Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Keep Me is Released

If you've been waiting for Nina's and Ian's happily ever after, the wait is over. Keep Me is available everywhere! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

But Enough About Me

Lately I've been doing some self-promotion on account of my forthcoming book, Keep Me, but today I'm focusing on books by other authors that I think you'll all like.

On more than one occasion I've blogged about how much I love Ruthie Knox, and I'm about to do it again. It's for your own good, though, because right now her awesome book About Last Night is only 99 cents. I cannot recommend this book enough. It's so hot and fun and well-written, and I suspect it will make you a fan of her for life. In any case, it's such a good deal that it can't hurt to check it out.

But I'm not done. I just finished the New Adult book Deeper, which Ruthie Knox wrote under the name Robin York, and the second I was done reading it I wanted to start it over again. It's got a great hero and heroine and a believable – albeit painful – storyline about Caroline, a sophomore in college whose ex-boyfriend posts pictures he took of her during sex. The book begins shortly after that happens and traces how Caroline deals with it and the relationship she forms with West, a guy she's been attracted to since he lived across the hall from her freshman year. Caroline is a great character, smart but vulnerable and very relatable, and West is a sexy, complicated hero with whom you will immediately fall in love. It's delicious and I love it so. The sequel will be out in July.

Now, to be perfectly frank (and to prove I'm not a paid spokeswoman for this author), there are a couple of Knox's romances that didn't blow me away, but most of them have been stellar, and I love her combination of depth, humor, and incredible sex scenes. Really, she has the whole package. The books that didn't blow me away were still better than the majority of romances out there.

For those fans of Pride and Prejudice,  I recommend the book Longbourn, by Jo Baker. It's a brilliant re-telling of the Jane Austen story from the point of view of the servants. Only to call it a re-telling does it a disservice, because the main characters are the servants and the main narrative is the romance involving Sarah, one of the Longbourn servants, and a mysterious man who joins the household. Sarah's romance unfolds at the same time as Elizabeth's and Jane's, which we see in a peripheral way. We see plenty of the Bennetts, though, and everything that happens aligns perfectly with Pride and Prejudice while also showing the Bennett family in another light. Nothing Baker does contradicts what Jane Austen created, but she widens the perspective. For instance, what she shows us of Mrs. Bennett makes her a more sympathetic character and her irritating ways understandable. Likewise with Mary, whereas Mr. Bennett gets a backstory that shows him to be just as weak as Jane Austen wrote him, though in ways other than we already know about.

What's interesting about this story is that although the period details feel right, the fact that it's written from a servant's perspective means that you get a rougher, earthier version of this Regency romance we all know and love. I have to admit, it probably did change the way I think about the Jane Austen characters, but I love the depth it gave to them, and the sort of behind the scenes version we get of their life.

Have recommendations for me? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Keep Me...Available Everywhere March 30th

It took me two years to write the sequel to Tempt Me, but hey, at least I did it. As some of you know, I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a sequel. It was never in my plans, and I wasn't sure what I would write about. But the more people asked the more I thought about it, and then I started to work on it and think on it, and it became clear that there was more to say about them. Plenty more.

I'm so glad readers pushed me to finish their story, because it felt great and I got to take Nina and Ian to different places. Plus I think it'll be fun for everyone to see how they get their happily ever after. Also, it is seriously sexy.

I don't want to say any more and spoil the fun, but if you want a little peak into the book, here's a tease, I mean excerpt. Please note this is from the pre-copyedited version.


Ian laughed and sat down on his side of the bed, leaning over to kiss her again. “I can handle it.”

He fumbled with a cufflink before frowning at his wrist. “I think my mother got me some kind of trick cufflinks.”

The man was delicious. She really should give him a hand, but she was too caught up appreciating him with his tie undone and the first couple of buttons of his shirt released. The way the lamp cast shadows across his face, the line of his back, it was all so perfect. Too perfect not to capture it.

Dashing out of the room she grabbed her sketch pad and a stick of charcoal, then sat back down on the bed and began to draw him.

“What are you doing?”

“Immortalizing you. Go back to what you were doing,” she ordered, drawing furiously now.

“But I–”

“Trust me, you sexy beast,” she said, sparing him a quick, sidelong smile. “This is going to be good. It’s like, your essence, right here in this moment.”

“Honey, if you want my essence, there are much more exciting ways to get it.”

“There’ll be plenty of time for that,” she quipped, laughing even as her body responded to him. Partly it was what she was doing on the page, showing him in an intimate, undefended moment that was granted strictly to her. A boudoir scene, but with a man instead of the usual woman model.

