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Archive for December, 2008

Road Trip! :)

Popping in really quick to say I’ll be MIA for the next few days….the girls and I are driving down to Florida to spend a few days with Mom and the rest of the family. We’re planning on being back on Wednesday but that’s still up in the air, we might stay longer. I plan to take the laptop but knowing how our previous visits went, I’m pretty sure I won’t get the chance to get online so I’m going to wish everyone a Happy New Year now and I’ll see you all in 2009! 🙂

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Merry Christmas!!

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Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! Hope Santa gave you everything on your list! 🙂

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A bad boy is about to find out just how naughty a good girl can be.

After eight long years of pretending a horrible one-night stand hadn’t happened and wondering if it had been her fault, Charity Harris has finally coaxed handsome bad boy and lifelong friend, Gabriel Bettencourt, back into her bed. It’s not just good, it’s fanfreakingtastic! Trouble is, he’s persisting with his story about not wanting a relationship and not being good enough for her even as their friendship blooms into something looking a lot like love.

Gabriel has ached to make Charity his for years, and finally having her in his bed, not just enduring but enjoying his darker urges is more than he’d ever imagined it could be. Despite what she says, he knows she deserves candlelight and roses, not candle wax and ropes. He’ll enjoy her while he can and let go when she finds the right man.

Charity knows Gabriel’s game and she’s not having any of it. A man can like it rough in bed and still be good and kind. He’s exactly the kind of man she wants to marry and she will. She loves him and she knows he loves her and she’s not taking no for an answer.

So when he runs off “to think” just after Christmas, it’s up to her to let him know that good girls can like it dark and rough and bad boys can be good men.

Small Towns, Friends To Lovers, Families and Roots…

My name is Lauren Dane and I love small town romance that feature families. I read across most genres but most often, when I want a comfort read, I pick up a contemporary set in a small town with a family in it. Probably because my own, deepest roots, come from small towns and big families.

So last year when it came time to write a holiday themed novella, I’d just completed my Chase Brothers series and wanted to return to a small town setting so I reached into my own background and decided on Davis, California. For me, holidays mean family and for me, family and holidays often meant small towns where my family lived.

Now, Davis is a town caught between being a university town and a small farming town. It’s both, which is a character I sort of like about it. It’s an interesting melding of influences and so I had a great time writing To Do List there and returning this month to it for Sweet Charity.

Both my parents grew up in small towns in California’s Central Valley (towns WAY smaller than Davis, actually). Both have roots in the earth, in farming and in small communities. I grew up for most of my life in a very large city but we kept our roots and spent lots of time with family back in the valley. If you’ve never thought of farmers as sexy, let me tell you, some of them aren’t, LOL. But men who work the earth, who work with their hands? Yes indeed, very nice bodies. They’re solid and sexy and eminently capable at their very best.

When I think about the best memories of my childhood, I realize I often put them into my books. In Always there’s a scene where Eamon takes Caitlin to Olvera Street. I grew up in Los Angeles and we used to go out to Olvera Street several times a year. But in To Do List and in Sweet Charity, I take part of my growing up, my dad’s Portuguese heritage and I give it to Charity and Gabriel (and Rafe too). The Festas with their courts and parades, with the feasts and all the preparation are a huge part of Charity’s childhood as well as Gabriel’s.

Charity has gone away, gone to college at UCLA but she returned to Davis to run a small business. For her, even though she loved Los Angeles, it wasn’t a real question that she’d come back to where her family and her roots lay. And it’s also where Gabriel Bettencourt is.

Charity and Gabriel have known each other since childhood. She’s close friends with his sister and with his sister in law. She shares his roots on many levels and this is something that holds them together and also keeps their connection alive. They’ve already got the basis for a lifetime of love when the book opens.

This is also why I absolutely love friends to lovers stories! I love that the couple has a strong foundation before the first kiss. I love that usually there’s been some sexual chemistry and tension building up as they deny their attraction and watch the other with other people.

So we end up back in Davis and with Charity who has had enough of Gabriel’s dancing around and sending mixed signals. She means to have him with her and she declares and all out war to get him. Gabriel has, of course, wanted her for a decade and after a disastrous one night stand with her eight years before, has decided he’s not good enough for her because he likes his sex on the dark and rough side.

In Sweet Charity we get glimpses of who each of the characters are not just to each other, but to their family and friends. And this is extremely important to both of them, which heightens their allure to the other.

