As Close As A Christmas Wish

...which came in second in Michelle Rowen's Holiday Short Story contest, will be posted on Michelle's blog on Wednesday 12/23. It's a little different than my usual fare, so I'd love it if you stopped by and let me know what you think!

Happy Holidays everyone!


Say hi to the amazing Lynne Roberts!

I'm so pleased to have a chance to interview my friend Lynne Roberts. She's a great writer and fun to boot. :) Her latest scorching release, After Hours, is out now with The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses. Pick it up now - you won't be disappointed!

1) First off, tell us all about After Hours. I've read this one, and it's a scorcher that will definitely warm up those cold winter nights! What was your inspiration for the story?

The idea for AFTER HOURS was conceived one early summer day when I was taking my teenage daughter to school. We stopped at a red light and this man crossed the street. The way he moved would have drawn any red-blooded woman's attention, and I'm no exception. I watched him walk all the way... to the high school. He was a student and I felt, for the first time, like a cougar. Okay, I blushed. But I also started wondering if it was a design of the hip that made some men walk that way, almost predatory, definitely yummy. Somewhere along the way, David was born.

2) After Hours is a cougar tale. As some of you know, I like those myself (actually, I think your David and my Alex would be good friends, LOL.) Why did you want to write a story about an older woman/younger man? And in your opinion, what age officially starts cougardom? (I have no interest in this answer myself, I swear!)

It has nothing to do with the fact that I could be considered cougar-aged. Nope. Nope. Not a thing. Let's face it, when you're in your thirties and forties, a woman is in her sexual prime. We need a younger man to keep up with us... literally. And they are so pretty to look at. 

I don't have an answer to when you enter cougardom. (35?) I think that you can't be a cougar too young because the younger man has to be old enough to know a thing or two.

3) Since I'm all about the se...uh, attraction, what attracts Elle to David and vice versa? And do you have an excerpt to leave us salivating for more?

Elle is attracted to David's walk, his scent, his voice and to his masculinity. David is attracted to Elle's appearance and her experience. He wants a woman who knows who she is and what she wants. Lucky for him, Elle wants David. Bad.

This is a scene in which David and Elle are working together: He still wore a pale blue button-down shirt but had removed his tie and unfastened the top buttons to reveal the silky smooth skin below his neck.

Picking up a heavy box of files, he moved it from the desk to the floor. His chest muscles rolled with the effort. Was there hair farther down? Perhaps a trail leading all the way to heaven?

Stop it, girl! But for a moment she imagined undoing the rest of the buttons, letting her hands explore his chest and tiptoeing her fingers down his firm stomach to satisfy her curiosity. That's not the only thing I'd satisfy.

She swallowed with a suddenly dry throat. At least she knew where the moisture went. Maybe I just shouldn't wear underwear.

As though he could hear the thought, he looked up, met her gaze and smiled that dazzling smile that made her knees weak. She was melting into a little pool of wanton need in the chair across from him and he had no idea.

Yummy, right? Let me tell you, that hint of goodness is only the beginning! ;)

4) Your first story, First Date, came out recently from The Wild Rose Press's Wilder Roses. How long had you been writing before you sold your first book?

I've been writing for six years, but I took some time off to edit three manuscripts, two of which have been published by Random House. I wrote FIRST DATE almost on a dare to myself. It was challenging but fun. So much so that I sat down and wrote AFTER HOURS.

5) What one piece of advice would you give aspiring writers? 

Write. And when you don't feel like it: write. There are scores of things we all need to learn regarding grammar, pace and technique, but you can't edit an empty page. Second to that would be to find a good critique partner.

6) And just for fun: if you had to pick, would you prefer stamina or experience in a man? Of course, getting both in one would be a nice bonus. ;) Why?

Have I ever told you that you're an evil woman? I should.

I think, if I had to pick, experience. You see, if I had to choose between one or two pieces of premium chocolate and a box of ordinary chocolate, I'd take the premium and let it melt in my mouth, savoring it slowly.

Great answers! Thanks Lynne! If you want to find out more about Lynne or her work, stop by her blog or follow her on Twitter: Lynne Roberts. And don't forget to go buy After Hours! Believe me, you won't regret it! ;)


Second place!

Yes, I changed my blog again. This feels just a bit more holiday-like to me.

And since it's the holidays, that means it's time for holiday music, crazy shoppers, eating way too much and writing Christmas stories. ;) I've discovered I love writing short shorts (a couple K or less) so when Michelle Rowen, one of my favorite authors, decided to hold a writing contest to "give back" to the writing community, I jumped all over it. As everyone who knows my work has seen, I like to write funny. It's my comfort zone, as much or more than the sexy stuff. But this year the funny's been harder to find, so I went with a story much closer to where I was at mentally. And As Close As A Christmas Wish was born. If you're interested in reading it, it will be available on Michelle's blog on Wednesday, December 23rd. I'll be sure to post a link here then.

In the meantime, please stop back on Monday December 21st, when the lovely Lynne Roberts will be my guest here to talk a bit about her new sexy novella, After Hours.


Rx for Saggy Love Scenes

And speaking of things that don't sag... ;) I normally don't post pictures this explicit, but in honor of my blog topic at Leah Braemel's blog on Wednesday, I wanted a good visual. Not only will I be sharing my tips for improving a saggy love scene, I'm giving away my first (and maybe only) copy of Full Disclosure since its release. Please stop by!

Oh, and click here to go to Leah's... ;)


I'm not really here...

I'm popping in just to say that I'm at my lovely CP Helen Hardt's blog today, with yet another excerpt from Full Disclosure. This one shows a bit of Alex's naughty side, which is a pretty big part of his personality. ;) I've been looking forward to having one of my heroes on Helen's blog for a long time now, and that day's finally come! Please stop by if you get a chance.

My awesome friend, fellow Scarlet Rose author Lynne Roberts, reviewed Full Disclosure on Friday here, and she said so many nice things that I feel compelled to say no money changed hands. ;) I also got a great review from my amazing friend, fellow Scarlet Rose author April Vine, which I'll try to post here soon. I'm feeling very grateful for my friends right now...thanks so much. 

