Come by my friend Heather Knight's release party...
Are you a romance reader? Wanna have a girls' night out but too tired to go anywhere? My friends in the Nice Girls Writing Naughty group have the solution! Every month we feature a different event just for romance readers, and this month's event is a GIRLS' NIGHT IN.
I have a secret: for the past year I've worried that I'd lost my mojo. Sometimes I wondered if I wanted to write at all. Every day at the page seemed to be a battle, and I knew deep down it would be easier to give up the fight and just go back to being someone's employee instead of the boss. The responsible one. The creative one. So why didn't I? Because I couldn't.
I had the privilege of being included in a fantastic summer anthology called TASTE ME. This free anthology is kind of a "skip to the good parts" preview of more than twenty fantastic erotic authors' summer releases -- and TAKE ME was included! Doesn't it look yummy? ;)
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122,000-WORDS OF DARK ROMANCE AND DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS!
TASTE ME is a collection of twenty-seven sexy scenes from the hottest releases of 2015, both newly released and coming soon. This all-star lineup of bestselling authors includes...
Tijan, Alessandra Torre, Lauren Blakely, Skye Warren, CD Reiss, Anna Zaires & Dima Zales, Red Phoenix, Cherise Sinclair, Kendall Ryan, Chelle Bliss, TK Leigh, Toni Aleo, Sam Crescent, Jenika Snow, Julia Sykes, Nina Levine, Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott, Ainsley Booth, Katy Regnery, Shari Slade & Amber Lin, Shoshanna Evers, Pam Godwin, Carolyn Crane, Molly Joseph, Ella Sheridan, Karla Doyle, and Brooke Cumberland
Download TASTE ME now for a sneak peek of Hold Me, the highly anticipated third book in the dark romance Twist Me series from Anna Zaires. Push your boundaries with a twisty scene from Tight by Alessandre Torre, one of the blockbuster books of the year. Sink your teeth into an alpha rocker bad boy in the not-yet-released Second Chance with a Rock Star from Shari Slade and Amber Lin.
Note: This compilation is intended as a FREE preview of this year’s hot releases to help readers find their next scorching read. May not be free in all countries due to price matching delays.
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And don't forget, TAKE ME is already available for preorder at a special prize of $1.99. Be sure and order yours and have it download to your e-reader the minute it releases on June 29th!
This year, in keeping with my New Year's resolution, I want to take the time each month to tell you about something that's happened in my life, a moment, big or small, that meant something to me -- and hopefully to you. And I want to encourage you to look for moments in your day that add meaning, and value, to your life and world. This week is, of course, fairly hectic, with TRUST ME releasing in less than a week (oh boy!). I'm learning I have to give myself moments in the day where, even if things are hectic, I take the time to relax my mind, exercise or even relax my body, just "be." Do you have a place where you can do that? I do! Whenever the weather cooperates -- and sometimes even when it doesn't -- I have a walking trail a few minutes from my house that I visit to de-stress.
Beautiful, isn't it? These were obviously taken in two different seasons, but that's part of what I love about this trail is that it is so soothing no matter when I go. (Sometimes there are more people than others, which might be why I enjoy the colder weather sometimes, but... :) )
The best thing about this area is the water. Many authors find water a creative energizer. Water flowing is soothing for me, both the sound and the movement. I often find myself coming up with new ideas for books or blogs when I walk here. And sometimes the water attracts companions that brighten my day:
Can you see the heron there? At least I think it's a heron; I'm a bit bird illiterate. :) But he was a pretty thing, perched there on the log, watching the water, one stick-like leg holding him up. I passed him twice, and both times he would open his beak and swing his head back and forth real slow as if warning me away. I wanted to hang out with him all day, of course, but he didn't seem to feel the same, so...
What about you; where do you go to get away from it all and de-stress? Does it involve activity, or do you prefer rest (like a massage)?
Don't forget, next weekend is release time! Next Monday I'll be hosting my traditional release day dance par-tay!!! (So obviously I need the R&R this week. :) ) And check back this week for details on the Facebook party coming up this Sunday. It's gonna be so much FUN!
Welcome to my stop on the NGWN Hunky Holiday Blog Hop! The NGWN ladies are known for their man candy on our Facebook group, but we want to share it with you, here, on our blogs this cold December weekend. Be sure and check out every stop on the hop for more chances to win great prizes, including a copy of one of my backlist e-books and the grand prize of a $50 All Romance eBooks Gift Card from Tina Christopher!
So which hunky hero am I introducing, you might ask? Well, it being the holidays, there was really only one choice: Damien.
My hero from Naughty Little Christmas heats up the cold Atlanta nights like no hero before him. I thought I'd share with you a little snippet of what Christmas with Damien is like, and exactly what he likes to get into under the Christmas tree...
