Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday 13: BFF Movie Heroines

If we could, we'd yank these women off the silver screen and wrangle them into friendship.

  1. PG Forte: I'm calling Joan Wilder (Romancing the Stone) before anyone else can. Yeah, I'm selfish like that.
  2. Erin Nicholas: OTHER THAN Joan Wilder... Kathleen Kelly( (Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail)
  3. Erin Nicholas: Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightly in the Pirate of the Carribean movies)
  4. Meg Benjamin: Julia Child (Julie and Julia)
  5. Meg Benjamin: Jane Adler (It's Complicated)
  6. Meg Benjamin: Mary Shannon (In Plain Sight) 
  7. Kinsey Holley: Zoey Washburn (Gina Torres, Serenity and Firefly)
  8. Kinsey Holley: Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny)
  9. Juniper Bell: Any character played by Sandra Bullock! Most recently, Sarah in The Heat, but also Lucy Kelson in Two Weeks Notice, Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality, Annie Porter in Speed, and so on. 
  10. Skylar Kade: Elizabeth Bennett (Kiera Knightley in the newer P&P)
  11. Skylar Kade: Danielle from Ever After (Drew Barrymore) 
  12. Kate Davies: I want to be friends with Elizabeth Bennett too, but I'll take the Jennifer Ehle version. 
  13. Kate Davies:  I'll claim Lucy from While You Were Sleeping. If Juniper is willing to share.
 Which leading ladies are on your list?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monthly Round Up for October 2013

We have more new releases to crow about this month, starting off with The 4th book in Sydney Somer's  Pendragon Gargoyles series, Primal Temptation, which is now available!

And...Rhythm of Three (the eagerly-awaited sequel to Kelly Jamieson's Rule of Three) which just released yesterday!

If you're a fan of paperbacks, you'll  want to pick up Just A Kiss by Erin Nicholas (book 5 in her Bradfords series) when it releases on November 5th.

Next, mark November 19th on your calendar because we have TWO new releases to celebrate.

There's Best of Three by Erin Nicholas, which is book 3 in the Counting on Love series (for those of you who are 'keeping count' so to speak--lol).

This is Nate and Emma's story and it's available for pre-order now.

Last, but hopefully not least, PG Forte's novella, Inked Memories will also release on the 19th as part of the Midnight Ink boxed set, which includes stories by Jayne Rylon, Mari Carr, Carrie Ann Ryan, R.G. Alexander, Eden Bradley, Sidney Bristol and Robin Rotham.

One tattoo shop in one infamous city sets the stage for eight stories about resolutions, kink, love and ink. Get ready to let the good times roll!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Blogger Charlie Cochrane - Getting Out Of the Lonely Writing Garret

When I look back at my writing life when I was first published, about five years ago, my equivalent of going into the office of a morning was logging on to the computer. The authors (and readers) I met were all online, via facebook or live journal or what have you. It took me a couple of years to be brave enough to find some real life authors to meet face to face.

That first authors’ lunch (after much googling and e-mailing and being invited as a guest) was at the local chapter meeting of the Romantic Novelists Association. It was wonderful, not least because they were so welcoming of new blood and – perhaps more importantly – so unready to bat an eye at the fact I wrote about romance between two men, as opposed to the traditional “boy meets girl”. I felt empowered. Or something.

Next step was to join the RNA as a proper member, but that didn’t feel like enough. Whatever the wonderful feeling was that had engulfed me, I knew I wanted more, so when I stumbled across the Festival of Romance (I spend much of my writing career stumbling across things or having them stumble across me) I hoped they’d let me get involved. Blow me down if I didn’t get asked to do a panel. I’ve supported the event ever since. There’s nothing quite like talking to more experienced authors, getting inside information, sharing tips, learning by other people’s mistakes and their great ideas. And being with people who understand author problems, which might – naturally – be a mystery to people outside the profession.

At this point I was on a roll, having volunteered to be on the organising panel for UK Meet, which is the GLBTQ equivalent of the Festival of Romance, I guess, in that it’s a great mixture of business and pleasure, authors and readers, industry stuff and non-industry stuff.

“Friendly and unpretentious” as I’ve heard it described, although that’s not to say it isn’t professionally run. The unique point about UK Meet is you’re among people who “get” our particular genre. Nobody looks down on us because we write/read what we write/read. Nobody asks us, “Why don’t you stop writing that sort of book and write a proper novel instead?” We know that what we write are proper novels. That sort of like minded thinking makes for an extremely inclusive, relaxed event.

Trouble is, when you get into something, you’re always on the lookout for new opportunities. And yes, when you’re least expecting it, up an opportunity pops. One of the people I met through the RNA lunches said, “Would you be interested in doing library talks? There’s this organisation called Mystery People who have all sorts of things going on.”I almost knocked her down in my rush to say, “Yes, where do I sign?”

As a result of that, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some great mystery writers, and appear with them at various events, talking about what we love best – writing – and what we love second best, which seems to be Mr Foyle off “Foyle’s War”.

So, I’d encourage all authors, if they can (and I know it’s just not possible for some of us to step out of the garret) to take a deep breath, be brave and go out to find kindred spirits. It’ll do you the power of good.

As Charlie Cochrane couldn't be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with books published by Samhain, Carina, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie's Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team of the UK Meet, for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames, five dizzy but delightful mystery writers.

Links, etc:

You can reach Charlie at (maybe to sign up for her newsletter?) or catch her on Facebook, twitter, goodreads, her website or her blog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Writing, setting, and embarassment--an informal survey

A couple weeks ago, I flew to see family. Determined to get some writing done, I packed prepared--laptop, notebook, and pen in my carry-on.

But as I sat in the terminal, ready to finish a steamy scene, prickles crawled up my neck. What if some child started looking over my shoulder? Hell, what if some adult did? I don't think I could bear the embarrassment of the wrong person reading something too hot for them to handle.

I quickly realized that if I couldn't write in the terminal, there was no freakin' way I'd be able to write on the plane. Between zero elbow room and even less privacy, my BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) plan was smashed. Nothing kills the mood like unwanted voyeurs.

Instead, I brainstormed. Yes, I "rested my eyes" while I did this, but some of my best ideas come in that liminal space between waking and sleeping. And with my pen and composition book handy, I even managed to capture some of the thoughts!

So, fearless fellow you brave through the potential onlookers and write wherever and whenever you can? Do you invest in a privacy screen, or fly fancy-pants first class for some alone time with your WIP?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Congratulations Kelly Jamieson!

Rhythm of Three is out Tuesday October 29!

One woman, two lovers. Double the pleasure, or double the trouble?
Rule of Three, Book 2

Former goodie-two-shoes Kassidy now has three pairs of shoes under her bed—hers, Chris’s and Dag’s. While she relishes the hot threesome that makes her friends jealous, she can’t deny things are…complicated. Namely, whom to tell about their unconventional relationship, and whom to keep in the dark. 

In the dark category? Definitely Chris’s parents, which should be simple, since they live far away. Except they’ve sprung a surprise for their son’s thirtieth birthday. They’re coming for a visit. Then there’s Kassidy’s best friend Danielle, who’s home from Europe, clueless to recent events, and flirting with Dag like crazy. 


