Archive for June 2015 | Monthly archive page
Happy Saturday! I try not to get political here—not because I have no opinions about what’s going on in the world but because I write to entertain readers, not preach my worldview. No doubt, readers could care less how I feel about gun control, Confederate flag-waving—or any flag-waving, for that matter—and same-sex unions.
However, I can’t let the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage go unremarked. Love is love. Period. And on Friday, love won.
Thanks, SCOTUS, for joining the new millennium. I’m proud that, in the words of President Obama, the court’s ruling has “made our union is a little more perfect.”
“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts,” Obama said. “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
In honor of the court’s decision, I’m sharing a snippet from BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER for My Sexy Saturday this week. Matt Thatcher, the hero of BEAUTY, has a brother who happens to be gay. (He’s also a stylist, which a few judges dinged me for when BEAUTY was making the contest rounds. Too stereotypical, they said…but in my mind, at least, Stan is a well-rounded guy. If I didn’t convey that…well, that’s on me.)
In this scene, it’s the morning after Matt and Meg have sex for the first time. Matt, in the heat of the moment, told her it didn’t matter that she was pregnant…but now he’s having second thoughts. In a panic, he calls his brother Stan, who already knew Meg’s secret because she’d told him in the stylist’s chair. Stan, ever a straight-shooter, wastes no time laying into Matt: “Oh God. Tell me you didn’t feed her some line so you could sleep with her.”
Stan’s reaction stunned him into silence. That’s exactly what he’d done, even if he hadn’t been conscious of it at the time. When he rediscovered his voice, he asked, “Why would that be so terrible?”
“That girl needs a man with staying power you have yet to demonstrate.”
Stan’s accusation hit him with the power of a 105 mph fastball, and Matt sank to the floor again. His butt hit the carpet with a soft “thunk.” His brother was right. These days, his relationships lasted no longer than Greg’s.
“Please tell me you’re still in the same room with her. Meg’ll feel abandoned all over again if you’re not there when she wakes up.”
Odd that Stan was more concerned about Meg than his own flesh and blood. “Are you forgetting who you’re related to? I’m your brother.”
Stan’s silence spoke volumes. Wondering how he managed to convey such strong disapproval without saying a word, Matt sighed. “I’m in the hallway outside the room. Does that count?”
“Barely.” Stan sniffed. “I suggest you get back in there, pronto.”
And in August, it will be re-released as part of Turquoise Morning Press’ UNFORGETTABLE HEROES boxed set — a collection of 14 books from New York Times, USA Today and national bestselling authors. Preorder now and get BEAUTY and 13 other titles for just 99 cents on Aug. 25: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes
This week’s Writer Wednesday guest is 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Caroline Bradley. Caroline’s “Indulge My Fantasy” finaled in the new Erotic Romance category, so you know it sizzles.
I’ve known Caroline — or at least her alter ego — for years. She’s tenacious and has a great sense of humor, keeping our little band of writers (the LaLaLas) merry with her stories. I’ll let her bio speak for itself.
Though she seems like a mild-mannered office worker by day, Caroline Bradley writes at night, all night, every night. “Indulge My Fantasy” is her first toe dipped in the erotic waters but she enjoyed it so much, she’s back for more with her newest work-in-progress, “Heated Competition.” Her alter ego wrote contemporaries until Caroline decided to step in and take a walk on the wild side. She’s having so much fun, she may never go back.
Caroline lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her two teenage sons and a very boisterous cat named Mickey, after Mick from the “Rocky” movies. If you see her, chances are good her body is right there but her imagination is miles and miles away.
“Indulge My Fantasy” is either three 20k word erotic novellas or a 60k word erotic novel. Whoever wants to publish it can decide. 🙂
The blurb: Auto mechanic Grace Bennett is again indulging her mother’s OCD when she crosses paths with a broken down sedan on the side of a snowy country road. The driver is none other than the saving grace to this single woman’s sanity, the hottest actor in Hollywood, Aaron Elias. Snowed in overnight, they relate to each other faster than she thought possible but he has his world in California and she has hers in workaday Philadelphia. She’s certain when they go their separate ways, she’ll only be a passing memory for Aaron.
But she’s not. He brings her out to Malibu and tries to make her a part of his life. Even though they grow closer, in his world she feels like a round peg in a square hole. His life is more of a fantasy than even she could’ve imagined and she retreats back home, ready to put Aaron and his world behind her and go back to her every-day-the-same existence.
In Grace, Aaron has found the grounding he needed. Grace makes him see who he is and what he really wants. Until her, he’s only been mailing in his career, even though he says he wants to shoot for the stars. She shows him how but then she leaves. He chases her back to Philadelphia and makes her see, a little fantasy in life is what makes it worth living.
And because Caroline is letting no grass grow under her feet, she just put out her first book, Heated Competition. Here’s the blurb:
Phys Ed teacher Lindsey Kincaid has spent two years running her ass off to rebuild the life her ex ruined. She depends on her coaching stipend from the cross-country team, and when colleague Gabe Shraeder sets his sights on taking over her team, she can’t back down. Why is the son of one of the richest families in three counties a high school teacher, anyway? Is slumming it the latest trend in noblesse oblige? But the varsity soccer coach is hotter than the track in July, and a harmless beer bet lands her in Gabe’s arms.
