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Archive for the ‘Book Talk’ Category

It’s time for Shelli Stevens’s quarterly post! (Yes, aish! Time flies!) And she’s sharing breaking news with us! Whee!!! (And I’m too lazy and sick to add a bunch of Shelli’s covers right now, so you’ll have to forgive me. They’re hot though. Feel free to go check some out.) 

What is it about a bad boy?

What is it about a bad boy that can draw a gal in? Both in a romance novel, and maybe in real life? Is it the hope that we’ll see these guys redeemed? That they’ll be turned around by one woman, when none before have managed to do it? Maybe they drink too much, smoke, swear, bed hop like it’s an Olympic sport, scowl at tiny kittens…hell, they’re just bad boys. And yet some women flock to them. Again and again. Same bad boy, different guy.

I mean in a novel they can seem all exciting and sexy, but in real life…hmm, sometimes you think you’d just slap the jerk. But then…sometimes not. Sometimes you fall for the guy you absolutely should not, could not, see yourself falling for. Even though there’s all these emotional barricades and warning signs along the way. So what IS it about these guys? Why is it a popular trope in romance novels, and why is it that women in general can’t seem to ‘step away from the bad boy’.

And on that bad boy note… I’m excited to break the news here, on Lime’s blog, about my new upcoming series! I just signed a contract for the first book in my series The McLaughlins (it follows a Scottish family who’s moved to America). Book one is called Good Girl Gone Plaid and should be due out early summer 2013.

Let me know your stance on bad boys, do you like them? Maybe you like them only in novels, or maybe in real life as well? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a $5 gift certificate to Amazon!

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Condoms Don’t Like Teeth
By Katie Porter

It really seems like this should be a fairly straight forward concept. Condoms are thin. Super, duper thin, and we all know why—to increase the sexy times fun feelings, of course. Hell, Trojan condoms were sold by the tag line “Feels like nothing is there!” Of course that calls to mind plenty of other…shortcomings? Shall we say?

But we get the point. (Omg. Unintentional pun, I swear.)

Now. What do we need to keep away from condoms? Sharp things. Just like a balloon, condoms are poppable. And what’s at the front of our mouths? Sharp implements designed for cutting bites of meat off your food. Your teeth.

So why in the name of god would you rip open a condom wrapper with your teeth? Do you really want to put a microscopic hole in something that’s protecting your sexual health?

Which brings me to my point: I am SO VERY sick of reading this action in contemporary romance novels. In my head, they get five points for mentioning condoms—and then fifty bajillion points taken away for “ripping the condom open with his teeth.” I would personally rather have no mention of condoms. In that case, I can fill in the blanks just like I fill in heroines stopping to pee and brush their teeth in the morning. Maybe that level doesn’t need to be on the page, that’s fine.

But please God, don’t show me the characters being stupid about it! I get it’s supposed to indicate eagerness. The hero’s really into her, I understand that. I probably also understood it when he was walking about the pages with permanent priapism and when h thinks of naughty things whenever he looks at the heroine, but I liked that part. It’s lusty, not stupid. (Well, maybe a wee bit stupid too. But not all.) I mean, didn’t these characters have ninth grade sex ed? Maybe they were too busy gathering up a tragic back-story to go to boring ole’ sex education.

Now, in closing, I’m going to leave you with a spectacularly cringe inducing example. It’s not from a romance novel (thank the sweet baby jebus) but I’m hoping it’ll…stick around in your head a little while. A what-not-to-do, shall we say?

When he ripped the condom packet open with his slightly snaggled teeth and rolled the latex onto his birthmarked penis.

Leah from Hold ’Em never chews on her condom packets. Nor does she truck with snaggled teeth or imperfect penises.  Of course she whacks Captain Michael Templeton, her hero, with a flogger, a cane and a paddle, but that’s an entirely different blog post. Neither do Ryan nor Jon, the heroes from the first two Vegas Top Guns ever rip a condom open with their teeth, either. (See what I did there? So pluggy. It’s a failing of mine.) No condoms will ever be hurt in the writing of Katie Porter books, this I swear!

***

Up next for Katie Porter, the co-writing team of Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown:

Now that the first three of the RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick “Vegas Top Guns” series have been released, readers can anticipate the final two installments, Hard Way and Bare Knuckle, in 2013.

November brings the m/m Christmas-themed Came Upon a Midnight Clear, described as “masterful” by Publishers Weekly. In January, Lead and Follow  will launch the five-part “Club Devant” series of erotic multi-partner romances set in a hot New York City burlesque club.

