Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Writing Evolution

By Jeanne St. James, erotic romance author

When I started writing many, many moons ago I wanted to write category romance. Yes, at that time I was an avid reader of Silhouette Desire. I also read historical romances but knew I didn’t have the patience to do all the research that should be done to write a historical that wouldn’t make readers want to wring my neck because it wasn’t factually correct. Since my neck is needed to write (amongst other things), I decided to write contemporary category romances.

I, along with probably thousands of fellow published authors, have some of those under-the-bed babies that I wrote way back in the beginning. But I learned quite a bit along the way.

Anyway, my point is that I wrote and wrote and wrote romantic stories intended to eventually submit to the editors of Silhouette. And the longer I belonged to Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the more writers’ conferences and seminars I attended I saw that dream fade into oblivion. Why? Because I heard it was hard to get in with a New York publisher. I was told you “need an agent,” and “so many writers are vying for sooooo few spots.” I became discouraged.

I had a manuscript almost done (I was good for “almost” finishing manuscripts – but that’s another story). I had entered it in several contests and either won or placed. But still I hemmed and hawed about finishing it and hemmed and hawed about submitting it to an agent, etc. I was a procrastinator. Boo. Hiss.

Now, along come epublishers and ebooks. I didn’t pay much attention. Then they start making a larger and larger splash. More and more writers are getting contracted with these “small publishers.” I poo-poo’d them still.

Eventually, I started to sit up and take notice. I can’t remember exactly when or why. Then I read some ebooks. Huh. I began to think that ebooks were here to stay. These epublishers were serious. And real publishers! Oh, and now they are making EREADERS! Ebooks are more cost effective and cheaper for the consumer. And, best of all, they are opening up the world of publishing to more writers and to different types of stories -- stories that a NY publisher may not touch with a 10-foot pole, but it is a great story none-the-less. In turn, the reader benefits: more variety, more authors, more ways to read a good book. And if they are limited in their time, they can buy a novella or a short story. Reasonably priced, mind you.

So on that note, I started writing erotic romances (again, a whole other story) and within a span of 6 months or so, I contracted THREE stories to publishers. I was finally living my dream. My first book, BANGED UP, is a male/female erotic contemporary romance with some elements of suspense. It released on September 21st and is available at Liquid Silver Books here. My second story, RIP CORD, a male/male erotic contemporary novella, is scheduled to release November 30th with Phaze. And then in January, my male/male/female interracial ménage a trois, DOUBLE DARE, is expected to release with Loose Id. Three great epublishers. Hopefully you will think they are three great stories. To read blurbs and excerpts of all three, or to get a sneak peek into current and future projects, please visit my website at or visit my blog at

You can purchase BANGED UP at Liquid Silver books here:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Villains, Anti-Heroes, and Bad Boys...Why We Love Them

Admittedly, I have a thing for bad boys. A lot of us do. There is something so compelling about them and I find myself wanting to "fix him", ask him why he feels he must do the things he does. Is it something in his past that makes him terrify and seduce almost simultaneously? Over the years, my favorite characters to watch in movies and television or read about in books have been anti-heroes and yes, sometimes villains.

Lately, I've been absorbed with the HBO series True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series and I can't take my eyes off of Eric Northman, the Viking vampire bad-boy, in the show. So yes, I'm firmly in Camp Eric. Why? Vampire Bill is super handsome, a southern gentleman and is totally yummy but the sad fact is, he just isn't a layered character. He lays everything about himself 'out there' and therefore, seems to have little depth. On the other hand, we KNOW Eric the Viking has a mysterious past. Outwardly he is aloof, distant, deadly and seductive, yet we see just tiny glimpses of humanity and wonder about them. We wonder about his story and what moves him.

Over the years, we've been treated to these delicious, intriguing characters and many times we are moved to tears when their stories are finally revealed to us. Several years ago, I got caught up in the HBO show Deadwood. Al Swearingon (played by Ian McShane) kept me rivetted. No he wasn't necessarily sexy but there was this outwardly evil/inwardly vulnerable aspect to the character. Perfectly played by McShane, we wondered at a man who could kill without blinking yet secretly, completely behind the scenes, do something GOOD. When his character was in a scene, he filled the screen. I felt the same way about Vic Mackey (played brilliantly by Michael Chikliss) in The Shield. Yes, we know he is bad and does bad things but every now and then we saw his good side and loved him for it.

These are just a few of my all time favorite villains. Who are your favorite bad boys or anti-heroes and why do YOU think we love them so much?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Feeling oddly disconnected

Maybe disconnected is the wrong word. I guess lately I've just been doing a lot of thinking. Over the past few weeks I've come to the conclusion that we are here on earth for a really short period of time. A blip really. We go through life doing and doing and doing, but we forget to stop and just feel.

Last night my husband and I took a moment and we stopped. We sat out on the deck with a fire going in the fire pit and listened to the wind blowing through the trees. We talked about important things, and nothing at all. Those moments are so far and few between though because we all get so busy with life!

When was the last time you watched the leaves fall to the ground or listened to the rain on the roof? Maybe smelling the fresh aroma of coffee in the morning or taking the time to read a good book? I don't know about you, but I tend to chug my coffee and I'm forever rushing through books these days because I have so little free time.

Just taking time to enjoy the little things seems so hard. We have to schedule it in, for crying out loud! I'm feeling like I need to take a weekend and just go away. Have you ever done that? Took an impromtu vacation?

How do unwind? Or rather, how do you force yourself to stop and smell the roses? Is there a trick and I'm just missing it?

In other news. I have two new reviews to share and I'm so thrilled I can barely sit still!

