Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

My festival of Susan Elizabeth Phillips got interrupted because I happened to snag a 7-day loan copy of Emily Giffin's new book, Heart of the Matter, at the library the other day. Has to be read in 7 days, no renewals, so I read it all weekend. It made me think and it made my stomach knot up with anxiety for Tess because I knew what her husband was doing, and it made me cry at the end. Of course, being a romance lover, I would wish for a happier ending, but without any spoilers at least it was a hopeful ending.

Now I"m back to Glitter Baby. This book is quite different from the other two SEP books I read - Errol Flynn's secret baby??!! But it's keeping me reading!

And add to the big non-fiction pile:  Material Dreams by Kevin Starr and Everyday Life Through the Ages (Reader's Digest).

Monday, June 28, 2010

WIPs and Chains

Although my WIP was going great, I got distracted this week. It happened when I decided to make a list of what I want to accomplish during my upcoming 4 week vacation from the day job. I love making lists. Packing lists, shopping lists, To Do lists. Sometimes I even make a To Do list after I’m done the tasks, just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off the list. Okay, enough about my OCD tendencies.

So I made my list. One of the things on the list was to polish my manuscript for Crazy Ever After and submit it somewhere. As I only have one more book scheduled to be released, I decided I’d better submit something and this is going to be it. And then my usual impatience overcame me and I could not wait until I start my holidays to work on that, I had to do it now.

So I spent most of this week doing that. I wrote Crazy Ever After a long time ago. Strangely enough, it took forever to write, because I kept getting other, better ideas and kept dropping it to work on something else. Whenever I got stuck, I’d go back to this one and sure enough, in no time I had more ideas and dropped it again. It was my magic story, my way to unblock writer’s block. Eventually I did finish it but haven’t submitted it anywhere. I’d could edit and polish forever, so I finally called a halt yesterday and sent it out to be beta-read. And now...back to the WIP.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday sneak peak

This is from a story I'm polishing up now getting ready to submit. It's called Crazy Ever After.

“Okay, don’t think about it.” He clenched his jaw, his entire body tight with restraint. “Don’t ever think that someone else might know something you don’t. Don’t think about anyone’s feelings but your own. I know you were spoiled rotten. Hell, teenagers are supposed to be self-centered. But by your age you’d think you’d have a bit more empathy, that you’d know that life isn’t all black and white.”

“Spoiled rotten?” She stood up too, stalked over to him and jabbed him in the chest. “I have never been spoiled rotten! And I am sick of you lecturing me!” He was horrified to see her lower lip quivering. “I’m not self-centered. I do have empathy!” She hit him again, this time a punch to his shoulder that instinctively made him grab her hand and hold it away from him. He grabbed her other one for good measure, in case she decided to swing at him with her left. Her words pierced his heart with a sharp stab.

She tried to wrestle away from him and he tugged her closer. Ah sweet Jesus. She felt so unbelievably good in his arms, soft breasts flattened against him, the scent of warm vanilla and woman filling his nostrils. Her long hair trailed over his arms, tickling him. He felt his body harden and resisted the urge to push his hips against her.

She struggled more, then she kicked him – kicked him! – in the shin. Luckily her small foot in the flimsy flip flop didn’t even hurt; in fact it probably hurt her more.

“I know self defense,” she muttered, wriggling against him and making him go even harder. “I’ll knee you in the nuts, so help me God. Let me go!”

He wanted to laugh. Some threat. He probably had seventy pounds on her. He thrust a knee between her thighs to prevent her from damaging his junk, and then she went still, making a funny little noise somewhere between a sob and a moan. He was suddenly aware of the moist heat he felt against his thigh, only the thin cotton of her dress and his jeans separating his flesh from the hot softness between her legs.

She moved against him, a small tilt of her pelvis that told him she was aroused, too. Oh Christ. He’d resisted her the last time he’d held her like this; where the strength had come from that time, he had no goddamn clue, because now he was hot and hard and the reasons they shouldn’t be doing this had disappeared like the sun below the horizon.

“Samara,” he groaned. “Oh Christ, Samara.”

