Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hopping into the Author Blog Hop

This week's question is: Genres- What two do you think mix together best? 

I love mashing genres, the more the better! In my contemporary erotic romance, Wilderness Girl, I also mixed in a little humor to mix and mash a little more. :)

 Here's a snippet to whet your taste buds:

Dana scanned the stacks of camping gear piled on the shelves. People must be crazy to pay full price for this junk. But planning this trip had been the first time Sean had paid attention to her like he used to. He’d been so distracted these last two months. Working late, even going missing a couple of nights, leaving her waiting for calls that never came. When she asked later, explanations stumbled out in a short, stammered rush that left many of her questions unanswered. If going camping helped him focus on their relationship, well, she’d do whatever was needed.
A deep voice behind her reached inside her thoughts. “Can I help you with anything?”
She grinned. Sean must have circled back around. He liked it from behind, and lately doggy-style was their only position. She backed the cart up until she felt his heat–it seemed more intense than usual. Maybe tonight he would relax a little. He’d been so tense lately.
“Um, yeah, I might need a little help.” She reached behind and ran her hand up his thigh. Maybe she’d give him a taste of what, in particular, she had in mind. He kept pestering her to be more sexually adventurous. She slid her fingers to his crotch. Clicking each tooth of the zipper open, his sharp intake of breath made her smile.
The sight of Sean walking between aisles, looking in the opposite direction, made her freeze.
“Oh my God.” Her breath strangled in her throat and she whirled around.
Six feet of tanned muscle, wrapped in a faded black T-shirt and jean shorts loose on his hips. Eyes like wildfire burning in a sun-kissed face. Grinning like a fox.
“Well, don’t stop there. You have my full attention.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My first Teaser Tuesday

Here are two enticing lines from Emma Lai's His Ship, Her Fantasy:

“It would be nice if once, just once, a man would take care of me,” she muttered under her breath.

Maybe it was because she ignored the ship’s warnings and refused to stop her rant that it chose to knock some sense into her.

 Check out more Teaser Tuesdays entries!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Casting Call: The Bridge Between

While I wrote The Bridge Between, the story was most vivid in my mind, like a movie playing in my head. Yes, that happens much of the time. :) But particularly for this story, because it's set in my hometown of Lambertville, New Jersey. 

Though it's not a straight romance, it has a love story at its center. Actually, more than one. :)  The characters practically wrote the story themselves, and I merely took dictation. I love those kind of stories. :)  And who were these characters? 
Jessie Moore is the photojournalist whose life seems out of focus. 
She returns to Lambertville for the funeral of an old friend, and rekindles her affair with her first love, Billy Black. 
Claire Danes was always Jessie, in my mind.

And Billy Crudup was always Billy Black. I even named him Billy for that reason. :)
Who can resist Billy Crudup? Smart, sensitive, artistic, incredibly sexy, but oh so screwed up. Jessie can't help fall in love with him again. 

 I fell in love with him when I saw Almost Famous. :)  My sisters and I even went to NYC to see him on Broadway. Outside the stage door, we caught up with him, and he was nice enough to pose with me. (sigh) Do I look like I might lick his cheek? I think it occurred to me at the time. :)

Ahem. Back to the story. :) 
Billy heals Jessie's heart after her crushing breakup with Matt Cleary.

Ah, Matt could be no one else than Luke Wilson. I fell in love with Luke after watching The Family Stone. It's now one of my favorite holiday movies (though not just because of Luke, lol).
For a secondary character, political reporter Alec came through loud and clear too. Paul Bettany's suave, sophisticated and charming to a fault, just like Alec. 

Finally, Spencer Tipton, another of Jessie's suitors - rich, handsome, driven by success. Matt Damon seemed to embody all these things and more.

Here's the story blurb:
Once, Jessie Moore had inexhaustible energy for her art, but after this past year, her art – like her life – feels out of focus. Working at the fledgling Philly Times newspaper with reporter Matt Cleary proves draining after their breakup. When a longtime friend dies of AIDS, Jessie travels to her hometown of Lambertville, NJ. At the funeral, she reconnects with her first love, Billy Black, who becomes a bridge back to the safety of her old life, and also to the origins of her inspiration. But Billy’s more lost than Jessie. Too often, he drowns his worries in beer, threatening to drag her down too. After she rekindles their affair, Matt’s jealousy confuses her. Before she can truly give herself to anyone, Jessie must learn to be true to herself.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Bridge Between to release in April!

