Archive for December, 2010

A Picture

December 28, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

I was looking through my photo album. As I flipped each photo it brought back what happened when the picture was taken. It was memories of my life. I thought of what I was feeling, what was happening and what happened next. When I finished with the album I sat and thought about it some more.

This is what is portrayed in books. What the writer is trying to get across. A picture into the life of the characters. Books should give you a picture in your mind that you can visualize like you are there. You are living it. If this happened when you read it is fulfilling.

I love that when I read. There have been many books that make that happen for me. Those are the one I remember. The ones I go back to and reread often. Because they filled various emotions. They are the ones that a scene from the story pops onto my thoughts at random times. The ones that make me go to read the book so I can read the stories again. The pictures they create live with me for a long time.

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.

The creation of a movie trailer by Ciara Gold

December 18, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News No Comments →

Yay!  The Keeper of Moon Haven is now available for download and it got a glowing review from Romance Junkies. Check out my website for the first chapter. With that in mind, I figure I need to do some heavy promoting. This is one of my favorite stories.

Yeah, so I’m always a bit behind on getting things done. Movie trailers have been around for a long time, ever since I had my first book published by Champagne and I’ve yet to create one. Yes, I do have one movie trailer. My publisher kindly made one for me when I sold so many copies of Celestial Dragon.

 So, I thought I’d share my trials and tribulations concerning my feeble attemps to create the trailer. First, as an artist I just couldn’t see using stock images for the trailer and of course if I don’t use stock images, that means I have to somehow create my own images. Two weeks ago, during class, I got out paper, wrote an outline, drew out some images and started to paint. I’m a fast painter and I dare say, the images are a bit loose, but I have six panels done. The students got a kick out of watching me work and I think it fascinates them that images can be created so quickly with a bit of paint.

I took photos and sent them to my home computer. I then used photoshop to tweak (and they did need tweaking). I found some really cool free music on line that I can use so that’s good. But man, after that I fumbled a bit. It’s been forever since I did any type of movie making. I worried for nothing as Movie Maker is so easy. Here’s the result:

YouTube Preview Image

So how many of you actually look at book trailers? And for authors, how many of you make them? I’m looking forward to diving into this new adventure for other works but it may have to wait until summer when I have time to paint.

The Laundry Room Steams Up

December 17, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 8 Comments →

Thanks Kim and Romance Junkies for hosting me today. It’s always great to come back to such a friendly site.

Today I’m going to talk about doing laundry Regency style. You’d probably wonder why I choose this topic to write about. I once watched a TV series called The Worst Jobs in History and there was an episode about doing laundry. It was hard work and with long hours. The laundry maids were often in contact with “chemicals” which could harm their skin.

In my latest novel, Fire and Cross, Pride and Prejudice with a steamy mysterious twist, I’ve two scenes featuring the laundry room. But I’m happy to say that no harm was done to any maids in the creation of these scenes. Just have a look at the adapted excerpt from below:

Mr. Darcy had wandered around Pemberley in search of someone from dawn till dark.

After passing through each room with frustration, he had finally arrived at the pond and found the most striking woman standing there.

When she had turned around, he could see with the assistance of the setting sun that it was Elizabeth.

Her dark-brown hair had been released to her shoulders. Her sensual body was sheathed in a corset that was almost translucent.

She arched her eyebrow and gave him a teasing smile before trying to untie the garment.

Darcy swallowed hard and stood there in anticipation. He was intensely aroused.
He waited one minute. Two minutes, then three.

Her hands were most ineffective. She continued to smile and gaze at him.

Impatient, Darcy stepped towards her and offered to help her untie the corset. But then she suddenly began to flee from him, running along the border of the pond.

She was laughing, stopping to splash water at him.

With a loud howl that did not in fact produce any sound, Darcy gave chase. But she was like a butterfly, escaping his grasp the moment he could smell the scent of her skin. By now, she was thoroughly wet. The white fabric moulded itself to her figure, outlining every valley and delicious mound.

His aroused senses were heightened to an unbearable degree and hindered his pursuit.
On and on he ran after her awkwardly, from the pond to the formal garden and into the house.

