Welcome romance author Cris Anson!

I'm so happy to have romance author Cris Anson here today! Not only do we share an EC editor, the awesome Jillian Bell, but I'm always excited to find a great new contemporary author to try.

Check out Cris on her incredible cover for What She Needs! Isn't it beautiful? And her "friend" isn't bad either. ;)

Take it away, Cris!

1) What was your inspiration for What She Needs? 
Part of the inspiration came from real life. I attended my first Romantic Times convention sporting a black eye (I really did run into a door—the cabinet door under the kitchen sink as I swooped down to catch a fumbled flashlight). Because everyone knew I wrote erotic romance, I made light of it by saying, “I didn’t say ‘Yes Master’ quick enough.” Too bad a Dom didn’t come up to me and say, “Then maybe you need a new Master” the way Kurt did to Delia in WHAT SHE NEEDS. After that, the characters started throwing sparks off each other and I just hung on for the ride.

2) Love your cover! It's gorgeous! How did you get a chance to model for it? 
Last October, at Ellora’s Cave first RomantiCon, I was approached by Art Director Syneca and asked if I’d like to do a photo shoot with hunky Angelo. (At the same shoot, Tara Nina posed with Taylor and Eve Vaughn with Rodney as well.) Only one answer there, right? So I spent 15 minutes gazing into Angelo’s eyes as cameras clicked away. Syneca’s skillful use of PhotoShop made me look thirty years younger LOL. BTW, my blog detailing this adventure will be available all this week (July 26-August 1) at Author Island

3) There are lots of "shoulds" and "have tos" in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?
I’ve heard so many times that you must sit down the same time every day. Write every day. Get into the habit every day. Well, that doesn’t work for me. I can go days (weeks?) without writing then sit down and knock back 25 pages in a weekend. You have to find what works best for you.

4) What keeps you at the keyboard when you're not sure if you should keep going?
If you find the answer to that, please let me know. I’ve spent lots of time just playing spider solitaire because I can’t get revved up to write. But eventually I get angry enough at myself for procrastinating and…see above for the 25-pages comment.

5) Do you have a "dream" genre or book of your heart you'd love to write?
I’m doing it. When I was first published, I wrote romantic suspense (under another name), but my editor kept telling me to tone down my love scenes. When I heard about Ellora’s Cave, I was ecstatic to think I could be as steamy as my muse was urging me to be. So my first book for them was DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS— in Chapter One the heroine dances the veil dance at a masquerade until she’s naked. And it gets even steamier. I love writing for them!

6) What are you working on right now?
At that same fateful RomantiCon last year, I was invited by one of the “Cougar Challenge” authors to join them. So when I was writing WHAT SHE NEEDS, I expected it to be part of that series, but my editor said it didn’t fit the guidelines and she bought it as a stand-alone book. Back to the computer I went, and I wrote a novella entitled ADDING HEAT that my editor just contracted as a Cougar Challenge book. (Check out the unique Tempt the Cougar blog, where blogs are posted by heroines in the series about their hopes and fears and the younger men they meet—and also post, um, inspirational photos of younger men.)

Now I’m getting all kinds of heat from the playboy photographer who was the hero’s best friend in WHAT SHE NEEDS, so I’ll be writing his story next. While WHAT SHE NEEDS has a steamy-hot ménage a trois, I might take the sequel a little further…depends on the characters’ wishes, of course.

By the way, here’s the blurb for WHAT SHE NEEDS:

Older widow Delia Barnes greets fellow authors before an erotic romance convention sporting a black eye, which she explains away with “I didn’t say ‘Yes, Master’ quick enough.” Sitting at the bar, burned-out ad executive and former Dom Kurt Reinhardt overhears that comment once too often and interrupts to suggest, “Maybe you need a new Master.”

Urged by her friends to accept the younger man’s invitation to learn some D/s basics—hey, an author needs to do her research, right?—Delia joins him to get first-hand experience at being submissive, starting with removing her panties in a corner booth. Later, she learns more than she bargained for when she spends a weekend at Kurt’s home with his eager business partner added to the mix.

But an innocent misstep brings Delia’s world crashing down around her. Can she trust Kurt with her heart…and her life?

You can read an excerpt of WHAT SHE NEEDS and buy the book at:

If you want to know more about RomantiCon 2010, here’s the link:

To read more about me and my books, please check out my Website:

I also have a MySpace page:

And an Amazon Profile page:

Thanks for stopping by! And thank you, Cari, for having me here.

My pleasure, Cris! Great interview and I can't wait to read What She Needs!


Welcome romance author Selena Robins!

I'm so thrilled to have Samhain author Selena Robins on the blog today. I met Selena after I read her recent release, What A Girl Wants. I might not have heard of the book if I hadn't been paying attention to the Samhain loop on WAGW's release day. Selena posted some amazing excerpts and I HAD to get the book. It was longer than I usually read on my computer (I rarely use my e-reader) but I went for it. And am I glad I did! I loved What A Girl Wants! It's funny and sexy and suspenseful and you feel the characters' emotions right along with them. It made me an insta-fan of Selena's work and whatever she writes in the future, I'll be sure to buy. And probably read on release day, just like WAGW. ;) I'm really excited she agreed to an interview!

Welcome Selena!

