Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Humpday Hottie

Provocative much? This just evokes scenes of imminent debauchery on that crisp white linen. This hottie strikes me as a Presents hero - there's just something suave about him, don't you think? Of course the jeans are a rebellion against his $5000 business suits. :)

Last Week's Blog Winner

Oops, sorry about that!!

This week's blog winner is:

Please email Andre with your details, so he can send your prizes out to you. :) A book from the prize closet and some goodies. :)

And don't forget! Erin Nicholas will be drawing her own winner from the comments on her blog post and announcing that person in the comments on her Guest Blog post. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guest Blogger - Erin Nicholas

I'm super pleased to have Erin Nicholas guest blogging with us today. Erin and I have been friends since almost the beginning of my writing career, long before I published. (Yep, that's us a lotta years ago. LOL) She was my first critique partner, my favorite conference buddy back in the day and an all around good friend. She's a leading physical therapist by day and an amazing author by night - or whenever she can squeaze in time at the computer! Her books are yummy-delicious and you've got an amazing treat waiting for you in Just Right!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Going Home

I went home this past weekend.

Which is funny, because I’m home right now and this is where I left for three days a week ago. Where I’m sitting right now, with my husband, kids and cats is home. Of course. This is where my life is. Where I’m needed, where I’m on a schedule, where people from the PTO, the church and various other volunteer groups can call me. This is where I read to my kids and make dinner each night and have photos of everyone I love. This is where my kids are being raised, where they will call home.
But when I go visit my parents, I call that home too.

Which is weird because the house my parents live in is not the one I grew up in. It’s not even in the town I grew up in! In fact, it’s the second house my parents have lived in since we lived together. I haven’t been to the town where I grew up in at least five years. Probably longer. My friends from there have scattered (thank God for Facebook and e-mail!) and my extended family never was from there.
So, how can I still call my parent’s house ‘home’? I know exactly. It’s where I can really be myself, where I feel comfortable, where I’m loved and accepted unconditionally. That’s what home is. I’m just really blessed to have two of those, I guess!

My parents house gives me something my home here doesn’t though. It provides an escape from the real world! J When I’m there, I don’t get on e-mail (bugs my father terribly when I do!), I don’t answer my phone (texts, maybe), and I’m two hours away from anything going on here—great excuse to avoid meetings and rummage sales!

It’s a mini-vacation. It really is. They take me to my favorite restaurant (a local place I can only go to when I’m there!), make my favorite coffee and we talk and talk and talk. Yes, my kids are there and my parents are doting grandparents. But it’s grandma’s house, which means a bunch of stuff they don’t have at home, so they go exploring and playing, hanging with their cousins and generally also enjoying a break from the regular routine. And, as my mom reminds me, I’m their kid. They want to take care of me, talk to me, spend time with me.

It’s awesome. As an employer, business owner, wife, mother and volunteer, very rarely is something all about me and okay, I’ll admit it… I love it!

Family is one reason that I found writing the series that’s coming out this year so appealing. It’s about a family. Not a “typical” family (what’s that mean anymore anyway, right?) but three people, siblings, who’ve been together through it all. They drive each other crazy at times, as any good set of siblings will do, but they love each other no matter what.

The first book, Just Right (releasing TODAY, not coincidentally, from Samhain) didn’t start out as the first book in a series. But as I got to know Jessica’s brother Sam and sister Sara, it didn’t take long for me to realize that they each needed a story too.

And it’s more than just the three of them. It’s the group of guys who are part of Sam’s EMT crew, the kids that come to the youth center their father founded, the four older women the guys take care of and the little town where Sara has to try to fit in and figure out who she really is.
I’ve loved getting to know them, seeing how they support each other, and now I’m thrilled to introduce them to all of you!
It's your turn (from Lucy :smiles:): what does "going home" mean for you? If you'd rather talk books - what's your favorite family related series?

In celebration of Erin's release day she's giving away a free copy of Just Right to someone here today! All you have to do is post a comment before midnight (CST) and she'll draw a winner from all the comments! In the meantime…

Just Right
by Erin Nicholas
March 30, 2010
(digital book)
To be a good bad boy you have to find just the right girl…

ER nurse Jessica Bradford is a good girl. Okay, more like a reformed bad girl. She’s determined to be the woman her late father wanted her to be. And she knows she should be with someone like Dr. Ben Torres-- in charge, dedicated, selfless. The tall, dark and handsome part is just a bonus.

So Jessica agrees to keep Ben out of trouble after he’s suspended from the hospital for punching a belligerent, drunk patient in the emergency room. She’ll get the needed recommendation from the Chief of Staff for the promotion she wants and she’ll have a great reason to spend more time with Dr. Perfect. But suddenly she’s got a problem. Outside of work Ben’s not so dependable, or perfect after all…and he’s even more tempting than before.

Ben’s done being everybody’s hero. What’s being a trauma surgeon ever gotten him but horrible hours and a bunch of responsibilities that make his life complicated? His sudden time off from the hospital is not only overdue, it’s a blessing. Which he intends to enjoy fully.

Jessica can’t believe Ben is acting more like a kid in a candy store than a man who’s about to throw his career away. Even more, she can’t believe that she still wants him like ice cream wants hot fudge. She tries her best to keep him out of trouble—except “trouble” is all Ben’s interested in.

