Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Patricia Pellicane

Did you check out the featured book yesterday? I'm very lucky to have the author of that book (and many more) visiting my blog. Patricia Pellicane has a long and fruitful history with the publishing business, and I'm really pleased to have her with me today. Without further ado, the interview:

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

If a reader only knew how boring almost all writers were, Shaking my head here. It would ruin the mystic. So let’s not tell them. Unless you’re Jackie Collins, well, even she doesn’t have constantly exciting days. If writers had constant excitement, when would they write? Here’s my typical day. I sleep late cause I work until 11:00 and then watch some of the shows I taped till around 3 or 4 in the morning. Hate commercials. First thing, I work for an hour or two promoting on Yahoo and gmail. Work on my website, etc. I write from about 1 to 4. I make dinner. Eat and go back to writing until anywhere from 8 to 11, depending on how it’s going that day. Sorry for the disappointment.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

I get out of bed stagger to the bathroom, brush my teeth, then make a strong cup of tea and I’m ready.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

Everyday I write five pages. Unless I’m doing rewrite, edits whatever. If I’m working on a book it’s five pages or more. It doesn’t matter if it takes me two hours, which it sometimes does or ten. If I wait for a burst of inspiration, I’ll never get anything done. Five pages, every day.

That's a really good method (and good advice to new writers too!). What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

From the beginning I realized writing was only part of the package. When you work for a print company there are constant meetings/lunches, cocktail parties, sometimes at really exclusive restaurants, museums, or mansions, and small one day conferences, a half dozen times a year. Mostly in New York City. Very up close and personal. You see and get to know your agent, publisher, editors, reviewers, distributors, art people, etc.

In ebooks, it’s constant self promotion and much more lonely. Everything is done by email, you see no one, you know no one personally. I miss most of all getting together with other writers. I have a few friend and we do that a few times a year. By then I’m desperate to talk about writing.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m finishing up the last book for my Resplendence contract. More than halfway finished plus I’m doing rewrites for the first book, Heat Flash, due out on March 30th.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

M/F Romance. I’m a sucker for a happy ever after endings.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

Lately I haven’t read much, been working too hard, plus I’ve started reviewing for A History of Romance. Doesn’t leave me much time. But when I can I like to read mysteries. James Patterson is my favorite, crisp clear writing, very entertaining and Sandra Brown, I just love her stuff.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

Kathleen Woodiwiss was my favorite. I read Shanna about ten or twelve times, back in the day. When I started writing, I strove to write like her and was delighted to be compared to her when I wrote Deceptions of the Heart.

I love to read Bronte and Austen. They are so excellent.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

I’m astonished when I hear writers say they knew they were going to be a writer when they were eight. I think oh my God, what happened to me? When I was eight, I was playing, running bases, racing my bike, building forts and the kids down the block were teaching me how to curse. We would practice starting from…all right forget about that.

I got married a year out of high school and started, after another year, having babies. By the time I was 25 I had my first five. Two more came along when I was in my thirties. So you can understand after an exhausting day of chasing little kids, cooking, cleaning, etc, why I needed a break. Romance novels were just the thing. I loved them madly. And most of them were wonderful. Except one. I can’t remember which one it was but when I finished it, I thought, even I could do better than that. Arrogant enough for you? I think most writers are pretty arrogant to imagine they are good enough to get published. And it’s a good thing they are, or no one would ever be published.

Anyway I wrote a novel. Never did get it published but thick-head that I am I refused to take no for an answer. Twenty-six rejections on that one. Never did sell it. My second novel got published. I was thirty five, I think. A later bloomer.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

I’ve have twenty-two books published for Pocket, Zebra and Avon. So far this year I have eleven ebooks finished or almost finished and will be out this year plus I’ve promised another to Total-e bound by mid May. That makes twelve. I probably will get a few more in before the end of this year.

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

This is very boring, but it’s the truth. Almost all my ideas come from washing dishes. Nothing is so mind numbing as cleaning a kitchen and my mind constantly wanders as I put the furniture polish in the fridge and the cold cuts in my husband’s underwear drawer.

This month I have three books out. The Homecoming released by Freya’s Bower on March 2, a hot sexy little piece. Happy Birthday Baby released by Total-e-bound March 15th my favorite kind of book, hot, sexy with a touch of humor, and Heat Flash, March 30th, released by Resplendence, a sizzling love story.

What’s your writing space like?

My house is oddly shaped. My living room is twenty-six feet long, but only a little more than half of it is used while the rest is…anyway I took that half for my office. All offspring are married and living in towns near me, but my house is empty during the day. So even though it’s not private it’s perfect for me. (See pictures above of Patricia's desk and the two shelves behind it.)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I wish I could say jetting off to Paris, but not. If I’m not writing, I’m cooking, trying new recipes, visiting with my kids. (I should clean my house but that would mean starting another story, wouldn’t it and I still can’t remember where I put the bleach I use to clean my cutting board, or the small broom. I use for...)

Back to the question. I get such a kick out of my grandchildren. They keep me laughing especially when I ask my kids payback is a bitch, isn’t it?

I like very simple things like going to Amish country in the summer. Definitely a tourist trap. Still I enjoy it. I love to antique shop. I like visiting big mansions in the south. Anything civil war, old forts, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, etc. I can’t get enough history.

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you
tell us something unusual that you’ve done or
had happen to you?

Nothing unusual happens to me. Swear it. I’m so boring what could happen? Except there was that sex tape of course, but I already put that in the author spotlight for TEB April newsletter.

So what else…… Oh you know what I did at work? Right before I left the job, I was working for our friendly electric company. I always say friendly electric company because I love an oxymoron.

Now that I think of it, a man called on a co call. That’s carbon monoxide leak. His detector was going off. I called down for gas to respond and he refused to go. Said the guy’s always calling. So I told my supervisor. She insisted he had to go. He went. And the reading showed the guy would have been dead inside an hour or so. So I helped to save a man’s life. That was exciting.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?

Casablanca. God I loved it. He loved her so much he hated her. Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler, not too shabby. The Notebook. I can cry just thinking about it. It was so touching. As you can see my tastes run toward romance. And not one of these had a happily ever after ending.

There was a joke going around when I was new to the business about what a romance editor would do to Margaret Mitchell’s book. How she would insist on a happy ending. How she would be adamant that Mr. Butler just had to be nicer and oh dear he’d never curse in front of his lady. The truth of the matter seems to be many of the not so happy ever after endings are the one’s that remain with us.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I don’t know how many readers I have, but I’d say I hope you like what I’ve done so far. My next story is going to be about a witch. Haven’t figured out how or what, need to do the dishes again, I guess. I’m looking forward to writing it. Hope my readers are as well.

Last questions…
Coke or Pepsi? Diet cream soda. I drink it all the time.

Summer or Winter? Oh Summer please. Family barbecues at least twice a month. Block parties. Spring and fall are actually the best. The whole tribe, or most of us anyway get together to go pumpkin and apple picking in the fall. I love the colors. Winter is just a time for bears and people to hibernate.

Cat person or Dog person? I like animals. Really I do, but not now. When the kids were growing up we had dogs. I hate to even think about the work that’s involved with kids and animals. After they got married, the kids not the dogs, the last animal left with my last daughter. After that I went with just a cat. He died when he was fifteen and I haven’t gotten another. When I’m old, if I ever get old, I’d like a Yorkie.

Bronte or Austen? Love them both. I mean I really love them, both. If I had to chose probably Austen. Oh, Mr. Darcy.

Star Trek or Star Wars? I like them both but not that much. I equate them to space cowboys. Not really into sci-fi.

McDonalds or Burger King? Oh a whopper, definitely. That just made me hungry.

Patricia, thanks for being here today! Readers, you can find Patricia at:

www.patriciapellicane.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Featured Book - Heat Flash

Hey everyone! I'm thrilled to feature an awesome book by Patricia Pellicane this week. It's her first release at Resplendence Publishing (available today!) but not even close to her first release. You can check out her other works HERE.

