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Friday, July 31, 2009
One stipulation I did have of them was that I wanted a 'chatty' post, not something that was strictly "here's the blurb, here's an excerpt, now go buy my book." And each and every one of them came through. We've had such a range of topics - from interviews where my intrepid guests braved some of my more bizarre questions (Ever had anyone ask you if you do "that"? or Karen Dales "Shower or tub?" to Beth Williamson, Jane Lovering and Loribelle Hunt discussing raising teenagers. From Robie Madison's discussion of fairy tales being redone in romance to Inez Kelley's hugely popular discussion of nipple color. (OMG I still can't believe you guys answered her question on that!) Huge thanks go out to each one of my guest authors for taking the time and energy to be so creative and make each day's posts so much fun.
I also have to thank everyone who has taken time to comment on my guests' blogs each day. I've received quite a few thank-yous from the participating authors because of the fun they had answering your comments. I think every author I know is terrified they'll post on a blog and no one will comment, especially when someone just before or after draws in a big crowd. I don't think anyone's gone away feeling left out. More thanks go out to those who posted my widget on their blogs or retweeted my posts to their followers on Twitter. Without everyone's participation, the bash wouldn't have been the fun it has been. (And I do hope you've had fun this month.)
What an international group we are - which is why I love the internet. The Inner Circle prize winner is Lori from California, and the Spreadin' the Lovin winners - Joy from Germany and Host from Croatia. My weekly and daily winners have come not only from the US but from Canada, Finland, Germany and Australia.
I've already announced all but one winner, so now, for the grand prize draw. The final tally for entries - which includes an entry for each time you commented on the blog (1 per day), any widgets you posted on MySpace/Facebook or your blog, blog postings, tweets and retweets of my guest bloggers, along with all the members of my mailing list - is 2029.
Because some of the entries were members of my mailing list where all I had was an email address, I didn't feel comfortable plugging that information into random.org (they even recommend against it, in case someone gets into the information between their page and the server.) So to decide who won the Grand Prize, I assigned each entry a number and then used random.org's "true number generator" after entering a spread between 1 and 2029. It returned #1427 - which matched up on my spreadsheet to:
*insert drum roll here*
Congratulations to Natasha, and to all the winners of the bash. And thank you to all of those who have played along and made this month so memorable.
So congratulations to Lori - I've sent you an email with the instructions of what to do now to claim your prize.
The winner of the "Tweetin' the Love" contest is:
The winner of the "Bloggin' the Love" contest is:
for placing my widget on her Angel on the Move blog.
Congratulations, ladies - you both won your choice of books from my guest authors (print or e-copy). Go through the list of guest authors, peruse their websites and booklists and make your choice. Then email me with your choice and your mailing address. Congratulations again!
There were 239 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Crystal Kauffman
- Hockey Vampiress
- Hockey Vampiress
The winner of the weekly draw receives their choice of guest blogger's books - print or ecopy.
There were 35 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Crystal GB
- Book Junkie
- Cambria Dillon
- Nancy G
- Inez Kelley
- Kimber Chin
- Allison(s) Reads
- Cathy M
- Chelsea B
- Karen H
- Eva S
- Hailey Edwards
- Amy M
Timestamp: 2009-07-31 12:21:12 UTC
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Kate has not only sold her work to Ellora's Cave, but she's also been with Kensington Aphrodisia, Cleis Press and Virgin's Black Lace/Cheek lines. (Oh, and like Tuesday's guest, Lorelei James, Kate can write some pretty hot nekkid cowboys too!)
So since Kate started me on this path, I'm thrilled that she gets the last word.
When Leah asked me to write something for her birthday blog bash I was, quite frankly, terrified. What the hell could I say that hadn’t already been said before by all these wonderful contributors? So I thought about it some more, and decided I’d tell you how I ended up being an erotic romance writer quite by accident.
In the beginning, I made up stuff, lots of stuff, so much stuff that my school reports were full of the sort of comments that make parents worry about their child’s future. And I didn’t care. I knew I could pass the exams, I just didn’t bother to show during the school year that I actually had the ability. But I passed them anyway and somehow, to everyone’s surprise, (except mine) I ended up at university doing an honor’s degree course in history.
Along the way to adulthood I’d considered several careers: ballet dancer, singer in a band, actor, Donny Osmond’s girlfriend, nurse…and of course made up wonderful imaginary lives for myself doing those things. The irritating thing was that everyone around me told me to stop day dreaming and get with the program. They brought up disagreeable subjects like, ‘work’ ‘money’ leaving home’, and ‘taxes’ and I hated it.
College was fun and I came out with an excellent degree-in a field no one wanted, so I ended up working for the government in the local IRS office. First off, I can’t add up and secondly, I can’t add up-my math is truly appalling and yet, there I was, giving out tax advice to the unsuspecting public and feeling like I’d taken the wrong path and was rapidly disappearing down a long dark tunnel. And of course, the amusing thing is that after I worked for the IRS I could get lots of other jobs-as long as they were in finance.
I tried to write but I wanted to be Jane Austen and I wasn’t good enough and all those years of everyone telling me not to daydream and to get on with reality started to beat me down. Until I moved to the USA and discovered the huge romance section in my local bookstore (about 2 hours after we arrived) And I had the perfect excuse not to go back to work-I had no work visa! I was finally free to try something new! But what? Part of me yearned to return to academia and fulfill that particular dream of becoming a professor, but the rebel in me said “Hey! Write a book! You’re always making stuff up, it’ll be easy!”
It wasn’t easy but, God, writing that first book was the most thrilling and exciting thing I’d ever done. I loved every word I created, I loved my characters and somehow the straightforward historical novel I thought I was writing morphed into a romance novel of truly epic proportions (140,000 words of epic) And you know what else happened? Suddenly all the vague floating parts of my peculiar reality made sense. Writing was the missing link. No longer could anyone tell me off for day dreaming, I was a writer.
