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Airplane Books with Alina Adams

A reader on BN.com recently called my book, “Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition,” a “trashy summer read type of book.”

The fact that she gave it a one-star review suggests she considers that a bad thing.

Except I have a confession to make: I love trashy summer read type books.

And I don’t limit my love just to the summer, either.

There was a period in my life (i.e. most of the late 1990s) when I spent a disproportionate amount of time on airplanes. I was working for ABC Sports (and later TNT) as a researcher for their television figure-skating broadcasts. Which meant that, every other week or so, I was off to France or Russia or Japan, either to cover a competition or to shoot an Up-Close-and-Personal profile of a skating star. (Watch this piece on Russia’s Irina Slutskaya. I’m not only the one translating her interview with Dick Button at the end, I’m also the one faking a bad Russian accent to dub over her voice).

Here’s the thing, though: I hate airplanes. I hate the way they look, I hate the way they smell, I hate the way the seats feel and the food tastes and the windows never open right (this does beg the question of why I chose to write my 1988 contemporary romance for AVON, “Annie’s Wild Ride,” about pilots, but that’s a topic for another time). I can’t sleep on airplanes and, back in the dark ages, kids, Walkman batteries didn’t last long enough for you to listen to music all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

So that only left reading. The sole thing that could distract me from my overall misery while on an airplane, was reading.

But, not just any reading. It had to be a book compelling enough to keep my attention and make a 22 hour international flight feel like a local hop.

When people would ask me my goals as an author, I would tell them it was to write “airplane books.” Books that make flying less traumatic for the reader. (Granted, that’s not quite up there with Bringing Peace to the Middle East, but I was starting small…)

And for me, the best kind of airplane book was a “trashy, summer read type.”

I loved Sidney Sheldon and Belva Plain and Judith Krantz and Ruth Harris and Michael Korda. Big, sweeping, melodramatic family sagas with plenty of plot twists and surprises. In other words, if it was a soap opera between two covers, I was there. (When I wasn’t covering figure skating, I was, in fact, working on soap operas, first at ABC Daytime, and later at P&G Productions with “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”)

Which is why when another reader wrote about another of my books, “Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga” that: This book harkens back to the good old days of high end glamour and drama, the kind of books that Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz did at the height of big hair and big shoulder pads, I definitely took it as a compliment. (The fact that he gave it five stars suggests he meant it as one, as well.)

But, “Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga” isn’t just my 2012 version of an “airplane book.” It is also an experiment. Because, you see, I’m not writing the book… you are.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. I’m still the one sitting in front of the computer, typing away madly to meet a deadline. But, I am doing it based on your feedback.

“Counterpoint” is exactly what it promises, an interactive book. I started the story with “Volume One.” But, reader feedback will dictate the events of “Volume Two,” and “Volume Three” and so on.

Right now, it’s the story of a wealthy family with secrets, and the fate of a pair of siblings that get pulled into the intrigue while falling in love with most definitely the last people they should be falling in love with.

What happens next is up to you… (But, I do hope you’ll make it nice and trashy. Just perfect for Summer. And my next airplane trip.)

Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga. In addition to turning her own backlist into enhanced e-books, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at Alina Adams

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Jill Shalvis Lucky in Love Blog Tour with giveaway

A friend gave me GE T A CLUE because it, “sounded like me”.  I’ve been a Jill Shalvis fan ever since. Ms. Shalvis is in my top three (3) go to authors to make me laugh and perk up my mood.  I’m tickled to have Manic Readers included in her LUCKY IN LOVE tour.   So with out further ado, please welcome Jill Shalvis.

Has your humor changed over the years? 

Well I’d like to think I’m funnier but chances are I’m just a lot older …

Have your reading tastes changed?

Nope, still love a good romance with a HEA!!

 Is there a genre you’d like to write in that you haven’t?

I’m very happy writing sexy contemporary romances but wouldn’t mind writing a wild west historical one day …

Jill’s Lucky Harbor series in order

Book 3

Book 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Book 2

 

Book 4

 

Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she’s expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she’d like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he’s only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he’s gone…

For the first time in his life, Ty can’t bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn?t?including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all…anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Manic Readers Review of LUCKY IN LOVE

 

 

Forever is giving away one (1) copy of LUCKY IN LOVE to a lucky commenter.  Giveaway ends @12pm(noon) est May31, 2012. Sorry, US addresses only.

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An Unenviable Dilemma featuring Blair McDowell

Writing Delighting In Your Company was a real trip for me. I’ve had a home in the Caribbean for many years so I know the islands as only someone who lives there can know them. Mine is not the Caribbean of pina coladas and rum punches served by “Cabana” boys. (Although, come to think of it, I’d really like to try that Caribbean someday.)
No. Mine is the Caribbean of trying to find plumbing parts and someone to install them. The Caribbean where, after a hurricane, there are no replacement rain gutters to be had anyplace for a thousand miles. Rain gutters blow away in high hurricane winds. This REALLY matters, because for many of us, rain water is our only water and it’s collected off our roofs into our cisterns through our gutter system.
Mine is the Caribbean where you can be in the middle of shampooing your hair when the pressure pump cuts out and there is suddenly no water. Or the electricity disappears and doesn’t come back on for three days.
But mine is also the Caribbean of psychedelic sunsets and green flashes, of huge coconuts off my own trees, of where, when you want a lime for your gin and tonic, you reach out of the kitchen window and pull one off the tree.
It’s also the Caribbean of folk lore and legend that has no equal. Where the local people still respect the old ways, the ways brought to the Caribbean from Africa on slaving ships by their ancestors. Where people still speak in hushed whispers about Jumbies, the dead who walk, and about Obeah, the ancient practice of black magic.
This is the Caribbean into which I throw my heroine, Amalie Ansett, a professional woman of the twenty-first century. I set her down on St. Clements, a tint dot of land in the middle of the blue Caribbean Sea, and have her run smack dab into a handsome plantation owner who is every girl’s dream. Except for one small problem. Jonathan Evans is a Jumbie. A ghost. He died in 1810.

excerpt and buy links


This creates some difficulties when it comes to pursuing a meaningful relationship, as you might imagine.
I had enormous fun writing Delighting In Your Company. The words came fast and furious. I remembered all the tales I had heard over the years about the “ghost of Whitewall” and the Obeah lady who could work spells. About when the old stone arch ruin I pass every day on my way into town was called “English Quarter”, and was one of the biggest sugar plantations in the Caribbean. About when our now sleepy little harbor was filled with sailing ships carrying arms, rum, sugar and slaves.

