Monday, May 30, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I remember going to a Renaissance Fair and having my fortune read--she said I would meet a tall, handsome man...but that's another story.
This week I'm going to talk about one of my favorite heroines in my novels, Lady Eve Marlowe, a titled Englishwoman who has an insatiable appetite for sexual adventure in 1939 Europe in that time when the world was teetering on the brink of war.
Lady Eve doesn’t see it coming. She’s unbelievably rich, beautiful and lonely…
Her journey begins in the duty-free port of Port Said, a city in Egypt which “harbors a white slave trade flourishing in its hidden places, bars, and houses where young girls languish and perish under the thumbs of men.”
She has her fortune told in a seedy bar:
"You will meet a man within a fortnight,” he insisted, “and his fire will peel the skin from your bones, making you lose all control–”
I pulled my hand away. “Sounds unpleasant.” I tried to keep my voice steady, not let him see how his prediction affected me, nurtured the elusive dream I craved, but even as I said the words, my lower belly ached and fever consumed me.
The fortune teller continued, “With him you will find immortality.”
I pondered this, though not for long. Immortality? What nonsense. What near eastern alchemy he was peddling I could only guess. I doubted I could find a man to fulfill the incompleteness haunting me since my husband’s death and assuage my hunger for the pleasures long denied to me. Still–
“Where will I meet this man?” I had to ask, wanting to believe I could escape my loneliness through this pre-destined encounter. I held my hands together in my lap to stop them from shaking. If I found such a man in Port Said and found sexual pleasure with him, that would mean I’d crossed the line into another world.
I sensed I was at a dangerous impasse by snubbing the staid world of British royals, forcing me to face what I thought I’d left behind: My taste for the sweetest of tortures. I’ll not regale you, dear reader, with details. They will come later.”
-–from Chapter 2, Cleopatra’s Perfume
So begins the Lady Eve’s journey that will take her to Cairo, London then Berlin in the spring of 1941…
Monday, May 23, 2011
I'm curious now. As a blog reader, are you more likely to comment if there's the possibility that you might win something? For me, I don't think it makes much of a difference, although I have won some giveaways after commenting on certain posts.
Just in case you were wondering, I have one guest appearance this week and that will be Friday, May 27 at Borders True Romance blog. I'll be talking about dedications. Am I offering a giveaway? You bet. One commenter will get a $25 AMC Theatres gift card. So come on by.
Friday, May 20, 2011
I'm so excited! I just signed with Ellora's Cave for my sci-fi erotic romance CINDRA'S BOUNTY HUNTER!
Here's the blurb!
Cindra’s Bounty Hunter
When Cindra Mallory’s bounty hunter father is brutally murdered, she goes after the killer, determined to bring him to justice. She tracks the man halfway across the galaxy, only to run out of both leads and money on the planet of Pendari. Giving up isn’t an option, so she enlists the sinfully handsome, more experienced bounty hunter, Bladen Sloan to help her track down her father’s murderer.
Bladen doesn’t come cheap, though, and when he wants more than the thirty percent of the bounty she wants to give him as payment, she offers to sleep with him to make up for the difference. He consents to the deal, and she finds herself signing a contract that has her agreeing to provide him with ten sexual favors in return for his services.
As they track the killer from one sex club to another, Bladen introduces her to the world of spanking, bondage and exhibitionism. Things get complicated as Cindra discovers she not only enjoys being Bladen’s sex toy, but is starting to fall for him, too. While she desperately wants to catch her father’s murderer, she knows the moment they do, her time with Bladen will be at an end.
Or is it?
"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
My Harlequin Italian publisher HARMONY is turning 30!
I was very excited when my Italian editor, Alessandra Bazardi, asked me to record a special Happy 30th Birthday to Harmony to my Italian readers.
All of my Spice books have been translated into Italian, so this was really cool.
Here is my video! I hope you enjoy it.
