Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!







The girls getting their pumpkins for carving/painting. :)

Motivation, Motivation, Motivation!

While I'm blessed to not have to do a lot of revisions, the most frequent one I'm asked to make is to flesh out my character's motivation.  As the author, I know my characters intimately and because of this - sometimes I forget to clue the reader in on what they are thinking, or the most important of elements: why they do the things they do.

When you think of a character as TSTL (too stupid to live) or hugely unsympathetic, it's almost always because the author hasn't shown you sufficient or acceptable-to-you motivation for their actions.  Why did the girl go into the basement when she suspected the ax wielding psychopath was down there?  Too often the why is so spurious, the girl is pronounced TSTL.  But what if she weren't?  What if she were a former Marine carrying a weapon?  Or a mother who believed she could convince her son to stop?

I've been a have you.  I've raised a few of my own as well and I can say honestly, I've never known any as stupid as the ones that seem to populate horror movies.

Otherwise intelligent characters can come off looking criminally stupid when their actions aren't properly motivated.  So, what are some of the common "motivation mistakes" we see in writing?

  • The character who acts based on the simple misunderstanding.  We've all heard of this one, yes?  We're told that the "big misunderstanding" is a rotten reason for conflict in a book.  Our teachers and mentors are oh, so right.  A misunderstanding that would easily be remedied by discussion with someone else (doesn't even have to be the other protagonist) won't motivate behavior that is otherwise unbelievable.

Nothing is more annoying than slogging through pages of conflict between two otherwise likable people simply because one of them has the wrong end of the stick and refuses to grasp hold of the right one.

  • The hero or heroine whose actions are driven by faulty and unreasonable assumptions.  Assumptions that make no sense to your readers will not float your story...not even in the name of humor.  Your readers need to be rooting for your characters and their happy endings, and that's not as likely when they consider your hero or heroine too ridiculous for words.

Properly motivated spurious assumptions can make for really good reading though.  Think about the heroine who thinks he would never be interested in her when in reality he fancies her something rotten.  If she believes this because she's been rejected by boys all her life as being too boring or because he has a well known type and she'd antithetical to it, well that can work, yes?  But if she simply believes it to move the story forward another 20 pages, readers are going to know that and get mightily irritated.

  • The character who pops up out of nowhere and disappears the same way when they've played the prop they need to your plot.  If you have a villain, or a well-meaning matchmaker pushing your characters together, please take the time to figure out the how and why and explain that to your readers.
Something to remember when its relevant to the type of story you are writing: your protagonist is only as strong as the villain they're facing and if that villain isn't motivated or fleshed out, the protagonist comes off looking weak and ineffectual - even when they win.

  • The character that is unsympathetic.  This character is often motivated by things that readers by and large find less than heroic or understandable.  My super alpha heroes are often unlikable in the beginning of a book, but I plant the seeds for their redemption as early as the first page, if I can.  This is also where my editors often ask me to go back and reveal more of his reasons for doing what he does to the reader.
Someone suggested I watch "Doc Martin" (a British medical show that I think is supposed to be funny), so I did.  I find pretty much all of the characters incomprehensible and somewhat unlikable.  The final episode I watched (I gave it more than one chance) that absolutely turned me off the show had the local school teacher who was interviewing for the position of head mistress treat a child whose mother was in hospital like a total bother.  Since children and their welfare is a hot button for me, that was the final straw for me.  I've no interest in watching another episode.

When this happens in a book, I'll end up adding an author to my "Do Not Buy No Matter How Intriguing the Story Sounds" list.  I know I've had a character, or two, hit a reader in the same place.  One of my heroes, I realized I could have done a better job of revealing his inner workings throughout the book and his transformation at the end...another, I stood by.

The woman who thought I would love "Doc Martin" really enjoyed the show herself and was hugely disappointed when it got cancelled after 5 seasons.  So, we have to acknowledge that what is unlikable for one reader may well be adorable to another.  This is where it becomes hugely important to understand your market and the heroic archetypes that work (and conversely don't work) for your readers or potential readers.  It's not enough to say, "Well...she's just not my reader," when her viewpoint is reflected in the vast majority of your target market.

The character whose behavior is obviously driven by plot or word count.  I'll admit these books are my least favorite and most likely to get an author on my "Do Not Buy" list.  But we've all read them, haven't we?  The story that could have been over on page 50 but drug on to 397 because the characters just kept doing things that made no sense so the story could be longer.  Even worse is the character who plainly doesn't fit the plot. The author is intent on writing a certain story, but she chose the wrong characters to tell it with and this is apparent in Chapter One and never, ever gets better.

In short, when writing the complex or the simple, one thing remains paramount: motivation!

It's your turn:  what's your favorite new television show?  Are the characters likable, or interesting enough to be unlikable and still watchable?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekly Contest Winner!

This weeks prize goes to......

Thanks for visiting my blog this week! Please email me so I can get you, your prize! Enjoy the books and tote bag!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Interview - Maggie Cox

Hi Maggie Cox! So excited you dropped by today so we can get to know a little more about you!

1. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not writing?

I love to go the cinema. I think going to see a movie is one of the keenest pleasures next to reading a book. I especially love cinematic stories that take the main character/characters on a journey. I recently saw ‘The Way Back’ directed by Peter Weir. It’s based on an incredible true story about a group of disparate men that escape from a Russian gulag during the Stalin regime and who arrive in British-ruled India after walking 4,000 miles from Siberia! It’s a truly epic and heartrending story of survival and optimism against all the odds and what I loved about it was that it had kindness and humanity towards each other as its main theme. Not only that but it has a stellar cast too: Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan and Colin Farrell. I highly recommend it.

2. What books are sitting in your TBR pile right now? What book are you currently reading?

As is usual for me (I’m an avid reader) I have several books in my TBR pile. One book that I’m about to read for the umpteenth time is Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher. Her storytelling and writing are so wonderful that reading this book makes me feel like I’m visiting a very dear and much loved wise friend. Because of its winter setting and also because it brings a family hit by tragedy together at Christmas - it’s the ideal story to lose myself in as Autumn comes to an end and the chilly and less mellow temperatures of winter arrive.

The other books on my bedside cabinet waiting to be enjoyed are quite an eclectic mix and the titles are as follows: The Law is a Lady by Nora Roberts, Practising the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Saved by a Poem by Kim Rosen (and I really was saved by this inspirational woman’s reading of her own and others poetry when she gave a performance in London at the end of the summer) and Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping, which is about letting
go of anger and blame in order to heal relationships – grist for the mill for a romance author as well as sage advice for anyone who truly wants to have better relationships.

3. Please share something you found most interesting or fun that you did to research for a book.

During the writing of my title Reputation in Tatters I attended a workshop about learning to make healing remedies from plants with a friend who is a therapist and it took place in Monflanquin in the south of France. As I went on expeditions for the necessary plants in the woods close to the stunning stone-built house we were staying in and sat round the pool in the glorious sunshine after our trips, the characters of PR expert Nash Taylor-Grant and actress Freya Carpenter fleshed into vivid life. So much so that I used the gorgeous setting I was staying in as the very evocative location for Nash’s personal hideaway that he whisks Freya off to when she is being hounded by the Paparazzi. I was so inspired that when I wasn’t learning to concoct ancient remedies in the house’s huge kitchen or avidly listening to our tutor – I was busy filling my notebook with conversations and scenes from the story. Writing romance surely doesn’t get much better than this?!

4. Action adventure or romantic comedy? What is your favorite movie lately?

When it comes to choosing between action adventure or romantic comedy, I definitely err on the side of action adventure. I love movies like ‘Hidalgo’ with Viggo Mortensen (doesn’t hurt that he’s in it!), ‘The Mummy’ with Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser (great chemistry between them and funny too), ‘The Painted Veil’ with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton (a lot more serious but heartrending epic love story set in wartime China). Currently my favourite movie is ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so wonderful. It’s got quite an unusual premise involving deja vu and unseen forces moving people together or keeping them apart and the chemistry between the two leads is totally believable and sizzling. It’s also got a completely uplifting and happy ending and I left the cinema when the movie ended feeling like I was walking on air.

Personal perspective on my Harlequin Presents title One Desert Night published in the U.S.A on February 7th 2012.

I loved the challenge of writing a ‘Sheikh’ book as I’d never tried writing one before. My inspiration was the atmosphere of magic and legend created by the famous ‘One hundred and One Arabian Nights’ and I wanted to create a similar kind of mythical setting in ‘One Desert Night’. My hero Sheikh Zahir is definitely a modern man but because he has inherited a fabulously rich and ancient kingdom, he also has the kind of ‘old-fashioned’ values regarding his responsibility to home and family that perhaps a less ‘duty bound’ man in the corporate world might not so readily want to embrace. My heroine Gina is also a woman that feels great responsibility to her family – her widowed father in particular – so much so that when she meets and falls in love with Zahir, she is prepared to give him up to help take care of her lonely and grief-stricken parent. When she finds herself incredibly making a return journey t
o Zahir’s kingdom a few years after their magical and passionate night together, she is stunned to discover that he is not just the wealthy urban man she thought he was, but a genuine Sheikh who has inherited a kingdom he is duty-bound to serve and protect.

This is the description of the story on the back of the book:
The coveted Heart of Courage jewel – when passed to each sheikh in the House of Kazeem Khan – is said to guarantee love. But Sheikh Zahir rejects this legend. After the bitterness he’s suffered, he sees emotion and marriage as two very separate things...
It’s down to Gina Collins to sell the jewel through her auction house. Returning to the desert plains of Kabuyadir, she’s horrified to realise the new Sheikh is the man who gave her one earth-shattering night years ago...

Hope you enjoy it!
Love Maggie

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bodyguards In Bed - Review

Bodyguards In Bed offers three stories by three great authors - here is one review of Lucy's story Who's Been Sleeping in My Brother's Bed?