Family, friends, coworkers and a wedding put three lovers’ best intentions to the test, making them wonder if this unique brand of love has a chance in hell of working out

Warning: Contains three vulnerable hearts engaged in a ménage a trois, some man-on-man action, sizzling exchanges of graphic language, and rock-your-socks explicit sex. So yeah, it’s dirty, but also sweet.

Amazon    B&N    Samhain

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flirty Friday - Ready To Run by Kinsey Holley

Nothing like a great visual to set the scene, don't you think? :)  Here's a quick excerpt from Kinsey Holley's Ready To Run:

Bryan rolled his eyes. “Enough with the chick stuff. Here, I got you something you actually need.”

“What is it?”

“Open it and find out.”

So she did. “Oh my God! This is awesome!”

“It’s a smartphone.”

She slapped his arm. “Duh. I haven’t been living in a cave. I know what they are—I’ve just never been able to justify the expense.” Her cell phones had always been the cheapest models—it wasn’t like she had lots of people to call, never mind texting or getting on the Web.

“You don’t need to justify this. It’s a gift. I added it to my plan.”

“I have to at least pay the monthly bill!”

“We can talk about it later. You really like it, huh?”

“I love it. I gotta send an email to someone. TJ, what’s your address? Oh, this is so cool!

She must’ve squeaked a bit too loud because he and Taran both winced a little, but he didn’t seem to mind when she threw her arms around his neck.

He turned his head as she kissed his cheek. His mouth found hers. His was open, and though she didn’t normally French kiss guys in the middle of a bar, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to part her lips and welcome his tongue.

A warm, limp, happy feeling gushed through her, all the way down to her toes. She sort of sagged into him. 
A part of her was appalled at this very public display. It was the part of her she’d meant to leave behind in Luxor, so she ignored it and gave herself up to the intoxication of his kiss. His tongue was cold from the beer he’d been drinking, and she loved the taste of it.

His hand was warm and heavy on her knee. As he ran it up her thigh, his thumb tracing the inner seam higher and higher, his fingers bumped into one of the rips on her new jeans. She started to giggle, and after a soft nibble on her bottom lip, he broke the kiss.

They stared at each other a minute, her gaze locked on his mouth. She couldn’t look in his eyes, but she could catch their expression in her peripheral vision, and she knew his gaze was hungry. A hot knot of excitement was forming in her stomach. When he started to draw his hand away, she surprised herself by grabbing it, holding it against her thigh. His eyebrows shot up and his smile got wider.

“Alrighty, then,” TJ drawled. “Hey! Can we get the check over here? Like, right now?”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday 13: Real Life Romance

This week's Thursday 13...what things do our real-life heroes do that we wish romance novel heroes did more often?

Juniper Bell: My husband has an incredibly optimistic view of just about everything, which is the perfect counterpoint to my own tendency toward anxiety. Just a simple hug from him can make me calmer. I'm not sure what he gets out of the deal.

Meg Benjamin: Hubs is patient with me when I'm in a really crummy mood. Heroes need to understand that even the fairest heroine has her bitchy moments.

Kate Davies: The DH took over completely as Mr. Mom when I got a job 90 miles away from home & had to live away from the family during the week. It was only for 9 months, but the recognition of how much goes into taking care of house & kids has continued to this day. We're definitely a stronger partnership now.

PG Forte: Foot rubs...except I don't get nearly enough. *hint*

Kinsey Holley: Hubs rubs the feet and cooks. Also fixes absolutely everything. If I wrote a hero who could fix the variety of car and household stuff Hubs can, reviewers would say it was just stupidly unrealistic.

Kelly Jamieson: My husband gives great neck/shoulder massages. I am making my heroes give more massages.

Skylar Kade: Ky doesn't bring me flowers or chocolate...he brings me fresh, homemade hot-from-the-oven bread. More heroes should bake!

Erin Nicholas: Mine does laundry. And dishes. And grocery shops. And cooks sometimes. It's awesome. I think heroes should be more domestic

Sydney Somers: Master Chef will do anything, even act like a complete nut, just to make me laugh. That's one thing I'd like to see more of in books.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reinventing a Legend

One of the things I love best about my job is that I get to make things up for a living: people, places, adventure, romance. Lots and lots of romance.

But it's even more enjoyable when I can take an idea, or in this case, a legend and reinvent an entire world. With each book in my gargoyle series, I've delved a little deeper into the world of King Arthur and Avalon, and with Primal Temptation readers get their first real glimpse of Arthur and Morgana and a bunch of new players that will shake things up for Briana and Lucan.

I'm a plotter by nature when it comes to writing, but even I can be surprised by how events unfold in the moment. For example, I've always fascinated by the famous love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Without giving anything away, I will say that Primal Temptation offers a little taste of my spin on that particular dynamic. And if you're wondering how that's possible when the very first book in the series takes place centuries after Arthur's "death", then you'll want to check out Primal Temptation and see for yourself :)


Enslaved by a vengeful goddess, forced to live on blood, Lucan can barely remember life as a knight of the Round Table. Yet when one woman’s touch awakens millennium-old feelings that tame the savage darkness within him, he has no choice but to deny their all-consuming passion—for her own protection.

Cat-shifter Briana Callaghan has watched all three of her brothers find their mates, but love isn’t in her future. Especially when her mate turns out to be a lethal mercenary…and the only man ever to break her heart.

When she’s chosen to compete in the Gauntlet, an immortal death match, Briana realizes the prize—the sword Excalibur—is her only hope of severing the fierce bond that has the power to destroy her.

Stunned to find themselves pitted against each other, Briana and Lucan quickly find that the only thing they’re fighting harder than their enemies is their sizzling, heartbreaking chemistry. But even if they survive the Gauntlet, claiming the woman he loves will be as impossible as letting her go.

Warning: Contains adult language, skin-tingling sexual tension over a thousand years in the making, and a brutal warrior unable to resist the only woman to appeal to both the man and the monster within.  

Read an excerpt on my Website

Buy from Amazon | Samhain

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guest Blogger MJ Fredrick - Christmas On the Beach

This past summer I went to my very first writer’s retreat. Trish Milburn and I, who have been best friends for years, had been playing around with an idea for a Christmas book we could write together. and I said, “What about a beach Christmas?”

I had no intention of actually going to a beach for inspiration, but Trish was really excited by the idea. She brought in Tanya to write the third story, I played hooky the last day of school, flew to Nashville to meet Trish, and we drove down to the Alabama Gulf Coast.

We’d rented a three-bedroom condo right on the beach, with a terrific view of the coast. After stuffing ourselves on seafood the first night, we got to work the next day. We drove around the little town of Orange Beach, taking notes on what kinds of businesses we saw. Tanya was excited that we actually saw a beach wedding, since that’s what her story is about. We took more notes, took a walk on the beach, ate more seafood, and headed back to the condo to get to work.

The condo had this great patio, with a high table and Adirondack chairs, and we spread out to get to work. We brainstormed the town name (a LOT harder than you’d expect) businesses their names, and secondary characters.

