Archive for March, 2010

The Greatest Myth

March 30, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 8 Comments →

The HEA ending is vital to romance, and to most erotica.  Happily Ever After, ever true, ever faithful, ever fulfilled.  It’s something we all chase after in our own lives, too.  The man of your dreams, the giant wedding, the blissful life afterwards.  We want that one real soul mate, to be true and faithful to him forever, and get the same in return.  But is this idea of lifelong monogamy no more than a myth?

In spite of the thousands of white-dress dreams lying wrecked on the rocky shores of reality, we still strive to achieve that state of perfect bliss.  And so often, we find ourselves also stranded on that bleak, stony beach: battered, bruised, disillusioned.  Betrayed, or shocked and distressed that we ourselves could have betrayed the ones we love.Recently on the radio I heard an email from a listener read out on a kind of group agony auntie thing, where other listeners can weigh in with advice and opinions.  This man was married, had two little children and another on the way.  He loved his wife with all his heart, and he was having an affair.  The situation was tearing his heart and soul apart.  He loved both women, or so he believed, and it killed him to be deceiving his wife.The majority of reactions from listeners were, predictably, condemnations: what a pig, what a jerk.  I listened and wasn’t so sure.While it’s notoriously difficult to get accurate figures on cheating due to the very nature of the act, some studies suggest that up to half of married people are unfaithful at some stage.  A huge number of us who pledge to devote our lives to another will at some point break the promise we made on our wedding day.  What’s wrong?  Why can’t we be forever true?  Is modern society just sick?In a radio talk on the court of Elizabeth the First I heard the other day, the numerous dalliances of the atistrocracy were discussed by an historian.  It seems infidelity is nothing new.  It’s understandable, to a degree, as arranged marriages were the order of the day, especially among the upper classes.  I’m sure most people will have more sympathy with a philanderer who’d entered into wedlock for mutual convenience or benefit rather than feelings of love or affection.  In old Brehon law marriage seems to me to have been a much looser bond than we think of it now, with provision for people to hook up for a year and see how things work out before committing to a more lasting contract.Then there’s the study of animals genetically close to humans, and their sexual behaviour.  Though we’re not animals, we also actually are.  We’re different from all other animals on earth, but still, the animal kingdom can perhaps give us clues to what our bodies are hardwired for beneath the added input of intelligence, culture and conditioning.  What prejudices and preconceived notions might not stand up if we take an honest look at nature?  One thing is certain: most animals do not mate for life.Should we look on infidelity as an unforgivable sin, or should we consider it a natural phenomenon?  Can a case be made for us to change our views on unfaithfulness?Divorce is the most common outcome of a marriage in which one partner had an intimate relationship with someone else.  It’s a destructive, horrible experience for the married couple who bring things to an end, for their children and often for their friends and family also.  I’ve never been through divorce, bit I imagine there are times when this is the only course of action to take.  I just wonder how often a change of point of view could prevent a lot of sorrow and preserve a partnership that still has a lot to offer for everyone involved.Realistically, when you’ve been married a number of years it’s very possible that initial infatuation can have progressed to a deep and comfortable love.  A love affair can have settled into a precious friendship and life partnership.  Is it possible that such married partners might both feel a desire to explore, to develop relationships with others, but don’t want to give up their very valued relationship with their other half?  Should their choices be to force themselves to be happy with only what they have, or is there scope for us to allow each other secondary relationships?It’s not necessarily a sign that you’ve stopped loving each other, I think.  What it is I don’t know, and whether it is possible for most people to be secure and comfortable in an open marriage is doubtful.Infidelity is often a cry for help, a sign that something is wrong.  Something that can be fixed, in many cases.  Accepting it as natural and making provision for it in our lives might be a disastrous sticking plaster on an open wound.  Still… I can’t help but wonder, when I see the popularity of multi-partner erotica, if there are not at least some of us who need more than one love in our lives.It’s a question with no easy answers.Anida Adler is an author of fantasy erotica.  Her book The Ancient was rated Best Book by Long and Short Reviews.  Under her alter ego’s name, Nadia Williams, she wrote fantasy romance The Pebble, rated 5 by LASR and 3.75 by Night Owl.  You can find out more about Anida and read some of her short stories here.

