Friday, February 26, 2010

Cindy Gets P-Whipped

Thanks to some very bad weather this month, I had no choice but to sit my tushie at home and work. I finished two novels, two short stories, and retooled an older collection of tales. Sub time! Though the synopsis--or suck-nopsis as I like to call it--is almost the most painful part of submissions, I think the worst has to be the waiting game. Which is not to say that publishers take too long to get back to writers. On the contrary, most provide a reply within the span of a month or two, but trust me when I tell you, a few hours would feel like an eternity once I've hit 'send.' And then, I turn into that girl I hate, that girl who waits by the email box like she's waiting for a phone call from an inconsiderate hook-up. I mean honestly, it's sad. I would never act this way over a guy, but for publishers, I get whipped. Hey, I like that, I'm p-whipped. Publisher-whipped. Okay, Cindy, focus.

Right, the waiting game. So here's how my day goes:
7am Check email in case the editor reading my submission couldn't sleep last night. Go work out
815am Check email again in case the editor reading my submission is an early bird.
9am Think about checking email, but decide that would be too pathetic
10am Give in and check email
1130am Think about checking email while making lunch
1pm Give in again and check email.

I could go on, but you get the picture. And I know, I know, the old adage goes, "A watched pot never boils." And yeah, checking my email incessantly won't make the replies come any faster, but it soothes my neurosis. To a point. Well, okay, that I obsess about everything is a direct result of my neurosis. Hey, I'm a writer. We're supposed to be a little nuts. Or a lot nuts. Yeah, I probably fall into the latter category, but I just can't help it. I know some writers who are emotionally divorced from their work and I wish, wish, wish I could be like that. But that's just not me. I invest myself in every manuscript I produce which I think is a good thing...even if it means I'm left waiting by the inbox, longing to hear those three little words: "You've got mail!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Cindy Reads - Dime by Aubrey Leatherwood

Blurb: Never in a million years would Nicole Donaldson have imagined she'd become a rapper. But when the reserved middle-manager gets caught up in a lark with her Prince-obsessed brother, she's offered a music deal by hot music producer, Baron Odom. Nicole doesn't know what to make of her entrance into a world and lifestyle she's disdained from afar. She also can't quite wrap her mind around the quickly deepening attraction she has to Baron. Can she resist the call of the stage? The call of her heart?

Pardon me for the cliche opening to my review, but since there seems to be some confusion as to what a 'dime' is, allow me to shed some light on the slang term. The Urban Dictionary defines 'dime' as, "A very good looking female as in a perfect ten." Nicole Donaldson isn't that...she's so much more. She describes herself and relationship to the hip-hop music industry as, "a gainfully employed voyeur." And her voyeurism is mostly confined to her recording genius brother's basement, until one birthday weekend---Nicole is outted for the closet hip-hop freak she is.

Her searing satire of the rapper girlfriend stereotype grabs the attention of music producer, Baron Odom. He's classically tall, dark and handsome--and never misses a beat. It doesn't take him long to size up Nicole, either. Given her attitude toward hip-hop and musical folks in general, he's right on the money when he labels her a snob.

There's so much more to Baron than just his so fresh and so clean-clean exterior. Then again, there's much more to Nicole than her fiercely combative streak. Baron's just the man to get beyond her tough-as-nails facade and find out what really makes her tick. Their whirlwind love affair goes hand in hand with Nicole's meteoric debut on the hip-hop scene. And he's there the whole way telling her not only what she wants to hear, but what she needs to hear. Fasten your seat belts, readers, you're in for one sexy, glamorous, bumpy ride.

This short is far from sweet, but it is slick, smart, and chock full of steamy lovin'. But what else would one expect from Ms. Leatherwood? She is always funny, always powerful, and always on point. Dime is no exception. Nicole might proclaim, "Fuck a damn dime, I'm a nine all the time." But in this author's book, Aubs, you are always a ten.

Get your copy at Phaze today!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reluctant Housewife

I want to thank everyone for their support regarding my latest project, Diary of a Reluctant Housewife. Though the journal entries are often humorous and entertaining, it can be a little disconcerting to share my innermost thoughts with the general public. And I'll be honest, 'housewife' was never a role I imagined for myself, no disrespect intended to homemakers. Quite the contrary, it's the toughest job with, often, the least amount of gratitude. It's a job done purely from the heart, out of love for one's family....See how I tied that in to my 'All You Need Is Love' theme this month, LOL.

Anyhoo, this month's article is titled Burn, Baby, Burn. Watch for my feature each month and share my journey into all things domestic. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll never look at a mop the same way again. And check out the other fabulous AWH articles too! You'll be glad you did.

Coming soon, Issue 3, March 1! And guess who's on the cover :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Birds Do It, Bees Do It, Even Characters in Good Reads Do It by Sandra Sookoo

I'm excited to have Ms. Sandra Sookoo here for Valentine's Day. With her newest release, Cupid in Blue, I thought who better to help celebrate the big V-Day? Sandra is a multi-published author with Lyrical Press, Desert Breeze Publishing, Eirelander Publishing, and Liquid Silver Books! Please welcome her and show her some love!

