Friday, April 18, 2014

Starting from Scratch

by M.L. Buchman

Some things, I find, get easier with practice.
The sailboat I rebuilt in the early 1980s and learned to sail solo
Riding my bicycle at the northernmost tip of Japan
-in the 34 degree driving rains of May 1993
Other things don't get easier with practice. I have written 25 novels and a dozen short stories. I was talking with a friend who has a hundred novels and passed a thousand short stories a long time ago. And he remarked how no one believes how hard it is to start from scratch. In his case, he went on a three-year hiatus for a number of reasons and was once again staring at a blank page. In my case, I just finished my Angelo's Hearth series and I'm looking at the blank page of a whole new series.

You would think that it would be easier because I just launched a new romantic suspense series called Firehawks, or will on May 6th with the release of Pure Heat. The problem with that theory is that Pure Heat started as a pitch to my traditional publisher Sourcebooks two years ago. After the contract was done, I finished the novel and turned it in a year ago. I'm now working on #3 in the series which won't be released until Summer 2015. Actually #4 as I have a short novel coming out in the series in June.

But my new series is a puzzlement (to quote the King and I). I  remember back when I was starting my second novel. It was perhaps the scariest event of my young writing career. I had sold the first one, written, polished, and published. And then the blank page confronted me! I knew anything I wrote would be utter crap. And it was by comparison to what I had just done because it was first-draft quality writing.

Well, I am here to tell you that a new series, even after 25 books, feels just the same way. I have an idea. I think it is good, funny, romantic, and exciting. I'm eager to start.

And I have no idea where to begin. As my friend and I observed to each other, we have enough experience now to have faith that it will work out. Just not how that is ever going to be possible. So, we return to our prospective blank pages and begin typing. "Call me Ishmael." (Wait, I think that one has been used already.)

And I have proof that it works, because two years ago this was just an idea. On May 6th, it will be out in the world!
Now if I could just figure out how to start this next one.

So go out there and begin it. Whether it is your first book or your hundredth, start now. What's your current project, writing or not, and what's stopping you from just starting it?

Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter at so that you don't miss any new releases.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All in the name of research

I take my research seriously. And while I can never interview a vampire, a goblin or a fairy I do read up on the mythology.

Sometimes research is more practical. I've been doing martial arts since I was ten and have done several different styles to get a feel for different techniques. I've done archery and the Tough Mudder (because you never know when a character will need to get over a 9 foot high wall--it’s not easy, nor is moving quickly over rocky/muddy/steep terrain for 20km).

My latest bit of research involved knitting. I know, you’re all thinking I've gone soft all of a sudden, but how else was my hero going to make socks? There are no department stores on the new colony of Solitaire*.

My Nana taught me to knit and over the years I've knitted bits and pieces but I have always shied away from socks, I mean there’s a toe and a heel and they look tricky. Reading the pattern makes them seem even trickier!

So in the name of research I bought wool and some double pointed needles and took a stab.

While juggling 4 needles was only slightly less tricky than trying to give my boy cat, Sarsen, his worming pill there was also less blood (the cat doesn't like tablets and has attempted to carve out my veins more than once).

I am now pleased to say I have two thigh high socks, and they were way easier than I expected. Now when my hero talks about making socks I know what I'm talking about.

Check out how unimpressed Sarsen is with my socks. He’s comatose with delight!

*Solitaire is the planet ES Siren is travelling to. ES Siren is a multi-author sexy sci-fi romance series being written by myself, Mel Teshco and Denise Rossetti. The first books will be out later this year :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Over the Rainbow...

from Mia Marlowe...

I was fascinated by Gina Conkle's blog from yesterday about heroes and our favorite archetypes. (I confess a weakness for both the Arrogant Alpha and the Wounded Soldier.) Her post made me think about what usually happens when I give my Meat on the Bones characterization workshop to writers' groups. The function of the protagonist in fiction is to give readers a character to care about and pull for and we've been blessed with lots of terrific heroes. I always invite attendees to call out their favorite heroes from books, TV and the big screen. The names fly fast and furious and I finally have to cut them off so the workshop can move forward. Then I ask for favorite heroines.

