Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I was at a writers’ conference several years ago when I first heard this term. If I remember right, Mary Jo Putney was talking about how ideas for new books can form spontaneously…how a simple “throw-away line” in one book can spark and idea that suddenly unlocks a possibility that hadn’t been there before. It struck me so strongly perhaps because it had recently happened to me.
At that time, I had just finished what would become my first published book, ROGUE COUNTESS. I already had much of the follow up title, RECKESS VISCOUNT, worked out in my mind if not on paper. But something had happened while I was writing ROGUE COUNTESS. My hero in that book had a friend; a stuffy, arrogant marquess named Rutherford. He was created as a foil for the hero, a man’s man who tended to say what did not want to be heard, but needed to be.
I had no intention of giving Rutherford his own story. To be honest, he didn’t seem to be much of a hero type. He was a conventional English lord with no great back-story, no inspiring goals or challenges. He was sort of dull.
But then…one “throw-away line” changed all of that.
It occurred near the mid-point of ROGUE COUNTESS, at a house party where my hero and heroine were exchanging some barbed words and thinly veiled threats (they did not get along very well at first). Rutherford was there, unabashedly eavesdropping on the encounter, ready to take his friend’s side. Their hostess that night happened to be a woman who was relentless in her attempts at enticing Rutherford to consider her daughters for matrimony. And Rutherford was equally dedicated to avoiding such match-making schemes.
My heroine, the rogue countess herself, grew irritated with Rutherford’s intrusion and couldn’t resist pointing something out just to annoy him.
“By the way, Lady Terribury has seven lovely daughters, three not yet out of the school room. Good luck.”
And with that “throw-away line” a whole new world came into existence for Rutherford.
How fun to have such a stoic self-contained gentlemen as the target of an obsessive match-making mama with no less than seven daughters to marry off? And what if, after evading six of them, he encounters something unexpected in the seventh and final Terribury…?
Of the three in the series, REBEL MARQUESS was the most fun to write. There was just something exciting about discovering the sexiness beneath Rutherford’s staid and haughty exterior. And then to pit him up against an unconventional young woman with a quick wit and absolutely no interest in marriage, especially to him…I never knew what sparks would fly between them.
The below excerpt takes place just after Eliza Terribury unknowingly falls in with one of her mother’s plots and finds herself meeting the Marquess of Rutherford for the first time. Gratefully, Eliza manages to thwart her mother’s plan by hiding in Rutherford’s water closet. But once free of her mother, she still has the marquess to deal with.
“A clever predicament you have put us in, Miss Terribury.”
Eliza didn’t miss the way he said her name as if it were a curse. Her indignation grew. He may have reason to distrust Lady Terribury since he had been countering her machinations for more than a decade. But Eliza was getting annoyed at how readily he was prepared to think the worst of her. She did not appreciate being the object of such blind and unreasonable prejudice.
“Now just a moment. You force me to be insulted after all.” She propped her hands on her hips and eyed him with a direct, accusing stare. “I tried to be empathetic since I know what you have had to endure from my mother over the years, but I have had enough of your continued insistence that I had something to do with this when I stated I did not. I have absolutely no desire to maneuver you into a compromising position. In fact, I would prefer to avoid the whole marital business altogether.”
He harrumphed. “You expect me to believe—”
His argument was cut short by the sound of the outer bedroom door opening.
Eliza froze, her breath stopping. Surely her mother wouldn’t come back again.
Rutherford must have considered the same possibility since he stepped forward into the small bathing room and kicked the door shut behind him. He placed his hand over her mouth to silence her.
She yearned to tell him the precaution was unnecessary. But it would have to wait since she could barely move her jaw beneath his heavy palm.
As they both stood stock still listening for a clue as to who had entered the room beyond, she noticed that his hand over her mouth was not the only place he touched her. He’d wrapped his other arm tightly around her waist and held her securely against him. She suspected it was to hold her in place and prevent any movement that might make noise. When he had stepped toward her, she had instinctively raised her hands. The skin of his bare chest was hot and smooth under her fingers. Rough curls tickled her palms.
