Archive for November, 2011

Building it

November 28, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger No Comments →

One of the things I enjoy is building fictional town or communities. When I build I get to following various characters on their journey to find love. I love creating towns and various types of families. In building towns or communities they all have there own idiosyncrasies that make them unique. You build it with many layers that not only include the setting but the people, sights and sounds that make a place.

If you think of your own hometown there is no place else in the world like it. There might be similarities but there are things that make it uniquely your hometown. This is what I go for when I write any story. Making it familiar like someplace you have been but with differences that make the town special. It is an amazing thing building a place from scratch. Creating the people that inhabit it. Making them live to those reading. The sights that make you know that you are in this town with these people. The sounds that capture you if you walk down the street.

With any good structure all the pieces must be laid together to create a mosaic that tells a story. I want to take you on a journey that engages all the senses. Building it so you can feel like you are part of it. There is nothing better to me than that.

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

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Updates 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.

Blair McDowell ~ Speed Date Interview

November 18, 2011 By: Romance Junkies Category: Speed Date Interview 12 Comments →

You the Readers are the Interviewers. Here is your chance to get answers to the questions you always wanted to ask your favorite Authors. Authors will be coming into the blog for a Speed Date Interview.  They will only be there one day and you can only ask them two questions.

Pull up a chair, put on your best smile and make the best impression of yourself.

Personal and inappropriate questions may not be answered at the Author’s discretion.

Ask an Author two questions and be entered to win in our monthly giveaway. You could win a package of free reads from the RJ book vault. We will be asking Authors to select the best question they were asked on the day they day they posted on the blog. We will also be picking random winners from the general questions.

Once the Speed Date interview is done the Interview staff will be going in and selecting a group of questions and answer to post on the RJ Authors Interview Webpage. 

http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/interviews.shtml

BIO

I wrote my first short story when I was eleven and have never ceased writing since, although only recently have I been able to return to my first love, fiction.  During the years when I was scrambling to make money, I supported myself by teaching in universities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and by writing professional books in my field.  Fortunately for me, those books were highly successful.My research took me to many interesting places.  I lived in Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. I spent considerable time in still other places, Iceland, the Caribbean Islands, the Far East, and the Torres Strait Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Now I travel for pleasure. Portugal, Greece and Italy are favorite haunts.My books are set in places I know and love and are peopled with characters drawn from my experiences of those places.   The Memory of Roses takes readers to the Greek Island of Corfu, where a young woman finds her future while searching for her father’s past.  In Delighting in Your Company, the reader is transported to a small island in the Caribbean, with a heroine who finds herself in the unenviable position of falling in love with a ghost.  My setting for Sonata is the city of Vancouver, with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life, and my heroine is a musician who finds herself in unexpected danger. 

 I hope you will enjoy reading these books as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

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BLURB 

When her father dies, Brit McQuaid inherits a villa on the beautiful island of Corfu, a villa she knew nothing about.  He also left a cryptic note asking that she deliver a package to a woman on Corfu with whom he was once in love, while married to Brit’s mother. 

This launches a journey for Brit, taking her from San Francisco to Greece and Italy.  Along the way she meets a sizzling Greek archaeologist who not only helps her unravel a powerful secret from the past, but shows her the path to her own future.  After this adventure, Brit’s life will be changed forever.

 Website:  http://www.blairmcdowell.com

Blog:  http://blog.blairmcdowell.com/

Excerpt and Book Trailer:  http://www.blairmcdowell.com/Memory_of_Roses.html

 Buy Links:

 Blair will be giving away a copy of The Memory of Roses to one lucky commenter.

Speed Date Interview with L. j. Charles

November 15, 2011 By: Romance Junkies Category: Speed Date Interview 6 Comments →

You the Readers are the Interviewers. Here is your chance to get answers to the questions you always wanted to ask your favorite Authors. Authors will be coming into the blog for a Speed Date Interview.  They will only be there one day and you can only ask them two questions.

