One Week and Counting
I’m excited about my upcoming release of The Feline Fugitive from Lyrical Press on July 7th. I had an absolute blast writing this story. One thing I love about writing is I can allow my imagination to run wild. And boy did I let it run wild.

I came up with the concept of The Feline Fugitive about a year and half ago while I was sitting in the backyard watching my kids play. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a shifter story for awhile, but couldn’t come up with that perfect ah-ha plot. It wasn’t that I was unfamiliar with paranormal, most of my short stories incorporate some kind oddity in it. Robin’s Cap features a deranged, bloodthirsty Redcap. A Love Rewritten, a woman is transported inside her favorite romance novel and in Prince Henry’s Secret, the hero is cursed. So I wasn’t scared of trying to write a new genre. My issue was I’m weird. Not in a bad weird sort of way, just a little on the odd side and wanted to write a shifter story that veered away from the more alpha animals. So as I sat pondering what in the world I could make my hero’s counterpart, a dang stray cat walked by.

Ah-ha!!!

Now The Feline Fugitive isn’t about catnip and balls of yarn. I take an extremely masculine hero, Luca Doyle, and give him a softer kitty side, but that is as soft as Luca Doyle gets. Faced with being convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, and no way to prove his innocence, he goes on the lam in search of the true murderer, never knowing along the way he would meet the woman he loves and be unable to reveal his true self. Then danger knocks on the door….

Here is a quick trailer (under a minute) I wanted to share with you:




And also an excerpt:


'He's a cat, Roger,' she'd said.

If only she knew how very wrong she was. The longer he lived here the harder it became to mask himself from her. The need to become Luca and mark her as his grew stronger with each passing day. He'd refused to stay in the bedroom with her.

For the second night in a row, he'd missed out on watching the innocence of her relaxed features, the soft sigh that passed her full lips as she dreamed and the small smile gracing her mouth as deep sleep captured her.

Down the hall, the usually closed bedroom door stood partially open. His heart swelled. She'd thought of him. Even was willing to bet she missed him. He sure as hell missed her. Tomorrow, he'd rejoin her. Flopping on his side, he closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep. A muffled noise caused his eyes to pop open. He strained his ears forward then jerked back when the sound repeated.

On all fours, crouched low to the floor, he crept down the hall. He craned his head around the door. An unknown man straddled her lower body, his hand pressed against her mouth.

Caterwauling, Luca raced forward and launched into the air. Claws dug into skin, teeth sank into flesh as he landed on the head of the assailant. The attacker screamed and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. Hissing, he struggled to free himself from the man's strong grasp, but the man hurled him across the room.

Pain exploded throughout his body as he slammed into the wall. Dazed by the impact, he slid to the floor with a thud. Stars shot in front of his eyes, and he shook his head. With effort, he came to his feet. The human inside the cat churned, clawing forward. Fighting for control, he pushed the instinct to emerge aside.

"Fluffy!"

The sound of a hand striking cheek vibrated through the room. Then came Claudette's cry of pain. Roaring with rage, he stopped the battle with concealment and allowed the transformation to take place.

Prickles started in his gut, spreading like wild fire to his extremities. A feeling of elasticity passed over him as his muscle and bone popped and stretched into human form. Morphed, he gasped in labored pants, crouching on the floor. Head lifted, he scanned the couple on the bed with his gaze. Claudette's eyes had rounded into huge blue saucers of horror. The assailant's hand muffled her scream.

"Shut up," the attacker said as he cuffed her on the side of the head with his free hand.

Snarling, Luca sprang forward, tackled the man and sent them both crumpling to the floor. Pain shot through his scalp as the goon yanked a fistful of hair and the force of the wrench turned him sideways. He lost his grip on the man and flipped onto his back, then spun onto the balls of his feet and squatted low.

The assailant jumped up and crossed the room, laughing hysterically. "I knew it was you. You are so predictable. Your hero complex is your own worst enemy."

He narrowed his gaze on the man. Darkness cloaked the room, not allowing much in the way of vision, but he was positive he’d never met him. "Who are you?"

"Don't you mean, what am I?" His outline disappeared, replaced by the small silhouette of a cat.

Impossible.

Luca took a deep inhale with his nose. Nothing. Not even the slightest hint of shifter scent in the air. What was this creature?

The cat jumped into an open window. The light from the street lamp radiated over his tabby coat. Memories of that horrid night which ruined his life rushed over him. The unknown body lying on the floor, pain ricocheting through his head as he was hit from behind, the fire engulfing the building, the glimpse of a fleeing calico alley cat as he fought for consciousness before the fire raged out of control.

Like a fist in the gut, the realization hit him. This cat had set him up.

With a growl, the feline jumped from the window into the tree beside the house and disappeared from view. He stared after him, but whipped around when Claudette moved from the bed. Wide-eyed, she backed toward the door.

"Claudette, I can explain."

He moved with slow steps toward her. She rushed to the corner, grabbed a bat and pointed it at him. "Stay back!"

Halting, he held up his hands, hoping to keep her calm. "Claudette!"

The bat shook in her hands. "Where the hell is my cat?"

Thanks for letting me share!!!
Esme
http://www.esmereldabishop.com/
Calista Fox reveals her Object of Desire

We're thrilled to have as our guest today Calista Fox!

Award-winning author Calista Fox (aka Ava McKnight) began her professional fiction-writing career in 2004, following an exciting career in PR, where she specialized in writing speeches and Congressional testimonies. Her books have received rave reviews and have won contests, and she is also the recipient of Romance Reviews Today’s Best eBook of 2008 for its category and a Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Sci-Fi Erotic Novella in 2006.

Nicole: Thanks for being here with us, Calista. Please tell us about Object of Desire. (Your cover is beautiful!) And do you have a review you could share with us?

Calista Fox: It’s always so much fun to be here! Thanks for having me again! ;-) I’m very excited about my single title release from Red Sage Publishing for a number of reasons. First, it’s only the second single title to be released in print by Red Sage—the first being Angela Knight’s The Forever Kiss, of course! Object of Desire is an action-packed spy/treasure-hunting novel, so it was great fun to write. I spent quite a bit of time dreaming up narrow escapes for the hero and heroine, but the characters also sparked easily because of their strong, sexy personalities, so developing their hot-and-heavy romance was also exciting.