Where to find us: website, Twitter: @MsKatiePorter, or individually: @carrielofty and @LorelieBrown

We’d like to give away a copy of Double Down, Inside Bet or Hold ‘Em (winner’s choice) in any format. Just answer the question: Did you know it’s a bad thing to nibble on condoms?

Thanks again to Limecello for letting me vent!

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Hi friends! We’ve got author Christine Bell today sharing an exclusive excerpt of her book Wife for Hire, which is her newest release. (It came out in the middle of August.) Yay for Teaser Tuesday!

He needs a wife for three weeks…

Owen Phipps is out for revenge. His mission? To expose the man who stole his sister’s money and dignity. All he needs is a “wife” who can play along. Too bad his last best hope is an actress who tries to mace him with perfume when he offers her the role of a lifetime.

Lindy Knight is a real sap. She loves too hard, feels too deep, and often finds herself saying yes when she should be saying “Let me think about it.” She can’t believe her good fortune when Owen offers her more than enough money to hold off foreclosure until she can find a job. Three weeks at a resort, money she desperately needs, and she gets to help bring a criminal to justice? Score.

It seems easy enough until a couples bonding game turns intimate, and they realize how dangerous their mutual attraction could be. Can they keep their hands to themselves long enough to find the evidence Owen needs? Or are the close quarters more temptation than they can handle?

The blood buzzed in Lindy’s ears, and she stared at him, aghast. What did he think, people just went around buying up three-week sex buddies à la Richard Gere in Pretty Woman? She held his gaze and slowly slid her hand to her purse, mentally crossing her fingers that she came up with something more threatening than gum this time.

“Listen, Mr. Phipps. I’m not sure exactly what that’s supposed to mean, but I know one thing. I’m definitely not the girl for that kind of job. I want you to leave right now, please.”

His brow wrinkled and he reached into his briefcase. “No, no.  That’s not what I—”

“Don’t take anything else out of your briefcase!” she shouted, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. Now that she’d refused his salacious request, he was going to chloroform her or something. She was sure of it.

He ignored her and continued rifling through his case. She reached blindly into her bag and yanked out the first thing she could get her hands on. A bottle of body spray. Not ideal, but it would have to do.

“I’m warning you. Get your stuff and go, right now!” The puppies had risen and were barking like mad, adding to the chaos.

Owen looked up and frowned. “What are you—”

He didn’t get to finish his sentence because she sprayed him right in the mouth. She’d aimed for his eyes, but at least it was something. Sputtering, he bolted to the sink. As he turned on the faucet, she rushed at him from behind, pummeling his muscular back with her fists. She couldn’t run away and leave the puppies behind to face his impending psychotic rage, but it seemed like he didn’t even feel her blows.

“What the hell?” he growled, turning to capture her hands in his, hauling her into his chest. He scowled down at her, dark brows collapsing into an even darker frown and she stared at him in abject terror. Water sluiced down his chin, icy droplets landing on her neck. “Have you lost your fucking mind?”

His cucumber-melon scented breath washed over her face, and her fear melted under the heat of her fury. “N-no. Have you?” she said, raising her chin defiantly. Might as well brazen it out now. She wasn’t getting away. His body was like a wall of granite, the hold on her wrists like two iron manacles. Not too tight, but entirely unyielding.

“I’m not the one spraying people in the face with perfume.”

“Yeah, well I’m not the one coming into a woman’s house, tossing around lewd propositions, and not leaving when asked.”

His frown deepened for a moment, then faded. “If you’d let me finish, you would have known my proposition was anything but lewd. The contract specifically states that, if you did get the job, we would definitely not be having sex. Now, can I let you go or are you going to keep trying to hit me?” His gaze was wary, but his grip was already loosening. “I only want to talk to you.”

She hesitated.

“Lindy, if I wanted to hurt you, I could have done it any time. Even now.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” she asked. But for some reason, it did. She drew her hands away from his and stepped back, suddenly aware of their proximity in a whole other way.

“I don’t know what will make you feel better, but I can promise you this. I’m not going to hurt you.”

His stormy gray eyes were sincere, his expression earnest, and she blew out a sigh. “Okay, okay. Sorry for the whole spraying your mouth thing. I’ve been a little on edge since you got here, and I think my imagination got the best of me.”

“It’s fine. I should’ve gone about explaining it differently. Can we start again?”

“Sure,” she said with a nod. He still put her on edge, but it was different now. Not fear, but an awareness that was almost as terrifying.

Owen rinsed his mouth out a few more times and they settled back into their seats.

“All right, now for some background information. About six months ago my sister was conned out of her life’s savings by a man named Nico Stephanopoulos. Since she basically handed over the money, no charges were ever filed.” His jaw clenched and he continued. “But her money wasn’t enough. He’s now doing business in Colorado running a married couple’s retreat. I believe it’s a scam, but I need to get proof so he can pay for what he’s done to people.”

