This blog is for those 18 and older.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Guest Author: J.S. Nichols

Alexis: Hi Jess. Thank you for joining us at Happily Ever After Thoughts and for giving away a copy of your new book, to be released next month, to one of our commenters. I noticed you write romantic suspense “with a twist of humor and a dab of paranormal.” Can you elaborate a little on what that means?

Jess: For as long as I can remember, I’ve written stories with three common traits, humor, suspense and some type of paranormal element. While Come Back to Me is a romantic suspense, there’s a bit of quirky humor in it. Plus, there’s a psychic who lends a helping hand to the hero.

Alexis: Oh, I see. That sounds fun. Why did you start writing?

Jess: To silence the voices in my head? :-) Seriously, I started writing because I couldn’t not write.

Alexis: I completely understand. So tell us, what is Come Back to Me about and how hot is it?

Jess: I’m so glad you asked. Come Back to Me is about a security specialist who boards a ship determined to win back his former fiancée and discovers that a singles cruise is the hunting ground for a human trafficker. When Erin and Ryan get together, the scenes are hot…about 3 flames out of 5.

Alexis: What a great plot! Where did you get the idea for this story?

Jess: I imagined a single scene—two lovers sharing a private tryst beneath a flight of stairs on a cruise ship. I wondered how they got there, who might be watching, and what could happen to them. The story grew from there.

Alexis: Hmm, I think I’ve interrupted something like that once :-) So what are your favorite character traits of Erin and Ryan?

Jess: Erin is a survivor—tough and strong, she can handle whatever is thrown her way. Ryan is a never-ending optimist—an unusual trait considering he’s a former police officer who’s seen the darker side of life.

Alexis: I like an optimistic cop. That’s very unusual. Now, I know you didn’t come visit me here in the Caribbean. So what kind of research did you do for this novel?

Jess: Actually, I spent three weeks in Puerto Rico in 1998. I loved the culture, the rainforest, the weather, and the different wildlife down there. As for research, a friend of the family lives in Belize and sent home pictures. The fictitious island of Ballena Azul in Come Back to Me is a conglomeration of Belize and Puerto Rico.

Alexis: Ah, so firsthand knowledge to get the feel. That’s always helpful. On a different note, I have to ask, because I saw that you wrote an article about 9/11, what was your role in that disaster?

Jess: It wasn’t glamorous by any means. I was the Disaster Services Coordinator at the time of the attacks. My job meant I needed to keep the office running on a daily basis while recruiting current volunteers to go help out in NYC and Washington, DC. I answered phones from concerned citizens and sometimes family members of the victims. As volunteers returned from assignments, I worked with mental health workers to ensure they were debriefed. While doing all that, I also screened hundreds of potential volunteers who wanted to help anyway they could. It was a humbling experience.

Alexis: I can only imagine. Let’s get back to happy thoughts, since that’s what we specialize in here :-) Do you have any other romance novels in the works?

Jess: Yes, I have two more novels in progress right now. The first is the sequel to my current book and it follows two characters introduced in Come Back to Me. In it, the hero and heroine are trapped in a homeless shelter with a serial killer during a hurricane. With no way out and the storm raging outside can they unmask the killer before anyone else dies? The second, is a bit lighter. To get rid of the ghost haunting her, a directionally-challenged psychic must team up with a cop to solve a murder in the jewelry district.

Alexis: Now that does sounds intriguing. You have great plots! Thank you so much for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. We like talking about romance novels here and learning about the wonderful people who write them :-)

Jess: Thank you for having me. It’s been a wonderful experience.

Alexis: Check out this enticing excerpt from Come Back to Me available next month from Sapphire Blue Publishing.

“I’ll tell you all about the case.” The words were said in a rush.

Erin held the doorknob in one hand as she turned around. Ryan faced her but remained on his knees by the bed. Anyone else, the position would be that of a supplicant.

“What did you say?”

“We can work the case together. Think about it, you and me, solving a mystery. Like you’ve always wanted.”

Her heart actually fluttered. Jeeze—she was a fool. She pressed her lips together and drew a deep breath through her nose before leveling her haughtiest glare. “Nice try. But I have a feeling working together will entail me either going home or being left in the dark.”