Blinking away sudden tears, Harley watched as Damien lifted a hand to his collar and slowly, one by one, undid each button he encountered. Her skin hot, tight, she began to pull her shirt from the waistband of the miniskirt she wore, but Damien shook his head. “Nope. You are going to wait until I tell you to undress.”
She quirked an eyebrow. “I am?”
His wicked grin said he knew she’d obey, questions or not. “You are.”
So damn sure of himself—and, unfortunately, right. She waited, watching, anticipation stirring inside her as he revealed the smooth golden skin she loved to touch. When his shirt dropped to the floor, she swallowed hard. He let her stare, let her gaze trail the muscular width of his shoulders, the smooth skin stretched across his perfect chest, the six-pack that continued below his belt. And then his hands were grasping his belt, unbuckling, sliding the length of leather from each loop.
His words broke the silence. “I have this fantasy.”
Her knees went weak. “What about?” she croaked.
The belt joined the shirt on the floor, and Damien went for his zipper. “That very first night, when I saw your hair”—the metal hissed as he lowered it—“I thought it reminded me of these suckers I used to love as a kid. Strawberries and cream.” A chuckle quirked the side of his mouth.
“Life Savers?” she asked. He ate the miniature versions of the ring-shaped pops all the time, not that she really cared what he ate right now. Her attention was too absorbed in the wait for his pants to fall. She wanted to see his cock, wanted to taste it, touch it, ride it. Have free rein to do as she liked with the instrument of so much of her pleasure.
“That’s the one.”
“I thought you hated my hair.”
“No. I loved it. That’s why I wanted you to change it.”
Because even then, he’d been attracted to her, just like she’d been attracted to him. The knowledge warmed the pit of her stomach. “So what’s this fantasy?”
Damien toed off his shoes, then slid his pants and boxers down his legs, taking his socks with them. When he stood, he was gloriously naked. Aroused. Mouthwatering. Harley barely kept herself from falling to her knees and begging to suck him down.
“I want,” he said as he reached for a small bag on the mantel, “to run one of these candies over every inch of your body. I want to taste the sweetness on your skin, taste you, until every time I put one in my mouth, all I can think about is you. Tonight.” The last word scraped across his vocal cords as he took her hand and pulled her toward the bed. “Now strip.”
Harley hesitated. “There’s something I want too.”
“I want to taste you.”
His pupils dilated, shock and desire drowned in chocolate. “I think we can work something out.”
“Okay then.” And she stripped.
Doesn't that suit just make you want to muss him up? ;) There's lots more adventure under the Christmas tree in Naughty Little Christmas. Be sure and check it out!
And if you leave a comment below telling me your favorite Christmas candy, you could win a copy of Naughty or another book on my backlist.
Comments must be posted before 12 a.m. Sunday (EST) in order to win. I'll post my winner here, and Tina will post all of the winners on the NGWN blog on Monday, December 15th.
Remember, the more comments you leave, the more chances you have at that grand prize! So HOP BACK TO THE NGWN BLOG and visit some more Hunky Holiday Heroes!
It's terrible when you have to schedule reading time so you can write a blog post. That's what has happened to me over the past few months. In order to write my monthly "What I've Been Reading" posts, I've had to schedule reading time -- not because I didn't want to read, but because I simply didn't have time. I hesitate to go into the "why" for fear of sounding, well, why-ney. :) But the truth is, life's been kicking my butt. Getting TRUST ME out by Christmas has been my number one priority, and unfortunately, my writer brain has not been cooperating. Of course, neither has my kids' sports and school and orthodontist schedules, my husband's work schedule, my work schedule (that's right; I work a day job in addition to writing)... You get the drift. In fact, for a little while I feared TRUST ME would not only be late releasing, but would not release at all. Everyone has those times when the avalanche descends and you wonder if you'll make it out alive.
Well, I have, but only because I made some tough decisions. And one of those was making time to read.
Last month in Birmingham I heard Sylvia Day speak. It was at a readers' luncheon, and of course she talked about reading. Or rather, her lack thereof. She discussed how, when she ended up in a crazy publishing schedule that took every ounce of time she had, she couldn't squeeze in the minutes and hours it took to read. And when it came time for a particular deadline, she realized that the book that was due just...wasn't going to happen. She was done, dried up. Her creativity was taking her nowhere with this story, and she didn't think it ever would. In fact, she didn't think she'd ever write another story. Ever.
So Sylvia contacted her editor and gave her the bad news. After much discussion and pushing off of deadlines, Sylvia said her editor finally asked one all-important question: When was the last time you read? (A book that wasn't yours was implied.) And Sylvia told her, I don't remember. So her editor gave her an assignment, not to finish writing, but to go read. It was the spark Sylvia needed to see the light on her own story and find her well of creativity again. She read other writers' novels, eventually finished her own book, and rediscovered a piece of herself in the process.
