Good Girl Heroines
This weeks we're talking about our favorite heroines here at Fierce Romance. It's not easy for me to come up with a favorite. I love all my heroines, from the submissive jewelry designer in Bound by Design to the futuristic sex slave in Chains of Desire to the customer service phone rep in See Me. I love them all. But if I had to pick my favorite type of heroine, I'd have to pick the good girl.

I've written several good girl heroines. Sarah Austin in The Ride of Her Life. Julie Brightman in Dark Angel. Annie Shane in Bad to the Bone.



Annie is the perfect example of the good girl heroine. She'd never done anything wrong, took care of her sick mother, put her head down and worked her job no matter what, got dumped by a guy who called her boring. She decided that being a good girl had gotten her nowhere and decides to make all her decisions based on the question, "What would a bad girl do?" Of course, she runs into a bad boy who tries to keep her out of trouble, all the while falling in love with her, and the fun starts there.

I have to admit that my love for the good girl rises from the fact that I was a good growing up. So I love giving good girls their own adventures. And sexy heroes who love them just the way they are.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading about good girls and bad boys??

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Favorite Hero
Sorry for the generic title. Finally making my way back to the living after being in a fever induced stupor for three days and I'm still not exactly creative right now, lol. Let me tell you guys, this flu that’s going around (at least the one here in NC) is no freaking joke. I had pneumonia two years ago and I can honestly say I would rather have had the pneumonia again than the crap I’ve deal with since Wednesday afternoon. On the up shot, I’ve lost five pounds since Wednesday, lol. Always trying to look at the positive side of things.

Anyway, the theme for the week has been favorite heroes. I can’t really say I have a favorite “type.” My taste runs the gamut. They don’t all have to be super alpha. One of my favorite heroes’s is Julian Hampton in Madeline Hunter’s, The Romantic. Without this coming off as offensive, because I know how authors cringe at having their heroes described as the B word, but Julian is the closest thing to a beta hero I’ve ever read in a romance. Now before I get egged, this really is a compliment. Julian couldn’t have been written any other way. It just wouldn’t have worked, and I applaud Mrs. Hunter for her fantastic work on him. Julian’s love for Penelope is so pure and selfless that I completely fell in love with him. I think because of Julian’s more beta roots, the ending was so much more powerful. If he’d been alpha, the ending would have been lackluster. Because it was the opposite, I still get this book out and read the ending from time to time. (I actually have a signed copy I cherish:)

For me, there has to be a vulnerability about a hero. One of my biggest turn offs is a privileged hero. A lot of this is because I like my heroes with a sense of humility about them. That they know money doesn’t always talk and they have to fight for things in life.

My first ever hero, Nickolas, (who by the way will never see the light of day) was a tortured soul. Even though his story was a stepping stone for my writing career, I love this story, and I love him. He’d do anything to protect the heroine, even if it meant sacrificing his own happiness.

Then I have Dante, an extreme fighter who has literally fought his way up the ranks for a chance at the championship belt. He’s confident, knows what he wants and is always focused. Until he meets the heroine and she becomes his one weakness.

Raimond, from The Panther’s Lair, is my most alpha hero. He really is the take what he wants and damned the consequences type. Even when it comes to the heroine, especially when it comes to the heroine, lol.

Luke, who you’ll meet in July in Defying Convention under my other pen name Abby Niles, is another tortured soul. But his torture is much different from Nikolas. Nikolas’ came from an outside source, Luke’s comes from within. He has a secret so dark that if it ever got out he’d be ruined. The heroine becomes his hope for a future he didn’t believe he could have.

Then we come to Devlin, the hero in my current WIP. I’m not even sure how to categorize Devlin. He has all the makings for being an alpha male. But he deals with a force larger than himself when it comes to making decisions and implementing them. He has been a very interesting character to write. Probably the most unique of all my heroes.

I always look forward to getting to know my heroes. Taking their stories and bringing them to life on the pages. (I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t:)

So what are your actual turnoffs for a hero?

Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
My Favorite Hero
So, this week's topic is on our favorite heroes, hmm? Like Cameo, I'll focus on my heroes instead of those written by other authors. But instead of telling you about the heroes I've already written, I'll tell you about the heroes I'm currently working on. And yes, you read that right: heroes, as in plural. No, I'm not working on a menage (well, there is that one I started... hmm, I need to go back and work on that one, too), but rather two different heroes from two different stories. I flip back and forth, sometimes as much as a month in between, but these two men have me riveted.



In (tentatively titled) Burned and Broken, we have our hero Marcus Dade. Marcus is a firefighter who, as most alpha males are prone to do, has made his share of mistakes in the past. He left his small hometown five years ago, but he's back now for two reasons: to set his past right and to win the heart of the woman he never stopped loving. Of course, trouble dogs him every step of the way... Poor guy. :)