Pull up a chair, put on your best smile and make the best impression of yourself.

Personal and inappropriate questions may not be answered at the Author’s discretion.

Ask an Author two questions and be entered to win in our monthly giveaway. You could win a package of free reads from the RJ book vault. We will be asking Authors to select the best question they were asked on the day they day they posted on the blog. We will also be picking random winners from the general questions.

Once the Speed Date interview is done the Interview staff will be going in and selecting a group of questions and answer to post on the RJ Authors Interview Webpage. 

http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/interviews.shtml

Bio 

I have worked with energy both as a yoga instructor and as a body worker for many years. When I left that profession, I was driven to write about energy and the paranormal. Many of the situations my heroines experience are created from my own encounters with energy, its power and possibilities.

As to the “writing,” well, that started when I was eight and penned my first book on pink construction paper with a purple crayon. It was a romance that involved a princess, and although I remember very few details about the plot, I do remember that it was illustrated and there was music and dancing involved.

At about the same time I created my first story, I discovered Nancy Drew and my love for reading was born. It has only grown over the years, and I am rarely without a huge to-be-read stack, and a book within easy reach.

Now days I write women’s fiction and young adult novels. All of my stories combine romance, mystery, and paranormal elements. The paranormal, because it’s a huge part of my life, the adventure and romance because I haven’t ever outgrown my early reading adventures with Nancy, Ned, Bess and George.

I live in the frozen north with my husband, whose TBR stack is taller than mine, and two felines who have been known to add entire pages to a manuscript without telling me.

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Everly Gray’s fingers are a magnet for trouble.

When she touches photographer Mitchell Hunt and sees the image of a dead body, she dives into the murder fingertips first. Life takes a turn for the dangerous when she discovers the body is related to a small-time crime family that accidentally stepped on the toes of notorious criminal, Delano West. Caught in a web of intrigue where nothing is as it seems, El discovers an aptitude for breaking and entering, the pain of an up close and personal meeting with a bullet, and the terror of facing a cold blooded killer. What she doesn’t learn—to keep her fingers to herself. 

L. j. Charles 
Lifethread  March 2011

The Knowing  June 2011

The Calling   June 2011


www.luciejcharles.com

Flowing Ideas

November 13, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger No Comments →

The ideas have been flowing a lot over the last few weeks. Ideas that I have been diving into flesh out into books. This means research of course and I love finding out new things.

I’ve discussed some of my stories with some friends and they gave some great insights. I’m excited about my project and eager to get to it. It’s amazing how clear something can become when you talk it out. The idea starts to flow and it is wonderful.

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/

Power of Instinct – A woman does whatever is necessary to protect the man who is hers but once he finds out he goes with his instincts and makes her his.

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Speed Dating with Aleksandr Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz

November 11, 2011 By: Romance Junkies Category: Speed Date Interview 4 Comments →

You the Readers are the Interviewers. Here is your chance to get answers to the questions you always wanted to ask your favorite Authors. Authors will be coming into the blog for a Speed Date Interview.  They will only be there one day and you can only ask them two questions.

Pull up a chair, put on your best smile and make the best impression of yourself.

Personal and inappropriate questions may not be answered at the Author’s discretion.

Ask an Author two questions and be entered to win in our monthly giveaway. You could win a package of free reads from the RJ book vault. We will be asking Authors to select the best question they were asked on the day they day they posted on the blog. We will also be picking random winners from the general questions.

Once the Speed Date interview is done the Interview staff will be going in and selecting a group of questions and answer to post on the RJ Authors Interview Webpage. 

http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/interviews.shtml

  

 dark-soul_1_200×300.jpg          dark-soul-vol-2-200×300.jpg          darksoul3197×300.jpg

Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London where, after four years in financial journalism, he is now making his living as an editor at an investment bank, freelance writer and creative writing teacher.  At 36 years of age, Voinov has written about 13 novels and commercially published five with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk and fantasy genres, Voinov has set his sights now on contemporary and historical erotic gay novels. He published his non-commercial work as Vashtan.