As a writer and a woman (mother, spouse, sibling...), I think I fell into the trap many women fall into: that something we find pleasure in is unimportant. My kids spend hours a day playing video games and reading books and watching TV/movies, and I WORK. Day in and day out, I work, because that's what a good mom and wife does, right? But my need to write was going nowhere. And then I heard Sylvia speak and realized, other than my scheduled monthly posts, I haven't read a book for pleasure in...I can't remember when.
For a writer, it simply isn't possible to sustain your creativity without nourishment. And for a woman, it isn't possible to sustain your supportive, positive, hard-working attitude without taking time for yourself as well as others. I knew that, but the tyranny of the urgent was louder than what I knew, until the urgent couldn't be taken care of because there was no fodder for the fire. TRUST ME wanted to be written, but I wasn't giving myself enough fuel to sustain the creative need. We have to feed ourselves, body and soul, if we hope to continue feeding others. I wasn't doing that, but now I am! And it is oh so sweet to find that place of comfort and pleasure again. :)
Reading again has made a huge difference in my life and in my writing. And next month, I'll share again some of What I've Been Reading -- without the whole scheduling thing. I hope you are nourishing yourself too, taking care of you so that you can take care of others. So tell me, what have YOU been reading? What else do you do to feed your soul? What difference does that make in your life?
I have so much going on over the next month! Two books to finish, school to start for my kiddoes, work to accomplish, and decisions to be made. Southern Nights will be live October 23rd with book one, Teach Me. *squeee!!!* :) I can't wait for this series to come out! And still there's more to come, like... The latest Nice Girls Writing Naughty party!
Beginning today, Nice Girl (and FAB author) Jianne Carlo begins our NGWN August event, Recipes To Cool a Blistering Heat. Every day for the next two weeks, one of us Nice Girls will post a recipe sure to make the summer heat more bearable. We love sharing with you, our readers, the little things in our lives, including stuff we love to eat! And we want you to share with us too. That's why we're asking you to post your favorite recipes in the comments sections of the blog each day. Your recipe can be a drink (mine is!), an appetizer, an entree, or a dessert. At the end of two weeks, one reader will win the Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card. AND the Nice Girls, being nice ;) , will vote on the recipes we like most in each category, and the winners will also receive prizes!
Sound like fun?
Hop on over to the blog today (and the rest of the week) to share your yummy recipes with us and gain a chance to win one of FIVE prizes on August 17th! My post goes live tomorrow, and I assure you, it's cool, refreshing, and absolutely perfect for sipping off firm, beautiful abs. <3
And if you want to keep up-to-date with all the exciting things I've got going on these days (including new releases and fun contests), be sure and sign up for my newsletter. I promise not to hold back any sexy details -- or man candy. ;)
I’ve recently been reading Stephen King’s On Writing. The first half relates King’s memories of his life “so far” (I say that because the book was originally written on 2000, so it falls fourteen years short, so to speak :) ), and the second half involves King’s thoughts on the process of writing. It is a privilege to learn from the great writers of our time. The thing I find interesting about this particular book is that it focuses so much on what is, essentially, the making of a writer. In so many ways you can see the elements that pushed King to become the author he is now. You can see the determination every writer must have as he recounts rejection after rejection, writing—and submitting—from a uniquely and honestly, unbelievably young age. His childhood, his young adult friendships and family life and even a life-threatening car accident—each and every experience informed his writing, and it wasn’t because he was a teenage girl being rejected by her high school peers and using her psychic powers for revenge.
No, what he experienced was emotion.
Every beginning writer has heard the advice: Write what you know. It’s well meaning. It’s even true, but not in the way you think. If each of us had to experience the things we write about, we couldn’t write about a character being shot unless we had been shot. We couldn’t write a character with a terminal illness unless we’d had a terminal illness. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no desire to go that far. Writers research every day, what it’s like to be shot, what living in different places entails, the details of technical and medical and historical advances and events. What we don’t have to research is the universal human experience of emotions.
Write what you know? How about loss? I might not have lost a parent, but I’ve lost a child. The emotion is the same, if in a different context. Same with anger. Happiness. Love. Desire. Need. Writers delve not just into their minds for knowledge, but into their hearts and souls. We pour what we find out onto the page, baring ourselves to our readers. We haven’t necessarily shared an experience we’ve had, but we have shared an emotional experience. It hurts and it’s scary and it takes a kind of courage many people don’t have, but we do it because we have to. Because who we are demands it. Because that’s what it takes to be a writer.
Write what you know.