1. Your latest release, What A Girl Wants, is sexy, funny, exciting, and emotional and contains elements of romantic suspense. Did you intend to write such a genre-defying book?

Thank you, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book and I love the “genre-defying” tag.

My taste for books is the same as my passion for chocolate. I like them assorted, bittersweet, sinfully sexy and with a bite of suspense—as I never look at the chocolate box guide before diving in.

When I write, I’m not conscious of any one genre as my goal is to write the best book I can and hopefully give reader a good bang (no pun intended) for their hard earned dollar.

2. What was your inspiration for What A Girl Wants?

The friends-to-lovers storyline has always been a favorite of mine. Do I think that all female/male friendships end in true love? No. However, I do believe that a strong friendship which has an underlying sexual attraction that both people ignore for whatever reason can be the foundation for a rich-long-lasting love affair (marriage). Even with all the screw-ups and internal conflicts they have to encounter along their emotional roller coaster ride. I love the idea that even with all the baggage, personal demons, careers that test their loyalty to not only their friendship but to their love, they have to work hard at recognizing their love, and maintaining the fun, chemistry, sexual tension and excitement that brought them together in the first place—a unique-bonding-friendship.

(P.S. I married my best friend, but really, I’m nothing like the heroine, as I’m much more reserved and shy.) :)

3. There are lots of "shoulds" and "have tos" in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?

“Write what you know.” I’ve read this advice for writers in a lot of places, and in my opinion, it’s one that cannot possibly be followed and can stunt a writer’s learning curve and growth.

Has anyone actually met a vampire, angel or a fairy? (Okay, I’m sure there is some society out there who claims they have, but I’m talking about the “norm”). The same goes for hero’s we love to read and write about such as police, firemen, and Navy Seals for example. We love to write about them, but most of us haven’t been in these professions. The same goes for the villains we love to hate; mobsters, high-powered cranky talk show hosts, crooked judges, etc. If we “should” only write what we know, then we couldn’t write characters with the aforementioned professions or even delve into writing about fantasy and horror.

I would tell aspiring writers to fire up their imaginations with the emotions they  have experienced in life: first crushes, heartbreak, love, even hate, losses, gains, thrill of that first job, the kick in the gut when you’ve been fired, or betrayed, the different seasons, traveling, etc. Emotion is what I believe develops great characters and we’ve all experienced one or more of the different emotions from the time we’re born. As for the plot and the technical aspects of the novel, that we have not experienced, that’s where research comes in handy. Even if a writer has never traveled outside their own city or town, and they want to write about a foreign land, then they could still do it by fictionalizing the setting. In What A Girl Wants, there is a song the heroine loves to sing, I’ve never written a song in my life, but knowing the way she thinks, and acts, helped me to create a song for her.

I’ve heard from readers who wrote to me to tell me how they related to the heroine in WAGH (Maddie) in an emotional way and wished they could have said and done some of the things she’s said and done. I haven’t known any woman who would actually do what she did, (okay maybe some of her stunts, and I will admit to nothing) but I have experienced some of her emotions, and that’s what a writer needs to draw from, emotions they recognize and then exacerbate the feelings and situations.

4. What keeps you at the keyboard when you're not sure if you should keep going?

It’s cheaper than therapy. LOL My passion and love of books keeps me at the keyboard and also, all these characters taking up space in my head who want their stories told, I need more room up there so I have to get them out.

5. Do you have a "dream" genre or book of your heart you'd love to write?

Since my creativity challenges targeting any one genre, I don’t have a “dream” genre but I do have a book of my heart that I have somewhat started. I’d love to finish writing a story based loosely on my parents journey from Italy to Canada, growing up in Little Italy and extracting the humor from the various people in my life. My parents were extremely funny people, only they didn’t realize it, and their sharp wit (something else they didn’t realize they had) makes great fodder. Not to mention, mom was about to take her vows to become a nun, until my motorcycle riding dad in a leather jacket whisked her away (there’s a story right there). I could still hear my mother blaming her overcooked lasagna noodles on the fact that she was being punished for leaving the convent and marrying a renegade agnostic (again more fodder).

6. What are you working on right now?

I'm in the middle of finishing a suspense/romance/murder mystery set in Chicago, with an alpha-hero-undercover cop, mafia princess heroine, criminal families vs police families, quirky hookers, a variety of villains and killing characters (yes, even beloved ones). It’s probably the hardest book I’m writing, mainly because there are more twists than in a bag of pretzels, and I keep adding more. Also, this is the first hard-core alpha hero I’ve ever written. My other hero’s are 50/50 alpha/beta. The plotting is tough as this book dictates a tight plot with enough mystery to keep the reader guessing, enough suspense to keep them at the edge of their seat, and mounds of sexual tension to drive the hero and heroine insane. Even with all the challenges I face with this book, I love these characters and their story. I’m also enjoying the villain in this book a little too much (something that scares my husband, which is okay, keeps him on his toes).


Her business is mischief, his is singe-the-eyebrows off a mannequin sex appeal and keeping secrets—together their businesses are booming—together they’re trouble—together they never expected their lives would spiral out of control and on a different path than they’d ever imagined.

