Saturday, October 30, 2010


Tomorrow the veil between the worlds is thinnest. That's why Halloween is full of ghosts and skeletons. And since things like that scare the bezeesus out of people, that's why Halloween took on a spooky flavor.

But what our pagan ancestors celebrated was a solomn holiday. One meant to honor their ancestors. Which brings me to my rare moment of deep introspection. Have you ever thought about what a crazy miracle it is that we're even here? I mean, what if just one of our direct ancestors didn't make it through that plague or famine. Who would we be then? Would I have brown eyes instead of green? Would I exist at all?

Thinking about the long unbroken chain that goes all the way back to the beginning of humankind always blows my mind. The Rom believe our ancestors become stars in the sky, and sometimes talk to them. Not such a big stretch considering the stars offer guidance wherever we are on the planet.

So, I'd like to formally thank my ancestors tomorrow. Oddly enough, I'll be spending the afternoon with my cousins celebrating a family birthday. I hope there's a cake with candles. I always light a candle to honor my ancestors. Having a buch of us with shared ancestors in one place would be that much cooler.

Do you ever think about your ancestors?

Friday, October 29, 2010

RomantiCon Rocked!

The other Ellora's Cave authors I talked to all told me how much fun RomantiCon is and that it's the best convention around, but I still can't believe how much it ROCKED! From the moment we got there until the moment we left, it was a non-stop party! Not only did I get to meet my editor and the other EC staff, but I got to hang out with my fellow EC authors and take pics with the Cavemen! I think Angelo just might be my new favorite cover model! *sigh* Frantically coming up with books with long-haired heroes just so he can be on more of my covers!

The Cavemen
Angelo is the one standing in the back, second from the left!

My hubby and I got there on Thursday, but went to the Cleveland Zoo on Friday, so other than getting our registration badges that day and taking pics of the Ellora's Cave RV, we didn't officially start our RomantiCon portion of the weekend until the Roaring Twenties party that evening. I also met my editor on Friday and she's just as sweet in person as she is online. the minute I told her who I was, she pulled my print book out of her bag and asked me to sign it for her! I was psyched!

The Ellora's Cave RV!

Okay, back to the Roaring Twenties party. First of all, everyone dressed for the theme, which I thought was really awesome. It was also the first time we got to meet all the other authors as a group, including Laurann Dohner, who talked us into going to RomantiCon. Thank you, Laurann! I'd only talked to her online before that and it was so great meeting her and her hubby in person! We also got to meet my fellow Naughty Author Chicks Michelle Polaris, Dalton Diaz, Ashlyn Chase and Cara McKenna, which was very cool! In between chatting and hanging out with everyone, we were all treated to a show put on by the Cavemen, which rocked! That was followed by dinner and dancing that went on until after midnight! Things moved into the hotel bar after that!

The Cavemen
Roaring Twenties Performance!

The next day was filled with workshops and something called Author Mania, where readers can meet the authors to chat, take pictures and get their autographs in these really neat commemorative books EC provided. All this started early in the morning, but luckily, I didn't have to be at Author Mania until after lunch, so we got to sleep in!

The awards dinner that night had a sci-fi theme. While the authors and readers didn't dress up in costume, the Cavemen did, much to our delight! Tight, black pants, high boots and body paint. You get the idea! That night they performed not one, but two shows! Afterward, Jaid Black, who is so sweet and nice, gave a very heartfelt speech. Then it was time for the awards. Though I saw my name listed in the commemorative book as one of EC's Rising Stars, I had no idea I'd have to go up to the front of the ballroom to get not only my certificate and award, but also take a picture with the Cavemen! Can you say nervous?! I kept thinking I was going to trip over the edge of the dance floor or one of the many cords lying around and embarrass myself in front of everyone. Fortunately, I didn't do either of those things and the picture with the Cavemen came out awesome!

There was more dancing after that, and while the DJ was fantastic both nights, it was Angelo who got the party started and kept it going. The man knows how to entertain a crowd! I secretly gave him the title Captain Caveman! LOL!

The Cavemen
Awards Dinner!

After sleeping in the next day, we headed downstairs for the booksigning, which was an awesome experience. It wasn't my first booksigning, but it was by far the best and most fun. I was so psyched to have sold out of all my books! Of course, I had to buy a copy of IF YOU DARE myself because Angelo is on the book cover and I wanted him to sign it. I didn't even know he was on the cover until author Lacey Thorn pointed it out to me. So, at the urging of Lacey, Samantha Wayland, VJ Summers and Tawny Taylor, I went over to Angelo, who was at the booksigning, and asked him if that was him on the cover. It was, so I had him sign it for me. Of course, I had to get a picture with him! After that, I was all over him! Well, not literally, but I did have to have him sign the EC Cavemen calendars that came in our swag. Which meant I had to get another picture with him!

The weekend finished with a pizza party and bingo. Angelo and Rodney were not only in attendance, but entertained everyone by calling the numbers for the game in true Cavemen fashion. It was a really fun time!

So can't wait until next year!

I have more pics on my Facebook page if you'd like to see them, including lots more of the Cavemen and my pics with the very hot Angelo!



"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go to "Naughty Paris" this Halloween

I've always loved Halloween and dressing up in a pretty costume. Especially a can-can outfit with a white petticoat and layers of ruffles and black stockings. Imagine if you could go to Paris and dance the can-can at the famous Moulin Rouge.

You can...with the help of a little black magic.

That's what happens to my heroine, Autumn Maguire, in "Naughty Paris" when she's jilted at the altar and uses her pre-paid honeymoon tickets to go to Paris. She's totally turned on when she sees a full-size painting of a sexy, lost Impressionist named Paul Borquet in a studio in the Marais District...

Here is an audio/video podcast of two short scenes from "Naughty Paris" -- I've censored some of the language for the audio version; you can read the uncensored version below.

Go to "Naughty Paris" this Halloween from Jina on Vimeo.