Lynn at Fallen Angels Reviews gives Tempting Grace 5 angels and says,

"Ms. Rainey ramps up the emotional conflict along with the sensual tension in her latest addition to her Vaughn Family Series. As usual, she takes a 100 percent alpha male, combines him with an intelligent, sexy woman and invites her reader to sit back and watch the sparks fly. "
read full review

and I got my first review for my menage (m/f/m) Reckless Exposure!

Valerie at Night Owl Romance gives Reckless Exposure 4 1/2 hearts and says,

"Reckless Exposure is one of those stories that makes the reader keep checking the page count to see how much story is left - because you don't want it to end!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gottcha Covered

We're back with more covers that caught our eye this week!

Anne's pick

Author: Jessa Slade

Publisher: Signet Eclipse

My comment: I’ve never read this author before, but the hunk on the cover along with the tagline: “in a world where evil has broken free, she is the chosen prey”, sure grabbed my attention. It made me want to read the blurb, which is the whole point! Is this a new paranormal author for me? We shall see!

Kelley's Pick

This cover intrigues me. From the picture, I can't really tell what the book is about so it makes me want to read the blurb and find out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Doo-Dads Needed

I swear! I don't know what's wrong with me lately. It's like the good-ideas faery swooped in during the night and stole my creativity while I was sleeping! Anyway, I need help and yes, some good ideas.

On October 9th I'm flying from Texas to Ohio for the EC Romanticon. I can't wait. Will get to finally meet my editor and my writing buddies. It will be such a fun trip and I can't wait. Here's my problem. On Sunday, the last day, we're having a ginormous book signing. I've been told it's a good idea to have little goodies to hand out. Now, I already have book marks and some beautiful oversized postcards featuring one of my covers with my titles and information on the back. So far so good. Still, I want to hand out something memorable. For weeks I've trolled websites trying to get ideas but so much of this stuff is really pricey PLUS, I have to find things that I can carry with me on a plane.

Most of my friends are driving to Ohio but not me. Since I'm in Texas, I'll have to fly and you can't take just anything on a plane and space is limited. I would love to hand out a small gift of some kind but I'm fresh out of ideas. Thinking of trolling Hobby Lobby for a few hours or maybe hitting the Dollar Store and hoping inspiration strikes.

Any ideas??? Something small, inexpensive, and fun! Sounds like a tall order to me right now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Books I Want!

Okay, I think I've said this before, but in case you all missed it, I'm a VERY impatient reader!! I hate to wait for my favorite authors' books to release. Yes, I know how long it takes to write a story, but come on! I need my books!! LOL

So, here's my list of 'I NEED IT NOW!'

Feb. '10
I love this series!
Jan. '10
I can't say I love this series, but I do enjoy it.

Dec. '09
I love The Ghostwalkers.
The last book "Murder Game" was the best one yet!

Feb. '10
Lucy Monroe is the author and I've been waiting forever for book 2.
I'm beyond thrilled to see it'll be released soon!

Nov. '09
my birthday month, yay!
Someone on here told me to try this author. Well, I did.
I got totally hooked and bought every book she ever wrote. LOL

Feb. '10
What's with all these books coming out in February? LOL
I'm not into Urban Fantasy, but the first book in this series "Angels' Blood" was awesome!!! I can't wait for book 2!
So, what books are you all looking forward to??

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dieting sucks

Yes, I know my title for this blog isn't very creative, but its true, right? I've been on a diet for the past five weeks. I'm really trying to lose the weight I've put on the past ten years. Between kids and everything I'm much heavier than I want to be, but more than that, i want to lose weight for my kiddos. You know, good eating habit for them so they're not fighting this same battle I am now warring against. So, anyway, hubby and I joined the gym. We got an average of four days a week for an hour each time. I'm eating healthy, drinking water like crazy, cutting out all other beverages except maybe like once a week. In a month I've lost five pounds. FIVE STINKING POUNDS IN FIVE WEEKS. My hubby on the other hand has lost 22! Now I know he does manual labor all day as well which makes a huge difference. He basically is physical all day but still...its very discouraging for me. I have a really hard time taking off weight and its so easy for me to put it on. Now that he's lost all he wants he is snacking much more than he was while dieting. I mean, he's not eating as bad as before but he is eating much worse than me and he maintains. I cheat once and I gain back three pounds and have to start over. Yes, I shouldn't cheat at all but I find if I don't reward myself every once in a while then it is much harder to stay on plan the rest of the time. I know they say you're supposed to lose slowly, yada yada and I get that, I do, but still, its frustrating to work so hard and get no results.

So today I'm begging and pleading for your stories. Have you dieted or made a life change lately and lost weight? If so, what did you do? Do you need to go on a diet but like the idea of having someone to do it with? Let me know and we can do this thing together.

Out of all the times I've tried to lose weight I'm much more serious about it this time. I'm SO proud of my progress at the gym. I used to hate working out and I'm starting to enjoy it now, but then when I step on the scale and see that number stay the same it kills me. I KNOW muscle weighs more than fat but the thing is, toning and getting muscles is all good for me but I MUST lose too. I am not at a weight that I could stay at.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shame on Astalatalk! Shame Shame!

This morning I visited one of my favorite loops only to learn that Astalatalk (formerly Astalavista, a popular ebook pirate site has hit a new low. So yeah, they get my SHAME ON YOU award!

Most of us are aware that many publishers do 'charity' books where the proceeds for sales go to help a cause such as breast cancer research, a bereaved family, or any number of things. Authors give of their time and talent and work hand-in-hand with their publisher to see the monies involved go where they are meant. Apparently, one of these charity books showed up at Astalatalk. They have a chat board and someone actually asked for the book and someone else popped on to say they had it and would upload it for her.

Shame, shame, shame.

The author of the charity book posted to their message board saying...there must be a special place reserved in hell for people like YOU who would steal from a charity. (I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the drift). So it's not enough these people give not a minutes' thought to stealing from an author or a publisher but now they do THIS. Outrageous!

