Do Romance Readers Have More Sex

I read this interesting statement recently:

“One study showed that women who read romance novels have sex twice as often as those who don’t.” (1)

Unfortunately, they didn’t cite the study, which I would have loved to have read.

So the question is: which is the cart, and which the horse? Do romance readers have more sex because they read romance novels? The stories may give them ideas, put them in the mood, etc. On a blog awhile ago, a man commented that he goes to his girlfriend’s romance novels, opens to the dog-eared pages, and then reads what he should try with her. He figures if it was dog-eared, she was intrigued by whatever she was reading. Smart man, huh?

Or, it may be that women who are more interested in sex to begin with also read romance novels. I suppose if you didn’t like sex, you’d be less likely to want to read about other people having great sex.

Of course, there are romance novels that keep the bedroom door firmly closed. Perhaps the fact that those readers must use their own imaginations, leads them to increased bedroom activity.

But, I would suggest that the ever-growing popularity of stories with more and more sex indicates that readers enjoy their peep into someone else’s imagination.

I tried to track down the study, with no luck, having no leads whatsoever. But there is a lot of fascinating research out there!

No comment was available on how much sex romance writers have. Lol That would be an interesting study.
(1)
Are you getting LOST?

For the past few years I’ve been a Lost fan and finally my husband decided he wanted to get in on the addiction. So we bought all 5 seasons on DVD and have been watching the 100+ hours of drama, action, adventure, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, and romance over the past couple of months.

What’s so great about Lost? Why all the fanatics? When it began it was one of the most unique and original TV series ever created. But clearly there are a few copycats now who are trying to jump on the weirdness, screwed-up-time, paranormal bandwagon. I haven’t watched them so can’t comment.

The first, second and third seasons of Lost feature some of the most awesome storytelling, characters and plots ever created for TV in my opinion. We get to know the characters through what they’re doing on the island where their plane crashed, and via interesting, pertinent flashbacks of what happened in their past to shape them into the people they are. There is a large cast of well-rounded, well-developed characters that you can’t help but love and pull for.

In season four, things get shaken up because we don’t get flashbacks anymore. We get flash-forwards along with present day (for them) goings on, specifically how 6 of the characters get off the island and back to the real world for 3 years.

In season five, we find out how the people still on the island all travel back in time to the 1970s. Seriously, that part is believable. And the 6 people who left, return to the island and also travel back in time. Well, it isn’t just the 70s. They also visit the 1950s and various other time periods briefly. Since I love writing time-travel, I enjoyed these parts.

The truth is Lost gets weirder and weirder as the seasons progress. And season 6, the final season, is without doubt the most bizarre of all. We don’t get flashbacks nor flash-forwards anymore. We get flash-sideways. Though I’m not sure (I’m never sure of anything on Lost) I’m assuming the flashes are an alternate reality of what would’ve/ will happen if there is no plane crash. Okay, I’ll buy it. But there are other things that make me wonder--what the heck were they thinking?

Granted, the smoke monster was a part of season one (not my favorite part, by the way, because I never found it believable.) But now the smoke monster is front and center. Hmm. What IS the smoke monster anyway? We'll get to find out soon.

Part of the fun of watching Lost is figuring out what is going on, like a puzzle. And then you’re like… aha! So hopefully season 6 won’t disappoint, even though at the moment I’m slightly confused. Of course several of seasons are confusing as you’re first watching them.

The creators of Lost play with time, and viewers have to figure out, not “where are we,” but “when are we?” At times they’ll give clues on screen, 8 days ago or 30 years later. At other times they don’t give those and you have to use clues of the characters and their surroundings to figure out when they are in time, 2004, 2007, 1977? And because the characters are so likable and sympathetic, despite the bad or less than admirable things they’ve done, I’m always pulling for them.

What about you? Are you a Lost fan? What do you love about it? What do you think of season 6 and what if anything do you find unbelievable?

For those of you who have never watched Lost, here is the beginning of season 1, episode 1 so you can get in on the addiction. :)
Writing in a Construction Zone

We bought a house a couple years ago, a former cottage, half a block from a beautiful lake. The house was originally built in 1948 and has been added onto a couple times. There are many things I love about this house, the fireplace, the open floor plan, the view of the lake from the back yard - but the bathroom is not one of them.

As in many small older houses, there is no master bathroom, but the bathroom is right across the hall from the bedroom, so it's not really a big deal. There was a second bathroom installed in the basement along with a small bedroom, so when our son is home from college, he uses that one. Since we decided to remodel our main bathroom, we'll be using the basement bathroom too.

Oh, and I forgot to mention what I dislike most about the main bathroom - besides the ugly closet with doors made out of old shutters...and the full-sized window in the shower that looks out into the neighbor's backyard...and the dark gray walls - is the fact that it's barely big enough to turn around in. So in addition to tiling the shower and installing a heated tile floor (oooooh!)we've decided to bump out a portion of one wall and move the vanity back so that you can actually turn around when you get out of the shower and want to dry off.




