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Archive for September, 2011

So today, I wanted to write a post. In actuality, I wanted to write a bunch of book reviews, if you’d believe that. In fact, I’ve been meaning to ask. Do you guys even care about reviews? Would you have any interest in reading reviews? I’m asking because… well there’s no point in me writing them if you’re not interested in them, right? I could just… babble. Endlessly.

Hah. I really don’t mean that as a threat. Promise.

Then, I was going to discuss all the movies/shows I’ve been watching. O_o Freudian slip? I typed “shoes” out first. I do watch those and covet. Anyway… life is still kicking my butt. Although I did meet with someone who was supposed to be an insurance adjuster today but isn’t? Whatever. As long as my car is fixed properly. The rest I just don’t want to talk about.

What you care about, however, is the winners! Courtesy of randomizer.org, they are Mary G, donnas, and Bella @ BeguileThySorrow. Mary you get Blood and Fire. Donna and Bella, you each get a copy of Fade to Midnight. Please email me (there’s a contact form) and send me your address so we can get the book out to you.

Lastly, something for me! Finally! 😀 Got any suggestions for movies? I like getting them from my local library. I’ll watch pretty much anything, although I don’t really go for horrors. I don’t watch many at all, actually, so any recommendation is good. Although newer will probably be easier. Thanks!

How’s everyone’s week going?

And remember to check the blog for other wonderful giveaways from authors… and you know what? Why the heck not. Someone who comments on this post will get a LoveSwept e-book download from Random House. (So I guess you can/should also tell me if you read ebooks or not!) Oh – and check if you were a winner from the Social Media for Social Good post. Everyone needs to contact me by Saturday!

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Jeannie Lin’s Winner

From her guest post is… JohnD! If you missed it, it’s worth checking out. Very interesting and I think gives some great background on her newest book The Dragon and the Pearl. John, please email Jeannie Lin at … O_o jeannie_lin@yahoo.com (sorry, the yahoo address threw me for a second.)

If you didn’t win this time… worry not – there are more chances to come, and some current ones as well!

The ever fabulous Shannon McKenna is giving away three books, and Alisha Rai is giving away an e-copy of her upcoming release as well! Believe me – you’ll be happy with any of these books. And they’re hot!

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Today we have Alisha Rai sharing a spicy excerpt with us of her upcoming Samhain release, Hot as Hades. She wrote Glutton for Pleasure, which is one of my favorite hot re-reads. Warning – this exclusive excerpt is naughty. Alisha said it’s firmly in x-rated territory. (No pun intended, right? ;))

I was lucky enough to read an (early?) version of this story, and I have to say you are in for a treat. Admittedly I am a huge classical mythology geek. Rest assured – if you know about Greek mythology you know there are some potential squick factors here – Alisha deals with them nicely so it makes sense, and isn’t creepy. In fact I really like how she addresses the issue and makes it go away. (I’m talking about all those potentially incestuous relationships…)  This book will be available October 11, 2011. (The same day Immortals is out in theaters! It’s just meant to be!)

Ensnaring the ultimate bad boy has its risks…and its rewards.

It’s not easy being Hades. Constantly guarding his world against other meddling and ambitious deities is stressful work. So when a naked goddess falls directly into his lap, along with the news that he has to shelter her for the indefinite future, he is less than thrilled. Particularly since he can’t help but lust after the beautiful female.

The Underworld isn’t the first place Persephone would pick for a vacation—who in their right mind would choose a dark palace over sunshine and flowers? Yet from Hades’s first touch, the dark, sexy ruler fascinates her and has her thinking a fling might be just the thing to while away her confinement.

But trust each other? Not a chance. Until the day comes that Persephone must leave…and they realize that trusting each other is the only way they’ll ever meet again.

Warning: Contains an arrogant god, a stubborn goddess, horny deity nookie and enough supernatural friction to set the Underworld on fire.

Persephone preceded him into his office. He shut the door loudly. The click of the lock made her jump. He liked it when she was a little unsure. The hint of vulnerability appealed to him, particularly when she was doing her lady-of-the-manor act the rest of the time.

Keeping her guessing was a fun game, so instead of rushing to get her naked, he went to his desk and sat in his chair. He took his time making himself comfortable before crooking his finger at her in a way that he was certain would raise her blood pressure.

She didn’t love orders, his Persephone. Indeed, her eyes narrowed, and he waited for her to snort at his imperious, silent command.