Woot! Nothing more exciting than release day! For the next few weeks, I'll be celebrating the April release of The Bridge Between, my mainstream/women's fiction novel.

It's especially dear to me because it's set in my hometown of Lambertville, NJ. Lambertville's a character in its own right, a media darling in real life. Articles about its art and antique shops have appeared in The New York Times, women's magazines, and The Travel Channel featured Mason's Bar in an episode. The fun thing about a mainstream is that it's not limited to one love story. :)

The unofficial blurb is:

Once, Jessie Moore had inexhaustible energy for her art, but after this past year, her art – like her life – feels out of focus. Working at the fledgling Philly Times newspaper with reporter Matt Cleary proves draining after their breakup. When a longtime friend dies of AIDS, Jessie travels to her hometown of Lambertville, NJ. At the funeral, she reconnects with her first love, Billy Black, who becomes a bridge back to the safety of her old life, and also to the origins of her inspiration. But Billy’s more lost than Jessie. Too often, he drowns his worries in beer, threatening to drag her down too. After she rekindles their affair, Matt’s jealousy confuses her. Before she can truly give herself to anyone, Jessie must learn to be true to herself.

I hope to have the blurb and excerpt finalized by next week. In the meantime, below are my six(ish) for this week. And thanks to everyone who's been stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm very grateful.

“ No. I definitely do not want you to go.” In a second, he was out of his chair, putting a CD on the boom box on the back doorstep. A mellow guitar tune melted the tension from the air. He held out his hand. “Let’s dance.”
With her hand in his, she was out of her chair and in his arms as if she’d swam to him.

If you'd like to see who starred in the video version playing in my head while I wrote, come back tomorrow!

Don't forget to visit Six Sentence Sunday to read the rest of this week's entries by amazing authors.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New perspective

I admit it, I have trouble letting go of a story. My inclination is to revise, revise, revise. And then revise some more. Even after a story's published, I want to tweak it here and there. But at some point, I know, it's better to cut 'em loose. :)

Still, a little hindsight's always a good thing. Which is why I like receiving suggestions from pubs after I submit. This past week I received a "good" rejection - it included notes on specific areas the editor asked me to punch up or make more clear. After a forehead slap, and me telling myself I should have thought of these things earlier, I made the revisions and like the story much better now. I have wonderful crit partners but really appreciate an editor's insight.

So, after resubmitting, now I wait again, but with much more confidence in the story. Fingers crossed! It never hurts.  :) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another chance to win an ereader!

Spring is Bustin' Out All Over - especially at The Long and Short Reviews! They'll be giving away your choice of an ereader (a color Nook or a Kindle), or a $150 gift certificate as part of the spring celebration. 

On April 8, I will be guest blogging there as part of the event, so I hope you'll stop by! Lots of other wonderful authors will be participating in the spring blogfest. The more you comment, the better your chances to win!

Watch for more info, coming soon... :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

New cover for Rock Bottom!

Woot! I am so excited for this release. Wish I didn't have to wait till June. :)

The amazing Renee Rocco of Lyrical Press created this wonderful cover for my contemporary romance novel, Rock Bottom. Isn't it great? The hero perfectly captures the essence of Jet Trently, my rock-n-roller looking for love on his reality dating show, Rock Bottom. He gets more than he bargained for when rock reporter Billie Prescott joins the crew to cover the show.

Here's a peek at the blurb:
For rocker Jet Trently, success means playing the same platinum-selling hits over and over. Philly rock journalist Billie Prescott thrives on covering the latest releases. When her editor sends her to Malibu to cover Jet’s reality dating show, Rock Bottom, her blog’s success keeps her trapped there. Her life’s at Rock Bottom too, until she hears Jet’s new songs. They touch her heart as his music did when she was 15. When Jet touches her heart as well, will the reality show ruin the real thing?

