Saturday, September 30, 2006

Kayelle Allen Spotlight

Author Kayelle Allen has harnessed an incredible imagination and built a science fiction world with an attention to detail that is mindboggling. For example, she created an alien feline race, the Kin. That's nothing we haven't seen before. However, she has actually created an alphabet for them and a pronunciation key for their language. How amazing is that? Join me as I ask Kayelle some questions relating to writing, reading, and life in general.

If you had to live out one of your stories, which would it be? Why?

I'd like to be NarrAy in At the Mercy of Her Pleasure because she gets the sweet young virgin guy who is playful and fun. Senth Antonello is one of the hottest guys in Romance today. As the stories I write progress, he is growing from an 18 year old sweet thing to a 21 year old sweet man in For Women Only, and then we sidestep and peek back at him in the prequel Wulf. In Alitus, which is up next, we'll see him at age 21 again and then pick up from there and go forward. NarrAy is one lucky lady.

Your books are all connected. What is the future for that series? Do you have a set number of books planned?

I always thought that if an author spent time creating a believable world and universe, then it didn't make sense to write only one story in it. After all, what makes us who we are? Isn't it the people we know and the world where we live? I've adapted that concept to a series and let Tarthian Empire be the setting for a group of stories. I have several series planned in that universe, and later, will be working on books set in a different part of the galaxy but contemporary to the Tarthian Empire books. Since the Sempervian people (whom you meet throughout my different series) live forever, no doubt one or more will make their way into those too.

When you were a child, what did you usually read?

Anything that would stand still long enough for me to focus on it, lol. I read anything and everything and was always worrying my mother. She and my dad loved science fiction, and if they left it where I could reach it, it was mine.

What are you reading right now?

ML Rhodes' book, Take it on Faith. I fell in love with her cover and since we were doing a contest together, I offered to trade some promo time on my group if she'd give me a copy. Shameless hussy that I am, I also know that the kind of things I like also appeal to my group, so they'll be well satisfied with the hot excerpts she'll be posting. It's truly a steaming hot story. (Thank you ML!)

I read on your blog that in Tales of the Chosen: Wulf, someone gets to take a champagne bath. What a unique idea! Have you indulged in that yourself? If not, would you like to?

I haven't done that but I did research how it feels. I'd be willing to give it a go if it could be with my two hot heroes! Wulf Gabriel wants to totally sate Luc Saint-Cyr. Luc is a Sempervian and has a metabolism that heals his body so fast that he will literally never die. He can also recover immediately after sex and make love for days on end, so Wulf's plan to totally satisfy him will mean Luc has to help ensure Wulf will have all the energy he needs. In the scene with the tub, Luc feeds Wulf with lush, delicious and erotic food, licking away drips of chocolate and dollops of cream. Of course, after a meal like that, you must have a bath, right? And then on to a few more luscious things to taste...

What TV show, past or present, are you embarrassed to say that you like?

*hiding face in hands* The Gong Show. It was amateur (very) entertainers who performed for a panel. If any of them got up and rang the gong, you were out of there! Honestly, it wasn't that much different from Rockstar INXS or Supernova, both of which I totally enjoyed. (Go, Lukas! You rock!)

What would you do with $1000 in spare cash?

First, I'd take out my wonderful hubby who supports me 150% in my writing and treat him to a spa day with massage and an aromatherapy hot tub. While he was doing that, I'd have a shopping fiesta and buy new shoes, pretty lacy undies and bras, and a couple of really great sweaters and pants for winter. Anything left would be spent on a quiet dinner for the two of us. Then I'd take him home and show him my new undies. *wink*

What’s the craziest trend you’ve ever followed?

Ironing my hair when I was a teen. I have natural curls and when it's short, they're wild. Long, it's just wavy. After I'd gotten my sister to iron my curls completely flat, I was out shopping one day and this guy behind me said "You have beautiful hair. Especially in the back where it's curly." All that work for nothing... I never ironed it again.

Got a favorite drink?

I love the new Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, but I usually make it myself at home by buying my favorite store's generic cherry cola and adding vanilla syrup. That way I can have the stronger taste of vanilla I love.

Now tell me about your work-in-progress.

First let me say that my new book, Wulf is coming out on October 2nd. It's the first of a series called Tales of the Chosen. Here's the blurb:

Superstar Wulf Gabriel longs for freedom from his unscrupulous agent. With his career at risk and his life threatened, Wulf must trust the one man he swore would never again control him - the most powerful and feared man in the empire - the Harbinger. For the Harbinger, saving Wulf is a simple matter of asserting his will. Gaining Wulf's trust, friendship, and eventually his love will take rich dark chocolate, enough champagne to fill a claw foot tub, and the consummate skill of a master of pleasure.