But a small smile curved her lips, and she sashayed over to stand in front of him, her dress rippling and briefly defining her legs.

He raised a brow. “You’re in the mood to obey me?”

“I suppose so.”

“Why?”

Her smile grew wider. “Because you want me to disobey you.”

Fuck, but she could read him like a book, and he didn’t like that. He was so contrary, he wanted to reward her earlier kind words and actions by proving her wrong, proving that he was no saint. His dominant, autocratic side stretched out of slumber, not that it ever rested for long. “Take off your dress. With your hands,” he added, so she wouldn’t simply dematerialize it.

She raised her hands to the buttons that ran along the front of the dress. Pearl buttons on a pale pink dress—it was his fantasy, his secret kink, innocence on the verge of being despoiled.

The little V of skin at her throat widened as she released each button, showing him that glorious unblemished flesh. Every time he saw that skin, his selfish, territorial nature made him want to mark it, to claim it as his. He had to forcibly remind himself that Persephone and her skin’s presence in his life was strictly temporary.

A snarl sounded, and he realized by her startled expression that it came from him. She would leave him sooner or later.

But for now…now, she was his. Focus on this moment.

And there was so much to focus on, particularly when she shrugged the dress off her shoulders, surprising him with the lacy white corset she wore underneath. The garment propped up her breasts, her nipples peeking out from the lace like confections on a cupcake. It was sensory overload, the erotic snatches of her body almost too much to take in at once. Corset. No panties. Garters. A combination of silken flesh and material.

He realized he had been staring at her without speaking when she shifted her weight. “Touch yourself,” he ordered.

A flush spread over her exposed breasts. “Where?”

Anywhere. Everywhere. “Your tits. Play with them.” He deliberately used the cruder word, wanting to shock her into refusing him, perverse bastard that he was.

She didn’t refuse him, though, simply cupped those gloriously full mounds. Her fingers worked the hard nipples, her head falling back with a small moan as she massaged them.

His cock grew harder, pressing against the weight of his trousers, but he knew if he allowed himself release, it would be over before it began. Her legs spread wider as she toyed with her breasts. One delicate hand started to trail down her body to the open lips of her pussy.

Hades allowed her to get as far as her lower belly before he spoke. “Stop.”

She didn’t listen, her fingers tangling in her pubic hair.

“Persephone. Stop.”

She jerked and stared at him, confused and primed for release.

“Come here.” Hades swore the heady scent of sun and flowers clung to her skin, wafting under his nose as she walked closer to him. “Turn around.”

She hesitated but turned when he made a twirling gesture. Her ass was full and round, bare but framed by the garter and corset. It made an enticing picture.

Paying no attention to her jump of surprise, he palmed a cheek and roughly massaged the flesh. “I love your ass,” he murmured. “I love your whole body. It’s like it was made for me. Only for me.”

It took him a second to realize the import of what he’d bleated aloud. Growling in frustration at himself, he grabbed her hips and spun her around. She teetered, steadying after she grasped his forearms for balance.

“Take me out,” he demanded. He spread his legs to give her room to work the buttons on his trousers, which were stretched tight over the bulge of his erection. The slightly bent-over position she was in made her tits hang down like ripe fruit. Unable to resist, he leaned forward and licked the top of those mounds, finding them delicious as usual. She stiffened, her hands stopping their work. He released his hold on the chair’s arms to cradle her breasts and bring them to his mouth. He knew what pleased her. She always liked it when he sucked hard, lashing at the nipple with his tongue, so he did that now, bringing a high-pitched cry from her mouth.

“Don’t stop,” he drew away to tell her. “Take me out. Play with me.”

She trembled. He loved it when he made her shake with need. It made him feel ten feet tall. “I can’t concentrate,” she said.

He released her, giving no heed to her pitiful whimper. “Then I’ll stop distracting you.”

“Jerk.”

The word lacked heat, and he grinned. He’d come to read her body well, and he knew she needed him badly. “On your knees, female. Maybe that will help you focus.”

She shot him a mock-glare. Her fingers resumed their mission as she sank to the subservient position. He had to grit his teeth as those delicate fingers touched and rubbed him through the leather. When she finally managed to get the fly open, his cock almost ran out to greet her, pushing into her hands. The blessed feel of her warm palm over him made him want to shout for joy and pump into her hand for as long as necessary to get him off.

“Persephone…” He shoved his hips up, groaning as her hand slipped up the shaft and back down, the better to feel that softness all around him.

“What order would you like to give me now, Lord Hades?”

