• Kinsey W. Holley is a romance author from Houston, Texas who desperately needs a catchy tagline and can't come up with one. Won't you help?
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Christmas Recipe

Over at N3 we’re talking Christmas books, mistletoe wishes and favorite recipes.

I’m a passable cook and an indifferent baker. If I follow a recipe I can usually bake something decent, but I’ve been known to accidentally leave out little stuff like sugar or flour – generally, I hate to cook and only do so when I have to. I’ve got a half dozen things I do well, and I stick to them.

So I have two favorite iqtrading recipes for when I’m required to bake a goodie. One’s a trifle, and it’s fabulous, but it takes a lot of time and requires actual cooking, which annoys me.

The other one requires no cooking, just whipping, and it’s one I remember my mom making when I was a little bitty girl so it holds nostalgia value for me.  I think it’s a little rednecky, but I don’t care because beneath my cosmopolitan exterior, I am too.

So here it is – Kinsey’s mom’s Famous Chocolate Wafers Logroll Thingy:

Ingredients:


Famous Chocolate Wafters (probably on the baking aisle of your grocery store – if not, check the cookie aisle – they look like this,)

Heavy whipping cream – 1 or 2 pints, depending on how many boxes of wafers you bought.

That’s it.

Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and throw in a little sugar if you want (yes, I will put sugar in heavy cream. I said I was part redneck, didn’t I?) Whip it, whip it real good, till it’s the right consistency for spreading like icing.

Slather the whipped cream on a wafer and then put another wafer on it so you have a sandwich. Then put whipped cream on the outside of one side of those wafers, and stick another wafer on, and repeat – you’re making a log of wafers with whipped cream in between them. When you’ve used all your wafers, the log should be able to stand up unsupported. Coat the outside of it with the rest of the cream. And don’t tell Louisa Edwards or Angela James or Mark Henry that I consider this baking.

Chill for a few hours and serve. Trust me, it’s YUM.

Christmas cards, parsimony, and Monsters

I have a feeling I won’t get Christmas cards out this year. It will be the first time since Diva was born, I think, when I haven’t sent out a card with at least her picture, if not a family photo. But honestly, I’m already exhausted and I’m in hyper-penny pinching mode, and I’m thinking maybe this year I’ll let it slide.

Got my sister’s card in the mail today, with a beautiful picture of my handsome, handsome monsters:

Monsters Christmas 2009

FREE HOLIDAY READS – AND WIN STUFF!

First, the free reads:

read

The Samhellions (of which <Miss Piggy Voice>moi</Missy Piggy Voice> is proud to be a member) are offering free reads almost every day in December. This is a great way to sample authors whose work you’ve never read, or to get a quick fix of characters you love until their authors get around to writing more stories for them.

And speaking of which….my freebie will run this Saturday, December 12.

It stars Nick and TJ. (I’m working on a full length book for them, I swear!)

Next – (more) free stuff!

samhellion link

We’re also running a scavenger hunt all month long.  This site will be one of the stops the week of December 25th.

Head over to the Samhellion contest page to read all about the rules, then start clickin’. You could win a ebook or a grand prize of either a Sony eReader pocket edition or an Amazon Kindle 2!

When I got my first royalty check for Kiss and Kin, I bought myself an eReader, and I got one for each  of my sisters in law (because I would never have written the book without them). One of my SILs has always been vaguely repulsed by the notion of electronic books, but she agreed to give it a try. Now she loves hers as much as I do mine. Neither one of us can imagine giving up paper books completely, but the Sony is a lot of fun. It’s small and lightweight and fits easily in your purse. You can carry hundreds of books with you wherever you go, and you can read the scorchinest smut right smack in the middle of a crowd with no one the wiser.

Until, that is, someone gets intrigued with your nifty toy and plops themselves down next to you, peering with delight over your shoulder. Maybe it’s someone from your church. Or your daughter’s school.  And they had no idea you liked to read Sasha White. Or that you could blush neon red. Don’t ask me why I bring this up, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

holly leaf

EXCERPT THURSDAY – FIRST SCENE

So if you got here from the Nine Naughty Novelists blog, it means you’re looking for the rest of Chapter One – and, by the way thanks! Welcome to my rarely updated blog! If Chapter One hooks you, and you want to purchase the novella, you’ll find it here:  http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/kiss-and-kin.

Kiss and Kin: A Sexy Shifter story


Detective Taran Lloyd yawned with boredom as he stood by the bar and observed the patrons of Le Monde on a typical Saturday night. A pricey club, it attracted an affluent crowd, and a mixed one: humans, werewolves and other shifters, people who looked a little more than a little fae. The only thing they had in common was a willingness to pay five bucks for a bottle of domestic beer and seven for well drinks—or the ability to find someone who would do it for them.