From "Naughty Paris:"

Something creepy is going on here. Oodles of perspiration bubble between my breasts, wiggle down my ribcage, then drip down my thighs as I pull and tug on the black velvet drape. I can't thrash loose. My breath becomes sharper. The back of my neck is damp. Finally, I rip the heavy fabric off my face and--

--I see him. Staring at me with his eyes. Dark blue eyes that intrigue me.

A life-size painting of a man over six feet tall.

I grin, relaxing the tenseness in my face. So that's what the drape was hiding. A super stud. Arms crossed, feet spread apart, and wearing tighter than tight pants that outline his impressive cock and he's--


Creepy bumps pop up on my bare arms. The more I think about what I heard, the more I believe I must have imagined it. Hearing the man's sexy laughter stirred carnal desire so dormant in my female psyche that I can't tell what's real or in my head. Well, look at him, will ya. He's a painting, dammit!

Touch him, no, not there. There. On his hand. Cold. See? He's not human, so get off this goth kick and get the hell outta here.

Oh, I forgot. I can't. I'm naked.

So, girlfriend? He can't see you.

I smile. Yeah.

So why not have a little fun and flirt with him?


Things really heat up when Autumn finds an old statue of the Egyptian god Min (the god of fertility) and wishes she could meet Paul Borquet as lightning strikes her through the skylight window...

I don't close my eyes, but continue staring at Paul Borquet, wishing I could feel his arms around me, his lips kissing me, his body pressed against mine.

"You wouldn't stand a chance if I were young and beautiful," I whisper, shifting my weight from side to side. The wooden platform bends, squeaking under my wet bare feet. Lightning flashes overhead through the skylight, stinging my eyes like a thousand watt lightbulb slashing through the air. "I'd make you fall in love with me--"

I cry out when electricity jolts the bronze sculpture I'm holding between my breasts, sending a hot current through me and vibrating through my brain, raising the hair on my arms, and making my eyeballs bulge out.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear the old artist calling out that he's going for help, but I can't answer, can't focus. All the muscles in my body tighten and I feel myself lifted up off my feet and zooming through space, as if something is flinging me skyward. An unexplained chill settles in me as if I'm in a swirling vortex as electricity flashes over my skin, racing in and out of my bod faster than I can blink.

What's happening to me?

This isn't my normal world. I want things dry and safe. Not wild and crazy. The electricity dances a choreography of darkness and light all over me, tracing the path of my sweat. I'm breathless and more than a little bewildered. Mix in bewitched and my trip to Paris is turning into the Rocky Horror Picture Show with French subtitles. This can't be happening!

Thunder claps in my ears with a loud boom then--

--the lights go out.

Darkness. The humid air suddenly reeks of a strong musky scent. Male.

Coming closer…closer…yes…I hear that sexy laughter again as someone blows hot air into my ear, making me shiver. I twist my fingers on the statue until they burn, then my nipples harden into pointy peaks as if someone pinched them. Becoming aroused again, I let out a sigh when someone squeezes my breast and sucks on it, then moans. Who? Where is he? I can't open my eyes, swallow or talk, or move my legs or hands, touch him, anything.

I can't do more than make a desperate breathing sound as I lie--


Where am I?


Find out what happened to Autumn Maguire in "Naughty Paris."

Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 25, 2010

A Little Laughter Goes a Long Way

Before I do a little shameless pimpage for my soon-to-be-released book, I want to share a very funny TV show with you. Now I don't watch a lot of TV. Basically, after I am too tired to read at night, I turn on the telly and surf through the channels, never staying in one spot for long. And this is how DH and I stumbled upon Fashion Police Friday night on E Entertainment Television, which is hosted by Joan Rivers.

Now I have been a Joan Rivers fan from way back. She still makes me laugh with her self-deprecating brand of comedy and her off-the-cuff jokes. Here are a few of the segments on the show, done with a celebrity panel - Bitch Stole My Look (aka celebrity shots of different public figures wearing the same outfit); Starlet or Streetwalker,(where they hide the face and the panel must decide which category the celeb falls into).

Hubby and I didn't stop laughing through the entire show. Rivers delivers biting one-liners. After showing a picture of Mariah Carey looking rather chunky, one of the guests suggests that the singer looks pregnant. Rivers suggests Mariah should go over Angelina Jolie's house, "buy a couple of kids and shove them up her knish." Now who else could get away with that.

After a long, stressful day, the half-hour laugh-fest was exactly what DH and I needed.

Now for the pimpage. I'm so excited that my first erotic romantic suspense, Tropic of Trouble, will be released soon. Savannah can attest to the fact that a story never underwent so many revisions as this one. But in the final analysis, I think it was worth all the hair-pulling and headaches it caused me. I'll let readers be the judges.

When Kelsey Ackerman’s assistant at her used bookstore is murdered the police label it a botched robbery by a desperate drug addict. But Kelsey suspects the perpetrator was looking for a rare Shakespeare volume that someone unknowingly donated. Now a killer has set their sights on Kelsey.

Jail guard Jason Jones only wants to protect her, but after suffering a controlling father and an abusive ex-husband, Kelsey wants nothing to do with the confident, hot sergeant. Until the danger becomes crystal clear and only the man she can’t resist is the same one who can save her.

You can read an excerpt HERE. Tropic of Trouble will be available from Ellora's Cave on November 5th.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Comfort Reads

I know a lot of romance readers got hooked on Jayne Ann Krentz and Judith McNaught, but I wasn’t one of them. I’m not sure if they were before my time or if because my mom didn't have them. (Though I will admit to reading Whitney My Love for the first time last year). When I was about 11 or 12 I did get hooked on my mom’s Harlequin category books which she thought she hid, obviously just not well enough. Looking back I’m pretty sure she read a lot of Presents and while that line is great it’s not one I read too much these days. I’m more of a Harlequin Intrigue or Blaze kind of girl. And I like my Blazes to have a touch of suspense or intrigue. I love internal conflict but all that external conflict really gets me going!