Here’s a little about the book:

When treasure hunter and spy Laurel Blackwood raids Victoria Peak in Belize to recover a rare Mexican fire opal rumored to evoke dark desires and passions, she unwittingly sets off a sequence of dangerous events—and finds herself in the midst of a battle between good and evil… and lust and love. Laurel must keep the opal from falling into the hands of a deadly terrorist cell, a greedy Belizean dignitary, and one particularly hot and scandalous treasure hunter named Devon Mallory.

For ten years, Devon has had his eye on the $30 million prized opal and his heart set on winning Laurel for keeps. But her web of secrecy and now her betrayal over recovering the legendary stone without him has Devon hell-bent on stealing the opal from her and collecting on the massive payout. But Devon will have to make a choice soon, and decide which gem is his true object of desire...

The reviews have been great so far! The cover was featured in the July RomanticTimes Bookreviews erotic romance reviews section, and RT had this to say about Object of Desire:
“Bombings, kidnappings and hot, hot sex fill the pages of this engaging story. Not only are the alpha hero and heroine strong, they have intriguing flaws too.” ~ Donna

I’m really excited about RT’s review, but am also ecstatic over the 5 Blue Ribbons Romance Junkies gave the book:

“OBJECT OF DESIRE was a very good book! The plot was fast paced, the adventure was thrilling, and the espionage angle added a whole new edge to the book. The developing relationship between Devon and Laurel was fun to watch, and the romance between them was intense! I especially liked Laurel's character, because she was an independent female who didn't need any man to take care of her. She could do it on her own, so get out of her way. Devon made a very good foil for her, because he was there if she needed him, but he was man enough to step back and let her take care of her business. I loved it!” ~ Noelle

NN: I can't wait to read this book! Please tell us more about the hero of this story.

CF: I don’t like to play favorites with my heroes—I love them all!—but there is something incredibly sexy and charismatic about Devon Mallory that has stuck with me long after I typed “The End.” He’s a modern-day Han Solo. Cocky, dangerous and a bit of a reluctant hero. He’s a strong alpha male who doesn’t like to lose, and who sometimes has wayward intentions. But when he teams up with the right woman, he’ll move heaven and earth to keep her safe while they both reach for the brass ring.

NN: He sounds like my kind of hero! Please tell us more about the heroine of this story.

CF: The verve and skill of Lara Croft, the cunning of Ethan Hunt, the panache of James Bond… Laurel Blackwood jumped off the pages and ran away with the story while I was writing it! She’s a larger-than-life character who pulls over-the-top stunts, all in a day’s work. I loved that RT Bookreviews identified her as an alpha in the story, in addition to Dev, because she truly is a kick-ass heroine who let’s nothing stand in her way—not even the hunky hero!

NN: I love a strong heroine. One of your reviews mentions "intriguing flaws" that your characters have. Could you talk more about that?

CF: I love characters with unexpected quirks, and these two have their fair share! Among them, I’d have to say that Devon was fun to write because, although he’s a very strong-willed, skillful hero, he’s more of a lover than a fighter. Carries a gun, but couldn’t hit the broadside of a palapa. In fact, I think he only gets one shot off early in the book and then Laurel takes over! Plus, his greed wars with his conscience and that creates some strife in his life. As for Laurel, she’s a smart cookie, but her judgment is sometimes skewed where Dev is concerned. She’s also in massive denial over her true feelings for him.

NN: Those sound like wonderful quirks. How did you balance the sensual/erotic elements of this story with the suspense elements?

CF: It wasn’t easy! In fact, I wrote an article for Red Sage’s June newsletter that touched on blending suspense action with sex action! It really was more difficult than I’d imagined because Laurel and Dev were always being shot at or having to execute daring escapes… I wondered sometimes how I was going to get them together with all the explosions and shoot-outs and deadly situations. But these are two characters who have a natural spark to them, and as the story started to develop, the opportunities to strengthen their bond and give them a few moments of, um, unadulterated pleasure, just seemed to present themselves at the right time!

Plus, there’s a mystical fire opal that helps to draw out their deepest, darkest desires… Resistance is futile!

NN: What is it like having a ST release from Red Sage?

CF: Very exciting!! LOL I’m totally giddy over the whole thing! I’m a huge fan of Red Sage—in fact, I just signed my 11th or 12th contract with them. I’ve also been in awe of Angela Knight since reading Candidate for a Kiss in Secrets Volume 6. By the time I’d discovered the Secrets volumes, Angela’s single title was already on bookshelves. I had just started writing fiction, had just sold my first novella to Red Sage, and I told my friends I wanted my very first single title to be published by Red Sage. So this really is a dream come true.

And, as always, they gave me gorgeous cover!

NN: Absolutely! Congratulations on your latest contracts! You have a lot of novellas published. How was writing, editing and promoting this full length novel different for you?

CF: Writing the book was as close as I’ll ever come to giving birth! I’ll be honest, there were some very painful moments for me because I’m used to novellas and can crank one out over a long holiday weekend. It took so much longer to write Object! There were times when, after every page I wrote, I was checking the word count. Ugh—65,000… Ugh—65,250… Ugh—65,500… Will I ever finish??! I kept thinking, “Who would torture themselves with a full-length novel?” It was certainly a labor of love, but in the end, I was thrilled to have made it through all 300+ pages!

As for editing the book, I’m a diligent self-editor, so I fine-tooth-combed the manuscript before sending it in, and then made another pass before my editor started to work on it. A little distance can be helpful, and about three months had passed before she started her edits so I went through the manuscript again and made a few revisions that had been lingering in mind since handing it over. This resulted in her edits being extremely minimal. I can think of maybe three lines of dialogue that we moved around, and I kept asking her, “Are you sure that’s it?!” Our copy editor was wonderful, too!

Now for promoting… I think I’ve been promoting the book since I contracted it two years ago! I started with the base marketing plan I use for my novellas, then built upon the plan to try to reach a much larger audience. Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the book, which is now anticipated to be July 15 when I’m at the RWA National Convention—perfect timing!