He grimaced. He’d like a drink himself, but regulations prohibited drinking on duty.

The intimate nightclub featured wood-paneled walls, polished hardwood floors and a lot of recessed lighting. Music loud enough to dance but not too loud to talk, waitresses pretty but not too sexy, bartenders fast but friendly—if not for the fact that three women reported missing this month were last seen here, it would’ve been a great place to bring a date.

He tried to remember the last time he’d gone on a date.

“Detective?” Daniel Denardo, the HPD Shifter Investigations Unit’s rookie, interrupted Taran’s musings.

“Yeah, Danny?”

“What are we supposed to look for here?”

Taran smiled wryly. “If we get lucky, some guy will pick up a chick, throw her over his shoulder and run out, and we’ll arrest him. But I don’t think we’ll get lucky. So we hang around and watch, talk to people, ask if anyone saw the women, noticed unusual behavior, that sort of thing. I’d rather no one know we’re cops yet.”

As soon as he said it, he noticed Lark across the room at a banquette with another woman and four slimy-looking wolves in suits. Taran automatically considered any guy with Lark slimy-looking. These wolves looked like Eurotrash. Eastern European wolves ran drugs and weapons in and out of the country, and SIU suspected they’d expanded into the sex trade. Rich European werewolves frequented Le Monde. Apparently Lark did, too.

She sauntered toward the bar.

“Shit,” he muttered.

“What’s the matter?”

“I’ll be back in a second. Why don’t you mingle.”

“I can do that,” Denardo replied cheerfully.

“What are you doing here?” he growled softly.

Those words, that voice, just hours after the dream, freaked Lark right the hell out. She started so violently her perfectly chilled Cosmopolitan sloshed the front of her dress. Her nipples stood at attention. He didn’t even notice.

She grabbed a handful of napkins. “Damn it, Taran, what—”

“Quiet,” he said fiercely as he stole her breath with a smile. He never smiled at her like that. He rarely smiled at her at all. She stared up at him, dumbfounded. He clamped a meaty paw on her elbow and dragged her away from the bar toward an empty table.

The dark blue pinstriped suit, a fitted European cut, and the custom-tailored, crisp white dress shirt looked great on his long, muscular frame. Taran didn’t live on his detective salary alone.

“Act like we’re having fun.” Irritable as always, he still wore that stutter-inducing smile. It stopped short of his luminescent green eyes. “Why are you here, and who are those wolves?”

“None of your business…” she grinned gaily, “…and I don’t know.”

A few golden strands of hair drifted across his eyes. He wore it halfway to his shoulders; HPD grooming regulations exempted werewolves. She always itched to brush his hair aside. One day she’d do it, just to watch him react.

”I’m serious, Lark.”

“You’re hurting me, Taran.”

He let go instantly but continued to stare at her, knowing she’d answer him.

She heaved a dramatic sigh. “I’m here with my friend Eloise, who’s into some Euro werewolf whose name I don’t remember, and he’s with his bros, and they’re all creepy and boring, and one of them keeps trying to pick me up, and after you replace the Cosmo you made me spill, I’m going home. This just is not my night.”

“Are you driving?”

“No, I’m talking to you. Why? Do I look like I’m driving?”

He didn’t laugh. He never laughed.

“El drove. I’ll take a cab home. Where’s my cosmo?”

His sharp cheekbones and strong chin, and the pale, thin scar scoring his left cheek from his ear almost to his mouth, gave him a look of menacing power. That disappearing smile, though, made him look like a fallen angel. A hulking, six-foot-six fallen angel who could change in five minutes in broad daylight—the mark of a powerful alpha wolf.

“Don’t tell anyone you know who I am,” he ordered. “I’m working a case.”

“What kind of case?”

No reply.

“Fine, whatever. I won’t tell anyone I know you.”

He nodded and turned to go.

“Um. Hello?”

He turned back. “What is it?”

“You owe me a drink.”

He pulled a ten from his wallet and held it out, staring at her eyes as he did so. She snorted at the cheap shot power play, but it worked—a human couldn’t maintain eye contact with an alpha.

She looked at the bill in his hand. She didn’t take it. Instead, fueled with courage from her first cosmo, she put her hand on his outstretched arm and leaned in, her head grazing his cheek. Their bodies almost touched. A werewolf’s normal body temperature was one hundred five point three; for the millionth time in ten years, she fantasized about snuggling up to his warmth.

Her pulse hammered in her throat as she whispered, “Taran? If you want people to think your cousin is a hooker, you could at least pretend I’d get more than ten bucks. Otherwise, go buy me a drink, you lazy bastard.”

He growled low in his throat. She peeked up at him. Taran meant “thunder” in Welsh. It fit him when he looked like this.

