Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rekindling the Heat by Shana Galen

I live in Houston, so it’s hot much of the year. Really hot. But what I’ve found is heat can be relative. When I was in New York a few months ago, people were talking about how hot it was (and then it got Houston hot a few days later), but the weather felt mild and comfortable to me. Living in oppressive heat for much of the year has made me inured to it. In fact, what people in the North might think is comfortable, I probably think is cold.

Heat works this way in relationships too. After a few years married couples get used to each other’s “moves,” and start looking for ways to spice things up. That’s why there are so many magazine articles on “Rekindling the Romance.” I Googled that phrase and found 414,000 entries.

I've always wondered why most novels aren’t about married couples. I think the perception is all the excitement is in the meet and the getting to know one another. But if that were true, then we wouldn’t have such wonderful stories of people who have been married for fifty years and are still wildly, passionately in love. And that’s what we imagine for our favorite heroes and heroines, right?

That’s definitely what I imagine as a future for Adrian and Sophia, who are my characters in Lord and Lady Spy. As the book opens, they’ve been married for five years, but neither has put much effort into the marriage. After all, they’re both out there trying to save the world from French domination, and who has time for chitchat over dinner with Napoleon’s latest scheme on one’s mind?

So how does a couple who’s been intimate but not invested reconnect and begin to invest. Well, there’s a lot of heat. Here’s a brief excerpt.

“I-I don’t want to argue with you,” she said, keeping her face averted. “I don’t want to fight anymore.”

It was true. She was weary in body and spirit. She didn’t think she was up to yet another battle of words and will.

She felt Adrian’s solid presence behind her, his heat tickling her back. “Then let’s not fight.”

His fingers traced a lazy path down the back of her neck, and she couldn’t stop a delicious shiver from zinging through her body. Lord, but his hands were so warm. She hadn’t realized she was cold until he’d touched her. Then again, his touch had always been a revelation to her.

His touch was light and feathery—playful—but she knew from experience it could also be intense and demanding. She knew from experience she liked it intense and demanding.

His fingers breezed along her neck, caressing her chin, and moving down her collarbone. She couldn’t stop her eyelids from fluttering closed. Her head wanted to loll back, to find respite against his broad shoulder, but she resisted the impulse.

She knew she should also tell him to stop touching her, to stop the inevitable path of his fingers down her bodice, but her lips were paralyzed. Her body was paralyzed by his fingertips—those tender, teasing, slightly roughened fingertips.

She shuddered.

“Do you want this?” His voice rasped in her ear like a cat’s tongue against silky fur. “Do you want me?”

She wanted to say no, to deny all she was feeling, but her body seemed disconnected from her mind. No, that wasn’t quite true. Her flesh was blatantly disregarding her brain’s better judgment.

Adrian’s fingers dipped into her bodice to brush lightly over the swells of her breasts. She felt her flesh heat in response and her legs wobbled.

“Tell me you want me, Sophia.”

Her name. It sounded like a foreign language on his tongue. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard him use it in that seductive tone.

“Tell me,” he whispered, his hand cupping her breast. His touch was becoming more intense, more demanding. She knew she wouldn’t be able to resist much longer.

Hmm. Marriage isn't looking quite so dull anymore, is it?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let Me Call You Sweet-Hot!

Cinnamon rolls with gooey melted frosting. Chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven. A hot fudge sundae with rich, hot fudge sauce dripping into swirls of melted ice cream. All these things can be hot and sweet at the same time.

So why are "sweet" and "hot" opposites when it comes to romance?

When the term "sweet" is applied to a romance novel, it means the book has heart and emotion. But it can also be a code word for "no explicit sex."

I've had this label applied to my books, and one one level it makes sense. I admit that my worldview is a little on the sweet side. I believe people are basically good, that neighbors care about each other, and that love is a risk worth taking. So it's understandable that reviewers call my Western romances "sweet."

But my cowboys and cowgirls resent the label. They might be nice people with big hearts, but they know how to burn up a bedroom. And I don't believe in shutting the door and cheating the reader out of that experience - so I worry that someone looking for "sweet" books without sex will end up fanning themselves and squirming in their seat, getting a little more cowboy than they expected.

It's the terminology that's the problem. Because who says hot, steamy sex can't be sweet?

There's a lot of erotica out there these days with wild sex scenes between strangers, threesomes, and other non-traditional couples. I think we've all had fantasies about diving into bed with a handsome stranger, and any kind of forbidden element in a sex scene adds to the titillation.

But I'd argue that to be truly hot, a sex scene has to have a core of sweetness at its heart. There might not be declarations of undying love, but I want at least a moment of intimate recognition, a joining of something more than body parts, and a connection on an emotional or even a spiritual level. That connection might be brief, but for me, it's an essential element in even the most casual sex scene.

