A HIghlander Comes Riding . . . March 3rd!!

Highland Rebel smaller2

Hi Fierce Friends!
It’s the last week before my new time travel romance, HIGHLAND REBEL, comes out on March 3rd and I am really getting excited! I’ve had some really great reviews this week on different romance websites, and my preorders seem to be going well. I’m at #28 on the amazon fiction Books list for time travels. Since I’m up against every single one of Diana Gabaldon’s books and each of their separate printings, I feel pretty good about being #28.

There’s still time to sign up to be one of my Troubadours – just saunter over to my MySpace and read the last few blogs there, and then email me @ tessmallory@yahoo.com if you have any questions. The prizes range from a free book to a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, and a Celtic spiral necklace! It’s easy to enter, just read the details at myspace!

Since I've gotten some good reviews, I thought I’d share them with all of you, in the hope that some of you who are reading will think, “Hmm, that Tess Mallory got some good reviews; I think I just might take a chance and buy her new book, HIGHLAND REBEL.” (in the background the song, Take a Chance on Me begins to play).

You see, Fierce Friends, I would really like to be, no, I would LOVE to be on a Best Seller’s list. Wouldn’t that be cool ? Wouldn’t that just really be a terrific thing? “Sure,” you say, “that’s fine for you, but what’s in it for me?” Well, that’s why you need to read my blog over at myspace! Yes, I’m going to be mysterious. That’s just how I roll.

Meanwhile, here are some of the reviews:

From Harriet Klausner :
“The Queen of Highlander time travel romance (see HIGHLAND MAGIC, HIGHLAND DREAM, HIGHLAND FLING and HIGHLAND ROGUE), Tess Mallory writes another whimsical tale as the roguish hero follows his love back to the era he left behind. Part of the pleasure in this delightful entry is the reaction of Ian’s brother Angus to his siblings’ return after his being away over two decades from home . . .”

From Chris at Night Owl Romance:
“Full of historical information, jaunts about the countryside, a few explosions and some rocking romance, Highland Rebel was an enjoyable read. With the secondary romance between Davey and Katie, the story moved along smoothly. With a happily ever after, including a surprising one for Ian and his family, I enjoyed the story very much.”

From Maura at Coffee Time Romance:
“I am not usually a big fan of time travel romances, but Ms. Mallory’s are always an exception. Her characters are realistic despite their situation, and she manages to go from the present to the past with no loss of that realistic feel. Ian and Ellie are wonderful characters, each with flaws and virtues. Ian’s career as a Celtic Rocker is a masterstroke, and Ellie really comes out of her shell in the 1700’s. I also liked the subplot of Katie and Davy’s romance and the secret Jacobites.”

From Kathe Robin at Romantic Times Magazine:
(Sorry, I can’t find the magazine right now, but the gist of it was that she liked it and said it would receive . . . “A warm welcome . . . “ and then gave it 4 Stars!

So, okay, whaddaya say, Fierce Friends? Ready to give Time Travel Romance a shot? After all, don’t we all wish we could somehow be swept back in history to a more romantic place and time, where we could meet a hunky warrior, find true love and save the world? Well, our world as we know it? That’s what my characters always strive to do! It’s adventure, romance, history, humor, fun and a rollicking ride, I promise!

If everyone who reads this blog bought a copy of HIGHLAND REBEL on March 3rd . . . well, hey, maybe one of my dreams would come true and I would be deeply grateful to you, my faithful readers! But even if I don't make any of the lists, I still think you’ll enjoy the read, and I'll still be honored that you chose to read it!

Remember, Love is Timeless . . .
Keep Writing . . . Keep Reading . . . Keep Loving !
Hugs, Tess

Kilted Lover Book Trailer Video

Hi, everyone, I created a teaser video for my upcoming erotic romance novella from Red Sage. I don't have a release date yet, but I wanted to share this with you. I had lots of fun making it! Hope you enjoy! Please give me your thoughts on it.