Tanya had a better idea of what her story was about than I did, so we worked on her story first. Then we worked on Trish’s, then my nebulous idea started coming together. Earlier I’d seen an open-air bar that I wanted to use as my setting (which meant another bartender hero for me—my third in two years!) and I knew I wanted a little-sister-of-the-best-friend conflict, so they helped me figure out how to get the brother out of the picture, how to fix it so my heroine wouldn’t be spending Christmas with her parents.

During this time, we decided we should write a series—4 novellas, one per season, set in Starfish Shores.

All this work was exhausting, so we went to eat seafood. When we came back, we were going to walk on the beach, but storms were rolling in, so we watched Warm Bodies and talked until the wee hours.

The next day was rainy, and Tanya was good and worked on edits for another book. Trish was reading and I was probably posting pictures of Stephen Amell on Tumblr. Inspiration, you know! But we did toy with the idea of making our spring break story a rainy one—all those people, stuck inside for a week.

The following day Tanya headed home, but Trish and I decided to stay another day. We waited for the rain to stop, then went to the pier.

We were absolutely going to stay for about half an hour, but there was a LOT of excitement. First, the fishermen were hooking sharks left and right. I’m not even kidding—at least 10 sharks were hooked, and we saw a hammerhead and a stingray from the pier.

Then there was a rescue attempt, complete with lifeguards on jet skis, helicopters and a sonar boat. Unfortunately, the attempt did not have a happy resolution, but it was an experience.

We went out for seafood again, and the next day headed back to Nashville.

So I didn’t get much writing done on my first writing retreat, but I had experiences I’ll never forget (and lots and lots of seafood!)

Want to check out the stories we came up with? Look at Swept Away for Christmas, available at Amazon , Barnes and Noble

MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching elementary music, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

She's a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist, and she won the 2009 Eppie Award with Hot Shot and the 2010 Eppie with Breaking Daylight.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Friendly Ghost

October is the traditional month for Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-Legged Beasties and Things That Go Bump In the Night. Lately, I've had a lot of experience with those things in the writing sense if not in reality.

The first novel in my Ramos Family/Medium trilogy, Medium Well, concerned a very nasty ghost that the hero and heroine had to put down. To be fair, the second novel, Medium Rare, also has a pretty nasty ghost at the center of the action. But it has something new—a friendly ghost guiding the heroine in her new-found career as a medium. In fact, he’s a spirit guide named Skag, and he helps my heroine, Rose Ramos, out of several very sticky situations.

Spirit guides were really popular with mediums in the early twentieth century, but they were frequently children or historical figures like Native Americans. I knew I wanted something different for Rosie’s spirit guide. As I started writing, Skag took on a definite personality—snarky, sophisticated, and dry. He reminded me of someone, but I wasn’t sure who. Then one night it hit me as I was watching old movies—Addison DeWitt, the exceedingly nasty, exceedingly funny gossip columnist in the classic Bette Davis movie, All About Eve. Addison, played by George Sanders, was absolutely perfect. And since Skag was a shape shifter, I could have him assume Addison’s appearance and use his acid delivery.

Of course, there were some definite problems with using Addison as my spirit guide. A critiquer of one of the early versions pointed out that few of my readers under thirty would have heard of George Sanders or even All About Eve. She suggested using Simon Cowell instead. But that raised a couple of problems for me. First, I’m not a big Simon Cowell fan myself. And second, I couldn’t see using a living person as the avatar for a very old ghost. Besides, the fact that neither the heroine nor the very skeptical hero were familiar with George Sanders became an important plot point.

When I started working on Book 3 in the Ramos Family trilogy, Happy Medium (coming on January 21, 2014 from Berkley InterMix), I decided I wanted Skag to stick around. My hero in Happy Medium, Ray Ramos, is faced with a very nasty ghost with boundary issues, and Skag is the only one with the information that can save the day. He’s more an advisor this time around, but how many families have their own supernatural pipeline? If you’ve got to have a ghost hanging around, Skag is definitely one of the best.

Here’s the blurb for Happy Medium:

Love is good for the soul… unless it’s one that you’re trying to exorcise.
Ray Ramos has a problem–the King William District mansion he and his business partner purchased for a fast renovation needs more work than expected. Ray could use a quick infusion of cash. Enter Emma Shea, assistant to Gabrielle DeVere, the star of American Medium. Gabrielle is looking for San Antonio houses to use for her televised séances, and Ray’s fixer upper seems to fit.
When Gabrielle does a sample séance, Ray and Emma become the target of a touchy ghost with no respect for boundaries. After Ray learns his family has a special affinity for ghosts, the two decide to investigate the haunted house. It doesn’t hurt that Emma is immediately attracted to the laconic Ray or that Ray is intrigued by the buttoned-down beauty who seems determined to hide her considerable assets behind sober business suits. But can the two of them fight off a vengeful succubus bound to the house while getting a lot closer than either of them planned?

And here’s a short excerpt from Medium Rare where Rosie meets Skag for the first time:

“Who’s there?” she called and then felt like kicking herself. Nothing like letting the potential burglar-rapist–serial killer know you were awake and aware that he was there.

“Good evening.” The voice was faintly accented, slightly British, definitely masculine and . . . vaguely familiar.

Rose peered into the darkness at the corners of the room. A lot of darkness, actually. More darkness than she’d been aware of before. In fact, it was the darkest freakin’ bedroom she’d ever been in.

Not what she’d call a plus at the moment.

Her hand scrabbled around the night table, trying to find her cell phone. She flipped it open, squinting at the keys in the darkness.

“Please don’t bother,” the invisible man said. “You don’t need the police. Besides, you’ll find you can’t get service in here right now.”

Rose stared down at the glowing screen. No bars. How the hell could she have no bars? She’d just made a call this afternoon from the living room.

“Sorry,” the man said mildly. “It’s me. You won’t be able to get service while I’m in the room with you.”

She took a deep breath, lowering the phone to the spread. Calm, stay calm. “Where are you? Step out where I can see you. And do it slowly—I’m armed.” She picked up her book, a hardback fortunately. Assuming she could hit him, he’d probably have a lump.

“Throwing things at me won’t have any effect. Except to increase your own sense of satisfaction, of course.”

She gritted her teeth. She really hated being the straight man in this exchange. “Show yourself anyway.”

“I already have. You’re just not looking in the right place.”

Rose licked her lips. Okay. You’re okay. “Give me a hint.”

“Look up.”

She raised her gaze slowly to the ceiling of the room. At the far end, something glowed a dim yellow-green, like some kind of night-light. She squinted. The yellow light became a blob, then seemed to elongate, becoming vertical, stretching from the ceiling halfway to the floor, perhaps five feet or so. Slowly, the light began to change, becoming bluish white, then gray, then resolving, very slowly into the outline of a figure.

Rose’s hands closed tightly on the coverlet. Her breath seemed to catch in her throat as her pulse hammered.