An interesting combination

March 28, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 9 Comments →

One day at the deli after ordering breakfast my breakfast I stepped back to let the other person in line go. When I heard their order I was intrigued. They ordered cream cheese and bacon on a toasted bagel. It was an interesting combination. I was tempted to ask them how it tasted. So I did. They smiled then said it was good and I should try it sometime. I replied I might. As I took my order to the cashier I was still intrigued by the combination.

Even later as I went about my day my mind was on this combination. When I got home and sat to write I was thinking of the combination of cream cheese and bacon on a toasted bagel. I sat staring at the blank screen and wondered how interesting the combination was. The more I thought about it the more I realized that just like people who fall in love who seem so different that it would not work the combination of cream cheese and bacon works. No matter how different two things maybe they could fit as long as they understand there differences and appreciate each other for it.

Interesting combinations make the best possible matches.

McKenna Jeffries
http://www.mckennajeffries.com/
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McKennaJeffriesList
Free Reads Site: http:/ /www.satinnotes.com/

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 emotion allowed.

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.

Where do crazy ideas come from?

March 25, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 13 Comments →

Goddess of Fried Okra cover

I have always had a side project going as I worked on my contracted books–it’s how I learned to write, but stretching myself and trying to grow as a writer. The most fun—and most crazy-making—of these side projects, now THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA, out in April, started out a few years ago when I rushed one deadline and pushed back another to carve myself three weeks in which to just play. To try to remember what it was like when I wasn’t worrying about all the details involved in the business of publishing but instead to simply write for the fun of it.

I cannot begin to tell you how everything in this book came to be—because it’s a quirky one, I do admit!—but I remember those days fondly. I ditched my computer for my Alphie and sat on my deck in the cool morning shade…and from somewhere—heaven knows where—came this woman who had lost her boyfriend, her job and her place to live all on the same day and had thrown everything she had in her car to set off to find her sister.

The only problem is…well, her sister’s dead.  But Eudora “Pea” O’Brien had consulted a psychic and was on the trail of the new body her sister was in now.  Sister, see, had raised her and was all the family Pea had. Plus Pea had unfinished business with her.

Not that I knew any of this when I began.  I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer, but though I sell on proposal, I have to at least know where I *think* I’m headed.  Yes, later, I had to get analytical, but for those three weeks, I just let myself wander without worrying about narrative structure or anything, just…play. And play. And…well, you get the picture.

So as it turns out, Pea has no idea where to find Sister–she’s watching for Fate to drop hints and reading roadside historical markers as she travels.  Along the way, she picks up some unlikely companions like a starving kitten, a pregnant Goth teenager, and a sexy con man trying to go straight after a disastrous meeting with the husband of his latest vic—er, lady friend. (Can you tell Pea’s a sucker for a lost cause?)

Then there’s the gun shop owner named Glory (her shop is Guns ‘N’ Glory ;) ) who is obsessed with warrior goddesses and a big fan of Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Glory, I might add, is prone to wearing combat boots and pearls, and oh by the way, she’s also a master swordswoman.  And cranky as all get-out. Not that this stops Pea from pestering Glory to teach her swordplay, too.

So you see why there’s a sword on the cover, but the fried okra? Well, Pea also meets the ultimate grandmother, a café owner named Lorena who teaches Pea what is arguably a more important skill (especially if you’re from the South) namely the art of perfect fried okra.