The next book in the Chosen series is Alitus. It's about Sempervian Rheyn Destoiya, aka the Conqueror. This woman was in At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only. In Mercy, she brings Senth's brother Khyff into her stable of male pleasure slaves and keeps him in her bed for days. In For Women Only, she plots to get Khyff to seduce an ambassador whom she wants out of power.

Wow. Obviously Kayelle is in no danger of running out of ideas! She has a contest going on right now, but the deadline is today. The prize is 21 books. So, hurry up and enter! If you don't make it, no worries. Her website is unique. It even has jigsaw puzzles. You can also email her at kayelle or visit her blog. Thanks, Kayelle. It was fun!


Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm Number One!

My friend, Bridget Midway, emailed me last night to tell me that Leap of Faith is the number one highest rated erotica ebook on the Fictionwise website! I am over the moon! I feel like dancing out on the sidewalk! Wa-hoo! Yippee!

Uh-oh. I think I broke the exclamation point button on my keyboard. LOL

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sick of Deadlines

I'm finally going to be able to write something new starting next week. I've been working on revising for so long. First, it was revising and expanding Heart of a Thief for Ellora's Cave, all for naught. Then, I had to revamp Hostile Takeover for Moxie Press. And now I'm almost finished polishing a submission to Ellora's Cave's Caveman 2007 collection. It will be a relief to be able to create again.

I will either write a "prequel" story for Leap of Faith, or get back to my bondage book. Oh, and I have got to finish the Woman's World story I have in progress. If nothing else it will be good therapy. I recently had a run-in with a snotty customer at work, and I plan to work out my aggressions toward her in a story featuring a snotty customer as the antagonist. Ha!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Make Your Life a Poem

Woman's World Review: "Love Poems" by Lynn Olcott, from the October 3rd issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Sometimes, it's the everyday kind of poetry that really touches you.

This story was above average for several reasons. First, Olcott has a bit of a hook at the beginning with this sentence: “It was all because of a little red Corvette.” It makes me wonder just what that little car caused to happen. We find out later that it’s a toy car, which is a surprise. I love being surprised when I’m reading. I also found the Laundromat setting to be fresh yet plausible.

Then we see her hurt her ankle, something we've seen before, but I could forgive that. I mean, hey, I even used it in one of my own stories! Another gimmick we see over and over is the matchmaker, and yet most of the time the matchmaker appears in the very beginning of the story, usually having a conversation with the protagonist. In “Love Poems,” the matchmaker doesn’t show up until the middle. This mimics what occurs in full-length novels, in that it’s the major turning point for the story. When the daughter shows up, it is then that we discover why the man from the Laundromat is familiar to the protagonist. It’s the pivotal moment when the entire story turns around. Gotta love that!

However, as sometimes happens with Woman’s World, you see what I’m going to call a “soft HEA.” You get the promise of the promise of an Happily Ever After (HEA.) In Woman’s World fiction, the HEA usually appears in the form of a date. In the “soft HEA”, you don’t actually see the asking and acceptance of the date, but it’s implied.

I’m not overly fond of the soft HEA, but apparently Johnene Granger, the fiction editor, is, so don’t hesitate to use it in your own stories.

Best Part: I loved the line, "I've been making my life a poem..." What a wonderful goal to have.

Just My Humble Opinion: THe only thing missing from this story was a character arc. Ellen doesn't really develop during the course of the story, but hey, it's only 1100 words. You can't work miracles every time!

Grade: A+

Sir Michael Spotlight

As a male, Sir Michael is a stranger in the strange land of romance publishing, but has that stopped him? Absolutely not. He began writing what he thought was a short story back in 2000 and ended up with a full-length novel, Butterfly Passions, coming from Mardi Gras Publishing on September 30. Drawing on his Scandinavian ancestry, he has woven a tale about a Norse prince and a Celtic peasant girl. Read on if you'd like to find out more about one of the few male romance writers today.

Share with me how you came up with the ideas for Butterfly Passions.

Well for one, I'm of Swedish and Irish decent. So when I decided to write it, I wanted to blend both of my ancestries together. I've always been somewhat of a romantic man. I truly have a great respect for women and I enjoy making them feel special in whatever way I can.

Which authors have influenced you?