Good advice. :)
This post on Buzzfeed, 7 Helpful Grammar Tips From Richard Castle, gives us helpful grammar tips -- and yummy eye candy at the same time. ;)
I'm topping off a wonderful release week with a visit over at Nice Girls Writing Naughty. We're having a scavenger hunt for our readers. Simply visit each author via the link below, write down the answer to their trivia question, and e-mail your answers to Dani Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your e-mail enters you to win: A $50 Amazon card and a prize pack of books!
DON'T enter your answers in the comments! They must be e-mailed (so we don't spoil the fun for our other readers).
For my contribution, I'm asking the question:
How long has Brad been in love with Angel?
For the answer, read the blurb for Just a Little More, the third book in my Secrets To Hide series from Loose Id:
Six weeks ago Angel had it all—a brand-new master’s degree, an apartment with her best friend, Brad, and the chance to take their friendship to a whole hot new level. But on the night of their first kiss, a would-be rapist ripped her bright future apart. Stuck in a never-ending cycle of fear and depression, Angel is determined to find herself again, even if it means putting herself at risk.
Brad has loved Angel since he saved her from a playground bully in the fifth grade. But just as it seemed Angel’s eyes were opening to the true feelings between them, it all fell apart. When Angel disappears on the night of a freak snowstorm, Brad is determined to find her. And when he does, he won't let her hide any longer. It's time to wake her up—to a life without fear, and to a love that can heal the deepest wounds.
For even more fun, hop over to our group's Facebook page starting at 10:30 AM EST for great giveaways and chats with a dozen erotic romance authors. They have some great goodies planned for you today, July 5th, from 10:30 to 4:30 EST. Not a member of our Nice Girls Writing Naughty Readers Group? Click the link above and join -- we'll get you added ASAP so you don't miss any of the fun!
Angel Gilliam wrestled the butterflies in her belly as she forced her key into the stubborn lock and finally managed to turn it. She was through the apartment door and calling Brad’s name before she could tug the key back out.
The silence that met her call deflated her excitement like a leaking balloon. Damn it, she wanted him to know first, in person, not over the phone. He was the only one who would understand how much this meant to her.
A glance around the darkened living room confirmed its emptiness. The heavy blue curtains Brad had hung when they moved in a month ago were drawn across the windows, pulling a smile from her as she crossed toward the kitchen. She’d teased him about their joint living room being a “man cave,” but who was she to argue. She hadn’t found a full-time position here in Atlanta yet, and five years in college dorm rooms hadn’t left her with a ton of homemaking supplies. The only curtains she owned were floral and gauzy and hung in her bedroom down the hall. And honestly, she didn’t mind if it was masculine. From the time they’d decided to share the apartment, she’d known she wanted as much of Brad in it as she did her own style. It was like the old T-shirts she’d snitched from his suitcase whenever he visited her at FSU, only better. Here, it wasn’t just his scent surrounding her, comforting her; it was his presence. Walking into the apartment was almost as good as being wrapped in his arms. Almost.
The kitchen was empty too. Maybe he was still in the shower? Hope sent her on a mad dash down the hall that ended in a quick skid. She barely managed to stop by hanging on to the doorjamb of the master bedroom, but as she swung inside, she found Brad’s room was also dark and still. The faint scent of soap and hot water lingered in the air, confirming her fear that he’d already left for work.
She slumped onto Brad’s bed, the king-size monstrosity that took up three-quarters of his room, and let the soft comforter cushion her as she considered her options. The only thing in her mind since she’d gotten off the phone with Henry Lockwood at the Atlanta office of Child Protective Services had been telling Brad about the interview she’d landed. She didn’t want to wait until he got home around four in the morning, if she could even stay awake that long. Waiting till he woke up was even worse. And she was pouting, darn it. She hated it when she pouted. She’d just so wanted to tell him, and tell him now. If only she hadn’t been stuck waiting for the bus to bring her home.
Turning her head to bury her nose in the soft down of the comforter, she filled her lungs with the scent of Brad’s cologne and something else, something vitally him that she couldn’t put a name to. When had she first noticed it? She wasn’t even sure she knew, it had happened so gradually. He’d visited her at school every chance he got, even during summer breaks when she was busy loading up on classes so she could get through her bachelor’s and master’s programs in five years. But even when her roommates and girlfriends were falling all over themselves chasing after him, his focus had been on her. And somewhere along the line, her focus had centered completely on him.
So why hadn’t they done anything about it?
Tugging her bottom lip between her teeth, she stood and crossed the hall to her bedroom. Clothes lay scattered on most of the surfaces. Makeup, jewelry, shoes. After sharing a room with one fellow foster child or another through her teen years, always keeping her belongings locked up, protected, then doing the same in the dorm, Angel reveled in the ability to mark the space as hers. To claim ownership with the sheer presence of her things. Brad teased her about it, about “letting her hair down” after so many years of being the model foster kid, but she knew he got it. He’d understood the fears hiding down deep inside her even before she did, understood why she’d always tried to be perfect, to overachieve, to not be sent back into the system. He got her.
