Friday, September 28, 2012

The Romance Saga Part I ~ Romance at an Early Age

It all started two weeks into fourth grade. My nine year-old-daughter whispered in my ear that she likes a boy. I did not panic because in the summer between 4K and 5K, she and her "boyfriend" actually mailed love letters back and forth. I kept the proof so when in high school I have grounds for blackmail if she doesn't behave. LOL

I had a few years of reprieve with the whole "ewe, boys are yucky" mentality, but we are back in full crush mode. Therefore, I did what any over protective mama would do. I went to lunch to check out this little dude. Okay, let me just stop right here and say my daughter has excellent taste.

My kid would probably be horrified knowing I'm discussing her personal business to the world, but she makes good points, which got me thinking.

There really isn't much difference between love at age 9 verus um...let's just say over 35.

According to 9 (kid's name henceforth):
1. You do not simply announce you like a boy. You let him know with eye contact that lingers a little too long.
Hmmm...dido for me..
2. You know a boy likes you when he stares back. (9 has confirmed success here!)
3. A boy also likes you if he is mean to you.
Following an extensive Q&A, I learned at "mean" means he teases you, which is the equivalent of flirting for adults. As a side note, I took great pains to clarify that boys should never be "mean mean" to girls.
4. Boys like it when girls are "mean" back.
True, flirting isn't fun if it's not reciprocated.
5. Boys like girls in bikinis.
I'm not kidding, my child spoke those words and however true they may be I'm a  lot worried now!

The saga shall continue as information becomes available, but get this - 9 tells me, "I thought I knew a lot about romance, but I just don't get it."

Neither do I sweet girl, but that's the beauty of it.

You know, folks automatically assume romance novelist are experts in romance! Okay, you might be, and if so, well good for you. I hate you.

So what are some crazy questions you've been asked? Have you ever given advice because you thought that's what a romance author should say? If you're a reader, what would you like to ask an author on the subject?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Like a Virgin: "Nice Girls Do It"

What does a vase and a virgin have in common?

They both begin with the letter “V,” but they’re more than alphabet sisters.

They both break.

Hearts break, too.

That’s what happened to Chloe, the heroine in my short story, Nice Girls Do It (the Hunter series):

How Chloe wished she had never promised her mother she’d wait until marriage to have sex.
But she had.
She was that virgin at the prom, trying to figure out how to tell Steve she wouldn’t sleep with him until their wedding night. He was a good guy and it pained her to deny him what they both wanted. At first, he didn’t understand. Hell, he was a man about to leave for a tour of duty in a war zone. He didn’t know if he’d come back.
He wanted her. Tonight. To know she was his when he was out on patrol or lying in his bunk at night in a hot, steamy tent.
His lips brushed hers, his hand reached down between her thighs…then he pulled down her bikini briefs.
No, Steve, she’d pleaded. Stop, please.
And because he loved her, he respected her wishes.
When she explained to him why she made the pledge, he’d understood, then held her tight.
They never said another word about it.
Steve left for Iraq two weeks later.
And now it was too late.
He never came back. He was killed by a roadside bomb.
And Chloe was alone.
Soon after, she left the city for a job in a small coastal community and now she was back.
Finding the spitting image of her lost love was the last thing she expected when she agreed to attend her sister’s showing in the upscale art gallery.
Her trip to the magnolia-scented heights filled with Victorian houses was supposed to be a coming-home, not a sexy encounter with a stranger who looked like he materialized out of the mist rolling in from the bay.
Why did this guy have to show up tonight? Why?
Chloe makes up her mind to let go for one night stand and let The Hunter show her why a virgin is like a vase:

“A more civilized deflowering ceremony is performed in Japan,” he said, “where the new vase or virgin doesn’t undergo the pain of penetration by an overzealous husband or lover.” The Hunter slid the kimono off her shoulders. She moaned in pleasure when he lifted her breasts to his mouth, licking one nipple than the other. “Rather, the ritual is performed by a complete stranger.”
Chloe bit down on her lower lip, her mind reeling with wild imaginings. “Show me.”

And he does…by using fresh eggs.

Find out what The Hunter does with the eggs—and his dick—in Nice Girls Do It.”ear

Who is The Hunter?

The Hunter knows what a woman wants in bed…and he always delivers. Going from town to town, he fulfills a woman’s most intimate, sexual fantasies.

A one-night stand she’ll never regret.

He has the power to give each woman what she needs, whether it’s oral/anal sex, BDSM, ménage, foreplay, sex toys, role playing, etc. He takes on whatever persona necessary to focus on her needs, her emotional core.

Her sexual adventure takes center stage in every Hunter story.

 The Hunter is coming to your town…are you ready?

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Diesel | Sony Smashwords | ARe

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Would Do Anything to Write But I Won’t Do That…Yeah, I Would

These days you can’t turn on the television without some kind of campaign commercial. Vote for me. Don’t vote for that guy. He’s a crook. He’s a nudist, I mean, communist. Blah, blah, blah. And it’s only going to get worse in the next two months. Yaay!
One of the main issues for the candidates is employment. Of course this topic concerns all of us. I mean, who here often has more month than money? *raising hand high and waving madly* Especially authors. The amounts of our royalty checks fluctuate, the work we put in often far outweighs the money we received. Add to that piracy and it can be frustrating…sometimes discouraging. Freakin’ depressing...

