Maison Domine by Skylar Kade

When I first journeyed into writing erotica, I never hoped to be the company of such amazing writers as Natasha Moore and Jenna Ives—but here I am, the third of our Binding Ties collection.

Maison Domine takes place at an exclusive BDSM retreat, where my heroine has been sent by her best friend. The straitlaced Lara Brunner has sacrificed everything for her career as a research chemist, but when her health starts taking a toll, drastic measures are called for. Though Lara realizes she may need to learn to relax a bit, domination and submission seems a little extreme to her. Until she meets her weekend-long trainer, Jax. Far from letting her stay locked in her room with a book all weekend, he introduces her to the decadent experience of sexual submission. Lara had never imagined that letting go could feel so damn good. Nor did she ever think someone as sexy as Jaxon Greene would be there to catch her when her knees grew weak from sexual desire.

Lara, always the self-reliant one, wanted to balk at the idea of having her wrists bound, but something inside her—that wild, under-nurtured part of her—persuaded her to give it a try. And in that bondage, she found a freedom so surprising, she could not get enough of it, or of Jaxon.

As a writer and a woman, I love the irony of sexual bondage bringing freedom. Touch is such a powerful sensation, and when you are unable to have that tactile pleasure, when you are forced to simply lie in anticipation for your partner’s touch, it heightens arousal to an incredible level. Will he draw a finger across your naked back, or blow warm breath across your ear? Or will his hand land a deliciously stinging blow across your butt? Part of Lara wants to rebel against the sheer idea of submissiveness, but as Jaxon brings her to a level of pleasure she’s never experienced, she can’t deny him.

Find an excerpt of Maison Domine here.

Sound intriguing, or even too good to be true? Enter the Binding Ties contest to win your own beginner’s bondage kit, and check it out for yourself. To enter the contest, just send an e-mail to bindingties-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Skylar
www.skylarkade.com
The Initiation of Isabella by Jenna Ives

My story, The Initiation of Isabella, is part of Samhain’s “Binding Ties” anthology, and I’m thrilled to be in the company of prolific Red Sage/Samhain author Natasha Moore, plus first-time author Skylar Kade in this sexy bondage series!

The Initiation of Isabella is a classic case of mistaken identity, which lets my heroine experience some of her wildest sexual fantasies. Here's the premise: Isabella Tallin is trying to join the Sigma Iomega Nu sorority, and thinks she's waiting at the corner of Elm and Main for her mysterious initiation rite to begin. But she can't believe that rite involves a gorgeous guy in a hot red convertible and being bound, gagged, and blindfolded…or does it? Logan Sommers can’t believe the innocent-looking girl waiting for him on the street corner is his mysterious client—a sexually jaded woman who has paid his company, Fantasies Fulfilled, to indulge four of her most outrageous sexual fantasies. But the pickup instructions were clear, so he whisks her away for a night of wickedly sensual pleasure! In the end, Isabella finds herself happily initiated by a far different organization than the one she expected. You can read an excerpt of the story at my website www.jennaives.com.

The awesome covers for the three different stories in this series each center on one particular bondage element, and mine is the blindfold. A blindfold is a powerful sex toy, because without the sense of sight, a person will often find their other senses become more heightened, in order to compensate. In this case, Isabella can’t see, only feel what’s happening to her, and her heightened sense of touch lets her more powerfully experience all the delicious things my hero Logan is doing to her naked body. Plus, being blindfolded frees us from having to see the other person, so it lets us concentrate completely on a sexual stimulus -- his lips, fingers, tongue, etc -- making our reaction to it much more honest and personal. In this story, Isabella gets to experience four different sexual fantasies, and the last one -- being pleasured by Logan and two other men all at the same time -- means she’s in for the most incredible night of her life!

I hope you’ll check out The Initiation of Isabella so you can experience Isabella’s pleasure vicariously 

How about you? Ever use a blindfold to help spice up your love life? Did you enjoy it? Do tell!

Jenna
www.jennaives.com
Bound by Design by Natasha Moore

For the next three days here at Fierce Romance, we’ll be featuring the Binding Ties novellas, a new anthology from Samhain Publishing which releases tomorrow, September 29th. I’m thrilled that my story, Bound by Design, was chosen to be part of this anthology, along with stories by the talented Jenna Ives and Skylar Kade. The covers are gorgeous, the stories are hot! The novellas will be released as downloads first, then they will be released together in a print anthology in summer 2010.