She eyed the folded clothes stacked at the end of the bed, ready to be put away. Right on top lay the red cashmere sweater Brad had given her for Christmas a couple of weeks ago. Their first Christmas living together—as best friends. The look in Brad’s eyes when she wore that sweater, though, went way beyond friends. It even went beyond the emotion that, if she was honest with herself, she knew she’d seen in his eyes over and over when he’d visited her at school. The emotion she’d heard in his voice every time they talked on the phone. An emotion she’d come to anticipate, to want, even if she hadn’t fully understood what it was. That look Brad gave her was crystal clear. Hunger. It made her shiver. And it felt right, as if all the years they’d spent together had naturally led to this, wanting each other as well as needing each other.
Maybe it was time to stop pussyfooting around and bring things out in the open. And she knew just how to do it.
The excitement was back again, humming under her skin, fizzing like champagne through her veins. It had her smiling as she gathered the sweater and her tightest pair of jeans and headed for the shower. An hour later she was standing outside the wide double doors that led into Thrice.
The burly bouncer guarding the door eyed the low curve of her neckline. “Hellooo.”
“Hi.” She handed over her ID, which the man dutifully checked. His eyes might’ve strayed a couple of times, but Angel just took that as a sign that she looked as good as she’d hoped.
He handed the card back, shooting her a wink. “You wouldn’t be inclined to save me a dance later, sweet thing? I get off at ten.” “I don’t think Brad would like that,” she told him, a little laugh escaping as she left him with his mouth slightly ajar.
Inside, a cacophony of music, people, and movement hit her eyes and ears, flashes of light adding to the confusion. The massive room—the center of a former warehouse, Brad had told her—seemed to sway with the ebb and flow of clubgoers filling every available space.
It took some wading to find the sunken dance floor taking up the entire middle of the room, then the bar area at the far side. When she took the time to think about it, she was still amazed that Brad had walked away from his family money and chosen to work in a bar, especially after his brother’s death. Most people would call it crazy—and a few of their friends had. But it made sense. His degree in business management meant he could work his way up at Thrice, but he also loved being in charge of the bar, interacting with customers, keeping people safe—that more than anything. He’d told her more than once that people shouldn’t pay with their lives for having fun or relieving stress, and he made sure of it with his vigilant watch over those in his care. He wanted to make a difference, no matter how small other people thought it was; they were alike that way.
His blond head came into view first, then the rest of him. Brad moved behind the room-length bar with ease and efficiency. A word here and there passed out with the drinks brought smiles to the people he served, especially the women. The feminine eyes eating him up sparked a dark jealousy in Angel’s core. But it was the look in Brad’s eyes that really mattered, and that look filled with fire when he saw her walking toward his end of the room.
His gaze swept her body, head to toe. And all the way back up. She watched his tongue slide along his bottom lip, saw him shift as if he was suddenly uncomfortable, and the knowledge that other women wanted him faded past caring. When his eyes finally met hers, she smiled, feeling the sexy edge to the way her lips curved, and put a little extra sway into her hips as she closed the distance between them. Brad leaned on the bar top, chin propped on his fist, to watch.
“Is it my birthday?” he teased when she got close enough to hear him.
A man seated on the next closest bar stool turned to look. “Maybe mine?” he asked. He was in his early twenties too, but his conservative hair and business-casual clothes didn’t fit Thrice’s vibe tonight.
“Hands off, Ryan,” Brad warned.
Ah. That explained the button-down and khakis. This was Brad’s co-manager in training. Damien’s secretary. “Hi.”
“And she has manners,” Ryan pointed out, throwing a pained look Brad’s way. He reached for Angel’s hand and leaned over to place a chaste kiss on the back. Angel felt her heart flutter at the sheer mean filling Brad’s gaze as he watched.
“And you are?” Ryan asked.
“Taken,” Brad said at the same time, straightening to his full six-two height. Angel giggled.
“Fuck off, Brad,” Ryan threw out, his eyes still on Angel.
Brad leaned over the bar far enough to pop Ryan upside the back of the head. “Language,” he snapped.
Watching the two of them was like watching brothers torment each other. Ryan was pouting now, but it didn’t earn him any points with Brad. “You can drop her hand anytime, Wonder Boy,” Brad growled.
Ryan slowly released her, but the half smile he shot her way—on the half of his face Brad couldn’t see—told her he was drawing it out for Brad’s benefit, not his own.