Otherwise, I'm probably going to be scarce for a bit. Lots going on, and I haven't been making my blog rounds as I usually do. Hopefully I'll get back to that soon, but in the meantime, know I'm cheering all of you on and/or supporting you, whichever the case may be.

Happy Holidays.


I'm at Lindsay's Romantics...

here on Tuesday, talking about author branding. Please stop by! Yeah, I know it's almost Wednesday, what can I say? Time's a fluid thing. ;)

Also, I have a thought for all of you to you think writing has a rhythm? Can you feel when the notes are off, and if so, what do you about it? Do you keep typing anyway, hoping the overall melody evens out? Or do you start over from scratch? I had my own experience with that recently, which I will share later this week.

Oh, and if you didn't know...I can relate everything to music if I try hard enough.

And to brighten your almost-Wednesday...


I'm at Kaye's!

On Monday, I'm hanging out at my friend Kaye Manro's blog, talking about blasting through my comfort zone. Come join me and tell me about when you left your comfort zone behind.

As you can see, I changed my blog. Again. What do you think?

And since it's Monday, I figured a little man candy couldn't hurt. It may be Thanksgiving week in the US, but I'd rather see this than pictures of turkeys any day. ;)


I'm at Lia's...and why I'm saying no to NaNo

First off, please stop by my interview on Thursday at Lia's blog!

Secondly, I'm bowing out of NaNo. In retrospect, writing a 20K novella in the 2 weeks before NaNo didn't exactly get me off to a good start, but I needed to get that draft, the followup to Full Disclosure, finished. It still needs revisions, and I have many, many projects in various stages of completion. With the release of my first book this month, and all the various promotion-related things that come with that, adding NaNo into the mix was just too much. I have a day job that gets a lot busier this time of year, along with a job freelance editing, and well, something had to give. And my sanity was not an option.

The good news? The 16K I have of my NaNo Blaze, Heat Lightning, is pretty solid, I think. The story's off to a very good start and I'm going to keep going with it at the reasonable pace of 1K a day, 7 days a week. That will keep the writing muscles oiled without adding yet another stressor to my life. And seriously, life's just too short. Writing, even though it's become a business for me, too, is a stress reliever. But if I'm fighting with myself and feeling pressured and guilty to get words on a page without the promise of a check when I'm finished, I need to re-evaluate. And I have.

I think NaNo's a great thing for a lot of writers, but really, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity. Sure, sometimes you find hidden gems you never realized were there when you're writing furiously. You also write a fair share of clunker pages, because you've got one eye on the clock. I believe firmly in setting goals and following deadlines. I need them. But I think it's important to focus on the end result and how much work you want to put into it once all is said and done. I'm very happy what I've written so far is in solid shape (and one of my CPs has verified this, so I'm not totally nuts) which means this month's writing was far from a waste. 

Now to keep going.

Will I do NaNo next year? Not sure, but I'm leaning toward no. But never say never!

Good luck to everyone still doing NaNo! There's a lot of month left! 

Me, I'll keep plodding along with my daily 1K. ;)


My first ever review!

Before I got published, I vowed I wouldn't spread my reviews all over the net like attractively festooned spam. Now that I am published, I am holding to that vow - but I figure the first of anything is special and therefore exempt to any and all rules. :)

A huge thank you to Roberta at You Gotta Read Reviews. She made my night and possibly my week with her fabulous review, especially the "You Gotta Read" designation and her comment that Full Disclosure contains some of the steamiest sex scenes she's ever read. (Yes, I'm blushing...but in a good way.)

If you'd like to read the whole review, it's here.

Now I have a fully polished requested full to get out the door...and then there's NaNo! Send wine if you don't hear from me in a month or so. ;)


I'm at Once Written, Twice Shy...

talking about my long, not-so-winding road from attending Catholic school to writing erotic romance. Please stop by...we'd love to see you!

Once Written, Twice Shy

And if that's not enough...I'm also at Monica Kaye's Just a Harmless Bit of Smut!

And to spark you up on a Friday...


Just a quickie...

to mention a few places I will be or have already done interviews/guest blogs. 'Cause I just know ya'll are hanging on my every word, right? (No, I have no clue where the Southerism came from....I'm a Yank, born and bred.)

Monday, I did an interview at the lovely Lynne Roberts blog.

Friday 11/13 I will be at the wonderful Monica Kaye's blog as part of her First Sale Fridays series (and Monica just enjoyed her debut release recently as well!) Also on Friday, I'll be at Rebecca J. Clark's blog (yet another amazing author with an upcoming debut, Borrowed Stilettos, which will be released from The Wild Rose Press in Feb. 2010) with a post about how writing erotic romance...uh, exploded right through my comfort zone. (See, I can add sex into everything!)

And over on Word Wenches, I'll be discussing my NaNo-induced performance anxiety. Stop by if you're afraid exactly what I may mean by that statement. ;)

I'd love it if you stopped by to read my words...they may not be full of wisdom, but hopefully at least they're semi-coherent! (After this week, who knows?)

In other important news, today is my good friend and CP, Helen Hardt's release day for her first EC title, Slow and Wet! I've read this one, boys and girls, and it's a scorcher! I'm off to buy my copy right now.

Until next time, let the sight of the gorgeous Henri Castelli calm your nerves...or rev them up. Whatever. ;)


It's Full Disclosure's Release Day!

Here's the blurb...

Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left at her law office, she investigates Hunk Du Jour, a website designed to foster ‘adult connections’. After weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with surf hunk Kent, she's ready to test their chemistry in person. But first she has to get through lunch with her colleague Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. When their consultation ends with a bang, she barely remembers the man she'd lined up for dessert. Now she thinks she's juggling two hot young guys. How can she choose between her two gorgeous cubs – and why do they remind her of each other?

To celebrate, I'm posting one more excerpt here and another on my fabulous CP, Helen Hardt's, Yahoo group. Not a member yet? Click here to join!

Her hearing was fine. Her vision 20/20, according to her last check-up. So why were Alex’s last words ringing in her ears and his ridiculously handsome visage swimming in a sudden haze of lust? 