“No, I mean it.” Ryan rose to his feet and crossed to her. He stretched his hand out as if to stroke her face, then seemed to think better of it and dropped it to his side. “I’ll tell you everything I know. I need a woman’s perspective on this. Your perspective. Plus, I can’t be in two places at once, you can be my eyes. Think about it. Wouldn’t solving a mystery be the ultimate way to spend your vacation?”

Oh, she was tempted. Erin nervously tapped her toe on the carpet as she considered his offer. Folding her arms over her chest she said, “I want a 50/50 cut of the profits.”

Ryan gaped at her then chuckled. “Seriously?”

Alexis: Sounds great, doesn't it? Don’t forget, for a chance to win a copy of Jess’ Come Back to Me, be sure to leave a comment for her. The winner will be announced on Wednesday. Check the side column for your name and email me.

To buy Jess' book  next month, go to

For more information on Jess, go to

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Casting About by Terri DuLong

Casting About is the second of Terri’s Cedar Key series of woman’s fiction with romantic elements. A series that portrays real life women’s issues with just a touch of magic to spur the emotions.

On a tropical island off the coast of Florida, the weather flip-flops between sun and rain nearly as fast as the changes in Monica’s newlywed life.

Monica doesn’t want children and doesn’t have a problem caring about her husband’s ten-year old daughter, Clarissa. She lives in another state. It’s easy to be polite for a couple visits a year.

The calendar hasn’t exhausted its first year of wedded bliss when Clarissa is court ordered to her father’s custody.

Monica does her best to match her conscience with her real feelings as she experiences life with a child whose top need is love. During a few occasions when frustration leads the scene, Monica’s beloved deceased aunt makes a discreet showing to help calm the fires.

Everyone can use a little magic once in a while to keep the spark of love burning, or to find where it’s hidden.

A fun and enlightening read!

Enjoy, Dawn

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do You Remember Your First?

Do you remember the first romance you ever bought? The first one that caught your eye and said “You must read me”? I remember my first one like it was yesterday (even though it was thirty-six years ago).

I was, of all things, grocery shopping with my mother when I noticed a new bookstore was having its grand opening. I couldn’t resist - I had to go in and browse among the racks.

Being a lover of books from a very young age, I had already read everything from Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre thanks to my local library, but this store, these books were different. These were romances with beautiful covers and heroes and heroines to admire and adore and excitement hiding within each page.

Every book I picked up was a new revelation to me. And then I saw it. Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde. The cover, the back blurb, the pages I read standing in the aisle, everything about the book said I must have it. Well, being fourteen, with no money in my pocket (and no room in the grocery budget), I couldn’t have it.

Such disappointment (as only a teenager in love with romance could feel it), but I persevered and with the earnings from my next babysitting job, I bought that book. To say I devoured the story of Marietta and Derek would be an understatement. I lived each page.

I still have that much loved book. It’s dog-eared, the cover has been repaired with tape, the pages have come loose from the spine and it’s traveled across country with me, but Love’s Tender Fury remains the most treasured in my collection. Do you still have your first romance novel?

Happy Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Silent Killer by Beverly Barton

Beverly Barton brings her readers to a heat infused, slow paced Alabama town where everything appears perfect until a serial killer resurfaces. At the same time, Cathy Cantrell returns with her secrets.

It’s no secret that Cathy had left town to nurse a nervous breakdown after the murder of her clergyman husband. Watching him burn to death from a dousing of gasoline would shake the strongest person’s nerves.

It’s no secret that Cathy’s teenage son’s custody was turned over to her in-laws. It’s a battle of patience with her father-in-law to retain custody of her child.

And it’s no secret that Jackson Perdue is a new deputy sheriff in town. His brief and intense fling with Cathy seventeen years ago left its mark before he was summoned to Iraq.

Buried beneath these truths are secrets that can scar or heal the lives involved. Revealing and mending the fresh wounds the secrets cause is amplified by the death of another clergyman. And then another.

As the serial killer becomes bolder, mistakes accumulate. With each “successful” killing and each mistake, suspicion bounces from one player to another.

There is no right time for a murder. There is a right time for a secret.

Follow Ms. Barton’s constant suspense and find out how the deepest secrets can strengthen a lost love and how no murder is perfect. Some things can’t be planned to perfection.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guest Author: Kim Killion

Alexis: Hi Kim. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts. Thank you so much for coming. Wow, you have a lot coming out! In addition to a short romance in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance, you are also releasing two erotic romances published by Ellora’s Cave. What type of hero is the hottest?