Brad whipped the tie at the back of his black apron open and wadded the cloth into a ball. He threw it on the counter. “I’m taking a break.”
Ryan glanced around. “Where’s your relief bartender?”
Pitching his thumb over his shoulder toward the mirror behind him, Brad shrugged. “Take a look at him.”
Ryan’s incredulous expression reflected perfectly in the mirror. By the time he started muttering protests, Brad had rounded the bar and taken Angel’s elbow.
“Get back here, asshole,” Ryan called.
Without missing a step, Brad shot a bird back at his friend. When Angel looked up at him, the amused curve of his lips had her laughing.
“You’re mean,” she said between chuckles.
“Not to you.” He shrugged. “Ryan earns it.” His mouth twitched at her laughter, though, and when he joined in, the noise and crowds surrounding them fell away from her awareness. Brad filled it up too much for anything else to intrude.
He didn’t stop at the curved railing that encircled the dance floor. Angel tugged on the hand now twined with hers. “Where are we going?”
Brad glanced down. “To get away from this noise,” he said, voice raised above the din. “The last thing I want to do is shout at each other over this mess.”
Angel agreed. Of course, going somewhere without noise probably meant going somewhere without this many people…or any people. She swallowed hard at the idea of being alone with him. She wasn’t a tease, and she’d been making it plain what she wanted for the last half hour. Now it was time to pay up. What if she couldn’t?
Nerves multiplied like tribbles in her veins as they went through the entry area of the club. Brad led her down a dark hallway to one side marked EMPLOYEES ONLY. The hall was dotted with doors, and Brad opened one about halfway down. They stepped into a brightly lit room lined along one side with lockers and the other with a comfy seating area. The counter, sink, fridge, and microwave proclaimed “break room” loudly. When the door slid shut, the sheer relief of relative silence distracted her from her nerves for about a millisecond.
“So…” Brad pulled her toward the couch but turned before they reached the brown leather monstrosity. His gaze went straight for her breasts in their soft red cover, and he seemed to lose track of what he was saying. In the moment it took for him to break himself away, Angel felt that look right down to her clenched thighs.
Shaking himself back to awareness, Brad finally asked, “To what do I owe this unexpected visit?”
Angel felt every muscle go tense. Say it! Say you have feelings for him—new, different feelings. You want him to know. He wants to know; just look in his eyes and see it. Tell him.
She cleared her desert-dry throat, opened her mouth, and said, “I got the interview.”
Not what she meant to say. Definitely not. And not what Brad expected her to say, from the sinking look on his face. But it didn’t last. Brad was Brad—a huge grin appeared, and the next thing she knew his arms were around her waist and he was twirling her through the air with a loud “whoop!”
Her smile felt bittersweet as love swelled in her chest. He was always putting her and her needs first, before what he wanted. He lifted her up, gave her whatever he thought she needed, even if it was far less than he might want. How long had he been doing that?
And how long was she going to be a coward and let it continue?
When he finally settled her on her feet, she was breathless with anxiety. She met Brad’s warm gray eyes…and immediately, all the p whirling inside her settled. She reached to cup his stubble-covered cheeks. “I came by for something else too,” she said, surprised by the suddenly low, raspy tone of her voice.
“This.” She pulled him down until her lips could meet his and kissed him.
You can pick up your copy of Brad and Angel's story at Loose Id (all e-book formats available), Amazon, All Romance ebooks, and Kobo. (B&N coming soon.) Pick up a copy and enjoy some reading time this holiday weekend!
Have a great Fourth!
This past weekend I attended my first ever book signing as an actual author. :) Or at least an author with books available. Though my books are only available digitally, I got to sit at the signing and hand out promo. It was kind of like sitting at the "big authors' table," lol. I wanted to share some of the special moments from the day with you: Me at the 2014 Annual Heart of Dixie Readers' Luncheon in Huntsville, Alabama. That little sign in front of me was actually a gift to each author, a plaque of their book cover to use as a display. Here's a closeup:
You can also see the table favors there that Dani Wade and I put together for our table guests. The bags contained rock star themed items like black glitter nail polish, tattoos, Pop Rocks, as well as copies of our "crossover" novels, Naughty Little Christmas and Settling the Score. Here's Dani and I at our table: I had the great pleasure of seeing some of my fellow Sizzling Scribes authors too, including Kerry Freeman and Debra Glass, pictured here with Dani:
There were many authors at the luncheon, as there are every year, including some of my idols like Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, Lori Handeland, Lyn Stone, Andrea Laurence, Kimberly Lang, Lynn Raye Harris, and many more, but the guest author was the best of all: Eloisa James.