Oh, yeah. Because he’d just let her have the butter, then followed up with a casual “I want to fuck you” as if there was an appropriate answer to that. 

Yes? No? Maybe, edging toward an enthusiastic, fist-pumping “yes!” if he happened to be, oh, ten years older? 

For God’s sake, he was her colleague. And he was twenty-six. Twelve years younger than she was. Almost half his life younger. 


She took a slow, deliberate bite of her roll. She was so stuffed she’d probably waddle away from the table, but it had felt so natural to talk and eat with him. Like he was an old friend she wanted to lick like a tootsie roll. “I could be your mother.” 

“Not quite.” Both his tone and his cheeky grin proved he didn’t have any issues with her age. Or anything else. “And you’re not. So what’s the problem?”
Good question! If you'd like to know the answer for yourself, please click here to purchase Full Disclosure!

In honor of my debut release, I'm at the lovely Christina Phillips' blog, answering her probing questions. The wonderful JA Saare has posted yet another excerpt on her blog. Do I have awesome friends or what? 


In honor of Full Disclosure's release on Friday...

I thought I'd post a few excerpts over the next couple weeks, just to whet your appetite for more. ;) Enjoy!

Alex's hair brushed his collar, messily kempt in its own wayward style. Holly doubted he’d seen a barber in quite a while. She also doubted he was the type of man who’d wince if she yanked his hair too hard during sex.
That sealed it for her, and placed the cherry red lipstick kiss on the envelope. After her sexually anemic ex-husband, she deserved a young stud. And hell, she’d make sure the young stud got a lil’ something out of the deal, too.

After the waitress took Alex’s card, she rose. Her poker face had always held her in good stead. She’d simply act as if she were a sexy older woman who expected her every sexual demand to be met. He’d never guess the back of her neck had already dampened, despite the air conditioning. “Your place or mine?”

Alex stood beside her, drawing her gaze up to his sculpted jaw and the sexy cleft in his chin. He was taller than her five-ten by a good four inches. There weren’t a lot of guys who made her feel small—okay, smaller—but he did.

Of course, she’d noticed his height--and the way he filled out a pair of trousers--in the office. She’d pretended not to notice, just as she pretended now to be unmoved by the heat of his fingers on her wrist. But that single contact tightened her nipples to painful nubs.

Come to Mama.

“Let’s go to your place. I want to see where you live.” His gaze skipped over her face and continued down over her discreetly displayed cleavage in a way that was more proprietary than proper. “Where you sleep.”

When his fingers brushed her thrumming pulse, she gave him a flirty smile. “Where I won’t be sleeping tonight.”


Full Disclosure has a release date!

And it's next Friday, so anyone I owe blog posts, answers, etc. to can expect to receive them very soon!

Happy Halloween! ;)

The witching hour is at hand...

Halloween Countdown Generator @

Want to read some great Halloween short stories? (And yes, including one of mine?) Please stop by Lindsay's Romantics! My story is called One Kiss Before Midnight.

Have a wonderful holiday!


The last week before NaNo...

and I'm buried in galleys, edits on a requested full, new writing...and general life. So I figured what better time to show off my pretty new cover for Full Disclosure (my first ever cover!) I've badgered lots of you with it already, but for those of you that haven't seen it...

Huge thanks to artist Angela Anderson and my awesome editor, Karen Welwyn at The Wilder Roses.

Before you go, please stop by Word Wenches. I'm looking for feedback on what kinds of contests work best for you. Oh, and my cover's up over there, too... ;)

Now I'm heading back to my cave...


Keeping it fresh...

Who among us doesn't find writing sex monotonous once in awhile? Especially when you've written a lot of it. But the following advice can apply to any kind of scene - action, the climax, etc. Always making sure your scene is unique to your characters is key.

Via Charlene Teglia's blog...

"The thing with writing good sex scenes, as the thing with writing everything else, is this: telling detail, man. Not a chair: this chair. Not a cat: this cat. Not a sex scene, idealized or farcical, but this sex scene, right here, right now, with these two characters having this sex. When you get the off-beat, perfect detail just right, and it makes the scene concrete and real, that’s called fabulous reality. If you have that, you can do no wrong." - Elizabeth Bear

Also, please stop by Word Wenches, the blog I share with my lovely CP, Tara Leigh Coons, and share with us why YOU write. It's amazing how different the answers have been so far, yet they're also so similar. 


Welcome Becca Simone, author of Midnight Treat

It's almost Halloween and I'm very excited to welcome Becca Simone, author of Midnight Treat, the #1 bestseller at the The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses. Becca generously agreed to answer some questions about her scorching Halloween-themed release. Buy it here.

1) Midnight Treat is your debut release. What juicy details can you tell us about Josh and Cassie?

Well, as of right this moment, it’s #1. What an awesome feeling. I love my characters in this story, especially my heroine. I think a lot of readers can relate to her because she’s just like us. She’s not beautiful, she’s of average size and weight, she has a regular job—just your average Jane. She’s always the one in her group of friends who goes home alone, who is the designated driver, who never gets the guy. Until Halloween night. Josh breaks into her apartment by mistake, thinking he’s about to fulfill the naughty sexual fantasy of a woman he met at a Halloween party. Cassie knows immediately his mistake, but chooses not to tell him he has the wrong woman. For just one night, she wants to be the right woman.

2) Nothing is quite as sexy as a Halloween story. (I may be a wee bit biased since it is my favorite holiday and all...) There's just something about putting on a costume and letting go of your inhibitions. How did you come up with the idea for Midnight Treat?

I remember a friend telling me once that she’d gone to a costume party with what she thought was a one-of-a-kind costume. Turns out she was wrong. Her friends kept getting her mixed up with the other woman. That idea stewed in my head a long time, just waiting for the perfect story. When I decided to try my hand at writing erotica, that’s the idea that screamed to be written. Which leads to your next question.

3) Are you new to erotic romance? And what made you decide to take the big plunge?