Of course there’s a Happily Ever After – it’s romance after all and some people are simply meant to be together, no matter how hard they fight it. Charity is a nice girl, as nice as Gabriel thinks she is, but being nice doesn’t mean she can’t be a bit dirty and being a bit dirty doesn’t mean you don’t have a good heart.

I hope folks enjoy Sweet Charity as much as I enjoyed writing it! And yes, I do hope to go back to Davis and revisit some of the characters I’ve introduced in To Do List and Sweet Charity. And I will most definitely be back to small towns and big families again. (or big towns and big families too – I write families into most of my books, LOL)

Thanks for having me for my sort of blathery guest spot, Fatin!

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a download of both, TO DO LIST and SWEET CHARITY! Good Luck! 🙂

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HE KNOWS IF YOU’VE BEEN BAD OR GOOD….

Picture-perfect Evergreen, California, nestled on the shores of Reindeer Lake in the snowy Sierras, is the perfect place for a no-strings holiday fling with a gorgeous Latin lover. Workaholic Kimberly Michaels didn’t come to Evergreen only to enjoy herself, though; she’s there to consummate a development deal in which her company will take over the town — whether the town wants it or not.

Ricco Maza, whose sister owns the quaint B & B where Kim is staying, may be the hottest man she’s ever met (and the only one who can persuade her to relax enough for an orgasm!) but if he discovers why Kim is in town, she’ll soon be finding more coal and switches than kisses in her Christmas stocking. And as Kim’s frosty winter nights steam up with her sexy Santa, she realizes she’s going to have to make a choice. Is winning the deal truly the most important thing in life, or will this jaded cynic let Santa finally give her a little taste of Christmas magic?

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Wulfson of Trevelyn, trusted knight of William the Conqueror, has never met a man he could not master. But in the tempestuous young widow Tarian of Trent, known as the Lady Warrior, Wulf may finally have met his match. Ordered by the king to curb an armed dispute between Tarian and her dead husband’s uncle, Wulf captures the lady but falls captive himself to her seductive dark beauty.

To Lady Tarian’s dismay, however, neither her fighting spirit nor her wiles are sufficient to bend Wulfson to her will. She vows she will not be the loser in their passionate battle, but her own desire for this overpowering stranger threatens her body, her life, and her very heart.

Being the Grinch Isn’t So Bad…

Really it isn’t. Look at this way: If you’re a Grinch, you don’t have to Christmas shop, you don’t have to smile and be friendly, warm or welcoming, you don’t have to write out Christmas cards until your hand is ready to drop off, you don’t have to bake, visit with family or traverse the hills to grandma’s house. In fact, what you can do as a Grinch is stay in your nice cozy house and be assured no one will come by on Christmas day and spread a little holiday cheer. I mean c’mon, who needs that?

Raising hand. I’m a reformed Grinch. And before ya’ll get any ideas, it’s not because I’m not a warm and fuzzy kind of gal, but these last few holiday seasons have been pure torture for me. Deadlines you see, deadlines have ruled my life. Last year, I cancelled Christmas! My husband was not amused. The children were delighted because my way of canceling Christmas was to ditch the residence in favor of a huge house on Lake Tahoe for the entire week of Christmas! Admittedly, it was a blast. All but hubby loved it. He’s a homebody at heart. But, I had a deadline I could not ignore. Whilst the children, hubby and in-laws frolicked in the snow, I pounded away on the keyboard, barely venturing forth to enjoy the stupendous surroundings and my even more stupendous family.

Not so this year. We’re bundled up and dug in for the duration. The tree is up and the kitten has destroyed it, several times, and never has my Christmas tree looked so beautiful. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. The last of my Christmas cards are stamped and in the mailbox (I have not written out Christmas cards in years! Decades even!) the family is gathering here Christmas Eve to celebrate and Christmas Day I am creating a feast worthy of Julia Childs. My house is warm and filled with smiling happy faces and my husband is content. And so am I.

My New Years resolution is: to never ever commit to a deadline during the holidays ever again! This is too priceless to miss. Even though being a Grinch is easier in so many ways, the cost is too high. Look at what I’d be missing? Now that said, that house in Tahoe last Christmas? Awesome! We’re going again next year, and the best part is, I can enjoy it too!

So, do tell, what is your numero uno New Year’s resolution for 2009?

And thank you, Fatin for having me today! I’d love to give away a signed copy of JADED or MASTER OF SURRENDER to one lucky commenter today!

Happy holidays, everyone and may your 2009 kick some serious ass!

Karin*

http://www.karintabke.com

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Signed up for this challenge three months ago. I had high hopes that I could read all 12 books before the challenge ended today but that was not how it happened. Best laid plans and all that jazz. *G*


Here’s what I had posted three months ago to read.


