Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shrinking dresses and other tales from the edge

So I dreamed last night that a friend asked me to come over and talk to her book group.  I love doing that so I, of course, said yes.  I expected about 5 people but when I got there, I found about 100 in this hidden auditorium at the back of her house--complete with pull out bleachers.  I was so surprised when I arrived that I talked about writing and the life of a writer, but I neglected to mention who I was or even mumble the titles of my books.  The million bookmarks I haul from place to place never came out.  AND I thanked them all at the end of the talk and left without signing books.  As I exited I heard a few mumbling, "who was she again?"

The dream then morphed into me stumbling around on the ASU campus in the incredible shrinking dress--each step I took made me sweat more and my dress got smaller until I was trying to keep it from tangling in the elastic of my underwear.  I won't go into details, but needless to say, I shouldn't have been wearing the dress when it was the right size.  Shrunken was wrong on too many levels.

Thank the powers that be, I woke up before it disappeared altogether.

A reader on Facebook told me about this video.  Thought you'd enjoy it too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Welcome Seduction Wears Sapphires author Renee Bernard!

I love it when Renee Bernard has a new book out because that means I get to host her here on my blog.  :)  Renee is one of those people that you meet once and feel like you've know forever.  In fact, we've only met once, but I knew I wanted to be friends immediately (poor Renee didn't have a chance of escaping me, ha ha.  I hope, at least, that I'm her favorite Stalker :-).  You'll be hard put to meet a warmer, more generous person.  I think that generosity and warmth is found in Renee's characters too.  Her heroes may be tortured, but they are never petty or cruel.  And let me tell you, they are NEVER cold.  On the contrary, they are smoking hot!

Renee stopped by to talk about her latest hero, Ashe Blackwell of SEDUCTION WEARS SAPPHIRES (Book 2 in her Jaded Gentlemen series.  Book One is the smokin' hot REVENGE WEARS RUBIES.  Read more here).  And don't leave before you get to the GIVE AWAY DETAILS below or the fabulous excerpt from SEDUCTION WEARS SAPPHIRES!

Renee...take it away!

Out of the mouths of babes…isn’t that the saying? Well, I often find that a character’s light-hearted remarks can seal their fate and inspire their own delicious fall. When the Jaded came to life and I was writing the first book in the series, “Revenge Wears Rubies”, Ashe Blackwell made a joke about needing a chaperone and I knew that “Seduction Wears Sapphires” was going to be a much more light-hearted ride thanks to my wonderful hero.

Rogues and bad boys are singularly suited to getting attention in romances, but I wanted Ashe to be more than a shallow playboy. If he lives his life to excess, there are reasons for his choices and if a woman is going to rein him in, she couldn’t just be the usual innocent thrown in his path. Oh, no! When a man lives his life hearing the word “Yes”, it had to be a woman who had no qualms about telling him “No!” And where an English miss might be swayed, I was sure that an American woman with a practical streak a mile wide wasn’t going to easily be impressed with a handsome man in evening clothes.

Ashe! I think he’s one of my favorites, if only because he hides very little and for all his bravado, I consider him one of the more vulnerable of the Jaded when it comes to matters of the heart. He is the one man amidst them who lost his first love not by a personal betrayal or misstep, but through sheer chance and tragedy. It was a doomed relationship, but I don’t think Ashe ever saw it that way and if the rebellion hadn’t intervened, he might be fighting for her still. So I truly hope that my readers will fall in love with him, too. Not just for the rogue in him, but for the true hero he tries to be in honoring his grandfather’s wishes and committing completely to whatever he’s pursuing (even when it’s not good for him…)

As for the backdrop, the Victorian era was long and varied in its character. I love it because it is such a rich tapestry to work against. For me, the specific time period of these particular books is one of great change (1859-60); so for now, Queen Victoria still has the love of her life in Prince Albert, America is on the brink of their Civil War and nothing is certain. The Jaded met in the dungeons of a raj in India during the Sepoy Rebellion and have their fair share of scars and horror stories to tell, but they also escaped with secret fortunes in their pockets and hidden enemies on their heels. They say you can never go home again, but for the gentlemen of the Jaded, it’s never that simple.

After all…home is where the heart is, right?

I hope everyone enjoys “Seduction Wears Sapphires” and I look forward to sharing all of the Jaded’s stories with my fantastic readers! Please (as always!) don’t be shy about sending me a note but I should warn you that I love to put readers’ names into my books as secondary characters… so if you have a great name or you make me smile, you’ll have to stay posted!

So, here’s the burning question of the day. I definitely broke some rules and stretched reality a bit for the sake of a good read by throwing a female chaperone into Ashe’s path. When I research, I stay as true as I can, but ultimately, it’s fiction, this romance game ;--) so I’m not always a slave to the details. How do you feel about historical romance? Is it better to keep all the grit and grime intact, or can an author blur the lines without risking life and limb? What are your favorite rule-breakers or rule-keepers when it comes to historical romance?

Best answer gets a signed copy of “Seduction Wears Sapphires”!!!

Excerpt from Seduction Wears Sapphires:

She laughed again, and the magic of it wasn’t lessened in its new familiarity. Ashe liked this lighter and merrier version of the terrier. This Miss Townsend was all feminine sweetness and corruptible curves, without the glowering looks and prim little sniffs of disapproval. This Miss Townsend had an appeal that transcended his opinions about pushy American women and chaperones in general.

But this Miss Townsend was just as forbidden to him as any other woman, and Ashe bit the inside of his cheek hard enough to sting and remind him that while she had the luxury of dreams, his feet needed to stay firmly planted in the waking world.