BLURB:

Jack Knight has hired out his gun before, but never had a job come to mean so much. Lavinnia Carson was a beauty. He knew that at first glance, but he’d known his share of beautiful women. What was it about this lady that proved her different, that clouded his mind and caused him a constant ache to join her in her bed? One taste should have satisfied, only it hadn’t.

Jack soon came to realize she was the only woman for him. Now all he had to do was convince her she felt much the same about him and do it before the madman who killed her husband returned to finish what he’d started.

EXCERPT:

Vinnie never considered her nakedness as she reached for her gun. She grunted at nearly crushing weight of him as he’d slammed into her, spun her around and fell full length upon her. Heavier than a boulder, he squashed her almost flat. She couldn’t breathe.

This monster was going to kill her, and she couldn’t manage enough of a breath to call for help. Damn this brute to hell. Maybe she was going to die, but she wasn’t going to leave this world without a fight. She swung at him, her hand curled into fists. She grunted in pain as he blocked her swing just before she would have contacted with the side of his face. A second later, both her hands were pulled tightly over her head. She tried to kick him; she bucked her hips beneath him in an effort to throw him off. Nothing. He was heavier than the earth and equally as hard. He had to know she couldn’t breathe; her strangled gasps and soft desperate grunts were enough to tell even the most simple-minded that she was in serious trouble. But did he care? Obviously, he did not.

Suddenly, he pulled away, just enough to allow her a lungful of air. Their gazes locked for an instant before his mouth came crashing over hers and what would have been a scream became little more than a moan, lost in the warmth of his mouth.

She gasped in his breath. It didn’t matter. Her starving lungs cared not. Her heart pounded wildly. It didn’t matter that he tasted of clean skin, of fresh air, of warm coffee, a distant hint of whiskey, of man. It wasn’t that he tasted good, of course. A man who broke in couldn’t possible taste good, could he? Didn’t one have to love a man, or at the very least like him, before enjoying his kisses. Well, of course, she wasn’t enjoying his kisses. Good grief! Besides, they both knew he wasn’t really kissing her. The only reason his mouth covered hers was to quiet her screams. And if he was more gentle than most, it mattered not in the least. Liking this man or his kisses bore no consideration. She didn’t know him, therefore, she couldn’t honestly say she liked anything about him. Still, she knew one thing. She most certainly did not like his kisses.

Then why wasn’t she crying, begging him to stop, pleading for mercy?

She did none of those things. Even her struggles had ceased. Why? Because there was no need. In truth, he posed no real threat. He wasn’t the madman who had killed her husband. He was the man from the bathhouse and there was nothing threatening in his kiss.

She’d stop him in a minute. All she had to do was wait for him to lift his head, to gasp for a breath of air and she’d scream the house down. She wouldn’t have to wait much longer. She was sure she wouldn’t. Any minute now, she’d get that chance.

In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt if she relaxed. After all, she gained nothing but aching muscles if she remained tense. Once he noticed she was calmer, he’d raise his head. She was positive he would.

Only he didn’t.

The oddest thing happened. Even as she swore it to be impossible, Vinnie’s breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded. Granted it was already pounding with fright, but this…this was something different. It pounded still, and she couldn’t honestly say why.

She forgot her insistence that it couldn’t be so and silently admitted he did taste good. Odd, despite her wild and extreme emotions, she had the sense to realize this man certainly knew what to do with his mouth, especially when that mouth touched a woman’s.

Vinnie couldn’t remember ever being kissed like this. It was more than lips, more than a brush of his tongue. It went deeper than that, far more intimate. It tantalized as it involved all of him, his touch, his taste, his breath, just the right amount of pressure. It was all of that yet nothing she could name.

“More,” he muttered. “Give me more.”

She frowned as she listened to his softly uttered demand and frowned again as she realized she was unable to maintain any resistance, any thought beyond the taste of his mouth and the sensations that mouth caused her. Something was wrong, yet she couldn’t, for the moment, understand what that might be. She forgot to be afraid, forgot to fight and forgot to think. And none of it mattered. Nothing mattered but the feel of him, the delicious roughness of his clothes against her nakedness, the smell of him and the taste of his mouth. Nothing was more important than her sudden need for more.

Whew! Where's my fan? You can get this book, the first in the Arizona Heat series, at Resplendence Publishing.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Minute Fiction - Just A Kiss

Welcome to Monday Minute Fiction. Join me every Monday for a bit of quick fiction. Then check out the bottom of my post for other authors doing Monday Minute Fiction too!

Just a Kiss
(this work belongs to Brynn Paulin and cannot be duplicated without permission)

“You can’t,” Rose murmured as she held back Liam—twenty-two year old Liam, her son’s best friend. He was a few years older than Steven, but that age disparity didn’t really matter. At least, not like the age disparity between herself and this much younger man. It didn’t matter how she felt about him—feelings she’d thought hidden until this moment. She had to consider her son.

“Rose, please,” he murmured. “It’s just a kiss.”

She looked into his dark brown eyes and saw something there that terrified her. Determination, desire…commitment. And she knew he was lying. It wouldn’t be just a kiss. It would be a beginning.

“No,” she said, shaking her head.

With a sigh, he stepped away. “Is he here?”

“Steven? No. He drove over to the college to meet with his adviser and set up next semester’s classes—”

“Then he wouldn’t know. It’s just between us anyway.”

“For how long? Just a kiss and then what?” A tremble stole through her as he caught her hand and pressed his lips to the inside of her wrist. She held her breath to keep him from hearing its raggedness. Slowly, she let it out. She couldn’t let this happen. She was twelve years older than him, for God’s sake. She had to be mature and keep her head. “A kiss is never just a kiss.”

His thumb brushed over the spot he’d just kissed, raising goose bumps along her arm.

“The truth is I want you,” he said. “And Steve knows it.”

“You talked to him about it?” she exclaimed.

“Only after he asked me point blank.”

“Great.”

“He thinks it’s pretty cool.”

“Lovely.” Her child, her dear darling child, her high school mistake who'd turned out to be not so much a mistake, was planning her love life. With his best friend who was twelve years her junior. Should she be thankful he wasn’t the same age as her son?

“You’re freaked out,” he observed.

“A little. I can’t believe you two.”

“That doesn’t stop me from wanting you or you from being interested in me.”

Admit nothing! A cartoon-like voice screamed in her head. Okay, she was losing it. She forced back a groan as his teeth sank into his bottom lip and his head tilted slightly forward as he waited, his eyes imploring her to say yes.

“I need to get back to work,” she said turning back toward her home office.

Before she could react, Liam, caught her wrist and pulled her flat against his chest. His mouth was on hers, demanding her response. Unable to hold back this time, Rose groaned and felt herself involuntarily soften against him. There was nothing she could do to stop her body’s response to something she’d wanted.

His tongue slipped between her lips. Helpless to her response, she met him, and he growled possessively. His body pressed hers to the wall, his hands holding her tight to him while her fingers curled into his wide chest. As his woodsy scent invaded her senses, filling her with him and enflaming her desires, she gave up her battle, miniscule as it had been, and admitted defeat—to him. To her traitorous body.

Minutes later, he lifted his mouth, leaving her rattled. She couldn’t want him this way. This wasn’t happening.

“Steve will understand,” he said, his eyes soft with what was passing between them.

Steven was probably the only one who’d understand…

“I’ll pick you up for dinner at six. Rose…” he prompted when she didn’t say anything. “It will be okay.”

Maybe it would. Maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe she was insane to even entertain the idea of spending time with him. “Will it?”

“Get to know me…”

“Kiss me again,” she said, conceding to the need inside her. And as his head lowered, his lips then brushing hers, she knew one thing. She’d been right. A kiss was never just a kiss.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return next week. Leave me a comment!!! Also participating in Monday Minute Fiction:

Ashley Ladd and her story, Soul Mates.
Simone Anderson and her story, For Life.

Check them out!!!!

If you're an author who'd like to participate in Monday Minute Fiction, please contact me and I'll hook you up for next week and on.