I think the reason I love Marcus so much is because he knows the majority of his problems are due to the bad choices he made in his past. To set his life right, to make up for the hurt he's caused, he has to own up to those choices. Owning who you are and what you do is something I believe very strongly in. Nobody is perfect, but it's how to take ownership for your mistakes that makes all the difference in the world.

~~~*~~~



In (also tentatively titled) All Tyed Up, I switch gears a little. Yes, Tye Carter works in the public eye as County Sheriff, much like Marcus, but it's not Tye's past that haunts him. It's the woman who needs him now that has him reeling. County Attorney Laine Morgan has been attacked, and it's up to Tye to find the man who did it. Along the way, he ends up taking her on a journey that neither of them expected. Of course, there's a little kink and bondage thrown in for good measure :). Tye's a bit of a cowboy, too, which adds a rough, alpha-ness to his persona. He's one of the good guys, and he'll do anything (and I do mean anything) to help the woman he loves.

I'm working diligently on these two books and loving every inch of these men along the way. I've always loved the strong, alpha male type, and these two fit that bill -- and then some!

Have a great weekend!

Kristin
www.kristindaniels.com
www.facebook.com/authorkristindaniels
http://twitter.com/Kristin_Daniels
My Favorite Kind of Hero
Action hero? Loyal family guy? Sports star? Billionaire who never has to work and has lots of time to romance you? Lol What's your favorite type? (No, this is not about firemen, though they are worthy hero material.)

There are all kinds of heroes in the romance world and any type can work in the right story.

Here's how I encountered my kind of hero in real life. One night last week my daughter started shrieking for us to call 911 and to look out the window. Much to our amazement, the dark night was lit up by a huge truck fire. The wall of flame bursting out the top of the truck was frightening, as we live on a narrow, tree-lined street in a residential neighborhood.

The furniture-filled truck was at my neighbor's house. The two deliverymen had smelled smoke, stopped the truck, and opened the back doors to see what was happening. The flames burst out. They started pulling the furniture out, even though it was on fire. Now, right there, that is going beyond the call of duty in my mind. But they did it. The neighbors began throwing snow onto the burning furniture to contain the flames.

Then the two guys looked at each other and said, "We've got to get this truck out of this neighborhood." They jumped back in the cab, with the fire, I swear, twice as high as the truck, burning behind them, and started driving off. It was surreal to see that burning truck move down the street.

Well, they made it to my house, where they probably saw that the road was a dead end and it was not possible to leave the area. They wisely abandoned the truck.

The fire looked exactly like it does in the picture, and those guys tried to drive the truck away. That kind of action and courage in the face of an emergency is what makes my heart beat faster. You can see the trees (mine) on the right side of the picture and they were rightly concerned that the fire could spread easily. (Luckily, it did not.)

Now when the firefighters showed up, they didn't do anything foolish. They were properly clad head to toe in fire-resistant gear. They did not approach the truck closely. (The heat was intense, even from where we stood, much farther away.) When they ultimately went into the truck, they used oxygen tanks. They behaved sensibly and professionally which, in real life, is a good thing.

Firefighters are trained not to take heroic measures, especially in a property fire, because lives can be lost when caution is not exercised. If you were going to be facing fires for all of your working life, I can imagine you'd lose your taste for drama in a hurry. So I'm not criticizing them. In my saner moments, I appreciate common sense.

But, I have to admit, it was the delivery guys who seeded a story.

Owner of moving company is filling in for a sick employee. Truck catches fire. Fearing the truck might explode (another real possibility), he drives it away from a neighborhood filled with kids' toys and swing sets. Lands at the heroine's house. When the fire can't be put out, he needs to spend the night nearby. (True fact: When they couldn't extinguish the fire, the chief decided to leave it burning overnight with a fire truck standing guard.)

The heroine has an extra bedroom…

Yup. It's the action guys for me. Quick thinkers who defy danger to do the right thing. It has to be a noble cause. I'm not interested in guys who take action just to be moving.

Bottom line, it was the quick thinking that impressed me. No standing around, wringing their hands. That's hero material to me. What about you?

PS: My daughter got her first photography credit when she beat out the newspaper's photographer and her picture landed on the front page. How cool is that?
Review for Beast in a Kilt

I have a wonderful new review for Beast in a Kilt from Happily Ever After Thoughts. (Thanks so much, Dawn!!)
......

"Another new genre for me that I simply adore! Nicole North’s Beast in a Kilt is the second novella in her series of Scottish paranormal erotic romances. Beast in a Kilt is one of four anthologies in Red Sage’s Secrets volume 29.

Now back to the story. North twists an enchanting novella set in the Scottish Highlands in 1621, the time of strong and powerful men wearing kilts and brandishing swords with lovely heroine’s vying for true love.

Catrolina has known for a decade that she loves with her whole being Torr, a Highlander with a body she can’t help but want in every manner. And he loves her, so what’s the problem? There are many.

A curse control’s Torr’s physical being as a shape shifter into a white stallion at night. Catrolina’s clan has promised her to wed a beastly chieftan. The curse and the promised marriage must both be broken for Torr and Catrolina to have a true and equal love.

Keeping the suspense in an erotic novel takes careful planning. Nicole North has mastered that concept as she twines the hero and heroine’s bodies and emotions in constant knots throughout the skirmishes and dangers they encounter while hunting down the antagonist and concocting a scheme to nullify the promise.

My only complaint is that I wish it were a novel length story because I adored the characters and the colorful language and wanted to spend more time in the Highlands. If you haven’t tried a Scottish paranormal, this is an excellent choice to start with." Dawn
Thanks!
Nicole
Our Romance was Ready for the Beach
Holidays spent with friends and family are sometimes filled with enough laughter to last a couple lifetimes, but when it comes to romance, summertime holds the record for many of my fondest memories.