In Bound by Design, Jenn Abbott has vowed to never wear a collar again. She escaped from a bad Master/slave relationship years ago and never wants to get back into that whole Dominant/submissive lifestyle. But when she meets Scott Kinsley, his natural dominance calls to the submissive still locked inside her. Suddenly her body comes alive and she’s tempted to do what she thought she never would.

A collar is not only a symbol of submission. It can be a play toy. It can be a training tool. Wrapped around your neck, it’s a reminder of the control you willingly surrender. Hook a leash onto it and the sexy guy you trust can lead you anywhere he wants you to go. Clip a chain onto it and you can be held in place while he plays with your body and brings you amazing pleasure. There are many kinds of collars, from crude utilitarian ones to fine jewelry.

To Jenn, the collar at first symbolizes how she lost herself in her previous relationship, but she knows that it should signify respect, trust, commitment. But can she trust Scott with her body and her heart?

You can check out an excerpt of Bound by Design here.

To celebrate the release of Binding Ties, Jenna, Skylar and I are holding a month-long contest. In keeping with the theme of our stories, the prize is a Bondage Kit, complete with a blindfold and wrist and ankle cuffs! Wouldn’t that add a little fun to your evening? To enter the contest, just send an e-mail to bindingties-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

I hope you’ll check out Bound by Design and the other Binding Ties novellas when they release tomorrow.

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Fall and Falling in Love
Fall brings many changes and possibilities.

Falling leaves.

Falling temperatures.

Falling in love.


Have you ever been…TORMENTED?




A woman is thrust into and left unaccompanied in a world far different from that to which she's accustomed. A hero is dealt two tasks -- cure a malady that current medical science cannot and gain the trust of a woman who's been repeatedly wronged by the man in whom she once placed the utmost faith.


While shipboard in 1888, Eve Morneau is the victim of a venomous beetle’s bite. Her healing and sexual awakening are placed in the hands of a New Orleans physician, Charles Galletiére. Charles not only shuns society but also the treatment regimens practiced by his peers. Eve is pitted against more than one foe as she struggles with her attraction to Charles and wonders whether or not her cure and a romantic commitment from him are possible.


TORMENTED...the truth will be revealed


Hot…Hedonistic…Historical


Available now at Ellora's Cave


Excerpt from TORMENTED --



A froth of ruffles spilled down the doctor’s shirtfront. No doubt, from his change in demeanor, he found traipsing about the world in search of treasure a folly.

And who was she to disagree with such wisdom?

She’d come here to rid her body of its poison, not to discuss expeditions.

She swallowed past the grip in her throat and turned to Doctor Galletiére. “What is it you need to know?”

The doctor’s morose expression melted. Charles reached for her with his left hand, the palm facing upward and his arm bouncing as he weighed the thick air surrounding them. “When did you first notice the wound?”

A hundredweight held her tongue but a swallow loosened it. “Two days ago. A light red spot appeared on my lower leg. Since then the color has deepened and the area become quite tender.”

Charles’ hand lowered, gently brushing her hip. Despite the layers of material separating her flesh from his fingers an undeniable heat flared between them in that instant.

Heat, more intense than when she’d tipped her toe into the bathwater poured straight from their Boston servant Madeline’s kettle. She shifted position. The full skirt was all that separated her from his touch.

A skilled touch.

The touch of a man.

A man who provoked her body and mind more than any other she’d ever met.

Unseen fingers plucked below her belly while yet others pawed her will and poked her soul.

Unsettling to be in his presence. Certainly.

“Such a Christian woman, your daughter.” Ice crystals collected around Doctor Galletiére’s words.

Hard to tell how but he seemed to know more about her than most. And he spoke the truth. She had served as a Christian influence and teacher for those poor bedeviled souls on the continent. Endured many sleepless nights. Touched herself in places most would consider forbidden. Wondered what other women of her age had experienced with men. Men like robust Charles Galletiére.

Charles nudged her foot with his.

A flame leaped from her belly and licked at her throat. A diviner of thoughts, no doubt. There were some in the jungles who claimed the same gift.

Their ceremonies were more about sending up smoke to the heavens and incessant prodding into personal matters of those who sought them than the usurpation of actual thoughts.

