Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Commercial ~ Learning How To Bend by Wendi Zwaduk

Learning How To Bend by Wendi Zwaduk

To Be Released April 19, 2010

Their marriage is about to fall apart, but not if she can help it and he’s willing to bend.

Reader Advisory -- ménage, multiple partners

Abby Donovan imagined nothing could change her simple life as a librarian. Her loving husband Seth, a mechanic in the Air National Guard, is scheduled to return from a short deployment in Iraq. Before he gets home, a letter arrives. It seems Seth is asking for a divorce. She must decide whether to walk away without a fight or to wait and confront him with the thing he's always dreamed of - a ménage a trois. But all is not as it seems.

Seth Donovan wanted an idyllic life to go along with his career in the military. Then he sees the atrocities of war firsthand. A conversation with a colleague ends up as fodder for the rumour mill and so much more. Seth never wanted a divorce. He wants his wife. Will she accept him despite the rumours and advances from another man? Or can their relationship withstand the turmoil of war?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Funny Friday!


Just doesn't have the same feel to it! Does it?

Hope y'all have a great weekend. :-D

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One Step Closer!!

Woo Hoo!!!

Got my galley for "Shut Up & Kiss Me" and started going through it with a fine-toothed comb for typos and formatting errors, etc. Finally, FINALLY I feel like it might actually get published.

Now I have to think "promotion" ... dear heavens.

And, I already have this huge, heavy pit in my gut thinking about people actually READING the story and praying they like it. GAH. It's almost more nauseating than when I initially submitted the thing, and that was pretty dang bad.

Trying to think positive ... but prepare for the negative. Sounds like a plan, right?

How about you? Have any of you gotten any "not-so-good" reviews on your published works? If so, how did you handle it? Give this erotic romance newbie some advice, please...

In the meantime, I'll be finishing up my galley and sending it back to my wonderful editor.

And trying not to vomit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Waiting is KILLING me!

Right now, I am utterly terrified. And not in the "It was a dark and stormy night..." sort of way either. That's a tale for another day, lol. No, right now I am going through what every author I know, and have talked to personally goes through. I just sent my Cowboy story off to another publisher for consideration this last weekend.

So, from the moment I hit "send" and watched it disappear into cyberspace I have felt that overwhelming urge... to puke. I obsess... why are you rolling your eyes? Yes, crazy, Southern, annoying me obsesses... stop rolling your eyes! Several of my crit partners and author friends are probably laughing their collective asses off at me right now. THEY know just how much I obsess over every little thing. "Did I put enough of this in there? How about less of that? What do you think?" and usually their response is, "I'm sure it's wonderful, so KNOCK IT OFF!"

I had already subbed this to another publisher once and they basically said, "You have a wonderful voice, and I really want to take this one but this just isn't hot enough for us." Devastating... but helpful all at once, as they didn't say, "You suck, never send to us again!" So I truly have no ill feelings toward that publisher, I love them and their editors were a joy to work with. No, I'm not kissing ass... sheesh.

I think my terror this time around comes from the fact that this is the second time I've sent this baby out into the world. Granted, I've added quite a bit of content that wasn't there before. The original incarnation was approximately 11,000 words... it's now over 18,500 words. I'm hoping that means better dialogue, conflict and... heat. :-D

But still... it's the waiting ... I am not, even on my better days, a patient person. I want to know something within days... not weeks much less months. And I know this anxiety is going to be eating me alive until I get a response one way or the other. I've tried burying myself in edits of another story I've finished, but I'm not sure that's helped much... since I haven't done much editing on it, lol.

So, if y'all could just... I dunno, cross your fingers for me? Give me some advice or ideas on how you get through the waiting period? I'm driving my family barmy by constantly checking for an email that I know it's not feasible to see yet. Does anyone have any ideas how to keep me from going insane or flipping myself out? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Author Interview ~ DC Juris

Hey, y’all, today we have a sweetheart of an author on the couch with us. DC Juris is hangin’ out with us all day. Let’s all make him feel comfortable and welcome.

Welcome, DC, and thanks for stopping in and hangin’ out with us today. Make yourself at home, or make one of the cabana boys make you a drink of your choice. :-D and let’s get started:Where are you from?

I was born in Bartow, Florida, but I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, a little town in the middle of the state. Lakeland's an odd place – the northern end is mostly agriculture, the middle is retail, and the southside…Well, let's just say – the southside is interesting. ::wink::

LOL, yup sounds very interesting. Why don’t you tell us your latest news?

Well, when I first answered I couldn’t go into details yet, I’d received news just this week that another one of my short stories has been accepted for publication!

Since then my story "Even Guys Cry" is included in "I Do, Two" from MLR Press, available as of 2/14/10; my story "Cupid Knows" is included in Shot Through The Heart from Torquere Press, available as of 2/17/10; my story "Actions Speak Louder" is included in the Silence Toy Box from Torquere Press, available as of 2/17/10! a little teaser.... I have my first single author work coming out soon!!! :-)

Boy, you really are a bit of a teaser aren’t ya? You’ll have to keep us updated as to your release dates. When and why did you begin writing?

There's no "why" for me. Writing is a compulsion, like breathing. I don't know how not to do it. I wrote my first story when I was four – I still have it. It was about a turkey, a boy, and a balloon. LOL I wrote my first "book" in junior high for a school project. I even "hired" another classmate to do the cover art and some illustrations. As I recall, I paid him in Blow Pop lollypops. The book was about a girl, two horses and the Gold Rush. I think my mother has that one!

I think I feel the same way, and most authors I interview say the same thing. It became quite a bit like breathing and that was it. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I've always been a writer. As far back as I can remember. Well, briefly I did want to be a school bus driver…

Me, too, except mine was a dancer, and I actually detoured for that for awhile. What inspired you to write your first book?

