Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Play Along

musical artSaturday I attended my RWA Southern Magic chapter meeting. We had the wonder Susannah Sandlin there for Author Q & A. If you haven’t read Redemption, the first book in her Penton Legacy than you’re missing a treat! It’s imaginative, has awesome world-building and sexy vampires! A trifecta!

One of the things she talked about was her writing process. She, like many of us, writes to music. She has a specific playlist she pulls up before she sits down at her desk. I wanted to be nosey and ask what that playlist included, but I figured it might have come across stalker-ish, so I refrained…

But it had me thinking. I, too, write with music blasting It’s a must! If I stop for the day, and I’m in the middle of a scene, when I return, I can play the songs I was listening to and recapture that mood. Not to mention, with music playing in your ears, before you know it, five hundred words have gone by! It doesn’t just block the world out but it sweeps you up and plops you straight into the book.

So I thought I’d reveal the playlist that I have for my current work-in-progress. It’s a hodge-podge of songs that have no rhyme or reason except that they work for me. Warning: If I hear any snickering, I can…well…I can do nothing… Also a disclaimer: This list shows my age!!

1 Who Let in the Rain – Cyndi Lauper
2. Save My Life – Johnny BLK
3. No Air – Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
4. So Amazing – Luther Vandross
5. I’ll Remember – Madonna
6. Live to Tell – Madonna
7. Rain- Madonna
8. Broken Wings – Mr. Mister
9. Loves Divine – Seal
10. Songbird – Kenny G
11. Human – Human League
12. True – Spandau Ballet
13. Wasted – LP

There you have it! My “mood music”! What are some songs on your playlist? Or what music stimulates your muse?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fears and Romance

I have a dirty little secret. My friends know, but no one outside my inner circle does. But here, today I am going to reveal that secret. I am afraid to fly. In fact, I haven't been on an airplane in twenty years. You see, my last flight was so turbulent that I wanted to kiss the ground when we finally landed. My control issues play into it and the phobia has irritated my very patient husband to no end. 

I understand that flying is about 8 million times safer than driving, but that rationale doesn't seem to help. I'm confessing this embarrassing fear here for all the world to know because I really want to get past it and start flying soon. I am taking steps to overcome it, so I will update you when and if I conquer it.

But as I delved into my own fears, I realized that most romance stories feature at least one character with a fear that hampers their life. The heroine might be afraid of getting her heart broken or repeating a bad mistake she made in past relationships. Sometimes it's the hero with a fear. Even villains often have fears, which is often their motivation for doing bad things.

In Tropic of Trouble, which came out in print recently, Kelsey is terrified of being abused by a man. Jason is afraid he won't be able to save a woman he cares about since he had a young sibling who died right before his eyes and he was unable to save her. The villain (whose name I can't reveal) is also terrified of something.

Do you have any fears that hold you back?

Here's a little about Tropic of Trouble:
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’s sights are set 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 the only man who can save her is the very man she can’t resist.

You can read an excerpt HERE.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Am I hot, or am I not?

Many of you know I write both erotic romance and mainstream. So far the difference has boiled down to 1 word. You may have heard of the 3 C's. Some erotica reviewers scan for them and if they don't find all 3 (cock, clit, and cunt) they won't read and review the book.

Now, I have to say I absolutely HATE that third C. To me it's not erotic. It's the most derogatory word in the English language. I refuse to use it and if reviewers don't want to read my books because of that, so be it.

Now, shifting to mainstream...my readers are used to my graphic language. My old mainstream editors had no problem with it. Now that I have a new set of editors, it seems as if euphemisms are preferred. I wonder if my readers will notice? If they do, I wonder if they'll care?

This is my first mainstream book complete with graphic language and 2 of the 3 C's. I had no complaints. Book 2 in the series was even more graphic, because werewolves are animalistic and ruled by instinct. I did receive a couple criticisms from shocked readers.
 Have any of you been writing different heat levels for different publishers? How's that workin' for ya?

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Muse Returns -- A Sneak Peek

After so many months I cannot count, my muse decided to return and I am once again at work on the sequel to Bound Odyssey. To reward myself, I thought I'd post an excerpt from the chapter I'm writing. The tentative title to this sequel is Bound Freedom, although that may well change. Don't hold me to it. It is a mmf futuristic/fantasy BDSM novel, so read accordingly. The book tells the story of Kristin, Gavreal and Bastion. In this excerpt Kristin takes the opportunity to play with the two men she is beginning to love, stretching her newly found Mistress skills. Here we go:

As they stood she wrapped her hands around the biceps of each and arranged them facing one another. Picture perfect to her eye. "Right now it pleases me to see you kiss one another. Kiss like it's a promise to fuck. Make me wet. I want to imagine what else those talented mouths might do for me later. You've spent too long apart and that's not acceptable anymore." 

Gavreal and Bastion. Dark and light. They stared at one another as she spoke, hungry, bottomless gazes full of the anger and heartbreak from these past years. But full of the history of their bond as well. The friendship. Love.

Bastion leaned in first, nipped Gav's lower lip, growled and reached his large hands to palm the back of Gavreal's head and neck. Drag their mouths together. Gavreal moaned and fisted Bast's shirt at his waist. Their lips crashed together, teeth and tongue a violent collision of need. Hard male need.

They ate at one another. Perfection. As she watched her nipples tightened to points that chafed against her top. One of Bastion's hands dropped from Gav's neck to his pelvis, palmed his cock through his pants, Gav's hips pumping into the touch.

"No touching below the waist," she warned. "You touch where I tell you to touch."

With a groan, Bastion removed his hand and fisted the hair at the back of Gavreal's head, pulling. Another moan.


Their faces almost pained at the action, they pulled apart, panting as their lips waited inches from each other. Pupils dilated. Caught in the pull of one another.

"You see what you missed? Never again, boys. You both need it too much."

Gavreal wrenched his gaze from Bast and toward her. "Join us, Mistress."

He didn't command, but desire spiraled out of his words, seducing her to enter the fire.

She considered the request. "Face one another again, eyes focused on each other. Stay still. One move and I end it."

