Mar 29 2011

Come Party with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom!

YAY! Grab those party hats! We have Linda Thomas-Sundstrom in the house! Come play!

Hello Hotspot bloggers… How’r ya doin’?

I’d like to invite all of you to a party today, with a treasure hunt, party favors, and a prize. If you’re up for a party – read on!

I’m Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, paranormal author of books for Kensington, Dorchester, and Harlequin Nocturne, and the proud presenter of my new vampire series for Nocturne this very month! Vampire Moons.

I’m hoping you will help me celebrate the release of my new book – “GOLDEN VAMPIRE” today – with cyber confetti and plenty of cyber champagne (unless someone has devised a way to actually send glasses of the bubbly stuff over the ether?) As well as some other kinds of reader fun. Because I am just thrilled to have another book on the shelves (right now!) and I’m counting my blessings every darn day to be able to be a writer… and wanting to share my story with YOU.

So. First – a pretty brief background bio for my paranormal romance stuff, for those of you who don’t know me yet, so you know who you’re celebrating with. K?

Well, I’ll start by saying that I’ve come full circle in writing paranormal romance this year — back to vampires after a very engrossing two-year tryst with werewolves, both dark and lighthearted. My Were tales: “Barbie and the Beast,” (American Title 3 finalist) for Dorchester, and last year’s Wolf Moons series for Nocturne – “Blackout,” “Wolf Bait,” “Red Wolf,” “Wolf Trap,” and “Moon Marked.” That’s some tryst, eh? Love those hot, sexy wolves…

My first paranormal romance was a historical vampire tale for Kensington Brava in the Immortal Bad Boys anthology, you see, with fellow author Rebecca York. Dark, hot stuff. Plenty of fang. And then, just when I thought I was going down a historical immortal path, the idea for a quirky contemporary tale jumped into my life, and it became Barbie and the Beast. What a blast writing that was! You have no idea! This fluff-ball story was the start of my love affair with werewolves that continues to this day.

But… as sometimes happens in the universe if we’re really, really lucky to have a Muse who sings at the top of her lungs, after goofy Barbie, my dark werewolf stories took wing, starting with a novella for Nocturne, a Nocturne Bite tiled “Blackout.” Which in turn birthed the rest of the Wolf moon series for Nocturne, and a whole new level of wolfdom for moi. Action-packed stories with emotion and heat.

And then my editor asked if I could write more vampires.( “Heck yes!”) And the idea I had for this international vampire series kicked off with another Noctune Bite titled Vampire Lover, out now. But the in depth heart of the series starts with this month’s Golden Vampire.

The premise – just a hint:

Maybe those hunky Knights of the Round Table were undefeated in battle and unearthly beautiful… because they were unearthly. And maybe their quests continue – still, today?

Well, if you are a fan of history, hopefully you’ll be intrigued by this hint – that will be further explored in next year’s Guardian of the Night.

Hooray for Arthurian romance!

More confetti throwing!

** Let’s start the party, shall we, now that you know a little something about my books?

I’d like to hear what you have to say about this idea of vampires in real history, and if you can see that. Think of the possibilities.

Let’s play “WHAT IF.”

What historical figure comes to YOUR mind that could have been immortal? And would make a good character in a paranormal romance or urban fantasy ??? Got an idea? I’ve got more I’ll share as we go along, too.

Plus: If you play this “WHAT IF” game, you’ll be entered into a drawing for one of my backlist books. It might be one of those sexy wolves, or a vampire, who knows? You’ll also get some chocolate to nibble on while you read. Sound good?

SECOND game: Yes, there’s more. I really am celebrating.

TREASURE HUNT !! (Yay, we love treasure hunts!)

The “first” person to go to my website, and can tell us which of BARBIE’s body parts are showing beneath her hot pink silk sheets – is another winner! Shhhh though – you have to use my CONTACT ME page (NOT the “win a book” page) for this one, to send the answer, so no one else sees it.

Game on at-

OF course, I’m here to answer any other questions you might have about the OTHERS I write about. Glad to oblige. Happy to participate.

Thanks for helping me celebrate. I will tell you that I am never going to be jaded about being a publisher author. I love every minute of writing time, and I get just as excited with every book. And I love meeting new people, so I hope you’re here today, with me.



Nocturne Series , #110

* ISBN-13: 9780373618576

It’s called the Dark Surrender…

The ultimate embrace of everlasting love, where entwining souls and purpose come together…

For former cop Jesse Stewart, giving herself—mind and body—to sexy vampire Lance Van Baaren meant losing her soul. Hired by a foreign government to find a senator’s missing daughter, she instead found a haunting link to her past. And now something is drawing her to the one man she should despise….

Once a knight, Lance had sworn to protect the innocent. And one of those young innocents had been a young Jesse. Now face-to-face with the alluring woman she has become, he’s determined to help Jessie solve her case and make her his own. But would finding the truth of her past, beneath a Blood Moon, push Jesse further away?


Mar 27 2011

Meet Chicki Brown! Come get some Hot Fun in the Summertime!

Today, our guest of honor is Chicki Brown. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

On my way to the corner …

Get back here! Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Depends on my mood. Some days it’s a battle between Chips Ahoy and Cheez-Its.

Love Cheez-its! They’re dangerous! Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

Please! I helped Jesus serve the wine at the wedding in Cana!

Now I really have to see your ID then…unless you brought us something?

All right, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast….


Seven very different singles – four women and three men – rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer: author Shontae Nichols, self-employed accountant and realtor, Linda Harris, Linda’s sister, hip-hop video dancer Kinnik Watkins, cosmetologist, Jovita Blassingame, Calculus professor Curtis “Doc” Whetstone, actor and drama instructor, Kip Lee, and new housemate, up and coming film actor, Devon Burke.