The man who currently holds my heart a willing captive shared a blissful escape with me to Virginia Beach last summer. From the minute we pulled out of the driveway and set a course southward, we fully intended on making the most of our warm-weather getaway.

An early departure found us at our destination in time to behold a glorious sunrise. We embraced and kissed each other as the surf kissed the shoreline. What a perfect moment to take my breath away.



The sand tickled our toes as we headed toward the pier and early-morning fishermen. After engaging several of the line-casters in conversation, we returned to the SUV and gathered the beach-going gear. What better way to pass the time until our room was ready than stretching out on soft blankets or letting the waves carry us back to the shore?

Our bed and breakfast provided the ultimate in comfort and congeniality not to mention a fabulous spa tub. The garden welcomed us for some relaxing moments reading the local newspaper and visitor guides.







A stroll on the boardwalk found us greeted by Poseidon in all of his sculpted glory.



We sampled some of the finest seafood and Southern cuisine, but these fine dining experiences merely whetted our appetite for moonlit walks and giggling sessions spent in the Jacuzzi.

Time slipped away from us and the trip homeward loomed. We bid farewell to the place we'd chosen for our first vacation together and vowed to return. But I'll always remember that romantic retreat and remain thankful for the man I love more with each passing day.


Wishing you all many loving and happy 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
What is romantic to you?
Okay, guys. Romantic getaways and gifts do not apply to me right now, unless it’s my characters doing the giving--hmm, come to think of it, I can’t think of anything my characters have given as a romantic gift.

No, Dante gave Caitlyn flowers on their first official date. Wildflowers. (The author can’t stand roses.) But, I think that is it. Interesting. I just learned something about myself. I’ve never been big on romantic gifts, and it would seem I put that in my writing. Flowers, jewelry, perfume and other things don’t really do anything for me. Yeah, it’s uber sweet and all, but I’d much prefer a cuddle on the couch and the gift of time.

Time. I never have enough of it. I think one of the best gifts my ex-hubby ever gave me was a full day to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. A full day. I locked myself in a room and he took care of the kids. I didn’t budge for 15 hours. Best gift ever!

What have your characters given as a romantic gift?
Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
A Most Romantic Gift
In the past, I've blogged a bit about dancing, and I can't think of a more fitting subject for this week's theme because it's the most romantic gift my husband's ever given me. Because of him, my dream to be able to move to music and enjoy it is a reality and a lifelong passion fulfilled.

We'd been dating for a month when the subject came up offhandedly. I was so excited to hear he'd been dancing for years and wanted to share it with me, and he was so excited to find I couldn't wait to learn some steps. He'd been fully prepared to give up his dancing life to be with me if he discovered I wasn't into it.

Is there anything more romantic than THAT?

Who couldn't love dancing, whether watching it or doing it? Dancing is romantic and passionate, and they say that the way a couple dances says quite a bit about their relationship.


Partner dancing is about knowing yourself and your partner. It's about knowing when to lead and when to follow. It's about knowing when to give and when to take. It's about enjoying the pulse and rhythm of life and sharing that with your partner or the world if you're free-styling. In other words, it about...


Love. Love of life. Love of music. Love of that special someone. Love of humanity.


Those who dance suspend for a moment the inherent vulnerabilities of the human spirit and join in accepting themselves and those around them to come together in a celebration of possibilities. They rejoice in the primal beats that tie modern humankind to their ancestors, a connection transcending thousands of years and passing through thousands of generations.


What's more loving than sharing a dance with someone you care about? Perhaps you waltzed with your papa at your wedding, or perhaps you're first kiss happened at the prom during a slow dance. Dancing can be traditional, and it can unite. It's a way to get to know someone but also a way to share quality time with someone you've known for years.


In my novella,
Ride 'Em, Girlfriend, hunky cowboy Randy Stide uses the rumba and tango to further seduce the woman his heart's ached for for months. In some of my other books, dancing or music somehow play a role in the couple's love affair. It's so much a part of who I am that it just sneaks in when I'm least expecting it.

Speaking of least
expecting something, why don't you, as a Valentine's Day challenge, ask someone you know to dance with you? It doesn't really matter where you are or even if there's music; if you dance, you'll hear it. I wouldn't just go up to any ole person on the street and ask them--well, I probably would, but I definitely don't recommend that you do it--but maybe hustle your sullen teen off the couch and do the Watusi. Grab Granny and try a little slooooowww foxtrot, or maybe just wrap yourself around your significant other and snuggle in for a close slow dance, the kind where you just hold on and rock back and forth.

Wanting to express oneself through the joy of dance is a natural, wonderful desire, and I'm grateful every day that I'm able to do it, as some folks are not. I dance for those who can't and sometimes for those who won't, but mainly I dance because I have to, just like I have to write.


Right now I think I have to go express myself by encouraging my wonderful hubby to join me for a spin around the living room. Happy Valentine's Day!

Demon is a Red Hot
Here's my free Valentine's Day read. Now I know Valentine's Day has just passed, but it wasn't my turn to blog on that day. Besides, I think we can celebrate romance any day, right? If you want to see how a Demon celebrates the day, read on.

"Cupid shot me."

Angel thought she heard the words as she roused out of sleep in her New York City penthouse. But it was the long groan of the big man lying next to her in bed that really woke her.

"Demon?" She raised herself on her elbow to peer down at the unexpected sight. "What are you doing here?"

"It's a holiday, isn't it?" Demon's black gaze moved from her face to her breasts. "Happy Valentine's Day."

She laughed. "This is not your kind of holiday."
He groaned again. "No kidding. But Cupid ambushed me."

He reached a hand toward her breast, then dropped it like she was on fire. "No," he said, "I have to be on my best behavior."

"Your best behavior is not very good." She smiled. "With one exception."

"Damn. Don't look at me like that."

"Why not?" From long experience, she knew he loved the tilted head, look-up-through-the-eyelashes-glance.