Bringing Books to Life

Our five senses are stimulated in many ways every day. For each of us one sense plays a dominant role in how we relate to things around us. Some are more auditory. Others are more tactile-oriented. Count me among those who are visually-oriented learners. As a writer I take countless visual cues from my surroundings and daily exposures when fomenting plots and creating characters. While flipping through a fashion magazine and spotting a chartreuse-and-cream paisley scarf, I conjure the type of character who would wear such an accessory. As I pass a handsome guy in the local mall, I mentally create a prototype of a hero, his beliefs, background, world view, motivation, etc. This is one of the reasons I carry a writing tablet with me everywhere. Notes made now cue visual images later.

When I’m reading a romance novel, part of my enjoyment stems from being able to envision the hero, heroine and secondary characters. I prefer having some of the descriptive details left to my imagination. Same goes for the story setting. It’s a great deal of fun figuring out what the hero’s apartment looks like. How he dresses. If he’s the type whose trousers are creased or casually wrinkled. As I turn the pages, words provide me clues, but I play the detective and keep my mind’s eye wide open. Each story I’ve written, even those I wrote during childhood, has always played out in my mind as would a movie. Frame by frame, the action unfolds. Much as I must see the images clearly to put them on the page, I must also hear the dialogue in order to write the characters’ words. Even after I write the passages of dialogue, I read them aloud and assume the character role. If during those reviewing stages I cannot visualize something clearly, or stumble while reading the words, I immediately know something isn’t right and start revising.

One of the most fun mediums I’ve found to challenge and harness my creativity is a book video. Finding the pictures and audio clips that will give readers a glimpse of what my stories are about, and captioning those frames to provide an overview of the storyline, is quite a treasure hunt. Readers get a peek at my vision for the story.

Recently I designed a book video for my latest erotic historical romance with Ellora’s Cave, TORMENTED. Hope you all enjoy watching my novel come to life.

Have You Ever Been Tormented?

Wishing you many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TORMENTED – Ellora’s Cave
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN – Coming to EC in 2009

Shawna’s Myspace
Helle’s Myspace

SPEW Week!

My local RWA chapter, LARA (Los Angeles Romance Authors), has a writing challenge about three times a year. This is similar to the Book in a Week challenges, but we call ours SPEW, which stands for Stop Procrastinating Everybody Write. We have a special Yahoo group for it, so we don't disturb the other members of the Chapter with our silliness. And silly it gets.

At the beginning of the week, we post our SPEW goals - write 1000 words a day or write 5 pages a day or write for 1 hour every day or finish a bloody chapter by the end of the week. The goals vary, but we post our progress toward those goals every day. To encourage and inspire each other, we also post pictures - mostly man candy - but also shoes, chocolate, delectable coffees, anything to make us feel good and carry on toward our goals.

Some of us also include inspirational quotations - somewhat modified. "Give me liberty or give me SPEW." "I SPEW therefore I am." "To err is human. To SPEW is divine." You get the picture. This SPEW week has included a plethora of Dr. Seuss SPEW quotations (can't remember how we got there). "Thing One and Thing SPEW." "Red fish, SPEW fish, one fish SPEW fish." And on and on. It starts to get quite hilarious, especially when you're writing at 11:00 at night and you have to sneak away to your email to check out the latest quotation or man candy.

What do all the emails and the man candy and the silliness accomplish? Well, besides keeping me inspired to meet my SPEW goal (20 pages on my WIP), it fosters an amazing sense of community. I don't believe any other group of genre writers has quite the comraderie of romance writers. I see it at conferences. I read it in emails. I experience it through my local chapter and through an amazing online goals group.

So before I get back to my own SPEWing, I'll leave you with some man candy....

HIGHLAND REBEL Contest Continues . . .


What Romantic Times Book Reviews says about HIGHLAND REBEL by Tess Mallory —

“. . . Adventurous, romantic, fast-moving . . . 4 Stars!“

Hi Peeps! Welcome to the Wild World of Time Travel Romance! If you’re a stranger to this genre, let me assure you that while my books are jam-packed with the adventurous side of traveling through the space/time continuum, they also center around the blossoming relationship between a woman and a man!

In HIGHLAND REBEL, my latest book from BERKLEY SENSATIONS, the woman happens to be Ellie Graham, the Goth-influenced band manager of Celtic rock and roll star, Ian MacGregor. You guessed it - Ian is the man in this romantic adventure, and is he ever a hunky hunk. (I really think I outdid myself this time. Let me know what you think!)