Recently my own publisher, Ellora's Cave, released a series of books where the proceeds go to a family who lost their daughter in a fire. Nothing makes up for their catastrophic loss but the money should help some with expenses that were acrued during this agonizing time. To think that someone would steal from them is appalling. So authors, if you have a charity book floating around out there, please check to make sure someone isn't stealing from your chosen charity.

What is this world coming to?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alisha turns 14 tomorrow!

This is my youngest daughter, Alisha Renee. She looks as if she has an attitude in this picture. Well, that's because she SO does. LOL Alisha hates having her picture taken. I can't figure out why, she's so darn pretty! What's not to love?? *grin*

Anyway, Alisha turns 14 tomorrow. My baby is growing up. It's scary as hell when I look at her and realize how fast time flies. She's nearly 5'9'' for crying out loud! It wasn't that long ago that she was tugging on my pants leg and wanting me to watch Barney with her. How is it possible that she could be in the 8th grade, playing the guitar and wearing make-up? Really?

Like I blogged about the other day at Fierce Romance when Kati turned 16, Alisha will be spending her birthday skipping school and hanging out with mom. She's asked to go to Pac Sun, she loves their t-shirts, and she wants Mexican for lunch. She also wants to hit up Best Buy and check out their X-Box games. Let's hope I get through the day without breaking the bank! LOL

To me this is truly one of the best parts about having kids though. Just spending time with them. Enjoying their company. Listening to them talk and being a part of their world. It fascinates me that Kati and Alisha could be SO different. From their looks to their personality, there are night and day. I wouldn't have it any other way either. I love their individuality. I've been so blessed to have two such wonderful daughters.

If you have a second wish Alisha a happy birthday because she'll be reading this blog later and probably getting pissed that I posted a picture of her. LOL

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gottcha Covered

We're starting something new here at Three Wicked Writers that I'm really excited about. On Saturdays we'll be posting covers we found while browsing around that we really like. Cover art can be so beautiful, or sexy. Nine times out of ten its the first thing that draws you to a book so we'll going to honor some of the really awesome cover art out there.

Kelley's Pick

I don't know what it is about this cover that I like so much. It's simple yet beautiful. I love the cover and I know by looking at it, exactly what's in store for me. Love the wolf, the moon, and of course the hot male chest! LOL

Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

Anne's Pick

The author is: Mary Winter

Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs, Tibbs Design

Why I picked it: The polar bear. This time it wasn’t the hunk that drew me, lol. That gorgeous polar bear made me want to read the blurb and isn’t that the idea? One of the things readers don’t realize is that the finished product is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of the artist. Most covers go through a few stages before everyone is satisfied with the final product. Valerie shared a few of the earlier versions of this cover with me and the really funny thing is, I liked one of the earlier mockups better than the final version. LOL In the end, we each have our own likes and dislikes when it comes to art.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Television Products: Trash or Treasure?

A few days ago I was in my local Wal Mart and lo and behold...the Sold Only on TV product SNUGGIE was sitting on shelves near the checkout counter. You remember those. They are the monk-looking blankets with the goofy commercials we all saw last year. Gotta admit, I laughed my ass off over these things. They looked like something to be worn for some dark, evil ceremony involving skulls, daggers, and lots of dirge-like chanting. Several friends agreed with me that these are the dumbest looking things EVER. Yet I also know a friend who bought one and just fell in love with how warm it was.

I don't watch a whole lot of tv but admittedly when these goofy commercials come on, I watch them. The late Billy Mays, of course, screamed so loudly that you couldn't help but get a jolt and turn to watch.

Guess I'm wondering how many of you have succumbed to these 'tv only' pitches. I'll confess I picked up the Smooth Away, a product that painlessly removes hair from your legs. Felt dumb ordering it and basically believed I might be throwing my money away but, dang it, the thing worked. At least for me. Other friends also tried this product with no success so I tend to think it depends on the texture of the hair you need to remove. I'm a blonde with fine hair so the product worked beautifully for me.

I've learned that when the pitchman advises a product is only sold on tv, it's not really true. Give it some time and these items will show up somewhere. So far, I've bought the Smooth Away (from TV) and picked up the Pedi Egg and a Sham Wow at Wal Mart. The Pedi Egg is a great product but the Sham Wow was disappointing. I wasn't overwhelmed with it's absorbency and my husband used it to dry his car after a bath and said it was okay but his old towels worked just as well.

I took a little on line poll a few days ago. It asked about the purchase of tv-only products. I clicked 'yes' because I HAD bought the Smooth Away from tv. Turns out I was in a minority on this one. Most polled weren't convinced by the crazy tv commercials. How about you? Have you ever been moved by the tv ads and the 'miracle products' they advertise?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I was in a hunk mood you mind? *grin*

this man looks very...capable now what do you suppose he's planning to do with that hand?

I'm such a sucker for dark eyes and hair.


Double yum! I love a sweaty hunk. That's just oh-so tasty!

So, do you approve?! :-D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shara Lanel talks Fall TV

Ah…it’s autumn. Well, not officially, but it’s been feeling like it, which for central Virginia is unusual. Some year’s we have picnicking weather in January. I’m from Western NY, so that was shocking when I first moved down here. Anyway, besides back to school (Yeah for moms everywhere!) September means the fall season on TV. Yes, I love the summer shows, like Psych, Monk, and Royal Pains, but their seasons tend to be way too short. True Blood just wrapped up (guess I need to cancel HBO), and the BBCA shows Being Human and Torchwood were way too short.

What have you been watching this summer?

Now I’m anticipating the shows I’ve missed since spring: Mentalist, Castle, Supernatural, and Dollhouse (I’m shocked this got picked up for another season). My crit partner says I watch too much TV. I don’t know what he’s talking about. **blinking innocently** Hmm, Smallville, Gossip Girl, Medium…

What shows have you been waiting to return? Any of your fave shows canceled? I really like The Unusuals, which came on mid-season and didn’t even have a chance to shine.