I still love that book-“Mosaic” a thrilling piece of unpublished fiction about Dark Ages Britain and the fall of the Roman Empire. (note to others-apparently that isn’t a very popular time period with editors, who’d thunk it?) And of course, once I’d written one book, I had to write another one, didn’t I? This time, with a bit more knowledge about the market thanks to RWA, it was a Regency. Doesn’t everyone have a Regency and a medieval tucked away somewhere in their writing closet? I know do.
And the other thing that happened, was that my books kept getting sexier and everyone kept telling me they loved that. So eventually after 2 agents and 5 full rejected manuscripts and a sense that I needed to do something, I sat down and wrote a short erotic historical called Eden’s Pleasure. I was so shocked at my own naughtiness that I promptly hid the manuscript under my bed. I only took it out when coaxed by a mentor back in 2004. it was published by Ellora’s Cave in 2005 and there I was, an erotic romance author, quite unexpectedly.
At first I was slightly embarrassed by myself, but that has worn off. I’m proud of that label now and proud to have just published my tenth erotic romance between three different publishers. I’ll be writing historical paranormal romance for NAL next year as well (Tudor Vampires anyone?) but I’ll always write my erotic novels as well
So tell me-how did you get started writing or reading romance? I’d love to think that I’m not the only day dreamer out there
One commenter will win a copy of my latest book, Simply Shameless from Kensington Aphrodisia.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Ah, who am I kidding? I was thrilled that I was second only to Shelli. Plus Shelli is another of those uber-supportive authors who you can't be upset with. She's the one who gave me the idea for giving credit for those of you who retweet my twitter messages each day about my guest bloggers. (I'll bet she doesn't even realize it.) And she's always been there with an encouraging word for new authors, and jumped right in with both feet when I posted about needing guests for my Birthday Bash.
So welcome Shelli Stevens. (You do realize I was kidding about that first paragraph, right?)
Hi, Leah and happy birthday! Thanks for having me on your blog today!
So I’m going for a fun, somewhat random, topic! You know when we read books, the heroes and heroines are all across the board in physical appearance. I’m not just talking eyes, body types and hair.... or wait maybe I am talking hair.
Sure, romance novels like to take you a step away from reality, but I still like a little bit in mine.
For instance...chest hair. I actually LIKE chest hair on my guys. Both in real life and in my heroes in books. It’s that sexy little difference in female and male to me. It gives the hero that manly edge.
(Unfortunately, the original image Shelli provided was taken down by PhotoBucket so I substituted my own cover. )
But you don’t really see that so much anymore in books. I mean, especially on cover models on covers. They’ve got these smooth as a baby’s butt, oiled up, ripped chests. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But, I like it when I see a smattering of hair, or when an author shows us in the book that the hero has a bit. I mean, sure, we don’t have to go so far as to show the heroine running her hands through the hero’s back hair, but a little more reality can be fun.
(Leah here: ZOMG maybe I should take back those nice things I said about Shelli - that photo is ... akkk, it made me spit out my morning coffee. Please tell me that's photoshopped.)
Here’s the cover of my newest (and first NY release!) Take Me from Kensington Aphrodisia.
Notice the smattering of arm hair on the guy? Can’t say that I’m disappointed :D
So how about you? How do you like your heroes? Smooth and oiled? Or hard with a little man hair? Leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of Take Me!
Here's our view from our chalet:
Here's a view of Mt Tremblant's pedestrian village (at the foot of the ski hill). (Mont Tremblant is a gorgeous part of Quebec, but it recently became infamous as being the place of actress Natasha Richardson's death.)
The overhead gondolas simply take you from one end of the village to where you can get the gondolas up the mountain to begin your skiing. Despite my fear of heights, I bravely climbed into one. Twice. I'll tell you what happened the second time on another post. Let's just say the danged things sway when they stop mid-trip.
And here's what I wish all of you in your life - I took it as a good sign that this was the first thing we saw as we pulled into the main chalet to register.
There were 49 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
2. Cathy M
3. Crystal GB
7. Eva S
8. Carol L
10. Amy S
12. RK Charron
13. Rachie G
14. Sue L
17. Hockey Vampiress
25. Nancy G
34. Janet H
39. Natasha A
40. Amy M
46. Shelley Munro
48. Heather B
Timestamp: 2009-07-29 11:12:40 UTC
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Confession time. I'd never read any of Lorelei's work until January of this year. And then I went out and bought everything she had at Samhain. Lorelei writes about cowboys. Sexy cowboys. Cowboys you would let tie you up and ... oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be introducing her not fantasizing about her McKay brothers of her Rough Riders series.
But, really, how can you blame me for fantasizing when you read her warnings:
Warning: this romp features nekkidness the cowboy way—sex with boots on and with boots off, dirty sex against a dirty pickup truck, bare-assed sex on a bear skin rug, graphic language, unfortunate aim with a nail gun, and improvisational use of whips and whipped cream. Branded as Trouble.
Warning: this book contains: explicit sex nine ways ‘til Sunday – including ménage a trois, inventive use of ropes, naughty girls getting spanked, stubborn men getting hog-tied, graphic language and whoo-wee! hot nekkid cowboy action. Rode Hard Put Up Wet
and ...Warning: This title contains the following: lots of explicit sex, going strong long after the cows come home, graphic language that’d make your mama blush, light bondage with bullropes, ménage a trois, and – yee-haw! – hot nekkid cowboy man-love. Long Hard Ride
Apparently writing all these steamy scenes isn't as glamorous as you would think. Or hope. For her post, Lorelei shares her average writing day.
5:30 a.m. - Wake up without the aid of an alarm clock. Wonder why in the hell I cannot sleep past five thirty in the morning. Ever. Grumble as I head downstairs to my office and smile because my husband started my coffee.
5:30 to 7:00 a.m. – Answer emails while drinking coffee. Check my website stats. Check amazon.com book rankings. Check barnesandnoble.com book rankings. Check mybookstoreandmore.com book rankings. Check mobipocket.com book rankings. Check booksonboard.com book rankings (sensing a pattern here?) Recheck email accounts and answer emails I avoided the first go around. Check my favorite blogs and read the news while drinking coffee.
