Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals for 2012

As I said in my post earlier this week, I make goals not resolutions. It feels like a positive step towards making my dreams come true.

Goals MUST be something that are within my control. I want to make a million dollars with my debut release is NOT within my control and probably not realistic either - lol!! But writing another book by the end of May is hopefully something I can achieve.

So here goes... my goals for 2012 for you to hold me accountable:

1) Finish rewriting Hollywood Heartbreak and sub to Carina Press.
2) Finish my new Single Title - Man Drought - edit and sub.
3) Write the second in my Hollywood series (hopefully by the time I start, I'll know whether the first has been sold).
4) Write a novella - this is something that has always terrified me, so I'm going to read lots of them before attempting one. It'll either be a themed seasonal novella or one linked to Man Drought that can maybe be a free promo.
5) Read more (it's ALWAYS on my list).
6) Re-do my website.
7) Publish my non-fiction book BREASTFEEDERS ANONYMOUS on Amazon.
8) Start a new ST to finish in 2013 :)

So, what are some of your goals for the New Year? If you've written a goal blog post, please do let me know in the comments section of this blog and I'll pop over and check yours out.

And HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Books Read in 2011!

Every year I keep a list of the books, I've read. I'm always amazed by how many it numbers, and this year, more so than ever. I felt like I hardly read at all. That was the one depressing thing about writing so much and all the lovely, yummy contracts that came with deadlines this year. It meant my reading potential decreased :( In the end though, I only read 12 books less than I did last year, so I guess it wasn't too terrible. I'm hoping for a lot more in 2012 - somehow!!

Here's the 52 books I read in 2011 (with an * next to the ones that truly captivated me from start to finish):


Perfect Kate - Bec Sampson
Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles *
Goodnight, Beautiful - Dorothy Koomson *
Every Girl's Secret Fantasy - Robyn Grady
Best Laid Plans - Sarah Mayberry
Blue Skies - Fleur McDonald
The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
Claudia's Big Break - Lisa Heidke *
Molly Cooper's Dream Date - Barbara Hannay *
St Piran's: Rescuing Pregnant Cinderella - Carol Marinelli
The Woman He Loved Before - Dorothy Koomson
Shattered Sky - Helene Young
Heart of Gold - Fiona Palmer *
The Ice-Cream Girls - Dorothy Koomson *
Beyond Fear - Jaye Ford *
A Daddy For Jacoby - Christyne Butler
Getting Even With Fran - Christine Stinson
The Man She Loves to Hate - Kelly Hunter
North Star - Karly Lane
Shipwrecked With Mr Wrong - Nikki Logan
Addition - Toni Jordan
Rules of Attraction -  Simone Elkeles
The Search - Nora Roberts
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Cupcakes and Killer Heels - Heidi Rice
Exclusively Yours - Shannon Stacy *
Undeniably Yours - Shannon Stacy
Meddling With The Millionaire - Cat Schield
When One Night Isn't Enough - Wendy Marcus
Road Signs - M.J. Frederick
It Started With A Pregnancy - Scarlet Wilson
Lakeshore Christmas - Susan Wiggs
Last Summer - Kylie Ladd
Marrying Daisy Bellamy - Susan Wiggs **** BEST READ OF 2011***
Promises - Cathryn Hein *
Secrets and Speed-dating - Leah Ashton *
The Secret History of a Good Girl - Aimee Carons
Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich
Turn It Up - Inez Kelly
Young Wives - Adele Parks
Tempted by Trouble - Liz Fielding
Lola's Secret - Monica McInerney *
Summer at Willow Lake - Susan Wiggs
When Harriet Came Home - Coleen Kwan
Irresistible - Susan Mallery
What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty *
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
The First Night of Christmas - Heidi Rice
Mistletoe and Margaritas - Shannon Stacey
Nowhere Else - Fiona McCallum
Yours to Keep - Shannon Stacey

I'd love to know some of your best reads for 2011 and maybe I'll add them to my massive, ever-growing TBR pile for 2012!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 - the year that WAS!!!

At the end of each year, I make goals for the next year. Not resolutions. Sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don't but I like listing the things I want to achieve. I do find that whether big or small, if I write something down and make a commitment, I'm much more likely to achieve.


Below are the goals I set for 2011 and the result in bold!!

So my goals for 2011 are as follows (not all writing related):

*Finish my revisions for Carina Press on ''His Christmas Fairy'' and sub it. - I subbed this in February and heard on Apirl Fools Day that Carina Press wanted to BUY it!! 

*Finish my single title - I finished this in July. It was here and on Twitter known as #TheBookThatWontEnd but it actually did. It came in at 110,000 words in the end. Part way through writing it, I was actually worried I wouldn't crack 80k. 

*Write one category novel - I wrote Hollywood Heartbreak which came in at 75k (and I subbed it to Carina - I'm currently in the middle of rewrites for this book). 

*Enter a couple of contests - I entered the STALI but had to withdraw because I sold to Carina Press before the final round of judging. 