And suddenly Jessica’s having trouble remembering why that’s a bad thing…
(c) Erin Nicholas 2010
There were five words that Jessica hated to hear from her brother.
“Jess, I need a favor.”
Yep. Those were them.
She closed her eyes. “Come on, Sam. I had a long day.” She wanted to prop up in bed, watch Seinfeld reruns and eat a pint of Peanut Butter Passion.
“It’s important, Jess,” Sam said, his tone the one he used for coaxing shy women out onto the dance floor. “I tried to handle it, but I need your help.”
The tone always worked on curvy blondes.
Jessica was not a curvy blonde.
“Dry your hair and get dressed,” he said. “I told you—it’s important.”
Jessica paused with the comb halfway through her straight brown hair and stared at the phone receiver in the mirror. How had he known her hair was wet? That was weird.
“I said I’m busy.”
“No. You said I’m, then there was a long pause before you said busy.”
She scowled. “So?”
“So, that pause means you were trying to think of a good excuse because you can never quite bring yourself to lie about it. You’re at home. It had to be taking a shower, doing laundry or cleaning the apartment.”
Jessica bristled. “I do other things here than…wash things.”
“Yeah, but if you were really doing anything important you would have actually been busy and you would have just told me what you were busy doing instead of using the noncommittal, generic I’m busy.”
Jessica was thrown off for a moment by her brother using the word noncommittal.
Showing off her own impressive vocabulary, she replied again, “So?”
“I need your help. It should be enough that I say it’s important,” Sam said, moving on from the “busy” conversation, probably bored by now with the topic that wasn’t directly about him.
Of course, important could mean almost anything with Sam.
It could mean he was a few dollars short of getting in on a poker game. It could mean that he needed a place for a couple of buddies from out of town to crash for the weekend. It could mean that one of the girls he’d flirted with had taken him too seriously and he needed an emergency wife to get the girl off his back. Jessica sighed. She hated playing Sam’s wife. He always wanted her to be bitchy and she always ended up feeling bad for the girl.
“It was a really long day at work.”
And it was all because of Ben Torres.
Rumor had it he had been suspended by the Chief of Staff and the hospital attorneys were riled up trying to figure out how to troubleshoot the situation. There were charges pending as well. Manslaughter for Ted. Assault for Ben.
Not that any of it affected Jessica directly. She was an ER nurse. There were more surgeons, there would be more accidents and more patients. But she couldn’t get Ben out of her mind…or suppress her insane urge to make sure he was all right.
“I heard,” Sam said.
Of course he had. Sam was the head paramedic on the best ambulance crew in the city and he not only worked with the ER staff regularly, he was also friends with many of them, including Ben. Matt Taylor, the ER doctor on Ted Blake’s case, was a poker buddy of Sam’s.
“I’m tired and—”
“Shame on you, Jessica Leigh Bradford,” Sam broke in. “I’m your little brother. Your only brother.”
The only part was right. The little part not so much. Sam was younger than Jessica by five years, but she didn’t even come up to his chin.
“I’m not in the mood for this.” But she knew that she didn’t sound convincing. She’d always been a sucker for the little brother bit. Because he was right. He was her younger brother and she felt responsible, even now when he was twenty-five and definitely a big boy.
“Too bad.”
“What is it?” she asked, trying to soak a cotton ball with skin toner with one hand while holding the phone with the other.
“A babysitting job.”
She frowned, forgetting the cotton ball for a moment. “Did you say babysitting?”
“Well, first, do you have a sexy dress?”
Jessica forgot about the toner, cotton ball and everything else. “Excuse me?”
“You’re going to need to borrow one then,” Sam said. “And high heels. Do you have high heels?”
His tone suggested that he sincerely doubted it.
“Of course I do.” They were way in the back of the closet somewhere, but she was pretty sure she still had them.
“What about the dress?”
“I have a dress, Sam.”
“But is it sexy? It will have to be sexy. Maybe you should call Marcy.”
This called for a dress from her friend Marcy? Marcy didn’t dress in anything that didn’t reveal cleavage and lots of it. What in the hell was going on?
“Sam, maybe you’d better define babysitting,” Jessica said grimly.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Beowulf or Baywatch...What is in a word?

"Cha 'soc eer quoi, agh eer myr tad'yr leeidit ;' Fer er fer elley geiyrt, myr guoiee trooid doarlish. As cre'n cooilleen t'ayns soiagh vooar nyn Iheid ? Dy veaghey er nyn ennal, goo yn sleih ! Marvanee Iheaystagh, myr y gheay neuhiggyr ! Quoi echey ta resoon veagh blakey lurgh oc ? Lioroo dy ve Iheamysit te moylley."*

Can you translate the above? Neither can I, which is why I didn't write either of my Children of the Moon historical, Moon Awakening or Moon Craving, in ancient Gaelic, the language spoken throughout most of these books.

How about the following?

In þat lond ben trees þat beren wolle, as þogh it were of scheep; whereof men maken clothes, and all þing þat may ben made of wolle. In þat contree ben many ipotaynes, þat dwellen som tyme in the water, and somtyme on the lond: and þei ben half man and half hors, as I haue seyd before; and þei eten men, whan þei may take hem.**

This is English, even! And it's from the era during which my stories are set. I'm just guessing, but I'm pretty confident that my editor and any readers offered a book written in the language of the time period would put it down in frustration after the first paragraph or two.

The word you came into use before the 12th century, but was spelled ēow and far more common in use would have been thee, thou and ye. Me did not come into use until the 16th century (a few hundred years after my books were set) and the word clan did not show up until the 15th century.

Which begs the question: what does it mean to use appropriate language for a historical? Certainly, were we to limit our word choice to those available at the time, there's a good chance for a lot of us - particularly we who write anything set prior to 1600 - readers would not be able to understand or relate to our stories at all. Heck, I wouldn't understand my story if I tried to write it in Old English.