Voinov’s natural form is the novel, as all short stories eventually turn into novels. Described as a “workaholic speed-writing freak” by fellow writers, a “creative writing class drill sergeant” by his writing ‘padawans’, Voinov is a self-confessed geek and has enlarged his days by 12 secret hours in return for the sacrifice of ten albino virgin pygmy hippos. Blurb from latest release – Dark Soul volume 1

Stefano Marino is a made man, a happily married west coast mafia boss who travels east to await the death of a family patriarch. All the old hands have gathered—of course sharks will circle when there’s blood in the water—but it’s a new hand that draws Stefano’s eye.

Silvio “the Barracuda” Spadaro is protetto and heir to retired consigliere Gianbattista Falchi, and a made man in his own right. Among his underworld family, being gay is a capital crime, but the hypersexual—and pansexual—young killer has never much cared for rules. The only orders he follows are Battista’s, whether on the killing field or on his knees, eagerly submissive at Battista’s feet.

But Silvio has needs Battista can’t fill, and he’s cast his black-eyed gaze on Stefano. A fake break-in, an even faker attack, and Silvio is exactly where he wants to be: strung up at Stefano’s mercy, driving the older Mafioso toward urges he’s spent his whole life repressing. Stefano resists, but when the Russian mob invades his territory and forces him to seek aid, Gianbattista’s price brings Stefano face to face once more with Silvio—and his darkest desires.

This title is #1 of the Dark Soul series.

 

You can purchase Dark Soul volume 1 here.

 

Pre-order Dark Soul volume 2

 

The second volume in the Dark Soul series features the stories “Dark Whisper” and “Dark Night.”

In “Dark Whisper,” Gianbattista may have broken Silvio’s heart and sent him off to the States, but he’s still just a phone call away. When Silvio returns from a sex shop with a bag full of goodies, Gianbattista can’t resist topping his boy one more time, even if they are 4,000 miles apart.

In “Dark Night,” the Russian problem comes back to haunt Stefano, and when a dark encounter leaves him bloody and broken, Silvio knows just the right way to ease his pain.

 

You don’t want to miss a bit of this gripping story. Pre-order Dark Soul volume 3. 

 Email address: vashtan@gmail.comWebsite Blog Twitter: @vashtanFacebook Goodreads Page Goodreads Group 

 

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Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and co-owner and Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.

She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to helping would-be authors polish and publish, writing for websites and magazines, and ghostwriting nonfiction. Rachel’s latest release, Master Class from Riptide Publishing is available now. Here’s the blurb:Performing before a crowd of thousands? No problem. Baring his heart before a crowd of one? Better tie him down first.Broadway darling Nicky Avery is a shooting star by night, but by day he bounces from one heartless one-night stand to the next. A quick flogging, a rough lay, a new whip-hand to manipulate—yet still he yearns for something he cannot even name.He finds his first true hint of satisfaction in Devon Turner, a self-possessed film star and expert Dom. Devon knows what he wants the moment he sees it, and what he wants is Nicky Avery. Nicky’s never learned to trust and has a nasty habit of topping from the bottom, but he learns fast that in the bedroom, Devon won’t tolerate his actor’s masks.Nicky’s a broken boy, but Devon knows exactly how to put his new sub back together. With patience, care, and all the punishments his little pain slut can handle, Devon breaks Nicky down one scene at a time, revealing a mind that yearns to trust and a heart that hungers for the ecstasy of true submission at last.This title is #1 of the Master Class series. The story continues with SUBlime, a collection of short stories: 

Broadway darling Nicky Avery gives commanding performances on stage, but when he comes home at night, it’s Devon Turner who commands him. Devon—that’s “Sir” to Nicky, of course—owns Nicky heart and soul, and neither of them could possibly be happier with that.

This collection of vignettes explores the gifts of submission and domination—Nicky and Devon’s ultimate expression of love and trust. The ten short stories range from sweet and sensual to hot and hardcore, from crossdressing to knife play, and so much more.