Until a few years ago romantic suspense has always been my go-to genre. Linda Howard introduced me to the fabulous genre with All the Queens Men and to this day that remains my all time favorite RS book. I discovered her while in college and since I switched majors a few times (from business to education to psychology) she was basically my only pleasure reading when I wasn’t devouring textbooks. In the past couple years I’ve come to love paranormal romance just as much and it seems paranormal and romantic suspense are more or less a blurred genre now anyways. Maybe that’s why I love it so much too. Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of genres: historicals, sci-fi romance, straight mysteries/thrillers, chick lit, military history books, fantasy, and so many more! However, my comfort read authors have pretty much remained steady. Once I fall in love with an author, I’m pretty damn loyal.

My comfort read authors are: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Linda Howard, Lisa Marie Rice, Kimberly Dean, Bonnie Vanak, JD Robb and while these two are fairly new, they’re both on my auto buy list now: Cynthia Eden and JR Ward.

What about y’all? Who do you turn to for romance reading comfort?

Btw, if you guys want to check out my alter ego’s new cover for my February Carina release, click here. I just have to show off this goodness because I’m so happy with it! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crazy Sexy Asshole

by Cara McKenna

I'm afraid I've got no clue where this post is about to go. I've got no thesis to prove, no conclusions to blather toward, just a concept and a cold beer to guide me.

I'm not a big fan of inspirational quotes, but this week's post was triggered by two. The first was uttered (or twuttered) by Ellora's Cave Editor-in-Chief (and my new editor, as my first editor sadly had to step down for completely understandable personal reasons) Kelli Collins:

"Authors, there's a huge difference between alpha and bully. Sometimes that knight in shining armor is just an asshole in tinfoil."

And the second is from Eminem:

"Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records / well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too."

Don't read too much into that second quote…some weeks my running playlist gets suspect. Count your blessings that wasn't an O.D.B. quote.

But let me visit that first quote a moment. A sage bit of advice all authors would be wise to heed. And yet…I sort of like assholes. Obviously, there are admissible levels and circumstances for assholery. A hero can be an asshole and probably get away with it if the readers are adequately informed as to why he's an asshole. But careful you don't just saddle him with daddy issues or a no-good cheatin' ex-girlfriend…there's a fine line between seeking empathy for your characters and seeking pity. Pity's not a turn-on.

But still, my favorite characters from books and movies and shows are frequently the assholiest, and that doesn't necessarily mean villains, either—Snape from the Harry Potter books (and Alan Rickman in just about every movie he's in), Colonel Tigh from the new Battlestar Galactica (and indeed Starbuck), Brad Pitt's half of Tyler Durden's character in the movie version of Fight Club. Marla, too.

Of course some people are just plain old assholes. Not of the truly evil Hitler variety, but of a more run of the mill persuasion. Simon Cowell is one, I suspect, and not because he's mean to aspiring pop stars, but because he came off as such an utter narcissist dick on Top Gear. There are a thousand examples to be listed, and I bet for the all most popular ones, the douche in question is simply missing the possession of at least one of these two grace-saving qualities:

bat-shit crazy

fuck all y'all fearless

Cowell is neither—he's snarky with no charisma or crazy to give it charm. But of the earlier examples, Tyler Durden is properly insane. Eminem might be crazy, but more importantly, he doesn't care what you think of him or who he pisses off, which is magnetic. Starbuck is both crazy and fearless, and that makes her character impossible not to forgive and to even admire. Everyone on that list is also wildly damaged, and maybe I'm just insensitive, but damn, that's hot.

Tigh, Starbuck, Eminem (I know, not a character per se, but arguably a persona), and both halves of Tyler Durden are all massively self-destructive, but as their audience we know they have good reasons. Not pity-me reasons, hopefully, but a set of past illnesses that make the symptoms of assholery understandable. Heck, natural. And watching someone you aren't actually personally acquainted with self-destruct is amazing entertainment. I mean, that's the premise of all the best reality shows. But anyhow, I think there ought to be another type of character. Alpha, Beta…

Batshit sexy asshole.

Maybe we don't want to marry these people, but I know for sure a few of us want to bang their brains out. So now it's your turn. Who's your favorite crazy sexy asshole? To summarize, here are the criteria: acts like as asshole, must also be nuts and/or so immune to others' judgment it borders on pathology. Let me offer a few more examples.

Han Solo from the Star Wars trilogy

Jayne from Firefly

Vyvyan from The Young Ones

Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous

Brenda from Six Feet Under

John Malkovich's character from Dangerous Liaisons, who I think may have inspired a more contemporary magnetic asshat—Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl

Bernard Black from Black Books

I haven't watched enough House to know if Hugh Laurie plays one, but I have my suspicions.

Sawyer from Lost, you're soooo close…but your daddy issues keep you firmly on the traditional damaged goods side of the fence.

But let's not be so picky as to take the fun out of fingering our favorite jerks. So come on, lay 'em on me! They can be characters or actual people—who can you not take your eyes off, despite their acts of unapologetic assholery?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Berlin Sex Diary Episode 3: Eve is lured into a secret love cult

"The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe" is an audio podcast series Prequel to my Spice novel, Cleopatra’s Perfume. Before Lady Eve Marlowe married a member of the British peerage, she was a cabaret dancer in Berlin in the late 1920s during the wild days of the Weimar Republic.

Episode 1, Lady Eve was about to get paddled when she met a monocled gentleman with a secret fetish.

(Click here to listen to this audio podcast

Last week in Episode 2, Lady Eve received a paddling from a monocled gentleman with a secret fetish, but in her mind she pretended it was the sexy man in the black cloak and Fedora wielding the paddle.

(Click here to listen to last week’s audio podcast.)

This week Eve learns more about the mysterious man in the black Fedora and struggles with her desire to learn more about the act of submission…

Episode 3: Eve is lured into a secret love cult.

This is the final episode. Thank you for listening!

Written, produced and hosted by Jina Bacarr. Music: "Paris" Composer/ publisher: Dan Graham, PRS, Shockwave. Visit

As a reminder, The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe contains adult subject matter and is intended for readers 18+ only

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That Man is For Me!

As a romance writer I'm often approached with that one original, insightful question:

Sooo (cuz you know they drag that word out all coy-like) your husband your inspiration?