Cue the crickets.

Finally, someone will sheepishly raise a hand and ask with a questioning lilt, "How about Dorothy?" 

This worries me. It makes me think we writers are not doing our job if we can't create more memorable heroines. If my readers don't want to slip into my heroine's ruby slippers, why will they spend any time at all following her around in my fictional world?

So here's what I try to give to my leading ladies each time:

1. Intelligence--She may not always have an extensive education. In fact, since I write historicals and women didn't always have the opportunity for education we take for granted today, that's almost a given, but my heroine had better be smart. None of that going alone into the creepy basement because she hears something. The noise she hears had better be a child in peril or my heroine isn't going down there.

2. Not obsessed with her appearance--My heroine may be pretty, but she doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time on her looks. In my upcoming A Rake by Any Other Name (November 2014), Sophie Goodnight declares "If anyone doesn't like my looks, he can look the other way!"

3. A goal beyond snagging a man--Whether it's solving a mystery, crossing items off a list of secret pleasures, or just learning to make the best cream puffs in Christendom, I want a heroine who passionately needs to excel at something.  Of course, she'll get the guy, but I'd sure like to see her catch the killer, do something outrageous, or outrageously well too!

4. A code of ethics that will be challenged.--Heroes are put to the test all the time and we are riveted by their choices.Why shouldn't heroines have their sense of "oughtness" tried as well?

Who is your favorite heroine? 

Share your most memorable female protagonist for a chance to win a digital copy of one of my backlist titles (Winner's Choice). You can check them all out here.  Be sure to leave your email address in your response or check back on Sunday, April 20th, when I'll post the winner here. 
Good luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How Do You Want Your Hero?

Romance readers love men. I sure do. They come in all shapes and sizes. And, when it comes to our books, as a reader or a writer, we like our heroes a certain way. We gravitate toward comfortable archetypes, each man showing a dash of unique flaws and character traits...enough to make our latest hero the same but different.

And, going by the state of romance covers these days, our taste in certain other traits has changed from ginormous Fabio pecs to ubiquitous sleeked out abs.

Shameless Man Abs Image

Of course, that would be the outer man, and we're all about the inner man today.

I'm having fun as I type this, but isn't it true that we women want to know what makes a man tick? We want to understand our in the flesh heroes the same as the men we explore in a book. To do that, some classification is required.

My theory: We have a basic archetype we like to read.

Oh, we might stray now and then, dallying with another kind of hero. Eventually, we go back to our admired alphas, beloved brooders, or darling debauchers. Have you taken a good look at your keeper shelf? Is there a common thread among the men you stick with as a reader?

I went through an alpha and lone wolf phase with my Vikings, but this other man kept showing up in my head. I had to write him down, and boy was I surprised to find a brilliant recluse. He was mysterious and whip smart with a dose of snarky and bossy.

His name? Lord Edward, Earl of Greenwich. The funny thing is I don't tend to write dukes and earls (but I love to read them!). I prefer men in the trenches and all of a sudden there was

Better than me trying to explain, meet him in this "Why not come here" excerpt from Meet the Earl at Midnight:

She cleared her throat. “Let me assure you, my lord, today’s behavior is most unusual for me. I am not a snoop.” She emphasized the not with all starch.
“Words, Miss Montgomery, mere words. You’ve been full of assurances and light on action since I met you last night.” He crossed his arms over his chest; pale sunlight filtered through clouds, touching him everywhere.
Not toying…flirting? At least his version of flirtation.
“I’m in your home, aren’t I? Awaiting your pleasure.” The prim fold of her hands knocked any salaciousness from her words.
“True.” He nodded. “But there is an axiom in science, a law of nature if you will that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I think that applies here…call it a consequence to one’s behavior.” Then, his gaze flicked over her head to toe. His eyebrows pressed together as if something bothersome came to mind.
“Is something wrong, milord?”
“Come here.” He spoke with his lordly, commanding tone.
Warning bells went off in her head. 
          Lydia rooted to the spot. “I…what do you want?” 
          “For you to come here.” One side of his mouth slid up. “In fact, I’d find it refreshing if you did whatever I asked the first time I issued a command.”
          “Wha…” Eyes rounding, Lydia couldn’t finish the word in her indignation.
          “Please.” He added, tipping his head in gentleman’s fashion.
          His high and mighty lordliness had the upper hand, but he softened the advantage with that please.
           “What are you going to do?”
           “Why not come here and find out?” 
                                                   *          *          *

Over a year ago, I organized a fun survey asking "What's your favorite kind of hero?"

