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Archive for the ‘Guest Author’ 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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Everyone please welcome Harlequin author Amy Knupp who is the “October Author” at ALBTALBS! :D This sounds dorky, but I first “met” her on twitter, and then at a few conferences. She’s totally fabulous, and I think she’s the best.

1. Do you collect anything?  Good intentions and calories.

2. What would your ultimate meal consist of? Describe each course and beverage.  I don’t know exactly, but it would definitely include bacon.  And cheese…lots of cheese.

3. What was your first job? Your most interesting one?  I worked at Dairy Queen for a total of about 6 years in high school and college.  I still have dreams about making that perfect curl on the top of the cone (and I’m pretty sure I still could, even though it’s been a LOT of years.)  Most interesting job?  Easily the current one I have as a freelance copyeditor (www.blueotterediting.com).  Not only do I get paid to read, but I get to indulge my punctuation OCD-ness. :)

4. What are five of your biggest pet peeves? What do you think would be fitting punishments for each?  1. Drivers who swing their car out to the right to take a left turn.  2.  People who use the word “irregardless.”  3.  Insurance companies that think they can prescribe what’s best for my health.  4.  Radio stations that ruin really good songs by playing them every twenty minutes.  5.  Wizard of Oz comments when I tell people I used to live in Kansas.  (I hate Wizard of Oz.  Don’t judge me.) [I’m a little surprised Amy doesn’t have punishments for them… she seems like she’d be the type. ;X]

5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?  I’m not very adventurous with food, so it’d probably be some kind of Blizzard combo from back in my Dairy Queen days.  The most disgusting one I remember was Nerds candy and Whoppers…together in vanilla ice cream.

6. If you have to listen to a song 24/7 for four days, which one would you choose?  I would throw the iPod in the lake after about an hour, no matter what song it was.  I love music but need to have a variety.

7. Cowboy boots, Stilettos, or Go Go boots?  The only one I own is stilettos, so if I have to choose one, I’d go with that.  My shoe of choice would be my fur-lined Sketchers.  They’re ugly, comfy and warm, and during the Wisconsin winter, comfy and warm win out.

8. How’d you come up with your author name? Have you ever forgotten your author name/accidentally ignored someone when they called out to you?  My parents gave me the Amy part and my husband gave me the Knupp part, so no, I’ve never forgotten or ignored. :)

9. Who would win in an ultimate death match? A Ninja or a Viking? A ninja.  Vikings are all big and bad-ass, but I’m thinking they’d lack the finesse of a ninja.

10. What was your favorite book as a child?  There was a book in my grade school library called A Letter to Amy.  I checked it out EVERY week just because my name was in the title.  No memory of what it was about, but it just shows how important a title is, right? ;)

11. What did you do with your first royalty check?  What I do with all my royalty checks…pay bills.  Glamorous, yes?

12. What’s your writing process?  Plot and plot and figure and plot and start writing and then figure out my plot sucks and won’t work for my characters.  From there, I pretty much have to wing it.  You’d think skipping the plotting stage would be a good idea for me, but that causes me more anxiety than it’s worth.  That original plotting craziness seems to be a necessary step in order for me to get to the eventual story.

13. What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?  I’m pretty sure I could win a belching contest but I’ve never had the nerve to try one in public.  (I do rule the Knupp house, even though I’m the only female, though.  My mom is so proud.)

14. Which is worst? Hang nail, splinter, or paper cut?  Paper cut!

15. What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? What do you prefer to drink now?  Kahlua and cream is the worst because I detest coffee.  I prefer gluten-free beer…or vodka.  I try to avoid having them together because that never ends well.

16. Is there a genre you’d like to write but haven’t? What genre would you personally never try to write?  I plan to try young adult, but probably most of what I write will always have some kind of romance in it.  I would never ever try to write historical because I am a history idiot for the most part.