The Season of Love is here and in full swing! Hearts and cherubs decorate everything and the smell of chocolate is in the air. Valentine’s Day has arrived.
Being a writer of romance is fun. Why do I stay in this genre? Because there is love in everything we do and nothing pulls a book together more than romance. Will the characters kiss? Will they work through their problems and be together? Is there going to be a happy ending?
In honor of the day, I’ve decided to pull a few kiss scenes from your entertainment from some of the most favorite books I’ve written. Hope you pick up some warm fuzzies.
First scene from NOT JUST MAKE BELIEVE available with Desert Breeze Publishing
Now I had to deal with a man who apparently thought that he was God.
Stop the world, I want to get off!
How about if I just grew a backbone and put a stop to all of this right now? After this little pep talk to myself, I hit the seventh floor button again as we arrived at the Lobby. "Absolutely not! I'm going to relax in my room, order room service, and watch mindless television for the rest of the night." I grinned at the surprise on his face. "Oh, did you think you were the only one who lived here? It's part of my benefits package. At least I don't have to pay rent."
"Very efficient."
I glanced up at the humor in his voice and was immediately irritated. To top it all off, he had dimples when he smiled. Once again, I was the head float in my own freak parade.
"I'll take care of it, Andrea." He punched the Lobby button and gave me a commanding glance that clearly said stay put. "I would really like to have dinner with you. That's all."
That was the last straw. "There are other people in the world, you know. We don't all kowtow to your every whim." I hit the lighted seven button.
Up we went.
Max hit the Lobby button, determined to win in the battle of wills.
My fingers curled into fists until my nails bit into my palms. "You're not listening to me."
Without thinking, I methodically hit every single button on the panel, until all the little numbered circles were lit up. I gritted my teeth and tried to regulate my breathing, but when my eyes met Max's dark gaze, a tiny flame of desire flared in my gut. This was not a good sign.
Two things happened simultaneously.
First off, the elevator car shuddered to a violent stop somewhere between the tenth and Penthouse floors, throwing me against Max. Second, I guess Max chose that opportunity to completely lose his mind. Before I could do much more than blink at him in surprise, his arms snaked around my waist, and he kissed me. There's no other way to tell the story. Not a swift peck on the cheek, grandma-style. It was one of those old-fashioned curl-your-toes kinds of kisses that you would see on old movies where the heroine pops her foot up behind her. Max's lips covered mine with a warm pressure that was gentle and insistent. Shivers of excitement raced up my spine when his fingers traced circles on my back.
My traitorous body decided he was non-threatening after all and started to press itself up against the solid mass that was Max. Before I could analyze why butterflies stirred in my stomach, the moment was over.
As first kisses go, it was quite delicious. But, my foot did not pop.
In case you were wondering.

Next scene from THE ART OF FANG SHUI available now with Eirelander Publishing

A strangled sort of sound came from Edwin that she interpreted as annoyance. She grinned. She succeeded in her goal to annoy him.
“Enough, Hannah. Enough!” He stopped suddenly, threw his stick into the underbrush, and turned to her with a crazed expression on his face. “You know the reason why I cannot indulge in my baser instincts. I trusted that information to you in the hopes you would respect my wishes.”
Sudden trepidation tingled over her skin. “Edwin, I am so sorry. I was only teasing you, trying to cajole you into a better mood.” Her stomach dropped to the region of her knees with shame. She could only imagine how he must feel. “Please believe me when I tell you I never meant—” She stumbled to a halt at his laughter. The dimple in his cheek winked with the force of his mirth.
“Oh spatzi, you are truly a remarkable woman!” He wiped at the sweat on his forehead then engulfed her in a hug. “It is difficult for me to remain angry at you.”
Hannah pulled back in surprise. “So that whole frustrated tension thing was just an act on your part? You weren’t affected in any way by our kiss yesterday?” Now she was upset. She behaved like an idiot in front of him for nothing. And the fact Edwin might find her to be one was embarrassing.

“You are wrong, Hannah. I was very much affected by your little show of power.” He drew her close to him once again his hands at her waist held her flush against naughty bits. “However, I must warn you. If you insist on playing with fire, sooner or later you will be burned.”
She didn’t have a chance to react before he brought his lips crashing down on hers with such force she had no choice but to submit under his assault. He manipulated her mouth until she parted her lips. Hannah let in his tongue. It fenced with hers, investigated every inch of her mouth and she gasped for breath. She twined her fingers in the silky strands of his black hair, gratified to know it was as soft and thick as she had first thought.
Intense beats of need consumed her body until she thought she’d pass out. Erotic images flooded her mind with shimmered brilliance that fed the flames of desire building in her chest. Hannah gasped. Every nerve ending tingled with awareness that almost burned her skin as he continued to plunder her mouth. She pressed her body against his, craving a new level of closeness. She groaned against his lips as his arousal made its presence known against her stomach.
When you set your full attention on something, you certainly leave no room for error.
Her eyes fluttered open when she realized he had pulled away. He regarded her, amusement sparkled in his eyes, now a midnight blue.
“Consider that your first and only warning, spatzi. The next time you start something, do have a care, and make certain you can finish the task. I find an unfinished job to be a very inefficient use of time.”
He winked. Hannah’s jaw dropped open.
Could it be he was developing a sense of humor after all?
She stared mutely after him. If Edwin can kiss like that without even trying, what else can he do?

And the last scene comes from CUPID IN BLUE available now with Lyrical Press, Inc.
“You said you’d pick me up.”
“I am.” Before she could protest, Aaron plucked her from the balcony and held her against him as he descended to the ground.
“I just didn’t tell you how I’d be doing it.” For long moments, his arms remained wrapped around her as he gazed into the deep blue pools of her eyes. He could easily stay there for hours.
Desire slithered through his gut when she shivered against him.
The box of chocolates slipped to the ground unnoticed and she pulled out of his arms as he leaned in to kiss her. “Back off, Lover Boy.”
Aaron stepped away, acutely aware she was the one who broke the embrace. “I’m sorry.”
By willpower alone, he kept the warmth in his neck from spreading to his face. “So, are you ready for dinner?”
Confusion clouded her eyes. “I’m not going anywhere unless you put those things away.”
She glanced pointedly at his wings. “But before you do, can I touch them?”
“Why?” Suddenly suspicious, he retreated another step. Curiosity blazed in her eyes as she closed the distance between them. “Why are you so interested in them? They’re just wings.”
“I’ve never seen anything like them before.” Her eyes sparkled when she smiled. “Did you think I’d be afraid and run away? Maybe call one of the tabloids and sell your story for a couple thousand bucks?” She stretched out her right hand then stroked the feathers of his left wing.
Tremors rocked his body at her touch. Aaron had no idea his wings could bring such intense spikes of pleasure, but as Catherine drew her fingers over the soft, downy feathers, his knees buckled. Intense waves of need crashed into him with enough force to make him flinch.
“Catherine…” His voice was rough with a passion he couldn’t explain.
“You’d better be careful, Cupid. If a simple touch has you nearly doing cartwheels, I can’t imagine what a kiss would make you do.”
He met her gaze and almost pleaded with her to stop her torment, but he quelled the urge.
He wanted to know what else would happen. “Catherine.” Urgency flooded his voice. She swept her palm down the length of his wing. Aaron shivered and clutched at the hand she placed on his chest. He groaned as his arousal strained against the front of his jeans. Never had he felt this way, and all because a woman touched his wing. “Enough.”
Catherine’s laugh was throaty and smugly feminine, but she removed her hand. “I can honestly say I’ve never turned a guy on quite like this before.”
“Damn.” He felt the loss of contact immediately, as the extreme sensations subsided and his ragged breathing returned to normal. “You almost killed me.” He stared at her with newfound respect and a healthy dose of shock.
“In order to be the authority on love and passion, wouldn’t you need to experience it for yourself?” She shrugged then turned away. “I’m going to the diner. You’re welcome to join me when you’re able.” At the last moment, she glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t know how you men function with those things between your legs. Seems to me they spring to life at the most inopportune moments.”
His jaw dropped. He stared after her for long moments as “that thing” calmed down enough so he could walk about town without embarrassing himself. Not for the first time did he wonder what exactly went on behind Catherine’s confident fa├žade.
Aaron folded his wings beneath his skin, cringing when joints snapped and the skin on his back stretched. He’d never get used to that sensation. He took a deep breath and let it hiss out between his teeth. Being Cupid was not the problem. Being Cupid with the hots for an unattainable woman definitely was.
I hope you enjoyed the kissing scenes. Now, go out, track down your sweetie, and spend some quality time with each other!
If you want to know more about my books and where to purchase them, pop over to my website and start browsing!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pork Chops stuffed with Brandied Fruit