Did I mention that the room we're going to be bumping into is my office?? As I write this, my husband is pounding into the cement walls in our shower. (Have you ever heard of cement walls in a shower? We never had. Apparently it used to be quite common so you could paint your whole bathroom the same color and not worry about water damage in the shower. Yeah, the whole bathroom was the same dark gray color! My husband had to strip at least five coats of paint off the walls to get it ready for the tile.)




No matter how loud I have the music turned up in my headphones, there's no way to drown out the hammering and drilling.

I emptied out the medicine cabinet today, because this week he's going to be cutting into the wall between the bathroom and my office to move the vanity. We used a couple bookshelves to make a temporary wall between that wall and my desk, but honestly, it's not going to make much difference in my working conditions.

I have to resign myself to the fact that I may not make my word count for the next few weeks. Not just because of the noise and the dust, but because I always become a go-fer for the hubby. Not that I don't appreciate the fact that he can do a lot of the construction work himself. But I actually can't have that music turned up loud enough to drown out the construction noise, because I have to be able to hear him when he needs me.

So has anyone gotten much writing done in a construction zone? Any helpful hints you can pass along to make the process easier?

I know I'm going to be so happy with my larger, brighter bathroom. Just bear with me during the next few weeks...I may be a little cranky.

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Spring--So Much More Than a Season
Spring this year, for me, is so much more than a season. It’s brought many days of boundless creativity when it comes to my fiction writing. Walks I used to take for exercise purposes have turned into journeys where fantasies take flight in my mind and later find themselves transferred to the computer screen. Trees and plants are blooming, and the air holds a crisp freshness that tickles the nose and always brings a smile.

As I admire the scenery during my outdoor times, it’s then I realize how much I’m blessed to be living and loving the many reminders of spring’s bounty. Some of the ways Nature has inspired me are found in the following videos.

Talk about sexual tension…this peahen plays it coy and seems to prefer feeding her hunger and fueling a potential mate’s ardor.




Spring glory – beautiful blooms whose colorful petals and delightful fragrance have made their way into some of my poetry.





Ladybug lovers seem to know they’ve picked a precarious place for their passionate romp. The hero and heroine in my latest erotic historical romance work-in-progress are much the same as the ladybug couple and refuse to let anything dampen their ardor.




One of my favorite parts of writing fiction is conveying to readers the incomparably fabulous feeling of falling in love.





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
A First for Kristin Daniels
by Kristin Daniels

This is a first for me so... be gentle!

Me Tarzan. You Jane.

 I’m reading a book called: Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps by Barbara and Allan Pease.

Let me start by saying I can definitely read maps so I was a little offended by the title. But after they explain what they mean…I’m sold.

However, today I’m talking about the men not listening part, which also relates to men not speaking a lot, which is something I’m always conscious of when writing male characters.

The Peases show pictures of male and female brain scans to show that women have large areas on both sides of their brains dedicated to speech and language. For men, speech and language are not specific brain skills. They have no area of their brains dedicated to speech like women do. (I am personally a sucker for scientific explanations.)

The differences start young. Girls start speaking at an earlier age. Studies show that 3 year old girls have twice the vocabulary that boys do. Anyone who has teenage boys and girls knows which sex does the talking.

The authors say there is no convincing evidence that social conditioning explains why girls talk more than boys. My husband says our girls talk just to hear themselves talk.

What happens when we reach adulthood?

Men speak to relate facts.

Women speak to build relationships and make friends.

When men are focusing on a problem, they prefer to remain silent while they think about it and, inside their heads, examine the issues. When women have a problem, they usually prefer to talk it over, examine all sides of it, and then verbally reach a consensus on a solution.

Women may not even expect to find a solution when they are talking about a problem. They may want to vent, get some sympathy, or express their feelings. Men assume you’re laying out the problem to obtain a solution.

Women have five tones in their voices while men have only three. (Ever heard a man grunt when you’re speaking to him?)

(Men do have other skills which are harder for women to master. Also due to brain differences. But that’s for another blog.)

One of the main things I try to remember when writing male dialogue is: keep it brief and focused. No meandering thoughts or explanations for a man.

So when Jane and Tarzan meet in the jungle, here is their conversation:

Jane: At last…It’s Him!! Tarzan. The man of my dreams…coming to get me…to make me his woman!

Tarzan: Me Tarzan…You Jane.


It's a good book.
Carly Carson
Spring -- Time for Writing and Rejuvenation
After a snowy winter, I welcomed spring’s arrival with open arms. Spring—a season of growth and rejuvenation. So many beautiful possibilities available for decorating the terraced areas and patio of my new home. Wind chimes. Hanging baskets bursting with fragrant and colorful blooms. Shepherd’s hooks from which I’ll dangle glass and copper ornaments and lanterns. Festive flags that will wave in wind. Also, this past week I’ve been pondering what to plant. Herbs are definitely on the list. Putting my personal spins on some family recipes has found me singing over stew pots and whistling almost as loud as a tempestuous tea kettle. As much as I delight in spicing up the romances I write, I’m fond of making dishes that put smiles on the faces of friends and loved ones who dine at my table.

