had no idea. There was Pamela Aiden and Emma Tennant and Stephanie Barron’s mystery series as well as many others. But why should I have been surprised? I wanted to write a novel with a tie-in to Pride and Prejudice as well. 

But, of course, mine is different. In the first place, it’s not a sequel. My main character, Maggie Joyce, is an American living in post World War II London. When she learns that the characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, in her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, may have been based on real people, she travels to Derbyshire to find out. With all of these wonderful film adaptations of Austen’s work, in which everyone is dressed in the Regency Era style, people may not know that Jane Austen lived most of her life in the Georgian Era. So when Maggie reads the diaries of Elizabeth Lacey, who is possibly the model for Elizabeth Bennet, she is reading about events in the 1790s, such as the French Revolution, and the exodus of aristocratic émigrés from France to England. The madness of George III is in the future, and the kingdom is not yet being run by his profligate son, the Prince Regent and future George IV. 

The reason I write Austen sequels (another novel is coming out in December 2010) is because she gave us characters whom we care about, and because we do care, we want to know more about them. What were the early years of Lizzy and Darcy’s marriage like? Did Georgiana find true love? What was Captain Wentworth doing all those years at sea? Did Fanny Price find happiness with Edmund Bertram? 

If by reading Searching for Pemberley, someone, who has never read Austen, becomes curious enough about Pride and Prejudice to pick up a copy of her book, then I am a minor contributor in keeping Austen alive through my novels. But when you consider that the groundwork for any sequel has been laid by one of the greatest novelists in the English language, it is an easy task to build on that foundation. The difficulty comes in writing a darn good yarn; one that Jane would like to sit down and read in the front parlor at Chawton Cottage, Hampshire.

For more information, please visit my website at or my blog at

Searching for Pemberley is available from: Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Chapters.Indigo.CA and Sourcebooks.

The Joys of Genre-blending

November 19, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 10 Comments →

Blame it on psychology. According to all the personality tests I’ve taken over the years, and I’ve taken quite a few, I don’t fit neatly into any one category. I’m neither, I’m both, and only rarely do I achieve a balance between any two extremes. I even blur the line between introvert and extrovert. Perhaps that’s why I’m never completely happy with a book that isn’t just a little bit edgy or twisted or bent; one that doesn’t stretch or straddle the boundaries between genres; that doesn’t seek to blend disparate elements into one, unique whole.

The subject of genre-blending puts me in mind of the Thanksgiving episode of Friends where Rachel unintentionally combined parts of two different recipes—for English trifle and Shepherd’s pie—resulting in a dish that only Joey could appreciate: “Custard—good. Jam—good. Meat—gooood!”

Sometimes I feel that’s a lot like my own approach to story-crafting. A case in point would be my newest release, Iron, which combined several of my favorite sub-genres into what could be categorized as either a historical and/or a paranormal erotic romance. Is it more one than the other? I think I’m too close to the subject to know. Could it have worked as either a “straight” historical, or a “simple” paranormal, or even as a “non-erotic” historic-paranormal romance? Not for me, it couldn’t!Which makes me all the more fervently thankful for epubs and their willingness to accept a book on its own merit, and not its easy shelveability, so to speak. *g*

It’s not really the fault of traditional publishers, however, and I understand the problems they face. After all, a physical book must be shelved in an actual location—it can’t really occupy two places at once. A virtual book doesn’t have that limitation, it can exist in several sub-genres all at the same time.

I suspect that, as ebooks gain in popularity, we’ll see the rise of even more blended books until, someday, combinations such as sci-fi romantic suspense, comedic paranormal contemporaries, or cozy steampunk mysteries will be the norm.

And why not? Fantasy—good. Suspense—good. Erotic romance—gooood! Put ‘em all together and really…where’s the bad?

So what about you? Do you like your romance blended, or straight up? And what new combinations might you be eager to try?

PG Forte
Love without Limits, Romance without Rules!