(PS -- the Italian titles follow the names of my novels:)
The Blonde Samurai “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.” Bionda Samurai
Cleopatra's Perfume Il Profumo del peccato
Naughty Paris Trasgressione Scarlatta
Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs Bionda Vendetta
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I brainstorm with my father.
Now this may not sound really off the wall until I reveal that he is a pastor. I know what you're thinking. Eew! I mean, erotic romance writer throwing around ideas with her father, the reverend... "Eew" factor aside, I've had some of the best idea-brewing sessions with him.
Of course, we don't hash over love scenes. First, he is my father. And I can't think of him and my mother having sex without throwing up in my mouth, much less discuss the ins-and-outs of my scenes. Not that he hasn't tried to school me on the elements I need to include, but, uh no. So not going there. What we do discuss is the bible.
There is so much! And the material is endless. I know some people may object to using biblical stories as ideas for fiction. But, as a writer, I'm not trying to revise scripture. And, no, I am not a heretic, but what better story than David and Bathsheeba to use as a foundation to illustrate lust, treachery, the consequences of betrayal, and ultimately, love and forgiveness? The time period, setting and names may differ. David could be the king of the Fae and Bathsheeba the human queen of a kingdom on the other side of the Veil. But the emotion, relationship, growth and redemption surpasses genre and the characters' race.
If you were to base a story on a biblical story, which one would you choose?
Monday, May 16, 2011
I've considered writing about unicorns in one my next books. Mythology links them with the virgin, the pure woman who lures the beast to the touch of her hand or to lie down to place its head on her lap; a surefire way to capture one. But I write erotic romance, and there is a dearth of virgins in my stories. This leaves me in a quandary.
So, to follow the ever-popular trend of twisting current mythologies and fables, I'll have to turn the story of the unicorn on its head. Let's play what if.
What if one singular unicorn (let's make him a shape shifting unicorn because I don't want to end up writing about bestiality) was born different? Instead of being attracted to virgins like the rest of his fellow horned clan, he was attracted to, shall we say, women of the night. Sex workers. Whores, if one insists on using a less attractive word. I prefer sex workers. And what if this brings him a lot of shame?
And what if a woman he meets and to whom he is deeply attracted (one of these sex workers), a person forced into her employment by circumstance, is also ashamed of her path in life? But it turns out she is the most spiritual, holy, fascinating, magical, intelligent, evolved woman he has ever known. She has no idea of it, lacking the perspective on herself. And what if their story is the journey for them to accept themselves, purge the shame, and love themselves for who they are while falling in love with each other? Somehow this twist feels appropriate. Even convents (those notorious abodes of virginal women) were appropriated by the church from pagan institutions in their campaign to make Catholicism familiar to the masses. Virgins were not always the holy ideal. Why not sex workers. Sex magic anyone?
The above is a bit of writerly brainstorming, fresh off the gray matter. Do you think you would want to read a story about a shape shifting unicorn attracted to a sex worker if I promise you there will also be an engaging external plot? Did you love unicorns as a child? What about them did you love? Not the virgin part I hope.
In summary, I'll take a leap and insist that unicorns are the perfect fodder for an erotic romance. Just look at the horn. Phallic anyone?
Saturday, May 14, 2011
As I sit here, gumming my breakfast of cottage cheese and peaches, I’m feeling a little “off.” Whether that feeling is due to the root canal I had yesterday, or the splinter in my index finger, causing me to type funny, is anyone’s guess. The thing is, it’s one of those days.
Either I can give up and read all day, or I can bravely soldier on, typing with the hunt and peck method, sans my right index finger. (Sheesh, I couldn’t even play “chopsticks” on the piano today.) But I’m a writer. It’s what I do, day in, day out, rain or shine, three-hundred and something days a year. I might miss a few days for an illness or family holidays. It’s rare though.
Okay, I just made my fifth typo in this short article. I’m now weighing the frustration of typing like this vs. the frustration of not writing at all. Ah, hell. I’ll keep going.