7:05 a.m. – Yell at middle daughter to get up and get ready for work. Drink more coffee. Screw around online.
7:30 a.m. – Realize daughter #2 is not up and yell again. Wonder why the coffee pot is empty and secretly suspect daughter #2 snuck upstairs and drank 1 of the 12 cups of coffee while I was screwing around online with various important “writer” stuff.
8:00 to 8:15 – Shut off computer in office and head upstairs to my crappy laptop (without internet access) to work.
8:15 to whenever daughter #3 decides to roll out of bed – Write, taking breaks every 30 minutes due to excessive coffee consumption.
Noon – Decide ice cream and taco chips are “brain food” that will help me write better/faster/cleaner and have a quick lunch while yelling at daughter #3 to get out of her pajamas. Text daughter #1 and ask if she’ll be home tonight. Text daughter #2 and ask what she’s having for lunch. Text daughter #3 (who is in the basement) and remind her IN ALL CAPS to get out of her pajamas. Call my husband and tell him to stop texting me because I’m working. Then text him back and say I was only kidding.
12:15 to 3:30 – Write. Wish I could nap. Wish I could read just one of the books on my TBR pile. Sigh and get back to work.
3:30 – Flip on main computer in office and check email again. Panic because I missed an email reminding me I agreed to guest blog for Leah. Spend an hour choosing and discarding these thought provoking topics:
a) Why I’m paranoid and feel my editor likes her “other” authors better than me4:30 to 6:00 – House stuff. Kid stuff. Think about drinking beer and catching up on episodes of Burn Notice and True Blood I have DVR’d, but watch Hannah Montana and That 70’s Show reruns with daughter #3 instead, while waiting for daughter #2 to get home from work. Wonder if daughter #1 still lives here, and contemplate the culinary delights my hubby will prepare for the evening meal when he comes home from work.
b) Why I dread the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally starting next week and the hundreds of thousands of bikers who descend on us (I wrote four paragraphs that sucked and canned the idea, but now as I’m rereading this, I’m considering checking the recycling bin on my desktop, because hello? This blog topic ain’t much better folks, sorry)
c) Lament being mostly computer illiterate
d) Rant about the evils of technology being 24/7, focusing on why normally rational adults are obsessed with their Crackberrys (Blackberrys) –and why checking your Facebook messages during sex is ALWAYS a bad idea
e) Talk about the kick ass “Days of 76 Rodeo” I attended in Deadwood Saturday night, focusing on the very excellent rough stock rides and the more excellent than usual Wrangler encased cowboy butts sauntering by me
f) Discuss menu planning ideas under duress (I laughed myself silly typing that...menu planning? And me? In the same sentence? Get out! My idea of menu planning is, “Honey, could we have steaks tonight?” Seriously. My husband is chief cook when I’m under deadline. Okay, that’s a total lie, he almost always cooks these days—due to my idea of appropriate “food” as referenced above)
g) Detail why helping daughter #1 chose household items for her new apartment when she goes back to college next month makes me cry
h) Decide a humorous take on my schedule when I’m under deadline would be the height of hilarity—and so unique!
7:00 to 11:00 – Work on project due in ONE WEEK and feel guilty for everything under the sun I’m neglecting in order to hit my deadline
11:15 – Feel incredibly lucky as I’m drifting off that tomorrow morning I’ll get up and do it all over again :-)
***Neuroses and time frame subject to change at any time. For any reason.
There were 17 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Hockey Vampiress
- Karen H
- Rachie G
- Nancy G
Timestamp: 2009-07-28 12:05:29 UTC
Monday, July 27, 2009
Today's guest is no slouch either. A member of the Toronto Romance Writers, Robie Madison holds an honors specialist degree in Classical Civilization and English and a Master of Education. She's published by Ellora's Cave and Samhain Publishing, her paranormal romance Love Partner won the 2006 Dream Realm Award, was a 2006 Ecataromance Reviewers Choice Award nominee, and placed second for a From the Heart Romance Writers' Lorrie award in 2006 as well. Desperate Alliance is a 2008 Dream Realm finalist, as well as a finalist for a 2009 Eppie. Good Enough for You has been nominated for a 2009 FTHRW Lorrie, and in 2008 a Sensual Reviewer's Choice award.
Phew! Anyway, the point is Robie is an incredibly talented and highly educated romance writer...which makes me think that maybe I should introduce her to that other writers' group so she can dispel that "grade eight" fairy tale once and for all ...
The literary fairy tales we are familiar with today began as oral stories. In both forms, the fairy tale provides cultural insight—expressing the concerns and lessons of its time. Fairy tales fascinate both adults and children and musicians, artists, and authors are all fond of adapting and remodeling these stories to express human condition. It is therefore not surprising that these tales have long been a popular “source” for romance plots.
One of the reasons is the power of transformation for the protagonist(s) these story types offer. “…it is the celebration of wondrous change and how the protagonist reacts to wondrous occurrences that account for its major appeal. [Zipes, p. xix] In romance, love is the power that can transform both the heroine and hero, bringing them together and offering a different vision of the future. It also helps that these tales of wonder usually conclude with a romance genre standard—a happily ever after (HEA).
My latest release, The Man of Her Dreams draws on The Little Mermaid fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson for inspiration.
In the original story (with no reference to Disney, please!), the mermaid’s goal is to gain an immortal soul—something, according to folk belief, that supernatural beings do not have. So she sacrifices her voice to become human for the chance to make a prince fall in love with her and thus obtain an immortal soul.
In The Man of Her Dreams, I flip this idea to put my unique spin on the story. My hero Owain is a supernatural being—but in this case a cursed one, forced to exist for some of the time as a water horse. His deepest desire is to break the curse and live as a mortal with the (mortal) woman he loves and so he makes a dangerous bargain with the Fairy Queen.
Anderson’s HEA for the little mermaid did not include a prince. When this first quest fails, the mermaid unknowingly passes another test—she refuses to kill the prince for a chance to return to the sea— and is rewarded with the promise of an immortal soul. Owain, too, faces a challenge to achieve his happily-ever-after.