After the ballroom and the library, Darcy finally found Elizabeth in the dark laundry room. Behind sheets of laundry, in the dim wavering light from a host of candles, she started untying the corset and taking off the wet garment with deliberate slowness.

He caught his breath and parted the sheets. His eyes bored into her skin as he savoured her measured undressing.

When the top of her corset dropped down, she pulled her long hair to the front and covered her tempting body.

Then Elizabeth bent forward and pushed the garment down her wide hips. Darcy’s breathing became fast and shallow. His eyes followed the path of the white fabric.

Slowly, her adorable navel was revealed. Then…

***

Then the rest is a bit too steamy to be put here. What do you think of Mr. Darcy’s dream? Share your racy dreams here.

Thanks again Kim and Romance Junkies for hosting me today. I’m delighted to give out an ebook of Fire and Cross in pdf format and a lovely souvenir to one lucky reader. Please head over to my website and register for news and leave a comment here. Warning: The novel and my site contain explicit adult content.

Contest ends 31 December and is open to worldwide readers. Big hugs from hot and sunny Sydney, Enid.

****

Fire and Cross

The combination of a lethal blaze and a garnet cross have ensured that ever since he was a boy, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s future is promised to an unknown lady.

With danger looming from a suspected spy, and with murder close at hand, will Mr. Darcy cross paths with Elizabeth Bennet and win her affections? Mr. Darcy’s journey to overcome his pride and find eternal love in Pride and Prejudice takes on a mysterious twist.

This sexy what-if story, told from Darcy’s viewpoint, explores the demands of family members and other involved parties. Fire and Cross takes this perennial favorite in another direction, bursting with overpowering emotion and surprising plot twists.

The Dream Guardians – Character Crush 2 by Shirin Dubbin

December 16, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 16 Comments →

A couple of months ago I stopped by to talk about Character Crushes and the irresistible heroes written by some of my favorite authors. This month I’m back with a new release, Dreams’ Dark Kiss, and I’m excited to share my Dream Guardians with you. (Take a glance below and you’ll see why I’m so giddy. Anyone have an iced cocktail or a fan they could offer me? whew!)

When writing a romantically driven tale it’s hard not to fall for your hero. With Dreams’ Dark Kiss I’d have woken up on the moon sooner than resist the Dream Guardians. My affections were split four ways and Keoni, Archer, Jay and Alexi were well worth the identity crisis. The strange thing is I didn’t see them coming. I knew all about the main hero, Keoni, but suddenly Jay showed up as his best friend and the others followed. Perhaps it’s Keoni’s love of family that brought his “brothers” into play; or maybe once I’d met him I just couldn’t let the story end with him. I guess that’s a question for another day. Right now I’d like to make formal introductions, I give you The Dream Guardians, Bachelor Squad:

Keoni (Keo) Excerpts:

The slow smile returned, the scar slashing across his chin enhanced it somehow…

Mmmmm. She leaned back to look at him. He grinned. Gorgeous bastard. He had an arsenal of smiles, each one designed for a different kind of damage. This particular expression promised body-rocking sex.

Dead sexy. Target locked. Boom ting! He had her. How apropos he pronounced his nickname KO. He’s seriously a knockout punch.

Archer (Boss Man) Excerpts:

Empty space one minute and Archer filled it the next. He leaned over the armchairs, one hand clasping the back of each. Black smoke wisped at the cuffs and collar of his greatcoat, then settled into cloth and stitch…

[He] definitely had style. You’d have thought he was Batman…  Stranger things had happened, and Archer was old, older than any human could be, and every other dream guardian was most definitely human. Archer? Who knew.


Jay (Freefall) Excerpt:

The new guy sported a buzz cut and wore a cinnamon hued motorcycle jacket over a white t-shirt. If the barbwire tattoo wrapping around his neck didn’t warn you to pump your brakes and dodge the bad boy, the sardonic set to his rugged First Nations features certainly did.

Alexi (Xi) Excerpts:

Out of nowhere, the husky skidded to a halt and rose to become a man resplendent in a creamy cashmere turtleneck, gray jeans and matching snow boots. Alexi folded his arms over his chest and arched a snow-white brow…

Alexi was the youngest among them, and he loved living—balls out—but he respected life more and bore a weakness for the underdog. His willingness to sacrifice himself for the smallest needs of others would probably cost Alexi his life one day, but Keoni knew his friend well enough to know he wouldn’t mind a bit.