“Wait here,” he snarled before stalking off to the bar. The crowd parted for him by instinct, like zebras at a watering hole when the lion drops by for a drink. He returned with her cosmo.

“Thank you, cuz,” she cooed sweetly to his shoulder. New drink in hand, she steeled herself for another excruciating twenty minutes with Eloise and the Euro cheese. Would he watch her walk away? As if.

Taran rarely saw Lark without friends or family around. When he found an opportunity to watch her walk away, he took it and he savored it, because he liked the way it hurt.

The killer dress, long sleeved and stretchy, cut low in back, clung to every inch of her. It hugged her beautiful ass and stopped short of her knees, which meant twenty inches of leg still showed. His mate had legs like a fucking racehorse.

Did she know he hated the “cousin” crap? Sometimes he was tempted to think she did it to torment him, but he knew she didn’t. Unlike many beautiful women, Lark didn’t tease. If she knew how he felt, she’d react with disgust or pity. Disgust would make family functions uncomfortable, and alphas didn’t tolerate pity.

Her scent, her laughter, the caress of her hair against his cheek would torture him for hours. He used to turn to other women whenever he needed to ease this blissful pain.

That didn’t work anymore.

“Wow.”

“Uh? Oh—I didn’t see you come back,” he said, turning to Danny. “Wow what?”

“The girl in the green dress. I mean, look at those legs.”

“Those are my cousin’s legs,” Taran said dourly.

“Oh, um—sorry.” The brunet beta instantly dropped his gaze.

“It’s all right.” Taran sighed. “I know she’s hot.”

“None of my cousins look like that, that’s for damn sure.”

Taran smiled tightly. “We’re not actually blood. She’s my brother’s cousin.”

“Oh, right. You and your brother have different fathers.”

“Yeah. Myall’s dad is human. Lark’s his niece. My mom and stepdad raised her after her parents died. Myall thinks of her as a sister.”

“So you think of her as family, too.”

Taran nodded. “Yeah, a little.”

No. Not at all.

“She play basketball?”

“Soccer and volleyball,” replied Taran softly.

“Beach volleyball?” Denardo leered. The smile faded as he looked at Taran’s face. “Just a joke,” he muttered. “How tall is she, anyway?”

“Five ten.” Ask me anything. Her favorite color is purple, her favorite food is Mexican. She’s scared of roaches but pretends she’s not. Great dancer, lousy singer. She’ll laugh at the dumbest movie and the stupidest joke. Likes kids and rain, hates cats and golf. She’s twenty-six. Her shampoo smells like apples and she thinks I’m an asshole.

“All right,” he said. “Let’s start mingling around here.”

She returned to find El laughing uproariously with her new werewolf boyfriend and his pals. Lark suspected El wouldn’t drive herself—or Lark—home tonight.

“There you are!” El shrieked. To the werewolves she said, “Y’all excuse us a minute. Come on, Lark.”

Lark shrugged and belted half the cosmo before setting it down to follow a weaving El.

“What d’ya think?” El asked when they reached the bathroom. Lark noted the slurred speech and droopy eyelids. Definitely not driving.

“About who? Your Russian guy?” She stared at herself in the mirror as she waited for El to finish. I should wear more makeup. She liked her dark blue eyes and snub nose well enough. She considered her brown hair, with its auburn highlights, her best feature. Thick, straight and glossy, it fell to just below her shoulder blades. She wore long bangs in front, parted on the side. It’s an okay face. I need more makeup.

“Dominik is Czech. He’s loaded.” El giggled. “I’ll probably go home with him, if that’s cool with you?”

“I only came out tonight because you didn’t want to go out alone!” Lark said, exasperated. Dominik apparently didn’t care enough to pick Eloise up and take her out.

“Please don’t be mad, Lark.” El pouted. “I really like him, and I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

Lark didn’t blame El for being a ditzy narcissist—she couldn’t help it, not with all that fae blood. It made her annoying but irresistible to all three species of sapiens.

“Whatever, El. That’s fine.” She’d already planned to cab it.

As they walked back to the table, Eloise looked over to the bar. “That’s your cousin the cop, isn’t it?”

“He’s not my cousin,” Lark responded reflexively.

“He is so hot. I know that guy he’s with.”

“You do?” She wouldn’t look in that direction; she didn’t want Taran to see her watching him.

“I don’t know his name. He’s a friend of Luc. You remember—the French wolf? We went to Vegas a lot.”

“Luc with the Ducati?” Lark wasn’t a fur chaser, but she loved fine motorcycles.

“Yeah, he took me out on it a few times. This one time we rode to Austin…”

El talked all the way back to the table, promptly ignoring Lark once they got there. Lark drank her cosmo and ignored the other werewolves. She people watched, trying to guess couples on first dates, couples just hooking up, couples breaking up. When she got bored, she Taran watched. He never glanced in her direction, so she felt free to spy until a flock of geeks descended on a table and blocked her view.