Putting a distinctive twist on a favorite but familiar plot offers readers a chance to revisit and rethink their expectations. Consider:
Cinderfella by Susan Wiggs from Merry Christmas, Baby! (Harlequin, 1996) = you guessed it from the title, “Cinderella” is a man and the glass slipper is a cowboy boot!
Red by Jordan Summers (Tor, 2008) = the book’s tagline reads, “What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?”
What are some of your favorite Fairy Tale re-takes?
[Reference: The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Edited by Jack Zipes.]
Cindy, I'll be contacting you shortly to get your snail mail addy and your choice. In the meantime, scroll back through the various authors who have guest blogged for me (for quick reference, there's a list on the sidebar) and take a look at their books (both new and those on their backlist). Because you have the choice of any of their books either print or e-copy.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
You thought I'd already had my birthday? Nope. Today's the day. THE day.
I wish I could put up a baby picture of me from "back then" but this is the best I can do - this is me in 1964. Yup, I lived in the days before color existed. At least that's what my kids used to say when they see that picture.
A lot has changed since 1959. "Back in the old days..." yes, that's how my boys refer to when I was born, photographs were taken with film, they weren't digital, and they were black and white, not color. (No, this picture wasn't taken in 1959, it was taken in 1964 - with an old Brownie camera.)
(These are averages across the United States - your mileage may vary.) The average house cost $30,000. The average income was just over $5,000. You could mail a letter for 4 cents. A loaf of bread cost 20 cents. (Hmm, I remember going shopping with my mom in the early 70s and she'd buy ten loaves of bread for a buck.) And a gallon of gas cost around 30 cents (or around 7 cents an imperial litre.)
That was also the year pantyhose were introduced. (I say we lynch the man who invented them. Come on, it had to be a man who invented such a torture machine, right?)
Man hadn't stepped on the moon, or even been in space yet, but two rhesus monkeys were launched into space that year.
Gigi was given the Oscar for Best Picture at the 1959 ceremony. Since the Oscars are giving for movies for the previous year, I figured I should also mention that the winner of the 1960 Oscar --for a picture released/shown in 1959--was Ben Hur. I have to admit, while I have seen Ben Hur, I've never seen Gigi, though I definitely have heard "Thank Heavens for Little Girls." It wasn't until I was writing this up that I discovered the storyline - very risque for the 50s:
Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. Gaston, the scion of a wealthy Parisian family finds emotional refuge from the superficial lifestyle of upper class Parisian 1900s society with the former mistress of his uncle and her outgoing, tomboy granddaughter, Gigi. When Gaston becomes aware that Gigi has matured into a woman, her grandmother and aunt, who have educated Gigi to be a wealthy man's mistress, urge the pair to act out their roles but love adds a surprise twist to this delightful turn-of-the 20th century Cinderella story.Wow - the heroine is a hooker in training. Sounds like a modern day romance novel, doesn't it? And so the plot bunnies are starting already ...
While you're reading this I'm either getting ready to drive to Canada's capital Ottawa, I'm on my way there or I'm already there. (You did know Ottawa was the capital, right?) This evening Gizmo Guy's taking me to my favorite Italian restaurant in Ottawa's Byward Market - Mama Grazzi's. Then tomorrow we're driving into Quebec (the province of my birth) to stay for a few days at Mont Tremblant. But don't worry, I'll still be checking in with you - I made sure the hotel had a high-speed internet available.
So here's your challenge: in your comment today, tell me about your favorite birthday and why it was special. If you don't have a favorite memory, then tell me something that happened on the day you were born - i.e. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or Leonardo DiCaprio was born on the same day (and year) you were. The prize will be the winner's choice of any of my guest blogger's books - print or e-copy.
If you want to know how Mark and Jodi began their affair, I wrote a short story called First Night that you can download for free.
The second book in the Hauberk Protection series, Personal Protection, follows Mark's friend Sam, the owner of bodyguard company Hauberk Protection. Sam's been getting threats, from threatening photos to his condo being burgled. Much to his disgust, his second-in-command insists he must accept his own bodyguards. The blow to the ego is off-set when sassy Rosalinda Ramos is named as head of his detail. But can the two of them keep their eyes, and hands, off each other enough to see what's really going on?
And just for fun ... here's a little Canadianism slipping in. I wrote Cherry Cottage to celebrate spring. It's another short story that you can download for free. Enjoy!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I only met Lisa recently via Twitter and she's proven herself to be an author who is there to help others, who has pushed and prodded me the way I needed while at the same time has been completely supportive. Including her volunteering to pitch in and be my guest today.
Help me welcome Lisa Pietsch
Have you ever noticed the really interesting men are the guys who used to be geeks in high school? Okay, maybe it is just me but I think there are a lot of other geek lovers out there. Let’s consider the attributes of the guys that often fall into the “geek” category:
Sense of Humor
I’ve always loved guys with a sense of humor that is somewhat off. Not just a naughty sense of humor, which I most definitely have, but a dry wit that finds humor everywhere. Guys like that like to laugh. They don’t take themselves so seriously that they hold back whenever somebody says something silly. They jump on it with a hearty laugh and a twinkle in their eyes. That joy de vivre is very attractive when you’re considering spending the rest of your life with one person.
I like smart guys. I’m intelligent and well read and I like knowing my partner can keep up with the conversation. I like a man I can go toe-to-toe with in a debate and occasionally lose to. I like a guy who can challenge me to learn something new. The fastest way into a woman’s pants is through her mind. Turn her on there and you’re in!
This is my Catch-22. I love a guy with imagination. The up side is they can be very creative lovers. The down side is these guys almost always end up being gamers. Yes, those guys that played Dungeons & Dragons in high school can be quite the catch. The problem is, they will continue to play well into their old age and, when you get domestic that can mean he’s too busy creating a character for the new Star Wars role playing game to mow the lawn.
The guys we called geeks in high school grow up to be really nice guys. They may have a small circle of friends but they are fiercely loyal to them. If you’re lucky enough to be accepted into that circle, you’ll find yourself surrounded by loyal friends who will do pretty much anything for you.
