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Monday, February 28, 2011

Interview of Cover Model/Actor Jason Aaron Baca!

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented Jason Aaron Baca. His career encompasses many avenues: romance book cover model, ,magazine cover model, author, and actor! His resume lists a variety of items to include television, movie roles, and magazines.

Where to find information about Jason Aaron Baca:
http://www.hmmodels.com/model.asp?modelID=395 (management)
http://jasonaaronbaca.deviantart.com (photo gallery)
http://www.amazon.com/Overexposed-Model-Journey-Male-II/dp/1425748287/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1296683253&sr=8-8 (model book)

CONTEST: Leave a comment to win a RBRU size XL tee and hat! Contest ends midnight ET 3 March. PLEASE put your email address in with your comment!

Q: Baseball. At one point you thought about making that your career. How did you end up as a model and actor?
A: That is a excellent question. There was a time after baseball ended for me that I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was living at home and worked at a hotel as a bellboy. I was on the verge of a mental breakdown since I was positive that this was as good as it gets. Then one night at home I got to thinking that I could be a model. Relief came over me in an awesome way that day.

Q: With all the different career directions you could have taken, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: Well actually I haven’t really moved on to the next career thought in my life. You see, when I set out to do something, I stay focused on it. When I wake in the morning, I’m thinking of what more I can do to improve what I have and do now. I cherish these moments right now and enjoy this current career path so much that I haven’t had time to think about other choices or what could have been.

Q: You’re an author! Tell us about your books, “Journey of a Male Model” and “Overexposed".
A: The first book was intended to be a groundbreaking book. I hoped to shock the modeling world by being the first model book to come out in a Barnes & Noble bookstore. It ended up being more of a biography once I was deeply involved in writing it.

But when the 2nd book came out (“Overexposed”)...that book I enjoyed writing. Sure there were some flaws in this book that I’m concerned about but I believe the message is very simple. This book is for a model that is just getting started in the business and is trying to make it big. This book teaches and inspires models to keep at it in the business and to not get frustrated when they aren’t getting booked.

If you can look past as few typos in the book and concentrate on my message, this book can save you a lot of time in getting far in your career in modeling.

Q: Are you writing another book?
A: I wrote a 3rd book called “Nicotine Rage”. It's about quitting chewing tobacco...which I gave up a few years ago. That was a habit I got into from playing baseball that I’ll never touch again.

Q: All the modeling work you’ve done includes the following magazines: YMLA Magazine, Industry, Men’s Workout, Men’s Fitness, Hong Kong Silk, Hoe Boxer International., For Women UK, InStyle Magazine, Playgirl, Passion. How would you describe the competition for these jobs?
A: The competition is very tough but that is why you have to stay at the top of your game at all times in this business if you want to be successful. Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself. If I’m working out hard, then my competition maybe working out even harder and dieting better then me. I can’t allow myself to let down my guard for a moment.

Each and every day I always give 100%. I’m not satisfied in myself unless I am absolutely drained before bedtime. Before falling asleep, I go over in my mind all the ideas and envision myself on the cover of the next big book. I picture myself in shape; my face is youthful , healthy, and I’m tan. If you have all things working for you and nothing is lacking (face, body, hair, teeth, tan,& attitude), then you have no one to fear. You should already prepare to win at the go-see or casting call.

Q: Tell us about posing for Playgirl. How different is it from posing for romance covers?
A: Playgirl was different because of certain reasons. It takes a lot longer to shoot for them. They also take a lot more photos of you in various poses, outfits, & colors. It can be very draining but you've got to stay fresh-looking at all times. Playgirl really does a lot of makeup and hairstyling whereas for romance covers, they just tell you to go look in the mirror and comb your hair. Regardless of what they do, I always go looking my best.

Q: Tell us what a “shoot” is like for a romance cover model.
A: It's really no different then any other shoot I do, but I mentally prepare myself because it's usually for a book cover where the character is this cool macho person. I have to get into this frame of mind well in advance before the shoot. During this time I get very cold to the outside world because it's all about me and my body. I concentrate on making my muscles more defined and staying fit.

The shoot takes usually 1-2 hours of me posing with a sword or standing there imagining that I’m the leader of the world. For romance books, I try to imagine that everyone will love the way I look and no one will think otherwise.

Q: As a cover model, do you have any say into the process? Can you ask for a pose to be changed or not used? Have you ever done this, and, if so, what happened?
A: Actually,  I’ve tried this method recently and it worked. Some of the art directors or photographers don’t know how to pose a model. Since I’ve been to a million and one shoots, I know what to do or what poses make me look good. Often times they end up liking my approach better then what they’d intended to do coming into the shoot.

Q: You started as an actor as a double for Freddie Prinze Jr. in the movie, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. How did that lead to your becoming a model?
A: I was on location in Bodega Bay, CA and the photographer that does the stills/DVD cover for the movie approached me and asked if he could take some shots of me. I was young and felt very honored to be posing for him out there. I didn’t realize that this was a really huge deal. I sent the photos from there to a Graphics company to be duplicated. The guy at their lab saw those photos, contacted me, and wanted to use me for a shoot. One thing led to another.

Q: What kind of workout do you do each day to stay in shape?
A: Great question and I’m glad you asked! Well everyday before I enter the gym I go over in my mind what I’ll be doing when I workout for that day. When I’m in the gym I try to put as much effort into working one muscle as I do the other.

If I hear a good song (currently its Land Of Confusion by Genesis) I workout non-stop for the entire song. This really gives me a boost in the gym and raises my pulse so that I can have a sufficient workout. I also do my stomach crunches every day now. I’m up to 450 per day at the moment.

When I walk into the gym , I don’t just walk in, I go in like I mean it. I’m in a zone. I know that some of the people that at the gym are just working out to stay healthy whereas I’m lifting and running for modeling assignments. A lot of people go to the gym to socialize, look, or fool around. No, that’s not me. When people come up to me at the gym I keep the conversation brief, and if they keep standing there asking me questions I tell them, “Look, I’m really kind of busy right now, do you mind?" That usually gets them to take off.

Q: Do you tan?
A: Yes, Usually I follow up my workout session with a 15 minute tan at the local salon. I make sure to use plenty of moisturizer before because I want to prevent any signs of aging from the harmful booth bulbs. I like to tan before a shoot also but I have found that tanning can make my face a bit puffy. I use an ice pack for 15 minutes to combat the puffiness.

Q: I read that your goal is to do 100 romance covers. Do you have favorite cover that you’ve done?
A: My favorite cover so far is still "The Legend of Michael" by Lisa Renee Jones though I’m in better shape now then I was in that particular shot. If she does a sequel, I’ll be ready.

Q: Favorite food?
A: Grilled free range chicken with herbed French Fries. I also enjoy the occasional arugula caesar salad with pine nuts.

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Crystal Geyser, or any natural spring water. I don’t drink sodas and only have an occasional drink. I believe in taking care of myself and don’t believe in putting impurities in my body.

Q: What upcoming jobs are ahead for you?
A: Big things are always coming and I don’t like dull moments. But instead of me shamelessly promoting what’s coming, I’ll let people be surprised.

Q: What would you consider to be the most romantic place in the world…just so we might get some travel ideas?
A: I Loved Sandals in the Bahamas and their private island. It is quite tranquil and relaxing. I also enjoy Maui along the Kaanapali shores. It's very inviting. What I enjoy so much about the sea is it helps flush my mind of any negative thoughts.

Q: On the day of the shoot what do you do to prepare?
A: I have a regiment that I live by. Here are my secrets at staying healthy and at the top of my game at all times. I believe in taking care of myself everyday, but on a day that I have a shoot, here’s what I do.

I wake in the morning and immediately drink one 16 oz crystal geyser spring water. In the shower, I use Oil of Olay’s Deep Pore Scrub followed by Garnier’s Oil-free Microbead cream scrub. This washes away any dullness and  leaves my skin smooth & pure-looking.

I tend to get dry skin from time to time from the tanning booth. So,  for my face, I use Aveeno’s Positively Ageless Daily Exfoliating cleanser. What I like about it is that it’s very mild on my face yet it still exfoliates which is the key to healthy looking skin on the day of the shoot. Then I use an extra gentle cleansing foam (currently I’m using one put out by St.Ives).

This usually gets me in the right frame of mind since I know that I’m cleaned and polished for the big shoot. The rest is simple. I get changed then apply Neutrogena “Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion", then an anti-aging eye balm, and finally, a facial moisturizer.