Then there’s the new shows. Ever since I was a kid (before DVDs and cable) this was a very exciting time. I always read the TV Guide’s Fall Preview issue. Now they break it up over two issue (new and returning)…I’m sure you’re thrilled=2 0to know that, aren’t you?

First of all, what’s with the plethora of hospital shows? Yeah, yeah, ER ended, but honestly which is which? Flashforward sounds interesting, but possible depressing—something about everyone bouncing to the future then back to the present. When the characters from the new NCIS: LA were introduced at the end of the last NCIS season, I wasn’t too impressed, but I’ll give them a try. I’m bored by the new Melrose Place. Then there’s the new version of V. I have a distinct memory of someone giving birth to a reptile…when was it…in the 80s?

So the shows I’ve been anticipating the most are Eastwick—gotta love witches and magic—and Vampire Diaries—gotta love vampires. Btw, someone was saying that Vampire Diaries is a total rip-off of Twilight, but if you look it up Vampire Diaries came out in 1999, so I’m pretty sure if anyone is the copy it’s Twilight copying VD.

So if you’re as TV obsessed as I am, let me know what you’re looking forward to this fall season. I’d love to hear from you!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Didn't your MAMA teach you better than THAT???

Over the past few days we've been given prime examples of a serious lack of MANNERS! What the hell is wrong with people? Didn't they learn the art of grace, restaint, and good sportsmanship in those formative years? It began last week when Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed out during a Presidential address to Congress...YOU LIE. I don't care what your politics are but this is the President of the United States and he deserves respect. Wilson showed his ass and embarrassed not only himself, but members of his own party and residents of his state.

Then, a few days later, tennis champion Serena Williams went on a tear. During her semi-final match at the US Open, she got a call she didn't agree with and went on a rampage, telling the official she was going to "shove this bleeping ball, down your bleeping throat". This happened in front of a crowd of thousands and a television audience. She lost the match. It would be a shame to see her magnificent tennis career capped by this kind of horrible behavior. She's a champion, for pity's sake, and destined for the Tennis Hall of Fame and she behaves this way over a bad call?

The other night at the Video Music Awards, nineteen year old country singer, Taylor Swift, was announced as the winner in one category and Kanye West stomped on stage, took her microphone, interupted her acceptance speech and said...Beyonce should have won this award. Ms. Swift was terribly embarrassed and the crowd hissed and booed him from the stage. Later, Beyonce won an award and graciously asked Taylor to join her and FINALLY give her 'thank you' speech. Beyonce was equally horrified that Kanye had done this thing.Where have manners gone? I'm a big believer in free speech but, damn, whatever happened to common courtesy?

In other news: Tina from Two Lips Reviews gave Ringo's Ride a FIVE LIPS review a few weeks ago and I've just learned that she named it her REVIEWERS CHOICE for the month of September. Then last night I got Four and a half heart score from Maura at The Romance Studio. Reviews are beginning to trickle in and I'm very thankful for these nice reviews.

Monday, September 14, 2009

something new -- and an excerpt!

I've got a sinus cold. Add that to the other things going on in my life right now and I'm simply not in a super perky mood today. Instead, I thought I'd talk about cover art. Above is the cover for my newest release through Samhain Publishing, Tempting Grace. Scott Carpenter designed it and I absolutely fell in love. However, I noticed the other day that a few readers are making fun of it. That's okay, to each his own. I even laughed a little myself when I read one of the comments.

Still, it got me thinking. What is it about a cover that makes a reader either give it two thumbs up or two thumbs down? A cover is a work of art. It's the first thing readers will see when they go browsing for books. You NEED a good, eye-catching cover. It's the finishing touch to all your hard work. It also makes it all seem real finally.

Here at Three Wicked Writers we're planning something new. Every Saturday each of us will be sharing one cover that we love. Gotcha Covered Saturdays won't be a contest. More like, our picks of the week. So, stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, here's an excerpt from Tempting Grace. Grace meets Jackson for the first time in this scene:


“You sure you won’t play at least one more game? I’ll be easy on you.”

Blade laughed and swiped at the sweat on his brow. “That competitive streak is going to get you in a world of trouble one of these days, Jackson.”

Grace watched her cousin and one of Merrick’s employees play a game of HORSE. She’d never seen anyone smoke Blade in basketball before. She eyed the newcomer, noting the tall frame and muscular body clad in nothing but a pair of khaki shorts. He’d taken off his shirt and currently used it as a sweat rag. He looked delicious. She wouldn’t mind being the sweat rag. Sliding over his chest and rock hard abs would be a delight.

“My competitive streak is nothing compared to yours. We both know I never would have gotten you to agree to three games if you hadn’t wanted to beat me so much.”

Blade guzzled his bottled water and swiped his hand over his mouth. “I figure someone needs to put you in your place. Might as well be me.”

“Yeah, too bad it didn’t work for you.” Jackson dribbled the ball a few times before throwing it in the vicinity of the basket.

Grace was concentrated on the way Jackson sucked down his own bottle of water. Geez, even that normal act seemed sexy as hell. Then it hit her. Literally. She’d been balanced on the edge of the rail of the porch. The momentum behind the ball knocked her off her precarious perch, and she fell right on her ass. Had she been paying any attention to the ball, she would have noticed it coming straight at her.

“Shit,” she mumbled.

Blade and Jackson both rushed to her side. Blade helped her up, concern on his face. “You okay, brat?”

She didn’t want to look at Jackson. She already felt like the biggest fool. “Fine, just bruised my ego a bit, I think.”