In an effort to set the time and place of my books, I try to use more formal language for the historicals. I also look for phrases and words associated with the time (even if they weren't actually used then ::g::). I do my best not to use glaringly obvious modern words (though I'm the first to admit one or two can slip by me - and the copyeditors - and my definition of glaringly obvious isn't necessarily that of every reader who picks up one of my historical novels). But ultimately, the idea that a historical author is only going to use the language available at the time is a prettier piece of fiction than the stories she might create.

There are words I stay away from, like technical, which is in my mind "glaringly modern". And there are words that are fairly new, but don't shout "modern English" to me that I use, like orgasm. Then there are words that have had a resurgence of popularity but aren't as new as we think they are, like hot.

Can the use of a single word jar me out of a historical? Not me personally, no - I'm too aware of how "modern" most of the language we writers of historical fiction use is. But I can understand that other readers react differently. What astonishes me, is the assumptions some readers seem to make about how "accurate" historical language is and should be.
Ultimately, it's about perception. A word "sounds" old, so we assume it is old, when in fact it might not be. A word sounds new because we are using it in our modern society more frequently (for whatever reason), we assume it is new. There are school children today that do not know the word gay means happy as well as referring to a sexual orientation. Language changes, evolves...and I absolutely love that fact, and to try to limit my writing to what once was? Not going to happen. :)

The lesson for me as an author in all this? Edit more carefully for words that might "feel new" to my readers. :) Am I going to get it perfect all the time? Probably not. I do a ton of research for every book (that's another blog for another time) and read my work for "errors" both in language and cultural norms of the time, but words can still slip by. However, I will try :) because I want my stories to work for my readers. Full stop. Period. :)

It's your turn; help me out please: What's your take on the use of "old" words? What word or words throw you out of the story when reading a historical (please don't name books or authors)? What words do you associate most closely with a certain time period?

*For the literal translation of the above ancient Gaelic, go here - you can read the book online, or see the full text version with the translation.

**Similarly, if you are interested in a short etymology of Old English and would like the translation of the above medieval English text, go here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Book (in print) by Deidre Knight

Butterfly Tattoo
by Deidre Knight
ISBN13: 9781605045443
ISBN: 1605045446
Buy the Book

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Groundbreaking Butterfly Tattoo Finally Available in Print

Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight, which created an online sensation when released as an e-book last April, and became available for the first time in print from Samhain Publishing this February. The story’s release in any format indicates that contemporary culture’s acceptance of the sometimes “fluid” nature of sexuality has taken giant strides.

When Knight first shopped the novel in 2004, Michael and Rebecca’s love story was deemed too controversial for public acceptance. Michael is struggling to come to terms with his male life partner of 12 years being senselessly killed by a drunk driver a year earlier. Then he meets and falls in love with Rebecca, a woman carrying physical and emotional scars.

“I came close to selling repeatedly,” Knight explains. “It was considered for hardcover at several big houses, but each time the book proved to be just a click too edgy.”

However, after little more than two weeks on the market as an e-book in April, a search for “Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo” on Google delivered 9,850 hits. The first two pages consistently catalogued very positive reviews. Today glowing praise continues to predominate, page after page.

Why not read this groundbreaking book and determine its “edgy” factor for yourself?

Friday, March 26, 2010

RT Convention Get Together

So, who is attending RT or coming into Columbus for the big Book Fair on Saturday? Would you like an opportunity to hang with me and maybe a few of my friends in person?

As many of you know, I'll be attending the RT Convention in Columbus, OH April 28 to May 2. I'll be speaking on two author panels and one industry panel and attending lots of the events.

Thurs 10 a.m. - Social Media
Fri 10 a.m. - Top 10 Dead Sexiest Heroes
Fri 2:45 p.m. - Paranormal: The Melting Pot
*Giant Book Fair - Saturday from 11-2

However, I wanted to do something that gave readers (especially those coming into town just for the Book Fair) an opportunity to connect with me face-to-face in a less hectic environment. So,I'm coordinating a no-host get together right after the Book Fair on Saturday (2-ish). I'll be inviting a few of my author friends to join us and will select the venue once I know how many readers want to attend. Since this is not an RT sponsored event, you do not have to be a registered conference attendee to come, but conference goers are absolutely welcome!

If you would be interested in coming, please email me with RT Get Together in the subject header. Thanks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Fun for Today

Robots this cute could never become Sylons, right?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Humpday Hottie

For your viewing pleasure...

Seriously? This guy is totally going to end up as hero inspiration for a book. There is just something about him...anyone know his name?

Last Week's Blog Winner

Hubcap drew the name in our weekly blog prize drawing this week. He's just preening over his garden and the fact his allergies have finally started to slack off. Seriously? A man with allergies who still gardens is hero material for sure. LOL And this week's blog winner for a book of choice by moi is:

Please email Andre with your details, so he can send your prizes out to you. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grading Books...

...and why I wish reviewers would stick with the star, cup, heart, etc. system. :)

Okay, I admit it, I'm something of a perfectionist. No, really. Despite the little typos and rediculous bits that slip past me and my copyeditors, I am about as Type A as you can get on some things and grades are one of them. I was a straight A student in school - all the way through school. At university, my GPA dropped a tad to the A-/B+ range, but I was working multiple jobs while putting myself through a tough private university. Went back up into the solid A- range in grad school for my MBA. (Marriage was good for me. ::g::) Grades have just always been a big issue for me. They are for a lot of Americans. There are social conventions and judgements made based on the use of our grading system, and this is not something most of us can or even try to dismiss entirely after leaving school.

Grades in school represent the final judgment on your work, a hopefully objective measurement of both your knowledge and effort. And unfortunately, when given in a review, they produce the same angst as a graded paper used to do for me. The difference is, a review is one person's opinion, not the final word on my books. I do know that, but another part of my brain reminds me that grades are final and anything less than an A is unacceptable. Getting a C might as well have been getting an F as far as I, or my family's expectations of me were concerned.