Warning: Side effects may include but not limited to, spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter, hot flashes and dangerous chocolate cravings. Contents include: one kick-ass heroine and a sex-on-legs hero whose kiss could singe the eyebrows off a mannequin. Can be read in bed with someone special or a BOB (battery operated boyfriend). Please note: Batteries not included.

Selena Robins Website:
You Tube Video of Book Trailer:


Welcome erotic author Annabel Joseph!

I'm excited to have fellow Ellora's Cave author, Annabel Joseph, here today. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, and I think her answers are definitely thought-provoking. I'm looking forward to picking up Deep In The Woods and checking out her other work! Deep in the Woods has one gorgeous cover, don't you agree? And check out the delicious excerpt below!

1) What was your inspiration for Deep In The Woods?

I spend a lot of time on BDSM sites and forums talking to kinky people about their experiences and fantasies to get ideas for my books. But in doing so, I’ve learned a lot about the “seamy underbelly” of the BDSM scene.  Deep in the Woods was perhaps my attempt to make sense of some of the sadder situations I was learning about.

I think in BDSM romance books especially, everything always seems to work out perfectly…the Dom is always a responsible gentleman who respects limits and adores the sub. The sub is always a strong heroine with a lot of self-respect. But what I was finding was that sometimes, in reality, there are Doms are not Doms at all, but predators, and there are subs—no matter how strong—who are taken in by these types. So I suppose some part of me wanted to explore that “less perfect” side of the lifestyle. I wanted to poke a little at the controversy of limits and consent, and the growing trend in BDSM circles to “outkink” others by playing harder and doing more and more outlandish and risky things.

I also really wanted to show a person coming back from such a relationship. I wanted to write a book about a survivor. I wanted readers to have a window into what that descent into abuse feels like, but also to see the heroine overcoming her past and making more careful choices the next time. And of course, I wanted to show what a caring, responsible BDSM relationship looks like by comparison. Hopefully I accomplished all of that while also producing a really hot, sexy, and romantic book. 

2) You write contemporary BDSM. Why do you think so many readers - and writers - find BDSM such a fascinating subject?

I think when you introduce dominance and submission into a relationship, there is just that extra level of trust and passion involved. I mean, in vanilla romance, of course you have trust, love, passion, all those things. But when you are offering yourself to someone in a BDSM arrangement, all those aspects ramp up. It’s one thing to trust someone to take you out to dinner and come home and make love to you. It’s another thing altogether to trust someone to tie you up, render you powerless, and be in complete control of you. I think it just lends that extra intensity and depth that can be very thrilling if it’s done right.

I also think so many of us have fantasies of really letting go of everything and giving ourselves up to another person’s will. I think some things women would never consider appealing in a vanilla relationship suddenly become attractive when they’re ordered by their Dominant to do it. So I think a lot of readers and writers are drawn to that sort of “boundary-pushing” that takes place a lot in BDSM.

3) There are lots of "shoulds" and "have tos" in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?

Oh, what an excellent question. Being rather new to publishing, I’m finding there are a lot of “shoulds” and expectations that are not really negotiable. But one “should” I personally didn’t follow was the suggestion that you need to read widely in your genre in order to produce publishable work. I mean, I think you need to know what audiences are looking for in *general* terms, but I think the more you read others, the more danger that you will begin to write to a formula or style that is not your own.

I would advise writers to spend their efforts developing their own original style and voice and to actually try NOT to mimic the work of other writers in their genre. In the end, it’s your own originality and fresh outlook that will make a reader say, “Hmm, this is something new and exciting. I’m going to tell all my friends about this book.”

4) What keeps you at the keyboard when you're not sure if you should keep going?

For me, I think it’s the characters in my head. I fall in love with these characters I create, and their stories begin to take on such importance to me that I feel I have no choice but to see the story through to the end and share it. I’m a very character-driven writer. Once a character is in my head, it’s like I can’t silence them. Haha. That makes me sound slightly loopy.

Readers’ positive comments also keep me at the keyboard. There’s no feeling on earth like a reader telling you that your story touched them.  It’s like a high, and once you feel it, it’s something you want to keep searching for. And there’s only one way to do that—write more books!

5) Do you have a "dream" genre or book of your heart you'd love to write?

To be honest, my “dream” genre would be writing for the screen. I love the challenge and peculiarities of it. In prose, you can say exactly what you want to communicate right there on the page, more or less. You have a lot of flexibility. But in screenwriting, you have to communicate everything through outward appearances and dialogue, which takes a lot of planning and a metaphorical touch. At the same time, there are really rigid timing and story arc conventions you have to hit. It’s a deceptively complex form of writing, and it can be very addictive once you get hooked on it. I used to do a lot of screenwriting, but so much of what Hollywood is producing right now are sequels and comic book adaptations, so it began to seem fruitless. It is a great way to hone your chops as a writer though.

6) Any other upcoming releases you can tell us about? What are you working on right now?

I’m currently in the editing stages with Fortune, which is the story of Ryan, one of the secondary characters from Deep in the Woods. He’s a shibari and origami obsessed Dominant who is very methodical about everything, but then falls for a very flighty club girl. I’m always interested in bringing people together whom, on the surface, might seem a terrible match for each another. It’s just that much more satisfying when they find common ground.