Main List –

  1. UNDERCOVER by Lauren Dane
  2. BE WITH ME by Maya Banks
  3. JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE by Julie James (new-to-me author)
  4. HOT AS HELL by Helenkay Dimon
  5. THE CHOSEN SIN by Anya Bast
  6. PROMISES PREVAIL by Sarah McCarty

Alternate List –

  1. BY THE BOOK by NJ Walters
  2. CAT OF A DIFFERENT COLOR by Dana Marie Bell
  3. NIGHT FALL by Cherry Adair
  4. THE MANE ATTRACTION by Shelly Laurenston
  5. THE TYCOON’S PREGNANT MISTRESS by Maya Banks
  6. LUCKY CHARM by Carly Phillips

Now this is what I actually did read from the lists.

Main List —

  1. UNDERCOVER by Lauren Dane
  2. BE WITH ME by Maya Banks

Alternate List —

  1. BY THE BOOK by NJ Walters
  2. CAT OF A DIFFERENT COLOR by Dana Marie Bell
  3. THE MANE ATTRACTION by Shelly Laurenston
  4. THE TYCOON’S PREGNANT MISTRESS by Maya Banks

Not bad, I did read six books in total, was hoping for more but I guess I’ll take these results. *G*

CAT OF A DIFFERENT COLOR by Dana Marie Bell. I’ve read all three e-books in this series and have enjoyed them all. Of the three, Emma’s and Max’s book, WALLFLOWER, was my favorite, followed closely by this one, Adrian’s story. I love how he immediately fell for Sheri as soon as he met her when he kept telling himself he would not follow in Max and Simon’s footsteps and act like they did when Emma and Becky came into their lives. Great chemistry and a perfect addition to this series. Must not be missed.

BY THE BOOK by NJ Walters. I don’t think NJ has ever written a book I have not loved. I found her last year and whipped through most of her books as soon as I found them. I love her Jamesville series and this is book six of the series. This is Jonah Sutter’s book. An ex-military loner, he came back to town to be around his sister and niece and ends up meeting Amanda when her bookstore business handled some work for his sister, Elizabeth. Sparks were flying all over the place the second Jonah and Amanda met and it was such a great read.

THE MANE ATTRACTION by Shelly Laurenston. Book three of her shapeshifter series and another one not to be missed. Had several LOL moments and I remember when I read this, I took it with me to the doctor’s office because one of the girls had a check-up that day. I’ll never forget the looks I kept getting because I kept giggling or chuckling out loud while sitting in waiting room waiting to be called into the room. All I want to say to Shelly is WRITE FASTER, PLEASE! 😉

UNDERCOVER by Lauren Dane. I discovered Lauren and her books sometime last year and she’s fast become one of my all-time favorite authors. I’ve impatiently waited for each of her books to be released ever since. I read UNDERCOVER earlier this month. I loved the concept of Sera, Ash & Brandt together and loved the world Lauren created but…and this is just MY opinion, I felt letdown when I reached the end of the book. While I loved Brandt, it was Sera and Ash who had the past between them. It was Ash who hurt Sera so horribly she never really recovered. It was he who left her to marry someone else per his family’s rules and it was Sera who was left to go on with her life after that. When they met again ten years later, I actually let out a “oh hell, YEAH!” when Sera punched Ash in the face. But then they got together again and things were moving along smoothly except that Sera had a feeling that she’s end up getting hurt again. Even though she thought that, she was still with Ash and Brandt and then Brandt asked her to marry him. I wanted so badly for it to be Ash who did that. For Ash to tell his family to basically F-off and that HE would be the one to marry Sera because he loved her and he wanted to correct the wrong he did so many years before. It just felt like it was the same thing over again, about Sera not being good enough to marry (in the eyes of his family) but good enough to be his mistress. I was very disappointed that he didn’t stand up for her. Overall, I did like the book but had it been the other way around, this would have easily have been one of my Top 10 Reads for 2008. Maybe I’m just too demanding and greedy when it comes to my books? 😉

BE WITH ME by Maya Banks. I probably sound like a broken record but I discovered Maya’s books last year and eagerly hunted down and read everything I could find by her. My first read was COLTERS’ WOMAN and I thought nothing could top that as being my favorite menage book until I read BE WITH ME. It rocked and it’ll be another one of Maya’s books that I’ll go back to many times for rereads whenever the mood strikes.