There’s more going on in the story–I guess you can see that I was having a whole lot of fun playing. Where all these elements came from, though—well, I am learning to wield a sword in tai chi right now, but the book is long since done.  I do get, though, why Pea thinks swordplay is so great. ;)

But back to where crazy ideas come from…heaven only knows. Conan the Barbarian?  See, it was like this: my husband and I were driving on back roads one day (you find a whole lot more interesting sights that way) and I happened to spot a little sign about the Conan the Barbarian Festival held in Cross Plains, Texas. Who knew?!?

Turns out that Robert E. Howard was a Texas native (I can only imagine the horrified citizenry of Cross Plains.) The festival that year was over, but who could resist following the trail of something like that, I ask you?!?!  There’s a mural on the side of the library of good ol’ Conan. I hadn’t started this book then, but things like that never leave you, right?

I’d almost forgotten the festival the next year but Fate helped me out with a tiny note in our electric co-op magazine.  So I’m calling my beloved, in the middle of his work day, “Darlin’, wouldn’t you like to go to the Conan the Barbarian Festival tomorrow?”  “How did you know?” said Mr. Long-Suffering Research Assistant and Driver. And away we went.  We watched the parade (you have no idea how disappointed I was to see no cowboys in loin cloths amidst the sheriff’s posse and floats) and we toured the tiny two-room library to check out the exhibit of one of REH’s manuscripts.

I came back home and ordered a couple of his books.  One of them, The Sword Woman, has this amazing creature on the front, a redhead named Dark Agnes wearing a nose-cone breastplate and swinging a mongo sword, trying to take off this burly brute’s head.  Well, Pea is a six-foot-tall redhead, so tell me my brain didn’t start clicking!  Voila, enter swordplay (and Glory’s love of warrior goddesses) into the picture, plus Dark Agnes becomes one of Pea’s spirit guides (Pea has a habit of hearing voices.)

Okay, so now have I made this book sound too weird for words? The premise is indeed quirky, I confess (and okay, some of the content, too) but for those who’ve read my work, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at the heart and emotion in this book. I swear it does have layers and depth.  And Pea is anything but a buffoon–she’s wistful and valiant and somewhat of an innocent. But the book is also a whole lot of fun. The chemistry between her and Val, the con man, was wonderful fun to write.

I feel like I became the truest me as a writer in the process of working on this book. Not that there weren’t a lot of ups and downs, trying to hold onto my faith that I wasn’t wasting my time, no matter how much I loved it, because there’s no question it’s not easy to classify.  I’m deeply grateful for the astonishing quotes I’ve been given on it from writers I admire enormously–Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber, Stella Cameron, Cathy Maxwell, Sharon Sala and Julia London–and Eloisa James is going to feature it on her Barnes & Noble Romantic Reads column. Can you imagine?!?  Plus a review compared it to The Secret Life of Bees, one of my all-time favorite books! I am absolutely over the moon.

It’s been a long and twisty journey, this ramble I took off the beaten path, but even through the ups and downs, my original goal has been accomplished times about a hundred. I’ve discovered a new joy in my craft, and I’ve learned to trust my gut more plus to stick up for what is important to me. I once said that this later-in-life writing venture (I was in the slow class on figuring out what to be when I grew up ;) ) has made me a believer that it’s never too late to follow a wild hare (hair?)  Well, take that sentiment and multiply it a whole bunch of times now, ’cause baby, I sure couldn’t have imagined where rocking on my deck would lead me!

So how often do you let yourself leap into an adventure without knowing where it will go?

Jean Brashear

www.jeanbrashear.com

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The Freedom of Imagination

March 24, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 33 Comments →

by Amanda Forester

One of my happy memories from childhood was my mom reading to us from A.A. Milne.  Winnie the Pooh was a perennial favorite but we also enjoyed the poems, such as IN THE DARK, about Christopher Robin going to sleep.

“Here I am in the dark alone,   /   What is it going to be?   /  I can think whatever I like to think,   /  I can play whatever I want to play,   /  I can laugh whatever I want to laugh,   /  There’s nobody here but me.”

