Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I'd like to welcome our new blogger, Nicolette Pierce, who will make her debut on April 13th. I consider that our lucky day! Nicolette writes romantic suspense with a dose of humor. Following is an outstanding review of the first novel in her Nadia Wolf series.
This is a story for everyone in need of a lot of humor, witty comments and descriptions, and a delightful and suspenseful story!
Nadia Wolf is like any young lady who knows what she’s good at and takes a gamble to make a living. Nadia lives above a marriage chapel in the revered gambling city of Las Vegas. She is a poker player by day and helps a dear friend and soon to be manager, Frankie, at his chapel. I can’t forget to mention Gus, the on-a-diet-cat, which may be a tad grouchy but loving all the same.
Nadia, a beautiful and clumsy woman all in one, takes her poker seriously. She has a couple eligible bachelors interested, both rich, both handsome, and both want her for more than a turn of the cards.
Her problem is she’s attracted to both, yet doesn’t want to mix poker with relationships. Instead a deadly game with another player (poker player I mean) wants to put her underground. She needs help from more than one bachelor and a touch of flirting doesn’t hurt.
The Nadia Wolf series is right up there with the Stephanie Plum series full of quirks, giggles, and a few serious mishaps. I have hope for Nadia’s well-being and her eventual capture of that special man. I haven’t finished the series yet, but I certainly hope she’s happy at the end and encourage you to find out, too!
Sunday, March 29, 2015
What do pirates, princes, Puritans, and propaganda have in common? Lacey Delahaye, forager and jelly maker, finds out in this romantic suspense set in the western Caribbean.
Secret Cravings (2014)
Ebook (89,000 words); Print (270 p.)
Romance Adventure, M/F, 3 flames
Up until my thirties, I traveled a great deal, living in many countries with amenities that many would consider below standard. So it wasn't until I married and settled down in an old farmhouse with an acre of land that I could indulge my fantasy growing my own food. We planted apple, plum, peach, fig, hazelnut, and cherry trees; gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; all kinds of vegetables, including an ill-fated attempt to grow artichokes; and finally, lots and lots of herbs. I built a formal herb garden and planted thyme, lovage, rosemary, chives, tarragon, sage, and lemon balm. The one thing I couldn't get to grow was mint. Yes, the gardeners among you will scoff, but it took me years to get a plot to flourish. When it did, I had to do something or it would take over the entire acre.
So I called upon my sister-in-law, to whom Whirlwind Romance is dedicated. She directed me to an old recipe for mint jelly. Once the mint invasion was under control and I'd mastered the technique, I spent whole summers working up recipes for herb jellies. It was great fun. Despite the fact that I'm not really fond of jelly, they made excellent Christmas gifts.
As I started Whirlwind Romance, I thought about what my heroine, Lacey Delahaye, would do for a living. She lives alone in Florida, her one son grown. What could she do? I thought of the innumerable ecosystems in Florida, from pine uplands, to coastal plains, to palm hammocks—all of which are host to many wild fruits, most of which can be made into jelly. Ah hah! She'd be a jelly maker.
For fun, I added the recipes to each chapter. I hope you enjoy them as much as you do Lacey and Armand's love story.
Excerpt Whirlwind Romance: Slipping briskly into an intimacy
The full moon shone through the window, illuminating Lacey’s nodding head. Armand touched her cheek. “Time for bed.”
Stung, she shot back, “I’m taking care of you, remember?”
He held up a hand. “Sorry! I’d forgotten.” After a moment, he asked, his tone diffident, “Can you help me up?”
Lacey put an arm around his back and together they limped to Crispin’s room. She took his pants and shirt off and folded them neatly. As she turned to leave, he touched her arm. “Stay a minute?”
How could she admit she had to get out of there quickly or she wouldn’t be able to go at all? His handsome face—the strong chin covered with stubble, the pearly teeth contrasting with his tan skin, not to mention the long, graceful fingers he held out to her—all conspired to lure her closer. Her heart led the way, propelling her to his side. She sat down. “What is it?”
Her body tensed as desire fought to get out and she fought just as hard to keep it in. I have to go. I have to…go. “What?”
His words came out in a rush. “Lacey, the other day—the first night—when you rescued me. When we…we…”
Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Christ.
“I…uh…want you to know I don’t do that on a regular basis.”
His air of shy ambivalence gave her courage. “I see. You don’t have sex on a regular basis?”
“No, no, it’s not that.” He stopped, flustered. “Or, I mean…er…I don’t sleep with women indiscriminately.”