My first novel, The Path to Freedom, includes a team of really amazing guys. I don’t use a lot of words to describe their looks but depend mainly on their characters shining through in conversation. They’ve all been described as sexy but the funny thing is - they’re all geeks.
- Jason is terrible with women but he can be silly and make us laugh.
- Brian is very intelligent but cursed with good looks that attract women who just aren’t bright.
- Chris is a self-proclaimed geek but his intelligence and creativity are what helped him to morph into a very attractive guy.
- Will is unfailingly loyal to his country and his team.
- Vince is the kind of guy who used to play D&D as a kid just so he could go to interesting places in his imagination. Now he’s an intelligent, loyal, leader of men (and a woman).
Most heroes in romances are tall, buff and stunning to look at (at least on the cover) but if you look a little more deeply, you just might see the inner geek. In fact, if you look very closely, you may just find that the hero you fell in love with in the last book you read was actually quite a geek – but that is what made him most attractive.
Email me at LMPietsch@gmail.com and tell me about your favorite geek. I’ll send you a copy of my book, The Path to Freedom, which includes several of mine.
Lisa Pietsch is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces where she met her husband of ten years. They live in Colorado and have two small boys and two big dogs. Once a month, Lisa cooks for and caters to her husband’s Star Wars role playing group. After ten years of marriage, her husband still makes her laugh. You can find her online at www.LisaPietsch.com, http://twitter.com/LisaPietsch, http://www.facebook.com/lisa.pietsch, and http://www.myspace.com/lisampietsch.
The Path to Freedom
Sarah Stevens is a washed-up military cop whose life is a shambles until she is offered a position on an inter-agency anti-terrorism task force by the CIA. The thirty-year-old, overweight, down-on-her-luck Stevens goes to a secret training camp where she is transformed into a sexy and deadly agent whose mission is to find and stop, by any means possible, the financiers of terrorism against the United States and its allies. Although she goes into it thinking that it is just a job, Sarah soon discovers that this is a new life loaded with adventure, including the handsome Vince Hennessee, her team leader, and unimaginable danger in the form of Hassan, the man she has to destroy.
Available at www.SapphireBluePublishing.com.
There isn't a contest as such today, but you'll all be winners if you read Lisa's post carefully and follow her instructions. How great is she?
Congratulations! You've won today's daily draw. I'll be emailing you in a few minutes with all the details.
There were 29 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Susan Helene Gottfried
- JK Coi
- Savannah Chase
- Marley Delarose
- Julia Smith
- Amy Ruttan
- Hockey Vampiress
- Helen Hardt
Timestamp: 2009-07-25 11:50:11 UTC
Friday, July 24, 2009
In the book world I’m enjoying Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series about the life of a midwife and a pub owner and all their friends—the trials and tribulations and the special moments of love and laughter. Lauren Dane’s Chase Brothers series, set in a town called Petal is also a lot of fun and most recently I’ve read Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl. This book chronicles the adventures of Molly Jennings and her relocation to Tumble Creek in Colorado. Kristan Higgins is also another favorite with her first person romances set in small towns.
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to living in a small community, both of which can be used to great effect in romantic fiction or movies.
- People know each other and family histories.
- When times get tough, friends and neighbors step in and help.
- There’s generally less trouble in small towns and less need for tight personal security.
- Usually less graffiti and litter.
- Cheaper cost of living.
- Great place to bring up children.
- There are some great local traditions and celebrations.
- Plenty of parking spaces.
- People know each other and family histories.
- Some services are lacking, although the advent of the Internet counteracts this.
- Small town gossip – it’s hard to misbehave without everyone knowing.
- It’s hard to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right because the choices are limited.
- People never forget your mistakes or your parents’ mistakes.
- If you do something wrong or want to keep a secret, it will get back to the people you don’t want to hear. i.e. that sex toy you ordered via the Internet and the packaging broke – the postmistress will tell everyone!
- Sometimes it feels like living in a fishbowl because people are nosy!
Since I enjoy small town stories so much you shouldn’t be surprised to hear I’ve written a few of my own. There’s my Middlemarch Mates series about a community of black leopard shapeshifters who live in the country town of Middlemarch. I also have my Talking Dog series about aliens who crash land in the fictional small town of Sloan plus a few standalone small town stories such as Fancy Free and Fringe Benefits. Going with the small theme, they’re all set in New Zealand, which is a small country!
I’d like to wish Leah a very happy birthday. Thank you very much for inviting me to join in with the festivities.
CONTEST: Since every good party has presents, I’m giving away a download from my Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen Press or Samhain backlist to one reader. To go into a draw tell me what you think about living in a small community. Do you like it? Do you have any advantages or disadvantages to add to my list? Is there a book or a movie set in a small town that you’d like to recommend?
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand with her husband and a small geriatric dog. Her most recent release is Tea For Two, which is now available in print from Samhain Publishing and all good bookstores. You can visit Shelley at www.shelleymunro.com or check out her daily blog post at www.shelleymunro.com/blog.
There were 222 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Heather B
- Inez Kelley
- Carol L
- Nancy G
Because the list is so long, I've only included the top 10 - if you want to see the list in its entirety, feel free to email me and I'll send it to you.(remember you were entered for each day you commented this week, so some names appear on the list up to but no more than 7 times.)
The winner of the weekly draw receives their choice of guest blogger's books - print or ecopy. Don't forget you can also make a request from the backlist of guest bloggers who have not yet been featured (check out the list on the sidebar.)
You won your choice of one of Kelly Jamieson's backlist. I will be emailing you shortly. (Kelly will not be back for a couple days, so you don't have to rush to make your choice.)