And an unofficial excerpt:
The cottage appeared tiny from the outside, but actually had two stories if the bedroom loft counted. A boomerang-shaped overstuffed sofa dominated the main floor, and cabinets topped with bookshelves lined either wall. In a small nook sat a ceramic-topped iron bistro table and two chairs.
As cozy as a beach getaway.
She swung her carryon bag atop the tufted ottoman. Turning to retrieve her suitcases, she stopped short.
Jet leaned against the doorway. If his presence had been palpable in the house, he overwhelmed this small space.
His lopsided smile appeared almost shy. “Need any help settling in?”
The personal touch. If he hoped to make it literal, he could forget it. Despite her resolve, she found him overwhelmingly distracting. She had trouble recalling what she’d planned to do.
Glancing around, she thought she’d be pretty pathetic if she claimed to need help. “Nope, I think I can find everything.”
Stepping inside, he closed the door and moved toward her slowly. Purposefully.
Her pulse quickening, she tensed, but couldn’t find her voice to ask what he wanted.
He touched the cabinet. “There’s a small fridge under here. I’ll have Cindy stock it for you.”
Nodding, she tucked her hair behind her ear. “Great. Thanks.” She felt sure he must hear her heart pounding. And think her an idiot. “It’s an adorable little place. You’re saving the magazine a bundle by letting me stay here.”
When he moved closer, his crystal blue eyes felt like a laser piercing her own.
To clear her head, she turned away. “It’s situated perfectly too. Right next to the house.” Could she possibly sound any more brainless?
She sensed him directly behind her. His soft tone made her muscles go fluid. Her eyes drifted shut, imagining his famous voice singing to her alone.
“If you look out your bedroom window, you can see into mine. Right over there.” His arm lifted beside her and pointed.
His warmth penetrated her skin. He smelled like ocean and musk. An impulse struck her to guide his arm around her, fit herself against him. Fill her senses with him.
Snapping to reality, she fumed at his flirting, but made her voice sweet as honey. “Oh, over there? I appreciate you telling me.” Smiling, she turned. “I’ll be sure to keep my curtains closed.”
Tensing, he straightened, and his nostrils flared.
Her muscles drew taut in response. You shouldn’t have made him mad--not the first day.
But his eyes crinkled at the corners, and he cocked his jaw and nodded. “Billie Prescott.” He said her name with a kind of wonder.
Not quite knowing what to make of it, she gave a giddy laugh. And wanted to die. “Jet Trently. We finally meet.” As though she’d been waiting. Or it had been prearranged. By whom? The universe?
To recover her composure, she went to her bag and pulled out her laptop. “Any internet connection in here?”
He flopped onto the sofa and extended his arms across the back. “Wireless, pretty much from everywhere.” With a kind of amused curiosity, he watched her. “We need to talk.”
Her mind blanked. The way he spoke sounded so intimate, as if he wanted to discuss their relationship. His gaze seared into her, and she had trouble remembering they had no relationship. “About what?”
His mouth curled into a smile. “The show. Don’t you want to interview me?”
She felt her face flush. He played a cat and mouse game. And he’d trapped her already.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Soul for Sale on Six Sentence Sunday

 Thanks to all for your comments last week! It's so gratifying to hear positive comments. I truly appreciate it.

This week is the last of four 2011 EPIC finalists, One Soul for Sale. In this scene, Madelyn has just sold her soul on uBuy, and meets with the mysterious man who purchased it, who'd given her a task to complete that day. Feeling that her soul hung in the balance, Madelyn completed the task, but not without cost.

When he walks toward her, smiling as he sits across from her, she finds his perfection a tad irritating. His teeth are too dazzling white, his black clothing too obvious in their wannabe mysteriousness. She wants to reach over and tousle his hair, but he’d probably look even better that way, so she rejects the notion. 

As he reaches for her hand across the tabletop, she’s resolved not to be deterred by his many charms. “I had a very interesting day today. But you know that – you were there.”

Don't forget to visit Six Sentence Sunday to check out all the amazing entries this week!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Pat's Day

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way home.

Slainte! Here's to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A toast to Irish authors

St. Pat’s Day is a great time to remember the many wonderful Irish writers. Too many to list at once, but here are a few of the more famous:

Abraham “Bram” Stoker’s Dracula was trashed by critics as fantastic nonsense. I just read Dracula last year for the first time to know what started the vamp trend. Written in multiple POV, the story builds suspense in an unusual way. I admit the ending disappointed me a bit, but only because these days, the more fantastic the story, the more celebrated it is.
Notably, the original 541-page Dracula manuscript was believed to have been lost for many years. During the early 1980s, it was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania and included many corrections and the handwritten title THE UN-DEAD. It makes me want to go out and search other barns in the Commonwealth.