Yes, Midnight Treat is my first published work. I’ve been writing for years (straight contemporary), and always enjoyed reading really hot stories. A couple of my good friends write erotica, and while I loved reading their works, it never really dawned on me that I could write it. I’m shy and somewhat conservative, for goodness sake! But after a big-time agent rejected one of my manuscripts a couple of years ago and I later ran into her at a conference, I asked her if she had any suggestions for me. She said she thought I had the ability to write REALLY hot and suggested I try it. So I did. And I love it. I have so many ideas, I wish I had all the time in the world to write them.

4) For the aspiring authors among us: what is one thing you wish you'd known before getting published?

I wish I’d known how much time goes into marketing and promo. I would have come up with a plan before I’d sold, rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

5) What else are you working on right now? Any upcoming releases we should know about?

I have an upcoming full-length release under my real name, but because my mother googles my name daily and I really don’t want her to know this side of me (nor do I want my conservative boss to know…YIKES), that name shall remain, um, nameless. I’m currently working on three erotica short stories/novellas which I hope to submit by the end of the year. This is a busy time for me in my “real” job and personal life (yes, writing is a real job, too, but it’s so much fun writing erotica, it doesn’t feel like work), that I don’t have much writing time.

6) And for fun: boxers, briefs or...nothing at all? ;)

Hmm, that’s a hard one (no pun intended). My DH looks awesome in all three. Do I have to choose? Maybe I’ll go make him model all three, then I’ll get back to you. :)

Want to find out more about Becca or her books?  Visit


You never forget your first...

It's October 9th, and today I'm thrilled to welcome debut author and fellow Scarlet Rose Lynne Roberts! First Date is out now from The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses, and to commemorate popping her publishing cherry, Lynne is celebrating in a big way on her blog and elsewhere. And I'm happy dancing with her! She generously wrote up this great post about her journey to this day, and I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I did. Then go off and buy First Date! ;)

Take it away, Lynne!

In the spirit of my first release, First Date, I’m here to write about being published for the first time.

When I sat down and to write this blog, I thought I could focus on the road to publication or the tricks of the trade (not that I know many).  Definitely, I could write about perseverance and how to handle rejection. But as I thought about it, I realized that the road to publication is different for everyone. So instead of going into generalities, I thought I’d stick with a brief glimpse of my road I’d like to call: There is a contract with my name on it. Ready?

There it is, in your email. You feel the excitement bubbling up inside of you, perhaps a little squeal escapes. So what do you do? Well, tell everyone. You receive the congratulations with a kind of stunned disbelief. Yes. This is really happening to you. I bet you’re even looking forward to the editing letter. Hello! It’s. An. Editing. Letter! Like from a real editor, at a real publishing house.

It seems like you’re waiting forever. And then you get it. Deep breath, okay, you can do this. You’re a writer *teehee* At this point you giggle because it still feels kind of like cheating to say that.

You work hard and send that editing letter back way before the deadline. A few weeks later, here it comes again.

Mmm. Not quite so excited to see this one, but okay, obviously you didn’t get all the kinks out. You glance through the letter. Holy Moly! No kidding didn’t you get all the kinks out. Who knew you could even use the word ‘pull’ that many times. I mean pull? And how many times can there be ‘as’ in 8K words? Hold on a minute:  1,2,3…20! Yikes. 20!

So back to work and the manuscript you slaved over becomes a puzzle. You can’t use groan here because you’ve used it on the prior page, but growl is out too. Twine, wind, bury…. It’s time to play the synonym and clever rewording game. I’m not even going to go into the autonomous body parts—my mind is wandering.

Okay screech stop.

Somewhere around this point you get to see your cover for the very first time. This is truly an overwhelming moment. And yes, you’ll celebrate… as soon as you get those revisions done.

Suddenly it dawns on you. This book is actually getting published. You need someone to buy it! So, you jump right into the promotion whirlwind, which begins to feel more like a tornado. Blog? Website? Trailer? Oh my! Yes, you will feel like Dorothy.

Eventually, you finish the last revision (after try number 6) your editor said it’s a go and by this time you don’t want to see the !@$%^ manuscript for a long time.

No! I’m joking. It’s great! Buy it. Please.

Okay seriously. You’ve worked hard and under a deadline and you’ll celebrate, as soon as you get a little energy. *cue dramatic music* and then here come the galleys.

Galleys, piece o cake right? Um, no.  Galleys:  in which you pick apart every single word you’ve written... several times… to get them all just right… again.

But then comes the day, the long awaited release day. There it is, your book, available for purchase and suddenly, everything was worth it.

And then you get your first review… LOL I haven’t gotten yet. Stay tuned. : )

Cari, thank you so much for letting me borrow your blog! You rock! 

Right back at you, Lynne! Huge congratulations and wishing you many more release days! Now I'm off to buy First Date...

Edited to add... because I was a remiss blogger last night...don't forget to pick up Helen Hardt's Blood Wolf, and J.A. Saare's Soft as Moonlight. Both released TODAY!


Ink me...

Okay, that's a lie. I have no tattoos, but only because I'm indecisive and a big wuss when it comes to pain. But thanks to my friend J.A. Saare's insightful comment on last week's blog post, I decided to blog on this topic.

I know some people have negative opinions of people with tattoos. I'm not one of them. To me, tattoos are creative self-expression and show the bearer has confidence. Confidence and creativity are sexy. Just like some people aren't forthcoming with what they write, some get their tattoos in secret spots. A gift they only share with a select few...

Who hasn't used a tattoo to reveal more about their character's traits? What they choose to put on their body and where they choose to put it show so much.

In my erotic vampire short,  my heroine Sydney has a dragon tattoo on her spine. Her dragon's tail has spikes...spikes that look a lot like fangs and reveal a lot more about her than even she guessed. ;)

What about you? Do you have a tattoo? Visible or hidden? And I'd love to hear if any of your characters have tattoos, and what they symbolize.

But before you go...I want to congratulate my friend, Christina Phillips,on signing a two-book deal with Berkley Heat! She's got details on her blog all about her upcoming books!