"Like I told you, Cupid ambushed me. She dropped me here with instructions to treat you right."

"Treat me right?"

"She said there's more to pleasing an angel than giving her great sex."

"Hmmm. Cupid did not ask for my opinion on this theory." Angel pushed back the sheet. Yup. He was naked. Gloriously naked. His broad shoulders tapered down to hips that performed with all the strength and stamina an angel could want. And she could plainly see that Demon was ready to perform.

Continued here

http://carlycarsonwriter.blogspot.com/?zx=4d7d954aba57846a
Honeymoon at the Peak
Happy Valentine's Day from Fierce Romance

My hubby and I, though still in love after many years of marriage, don't usually do much to celebrate the big V day. Usually it's during the week, lots of stff going on, etc. etc. But our wedding anniversary, which comes next month, we always celebrate.

I was a mere child when I got married. Of course, I didn't think of myself that way at the time, but since my children are both older than I was when I got married, I realize how young I was back then. I hadn't been at my job for very long and had no vacation time saved up yet, so the best my new hubby and I could do was arrange a long weekend for our honeymoon. That also meant we couldn't travel too far. So we booked a room at the Inn at the Peak, at the Peek N Peak ski resort not too far from where we lived.

The Inn has an old-tme chalet look to it and at the time we were there, it was the only building on the grounds. We were able to get a fireplace suite, a two-story room with a fireplace downstairs and the bedroom in a loft above. It was such a romantic place to spend our first days of married life.

The next day we went down to the little restaurant for breakfast and found it deserted. When we ordered breakfast we found out we were in one of only two rooms booked that weekend. At the end of March that year, the snow was already gone, so no one was skiing. And the golf season hadn't started yet. It was kind of cool to have the whole place, including the indoor swimming pool and sauna, basically to ourselves.

Thirty five years later, the resort has grown like crazy, with more lodges and condos and suites. We've never stayed there again. Maybe one of these years we should pay another trip to the Inn.

Where did you spend your honeymoon? Or if you're not married, where would you like to go to celebrate your marriage to the love of your life?

Natasha
SEE ME-available now
FLAUNT IT - Coming Mar 22nd
www.natashamoore.com
Love Isn't Only for Valentine's Day






What better time than February to find a folder of old Valentine’s cards and romantic mementos? I tugged open the ends of the scarlet ribbon and spilled the contents. Crooked red hearts shot through with squiggly arrows peeked up at me from one page—a page of white tablet paper on which my grade-school crush had covered with images and words revealing that he wanted to be my Valentine. The silver plastic Indian-head ring he had slipped on my index finger during one recess lay underneath other Valentine’s cards and letters from years past. I found a cute parking ticket one boyfriend had tucked underneath my wiper blade that told me how many kisses he wanted in payment. Payment for what, you might ask? Payment for speeding into his heart. Pink construction-paper hearts streamed across a golden-thread-wrapped cord. Those were the hearts I’d hung from my visor after the third date with a man I thought I’d marry some day. Didn’t happen, but we remained good friends for many years afterward. Nearby lay an empty miniature Whitman’s sampler inside of which I’d tucked the fortune from my cookie the night my at-the-time Valentine and I dined on cashew chicken and shrimp-fried-rice. The fortune read: “Someone special will come into your life when you least expect.”














Love and romantic commitment are often explored in the stories I’ve written and published. In real life, I’ve run the gamut from…

Puppy Love that made me tongue-tied, weak-kneed, and at a loss for the proper words…





To a more mature love built on faith, respect, sharing and caring…





Whether your Valentine’s Day begins with …


Love


Laughter





Chocolate





Or a Kiss






Whether you find a Frog Prince…

Click to get cool Animations for your MySpace profile


Or spend the day with your handsome hero…


Sexy Men Comments





Always remember true love isn’t simply for romance novel. A loving bond can and will withstand many trials and the test of time.



Wishing you all love and happiness,

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
In Love with Music
I guess by now most people know I love to dance and love music, and I can't think of any better way to celebrate love and romance than with songs dedicated to these blissful ideas.

Do you remember the first song you fell in love to? I do. For me it was Dancing Queen by ABBA, and I fell madly in love with teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy. Do not ask me why except he was cute and sweet and could sing Da Do Ron Ron with a straight face and such earnest resolve that I thought he truly meant it, whatever it was. What can I say? I was young and passionate and hormonal, whereas now I'm old and passionate and hormonal. Besides, who can resist a guy who can pull off feathered hair AND a tennis sweater around his shoulders?


SWOOOOOON!


Aah, those were the days, weren't they? Then we all have to grow up and love gets more complicated and strange and wonderful and, well, lovelier. I don't know about you, but I think I have a song for every relationship I've ever had, good or bad. Ever hear a song on the radio and have it trigger a memory of a paramour from the past? Music and love--they go together like ice cream and cake, like wine and cheese, like pizza and beer. You get the idea. :)


Below are some songs about love, plus Dancing Queen and Da Do Ron Ron (Shaun, call me!). Feel free to share your own favorite love songs. What songs did you fall in love to?
















Waking Up in Your Favorite Romance Novel
We all have that one special romance novel that we read over and over again. A part of us fantasizes about waking up in the arms of the hero who’s stolen our heart.

Gabby Stone’s romance novel is Devlin’s Destiny. Who is Gabby, you ask.

Why the heroine in my upcoming release. I am self-publishing a novella tentatively titled, Between the Pages, very soon. Sorry, don’t have a blurb or cover yet, but thought I’d take an opportunity to talk about the story.

You see, Gabby has been obsessed with the Devlin’s Destiny for months. She doesn’t understand why. It’s definitely not because of the crappy romance or the twit for a heroine. But the hero? Man, what she wouldn’t give to have ten minutes alone with the Scottish warrior.

She gets her wish when she wakes up inside Devlin’s keep and takes over the role of the heroine. But granted wishes aren’t always a blessing. With each turn of the page, obstacles are thrown in her path. A war between love and written words ensue. Can Gabby overcome Devlin’s Destiny and win him for her very own?