For my body, I use Dove’s "Pro-Age Moisturizing Lotion" as well as Origins "Moisture Recovery Cream". This leaves my skin feeling moisturized instead of hot and dry. I am now prepared for the shoot.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bonny Knee Contest by Cornelia Amiri




If you’ve never been to a Bonny Knee Contest, let me share a little about them. For these contests, brawn, lusty sons of Scotland, garbed in clan tartans, gather together, not for war, but to bare their knees to a blind folded lassie. The judge, sits as pretty as a queen, blindfolded so she can’t see the knees before her. Lifting her hands, palms outward, she wiggled her fingers, ready to explore the line of men in kilts.


The first Scot takes the stage, loudly shuffling his feet as he scoots up to the lassie’s lap, he pressed his hard muscled calves up against her shapely legs. Reaching out, the lassie lays the palms of her soft hands over his bare knees. When she has had her feel of one man’s knees, another lad steps forward, and so it goes.

The men walked forward one by one, and lift their kilts to the blindfolded lassie for a second round of judging. At moments when a judge seems unsure of where to place her fingers, another lassie assists by guiding her hands to the fellows’ knees. The judge dare not touch something higher than the knee. Some of the contestants from time to time may lift their kilt a little too high. We don’t want to see more than knees.

Sometimes the judges seem to be have a bit too much fun and take several rounds to pick a winner. But they do need to be sure to pick the right one. It’s only fair. Once the judge makes their choice, the winner is announced, they usually get bragging rights and a trophy or a small prize.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, they are from the Kilgore Texas Celtic Heritage Festival, the town is nestled amid the flowering dogwood, and stately pine trees of East Texas. If you ever get a chance to go to a Bonny Knee contest you should, as you can see they are hilarious and lots of fun.

For more about the Celts and Romance please visit my website at http://CelticRoamnceQueen.com
and Facebook

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cons and Cons

The closer the Romantic Times convention gets, the more I see people talk about the value of conventions. Part of the valuing process is the comparisons people make between all the most notable cons, RT, RWA, ADD, Lori Fosters, RomantiCon, RomCon, and a few others. Since I'm a virgin when it comes to cons, I don't really have anything to add to any of these conversations. But I've been soaking up all the information and advice.

One of the most common things I see is people comparing or asking about the differences between RT and RWA. This one seems pretty obvious to me. RT is billed as a reader convention. There's lots of parties and meet and greets. The workshops are not the focus. RWA is a convention for members of an organization, some of whom may not be published authors yet. Still, it's a professional convention. Apparently there's more workshops and a more focused industry slant to the events.

The next thing I see a lot of is people comparing RT to Lori Foster's event. Well, to be honest, I can figure out those differences too with just a bit of deductive power. It's in the midwest, geared smaller and less expensive than RT, more intimate than RT. More intimate means that you probably get more face time with just about any person you'd want to talk to there. Smaller also often means that people are more approachable as well.

Well, then let's look at RomantiCon. For Ellora's Cave authors, this is like a giant slumber party with a couple hundred of your BFFs. It's a convention only for this publisher, it's authors, staff, and readers. Everything is EC-centric. Everyone says they have the best time ever. Frankly, I've seen the photos and I think those people had a blast. If my hip would survive the flight, I'd save to go.

The new up and coming con is Authors After Dark. I heard many good things about this one too. Smaller like Lori Foster's which makes everything and everyone more accessible. Last year it was on the east coast which makes it out for me. (The bad hip remember.) I don't remember where it is this year but I heard that the hotel they have lined up is awesome and reasonably priced.

There's a new con coming this year too. I forget the name but it's a gay readers and writers con. I think they're having it in New Orleans. I know some of my favorite authors are going to be there: Ethan Day, Z.A. Maxfield, Jambrea Jo Jones, Lynn Lorenz, Carol Lynne and more.

Since I'm not about to cripple myself by flying, I'll have to stick to what comes around locally for me. This year that means RT. Next year, it means RWA. I'm glad I live someplace that cons come to otherwise I'd never get to attend one. But you can sure learn a lot about what goes on with them by listening to authors and other folk talk when one of the big cons gets close.

I'm looking forward to going to RT. I can't wait to meet a lot of the authors I talk to online. I can't wait to meet readers. It will be a big thrill for me to sign books and cover flats and chat with fans of the Tales series. I'm wriggling like a puppy with excitement. At the same time, my wallflower side is cringing in terror. But I'll get through it. Everyone is being really helpful and I'm determined to make my mark. (That would be me showing up with the giraffe print suitcase, giraffe print netbook sleeve, and Dooney giraffe purse. Not to mention the purple-to-match-my-website Sharpies.)

Listening to all the conversations about conventions means that you get a lot of info and can more easily make a decision about attending one. You can find out if it's right for you by asking questions and paying attention to the questions others ask and all the answers that start flying through the loops. No one is shy about sharing their convention experiences.

When RT is finally over and I'm back in my little corner of the OC, I hope someone will ask me about my experiences. I have a sneaky suspicion I will have some stories to tell. Already, there's some plans within plans a-brewing...

And yeah, I'm gonna have fun if it kills me. ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Interview of Author Jane Toombs

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Jane Toombs.

Latest Book: Flying High
Buy Link: Check my website: http://www.JaneToombs.com
(It may not be up until the end of the February)

BIO:
Jane Toombs, the Viking from her past and their calico grandcat, Kinko live on Lake Superior’s south shore in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness. They enjoy three marvelous seasons and do their best to tolerate the cold and snowy winters. Jane’s published books are edging up toward ninety and her novellas may be near thirty--she’s lost count. Her favorite genre to read and write is fantasy or paranormal romance, but she likes to do the occasional historical as well

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: I think maybe Good-time Charlie, an important minor character is my favorite. This because he has to do a tremendous amount of growing and changing to become a decent human being, and it was very difficult for him. He was never unsympathetic, but he depended on booze to get him though crises of his own making, until he finally got the wake-up call that led him to take charge of his life. Not that the hero and heroine didn’t have to change as well, but it was easier for them than for Charlie, who was in total denial.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Heavens, no! They’re not only different in shape, ability, experience and appearance, but they don’t have the same backgrounds, problems or resilience to cope with life’s misfortunes. Their one similar trait is a never-give-up attitude, even though they may at first think they can’t go on. I guess that means I try to get into their heads when I write. I certainly don’t think of them as alike.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: To avoid gaining weight, I stick to lemon drops, even though I‘d rather eat chocolate or the yummy ginger cookies the Viking and I make together. Took me a while to restrict myself, but I’m now quite rigid about not having any food except the occasional lemon drop. Or drink, except water, while at the computer

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: After I turned on the computer to find help to get us off the island, I’d help him find a way to catch fish, because we’d need food until help arrived. And a container to catch water when it rained. I might also have to make a net of his and my hair to catch birds to eat. Yeah, I know, I‘m too practical. But what good is a gorgeous guy if you’re going to die of thirst or starvation?

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: If I belonged to any one of them, not including chats or blogs, it would take me so long to get used to what I had to do (I’m the exact opposite of a techie) that I’d never have the time to write. And what’s the use of belonging if you have no new books coming out? Chats are fine because they can be scheduled. So are blogs--hey, I like to be heard as well as anyone. But I don’t have my own blog because if I kept it up the way it should be again I’d never have time to write. (I may be practical, but that doesn‘t mean I’m also organized.)

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.JaneToombs.com
I do have I have multiple epublishers:
http://www.redrosepublishing.com
http://www.devinedestinies.com
http://www.eternalpress.biz
http://www.amberquillpress.com
http://www.Wings.com
http://www.champagnebooks.com
http://www.Diskus.com
http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com
http://www.doubledragon.com
http://www.Zumaya.com
http://www.Mundania.com
http://www.newconceptspublishing.com
http://www.Freyasbower.com
http://www.bwlpp.com

BLURB:
Chistie and Margaret’s crowd loved to party with 1920s Chicago’s illegal booze. Christie sometimes gave a thought for tomorrow, but Margaret never did. Chistie remembered when the two of them had played with the forbidden Ouiji Board. When she’d held the pointer it spelled out “flying high” and son after she’d met Bruce when he landed on Margaret’s family’s lawn in his bi-wing Jenny. He seemed more real than any of their crowd--what did that mean? But she did worry about her Cousin Margaret, unable to forget the strange prediction the Ouiji Board had spelled out for her. Still Margaret’s family had money--nothing bad would happen to her cousin, could it? If only Margaret wouldn‘t be so reckless…

EXCERPT:
"Let’s get started," Margaret said, sitting down at a small table near the windows where she'd already laid out the Ouija board.