During their two month stay, romances bloom, friendships are tested and when a tragedy strikes one of the housemates, they all learn the answer to the age-old question: Can men and women ever be just friends?

And what makes your character and story so special?

Shontae is a romance author, so naturally I love her. She’s married to a drop-dead gorgeous Hollywood actor who doesn’t seem to realize just how handsome he is.  They are the ultimate creative couple that understand and appreciate each other’s gifts.

All right, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast….

So, what do you write? And why?

I write contemporary multicultural romance and women’s fiction, since this is what I mainly read.  My first release, Have You Seen Her? is often categorized as interracial, but I prefer to call it multicultural, since Taylor, the hero, has a mixed heritage. In my opinion, unless you write sci-fi or fantasy, books should mirror real life. These days most of us live and work with individuals of varying racial and ethnic backgrounds, and I believe that diversity should be reflected in fiction.

That’s pretty cool! What would your characters say about you?

They’d probably say I’m a real pain in the neck. I harass them for information and insist that they reveal the secrets they don’t want everyone else to know.  Hopefully, they would also say that I can be trusted to never embarrass them, but that I force them to face up to their issues, kind of like a shrink without a degree …

LOL. Do you have a favorite of your own books and why?

My favorite is the first book I wrote back in 2002. It was never published, thank God, but it was truly “a book of my heart,” as they say. I loved the characters, and I became completely engrossed in their lives. Unfortunately the writing was awful. At the time I didn’t know squat about point of view, plot, transitions, or all of the things that turn a good story into good writing. I keep telling my husband one of these days I might go back and rewrite it; only I’ve never found the time. Other stories are calling to me.

Tell us about one of your favorite character from your books.

Taylor Villanova, the hero in Have You Seen Her? is my idea of the sexiest man alive. He’s a total Alpha male with a troubled past, yet his past doesn’t keep him from desiring a positive future. His raw masculinity makes him tough. Nevertheless, his toughness doesn’t prevent him from being tender.

Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

I think I answered that above. :)

Are you a pantser or plotter?

A plotter until I get the story firmly organized, then I allow the characters to carry the story along. If they insist on going in a direction I didn’t foresee, that’s the way it has to go. After all, it’s their story. I’m just the reporter, so to speak.

What else are you working on right now?

I am preparing for the May 1st release of Hollywood Swinging, the sequel to Hot Fun in the Summertime.

That sounds exciting! Where can our partygoers find you and your work?


Independent Author Network Page:
Amazon Central Author Page:


Thank you so much for coming!

One lucky commenter will receive A Hot Fun Prize Package containing a t-shirt, mini-box of salt-water taffy, seashell earrings, book light, and a sneak preview of my upcoming release

Mar 25 2011

Got a taste for Non-fiction! Marianne Stephens is here to share!

Today, our guest of honor is Marianne Stephens. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:


Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Sweet wine. Like the fruity kind!

I like sweet wine too! Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Cake. Sugar addict.

Me too! How do you feel about cupcakes? Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

Older than dirt!

*snort * We’ll be the judge of that. What did you bring us?


She looks like any woman you see rooting for her son at a sporting event or shopping for groceries. Yet, Tamerla Kendall’s past includes masquerading as a United Nations soldier and riding in a tank in order to cross Bosnian War (1992-1995) checkpoints to visit family…and facing interrogation by the police because someone betrayed her trust.
Another dangerous trip had her switching cars and drivers to get through checkpoints, done to get her daughter to the safety of family outside the war zone in Sarajevo…only to return and find her home torched and family restaurant robbed. Her daughter, brainwashed by her father, believed she’d been abandoned by her mother, causing years of heartbreaking separation and non-communication.
With either trip, she risked getting caught, arrested, or shot. And, with each trip, came the critical decision to return to Sarajevo to save the family restaurant business. Each day presented the challenge of finding supplies on the Black Market or by bartering with the military to keep her restaurant operating.
“Guilty Survivor – Memoirs of Tamerla Kendall” by Marianne Stephens, presents the memoirs of Bosnian Croat, Tamerla Kendall…now a US citizen. Grenade bombings of her restaurant, cleaning blood off the streets and buildings after random attacks, and witnessing people dead and dying, convinced her she’d be able to shoot the gun she’d bought for protection. When a gun was pointed at her head and her family threatened after the war because she’d married an American, Tamerla made the crucial decision to move to the United States.

And what makes your character and story so special?

We never know how strong we can be in a crisis. Tamerla Kendall was thrown into a war zone overnight…and had to struggle to survive. She found the inner strength to deal with daily decisions. Some she regrets, although they were necessary. She’ll always live with the memories/nightmares of those years, but strives to continue with her new life in the US.

Sounds like a tough woman! All right, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast….


So, what do you write? And why?

I write both romance and nonfiction.

Romance: I love writing the “happily-ever-after” romance books…either mainstream contemporary/paranormal or erotic. I grew up watching romance movies and listening to romantic songs. Still love the “oldies” (either movies or songs!). Writing romance stories gives me the chance to create events and lead the hero and heroine on a rocky road to love.

Nonfiction: If I think there’s enough material to ghostwrite an autobiography or memoir, I do it. I get immersed in what I’m writing, and put myself in place of my main character. The facts are there; I just need to put them in story form.


I’m addicted to fiction, but I will definitely have to check out your non-fictin. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I’ve always wanted to travel through all 50 states. I’ve been through more than half of the states…figure I need to see ALL of my country! Visiting England and Egypt are distant dreams…maybe someday! England: I love reading regency romances…what better place to visit than where there are based? Egypt: I’ve always thought about seeing the pyramids. Now…too much turmoil going on.

50 states? That’s a lot of traveling. What was your first sale as an author? Anything special about it?