In life and in novels, sex at its best is an expression of love. And that means "sweetness" can be very, very hot!

What makes a story "sweet" to you? And more importantly, which one of these yummy "sweet-hots" would you like to have for breakfast?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The value of entertainment

I'm scheduling this to post ahead of time, because my house is right in the path of Hurricane Irene. In fact, maps have the eye going right over us. If I don't get to comment--you'll know why!


Every year, the power goes out here in snowy, rainy, windy New England. Hundreds of thousands of homes lose electricity, ours being one of them. I learned something during the ice storm that crippled our area for over a week.

My mother-in-law lives a couple of towns away...alone. So we had her come over right away. My daughter and her boyfriend called to say they were at his mother's house, so they were safe! But as soon as they heard that we had ENTERTAINMENT, they came right over. It was fun to have everyone "camping" in our home.

I have a gas stove, so I was able to cook. We have a gas fireplace, so there was ambiance and some heat to one room. The generator provided heat and hot water to the rest of the house. It's funny what you decide you value when you have to pick and choose what to turn on and what to live without.

We have an electricity cleaner. (The "dirty electricity" coming from the generator can't power electronics which are too apt to be damaged by energy with surges.) So, we had to decide on one electronic item to use with the electricity cleaner.

The choice was easy! My husband powered up the movie room and suddenly we had stories. We watched one comedy and one drama. Before we knew it, the day had flown by and we were that much closer to having normalcy restored.

What is it about stories we love so much? I remember hearing something Michael Creighton said several years ago. He believed that no matter how bad things got, people would still need entertainment. During WWII, dance halls sprung up all over Europe. Native Americans from long ago would sit around a campfire and tell stories. The traveling bard in medieval times was valued for the entertainment he brought and was fed for the price of his gift. (That's where the term 'singing for your supper' came from.)

So, the point of this rambling post (and I did have one) is to highlight just how important storytellers are. Without us pulling new ideas from our imaginations and experiences, the world would be a boring place. I hope all authors realize their value. Sometimes I think we forget how much we're needed. We're more apt to judge brain surgeons or research scientists as important people--but even they need entertainment.

I’d love it if you’d check out my books. They are FYE only. (For your entertainment.) Nothing heavy...loads of fun. I have mass market paperbacks, trade paperbacks, and for those ridiculous blackouts, everything I write is available in ebook, which you can read on your hand-held electronic reading device! Be sure to keep your batteries charged!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's Hot...

by Judi Fennell

I'm writing this on Saturday afternoon to post on Sunday because I'm in the Northeast and it's definitely NOT hot here as we wait for Irene. It's been raining since about 1 (5 hours ago) and I'm keeping an ear focused on the basement where our battery back-up sump pump will squeal when it's services are called upon. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. As long as we don't lose power, we should be fine.

So, what IS hot here in the Northeast? Let's say, first of all, generators. They're hot. How hot? Well, when I went to Home Depot on Tuesday to get a generator, I got the second-to-last "affordable" one in stock. The guy who helped me said they'd had a run on them. I know this is the first time I've ever bought a generator for a storm.

What else is hot? Flashlights, apparently. Here's my local Walmart on Friday:

Water, too, is apparently, one of the hottest items around. My sister took this picture at her local supermarket Friday morning. While she was there, another pallet of water was delivered; she said it was as if vultures descended on the pallet. She had to beg someone for a case of water - her normal weekly purchase. Some nice man gave her one.

So, I'm wondering how my Mers are coping with the storm. As you know if you've read In Over Her Head, Reel and Erica live at her family's marina in New Jersey and Reel has an underwater lair 10 miles off the coast of New Jersey. So, does the natural-born Mer man go back in the ocean when evacuations are being called for all over NJ? Does he take his wife and child (ah, spoiler for those of you who haven't read Catch of Lifetime yet). Or do they evacuate inland with the rest of the land-dwellers? Thoughts?

If I don't answer it'll be because I don't have power and I've used up all my iPad bettery playing Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends. (If you'd like to play me on either of those games, my name is GoLions87 - come find me!)

Happy Hurricaning!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sex Appeal by Terry Spear

I was listening to an audio book where the contemporary romance characters have just met and are ready to jump each others' bones. And then the comments made in their heads: "I shouldn't think this way. I'm crazy."

Sex, sex, sex. No, not doing it. Just thinking it. They have no past, no history. And I didn't "feel" the reason for the urgency that they needed to have sex with one another no matter what, right this very minute.

So what's wrong? There's absolutely no sexual tension. Nothing to make this feel like it could reasonably happen. Sure, I've read books where the sexual tension is right up front and it feels right, and it seems reasonable, and hot, oh, yeah. But in this one, it's more of I see (and there's nothing to see that makes me feel like jumping his bones) and I want (same scenario.)