Spring spurs gardeners to put on their gloves and pull out their spades, shovels and tillers, and this season also sparks my creativity. I’m working on two stories, both of which I hope are ready for submission to my editor within a month. One is a contemporary erotic romantic suspense, the other a contemporary erotic romance set in one of my favorite cities—Manhattan.
There’s something about the approach of the vernal equinox that launched my flights of fantasy and found me sitting at the writing desk for longer periods than usual of late. Time passed quickly as I typed those rough draft chapters and became immersed in the worlds in which my characters dwelled. More than once I’ve burned a bit of midnight oil, either plotting or writing. I’ve even begun writing a historical erotic romance set during the Civil War. The research is proving exciting, and the fact my significant other shares my passion for this time period makes the whole project one from the heart.


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
Series That Keep You Wanting More
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for series. I've gotten caught up in two series by Eloisa James, the Essex Sisters series with the delightful Shakesperean titles, and more recently the Desperate Duchesses series. James does a great job of weaving the stories of subsequent books into the current book, so you can't wait to read the next one. Even a series of two works for me. I read Jennifer Haymore's A Hint of Wicked, and I'm looking forward to A Touch of Scandal coming out later this month so I can find out what happens to a character from the first book.



I wrote my own series for Harlequin Intrigue, The McClintock Brothers. It's funny, when I wrote the first book in the series, Circumstantial Memories, I didn't have a series in mind until the hero of that book decided he needed two brothers. So of course, I had to tell their stories, and then lo and behold, an illegitimate brother popped up for the McClintocks. The second book in the series, The Sheriff of Silverhill, came out in Jan. of this year, and the remaining two books, The McClintock Proposal and A Silverhill Christmas, will be out in Sept. and Dec. of this year.


With the McClintock series finished, I'm embarking on an adventure with another four men who will be keeping me company for the next year. My Harlequin Intrigue series, Brothers in Arms, will consist of four books - all 2011 releases. The brothers in question aren't related but they served in a military covert ops team together. Now one of their own is missing and suspected of treason. To be sure, they'll stumble across lots of love, danger and adventure as they search for their missing buddy.


Do read series? Are you ever disappointed in the subsequent books? Sometimes the waiting is the hardest part. I've read books 1 and 2, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, of Suzanne Collins' YA series and she's writing a third - and I just can't wait!
Reality TV - Real or Not?
The short answer is not. And the reason is simple. As any author can tell you, a story thrives on conflict. Real life is often, well, boring and tedious. So it only makes sense that TV producers need to give “reality” a jolt.

So how do they do it, and how do I know?

My sister and her family were on a TV show called Trading Spouses. Why, you might ask? And I can only say that some people love to be the center of attention. If you get addicted, I guess you go from show to show like that guy on The Bachelor that Carol talked about last week. My sister did only one show, though it took a week of filming to produce that one hour show.

In every show, there’s the “good” wife and the “bad” wife. My sister got to be the good wife. I felt so badly for the other woman. They sliced her and diced her and made her out to be a lazy good-for-nothing. How?

-My sister cleaned out the cabinets in the other woman’s house. When everything was all over the kitchen, they filmed it and said, look what a slob this woman is. As if that were the way she always kept her kitchen.

-Each show includes a party of some sort. During the show they criticized the other woman (in my sister’s house) for hiring a caterer to put on a dinner for ten people she didn’t know. We’re sitting there watching the show and one of my kids shouts out, “Hey, there’s auntie’s caterer.” Yup, there was the same caterer my sister always uses. The producers not only told this woman whom to hire, they vetted every single person who came into any contact with the show with legal releases, etc. That caterer was no surprise. But on the show, they portrayed the traded spouse as a lazy woman who couldn’t manage to host a dinner on her own.

-The woman invited my niece to swim with her in the backyard pool. On the show, they showed the woman floating on her back, as if lazing all by herself. My niece said to us later, “You notice how they don’t show the other side of the pool? That’s where I was.” But you wouldn’t notice if someone didn’t point it out.

-My sister said they took words she said in one location, say a restaurant, and dubbed them into another scene, where, out of context and abbreviated, they didn’t say at all what she’d said. It was her voice, her words, but not her meaning.

-They used props to heighten the contrast between the two families. For example, my sister had a Hummer. So they rented another Hummer, and outfitted it with the cameras, etc. that they needed to film people in the car. But they kept both Hummers in the circle in front of the house (making it look like a fancy circular driveway, when in fact it was the road.) Many people commented on the two Hummers online, believing the family owned both of them.