English Quarter


As I sat looking at my blank page, I thought, what if my modern day heroine could travel back with Jonathan to those times? What would she find? And how could she, with her twenty-first century sensibilities and knowledge, adapt to a time when well-bred young ladies were supposed to do nothing more challenging than embroidery? When women were not expected to hold opinions on anything more than child-rearing and menu planning?To my surprise, and to my heroine’s, Amalie’s ancestor, the woman whose body she inhabits in the 1800’s, is no namby-pamby, no simpering fool. She is, rather, a strong willed intelligent woman with ideas of her own and a willingness to risk all to save the man she loves.
And Jonathan is caught between two women he loves, one of the twenty-first century and one of the nineteenth. An unenviable dilemma.

 

He was real. Jonathan Evans was what? A ghost, a spirit, a jumbie? But to her he was real. True she couldn’t touch him. She had a fleeting thought that that was a pity. She would rather have liked to touch him. But how could she help him? She wasn’t that other Amalie, no matter what he thought. She couldn’t be, could she? And yet where had those memories of Ansett Plantation come from?

Josephina arrived at the table for breakfast at that moment and all thoughts of ghosts had to be put aside.

“What are your plans for the day, my dear?”

“I’ll spend the morning working in the archives again, and then this afternoon I guess I’ll just swim and read as usual.”

“Could you run me up to town before you begin? I need to see my solicitor.”

“Of course.”

It was mid morning when Amalie entered the basement room at the Museum.

“You!” Amalie looked at Jonathan, perched on her stool, his hair falling over his forehead, his elbows on the table, his long legs stretched out in front of him. He was whistling softly. That same elusive tune.

“You’re rather late getting here. I’ve been searching for evidence.”

She stared at him. He looked so real, so alive.

Reading her thoughts he said, “Jonathan Evans, in the flesh. Except that, unfortunately,  I’m not in the flesh. If I were I could kiss you as I should very much like to.”

Amalie flushed. The thought of being held in those arms, caressed, kissed by those lips…she turned her thoughts hastily away from that direction.

“What’s that tune you’re always whistling?”

“Greensleeves.” He sang a phrase, his voice low and melodious.

“Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously,”

He sighed.  “You used to sing it.”

“I used to sing it?”

“You used to sing it.”

“It must have been the other Amalie who sang it. But I know it from somewhere. I’m not sure where.”  She finished the stanza in her light soprano,

“While I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company…”

Jonathan looked long at her. “Of course you know it. You are one with her. Why do you find this so hard to accept?”

Amalie just shook her head. How could she possibly be a woman who died two hundred years ago?  She was alive. She was born in the twentieth century. For that matter, how could she possibly be holding this ridiculous conversation with a ghost?

Doesn’t that sound like an incredible read, y’all?  It’s definitely piqued my interest.  

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Karen Hawkins on Inspiration for THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS with giveaway

As a romance writer, one of the most common questions I am asked is ‘Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?” Sometimes I get the idea from an article I’ve read in the paper, or a picture that captured my imagination on the internet, or even from another book or movie. All good ideas are borrowed, after all.

The main concept behind THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS is that of the Hurst Amulet. The idea for the amulet (and its mystical properties) came from a portrait I once saw of Queen Elizabeth I who was wearing a sumptuous gown and a large, mysterious amber-colored amulet. Instantly, I wondered where the amulet had come from. Was it from a prince from a foreign land? A courtier seeking favor? A secret lover, perhaps? And how did Elizabeth feel about the amulet? Did she adore it and even wear it to bed? Did she only wear it for the portrait and then never again? Or did she perhaps fear it, thinking it was cursed?

 

 

 

 

 

And thus the idea for the Hurst Amulet was born. In THE TAMING OF A SCOTTISH PRINCESS, Michael Hurst is looking for an amulet that once graced Queen Elizabeth’s fair neck. His search takes him all over the world, but eventually it lands him on the beautiful Isle of Barra where, after years of effort, he attempts to locate the mystical amulet with the help of his usually very calm assistant Miss Jane Smythe-Haughton. But there’s something about the Isle of Barra that changes Jane . . . and him.

Have you ever seen a picture that inspired you to imagine ‘what if’ about someone, or something in the picture? Where was the picture? What part of it inspired you? Would you like to find a magical amulet on a distant Scottish isle, too?

******

Karen is kindly giving away a signed book from her backlist to one lucky commenter!  Giveaway ends 5-29-12 with the winner being announced shortly thereafter.  Karen is giving away a Kindle Fire now through June 5th. Check out her blog for details.

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The Goddess Blogs

Are you sure that is true Wendi Zwaduk on a popular book

I happened to be reading an article the other day about that book. You know, the one everyone is talking about because they either love it, hate it, or secretly wish it was theirs (who doesn’t want to rake in that kinda cash, you know?). I don’t want to bring light to that book. Not because I’m jealous. Maybe a teensy bit, but I’m human and writing in the same genre—kind of. That’s my bone of contention. The genre and the all-inclusivity. The article about that book stated this:
“Some argue that the storyline (and graphic sex, no doubt) provides escapism for its readers. I would have no problem with this rationale if the book wasn’t gaining popularity on the idea that it’s both fun (“mommy porn”) and positive (“a true love story”).”
If you want to read the whole article from the Today show and Access Hollywood, here it is.