I pleased to share an outstanding review for Punished that I received over the weekend. I got a Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews!!! Normally, I'd only post part but I couldn't pick just a bit.

This short story nearly burned a hole in my screen as I read it. Natalia and Ethan have amazing chemistry from the very first exchange of dialogue between them.


Ordinarily I'm wary of D/s relationships in fiction, since half the time it doesn't seem to be an equal partnership or its written in a half-hearted sort of way, but Paulin writes the relationship perfectly. She shows us what both sides get from such a relationship and the rewards while also making it abundantly clear that its not the life for every single person. She doesn't condemn or encourage, merely illustrates how it could be for the right personality types.


For as short as the story was, there was a surprising amount of depth. Natalia and Ethan knew each other before the story began, but the astonishment when they both find out the other's activities was amusing. And then its full tilt from there on out. Natalia makes a comment that she was like a "nymphomaniac on speed", which is probably an accurate description. Up until a work related issue comes up, separating them, the two of them can't get enough of each other.


Natalia's reaction to being away from Ethan also didn't seem to be contrived or just there for tension either. They had very little time together and she's new to the whole culture of being a submissive, so she had to work out something on her own. Ethan's reaction wasn't over the top either.


Basically this is a hot, thrilling short story that anyone even slightly interested in BDSM should look into.


Thanks Night Owl and Lexile!!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Open Letter

(Warning to my readers: this note might get ugly.)

Dear Mr. Ego,

I can’t tell you how unequivocally thrilled I am that you don’t call your books “romance”. Frankly, I’m almost offended that you call them fiction because that puts them a little too close to what I write. Oh but wait. I write “love stories”—you know…those things you claim to write. You do not. You show us all your butterfly exhibit then rip off the wings.

Is there a point? Is there some sad reason you feel you need to inject the world with such sorrow? Does it make you happy somehow? What a tragedy. But you like that so I guess that’s cool.

And can I say, how kind you are to do Hollywood a favor and write both screenplays and novels. Oh my gosh! How benevolent of you! I’m guessing money has nothing to do with it. At all. I’m so thrilled as well that you’ve helped me to save boatloads of money on movies, theatre snacks, and DVDs.

I’m not even going to address your audacity at comparing yourself to the Greek greats, Jane Austen and Hemingway. The ego speaks for itself. So does your claim that no one else can do what you do. Perhaps—oh I'm going out on a limb—no one else wants to. Hmm...

And perhaps, Mr. Sparks—oops, did I use your name? My bad—you should consider changing up your formula before someone figures out you’re just writing the same book over and over. Seriously, the tragedies that keep showing up at the endings are a dead giveaway.

And before you start disparaging romances again, you might want to consider that we have over 50% of the market share and that’s helping you. I’m sure you don’t mind. So don’t kick that sand at us too hard. We might throw a little back.

~~Brynn

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Jude Mason

Good morning everyone!! I'm excited to have the very talented and prolific Jude Mason visiting my blog today! This was a fun interview and be sure to check out the new questions and leave Jude a comment to let her know you stopped by! ~~Brynn

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

This is going to be so dull. I get up around 8 AM, do the bathroom routine and have a cup of coffee while going through email. Breakfast is oatmeal with a bit of fruit and then I’m off to writing/editing or whatever I’m working on at the time. I work until I’m hungry, stop for lunch, then I’m back at it again.

Sometime during the morning, I’ll normally stop and chat via messenger to Jenna Byrnes, my writing partner, and I may stop for a little while to yack with hubby, but writing is my job and I love it, so that’s where you’ll find me most weekdays at least.

After dinner, I spend time with hubby, family, visit friends and such. I feed my deer and the raccoons that show up and maybe watch a little TV.

That’s about it. Or, I could make up a story for you all. *G*

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Nope, the only think I do tend to have is coffee at hand. Going over emails, talking to Jenna, that pretty much gets me into the mood. I will read a few pages of what I wrote the day before, just to bring myself up to speed, but that’s it.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

Yes, all of the above at different times. LOL! Seriously, I’ve been writing for a very long time and I’ve done all of them. I like to think I’m fairly prolific, but I’m not a fast writer. If I reach 3000 words in a day, that’s a very good day for me.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting work in this industry?

Only one? Gulp! Several years ago I was published by a small British e-Pub, which has now gone by the way of many small e-Pubs. The owner and I got to be friends. We got talking one day and he let loose with a rant that I’ll remember forever, I’m sure. He said he got dozens of submissions a day, but very often deleted them unread. The reason, the authors didn’t follow guidelines.

He had manuscripts sent to him that were in a genre he didn’t publish, or without contact information, some he couldn’t even open because they’d been sent in some off the wall format, others were formatted so outrageously he couldn’t read them. The list was incredible.

I learned then to make sure to follow the guidelines to a T if at all possible. If I can’t find the guides or contact information to get it, I’ll make sure I format my submission so the editor knows I’m easily accessible and very willing to format the work in whatever way he or she likes. If a publisher is looking for science fiction/BDSM/with aliens instead of humans, I’d never dream of sending them a western.

My publisher friend told me that well over 50% of the submissions he got were deleted unread. 50%! That’s huge. So, if you simply format correctly, send the right genre, you’re way more likely to get accepted. Oh, and never send a rough draft.

What are you working on now?

Oh a brand new serial my publisher at Total E-Bound wants. A mostly gay, futuristic, Mad Max type Doc/medicine man who can’t help being a good guy, even when it gets him into trouble.

When I approached my publisher with the idea of doing an apocalyptic type series, she was thrilled with the idea. I sent her two rough scenarios for the first two books and she wanted me to get started right away. So, I’ve got Daybreak 2121: Doc in the works. Daybreak 2121: Jazz will be the next book and from there, it’s anyone’s guess.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

At the moment, I’m writing mostly m/m and love it with a passion, but I also adore femdom erotica.

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

I was raised on science fiction, and still read it when I have time. Heinlein, McCaffrey, Bradley, and dozens more are all very familiar names.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

Jenna Byrnes! I know, I write with this woman and get to see all the rough drafts and listen to her doubts about herself, but, her stories, her characters are awesome.

M. Christian. He’s amazing. His characters are the everyday kind of guys or gals who have extraordinary things happen. Even his more ‘off the wall’ works, the characters are people you really can get into.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

This is a question I’ve tried to answer before. I never decided to write. I am a writer. The question doesn’t have any meaning. It would be like me asking you when you decided to take up breathing. There was no ‘call’, no sudden realization, I have always told stories.

As for when I first got published, that’s different. I never dreamed anyone would actually be interested in the stories I wrote until I got on the internet. That was in about 1997-98. It took me about a year to figure out e-publishing and the ins and outs of it before I even attempted submitting something. In the end, I was encouraged to send something to that publisher guy I told you about. He returned it to me, with a bunch of editing suggestions. I worked at them, resubbed it and bingo, I was published in 1999.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

It’s a whole lot easier to simply send you my backlist. Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve had stories in dozens of anthologies. Some are still around, some aren’t. I’ve had chapter books published on a variety of websites. E-books turned into print.

If you’re interested in checking this out, try here:
http://www.my-haven2001.com/Backlist/JudeMasonbacklist.pdf

It doesn’t list all of the books I’ve ever had published, but it’ll give you an idea.

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

The most recent publication is a short story of about 7ooo words I have at Silver Publications. Silver is a new house and one I wanted to test out, so the short story is my way of seeing how things go. So far, very good. The idea for this one came from a picture I saw of an old school hallway. I could picture Jonathan there and bingo, the story was born. Here’s the blurb for it:

Second Chance

Jonathan Drake, once hell raiser bad boy, returns to the institution where he was saved from a life of crime. This time he's there to ask for his son's admittance. A son who seemed bent on repeating Dad's mistakes.

Headmistress Catherine Bynder, turns out to be the daughter of a previous principle and remembers him with more than fondness. She's after more than school fees, and isn't afraid to go after him. What begins as an interview and application, soon turns into so much more.

Sparks fly between the two, but will too many unfulfilled years keep these two from their second chance?

