Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

My friend Vanessa Kelly, author of several popular Regency historical romances including her current release His Mistletoe Bride, tagged me to take part in this blog hop-along.  

I’ll answer some questions about my current work in progress (WIP), then tag a couple other romance authors to do the same on their blogs next week.

So, here goes my Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

I'm actively working on two stories right now, so I’ll give you both!  Lucky you.  :) Claiming Her is an Irish-set Elizabethan, and Spin is an erotic contemporary.  Both are novellas.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The crux of Claiming Her is a familiar one: the man comes to conquer and is undone by the apparently less powerful feminine force.  The beast is tamed.  

But more specifically, I feel like I’m not done with this emotional set-up.  I have a lot to explore, and this idea, being a relatively simple plot (unlike some of my other stories!) seemed perfect for a novella.

I'm also not done with Ireland yet.  :)  Claiming Her takes place in Northern Ireland in 1588, about 300 years after The Irish Warrior, and uses the same fictional barony of Rardove.   

Spin, on the other hand, came entirely out of the blue, on the heels of a small camping injury.  Who knew falling into cold firepits in the dark could be so fruitful? 

What genre does your book fall under?

Claiming Her is an historical, super-hot.  Spin is a contemporary almost-erotic romance novella.  Or maybe it is erotic romance.  I don't know those invisible lines.  We'll just say it's hot.  Very hot.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Gah.  I can never answer this kind of question.  I’m terrible with names and faces, and I don’t know enough actors.  I fail.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Claiming Her: Aodh Mac Con Rardove has come home to Ireland a rebelHe intends to conqueror everything, the castle, the lands, the lady.  The lady, of course, has no intention of being conquered.   But then, things don’t always turn out as planned....

Spin:   Evie has everything under control.  Her life and her job--which is her life--is scripted and turning out just as planned.  Perfectly.  Until she meets Finn.  Until her perfect job starts looking less perfect.  Until the man who isn't perfect at all starts looking exactly right.  Because even with the best of intentions, being in control is not always an option. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Both of these will be self-pubbed.  

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ha!  Let’s look away from that situation.  I don’t write fast.  I write slow.  We'll leave it at that.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm...this is another thing I’m not good at. :)  My life is littered by such inadequacies. Bear with me.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It's pretty simple: I love writing hot stories about strong people falling head over heels in love upended by the experience.  I love the tension that comes from desire and love, especially when the lovers shouldn't (or think they shouldn't) succumb. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

You mean aside from Sexy Times?  :)  

These are full-on stories, so while the sensual quotient is high, if you’re looking for a ‘big’ story in a little (i.e. novella-length) package, these might fit the bill.  

And now . . . I get to tag a couple author friends who will post next Wed, December 12th, about their work in progress!   Since I'm branching out of the middle ages, I thought I'd branch out here too, and tag a couple authors who aren't writing medieval romance.  These authors write paranormal romances, and if you haven't read them, you might just be missing you're next new love. 

Elisabeth Naughton, author of Enslaved, a USA Today bestseller

Laurie London, author of Assassin's Touch

Be sure to stop by Laurie & Elisabeth's blogs next Wednesday to find out what they’re working on!

And if you want to hear what Vanessa Kelly is working on (teaser: its working title is A Royal Seduction), here's a link to her Next Big Thing post.

Have you read any books/authors you thought were going to be (or should be!) the Next Big Thing


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Heating Up The Holidays, Compliments of Rock*It Reads

Blog Hop

Welcome to the Rock*It Reads Heating Up the Holidays Blog Hop. There are 15 stops on the blog tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning the grand prize, a $75 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and a huge collection of books from the authors of Rock*It Reads. Smaller prizes will be available at each stop along the way.
Good luck, and have fun!

Winter is coming and for a lot of us, that means cold, gloomy days and long, dark nights. Chilly, damp, blah. Which is why I'm so glad to be helping heat up your holidays with these Rock*It Reads authors' musings on sexy heat. Our little gift to you.

One of the most fun parts of doing self-published works is the chance to be intimately involved in designing the covers. I love how great covers tell a story, it doesn't just show you a picture.

I commissioned a photo shoot from Jenn Le Blanc and her talented crew at Smexy Studio for my upcoming super sexy Irish-set Elizabethan novella, CLAIMING HER (available 2013).