Should she let him off the hook? Nah. “But you do sleep with a lot of women?”
“No! Lacey, you’re being difficult on purpose. I meant, that I didn’t mean to…you know. It just happened. Forgive me?”
Armand interrupted her. “Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.” He seemed distracted, running a finger down her arm. “Wonderful. Fantastic. Too short.” He peered at her. “Lacey, you must know how beautiful you are. You have the most perfect cheekbones I’ve ever seen.”
“Cheekbones?” What the hell is he talking about?
“I’m an amateur photographer. Those cheekbones could belong to a supermodel. Perfectly sculpted. And your nose—” he tapped the tip, “a little pixie nose—it even turns up slightly. Your long, fine hair is the russet-gold of burnished copper pots I once saw piled high in a shop on Martinique. Your eyes…” He closed his. “Your eyes are the blue-green of a freshly mowed cricket field, of the emeralds that grow deep in the mountains, of the lagoon near my home on a blustery day.” He touched her hand. “Then there’s your body—as I remember it—a soft, comfortable, pillowy—”
“Hey!” Lacey shook her head to break the spell. “I think you’ve said enough. Get some sleep.”
She tried to rise, but he slipped his arms around her and drew her close. She wanted to struggle. She tried to struggle. It was no use. The long kiss filled her with a warmth that matched a fire on a cold night, a cup of cocoa, or a hot bath. As he pulled away, the warmth turned to blazing passion. The power of it frightened her. I’ve got to go. She ran out of the room before he could stop her.
About M.S Spencer:
Starting at the age of four, I have lived or traveled in five continents. I’ve flown the length of the Colorado River to visit dams and ridden a stallion under the nose of the Sphinx. I sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary, and watched the sunset color the Amazon in fiery reds and purples.
After more than a decade spent in academic pursuits (Middle East studies, Anthropology, Library Science), I finally settled down to work and marriage. I’ve been a librarian, speechwriter, editor, and non-profit director. I’ve worked for the Senate, for the Department of the Interior, and for both private and public libraries All of this has insinuated itself into my work.
When I’m not writing, I love bird watching, kayaking, swimming, and needlepoint. I have two fabulous grown children and one perfect granddaughter, and currently divide my time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
My first full-length book sold in 2009 and I haven’t slowed since. I have published nine romantic suspense/mystery novels. Six—LosersKeepers, Triptych, ArtfulDodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders, MaiTais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance, Lapses of Memory, the Mason's Mark and WhirlwindRomance were published by Secret Cravings. The Penhallow Train Incident will be released in June 2015.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
How do you feel about multiple Points of View in novels? Do you like just the hero and heroine? Hero, heroine and villain? Scenes from every important character in the story?
The reason I ask: I just received comments from one of my critique partners for the latest chapter in my current work in progress and she suggested that I write a few scenes from the villain’s Point of View.
Villains, real and imagined, have been portrayed in print and film throughout history. Some were so evil, we dare not think of them. Some not so much. There was even a movie called The Villain, a western comedy with Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Ann-Margret…it was a hoot! That villain was funny!
I have written from the villain’s POV before and enjoyed it. In Touch the Flame, the villain was a man obsessed with possessing a fabulous diamond that was both cursed and blessed…and he didn’t care who got in his way. In A Treasure Worth Keeping, I wrote not from the villain’s POV, but from his henchman—Porkchop—a poor, misguided chap who reminded me of Smee from Peter Pan. He was terrified of his captain and ended up falling in love with the heroine….but I digress.
A villain can be a great character, the perfect foil for what the hero and heroine are going through, perhaps even the reason they are thrown together in the first place. He can be portrayed in so many ways and if done right, we may even feel empathy for him (or her)…like Porkchop.
But I hesitate. In my current work in progress, my villain is off-stage. We never see him commit a crime. We don’t know why he does what he does, either, but we suspect and we wonder. We see and feel the aftermath of the crime in the emotions the hero and heroine experience…and we know, in the end, justice will prevail so do I want to write scenes from this villain’s point of view and give him a chance to explain why he is the way he is?
At this point, I’m not sure. What would you do? Is the villain’s point of view important to you?
As always, happy reading!
Sunday, March 22, 2015
by Jane Leopold Quinn
I wrote two short stories early in my career and they're some of the most erotic I've written. In the recent years, my stories have lightened up, become more mainstream with hot love scenes. So when I re-read these early stories I was very pleasantly reminded with how much I loved writing them.