Enter moi. I’m not going to blog about the state of the economy or how hard it is to make ends meet. Authors are no strangers to hard work. I’ve heard people talk about actors sacrificing for their art, but authors are the biggest sacrificial lambs I know! Which started me thinking…what exactly have we done in the past to earn a check? To make ends meet? To draw the 30th just a wee bit closer?

I remember in college, I donated plasma for cash. They gave me $45.00, a honey bun and orange juice. And I gave the honey bun and orange juice right back to them as soon as I came to from the dead faint outside the clinic. I won’t name any names—for I don’t know if the statutory limit has expired—but a certain person who used to work at McDonald’s would bring food back to his dorm after closing and sell the leftovers to hungry college students…

So I polled my fellow authors and asked them to divulge some of the weirdest/craziest/most desperate jobs they ever had. And boy did they DIVULGE!! LOL! Here goes:

dalton diaz

“I sold flowers on street corners in a bikini in So Cal! Yeah, that was a few kids ago...A former coworker saw me and thought I'd joined a cult. Freaking hilarious!”—Dalton Diaz

Cindy Spencer Pape

“I actually did the blood thing too, in grad school. The worst though had to have been a legitimate temp job when I worked for an agency. I had to spend one day as a dressing assistant at a fashion show. Shudder. That was such a PIA on so many levels.”—Cindy Spencer Pape

Sidney Bristol

“I got drafted at an audio gig I was working to help dress for a huge cirque stage performance. There were literally moments where a hot, buff, arrogant ass would walk up to me, hold out his arms and I would have to unzip him and physically undress him down to his flesh colored man-thong and redress him because they were too "in character" to dress themselves. So disgusting.”—Sidney Bristol

“The summer I worked for a diaper service. People actually had to count the soiled diapers that came in to know how many clean diapers to pack for the next order. Happy to say I wasn't a diaper counter--got to work in the office.”—Mardi Ballou

Marcia James
“Worked as an advertising copywriter, writing things like Chinese beer commercials. Took two Miss Maryland and two Miss Virginia beauty queens singing and dancing at Veterans' hospitals for the USO. Was an extra in the 1940s-set mini-series, War & Remembrance. I also put a mic on Jimmy Carter's son for a TV interview and was almost wrestled to the ground by the secret service because I started to pull up his shirt to hide the mic cord.”—Marcia James
“I had a paper route while in nursing school. My husband planted Venus Flytrap seedlings to sell!"—Jessica Lee

“I once participated in a study of productivity - typing while walking on a treadmill. It was done in some guy's basement in Maryland and I took my then boyfriend/now hubby with me. I think I earned maybe $40 but it's been 30 years! I was tasked to type ‘War and Peace’ as I recall, tho not the whole thing thankfully! I did see years later a mention of the results of the study in a magazine article, so it was at least legit.”—Betty Bolte

Are you laughing yet?? LOL! I learned a LOT about authors I admire!! One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my father. “Make sure you do something you love waking up to in the morning.” I spent so many years in a field I hated that being able to write for a living is a blessing—a rich blessing. So no matter what the economy says or those dirty pirates do—may your hard drives catch the equivalent of a computer STD!!—we have the best jobs in the world!! Hey, from the stories above, we really do!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sexy or Sexist

I read an article online recently about a controversial  magazine cover (French Vogue) that pictured a man with his hand around a woman's neck. Women's advocacy groups objected to the depiction they saw as abusive, as if the man was about to choke the woman or otherwise harm her. They said the cover glorified violence as an act of love. But the imagery was clearly meant to be sexy, not abusive.

As an erotic romance author, I've had acquaintances and even a family member accuse me of writing sexist books that objectify women. If the man slaps the woman's backside, pulls her hair or ties her up, they feel I've crossed the line from sexy to sexist and abusive. I beg to differ.

In certain situations, a little manhandling can be very erotic. Now, if my heroine has a history of abuse, that type of sexual activity wouldn't be sexy at all, but in general, many women find that type of play arousing.

Hell, all we have to do is look at the popularity of books like Fifty Shades of Grey to confirm that lots of women enjoy a little roughness when it comes to sex.

Everyone has a right to his or her opinion, but my advice is if you don't find such depictions sexy, don't read the book, don't buy the magazine. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. What do you think? Does this type of sexual play constitute sexism or is it sexy?

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Release! Hot Cowboy Menage! RIDE OF HER LIFE - Book One of The Buckle Bunnies Series!

What's better than a hot cowboy? Two hot cowboys, of course! Which is exactly what you'll get in RIDE OF HER LIFE, the first book in my new BUCKLE BUNNIES SERIES!

A while back I mentioned that I hadn't written many westerns, but after the success of, and reader response to, my bestselling KARLEIGH'S COWBOYS and AND THE RANCH HAND MAKES THREE, not to mention how much fun they were to write, I couldn't wait to come up with some more! This time, though, I'm going to focus on hot, hunky rodeo riders and the women who can't get enough of them!

The rodeo is a nod to one of my aunts. She was crazy about the rodeo (only she pronounced it row-day-o, like in Rodeo Drive) and couldn't get enough of her cowboys! My books might be a little too risque for her, though. She read the kind of romances where the man and woman held a hanky between their hands when they touched. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea! LOL!

Okay, back to the series! It'll be filled with menages - both M/F/M and F/M/F - spanking, bondage and, of course, hot, sizzling sex! There'll even be some surprises tossed in along the way!

Happy Reading!

This ride lasts a lot longer than eight seconds!