“Sorry about that,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

She made a point of brushing off her jean shorts. “No big. I’ve taken worse playing football with this slug.” She pointed to Blade.

When she finally allowed herself to glance over at Jackson, she knew two things. One, he was way more of a hunk close up. Two, he was going to be really hard to ignore now that she’d gotten a good healthy look at him.

Jackson held out his hand. “Jackson Hill. I work for Merrick.”

Grace took it and smiled. “I know who you are. I’m Grace Vaughn, the annoying younger cousin.”

“And I’m out of here,” Blade grumbled. “I need to find some air conditioning.”

“You’re getting old and soft. Better watch it, I think I see a pot belly in your future,” she teased Blade, though it was the furthest thing from the truth. Blade was all muscle. She secretly thought fat cells were merely too afraid to venture anywhere near him.

“You like to play with fire, don’t you, Gracie?”

Oh, hell, he had a really nice voice. Deep, mysterious, full of wicked promise. “It’s Grace, and Blade’s a big boy, he can handle some razzing.”

“I agree,” he murmured. He fell silent, staring at her as if imagining things. Naughty things. Grace had the urge to yank at the hem of her black tank top to cover her exposed abdomen. The tank and shorts had seemed like a good idea for a hot July family get together. The way Jackson licked his lips and kept glancing at her belly and legs made her wish she’d worn a sweatshirt and jeans.

“I’ve never seen you at one of the Vaughn picnics,” she said in an attempt at normalcy. “Why is that?”

He sat on the edge of the porch and crossed his arms over his chest. “I wasn’t invited until now. Merrick and I have gotten to be pretty good friends, though.”


He chuckled, which was oh-so-yummy. “Yeah. Merrick and I both love it.”

“Male bonding, how cute,” she said, hoping to shake his calm demeanor.

He looked over at the basketball sitting on the porch floor, bent and picked it up. “Do you like to play, Gracie?”

She refused to enjoy the way he said her name. No one called her Gracie. She’d always hated it. Jackson made it sound sinful. “I play some, yeah.”

“Feel up to playing a game with me?”

The double-entendre wasn’t lost on her or her libido. “Your timing is off. I was about to leave when you smacked me in the face with that thing.”

He suddenly stood and cupped her chin. When he turned her head to the left and right, Grace was too stunned to move. Apparently satisfied, he smiled. “You’re too pretty to be bruised.”

“Thanks,” she said. Escape. She had to escape. The man was lethal and way out of her league. She liked simple guys. Guys she could easily handle. Jackson was neither. She started around him. “It was nice meeting you,” she tossed over her shoulder.

“Maybe one of these days you’ll play with me, Gracie.”

His words caught her, and she froze. It took all her strength to get her feet moving again. She didn’t think she breathed until she sat behind the wheel. Grace looked down at her hands and they actually shook. “He’s just a guy, quit acting like such a girl,” she chastised herself.

It was a good five minutes before she could pull the keys out of her pocket and start the car. His words played over and over in her head.

Hope you enjoyed it! :)
Available Now

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sensing a Common Thread

I've been sensing a common thread among out posts this week and from what I've seen on other blogs and loops there are quite a few of us suffering from scattered thoughts. Even the smallest task seems like an impossible hurdle when there is too much going on. It's easier to play on the internet, as Kelley said on Wednesday. It's true. It's HARD to write with so much other stuff going on, Anne said yesterday.

When your thoughts are scrambled, it's so tempting to do something mindless so you can relax just a little. Still we know that work in progress is waiting, kids need to be carted from point A to point B, dinner needs to be fixed...but wait, no food. Gotta hit the grocery store and yes, the laundry is piling up.

Lately, I've suffered from this too and it's been driving me crazy. Ah, but there is HOPE. That proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. At least for me. Yesterday I tried a little organization. I posted my blogs and answered emails then immediately forced myself to open my manuscript. I told myself I would not GET UP FROM MY CHAIR for at least and hour. Guess what happened? I wrote for TWO HOURS. I checked emails briefly and then forced myself to do some housecleaning. I limited myself to two rooms...floors only. Guess what? Got em done and did an extra room to boot. YAY for me. Last night, for the first time in awhile, I didn't feel guilty. I got a little bit of everything done and I felt soooo good about it, I was relaxed. I watched a movie I'd been wanting to see. must see The Secret Life of Bees, based on the book by Sue Monk Kidd. Very good.

So yes, there is hope for those of us suffering from scattered thoughts. Please let me add that we should all give ourselves a wee break here. The kids are back in school but you well know that isn't the end of things. There are meet the teacher things, school supplies that have been added at the last minute, dance, sports, gymnastics and all the other 'extra' activities that are just now being scheduled. Give yourself a BREAK. Give yourself time to BREATHE. Organize your day in a practical way that gives you a chance to do a little bit of everything you need to do. It worked for me anyway!

Whooo. I feel soooo much better!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

managing it all

Lately it seems my life is just...out of my control. As if someone else is pulling the strings. I think it's a case of too many things happening all at once. With the girls back in school that always means my schedule is way busier and really chaotic. Driving them back and forth to school, while it doesn't seem like a big deal, can really suck away my writing time. Add in their after school functions and I'm in the car a lot.

Also, with the worry of my Dad's strokes and his impending surgery, I'm starting to feel as if my parents are no longer young and vibrant. Isn't it funny how we always see them as these stable, youthful people who can always take care of themselves? I'm seeing them differently lately and I don't know if it's like this for everyone, but it's strange to realize they aren't as sturdy as they once were.

To top it all off, I've got a WIP that's simply NOT writing itself. Each word is like pulling teeth. I hate when that happens. My stress level shoots way up and I start to feel as if my little writing well has gone dry. The worry keeps me awake at night. I'm dragging the next day and all I can see is the list of THINGS that I need to deal with. Chores and errands, and my WIP staring at me as if I'm the devil. Suddenly all I want to do is crawl under a rock and stay there for about a century.