So, like many other people in America, grades carry emotional baggage that a numbered, starred, etc. rating system does not for me. I see a two star review amidst a bunch of 4 and 5 star ratings and think, "S/he is not my target reader." Just like I'm not Stephen King's target reader. He's amazingly talented, but his topics aren't something that I enjoy reading. But the same review given with a B-, or gasp ... C ... triggers an emotional response a lot less pleasant for me.

In addition, there is an assumption of comparison standards used for grading that simply cannot exist in the world of reviewing books. I'd forgotten this, but one of the comment on this post prompted me to add it: I know of a book of mine that got "flunked" by a reviewer and savaged in her commentary, but RT gave it 4 1/2 stars and I got dozens of reader letters saying how much the book had moved them. (It also had a really stellar sell-through. ::g::) If I'd had any respect for that reviewer/site prior to this, I certainly lost it at that point. Her opinion was so totally divergent from *my* reader (that elusive individual who communes with my Muse telling it what will connect to my readers hearts) that I cannot take it seriously. In addition, her clear need to mock the hard work and emotional effort that goes into writing any book (whether mine or someone else's) said something to me about *her* character.

No writer gets it right for every reader. I get that and hope that both readers and reviewers do too. That's not my point. It is that in *my* ideal world, those who choose to review my books would use a metric that does not imply they have the right to fail or pass me at my chosen profession. :)

You see, teachers earn the right to give grades, not only by having learned the topics they teach (and measure a student's competency in), but by holding the job that gives them that right as well; they do get to pass or fail a student (well in most school districts). No matter how many books a reader or reviewer reads, that doesn't make them a novelist. More importantly, it does not make them an acquiring editor either - the only person who really does get to pass or fail a novelist's work.

Do they have the right (and for some, the responsibility) to review and judge books? Absolutely.

But using the grading system shared by the education system has never felt right to me. And now as a published author who gets graded reviews, it bothers me even more.

I don't know if I'll change anyone's mind about using grades instead of a less culturally loaded metric in their reviews, but I'll give my effort a B+. :)

Your turn: how do you feel about grades versus other standards of measurement for reviews?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Book by HelenKay Dimon

Kensington Brava
March 2010
ISBN 9780758229076
"This title is sure to be a surprise favorite with fans of Janet Evanovich and readers of light suspense." -Romantic Times

According to Judge Bennett Walker, trying to kill him is a dumb idea. They might make him wear a big black nightgown to work, but it covers a lot of muscles, and he’s definitely packing beneath it. He’s also an ex-prosecutor and an ex-GI Joe. So when his brother brings in Callie Robbins to protect him, Ben has a few issues. First, he doesn’t need a bodyguard. Second, she’s a 130-pound girl—more smoking hot than smoking gun. And third, what if his body wants her guarding the night shift?

Callie has no problem brushing aside Ben’s disbelief. She left the FBI to escape the boys’ club, but she can be deeper undercover and twice as lethal as any beefy John Doe. As for whether someone’s after Bennett or not, the death threats and car bombs look pretty convincing to Callie. Of course, she might get distracted, sitting inches from the sexiest judge in DC for ten hours a day. Keeping him safe is no picnic. Keeping it professional—that might be impossible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reader at Home Conference

Okay, so you all know I'm going to RT, but *I* know a bunch of you aren't and I got to thinking what I could do to make the week of RT fun for you all and any other readers who might be feeling a little left out. Then I hit on it - I would host a Readers at Home Conference here on my blog. We'd have tons of authors, tons of "door" prizes (more than 50!!!), tons of hotties (cover models, hero inspiration...just plain yum factor) and tons of fun!!!

I wanted something really special, something that made this a true conference and my friends helped me make it happen! We are giving away Swag Bags to the first 50 readers who register for the conference (this number has been reached - however you're still encouraged to register so you can receive reminder emails and be eligible for door prizes drawn from registered attendees throughout the conference). To register, all you have to do is send an email to me with your name and mailing address (for the Swag Bag) stating your intention to attend the RAH Conference.
The Swag Bags are for conference attendees only and we are trusting that if you register, you truly intend to attend the conference and interact with the authors and other readers on the blog. :) I'm shipping the Swag Bags at my own expense, but many authors have donated loot for you all, and each Swag Bag will have a free book inside.

Yes, that's right - the Reader at Home Conference is FREE. How cool is that?

Every day there will be multiple authors visiting and guest blogging, with new blogs posting every 3 hours between 6 AM and 6 PM (West Coast DST). And cover models? We've got 'em - with behind the scenes action as well as hero inspiration. There will be daily drawings for multiple prizes, including dozens of signed books, a B&N gift card, a t-shirt, 3 prize tote bags filled with books & goodies (donated by Sue Grimshaw from BTRB and Becke Martin), free online subscirptions to Affaire de Couer magazine and 2 more Swag Bags given away each day. What could be better?
To be eligible for daily "door prizes" you need to register for the conference. However daily "blog post" prize winners will be drawn daily from all the comments made on all the posts (as per my normal blog prize policy - each comment is counted in the drawing). Two ways to win lots of very cool prizes!
Readers at Home Conference Sponsors
~ Guest Blogging Authors ~

Other Readers at Home Conference Sponsors
(donated prizes, items for the Swag Bags, etc.)

So, while a bunch of us are at RT going crazy, you can be visiting with some of your favorite and some brand new authors - wearing casual clothes, ditching the makeup and your shoes. Oh, that? I envy! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Visit Lucy in Person - Reader Luncheon

Rose City Romance Writers will hold its tenth annual Readers Luncheon, a literacy fundraiser, on Saturday, April 17th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Governor’s Hotel, 614 SW 11th Avenue in downtown Portland.