Barrel rider Daisy Hollins has run into bronc riders Sawyer Jones and Beau Monroe quite a few times on the rodeo circuit. She’s flirted with both of them, but things have never gone any further than that. Before an event, they're all too focused on the competition, and afterward, they’re usually too sore and tired to do anything but fall into bed.

When she runs into the two hot cowboys in the hotel bar at the Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, however, there’s a different vibe in the air. When the flirting starts this time, it doesn't stop, and Daisy goes upstairs with both of them for a completely different kind of rodeo ride.


Daisy turned to ask Beau which way his room was and found him standing six inches from her.

“I can't wait any longer,” he growled, pushing her up against the wall beside the elevator and kissing her hard.

She kissed him back, even though she knew the elevator door could open at any moment, or that someone—another family even—could come down the hall. She couldn’t wait any longer, either.

Beau twined his fingers in her hair and pulled her mouth tighter against his own, his tongue bulling its way in. She met him halfway, giving as good as she got. One of her hands slid down his side to his grab his ass and yanked his crotch into perfect contact with hers. She wrapped one leg around his thigh and ground against him.

Dear God, she’d never been this hot in her life. She might just explode on the spot.

Beside her, Sawyer cleared his throat. She ignored him, moaning into Beau’s mouth.

Sawyer cleared his throat again, louder this time.

She dragged herself away from Beau to see Sawyer leaning against the wall beside them.

“Sorry for the interruption, Daisy,” he drawled. “It's not that I'm concerned you’re grinding against Beau out here in the hallway where anyone can see you — it's that you're doing it without me.”

Daisy laughed and reached out with her free hand to grab Sawyer's shirt front and pull him in for a kiss.

His style of kissing was completely different from Beau, but no less captivating. His mouth slowly moved over hers, his tongue teasing hers. She would have kissed him harder, but still trapped in Beau's arms like she was, she had no choice but to let Sawyer take the kiss where he wanted it to go. The effect was intoxicating.

She felt Beau's mouth on the side of her exposed neck, trailing kisses up and down from her earlobe to the top of her shirt collar.

Between the warmth of his lips and the light scrape of his scruff, she thought she was going to go crazy.

She whimpered, close to tearing off both men’s clothes right there where they stood.

Fortunately, the two women coming down the hall made enough noise for the three of them to drag themselves apart just in time. Sawyer still waited until the very last moment, and when he did, it was so abrupt she was left reeling. Daisy leaned back against the wall, trying to look as casual as possible.

The elderly woman smiled politely at Daisy and her two cowboys as she poked the elevator button, but other than that she took no notice of them. The younger girl with her, however, immediately sensed something was up. She looked at Daisy, then at Sawyer and Beau, then back to Daisy again. Her expression went from curious to knowing in the blink of an eye. A huge smile spread across her face.

“Ride 'em, cowgirl,” she said with a barely controlled laugh.

Heat suffused Daisy’s face. How the hell had the girl known? Were her lips plump from Beau and Sawyer's kisses? Had she drooled on her shirt? Did she have an I'll-begetting-it-from-two-hot-studs-within-the-next-fifteen-minutes expression on face?

The older woman turned to look questioningly at the girl. “What was that, hun?”

A smile played around the girl’s lips as she motioned to Daisy. “She’s with the rodeo, Aunt Margaret. I just told her to have a good ride.”

The woman looked at Daisy closely, her eyes searching behind her big glasses.

“They let women in the rodeo now? That's nice. Do you get to ride ponies?”

Thank God the elevator arrived before Daisy could answer. If she had, a comment about how women could even vote now may have popped out. The girl quickly hustled her aunt onto the elevator, then turned to give Daisy a wave. “Have fun riding your ponies!”

Daisy heard the aunt murmur something just as the elevator doors closed.

“Can you believe that?” was all Daisy could say.

Beau’s mouth quirked. “The part where Aunt Margaret thinks you ride ponies, or the part where her niece figured out you’re going to be riding the two of us?”

Daisy groaned. “Both. But enough about them. Where the hell is your room, Beau?”

The two men grabbed her hands and practically dragged her down the hall. Beau fumbled with the key card for a second before getting it straight. Daisy felt like snatching it out of his hand, but was concerned hers would shake so much it would take even longer to get inside the room.

The moment the door swung open, Sawyer had his hands on her ass herding her in.

As it closed behind them, he gave one of her belt loops a yank, spinning her around to face him. She melted in his arms as his mouth captured hers. Beau moved up behind her, pressing his jean-covered cock against her ass as he swept her hair off her neck and began to nibble.

Their hands roamed over her body freely, touching her anywhere and everywhere they wished as they used their lips and tongue to drive her crazy. She wasn't sure if she’d survive the incredible sensations racing through her body.

She dragged her mouth away from Sawyer’s. “Whoa there, boys. Let's slow down before I pass out. This isn't supposed to be one of your eight second rides, you know?”

Both men laughed, but backed off, giving her room to breathe. She felt a little chilled without the heat of their bodies pressed up against her. She had no doubt she'd be wedged back between them soon enough.

Daisy took the opportunity to look around the room, and was immediately struck by something total unfair.

“Hey, why is your room so much bigger than mine?” she asked.

The bed was a king-size monster, complete with four posts that ran as high as the ceiling, gauzy curtains and half a dozen ornate throw pillows.

She wandered over to peek into the bathroom, and gaped.

“Dang, you have a Jacuzzi tub, too?”