So, my mind is in chaos. I exercise, which does help alleviate some of the stress, but it's sort of like using a net to scoop water out of a clogged sink. You can scoop and scoop and it's not going to do a damn bit of good. The water's still there and the clog is still holding strong.

My question...what do you do when you feel as if everything in your life is only half-finished. No matter how hard you work, no matter how many hours you put in, there's still no end in sight? Is organization the key? Maybe I'm not organized enough. I don't know. I try to tell myself that worrying doesn't help, but it's simply the way I'm built. I'm a worrier. Always have been. How do you get yourself to STOP stressing over things you simply cannot change/fix??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When the internet takes over your life

I have to admit, I couldn't live without the Internet. I honestly don't know how people survive without it. I use it for everything from research, to directions, to looking up a movie. But, the thing is, I'm a little addicted to it. LOL. I'm really bogged down with work right now. I had edits, agent requests, and have a deadline in November. I have so much to do and so little time yet I keep finding myself browsing the Internet! I've suddenly become addicted to Facebook. I hated it for the longest time. I fought tooth and nail against my Facebook account and now I can't stay away. I'm browsing more blogs than usual, minimizing my book every few paragraphs and "looking something up real quick and then I'll get right back to my writing". The thing is, it's hard to stop. I'm on the computer to work so it's really hard not to click on that big blue e.

I'm Twittering, myspacing, yahoo grouping and yes, a lot of it is for my writing but where do we draw the line? How do we do what we need to do online and cut it short to get the writing done we need to as well?

What do you do to limit your Internet time? What are some of your time-sucking hot spots?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Helping Where We Can

We hear about volunteerism every day and I'm pretty sure most of us can say we try to help our friends and neighbors whenever we can. Around here, when someone has a death in the family, we take over food and supplies and try to help the bereaved in that way. Often, I'll clean out my closets and bag up lots of nearly-new items or I'll need to get rid of a piece of furniture. I always call Salvation Army and contribute. Our dry cleaners collects Coats for Kids and every year I'd drop off my children's barely used coats. We contribute to the local food bank. There are just so many ways to help others.

Quite some time ago, a group endorsed by RWA set out to encourage writers to write romance novels that were geared toward beginning readers. This was an attempt to help many young women learn to read with material that was more adult than the books used by our kiddos in the classroom. I remember thinking...what a FANTASTIC idea. I mean, really, this project gave writers a way to give back in a meaningful way.

Last year, a member of Ellora's Caves staff lost her only child in a terrible fire. Lara was studying to be a vet tech and lived in an off-campus apartment with several roommates when a fire broke out in the middle of the night. Most of the kids who lived there were saved but not Lara or her friends. In an effort to help the family in any small way, a group of EC writers banded together and wrote books, all with proceeds going to benefit Lara's family. So if you visit EC's site and see one of these books (yes, there is a little note about the benefit) please pick up a copy!

On that note, my friend Cindy Spencer Pape, has added to the collection of benefit books with Marry Me, Marietta so pick up your copy today.

Buy it Here!


Marietta James is a proper Victorian widow—until the night fate throws her together with handsome doctor Adam Hamilton. Adam has tried to ignore his desire for his voluptuous neighbor, but when the two of them are alone together, the passion burns out of their control. Now Adam is determined that their relationship continue while Marietta wants to forget their night of passion ever happened. It will take all his powers of seduction and persuasion to get her back in his bed—and into his life for good.

Note: Part of the proceeds from this book is being donated to the family of Lara Anne Punches, whose life ended tragically and too early.


Chapter One
Wingate Village, Devonshire
March, 1862

Marietta James hurried through the village, keeping her face turned down to avoid the rain. Why she hadn’t brought her umbrella, she wasn’t sure, but she always seemed to forget the thing on the days it actually rained. If she carried it skies would be clear. Now her one reasonably nice bonnet would likely be ruined, and there would be no money to replace it until next quarter day.
The click of her boots on the cobblestone streets and the rolling thunder in the distance made the village square a noisy place indeed this afternoon. She’d left for home at her usual time, but the storm had darkened the skies enough that it could have been midnight. Her heel turned on a cobble and she fell, bruising her hip and splashing mud all over her skirts.
“Fabulous,” she muttered. There was a crack of thunder and she barely heard the approaching carriage in time to scramble out of the way. The conveyance racketed down the lane, its driver heedless to others less fortunate in their modes of transportation.
“Thank you, Mr. Winstead.” The youngest scion of the local lord was a reckless lout—she was surprised he hadn’t wrecked the new carriage yet. Picking herself up, she brushed what mud she could off her skirts and continued on her way. As the coach turned the corner, she heard a loud yelp then a thump. The carriage continued on.
Marietta scurried to the corner and saw the animal—a large dog—lying beside the road. As she drew closer, she began to make out its pale color and distinctive shape.
“Oh no. Not Monty.” She knelt beside the dog and laid her hand on its side. In the dim light of the streetlamps, her fears were confirmed. This was indeed the faithful companion of the family who lived next door to Marietta’s small cottage. What had Monty been doing out in such a storm? The good news was that his chest still moved. Monty was hurt but alive.
Marietta paused a moment to consider her options. She could take the dog to his owners, but if he was gravely injured, that might be traumatic for the Denslow children, especially little Lana, who had been gravely ill and doted on her faithful companion. She could take him to her own small house, but she would have no idea how to care for him. Another house that was closer held Monty’s best chance for survival. Marietta didn’t care for Doctor Adam Hamilton, but her feelings were of no importance. She should run to Dr. Hamilton’s house for help.
She stood then paused. She hated to leave him lying so close to the road, even for the few minutes it would take. She’d have to carry him herself. Carefully, she gathered the injured dog to her chest and lifted him. He was heavy but she managed. Marietta had grown up on a working farm—she was no fragile village maiden. Not for the first time she gave thanks for her sturdy build and her sensible, if unfashionably loose, stays. With slow, careful steps, staggering only a little, she carried Monty down the darkened street toward the doctor’s residence.
* * * * *
Adam lounged in front of the crackling fire in his front parlor, reading a medical journal when he heard something banging on his front door. It sounded less like a knock and more like a muffled kick. Knowing that anyone out on a dreadful day like this must be in serious need of his services, he hurried to the front door of his small house and yanked it open.
“I’m sorry, I don’t treat animals,” he began when he saw the small woman with the big dog in her arms, standing on the step. He couldn’t see her face behind the bloodied yellow fur, but the animal had to weigh nearly half what she did.
“Please, Doctor. It’s Monty, the Denslows’ dog. Alfie Winstead just hit him with his carriage.”
Oh hell. “Come on in.” He recognized the voice now, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t give a rip about the snooty little widow, but he did care a great deal about little Lara Denslow. He’d just barely been able to save the child after last winter’s pneumonia and he knew she was still weak. Losing her best friend could give the girl a major setback.
He took the dog and hurried to his surgery. When Marietta James followed him in, he saw she was limping just a bit. Her skirts were torn and covered in blood and mud up to her waist.
“Did the carriage hit you, as well?”
“No, I simply fell when I jumped out of the way. I’m fine.” Her sharp gaze darted curiously about the room before landing back on Monty. “What can I do to help?”