Along those lines, I’m also working on a Regency-type kinky romance that brings a rich marquis into a relationship of necessity with a common flower-seller. I just love helping characters find that least likely connection and then discover that it’s what they needed and wanted all along. Isn’t that what BDSM is all about sometimes? Taking those risks and sometimes even a lot of pain—and finding you love it more than you ever knew.

Want to find out more? Buy Deep In The Woods here:
Or visit Annabel’s website:

Deep in the Woods blurb:

Sophie finally finds the courage to re-enter the Atlanta BDSM scene after extricating herself from an abusive relationship. At a local munch, she meets Dave, a funny, laid-back erotic photographer who’s new in town. When she sees him again later at the dungeon, Sophie is surprised by her strong feelings for him. Although she’s nervous about starting a new relationship, Dave takes her home and eases her fears. They embark on a sexy, thrilling D/s relationship and Sophie finds healing and fulfillment in Dave’s arms. 

But Sophie is haunted by nightmares of her past. On a dark night in the woods with Dave and his friend Ryan, frightening memories overtake Sophie. She knows she must uncover the tragedy that haunts her subconscious to move on. Her quest for answers brings her face-to-face with her old tormentor, and Sophie finds herself not just fighting for answers, but for her life. Will Sophie ever make it out of the woods and find the peace she seeks?


   He placed a fingertip against her lips. “I’m not assuming anything. I am telling you that if I kiss you…if I touch you tonight the way I want to…”

   The way he was staring at her made it impossible to concentrate on his words. Her eyes dropped to his lips, full and sensual. His bottom lip was perfection, something to lick and nibble. Before she could stop herself, she drew her tongue across her own lips. His hand cupped her chin and his gaze forced her to focus. “Listen to me. If I kiss you… Sophie…” He leaned forward and she parted her lips with a sigh.

   The moment his lips touched hers, she felt relief. She felt a peace that had eluded her for months, perhaps years. He held her face in his hands as his mouth possessed hers. The kiss quickly intensified and his tongue pushed into her mouth. He moved closer. His hands grasped her shoulders, then ran down her arms to pull her against his chest. The entire time, his lips never left hers. He tasted her eagerly, and his kiss was demanding. She felt possessed, challenged. He could master her and she knew it. He was letting her know he could master her if that was her desire.

   Oh god. One hand moved up her back to twist in her hair. He pulled hard, sending thrills of stinging pain down the back of her neck and around to her flushed face. She arched her spine and moaned against his lips. It was not in her nature to beg, although she wanted to at that moment. She wanted to plead for what she wished. She wanted to prostrate herself before him. She wanted to surrender to the intensity and fire of his touch. His touch, his touch…his fingertips were trailing back down her arms, then to the hem of her dress. She broke away and looked around. The light. Not in the light. She pushed at his hand and he stopped and pulled back.

   “What’s wrong?”

   “I…can’t we…the light is so bright and…and your dog is staring at me. It’s kind of freaking me out. Can’t we…? I’m sorry…”

   “Turn out the lights?”

   She blushed, feeling like an idiot. “Can we please?”

   “I would like to see you, Sophie. Your lovely body. Your beautiful eyes.”

   She bit her lip, hating this moment, hating everything about it. She could run. She could just run out the door and… No. She didn’t want to run. But she couldn’t show her body to him, not at this moment. Later. She would deal with it later. And if he rejected her when he saw the scars, at least then she would have had one night to be with him.

   “Please, Dave. I’m just shy. It’s been so long and…” She looked over at Cerby again, who was helping her case by gawking at them from a couple feet away. “Your dog is sweet but—”

   “You’re telling me you’re embarrassed to get naked in front of my dog.”

   “Yes.” Yes, and please believe me. Please just go along with this.

   Dave sighed. “That’s really the problem? It’s not that you don’t want to get intimate tonight? Because hey, we just met. I’m fine with waiting. Really, Sophie, I am.”

   Nooooo. “No, I want to. I’m just… I’m weird that way.” I’m weird. I’m weird. Don’t make me show you just how weird I am. “Maybe…maybe the first time would be better in the dark. So we can really feel each other. You know?”

   He nodded, his fingers caressing her hip. “Depend on our other senses?”

   “Yes, exactly.”

   “Well, you realize I’m a photographer, that I’m very visual. We can always shut Cerby out of the bedroom. In fact, it would probably be a good idea.”

   “I guess. I mean, we could. But something about me is that I really… I really like the dark. I really, really like darkness, especially when I’m feeling…”

   “Scared?” he supplied when her voice got too tight to continue. “Are you feeling scared right now, Sophie?”

   “Nervous,” she whispered. “Because I really want to be with you.”

   He looked down at her trembling hands and then back at her face, and something in her expression must have caused him to relent.

   “Okay. Only because the first time is always slightly scary. My bedroom is really dark with the lights off, you’ll like it. We can get to know each other by touch alone.”

Thanks so much for being here, Annabel!


Welcome romance author Amy Ruttan!

I'm so excited to have romance author Amy Ruttan on the blog today. In honor of her latest release, Enemy Enchantress - check out that gorgeous cover! - she was kind enough to answer a few of my burning questions. So sit back and enjoy...and when you're done reading the interview, head on over to Eternal Press to pick up Enemy Enchantress! It's available HERE.

First, the blurb and a delicious excerpt!