The figure became more clear. A man. Shortish. Stocky. Wearing a blue jumpsuit with a white undershirt showing at the V-neck. Hair slicked back, high forehead, deep-set eyes . . . Holy shit! A deeply satisfying wave of exasperation washed over her.

“Hannibal Lecter?” she snapped. “Really? Are you kidding me? Hannibal Lecter? What kind of sick joke is this? Get the fuck out of my bedroom!” Amazing how the combination of terror and annoyance made her sound like she was in control.

Hannibal Lecter floated a couple of feet away from the foot of her bed. His expression seemed vaguely disgruntled. “I was trying to find an appearance you were familiar with. I thought you’d like it.”

“Who are you?” She took another deep breath, trying to slow down her pulse. “And why exactly shouldn’t I just get the hell out of here right now?”

“If you walk out now, you’ll never know why I’m here, will you? And don’t tell me you don’t want to know.” Hannibal moved back a few paces. “Give me a moment and I’ll come up with something else.”

Lecter’s face became indistinct, the edges softening, blurring, then disappearing altogether. Slowly, he became a blob of light again. Rose stared, feeling slightly giddy, as if she’d been holding her breath too long. After a moment, the light elongated again, new features appearing in the face. Instead of the blue jumpsuit, the man now wore a tuxedo. The face was long and narrow, the hair parted at the side, nose slightly bulbous, narrow mouth spread in a faint smile. He raised an eyebrow. “Better?”

“I suppose. Who are you now?”

“George Sanders as Addison DeWitt. Won an Academy Award for All About Eve, one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. Your generation has forgotten him. Typical.” He had a pronounced British accent.

“All right.” Rose flexed her fingers, letting the spread drop. “So who are you really? And why are you here? And when will you go away?”

“To begin with your last question, I’ll go away after we’ve had our little talk.” George whatever-he-was reached into his pocket and extracted a cigarette in a cigarette holder. It was already lighted. He inhaled deeply and blew a cloud of smoke at the ceiling.

“Don’t smoke in here,” Rose said automatically.

George gave her a patronizing smile. “I hardly think this smoke will bother you.”

“So what are you—a ghost?”

George frowned slightly. “In a manner of speaking. I suppose it’s easiest if you think of me that way.”

“Are you haunting this house? Did you die here?”

He blew another cloud of smoke. “I died elsewhere. A very long time ago. And as for haunting this house, no. If you leave this house, so will I. I suppose you could say I’m haunting you.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

First BOOK Friday-- Meg Benjamin

It's First BOOK Friday!  For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from each of the Nine Naughties.  Sometimes people find us further down our backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up our first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes our first book was so long ago even we've forgotten!  (just kidding... it's true that you never forget your first!).  So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for each of us!

This month we're featuring the first book from Meg Benjamin,  Venus in Blue Jeans.

A note from Meg:

Venus was the first book I did with Lindsey Faber at Samhain. I submitted it. She rejected it, but told me if I could fix a few things she’d like to reconsider it. I did what she asked and then resubmitted. She accepted it, and I got ready to celebrate. That lasted until the hubs got home with the news that he hadn’t gotten a promised promotion and that he was going to look for another job. So much for celebration. The day after Venus was released, he left to live in an apartment in Golden, Colorado, for three months while I packed up our house in Texas and got ready to move. So my first Konigsburg, Texas, book was published just when I was getting ready to leave Texas for Colorado. Go figure.


A guy. A girl. A Chihuahua. Two of them will find the love of their lives.

Coming off a broken engagement to a lying charmer, all bookstore owner Docia Kent wants is a fling, not a long-term romance. And for her fabulously wealthy and fabulously nosy parents to butt out of her life for a while. The Texas Hill Country town of Konigsburg looks like the perfect place to get both. Especially when she gets a look at long, tall country vet Cal Toleffson.
Cal has other plans for Docia. One glance at this six-foot version of Botticelli’s Venus, and he knows he’s looking at the woman of his dreams. Now if he can just fend off the eccentric characters of Konigsburg long enough to convince her romance isn’t such a bad idea.
One night of mind-blowing sex isn’t the only thing that leaves them both stunned. With Docia’s bookstore under attack, Konigsburg suddenly doesn’t seem so welcoming. Once again she finds her trust tested—and is left wondering if she was ever meant to have a happily ever, after all.

Warning: Contains explicit sex, hot Texas nights, cool sarcastic friends, the world’s sweetest hero and the world’s saddest Chihuahua.


Cal stared, his pulse racketing in his ears. There she was again—Botticelli’s Venus with her wild red curls drifting around her face and shoulders. Perfect breasts, high and full. Waist narrowing to a gently rounded stomach. Long, creamy thighs stretching to muscular calves.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. If he was dreaming, this was when he’d wake up, hard and aching.

“Your turn,” she whispered.

He came down to earth with a thump. This was it. The point at which some of his past sexual encounters had come to an abrupt halt. The time when he’d need to get enough blood back into his brain to soothe, to reassure, to explain that, after all, size was relative and bodies did adapt to each other.

But he might as well get it over with.

He unzipped, pushing his slacks and underwear down together, feeling himself spring free. No point in delaying the moment—he wouldn’t get any smaller.

At least he profoundly hoped he wouldn’t.

Docia’s gaze was riveted on his groin. She stared at his cock, as he’d known she would. His throat was dry with wanting her. Somehow he had to figure out how to say all the things he needed to say to get past this moment. All the encouragement and reminders about how well they’d fit. How they were made to fit together. How if she lost her nerve now he’d probably go jump off a cliff somewhere.

She reached for him suddenly, before he realized what she was doing. Cool fingers wrapped around his shaft, measuring him, sliding lightly down the length of him.

“You’re very big.” Her voice sounded husky.

Cal swallowed, nodding. Even if he tried to speak, he figured his voice wouldn’t be more than a croak. And he wasn’t sure he could speak at all as long as her hand stayed where it was currently.

And then she grinned, eyes sparkling. “Fortunately, so am I.” 

Add it to your library here!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October Pick Your Pleasure: wine and chocolate edition

What would be worse: having cheap jug wine as your only alcoholic beverage option, or having cheap milk chocolate as your only dessert option?

Kelly: Definitely cheap wine. I can easily live without chocolate.
Meg: Definitely the cheap wine. I could skip the chocolate, but not the wine!
Erin: I already eat cheap milk chocolate! LOL! I'd say the wine too.
Syd: See now I think I have to say the chocolate would be worse, because no matter what cheap chocolate will always taste like cheap chocolate. But the wine on the other hand, once you force down a glass or two, it's only going to get better
PG: I'm confused. I think I agree with Syd. Except I think I agree with Kelly and Meg too. Just give me the wine.
Kate: I could force down cheap wine if necessary. Cheap chocolate would hurt my heart.
Juniper: I'm with the cheap wine, high-quality chocolate crowd. I have no palate at all.
Skylar: what, give up my artisan chocolate? Pass the 70% cacao with sea salt and caramel...and the tequila.

What's your pick? Vote below!