Here’s a quick excerpt from the first chapter:


“Gabrielle, my bonny lass, how ye taste, ye smell.”

She stilled beneath him, a creepy sense of déjà vu hitting her. “How do you know my name?”

“Ye jest,” he said, jerking back. The desire evaporated from his eyes as a muscle jumped in his jaw.

Gabby blinked as he jumped off her, cursing. “How could ye lie with me when ye doona know me?”

The déjà vu increased and a rock formed in her stomach. Why would she dream this?

Dream, my ass. She was having a nightmare. Only a nightmare would leave her body throbbing the way it was with no relief in sight.

Wake up, fool.

But she was firmly planted, even with knowing exactly where she was now and how this would end.

Her. Unsated.

Lord Devlin McCalister paced the room. The hurt and confusion she’d read over and over again in her favorite romance novel etched on his face, causing her heart to constrict as it did every time she read this scene. Gabby looked away. She guessed it was possible to read a book one too many times and she was a little too obsessed with Devlin’s story, as she’d been told by her co-worker on countless occasions.

How many times had she imagined herself in this very scene, in Devlin’s arms, knowing how relieved he was to finally have the woman he loved show some sort of emotion toward him--that was until he realized she had no clue who he was. She watched him pace, knowing exactly what he was thinking. Calling himself a fool for believing Gabrielle had finally come to her senses.

As expected, Devlin stopped and gave her one more searching glance, sadness exuding off his powerful frame. “Ye doona know me?” he asked, barely above a whisper.

She could have recited the words with him.

Unsure of what to say, she stuck with the book. “Nay, milord. I doonae.”


I got the idea for this story a few years ago as I have my own hero obsession. Anyone know the name Grimm Roderick?

He’s the hero of Karen Marie Moning’s To Tame a Highland Warrior. Yes, sirree. That man totally does it for me. I’ve read that book over and over again. Unlike Gabby, I liked Jillian, the heroine, and believe their love story. Too bad really. LOL.

Since this idea formed, I’ve taken on one more hero obsession, one who has usurped Grimm as my number one hero. Jericho Barrons. Ring any bells?

He’s also a creation of Mrs. Moning. (She really does write some freaking hawt men). Barrons, as he is referred to through most of the Fae series, is the hero. I use that word loosely too, because he even states he’s not the hero, lol.

So those are my two favorite heroes. I’d gladly trade places with the heroines, for a short time, most preferably a love scene, if given the opportunity.

Who is yours?

Esme
www.esmereldabishop.com
Addicted to Romance
I confess, I’ve been addicted to romance most of my life. Not just romance novels, but romance in every form.

Romance and love are things I was drawn to from my earliest years. I was always the little kid staring with wide-eyed curiosity and fascination at the teenagers holding hands. Why were they doing that? Why does that guy have his arm around that girl? My Barbie and Ken were always kissing and going on romantic dates. One of my favorite TV shows back then was The Bionic Woman and, boy, did she have some hot relationships. Or at least, I thought so at the time. LOL My favorite was her romance with The Six Million Dollar Man. I should’ve known then I’d be writing paranormal romance one day about characters with extraordinary abilities. And then, of course, romantic fairy tales like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty always captivated me.

As a teenager, I quickly became addicted to romance in fiction. Gone With the Wind (the book) was one of the first, along with Arthurian legends, then I migrated over to actual romance where the happy endings thrilled me far more than the depressing endings in most literature. Back then, it didn’t matter if they were “sweet” romances. The feeling of falling in love came through loud and clear in the story. Sigh. Each of those stories sent me to dreamy la-la land for a day or two. Who needed those annoying, immature high-school boys when I could fantasize about a hero who looked like a Greek god? He was actually nice to the heroine and entranced by her. He treated her like a princess and he knew how to kiss.

I knew someday I had to find my own prince charming, a man who would accept me for who I am. A man who would love me unconditionally, recognize my talents and be generous to fault. I feel like the luckiest woman on earth to have found him while in college.

We got engaged on Valentine’s Day. It’s always been a special day we celebrate by going out to eat and exchanging gifts. Sometimes we go on mini vacations. My husband knows that I don’t necessarily want the classic romantic gifts. I only want roses if they have roots attached. I’d rather have a trip to Scotland than diamonds. And please leave that box of candy at the store!
He knows all my deep dark secrets, weird quirks, and he still loves me. That’s the essence of romance that I try to bring to my stories. Sometimes we don’t know what draws us to another person. Maybe on first glance, it’s the color of his eyes, but later you can’t pinpoint one thing. It’s a combination of many things.

There are so many facets to romance, but one of the most important in my opinion is… not only do you love the other person, but you also show them respect. Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. It can be the difference between coming across critical or coming across as understanding. We all want understanding and acceptance, don’t we? This is something I like to explore my stories. I love a hero who is supportive of the heroine, underscoring her confidence instead of undermining it.

In my upcoming March 21 Carina Press release, Laird of Darkness, the hero and heroine discover in the darkness of night that they have something in common (aside from a sizzling attraction)--they’ve both been traumatized in the dark and bitten by creatures, either normal rats or Otherworld demons. This gives them an unconditional acceptance and understanding of each other. And as a result they can comfort each other in the darkness of night. The form that comfort takes is both romantic and extremely sensual.

Am I still addicted to romance? Absolutely! What about you?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Blurb for Laird of Darkness: Half-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren's bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.

Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.

Duncan didn't expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn would be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she's come to love?

Nicole
http://www.nicolenorth.com/
Fantastic Reviews for Beast in a Kilt

Last night I received not one but 5 wonderful reviews for Beast in a Kilt (and Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies) from Deviant Divas Erotic Book Review.
[Overall] DIVA RATING: 4.5