She’d never tasted a man’s kiss—unless she counted the embarrassing buss from her first cousin Frederick one summer long ago.

Charles laid his hand on her knee, his fingertips warming the silk of her most becoming traveling dress. “I really should examine her leg. But it would not do to display her so boldly. You gentlemen are welcome to stay a short while and enjoy a cup of tea or other repast. However I must tend to Eve before the hours progress. I’ll have her things brought inside.”


Click here for more information

Click here for another excerpt

Click here for my favorite excerpt

Click here to watch the TORMENTED video


Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Fall is here!
Fall. I’ll have to take one after Anne on this one. Fall is not my favorite season either. Though, I do dislike winter the most. Some people look forward to the colder days approaching. Me? All I keep thinking is jackets and shoes and cringe. Yep, that’s me. A no-shoe wearer. My footwear of choice as soon as it warms up is flip-flops. But the end is coming and I will be forced to wear socks. Oh. The. Horror.

But there are a couple of things I do like about fall. My shows returned (did you see my post last week?). House was pretty good. Curious on the rest of the season, I actually enjoyed the dynamics of the mental institute. It was a refreshing change. Grey’s? Well, let’s just say I guess they worked with what they had in case you haven’t seen it yet. And Medium starts tonight.

Fires will soon be lit in the fireplace. We have wood burning stove and I love the smell it creates throughout the house. Also love the sound of the popping wood. Very soothing.

LOL. I’m on my front porch writing this and just looked up and remembered another thing I do like about Fall. The bugs/bees are gone. We have had a horrible summer with the yellow jacket. Can’t wait for those stinging little critters to burrow deep and do whatever it is they do in the winter.

Halloween is another huge bonus for me. I love that day. It is my favorite holiday. We throw a huge party at my place. One for the adults. Everyone looks forward to it. A night away from their kids, so the parents can dress up and act like children. You are not permitted into my house without a costume on. LOL. Though, I must admit, my BIL has tested that rule every year. I don’t argue, it fits his personality and the day he does show in a costume, watch out, hell hath frozen over. LOL.


I also enjoy trick or treating with the kids. We have this great neighborhood around these parts that remind me of when I was a kid. You know the ones where you felt safe to go, kids littered the street their ghoulish costumes, and you didn’t worry about anything. Those are few and far between anymore. We park on one side and walk the entire block. There is this house, we save it for last, that is awesome. The people who own it go all out every year. Chainsaws, coffins, fog machine, the whole nine yards. You just don’t see that very much anymore and for me that is a really sad thing. Some of my fondest memories as a child are going up to these decked out houses and have that little bit of fright. Maybe why I still love a haunted house to this day. Speaking of which, I will have to book a weekend night to go to the Haunted Mill sometime soon.

Halloween. Yep, that makes up for the bulky clothes, jackets, shoes, shivering at the bus stop with the kids that is comingJ

Esme
http://www.esmereldabishop.com/
What's to Like About Fall?
I have to admit, fall is not my favorite season of the year. It usually means cooler weather (even in So Cal), the end of daylight savings time, and back to school. So I'm going to dig deep here and come up with my favorite things about fall.

Soccer: It may be back to school time but it's also back to regular season soccer. My boys play club soccer so they play almost the entire year, but fall is the regular season with games every weekend - sometimes two games a weekend (sometimes four if both boys' teams play on Sat. and Sun.) I may be crazy, but I love watching those soccer games.

Halloween: I've always taken the boys out trick-or-treating with a big group of kids and parents tagging along. Last year I ended up having a glass of wine with the moms of my older son's two best friends. The boys, along with their younger siblings, hung around the front of the house scaring trick-or-treaters and handing out candy. A nice end to the evening that included a VERY good haunted house in the neighborhood (one year this family did an insane asylum and last year it was a demented circus with creepy clowns - yikes - all live people in there scaring you!)

Santa Ana Winds: Often in Oct., L.A. experiences an indian summer with hot, dry temps, and then those Santa Ana winds kick in. A lot of people think I'm nuts because I love the Santa Anas (don't like the brush fires they can whip up though), but there's something just so L.A. about those winds. Raymond Chandler described them like this: "One of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight ... anything can happen."

Pumpkin Pie: My favorite pie and the only time I ever eat pumpkin pie is on Thanksgiving.

Dexter: This fantastic show on Showtime about a serial killer returns for its 4th season. At the end of every season, I can't imagine how the show can get any better - and then it does.