There were 33 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Hockey Vampiress
- Joy Roett
- Kathleen O
- Natasha A
- Cora Zane
- Eva S
- Marley Delarose
- Maureen McGowan
- I Heart Book Gossip
- Viv Arend
- Nancy G
- Karen H in NC
Timestamp: 2009-07-24 12:00:07 UTC
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Kelly is another very busy author. She's already got six books out - Worth Waiting For from Amber Quill Press, Friends with Benefits and Love Me from Samhain, Dream Girl from Wild Rose Press, All I Want for Christmas from Cobblestone Press, and her free read - Insatiable. But she's also got 5 more releases scheduled for the next few months! How to Save a Life, comes out on July 26th (gee, that date seems familiar) from Amber Quill Press, Love Me More is being released by Samhain Publishing in October, Ellora's Cave is releasing her Sexpresso Night in November of this year. She's also already got a release lined up for next year with Samhain - 2 Hot to Handle.
Like me, Kelly started out reading books like the Bobbsey Twins (does anyone else remember them?) and of course Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Ann of Green Gables. (Come on, we're Canadian romance writers, did you think we wouldn't have read them and fallen in love with Ann and Gilbert? Oh, all right, I admit it, I loved Ann, Gilbert - well, I wasn't so hot for him. I thought he was a bit uppity.)
Oh, and Kelly's also got a milestone birthday coming up. Can you believe from that photo that we're the same age? She is one hot looking lady isn't she?
Anyway, enough of me blathering, I'll let Kelly take over the interview now ...
Kelly: Leah this year we both have BIG birthdays. How do you feel about that?
Leah: I'm divided about it. I've never hesitated to tell anyone my age before. I feel like I've aged well, and it's never been an issue - in fact when I was talking about the Birthday Bash at last month's writers' group meeting and mentioned my age, several ladies gasped and said "no way." But lately my body is letting me know it's getting to 'that age' and so for the first time I'm not happy about having this milestone birthday. It didn't help that last year I had to help make the decision about putting my father in a nursing home. Ever since I've been thinking "I've only got 30 years left before I'm like him," which is not a happy thought.
I think seeing our parents age definitely reminds us of our own aging and mortality. Both my parents died pretty young – my dad when he was only 47. When I turned 43 that was a bit difficult because my mom was a widow at that age. It was scary to imagine myself in that situation at that age, since I still feel like a kid in so many ways!
We are also both Canadian and born in the same year. I’m sure we must share some childhood memories. As a child did you watch The Friendly Giant and Mr. Dressup?
Oh yes, I watched both. In fact I watched Mr. Dressup when it was still known as Butternut Square. I adored The Friendly Giant (except for the musical segments with the cats – even when I was five I thought they were cheesy. I wanted the stories he'd read every day.) When I went to kindergarten, it was standard procedure for the school that half the kids went in the morning, the other half went in the afternoon, then halfway through the year everyone switched. I'd gone afternoon the first part of the year, and I remember being really upset when I had to switch to mornings because I was going to miss The Friendly Giant and Chez Helene and Mr. Dressup. (Remember, this was in the 60s, there were no video recorders or PVR capabilities back then.) I found this clip - OMG does it bring back memories. Especially the "there's the boot. Now look up. Waaay up." After the story, my favorite was the section about the chairs by the fireplace and the rocking chair for someone to curl up in. (yeah, it's a Canadian thing.)
Oh yes, Chez Helene – my first French words! And, in the 60’s we only had one television channel, which is mind boggling when you think of the hundreds we have now.
Tell me some other childhood memories. We drive our kids to school every day, unlike me who as a child walked a good mile there and back twice a day (uphill both ways LOL) and through blizzards.
I didn't have to walk three miles to school, but I did have two hills-one down and one up- to trudge along as I walked out the 1/2 mile or so to the bus each day. So I guess I did have to walk uphill both ways, LOL. In February 1971 (I think) we had a blizzard where so much snow fell so quickly that the buses couldn't get through it and they had to be cancelled. A group of parents came on their snow mobiles to ferry us home. By the next day, the snow banks were over ten foot high and we could literally walk over the stop sign at the end of the road. It took them nearly a week to dig us out. The plough got stuck - they had to call in special heavy duty equipment to dig everyone out. We lived in a snow belt area, you could get trapped down your road for weeks - literally - before the ploughs could get to you. So my elementary school gave us snowmobile driving lessons since everyone had a snowmobile to get around in winter.
Now that has to be quintessentially Canadian, snowmobile lessons in school. I do remember one blizzard where people were using snowmobiles in the streets.
Snow forts were normal and although my parents never built a skating rink in our back yard (we lived on a hill, no flat spots around) I would go skating at various neighbors’ places. (The picture to the right is my parents' backyard and though it looks flat at the bottom of the hill, it's not, it slopes too much for a skating rink.) Yes I did take figure skating lessons, but not hockey. I lived near a ski resort, and though I did cross-country ski, I saw too many friends breaking limbs and chickened out at doing down-hill. (Our school bus reserved the first couple seats for people with broken legs - it was always filled every winter, especially since we had an option of taking skiing as one of our phys-ed courses.)
LOL that’s funny! My phys. Ed course was figure skating. I wish so much I had continued with it because I love to watch figure skating now. We lived on the prairies so backyard skating rinks were pretty common. My dad wasn’t the best ice maker though!
I remember a lot of beautiful summers too - camping and canoeing around the rivers and lakes in Algonquin Park with black bears swimming in front of you. And the wasp attack on the campsite when my mother pulled out a birthday cake she'd bought that day. I also have to mention camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario - I still love it and took my own sons there when they were little. I don't think there are sand dunes like it anywhere else in Ontario. Oh, and Fort Henry - I can still feel the reverberation in my chest from when the fifes and drums came through the tunnel into the central courtyard. Magnificent.
I’m glad you mentioned summers, because everyone thinks of Canada as just winter. I have some great memories, too, of Riding Mountain National Park – so beautiful there. And now I live only an hour from one of the best beaches in North America, Grand Beach. It sounds weird that one of the best beaches is smack in the middle of the continent, but check out that powdery white sand.
Whose posters did you have plastered on your bedroom wall as a girl?
I wasn't allowed to put posters up on the walls (when we had walls - my parents built our house so we went several years with only sheets separating the rooms.) I wasn't a fan of either Donny Osmond or Michael Jackson who were all the heart throbs in Tiger Beat at the time, though there may have been a few Partridge Family albums around ;)
Oh yeah, the Partridge Family. I clipped many picture of them from Tiger Beat, especially David Cassidy. And my friends and I used to lip synch to their records (vinyl LP natch!!) in our own band. OMG how embarrassing.