As she tries to hide her true self from the gentle warrior, death stalks her. The perpetrator behind a series of attacks wants more than to destroy the precarious peace—they want her powers.

To save her people, she must reveal herself and risk his love or leave him to face the challenge—alone.

Enemy Enchantress excerpt:

He couldn’t believe what had just happened. His little Mid Dividian wife was a fireball in bed. She had taken him. He had never been taken by a woman before, and male pride dictated that he should be offended, that he should have been the one to ride her. At this moment, though, he didn’t care. That was the most satisfying mating he had ever experienced, and he looked forward to the next time.

Maybe there was a benefit to being married to a pagan. He felt the skin of her forehead pressed against his chest. He felt her lips, her hot breath against his skin as she panted. He pulled off his mask and tossed it away to look down at his wife.

His heart skipped a beat as he really looked at the red golden hair hanging over her shoulders. The enchantress rose before him in his mind; she had had red golden curls.

“Aislinn,” he said, breathing heavily, “let me see your face.”

1) You write in several different genres. Which is your favorite to write?

I think my favorite to write is still historical. It is my first love, and I enjoy writing about different times. I like to take a heroine and hero who stand up to the oppositions which stand in there way during their time period. I especially like when I can add a bit of paranormal to my historical making it all the more fun.

2) What was your inspiration for Enemy Enchantress?

I was sitting alone on my first maternity leave and entrance by Lord of the Rings. The story just began to unfold there, but life gets in the way and I put a hold on the story until after my second child was born. I entered it in a contest and finalled, then I knew I had to finish it and go after my dreams. Again, Enemy Enchantress was put on hiatus, then it found a home and the doors shut … which happens. Finally it’s found another home and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

3) There are lots of "shoulds" and "have tos" in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?

Don’t lose track of your own voice. Getting critiques and read throughs by other authors are insanely valuable, especially if you form a good partnership with a critique partner, but remember reading is subjective so be true to your own voice … what someone loves, someone else may hate. You can’t please everyone.

A piece of advice authors should follow, FOLLOW THE EDITOR/AGENT’S GUIDELINES! Remember you want to get out of the slush pile, and if your writing is everything on their ‘No’ list, then it’s best to move on.

4) What keeps you at the keyboard when you're not sure if you should keep going?

Readers, I’ve gotten some lovely reader feedback. My family and friends loving support and cheers go a long way to keep me writing. This is a dream I’ve had since I was about 7-years-old, I just have to keep going. I am very thankful for all the supportive people in my life.

5) Do you have a "book of your heart" you'd love to write?

Enemy Enchantress was the book of my heart. It was the first I finished. There are books I wrote when I was a teenager which shall never see the light of day, but it was how I passed time when I was alone or bored so they hold a special place in my heart, but they will never be unleashed onto the world I’m afraid. LOL!

6) What are you working on right now? Any other upcoming releases we can look forward to?

Well, I have several things out in the stratosphere, and a couple things which I hope to market under different pen names. The second book in my Enchantress Series: Sorceress from the Sea comes out September 7, 2010 and the third book titled Healer of the Heart, I think, is coming out December 7, 2010. I’m currently writing the fourth book of this series, Enchanter’s Slave, it’s still a work in progress. As for the things out on submissions, one includes an erotic Gladiator story and that’s all I can say.


Welcome romance author Mari Carr!

Please welcome THE Mari Carr to my blog today! I'm very excited to have her here, because I've been a fan of her work for over a year now. She was actually the first erotic romance author I read when I was trying to decide if I could write erotic romance, and once I'd read one book of hers, I was hooked! That book was Tequila Truth, part of the Black & White collection at Samhain, and I think I love the cover *almost* as much as I love the story. I'm not sure which of Mari's books I picked up next, probably Samhain's Erotic Research. Loved that one too, and so I made it my mission to collect all of Mari's books. ;) She writes a LOT of them though, so my credit card's gotten quite a workout. Not only is she an amazing writer, she's a super nice person too so I'm thrilled to help her promote her latest release, Rekindled, out today from Ellora's Cave. And yes, I'll be buying my copy bright and early today!

Here's Mari...

1) You primarily write contemporary erotic romance. Any plans to branch out into other genres?

Actually, I have written two regency historical books that are currently available at Liquid Silver. The June Girls books were the first two books I ever wrote and they hold a very big piece of my heart. I love writing historical books and I hope to return to that genre somewhere down the road. I've also toyed with the idea of writing a paranormal series of shifter dogs, but I always manage to push that a little lower on my to-do list. I think I find the paranormal genre rather intimidating, but who knows! Maybe one day.

2) Your Wild Irish series is, to me, groundbreaking in erotic romance in that the backdrop of family is so richly intertwined with the love story of the hero/heroine. What inspired you to develop this series? And do you have any tips for writing connected books?

*VBG* I love the word 'groundbreaking!' Thank you. I'd written standalone stories for nearly a year and I think if we don't challenge ourselves as writers, we grow stagnant. I love series books--adore them. The Stephanie Plum series, the JD Robb books, Madison Hayes' Calendar Girls are all some of my favorites. I'd been toying with the idea for quite some time and when I mentioned the 'urge' to my Ellora's Cave editor, she was extremely supportive and encouraging. I started putting the pieces together, creating characters, making notes (lots and lots of notes) and before I knew it, the Wild Irish were born. I come from a very large family--think My Big Fat Greek Wedding without the Greek. I love large families, love that feeling of closeness and unconditional love, so I knew my series was going to involve a family. In many ways, the Collins clan is similar to me and my cousins. Lots of fun!

