Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cover for Sweet Magik!

Just got my cover this week for Sweet Magik. Yay! I love it....rock on, Oskar! Not sure about the release date yet...hopefully sometime in November 2011. Here is a blurb for the book....

Book Blurb for Sweet Magik

Job Title: Director of Elfin Resources

Location: The North Pole

Employer: St. Nicholas

Description: Babysitting a bunch of ornery, cussing, crotchety elves

Oskar Klaus' job is killing him. Not even his favorite hobbies (extreme snowboarding and browsing old bookstores) are enough to snap him out of his funk. It's not easy living in the shadow of four successful older brothers and a father named Santa. Little does he know that an unexpected kiss on New Year's Eve is about to turn his life upside down.

Kiana Grant's Manhattan life is a world away from her childhood in Oahu. She traded stunning sunsets and bad boy surfers for a respectable career in library science. Oskar Klaus poses a temptation to her heart that's hard to resist. Does she have the courage to take a chance on love? Or will a vengeful elf turn her North Pole adventure into a nightmare?

I also updated my website. Check out the new Meet the Klaus Family link, with descriptions of the Klaus family (Santa, Mrs. Klaus and their five sexy sons!). I also have descriptions of the 3 WIPs I'm working on right now, Diabolical (historical), Sweet Adventure (Klaus Brothers Series #3), and L'Araldo Di Primavera (botanical paranormal). My free "quickie"--Sweet Teaser (a teaser for Sweet Adventure)--will be posted on my website on December 1st.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween weekend,


Friday, October 29, 2010

Beard of the Day

I have never watched True Blood.

(Sometimes I wish I had HBO, darn it!)

Joe Manganiello appears to be the sexiest werewolf on the face of the earth. Even though I don't watch his show, I know several important facts about this gentleman.

1) He's from Pittsburgh, PA and is a big Steelers fan (Go, Steelers! Yinz iz the best!)
2) He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University (Da Burgh, again!)
3) His beard is thick, dark and rich like a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

Hope all yinz have a good weekend...
Happy Halloween!


(Lucy the wiener dog dressed up like Santa for Halloween! Ho ho ho!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Made Out Like A Bandit!

Here is my book stash from the NJRWA writer's conference...

  • The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal (how gorgeous is that cover???)
  • CEO's Expectant Secretary by Leanne Banks
  • Darkfever by KMM (already have it...anyone want this print copy?)
  • Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran (signed copy for Julie!)
  • Written on Your Skin by Meredith Duran (signed copy for Julie)
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (signed copy for Julie! Go Julie!)
  • Deadlier Than The Male by Sharon Sala
  • The Return by Sharon Sala
  • Virgin River by Robyn Carr (already own it; anyone want this one?)
  • Last to Die by Kate Brady
  • If He's Wild by Hannah Howell (autographed copy....weeeee!)
It was a great conference...good schmoozing, good martinis (kiwi!), and good workshops. The speeches were funny and tart. If you want to see the highlights and low lights, I penned a blog at The Quirky Ladies.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Put Your Heart In A Book

Farewell, gentle readers! I am off to the Put Your Heart In A Book conference, hosted by the New Jersey RWA. Workshops, martinis, speakers, martinis, schmoozing, martinis, parties and hopefully some really good martinis are in my future.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review of The Language Of Souls

I can't imagine anything more challenging for a writer than to create a fully-realized story, complete with world-building, emotional drama, conflict, symbolism, romance and wonderful characters, and pack all of that into 76 pages. I consider most "quickie" stories an amuse bouche....something quick and tasty, but not a full meal. Usually when I finish a short story I am craving more, feeling somewhat gypped by the length of the novel.

The Language Of Souls by Lena Goldfinch is short, sweet, romantic and completely and utterly satisfying. It felt like a full course meal packed into 76 little pages. Incredibly well-written pages, I might add. Goldfinch has created a stunning work for her debut "novellette" and I can't wait to read more of her stories.