The werewolf who’d tried to buy her a drink—Sergei/Stefan/whoever—offered her a chair at one point. She declined. A little later, she thought maybe she’d reconsider.

The whole world listed to the left sharply and suddenly. She grabbed the edge of the table and swallowed hard. The music got both louder and harder to hear. The room began to spin very fast, like in a movie where the camera pans around and around until the viewer gets sick and dizzy.

She didn’t see El and the Czech werewolf anywhere. Another guy, dark haired, joined the group now. Lark concentrated on staying upright while she tried to get the attention of the werewolf next to her. She labored to keep her eyes open.

“Hey,” she said. It came out nearly inaudible. “Hey!” she tried more loudly, and took one hand off the table to put it on the shoulder of Stefan/Sergei/whomever. He finally looked up at her; she all but sagged on him at this point. He said something. It sounded all muffled and distorted, like it came from underwater.

He flashed her a smile—an insincere, predatory smile. Panic paralyzed her.

The other werewolves and the new guy looked straight at her. She suspected they recognized her distress, yet they just stood there and watched.

The werewolf stood and grabbed her upper arm. She tried to pull away and almost fell down. The other werewolves ignored her. Now she knew they did it deliberately. All around her people talked and danced and jostled. No one noticed her about to pass out while this scumbag clutched her arm and his buddies ignored her.

She grabbed a chair, trying to pull away. The werewolf put his arm around her waist as if to help her. He kissed her on the cheek. Helpless, more terrified than she’d ever been, she was about to be dragged away in the middle of a crowd.

She tried again to pull away, then pushed at him feebly—for God’s sake, the guy stood four inches shorter than her. I’m not drunk, she raged helplessly, internally, I’m justdizzy, and sleepy and scared, and…

Taran. Taran could help. But she couldn’t see him—she couldn’t see anything. She had double vision, maybe even triple, after only two cosmos.

Sobbing with fear, she began to scream. “Taran! Taran! Help me! Please! Tar—” No matter how hard she screamed, nothing came out but a thin wail no one would hear over the noise of the club.

She choked on her sobs and fell silent, but finally people noticed. The crowd in front of her seemed to ripple. A bunch of people screamed and fell down. The creepy werewolf let go. Someone caught her as she fell.

Please be Taran.

The scents and sounds of places like this played hell on a werewolf’s senses. Alcohol and perfume, sweat and pheromones and fabric, all ran together in one meaningless smell. Music and voices, ice against glass against bottles, created a background roar through which he struggled to pick out words. He could hear better in here than any human, but nowhere near optimal.

It took a few minutes for the sound of someone calling his name to pierce the cacophony. A voluble blonde chatted him up; he’d dropped the name of a missing woman, she’d claimed to have known her slightly, but as they talked Taran realized the blonde didn’t know anything useful.

That’s when he heard it, faintly at first.

“Taran!”

Why would Lark call him from across the bar, when he’d just told her…

“Taran! Help me! Please! Tar—”

The cop heard the terror in her voice; the wolf responded. Taran shoved his drink at the startled blonde, who didn’t take it. He ignored the dull thud of lead glass hitting hardwood. Soda splashed the blonde’s legs as he closed the distance between him and Lark in seconds. Tables, chairs and patrons flew everywhere. Taran ignored it all, focused solely on the werewolf with his arm around a feebly struggling Lark. The werewolf let go of her abruptly and disappeared.

Taran caught her as she crumpled. Only then did he become aware of other people around them again.

He knelt with an unconscious Lark in his lap. Bouncers came running. He snarled, “Call 911, now!” and they ran to comply.

He smelled the earthy odor indicating incipient change; it came from him. He hadn’t changed involuntarily since his teens; stress could make betas do it, but alphas only did it under extreme emotional duress. A mate’s near abduction would qualify.

If he changed in the middle of a stirred-up crowd like this, humans and non-humans alike might panic. He lowered his head and closed his eyes so no one would see if they began to yellow. A minute later, he had it under control.

A guy identifying himself as a doctor checked Lark’s pulse and pupils.

“I saw her thirty minutes ago. She didn’t get passed out drunk that fast. She doesn’t drink like that.”

“No respiratory distress, heartbeat’s good,” replied the doctor. “If someone slipped her a mickey, it’ll show up in a tox screen.”

Denardo dispersed the crowd and leaned over Taran’s shoulder.

“What do you want me do?”

Taran didn’t take his eyes off Lark as he stroked her hair and face.

“You get a look at the wolves she was with?” he asked Denardo absently.

“No. I was over there.” He gestured to the other side of the room. “I didn’t notice anything wrong till I heard people screaming.”