Today's delicacy I learned while serving as a sous-chef for a country inn in Fredericksburg, VA. It's practically infallible and wows your guests every single time.

4 Pork Loin Chops, 2" thick and butterfly cut
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder, divided in half
1 teaspoon salt
Butter-flavor cooking spray
1 cup cranberry juice

1 cup of dried fruit, diced
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Prepare stuffing by cooking dried fruit and brown sugar in brandy with half of curry powder for 10 minutes at a hard boil, or until thick syrup is made. Stir often, be careful not to burn.

While stuffing is cooking, prepare chops. Mix together paprika, remaining curry powder, and salt. Coat chops inside and out with spices.

Heat saute pan on high. Coat with cooking spray. Sear chops on both sides. Remove pork from heat. Deglaze pan with cranberry juice. Set aside.

Fill chops with finished stuffing. Reserve any leftover syrup.

Return chops to pan. Drizzle with syrup. Cover and simmer in cranberry juice over med-low heat for 20 minutes or until chops are fully cooked.

Serve au jus over saffron rice with steamed veggies.

Yum! The perfect romantic dinner for two.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Schmove by Grayson Reyes-Cole

Grayson Reyes-Cole is a good friend, but she's an outstanding author! She writes fantasy fiction and tender romance and has been proclaimed a supreme builder of worlds by more than one reviewer. She also has a sense of humor that's always on point. Please welcome Grayson!

I’ve been in love exactly once in my life. I didn’t like it. I still don’t like it. Mainly because I’m still suffering from it. Suffering. And, ya know, quite frankly, I find myself telling my friends and family with some frequency that they should accept that I will never find love again, get married, or produce offspring.
They don’t listen.
My mother is like a dog with a bone when I mention a fellow. My friends recommend I do things I would never do, like joining random community clubs and vamping up a profile on . Luckily, or perhaps because my pals have instincts of self-preservation, no one recommends eHarmony anymore because, yes, I am one of those twenty percenters that was reject by eHarmony. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from the email they sent me after I took their marathon length test:

eHarmony is based upon a complex matching system developed through extensive research with married couples. One of the requirements for successful matching is that participants to fall within certain defined profiles. If we find that we will not be able to match a user using these profiles, we feel it is only fair to inform them early in the process.

We are so convinced of the importance of creating compatible matches to help people establish happy, lasting relationships that we sometimes choose not to provide service rather than risk an uncertain match.

Unfortunately, we are not able to make our profiles work for you. Our matching model could not accurately predict with whom you would be best matched. This occurs for about 20% of potential users, so 1 in 5 people simply will not benefit from our service. We hope that you understand, and we regret our inability to provide service for you at this time.

I’m glad they stopped the “This Will Be” commercials because that song literally starts bar fights wherever I am.
So, what’s a down-with-love girl like me have to offer in the month of love? For that matter, how in the heck did I wind up a romance author?
Well, my friends, it’s like this. When you decide to read me (and come you should read me if not for the fact that I’ve been rejected by eHarmony), pick the title carefully. Let it be known that you’ll have a pleasant time reading any of my titles, but seriously, they are divided into two distinct categories. The first are stories about how I would like love to be for me. Perhaps, I’ve interweaved some of the things that were beautiful about my terminal relationship, perhaps I’ve added a dash of the working love I’ve seen up close and personal, but stories like The Builder inspire romance in me because I adore the men (all the men) I write and they end up being good guys; good-to-the-core guys.
The second option, should you pick up one of my books or short stories, is to read a tale that is about love in its purest forms and how it has the potential to destroy the universe (literally). Perhaps, I’ve interweaved some pent up aggression or leftover disturb-ed-ness (not a word) from some of my romantic liaisons in the past, perhaps I’ve added a dash of the dysfunctional love I’ve seen up close and personal, but stories like Bright Star inspire romance in me because I always want to know how far one will go for love, even when the greater good is at stake. Will you go when love commands and reason and duty say stay? It’s a question I’ll never get away from so long as I write speculative romance.
I’ll conclude this blog by saying that I’m thirty-something, closing on another thirty-something birthday which I will celebrate on a cruise to a Caribbean island where I will stay at a hotel that is not Sandals, because they don’t let my kind in (filing single on my taxes).
PS for those of you who are wondering, Hedonism doesn’t let my kind in either (I like last names). ;)

For a tender romance, read The Builder.
For something that challenges, read Bright Star.
For an amazing ride of a romantic comedy, read The Prescription Playboy

Grayson Reyes-Cole

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day by Morgan Q. O'Reilly

Morgan Q. O'Reilly writes fiction that is sweet, rough, tender, or furious...anyway you like it. As a multi-published author, she believes that romance doesn't end at twenty-five and it doesn't end with marriage or children, a philosophy that is pervasive in her books. Let your inhibitions take a vacation and check out her newest release, Cowboys Dream, Too. Now, let's see what Morgan has to say about Valentine's Day!