If not for his hand over her mouth, the position would have felt curiously similar to an embrace.
Time seemed to slow in a dramatic fashion as she detected the heavy thud of his heart beneath her hand and the way their breathing had found a matching rhythm. Eliza took a slow breath through her nose and drew in the scent of citrus and some unfamiliar spice from his skin. It was a clean and exotic scent that tantalized Eliza’s senses, bringing sudden warmth to her skin.
She looked up at his face. His head was turned to the side as he kept his gaze on the door, and she noticed the rough stubble of hair growth on his jaw. The steady thrum of his pulse showed at the side of his throat and Eliza felt her mouth go dry. She drew a long breath through her nose to dispel the sudden wave of lightheadedness that threatened to overtake her.
What on earth was wrong with her?
REBEL MARQUESS is available from Samhain publishing and anywhere ebooks are sold.
Amy Sandas’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep and dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.
You can find Amy on her blog at http://amysandas.wordpress.com
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmySandas?ref=hl
Or Tweet her at https://twitter.com/#!/AmySandas
Friday, April 18, 2014
It's First BOOK Friday! For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from some of our author friends! Sometimes people find an author further down their backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up the first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes the first book was just so long ago! :) So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for some of our friends!
This month we're featuring the first book from Moira Keith, Buckling Down.
A note from Moira:
Buckling Down was not only my first book contracted, but it was the first manuscript I’d ever finished. When I was working on the story, Samhain announced a contemporary western romance anthology. Being my first manuscript, I had doubts, but figured I would live by one of my favorite quotes and take the shot. This was around the holidays, when life gets hectic enough, but I also had my twin’s birthday to plan for. I tried to put the submission out of my mind and let the chips fall where they may, but failed miserably. The day of my boys 4th birthday party, I came home and checked my email. There it was, sitting in the inbox, staring at me, taunting me. Gathering my courage and bracing myself for the first rejection to help thicken my sensitive author skin, I hit open. When I read that they wanted to offer me a contract, I had to go back and read it again because I thought surely, they’d just entered the wrong email address. Then I had one of those moments when I reverted to a teenage girl and said “Shut Up!” while reading. It took days for it to truly sink in that I’d just contracted my very first book!
When two hearts are on the line, it’s double or nothing.
A Wild Ride story.
Levi McKenna heads to Las Vegas with one simple goal: win the rodeo and cement his place in rodeo history. Then Lady Luck throws a wild card into the deck—Sydney Hart. Time and distance haven’t dulled the sharp edge of their attraction, but thanks to a long-ago promise, she will always be forbidden fruit dangling just out of reach.
Sydney wants to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after, but her past relationships leave her doubting such things exist. She’s ready to give up on love…until Levi walks into her bar. The man who’s always held the missing piece of her heart. Love may not be in the cards, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t flirt.
Neither expected passion this hot, this fast. Yet once the cards are dealt, the only thing left to do is play them out—and see if they have a winning hand.
Warning: this book contains a sassy heroine, a scrumptious hero, blood, sweat, tears, not to mention…sex laced with Vegas heat.
Add to your library here!
Posted by Erin Nicholas at 2:00 AM
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Yesterday was Tax Day, which means most of you (and most of us) need cheering up – so I’m going to do another post of happy happy silly silly. (BTW – if you don’t do Tumblr you should really think about it. It’s full of the wild, the weird, the wonderful, the what the fuck. Ditto for Inside Amy Schumer.)
|These pairs of taxidermied boxing squirrels, along with a third, unpictured one, went for $70,000 at auction|
Inside Amy Schumer did an Aaron Sorkin parody starring the delectable Josh Charles, late of The Good Wife and star of Sports Night, the only Sorkin show I've ever liked (or even tolerated). This thing is sublime perfection, the Platonic ideal of parody. If you've ever watched one episode of a Sorkin show--any Sorkin show, it doesn't matter which one--you will appreciate this. (The clip is embedded in the article I've linked here; I think it's exclusive to Slate for the moment.)