She nodded, the puzzle pieces falling into place. “So you need someone to go there with you and pretend to be your wife.”

“That’s the plan. As I said, I don’t expect…anything from you in the way of wifely duties. We would, however, need to keep up appearances in public and participate in various retreat activities that require a level of intimacy.” He held up a hand at her suspicious glare. “We don’t have to fawn all over each other, and I promise to be as respectful as possible, but there are sure to be embarrassing moments for both of us. I like to think an all-expense paid trip to Telluride and the twenty grand would take the sting away for you. Needless to say, getting justice for my sister is worth any amount of embarrassment for me.”

His gray eyes grew steely and she realized that, although he’d seemed unflappable in the face of the world’s strangest interview, he was not a man you wanted to cross. In spite of her distaste for charlatans, she felt a twinge of pity for Nico Stephanopoulos. Then another thought occurred to her. “What does your sister think of this idea?”

“She doesn’t know. No one knows. That’s why I had to resort to all this cloak and dagger nonsense. Normally, I wouldn’t be interviewing candidates for a job myself, nor would I place an ad in Craigslist. This has to be kept as far away from my usual circles as possible.”

She thought of her own brothers and how she might react in the same circumstance. “Do you think it’s a good idea to hide this from her, though? She might not appreciate you interfering. Maybe she needs to lick her wounds and put it in the past. Forget it ever happened.”

“Frankly, I don’t give a rip whether she appreciates it or not. She’s family, and I won’t allow his misdeeds to go unpunished. It’s more than that, though. He started off as a petty card shark, and his crimes have only escalated. If three quarters of a million was his last scheme, what’s next? Now that he’s had a taste of the good life, I’m guessing he’ll go to any lengths to keep it. If I let him walk away scot free, what’s to say the next victim won’t end up with something far worse than a broken heart and a crippled bank account? He needs to be stopped. Tell me you agree with that much, at least?”

The man was a criminal, and it really would be a shame to see more people hurt by him. Especially if Owen was right, and his behavior was escalating. Still…

“You could get a really nice couch with twenty grand,” he said.

Her head was reeling. Between the rush of adrenaline and the subsequent overwhelming relief at not having been serial murdered, she felt shaky and out of sorts. Not a recipe for good decision-making.

“What’s your time frame?” she asked.

“We’d need to leave ten days from today. The sessions are three weeks long, but if I get what I need sooner, then we would naturally cut the trip short. Should that happen, you’d still be paid the full, agreed upon amount.”

“Boy, you’re cutting it kind of close, no?”

“I began the interview process a couple weeks ago. If I don’t find someone this week, I’ll have to cancel and find some other way. You’re my best shot.” His expression was unreadable, but there was a hint of desperation in his voice that seemed out of character for such a confident, aloof man. Like he really needed her. Her heart squeezed.

Crud.

When was the last time she’d walked away from someone in need? Here was a man willing to put his life on hold in order to try and make this right for his sister, spend tens of thousands of dollars and saddle himself with a stranger for three weeks. She knew about that kind of love. That’s how she felt about Mal and Nate. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her brothers.

“It’s not about the money he took,” Owen said. “I’m fortunate enough to have been able to assist her in that respect. He stole something far more precious. She was a sweet and rare soul. Believed in true love, silly as that notion is, and thought she had it. Always saw the best in people. That’s gone now, and he’s going to pay for taking it from her.”

The last was spoken with a grim determination. Not a statement, but a vow.

The words were out before she could stop them.

“I’m in.”

So what’d you think? Do you like the premise? (And you know, what you read?) As incentive – and just because Christine is totally awesome, she’s offering one lucky commenter a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

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I can’t believe it’s been four months. And yet is has been. Aish. You guys, welcome Julia Broadbooks! :D

I’ve always thought I wasn’t much of an erotic romance reader. I mean, I downloaded the sample of The Book That Shall Not Be Named, and didn’t even make it to the end. I wasn’t offended; I was bored. Which is how many of my erotic purchases end up: unfinished because I never really connected with the characters. But in the last couple of months I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, reading-wise and otherwise. I guess I’m a victim of all the hype too since in the past few months I’ve tried a few much talked about erotic romance/erotica books. Boy, am I glad that I did!