Christie seated herself opposite Margaret, the board between them on the table."What are we supposed to do with it?"

"You have to ask a question, then we both put our fingertips on this pointer without pushing on it." Margaret lifted a heart-shaped wooden object with three felt-tipped legs, replacing it on the board with the legs down.

"What happens then?"

"The pointer is supposed to move by itself to the letters on the board and spell out words in answer to your question."

"If we don't move the thing, what does?"

Margaret shrugged. "I don't know, it just happens."

Studying the board. Christie saw that, in addition to the alphabet, there were numbers from 0 to 9, with "Yes " in one upper corner and "No" in the opposite upper one.

"It's sort of like fortune telling," Margaret said. "That's why I don't want Mother to see it. She'd surely have a catnip fit, even though the Ouija is a harmless game, just for fun."

Christie was aware her own mother wouldn't approve, either. She and Margaret's mother were second cousins and not much alike except for a tendency to view anything possibly pertaining to the supernatural as a tool of the devil's.

"I'll go first." Margaret closed her eyes for a moment, opened them and intoned, "Who shall I marry?"

Both girls set their fingertips lightly on the pointer. For long moments nothing happened, then, to Christie's surprise, she felt it begin to glide across the board. Margaret, she decided, must be doing the moving.

Watching which letter the point of the heart rested on, she spelled out B-E-W-A-R-E and then the number 1. All movement stopped.

"Beware 1?" Margaret said. "What do you suppose that could mean? Or maybe it's the word one instead of the number. But it still doesn't make sense. I'll ask another question. Will I be happy?"

"L-A-T-E-R 2," the pointer spelled.

"I don't see why it has to be so mysterious," Margaret complained. "What am I supposed to make of that? You try asking a question--maybe you'll have better luck."

Christie thought a moment before saying, "What's in my future?"

Once again the pointer began a slow glide under their fingertips, spelling out F-L-Y-I-N-G-H-I-G-H.

"Flying High?" Christie murmured. "What can that mean? Did you move the pointer?"

Margaret shook her head. "I thought maybe you were making it move."

"No."

"Then it works." Margaret whispered the words. "We may not understand the meaning, but it actually does predict the future."

A shiver ran along Christie's spine as she gazed at her cousin's awe-struck expression. She swallowed and said, "It's just a game. You said so yourself."

"I was wrong."

Obeying a sudden desire to hide the Ouija board from sight and never look at it again, Christie muttered, "Let's put it away.

Margaret opened the drawer in the table and swept the Ouija apparatus into it before turning her head toward the windows. At the same time, Christie became aware that the faint drone she'd been hearing had grown much louder. She rose and went to the French doors to peer out. Margaret joined Christie by the doors. "Whatever can all that noise be?

"Let's go out and see."

Moments later, they rounded the corner of the house and Margaret's older brother, Carleton the Third, usually called Charlie, came running toward them.

"It's a Jenny!" he cried, stopping beside a large maple to peer up at the sky. "I'd recognize that motor anywhere."

Margaret and Christie stood beside him, both gazing upward. "What's a Jenny when it's at home?" Margaret asked.

Charlie gave her a quick frown. "An aeroplane, you dumb bunny." He pointed. "Look, there she is."

Christie's heart pounded excitedly as she stared at the double-winged aircraft approaching from over Lake Michigan. What must it be like to fly high in the air like the birds? Except this aeroplane wasn't all that high. The engine coughed and sputtered, much like a car about to stall, making her look at Charlie in alarm. "Is something wrong?"

Intent on the aeroplane, he ran a hand through his fair hair as he muttered, "Let's hope she's got a pilot at the controls who knows the game. There's nowhere for him to land except our lawn."

Christie's gaze shifted from the Jenny to the wide expanse of green grass separating the Sinclair mansion from the lake. "Can he actually do that?"

Charlie shrugged. "Depends. I could if I had to."

She knew he wasn't boasting. He'd defied his parents and enlisted in France's Lafayette Escadrille during the late War in Europe. Though it taxed her imagination to visualize Good-time Charlie, as the crowd called him, shooting down German war aces, she knew he had.

"Oh, what fun!" Margaret cried. "An aeroplane landing on our lawn. Maybe he's one of those barnstormers."

"This is hardly a farmer's field," her brother said. "If he misses the hedge, though, he just might make it."

Holding her breath, Christie watched as the Jenny dipped lower and lower, close enough so she could see the white scarf the pilot wore. With a final cough from the engine, its wheels touched the grass, bounced up, down, up, down and then the aeroplane, moving slowly, finally halted directly in front of them.

Charlie sprinted toward it, with his sister close behind. Christie stood where she was, momentarily transfixed by recalling what the Ouija board had spelled out for her--sky-high. What a coincidence. Or was it?

Anything else you'd like to add?
My website is http://www.JaneToombs.com and my son-in-law who works for various online businesses is my site webmaster. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to keep up a website. He does it all for me and I pay him in ginger cookies. (Yes, they’re that good!)

Ginger Cookie Recipe:
¾ cup shortening (we use butter) 1 cup sugar (we use a bit over 2/3)
1 egg 1/4 cup molasses (make it a generous one)
2 cups flour (if batter is sticky use a tad more) 2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ginger ! teaspoon cinnamon
Soften butter, then cream with sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour before rolling in little balls and dipping the top in a small dish of sugar before placing on non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Keep checking after 12 min. or they may burn. Tops should look cracked when done. Cool and store.

What is Jane Toombs up to? Find out at http://www.jewelsofthequill.com
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me

Tomorrow is my son's fourteenth birthday. That means I've officially been writing for fourteen years now. Yes, the two are linked.

I'd always wanted to be a writer. I grew up writing plays in elementary school, YA in junior high, and romance novels in high school. See a pattern here? Yes, I wrote what I knew and what interested me. Life, however, got in the way for many years. I never fully gave up the writing dream, but it became a "someday" wish. We all have "someday" wishes. "Someday, I'll go to Paris..." "Someday, I'll buy a new car..." "Someday, I'll be a size six..."

The thing is, "Someday" really never comes. There's only today. So when I found myself bed-confined in the final weeks of pregnancy fourteen years ago, the hubster brought home a computer and told me this was my Someday. Suddenly after years of working full-time, I had an opportunity to do what I always dreamed of: write a novel.

As of this year, I'll have nine books published (so far!). I have three full manuscripts I'm currently shopping around. And the ideas are still coming. Stories are lined up in a giant queue in my head (next to the reminder to do my taxes and my recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip--it's a completely chaotic storage facility in my skull) waiting patiently for their turn to shine.

What's the moral of the story? Don't wait for Someday. No matter what your goal. Start making it a reality now. (And happy birthday, Nicholas B!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview of Author Lisa Kumar

Today I'm happy to present an interview of romance author Lisa Kumar.

Latest book: Captive
Buy link: http://bookstogonow.com/captive.html

BIO:
Lisa Kumar is a wife, mother, and romance writer who grew up in small-town Indiana. She now resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and son, who are used to sharing her attention with her not-so-trusty computer. When not spinning tales of romance and fantasy, she can be found with her nose buried in a book, or more accurately, her e-reader. Her scholastic background is in psychology, which enabled her to get low-paying jobs in the human services sector. Needless to say, she's now writing full-time.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I really love writing all the interactions between the heroine and hero. All the romantic tension is so fun to play with.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: I’m not a plotter, so I tend to run into all those problems that plague pantsters. I’ve decided to be more proactive this time, and have a rough outline for my next book.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: I would have to pick Cian from my short story Captive. He’s delightfully wicked at times, but redeemable. Now, in real life it might not be easy to handle a man, er, elf like him. But since romance, to me, is all about the fantasy of escapism, he’s alluring because of his mysteriousness and untouchability.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No, I often search out pictures and photos on the internet to represent each character’s personality and appearance.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Why, of course, reading! That’s followed closely with doing activities with family and friends. I also enjoy walking outside.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Historicals have always held an attraction for me. The sheer amount of research scares me away, though. Everything would need to be historically correct right down to the slippers the heroine is wearing. That’s a lot to consider.