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Iron by PG ForteA blacksmith with a tragic past, a faery princess with an uncertain future and a love that burns like iron.

When an immortal, shape-shifting fae arrives on his doorstep seeking shelter, Gavin O’Malley knows he’s in luck. For Aislinn can give him everything his life’s been missing. Now, all he has to do is find a way to keep her—without losing his soul in the process.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.
Read an excerpt here.

Queen Of Sexual Tension

November 18, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 10 Comments →


A few years ago when my romantic comedy (Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart) was released, one of my reviewers labeled me “Queen Of Sexual Tension”.  Let me tell you, I loved that title!  I was thrilled to get it.  I wear it proud even now.  Since that review, some of the other reviewers caught on to my title, and continue to tell me I am the Queen Of Sexual Tension. (grins)  I’ve had a few authors (even interviewers) ask me how I obtained the title.  I will share that with you now, and even explain how to write sexual tension.

First off, the writer must create characters readers will connect with. In my recent release,(a historical) Spanish Eyes, my heroine is a woman trying to live in a man’s world.  Suffragatte, Rebecca Wakefield is determined to become a Pinkerton agent.  She wants this bad, and she is going to fight for it.  Most of us can relate to that, can’t we?  She thinks she has found the notorious thief, Antonio Carrera – a man known as much for his womanizing as he was for his brilliant criminal mind.  She will do anything to get her man and prove to her employer she can be a good agent!

Well…Anton has different plans.  He’s smitten with Rebecca right away, and he is determined to prove to her that he isn’t the theif her agency is after, even if it means practically kidnapping her and taking her to Spain.  He’s a charmer, and he certainly wants to charm his way into Rebecca’s heart.  He also wants to protect her from his uncle’s murderous games.

Okay, so now we have characters we can relate to.  As women, we want a man to sweep us off our feet and treat us with respect and love.  Anton is this kind of man.  He’s very sexy, and will show Rebecca he does care for her…any way he can.  But the key to writing sexual tension is to take the scene – take your characters and get them just so far without really getting what they want.  Dangle the carrot, so to speak, and just as the other person reaches for it and almost touches it, then you yank it away.  Each time you do this, the other person gets just a little closer…almost there…but once again, you take it away. 

I do this with my stories so much, in fact, that I’ve made reviewers want to shake their computer screen.  heehee  Here is a excerpt from my latest release, Spanish Eyes.

Anton had only one thing on his mind, and it didn’t include waking Rebecca’s older companion. Rebecca was more beautiful, more charming, and more sensual than he’d imagined, and he didn’t want to waste a minute of his time, nor hers. She’d told him earlier she informed men when their attentions were not wanted, and so far she’d yet to convey a negative response to him. That was a good sign.

He stroked her cheek, still warm from embarrassment over her companion’s untimely slumber, and trailed his thumb over her bottom lip. Fascinated, he admired its gentle curve, loving the luscious raspberry color that contrasted with her creamy smooth skin. High cheekbones, straight nose, and delicate, curved chin made her face nearly perfect. Her eyes held him prisoner. Amber brown with flecks of melted gold—like her hair. Her beauty couldn’t hide her charade. She had a secret, and determination pushed him to find out why she had been asking so many questions, and in an accent that seemed far too strained at times.

Why the desperate interest in him? His manservant had told him about this woman, and when Anton saw her and her companion crawling through the hedges, he became more curious by the second.  

“Rebecca, would you accompany me outside for a walk in the gardens?”

She swiped her tongue across her lips. The urge to taste her tempting mouth became strong, but he refrained for now. There would be time for that later…he’d see to it personally.

Hooking her arm around his elbow, he escorted her through the side door onto a small patio that overlooked a flower garden. A thick patch of trees bordered the secluded area, keeping their walk very intimate. As they strolled, her body shivered against him, her breath escaping in uneven spurts.

He smiled, loving the power of seduction, seeing himself as an expert at the art. Rarely did a woman refuse him. This one would fall as easily, he was certain.