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Book Sale!

What is a better way to enjoy a long weekend than reading a good book? I like nothing more than relaxing with a book in my hand and a glass of wine by my side. Parker Publishing is offering their own stimulus package to make that dream much easier to obtains!

ALL weekend ALL books are on sale from Parker Publishing for just five dollars! Yep, all books, print and ebooks are five bucks all weekend long. Here's a taste of some of the books they have to offer.

With the election over and the candidate in office, the sparks heat up between Special Agent Patrick Stone and Taylor Warner

Actress Ruth Gordon married her husband, Garson Kanin who was also fifteen years younger, of 43 years in 1946. As the ultimate cougar, her love story inspired this anthology of older women and younger men.

In J.M. Jeffries’s Partners in Crime Vincent Mendoza is a CIA agent in charge of his first mission. He must liberate some top secret documents and he turns to jailed cat burglar Cleo Harris to help him. To gain her freedom, she must help the sexy agent. Little does Vincent know that the beautiful thief will steal his heart in the process?

In Monique Lamont’s Instructing Layla Marcelo Alcindor can’t believe after six years his old dance partner Layla Washington is back in his life needing his help. To win a dance contest, reteams with her ex lover promising herself she will not let the passion they feel for dance lead to the bedroom again. But Marcelo teaches Layla that love is the greatest dance of all.

In Kelley Nyrae’s Wanting Mia Two months ago Mia Hamilton spotted a handsome man she wanted for a weekend fling, but he turned her down. Antonio Rojas has wanted Mia from the first moment he saw her, but he was other wised engaged until recently. He finds the object of his desire determined to make her his and he not taking no for an answer.

In Simone Harlow’s Julia’s Second Act Once hot Hollywood agent, Julia Wade’s career is on a downward spiral. Not so A-list actor Matt Valdez is trying to recharge his career, but all he seems to be interested is his sexy new agent. She trying to get him noticed and he wants to get her into his bed. Who will win in this battle of the hearts?

Take one more trip to Las Vegas’ werewolf owned casino the French Quarter. A place where the flip of the card will change your destiny. A place where every fantasy can be had as long as you are willing to pay the price. The Temple pack has just installed a new leader under the watchful eyes of the mortal world and they think the danger has passed them by. But trouble is always one roll of the dice away.

This was just a taste....Visit Parker Publishing to find the cure to your weekend cravings.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mommy Alert!!!!

Okay, here's a story to make your MOMMY HACKLES rise!

A few days ago, a woman and her toddler were shopping in a Georgia Wal Mart. The toddler (a two year old girl) was feeling a mite cranky. She was crying loudly. Hey, we've all been there with this sort of thing. It happens. Anyway, a man told the harried mom to "shut that kid up or I'll shut her up for you". The mom wheels her cart into another isle only to to be followed by the man who'd threatened her child. He grabbed the cart and slapped the baby four to five times in the face.

Another man grabbed the attacker while someone else called police. He was arrested and is being held without bail!

OMG!!!! I tried to imagine how I would feel or how I would react if someone had dared to strike my child. Ummm....I'm a pacifist for the most part, but I believe the 'face ripping' would've commenced from the moment he dared say...shut that kid up. If he'd gone as far as lifting his hand to strike I would've been all over his ass like a wild monkey woman.

We've ALL been in places where babies act out by screaming and crying but we're big girls. We deal. Moms? Normally, we remove our screaming child from the store or at least find the 'ladies room' where we can calm the toddler. Now I don't know what this man's problem was but crossing the line landed him in jail. YAY! I hope someone kicks the shit out of him while he's there. I wonder if this man has kids of his own and, if so, I have to wonder what kind of parent he was. Wanna bet he smacked the stuffing out of them on a regular basis?

How would you react if someone had the balls to strike your kid?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

a truly WICKED idea!

Reckless Exposure --by Anne Rainey
OUT NOW from

Good girls shouldn’t play with bad boys...

Cover model, Lucy Fleming is ready to begin the next phase of her life. She wants to settle down, become a wife and mother. She’s going to have to leave her wild and reckless roommate/lover in order to make it happen. But if her heart aches just thinking about life without him, how will she ever find the strength to put words to action?