What would be worse: having cheap jug wine as your only alcoholic beverage option, or having cheap milk chocolate as your only dessert option? free polls 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some authors are like old friends

You don't see them all the time. You don't necessarily read everything they write, and you might go a long time between their books. But when you run into them again, you sigh and sit back, prepared to enjoy the experience because they've never let you down before and you know they won't this time, either.

Lynn Viehl is that kind of author for me. I can't recall how I found her; I think it was the cover of Dark Need -- that cover model is quite hot. I'd never read the Darkyn series but I fell in love with it through this book, and Lucan is still one of my favorite romance heroes ever -- and as PG Forte will tell you, I'm not a huge vampire romance fan (I don't like dead things.) I like my vamps alive -- like PG's, JR Ward's, and Viehl's.

I stumbled upon Dark Need about the time I started writing seriously, with an eye to publication. And when I went looking for Lynn's blog to learn more about her and her books, I discovered a site full of resources and advice for newbie and not-so-newbie authors. Now, that's not the principal reason for Paperback Writer's existence--it's mainly her personal blog, with some promotion and information about her books. But she's collected a hellaton of useful links for writing and researching, and she writes a lot about writing -- the creative process, the problems and frustrations, how to handle difficulties with publishers or agents.

When she got the ARCs of one of her Darkyn books (Locksley's, I believe), the cover model's eyes were pink. Robin of Locksley, in the Darkyn universe at least, does not have pink eyes. She could've written a post ranting about cover art disasters, but instead she wrote a hilarious (free) short story in which Robin receives ARCs of a book about himself--he's quite proud and excited that someone wrote about him and he's been talking about nothing else. A bunch of his Darkyn buddies are with him when he opens the box of ARCs, and their reactions to the pink eyes are hysterical. I think Lucan offers to kill the people in the art department responsible for the travesty.

I like reading her take on writing and the romance genre in particular. She is not a big fan of RWA or traditional romance, to put it very mildly. She takes a certain amount of pleasure in expressing opinions others in the genre might find offensive. I've often thought if the romance industry were high school, RWA would be the student council. Lynn would be the bad girl who sits in the back, with the stoners and the goths and other bad boys, and she'd never take notes and she'd smoke dope and cut class, but she'd always end up with A's.

She's written more than romance -- she's done science fiction and I think she's even been published in Guideposts, the venerable Christian magazine. (If you've ever read some of her sex scenes, you'll know how weird that sounds.)

Anyway. I recently discovered she has a new steam punk romance series out - Disenchanted & Co. They're kind of short, which is great because they're only $2.99. Very fast paced, almost pot-boilerly, and I mean no insult. It's the cliff hanger/rollicking type of pot boiler -- Indiana Jones steampunk, if you will. I finished Her Ladyship's Curse last night and I'm starting His Lordship Possessed as soon as I post this (click the covers to go to the Amazon page.)

So, if you're looking for someone new to read, and you like hot sex across genres, you might give Lynn a try. If you're a writer, you'll want to check out her links. I'm headed over there Never mind. If Sky finds out I'm chasing plot bunnies she'll kill me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest Blogger Chelle Cordero - It's Not Real

You won’t find the small towns of Catawai or Trance, Colorado on a map, but readers of Karma Visited will know where they are. Readers will understand the small town atmosphere, the concerns of community residents and the politics and backroom deals.

When I wrote this paranormal thriller, I didn’t just create fictitious characters, I also made up the location. Two towns in the northeast region of Colorado, a place I had never been to. The first thing I needed to do was research - a lot of it.

The internet is a terrific place to start researching places. The convenience of the World Wide Web allows you to simply plunk in a name and the search engines provide a array of material to choose from. Of course we’ve all been warned that the internet isn’t always factual and there is even a meme allegedly signed by Abraham Lincoln stating that fact (!), but when it comes to searching locations for fictional towns, the internet is truly a great writer’s tool.

I started with a map of the state and from there I read up on tourism. I found out interesting things about the state of Colorado, some of the attractions, some of the signature dishes, and the differences from one corner of the state to the other. Fortunately for the most part when you write about an area that you are making up in a region that is very real, all you really need are a few key items to do is add a spattering of tidbits – mention a geographical trait, have a character bite into a regional treat, hint at a popular highway and even mention proximity to a real life place.

Since one of the main characters is a law enforcement agent, I needed to do more in-depth research about law enforcement agencies and their structures in the northeast area of the real state. That’s how Dave Turner earned his title of Undersheriff based out of Catawai and that’s why the town of Trance had a simpler police station and a police chief that supervised town hall meetings an ensured order. My more detailed research also helped me set the stage for the governing body of Trance.

Actually many of the descriptions are benign and can really happen anywhere as in this small town hall meeting:

Thankfully the town board meeting moved along quickly. There was talk of replacing the town’s main traffic light, honoring the school’s football team after a win with another school, some discussion about a proposed mall, and local businesses sponsoring holiday lights for the end of the year seasonal decorations. Two of the residents got into a squabble about the overhanging limbs of a tree and who had the right and the obligation to trim it back.

Writers used to write about places where they had visited and in my earlier years I used auto club travel guides to help fill in some of the intricacies. But the more realistic we can make our locations, whether they are realistic or not, helps our readers to travel… as they stroll along the words of our stories.


(opening lines of the book)

My life changed after I died.

It’s not like I had any special powers. They just didn’t understand me.
They underestimated me.

I had a gift.



Do you believe in karma?

Annie Furman has a gift that allows her, while she sleeps, to visit people in their time of need - but who will be there for her when she needs help? Undersheriff Dave Turner is investigating a series of home invasions and homicides. He has no idea that solving this case will lead him to the woman of his dreams.


Chelle Cordero writes stories of Passion and Suspense. Vanilla Heart Publishing has published ten Cordero novels: Bartlett’s Rule; His Lucky Charm; Within the Law; Courage of the Heart; Final Sin; Hostage Heart; A Chaunce of Riches; Common Bond, Tangled Hearts; Hyphema and Karma Visited. Chelle has been writing both fiction and non-fiction for the bulk of her adult life and has been with Vanilla Heart Publishing since early 2008.

Her books have earned many plaudits. Bartlett's Rule was named one of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top Ten Reads for 2009; Final Sin was an Honorable Mention in the Fiction Category of the 2010 NY Book Festival and a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee.; Hyphema won the Dec 9, 2011 Friday Book Cover Vote on the Shades of Love website; A Chaunce of Riches was Winner of D. Renee Bagby’s readers’ choice for The Best Overall First Chapter, April 2010; and Hostage Heart, Final Sin and A Chaunce of Riches had top ten finishes in the 2009 Preditors’ and Readers’ poll. Chelle was also featured in "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" published by The Author’s Show in 2010. She offers a weekly writing workshop for Kindle Blog subscribers at

Chelle lives in the northeast with her husband, Mark, and family. They have two adult offspring. Jenni (& Jason) and Marc (& Trish); they also live with three mischievous and spoiled pussycats, one of whom has taken up permanent residence on Chelle’s desk. Chelle is a full-time freelance journalist for multiple publications; her articles appear regularly throughout North America and she writes a monthly column on NYS Emergency Medical Services issues as a NYS Emergency Medical Technician (First Responder News)


author’s blog


media room



You can email Chelle at ChelleCordero(at)

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book discussion packet for Karma Visited


Buy Links for Karma Visited




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Monday, October 14, 2013

Brace yourself, America...