Their first meeting involves the hero taking over her castle and, when she's not happy about it, and attacks him, he kind-of pins her against the wall. Okay, he totally pins her against the wall.

"Her breath was coming too fast, her heart hammering too hard, her hand—the one she’d punched him with—was throbbing as if she’d hit a wall, not a man. Steel before and stone behind, she was, most literally, between a rock and a very hard place.

He was all wild thing, untethered and unafraid. His hair had been shaved close on the sides and grew long in the back and front, so he looked familiar and yet utterly foreign. His face was all cut planes of male fury, hard cheekbones, dark brows above the ice-blue eyes pinned on her. She felt like she was staring at a flame burning inside a shard of ice."

But much as Katarina sees nothing but Irish warlord, there's a lot more to Aodh Mac Con than conquest of castles. There's his conquest of Katarina.

Here's the model, James, getting painted with tattoos:

And here is James after being painted:

Yes. Wow, right?

And here's the final cover for CLAIMING HER, also done by Jenn LeBlanc:

That story occurs in the winter but I'm also working on one that happens in the summer. The hot, hot summer. So, of course, my trek needs to involve hot guys and hot summer. Things like:


At which point, of course, they need a way to cool off:

Oh wait, I mean:

Wait, wait. I mean:

Okay, basically, what I'm saying is it's important to have a way to cool off. I just don't know that I've actually offered one here.

Your turn! Leave me a comment and let me know what books you're planning to help keep you warm this winter. Don't forget to include your name and email address!

TWO commentors will win a copy of their choice, either a print copy of any one of my current releases, OR if you want to wait, an e-copy of one of my self-pubbed releases when they become available.

Also? Comments here double your chances of winning the grand RiR prize--check out our blog!

And signing up for my newsletter? Doubles your chances here. ;)

Be sure to stop by the other Rock*It Reads authors' blogs for more fun. Fourteen authors, a slew of sexy pictures, maybe a hot excerpt here and there, and some incredible romance books to check out--you can't beat it!

Leave a comment below to enter for your chance to win!
Don't forget to visit the other authors on the Blog Hop for more chances to win!

Kris Kennedy Bonnie Vanak
Erin Kellison

Sharon Page
Lila DiPasqua Elisabeth Naughton
Norah Wilson Jennifer Lyon Monica Burns

Vanessa Kelly
Mia Marlowe Joan Swan
Pamela ClareMargo MaguireRock*It Reads

Monday, November 5, 2012

Deception is a Reviewers' Choice Award Nominee!

Wonderful news this morning.  Deception has been selected by RT Book Reviews (formerly Romantic Times Magazine) as one of the nominees in their 2012 RT Reviewers Choice Awards!

It’s been nominated for a K.I.S.S. Award (Knight in Shining Silver), their award for the hottest, sexiest, shining-silver-est hero.   That means Kier, our con man, bad boy hero, has been nominated as a knight in shining armor.   Oh yeah. 

I can't tell you how much this tickles me.  Why?  Because in the book, Keir is an extremely reluctant hero.  His only brush with chivalry was when he lied and cheated his way into jousting tournaments as a youth, where he’d been “good, quite good, to the extent it mattered, which was naught.   Kier knew he could never be good enough.

He never wanted to be."

Which isn’t quite the truth.   Kier wants a lot of things he think he can never have.  He's a con man, an outlaw, a mercenary, and a very dangerous man, and he's honed in like an archer on a single target: venegance.  

Until Sophia shows up.

So for Kier to be nominated for such an award is quite an honor.  Proving redemption is possible.  Even for mercenary con men outlaws with hearts made of stone.

Want to read more?  Here's an excerpt!

BookDepository (free worldwide shpping)  
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound (connects to local booksellers)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

PDQ: Pushing Them Into It

Note to Self: I am writing a novella.  A super-sexy novella.

Repeat, I am writing a novella.  A super-sexy novella.

This requires The Sexy to get rolling pretty darn quick.  PDQ.  And I'm surprised by how challenging this has been.

I love writing about passion and desire.  From flirtation to consummation, and every permutation in between, I love it all.  My stories pivot on electric sensual tension, which often means denied sensual attraction and the slow build of irresistible forces.