I love this poem because it talks about the freedom we have to dream big in those moments we lay still before we fall asleep.  In my busy life, this time may be the only time all day that I am at rest, not rushing to one thing or another, baby in one hand, briefcase in the other.  This twilight time drifting between awake and sleep is magical.  You can pretend whatever you like, and no one will ever know.  I like these brief moments because I can let my imagination run free.           

“I’m lying in a forest…         /           I’m lying in a cave…     /     I’m talking to a Dragon…          /          I’m BRAVE.”

For me, I usually imagine knights in armor, warriors in kilts, smart heroines, and lots of adventures.  The easy part is keeping these stories to the soft hours of the night.  The risky thing is bringing these stories into the light of day.  It’s fun to be brave in my imagination at night, but in the reality of the morning my courage often slips.  Yet in order to be a writer, one must be willing to share.  So I wrote out one of my favorite stories. 

The Highlander’s Sword is a about a war-weary knight and his smart but shy bride.  Aila was intended for the convent until her brother’s death leaves her an heiress.  Her life gets turned upside down when she is married off to MacLaren, a wary Highland warrior.  My dreams always have lots of adventure so I added a few obstacles in the path of love, including a kidnapping, a devious traitor, a band of enemy knights, and a joust.  And somehow through all of that, they fall in love.  If you enjoy fast-paced historical romance with adventures, a little mystery, and a bit of humor, check out THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD       buy link 

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Where do you go when you let your imagination run free?

IN THE DARK by A.A. Milne, found in Now We Are Six, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1927.

MR. RIGHT-NOW – New from Ellora’s Cave!

March 24, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 3 Comments →

I’m so excited to announce I have a new erotic romance out with Ellora’s Cave! It’s called MR. RIGHT-NOW and it’s smokin’ hot!It’s kind of funny because this version of the story is nothing like the original outline I came up with. While the hero and heroine are the same, the first version was more of a traditional romance, but with almost all of the sex taking place in the beginning of the book. I was going to have Kate and Dawson fall in lust at the wedding, where they have lots of mad, passionate sex, then have them decide to start dating after the weekend fling is over so they could find out if the things they were feeling for each other were real. Of course, that isn’t the normal storyline for a traditional romance, so I kept running into brick wall when I tried to make the story work. I must have tweaked the storyline a half dozen times, but I just couldn’t get the darn thing to flow. I kept putting the outline further and further back in my TBW (to be written) pile until I realized that a couple years had gone by! I was starting to think the story would never make it onto the page.

I really liked Kate and Dawson, though, and thought they had great chemistry together. Plus the two of them were on my case all the time claiming I had abandoned them! I didn’t want to disappoint them, so I took another look at the outline and decided to just tear the story down to it basic elements, keep the best parts of it and toss everything that didn’t work. It just so happened that the best part of the story revolved around all that smokin’ hot sex they had at the wedding! Any great story needs some conflict, though, so I had to come up with one for this newer version. In it, Kate tells Dawson she’s only looking for a weekend fling and ends up falling for him anyway. But how does she tell him she wants more when she was the one who made up the rules? Of course, I can’t tell you that or I’d be giving away the ending!

However, I will tease you with a sexy excerpt! Hope you enjoy it! And if you decide to pick up MR. RIGHT-NOW, let me know how you like it!

Kate Gentry is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. When her best friend asks her to be maid of honor, it just reminds her of how crappy her luck is when it comes to finding her own Mr. Right. Her friends point out she’s trying too hard to find Mr. Right instead of having fun with Mr. Right-Now. They convince her to put her search for the perfect man on hold and have some meaningless sex with a hot guy.Kate takes their advice and propositions the gorgeous best man, Dawson McKenna. When he eagerly agrees, she finds herself doing things she never dreamed of doing—spanking, bondage and some amazing anal sex!