Lindsey would prefer if their casual spring break hook-up meant nothing, but Gabe turns out to be anything but casual. His touch reminds of things she misses like intimacy, pleasure, and companionship. With him, she’s not alone anymore; she doesn’t have to fight. But Gabe has secrets of his own.
Is Gabe trying to help her, or does he want to take over her team and her life? She’s done things she regretted to keep the home and the dream she still clings to. What in Gabe’s past will shape Lindsey’s future? In this Heated Competition, can either of them win?
Now, let’s move on to “This or That?”
Snack of choice: Sweet or salty? BOTH! I love mixing the two. Every Christmas (and sometimes before then) my kids and I make what we call Pretzel Buttons. Take Hanover Butter Snap pretzels (wagon wheel style will work too), lay them all flat on a baking sheet, then put an unwrapped Hershey Kiss on each one. Bake in the oven at 250 for 3 minutes. Take the sheet out and press an M&M into each half-melted Kiss (mush them in so the chocolate melts into the pretzel). Let cool and enjoy! (I’ve been told creativity in the kitchen relates to creativity in the bedroom.)
Sneakers or heels? Sneakers all the way. I’m a runner girl. There’s a magnet in my kitchen that says, “Forget the glass slippers; this princess wears running shoes!”
Cardio or yoga? All the above. Cardio because I love to run, yoga for strength and balance. Moderation in everything is key. Unless it’s…well, you know… <wink> Then go get all you can get.
E-book or print? I love my Kindle but books have their place too. I don’t see paper books ever going out of style, but being able to take my Kindle on the elliptical and letting it read to me? Priceless…except the text-to-voice option sometimes mispronounces things. That, too, can be quite amusing.
Bradley Cooper or Brad Pitt? With a name like Caroline Bradley, take a guess. I have a thing for men with blue eyes. Always have, always will. Besides, Brad Pitt is taken. Bradley Cooper is not. Yet. (He hasn’t met me yet.)
Plain ol’ lettuce or super-fancy kale? I actually prefer spinach in my salad to lettuce, but kale chips? OMG. I forget where I found the recipe but it’s the one time I can make two teenage boys fight over vegetables.
Reviews are a funny thing. When you’re waiting to be published, published author friends warn you not to read them.
With good reason, I’ve realized.
A negative review has the power to make you doubt everything. When you encounter criticism, you can start to question your ability to string words into complete sentences, your self-worth, your fitness to live amongst human beings.
On the flip side, take too many positive reviews as the gospel truth and you might end up with an overinflated opinion of yourself and your writing. I don’t care how many people like a book, there’s always room for improvement.
Still, most of us — myself included — can’t help but sneak a peek at reviews from time to time. And, thanks to Amazon algorithms and whatnot, we’re always begging for reviews. Good or bad, a review helps a book’s visibility — and getting a book noticed on Amazon creates sales, which leads to money in the author’s pocket.
Start raking in enough pocket money, and that elusive goal of quitting the day job can become reality. What author doesn’t dream of that?
I was reading an e-newsletter from Goodreads or Createspace or somewhere else I can’t remember. In it, there was an interview with Susan Mallery. She said something about reviews that I don’t want to forget, so I made a quote card about it.
Feel free to share it with your friends!
Dare I say this week’s My Sexy Saturday theme is right up my alley?
This week’s theme is A Good Ole Sexy Time and think about things like the Dukes of Hazzard or maybe Nashville or the Appalachian Mountains. This week is about…well…normal people. You know, the boys next door, the good ole boys, the boys of summer and everything in between. There is nothing more sexy than a man at the beach or getting done with his chores or doing his best at any task.
Fun—and I have just the snippet.
In this scene from BLIND DATE BRIDE, Kari is grappling with her new reality. She and Damien, her faux husband of less than a week, have ceded the spare room she was planning to sleep in to the camera crew that will be taping their every move for a new series they’ve agreed to. Thus she finds herself reluctantly sharing his bed.
Damien is about the most normal guy I’ve ever had the pleasure of having in my head. (His buddy Cody is a close second.) He’s a veterinarian, a one-time band geek (trumpet), retired Casanova (he went a little crazy in college when he started running and playing tennis and grew into his gangly body) and armchair psychologist.
“Stop looking at me like you’re on a diet and I’m a hot fudge sundae!” she snapped at him.
Damien rolled his eyes. “You think you’re that irresistible, huh?”
“Well,” Kari began. More concerned with her own response to the look he was giving her, she hadn’t considered how conceited the complaint would make her sound.
“Because I have news for you, sweetheart, I can resist. No problem.”
She stood and sat on the edge of Damien’s bed opposite him, but not before scowling at him. “You don’t have to be such a jerk about it.”
He glowered right back. “Why shouldn’t I be? You’re basically saying you don’t trust me to keep my hands to myself, right?”
“Because I’ve never had to force my attentions on an unwilling woman before, and I don’t intend to start anytime soon. So until you decide you want my hands on you, you have nothing to worry about.”