This is a tough one. Before I wrote Butterfly Passions, I had never read a single romance. I wanted everything [in my book] to be my own ideas and style and didn't want to try and imitate another author. I enjoy reading Tom Clancy. I think I took some influence from him in creating the conflict between the hero and heroine. In one of his books, Without Remorse, the hero is an ex-Navy SEAL. He is very loving and tender with the woman he loves and is equally ruthless with those trying to hurt her.

I notice your book involves Norse mythology, a subject which fascinated me when I was a teen. What drew you to this? Are you Norwegian?

Actually Swede. My great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from Sweden.

What has been the most difficult part of writing for you?

Trying to come up with ideas to keep it moving. There's nothing I hate worse than a book that drags in places. Also, trying to research the traditions of the time. Some information was fairly easy to find, some things weren't. There were a few times I took some poetic license and used things I knew were innacurate for the sake of the story, nothing major that had any overall affect though.

I hear that you’re a romantic man. What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?

Yes I am. As I said, I truly enjoy making a woman feel special. Once, not long after we were married, I set something up for my wife. When she opened the door, there was a trail of red rose petals leading from the front door to the bathroom. I had a warm bubble bath drawn, a glass of wine and some candles. I bathed her while she sipped on the wine and relaxed. She was in heaven. When she pulled back the blankets on the bed (right after the bath) the mattress was covered in red rose petals as well. Beyond that...use your imagination.

Sir Michael is obviously a pen name. What is the meaning behind it?

I'm a member of group of romance writers group called RomanceDivas. All the ladies in the group have various "diva" names, but the few men are just "diva-dudes." I said I wanted to be a diva knight or something, so they made me Sir Michael, Knighted Diva Dude of the Romance Table. When my publisher heard about it, she thought it would make a great pen name, so I decided to go with it. Thus far, the response has been VERY positive.

If you were a car, what would you be? Why?

Hmmm... probably a race car on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit. I love stock car racing. Drive fast, turn left... I made a deal with my wife that if I sell enough books, I can go through the Richard Petty Driving Experience and drive an actual Cup car on one of the same tracks they race one. It costs about $1,000 so I need to sell a LOT of books!!

I know you love to cook like I do. Share a simple recipe with us.

One of my favorites, and one I can truly call my own, is for my chili. Everyone makes it a little different, here is how I do mine.

2-12 oz. cans of beer
2 lbs. (+/-) roast
5 cans chili beans- I usually use Bush's (NOT kidney beans- chili beans)
3 can diced tomatoes (standard size cans, not the big ones)
1 lg. white or yellow onion, diced
2 small cans diced green chilis
about 1/2 cup chili powder (just plain chili powder, not "chili seasoning mix")
optional- jalapeno peppers to taste.

Pour 1 can of beer into a large pot, big enough to hold everything.
gradually pour the 2nd beer into the cook during the preparation process
Cut the roast into 1 inch cubes. cut away as much fat as possible. Brown in a skillet, just long enough to sear the meat. You may need to add a little oil to keep it from sticking. I like using olive oil for this. Put the meat, along with all the other ingredients into the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour.
Finish the beer.. grab another if you want.

What would your “I’d rather be…” bumper sticker say?

Either "driving a race car" or "jumping out of an airplane." Both are things I'd love to do.

Tell me about your work-in-progress.

I have two rough drafts completed, Love's Redemption and Red River Romance. Plus, I have another one I'm just starting on, currently just called WIP4

Love's Redemption begins in the 9th century. A group of Vikings are spending the summer raiding villages, killing, raping and plundering. The entire crew is killed by a Celtic spirit, with the exception of Arne, their leader, who is stranded on a deserted island. A curse is placed on him causing him to lose the sense of smell, touch, and taste. He is made immortal and has 1,000 years to break the curse. To break it, he must find a woman that is a descendant of the last village he raided, win her love, and marry she must be a virgin when they marry.

In Red River Romance, Bruce is a pro-football player who graduated from Oklahoma. In the off season, he is also a nurse. Samantha is an orthpaedic resident that graduated from Texas, the arch rival of Oklahoma. Fate continues to bring these two together, in spite of their efforts to stay apart. Fate eventually wins out as the two rivals become lovers.

I'd like to thank Sir Michael for agreeing to be in my spotlight and I hope he enjoyed himself. You can find out more about him and his books at his website, or join his Yahoo group. Oh, and buy his book when it comes out on September 30th!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Naked Man Alert

It occurred to me that I haven't shared art on my blog in quite a while. I am working on a manuscript about a sculptor whose hands I compared to those of the statue "David," by Michelangelo. So, here's a little bit about that renowned statue.