HEAT RATING: Blaze

Here are some of my favorite quotes from them:

"Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies is 4 novellas that are all hot reads in their own right... In Beast in a Kilt, Catriona takes matters into her own hands and proves to Torr love can overcome anything. The female characters are all strong will women. Who can stand up when needed and let their partners take over. I was pulled into each story very quickly and loved every minute...." Reviewed by Kitty


"There is a good blend of spice mixed with a meaty story!" Reviewed by Wicked


"Beast in a Kilt by Nicole North
This was my favorite book out of the four stories. Childhood friends cursed by a dark witch, unknown to them; the only way to break the spell is for each of the three men to find their true love. Catriona has been promised to a man thrice her age. Her brother, chieftain of the household is only one that can get her out of this arrangement. He is hiding because of the curse he bears. Since childhood she has always known that her brother's best friend, now also cursed, is who she wants to marry. Convincing him that admitting that he loves her will break the curse is tougher than she thought. Finding her brother in time to call off the wedding, is not possible... This had the sexual tension that kept you engaged in the story, an easy fluid read and well written." Reviewed by SubPage


"This book was awesome. I feel guilty for not reading it as soon as I got it. The books contained within this novel just got better and better.

Beast in a Kilt by Nicole North
OMG this is a story I could read and re read. The sensual play between Catriona and Torr was amazing. Catriona has wanted Torr for such a long time and will no longer be denied and he is not even her betrothed. After trying to rescue her brother from his curse she in turn manages to free Torr from his curse. I can honestly say that I will be looking up more books from this author. Well worth the read and an awesome book to play with!!!

All in all I loved this book. It started with a slow burn and then got to completely orgasmic. I am tonight going to be looking up the other Secrets Books on Amazon. Thank you so much for introducing me." Reviewed by Noushie
--

Thanks so much, Divas!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed Secrets Volume 29!
Nicole
www.nicolenorth.com
Falling In Love
This week's theme at Fierce Romance is love and romance. After all, this is the week leading up to Valentine's Day. And all of us here love to talk about love and romance, it's probably our favorite topic. At least it's mine, and therein lies the problem. How to pick just one topic, something specific enough to not overwhelm one little blog post.

Then I remembered a statistic I read about romance readers. I wish I could remember where I read it, I'd give credit where it's due, but the fact was that one of the most important parts of a romance, to the reader, is the moment when the hero or heroine realize they've fallen in love. It struck a chord when I read that, because I totally agree. As readers we want to experience that emotional moment of actually falling in love. It's wonderful, right? It's uplifting, isn't it?

Well, I was actually suprised when I scanned some of my stories to post examples. In most of these moments, the character is not exactly happy about falling in love.


This is from my first novel with Samhain, The Ride of Her Life:

Oh, no. She clamped her hand over her mouth before the cry could escape. How had this happened?

Not the lovemaking. She knew perfectly well how that had happened. And it had been wonderful. Everything she’d dreamed of and more. But this situation hadn’t ended up the way she’d planned. She’d been naïve enough to believe if she had one or two memorable nights of sex with Dean, she could go back to Buffalo a happy woman.

But now, the memories weren’t enough. A few nights weren’t enough.

She wanted more. She wanted Dean. She wanted happily ever after.

Sarah angrily brushed away the tears that slipped from her eyes. What was wrong with her? She knew better. She knew what she couldn’t have. But it obviously didn’t matter.

She had fallen in love with Dean.

Stupid. How could she be so stupid? Falling in love with him was the last thing she wanted to do. She thought she knew what she had been getting into. She thought she had her emotions under control.

Now she looked down at the man sleeping beside her and knew she would go back to Buffalo with a broken heart
.


And from one of my Red Sage Secrets novellas from Vol 24, Bad to the Bone:

Insatiable. That was a word Annie never thought would apply to her. She couldn’t get enough of sex with Luke. Would it always be this way? Well, of course, it wouldn’t because he wouldn’t always be with her. Someday, in the very near future, she would have to do without Luke, without sex with Luke. What would she do then?

Just like driving another car just wouldn’t be the same, neither would being with any of the other bad boys out there.

And now he wanted to fulfill a fantasy she’d forgotten she even mentioned. But he remembered, the shit. He was supposed to be a bad boy. He wasn’t supposed to make her fall for him.

It wasn’t fair. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love with the first bad boy she found.



And even when I found an example when the character wasn't sorry he'd fallen in love, there's still a conflict to overcome, which is the second lesson I think we need to take away from this. This is from my Ellora's Cave novel, Chains of Desire:

He’d been so stupid to underestimate his little slave. Didn’t he already know how strong and brave she was? She could take on anyone. Even his archenemy. She didn’t need him to protect her.

And he knew in that moment that he loved Hanna. What he felt for her was so much more than the mere devotion of a Master and his slave. How could he have ever doubted it? He loved her and now he might never get the chance to tell her.


The moment when the hero or heroine realizes they've fallen in love usually isn't the happily ever after moment we crave. It's a moment we all want to read, but that doesn't mean all the problems have been solved. In fact, it often means some of those problems are just beginning. And I've found there are usually two of those moments in every book because it is seldom that both characters realize they love the other at the same time.

What about you? Would you feel let down if you couldn't experience the falling-in-love moment? I know I would.

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Guest interview: Inez Kelley
Our special guest today is Inez Kelley!


Inez Kelley writes what she reads, which is pretty much anything with a romantic flair. Smack in the middle of a Midwest state, she lives with her hero and three spin-offs. They make finding a time to write a challenge but she’s never bored with life. She has too many imaginary friends talking to her all the time. Now, if only she could train them to do the laundry, she’d have it made.