Silver Strand Half Marathon: Don't know if my husband is going to participate this year, but it's a great opportunity to go down to Coronado in San Diego.

Release from eRed Sage: And finally, I'm looking forward to the release of my story, "Triple Threat" from eRed Sage in Nov. It's part of the Three Kinds of Wicked series that launched in July.

There! I did it. I actually almost stopped mourning the passing of summer. What do you like about fall?
Autumn Leaves...
...crunching under my feet as I walk. That's just one of the things I love about autumn. This week at Fierce Romance we're saying Good-bye to Summer and Hello to Autumn. Since I hate good-byes, I'm posting a little love note to fall.


While I love summer, the warm weather and the long hours of daylight, I have to admit that autumn is my favorite season. Where I live in western New York, we have definite seasons. Unfortunately, winter tends to take up more than its share of days around here...but that's a subject for another post. I enjoy the cool autumn nights that make sleeping easier, yet the days can still be warm enough for camping (and cool enough for campfires) and bike rides and long walks in the crisp colorful leaves.

Another reason autumn has always brought a thrill to me is because school starts again. Yeah, call me a nerd, but I loved going back to school in the fall. Loved stocking up on all those school supplies (the writer in me coming out even then) and hitting the books again. I haven't gone to school in a long time now, but I still love to see all those back-to-school ads. Paper, pens, pencils, notebooks...my fingers itch just thinking about it.


Autumn paints the landscape in beautiful colors. My husband and I took a train ride with friends in the Adirondacks last October. What fun that was and what beautiful scenery. If you're ever in the area, check out the Adirondack Scenic Railway.


Fall festivals! Another thing I love about autumn. Do you have those where you live? All I know is that lots of small towns around the area have their own spin on the fall festival. Falling Leaves Festival. Pumpkin Festival. Apple Festival. Wine Festival. Ooh, wine festival!! This one is my favorite. If any of you live around northwestern Pennsylvania, you've probably heard of the North East Wine Festival. It's being held this coming weekend. You just might see me there picking up a couple new wine glasses and checking out the craft booths, the food vendors, and of course, tasting the wine!

So do you have fall festivals?

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Retreating for Writing and Romantic Inspiration
Where did summer go? While summer is my favorite season, I embrace each equinox or solstice. Autumn’s majestic months are no exception. When there’s a chill in the air, we look forward to picking pumpkins, sipping hot chocolate and cider with cinnamon sticks, baking gingerbread, and strolling through local parks and along leaf-covered pathways to admire Nature’s beauty. For a weekend steeped in romance and surrounded by gorgeous scenery, I enjoy retreating to the following destinations whenever fall arrives.


Salem, Mass:

A New England trip in September or October isn’t complete without a visit to the gorgeous town of Salem. Richly steeped in history and lore this famous place captured in novels by Nathaniel Hawthorne and others offers something for every traveler. For those who are fascinated by history, one glance at the House of Seven Gables will hold you mesmerized. Make sure to check out the fantastic exhibits at The Peabody-Essex Museum. From there head down to Derby Street, walk along Pickering Wharf, and don’t miss the museums and live performances that will transport you to a bygone era when misunderstandings about the beliefs and ways of men ran rampant. Dine at Victoria Station and walk off those extra calories as you take a self-guided tour and bask in the beauty of historically preserved neighborhoods.

Fall and Autumn MySpace Comments and Graphics


Montpelier, VT:

A charming town combining the rustic with the modern. While there browse some of the lovely shops, admire the fall foliage and make sure to visit the NECI’s (New England Culinary Institute) Main Street Bar and Grill. From delicious coffee, tea and pastries, to a delightful menu selection for lunches, dinners and brunch, you’ll welcome a chance to relax at this lovely eatery.
Bon appétit.


Fall and Autumn MySpace Comments and Graphics



Skyline Drive, VA:

See fall in all its glory in this scenic byway. Drive along the valleys or enjoy the splendor of the mountains showing off crimson, golden, and spice-colored leaves. During your getaway you may even spot some black bears lumbering along on a lazy afternoon. If you prefer, you can always see some of the area while on horseback or while bicycling on designated paths.