The full cast of Dreams’ Dark Kiss can be found here.

Feel free to call dibs on which Dream Guardian you’d like to protect you while you sleep! A random commenter will win a copy of Dreams’ Dark Kiss (with the alternate Keoni cover) before it goes on sale.

Don’t End

December 13, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

The other day I was reading a book that was really good. I mean really good. The characters were captivating, plot very interesting and the whole concept was so engaging. As I continued to read I didn’t want the story to end. Each page closer to the end I wanted to know what happened next but didn’t want it to stop. The ending was perfect to story. A book like that is so satisfying to read.

It made me think about what happened after the end. I wanted to know more about the characters, their friends and the world they love in. They made me care to know what comes after the end. What happened to them as a couple? What about their friends, what is their story? Will their friends have a story to? Will their neighbor get their own happily ever after? So on and so on. The story did end satisfyingly with all the loose ends rapped up however I was so engaged with the book I wanted it to continue. This is why I love series that continue in the same world and/or with the same characters. Series where you get a chance to see characters from previous books and how they evolve.

Even now a week later I think about the book and wonder what happens next. I love books that create this feeling. Make me long to read more. It is a gift when you are so capture by a story. This is the feeling writers strive for. The feeling I strive for in my own books. From some of the emails I receive/d on my books I have achieved it. This book got it and I was glad I had a chance to read it. Even though it did end. (grin) I’m on the lookout for my next book I don’t want to end. So share some of the books you’ve read that you didn’t want to end. Give me details.

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.

Get DEAD SEXY and Show a Zombie Some Love!

December 10, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 3 Comments →

Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave called DEAD SEXY

Before I say anything else though, isn’t that cover too hot for words?!  When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book.  The hero is “Dead Sexy,” after all! 

Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it.  First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself.  Well, about my hubby and me, actually.  We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including “Walking Dead,” the new series on AMC.  You just can’t go wrong with  a movie full of walking dead people, can you?  Well, if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven’t), then you know the creatures aren’t the heroes of the film.  I mean, how can they be, right?  They’re all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary.  Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero.  I was like, you’re kidding, right?  What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy?  No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.

Turns out, my hubby wasn’t kidding.  In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.

“The hero didn’t have to be a zombie all the time,” he told me. “Think outside the box – take a little literary license!”

Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded.  

My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.  

“I’m listening,” I said. 

“And when he does go zombie, he doesn’t have to be like the kind in the movies,” my hubby added.  “Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn’t have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross.”

So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!

“Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I’ve got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea.”

I thought about that for a minute.  “So, the hero’s dead, but he’s still sexy, is that what you’re saying?”

“Exactly,” he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.

By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea.  Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel.  And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!  I still had to find a publisher for it, though. 

About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora’s Cave and I thought what the heck?  Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks?  So I did, and she told me to send it to her.  She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing.  Well, long story, short, she liked it.  A lot!  My zombie romance with it’s dead-sexy hero had a home!  I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, “I-told-you-so” look on his face.

I’ve been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I’m thrilled with the interest from readers who can’t wait to get their hands on it!  I can’t wait for them to read it, too!  

Now that I’ve revealed the story behind the story, I thought I’d share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!

Blurb:

Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City – in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.

The sex is the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.

Excerpt:

As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.

“I had a great time tonight.”

“Me, too.”

She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.

Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.

Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.

She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.

Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.

He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.

Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.

Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.

Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”

Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”

God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.

“You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”

Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”

“Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”

She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”

It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”

“Good. Be here at seven.”

“Seven it is.”

She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”

His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”

Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”

“Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”

She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”

He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”

Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.

It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head.

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you can’t wait to read more! You can get DEAD SEXY from Ellora’s Cave at http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8917-50-dead-sexy.aspx

Watch the Trailer Here!

YouTube Preview Image

If you decide to pick up DEAD SEXY, let me know how you like it! 