My first sale was Second Sight Dating to Cerridwen Press – now Blush. My editor lives in Australia, so her message arrived late at night. I was still on the computer and read and reread her contract offer to make sure it was true! Then, I woke up my husband to tell him the news…but had to wait until the next day to call others.

Quite honestly, I’d given myself one more year to sell a book in 2006. I sold this in October.

Awesome! Do you have a favorite of your own books and why?

Street of Dreams, my time travel book. I had my hero and heroine travel from 2039 to 1965…a time I remember. I had fun putting in events and facts about the year and having the romantic suspense revolve around what I knew.


What is the hardest part of writing your books?

The damn middle. I know what I want to happen. The beginning goes quickly. But I get midway and come to a screeching halt every single time. I take some time away from writing to clear my head and then tackle writing again.


Yeah, we all dread the sagging middle. Not fun. What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I once slept in a college lab with 24 rats in cages (they were in cages, not me!). My roommate and I were visiting her boyfriend at another college and we had no place to sleep. Her boyfriend had keys to the lab, so we slept there…very uncomfortably.


Did you say rats? Did she say rats? * shudder * Tell us about one of your favorite character from your books.

Katie O’Hara in Gone to the Dogs. She experiences all the unexpected things that can happen in life and love…but has the resilience to strive for her goal. I wrote the book in first person and loved being “in her head” the entire time. She tries hard not to love the man chasing her, but deep down inside she wants him.

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?!/profile.php?id=1518319389!/profile.php?id=1683746739

Hm….is there anywhere we can’t find you? Lol. No, that’s awesome. Everyone come play! One lucky commenter will win a cool tote and XL T-shirt! Comment away!


Mar 23 2011

Hockey puck incoming! Duck! Meet Cassandra Carr!

Today, our guest of honor is Cassandra Carr. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Wine. I’m definitely not a beer drinker, but I’ll drink almost any type of wine!

Yay! Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

I like either, depending on my mood, but I think I lean more toward the salty snacks.

Salt is okay. Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

Oh please. I’ve been old enough to drink for –mumbling- years!

What? I can’t hear you…hehe. What did you bring us?


Radio producer Jamie MacMahon is in over her head with ex-hockey player-turned host Drew Milan. She’s attracted to the man who earned the nickname “the Beast” during his playing days from the moment they meet, but he’s her boss and she loves her new job. She’s made plenty of mistakes with men and loathes the thought of being yet another plaything for Drew, a man who sleeps with women but doesn’t date them.

Drew doesn’t want to lose a great producer and knows Jamie deserves a real relationship, but can’t stay away from the sizzling chemistry they create every time they’re together. Jamie’s insecurities and the very real prospect of having to leave a great job if this thing doesn’t work out, coupled with Drew’s fears about opening his heart and the possibility of losing his first competent producer clash.

And what makes your character and story so special?

I think this story is special because Drew is such an awesome character. He’s this strong, confident guy who meets Jamie and is floored – he doesn’t know what to do with his attraction to her. And the whole concept of being seduced by someone’s voice – how sexy is that?

Hmm, that is pretty sexy. All right, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast….

So, what do you write? And why?

I write hot erotic romance. I have also written non-erotic romance, but I’ve found I enjoy writing really detailed, hot sex scenes. Being able to combine a rockin’ sex life with falling in love is the perfect romance in my mind.

LOL. What would your characters say about you?

That I’m a taskmistress who demands their full attention and only lets them do what they want when it ultimately serves my purpose.

What do you like doing besides writing and reading? Is it dangerous?

I’m a Buffalo Sabres hockey fan, and that can be a very dangerous thing!

Hockey? Interesting. Yes, that can be very dangerous. Lol. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I want to go to Europe on an extended trip. I’ve been to Italy, but that was five days and I couldn’t even see the entire country. If I could take three or four weeks (a pipe dream, I know) and just troll my way through Europe I’d be a happy girl.

Italy sounds fabulous! I hope you do get to go for a longer stay sometime. Tell us about one of your favorite characters from your books.

I love the hero of my second bull rider books. I should preface this by saying that the first bull rider book just went out on submittal and hasn’t been published (yet!). But I’ve already written the first draft of the second book, and I just love love love Conner. He’s a bull rider and a Dom – six foot four, tan, dark hair, dark eyes. Yum.

Bullrider? Now that is different. Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

I can make either work. Most of my heroes have been Alphas so far but with the new series I’m about to begin writing there will be some that will lean more toward Betas.

What else are you working on right now?

The new series is a five-book series with geeks as the heroes. Personally, I adore geeks – I married one – and I think they should get the same female adoration that other guys do.

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

My website can be reached at I’m also on Twitter at and Facebook at

Thank you so much for coming!


Mar 21 2011

Anyone still write longhand around here? Meet Ellora Cave and Sourcebooks author Shona Husk!

Today, our guest of honor is Shona Husk. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Wine, red or white just nothing sweet.

Hmm….you sound picky. I’ll have to check with the bartender to see what we have in stock. Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Cake. Although if you have some dark chocolate lying around…it’s true what they say about it going well with red wine.

You are picky, admit it! Lol. Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

Yes. You can check my driver’s license if you promise not to laugh at the photo.

Maybe if it’s funny, I’ll give you two glasses of red wine…Okay, to be serious, what did you bring us?


When Lilith fell into lust with musician Aidan she never expected it to last. And she was right. Her doctor has given her months to live, and telling Aidan is the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Aidan has been keeping his own secret. He is Vampire…but he can’t turn Lilith and save her. The solution he proposes is illegal and dangerous and breaks every rule set up to protect non-humans from humans. He doesn’t care. He will do anything to save the woman he loves.

Discovering the kiss of a Vampire and reveling in the erotic thrill, Lilith realizes her feelings are deeper than lust. But is giving up her humanity worth it?

Okay maybe that does deserve two glasses of wine…to cool down! *fanning face *

And what makes your character and story so special?