Despite knowing Dawson isn’t supposed to be Mr. Right, Kate finds herself falling for him big time anyway. But since she was the one who made the rules, how can she now tell him she wants more than just a weekend fling?

 Excerpt:Dawson walked over to stand beside her. “Do you want to go to the bar for a drink?”

Kate hesitated. The bar was certainly much more intimate than the restaurant, so it would be the perfect place to carry on what they’d been doing underneath the table earlier. That would certainly be fun, but if she was really going to do this, why waste time in the bar?
She caught her lower lip between her teeth, then tilted her head a little to the side and gave him what she hoped was a sexy look.

“Or we could just go up to your room and raid the mini-bar instead,” she suggested softly.

Dawson’s golden eyes went molten. “Even better.”

Holy crap, she’d done it. She’d just propositioned a guy for sex. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that blatant, but it was obvious Dawson knew exactly what she meant. She felt so proud of herself she almost did a little cheer right there.

His room was on the fourth floor just like hers, but because the elevator stopped on every floor in between to let people on and off, it seemed to take forever to get there. Now that Kate had made the decision to sleep with him, she was impatient to get his clothes off and see if he was as well built as she thought. Being in the close confines of the elevator only made her hotter for him. By the time they got to his floor, she was ready to push him up against the wall and get busy right there. She actually might have done it, too, if she wasn’t afraid they’d get arrested for public indecency. She almost laughed. Wow, she was better at being naughty than she’d thought.

His hotel room was an exact replica of hers, right down to the fireplace and hot tub. It was the king-size bed against the wall that caught and held her attention, however. As she took in the fluffy pillows and white goose down comforter, she pictured herself rolling around on it with Dawson, their naked bodies entwined as they engaged in hot, sweaty sex. Just the idea started a really nice purr between her legs.

“The mini bar is probably pretty limited, but I’m sure we can find something,” Dawson said as he tossed his key card on the dresser. “What can I get you?”

Images of her and Dawson still running through her head, Kate turned to face him. She couldn’t believe she was actually going to go through with this. Before she could change her mind, she set her purse down on the bedside table and walked over to loop her arms around his neck. She hadn’t realized how tall he was downstairs, but now she had to tilt her head back to look up at him.

“Maybe we should forget about having a drink and test out the mattress instead,” she suggested softly. “I hear they’re very comfortable.”

Surprise flickered in his eyes for a moment, but he rested his hands lightly on her hips all the same. “Kate Gentry, are you seducing me?”

“I might be,” she admitted. “But only if it’s working.”

He chuckled. “Oh, it’s definitely working.”

She smiled up at him. “Then in that case, I’m definitely seducing you. I figured since we’re both obviously attracted to each other, we should hook up for the weekend.”

She tried to make the words sound casual, but inside, her heart was pounding like crazy. She didn’t know if it was from excitement or nerves, though. Maybe it was a little of both. She’d never actually seduced a man like this. And the words, “hook up for the weekend,” had certainly never, ever come out of her mouth before.

He lifted a brow. “Hook up? As in casual sex, no strings attached?”

Clearly, he was way more familiar with this type of thing than she was. She nodded. “Exactly. Once the weekend is over, we get on the ferry and go our separate ways. No muss, no fuss.”

He pulled her closer, his mouth curving into a sexy grin. “That works for me.”

She should have tried this whole seduction thing long before this. She was better at it than she’d thought. Kate didn’t reply, but instead leaned in and kissed him.

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Buy it from Ellora’s Cave!http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8117-mr-right-now.aspx

For more of my sexy erotic fiction, including EROTIC EXPOSURE and JUST RIGHT my other new releases, and GOOD COP, BAD GIRL my upcoming release, all from Ellora’s Cave, visit my website at http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com

*hugs*

Paige

“Stories so hot, they’ll make your cheeks blush!”

http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com

http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com

Gordon Ramsay vs. Paula Deen by Louisa Edwards

March 22, 2010 By: Romance Junkies Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 52 Comments →

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I guess it’s not a secret at this point that I love food.  Cooking, eating, trying new things, whipping up old classics—I love it all. One of the interview questions I’m most consistently asked:  What’s your favorite dish?