Ellie is unaware that Ian is a time traveler who journeyed to the future with the help her sister, Maggie. All she knows is that she is head over heels in love with the Scottish bad boy, and since Ellie has had a fear of loving anyone ever since her parents died, she does what she always does — she runs. But this time her panicked flight sends her to an ancient cairn, where the tri-spiral (or triskele) carved into the floor takes her back to the year 1734. Ian follows, and there he learns that the brothers and father he left behind have become part of the dreaded Black Watch! It is up to him to save his family, his country, and the woman he loves . . . he is the HIGHLAND REBEL!!

Woo! How’s that grab you? :) ) In a good way, I hope. Speaking of good things — I’m having a contest, and rather than repeat a bunch of stuff here, please go to my blog on myspace at www.myspace.com/tessmallory or the blog on my fanspace at www.myspace.com/tessmalloryfanspace to find out how to win a free book, a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble, and a Celtic necklace just by talking up my books on message boards!!

I love to hear from my readers — write me at tessmallory@yahoo.com

Remember . . . Love is Timeless! Keep Reading! Keep Writing! Keep Loving!

Hot Kisses and Sexual Tension

"The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender." Emil Ludwig

I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine's Day! Since it's just passed and my Turn Up the Heat! workshop is just around the corner, starting March 2, I thought I'd talk about writing hot kisses into your romance stories. This is a tiny excerpt from my workshop.

The first kiss is an important step in any relationship or romance story. It’s an early destination of what the sexual tension has been building up to thus far. And the kiss also takes the sexual tension to a new, higher level of intimacy. For those who write romance, your reader has been anticipating the first kiss between your hero and heroine since page one. Make it a delicious reward, a feast for the senses. Put the reader right there, kissing your hero because that’s what she wants to do if you’ve heightened the sexual tension enough (and made her fall in love with him.) Let her experience the kiss along with your heroine. That doesn’t mean all kisses need to be from the heroine’s point of view. Far from it. Male point of view kisses can be highly sensual. No matter whose point of view the kiss scene is in, give the reader what she wants. A sizzling hot, yummy kiss.

A question for you: Which book, TV show or movie contains your favorite kiss scene along with heightened sexual tension? If you're a writer, do you enjoy writing kiss scenes (why or why not?)

Workshop: Turn up the Heat! Heightening Sexual Tension and Sensuality in Your Manuscript

Presenter: Nicole North

Date: March 2 - 27, 2009

Description: Editors want to buy spicy-hot romance stories now more than ever before. How do you do it? In this class we will discuss all aspects of sexual tension and sensuality and how they relate to the developing romance in your story. You'll learn tips for successfully building sexual tension over the course of the hero and heroine's relationship from first glance, through climax, to happily ever after. Several examples will be used to illustrate different nuances of hot romantic chemistry and how to employ them in your own story. Learn how to avoid clich├ęs and use sexiness in fresh new ways. Strengthening sexual tension will take your story from ho-hum to so hot and delicious your reader can't put it down. We'll do exercises for hands-on learning. (Please be aware this course contains explicit and frank discussions of sexuality.)

**Topics covered**
Using the five senses more effectively
Sexy talk
Word choice
First kiss
First love scene
How to rebuild sexual tension after sex
Why point of view is important
Hot characters
Combining physical attraction and emotion
Body language
Differences between romance and erotic romance
Revising to make a sensual romance manuscript spicy or erotic

Fun Extras
Visual inspiration
Multimedia examples and exercises

About the presenter: Nicole North writes sensual and erotic romance novels and novellas. She is the author of paranormal erotic romance novellas Devil in a Kilt, Red Sage Secrets Volume 27, July 2009; Beast in a Kilt, Red Sage Secrets Volume 29; and Kilted Lover, Red Sage. She has finaled in over a dozen writing competitions and won several awards. She admits sexual tension and delicious love scenes are her favorite elements of romance and sprinkles them liberally through her stories. What others have said about her works: "This author handles sexual tension very well. Her characters are completely drawn to each other..." and "Wow! Talk about sexual chemistry. This story has it in spades. You're a natural in the romantic chemistry department." She has a BA degree in psychology. Please visit her website to learn more and read past student testimonials: http://www.nicolenorth.com

Cost: $25 non-members / $20 YRW members

To register please visit: http://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/6.html

Thank you!