THE TYCOON’S PREGNANT MISTRESS by Maya Banks. I read this one at the beginning of the month. I love that we can order series books from eHarlequin.com a month in advance. I started this the day my order came in the mail and was finished with it before the night was over. I absolutely loved it. It was such an emotional read. Once I finished it, I immediately flipped through it rereading my favorite parts. Word of warning, make sure you have tissues handy when reading this one. You will need them. *G*

If you signed up for this challenge, how did you do?

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NT: Hi Sasha! Thank you for interviewing with RRAH. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

SW: Hmm.. Okay. I’m female, short, round, and have a bit of a temper.

How’s that?

More? hmm. I love to travel, writer, read, travel, eat. and bake. *grin*

More still?

I have two cats, who I  love..and hate.

NT: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take for you to make your first sale?

SW: That’s a super hard question for me to answer, simply because I’ve never thought of myself as someone who always wanted to be a writer, yet apparently, when I was 12 years old I told my Mom I was going to write a book someday.  I never thought about writing again until I was 25, then I gave some brief thoughts, becoming a travel writer so I could pay to travel the world.  I wrote a couple of travel articles that year, then moved onto something else.  It was 7 years later when I decided that I didn’t want to be 40 years old and still dependent on tips to support myself (I’ve always been a waitress/bartender) so I got serious.  I didn’t want to go back to school at 34 years old, and I decided I’d give writing a try.  That was just under 5 years ago.  As an avid reader, I thought why not?  Turns out I have a knack for it.

As for how long did it take to have my first sale, don’t hate me, but I sold the first thing I wrote, right away. I think it had more to do with knowing my target, and writing for that target than it does anything else.  Also, I started out with very little knowledge of this business.  I didn’t know it was supposed to be Hard to get published, so I  had no fear and just went after what I wanted…and go it.

NT: You have a new release this month, can you tell us about PRIMALE MALE?

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SW: PRIMAL MALE is the sequel to SEXY DEVIL, and it has psychics, shape-shifters, suspense and hot sex…with a little romance thrown in. *wink*

To be more specific, it’s Drake Wheelers story. Drake is in Sexy Devil, the big blond and quiet dude who is usually in the background.   He tends to stay in the background because he is an empath, and being surrounded by people can be rough on his psychic shields.  Which is also why he chose to be a sniper when he was in the military . Because it was a long range thing.  But now, he’s ex-military, working for a private security company, hunting things that go bump in the night.

PRIMAL MALE is the story of how, when he finds the right woman, he learns to feel his own emotions again, instead of just everyone elses.

NT: What inspired the idea for this story?

SW: It’s a sequel, so Drake was a character who showed up before, and it was time for him.  As for the way the story went, with shapeshifters and such…well, I have no idea where the inspiration came from. I just know that I tried to stay true to the characters, which meant not letting the paranormal aspects take over.

NT: Which of your characters’ story was the hardest to write? Which was the easiest?

SW: They were all hard on some level, but what was hard about them was different for each.  I would have to say the stories that flowed most smoothly from my fingertips were THE CRIB, in the Pure Sex anthology, DEVIL’s JEWEL in Sexy DEvil, and NO ANGEL in Most Wanted.  Obviously I find novellas easier to write. LOL

NT: Do you have a writing routine? What is your average writing day like?

SW: Nope, no routine.  Unless you want to count procrastinating until I have t pull a couple of all nighters a routine. *grin*

I don’t really have an average writing day either.  Or maybe I should say the average is different for every book I write?  Sometimes ideas cook in my head for a while before I start putting them on the computer.  Sometimes I can sit down with no firm idea in mind, and just write, and it flows like magic.  I don’t write every day, (I wish I did) and I don’t do plot charts or character analysis on paper.  I think of myself as an organic writer…and by that I mean I really have no real clue as to how I do this, other than to plant my butt in the chair and get my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

NT: What aspects of your life have you found creeping into your stories?

SW: Pretty much all of them. LOL  Fantasies, reality, experiences.  Things I’ve seen, things I’ve done.  Memories of people I’ve loved, or hated.  Swirl it all together with my imagination and thats where the books come from.

NT: Is there anyone you use as a sounding board when you’re stuck on a scene?

SW: I have a few people, it all depends on what/where  I’m stuck on.  I would say I regularly call up Delilah Devlin, Cathryn Fox, and my Mom. *grin*   All are people I can count on, and are helpful and inspiring in their own ways.

NT: What was the most interesting thing you had to research and what was the hardest thing to research?

SW: Yikes!  You’re making me expose all my weaknesses here.