“No,” she cried brokenly, and she let herself go, falling against him, pressing her face into his neck. He felt the wet tears, released her hands to encircle her shuddering body with his arms. She was small boned, and he held her protectively, gently as she sobbed against him. “I don’t want this. I don’t want this!”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Edited to add:  I don't know why this didn't post on Wednesday! But I guess Thursday night is better than never!
Wait 'till you see this list! An interesting week!

For pleasure (mostly) reading, I finished What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and since I quite liked it and I was at the library and they had her book Natural Born Charmer, I checked it out. And I read it too. More of that bantering dialogue which I guess is her style. Aaand since I enjoyed that book, I downloaded Glitter Baby and started it last night!

I'm also reading:

The Rockefeller Women by Clarice Stasz
Disorderly Conduct by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg
Alfred Dupont: The Man and His Family by Joseph Frazier Wall
Flapper by Joshua Zeitz
California by Kevin Starr
Victorian Women by Erna Olafson Hellerstein et al
America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins

Ha! Quite the list, huh? Truthfully I'm not reading the entire books, just select parts and you can probably guess that I'm researching. I love research!  But I'm not telling what it's all about just yet!

Monday, June 21, 2010

WIPs and Chains

The WIP is now 21,000 words! Yay! I've been continuing with it and I still like it. I did get interrupted last week when I received my first round of edits from my Ellora's Cave editor, which I worked on most of the week, but on the weekend I got back to the story, which has no name. Must come up with a title. Sometimes good titles pop into my head, other times I really struggle for a good one. I'm thinking along the lines of Sinful, Shameles...hmmm.
While writing this story I got an idea for another one, but this one's going to take a lot of research. I started the research and it's worked out well, that when I write until I feel I need a little break or to replenish the well, I can then do some research. Then I got back to the story. It feels good to be writing and enjoying it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sneak peek

Since I just got a great review for Irish Sex Fairy from Night Owl Reviews, I thought I'd post a little snippet from that story. It's been out for a while now, from Ellora's Cave, but it's always nice to get a good review!

Night Owl Reviews gave Irish Sex Fairy 5 STARS and  NOR TOP PICK!

Reviewer Heather said: "a fantastic, fast-paced story that will make readers crave more. Her characters are believable, intelligent and intriguing. The plotline is fascinating, interesting, and enchanting. This book is one that I am definitely adding to my keeper collection and I am delighted to recommend this book to others."

He was acting like a caveman. A horny, crazed animal. Shit. He sucked in oxygen. “I’m sorry.”

She blinked at him. He tugged her closer and put his hands on her waist. “Believe it or not, I do believe in foreplay,” he said softly, smiling.

She gave a choked little laugh. “That’s good. I know we don’t have much time, but…”

He pulled her closer, against his body, inhaled that sweet jasmine honeysuckle scent of her. He had a hard-on like a club. “We have all the time in the world,” he murmured.

“Um…your job? Shane…”

He nuzzled the side of her neck, beneath her ear, where the skin was soft and sweetly fragrant. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Oookay.” The word was a breath and he pressed a kiss to her throat, to the pulse fluttering there. His own heart was about to pound out of his chest and his cock throbbed insistently behind the zipper of his uniform trousers. He slid his hands down to her hips and then around behind her to the curves of her ass.

Her breath hissed out, her head fell back and he lifted his own head to gaze at her. Her lips parted and his mouth opened with the need to taste her. He lowered his head and kissed her, at first soft, exploring, coaxing. Then with a groan, he gathered her in his arms and brought her up tight against him, loving the feel of her in his arms, and deepened the kiss, mouth opening over hers, his tongue licking over her bottom lip and into her mouth. She tasted like sweet, delicious female and he realized he recognized the taste of her and the feel of her as if the last time he’d kissed her had been yesterday.

The shock of that jolted him like a live current, made his pulse leap, made his cock twitch. He pressed it into Keara’s softness, felt her arms slide around his neck, her fingers slipping into his hair. If they could have wrapped themselves around each other, they would have, by the feel of her straining against him. Her breasts—not big but damn cute from what he remembered—pressed against his torso.

Christ! He hauled her up by her ass, and her legs wrapped around his waist, their mouths devouring each other. He tried to carry her to the stairs leading to the bedrooms upstairs, stumbling a bit with her across the shiny white tile floor of his foyer.