Do you ever look at the computer and wonder just what the heck there is new to write about?

Heh. Happens to me all the time. Like today. So I decided to do a little memory diving into some

Valentine’s Days that stand out. Days when my guy not only got it right, he got it perfect!
My husband and I usually don’t go all out for Valentine’s Day. In fact, it’s pretty much hit or miss for us. Our first one, when we were dating, he took me out for lunch then dropped me back off at the office. I was thrilled and quite pleased with the time and effort. I certainly didn’t expect more. Half an hour later, he came back with a small bouquet of red roses (two or three flowers) and a candle of a raccoon holding a heart. Nearly twenty-five years later, I still have that silly raccoon.

Then the year we got married, Valentine’s came three months before our scheduled wedding day. At the time my father’s Rotary club had a fund raiser where they delivered a dozen long stemmed red roses for $10 a dozen. Back in the day when I’d worked for my dad, I’d often been given the job of doing his deliveries for him. That year, I worked for someone else and couldn’t do the running. So sitting at my desk in an office hovering over a warehouse, my husband-to-be came to my desk with a familiar box. Wonderful! He kissed me, and walked out. A few minutes later, he came back with three more boxes. Laughing, I kissed him again and once more he left. With my boss looking on, I began to fuss with my flowers. And then my sweetie came back… this time with a five-gallon bucket stuffed with six dozen roses! By then the girls from the office across the warehouse were standing at their window looking my way. No one had sent them roses, much less ten dozen at once! Okay, it’s never happened again… wish I’d had a camera handy that day.

What made that day even more fun? I’d had our wedding florist deliver a single, perfect, white rose to his office. In the years since I’ve sent a number equal to the year of our approaching anniversary. These days, well, all those white roses are a bit expensive and times are lean. So I’m thinking hard. What to do?

Several years later, after marriage and our child was in kindergarten, my husband had had a business trip clear across the country over Valentine’s Day. Before he left, my son and I carefully packed some special gifts in his luggage. A couple cards, a small bear that had been hugged lots of time so it was filled up with our hugs for him. Do you think there was a card or small gift hidden somewhere in the house for us? Nope. Think he was in trouble? Just a little. More because I’d thought he’d do something for his young son. For me, well, I could figure that one out. The man is so caught up in thinking about his work, sometimes he’ll step right over the garbage waiting for him to take out mainly because his focus is so tight, he doesn’t see it. The following Monday was President’s Day and a school holiday, but I still had to work my part time job, so he took the role of POD – Parent on Duty – for the day. About lunch time my two favorite guys showed up and my son had in his hand a small box wrapped with a ribbon. Inside? A long gold chain and a heart shaped diamond pendant. To this day, both of them grin when I wear it.

This year, Valentine’s is on Sunday. I didn’t think much of it when a few weeks ago he mentioned the yearly boys’ weekend out at a friend’s cabin was scheduled for Feb 12-ish. Go up Saturday morning, come home Sunday afternoon. Yeah, okay, no problem, go on and have fun (they play cards and munch on snacks. They used to go out on snow machines, but they’re feeling their ages these days). Then last week it smacked me upside the head. Valentine’s weekend. The rats! The dirty rotten rats! All six or seven of them. All but one of them married. All into the double decades. We’re the newlyweds of the group and will celebrate our twentieth anniversary this year. When I called him on it, I laughed. He gets out so rarely, it does him good to hang with the guys, just like it does me good to hang with my girls. I honestly didn’t expect him to change his plans. And he hasn’t. But for one thing. At half past seven on Sunday evening, we’re going out for dinner to a very elegant restaurant.

I just might have to find at least one white rose for him. I think a boutonniere just like the kind he wore for our wedding will do nicely.

Got special plans or traditions? What makes Valentine’s Day really rock for you?
Get Some Tonight
Morgan Q. O’Reilly

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Beginning and the End by Marci Baun

My guest today is the owner of two publishing houses, Wild Child and Freya's Bower. She also happens to be an editor extraordinary and a talented wordsmith. Be sure to take advantage of WCP and FB's February specials! Join their newsletter and get 40% off a purchase of a purchase of $5 or more.

Without a newsletter subscription, you can still save. 25% off a purchase of $5 or more by using the codes below.
WCP: 4c19604a15
FB: 493b041c26

But enough about business :) Let's see what Marci has to say about love!
Before you can start a new relationship, you have to end the old one. Whether it was the most recent one you just left, or that one you keep thinking “if only,” you have to let it go to find your next victim, er, lover. (grin) If you don’t do that, you’ll hop from one…man to the next, dissatisfied with every single one of them not sure why you can’t find that one hubba hubba to be with for however long you want. (Two days, a week, a month, a year, 50 years, etc.)
This is the voice of experience—or at least my experience. And I’ve seen it happen time and time again with my friends too.

You see, a few, or more, years before I met my husband, I dated…a few men. (grin) My last boyfriend before my husband, I knew from the beginning he wasn’t “the one.” Of course, when I met him, I was nowhere near being ready to meet “the one,” so that really didn’t bother me. And when I finally broke up with him, it was three years later, and I still wasn’t ready for that special someone.

We stayed friends. It was hard, but we managed. And when he finally met someone new…well, I didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t prepared. I thought I was over him. I spent an entire day crying, and I asked myself, “Do I still love him?”

The answer eluded me, at least that night. In the morning, I saw things a little more clearly. What I was crying about wasn’t the fact that he found someone else or that I loved him and wanted him back, but that I was afraid with him taken, I would be alone for the rest of my life. That prospect scared me. (Seems silly, I know, but I was 29 at the time. People constantly asked me when I was going to get married, or how come I wasn’t married with kids, or… Well, you get the picture. And so, I thought I was rapidly approaching that time in my life where I would be an unwanted, unlovable old maid, if I hadn’t reached it already. Oh, the drama!)
That realization set me free, and finally, I was ready to meet someone new. It took a few years, and a few really scary dates, but I found “the one” when I was ready for him, and okay being with myself.
So, as hard as it was, I had to let go of the old (in this case, old fears that somehow were mixed up with letting go the old boyfriend) to start the new life of love that awaited me. Of course, some of my old flames will always hold a special place in my heart. They will, just not the same special place my new and forever love holds.