After reading so many glowing comments (in particular from Jane at Dear Author) about Liberating Lacey by Ann Calhoun , I bought it, kind of thinking I wouldn’t finish it. I could not have been more wrong. I loved this book. I finished it a couple of days, and immediately started reading it again. The sex in Calhoun’s book is singe your fingertips hot and plentiful, but she never skimps on the emotion. To me, this read like a category novel – the conflict was all internal as the hero and heroine face their flaws and their fears and fight through them for their HEA. Watching two characters who I love figure out how much they love each other makes for a really satisfying read.

In a totally different vein, I downloaded a free ebook by Cara McKenna (the alter ego of Blaze author Meg Maguire) who I follow on twitter. She’s so fun to chat with that I wanted to give her books a try. Backwoods is a short, erotic, m/m book. It’s also a crazy dirty book. These characters have the high octane angst going on. These aren’t things I gravitate toward in my reading, but this title really worked for me. I was so invested in these characters that I couldn’t put the book down. I was in awe that McKenna could draw me in and make me care so damn much about Shane and Gabriel. I’m not sure this type of book is going to become a huge part of my reading diet, but I’m really glad I read this one and I have another short (Curio) by McKenna waiting for me.

The other books I been reading are mostly series romance. I’ve been pretty fascinated watching Entangled Publishing develop their different lines. I’ve read a couple of handfuls already and I’m curious to see how each line is going to develop its own style. I’d considered them similar enough to Harlequin’s lines, but while reading Wife for Hire by Christine Bell, it occurred to me that the differences between the two publishing houses go deeper than just the covers. Bell’s novel hits all the series requirements: fake marriage, shorter length leading to a more concentrated story, a strong internal conflict the hero and heroine have to work past to have their happy ending. But there were enough differences that it really stood out to me. There’s a bit of a light suspense subplot which was a fun change, but the big thing was the tone and the author’s voice. All through the book, even to resolution at the end, there is a certain playfulness to the book, that was really different and worked well for me here. Perhaps, stuck in my rut, I’m not reading enough new authors at Harlequin?

In my quest to broaden my horizons, I picked up new author Kathy Altman’s July SuperRomance title The Other Soldier. I don’t usually read military themed books, but I’d read a very early first chapter of her book and wanted to see where she was going to go with her story. On leave for a month Reid finds struggling Parker, whom he widowed. How do you work through that? Altman never cuts Reid any slack. Parker isn’t feeling forgiving. In fact she is everything but. She is angry and bitter but desperate to stand on her own. Ever so slowly over the course of the month, the pair has to work through their anger and guilt in order to find happiness together. I especially appreciated the portrayal of Parker’s daughter who feels so real, right down to her inability to catch a ball. There is even a sweet secondary romance that runs parallel. In the coming months SuperRomance will be adding to the word count of the line. With a nearly novel length and such complex story lines, these books really blur the boundary between single title and series.

Freshly purchased on my Kindle app I have The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis (yes, I am that far behind), Shannon Stacey’s latest All He Ever Needed. I have a couple of historicals from Carolyn Jewel’s backlist, Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean because even though I’m not reading much historical romance at the moment, I can’t quit buying them. I blame the covers.

The other upcoming book I am super excited about is Megan Mulry’s November 1st release A Royal Pain. Because I’m absurdly fortunate, I got my hands on an ARC and I can tell you it is one of my favorite books of the year. Witty and smart with a hero to die for and a heroine I want as a best friend. It will be well worth the wait.

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Casting Call & a Giveaway for As You Wish

Thanks, Lime, for having me on your blog!

I’ve recently released my self-published, debut contemporary romance, As You Wish. It has a rock star hero and a florist heroine and is set around Christmas.

Here’s a longer description:

Love doesn’t always follow the sheet music . . .

This Christmas, Portia Jackson needs a miracle to save her family’s generations-old florist shop. What she gets instead is a car that breaks down during a blizzard. Help arrives unexpectedly when the infamous Aubry Riley pulls over. She only expects him to drive her to the gas station . . . she never expects that kiss. But Portia lives in the real world—she knows this is only a holiday fling for Aubry. Except it doesn’t feel so temporary, and the last thing she wants is a broken heart.

Sometimes you have to sing some different notes . . .

Rock star Aubry Riley has no secrets. Thanks to the media, everyone knows about his troubled past. Six years have gone by since his world crashed, and now he’s ready for a comeback. But first he needs to reconcile with his family—starting with his six-year-old daughter. A month-long vacation at a Vermont lake house affords him the perfect opportunity to take a step in the right direction. He doesn’t need any other emotional entanglements, especially not with the bright-eyed florist he can’t stop thinking about. But no matter how hard he tries to resist her, he can’t. Now all he has to do is to convince Portia that there is nothing temporary when it comes to love.

