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Archive for August, 2011

Maggie Robinson’s Winner!

So remember when Maggie guested with us? ;D All you scary people who make lists and all… well anyway, courtesy of randomizer.org the winner is The Obscured Vixen! Congratulations – you can email Maggie at maggie@maggierobinson.net to claim your prize.

Remember to check Lauren Dane’s guest post, where she’s answering questions and offering two books. I’m really hoping someone asks her something crazy, and/or get a secret out of her. Come on – we can do this, right?

And then everything calms down a bit. I hope. And you’re all going to be stuck with me! ;D

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I can’t imagine you don’t know what this is about… but that’s the grand total of my Social Media for Social Good 2011 campaign. Remember this post? A Humanitarian Crisis: What We Can Do To Help – that’s our total! In one month, we raised eight thousand, three four hundred eighty-four dollars and fifty cents. Don’t knock the fifty cents – that’s a meal for a child. (And ok, I didn’t figure all the conversion rates exactly because, well, those change daily and would make my head explode.)

We met, and/or exceeded every single challenge. I want to thank each and every single one of you who donated, commented, and shared the links on your blogs, facebook pages, and twitter profiles. I’d also like to extend thank you’s to a few extra special people. First, Ali F, c², Christine Bell, Portia da Costa, Melissa Cutler, Dana/vitch36, Courtney Milan, rissatoo, Shelli Stevens, SonomaLass, and Shiloh Walker for being the first people to make pledges, to kick off the campaign. They jumped in before I even had the post go live, and a number of them participated in my 2010 Social Media for Social Good drive as well. ❤ Thank you.

Next, thank yous to the big spenders, Tamara Allen, Maya Banks, and Melissa Schroeder. Each of these authors pledged $500 or more. (This was also one of the challenges. Tamara offered $1 per comment up to 500. Maya threw down $500 and asked if anyone would match. Melissa said she’d donate $600 for 700 comments, as her final donation – went almost dollar for comment and gave $700 – she really helped the comment drive along with different amounts, and seriously pimped out the charity drive when it was straggling at the end.)

I now want to thank Farrah Rochon, who also got not only her mother but her family to donate as well. When Farrah contacted me to tell me her mom was making a pledge, I was floored. Then she told me that her family had decided that instead of presents, they were going to ask their friends and family for donations to charity for her nephew’s birthday party. Color me amazed. Next, a shout out to Dee Tenorio, who helped out the comment drive, and got her husband, sister, and other family members to comment as well.

Then, for spreading the word, I noticed a number of people flooded in after Sarah, of Smart Bitches posted about the drive on her blog (and elsewhere), as well as Larissa Ione. Many people referenced these two as the reason they learned about it, and I also saw a flood of comments after both posted about it. Thank you.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list – I know there are so many of you who did so much, and I cannot thank you enough. A small press author challenge was issued by Avery Flynn – she wanted 50 small press authors to donate – any amount, and she’d double her donation. (Admittedly this one took us a little bit longer, and I pushed it even after the official end of the drive to meet our goal, but you know, the main thing is that we met it!) I was motivated to issue a reader challenge… and since I posted that two days before the charity drive ended, I said I wanted 25 readers to donate. We met it within the two days, and exceeded that amount. How much do readers rock? A helluva lot, let me tell you.

Up until Sunday, amounts were still trickling in, which is why I hadn’t updated sooner. If you did donate and aren’t on the list please please please let me know so that I can add you to it, and update our final amount. And remember the prizes? I’ll draw winners soon. Sorry for the delay – my computer adapter up and died on me, and I think you can all imagine how difficult it is to do anything with a laptop that is dying, and won’t charge. I’m finally feeling like death warmed over, instead of just death, so that’s also great too.

For those of you who donated, I’m going to send out a mass email soon – if you’ve already donated, my apologies – it’s just easier as I’m not sure who has or hasn’t. And for the rest of you – consider putting a few pennies away for next year. Don’t you worry. I plan on doing a Social Media for Social Good drive in 2012 as well. And 2013, 2014, 2015… (assuming the world doesn’t end. ;))

All in all, everything is just great. I’m repeating myself, and sounding inane I’m sure, but thank you. Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for your caring, your generosity, support, and efforts to raise money.