Well, honestly, no. He's not. Vin Diesel is my inspiration. Halle Berry's ex-boyfriend (the blond, golden guy who's her baby's daddy?)...he's my inspiration. Brandon Lee...even posthumous is my inspiration. I mean...I write fiction. And the chances of me ever meeting up with any of these men--especially Brandon Lee--are straight fictional.

And besides, reality is so much better than fiction. My husband isn't my inspiration because he's my real life. He's my fiction come true. After recently celebrating ten years of conjugal bliss I realize there are certain moments where he expresses his love in ways that would seem unbelievable if they were written in a romance book. But it's the little things...the things that don't exactly beat the path to the bedroom but they seduce the mind all the same. They say in subtle, low-key ways, I'm paying attention. I'm sacrificing for you. I love you enough to put up with listening to the Annie soundtrack back to back to back... Know what I mean? Think about it. When your man...

...orders 7 creams and 9 sugars in your coffee and isn't embarrassed when they ask him to repeat it 3 times...

...enters the names of all your favorite authors in his phone and keeps track of when their new releases come out so he can surprise you with their books...

...massages your feet and doesn't expect sex afterward...

...remembers the brand and size of your...uh...napkins and can go to the store by himself and purchase them...

...buys The Labyrinth movie and actually sits in the room and watches it with you. And then surprises you with the soundtrack? C'mon, people! David Bowie as the Goblin King!!

...scarfs down the Red Velvet cake that tastes more like Red Rubber cake just because you made the effort of baking...and then tries to hide drinking Maalox afterward so he doesn't hurt your feelings...yeah, that was a good one...

...keeps you in coffee and Chex Mix when you're chasing a deadline...

...lets you study his penis to get an accurate description for your love scene...

...goes to every prenatal appointment with you...

...supports your dream unconditionally without skepticism but with total faith...

So, no, I don't use him as my inspiration because my husband is better than any hero I could imagine or begin to write. Anyway, no one would believe a man as good, kind, giving and wonderful existed! Here's to ten more years!!
Okay, I'm through being sappy...week after next back to sex toys and shameless self-promotion...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Announcing Ellora's Cave's Newest Author Collaboration Series

Although I promised a report on Romanticon 2010, Dalton Diaz did such a thorough picture retrospective last week in her post that I thought I'd move on to the next subject. So here's the short report. I HAD A BLAST! Above is a picture of me and the EC Cavemen at the Roaring 20's party. I've stuck a few more photos up on my blog if you'd like to check them out. This includes my fan girl pic of me with Joey W. Hill.

One of the joys of conferences is the chance to meet up with the other fabulous authors you chat with on-line throughout the year. Above are some of the ladies of the brand new Ellora's Cave author collaboration series, 1-800-DOM-help, at Romanticon. Left to right back row are: Francesca Hawley, Delphine Dryden, Cai Smith, Christine D'Abo, Michelle Polaris, and Samantha Cayto. In the front left to right: Desiree Holt and Lise Fuller (series premise creator). The premise is a mysteriously appearing business card with this hot line number for Dominants or submissives in need of help. Out of it will march a fantastic collection of quickies or novellas telling the stories that emerge from these hot line calls. I'm here today to pimp this new collaboration, of which I am a proud member, and encourage you all to stop on over to the group blog we've put together at

The first book of the series, Needing Harte by Marilu Mann, came out October 6th. Check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed.

The above graphic is the header for the brand new blog. I finally finished my novella for this collaboration and will hurry up to complete edits and submit the story. I'll keep you updated if it is accepted for publication.

It's lots of fun to launch a new project and I know this will be a start to a fantastic series. So keep on the lookout if you please.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

Showing characters at their worst

Do you ever let your characters behave badly--with a legitimate excuse like PMS? Do you embarrass them? Put them up in a tree and throw rocks at them? You should! I have a quote on my computer that says: "Successful romantic comedies have their jokes rooted in truth. We laugh because we recognize ourselves."

Here's a clip from Strange neighbors you girls still having PMS might identify with.

Merry shook her head at her own insanity. Jason wasn’t usually an asshole. For chrissakes, he’d been on his best behavior at all times, so why was she giving him the cold shoulder?

Because she wanted to. Maybe she was sick of him being such a perfect gentleman. Maybe she wanted to push him to his limit and see where and how he crossed that line. Maybe it was PMS.

As a nurse, she knew she could always blame it on the full moon and PMS, but as a woman, she knew it had more to do with loosing her guy to a rich blonde in a bachelor auction—in other words, all of the above, plus massive insecurity. What a combination.

“C’mon Merry. We’ve been driving for half an hour and you haven’t spoken to me once. I explained that I had no idea bidding would go that high. Hell, I would have covered the extra, but I thought you’d refuse it. That’s why I gave you the head-shake.”

She turned away from him and stared out the window. “Whoa, they had passed Exeter Street and were heading toward Fairfield.

That’s when she realized he wasn’t taking her home.

“Where the Hell are we going?”

“Someplace special.”

She crossed her arms and frowned. “Who says I want to go somewhere special with you?”

“Look, I don’t know what’s going through that pretty head of yours, but I’m not taking you home until you tell me. Whatever it is, we’ll straighten it out.”

“Who says I’m crooked?”

He stared at her like she had two heads. Maybe she did. She felt like two sides of her were at war.

Part of her knew he was telling the truth. A big part. The logical part. Besides, it wasn’t as if they weren’t engaged or married. He could go out with anyone he wanted, and if she kept acting like a spoiled brat, he just might.

She fell back against the leather seat and sighed. “Okay. You’re right. It’s not your fault. I don’t know why I’m mad, I just am.”

“That time of the month?” he asked.

Ebbing embers of anger flared again. “What? How dare you?” If glares were daggers, he’d be shishkabob.

“I was almost married, once,” he said softly. “I know the signs.”

Why did he have to remind her he had been hurt? Why did she have to care? Why did she suddenly hate any woman who had ever laid eyes on him?