“Here we are,” he stopped at her door, opening the latch for her and glancing inside to note the lack of light. “Let me see if we can’t light a candle and get you settled,” he said, guiding her just inside the doorway.

She put her head on his shoulder and he could feel her nod in acquiescence. She was clinging to him innocently enough, but the sensation of her pert breasts pressing against his arm and side through the thin silk of his shirt was pure torment. He tried to recall the room’s arrangement by memory, but he’d never bothered much with the guest rooms.

Ashe instinctively acted to protect the terrier’s shins and avert a bad ending to their adventure. “Wait, here, miss, and I’ll make sure everything is as it should be.” He gently guided her hand to the door frame, anchoring her safely so that he could make his explorations.

“You’re so kind to me,” she sighed.

Kind. I’m the devil in the dark, and she thinks I’m kind.

He strode toward what he thought was a best guess of the direction for her bed and side table and instead was rewarded with a bruising blow across his shins from one of her traveling trunks. Ashe bit down hard to swallow a string of curses from the throbbing pain, before trying another direction and finding success. With a hand on the bed curtains, he traced the edge of the mattress and found what he was looking for.

The glow from the single taper was more than enough to illuminate the waiting figure in the doorway, and Ashe forgot about his bruised shins at the vision she presented. Once again her thin cotton gown did nothing more than accent everything her dowdy fashions struggled to hide from view.

The heat in his blood reignited and Ashe smiled, wondering if his grandfather had any idea of the hellfire he’d poured on his grandson’s head. Sacred oaths and familial duties aside, his chaperone was proving to be an unexpected problem.

“Must I go to bed now?” she asked, and Ashe’s cock instantly became painfully hard, its swollen head pressing against the waist of his pants and when he risked a glance downward he could see it, one pearl of moisture beading from its tip.

He closed his eyes and tried to banish the demon that snaked through his body, its power emanating from the raw hunger between his thighs. “Yes,” he managed to grind out, roughly pulling the covers aside. “In, Miss Townsend.”

“Won’t you be showing me more of London?” She walked toward him, her voice giving no hint of an intimate double meaning to her words, no trace of an illicit invitation—but her nightgown had fallen even further down her shoulder revealing the top of a creamy orb, an invitation in itself.

Oh, the things I could show you, Miss Townsend.

“Not tonight.” He tugged at the covers again, his hands itching to see just how much of a pull it would take on the ribbon of her gown to allow it to fall to the floor. He forced himself to look away from the frayed strip of narrow satin so tantalizing within his reach. “Time to rest and tomorrow…we’ll see about you beginning your adventures in London.”

She sighed, lifting the hem of her nightgown with the innocence of a child to allow her to climb unencumbered up into the bed and giving Ashe a delicious peek at her legs in the process. “I’ve never had an adventure before!”

It was all he could do not to grab one of her ankles and drag her over to the side of the bed and ravish her without apologies. Instead, he stiffly threw the covers over her and took a firm step back. “Stay. In. Bed.”

“As you wish,” she smiled sweetly, pressing back into the pillows, her blonde curls fanning out to frame her face. Her eyes looked at him, without seeing him, and Ashe finally accepted that retreat was his only option.

He took the taper with him, hoping to avoid another stumble on his way out. He’d nearly made it to the door when she called out softly, “I can hardly wait until tomorrow.”

He shut the door behind him and blew out the candle.

God, give me strength.

Want more?  Visit Renee's website at where you can get details on what's on the shelves and what's coming up.  Don't forget to enter the contest by answering:  What are your favorite rule-breakers or rule-keepers when it comes to historical romance?

Best answer gets a signed copy of SEDUCTION WEARS SAPPHIRES!!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On the agenda.....

Life is moving at warp speed, but I've come to expect that.  I've had to slow down my extra curricular reading--my "just for me" reading, that is.  I've got too much other stuff going on.....Like re-reading Haunting Desire as I write Haunting Destiny.  There are so many elements to my Haunting Series, so many pieces that I fit in the puzzle.  I want to be sure that I include them all and I don't end up with a gaping hole anywhere. 

I'm really excited about Tiarnan's story and I hope you'll like it too.  What's difficult is ending one story and starting another.  I always feel like it should be brilliant and perfect out of the gate and it takes me forever to come around to the fact that rarely is anything brilliant in first draft.  GRRRRR.

Thanks to everyone for the book recommendations.  As soon as I get the first draft of the fourth book finished, I'll be diving in.  And if you were part of the title contest--still haven't selected.  I've been waiting until I had a few things completed before I send the suggestions to my editor.  I wanted to give her the cover copy and the first chapter at the same time AND I wanted to be through this final read of Haunting Desire.  So, look for the winner announcement in the next few weeks.

By the way, in case you haven't heard....Haunting Desire will be out in April 2011.  (It was advertised before as March, but there was a scheduling conflict so April it is.  My birthday is in April and I'm thinking it will be a lucky year for me.  (birthday is 11, year 11).

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tell me what you're reading....

Hi there.  I love to talk about books.  If you read this blog, you probably already know that.  I don't mean I just like to talk about MY books, but all books.  There's not a genre I haven't read (although political memoirs, business strategies and financial outlooks tend to leave me...well, asleep).  I also go through binges where I am addicted to a certain genre.  Last year I couldn't get enough Regency romance, the year before I was loving straight paranormal (as opposed to crooked paranormal, ha ha).  This year I'm hooked on Urban Fantasy.  I've devoured a few series since I started, but I'm still Jonesin' for more.  Recommendations are always welcome.

What are you reading?  What are you over?  What can't you wait to get your hands on?