Kristin approached and circled around Gavreal's back, pressing against it, rubbing her breasts, sliding her frustratingly covered pussy along his buttocks. Her palm slid along his hip bone, fingertips tracing a light path over his navel right above his groin. Scant inches still separated his lips from Bast's. Her words froze them in place, a powerful restraint as they submitted to her.

She stood on tiptoes and rested her lips against the nape of his neck, darted out her tongue and licked a path along the salty skin. Kris circled around him slowly, body moving from his to Bastion's as she pressed against her Lovely now. Her lips traveled, tasting, teasing Bast's jaw and cheek. She bit gently at his earlobe, feathered a kiss at the indentation she left.

Beneath her she felt his shudder. Her hands roamed freely over him, pinching his tiny numbs covered by fabric. She traded between them again and again, mouth working over exposed skin, sucking it into her mouth, tonguing them even through their clothes to leave wet trails over their bodies.

Only when she'd teased them like this for long stretches, felt their repeated trembling and the racing pound of their pulse beneath her touch, did she wiggle her way between them. She circled Bastion's wrists with her grasp, keeping his arms down to his sides as he began to embrace her. "Frozen, Lovely. Remember?"

And then she kissed him. Slow. The lightest brush of lip over his until she bit down hard. Her tongue limned the seam of his mouth, then pressed entry.

He tasted of smoke, mint, the Bramhal he must have drank while she slept. And desire. God, she wanted to tie him down and keep him safe--this sweet, lovely, sexy man who wanted only right for his world. This fighter, born of the people, using the brute strength of his intelligence to work his way into a position of change. The layers of him mixed with his raw, male strength and his need to submit to make a feast. One she didn't know from how she'd walk away.

Well, there it is. Stay tuned...

Friday, July 20, 2012

How you know it's a great book

By: Casey Crow

Being a writer myself, I always try to read my "friends" books. Oh, I'll admit the TBR pile is so high Mt. Everest looks small in comparison, but nevertheless, I try. It's weird when I start out reading a book by an author I know. Even if I only "know" them through Facebook or Twitter or had a brief encounter with them at a convention, it makes me think I know them, you know?

Everytime I begin one of these books, I'm overly judgemental, first of all. Then I'm thinking how can such a nice person kill people, write hot sex, or use potty words! Take for example, Cynthia Eden and her Deadly romantic suspense series. It scared the crap out of me, and she is the kindest lady on earth!

But somewhere along the way, I stop thinking my friend said "f*%#" and I lose myself in the story. THAT'S how I know it's a great book. When I get to the point where I can't put it down because I CARE about the characters, then the author has succeeded in writing a great story.

What makes a great book for you?


I have a new release out! As you probably guessed from the title SPANKING SYDNEY, it's full of sexy spankings! It's also the classic boss-spanks-secretary story, but with some mystery/suspense tossed in! And hot sex, of course!

Happy Reading!

Going to work was never so much fun!

Sydney Davis loves her job as an executive assistant to the vice-president of a software manufacturer. Her boss never cares if she shows up late, takes a long lunch or goes home early. That all changes when he’s forced into retirement and his replacement, the stern but incredibly handsome Max Daniels shows up. The company is over budget on a huge government contract and Max is there to straighten things out. But he’s going to have to take his executive assistant in hand first.

After one too many mistakes, Max gives her a choice — she can either accept a transfer to another department and a lower paying job, or take a spanking. She loves her job and her paycheck, so she agrees to the spanking.

Sydney quickly discovers that Max not only gives a hard spanking, but that she gets turned on by having her bottom warmed. While he think she’s learned her lesson, she’s trying to figure out how to get him do it again. Only this time, she wants it to end with both of them naked in bed.


When Max frowned halfway through the report, she hoped it was because of the data and not her work. When that frown shifted to her, she knew better. Dammit. What had she done now?

“Would you please close the door?” he asked.

At that time of night, no one was in the building except the cleaning crew. Come to think of it, she was pretty sure they’d probably already left, too. She supposed he didn’t want to take a chance that anyone would hear the lecture he was almost certainly going to give her. Walking over to the door, she pushed it closed, then came back to stand before his desk.

“How long have you been an executive assistant, Ms. Davis?” Max asked.

She shifted nervously. Standing in front of his desk made her feel like she was in the principal’s office. “Eight years.”

He lifted a brow. “Really? Well, I’m surprised to hear that, because your work is shoddy at best.”

Her face colored. “I-I must have been in a hurry, I guess. My work is usually exemplary.”

“You’d never know it. This report is terrible.” He tossed it down on the desk, his jaw tight. “Between your sloppy work and showing up late, I should fire you. The only reason I won’t is because HR says you have an outstanding personnel file.”

Sydney stared at him. He’d been going to fire her? She knew she’d pissed him off, but she hadn’t even considered he might let her go. She owed whoever it was in Human Resources that had talked him out of it.

“But while you might be staying on with the company, it won’t be as my assistant,” he continued. “I’ve asked HR to transfer you to one of the other departments. It probably won’t be an executive position, but at least you’ll still have a job. When you come in tomorrow, go see Patti and she’ll place you.”

Max went back to reading the report, effectively dismissing her. Sydney stared at him, her stomach in a knot and her eyes burning with unshed tears. She couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. She was the executive assistant to the vice president of the company. Any other job would not only mean less money, but less prestige, too. She couldn’t let him demote her.

She swallowed hard. “Mr. Daniels, please.”

He looked up at her, his dark eyes cool. “I’ve already made my decision, Ms. Davis.”

She took a step closer to the desk. “Couldn’t you just put a letter of reprimand in my file instead?”

He was silent as he considered her words, but then shook his head. “A letter of reprimand won’t deal with the primary issue here, and that’s your work performance. Punishing you is only half of it. Besides, a letter of reprimand would go on your permanent record, and that would hurt your chances of getting promoted in the future. I think a transfer to a less demanding job would be best for everyone concerned.”

Best for everyone concerned? How could getting transferred to a lower paying job be best for her? He might as well just go ahead and fire her right now.