It stands at 17 feet and portrays the Biblical King David at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath. What you probably didn't know is that Michelangelo was finishing a statue that had already been started by someone else. This is from Wikipedia:

Agostino was commissioned to create a sculpture of David. He only got as far as beginning to shape the legs, feet and chest of the figure, roughing out some drapery and probably gouging a hole between the legs. His association with the project, for reasons unknown, ceased with the death of his master Donatello in 1466, and Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off.

Rossellino's contract was terminated soon thereafter, and the block of marble remained neglected for twenty-five years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern as such a large piece of marble was both costly, and represented a large amount of labor and difficulty in its transportation to Florence. In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as, "a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine." A year later, the block of stone was "raised on its feet" so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was young Michelangelo, only twenty-six years old, who received the commission. He worked on the massive biblical hero for a little more than three years.

The proportions are not quite true to the human form; the head and upper body are somewhat larger than the proportions of the lower body. The most commonly accepted explanation for this is that the statue was originally intended to be placed on a church façade or high pedestal, and that the proportions would appear correct when the statue was viewed from some distance below.

I think this might be true, only because when I read extensively about the Sistine Chapel, I learned that Michelangelo was a master of foreshortening. The high ceiling of the Sistine is curved and he painted the figures so that they appear normal to someone standing on the ground.

And speaking of proportions, if the statue somehow came to life and got an erection, it would be about seventeen inches long. Yikes!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Math Whiz Extraordinaire

Website Recommendation: Scott Flansburg, The Human Calculator

I was listening to late night radio once in my car and caught this man being interviewed. He amazed me so much that I sat in my garage after I got home just to hear the rest of what he had to say.

The man can add any number to itself over and over in his head faster than you can do it on a calculator, faster than he can physically speak the answers. For example, you say 38. He adds 38 + 38 and says 76, adds 38 to that and says 114, and so on, so quickly he's in the Guiness Book of World Records. Go to his website to watch a video clip of him in action on Oprah.

I think it would be so awesome to have a talent like that.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Holy Octothorpe!

Trivia Topic: Math

My eldest son is in pre-algebra. Egad. I've been having to revisit the world of positive and negative integers and equations. It isn't pretty. I SO don't belong there.

Anyway, I've got math on the brain lately, so here is some interesting trivia about math.

The names of the division bar (like in fractions,) the division slash (also in fractions,) the number sign (#,) and the division sign (the bar with the dots above and below) are vinculum, virgule, octothorpe, and obelus, respectively. Who-da thought?

In Great Britain, what we call a billion, they call a thousand million.

The first prime number after 1,000,000 is 1,000,003.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Assuming Rudolph is in front, there are 40,320 ways to arrange the other eight reindeer.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A No-Go

Non-Recommendation: Oxo Garlic Press

I usually like recommending things on their merits, but today I have to tell you that I'm disappointed with my Oxo Garlic Press. I bought it because I needed a press that was self-cleaning. Well, it actually cleans itself well, but the pressing of the garlic cloves leaves a lot to be desired. They designed comfortable handles, but the leverage is just not there and so it takes a lot more effort to squeeze the cloves than it used to. I recommend you buy the Zyliss instead. That was what I had before. Just don't lose the little red cleaner-poker-outer thingamajig like I did!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Josie A. Okuly Spotlight

Josie A. Okuly is a self-professed explorer of imaginary worlds, but she does more than explore them. She populates them with complex characters whose stories of redemption she tells in books like A Mermaid in Paradise (a 2006 Ecataromance Reviewer's Choice Award Nominee), Trimagon Hall, and Pacific Breeze Hotel. Her work has been described as "spectacular," "wonderful," and "filled with suspense." I know you're filled with suspense about her interview, so without further ado, here it is!

Name three novels that left you with lasting impressions.

Menfreya in the Morning by Victoria Holt, Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

If one of your books was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters?

If my historical romance Castle of Secrets was made into a movie, Sean Bean would play Ronan Tremayne and Sophie Marceau would be Syriana McCourt. If Trimagon Hall was made into a movie, it would star Clive Owen and Kate Winslet.

Do you have a core theme that appears in all your books?