The beginning evoked Island of the Blue Dolphins, one of my favorite childhood books. Goldfinch does a remarkable job with the world-building in this story...the setting really comes alive. This little book has everything I desire in my romance novels....fascinating characters, just the right amount of conflict/tension, and a satisfying HEA. It also had wonderful layers of symbolism, from the soul-containing "votifs" to the extraordinary kiss. I actually kept repeating "Oh! Oh! Oh!" after I finished the final page of the story. I don't remember the last time I read such a romantic scene, and I love the fact that a simple kiss was elevated to something so powerful and emotional. Especially for us jaded romance/erotica readers...I think we sometimes forget about the power of a simple kiss. Lena Goldfinch reminded me, and it was a beautiful thing.

Grade: A

(For a blurb and excerpt, see this Penelope post.)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Kiss

My local chapter of the RWA is hosting a First Kiss contest for unpublished authors. I love the concept behind this contest. There is something amazing and magical about that first kiss between the hero and heroine in a romance novel.

I am done with my edits for Sweet Magik! Yee haw! In celebration, I am posting the first kiss scene between Oskar Klaus and Kiana Grant. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book....enjoy!

"Time for the countdown!" Gregor bellowed to his guests. His brother's announcement caught Oskar by surprise. Glasses of champagne were poured and served. People blew party horns and confetti rained down around them.

"It's almost midnight? I guess I lost track of time." He turned back to Kiana just as the voices started shouting.


He wasn't sure what prompted him to do it. He wasn't drunk enough to embrace a woman he barely knew. But as he gazed into Kiana's face, with the lights of the city reflected behind her in the huge glass window, something compelled him to lean forward and whisper, "Happy New Year."

Her eyes widened and she licked her full lips, staring at his mouth with curiosity.

He never heard the end of the countdown. One minute he was leaning toward her, and the next he was lost in a tropical Eden. Sweet and lush, surrounded by warm breezes and the feel of sand beneath his bare feet. The scent of perfumed flowers filled the air, and he groaned as Kiana's slender arms wound around his neck. She let out a breathy sigh just before her lips touched his. So softly, so gently, he wasn't sure if it was real. He brushed his mouth over hers and she opened for him, tasting of tea and honey and paradise. Greedy for more, his hands slid under her baggy blouse, stroking the smooth skin of her back. He pressed her closer until he felt the pounding beat of her heart against his chest. Her fingers fluttered like a butterfly against the stubble on his cheek, finally resting there and tracing his jaw.

He deepened the kiss, pushing her back against the cushions of the sofa, devouring her mouth. Her leg hooked over his knee pushing the drab gray skirt up her thigh. A long expanse of soft skin rubbed against his trousers. Without thinking, he moved a hand to her leg and dragged his palm along the bare skin. He could swear he heard the sound of the ocean, waves crashing and returning to sea. He moaned and Kiana gasped in delight. He was having difficulty breathing, so he pulled back, nipping her lip on the way. The heat of a scorching sun bathed his body, and before his eyes finally snapped open, he heard the faint sound of a ukulele playing. Then, silence.

His eyes opened and he found himself sitting in the darkened corner of the living room, alone on the sofa. In his hands he held a pair of tortoise shell glasses.

Kiana was gone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beard Of The Day

I guess I'll be running out to buy this issue of Details magazine!

Honestly, I didn't love Chris Pine in the Star Trek movie...he hammed it up a little too much, attempting to channel William Shatner from the original television series. He also is somewhat of a pretty boy, and looks too young for me. However, this mag cover may change my mind. He looks nice and scruffy hot with this I'm-working-on-my beard pic, and he's totally working that sleeveless black T-shirt, and his arms....yowzah!

When's the next Star Trek movie coming out? I'm ready! Beam me up, Scotty.

Hope y'all have a great weekend,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Juosz és eläsz (Drink and Live)...A Carpathian Title for Smokinhotbooks!

Fall in New England is bliss. Two nights ago we lit our firepit, roasted marshmallows, sipped hot cider (with a dash of Calvados...oh yeah!) and the kids ran off to play manhunt. It just doesn't get any better than that.

My reading update: just finished Karen Hawkins' latest, Much Ado About Marriage. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. Not her best favorites are still Lady In Red and An Affair To Remember. Those are 2 of my favorite re-reads. Love them! I'm also super excited to read A Fairytale Christmas, which is a holiday anthology including stories by Barbara Wallace and Susan Meier. I love holiday romances and I can't wait to read this one!