Many writers think I’m “prolific.” I laugh because even on a good day, I type about seventeen words per minute. The truth is, I never learned to type, but I can’t not write. (Pardon the double negative.) Many writers know exactly what I’m talking about. If you think I’m feeling “off” now, imagine me on a day without writing! It’s such a habit, that without it, I’m apt to wander around bumping into things, because I don’t know what to do with myself.
Stephen King says he usually lies in interviews and claims to write every day except Christmas and Easter…but the truth is, he writes every day, three hundred sixty-five days a year. I guess he didn’t want to feel like a loser who can’t take a day off for family or friends. I know what he means, but that kind of obsession doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you an author. He even tried to retire a few years ago—and couldn’t.
I have friends coming from the other side of the world to spend a week in our guest room soon, and I’m looking forward to seeing these wonderful people, yet I’m also trembling as I predict hours away from my keyboard. If that makes me a loser, so be it. I’m a loser.
But considering I wouldn’t even know my Australian friends if it weren’t for writing, I have to say I’ve gained far more than I’ve lost. I have friends and fans all over the world now. My friend Rebecca is an author whose talent of handling description without bogging down the pace captured my attention. I wrote to her and told her about my admiration for her writing. Soon she was critiquing for me. Not long after that, I was returning the favor and critiquing for her. The bonus was how much I enjoyed getting an early peek at her stories.
You’d be surprised how well writers connect, even with very little else in common. I’m almost twenty years older than my Aussie friend. She writes coming of age stories for children and I write hot, steamy love stories for adults. It doesn’t matter. We share the craft and business of writing along with the writer’s life.
Similarly, I have a local critique partner. We couldn’t be more different, personally, but I admired her writing and knew she could teach me a thing or two. She writes historical romances, and mine are always set in a contemporary time period. But when she put out a call for a critique group or partner I was right there, raising my hand.
If anything, she’s more dedicated than I am. She knows how to type and puts my daily word count to shame. Next month we’re heading to a writer’s convention together. I imagine we’ll find time to write in our room, even with all kinds of scheduled events going on. We’ve worked on our books simultaneously before. She lives about an hour away, and we both hate to drive in the city. So, I catch a ride with my husband, whose office is across the courtyard from her condo. Our critiques take maybe three hours, tops. After that, we sit side by side and write.
Hey, look at me. I’ve written an entire blog article with an aching gum and throbbing finger. It just underscores my point. If you’re a loser like me and can’t not write, you just might be “prolific.”
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Here’s my list in no particular order, give or take a few (dozen) entries. Kidding. Not. No, really. This is how I feel this week and it’s my turn to post, so bite me.
People with no sense of humor
You know who I’m talking about. That person behind the register with the blank stare who won’t engage, or worse, a nurse or Dr. who doesn’t respond to nervous humor. That one is not only irritating, it’s downright cruel and bad business.
People who tailgate
Really? You want me to drive through the car in front of me, so you’re going to endanger all of us on the road so you can feel like you have huge cajones? Compensate much? Yes, people who drive too slowly and don’t pull over to let the long line of cars behind them pass are also annoying (and dangerous), but tailgating wins the bigger asshole award.
Exception: people who leave 2 or 3 car spaces between them and the guy in front of them for a green arrow. You don’t have to ride their bumper, but hello? You’re cutting off 2 or 3 cars from making the light.
People who bathe in perfume/aftershave
A little dab’ll do ya. Really. You can’t smell it anymore because you’ve effed up your own sense of smell with the stuff. Going beyond that dab doesn’t make you smell better, it just makes you smell. Added bonus points for causing instant severe misery to allergy sufferers.
People who whistle indoors
Repeat after me: whistling is a shrill sound that can and does hurt people’s ears. Go ahead, whistle while you work - as long as you work outside. It is not ok to whistle indoors, especially where people can’t escape the fact that you’ve happily crammed a chalkboard in their ear, reached in, and scraped all five fingernails.