That's a tough question. I don't really get inspiration, like a lot of people do. Things just pop into my head and I write them down.

Well, in my opinion that’s inspiration as well. And that can manifest in a story from seeing a dog walk down the street. Yanno? Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I have a rather casual writing style. I tend to write down to earth characters and I try to make them as real as possible. I use slang a lot in my writing; my characters cuss, they get tongue tied, they screw up and say stupid things.

I have to say that I love down to earth characters who cuss and such. How did you come up with the title?

I suck at titles. I really, really have to work at them, and nine times out of ten, my husband comes up with them.

Yes, I suck at titles as well, I have no idea what to call them and if it doesn’t look stupid. :::shrugs::: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message of all of my work is understanding and acceptance. My characters tend to be outside of the "mainstream" of society, so I'd like to think that they can teach people that things like gender, race, orientation, and religion are all just details that don't matter in the big picture.

A great message to try and get across. How much of the book is realistic?

Most of my characters carry some sort of trait from either myself or someone I know.

Well, that makes sense if you ask me. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A lot of what my characters deal with are things that I've dealt with.

That is a case of writing what you know, so looks like that’s what you did. :-D If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Aleksandr Voinov, definitely. Other writers, in general, scare the hell out of me, and therefore I tend to hide in my little shell and not interact with them writing-wise. Alex was the first writer to approach me on a professional level and offer help, and I've really learned an enormous amount from him. He's an absolute darling to work with, and I adore him.

Sounds interesting. What book are you reading now?

"A Perfect Game" by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine, and I'm also beta reading some stuff for a couple other authors that – let me just say – is going to rock very hard when it's published.

Even more interesting. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I'm new myself, but I'll read anybody's stuff. Honestly.

My kind of reader! What are your current projects?

Right now I'm working on four short stories, all of which I hope to finish by the end of the month. Then I'm tackling a re-write of something I wrote over the last few years. That one will be novel length.

Sounds like you’ll be kept busy. Do you see writing as a career?

Good lord, no. Writing is much, much too fun and interesting to be anything remotely like work.

LOL, that’s one way to look at it. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Writing from the female POV just gives me fits.

LOL… I think it’s just the female perspective that gives most of us fits. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Wow. Way to put a guy on the spot, eh? Honestly, though, Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine. I adore everything they've written. They write very believable, likeable characters. Their writing is very strong, polished, and very seamless. You can't tell where one writing voice ends and the other begins. I really hate when I pick up a book written by more than one author, and I can just tell who wrote which portions. That's so unfortunate because it really detracts from the message of the story.

Yeah, I imagine would be very irritating. Who designed the covers?

So far all of my covers have been designed by the publishing houses, since I'm in anthologies. I'd love to have a cover designed by Zathyn Priest, though. He does excellent work.

Hmm… will have to keep an eye out. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read a lot. Get an ebook reader of some sort, and buy a crap load of ebooks by all different authors, in all different genres – even genres you don't really care for. There's nothing like reading something you don't like to teach you what not to do in your own writing. Write everything that comes into your head and keep it all. Never delete anything. Beta read for someone whose writing style is different than yours.

Excellent advice. How long does it take you to write a book?

Depends on the length. My short stories usually stay under 10K, and I can bang two or three of those out in a month. I tend to write for submission call deadlines, so I'm pretty good at getting stuff done quickly.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Oh, I wake in the morning and do nothing but create all day long. HA! Wouldn't that be a dream? I do have an evil day job which takes up around 50 hours of my week. Thankfully, my boss is very understanding and does allow me to take time out from my workday to write. Otherwise, I snag time to write whenever I can. I have strategically placed notepads and pencils all over the house, in the cars, etc. I try to spend most of my weekends writing when I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I talk to my characters when I write. And I refer to myself as "we" when I talk about my writing. "We just finished such and such." Or "what are we going to do with this?"

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

"Not writing"? What is this strange situation you speak of? Seriously, though – I'm fond of computer games and I have a bit of an amateur photography habit.

What does your family think of your writing?

My sister loves my stuff. My husband isn't so wild about the m/m stuff, but he's extremely supportive and adores me, so that counts. Otherwise…lets just say the rest of my family has bigger reasons to dislike me than my writing. ::wink::

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I don't, but I'd love to!

What do you think makes a good story?

Solid characters with believable emotions and reactions. I'm really not picky about much else – genre, setting, etc. Put them on a boat or a train or wherever – as long as I can like them and root for them, I'm happy.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

With the exception of my kindergarten year, during which I was convinced I wanted to be a school bus driver, I've always wanted to be a writer. Period. Nothing else interested me.

And now for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

For convenience, I suppose cats, although most cats hate me. For loyalty, nothing can beat a Miniature Pinscher. I've had two so far and I have to say they are the most loyal, intelligent, emotional animals I've ever owned. They have this pack mentality and they include their humans in that pack. They want to be involved in everything that you're doing. They have such personality and such emotive little faces. Balls of fire on furry feet!

Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Depends. If I'm aware of the picture, it usually turns out good. If I'm not, I sometimes look a little more feminine than I'd like. What I see never really matches what's in my head.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

My handwriting is a funky mix of cursive and printing, and it tends to be large and flamboyant. Go figure.

What is your strangest habit?

I chew the caps of my usb jump drives. Well, I used to, until I nearly choked on one. Now all my jump drives are flip out ones. :-/

You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

That would be my entire childhood.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Writing, of course.

What’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from ?

There are several, but my current favorite is "ass hat" – I heard it somewhere and it stuck and I say it way more than I should. Oh, and "Jesus Christ on a pancake." I have literally no idea where that came from, but I have a character who says it a lot.

Have you ever eaten a crayon?

I have not. I have eaten Play Dough, though.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

That would be Kibbles N Bits dog food. I was six and it smelled good. 

What is your favorite animal?