*Attend Romance Writers of Australia conf in Melbourne - I certainly did and as usual, I loved EVERY MINUTE of it! Particular highlights were catching up with my best writing buds, meeting Angela James and going to the Harlequin Author dinner. 

*Read lots and analyse the books as I go - I'm not sure I can tick this one off. Reading has unfortunately been sacrificed with the advent of deadlines in my life.

*Join the gym again and tone up - Um... does going four times to PUMP aerobics and starting Couch to 5k THREE different times count? FAIL!!!

*Spend some more quality time with my hubby - hanging my head in shame cos I'm not sure I achieved this one either. It's been a mad year business and writing wise and my poor man has probably suffered neglect. Hey, the good intention was there!

So that's me. I hope you feel happy with what you achieved in 2011. In the next couple of days, I'll be drafting my goals for 2012 and posting them to my blog. Please let me know if you do the same!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Training the perfect man! And Merry Christmas!

It's a running joke in our marriage that I knew when we tied the knot that DH wasn't romantic and he knew I was a writer, so these were two things we just had to put up with. Apparently not being romantic also includes having a MASSIVE FEAR of buying the wrong present for me and therefore he generally avoids this at all costs. For the last eight years, I've been saying I want jewellery and he's been telling me to go and choose something and buy it then. Ah... not the same, come on ladies, you agree, don't you?

Anyway this year, I sent him with three helpers and told him that our middle son (cyberly known as Trouble) would know what to get me. Whenever I've been shopping with Trouble I'm astounded by his fabulous taste. Well, he's only five but he won the prize for best pressie this year. Hubby let all three of them choose something. From High Maintenance I got a lovely pair of earrings (bit dressy to wear everyday though) and from His Lordship I got five romantic comedy DVDs (think Hubby chose these)! But from Trouble I got possibly the funkiest and most beautiful necklace I've ever laid eyes on. It has words inscribed on the silver ovals - Passion, Serenity, Success, Energy, Patience and Love.

I actually CRIED!! And then I looked at my gorgeous five year old boy and thought, some day, he's gonna make one special girl a VERY happy lady!

I hope you all had lovely Christmas' with people you hold near and dear and got some pretty special presents too.

Remember if anyone got a new e-reader and needs books, ONE PERFECT NIGHT is available at Carina Press and Amazon :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Don’t Snitch the Sprinkles with Jen Tucker

Thank you to everyone who's followed and commented on my Christmas Book blog party. It's been an awesome month, with lots of lovely giveaways. There's still the chance to win Stacey Kennedy's book in the post below (so go ahead and comment) but today I'm delighted to introduce to you hilarious and gorgeous girl Jen Tucker. I met Jen through Twitter and she's always a whirl of happiness and positiveness. I love it. She's not talking about her own book today but her most recent release is The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and it sounds like a hoot. It's on my must-read list in 2012!! Without further ado... here's Jen herself!!




     Oh Christmas!  How I love thee, and I can count the ways.  So many fond memories, so many calories that end up on my rear end.   I attempt to embrace both of those things equally.  Curse you chocolate fudge!  Curse you my sister-in-law’s homemade toffee!  Wow, where did that hostility come from?   Okay, maybe I am not yet at the place to embrace my expanding waistline that can accompany the holidays.   For me however, the sweets of Christmas go hand in hand with the memories, and both are wrapped up into one of my favorite little packages that I want to share with you.
     TheChristmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, written and illustrated by Virgil Partch, is my favorite children’s book.  Although it is a Christmas story, I think it carries with it a lesson that holds true year round.  It was first printed in 1969, which is *AHEM* older than most of us, right?  I first heard this story when it was read to me at a Christmas party.  The company my father worked for as an electrical engineer threw a huge Christmas bash for employees and their families every year at their corporate office.  I remember one particular party in 1978, when I was just a blonde, seven-year-old little girl that answered to “Jenny” then.  I can recall that I was worried that waiting in line to give Santa my wish list was going to interfere with the story time that was about to take place.  Even then, I was a girl with priorities about reading.  Plus, I knew that Santa really lived at Gillmore’s department store in Kalamazoo, Michigan so who was this imposter?   I think I did the quick exchange; list for Santa and candy cane for me, and made it out in record time.  I quickly found a seat in a large auditorium with my parents.   My father, noticing my line of vision was obstructed by other people’s heads, scooped me up onto his lap so I could have the best view possible.  I love my daddy. 
     I can still clearly remember trying to lean in closer and closer, caught up in the illustrations projected on the screen and getting lost in the storyteller’s animated voice.  My mom took notice, because the next day after school there was a gift waiting for me; the book itself.  I remember grabbing it from the kitchen counter, kissing my mom on the cheek, and running up to my room to get busy reading.  I know, I know!  You all are saying, “Jen what is this book about already?  Sheesh!” 
     This big, meanie snitcher decides to rob the town of all its sprinkles.  The children wake up to find that their baking is stopped short because this important ingredient is missing from every kitchen cupboard in every home.  A little boy, Nat, dries his teary eyes and treks off to find the sprinkles and the snitcher because:
“Christmas cookies without sprinkles
are like raisins without wrinkles,
are like sleigh bells without tinkles
are Christmas cookies without sprinkles.”
     Little Nat follows the trail of sprinkles left behind to the snitcher himself, The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher (it said so on his mailbox, so no mistaken identity, plus he had the goods on him).  Nat tells this snitcher that his sprinkle snitching fun has spoiled the fun of others.  There is remorse and amends to be made.  In the end, the sprinkles are sprinkled onto all the children’s cookies and The Snitcher tells Nat:
“Though I haven’t a sprinkle
I’ve never been richer.”
    
       We can learn a lot from Mr. Snitcher, can’t we?  Christmas brings with it the importance of looking at all the blessings we all have in our lives.  Times are tough.  Wallets feel like they are shrinking, and time feels fleeting these days.  We are so busy with the hustle and bustle in life, that sometimes it is difficult to stop and realize the richness our life already contains.  What richness do you find in your life even when there might not a sprinkle to be found?  I know it’s there, because it is something no snitcher could ever snatch away from you.  It belongs only to you.    

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year to you and your family!  May you all bless others, and be blessed this holiday season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Present From Stacey Kennedy

Today is the LAST Christmas author post  - but tomorrow I have one last little Christmas surprise from another very special author. And today I'm happy to announce the winner of Serenty Woods' book prize is Janette Radevski - Serenity will be contacting you shortly. 


And now we have the hugely talented Stacey Kennedy, with an extract that will leave you hot and wanting more of her fabulous prose. 


WOOT! Huge thanks to Rachel Johns for letting me stop by, share my new Christmas BDSM release, and hold a giveaway!

Christmas is my favorite time of year! What can I say? I love getting all curled up by the Christmas tree, with the pretty lights, and opening gifts! Yes—I might be in my early thirties, but I still act like a total child when it comes to Christmas. I decorate like crazy, watch Christmas movies, and even hum Christmas tunes.

Needless to say, when I was asked to write a 1NS story for Decadent as part of their Christmas anthology, I jumped on the chance. I loved the scene it set up. How the winter night surrounded the couple as they took on an adventure of BDSM.

It set up for a very romantic atmosphere. Locked in a lodge, nestled in between mountains, where a burning fire lit up the room—you can see why I enjoyed it so much. Nothing sexier than a man with the casting glow of a fire dancing over his bare chest. Yum, right?!

So, want a Christmas present of some intense, but sweet BDSM under your Christmas tree? If you do, leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win a copy of ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS IS HER DOM. Don’t forget to come find me on Facebook and Twitter. I love to chat!!



Madame Eve’s 1NightStand service has brought together Blake and Taryn on a cold Christmas Eve at the Castillo Lodge. The two will set out on an adventure of pain and pleasure surrounded by Alaskan snow-capped mountains and nestled in a warm country lodge. But as the night develops, Taryn discovers it’s not Christmas presents that will surprise her but instead the very man who mastered her through a night of intense BDSM.

WARNING- This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: INTENSE BDSM theme and elements.

Teaser: (WARNING – BDSM ELEMENTS – Not for readers under the age of eighteen)
The suite in the Castillo Lodge far exceeded Blake’s expectations. Rustic in appearance with log walls, hardwood panel floors, and the rich scent of evergreens filling the air, it was exactly what he requested and fit the mood for a Christmas getaway. The room delighted him, but the woman who stood before him enchanted him more.

He led the blindfolded Taryn over to the four-poster wooden bed with a quilt on top and placed her hands on the railing over the footboard. “I suggest you present yourself.” She bent over, spread her long, sexy legs, and angled her hips to expose her ass decorated by a thong. Her straight brown locks hung loosely down her back, covering the crimson lace bra that looked lovely against her pale skin. “Nicely done.”

Her chest rose and fell quickly. Nervous? The thought only lingered on his mind a moment—no one paired with him would hold anxieties. As a Dom, he demanded much of his submissives. He needed them to be strong and obedient. And Madame Eve, a matchmaker out of Las Vegas who had arranged the encounter, had been well aware of that fact. As he examined her more closely, he equated her reaction to being aroused, and relished the thought that his mere presence caused her reaction.

“I’m here to please you, Sir.”

The fire in the large stone fireplace on the far side of the large room cast a lovely glow over her skin. “Your desire to entice me is working.” He pressed his hard cock against the seam of her ass to declare she hadn’t been the only one affected. “I appreciate you addressing me with such respect, but for now, we can do without it. I’d advise, though, to use the term when you believe I want to hear it.” He rubbed himself against her and held back his groan. “Is my cock what you want?”

“My pussy aches for you.”

He chuckled before he moved away and saw her stance falter. “That kind of pleasure you’ll have to earn.”

She proved she was a skilled submissive as she recovered her position without pause. “I want to earn it, Sir.”

He strode toward his bag on the floor by the stone fireplace and took out his flogger. She tensed as he flicked his hand to allow her to hear the sound of the tails whooshing through the air. “Do you have a safe word, my pet?”

“Marshal.”

He positioned himself behind her and trailed the flogger over her backside. “Explain why that word holds significance?” He smacked her ass with a hard hit to test her limits.

“I’m a U.S. Marshal in Texas.” She groaned. “Supervisory Deputy to be exact.”

He ran the flogger over her bottom again to tease her. “Is that why the submissive role appeals to you, because of the job you hold?”

“It feels wonderful to give up the control I carry in my day-to-day life.” She moaned as he issued another hit. “And I enjoy being punished.”
He’d already known she enjoyed pain play. Madame Eve had sent him an extensive list of her limits, but he preferred learning for himself where those limits were drawn. “How long have you lived the BDSM lifestyle?”

“Five years.” She squeaked as he delivered a hard hit on her back then let the tails of the flogger tickle down the sweet cheeks of her ass.

“But you haven’t had a lifestyle Dom?”

“I—” She paused. “I’d prefer not to discuss it.”

Unacceptable. He hit hard twice. She bowed her head and cringed. “I didn’t ask what you preferred. Answer the question.”

She breathed deep as he hit lightly along her thighs. “I did have someone, but not anymore.”
“Would he be jealous that I’m your Dom tonight?”

“I’d imagine he would be.” She gasped when he flogged her on the shoulders and continued down her back.
“I suppose then, I’ll need to leave my mark on you for all to see, so they’re well aware who you belong to now.”

BUY  LINK: http://www.staceykennedy.com/all-she-wants-for-christmas-is-her-dom/
~*~
Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll find fast paced action, life threatening moments and a big bad villain that needs to be destroyed. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance Ebooks Bestseller lists. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband.
Be sure to drop her a line at www.staceykennedy.com, she loves to hear from her readers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Laura Browning talks Christmas Presents

Today Laura Browning graces my blog, chatting about something we ALL love PRESENTS!!! 


My son is a man on a mission. He’s been nagging me for what seems like weeks already to go Christmas shopping, posting his list in a prominent place on the refrigerator where I will be sure to see it each and every time I open the door. He knows his “big” gift is already in the house—somewhere—and because I went shopping again last evening, he also knows some of the other things he wants are…somewhere.

So I know that as soon as he’s left alone in the house for any length of time, the great Mission Gift Search begins. How do I know this? Not because he’s given himself away…well there was the incident last night with the flashlight in the room where the tree’s located…but because I did the exact same thing every single year growing up.

I found them in the trunks of cars.
I found them in the cedar closet in our basement.
I found them in my Dad’s Army footlocker (thanks for already wrapping them, Mom).

But then came the year of the bicycle. I had asked for a ten speed. And I knew my mother well enough to know that she would never wait until the last minute to get a gift. After all, this was the woman who documented in a little notebook any toy trades or sales between siblings, which we then had to sign so no one could argue over what belonged to whom. This was the same woman who yawned at day-after-Thanksgiving shopping because she was already through. So I knew the bicycle must be somewhere around our house.

I looked everywhere I could think of, even questioning neighbors and friends to see if she might have sneaked it over to another house. I finally had to draw the conclusion that I just wasn’t going to get the bike I wanted. Another thing my parents were strict about was budgeting, and the bike was on the upper limits of what they would be willing to spend on any one child.

Christmas morning arrived. I promised myself that no matter what was under the tree, I would be happy with it. When I reached the bottom of the steps and turned the corner into the living room, there sat a gleaming white and chrome ten speed bicycle, parked right in front of the fireplace.

In the garage, where I had looked many times, sat our ski boat with its canvas cover in place. I had looked under it, behind it, and on top of it. I had just never pulled the cover off to look in it. You got me, Mom.
So, Jacob, search away. This year your presents are buried.

The issue of presents plays a role in my holiday release, Santa’s Helper. The heroine, Merry, is working three jobs to support herself and her son, but also in hope of being able to provide him some sort of Christmas. Jack, the hero is ringing the bell for charity outside the local mall where Merry’s working part-time as an elf.

Despite the fact she’s short on cash, Merry’s not short on the idea of Christmas giving as you can see:


“I thought you might like a cup of coffee.”
Jack looked down for what seemed like forever to a pair of bright blue-green eyes and curly red hair sticking out from beneath…an elf’s hat? He blinked. Was he delusional? Had the cold gotten to him to the point where he was imagining elves?

Her smile disappeared as she bit her lip. “I noticed you when I came in to work. I thought you might be cold if you were still out here. And we—we had some leftover coffee.”

He took the cup from her. “Thanks.”

She shifted from one foot to the other. “Right. It’s black. I hope that’s how you like it.”

“It is.” Jack knew he was making her nervous, but he couldn’t resist. He remembered her now. She
was the woman in the tailored overcoat who’d been so cheap…tossing in just a buck. And here she was
dressed like an elf.

She hadn’t entered the mall to shop; she’d arrived for work. The woman in the tailored camel hair coat was working as an elf.

A small shiver shook her slender frame beneath the costume.

“You’ll freeze out here. You should go in unless elves have some sort of magical protection.”

This time she blushed, as if only now realizing she still wore her elf suit, and nodded. “I should go inside.”

She turned to hurry away from him.

“Wait!” She stopped and glanced over her shoulder. His gut clenched with sudden desire. “What’s your name?”

She blinked. “Merry.”

“Mary?”

“Merry—like Merry Christmas.”

And that is exactly what I wish for all of you. Santa’s Helper is available through TheWild Rose Press.
If you’d like to check out my other releases, you can visit my website www.laurabrowningbooks.com.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Writing Santa's Elf with Paige Tyler


Today I have Paige Tyler talking about her latest novel Santa's Wayward Elf - I'm just totally besotted with the idea of an Elf heroine!


But first I'm very excited to announce the WINNER of Kelly Hunter's WISH - congrats to Catherine!! Please contact Kelly through her website to claim your prize!

I love writing holiday romances, especially Christmas-themed ones, but when my hubby (who is also my writing partner!) suggested we write a story about one of Santa's Elves, I was like, "You're kidding, right?" Silly of me, actually. I mean, we pulled off a zombie romance in DEAD SEXY, which turned out to be an EPIC Award Finalist, by the way. Hubby still had to do some convincing, but he did it, and as we outlined the story, I completely fell in love with the heroine Sosie, a guileless elf who doesn't fit in up at the North Pole and ends up stranded in NYC on Christmas Eve where she meets and falls head over heels for a hunky cop. I think you'll fall in love with her, too!

Happy Reading!

Being one of Santa’s elves isn’t all sugar plums and candy canes.
At least not for Sosie. Taller than the other elves, she’s always had a problem fitting in at the North Pole, so when the transport sled she’s on breaks down in New York City on Christmas Eve, she can’t resist slipping away to explore the world of the “big people.” While she’s having fun, the transport sled takes off, leaving the na├»ve elf stranded.
Fortunately, handsome police detective Derek Clayton comes to her rescue, offering to let her stay at his apartment. Having heard horror stories about the big people, Sosie is both surprised and relieved to meet such a kind, sweet man. Not to mention one so gorgeous and well-built.

Even though Sosie expects the North Pole to send out a search party any day, she finds herself falling for Derek. She desperately wants to tell him she’s an elf, but knows he’ll never believe her. When the lies and omissions start to pile up, Derek can draw only one conclusion—Sosie is working for the mob boss he’s been after for years.
Just when things seem like they can’t get any worse, the chief of elfin security shows up to drag Sosie back to the North Pole. How is a runaway elf supposed to overcome a determined security elf, dangerous mobsters and a suspicious boyfriend all while keeping her pointed ears a secret?

Excerpt:

By the time the party wound down a few hours later, Sosie was more aroused from her fantasies than she’d ever been in her life. She was an elf in lust and nothing was going stop her from getting Derek into bed with her tonight. She didn’t care how much of a gentleman he was, there was no way he was sleeping on the couch again. In fact, if she had her way, he wasn’t going to be sleeping at all.

After they got back up to his apartment, however, her confidence faltered. But then she thought of the frustrated night she would assuredly have ahead of her if she didn’t proposition Derek, and how much she would regret it when she left.

Taking a deep breath, she turned to face him. “I had a great time at the party. It was very nice of you to invite me.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you came. I had a good time, too.”

Sosie nibbled on her lower lip. Okay, it was now or not at all. Time to be a bold elf. She looked up at him. “You know, I feel awful about putting you out of your bed again. I was thinking maybe you might want to sleep with me tonight.”

He studied her in silence, his dark eyes unreadable. Sosie held her breath as she waited for him to say something. What if Tracee and Linda had been wrong? What if Derek wasn’t as “into her” as they’d thought?

“If I share the bed with you, Sosie,” he said softly, “sleeping is the last thing either of us will be doing.”

She gave him what she hoped was a flirtatious look. “Good. Then the mistletoe won’t go to waste.”

His mouth curved into a grin at the tiny sprig of greenery dangling from her fingers. “Mistletoe, huh?”

“I thought I could put it wherever I want you to kiss me.”

He chuckled. “Honey, you don’t need mistletoe for that. I’ve spent the past two hours fantasizing about kissing every inch of you.”

Her pulse skipped a beat. “You have?”

“Uh-huh.”

 Cupping her face in his hand, he bent his head to cover her mouth with his. This time, there was no hesitancy in the kiss. This time, his mouth moved over hers with an urgency that left her breathless, and she had to cling to his shoulders to keep from melting as his tongue plunged into her mouth to take possession of hers. It was as if he couldn’t seem to get enough of her. The desire was mutual. She couldn’t get enough of him, either.

With a groan, Derek swung her up in his arms and strode toward the bedroom. She’d never had a guy do something so romantic before—mainly because she was always taller than the elf guys she’d slept with—but she decided it was very hot.

Once beside the bed, Derek set her on the floor, letting her slide slowly and deliciously down his body. Arms still looped around his neck, she pulled him down for another kiss. This time, she was the aggressor, her tongue seeking his and exploring every inch of his tasty mouth.
Derek groaned and ran his hands down her back to firmly cup her ass through the tight jeans she wore. She murmured her appreciation against his mouth as he pulled her more tightly against him. His erection strained against his jeans, pressing into her tummy. Mmm. Well, that answered the question as to whether he was well built everywhere. It felt as if he had a huge candy cane hidden in there.

Suddenly impatient to see how well built, Sosie ran her hands down his chest to the bottom of his shirt and urgently pushed it up. Derek must have thought she needed some help because he reached back and pulled it over his head to toss it on the floor.
She’d thought getting a glimpse of him without a shirt last night had been a treat, but seeing all that sculpted muscle up close was even better. Figgy, he was gorgeous.

Watch the Trailer!
http://youtu.be/oEz-Rlqp0G4
Buy it on Amazon Kindle!

Geez, and I thought MY heroine had an interesting career!! Any ideas for crazy characters Paige should pull off next?


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Giving with Scarlett Bailey

Today I have Scarlett Bailey, author of The Night Before Christmas (not the picture book version - lol), talking about something close to my heart...



The thing I find most tricky at Christmas is buying presents for men, or more specifically the man in my life. There is this myth that women are mysterious, contrary and indecisive, which might sometimes, rarely, be true. But I know one thing, at Christmas its men who become the mysterious, and difficult ones. They never ever know what they want.

            We girls always know, we always have a pre-prepared list, with a selection of items of varying prices, some of the with a little gold star next to them, just to show exactly how much we want them (what, is that just me?). After all for women, its like Rachel Barry says to Finn Hudson in the Glee Christmas special. ‘All I want for Christmas is you, and five things from this list.’

            But try to get a man to tell you what he wants, and its like getting blood from a stone.

            ‘Um, I don’t know….you know, something like…well you know. You choose.’

            And that is the principle reason that men mainly get pants for Christmas, both figuratively and literally. Men don’t like stuff in the way that women do. They don’t have a thing for shoes, or a love for jewellery or clothes. You know for a fact they will take nowhere near the same pleasure in aftershave as you would from a nice bottle of Chanel No 5.

            On my first ever Christmas with my true love, three years ago, I search high and low to buy him two period Aubrey Beardsley prints, discovering them in Australia in the end, and shipping them all the way here, because I’d discreetly discovered that he loved the work of Beardsley. And he was delighted, with them. And so touched that I’d gone to all that trouble, I score maximum brownie points. Which was when I ran out of ideas. The next Christmas I panic bought him a PlayStation 3, which arrived on Christmas Eve, meant that I spent all of Christmas watching him gaming, and then by boxing day he’d gone off it and has never touched it again. Good for our love life, bad for my choice of gift not to mention my bank balance.

            This year I have no idea what to get him. I’ve looked at pants, and decided against it. I’ve thought of clothes, but I notice that those three shirts I bought him from his birthday, which he allegedly loves, are still hanging in the wardrobe with the tags on. Its not like I can get him a Spa day, or the lovely Christmassy romantic novel….. So here we are, literally hours away from the big day and I’ve got him nothing, nada, zero, zilch.

            Sigh, maybe it will have to be pants after all. At least he will know, they are pants bought with love. 

Great post Scarlett - and I'm curious readers  - what are YOU buying for your beloved this Christmas??

Scarlett's book The First Night of Christmas sounds delightful, blurb below: 

All Lydia's ever wanted is a perfect Christmas...So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She's been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies - all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card. But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year...

You can also find Scarlett on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Guess what I'm doing tonight folks?

Tonight I'll be drinking champagne with my beloved and toasting to one of my biggest ever dreams coming true because today ONE PERFECT NIGHT releases from Carina Press.


I want to take this chance to thank my gorgeous hubby and my wonderful Mum for being so supportive as I traveled this road to publication. Thank you for listening, for cleaning, for babysitting and for simply putting up with me when my mind was elsewhere lost in a book. Without you guys, I couldn't do it!

Thanks to my three little heroes in training for putting up with me too.

Also thanks to my fabulous CPs and writing friends who actually come to quite a massive number.

To Bec, Jackie, Melissa, Janette, Cathryn and Joanne - who have been CPs and friends to me almost from the beginning of me pursuing this road and joining RWA Oz.

To Leah Ashton from Perth who absolutely rocks and talks almost as fast as me. Thanks also for your support.

To Fiona Lowe who actually read this book in its entirety between revisions and re-subbing to Carina Press. Without you, I might not have done it!

To Suz, Julie-Anne, Rosalie and Tracey who really were with me from the beginning. We may not crit or chat much anymore but you guys are all fabulous too!!

To Scarlet Wilson a recent addition to my plethora of writing friends - thanks for your enthusiasm and support.

To the Sassy Sisters for taking me on recently and accepting me as one of your own :)

And to Rachel Bailey, Anna Cleary, Nikki Logan and Robyn Grady who have all at some stage or another read some of my chaps and offered wise advice.

And also to Helen Lacey, Lacey Devlin, Anita Joy and Coleen Kwan who've been happy to help in the release celebrations.

See there was NO WAY I could thank you all in the actual book, so I refrained from mentioning anyone in particular, but you are all special to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get to where I am today.

XOX

On this special day, I'm also blogging on three other fabulous blogs and at each one there's an opportunity to win a copy of One Perfect Night. For details follow the links below (some of the links may not go live till US time):






Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Festivities with Monica McInerney

One of the best books I've read this last few months was LOLA'S SECRET by Monica McInerney, so today I'm delighted to bring her to you on my blog, talking about Christmas in this lovely book...


But first, the WINNER of Liia-Ann White's HER FIRST WHITE CHRISTMAS is TINA!! Huge congrats Tina - please contact Liia-Ann on  liia@liia-ann.com to claim your prize.


And now for Monica...



Thanks very much to Rachael for the invitation to join in her series of Christmas blogs.

My new book, Lola’s Secret, is set in the Clare Valley of South Australia, during a very hot December – a long way from the frosty Irish December I’m having here in Dublin. It’s the sequel to my fourth novel, The Alphabet Sisters, and is the story of Lola Quinlan, 84-year-old Irishwoman, grandmother, charity shop volunteer and Internet whiz. She decides to give her family a break from Christmas and sends them away from the motel they run together, inviting a series of mystery guests to come and stay instead. I wanted to write not just about families with their comedy and drama, but also about community, connections, love new and old and the tensions and memories that Christmas can trigger.

Writing it brought back lots of memories of my own family festivities. Growing up in the Clare Valley, the weeks before Christmas meant heat and holidays. School would finish and my six brothers and sisters and I would be released into seven weeks of freedom, just as the temperatures rose into the high thirties. We’d spend our days at the local swimming pool trying to stay cool, while the preparations for Christmas gathered pace around us. Present-giving was a serious business, requiring fevered saving, research, hint-dropping, stealth-shopping, wrapping and hiding.

My brothers and sisters and I revelled in our Christmas Day ritual of lining up from youngest to oldest outside the living room door early in the morning. Dad would give the word and the door would be thrown open by the youngest. We’d race inside to find our personal pillowcase, our names marked in pen on the front, bulging with presents.

Christmas was a time for food treats too – Fruit Loops and Coco-Pops for breakfast and a bumper order of soft drinks (we were allowed to choose two flavours each).The centrepiece of our festive food celebrations was the leg of ham - a once-a-year treat. Our Dad was the Custodian of the Ham. He would carry it in to the house during Christmas week, nestled in a pillowcase (obviously a theme of McInerney Christmases), place it reverentially in the cleared and readied fridge and then insist it wasn’t to be touched until Christmas morning. The soundtrack for the next few days would be the fridge door opening and shutting, the rustle as the pillow case was pulled back and many peeks and sneaky tastings taken.

On Christmas Day itself, the ham would be served alongside a roast turkey, a mound of crisp, roast potatoes and a platter of parsnips, carrots and peas. Dessert would be wintery plum pudding served with warm custard, despite the searing heat outside. One year, Mum pushed out the culinary boat and decided to serve prawn cocktails as our starter. She’d tried one at a restaurant lunch some weeks before and described it to the seven of us in great detail - a bed of shredded lettuce, a scattering of pale pink prawns, a dollop of Marie Rose sauce. It sounded like it would be heaven in a glass dish. She placed an order for a large quantity of expensive prawns from a friend who lived by the coast, and took delivery of the tightly wrapped parcel on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning she unwrapped it in front of us. There was silence, and then we started to pull faces and make gagging noises. ‘I’m not eating those!’ ‘Me either!’ ‘They’re rotten!’ ‘They’re green, not pink!’ ‘Yuk!’ Broken-hearted on account of her spoiled lunch and emptied purse, Mum was about to throw the whole lot in the bin when a neighbour dropped in. He took one look and said, ‘Wow, fresh prawns! Do you need any help cooking them?’

Happy Christmas everyone, wherever in the world you are – I hope it’s a time of peace, fun, celebrations and delicious (cooked) food for you all.

BLURB for LOLA'S SECRET

Magic can happen in every family.At the Valley View Motel in South Australia's picturesque Clare Valley, eighty-four-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She's sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren't they spending the festive season with their own loved ones?

As the big day draws closer and Lola's personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family – especially your own.

From the bestselling author of At Home with the Templetons comes a funny, sad and moving novel about memories and moments and the very meaning of life

You can find Monica at the following places: 
Twitter - @MonicaMcInerney

Friday, December 16, 2011

Contrasting Christmas' with Serenity Woods



Today I have the very busy Serenity Woods who has not one but TWO Christmas romances out this year... And she's here with a giveaway too!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I’m here to talk about two Christmassy romances I have out this December.


The two stories couldn’t be further apart in terms of location! White-Hot Christmas from Samhain Publishing is set in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand. When we first landed in New Zealand on 7th December six years ago, it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Everyone was dressed in shorts and jandals (flip-flops to the rest of the world), the shops selling beachwear had windows decorated with holly and snowmen, and we spent Christmas Eve paddling in the Pacific. It was incredibly surreal, but we're getting used to it!

In White-Hot Christmas, Merle is from the UK, and she’s come to New Zealand to visit her sister, Bree, and Bree’s new husband, Jake. They introduce Merle to Jake’s cousin Neon (short for Napoleon, only don’t tell him I told you or he’ll kill me) and their attraction to one another is instant and electric. Merle and Neon have a very hot Christmas, in all senses of the word :) But when it’s time for her to go, they realise they’re in deeper than they thought, and there’s no solution that won’t break someone’s heart.

In contrast, Holly’s First Noel from Entangled Publishing is set on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland during a very snowy Christmas. Noel’s wife died on Christmas Eve from breast cancer three years ago. He’s spent the previous two Christmases alone watching mindless action movies and getting drunk. He’s done more than his share of grieving, and deep down he’s ready for love, but the lingering guilt at the notion of betraying his wife won’t go away. Noel’s young and passionate—he misses sex and companionship and he wants children. But he’s also loyal and devoted. How is he supposed to move on?

Enter Holly, who doesn’t fit the traditional perfect Christmas image either. At the beginning of the story, her partner breaks up with her, leaving her with a tonne of Christmas food and a long holiday void of love and happiness. So when Noel suggests she join him on his retreat, she takes, oh, all of five seconds to say yes. Together they watch action movies, wait for the Loch Ness Monster, and eat beans on toast for Christmas dinner, determined not to conform to society’s idea of the perfect day, and yet somehow the time is more special than any Holly’s ever spent before.

I have a thing about Christmas romances—you may have noticed ;)

Anyway, thanks for having me here, Rachael. I have a free copy of White-Hot Christmas to give away to a lucky reader. Tell me what the weather’s like in your part of the world and be in to win :)


You can find Serenity Woods at the following places:
Website: www.serenitywoodsromance.com
Twitter: @FayeRobertsonNZ, @Serenity_Woods
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/serenitywoodsromance

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When Christmas Comes Early with Kelly Hunter


I make NO SECRET of the fact Kelly Hunter is one of my favourite authors!! So, I was so excited when I heard she had a Christmas novella out and even MORE excited when she agreed to come and do a post on my blog...

But before I hand over to Kelly, I'm stoked to announce the winner of Candis Terry's gorgeous books. CONGRATS to Squenn! If you could contact Candis via her website (http://candisterry.com/contact/) or me on Rachaeljohns077 at gmail dot com, then we'll organize to get your prize to you :)

Now without further ado, KELLY HUNTER...

As a kid I loved the torturous lead up to Christmas – the tree going up, a few presents appearing, and then a few more, and then on Christmas day, a few more again. We had a no touching the pretties rule, because – frankly – I was the best present sleuth in the business. Also, my mother knew that the guessing games we played about each present were delicious. ‘Is it soft? Is it breakable? Is it a big flat piece of metal? I played similar guessing games with my own children during those nights before Christmas – and loved every minute of them. But every now and then Christmas came early in the form of something that couldn’t be wrapped and tucked beneath the Christmas tree. A kitten. A puppy. This year it’s two belted Galloway heifers (hereafter named Eb n Em – this is Em).

This year I wrote a Christmas novella called Wish, and in it single mother Billie Temple wants to give her son, Cal, a puppy for Christmas. A dog to replace a borrowed Blue Cattle Dog that the hero might someday want back. A dog a boy could call his own:

‘Which one’s the puppy?’ asked Cal.

‘The one standing in the middle of the yard Si’s trying to drive those s


The puppy in question was looking their way.
heep into,’ said Adam with a smile - a genuine Kincaid grin that widened when Cal smiled back. ‘Play your cards right, kid, and Si’ll pay you to take that fool pup away.’

‘What’s his name?’ asked Cal as he clambered out of the cab behind Adam.

‘Henry.’

Billie joined them by the side of the ute just as Cal put his hands to his knees and called the pup’s name and then sweet and leggy Henry was at Cal’s feet with the speed of a bullet, all legs and too-big ears as he planted his butt in the dirt and then tried to wriggle closer, and closer, until finally he was sitting on Cal’s shoe before collapsing in a squirming mass of ecstasy when Cal bent down to pat him.

‘What? You don’t pat your dogs around here?’ she murmured.

‘Of course we do,’ said Adam as Blue dog looked down on both pup and boy from the lofty height of the tray of the ute and barked a short sharp reprimand at the boy, the pup, or both – at which point Henry promptly peed himself.


‘This isn’t a done deal,’ she said.

I can think of a few other Christmas gifts that might come early for one reason or another. Big things. Breathing things. A loved one back from yonder.

As for Christmas gifts for my hero and heroine, I gave them each other (and I gave it to them early). No Scrooges here.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Wish. And if you’ve ever had ‘The Best Early Christmas Present Ever!’ I’d love to hear about it.

And congratulations Rach! on your Carina Christmas release and your latest new sale!

I've read Kelly's gorgeous novella and it's worth leaving a comment!!