What’s your writing space like?
Here's a picture.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a huge fan of wild animals and the outdoors. I live very close to the woods and beach and take advantage whenever possible. I also have deer and raccoons who come to visit most evenings so they’re my company when hubby’s busy with his photography. Add a couple of very busy grandsons and my life is very much filled up.

I’m all about ‘giving people something to talk about’. We all experience crazy things from time to time. Can you tell us something unusual that you’ve done or had happen to you?

Being the avid outdoors person I am, I’ve had a lot to do with fishing, hunting and managing wildlife in one way or another over the years. I’ve taught outdoor education and the laws of owning firearms in the province. I’ve also assisted in moving animals who have become endangered in one area to another. Sounds exciting, but in reality it’s a lot of very hard work. Learning about them was fascinating and I try to use what I’ve learned in my writing.

Tell us… What’s your favorite movie and why?
Honestly, I’m not a huge movie fan, but when I saw Avatar, I was in love. The entire movie had me on the edge of my seat.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

You are the most important part of this whole process. Without readers, the author is simply entertaining him/herself. The stories need to be read. I can’t thank the readers enough. I adore what I do, and can’t see myself ever not writing. Knowing the stories I create will find their way to a reader’s computer or e-reader, amazes me. Thank you for being out there.

Last questions… Coke or Pepsi? Coke, diet please

Summer or Winter? Yes, both have amazing elements, so I’m not even going to try to pick one

Cat person or Dog person? Cat, well except for Meg and she’s not really a dog.

Bronte or Austen? Brontë

Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Trek

Team Edward or Team Jacob? Uh, can I just say yes here, pullllleeeeze!

McDonalds or Burger King? Neither

Jude! Thanks for being here today. Readers, you can find Jude at:

Her website.
Her yahoo loop.
Her blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Featured Book - The Bargain

I'm truly happy to feature Desiree Holt's book, The Bargain, on my blog today. I'm fortunate enough to have read this fantastic book and I highly recommend it to all. It's available today at Resplendence Publishing.

BLURB:
Lara McKee's life came to a crashing halt the night her husband was killed in a carjacking and she lost their unborn child. Now she channels all her energy into her job as assistant to Cole Cassidy, sexy CEO of Alamo Construction. Cole's own life is a mess. A shotgun marriage based on a lie and the fiery death of his wife on the highway have left him with a child to raise that's a constant reminder of his first wife's lies and deceit. Both of them have written marriage out of their future.

But Cole desperately needs someone to mother the child and take charge of his personal life. When he proposes a marriage of convenience to Lara, who still yearns for motherhood, she shocks herself by accepting. And so these two people, carrying a van load of emotional baggage, begin to build a life together under almost impossible circumstances. Conflict builds over the child, whom Lara falls in love with at once and Cole ignores.

Beneath the daily conflict, love unexpectedly begins to grow. But at the moment they dare to explore their feelings, anger over the child erupts and the night turns into a disaster that nearly destroys the marriage. Slowly, bit by bit, they begin to re build their relationship, carefully nurturing these new feelings. But it takes another near-tragedy before they can finally get past the hurdles to complete happiness and truly become a family.

EXCERPT:

“That is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.” Jake Varner stared at Cole Cassidy sitting behind the massive, scarred desk, and eyed him with a critical look.

In the last year, Jake had watched his partner’s normal vitality slowly leach out of him. The fire in his eyes had been replaced by a constant look of torment and anguish, and the famous Cassidy manner had become abrupt rather than smooth. The two of them had built Alamo Construction into one of the top builders in south central Texas. Theirs was a long-standing friendship. But now Jake wondered if his friend and partner had completely taken leave of his senses.

“What’s asinine?” Sean, Cole’s younger brother, walked into the office. “What am I missing?”

“My partner’s screwy idea, that’s what.” Jake frowned, turning back to Cole. “I think you’re out of what passes for your mind. That sounds like the insane raving of a desperate man.”

“I am desperate.” Cole’s mouth tightened in a grim line. “Do you think I’d be thinking of this otherwise?”

Sean dropped into one of the chairs opposite the desk. “Will someone please tell me what the hell’s going on around here?”

“Your brother has decided the only way to fix the mess he’s made of his life is by asking Tara to marry him.”

Sean gawked. “Tara? Your secretary? Marry you? Are you nuts?”

Cole sat upright in his chair. “What? Am I so repulsive? Will she run away from me?”

“If she’s smart, she will.”

“I thought you said you were off marriage,” Jake reminded him. “Your first try at it didn’t win any prizes.”

Cole recoiled as if from a blow. The painful imprint of his late wife, Maggie, still lingered like a festering sore.

Regret flashed at once on Jake’s face. “Sorry about that. It was a stupid remark, and I apologize. But Christ, Cole…”

“I know you think I handled things badly with Maggie.” Cole’s face was stiff as a mask. “You would have acted differently, but I’m not you. I created a mess, I was responsible for it and I had to do what I thought was right.”

Creating a mess was a mild description of what had actually happened. On a long overdue vacation, he’d ignored the fact that his body didn’t metabolize alcohol, gotten himself royally drunk and screwed his brains out for a week. With a woman he’d let pick him up in the bar. He’d paid the price ten times over for the lost week of lust with a predatory female he’d let his dick coax him into taking to bed.

Disgusted with himself and his absence of control, he’d returned home and tried to wipe the whole thing from his mind. He considered himself lucky to climb out of the hell he’d allowed himself to fall into.

Until she’d come up pregnant.

Greedy and determined, Maggie Renfro had forced the marriage issue, and Cole was too honorable to walk away from her. Or the baby.

* * * *

The marriage had been a catastrophe from day one. That was the only description for it. That he managed to keep things together until the baby was born was a miracle in itself. But his first sight of Molly had made his heart open like a flower. Life was brighter, warmer and more joyful. Every day, he raced home from the office to spend time with her. When he held her in his arms, inhaled her special baby scent, touched his lips to the skin as soft as peaches, he could convince himself Maggie was a small price to pay for this kind of happiness.

He stood there now, cradling her in his arms and ignoring his half-drunk, raging wife—until a few vicious phrases penetrated his brain and shattered him completely.

“She’s not even yours, you arrogant bastard,” she taunted, angry that he’d lost his temper over her drinking binges. “Joke’s on you. I had a little problem, and there you were, rich, ripe and ready to be plucked. I knew the baby would get you.”

“Do you even know who the father is?”

Her answer devastated him.

“Don’t know, don’t care.” Her mouth twisted in a sneer. “I don’t even remember who all I slept with besides you. No telling whose genes are running around in your precious baby girl’s body.”

“Stop it. Stop it right now.” He shook with anger, afraid he would do her bodily harm.

She ran from the room, and he didn’t try to stop her. He fed the baby, changed her and put her to bed, staring down at her for a long time.

Hours later, he was roused from sleep by the policemen at his front door. Maggie was dead. She’d been drunk enough to crash her car into an overpass, and the gas tank had burst into flames. He’d hoped against hope the DNA test he’d insisted on at the time would prove Maggie’s words a lie, but the results left his heart with a wound that wouldn’t heal. So now here he was, with a child he both loved and hated. No one was more disgusted with his behavior than he was, but as the months went by, he couldn’t seem to get past the pain and betrayal.

* * * *

“I didn’t realize you and Tara were, um, you know….” Sean searched for the right word.

“What, dating?” Cole shook his head. “We’re not. But I’ve known her for two years.”

And she’s the first woman who’s made me hard, made me even think about sex, since Maggie drunkenly crashed her car and killed herself. How come I never notice before that just standing next to her makes my cock stand up and take notice?

“As your goddamned secretary,” Jake pointed out. ”That’s hardly a basis for marriage.”

Sean scratched behind his ear. “Okay. I feel as if I came in at the middle of a movie. Did I skip over the beginning?”

“Yeah,” Jake put it. “We both did. This moron can’t seem to get control of things at home, so he thought he’d make a bargain with Tara. Somehow he just expects her to say sure, she’d love to marry him, play mother to his child and fall into bed with him.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that.”