My baby girl Ginger. She was brought to the vet clinic where I work in 2005 by an SPCA officer who had found her abandoned down by the dike – she'd been beaten and nearly starved to death. She weighed 4 pounds and had five teeth left; her intestines weren't where they were supposed to be – she was just a mess. We figured she'd been a breeder dog that someone had thrown out. One doctor wanted to euthanize her, but I begged the surgeon to try and fix her. It was just one of those magical moments – this little dog looked at me, and I looked at her – and I knew she wasn't done. My husband came to the clinic a few days later and took one look at her and said "Well, hello little Ginger girl," because of her muzzle color. I knew she was meant for me at that point. She lived another 4 years – she had herniated discs in her back and neck, arthritis everywhere, massive heart failure, hip, knee, and elbow joint issues – but none of that stopped her. She had two settings: GO and sleep. LOL She was an amazing little animal who just really taught every human she met about living life to the fullest and never giving up. 

What is your heritage?

My mother's family is Scottish all the way back to Scotland. There's some Spanish in there from my dad's side, and a rumor of Native American, but no one has been able to prove that, unfortunately.

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

"Sommersby." I got through the entire thing, and then at the end, when they pan out and show the grave yard, and it just hits that he died for so much, but so little… Damn.

What is your favorite pizza?

To my husband's dismay, it's pepperoni, pineapple, bell pepper, sweet Italian sausage, tomato, broccoli, and extra cheese.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night, definitely.

Do you like thunderstorms?

I do. Growing up in Florida, you'd think I wouldn't but I really do enjoy them. Such an awesome display of nature's power.

Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I absolutely can, and I therefore have no idea why anyone with working taste buds would so much as sip a Coke. Blech!

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

GLBT equality. It's very difficult to have your life dictated to you – what you can and can't do – by a group of people who don't understand your struggle. Love isn't about gender or orientation, it's much, much deeper than that. Love transcends everything, and we as a society should respect that. I'm a bisexual transgender man married to a straight man, but beneath all that – I'm just a person. We're all just people. Period. It's time we treated each other as such, instead of treating each other like labels.

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. It’s been great fun getting to know you. Go ahead and hang out with us today… the Cabana Boys are here to keep you happy… with drinks, and such. I’ll be in and out but don’t worry, we’ll be here. Have fun. :-D

An out and proud bisexual transgender man, DC Juris moved to New York State in 2001 for a real-life romance. By day he is a mild-mannered office manager, by night a passionate writer of all types of romance. He lives in Upstate New York with his husband, two dogs, four cats, and a menagerie of Halloween props just creepy enough to keep people guessing about his sanity. Which is just the way he likes it. Still hopelessly single when it comes to the woman in his life, DC will gladly entertain offers, or applications for the position.

When he's not writing down what his characters tell him, DC can be found surfing the internet for random research (DC would like to remind everyone that porn *is* research for him!), killing things on his Xbox, reading, or taking pictures of the world around him.

You can reach DC online at:

"Always, My Prince" - featured in the "I Kissed A Boy" Anthology

Exiled to a distant planet by his father and sold into sexual slavery, Devlin has mixed feelings when he is purchased by a mysterious, handsome stranger. But life as a kept man turns out to be better than he could have imagined, and he finds himself falling for his owner, Morat. When Morat makes an extremely thoughtful gesture, Devlin realizes that what lies between them truly is love, but he's unprepared for how much differet - and how much better - making love to a man can be!

Join 13 authors in this wickedly innocent collection as they explore male/male first time encounters in all their passion and heat. You'll find scorching new stories by best-selling Ravenous Romance authors like Ryan Field, and some first-time authors, too. Read Cecilia Tan's tale about the seething passion between two aging British actors or Jean Roberta's story of the hot drag-inspired passion of two portrait artists. And Konrad Deire's tale of two music students in Italy should leave you swooning. There's something for everyone in this sizzling collection.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Commercial ~ Falling Fast by Cerise DeLand

Falling Fast by Cerise DeLand

When Shana Carpenter meets Kade Stapleton years after she ruined his bronc busting career, she wants to make amends to him by building his reputation as a rodeo manager. But her plans go haywire when she faces him and is stunned by her irresistible desire for him. Making love to him often every day, though, cannot erase her guilt. And when she realizes she loves him, she finds herself with a bigger problem. Can she ever forgive herself for what she did? Can he ever forgive her? And can he ever wholly love her?


Want to see your book commercial here? Go here to find out how!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Author Interview ~ Patricia Pellicane

Hey all, it's another lovely day here at The Menagerie. Today on the couch we have with us Patricia Pelicane whose newest book, To Save Emmy, just released this week from Total e-Bound. Let's all give her a nice warm welcome. :-D

Welcome to The Menagerie, Patricia! So glad you could hang out with us today. Make yourself comfy and let's get started. Where are you from?

Long Island, New York.

Great, why don't you tell us your latest news.

Had two new babies (Grandchildren) born into the family last year, numbers 14 and 15. Adorable. Even more so because they go home and I get to take a nap.

How great is that! My mother says the same thing about my kids... When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was very shy about being a writer at first. I told no one but my family. But one day I was enrolling my youngest in school and was asked, “What kind of work do you do?”

For the first time, I said, “I’m a writer.” And the woman filling out the form looked at me for a long moment then said, “I’ll put down housewife.”

Why she did that, I’ll never know, but I was never shy about it again.

LOL, how odd... I might have snatched that paper back and put writer down myself, lol. What inspired you to write your first book?

I was hooked on romances. Most of them were really good, but this one snuck in and I read it. It was awful. I remember thinking to myself. “Even I can write better than this.”

So I tried. The first book got 26 rejections. Some might call me thick-headed, some might be a bit kinder and say tenacious, but I only got mad and sent it out again. It never sold. But the second one did.