And advice? Well, just what I said. Keep very good notes. I have a list of names, a timeline, synopses for all seven books. I've sketched the Collins apartment, figured out the rooms, managed to create the mother Sunday through flashbacks. All of this took very careful planning. I also re-read the stories after every two or three books. In preparation to write the last book, I just spent the last four days re-reading books one through six, so that I could remember specific events and get a feeling for my characters once more. It's time-consuming, but I've loved every minute of it. I will be so sad to leave this family.

3) There are lots of "shoulds" and "have tos" in this business. What one piece of advice would you advise an unpublished author NOT to follow?

Write from your heart, not based on what you think will sell or what is hot. Also, write what you enjoy reading. If shifters are all the rage, but you don't care for that genre, then don't write it. You have to love and believe in your story. It will show if you don't.

4) What keeps you at the keyboard when you're not sure if you should keep going?

Honestly, for me, it's not hard to sit in front of the computer. Writing is my passion. My problem stems from the fact there never seem to be enough hours in the day for me to write as much as I want to. I have a full-time job, so writing is something that has to happen on the weekends. As for writer's block, I've found it useful to skip around. Some books I can write from beginning to end. Others are just a bit tougher than that. It helps me to skip ahead to a scene I've plotted out in my mind, even if it's in chapter eight and I'm only on chapter two. I'm doing that right now on a book I'm writing. I was struggling with the opening, but I had a clear view of later scenes. I wrote down the scenes I could see and suddenly the opening came to me.

5) Do you have a "book of your heart" you'd love to write?

Well, it's been a very good year because I feel like I've just spent the last couple of months writing two books that have touched my heart, though both for different reasons. Oddly enough, book six in the Wild Irish series, Saturday Night Special, feels like the closest I've come to writing what I truly want to write--romantic comedy. I always joke that I want to be the dirty Evanovich, but that's actually very true. I had a blast writing Riley and Aaron's story in Saturday Night Special, creating wacky characters, a crazy Vegas adventure, and I still managed to squeeze in every member of the Collins family. It was a lot of fun and I'm really proud of how it turned out.

I recently wrote a very different story for me called Do Over. It's unique because the hero and heroine in the story are happily married and celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. It's a very romantic story that shows true love can indeed last and sex after 40 can be pretty damn hot! It's been accepted by Carina Press, which is also an exciting thing for me. I feel like I'm starting a new chapter in my publishing career and I look forward to working with the folks at Carina.

6) Tell us a bit about your upcoming releases. And what are you working on right now? (I more than welcome any sneak peeks of your future work you would like to share! LOL)

Well, as luck would have it, I have a new release TODAY! Rekindled is hitting the shelves at Ellora's Cave today. It's the standalone sequel to my cowboy quickie, Spitfire. Here. I'll share the blurb.

It’s been a year since her husband’s passing, and running the ranch is taking its toll on Claire Hutchins. Independent as the day is long, she concedes the need for help. She wants a foreman, an employee to run the day-to-day who can handle a woman calling the shots. Someone who won’t give her any trouble…

Who shows up at her door, first in line for the job? Jeb Carter. Ex-high-school sweetheart. Longtime rodeo star. And the one man capable of making Claire’s lust burn out of control…of making her surrender completely.

Trouble has finally come calling…and he’s as irresistible as ever.

Book five in the Wild Irish series, Friday I'm in Love, will also be coming out August 13. Here's a sneak peek of the story.

“Why are you tired?”

She closed her eyes and prayed for patience. This was how conversations with Ewan went. He asked a question, she answered, and then he asked more.

“I was reading a really sexy book last night and spent half the night masturbating with my vibrator. All those amazing orgasms can really take it out of you, you know?” She hoped her smartass comment would embarrass him, shut him up.

She should have known better.

“Shit, Nat. I wish you would have waited. I’m going to be downstairs from you tonight. I can fuck you a helluva lot better than a lousy piece of plastic.”

She’d been given Tristan’s old room on the third floor to sleep in while she was staying with the family, but sleep didn’t seem to be something she was going to be doing much of, especially not after the sexy seed Ewan had just planted.

“In your dreams, kiddo. I don’t play with children,” she said, although she wasn’t all that concerned that he was younger.

For one thing, he didn’t act young, but she supposed that was because he’d been responsible—along with his sister, Keira—for running the restaurant side of his family’s business since graduating from college. Teagan raved about his management abilities and smooth administration. The fun, sexually explicit banter he engaged in with Natalie seemed to be the exception, rather than the norm, and she got the feeling the rest of his family saw him as serious, responsible, staid.

“Thought you weren’t gonna play the age card again?”

“Old habits die hard.”

“You’re quiet today, distant. Why do I get the feeling it’s more than fatigue?”

“I would think you’d be glad I’m quiet. I mean, it’s not as if there’s ever been any love lost between us. You and I are like—”

He looked so genuinely shocked she stopped midsentence, the words oil and water dying on her tongue.

“No love lost? I’m crazy about you, Nat. You must know that?”