And I never know what to say. Because while I have many favorites—from childhood and beyond—I have also always had a sense of the many flavors and foods yet to be tried. I’m intimately familiar with the glories of good biscuits, salt-cured Virginia ham and red-eye gravy, but I’ve never tasted bucatini all’amatriciana, or the pungent flesh of the durian fruit, or Oysters Rockefeller!  So how do I know what my favorite dish is?

A lot of professional chefs share that restless curiosity about new foods.  It’s certainly something the hero of my most recent novel, On the Steamy Side, is familiar with.  Devon Sparks is a jaded celebrity chef trying desperately to maintain his identity as a cook in the face of fame and scandal.  His first instinct is to experiment with new techniques and odd flavor combinations—but something is missing.

 

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Meanwhile, my heroine, Lilah Jane Tunkle, is going through her own identity shift after moving to New York City from a small town in the Blue Ridge mountains of

Virginia. She wants to break out of her old life and experience what the world has to offer—but she never quite leaves behind the lessons she learned in her Aunt Bertie’s kitchen.

These characters butt heads over many things, but one of the central conflicts that arises again and again is the issue of fancy, experimental food versus old-fashioned comfort cooking. (Imagine Gordon Ramsay throwing down with Paula Deen—man, who would win that fight?) True magic only happens when Devon and Lilah start sharing ideas and collaborating in the kitchen, producing delicious new dishes with

Devon’s trademark flare and a good helping of southern soul from Lilah.

So what’s your favorite dish?  Would you rather try something new or stick to what you know satisfies?  Comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of On the Steamy Side, a farmer’s market tote and a Tastebook (I’ve filled it with recipes from my kitchen and the kitchen of chef friends).

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I wasn’t meant to be a sandwich

March 19, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 8 Comments →

Just this week I’ve received several emails from readers who’ve mentioned that they’re not only juggling their own lives, but those of an elderly parent. Reading offers them an escape. I’m hope that my latest Sweet Magnolias book, Home in Carolina, will also offer them a few chuckles.

Those of you who’ve followed this series know that attorney Helen Decatur has always been a type A control freak. In her story, Feels Like Family, Helen not only found herself married, but pregnant. In the interim between that book and this, she’s been struggling to get her professional feet back under her.

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Now, in a secondary storyline in Home in Carolina, Helen is faced with bringing her aging mother home from Florida to recover from a broken hip. She does not come to the task with grace and good will.

I suspect many of you will be able to relate. I know I do. Though I lost both of my parents quite suddenly, over the past few years I’ve been involved with the care and decision-making for two elderly aunts. Along with my cousins, we’ve struggled with the decisions that needed to be made.

On one occasion, my cousin and I spent an evening taking my aunt to a retirement community, describing to her in an upbeat way all of the advantages of moving there and, we were certain, convincing her to our way of thinking. The next day, I proudly announced to her doctor that she’d agreed and asked that he reinforce the decision when he spoke with her. She listened to him quite attentively, smiled, then said, “Well, yes, but I don’t think so.” And so, there was yet another full-court press.

Sadly, she died less than a year after we’d moved her. I think had any of us know her future would be so short, we’d have found a way to keep her in her home.

Now with the last of my father’s siblings, an aunt who’s 97, we’ve promised to keep her in her home, as long as she cooperates. We’ve brought in live-in help, who apparently can do absolutely nothing right. The battles over cutting back to part-time help have been spirited. Even now, a year after we began this journey, I have no idea what to expect when I get back to Virginia. Just the other day, she was trying to win me over to her side about cutting back the caregiver’s hours. Each battle saps the energy of me and my cousins.