I'd like to do the same here today. Here are the choices:
A) Arrogant Alpha
B) Brooding Ruffian
C) Brilliant Recluse
D) Debauched Rogue
E) Wounded Soldier
F) Lone Wolf
G) Tender Beta

Please share your latest favorite kind of man (and if you think I've left an archetype out, feel free to add your flavor). Tell me why you like him, and next week I'll draw a winner from the comments. The prize?

A $25 B&N gift card for anyone in the US or Canada.

I'll give this a week and draw a name April 23rd (be sure and leave your email). Please tell a friend! Share this link.

And speaking of links, if you're interested in more Meet the Earl at Midnight, click this MEET THE EARL AT MIDNIGHT or find the book here:

                 AMAZON US            B & N          iTUNES          GOOGLE PLAY

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm Getting BOOKED in England by Sara Humphreys

I have some really exciting news! I've been invited to be one of the Headlining Authors at the BOOKED Convention in Bristol, England this November. I am beyond excited!

When they first asked me, my response was, "Are you sure you have the right person?"

After they assured me that I was indeed the person they were looking for, I happily said YES!

Aside from the fact that this will be my first trip to the U.K., it's also my first non-romance centric convention. BOOKED will feature authors and celebrities from the comic book and wrestling world as well. It is sure to be a fun and exciting event. Check out the fun stuff they have planned for us!

Friday 21st November 2014

For all weekend pass holders we will be having a very special Friday night. This will include the following:
  • Early access to the dealers room from 4pm
  • Welcome Seminar - with a complimentary welcome drink
  • A very special weekend pass holders only photoshoot with our four wrestlers that will be in attendance!
  • Drinks Reception - With buffet and chances to network

Saturday 22nd November 2014

With the Saturday open to all from 10am (Weekend Pass holder's from 9.30am) we will be including the following throughout the day:
  • Official cutting of the BOOKED! ribbon by Joe E. Legend (9.30am) (Weekend Pass holder's only)
  • Autograph sessions 
  • Professional photo-shoot sessions 
  • Guest Encounters
  • Panels 
  • Workshops
  • Book launches
  • Readings 
  • Dealers room 
  • And much more!!

The convention is taking place at the Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa in Bristol and it looks absolutely lovely. Bristol is a port town and located about two hours outside of London. The convention events are finished Saturday night, so you can bet I'll be extending my trip by a few days so I can have a peek at London.

I. Am. Pumped.

The best part?? I will finally get to meet some of the girls on my street team who live in the U.K.!!!
I'm honored and humbled that the convention organizers asked me to be a part of this fun event. Tickets can be purchased now and be sure to book your room because they're sure to sell out quickly.
I don't know about you but I'll definitely be taking part of the spa services!

See you in England this Fall!

Royal Style

You might not know this about me, but I'm a bit of an Anglophile. My favorite Brit right now is the Duchess of Cambridge. I love her style. The royal tour of New Zealand and Australia has given me lots of drool over. Here are a few of my favorite outfits.

Arriving with Prince George

Playdate. Not what I wear on playdates, FYI.

Lovely in blue
And teal. I need that hat!
And back in red today.
Whose style do you most admire?
For more of Kate, check out my Facebook page!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cowboys, Aliens, and Rebels... Oh, My!!!!