“I don’t know why you want to draw me. No one’s going to want to see this.”

“You have no idea,” she murmured. “Turn your head back like it was, please. Yes, just like that. Perfect.”

She studied the lines of his beloved face, the furrow between his eyes, the signs of weariness after a long day. She drew his full but firm mouth, his broad shoulders, slightly hunched as he worked at his cuff. The line of his strong throat.

She was making visible what she saw, what she felt. Who he was. These days her paintings were mostly abstracts, or abstracted figures, but she’d always liked sketching people. And she loved sketching Ian.

In its own way it was as arousing as the few nudes she’d done of him, a visual encyclopedia of her desire. She was at once both a dispassionate observer and wholly immersed in him, as if it were her hands outlining him, committing him not just to paper but to memory, making him hers.

Her need to get it all down was warring with the need to touch him, to connect with his warm skin and hard muscle. Something about the way he held himself still for her, letting her command him to move or not move, lit her on fire. As if by drawing him she somehow had mastery of him as well.

She felt as if she knew every inch of him, knew him better than anyone, and yet drawing him left him seeming more mysterious than ever. She had no idea what he was thinking, though she sensed his coiling tension, his need to move. But she was the one in control, calling the shots. He wouldn’t move until she released him.

She was nearly done, but something made her draw it out. The broad outlines down, she sketched in details, shaded the hollow of his cheekbone, traced over the strong fingers.

Her breathing sped up along with her heart, and her hand faltered for an instant. The next time she looked him in the eye, he was watching her, his color high, his eyes fierce and knowing. The lines of his body had changed. A new tension had taken over, an alertness tightening his body as he strained to break the pose.

She set down her pencil and pad.He was all hers – to touch, kiss, make love to, to paint or draw. The thought of this gorgeous powerful man giving all that to her made her lightheaded with need and lust.

“Take off your shirt.”

The order was out of her mouth before she knew what she was going to say. She nearly took it back, but something was propelling her. She wanted this.

Ian blinked and for a second she thought he’d refuse, or make a demand of his own. Instead he stood up, his eyes never leaving hers as he pulled the tie over his head. She hardly breathed as he unbuttoned his shirt, slowly, taking his time. Following orders but making her sweat it. Finally, when the shirt hung loose and open, he let it fall from his shoulders.

She no longer drew him, and she already knew him by heart, but she took in every detail of his lean muscles. The shadows and ridges of his sculpted chest and the six-pack that hollowed out when she sucked him, the hip bones she held onto while she pleased him. And it was as glorious this time as it had been the first.

Amazing that she knew how to please him, knew what made him moan and lose control. Instead of days or weeks to enjoy him she had all the time in the world. The urgency still rose in her, but she wanted to savor it. He was hers like no other man had been, and confidence made her bolder, as if she’d won a battle and he was the spoils of war.

“Let me see the rest,” she said, her voice nearly a whisper. “But go slow.”

His breath hitched and his eyes burned. So slowly there was an air of insolence about it, he unbuckled his belt and tossed it on the bed. One eyebrow rose in silent challenge, but just when she thought he might rebel, his hands moved to the button of his pants.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tempt Me Sequel

 Keep Me

When Nina Valentine agreed to move in with Ian Sinclair, it seemed like all her dreams were coming true. But it’s not long before her doubts resurface and she’s once again wondering if she fits in his world. Alone in their apartment everything makes sense, but as soon as she lets the outside world in, it all starts to fall apart. People are starting to talk, and she doesn’t like what they’re saying. 

So there you have it, my lovely readers. You've been asking for a sequel to Tempt Me and I was suddenly ready to write it.  Keep Me will be released by April. Probably sooner, actually, but things tend to take longer than I think they will. I will give more details as I have a better idea of the release date. But know this: it's very, very sexy!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

And so another year comes to an end. I hope it was a good one for all of you, and that an even better one awaits.

That is the extent of my rumination on the New Year.

I'm a little out of sorts, like I usually am between books. I finished Anne Calhoune's novella Breath on Embers a few days ago and was blown away by how good she is. I suppose I ought to just go and buy everything else she's written that I haven't yet read, but I kind of like keeping those for days when I'm really desperate for something good. I'm not actually desperate yet.

Actually, I've been reading a collection of Nora Ephron's writings called The Most of Nora Ephron, and it's really great. Most of us know her as the screenwriter for "When Harry Met Sally" (one of my all-time fav movies) and "Sleepless in Seattle." But she did so much more that I wasn't aware of, a lot of journalism, but journalism that's written with her opinions and voice. The articles about the women's movement of the late sixties/early seventies are particularly fascinating. So I've been reading that in bits and pieces while searching for my next book to devour. No luck so far, just a couple of not-so-exciting samples read. I may just have to go back to an old favorite and re-read it. Which isn't such a bad way to fill the time. I often find new things to appreciate when I do that.