The luncheon will feature a keynote address by bestselling author Jane Porter, one of the Northwest’s most prolific romance/modern literature authors.

Porter, who lives in Bellevue, Washington, has written more than 22 books, with millions of copies currently in print. In 2008, her national bestseller, Flirting with Forty, was made into a Lifetime film starring Heather Locklear. The debut captured four million viewers, making it the third most-watched television movie of that year.

Porter and dozens of local and regional romance authors (including Lucy Monroe) will be available to sign books after the luncheon. Lucy will also host a table for readers, giving away a door-prize basket to one lucky winner at her table.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at or at the door. Event proceeds benefit the Portland Literacy Council.

Rose City Romance Writers is the Portland-based chapter of the national Romance Writers Association. The chapter has more than 135 members, nearly half of whom are published authors.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Humpday Hottie

Another fun piece of eye-candy for your midweek pick-up!

And lest you think, I'm all about the hero, visit Nicola Marsh's wonderful blog on heroines, read my comment and leave one of your own.

JudyF really rocks at choosing these hotties though, doesn't she?

Blogg Winners for Last Week

As promised, there are 3 blog winners for last week. Einsteing (who has just changed his college major to a 4 year degree - yay - computer programming) helped me do the drawing. And just like everything with him, it was complicated. Too fun! LOL

The 2 winners for a signed copy of Moon Craving are:

And the winner for goodies and a book (by another author) from my prize closet is:

Please email Andre with your details, so he can send your prizes out to you. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Auto-buys and Not-to-buys

I read a lot - I mean a lot, a lot, a lot - and while I have a ton of keepers, I don't keep books I don't plan to re-read. This means I don't have easy reference for the not-to-buys - you know, those authors that you absolutely know you don't want to read again. I'm not sure if I'm getting pickier, or what, but my list of not-to-buys is growing faster than it used to. In fact, back in the day (put in here for Kate Davies - she may remember why), I kept the list of authors I didn't want to read again in my head. And I could remember every name on it because there were so few.

Nowadays, and for the last couple of years, that list is on my computer and I add to it more than I'd like. I dont know why that is. Maybe I'm getting older and more picky? Maybe my TBR pile is so high, I realize I have to limit myself and this is one way my subconscious achieves that? I'm not sure; I just know that I'm finding a lot more authors lately that really aren't my cup of tea. The good news is I'm adding to my auto-buy list at the same rate (which is bad for my budget, my bookshelves - that same TBR pile - and my schedule LOL).

Ending up on my auto-buy list isn't as easy as it sounds. The first foray into an author's creativity must yield a significant interest in reading the next book. That book must satisfy emotionally and logically, but I'll admit incredibly well written emotion wins out over plot holes and character malfunction. So, an author who irritates me for her/his lack of logic, follow through or character consistency can still end up an auto-buy for me if the emotion is written so compellingly I can't put the book down. So, while many components may go into the decision to make an author an auto-buy, it is made or broken on the emotional one.

Ending up on my not-to-buy list usually happens for three reasons.

1. The author's technical skill needs so much work, I can't slog through the pages regardless of the great emotional premise, fantastic setting and quirky characters.

2. The author pushes one of my ultimate hot buttons. Things like infidelity while the couple is still together (I'm not fond of infidelity when they are separate, but still married either, but this is not going to automatically dump an author on my not-to-buy list.), betrayal that is never atoned for, disrespect that is never apologized for, flipping the HEA of a previous book, continuous and blatant character stupidity, etc. if taken to the extreme will put an author I haven't read much on my NTB list immediately. They go on my "be wary of" list if I've read more than three books by them and liked the others. :)

3. My visceral reaction to the book just isn't there. If an author writes with a style that leaves me feeling like I might as well have read an Algebra book for all the emotion I'm experiencing, there's almost no chance I'll buy that author again.

It's your turn: what makes an author an auto-buy for you? What makes him/her a not-to-buy? Do you even keep a list of NTBs?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Book by Monica Burns

by Monica Burns
Berkley Sensation
ISBN 978-0-42523-215-6

“Monica Burns writes with sensitivity and panache. Don't miss this one!”
— Sabrina Jeffries, NYT bestselling author

“Tell me, sir, if you were to win this wager, what do you expect for your one night of pleasure?”

It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her…

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

What happens between them is Kismet…

Critical Acclaim

“After reading the bio posted on her website, I was afforded a deeper understanding into the wealth of emotions she poured into Kismet. Tenacious, sassy heroines and strong, sexy heroes are her signature style and she’s boldly penned one of the best books I’ve read in years.”
— TwoLipsReviews

“The imagery that Monica Burns paints of Moroccan and the people is mesmerizing. So captivating is the love story that is truly romance at its best, purest and most captivating that you will regret not absorbing every word on the page."”
— Book Junkie

“...a wonderful historical fiction voice. The way she builds up the attraction between her hero and heroine shows her skill as an author...”
— Babbling About Books, and More

“I absolutely loved this book...In my humble opinion it will become a classic that lovers of historical romance will read and recommend to others for many years to come. Bravo Ms. Burns.”
— ManicReaders

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Book by Angie Daniels

Before I Let You Go
by Angie Daniels
March 2010
Kimani Romance Series
ISBN-13: 9780373861545
ISBN: 0373861540

Kellis Saunders has loved Diamere Redmond since they were kids. But when Diamere abruptly left town, Kellis vowed to put him out of her mind—and her heart. Now the sinfully sexy nightclub owner is back…and he's ready to pick up where they left off. In spite of the passion exploding between them, Kellis isn't sure she's ready to risk her future on him.