Did you find you that once you let go of your last love, you were open to new love finding you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love to Be Scared? -- Rita Vetere

Our guest today is the multi-talented Rita Vetere who weaves dark fiction for your delight and fright. She also has spectacularly gorgeous hair. I'm not kidding, check it out on her website--see link below. Oh okay, I'll stop harping on Rita's hair and yield the floor. Welcome, Miss Rita!

Darlings, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. On the day we celebrate love, I’m planning to spend the evening huddled under a blanket with my honey, warding off the February chills, watching a great horror movie. I know, I know. How can that possibly be romantic, you ask. But consider this: Horror movies are an aphrodisiac. Yes, it’s true. Horror elicits a physical response which is very similar to sexual arousal. Your pulse quickens, your heart pounds, sometimes you even gasp or moan. Ever notice how most horror films are released around Valentine’s Day? Also true. There’s a reason for it. Hollywood figured out the connection between fear and sex long ago. Just take a peek at these February 2010 releases:
February 5: Frozen:
Three skiers are stranded on a chairlift and forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death.
February 12: The Wolfman:
Upon his return to his ancestral homeland, an American man (Del Toro) is bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf.
February 19: Shutter Island:
In 1954, a U.S. Marshal (Leo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.
February 26: The Crazies:
The inhabitants of a small Iowa town are plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply.
So, all you couples out there looking to get closer? Watch a horror flick. And if you’re not part of a couple, or just coming out of a bad relationship? Hey, watching someone get burned, slashed, blown up, buried, dug up and killed again might just prove therapeutic. In any case, it can’t hurt, right?
Speaking of things Horror, my latest Horror novel, Whispering Bones, is releasing with Lyrical Press Inc. later this year in ebook and print. Visit my website for more details on this, as well as my previous releases, Ancient Inheritance and Born of Darkness.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Pot Half Full by Jaime Samms

A multi-published author with Freya's Bower and Love You Divine, Jaime Samms writes 'stories between men.' Spinning tales with raw sensuality and drama, like Poor Boy and Muse's Vaction, Jaime's a master of m/m fiction. Be sure to stop by her website for free reads and check out her stunning drawings on deviantART. And now, let's see what she's written for us today!

As my cat sits here on my toes and warms them as only the best of cats can properly do, I wonder. I've never been into the Valentine's Day myth, to be honest. Now, don't freak out. It doesn't mean I don't believe in love. I very much do, or I wouldn't write about it incessantly.
After nearly thirteen years with the same guy, a guy! (I still have little freak outs over that, occasionally.) I've burned through a few incarnations of the idea of love, and one of the ideas that we've both always held is that if you need a special day to declare how much you love your mate, you're doing it all wrong.

You know when you fall in love and everything is new, and you figure the world is going to be a different place? And for a while, it is? I'm happy to say, that new lasted years for us. Every day, I woke up in this world where everything was shiny and great. Who wouldn't want to hang onto that?
Eventually, we had kids. I think the biggest mistake couples make when kids come along is changing their lives completely to accommodate the little creatures. I see the looks of horror from all you mothers out there, but don't panic. Don't call the humane society on me just yet. Let me explain.
Something about love makes people think it's all about happily ever after. No one tells newlyweds about the work, the sacrifice, or the forgiveness that love requires. No one ever tells new parents about how devastating those bundles of joy are to the wedding bed, or the shiny newness they crave in their relationship. This parental filter I found myself looking at my marriage through gave me a whole new look at the world I woke up in every day. (on the days I actually got to wake up, as opposed to stumble out of the nursery in the general direction of where the coffee pot might or might not have coffee in it)
And this is where I get to the part about not changing your entire lives to accommodate the rug rats: coffee in the coffee pot. You know it's love, you know it's for life, when there is never a day there is not coffee in the coffee pot when you need it.
There was one day, very early in our relationship, when I complained about him taking the last cup of coffee and not putting on a new pot. From that day forward, I have never found the pot empty. Not even when he got up with the kids, or worked insane hours or in a town an hour's drive from our home. Not once.

What hasn't changed, over all the years we've been together, is that I am first. When he's hurting, when he's sad, when he's so pissed off at me he can't look at me, when the kids need something, nag or climb his leg for his attention, I'm still his one and only.
Certainly, we changed a lot of things. We got a bigger place to live, we spend our money on them, we gave up a lot of physical comforts to home school our children, but we never compromised our relationship to do any of those things. Now, as the kids grow and show signs of becoming the people they are destined to be, we can see the time coming when it will be as it was in the beginning: us.
And you know what? I see a new incarnation of love on the horizon. I see already the new plans forming, the future that will be a different world to wake up in. I feel the patience of a husband who has given me the space to explore and love take chances. He's put me first at the expense of his own comfort and at the risk of his world changing in ways he might not want it to. He's watched me go through a lot of heartache in the past few months and never once left the coffee pot empty, even when he wasn't sure what I was still doing with him.
That's love.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Thing about Love by Lex Valentine

I share the honor of being in the same anthology with today's guest, Lex Valentine. Her tale in Wild Child Publishing's Weirdly Vol 3 is wickedly delicious! Welcome, Lex.

You know that saying about not appreciating something until you’ve lost it? A lot of people, including myself, have had that epiphany about love. And the moment you no longer have love, what do you do? Let thoughts of it consume you. Yearn for it. Ache for it. Do anything to have it again…
The thing about love is that no matter how much we say we aren’t looking for it, don’t want it, we do. It’s an inherent part of who we are as humans. We need that closeness to another person. The people who do not crave that closeness, who do not care anything for their fellow man, who can murder them and feel no remorse, are the deviants. Those of us who want to be loved are the norm.