Aidan is the first of the Lucinda’s Lover Vamps to get a story. Lucinda’s Lover is a Vampire electric string quartet that appeared in one scene of another manuscript and then took on a life of their own. They are a lot of fun to write and my hottest stories. (So if you like your romance less scorching and more sensual try ‘An Elemental Tail’ or ‘How to Breathe Fire’ J.)

What else made this book fun was that I got to explore the age old feud between Vamps and Weres but I was able to give it a medical spin and a HEA.

All right, I guess you can come in. Now off to the roast….

Why did you want to become an author?

I’d always written as a child, but I stopped after high school for years (although I did make up stories to entertain myself). When I was on maternity leave I rediscovered writing, discovered romance novels and that was that. I began combining my love of fantasy and paranormal with romance. At the time I heard how hard it was to get published, but I didn’t let myself believe that I wouldn’t be successful. I wanted to be able to do a job I enjoyed, and I wanted to be able to share the stories I wrote. Creating something is rewarding—even if it never gets out of the box of dead manuscripts. Some of my favorite characters live in those boxes.

Awww, it’s a good thing you dug them out then. I’m sure they weren’t feeling very forgiving. What would your characters say about you?

“She nearly killed me, twice!”

“One day those hot chocolates are going to end up all over her laptop.”

“If she doesn’t hurry up and write my story, I will pack up and go.”

“She left me chained to a wall and put the manuscript in a box, hello? Are you ever coming back?”

LOL. Yup, I was right. What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Reading my own handwriting. I write the first draft longhand (I’ve found it’s quicker that way and my brain works better on paper instead of a screen). However sometimes I’ve been writing so fast my already bad handwriting becomes fairly illegible, so when I’m typing it up I can’t read what I’ve written…but that’s usually fine as while I’m typing I’m editing and re-shuffling scenes and doing the first round of edits. I have tried to change what I do. I can now write short stories straight on the computer, and I started a novella on the computer, but I had to finish it off on paper. I guess once the story is typed my brain goes from creative mode to edit mode and in those first drafts that’s not very helpful.

Can I see your license again? Is it real? Did you say longhand? How would you describe your writing style?

Dark and sensual, with stories that will sweep you off your feet and into another world.

What do you think makes a good story?

So many things. I have to care about the characters and their problem. But I also read for world building. I love fantasy novels for this as they create whole new worlds for exploration. But also I want to be entertained and sucked out of my life and into someone else’s. I like a HEA, or even a HFN…if I want depressing, I’ll read the newspaper.

I love HEA’s. How much do you write in a day? Day or Night? Everyday?

I write every day, usually in the evening. If I’m writing a fast first draft I like to do 2 scenes a day. When I’m editing it really depends on how much work the story needs as to how much I get done each day.

You sound very dedicated, which is awesome. What else are you working on right now?

I’m working on ‘The Goblin King’ (Sourcebooks October 2011), and also books 2 and 3 of the trilogy. They are paranormal romance with a touch of fairytale, cursed Celtic warriors and hideous goblins.

That’s fantastic. Congratulations!

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

My website, or I blog at

and I have a facebook page which I update less frequently than I should. I’m also part of a free romance reads blog .

All my ebooks are at Amazon,, or wherever ebooks are sold.

Thanks so much for sharing your success with us!

Mar 17 2011

Meet Gina Gordon! Hide the beer and snacks! Now!

Guess who? Yeah you got it! Gina Gordon! Yeah don’t look so happy yet, you need to pass our test first, but it’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Beer! Definitely!

Hmm…you don’t look like a beer girl. Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Can I have cake AND chips? (:

Now you’re just getting greedy, but I guess there’s enough to share. Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

I am old enough to drink.  Even when I wasn’t old enough I was drinking lol

*gasp* Shame on you! LOL. Okay, what goods did you bring use? How bad do you want the cake and chips and beer?


For Caroline Carlson, business is business. She will not let her profession define her. She’ll never make that mistake again. When she finds herself forced to attend a manager’s retreat in the middle of winter, the line between business and pleasure is blurred. Especially, since she’s forced to spend the time with Hayden, the man who has secured the starring role in her sexy dreams.

Hayden Cross is the new manager on the block. The retreat is a chance to let loose and get away from the daily grind. Until one night when a chance encounter with Caroline at a club morphs his plan into a personal dare. Mesmerized by the sexy woman writhing on the dance floor, he knows she’s his fantasy come to life.

Caroline is convinced that Hayden is just another man who wants the fantasy, but his sexual advances are too hard to ignore. The more time they spend together the hotter it gets, and the Canadian winter doesn’t stand a chance.

And what makes your character and story so special?

Caroline is stubborn and strong-willed and I loved being a part of her progression from professional co-worker to Hayden’s lover and friend. They both have vulnerabilities that are highlighted during their weekend away that bring them closer together.

This story just makes me feel warm and cozy. It’s set in northern Ontario, Canada during the winter and there are bonfires, drinks and “activities” that Hayden and Caroline participate in to keep warm.

And I will say that I wouldn’t mind a piece of man-meat like Hayden walking around my office. lol

I hope you’re willing to share Hayden! He’s sounds and looks…hehe. I’ll let people fill in the blank. Come on in! Grab a beer! Let’s get this party rolling!

So, what do you write? And why?
I write contemporary erotic romance.  It’s my favorite genre to read so that’s what I write.  I might eventually stray and add some different elements like suspense or western but it will always be set in modern times.  I don’t have an historical or science fiction bone in my body.

We love contemporary romance here! Why did you want to become an author?
Because I have to be.  I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember.  It’s who I am and who I need to be.

* nodding* Very understandable. What was your first sale as an author? Anything special about it?
My first sale was Her Five Favorite Words to Breathless Press.  It’s special because it was the first everything–first cover art, first experience with editing, first release day, first good review, first bad review ):  My experience with Breathless Press has been wonderful and I thank the publisher from the bottom of my heart for taking a chance on me.