Daisy had seen swimming pools smaller than the big heart-shaped thing.

“They didn't have anything else left,” Beau's said from the bedroom, “so they gave me a honeymoon suite.”


She wished they’d offered her one. It would have been nice to have that tub to soak in every night after riding.

She walked out and looked around the rest of the suite. It was obvious to anyone who walked in that Beau was a rodeo rider. The room was filled with the unmistakable scent of leather and horse. There was also a saddle sitting on the small couch, along with a pile of tack piled beside it. She walked over to look at the gear. It was pretty standard rodeo stuff—bridles, bits, halters and a surcingle rig that bareback riders used to stay on their horses. It was the saddle that threw her. It was damn nice. Well worn, but expensive looking.

“I thought you only rode bareback, Beau. What's the saddle for?”

He came up behind her, casually resting his hand on her ass as if reminding her of his fascination with that part of her body. Would he do what he’d described downstairs to her bottom soon?

“Rodeo riding doesn't pay all the bills. I do a little ranch work here and there when I can get it. I don't trust leaving my saddle down in the trailer.”

She ran her hand over the smooth leather. “I can understand why. It's beautiful.”

Beau chuckled in her ear. “Not that I don’t appreciate the compliment, but do you really want to talk about my saddle right now?”

Daisy turned to see both men standing side by side regarding her with evident heat in their eyes.

She smiled. “I do love a nice saddle, but you're right. How about you show me some of your other gear instead?”

Without waiting for an answer, she reached out and unbuttoned Beau's shirt. As the band of bronzed skin became exposed, she had to fight the urge to lean forward and kiss it. She had two men to think about now.

So she moved over to Sawyer and did the same thing to him. Once both shirts were unbuttoned, she stepped back and raised an eyebrow. “You two aren't going to make me do all the work, are you?”

The men shrugged off their shirts, then stood there looking buff and magnificent.

They were both of the same build—long and lean with wiry muscles—and Daisy couldn't help but stand there and admire them. Dang, they were something to behold.

Daisy stepped closer and placed a hand on each of their chests. The muscular planes of their pecs gave way to equally hard abs as she trailed her hands down. This close, she could define the slight differences between the two men. Sawyer was just a bit broader than Beau, and had a light trace of dark hair that ran down his happy trail from just above his belly button and disappearing into his jeans. Beau's abs were more defined, and she had a crazy urge to drop to her knees in front of him and trace her tongue along every nook and cranny. The idea of being on her knees in front of both of them was doing all kinds of wild things to her tummy.

She was about to do just that when Beau slipped a finger under her chin and tilted her head up.

“Do I need to remind you about the basic rule?”


He grinned. “You show us yours if we show you ours?”

It took a moment for that to sink in—she was a bit distracted by all the manliness on display. But when it did, she laughed.

“No problem.” She reached for the buttons of her shirt. “Fair's fair.”

“And go slow.” Sawyer gave her a lazy smile. “I like a girl who takes her time.”

Daisy was surprised they still wanted to take it slow, especially after all the verbal foreplay and downright scorching hot kisses. But if they wanted her to take it slow, she could do that.

She started at the bottom of her shirt, undoing one button slowly, then taking a good, long time working her fingers up to the next button, making sure they got a good look at the skin she was exposing.

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Sexy Romantic Fiction!

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Married for ten years, adventurous Kelly and Ryan are thrilled to take part in a fantasy come true—a week-long sex therapy study on a tropical island. The resort is first class, the sex off the charts.

Ryan’s always denied the issue that stands between them—the issue that threatens to destroy their marriage sooner or later. As they learn new sensual tricks from the other couples on the island, each x-rated assignment brings them closer to breaking down that barrier. When they do, will the pieces fit back together?

Reader Advisory: This book contains voyeurism, m/m, group sex and BDSM. Can you say “WOOHOO!”?


Copyright © DALTON DIAZ, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

  “This is your last required therapy session. If you have any questions or reservations about the study, this is the time to speak up.”

   Kelly turned to look at Ryan. One black brow was lifted in question, slight challenge in his dark blue eyes, the corners of his mouth tilted by a held-back smile. He was good to go.

  They turned as a unit to the appointed therapist whom they’d seen every week for two months, letting their grins speak for them.

  “All right, then.” Dr. Chase made a show of putting a giant check mark and her signature on the form in her lap. “I have no qualms about my recommendation for you to participate. You’ll leave here today with a packet. Please go over everything in it at once, and I do mean immediately. As in, on the drive home. I can’t tell you how many couples have come this far only to lose the opportunity because they didn’t listen to that advice.”

  Kelly eyed the fat manila envelope in Dr. Chase’s lap. That wouldn’t be a problem. The seal would be gone before Ryan could put the car in drive.

  “Shotgun!” Ryan muttered.

  “Not a chance.” Kelly didn’t take her eyes off the envelope, or bother to keep her voice down.

  Dr. Chase laughed as they all stood and she handed the coveted envelope over to Kelly. “Sorry, she wins this one. You wouldn’t be able to resist teasing her.”
  Ryan’s feigned look of innocence didn’t fool anyone. His sense of adventure was second only to his sense of humor, and both were major turn-ons for Kelly. While she’d always had and appreciated a good sense of humor, her adventure gene had been carefully stored under lock and key until she met Ryan. After ten years of marriage, she was every bit as adventurous as he, if not more so.

  That fact that she was still OCD about planning said adventures was an endless source of amusement to him.