Tell us where to find you:
http://www.goodreads.com/lisa_kumar
http://bookstogonow.com/
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609682676
http://tabithablake.blogspot.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Kumar/e/B004LQPZEK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

BLURB:
Emma finds herself at the mercy of someone who shouldn't even exist, in a reality far removed from her own 21st century world. Even though her Elvin captor, Cian, is mysterious and sexy, she determines to keep herself aloof and return home.

This soon all changes as he wages a seductive war on her defenses that challenges everything she’s believed about love and life.

For Cian passion and rage intermingle as he alternately toys with Emma and submits to his fascination for this human who, by all that is Elvin, should be an object of repulsion.

EXCERPT:
“You’re so delightfully dirty.”

Emma raised her head, staring at the blond-haired male reclining before her on the bed. His smile grew, revealing impossibly white teeth that were perhaps a little more pointed than they should be. That was, if he was human.

Through narrowed eyes she sent the tall Elvin jackass a glare she wished would cause him to implode. Okay, so he wasn’t going to do so literally. That would be a sorry waste of prime male beauty. Too bad his personality didn’t match.

“Your blood, that is.”

She stiffened, her tied hands clenching behind her back. He didn’t just go there, did he? The blood pounding through her veins screamed the answer she hadn’t trusted her ears to discover.

He laughed softly. “Elf got your tongue, human?”

His smug voice grated along her spinal cord, right into her synapses. Fear mingled with outrage. She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of a reply. Indeed, she didn’t even know if any words could make it past her frozen vocal cords.

As he prowled closer on the silken sheets, heat shivered up her skin, making goose bumps spring up in its wake. Suddenly, the huge bed, and the room it was in, overwhelmed her. Dark green walls, along with a fern green ceiling that soared high above them, had made the chamber appear spacious. Now they closed in about her. The worst offender, though, was his overpowering presence. It suffocated. It aroused.

She wanted to look away. How she wanted to look at anything but him. His long platinum hair framed a face that should have been sinful in its perfection. High cheekbones showcased sloe eyes of the deepest blue. Right now, those eyes glittered with something like glee. In all, the scene reminded her uncomfortably of a cat toying with a mouse, which definitely put her in the role of prey. He made the perfect sleek cat, having a litheness that could be described as feline-like. His gray tunic and black leggings did nothing to hide this fact, since the fabric clung lovingly to sinewy muscle.

Her eye twitched. The elf -- at least that was how he had identified himself -- leaned in close to her, obliterating her bubble of personal space. Making no move to touch her, he studied her like a scientist would a rare bug or plant. Her gaze tracked every breath he took, every movement of those surprisingly expressive eyebrows that arched so sharply; most humans would need wax or tweezers to achieve the same look. On him the effect seemed natural.

Nausea welled up. How could she find it natural? Find him natural? Elves shouldn’t exist. For her they hadn’t until he snatched her. Now, by force, her world was narrowed down to one being who broke all her beliefs about reality.

She didn’t even know his name. Would he tell her that little bit of information, so trivial, yet so important? Childhood nursery rhymes and folktales spun through her mind, reminding her he might not offer up a name but instead guard it. Then again, if those stories had any credence to them, she would have a lot more to worry about than names. Original fairytales were dark, often not treating their characters kindly.

When he inched further into what was left of her precious space, she startled, scuttling back. For every centimeter she temporarily gained, it seemed he took two away until she butted up against the elaborate headboard of the bed.

His bed. She had surmised that much, at least.

Her arms and wrists sore, she sought to alleviate some of the ache. But her position on the bed and his nearness constrained that endeavor.

He smirked. “Where are you trying to go, hmm?”

Rolling her eyes, she bit back on the words that wanted to spew forth. Yelling and screaming wouldn’t work. She would know; she’d already tried them. That left one thing: silence as her last stand.

“My dear, how are we to get to know each other if one of us doesn’t talk?” The mocking twist of his mouth belied the somber tone he just uttered.

Something painful snapped inside her, releasing the floodgates of her rage. “Like I give a rat’s ass about knowing you. Just return me home, you freak.”

He shook his head mournfully. “Now, now. You’re the only freak here, I’m afraid. You’re human, you know.”

“I know what species I am, thank you very much. And I’m most definitely not a freak.” She tried to fling her arm forward, but the painful pull reminded her of its current location behind her back, so she settled for shrugging her head and shoulder in his direction. “Look at those ears. Now that’s strange.”

“These?” Reaching up a lightly tanned hand, he fingered the point of his ear before tracing over its outline. “They’re very normal.” He stared at her, and his eyes grew heavy-lidded. “Your pair is the irregular set here, though I find them charmingly odd.”

Her mouth opened and closed. As his hand moved toward her, her lips snapped shut. Time slowed down, each second infinitely long until his fingers reached their quest. At the first gentle touch on her lobe, tiredness -- along with some unnamed pleasant sensation -- swept over her. What was he doing to her, to her resistance?

Heart hammering, she prayed he would soon cease his exploration. Because if he didn’t, well, that way lay disaster. Her disaster and his pleasure. She might be a captive, but from the start she’d felt her pull toward him.

His fingers remained insistent, offering her restraint no rest. The rounded curve of her ear was apparently fascinating, for it was traced many times. As the rhythmic motion soothed her, she let out a sigh and leaned into his touch.

When he discovered the curve of her cheek next, she closed her eyes. The scent of pine and sandalwood tickled her nose, and her senses flared to life. Pin pricks shivered over her skin. Time and perception coalesced, as if she’d been born just to experience this moment.

The heat of his lips took up the path his fingers had left. Her eyes shot open. “W…what are you doing?”

“Getting to know you properly,” he murmured, not lifting his head.

“This isn’t how you get to know someone.” Her breathless tone made her shudder. She did not lose control like this.

“It’s my preferred method of dealing with you, especially since you won’t talk.”

“I’m talking now.”

“Ah, but it’s too late now.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bend over Madam and take delivery of a steaming hot Blog!


Today I wanted to post something fun and incredibly stupid. I want to offer you the worst and most pointless romance blog I’ve ever written, and I challenge you to do even worse! It’s been a very long winter and we all need a chance to lighten up.

(I’m so bored with myself I could cry!)

I’m sinking low today just because I can and I’m counting on you to sink with me. I wrote the worst most offensive romance dialog and scenario I could think of at this moment and inflicted it on you. Poor grammar, offensive attitudes, typos and thoughtless dialog were done willfully.

Exhibit A:  A bluff pirate’s tale semen at sea.

“Ha, ha, ha I don’t give a heck of yer ah virgin lassie, I’m going to peek in your porthole and force you to ride mi bucking lower deck whether ya like it or not.” Captain Muskysac the much dreaded handsome bastard pirate of the inky blue undulating ocean, lorded menacingly over his newest captive, conveniently kidnapped on the eve of her wedding, the wistful jewel of his heart since childhood, the beautifully, delicately innocent Miss Ashley Roseheather.

Captain Muskysac insolently puffed his broad chest forward thrusting his man-nipples three feet apart, kicked his boots astride and stood thusly with his fist firmly planted on his insinuating lean hips and barked. “On your knees lass I’m going to spoil you!”

“There’s been a slightly awkward miscommunication.” Ashley glanced upward and mumbled softly through rubied rosebud lips. “I’m not a virgin…”

Captain Muskysac frowned. His posture wilted. “What do mean yer not a virgin? I had a whole deflowerment routine of horribly protracted degradation painstakingly planned for you. I was going to win your heart by conquering your frail womanly form, and easily shocked sensibilities. I went to a great deal of effort. Manacles were polished, Neverwash Walter is eagerly waiting in the next cabin to shout rude, inappropriate comments and leer over the entire sordid event. I’ll be honest with you, this is quite a bitter little let down.”

“I’m so sorry, I’m not a virgin but there nothing to be done about it now. What about a sassy whiskey-voiced, salty-tongued, been abandoned by love but has a heart of gold, hip-swishing sea wench? Could you use one of those? I adore life-jarring forced seductions and humiliating degradation on the high seas.” Ashley’s limpid baby blue eyes bulgingly pleaded. “It’s not too late to have a good time, is it? I’ll just behave flustered and witless and we’ll put the whole embarrassing misunderstanding behind us. You’ll never notice I’m not a virgin. What do say my spicy pepperoni—is the party on?”