Welcome to Fierce Romance, Inez. Please tell us about Sweet as Sin.

Every author has that story that wouldn’t let them sleep, that festered in their head day and night until it was told. SWEET AS SIN was that story for me. I breathed, slept and ate this tale. I could not do anything but get it down. I wrote the rough draft of 120 THOUSAND WORDS(!!!) in only 60 days while working full time and raising a family.

I often joke and say it was like John Murphy, the main male character, pulled up a chair and said “Start writing because when I’m done, I’m outta here.” That is so close to the truth it is scary. I literally HEARD him talking to me.

The story is John’s, no two ways about it. He’s a victim of his creation. A gentle artist’s soul that was shaped and formed into a hard man by his youth. He doesn’t candy-coat himself. He’s a bastard in every way, has broken every commandment out there and has a fast temper. But he has a tiny little thing called hope buried in his soul. He lets that goodness out through his writing. America’s answer to Harry Potter, his Jondi series of monster stories have captivated readers.
He moves into a new house and his next door neighbor is one sin-sweet lady named Livvy. John just has to sample the red-haired pastry chef. But Livvy is no crème puff. She’s as sweet as he is bitter. A summer fling turns red-hot and then dips into scorching as their heart get closer and are bare to each other. She’s willing to face the demons in John’s soul but the price just might be too high.

Sounds fascinating! I love it when characters come to life so vividly. Please tell us about your characters' unusual or interesting quirks.

John is a YA writer and his monster story features in SWEET AS SIN. His two main characters are Jondi, a blue monster prince, and Thorn, a six-foot bat with razor fangs and glowing red eyes. A new character is introduced after he meets Livvy. Vory is a pink monster with lilac eyes who flirts from the page and enchants John. Their story is told alongside John and Livvy’s, so it is almost a two-fer deal.

Livvy owns a bakery that specializes in ‘Adult Cravings’. Her best sellers include Chocolate Orgasms and Lemon Lick-her Bars. That streak of playfulness is just what John needs but she’s sassy and strong and doesn’t take his crap for a minute. She makes him work for it. But she takes his inspiration and creates a new, more youthful, funky line that incorporates some of his twisted outlook on things.

The retelling of John’s story touched me so much. Like Livvy, I wanted to take his pain away. But you can’t do that. It’s the fire that forged him and made him who he is. As any cook knows, sometimes you have to add a bit of salt to the sweet to bring out the flavor. John and Livvy do that for each other.

Fascinating! Which element of story creation is your favorite and why?

Characterization. The characters I write are real to me. I see them, know them before I write a single word, the good and the bad. Which makes the whole process easier. I already know how they are going to react to any situation that crops up because I know them. Most of my plot issues stem from something core in the character themselves.

The individual traits are what make a character unique. I write a lot of dark haired men. I like them *shrug* but they are all different. I have a jokester and a somber, quiet man, a rough-n-ready redneck and a naughty professor. They might all have the same hair color (or similar) but they are very, very different men. Same for my women. It is what is under their skin, what makes them tick that I find fascinating.

Please tell us about one of your other books.

Can I do two?
MYLA BY MOONLIGHT was my toe dipped in the fantasy water. I saw this story in my head and wrote it, never thinking about the fact that I was stepping out of my comfortable contemporary boots. It was a beautiful tale of enchanted never-ending love. When it sold, I was thrilled. The reviews have blown me away and it has been nominated for an EPIC award.
Reader sent such lovely emails asking for more. They loved the world and wanted to know the rest of the story. There was no rest of the story. Until I thought about it. Then yeah, there was more to tell. So I followed it with SALOME AT SUNRISE.

Although both are stand alone, they are in the same world and have over lapping characters and themes. I hate sitting down to read a book and realizing it is in the middle of a series. I don’t get half the story line then. So I made sure that didn’t happen with mine. Yes, they are better read in order just because I give spoilers away from one book to the next but the stories themselves are not dependent on the other.

And I got more email asking for even more! So yeah…

That has to be very rewarding! What is your writing process or method?

Feast or Famine mostly. I get this driving urge and will pound out twenty-thousand words in a week then for several days do nothing but go over those words, polish and edit and smooth them. Then I repeat that. And repeat that. When I think a story is done, I then go back to the beginning and smooth some more. Then I cut out the flat stuff and polish it again.
Since I edit as I go, the final polish is not too bad, more grammar and checking for repetitive words, etc. I can’t do things like NANO or write a set amount every day. I might only write 100 words. Maybe I’ll write 8K (my record) but nine times out of ten, if I write it, it stays in the book.

I suffer from insomnia a lot (hazards of working midnight shift for decades) so I often write at night, in silence and just let it go. That frees me up from worrying about when to stop and pick up the kids or fix dinner.

Sounds like a great process! Whatever gets the words down, right? Please describe your journey to publication.

It was a long and a short one. Long in that I have written full stories since age eleven. I wanted to be a writer and wrote all through school. But those who should have encouraged me didn’t. I was told to stop dreaming and focus on a real job and let the pipe dream of writing go. So I did.
Kinda.

I wrote in secret, for my pleasure, the stories I wanted to read. Then after my twins were born, my husband asked me what I was going to do with all those stories. I said nothing, I wasn’t good enough to sell anything. He got very quiet and asked me if that was what I wanted our children to grow up thinking about themselves.

Hmmm
So I dug out the story I loved the most, joined a writer’s group on-line and set out to learn how I could make it good enough. I learned a MAJOR lesson about head-hopping. (Yeah, I was really bad about that). I fixed that and sent my story to Samhain Publishing. In eleven days I was offered my first contract. So it was a short haul a long time in the making.

Wow, that's inspiring! Kudos to your husband for giving you that push you needed! What was the most important thing you learned just before you made your first sale?