NN: It will have been worth the wait! Thanks so much for being our guest! :) I've enjoyed it!

CF: Thanks again for having me! And don’t forget to visit my website at http://www.calistafox.com/ for some great contests. And if you leave a comment on the Fierce Romance blog, you’ll be entered to win an autographed copy of Secrets Volume 26, featuring the third story in my Rendezvous trilogy, Secret Rendezvous!
NN: Wow that's a fantastic prize!! Leave comments, everyone, for a chance to win!
To purchase Object of Desire visit:
Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures
Our anthology is set to release around July 15. I wanted to share the book trailer video I made and some review snippets that relate to my novella.



5 Ribbons from Romance Junkies: "Scottish highlanders are a favorite of many romance readers and Nicole North’s adds an exciting paranormal element that truly captures the imagination. This is Ms. North’s first published story and I’ll be anxious to see what she comes up with next. The Red Sage SECRETS anthologies have long held space on my keeper shelves. Like its predecessors, SECRETS VOLUME 27 contains four tales of varying genres that deliver on readers’ desire for something more erotic in their storylines. Each of these authors delivers a captivating story full of intense scenes guaranteed to have you in search of more writing by them. SECRETS VOLUME 27 contains four smoldering stories of various genres in one convenient book. Like the other SECRETS anthologies, Volume 27’s stories tease and tantalize the senses." ~Chrissy Dionne
***
4 1/2 from Romantic Crush Junkies: "Devil in A Kilt is by far one of the best erotic romance highland stories I’ve been honored to read. Ms. North has an uncanny way of using wit and satire to deliver an amazing high octane read... Besides the scintillating sexcapades between Gavin and Shauna, I found myself giggling and smiling at how they related with one another. This story is a full charged electric read that had this reader craving more of Ms. North's Hottie highlander. If this is just a taste of what the author has in store I say, 'thank you and give me some more.' I hope you enjoyed these four delicious stories by Liane Gentry Skye, Nicole North, Hannah Murray and Leigh Court as much as I did. ~Christine S. Morehouse
***
4 stars from Romantic Times Book Review: "Few anthologies give as much bang for the buck as this one... Shauna MacRae meant to go to the Highland Games, not 400 years into the past, which she does in North's story. Will she have what it takes to free her "Devil in a Kilt?" ~Devon Paige
***
4 plugs from The Romance Readers Connection: "With the release of their 27th Volume, Red Sage hits the mark once again... Nicole North’s story, DEVIL IN A KILT is a cute time travel... a fun light story..." ~Sarah Silversmith
Some thoughts on Reviews


I just received my first review for my recent Ellora's Cave release, Chains of Desire from Just Erotic Romance Reviews. It's a pretty darn good one so I thought I'd share it here.

Hanna longs to see space and experience life with a man. She gets that opportunity when she is mistaken for the princess, kidnapped, and sold as a sex slave for a king on Noria, a planet far away and more advanced than her own. The dark, dominant Jarrod is not to touch her while he guards her, but he can’t help but teach Hanna the pleasure given and received while being a sex slave. Will the Master/slave relationship end once they arrive at Noria or will Jarrod find a way to save Hanna and make her his slave?

I was hooked from the first few pages. The characters felt like real people who are likeable and yet complex. Hanna and Jarrod have more in common than one would first expect, which only deepens the connections the two have with one another. Jarrod’s attraction for Hanna begins as a tease, which in turn builds to combustible heat. I liked that Jarrod’s character, while a Dom and a guard on a slave ship, is not hard or uncaring. As readers, we get to see the softer side of a BDSM. The love scenes were intense and included chains, ropes, binding, male/female/male action, spanking, and some inventive activity with berries. I also liked the interracial element to the story. It is subtle and doesn’t define their relationship, but adds an exotic edge to the imagery of the couple. I only wish that the ending elaborated more on the resolution of Hanna and Jarrod’s relationship, but the author has left it open for a sequel and I will definitely read it if there is one. Chains of Desire is nicely written and the characters are deeper than the Master/slave roles they play.

Jessica Black
Just Erotic Romance Reviews


I'm always thrilled when a reviewer "gets it." No more thrilled than when I hear from any reader who likes one of my stories, but since the reviewer's opinion is put out there for anyone to read, I wonder how much the reviewer's opinion affects readers' opinions, and whether or not it could affect them buying my book.

I've had a few reviews that were not-so-hot (and no, I'm not going to post one of them LOL) Reviews that tell me the reviewer didn't really get the story, didn't get into the characters, or understand the story. Some reviewers even get the names wrong or plot points wrong - and those are usually the reviewers that didn't seem to like the story. As the creator of that world, I would love to e-mail the reviewer, point out everything she got wrong, explain those points she didn't get, tell her why she should love my book. But of course, I never do. I've come to learn over the course of more than ten releases, that not everyone is going to think everything I write is brilliant. Hard to believe, but there it is.

So, I wonder... Do you go to review sites and read the reviews each month? Do you happen across them, like reading this blog? Did a review ever make you decide to pick up an author or a book you hadn't heard about before? Did a review ever make you decide not to buy a book you'd planned on buying?

For me, I rarely seek out reviews (except my own, of course) but when I do read them, I'm looking more for story elements or character types than I am what the reviewer's opinion was. I've defintely found new authors by stumbling upon a review, but I don't think a review ever talked me out of buying a book I'd already wanted to buy.

How about you?

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Up, Up and Away
On this beautiful Sunday, it’s nice to take some time and reflect on something I love to do--reading. I’ve been traveling quite a bit this June, so this is the first Sunday I’ve not had to be planning for the next excursion for either pleasure or work. It’s just a day to relax for a bit and recover from delayed flights, lost luggage, and uncomfortable plane seats. I’m still a little jet lagged, so please bear (or is it bare? Wait, no that would mean…yikes, never mind) with me if my post repeats anything already discussed.

One part of air travel I love is that I see TONS of people sitting in airports or on planes reading, and not just magazines or newspapers, but books. I also see many with laptops and other electronic devices that could be used as e-book readers, so probably some of those folks are indulging in the joy of the written word as well.