She retreated back into silence. It was safer that way. He was right. She was due for her period in a couple of days and hormones were making her crazy.

“There won’t be a second date with her, Merry. You know that, right?”

She cocked her head and stared at him. He glanced over a couple of times. All she saw in his eyes was sincerity. Shit. She wasn’t ready to forgive him.

“How do you know? You haven’t even been out with her yet?”

He let out a long exhale and turned up Brookline Ave.

“Where are we going? You still haven’t told me.”

“Look, it’s probably not the best time to tell you this, but tonight was a test.”

She gasped, indignant again. “A what?”

“A test. You failed miserable. Unfortunately, so did I.”

“What are you babbling about?”

“I mean…” He pulled over to the curb and gave her an intense gaze. “I figured I’d find out how you reacted to me getting some pretty strong female attention. And I thought that if you weren’t okay with it, I wouldn’t want to move our relationship to the next level.”

“Oh.” Sails--no wind. She was caught completely off guard and her heart crumpled.
She folded her hands in her lap and figured it was over. He was probably driving her to Rhode Island so he could dump her on her father’s doorstep and tell him to come and get her stuff at his earliest opportunity.

“Don’t you want to know why I failed too?”

“Uh, yeah. I can guess, but go ahead.”

“What do you guess?”

“That you thought we could stay friends, but you don’t even want that anymore?”

There was that look again. She was tempted to check her neck to see if she really did have two heads growing out of it.

“No, Merry. In fact, you couldn’t be further from the truth. I still want you--as a friend and as a girlfriend…in a big way.”

“And you call that failing?” Her crumpled heart filled again. With the blood back, it warmed her all over.

“What do you call it?”

She smiled. “Acing it. Passing with flying colors.”

At last, he smiled too. “It’s about time I did something right.” He leaned over and cupped the back of her head. She knew he wanted to kiss her. Something inside still jittered, but it was hard to deny the bridge he was trying to build. It was about time she walked over it and met him halfway.

*Conflict makes a story. Sometimes it isn't the big explosions, it's the little baby conflicts of emotional upheaval. And my theory about using this in comedic ways is this: We laugh because it isn't happening to us. We're a little warped that way.

Friday, October 15, 2010

UNMASKED - New from Paige Tyler!

I'm so excited to announce that I have a hot new erotic romance out with Ellora's Cave just in time for Halloween called UNMASKED!

I always love writing holiday-themed romances, so when my editor at Ellora's Cave put out the word that her authors needed to get Halloween stories in by a certain date so she could get to them in time for the holiday, I immediately started throwing around ideas for a Halloween-themed erotic romance.

I came up with a few storylines, but kept coming back to one that takes place at a costume party. I think there's just something inherently sexy about them - you know, no one knows who you are underneath the mask, so you can do anything you want.

So, I ran with the idea about a girl going to a costume party and hooking up with a hot masked man. I had a pretty good storyline going if I do say so myself, but I wanted to make it even more intriguing, so I thought, what if the heroine goes to the costume party looking for this hot, hunky coworker she's been lusting after? Of course, she'd have to know what he's going to be dressed up as for it to work, so I settled on the phantom of Venice. Just sounds mysterious, doesn't it? To make it more fun, though, I decided to have more than one guy dressed up in the same costume, so the heroine would have to come up with some ingenious way to figure out which guy was the one she was looking for. Admittedly, that was a good idea. Really good. But I didn't stop there. I wanted the heroine to have even more fun, so instead of making the costume party a regular old Halloween party, I made it a spanking party! For some reason, that always seems to be a big theme in my books! LOL! So, what does the heroine do, you're wondering? Let every phantom of Venice she comes across spank her until she find the right one? I don't want to give too much of the story away, but trust me when I say that the heroine has a LOT of fun trying to figure out which guy is the one she's looking for!

To whet your appetite for more, I've included a sexy excerpt. Hope you enjoy it! And if you pick up UNMASKED, let me know how you like it!


When Tabitha Buckley gets a chance to go to the hottest Halloween costume party in LA, she can’t turn it down, especially since the coworker she’s been lusting after is going to be there. And since she knows he’ll be dressed as the phantom of Venice, he should be easy to find. What Tabitha doesn’t know is that this isn’t the average costume party, but a spanking party. Having gotten spanked by a few boyfriends before, that doesn’t bother her as much as the fact that there’s more than one phantom of Venice on the guest list.

Not to be deterred, she decides the best way to figure out which masked
hunk is her coworker is to let each phantom spank her until she find the
man she’s looking for. And when she finds him, the night is going to end
exactly like she’s always fantasized - in bed having hot, sweaty sex!


She turned her head to see a man standing just outside the French doors there. Although he was half hidden in the shadows, the tricorn hat and cape of his costume were unmistakable. He was one of the elusive phantoms she had been looking for.

Even though she’d decided she wasn’t going to waste another minute looking for Robert, she found herself walking toward the man as if drawn to him. He was
tall with broad shoulders and dark hair, just like Robert. Though she didn’t remember her coworker being quite so tall or well built. Then again, he didn’t
often wear a cape and a tricorn hat to Sultry Records, so it was hard to tell. The costume could make him look bigger than he really was.

His sensuous lips curved into a smile. “I was wondering when you’d get around to me.”

Her breath hitched. Was this Robert? More importantly, did he know who she was? She gazed into his eyes, looking for a hint of recognition, but it was impossible to see his expression with a mask on.

“Get around to you?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I couldn’t help but notice that you seem to have a thing for the phantom of Venice.”

Her face colored at that. Had he been watching her? “There is something rather sexy about being spanked by a tall, dark, mysterious man in a cape and mask.”

He let out a soft chuckle. The deep, husky sound felt like a caress on her skin and she shivered. Was that Robert’s voice? She wasn’t sure. It definitely sounded as sexy as she remembered from the few times they’d talked.

“So do you want me to give you a spanking?” he asked softly.

Heat pooled between her thighs at the thought of him putting her over his knee. She gave him a flirtatious smile. “That is why I’m here.”