“I got a little rough with the crowd,” Taran muttered.

“I talked to some people at the next table,” the rookie continued. “They said it just looked like a wolf and a drunk girl. She didn’t make any noise they could hear.”

Drugs might have made her unable to scream. It would explain why none of the missing women created a scene before disappearing. Maybe they’d tried and couldn’t.

“I thought she looked like she was in trouble, and when I got over here a wolf was dragging her out.”

He didn’t mention he’d heard her scream. He’d only heard because Lark was his mate. No one needed to know that.

“Well, now we know how those women went missing,” he muttered. “It happened in the middle of a crowd. No one noticed a thing.” A cold, heavy weight sat in his stomach and something squeezed his heart—probably stark terror, which, like involuntary change, he’d not experienced in fifteen or twenty years.

He didn’t realize he held her tightly against his chest until an EMT tapped him on the shoulder and said deferentially, “Sir? We need to get the lady on the gurney.”

He stood with Lark in his arms and laid her gently on the cart.

“I’m a cop,” he informed the EMT. “I’m coming with you.”

Clive

I’ve been slacking in my Clive devotion lately. Need to fix that.

clive again

Saw this over at Enty’s blog, Crazy Days and Nights, where I lurk a lot.  It’s one of my favorite time-sucking, procrastination-enabling sites to visit when I’m avoiding writing.

It’s Excerpt Monday AGAIN?

Holy crap, where did the month go?

Okay, we’re trying to hit 40 authors for the August EM.  My contribution this month has nothing to do with my long-standing (and still incomplete) WIP – and, sorry, no Nick and TJ yet.  I swear, I have a plot for them cooking.  But it needs to simmer a little bit longer.

In the meantime, I’ve started work on an erotic romance.  My sister in law – my chief beta reader, idea bouncer-off-of, and most mercilessly constructive critic – refuses to read it until I finish Rocky Mountain.  So I thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone tells me it sucks.

If you picked this up in a bookstore and started reading, would you think it sucks?

AND REMEMBER – check out the links at the end of this post to read some other great excerpts which, I assure you, do not suck.

____________________________________________________________

The woman in his bed looked nothing like any groupie he’d seen before.  He found that kind of intriguing.  After twenty-five years in the business, he didn’t get a lot of surprises anymore.

He liked surprises.

The girl didn’t stir as he fished in his jeans and jacket pockets for his wallet, change, hotel keys and phone, dumping them on the massive desk in front of the window.  Next he pulled out all the scraps of paper and business cards people had stuck in there tonight, stuff he’d never look at.   He took off his pin-striped silk suit jacket and black mesh tshirt and tossed them on a chair, still watching the sleeping girl.

When he’d returned to the Marquis tonight, he hadn’t had to fight his way through as large a crowd of crew, friends, press and assorted hangers-on as usually thronged a hotel on a tour stop.  Redneck Metal were veterans like him, guys in their forties who’d first made it twenty years ago, and they’d all done the Sodom and Gomorrah Road Show a million times already.  Recovering alcoholics and former junkies committed to sobriety didn’t need the same level of debauchery they once had, especially not with their guitarist back in rehab after a spectacular fall off the wagon.  They all knew how easily it could’ve been one of them.

Hell, Marsh Averitt had brought his wife along, and it wasn’t one of those send-the-wife-shopping-while-I-bang-the-groupies setups, either.  A couple of the other guys had their wives and kids joining them at different spots on the road.  It was as close to family friendly as this kind of music got.

So far he’d enjoyed his last minute stint as Guest Guitar God.  The whole “living legends together at last” PR had worked; every venue had sold out weeks in advance.  He’d told Marsh he thought forty-three was kind of early for legend status.  The forty-six-year-old bassist had just laughed.

He glanced in the mirror, then took another look.  Not too bad for an old dude, by rock n roll standards.  Not nearly as many lines on the face as there should’ve been.  Clean for nine years, he worked out a lot, and it showed.  He slapped his flat belly, smiling with grim satisfaction, and then flexed his biceps.  Sooner or later, no matter how much iron he pumped, the skin would start to sag.  God only knew what the tats would look like then.  He tried to imagine what Keith Richards would’ve looked like now if his arms and torso were covered in ink, and he shuddered.

Sighing, he went to sit on the edge of the bed to pull off his boots.  The girl didn’t stir, but began to snore very softly.  He smothered a laugh.  How long had she been waiting for him?  Who’d let her in here?  And what the hell was up with those clothes?  Tight, worn blue jeans showed off a sweet ass, but they were too long, rolled up at the ankles.  And the Houston Astros jersey nearly swallowed her.

Fuck.  What if she weren’t a groupie?  What if she was homeless and had somehow gotten in here?

He moved up the edge of the bed to get a better look, careful not to touch her and wake her up.