“No,” he gasped as his raging lust threatened his self-control. The carpeted stairs looked good to him, and he considered stopping there and taking her.

“What d’you mean, no?” She arched against him to rub those pretty tits over his chest.

“I mean, I want to do you right here, but I promised you foreplay.”

“Screw the foreplay,” she said. “I want it now. Right here. Oh God, Shane.”

She rocked against him, her soft center rubbing seekingly against him.

Okay, the stairs it was.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished The Devil She Knows by Diane Whiteside. It had a nice satisfying ending.

Now I'm reading (on the advice of critique partner) What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I'm enjoying the story, but I have to say when I started reading I thought she might as well have named her heroine Jennifer and her ex and his new wife Brangelina. It's pretty obvious who that's based on! Well, I use real life things to base stories on too, but this did distract me a little. But I like the bantering dialogue and tension between hero and heroine. I am making notes, Nara...

Monday, June 14, 2010

WIPs and Chains

It's Monday, and the crazy whirlwind of release week for Lost and Found is over. Not much writing gets done during a release week and I was especially busy promoting this book because I think it is my best book yet (that is published LOL). So I was all over the interweb doing blog posts and contests. Got a lovely reader comment at the Samhain blog:

"I finished “Lost and Found” yesterday. All I can say is “WOW!” This book has so many twists and turns and the emotions it evoked left me feeling wrung out (but in a good way). I found the characters to be interesting, entertaining, fun, and having so many layers. As someone who experienced infertility I could also very much relate to the whole thought process involved in dealing with that. I cried, I laughed, and I cheered. Thank you for a very heartfelt read. I know it will be one that I read again and again."

That is what makes it all worthwhile!

So ironically last week, being so busy with release stuff, I got a GREAT IDEA for a story and was so excited to work on it - but didn't have much time. Frustrating!

I love that feeling of excitement and anticipation of working on a story that I really love. Sometimes lately that's been missing - I'm so busy trying to plan the story, making it technically perfect, that I think I lose the passion. I love finding great characters who I fall in love with, who are complicated, with many layers (I know, I know, it's me that makes them that way, but sometimes it just works better than others!)

So now I'm going back into my cave to hide out and write because there's this story inside me and I have to get it out!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Win a Sony Reader

Tilly Greene’s Big Huge Reader Contest

Today's my day at Tilly Greene's big huge readers contest! Come leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Lost and Found today, and all commenters this month have a chance to win a PINK Sony Reader. How cool is that?

At Tilly's blog I talked about the setting in Lost and Found - some poetry and images that inspired me when writing this story, so come on by!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Are you sick of hearing about this book yet?

Lost and Found

Here's one more small excerpt:

Krissa led the way, wet and dripping, through the dark house and into the bedroom, all three of them naked. “I might fall sleep,” she warned the two men as she handed out towels. Her body felt weak and lethargic; her mind fuzzy.

To her surprise, Nate accepted the towel from her, shook it out and started drying her off. He rubbed her hair between two towel-covered hands, dried her shoulders and throat, then her chest, lingering on her breasts. Derek took a cue from him, and stepped behind her to dry her back.

Having two men attending to her pleasure was so exquisite she couldn’t believe this was happening. Four male hands gently toweled her body dry, then lifted her onto the bed. She was thankful for that because she wasn’t sure if she was able to move. The heat of the hot tub and the shattering orgasm had left her limp and lazy.

When Derek and Nate had dried off, they climbed into bed with her, into what was becoming a usual pattern of Derek on her right and Nate on her left. She knew she needed to look after them, but at that moment she couldn’t move. Maybe if they just let her sleep for a few minutes…

But they had no intention of letting her sleep, apparently. They did, however, seem to understand her languor and once again, two mouths and four hands stroked and kissed and licked her everywhere. She floated on a cloud of sensual bliss. At first she reveled in the carnal sensation, aware of nothing but her sense of touch as hands petted her, mouths brushed her and tongues slid over her. But when two mouths sucked on her nipples at the same time, her body tightened and arched. Mouths tugged, teeth nipped, and sharp little sensations flashed from nipples to quivering clit. Thick, hot liquid arousal pooled between her legs, fever heated her skin. Need built inside her, coiling, to a tight, sharp point.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished Fade to Midnight by Shannon McKenna. This was a hefty book and kept me reading for a while. I loved it. It was so perfect for Kev's story. I wouldn't have minded a little more wrap up at the end about him reuniting with his family, and would have been nice to see Edie getting to know  his brothers and all those wonderful characters we all know. My only complaint!