I wanted to have some sort of fitting tribute/song but… I’m blanking. Suggestions? Comments? Let me hear them! 😀

[You might notice the number changed. I spoke with Melissa, and she was like “oh yeah, I threw in another $100. Isn’t that incredible?! <3]

OMG! I almost forgot. *shameface* And last but definitely not least, Jess Dee! She was instrumental in getting the small press author challenge met! Thank you Jess!!! ❤

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Today, we have super star author Lauren Dane guesting with us! Whee! She’s got one book out today (Once and Again) and another book out next week! (Never Enough) Both are connected to different series she’s written. I don’t know if I’m allowed to admit it, because while I like both, I’m going to pick favorites and go with the Seattle Series as I call it. They’re all so good! Anyway, she’s got some fun facts about both books/series to share with us.

I’ve done a lot of blog entries about both books lately so I figure people might want something a little different. SO –

Some facts and general assorted stuff about Never Enough and Once and Again:

1. I consider my Chase Brothers books to be heroine focused but I think Once and Again leans more toward being couple centric.

2. Miles, Adrian and Gillian’s son is very much modeled on my oldest son

3. And Rennie is a combination of my daughter and my middle son

4. I love writing children into my books because I happen to think they’re pretty awesome (when they’re not standing at my office door saying, Mom, mom, mom? Momma? Momma? MOM!)

5. Petal is a combo of the very small town my mother grew up in (and I spent the earliest years of my life in) and some of the small towns all across the south where my family hails from

6. Polly Chase is modeled on my mother in law, Eileen.

7. There are four books planned in the Petal Georgia series.

8. The next book will be about Beth Murphy

9. While the Brown Siblings books are now done, you’ll still see Gillian and Adrian and the rest in the new series I’m starting.

10. The new series is a contemporary erotic romance series set on Bainbridge Island where Gillian and Miles live.

11. Yes, you’ll see what I would have put into an epilogue in the story threads in the first two books of that series.

12. Once and Again is sensual romance at the same level as the other Chase Brothers books.

13. Never Enough is erotic romance.

14. Adrian Brown is a dirty talker

15. Gillian is also a dirty talker

16. Yes, I did love that Nathan is a schoolteacher because hello, hot for teacher?

17. You will see plenty of the Chases in the new Petal, Georgia series

18. Yes, as a matter of fact southern people do play cards. My family is crazy for cards, including canasta (which we call Pennies From Heaven)

Any other questions? Go ahead on and ask em and I’ll be by as I can to give you answers! How about two winners for this one? A signed galley of Never Enough to one winner and a digital copy of Once and Again to another – you can specify which you’d prefer in your comments.

Go ahead! Think of something crazy. I have high expectations of all of you, and want some great, probing, off the wall questions please! See what secrets we can get Lauren to spill. 😉 A confession of my own – not that you asked… while I like the Seattle stories more… I have to say I’m totally blown away by the cover of Once and Again. Love it! I also totally want that dress. ❤

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To choose the winners for Alexandra’s guest post/excerpt, I went to randomizer.org, and the winners are cheryl c. and Diane Sallans. Please email me which book you’d like: All Night with a Rogue, Till Dawn with the Devil, or After Dark with a Scoundrel as well as your mailing address so we can get the prizes out to you.

Personally, I’m still sick and swamped, and my computer has been going haywire. Up till Saturday donation amounts for my Social Media for Social Good fundraiser were still trickling in (as in people were just telling me they donated) – but I think I have something close to a total now, so I’ll try to post the result soon. Thanks for understanding. And especially thank you to everyone who participated! ❤

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Today we have Farrah Rochon guesting with us! She and I have totally bonded over football, and we even root for the same teams! It’s just a bonus that she’s an author with some awesome books too. 😀 So everyone please welcome Farrah – whether you’re a football fan or not.

Being a romance reader, I’ve known about Limecello’s blog for a while, but it wasn’t until we “met” on Twitter that I learned a love of romance novels was not all we shared. We are both huge football fans. (Interjecting here, actually, I think the blog first was TGTBTU – definitely we were talking before I started this little venture.)

Football isn’t just something to pass the time for me; it is an all-consuming passion. When Kimani Romance bought my fictional New York Sabers football series, it was like a dream come true. What can be better than having the opportunity to combine my two passions while working in a job with a dress code that consists of yoga pants and t-shirts? It is bliss.