No.  He’d lived on the streets himself, a lifetime ago.  This wasn’t some strung out teenager seeking shelter from the LA night.  Mid twenties, probably.  She was lying curled up on her side, but he could see a hand and arm free of bruises or track marks.  The half of her face that was showing had a clear, creamy complexion.  She wasn’t beautiful, but she was damned cute.  Then he realized she wore no makeup, and he revised his opinion up to pretty.  He wondered what color her eyes were.

Well, actually, they were gray.  He knew that because she woke up just then and rolled over onto her back, blinking sleepily.  Her (gray) eyes widened and she shot up, scrambling back against the headboard and bonking her head rather hard.

__________________________________________________

AND FOR THE REST OF EXCERPT MONDAY:

AJ O’Donovan, Poetry (PG13)
Stephanie Draven, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Heather S.Ingemar, Dark Fantasy/Poetry (PG13)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Ansha Kotyk, Middle Grade Adventure (PG13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
RF Long, YA Paranormal (PG13)
Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Contemporary Erotic Romance (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)
Leigh Royals, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Megan S., Paranormal (PG13)
Dara Sorensen, Historical Paranormal (PG 13)
Bethanne Strasser, Historical Romance (PG13)

Melissa Aires, Futuristic Romance (R)
Melissa Blue, Contemporary Romance (R)
Jax Cassidy, Contemporary (R)
Christina DeLorenzo, Furturistic Sci-Fi (R)
Maya Doyle, Parnormal Romance (R)
Ginny Glass, Paranormal (R)
Amber Green, Romantic Suspense (R)
Cate Hart, Paranormal YA (R)
Ali Katz, Erotic Paranormal Romance (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Fantasy (R)
Inez Kelly, Fantasy Romance (R)
Cherrie Lynn, Contemporary Erotic Romance (R)
Mel/Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)
Rebecca Savage, Romantic Suspense (R)
Fae Sutherland, Contemporary Erotic Romance (R)

Stephanie Adkins, Paranormal Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Evie Byrne, Erotic Historical Romance (NC17)
Ella Drake, Erotic Contemporary (NC17)
Dawn Montgomery, Erotic Paranormal Romance (NC17)
Lauren Murphy, Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Kim Knox, Erotic Paranormal Romance (NC17)
Emily Ryan-Davis, Historical Western Romance (NC17)
Kirsten Saell, Erotic Fantasy Romance (NC 17)
Jeanne St. James, Contemporary Romance (NC 17)

Welcome Robie Madison, author of The Man of Her Dreams

The Man of Her DreamsRobie’s novella, The Man of Her Dreams, is available from Samhain in e-format right now; it will be part of the print anthology, Shifting Dreams, in Spring of next year.  Robie was nice enough to sit down and tell me a little about The Man of Her Dreams; to get to know Robie better, and to check out other titles from this very prolific author, visit her website here. 

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Robie, in my opinion, there’s not nearly enough Welsh mythology in speculative lit.  I know you’ve read Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. Have you read a lot of Welsh mythology, and how much do you know about the Tylwyth Teg?

 Actually, I’m a fan of mythology, period. Because there are so many similar stories running through world mythologies—for instance almost every culture has a flood myth, I tend to jump around a lot following themes that interest me. And then I sit down and write my own version of events. A summer in Wales inspired my interest in things Welsh.

 As for how much I know about the Tylwyth Teg (in other words, Faeries)—the short answer is: not much, which is why it’s called speculative lit—I do a lot of speculating. LOL

Tell me about kelpies. I thought I was well read in mythology, but I’d never heard of a kelpie till I ran across them while researching selkies.

The Gaelic term is “Each Uisge”, which means water horse. This water spirit is known by many names throughout the North Sea islands and even as far away as Iceland. A Kelpie is, specifically, a water Faery of Scottish origin.

They are associated with lakes and rivers and are considered malevolent. A kelpie is said to appear as a docile horse grazing along a river bank. When a weary traveler mounts the horse, however, it plunges into the river and drowns them. This part of the myth fascinated me—was the kelpie really a demonic spirit out to kill people, or was something else going on?

Do you have any other stories of the Tylwyth Teg?  Like, maybe, the Pendragon?

 The Man of Her Dreams—which features a cursed water horse and introduces the Tylwyth Teg, is my first story in this mythic/paranormal world. But I have to say, when I introduced the hero’s friend, Rhys the Pendragon, I was intrigued. And I wonder just how bitchy Rhiannon, Queen of the Tylwyth Teg, really is. And then there’s Arawn, the Overlord of the Faery Realm and King of the Underworld—very cool guy.

I can definitely see myself returning to some of these characters and writing their stories.

You’re not a first time author. When was your first book published? 