She took another step closer to the desk, pleading at him with her eyes. “Mr. Daniels, please. I really love this job and I don’t want to work in another department. I have the skills to do what you need. They’re just rusty because Mr. Willis didn’t require as much from me.” Hell, he hadn’t asked he to do more than get him coffee. “If I promise to work harder and do a better job, couldn’t you come up with some other form of punishment?”

Max sat back and regarded her in silence. That thing she’d said about feeling as if she was standing in front of the principal’s desk? This was way worse.

He admitted he’d read her personnel file, so he knew she had the skills necessary to do the work. He just had to give her another chance. She’d pick up his dry cleaning every day for a month as punishment if she had to.

“There is something” he finally said. “Human Resources wouldn’t consider it an approval discipline, though.”

Relief coursed through her, and she nodded. “Then it will just stay between us.”

Whatever it was she knew she would agree to it. She loved her job that much.

He studied her for another long moment. The knot in Sydney’s stomach tightened. Please don’t let him change his mind.

“Rather than have you transferred to another department, I could give you a spanking instead,” he said softly.

Sydney blinked. She couldn’t have heard him right. “A sp-spanking?”

Was he serious?

He nodded. “In my experience, a spanking can be an excellent method for adjusting a poor attitude. But I’d only do it if you agreed to it, of course.”

Sydney chewed on her lower lip. She’d gotten spanked a few times by an old boyfriend, but it had been during sex, so it had been fun. She didn’t think a spanking administered by her boss as a form of punishment would be very much fun at all. In fact, it would probably hurt like hell. Still, getting spanked would be better than getting demoted. It would also probably be a lot better than getting yelled at again, too. She cringed inwardly as she remembered how Max had shouted at her when he’d come back from the staff meeting that first morning. She really
hated getting yelled at.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if his offer to spank her instead of demoting her could be considered sexual harassment. Probably. But a spanking was still a whole lot more acceptable than a pay cut, especially since her lousy performance justified the demotion.

“Well, Ms. Davis?” Max prompted quietly. “What’s it to be—the transfer, or the spanking?”

She swallowed hard. Lifting her chin, she met his gaze. “I-I’ll take the spanking.”

“Are you sure?”

She nodded. “Y-yes.”

If Max was surprised by her answer, he gave no indication of it. Sydney thought she saw the corner of his mouth quirk, but it was gone before she could be sure.

She watched nervously as he got to his feet and came around the desk. How did you get a punishment spanking? Having only been spanked during sex, she honestly had no idea.

“Bend over and put your hands on the desk,” he instructed.

His request sounded so polite Sydney almost smiled. But then she remembered what was about to happen, and sobered quickly enough. She’d agreed to this, she reminded herself as she bent over and put her hands on the desk. The position made her snug skirt cling to her bottom, and she blushed as she felt it ride up a little higher on her thighs to reveal even more of her legs than it already did. If she’d known
she was going to be bending over for a spanking, she would have worn slacks.

Sydney tensed as Max put a hand on the small of her back. They were really going to do this.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

What kind of question was that? Of course, she wasn’t. But she’d agreed to take this spanking, so she couldn’t very well change her mind. Telling herself it would just be better to get it over with, she nodded.

Sydney held her breath, prepared for him to do his worst. But despite giving him permission, Max didn’t spank her right away. What the heck was he waiting for?

She opened her mouth to ask, but all that came out was a startled gasp as his hand abruptly connected with her ass in a resounding smack.

Buy it at Amazon!

Buy it at Blushing Books!

This book was originally published in 2005 under the title The Executive Assistant, but has been significantly revised.

Sexy Romantic Fiction!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I Love Multicultural Romance

I write multicultural/interracial romance and I love it!

When I started writing romance, I primarily wrote Caucasian characters... well, I still do depending on the storyline...but that's the type of books I was exposed to. I'd believed there wasn't a market for multicultural characters because there were hardly any books featuring Asian heroes or heroines. I had longed to find some stories that I could relate to but they weren't available to me. I figured if I was in  search of these kinds of stories, maybe others were too, so I should write them. Easy solution, right?

Although I'm westernized, I suffered an identity crisis in my youth. I grew up in the US and it never occurred to me that I was any different from any other American. I suppose no one ever treated me as if I was a foreigner because kids didn't see color. When I was in middle school, I had a rude awakeningbut that story is for another dayI suppose I'd always been drawn to Caucasian men  because my very first boyfriend and childhood best friend was blond haired blue eyed. I could never forget him so maybe that was the reason why I didn't have an interest in Asian men.

However, when I started writing Asian characters I needed a bit of inspiration. I had watched a lot of romance dramas from Taiwan and Korea, and over the years, I discovered that these heroes were as attractive and brooding as the ones in my books. For a bit of inspiration I would research images for my "hero" board. Such hard work, I tell ya! LOL — One of my recent proposals sent to my agent was about a Korean rock star and I needed a vivid idea of how he'd look like, act, etc. The images I have on this post are of the inspiration for my "heroes". I thought I'd share with you these hotties to prove that Asian heroes aren't so hard on the eyes...

Reasons why I love writing them:

  • Guyliner
  • Polished sense of style
  • Romantic
  • Enigmatic
  • Hot bods—mostly Chocolate Abs aka Abs of Steel
  • Loyalty
  • Will do anything for their woman


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Invitation To Temptation: Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs in Italian

My Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs Spice novel is being released this week in Italy in a three-in-one book set with Lori Foster and Amanda McIntryre!

I've always loved trains and the mystery and adventure of the Orient Express. Even James Bond got it on with a beautiful Russian spy aboard the train to Istanbul in From Russia with Love.

When I wanted my heroine in my erotic spy thriller, Spies,Lies and Naked Thighs (Bionda Vendetta in Italian), to take control of the situation with a sexy man she perceived to be a dangerous terrorist, she went one step further than 007: she tied him up and performed delicious torture on him (including oral sex) on the night train to Paris:

He attempts to rip apart his restraints, arching and groaning and gritting his teeth.

"You can avoid further frustration if you tell me what I want to know." I smooth his dark hair back from his sweating brow, avoiding touching his eye patch, knowing he's anticipating me ripping it off. I don't, adding to his tension. "Who do you work for?"