Now, granted there are those who would do anything, manipulate and lie and hurt others to have love. Those people are deviants too of a sort. Usually, what’s wrong with their pysches can be fixed whereas the murderers cannot. (Yeah, I don’t think you can rehabilitate a cold-blooded murderer.) Still, the majority of us aren’t killers or liars. Most of us sit and wait for love to happen and get panicked if it doesn’t.
In my case, I’ve had love. Several times. Different men. If the relationship I’m in now doesn’t work out, I rather have the sense that I’ve used up my allotment of love. But I suppose it could happen again. I almost feel like I’m too old for love, but in my heart I know that’s not true. None of us are too old for love. Just because our hair has turned white doesn’t mean our emotions stop.
In my books, the inhabitants of the Darkworld (except for the humans) all have pre-destined mates. Someone played matchmaker, uncaring of sexual preference. The “gods” have chosen for them and they must either accept their mate or remain alone. In the case of the dragons of the Darkworld, finding their mate is a distinctive part of who they are. It’s more than just cultural. Their mate truly is part of who they are.

When a Darkworld dragon finds their mate, the clock starts ticking. The long the two of them go without actually mating the more pain they find themselves in. The pain grows incrementally until one, or both, of the dragons goes insane from it and dies or kills themselves. Not a pretty thing at all. Yet on the other side of the coin, those dragons who embrace their mate, find their lives enhanced immeasurably. Their dragon clan mark becomes two dragons, usually entwined. The can easily share thoughts and feelings telepathically with their mate. Their sexual drive increases, as does their sexual stamina. And their built in birth control is deactivated once they mate. Yes, you got it… only mated dragons can get pregnant.

For the vampires, the Acerbians, of the Darkworld, mating isn’t mandatory. However, when a vampire meets their mate, they often dream of them and the dreams take on a surreal quality because they can sometimes be shared dreams if their destiny is strong enough. Once the vampires share blood – bites – they become bonded. Bonded bloodmates don’t have to both be vampires, although the bond tends to be strongest between a couple that is vampire-vampire. If one half of a two vampire bonded couple dies, the other vampire could starve to death. Usually, they chose to end their life as well and follow their mate to the Afterworld. Death by starvation is a horrendous fate after all. If the vampire half of a single vamp bonded couple is left alive, the same thing applies. Vampires are very dependent upon their mates regardless of their race.
I suppose I came up with these ideas because I’ve lost people I’ve loved in the past. It would be nice to have that bond of love that cannot be broken even by death. It would take away a lot of the uncertainty in life and that fear of being alone and unloved.
People ask me all the time where I get my ideas. I always say, “Oh, here and there. From just about anything.” I suppose the truth of the matter is that my ideas are born of my heart. The things I want and need and wish for. The things I dream about. I spend a lot of time alone in my head and creating worlds where happiness reigns supreme and love always wins gives me comfort. Makes me believe – if only for a little while – that maybe I can have that too. Because, as I said, the truth about love is that we all need it. And finding someone to fulfill that need can leave you feeling as if nothing else in the world matters. Because really, nothing else does. If you have a mate, a life partner, someone to always be there for you, no matter how you might stumble in life, that person will be there to comfort you and love you. Their love will make all the bad stuff shrink to nothing.
Love is a powerful thing. It’s no wonder we all crave it like addicts over drugs. It’s no wonder we all write about it and readers are driven to buy the books. Nothing beats the feel-good of love. And that’s the truth.
I invite you to see what happens when a Darkworld dragon turns his back on his mate. In Ride the Lightning, Vahid Delrey ignores his mate Emily Carrington for three years until one day, everything explodes between them.
Buy link:
Red dragon Emily Carrington found her mate in black dragon Vahid Delrey, but misunderstandings, painful secrets, and distrust keep them apart. Emily thinks Vahid doesn’t want her. Vahid thinks Emily is a stuck up snob who could never truly love him. Both dragons hide crippling secrets from their pasts as their pain at being apart escalates. Emily falls for the strong, sexy black dragon and hides her need of him behind an icy facade. Vahid longs for Emily to need him but can’t bring himself to mate with such a cold woman. When Emily’s secret pain fetish threatens her life, Vahid must decide whether to save her or let her self-destructive ways rid him of the mate he never thought he’d love.
Warning: This book contains one asshole hero, one cold as ice heroine, mating in shifted form in a haystack, a suicide attempt, spanking, anal play, BDSM and it's all needed to create a very happy ending.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Scaly Love Affair

My guest today is author-on-fire, Antonia Tiranth! Her book The Gathering was nominated for LASR and CAPA awards. Congrats, Antonia :) Now, let's see what she has in store for us...

When Cindy asked me to write a blog about love, I thought “Sure! Easy peasy. I'll have that done by the end of the week.” The end of the week came and nothing. Another week...nothing!

Tonight, just a few days from my scheduled date and I still had nothing. So I wrote a blog about dragon superstitions for Romance in the Backseat and I had the bingo moment. Dragons. I LOVE dragons. Small ones, big ones, skinny ones, fat ones, mean ones, nice ones. You name it, I'll probably love it. I've always been fascinated by dragons. When I was sixteen, a friend of mine showed me a dragon tarot deck and I said I wanted the king of swords as a tattoo. I turned eighteen and went to get said tattoo but chickened out of the dragon. I thought there was no way I'd like dragons in ten years. Fourteen years later, I love them more than I did then. I just got my king of swords tattoo over the summer last year. My favorite deck to use for readings, The Celtic Dragon Tarot, blends my love of dragons with my love of Celtic mythos. Whenever I ran a D&D campaign I just had to sneak dragons in there somewhere. In one campaign, it was a religion based around dragons, in another one NPC had a slightly mental green dragon named Slimy as a friend, and in yet another the PCs mission was to transport a dragon egg. I have dragon statues decorating my room, a dragon desk calendar, a pair of dragon speakers, and I really want the dragon stapler.