By Cheryl Brooks

Maintaining interest in a series when there has been roughly a year and a half between releases isn't easy. Most people figure you're simply not writing anymore and forget about you--that is, if they spare any thoughts for you at all. The "What have you done for me lately?" rule is as valid in the publishing industry as it is in Hollywood. Although I did self-publish a four-book erotic contemporary series called Unlikely Lovers last summer, which has sold reasonably well, even those titles have been out for nearly a year.

With stats like that, you'd think I haven't been writing, but I have. I'm gearing up for a new erotic contemporary series with Sourcebooks called Cowboy Heaven to be launched next year. I've already written one book and one novella, and I'm a little over 20,000 words into book #2. I love the cowboys, but there was just something about those aliens...

So what does one say about the tenth book in the series that launched a writing career? Simply put, I believe it's the best book I've ever written, and that includes the cowboys and the Unlikely Lovers. What concerns me is that it will be overlooked and never reach its full potential. Granted, I still have some diehard fans who have been anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, but this game is all about numbers. Is there enough interest left? Quite honestly, I have no idea.

Early in my career, as a means of self-promotion I felt comfortable with, I started an erotic blog, complete with some seriously hot photos. I blogged every single day for a little over four years. I posted vacation pictures, recipes, thoughts on this and that, and a bajillion naked hunks. I didn't have a lot of followers, but I certainly got a lot of hits. Unfortunately, that blog wound up feeding into a XXX bookmark site, which was brought to my attention by a photographer/model who wanted me to either give him credit for his photo or take it down. I got that little gem of an email on July 4, 2012.

Rather unnerved at the idea of my family photos on a XXX site, I unpublished the entire blog, gave it a new name and a new url, and stopped posting the hunks. For fear of being sued for copyright infringement, I stopped using anything other than book cover pics and those photos I'd taken myself. Not surprisingly, interest has waned since then and has now reached the point that I hardly ever post anything. If it wasn't for Facebook, I would have dropped out of sight entirely.

And now, with a launch coming up in July, I feel out of touch with reviewers and bloggers. I haven't done a blog tour since February 2013. Our publicist recently sent me a NetGalley widget for the book. I was like: "That's nice. What do I do with it?"

But when I posted a giveaway of an advance copy of Rebel on Facebook last week, the readers, God bless them, came out in droves. They obviously haven't forgotten how hot my Zetithian heroes were, and now, in what will probably be the final book in the series, they get to read Onca's story.

And what a story it is! I've read through it a dozen times during the editing process, and I never got tired of it. I truly loved writing it, and now I get to share it with you.

He’s had a galaxy of women
A refugee of the annihilated planet Zetith, Onca has
no family and no surname—only the fortune accrued
by selling his prime services in a high-class brothel.
When he comes to the rescue of a homeless Zetithian
woman, passions flare, but he dares not touch
someone who seems so young and innocent…

But none has touched his heart
Kimcasha has lived by her wits on the streets since the
age of ten. When her friends start to go missing, 
Kim uses herself as bait to find them, 
but her plan goes awry when Onca intervenes.
As they are led into a dangerous underworld, 
Onca offers to join her crusade
to liberate her friends, and Kim cannot refuse him…

Post a comment for your chance to win an advance copy of Rebel! 

I'll be leaving for Florida tomorrow morning, 
so post as many comments as you like. 
I'll pick a winner at random on Easter Sunday, 
and I don't care if you live in Mongolia, I'll mail it to you!  

Be sure to include your email address in your comment.

Good luck!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My First Blog at Casablanca as a Sourcebooks Author!

It seemed to take forever to make it to NY, but I did it, and will be forever grateful that my query found its way to my agent Bob Mecoy's email and that he pitched my military/paranormal/romantic-suspense X-OPS SERIES to my editor Cat Clyne!  Since then, I signed with Sourcebooks for a second paranormal/romantic-suspense Series called S.W.A.T. (aka Special Wolf Alpha Team). I'm so excited to be part of the Sourcebooks family! Still Snoopy Dancing!