Captain Muskysac stared dejectedly at the toes of his tall boots. “I don’t know—Its’ not quite the same. I take pride in my arrogantly aberrant behavior. Menacing maidens is an art form. I’m not really prepared for an experienced woman. I don’t want to just walk through the act half-heartedly.”

“Oh what the hell, I’m starting without you.” Ashley shouted. “Nay, nay dark ruthless master don’t burst my preciously treasured carefully guarded and saved for sacred marriage maidenhead and ruin my chances for a peaceful, productive life and soak my virgin tight-as-a-kidskin-glove, pouting rosebud, woman’s secret cottage in the glen, quimmy with your steamy hot juices! Spare me lava hot love god. I beg of you!”

Captain Muskysac’s expression was appalled. “You do realize Neverwash and others can hear you in the next cabin?” He whispered a tense warning.

“I don’t care! Lash me to yer throbbing purple yardarm, Hop’n jack me, Whip the pony, butter the biscuits, take me if you must, grease me with deck-wax pin me flat and ravish me on your thick commanding masthead. Your mysteriously threatening knobby turgidness compels me to surrender!”

“My turgidness?”

“Yes, your stony rock hard as iron straight as a plank of wood, turgidness. Shove it in me, lord of my mattress! For you, my dewy quim is like a fragrant rose shyly opening it’s delicate silky pink petals to the first fair day of spring sunshine that we call love. My naughty lady slipper pouts, longs, desires, drools and oozes with love nectar waiting for you to take me again and again and again and again…

“All right already!” He announced as he tore at his laces and evacuated his threateningly turgid, inhumanly proportioned, mapped with veins, sweaty, salty manhood from his skintight period-correct breeches and let it thrust in all its twitching glory toward her startled face. “I’m going to slip you the sausage and mash the potatoes. Then I’m going to spill man-gravy all over your plate, and let it all soak in the sink until morning. I doubt you’ll walk upright for a week!”

“Nay, if I ever walk again!” She screamed ridiculously and ducked under the bedcovers. “You’re so massively, hugely big! The sheer girthy width of your tremendously engorged spit–red-hot-rivets-wang-hammer is enough to kill a girl. The impressive volume of your man-tool leaves me humbled, awed yet strangely drawn to the danger-tinged mystery of its wrinkled foreskin. Your balls are big too.” She sighed sweetly.

“So is your plump round bottom madam! I think I’ll take a brisk palm to task against those firm, proud peaches and paddle a happy tune on your pink drum skins before I lave my tongue between your warm, wet woman folds and send the fire truck to hose down the flames.”

He did and they lived happily ever after. The End.

Wow! I feel a lot better. Thank you for enduring that rant. I might actually be able to do little real writing today.

I do sincerely ask, nay I beseech you (If you’re still willing to talk to me.) to please leave a comment, a horrible phrase or inappropriate romance term that makes you cringe. I’d love to hear them—I live for this kind of thing!
XXOO Kat

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vacation 101: Pantser or Plotter?

How does an author, who's normally a hard-core pantser, draw up an itinerary for a future Ireland / Scotland trip? Well, let me tell you it's quite difficult, especially when there is so much to see and not enough time to fit it all in. This is the dilemma I have come to face.

Let's start at the beginning...

As some of you may already know, I write full length historical novels. The first two books in my Emerald Isle Trilogy (RÆLIKSEN and MAC LIAM) are available and despite their length, their intricately woven plots, and the many twists that take place in the series, I have never--I repeat, NEVER--plotted them out on paper. Several of my friends and family, who've read the series, have asked me how in the world I've done such a thing, and honestly, I find myself asking "how do other authors plot out their books and stick to it?"

I know my personality, and because of it, I'd spend more time revising my outline than writing the story by memory. Don't get me wrong, I've tried. And the first time I ever plotted anything out was for my contemporary novella due out in April called Silent Partner. With it supposedly being only a novella, I decided to see if I could even write a novella--which means keeping it below a certain word count. I have to say, I successfully wrote out the entire outline for the story just to see how many chapters it would take to complete it, but then when it came time to writing the story, I seemed to have dismissed the outline, never consulting it as the scenes played out in my head.

Was that a waste of my time? Not really...it did help me to keep things in order. But in all honesty, I actually preferred to fly by the seat of my pants. Did I write the novella without any trouble? Yes. Did I keep it under a certain word count? No. But yet, I am so thankful I didn't because now it will be released as both an ebook and a print book. Does this mean I will never plot ever again? No. I think I'd try to plot again for most of my novellas swimming around in my head.

However, with me going to Ireland and Scotland this year, I know I MUST draw up an itinerary and stick to it, else I'll be running around the country like a chicken with my head cut off and going no where fast.

So, here I am. I'm in the process of drawing up this blasted schedule for a two week trip and I'm nearly finished. The only thing I'm worried about is cutting myself short. The most important things on the schedule are visiting the places I've talked about in the Emerald Isle Trilogy (the amazing places my heroine and the two heroes have stood): Inis Mór, Galway, Limerick, the River Shannon, pretty much the entire west coast of Ireland. But my goodness, we all know there is so much more to see than those nostalgic locations.

I plan on immersing myself in the country and I've already told my husband that he's going to be hard pressed to get me out of the country when the time comes to get back on the plane and head for home. This is a place I've long dreamed about visiting and to leave it all behind will be one of the hardest things for me to do.

With that being said, I take a deep breath and continue on my crusade to plot this darn trip out, day by day, hour by hour. So, I ask you...is that the best way to do it? Or should I just go over there and enjoy my trip like I write--by the seat of my pants?


*Visit Renee Vincent at her website, Past The Print, or at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Guest Blog: Francesca Hawley: The Long and Short of It

When I started writing, I wrote long. Very long. My first two releases from Ellora’s Cave Publishing topped 100,000 words. So obviously, I’m more comfortable writing novels. But those releases took me about a year to write…a piece. Of course, I work full time and can only write in the evenings and on weekends so that means I probably write slower than other writers who have the opportunity to write full time. But the fact remains, it takes me quite a while to write a long novel.

When I realized that, I decided that I should consider writing novellas. Novellas are much shorter. Surely, I can write them faster and manage to have more releases out for my readers. It couldn’t be that tough to write a novella, could it? It’s just like writing a novel only shorter. Right? But what I learned was that writing a novella requires a different set of skills to make a satisfying story and it takes practice. Long, hard practice.

Now that I’ve written a couple of novellas, I’ve discovered what a challenge it is and I have a great deal of respect for my fellow authors who write short regularly. To write short successfully, a writer needs to keep the word count in mind…all the time. Stories should be simpler, but everything that appears in any other length story needs to also be in a novella. The story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There should be strong characterization and a clear plot.

What I have learned is that to write short, the story needs to be distilled to its essence while retaining an interesting plot, fast pacing, and intriguing characters. And all of that needs to be done in less than 30,000 words. Ouch. That’s tough. But it can be done. And many writers do it very well.

Number one—follow the KISS method of writing. Keep It Simple, Sister! It’s like making a bush into a topiary. It requires careful pruning. Dump all the intricate subplots and secondary characters who don’t have a role in moving the story forward. Instead of flowery descriptions of verdant fields waving in the breeze, the writer needs to decide if the field is even relevant. If not—gone. Dump the backstory unless it is specifically important to making a plot point. Make something important happen on page one. Setup is for sissies…get to the story. Now. Right now.

All of this was tough for me to learn. I really like describing stuff. I like spending lots of time in my characters’ heads. But if those mental discussions are unnecessary, they need to go. I love writing a bunch of setup. I even like…horrors…prologues. Nope. Gotta get rid of them.

Writing novellas has been a really good experience for me. It’s taught me more about honing a story. I’ve learned how to determine what’s really important. What needs to be included and what’s a luxury. When I have the room to describe the verdant fields, I can do that. But I’ve learned how to trim that stuff out.

I still struggle…a lot. In fact, with Controlling Interest I can most humbly state that if not for my critique partner, Paris Brandon the story wouldn’t have gotten finished. You see, even with trying to keep an eye on my word count, I ended up 5000 words over the 30,000 word limit. Paris helped me figure out how to prune a bush into a topiary. A very hot topiary. Thank you, my dear. You are the awesomest!

Let me throw a few questions out there.

Fellow authors, do you write short? What are your reasons for writing short? Do you have tips for those of us trying to improve our skills for writing novellas?