So what does this mean for me as a writer? My very first published work, The Quickening, is about the return of dragons to the world after almost a century and the central characters are part of a race of dragon shape shifters. This quickly evolved into a series, The Tales of the Rikashi with two other books currently in publication with Lyrical Press, Inc (The Gathering and Black Velvet) and four more planned for the future. After writing, the first three Rikashi books, I branched out into the erotic world with my Tarot Kings series. Each book's hero will represent one of the kings. Currently I have King of Swords out with Red Rose Publishing and King of Cups submitted, waiting to hear back on that. I bet you're thinking that I can't possibly have dragons in that, right? Wrong! The heroine of the first book, who will tie in the tarot card in each book, reads from a dragon tarot deck. My current WIP is centered on dragons. Its a wonder my fiance hasn't accused me of cheating on him with a dragon :)

For more information on my releases, please visit website
For The Tales of the Rikashi, visit Lyrical Press, Inc
For King of Swords – A Dom for Christmas, visit Red Rose Publishing
You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you.

Thank you Cindy for letting me visit!

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Love by Ericka Scott

Welcome, Ericka Scott! Ericka is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. Her latest release is Crisscross, a romantic suspense available through Write Words, Inc. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.
Get a behind the scenes look at her writing and zany family on her blog at

She loves friends, so come friend her at

She's also on Facebook at and Twitter @ErickaScott
And now without further ado...Ericka Scott on love...

I’m sure when Cindy Jacks asked me to write a post about love, she never dreamed she’d get a post about my first love. Books. In particular, the romance title I fell in love with.

I taught myself to read at age 3 and have been devouring books ever since. My first love, Nancy Drew, was quickly replaced by Agatha Christie and then a multitude of other mystery writers.

In fact, while growing up, my Christmas list was clogged with names of books to complete my collection. Then, I went to college. That first year was really tough. I was desperately homesick but what I missed the most was my books. My roommate read Harlequin romances, and although I was always welcome to pillage her stack of titles for something to read, they just weren’t ‘meaty’ enough for me.

Right before finals, I received a box from my parents. Inside was a finals survival kit, snacks, spare pens and paper, and buried at the bottom, a huge book. My mom had stuck a note inside the front cover. Although she knew all of my favorite authors, she didn’t want to buy something I’d already read. So, she asked the local bookseller for a recommendation and had bought this book for me. The only caveat she added was that I was to wait until after finals to read it. Ha!
The book was A Rose in Winter, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It was love at first read, and I credit this one book with planting the seed of my love for the romance genre . I can only hope that one day, one of my books, will serve as an inspiration and open the door into a magical world to take the reader away from the mundane, even if just for a few hours.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Poetry by Aubrey Leatherwood

Today my guest is Ms. Aubrey Leatherwood, author of creative, sensual prose whose book The People You Know, The Sex They Have is up for a CAPA award (YAY, Aubrey!). Pick up a copy of her book today. You'll be glad you did...just for Ingo alone. Aubrey knows what I'm talking about, lol. Learn more about Aubrey at her website. And the great lady has seen fit to grace us with an exquisite poem about love. Enjoy!

______________________________________________________________________________________________In flashes of lily light

and honeysuckle breath

I find you.

No violet

or red, red rose

or indigo even

bring you to mind.

Only shades

cool as water cold as ice.

You don't come with scent strong like lavender

or jasmine.

Only in smells that touch me sometimes

in crowds

but never find their place.

Smells that remind me of something

that I realize late is you.

In syrup movement

not quick like lightning

You slow come to me as

Fans blowing in summer

Flies prying at screen

Hot stick-to-me day

Lazy on the porch

Hummingbird wings beat slow...

And there you are

long legs in short shorts

laying across mine become

truncated body as I grasp for your face.

In flashes of lily light

and honeysuckle breath

and grey soft memory down

you are hidden as I forget.

You are faded from bathing too long

in the bright sunlight.

A day without night

is where I've kept you.

I suppose I was wrong in that--

keeping you there,

suspended in happy times

because to animate you

would have meant

remembering everything.

You couldn't come to me

with scarlet sucking in your body,

with the scent of men's cologne

nestled in your hair or

with a burgundy slash of mouth

with sandalwood and musk

nestled in your hair or

with your mica colored hair soft

like mica, too

with those men's scents

nestled in your hair.

Those memories brought you to me,

brought you to me crystal.

Those sights I knew, those smells I knew

and yet those I would lose to

find you rose-colored hazy and bright

never in the sharp clarity of anger, regrets,

and obsession that even in dimness

painted clear your likeness.

And now, now because of my kind

distortion of you,

I cannot find you at all it seems.

I reach for you constantly and yet

am still forgetting.

I have given your sun to someone else.

Someone who easy comes to me.

I see her:

She lay bronze naked in a field

of ever-changing pansies

with green apple eyes lined in kohl

Sun catching cinnamon and nutmeg in her hair.

She smells of vanilla and (vainly I notice this)

she smells of me.

And importantly, days with her make the

nights easier to bear; never something to deny.

And still, still I grasp for your love as the light

has made it as much tantalizing as elusive.

And yet, I can no longer see your face.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Love's Many Guises by Faith Bicknell-Brown

Our guest today is Faith Bicknell-Brown. Faith’s work has appeared in a wide range of genres such as: Would That It Were, Touch Magazine, GC Magazine, Ohio Writer Magazine (non-fiction), Waxing and Waning (Canada), and The Istanbul Literature Review (Turkey) just to name a few. She was a regular contributor to Gent under her pseudonym, Molly Diamond. She has also had fiction published in Hustler’s Busty Beauties, Penthouse Variations, Twenty 1 Lashes, and has become a regular contributor to Ruthie’s Club. In addition, Faith has several e-books and some print titles published under Zinnia Hope and J. Emberglass.

For two years, Faith served as the co-editor of The Tenacity Times. In October 2001, she took the position of romance and horror editor for Wild Child Publishing and served as the managing editor for Wild Child as well as its sister division, Freya’s Bower. She is represented by TriadaUS Literary Agency.

Check out Faith's latest release at Freya's Bower. Conspiracy of Angels is a tale of forbidden love and scandalous secrets. Grab one of the few print copies left and get the discounted price too!

Welcome Faith! Now, let's see what the wise Ms. Bicknell-Brown has to say about love....

Love comes in many guises. We’ve all experienced puppy love, and most of us know what it’s like to love a person but have personalities so different we want to throttle one another.

There’s the love for a parent, the love for a child. We have love for our dearest friends, and we even have love for those cyber pals whom we’ve known for several years and have never met face to face.