April 5th was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. Frances Bean has grown into a beauty. A beauty who attended Coachella fully clothed, which I find refreshingly archaic. (Yes, I'm old.) (Also, I was going to say something about the way her fiancée is dressed, and her fiancée in general, but then I remembered that I was 21 in 1985, so I don't get to make fun of the way young women dress or the men they find attractive (coughshoulderpadsBrettMichaelscough). And if you were 21 in the 60s or 70s, you don't get to snicker either.)
Tumblr can be deep:
|From Tastefully Offensive|
And deeply silly.
|Y'all wouldn't believe how long I giggled about this. |
Or maybe you would.
And this one reminds me of RT!!!
Posted by Kinsey Holley at 6:00 AM
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
I am excited to share news about the latest releases in the scorching Noble Passion’s Series. I’ve always been a fan of the Regency period, so it was a thrill to write these books. Naturally, because I’ve read so many, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the period. What no one warned me about was that, when writing period pieces, there are some many other details to think about. Words I might fold into a narrative on a day-today basis have to be scrutinized with an eagle eye!
When the final line edits came back on the first book, Folly, I was shocked to find a plethora of anachronistic terms sprinkled throughout my manuscript. Here are some examples of words I had to change:
“Tonight she was Mignon, a French floozy who knew how to seduce a man.” The FLE pointed out that floozy/floozie wasn't in use until the 1900s. I changed it to “doxy.”
“A temblor passed through her, a garbled plea hovered on her lips.” According to the FLE, temblor wasn't in use until the late 1800s/early 1900s. I changed to “She shook…”
“He'd fantasized about taking Ulster's wife, punishing her for her husband's sins, making her beg...” Fantasize/fantasized/fantasizing -- these date to 1926. I changed to “He’d dreamed of taking Ulster’s wife…”
“He rubbed at the scar that still pinged at his temple.” According to the FLE, ping dates to 1835 as a noun but wasn't used as a verb until much later. Changed to “He rubbed at the scar that still ached at his temple.”
“Ethan felt like a heel, now, for eavesdropping.” Heel dates to 1914, according to the FLE. I changed to “Ethan felt like a cad…”
Simple changes, yes. The real challenge came in REMEMBERING as I worked on the subsequent books!
The series is a huge hit with readers. There are currently three books out, one coming April 25th and a 5th in edits. Though the books are connected, each is a stand-alone read.
Check out Dark Duke, the most recent release:
Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.
But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor-bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.
Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.
Noble Passions Series from Sabrina York
Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly.
Book 1: Folly
2014 EPIC eBook Award Finalist
2013 Passionate Plume Finalist
Book 2: Dark Fancy
2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award Finalist
Book 3: Dark Duke
Book 4: Brigand
Coming April 25th: http://www.ellorascave.com/brigand.html
If you’re new to the series, download my free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
Books by Sabrina York
A Cowboy for Delilah (Erotic Contemporary for the Cowboy Heat Anthology, Cleis Press)
Adam’s Obsession (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Dark Fancy (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Devlin’s Dare: A Tryst island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Dragonfly Kisses: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Extreme Couponing (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Fierce (One Night Stand, Decadence Press)
Five Alarm Fire (Erotic Contemporary for the High Octane Heroes Anthology, Cleis Press)
Folly (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Heart of Ash: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Lust Eternal (Erotic Fantasy, Ellora’s Cave)
Pushing Her Buttons (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Making Over Maris (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Man Hungry (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Rebound: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary, Available on Amazon)
Rebound is now available on Smashwords
Rising Green (Erotic Horror, Ellora’s Cave)
Saving Charlotte (Erotic Contemporary for the Smokin' Hot Firemen Anthology, Cleis Press)
Smoking Holt: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Training Tess (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Trickery (Erotic Contemporary with Magical Elements, Ellora’s Cave Hex Line)
Tristan’s Temptation (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/
Newsletter & contest: http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york
Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/
Like my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sabrina-York/e/B00856PDEO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1382929432&sr=8-2-ent
Check out my Barnes & Noble Author page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sabrina-york
Follow me on Ellora’s Cave: https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/sabrina-york/
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
What if the world wasn’t round? What if we all lived forever? What if we could simply rub a genie bottle and all of our dreams would come true? What if?