I hope Smokinhotbooks likes the Carpathian title of my post...she has been complaining about the plethora of Carpathian chants in Christine Feehan's books. Hee hee hee....they are sort of crazy! Here's a good curse expression if you're a Carpathian vampire...O jelä peje terád! (Sun scorch you!).

Also, just wanted to give a shout-out to some book bloggers who have thoughtful posts (Mia Marlowe--also a wonderful writer!), thoughtful reviews (Julie from Outlandish Dreaming--a serious class act), funny, thoughtful and insightful observations (Julia Barrett's World...Julia rocks!), and a great sense of humor (Carolyn from The Thrillionth Page). Also, if you check out my blog list on the sidebar, you'll notice some new ones, including herbal blogs, healthy eating blogs, and a blog by a pig (The Life and Travels of Sullivan McPig).

In the immortal words of Carpathians everywhere,
Arwa-arvo pile sívadet (May honor light your heart),

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Natick Artists Open Studios

Hi! For anyone who lives around Boston, I just wanted to give a shout-out about Natick Artists Open Studios, coming up on Oct 16-17. Anne Nydam, the amazing artist/writer who created my "Penelope" block print, will be participating, as well as many other artists (painters, jewelrymakers, ceramicists, sculptors, woodworkers and more). Anne will be showing her block prints and books, as well as demonstrating how she carves a printing block. She'll be in the Morse Institute Library (in the Lebowitz Room) from noon until 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a link to Anne's website, and an example of her work. This octopus is one of my favorites!

I'll be there on Saturday! Shopping!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Beard of the Day

Daniel Craig looking veryyyyyy nice. I love the juxtaposition of the dapper suit and tie, and the oh-so-scruffy beard. Very masculine. You can just imagine a hint of sexy cologne going on with this ensemble to perfect the all-around appeal.

As for my reading and writing update.....well, I am a bit discombobulated. I am working on 3 WIPS simultaneously. Usually I write one story at a time, but right now I am somewhat scattered. It's much easier writing funny and light than dark and shadowy. I guess that's what my psyche needs at the moment.

As for my reading options, I still have not tackled Double Cross, which is on my Kindle. I am having the same unfortunate experience that occurred with Lover Mine. Too much pre-release day buzz and too many ARCs being read and discussed resulted in me never actually reading Lover Mine. I sort of lost interest by the time release day rolled around. Same thing has happened with Double Cross, although I am hoping I will get re-ignited about it in a couple of months or so. In the meantime, I am contemplating cowboys, Vikings, and The Iron Duke.

Thank God the sun is shining this weekend! Hallelujah!

Hope everyone has a great weekend,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hunky Swedes and Lusty Beekeepers: A Good Reading Week!

I read two fabulous books this week, thanks to recommendations on the Amazon boards. Woo! I am in a great romance-y mood!

The first one is The Endearment by LaVyrle Spencer. Oh mama, what a great read! I have a sneaking suspicion I am going to be working my way through all of Spencer's books soon. (I started with Morning Glory, which is another highly recommended winner).

The Endearment is a 19th century frontier historical romance. It's about a hunky Swede who places an ad for a mail-order bride from Boston. Of course, neither the hero nor the heroine gets what they're expecting....the Swede is a gorgeous, lonely giant of man who intimidates the heroine because he is so perfect and competent living in the wilds of Minnesota. The heroine is just a young girl, with her younger brother in tow, who has escaped a life of poverty and neglect and is searching for a miracle. The details about frontier life are absolutely fascinating, the budding relationship between Karl and the younger brother is touching, and the chemistry that grows between the skinny young girl and the strapping pioneer is wonderful, emotionally satisfying, and incredibly sweet. My only beef was that Karl's anger at Anna lasted a bit too long, but their reconciliation was the best. LaVyrle Spencer is a master storyteller, which is somewhat of a lost art in romantic fiction.

This book was close to perfection, and I can't wait to read it again!

Grade: A

Next up, The Viking Takes A Knight by Sandra Hill. I could tell right away this was not your typical romance from the chapter titles...for example, "Sometimes the best meals involve no food", "He never promised her a rose garden", "Even a thousand years ago, men were clueless", and my personal favorite..."Some men bang their heads against a wall, others bang..." Hee hee hee! Sandra Hill has a hilarious sense of humor. This book rocks! The heroine is feisty and fun, the hero is a wicked lusty beekeeper, and I honestly could not put this book down. It's a great mix of humor, sexiness and larger-than-life characters. Loved it!