Breathless is awesome! What do you think makes a good story?
Obviously you need plot and relatable characters but for me, I’m all about the sexual tension.  If there is good sexual tension (and maybe a bit of hanky panky) I can even hold out until the end of the book for the hero and heroine to have the sexy times. lol

LOL. You sound dangerous. Who is your favorite author and why? Do you write what you read?

For those people who already know a little bit about me, finding out that Lorelei James is my favorite author is old news lol  I absolutely adore her Rough Riders Series and if you haven’t read it, go out and buy them right now!!

I also love Jill Shalvis, and, Bella Andre has just shot to the top of my list.  I love her Take Me/Love Me series and I recently bought the first book in her Hot Shots firemen series.  In the first 15 pages she had me breathing heavy lol…I love books that spark that reaction.

Hmmm…interesting. I will have to check them out myself. Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?
I love Alpha heroes.  There is nothing wrong with a Beta, my newest hero seems to be heading in that direction, but I never tire of a powerful man who is also sweet and knows when to let his woman lead.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m a plotter.  A very anal, rigid plotter lol  I have pages and pages of notes divided into scenes and what will happen in that scene.  Once I have a handle of where the story is going I can get down to actually writing.  The best part about plotting by scene is that I don’t have to write chronologically.  If I am inspired to write a sex scene I write a sex scene.

Very nice!

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

You can fine me on the usual social network sites:


Twitter (this is where you’ll find me the most!):

Or visit my website at

Thank you so much for coming!

Thanks for having me Clarissa!

I hear you’re giving away a PDF copy of The Only Exception! Everyone post your comments and grab a beer!


Mar 15 2011

World building: Fun with Food with Nancy J. Cohen!

Yup you heard right! It’s Nancy J. Cohen! Grab a chair and some drinks! You don’t want to miss this post!



Nancy J. Cohen

Cultures can be defined by their cuisines. Where one might be sophisticated, offering dishes prepared with elaborate sauces and exotic ingredients, another might dispense simple fare such as stews and soups made from locally grown produce.

The types of foods that are popular can be as diverse as the methods of preparation. Practices may vary widely depending on time and place. Consider the ambiance of a formal dinner setting in your chosen genre, for example, or the value placed upon the cookery profession across the globe. Writers should give careful consideration to these points to enhance their story’s setting. A historical romance set in early Scotland will showcase different foods than a contemporary mystery set in Florida. Using regional specialties is one way to add flavor to your story.

Here are some additional aspects of your world to consider:

  • Method of Preparation

Is food prepared in a modern kitchen, over an open fire, or conjured from a fabricator as in Circle of Light, my first futuristic novel? Deciding how your characters prepare meals is important to your setting. Imagine how many scenes you’ve read wherein the heroine is talking to the hero while preparing a dish in her kitchen or making coffee. First determine the level of technology in your world and then how it’s used to prepare meals. What about processing: are foods cleaned and packaged by hand or is it automated? Or maybe the food is artificial? Watch Soylent Green if you haven’t seen this classic sci fi movie. What the people eat in this film is crucial to the story, and it sticks in your mind for years afterward.

  • Chefs or Scullery Maids

Who is responsible for cooking in your culture? Is cooking considered a chore or an art? Do women share the same roles as men? Is being a chef a respected job or a lowly lifestyle?

  • Food Sources

How is food obtained? Is it home grown, genetically manipulated, or imported? Are natural food sources plentiful or scarce? What are the staples found in every household? What is considered a rare delicacy?

  • Cultural Practices

Are food choices simplistic or gourmet? Vegetarian or carnivore? What are the taboos?

What are the customary meal times? What special foods are eaten on holidays?

  • Individual Preferences

What if your hero loves to sink his teeth into a juicy steak, but the smell of meat makes your heroine ill? Or, she loves chocolate and he gets a rash whenever he eats it. Give each character a food preference for distinction.

  • Dining Establishments

Is the kitchen the central hub in your character’s house or a place to gobble fast food?  Does she eat out in restaurants? Are they fancy places or taverns with straw on the floor? How does one order food in these places, and who serves it? What type of food does your hero like best?

What utensils does he use? How does he pay for the meal?

Food scenes can provide a source of levity, heighten conflict, or reveal character. What, how, and where your hero eats reveals personality traits and shows how he fits in with society.  Witness this sequence from Silver Serenade, my latest futuristic romance. Silver, a S.I.N. agent and niece to Earth Centrum’s political leader, brings a man to dinner: Jace Vernon, a convicted criminal who comes from another planet and is in her custody.

Silver glanced at Jace. He’d downed the soup like a starving man, keeping his head bowed as though food were the only thing on his mind. However, she knew he was listening from the way the cords stood out on his forearms. His tension electrified the air between them.

“What is this?” Jace asked, pointing to the mud-colored mound on his plate after the servants delivered the next course.

“Chopped liver.” Silver admired his dashing figure. He sat at the table as though born to nobility, which she supposed fit his former status on Kurash. His resolute jaw, keen eyes, and confident pose resonated through her. “Spread it on a cracker, and try a bite. It goes good with the sweetbreads.”

“That is bread?” He looked askance at the dish.

“Sweetbreads are made from the thymus or pancreas of a calf,” Festor Niles pronounced in a loud voice. “It’s quite a delicacy.”

Jace’s complexion turned a sickly hue. “Liver that looks like mashed dung, and other organs from the bodies of dead animals? I didn’t read anything about this in my cultural studies.”

“Really?” Niles sneered at him. “What did you learn, that we’d be an easy race to conquer? Or as easy to kill as those two men you beat to a pulp on the space station?”

Silver gave Niles a sharp glance. She hadn’t discussed that incident with anyone except Major Dean.