There’s the love for the god we worship, and there’s the love of life too.

However, that one love we all covet is the rarest of all. That all-consuming love for a significant other, that one special someone who we’ll spend the rest of our life with.

And what’s odd about love is that it often seems like the real thing, but then heartache rears its ugly head.

So how do we recognize that special love? How does a person tell the difference between true love and a temporary love?

My parents possess and enjoy the rare love, but they were lucky. They married when Mom was 17 and Dad was 19. Two weeks after they were married, Dad was shipped off to Viet Nam. Forty-five years later, they’re still together. They’ve weathered the worst and love each other all the more for those times.

My aunt, Elma, and my uncle, Don (God rest his soul), married when she was 14 and he was 19. They were together nearly 60 years when Don was called home. They had many children, and as a result, Elma now has 19 great-grandchildren.

So what’s they’re secret?

I haven’t the foggiest. I’ve been married four times, but my current husband is the love of my life. I don’t know why I married the other three besides the fact that I ‘loved’ them. Well, two of them. The first was a case of young and stupid, lol.

Did I learn anything from those past ‘loves’? Sure, and that’s why I’m writing this blog. Like I said, love comes in many guises.

My advice to the lovers out there? Take it slow, keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t take everything at face value. Be honest. Ask your potential mate questions, and never be the object of any sort of abuse. Never.

Love is both giving and taking. Without both, you need to ask yourself: is it love?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What Is Love? by Jambrea Jo Jones

Let's give a warm welcome to today's guest Jambrea Jo Jones. She's not only a friend, but an imaginative author! Her many writing credits include:

From Freya's Bower: OTOG Anthology & Runaway Man
From Total-e-Bound: Over the Moon
From Liquid Silver: Semper Fi: Magnus

Take it away, Jambrea....

The dictionary has many definitions of love. I’ll list a few.
*A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
*Sexual passion or desire
*A love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour
*Sexual intercourse; copulation
If you look, you’ll see there is nothing in there about gender. Hmmm…I wonder why that is? My guess would be because love doesn’t know gender. Love comes in many forms and you should count yourself lucky if you mange to find it in your life time.

That moment when you know it’s love is different for everyone. I’ll share my moment when I knew I could be on the way to love.
I was back home, just discharged from the Air Force. I had settled into a job and got my own apartment. I was online a lot, talking to different people. I met a couple guys and we went out, but it was usually a one time deal and I would never get back to them. It started to be a trend. I think I was scared.
At that point in my life, I’d only been in two other semi serious relationships. One was in High School—my first true boyfriend. He ended up killing himself the summer after our senior year over some other girl. So, that was one reason to be nervous about love. The second one was a Marine I met over the phone while stationed in Nebraska. I don’t know if it would really be considered a relationship because we only got together when he was home on leave. It was a great week, but then he left and things kind of fell apart. There was reason number two to be afraid.
Along came Anthony. I met him online and found out that we went to High School together and were even in the same math class. He was a year behind me in school. (Yes, he is younger, but only by ten months. He still likes to call me the older woman. lol) I had no clue who he was or even how he remembered me. We decided to meet up after a few weeks of chatting on line and over the phone. Now, this is usually the kiss of death for me. lol This time I took my sister, her friend and my friend. Anthony is a musician and we went to see his show.

When we got there, Anthony was playing. I was already starting to get nervous. They had a set break and he came down to flirt with me. Not talk, Anthony flirts. And…he was drunk. Really drunk. I am usually a shy and reserved person in public. He is not. There is not a shy bone in that man’s body. He is very friendly and full of life. Totally opposite from me. Right then I thought, he isn’t my type. I’m not even going to try.
So the trend continued. Or did it?
After Anthony got out from under the table (He got under there and made some joke about drinking someone under the table. He had a beer sitting on the table he was under. I just shook my head.) and back onstage, I talked to my friend and sister. The night went on and we stayed for the whole show. For some reason, Anthony didn’t have a ride. I have no idea why. He was sweet and charming, even drunk, and somehow he convinced me to give him a ride home. I debated for a bit and drove him home, thinking I would never see him again.

We talked for a bit on the way home and I pulled up in front of his house. And what did that man do? He said goodnight and kissed me on the forehead as he left. That moment, right there, that brief kiss, is what did it. I started to fall. Then he called me. We talked and that clinched the deal. We’ve been together ever since. That was nine, almost ten, years ago.

You never know when love will come to you and you should always be open to it. No matter the race or gender. No matter the preconceived notions you might have. Open yourself to it and you’ll find it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to the Month of Love Celebration!

Happy February, everyone. Since February and its most famous holiday, St. Valentine Day, is all about the love, I've decided to celebrate all month long with recipes, guest bloggers, and much more fun, all centered around the theme--you guessed it--LOVE!

As an author of romance and erotica, I deal with the relationship kind of love all the time, so I thought I'd share with you today, and all month long, something else I'm passionate about: COOKING. I love to cook and what better way to show your special someone you care than to whip up a yummy dish, just for the two of you (or three or four, we don't judge here at the Writer's Block!) Not to mention each of these recipes works great for family dinner night, too. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I enjoyed perfecting them!

And now for today's tasty treat.....

Chocolate Meringue Pie

1 9"-deep dish Oreo crust (you can substitute with graham or shortbread crusts, too)

1 cup semi-sweet choc chips
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup hot water
1 can evaporated milk
6 eggs, separated (reserve egg whites for meringue)
1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar

Melt chocolate and granulated sugar in bowl over boiling water. Beat until smooth, set aside to cool.

In a glass or metal bowl, whisk together flour, hot water, evaporated milk, and egg yolks. Heat over boiling water until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and beat in chocolate until well blended. Pour into pie crust. Cover top with plastic wrap or parchment paper to prevent 'pudding skin.'

Time to make meringue! Combine sugar, cornstarch and water in glass or metal bowl. Heat over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.

In mixer bowl, beat egg whites, and 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Gradually add hot syrup and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Remove protective cover from pie. Spread meringue over warm pie filling, seal edges to crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned to your liking.

Chill at least six hours prior to serving.