And let me just say, I wasn't quite certain what to expect from Ms. James. I mean, she's a literature professor teaching Shakespeare (and believe me, with a degree in English lit, I know what some of my professors were like!). But...she was great! And her comments on "furtive" sex, whirling bits of flesh, and erections the size of the Hubble telescope were the funniest thing I've heard in a while. She was inspiring and interesting and personable and a joy to listen to.
It was a great afternoon among fellow authors and readers who love romance as much as I do. I can't wait to do it again -- and I will, in November, at the Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon in Birmingham, Alabama. Rest assured, there will be more details to come!
We romance writers, especially those of us with an erotic bent, can have some pretty weird conversations among ourselves, conversations like...oh..."where's the craziest place you've ever had sex?" And yes, we give some pretty out-there answers sometimes. ;) Here's how a few erotica authors answered the same question from Buzzfeed's Arianna Rebolini. Enjoy! ~ Ella
*Photo courtesy of Jon 'ShakataGaNai' Davis.
The shirt was designed for author Jayne Rylon, and I saw it on her Facebook page. I loved it so much, I ordered two -- one for day, and one to sleep in. ;)
Then, this morning, when I went on FB, I saw another Teespring campaign, this one from author Kallypso Masters:
I might have to have that one too! (By the way, Kallypso is still running her campaign, so if you love this T-shirt as much as I do, go here.)
These two great T-shirts got me thinking about Christmastime and how my daughter and I like to sit and peruse the hundreds of catalogs that come in the mail just so we can read all the T-shirt sayings that crack us up. So, I thought I'd share a couple with you that made me laugh this morning (although I think the "Good Book" shirt above has got to be one of my favorites!). Any of these can be found with a simple Google search of the quote. Without further ado...
And probably my personal favorite, having been raised with the story of Daniel and the lion's den (and wondering the whole time if I would've been the one eaten...):
Now, go forth and have a very funny Friday -- and don't forget to wear an interesting T-shirt!
This article appeared on The Review Review website -- and my Facebook feed -- last week. After a particularly long and work-heavy month, I was taking a morning of downtime and actually managed to read an article I'm interested in. Yay! I found Black tips encouraging at a time when I'm struggling to handle my workload, deal with medical issues, and still manage to be enthusiastic about revisions on my current novella. It's not easy. But the validation of seeing some of the things I'm trying to tell myself reiterated from an experienced author helped me see that I am on the right path. I'm not delusional. This really is how I should see the world. And yes, "it will get better" is just as much a fact as "the downtimes will come again." Everything has its season; isn't that what Solomon said? :) Here are a couple of the tips I found particularly helpful:
" The best you can do is the best you can do. There’s a fine line between learning from other authors, and trying to be them. Be yourself. There are more than enough different types of readers out there for us all. I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted wishing my work were more 'hip' and 'edgier.' And every single moment was indeed a waste of time. I didn’t even like much of the writing I wanted to emulate. I just liked the attention heaped on the people who wrote it. Write the book you’d most like to read – not the one you think will win over the editor du jour."
How often I have done this! I have lamented not being as good as so-and-so. I've lamented not being able to get my work in front of some big-time agent or editor. I've worried and wondered and agonized over the quality of my work -- and not believed my wonderful editor and critique partners and readers when they say they love it. It's got to stop! Can I doubt? Yes. Can I do it for more than a few seconds? No. As my daughter is fond of saying, "Ain't nobody got time for that."
"You cannot write the pages you love without writing the pages you hate. Nothing that you write is pointless, useless, or unnecessary. The product requires the process. The good days may be more enjoyable, but the tough ones are the ones they’re built upon."
Amen! Telling myself this was the only thing that got me through a period of severe writer's block (and yes, it does exist -- denying it doesn't make it so) over the last six months. I spent so much time agonizing over every word that I trained myself to have panic attacks when I sat at the computer to write. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and patience with myself to come out the other side, and still my confidence is more shattered than intact. That's okay. I'll get there. But it means going through the bad days as well as the good days -- and not being afraid to do so.
The final piece of advice speaks for itself, in my opinion. And, honestly, doesn't just apply to writing. Think about it.
"Don’t believe there are rules. There is only advice. There is only opinion. There are only my experiences and yours and yours and yours. . ."
Check out the full article and all of Black's tips here.
*Photo courtesy of AnimaTigris.
I'm heading out for a writing retreat this weekend with my Music City Romance Writers buddies, and I am SO looking forward to it. A weekend to refill my creative well, enjoy the company of people who actually understand what I'm talking about (I know because their eyes don't glaze over!), and write, write, write! In honor of my excitement (!), here are some writing-related memes for your Funny Friday enjoyment. Yes, this is the way we think, lol! So the next time you meet your favorite author, just know that this is really how their brain works. :) Have a great weekend!
And if you ever wanted to know what it's like to not be able to write? This.