So, for those of you out there who are caught in between — the true sandwich generation — I feel your pain. I hope you, too, will find a few laughs in Helen’s storyline in Home in Carolina. And that you’ll also enjoy the long awaited story of Ty and Annie, which is the main thrust of the book. The book will be in stores March 30…and there are teases now running on my Facebook page, so if you’re on Facebook, sign up to become a friend.

There will be two more new Sweet Magnolias books this spring. Sweet Tea at Sunrise will be in stores at the end of April and Honeysuckle Summer comes out at the end of May. You can get all the details on my website, www.sherrylwoods.com, along with a checklist that groups all of my books by series and in order of publication.

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If you’re new to the Sweet Magnolias, I hope you’ll enjoy their deep friendships and wonderful community. And, as always, I wish you lasting friendships of your own.

Sherryl Woods

Cultivate Your Imagination Like You Cultivate Your Garden

March 18, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 14 Comments →

I’m a voracious reader and prolific writer, but I’m also the most optimistic gardener you’ll ever find. When my husband and I married 15 years ago, we soon found out that we needed to find other things in common than just … well … bedroom compatibility (although that still holds its own appeal).

He’s an engineer, I’m a writer. Weekday life pulled us in different directions, so we put our heads together to figure out a couple of good matches that would get us off the couch, working together, and would produce something to show for it. We’re both terrific chefs now, can ride our bikes with our son for endless miles, and our garden is the toast of the town.

Really, had I figured out at 20 that I could remember the Latin name for every plant I’ve ever touched, the proper way to balance the pH in our southern red clay soil so that I could tinker with the chromophores in hydrangea to make the blooms either pink or blue, the correct time of year to prune my myrtles or camellias or lorapetulum, or the benefits of composting kitchen waste to produce the most excellent humus in the south … my life would be distinctly different.

But as much as I love to cultivate our garden, I love to cultivate my mind and my imagination more. I’m always saddened by people who’ll tell you, “I’m a banker,” or “I’m a computer programmer.” Because my computer programmer husband is that, plus an enviable chef, master gardener, playful father, active outdoorsman, and generous lover. To name a few.

Personally, I love art, so I enrolled in the competitive docent program at the North Carolina Museum of Art and was accepted. I did that for five years, and learned so much about the history of art … but I also learned how civilization influenced and was influenced by different art forms and topics. Art is the litmus and the record of our current times. Who knew art history would help put into perspective politics and law, and make it easier to help my son with social studies.

The Right Words, by Becky MooreWhen I wanted to learn more about why our town seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds (and seemingly without direction), I contacted the mayor and he appointed me to the Town’s Appearance Commission. It was interesting to see how many requests came and went, and to participate with the town council as the decisions were made. And when our nation was faced with escalating gas prices in the fall of 2007, my family challenged itself to park our cars on the weekend and travel throughout town by bicycle. Not only did we get in great shape, but we saved tons of money on gasoline, reduced our carbon footprint, found a great activity that let us focus on fun conversations, and allowed us to … well … stop and smell the roses.

It’s easy to cultivate your garden. You can learn that from books and from your local garden center or through a class at your local university. Fertilize. Water. Prune. Mulch. Cultivating your imagination takes a little more effort, a willingness to try new things, a fondness for the unexpected, and a great sense of humor. It’s something you carry with you forever, too.

As a writer, cultivating my imagination has given me endless possibilities for stories, with characters possessing endless opportunities and possibilities to mine. So the next time somebody asks you what you do or what you are, blow their minds. Tell them … everything. You may surprise yourself—because there’s more to you than meets the eye.  

  • What interesting things have you done to learn more about the world around you?
  • Got any fun and spicy tips to cultivate your marriage? Your partnership? Yourself?

~ ~ ~ 

You can read more about Becky Moore online at www.beckymoore.net.
Join her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
The Right Words is available through the XOXO Publishing Online Shop.