She laughed. “You really are going to have to give up this schoolboy crush. I’ve been nothing but a bitch to you since day one.”

He grasped her hand and she looked at him in surprise. “I haven’t been a boy in a long time, babydoll. And I’m more than man enough to deal with you and your so-called bitchiness.”

She wished her body hadn’t heard those words. The second he uttered more than man enough, her nipples went on red alert and she was a bit worried about the sudden dampness in her panties. She tried to tug her hand out of his grip, but he refused to relinquish it. “Listen, hotshot—”

“Save it, Nat. Why are you depressed?”

She panicked at his words. “I’m not depressed. I don’t get depressed. Ever.” Her words came out far too loud and she watched him study her face intently. She bit her lower lip, realizing Ewan Collins was far too observant when it came to her. He was also cutting too close to the core. Honesty seemed her best bet. “I’m thirty-four years old and I have fuck-all to show for my life.”

Ewan frowned. “That’s not true. You own and operate an incredibly successful photography studio in Palm Springs. You’re one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever met. Your pictures are beautiful.”

She was taken aback by his praise, surprised he’d seen enough of her work to judge. “How do you know that?”

“I check out your website on occasion, plus Teagan is always emailing us pictures you’ve taken of her and Sky. You have an amazing eye.”

“Yeah, that’s me. The queen of composition, lighting, shading. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my entire life behind the lens of a camera.”

Ewan lightly caressed the skin on the back of her neck and she marveled at how comforting the simple gesture was. “You sound like you’re questioning your career choice.”

“Do I?” she asked. “That’s not my intention. I love my job. But sometimes I feel like that’s all there is to me. I’m defined by a freaking camera.”

“That’s not true. I know Sky and Teagan consider you their friend, not their photographer.”

“I know that. It’s just…” She paused, trying to find a way to express the dark thoughts that had been plaguing her since her birthday. “It’s just…I’m never in any of the pictures.”

His eyebrows creased and she knew he was confused by her comment. She tried to clarify. “I’m not really sure what I have to show for my life. Hell, I’m not sure I’ve lived a life. I stand on the sidelines of every event, snapping picture after picture of other people living, celebrating, doing something. God, doing anything.” Her voice betrayed her frustration and she took a breath, tried to calm down when she noticed Tris Collins glance up at her from the bar.

Ewan rubbed her hand, his other arm still draped around her, and she felt wholly surrounded by his presence. “What did you hope to have achieved by now that you haven’t?”

His question caught her off-guard. She’d spent months commiserating over her lost youth, never once thinking about what it was she was grieving. And with one simple question, Ewan had thrown her for a loop…again. “Well, I don’t know exactly. I’ve been to hundreds of weddings, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries. I’ve seen thousands of people celebrating events with loved ones. I’ve never done anything worth celebrating and even if I did, I wouldn’t have anybody to commemorate it with. I know this may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t generally have one of those personalities people flock to.”

“Prickly?” he asked, though she knew his comment wasn’t a question.

“No, not prickly. Strong-willed, self-assured, independent.” She struggled to find those three words.

“Opinionated, arrogant, bitchy. Got it.”

She opened her mouth to lambaste him and then closed it again. He was right. There was no debating the truth.

“Damn,” he muttered. “You are down and out. No snappy comeback, Nat?”

She shook her head.

“I sort of got the impression you were happy on your own. You always say people are an annoyance you don’t have time for.”

She looked around the room briefly, wondering how she always got into these conversations with Ewan. He always made her say too much, tell too many secrets she never intended to reveal. “That’s true. I guess maybe sometimes I think it might be nice to have a friend. Someone normal and not obnoxious. Someone who doesn’t get their feelings easily hurt when I tell them they suck.”

He laughed and she realized her requirements for a friend did sound pretty pathetic. “Isn’t that Sky?” he asked.

“It was—I mean, is. It’s just, he’s got Teagan now and, well…things are different.”

Ewan smiled and she felt a flash of anger spark. Here she was unloading all her misery, confessing things she’d never told another living soul, and he was giving her that stupid, annoying, lopsided grin.

She scowled. “Glad you find this all so funny. Get away from my table.”

He moved closer and she fought to hold on to her annoyance. God, men as handsome as Ewan Collins should be illegal.

“I’m not laughing at you, babydoll. I’m just glad your problem is so easily solved.”

She looked at him, confused. She’d spent months feeling sorry for herself, trying to find a way out of her funk, and nothing had presented itself. Even leaving town for a change of scenery, a change of company hadn’t helped.

She studied Ewan’s confident face and realized that if anyone could solve her problem, it was probably him. Why she felt that way, she couldn’t say. There was simply something deep inside her that said trust him.

“Show me the way.” Her request was softly spoken, but Ewan heard it.

“How long are you staying here?” he asked.

“A week.” It was Saturday afternoon and she had a flight booked to return to Palm Springs early in the morning the following Saturday.

Ewan rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Seven days. It’s a little tight, but we can manage.”

“Manage what?”

“I’m going to teach you a lesson a day. Seven lessons you can live by so you never feel this way again. You, Natalie Miller, are about to get a life.”

I also have a new book coming to Samhain in October. Happy Hour will be the fourth book in the Black & White Collection, a group of stories that involve women's wicked fantasies. Erotic Research involved role playing, Tequila Truth features a menage. In Rough Cut, BDSM is explored. Happy Hour is a cougar book with a menage mixed in for good measure!