Who’s Been Sleeping in My Brother’s Bed is an interracial romance I could not get enough of. Danusia is used to men backing off due to her being so smart, and she’s really tired of it too. Maxwell knows he’s a good soldier but he doesn’t think he has what it takes to seduce a classy lady like Danusia. But together, these two are on fire. Whew! There’s lots of heat and romance in this short story which make me want to see them again in the future. Two Lips Reviews

(with Jamie Denton & Elizabeth Naughton)
Kensington Brava - June 2011 (05-31-11)
Trade Paperback
ISBN-10: 0758210337
ISBN-13: 978-0758210333

Whose Been Sleeping in my Brother’s Bed?

Roman Chernichenko’s baby sis is in trouble. She shows up at his apartment needing help and a safe place to be right now, but Roman is in Africa. Only the apartment’s not empty. One of his Atrati team is staying at Roman’s place while *his* apartment is under renovation. They’ve met — at Beau & Elle’s wedding. She thinks he’s freaking hot, he thinks she freakin’ off limits, being Roman’s baby sister and all. She might be an academic geek, but she knows what she wants and she sets out to get it — Mr. Hottie Super Soldier won’t know what hit him ... and beat him to the mattress after.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm giving a FREE workshop on Romance University *Today*

If you're a writer, interested in the process of writing or simply intrigued by the fact that scientists now recognize more than the five senses taught in primary school, stop by and visit my workshop, More than Five Senses: Writing for Visceral Impact, at Romance University. :)

Humpday Hottie!

I love his eyes...I bet I know what he's thinking!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekly Prize Giveaway!

Looking for some good reads? Enter this week's contest by leaving me a comment on any posting open to comments and you will automatically be entered in the contest!

One bag/tote will be given away each week.

Weekly winner will be posted on Saturday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

How to miss your wife...Hubcap and Lucy’s trip to Greece, Italy, Turkey

By Hubcap

Hello gang, it’s been awhile since we travelled, so we decided to brave the Wide Wild World.  It’s time for Lucy and Hubcap’s travel to Italy and Greece.

The plan was to fly through Amsterdam, spend a day or two in Rome at the beginning and end, and in the middle have a 10-day cruise around Italy, Turkey, and Greece.  In other words, a fantastic plan.

We first travelled through Amsterdam (which I figure the closest to naming a town a swear word and getting away with it).  Having the day flying in, we spent the time touring the canals, which are very extensive.  Many of the people live in houseboats moored along the canals.  And like houses, they are in various states of repair.  But a plus; if you don’t like your neighbors, fire up the motor and move your house.

Then we flew into Rome.  We had paid for a driver to pick us up, and we had called in advance to confirm that he would be there.  Which of course he wasn’t.  No person, no sign, no nothing.  And people at the airport are more than happy to point you to a pay phone and indicate the 30+ digits you have to dial to get a call out.  So after 90 minutes of searching the airport for our nonexistent driver, we looked for a taxi.  This was the start of our experience with Italian taxis.

If you are fortunate to attain the official city taxis (white with yellow or red stripes), you will receive a decent ride at a decent price.  If you are like us, and you can only attract private taxis, you will find out two things very fast.  One, when you show them a credit card, they say they will take it.  To be specific, they will take you to your destination, then will take you to as many ATMs as it takes for you to pull out enough cash to pay them because, of course, they don’t really take credit cards, are you kidding?  We only backed over one person in our search for Euros (which are like US dollars, but way more expensive.  Welcome to the EU).  Our other taxi experiences were going to and from our Cruise Port, with a stop at a factory outlet mall on the way.  Which actually ended up with expensive taxi rides to and from the port (long rides, we knew), but without the pre-arranged stop at the mall.  This brings up the second point; just because someone promises they’ll take you somewhere, doesn’t mean they’ll actually take you there; are you kidding?  One thing we definitely got on these private taxis; we got taken for a ride.  The few times we secured the official city taxis, great experiences, good prices.  You’ve been warned. 

Inside the Pantheon turned Catholic Church
On one particular taxi ride, the person drove his car past a truck blocking the driveway into the hotel, and scuffed his car in the process (because, of course, the road really was meant for one vehicle width.  Learned a lot of inappropriate Italian phrases that day).  Which was unfortunate when I pointed out afterwards that the actual hotel was two locations down the road.

Rome is an incredible city; Lucy and I went on a walking tour and we saw ancient historical structures almost around every corner….incredibly beautiful structures.    Which of course is the main attraction of the town.  That, and that Vatican-thingy.  We were fortunate to see the Pope give the daily blessing while he was under the holy camping pavilion.  It’s hard to see him from our zillion-kilometer viewpoint across the plaza, but luckily you can see him on the holy high-def monitors spaced around.  After watching everyone get their tourist items blessed, we decided that we would just return to our hotel, which was located nearby past some small turns, ancient footpaths/ruins and a couple time zones.   

Definitely the Pope set the bar, as none of the Roman or Greek entities visited as we toured their sites.  It's probably best; I wasn't dressed for lightning bolts, earthquakes or donkey ears (wait, that was Shakespeare; but I digress...).