I'm now reading The Devil She Knows by Diane Whiteside. I usually enjoy Ms Whiteside's historical romances featuring strong heroines and lots of heat. Portia in this story is definitely strong and feisty but I must say I felt cheated when the first love scene happened "off stage". That first encounter between hero and heroine is so important! But I will keep reading.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Release day!

Lost and Found is now available from Samhain Publishing.

To find happiness, first you have to find yourself.

Krissa has always been the responsible one. Driven to fulfill her mother’s abandoned dreams, to make her husband Derek happy. She’s brought that single-minded determination to the one dream she has for herself—a child. Except she and Derek can’t conceive, and Derek refuses to consider using a stranger’s sperm. The result? Guilt that her desperation is causing their marital rift.

The last thing they need is a long-term houseguest, but Derek’s best friend Nate, a nomadic photographer recovering from a career-threatening eye disorder, has nowhere else to go.

Nate thought his friends’ home would be a temporary haven from the grief that has dogged his heels since his wife died. Instead he’s in the middle of a marriage in meltdown. Soon their friendship develops an underlying hum of forbidden sexual tension. When Krissa proposes a wild idea—that Nate be their sperm donor—Derek has an even wilder proposal: bypass the fertility clinic and accept Nate’s donation straight from the source.

At first, Krissa believes she’s on the fast track to having her dream. But it quickly becomes clear that when the heart gets involved—and secrets are revealed—the simplest of arrangements can become entangled beyond belief. Or repair…

Warning: This title contains a man who’s lost, the woman he finds, sizzling ménage sex, tender romantic sex, love lost and love found.

Monday, June 7, 2010

WIPs and Chains

Today I'm over at Cynthia Eden's blog talking about breaking the romance rules - come on by!

So speaking of whips and chains (!), I got smacked with a couple of painful rejections in the last few weeks. Rejections are a part of writing and, although I just sold my 14th book (to Ellora's Cave! Yay!) I guess they always will be.

I still feel like a relative newbie in this writing biz, only published for about a year and a half, so I don't know if rejections will ever get any easier to deal with. It's hard not to take them personally. Although I am not what I write, I put my heart and soul into every story and it's hard when someone doesn't like it.

I know all the platitudes - it's not personal; the business is subjective and what one person doesn't like, another person will; you have to find the right agent/right editor/right publisher at the right time; your story may be brilliant but it's not what they're looking for at that time, etc. etc.

None of those really make me feel any better.

But there are few things that do make me feel better:

1. Since I've been published, every manuscript that I've had rejected has sold elsewhere.

2. One manuscript that was rejected by one publisher and sold to another went on to get a whole whack of 5 STAR reviews and is one of my best-selling books.

3. One of my manuscripts that was rejected by 50 gazillion agents (okay, slight exaggeration, but not by much) just got a 4 STAR review from RT Book Reviews.

I keep those memories at the back of my mind and when I get a rejection, as I recently did, I pull those thoughts out and think about them pleasurably for a little while, comforted by them. And then I put them back and save them for the next time, because I know there will always be more rejections.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Asker or Guesser?

Today I'm blogging at Nine Naughty Novelists about "Askers" and "Guessers" - come see which you think you are!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I finished Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. I really loved this story. From the blurb on the back cover, I wasn't sure I was going to, but it was great. The character of Sadie was so entertaining and I love how the two women learn from each other. Of course, there could have been a little more romance for me, but there is a love story. The only other thing that would have made it better would have been a little epilogue about Sadie - after she passed on, I'm so hoping she was finally with the man she loved.

Now I'm reading Fade to Midnight, by Shannon McKenna, one of my favourite authors. And I've been waiting so long for Kev's story! It's not disappointing, either, love Kev, love Edie, and the tension is building. Okay, it's a little improbable that they fell in love in one day, even though they did see each other years earlier, once, but I'm hooked so I'm totally going with it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010