Describe one of your favourite outfits in high school…
We didn't have a lot of money, so my mom made most of my clothes or adjusted old outfits of my sister's. And girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school back then, so it was only skirts and blouses. However I remember one particular outfit she made for me back in the early 70s - a pair of orange-print hot pants which were really popular. (very similar to the ones worn in this picture.) Trouble is she wouldn't let me buy the white go-go boots that would have gone perfectly with them. I loved those hot pants, I felt so hip in them. (And since I was underweight at the time, I looked great in them.) I know I used to have pictures of me in them, but they're all up at my mom's--I don't have any copies :(
Woo hoo, check out those hot pants! I had something like that too. And my grandma made one of my favourite outfits, too, how about that. It was bell bottom pants with a matching long, knee-length vest over a white shirt with a big collar.
Bell bottoms! I forgot about those. Did your pair have a slit up the side with a different color fabric in them? My DH had a pair that had a Canadian flag inserted in his. He was really proud of them.
How big was your hair in the eighties? Did you wear legwarmers to aerobics class?
I never took an aerobics class, but I did take karate so I wore a gi and bare feet - no leg warmers. My hair was either short and curly (no smart remarks please), or long and straight. I never got into the 'big hair' syndrome that attacked most women in the 80s, LOL. Well, okay, I did once - for my sister's wedding, but right after that I went back to straight hair.
I definitely had big hair (another photo attached). My hair is thick and wavy, I could make it REALLY BIG. The photo was actually 1990, but I kept those 80’s bangs for a long time, probably too long. I looked like I had no head without them. You can’t see it very well in the picture (taken at a wedding by a drunk friend, hence the creative angle) but the shoulder pads were huge too!
When you started writing, did you use a typewriter?
I used an old manual typewriter my parents had - it's how I learned to type so that when I went into my high school typing class I was already typing at 60 words per minute. (I graduated at 83 w.p.m.)
Hey me too! Typing class just taught me to do it right. I’m still a fast typist/keyboarder.
I think my mom still has that old typewriter. I did a lot of writing on it, though I never kept anything. (Mom may have, but I think I destroyed most of it before I moved out as I was sure it would be criticized.)
My parents bought me a little toy typewriter and I pounded the heck out of that thing writing “my novel”. I don’t have any of those early works, either, I’m sure they’d be hilarious. When did you switch to a computer?
I switched to computers back in 1982 or 1983 when the bank I was working for brought in IBM Displaywriters that used 8 inch floppy disks, and no internal drives. At home, Gizmo Guy and I bought an Apple IIe and I used a word processing program called Gutenberg which is very similar to modern day HTML. We gradually worked through numerous computers until I was teaching DOS, Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect 5.1 at a local college. That was back in the days when you had to relearn the programs every six months as they brought out a new version. We moved to Windows 3.1 in the early 90s and Word and Excel soon after.
Thing is I never kept the stories I saved onto those disks. I let Gizmo Guy drill a hole in the hard drives so no one could get any private information off of them and then we'd toss them. I never figured any of my writing was worth anything - well, except for the birth stories I wrote for my boys.
Sounds like you are very tech savvy which I am so not. But I loved it when it could start writing on a computer (wasn’t until the 90’s) – cutting, pasting, no more White Out!
What do you think was your best decade – (teens, twenties, thirties)
I think I remember my twenties most fondly – pre-children, travelling, being free and easy. Once we had the boys, and bought the house then the priorities changed and things became more of a challenge. However, now the boys are older, even though we’ve still got a mortgage, things are easing up. There are still ‘issues’ since I’ve become a member of the sandwich generation, but I’m not obsessing about things the way I used to either. I’ve learned to stop worrying about things I can’t change. Well, for the most part anyway.
That would probably be the same for me. We got married in 1984 and my husband and I both liked to travel and party a lot, so we had so much fun pre-kids. I had my first baby when I was thirty, so my thirties became all about family, which was definitely an adjustment for a party couple, but I totally threw myself into being a mother and I loved it.
Best decade for fun? My twenties, though now the boys are older, my forties weren't bad either - I've managed to pack a lot of travelling into this decade.
for love? It's getting better each year. Honestly, it is. I've been married 31 years, and I still love my husband and am 'in love' with him. We are always hugging and finding ways to touch each other (much to our sons' disgust) as if we're still newlyweds. In fact on a trip to Montreal a couple years back, a friend of ours teased us about how we were holding hands as we were walking down Rue St. Catherine.
See I knew we had a lot in common! This is true for my husband and me too. Not only do we both celebrate big birthdays this year but in June it was our 25th wedding anniversary. Yeah, the kids don’t appreciate the parents getting affectionate. I once got an email from my daughter asking us to “keep it down” in the bedroom. Oops.
Yikes! But Go You!
for sex? See above - it's getting better each year. There were some comments on Twitter yesterday by some powerful people in the industry who said that authors should NEVER talk about their sex life online or ever say anything like how their husbands love to help them do research. So I won't. (But he does. ;) )
for career success? Hmm, each decade has seen me in a different career path ... but I'd say this past year has seen my most fulfilling career successes.
When I turned 40, I got my dream job in management at an insurance company and I was very career focused. But since I got back into writing, I really don’t care so much about that, I’m more focused on retirement so I can write full time. I get so much enjoyment and fulfillment from my writing, way more than the business world.
for personal growth? That's gone in fits and starts - but I think I made my biggest personal growth in my fortieth year. I'm a slow child, what can I say?
Yeah, I still feel like I’m growing up. Having some success as a writer has been huge for me. How do you plan to celebrate your birthday?