"I told you. I work alone."

"I don't believe you." I slide my hand between his legs, feeling him. "Maybe this will loosen your tongue because I have no intention of loosening the rope around your cock." This elicits a distinct erotic charge in him that jolts him. He thrusts into my hand, struggling madly to free himself, his shoulders heaving in his attempt to escape from captivity.

"You'll get no information from me," he snorts.

"Won't I? I know the Russian had money," I persist, knowing I have to give him a convincing story. "I want my share."

He closes his eyes. I see his exhaustion. He's not giving up as easily as I first believed. It's not easy on me either. I exist in a situation of emotional and sexual intensity in which I'm deeply implicated, yet I can do nothing to satisfy my own needs. This is no lovers' game, but a tug-of-war involving the intense energy of ritual and passionate SM where one of us will lose.

The question is: Which one?

I also made a short 30-second promo for Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs  in both English and Italian.

Enjoy!                                                                ENGLISH


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Love Ballad

MelodyLast week my father and I were discussing a sermon he was preparing for that coming Sunday. For the past several weeks his preaching had been fiery, hard--like sweat-popping-on-the-top-of-his-head hard. And for the upcoming Sunday, he wanted to teach softer, gentler. He said the mark of a mature preacher isn’t the Southern Baptist “…and God said, hah, when the Word, hah, was made flesh, hah…”  It’s the quiet, tender voice of the teacher that declares who he is. It testifies to the years he’s seen. How much he’s studied. How many experiences he’s endured and come through.

Daddy compared it to a ballad. A true and talented musician—whether it’s a saxophone or guitar—is determined by his ballad. With a slow, fluid, soft melody, mistakes can’t be hidden behind volume or drowned out by other instruments. Lack of skill can’t be covered by tricks or fancy runs. The ballad stands on its own merit.

That started me thinking about romance books, and I had an epiphany. A writer’s ballad is the romance. Whether we write paranormal, suspense, historical or science-fiction, the core of the book is the relationship and connection between the two main characters. The world building of a parallel universe can be outstanding. Or the mystery can be absolutely thrilling. But if the romance doesn’t leap off the page, capture our hearts and squeeze, then it’s a fast, upbeat song with riffs, a voice box and driving beat that covers the singer’s adequate voice. The ballad of a romance book is taking that trip with the characters from brokenness to healing. It’s watching two people become one healthy, happy whole. It’s the journey of learning, changing, and loving. It’s why we pick up romance instead of non-fiction. We want to experience breathless, sometimes painful, but always true, love.

That’s so awesome to me. So now when asked about what I want readers to take away from my books, I know my answer. I want them to have heard my ballad.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Digging Deeper

I'm at that point in my latest manuscript where I am creating all my character profiles. I've learned over the years that if you don't dig deep into your characters' psyches, they come out rather cardboard.

By digging deep I mean going beyond the basics. Past physical descriptions, GMCs and their environment.

For me, the very core of character comes from the M in GMC, the character's motivations. I delve into that motivation to figure out where that "Why" came from.

Was his mother an alcoholic? Is that why he has an aversion to meeting women in bars or to dating women who partake in even social drinking? Even subtler clues can provide great fodder for personalities, phobias and tastes. Maybe his childhood friends made fun of his hand-me-down clothes. Would he grow up to be a fashion plate?

I find the more I know about a character's childhood, early dating life, school experiences, parents and siblings, etc., the easier it is to create a real, non-cardboard person.

What about you? Do you have a certain way of mining your characters to bring them to life?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The unabridged guide re: beta reading for authors

How to Beta Read a Manuscript
by Ashlyn Chase
and agent Nicole Resciniti

There are several things a beta reader should know before they agree to help an author in this capacity. It’s not a responsibility to be taken lightly, and it involves more work than you might think.

First, the beta reader isn't reading a book. They're reading a manuscript. It should never be rated and reviewed for the public, because it isn't finished. It isn't even an arc (advance reading copy.) It could change quite a bit after editing is complete. It could change drastically, based upon your feedback! Things that might have interfered with your enjoyment may very well be taken care of by the time a book hits the shelves.

What the beta reader needs to do is review it for the author, and them alone. If you're used to being a reviewer, perhaps rating it in your head will help. If it's not a 5 star manuscript in the beta reader's opinion, she needs to tell the author(s) why not and additionally what he, she or they can do to make it one. Both good and bad feedback before a book is published (and it's too late to change) is extremely valuable for authors.

 I’m going to be brave and share what my beta reader had to say about the manuscript I just completed. With her permission, I’m printing what she said word for word, and giving you all my knee-jerk first impressions. I may take her suggestions and I may not. I need to consider all the implications--especially since this is a series and some bits may affect other books.

"LOVED Flirting with Dragons! The book is awesome. Bliss is amazing. She is so funny and snarky and cool. Drake is sexy and sweet. I LOVE Mother Nature. She's my favorite. I think you do a phenomenal job building the world and welcoming characters into Boston Uncommon. The secondary characters are among your greatest strengths and I think your cast of characters rocks! I look forward to seeing this series develop over the course of several books (can't wait for Anthony and Claudia!).

*Kudos to her for recognizing my brilliance! She is indeed a clever, intelligent woman with discerning taste.*

 In reading, you had asked for some suggestions to help up the word count and I have some macro suggestions. Also, there were a few areas that you might want to 'tweak'. As always, these are just suggestions, so take what you want and ignore the rest. Okay, here goes:
--Mother Nature. She's friggin' awesome. Let's get her on the page sooner. As in, within the first 50 pages. You have the elements in place and the setup is there.

*Okay, that’s doable, especially since she’s such an awesome character.*

A scene to show that Gaia is watching what's going on and is maybe concerned about the initial fire (or the recent spree of fires). IDK. She doesn't appear until very late in the book, and, since she's going to play such a pivotal role in Bliss's life, I just think the reader should get to meet her much sooner.

*Okay, I get it. You don’t have to get pushy.*

--Establishing the plot/conflict. We don't have a clear idea of what the conflict is until rather late in the book, like over 100 pages in.