I hadn't really thought about it, but now I see that redemption is the central theme in most of my books. Ronan in Castle of Secrets struggles with the guilt he feels because he couldn't save his best friend's life during the war. Devlin in A Mermaid in Paradise still carries the guilt about his alcoholism, and all the people he's hurt. In my new work-in-progress, two of the characters are tortured by inner demons. Desmond lives with the stigma of being labeled a coward, and his best friend's conscience torments him because of the way he's treated women all his life. I enjoy it when my characters find true love, happiness, and redemption at the end of the story.

How important do you think it is that a writer read? Do you get enough time to read?

I wish each day was about a hundred hours long because I would love more time to read! I read so much when I should be writing. I can't help it because reading has always been my favorite thing in the world. Reading literary masterpieces has taught me so much about writing, but I believe reading mediocre books has taught me even more about what not to do.

One of your works-in-progress is Goodbye Ugly Duckling, in which the heroine transforms herself into a "beautiful swan" with the help of plastic surgery. What physical characteristic of your own would you change if you could?

Where do I start? LOL! Truthfully, the first thing I'd do is try for fuller lips. I love that pouty lip look. If I had the money, I'd then do a complete overhaul on face and body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

What’s your favorite possession?

He isn't a possession but my son is the dearest, most precious thing in my life. As far as material things, I have a storybook my father bought me when I was nine years old. Sometimes I take it out and flip through the pages. I wrote messy notes in the margins and colored the characters with crayons. I never once colored between the lines, and I like to remind myself that it's okay to express myself creatively just as I did in childhood.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I used to be incredibly spur-of-the-moment when I made decisions. After high school, I wanted to enjoy myself before starting college. I quit my job and bought a ticket to Seattle so I could visit relatives. However, I forgot to buy a round-trip ticket. I flew there in the middle of a violent thunderstorm and the plane had to make an emergency landing. By the time I got to my uncle's door, I was dizzy and vomiting. I'm sure he thought I was on drugs! After spending the summer with my relatives and blowing all my money, I told my uncle I'd hitchhike back home. He asked me if I was completely insane. (I guess I was at that age.) Long story short, I borrowed the money and flew home to start school.

Have you ever cried while writing an emotional scene?

Yes. Some things hit very close to home, and I can't help but cry when my characters suffer. I have a novel that I've put away because I couldn't finish it. It's about a homeless teenager and her struggles to educate herself and find a happier life. I cried and cried as I wrote it. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer.

Tell me about the work-in-progress that you’re most excited about.

I've recently started work on a cozy mystery, and I'm thrilled because it's a genre I've never tried before. I personally like the heroine because she's wounded and flawed and just the type of person I'd want as a friend. Despite her flaws, I've given her the characteristics I admire: courage, fierce intelligence, and an ability to laugh at herself and the situation she's found herself in.

The big decision you’re currently wrestling with is...

Whether or not to work less hours so I can have more writing time. Can't really afford it, so I continue to write whenever I can squeeze in the time.

Here's hoping she finds more writing time so we have more books to enjoy! Click on the book titles to buy them: A Mermaid in Paradise, Trimagon Hall, Pacific Breeze Hotel. Or visit her at her website and/or blog.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Numbers Are Evil

My uncle gave me an electronic sudoku game last Christmas. I found the actual thing kind of hard to work, but I got addicted to sudoku. For those of you who don't know, sudoku is a numeric puzzle with only one solution which can be reached logically without guessing. You enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square.

At this website, you can choose your level, be timed, and/or be notified when you enter a wrong number. I started playing and, as expected, was addicted for quite a few weeks, trying to constantly beat my own time. Give it a try. :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Seventh Caller

Woman's World Review: "The Prize" by Elizabeth Guy, from the September 19th issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Jessie had never won anything in her life...until now.

The concept of a woman winning a prize from a radio contest was very original. I remember reading a WW story about a radio personality before, but the focus of that tale was more on the man's hypnotic, sexy voice and how the heroine had fixated on that. "The Prize" dealt with a DJ whom Jessie assumed was the stereotypical DJ. What else would you expect from a man who goes by "Lizard?" But Elizabeth Guy does a great job of showing us how Jessie's assumption changes as she talks with the man.

Best Part: Jessie is answering a radio music trivia question, and I laughed when her daughter gives her "a you-just-made-that-up look."

Just My Humble Opinion: I really couldn't find anything I would have changed. I really enjoyed this story.