Do you know, I haven't decided yet. We've been going back and forth about how to celebrate. I'd love to either go back to Banff or fly to England. However, the upstairs bathroom sink/vanity needs replacing before it floods the whole house, the eavestrough at the front of the house was ripped off during an ice storm last winter and needs to be replaced, the fireplace chimney needs to be replaced and ... well, you get the drift. I really am having a hard time justifying any expenditures on myself when there's so much to be done around here. Especially when I'm hoping to get to Lori Foster's event next year, or at least RT and/or the RWA national conference in Nashville next year. And we're already planning a trip to New York in 2011 for the national conference that year (Gizmo Guy can't wait to show me NY city) . All dependent upon that upstairs sink, the eavestrough and the chimney of course. In reality, we’ll probably go out for dinner and a movie.
I know what you mean about the money and justifying those kinds of expenses. We too wanted to celebrate with a big trip, I was hoping Ireland. But the recession has affected my husband’s business over the last year so financially we had to compromise and we went to Santa Barbara, California. We love it there. That was also our 25th anniversary celebration. The kids came, which is okay because they’re actually kind of fun, and we went away ourselves overnight to tour a winery and taste some wines and stay alone in a gorgeous hotel room, which was romantic and perfect.
Thanks for reminiscing with me Leah about our first 50 years and here’s hoping the next 50 will be even better!
Happy birthday Leah!
(photo of Kelly credited to Lance Thompson Photographic)
I admit, I had a hard time deciding what title to use for Kelly's post. It was either the one I used or "Kelly Jamieson's Too Hot To Handle" ... I figured her picture told that story.
There were 48 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Janet H
- Inez Kelley
- Heather B
- Eva S
- Amy M
- Carol L
- Amy S
- Kathleen O
- Book Junkie
- RK Charron
- Janet H
- Joy Roett
- Karen H in NC
- Nancy G
- Valerie T
- Viv Arend
- Hockey Vampiress
- Maija P
- Marley Delarose
- Cathy M
Timestamp: 2009-07-23 11:58:39 UTC
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
If you look for her at your local bookstore you'll find her books amongst the Silhouette Desires: The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress, The Tycoon's Rebel Bride; Berkley Heat: Sweet Persuasion, Sweet Surrender (whose cover is so hot a reader was asked to put it away when she started reading it on an airplane), Be with Me, and For Her Pleasure; her soon-to-be released Berkley Sensation's The Darkest Hour (I got a sneak peek at the cover of TDH on Twitter yesterday - Yummylicious and drool-worthy); Loose Id's Golden Eyes; and Samhain's Red Hot Summer, Amber Eyes, Into the Lair, Reckless, Stay with Me, Into the Mist, Love Me Still, Brazen, Undenied, Understood, Seducing Simon, and the best selling title of 2006 and Reader's Choice Award 2006-2008 - Colters' Woman. (There are too many to link to, so here's a link to her Author Page over at Samhain.)
Phew! What a list. She can write from the sweet to smokin' hot sexy. Paranormals, contemporaries, menage of the trois and quatres variety. No matter the genre, Maya's got a book for you. And that's not including the books she's written as Sharon Long.
I went out with a (non-writing) friend last night - we meet every other week at our local bookstore's Starbucks and talk about our favourite books. When Maya's name came up, my friend said "I've never read a Maya Banks book I haven't loved."
So I was thrilled when Maya agreed to be a guest on my birthday bash. I sent Maya a list of ten questions, and asked her to answer five. I took the questions from both ones I'd written and ones you asked JK Coi when I challenged you to come up with interview questions. (I've credited the person who asked the question in brackets.)
Here are Maya's answers:
Do you ever get fans asking if you "do" what you write about? (Leah)
God no! I'm sure if they ever did I'd just stare dumbly at them.
What is something unusual that you do or have done that people would be surprised to know about you. (Something like being an avid ghost hunter or that you once took sky diving lessons.) (Lady Vampire2U)
Dude, I'm so boring. I mean seriously. I can't think of anything that would surprise people other than maybe I'm a really conservative person. For some reason I get snickers when I share that little tidbit...
If we could ask your best friend "What the funniest thing about Maya", what would they say?" (Cathy M)
She'd say I'm a complete and utter bitch (she means it)
What's your favorite guilty pleasure? (Inez Kelley inspired that question on another blog post)
You know I really hate that term. I've never figured out why pleasures have to be guilty ;) I'm pretty irreverent when it comes to things I like. And I'm so not into guilty.
You recently took a trip to England and Scotland - any funny tales to share? Something that surprised you? (Leah)
They're obsessed with roundabouts. You can't go half a mile without one. And they love curbs. Even on the M. I can't figure that one out. Where the hell do you go if you're trying to avoid a wreck? No shoulders. Hell they barely even have roads. It's more like bike trails ...
If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself? (Leah)
Oh sweet mother...I don't have all day. I was such an idiot back then. But then I have to consider that if I hadn't made such a career out of fucking up in the old days, I wouldn't be where I am now and since I'm pretty darn pleased with the way things have turned out I just have to suck it up and try not to dwell on how screwed up I was as a "young adult"
Salon owner Julie Stanford wanted Nathan Tucker ever since she gave him his first massage. Getting paid to feel every inch of his body, stripped, oiled, and spread out in front of her? Stuff dreams are made of. But the sexy lug was oblivious to the signals she was sending—until she finished off his final rub-down with something extra. In fact, the best extra he ever had. Unfortunately, he came around too late. Now Julie’s moving on…
She was everything he’d dreamed of
The woman was driving him crazy. She lit fire to his insides then ran like a scalded cat. And now she’s going to someone else to have all her fantasies fulfilled? Over his dead body… He’s more than willing to give her what she wants, and as soon as he pins the little minx down, he’d show her his own brand of sweet seduction.
But that's not all Maya's got releasing in the next few months - there's also The Tycoon's Secret Affair from Silhouette Desire next month, Songbird over at Samhain in September, and the follow up to Sweet Seduction, Sweet Temptation releasing from Berkley Heat in April 2010. (Tired yet? I know I am)
There were 29 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
- Crystal GB
- Hockey Vampiress
- Karen H in NC
- RK Charron
- Carol L
- Marley Delarose
- JK Coi
- Amy M
- Brooke London
- Nancy G
- Amy S
Timestamp: 2009-07-22 11:46:41 UTC