“So, Anton, where will your operetta group be traveling next?” Her voice shook, and he tried not to grin.

“Since it is the end of the season, we will take a short break for a few months. I plan on staying in New York during that time.” He looked down into her upturned face. “Does that please you?”

“Why would you think such a thing?” One of her perfectly shaped eyebrows rose.

He gave a low chuckle. “This will give us more time to get to know one another. Is that not why you are here with me now?”

Her lips twitched as if she tried to keep herself from smiling. “I think you are jumping to conclusions.”

Señorita? Are you not interested in me?”

She shrugged. The moon gave enough illumination to show him her beautiful eyes.

He moved in front of her, circling his arms around her slender waist, pulling her body against his. A gasp sprang from her, but she obeyed his gentle prompt and rested her hands on his chest. “You mentioned earlier that life is too short. If I find something I enjoy, I, like you, want to savor the moment. You, my dear Rebecca, are one of the pleasures I seek.”

“You have only known me for a short time.”

“But I have sung to you for two weeks. I have memorized every line of your face.” He traced his fingertip along the side of her jaw. “And every curve of your delicate figure.” He dropped his hand to her shoulder and caressed it. “How can you say I do not know you, when in my mind, I have already touched you? In my dreams, I have kissed your sweet lips, held you against my body as your uncontrolled breath brushed my skin.” Her breathing grew faster, accentuating the sensual rise and fall of her bosom, yet she seemed more relaxed in his arms. Seduction was within his grasp.

He lowered his head and swept his lips across her cheek. “And I know you have been thinking of me. Why else would you come every night to see the opera? Why would you look at me the way you do with your fascinating, angelic eyes?”

Her eyelids closed. Almost there. Brushing his lips across hers, he hesitated, teased, and prolonged the sweet pleasure—if only for a moment. But he couldn’t wait any longer. He had to taste her.

To purchase this story, it’s available at Bookstrand Publishing.  Please visit my website for more of my sensual stories.   Also, check out the awesome Book Trailer!

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Men and Their Weapons

November 17, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 27 Comments →

By Nicole North

Whether historical, contemporary or paranormal, most of the stories I’ve written feature a man using a weapon at some point. Maybe it’s because I like a lot of action, suspense and adventure with my sizzling romance. But, let’s face it; a man who has a weapon and knows how to use it is hot. Not because I’m a fan of violence. I’m not. But I do like a hero who is protective of those he loves or cares about. And actually capable of protecting them.

What kind of weapons are we talking about? For my historical heroes, from 17th century Scotland, their weapon of choice is usually a basket-hilted broadsword. They’re much shorter and easier to carry around than the two-handed Highland sword. Gavin, the hero of my novella, Devil in a Kilt in Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures uses both. But of course it depends on whether the scene is a battle scene, skirmish, practice, or whether he is using it for general defense while traveling. At home (in a castle,) the swords and other weapons were usually kept in the armory instead of all the men carrying around swords, axes and pistols all the time, unless they’ve just been out fighting the enemy. But my Scottish heroes usually have a sgian dubh, dirk or dagger well within reach at all times.


Since early types of pistols were in use by the 15th and 16th centuries, my heroes sometimes use those as well, especially the Scottish snaphaunce belt pistols, sometimes made in matched pairs. But they can only get one shot off from each pistol, then they must charge in with their swords.

Showing a hero in action with his sword or other weapon is fun and exciting, so I always try to show that he knows how to use this weapon. It isn’t just for display. Something equally great is a man who can use his hands as weapons, such as in martial arts or simply punching someone out.

Back through history and prehistory, men were the main ones who protected and defended the social group. We see a man who can do this as strong, capable and confident. We want to be under his protection because he knows what he’s doing.

This is not to say women can’t do the same thing, because they can, of course. I love to have my heroines use weapons and save the day too. And the hero admires her for it, but does feel a bit sheepish that he didn’t accomplish it before she did. A hero who can protect his woman and fight alongside her is great to have around.