Frank McCourt grew up in poverty in Ireland, but turned ashes into gold with Angela’s Ashes, his memoir. It earned him a Pulitzer as well.
James Joyce is a model of persistence for authors. After 22 rejections, Dubliners finally published, but in its first year, sold fewer than 400 copies, 120 of those to himself (sound familiar? lol) Joyce never gave up. He went on to not only define the Modernist novel, but in the early 20th century, he helped define his native Dublin, where his characters and stories found life.

After Dubliners came A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Praised as a Modernist masterpiece, Ulysses uses a stream of conscoiusness technique to follow Leopold Bloom through an ordinary Dublin day. He layered his prose with puns, parodies, allusions and humor. In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
So next time you’re tempted to give up, remember James Joyce.

Jonathan Swift first aspired to be a poet, but found little success. He later became a master satirist. Though considered a children’s story, Gulliver's Travels combines humor and philosophy, and has never been out of print since first published in 1726. Quite a feat!

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was as well known for his biting wit as for his writing. After writing in different genres throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the tragedy of his imprisonment, followed by his early death at age 46, destitute in prison.

William Butler Yeats is one of my favorite poets. Yeats’ works incorporate Irish mythology, history, mysticism and spiritualism. Writing in traditional form when most poets had turned Modernist, Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and a founding member of the Abbey Theatre. In 1923, Yeats was the first Irishman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature for "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation."

There are plenty more Irish authors to celebrate. So when you’re raising a toast with your green beer this St. Pat’s Day, send up a cheer for them all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't forget to check the Author Spotlights page!

Every Sunday, a new author will be featured for the week. Just click on the Author Spotlights tab above.

This week, Robert Appleton's here discussing his latest steampunk release, The Mysterious Lady Law.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Going into the wilderness for Six Sentence Sunday

Thanks to everyone who visited last week. Your comments mean so much to me! Thank you.

This week, I'm taking you into the wild with my 2011 EPIC finalist, Wilderness Girl. I'm sad none received an award, but still proud they finaled.

This is the very beginning of the story, when Dana goes to Wilderness Outfitters with her boyfriend Sean. Their relationship's been rocky, and she hopes giving in to a camping trip will heat it back up. She thinks he's snuck up behind her in the store, and decides to get a little playful, and is unzipping him when she catches sight of Sean crossing through the main aisle.

“Oh my God.” Her breath strangled in her throat and she whirled around.
Six feet of tanned muscle, wrapped in a faded black T-shirt and jean shorts loose on his hips. Eyes like wildfire burning in a sun-kissed face. Grinning like a fox.
“Well, don’t stop there. You have my full attention.”

You can view the trailer, read reviews, the blurb and excerpt for Wilderness Girl here.

And don't forget to visit the Six Sentence Sunday main site to read wonderful entries by other talented authors. Thanks again for stopping by!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Twitter tips

Sorry I've been absent this week. I'd intended to be physically absent and attend the EPIC conference, but, as sometimes happens, real life intervened. So I want to wish all the EPIC finalists good luck, and have a great time in Williamsburg.

Real life aside, I wanted to pass along this link - it contains some very useful tips on how to use Twitter, for those authors like me who need someone to hold their hands through the process. Tweet on!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dancing with the Devil, dark paranormal with erotic/romantic elements

Dancing with the Devil
Available for Kindle
and on Smashwords

Lily MacInnis has the luck of the Irish – against her. All her life, she never could catch a break. But now, something’s about to catch her, and dump her suitcase of secrets on the floor. Some secrets, even Lily hadn’t known. Like her father’s an angel, and her mother escaped from Hell. Literally. And now Hades and Persephone – her grandparents – want her to return to the Underworld. Lily is The Destined One, promised to Zeveriah, Archduke of Section Six, and Hades’ up and coming CFO.
Not in Lily’s plans – she’s fallen for Bodie, the Ruling Angel of the Sixth Heaven.
Bodie can’t let Lily fulfill that destiny. But will Bodie risk losing everything to keep his promise to ensure Lily stays safe?
Part goddess, part angel, part demon, can Lily summon the powers she never knew she had to free herself and make her own destiny?