I take offense, not at that comment but what’s in the comment. First, let’s tackle the BDSM element of the book. Yes, there is pain play. Yes there are what some people would consider questionable practices. Note, though, that to some spanking is taboo while others barely notice it. What is getting lost in the hoopla about this book is that when there is BDSM involved, the point of the play is not to just please one side of the coin. BOTH sides should be pleased. Granted the master/mistress is asking a lot out of the submissive. Granted the submissive is giving a lot. But there’s respect on both sides. The master/mistress will do things to push the sub, but not deliberately harm them. If there is pain play involved, it is because the couple has talked about it.

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean: the submissive is being zippered—a row of clothespins attached to her body with a string running the length of the line. She’s not real wild about the practice and when asked out of the earshot of the master will tell you it hurts like hell. She’s not being turned on by it. She’s scared and in pain, but because he wants her to do it and because she is desperate to please him, she goes through with it. Master is getting what he wants because he’s doing the action, but whether she’s getting anything out of it is more than a bit blurry. The point of bdsm, even when it’s humiliation play, is to have mutual respect. This book isn’t showing the limits, other than of my patience.
Speaking of patience, don’t get me started on the term ‘mommy porn’. Whoever came up with that should be displayed on a flag pole. You might be wondering why? I write what some consider porn, so why would I dislike the term? One, it demeans the reader. Assuming that the reader, because she’s reading that is a she and a mother leaves out part of the audience. Two, saying that reading erotic romance will always lead to the person reading it having a heightened libido and therefore jumping on their partner is ridiculous, as well. Sure, I’d love for people to read my books and get turned on. But to expect them to jump on their partner because of it is about as foolish as saying listening to an Ozzy Osborne record will make you want to bite the head off a bat. Sorry, humans have free will and minds to decide what they will/won’t do.
The last issue I have with that book is this, just because it’s a true story—how true I have no idea and couldn’t find it on Google—doesn’t mean it’s positive. Watch the news. There are lots of true stories that aren’t positive. Sure, you can find positivity in just about anything, but it’s a stretch here. There’s too many things that just don’t jive. A truly positive story would have character growth. The character learns what is healthy and how to attain that way of life, not capitulate because ‘he seems like he likes me’. It’s been said that women want to be dominated. Maybe. Its nice to shift control once in a while. But the way it’s portrayed doesn’t show me anything positive, but rather the reverse.
The ‘I’m doing this for you because I want you to like me’ mentality doesn’t wash. We live in a society where we’re supposed to be educated and making our own decisions. Women want to make the same amount as men and be praised for what we do. I’ve read the book and the only thing I got out of it was that it kicks the women’s lib movement back too many years to count.
Am I jealous the book is out? Not really. Do I think the hoopla is just that, hoopla? Yes. Just because someone has an ereader/iPad/etc doesn’t mean they are reading erotic works and even if they are, it doesn’t mean they are slaves to their libidos–it means they like to read. If the book is your cuppa, more power to you. If it’s not, I can suggest a lot of books that might hit the mark for you a lot better.

If you’d like to get Wendi’s suggestions, visit her.

A topless dancer plus a cynical cop doesn’t equal a lifetime love…or does it?

There’s more to Jude Nelson than just a sequined thong. She has big dreams of becoming an artist. There’s one tiny wrinkle in her plan-she’ll never forget the bloody image of her friend’s battered body in the dumpster.

Who can a nude dancer turn to for help? Certainly not a hardened undercover cop…

Detective Drew Alwyn is on the case to find out who murdered his good friend and fellow officer. But the moment he sees Jude, he can’t look away. He has to decide which is more important-his dedication to his job or the girl who holds his bruised and battered heart.

Will these two opposites come together to solve the case or will their desire consume them?

Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of bondage, mentions of drug use by secondary characters, silk, sequins and art supplies used in foreplay, voyeurism and a little spanking for good measure.

Buy @ Total EBound

THE LEGEND OF LUPIN WOODS the 5th and final in the Cynthia's Attic series

Author, Mary Cunningham, is proud to announce the release of the 5th and final book in the award-winning series, Cynthia’s Attic.
Cynthia’s Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods (Book 5) Book Blurb.

Cynthia and Gus have solved a lot of mysteries across time, but something is seriously wrong and things are beginning to unravel.
Aunt Belle is missing…again! Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau, was never found! And now they are wondering if Blackie is still making life miserable for Lilly and Annie.
This time, the twelve-year-old girls journey into a strange woods full of frightening creatures and dark secrets in search of answers.
From Aunt Belle’s cottage to a small village in France, they meet new friends and discover a connection to New Orleans that may lead to the devious source behind these alarming developments. Or bigger trouble.

My back pressed against a small tree as I peered over one shoulder, then the other. More blackness. I pulled my knees tight to my chest to create as small a target as possible. If I could keep still until morning, this place might be less formidable.

Those eyes …did they just move? Hair stood straight up on my neck as a low growl inched ever closer. I sucked in one last breath and hid my face waiting for a fatal blow or bite.

“Well, well. What do we have here?” My head jerked skyward. Yellow eyes hovered over me. “Cat got your tongue?”

The creature bent down and poked my upper arm with a furry finger. I wanted so badly to run, but sheer terror kept me plastered to the tree.

The hulking figure straightened and chuckled. “I’m not planning to hurt you. What are you doing in Lupin?”

Lupin? I tried to answer, but dryness gripped my throat as if I’d swallowed an entire sandbox. Plus, an ominous word jumped into my brain. I’d heard something that sounded a lot like lupin once before. It was at the movies! Wolfman. Oh, no. Lupine is another name for wolf! Was I in a wolf forest?