“Skip the falling into bed part,” Cole said. “Been there, done that. I don’t plan for sex to be any part of this marriage.”

Liar!

But he tamped down that thought at once.

“Excuse me?” Sean’s eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline.

“I’m proposing a business arrangement.” Cole sat forward and leaned his elbows on his desk. “A bargain, if you will. She’ll run my household, serve as my hostess and be a mother to that child. In return, she will have financial security for life.”

“No sex,” Jake repeated.

Cole slammed his hand on the desk. “I’m not looking for sex, for God’s sake. After the fiasco with Maggie, I don’t think I’ll ever take a woman to bed again. My body isn’t even interested.”

Liar!

“Jesus, Cole.” Sean shook his head. “What makes you think Tara will even do this? What if she’s already…you know…interested in someone? She’s liable to have you committed instead. Besides, this company can’t run without her.”

“In the two years, she’s worked here, she’s never dated anyone. I…checked.”

Jake burst out laughing, “My God, you had her investigated.”

Cole’s lips thinned. “I had to be sure there weren’t problems to deal with.”

“So this is going to fix things for Molly?” Jake stared at him as if he’d grown two heads. “That’s what you think?"

“The child doesn’t have my DNA,” Cole said through gritted teeth, “but she has my name. I can’t expect her to pay for something that’s not her fault. I certainly wouldn’t just walk away from her, no matter how hard it is being around her.”

He forced back the familiar pain that stabbed at him whenever he thought of the little girl. God, would his punishment never end? No one knew the silent tears he cried because his arms ached to hold her. The problem was, every time he looked at her, he saw Maggie’s mocking face.

“People usually get married for other reasons,” Jake argued. “Like falling in love?”

“Love isn’t on my agenda. Ever. At least with Tara, I know her. I’m comfortable with her. She’s efficient and competent and will just…handle things. If I have to bring another woman into that house, I want it to be someone I can stand being around.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry if that makes me sound like a jerk.”“You’re taking a big risk here,” Sean pointed out. “Tara could walk away from both the proposition and her job.”

“As I said, it seems like a pretty straightforward bargain to me.” He flipped open a file he’d been fiddling with. “Her father has some severe health problems. Before long, his health insurance will run out. This arrangement will relieve that strain from her. A bargain. Financial security in exchange for a commitment to the child.”

Jake raised an eyebrow. “Do you even know if she likes kids?”

Cole shrugged. “As far as I can tell. I’ve seen her with a lot of the employees’ children, and she seems to relate to them well. Although…”

“Although what?”

Cole shook his head. “Nothing. Forget it.” He forced himself to wipe away the memory of the sadness he sometimes saw on Tara’s face when she held a child in her arms. The thought that she longed for a child of her own had been part of the impetus for focusing on her. So why hadn’t she married?

God, was she a lesbian? He hadn’t even considered that.

He shook off his depressing thoughts and looked up from his desk, realizing the two men in his office watched him carefully.

“It’s been a month,” he said very slowly. “In that time, I’ve had four different housekeepers. None of them could manage the job. The most recent one just walked out last night, said she decided she didn’t like kids after all.”

“What about an agency?” Jake asked. “Plenty of other people seem to have good luck with them.”

Cole shook his head. “I think I must be snake bit. The good ones don’t seem to come my way. And that child cries all the time.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “Jesus. I have to do something.”

Everyone was silent for a moment, his brother and his partner still watching him carefully.

“When do you plan to make your big pitch?” Jake asked at last.

Cole sighed. “Tonight. I’m going to ask her out to dinner.”

“Tonight?” Jake’s jaw dropped. “Without any preparation or anything?”

He shrugged. “I’ll just present it to her in a reasonable manner. Tara’s very level-headed.”

“Present it to her?” Sean raised his eyebrows. “Level-headed? At least, you didn’t expect to just stop at her desk and drop it on her as if it were a letter you’d want typed up. Anyway, what do you really know about her, except what you see at work? And the fact that a gorgeous woman like her doesn’t date? What else did your little investigative foray turn up?

“Gorgeous?” Cole frowned.

“My god, are you blind as well as dumb? Tara is positively stunning.”

“If you say so. Anyway, I discovered she was married before. Yeah, big surprise,” he said as both men raised their eyebrows. “Her husband was killed in a carjacking about a year before she came to work here. Her parents live here, but that’s it for family. She’s not in a relationship, and she apparently has no close friends. What else do I need to know? Anyway, my mind’s made up, so leave it at that.”

“What makes you think she’ll accept your invitation?” Sean wanted to know. “If she doesn’t date, why would dinner with you appeal to her?”

Cole frowned. “What else would she be doing?”

Jake grimaced. “Nothing like making her feel last minute.”

Sean blew out a breath. “I know she’ll be flattered to learn you have such a low opinion of her social life.”

“Maybe she doesn’t like men.” This from Jake.

“I thought of that, but then why did she get married?”

“Maybe she still grieves for her husband,” Sean put in. “Maybe she’s even still in love with him.”

Cole pushed himself away from his desk and went to stand at the window, his hands shoved into his jeans pockets, watching the early evening traffic in downtown San Antonio.

“I’ll talk her into it,” he insisted, as much to himself as to the two men. “I have to. It’s not as if I have any family I can depend on. And no way in hell would I turn this child over to anyone associated with Maggie. So. I’m out of options. This is all I have left.”

“You’d better get to it, then.” Jake pointed to his watch. “It’s almost five o’clock.”

“I’ll do it right now, if you’ll both get the hell out of my office.”

Sean threw one final word of warning over his shoulder. “You have to tell her the whole story.”

“I can’t,” he said. “She’d run in the other direction. And I wouldn’t blame her.”

When the two men had left, Cole stood in the doorway, watching Tara finish some last minute chores. From the first day he hired her, he’d been impressed with her competence, her efficiency, her warmth as a person. She worked magic in his office. He needed the same thing at his house. And maybe Molly could satisfy the longing he saw in her eyes in rare unguarded moments.

When he walked up to Tara’s desk, she turned to him, smiling.

“Whatever it is, we’re closed for the day,” she joked. “I understand the boss refuses to pay overtime.”

In two years, she and Cole had developed an easy give and take relationship, a good thing since her entire life was devoted to her job.



He was definitely the total alpha male. His presence was so powerful that usually when he walked into a room he owned it at once. Any room. Yet she never felt dominated by this man, as large as he was, or intimidated by him. She’d made it her business to learn the things that pleased him at work, and in turn, he gave her enormous responsibility. They were always comfortable with each other, so when she realized tonight he seemed slightly ill at ease and edgy, she wondered the reason for his behavior. This awkwardness was strange.

“Cole?” She raised an eyebrow.

He shoved his hands in his pockets, exhaled and clumsily blurted out, “Tara, I was wondering if you’re free to have dinner with me tonight.”

“I beg your pardon?” Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Dinner with Cole?

His smile looked forced. What was going on here?

“You know,” he said, slightly joking, “where two people sit down at a table and share a meal. You’ve done that before, right?”

“You want me to have dinner with you?” She was still gaping.

“I can promise you a good steak and fine wine. Is that an incentive?” He named one of San Antonio’s top restaurants, located on the famous Riverwalk, the city’s hot tourist spot.

The shock of the invitation faded, and Tara felt curiosity tickle at her. In the month since the death of his wife, Cole had driven himself even harder than before, working longer hours, his conversations curiously devoid of any mention of either his late wife or his motherless infant daughter. His social calendar contained only business obligations. And they met for an hour every morning to go over business details. So why the sudden interest in dinner with her?

“I’ll admit steak is my weakness. But why the sudden invitation. Something special come up?”

He raked his fingers through his hair. “You might say that. There’s something I’d like to discuss with you, and I thought it might be nice place to get out of the office.”

Why did he sound so anxious?

“Well,” she chuckled, “I guess it beats the usual frozen dinner. Right?”

An unexpected look of relief washed over his face. “Good, good. I’ll call the restaurant.”