One of the things I like to do when writing is to mentally cast the characters for my story. Now, I know when people read they form their own image of who the character looks like, and there’s always the danger that you could say oh, my hero looks like Tom Cruise and then Tom Cruise jumps the couch.

So, I hope none of the celebs I’ve chosen pull a Tom. ;) And to make sure I don’t get Lime in any trouble with copyright issues, I’m just going to give links to said pics.

Aubry Riley is my jaded rock star hero. He’s described as: “He had long, sun-streaked brown hair to his shoulders, sea-green eyes, and deep slashes of cheekbones that made his face seem harsher in the dimmed light. His skin was a warm golden color from the California sun, and there were tight brackets lining his firm mouth.”

Now, confession, I searched a while for Aubry’s name. His name actually started off as a different one, but we both didn’t like it. I wanted something unusual for his name—something that felt rock starish. I actually got his first name from someone’s last name. I came across this picture of Gabriel Aubry, which just screamed Aubry to me.

http://impatientchick.com/2010/07/02/random-pic-of-gabriel-aubry/

Portia is my florist shop heroine. She’s got long, wavy, golden blonde hair and hazel eyes. She’s on the short side and soft-looking. She’s got a very optimistic attitude and can say things that are . . . unexpected. Her name comes from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. For Portia, I thought that Portia de Rossi (and I swear that this time the similar name is just a coincidence, lol) might be a good fit.

http://www.popcrunch.com/portia-de-rossi-will-play-lily-munster-in-nbcs-mockingbird-lane/
Laura is Portia’s best friend. She’s brown-haired, brown-eyed, and a librarian. For Laura, I picture Ginnifer Goodwin.

http://topnews.in/ginnifer-goodwin-hes-just-not-you-world-premiere-arrivals-2120289

And then there’s Finn, who’s Portia’s oldest brother and a math professor. Finn is very . . . contained. Dark hair with threads of silver and blue eyes, and I had Dermot Mulroney in mind when I wrote Finn.

http://www.celebs101.com/image-197746–3373–Dermot+Mulroney+Picture+Gallery.html

As you can see, I had some fun with this. Such a hard job to look for pics. ;)

Who would you want to play a hot, damaged rock star? I’ll giveaway an ebook copy of As You Wish to one commentor.

About Elyssa Patrick: Elyssa Patrick is a former high school English teacher who left the classroom to write fun, sexy, and emotional contemporary romances. Besides being slightly addicted to chocolate, she loves cupcakes, classic movies, and Shakespeare. She is a member of RWA. Elyssa lives in New York, where she is currently working on her next novel. (Website, Twitter: @elyssapatrick)

Buy links: KindleNookKoboARe

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Hi Lovelies! Today we’ve got Jess Dee visiting with us! And also, Jayne Rylon, and Lorelei James should be stopping by to answer any questions you have. I expect you’ll have something to say, yes? ;-)

Two To Tango

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (okay, maybe 4 or 5 years ago), a call went out around the kingdom. Samhain had decided to publish a trilogy of books—all three of them ménage romances—and were looking for authors to write those stories.

Authors far and wide scurried to heed the call. Books were written and submitted, and the breathless wait for further announcements began. Weeks passed in nervous anticipation, until finally a statement was issued by Samhain. Three books had been selected for the anthology. Three very different books which all had a common theme: Red-hot, erotic threesome romance.

And so the Menage And More/Three’s Company anthology was born, with authors Lorelei James, Jayne Rylon and Jess Dee at the helm.

 

The anthology released, and the authors had a wonderful time with readers buying and reading their books. Years passed, with the authors moving on to other, different projects. But a restlessness seemed to be growing. A yearning to revisit the times of old. A longing to reopen the pages of the anthology.

And then came the day a message went out. Not around the kingdom. This time, straight to our inboxes. And this is what the message said:

Jess/Lorelei ah, my menage and more buddies.  I remember the days when I was a super newbie and I got thrown into an antho with two big names.  Luckiest day ever for me.  I think Three’s Company has been a smashing success and every time I sign one at a conference I think of you two and smile.  So, why not get the gang together for another run at it?  I know I’ve talked to both of you about the possibility at some point in the past year.

Here’s the deal… Lorelei pitched the idea to Lindsey. Her spin was doing something mainstream, straight m/f and playing off TWO instead of THREE.  She would do a non-cowboy story, I would try to remember how to write straight non-super erotic m/f and Jess… well, this seems right up your alley.  I brainstormed some titles/ideas today in a meeting (don’t judge!) and here are a few concepts I came up with:

Two to Tango
Two of a Kind
Make it Two
Two Strikes (this could be people who have broken up before and are getting back together)
Two Shakes (could be people who fall in love/lust fast)
Two Can Play
Two to Two-Step… ha ha lame.
Two Timers (again could would for a second chance kind of thing)
Two in the Bush (HAHAHAHAHAHA  This could be another menage book!!!)
Two Peas in a Pod
Two’s Company

How about it?  Are we in?