If you're not familiar with me, I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic fiction. I've written over fifty books in practically every genre of romance, but my favorite is definitely the paranormal/romantic-suspense combo. My very own military hero (also known as my hubby) and I live on the beautiful Florida coast with our adorable fur baby (also known as our dog). I actually graduated with a degree in education and was well on my way to being a middle school teacher, but ultimately I couldn't resist following my dreams and pursuing my passion to write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.

The first book in the X-OPS Series is called HER PERFECT MATE and it officially releases on May 6 (just in time for RT!) but it's available for pre-order now at the links below. Hope you'll pick it up!


He's a High-Octane Special Ops Pro

When Special Forces Captain Landon Donovan is chosen for an assignment with the Department of Covert Operations, he's stunned to find his new partner is a beautiful woman who looks like she couldn't hurt a fly, never mind take down a terrorist.

She's No Kitten

Ivy Halliwell isn't your average covert op. She's a feline shifter, and more dangerous than she looks. Her feline DNA means she can literally bring out the claws when things get dicey. She's worked with a string of hotheaded military guys who've underestimated her special skills in the past. But when she's partnered with special agent Donovan, a man sexy enough to make any girl purr, things begin to heat up. He doesn't think she's a freak-and he's smokin' hot. Soon they're facing a threat even greater than anyone imagines...and an animal magnetism impossible to ignore.

Pre-Order Your Copy in Digital or Paperback!




Where to Find Me on the Net!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Else Should I Do? (+ a Giveaway!)

By Danielle Dresser

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what authors should be doing on their own when their book is finally available and also between releases to promote their books. These aren’t the easiest question to answer because everyone has their own schedules, and own levels of comfort when it comes to self-promotion, but here are some ideas:

When your book is FINALLY in stores…
This the time period when you are allowed to brag a little :) Reviews are coming in, so you should be receiving Google Alerts like crazy with links to wonderful reviews of your book. Share those! Most book blogs have an option to share the review through social media—Twitter, Facebook, etc. (for an example of what I’m talking about, look at the line of buttons near the bottom of this blog post… those buttons are all direct links to share this blog post via social media). This is an easy way to keep readers in the loop about what’s going on… it’s also a nice way to recognize the blogger who reviewed your book!

Are you on a blog tour? Running a contest with those blog tour posts (for Casa authors, the answer is yes!)? If there’s one thing readers love, it’s winning books, and mentioning this while promoting your stops is a way to get some attention on what’s going on.

Do you have favorite scenes or excerpts? Once your book has been in stores for a few weeks, share some of the excerpts that could be construed as slightly spoilery early on… and still disclaim them if something crucial is revealed! But showcasing your writing is another great way for readers to be exposed to your writing.

The one thing I stress everyone to think about is what will your readers find informational and fun. They are often just as excited about your new book being released into the world as you are, and will want to know when good things happen!

When your book isn’t so new anymore…
It’s crazy that the shelf life for romance is so quick. In-store promotions last a few weeks, online promotions are often shorter, and readers are ready for the next book as soon as they reach “the end” of yours. So what happens between releases? What should you talk about, what should you do? These are the difficult questions to answer, but the thing to remember is not be annoying (can that just be a mantra for life? Do not be annoying… do not be annoying…), and also take this time to develop your relationship with readers. The author/reader online relationship didn’t exist until recently, and is a wieldy relationship to manage. But here are a few of my favorite authors to follow on various forms of social media—and you’ll see that not all of them currently have books in stores!

Twitter can be a time suck, and really, do you really know if people saw your tweet at 11:34 this morning? But Twitter is a fun way to engage immediately with the romance community. It can be daunting at first, but spending some time on it and just looking at what other people are doing is the best way to learn:

YA Author Maureen Johnson is hilarious:
Fiction Author Jennifer Weiner strikes a great balance between her book stuff and life stuff:
Romance author Courtney Milan has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the romance industry:

Facebook is great, because a lot of us are on this anyway, right? This is a great place to share images and links to things about your books, but also a nice and easy way to interact with fans. Facebook is one of the first places readers will search for information about you beyond your website.