Dom or sub, curious beginner or 24/7 lifestyler, the stories in Sublime will tease and tantalize, arouse and thrill. And don’t mind Devon and Nicky . . . they like to be watched anyway.

(Stories include “All-Nighter,” “Down in the Woodshop,” “Stainless Steel,” “Pretty,” “Milk Run,” “Too Much,” “A Hairy Situation,” “Wrapped Up,” “One for the Road,” and “Pony Up.”)

Note: This second edition is a revised re-release of the same title first published in 2010.

This title is #2 of the Master Class series.

 

Email address: metarachel@gmail.comWebsite Blog Twitter Facebook         Goodreads Page

My Thing for Brothers

November 11, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News No Comments →

I have a thing for brothers.

My favorite show is the Supernatural, mainly because of the brotherly relationship taken to extremes. NO, not those kind of extremes! Ew! Extremes like dying for each other. Over and over again. And bringing each other back to life. And back from Hell. And back from some weird version of Heaven that doesn’t seem all that great.

Some of my other favorite shows featured brothers, too. Similar to Sam and Dean on Supernatural are Michael and Lincoln on Prison Break. If you never saw it, you should get it on DVD or see if it’s available for streaming. The first season was the best, but the whole run is worth it. Besides Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell being oh-so-hot, they play brothers who…go to extremes for each other. Specifically, Michael robs a bank so he can go to the jail where his brother is on death row, and break him out.

I also really liked Numb3rs, partly because of the math, partly because of Don and Charlie working out their relationship. Not so extreme, but there were occasional life-and-death situations. :)

So where does this brother thing come from? I had no idea until someone mentioned Remington Steele on a blog recently. I used to watch it while babysitting on Tuesday nights in junior high and high school. What was on before it? Simon & Simon. In case you’re too young to remember it, that was two PI brothers. You know what my other favorite show was growing up? Dukes of Hazzard. So it’s obviously a nostalgia thing. :)

Oddly, I haven’t written any books about brothers, though I did start one on retreat one year. It’s on my to-do list. :) But my current releases come closest of all the books I’ve written to touching on brothers.

In Behind the Scenes, Kennedy is driven by the memory of her brother’s heroism. He was a doctor working on a humanitarian mission overseas when he was killed by rebels, and she’s been working her entire adult life to try to keep it from happening to others.

In Under the Moon, Nick and Sam aren’t brothers. In fact, they’re kind of rivals. But they bicker like brothers, and underneath is a gruff affection they’d never admit to, borne of both a mutual respect and a shared love for Quinn, the heroine. Their relationship grows over the course of the Goddesses Rising series, and is my very favorite part of the books.

Do you like brotherly relationships? Do you have brothers? Would you barter your life to a demon to bring him back from the dead?

Behind the ScenesBehind the Scenes October 31, 2011
Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Kennedy Smyth’s firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries. She doesn’t usually take on “frivolous” jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son’s movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse. Also hard to resist is the film’s charismatic star, Rogan St. James. The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he’s a successful actor, Rogan wants more—a real woman to love, the type he doesn’t think exists…until he meets Kennedy. She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn’t actually out to derail the film. She’s the real target—and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next…

Under the MoonUnder the Moon November 15, 2011
Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.

Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.

But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.

But not as hard as denying their hearts…

You can learn more about Natalie and her books at her website, eHarlequin, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. She blogs with four other obsessed passionate Supernatural fans at Supernatural Sisters, with a number of fantastic romance authors at Everybody Needs a Little Romance, and just to hear herself talk at Indulge Yourself.

Superior Fire Department Toy Drive 2011

November 10, 2011 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →

Superior Fire Department Toy Drive 2011

With your help we can make a difference in one small Community.