“I learned your women are beautiful.” Jace sipped his wine. “And your politicians can lie as well as our own.”

Can you feel the tension in this scene? Sense Jace’s discomfort? Certainly the dialogue has more to do with politics than with the cuisine. Plus it’s obvious the host didn’t go out of his way to please Jace, an unwanted guest. So while food may have been the topic of conversation, we learn a bit about Jace’s dietary preferences along with the political undercurrents at the dinner table.

In Conclusion

Meals play an important part in establishing mood, creating a setting, and developing characters. What memorable food scenes do you remember from stories you’ve read?

* * * *

Blog commenters on all my sites today will have a chance to win a $7 gift card to The Wild Rose Press. Also check out my blogs at and at and be sure to leave a comment. The winner will be announced on my sites tomorrow.


Ace pilot Jace Vernon is forced to flee his home world after being framed for murder. He seeks justice, but S.I.N. agent Silver Malloy gets in his way.  The platinum-haired beauty counters his every move in the quest to clear his name.  As he makes it his mission to break her, he doesn’t count on the personal consequences of success.

Silver refuses to abort her deadly mission even if it means killing the one man Jace needs alive to prove his innocence.  Her resolve wavers when Jace’s charms melt the barriers around her heart. Can she help him win his case, even if it means betraying her own people?

“Get ready for an epic adventure, as vast as the universe in which it is set! With a touching love story, a great blend of humor, action and passion, and a great cast of characters, this is a book that won’t let you go until the very last page.”

The Romance Reviews


Mar 13 2011

The Spider Prince and Lambic Ale? Hops anyone?

Today, our guest of honor is Rebecca Goings. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Wine for me.  I prefer the fruity wines, so my libation of choice is usually a Riesling or a Moscato.  Never liked the taste of beer.  The only beer I like is Ruby Ale, made by McMenamins, and Lambic Ale, both of which have fruity undertones rather than the bitter taste of the hops.

Oh my goodness. You sound like you know your stuff. Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Kind of both.  After I have something salty, I want something sweet to offset the salt flavor, and vice-versa.  But these days, I’m eating healthier, so I try not to indulge so much on the cake and chips. :P

Hmmm…Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

Yes, and I don’t get carded anymore. L

Hey! That’s not a bad thing! So what did you bring us?


He vowed never to love again. Then he met her.

Amani Bantish has been passed over five times for marriage. She fears she has no hope for a husband until finally, the Spider Prince accepts her as his bride. Not for love, but to bear him an heir.

Two years ago, Ziyad Bihar lost his first wife, Karis, and their unborn son under the hooves of a raider’s horse. No one else could possibly compare to the woman he’d once loved, therefore his new bride will not be his princess.

But Ziyad cannot deny that the more he gets to know Amani, the more he fantasizes about his minx of a wife. Yet his loyalty to Karis pulls him deeper into his despair. When Amani’s life is threatened by the very man responsible for Karis’s death, Ziyad realizes he must fight for the woman he loves, or risk losing it all again.

Oooooo, that sounds fab! What makes your character and story so special?

THE SPIDER PRINCE is Book IV of the Desert Princes of Jikkar series, and my favorite of the five books.  I love this book because of the tortured hero.  Those are my favorite heroes to read and write.  I enjoy redeeming them and helping them to fall in love, either for the first time, or once again, when the odds are stacked against them.

The book starts with the Spider Prince as a cold and distant figure, yet through the tender ways of his heroine, his heart melts, and things he thought were certain and irrefutable come crashing down.  He questions his own decisions, second-guesses himself, and resists what he wants the most.

Bringing this man to his knees wasn’t easy, but I made myself cry on more than one occasion.  If I can do that to myself, hopefully others can connect emotionally to this book as well.

Alright, you can come in…

Why did you want to become an author?


As a kid, I wrote all the time.  Both poems and stories.  I used to bring them to school, and my classmates demanded a new chapter every day.  That got me hooked, because I had “fans”.  I won a few awards in school for my writing, and as a second grader, I got an article in the local newspaper (with my picture!) and a letter from the governor at the time.  The award was for the “Young Nevada Writers”, and apparently, it was a prestigious state contest.  If you won in your age group, you got your story in a commemorative book.  I still have that book.  I believe my mother has the newspaper article and the governor’s letter.  It was a very exciting time, and I decided at that young age it’s what I wanted to do.

When my parents divorced when I was 12, the stories gave me an outlet to “escape” my life for a time.  I read voraciously, mostly romance, and decided I wanted to give people the happily ever afters they might not get in real life.  I’m a hopeless romantic at heart.

Sounds like writing is definitely in your blood. Do you have a favorite of your own books and why?

Yes, THE WOLVERINE AND THE ROSE, for sentimental reasons.  It’s the first book I ever wrote, but not the first one I got published.  The core of that story has been with me since I was 13 years old.  I still have all of my childhood notes I wrote on the fantastic story about a magical talisman and the elves who protect it.  As an adult, I wanted to write a book to see if I could, and those stories of old were what I dusted off.  I changed a few things here and there, but the concept is the same.  It’s currently published at Samhain Publishing.

Also, I absolutely adore my Desert Princes of Jikkar series from Carnal Passions.  I believe them to be my best work as an author, even though historical westerns are my favorite genre to write.  They are the books I decided to make high in emotion.  I wanted to push myself, to challenge myself and make readers CRY.  I made myself cry a few times, so my hope is a few readers do too.  Couple the high emotion with an exotic backdrop, and you have the mix for a series that takes your breath away.  Well, it took my breath away, at least.  They’ve been receiving some stellar reviews lately, so I guess some people are loving them just as much as I do.

What do you think makes a good story?