Fall and Autumn MySpace Comments and Graphics



The Great Smoky Mountains:

For the true lovers of the outdoors, The Smokies offer wonder and wildlife at its finest. Lush foliage and wildflowers greet visitors, and the bears, deer and elk are sights to behold. Rangers offer guided park tours, too. If you’re fond of hiking, head here for a weekend you’ll long fondly remember.



Fall and Autumn MySpace Comments and Graphics



Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace

Author Interview: Alisha Rai

by Kristin Daniels


Hi everyone! I’d like to welcome fellow author and a friend of mine, Alisha Rai. Alisha is here to tell us about her new release from Samhain, and to let us in on her life as an Erotic Romance author.


Hi Alisha! Can you tell us about your latest release?


I am so excited to announce that I just released a new novel from Samhain Publishing, Cabin Fever. My heroine, Genevieve, discovers a fatally wounded man on her porch one night in the midst of a snowstorm. Lucky for him, she’s not the average hermit. Here’s the blurb:


Love isn’t something she thinks she needs…until it lands right on her doorstep.


Genevieve Boden is a witch and doesn’t care who knows. The townspeople’s fear of herkeeps away those who have hurt her before—like the local men of authority. Besides, a life of exile deep in the woods of West Virginia is due punishment, she figures, for the part she played in her mother’s death. If she’s alone, no one need know that the trauma took away her powers.


Then she finds a bloody, fatally wounded man slumped on her porch. In an instant, her healing ability reawakens—and that’s not all. He stirs a hunger beyond her wildest dreams. But a relationship with the new chief of police? Not a chance.


Alex Rivera isn’t sure how he survived, but he’s certain his beautiful savior did more than just bandage his wounds. Captivated by this wary angel and stunned by the depth of emotion he feels for her, he vows to discover her secrets. After all, thanks to the raging snowstorm, they have nothing to do but share body heat.


Their sizzling attraction goes straight to their hearts. So could a killer’s bullet…once whoever shot Alex finds them.


Warning: Contains a convenient snowstorm that throws together two wounded characters who happen to be wildly attracted to each other, a drool-worthy hero, a shotgun-toting heroine, mattress sex, shower sex, couch sex, armchair sex, some light bondage, and a really good cup of hot cocoa.


You can read more, including an excerpt, here:

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/cabin-fever


Wow, sounds hot, hot, hot! Tell us a little about your favorite character in the book.


As much as I love my delicious hero (that tummy on the cover is just scratching the surface of Alex’s assets), I can’t help but go with my heroine, Genevieve. She’s gutsy, loyal, honest, funny, a crack shot, and a healer to boot. Oh, and she uses what she’s got to protect the ones she loves. How could I not adore her?


I love a strong heroine! What element of story creation is your favorite?


Characters! I love making characters pop off a page. I’m a certified people-watcher.


Oh, me too (sometimes to my husband’s chagrin, LOL)! What element of this story was the hardest for you?


Oh, God. Everything. I’ve changed this story so much since I started working on it a few years ago. It began as a very short short, went on to novella size, and now it’s a novel.


I wish it would have been as easy as just adding a few scenes here and there. I had to completely dismantle and rewrite the plot, the characters, and the setting in order to fit the new length. In the version that went to print, the only thing that remains of the original story is the premise, which in my initial notes reads, and I quote: “Heroine finds Hero shot on her porch. He stays naked throughout story.” Clear to see where my priorities are, huh?


Hey, a girl has to pay attention to those priorities! So tell me, when did you know you wanted to be an author?


Forever. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be anything else. I felt the weight of familial expectations, though, and I tried my best to put it aside in pursuit of a more “legitimate” career.


Fortunately, I couldn’t keep those characters in my head. I still cringe at the idea of my mother reading my work (oh ew, ew, must stop thinking of that…), but it’s clearly not stopping me. I love writing romance!


You and me both! What’s your writing process or method?


I’m supposed to have a process? Oops. I’m a bit of a pantser. I tried to outline a story once, and it was a no-go.


When I sit down to write something new, I do a rough sketch of the characters, the premise, and the outcome. Everything else gets filled in along the way.


I think we’re pretty similar in that. I’m pretty much a pantser too! What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?


Publishing = timing + luck


So relax. When I finally figured out that I needed to just chill and write and trust that the planets would align eventually, that’s when everything clicked. Don’t write what’s hot. Write what you want. Don’t get depressed if it doesn’t get snapped up the first or even the fifteenth time…it may just not be the time for it right now. Put it away and work on something else for a while.