Romance Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is always asking her readers questions (and they repond!):
Our very own Julie Ann Walker shares photos of her fabulous vacations:
Katie MacAlister also strikes a fine balance between book stuff and life stuff (and hey—she’s one of our newest authors, too!):

I love Pinterest. I spend far too much time on there! This is relatively new in the world of author promotion, but it’s a fun place to look for inspiration and again, to share what interests you in your own life.

Our own Shana Galen created board for each of her books and shares pretty things!
YA Author Holly Black has a board for anything and everything:
Humorist Jennifer Lawson shares the funniest stuff: 

Instagram is one I’m still figuring out—does it really move books or at least readers to find out more information? But if you like to take photos and show them off, this might be a good fit for you. I don’t know a ton of authors using it in a big way—mainly supplemental to other social media.
Fiction Author Erin Morgenstern:
YA Author John Green (though all the photos with famous people don’t hurt):

So what about all of you? Any authors you’ve seen in your social media meanderings that you admire for how they interact with readers? What do you look for between books by some of your own favorites? Two random commenters will get to choose a coming May title (they aren’t in stores yet!). US and Canada only, please leave an email address so you can be easily contacted, authors—this is open to you too, and the two winners will be chosen and emailed Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When bad news becomes good news

Sometimes, what seems like bad news can actually turn out better than you imagined. Ever notice that?

The bad (at the time) news was that the proposal for a new series I had hoped would be contracted wasn't.  The good news...I received a new contract from Sourcebooks for more books in the current series! Here's the announcement in Publisher's Weekly:

Ashlyn Chase's fourth and fifth books in her paranormal romance FLIRTING WITH FANGS series, featuring sexy displaced dragons from Ireland relocating to Boston where they find friends, family and love, to Cat Clyne at Sourcebooks, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2015, by Nicole Resciniti at The Seymour Agency.

So, how about that bad news? I had proposed a bewitching series and they passed on it. I was totally excited about that one and had begun happily writing it. As it turns out, I'm writing and publishing BOTH of them! I was terrified of Indie publishing, because I'm such a poor business woman. But with a lot of fabulous agent, Nicole, and my friend/neighbor Janet (an H&R block tax expert) I've opened my own LLC! My first Indie book will come out May 5th at all the e-tailers. Oh, and my daughter is a graphic artist and made my cover! What do you think?
Isn't it adorable? I got the family discount and contracted her to make the next three. I just finished writing book two, Tug of Attraction about a tug boat captain and a beautiful witch who left Hollywood to start a family and have a 'normal' life. Yeah, we all know that'll happen. Ha! Book three is called Out of the Broom Closet and is in progress. There's more suspense in that one. My part-fae witch is on the run from her stalker who's using black magic.
And I have given myself an option for a fourth book. LOL. See? I've learned from Sourcebooks! The contract with them, which I'll be signing today comes with an option for another book too. 
How about all of you? Turned any bad luck into good, lately?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wrong Highland Bridegroom Launch

by Amanda Forester

I am excited to announce the release of my second novella in the Highland Brides Trilogy:  The Wrong Highland Bridegroom, available now on kindle, nook, and i-tunes!  I am traveling back to medieval Scotland to check in on the Campbell sisters.  All three books in the trilogy take place during a May Day celebration that has been crashed by the pesky English.  The castle is under siege, but that doesn't stop the Scots from holding their own tournament (I had to throw in a joust on a crazed horse!) or Effie Campbell from making a huge mistake in trying to find love.

Effie Campbell cannot fathom marrying a stranger just because her brother arranged it and is determined to marry only for love. In this regard she finds an unlikely ally in Connor Maclachlan, her intended husband, who also balks at being led by his parents to the altar. They scheme to support each other in the pursuit of true love, but when the object of her affection disappoints, she finds more than a friend in Connor.

Each book in the Highland Brides trilogy is a medieval prequel to my Marriage Mart trilogy set in the Regency time frame.  In The Wrong Highland Bridegroom, Sir Connor Maclachlan is the great, great, great, great, etc. grandfather of Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton, the hero of Midsummer Bride.  I loved connecting my two worlds by writing about families.  I even have a certain item that appears in both books.  Bonus points if you can tell me what it is!