He slit his eyes at her mocking emphasis on Lord. Impertinent baggage. “Make me come.”

Her hand jacked him again, and he spread his legs wider, an invitation to continue. Idly, as if she wasn’t kneeling at his feet in a scandalous corset and playing with his naked cock, she tilted her head. “With my hands? Or my mouth?”

He swallowed, the thought of Persephone’s lips wrapped around his cock filling his head. He had a particular fondness for blowjobs but had rarely been able to find anyone who was willing to bestow that favor. Because he was bigger and more powerful than most females, he always had the distasteful impression that he was forcing his partner.

However, if Persephone chose to grace him with her mouth…

He said nothing, and she smiled. “I do remember you saying something about drinking your come.”

His cock jerked at the memory, the dirty words he’d roughly muttered while lost in a haze of sexual need. Without any warning, she licked the vein running along the side of his cock. He gasped, and his hands flew to her shoulders, the little lick punching into his stomach.

“I guess you like this,” he half-heard her say. Unable to care if her tone held the proper amount of respect for him, he threaded his hands through her hair.

“More,” he said, aware that he was pleading.

So – what’d you think? Ms. Rai is definitely a tease, isn’t she?

Have you read anything by Alisha Rai before? Will you give Hot as Hades a try? One lucky commenter will win an e-ARC of Hot as Hades in the format of his/her choice!

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Hi Everyone – I know I said I’d post this on ~August 30. Sorry. I know I should have gotten that done, but we weren’t quite done with the drive yet. It went a bit longer, but we also raised more money, so I think that’s fine. Then, my computer kinda broke, car accidents, hospitalizations, illness, death of a family friend and so on and so forth so… it’s been a bit nutty.

What on earth am I talking about? Remember the charity drive? A Humanitarian Crisis: What We Can Do To Help and that there were prizes?

My apologies for the month long delay. Anyway, here are the winners! Because there were so many prizes, I’ll list the person/group giving the prize, and the winners. To make it easier and cut down on confusion, I also included the link to the comment so you can see if that’s you or not.

  • Christine Bell – Francesca and kiersten, please let me know which 5 of Christine’s books you’d like and in what e-format
  • Susanna Fraser – Brandi E. please email me which book you’d like and in what e-format
  • Nadia Lee – Rose
  • Dee Tenorio – jk – please tell me which of Dee’s series you’d like and in what e-format
  • Anne Holly – Sami
  • Courtney Milan – Her winner was chosen on her blog. Thank you so much, Courtney! xoxo
  • Jill Sorenson – Karen
  • Jeanette Murray – Nat
  • St. Martin’s Press Authors Gift Basket – Jane
  • Nikki Duncan – Janet please let me know if you’d like the Sensory Ops books in print or digital; Mary Ann you get an ARC of Tangled in Tulle
  • Shiloh Walker – aliciaeflores1 please let me know what e-format you’d like the Grimm books to be in

You can use the contact form and I’ll forward your information on. I think that’ll make it easier since it’s been awhile. Please get back to me by Saturday, October 1, 2011. Eastern time. (If you don’t get your information to me in time, sorry, but you forfeit your prize.) And in case you were wondering? All the winners were chosen randomly.

And um… if you said you’d donate but haven’t yet, please please do so? If you’re in the US, here’s the matching gift appeal link. Thanks! (If you didn’t before but decide to now, that’s fantastic too! And if you’d like to let me know the amount so I can add it to our total that’d rock too!)

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Winners Galore!

Okay, so I know I should have posted the winner to Carly Phillip’s guest post a while ago – sorry. As you know everything has been crazy. However I finally got my computer issues fixed! It’s awesome! I’m actually not used to having everything functioning properly it’s been so long! Anyway, courtesy of randomizer.org the winner is Cassandra Carr. Please send me your contact info so we can get your prize out to you!

Next, Ashley March had a great guest post, and she shared adorable baby pictures! (I’m counting both girls as babies.) She used randomizer.org and chose willaful as her winner, and has emailed her. Ms. March as you see, is a very hands on guest. Thanks!

For Lorelie Brown’s Teaser Tuesday excerpt… the lucky winner of Catch Me is Vanessa N! You can email her at lorelielong@gmail.com to get your e-book!