And there's a small child involved. Maybe that's what is giving me such a hard time with the adults desiring to have hot sex, now! There's also this falling in love with the child, which is fine, but it doesn't feel right to mix that up with--I want to do it with the hot adoptive father.

Which leads me to the point that it's not always easy to create sexual tension between characters, particularly when they don't have a past, to make it seem real, to make the transition from just met to hot lovers and make it feel right.

Sexual tension is so important for that build up of anticipation of will they do it or won't they, but it can't feel contrived, or forced.

Then once they've "done" it, that's it, no more conflict, the end, but it can't be the end. It's only the beginning of a burgeoning relationship that has taken the intimacy a step further and the conflict between them, keeping them from making some kind of a real commitment has to continue. It's like the beginning again but not, because they've breached a barrier that now no longer exists between them.

They can't go back. We can't go back. We have to surge forward and see how they can overcome and be triumphant, finding that happily ever after.

In the beginning, I set up the way I want the hero and heroine to meet. It always has to be really different for each of the stories. Sometimes there's a past, like between the hero and heroine in HEART OF THE WOLF, WOLF FEVER, and SEAL IN WOLF'S CLOTHING. But in most stories, the hero and heroine have just met.

Because of their enhanced animal senses, wolves tend to be more drawn to each other, more aware--yet even with werewolves, the tension has to build, the brakes have to be applied, the question as to whether a forever mating will work between two consenting adults has to be answered--because for them, they mate for life. No changing their minds. No divorce. For life. Which for them is a very long time.

I had a fan mail the other day where the reader said (and these are in my own words)--she loved how I didn't make the characters waffle forever about whether they wanted each other throughout most of the book, like plucking the petals off a flower--he loves me, he loves me not, only in: I love him, or maybe not.

And yet, we can't make them fall in love from the onset and end the conflict right there. So it's a real balancing act--the SEX appeal, the longing, slowing the forward motion, driving it forward again, the push, the pull, the panting and...wait...

Okay, the building love and acceptance and making a commitment between two adults that seals the promise of forever more...


Anyone want some wolf love??? I mean, tell me you can look into Jake Silver's eyes in Dreaming of the Wolf's cover and not think: Hmm, I'd like to jump his bones, and that the way he's looking back at you, he's not of the same mind. :)

If you have read about him in earlier stories, you already have a past with him, so go for it! :)

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hot Topics

by Olivia Cunning

I could talk about the hot weather, but that would be boring. So I'll try to come up with a more exciting hot topic.

I could discuss this hot guy here on my left (I wish he was on my left), but I don't know him, so what can I say, other than I think he's hot. I will admit that he is the inspiration for a new rock star character of mine. Maybe his ink doesn't do it for you, but it definitely does it for me. RAWR! And those abs/pecs/guns... And the fact that I can't see his face clearly... And those jeans he "forgot" to fasten...  And those narrow hips... And... Oh my! Yep, hot.

I could talk about all the "hottest sex scene" awards that Backstage Pass won from bloggers last year (*cough* 13 of them *cough*), but someone might misconstrue that as bragging and I'm a humble Midwestern gal. We don't brag. We "mention".

I could write about the lovely Reader's Crown Awards I picked up in sweltering hot Denver at the beginning of August at RomCon. I felt special. Backstage Pass won for Best Long Erotic Romance and Best First Book. It was hot that day. Just mentioning...

Or I could tell you about the hot pin-the-body-part-on-the-Sinners game that we all played at the Chocolate Mangasm event at RomCon on a Friday night. Erotic romance authors and readers are soooo naughty. Self included.
Yes, you can probably guess what we pinned on Sinners' lead guitarist, Brian Sinclair. It wasn't a tail... Heh heh.

I could talk about standing in hot lines at Cedar Point this summer. Do ride the Millennium Force if you get a chance. Best. Roller-coaster. EVAH! Worth the sunburn and sweat. Totally.

Maybe I should rave about the hot bands I saw in concert this summer. Avenged Sevenfold. Three Days Grace. Bullet for my Valentine. So many rock stars. So much inspiration. So tax deductible!

I could excerpt a hot scene from one of my rock star erotic romance books, but you'll have to go over to my Sinners Excerpts blog to see those. Not for the prudish. They're pretty darn hot.*  I didn't want to melt the casa-blog or anything.

*see hottest sex scenes of 2010 awards "mentioned" previously

I could leave a recipe here for some hot food, but I don't cook spicy food. My tongue is a wimp.

I could elaborate on Hot Topic, but I'm a bit too "mature" to shop at that store anymore. Unless my son is with me. I've been known to buy a rock T-shirt or two for myself  him from there. I swear that Papa Roach T-shirt is not mine. Okay, it is. And next time I'm there, I need to get some of those studded, leather... um, where was I?

So, I guess I will talk about the weather after all. That's a nice, "safe" topic.

Dang, it's hot outside!