The second erotic short I wrote was intended for a Whiskey Creek Press Torrid anthology titled Lust. I was invited to contribute by Emma Wildes. In that antho, the story was Mercenary Desires. It was republished by Siren and is now self-pubbed with a new title and new cover.
The inspiration for this hot story was something not very "hot" at all. It was winter and cough medications were advertised on TV. One particular commercial caught my eye. A unattractive fellow coughed all day long, irritating his co-workers. Someone offered him a cough drop and poof!, he turned into a non-coughing hunk. A story popped/poofed! into my head. An ugly, bearded, beat up looking man rescues a beautiful woman from danger. Hint: he cleans up nicely :-)
Here's the blurb to Her Hero: Rowdy Pierce-warrior. Sara Stewart-artist. Macho mercenary rescues posh jewelry designer. Their lives collide in an spectacular rescue and escape across the Egyptian desert. Sara falls for her sexy, body-to-die-for hero and makes the first move. Rowdy, fascinated by the luscious, sweet-bodied, free-spirited woman he saved, takes what Sara offers. He doesn’t expect to lose his heart. Will their lust turn to something deeper back in the real world?
And an excerpt
Her nails dug into his shoulders, she opened her mouth to cry out, and suddenly his lips covered hers again. At first, the short, intense sweeps of his tongue, matched by hers, were a powerful massage on sensitive lips. Then, they collided in an explosion so hard their teeth clashed. Passionate, voracious, insatiable emotions became a wild rush of desperate, frustrated craving.
A tremendous noise battered her ears.
"Fuck." His guttural exclamation was short and foul. "Show time, baby," he rumbled in her ear.
It was the only way to be heard, the thwapping of the helicopter blades deafened her.
He gave her one final, deep, penetrating kiss, sipping and nipping at her mouth. "My real name is Peter."
He brushed a thumb over her lips, her eyebrows, concentrating his passionate gaze on the separate parts of her face as if to memorize the whole. An ache, deeply embedded inside her, would destroy her if she didn't push it back down. If only the helicopter hadn't come. If only they'd met somewhere else, somewhere civilized. If only this weren't over.
Rowdy's heart felt ripped in two. There were a hundred things he wanted to say to her, to hear from her, but they'd run out of time. He allowed himself another final, private look at her beautiful face and devastating blue eyes before he kissed her for the last time, touched her eyelids, the tip of her nose, the crest of her cheek bones, and finally her lips. How could he let her go?
In his business, there was always another job to do. Time to put her on the helo and move on. He pulled her through the tent opening and led her toward the military helicopter, just landed but poised and ready for takeoff at a moment's notice.
No time left. The ache, snaking and swelling through his body, wasn't just from his unrequited lust. She wanted him as much as he wanted her. He clasped his arm protectively around her waist as they ran straight into the noise and dust kicked up by the spinning rotors. Sweeping her into his arms, he tucked her head against his chest to shield her eyes and almost fell to his knees with the powerful hunger for the sweet, luscious, quivering woman clinging tightly to his neck, breathing hotly against his skin.
No time left. He thrust her into the yawning opening, and as soon as her knees landed on the metal flooring, she scrabbled like a baby further inside. A crewman grabbed her under the arms, pushed her into a seat, and buckled a shoulder harness and seatbelt around her. She was handed a helmet, and before putting it on, with tears rolling down her cheeks, she met his gaze through the wide door of the helo.
No, he mouthed, shook his head. Don't cry.
He should be happy this was over and that a large amount of money would be deposited into his bank account. She was grateful, and he'd become too involved. But a healthy jolt of lust connected them when they touched. Hell, just looking at her turned his balls molten. He was a mercenary, and she was an artist from Chicago. They were worlds apart.
Christ, man. You're an idiot.
The helo rose, hovered. He saw bewilderment, then panic in her eyes. Her mouth moved. He heard her voice in his head.
"Thank you, Peter Pierce."
Acting more cocky than he felt, he tapped his forehead in a mock salute, and mouthed back, "You're welcome, Sara Stewart." He watched until the helo was out of sight, a long time in the clear, bright sky. Thoughts of home blindsided him. He'd hated the small Kansas town he grew up in and couldn't wait to leave, couldn't wait to get out in the world and do something important. Now he just felt abandoned, as alone as he'd felt for years. His father died when he was in college, and his mother lived in a nursing home now. He wondered if he'd ever have a chance at a normal life. As normal as it could be for a guy who knew ten different ways to kill a man, and had used them all.