-My nieces and nephews were offered money, I think $200, if they said something obnoxious to the woman and got a reaction. They never did it though.

My sister and her family enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame. They loved visiting Hollywood and getting the “red carpet” treatment, literally. But there was nothing “real” about this “reality” show.

I doubt any of the others are different.

If I were going to watch reality TV, though, I'd watch Dancing with the Stars.

Carly Carson




And If You Believe That, I've Got Some Baby Shoes I'd Like To Sell You...

I’m making my post short and late today. My sincerest apologies, but I’ve been at the party over at Beyond Her Books, enjoying the rowdy camaraderie there. Lots of readers and writers and revelers who just love to celebrate good books, an interesting blog, and great fun. Tomorrow me and the girls from FR might be making a Fierce appearance, so be sure to drop in and leave a comment. You might win a prize, or, even better, see a hunk. :)

I’m heading back with my best dancing shoes on here in a minute, but I wanted to first throw out a bit of a challenge, if anyone is interested.

I love flash fiction. I like the idea of making a story out of the fewest words possible, probably because I’m one of the wordiest people in the universe. However, to put it bluntly, I stink at it. I’d fail my own challenge, which is why I’m putting it out there for readers. I certainly can’t do it. lol

Hemingway, whose writing I have grown to appreciate over the years (The guy’s guy! The man’s man!), has been rumored to have written the following “short” story…

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Wow. So much said there but with only six words and a few punctuation marks. Immediately, questions pop into the reader’s head. Why not worn? What happened to the baby? Was there a terrible tragedy or did the parents simply have so much wealth they had too many shoes for their child? Or maybe the baby outgrew the shoes before it could wear them—maybe it was a mutant radioactive baby from planet Zweron! Who knows?


We don’t. We’re left to speculate, and thus, we’d read on. We want to know more. That’s the heart of true story-telling, enticing the reader. “Come join us,” say the characters. “Come be a part of our world and share our joy/misery.”

Can you do it? Can you write a story in six words? Won’t you give it a try? I’d love to see some when I pop back over after I play pin my lips on the Antonio Banderas look-alike cover art model. lol


Happy Reading!

I don't need no stinkin' man!
Rough and tough heroines, that's something we never talk about in the romance world. I'm personally all for heroines being independent, strong, intelligent, but what I don't like are heroines who seem so tough they don't really even need the hero. I've noticed this seems to be a new trend in today's romance books. Kick-ass heroines.



At some point I like a tough gal, but I want her to have a soft center too. I want her to be a little vulnerable. I think it lends to the romance of the story. I guess I like those big, strong heroes to come in and save the damsel in distress. I'm a romantic at heart and there's nothing more romantic than a manly man wanting to protect and cherish his lady.


Of course that's not to say I don't love those feisty heroines with the attitude and the witty comebacks. I love when the heroine can put the hero in his place, how fun is that, right? But I don't want her to be so tough that she doesn't, at some point, show a softer side. This is clearly a personal preference. And I'm curious who else feels the way I do? Do you search out books with Alpha males who swoop in and save the day? Or do you find those types of romance books annoying?



What's annoying to you? Tell me your favorite type of heroine as well as you least favorite...



Here are a few titles that I've read and loved, in part because the heroine was smart and tough, but also sweet: Christine Feehan's Dark Fire--Tempest was street tough, a mechanic, but vulnerable too. Erin McCarthy's Mouth to Mouth--Laurel is deaf. She's sweet and shy, but strong. Lori Foster's Too Much Temptation--Grace was shy, a little overweight and unsure of herself, but she also knew what she wanted and she wouldn't be swayed.



For my own stories. In my one and only vampire romance A Diamond at Midnight my heroine, Diamonique is one tough gal, but underneath the smartass attitude is a woman betrayed and hurting. I loved creating her character because I think a lot of women will be able to relate to her. Also, in my story Tasting Candy, Candice lives in fear of men, but she doesn't let that stop her from trying to take back her life. She's another character that I grew to admire.



Now it's your turn. Tell me what you like in a heroine and give me an example. I'm ready to add to my TBR pile!

My New Obsession
by Kristin Daniels


Okay, so I admit it. I’m not a fan of Historical tales. I know, I know. How awful, you say. I’ve tried to enjoy them, really I have. I’ve read a few (mostly erotics, LOL) and I find that often I have a hard time getting into them. That’s not to say the ones I read were bad. Honestly, they weren’t. It’s just me. Really.

So why on earth am I so enthralled with Starz’s new series Spartacus: Blood and Sand? And why do I find myself glued to Netflix on my computer watching the first two seasons of Showtime’s The Tudors back to back? These could be considered Historical tales, right?

Ancient Rome, Gladiators, and the possibility of death by the hand of a comrade while a raucous, drunken crowd goes wild in the stands.

Anne Boleyn seducing Henry the VIII, as an insatiable Henry seduces everyone else. And how could we forget the King’s love for beheadings?