My first book, a Romantic Suspense called Keeping Faith, was first published in 2004 and went on to become a 2005 EPPIE Finalist, which was a big thrill.  Its success definitely inspired me to keep writing.

I have eclectic tastes and my books reflect that.  I’ve published two Romantic Suspense novels—one of which [Starr Light] has a strong paranormal element since the heroine is an empathy.

Under the erotic romance umbrella, I’ve written both contemporary and sci/fi futuristic stories. In Cats and Dogs, my first contemporary, I had fun mixing business with pleasure by writing about two consultants who meet on a job. My recent Heartbreak Anonymous novellas are second chance at love stories that deal with more serious issues.

One thing I love about writing is world building. In both Love Partner (sci/fi) and Desperate Alliance (futuristic) I was able to create geographic landscapes and bureaucratic political systems to my heart’s content. J  And it seems others agree I have a knack since, to my great pleasure, both these books have gone on to win/final in a few contests.

So Owain wants to end his curse by becoming a mortal—aging and growing old and dying. I’ve always wondered how formerly immortal beings adjust to mortality. Especially as they get older. Let your imagination go here…

One of the issues about writing about immortals is being mortal. LOL Seriously, I think it requires a great stretch of the mortal imagination to conceive of time in such a different way. In The Man of Her Dreams, I make a point of contrasting how time is perceived in the mortal and Faery realms.

My hero, Owain, isn’t tired of being immortal, so much as cursed—and thus not really part of either realm. Plus he’s restricted to living along the banks of the Conwy River in a small Welsh village. I’m sure a boredom factor would set in with just about anyone in that situation.

But, of course, what this story is ultimately about is the power of love. And as love stories through the centuries keep telling us—it’s better to be with the person you love for a short time than live a long life alone.

Quick, where’s a hankie?

Do you find it difficult to write sex scenes, and what’s the hardest part of it for you?

 Well, if I found it difficult, I wouldn’t write them. LOL  Actually, when I first started writing romance, my readers commented on how sexy my sex scenes were.  For me there are two important factors that make a sex scene work—first is the chemistry between the couple. Every couple is different and it’s critical to tap into what makes each set of individuals work as a couple. Intimacy, when it happens, is always part of the developing relationship between the two main characters.

 Sometimes when I’ve been writing the more action-adventure sections of my stories, I’m not in the mood to write about sex. LOL I have been known to skip those scenes and come back to fill them in.

When I was a girl, I wanted to name my daughter Rhiannon. That’s not a question – just had to throw it out there. Years later I had a girl, but Rhiannon Watson just doesn’t flow, does it…

Another great reason I love to write—I’m able to create a whole “family” of characters with names I like.  — J

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To purchase The Man of Her Dreams, click on the cover at the top of this post.

Welcome Vivi Andrews, author of Serengeti Heat

Serengeti Heat

On Saturday the 18th, my antho-mate, Vivi Andrews, won the Romance Writers of America’s 2009 Golden Heart for Best Contemporary Single Title Manuscript for her book Easy Money.   Huge congratulations to Vivi, who sat down with me for this interview before her exciting win.   (You can read about all the 2009 Rita and Golden Heart winners here.) I’m going to ask Vivi to come back and talk about how it felt  to attend and win.  But for  now, here’s what she had to tell me about Serengeti Heat, available in electronic format from Samhain Publishing right now and coming in print in Spring 2010.

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Hi Vivi, and welcome to my lil blog.  Congratulations on the publication of Serengeti Heat.  I enjoyed reading it –it’s always nice to see a non-werewolf shifter book, and I love the big cats.

How bout we start by you telling me a little about your world.  Are there other shifters besides lions, or other supernatural creatures?

First off, thanks for having me here, Kinsey!  It’s such a thrill being with you in the Shifting Dreams anthology.  When you’re wildly famous, I’ll be able to say I was with you on your very first release!

Now, about my world!  Yes, there are other shifters and supernatural creatures, but like the lion-shifters in this story, they exist in secrecy.  My shifters go to great lengths to avoid being noticed by humans who might not be so understanding of their tendency to turn all furry and go hunting – even if it is only their own cattle on the menu.

I’ve always loved the idea that there is more to the world than what we see on the surface of things and this world I have created gives me the chance to explore that.

You’ve created a really interesting world, and you didn’t load the story down with a lot of detail – which is smart, considering the length.   Have you written about this universe before, or do you plan to revisit it again?   (Hint: I think Zoe needs her own story!)

LOL.  I love the hint.  And yes, I do plan to revisit this world, though I haven’t written in it before.  I’m currently working on a series of novellas about my heroine’s four studly brothers (and yes, Zoe does find herself in the heroine role… eventually). J

Explain the Bastard Coalition.