 *hugs*

Paige

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

http://www.paigetylertheauthor.com

http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com

Ideas Come From a Small Factory in Iowa – Bobbye Terry

December 09, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 18 Comments →

If you’re an author, at least once (probably a gazillion times) someone is going to ask you how you come up with the ideas for your stories. It is such a common question that after a while you can become glib about answering them. For instance, you really want to tell them you buy them from a small factory in Iowa or that old ladies make them by hand and mail them FedEx. But the truth of the matter is generating ideas can come easily for some and feel like reaching for the brass ring to others.I have always been fortunate in that I have a very lively imagination. So much so, it’s amazing I ever made it through childhood. At four or five I believed I could fly with a cape made out of a towel tied around my neck. I’d get on my swing set, swing as high as I could and jump out. God watches out for dogs and small children, and I never even broke a bone. I also had a doll named Honey Pot who was my constant companion wherever I went. I even got my cousin off the hook for eating half a box of chocolates at Christmas by telling my uncle Honey Pot did it. He laughed so hard, Pam escaped without punishment.Even though I think of ideas easily, I am here today to share some ways to stimulate the mind of those less imaginative so they can also generate many story ideas.

1. Current events:Think of big news stories that appeal to you, like natural disasters, burglars who bungle and get caught, heists that are successful, serial killers who have yet to be caught. Take some of the interesting facts and then twist them to make them in a different place with the hero suddenly being the burglar but for a good reason, or maybe what he stole was really his stolen earlier by the real villain. Or the hero is in the middle of the natural disaster, but the outcome is different.

2. Historic events and/or catastrophes: An excellent way to craft an alternate history tale. Take an event like the American Revolution, only the British are victorious, or the Civil War but the South wins. Take a catastrophe like Mount Vesuvius covering Pompeii in ashes, but many of the citizens escape and start a new colony.

3. Fractured fairy tales/legends/myths: Take the legend of Rip Van Winkle but make it a woman and have her wake up younger. Take the myth about unicorns but have them discovered in a small forest in Germany.  Take a fairy tale like Snow White, but make the dwarves construction workers and she lives with them just off a worksite.

4. Observing people or driving past places: have a long distance to drive to work. Look at natural landmarks buildings, even things like construction. Once while driving down past an industrial building in the middle of nowhere I thought about what if it were a government project for people who needed to  lose weight and FAT CHANCE was born, a book being re-released in a Kindle version by Terry Campbell (Linda Campbell and moi)in the very near future. Watch how a little girl and her mother react, or listen to a husband and wife having lunch. Write down humorous tidbits of conversation. Ideas come at the funniest times.I hope these ideas fuel your muse and may you write many wonderful stories. Please, ask questions or make comments for other readers.

Bobbye Terry writes as herself in the romantic suspense and women’s fiction genres, as Daryn Cross when writing fantasy and science fiction solo and as Terry Campbell when writing romantic comedy with Linda Campbell. She lives in the country between cotton fields with her chocolate Lab who is part goat and part human. Bobbye’s latest work is IT’S MAGIC, a romantic fantasy written under her pen name Daryn Cross with co-writer, L.J. DeLeon.