Yes, I realize the actual historical facts in The Tudors are seriously skewed. And that Gladiators probably weren’t cut, buff hotties, but more likely scarred and angry men. But I like these shows. I can’t help it.

Maybe it’s the erotic romance author in me. Yep, these shows are hot. Sizzling, really. I’m head over heels for the actor who portrays Spartacus. Andy Whitfield, an Australian actor, is perfect for the role. With his brooding demeanor and his incredible good looks, I find I can’t look away when he’s on screen. And boy oh boy, is he the epitome of an alpha romance hero. Everything he does is for the love of his woman, and I find that sexier than anything else.

And the actor who gets to me in The Tudors? I bet you’re thinking Jonathan Rhys Meyers, right? Yeah, he’s handsome and all. But just a little...oddly intense, maybe? No, I find the man I’m most drawn to is Henry Cavill. This guy’s smile could melt me in a second. He’s just as insatiable as the King, but more discreet. And sexy as hell.

I know what you’re thinking. There’s no comparison between true historical novels and these types of campy television shows. I get that. But the fact that I’m drawn to these programs (for anyone who really knows me) is pretty amazing. Could this be the tip of the iceberg, the one thing that sends me over to the ‘historical’ side of the force? Maybe. Who knows?

But in all honesty, I think it’s the visual side of me that loves them. I can sit for an hour (or in the case of me watching The Tudors, several hours, LOL), and lose myself in something that’s not my norm. I need that right now in my life. A little change, something to shake me up. Heck, I think at some point everyone needs that. And the fact that there’s gorgeous men involved? Well, that never hurt anyone, has it?

Finding Love on a TV Show
Can you really find love on a TV show? For the first time ever, I watched The Bachelor this past season. I had, of course, heard of the show before and had seen its contestants here and there, including Melissa Rycroft on Dancing with the Stars, but I had never watched the show in its entirety before. (DVRs and Hulu are wonderful inventions, or very dangerous distractions depending on your perspective!)

The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka, was good looking, had a great body, and was a pilot. Huh? So why would he need a TV show to help him find the woman of his dreams? You would think some loser writing blogs in the basement of his parents’ house would need this show more than Jake. Right away I’m suspicious. The dude must be doing the show for fun—you know, to go out with 25 attractive women, to go on cool dates like bunging jumping (if that’s your idea of fun), getting a private concert by Chicago, taking a road trip up the coast of California, and hanging out on the beautiful island of St. Lucia for a few weeks. What’s not to like?

I had the same thoughts about the women on the show vying for Jake’s attention. They didn’t really believe they’d find love by competing against 24 other women, all of them living in the same house as they’d come back from dates with Jake, did they? I figured they must be doing it for the fun too and probably a little exposure—or a lot of exposure considering some of their outfits! Several of the women were “models,” which further heightened my suspicions.

Week after week, I watched Jake go on dates telling all of these women how “amazing” and beautiful they were, only to dump them at the end of the show. I got so sick of hearing Jake gush about “this amazing journey.” He used every clichĂ© known to mankind ad nauseum. After a while, I realized that Jake might really be telling the truth about his inability to find a life partner. I mean, the guy was annoying ME and I wasn’t even dating him.

In the end, it came down to two women, Tenley and Vienna (doesn’t anyone have normal names anymore?). Vienna was the woman everyone loved to hate…except Jake. Tenley was sweet, so sweet she made my teeth ache. After Jake told Tenley on their last date that he just didn’t feel that “magic spark” with her, I knew it was all over for Cinderella. She kept pushing him for an explanation. “You mean you don’t feel a physical, sexual connection.” Jake looked panicked. “Noooo,” he lied. Of course, that’s what he meant. If Tenley had been smart, she would’ve packed her bags and left St. Lucia right then and there. But she stuck it out only to be disappointed in the end, and Vienna, the “bad girl” got her man.

Will these two stay together forever? Who knows? A few previous couples on this show have actually gotten married, so it obviously worked for them. However, it turns out that our man Jake is now a contestant on the new season of Dancing with the Stars. Hmm, there goes my hinky meter again. Then I found out that Jake was on another reality show prior to The Bachelor (as well as being a contestant on The Bachelorette). I don’t think this guy wants to find love—he’s already found love…with himself!

So what do you think? Can two people find love on a dating show? Would this make a good plot for a romance novel?
Wonderful Reviews for Kilted Lover

I recently received some fantastic reviews for Kilted Lover that I wanted to share with you.
The first is from LASR-Whipped Cream.

"When kilted cabertosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is whitehot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them?

Every time I read a kilt related story I get the crazy urge to go to Scotland and find myself a handsome long haired, hard bodied highlander. Kilted Lover by Nicole North was no exception. From page one, Ms. North attracted my attention. She kept it when “the scot” appeared in the picture: long blond hair, firm body, kilt, and the attitude of a real gentleman. Then the pendant that the protagonist wore glowed slightly and I became inevitably hooked.