My eyes scanned the treetops. I might be saved if the sun rose soon, but light would have to pass through the dense canopy, and from where I sat, that seemed doubtful. The beast must’ve read my mind.

“If you’re waiting for sunrise, you’ll be disappointed.” It smiled–or made a weak attempt–revealing huge, pointy teeth. “Instead of night and day, around here we have night and black.”

I gulped and finally manufactured enough spit to choke out four words. “Why-am-I-here?”

Visit Cynthia’s Attic Blog for a schedule of The Legend of Lupin Woods Blog Tour!

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Visit Mary & get the scoop on the series

Cynthia’s Attic Series
The Missing Locket
The Magic Medallion
Curse of the Bayou
The Magician’s Castle
The Legend of Lupin Woods ~  Smashwords   ~ Omnilit 

 

Bio: Like Cynthia and Gus, my childhood best friend, Cynthia and I grew up in a small, Southern Indiana town…the setting for the series. Not one summer day passed that we weren’t playing softball, hide and seek, badminton, or croquet with friends in the vacant lot behind Becky’s house.
In my attempt to grow up, I joined The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club. When giving my fingers a day away from the keyboard, I enjoy golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where I live with my husband and adopted furry, four-legged daughter, Lucy. Together we’ve raised three creative children and are thrilled with our 2 granddaughters.
At last count, I’ve moved 9 times to six different states (all after the age of 36), and aside from the packing and unpacking, it’s been a great experience, having made some very dear and lasting friendships. My non-writing time is spent showing power point presentations on gathering ideas and the writing process to schools and libraries.

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THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES and A BREACH OF PROMISE with Victoria Vane and giveaway

Welcome to Manic Readers, Victoria!  

You lead a double life, writing historical romantic fiction as Emery Lee, and erotic historical romance as Victoria Vane.

Why did you decide to branch into the erotic side of romance?

Actually, it wasn’t originally by choice! It’s a long story but I’ll try to be brief. It all began exactly a year ago when my agent quit the business, leaving me high and dry with no contract in sight. I couldn’t find another agent and my publisher had taken a wait and see attitude on 3 manuscript proposals. I was really floundering and depressed when a friend, Diana Gaston, who writes for the Harlequin Historical and Undone imprints suggested I try to write something short to help get me through the dry spell.

My first attempt was a 15K word story intended for Harlequin Undone, a line of short and sexy historical romances. Unfortunately, after waiting three months for a response, I learned that Harlequin wasn’t at all interested. By then, however, I had already submitted the story to several other publishers, certain one of them would snatch up my little gem.

Wrong again. I got several more rejections. Deciding then to shelf the story as a “failed experiment,” you can imagine my shock when I received an email from Ellora’s Cave, expressing interest in this manuscript that I had submitted under their Blush (non-erotic) imprint. The offer I received was conditional on my willingness to further develop the romantic relationship of the story and to amp up the heat level to suit their erotic historical (Legend ) imprint. Having never written explicit sex, (my Emery Lee titles are PG-13) the idea was daunting, but I perceived a golden opportunity to stretch myself as a writer and gain new readers.
Easy, right? NOT!!!
Bringing genuine emotion into a story is one of the most difficult undertakings of any writer, but to integrate this into sex scenes is exponentially harder. It is a true gift when done well. Wanting very much to do it well, I set out to find authors who meld strong emotion into explicit love scenes, authors I wished to emulate. I read a number of beautifully crafted, highly sensual stories
by Robin Schone, Lila DiPasqua, Charlotte Featherstone, and Sylvia Day. Inspired by these wonderful authors and with a new shift in mindset, I re-wrote all of my love scenes in A BREACH OF PROMISE. I can only hope my efforts have succeeded and readers will experience true passion through Marcus and Lydia.  

Buy from Ellora's Cave

Bugger it all! This was not going at all according to his plan. The blasted woman was bound to defy and repulse him at every turn! He raked a long, lust-filled gaze over her and felt his frustration growing in more ways than one until a disconcerting thought jolted through him. “There is someone else!”

“There is no one,” Lydia answered. “Though I may be a fool for having waited for you, I am not a faithless fool.”

“Why else would you break with me?” Marcus persisted, more convinced the longer he considered her. What man would not give his eyeteeth to have such a woman? “I demand to know who it is.” So I can hunt him down and throttle him.

Her chuckle began as a low sound in her throat and grew to a hearty eruption of wry mirth. “Is it truly beyond your comprehension that I might wish to salvage such a pitiful thing as my self-respect? Your vanity is a truly wondrous thing, Lord Russell.”

“You make unfair accusations, Lydia.”

“On the contrary,” she replied. “I think I have your full measure simply by observation. Actions, or perhaps I should say inactions, speak much louder than words.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Just that you are not to be trusted.”

Marcus gave an inward groan. Why was she making this so bloody difficult? She was right of course, but it would be a cold day in hell before he’d grovel. He opted for a new tack. “Lydia, will you at least agree to a détente?”

“What do you mean?”

“A truce of sorts.”

“I know what détente means! I just fail to see how it applies.”

“I’m asking for a relaxation of hostilities.”

“You believe I bear you hostility?”

Marcus’ answering rumble only emphasized his point. “You positively bristle with it, my dear.”

She gave an indignant sniff. When she tried to avert her face, he captured it in his hands, forcing her to meet his gaze. “Lydia, there are many things you don’t understand.” Like his guilt—something he could hardly reconcile even with himself. “Can we not let bygones be bygones?” he asked. “Simply let go of the past and deal with the here and now?”

“There is no point. I already know we will never suit.”

Marcus scowled. Regardless of what she might think, he had never really been averse to her. Indeed, he recalled with fond amusement the memory of her tippling champagne from the tree swing, if perhaps a bit less fondly the clumsy events that followed.