What's the hottest thing you did this summer?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sales Conference

 By Deb Werksman
 Editorial Manager
Sourcebooks Casablanca

Sales conference is our twice a year event, where each season’s list is presented to the sales department with great excitement. Coming out of this meeting, our sales force gets ready to present each book to the buyers. It used to be that the editors were the ones presenting, but now everyone participates. Anyone who particularly loves a book they heard about at launch can be the person to present it. Our managing editor presented a parenting title, and I presented a college guide for parents, since I had just dropped my son at college and had been using the book all summer. This makes for a lively exchange of ideas and fresh points of view.

As part of our presentations, we use charts, graphs, photos, author videos and book trailers. It’s a great idea for all authors to create a short (2-3 minutes) video, talking about why you wrote the book, what was the inspiration for the idea for the book, your writing process, or anything else you think readers would find fascinating. It’s amazing how much these short encounters with authors help the sales and marketing departments in their thinking.

By the time we get to sales conference, many books have at least a preliminary cover concept (a lot of our romance titles didn’t this season, since we’re still researching models, etc., so if you haven’t seen your cover, don’t worry). We talk a lot about the effectiveness of the covers, about what people like and don’t like, we take votes, have discussions, and get lots of direction and feedback. In some instances, titles are flagged for more work, catalog copy gets rewritten or a whole positioning gets sent back to the drawing board.

One of the strengths of our approach to publishing is that we “iterate” the book constantly. (This has also been called “torturing” the book. As our Editorial Director likes to say, we really torture the biggest books—all the others just get a sound beating.) Every time we have the opportunity we ask ourselves the tough questions again and again: WHY this book? Why will readers want it, why should the buyers stock it, how will it stand out in an already crowded marketplace? Has anything changed in the environment that we can take advantage of? This is why that “hook” that I’m constantly talking about is so important.

Sales conference is an all day party celebrating books and authors. We at Sourcebooks are clear that books change lives and that people who love books make a difference in the world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Too Hot

by Amanda Forester

I recently completed the final round of edits for my next book, The Highlander's Heart, due to hit the shelves November 1. After a long writing process, I am excited to see it finally in print. Since the topic this month is about heat, I thought I'd share an excerpt about a time when my heroine is feeling a little too hot for comfort.

In this scene, Lady Isabelle Tynsdale has woken up in bed next to the man she loves, Laird David Campbell. Trouble is, they are not supposed to be together, and she can't remember exactly what happened.

“Lady Tynsdale, I would speak to ye,” said Campbell, gathering his courage.

“Yes, I would like to speak with you too,” said Isabelle.

“Ye would? Aye, well, I feel I need to apologize for the other night. I dinna intend to… that is to say I did intend, but I…” Campbell rubbed his forehead with one hand and gestured in the air with the other. “It just happened.”

“It?” Isabelle’s eyes grew wide. “It? How could you?”

“I was tired. Ye dinna seem to mind at the time.”

“I was asleep!”


“You should at least have woken me up and asked me if I would like to.”

“Ye are verra right.” Campbell’s heart sank. He was right, she was angry at him. He had thought… but no, her feelings did not match his. “I apologize. I thought that since we had before and… forgive me, I mistook yer feelings on the matter.”

“We did before too? I remember some things, but I do not recall doing… doing…” Isabelle flushed prettily. “Was I asleep?”

Now it was Campbell’s turn to be confused. “Aye. People do sleep when they are asleep.”

“What are you talking about?” Isabelle tilted her head slightly to the side.

“Sleeping. Together. In my bed. What do ye speak of?”

“Sleeping? As in actual sleep?”

“Aye.” Campbell drew out the word, speaking slowly. He had strong suspicions he knew what she was thinking, and it was not about sleep. He tried unsuccessfully to suppress a grin. “Ye speak of sex.”

“Campbell, please!” Isabelle glanced into the corridor and shut the door. “Someone might hear you.”

“So ye dinna mind speaking o’ it, but ye dinna wish anyone to know.” Campbell’s heart began to beat quite merrily. She did like him. Her blush gave her away.

“We should not.”

“Did ye think I had made love to ye while ye slept?” Now that was plain insulting.

Isabelle looked off at a tapestry hanging from the wall. “But for a moment. Is this not a nice tapestry?”

“Isabelle.” He stepped close and softly brushed her cheek. “If I should ever take ye to my bed to love instead of sleep, I will promise ye two things. First, ye will wish for it as much as I. And second, I dinna wish to brag, but there is no possible way ye will sleep through my lovemaking.”

Campbell had the satisfaction of watching Isabelle’s blush deepen to the color of a fine wine.

So have you ever had a time when your conversation got you a little flushed? Do tell!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

By Robin Kaye

Available for preorder, coming December, 2011!