My Very Own Easter Egg – Meg Benjamin

December 08, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 4 Comments →

Brand New MeIn one of Nora Roberts’ novels, she introduces a secondary character named Roger Townsend by saying he looks a little like Cary Grant. When I read that, I snickered, which is probably what I was meant to do. “Roger Townsend” is the name of Cary Grant’s character in North By Northwest, a wonderful Hitchcock thriller from the fifties.The whole idea of making a character’s name an in-joke reminds me of the Easter Eggs that programmers used to build in to software and video games: secret pictures and nuggets of information that could only be revealed by hitting the right combination of keys. It’s the same kind of special treat thing: if you know your Cary Grant movies, you get a reward!All of this came back to me while I was working on my most recent Konigsburg book, Brand New Me (Samhain Publishing). My hero’s name is Tom Ames. Now that name may not mean much to most people, but if you’re an Americana music fan like me, it means a lot. Tom Ames is the hero and narrator of Steve Earle’s song “Tom Ames’ Prayer.” He’s an unregenerate outlaw who’s having one last conversation with God before heading into his final gun battle. The first line in the song—“Everyone in Nacogdoches knew Tom Ames would come to some bad end”—lodged itself in my brain as soon as I heard it, and I knew I wanted to have a hero named Tom Ames.But I didn’t want an outlaw. After all, the Konigsburg Chief of Police, Erik Toleffson, was the hero of my previous book, Long Time Gone. I didn’t want my newest hero coming up against someone I’d already established as a good guy. So I put Tom in charge of a bar. And not just any bar, mind you: he owns the Faro, which had been mentioned as far back in the series as book one, Venus In Blue Jeans.This makes Tom a sort of different hero for me. All the Toleffson brothers were professionals: a vet, a county attorney, an accountant, a police officer. Tom is, well, “none of the above.” He obtained the Faro under somewhat shady circumstances (there’s the outlaw thing coming through), but he’s an honorable man keeping track of a somewhat eccentric bunch of employees. There’s the bouncer, Chico, a man-mountain who enjoys keeping the Faro’s customers in line. And there’s the chef, Clem, who’s determined to turn the Faro into a first-class restaurant.And then there’s the heroine, Deirdre Brandenburg. She’s Docia Toleffson’s cousin, and she’s lived a somewhat sheltered life. But a disagreement with her father sends her out on her own and an encounter with Tom sets her on the path to being the sexiest barmaid in Konigsburg.What happens when an outlaw barkeep meets an unemployed MBA looking for a temporary job? Fireworks, that’s what. But at least my Tom Ames doesn’t come to a bad end. It’s HEA all the way, baby!You can hear Steve Earle sing “Tom Ames Prayer” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKxDJM7tyIQor you can here a slightly clearer version sung by his son Justin Earle at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOseBZlZ8TQSo what’s your feeling about sort-of-bad-boy heroes? Commenters will be entered in a drawing for copies of Brand New Me.Here’s the blurb for Brand New Me:If any man wants more than a dance with her, they’ll have to get past him…Deirdre Brandenburg has an MBA and a dream to become the coffee supplier for Konigsburg’s growing restaurant industry. What she doesn’t have is money, courtesy of her billionaire father’s scheme to make her come home. All she needs is three months until her trust fund kicks in. Until then, she needs a job.Hiring the new girl next door is a no-brainer for ex-gambler Tom Ames. He’s already succeeded in making his bar, The Faro, a growing tourist draw. Deirdre’s beauty will pull in the locals—particularly every red-blooded male in the Hill Country. As he watches her transform from tentative business wonk to confident, sassy barmaid, he realizes he wants first crack at her heart.When Big John Brandenburg sends Deirdre’s ex-boyfriend to drag her home, the plan backfires, leaving Tom’s bar in shambles and Deirdre kidnapped by a band of loony Texas secessionists.Things are looking pretty bleak—except the good people of Konigsburg have no intention of giving Deirdre up, either. Even if it takes every Faro employee, every last Toleffson, and one cranky iguana to give the honky-tonk lovebirds a chance at forever.Warning: Contains dirty dancing, hot summer sex, a honky-tonk makeover, and one nippy iguana.And here’s a quick introduction to Tom:Tom Ames could never figure out the attraction of the Dew Drop Inn. It was dark. It was dirty. The beer on tap tasted like dishwater and the bottled stuff was overpriced. The barmaids looked like they ought to be performing community service, and they acted like they were.Tom took a sip of his draft, holding back his grimace with an effort. Ingstrom, the owner, was watching him from the bar. No doubt he wondered why the owner of the Faro Tavern was in his place at five on a weekday. Maybe he thought Tom was trying to steal his trade secrets. Tom wondered briefly what trade secrets Ingstrom could lay claim to, besides the flattest beer he’d ever tasted.The Faro, his bar, had this place beat by a mile. The draft beer was cold, and the bottled stuff included all the regulars plus some microbrews. The barmaids, if not exactly Hollywood material, were still better looking and better tempered than the two women working the bar at the Dew Drop. Now if Tom could only convince the citizens of Konigsburg, Texas, of those facts, maybe he could start doing the kind of business he wanted to do.Not that the Faro was doing badly, particularly on the weekends when they had music in the beer garden outside. Tom was more than satisfied with the Faro’s take. But the customers were still mostly tourists, out-of-towners. They were drawing young professionals from Austin and the weekend music fans from San Antonio. He wished he had more Konigsburgers drinking in the evening. Sooner or later the tourists always went home. The Konigsburgers stuck around.Meg Benjamin spent twenty-plus years teaching writing and Web design in South Texas before pulling up roots and starting all over again on the Colorado Front Range. Her comic romances are set in the Texas Hill Country in the mythical town of Konigsburg, which gave her a chance to sample some great Texas wine and some wonderful Texas food (research—it’s all research!). She can be found at her web site, http://www.MegBenjamin.com, as well as on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), MySpace (myspace.com/megbenjamin) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com. Brand New Me is her fifth title for Samhain.