He was suddenly struck with another disconcerting notion—could it be that Lydia held that night in quite a different light? Did she anticipate dissatisfaction in their marriage bed? If that was her concern, he was determined to lay that vagary to rest.

“On the contrary, my pet. There is one area at least where I’m certain we would suit very well.”

Her eyes flashed. “You actually think I’m still attracted to you?”

“You dare deny it?” He flashed a smile meant to disarm if not to altogether devastate.

“It matters little whether I am or not. Animal lust is a most feeble foundation for marriage.”

Animal lust?” He laughed outright. “Mayhap my appeal is stronger than I thought?”

Lydia’s eyes flashed. “You twist my meaning!”

Marcus stroked a finger down the column of her neck and noted her heaving breasts with satisfaction. “I think not. Nevertheless, attraction, magnetism, lust, whatever you choose to call it, is a stronger basis than most marriages seem to be founded upon. Why do you suppose so many men take mistresses? And why so few offspring are produced in aristocratic marriages? Never underestimate sexual desire, Lydia. It is a powerful and often overwhelming force.”

“You will never persuade me that it’s a sound basis for marriage.” Lydia’s pink tongue flicked over her lips, clearly betraying her confident words.

“Is that a challenge, Lydia? Shall I prove it to you?”

“There is absolutely nothing to be gained by the effort.” Her convulsive swallow once more gave her away. She added with greater force, “Like a mountain, Marcus, I shall not be moved.”

Marcus relished the sudden apprehension in her wide eyes when his gaze slid down to her mouth and held there. “Fair enough, my pet. If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, let Mohammed go to the mountain.”

Lydia was transfixed, powerless under his intense stare, as if he’d put her under some wicked spell. Though she tried, she couldn’t bring herself to pull away. His eyes—dilated pools of blackness—held her, spreading heat from her core to every tingling inch of her. Her pulse thrummed with the sheer awareness of his physicality.

She closed her eyes against the sensations but they only intensified, his sweet tangy scent thickening the air and causing her breath to come in short, quick rasps, his warm breath fanning her skin. His gaze fixed upon her mouth and his hand brushed over her cheek to cup her jaw. Ignoring her inner protest, her body acted on its own volition, upturning her face and softly parting her lips. Her whole body quivered in anticipation of this kiss.

Her breathing hitched when his lips met hers, at first brushing over them in a warm caress, then sliding, nipping, melding until he took utter possession. Her feeble attempt at protest gave him added purchase to take her lower lip between his teeth and gently tug on the soft flesh. His tongue followed, deliciously teasing, tasting her lips before sliding into her mouth.

She had been kissed once before but nothing like this. His hot, wet tongue tangling with hers made her stomach flip and her passage clench, pooling with warmth and dizzying desire. He deepened the kiss, his hands working into her hair, pulling it down, scattering pins. “Don’t fight me, Lydia. I can show you paradise if you’ll only let me.” When Marcus murmured those seductive words against her skin, she yielded with a muted whimper.

The kiss was uninvited, unexpected, and shocking…and Lydia found herself clinging to it for dear life.

Lydia tore away with a stifled cry, confounded how he managed to exert such a terrifying magnetic force on her with seemingly no exertion at all. Outrage mixed with self-recrimination, she gathered up her skirts and fled, nearly running smack into Mariah upon her reentry through the terrace doors.

“I was coming to find you,” Mariah said. “Lud, Lyddie!” She gaped at her cousin’s rumpled and bewildered appearance. “You look positively debauched! You mustn’t let anyone else see you like this.”

Mariah pulled her into the empty music room, where Lydia caught sight of herself in the gilt mirror poised over the mantel and gasped in horror. Her color was high, her eyes shone feverishly bright, and clumps of her hair hung in disarray.

“Did that vile scoundrel accost you?” Mariah asked.

Heat infused Lydia’s already flushed cheeks. “Sadly, no. Although I would like nothing more than to accuse Marcus of importuning me, the fact is I made not the slighted protest.”

“What did he do to you?” Mariah asked in an excited whisper.

Lydia’s lips quivered in outrage. “The worst thing imaginable. He has kissed me senseless.”

Can you tell us about your Devil DeVere series?  The first of which, A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE, was recently released?

EXCERPT

A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE is a racy, rollicking Georgian romp, and is, as you stated, the first title in my brand new erotic historical romance series called THE DEVIL DEVERE.  This unique series is comprised of four scorching HOT historical romance novellas that fit seamlessly together to tell the story of my six main characters and their respective romances, with each of these novellas ending with an epilogue that leads directly into the next story. I think readers will really enjoy this fresh and different approach that makes it almost like reading a serial novel. The first title introduces the main characters, all of whom are somehow connected through Viscount Ludovic “The Devil DeVere.”

DeVere is a fabulous character, a master manipulator and quintessential rake, who plays a major secondary role in the first and second books, while the third and fourth are both dedicated to him. That may seem highly unusual, but the romantic liaison between DeVere and Diana was so complex that it could be done justice in one book. Thus, I decided to tell their history in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW and their HEA in THE DEVIL’S MATCH. These are also the longest stories. For those who MUST have a happy ending, I advise you to read these titles back-to-back. Incidentally, these two novellas will be combined for release in a trade paperback in late August or September.

Why novellas for this series?
Great question! I answered part of it already when I described how I began writing erotic romance. It all began with a romance novella called, A BREACH OF PROMISE that I wrote as an “experiment” during a lull between agents and publishing contracts.  This story was a complete departure from my other work in both its light tone and high heat level. It was also my first attempt to write anything short. A romance story does not always have to be lengthy to be good, but I believe it does take a special set of skills to write well-developed characters and plot in such an abbreviated format. A BREACH OF PROMISE was my first attempt in that direction. To my surprise, I discovered I had the ability to pack a powerful punch in a novella, and best of all- it was great FUN!