Statistics show that there are way fewer readers today than a decade ago, and those same statistics indicate men read less than women, but I’m heartened by the fact I see people of all ages in both genders reading when they could be doing something else to pass the time waiting on a flight or in flight. And might I add at this point, is there anything sexier than a man holding a book? Is there? No, there certainly is not! Well, maybe if he’s holding a puppy, too. Or just a puppy. Or wearing a uniform. Or cooking dinner. Or…

What was I writing about? Oh, yeah. Reading.

Anyway, most of these readers looked like they’re really into the books, the world around them a distant buzz of activity. I get that way when I read. On one particularly harrowing flight to Canada, I remember reading a Dave Barry book and laughing hysterically as the plane veered up and down, left and right. I swear the pilot was practicing maneuvers and nearly went into a barrel roll at one point. The thought briefly flitted across my mind that his flying style was no more than a blatant attempt to ruin my reading time, since I don’t get much that doesn’t involve more unpublished books than actual published ones. It couldn’t possibly have been the poor pilot was trying to keep the plane in the air. I really didn’t care either way. I just clutched the arm of my seat with one hand and my precious book with the other, figuring if we were in real trouble, I’d get hit with an oxygen mask, see flight attendants go on alert, or hear a big splash. Until then, I determined, I would keep reading, and I did.

Readers are important to us—to society, to publishing, to us as individuals in that they are friends and family. I come from a home of voracious readers, with my grandmother able to put away 2-3 mass market paperbacks in a day if she wanted. My mother read all the time, too, especially as her illness progressed, and my aunts constantly brought over huge brown paper sacks of books to trade. Mom and Grandma made plenty sure they read to my sister and me when we were young because they knew reading to young children assists in vocabulary development, promotes language acquisition, and instills in them the ability to learn to read and enjoy it. When I asked my mom once how she and my grandmother, both of whom dropped out of school with only my mother returning to get her GED, knew they should read to us, she casually replied, “I read it somewhere.” Go, Mom!

I was reminded the other day how much those stories we heard as children affected my sister and me when I did a Notes exercise on Facebook. The challenge was to write down fifteen books that have stuck with you in fifteen minutes and tag fifteen friends to do the same. My list included picture books and YA novels, as well as some adult classics and current favorites, and I could picture the covers of those books just as easily as if they sat in front of me right then. Then I remembered how we always had books around the house, lying everywhere. There were more books than toys, and in some cases I think our books became our toys, the poor things. The point is, my sister and I grew to be avid readers, with a craving for the written word just as vital to us as the primitive drives of hunger, thirst, sleep and sex.

Because of this, and to selfishly build a future fan base, I volunteer every chance I get to give books to kids. Not MY titles, certainly, as they aren’t appropriate for the age group, but I buy some of my favorite children’s classics as well as other fiction and nonfiction. When I can, I read to kids; even teens need to be read to now and then. Actually, truth be known, I also read to my friend’s dog when I dog sit. She seems to like it, or maybe she’s humoring me. I’ve heard of people reading poetry to cats, and I’ve also heard cats are reincarnated poets, hence their penchant for playing with any writing utensil unwittingly left within reach.

By the way, reading to young children also helps develop the imagination. Can you tell? lol

It’s been said the most voracious readers usually become the best writers, and I think we’ve seen the evidence of that in my fellow bloggers here at Fierce Romance. Perhaps we can pass along the joy of reading by becoming Fierce Reading Advocates, too. Something to ponder later; right now, for some reason, I feel the need to pick up a book.

Happy Reading!

PS In the first picture in this post, I bet that couple just got done reading a nice book of erotic poetry. In the second picture, I think the hubba hubba is holding a book right above his head, waiting for some lucky lady to try to grab it. And finally, how nice is it of this hunk to volunteer to read to this poor gal who is blindfolded? She's so grateful she's giving him a kiss, and then they'll get started...reading. Yeah, reading. :)
Books and the Movies that Follow.
As a huge Harry Potter fan, I’m impatiently awaiting the July 15th release of The Half-Blooded Prince (sadly, but not so sadly, I will be at Nationals. This will be the first opening night I’ve missed of any Harry Potter movie release and yes I was one of those that had my copy of the book the day it came out, too). Here in the next couple of weeks, I will dust my book off and settle in for a refresher. Sometime I wonder if this is the smartest thing to do. I go into the movie completely aware of what I want to see happen and I wait for it, anticipate it. All but one movie met my expectations. One even exceeded it. I was impressed with how they handle the 800 page Order of the Phoenix. Could I have handled another two hours? Heck, yeah I could have. But I’m probably the minority in that opinion. LOL.

Either way, I love both the Harry Potter books and movies. And have a sense of sadness knowing the last movie is on the horizon and my time with the Potter world will come to a close. It’s been a fun and enjoyable ride. I do ask one thing of the director, not much I can do about Half-Blooded since it has already been filmed, BUT for the Deathly Hallows all I want, all I ask, is they do the love story of Ron and Hermione justice. I spent seven books reading those two bicker like an old married couple and, for me, in the last two book, J.K. Rowling did a fantastic job of bringing those two together. And I want to see it. It is my biggest fear that love story will get pushed to the background by the directors of the movie, one of those expectations from the book that needs to be a must in the movie.

I don’t just have Harry Potter to look forward to in the coming weeks. New Moon will be released soon too. I’m very curious to see how they handle this movie. I loved Twilight the book, but was meh on the movie. I really thought they could have done so much more with it and the entire thing felt rushed. I know people don’t want to sit and watch at three-hour movie and the directors have to pick and choose what they focus on, but as a reader I’m let down on certain thing that are glossed over. For me, the Twilight book far surpassed the movie. I remember ranting over the final scene for days afterwards because I was so disappointed in how they portrayed it. So New Moon will be an interesting watch.

Another series that I am embarrassed to admit that I have only watched the series and never read the books is True Blood. Let me tell you though, I LOVE the series. It makes me want to read the books something awful, but I’ve heard a lot of reading fans are not thrilled with the series. So that has made me hesitate. I normally never do these things backwards. I’m usually the reader first then the watcher and know the movies will always lack in comparison to the books. But I am so enjoying the show, I’m debating on waiting to read so I don’t get angry and don’t want to watch the series anymore. Any opinions on this? Any True Blood readers that can shine a light and help guide my way?