She looked down at the jeans and tailored blouse she usually wore to work. Fancy clothes didn’t make it in a construction office. No one dressed up unless there was a special event. “I’ll need to go home and change, unless we’re going someplace casual. It won’t take me long. Or are you in a hurry?”

“No, of course not. And I need to change, too. How about if I pick you up at seven? Will that give you enough time?”

“Seven it is.”

He offered up silent thanks as he followed her out of the office.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Minute Fiction - The Blood Stop-n-Go

Welcome to Monday Minute Fiction. Join me every Monday for a bit of quick fiction. Then check out the bottom of my post for other authors doing Monday Minute Fiction too!

The Blood Stop-n-Go
(this work belongs to Brynn Paulin and cannot be duplicated without permission)

It’s not easy being a vampire during a full moon. Yeah, I know. You thought that was only for werewolves. Sooooo, not true. That great big sadistic orb has it in for us blood suckers too. That’s when our blood lust hits its peak. You think PMS is bad? Try NBS—need blood syndrome.

So there I was, at my time of the month, and no appealing veins in sight. Dejected, I sat on the bench at the bus stop and stared at the stupid moon. My stomach cramped and I moaned. At that moment, heaven forbid that anyone try and speak with me. I would have ripped their heads off—figuratively. I’m not that bad.

My mouth was dry and my hands shook from it. Knowing my eyes must be starting to look a bit feral, I slipped on my sunglasses. Things would only get worse if I had to break out of the psych ward. Again. Yeah…been there, done that, didn’t get the t-shirt, but I do have a really cool jacket.

Anyway, that’s when I saw him. I’m not usually into short hair and leather, but he was eating chocolate-covered pretzels and that upped his appeal value into the triple digits. In twenty minutes, that sugar and salt would be flowing through his system…then mine.

I was at his side in an instant.

“Hi,” I said, forcing back my fangs when they tried to descend. The whole struggle inside me managed to make my tight greeting sound seductive.

He looked over at me in surprise. “Uh…hi…”

Apparently, being approached by a woman stunned him. Okay, so he wasn’t the best looking man I’d ever seen, but he wasn’t dog-butt ugly. He was just ordinary nice-guy looking. Perhaps he was trying a little too hard with the biker jacket, but that didn’t make him untouchable. In fact, my lips were aching to touch him in a very special spot, right at the base of his neck.

I swallowed as my mouth watered. “So what are you up to tonight?” I asked. “Want company?” Planning to be in any dark corners anytime soon? Can I come?

“Uh…just taking a walk.”

“Oh? I’ll walk with you. You don’t mind, do you?”

“If you don’t mind me asking…” He stopped dead and looked at me. “What do you want?”

“What do you think I want?”

He glanced down at himself. “I can’t imagine.”

I leaned forward and my stomach twisted in painful need at the scent of his wonderful blood. My whole body felt jittery. I fought to control myself as my lips brushed his ear. “I’ll give you a hint. It starts with ssssssssssss,” I hissed, “and it ends with ex.”

He pulled back. “Seriously? I mean…seriously? You look like a super model or something. Why would you want me?”

“Why wouldn’t I? You’re exactly what I’m looking for tonight.”

“Oh my God. We need to go to the Stop-n-go and get—wait! You’re not some undercover cop who wants to bust me for picking up a hooker.”

Okay now, I was seriously offended. Hookers did not wear designer clothes and three hundred dollar shoes. Bitch, please… My panties probably cost more than his weekly salary. “Have we discussed money? No. And no, I’m not vice. I just want you.”

“Okay. I’ve gotta get condoms.”

“We don’t need condoms.” And that was one of the best things about being a vampire. No diseases, no chance of getting one—or being impregnated by one, either. Yeah…kids are so not my bag.

“Lady, I don’t care how cute you are, I’m wearing protection.”

“Okay, whatever. Is there a place near here?” My blood lust was getting pretty desperate and in a minute I was going to drag him into an alley and tear his throat out. I didn’t want to hurt him so time was of the essence.

“Around the corner… You’re, um, kinda needy. How long has it been?”

“A month.” I grabbed his hand and yanked him toward the store. Let him wonder where my inhuman strength came from. At the moment, I didn’t care.

The store was deserted which wasn’t a surprise at three a.m. The clerk was nowhere to be found, but I supposed they thought their flimsy security cameras would deter people from stealing stuff. Yeah. Okay. Idiots.

We weren’t out to steal stuff though. I might be a vampire, but I’m basically a law abiding citizen, except for—

Well that’s coming in a sec.

The guy grabbed a box of condoms then insisted on a can of whipped cream. Whatever. He could take it home and squirt it in his mouth like a lot of humans liked to do. It was so not coming close to my designer clothes—or my body which it would surely leave sticky.

The clerk was still missing when we got to the checkout and there was no bell to summon the wench. “I guess we’ll have to wait,” he said, pressing me up against the counter with the conveyor belt. His mouth was on my neck, nipping at the base of my throat which I found somewhat ironic, but the sensation sent a quiver through me and I closed my eyes, letting the sexual feeling overcome me. It was so rare for me to feel this lately that I might as well have been dead. Wait… oh never mind. Anyway, his hands traveled down my arms then around to my back where they slipped inside my shirt.

“Kiss me,” I begged.

“Nu-uh. I never kiss on the first date,” he replied. He dragged down the front of my shirt to reveal a breast. His mouth immediately settled over it. I trembled,, vibrations soaring through me and I felt as if I were flying. My ass hit the belt and I realized he’d lifted me. Immediately, my legs went around his hips, drawing his cock close to the place I wanted him most. But sex wasn’t happening. I’d rip him apart if I had to wait that long.

As he sucked and licked at my nipple, I let my teeth descend. In seconds, my mouth was on his jugular. He groaned as the dagger-like edges sank in but never stopped his ministrations. In fact, he sucked harder which sent unbelievable spasms rifling through me. I sighed as the tangy, sweet flavor of him flooded my mouth. His taste was exquisite. Perfect. Intoxicating.

The blood, the sexual thrill… In moments, an orgasm rushed up on me. I opened my sensations to him, letting him feel the intense ecstasy spearing through my body. He trembled and I knew an orgasm would take him too. I wanted it. I needed to taste it on his blood.

Quickly, I slipped a hand between us and stroked his cock. He moaned, pushing into my palm. He opened my pants and I screamed against his throat as two of his fingers thrust up into me. Relentlessly, he finger-fucked me while I drew on his blood and jacked him through his jeans. His thumb grazed my clit and he bit my nipple and I went flying off into the best climax I’d had in a month. Warmth erupted beneath my hand and he let out a choked cry. I smiled against his neck, knowing he’d found his release as well.

Gently, I let up from his jugular, feeling completely sated, and licked at the small wound until it closed. Soon there was nothing but a small bruise. Ah, well, something to remember me by.

Panting, we both righted our clothes and left the store, the items still on the counter, the clerk still nowhere to be found.

“See you next month,” he said.

“Seriously?” I whined. “You’re going to make me wait a month?”

“If I let you suck me like that every day, I wouldn’t survive. Even the blood bank makes you wait six weeks between donations.”

“Fine,” I huffed. “Wait, what if I promised not to bite you?”

He gave me a look that clearly spoke of his disbelief.

“Fine,” I huffed again. “You better be here.”

He smiled. “Of course, I’ll be here. I love you, you know that. You know what I want.”

“I’m not ready for a consort.”

“Hmm…” he murmured. “Well then. Next month.”

He kissed me gently as he got ready to leave me. After all, this wasn’t our first date, but our eleventh. And next month… It would be a year, and I probably would make him my consort, but he didn’t need to know that now. It was all a test and all he had to do was show up to pass.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return next week. Leave me a comment!!! Also participating in Monday Minute Fiction:

Ashley Ladd and her story: Tease. Check it out!!!!

If you're an author who'd like to participate in Monday Minute Fiction, please contact me and I'll hook you up for next week and on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The blogger is currently out

I'm hanging out over on Writer's Evolution today. Pop over and check out my character interview where a few of my secondary characters play "The Mating Game".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boys, Twilight and Romance Novels

When I was in junior high and high school, I couldn’t have named a single boy who would read a romance novel. Publicly. It was just the way things were. And until last week, I never considered that things might be different now. I should have, but I didn’t.