I agree, just keep writing, right? What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?


I wish I’d known what to do when I finally did get that contract in my hands. I think I spent so much time writing and revising and querying that I didn’t even contemplate what the next step would be. I come from a business background where I read and give out contracts on a regular basis, but when I opened that e-mail it was like I had to learn a whole new language…and Samhain’s contract is actually pretty straightforward! Still, I took about four weeks to actually sign and send it back to them.


Not always a bad way to go. It's important to completely understand what you're signing. Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?


This kind of relates to the previous question. If you have a shiny contract in your hands, resist the urge to whip out your pen. It is your absolute right to take your time and read it in depth. I highly recommend consulting a literary attorney. Ask questions. Understand every single clause and what the repercussions would be if you agreed to them. Really think about if you can live with it, and what the deal breakers are/would be.


Before even submitting, make sure you do your research about potential publishers/agents. Don’t brush off any red flags. Ask around, lurk on blogs, whatever you have to do. It’s not worth the headache to sign with someone who’s not going to treat you properly.


Very true! What’s next for you?


I’m working on like five projects right now. That’s both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. The bad part is that I’m mad busy. The good part is (I hope) my readers will be getting more books!



I hope so too! I’d like to thank Alisha for being with us today. She'll be giving away an e-book copy of Cabin Fever to one lucky commenter, so let's all leave Alisha best wishes and thanks for stopping by! Please visit her at: www.alisharai.com or alisharai.wordpress.com

How I Stumbled Upon a YA Futuristic
One advantage of moving from summer to fall and the start of school is reading the books my kids read. I always like to read along with them so I can discuss the books with my boys, neither of whom are big on reading. I've gotten the opportunity to read a lot of interesting books I might not have picked up otherwise - Holes, Al Capone Does My Shirts, the whole Gary Paulsen series about his sledding dogs, and one of my favorite authors Jerry Spinelli.

As my older son moves into this teens, the books are definitely getting more interesting. For 8th grade he has to read My Brother Sam Is Dead, an historical fiction that takes place during the Revolutionary War, and a second book that he got to choose from three selections. I reviewed the selections with him and he decided on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I hadn't heard anything about this book before I read the summary in my son's syllabus.

To jumpstart my son on this book, which technically he was supposed to have finished before school started, I offered to start reading it aloud with him every night. WOW! After the first night of reading, we were hooked. We couldn't wait to continue reading it the next night and the next and the next. While usually he drags his feet when it comes to reading, now every night when he's getting ready for bed he reminds me - "time to read, Mom." He's also started speculating about the events in the book, trying to guess what's going to happen next and making comments about the characters. He NEVER does that. It warms my little bookworm heart!

Then imagine my surprise when a chapter-mate requested some suggestions for good YA books, and another chapter-mate, who's very plugged into YA, mentioned The Hunger Games. I had to respond - "ooh, ooh, I'm reading that now." I hadn't really considered this book YA, since I figured YA referred to romance and while there's a little romance here, there's not a lot. But then I suppose YA romance is not going to be hot and heavy (I'm pretty sure my son wouldn't appreciate that - he has absolutely no interest in the Twilight series).

Anyway, we're more than half-way through this book of a post-apocalyptic America, and the reality TV show that pits teenagers against each other in a fight to the death for survival. I also discovered a cool book trailer. Better yet? I found out Collins wrote a sequel, Catching Fire. My son has already told me he wants to read the sequel. Thanks, Suzanne Collins!




My daughter is 16 today!!!
So, today is my daughter's 16th birthday! Yep, sweet 16! I can't be this old, can I? 41, really?? LOL It's insane how time flies!

That's Kati in the picture above with her crazy pink bangs. She did it herself. She highlighted my hair, too, which you can see here

Every year on my daughters' birhtdays I take them out of school and we have a 'it's all about you' day. They get to choose whether they want to stay home and mess around, go shopping, head to the movies, whatever. It's their choice. Today, Kati's chosen the mall. She's a 16 yr. old girl, what do you expect? LOL

But it got me to thinking. Are we the only ones who do this? Their friends get jealous that the girls get to play hooky on their birthdays, but I figure why not? Heck, as long as the grades are good then one day off isn't going to ruin anyones lives. We started this back in kindergarten and it's become a tradition. I think it'll be one of those things the girls will look back on and smile.