Whitewater-rafting guide Hunter Kincaid lands his dream job–guiding sportswear models through Idaho's rugged wilderness for a photo shoot. When he meets Toni Russo, the goth New York manager of Action Models, there are enough sparks to set the forest ablaze.

When Hunter finds Toni's book on how to marry the man of your choice, he studies it as a joke. Before long Hunter realizes he's never cared enough for a woman to bother working this hard to get her. But the last man in the world this city girl wants is a Survivor Man wannabe...

Here's a little teaser, if you want to read the rest of chapter one, stop by my website

Wild Thing - Book one of Domestic Gods Gone Wild...

Toni Russo stood on the porch of the Sawtooth Inn ignoring the mountains cutting the bright blue sky, concentrating instead on Hunter Kincaid’s very confused, very green eyes. She recognized him from the photos on the River Runners’ website. They didn’t do him justice, probably because there was no way to transmit the pheromones rolling off the man onto an image.

Hunter stared at her the whole way from his old Land Cruiser to the porch. He stopped, tipped his baseball cap back, and then put his hands on his hips. “You’re not who I expected to see.”

Well, no shit. “Yeah, I guess you’ll have to learn to live with the disappointment. I know I have.”

“Toni?” A look of relief flashed across his face then a smile ticked up the right side of his mouth as he made a slow perusal of her from head to feet and back again.

She waited, knowing it would take awhile. Ever since she’d landed in Boise, she’d experienced the same thing. No one quite knew what to make of her. Holding her clipboard to her chest, she wondered if it would have been better to have spent her time in Boise shopping for less interesting clothes. She mentally shook her head and knew it would never have worked. You could put her in a sack, and she’d do something to stand out. She’d long since given up trying to rein herself in. As Catherine Aird said, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” So far, it had worked for her.

Blowing her bangs out of her eyes, Toni looked down at her outfit. The short, red plaid kilt wasn’t too offensive. She pulled her clipboard away to see she had on her Stay Away T-shirt. Maybe he had something against the collage of pistols, brass knuckles, knives, and bullets. But really, he didn’t look like a pacifist, not that she wasn’t—it was a T-shirt for goodness sake, not a personal manifesto. The kitty-face Mary Janes and red skull-and-crossbones knee-socks were a bit busy. Okay, Hunter’s thirty seconds were up. She fingered the D-ring on the studded collar around her neck and cleared her throat. “Do you mind?”

Hunter took a sip of whatever was in the travel cup he held. “Not at all—just wondering if you were going for that naughty-schoolgirl-fantasy look.”

“No, I was going for my not-quite-sure-what-to-wear-for-a-meeting-with-Davy-Crocket look. How’s it working for you?”

Monday, August 22, 2011

If you can't stand the heat...

Get out of Hell's Kitchen!

When I heard that August's theme was about the heat, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist. While I was schmoozing with readers, my fellow authors, and esteemed members of the publishing industry at the AAD conference in Philadelphia, I received the author review copy of my December release, Demons Like It Hot. I'm totally geeked! Not only is the cover gorgeous, the back blurb is the total awesomesauce.

The second book in the Demons Unleashed series stars Serah SanGermano, a successful caterer who tries to hide her magical nature and Matthias Ambrose, a mercenary sent to Earth to protect her. Matthias has some pretty dark secrets that could threaten their trust.

Here's the lovely cover:And here's the blurb that was sent to me the day I left for AAD. I was pretty darned stoked. Oh, another heat reference!

A Recipe For Disaster...

Matthias Ambrose is a demon mercenary who never took sides, until his attraction to the spunky caterer he was hired to kidnap leads him to almost botch a job for the first time
in eight hundred years. Now he must protect her from his former clients, but even an ice-cold demon like Matthias struggles to resist her fiery charms.

Completely engrossed with planning menus and prepping recipes for her shot at cooking show fame, star caterer Serah SanGermano refuses to believe she’s on a fast track to Hades. But how’s she supposed to stick to the kitchen if she can’t stand the heat of her gorgeous demonic bodyguard?

Or The Perfect Ingredients For Passion...

As a diabolical plot to destroy humanity unfolds and all hell breaks loose in Serah’s kitchen, she and Matthias find themselves knee-deep in demons and up to their eyeballs in love…

December can't come soon enough!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Following my Characters into the Bedroom

from Mia Marlowe...

At one of my first booksignings, a lady I knew asked me, "Why do you write those kind of books?" The subtext of the question was "Why do you write explicit sex scenes?" My answer is that I write about life and I don't want to put any aspect of my character's experiences off limits if it advances the story or deepens my reader's insight into the secret life of my characters.