I occasionally find links to posts by Chuck Wendig peppering Facebook. His blog, terribleminds, is often totally inappropriate, which might be why I like the articles of his I've read: no holds barred, totally irreverent, but usually so totally true as well. This past week someone linked to an older post of Chuck's about what we as writers should not do (as opposed to all the multitude of things we're told we should, every day, day in and day out--it's exhausting). So, writers, read this post and take a good, long look at your writing life. Are there things you need to change? Here's one of my faves: "Fear is nonsense. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to be eaten by tigers? Life will afford you lots of reasons to be afraid: bees, kidnappers, terrorism, being chewed apart by an escalator, Republicans, Snooki. But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year."
Read more at "25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing."
My first published book comes out on Tuesday. Dirty Little Secret will release from Loose Id, and it's one of the most exciting moments of my career as an author, one of those "firsts" I'll remember for the rest of my life. And it wouldn't have happened without the people who walk beside me in this writing life.
I've been blessed to have one very important influence in my life as an author beside me since the moment I was conceived. My twin sister, Dani Wade, didn't look at me funny when I spent some of our teenage years writing stories. She went to college with me, almost all the same classes even, earning identical degrees in English Literature. She has loved me and allowed me to lean on her when life got in the way and I was trying to find myself, to grow and discover who I really was -- heck, when I was just trying to keep my head above water sometimes! And when I followed her on this path to writing and sent her my first novel, she didn't poo-poo the idea or put down my skill or jump down my throat about crowding into what had been "her" area of expertise for so long.
She encouraged me. She taught me. She still serves as guide and mentor and critique partner and plotting partner and accountability partner and so much more. I would not be where I am today without her. When I think of my best friend, it has always been her, and I can't thank her enough for all she has meant in my life. I love you, sis! You have given me so much; I can't express how much you mean to me.
I was also blessed a couple of years ago (God, has it really been that long?) to meet an amazing writer who has been a source of encouragement to me on a leg of this journey that has involved a lot of rejection, frustration, and confusion. Gina L. Maxwell came into my life when I sent her an e-mail out of the blue one day in response to an old ad for a critique partner she'd posted online. I didn't even know if she'd answer me, but she did, and we struck up a friendship. We've only managed to meet twice in "real" life, but I have learned a lot from this friend. She is something I definitely am not -- outgoing, lol! She connects with people, with readers in a way I don't know if I ever can (she has a gift, let me tell ya!). I admire the way the most beautiful writing just flows from her fingertips, the just-right turn of phrase, the totally HOT alpha males she can create. But most of all I admire how genuine she is. She's all out there, and gives of herself generously to readers and friends alike. She's the one who read Dirty Little Secret and said, "I love this book! But girlfriend...that ending? Uh, no, it's gotta go!" :) So it did. This book would not have sold without her honesty and her encouragement. Thanks, girlie! I'm grateful we were born at a time when becoming friends didn't rely on living close together, because I wouldn't want my life to lack your spark. ;)
Writing is a journey. It doesn't happen overnight, and (hopefully) it doesn't end with the publishing of a single book. To be an author, you have to be in it for the long haul, and I am. But as much as I have the drive to do what I love, my family doesn't love writing! They have their own loves, but guess what? They get dragged along behind my job, just like all our families have to deal with the peculiarities of our jobs. But they have stepped up to support me in every way they can. My two kids ask about how my books are going, do their best not to interrupt when I'm on a deadline, step up to help out when I'm in a crunch and need extra hands to get everything done. My husband is...amazing. I know many authors whose husbands do not support their writing, who get jealous of the time this work takes despite the fact that those same husbands get to do the jobs they want to do. My husband has a demanding job, but he doesn't begrudge me the pursuit of my dream. He doesn't complain that my work makes me as busy as him at times. He doesn't give me a hard time when I disappear for hours with my computer and my characters and leave him holding the responsibility for the household. We work together to make our family all it can be, and he gives my work the same respect I give his. I could not ask for more when it comes to a life mate. I am truly blessed with my children and my husband. They "get" me in a way many writers are not gifted with in their family. Thank you so much, guys. Thank you for enduring the fast-food dinners, the distraction when I'm off in my own world, the stress when I'm trying to meet a deadline. I love you all more than I can say. I can only pray I support your dreams as much as you have supported mine.
On Tuesday, when Dirty Little Secret is released, it will have my name on the cover. The words inside will be mine (well, along with suggestions from my editor -- thanks, Rory!). But in reality, it wasn't just me that wrote this book. It was me, and all the people who walk beside me, every day, every step. They'll walk beside me during this special moment and hopefully many more. They say it takes a village to raise a child; maybe it takes a village to raise and support an author as well. I know I'm very thankful for mine.