Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer may be coming to an end, but that does not mean that fun reading has to end too… by Marie Astor

Let's face it - the fall is here. The days are getting longer, the leaves are turning yellow, and the sun, although still glowing just as brightly, is not as warm as it was just a few weeks ago.

I don't know about you, but to me, the end of the summer has always brought a sobering feeling, almost that of sadness. While the fall has its own beauty, it is a season of seriousness. Summer, on the other hand, is bright and carefree – it is a time for romance, a time for having fun.

Scientists keep dreaming about inventing a time machine, but I think I might have beaten them to the punch. I wrote my contemporary romance, Lucky Charm, during the warm days of June, and now, every time I reread a line from the book, I am transported to the time when I wrote it – I can remember what I was thinking, and how I felt, right down to the smell of the air and my surroundings.

Well, summer may be coming to an end, but that does not mean that fun reading has to end too. Here is a quick excerpt from Lucky Charm, a contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship, to add some sunshine to a rainy fall day:

"Check this out!" Lilly motioned at the sign in the dim window on the right, which read, 'Madam Aurora – Tarot Card Readings.' "Let's go inside!"

"Oh, I don't know," Annabel replied – she had an inborn distrust of psychics and palm readers.

"Come on, it'll be fun," Lilly urged her. "Don't you want to get your fortune read?"

"I'm not sure – if it's anything like what it's been recently, I think I'd rather stay in the dark."

"Well, I want to get mine read – I want to see what's in store for me and Simon," Lilly insisted. "You don't have to get yours read if you don't want to."

"All right, have it your way," Annabel surrendered, knowing full well that once Lilly got something into her head, it would be impossible to talk her out of it.

Lilly tugged on the front door, but it was locked.

"It says here that you have to ring." Annabel pointed to the small sign next to the intercom.

Lilly pressed the intercom button, but no one answered.

"See? There's no one there – you probably have to make an appointment in advance or something like that." Annabel was glad of an excuse to leave. "Let's go. Maybe next time." She tugged at Lilly's sleeve.
Just then there was a rustling noise from the intercom receiver. "Who is it?" asked a distant voice.

"Madam Aurora? We're interested in a tarot reading," Lilly spoke into the intercom.

"Come on up – it's the top floor." The front door buzzed open.

"In we go!" Lilly swung open the front door and Annabel had no choice but to follow her friend inside.

The lobby of the building was completely deserted. Lilly pressed the elevator button and several moments later an elevator rolled down the see-through metallic shaft.

"I'm not going up in that." Annabel looked suspiciously at the archaic contraption. "This thing looks like it's from the nineteen twenties."

"Come on! I'm not walking up five flights of stairs in heels!" Lilly pried open the elevator door.

"Only because you are my friend, but if we get stuck, it'll be all your fault." Annabel went inside the clammy-smelling elevator and felt the floor sink underneath her feet.

"OK, up we go!" Lilly pressed the top floor, and Annabel shut her eyes as the elevator rattled into motion, hoping that this would not be the moment when the elevator would finally succumb to its wear and plummet down the shaft.

"See? We made it just fine!" Lilly exclaimed after the shaky elevator ride ended with one last final thump. She pushed open the elevator door and headed down the hallway that looked like it had recently survived an explosion: paint was peeling off the walls and the floor was sinking underneath one's feet.

"Are you sure about this?" Annabel asked, thinking that if Madam Aurora were indeed a reputable card reader, she would not be maintaining her establishment in such dingy quarters.

"Right this way," came a voice from the opened door down the hall.

Great, thought Annabel, abandoning all hopes of escape.

A sly grin twinkled on Madam Aurora's face as she held the door open for Annabel and Lilly to enter. "Please, come inside."

I hope that you will prolong your summer season by picking up a copy of Lucky Charm:



Friday, September 23, 2011

Free short story! FIRE BOUND by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Free Belador short story! Woo hoo!
FIRE BOUND is available right now, on Pocket After Dark. 

A dangerous creature is on the loose.  Evalle, Tzader and Quinn take a VIPER team just outside of Atlanta for a sting operation that takes a deadly turn.  Killing the half-human creature would be easy, but national security is on the line until the team can discover who created the monster, and whether more like it are waiting in the wings to be unleashed on the human world. The op goes bad with Beladors in the middle of it, and nothing turns out as expected, least of all for Evalle.

Get it now FREE!