So what about you? What is one of your books that came to Hollywood? And how did you feel about the director’s portrayal of the authors work?

Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
I'm going to hate this book...I think
Have you ever picked up a book and thought to yourself, "I'm not going to like it"?

I did this last night. My niece wants me to read the new Tina Wainscott book, What Lies in Shadows. Now, let me just say, Tina Wainscott is a terrific author. She can do no wrong in my opinion. I’ve loved all her books and she just keeps getting better. Her plots are original and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb:
Her blog is one of the hottest on the Web—a place where she can be herself and talk anonymously about her most private needs and desires. Not even her wealthy new husband knows about her online persona. And when Jonna Karakosta learns that he may be cheating on her, she needs her online community more than ever…

Enter “Dominic,” a frequent guest on Jonna’s blog who seems to understand her like no one else. She finally agrees to meet him face-to-face, and he turns out to be better—and more attractive—than she could have imagined. But when Jonna has a change of heart and decides to fight to save her marriage, Dominic refuses to take “no” for an answer.

Now Dominic will do anything not to lose Jonna—even if it means bringing her deepest, darkest fears to light…and taking her world apart piece by piece.

Sounds intriguing, huh? But wait, she’s stepping out on her husband? Oh boy, that’s not usually my sort of book. And yet...I flip to the first page. Crap, more bad news. It’s all told in first person point of view. Then I flashback to Linda Howard’sTo Die For”. Another first person pov novel with a heroine I didn’t think I could like. I ended up loving the book and it’s sequel, “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. I literally laughed out loud reading it!

SO, knowing I shouldn’t be so hasty to judge this new Tina Wainscott book (and knowing my niece has never steered me wrong) I picked it up and started reading. Okay, let me just say, it SUCKED me right in from page one. She doesn’t give you a chance to hate it. You get instantly caught up as the drama unfolds. It’s like watching a movie. You’re on the edge of your seat!

I haven’t finished it yet, but don’t you love when an author surprises you? That’s the best moment for a reader like me. I’ve been in something of a slump lately and my niece, again, nudged me to read this book. She swore I’d love it. I was in the mood for some romantic suspense so I finally caved. I’m so damn glad I did.

What book/author managed to surprise you? Tell me, maybe it’ll be a new author for me!

In other fantastic news. Mrs. Giggles gave my latest release, Taking Chloe, a rating of 83 and said:

"Short stories are touch and go where quality is concerned, especially those marketed in the "Red Hots!" line, but I'm pleased to discover that Taking Chloe has a nice balance of story and sensual scenes to round things up nicely."

Yay!!
Masters of the Universe vs. RWA



In one corner we have The Masters of the Universe at Google - fighting non-stop to be allowed to digitize all written content (preferably without worrying about pesky obstructions like copyright law). They think it’s worth millions and millions of dollars of investment to put as many books as they can online.
In the other corner - The Powers-That-Be at RWA are fighting to convince us that epublishing is not a viable career route for writers.
Hmmm, who do you think will be right?


I think e-publishing is here, not only to stay, but to flourish. It won't (I hope) replace print books. But it will provide a viable career path for writers.


It's not clear to me why RWA is being so stubborn on the subject. I think all writers, and especially those who write romance (the biggest category of epubbed books) could benefit from more information, not less.


I don't like the way RWA excludes their epubbed members from all the membership benefits that other members enjoy. I don't excuse the condescending attitude, the divisive mentality, and the obsession with the $1,000 advance.

But, I do agree with RWA that writers can be exploited via the epubbed model, and I think all writers considering this route should understand the issue.

(All my numbers and assumptions have been approximated for simple math.)




Let’s say you publish a story with E-KnowNothing. Your story sells for $6, you get a 1/3 royalty (which will be $2 per book sold) and you sell 100 copies your first year. The book takes in $600, the publisher gets $400, and you get $200. Not too impressive for any of you, right?
But here’s how the multiplier effect works for the publisher. They have 200 authors. If each author published only one book a year and each book sells only 100 copies, the publisher still collects $80,000. Now that’s not a viable business model, because the publisher does have real expenses. But if each author publishes 2 books, the publisher’s take increases to $160,000, though each individual author only gets $400. Are you with me? Two books, everyone doubles their take. Four books, you double again. (The author is still only getting $800.)


Now let’s assume each of their 200 authors sells 1,000 copies of any book. Each author gets $2,000 (1/3 of $6,000, or $2 times 1,000 copies) and KnowNothing gets $800,000 ($4,000 from 200 authors). Now we’re talking money. For the publisher, that is.

That is the valid point that I think RWA makes. Any individual author can toil a long time for little money, but the publisher can do well if she has enough authors, even though each individual author may earn very little.

Where I disagree with RWA is in their solution. (Stick head in sand? J/k, the advance is a legitimate attempt to certify that the publisher believes enough in the author to make a financial investment.)

But a better answer, to me, seems to be for RWA to make a concerted effort to educate their membership on the opportunities as well as the pitfalls of epublishing. The digital world is here to stay. How can RWA members best benefit from it? What are the traps we can avoid?
To me, that should be RWA’s goal. Inform us. Educate us. Don’t deny us a seat at the table to “protect” us.

So here’s the workshop RWA should present at the upcoming conference: What Do You Need to Know before Signing an Epublishing Contract.
Let me add that EKnowNothing is not representative of epublishers. I have simplified the point about "author mills" to illustrate a pitfall that can befall writers. In reality, it's a very diverse industry (and no ill intent needs to be ascribed to anyone. Doesn't the lowliest publisher hope your book sells millions of copies?). There are several reputable electronic publishers who are working hard to ensure that their authors prosper in conjunction with the company. And from what I see as I learn this business, I see a lot of hard work on all sides - authors, editors, agents. Speaking more specifically of the epublisher with which I am associated, I see a dedication to quality and to their authors that might surprise (and I mean this sincerely, not snarkily) some of the folks at RWA.