The last thing the once-burned bachelor wants is to put his heart on the line again. Then Diamere sees Kellis: the girl that got away. The sensual elementary school teacher seems determined to resist him, but Diamere is just as determined to change her mind. As he sets the scene for seduction, he vows to fight for the woman he loves. And this time it's for keeps.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Blogger - Rick R. Reed

Shooting Your Child
by Rick R. Reed

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it. - Truman Capote

A statement like that makes a reasonable person gasp. The idea of "taking a child out in the back yard and shooting it" is such an arresting and shocking image that it takes one's breath away.

But if you're a writer--or anyone who creates--you might understand. First off, to say that Capote had a flair for the dramatic would be an understatement. In life as well as in his writing, he loved to push buttons, which is probably why he's remembered as much for who he was as much as for what he wrote. But Capote's point, about the sadness and loss a creative person feels at the end of a project is a lot like a death. A death that you bring about by your own hand.

I understand the quote because I feel a sense of loss and despair when I write the words, "the end." For me, who rarely writes a series, it is as if I have effectively killed off my characters. More prosaic people in my life think I'm crazy when I say that my characters come to life for me when I'm writing a book and that they often surprise me with what they do or say. Other writers--for the most part--understand.

For me, writing a book is all about taking a journey with the characters I have created. In the course of that trip, I nurture them. I love them (even the bad ones...and as many parents might attest, sometimes you love the bad ones the most). I don't always see it as me giving them life, but them giving something to me--surprises, emotions, a better understanding of not only them, but myself. They become dear to me, real to me.

When I finished my novel Deadly Vision, I asked my friend Mary, who was an early reader of the book, to give me her opinion on it. In the course of our conversation, I told Mary about that sense of loss I felt now that my characters' journeys were over and how much I missed them. She laughed and said that maybe I should "host a tea party" for my "little friends." She didn't quite get it. Or maybe she did. One of the best tests of friendships is sometimes the ability to be mean with each other and get away with it. But I digress.

The point is, when I get to the end of a book, it's not a cause for celebration, it's an occasion for mourning. Because, to use Capote's rather melodramatic analogy, I have taken my offspring out in the backyard and shot them. They are gone and for me, they won't be back. Once a work is published, I never reread it. And maybe that's why, because when I'm done, I'm done. And those people I came to know so well are gone forever, like dead loved ones. It's bittersweet to revisit their world.

Call me fickle, but after a suitable period of mourning, I find comfort in the arms of new friends, new characters and seldom look back on those I've shot. Heartless bastard.

In their October 2006 issue, Unzipped magazine said: "You could call Rick Reed the Stephen King of gay horror." And Dark Scribe magazine said: "Reed is an established brand - perhaps the most reliable contemporary author for thrillers that cross over between the gay fiction market and speculative fiction." To date, Reed has twelve published novels to his credit, and his short fiction has appeared in more than 20 anthologies. His novel, ORIENATION, won the EPPIE Award for best LGBT novel of 2008. He lives in Seattle, WA.

Rick's Homepage
Rick's Blog
Check out Rick's latest book, the heart-pounding child abduction thriller, MUTE WITNESS.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Build Your Book Boyfriend

I found this over on Stacy~'s blog. I thought it was so fun, we should all have a go. Originally, it came from The Gutter Girls and here is their blurb:

We all have our favourite book boyfriends and now you have the chance to create one just for yourself and your fantasies! How do you play? Fill out the quiz below, post a picture of a sexy man and tag five (5) other book addicts to do the same. Don't forget to pop to their blogs as let them know they have been tagged! Once tagged... you have to do the same, grab the button, answer the questions, and keep it rolling! But don't forget the picture of the sexy man! It doesn't have to match your fantasy man, just a little eye candy for the rest of us... heheheee!"- The Gutter Girls-

I've been tagged by: Stacy~

*Hair Color & Style

Yummy dark hair cut close to the scalp. Happy sigh...

*Eye Color & Facial Features

Brown eyes...the color of melted Dove chocolate. Exotic features that are often mistaken for Native American but actually result from a mixture of Germanic, Vietnamese and just a touch of Native American. Sexy, very kissable lips.

*Height & Body Type

Right around six feet tall. Muscular arms that are great for holding me, well defined pecs that are fun to at. Strong thighs, sexy feet - oh, yes, feet can and should be sexy.

*Visible Age


*Bangability (kinky/bi/size)

A little kink is a lot of velcro handcuffs, some fave toys...oh, erm...just the right size to feel and not to hurt trying to do the dirty-dirty, but definitely knows how to use what he's got. Oh! Fanning self.

*Human or Other

Now here, we'll deviate just a tad from reality and say he can change into a wolf. Or maybe a tiger. Yum!

*Paranormal Skills

The ability to read minds (men can be dense and this skill would be such a helpful one), especially mine. Super strength and speed and aforementioned ability to shift into another form.


He likes to work out, keeps his muscles toned. Is an avid micro-gardener, environmentalist and gamer. It all keeps him young and vibrant and interesting.

*Special Skills

Knows how to use nun-chucks, is a great cook and cleans toilets with the best of them. Oh, and well...I won't mention that, but let's just say I don't just write about screaming orgasms. ;-)

I'm thinking he might look something like...

Tagged: Kate Davies

Lucy's Family Nick-Names

I try not to use my children/g-children's real names on my social pages 'cuz they deserve a certain amount of privacy. But they are such a big part of my life, of course I'm going to talk about them. :)

For your reference:

Hubcap - my husband (he came up with the name for my blog and it stuck)
[Is and environmental guru for Intel and micro-gardner extraordinaire, but nothing beats his creative genius in gaming and paper model creation.]