Reading order:

1) BLOOD TRINITY--1st full length novel in Belador series--Release date Nov, 2010.
2) FIRE BOUND--free short story up at Pocket After Dark as of this week (link above)
3) ALTERANT--Book 2 in Belador series--release date Sept 27, 2011.

So go get your copy and enjoy!

Incidentally, TRR review for BLOOD TRINITY can be found here.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cowboys Make Beautiful Lovers by Cerise Deland

Cowboys make beautiful lovers!

As an author, I know it. As a reader, you probably do, too, especially if you are here reading this!

Being an East Coast gal who has been transported to deep in the heart of Texas, I tell you I never knew a cowboy till I got here.  Never even hoped to meet one. True. True. My idea of a sexy guy was a Suit with the Suave of 007.

Now, 15 years after moving to southwest Texas and cowboy country, I have a craving for genuine western men. Cowboys. Rodeo contenders. Ranchers. Sheriffs. Texas Rangers. They are different from their coastal counterparts. Living with longhorns and cattle, fighting dust and draught, scorpions and cacti, hard winters and summers without water make a man tough. Sturdy. Inventive.  And funny.

Definitely, they appeal to us for their legendary individuality. But their roughness—and their need to be rough means they have the grit, true grit, to love a woman hard and fast.

More than that, I think these men are much stronger characters in erotica--and more true to life! The rough, tough type of man we think of as a cowboy is best personified by a man with a load of testosterone. Hence, a hot and heavy erotica fits best.

I like writing these men with a great sense of understanding and I got that way because living in cowboy country, I know these boys! I have worked with them, played with them (at the local Chamber of Commerce and other local events.)

They are truly independent. With a capital I.

They do not mess with details. This, of course, can get them in trouble. But they tend not to care. They let others work on that pesky little stuff for them.

They have other traits I love. For example, they know how to use a lasso.  They do rope animals. Corral them. Kill them. And stuff them. Then mount them on the walls of their living rooms, if their wives will let them—or if not, on the walls of their den. If that fails, the front of their trucks can bear a brace of 15 foot longhorns. Yes, indeedy.

They do take care of their appearance. They are fit. Very. And need no gym membership to hone those delicious muscles. And as for attire, beard, etc? They are not particular but pull on those worn, comfortable jeans and plaid shirt to be out there on a horse. Chaps (yum, yum) if necessary. But at home with their women, at a dance hall to do a graceful (do not use that word, though, puleeez) Two Step, they dress. Knife-pressed, starched jeans. White, starched shirt. Damnedest big silver buckle on their belt. Bigger than...well, any one else's, donchaknow. Boots. Knee high. Polished. Leather or Ostrich. Hand tooled. Cut to a fare thee well. Spurs. (Tingly, yet?)

They also know how to cook. Well. Really, they know how to barbeque. Hottest, damn coals are best, thank you, ma'am.

What do they cook? Ribs. Beef, pork, baby backs. Fajitas, especially down here in south Texas, these meats are our specialty. They also do Mean Beans. MEAN. (Bring your constitution, please.) Brisket, they will smoke it till it falls apart in your fingers. You get all gooey and you must lick yourself clean.

Hmmm. Method? Madness?

What else can they do?

They know how to wield a bull whip.

A carving knife.

A lasso.

Biggest trucks I have ever seen.

They are not good with eloquence of the East Coast variety. But they do know how to speak their minds...and their hearts.

Gimme a cowboy every time.

Cerise DeLand
View all my cherries ~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Larger Than Life Heroes by Karen Rose Smith

My hero in HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA is a mega star.  He is larger than life.  He has thousands of fans, several properties, lots of money and a lifestyle his fans envy.  But when the heroine meets him, he is incognito and only the "man" matters.  Zane Gunther without all the trappings is still a hero.

So what makes a hero?

When I consider a hero for one of my plotlines, I give him a painful background, a rugged, sexy appearance, a career he is passionate about and a heroine who can not only catch his eye, but keep it for a lifetime.  The men I create are never perfect. They do have flaws. But I lay the groundwork for one character trait that never changes—these men are true blue.  They are loyal, full of integrity and have always stepped up to protect and defend the people they care about. When they accept the vulnerability of loving, they become real heroes, steadfast husbands for the rest of their lives.

My heroines are women I'd like to have as my best friends.  And each becomes a friend as I write a book.  But my heroes?  I have to fall in love with them to make the romance work.  I definitely fell hard for Zane Gunther and I think readers will be able to tell!  He's a larger than life hero because of his pioneer spirit and very big heart.