Readers—do you enjoy novellas? What complaints do you have? What do you love in a novella?

BIO:
Hi. I’m Francesca Hawley and I’m a fat chick. A woman with dangerous curves just like my heroines. Many people don’t like the word, “fat” but I do because it’s the truth and I’ve learned to own it. I am a fat chick and I always will be.

When I began writing, I wanted to create a fat heroine who loved herself—or at least learned to love herself—and a hot alpha hero who liked her jiggly bits just the way they were. Since I didn’t find many big girls to read about, I decided to write about them myself. After all, I loved to write and had been writing almost as long as I’d been reading, so Francesca Hawley, author of "Romance with Dangerous Curves", was born.

In a Francesca Hawley romance, my readers will find authentic, sensual, fat heroines who love and are loved by their intense, passionate and seductive Alpha heroes. I hope you enjoy their dangerous curves just as much as their hunky heroes do.

BLURB:
Mozelle “Mouse” Vincent inherits money, a club and her boss’ son as a business partner when society leader Regine Stuart dies. Torin Stuart knows what his late mother’s wishes were for his exclusive BDSM club, Erotically Bound, but he’s pissed that he’s forced to trust Mouse—especially when her inherently submissive nature arouses the sexual Dominant in him.

After baring all in a heated, intense scene, Mouse realizes they still have to work together, but now Tor challenges any business suggestion she makes. When she wants to offer education classes, Tor dares her to organize the class and participate—as a submissive.

To his chagrin, Mouse agrees, but he can’t stand the thought of any other Dom touching her. Suddenly there’s far more at stake than the controlling interest in their club…because love is the ultimate prize in their power exchange.

http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-9039-138-controlling-interest.aspx

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Twelve Days of Tax Season


Does anyone remember the Bundys, from the sitcom Married With Children?

They celebrated holidays a bit differently.

Al Bundy was so cheap, they celebrated Christmas on Dec 26th and the 5th of July. Why? Because everything was on sale!

It’s no secret finances are tough for everyone lately, and my family is no exception. We nearly had to have a ‘Bundy Christmas’ this past year, because of my husband’s unemployment running out. Thankfully, he received his extension just in time for Christmas Eve. The kids understood the predicament, and were happy with what they did receive.

Tax season has become our ‘new gift-giving’ season. While we didn’t receive a large amount, it was enough for me to present you now with my version of the Twelve Days Of Christmas, aptly re-titled, The Twelve Days of Tax Season. Enjoy!

On the twelfth day of tax season, my refund brings to me…

12 pairs of socks

11 meals at restaurants

10 pounds of meat

9 router accesses

8 documents printed

7 medical bills paid

6 trips to the grocery

5 electronic books

4 gigs of memory

3 shopping sprees

2 DVDs



And a silver Sony laptop just for me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview of Author M. S. Spencer

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author M. S. Spencer.

Latest Book: Lost and Found
Buy Link: http://www.redrosepublishing/books/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=282&products_id=654


 BIO:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey and England, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a Diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. She divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Writing as M. S. Spencer, she has published two contemporary romance novels, Lost in His Arms and Lost and Found, both bestsellers at http://www.redrosepublishing.com/books. She has a third contemporary romantic suspense novel, due to be released by Secret Cravings Publishing, http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com in July.

Ms. Spencer has two fabulous grown children, Spencer and Emma. She has only one cat (down from three, plus the dog, the snake and the hamster). It’s a quiet household now, but since her study window looks on a park and river there is plenty of wildlife to distract her from her writing.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Squeal—I’d bet my life that’s what every writer does. That took about an hour. After that I emailed my true love, my two best friends, and my children. Then I ate a cookie. For the second book: another hour or so of squealing, then I emailed the usual suspects. Third book: I sat quietly and smiled warmly at my laptop.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: By way of introduction here is the blurb:
What do you do when David, your husband of a year, ups and disappears? If you’re Rose Culloden, a beautiful, wealthy woman in her forties who had despaired of finding happiness, you do anything to find him. The trail takes you first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida and back again to western Maine. Along the way you meet James Stewart—a Maine guide—who vividly highlights the contrast between a real man and your delicate Harvard professor of a husband. Loyal to your marriage despite your powerful attraction to James, it takes the dramatic discovery that David is not just vicious and venal, but insane, to free your heart for true love.

I actually like the secondary characters—the ornithologist who never suspects that others don’t share his joy at finding the rare willow ptarmigan; the retired couple, so old-fashioned and still so much in love; the heroine’s boss, a typical bombastic Harvard professor… I like them because they are snapshots, sometimes reproduced whole, sometimes cropped, of people I’ve passed in my life. They provide an outlet for all those little image nuggets lodged in the attic of my memory, so I can make room for more.

I also like the baddies: the deliciously insane villain, the sullen, pock-marked hotel clerks, the sympathetic landlady who has a secret…

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Uh oh, the truth will out. I love watching birds…yes, my name is M. S. Spencer and I’m a birder. We are a strange lot, as I discovered when I excitedly blast-emailed my entire contacts list about the yellow-rumped warbler in my backyard. On the more conventional side, I love to eat, cook, drink wine, swim, needlepoint, kayak, read, write, walk the beach, listen to C-Span, yell at the newspaper and TV, stare out my window and procrastinate (2 different things), watch CSI, Star Trek and X Files…did I mention eat?

Q: What is your favorite romance book?
A: Pride & Prejudice! One of the purest, most delicious romances of all time, don’t you think? I also loved Wuthering Heights and most of Thomas Hardy—I admit a partiality to English romantic writers. I don’t have much time to read while I’m writing, so I’m glad I spent every waking moment of my childhood reading anything I could get my hands on.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Ha, this is one of those inkblot questions, isn’t it? To probe whether I’m a hands-on romantic, a bathrobe & fuzzy slippers dream-world romantic, or just a techie, right? Okay—I’d jump the handsome man (I’ve recently had surgery and…well…it’s been WAY too long); then, while he’s off recuperating…I mean, fishing, I’d Google seafood recipes and how-to-make-your-own-coconut-liquor recipes. And then I’d take a moment to thank whoever was providing the power….

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I like and use Facebook a lot—in fact, I’ve reconnected with many people from my past through Facebook, plus I keep up with several authors as well. I like the different means of communication available through it—private messages, wall, profile. I have never used MySpace. I soon tired of Twitter since, as a writer it’s too frustrating to limit my thought arbitrarily (although it’s good practice for editing!); plus very little of note ever seemed to appear on it. If you mean by “Chats” the all-day affairs featuring this or that publisher group, they always seem a bit forced, and I confess most of the time I can’t figure out how to get on them. I do enjoy discussions on the various yahoo author groups to which I belong. As to blogs: I love writing and reading them. They are more focused and can be very helpful for advice on the writing art and business. They also remind you that you are not alone.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Website: http://www.meredithellsworth.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mssellsworth
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/mssellsworth#%21/pages/M-S-Spencer/132571588515?ref=ts
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Spencer/e/B002ZOEUC8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1277387999&sr=1-2-ent
All Romance E Books Author Page: http://www.allromanceebooks.comstoreSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=M.S.+Spencer
Author page at Red Rose Publishing: http://www.redrosepublishing.com/books
And my latest publisher:Secret Cravings Publishing: http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com

BLURB:
What do you do when David, your husband of a year, ups and disappears? If you’re Rose Culloden, a beautiful, wealthy woman in her forties who had despaired of finding happiness, you do anything to find him. The trail takes you first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to western Maine. Along the way you meet James Stewart—a Maine guide—who vividly highlights the contrast between a real man and your delicate Harvard professor of a husband. Loyal to your marriage despite your powerful attraction to James, it takes the dramatic discovery that David is not just vicious and venal, but insane, to free your heart for true love.

EXCERPT:
Rose would never forget the tight knot of panic squeezing her heart as she looked down, down an almost thousand-foot drop to moss-dusted crags, down through the cold wraiths of mist circling the mountain in the chill September air. Ignoring the fear, she took a tentative step forward, away from the comfort of the cliff face, felt the icy breath of high altitude fan her face, and retreated. What she'd thought was solid rock behind her yielded slightly and she froze, engulfed in a surge of terror. I’m going to fall. I’m going to die in agony, crushed on those distant jagged spears. The rock behind her moved again. She began to totter forward, but a furry paw seized her elbow. The paw tightened its grip, and Rose let it pull her sideways, back into a gap between the damp stone walls.