People who let their dogs bark
Dogs bark. I get that. But if your dog barks incessantly, it’s a problem, and it’s your problem, not your neighbors’. Control your animal. It’s no different than if I let my kid stand under your window and cry all day/night.
People who call themselves Christian, then sit in judgment of others
This is a biggie. By your own rules, you are going to hell. Just thought I’d let you know.
Nobody’s perfect. I’m sure I do things that other people find incredibly annoying, and I’m sure there are things that aren’t on my list that annoy the crap out of others. Feel free to add to the list. Let’s raise awareness!!
When I recently checked out the DVD for "Black Swan," it brought to mind another dancer.
What would it have been like to see her dance?
I realized I should go straight to the source: Lady Eve Marlowe, the heroine of my Spice novel, Cleopatra’s Perfume. After all, who would know more about Berlin in the 1920s than someone who was there?
When I asked Eve to take over the blog, she was quick to point out she didn’t come to Berlin until 1928. I reminded her that she had inhaled the sights, smells and sounds of the city–an elixir of the finest perfume that was Weimar Berlin. Hadn’t she often whispered in my ear about the decadent goings-on in the cabarets, the entertainers, artists, literati? I said. And partaken of the erotic delights that hypnotize with the telling?
That’s when Eve smiled and I saw that sexy gleam in her eye, knowing what she was thinking, how much fun it would be to once again live through those wild erotic times and indulge in the poetry and fantasy that was Weimar Berlin.
And so I give you Lady Eve Marlowe, who will guide you through Hot Weimar Berlin.
Thank you, Jina, for giving me this glorious opportunity to write this post.
Sitting at a café, I write the words: Berlin 1921 and it unleashes a completely different world, people racing through a time when they struggled to find their life rhythm in sex and eroticism.
You mentioned several readers were interested to know more about Pavlova’s impromptu dance that night in the cellar club. Oh, how I wished I could have been there, but I was fortunate enough to hear about it from another dancer who knew someone who was there that night.
According to her account, Anna Pavlova was out for a night with friends, sitting in the corner and not drawing attention to herself. Someone recognized her and the buzz began–everyone started looking in her direction.
This was in 1921–she would have been around forty then (she died in 1931). I can see her in my mind, this sophisticated woman with the long, elegant neck and willowy body, knowing she possessed a beautiful gift that belonged not to her but to the world.
Pavlova embraced the wonderment and homage the customers showed her and rewarded them the best way she knew how.
According to this eyewitness, she was wearing a suit and shawl–she removed her jacket and whispered something to the violinist, who no doubt never dreamed his music would accompany the famed ballerina.
Then she began to dance…
Her body floated across the tiny nightclub floor with elegance and grace, her spirit ethereal and dreamlike, her steps as light as the gossamer notes of The Dying Swan played by the violinist, her art of dance shaped by a lifetime of diligence to her craft…but it was her passion that all who were there would never forget.
A beautiful swan who lives on…
Lady Eve Marlowe
Monday, May 9, 2011
Yet when I look back on the past year -- Wynter's first year in existence, I realize how swiftly things have actually moved. My very first book (as Wynter) was released in March 2010. Since then I've had fifteen stories published, which completely boggles my mind! I can't possibly be waiting as long as I think I am.
Protective Custody. I'm also doing a blog tour and will be all over the blogoshere. If you'd like to find me and have a chance to win some of the prizes I am giving away, here's my schedule for the next couple of days:
Monday: Not Your Usual Suspects, You Gotta Read, Book Junkie. Tuesday: Manic Readers. Wednesday: Carina Press Blog, Romance Junkies, The Romance Dish. For a full list of blog stops and interviews, check my website.
So please wish me luck that I can keep up with all this promotion. All I can say is, it's been crazy - thank God!