Have you always loved history?
I have been a history geek for as long as I can remember. I still read history books for pleasure. Research is never work for me. I love it. I get lost in it. I have to drag myself away from it!

What drew you to the Georgian era vs say Regency or Roman?
I love the elegant decadence of the era as well as the paradox. Everything was so graceful and refined on the outside, but venial and corrupt on the inside. I’ve written a great deal about this era in my Georgian Junkie blog and have recently acquired a fabulous blog partner in a fellow historical author and Georgian aficionado, Lucinda Brant. I hope you will visit us there.

I’ve read that you’re a stickler for historical detail.  Has that attention to detail ever made it harder to write a character or storyline?
On the contrary, history inspires everything I write! I am always seeking the opportunity to use history to add more dimension to what I am writing. I strongly believe that even in my erotic romance, using actual people, places, and event gives my writing so much more color and makes it come alive. For example, in A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE, a major scene takes place in a brothel. I could have just said that and then described the brothel, but that’s just not good enough for the history geek in me!

So it’s not just a high-end brothel. It’s King’s Place, St. James, one of four exclusive establishment run by a notorious former courtesan named, Charlotte Hayes. And the occasion wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill orgy, but it was the Otahetian Feast of Venus, an event that Madam Hayes brilliantly conceived when she started losing valuable patrons to her competitors – of course I put my own spin on it!

What traits do you consider necessary for your heroes and heroines?
Personally I tend to dislike the uber-alpha heroes and damsel-in-distress heroines. I try to always create multidimensional characters, those who are rarely what they first appear. My books are character-driven and I write the characters as I seem them without adhering to any particular archetypes.

Have you ever had a character or story take off in a direction you hadn’t planned?
ALWAYS! LOL! I despise writing synopses for that reason and try to keep them as vague as I possibly can because I do NOT plot. My characters drive the stories and tell them to me as we go along. It’s really scary sometimes, but it does seem to be working!

Is there another genre you’d like to explore, historical mysteries maybe?
I will never rule anything out!
Three things I never imagined writing were: erotic, mystery/suspense, and paranormal. But lo and behold! I’m now building a career on erotic romance. THE DEVIL YOU KNOW has some elements of mystery, and THE WIDOW’S WARDROBE (coming in 2013) is an erotic historical paranormal!
A note to anyone who reads my work, expect the unexpected because I despise rules and formulas!

What do you consider “must haves” to be able to write?
My personal space and my baroque music are absolutes.  I am blessed with a wonderful office in my home with a fabulous reading nook. It’s perfect.  I also do my best writing late at night, generally between 8PM and 2AM!

You point to some of my favorite authors as inspirational to you, Lila DiPasqua, Georgette Heyer, Charlotte Featherstone, Sylvia Day, and Robin Schone.  Haven’t read the latter but do have one of her books.  With all the authors out there, why these in particular?
I consider myself a very picky reader and these are the authors whose work I most admired and enjoyed for various reasons. Of all the authors mentioned, I am most influenced by Georgette Heyer. I adore her witty dialogue and over the top secondary characters.  I was incredibly flattered when my first editor , Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks, (who acquired the rights to all of Ms. Heyers titles) said my voice was highly reminiscent of Heyer. A BREACH OF PROMISE was very much a tribute to her.  I always think of it as “Heyer-esque with added heat”!

What do you enjoy most about research?
Discovering exactly what I’m looking for, or even better, discovering something interesting or unusual enough to build my entire story around.

Do you have “go to” authors you use to bring you out of a funk, or as a mood changer or enhancer?
If anyone, it would be Georgette Heyer again. Her wit always makes me laugh. I’ve tried very hard to channel it! LOL!

Are you currently reading a book you’d recommend?
Sadly, after writing 150K words (the equivalent of two full-length novels in only four months), I’ve had precious little reading time. But the most recent book I read and gave a rare 5 star rating to was FIRELIGHT by Kristen Callihan. LOVED it and I’m not generally a paranormal fan.

I haven’t read  A BREACH OF PROMISE but it’s definitely on my list.  Thank you so much for joining us Victoria.  I’ve enjoyed it!
It was my pleasure! 

Victoria is offering one fortunate commenter an ecopy of A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE.  Meaningful comments only. Giveaway ends @ 12am est 5-23-12. Winner announced shortly thereafter.  

Manic Readers Review 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience.  Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee

 

 

                                   THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES by Victoria Vane:      

          A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE, Breathless Press 4/27/12  Amazon   Bookstrand    All Romance   1 Place for Romance
            THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, Breathless Press 6/29/12
            THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, Breathless Press 7/27/12
            THE DEVIL’S MATCH, Breathless Press 8/24/12

         A BREACH OF PROMISE, Ellora’s Cave (N.O.R. *Top Pick*)
          Amazon                  Ellora’s Cave

Emery Lee Titles:       FORTUNE’S SON, (TRR *Top Pick*, Best Historical Romance  
                                    Nominee, SIBA nominee)
                                     THE HIGHEST STAKES, Sourcebooks

Official web site:         Victoria Vane  and  Emery Lee
Author Blog               
Facebook:                     Author Victoria Vane  and   Author Emery Lee
Twitter                   

 

No Way Out, Lash on LASH by Tara Fox Hall with giveaway

At his request, I allowed Trystan Valeras a.k.a. Lash to be the one to introduce my newest work Lash, the novel depicting his origin. A heartfelt thank you to him for this, and also a warning: watch the language, and don’t be threatening anyone.   – Tara Fox Hall

 

NO WAY OUT

I’m Lash. Those of you who frequent the Internet might have already heard of me. I’m trying hard to get the word out there about my exploits, promoting my origin book that bears my name as its title. If this is your first time seeing my name, don’t worry. I guarantee it won’t be the last.