Why Romance Writers Make Horrible Friends by Bronwyn Storm

December 07, 2010 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 5 Comments →


Why Romance Writers Make Horrible Friends

by Bronwyn Storm

Okay, let’s be honest. That’s a terrible and inaccurate title. The true headline should read, “Why Bronwyn Makes a Terrible Friend,” but I hate to think I’m alone living in this, the writer’s brain…besides, every time I see my therapist, he keeps telling me, “You’re not alone. Loads of people have the same experiences you do.”  So, I have medical back-up on the title. However, if it offends anyone, please send all comments, complaints, and death threats to Dr. Harold Z. Quack (I so wish I was kidding about his name).

Writers, let me say, can make for great friends. We’re well read, we know big words, and we’re very handy when it comes time to thinking up creative swears (or inventive ways to dispose of a body).  But we can also be garbage when it comes to friendship—not on purpose, mind you.  There’s just something about the writer’s brain. It functions differently, processes in its own individual way, spins (sometimes madly) on a unique axis (and as many long-suffering spouses and friends will attest to, our brains sometimes spins right off its axis).

Problem #1: You’re Never As We Remember

A writer’s always looking for unique characteristics. Truth be told, we’re scoping you out, checking you from head to toe, and deciding what parts of your anatomy/personality, we can rip off, fiction-up, and use in our next novel. By the next time we meet, we’ve already hijacked the bits and pieces of you, exaggerated them for artistry sake, and suddenly you’re nothing like we “remember.”  This has led to some very awkward conversations. Like the time I met this guy and thought, “man, he’d make a great widow.”  The next time I saw him, I’d completely forgotten his widow status was fiction. I asked how he was coping with the loss of his wife. To which, he gave a very startled, side-long glance at the woman beside him. She, in turn, gave him a very hard stare, and said, “Dead? Now, I’m dead, am I? I knew you weren’t working late all last week.  What’s the tramp’s name?”  I realized my mistake, tried to clarify, but a woman who believes her husband has metaphorically killed her is not the easiest creature to reason with—understandably so. I slunk off and left them to their explanations. Needless to say, I was never invited to any of their functions again.

Problem #2: Writers Can Go From Zero-to-Hysterical in 0.00003 Seconds

Listen, we both know your headache is probably just a headache, but when it comes to writers, imagination isn’t just king.  It’s a dictator that rules with an iron fist.  So, the headache becomes a tumor…and while my friend’s delayed arrival at her house was due to her leaving work late, and the traffic being murder, I’d already decided that she’d been kidnapped on her way to her car, and was now tied and gagged in the cold, blood-stained backseat of a serial killer’s truck.  This could have been disastrous—especially since I was already calling 4-1-1 for the nearest police station. Thank God she showed up in the nick of time, and saved me from facing possible charges for filing a false report.

Problem #3: Inappropriate Conversations.

Writers don’t mean to ask the wrong question or say the wrong thing, but like I said in problem #1, we’re always looking for the fictional side of life.  And we usually find it—just not always in the way we thought…like the time I was in the doctor’s office and made a comment about him having great eyes. He did. Perfect for the character I was thinking about (who—eek—happened to be a serial killer)…I’m still not sure what’s worse. A medical doctor thinking a patient is hitting on him, or a man hearing a woman say, “What great eyes you have…clear, pure, beautiful.  No one would think you’re a rapist-serial-killer.”

Problem #4: We’re Always Stunned When Life Doesn’t Coincide with the Plot Arc.