Love in Song

This year, Valentine’s Day weekend proved a time for pondering. Never more than now have I been so thankful and counted my blessings. Many people have come into my life, gifted me with their love and friendship and imparted wisdom. Their smiles, kind words and our shared silly moments have filled my mind and heart to bursting point on numerous occasions.

Love means many things to me, most of them centered around sharing and caring. While lavish gifts are lovely, they cannot replace a breathtaking kiss, a heart-stopping hug, or a steadying hand during times of turmoil. They claim diamonds are forever, but the love of a special person is far more valuable to me.

My list of things I love is quite lengthy, but one thing is certain--Music has always brought me immense happiness. Whether during those moments when I was learning how to play a guitar. Or when I played certain 45s in heavy rotation on my first turntable many Christmases ago. On the most awful day, when all around seems bent on causing frustration, harsh reality is pushed away once I start playing the stereo.

As many of my favorite musical performers were part of The British Invasion, I thought it would be fun sharing some of these performers’ love songs with you all today. May these tunes bring smiles and find you singing along with them.

Love Me Do -- Beatles

All You Need is Love -- Beatles

World Without Love -- Peter and Gordon

To Sir With Love -- Lulu

My Love – Petula Clark

If I Loved You – Chad and Jeremy

Wishing you all many happy and loving moments,

Shawna Moore
TORMENTED -- Ellora's Cave (MUST-READ from Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Coming to EC Exotika in 2009

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace

Book Signings and Other Promo

My February Harlequin Intrigue, Circumstantial Memories, is in book stores this week and that means promo time. The biggest promotion I'm doing is a book signing at my local Borders this Saturday - Valentine's Day! I had postcards printed and I slapped labels on the back with my website and the place and time of the book signing. I then left these cards in a few coffee houses, including Starbucks' bulletin board, at the Borders, and shoved into the January Intrigues at book stores! I also handed them out to friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and other soccer moms. I'm hoping for a good turn out, since it's a local signing. I had a bunch of people at my first book signing, but that was for my very first Intrigue and the excitement has worn off a little for my third (for them, never for me!).

I'm always rearranging books in book stores these days. I'll straighten out the category romance section and make sure all the Intrigues are in their proper spots, all facing outward. If I have books on the shelves, I'll take them out and autograph them. I'm always making sure the Secrets volumes are in the right place and I always turn them so they're facing forward.

Talk about hands-on promo, I personally sold one copy of my book today. I went to Target after work to pick up some of those boxes of candy conversation hearts so my son can hand them out to his 5th grade class (he's too cool for actual Valentine's cards now, and I was in such a rush I didn't realize I had bought the Spanish version of the hearts - Hola, Dulce, etc.) and some red and silver chocolate kisses to put out at my book signing. I moseyed over to the book section because I had shoved my postcards in the previous month's Intrigues about a week ago (that's when my son saw Wee Man from Jackass at Target, but that's another story). ANYWAY, an older woman was browsing the books when I crouched down and realized the Feb. Intrigues were on the shelf, including Circumstantial Memories. So I yanked the books off the shelf and started signing them. I asked the woman next to me if she read Harlequin Intrigues, and she said she didn't read them often because they were too short for her. I told her I was signing my book (how cool is that?), and she got interested. When I finished signing the books, I started to walk away and realized I didn't leave any postcards in the books. So I went back to do that and the woman had grabbed one of my books. Woo hoo! One book at a time!

So if you're in Southern California and want a chocolate kiss and maybe a few Spanish language candy conversation hearts, drop by the Borders in El Segundo! Gracias y abrazos y besos!

Eliza Knight Wins!

Congrats, Eliza. For posting a comment on my interview with Vonda, you won a copy of Circumstantial Memories (or you can have a free download of my Red Sage Presents stories, Sex and the Single Pearl or Aphrodite's Fire). Send me an email with your snail mail or email address.

Carol Ericson & Circumstantial Memories

Hi, today I'm featuring our very own Fierce Author, Carol Ericson and her latest book from Harlequin Intrigue.

Vonda: Congratulations on your new release, Carol! What a sexy cowboy on that cover! Please tell us about Circumstantial Memories.