Jayne

Jess laughed at the message. Luckiest day ever for Jayne? Er, hell no. Luckiest day ever for Jess. As for Lorelei, she wasted no time laughing. Quicker than the other two could blink, she’d organized for the trilogy to be published. And thus Two To Tango was born.

Which is why, on the 2nd of October, these three books, which form the Two To Tango anthology, release in e-format at Samhain Publishing.

 

We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them.

:-)

Lorelei, Jayne & Jess

So have you read books from Samhain before? What do you think about menage romances? Or any of these great authors? Come on – I’m curious as to what you have to say. (And I challenge you to throw out some eyebrow raising questions too!) ;-)

*ETA: There are books as prizes up for grabs, in case you needed the incentive! :D

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Hi friends! We’re back with a special reader guest post! Yes! Can you believe it’s the third Saturday of the month?! Eek! I can’t! I always tell people I have the best blog readers – and I firmly believe that. Pam sometimes visits here, and she is definitely a great example. I’d love to feature more of you! Anyway, here’s Pam! (And, I’m going to be a massive jerk and hijack her post for a minute – I’ve actually been on hiatus-ish since the beginning of August. I’ve gotten thousands of emails, and have still over 1,000 unread right now. I know I owe a lot of people responses, and more importantly prizes – and I’m doing my best to get on that. Please continue to be patient, and accept my apologies!)

… And now I must apologize to Pam for being all “me me me” – luckily, she like the rest of you, is awesome, and I’m sure she understands. So without further ado, meet an awesome member of the romance community! A reader! <3

Hello everyone! First let me just say thank you to Lime for taking a chance on me and giving me this opportunity to write a post for her blog.

My name is Pam, although I tend to go by the username VanillaOrchids online. Until sometime in 2009, I didn’t like reading. I rarely ever read a book just for the fun of it. That was until I read the Twilight Saga series by Stephenie Meyer. You see, two of my sisters and two of my nephews and I went to see the movie Twilight when it was released. The movie was okay, nothing spectacular. I enjoyed it for what it was. While the credits were rolling, my sister Linda proceeded to tell me that the movie is based off of a book and the book is way better. Then she offered to give me all four of the books in the series to read.

Fast forward about six months. The power went out because of a storm so I thought I’d give one of the books Linda gave me a try. Well, she had given me two books from the Vampire Diaries series as well, and since those books were smaller reads than the Twilight books, I started with one of those first. I probably didn’t get five pages into it before I said forget it! It’s been so long since then, but from what I remember, I felt that the Vampire Diaries book was written for little kids. I found it childish. Because of that, I gave all of the books (including the Twilight books) to my sister Patty in case she wanted to read them. Patty couldn’t go the Vampire Diaries books either but she did start on Twilight. So then one day while she was still working on Twilight she tells me that it isn’t like the Vampire Diaries books and that she thought I’d like Twilight. When she was finished with it, she gave it back to me. I had it done in two days and wanted book 2 … like now! LOL Patty gave me book two though she wasn’t finished reading it, but she knew that I’d have it read quick enough. I had all four books read in a week.

I didn’t know what to do with myself then. I wanted more to read but didn’t have anything. Eventually I started buying books on eBay or in stores. There probably hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since then that I’ve not been reading. Then late last year I had created a blog, more for myself really, to keep track of books that I wanted to read or have read, my favorite authors, etc. Then when I started to write book reviews, I decided to use the blog for that instead. That’s also about the time that I paid attention to other people’s reviews of books that I was interested in reading.

Recently I started reading a series of historical romances. After I finished the second book in the series, I went to Goodreads to mark the book as finished. While there I saw a one star review for the book that I’d just read. Here I was thinking the book was good. One of things that the person mentioned was the historical inaccuracies within the book. I’m sure the author did plenty of research and knows a lot about the time period, but in my opinion, it’s a work on fiction, it doesn’t have to be so strict with the historical details. But that’s just my opinion. And the primary complaint was that in that time a woman would not be without a chaperone. That might be true but can you really write an interesting love story when the two main characters never have a moment alone to be steal a kiss or a touch? Ah well, what do I know, I’m not a writer. :)

So anyway, I’m just happy that I now have a love of reading. And maybe with time I’ll get better at reviewing books. As for the whole blogging thing, I doubt that my book blog will ever really take off, and I’m fine with that. It’s a place for me to post reviews or graphics (which is another hobby of mine) or whatever I feel like. I don’t ever want it to feel like a job. I’ve known all too well what that’s like since I’ve had a website online for nearly 15 years now.