Some key things to note:

Italians know English.  To be specific, they recognize English-speaking people very well, and are more than delighted to help you learn Italian by watching you struggle with your survival phrases, smile and shake their head.  You will know the lesson is over when, frustrated at every turn, you go to leave and they say, “Wait, we speak English….”

If you know Spanish, you can try to get your idea across to Italians by speaking Spanish, a related language to Italian.  And by that I mean that you can speak it, and can then try to interpret their gaze response, ranging from, “I can’t believe you tried to insult me by speaking a second language from another country,” to “I understand you, but if I respond in Spanish, you’ll be as clueless as if I responded in Italian, so I’ll stay silent to preserve your dignity.”

Some phrases don’t translate well.  For example in Italy when asking for directions, the phrase “It’s a short walk, about a kilometer down this street, lots of shops, you can’t miss it,” actually means, “Walk down this road until you can’t see me laugh, then continue walking until you realize you are in another country. You’ll  definitely find something after that.  Note:  it won’t be what you wanted. ” 

We managed to find some wonderful restaurants (OK, actually bars about 3 feet deep with no chairs and lots of smokes), and get food to take back to our hotel.  In all fairness, a few of the bars had wonderful entrees (learned that I love Caprese Salad, a sliced tomato with buffalo cheese wedged into the slices), and friendly folks; we will always treasure those times.

Rome’s traffic amazed us.  As you know, we’ve had mixed experiences with traffic in other countries, and Rome and Greece did not fail to disappoint.  Most amazing is that there’s a lively mix of small cars, Vespas and pedestrians, all walking at once (traffic lights and signs add to the ambience, but are not followed of course), and no vehicles or people are bumped or even scratched.  Hitting pedestrians, we found, is strictly a tourist activity, as our taxis managed to hit people (one across the hood, another backing into them) while ferrying us through town.  Fortunately the end result is both pedestrian and driver exchange yelling, gesture, then continue on their way.  The lesson?  Instead of insurance, yell and gesture a lot.

Once we boarded the cruise ship (the Celebrity Equinox, which many mistake as a large Archipelago), we were treated to a wealth of great food, shows and shopping that really highlighted our vacation.  We had paid for a Concierge-level room and service, and it was nothing short of incredible.   Imagine every day getting out of your bed, opening the curtains to a balcony overlooking the ocean or port you were in.  With privacy panels on either side, you could stand out there totally naked and not bother anyone.  Most of the time.  Which, while I’m at it, my apologies to the just-passing Holland Line customers for the impromptu full monty experience you received from me that morning; that was NOT part of the cruise experience you purchased.

Greece and Turkey were fantastic countries.  Although clearly the economies are sorely pressed there, they suffered my Greek survival phrases well, encouraged me for the efforts, then sold us rugs and souvenirs.  The whitewashed buildings with their simple lines, clean arches and painted domes are etched in my memory always.  It was also amazing to see the huge influence the Middle East had on architecture, seeing Orthodox Churches with mosque attributes were very beautiful, lots of mosaic and inlaid designs.  I was not aware of the blending of some pagan designs with Catholic or Christian architecture, usually done to help promote introduction of the new religion into that region.  Great history lessons all around.

Only a couple hiccups on the excursions; in Athens, we had exited a tour bus (hop on, hop off, a great way to pass the day and still get the tour) for a museum, then found out it was closed that day (could’ve told us), then other folks waiting there let us know that the follow-on bus was blocked by the protests.  We ate lunch, grabbed a taxi, and after only running into one person, we ended up at the amazing Plaka (amazing because it wasn’t’ the official Plaka of history, but a small sidewalk plaza of shops and stands), where we were able to get back on the tour bus and enjoy the rest of the tour.

The other hiccup wasn’t a fault of the location or the people; it was me.  Santorini is a fantastic island build around a volcanic mount and caldera.   As a result, at the port, you have two ways to get to the town at the top (I think it’s 600ft up).  One, ride a burro or walk behind them up a zig-zag series of footpaths.  Lucy and I are allergic.  OR, ride a tram to the top, takes a minute.  We chose the tram.  As we waited in the building at the bottom and watched the trams go up bumpily on a very thin cable across old looking pylons, I experienced an earthquake.  To be clear, the island did not have an earthquake.  My legs just started shaking.  Then, my body, then, as we ascended, my hands.  I’m amazed my photos came out; definitely testifies to the anti-shake mechanism on the camera.  Lucy, who doesn’t like heights?  Just fine, no worries.  Me?  Worries.  Lots of them.  Definitely I have an issue with heights.

Once at the top, the town was fantastic.  And I braved taking pictures at the edge, since we were there.  But honestly, I could not tour the caldera, like the others.  Bummer.