So tell me, what are your birthday traditions?

***

In OTHER news! I got the best review yesterday from the wonderful Whipped Cream Reviews for Tempting Grace.

"The story is excellently written, with characters that are both memorable and endearing."

see the full review here

The Power of a Glance

I'll be teaching my sexual tension workshop, Turn Up the Heat! in October for Celtic Hearts. Here's a small excerpt from it. As part of the workshop, I present the 12 Steps to Intimacy and eye to eye is the second step.


"The power of a glance... It is in this way that love begins, and in this way only... Nothing is more real than these great shocks which two souls give each other in exchanging this spark." Victor Hugo

The eyes are the mirror (or window) of the soul is an old Yiddish proverb which I feel is true. You can usually look into someone’s eyes and tell exactly what they’re feeling, sometimes even what they’re thinking. The eyes are so incredibly expressive, some more so than others. People can also erect an emotional wall and make their eyes express no emotion. (Don't you hate it when the hero does that?) :)

I once heard someone say (I can’t remember who now) that a man who is attracted to or loves a woman spends more time looking into her eyes than anywhere else, especially at the beginning of their relationship. This is to gauge her expressions and emotions. Did she like or dislike what he just said? This is the way he reads her. He can tell if she’s happy, angry, afraid or aroused and this will determine his next move. Naïve people are usually easier to read than experienced people.

When two people meet who are instantly attracted, something passes between them with the first meeting of the eyes. This phenomenon has been described in many ways: a spark, awareness, love at first sight, lust at first sight, lightning, magic. When writing, it's easy to fall into cliches, but describing this wonderful first glance in a memorable, unique way is important for your characters and your story. I bet you remember a first glance when you met someone you were instantly attracted to. Please share if you would like!

***

Workshop info: Turn up the Heat! Heightening Sexual Tension and Sensuality in Your Manuscript
by Nicole North
Editors want to buy spicy-hot romance stories now more than ever before. How do you do it? In this class we will discuss all aspects of sexual tension and sensuality and how they relate to the developing romance in your story. You will learn tips for successfully building sexual tension over the course of the relationship between the hero and heroine, from first glance, through climax, to happily ever after. Several examples will be used to illustrate different nuances of hot romantic chemistry and how to employ them in your own story. Learn how to avoid clichés and use sexiness in fresh new ways. Strengthening sexual tension will take your story from ho-hum to so hot and delicious your reader can not put it down. We will do exercises for hands-on learning. (Please be aware this course contains explicit and frank discussions of sexuality.)**Topics covered**
Using the five senses more effectively
Sexy talk
word choice
First kiss
Foreplay
First love scene
How to rebuild sexual tension after sex
Why point of view is important
Hot characters
Combining physical attraction and emotion
Body language
Differences between romance and erotic romance
Revising to make a sensual romance manuscript spicy or eroticFun Extras
Visual inspiration
Multimedia examples and exercises


To read what students thought of this workshop, please visit http://www.nicolenorth.com/ and click on my workshops page.

Thanks!

Nicole
PS: there is still time to enter my contest! It's easy. Simply join my newsletter for a chance to win new books. Please check my website's contest page for more info.
Fall Season Line Up is Back
Anyone else excited about the start up of the new Fall season of shows? One more week and my nights will be full of Gregory House and Grey’s Anatomy again. I must say I have missed them over the summer and can’t wait for next week.

I’m one of those people who have a show for almost every night of the week, the summer is a lull, of course, but come mid-September I’m ready to get back into my programs and for all the loose ends to be tied off. I must say, though, that some of my shows left me with a what the hell mentality and you know big changes are about to start.

House being one of them. I cannot express how much I love that sarcastic, who gives a crap doctor. I thought last season was one of their best, with a hook that left no doubt that this season will be like none other. Truly, how are they going to have the cold-heartened Dr. House save the lives of the people from a mental institute? If anyone can do it, it will be him, but I have a little worry of the chemistry between the other characters being lost because of this. If he is in a separate place, then I’m not going to get my Wilson/House fix. I love watching those two on the screen together. The season Wilson spent being mad at House was my least favorite. The back and forth barbs they share remind of two brothers who have a love/hate relationship. I love that. So I’m really interested to see how the writers work to keep that going.