Okay, Rose, girl. Steady. Take a deep breath. Now, open your eyes and look at the paw. Five fingers encased in a furry glove. Okay. It’s human. She followed the fur up a forearm, then to a broad furry chest. She risked a peek at the dark face, encircled with more fur. It was scrunched up, not with the cold but with a cold fury. The deep brown eyes flashed. She meekly dropped her own. “I was perfectly safe, Mr. Stewart,” she whispered. Did that sound as stupid to him as it did to me?

The face scowled. Her rescuer moved around Rose and knocked lightly with his heel at the ledge on which she'd been standing. A large chunk broke off and tumbled in crumbly bits into the ether. She heard pops and bangs as it immolated itself on the crags below. Still scowling, he turned back to her. “Get back to the others.” His voice was deep and primal.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Links to the reviews of my books:
Lost and Found received a rave review from Melissa’s Imaginarium and four stars from Icy Snow Blackstone.
Melissa’s Imaginarium: http://melissasimaginarium.blogspot.com/2010/07/lost-and-found-by-m-s-spencera-review.html
Icy Snow Blackstone: http://www.tonivsweeney.com/icysnow/Book_Review/Entries/2010/8/27_Lost_and_Found_by_MS_Spencer.html

Lost in His Arms (released September 2009 from Red Rose) received 5 Divas from Dark Diva Reviews, and a 5-star review from Amazon, wonderful reviews from Melissa’s Imaginarium and Toni Sweeney, as well as 5 Roses PLUS from Rebecca Rose.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lost-in-His-Arms-ebook/dp/B003WMA72O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1283707601&sr=1-1-spell
Rebecca Rose: http://www.authorrebeccarose.blogspot.com
Dark Diva Reviews: http://ddrreviews.blogspot.com/2009/12/LOST-IN-HIS-ARMS-BY-MS-SPENCER.html
Melissa’s Imaginarium: http://melissasimaginarium.blogspot.com/2010/09/lost-in-his-arms-by-m-s-spencera-review.html
Toni Sweeney: http://www.tonivsweeney.com/Book_Review/Entries/2010/9/24_Lost_in_His_Arms_by_MS_Spencer.html
Buy link: http://www.redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=282&products_id=17

Both books are also available at:
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.bookstrand.com

http://www.allromanceebooks.com
http://www.fictionwise.com
http://www.redrosepublishing.com

Coming in July: Losers Keepers, from Secret Cravings Publishing
Losers Keepers has a tentative release date of July (ebook) and December (print) from http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com
 Losers Keepers
Dagne Lonegan’s advice column begins to mirror her life when a murder is committed her first week on Chincoteague, while two lovers vie for her affections.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Plot or characters ?????


I’ve been reading a few blogs lately that seem to concentrate on the same subject. Which comes first, the plotting or the fleshing out of the characters. Personally, I find it hard to separate the two. In For Love is New, my latest book, the research needed was so extensive that as I learned more about the background, the characters seemed to grow to fit the times. They had to, and I found it a fascinating process.

Of course I’ve got a handsome, intrepid hero, and a spunky and sweet heroine. On top of that she’d a renowned poetess, and so I had to learn to write a little poetry. Not easy, at least for me, and the title of the book comes from the first line in one of her poems. Christian and Juliet try to keep their hands off each others, with little success. They're also trying to keep the villain from sending money to Napoleon to help him escape Elba. Many of the chapters start with a little squib of what Napoleon is doing that day, and then go back to England and our lovers.
As I learned about the tempestuous times of 1815, the villain became nastier and nastier. He truly is the most despicable character I’ve ever conceived. Really fun to write about such a horrible man.

After you read the excerpt, I wish you'd comment on which is the more important. Plot, or characters. And how do you choose?

"The walls between their rooms were thin, and he’d plainly
heard Juliet dismiss Betsey. That was some time ago. Doubtless she was now in bed, most probably asleep.

He was still unbearably restless and pulled on his pants to go for that blasted walk. Then he heard a sound from Juliet’s room. A kind of groan. He was through the connecting door in an instant and looking down at a sleeping Juliet. She writhed on the bed, moaning softly, and then she breathed his name.

She’d thrown off the top half of the covers, and he could plainly see her budded nipples and firm breasts through the sheer dimity of her nightrail. Startled, he stared at her enticing form. He hardened instantly, his penis a sudden rod of steel. As he watched her lovely body twitch, he was at first confused, and then as he saw her hand roaming over her stomach, he understood what he’d done. He’d aroused her, and left her not only unsatisfied, but ignorant of what was wrong. An abrupt bolt of certainty shot through him. At least this was one problem he could solve for her.

He slipped under the covers and took her in his arms, kissing her forehead and cheeks and replacing her questing hand with his own. Those fully pointed nipples were easy to find and caress as she sighed and snuggled closer to him. Putting his mouth on her breasts, he moved his hand lower and found the nubbin he sought. As he’d thought and hoped it would be, it was enlarged and throbbing, and delightfully moist.

Julie still slept, although she began to twist in his arms. He caressed her with his mouth and his hands, and knew the instant she regained consciousness.

“Christian?” Her voice was shaky and unsure.

“Stay still, love, I’m only bringing you pleasure.”
He deepened his caresses and took her lips, just as she started to protest. Kissing her erotically, he dragged her under and continued stroking her. He felt her respond and knew he’d get no more protests from her. She threw her arms around his neck and began kissing him at any spot she could reach.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview of Author Cathryn Cade

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Cathryn Cade.

Latest Book: Deep Indigo
Buy Link: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/deep-indigo-p-6258.html

BIO:
In real life, Cathryn Cade is an elementary school librarian–a lovely job, if she must work. She’s married to her sweetheart, has two tall, extremely handsome sons and a golden retriever. She loves quilting, golf, boating and shopping.

In her secret life, she drives a sleek space cruiser–often pursued by dangerous men in extremely well-fitted space uniforms, who want to unzip her flimsy, extremely well-fitted space uniform and perform sensual acts in their shifted state, as half-hunting cat or even half-dragon. To take her place, read her books.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Screamed out loud! Fortunately I was home alone, so I didn't frighten anyone. Then I called my husband, crying. Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght is not only the first book in my Orion series, it's the first book I ever submitted to a publisher, so I was thrilled when Samhain picked it up.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: A scene or an episode just explodes into my mind—often a love scene. I can't rest until I get it on the page. I'm a huge reader, so I can literally run a movie in my head, only I'm in the middle of it, with all the senses involved. When I'm writing a new story, the same thing happens. It's better than chocolate!

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: For me, writing is easy—rewriting and editing is just plain hard work. I've learned so much about fiction writing from my editors. How to look at the story from the outside, and see what you, the reader need to know to make the characters truly come alive. My characters inhabit paranormal worlds, so I want them to feel very real. And in the end, it's worth every moment of work, when we polish my stories to their finest glow.

Q: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
A: My favorite character in Deep Indigo is the hero, Commander Daron Navos. To me, Star Trek's Spock is by far the most interesting space opera character, ever. All that intellect and power under such tight control—oh, my. However, Navos's legendary chill is tested to the breaking point when Nelah Cobalt crosses his path. A fellow Indigon, she wants him to teach her how to use her intuitive and empathic powers. He'd rather teach her how to please him.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I believe it's that no matter how spicy or adventurous my stories, they are romance. My characters are falling deeply in love—we just get to follow them into the bedroom as they're discovering each other. To me, the pleasure in reading and writing love scenes is not how many times and ways the characters can experience coitus, it's the breathless, shivery excitement of daring to reveal one's deepest desires and needs. The funny thing is, I'm usually surprised to discover my characters, shall we say, little kinks. They reveal themselves to me as I write. Hey, it's a wild and wonderful world in my imagination.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet?
A: I'm actually delving into a new genre now--Gaslamp fantasy. As in Steampunk, I've re-imagined some important elements of the Victorian age for the series. Including … nah, don't want to give it away yet. It's still paranormal, though, and my readers will be glad to know I'm having lots of fun creating gadgets and sexy shifters, as usual.

And I'll be back to the Orion galaxy soon for a paraquel series.

List all places where we can find you!
http://www.cathryncade.com
http://cathryncadesblog.blogspot.com
http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/cathryn-cade
http://rosecityromancewriters.com
Also, find me on Facebook and Twitter

BLURB:
When icy control meets loose laser cannon, the rules go up in flames.