It's been noted that having sex is the most intimate thing you can do with someone while not really knowing what's going on in the other person's mind. Sometimes, you're not even sure what's tumbling around in your own. My heroine Rosalinde experienced that in A Knack for Trouble, my novella in the new anthology IMPROPER GENTLEMEN. In the following excerpt, Rosalinde is having a bit of an argument with herself while she allows Aidan to take more and more liberties:

If we only kiss, we’ve been a bit improper, but no worse than if we were alone in an alcove sneaking a kiss at a ball somewhere, Rosalinde reasoned. Their kiss deepened, an undiscovered country, soft and wet as an autumn evening with the promise of a crackling fire later. His tongue invaded and she gave it a suckling
Aidan laid her back down and stretched out beside her on the bed, kicking off his boots and dropping them by her bedside.

Lying beside a man is improper, she admitted to herself, but it’s not as if he’s on top of . . .

He settled over her, his hard groin pressed on her belly. His iron-hard length rocked on her in a slow knock.

Well, at least we’re both still dressed.

He raised up and pulled his shirt off over his head. She couldn’t keep from smoothing her palms over his chest. His nipples hardened under her touch.

I suppose it’s less improper for him to be shirtless than if I were the one who’s undressed, she decided. Rosalinde continued to stroke his broad shoulders and down his arms. Muscles rippled under his smooth flesh and he cast off as much heat as a fire.

“I want to learn every inch of your skin by heart,” she said, planting a kiss at the juncture of his shoulder and neck.

“A pleasant prospect.” He chuckled and raised himself on his arms to peer down at her. “Why?”

“So I know where I am with you. So I can close my eyes,” she suited her actions to her words, “and say to myself, ‘Yes, that’s the little scar on his shoulder.’” She fingered the slightly raised weal of skin and then planted a kiss on the spot. Then her fingers drifted lower past his navel, slipping beneath his waistband which seemed unusually loose. “Or I can think ‘Oh, there. That’s his lovely flat belly and . . .’”

Her eyes flared open.

“That’s not me belly, love.”

Hope you enjoyed a taste of IMPROPER GENTLEMEN. It's available in stores now. This is one of the last stops on my Improper Blog Tour so I'd love to offer a free read to a random commenter. I recently scored a few ARCs of SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER (coming January 2012!), my first collaborative novel with NY Times Bestseller Connie Mason. Some lucky commenter will receive a copy four months early!

Here's a question to kick off our conversation:

Do you prefer love scene written from the heroine or the hero's POV? Does it matter to you who's head you're in?

Mia's e-novella A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS is coming soon. It will be available free for a limited time. Be first to be notified when it's released. Sign up for Mia's Newsletter.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So Hot It Tingles, by Tracey Devlyn

Until this week, I had no idea what I’d discuss for this month’s theme. I thought about sharing how much I adore the heat. I love feeling warm. Just ask my co-workers. They call me a lizard (Not a pretty image, is it?) and have threatened to buy me a heating rock to perch my constantly cold body on. But that little bit of trivia seemed too boring and wouldn’t hold up for a 500-word blog.

So I racked my brain for another heat-appropriate subject.

The racking didn’t help, and a mild panic set in as I watched my blog date edge closer and closer.

I finally got my break a few days ago while listening to my friend’s audiobook (Adrienne Giordano’s MAN LAW) on my way to work. At one point in the story, Adrienne had captured her hero’s intimate appraisal of the heroine so thoroughly that I felt like Vic Andrews was giving ME the once over with those admiring green eyes.

Before I knew it, a heated, tingling flush spread across my body. So caught off-guard by my reaction, I actually glanced at the driver idling next to me to see if he was staring at my pink cheeks. In case you were wondering, he wasn’t.

I LOVE being the recipient of the unexpected hot tingle – that sudden, physical reaction to whatever action is going on in front of me. Doesn’t matter if I’m reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to music. I want to feel something, and my body flushing with awareness is never a bad thing.

Because let’s face it, I’ve read a lot of romances. An author has to dig much deeper these days to stimulate a physical reaction out of this seasoned reader.

So Hot It Bumps

Hmm. The Bumps title doesn’t carry quite the same pow as the Tingles title, does it?

Of course, I’m referring to goosebumps. Not the scary kind, but the makes-you-warm-all-over kind.

Over the years, I’ve come across melodies or movie scenes so evocative and beautiful that they will raise the hair on my arms. It’s a little unnerving when it happens, because I can never explain WHY the melody or scene affected me in such a physical way.

Here’s a song that gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. The song starts out slow, and then builds up to a haunting melody at the two-minute mark. Until this blog, I had no idea of the meaning behind the lyrics (circle of life), only knew they touched me in a visceral way.

Lightning Crashes by Live

One day, I hope my writing has the power to affect readers in the same way as Vic Andrews’ assessing gaze made me feel one August morning while driving to work.


How about you? Have you ever been physically affected by a well-written scene?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The hotness of a wounded LETHAL WEAPON hero

There is something about a wounded hero that is just so darn HOT, don't you think? Think about the Wolverine movie -- after he lost the woman he loved, he was wounded -- and he lived for revenge. Wouldn't you love to be the woman who healed wolverine aka Hugh Jackman's heart?