  Surprisingly, it was Ryan who’d initially been more reserved about doing this particular study. Yes, he’d been right to do a background check before responding to an ad in a magazine. And it had been her right to tease him for it when the call for volunteers turned out to be legit.

  The study was being conducted by The Holts, a husband and wife team, she a renowned sex therapist, he a philanthropist. They were using their private island to test theories on sexual fantasies and how they relate to “real” life.

  Ryan and Kelly had been more than intrigued.

  The initial consultation had taken place in Dr. Chase’s office, and she’d gotten right to the point. This was a study based on sexual desires. If they weren’t willing to be naked in front of others, have sex in front of others and, yes, have sex with others, they were not right for the study. They’d been sent home with detailed information and strict orders to talk about it before calling her with their decision.

  They’d known their answer before they’d hit the parking garage.

  These were fantasies they’d talked about for years, never dreaming they’d actually get to act them out. If only they could be assured anonymity. If only they could be assured of physical safety. If only, if only, if only…someone would offer them an all-expenses-paid vacation to a tropical island to act out their sexual fantasies with others who’d also passed rigorous medical testing. People they’d never have to see again…

  Holy shit!

  They’d set up their first therapy session, coming home with a mountain of forms and questionnaires to fill out, both as a couple and as individuals.

  Kelly thrived on paperwork. Getting Ryan to fill out his? Not so fun.

  They hadn’t been given any results, just more forms and questionnaires with each session. Apparently they’d passed muster.

  They were finally ready to go.

  “My paperwork will be submitted at the end of the day today,” Dr. Chase informed them. “The sooner you get yours in, the sooner you’ll find yourselves in paradise. I’ll see you at your debriefing, which will be scheduled for one week after your return.”

  Kelly could hardly contain herself as they rode the elevator down to the parking garage of the Boston high-rise, especially when enough people crowded in from various floors that she was pressed back against the front of Ryan’s jeans. That was so not the shape of his cellphone against her ass.

  “So much to look forward to, and you get to fill out more forms.” His hot breath skimmed her ear as she clutched the envelope like a lifeline. “You must be beside yourself.”

  Oh, that was going to cost him. She thoroughly enjoyed his gasp when she shifted her feet, rubbing against his erection. He’d watched her get dressed that morning and he knew she wore his favorite thong under the thin skirt.

  They managed to exit on their floor with him staying pretty close on her heels. Exhibitionism was surely on tap on the island, but in a Boston elevator it would mean public embarrassment and a hefty fine, if not jail time. If their fingers were going to do the walking, it wouldn’t be for the latest and greatest fingerprinting method at the BPD.

  “Looks like you have a choice here, Kel.” Ryan threw the car into reverse and backed out of their parking spot. “Rip open my jeans or the enve—”

  The sound of the envelope tearing stopped him midstream.

  “Sorry,” Kelly fished the paperwork out. “Were you saying something?”

  He groaned. “That was cold.”

  “Get your mind out of the elevator and think about Dr. Chase’s warning. There must be something in here we need to know right away, and considering the subject of the study, it probably has to do with having sex.”

  He hit a red light before the entrance to the Mass Pike and turned to look at her with a familiar gleam in his eye. “You have the twenty minute drive home to figure it out before that skirt is at your hips and I pull your thong off with my teeth.”

  Kelly swallowed hard at the image. “It’s Saturday. Didn’t you say you were going to clean the garage?”

  “Nineteen minutes.”

  “Okay, okay.” She unclipped the packet, sliding the brochure they’d already seen back into the envelope before reading the cover letter aloud.

     Dear Mr. and Mrs. Casey,

     Welcome to Holt Island. Congratulations! If you have received this packet, you have pre-qualified to participate in a privately funded study of sexual fantasies. Your category is long-term relationships.

  “Pre-qualified?” Ryan sputtered. “We’ve done two months of therapy, a mountain of paperwork and been poked and prodded from toenails to hair follicles. What the fuck is left?”

  “Patience levels?” she teased.

  He glanced at the dashboard clock as the light finally turned green. “Seventeen minutes.”

  Kelly rolled her eyes even as she squeezed her thighs together at the reminder. “Then don’t interrupt or I get the time back.”

  When he’d driven in silence for a two count, she started reading again.

      Please read the information provided on what will be required from you and the corresponding rules that our staff adhere to, no exceptions. Most of these rules are in place for everyone’s safety. Any rules not related to safety are still necessary to accurately complete our studies.

      There will be no cell phones allowed on Holt Island. No video will be taken by guests or staff.

      Confidentiality is of the utmost importance and we take it very seriously. You will be asked to turn in any electronics at check-in, where they will remain locked in a safe until your departure. We have provided an 800 number at the bottom of this letter which can be used to reach you in case of dire emergency.

      Upon completion of the packet, please sign and date the agreement and fax it to the number at the top of the form. If the following pages contain a date, please know that we are holding that spot open for you and time is of the essence. All travel arrangements, accommodations and food will be provided.


      Virginia E. 
     Study Coordinator 
     Holt Island

  “Okay.” Kelly felt her heart skip a beat. “Let’s see when the big day is.” She flipped the sheet and gasped.

  “What?” Ryan asked when she took a needed moment to register what she was seeing.

  “It’s two weeks from today!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What does HEA mean to me?