Grade: A

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mushroom Tart

This is really yummy as an appetizer or as a vegetarian meal in itself. I got it from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3 oz package), thawed according to package directions
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 packages (10 oz. each) white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 package (10 oz) fresh baby spinach
2 oz. , crumbled soft goat cheese (I used reduced fat feta)

Preheat oven to 400. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to a 16x10 inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place the pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score dough to form a 1 inch border. Using a fork, prick dough inside border every 1/2 inch. Bake until golden, rotating pan once, about 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, toss onion with 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking with cover on for 15 minutes, sitrring every 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat remaining oil. Add mushrooms; cover and cook until tender and all liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Fold in spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Drain any liquid.

Top dough with mushroom-spinach mixture. Scatter onion and goat chese on top. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4.
219 calories per serving

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feel Good Book

Recommendation: Her Baby's Secret Father by Lynne Marshall.

If you want to read a feel-good book, I highly recommend Lynne Marshall's first novel, Her Baby's Secret Father. Yes, the title is a little goofy, but you really just have to get past that, because if you let that stop you, you'll miss out on a great story. This is, admittedly, the first Mills & Boon Medical that I've ever read, but if this is par for them, then I should probably be reading more!

Lynne obviously knows her medicine, but the terminology and procedures were explained well enough so that I didn't feel like I was wading through tons of technical jargon. In fact, I actually enjoyed it learning that polydactyly is having an extra digit on the side of the hand.

I'm always amazed when authors can work around a post-partum heroine and still manage to get in a good love scene. It's tricky to make the reader believe that the heroine is interested in sex, having recently given birth, not to mention toeing the line between breasts for nursing and breasts as errogenous zones, but Marshall did a masterful job with this.

Finally, as popular as alpha heroes are, I like a nice beta guy once in a while. Terrance is definitely a manly man. I can still picture him in those jeans with the slash on the back of the thigh or in his running shorts. Yum! But he has a sensitive side that really made me want to get cuddled by him. (Can I WRITE a more passive sentence? LOL)

Anyway, go to the Mills & Boon website and order this book. You won't be disappointed. Reading Her Baby's Secret Father is like getting a warm hug that lasts one hundred and eighty six pages.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emma Petersen Spotlight

Like me, Emma Petersen began writing in high school. After years of honing her craft, she proudly announces her first book, Branded, will be available on September 22 from Cobblestone Press. She also has two other releases coming soon. Dragon's Mate is the first in her Dragon Kin shapeshifter series, and Finding Paradise she co-wrote with another Cobblestone author, Crystal Jordan.

Scenario: You are stranded on a deserted island for a month with one of your heroes. Which one would it be and why? What three items would you take with you?

It would definitely be Eric Dogori from Dragon’s Mate (to be released October 2006.) And as for my three items, I would take an unlimited supply of condoms, a laptop with an uber super extended battery that would last for 2 years and vitamins for Eric; he’d need them.

Your series is called the Dragon Kin. Tell me a little about the shifters in the world you've created.

Once upon a time, long, long ago-- Hehe. Just kidding. Dragon Kin are dragon shifters, most who are trapped in human form because they or their ancestor spent too much time in human form. Only a few among the Kin can still shift to their true forms.

Among the Kin there are five Clans: Born For Earth, Born For Water, Born For Fire, Born For Metal and Born For Air. Each Clan has an alpha, which in our world are called Primuls, and each alpha has a second, or Urmator. Urmators are born and raised to serve their Primuls. Each Clan has a unique talent all of their own.

If you could be a shapeshifter, would you? Why?

I would love to be a shapeshifter! Could you imagine? You’d have this whole other secret side of yourself no one knew about. Maybe I would be a werewolf and my life would revolve around the cycle of the moon. My hearing and eyesight would be awesome! I would totally love that!

I love dragons. Are there any authors of dragon books, like Anne McCaffrey, who have influenced you?

Katie MacAlister’s You Slay Me and Fire Me Up are the only dragon books I’ve read and I loved them!

In that vein, name your top five favorite authors.

I have so many! But I guess my ultimate favorites are Toni Morrison, Anne Rice, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, and Jaid Black.

You write both contemporary and paranormal. Which one to you lean toward more?

I actually started writing contemps by accident. Branded and Finding Paradise were my first contemporary romances. All my other books are paranormals. I lean more towards paranormals because I love vampires and werewolves.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Hmm…Craziest thing I’ve ever done. Run half naked into the Pacific Ocean in the middle of the night?

If you were a Bond Girl, what would your name be?

LOL! Titsa Normous?

Got any pets?

He’s not exactly a pet so much as a flakey roommate who never has his share of the rent on time. His name is Toussaint.

In closing, share with me a little about your current project, The Heart Knows.