Kim: Oooh, this is easy! I most enjoy writing about hawt Scots. Those brawny men are my passion. Whether they are the laird of their clan or a humble peasant, nothing gets me going on a story faster than the idea of creating a gentle, tortured hero who is bound to fall fast in lust with a fiery redhead.

Alexis: Seeing as I’m a redhead, I’m all for that! First, let’s talk about your short, His Magick Touch. What is this story about?

Kim: His Magick Touch is a sensual Scottish novella. I love this little story because the hero is in love with the heroine from the get-go.

Here’s the blurb:

Sorcha’s husband is easily the meanest cur alive. He blamed her for every misfortune that befell his clan since he took her to wife four years past. And now the bastard is determined to kill her. If she were half the witch he accused her of being, then she might possess the power to save herself, but Da had ousted her grandmum from the clan before she taught Sorcha the Pagan ways. She is certain of only one thing—if she lives long enough to become a widow, she will never take another husband.

Keiran, the Falconer of Barra, knew he and Sorcha were worlds apart in station—he, the son of a crofter, and she, the eldest daughter of the chieftain—but he’d spent the past seven years of his life trying to change his stars. Everything he’d done had been for her. He’d fought and killed for the clan and learned the Pagan ways, for her. And now that he’d saved her life and took her pain away, the foolish wench accused him of doing it all for the chieftainship.

Will Keiran’s gentle touch crush the last of her resistance? Or will Sorcha’s husband hunt her down and kill her before she discovers the depth of Keiran’s love?


Alexis: So there is some kind of magic involved in this story. How did you decide on what kind of magic would be possible?

Kim: I like writing a little paranormal into my stories and I have done a lot of research on the life-styles of the Christo-Pagans. I find it very interesting as well as entertaining. I also like to incorporate animals into my stories, so I made the hero capable of seeing through his falcon’s eyes. Fun, huh?!

Alexis: That is very cool. What a great idea! I know you are also published by Ellora’s Cave which is known for very hot erotic books. But this book is not an Ellora's Cave, so how hot would you rate His Magic Touch?

Kim: Compared to my EC releases??? Um, well on a scale of 1-10, I would rate His Magick Touch about a 6, whereas Educating Aphrodite is a 12. *grin*

Alexis: Ah, that puts it into perspective. But now you have me curious. Can you tell us a little about Educating Aphrodite?

Kim: Well, it’s a Victorian Ménage a Quatre! *gasp*

The blurb says it best:

Two years is too bloody long to be abstinent, especially when one is married to the insatiable Sebastian Falkner, Earl of Warwick.

Countess Alexandra Falkner is desperate to get her husband back in her bed, including performing in the risqué production of Educating Aphrodite. She knows Sebastian will choose the masked woman who performs in the finale with him and his best friend, sexy theatre manager and hypnotist, Vincent Delacroix, and she intends to be the temptress who catches his eye. Unfortunately, she lacks the confidence and experience she needs to have sex with two men in front of an audience. She solicits Delacroix’s skills as a hypnotist to empower her. What she gets is an education in seduction that leads her heart astray.

Will she lose sight of her goal in Delacroix’s arms?

Or dare she risk everything to keep them both…?


Alexis: What an interesting premise you have for this book. Was the idea of a sexual play all yours, or did you find historical support for this type of activity during this era?

Kim: I figure there were all kinds of naughty little things going on that Jane Austin neglected to tell us about. Based on some of the erotic fiction I’ve read published in this time period, I would say they had their share of fun.

Alexis: I'm sure they did. What would you say are your favorite character traits of Sebastian, Alexandra and Vincent?

Kim: Sebastian is gentle and loving. Alexandra knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to go after it. And Vincent is simply wicked. I would have to say I like him the most as he is the one teaching Alexandra how to win her husband’s attention back. And he is quite a teacher.

Alexis: Having a good teacher is always important ;-) What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?

Kim: I actually have another short coming out in February. Taming a Highland Devil is an erotic Scottish novella. The cover alone should hook you on this story. It’s just stunning! This story releases February 9th in ebook from Ellora’s Cave.