It will be interesting to see what happens with respect to the RWAChange effort.
Recharging My Creative Batteries
By Liza James

Oh, how I love discovering a new favorite author! The pure enjoyment of falling in love with a sexy alpha hero and his spunky heroine just never gets old, does it? Take Lori Foster. I don't think I've ever fallen in love with a hero so fast in my life as I did Joe Winston from Say No To Joe? When I found out she'd written a whole series around Visitation, North Carolina, I'm pretty sure I squealed. :)

Jayne Ann Krentz is another of my longtime favorites. I discovered her Amanda Quick titles first since I started off as a historical romance junkie. There was something so comforting about her books...a fun sexy read every time. When I finally decided to give contemporaries a try, I fell just as quickly in love with her JAK titles, consuming one after the other until I'd plowed through her impressive backlog of books. Some of my other longtime favorite authors are Dorothy Garlock, Karen Robards, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Rebecca Paisley, Elizabeth Lowell, Mary Jo Putney, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Judith McNaught, who penned my #1 all-time favorite romance novel, A Kingdom of Dreams!

More recently I've discovered such gems as Janet Evanovich (I even bought a bottle of Bvlgari shampoo so I'd know what that sexy Ranger smells like...LOL), J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, and most recently, Christie Craig! I simply adored Divorced, Desperate and Delicious! Funny, sexy, witty dialogue and an amazing cast of secondary characters. And it's the first in a series, so yay! There's just no better way to recharge your creative batteries than reading a fabulous series by an incredible author. :)

I sure hope there are readers out there who feel this way about my books, whichever genre they prefer (I write contemporary romance as Donna Marie Rogers, and erotic romance as Liza James). Tell me about a new favorite author of yours, and I'll choose a winner to receive a free download of Hot For Teacher, my latest erotic romance from eRed Sage. And don't forget to check back as I'll post the winner tonight!

High school teacher Tessa Marshall is at a club with her sister celebrating her 40th birthday when the hunk of her dreams walks through the door. He's tall, dark, and oh-so handsome. He's also ten years her junior, which makes him the perfect candidate for a night of smokin' hot birthday sex. Only it quickly becomes apparent the man is special, which scares the hell out of her since nothing can ever come of it. With regret, she slips from the room while he's sleeping, intending never to see him again.

Scott Chapman is captivated by the beautiful Tessa, and though he swore off relationships several years ago, he finds himself instantly drawn to the blonde stunner. He takes her back to his hotel room for the birthday night of her life, and soon realizes their connection is deeper than he'd imagined. When he wakes up the following morning and discovers her gone, he's disappointed. They both find out, however, that fate has a mind of its own.

Click here to read a short excerpt!

Remember to leave a comment to be in the drawing to win!
How Do You Read??
I’m not talking about whether you read a print book curled up on the sofa or an e-book on your laptop or an audio book on your I-pod. I want to talk about reading habits, the actual reading process.

I started thinking about this after noticing several people that I work with reading one book at lunchtime for weeks. Weeks! If it took me that long to read one book I would have lost interest and gone on to another book. And I’m not talking about books my co-workers aren’t able to get into. One of them finally finished Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final book in the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series. She read them one right after the other, loved them, and yet it took her months to get through four books!


I devour books. Unless it’s a book I can’t get into (which would quickly be replaced by one I can), once I’ve started a book I read it in every spare minute I have. I immerse myself in the world and the characters. I read while I’m fixing dinner. I read in bed, sometimes late into the night, even though I know I have to get up early. I read whenever I can until I’ve finished the book. I can’t imagine getting into a book and only reading it half an hour here and there. Sure, I have other things to do. Ha, I have my own books to write. But once I’ve started a book I have to read until I finish it.

I also seem to read in cycles. I go on binges, reading book after book, as many as I can, for several weeks. Then I won’t read any for a while. This often happens when I need to be writing, it’s hard to write and read too (especially if you have that devouring habit explained above.)


I read in multiple genres and sub-genres. There aren’t many that I don’t enjoy reading, but I find myself gorging on certain sub-genres. Sometimes I get in the mood for paranormal romances and I might read them exclusively for weeks. Or mysteries. Right now I’ve been reading tons of contemporary romances. Not sure why, just happens that way.


Unless I lose a book I’m reading (I know, I know, it happens though) I only read one book at a time. I’ve heard of some people who have one book they read in their bedroom and one book in the bathroom and another in the living room, then they pick up which ever book is in the room they're in. I can’t imagine trying to keep track of characters and story lines while reading three books at one time. Not to mention the above mentioned problem – I don’t stop reading one book until I’m done.

But how about you? Am I the only one with reading habits that mirror poor eating habits (devouring, binging, gorging???) Can you slowly read one book over weeks? Do you read exclusively in one genre? Do you read more than one book at a time?

And in case you’re looking for another one to read, as part of Red Sage’s 15 anniversary celebration, my novella, Quinn’s Curse, is on sale RIGHT NOW, for only $1.50. Go to the Red Sage blog http://redsagerevealed.blogspot.com/ and click on the Quinn's Curse link on the right.



So...how do you read???

Natasha – right now devouring With a Twist by Deirdre Martin
www.natashamoore.com
Real-Life Heroes--Happy Father's Day

Fathers Day MySpace Comments and Graphics




When I think of true heroes, one man in my life comes to mind—my father. Today we enjoyed a delightful picnic lunch in honor of Father’s Day. While dining we chatted about events in our lives over the past week. Long before the cherry pie disappeared from our dessert plates, we expressed our appreciation of and gave thanks for close family ties.

A strong work ethic is one of the qualities I most admire in my father. He came into this world during The Great Depression, and he’s always had a level of savvy and resourcefulness I value and respect. From an early age he worked on his father’s farms and later partnered with his dad in a few businesses. During the Korean War, he served our country in the USMC before embarking on a career with the state government.

During my childhood, Dad and I shared lots of special moments. From the time he coached me on to balancing success as I strove to ride my first bicycle sans training wheels, to the fishing derbies where he demonstrated the proper way to cast a fishing line, he urged me to never surrender but to remain steadfast in my goals for they could be achieved with time and a bit of perseverance. My kites got caught in trees, but Dad always got them out and mended the damage done. He attended all parent-teacher meetings and exhibited an interest in my academic success. Dad was always there with sound advice or moral support when I most needed them. He was never too busy to spend time with Mom and me despite the demands of his career. Over the past year and a half of my life, I’ve never been more thankful to have him as a sounding board when matters arise that benefit from the meeting of two minds.