One of the most common questions I’m asked by readers, friends, and family, is how I come up with my ideas. Maybe they ask because I write Urban Fantasy, or because I set my stories in dystopian, post-apocalyptic worlds, or maybe they are just trying to discern how crazy I am. Regardless, I get asked this question a lot, so let me try to answer it. It all boils down to a complicated game of what if.
My creative process is far from unique. I create my two main characters by sketching out their redeeming qualities as well as their imperfections. To do this, I draw on my own life experiences. I was born a people watcher. It’s both a gift and a curse. I love to see how people interact with one another and the environment around them. I find it very distracting (as my husband will attest to). Every individual is unique and interesting in their own way. I want my characters to reflect that. It is important to me that my characters be multi-faceted and unique, yet also believable.
Once I have a good handle on my characters and their personalities, I drop them in an environment of my choosing. Usually it’s a fantastical world or alternate reality. For example, in Shadows of Fate, they are in Denver, Colorado (well an alternate post-apocalyptic version of Denver). I choose these types of locations because I love world building. Creating a universe from the ground up is a challenge I find hard to pass up. Maybe it’s because I’m a control freak, and I love working within a world of my choosing, made with my rules. Or maybe it’s because it’s easier for me to work within the confines of my own world than one that already exists. Either way, that’s how I roll.
At this point, if I was smart, I would start sketching out my scenes and organizing my plot. Well, I never claimed to be smart. I tend to do things the difficult way. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, not so much. But, regardless, I get to have a little fun. With my characters fully realized and in place in their world, I close my eyes, concentrate, and try to think of the worst possible thing that could happen to them in their current circumstances (yes, I’m evil that way) then try to figure out how they will react. Once they conquer that challenge, I do it again, and again, and again. You get the point. It all adds up to a complex game of what if.
So where do I get my ideas? How do I flesh out my book? I give my characters the floor. My stories grow from my characters and their organic reactions to their circumstances. I provide the scenery and the conflict, they provide the resolution. And together we create a story.
Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex. When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.
You can visit Angela at her blog www.angeladennisauthor.blogspot.com or at her website www.angeladennisauthor.com. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Meg Benjamin at 4:00 AM
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Even now, when barbecue has achieved a kind of cult status among regional food, you don’t think of it as something you’d fix when you want to inspire passion in your sweetie (unless it’s a passionate argument over the presence or absence of tomato-based sauce). But barbecue is also a way of life for some cooks, both professional and amateur, and it was that fact that I wanted to talk about in my eighth book set in Konigsburg, Texas: Hungry Heart.
My heroes are both passionate about ’cue. One, Harris Temple the Barbecue King, cooks barbecue professionally, selling it off his truck in downtown Konigsburg. The other, Chico Burnside, is an amateur pit master who’s come up with his own sublime recipe for pulled pork. Harris and Chico decide to join forces on a competitive barbecue team (yes, there really are competitive barbecue teams—lots of them), entering Konigsburg’s first Fourth of July barbecue cook-off.
Of course, Harris and Chico both have Significant Others who complicate things. Harris’s girlfriend is Darcy Cunningham, sous chef of the Rose restaurant, who’s a lot more skilled in professional cooking than he is. But when it comes to barbecue, Darcy’s newbie, and a sarcastic newbie at that. Chico’s true love, Andy Wells, has a barbecue background of her own, but it’s bittersweet. Andy’s ex-husband was a competitive barbecue cook and his devotion to barbecue (along with his own “winning” personality) broke up their marriage.