"Brace yourself, America, because the following two facts may cause a rift between our two great countries and even the space-time continuum itself: Canada has its very own Thanksgiving and it even falls on a different day than yours."

Yes today is Thanksgiving. In Canada. Although my family celebrated with our big turkey dinner on Saturday, today is the holiday, and may I just say, I am thankful for a day off from the day job. :-)

Our Canadian Thanksgiving involves food - often a turkey and a pumpkin pie. I personally dislike pumpkin pie. I serve one because others expect it, but I usually have something else too.

We don't go shopping on Thanksgiving. But we do watch football  - the Thanksgiving Day Classic is an annual doubleheader held on Thanksgiving Day in the CFL.This year my team the Winnipeg Blue Bombers play against Montreal, and Toronto takes on Hamilton. Since my team has been doing so poorly (and that's a massive understatement as to the extent they suck) I'm not all that excited about it.

Fun aside, I think it's always important to stop and think about the things we're thankful for. So much of life is spent looking outside at what other people have, wanting more, wanting better. There's nothing wrong with ambition or a desire to better one's life, but when that's all you're focused on, it can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. But when you see people less fortunate than you - people who have nothing, people who have experienced great tragedies and obstacles in their lives - it can help us appreciate what we have, even though we may complain.

I could complain about my husband never putting his laundry in the hamper, or my kids not letting me know their plans until after I've cooked dinner, or the day job that has its stresses, or the fact that we have to spend money on new shingles for our house. I could complain about my deadlines and writer's block.

But instead, I am grateful for a wonderful, loyal, loving husband who is also a good father; two healthy, intelligent children (well, adults) who have active social lives and don't steal cars and do drugs; a beautiful home to live in; enough money to buy the things I need and enough to give some to others who don't;  a day job that supports us and challenges me; and I'm so grateful to be able to write romantic stories and share them with other people, and so very, very grateful to all the people who buy my stories and enjoy them - thank you!


What are you thankful for?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Book Club: Paranormal Romance

Vampires, werewolves and ghosts...Oh my.

With Halloween right around the corner we thought it was time to talk about our favorite paranormal romances. Whether you're a sucker for vampires or sometimes feel like howling at the moon (hey, we've all had days like that, no judgement here) there's no denying the enduring popularity of this genre.

From alpha males determined to claim their mates, to magic-wielding witches and vampires who'll do anything for the seductive taste of blood (unless you're Rock Fangsworthy)  fans just can't get enough.

So what keeps pulling you back to reading paranormal romances? Do you love stories of shifters on the hunt for their mates? Have you been gobbling up every vampire romance you can get since Twilight, or have you always been a fan? Or maybe you like something a little less popular with angels and demons or ghosts? And what are your favorite paranormal romances and authors?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

9 Things...Romance heroes should say more often

With their piercing eyes and washboard abs and five o'clock shadow, most romance heroes don't have to do anything but look pretty to make us swoon. But today we're raising the bar--here are the 9 things we'd like to hear them say more often:

  1. "God, you have a sexy brain." (Skylar)
  2. "I'll do anything to make you happy" (Erin)
  3. "Yes, dear." (PG)
  4. "Let me pour you a glass of wine." (Sydney)
  5. "Her? No. Way too skinny. That's not even attractive!" (Kinsey)
  6. "Of course I don't mind, the more cats the better." (Juniper)
  7. "Yogurt? Babe, you read my mind." (Meg)
  8. "Meet me at noon. Panties optional." (Erin)
  9. "Spend hours getting ready? Naw, you're beautiful just like this." (Skylar)
What are you adding to the list?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Art Imitating Life, or Why I'm Dreading Tomorrow

As some of you may know, I have three kids in various stages of teen- and tween-hood. And one of the shows they have watched with varying degrees of consistency is Glee.

(Last season was pretty much a miss to the Davies family, but prior to that, it was must see TV for several of us.)

Yes, I count myself among the Glee-watchers. I started watching to have something to do with my kids, but ended up sticking around for the songs and the storylines. Sometimes we loved it, sometimes we hate-watched, but either way, we watched.

And if every episode there was at least one action or decision by a main character that ended up in a "THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER DO THAT" conversation with my kids, well, I took it as a teaching moment.

But last summer, real life intruded on the little microcosm that is Glee, when actor Cory Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel, a death that was tied to drug and alcohol abuse. My kids were saddened but not distraught, and sadly, it was another teaching moment for our family - about how hard addiction can be to beat, and how even people with advantages and resources can get caught in that downward spiral.

Which brings us to tomorrow. The show will be airing its tribute episode, saying goodbye to both Cory and the character he played, Finn. Midkid asked on the way to soccer, "What happened to Finn? Have they announced how he died?"

As far as I know, they haven't. And I'm a little wary of watching the episode, for several reasons. Trepidation over how they'll walk the fine line between grieving for a character and castmate, and putting him up on a pedestal. Concern that the 'cause of death' will be too close to how he really died - or not close at all. And not sure how I'll make it through the episode without a box of kleenex, for me and my kids.

But we'll be there, nonetheless, hoping that this episode, more than any other, the creative team gets it right.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Blogger Sascha Illyvich - Rare Interview with Józsi from the Opeth Pack

Illusive as he is, we finally managed to catch up to Józsi, current Opeth Pack Alpha and convince him to shed some light on what is really lurking out in the woods. His messenger, Lukina, and pack Healer Ilona are also present, presumably to rein him in. We sat down in my loft for the interview. 

And keep me safe. We're seated in plush leather chairs around a coffee table, thick cigar smoke billows around our heads from the Ecuadorian puro Józsi is smoking. Dark hair has fallen roughly around his face but those ice cold blue eyes stare at me. Of course Lukina is dressed in her soft white cloak but she, like Ilona, is dressed in jeans and sweaters. Lukina's red hair falls loosely over her shoulders and she sits relaxed, one hand in Józsi's. Ilona's red hair has been pulled into a ponytail, emphasizing the soft features of her face. The two women gaze at each other, caress and touch Józsi often. Only Józsi is menacing in black, and the look in his eyes is hardened but I'm sensing a bit of softness but that's probably because his lovers flank him. He's only been Alpha less than a month and the wear in his face shows. It's early January and we're back in his home in Texas, Lukina has assured me she has to find another of their pack.

All four of us have whiskey in our glass and the bottle's on the table.

SI: Mr. --

Józsi: Józsi is fine. (He takes a long draw on the cigar, blows a thick plume of smoke over our heads. His jaw twitches and he reached for his whiskey. Ilona pats his thigh.)

SI: You've been Alpha all of what, a month now? How's that and why you?

Józsi: Yes. All of about a month. It's not been my idea of fun. (he smirks) As to why me? Prophecy which no one understands, is why I'm alpha. Because my two lovers required it of me. They asked me to stop running from them and when faced with life without them and responsibilities I didn't want, or dealing, I made the obvious choice.