Carol: All that remains of Julia's past are the necklace with her first name in gold script...and the child she’s carrying. After the car she’s driving plunges over an embankment on a mountain road in Colorado, erasing her memories, Julia must make a new life for herself and her daughter in the small town of Silverhill. But Julia can never shake the dread that steals over her from time to time, reminding her that the life she fled in a stolen car loaded with cash holds dangerous secrets. Then Julia meets Ryder McClintock, the one man who holds the key to those secrets.

Ryder has no idea what's awaiting him when he returns to his family’s ranch in Silverhill after completing his latest three-year assignment for the covert ops agency, Black Cobra. His shock at discovering Julia Rousseau, the woman he’d loved with a burning passion, is topped only by his shock at discovering that Julia has a daughter...and that daughter is his.

When a stalker begins to threaten Julia, Ryder must decide whether or not to reveal the details of Julia's past with her dangerous ex-husband, who's now dead. If he helps Julia regain her memories, he may lose her. If he keeps her in the dark about her past, he may lose her forever.

Vonda: Sounds very exciting, suspenseful and romantic! What inspired you to write this story?

Carol: Because this is a category romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue, the idea for this story began with the hooks. Amnesia is always a popular hook, as is the "secret baby" storyline--throw in a stalker, a cowboy/cover ops hero, a Colorado setting, and I pretty much have all the hooks covered. Of course, the challenge with incorporating hooks into your book is to make the story original, and to seamlessly weave the elements together into one edge-of-your-seat thriller with a simmering romance.

Vonda: Indeed a very clever way to get in lots of hooks! What was the most difficult thing about writing this story?

Carol: Probably writing about Colorado and a ranch and a cowboy--I'm a city girl through and through! It was also difficult writing about the amnesia aspect of the story, trying to make it believable.

Vonda: What is your writing process or method?

Carol: Usually an idea or a character or a particular scene comes to me in a flash. At that point, I just have to start writing the story. I can usually whip out a first chapter based on the kernel of an idea or character. Then I sit back and figure out where the story is going. I'm a big fan of Robin Perini's and Laura Baker's Discovering Story Magic. I took their online class, and their method really works for me. It's a character-based method where you start with the characters' inspiring moment, and then go onto their short-term goals, long-term goals, character flaws, black moment, and resolution. I use it as a road map, and then as I write, if the story veers off in another direction, I go with it. I also try to amp things up for my characters since this is romantic suspense. I just try to think of the worst thing that can happen to a character, and then make it even darker.

Vonda: Oooh very nice method! Sounds like something that might work for me. Thanks for telling us about your book, Carol!

Everyone, Carol will be giving away a copy of her book! All you have to do to enter this contest is leave a comment. You might want to ask her a question or you might want to comment on one of the two wonderful excerpts below.

Please click here to read an excerpt. This first one is suspenseful!

The second excerpt is exciting and romantic. I love the sexual tension in this one!

Please visit Carol's website at: http://www.carolericson.com/

Valentine's Wishes and Remembrances

There’s nothing like a snowy winter’s day to make a woman even more sentimental. 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 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 rear-view mirror 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 …





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 novels. A loving bond can and will withstand many trials and the test of time.

In my latest erotic historical romance novel, TORMENTED, Eve and Charles savor a delicious and amorous moment while he feeds far more than her appetite. The following scene is one of my favorites of those I’ve written. May you enjoy the following passage and many loving moments with those who are special in your life.

Excerpt – TORMENTED (MUST-READ from Dark Angel Reviews)

Click here for more information about TORMENTED

“You are tired. Save your strength. I will feed you.” Rich as the rum custard soaking the golden-brown bread, his words could calm any savage.

Yet they only goaded her heart to a wilder gallop.

He remained unblinking, snatched her spoon and scooped a small portion of pudding. Moving the spoon to the opposite side of the bowl, he dredged the morsel in the melting cream before raising his hand.

She shut her eyes. Her heart thumped harder, making a racket Charles certainly heard. His deeper, bolder breaths overpowered her shallow ones.

He moved so fast.

Faster than any man she’d ever met.

Fast as a wild animal fleeing its foe.

And his gaze struck bone.

Something about Charles bore closer consideration and a measured approach.