*Huh? Wait a minute…what happened to the smart beta reader? I want the one who ‘gets me’ back!*

Is there any way you can up the tension and enhance the suspense with Drake and have him reflecting on the recent rash of fires? It is a great thread, but it isn't really exploited enough, and it could give the reader a clear idea of where the story is going.

*Humph. I’ll think about it.*

--The Zina and Drake angle. This kinda a big one for me. As a reader, I really struggled with Drake waffling back and forth and going on the date with Zina AFTER he meets Bliss. You do a brilliant job of justifying his decision via the promise to his mom and propagating the species, but it detracted from the romance for me, especially when Bliss forgives him so easily.

*Forgives him easily? Are you reading the same scene I wrote? She gave him not one ultimatum, but two!*

Plus, they go from him admitting that he went out with another woman to having unprotected sex with Bliss. That for me is a little hard to believe.

*Heh heh. Clearly you weren’t the bad girl I was.*

My suggestion here is to have the saved-at-the-fire scene with Bliss to introduce her to Drake, but then to have Drake going out on a date with Zina. A date he had planned BEFORE ever meeting Bliss. That way, he's still honoring his mother's wishes and trying to do the right thing by his race, but then he can compare Zina to Bliss and choose Bliss.

*Yeah, okay. I can probably flip that around. If not, it stays as is…tough noogies.*

This would allow you to introduce Zina sooner (as she is the main antagonist and her vengeance is the basis of the plot) and it would alleviate any confusion or negativity regarding the romance with Bliss and Drake.

*True. Damn, I’d better figure out a way to make that happen.*

--Another option would be for an opening scene with Drake meeting and breaking it off with Zina before ever even meeting Bliss. This would 1) make it very obvious that he only has eyes for Bliss, and/or 2) establish the plot within the first chapters.

*I thought you wanted conflict. What are you doing to my conflict? Now you want to water it down. I thought you said to ramp it up. Make up your mind, lady*

Now, I want to remark that what you have works. It wouldn't stop me from reading. I loved this book and enjoyed the conflict that Drake endures, as it would be a very difficult cross to bear to have to choose between love and duty.
--Zina as the antagonist, needs to come sooner. Also, is there anything you can do to up the stakes so Drake/Bliss are more proactive in defeating her?

*Sigh. That’s a tall order. You’re asking me to have two mortals take down an immortal fire-breathing, pissed off dragon all by themselves, but I’ll see what I can do.*

--Drake as living in a one bedroom studio and getting his butt kicked by a girl. Alpha-hero wise, you might want to change this up a bit.

*Hey, that’s only because he refused to hit a woman, even if she hit him fist. Sigh. That’s my hero. Pitter patter.*

If he wonders why he was so vulnerable. If he freaks out over it, and this leads to another scene with Gaia, one where she explains that he's not immortal anymore. Adding this scene will help the reader to sympathize with Drake and understand why he is not able to defend Bliss himself (because asking the other supes to help does kinda undermine him, although it is totally justified).

*Yeah. Justified! He’s smart to ask for help from characters who can and give it to him. I hate arrogant stubborn Alphas who refuse to let anyone assist, regardless of the disastrous consequences.*

As far as his monetary state goes, play up the had-it-all-and-lost-it angle more. Let the reader know that Drake was once very very wealthy. His family is very old, they would have amassed wealth/land/power, granted all of this could have been taken away when his uncle went rogue, but we need to see/hear about that. Otherwise, it does kind of seem odd that someone so old would have so little.

*Nuts. Does every hero need to be richer than God? What’s wrong with making a modest living as a firefighter? Oh, wait! I know. I’ll have him walk away from it all because his uncle was a Mob boss and his fortune came from ill-gotten gains. Ha! So there!*

--Drake's link to all the fires. This is something that is touched on by his boss and by Bliss' brothers. If he is suspected of arson, that would be a really big deal. Can you have a small scene of resolution, where Gaia or Vulcan steps in with the authorities to explain or offer 'counter' evidence so that Drake is cleared?

*Uh, no can do. Humans aren’t supposed to know the supernatural council exists.*

Or just a line of dialog where the chief says, 'if you weren't in the firehouse at the times of these crimes, I'd be ...." You know what I mean? Something that exonerates him before he can really be charged.
*Charged? Who said he was going to be charged? He had nothing to do with the arsons! What kind of crazy misleading—
Oh…I guess if she wasn’t clear on that, I’d better go back and make it crystal.*

Bliss can use a similar line of defense when arguing with her brothers in front of the camera crew.”
*Sure. That’s easy enough. Sigh. Back to the storyboard.*

Despite my silly commentary, I realized the whole time how lucky I was to benefit from an excellent beta reader’s impressions and suggestions.
Here’s what a good beta reader should do:
1)         Provide honest, insightful feedback in a constructive, positive fashion.
2)         Alert the author to anachronism, logic gaps, or material that may be confusing. If something is ‘unbelievable’ or draws the reader out of the story, these sections should be indicated.
3)         Consider the manuscript from a macro perspective. Do the plot elements work? Do the characters act and react in manners befitting their personalities, circumstances/motivations/goals?
4)         Comment on the pacing. Is this book a page-turner? Or do some sections lag? Does each chapter propel the plot forward or is there ‘filler material’?
5)         Rate the book on a scale of 1-10. Tell the author if this is a book they would want to read again and/or recommend to a friend.
6)         Keep the material and/or suggested edits confidential. The author/beta relationship is all about trust.
So, thank you dear readers for reading and reviewing our published books, but please don't rate or review a book you beta read unless you read it all over again in its finished state. An arc that a publicist sends out to reviewers is pretty much finished. It still needs to be proofread by the author. Some things get past editors and those mistakes will be glaring to the author on the last pass.

This is why it takes me six months to produce a novel. It will take another six for a major publisher to position it for marketing...adding an attractive cover, enticing blurb, putting it in front of potential buyers, and hopefully, someday, getting it on those best seller lists.

As a last note to beta readers, if you have any questions about a manuscript, don't hesitate to ask the author(s.) If anything is still ambiguous he, she, or they would welcome the chance to make it clear. Trust me.