Here's a little about Protective Custody:
Friday, May 6, 2011
I'm so excited! I've got a new book out and it's just $0.99 on Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, and at ARE! It's called THE POSTMAN ALWAYS COMES TWICE and it's fun, sexy and smokin' hot!
I actually came up with idea while my hubby and I were out walking our dog. We were talking about my book GOOD COP, BAD GIRL and how popular books about cops are when the UPS man drove by. I said I wondered if women get hot for all men in uniform, like a UPS driver. My hubby said, or even a postman. I laughed and said, sure, the postman always comes twice. We looked at each other and both said, that'd be a great name for a book! So there you have it!
This postman is carrying one hell of a package!
Charisma Harlow has been lusting after her hunky postman Travis Walker ever since he started delivering her mail a few months ago. In fact, she’s so hot for him, she finds herself ordering things online so he’ll show up more often. When her subtle flirting doesn’t do the trick, she decides to finally get serious and seduce him outright. She orders the heaviest thing she can find so he’ll have to bring it inside her apartment, then greets him at the door in nothing but a short, sexy robe when he shows up.
Travis gets the message and spends his lunch hour proving he really knows how to deliver—in the bedroom.
There, standing on her doorstep, was six-foot-four inches of gorgeous stud. She would never have imagined the button-up shirt and blue trousers that made up the postal service uniform could be so damn sexy on anyone, but on Travis, it looked
hot as hell. She supposed it could have something to do with those impossibly broad shoulders and muscular biceps. Damn, he was built.
She could tell from the way he took in her robe he was surprised she wasn’t wearing her usual tank top and pajama bottoms. His golden eyes caressed the curve of her breasts for a moment before lingering on her long legs, and Charisma felt heat pool between her thighs at the flicker of lust she saw there. To her dismay, he immediately hid it behind a façade of professionalism.
“It looks as if I have another delivery for you,” he said, holding out the electronic clipboard. “What did you buy this time?”
“A spinning bike.” She glanced at him form under her lashes as she signed her name in the signature block. “It looks really heavy. Do you think you could bring it inside for me?”
He flashed her his usual heart-stopping grin. “No problem.”
As he bent to pick up the big box, Charisma stepped back so her could come into the
“Where do you want it?” he asked.
Anywhere you want to give it to me. She blushed at the naughty thought as she closed the door. “If you could put it in my home office, that would be great. It’s down the hall on the right.”
Even though the box was obviously heavy, Travis had no problem carrying it, Charisma
noticed. She had no problem admiring his great ass as she followed him down the hall, either. She caught her lip between her teeth to stifle a moan.
“Is this okay?” he asked as he set the box down in one of the few open spaces left in the room.
Between her desk, the built-in bookcase, file cabinets and the boxes of stuff she’d bought over the past couple weeks, floor space was definitely at a premium. She’d been so busy with work and ordering things online she hadn’t had a chance to open most of the boxes yet.
“That’s fine,” she said. “Thanks.”
He looked around the room, his mouth quirking. “You certainly buy a lot of stuff.”
She felt her face color at the amusement in his deep voice, and she reached up to tuck her long, dark hair behind her ear in an effort to hide her embarrassment. “Yeah, I guess I do. Fortunately for my bank account, I end up sending most of it back.”
His gaze scanned the boxes again before coming to rest on the rectangular box on the
edge of her desk. He studied the contents for a moment before reaching inside to pull out the hot pink vibrator she’d gotten a week ago.
Her lips curved into a smile. Score, she thought. She’d purposely left it there in the hopes he would see it. So much for rusty flirting skills.
He gave her a sidelong glance and her pulse fluttered when she saw that the lust she’d noticed earlier was back in his mesmerizing golden brown eyes.
“You aren’t planning on sending this back, are you?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.” She gazed up at him from under her lashes, giving him her best flirtatious look. “Too bad you have mail to deliver. You could have stayed and helped me take it for a test drive.”