“I don’t want to feed your fear, only your appetite,” he said and tapped the spoon against her lips.

Not polite, refusing his hospitality. She opened her mouth. As the spoon advanced and caressed her tongue, what must have been his pinkie played twice over her lower lip.

She pulled the dessert from the spoon and his hand retreated. But not before the faintest of moans rattled in his throat. The fire in her belly flared to between her legs. How sweet, his treat, as the creamy sauce and softened bread covered her palate.

As her lips closed, an image of him played against the blackness of her eyelids. The flavors settled and filled her entire mouth. She chewed and swallowed. Though she could feed herself without dropping any food, Charles’ steady hand was welcome. Her fingers remained folded together. At least that way they didn’t fumble and fuel the tingling that cascaded from the bottom knuckles to the very tips.

“More, Eve?”

Maybe he’d feed her hunger for knowledge? “How long have you lived here in New Orleans and cared for its people?”

The soft scraping of Charles tracing the spoon around the pudding bowl’s rim. “Many years.”

Her damp fingers pleated the napkin on her lap and she glanced at him. “When younger did you suspect you’d enter a healing profession?”

The twinkling of countless stars settled in his eyes. “From the time I removed the first burr from my pet spaniel’s paw. Seven years old and somewhat of a surgeon.”

A gentle shake settled the napkin over her legs. “My father frowned on having animals in our home but he gifted me with a trotter on my tenth birthday. I enjoy riding horses.”

“As do I. Zephyr is the name of my spirited mount. He delights in nipping and throwing my stable boys. And then there’s Janus, my carriage horse.” Charles laughed, eyes closed and head tipped back at a jaunty angle.

“Your brothers and sisters must have held you in awe.”

A tic pulsed in his right cheek. “Only a sister, Cecile. She was born two years before me. On the day after Christmas. Mama and Papa called her their miracle child. Her love of music matched mine. Have you any brothers or sisters, Eve?”

Visions of the family library flitted past her mind’s eye. “None. Books proved my constant companions. I enjoy sharing many of the things I’ve learned with my pupils in Boston.”

His gaze narrowed and his free hand lay on top of hers. “Do you miss Boston when on such voyages as the one to the Transvaal?”

“My father and Edward often journey alone.” No amount of squirming unseated his hot touch. “Actually, I won’t be accompanying them anymore. This past trip proved tedious and I’m far happier remaining behind in Boston.”

He removed his hand and played the spoon over her mouth again. “More?”
Quite a persistent man, her potential healer. She jerked forward and settled. How could she refuse his offer the way her mouth watered for more?

His feeding her wasn’t doing any harm.

At her nod he slipped another spoonful between her lips. Some of the custard dripped down her chin. His warm finger swiped it away. Charles’ soft sucking filled her ears before the silence between them resumed.

He’d licked his finger clean. The fire spread higher and claimed her breasts.

Her next swallow freed a giggle.

Charles patted her hands. “Still more?”

“Yes.” What was she saying? Countless church bells pealed in her brain.

She pushed the chair away from the table. Charles’ laughter held her in place.

A buzzing filled her brain. Back and forth. Good pummeled Evil. Evil returned with a jab to Good’s jaw.

And she hadn’t done anything except sit here and let him feed her bread pudding.

He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you.” With his free hand he dunked his spoon into the refreshment. Softened from its soaking with rum custard, the remaining piece of pudding split. Charles let go of the spoon and the handle clanked against the side of the bowl.

She claimed the fallen spoon and lifted the custard to her lips. “No need for an apology. Your willingness to help me means a lot.”

She drifted her gaze from the bowl to his face and back again.

Waste not, want not.

He patted the back of her upraised hand. “Don’t worry about wasting food. Your comfort is more important.”

Not only was he incredibly striking but also incredibly astute.

Somewhere someone hummed. Or could she simply be hearing things?

He pulled the bowl and spoon away and set them near his left hand. “You can enjoy some fresh, warmer pudding later. You’re tired.”

Without further ado Charles stood, helped her up and scooped her into his arms. Her breath huffed out and hit his cheek. There she dangled, becoming smitten with a man whose will couldn’t be broken. Silent and his breathing measured, he retraced their steps and headed straight for the staircase.”