And my good friend and CP, Helen Hardt, has a release this Friday. Blood Wolf won The Wild Rose Press's Got Wolf competition last year and is the perfect choice to get you in the mood for Halloween!

Okay, just one more...LOL

Please be sure to stop back on Friday when my friend and fellow Scarlet Rose author, Lynne Roberts, stops by to pop her publishing cherry in a big way with her first release, First Date!


Is it wrong to like erotic romance?

I just read an older post on Romance: B(u)y the Book about erotic romance and saw a comment about how reading/writing it seemed to be a way for abuse survivors to reclaim their sexuality. Whatever helps on that score is a wonderful thing.

What about the rest of us? There seems to be preconceptions floating around that erotic romance is bad or somehow dirty, and not in the good way. ;) Different strokes for different folks, of course, but this is a topic often on my mind because I really struggled to accept myself writing erotic romance. Sounds funny, doesn't it? But my reading tastes have mostly drifted toward the paranormal/UF side of things, with the occasional romantic comedy tossed in, and erotic romance usually wasn't part of the mix. I hadn't necessarily planned to write it...but my CPs said I was good at it, and before you get published is a great time to try other genres. So I tried writing sexier...and lo and behold, Full Disclosure is the first story I sold.

Which brings me back to my question. Do you like erotic romance? (And your definition of erotic romance is up to you...doesn't have to be hardcore.) And if it's not your thing, why? (That was me for a very long time, and I still have my anti-erotic moments.)


Do you ever hate your writing?

Okay, okay, hate is a strong word. Are you ever...not pleased with your work upon rereading it? Do find yourself taking apart sentences and wincing at descriptions and possibly, wondering what mental condition afflicted you when you were behooved to string together those particular words in just that way?

Or is it just me?

To say I am a harsh critic of my own work is an understatement. Rarely do I like my stories upon rereading. But twice in the past week...okay, three times...I've reread some of my work and enjoyed it. Have my standards lessened? Or have I finally realized there is no such thing as perfection, and the ability to lose yourself in a story is the only true benchmark of its worth? 

Hard to say. It's funny, though, how easily I can forgive transgressions on the part of writers I love, but when it comes to my own work? Uh, not so much.

So what about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with your writing? Has your perspective changed over the years (months?)

Want more fun writing talk? Please stop by Word Wenches, the blog I'm doing with one of my CPs, Tara Leigh Coons. This week's post is about her first contest results.

(And yes, I've changed my blog again. It's Fall. I had to show my appreciation of my favorite grateful I haven't whipped out the bats and jack-o-lanterns yet!)


I've changed my template yet again...

and the bugs still have to be ironed out, but I like it. Odd that I'm going with a Spring/Summer-ish feel during Fall, but that's me. Always a step ahead (or behind, depending on your perspective.)

So for this week's scintillating blog post, I pose a challenge to my loyal blog readers. Finish this sentence:
If money were no object, and no one would ever find out, I would...

To be fair, I'll finish it first.

If money were no object, and no one would ever find out, I would find out if a place really existed like Pleasure Cove Resort in my CP Helen Hardt's hot novella, Montego Lay.

If you haven't read Montego Lay...well, suffice it to say, Pleasure Cove lives up to its name. ;)

Your turn!


Please welcome Juliana Stone!

Juliana is a debut author I met on eharlequin, the message board for writers/readers of Harlequin and Silhouette books. She's a super cool chick who not only writes kick ass paranormal stories, she also sings in a band (and anyone who knows me knows that music is my second love after writing...okay, first love, shh....)

Juliana's got a busy year ahead of her in 2010, and she generously agreed to answer a few questions about what she's got in store for her eager readers. 

1) You're a debut author with your first release due out April 2010. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Hey Cari, thanks for having me here!

Yes, my very first book evah is being released from Avon/Harpercollins next year and I can’t even tell you how excited I am!  I fell in love paranormal romance after picking up Dark Prince by Christine Feehan. I was hooked and when I decided to give the whole writing thing a try, though I loved vamps, I wanted to do something different.

The story came to me after I envisioned an opening scene where the hero is bent on revenge against his former lover.  But what if in that moment, when his chance for revenge is within his grasp, he realizes something is wrong?  That the woman who betrayed him three years ago is not the same?  That she has obviously been abused, tortured and has no memory of him?

That scene stuck in my head and the rest fell into place.  This book is about two people who have been manipulated by outside forces, and their fight for the truth and for each other.  This is the back cover blurb:

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin.  He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal.  After three long years he’s finally found her.  The hunt is over…

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair; of her treachery; of anything beyond her own name.  A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant the game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them.  Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

But the truth is far more shattering than anyone could imagine…

2) Why werejags? And why do you think shifters are so enormously popular with readers?

Jaguars are sexy, sleek and powerful.  I don’t think I envisioned Jaxon being anything else. There is something in the wildness of an animal like the jaguar that appeals to woman.  We want to tame the beast, but we want them to play rough too!  I think shifters are popular because in most instances they mate for life and there is something primal and amazing about a man who will fight to the death for what belongs to him.

3) For the aspiring writers out there, is there anything you wish you would have known before you sold a book?

I was and still am very new to this game.  His Darkest Hunger is the first book I ever wrote so every single step in this journey is new to me.  But, because I’d hung out on various blogs and online writers forums I was fairly knowledgeable about the whole process.  The one thing though, that I didn’t realize was how SLOW publishing is.  It’s awful, the waiting, and I’m a pretty impatient person!  So I find that very hard.

4) What upcoming releases can we look forward to from you?
Well, His Darkest Hunger comes out in April of next year, and the second book in my Jaguar Warrior’s series comes out in the fall of 2010.  I have a third and fourth planned but as of yet don’t have dates for those.

I also am lucky enough to have a series of shorts come out from Samhain Publishing. The Black Opals is a time travelling romance series about five sisters who protect the delicate thread of time from rogue jumpers.  Their enemy, The New Order has found a way to predict who their predestined mates are and they’re  pulled into a deadly game.  They must find their mates before the New Orders assassinates them, because if there are no more Black Opals humanity will pay the ultimate price.

The first book in this series is called Black Legacy and will be available from Samhain Publishing in February of 2010.