About the Drive: We live in a small old mining town, population three thousand.
My husband who helps me with all things RJ runs the local fire department in
town. It’s a low income town and there are a lot of kids here that don’t get
much for Christmas. Weeks before Christmas the fire department decorates one of
the fire trucks with thousands of holiday lights, fire personnel and yours truly
spend weeks wrapping every toy brought in with festive Christmas paper. On
Christmas Eve Santa and Ms. Claus ride in back of the fire truck and, with
Christmas music blaring, the fire truck weaves its way up and down every street
in town. The sirens blare every few minutes and as kids hear it they scramble
out of their houses. The truck stops and Santa gives each child a toy. The drive
itself takes seven hours. It’s a big production and one that the fire department
takes great pride in.

A few years ago I got involved in the toy drive. With the help of the Romance
Community the Fire Dept has been able to give a toy to every child in town for 5
years straight. The toys are not expensive – small stuffed animals and 2-5
dollar toys, but it doesn’t take a lot to make it a magical night for the kids
in town, especially when Santa is delivering the toys personally.
If anyone is interested in sending in some toys it would be VERY MUCH
appreciated by both the fire department and the kids in town ;-)

Note: There weren’t enough elves to assign one to take pictures last year, so we didn’t have anything to send out but this year we hope to have plenty of pictures to send you to let you know how the drive goes.

I really want to thank everyone who has contributed over the years. I go on the
drive every year with Todd and I can’t describe adequately how incredible the
whole experience is. It chokes me up every year watching kids with huge grins on
their faces, clutching tight to the toy Santa has given them.

If you would like to donate toys or gift cards you can do so by sending them
into the fire dept:

Superior Fire Dept Toy Drive
C/O Superior Fire Department
236 Golf Course Rd
Superior, AZ 85173

The Department is not set up to take Paypal. So anyone who would like to
contribute via Paypal can send their donations into Romance Junkies and I will
forward the donations onto the Fire Dept. email me at
chaoscat@romancejunkies.com for our paypal info.

You can check out photos of the Santa Drive on the Superior Fire Dept Webpage–
http://superiorfiredept.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=348

Cat Brown AKA Chaoscat
(Chaos – It’s not just a lifestyle, it’s a state of mind)
Owner/Operator Romance Junkies
http://www.romancejunkies.com

Coleen Kwan — Inspiration

November 08, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

Writers get inspiration from many sources — books, dreams, music, movies, places, people. I’ve been writing for three years, and my ideas don’t come in a nice, predictable flow. Sometimes it’s a drought and I worry I’ll never think of another story idea, and sometimes I’m almost drowning under a deluge of ideas.

The idea for my debut book, WHEN HARRIET CAME HOME, arrived when I wasn’t expecting it. I’d recently joined Romance Writers of Australia, and since I couldn’t attend the annual conference, I decided to sign up for the Clayton’s Conference. This is a three-day online conference run by the same RWA organisation (Same acronym but not to be confused with Romance Writers of America!). It’s a great event with guest speakers, workshops, and fun writing challenges. In one of these writing challenges we were given two characters names and had to come up with short character descriptions together with goal, motivation, and conflict.

I didn’t have much time to do this exercise, but just about everything I wrote ended up in my story. It was as though the two characters stepped out of some mist fully formed and sat down next to me to tell me their stories. I still have the original writing challenge I wrote back in Aug 2010. The first sentence reads ‘Harriet Brown, 28, is like a chestnut — small, brown, glossy, and curvy.’ And that is exactly how she appeared to me. At my editor’s suggestion (and I fully agreed with her) I changed the hero’s name, but apart from that he’s as I saw him originally. ‘Adam Blackstone, 29, is the brooding, rugged Heathcliff every woman swoons over.’

The external and internal conflicts between Harriet and Adam also seemed to come out of nowhere without any effort from me. I found this all very strange because it had never happened to me (and hasn’t since!) but I went with the flow and jotted down all these things my characters were telling me. Their story wasn’t typical of what I’d been writing either. These people weren’t rich or glamorous. They didn’t live in the city like I did; they weren’t wealthy. But their story stuck in my mind, so I set aside my other projects and wrote my Harriet story. I sent it off to Carina Press, and twelve weeks later I was doing a happy dance!