Another one that has me anxious is Medium. (I must say I totally dig the dad, he's a hottie) Could NBC have been any ruder dropping the show like it did without warning the viewers? Can you say total panic attack? There was no warning, none. I was in my happy, it’s Monday night, woot woot place when I hear Series Finale. What? What did that just say? How is that possible? Canceled? That makes no sense; they totally didn’t tie this up! Frantic searches later, I find out CBS has picked up the show. Whew. Then came in the new set of worries. With new writer and a new network, I fear they may take away the charm that drew me to Medium in the first place. I guess only time will tell, but I hope they do the show that I have come to love justice.



And of course, we shall not forget Grey’s Anatomy. I was extremely disappointed with the show when they released the news back in June of who would not be returning. Well, let’s just ruin the cliffhanger for those of us that like cliffhangers. Geez. If you haven’t read that breaking news then I won’t ruin it for you by stating it here. But the interesting part about the seaon finale back in May was two actors, who where rumored to be on thin ice with the network, were set up to leave the show. Oh!! What a perfect setup. Air their dirty laundry throughout the year about the situations brewing off screen, then leave the watchers wondering what would happen, only to tell us four weeks later. Totally not cool. So even though I will watch Grey’s next Thursday, its not with that sense of excitement I get by finally getting to see the outcome. I already know what it is. *scowls*

Anyway which shows are you anticipating their return?
Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
New Contest & Review
Terry is in Canada today. Hopefully she'll pop in later to tell us all about that! In the meantime, I want to tell you about my contest this month.

To enter my September contest, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nicolenorthnewsletter/

Two people from the group will each win 2 new paperback books of their choice from my list of books by other authors! I got a ton of awesome books at the conference, but I don't think it's possible for me to read them all. So I'm happy to share. I'll announce the winners at the beginning of October in my newsletter. Thanks!


I also received a cool new review on Amazon from Steph at Bookaholics Romance Club who says Devil in a Kilt is "sinfully delicious."

Woot! Thanks, Steph! She also says:

"This was a scorching read. Nicole North really knows how to turn up the heat and anyone who loves highlanders will wish they were in Shauna's lucky shoes! Gavin is super HOT!!"

Nicole

Where were you?

by Kristin Daniels


Today is 9/11.


I wasn’t sure what to blog about today, since we didn’t really have one of our great themes for this week. A new upcoming book? Yeah, I could tell you about that (Hint!). A writing tip or an opinion poll – sure, that might work too. Hottie pics? Oh, just you wait!


But, let me ask this: Do you remember where you were on September 11th, eight years ago? I remember where I was.


I was working at an elementary school. Yep, that was me, Ms. School Secretary, back before the whole erotic romance writing thing happened. I walked into the school around 7:30 central time, and the TV in the child-care area was tuned to a major network (I know what you’re thinking here, and no, no children were around). A plane had just crashed into one of the towers. I couldn’t believe it. We all went into protection mode. We protected our young students from what was going on (not hid the reality of it, those are two very different things). Parents called, quite a few came to pick up their children. Some just wanted to know what we were doing, how we were handling the situation.


Truth was, we were on a semi-lock down. We'd never been on lock-down before, and I admit it was pretty scary. But nothing happened at our school, or any other, thank God.


I distinctly remember walking into our principal’s office later that morning after fielding call after call from concerned parents and looking at his grainy 9 inch television screen.


“The towers fell?” I asked.


“About a half hour ago,” he responded.


I couldn’t take my eyes off the television. Teachers would wander in and out during their breaks to catch up on the news, and our principal sent out emails throughout the day to keep them updated. As soon as the bell rang and the buses left, so did I. At the time, my 3 children were 13 and under, and they all went to different schools. I was so much like the parents that called or stopped by my school that day. I just wanted to hug my kids. I got home after picking up my youngest at his after-school care center. My children and I watched the news together, and I answered all their questions the best I could.


I remember standing outside with my neighbor not so long after I got home. It was a beautiful fall day, not a cloud in the sky. The afternoon had turned so quiet. You see, I live next to a small municipal airport and we are so used to planes taking off and landing that the silence stood out as very odd. There were no airplane trails in the sky that day, which normally wouldn’t seem strange. At least not until you’re looking for them.


9/11 is a day that none of us will ever forget. People are often asked “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” Well, that was before my time, but I’ll never forget where I was that September day in 2001.


Where were you?

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