As fashion photographer, Rand Miller listens to all the reasons why his sexy lover must move out of not only his apartment but also his life, he decides to give her the going away party of a lifetime. The list of party goodies includes: massage oil, margaritas and their mysterious neighbor, Trey Madison.

But when dawn creeps over the horizon, will Rand be able to watch the only woman capable of taming his wicked ways walk out of his life forever?


For those of you who don't know. The hot, wet guy below is Rand Miller from my current release, Reckless Exposure. When I saw that body, that sandy-blond hair and five o'clock shadow, I knew. I just knew he was my bad boy photographer.

I've written about other hunky heroes, but Rand is special. He grew up in the Bronx. His dad left him when he was just a kid and his mother was...well, let's just say she was NOT June Cleaver. Needless to say, Rand has a very difficult time expressing his feelings. But no one deserves love more than this guy!

So what does a man who has pretty much seen it all do with a sweet little country girl from Ohio? Well, being the ornery hottie that he is, Rand has lots of naughty ideas! LOL You'll just have to read the story if you want to find out more about Lucy and Rand. ;-)

However, I'd be fibbing if I told you the idea for this story was all mine. The truth is, Reckless Exposure is just one installment in a truly wicked SERIES. Thanks to the fabulous Liane Gentry Skye for coming up with the idea and Red Sage Publishing for supporting it.

There are several menage stories by some really wonderful authors. Liane Gentry Skye, Alice Gaines, Titania Ladley, Mia Varano, Calista Fox, and many more! Yum, huh?

Each story in the series is crafted to give the reader lots of HOTNESS as well as a very satisfying conclusion. But don't listen to me, read the series blurb and see for yourself!

Three Kinds of Wicked Website
Beyond the bounds of pleasure, a single chance for redemption...

Trey is a time strider, sworn to guard the fates of mortal couples destined to earn humanity immortality. When a covetous goddess doses Trey with an aphrodisiac, he acts on his secret yearning for a mate to call his own. But the only thing worse than falling in love with a destined mortal is making love with one. When Trey loses his heart to Sage, a mortal woman destined to love another, the fate of all humanity hangs in the balance.

Now Trey must stride through a fractured timeline, doing whatever it takes to reunite the couples his actions have torn apart. Only then can he earn a final chance to help Sage save humanity from the evil that covets their very souls. But even if he is successful, can Sage forgive him the carnal journey it took for him to help save her world?

So, Trey has to help troubled couples. Lucy and Rand just happen to be one of those couples.

Trey, of course, gets his own story, or stories rather, as well. The first of which can be found here.

So, that's it in a nutshell. What do you think? Do you like the idea of a series of deliciously steamy menage stories? And do you think Trey deserves to be forgiven?

And because I've been in a contest mood lately, anyone who comments today is entered to win a PRINT copy of my Samhain release, "Seduce Me", which contains the first two stories in my Vaughn series. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In a slump....

You ever have those slumps where you just can't figure out what you want to read? I mean, I know there are tons of good books out there just waiting for me to devour them. Heck, I probably have some pretty spectacular books in my TBR pile but at this moment...none of them are calling to me. I'm not in the mood to read anything I have here, but I don't know what kind of mood I'm in (see my problem? LOL).

I hate it when I get in these slumps. I know it has something to do with the fact that I have WAY too much on my plate right now. I'm busy, busy, busy so I think, subconsciously, I'm not letting myself get into anything because it will take up my time. On the other hand, I go CRAZY if I'm not reading. It's my escape, the way I wind down after a long day and we all need that, right?

So, tell me what you're reading! I need some recs so I can take a relaxing trip to the bookstore and find a few books to feed my soul before I go insane. LOL.


Ask and you shall receive! I just found out fellow wicked writer and fantastic author Anne Rainey has a new book out! Talk about perfect timing. Here's the blurb:


Part of Red Sage Publishing’s “Three Kinds of Wicked” series

As fashion photographer, Rand Miller listens to all the reasons why his sexy lover must move out of not only his apartment but also his life, he decides to give her the going away party of a lifetime. The list of party goodies includes: massage oil, margaritas and their mysterious neighbor, Trey Madison. But when dawn creeps over the horizon, will Rand be able to watch the only woman capable of taming his wicked ways walk out of his life forever?

Available HERE

Excuse to buy a new book!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Doing it TOGETHER!

Most of the time, I write single title stories and I have a new series, too, but sometimes it's fun to shake things up a bit. Last year, I did the Mistletoe Magic series with Desiree Holt and Cindy Spencer Pape, two very close author friends.

We came up with a holiday premise about three Texas sisters and before we knew it, we each had written stories that really flowed together and then we wrapped it up with a jointly-written quickie to end things.Turns out it was a LOT of fun. We brainstormed together, discussed covers together and often promoted together. At first I was a little hesitant to try something new but as it turns out, it was just the thing I needed to jump start other singular projects.Since then, the three of us have decided it was so much fun we want to do it again and, yeah, I'm excited about it.

Most recently I've done a very fun project with some other mighty fine authors and Resplendence Publishing.The Carnal Reunions Anthology tells the story of a group of young women who lived together in college. They were great friends and ten years later, when their college reunion rolls around they don't hesitate to re-connect with each other AND the men they'd left behind. This collection of short stories will release November 10 at Resplendence and includes Anny Cook, Cindy Spencer Pape, Taylor Tryst, Tessie Bradford, Paris Brandon, Fran Lee and myself. Let me tell you, it's challenging to work together to make things RIGHT and get the details down pat but it's also fun and a nice little break from all the solitary stuff we do from day to day. Yesterday our covers came in. They're all the same except for title, author and color scheme. Mine is displayed here.So, I guess, the moral of the story is...don't hesitate to try new things. Sometimes it's just what you need to shake things up. You meet and work with other authors and make new friends, too. A win win situation!