So inspiration can come from anywhere, and the writer never knows where it might lead her, but if she doesn’t follow, she’ll never know.

Thanks Romance Junkies for having me on your blog today.

WhenHarrietCameHome



WHEN HARRIET CAME HOME is now available at Amazon, Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon UK, and most ebook stores.

BOOK BLURB
After ten years of exile, Harriet Brown is back in town. Things have definitely changed, but so has she. Now the confident owner of a catering business, she’s no longer the shy, overweight girl everyone—including her hot teenage crush—used to ignore. In fact, she’s determined to make peace with Adam Blackstone for her part in exposing his father’s secret affairs and corrupt behavior as mayor.

But Adam has changed as well. No longer a pampered, rich pinup boy, he just wants to reestablish his family’s good name. He reluctantly agrees to a truce with Harriet, and is surprised by how changed she is. He doesn’t want to be drawn to her, but he can’t seem to resist her allure.

As Harriet struggles to come to terms with her past, her adolescent infatuation with Adam morphs into something more serious… Will she ever be accepted again? Or will ancient history ruin the chance of a future full of possibilities?

EXCERPT
“Let’s talk in private.” He marched away toward his truck parked behind the half-finished building.

She smoothed down her skirt, took a deep breath and followed him. When they were out of sight from anyone, he spun round on the heel of his work boot. “So what’s the big idea with the muffins?”

She shrugged, acting casual. “No big idea. I baked some muffins, but Cindy’s always watching her weight, so I thought you guys might like them.” She wafted the basket in front of him. “Sure you don’t want to try one?”

Adam seemed impervious to chocolate, worst luck. Ignoring the muffins, he folded his arms across his chest, his shoulder muscles bunching up arrestingly, causing her lungs to squeeze.

“You think you can just come skipping along in your mini-skirt like Little Red Riding Hood with her basket of goodies, and expect me to be nice?”

AUTHOR BIO
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance whether it’s sweet or sensual.

Coleen lives in Sydney with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.

Visit her at www.coleenkwan.com

Do you agonize over your body shape?

November 04, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 5 Comments →

 downsizing.jpg

Do you worry about your size? Feel like you don’t…well, shape up in this size-conscious world of ours.  Any of your ladies out there who’ve never had a moment’s worry about your body shape, raise your hands now.

Thought so. Not a mitt in sight.

Like it or not, we women are judged, not always on ability alone, but on appearance, too. I’m no longer in my twenties – or my thirties or forties either, come to that – but I’m every bit as weight conscious as my younger peers. I’m five foot six and weigh 135 lbs, which is pretty ideal. I feel good about myself – up to a point. You see, a few months ago I weighed 130 lbs. Where have the extra pounds come from? Do they show? Will my clothes still look good? Will I gain more? Should I go on yet another diet?

Sound familiar? I’m old enough to know better but still get caught up in the mad ethos of sizism. So too does my mother-in-law, who’s over eighty, and kids as young as nine or ten. Is it right? Hell, no, but I don’t see things changing any time soon.

In Downsizing, published today by Musa Publishing, Maxine experiences all of these feelings. She’s just a teenager at the start of the book. Extremely intelligent, she feels invisible in crowded rooms, dismissed as an irrelevance because of her bulk. No one except local heartthrob Noah Fenwick can see through her unattractive exterior to the sensitive girl, with lots to offer, lurking beneath all that extraneous flesh.

Here’s how Noah tries to persuade Maxine that she shouldn’t worry about her size.

“You dance well, Max. You’re really light on your feet.”

“For a fat lump, you mean.”

“You ain’t fat, darling. Don’t put yourself down.”

“Noah, I weigh nearly thirteen stone.”

“You just need to get a bit of exercise and you’ll look great.”

“Please don’t patronize me.” Tears trickled from behind her glasses and slid down her face.