The problem with writing fiction is that fiction is based on life, and the lines between the two can blur like a Cézanne watercolor.  This usually leaves us wondering why the current conflict in your life isn’t arcing out in the graceful arch of a plot curve, or asking what happened to Plot Point #3 in your obstacle.  And let me say from personal experience, no one what to hear “things have to get worse, honey, you haven’t hit the Black Moment, yet,” when they’re regaling you with all the thing going wrong in their life.

Problem #5 Writers—Especially Romance Writers are Always Looking for the Happy Ending.

You’ve had a bad day, everything’s going wrong. Do you really need one of us beaking in your ear, and telling you to just hang on, persevere because the happy ending is just around the corner?  Do you really want us stuffing you with wine and chocolate and giving you all the possible ways your current crisis is going to go in your favor…hmm…okay, so you know what? Maybe having a friend who’s a writer isn’t all bad.

I mean, we’ll say the wrong thing at your dinner party, offend your guests, and become convinced that the white powder spilled on the cake isn’t icing sugar but arsenic, but we’ll bring the wine and chocolate, and that has to count for something, right?

There was only one thing Bronwyn Storm wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills.  So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero.  She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

Bronwyn’s latest book is Ethan’s Chase.

You can visit her website at www.bronwynstorm.com.

Writing About Veterans By Karen Rose Smith

December 03, 2010 By: Romance Junkies Category: Coming Soon... Calendar of Events, Latest News 11 Comments →

karen1web.JPG 

 

 

Writing About Veterans 

     Veterans are close to my heart.  My father-in-law served in World War II and was a soldier in Patton’s army.  We miss him and I dedicated my December release, TWINS UNDER HIS TREE, to him to honor what he meant to our lives.

     My dad was also a soldier in World War II.  In addition, my college years were impacted by the Vietnam War and many of my high school and college classmates served.  I wrote to a serviceman in

Vietnam for two years and still have his letters with the details of his service there.  A few years ago I wrote about a veteran hero in THE BRACELET and beforehand read diaries that one of our community colleges had collected—oral transcripts of servicemen’s lives in

Vietnam.

     In all my research, one thing was clear.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was ignored for years, although these men and their families recognized the symptoms all too well.  I wanted to bring it to the forefront now because it’s important to remember what our soldiers face after they come home.

     When I began my research for my hero in TWINS UNDER HIS TREE, I was interested in learning more about the National Guard…about men who didn’t realize they’d be called to war and multiple tours of duty.  The public information officer at a nearby Guard headquarters was instrumental in helping me develop my hero—from his career to his discharge.  As the months went by, he was deployed to

Iraq and answered many of my questions from there.  In TWINS UNDER HIS TREE I wanted to deal with the scars that are deeper than physical wounds and the power of love that can help heal them.  My family members, classmates and servicemen I interviewed were honorable men, brave and quiet about what they’d experienced.

     This holiday season I want to give tribute to all who serve…and pray that they are uplifted by the power of love.

     Karen Rose Smith’s 71st published romance, TWINS UNDER HIS TREE, is the sixth book in her Baby Experts series for Silhouette Special Edition and is available now.

 

twins-under-his-tree.jpg

 

About TWINS UNDER HIS TREE, Silhouette Special Edition #2087, December 2010 

She’d just gone in to labor…seven weeks early!  Now Dr. Lily Wescott was the proud mother of twin baby girls.  But she couldn’t have done it without Mitch Cortega.  The decorated combat surgeon was with her every step of the way.  And the young widow was finding it awfully hard to resist Mitch’s overpowering masculinity…

Spending time with Lily and her infant daughters was making Mitch yearn for something he’d never known was missing.  The wounded combat surgeon knew they both needed time to heal.

But how much longer could they fight their attraction?  With Christmas just around the corner, it was time to move on and trust in a love that could transform the past into a future filled with the true joy of giving!

Excerpt:

Chapter OneLate February

Dr. Lily Wescott stood at the podium, peering through the spotlight into the sea of faces in the hotel ballroom. Many grinned and waved as she prepared to accept the Medical Professional Woman of the Year Award.

She brushed tears away, stunned and totally overwhelmed. These days, she blamed the rise and fall of her emotions on her pregnancy, though memories of the husband she’d lost in Afghanistan were never far from her heart.