In my latest erotic romance novella, Kilted Lover, the hero is a modern day, hot, muscular, kilted guy who finds his warrior roots. He’s thrown into a dangerous situation in which he must protect the heroine from two villains, not once but twice. Definitely the kind of man I’d want protecting me!

What about you? Do you like sexy, alpha heroes bearing weapons (or using his hands as weapons)? Which is your favorite type: Medieval knights, Highlanders with huge swords, Western gunslingers, modern day cops, some other type? What about them draws you in? One commenter will win a copy of my erotic romance novella ebook, Kilted Lover.

Click to read a chapter one excerpt of Kilted Lover

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Devil in a Kilt: A trip to the Highland Games turns into a trip to the past when modern day Shauna MacRae touches Gavin MacTavish’s 400-year-old claymore. She finds the Devil in a Kilt she’s had erotic fantasies about for months. Can she break the curse imprisoning this shape-shifting laird and his clan before an evil witch sends Shauna back to her time and takes Gavin as her sex slave?

Watch the Secrets 27 book video.

Kilted Lover: When kilted cabertosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is whitehot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them?

Watch the Kilted Lover book video.

Bio: Nicole North’s erotic romance novellas have been described by reviewers as “exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully delicious and pure romance.” Her stories contain “heart and heat, killer love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters.” Her latest release from Red Sage, Kilted Lover, is contemporary erotic romance novella with a touch of paranormal. Her first story, Devil in a Kilt is in the anthology Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures, out now from Red Sage. The second novella in the series, Beast in a Kilt, will be in Secrets Volume 29. Her works have finaled in over a dozen writing competitions and won several awards. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and three chapters. She teaches online workshops about various aspects of writing, including sexual tension and how to write great love scenes. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love. She and her husband live in the Southeastern US, but she wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year. Visit her website at:

When a Book Speaks to You by Alice Anderson

November 16, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 41 Comments →

I’ve read many books over the years that I really enjoyed. Ones that I recommended to friends and placed on my keeper shelf. Usually the enjoyment factor comes down to one thing: the characters.

I recently picked up Susan Mallery’s latest Special Edition (Silhouette Books) called The Sheik and the Bought Bride. Sadly, I hear it’s the last in the series. I’m going to try really hard not to cry about that…

No matter what you think of the title or the way romance novels romanticize sheiks, this was a great book. (Yes, FTC, I paid for my very own copy!)

What was so great? I knew you were going to ask.

The characters.

First you have a brooding prince from the desert, and you automatically assume that he’ll be hard and edgy. That he’ll act a certain way, and treat the heroine a certain way.

But there’s more to him than that. He’s also known hardship in his life. And he has the scars to prove it. He’s known loss like most of us pray we’ll never know. And yes, he’s a harder man because of it. But he’s also better because of those trials.

Then there’s the ultra spunky heroine. Mallery calls her “a hoot.” I totally agree. Victoria has also known pain, suffering, and poverty in her life. And the man she should have been able to trust with her life is the very one who offers her up as a prize in a card game…to a desert prince.

But she’s loyal and she keeps her promises. She meets adversity head on, with a laugh or two. I really wish I had a friend just like this heroine. Someone who says what she thinks, tells it like it is, isn’t afraid to cry or step in when there’s an injustice. She fights for what she thinks is right and she will sacrifice her very life for the man she loves.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is a heroine.

These are two people who are so perfectly matched that they will resonate with me (and you) long after the book is closed.

Characters like Kateb and Victoria are what makes a book great. And ultimately, it’s characters like these that will make a book “speak” to you.

What books speak to you? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Mallery’s The Sheik and the Bought Bride.


Alice Anderson writes contemporary romance novels when she’s not creating websites or writing articles for authors. She lives in the Southeast and co-owns a web development and marketing firm with her husband. For more articles visit her website at or follow her on twitter for a daily writing tip:

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