She’s giving away copies of her upcoming November book After the Storm. Have you ever read a book by Ms. Knupp before? What questions do you have for her? Remember, the more off the wall the better! :D

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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 Isobel Carr sharing with us today. I kinda had a lot for her to address (too much), so then told her to ignore me and write what she wanted to. :D (I’m kinda stuck on the “marriageable age” for heroines in historicals. Everyone ” ” says they have to be so young and once they’re 21 they’re “so far on the shelf” but apparently that’s not true – and it’s what spawned this post, one of those conversations with Isobel.

Paranormal authors have to create their worlds from whole cloth. This can be incredibly challenging, but not, in my opinion, as challenging as creating a believable historical world. No one (sane) can come back at you with “facts” countering the supernatural rules of lycanthropy as imagined by you, but if you screw up a title, primogeniture, or some other factual aspect of history, you’re going to get crucified. Harder than solid facts, is getting the “feel” of the period right, especially as each author has an individual vision of that period, created by everything from their favorite novels, mini-series, and the research books they’ve chosen.

I’m an avowed research wonk. This means I have a lot of rather dry non-fiction on my shelves, and that I read—and re-read—a lot of my books. I want to absorb the nuances and ideas they contain so I can synthesize them into my understanding of the period in which I set my books.

I’m drawn to the naughtier, raunchier, wilder people I stumble across in my re-search (as anyone who’s read my books knows, LOL!). So my favorite biographies are books like The Lady in Red (about a great heiress who became an infamous divorcee), Courtesans (featuring the likes of Sophia Baddeley and Elizabeth Armistead), My Lady Scandalous (about a socialite turned royal mistress and eventually spy). But what this means is that *my* vision of late 18th century England might not conform with that of someone who’s main influences are Austen and Heyer and Our Tempestuous Day.

My shelves are also filled with texts like The Family, Sex, and Marriage (fabulous information about everything from the age of marriage among the upper class to general attitudes of sex and behavior),  Alienated Affections (divorce and separation in Scotland), and The Rise of the Egalitarian Family (which contains a study of the development of marrying for love as an ideal).

I know that many of us *believe* that during the late Georgian period women married when the word “girls” still applied and that by twenty-two said woman was “on the shelf”. But the data outlined by Stone in The Family, Sex, and Marriage doesn’t support that. Stone says this: “Daughters married on average at about twenty in the late sixteenth century, rising to about twenty-two to twenty-three in the seventieth and eighteenth.” So if they were making their debuts somewhere between seventeen and nineteen, they weren’t expected to marry in their first (or even their second) season. Stone further states that the date shows that close to twenty-five percent of daughters of the upper class never married (compared to about fifteen percent of sons).

Given these numbers, especially coupled with the high mortality rate of pregnancy, women must have been remarrying in fairly high numbers as around 15% of men were married more than once [thus making up for their bachelor brothers]). I find this especially interesting given the social pressures on both sexes not to remarry (as detailed in The Rise of the Egalitarian Family). Trumbach gives several reasons for this pressure, chief among them concerns about preserving the inheritance rights of the children of the first marriage. But even in cases where the marriage had produced no children, widows were often discouraged from remarrying due to families (both hers and her deceased husband’s) feeling that by doing so she was alienating her natural heirs (who they generally believed to be either her or his immediate relations).

How does this all play into my world building? Well, it helps me come up with plots that I hope are original and surprising, but still historically plausible (even if reviewers don’t always agree!). My upcoming book, Ripe for Seduction, was sparked by the story of Lady Mary Coke and Lord March. March as a young man couldn’t seem to stop himself from making indecent proposals to every pretty girl who crossed his path. When Lady Mary returned to town as a widow, he made one to her. Furious, she determined to teach him a lesson. She promptly presented herself to his parents as his betrothed, knowing full well the only people whose good opinion March cared about were his parents. March did eventually manage to secure his freedom … my hero of course will figure out that freedom is the last thing he wants.

I went by title and linked what I thought they were, so my apologies to Isobel if they’re wrong! I’m curious as to what you thought though. I find this fascinating, and accuracy/realism does affect my reading enjoyment!

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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! 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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