Dancing With the Devil is a fun, spunky romance with a devilish side. Lily gives a different perspectiveson everything she sees in her life and when she learns who her family is she knows that family is important no matter how evil they can sometimes be. Everyone has a bit of good and evil in them, and most lean more towards one than the other. If you are looking for an entertaining feel-good story with some steam added to the mix, Dancing With the Devil is a great romance to add to your to be read list.
Sizzling Hot Book Reviews - 4 hearts

Cate Masters sure knows how to weave a myth to life. Heaven and hell left me grinning more than once at the clever setting. The details based on Greek myths will please any history buff. The powerful romance will satisfy any one who loves a great love story. Suspense readers have to enjoy the spin on a Harley, as well as flaming hot rides beneath a hideous yet curiously likeable demon. And the Devil! Well, you'll just have to read to learn how interesting that dude is.
Arlene Webb, author - 5 stars

Casting Call - Who would Cate cast in these roles? Click here to find out!

What elements helped make up this story? Find out here.

What had he done? By all that was sacred, Bodie knew better than to lie with her. Since the first night he’d spoken to her, he’d had trouble restraining himself. Her every movement, every word, seared into him at his greatest depth, filled him with yearning for something forbidden.
Her lips moving against his unleashed emotions that had stayed dormant for millennia. He was in it, deep. Already he spiraled out of control, and he hadn’t allowed himself to move, not even a finger. Not a slide of his lips, not a slip of his tongue into what must be a warm, tantalizing place. Once he did, that one tiny step would trigger an avalanche of desire, already building with volcano force.
To clear such thoughts from his mind, he turned his head to break away. Never should have closed his eyes; it only intensified the tactile senses. The fluttering of her breath as she followed, her kisses now moving up his neck, her fingers splayed lightly against his cheek as her mouth found the edge of his mouth.
“I can’t, Lily,” he rasped.
Her knee grazed his thigh as she straddled him. “Are you sure?”
A shudder wracked his body, and he clenched the cushions to keep from reaching for her. “I don’t mean it’s a physical impossibility. And I’d love to, believe me. But it’s not exactly condoned by my superiors.”
She sat up. “They’re not here. They can’t see us, can they?”
He risked a look at her. A mistake. Tawny hair framed her heart-shaped face in tumbling waves. He locked the muscles in his rising arm and forced it down before he could touch her.
A teasing smile lit her face. He hadn’t needed to answer her. She lifted the bottom of her shirt up and over her head, revealing a black lace bra, lush dark peach rosettes pebbled beneath.
Her warm hand closed around his, and drew it upward to press against her breast and hold it there.
Everything in him screamed No! and Yes! at the same time. With an animal sound, his torso rushed up to meet hers. Somehow he stayed his desire. Lips barely brushing hers, he drew back enough that her breath flowed into his mouth as he spoke. “They’ll reassign me, Lily. I’d love to make love to you. I’ve wanted to for longer than you know. But I don’t want one night to have to last an eternity as a memory. We’d have tonight. Then I’d never see you again. Is that what you want? Tell me now. Quickly.”
Sadness tightened her lips. “No.”
As she curled into him, her muffled words soothed the tension threatening to burst through his skin. “I want to be with you, Bodie. Hold me.”
His body quivered, whether from denial or relief, he couldn’t say. He relaxed into her embrace and closed his eyes. “Always.” If only he could keep her here, safe from their reach.
But how safe was she from him?
He couldn’t let his feelings for her compromise the mission.
With a sharp intake of breath, she pulled away. “I’m not like this. I don’t seduce men. I haven’t even…” Hair hid her face when she dipped her chin to her chest.
He tilted his head to catch her attention. “I know.” It won him a tentative glance. “You don’t need to explain, Lily. Ever.” He knew she’d let men touch her, a few with whom she’d been infatuated, maybe even loved. None had taken her virginity.
Yet she’d offered it to him. Tenderness washed over him as she searched his face, wary and confused. Distrustful. How terrible for her, not to believe herself worthy of complete love and devotion. The same worship any goddess deserved. Someday he’d prove to her she was a true goddess.