Here’s a little blurb:

Hannah Bryant has always been different. Since she was a child, she’s had vivid dreams of dreams of death and loss. Hannah’s gift was more of a curse for her scientific, straight-laced parents. So she learned at an early age to suppress her dreams. Now an adult, Hannah is everything her parents want her to be.

The dreams have now returned, only this time the dreams aren’t of death and loss. The dreams are intense and sexual, leaving Hannah aching and empty for something she can’t name. When she meets the enigmatic Gabriel Leadercharge, she knows she’s seen him before, and she has.

In her dreams.

I'd like to thank Emma for answering my crazy questions. Please visit her at her website, or blog.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Now You See It...

Recommendation: The Illusionist

DH and I went to see this last week and I really enjoyed it. When I think about it, even a week later, I remember the haunting, sepia-toned feel to it, and I adore Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. There was only one part that made me roll my eyes, and it had to do with the stables, but I forgave them. The rest of the movie was good enough that I was willing to overlook the gaffe.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Support the Troops

On this anniversary of 9/11, I'm feeling especially patriotic. Indulge me. :)

In the past, I have adopted individual soldiers for several months at a time, sending them care packages and exchanging emails. They sacrifice so much for us and I wanted to give a little back. It was extremely rewarding to make a difference in the lives of the two service people I adopted, and yet, it was quite a commitment to send an entire package every month, not to mention costly.

So, now I've joined an organization called Books for Soldiers. It's a bulletin board where soldiers can request certain items and people send them. I can volunteer to do as much or as little as I want. I'm blogging about this in the hopes that someone else might feel the need to support the men and women of our armed services, too.

To keep everything safe, you have to register as an "Official Volunteer." Unfortunately, the Department of Defense has to guard against weirdos who want to harm, undermine, or harass the troops through the mail, so you have to jump through a few hoops. But hopefully it will be worth it to you. I know it is to me and to those deployed on our behalf.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Number Eighty One

Out of curiosity, I checked to see where Leap of Faith was on the Fictionwise site, and in the Erotica category, it was number 81 out of 1274 titles! What a rush. I can only hope that as more people buy it, they'll rate it and my little story will rise.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where's Kathleen?

This Week's Question: What is your favorite Kathleen Turner movie?

I was watching a little of Jewel of the Nile last week and wondered whatever became of Kathleen Turner. She used to be one of my favorite actresses, but I haven't seen her in much lately. I've HEARD her, though. My sons and I caught "Monster House," and she was the voice of Constance in that movie. Anyway, below is a list of most of her movies. (I didn't list the ones in which you just hear her voice.) Which one is your favorite?

Body Heat (That scene with Bill Hurt where she's on her knees in front of him is still one of the hottest scenes ever filmed.)
The Man with Two Brains (This is a hilarious classic movie. "Pointy bird, a-pointy, pointy...")
A Breed Apart
Crimes of Passion
Romancing the Stone (This is my personal favorite. When it came out, I had no idea I'd end up being a romance writer myself.)
Jewel of the Nile
Prizzi's Honor (Any movie where Jack Nicholson is the love interest leaves me cold.)
Peggy Sue Got Married
Switching Channels
The Accidental Tourist
War of the Roses (I'm not a big film noir fan. My husband loved this movie.)
V.I. Warshawski
Serial Mom
Baby Geniuses
The Virgin Suicides

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Emma Sanders Spotlight

Voted "Most Likely to Write a Romance Novel" in high school, Emma Sanders has made that prediction come true. Her first romantic suspense novel, Holding Fast, is coming out this Friday (Sept. 1) from Wild Rose Press. Emma was inspired by her mother, who also wanted to be a writer but passed away before she got the chance. I'm sure Emma's mom is up in heaven anxious to read this interview, so let's get on with it!

KW: Like me, you're a voracious reader. Which authors have influenced you as a writer? Do you think you've absorbed any of their skill by osmosis or even by design?

ES: Aw, so you’re going to start with the hard questions? Every author I’ve read has influenced me in some ways, but Sandra Brown is the ultimate. I only wish I could absorb her skill through osmosis. LOL. I love her writing, her characters, her style and her voice. I knew I wanted to write romantic suspense after reading her for several years.

KW: Is there any Emma in the heroine of Holding Fast, Caitlyn Daniels, or is she purely a creation of your own imagination?

ES: For the most part, she’s a figment of my imagination, though she has adopted some of my habits. I’ve drummed my fingers together every since I was young, and that’s a habit of hers. She can be cynical at times, and that is definitely me.