My book, Lash, begins in my youth, with my yearnings for a better life. Like a lot of people, I started out poor and had to work my way up. It was hard work, sure, but I was well on my way to getting a decent life, if not a memorable one by the time I was sixteen. In the years that followed, my life became a constant struggle to go straight. My father, Jared, pushed me from the first to join him in his life of crime. I never wanted to be a killer. But no matter how hard I fought to break away, circumstance always found a way to draw me in deeper.

It all began with my father, like I said. When he showed up the summer I turned sixteen, I really resented it. I mean, where had he been all those years when we needed him? I was the one who had to kill a man to stop my mom getting raped. I—along with my brother—helped to support our family, first by hunting, and later by working as servants at the Case hotel. We weren’t rich, but we were finally making it. Then Jared came along with his promise of a better life. My mother went right for it. I can’t blame her; she’d always loved him. I admit I didn’t put up much of a fight, either. Accepting his dirty money gave me my one shot at the beautiful Mara.

Later on, after that all fell apart, I tried again to go straight, working construction to support my mother and sisters. It wasn’t easy; it was a harsh life, especially in the beginning when we didn’t have a house, and my job paid shit. But things got better after that first year, when I had built the house for us, and gotten promoted. If we’d have gone on like that, we’d have all had a decent life. Again, my father drew me back in. He was the one that summoned me, and told me to get weapons training to protect my sisters. And when he died, I went to kill that son of a bitch Kline, for all the grief he’d brought to our lives. Kline would’ve tracked us down anyway, just to get to me.

I don’t regret any of my decisions. How can I? What other choice did I have, then the ones I’d made? There was no way out for me then. All I can hope for is a better future. And if I have to kill someone to get there…hey, it’s not going to be a problem.

Be seeing you in the dark later,
Lash

 

 

 

Scarred from a childhood spent in perpetual indigence after being forced from their home in the Everglades, weresnake Trystan Valeras and his family make their way to the Case Hotel. When his wealthy gangster father arrives the summer he turns sixteen, Trystan’s dream of a better life, along with the lovely aristocrat Mara, is suddenly within his grasp. Instead of paradise, a series of devastating events unfold, leading Trystan to become the instrument of his dying father’s revenge. His violent reprisal instigates a backlash of murder and death, forcing Trystan to flee with the remains of his family to the sultry city of New Orleans where he sells himself into the service of the Vampire Lord Abraham. Becoming the assassin Lash to hide his identity, Trystan finds a measure of peace, even as his skill with killing heightens, bringing to him not only new allies, but also new adversaries

 

 

Tara is generously offering a signed copy of SPELLBOUND to one lucky commenter.  Ends @12am est 5-22-12.

Manic Readers SPELLBOUND review.

 


 

Website
Email 
Tara’s Blog

Tara’s Facebook Page

For info on my recently published work, Lash.

For info on my recently published work, Just Shadows.


Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

Lila DiPasqua’s secret connection to Vaux le Vicomte, a most magnificent palace. With giveaway.

 

As many of you know, I’m a historical romance author who writes fairy tale retellings. And I like to give readers something different and fresh.

I set my books when fairy tales were born. When Charles Perrault, the father of fairy tales (creator of The Tales of Mother Goose) first scribed Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. During this elegant and most scandalous time period, (*winks*) a magnificent palace was built, Vaux-le-Vicomte, by the third most powerful man in all of Europe, Nicolas Fouquet.
You know what they say—the bigger you are, the harder you fall! After reading about Fouquet, I just *knew* I had to make him my villain in UNDONE.
UNDONE is part of my Fiery Tales series. It’s steamy. It’s powerfully romantic.
It’s inspired by Rapunzel.
And it’s so emotionally charged, I’ve received more than a few emails from readers who have told me it’s made them either tear up, or cry. 🙂
Simon Boulenger, the hero in UNDONE is tall, dark and dangerous. He’s bent on knocking Fouquet off his influential post. But this is no small feat. Simon is a commoner, who has been trying to become a titled gentleman so he can stop privateering for his country and enter the King’s official navy as an officer (only nobles were allowed to be officers). His character is actually based on two real privateers (both of whom are mentioned at the end of the book in my Author’s Note.).
UNDONE is all about what happens after the hero rescues the beauty from the tower. Little does Simon know, he’s just snatched out of hiding a woman who not only is beautiful and difficult for him to resist, she’s also someone rather close to none other than Nicolas Fouquet. Simon’s attraction to Angelica is a terrible distraction from his perilous mission. All he wants to do is show her the depth of his desire, and give in to his every wicked fantasy he has of her.
In UNDONE, the palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte plays a part. But did you know that I have some cool connections to Vaux?


Yes, I promised that I would reveal some cool tidbits about Vaux—and me!

First cool tidbit:
I have an email written to me personally from Count Patrice de Vogüé! It’s true! Who’s that, you ask? He’s the man who currently calls Vaux-le-Vicomte his home. I’d written to the staff at Vaux to ask some research questions. I never expected the response would come from the actual count himself! What a delightful man! His English was perfect….and he colored the background of his email a pretty pink! When I realized the email was from the count, I called my dear hubby and all my friends! *grins*

Okay, second tidbit:

The roof on Vaux is made of slate tiles. Every one hundred years, the state tiles must be replaced. The cost is enormous. And the Count and Countess are in a constant struggle to keep Vaux in the black. It’s very expensive to run such a large estate and maintain the vast grounds. They had to find funds for this very necessary renovation. So, they got an idea.

They decided to sell the old over-one-hundred-year-old slate tiles removed off the roof of Vaux in their gift shop to tourists. And they sold like crazy!! It’s a little piece of history!

Though I’ve been to Vaux twice, Mr. DiPasqua, my dear hubby, has been there three times. On a business trip to France without me, he stopped into Vaux during their roof reno. He purchased one of these slate roof tiles for me. Oh, but that’s not all! For an additional charge, you could purchase a new slate, carve whatever message you wanted on it, and it would be placed on Vaux as part of the new roof!