He grinned. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

Tabitha’s pulse raced as he took her hand and led her outside to the ornate stone bench on the terrace. Even though she’d gotten two spankings already that night, the possibility that this time she was actually going to have her bottom warmed by the man she’d been dreaming of, fantasizing about and lusting after forever made her pussy tingle with anticipation. God, if she got any hotter, she was going to orgasm just from thinking about it.

Sitting down on the bench, he slowly guided her over his knee, then placed a hand on her back like the other two phantoms who had spanked her. When he lightly cupped her ass through her short dress with his other hand and gave it a squeeze, Tabitha knew this spanking wasn’t going to be like the ones the others had given her.

Watch the Trailer!

Buy it at Ellora's Cave!

For more of my sexy erotic fiction and a sneak peek at my upcoming releases, visit my website at


"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Berlin Sex Diary Episode 2: Eve discovers the sublime delights of paddling

Berlin Sex Diary Episode 2: Eve discovers the sublime delights of paddling @ Yahoo! Video

Last week Lady Eve was about to get paddled when she met a monocled gentleman with a secret fetish. (Click here to listen to last week’s audio podcast.)

This week Eve gets her paddling…

"The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe" is an audio podcast series Prequel to my Spice novel, Cleopatra’s Perfume..Before Lady Eve Marlowe married a member of the British peerage, she was a cabaret dancer in Berlin in the late 1920s during the wild days of the Weimar Republic.

Episode 2: Eve discovers the sublime delights of paddling.

Written, produced and hosted by Jina Bacarr. Music: "Paris" Composer/ publisher: Dan Graham, PRS, Shockwave. Visit

As a reminder, The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe contains adult subject matter and is intended for readers 18+ only

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

This is a follow-up to my post about Stepping Out of my comfort zone.
So I did it - I was the Literary Guest at a local sex toy/lingerie store, etc.'s Erotic Bliss pARTy. What an evening it was! The small space was crammed full of an artsy-looking crowd (my favorite kind of folks!) and the event began with a mix and mingle while a woman in one corner painted a nearly nude male model's body with beautiful designs. In another corner, a young woman was doing tarot card readings. There was a very pregnant lady sitting on a stool selling her miniature vegan brownies and cupcakes decorated with breasts or penises.

I told myself I was just going to read the passage I'd chosen from Getting Even with Warren and get it over with (which I had heavily rehearsed with emotion, per Jina and practiced just saying the words loudly and clearly, per Brenda). I knew it was a friendly crowd - several people had even said so. That helped. It helped, too, that my awesome hubby was there, standing in the background giving me a you-can-do-this look.

And I read the scene -- a woman giving a man head while he drove. (But don't worry -- he's parked before his big moment;-) I didn't stumble or stutter or otherwise embarrass myself. People laughed at the appropriate moments. I finished, the guests clapped and I drew a relieved sigh. Then I sold a few books and watched the last act - a couple who fingerpaint sensual portraits on a huge canvas. Quite amazing to watch.

Then I mingled, had my fortune told by the tarot card reader and chatted with a few party guests. I spent a bit of time talking and joking with a couple who were as friendly as could be. When I mentioned that my husband was there, the couple exchanged glances. And this sophisticated erotic romance author was totally clueless about what was going on -- until the woman said she'd hoped we could have done a threesome.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Um ... hello? I was in a place where they give classes on "The Oral Arts," "Pole Dancing" and "Threesomes and More." I think I should have paid a little more attention to what was really going on. I'd stepped out of my suburban life and into one of my stories!

All in all, it was a fun night. Three different men asked my husband if he was a cop (yes - he does look the part to the nth degree and yes - he is in law enforcement). His response - "I'm Miss Daniels' driver and bodyguard." Gotta love him.

So now that I've done this feat that sounded so terrifying, I know it won't be so scary next time. But if there is a next time, I hope I'll wear my intuitive hat so my jaw doesn't drop if I have a similar experience.

A writer buddy commented when I told her about my evening - "There's got to be a story in there somewhere." Isn't there always?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Friday!

I totally forgot today was my blog day until about two minutes ago so I apologize in advance if this post is lame. Last weekend I was at the Moonlight & Magnolias conference in Atlanta and then directly afterward I headed to New Orleans to meet one of my critique partners who I'd never met in 'real life' before. Her husband contacted me a couple months ago on the sly letting me know he was planning a ten year anniversary trip for her (they're from Canada) and since I live so close wanted to know if I'd want to surprise her. The answer was of course, hell yeah! She really really hates flying so he had to hold off telling her about the surprise trip until the day before. As soon as he told her she immediately contacted me. She admitted he gave her grief b/c as soon as he told her about their romantic trip, she asked if they could come see me. It was hard not to laugh at that.

I stayed in NOLA for a couple days and today they're driving over to stay with us. In fact, she just called and they're on their way! And my house still isn't completely ready. Yes, I've had a day and a half to get it clean but I've been a little driven with the need to write. I don't know how people travel all the time for work. I was only on the road for a week but I feel like my whole schedule has been shot.

Have a great weekend everyone! I know a lot of you are at another conference this weekend so I'm sure y'all are having fun!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Self-Pimpy Sampler

by Cara McKenna

Like several of my sister Chicks, I've got my mind firmly set on RomantiCon this week, so forgive my not writing one of my usual long-winded nonsense posts. Instead I'm going to share two fairly unrelated items.

The first is a quick self-pimp. My seventh novella is out from Ellora's Cave tomorrow. Dirty Thirty is a short, filthy [in the proud, sex-positive sense], rather sweet little m/m/f romp. Special emphasis on the m/m. If you dig that sort of thing, it'll set you back a measley $4.45. You can barely get a pint of beer for that anymore! So instead, for that same price why not read along as Evan drinks a couple pints of beer and musters the Dutch courage to go through with his birthday wish? Here be the blurb:

Despite his scrappy punk packaging, Evan Hennessey’s got a submissive streak in him that’s just screaming to be indulged. So on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Evan’s wife Margie arranges for them to ring out his twenties by realizing his darkest fantasy—inviting another man into their bedroom.