Based on my beta reader’s  feedback, I’m revising the entire first seven chapters of the novel, which won’t be published until spring of 2013. If authors are smart, they’ll listen to and consider any and all feedback. A critique partner and editor are (in my opinion) invaluable, but a good beta reader can make a huge impact too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Release! Hot Cop Menage! RIDE-ALONG - Book Four in The Badge Bunnies Series!

I'm so excited to announce that RIDE-ALONG, the fourth book in my hot Badge Bunnies Series, is now available!

It's a smokin' hot menage with two gorgeous cops and one very sexy reporter who has a thing for men in uniform, so it's a dream come true when her newspaper sends her on a ride-long with San Francisco's finest.

Happy Reading!

The pleasure these two hunks give her should probably be illegal!

Laci Howe has always had a thing for cops, so she's thrilled when her newspaper editor sends her on a ride-along with two of San Francisco's finest.

Jase Neilsen and Grant Chapman are so gorgeous, she can't help but flirt a little as she interviews them. When the two cops confide in her about one of the perks that comes with the being a man in uniform - badge bunnies - she's intrigued. Things get even more interesting when they tell her in graphic and very sexy detail about their experiences with these cop-loving ladies.

Laci's so turned on by the time the ride-along ends, she gives into her inner badge bunny and invites Jase and Grant back to her place for a hot night of sex complete with spanking and handcuffs that she won't soon forget. The pleasure she experiences at the hands of the two men is so far beyond amazing, it should probably be considered illegal. Good thing she's with two cops, isn't it?


When they got to her place, Laci didn’t get out of the car right away. She didn't know what she wanted, but she knew she didn't want this day to end yet.

She took a big gulp of air and summoned her courage. “Do you want to come in for coffee?”

The two cops glanced at each other, but didn’t answer. Talk about awkward.

Her face colored. “I don’t know what I was thinking. You probably have to get back to work.” She fumbled for the door handle. “Thank you for all the information you gave me. The article will probably be in this Sunday’s paper, if you want to read it.”

“Laci, wait,” Grant said.

She froze.

“Our shift is over.” Jase smiled. “Coffee sounds great.”

Laci’s hand trembled as she unlocked the door to her apartment, but if either man noticed, they didn’t mention it. Jase and Grant had a presence about them that made her small apartment feel even smaller. It didn’t help that the sexual tension was so thick it made it hard to breathe. Between that, and their badge bunny stories, it was hard not to say the hell with the coffee and drag them off to the bedroom.

Cool it, girl. The two cops were just there for coffee.

She poured the steaming brew into mugs, then handed one to each man before adding creamer and sweetener to her own. “I had a wonderful time today.”

She almost laughed. The way she’d said it made it sound like they were on a date instead of a ride-along. Sad part was, it hadn’t been a date, and yet it still rated a lot higher than most of the ones she’d been on.

Jase flashed her a sexy grin over the rim of his coffee mug. “Me, too. It was fun.”

“You were both so helpful and informative,” she continued. “I only wish I could repay you.”

And how exactly would she do that? It’s not like she could ask one out on a date without offending the other. Even if she could, she wouldn’t be able to choose. Not when she was seriously attracted to both of them.

“Don't worry about it.” Grant’s mouth curved. “Department policy prohibits any kind of payment for what we did today.”

“Actually,” Jase said. “There is one form of repayment that would be okay.”

“Really?” Laci’s pulse skipped a beat. He was going to ask her out. Hot damn!

“What do you have in mind?”

He smiled. “I think a kiss would make us just about even for today's ride-along.”

Laci blinked. He was kidding, right? Not that she’d mind kissing either cop. But Jase didn’t look as if he was joking. Maybe he’d gotten that first-date vibe, too. Maybe all their sexual banter had gotten him as hot as it had gotten her.

Don't go there. She’d be damn embarrassed—not to mention disappointed—if she thought that was how things were going to turn out and they didn't. But if a peck on the cheek was all he or Grant wanted—she couldn’t give one cop a kiss and not the other—she wouldn’t turn them down.

When she didn’t say anything, Grant eyed her curiously, probably wondering if Jase had overstepped. Jase looked a little unsure himself.

She set down her coffee mug and gave them a sexy smile. “A kiss seems more than fair.”

Grant let out a snort. “Well, if Jase is getting paid with a kiss, count me in.”

Laci laughed. “Okay. But he asked first, so he gets his kiss first.”

Stepping up to Jase, she placed her hands on chest—damn, he had a hard body—then went up on tiptoe and kissed him. On the mouth.

His lips were gentle on hers, almost questing, as if he wanted to go further, but wasn’t sure if he should. She parted her lips, hoping he’d take it as an invitation, but he didn’t. It was still a nice kiss, though, and when he handed her off to Grant, she went reluctantly.

Until his partner’s mouth came down on hers. While she didn’t exactly forget about Jase, at the moment, she found it a little difficult to think of anything but Grant. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close and finding her tongue with his to play an erotic game of Twister. Laci moaned, reaching up to bury her hands in his dark hair
as he devoured her mouth. Now that was a kiss.

“Hey,” Jase grumbled. “I thought we were talking about a peck on the lips. If I'd known a real kiss was on the menu, I wouldn't have settled for that chaste-ass one I gave her.”

Grant chuckled as he released her. “I’m sure Laci wouldn’t mind if you gave her another one. Would you, Laci?”

She shook her head, too weak-kneed from the kiss Grant had given her to do more than that. By the time Jase pulled her into his arms, she was fully in control of her faculties again and immediately slipped her tongue into his mouth to tangle with his.

Jase weaved his fingers in her hair, sliding one muscular thigh between her legs.

She sighed and ground against him as much as she dared. Her pussy spasmed at the contact. The feel of Jase’s erection pressing into her tummy nudged her excitement level up a few notches, and she clung to his shoulders to keep from getting too carried away and doing something she shouldn’t. Like sliding her hand down between their bodies and caress him through his uniform pants.

She got the feeling Jase wouldn’t complain if she did. In fact, the casual way he’d suggested she thank them with a kiss made her think he and Grant planned this all along. Was she the object of a well-orchestrated badge bunny set-up?