Check out Karen's interview of HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA (click here), and you may win one of the giveaways!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Falling in Love Again by Margaret Ethridge

In the course of writing, editing, and promoting Contentment, my husband has been forced to bite his tongue whilst I focus on some of the more…unappealing aspects of marriage and family life. It's been a little disturbing for him, to say the least.

I've explained over and over that it's nothing personal. When discussing a book about the unraveling of a marriage, it's only natural to focus on the little things that drive a person crazy, right?

I assured and reassured him that I have no desire to brain him with the cast iron skillet. Most days.  I've detailed numerous reasons no woman in her right mind would want to be married to a romance novel hero, and I did it with a straight face. Go me! He doesn't need to know the one reason that really matters: those men don't exist. Hell, I may have even made statements alluding to the possibility that I may not be perfect either. He was smart enough to let those pass without comment. I think he knew that momentary lapse in ego wouldn't last.

Still, I have a rather startling confession to make…I love him.

I know, I know, it's not 'cool' to say that out loud—particularly if one has been married for more than five minutes. I'm supposed to complain about his inability to hit the hamper or the toilet. I am probably contractually obligated to kvetch about his incapacity to ask for directions or help. And I'm supposed to roll my eyes while I point out that the man has no difficulty asking me where he left his shoes, his keys, or his wallet, right?

Okay, I may have seen the wallet, and it may be a tad lighter than it was, but he needs to keep better track of his stuff. I'm just sayin'…

He rants about the economy until his voice morphs into that wah-wah noise they use for the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons, still hasn't figured out that the open book in my hand equals quiet time, and steadfastly refuses to be passed on the highway.

And he's mine. All mine.

My man is handsome and charming. A genuinely friendly guy who has never met a stranger. He's an excellent father, a conscientious businessman, and pretty damn handy with the house/yard/car. He also cracks me up almost every day.

The guy says some seriously funny stuff. In the ten years we've been married, I don't think a week has gone by without me having to wipe tears of laughter from my eyes. Oh! Did I mention the drawl already? Yeah. He has a drawl. Slow and southern. So damn sexy.

Anyhoo…Does loving my husband and freely admitting it mean we have the perfect marriage? Not by a long shot.

We fight like any other couple. At times, it seems like we fight more than any other couple. There any number of topics from politics to parenting where we fail to see eye to eye. Some days he yells at everyone in the house about everything. Me? I tend to clam up when I'm angry. I've spent more than a few nights seething in silence.

Do I have days when I look at him and wonder what the hell I was thinking? Yeah. There have also been a couple of instances where I've given serious consideration to packing up and leaving. Luckily, those are usually chased by heart-stopping moments in which I try to imagine living my life without him and realize that it's not possible. I chose him. I chose to share my life with him. And every day I wake up, look at the man I married, and realize what a damn good choice I made.

We all know real life doesn't play out like a romance novel. Real people lose their way, and real marriages hit snags. Sometimes we make bad choices. We say awful things. We forget who we are and why we chose the one we love. Marriage is hard. Throw a couple of kids into the mix and hard becomes hectic. Add in a couple of careers, maybe a house, a stack of bills, and a shedding dog, and hectic turns into frantic pretty darn fast.

Suddenly, the hundreds of little things that made us fall in love with the guy or girl we chose get buried under thethousands of little things that make us crazy.

I love him, but I don't love every little thing about him. That's okay. I'm pretty sure he could give a fairly good run down of things he'd rewrite about me. Fair is fair. I think the key to making a marriage work is remembering to allow yourself to fall in love all over again.

Tonight, instead of dwelling on the socks stuffed into the couch cushions or the fact that he seems to be incapable of opening the mail without my supervision, I'm going to stare deep into my beloved's big brown eyes and listen to him ramble. I figure he's bound to say something that strikes my funny bone. If not, at least I know it'll sound funny in that sweet, sexy drawl, and that will be enough to keep me hanging on for another day.

I love that he makes me laugh. I love him. I do. Honestly. I just need to remember that the next time I get the urge to smother him with his pillow...

Check out Margaret's interview of CONTENTMENT (click here), and you may have a chance to win a copy of CONTENTMENT!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SEAL Obsession by Jianne Carlo

For years I've been fascinated by SEALs. Amazed, awed, filled with admiration and respect for these elite warriors, the best trained force on the planet. I've probably read every single book out there on SEALs. I have The History Channel's DVD series on the Navy SEALs BUD/s Class 234 and re-watching it for the nth time never fails to astound me.