Remember my craptacular week last week? Sadly this one wasn’t so much better. On Sunday, my mom got two calls – a family friend was in the hospital and not doing well, and my uncle was in the hospital in critical care. On Monday, I was the victim of a “hit and skip” which I guess is the new cop lingo. Luckily that was resolved on Wednesday, after my trip to the kickass local PD. Xoxo, boys in blue! On Thursday we found out the family friend passed away. My uncle, however, should be more stable and in a regular hospital wing. So that’s good. Anyway – what you care about… the winners!

Randomizer.org tells me they are Lynne Silver, Melanie Carrico (@Kissablysweet1), and Karen C. Just use the contact form at the top please!

I *might* add to this post to have Jeannie Lin’s winner – she’s at a wedding today, so we’ll see how she wants that to go, so stay tuned!

And… everyone – if you’re supposed to contact me to claim your prize, please do so by October 1, 2011 at the latest. Otherwise, I’m sorry but you’re going to forfeit your prize.

Lastly, if you didn’t win this time, no worries! There’s still a giveaway open for Shannon McKenna books, and the wonderful Ms. McKenna is even answering questions and comments! (And as always, there will be more giveaways in the future.)

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I wonder how many people out there have suffered from the dreaded reading slump.  I know it’s not something that readers like to think about let alone even encounter!  I have been in a reading slump that has come and gone all of 2011.

I recently suffered some computer issues that unfortunately made me lose my list of reads for 2011, but I promise it wasn’t a long list!  I know that there were some excellent reads on it because I read all of the new Virgin River Series books by Robyn Carr, and all of the new Chesapeake Shores books from Sherryl Woods.   I’m also sure that there was a book or two that I didn’t enjoy as much, but without the actual list I have no memory!

Fortunately August brought me a slew of great reading, and I think I can say I’m out of the slump, and won’t be going back.  However, I do know that one should never say never!

Now, I wonder how many of you actually suffer from a reading slump periodically.  What do you do to get yourself through the worst of it?  How often might you find yourself in a slump?

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Uh… so you can tell I’m kinda excited about this, yes? I had the chance to meet Shannon this past June in NYC and it was definitely a highlight of my trip. When I found out she was going to be there, and Joy had her on our schedule, and then found out I’d be arriving later and would miss her I sent Joy numerous emails in all caps with lots of punctuation asking for a re-schedule. Which actually didn’t work out either because of the hotel+NYPD fiasco… but everything else and goodness prevailed because we got to hang out with her twice. Whee!

On Blood and Fire

Hello, and thank you so much, Lime, for inviting me onto your site to hold forth about my book!

I’m so excited about this one. It’s very dear to my heart, since it was a book that took me completely by surprise. Bruno just sprang out of nowhere in the first chapter of Fade to Midnight. At first, I didn’t consider him as a hero. He didn’t behave like a classic McKenna hero. He talked too much, he was too bouncy, he was a clown, he was hot tempered, on a hair- trigger, etc. etc. The kind of guy who would be a good foil for a studly and stoic McKenna hero. Like, say, Kev.

But when I was done with Kev’s book, and everything was all sewed up, Bruno swaggered on up, and cockily demanded his own story. He was cute enough for hero material, he assured me. He had the muscles, the dimples, the brains, the charisma, the sexual ability. He could kick ass as well as any flipping McCloud. Hell, he was a direct descendant of one of the biggest Italian mafia crime clans on the eastern seaboard, even though he was raised by tight-assed old Uncle Tony, who went straight decades before. Bruno wanted to flatten his own bad guys, damn it. He wanted to prove himself. He wanted his own sexy heroine, his own happily ever after.

Give it to me now. That’s what he said. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. And Blood and Fire came into being.

I’m only half kidding. I am grateful to be bullied by my characters about all the gritty details, the timelines, the plot points. It’s that much less agonizing decision making that I have to engage in! Bruno made the hard decisions before I even started writing. All I had to do was take what he gave me, and build a book with it.

The heart of the story is a memory of Bruno’s recounted in Fade to Midnight. Bruno is in the hospital, staring down at Kev’s unconscious body. He remembers when he was twelve, right after he’d come to live with gruff old Uncle Tony at the diner in Portland, right after his mother’s violent death at the hands of her boyfriend Rudy, the ruthless mafia goon. Rudy and two of his thugs had come to the diner while Bruno was there with Kev, ostensibly to kidnap and silence Bruno before he could testify at Rudy’s trial. But when Bruno is attacked, the speechless and brain damaged and apparently harmless Kev suddenly transformed into a crazy fighting machine. He flattens the three bad guys in seconds, whap, bam, saving Bruno’s life, and earning his devotion forever. And then there was that bit about Rudy ripping Bruno’s mother’s gold necklace, his last keepsake of her, off his throat. What was that about? I didn’t have a clue. I just wrote the thing. Whatever.