“Christ, is that what you think I’m doing?” He tugged at her hand. “Come on, let’s get out of here. I feel like a goldfish in a bowl with all these people gawking at us.”

Noah dragged her out of the tent and didn’t let go of her hand until they’d reached the bottom of the garden. He steered her towards a bench and sat down beside her.

“Here.” He delved into his pocket and produced a handkerchief. “I think it’s clean.”

“Thanks.” Sniffing, Maxine dabbed at her eyes.

“What’s wrong, Max? Wanna talk about it?”

“Nothing, other than the fact that I’m fat and ugly.”

“You ain’t ugly.” Before she could stop him Noah reached up and removed her glasses. “You’ve got gorgeous emerald eyes. Do you have to wear glasses? Can’t you get contact lenses?”

“No. I’ve got an astigmatism.”

“Never mind, you’re still gorgeous to me. You place too much stock by appearances.”

“That’s easy for you to say!” Maxine rounded on him. “You’ve got every female under the age of sixty in Colebrook lusting after you. And why do you suppose that is?”

“Yeah, and that’s why I’m qualified to say that you shouldn’t judge by appearances. You’ve got plenty going for you and don’t have to prove yourself.”

“Nobody can see beyond this.” She indicated her body with her hands, looking close to tears again.

“Well, I can. We’ve both had to survive on our wits, you and me. You’ve done it through your intelligence, but I just went to the local school…well, when there was nothing more profitable to do with my time,” he added with a grin. “So I’ve had to learn to run with what I’ve got.”

“Noah, I don’t think―”

“If it weren’t for you I’d never have discovered the joys of reading.”

“Yes you would. You were obviously drawn towards books or you’d never have come into the library that day.”

He recalled the day in question, a little over a year ago, when he’d strolled into the library on a whim, wearing mud-splattered work clothes that elicited disapproving tuts from its staid occupants. Maxine, having just started her holiday job there, sat behind the counter completely engrossed in a book. He’d asked her what she was reading but she was too tongue-tied to answer him straight away. Noah couldn’t understand why. He was the one out of place, and if anyone felt awkward it ought to have been him.

He’d known who Maxine was, but reckoned she was out of his league intellectually and would never want to know him. To his astonishment, she found her voice and recommended books that he might enjoy. Her recommendations were spot on and he went back the following week to thank her, and to talk about what he’d read. It became a habit and he often waited until last thing so they could have coffee together when she got off work.

“Perhaps,” he said. “But I was too busy making money and had no time to waste reading. Until you opened my eyes and I realized what I was missing.”

Maxine, who he knew always found it difficult to deal with compliments, changed the subject. “How’s your father?” she asked.

“Same as ever.” He drifted into a moody silence.

“Sorry if I’ve said something I shouldn’t have.”

“You haven’t, but as usual you’ve turned the subject away from yourself.”

“No one’s interested in me.”

“I am.”

Noah cupped her face in his hand and his thumb gently traced the outline of her plump jaw. He dropped his head and brushed his lips against hers, parodying the seductive dance they’d just shared in the tent. Maxine gasped, but when her arms slid round his neck and her eyes fluttered closed, it became clear that she wasn’t objecting. That impression was confirmed when, with a deep sigh, she buried her fingers in his hair. Noah’s lips instinctively hardened against hers, forcing them apart as his tongue slid into her mouth.

“Why did you do that?” she asked breathlessly when he broke the kiss.

“You looked like you needed reassurance.”

“Don’t!” She jerked away from him and groped for her glasses. “Just don’t! You don’t need to stoke your already over-inflated ego by playing games with me.”

In spite of his reassurances, he lets her down. Which is when Maxine learns one very hard lesson in life

Fat girls aren’t supposed to have fun.

Maxine doesn’t see Noah again for another twelve years, but can never get him out of her heart. To find out what happens when they do meet again, look out for Downsizing from W. Soliman. Available now from Musa Publishing and Amazon.com.