LOL, nothing wrong with tenacious. Especially if it gets your next book sold. Do you have a specific writing style?

I suppose I do but I can’t tell you what it is. Doesn’t everyone have their own style?

Yup, we all have a style... How did you come up with the title?

Titles are the hardest part for me. Often, after I’ve already named it, I write a particular phrase and think I should have named it that, but mostly it’s too late. Early on in my career, when I wrote for Pocket, Zebra and Avon, mostly the editors titled the book. No matter what I said, they came up with what they liked and used it.

I have a hard time with titles as well. Why can't I leave it "Max's Story"? Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Most often there is not, except perhaps for 'good will out'. My work is basically escapism.

Well, 'truth will out' is a good message to have. How much of the book is realistic?

Usually none.

None of it? Not even the interactions? Wow... lol. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Kathleen Woodiwiss was always my number one favorite. I haven’t seen anything of hers for a long time. But when she started writing I could only hope to be that good.

Yes, she's beautifully descriptive. What book are you reading now?

James Patterson’s ‘Swimsuit’.

Haven't read that one yet. What are your current projects?

Right now I’m starting the third book of my contract for Resplendence. I’ve promised another to Total-e-bound by mid May and more to follow. This year, so far, 9 books are to be released.

Wow, how great that you're keeping so busy! Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Always Mary, the mother of God.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Although I write them extremely hot, the sex scenes are the hardest. First of all you can’t repeat from book to book. There are only just so many words like delicious, ecstasy, and mind-boggling rapture to choose from. Second, you have to make sure all the pieces fit, and I don’t mean him and her fitting. I mean you can’t leave a leg dangling around his neck and just walk away. You can’t drop more than two shoes to the floor. You have to choreograph it and it has to make sense.

*snort* I love when I forget to remove certain articles of clothing that would make it impossible to ... finish if they were still being worn. :-D Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Hope you enjoy what I’ve done so far. Let me hear from you.

How long does it take you to write a book?

If I’m writing a full length novel it takes close to a year. I’ve done two in one year but that’s a killer. Right now I’m doing ebooks and I can get one out a month, (Also a killer) but they’re better stories if I take an extra few weeks.

Ah, so you keep pretty busy. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I write six days a week and always do at least five pages a day. If I don’t I’ll never meet a deadline.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Cook. I like to try new recipes.

What does your family think of your writing?

They’re very proud of me, but think I should be rich after all I’ve written. I think so to, but…oh well.

LOL, if only it truly worked that way. How many books have you written?

Twenty two full length novels. So far twelve ebooks.

Wow... like I said, busy lady! Which is your favorite?

I have a couple of favorites. ‘Captivated’, I wrote that under Colleen Corbet for Avon. Love the heroine in this one. 'Fires Tender Kiss' for Zebra. This one was a best seller.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Never, never give up.

What do you think makes a good story?

Conflict and passion.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Be a mommy.

Me too! And now for our "absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing" questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

I’m not much into animals, I mean I don’t hate them, but after raising six kids, I’ve worked hard enough. Don’t need anything to make me work harder. Now cats are different. I like them cause they’re quiet and clean.

LOL, good points. Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Yeah. Have to lose weight.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

No, went to Catholic school. The nuns frowned on hearts for dots.

Yeah, I'll bet they did! You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

I had seven children. Raised six. My second child died. They call it a crib death. If I could get rid of anything it would be that.

I'm terribly sorry you had to go through that. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

Lord help us. Who the heck is that?

LOL! What’s a saying you use a lot?

Who cares? I couldn’t care less.

Where did it originate from?


:-D What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

It’s not strange to me, but I love tripe. Made with sauce and oregano, onions, olive oil. Very peasant Italian.

LOL, What do you want to know about the future?

I want to know that I’ll lived to be 92, then get shot by my lover’s wife.

*snort* And what a way to go! Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Yes. The Lovely Bones. Also, the Passion of the Christ.

Have you ever made a crank phone call? If yes, explain what you did.

Of course, when I was a kid. Called for cabs and pizza to be delivered to the house across the street. We tormented that old lady. She was mean and deserved it. Obviously I was a brat.

Well, at least you admit it now... What is one thing scientists should invent?

A cure for aging.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Definitely night. I hate to get up before 11:30 but I don’t go to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes even later.

Boy, I can relate to that! Do you like thunderstorms?

Love them as long as I’m inside.

LOL, don't we all. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Already told you, how I want to die. I’d wish for that and maybe a lot of money.

:::shaking head and grinning::: Well, this has been fun. Thanks so much for hanging out with us today, Patricia, it's been great getting to know you. Go ahead and hang out with the Cabana Boys if you'd like, they'll take good care of you. *wink*

Patricia Pellicane lives with her husband on Long Island in New York. Her six children live in neighboring towns as do most of her fifteen grandchildren. Her favorite hobby is reading. Patricia insists her ideas for stories come while doing dishes. “Could anything be more boring? It’s nearly impossible to keep your mind from wandering.”

I started writing in my early thirties. I never imagined writing as a career before that. I was thinking about going back to school for accounting. At the time, I was hooked on romances. After reading a particularly awful one, I thought, “Even I could do better than that.” “I tried it. I got 26 rejections which, thick-head that I am, only made me more determined. The book never got published but I was bitten by the bug and the second one did.”

In a recent interview she was asked. How hard or easy is it for you to write? Patricia returned with, “Someone once wrote. ‘Writing is easy. All you have to do is put a sheet of paper in a typewriter and stare at it until blood forms on your forehead’. Sometimes writing is exactly like that. And other times it’s a wondrous happening where words flow from mind to fingers to computer screen almost without conscious thought. It doesn’t matter which way it works for you. Once a writer begins the journey, they’re hooked. It’s a drug and you can't stop looking for that next story, that next high.”

To Save Emmy by Patricia Pellicane

She wanted the one thing he couldn't give.