I got a big kick out of the sonnets composed and recited by John's friend, Bolthor. Here's an example of a poem called "Ode to Katherine's Breasts"....

Once was a lady from Wickshire
With a bosom you had to admire.
Plump and rosy with a bit of bounce.
Caused many a man for her favors to pounce.
Big udders on women are surely a necessity
To give suckle to babes so pretty
And give a man something to hold on to in bedsport.

This book was a breath of fresh air. I was grinning happily at the end, and then I discovered....there are tons more books in this series! Oh happy days! Sandra Hill is going to be a new favorite author, there is no doubt in my mind.

Grade: A

Vikings Forever!

Monday, October 4, 2010

In Search Of Halloween-y Stories

I love, love, love Halloween! It's such a great holiday, and autumn is the best season in New England. The pumpkins, the apple cider, the cool sunny weather, the gorgeous leaf display. Bring it on!

I am totally in the mood for some Halloween-y romance stories. Last year I read Linda Banche's Pumpkinnapper, which was really cute. This year, I've read Mischief in the Dark, a quickie erotica by Liza James, which I really enjoyed. I just downloaded Hunters Moon Magic by Sandra Sookoo, a short historical.

Any other suggestions for Halloween-y stories? Witches, ghosts, goblins and romance. What a great combination (especially with a frosty glass of sparkling cider).

Please leave a comment with recommendations. Thanks!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Quickie Review for Wolf! by Marie Beau

Today is release day for Wolf! by Marie Beau. I really enjoyed this debut quickie paranormal. It was short, sexy and fast-paced...just the way I like them! From the very first pages Beau sets up a delicious chemistry between the heroine, Lyssa, and the scrum-didily-icious werewolf hero, aptly named Wolfe.

This story has the perfect balance of romance, sexiness and attraction, and the paranormal aspect is very well integrated into the story. You can really identify with their animal instincts....I love the nuzzling! Wolfe is so sexy and protective...he's a wonderful hero. (The fact that he has a nice furry pelt doesn't hurt either...hee hee!).

I love the scene where Wolfe and Lyssa's two younger brothers protect her while she is sleeping after she's been injured by a hunter. I was digging that whole pack mentality and's so sweet and satisfying. The epilogue with the cubs is also adorable.

I'm looking forward to reading more stories by this new author, especially the sequel to Wolf!
Grade: A

Here's a book blurb and excerpt:

Lyssa Merrick is happy with her life leading wildlife and wilderness expeditions through the upper Adirondacks. She’s proud of the business she built on her own, and happy with the freedom to run whenever she feels the need.

Wolfe Reardon, as leader of his pack, wants to create a wildlife sanctuary to allow certain species to repopulate the area, as well as to provide a safer environment for his pack without fear of hunters.

When Wolfe walks into Wilderness Wanderings, he knows he’s met his mate. Lyssa, unfortunately, is not so happy to discover her destined mate is a wolf. Long ago she swore she would never be a member of a pack again and she’s sure nothing he says will change that.


She was temptation incarnate. Wolfe wanted to let his fingers linger in her short white-blonde hair. Her pixie face and bright hazel eyes were enough to bring any hot-blooded man back for a second look…or more. The intelligence behind the eyes, the self-contained responses only made him want to dig deeper—get to know her—on every level. It was all Wolfe could do not to lift her over the counter and take advantage of the smell of arousal emanating from her body. But her look was anything but inviting. His fingers clutched the hand he was holding a little tighter, well aware of her resistance. Her sigh was his undoing. He reached behind her neck, his fingers luxuriating in the soft fur at her nape. He needed to taste her lips and take just a lick of her neck, maybe a nibble, mark her as his.

Wolfe leaned forward, tugging gently for her to meet him partway, and suddenly he was holding…air.

Silver white fur glimmered and he caught a glimpse of her twitching whiskers and pointed ears as she swiveled and raced to the back. Her transformation was beautiful. A lynx. A soft, furry, intoxicating cat.

Happy Release Day, Marie!