5) Lots of authors talk about "the book of their heart." Do you have one, and has it sold yet?

Well, at this point in time I would have to say it’s the current YA I’m working on.   It’s now in probably the third version and finally has my agent’s blessing.  She’s an amazing lady, really knows her stuff so I’m just glad I was able to pull it together.  We shall see what happens with it, but my goal all along has been to be pubbed in both Young Adult and Adult paranormal, so if I am lucky enough to sell to the YA market, I will be over the moon.

6) And finally, for fun...True Blood or Twilight, and why. ;)

True Blood all the way baby……um, all I need to say is ERIC!

Thanks for having me Cari!  This was fun!

Thanks for stopping by, Juliana! You can find out more about Juliana or her books at


Helen Hardt's Montego Lay is out today!

Summer's not over yet!  

My lovely CP, Helen Hardt, has a sizzling release out today with The Wild Rose Press's Wilder Roses. Montego Lay will definitely make you need to turn on the A/C, so be prepared!

For today's release day spotlight, she graciously agreed to tell us a little about her inspiration for the story.

1) Tell us about Montego Lay. What inspired the story and that tantalizing title?

There's actually a story here, as you can imagine, LOL. Last December, my husband and I went to a resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica called Hedonism III.  It's an adult only resort, complete with a nude beach.  We had a terrific time, and during the whole getaway I thought about what a perfect setting a similar place would be for a Destination Pleasure story.  So I invented Pleasure Cove Nude Resort in Montego Bay, which is an even more unhibited place than Hedo, if you can believe it.  Plus, using the well known locale of Montego Bay gave me my title, Montego Lay.  While the story is pure fiction, I did base some of the people and events on things we encountered at Hedo.  And I did meet a resort worker named Ace, though he didn't look anything like my Ace.  I just liked the name ;).
By the way, dh and I are going back to Hedo this December to celebrate our 20th anniversary!
2) Now that you've whetted our appetites, what other upcoming releases can we look forward to from you?   

I have two more releases this year that I'm very excited about!  First up is Blood Wolf, an award-winning dark paranormal set in contemporary Scotland.  It will release on October 9 at The Wild Rose Press in a two author anthology...

When mysterious Damian MacGowan saves Suzanne Wood from a gang of thugs in a small Scotland town, she's beyond grateful. But his possessive need to be near her troubles her.  Damian doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Suzanne. He knows only that he must have her, or he will die. As the two get to know each other, love blossoms. But Damian has a secret, and an enemy, that may keep him from Suzanne forever.

Next up is Slow and Wet, a hot western menage, releasing November 24 at Ellora's Cave.  This is my first release with EC and I'm really looking forward to it!

Jillian Reynolds loves her gorgeous bronc busting boyfriend, Dale Cross. She just hasn't told him yet. After a satisfying romp when she returns from a business trip, she walks naked into Dale's kitchen and is shocked to find another hot cowboy. Travis Logan likes what he sees and is eager to take up where he and Dale left off four years earlier–as two men giving one woman the ultimate pleasure. To please Dale–and herself–Jill agrees. Under the Wyoming summer sky, she yields to the desires of both men. They cover her in her favorite beverage, Dale’s homemade honey-lemonade, and lick every drop from her body. But will this erotic encounter lead to what Jill ultimately wants–Dale’s love?

I have two more stories under contract -- Loving Eve with Ellora's Cave and The Cowboy and the Cougar with Aspen Mountain Press.  Look for them in 2010.

Thanks for stopping by, Helen!

Want even more fun writing talk? Check out WORD WENCHES, the blog I'm doing with my other wonderful CP, Tara Leigh Coons. Tara's first post is up and we'd love to see you! 

On a more serious marks 8 years since 9/11/ you remember where you were? I do, and I won't ever forget. Time goes so fast. Make it count, and hug someone you love today.


Release Day Spotlight

Today marks my first Release Day Spotlight! It's a quick, fun way to get to know a bit about a new-to-you author, or to learn more about one of your favorites. Today J.A. Saare is on the hot seat, and she's even giving away a PDF of A Kiss Before Dying, which releases today at Amira Press, to a lucky commenter! Winner will be chosen tonight, Friday, September 4th.

Here's the blurb:
Vampire Lord Sebastian Arsov is everything Katja Morgan has ever wanted, and as their time together nears an end, she carefully constructs the ruse that will allow her to belong to her shellar in both body and soul. But sharing an evening with her beloved comes at a high price--the cost of her life. Disguised as a bed slave, Katja enters Sebastian's chambers to experience the pleasures she's been long denied, including the bite that will ultimately kill her... What is referred to as a kiss before dying. Will Sebastian discover Katja's true identity before it's too late?

Check out her gorgeous cover! 

Please welcome J.A.! 

1) Not only are you a debut author, your first two releases fall within one week of each other. Whew! Can you tell us about them, along with what other releases are on your slate for the next few months?

Sure can! I’m a paranormal junkie by design, and my first releases are a result of that fixation.  I wanted to create stories that are as hot as they are romantic, and my sincere hope is I’ve been able to accomplish that.  
A Kiss Before Dying was my first foray into erotica.  It’s the story vampire Lord, Sebastian Arsov, and the blood slave that has become his companion, Katja Morgan. Sebastian took Katja from a life on the streets, molding her into a refined and educated woman. A decade has passed, and soon Katja will be returned to the mortal world with her memories scrubbed clean.  Knowing she can only be with Sebastian if she deceives him, Katja uses an enchanted mask to hide her identity and comes to him as a bed slave.  Of course, Katja doesn’t know that Sebastian has hidden his feelings from her. Vampire law prevents them from being together, but when the sun crests, they’ll both discover just how far each are willing to go for love.

Moon Kissed is the first in a series. Lycae Adam Trevlian has waited three long years to claim his mate, a female that battles for the Thymeria human vampire faction.  Kassia Lambert is everything he’s ever wanted, and now that she’s twenty-one, she’s of age to mate. Unfortunately, Kassia hasn’t forgotten the man that treated her so callously years before.  When he bites her in the process of saving her life, she’ll be forced to face the emerging wolf under her skin, as well as the man that claims her as his own.  