Now, as you can imagine, writing a series about a football team takes much of the guess work out of developing the male characters. But when it came time to match the hot football heroes with heroines, I wanted to bring something different to the table. So far, the series has featured a heroine who is a book blogger (Huddle With Me Tonight) and a female sports agent (I’ll Catch You). Okay, so the female sports agent has been done before, but this agent is as knowledgeable about the game as many of the football players and she is a total bad ass when it comes to negotiations.

Chyna McCrea, the heroine in the latest installment, Field of Pleasure, is a freelance choreographer hired to work with the team’s dance squad. I originally wrote her as a member of the squad, but my editor asked me to change her occupation because of the no-fraternizing rules between players and cheerleaders (but we all know that fraternizing sometimes takes place, right?)

I choose to feature a heroine affiliated with the dance squad after attending a NFL game and overhearing several derogatory comments directed at the cheerleaders. I’ll admit, some of the same thoughts had run through my mind a time or two, but this experience got me to thinking about how the dance squad members were probably being unfairly misjudged.

As I researched real life NFL dance squads, I discovered that many of the squad members are college educated, or current college students. A number of them were married, thus, not likely looking to land a rich husband. For the most part, what I found dispelled many of the stereotypes I had attributed to the women.

With the third Sabers book I wanted to show another side to the NFL cheerleader; that there is substance to these women. I hope I was able to accomplish this with Chyna. Of course, I just had to include a stereotypical, catty character, because, let’s face it, some of them are catty and they are there with one purpose in mind, to catch a husband. Others, however, have been in dance since they first learned to walk, and like the heroine of Field of Pleasure, being affiliated with an NFL cheerleading squad is one way for them to continue to indulge in their love of dance.

So, who will admit to being unfairly judgmental towards cheerleaders? Or, are there any current or former cheerleaders out there who have suffered with the stigma attached to that role?

I’ll offer one one reader their choice of one book in my Sabers series along with a bunch of Farrah Rochon swag (a tote bag, pens, ereader cleaner, etc.).

Bio: Farrah Rochon, award-winning author of the popular Holmes Brothers series, hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her New York Sabers football series for Harlequin’s Kimani Romance imprint. Farrah was named Shades of Romance Magazine’s Best New Author of 2007, and her debut novel, Deliver Me, claimed the prize for Best Multicultural Romance Debut.

I’ve got to add my question here too – have you ever seen those shows, maybe on like NFL free previews, where they follow/document the selection of a team’s dance squad? I’ve seen a few and find them hypnotically compelling. Anyway, answer our questions for your chance to win a book! A football romance!

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Jane Street Hijinx

Thanks to Limecello for having me here today to talk about the last ‘Mistress’ book in my Courtesan Court series, Mistress by Marriage. There is, however, a ‘Master’ book coming out next April, Master of Sin, which features Andrew Rossiter, who is introduced in Marriage.

There are already too many characters competing in my head, so I’ll try to stick with Baron Edward Christie and his wayward wife Caroline today.

Quite by writing accident I invented Jane Street (named in honor of Jane Austen who is surely rolling in her grave). It’s the fictional home of some of Regency London’s most exclusive, exotic, erotic mistresses. But they’re not my heroines—the five women I’ve placed on Jane Street in two novellas and three novels definitely don’t belong there. They are, to play off the title of the first book in the bunch, mostly mistresses by mistake.

In Mistress by Marriage (September 2011), Lady Caroline Christie has been set up on the street by her uptight, upright husband Edward as a sort of punishment, but the torture’s on him, because he just can’t leave her alone there. Caroline is everything he thinks doesn’t want— she’s too beautiful, too impulsive, too scandalous. Too unsettling. For a man like Baron Edward Christie who is wrapped tighter than a dowager’s turban, it takes him a good long while to unwind. I’ve said somewhere that Edward is like a Regency Boy Scout who needs Caro to light his fire. It was such fun defrosting him, turning him from imperious idiot to love-struck fool.

In fact, he takes the plot from one of Caro’s own books—she writes lurid gothic romances, the Courtesan Court series…how meta ;)—turns himself into one of her villains, and kidnaps her to try to reconcile.