SI: I see. Can you tell us more about Prophecy?

Józsi: Yeah. Fuck it. It's ruining the lives of our wolves and putting humans in danger. This drive man and wolf has to find this perfect place is maddening and the concept of a Heaven is one I find fucking repugnant. (Lukina slaps his thigh. He glares at her. Quite frankly I'm a little more scared of the tiny redhead than I am of the big bad alpha.)

SI: So are you telling us you're not really a fan of organized religion?

Józsi: I'm telling you none of that matters. According to legend, if we're to buy into that nonsense, wolves were created by the Boldog Asszynoy and given to a distant relative of our current pack witch just seems ludicrous. The fact that a deity of that caliber force children on a human witch, then would forsake her children and leave us to deal with both our problems and that of the human world is offensive. But, (he sighs, takes a drag on his cigar) shit's gotta be done. I don't know if we can ever find any semblance of peace in the afterlife but I'm damn sure going to make sure the pack destiny has shoved in my face is smart and safe and stable.

(His tone has grown more morose over the course of his rant. I need another whiskey)

SI: You are a frightful race.

Józsi: Only if you piss us off. We have to hunt and live and feed like every other creature. It wasn't our fault or even our Elders faults. A few generations back maybe. I'm not saying we're perfect but damnit this shouldn't be our mess. It pisses me off (he glares at Lukina, then stops.)

Lukina: Józsi is rather passionate in his beliefs but let me see if I can help explain. (Her voice is much calmer) Fate has, (she pauses as if searching for the right word) put us in a position where we are aware of who we are, what we are and what our potential may be. But, it has not been so forthcoming in the details.

SI: I see. What are your goals for the pack? You've told me your story, it's out with the world now. How did you find the strength to overcome your fears?

Józsi: growls, slams his drink back and glares at me.

Ilona: Draga! (She turns to face me) You'll have to forgive us. This is…a delicate subject for him and for his patience we are grateful. (She pats his thigh, nuzzles him) But our history is long and rich, that we have not shared with you. Wolves are no more dangerous than man, but many of us have…lost our way.

Józsi: Lost our way. Yeah. That's it. Look. The best I can promise is that our pack, while not whole right now, will no longer have to starve and maybe we can coexist with man someday. Until that time comes, I'm going to make sure each strong male works, each woman tends to her duties and that we can function in a society that outnumbers us. A strong man is no match for a thousand ants if he's caught sleeping.

SI: I see. What are your plans for the future, aside from getting the pack to function in the human world?

Józsi: I still have no idea. Truthfully if it weren't for Lukina and Ilona I wouldn't be here right now. I've ran for so long, avoiding my destiny, never knowing truly what it was. Now that I'm facing it, I have no idea what it truly is, other than to spend the time with my two lovers while we figure out the best course of action for the Opeth Pack. (He stands, puffs one more time on the nub of his cigar and sets it down in the ash filled tray. The band slips off and I noticed he's smoking Don Cervantes, a personal favorite of mine.) Time to go. Ladies?

Lukina and Ilona: Pleasure to meet you.

I nod and watch the three of them leave in peace, knowing that the menacing tone Józsi used is a defense mechanism because as he told me earlier when I wrote his book, he'd found love finally and would die to protect that love.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kelly Jamieson releases OFFSIDE

Congratulations to Kelly Jamieson!

Offside,  book 5 in her Heller Brothers Hockey series, is now available!

Honey Holbrook is trying hard to leave her past behind her and make a new life for herself. A former spoiled, rich, wild child, her attention-grabbing antics were tabloid fodder for years. Now she has a new job, a new home, and is staying out of the limelight. But the first day of the new job doesn’t go like she expects when her boss and coworkers make it clear she’s not wanted there, and the first project she has to work on is with pro hockey player Matt Heller.

Matt and Honey had a wild and wicked fling eight years ago when he was attending summer development camp for the California Condors – the NHL team Honey’s dad owns. But the relationship ended when they argued over the loser friends Honey hung around with and Matt had to return to college hockey. Before he left, Matt talked to Honey’s dad about Honey’s exploits. She felt betrayed and rejected, and threw herself even harder into her partying lifestyle while Matt tried to carve out a career for himself in the NHL.

Now Matt’s back with the Condors but recovering from a serious injury that has changed his whole outlook on life. He’s not impressed to be working with Honey Holbrook, although her cleaned up image arouses his curiosity. And arouses something else...

Barnes & Noble

Friday, October 4, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation...

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this post. I forgot what I was planning on writing about. But I promise I have a better excuse than "the dog ate my homework"...or maybe not. Maybe "jet lag ate my brain" is just a grown up version of the same thing.

Either way, it's true. I remember sitting on the plane home...the second flight, some eighteen hours into a Very. Long. Day. making notes for the various blog posts that all happened to be due this week. I swear I had an idea. But it disappeared somewhere  over Oklahoma...or thereabouts. I'm not really sure. After about 28 hours of being awake (thanks, hurling fans, for that 3 am wake up call!) everything tends to take on a surreal quality.

It was an interesting trip...but more surreal than usual.  In New York, for example, in order to get from one connecting flight to the other we had to leave the airport, walk through the parking garage, and go through security...which meant the water we'd just bought in the airport and forgot about in the course of our trek was still in our carry-on luggage. uh...ooops?

Customs and immigration officials ask the weirdest questions. While looking at my passport they've asked me my name. And here I'd assumed being able to read was surely a prerequisite for the job!

After learning that we were flying back to San Francisco, one customs official asked if we were Giants fans. What makes that surreal is the fact that I grew up on the east coast, where the Giants are a football team. Out west, it's baseball. I had no idea what sport we were talking about. In either case, the answer is no. I don't follow sports. Luckily, I let my husband field the question.

Every time we flew on Aer Lingus, they tried to give us fruit plates. I'm not sure what that was about since we were both pretty sure we hadn't ordered fruit plates, so...yeah, that was weird. Also, the tea in Ireland and England must be chock-full of caffeine. I went weeks without a single cup of coffee and didn't get a single headache.

Also, despite the fact that we moved from town to town pretty much every day while we were in Ireland, we kept running into the same people at each stop. From Galway to Inish Mor, to Killarney, to Cork. I'm reasonably certain that all these places have multiple places for tourists to stay. But no. It was just like being on a tour...only none of us were.

Oh, and speaking of tours--they're all completely nuts. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

While in Dublin we witnessed the most bizarre "air show" ever. I wouldn't have known it was an air show if the tons of people lining the bridges, gazing at the sky hadn't tipped me off. It seemed to consist of commercial jets flying over the city, at odd intervals, en route to...wherever they were headed.  Top that Blue Angels!

Irish ice cream. OMFG. So good you don't even know.

Paris has undergone a weird transformation. For one thing, there's a large, extremely ugly structure, consisting mostly of bleachers and an elevator, that's been built directly in front of the cathedral, obscuring the view of it from almost every angle. Apparently it was built to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. I could think of better ways to celebrate.