I still don't know a lot of men who read romances aside from those who are gay and read male/male romances. That's another issue entirely. In part, I believe this to be because of the utter vacuum of emptiness within the gay genre. If you want to read gay fiction, in most cases, you’re stuck with romance or erotica. I'm not implying a problem with these genres. I’m just pointing out the gap.

There is a lot of fiction out there for all men to read regardless of orientation. The basic action adventure, the basic fantasy or sci-fi novel, mystery/suspense, etc. Usually, the romance is left to women. Or so it’s been…

On Monday, I picked my sons up from school and had a “rethinking” moment. One of my 10th grader’s friends, was sitting on a rock in front of school, reading as he waited for his ride. What was he reading? A Harlequin. By choice. And liking it. I think that was pretty darn cool. His girlfriend was wandering around nearby and he was ignoring her in favor of the book, and from my son’s report, he’d been reading the book during every free moment he had at school—including during an assembly. My gosh! It was me in high school, lol!

This shouldn’t have struck me as such an oddity. There’s been a definite culture shift in the last years. And lots of boys have devoured books with strong romantic elements—and they haven’t died! Point of fact: Twilight (or the whole Twilight series). There’s no denying the romance thread in these books. Boys have been consuming these books in droves. Could it be that through these books, consciously or not, that they’ve learned romance isn’t such an awful thing? Or Hush Hush? Romance plays a big part. Even the Harry Potter books have a bit of it. Much of the general YA fiction of our day has romance as part of it, and I think it's helped to herald a cultural shift.

Or has our culture heralded a fiction shift—as in who reads what? Since World War II there’s been a steady disintegration of the gender dividing line. What’s manly and what’s womanly has blurred considerably. I can’t imagine my grandfather reading a romance novel. I also can’t really imagine him doing the dishes or laundry unless it was a drastic situation. I can’t imagine my mother repairing a car (even putting in oil challenges her). I can’t imagine Twilight being as popular with boys when I was in high school as it is now. I mean, c’mon, it was the men of my generation who coined the term “chick flick”. That’s a movie for women but I’ll sit through it if I have to. Just know that I know what it is and I’m suffering. It should in no way cast doubt on my masculinity.

You know the attitude of which I speak.

I’m aware these are generalizations and they don’t fit every man of these generations. But generalizations are born because they fit the main share of people in that category. How have we changed? Well…men today are just as likely to do the dishes and laundry as women. "Men’s" jobs and "women’s" jobs at home and at the workplace barely exist. Either gender can be found doing any job. Women of today can certainly do minor car repairs—or even be mechanics. And boys read romance novels. Openly. And they don't get burnt at the stake for it.

And that’s a very cool thing.

I'd love to know your opinion on this.
~~Brynn

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Wonder Writer - James Goodman!

Wednesday, again, already? At least we're mostly through the week -- and this Wednesday, we have the absolutely fabulous James Goodman to ease the work week pain. I'm seriously excited to have him visit (a little fan girling? maybe...) Without further gushing, here's the interview:

James, author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

Well, I hate to disappoint, but my schedule is really quite mundane and very repetitious during the week, at least for the past few months. I’ve managed to get myself stuck on a project that has me working out of town four days a week.

Here it is in a nutshell:

5:00 am: Wake up and do some light weightlifting and strength training exercises to get the blood flowing and clear the mind.

5:20 am: Hit the shower, get dressed, grab first cup of coffee (black) while checking emails and then head out for the day job. Call my wife and son to wish them a great day and let them know I’m thinking of them. Tell my wife, I’m not getting enough sleep. She tells me I can sleep when I die.

6:30 am: Round up the troops and give everyone their assignments for the day and tend to my other babysitting management duties. Continue drinking copious amounts of coffee.

11:30 am: break for lunch, which consists of ten minutes of eating and twenty minutes of writing. Oh, and of course start tapering off my coffee intake.

12:00 pm: Begin mental countdown to end of day. Have argument with self over coffee vs. water. Coffee wins. I grab another cup.

5:00 pm: Leave work, finish up lingering emails while driving car with my knees. Try not to spill my “last” cup of coffee in the process. Call my wife and son to see how everyone’s day went.

5:30 pm: Do cardio, hope it is enough to burn off the effects of all the caffeine I ingested throughout the day.

6:00 pm: Hit shower, eat, and settle in for the evening.

7:00 pm: Work on quotes and/or various duties that come along with my day job.

7:30 pm: My wife and son call to tell me good night and I can’t wait until Thursday evening when I get to go home and see them (Doesn’t matter what day it is).

8:00 pm: Time to write. What I write tends to vary by the day. Sometimes, I write on my current WIPs, sometimes I write for my blog, sometimes I play around with Facebook, but mostly it is a combination of all three. Debate the merits and perils of having just one more cup of coffee and decide to switch to Mt. Dew.

10:00 pm: Grab book, crawl into bed and curse myself for not switching to water after dinner. Read until I can’t hold eyes open.

Somewhere between 11:00 pm and midnight: Decide reading just doesn’t make me as sleepy as it should, put book away, turn off lights and crash.

Repeat procedure the next day.

Hopefully this grueling schedule will end around the end of May and I can get back to working from home and spending more time with my family. Having said that, even when I’m at home, I don’t sleep much during the week, but at least I’m not on the road...

Under normal conditions I usually spend closer to six hours per day writing and I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night because some scene will pop into my head and I want to get it down on paper.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

I like to turn on some music (the genre is usually dictated by the mood of the piece I intend to write), re-read the last couple of pages I wrote the night before to put myself in the right mindset and dive in.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

Quick and Prolific. Once my fingers hit the keyboard it’s like I’m in a race to purge my mind of all the thoughts tumbling around in there lest I run the risk of them escaping.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a sequel to my first book with Resplendence Publishing, The Dance. It’s tentatively titled, Hell A and it is my official debut into the world of vampires. It is set in modern times and though the majority of the story takes place in Los Angeles, most of the characters are from north eastern Oklahoma. It is a story of love, loss and survival in a world where nothing is as it seems.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

Romantic suspense, hands down. I’m a firm believer that it is hard to become emotionally vested in characters when they don’t care enough to invest in each other. Also, a bond formed by surviving hardships is a powerful thing. When I care about a character and they are on the brink of danger, I often catch myself holding my breath until I find out what is going to happen to them (more often than not, I don’t know until the scene finally plays itself across the paper).

I find a lot of authors like to read outside their chosen genre. What do you like to read?

Truthfully, my reading tastes are quite varied. I like romantic suspense, thrillers, fantasy, paranormal, action/adventure, mystery and well pretty much anything as long as the story can suck me in and keep me there.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

There are so many, I wouldn’t know where to start. Between conferences and fortuitous gatherings, I’ve had an opportunity to meet some of my favorites and discovered friends who would later become favorites as well.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? When were you first published? Etc.

Well, I’ve been writing for as long as I could read, but mostly the early years were filled with my attempts at poetry and even a few stabs at song writing. During my adolescent years, it slowly transitioned to short stories, but nothing I took too seriously.

Then one day, a girl I was dating in college, brought me to a book signing. Anne Rice was in town and I was a huge fan. Memnoch the Devil had just come out and I was anxious to read it. So, I gathered up the seven or so other books I owned and the girl quickly talked me out of taking them with me, explaining it would be better to just get the one book I actually bought while we were there signed. I relented.

When we showed up, the line was ginormous. It weaved in and out of all the ailes, out the door and along the sidewalk. While we waited, I thought about all the things I wanted to say, the characters I wanted to ask about, the “whys” behind the stories and so on...

By the time, it was my turn at the table, I opened my mouth to begin my witty banter and for reasons I still don’t understand, I was suddenly overwhelmed by just how much of her works had spoken to me or could be associated with emotions, trials and tribulations from my own life. I was dumbstruck. I barely managed to tell her how to sign the page.