Charisma had never been so bold with a guy before, but since her subtle attempts at
flirtation hadn’t worked, she didn’t want there to be any confusion she was coming on to him. Even so, the words made her blush a little. They hadn’t even gone on a date and she was already inviting him into her bed.
Travis’s mouth curved into a sexy grin. “I was actually going to take lunch after I
delivered your package anyway, so I’m off the clock for the next hour. I could hang
around if you think I might be able to help.”
Her heart did a backflip. She had to admit, she hadn’t expected her plan to actually work.
“Are you sure it’s okay? To spend your lunch hour with a woman on your mail route, I
He took a step closer, his grin broadening. “It’s perfectly okay. Satisfaction is our number one priority at the Postal Service, you know.”
Buy it on Amazon Kindle!
Buy it on B&N Nook!
Buy it at All Romance eBooks in pdf, html, mobi or ePub (Sony eRreader)!
"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
on this Mother’s Day
Here's the video I made of the above story with my voiceover and sound effects!!
God bless all our Mothers on the upcoming day...
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Two weeks ago, I lost my grandmother to a long battle with Alzheimer’s. This week a devastating tornado ripped through the southeast and, thank God, all my family suffered was power outage for several days. Many people lost their homes, businesses and even their lives. Then Thursday, my son had a bike accident and had to receive five stitches right under his eye. The doctors were amazed he didn’t damage his sight. Excuse my language, but it’s been a brutal ass couple of weeks. I’ve experienced heartbreaking loss but celebrated life and miracles, too. And through it all, I’ve written.
In the days after my grandmother’s death, my mother said to me, I don’t see how you can write. I’ve thought about that and realize that I had no control over Mama’s passing, the storm or my son’s accident. The only thing I did have control of was the story in my head—its plot, direction and characters. And the emotions—grief, anger, fear, joy and anxiety—that are sometimes very hard for me to express verbally, I poured into the story. I didn’t have to be strong on paper. Or brave. Or hold back tears. Or be less whiney. Though the circumstances my characters experienced weren’t the same as my real life issues, the emotions were. And through them I could let it all out like I was opening a trench coat and emotionally flashing the world.
I honestly don’t know what Dr. Phil would say about that. Maybe that I’m a control freak. But one question he would most likely ask me is, how’s that working for you? I would have to respond that being able to write saves my sanity. God knows it’s hard work and is not always fun, but it is still a joy, if that makes any sense. It’s cathartic and healing. And while one of the most difficult things to write was my grandmother’s obituary—I still don’t think I did her justice by capturing her spirit and life in those few words—I thank God that He gave me a gift to write it.
Even through the changes the last two weeks have brought, I haven’t lost sight of the peace my grandmother now has. Or the power of love and kindness that has been exhibited in the storm’s aftermath. Or that my son walked away with stitches and scratches that will eventually heal and fade. I also realize that what some people see as stories of love and suspense are places of escape for not just the reader but the writer.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I had a fantastic time it turns out. But there was no dancing. I went to barely any seminars (although I heard they were wonderful), and saw very little of Salem. Often what you believe will make you happy, turns out not to match what happens in reality. Instead, I took what did happen to me including wonderful moments with friends, a chance to write a little bit more of my manuscript,an impulsive last minute decision to get a reading with a psychic (I was in Salem after all) and some moments volunteering to help the conference run smoothly, to create a wonderful event for myself. And as I said I was happy. Was I happy because I decided to be happy with this new situation? Have I synthesized my happiness? Or perhaps, as the below YouTube Ted Talk video discusses, synthesized happiness is the only true happiness. We have to find the trick of being happy with what we have. And it's quite a trick.
Watch the below video featuring Dan Gilbert and tell me what you think about happiness. We're in the business of creating happiness, us romance writers. So I think we should all take a stand on this. We are in fact synthesizing it through carefully crafting our stories. We are deciding we are going to create it. And I'm here to tell you that the happiness I get from reading and writing a romance is just as real as other types of happiness in my life.