~ ~ ~ 

SEALed by the Seat of my Pants

March 15, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 7 Comments →

sealed_with_a_promise.jpg

I love to get emails from fans. I heard from a reader the other day who begged me not to stop writing my SEALed series. She’d read somewhere that I had only one more planned.

In fact, people often ask me will the series continue past the book I’m currently working on.

Here’s the thing. I know writers who have their series plotted out four or five books into the future. I’m not one of them. I’m a pantser.

There’s a sort of good news/bad news scenario that goes with being a pantser.

The bad news is: I don’t know what will happen in a story until I write it. I do a lot of nail biting. I started SEALed with a Ring knowing only three things: that Davy was the hero; I wanted a marriage of convenience plot; and I had a phrase running around in my brain: Sometimes you don’t get what you bargain for. Sometimes you get more. With so little to go on, every book, while I’m working on it, feels like the last one.

The good news is that in my world the future is malleable.

I once wrote Suzanne Brockmann begging her please not to kill off Mary Jo—I could see the setup—even though Mary Jo deserved it, and it would solve another character’s problem.

But Suze is one of those who plans story lines way into the future. By the time I knew about Mary Jo’s peril, it was too late for me to save her—the next book was already at the publisher’s. (Suze didn’t kill her. Whew!)

The bad news for a plotter is that there’s not much they can do with reader’s suggestions for series development—whether they would like to or not.

Me? My next book is pretty much a clean slate. It’s not too late to make suggestions. If you have characters you want to see more of, tell me. Is there a dénouement (the point at which all the strings are tied up) that wasn’t complete for you. One fan feels the senator father of Do-Lord in SEALed with a Promise, hasn’t been punished and should be. Another was intrigued by the “off-screen” love story between Lon and Lauren in SEALed with a Ring. She wants details.

Will I do what they suggest?

If I knew that, I wouldn’t be a pantser and I wouldn’t be writing this blog.  I can tell you this much. I was at the dentist’s last year about this time. When I checked out, the office staff gathered around for an update on my books. I told them SEALed with a Promise had just been released and I was working on SEALed with a Ring.  The receptionist, listening from her post at the front counter, quipped, “So you have SEALed with a Kiss, a Promise, and A Ring. What’s next, SEALed with a Baby?”

We all laughed and I tried to look mysterious.  At that time, all I could think was that the SEALed with a Ring deadline was far too close, given that I had no idea how it ended. I had no plans to ever write another one. Ever.

Once it was finally turned in, my editor asked, as she always does, “Got any ideas for another book?”

“Do you remember Garth?” I asked.

“Of course,” she answered. “Garth was Davy’s commanding officer.”

“On a temporary duty assignment Garth discovers a sturdy, ventilated cardboard box labeled Bananas Product of Ecuador stowed in the rear of a spy transport plane. Inside the box is a sleeping baby.”

Idea Spark – A Fro Affair

March 13, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 2 Comments →

I was on my way home the other day when I passed this woman who was sporting a slamming Afro hairstyle. The woman’s fro was big, high and poufy. I think it was a wig but it was so good I couldn’t tell. She was also sporting the clothing to go with the fro. She looked fierce. People were turning and looking at her. Me included. People were complimenting her on her look. Like any good diva she said thank you graciously and kept strutting. As I watched the woman stepping looking cool and fierce my mind was racing.

Yep another idea was taking shape. As I walked home I thought of the Fro. The idea took shape for a book with a woman in a fierce fro and clothes to match.

A fro brought so much more than viewing pleasure. It brought an inspiration. I’ve mentioned before that there are inspirations for ideas all around you. Taking something that happens in the everyday life then using it create a concept and make it yours. The unexpected can lead to so much more.

Any little thing can give you an idea spark.

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com/

Wilde Seduction – What happens when a woman who doesn’t know how to relax meets a man whose lust for life will change her and make all her deepest desires come to life?

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

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