Suddenly an odd sensation gripped her back and a cramp rippled through her stomach. As best she could, she fought to keep her shoulders back and a smile on her face. She couldn’t go into labor now! She was only at thirty-three weeks.

But she was an ob/gynBand she knew all too well that her twins would come when they were ready. Lily could only hope for the best…

“Thank you,” she said into the microphone. “I never imagined I’d win this award.” She’d really expected one of her friends at the table to win. After all, they were all baby experts at the Family Tree Health Center in Lubbock, Texas. She went on, “At the Family Tree Fertility Center, we strive to help women whoC”

A second cramp squeezed Lily’s side and she caught the wooden podium for support. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her friend and colleague, Dr. Mitch Cortega jump to his feet, concern on his face. He rushed to the stage and up the steps!

As she managed to suck in a gulp of air, hot liquid washed down her leg. Oh, GodBI am in labor!

She was not going to panic. She was not going to crumple to the floor. She was not going to be embarrassed.

At her side now, Mitch’s arm curled around her waist…his injured arm. The one he never let anyone see, she thought, needing something other than the pain to concentrate on. It was always covered, tonight by a well-cut black tuxedo that made his shoulders seem even broader than usual. She’d noticed that tonight…and it wasn’t the first time…

“Can you walk?” he asked, his breath warm at her ear.

A murmur swept through the audience.

She turned, the side of her cheek brushing his chin. “I’m not sure.”

Mitch’s angular jaw tightened, his almost-black gaze held hers with…something she couldn’t define. But then it was replaced by the empathy and compassion she’d felt from him many times before. “The twins are our main priority. Hold on to me if you can’t stand on your own.”

She really thought she could. The cramp faded away. If it weren’t for the wetness between her legs, she could deny what was happening.

With Mitch’s arm still around her, she took a couple of steps. Maybe she could even give the rest of her acceptance speechC

The lance of pain that pierced her back stole her breath and weakened her knees. She breathed, “Mitch.”

And he was there…lifting her into his arms…carrying her down the dais steps.

“I’m driving her to the hospital myself,” Mitch said, as Lily’s friends and colleagues rushed toward him. “It will be quicker than waiting for an ambulance.”

“And more economical,” Lily realized aloud, trying to think practically. But that was difficult with Mitch’s cologne reminding her of the last time he’d held her so close, on the day she’d discovered she was having twins. His grip felt safe now as it had then…as if no harm could come to her while she was in his arms.

She must be delusional.

“I’ll ride with you,” Jared Madison offered as he jogged alongside Mitch and pushed open the ballroom door.

“I’ll be handy if the twins won’t wait since Lily’s doc is at a conference.”

Jared had his own obstetrical practice at Family Tree but took turns covering with the doctors in her practice. Lily knew and liked Jared and felt comfortable with him. Still, she murmured, “They’d darn well better wait. It’s too early. They’ll be too small!” Her last words almost caught in her throat and her bravado deflated.

In the middle of the hotel lobby, Mitch stopped. Turning to face her, he looked her directly in the eye. He said, “If you panic, Lily, you won’t help the babies. Take calming breaths. You can do this.”

Her heart felt lighter, as if Mitch was really part of this pregnancy, too. Not just because her husband had assigned him to watch over her, but because he cared. “If I’d taken the childbirth classes this month instead of nextC” She’d been putting them off, maybe trying to deny the inevitableBthat yet again, her life would be altered in an earth-shattering way.

“The twins would still come early,” he reminded her. “They apparently want to meet their mom now.”

Yes, they did. And she wanted to meet them. She couldn’t wait to hold them and tell them how much she loved them. How much their daddy would have loved them…

Mitch’s expression was gentle, as if he could ready her thoughts, but his gaze didn’t waver. His arms were so strong. For a moment, she felt a little trill of excitement in her chest. But that was because of the babies coming, wasn’t it?

“Let’s go,” she whispered, shaken by the emotions she didn’t understand.

To read more excerpt go to:  http://karenrosesmith.com/tuht_excerpt.html 

Contact Information

     You can email Karen or visit her at www.karenrosesmith.com for excerpts and the latest info about her books.  You can also find her on Facebook where she is posting weekly photos from her recent research trip for her new series, REUNION BRIDES, that begins in February.

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