It’s these four people who make up the barbecue team and provide the romance. Because when you’re doing things together, even if those things involve brisket and pork loin, romance can flourish. Here’s a quick excerpt:
He lifted his hand, brushing the hair back from her temple with his fingertips.
Not a good idea. You shouldn’t get involved here. But all of a sudden she couldn’t exactly remember why she shouldn’t.
He leaned forward slowly, maybe giving her a chance to run. A chance she wasn’t going to take. His lips brushed hers, lightly, as his hands cupped her face. He rubbed his thumbs across her cheekbones, dark eyes watching her carefully.
The flecks of green had deepened, making his eyes even darker now. She leaned forward, placing her hands on his shoulders, bringing her mouth against his more firmly. The contact seemed to send an arrow of heat through her body, making her nipples ache, her pulse warm again.
His mouth opened against hers and she let him inside, rubbing her tongue against his, feeling it rasp against her teeth. She sucked his lower lip for a moment, nipping him lightly, hearing the catch in his breath.
His hands dropped to her breasts, cupping, then rubbing them, his palms brushing her nipples to hard points. She felt cool air against her back as he pushed her shirt up, his fingers fumbling with the catch on her bra. His lips drifted down the side of her throat, leaving a trail of heat as he did.
She pushed his shirt up, running her fingers through the slight dusting of hair across his chest, then down along the ripple of muscle over his stomach.
His hands cupped her breasts, pushing the bra aside. He leaned down, taking one nipple into his mouth, sucking, his tongue laving the aching peak.
Somewhere behind them something beeped loudly. Porky came awake with a woof.
“Shit.” His hands dropped to her hips, his forehead pressed against her breasts. “Shit. Fuck. Goddamn.”
“Timer’s beeping,” she muttered. “And Porky’s awake.”
He nodded, his forehead still resting on her collarbone.
“Fire’s ready. And you’re behind with the meat as it is.”
He raised his head to look at her. “I didn’t plan this.”
“I know.” She wasn’t entirely sure what he meant—the timing with the meat or the timing with the two of them. She brushed a hand across his cheek, pushing his hair back from his face.
“I don’t want to stop.”
“I don’t either.” She slid back a few inches, moving her hands to his shoulders. “But like you once said, barbecue waits for no man.”
“Shit,” he repeated. “Caught in my own trap.”
Posted by Meg Benjamin at 4:30 AM
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I LOVE HISTORY! And sculpting words into living, breathing creations of the past is what drives my imagination. Passionate characters and their surroundings swirl into life across a milieu of historically accurate events. I also adore LOVE STORIES! And for me, embedding strong, noble heroes into these panoramas is the perfect foundation for a great romance. With this in mind, I’m so proud to present NO GREATER GLORY, book one of my four-book ‘The Cutteridge’ series:
The year is 1862, and the Federal army is pushing southward into Virginia. Her plantation just happens to lie in their path. And amid the carnage of war, he commandeers far more than just her home.
Widowed plantation owner Emaline McDaniels has struggled to hold on to her late husband’s dreams. Regardless of the responsibilities resting on her slender shoulders, she’ll not let anyone rip away what’s left of her way of life—particularly a Yankee officer who wants to set up winter camp on her land. With a defiance born of desperation, she defends her home as though it were the child she never had…and no mother gives up her child without a fight.
Despite the brazen wisp of a woman pointing a gun at his head, Colonel Reece Cutteridge has his orders. Requisition Shapinsay—and its valuable livestock—for his regiment’s use, and pay her with Union vouchers. He never expected her fierce determination, then her concern for his wounded, to upend his heart—and possibly his career. As the armies go dormant for the winter, battle lines are drawn inside the mansion. Yet just as their clash of wills shifts to forbidden passion, the tides of war sweep Reece away. And now their most desperate battle is to survive the conflict with their lives—and their love—intact.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-greater-glory-cindy-nord/1112120177?ean=9781619212435
Posted by Meg Benjamin at 8:13 AM