My experience in pointing at items in different countries was sorely tried.  For example, in Greece as we bartered, I remembered that pointing at items can be viewed as insulting in that culture.   I was fortunately able to convey my meanings by grabbing things off racks and other customers and dressing in them (clearly if I’m wearing it, I’m buying it).  The underwear photo is an example.  Don’t ask whose it was originally.  But I’m sure she won’t even miss it.  By the way, you have to post bail in Euros; another handy tip for you.

Pompeii was an experience not to be missed.  And we met some wonderful people who were taking back to back cruises, or were going for the first time.  However, one couple was notable.  Our tour guide Nuncia (Nancy in our lingo) was speaking to us through our personal radios about Vesuvius, Amalfi coast (introduced to Limón cello, fantastic!), and Pompeii (her forte of knowledge was Pompeii).  During this, the husband of this couple kept asking unusual questions, like, “Nancy (gestures out the bus window), is that an eruption going on over there?”  She said no, mainly because it was a personal brush fire on the mountain, and it wasn’t even Vesuvias, which was on the opposite side of the bus.  He also asked if a hundreds-of-years old cathedral had a modern bathroom they could use.  Not tour it.  Just use the bathroom.  Not usually a problem, unless you discount all the other bathrooms nearby.  But you need the bathroom to be located in the CATHEDRAL….?

Pompeii sported many advanced features for a city; it had a combined network of chariot roads and pedestrian walks, so that despite rains, the chariots could travel unimpeded, and pedestrians could stay dry as they crossed the walks.  The city also had about 99 snack bars (think Golden Arches), with terracotta bowls in marble counters, large bread ovens, incredible.  They also had running water; and when they realized the lead pipes were poisoning them, they couldn't switch to terra cotta because the pressure from the water caused the pipes to burst.  The running water still functions today.  They also had a legal courtyard for judgements, many city centers and small terraced theaters for events and houses of pleasure (because they were legal then).  Although our earlier-mentioned couple found the paintings in these pleasure houses inappropriate, I found it fascinating that they would post “How to” guides in these places.  A menu of sorts, “sorry sir; that is NOT on the menu.”

Our tour (number 13, of course) had finished a tour of a seashell-cameo-carving, and many tourmembers were purchasing gifts.  One of them was Nancy.  Nancy was not only the name of our tourguide Nuncia, but also the aforementioned wife of our brush fire loving tourist.

A few minutes after most of the group arrived at the meeting point, I hear him shouting, “Nancy! Nancy!”  Thinking he wanted our tour guides, I informed Nuncia, and she asked what he wanted.


Nuncia goes, “uh….what?”

“I mean, Nancy is the name of my wife….I MISS MY WIFE!”

We turn away to look at trinkets, sights, things besides this person….

Suddenly we hear on our radios, a male voice: “For everyone in group 13”….Not Nuncia’s voice.  What the….?

We look over, and our favorite tourist has Nuncia’s microphone (she is still attached to the transmitter), and he continues,”…Group 13, it’s time to meet at the exit point now.  And NANCY, if you could hear me: YOU NEED TO COME OUT RIGHT NOW.”

Convenient, I’m sure you’ll agree, especially if you’re in, say, the bathroom.

A few minutes later, a chastened spouse comes out of where she was buying stuff 20 feet away, and rejoins her much-relieved husband.  We move on to the rest of a wonderful tour.

To sum it up, we had a wonderful time over there, and we have many fantastic memories.  And I learned the most valuable lesson:

When your legs start to shake, just yell, “I MISS MY WIFE!  I MISS MY WIFE!”

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Save the Date Reminder!

Have your checked out this event event yet? Lucy is a participating author!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekly Contest Winner!

This weeks prize goes to......

Thanks for visiting my blog this week! Please email me so I can get you, your prize! Enjoy the books and tote bag!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Blog - Erin Nicholas

Welcome Erin Nicholas! I'm so excited that you are visiting with us today!

What I Don’t Write

First, I’m so happy to be here on Lucy’s blog again with all of you! Thanks for stopping by today! (And I have a giveaway at the end, so stick around!)

Typically writers spend a lot of time talking about what they write. That makes sense. When you meet a writer, it’s good to know is she or he writes something you’d like to read. But sometimes it’s worth talking about what I don’t write. See, I have a new book coming out November 8th and in talking about the book, someone mentioned that the title Hotblooded would be a great title for an erotic vampire romance. I about snorted my tea—erotic vampire romances are just about opposite of what I write!

Because I don’t write:
Shape shifters, vampires, aliens, wizards and witches—as a reader I love it (well… not all of it but that’s a post for another time) but I don’t write it. At least not so far. I grew up with The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings and I love Harry Potter so, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility for me to write a paranormal someday, but for now, when you pick up one of my books you will find human beings, who stay human beings and do not drink blood (I sincerely doubt I’ll ever write a vampire romance. Just sayin’.)

Again, as a reader, love ‘em. As a writer… well, I thought about this and I suppose it’s because the story ideas and characters that come to me always present themselves in the, well, present. And I’d always be worried about accidentally having a regency period character check his e-mail on his iphone.