Once Edward cracks, he throws all his ingrained inhibitions away. Here’s a never-seen- before excerpt. Edward is washing off his disguise in the bathtub in front of a tormented and bound Caroline.

***

“You know,” he said conversationally, as if she were not tied up like a rabid dog, “I’ve become a terrible creature of habit. Some find the scent of bay rum pleasant, but give me my own lime cologne. My play-acting the villain was as much torture for me as it was for you. I itch all over. I’m going to have Hazlett burn that suit.” Water sluiced down his brown chest, beading on his nipples. He must have spent the weekends helping his tenants with the harvest at Christie Park when he wasn’t plotting his evil, insane stratagem.

He lathered his bristled face and unkempt hair. This new, unimproved Edward confused her. He had never shared so intimate an act as bathing in front of her, except for the one time she’d barged into his dressing room and slipped into his tub uninvited. She’d made him like it in the end, but he was a man who thrived on a strict routine, and she was usually an unwelcome interruption. She had spent their year of married life weighted down by his continuous disapproval.

“Bastard.” Her old sense of humiliation fluttered to the surface. Perhaps he’d get soap in his eyes and go blind, she thought sourly. He leaned back and poured water on his head, slicking back his long dark hair until every beautifully chiseled plane of his face was revealed. Then he pulled the wet cotton from his ears, tossing it among the flattened roses on the floor.

“Did you say something?”

Caroline bit her tongue.

“This bath is so refreshing. I find travel arduous in the best of circumstances, don’t you? You know, the water is still hot.”

Caroline tasted blood.

“The tub is large enough for two. If you like, we can share it. Get the road dust off.”

Caroline would like. She found herself furiously jealous of Edward’s liquid display. “Will you untie me?”

“Unnecessary. I believe I’m perfectly capable of washing you. Everywhere.” His smile was purely satanical.

“Absolutely not then.”

“Don’t be stubborn, Caro. I know how you like your baths. Do you remember the morning you surprised me in my bath at Christie Park?”

God, he remembered. Or could he read minds? “You were appalled at the disruption of your daily regimen. And your old valet—what was his name? The one before Cameron— couldn’t look me in the eye for months.”

“Well, as I said, it was a surprise. Poor Melrose didn’t expect to find us in such a tangle when he came to barber me.”

“I wish he’d cut off your—” She snapped her lips shut.

“Pardon? I must have water in my ears.” He shook his head like a glossy spaniel.

“Nothing. Edward, while I appreciate your effort to get me in your clutches, I don’t want to be clutched. I made that perfectly clear several weeks ago.”

“I know what you said. I don’t agree anymore. We may not be ideally suited to each other, but I’m sure we can find some common ground with a little work.”

“The only time we’ll find common ground is when we’re both buried under it in the family plot. I assume there’s still room for me at the churchyard?”

Edward looked a bit sheepish. They once had a discussion about her eventual placement.

As an ever-organized Christie, he had dispassionately informed her of her future. Edward was to be the jam husband to his two wives’ bread. The headstone was already in place, just waiting for the requisite dates. In Edward’s case, Caroline hoped it would be soon.

***

Of course, Edward changes her mind eventually.

Are you an organized list-maker like Edward or spontaneous like Caroline? What’s your morning routine? I’m giving away a signed copy of Mistress by Mistake Mistress by Marriage to one commenter!

If it wasn’t clear, the fantastic Maggie Robinson is guesting with us today, and I believe that’s another exclusive excerpt she’s sharing. Exciting, yes? I didn’t think my silly little intros would fit before her post. Also, I’m still on brain melt. So, answer Maggie’s question and be entered in her giveaway!

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Courtesy of randomizer.org the winners are Darcy, June M., and Liz! I’m sick like a dog right now so I have nothing witty to say. Winners, email me your address and who you’d like your book from. Let’s go with first, second, and third choice. Because each author is giving one away, so we’ll do this first come first served.

There’s that handy dandy email form at the top, and you’ll get a surprise book in your email box. Or email from the author. I don’t know. If this doesn’t make sense, feel free to have a stern talk with my immune system.

Oh – and the Save the Children drive is officially done, but if you feel so moved to donate now, please do and let me know.

Lastly – anyone have ideas on how to assign or distribute the prizes? Open the prizes post to comments? Something else? I feel like my brain is melting so I’ll stop my near stream of consciousness here.

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