Other than that head-hopping thing? That you have to find the right people to listen to in taking criticism. The everyday friend is great as a cheering squad but probably isn’t the best judge of how your story pacing flows. A good critique partner is worth more than gold. I found a small group of writers I still use today and they know me, know my weaknesses and my strengths. They are great for telling me to stop tweaking the damned thing and send it out or to examine that last chapter more because it is flat.

What’s next for you?

What isn’t? I am finishing up writing the final in a self-called trilogy (really three stand alone full-length fantasy stories in the same world) called DARACH IN DARKNESS. I have a new full length comedy romance coming out with Carina Press in late summer and am halfway through a different romantic comedy. Then there is this other darker contemporary that is niggling in my brain and well, let’s just say my days and nights are full.

Would you like to win a copy of SWEET AS SIN? Tell me your favorite sinfully sweet dessert and you might. One random commenter selected. Happy Reading!

Inez Kelley is a multi-published author of various romance genres. You can visit her at her website http://inezkelley.com/ Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/inez.kelley
Thanks so much for being our guest today, Inez!!
You're Gorgeous, Baby!
I really enjoy eye candy week, and not just for the obvious reasons. No, I like it because I get to sift through dozens of sexy, fun photos and call it work.

I love my job! Heh heh h
eh.

Seriously, I'm fascinated by human beauty, or what we each consider human beauty. I love art, and I love that artists like da Vinci saw beauty in those others might consider average looking. He was as apt to sketch a drunk at the local tavern as he was to paint a beautiful woman or an angelic child.


I like pretty things, but I'm constantly reminded that what I consider beautiful or sexy is not what constitutes the same for som
eone else. That's what makes the world such a wonderful place: diversity. I like to think that somewhere in this wide world, there is someone who might think I'm the most gorgeous creature on the face of the planet (besides my hubby), just because s/he likes the symmetry of my countenance, or the lack thereof.

With six billion peopl
e floating around, the chances that someone will find me attractive are quite high, even if that person resides in the farthest reaches of the globe and doesn't get out much, and that makes me feel good. Yes, I know that it's much better to be loved for who you are and not how you look. I believe it, too, because heaven knows I'm not the most easy-to-look-at gal in the universe. However, you have to admit that each of us has an ego, and that ego loves to be fed that little morsel of "Hey, you're cute!" once in a while.

Now, I'm not saying I
need this reinforcement all the time. No, that's why the gods created chocolate and romance novels and cats--pleasant distractions for when the world has not adequately recognized our face value. Literally.

Speaking of
face value, let's try an experiment. Look in the mirror. Stare straight into your own eyes and say, "You're ugly." Easy, right? Now look in the mirror and stare straight into your own eyes and say, "You're gorgeous, baby!" Easy? Not so fast. Did you giggle?

You woul
dn't believe how many people have no problem telling themselves they're ugly or finding a flaw, but when it comes to acknowledging their own beauty, many stumble. They can't say it. They can't say it because they don't believe it, when the truth is, we're all beautiful. Ask anyone to point out a flaw, and you'll get a list three miles long. Ask that same person to point out an attractive feature, and you'll get maybe one or two items listed if any.

Let's go back to that imaginary person way on the other side of the world who doesn't get out much, the one who thinks I'm the epito
me of hot, a goddess of the first order. I could tell myself that s/he doesn't know what s/he is talking about, that the person has bad eyesight, that the person spends way more time with mountain lions and sheep and whippoorwills than s/he does with humans and therefore has very low standards of human beauty. But I'm not going to because that would be insulting, and the need for self-deprecation should never overwhelm one's good manners. So I smile and am grateful that shepherding doesn't require glasses. :)

I'll now hop down off my soap box, or b
etter yet, let one of these nice gentlemen assist me in getting down, and leave you with some "art" from my collection. Enjoy these hubba hubbas, and remember...

You're gorgeous, baby!

Our Bias Toward Beauty
Beauty and the Beast – a classic tale of a beautiful woman who's able to learn to love a man, despite his ugly exterior. Why don't we have the reverse myth? The superstud man who's able to see beyond an ugly woman's exterior to love the person within?


I can't get too serious on Eye Candy Week, but think about the subtle message. A woman needs to look beyond the exterior. A man does not.

It's no surprise therefore, that men freely admit that the number one thing they look for in sizing up a woman is physical appearance. Quick quiz: If they had to choose, would they go for a pretty face and an unattractive body, or a less-attractive face paired with a great body? (Answer below.)

Women often say they are more interested in a man's personality traits – a good sense of humor, sensitivity, etc. when evaluating a man as a romantic interest.

But I read about a clever study in which women were told they were hooked up to lie detectors. Those women reported much more interest in the physical characteristics of men they were evaluating as potential dating partners. )

We've all heard about dating sites where they "match" you based on your profiles and interests. Does it work? One large study I read about tried to use a computer to match students (750 of them!) based on a wide range of information – intelligence, personality traits, attitudes about different topics. After the paired students interacted with their blind date, they were asked how they felt about their partner. Turns out, the only factor that determined how satisfied they were with their match-up was physical appearance! Think carefully before spending money on any computerized dating service.

Why is physical appearance so important when thinking about romance?

- We prefer beauty in all things, not just people (artwork, flowers, scenery)

- Beauty is a positive trait and so we associate other positive traits with it (The beautiful person is smarter, more social, more successful). Studies prove this "halo" effect is true.

- From an evolutionary perspective, more attractive people look healthier and thus we prefer to choose them as mates

Despite all the forgoing, physical appearance is ultimately nothing more than a screening device. If you don't get beyond it to choose a mate based on shared interests, common values, and matching personalities, you may never find your true love.


Answer: Men prefer the better body over the prettier face (mating instinct?)
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