There are no serial killers, sociopaths or unsolved mysteries in my books. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an occasional villain/ bad guy (or girl) and there are definitely “eccentric” characters but I like sexual tension/ will-they-do-it? to be what keeps people reading past midnight rather than who-done-it?

Un-happily ever afters.
I also don’t read these. At least not on purpose. I don’t want main characters to die, true loves to be separated, or the happily ever after to be ruined or even postponed.

So what I do write:
Steamy, fun contemporary romance. (These definitions are what I mean by these terms )

Steamy= there are definitely sex scenes in my books. More than one. And may involve food, toys and graphic-ish terms.

Fun= I like humor in my books and I like to write eccentric secondary characters and funny small towns.

Contemporary= we covered this above

Romance= true love, forever and ever, happily ever after… all the good stuff!

Besides the erotic vampire romance conversation, Hotblooded brings some of this up because it is all of what I do write (a steamy, fun, contemporary romance) but, when I describe what brings the hero and heroine together it sounds a little… well, depressing.

See, our heroine, Brooke Donovan is back in her hometown (which she hates) to help staff the tiny medical clinic with her husband. It’s supposed to be temporary and he’s supposed to be her buffer. But he’s killed in a car accident and now she’s stuck.

I know! Not really uplifting huh?

Our hero, Jack Silver, feels responsible for her husband’s death and he’s determined to make it up to her somehow. But she won’t let him help her. Oh, and he doesn’t want to fully confess what happened.

Yeah, not getting funnier is it?

But it is! Honest. There are funny moments, sexy moments, sweet moments. Brooke is feisty, Jack is sexy…

Well, here’s the description I finally put together for the book:
Her mama always said the women in their family were hotblooded…

Brooke Donovan never wanted to see her hometown, Honey Creek, Texas, again. And if it weren’t for her late husband’s deal with the town to repay their student loans in exchange for medical care, she wouldn’t be here now. She certainly doesn’t intend to stay. In eight months she’ll be debt free and will have proven to Honey Creek that she doesn’t need anyone. Until the one man who can make her rethink everything shows up.

Doctor Jack Silver is used to being a hero. So when he feels responsible for Brooke’s husband’s death, he travels across the state of Texas to give her the only thing he can offer— money. But instead of a grieving widow, he finds a gorgeous, feisty woman who’s trying to survive in a town that wants her gone. The medical clinic she runs is at risk for going belly up. Thank goodness. This is something Jack can fix. He steps in as the supervising physician, determined to get the clinic—and Brooke—back on their feet. Whether she likes it or not.

Product warnings: Contains a hotblooded woman, a man who really likes that about her, a town with a long memory, and a cappuccino machine that makes it all worthwhile.

So, maybe you can see why it’s good to sometimes talk about what I don’t write as well as what I do write.

What I also do is give stuff away! The book isn’t out yet so I can’t give it away—though I’d love to (and if you’d like a chance to win it, you can join my reader group where I always give lots of stuff away!)—so instead, I’ll give away a Starbucks gift card in honor of the fabulous cappuccino machine that plays a part in Hotblooded! Winner will be chosen from today's comments and posted on my website!
Just comment here to get entered! I’m curious—as a reader, what do you look for in a book’s description to
a) make sure you check it out
b) make sure you don’t?
c) is there an element that, if it showed up in a book unexpectedly, would make you stop reading?

Thanks for visiting with me today everyone!
Erin Nicholas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Excerpt - Deal With This

Book 2 in The Goddard Project series
Trade Paperback
Kensington Brava - December 2007
ISBN 0-7582-1180-5
© 2007 Lucy Monroe

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Oh, for crying out loud.

A feminine sigh filled with exasperation sounded from the other side of the door. "Yes, I heard. I also heard that he already knows one of the house rules and you'd better remember it fast, or it won't be just the empty room I'm renting."

Despite the threat, she didn't sound angry and Gavin's moue of disappointment sans even the slightest fear of real retribution reflected it. With another sigh, Jillian tugged Gavin out of the doorway. The pink-haired man moved reluctantly to the side and Jillian took his place.

Alan Hyatt was a damn good agent. So, he'd read the file more than once and he'd studied pictures of the woman framed in the doorway.

Pictures which had hinted at the fire beneath the glossy exterior, but which had not prepared him for the impact Jillian Carlyle would have in person. Unlike in the publicity shots provided with her file, her burnt red hair did not fall in sleek waves around a perfectly made-up face. Instead corkscrew curls bounced past her shoulders in haphazard fire. And without the make-up, fine freckles dusted her nose and cheekbones.

Her eyes were the same jewel green as in the publicity shots, but this close he could confirm that the deep color was natural, not the result of contact lenses. She wasn't dressed like she was in the photos either. Her current clothes were every bit as bright as the front door and as body hugging as Gavin's, but with much different impact to Alan's libido.

The woman was fine. Truly fine. And damned if that spark of mischief in her eyes didn't curl around his heart and squeeze.

"This is a bad idea." The words were out before he realized they were even in his mind, but he meant them.