I need to connect with the characters.  I need to feel like I could be a good friend of the heroine.  I need to find the hero sexy.  I need to care about what happens to them and be in the scenes, experiencing them rather than being told about them.  A good story needs great descriptions and emotions.  They need to not lean on certain phrases that have become cliché, the “every fiber of her beings” and the like.  (I’m guilty of this, believe me lol)  There needs to be a certain cadence to the author’s voice, writing the words and phrases almost like poetry.  Otherwise, the writing will sound dull and stinted and linear.  An author is a painter.  Their brush is their words, their paint is their voice, and their canvas is the reader’s imagination.  Any author who can get me to be completely immersed in their story, where both the real world and the book fall away, have written a great story in my opinion.

Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

I enjoy Alpha heroes.  I enjoy reading and writing men who aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind and fight for those they love.  Men of their word, who mean what they say and don’t beat around the bush.  These men also make love about as fiercely as they protect their women and I LOVE reading that.  However, they can be tender too, so I suppose I enjoy Alpha males with Beta tendencies.  Someone who shows the world his rough and tough exterior, but to his heroine, he has a vulnerable side.  My husband is like this, which is why I probably love to read about this kind of hero.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

Both.  I plot the stories loosely, knowing where I want to go and certain plot points I want to hit, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how I get there.  I learned long ago never to completely plot every little thing.  Sometimes these characters have a mind of their own and they rebel against the plans you’ve set for them.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers?

Read the genres you love to write in.  Study other authors.  Take note on how they tell their story.  What makes it emotional?  What ties you to their characters?  Try to do the same for yourself.  Challenge yourself to write a book that flows a story just as much as it tells a story.  Ask yourself if the characters’ reactions make sense to what they just witnessed or experienced.  Add some realism.  Study how people talk, what they do with their hands.  Pepper that in your stories.

Do your research on publishers.  Talk to other authors and get a feel for a publisher before you submit to them.  Read some of the books they offer.  Ask if authors are happy with that house.  Submit according to their submission guidelines.  Some of the submission process is to see if you can follow the rules they have put in place.  If you don’t follow these rules, you aren’t likely to be published by them.

And lastly, don’t look at eBooks as your springboard to print.  EBook publishers are not the fast track to print.  They’re not the “work around” for you to get your books into bookstores without being published by the Big Boys.  EBooks are a different format, the primary format, of an eBook publisher.  Therefore, learn how to promote electronically if you submit to them.  Become Internet savvy.  Create a blog.  Connect on social networks.  Nine times out of ten, your print books available from an eBook publisher are much more expensive than the eBook, and in some cases, only available online instead of in bookstores.  With these publishers, the money is where the eBook is, not the print.  We all love the feeling of holding your book in your hand and having it on the shelf.  But if you want to be distributed in bookstores and Targets and Walmarts instead of through Kindles and Nooks and iPads, then submitting to an eBook publisher is not the smart decision.

Great advice! What else are you working on right now?

Currently I’m working on an erotic historical western, the sequel to IN YOUR ARMS from Champagne Books.  Its entitled SCOUNDREL, and it follows the love story for Lissa’s shrewish sister Shirley.  Since it’s erotic, this one has to go to Champagne’s sister company, Carnal Passions, but that’s okay.  It’s been a blast to write.  I don’t have a blurb written, but Shirley meets a scoundrel of a man who challenges her.  She challenges him right back, and they have a sexy clash of wills.  I love it!  Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before it’s published.

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

My website is, and my books are published at Champagne Books, Carnal Passions, Samhain Publishing, and Cobblestone Press.

Sounds awesome! Now you better share your Spider Prince!


Mar 8 2011

Release Party!

It’s Blog Wednesday! What do we have today…? It’s Mary Corrales! And it’s open bar! Wait, wait, not so fast…

Thank you to Romance Author Hotspot for hosting this party today, and helping me celebrate the release of my paranormal/vampire erotica, Tasting Camilla, through Breathless Press! The hero of the story, Vladislas, is a typical vampire in that he’s tall, dark and dangerous. What’s different is that he doesn’t apologize for who and what he is and isn’t looking to change. The nature of a vampire in its purest form is a blood drinker. When one is allowed to follow their true nature, they become quite the erotic creature.

I’ve always been intrigued by the darker vampires of film and novel. No one can tell me that the Vampire in the movie, Nosferatu, wasn’t sexy in his own demented, creepy way. Okay, so I even believe that The Creature from The Black Lagoon deserved to end up with the girl, but I’m a terrible romantic at heart.

In Tasting Camilla, I give you a view of a city at night where my heroine Camilla, meets her fate in Vladislas. Why you might ask, is this Camilla’s fate? Truthfully, I believe it’s because Vladislas is a creature of such power that only one woman like Camilla will ever be able to love him. As sometime, we find ourselves burdened in life with things we might not choose on our own, but it turns out that we (as we are) are the only ones able to handle this burden successfully. While difficulties aren’t chosen, we are all strong enough to face what comes at us and triumph. This is what I believe of Camilla.

So, fellow readers and authors alike, come lift a glass of your favorite beverage in toast to vampires who are true to their nature and the women strong enough to love them.

Leave a comment with your choice of drink and email address for a chance to win a free PDF copy of Tasting Camilla. I will choose the winner at Midnight Est. time. Cheers!

Mary Corrales



Camilla Ivanov never dreamed that being kidnapped by a group of vampires would lead to the most erotic sexual encounter of her life. Vladislas is a vampire master bored with life until Camilla’s blood awakens his deepest hungers. Locked together in a basement, who is the true captive?

Vampire bounty hunter Brandt has just betrayed his best friend Camilla to vampires. Vampiress Elisa gives herself to Brandt in payment for awakening her master, Vladislas—but will Brandt take much more than her body from her?