Go to my website at http://www.wsoliman.com where you can read the entire first chapter.

And to all you ladies who worry about your body shape, I hope Maxine’s story gives you heart.

Wendy

Taking Risks in Engaged in Sin

November 02, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

Engaged in Sin

By Sharon Page

Engaged in Sin released yesterday—it’s hard to believe it’s on the shelves now!   Thank you to Romance Junkies for reading the book and reviewing it.  I’m always nervous when a book comes out, hoping readers will like it.   

I love writing Regency historical because I love taking risks.  You might be thinking:  can Regencies be risky stories?  They can! 

Devon Audley, the hero of Engaged in Sin, was a challenge to create, but I fell in love with him at once.  When his fiancée died of an illness, he tried to escape grief by going to war—only to plunge into a deeper nightmare.  Blinded in battle, he has returned to England, but is living like a recluse in his country hunting house.   He is suffering from what he calls “battle madness” and he is afraid he could hurt his family—his mother and sisters.   For me, it wasn’t his blindness that made him risky, it was that I needed him to have a definite problem he must overcome to be whole again.  He needed to be haunted by something specific, something that he was trying to put right, as best as he could.  Then I discovered that in the Napoleonic wars, as the French army lost men, they brought young teenagers into battle.  What if, to save a man in his regiment, Devon had to face the choice of shooting a teenage soldier?  And he couldn’t do it.  What if he lost the man in his regiment and he is driven to help that soldier’s widow and child?I knew this was risky because everyone told me not to do it.  My editor advised me not to, as did my critique partners.  They felt it would be too complicated.  But as I wrote Devon, I realized it enriched the story to have him search for the fallen soldier’s wife and child.  I went with my instincts, took the risk, and I am thrilled with the result.My heroine, Anne Beddington, was another risk.  Forced to flee a lecherous cousin, she ended up in a London brothel.  She manages to escape, but that situation has molded her into the woman she is: a survivor, but with issues with intimacy, and the fear she has been ruined.  Again, other writers told me that I couldn’t make her a prostitute as it was too risky.  But Anne felt like the perfect heroine for Devon, so I had to go with my heart.  Here is a small excerpt from “Engaged in Sin”, where Devon has found the son of the soldier he could not save…Devon’s heart pounded wildly.  The lad was so terrified he was lashing out at anyone.  Devon had seen men do it in battle—lose their wits in fright and shoot at anyone near them.  Thomas held the dagger at Anne’s throat.  One slice and he could kill her.He had to stop the boy, get the knife from him.   He tried to assess every move, every approach, but his brain fixed on one horrific image: Thomas’s fear-driven hand moving the knife, then Anne’s slow slump on the floor.  Raw panic gripped him and he couldn’t fight it.  If he waited, as he’d done in battle, Anne would die.  He began to move toward the boy.“Keep back,” Thomas cried.  “Keep away from me.”“Thomas.” Despite having a knife at her throat, Anne’s voice was soft, melodic, sweet.  “This is the Duke of March.  You can trust him.”“Anne, don’t speak,” Devon warned.  The knife made a small cut in her skin.  Blood welled.She ignored him.  “Thomas, the duke fought with your father in battle.  At Waterloo.”Of course, she said that to Thomas hoping to win his trust.  But though the boy didn’t know it, if was the reason for Thomas to hate him.  Warily, Thomas flicked his gaze from Anne to Devon, and the distraction caused his hand to move.  Fortunately, he didn’t cut her, but her eyes were huge, and Devon could see her fighting for calm.    “Thomas, let her go.  We’ve come to help you.”  Devon took another step forward. 

Do you enjoy stories that take risks?  If you do, what are your favorite books? 

Also, I’m giving away a signed copy of Engaged in Sin to a reader today! 

If you’d like to learn more about Engaged in Sin, go here http://www.sharonpage.com/books/And check out my website at www.SharonPage.com(Excerpt from Engaged in Sin ©2011 Sharon Page) 

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