He did not need to be attracted to a woman who might well prove to be key to his investigation. Sexual yes...he could do the sex thing. But he shouldn't be attracted. And that thing with his heart. So not on his list of things to do today, tomorrow, next week, or even next year.

He'd had his fill of civilians. Non-agency women. They were not for men like him. They ended up in love with someone else...or just not loving him enough to accept who he was, what he was. A fifth generation federal agent, his job was more than a career, it defined him as deeply as anything else his parents had taught him. If he was being honest, he'd have to say even more deeply than a lot of it.

To read here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Humpday Hottie!

Are you ready for a little football? Two for one today ladies! Yum!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Read: Cowboys & Mercenaries

Hey, all...I've got a Free Weekly Sizzle in the ARe Newsletter (That's All Romance eBooks for those of you who might be wondering).  Cowboys & Mercenaries is a slightly expanded version of the story I posted on here a couple of years ago, with a tad more heat. :)  It's linked to both "Silver Bella" from MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY & reader favorite READY.  Let me know what you think. :)

Weekly Prize Giveaway!

Does this remind you of your TBR pile? I've got some books for you to add to your stack - leave me a comment on any posting open for comments and you will be automatically entered in the contest!

One bag/tote will be given away each week.

Weekly winner will be posted on Saturday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Home and Catching Up

I'm still catching up, but I absolutely plan to blog about Hubcap and my amazing experiences in Europe complete with pictures!  Watch for it next Monday. :)  Until then, I just wanted to remind everyone that Harlequin is sponsoring it's More than Words contest again and you can read some great writing and vote for your favorite, helping the final winner...who will receive $15,000.  Amazing, huh???

If you get a chance to read and vote, please share your favorites in the comments so others will get an opportunity to hear about what could end up being a new favorite author!


Hubcap & I in Rome

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekly Contest Winner!

This weeks prize goes to......

Thanks for visiting my blog this week! Please email me so I can get you, your prize! Enjoy the books and tote bag!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Great Review!

Thanks everyone for the great feedback on the rerelease of The Spy Who Wants Me - I'm glad everyone is enjoying the book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The Spy Who Wants Me
3rd book in The Goddard Project series
Reissue from Trade Paperback
Mass Market Paperback
Kensington Brava - October 2011
ISBN-10: 075822916X
ISBN-13: 978-0758229168

Buy the book:

Lucy Monroe has penned a thrilling, entertaining read that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Right from the start, it's clear that Elle is a kickass type heroine that very few men would want to even bother try to mess with. But Beau is not afraid to challenge the beautiful black ops agent and does so whenever he gets the chance. As their relationship grows, he wants to protect her, even as she resists his actions. No one protects Elle except Elle! Elle tries to keep her emotions at bay ever since she lost her husband years ago and doesn't want to feel the pain of losing the man she loves once again. It's up to Beau to break through the barrier she's erected.

Beau made his choices early on to pursue his career with ETRD, despite it causing him to lose a fiancée and his parents to disown him. But he's very proud of his work and has forged a very nice life. Elle's entrance into his life throws him for a loop because she is so different from other women. Her mysterious job and life has him wanting to know her better, despite her refusal to let him. Will he win their battle of wills? Can the bad guys be stopped?

As the suspense in THE SPY WHO WANTS ME builds, so does the relationship between Elle and Beau. There is no doubt that whoever is behind the security leak will stop at nothing to get what they want — top secret plans that could change the world. It's soon a race to prevent the bad guys from getting the plans. The third book in The Goddard Project series, Lucy Monroe has once again proven herself to readers with an electrifying winner in THE SPY WHO WANTS ME. —Patti Fischer, Romance Reviews Today

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For Duty's Sake! Excerpt

USA Today Bestseller List
Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin Presents #2993 - June 2011
ISBN - 10:0373129939 ISBN -13: 978-0373129935

Read an excerpt below:

Ultimately, it was about love. It was about loving someone enough to let them go. Only that sounded so cheesy, she’d never speak the words aloud. And it was about knowing she deserved to be loved, fully and completely, by the man she would spend the rest of her life with.

He did not look like he believed her claim and she could practically see the thoughts zinging around in his facile brain. He was trying to figure out the right words to reassure, when in fact none existed.

None that he could say anyway.

Again it was time for truth. “Your brothers have both found wonderful happiness while you have been stuck in a promise made on your behalf by two men with too much power and too little comprehension of the cost of their dynastic plans.”

“I do not consider myself stuck. I was an adult when that agreement was made.” Yes, he’d been all of twenty-four and as bound by duty as any young adult male could be. “I chose my future.”

An alpha male like Zahir would have to convince himself of that, or he could not accept the limitations imposed on him by others. It simply was not in his nature. He had the heart of a Bedouin, if the responsibilities of a landed royal.

“You do not wish to marry me,” she repeated, refusing to be sidetracked. “And I won’t let you be forced into doing so by duty.”

Nor would she allow herself to be railroaded into a marriage with the potential to be every bit as miserable as her parents was for so many years.