My husband and I have both been home together for four days straight, give or take some outings and errands, and we've been getting on each other's nerves a bit. I've been kind of twitchy and I feel bad about it. But we still come together when it counts, like when it's time to watch TV. We recently discovered "Friday Night Lights," a show that went off the air in 2011. The amazing thing is that it's all about football and yet not really about football at all. It's just a beautiful, wonderfully written show and I want everyone to watch it. In fact, it's a great lesson in good writing, because (at least in the first season, which is all I've seen so far) all the drama comes out of the characters' experiences and feels real and authentic. It's people dealing with life and it's not over the top or more dramatic than it needs to be, just dramatic in the best sense of the word. It's also charming and really funny. It keeps me riveted. It doesn't hurt that Kyle Chandler is a hottie and there are a bunch of hot football players. My husband loves Connie Britton, who plays the coach's wife, and I love her too, so I don't mind. There's something for everyone.

Anyhoo, that's what I've been into since I last posted. That, and writing. I'll tell more about how that's going another time. ; )

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make it Deep

There are many types of romances out there for us to read, but I'm just recently realizing the main thing that sets a romance apart for me. Good sex scenes are part of it, a big part of it, but good sex scenes grow out of emotional depth. That depth is what I want in a book, even one that's supposed to be sexy and escapist.

By emotional depth I don't mean just the ups and downs and agonies of falling in love, which anyone can write in a surface way, but an understanding of the complexity of people's motivations. A romance author has to throw together two people who are perfect for each other but aren't able to come together until the end of the book. Doing that in a way that makes sense and doesn't get annoying and contrived isn't easy. You have to be a sort of amateur (or maybe armchair) psychologist.

It takes a mature writer to understand the contradictions people have in themselves and how those interact with another character's, how that creates conflict and tension. I want an author who can take me into the depths of people's dreams and fears in an authentic way. When they do this, the sex is great because great sex grows out of the passion, fears and desires the hero and heroine bring to it.

The last few books I've really loved have all had this, and they were by three of my favs: Anne Calhoune, Cara McKenna and Ruthie Knox. These lovely ladies write crazy sexy romances with interesting characters whose motivations make sense and don't change in the middle of the book (oh how I hate that).

Right now I'm reading an historical romance – Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas – that I didn't even know existed. I don't know how it's possible since I've been a fan of hers for years and always kept and eye out for her new ones, but there are actually several that I didn't know about. The amazing thing about Where Dreams Begin is that it will probably end up being a favorite. The hero and heroine are so likable and wonderful and the reasons keeping them apart make sense and are also layered in a way that feels real and difficult. Not all of this author's books have this same depth, and the ones that don't lose their tension partway through the book because of this. But when an author can sustain it, even after the h/h have sex, you have a winner.

I'm also psyched about this book because frankly, I have not been having an easy time finding historicals that I like. It's a genre I love, but I haven't fallen in love with one for quite a while. What I need is to discover an author who's been publishing a while so that I can lose myself in the dozens of titles she's already written. If anyone has suggestions, please send them to me!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Muse

A few weeks ago my husband and I stopped by his parents for a few hours, and while we were there his mom handed me a photo in an envelope and said,"Maybe this will inspire your next book."

I pulled it out, took a look at it, and yelled "Holy shit!" right in front of my in-laws. Then I stared at it some more. It was a picture of my husband, aged 26, during a triathlon. He had just come out of the water and was running towards his bike when a photographer took his picture. The crazy thing is he looked like a typical romance hero – dark hair, strong law, broad shoulders tapering to narrow hips. All ripped, lean muscle. It's insane.

Don't get me wrong. He's still in great shape, but this is him in peak physical condition, and it's something to behold. On the way home I kept taking the photo out and looking at it, and I did the same for the next couple of days, dazed with lust over this younger version of my husband.

We've only been married three years, only known each other a little over four years, and I've sometimes wished we'd met each other when we were younger. But the truth is, if we'd met when we were a lot longer, we might not have hit it off. Sure, I would have still had the bloom of youth and he would have looked like the cover of a romance novel, but we're very different in a lot of ways, and I think those differences would have been starker when we were younger.

So instead I count myself lucky that we found each other at all, and I've put the picture (now framed) on my desk where he can inspire me with his never-ending hotness.