Mar 7 2011

Party with Shelley Munro! She may share more than New Zealand with you…

Today, our guest of honor is Shelley Munro. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Definitely a glass of wine—preferably New Zealand wine and usually white, although a good read is equally acceptable.

How about wine and a good book? Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Cake. I have a terrible sweet tooth. I blame my father. I inherited the sweet tooth!

Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

No. ;-)

Ut oh, we might have a problem then, but I won’t pass judgment until I see what you brought us…


Spicing up her sex life sounds exciting…until the fantasy hits the fan.

When Maggie Drummond buys an erotic romance novel by mistake, she gets more than an unexpected eyeful. She gets an introduction to a world that arouses her to a fever pitch: Spanking.

Her boyfriend isn’t interested in pushing his vanilla-flavored sexual boundaries. Then there’s Connor Grey, who haunts her fantasies like a magical genie. As a source of masculine advice for her and her female friends, he’s off limits. The only safe place to explore her fetish is her anonymous blog.

The recent changes in Maggie don’t escape Connor’s notice. Now that her boyfriend has dropped her, he can finally—carefully—make his move. Given his family history, laying a hand on any woman, even in fun, is a line he’s reluctant to cross. But for Maggie? Anything the lady wants.

As Maggie gives in to the temptation to let Connor add some sin to her life, she finds herself juggling lies, half-truths, friendship and sensual delights. Her job is in jeopardy—and she’s falling in love. Exploring her fantasy is one thing, but she’s beginning to question if indulging her own pleasure is worth the cost to everyone around her. Especially Connor…

Well, I guess your cover works for admission, but first, what makes your character and story so special?

Maggie Drummond could be any one of us. Some people might call her ordinary. She works in the city and has a great circle of friends. She has a few body image problems, but she’s not paranoid about them. She’s conscientious about her job and enjoys the challenge, yet she’s very social and has fun during nights out at the pub, dinners and at rugby matches. Like many women, she has trouble meeting the right man and her current boyfriend is a little pompous. Maggie has dreams and a crush on one of her best friends. She also has things in her past that haunt her and she strives not to make the same mistakes. In The Bottom Line, Maggie decides she wants to change her life in a positive way and she takes steps to make this happen. I think her determined journey and the trials and tribulations she meets along the way make this a special story.

Alright, you can come in. We’ll see if we got some New Zealand wine around here…I could make you work for it. Hehe.

So, why did you want to become an author?

I’ve always been a keen reader and writing seemed an extension of my love of the written word. My parents read to my brother, sister and I a lot when we were kids and, once we could read on our own, we all became regular bookworms. My sister and I drifted toward mysteries and romance (which we both still read) while my brother enjoys sci-fi and fantasy. My sister-in-law is eternally grateful that he has an ereader now. There’s much more room in their garage!

When I was about seventeen, I decided I could write a romance. Surely it couldn’t be that difficult? After all, I read lots of books. (Yes, I can hear your sniggers all the way down here in New Zealand) I made several starts before my social life took off and writing took a back seat. My husband and I traveled after we were married, spending six years overseas. On our return, I started to think about writing again. One day I woke up and thought if I didn’t start writing soon, I’d run out of time. That week I discovered a romance writing course at my local university and came across an article about a local romance author, Susan Napier. She mentioned the Romance Writers of New Zealand in the article. I made enquiries, joined the organization and my writing career started.

New Zealand is starting to stick in my head… What do you like doing besides writing and reading? Is it dangerous?

I enjoy walking and cycling. (Could be construed as dangerous since I fell off my bike and ended up with a black eye. My husband didn’t like walking with me for a good week because of the weird looks people gave us) I usually carry my camera with me everywhere and take loads of photos. I love cooking, although my recent health kick/diet means I’m not doing as much baking and experimenting with recipes. And finally, both my husband and I like to travel. We try to get away to explore a new corner of the world every year. We’ve traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe, Britain, Australia, USA and Central America. In December we did a cruise around New Zealand that took in several New Zealand ports as well as Hobart and ended in Sydney. In a couple of months we’re doing another cruise around Noumea, Vanuatu and Norfolk Island. We’re hoping to visit China next year, all things going well.

Wow. I’m impressed. Do you have a favorite of your own books and why?

I have a series called Middlemarch Mates. It’s a paranormal series about a community of black leopard shifters who live in the small New Zealand country town of Middlemarch. I’ve just finished writing the draft of the twelfth and final book in my series. It’s a little sad because the characters have become like a family to me. I know the ins and outs of their lives and they’re definitely my favorite books.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Managing to keep my butt in the chair and actually write. The idea part is easy, it’s the translation to paper that is really hard.

Very true. Who is your favorite author and why? Do you write what you read?

I have countless favorite authors and read widely. I’ll mention two newer authors who I’ve discovered during the last year. I enjoy Emma Wildes historical romances with their touches of humor. I’m currently reading Zoe Archer’s Warrior, which is a paranormal historical. I like the combination of magic and history plus the unique setting. Warrior is set in Mongolia.

I’m a big reader and constantly have a book on the go. I’m a big believer in writers using books as “textbooks” and learning the intricacies of writing a book. I think a writer learns and absorbs a lot while reading and the lessons learned become instinctive when you sit down and work on your own stories.

Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

I definitely prefer the alpha end of the scale. I like strong characters who know what they want and rise to meet a challenge.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m a pantser. The moment I think about plotting my brain freezes. I like learning about the plot and what happens along with my characters. If I have a plan for my plot, I tend to lose interest. It’s no fun when I already know what happens.

Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

I write for four different publishers: Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Liquid Silver Books and Samhain Publishing and in lots of different genres. You can purchase/check out my books at these publishers or at places like All Romance eBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online sellers like Books on Board and Diesel ebooks.

You’ll also find blurb, excerpts and purchase links at my website:

Thanks so much for coming!

Comment, have fun! One lucky winner will receive a print copy of The Bottom Line!