I write romance, so it follows that I'm a big fan of Happily-Ever-After. Heck, it's even part of my tagline. (and thank you to Goddess Fish Promos for the brilliant new banner.) Romance authors and readers take heat for this concept. So many people out there are only too eager to point out just how unrealistic an expectation that is.


Happily-ever-after is only unrealistic if you think of it as a perfect, unending utopia. Real-life just doesn't work that way, but that doesn't mean real romance, and real happy endings don't exist. You just have to look a little more closely at what HEA means to you.

I've been married for 27 years to a man (boy, really, back then) I dated for 3 weeks when we got engaged. It shouldn't have worked. We were too young, too impulsive, too broke, too...everything. My response to that in retrospect. Pbbbbbtttttttthhhhhh. (For those too young to have seen that, it's Bill the Cat blowing a raspberry.) Nearly 30 years later,  we're still occasionally broke, still mistaken for much younger than we really are, and most importantly, still damned happy we stuck to our guns and got married. He's my best friend, my biggest ally, and sometimes my sternest critic. But he's mine.

I can find him in the dark, and I know just where my nose fits in the dent between his pecs. He'll mumble "I love you" back to me without waking up. He knows my moods and can anticipate when to buy me chocolate or flowers. He still thinks I'm sexy, no matter what I do to my hair or how much weight I've put on. I don't sleep well without him, and the same is true for him.

Does that mean everything's been perfect? Hell no. In a real-life HEA, crap still happens. We have arguments. The car breaks down. Someone gets sick. The kids get in trouble and there's never enough time for work, kids, keeping up the house and spending time together. Aging happens, and there's a whole lot more "ouch!" in the sex you manage to sneak in when you actually have the house to yourself. Family members pass away. Bad things happen. That's life.

But you know what? At least when the bad things happen, I have someone right beside me, helping me through it, making me smile and holding me tight. And that's what living happily-ever-after means to me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy New Year!

Today is the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, celebrating the Jewish New Year and a period of self-reflection. It is a time to pray for a sweet New Year (dipping apples in honey as part of the symbolism) and to remember the birthday of the world. It is a time of  hope and a time of forgiveness (both requesting and providing).

So I ask the forgiveness of my patient fans who have had to put up with my lack of story production. I hope this new year brings my muse into full force and sets me to writing again. But I know that whatever this New Year brings, if it brings peace, joy and health for myself, my family and friends, nothing else will matter.

For my friends and readers who celebrate this holiday, a Happy New Year to you.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Find your voice

By: Casey Crow

Time and again we hear, "Don’t write toward trends or try to mimic another author’s voice, but DO write what you love." Find your own voice  So what is an author's voice? Wikipedia says it's "the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author, considered a combination of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, and dialogue." In English? It's the tone or the way a book "sounds" and the only way to do that is to write – and not just one story.
Y'all already know all that, but why must it take writers seemingly forever to figure out what their voice is? We may have to try different genres or various lengths to figure out our strengths. Firmly establishing a strong voice off the bat will build a loyal following. A while back, RWA University hosted Stephanie Bond. Her entire workshop focused on the importance of sticking with one genre/voice until you have that solid fan base. After you are established, venture off into other genres if you want, because by then, your voice is solid and your readership intact. You’re even good enough to change your voice based on what genre you write. Some authors actually create new identities so as not to confuse readers. Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb. Jayne Ann Krentz as Amanda Quick and now Jayne Castle. Ring any bells? Even the best know the importance of cementing the right name with their readers.

What's your voice? Did it take you a while to figure it out? Do you stick to the same genre or branch out? Did you automatically know how to describe it or did you need a little help?

 I wish I could take credit for coming up with describing my voice description and thus, tagline, "Sexy, Sassy & Southern," but it was the brainchild of my mentor, the incredible, RITA nominated Cynthia Eden. My voice is sexy because my heroines know what they want and go after it, which yields passionate sex scenes. The sassy comes into play because these girls are fun and flirty and southern because they have the slow drawl of sweet molasses.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RWA 2012: Dr. Debra Holland: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes by Jina Bacarr VIDEO

Have you ever wandered down a dark street late at night, your high heels clicking loudly on the cobblestones, when you hear a second pair of footsteps behind you?

Is someone following you?

Heart thudding in your chest, you stop.

He stops.

You pull up your collar, keep walking, then you hear—

Heavy breathing behind you.

Your pulse races…the hair on the back of your neck stands up.

He’s right behind you.

What do you do?

Run or fight?

If you haven’t experienced this scenario, I bet your heroine has.

That’s what happened to my heroine, FBI Special Agent Breezy Malone, in my Spice novel, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, when she was on assignment in Paris:

From my experience in the field, I know each fight is different and this enemy has his own agenda. Rape? Robbery? Could be, but I doubt it. They don't operate this way when they want a woman. They act friendly, use pretty talk to pick up a girl, then knock her off her feet before she knows what's happening to her.

I pull back, walk toward the rue de la Huchette, one step at a time, like all this is happening in slo-mo. As if the whole scene is a video game and someone else is at the controls, pressing the attack buttons and toggling my polygonal form to do what they want and I have no choice. Enemy contact. Kill'em. Kill'em. These words zap through my brain like a subliminal message from command center.

Keep going back. Left foot, right. My eyes scope out the environment. Stone buildings, windows shuttered. No escape. No one to hear the ruckus, the screams. The punks know that. They talk, egging each other on to see who'll make the first move. Closer, closer they come, like maggots ready to feast on a warm corpse.