What motivates these men? The training is brutal, and the odds of completing the course, and earning the trident pin dismal.

Out of a beginning class of 230 trainees only approximately 40 will graduate, and not all of those will go on to become SEALs. And that's just the beginning of more training. Most SEALs won't see active duty for six months to a year after finishing BUD/ s or Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal training.

The grit and determination, the no man left behind motto, the sheer beauty of the execution of an operation, it boggles my mind. Easy to see where my motivation for writing The Hades Squad series came from – obsession. Too bad there aren't any female SEALs and I wasn't a good two decades younger. Hah! Dream on, Jianne.

I've taken liberties with The Hades Squad – particularly by making the squad master parachutists as well as SEALs. But I really wanted to use the title A Paratrooper in a Pear Tree, and thus, Lincoln Abraham Chapman aka Sinner was born. To this day, Sinner's one of my favorite characters.

It took me around six weeks to write Deviant Devil. The minute I penned the first chapter, his character flew off the pages. With a nickname like Devil, aka Dominix Alexander Zubiri, this warrior walks to the beat of a different drummer. He's a tad on the deviant side. And ornery and stubborn.

So, his mate, Jessica Blaine, had to be a strong, no nonsense woman. Jess and Devil have been fighting their mutual attraction since Lucifer's Choice. When Devil spots Jess in a BDSM club – up for auction – that's it. No prisoners taken. No holds barred - she's his.

I'm celebrating Deviant Devil's release with a contest. Visit my site and answer these questions and you're entered in a drawing for a $10.00 restaurant gift certificate and a copy of Deviant Devil.

What's Sinner's real name?
What shape is Nalini's belly ring?
What's the name of the private BDSM club where Devil wins Jess in an auction?

My websites address is

Just leave a comment with the answers or email them to me at:

Oh – I almost forgot – I've just re-designed my website – if you get a chance please like it for me.

Have a great one!


Jianne Carlo

Note: Check out Jianne's interview of DEVIANT DEVIL (click here) and you may win one of the awesome giveaways! Contest until 30 September 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gut Reactions, Feelings, and Spidey Senses! by Trinity Blacio

Have you ever had your gut instincts scream at you not to do something or to do something? For many years now I have been listening to these instincts, some a little more than others. Today I thought I would share with you some of my experiences and see if you have any close to mine, or maybe I'm a total freak. J

Let me start off with my first experience that totally scared the crap out of my mom (laughing my butt off here). About a week after my divorce from my first husband, from out of nowhere I had—I'll call it—a daydream. A dream-type occurrence, while I was awake, sitting outside on my porch swing, enjoying the night air.

I knew the next man I was going to be with; he was just there in my mind.  He was going to be Native American, his family from Montana, and I even knew he was going to have the long dark hair. I told my mom the next day, and she laughed, but after two years of marriage to him, I said to her, "Remember when I told you about that dream, the one that showed me who I was going to be with?"

My mom looks at me for a minute, and then turns a nice shade of white, and laughs, nodding her head. My husband is half Chippewa/Cree, his Mother born on the Rocky Boy Reservation, full-blooded Native American. Some of her family still live in Montana, have the family homestead ,too.

Then there is the case of déjà vu, which happens at least two to three a week. Example: I told the husband his mother would be there in a few and walked upstairs (didn't want to see her), and sure enough, she walked through the door.

Another example: I told the husband he was going to get a job at a certain factory, just knew it in my bones. The place called a week later, and he had the job.

You are most likely asking what all this has to do with my writing? Actually a lot because many story lines are from my dreams or at least part of them. I guess that is also why I love to write paranormal stories, because I've heard from a number of people having the same type scenarios.

There is a story I read called Triad by Lauren Dane (excellent book), where she is a witch and has flashes of things to come. Now, I don't have them as powerful as in this story, and as a matter of fact sometimes I don't even realize I've had one until later, but they have happened. As I get older they are becoming stronger and more often. Who knows, maybe it's because my hormones are all screwed up with the change of life coming on. J

But why not use these to my advantage? If they come true, they come true. There is nothing I can do about them, so when I can remember them, I write them down; hence, some of my stories. So if you have these experiences and just ignore them, maybe you could use them to your advantage and join the world of authors.  

Check out Trinity's interview of RUNNING IN FEAR: DRAGON'S DEN (click here) and you may have a chance to win the awesome giveaway!
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