Wishing you all much love and happiness,

Shawna Moore
TORMENTED -- Ellora's Cave (MUST-READ from Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Coming in 2009 to Ellora's Cave Exotika

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace

Reading New Genres

I've been really busy the past few weeks reading books for RWA's Rita contest. I received 8 books to read and judge and I have until the second week of March to read them. It's a great excuse to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes! After all, I MUST read all these books by a specific deadline. It sort of feels like work, but it's been such a pleasure stashing the current book in my purse and reading it at every opportunity. It's so satisfying when I'm sitting in my favorite chair reading one of my Rita books, and my husband asks me to let the dog out or to pick up the kids. I can look at him over the top of my book and exclaim, "I really have to read this book right now."

What's fun about judging this contest is that I'm receiving books to judge that I might not otherwise pick up and read. I've heard of judges sending books back to RWA because they don't think they can judge them fairly. They're not familiar with the genre or they don't like the genre or the genre offends them. This puzzles me, and I think they're passing up a great opportunity to read something outside their normal realm. Reading books from different genres is a great learning tool too. Most genres have something they must weave into the romance between two people. It's been enlightening to discover exactly how they accomplish this to place their books firmly in their chosen genre.

This time around I got a few Inspirational Romances to judge, which I hadn't read before. I really enjoyed them, and each writer wove the element of faith, God, and the spiritual journey into her story in a unique way. I'm glad I got the opportunity to read this genre.

That's what's fun about reading erotic romances too. They come in all shapes and sizes (no pun intended), so it's almost like reading different genres - they all just happen to contain large dollops of sexuality.

So I'm all for keeping an open mind when it comes to reading Romance. Now I MUST get back to "work" - 3 1/2 down, 4 1/2 to go....

Kate St. James explains about Exes and Ahhs

Hi, today, Kate St. James is here to talk about her erotic romance story in the latest Secrets anthology.

Kate St. James lives in the Pacific Northwest with her adoring family. She keeps trying to kick them out, but they're sticking like glue...for reasons she can't figure. It's not like she's a model wife and mother. Or is she? Therein lies one of the great mysteries of Kate's generation.

An avid reader since childhood, Kate loves spending her days writing about the hot men and adventurous women populating her head. When she's not engrossed in her fictional worlds, you can find her chasing her hound in the hills above an azure lake, ignoring the smoke alarms blaring from the kitchen, or endlessly renovating her house.

Welcome Kate! Please tell us about Exes & Ahhs in Secrets Volume 26 Bound By Passion.

Kate: Hi, Nicole! Thanks for welcoming me back to Fierce Romance. My story, Exes & Ahhs, is an erotic reunion romance. Well, reunion in the sense that the story brings ex-lovers back together. However, they've been spending time together all along, just not in bed. :)

Here's a longer version of the blurb from the back of Secrets Volume 26: Bound By Passion:

When Risa Haber and Eric Lange were dating, she craved a lifetime and he suffered from No Woman's Gonna Tie Me Down Syndrome. Now, Eric's a silent partner in Risa's dessert catering business, but keeps sticking his nose into her recipes, her client list...down her blouse. She's tired of his insincere flirtations, so when they get trapped in a private party room following an erotically-themed event, she offers one last night of hot, carnal delights if he'll sell her his share of the biz, then exit her life forever. Eric figures he has to play along--or does he? All these months without Risa by his side have convinced him that as compatible as they are as lovers today, the rewards are guaranteed to go much deeper if they partner their hearts for life. Now if only he could convince Risa.

Nicole: Sounds wonderful! I love reunion stories. Do you have a review you could share with us?

Kate: Do I ever! First, Romantic Times rated Secrets Volume 26: Bound by Passion 4 Stars. If that weren't exciting enough, Cocktail Reviews awarded Secrets 26 4.5 Champagne Flutes overall and gave my story, Exes & Ahhs, 5.5 Champagne Flutes! The reviewer said, "This was brilliant! I loved the opening scene of this novella—it’s hilarious, saucy, and a great introduction to Risa and Eric. The love scenes are blisteringly hot and very, very sexy... This is easily one of my favorite erotic romances of recent months."

The maximum rating for Cocktail Reviews is 6 champagne flutes, known as "The Whole Bottle of Champagne," so I was very excited to nab 5.5 flutes.