Margie’s found the perfect candidate for Evan’s birthday treat. Paul works as a bouncer at the Hennesseys' favorite bar, and lucky for Evan and Margie, he’s every bit the sexual Dominant his intimidating body suggests. Evan isn’t a hundred percent sure he’s ready to go to all the places his kinks seem determined to take him, but one thing’s for sure—by the time he wakes on his thirtieth birthday, his fantasy will have become reality.

Ta da! Anyhow, that's out tomorrow. If you'd like to read an excerpt, click here.

The second item I thought I'd post is an interview that the lovely and gracious Cara Bristol invited me to do a couple of weeks ago on her blog. I'm sure she must have mistaken me for someone impressive enough to warrant such treatment, but I did not correct her…though I did warn her that I go on and on and on. At any rate, if you have some strange desire to know what my writing background and modus operandi are, watch me blather:

Cara Bristol: You write both “smart erotica” and “red-hot romance.” Where/how do you draw line between the two? How do you define erotica and red-hot romance?

Cara McKenna: It’s all about the focus. Let me think up a woeful analogy…I’m good at those. Oh, I know! Cupcakes!

With romance, the plot is the muffin tin, the characters are the ingredients, the oven’s the sexual tension, and their relationship the risen cake. Sex is the frosting—sort of a bonus—its flavor designed to complement the cake. And sometimes, if the bedroom door is closed, the frosting is squirted in the middle where you don’t get to see it, though hopefully you’ll still taste it. Om nom nom.

With erotica—and I’m talking about what I write, straight-up erotica as opposed to erotic romance—sex is the oven and the muffin tin. Sexual curiosity or tension keeps the characters together, working in tandem with the plot (or in its place) to add the heat and develop their emotional relationship. Kink is the frosting, I think, that little extra flavor that makes it memorable. But the characters are still the ingredients—without them you’ve got nothing.

Which makes porn like eating store-bought frosting straight from the tub, I suppose. It usually tastes good for a few spoonfuls, but it gets old quick.

CB: How did you get started as an erotic romance author? What made you decide to do this?

CM: I like writing about people boinking. Next question.

Just teasing. And actually, I should clarify—I don’t think of myself as an erotic romance writer. I write erotica, and I write romance. Erotic romance is a mix of the two, everything you get in a mainstream romance plus extra explicit sex. My own erotica doesn’t claim to offer everything a romance does, such as a strong external plot or a guaranteed happy ending. But I digress.

When I started writing it was the summer of 2008, and at the time I worked in downtown Boston in the design department of a magazine publishing company. I skipped the subway in favor of walking the half hour to and from my office, and during those walks I’d listen to my iPod, and weird little clips began to play in my head, like music videos. Over the course of several weeks those clips got more complex, unraveling an entire story, a whole movie, which fascinated me to no end. I thought to myself, “This might be a romance novel.” By a sheer fluke I’d learned about the RWA from an episode of This American Life, so I began doing my homework. I read writing how-to books and began tapping out my little story. When it became clear I might actually finish the thing, I joined the RWA. I joined my local chapter and went to meetings. Finished one book and started another. I attended my first conference where I won the chance to submit a full manuscript to Brenda Chin, the senior editor of Harlequin’s Blaze imprint. I hadn’t actually written the book whose hook she’d liked so much, but no matter. I was serendipitously laid off that same week and immediately went to work hammering out the book and subbed it six weeks later. And heard nothing but crickets chirping.

With the economy still in the crapper and a healthy severance check keeping me respectable, I continued writing. My husband and I were planning on moving that fall (we didn’t—housing market was in the crapper as well) so at the time it seemed silly to look for another nine-to-five. After finishing and submitting a second Blaze manuscript, I needed a break from happily-ever-afters. I started a short erotica [Brazen], got the world’s nicest rejection on my second Blaze proposal (unmarketable hero—artists don’t sell well) then finished and sent my first erotica story off to Ellora’s Cave on a chaptermate’s suggestion [cough cough, Ashlyn, cough]. I wrote most of another novella [Shivaree] while I waited to be rejected again, but lo and behold, Ellora’s Cave bought the first one, despite how glib and odd it was. I finished the second and they bought that one too. I was on a roll!

Erotica is damn fun to write so I kept at it, romance on the back burner. Then one summer’s day about nine months later, I got a call from an editor at Harlequin Blaze, requesting revisions on that very first Blaze book I’d submitted over a year earlier. It’s true—you really do have to be patient in this business. Those revisions were accepted a month later and since then I’ve been juggling the two genres, erotica and steamy romance, as well as two pen names (I write romance as Meg Maguire). Oh and happy ending time: my second, (rejected) Blaze manuscript [The Reluctant Nude] finaled in the RWA’s Golden Heart this year. Because of the short word counts, it’s tough to find a traditional home for category romances once Harlequin takes a pass, so I was thrilled when Samhain, a progressive publisher that does both electronic and paperback distribution, bought it.

And that is how I came to develop multiple-personality disorder.

CB: In Willing Victim, you write about a couple that engages in mock rape; in Ruin Me, your heroine can’t commit to her fiancé (a really nice guy); and in Shivaree you have a male/male relationship in your m/f/m ménage. Even beyond the “kink” that seems to go hand-in-hand with erotic romance, you seem to push the envelope a little further. Do you agree? Can you speak to this?

CM: Again, I’ll suggest that I don’t write erotic romance—can’t guarantee readers a big snuggly happy ending. But I’ve been told by the powers-that-be at Ellora’s Cave that yes, I am an envelope-pusher, though they seem to get a kick out of it. They dig challenging boundaries.

But as for me, I don’t sit down to brainstorm a new story and think, “How can I make my readers uncomfortable this time?” But that is what I do, essentially. It’s my natural inclination to write characters into really awkward, fraught situations then watch them thrash. Sometimes literally. I’m always careful to make it clear with warnings when a topic might squick a potential reader out, like the infidelity and rape role-play warnings for Ruin Me and Willing Victim. My erotica M.O. in a nutshell is to write vignettes that take place during the most interesting point in the main character’s sex life, explore whatever journey they embark on, watch them change, and drop curtain. It tends to give those happy ending fans emotional wedgies, but that’s how I love to write. If I tie things up too tidily for my characters, then I have no reason to worry about them. And if I stop worrying about them, they become forgettable to me. I like to wonder what becomes of them. And sometimes that wondering manifests into sequels.