Sigh....just thinking about that character played by THAT man -- is drool worthy!

In November, THE STORM THAT IS STERLING releases. Sterling is one of my favorite heroes I've written because he has a lot of that Mel Gibson LETHAL WEAPON character in him back when Mel Gibson still made wounded look good instead of bad lol! Sterling lives on the edge, inviting death, because he has some deep wounds. And he, like Wolverine, needs a good woman to heal those wounds!

From the front of the book

He was created, molded, formed from life, love, and misery…
Lethally daring and ruthlessly passionate. He invites death to his door, welcomes it with each breath he draws, each step he takes. And thus, he is danger—a volatile storm that will sweep across the calm realms of humanity and shake it to the depths of its core.
And that storm is… Sterling.

The Romantic Times review

In the second novel of the Zodius Series, Jones pens a compelling and fast-moving story that will captivate readers from start to finish. Two reunited lovers will have to fight for a second chance as the situation between the Renegades and the Zodius worsens. Love, intrigue and passion season a complicated story and will entertain even the most jaded of readers.
Summary: Sterling Jeter is the loose cannon of the Renegades; fiercely loyal he has an ‘act first- think later’ mentality but when he is reunited with Rebecca Burns he is pulled up short. Dying of cancer, scientist Rebecca has just returned from hiding in Germany to find Sterling waiting on her doorstep asking for her help. But when the Zodius attacks them in order to kidnap Rebecca, matters go from bad to worse. Now Sterling will do anything to save Rebecca and fight for their second chance. Rebecca is terrified and as she discovers new abilities based on her addiction to a new drug she will need Sterling more then ever. But as the danger closes in on them they will need to make the choice to trust each other no matter what may happen in their future.
(Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99 November 2011)
Sabrina Cooper

Sterling uses humor and flippant remarks to mask those wounds so I thought I'd share a few STERLINGISMS today.

"We Renegades write our own rules. The good, bendable kind that let me kick your ass all over the curb and then do it again just for fun.”

After being punched -- "Feels Good"

“You don’t know the meaning of ‘wait,’
do you?” Caleb asked.

Sterling grinned. “You wouldn’t love me if I did.”

“I’ll be taking that vial of ICE you got there in your pocket. Then you can mosey on along and take the rest of your lifetime on vacation. You know, do whatever retired drug dealers do. Play the casino tables. Watch SpongeBob for all I care. Just get the hell off my streets.”

“You’re the suit-wearing, talk-down-to-you, and then bust-your-wallet-in-the-balls, kind of asshole. I’m the dirty-boxing, back-alley kind of asshole.”

Sterling’s lips twisted with a wry taunt. “The next two bullets won’t hit the ground. Think of all those little bones in your feet blasted away by the steel force of a bullet.” He shook his head. “Ouch. That hurts just thinking about it. Even on an ICE high, that’s gonna bite like a bitch. After that, we’ll move upwards.” He pointed the gun at Mohawk’s knee. Then his thigh. Then shoved the gun toward his crotch. “About midway up is where all the fun starts. If I blow it off, will ICE grow it back? Wanna find out?”

And I just got Damion's cover! I love it! What do you think?

Why bad boys are so hot

By: Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor

So what exactly do Eric Northman (True Blood), Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights) and Don Draper (Mad Men) have in common? Besides being hot?

They're all bad boys.

We all know there's just something about that bad boy. The best heroes in romance novels all have a bit of bad-boy in them. Why the enduring appeal?

1. The element of danger. With a bad boy, you never quite know what you're going to get. He's unpredictable. There's a risk in placing your trust with him because you're not totally sure he's worthy of it. I mean, deep down you know he is...right? He doesn't conform to society and makes no apologies about it. He's exciting and adventurous and he ups the thrill for whoever he's with.

2. For the right woman, he is redeemable. Everyone else sees him as a rogue, a danger, someone to beware. But for just the right heroine who can see the good at heart, he is loyal and fiercely protective. Who doesn't want that bit of ego-trip to know they've achieved the unattainable?

3. He's the ultimate man. Sometimes it's because he's a fighter. Sometimes it's because there's some amazing charisma that charms women straight to his bed. Or maybe he's a total mogul. But this guy is full of testosterone, able to be tough when he needs to be, yet tender when it counts.

The trick to a bad boy is making sure he has just the right touch of good. Because that's a hero we can fall in love with.

And since we're on a theme of hot, it doesn't get hotter than bad-boy Joe Rafferty in the kitchen from Amanda Usen's upcoming SCRUMPTIOUS (January). I have an ARC to give away for one lucky commenter. Just tell me who's your favorite bad boy and why.

Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he’s going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he’s denser than a thick slice of chocolate-ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there’s no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Contest closes Aug. 31.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is it hot in here? by C.H. Admirand

I’m on deadline with book three of my series: The Secret Life of Cowboys and Deb just emailed the cover to me a few days ago…isn’t he hot???  Don’t you just love the pickup truck?

But then again...Dylan's cover is pretty hot, too!

But to be fair...I really loved Tyler's too. So many hot little time!

Since the second book, Dylan, comes out in January, I wanted to share an excerpt. (it's G-rated):

       Dylan Garahan narrowed his gaze trying to focus in the glare of the spotlight, searching the crowd for her face. It was time for the big move in his act—the show-stopper.
       Where was she?
       Jolene would kill him if he messed this up, but he’d made it through the last two nights and would make it through tonight. The redheaded owner of the club should have no complaints about the middle Garahan brother not keeping his word or holding up his end of the bargain. Damn the woman and her tests!
       Controlling the urge to turn on his heel and walk off the stage, he dug deep and found the grit to stick it out. Hell, if Tyler could handle this job, so could he. Garahans went down fighting!
      Oblivious to the adoring gazes of the women around him, he moved toward center stage, bent, and picked up the coiled rope. He looked up as a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead walked into the bar… right on schedule… but there was something different about the brunette. Maybe it was the blindfold. He struggled not to laugh, but he couldn’t keep from smiling, wondering why the cloak-and-dagger bit.
         Looping the lasso in his hands, he started the slow circular motion. Getting the rhythm going until it was smooth and sweet, he raised it above his head and locked gazes with the blonde. When she nodded, he let the lasso fly, as the blonde whipped the blindfold off the brunette.
        The woman’s stunned expression as the rope slipped around her upper body didn’t stop him from tugging on the rope and reeling her in. The patrons of the Lucky Star hooted and hollered, encouraging him to pull faster, but he didn’t want the little lady to trip and fall on her pretty face.
       Glad that the focus of the crowd wasn’t totally on him, he gently pulled her toward him. The brunette’s gypsy-dark skin, full red lips, and almond-shaped eyes captivated him. The promise of pain-filled death in her dark green eyes, as she struggled against the bonds that held her, had his lips twitching, fighting not to smile.
      She dug in her heels, but he used his strength to subdue her. Undeterred, he yanked on the rope. When her eyes widened in shock, he used her surprise to his advantage and reeled her in the last few feet. When they were a few inches apart, he tipped his hat, smiled, and rumbled, Happy birthday, darlin’.”
      Her eyes narrowed, and her nostrils flared; Dylan recognized the signs of a fractious filly about to raise a ruckus. Not a problem, he was ready. Wrapping his free hand around her, he hauled her in close, pinning her to him before she could let loose and kick him.
      The crowd roared its approval.
      “Let me go,” she demanded, her sweet breath tickling the hollow of his throat.
      Enjoying himself for the first time since he’d hit the stage, he chuckled and bent his head closer to her full red lips. “Why?” His gaze locked with hers. “So you can have more room to do more damage?”
       “I don’t like being manhandled.”
      Her vehement protest didn’t deter him; he had a job to do and an act to finish. “Well now, darlin’,” he drawled, “that’s not what your friends said.”
      Her eyes sparkled with temper, and her willowy body trembled with anger. Dylan’s body stood up and said hell yeah! It’d been a long time since he’d had a woman tempt him. The sultry brunette in his arms looked like she wanted to tear a few strips off of his hide… right before she killed him.
         Damn, but that turned him on. 

But let's be honest, hot men not only get the heroines we write about into trouble…they can get the author into trouble, too!  Those that know me know that I’m a sucker for a man with broad shoulders. Usually I prefer that he have a shirt on or else I get um...distracted—which reminds me of the time I nearly hit a tree driving home from the grocery store.  

I was minding my own business (driving the speed limit) and noticed a landscaper’s truck parked on the street jutting out into my lane. As I slowed down to drive around the truck, I heard the roar of the stand-on lawnmower and glanced in the direction of the sound…my breath snagged in my lungs, my heart skipped a beat and then started to pound—a tall, broad-shouldered god of a man was pulling a white t-shirt over his head, revealing washboard abs, pecs-to-die-for—and that’s when I saw the tree!

I didn’t realize that I’d started to steer toward him (and the 150 year old Oak tree at the edge of the road) until he turned toward me with an incredulous look on his face. I cut the wheel and avoided the tree, but can’t help but wonder if he was shaking his head in disbelief at my near miss, or if he was flattered that I’d nearly wrecked my car due to the fact that I’d been hypnotized by his good looks and dangerously distracted when he recklessly stripped off his tight-white t-shirt in public. I guess I’ll never know.

Soooo...I’ve fessed up to one of my more embarrassing moments. How about you? Have you ever had a situation where a totally hot guy distracted you and you ended up in trouble?