Maybe. But as Jase gently rotated his hip, Laci decided she didn't care if they had set her up. Some part of her had been hoping this would happen when she invited them in for coffee. The real question was whether she was actually about to get her badge-bunny
ticket punched by two hunky cops at once?

She wasn't sure, but she was damn eager to find out.

Jase slid his hand down her back to almost certainly cup her ass, but Grant snatched her back before she could find out.

“You don’t have to hog her, you know,” Grant muttered.

Laci couldn’t help but laugh. She felt like she was a bottle of champagne being passed back and forth after a championship game. “Play nice, you two,” she scolded as Grant put his arms around her. “There's no reason you can't share. There's enough of
me to go around.”

Grant pulled back to look at her, his dark eyes smoldering. “You sure about that?”

She frowned, not sure whether to be insulted or not. “You don't think there's enough of me to go around?”

Grinning, he pulled her tight against his chest, letting one of his legs slide between hers to come into intimate contact with her pussy. She bit back a moan as heat pooled between her thighs.

“Oh, I have no doubt there's enough of you to satisfy the both of us, Laci. The question I'm asking is whether you want both of us. Really want us. At the same time. Right now.”

Grant had only put into words what she'd been thinking, so Laci didn’t know why she hesitated, but she did. Maybe because Jase stepped up behind her and ran his fingers down her arms until his hands were on her hips. With both men this close to her, touching her at the same time, she was suddenly a lot more unsure of herself.

Could she do this—have sex with two men at the same time?

Buy it at Amazon!

Buy it at Barnes & Noble!

Buy it at All Romance eBooks!

To check out the first three books in the series, SEDUCING OFFICER BARLOWE, TWO COPS A GIRL AND A PAIR OF HANDCUFFS and A COP HIS WIFE AND HER BEST FRIEND visit my website at





Sexy Romantic Fiction


Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Christmas in July!

Since it's already 100 degrees outside, I'd thought I crank up the temperature even more and pull out my Twelve Days of Christmas story.
You know that show Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo, right? Of course you do. Patti Stanger rocks with her take no crap from anybody self. I love it when she says "the pecker does the picking." Well, that got me thinking about a scene in  CAN'T FAKE THIS, Anna's ***that other P word** does the picking. The attraction she feels for Chase is instaneous. Here's a snippet to illustrate what I'm talking about: 

As I rummaged through my clutch for a dose of lip gloss, Marisol cleared her throat and cut her gaze across the room. I followed her line of vision and… Holy shit. I do believe my freakin’ heart stopped. He wasn’t supermodel gorgeous, not with his shaved head and height a tad on the short side, but his swagger… His near-predatory confidence as he maneuvered through the room made my eyes zero in on him. He locked on me, and I felt a slow, lazy smile spread across my lips. Suddenly we were the only two people in the room. My blood pressure hitched a degree with every step he took, and that feeling a girl gets when her heart beats so fast she’s on the verge of throwing up? Yep, I had it. I believe the technical term is “lust at first sight.”
A second later, his warm hand brushed my shoulder, and I’m not kidding, I thought I might melt right off that stool. Even the fine hairs on my arms stood on end, completely attuned to him and begging for attention. Needless to say, my nipples gave him a proud salute.

“Hi, I’m Chase Harris.” His heated breath tickled my ear as he leaned in to be heard over the country rock band jamming out twenty feet away.

My lungs folded and decided breathing was no longer necessary. The brief contact ignited a fiery liquid in the bottom of my tummy. My pussy simmered for the first time in years without the aid of batteries. “Anna Ryan,” I answered. “It’s nice to meet you.” Was it ever. I extended my hand, which he ignored for a hug.

My nostrils filled with the citrus scent of cologne, but underneath I detected something more masculine, more primal. I longed to bury my face in his soft gray fitted T-shirt. The garment outlined every perfect bulge. I couldn’t make out its graffiti design, but it very well could’ve said Eat Me and I would’ve happily obliged.
His gaze roamed my body, and the sexy glint in his eyes told me the risk of catching a cold in this black strapless mini was totally worth it. I might be in dire need of a boob job, but Chase didn’t seem to mind my negative As. Then the space between us grew cold as he left my side to hug Marisol.

“Cuba! Hey, woman. Great to see you.”
“Hey, yourself.” She flashed me a shrewd grin.

I so owed that girl.
I'd love to hear about moments you've had where the attraction blows you away!

A divorcee ready to reenter the dating world, Anna Ryan is determined to be the best “product on the market,” which requires a lot more experience so she propositions sexy police officer Chase Harris to teach her how to make hot, passionate love as opposed to just having sex. He takes it a step further, instructing each lesson based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Buy Kindle version on Amazon
Buy all versions at Loose, Id.  
Visit Casey at http://www.caseycrow.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Packed and Ready

I usually choose one conference a year to attend, and on occasion, I'll add a last minute trip. This year I'll be traveling to Anaheim for a much needed vacay...of course, I'll also be reunited with old friends and hopefully meet new ones. I'm excited about the networking opportunities and being surrounded by so many talented writers who are traveling the same road I am.  There's simply an abundance of energy that really re-energizes you. I'm also spending an extra week and a half in Los Angeles. After all, it's been 4 years since I moved from there. 

Sometimes I regret the decision to leave the city that's been so dear to my heartbut I know that we can't predict what's in our future...we just have to accept it and roll with it. It'll be good to go back and surrounded by the familiar life. I also can't wait to do some sightseeing with a dear friend of mine who's also flying to Anaheim with me. It's her very first RWA conference trip so I'm hoping I will be able to share with her the special experience. I know it will be an adventure and I'll be sure to document it. Okay, conference is not for another three weeks but I always get super excited this early on. I'll start counting down the days...LOL

Traveling has always been a joy of mine and I hope someday soon I'll be able to do more of it. Work and life has made it difficult to put aside the time but I have big plans to change all that...but I'll share more of that with you when the time comes.

Well, I've been working my buns off and writing may be sporadic, but when I am writing—this contemporary I'm working on totally sucks me in. I can't explain how amazing this story is and I wish I could tell you more but it's going to test me as a writer. There's so many layers of emotions. I'm going to write the screenplay to submit to a  film manager...why not? That was something I did in a past life before becoming a novelist.