Qualities we all look for and embrace in our heroes? Loyalty. Dedication. Honesty. Fidelity. Logical thinking. Capable. Caring. Brave. Patient. Great listener. Strength, especially of character. Intelligence. Compassion. Respectful. A man who puts his family/loved ones first. These and many other items are on our mental checklists when it comes to measuring up whether or not a guy earns the right to be called a hero.

To all those great men whom we call heroes, I salute and celebrate your worth as friends, neighbors and family men. No matter what your passions and professions, you rank at the top for all the wondrous things you’ve done and all you achieve.

Speaking of dedicated and fearless heroes, the hero of my latest novel, TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN, possesses all the traits I’ve listed and is also capable of bringing the heroine pleasure in more ways than she can imagine.


To Hellé and Back Again medium


Click here for more information

Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TORMENTED -- EC(Recommended Read from Alternative-Read.com, Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Looking for help! Nameless Surrender is up for Book of the Week!

Hi everyone,
I'm hopping on during my vacation to ask for a little help! I just found out that Nameless Surrender is up for Book of the Week at Whipped Cream Reviews. On Tuesday, Tiger Lily reviewed Nameless Surrender and since she gave it 5 cherries (wow!), it's now eligible to win this honor. If you're able, please stop by Whipped Cream Reviews and cast your vote for Nameless Surrender: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/recentrev.htm
Thanks so much!!!
My Daily Heroes
We’ve talked about some excellent heroes this week, those who bring out our imagination, those we fall in love with through the written word, those who save animals, and those who protect and serve. So I sat here pondering who I could talk about to rank up with these fine individuals, and it hit me. I have a certain type of hero in my daily life. Each with a different personality, each attack their class with a different vigor, and each have had a huge impact on my life. Who are they?

My fitness instructors.

I’m not going to go into my lifelong weight problems again and the struggles I have faced over the years. What I want to do is take a moment to thank those who helped me finally achieve the one thing I have spent my entire life trying to do. You know who you are. Some have been there from the beginning, some a few years, others just entered the world of fitness instructing.

Thank you for being there, listening, and supplying advice when I needed it. Thank you for always having words of motivation, no matter how dark and moody I become. Thank you for proving to me I can push myself farther than I ever imagined, thank you for challenging me and barking orders to push harder, for telling me it is the mind that stops me (that is for a specific instructor;) Those words had a huge impact on me.

Thank you for creating a class that is not only sweat-drenching intense, but fun. Thank you for making me laugh and realizing that working out doesn’t have to be completely serious, and teaching me that the point is to have fun and enjoy yourself. And it’s not brain surgery, no one will die if you mess up;) (That is also for a specific person, lol)


Many years ago I never imagined laughter and working out could co-exist. But it does and because of these fine instructors in my life, working out is not a chore. It is something I look forward to. I believe fitness instructors don’t get the recognition they deserve. However, I’m awed by what they do. I mean I can’t even imagine having to TALK while working out, let alone being motivational and exciting to a classroom full of people. What they do, day in and day out, always with a smile on their face and encouragement to forge ahead is awesome.

The energy they give, fills me with energy. The atmosphere of a hooting and hollering class bring me back again and again.

So thank you for believing in me and sticking by me.

Each one of you has become my hero.
Esme
My Hero, My Hubby
As Father's Day approaches, there's no question about the hero in my life--my husband. Yeah, he has the requisite physical requirements of a romance hero: tall and built (about 6' 2", 200 lbs.), muscular (runs and lifts weights), has gorgeous light blue eyes (on our first date, I asked him if he wore blue contacts!), and physical (he's a black belt in Aikido). He's also smart - super high IQ, majored in journalism at USC, is very knowledgeable about politics, and speaks fluent Spanish. But those aren't the main reasons why he's heroic to me - rather it's his character.

The reason he's fluent in Spanish is because after he graduated from USC, he joined the Peace Corps. At first he was sent to El Salvador to help a small, rural town with agriculture. Within a year of his arrival, the revolution broke out and the Peace Corps had to pull out its people. My husband volunteered to be sent somewhere else in Central America, so he went to Honduras. When his Peace Corps stint was over, he stayed on in Honduras for a few years and taught English to kids in rural areas.

When he returned to the U.S., he thought it would be interesting to be a cop. He already had a non-law enforcement job, so he volunteered as a reserve police officer. So for no pay, he worked patrol and later worked in the juvenile and sex crimes bureau. He also spent three summers working for the California Dept. of Justice in their CAMP program (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) in northern California. Later he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.

My husband has always been attracted to work that is meaningful and does good for other people. Most people think of cops as rounding up bad guys and being on the punishing end of law enforcement, which they are. What most people forget is that cops also spend a lot of their time helping people - for every criminal, there's a victim. And it's the cops' jobs to reassure these victims and promise them justice.
My husband is honest and trustworthy and a good example for our two boys. I'll never forget one time when we were leaving a movie theater through a side exit. A man with a backpack was waiting by the side door, and grabbed the door as we exited to enter the theater without paying for a ticket. My husband grabbed the man's backpack and pulled him backward, letting the theater door shut, and asked him, "What do you think you're doing?" The man sort of shook him off and said, "What are you, a cop or something?" My husband responded that he was. LOL

I'm so lucky to have found my own true hero. When my husband discovered he had a blocked artery last summer and had to go in for an angioplasty, I freaked out but it was my turn to be heroic. I reassured him, I comforted him, I supported him. I let him vent and express his fears. In the end, the procedure went well and my big, strong guy is now a vegan!
Whenever our friends and acquaintances find out I write romance, they always jokingly ask if my husband is supposed to be the hero in my books. I always laugh and respond that each of my heros is different. But you know what? Every one of my heros has a little bit of my husband at his core because my husband is one of the good guys!

Happy Father's Day to all those heroic dads out there!