CB: What inspires you? How do your ideas come to you?

CM: Oh Lordy, all sorts of places. Songs have done it before, or just people I pass in the street. If it’s a conscious brainstorming effort, more often than not I start with the hero’s job. Boxer, lumberjack, mechanic, survivalist—something dangerous, preferably, and an occupation or passion that explains how they got such unreasonably hot bodies, since tycoons with gym memberships turn me right off. Then I research (meaning I watch shows or movies full of down-and-dirty foul-mouthed working-class men getting all bruised and sweaty) for more sparks of inspiration.

Once I know my man, I figure out what sort of lover might waltz in and turn his world upside down, or whose world he might disrupt, and then the other character(s) begins to take form. But usually the hero comes first for me. One exception to that rule was Robin from Ruin Me. It was really important that I knew her inside and out before I could write a convincing and satisfying (I hope) story about her essentially cheating on her super-decent boyfriend.

CB: What is your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?

CM: Favorite thing…those mornings when all I do is wake up and take a breath and barf cleverness all over the page. Writers—and runners—you know what I mean. Those golden days when you sit in front of the screen or lace up your shoes, and you can just go forever, and everything comes easily and feels right and you just fly. So that, and the commute. Can’t beat the commute.

Least favorite thing would be the little voice in the back of my head that frets that I’m not pulling my weight financially in my marriage. As supportive as my husband has been of my new writing successes since my regular salary went away, I still feel insecure about myself as a fiscally responsible partner now and then. But the paychecks are getting better, the longer I work at it.

CB: Describe your writing process. Are you a disciplined every-day writer who outlines? Or an inspiration-driven, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?

CM: I do write just about every day. I’m half plotter, half pantser, all the benefits and all the pitfalls of both approaches. I figure out the scenario and the characters, and start the story. Then I get a feel for where it’s going, where the characters need to push each other, and some scenes fall into place in my mental outline, maybe a sense of the resolution. More writing, and by the time I get to the middle I usually know what all the scenes will roughly be and how they’ll get me where I need to go. And I usually write the ending around this time, so I have a clear view of where I need to end up. Then it gets hard, since some of the mystery is gone, and it’s usually a steady but tough slog toward the finish as I fill in the holes. Make of that phrasing what you will.

CB: Among your previous occupations, you list “decent designer” and “overly enthusiastic penguin handler.” What kind of designer? And tell me about the penguins!

CM: Graphic designer. I used to do mainly print layouts, nothing too glamorous, but now I’ve switched largely to web so I can manage my own sites. It’s a handy skill in this business, what with all the promo, though I’ll admit it’s tough giving up control to my publishers’ art departments when it comes time to create the covers.

And yes, the penguins! I still hold senior volunteer status at Boston’s New England Aquarium, though I haven’t actually gone in since last summer. But basically, if you go in there you’ll see people in wetsuits wading around the penguin exhibit, feeding the birds and scrubbing up their messes and chatting to visitors. That’s me! It’s a tough job—a shift is eight to ten hours of almost purely physical labor. Some folks are cat people and some are dog people, and I’m a bird person. Love love love birds. Fat ones, anyway, not so much pointy bony ones like hawks. And yes, even pigeons and seagulls. I just want to squeeeeeeze them. Though perhaps with a haz-mat suit on, in the case of the pigeons.

CB: What do you like to read?

CM: I’ll profess, reading’s gotten tough since I started writing. I’m still a newbie with a head full of Strunk and editorial style guides, so reading my own genres has become nearly impossible, as I can’t help but mentally reword things in my own voice. I hope that gets better. Only if an author has a really strong voice of their own can I get lost in a book nowadays. When I do read it’s mostly contemporary and historical, very rarely paranormal or science fiction. I find stories that could possibly be happening to somebody say, down the street from me, more appealing than fantastical ones…though I do love the idea of time travel romances! But I like when an author can make an ordinary person seem fascinating through their flaws. Flaws flaws flaws. Bring ’em on.

Kristan Higgins is a new favorite of mine— she has a fabulous voice. When reading erotica I’m drawn frequently to m/m, and I really enjoy K.A. Mitchell and Katie Allen (and they write proper erotic romance, unlike myself). Both of them can keep lazy old me from skimming through the plottish bits, and that ain’t easy. And general fiction, too—I love Alexander McCall Smith and John Irving. I have a love/hate thing going with Palahniuk. Naguib Mahfouz is amazing if you like an epic. My all-time favorite is George Orwell. Down and Out in Paris and London and Clergyman’s Daughter…swoon. Oh, Georgie.

But more often than not these days, I read nonfiction, especially science. Mary Roach, Mark Kurlansky, Oliver Sacks. And I’ll knock an old woman down to get my hands on anything David Sedaris has touched.

CB: What do you do when you’re not writing?

CM: I’m pretty dull and predictable. I get up, I check my e-mail, I write for an hour, then if my joints are cooperative I run between two and five miles, often while listening to the podcast of the BBC’s The Archers, the world’s oldest and nerdiest radio soap opera. I love radio. Got hooked on The Archers by mistake when I would tune in to listen to Radio 4’s Just a Minute. Anyhow. Run, home, shower, more writing, lunch eaten while watching bad reality TV online—Top Model, Biggest Loser, Hoarders, Obsessed…if it’s about people struggling, you know I’m a fan. Do some housework, take a walk. I walk a lot. It helps me plot. Then I make dinner and watch Top Gear or a movie with my husband and we make farting and/or quacking noises at each other. No lie. I also like cycling, board games, pub trivia, baking, fishing with my dad up in Maine (where I grew up), and of course taking a six pack down to the cove and drinking on the rocks until the husband and I get all buzzed and existential. It’s a good life.