Connor Maclachlan
Wrong Highland Bridegroom
(several generations)
Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton
Midsummer Bride

First in the Highland Brides trilogy is The Highland Bride's Choice, which is currently offered FREE on kindle, nook, and i-tunes.  The third in the trilogy, The Trouble with a Highland Bride, is due out in October. 

The Wrong Highland Bridegroom begins with Effie making some big assumptions about the kind of man who is right for her.  This storyline was a bit familiar to me because when I first met my now husband I didn't think the relationship would go anywhere - two kids and 16 years of marriage later I realize I might have been wrong about that first impression!  Did you ever underestimate someone who turned out to be important in your life?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off Launch!

Welcome to
Bless My Bloomers.

And welcome back to Cadillac, Texas where the jalapenos are fiery but not as hot as the gossip. We're having a party today to celebrate the launch of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off!
Who would have ever thought that the story of a pair of red satin bikini under britches would turn into a book? It's amazing, I tell you, just flat out amazing!

Y'all come right on in and meet the owners, Carlene, Alma Grace and Patrice. Josie is in the back room sewing up more lingerie but she won't mind you going on back there to meet her, too. Yes, ma'am, we do have those little corsets in plus sizes.

Agnes has been dancin' a jig on Main Street every time a new review arrives. She says we have to post a few of them even if it does seem like tacky self promotion. Her opinion is when one passes their sixtieth birthday they eat anything they want, say anything they want and do anything they want and it's not illegal, immoral or fattening. And since Agnes is the person who keeps Violet, the head she-coon in Cadillac, from getting too much power, I do tend to let her have her way.


“A fun romp through the world of the dignified South, where a group of women opening a lingerie shop is only slightly less scandalous than a woman divorcing... a cheating jerk of a spouse.” - Calliope’s Reviews and Stitching News

“The characters are vibrant and engaging, the story is endearingly off beat and full of down home folksy charm. A wonderfully heartwarming and highly entertaining novel.” - Book Reviews and More By Kathy

“Fun, fresh and hilarious... The author showed that laughter is the best medicine and a sure fire cure for the toughest of challenges in life.” - Chick Lit Reviews

“With a cast of characters that will leave readers grinning, Brown’s latest is delightful, humorous “chick lit”... Fun, fun and more fun is on hand in a story that wins a blue ribbon in both originality and wit. 4 Stars” - RT Book Reviews

Gigi, Tansy and Sugar, the three mamas in The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off are the ones who are determined to make the prize winning pot of chili. There is one little problem...none of them can cook or even use a can opener for that matter. But bless their hearts, they do give it their best and the chili they take to the cook-off does have some fire in it. Tansy has been loving all the fan mail that mentions a favorite quote and wants to see them printed on the napkins for this launch party. She is a psychic and says that The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is going to do really well so I'm not going to cross her either.
"Some men are just born stupid. Some don't get infected until later in life, but they'll all get a case of it sometime. It's in their DNA and that can't be helped."

"I need a drink, a cupcake and sex in that order."

"Honey, experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And every experience in life gets us ready for what's comin' at us in the future. So don't count it as wasted. Count it as lesson learned and, next time around, learn from it and maybe you'll get what you wanted all along."

"Violet don't have any idea when to shut her mouth. I swear that woman's got a magic mirror in her house and when she looks in it she sees Marilyn Monroe or Betty Boop instead of an old, chubby woman who's trying to outrun wrinkles and age."

"Lenny should have been drowned at birth."