Heros in Romantic Fiction





What is a romance without a great hero?



Chick lit. (Just kidding, but there's a grain of truth. Can you think of a great hero who has materialized from a chick lit novel?)

I'm just going to list some of the fabulous romantic heros I've loved, from very talented authors. (Yes, they are all alpha heroes. What can I say? I like what I like.)

Captain Alex Randall, Shadow of the Moon by M. M. Kaye. Perseveres in a losing cause at an historic moment in real history.

Matthew Farrell, Paradise by Judith McNaught. Tortured hero, but he's steadfast and true.

Archer Donovan, Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell. A principled hero who is a true family man.

Dane Hollister, Dream Man by Linda Howard. Because he's funny and hot. What more do you want?

Morelli and Ranger, Janet Evanovich. Who could make a list and leave them out? Because they are just too delicious, and what a fabulous fictional device she engineered, to have both of them pursuing the heroine, apparently forevermore. (Okay, I'm a Morelli girl all the way.)

Last, but not least, my favorite of all time - Aragorn. Oddly enough, his story is not a "romance" as we know it, but it's a romance in the old-fashioned sense of a larger-than-life adventure. Here's a man who just keeps working towards a hugely difficult goal. He doesn't whine or complain or leave the job to someone else. He gets on with it. Despite the fact there's scarcely a women in the entire saga, look at what happens at the end. Aragorn says, "A day draws near that I have looked for in all the years of my manhood."




Ha! He did it all for love!





He may have saved the world and won a kingdom, but the day he waited for was the day his woman was coming to wed him. This is why we love romance heroes. At the end of it all, even in a great epic novel like Lord of the Rings (written by a man), it's a woman he did it all for. We can all appreciate that!

Now, please, tell me who I've missed. Summer is here and I hope to do some reading.
Summer--Memories of the Seashore

Summer MySpace Comments and Graphics



Seagulls crying as they soar and swoop. Sand shifting beneath my tropical-print towel. Waves reaching the shoreline and leaving foamy kisses in their wake. Planes trailing banners advertising evening dinner specials and fun family adventures. Beside me there’s a pink patent leather tote filled with sunscreen, a few novels, a cotton tee shirt for cover up after a half hour—even though an umbrella hovers over me—lip gloss, a comb, a container for the shells we’d find, and bottled water. Soon I’d kick off my flip flops and head to the water for some body surfing.

Summers spent at the beach are among my fondest memories. From the days when Mom and Dad wheeled me along in my stroller, I’ve been a huge fan of time spent seaside. How we enjoyed traveling the boardwalk from one end to the other, whether on foot on or the jitney. As soon as we’d enter one of the shops, the plastic tang of decals being pressed into tee shirts greeted us. A sudden breeze would flirt with wind chimes fashioned from shells and dangling from the display rack or ceiling hook. The aroma of funnel cakes and French fries prepared in peanut oil wafted through the air as we made our way toward the inlet. No matter what the weather, laughs were always plentiful as we ate the vanilla or chocolate custard, swirled high in our waffle cones, before it melted and dripped onto our fingers and feet. Many times a sunny hot day won this battle, but we never cared because napkins were always plentiful.

What’s a visit to the shore without indulging in catches of the day? The tap of mallets as they split the claws of seasoned crabs. Steamed shrimp oozing a delicious broth filled with pepper and other spices. Cups of creamy chowder guaranteed to please the pickiest palates. Glass bowls heaped with crisp salad greens and decorated with golden croutons. Endless baskets of bread for dipping and sharing. Tall glasses of iced tea and lemon water to quench every beachcomber’s thirst.



After dining we’d emerge into the dusk and head for the amusements. Bulbs glowed on the skeletons of massive Ferris wheels. Roller coasters whooshed and clattered along their steel tracks and carried screaming riders on ultimate joyrides. Plastic ducks bobbed in shallow and narrow manmade ponds and wore prize numbers on their bottoms. Wheels of fortune spun. Carnival workers guessed the weights of passersby. Shooting galleries and tilted hoops taunted visitors to try their hands and win super-sized stuffed animals.

My favorite way to make a lasting beach memory was riding the carousel. Someone held my container of buttery sweet caramel popcorn meant for sharing. A white stallion rose and settled to the tunes from days past as they piped (I always chose a white horse). We’d tote our winnings, saltwater taffy, and fudge back to the hotel. Amazing how much colder the lobby and room air felt as it hit my sunburned nose or the part in my hair.




But a day at the beach is not done before I’ve said goodnight to the waves. Walks along the shore are the most romantic. Water tickling my bare toes as a special guy whispered in my ear and wrapped his arm around my waist. And what a treasured passionate moment as he scooped me up, spun me around and splashed ankle-deep in the surf. Dinner cruisers passed in the distance but we hardly noticed them. The sun had set on another day but not so with true love. Love and spirits are always on the rise when one is oceanside.


Summer MySpace Comments and Graphics



Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN – EC Exotika
TORMENTED – Ellora’s Cave (Recommended Read-Alternative Read, Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER – EC Exotika
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN – EC Exotika

Shawna’s Myspace
Helle’s Myspace
Ah, Summer at the Beach...

by Kristin Daniels


Summer in our house means only one thing: our annual Florida vacation! I touched on this trip a little during our travel week here at Fierce Romance. It’s the one thing that my entire family looks forward to.


This will be the fifth year we’ve spent in the same house, on the same beach. And the trip is taken the old fashioned way—by car (or in our case, SUV). Yep, we drive from Chicago to the Florida panhandle, but not straight through. A night spent in Birmingham, AL refreshes us enough to continue on the next day.


Then, after a day and a half on the road, we arrive at our own little slice of paradise. Seven days of fun, sun and time spent with great friends makes for a memorable summer vacation. And it’s one we never tire of. Every one of us is sad when we have to leave, and the countdown for the next year begins the second we pull out of our vacation home’s driveway.


Here’s a few more family pics of our Florida fun!


The view from our porch.


My good friend, me (no short comments, please :), and I'm not really sure what my expression is all about, LOL!), and my middle daughter. Cheers!


Me and my girls.


And of course, a gorgeous sunset...


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