His eyes narrowed, his expression turning even more grim than usual. “You are not making any sense.”

“We’ve been promised for ten years, Zahir. If you had wanted to marry me, we would already be living in wedded harmony here in your family’s palace.” They would definitely at least be formally engaged

Click here to read more of Chapter 1

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Humpday Hottie!

An enjoyable sight to wake up to, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekly Prize Giveaway!

Let me add to your TBR pile. If your is anything like mine, it is overflowing! Leave me a comment this week on any posting open to comments and you'll be entered in the contest.

One bag/tote will be given away each week.

Weekly winner will be posted on Saturday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Greek Hottie!

In honor of Lucy's Greek Isle Vacation - I thought a little inspiration
from a Greek Hottie was the perfect way to start the week! Lucy, we
hope you are finding lots of inspiration on your trip! We can't
wait to hear about it!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Save the Date!

Check out this event - Lucy is a participating author!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Weekly Contest Winner!

This weeks prize goes to......

Please email me so I can get you, your prize! Enjoy the books and tote bag!

Thanks for visiting my blog this week! It was great to hear from so many
new and/or returning bloggers!

Book Release - Contest Winner!

Thanks everyone - I'm glad you are enjoying the series as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you haven't picked up a book in the series you are missing out! Contest Winner is...

Please email me with your name and address and I will get your copy of Deal With This in the mail!

by Lucy Monroe
2nd book in The Goddard Project series
Mass Market Paperback Re-release
Kensington Brava - May 2011 (05-03-11)
ISBN-10: 0758211813
ISBN-13: 9780758211811

Friday, October 07, 2011

Book Release - Contest!

In celebration of the Mass Market Rerelease of The Spy Who Wants Me (Kensington Brava) this week on October 4th, I am hosting an additional contest to celebrate!

Contest is open Friday October 7th only!

The Spy Who Wants Me is the third book in The Goddard Project, leave me a comment to tell me one of your favorite scenes or characters from the series. The person with the best comment will win a copy of Deal with This.

Books in the Goddard Project

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Spy Who Wants Me! - Review

The Spy Who Wants Me
3rd book in The Goddard Project series
Reissue from Trade Paperback
Mass Market Paperback
Kensington Brava - October 2011
ISBN-10: 075822916X
ISBN-13: 978-0758229168

Buy the book:

A fun, fast paced romance with likable characters, The Spy Who Wants Me is a winner from beginning to end. Right from the start Elle is obviously a woman not to be messed with when she is working but she is also a vulnerable woman who has lost at love before. Beau has also known his share of heartache and vulnerability and it makes him a more appealing character because of it. This third book in The Goddard Project series is a wonderful addition to a charming library of work from Lucy Monroe. A Romance Review

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Humpday Hottie!

Tall dark and luscious!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Weekly Prize Giveaway!

So excited for Fall to finally arrive! Time to curl up on my couch and read some books from my (overflowing) TBR pile! Let me add to yours...leave me a comment this week on any posting open to comments and you'll be entered in the contest.

One bag/tote will be given away each week.

Weekly winner will be posted on Saturday!

Monday, October 03, 2011

The Spy Who Wants Me! - Excerpt

The Spy Who Wants Me
Rereleased this Tuesday - October 4th
3rd book in The Goddard Project series
Reissue from Trade Paperback
Mass Market Paperback
Kensington Brava - October 2011
ISBN-10: 075822916X
ISBN-13: 978-0758229168

Buy the book:

Read an excerpt:

She turned and leaned back into the car to grab her briefcase, giving the staring man a view of her toned backside in the tailored slacks. Being a good agent meant using all assets at her disposal to do her job. If that included flustering a man by exposing a little thigh, then she did it. If it meant bending over to offer a glimpse of a body she used as a tool for her job, she did it.

And her instincts told her that she wanted this particular man as off-kilter as she could get him.

She locked the car and headed toward him, noticing that he had not moved from his spot in front of the building. So, he knew who she was too and he was waiting for her.

As personal greeters went, she'd take him.

His expression neutral, he put his hand out when she was within reaching distance. "Ms. Gray? I'm Beau Ruston."

Her hand was engulfed in the warmth and strength of his. For a split second she saw something in his Hershey brown eyes and tension filled square jaw that found a corresponding response right in her core.

Desire. Hot. Urgent. Primal.

And wholly unexpected.

Oh, she was used to being admired. Even wanted. But that flash of sexual heat went beyond the surface physical reaction of a man and a woman meeting for the first time. And the fact that it mirrored her own response was as close to frightening as facing down the wrong end of her own favorite Ruger P95 semi-automatic.

He blinked and just like that, the brief blaze of desire was banked. She didn't doubt it had been there, anymore than she could deny the involuntary tightening of her inner thigh muscles or the way her nipples were still peaked behind her designer suit jacket.

Grateful for the thickness and opacity of the fabric, she pulled her hand from his. "It's a pleasure to meet you Dr. Ruston."

"Beau, please." The subtle twang in his voice reminded her of his origins.

Click here to