Both of my erotic releases are finalists in one of RWA’s most prestigious contests, The Emily. I can hardly wait for these characters to meet the world!

Alexis: How exciting! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! Thank you so much for finding the time to visit Happily Ever After Thoughts. We really enjoyed learning more about your romances :-)

Kim: And I appreciate you having me on and pimping out me and my books. *grin*

Alexis: For a chance to win Kim’s first erotic release, Educating Aphrodite, be sure to leave a comment for her. Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Check the side column for your name and email me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Heroine

Last time, I wrote about heroes. Today, it’s heroines. As with the men in the books we love being the most handsome we can imagine, the women are beyond beautiful, at least to our hero, but what else is she? Do you see yourself in her? Or what you’d like to be? Does the adventure in her soul speak to you?

I love a feisty heroine, one who follows her heart, sometimes foolishly, regardless of the consequences. I love that she is intelligent (except when it comes to him and then all thought leaves her, especially when she is in his arms). I love that she can find valor and honesty and bravery, even though she may be shaking in her boots. I like that she can be tough when she needs to be but still maintain her femininity.

Whatever the heroine is to you, she is so much more to the man who is falling in love with her. To him, she is a wonder, at turns surprising him, beguiling him, frustrating him. She is a blessing and a curse at the same time. She is the one who forces him to see himself as he truly is-an honorable man who has no choice but to love her as she is.

And isn’t that the way it should be?

Happy reading!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Need Recommendations for New Romance Reader

I recently met a young woman who had read a Jade Lee, Harlequin Blaze romance. It was the first romance she’d ever read. She probably picked it up at one of the hotels or bars here on the island. Many have a spot where tourists can take a used book to read. Anyway, this young woman said she liked Jade’s book and wanted me to recommend other romances that she might like because, as she put it, “I don’t really know what my taste is.”

So, I need help. This young lady is a Science Professor at the University. My guess is she is late twenties. She is married and living in the Virgin Islands. She also has a grant to conduct scientific research. And she has just discovered romance novels. The book she read was The Tao of Sex which involved a Sex Goddess and a Dragon. As a Blaze it was hot. She didn’t seem to mind the heat, but said she loved the plot.

My question to you is, can you recommend any recently released (within the last year) romances that you think she might like? I’d love some suggestions as I offered to go with her to Undercover Books (the bookstore here) and help her choose some romances. So all recommendations are not only welcome, but definitely needed :-) Thank you for your help!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Ghost Shadow by Heather Graham

Heather Graham spins another of her bestsellers in a light paranormal, Ghost Shadow. In the sticky summer on the Keys of Florida, Fright Fest brings tourists to the historic area. Costumes hide the identities of those who seek the tours of haunted mansions and those who love to be frightened by imagination.

Katie O’Hara isn’t afraid of the ghosts that she can see.

She indulges in the return of family and friends, even those that haven’t returned since a year-long gruesome, unsolved murder. David Beckett arrives with the intentions of opening this cold case of the murder of his former fiancée.

The handful of previous suspects, along with a new list, is in town for the festivities. David is number one on the list. Katie doesn’t believe he’s guilty as they become emotionally engaged, even with new murders shortening the string of suspects.

Katie relies on the limited abilities of ghosts to help her find the true killer. It’s hard to believe that a friend or family member is guilty. Can the ghosts impart their knowledge through unconventional means, and will she understand their signals before it’s too late?

The romance is a bit weak with lack of conflict, but the story holds great suspense through the mystery and the number of suspects involved.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

"My Hero"

What do you love about your heroes? Of course, they must be the most handsomest men you’ve ever imagined but what else? Are they charming and witty? Silent and sullen? Prone to laughter? Or sudden rages?

I like my heroes to be a combination of everything. He must be strong and self-reliant, brave and fearless in the face of danger but above all else, he should be able to find humor in a situation, especially with the heroine, the woman he is destined to love. Yes, she can (and should) drive him to the brink of madness but in the end, he should realize she is the only woman in the world who can make him feel this way.

She changes him in ways he never thought possible, changes his whole outlook on life, changes……everything. The changes that take place in our hero, the love he finds though he might think himself undeserving, is worth every risk, every dangerous or humorous moment, every bit of trouble the heroine puts him through. And isn’t that one of the best things about romance and falling in love?

Happy reading!