Goodbye, Sara Stewart. The words lingered in his head for a long time before he thought to get out of the hot, desert sun.
Her Hero is available for sale here - http://amzn.com/B00TKXN6KO
Loving Valentine was the first short story I ever wrote. A critique group I was a member of had a challenge on Valentine's Day to write a snippet based around a red satin, heart shaped pillow. Some of the others wrote a scene like a couple floating in a canoe down a scenic river, the heroine's head resting on the satin pillow. I wrote what became the opening scene of Valentine's Day, as it was titled when first published in 2006.
And that's how Rafe ended up in Valentine's bed having the best sex of his life.
"Ryan doesn't have to know anything about this. No one needs to know." Val lay on her back, head turned toward him.
God, she was spectacular. Rafe had watched her grow up, had seen her develop. He'd always liked her. Knew she had a crush on him. What he hadn't known until tonight was how much he must have always wanted her.
When Rafe and Ryan had gone away to college, he'd put thoughts of Val on the back burner. Then he'd met and married Sybil. They tried to make it work, but there was no real passion. She resembled Val. Maybe that was it.
Rafe put these depressing musings on another back burner and climbed out of bed.
He turned back to Val. Her eyes were full of hurt. He couldn't stand to see her like that, like he disappointed her.
"I'm certainly not going to tell him, Rafe," she said defensively.
Damn, I'm sorry I mentioned Ryan. "Let me get rid of this, honey." He'd brushed the condom off his cock and held the wet mass gingerly in one hand. "Do you have any more?"
Oh, Christ. Thank God.
When Rafe returned to the bedroom, he was treated to the sight of Valentine lying naked with a box of condoms balanced on her belly. "Oh, baby, you are the answer to a guy's prayers," he groaned the words as he plucked the box off, put it on the bedside table, and drew one out.
Before he could make his move, Val sat up, her expression intent, straddled his waist, and pushed him down on the bed by the shoulders. Then she just held him there. As if he couldn't break her hold. As if he wanted to.
"It's just you and me, buster. I've been waiting long enough for this, and I intend to take my time and enjoy you." She caressed his shoulders, then smoothed down over his biceps, his forearms.
He started to reach for her, but she shut that down.
"No," she whispered reverently. "I just want to look at you. Touch you."
With that, she trailed her fingers back up his arms, fingers light as feathers, tracing the veins and ridges of muscles. He felt his chest, then his face, heat up. Felt his cock stir and blew out a "whew."
"I used to watch you at the pool. I lusted after you all those years. Wanted to feel your hard chest against mine."
"Yours sure isn't hard, sweetheart." He started to lift his hands to touch her, his lips lifted on one side at his joke.
"No, not yet. I'm not at all finished with you."
You can imagine the shock of some of the group's members. I don't think they expected something so raw. At first I was kind of embarrassed, but then I grew to be pretty proud of the imagery I'd created. The scene sat in limbo for a year or so. I sure didn't know what to do with it. Shortly after my first novel was accepted by Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, I had a chance to contribute to a series of shorts in Torrid Teasers. Here's the blurb of the expanded story: Valentine, her brother Ryan and his best friend Rafe, ran wild when they were kids. Val's crush on Rafe started early and never died. Recovering from his divorce, Rafe reunites with Val at Ryan's wedding and is thoroughly turned on by the stunning woman she's become. Sparks fly, and their mutual fascination turns to lust. Val and Rafe's lifelong fantasies are fulfilled in one night of breathtaking sensuality. Can this ecstatic reunion turn to love?
One guess as to whether their reunion turns to love :-) I have now re-published this book, changed the title to Loving Valentine, and gave it a new cover.
Loving Valentine sale link - http://amzn.com/B007JCTXRS
Besides loving these two stories, I've discovered the pleasures of making my own covers. The Jimmy Thomas site romancenovelcovers.com has been a gold mine of possibilities for me. I've used pre-made covers from that site, and now I've begun buying stock images and adding my own title and author name. I've also used iStock.com and periodimages.com. My covers are simple, but I think pretty effective. Her Hero's cover is downright scorching hot ;-) My eyeballs are smiling.
Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, "Why don't you write them down?" Why not, indeed? One spiral notebook, a pen and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with more than a dozen books published. The craft of writing erotic romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process—developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied—third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary—none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I'm lucky enough to write romance full time—the best job in the universe! And I'm fortunate enough to have found my own happily ever after husband.
Jane Leopold Quinn
My Romance: Love With a Scorching Sensuality
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/1DfiXkP