Josie says we really need to give y'all a little excerpt so you can see what set the wheels to turning with this idea of women entering the cook-off when up to now it's belonged to the men of Cadillac, Texas. I'm not arguing with her either since she did help Carlene get through the divorce ordeal. 
Some men are just born stupid. Some don’t get infected until later in life but they’ll all get a case of it sometime. It’s in their DNA and can’t be helped.
Carlene could testify with her right hand raised to God and the left on the good Book that her husband, Lenny, had been born with the disease and it had worsened with the years. Proof was held between her thumb and forefinger like a dead rat in the form of a pair of bikini underwear. They damn sure didn’t belong to her. Hells bells she couldn’t get one leg in those tiny little things. And they did not belong to Lenny, either. Even if he had become an overnight cross dresser, his ass wouldn’t fit into that skimpy pair of under britches, not even if he greased himself down with bacon drippings.
They were bright red with a sparkling sequin heart sewn on the triangular front. They’d come with a matching corset with garter straps and fishnet hose. Carlene recognized them because she’d designed the outfit herself at her lingerie shop, Bless My Bloomers. They belonged to a petite, size-four brunette with big brown eyes who had giggled and pranced like a little girl when she saw herself in the mirror wearing the get-up.
Carlene jumped and dropped them back into Lenny’s briefcase when her cell phone rang. The ring tone said it was Lenny but she was still speechless, staring at the scrap of satin in her hand.
She dropped to her knees on the carpet and bent forward into a tight ball. She felt as if someone had kicked her firmly in the gut and she couldn’t breathe. In a few seconds she managed a sitting position, wrapped her arms around her midsection and sucked in air but it burned her lungs. The noise that came forth from her chest sounded like a wounded animal caught in a trap. Tears would have washed some of the pain away but they wouldn’t flow from her burning eyes. Finally, she got control of the dry heaves and managed to pull herself up out of the heap of despair. Dear God what was she going to do?
The brunette who’d bought the red-satin outfit had told her that she and her sugar daddy were going to Vegas and she wanted something that would make him so hot he’d be ready to buy her an engagement ring. What was her name? Bailey? Brenda? No something French because Carlene remembered asking her about it. Bridget…that was it! Bridget had been to Vegas with Lenny. On how many other trips had he taken a bimbo with him and how many of them had been ten or fifteen years younger and a size four—for God’s sake?
In seconds, the phone rang again. She picked it up and said, “Hello.” Her voice sounded like it was coming from the bottom of a well or maybe, a sewer pipe.
“Carlene, I left my briefcase in my office. I slept on the sofa to keep from waking you since I got in so late last night. Bring it to me before you go to work and hurry. There’s a contract in it that briefcase that I need and the people will be here to sign in ten minutes. I’ll hold them off with coffee until you get here.”

No goodbye.
No thank you, darlin’.
Not even a please.
Did he talk to Bridget like that?
Anger joined shock and pain as she dropped the panties back in the briefcase and then removed the little card she’d made for him to find that morning. She’d written that she was sorry she had fallen asleep before he got home and that she’d make it up to him that night with champagne and wild sex.

She stood up, straightening to her full height of just under the six foot mark. Damn that sorry bastard to hell. How could he do this to her?
Ripping the note into confetti sized pieces and throwing them in the air did nothing to appease her anger. Dozens of questions ran in circles through her mind. Had Lenny brought his twenty-something year old bimbo to her house for a romp on her bed while she was at work? Did that sorry sucker have sex with his mistress at noon and then with his wife that same night? Just how long had the affair been going on anyway?
Among them all was one solid answer. She was not living in the same house with a lying, cheating, two-timing son-of-a-bitch. She was leaving his ass and nothing or no one could convince her to stay another night under the same roof with him.

Enough of this speechifyin'. Let's get on to the food that's been provided by Clawdy's Café and the champagne which the fathers brought in to toast this launch party. Thank you to everyone in Cadillac who made this possible today. On a final note I do need to remind everyone that we're right in the middle of a recipe blog tour where we're asking everyone to comment with their favorite recipe or maybe even a link to it if they don't want to type out the whole thing. Since this is all about a chili cook-off, I'd like to hear what your favorite chili recipe is and what's the most unusual ingredient in it. Our prize winning chili at the cook off has a Hershey bar in it! I'll give away a signed copy of both of the Cadillac books...The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee AND The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off to one lucky reader and the contest is open to everyone whether you live in Texas or across one of the big ponds.

Okay, okay! the ladies are all yelling at me not to forget to remind you of the rest of the tour so you can collect the recipes and get your name in the red boot for more giveaways!