This is what my darling carved in my tile. It now sits on Vaux’s roof and will remain there for another one hundred years!!

It was so sweet of DH! — Just one of the million things he does that makes me love the man. 🙂

Question: Is there any place you ever visited that captured your heart? Or is there someplace you’d absolutely love to visit someday?

Giveaway: One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of A MIDNIGHT DANCE my steamy retelling of Cinderella, and a signed copy of Sophie Jordan’s WICKED IN YOUR ARMS: Forgotten Princess. Giveaway opened WORLDWIDE. Contest ends @12 am est on 5-18-12.

 

 

 

 

 

 


UNDONE

A Fiery Tale

Lila DiPasqua

Historical Romance

April, 2012

Inspired by the tale of Rapunzel, Lila DiPasqua offers a new steamy, emotionally charged historical romance in the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series . . . Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning . . .

Maintaining her ruse as a commoner, and trusting no one has kept Angelica safe. But a chance encounter with a handsome stranger lands her right where danger lies. Now, this sinfully handsome man with arresting blue eyes and a polished manner thinks he’s saved her life, when in fact he’s placed her in great peril. She’s intent on keeping him and everyone else at arm’s length. Yet, the smoldering attraction between them is difficult to deny. And impossible to ignore . . .

As commander of a number of privateer ships, Simon Boulenger dresses and speaks like an aristocrat, and has obtained wealth. But he is still not a noble. Or an officer in the King’s Navy. His lifelong dream to elevate himself from his station of birth and attain a respectable place in society is dead. Worse, he’s ensnared in a deadly scheme, and must get out. But how is he to stay focused on his dangerous mission when the mysterious beauty has him utterly intrigued? He can’t afford the distraction any more than he can resist the carnal hunger she stirs. Simon soon discovers that she’s not only a passionate soul mate, but a woman born into privilege. A woman he can never have. But they’re in too deep. Their hearts are at risk . . . as well as their lives.

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Historical accuracy and getting it right with John Heldt

In the acknowledgments of his novel Altar of Eden, author James Rollins observes that he has “never been a firm believer in the adage ‘write what you know.'” “What’s the fun in that?” he asks. What’s the fun, indeed?

Much of the joy in writing fiction is exploring times and places you don’t know. I know that was the case when I wrote my debut novel, The Mine. Though I had visited most of the Pacific Northwest locations portrayed in the book, I had never visited them in 1941. And, as one committed to historical accuracy, I had an obligation to at least try to get the particulars right.

In seeking answers about a time that preceded my birth by twenty years, I turned to a number of sources: libraries, archives, yearbooks, newspapers, oral histories, books, movies, and, of course, people, including experts in various fields. As a reference librarian, I knew the fastest way to get an answer to a question was simply to ask.

So when I needed to know what kind of wildflowers my principal characters might have seen on a hike and picnic at Mount Rainier National Park in late July, I asked a ranger. He sent me a 700-word reply on the flora and fauna of the park, much more than I could have possibly acquired on my own. I quickly learned the difference between a mountain anemone and a mountain arnica and that the two bloomed at different times between mid-July and mid-October.

Sources at the Selective Service System and the U.S. Army Center of Military History provided similarly useful insight into the peacetime draft of 1940-41. And a staffer at the Washington State Library explained the history and boundaries of a dry zone in Seattle, where the sale of alcohol was severely restricted in and around the University of Washington even after Prohibition.

When experts and institutions did not have ready answers, I got creative and sought information from unconventional sources. In one scene in The Mine, a character has to travel 600 miles from Seattle to Helena, Montana, in a few hours. She can’t do it on a train, or even in a car. Not on an icy two-lane highway. She could travel that quickly in a plane. But would she have had access to a passenger flight between those two cities in December 1941? I obtained the answer from a man in Sweden, of all places. He collects and digitizes historic flight schedules, including those for Northwest Airlines from 1941, and provided all that I needed via email.

Gathering information, however, is easy compared to deciding how to use it. My principal characters are movie fans, and I wanted them to watch Sun Valley Serenade in July 1941. But the film, which contains riveting footage of the Glenn Miller band playing “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” did not appear in American theaters until late August. I chose not to compromise and went with other flicks.

In another situation, my editor and I debated for nearly two days whether flat-screen televisions existed in 2000. They did, at least by name. Sony introduced the Trinitron in 1998. What might seem like a trivial detail to some was a big matter to me. I did not want historical inaccuracies to distract readers and diminish their enjoyment of what I knew was an enjoyable story.

Even with the best information and the best advice, of course, it is possible to get it wrong. A reviewer in April gently reminded me that women in 1941 would not have worn dungarees in social situations, presumably even on a mountain hike. She is probably right. But it is also true that some women wore jeans at that time. Levi Strauss & Co. introduced Lady Levi’s in 1934 and the product proved wildly popular, though mostly with women working on ranches in the West.

The beauty of fiction is that you can sometimes bend the rules. Not break them, but bend them. While authors should strive to avoid anachronisms and inconsistencies – no one wants a Pilgrim, for example, who speaks like a Valley Girl – they should recognize that many individuals defy the norms. They are, after all, individuals, people with their own minds and agendas. That is what makes characters in fiction interesting. They often say and do things that their contemporaries would not.

The Mine features several characters that say and do things that defy the norms, from Joel Smith, my time-traveling protagonist, to Grace Vandenberg, his refreshingly strong-willed girlfriend, to Ginny Gillette, their trailblazing, independent-minded friend. But the book also features a commitment to accuracy and authenticity that I think fans of historical fiction will appreciate and enjoy. I encourage readers to give it a look.

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     Amazon author page

     Goodreads

     John’s blog

    USATODAY.com review

     Buy THE MINE