I’m not a research person. Not a book person, or search engine person.  I mostly find people who are knowledgeable in what I need to know, and talk to them.  Therefor research is fairly easy.   I would probably say the most interesting thing I did for research was attend a Lifestyle BDSM weekend Conference. *grin* This is when I was writing WICKED.  Karl, the hero, was a secondary character in a couple of other books, and I’d said he was a lifestyler…so I wanted to make sure his story was true to him.  While I personally have a few friends who are in that lifestyle, and I admit I’ve dabbled a little, dabbling isn’t enough to truly understand it, and write about it realistically.  So for three days and two nights of workshops and lectures on all aspects of BDSM — from BDSM and the law, to contracts, to levels of power — I emersed myself in it.    People were wonderfully open and honest and giving with me, and I learned a lot!

NT: What was the most memorable reader reaction you’ve received about your books?

SW: When I re-relesed MEANDROS as a Free Read (PDF download) on my website, I got a letter from a reader who it hit a personal button for.  A very emotional letter, that touched me.  I’m not going to say more than that, because you need to read MEANDROS to have any idea of what I’m talking about.

NT: When not busy writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? (If there is such a thing *G*)

SW: I’ve recently gotten back into Photography, and working with digital graphics.  I love movies, playing pool, and even working out.

NT: What are the latest additions to your TBR? What are you most eager to read?

SW: I just finished A Lick Of Frost, by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I’ve read some of the Merry Gentry books, but missed others.  I’m not a die hard fan, but I do enjoy them.  This one, I just could not resist the title. LOL

RED by Jordan Summers was one I read just recently that I loved!!  Can’t wait for the next book in the series.

I’m reading SUNSTROKED by Cathryn Fox right now, and love it. She has such as sweet and humorous way that is oh so sexy too.  BETRAYED by Jamie Leigh Hansen is on my TBR, as  well as VANISH by Tess Geritsen.

NT: Any advice to aspiring authors? What craft books helped you that you would recommend to aspiring writers?

SW: I am not a craft book person.  I have a couple, and I even occasionally pull them off the bookshelf.  But I rarely read more than a page of them.  I just think I’m not a book learner.  Even in school I never was…so I really have no suggestions for books.  As for advice.  If you want to write, then write.  If you want to be published, don’t give up.

NT: What can your fans look forward to from you in the near future? What are you working on now?

SW: Well, in the last three months I’ve had four releases, so that’s it for a while.  I do have another release from Kensington set for June or July 2009.  MOST WANTED is a single author anthology that is three novellas, and each novella is either connected to, or a sequel to one of my other Aphrodisia books.

Here’s the Blurb:

MOST WANTED
Bad boys—they’re the best lovers around. Submit to the pleasure of their dark and dangerous passions…

“Hidden Cravings”
PI Lexy Signorino has spent the last year trying to forget her insatiable desire for Devon Kaye’s rock hard body. But when he turns up one night asking her to help him find his missing cousin, she’s ready to surrender to sweet sensual satisfaction…

“Unrestricted Access”
Jillian Furst has lusted after detective Jackson Barrows long enough and decides it’s time for some female seduction. She sends him flowers and a steamy letter with explicit instructions for a sexual fantasy that keeps them busy in bed all night long…

“No Angel”
Anna Blair looks sweet and innocent, but playboy Gabriel Mann discovers she’s far from it. Mess with her and she’ll mess right back. And that’s just the way he likes it—down and dirty carnal pleasure that keeps him coming back for more…

NT: How can readers contact you?

SW: They can always email me by using the CONTACT link on my website.  Or they can join the WICKED WRITERS Chat loop. WICKED WRITERS is a group full of readers, authors, and aspiring authors.  It’s a chat loop, where we talk about life, love, happiness…and BOOKS!

NT: Thank you so much for blogging with us here at Novel Thoughts!

SW: Thank you for inviting me!!

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We have winners! The winners of Lisa’s post are………….

NatashaA.!!

&

Maureen!!

Congrats ladies!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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We have a winner! The winner of Cynthia’s post is………….

Fedora!!

Congrats Fedora!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can get the book out to you.

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onlinefriends-congratulations_stina07071

We have a winner! The winner of Dana’s post is………….

Becky4444!!

Congrats Becky!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) and let me know which one of Dana’s three e-books you’d like so we can get the book out to you.

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Because Angie is evil, she created this survey to find out which Samhain book or books of 2008 were your favorite. I had such a hard time choosing and decided to share here so you can all do the survey too. It’s a short survey, just five questions but it’s so hard to just choose one book for each question. Go. Answer. And don’t forget to call Angie evil for making this so hard. *g*

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