One last thing while I’m here. Awhile back on my blog I asked people for book recommendations. Not one person posted any. LOL So if Lime doesn’t mind, I’d like to ask the visitors here what book(s) you recommend? In return, I’m offering one winner an ebook of their choice (up to $5) from Amazon.

Thanks again to Lime for allowing me to ramble on for a bit. :)

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Hi friends! A brand new guest to ALBTALBS today! I’m very excited about that! :D Yes! We’ve got Alix Rickloff visiting with us! I’d also like to say thanks for sticking with me through the scheduled yet not back to original steady times. (And to Alix as well for her patience with the craziness here.) I hope you all give her a warm welcome! Not to mention she’s very kindly offered a book to one lucky commenter!

Stay Tuned… The Unfinished Series

You’ve found that perfect series. The world building is magical, the characters are compelling, and the plots sing. You read one book, maybe two or three. Then suddenly… inexplicably…the books stop.

It could be that the publisher has decided the series wasn’t as  big a seller as they’d hoped or it could be that the author has decided they want to move in a new direction. Either way,  the series is over. Maybe the loose ends were tied up. Maybe not. But you’re still left wanting.

Sound familiar?

A few years back, I was left stranded midway through Bernard Cornwell’s Starbuck Chronicles. I had devoured the Richard Sharpe books like a woman obsessed and was looking for more. Enter Nate Starbuck who seemed like the answer to a prayer. Unfortunately, four books and half a war later, the series ended. I was left waiting…wondering…waiting… waiting…you get the idea.

I vowed I would never do that to my readers.

And then—I did.

My Bligh family series published by Kensington was set in an alternate Regency universe, one in which the Other, a race of men and women bearing the magical blood of the Fey lived in secret side by side with humans.

The series began with Lost in You in which Conor Bligh, the soldier of the family is the only one who stands between the demon Asher and the destruction he plans for mortal and Fey alike. And the only way to the end that threat is to sacrifice Ellery Reskeen, the woman he’s come to love.

The second book was Dangerous as Sin, the story of Morgan Bligh, the cousin who trades in her needle and thread for a sword and shield. She’s been given the job of locating the stolen sword of the goddess Andraste, a blade capable of creating an un-killable army. Her partner? Cam Sinclair, the assassin who broke her heart once and would do it again if he got the chance.

These two books introduced a cast of characters who all deserved their happy ever afters. They planted seeds for later books and hinted at mysteries not yet solved

And then I moved on, leaving the Blighs and their world behind.

But those characters stayed with me. They clamored for my attention and whispered their stories in my ear. Do Brodie MacKay and Euna Sinclair ever find each other again? Will Jamys Bligh ever be more than a friend to the woman he loves? And what ever happened to Richard Bligh who disappeared without a trace at the age of eight?

The answers are out there, and soon I hope to offer them to readers in new books. The first of these, tentatively titled Lady Immortal, is close to completion and—fingers and toes crossed—will be out by Christmas.

Mariah Penkevil wants nothing more to do with magic…ever again. But then the mysterious Rhyse MacAillse appears on her doorstep claiming she’s the reincarnation of a dark sorceress, and Mariah finds herself dragged back into the dangerous world of the Other whether she likes it or not. Soon she’s on the run with a man who tempts her with his touch but whose secrets could place her in the path of a Fey-born killer.

If things go as planned, I’ll follow this book up with more that will round out the series and perhaps even expand it into un-thought of directions. You never know, but all I can say for certain is stay tuned…there’s always more to come. ☺

Have you ever been faced with a series that’s ended before “The End” or maybe one in which it feels like forever between books? Do you wait until a series is complete before starting it? Or do you plunge in heedlessly and take your chances?

Let me know and be entered for a chance to win Earl of Darkness, the first book in my Heirs Of Kilronan series. (And yes, the series is concluded)

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Friends, in the ALBTALBS world, I like to make things a little fluid. Here, it’s a lot fluid. (In fact, way more fluid than even I’m comfortable.) As in, let’s all agree this post is as dated. Please indulge me – and know that I am very sorry and contrite. 

That being said, let us all welcome the wonderful (and patient) Nico Rosso! Today (ahem! September 30th) is his wife Zoë Archer’s birthday! His post was actually supposed to go live the Thursday before this one but… well you know. Real life hasn’t been my best friend lately. And I thought it’d be super cute that this post went up on Zoë’s birthday. (Somehow it was really underlined thus in my mind.)