Partly that's because the time period demands restraint, or a solid explanation for exceptions.  Also, my heroes and heroines tend to be, um, let's say "so fiercely at odds that it sometimes involves ropes" and be done with it.

But mostly the restraint is there because it takes time to build the respect / affection / psychological attraction that are essential to truly scorching physical attraction.

And yet, I am committed to a super-sexy novella.  Time is not my friend.

Something's gotta give.

It's the slow build.  :)

So today, I am going to strip away much of the the oh-so-pretty words and the elegant set-ups and push my hero and heroine into It.  Or darn close to It.  PDQ. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing, Writing, Researching, Researching

These days I'm working on 3 different stories, hopping between them.  The first is a medieval, with a Scottish hero!   Oh, the research to come.  :)

The second is a super-hot novella set in Elizabethan Ireland, titled CLAIMING HER.  I was going to title it CLAIMING KATARINA, but that seems like a lot of syllables for a cover.  So "Her" it became. 

The 'her' being Katarina, (you guessed that, didn't you?).  The 'him' is Aodh Mac Con Rardove.  Aodh, son of the Hound of Rardove.

(Readers of The Irish Warrior will recognize the name Rardove, yes?)

This story has been require some (fun) research.  The Elizabethan era was a fascinating mix of the medieval and the more modern.  It always seemed to shine brightly out of the past, an era of great advancements in culture and the arts and sciences, from playhouses to architecture.   The best of both worlds.

But of course, such an overlap also had the worst of both worlds.  

Bull- and bear-baiting were still considered great entertainment.  In fact, bull-baiting was required--required.  You could be fined if you killed a bull without bating it first.  (!!!!)  

Workhouses for the poor were set up by the government, which, while having all sorts of negative connotations nowadays, filled a void in the community.  After the Reformation, the role of the Church in such duties (and of the community as a whole) declined significantly.  

Adventurous, vicious and exploitative explorations into of new worlds were going on aplenty.   Religious intolerance and oppression was everywhere, and like most things that are gripped too tightly, more and more people ran between the cracks like grains of sand, into various denominations and belief systems that disdained one another with vicious glee.   Unless you were an atheist, of course.  Then everyone hated you. Atheism was equivalent to treason.

This isn't to say there weren't gorgeous advances.  John Dee (the Queen's astrologer) invented an early robot.  Pencils, pocket watches, compound microscopes (!!!) and flush toilets were invented.  Mechanical clocks had been around for centuries, but now they were able to chime.  Fine goods were flooding into towns and cities and you could get almost anything your heart desired (if you could afford it.  If there wasn't a plague going on.  Which there often was.)   Spices were more abundant than ever, and fine fabrics were dyed and laced and stitched to perfection.  

All this finery in apparel had a dark side though.  All those layers of material made for some unpleasant odors, much worse than body odor of a man who has been working all day.  Even if he didn't take a full bath at night, he wiped himself down regularly, you better believe it, armpits to groin.  In the Elizabethan era, I think this was less common.  Sweating inside all those layers?  Yum, right?  Covering it all up with perfumes?  Double yum.  And if the hundred people around you are doing the same thing...?  Can't even count the yums.  

But, of course, this was less the case out in Ireland, out beyond The Pale, out where the winds blew against nothing but hills and castle walls, and the nights were endlessly dark, broken only by fires in your hall and high along your rampart walls.  And you knew, you always knew, the wild Irishry were out there, just beyond your crumbling gates.  

And what if one got through . . .?

Katarina of Rardove is about to find out.

You can read an except of Katarina and Aodh Mac Con Rardove's explosive first meeting here:

And Now You!
I'd love to hear your impressions/thoughts/knowledge about the Elizabethan era.  Do you feel an affinity for it?  Do you have other favorite eras?  

Or, if you're indifferent to the era, you can just let me know what you thought of the excerpt.  :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Blog!!

 Look, I'm Doing A Blog!

Trying my hand at a very loose blog.  "Loose" as in "It will show up intermittently, when writing stories leaves me time to write blogs."  "Loose" as in "I'll blog about whatever story-ness is on the radar," from research tidbits to what makes a hero to exclusive excerpts to...whatever else.  :)

 So pull up a chair, pop the blog in your RSS feed, and listen to the silence, occasionally interspersed with blogginess.  :)  And  whenever you have something to say, please say it!