BQ - my oldest (Beauty Queen - for her chosen profession)
[Hair stylist and Aesthetician & super mom.]

Sly - her husband (loves Sylvester Stallone, named their female cat Rocky LOL)
[Massage Therapist & fab dad]

Miss Sparklepants - their daughter (she likes to sparkle)
[Princess in training]

Einstein - my son (he's both bloody brilliant and a bit out there)
[Going to college for associates in applied science and machining technology.]

DQ - my youngest (Drama Queen - got if from *her* g-ma, I swear - well maybe a little from mom too LOL)
[Going to university for a bachelors degree in design merchandising.]

Tazz - her husband (not 'cuz he's a devil, but Miss S calls him that and I like it)
[The go to guy at a tool & die company.]

Little Fashionista - DQ & Tazz's daughter.

I simply refer to Tae and Hoon My by name or as the K-Boys. They're both from Korea (different families) and lived with us for 3 years of schooling. We consider them sons who are just lucky enough to have two families. :) Right now Tae is attending college here and living with my other kids in what we refer to as the Sattelite House (bought it when this one got full) and Hoon Mo is attending university in Ohio on scholarship.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Humpday Hottie

Okay, seriously? I don't remember ever seeing the football players in high school or university stripping to their shorts in the field, but they could have! LOL Thanks for the pic, JudyF!

Blog Winner for Last Week

Okay, so I drew the winner for last week's blog contest. Boring I know, but I'm alone in my office and waiting for a call from my editor, so didn't want to do a long distance draw again. Sigh... :) Still, that doesn't make the winner any less exciting, right???

And that winner is: erahime

Contact Andre with your details and your selection of one signed book from my current or backlist! :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Readers Really Make My Day

In the last few weeks, I've gotten some of the nicest comments and emails on Moon Craving that I've ever received for my books. And I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been part of making me feel like this really is the special book I meant it to be!

It has been a wonderful few weeks! Truly special. I even got a Happy Making Cupcake award from Maya on her blog! All sorts of neat and unexpected stuff. :)

To show my deep and heartfelt appreciation to my readers, I want to do something special for you all and what is more special than free books? I'm giving away 2 extra signed copies of Moon Craving on the blog this week...that's right, that means there will be THREE winners announced the Wednesday after next! 2 for the signed copies of Moon Craving and 1 for a book and goodies from my prize closet! :)

And lest you think I forgot, Miss Sparklepants helped me choose the winner for my special contest run to celebrate the release of Moon Craving in February (this is the one where all you had to do was send an email to the contest address by Feb 28 to be entered in the drawing). That winner is Marilyn! I've emailed her and asked for her details so Andre can get her prize sent out to her.

Congratulations, Marilyn - and thank you for the truly kind words!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Lucy's MVP Wall

In keeping with our weekly hottie picture (Bet you can't wait to see it!), I'm going with a sports theme for today's post. :) This is my MVP list of authors that taught me good writing by being such excellent writers themselves. You all know (or should by now LOL) that I believe strongly that part of learning good writing is reading copious amounts of great fiction.

I am a voracious reader and that began early in life (Age 4...and by age 5, I was sneaking into my mother's Readers Digest Condensed Version books - have no idea how much I understood, but I remember gleefully climbing the bookcase and pulling the books down to read. That all ended when she caught me reading The Godfather.). I read entire libraries of books as a child (and I mean that literally - I could be both methodical and tenacious and read from A to Z in fiction and went through Dewey's decimal system in nonfiction), but have a marked preference for romance and mystery as an adult. Though I still love a good nonfiction book and read several a year, both for pleasure and research, but mostly research. You can never get enough of learning. :)
Speaking of, I learned so much from authors I read before I ever tried my hand at creating my own stories. Here's a list of those that I glommed, read, re-read, and then re-read again... and again... and again.

Please note that all of these authors could share MVP status for most of the categories - these women are truly masters at their craft! :) And the authors are listed in alphabetical order - not order of importance, that would be impossible for me to determine. :)

MVP for Current Cultural Relevancy

MVP for Angst & Paranormal Creativity

MVP for Family Themes & Sexy Heroes

MVP for Voice Consistency &
Being the 1st Author I ever Glommed

MVP for Story Structure & the Vulnerable Alpha Hero

MVP for Sexual Tension & the Ultra Alpha Hero

MVP for Genre Diversity & Reinventing her Career (repeatedly)

MVP for Plotting & Inpsiration

MVP for Successful Series Creation

MVP for Emotion & Humor

These are by no means a complete list of my favorite authors, but they are the authors that had the most impact on me before and during the time I honed my craft for publication. I currently read literally dozens of auto-buy authors and continue to learn good writing from them. However, this is my MVP list from the beginning, the authors that most heavily influenced my own writing style and expectations for a book.

Two authors that do not write in my favorite genre and are long since gone, but also influenced me tremendously because of the number of times I read and re-read every single one of their books over the years are Agatha Christie and Louisa May Alcott.

Your turn: if you could give an MVP award to an author, what would it be for and who would it be to? (If you want to make their day, send the author the MVP pic and let them know you named them MVP here. We all like to hear when our readers feel we've done an outstanding job with a book, character, etc.)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

New Book by Shiloh Walker

by Shiloh Walker
Penguin - March 2010
ISBN-13: 9780425232415

The national bestselling author of Fragile returns with a luscious new blend of sex and suspense.

Quinn Rafferty is working as a bounty hunter for a private detective agency in St. Louis when a new neighbor catches his eye. He's drawn to her-but he has his own soul to mend before he can worry about anyone else.