Commander Daron Navos. Renowned Indigon intuit, respected leader…a man running from half of himself. He can control the mind of any creature in the galaxy, even lock his dark, human sexual needs behind a wall of icy self control. Until he meets a woman who tempts him into using his powers for seduction—the lovely, innocent Nelah Cobalt.

As Nelah’s star rose with her burgeoning Indigon powers at university, she leapt at the chance to intern under Navos. But the hero of her fantasies fears her human half is too volatile to be trusted with the coveted position.

When they are forced to combine powers to stop a sabotage attempt, their incredibly intimate mind-meld turns a simple case of post-battle attraction into a night of passion neither thought possible. And, as Navos teaches her to use her powers to heighten sensual pleasure, he finds she isn’t the only Indigon with much to learn.

Except it’s clear someone is remotely using psychic powers to endanger the ship. Nelah may be the key, and Navos faces his greatest challenge ever—loving the woman who may have to sacrifice herself to save The Orion.

Warning; Spock-like hero who gives into temptation and uses intuitive powers for sexual satisfaction, heroine who is more than happy to submit to his sensual control, and ship full of space voyagers enjoying the waves of passion emanating from the powerful couple. Voyeurism shockingly included.

EXCERPT:
Daron Navos stood at the porthole of his office on the command deck of the Orion, gazing at the incredible view flung out before him. Against the blackness of space, the planet Porphyry glowed a hazy blue and green, its moons scattered about like silver balls dropped by a celestial juggler. Beyond it streamed the edge of the galaxy, a gauzy stole flung down by the same careless hand.

The Indigon was only peripherally aware of this beauty. His gaze turned inward as he reviewed the last few hours.

It was his task to do a routine telepathic examination of the passengers about to board the Orion. Under the command of Captain Steve Craig, she was bound for Frontiera, by way of Cirrius and the Ballarian system, on her fourth voyage. One her crew commanders hoped would be without suspense or violence of any kind. The first three voyages had each been fraught with tension, as the doughty crew repelled vicious clandestine attacks on their ship.

The Cassiopeia, Orion’s sister ship, had just embarked on her third voyage, so there was the added tension of knowing the Orion’s mysterious attackers might choose to strike at Cassiopeia as well.

With all this in mind, Navos had done an intense perusal of the passengers. No saboteur would slip aboard on his watch, not if he could stop them.

He was certain all beings aboard had intentions that were, if not exactly noble, at least not deadly. The passenger roster revealed mostly tourists and business travelers, intent on the profit and pleasure that drove most galactic voyagers.

He turned away from the porthole and sank into his chair, distracted from his thoughts by new images bombarding his senses. He was tired from his mental exertion, or he wouldn’t be so open.

These new stimuli were pleasant. Very pleasant. A female had just boarded the Orion. A fellow Indigon, she was sending as strongly as he was receiving.

The other passengers were busy, eating and drinking, bustling about to explore the great cruise ship. Some were hoping to sight a royal personage. After all, the magnificent Prince Azuran and his retinue had been on the last voyage. He’d even held some kind of wild, licentious party in the ballroom, sending smoke and loud music billowing out.

None were thinking of the Orion’s second-in-command. Except for this female. She was focused on him to the exclusion of all else. He was bombarded with her tangled thoughts: hope, yearning and even, unbelievably, hero worship. Her effervescent emotions burst into his consciousness like bubbles in moon-ring champagne.

His own anticipation swelled. Although he held himself still with practiced discipline, his eyes narrowed with interest. A female empath this strong had to be an Indigon. It was most unusual to find a mature Indigon who would allow emotions such free rein. He looked forward to meeting her in person.

Navos was startled by his own response. He lived a life founded on the principles of intellectual control for which Indigons were well-known. Many called his father’s people cold, emotionless. His mother had been among them.

This bothered Navos not at all, for he looked with contempt at beings who chose to live in constant tempests. He was extremely fortunate, as only a half-Indigon, to wield such strong telepathy. But it came with a price. He could not afford to wallow in human emotion. That way led to misuse of power. He must remain above petty drama, using his gifts judiciously.

Certainly he had sexual urges—strong ones. He was a male in his prime and in the peak of physical condition. He assuaged his needs with paid sex companions. There was a certain resort on Serpentia that specialized in beautiful, skilled females of all species. And if he occasionally felt these encounters lacked something, that was no one’s business but his own.

Although the crew of the Orion contained many attractive women, including the lovely, lethal Serpentian guards, most of whom would leap at the chance to try the Orion’s second-in-command as a sex partner, he did not consort with the crew. He was an officer of the ship. If anything were to happen to Captain Craig, he would be the acting captain. With power came responsibility.

A similar bias kept him from consorting with passengers. He shuddered at the thought of pouting looks in the mess hall or passageways.

An Indigon lady would of course be different, with the superb control of their race. Although this female was unique in her effervescence. He viewed the warm, happy tangle of her aura as an inner portrait, unique as a retinal scan. He was certain he didn’t know her, but he wanted to, at least for the space of this voyage. He’d have to be careful, of course, to remain detached. That should be no problem—his mental discipline was superb.

This lady knew him, or at least knew of him. Perhaps they had met at a gathering on Indigon, or she might have been a passenger on one of the first three voyages of the Orion. Bemused, he shook his head. She was as eager to meet him as a fan meeting Chaz Jaguari, the galactic singing star.

She was outside his door now. Rising, he walked around his desk. He was expecting an intern from the Indigon University to arrive shortly, but the young man could wait for a bit while his commander met this fascinating woman.

He heard a soft tap on the door.

“Enter,” he invited.

She was much younger than he’d expected. This thought flitted across Navos’s mind. But his foremost reaction was the solid jolt when their eyes met. Her gaze hit him square in the chest, rocked him back on his heels and sent heat flooding through him, arrowing straight down into his loins.

Deep, deep blue, her eyes held a glow of anticipation that was echoed in the mauve flush high on her cheeks. Her piquant, oval face was framed by dark hair cut in a short, feathery cap that bared her delicate ears and emphasized her lithe slenderness. She was lovely.

The flush on her cheeks deepened. As if Navos needed another sign—he was awash in the warm flood of her emotions. Now that they were face-to-face, a new current surged to the forefront. A sexual glow of attraction joined the other emotions in her aura.

Male triumph swelled in him. Here was an antidote to the ennui plaguing him lately. He would allow himself to enjoy her. She was a passenger on his ship, but she was unique. This was going to be a very interesting voyage.

“You are Commander Navos?” she asked in a husky voice that shivered over his skin like a caress.

“I am.”

A smile quivered at the corners of her soft lips, the hue of Pangaean roses. Her eyes widened.

“Oh, sir. It is such an honor.”

Without taking his eyes from hers, he stepped closer. She gazed up at him uncertainly, her soft lips parted, small breasts rising and falling with her quick breaths. Her scent was as delicate as she.

“We need no such formality,” he said. “I’m very pleased that you’re here.”

Her eyes widened. “You are?”

“Of course. It’s not often that I’m visited by a lady of my own race, especially one with such…power.”

She fairly glowed. “Oh, Commander. You don’t know how much that means to me. I—I have wished to meet you for so long.”

“And now you have.” He allowed some of his own arousal and anticipation to flow outward.

Her response was immediate. Shock was followed swiftly by a feminine flowering both physical and psychic.

Navos lifted his hands to her slender shoulders and pulled her closer.

“It’s all right,” he murmured. “We’ll go slowly.”

Savoring the anticipation, he bent his head to her. She smelled of fresh, warm woman and some faint flowery perfume, an intoxicating blend. Her breath hitched as she tipped her head back, her lips parting moistly. Her lashes fluttered and sank in feminine surrender.

He was about to take her soft mouth with his own and pull her hard against him, hell, perhaps even take her right here on his desk, so powerful was the need swirling between them. Soon the sensual whirlpool would sweep them both down into its depths.

Uncertainty speared like a shard of ice through her arousal. He froze, a hairsbreadth from kissing her, then slowly forced himself to straighten.

“Who are you?”

As he waited for her answer, the heat that roared within him congealed into cold, hard anger. For along with the uncertainty in the indigo depths of her eyes, he sensed trepidation, chagrin.

“I—I’m Nelah Cobalt,” she faltered. “Your—your new intern…sir.”

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks so much for inviting me.

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