Through Ms. North’s words, I quickly created an emotional link with most of the characters. For example, though Les, the main character seems a bit too innocent at times, it is an innocence which I couldn’t help find sweet and adorable. From empathy towards the main characters (the predicament they find themselves in is something which could happen to anyone), to dislike and pity towards others which seemed too perfect and yet were not, or humor towards those that tried to act like adventurous match-makers, I ran the gamut.

The novel is filled with comedy (those wild car rides and the friendly advice) as well as snippets of imagined erotism and finally, wild lust-filled sex that had me switching from a good laugh out loud to biting my nails in anticipation."
~Reviewed by Bittersweet
And one from Joyfully Reviewed...
"Spending time at the Scottish Games in Charleston, Leslie Levingston doesn't expect to be harassed over a necklace her grandmother had given her. But that's exactly what happens, until a tall, sexy kilt wearing Scot intercedes. While Leslie's boyfriend is off playing golf, Leslie is embarking on an adventure with Scott, the handsome Scot who ends up saving her life. Neither one wants to be attracted to the other. Leslie because she has a boyfriend and Scott because he knows she has a boyfriend and doesn't want to be the cause of a breakup. The situation brings back memories of his own horrible breakup with his fiancé. Yet fate has other plans for these two and Scott must keep Leslie alive and the necklace out of the hands of the thieves. Their one night of passion opens up new doors for Scott and Leslie, but are they willing to walk through and accept what is waiting for them?

Kilted Lover has so many wonderful elements - the sexy man in a kilt, a car chase, and hot sex. Nicole North's use of descriptive writing allowed me to easily picture in my mind what was happening and I truly wanted to be there. She did a great job putting this story on paper. I'll keep this story close at hand and look for more from Ms. North." Reviewed by Klarissa
Thanks!
Nicole
Fun and Games
Question: What's more fun than a post full of Teddy bears?

Answer: Absolutely nothing.

It's true! When I started this post, I thought, "How am I supposed to top Terry's adorable Teddy bears?" They are scrumptious, and I want one! But that is either here nor there. The matter at hand is following those Teddy bears with something fun to keep the happy going. It just so happens, I have some things in mind.

Let's talk about parties for a minute (Even Teddy bears have tea parties, don't they? lol). Somewhere in the world right now, there's a party going on. There's a party, or celebration, going on all the time, hence the phrase in the 1980-something classic Eddie Murphy tune Party All the Time.


The cyber world is no different, and this week the blogger Barbara Vey is hosting a virtual blog anniversary party at Beyond Her Book. Every day of the week will showcase different genres or different groups in publishing, and everyone is welcome to stop by, check out the goings on, and leave a comment. You might even win a prize! I know some of us book lovers from Fierce Romance will be bopping in and out throughout the week, so why not join us there?

I like parties. I like dancing and music and fun and friends. However, sometimes a party is just good conversation with friends or playing games all evening. As I thought about it, I never realized how much just hanging out and playing board games or cards played a role in my life, and still does.

In the old days (circa 1980), the Internet didn't exist as it does now. Families who now spend quality time IMing each other used to spend much of that time playing Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue, Boggle, Checkers, Twister, Life, Chess or card games such as Crazy Eight and Authors. My family and I used to play board games quite a bit, and thinking back, I believe you can learn much about other people when you play games with them. Leisure time activity is important to humans, and board games and cards allow time for quality conversation and fun.

What do you remember about playing games with your family and/or friends? Here are just a few of my memories (names have been changed to protect the innocent, of course):

Scrabble: I'm a Scrabble fiend. We always enjoyed a good game of Scrabble at our house; however, there was one drawback. After purchase, we immediately somehow lost the "k" tile, so we were and are still never going to be able to spell words "snake" or "cake" or "lake." I blame my inability to accurately identify shitaki mushrooms on this.
Clue: I loved this game! I like playing detective, but even more so because I thought Colonel Mustard was awfully cute. Often, my game mates would find me in the conservatory making beautiful music with him, if you know what I mean, even though, technically, he could have done it in the kitchen with the lead pipe. I guess you could say I always believed in someone being considered innocent until proven guilty.

Monopoly: Let me just say that this is not one of those games you use for a drinking game. Too slow and too unpredictable for budding capitalists like me who, to put it mildly, had no business sense at all at the time. I sucked at Monopoly. I'd always end up broke and sober. Why? I never could land on St. Charles Place, and my friends knew this. Every game they selected it as the place you had to land to get a drink, and every game I, like Charlie Brown certain Lucy wouldn't pull the football away, fell for it. I'd be rolling the dice like a madwoman praying for the needed random number to get me there, certain the Monopoly gods would eventually smile on me, and my friends would be vomiting schnapps on their fake money or sticking the little hotels up their noses and blowing them across the room in a quasi-Olympic event of the nasal variety. I think it turned out for the best, though, in that I actually finished college. Not sure what happened to the others after they dropped out one by one, but I'm guessing none of them can look at a Holiday Inn without feeling a sense of deja vu and a tingle in the nostril region.