Sarah McElyea is on the run, but not for the usual reasons a woman goes on the lam. She has a plan for her future. And as much as she finds herself attracted to her gruff, tough neighbor, she can't risk telling him the secrets she's hiding.

But Quinn must get closer to Sarah when she turns out to be the target of his new missing persons case, and both Quinn and Sarah will have to expose their true feelings-as well as their fragile hearts-if their love is to survive.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

New Book from Shayla Black

Berkley Heat
ISBN: 978-0425232422
Buy the Book

He can’t control his desire.

Luc Traverson’s entire future is planned out—but there is one very sexy obstacle in his path: Alyssa Devereaux . She’s a former exotic dancer turned strip club owner and restaurateur. Recently, Alyssa and Luc shared one night of wild abandon that left Luc terrified by his loss of self-control—and Alyssa desperate for more.

And that’s just the way she wants it.

Fulfilling a promise, Luc is the guest chef for Alyssa’s restaurant debut. The sight of her makes Luc wild, so how can he survive a week without letting loose and ravaging her—especially when she’s begging for it? Luc’s desire for her explodes when he realizes he isn’t the only man desperate to have her. But one of the others is deadly. And that’s not the end of Alyssa’s secrets…which are as dark and mysterious and enticing as her fantasies.

Read an Excerpt - Warning Adult Content & Language

Friday, March 05, 2010

Guest Blogger - Debra Parmley

Originally Lucy and I had planned for me to write about the romantic anniversary trip my husband and I took to Hot Springs, AR last weekend. But as I write this, I just have to chuckle. Because a writer never really stops being a writer even when celebrating an anniversary.

Hot Springs is a lovely place to visit and one of my favorite places to stay is the historic Arlington Hotel and Spa, which has hosted grand balls and social events since 1875. So many famous actors, sports legends, dignitaries, politicians and gangsters have stayed in the hotel, bathed in the bath house and danced to jazz late into the evening. But perhaps one of the most famous is Al Capone. When he stayed at the Arlington he would rent the entire fourth floor and his room was number 442, a suite. You can stay in his room for a special fee and it was out of our price range, but we were able to stay in room 431. I was thrilled! Especially as I had already decided before we arrived that I wanted to set one of my romance novels here. The town has such a unique history and the more I learn about it, the more fascinated I become.

We drove over from Memphis on Friday, checked in and were lucky enough to get right in for a bath and massage at the Arlington. This is a unique experience. First you rest in a hot mineral bath just as they did back when the baths began. The water coming out of the tap is 104 degrees. While in the tub your bath attendant will give you hot mineral water to drink and before you get out, will scrub your back with a loofah. You’re then given the option of a dry sauna, which I skipped. Next you are wrapped in a sheet and taken to a bench type chair where your arms and legs are wrapped with hot towels. A cold towel is placed over your forehead to help cool you down and you are given ice water to drink. Then the towels are removed and you are taken to a shower with multiple sprays. You dry off then are wrapped in a sheet and wait for your massage therapist. Massages are Swedish style. It was the perfect way to start the weekend. There is nothing more relaxing. Here where the writer part started to creep in. I was sitting in the bath with nothing at all in my head other than thinking how good it felt when suddenly I knew that one of the people in my novel would be murdered. In fact murdered in the bath. Yes, I know I was supposed to be thinking romantic thoughts about our anniversary weekend, but this is the way this writers mind works. And I don’t know how many other writers would agree with me on this, but there’s just something about a bath that brings out these creative voila moments.

Well, once we were rested from our spa treatments, we dressed for dinner and went down for the Friday night seafood buffet that the Arlington is known for. They have the seafood flown in and it really is delicious. Following dinner we went to the lobby to listen to live jazz and to dance. Local swing dancers came out to dance, adding to the atmosphere. Not so different from the 1020’s really as the hotel today is much like it was when it was rebuilt in 1924 after the fire of 1923.

The lobby of the Arlington is unique and even more unusual they have Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac in the middle of the lobby, on loan from the museum. He had someone buy the car for him, and then had a foundry install quarter inch thick boiler plat panels all around the soft top. He had one inch thick glass installed in the windows, windshield and rear window. The rear window was hinged so it could fold down to shoot out of. And because the Chicago police had painted their Cadillac’s green and black, Capone had his painted the same colors. I was tickled by the fact that the trunk is actually a trunk!

Why did Capone have this special car? Well, on March 27, 1927, Chicago gang leader Vincent Drucci attempted to assassinate Capone with a shotgun during his stay in Hot Springs. Capone survived and when Drucci returned to Chicago police killed him. From then on, Capone would travel in Hot Springs in his armored Cadillac. This is just one of the many legends of Hot Springs.

On Saturday we also were celebrating hubby’s birthday and went to the horse races at Oaklawn Park. This too is something of a tradition in Hot Springs as the first race at Oaklawn was in 1905. The Park was closed for a time when legislation forced it to shut down, but today the races are off and running. It’s great fun to hear the horses thundering down the track. Saturday night we had a lovely dinner at Belle Arte , an Italian restaurant which has live piano music and is quite a romantic setting.
Sunday we visited the Gangster museum and learned about The Hatterie, right next door which was owned by the local madam and had our photo taken with a statue of Al Capone. I stayed behind after the tour and had a chance to hold a Tommy gun and have it explained to me. Of course by then plenty of ideas for my story were rumbling around in my head. On the drive home I was already jotting things down in my notebook and thinking of when I could return and absorb more of the atmosphere and the history while writing the novel.

Of course this only touches on a few of the things you can do in Hot Springs and it truly is a fun and romantic place to visit with your sweetheart.

Lucy, thank you for inviting me to be a guest blogger! It’s been fun!

Make-Believe Mondays, interviewing authors every week since 2005