KW: Wesley, the hero of Holding Fast, is a race car driver. Are you a racing fan? Got a lot of speeding tickets? ;)

ES: I admire the sport of racing, but I can’t say I’m a racing fan. I don’t watch it, I don’t keep up with the day-to-day happenings, but I know enough to get by or to chat with friends about it. The sport, though, has always infatuated me. I’ve had the premise of this story for a long time. As far as speeding tickets husband gets two to three speeding tickets a year, and some of them have been within a few weeks of each other. He’s taken defensive driving so much he could teach the class! Besides speeding, cars are his hobby.

KW: Tell me about your writing routine.

ES: I work full time and my job is pretty stressful, so maintaining a routine is hard, but necessary. I write in the evening a least for a couple of hours, and on weekends. Some of my best scenes were written while I soaked in the bathtub at night.

KW: What are your pet peeves with romance novels?

ES: I don’t really have pet peeves, as long as the writing is strong and pulls me into the story. I want to feel like I’m a part of that story and of the characters’ lives.

KW: Do you have tattoos? If so, what/where are they? If not, where would you get one and what would you get?

ES: No tattoos, though I’ve thought about it. If I were to get one, it’d probably be something small on my lower back. It’d have to be something romantic, mysterious and sexy, all at the same time.

KW: If you were to choose a vegetable most resembling your personality, what veggie would you pick and why?

ES: A potato. They can be sweet or tart. They grow underground (I usually have my head buried somewhere and I’m also very shy). They adapt easily. They are determined to grow!

KW: You mention on your website that your husband knows how important your writing is to you. What are the most significant ways he supports your dream?

ES: He eats ramen noodles when I’m too busy to cook (yuck). He doesn’t complain when I hide away for hours on end with my computer or notepad. He doesn’t complain after hearing me say the same thing over and over or when I want to talk about the same idea in a different way, or when I’m stressing. And he always tells me how much he believes in me.

KW: Share with me a little about your next project.

ES: My next project is the story of Rayma, who is the secondary character and Caitlyn’s best friend in Holding Fast. It has nothing to do with racing, and is a little spicier. It’s a stand-alone and not considered a series. It’s basically finished. I have another manuscript in the works, still in the planning and first draft stages.

I thank Emma for her time and patience in answering my questions. She'd like to invite everyone to Wild Rose Press' Grand Opening Cyber Party on Sunday, September 10, at 8PM EST. And feel free to visit her anytime at her website, blog, or MySpace.


Win A Unique Prize

Leap of Faith is now available, so I’m holding a contest. The prize is a small hand-painted Peruvian jewelry box with llamas on it. Entering is easy!

1. Join my YahooGroup for one chance to win. (Click on the button in the sidebar on the right.)
2. Email me the answers to my Leap of Faith Trivia Quiz, for another chance to win.
3. And if you email me proof of purchase of Leap of Faith, I’ll give you two more chances.

Deadline to enter is October 13, 2006. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Show Must Go On

Recommendation: Goldstar Events

This website offers tickets at hugely discounted prices for Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., San Diego, and Las Vegas. Sure, the seats aren't the best, but if you're on a budget, this is a great way to go. I purchased tickets for that show "Stomp" where the cast dances and makes music out of things like stainless steel sinks, matchboxes, PVC pipe, and brooms. I brought the whole family to see the show, in honor of Father's Day, for about 40% off and our seats were just fine.

If you live in or near these cities, I encourage you to check them out.

Monday, September 04, 2006

February Heads Up!

It's official! I will be teaching an online class called "The Secrets of Selling to Woman's World Magazine" in February, 2007. The information was just posted to the Hearts of Carolina Romance Writers website. (Click here and then scroll down to see the blurb.) My goal is that people will take the class, find it valuable, and then sell a story to Woman's World.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Poor Man's Paella Recipe

I haven't posted a recipe for quite a while and have had a craving for paella, which is strange, since I've never eaten it in my life! However, my Real Simple magazine had a recipe for Shrimp and Sausage with Saffron Rice that sounded suspiciously like paella, but without the special pan. I'm going to try it this week, since shrimpies are on sale this week for $5 a pound!

2 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. andouille sausage (or kielbasa), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 med. yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 14.5 oz. can low sodium chicken broth
12 saffron threads, crumbled
1 cup long grain white rice
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown on both sides, about five minutes total. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Spoon off and discard all but 1 tbsp of fat. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, saffron, and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir the shrimp and peas into the rice, cover, and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.