Not mine, you punks.
I wrote from my first-hand experience when I constructed that scene. A similar incident had happened to me on that same street in Paris and I was lucky enough to get away. But I never forgot that fear pulsating through my veins. The icy chill that goes through you when you make that split decision that can determine whether or not you’re going to survive. Pulling up the emotions I felt that night helped me write the emotions of my heroine.

This scene went through my mind when I attended Dr. Debra Holland’s Workshop: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes at the RWA Anaheim 2012 Conference. Dr. Debra presented an outstanding workshop showing how to protect yourself as a woman and also how to put your heroine through her paces. She gave members from the audience the opportunity to experience what it feels like firsthand to be attacked by a stranger.

Here’s a video I put together from the workshop:

Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series)Dr. Debra Holland -- -- teaches a karate class at the American Martial Arts Academy located at1027 N. Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 714 871-3898.

Check out their website for more information:

AMAA has been teaching Women’s Self-Defense Classes for more than thirty years.

 The gentlemen from the Academy who assisted Dr. Debra are: Steve Hopple and Adam Rigsby.

A special thank you to fellow OCC/RWA member Rob Preece for his assistance in presenting the workshop.


And thank you to Sarah Andre -- -- who volunteered to experience her heroine’s fight scene up close and personal.

I highly recommend Dr. Debra Holland’s workshop.

Thank you, Dr. Debra!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Got My Battle Face On

Okay, that was my bow to my promo-whorish ways. Now back to my post…

Friday I finished the book I have been working on forever!!
Sooo maybe it’s not forever…but it seemed like it! LOL! Yes, I’m whining, and I know there’s someone somewhere reading this going, shut up, bitch! You finished it, what’s your problem?? Snicker.

Nico WarriorWell, there is a huge, epic battle scene that takes place at the end of the book—think Lord of the Rings epic—and it took me three days to write! Correct that. Three daaaaaaays to write. This was my first time writing a scene of this size with a bunch of people and, for the life of me, I could not find my Muse. That wench was playing loosey-goosey with my inspiration and I was stuck!

My solution? I started YouTube-ing every battle scene I could think of. 300. Highlander. Return of the King. The Two Towers. I did a search for every fight clip I could find, and you know what? It worked! Oh wow, did it work! I nailed it! I’m sure once my critique partners have a go at it, the chapter will look like it’s bathed in blood but…I finished it!

So I’m sharing my inspiration with you. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
And please, check out the trailer for my upcoming release with Ellora’s Cave, Under His Wings!

300 battle scene that kicks butt!! Oh and did you see Leonidas’ thighs???
This made me want to charge down that hill myself, asthma and all! Of course I would’ve had to stop about halfway, but…

The move —or two hour long music video—umm, sucked but loved the fight scenes…up until everyone started dying…Oops! Spoiler! My bad!

Aaaaannndd… Book Trailer for Under His Wings!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blast from your Past

Something I do when I am fleshing out a new character is to establish his/her frame of reference. What does he like? What type of clothes does she wear? What car does he drive? I like to reach way back to their childhood and figure out what TV shows were big at the time, what music played on the radio and what major events were playing out on the world stage. By thinking about the influences in his or her early life, I can gain insight into the person the character is now.

In that vein, I always picture what the person's childhood bedroom would look like. Did she have a four poster bed with frilly pick sheets? Or maybe she was into sports with a closet chock full of assorted balls and pads and helmets.

What hung on her walls? Maybe a Backstreet Boys poster or even a photo of Carl Sagan. Such imagery can give the reader a better glimpse into the character's background. When I think back to my own childhood, I remember my bedroom walls were covered with the sexy male singers and actors of the day. For years, Jackson Browne graced my walls along with David Soul of Starsky and Hutch. (yeah, I know. I'm old!)

When I asked my husband what posters he had, he smiled like a lovesick puppy. "Farrah Fawcett," he said. "She was wearing a bathing suit and had her head thrown back and a big smile on her face." He obviously wasn't searching for the Farrah Fawcett type when he married me!

So I ask you -- What hung on your walls when you were a child?

Here's something no parent would let their child hang on the wall. It's the cover for my collection of romantic suspense novellas, titled Long and Hard, which is now available in print. It features the stories Sizzle at Sea, Loose Lips and Crescendo.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Romance Authors Should Have Sponsors!

You know how athletes have sponsors?  Well, I was thinking it'd be cool if romance authors had them, too!

I mean, think about it.  We could have sponsors that sell things related to writing and reading, like laptops and eReaders. And for those of us who write erotic romance and erotica, we could have sponsors who sell lots of naughty things, like sex toys, bdsm gear and condoms!

What do ya think?


Sexy Romantic Fiction!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drive Me Crazy

When did I lose custody of my car?

I kind of know how it happened. Kind of. The twins are seniors, and they can drive. We had an extra car when my mom stopped driving. Ergo, it made sense - at the time - to pay for a parking pass. Right? Yes, I’m still trying to qualify the decision.

In my defense, I was talked into it by my husband. My first response was a resounding, “HELL NO!” The school bus is free in our town. If they don’t want to ride it as seniors, they can freakin’ walk. Then hubby pointed out that most of my afternoon is spent picking up kids from sports, after school work, etc., which I wouldn’t have to do anymore. We have the extra car, so why not?

I should have listened to my first instinct.

Fast forward to the beginning of school. It’s now many, many months after we had to pay for that parking pass. In that time, mom hired someone to drive her around - in her car. Hubby happily goes off to work in the morning-  in his car. Which leaves the boys using - you guessed it - MY car.