I almost cut that scene, because I was so shockingly over word count at the time for Fade to Midnight. It was fully twice as long as the manuscript was supposed to be. I was madly cutting everything that did not obviously advance the plot. And this did not. It revealed character, of course, but not a principle character. It was advancing the plot of another book! Bruno’s book!

That was the seed that took root and grew into Bruno’s story. It went all these crazy places that I never expected before it was through. To the end of writing it, I continued to be surprised as  hell by the things that were happening. It was fun. When it wasn’t hell on earth. Oh, shut up, Shannon. I promised myself I would not whine about how hard and scary writing is. Nobody wants to hear it. Besides, I did this to myself, by deciding not to become a librarian or a computer programmer or a teacher. I made my bed, now I’ll just type in it.

Another good thing about Blood and Fire is that it gave me an opportunity to finish something important that I had begun in Fade to Midnight–the reunion of Kev with is long-lost brothers. A scene fraught with danger. All that pent up emotion, grief and anger and guilt. A minefield, and in FADE TO MIDNIGHT, there was no time or space to either let the bombs explode or carefully defuse them, one by one. The characters were too busy getting blown up and shot at and torched and shot up with needles full of junk or assailed by mind-controlling zombie masters. Stuff like that. No down time for involved, emotionally charged conversations, explanations, ‘issues.’ It was very painful, leaving those beloved McCloud boys like that, all in limbo with each other, still as tense and confused as hell and tied in knots by their unresolved feelings. I considered writing the scene that would resolve it, and then I abandoned the idea. Too easy, I thought. Too soon. Not those guys. They’re not like that. They’re armored with titanium, emotionally speaking. They’re rigidly controlled, they’re tragically, terminally macho. I make no apologies for them. They’re just plain difficult. Ask any of their heroines. Raised and homeschooled in the deep wilderness by a paranoid schizophrenic nutcase survivalist sniper whose mottos were “lack of vigilance will get you killed” and “do the hard thing.” That big tender moment was just going to have to wait. I wouldn’t write it until I felt it. Because I know these guys.

But I cannot even tell you how much flak I caught for that decision! Most of the readers who reviewed or wrote me were just perplexed and disappointed that I left those big issues unresolved, but many others were genuinely angry and felt cheated. I felt bad that they felt bad, but I also chose to take the intensity as a kind of back-handed compliment (might as well, don’t you think?) If a reader cares enough to actually get mad at me for not doing right by a character that she cares about, a character who she believes deserves better, then I am definitely doing something right. Not everything, maybe . . . but something!

But I will announce to you right now that in Blood and Fire, they get their moment! And it is so quintessentially McCloud. Right down to the pouring rain, the open grave, the mud, the ice, the moldering skeletons . . . and I’ll stop it right now. Don’t want to spoil.

So to all of you who were left feeling unsatisfied, it was not for lack of caring about the characters on my part! Far from it. It’s because I care too much to railroad them into something important before it could happen naturally, in a way that I could believe in.

I really get excited when the story jerks me around and has its way with me—is that kinky? Should I worry? Oh, never mind. Forget I asked.

Anyhow, I’m blathering on, because Lime indulgently did not impose a word count, which is a dangerous thing to do with me! So I’ll close this with another resounding “thank you” to Lime for sharing space on her lovely blog for my rambling discourse, and to any of you who are kind enough to read this. I hope you enjoy Blood and Fire if it finds its way into your hands.

Happy reading to all this fall—I hope everyone gets lucky with lots of delicious books, and I wish you all scads of the endless enjoyments and riches that only books can bring.

Because Shannon lives overseas, shipping would be a nightmare – but don’t you worry! I’ve coordinated with the terrific Kensington offices, and we’re going to have three lucky winners! Up for grabs are two copies of Fade to Midnight and one lucky person will get the upcoming release Blood and Fire. Let me tell you, I’m crazy jealous. I didn’t get a Blood and Fire ARC in NYC. And I didn’t bother hunting one down because I only read digitally now, but if I had gotten on there I could have gotten it signed! By Shannon! Ahhh. Anyway, Blood and Fire will be out and about on September 27, 2011. You needed to know that. [Oh and yes I know other than the first two the book covers aren’t at all in order of publication. But that’s how I wanted them.]

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