It was only a favour, after all, but Nick couldn't believe his best friend could ask him for that.

Lady Emily Redford has asked her best friend for pointers on how to make love. He is astonished at the request. Why ask him? She is recently widowed. Why doesn't she know?

Emily explains she is about to take on a completely new lifestyle. She will be taking lovers. Horrified, he asks why not simply marry again? Only Emmy isn't interested in the holy state. Nick is aghast upon realising not only is she about to take lovers but her first is the worst rake in all of London.

Nick cannot allow it. He must save her from herself, but who will save him?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Commercial ~ Sophie's Pleasure by Patricia Pellicane

Sophie's Pleasure by Patricia Pellicane

With her psychic abilities, Sophie occasionally helps out the police on cases that appear to dead end. Joe Palermo is a Suffolk County detective and Sophie’s brother-in-law’s partner. Sophie and Joe dated briefly when she was a teenager. Joe, upon seeing her again, is very interested in taking up where he once left off. He can’t imagine why he let a woman who looks like her get away.

Sophie is adamant and tells him straight out, she wants no relationship with him. Still a woman doesn’t have to have a relationship to sleep with a man, does she? She was too young the first time around, but Sophie is a woman now. A woman who knows exactly what she wants.


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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How DO You Do It?

I recently came to the conclusion that no matter what plans I make, sometimes I can't make the time to write. And it drives me insane. But, I am a mother of four boys under the age of eleven... the youngest just turned two. Yes, he has jumped right into the "terrible twos" with both feet. My children are my priority, but sometimes my characters don't seem to understand that. LOL

In light of the scheduling conflicts of late, I decided that this past Sunday I would take my laptop with me to my parents' house. We were heading out there earlier than usual so that we might enjoy the Superbowl (YAY, SAINTS BTW!!!). I figured that everyone would be occupied with their stuff and I'd be able to sit either on the couch or in one of the myriad other rooms and get some writing done. I'm in the middle of trying to finish another short story for Whipped Cream and running through one more set of edits before I send my Cowboy off to another publisher for consideration.

Would you like to know what I found out this last Saturday? Yes, you would? Here goes: When it comes to interruptions... MY MOTHER IS WORSE THAN MY KIDS!

My mother knows what I write, and she's proud of me. But she's squeamish... about me writing it, her reading it... and me reading it. My day and evening went something like this:

"Whatcha doin?" As she plops down in the seat next to me. "What's that?" As I quickly close out the rather graphic sex scene I'm working on and open a game of solitaire. "Are you playing a game?"

"Well, Mom, I was writing. Now I'm playing solitaire." At which point she'd lose interest. She'd watch the game for a bit then wander off to torment her grandchildren. Something she and the boys all enjoy, I promise. So, I open up my story...PLOP.

"OOOOHHHH.... are you writing a new story? What's this one about?" Yanno, there are two couches and a recliner and she HAD to sit next to me every single time. Yes, yes, I love my mother and we're close... "That's awful erotic... don't let your father see that!"

*sigh* Really, Mom? I thought I'd read it to him and give him a heart attack. I close the laptop completely and talk for a few minutes until she loses interest again and wanders away. Really, she's not usually this ditzy... but she was in rare form on Sunday. How do you explain these things to someone who is clearly interested... but probably wouldn't be too happy with the details?

She's sort of this way when I'm reading a book on my ebook as well. I tend to load my more erotic books to my eBook reader... no covers to leave people wondering... lol. Those conversations are fun too:

"Whatcha reading?" And while I would NEVER say this to her... I am always tempted to give her ALL the gory details...

"Well, Mom, let's see, this one is about a female submissive who is a pain slut. And the Dom who knows how to control her. My favorite scene is when he pulls out his bull whip... No, that's not a euphemism... it gets me hot to read the description of the crack of the whip and the sounds she makes as it hits her..."

NOT gonna happen! But isn't it fun to have such an imagination. I shared this story with my two Menagerie ladies, Mysti and JennyKat and they both laughed at me. I truly to adore my mother, and I know she honestly is interested... but I wonder if she really wants to know the details. She might be open about sex... but not that open. So, while I'll never speak to my mother in that way... it sure was funny to have the conversation in my head.

How do you do it? Do you just accept that some days you're not going to get done what you need to get done? I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend... and that you bet on the Saints. :-D Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Author Interview ~ Amber Leigh Williams

Today on The Menagerie couch we have with us author Amber Leigh Williams. Let’s all give her a warm welcome, and make her feel at home. The cabana boys are on hand to … help in whatever way they can. We’ll make sure she puts them through their paces.

Welcome to The Menagerie Amber. It’s great to have you here with us today. Let’s get started. Where are you from?

The Gulf Coast. I’ve lived in Alabama most of my life, but did a brief stint on the Atlantic Coast of Florida for a couple of years. We’re never far from the beach! In fact, I live only ten miles or so from one now!

Wow, must be nice! I love the beach… as long as I don’t have to swim in the water… don’t ask. So, tell us your latest news.

Aside from the exciting amount of interest in my paranormal series, which will probably be published under another pen name, I found out in September that the last book in my western romance trilogy, Bet It On My Heart, would be published by The Wild Rose Press. I’ve been through the galleys and the cover recently and it will be released March 3, 2010. I’m really excited about this one! My historical romance was also recently given top-rating as a “Best Book” at Long & Short Reviews. Readers and peers also voted it “Best Book of the Week.”

Yup, all great news! Congrats on the upcoming releases and the Best Book rating over at LASR! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Bluest Heart, book two in my western romance trilogy, surprised me because my heroine was a challenge. Due to certain “bad girl” activities, it was difficult to make her sympathetic. Thanks to a great deal of patience from my editor, I was able to delve down deep inside her. In the end, the book had the same healing theme as the first, Blackest Heart, which I didn’t expect. But it made the story that much more beautiful. I’m more happy with it, probably, than anything I’ve done up to this point.