After we left, I decided I wanted to have that effect on someone. So, I went home, and started writing my first book. It sucked. So did the next attempt. I wrote for about a year, before I started trying to get published.

It took just over ten years before I finally wrote something someone else liked enough to put into print. The first acceptance was on a short story, which appeared in the Fall 2006 edition of Spinetingler Magazine. It wasn’t long after, that my first book was accepted by Resplendence Publishing. In a strange twist of fate, my first release was actually a novella published by Wild Child Publishing, even though it was accepted several months later.

How many books have you had published and for whom?
Five books and two shorts published so far, but another three have been accepted under a nom de plume, but I am sworn to secrecy on those for the time being. :D

With Resplendence Publishing:
The Dance
Pixels and Pain
Drums of the Nunne’hi
Tuttle’s House of Horror

With Wild Child Publishing:
The Writing on the Wall
Esprit de Corps (in the Weirdly II Antho)

Spinetingler:
The New Kid

What’s your latest release? Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Tyler Duke has a plan. With the help of his closest friends, he will open the doors to the infamous Tuttle House on Halloween and provide a weekend of thrills and chills for curiosity seekers. Why is the house infamous? It was the sight of the largest mass murder in the history of Northeastern Oklahoma.

If all goes well, they’ll earn enough money to spend spring break in Cancun, but unbeknownst to them, someone has taken up residence in the old mansion and he has a plan of his own. Bobo hopes the weekend brings people in droves. Nothing would make this twisted clown happier than to put gaping smiles under the faces of the house’s patrons. If he can just maintain control of his inner demon until the grand opening, it will be his greatest achievement, a night so brutal even the Fallen will take notice.

Will Tyler and his friends discover the killer in their midst before it’s too late or will they become the main attraction in Tuttle’s House of Horror.

The original idea was brought to me by one of my publishers. She said she had attended a haunted house and thought it would be quite easy for a killer to actually be killing people and the masses would think it was just part of the show. She asked me if I could come up with a story that revolved around that idea. I told her I would give it a try.

Not long after that, I had a conversation with a few friends over drinks. We were discussing odd fears and the subject of clowns came up and it was unanimously decided they were just downright creepy. I decided to give the villain a clown mask as my own attempt to face a slight touch of coulrophobia.

What’s your writing space like?

It depends. Sometimes, it’s a desk/dining table in my hotel room, sometimes it’s the waiting lounge at the airport, sometimes it’s on the plane, sometimes it’s my desk at the day job, but my favorite place to write is my desk at home.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not enslaved by a soul-crushing schedule, we are actually a very active family. I enjoy cooking, wakeboarding, riding my motorcycle, exploring, travelling to strange and often exotic places, practicing MMA, playing Guitar Hero 5 (the one with the drums and the mic), playing my real guitar, dancing, karaoke, and hanging out with friends.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Freedom is often as elusive as it is idealistic; yet we all strive for more of it. All freedoms come at a price. Some we attain with little effort. Others we are granted at great expense. Yet in the end, we must all face the saddest of all truths: Freedom is an illusion. By its very nature, it is a permission given and anything that is given can be taken away.

Last questions…

Coke or Pepsi? Diet Mt. Dew, lol.

Bronte or Austen? Most definitely Jane Austen.

Star Trek or Star Wars? May the force be with you...

Team Edward or Team Jacob? I’m torn, they both have their appealing points, but I tend to favor the longer lasting attributes of Team Edward, though the animal in me is snarling and would rather run with the pack.

McDonalds or Burger King? Burger King burgers and McDonald’s fries.

Thank you James for being here!!! Readers, you can find James at:

His website: http://www.goodysworld.com/home.html

http://www.myspace.com/jamesgoodman

Blog: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/jamesgoodman/

Blog: http://goodysworld.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Featured Book - Immortal Curse

I'm one of the lucky ones. This book comes out today but I've already been able to read it -- Wow! What a fantastic book. Bronwyn Green delivers again with her special Bronwyn style that absolutely draws you in and makes you love her characters. (Bron, I have a new guy to add to my favorite male character list!)

BLURB:

Cursed by a witch, Ian O’Meara has been trapped between the world of the living and the spirit realm for the last hundred and fifty years. Annoyed by having his eternity interrupted by amateur ghost hunters, he reaches through the veil to Emma Boulton knowing she can see and hear him even if the others can’t. When he discovers she can also feel him, he decides Emma is the most exciting thing to happen to him in the last century. Suddenly, escaping his miserable curse isn't quite so appealing.

Much to her dismay, Emma has been able to see ghosts ever since she was a child. Most of the time she ignores them, but Ian makes that all but impossible. With his dark, good looks and his brooding personality, he’s a gothic novel hero come to life...so to speak. She knows she should help him toward the light, but the only place he seems to be interested in is her bed. Falling in love with the charming spirit is all too easy, but is a future together possible between the living and the dead?

EXCERPT:

Emma Boulton let herself sink beneath the surface of the steaming water, hoping the heat of the bath would ease the tension from her neck and shoulders. On a good day, teaching high school level English was difficult. On a day like today, it was hell on earth.

Amber, one of her students, was back in school after having missed several days to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Unfortunately, the spirit of said grandmother decided to come to class with Amber. Once the old woman had figured out Emma could see her, she’d spent the entire day in her room, throwing markers, fiddling with the window blinds and dropping books.

Only one student had caught sight of the spirit, but she’d wisely put her head down and closed her eyes. Normally, not paying attention in class was an instant detention, but Emma wasn’t about to send her to the principal’s office. Hell, if she could have gotten away with putting her head down on the desk and ignoring it, she would have done the same thing. It wasn’t that she was afraid of ghosts, per se. But they were dead and the dead belonged on the other side—instead of staying here and throwing spit wads at the living.

Emma had stayed until even the cleaning crew had left the building and tried to convince Amber’s grandmother to move on. It had taken several long hours, but eventually the old woman crossed over.

Gripping the rim of the claw-foot tub, Emma pulled herself up to the surface and wiped the water from her eyes. She opened them, and a scream caught in her chest. A tall and decidedly transparent man leaned against her sink. Dressed as he was in a black suit, complete with a long frock coat, he looked like an antique photograph come to life. Shaggy, dark brown hair drooped across his forehead, and he pushed it aside. Deep blue eyes watched her intently.

“For fuck’s sake,” she was finally able to mutter.

“Language, Miss Boulton.”

She grabbed a towel and quickly stood to wrap it around herself. Pointing at the door, she said, “Out. Out of my bathroom. Out of my house. Out of this plane of existence, already.”

A dark eyebrow rose. “I’d love to. Really, I would.” An Irish accent colored his words, and his deep voice wrapped her in tingling warmth. “However, I’m not leaving until you convince your harridan of a sister and her equally obnoxious companion to leave.”

“What?”

“Your sister.” He spoke slowly as though he thought she were an idiot. “Is in my schoolhouse. With her friend—the girl with red hair. They’re not listening.”

Realization sank like a stone in her stomach. “The abandoned schoolhouse on eighty-fourth street.”

“The same. They have an Ouija board.” Disdain dripped from his voice. “A pink Ouija board.”

She was going to kill Meaghan. And her friend, Rowan. She’d told them time and time again to stay away from there, but they didn’t listen. Now, she had to deal with a pissed off ghost.

“Look, I’m sorry they disturbed you, but they really don’t mean any harm.”

“I don’t care. I want them out.”

She sighed. Meaghan wanted nothing more than to see the same spirits Emma did, but it wasn’t where her gift lay. She was a seer—not a medium. Of course, Emma heartily wished she wasn’t a medium at the moment.

Tightening the towel around herself, she walked past the apparition. Just as she was about to pass through the bathroom door, he moved in front of her, simply appearing there in that annoying way ghosts had. Her next step carried her directly through his body, but instead of the icy cold that normally accompanied spirit contact, her body flushed with heat. She whirled to look at him, her surprise mirrored perfectly on his face.

“I can feel you,” he whispered, sounding as shaken as she felt.

You can buy Immortal Curse HERE.