Anyway, I think we have a great post here. And also? Please respond, and ask him all the questions you have. Because I can’t imagine Mr. Rosso will be coming back to visit any time soon – all my fault. (Although I do try my best to keep things running here!) So anyway, give him a warm welcome, and please make up for my shortcomings, okay?

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Limecello.

When I’m writing, I try not to lose sight of the final goal: telling a good story to the reader.  I’ll try to put myself in the reader’s shoes as the book unfolds.  I’ll ask myself questions as I go along: Is everything making sense?  Are the characters compelling?  Am I using the senses so the reader can feel, smell or taste the environment I’m creating?

But writing is also the journey for the writer.  Every day isn’t easy, but there’s always something to be created or learned.  And sometimes it’s more than that.  Life throws a lot of adversity at everyone.  Nowadays, it seems like a heavy rain of trouble has been coming down on a lot of people I know.

Just like reading fiction can be an escape for a reader, the process of writing it has helped me deal with the burdens of the world.  In my latest steampunk Western, Night of Fire, the hero, Tom Knox, and heroine, Rosa Campos, must defend their home town from an evil mining company’s rolling fifty foot rock eating machine.  This device starts out a few miles from town and seems unstoppable through most of the book.  As I was writing it, I was able to centralize my concerns in the world into that one villain.  And I could use my hero and heroine to stand up to that threat.

It isn’t always that simple in life, and I think that’s why reading fiction is important to us.  Hope is a strong salve, no matter if it’s given to us from the so-called “real world” or a book.  Writing it was the same for me, giving me a sense of a clear struggle between good and evil where good always prevails.  At least during the time while I was writing, there was relief from the nebulous troubles of the world.

Life will continue to bring ups and downs.  Through it, we readers and writers can find escape and hope in the romance and adventure narratives that pit our heroes and heroines against great evils, giving them the stage to prove how extraordinary they are, while showing us that the ability to persevere is in all of us – written or real.

So here’s my question for you: Is there a particular book that has helped you through tough times?

One lucky guest will win a free paperback copy of Night of Fire.  Good luck!

Night of Fire can be found at AmazonBarnes and NobleIndie Bound

Nico can be found here: Website, TwitterFacebook

Seriously – this question is almost scarily apt – at least for me: So here’s my question for you: Is there a particular book that has helped you through tough times? 

I’d like to know too. Maybe I can add some keepers to my reading list! (And remember, there’s a prize up for grabs!)

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Hi friends! So I’ve been kinda quiet lately – lots going on, but today I bring you a new guest! Author Samantha Kane, who wrote for Ellora’s Cave, and now also Random House. Yay variety! And since Ms. Kane asks you all a question at the end, I’ll just leave it at that. :) I hope you answer though, because I’m curious as well!

Some Days You Feel Like a Nut…

Some days I feel like I’ve been writing forever.

And, of course, some days I feel like I’m still a newbie and I know NOTHING. Every time I get a great review or win an award I want to pull a Sally Field, “You like me! You really like me!” You’d think after fifteen books I’d be over that, but nope, not yet.

My next book, The Devil’s Thief, will be out this November. It’s the first book in a new series for Bantam Loveswept called The Saint’s Devils. And I’m nervous. It’s my first mainstream romance. I’ve been writing erotic romance for years. I’ve made a name as an erotic romance writer. So why am I switching gears? To be honest, I just didn’t think I was reaching as broad a reading audience as I could by limiting myself to erotic romance. Countless times I’ve heard the comment, “I’d read your stuff, but I’m not really into erotic romance. If you wrote a mainstream romance I’d love to read it!” So for those readers, here it is! (But never fear, dear readers. There will be more books in my erotic historical series Brothers in Arms!)

Another reason is because I want my writing to stay fresh. Writing mainstream requires different storylines and character development. It was a lot of fun writing this book and stretching myself as an author. I tried to make these books somewhat different from my award winning erotic historicals. This series is lighthearted and playful, reminding me in some places of those old screwball romantic comedies from the 1930’s. And I’ve created a Sherlock Holmes type character, Sir Hilary St. John, who’s a mix of Robert Downey Jr. and Thomas Jefferson. Only a historical romance writer would do that, right? I’ve thrown in some mystery, Bow Street Runners, street-wise criminals with hearts of gold, bemused heroes who aren’t quite sure what happened to them, and strong, if misguided, heroines.

If any of you are attending AAD this August, I’ll be doing a reading from The Devil’s Thief at the historical reading event, and I’ll be giving away ARCs at the Blogger ARC party! I look forward to seeing you all there!

How have you stretched your reading or writing boundaries lately?

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