I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July and are sufficiently filled up with good food, company, and fireworks! I've had a relaxing one...a day like this doesn't come around for me often...meaning, a full day of R&R—fine, I am working right now...but it's the workaholic in me. A few Smirnoff wine coolers really helps with the relaxing part, though! 


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Titanic, the Liberty Bell and Me

On this Fourth of July, I can’t help but remember a school field trip that changed my life.

It is typical of me to poke my Irish nose where I shouldn’t.

Take the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Everywhere on a prickly spring day back when I was a first grader, the nuns bustled about, running after their charges and trying to keep them together. Little girls in green uniforms and pigtails.

Me among them.

The Sister of Charity in charge gasped loudly, then blessed herself when she saw me lean over the rope and drag my finger down the crack in the famous bell. Needless to say, she made me say five Hail Marys for my sin.

Oh if the founding fathers could see what you’ve done, she told me, raising her eyes to heaven.

They didn’t, but it made no difference to Sister Regina Marie. I spent the rest of the field trip sitting in a corner, staring at the Liberty Bell and doing my penance.

And smiling.

I couldn’t help it. I was secretly pleased that I had “touched” history.

And that’s how I’ve been ever since. Touching history in my own inimitable way, whether it’s up close and personal visiting museums and historic sites or writing about it in my novels.

Which brings me to one of my favorite passages in my historical romance, Titanic Rhapsody, when my heroine, Katie O’Reilly, arrives in New York on the rescue ship Carpathia and sees the Statue of Liberty for the first time:
Glory be, Katie couldn’t believe she’d done it. 
Walked right past the immigration authorities with her nose up in the air and her heart in her throat.
She was in America.
She’d never forget the moment the Carpathia steamed past the Statue of Liberty, rain pouring down with lightning streaking through the sky overhead and making her tingle down to her toes. A grand feeling it was. And now she was here.
Not once did they look at her and say she didn’t belong. Smiling and tipping their hats to her like she was a lady.

Katie came to America to be free. Free to be her own person and to be treated as an equal.

On this Fourth of July, let us give thanks for the gift of freedom and pay tribute to all who came here seeking freedom.

Long may the bells of freedom ring

Happy Fourth!!

Read more about TITANIC RHAPSODY here and check out my Book Video!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Shamelessly Pimpin'!

On this T-double E-double R-double I-double F-double I-double C-C-C Tuesday (for those of you who don't love Charlotte's Web...don't worry about it!), I'm going to do some shameless pimping! I don't indulge often but I've received back-to-back T-double-E...well, you get it...news!!

I sold my first paranormal novel to Ellora's Cave!! Yes, I hiked up my big girl panties and took the plunge into a genre I love but was soooo intimidated to write a book in! After much belly-aching, crying and episodes of dismal, masochistic self-doubt AKA whining, I wrote it, submitted and SOLD!! Okay, okay. Tucking errant strands of weave back into place... So anyway, the title is Under His Wings, and the unedited blurb is below:

Mundane and boring are seriously underrated, so sixth grade social studies teacher Tamar Ridgeway believes. After surviving a horrible plane crash and enduring years of painful therapy, she’s entitled to a couple of phobias and a normal, humdrum life.  So what, she’s afraid of the dark and refuses to ever step foot into anything that flies… At long last, she’s happy—until the night she and a friend are attacked by a mythical creature out of her worst nightmares. Suddenly she’s on the hit list of a homicidal half eagle-half horse monster, and the sexy warrior with chocolate and gold wings who steps out of her dreams—literally—is vowing to save her, whether she wants his protection or not.

 Nicolai Abioud, Dimios of the hippogryph, is stunned to realize that the human he saves from a vicious attack is the woman he has shared dreams with for the past six months—very erotic, hot dreams. Five hundred years ago, he failed to protect his wife and swears not to allow the same fate befall Tamar. He’s fascinated by her beauty, and mesmerized by the warrior spirit that burns bright inside her eyes. Yet he refuses to submit to the stirring in his body and heart. He’s had his one, true mate and lost her, and falling for a human—no matter how hot and demanding the desire—is foolish and doomed. Yet the choice to accept this unexpected love may be snatched out of their hands. Danger is closing in, and somehow they must find a way to conquer their fears or lose the love of a millennium.

Onto the second huge news! My first book, Sweet Ultimatum, is available in print!! Receiving that notification was a dream come true! I'm not going to lie...when I opened up that box and pulled out that copy, I smelled the pages! Honest to God! LOL! So, in case you forgot, the blurb for Sweet Ultimatum is below:

Caitlin has returned home after a self-imposed exile. Haunted by the erotic memories of the man she once loved and abandoned, Caitlin is unprepared to come face-to-face with Selig and the hunger resurrected under his golden gaze. Even as her body craves his touch, she denies him, realizing her reasons for terminating their relationship so long ago are as valid now as they were then.

Six years have passed since Selig left New Eden, Washington, disillusioned and bitter after Caitlin’s cold denial of him and his love. Now he’s returned, demanding retribution for her cruel rejection. The payment—her body.
And just in case you're feeling a little tingle called Impulse Buy Syndrome, here are the links for you!

It's been an awesome month!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Looking Back

As writers, the road we choose is often pitted with disappointments along the way -- a rejection, a bad review, disappointing sales. But I've come to learn that it helps to look back and remember where I started.

I had one of those moments recently when I acquired the rights back to one of the first stories I ever wrote. It was supposed to be erotic but when I started editing and updating it, I realized how badly I'd missed the mark on that score. The one true love scene in the book was not only short and lacking in any real detail, but it was totally lacking heat. The second time the couple hooked up, I closed the bedroom door. Yikes! 

The wonderful thing about all the changes in the publishing business is that they are giving us the opportunity to correct some oversights in our early work. I just love that! I took that flat story and jazzed it up, turned up the heat and threw that bedroom door wide open. 

It's beyond cool to me that I have the chance to fix something from my past. Not many areas of our life offer such options. What about you? Is there anything you'd do over in your career or your personal life?