The second's a two part change, actually, having to do with the upswing in petty crime. Thieves and con-artists are everywhere. They're not good con-artists, I have to say, and I don't think they're particularly good thieves either...which is a blessing of sorts. But they're so very bad at what they do that it's kind of a wonder they don't just give up. The way they do it, it can't possibly be lucrative. On the plus side, the formerly aloof Parisians seem quite annoyed about it. To the point where they will stop if they see you being harassed and warn you to be careful. Last time I was in France, they liked to pretend they didn't speak English. This is better.

One of the more amazing things I saw on this trip was the cathedral at Beauvais. It's huge. It's the tallest cathedral in Europe...I'm pretty sure that's what I was told. And stumbling across it while strolling around town was probably the most surreal moment of the trip.

I'm sure there were more surreal moments, but that's all I can think of right now.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday 13: The BEST Halloween candy

Halloween is almost here. Whether you trick or treat, buy candy, or sneak it from your kid's haul...everyone has their favorite pieces! What's yours?
  1. Caramilk (Kelly)
  2. Whoppers (Kinsey) 
  3. Hershey's mini chocolate with almonds (Skylar)
  4. Kit Kats (Juniper)
  5. Snickers (Erin)
  6. Almond Joy (Kate)
  7. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Meg)
  8. Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses (PG)
  9.  Milk Duds (Kinsey)
  10. Twix (Juniper and Erin)
  11. 100 Grand Bar (Kate)
  12. mini Hershey's Crackle bars (Kinsey)
  13. Reese's Pumpkins (Skylar)

photo credit: NCReedplayer via photopin cc

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Special Giveaway

Memorial for the Granite Mountain Hotshots
On July 1, I’d just finished the final galley proofs of HOW TO TAME A WILD FIREMAN when news hit of the 19 hotshots who lost their lives fighting a fierce wildfire in Arizona. They followed their training, which was to deploy their fire shelters, but the fire was simply too intense. “Hotshots” are a specialized type of firefighter, highly trained, very physically fit, daring. They work in crews of about 20, and during wildfire season they often travel from one fire to another.  This particular hotshot crew was local, however, based out of Prescott, Arizona. Their deaths hit the entire firefighting community very hard, and especially their home state.

The hero of my book, Patrick “Psycho” Callahan, isn’t a hotshot, but he has all the training to become one, along with heli-rappelling skills. He leaves the firehouse in San Gabriel, California for Nevada, where a huge wildfire threatening his hometown. His role is to rappel out of a helicopter behind the fire lines. It’s dangerous, risky work, and what happened to the Granite Mountain hotshots could easily have happened to him.

Which is why the tragedy of the 19 hotshots struck home for me. I’d immersed myself in the world of wildland firefighting while working on HOW TO TAME A WILD FIREMAN, I’d spoken to guys like those hotshots. I know how grueling and difficult their work is.
Hot Shot crew
I was horrified by such an awful loss and wanted to do something to show my support. I immediately emailed my editor, hoping I could include the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew in my dedication, or make a reference to them somewhere in the text. But it was too late for any of that.

So instead, I decided to try something different. I researched ways to help the families of those fallen 19, and found a website run by the Prescott Firefighters themselves. Of course I donated right away, but then it occurred to me that I could get more people involved – at no cost to them.

So for every comment on this blog post, I’ll donate another dollar to the Prescott Firefighters Charities. The last time I did this, I got a great response and gave a nice, hefty donation. So let’s keep the momentum going! And to add some motivation, I’ll also give one commenter a signed copy of any book in the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series – your choice.

Here’s a little bit about HOW TO TAME A WILD FIREMAN, and a short snippet. Don’t forget to leave a comment! I'll keep the giveaway open until midnight EST on October 3.

Thank you for your support. :-) 

The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel have a rebel among them, and there's only one woman who
can put his flames out.

Firefighter Patrick “Psycho” Callahan earns his nickname every day. Fast, fit, and a furious worker, he thrives on the danger which helps him forget a near-tragedy that changed his life forever. But when his off-duty carousing gets out of hand, Patrick is sent back to Loveless, Nevada, where the wildfire threatening his hometown has nothing on sizzling Dr. Lara Nelson.

Lara would rather be thought of as the physician who returned to Loveless than as the misfit brought up at a hippie New Age commune. But right now she’s focused on her job at hand, patching up injured firemen...until the past hits her in the hard-muscled, blue-eyed form of Patrick Callahan. Now, the embers of their decade-old attraction have ignited into a full-on inferno, as the bad-boy firefighter and the good doctor take a walk on the wild side they'll never forget.

Fury carried her the rest of the way into the belly of the chopper. As she rolled onto the steel floor, warm from the flames still only a few yards beneath the helicopter, Patrick reached over and pulled the door shut.
Immediately the terrible roar of the wind and flames lessened. Lara lay panting on the floor until Patrick hauled her into one of the pull-down seats. “I hate you, Patrick Callahan IV.”
“If I had a nickel for every time I heard that from a woman whose life I just saved, I’d … well, I’d have a nickel. Most women want to kiss me.”
“You didn’t save my life,” she ground out. She checked the gash on her shin. Sure enough, blood dripped onto her boots.
From the chair next to her, Patrick fixed his vivid blue gaze on her.
“Fine. Thanks for that part,” she said grudgingly. “But I’m really pissed about the rest of it. You had no right to come onto Haven property and—”
He shrugged, grabbing two water bottles and tossing one to her. “I couldn’t have if I wanted to. Your aunt was pretty strict with her security.”
“You mean … ” She gaped at him. The water bottle felt cool in her hands. She pressed it against her hot cheek.
“I lied. I was trying to piss you off. You always moved faster when you were fired up.”
He gave her a diabolical wink. God, she wanted to rip his head off. Smash his face in. Scratch his eyes out. It took her right back to her teenage years, before she’d claimed her life as a rational med student.
“Congratulations,” she gritted. “I didn’t think I could hate you more, but I do.”
“What’s that they say about the thin line?” He toasted her with his water bottle, then glugged from it. She watched his Adam’s apple move under the stubbly, tanned, filthy skin of his neck. Dirt and sweat shouldn’t be this sexy, should it? Her gaze traveled to the other side of the chopper, where Grant sat opposite them, head tilted back, eyes shut. Even though he too was handsome—and almost as dirty as Patrick—he didn’t have a fraction of Patrick’s impact on her.
She ground her teeth. “In this case, that thin line is the size of a superhighway.”
“Then I think it’s time for you to cross to the other side. In return for saving your life—for which I have yet to receive a decent thank-you—you’re going to do something for me.”
“Dream on.”
“Can you deny that you owe me?”
“Don’t I get any thanks for risking my life in the first place? I’m not a firefighter. Someone owes me!”
He jerked his head toward the injured man. “On his behalf, thank you. He’ll be your love slave as soon as he wakes up.”
Lara ground her teeth.
“Come on, it’s not that hard. All you have to do is go to dinner with me.”

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Jennifer Bernard is the author of the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series, which Romantic Times says is full of "quick wit and sizzling love scenes," and Romance Junkies calls "a captivating series." Visit her at or JenniferBernardBooks on Facebook.