Gotta love it when the story comes together like that. When you’ve put that much energy into making sure your character comes across how you’d like them to. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I suppose she’s not all that new, but I recently picked up Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace and absolutely love Sirantha Jax. I haven’t been this excited about a heroine since Eve Dallas. The rest of the series is on my wish list! Jessica Anderson’s Final Prophecy series gets me really amped up as well. Can you tell I’m an adrenaline junkie when it comes to what I read? LOL

Hmmm… haven’t heard of Ann Aguirre… but then I read so much half the time I can’t always keep track of everyone. Since I love Eve as a heroine and I can’t get enough of Jessica Anderson I think I’ll have to take a look at her as well. What are your current projects?

As I mentioned, I’m working on a paranormal series. I’m currently on book three out of five. As soon as it is complete, I’d like to write a paranormal western trilogy or a more fantasy-driven series.

Sounds like fun! Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Romance Writers of America® was the best thing I ever did for my career. I joined my local chapter and was contracted for publication less than six months later thanks to everything I learned and the encouragement and direction of the amazing people I met.

Can’t beat that kind of support. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

For some reason, I’m more drawn to the emotional scenes. Action scenes tend to make me draw back and procrastinate. All those active verbs, I think.

LOL! Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Hands down, that would have to be Nora Roberts. She really sets the bar with her characters, dialogue, descriptive voice… I can only strive to be as good as her. I think if anyone in the world was born to write, it was Nora Roberts.

She’s a good choice. :-D Who designed the covers of your books?

I owe my fantastic covers mostly to the amazing Tamra Westberry of The Wild Rose Press. She is the go-to designer for all the Wayback, TX series titles, which include Blackest Heart, Bluest Heart, Bet It On My Heart, and The Way Back Home. I was also lucky to get Tamra’s design for A Summer’s Hope, my contemporary romance. My first TWRP cover, Denied Origin, was designed by the talented Rae Monet. It received the October 2008 Covey Cover Award.

Well, they certainly do good work. The covers are gorgeous. How long does it take you to write a book?

When I begin, I hope for three months. But lately my completion rate has slowed because of editorial deadlines and promotional obligations as well as volunteer work for my local chapter. Realistically, five months if I write at least 500 words a day. Then I go back and polish when writing slows on the next WIP.

*sigh* I’m jealous, I can never seem to work that fast. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have to snack the entire time. I have a high metabolism that allows me to do this, thankfully. Oftentimes when I’m writing, I’ll skip meals. So it’s important for me to stabilize my appetite with stuff from the kitchen pantry. If I’m writing a scary scene in my paranormal, my husband has to be in the house somewhere. I tried writing one while I was home alone during a storm once and thoroughly creeped myself out. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. :-D

LOL, I snack a lot too, and I creep myself out without even writing… so I am so right there with ya. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I have a day job that thankfully takes up no more than twenty hours out of my work week. When I’m not doing that or writing, I’m usually either reading, taking a bath (helps me get in touch with my muse), or spending time with my family. I’ve found that having a simple life is the best balance for an overactive imagination. My everyday life balances out all those eccentricities that come with being a writer.

That’s a great philosophy to have. What does your family think of your writing?

They’re supportive, but I still think on some level the fact that I write romance novels either puzzles or amuses them. Or both. I’ve had several male cousins tell me they love me but they won’t be reading my love stories. And that’s all right because I tell people that if you don’t usually care for romance, I don’t expect you to read my work. Give it to someone who does like a good love story.

LOL, yup… my father tells me, “I’m proud of you, but I won’t be reading your stuff… cuz you’re my little girl and you don’t do those things.” Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Pace yourself. I started out as an overachiever. I set impossible goals for myself and at the end of the day I was either utterly exhausted or completely disappointed in myself. You have to set realistic goals or you’re just setting yourself up for failure and you won’t love the writing anymore.

Excellent advice. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I get more fan letters about Blackest Heart than anything else. The feedback has been very positive and readers can’t know what that does for my soul. Nothing brightens my day like a new fan letter. Just that you took the time not only to read the book, but to write to tell me how much you enjoyed it…there’s no better feeling in the world!

I’ll bet! I can only imagine right now. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Hm…let’s see. I wanted to be a mermaid like Ariel. I wanted to be an English/Language Arts teacher, a marine scientist, an Olympic gymnast, a physical therapist. I wanted to marry Prince William or Brian from the Backstreet Boys. Or both, Will being first as he’s not really allowed to wed a divorcee. Brian’s a good, southern man. I could see myself settling down with him on a farm somewhere. I had a lot of dreams, which helped my imagination grow and develop. I may not be all these things, but I get to live through so much more with my characters. And I’m very happily married to a man who is neither a prince nor a member of a boy band.

LOL, I can’t say I wanted to be a mermaid, but we all have our dreams. I wanted to be a ballerina, that was one dream I achieved. And now for our “Absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing Questions”: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

I’m biased, but I’ll say dogs. I have three labs and I couldn’t love them more. I’d really love to have about ten of them, all rescues. Maybe my husband and I get that farm.

LOL, I’m a dog person too. :-D Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

As a teenager, I couldn’t decide if I wanted my primary handwriting to be print or cursive so now I’m cursed with a habit to mix it up. Not every other word, but every other letter. Somehow those wires got crossed and I fear it’ll be this way for the rest of my life, LOL

LOL, I mix mine up, although not that consistently. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

When I’m writing, I tend to run my hands through my hair a lot so it ends up looking like what my husband fondly refers to as the “lion’s mane.” That’s what I saw in the mirror this morning after writing until 1 a.m. then sleeping on top of that. My bed-head is in no way heroine-quality.

ROTFL, who says? My heroines would have marvelous bed head, lol. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Writing an action scene I’d been dreading for a week. Went more smoothly than I thought, action verbs and all.

Love that. Have you ever eaten a crayon?

Unfortunately yes. I still remember how it tasted. I believe it was Green Apple. And no, it didn’t taste like Granny Smith.

How fair is that? I think if they call it Green Apple it should taste like Apple… What is your heritage?

I’m primarily German and my husband is primarily Czech. Somewhat of an unstable brew though we’re oddly compatible. I’m also very proud of my Irish and Native American heritage mixed in there as well.

LOL, I can claim the Irish, German and Native American heritage as well. I think those three always make for an interesting mix. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Movies I can’t watch for this reason are On Golden Pond, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Becoming Jane, and The Notebook. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have trouble watching any of these.

LOL What is your favorite pizza?

I love ham on my pizza. And flat-crust. I’m not a fan of crust at all.

What is one thing scientists should invent?

A printer that can survive me. I’m the ultimate technology tester. I’m very rough on efficient machinery, especially when it isn’t being efficient.

I don’t have problems with printers… but laptops seem to be magnets for trouble in my house. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’ve always been a night owl. My husband’s a morning person. I try not to talk to him until nine a.m. 

LOL, how funny is it that we night owls end up with morning people? You’d think we’d be incompatible but somehow we’re not. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Yes! I’m a Coke girl. Pepsi’s just too sweet. And everyone thinks I’m crazy for thinking that there is a difference. I know I’m not the only one!

I can totally taste the difference, too… but I’m on the other side of the fence. LOL If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

A printer that can survive me. Or maybe just good health for my family!

I sense a theme with the printer… lol. Thank you so much, Amber, for hanging out with us today! I hope the Cabana Boys keep you company. Help yourself to the refreshments in the fridge and enjoy yourself. :-D

Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published romance author, a member of Romance Writers of America, PRO Liaison and former Secretary of her local RWA chapter, and monthly contributor to Romance Writers United's "Write Right" newsletter. Her first western romance, Blackest Heart, was the 2009 1st Place More Than Magic Novella. She blogs weekly at The Roses of Prose ( and lives on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband and three labs. Learn more about Amber and her books at her website ( and her blog, The Cozy Page (

Bluest Heart by Amber Leigh Williams

The Wayback bachelor is a dying breed, but that doesn't stop Casey Ridge from wanting to settle down. For this cowboy anyone but Josie Brusky would be an easy wrangle. Unfortunately for him, the Blue Bug singer and owner of Josie's Treasures doesn't believe in commitment much less marriage.

Years ago, Josie lost her heart to Casey's charm and dimpled smile. Since then she has done everything she knows to forget him. After all, she’s known as the local harlot and the daughter of the town’s biggest bigot. Casey could have any girl he wanted. Why would he saddle himself with her? In the wake of a shattering past, she refuses to give up her independence.

Casey digs down deep to win her over, but does he have what it takes to win Wayback's bluest heart?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book Commercial ~ Bluest Heart by Amber Leigh Williams

Bluest Heart by Amber Leigh Williams

The Wayback bachelor is a dying breed, but that doesn't stop Casey Ridge from wanting to settle down. For this cowboy anyone but Josie Brusky would be an easy wrangle. Unfortunately for him, the Blue Bug singer and owner of Josie's Treasures doesn't believe in commitment much less marriage.

Years ago, Josie lost her heart to Casey's charm and dimpled smile. Since then she has done everything she knows to forget him. After all, she’s known as the local harlot and the daughter of the town’s biggest bigot. Casey could have any girl he wanted. Why would he saddle himself with her? In the wake of a shattering past, she refuses to give up her independence.

Casey digs down deep to win her over, but does he have what it takes to win Wayback's bluest heart?


Want to see your book commercial here? Go here to find out how!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And The Winner is....

Drumroll please...... The winner of the Best Hottie of 2009 is:

~ Eduardo Verastegui ~

Eduardo will have his photo over in the sidebar for the rest of the year. And just to refresh your memory:

Hope y'all enjoy him over the next year. :-D

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Funny

A man and his wife went to bed one night and the man was getting very frisky and asked his wife if she was in the mood. His wife answered, "Not tonight dear I have a headache."

The man replied, "Is that your final answer"? She said, "Yes."

...He said. "Ok, then, I'd like to phone a friend."


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Free Short Story: Camp Solitude

My 1000 word short story was accepted by Whipped Cream Reviews and posted today on their free story page. I hope you'll read it -- and I hope you enjoy it! It's not easy to smoosh a story into so few words, especially one that needs a fully consummated love scene.

Click on the cover and ... Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Author Interview ~ April Dawn

Today on the couch we are pleased to have with us, April Dawn! Welcome to The Menagerie, and make yourself at home I’m sure we have a cabana boy or two hanging around… oh, there they are. Boys, please make our dear guest April feel right at home. Lovely, thank you.

April, thank you so much for hanging out with us today, I hope you’re comfy there on the couch. We do like to keep our authors comfy. Why don’t we get started before the boys distract you: When and why did you begin writing?

When I was a girl, I loved romance novels. I would often find my supply, all filched from under my sister’s bed, understandably low. This being the case, I had to make up my own. I would write scenes on my computer about beautiful women falling in love with handsome captains, or adventurous highwaymen.

LOL, well, at least you were an enterprising young lady. If you can’t find your favorite story… make a better one up! My kind of girl. Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to write typical overused plots with an unexpected twist. Bound by Love, for example, is the overused ‘sea captain takes a woman on board’ turned on its ear. I asked myself what would happen if the ship was taken, while the girl was on board, and the novel was my answer.

Oh, I love plot twists… Fractured Fairytales were some of my favorite cartoons growing up. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think that Crushing Desire is based on an experience everyone has had. Everyone knows the feelings that take over when you have that first crush. The overwhelming intensity of it. Some are lucky, and it is requited, others are not so lucky, but I feel that everyone had felt the feelings one way or another.