This was the first week. I can already tell you that it’s not going to work. Duh. I don’t have a freakin’ car until either mom comes home or the boys do. That’s sometime between 1 and 2:30 in the afternoon. It also means that by putting errands off, I’m running around just as much every afternoon when I finally get a car.

I am still going to try to make this work. We paid for the damn pass, and it wasn't cheap. Besides, if everyone is out of the house, I can claim it as my writing time. Makes sense in theory, right?

Uh huh. I want my damn car.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Politics make my head hurt

It's that time in every four-year cycle where I don't even want to turn on the TV. All you hear is one politician or group bashing another, and I'm so sick of it, I could scream. I. Hate. Politics.

It is a little known fact that in my eclectic career, I have, actually, campaigned and been elected to public office. Yes, it was a small office. I spent four years as the clerk of a township in central Michigan. Why would arguably the most a-political person in the world become a politician? The answer is simple. Health insurance.

Now this was a long time ago, and there wasn't so much public outcry about "socialized medicine" or whatever you want to call it. The deal was, I had just finished grad school and hadn't landed a full-time job. So no benefits. My husband was still in grad school. No benefits. And we had two very young children. (3 and 4 when I took office.) The current clerk was retiring and my in-laws knew everyone in town. The clerk position was part time, but it DID come with family coverage on the township's health care plan.

So I ran. And I won. And I pretty much hated the political aspects of the job. Oh, I didn't mind the record-keeping, meeting with the public, even election oversight. I also wrote my first book in this time period, because I would be bored senseless at my desk some days. But the dirty-infighting politics? Hated every bloody minute of that part.

I was born with a hang up on fairness. I know life isn't fair, but I keep thinking it SHOULD be, at least those parts we, as human beings, can control. So I ALWAYS look at both sides of an argument, even if I don't want to. I also have an advanced degree in biology. Yes, that colors my perception of reality. No, I don't consider that a problem.

If you know me on Facebook or Twitter, you'll notice I don't often post about my beliefs. I'm on there to get to know people, not to piss off my brother or cousins, or readers. But this time comes around every 4 years, and I'd swear steam starts coming out my ears. So here it is. My personal philosophy. If you don't want to know, Have a great day and hop over to another site, right about now.  No worries--I won't hold it against you, I promise.

#1: Science is not liberal. Science is science. Accept this, work it into your belief system and move on. Global climate change is not a theory, it's a fact. Evolution happened. And being gay is not a choice. Furthermore, that's not my opinion, it's science. All of these issues need to be reflected in our policies, before we don't have a planet any more, and no one has the freedom to pursue happiness.

#2: The United States of America is a great country, with a rich history of innovation and strength. We're not perfect. In education,  standard of living, and yes, the health of our citizens, we're way down on the list internationally speaking. We need to fix this. We also need to stop being smug, self-satisfied jerks about it.

#3: I believe in freedom FROM religion as well as freedom of religion. That means no one else's religion gets to tell me or anyone else how to live their lives. "Because my god says so" is not a valid reason for laws or legislation regarding what I do with my body or who I marry. Period, no exceptions.

#4: We need to take care of each other, not look out for ourselves. The richest are getting richer. That's not "job-creation" that's exploitation, and the numbers are there to prove it. Math isn't liberal! So whether you're a janitor or a CEO, be kind and generous and thoughtful, to everyone. Yes, that means taking care of them when they're sick, regardless of wealth, sexual orientation, religion, weight or ethnic background. Be nice, even when it goes against your personal beliefs or isn't in your own financial best interests! Yes, this means I'm pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, and pro-nationalized healthcare. I don't consider this liberal, I consider it right.

The worlds in my books represent reality as I see it. There are gay people. There are straight people. There are people who don't fall neatly into either category. There are nice people and there are jerks and most of us fall somewhere in between. There are poor people. Some of them are hard workers who just can't catch a break. Others are lazy. Rich or poor we're all human. There are people of different races, creeds, or nationalities who fall in love with each other. That's not meant to be a political statement, it's just the way life goes. Accept and move on... There, in a nutshell, is my outlook on politics and life. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Re-imagined

Labor Day has arrived, one last chance for some summer fun before we all get on with the business of fall. Yet this holiday is ironically about paying tribute to serious business, the contributions of American workers to the success of America. It's origins were in labor unrest, with the workers' rights movement beginning efforts to unionize as the holiday was founded in 1882.

Not only has this history been forgotten in Labor Day's more popular designation as the unofficial end to the summer, but at a time with so many in our country unemployed, the holiday may bring up conflicted emotions. Perhaps we should not stir up difficult feelings for those with employment problems.

I ran across a cute parody article about the need to redefine this holiday -- Labor Day Renamed Sex Day -- in the Weekly World News. Hypothesizing that we need to refocus more positively on this holiday weekend as the struggling unemployed are less enthusiastic about work.

So what other votes do you have for re envisioning Labor Day? How about National Read an Erotic Romance Day? That sounds more enjoyable and relaxing. And with so many economical and fun choices out there (including freebies), this activity is accessible to everyone. Not to mention more accessible to those of us without partners than Sex Day.

Whatever new holiday you decide to celebrate, I hope there is joy in it. I don't mind a little serious focus. I love me some angst at appropriate times. But whatever the holiday theme is, make it meaningful to you.

I think I'll go read an erotic romance now....