Authors: I loved this game, too. Although I'd never heard of Robert Louis Stevenson or Sir Walter Scott, nor any of their books, I learned about all of them from playing this game so much. I'm bringing a deck to the Beyond Her Books party for a strip Authors tournament. Who says classic literature can't be fun?

Twister: A great game and terrific for keeping physically active, even in this day and age of the Wii. A warning for those who plan to use it as an adult party game, though. For God's sake, if you're playing it naked, don't use baby oil, and don't ever play near a fireplace or a stable. Learn from my bitter experience.

Life: We didn't play this much...too much like the real thing, although I did like the little people and cars. However, it was a bummer to have to keep saying, "Yeah, I lost at Life." How many poor children did this damage at a young age? Can the average person's success in his/her later years be traced back to success or failure at this one game? There's a story premise for you!

Husker Doo: I may have spelled this wrong, but I can't remember anything about it except how the name sounded (hoooooosker doo) and that it was imported from Europe, like from Sweden or somewhere where it was very popular. Basically, it traveled across the ocean to much hype, only for millions of Americans to discover it was the board version of Go Fish. Still, I owe my life-long love of art to the pretty little pictures on the game board.

Crazy Eight: I don't know how many games of this my mother and I played together. We'd use it as an excuse to sit and talk about life and girl stuff, and I think that was her intention all along. "You want to go on birth control? Oh, well...how about a game of Crazy Eight?" Moms are smart that way. :)

What about you? Do you have a favorite game? If so, come check out the Beyond Her Books party this week. We might be playing it, or dancing, or just having fun. Come join in!

Happy Reading!
Exciting News to Share
Now that the ink is dried, I think I can finally share the news I have been sitting on for a few weeks now. On February 4th, I received a call from Angela James with Carina Press. They wanted to contract my erotic shifter novella “The Panther’s Lair.” To say the least I was excited, a little shaky and had that Oh-my-God-did-this-just-happen feeling. I don’t think it has truly sunk in yet either.

I’m very excited to be apart of this new Harlequin venture. Be on the lookout for The Panther’s Lair coming sometime this summer.

Here is the unofficial blurb:

All Sydney Chase wants is a no-strings-attached one night stand. Nothing more. Nothing less. After years of heartache, she is determined to embrace the old proverb: sex ‘em and leave ‘em. When she meets the devilish, Raimond Decoudreau, owner of the nightclub, The Panther’s Lair, she believes she’s found exactly what’s she looking for. But when the sun rises after a night of uninhibited sex, Sydney faces a threat to her life and a whole world she never knew existed.

Secrets are a dangerous thing, but a necessity in Raimond’s life. After a heated night of off-the-wall sex, he’s finally found the one he’s been searching for. And keeping his secret has never been more important. But with Sydney’s life in danger, instincts take control, and he reveals his world before it is time. Now he must convince her that he’d never hurt her before someone else does.


Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
New Release & A Contest!
I'm excited to say that my FIRST Kensington Aphrodisia book is now available for purchase!! Yay!


Take a walk on the wild side with these steamy stories of erotic ecstasy…

Some Like It Rough by Kate Pearce
Luke Warner wants to chill out when he cashes in his hectic life in Silicon Valley
and returns to his hometown. But things heat up when he reunites with his best
friends, Julia and Paul, and invites them both to share in a sexual adventure like
they’ve never had before…

Private Eyes by Susan Lyons
Assigned to work undercover as an exotic dancer, straight-laced Haley Croft
discovers the thrill of strutting her stuff. And when she catches sexy PI Ry
Montana checking out her moves, she can’t wait to give him his own private
show…

Cherry on Top by Anne Rainey
When massage therapist Cherry DuBois rubs her oil-slicked hands all over Dante
Ricci’s rock-hard body, red-hot desire courses through her. She longs to lose
control and give herself to the pleasures of sexual submission…


Holly at Romance Reviews Today gives it a "perfect 10" and says: "Each tale stands alone, but each one brings together some terrific writing from three outstanding authors. By the time I finished SOME LIKE IT ROUGH, I knew it richly deserved a Perfect 10 and would go on my keeper shelf. If you are looking for a sizzling read that is time well spent, then pick up SOME LIKE IT ROUGH."
BUY IT AT:


CONTEST:
And for a chance to win a print copy of Some Like it Rough simply send me an email at annerainey11@gmail.com with MARCH CONTEST in the subject line. I’ll be picking 3 winners on March 18th and announcing it on my blog: http://threewickedwriters.blogspot.com
Anne Rainey
burning up the pages, baby!
Authors Without a Yacht
Today I participated in my first live radio show. The subject was book piracy, something that affects most of us, both readers and authors.