You can purchase A Kiss Before Dying on September 4th, and Moon Kissed on September 11th, at Amira Press. Soft as Moonlight and Lick of Frost are novellas that take place immediately after Moon Kissed, and tell the story of Adam’s cousin, Wolfe, and his brother, Luke.  My website is always active and will have future release dates for the rest of the series as they become available.

My other works are Crimson Moon, a full-length paranormal romance that will be released by the The Wild Rose Press (TBA).  And Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between, a full-length urban fantasy that will be released by Eternal Press (TBA).  My short story, Penance, was recently accepted for the September issue of Niteblade horror and fantasy magazine.  

2) Everyone loves a sneak peek into an author's writing life. Are you a plotter, pantser or hybrid of the two? And do you have a "dream genre" you'd love to break into? If you haven't already... ;)

Since I prefer a 1st person narrative (I write both 1st and 3rd) I enjoy learning things as the character does.  So I’d say I’m a pantser with a “plot” in mind. I’ll start with an idea and let it go wild.  If something comes to me along the way, I’ll jot it down.  My urban fantasy, Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between, became slightly plotted in that I know what occurs in the following installments.  The Renfield Syndrome  and The Ripple Effect are stored away in my head.  I just have to write them.

I would love to break into the urban fantasy genre. You can include romance in the plot, and it’s so much fun to write!  But I have to say, I’m enjoying erotica more and more. Anything that pushes boundaries is something I want to see more of.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Cari! 

You're so welcome, J.A.! Don't forget to comment for a chance to win A Kiss Before Dying!


My first contract!

I finally sold a book! My editor at The Wild Rose Press, Karen Welwyn, recently offered me a contract for Full Disclosure (formerly Type Dirty To Me) my Scarlet Miniature Rose. We're just beginning edits, so it will be awhile before it's available for purchase. Still, I've been waiting for this day a LONG time!

I'm also working on several other stories. Ideas are still spinning faster than my fingers can type, but I'm trying!

Wondering what Full Disclosure is about? Here's the blurb:

Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left on her chair at her law office, she decides to investigate a website designed to foster “adult connections” called Hunk Du Jour. Holly finds a hunk there, all right, and after weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with Kent, she's ready to test their chemistry in person. First, she has to get through lunch with her much younger colleague, Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. But when their lunch consultation ends with a quickie on the side of the road, she barely remembers the man she'd hoped to enjoy as dessert. All of a sudden, she's juggling two hot young guys. How to choose? And even more importantly, why do her two gorgeous cubs remind her of each other?


The winner of a signed copy of Michelle Rowen's Tall, Dark & Fangsome...

is Vanessa! Congratulations! Please email me at cari.m.quinn (at) gmail dot com with your snail mail address, which I will forward to Michelle.

Thank you all for stopping by and commenting!


Six Questions with Michelle Rowen...Part Deux

This is my second interview with Michelle, but honestly, I could probably keep asking her questions for oh, the next five years or so. ;) She's fun, witty and a great writer, AND she's got a boatload of upcoming releases that she'll be talking about with us today. Not only that, she's generously offered to give away a copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome to a lucky commenter! In case you didn't know, T, D & F releases tomorrow, Tues. Aug. 25th, but comment for a chance to win your very own copy! Winner will be picked Tues. night.

Want to know a little more about Tall, Dark & Fangsome, the 5th and final book in Michelle's Immortality Bites series?

Immortality Bites.

Sarah Dearly’s vampire life is not all B-positive cocktails. A curse made her a nightwalker, the most vicious vamp there is; the charm she wears to curb her deadly tendencies is losing its juice; and a hunter from hell is turning up the heat. Gideon Chase will kill the ones she loves most if she doesn’t obey his orders – that includes breaking up with master vampire Thierry and turning Gideon into an immortal vamp via her bite so he can escape a doom of eternal hellfire.

Making things worse are Sarah’s growing feelings for Gideon, a bad boy who keeps showing a vulnerable side…but is it for real? Will Sarah’s dark side take over? Or can she cure herself of the nightwalker curse in time to stop Gideon and finally get the chance to live happily ever after with Thierry…forever?

Sounds delish, doesn't it? I've been following this series for two years now and still haven't come to terms with the loss of Thierry, but Michelle assures me that her demon, Darrak, in The Demon In Me will soothe my wounded spirit. I'm sure she's right. ;)

Onto the questions!

1.) Tall, Dark & Fangsome is the last book in your Immortality Bites series. (sob) Did you always envision this story wrapping up in a 5 book arc and plan it that way from the beginning? And for those of us dying to Sarah and Thierry get the happy ending we've all been waiting for?

Yep, it’s the last, I’m afraid! (sob indeed!) You know, when I first got the idea for Bitten & Smitten -- sparked from the thought of ‘what if Bridget Jones was a vampire?’ back in 2002, I figured it would be one book. Then when I finished writing it, I enjoyed the characters so much I felt it might have the legs to be a trilogy (and, in fact, mentioned this in my agent query letter). The ideas I originally jotted down for what would potentially befall my fledgling vampire were very different from what actually happened in the series. My characters had minds of their own (specifically about the love triangle in the first two books). New ideas started sparking and catching fire. However, I knew at book three that it would be a five book series and planned the last two books accordingly so all ends could be tied up as neatly as possible.

Do Sarah and Thierry get an HEA? Nice try, Cari! You’ll have to read TD&F yourself and see how it all turns out. I’m very anti-spoiler. ;)

Yes, I can admit it. I tried to trick Michelle into a spoiler. Foiled again. LOL

2.) Hot Spell, your November Harlequin Blaze, is about paranormal investigators that discover more than ghosts during their overnight in a haunted house. ;) Can you tell us a little about it, and do you have plans to write another Blaze?

I’ve always enjoyed Blazes: fun, sexy stories that seem to focus very tightly on the hero and heroine’s burgeoning relationship. My vampire series is definitely PG as far as the steamy stuff, so I wanted to test myself and see if I could write something hotter if I chose to. Turns out that I’m quite comfortable spicing things up, as long as the plot specifically calls for it.