Candy Ready's Red Hots also said, "This is a highly erotic, funny, tender romp that readers will absolutely love. You will laugh, get turned on, and cry before you finish, and you will wish for more! Eric is to die for!"

If I can share one more review, Erotic Horizon recently said, "Exes & Ahhs is hilariously funny, Ms. St James has given us two protagonists that you cannot help but fall in love with.... I absolutely enjoyed this read; it has everything, the little pikes of jealously, the cute best friend, the aging porn star and top that off with some steamy sex scenes."

Nicole: Wow!! Wonderful reviews! What is your favorite element in this story and why?

Kate: I love the reunited lovers aspect. Risa thinks she knows what she wants, and it isn't Eric. Watching her discover that Eric isn't as shallow as she believes really tugged at my heart strings during the writing of this story. Also, Risa does several risque things while trying to prove to herself that Eric isn't the man for her. Dreaming up these episodes was extremely satisfying. ;)

Nicole: I bet! I can't wait to read this. Who is your favorite character in this story?

Kate: I must say, while my heroes and heroines always hold a special place in my heart, with Exes & Ahhs I totally loved writing the character of aging former porn star and successful magazine publisher, Lainey Fullbright. The cool thing about writing secondary characters is that you can really let loose with them, and I did just that with Lainey and her pals.

I also love how secondary characters Kyla and Dante embark on the beginnings of a romance of their own during Risa and Eric's story. I created Kyla as a foil for Risa, and then, during a scene between Kyla and Eric, Dante suddenly showed up. Immediately, I realized that Kyla and Dante could have their own story to tell someday, and I reworked Exes & Ahhs accordingly. So if anyone likes what they see of Kyla and Dante in Exes & Ahhs, please email Red Sage and tell them you'd love to see a sequel--because I'd love to write one.

Nicole: Super idea! I love linked stories. What is your writing process?

Kate: This seems to change for me with every book and novella I write. Generally, though, I come up with a germ of an idea and tuck it away in a bulging idea file. When I begin a new project, I often start by going through this file. Whatever jumps out at me is what I write next. I start by brainstorming the story on my own as well as I can, and if I need help, I belong to a brainstorming group I can call upon for certain plot and character points. I don't write a synopsis at this time unless forced to (like for a contract). I much prefer to write a one-page blurb, because then I don't feel tied to a plot. Tying myself to a plot really restricts my muse, I've discovered. But I'll jot down scene ideas as they pop into my head, then I usually write the story scene by scene, first fast-drafting the scene and then revising and editing it before I move on to the next one. With some projects, I have jumped around and fast-drafted all the scenes in the project that I can "see." But usually my tendency is to keep proceeding from one scene to the next. To me, writing is an organic process that I can only accomplish by revising my story as it unfolds. Writing an entire first draft from beginning to end doesn't work for me. I sorely wish it did sometimes, but that's life. However, I still revise/edit and/or tighten the story as a whole once I'm done my revised-as-I-go process.

Nicole: Very cool! I always love learning how different authors write. Now here's something for you readers to watch. A book trailer for Secrets Volume 26.

And, here's a funny, sexy excerpt for you guys to read. I loved it!

This is on my TBR stack and I can't wait to dive in. Thanks for being here with us today, Kate! It has been a pleasure!

Something Sexy for Super Bowl Sunday

As millions of Americans gear up for watching the Super Bowl, good food and good friends, families and neighbors come together to show their team spirit and celebrate a national tradition. No matter which team is your favorite, cherish the day and all the fond memories it will bring. What if my team loses, you could be saying? Why would I want to remember the day they suffered an ultimate defeat? Friendly gatherings don't rely on victories, on-screen or off. They’re moments when we can temporarily forget our stressors, put aside petty differences and trade some pretty awesome stories with those who mean a great deal in our lives. Savor those nachos, hot wings or a delicious dip but make sure to toast the many reasons you have for living!

For those who like eye candy along with their sports, I happened across these sexy videos while conducting some hero/character research. Today I’m taking you across the water where you can check out these Italian football players caught on film. Enjoy and raise a glass of grappa to these hunks!

Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TORMENTED -- Ellora's Cave (MUST-READ from Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Coming in 2009 to Ellora's Cave Exotika

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace