Visitors

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a holiday for us to celebrate those who've served in any branch of the US military. Some survived wars, some are walking wounded, some died. All were brave and committed to their oath to follow orders and protect our nation.

    It's a day to salute them and remember their sacrifices.

Navy.                                                                                  Marines.                                                       


                                                     

                                                        












Army.




                                 


                                                                                             Air Force.


              



       THANK YOU ALL!
                        





Photos: Flickr: Beverly & Pack, Ambert, MATEUS_27:24&25, San Diego Shooter, Tom Carmony, Waiting line's photostream, US Army IMCOM.
Marianne/April

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nibble my newest cherry CARRIED AWAY!

Tickled to launch the second in my romantic suspense series, CARRIED AWAY, at EC, I'm offering you a taste today.
This book debuts June 2 and I am delighted to take you on a mad search through the divinely romantic and dangerous cities of Venice, Paris, Jerusalem and Naples!
Ready?
The setting: Grant Warwick, security expert and owner of a huge company that protects the best and brightest, is about to sign a contract with a sheik when he realizes the one who set it up was Coco Dalton, the one woman who fascinated him and then left him flat three years ago. No explanations given.
When she tells him why, you want to be around.
Here's a nibble:
Grant caught her upper arms. “I’m going to say this. And I don’t want any arguments.”
“Okay.” She sounded tentative.
“That connecting door stays open tonight. No locks, no privacy.”
Being harsh was definitely not the way he meant to end the night. A man could always hope to get lucky, right? But the cat suit she owned made him wary. “Sleep tight,” he said, trying for some of the congeniality they’d built over dinner.
He turned on his heel and left her standing alone by the window.
He didn’t look back. If he did, he’d sweep her up and carry her to his bed. There, within arms’ reach, he could ensure safety for her. But he couldn’t save her from herself, could he?
He undressed and out of frustration, threw himself into a freezing cold shower. It didn’t calm his mood or his erection. So, naked, he went into his sitting room, paced, stood at the window for god-knew-how-long and watched the moon travel the sky. Running his hands over his head, he decided to move the chaise longue to angle toward the window, the view of the black velvet night and what he could see of her suite. Then he parked himself in the thing, hoping he’d wear himself out.
But he began to hear sounds from her room. She shuffled things. Left her light on for a while. Reading, maybe. She got a drink out of the mini-bar and he could hear her fiddle with the bottle and the glass. Then she went into her bedroom. After a half hour or so, he heard her click on a lamp and he could see rays dapple the carpet. Once more, she got up, this time to get a drink of water in the bathroom. She padded back to bed.
Yeah, babe. Hard to sleep, isn’t it, when there is so much more to say?
He sat, reclined in the chair, one hand over his mouth, eyes glued to her room near the window. He waited. That’s one thing he was so good at.
She came into sight as she drifted toward the window. Dressed in a floor length gown of some clingy stuff, she leaned on the credenza in front of the window. Her nipples were poking the fabric, her tortured face lit by moonlight, her eyes closed. Forgetting what we had? Remembering?
Steady, Warwick. It may be only her secrets that she thinks of. Not you. Why you?
She moaned and faced their door.
He dared not breathe.
Then she walked forward. On cat’s feet, she came to the doorway, paused and there in the silvery light, her gaze found his.
He let her look her fill. God knew, he was riveted to the chair.
Whatever she saw, she glided forward. His belly convulsed. His cock lay on his thigh, stiffening with interest.
She came to stand next to him and sank to her knees. With a gaze his heart described as loving, she put two fingers to his lips, chasing his own hand away.
Don’t talk?
Babe, I can’t utter a word.

Then she moved closer. His brain melted down in the fragrance of her perfume as she reached one arm around his neck and pressed her face to his bare chest.
The warmth of her flowed over him. He shut his eyes. Opened them. This silken body in his arms was really hers, and not some fantasy. She kissed his shoulder, pressed her lips to his sternum. He heard her sniff and knew she fought tears.
That’s when his arms clamped around her and hauled her up to splay her upper body over him. He planted his lips in her hair. Her soft curls. He caressed her back. Sleek flesh and bones. He put one palm over a cheek of her ass and squeezed.
“Come up here, babe. I need all of you.”
Copyright 2010, Cerise DeLand. No duplication without written permission of the author.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm baaaack....

You might think that a week's vacation would be restful...right?

Sigh!

Not necessarily...

I loved being up in the mountains...loved walking outside in shirtsleeves in a light snow. Loved using only my umbrella to keep from getting soaked in drizzly snowy rain...loved watching the cloud cover lift and the sun filter through to make the pavement steam as it evaporated.

But coming back was a pain in the patootie. Took all of the restful thingy right away, having to load and unload. So, now that I am back to my computer with the normal sized keyboard and a 19-inch flat screen monitor that allows me to view e-mail and stuff larger than pis-ant size, I am back to work.

I am working on a newer, nicer, less jerky montage of my Snowbird photos. I will upload it when it's finished. And next year, if you are going to be in Utah the last week of May, give me a call. Drop in for a day.

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com


Friday, May 28, 2010

Alwaz L8


Sorry!

I can't schedule a post for the night before so I have to try to remember to write one on Friday mornings!

So, hurt my back...not fun. I'm actually thinking of seeing my doctor who I avoid seeing - he's a personal friend so I have a rule - no clothes come off...ever. If he wants to listen to anything or feel anything he does it over my fully-clothed body. Besides all my issues are injury related - fortunately! Illness seems to avoid me, knock on wood!

All righty then, what's new? Beauty and the Feast is selling well on Fictionwise. I think that's good. I know Tessie and Desiree are waaaay up there too, plus Tessie is in the top 100 on Amazon Kindle! Go Tessie Bradford!
The most important thing is that hubby loves loves loves BATF! He thinks it might be my best yet. He's such a good partner! If he doesn't like what I write, he tells me. For instance, he could take or leave Captured because he said - it's you - I know you - why do I need to read about you? But...big but...he did enjoy listening to Captured on his Kindle with the voice thingy. That was actually pretty cool!

WIPs: a post-apocalyptic work of sci fi, a paranormal you will sooooo love, and a sequel to Captured.

Enough of my rambling! My kitty wants to eat, my birds are screeching and I have to clean the house! Oh yeah, and email my doctor. Crap!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Pre-Memorial Day Weekend



I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday weekend! We have big plans. I'm beyond excited to be awaiting the arrival of my son, daughter-in-law and 18 month old grandaughter. We haven't seen them in almost a year!

Life in my little neck of the woods is still beyond overwhelming on every level possible, so I'm hoping a few days of baby cuddling, barbeque and enjoying family will be just what we need.

Congratulations, my SSS mates, on your new releases and well deserved fantastic reviews!!

I've had some good author type things happening recently and, although it is still incredibly difficult for me to 'blow my own horn', I'm being told it is okay to spread the word. Possessing Eleanor is a Best Seller on ARe and Fictionwise. It has also been on Amazon's Top 100 Best Sellers for the Kindle for 8 days! I'm shocked, stunned, in utter disbelief, humbled, proud...did I say shocked?

Also, I finally finished edits for The Lady's Not a Vamp and it will be released with Ellora's Cave on July 6, 2010.

Take care all, and I hope to be posting regularly again soon.

Tessie

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Rise of Rome!



Today I’m sharing an excerpt from “Owned By Rome”, which takes place in ancient Gaul 64 AD. In this scene Atellus has just arrived at his cousin’s compound in Massilia and been ordered to clean up his “Celtic” appearance and not embarrass his cousin in front of a party of Roman dignitaries. Atellus is a widower who has been living on the western frontier for many years and has abandoned most Roman customs and now lives like a Celt. Upon his arrive in his compound he is offered the use of a beautiful “ancilla” or personal servant:

…Atellus was pampered that vesper. An herbed lamb was roasted in his honor and a pretty ancilla named Janni was sent to his cubiculum as a companion and tonstrix to groom him.

Janni had a gentle voice and pleasant attitude. She massaged his tense muscles with soft, patient hands and sweetly scented almond oil.

He luxuriated in the feeling. He had not enjoyed a woman’s pampering touch in a very long time and he was starved for it. It was a welcome distraction from his current tension and disappointment. If his woman-starved senses had not been so attuned to Janni’s soft curves and giving attitude, the massage might have lulled him to sleep. That couldn’t happen, not yet. As exhausted as he was, he knew sleep must wait. Janni had a task to complete and he had yet to bed her. There was no way he would allow himself to fall asleep before having that pleasure.

Janni cheerfully pursued her task. Her delicate hands expertly stroked a steel novacula against a cos until the sharp edge of the blade gleamed. She stood behind Atellus and tipped his chin upward. She carefully shaved his whiskery barba from his jaw. With every swipe of the razor, she stopped to inspect her handiwork. Her eyes widened at what she discovered. “Dominor.” She addressed him formally as her master, in a wispy voice. “You’re a very formosus man beneath this barba. I like your face very much. It is has a strong amius virilus. Why do you cover it with hair?” She ran her hands lovingly across his half-shaved jaw. Her voice dropped to a whisper.

“Do not tell Dominor Plutonius I said this, but I would be pleased to be your ancilla and amatrix during your stay in Massilia.”

He smiled into Janni’s beautiful brown eyes. “I would be very pleased to have you as my amatrix.” His fingertips grazed the side of her soft arms. He had not had a lover in so long his body ached for one. “Are you one of a Plutonius’ favorites?”

Janni’s gaze dropped to the ground. Obviously she was.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” He reached upward and gently stroked the side of her face. “It must be awful.”

“It is.” Janni giggled but quickly gasped in alarm. “Please tell no one I said so.” She hurried to correct her admission.

He smiled and gently patted her shoulder. “Your secret’s safe. Tonight you are my favorite. I will enjoy having you as my amatrix very much.”

She smiled and continued with the task of shaving. She stood behind him as he sat. She provocatively pressed her full breasts against his back and tipped his chin upward to scrape his bushy black beard away. “Dominor,” she whispered in his ear. “You look ferocia but you speak kindly. I like that.” She bent down and brushed her lips gently across the top of his head. Her words were the softest whisper. “I was happy to be sent to you. I give myself to you willingly.”

A chill ran up his spine as she spoke. His chest tightened. True willingness amongst the servus was such a rarity. He knew Janni had no true choice. She had to submit and serve him. That she should offer this privilege meant so much. Willingness was a rare gift between dominor and servus and one he greatly preferred. Taking an unwilling ancilla was a misery for both parties. He knew some men preferred it but he did not. At this stage of his life, he refused to do it. He refused to take what was not offered. His thoughts wandered toward fantasies of thrusting his dolon between Janni’s willingly parted thighs. His pulse quickened. It was difficult to sit still. Great Jupiter, he couldn’t wait to be done with the grooming and move forward to the pleasure. A faint smile crossed his lips. “Janni, I turn myself over to you completely.” His head tipped back against the soft cushion of her breasts. He pressed against her bosom and gently rocked his head from side to side, luxuriating in the feeling. Her generous breasts felt wonderfully mollis and comforting. “Hurry.”

“Stop moving. I might cut you.” Janni lifted the steel novacula away from his throat. “You must sit still during the tondeo. Your barba is very thick and ferus.”

He couldn’t wait to see her naked. I’ve got something else to show you that’s thick and ferus. He grinned. He wished she would just hurry, but he allowed her to take her time and do a good job, knowing her handiwork would be judged carefully. Janni had been ordered by Columba to make him presentable to the dignitaries, and after spending eight years in Belgica, he knew she had a daunting task to perform. Janni was a well-trained and obedient ancilla. She performed her tasks perfectly. He was bathed, manicured and shaved. He did not have to correct her or ask for anything. She offered or acted before words even formed on his lips…

“Owned By Rome” will be available May 28th from Ellora’s Cave Legend Line.

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Katalina Leon is in the house!



Please give a warm welcome to my dear friend and fellow EC author Katalina Leon. She was kind enough to allow me to delve into her world for a bit. Enjoy her interview. :)

Q: Tell us about your favorite character from your books.

Katalina: I’m still having a love affair with my latest Hero “Atellus” from “Owned By Rome”. I was able to really get inside that character’s head and he’s lingering with me.

Q: Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Katalina: Does time travel and short excursions to other dimensions count? The WIPs I’m currently working on go all over the place! Lol

Q: Tell us about your current release.

Katalina: My latest release is “Owned By Rome” it’s part of Ellora’s Cave Legend Line. It takes place in Western Gaul 64 AD. I chose that time period because Rome had reached the height of its technical achievements but was beginning to loose its political grip on its empire. I chose one disillusioned Roman magistrate and one disenfranchised Celtic woman to represent two clashing forces that eventually learn to love and respect each other.

Q: Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

Katalina: I don’t mean this to sound spooky but several loved ones who have passed on have been very active in helping me find stories. They literally hand over the goods-especially abuela Katalina!

Q: Does your significant other read your stuff?

Katalina: Yes, but I don’t let my husband read anything until the story is completely finished. We do talk about work in progress and it’s always a big help to get a male point of view.

Q: Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

Katalina: The real question is how can a writer AVOID critique partners. Once friends and family know you write everyone becomes a critique partner whither you want the critique or not lol My sister is my beta reader-she’s pretty tough to please…

Q: Who are your books published with?

Katalina: I’m exclusively with Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

Q: Do you hear from your readers? Tell us about your favorite fan letter you’ve received?

Katalina: When my first ebook “Blue Apples” was published last spring a very sweet fan sent me a necklace with a tiny blue apple covered in crystals. I was so touched. It felt like the best good charm in the world. Other readers have sent personal video-messages through YouTube, which I treasure. “Noblesword” brought me some male fans that were convinced I had written about them in the bacchanal scene…Naughty boys. “Adult Education” brought me a wonderful video request for a sequel from a young lady dressed in a fuzzy college mascot costume! I absolutely love hearing from readers. I’m always surprised by what details catch a reader’s attention.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

Katalina: Emotional involvement and a learning experience. We read and reach out to the world to learn something about ourselves.

Q: Plotter or Pantser? Why?

Katalina: I try so hard to plot! I really do have good intentions and I always start off with a structured plot line but as I write the wild horses run away with me and soon I’m lost and at the mercy of the muses…lol

Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?

Katalina: I take a long walk everyday-if possible with my husband, son and dog. It’s part of our family time together.
Amber: Very nice. My hubby and I do the same.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Katalina: Yes, be tough with yourself, be loving toward yourself and invest the necessary time and effort in yourself-you’ll be glad you did.

Q: What would we find under your bed?

Katalina: Medieval looking fur-lined leather wrist-cuffs strapped to the headboard (They’re hidden from kid’s view, just knowing they’re there makes me happy!) and a beautiful old-fashioned leather suitcase covered in travel stamps and filled with toys and erotic goodies to play with.
Amber: Hmmm ;)

Q: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Katalina: Thank you for your love and support, I’m so grateful!

Thanks for being here today Kat! I had fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

First-Person or Third-Person?

I've written books both ways, and never heard any negative feedback about using either approach. Here's what I've been pondering.

Writing from my heroine's POV for the entire book really gave me a great perspective on her views. I loved being in her head the whole time. I could watch the story unfold, and share her assessments of others, including the hero. I felt every reaction she had and commiserated with her when heartache hit.

However, there are some publishers who won't accept first-person manuscripts. Years ago, I ghostwrote a nonfiction memoir in third person. An agent was intrigued, but asked that I rewrite it in first-person. Doing such a rewrite isn't just changing every "Jane" to "I" or "her" to "my". I had to carefully edit each sentence to only reflect "Jane's" POV.

It was a major undertaking, but in the end, I thought the book "read" better in first-person and sent it to the agent. She, however, rejected it and returned it to me within days. I somehow feel that she never checked it! Anyway, I published it as an ebook in 1999.

I've got two other books I'm working on, and have tried writing them both ways. While I like the first-person versions, I'm leaning towards doing third person. I understand when people comment about wanting to "get a feel" for both the hero and heroine...and maybe a first-person POV doesn't give enough for the reader to "bond" with the hero.


My book, "Gone to the Dogs" by Marianne Stephens, was the fastest one I wrote...and I think it was because I was in Katie's head and wrote it in first-person. The words and actions just flowed, and I really connected with her. Here's a sample from the book:

"In mere seconds we climaxed as we passionately clung to each other while soothing drops of water flowed down our bodies. This was sheer heaven. We’d both enjoyed our rendezvous once we crossed that line from arguing with each other to channeling our energy in a more passionate direction.

As my breathing tried to return to normal I knew in my heart that one encounter with sexy Mike wouldn’t be enough. Like eating potato chips I wouldn’t be able to stop at one. No chance I’d be able to dry off, thank him for a lovely evening and be on my merry way. No. Mike had taken up residence under my skin and I’d need much more of him to satisfy my craving for additional intimate contact.

I moved my head closer to his ear and whispered, “Round two in bed?” Subtleness with my new sex partner would take a hike. A woman with a mission and eagerness to lead the way transformed me into a she-cat.

Katie-cat was on the prowl."

 I can feel her every emotion, reaction, and desire...and urge to never let those sensations end.

 Do you enjoy reading/writing in first-person?

"Gone to the Dogs" is available in print and as an ebook at many sites, including Amazon and at:
http://www.jasminejade.com/m-310-marianne-stephens.aspx
http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.aprilash.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus
http://romancebooksrus.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nibble on CARRIED AWAY, coming June 2

I adore a good mystery--and when I can have that and a romance, too, I am in heaven.
Hoping you might like that combo as well, I'm writing a series at EC called Irresistible Forces. The first was LAID BARE. The second?
CARRIED AWAY. www.jasminejade.com/ps-8399-50-carried-away.aspx
This begins in one of the most romantic cities I know. Venice. Then on to Paris, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Naples.
Hoping you will come along, I give you a nibble of my newest cherry.
The excerpt:
She got to her feet. Drifted away from him. She’d told herself when she decided to recommend him for this job that she wouldn’t fall into bed with him. Even though she craved him like the earth needed the sun. It was not fair to him, given what she had to do. Now that she’d seen him, embraced him, she warned herself once more not to even think about starting a physical relationship with him again. Not because she didn’t want him. But because she still hadn’t told him everything about herself. What she did. Why she did it. Hell.
She smoothed her hands down her linen skirt and headed toward the door. “I should go.”
He stopped her with the velvet bass voice she’d heard in her dreams for three lonely years. “After what you’ve just told me, I don’t approve of you in a separate room.”
She curled her shoulders. Closed her eyes. How she wanted to move in, sleep with him, make love to him. “I didn’t think you would.” I can’t just walk back into our life and fall into bed with you like some broad with no brains and no remorse. “But—”
“I signed that contract, so it’s my job to keep you safe. Because I can’t put a bodyguard into place for you on such short notice, I am your security. Hence, you sleep here.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose. She was exhausted from worry and the trans-Atlantic flight. Seeing Grant again had sapped her energy more than she anticipated. She was getting too old to be running around the world doing one job she loved—and a second that she’d come to hate. “Don’t push on this, Grant.”
He strode to his door. “You are not checking in. No one needs to know you are here. I’ll get the adjoining room and your luggage. We leave for Dubai tomorrow morning. I have my jet. You will fly with me.”
“I have a ticket.”
“On a commercial airliner?” he asked like she must have rocks in her head.
“I’m in first class.”
He huffed. “First class is no defense against C4 and crazy men.”
“You’re right.” She’d known it, but a cover was a cover. She nodded, grateful, but felt herself sliding down a steep slope that led straight into his arms and his bed. She rubbed her arms and turned to look out his window into an uncertain future.
“Have a nap,” he ordered, his guttural voice a sweet rasp against her skin. “We’ll have dinner together. I’ll make the arrangements.”
She didn’t turn, didn’t want him to see her face, her joy, her frustration at her inability to control her desire for him. “Eight?”
“Eight.”
“Ciao.”
“Ciao, bella.”
(Copyright Cerise DeLand 2010< No reproduction without permission.)
http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com
Soon to come my new website: www.cerisedeland.com

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I will be out of town for the next week...

I will be at the 7,800 ft level of the Wasatch Mountain range in Little Cottonwood Canyon from this afternoon until next Saturday morning...at my timeshare in Snowbird UT.

Those of you who have my cell phone number can reach me easily. I have my laptop here, but no e-mail, since Internet up here costs more than the damned laptop. LOL! I am only 20 miles from home up here, so I will check e-mail every other day.

If you want to see a montage of the place I have, just drop over to my YouTube channel and scope out my Snowbird montage. It's the first video I ever uploaded, just as a test. I contains four years of photos taken from my balcony, from the parking lot, and from the mountainside at Snowbird.

I adore this condo. It's been in my family since the Iron Blosam Lodge was first built in the mid seventies, and I bought it from my sister a few years back. It is my place of utter peace and tranquility...one of those places where you feel at one with nature and the universe. I live for my week there every year.

Do you have a special place you love to go for a peaceful getaway? Tell me about it.

Fran

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Latest...


Hi!

It's been one of those waiting weeks...waiting for my daughter to arrive home, waiting for word on the menage I submitted...waiting for my other daughter to call with updates on the mega-stuff going on in her life...waiting for my son to finish finals...waiting for edits for three, count 'em, three books to show up in my inbox.

If there's one thing writing forces upon me, it's patience. I am so very much not a patient person. Though I try hard to control myself, I'm a bit like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - I want it now!

In the meantime, I am actually working on a sequel to Captured along with a full-length work of post-apocalyptic science fiction - which might take me a bloody year to complete. Patience...patience...

Like right now, watching my baseball team under-perform. Patience is my word of the week.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Glam Life - Part 2


Last Friday over at Romance Books R Us, I talked about the glamorous life of a writer. I used blunt examples and I certainly don’t apologize for my choice. My life is so far from glamorous. I’m not going to continue telling of all my woes in my personal life, but I will give you a small example of how much money I rake in.

Last May a story of mine was released in an Anthology. This anthology has been well received by the reviewers, but apparently not by the readers. A year ago, I received a check for $25 as an advance against future sales. The three other authors received the same amount. I haven’t seen any more royalties from this story.

I get my statement every month and I watch our negative numbers creep lower. I might see .25 in July or August. Granted the story probably took me seven hours to write, but let’s look at how that averages out. $25 divided by the 7 hrs is $3.57 an hour. Hmm, gotta love the writer’s life.

Believe me I’m not trying to sound whiney or bitchy because I feel blessed to be published. I get to express myself through my characters and storylines. Not everyone is as lucky. I love creating different scenarios for my hero and heroine to get themselves into or out of. I enjoy the path to happily ever after. If I were in it for the money I’d a quit a long time ago.

In other news, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I signed a new contract for Submit With Me. It’s a quickie. No release date yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I do.

Be sure to come back next week for my interview with fellow author Katalina Leon! You don’t want to miss this!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beware: Tomorrow is "Visit Your Relatives" Day!

Relatives. Can't ignore them like they don't exist...although you can try! Blood ties are strong, and your extended family is all yours. As the saying goes, "You can choose your friends, but not your relatives". How true!

Everyone has some skeleton in their family closet. Is it the uncle who likes to dress as a woman? The cousin who deals drugs, gets arrested, and embarrasses his family on a routine schedule? How about the aunt who works a night job...as a stripper?

Can't say I've known as any male relative who dresses as a woman, but I have some female relatives who only buy and wear men's clothing. And, I've noticed a few who make routine jail appearances, to the utter dismay of their families. The stripper? Yep. I've known about at least two. Pole dancing, lap-dancing, strippers who made good money but thank God used "stage" names.





What happens when your relatives visit? Chaos or fun? Do they turn your home into a disaster area or leave it clean? Help out or expected to be served?

In my funny contemporary romance book, "Gone to the Dogs" by Marianne Stephens, the heroine, Katie, moves to Kansas to take a new job and live with her Aunt Phoebe and the aunt's underwear-eating dog. That's just the beginning of Katie's adventure in relative-coping! Throw in her aunt's "Mother Nature Earth" chants and karma...plus a definite 1960s-1970s outlook on life...and Katie figures she's in a "Land of Oz" of her own! 
"Gone to the Dogs" is available in print and as an ebook at:
http://www.jasminejade.com/m-310-marianne-stephens.aspx
Photos: Flickr: corruptkitten and Conor Keller Fortysixtyphoto's photostreams.

http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.aprilash.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus
http://romancebooksrus.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New man in my life...and yours!

Grant Warwick is the new man in my life!
Scrumptious, no?
He's an international security expert who owns his own company, his own jet, his own set of rules. And the only woman who ever broke into his heart was a cute trick in bad shoe leather.
Now she's sought him out in Venice and poor sap that he is, he can't refuse a lady in distress--or one who's apologizing for leaving him flat three years ago.
Now Grant's got to throw over his pride and help her save her shapely ass from a man she can't identify...and a terrorist plot they must unravel before both of them die.
CARRIED AWAY, the 2nd in my Irresistible Forces series at EC, June 2! http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8399-50-carried-away.aspx
"Turn up the AC!" said Romance Junkies of the 1st in the series, LAID BARE.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Release Yesterday!

Nothing but Sex

Fran Lee

A standalone story in the Cougar Challenge series

Lee Blackhorse is hardly Cougar material, no matter what her friends over at Tempt the Cougar say. A forty-two-year-old woman who lusts after her thirty-year-old weekend helper is just plain nuts. Or is she? Mike Running Elk is the sexiest thing ever to don tight jeans and a second-skin t-shirt. She’s secretly yearned for the man for years.

Mike has no problem seeing himself in the role of Lee’s lover. In fact, if he can just get the hot-as-hell woman to realize he’s plenty old enough to ring her bells, he plans to do more than just clean her barn and mow her grass. He’s waited for her long enough.

When Mike shows up at her door with an injured hand, he notices Lee can’t pull her eyes off his naked, ripped chest. Mike can’t believe she’s as oblivious as she acts. The ice has been broken and he intends to heat things up even more…

Reader Advisory: Our poor heroine endures some mild violence, but don’t worry—the hero’s got her back.



An Excerpt From: NOTHING BUT SEX

Copyright © FRAN LEE, 2010

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Mike swore foully as he caught his glove on one of the murderously long barbs on the roll of wire fencing that he was trying to move and he tugged his leather work glove off to find that the barb had made it through to his palm. He shook his head and shoved his hair back from his face with his other hand before he tugged his unused handkerchief from his back pocket and wrapped it around his hand, which did very little to stanch the flow of blood. Swearing at his own clumsiness, he headed across the wide work yard to the back porch and stepped inside, knocking on the inside screen door.

She appeared from the archway to the living room, her face pink and her lower lip caught between her teeth as she caught sight of him and he realized that he hadn’t bothered to pull his damn shirt back on. He saw the way her eyes darkened as they slid over his body and he felt a shot of anticipation run from his gut to his cock. Her lips were full. Her eyes were smoky blue. A small vein throbbed in her throat. And it struck him forcibly that she most certainly was as aware of him as he was of her.

But before he could wrap his mind around her reaction to him, she was hurrying up the stairs to the bathroom and he was following, his appreciative eyes on the lush swell of her generous, gorgeous ass as he held the tea towel tightly to his bleeding hand. Sweet Jesus, but he loved her ass. He had loved it ever since he’d first seen her, when he was just eighteen, and he had asked her if he could do some odd jobs around the place to make some cash every week. Right after his dad had died. Watching her walk around in tight jeans had made him forget a lot of the pain in his life back then.

She filled a pair of jeans like they’d been poured onto her. His mouth watered and his cock grew impossibly harder. Even the stinging pain in his hand couldn’t distract his attention from that ass.

As she entered the bathroom and stretched up to the shelf above the toilet to lift down the first-aid kit, he almost whimpered. Was she trying to kill him? If she didn’t stop wiggling around, he was gonna blow.

“I can handle it from here,” he grated as she opened the box and started to take the soaked tea towel out of his grip. But she shoved his free hand away and gently placed his hand in the sink, rinsing it with icy-cold tap water that nearly made him yell at the pain. He stared down at her bent head as she probed and cleaned the wound and each time her body brushed his, he almost lost it.

He lost track of what was happening with his hand as every drop of blood in his body raged into his groin, threatening to explode. Maybe that was a good thing, because his hand might stop bleeding.

“I still think we need to get you to the clinic and get this stitched. It’s way too jagged to heal right, and it’s still bleeding.”

Her words were lost in the hot muddle of his emotions and body. But when she looked up into his face, he forced himself to pay attention. “Hold this clean towel in your palm. Press it tight. I’ll get my car keys.”

And as she left the bathroom, he sank down onto the closed toilet and gasped for breath. If he didn’t get his cock to calm down, he would throw her down on the damn bathroom floor and fuck her blind. And somehow, he didn’t think she would respond well to that technique.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5 Delightful Divas for Beauty and the Feast

From Stacey at Dark Diva Reviews ~5 Delightful Divas for
Beauty and the Feast:
Stacey’s Review:
“Eva is a chef that loves her job. She takes pride in the food she makes and it shows. There are a lot of food and meal preparation descriptions, but rather than bore us, they stimulates our senses…and makes us hungry. At the end of the book, there are recipes and quick facts about the meals Eva makes in the book, which was a nice touch.

Eva is hired to prepare a romantic dinner for two for Gabriel Abbott and a date. When she discusses the meal plan on the phone with him, she falls for his sexy voice, just as he does for hers. Later, when they meet by accident, there is perfect chemistry between them and nothing is ever the same.
One of the biggest hurdles facing them is the fact that Eva is a simple country girl and Gabriel is wealthy and educated. Can their two worlds blend enough for them to have a life together? Can Eva trust Gabe, even though he has a past reputation as a playboy?

This book was great with many layers. Julia Barrett created characters so real that I could read about their daily activities all day and enjoy every minute of it. Not only the main characters, but the complimentary cast of secondary characters as well.

I found around the middle, I began to wonder where this book was going. Then a spiteful ex-girlfriend comes into the picture and creates all kinds of problems for our lovers and plenty of suspense for the reader!

If you enjoy a classic romance with a dose of suspense to keep you anxious, then give Beauty and the Feast a read. The sex was hot and the last scene of the book was just perfect and kept me smiling long after I closed the book. Julia Barrett is a talented author that can pull you out of reality with her writing. I look forward to her next release.”

Rated 5 Delightful Divas by Stacey!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Birthday "Blue Apples"!


Today is a special day for me. May 12th marks the first anniversary of my first ebook “Blue Apples” release. In many ways it feels like it was a million years ago because the e-industry moves so fast and I move so slowly. lol
This year has been challenging and the learning curve steep but I’ve loved having goals and other motivated friends and fellow authors to share them with. I’ll never forget the elation of getting that first book contract and I’m so grateful I didn’t know at the time what lay ahead… Harsh edits, rushed revisions, e-pirates, putting your ego aside for reviews and the looming reality that if you don’t promote your own ebook no one else will do it for you. The single biggest surprise was I thought I would get to choose my own book covers. Not so… At best e-authors are allowed to make suggestions and cross our fingers for luck.
I soon learned the truth that when you become an e-author you take on three daunting jobs: You’re a writer, you’re a PR firm and you’re a manager and creative director of your “brand”… and in your “spare” time you can work another job, run a household and take care of others. The glamour never ends. lol
“Blue Apples” was part of Ellora’s Cave “Succulent” series, which was themed on fruit and juicy succulent things. I chose to write a Sci-fi m√©nage featuring a highly intoxicating, aphrodisiac fruit “Azurpomia” aka “Blue Apples”. The story takes place in another galaxy on a desert planet with mountainous sand dunes, underground rivers and also on a wet misty planet inhabited solely by males that’s reminiscent of Scotland. The heroine is a redheaded warrioress and the heroes are a platinum-haired aristocratic Dom and his younger black-haired lover. All characters are big beautiful swords for hire. Was any of that on my book cover? No. I got a wholesome looking guy lying in a grassy city park in his underwear with a pick-nick basket full of fruit stacked in front of him… Oh well.
Blurb for Blue Apples:
Gala is an elite Captain of Dianndra’s guard and proud owner of a male harem. When she volunteers to go on a treacherous mission into enemy territory to steal aphrodisiac fruit and defy an ancient foe, she has no idea what this act of trespass will cost her.
Fate is calling. Lord Veren and his lover, Markeen, are gorgeous swords for hire, and warriors supreme. Like all Vertanians they are bigger, stronger, braver, and brighter, but they spawn only male children, and face a culture in decline. They need female companions. How fortunate for them when they discover a beautiful lust-intoxicated Dianndra wandering in their orchard.
 The warriors capture Gala and carry her into their fortress palace for a night of shared lust that may change two ancient cultures forever…
As many of you know by now I can’t resist a bad pun. I’ve got a Mac and I have a little blue apple icon on my computer screen-hence the story title. Gala is of course is one of my favorite varieties of apple and Gala sounded nice. I just couldn’t bring myself to name my heroine “Pink Lady”, “Fuji” or “Granny Smith”!
Happy Birthday Blue Apples, and thank you Ellora’s Cave!
XXOO Kat


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bogged Down

I hate to use this excuse two weeks in a row, but the simple fact is – it’s the truth.
I just finished edits for Sliding Home which is coming from Aspen Mountain on June 4th. I’m in the middle of the cover art request. I have to write TWO synopses. I don’t like writing these!
I’m in the middle of writing my cougar story and still trying to finish up self-edits on book three to send off to my editor. I’m barely coming up for air these days.
I’d like to say sorry to everyone for not posting enough here lately. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been making the rounds too much either. I’ll get back to commenting when life gets a little simpler.
The cold weather has returned to the northeast and I’m not happy. Add in the day job which has picked up…no wonder I’ve had a migraine for three days.
Til next week when I promise to have something to talk about!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Intuition, ESP, or Fact-Based Logic?

Today is "Trust Your Intuition Day". I'm not sure I always trust mine...how about you?

Intuition: "The immediate knowing of something without the conscious use of reasoning." Now, that's what my big print, Webster's Dictionary says. (Yes, I like the big print!). This means you know something happened, will happen, is happening minus the thinking process to figure out the when/why/how/who/what.

It's said that women have intuition. Do we...really? A mother might say something like, "I knew he was no good for you." Was that intuition...or based on the fact that she heard him sweet-talking on his cell phone while her daughter went into the kitchen? Or, while watching a movie, someone will blurt out, "The butler did it." Are they guessing? Basing that answer on other movies they've seen or books they've read?

I guess the key word is immediate. No thoughts about a subject. Just a brief "flash" in your head about someone/something. "


So...is it intuition, Extrasensory Perception,  or simply a matter of experience-based logic?

I wrote one book about a psychic who uses her special gift, ESP, to match couples at her dating service. ("Second Sight Dating" by Marianne Stephens) No intuition or experience-based logic was used in her process. She simply "saw" numbers and letters of clients in her head and matched them. She couldn't possibly remember what each wrote on their client forms, and match them that way. Her matching process had no scientific, fact-based routine involved at all. She had to close her eyes, concentrate on a letter, and wait for a number to appear in her head (or the other way around).

"Trust Your Intuition Day" gives the appearance of you going about your daily routine, and believing anything that pops into your head as being the truth. So, if you're at work and suddenly think "the phone will ring"...and it does...maybe it's your intuition at work. Or...maybe deep down inside you realize your so busy that life would throw you a curveball by having that damn phone ring just to bother you!

My very first encounter with what I labeled intuition happened the day President Kennedy was shot. (Yes, I'm that old). I wasn't "into" politics at that time...just trying to get through the angst of high school. I remember having breakfast and suddenly blurting out to my mother, "I think President Kennedy will be shot in an open car."

Yes...I'd seen news reports of him visiting cities and riding in open cars. But I had no idea where he was that day. An overpowering feeling of dread made me say what popped into my head. My mother assured me I was wrong and I was NOT to even think that might happen.

So, I went to school, he got shot, and I freaked out. Even went to church because I somehow felt like my intuition had told me that would happen and I should have warned him. As if anyone would have listened to the ramblings of a teenager!

Another time, I was in a car, going to a bridal shower with relatives. I knew my father was working late. Suddenly, the thought of him being in danger with a fire popped into my head. I said nothing, but called my mother once we got to the shower. Sure enough, my father had been working on a ship, a fire had broken out, and he had helped get some workers out of danger.

Again, I was a teenager and knew he worked on ships...but where had the danger and fire come from? ESP or my intuition kicking in?

I wish my intuition had helped me other times...like when I dated two brothers (not at the same time), got dumped by both, felt awful...and then found out both were gay. Then again, after  dancing and talking to my husband the night we first met, the thought that popped into my head was, "This is someone I can take home to meet my mother." Was that my intuition kicking in?

Any tales of intuition lurking in your past? Share your stories with us!

Photos: Flickr: kpishdadi and A30_Tsitika's photostreams

http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.aprilash.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus
http://romancebooksrus.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Two Releases in June!

Delighted to announce I have TWO releases in June!

One over at Ellora's Cave, CARRIED AWAY, a romantic suspense that continues my Irresistible Forces series, and the first of a Regency quintet, LORD STANHOPE'S IMPROPER PROPOSAL, over at www.resplendencepublishing.com

Then too, I have a FREE READ coming for you! Yes, a Regency starring Lord Stanhope's impetuous sister! LADY RAMSEY'S RIBALD CHOICES should light your fire as she makes choices you won't want to miss.

I'll run a few excerpts as we approach lift-off and do come back to peek at the delicious covers. No, I don't have them yet.

But as soon as I do, you will, too, bella!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Being an erotic author isn't as easy as it sounds...

It isn't as if we all have hot guys hanging all over us all the time...

And it isn't as if we actually DO all those things we write about....

And it isn't as if we can come up with fifty hot new sex positions at the drop of a hat.

YOU try thinking up new descriptions and new sensations for age-old activities and making it "fresh and new" for your readers! It ain't so easy...

I have a great imagination. And a great memory. But when I write an erotic romance, I have to grab the reader and drag him or her into the bedroom with my characters, and keep the readers enthralled and breathing hard throughout.

I have to throw my characters' bedroom doors wide open...no casual fade out as they go into that hot clinch. And that takes a lot of hard work. Emphasis on the hard. Yes, that was a double entendre.

I was asked recently who I pattern my heroes after. What celebrity I imagine as I write these hot scenes. I had to honestly answer that I sometimes picture a body...but never a face. Too embarrassing. If I ever met up with one of my heroes in real life, I would just melt into the floor and hide in the cracks.

How do YOU do it? Do you imagine a celebrity? Or a cover model? Or your son's math teacher? :) How do YOU come up with new ways and descriptions for love-making? Is it difficult for you? Easy? Tell me about it...

Fran Lee
http://www.franleeromance.com

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Talk With You Soon



I want to let you all know that I'm going to be taking a blogging break for a bit. When I'm re-charged and de-stressed, I'll be back!

Tessie

www.tessiebradford.com

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Character interview with Eleanor and Jackson!

I have a treat today!

I have two very interesting characters from Tessie Bradford’s latest BDSM themed romance “Possessing Eleanor”. I just finished reading this exciting story and I can’t wait to ask Eleanor and Jackson some inappropriate and very personal questions I have no business asking but I want to do it anyway! lol

Katalina Leon: “Eleanor, I feel like I tagged along on your 1st date with Jackson and followed you both into the bedroom. At first Jackson is very dominant almost arrogant and you’re a self-sufficient woman, what was it about Jackson that allowed you to trust and surrender to him?”

Eleanor Lewis: “Oh, I don’t know, maybe lack of sex for three years?” Jackson scowls and crosses his arms over his impressive chest. Eleanor laughs as she gently lays her hand on his thigh. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Okay, I’ll try to be serious. I’d never met a man like him before. Yes he came across a bit strong, but everything he did and said made me feel like I was the most beautiful, important, sexy woman on the planet!”

Jackson Royce: “Because you are, sweetheart.” Eleanor blushes as he lifts her fingers to his lips.

Katalina: “Jackson, what personal quality attracted you to Eleanor at that first surprise meeting in her office?”

Jackson: “I’ll admit I was a bit taken aback when I walked into the room to find papers strewn everywhere and the office manager shimmying out from underneath her desk. When she remained on her knees, on the floor, gazing up at me with those gorgeous, expressive eyes, well, let’s just say all of my buttons were instantly pushed.” He raises and lowers his eyebrows, Eleanor playfully swats his arm.

Katalina: I’m going to push another button… Eleanor, how did you feel about entering into a BDSM relationship?

Eleanor: “Skeptical! My independence is extremely important to me. I worked hard to build my life. The term ‘submissive’ conjured up very negative images. Jackson was very patient in demonstrating the unique benefits of this kind of relationship. For the first time, I trust my partner completely with my heart and body, and know he feels exactly the same.

Katalina Leon: I think it’s a common misconception that a BDSM relationship automatically equates to a loss of independence for the submissive partner. A self-respecting submissive has every right to know exactly what they are getting into. Jackson, was there a point where you were afraid Eleanor might bolt?

Jackson: “Yeah, actually there was. The first time I took her to my house, she had a bit of an episode.”

Eleanor: “As any twenty-first century woman would have! Kat, when he started trying to explain the nuances of a BDSM relationship, it sounded like it was all about him! Talk about pressing someone’s buttons!?

Jackson: “Yes, let’s talk about that. I remember you coming apart in my arms when I…..

Eleanor: “Stop it right now! Nobody wants to hear about the pesky details.”

Katalina: “Actually, we do want to know all the pesky details. An inquiring mind is a nosy mind and just for the record I loved Jackson’s bedroom decor.

Eleanor: “Yes, his room certainly helps to set the mood! Well, that night Jackson truly began to show me how he likes to play! Of course I didn’t know all of the rules yet, so I needed to be shown the error of my ways. Who knew punishment could be so stimulating? Oh, and a blindfold and restraints were new to me! To say it was intense would be a huge understatement!

Katalina Leon: Eleanor, as a novice you were technically not in error. I have a strong suspicion Jackson was going to “punish” you regardless-lucky girl. lol I think you handled yourself beautifully in an emotionally charged and unfamiliar situation. A true BDSM relationship isn’t all about games or toys. It’s one of trust and respect. A Dominant can be responsible and caring for another and a submissive can have the pleasure of knowing they are loved and very much needed by that person. Play nice and everybody’s happy. Jackson, what single thing do you most want Eleanor to understand about you?

Jackson: “That she’s the woman of my dreams and I’ll love her with all of my heart for the rest of my life.” Kat and Eleanor both sigh in unison.

Katalina Leon: It’s so wonderful to see a well matched couple. Eleanor, what was the most important thing Jackson taught you?

Eleanor: “I’ve learned a lot, actually. Most importantly is that I didn’t lose anything when I allowed myself to embrace my submissive side; actually, the exact opposite happened. I’ve never felt so fulfilled in a relationship before. I’m now completely comfortable with the part of myself that really, really enjoys giving up control!

Katalina Leon: As long as it’s done between caring, respectful, committed adults-I think we should all lose control on a regular basis! lol I want to ask Eleanor something very personal, what part of the submission to Jackson did you enjoy the most?

Eleanor: “Being blindfolded! It’s amazing how other senses heighten. And it adds a bit of mystery; wondering what’s coming next.

Katalina Leon: Jackson what is the sweetest thing about having Eleanor surrender herself to you?

Jackson: When she allows me to take care of her, to see to her every need, I know I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.”

Katalina Leon: Dominant gentleman last, Jackson what did Eleanor teach you about yourself?

Jackson: “That what was missing in my life was a strong, independent woman! Trust me, she’s a force to be reckoned with, but that’s what makes tying her down now and then that much more fun!”

Katalina Leon: Good for you Jackson. I want to thank you both for allowing me to tie you down for this interview and spank a few answers out of you. I enjoyed reading “Possessing Eleanor” and I wish you both many happy endings!

Also, I want to congratulate Tessie Bradford on a Top-Pick 4.5 star review for “Possessing Eleanor” from Night Owl Reviews!

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Hey Everyone!

I'm busy editing book three in the Freedom Fantasies series to send off to my editor. She has book 2 in her hands. I'm also knee deep writing my cougar challenge book, so I'm going to keep this short today.

Whipped Cream has interviewed me. If you have a second in your busy days and wanted to pop in and leave a little comment that would be awesome.
http://www.longandshortreviews.com/WC/interviews.htm

See ya next Tuesday!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sex Challenge - Will You Participate?

I saw the following article in Cosmopolitan online: "The Cosmo Sex Challenge: 77 Positions in 77 Days". According to the blurb, "One brave writer and her boyfriend attempt to bang their way through The Cosmo Kama Sutra, doing all of the positions in less than three months. Check in every weekday as the two of them get down, get up, get upside down, and, well, get off."


Check: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/great-sex-ideas/77-positions-introduction


Apparently, this couple plans to do all 77 positions and report on a daily basis. You can look back and start at day one. Positions are illustrated (no live shots!).

So...how many positions do you read about in romance books? As an author, how many positions do you have your hero and heroine use? I must admit, I haven't utilized most of the positions this couple has tried/will try in my books...but some seem quite interesting!

Ah, to be young again and have sex every day...for 77 days straight? Could you and your loved one handle it? Even in my younger days, I wonder if my husband and I could have managed the challenge without taking a breather.



Maybe this guy knows something we don't. Will you take the challenge?


Photos: Flickr: yuankuel, kaysha, rick, AprilSander's photostreams



http:www.mariannestephens.net
http:www.aprilash.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shots of Texas cowboys, real ones!


Hoping to post here pix I take at Silver Spur Ranch in Bandera, Texas this weekend!

Do check back!

I plan to arrive home about 2 Central time...and I hope to have for you pictures of the rodeo, horseback riding and roping events. Maybe more!

This weekend writers retreat was organized by the owners and staff of Wild Rose Press!

Do go over and sample their wonderful wares.

Including my POWER POSITION and PARIS EXPOSE!

Later, dude....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is it Saturday AGAIN? Sheesh....


video
I have been experimenting with promo the last few days, and decided that I really need to promote my back list titles. But how? We all only have a finite number of dollars to spend on promo stuff...right?

So, I decided to try loading a short video with just my book covers, for a couple of seconds each, just to see what caught the readers' attention.

You check out the short montage and tell me if it is something you might want to try...if it is, the first 10 authors who comment on this will get a free montage of their own book covers.

Hugs!

Fran
http://www.franleeromance.com