HOT SPELL is about Amanda and Jacob, paranormal investigators at the same agency who are fairly convinced that they hate each other—despite that annoying attraction that’s always been between them. Just as Amanda’s about to quit her job and leave town, they’re partnered together on one last job—assessing a haunted house that contains an enchanted clock that, at the stroke of midnight, makes it impossible for them to resist that attraction they’ve always felt for each other. It’s an out of control desire that continues to burn long enough for them to think that maybe they haven’t just been enchanted, but cursed as well. I like curses. They seem to turn up frequently in my books. LOL

I had so much fun writing this book that I’m more than ready to write another one sometime soon. We’ll have to wait and see what the future brings!

3.) You're now working on three serieses at once. Whew! Just typing that makes me tired. For the writers among us, how do you juggle them? Do you do complicated story bibles, or are you more of a pantser?

Gosh, when you put it that way, it kinda makes me tired too! I’m lucky enough to be able to write full-time right now, and you’d be surprised how many pages you can produce if you’re not doing anything else! So that definitely helps in my multi-book production levels.

Right now I’m working on a new paranormal romance series, a YA fantasy series, and just started an urban fantasy duology. A duology is only two books. That’s hardly a series! LOL. I just have a hard time thinking of ideas that are totally standalone. My characters, more often than not, desperately want more than one book to stretch their legs.

I have a story bible for my YA series that keeps track of characters traits and locations, etc., but find that rereading the previous book will help get me back into that world. When I’m writing, I only focus on one project at a time, so I’m not really juggling everything in my head—I’m immersed in the world of my current characters.

Do I know where my series are going -- like, did I know how TALL, DARK & FANGSOME was going to end when I was writing Bitten & Smitten? Nope. I find when I write a book it often turns out differently than my original outline (I am, most certainly, NOT a pantser in this respect), and will naturally lead the way to an idea for the next book I never would have thought of beforehand. For example, when I introduced Gideon Chase, the leader of the vampire hunters, in the second book of my Immortality Bites series, I had no idea he’d play a growing role in each of the books that followed it. He was just supposed to be a distant threat—one of many Sarah has to deal with. But opportunity presented itself and I went with it because it felt right. Plus the fact he happened to be a gorgeous billionaire definitely helped. ;) I guess I’m a “trust your gut” kind of writer, which is kind of funny since that’s one of the main story themes I explore in my books.

So long story short: I carefully outline each book before I start writing, but I have no idea where the series will eventually lead down the road. That’s as scary as it is exhilarating!

4.) And one more writing question - what do you wish you'd been told before you sold your first book?

That JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer are the exceptions to the rule? Ha. No, seriously, (although that is a valid point), let me think...

You know, it’s funny, but absolutely nothing comes to mind. I’d researched the crappola out of this industry as I was aiming toward getting an agent. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises for me along the way.

I guess I can say that it was a difficult, albeit obvious realization that not everybody is going to like my books. Bad reviews happen to every author and it’s not personal, yada yada. In fact, the most popular authors have some of the worst reviews (check Amazon if you doubt that!). If 1000 people review your book, a good 100, at least, are going to hate it. This is why there are so many choices in fiction—to cover so many different tastes!

I guess a good piece of info to have going into publication is write what you love. Not just because it makes the path to publication easier on you, but because once you’re published that is what, more than likely, you’ll be expected to produce on a regular basis. Don’t write a paranormal just because it’s the hot genre if you secretly hate paranormals. Because if you get published, your editor is going to want more paranormals in a very similar vein (no pun intended). It sounds simple, but it’s not. You can very easily paint yourself into a corner time-wise writing things that you’re not totally gung-ho about—and then have zero time to focus on what you really want to write.

Luckily for me, I am writing exactly what I love, plus, because I’m fairly prolific (able to write 4 books a year without freaking out...well, much), I’ve had the opportunity to explore my darker side a bit (with my Michelle Maddox book, Countdown, and my new urban fantasy duology which will be written under another pen name) as well as keep writing the lighter books that have become my Michelle Rowen “brand.”

5.) What can we look forward to next from you? After Thierry...I mean, Tall, Dark & Fangsome, and Hot Spell, that is.

Well, I have a new paranormal series starting up next year with Berkley Sensation. It’s a romantic look at demonic possession. :) The first book is titled THE DEMON IN ME (May 2010). My heroine, a psychic who has recently inherited half-ownership in a detective agency, is possessed by a sexy demon who needs her help to break the curse he’s had for 300 years. (See? Curses rock!) Luckily, he’s able to draw on her psychic energy in order to take form during the day, but is bound to her body at night.

I’m beyond excited about this fun new series and believe that the hero, Darrak, is my favorite so far. Don’t tell the others, though. They’re very sensitive. ;)

I also have a YA series, DEMON PRINCESS, starting up this October about a sixteen-year-old girl named Nikki who finds out the father she’s never met before is a demon king from another dimension. This also has a hero to die for, Michael, but since he’s only seventeen, I won’t admit any major authorial lust for him. *whistles innocently*

6.) And just for you think they were right in not recasting Jacob for New Moon? I know you were Team Jacob in the books, but it seems as if you've crossed over to the other side for the movies. (For those that don't know, Michelle is a wee bit of a Twilight fan. ;))

A Twilight fan? Who, meee? *more innocent whistling*

Yes, I was all for replacing Taylor Lautner as Jacob in New Moon with someone older and taller and super-sexy-hot. I have since decided that Taylor is perfect for the role, he has fought like a wolf for it, and despite his baby face, has a killer bod and seems to have great chemistry with Kristen Stewart, according to the trailers which I’ve seen...oh, a few (hundred) times. However, this casting decision has forced me to officially shift to Team Edward (for the movies, anyhow), since seventeen is just...too...darn...young. Robert Pattinson is 23. Which is perfectly acceptable to me. ;)

To order Tall, Dark & Fangsome (you know you want to!)

Want more of Michelle? You can find her at

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! And don't forget to comment for a chance to win!