Absolutely! Let’s not go into those stories now, though. LOL. What are your current projects?

I have two novels with Breathless Press Crushing Desire is about a long time crush finally realized. Bound by Freedom, Unbound by Love is about a woman who finds that fate often has a stronger pull than the best laid plans.

My newest work in progress is called the Piratess. It was fun and adventurous to write, and I hope there will be more information forthcoming regarding this title.

They sound very interesting! Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I find it difficult to cut scenes that I like. I originally began Crushing Desire with a flashback, but it didn’t feel right for the pace. I had to cut the scene despite my love for a number of the lines I had written in it. It is painful to do. Stephen King, in On Writing, likens it to killing your darlings, and I can certainly see his point of view.

Ugh, yeah I hate doing that. *sigh* But unfortunately is does have to be done sometimes. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My biggest advice for writers is to edit, edit, edit. When you are done, you should go back through and look for repetitive words, repetitive sentence intros, and punctuation problems. You should also watch your point of view. Don’t jump from person to person without including a section or chapter break. Also, be sure to show and not tell.
For example:
Don’t say:
She was frightened as she walked quickly along the dark alleyway.
Her eyes went wide and her breathing quickened as she hurried along the murky alleyway.
If you check for all of these corrections, you will have less edits from your editors.

Excellent advice… that falls right in there with “show don’t tell”. What do you think makes a good story?

My motto is: Passion and adventure make great romance. I like a good drawing room tale if the author is very witty, but my favorite romance contains some adventure. A highwayman, some pirates, even a storm can make for some fun friction. Of course adventure is nothing without great love scenes and lots of sexual tension.

Absolutely, bring on the tension! Lol. And now for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing” questions: What were you doing at midnight last night?

I was up with my one year old. He decided that Mommy sleeps too much, and should stand by his crib with her hand on his back all night.

Isn’t it so much fun when they decide these things in their infinite wisdom! It does get better, though… and that’s the amazing part. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I ate alligator in a French restaurant once. Other than an unusual texture, it was actually rather good. The light meat tasted like chicken, and the dark meat tasted like steak.

Wow, alligator! I’ve never had alligator and I’m southern with family in the bayous… Are you a morning person or a night person?

I am a morning person. Most of my writing gets done in the early morning when my husband and son are sleeping. It is quiet… I can think, and no one is asking me to change a diaper while I write a love scene.

Ugh, you’re one of THOSE people… *sigh* LOL. Do you like thunderstorms?

I love them from a distance. My husband and I lived in Arizona when we were first married. One night a monsoon hit while we were on our way home. Lightning and thunder were joined by path altering winds. A huge bolt of lightning hit the bare ground not more than thirty feet from our car. The ground burst into a ball of flame. Before that, I never suspected that lightning exploded on impact. My husband was laughing with giddy glee, and I was about to have a heart attack. I wouldn’t want to live through it again, but it makes for a good story.

LOL, that it does. And WOW, what an experience to have in your story book. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Wow, what to wish for… The ability to think words on the screen? How about the good fortune to never repeat words or make grammar mistakes? A magic editing wand?

Well, I hope every day that I will have the insight to write a story that my readers love, but to wish for it would seem like cheating. I guess most people would wish to be rich and famous, or come up on something they always wanted, but I have what I always wanted-- A wonderful husband who gets my strange sense of humor, a beautiful and well behaved -for the most part- son, and a loving and supportive family.
So I guess I would have to wish for something frivolous… How about an automatic diaper changer. Ahhh… To have someone else to change every single diaper... That would make my life heavenly.

Ah… all good things, and how wonderful that you have most of them… and hey, the diapers won’t be around for much longer! I promise. :-D Thank you so much for hanging out with us today, April. It was a great treat to get to know you better and to watch the Cabana Boys flirt. Go ahead and hang out with us today, there’s plenty of drinks in the cooler and the boys will help you with whatever else you need. Just give me a holler if there’s anything else you need. Thanks again for dropping by The Menagerie and go ahead and introduce yourself to everyone else.

Hello, my name is April Dawn. I live in California with my loving husband and a beautiful baby boy who was born in '08.

I enjoy reading, travel, and music. I have always loved to read. I have read voraciously for more than twenty years now. (OOPs, guess I'm showing my age there.) I have a love of suspense, fantasy, PI and police crime novels, and so many others, but I have a real soft spot for historical romance.

I think I wrote my first official romance scene when I was about fifteen or so. It consisted of a girl being taken aboard a pirate ship and falling madly for the captain. I wish I still had that writing, because it would be real fun to read what I wrote like back then. I started writing seriously in 2002, and finished my first novel that year which retained the title "Romance Novel" for more than five years. Now it is titled Bound by Love, and available through Breathless Press. I have since finished two other novels that were lucky enough to be named something other than "Romance Novel" including Crushing Desire which is also available through Breathless Press.

In the future, I hope to be able to bring more of my characters into the world as I work to finish and publish the other novels that I have begun. Stay tuned to meet all the pirates, gunslingers and thieves that run through my head. Hopefully you will love them as much as I do.

You can reach April online at also join aprildawnbooks on myspace (, facebook (, or twitter (

Crushing Desire by April Dawn

Reena Harrison is anything but the fashion, but despite her flaws, she has several suitors. Unfortunately, the one man she has always loved is not one of them. After things go dreadfully wrong with a suitor and her family, she finds herself asking Joshua a peculiar favor.

Joshua Sinclair has long had a fascination with the tall beauty. After years of denying his feelings for Reena in pure military fashion, he finds himself thrown together with her in an out of control scheme. How can he possibly rule his emotions when he finds himself posing as the sensuous woman’s husband?