Why are readers affected? Mostly because if authors can’t make a living writing, they may have to find another line of work. That means your favorite author may stop writing. Although best selling authors are probably safe, the same cannot be said for the rest of the stable. Piracy is a real and growing problem, and solutions are not only scarce, but fall mostly on the author, forcing her into yet another distraction from writing.

The star of the radio show was Richard Curtis, literary agent and owner of ereads. He has an interesting blog at www.ereads.com and often writes about piracy. He even has his own pirate following. One thing about pirates, they are relentless in their pursuit of self-rationalization. (Alas, these are not Johnny Depp type pirates. See the illustration at the top of the blog.)

So far, the onus is on each of us to take our own enforcement action to send take-down notices to sites which have pirated our books. If you want advice, information about known pirate sites, or just plain commiseration when you see your book offered somewhere without your authorization (and naturally, without any royalties flowing to you), you can check out this site. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/30255.Authors_Without_A_Yacht_AWaY
It’s called Authors Without a Yacht after one pirate said he wouldn’t pay for books so some author could buy his third yacht. Far from owning three yachts, most authors can’t even afford a canoe from their royalties.

This group is made up of authors from all genres, who are tired of working hard only to see their efforts stolen almost as soon as the work is published. (Though I am proud to say it was a group of romance authors who got Twitter to take down a notorious pirate site that recently started flagrantly offering their stolen wares via Twitter.)

The AWaY site also informs readers of legitimate sites where they can buy ebooks at good prices. Readers, be careful. You may visit what you think is a legitimate site selling ebooks, but if the price is too low, beware. Pirates can sell for low prices since they don’t pay for the content. But both these too-low-to-be-real sites, and the free sites can host nasty viruses. Many pirates are multi-purpose businessmen.

You may think that book piracy is not a big deal. Yup, the music industry thought that at one time, too.

If you are a reader, please respect and support authors. Don’t let others talk you into thinking it’s okay to download and share books for free. Each of those books represents a real person’s hard work, not only the author’s, but also the work of editors, publishers and artists. If they can’t get paid, eventually they will have to stop producing.

Photo by capn madd matt
Musical Marketing Muse
By guest blogger: Sara Taney Humphreys

Soundtracks for movies and television shows are standard. In fact, a really great movie or show is often instantly associated with kick ass music. Well thanks to my old college buddy and DJ John Campbell...I found the soundtrack for Book 2 in my shifter series.

Actually, I had been in a major writing rut. Completely blocked. Book 2, Amoveo Heart was not coming to me as easily as the first book did. At any rate, John wanted to interview me on his weekly radio show and had gotten some musicians who were willing to let me use their music as an intro for the interview. He sent me the links and the second song I listened to stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe it. It was as though this song was written just for the heroine in Book 2. Amazing! The combination of the lyrics and her hauntingly beautiful voice were absolute perfection. I immediately contacted the artist and asked if I could use her song for Amoveo Heart's book trailer. Gratefully both she and her record label said yes!

Then I had an idea to take it a step further. Luckily, she is located not far from me and as a new musician is looking for new opportunities for exposure. Why not have her play at my book launch/signing? Gratefully she agreed. Amy played at a couple of my book signing events and it really brought a great bit of texture to the signings.

The song that sparked my creative juices and woke up my muse is called "Honey on the Skin". You can find Amy Petty and her spectacular music on her website http://www.amypetty.com/

John connected me with another awesome musical muse. The Strike Nineteens. TSN are a band of adorable guys from Scotland. Ladies...think William Wallace/Braveheart accent....yummy. Their music is gritty and intense. These darlings actually wrote me two songs! One of which will be on their new album "Screams for Denver" which will be released this Spring. I look forward to checking them out LIVE when they come to the USA later this year.

You can check out their music at http://www.myspace.com/thestrikenineteens

Cross marketing with music is fun and a little outside the box...just the way I like it.

Please visit Sara Taney Humphreys website at:
http://sarataneyhumphreys.com/
Great Reviews for The Better to Eat You With

I was thrilled to get two awesome reviews for my latest Red Sage release, The Better to Eat You With. As part of a Fairy Tales Go Naughty week, I was interviewed for the Savvy Reader's Blog and had the first of my great reviews over at Book Junkie.

You can check out the interview here .

And you can read the review here, which said in part:
"This is my first read from Natasha and I don't think I could have started with a more romantic read. Truly romantic and beautiful telling to two lovers re-united after a lifetime has passed them by."

Then I stumbled upon this Recommended Read review from Dark Diva Reviews. You can read it here. It says in part:
"The Better to Eat You With is sexy, provocative, erotic, and will have you panting at the end of every page. I love how Elise is feisty, sensual and unafraid to embrace her sexual desires and needs. Ms. Moore definitely knows how to write a short story that packs a punch and will have you begging for more."

I love this little story and am so thrilled that others agree.

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
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