And currently I am working on the fifth, and I'm thinking, the last book for the Black & White Collection. The tentative title is True Colors and it involves two very dominant personalities who sort of crash into each other's lives and begin to delve into each of their darkest sexual fantasies together. So far, I've touched on sex with a stranger, sex in public, bondage, spanking, exhibitionism. It's a little bit of everything!

See what I mean about prolific? The woman never stops, and I, for one, am a VERY happy reader!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Mari!

Want to find out more about Mari or her books? Check out her website or the awesome Yahoo loop she shares with a group of fantabulous authors that call themselves International Heat. You can find the Heat Wave loop here. And if you want to pick up Rekindled - which I know you do! - buy it here.


Independence Day Blog Hop


It's finally here. Time for the Independence Day blog hop! Tons of amazing books are up for grabs, and for those who've stopped by, I'm offering up an X-rated excerpt of my latest release Ex Appeal, now available at TWRP and on Amazon Kindle. It's one of the prizes you can win, so hope you enjoy! And most of all, Happy Independence Day!

Ex Appeal Blurb:

As the webmistress for one of the Northeast’s hottest dating sites, Hunk Du Jour, Jenny Talbot is no stranger to reading the applications of potential clients. But when the latest application that crosses her inbox belongs to Ty Randall, the guy she broke up with a mere twenty-seven days ago, she does a double take. Reading what Ty wants in bed not only gets Jenny hot, it also makes her rethink ending their relationship. All she longed for was a little more spice in the bedroom—okay, a lot more—but he let her go without an argument. Faced with the possibility that Ty may really be moving on, getting her ex back becomes more appealing than ever. But will revealing exactly what she needs allow Jenny to finally experience ultimate pleasure or will she drive away the man she loves for good?

Ex Appeal Excerpt:

“You’ve got a lot of nerve.” She shoved her dripping hair out of her eyes. Eyes that were now thankfully bone dry. Anger always had that effect on her.

“And we’ve got a lot of time to make up for.” Ty bent over, then tossed the pink bag from Adult Playland onto her lap. Out bobbed cranberry lace and satin and the erotic crayons she hadn’t yet shown him. “You want to be tied up?”

For some reason, she blushed. “You’re making me feel like a naughty child.”

“I won’t say what you make me feel like.” Flashing her a thin smile, he pawed through her purchases with absolutely no finesse. Might as well have been digging through the sandbox. “Here we go. Over the door. Hooks and straps and this little silk nightie for me to tear to shreds with my teeth.”

Because that particular image made her want to squirm, Jenny sank her fingers into the pillows scattered across the bed. “What about you, huh? Mr. Sex on the Beach? You have fantasies, too. Why can’t we enjoy them together?” When he didn’t say anything, she lifted her chin and met his gaze squarely. “I thought it would be fun. Something new. An experiment. Doesn’t mean I’m a pervert, and it doesn’t mean your cock isn’t more than enough to get me off. When’d you get so damned old, Randall?”

Though he didn’t answer right away, the flare in his dark eyes warned anything was possible. Then he jerked her up to a kneeling position and said close to her ear, “I’m tying you up.”

She shivered as her nipples budded and strained him. Again. Between those words said in his heated caramel voice, those fall-into-me eyes, and his forceful grip on her shoulders, she felt hotter than a roman candle. Lit and ready to blow. Even so, all of a sudden, she had no desire to be bound. But that didn’t mean she didn’t have a damn good use for the item he still held. She cupped his cheek and shuddered from just the sensation of his stubble against her palm. So damned sexy. She wanted to feel that stubble everywhere. Against her breasts, low on her belly.

Rubbing against her pussy. She flicked her tongue over his lips and reveled in the fire that leapt into his gaze. “No, Ty, I’ll be the one tying you up.”

Blog Hop tour prizes:

Choice of backlist by Olivia Brynn
Intimate Strangers by Gem Sivad
Midnight's Ghost by Sara Brooks
$5 MBaM gift certificate from Hailey Edwards
Winner's choice of backlist by Trina M. Lee
Star Spangled Kiss, (Kissin Cops 2) by Christa Page
Scent of the Roses by PG Forte
The Virtuous Vampire by Monette Michaels
Winner's choice of backlist by Juniper Bell
Winner's choice of backlist by Tina Holland
Copy of First Heat by Jocelyn Modo
An autographed copy of The Cowboy Way from Tori Richards
Ex Appeal by Cari Quinn
Witch Hunter by Lyn Armstrong
Felicia's Fling by Jolie Cain
Winner's choice of backlist by Dee Carney
Winner's choice by Tina Donahue (info via email)
Rhythm of Love by J. Hali Steele
Sacred Secrets by Roxy Harte
Winner's choice of backlist by Elise Logan
One Wilde Night by Rhonda Leah
The Omegas by Annie Nicholas
The Bargain by Desiree Holt
A package of goodies from Nina's Prize Closet.


Winner of Leah Braemel's Texas Tangle!

Using the trusty random number generator, comment #4 was chosen. Congratulations, Valerie! I'll be sending you your PDF copy of Texas Tangle this weekend. I know you'll love it!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit with Leah!