Ah, the Bastard Coalition, a nefarious pair of bullies who were running the pride before Landon came along and challenged for control.  The previous Alpha, Leonus, and his enforcer, Kato, ran the pride like it was their own private harem, hiding behind tradition as an excuse for their brutality.  Of course, that was before our Hero showed up to change all that…

What was it that attracted you to lions as shifters, as opposed to another animal?

I’ve always found the big cats to be particularly sexy – something about their power, grace and innate superiority just fires my imagination.  The choice to go with lions, rather than tigers or leopards, had to do mostly with the social habits of lions.  I wanted to integrate the unique group dynamics of lion prides into the story.  Lions naturally live in groups, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t power struggles and some pretty unforgiving survival-of-the-fittest tactics – like kicking mature males out of the pride before they can become a threat to those in power and the stronger females preventing the weaker ones from being allowed to mate.

Lastly, this isn’t about Serengeti Heat, but writing in general, and I ask it of all writers.  What comes first for you – characters, or story?    And what aspect of the story do you find most difficult to write – dialog, action scenes, descriptive scenery, etc.?

I almost always start with the characters.  I really feel they are what drive the story.  You change them just a little bit and the ripples are enormous.  A slightly different character will react to a situation in a different way and completely change the arc of the story.

As far as which aspect is hardest to write… I don’t really think of the pieces broken up that way when I’m writing – dialogue, action, description.  I’m always looking to find balance between all the elements – and always finding new ways to improve my writing – but I don’t really think of one aspect as harder than any other.  They are all jigsaw pieces fitting together to make something that hopefully looks pretty as a whole.

Thanks for giving us the scoop on Serengeti Heat, and good luck with the release!

Thank you so much, Kinsey!

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Next week I’ll post my interview with Robie Madison, author of The Man of Her Dreams, also available now from Samhain.

The Man of Her Dreams


Excerpt Monday!

It’s another Excerpt Monday, where you get a chance to sample stories from a diverse group of talented romance writers – it’s a great way to find new authors and sample subgenres you might never have read before.  Following the list of Excerpt Monday participants, you’ll find my own sample, from my (still not quite finished) WIP, Rocky Mountain Howl.

Click, read, enjoy, repeat!

Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG)
Dara Soren, Paranormal (PG)

Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)

Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Nika Dixon, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Kaige, Historic Romance (PG-13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
RF Long, Paranormal (PG13)
Rebecca Savage, romantic suspense (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Leigh Royals, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Jax Cassidy, Contemporary Romance (R)
Maya Doyle, Paranormal Romance (R)
Cate Hart, Paranormal (R)
Ali Katz, Historical Erotic Romance (R)
Inez Kelley, Romantic Comedy (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Paranormal Romance (R)
Elise Logan, Fantasy Romance (R)
Cherrie Lynn, Paranormal Romance (R)
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy (R)
Vivienne Westlake, Erotic Historical (R)
Stephanie Adkins, Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Evie Byrne, Medieval Paranormal Romance (NC 17)
Kim Knox, Erotic SF Romance (NC17)
Lauren Murphy, Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Kirsten Saell, Erotic Romance (NC 17)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOWL

I’ve had wonderful feedback on Kiss and Kin (cof buy it here cof).  Several people have asked me when my next book will be out, and if it’s going to be Nick and TJ’s story.  Answers: 1) when I finish and (if I) sell it and 2) no, but I’m in the process of outlining Nick and TJ.  Rocky Mountain Howl is the book I’ve been working on for a little more than a year – I started it long before Kiss and Kin.  (KnK actually grew out of Rocky Mountain. ) I’m very, very close to finished with Rocky Mountain Howl, I’m just…not quite there.    My sister in law is ready to commence to beatin’ me.  If only that would help…

So, anyway, here’s another excerpt from Rocky Mountain Howl.   In this scene, Ally Kendall and her three wolves have just arrived at Cade MacDougall’s ranch.  Cade’s a little disturbed when he sees how attractive she is, and he has a discussion with his second in command, Michael Wargman (Nick’s brother!)

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Michael was hanging up the phone in Cade’s office when Cade walked in, slamming the door behind him.

“Okay, I told the service what happened.  They’re gonna call us back after they talk to Mrs. Palmer, but of course we’re getting the fee back.  I really thought she would work.” He sounded wistful.  “She wasn’t a nympho, a thief or a drunk.”

“Mrs. Legget wasn’t a thief.  She was a klepto.  And now Mrs. Palmer’s crazy,” sighed Cade, collapsing into one of the guest chairs.

“You want your chair back?”

“No, I want my day back.  I want to rewind and start over.”  Taking a cigarillo out of the wooden case on his desk, he lit it up and tipped his chair back.

“Oh shit,” Michael groaned.  “What now?”

The last time Cade had lit up indoors, it was immediately after finding a naked nanny waiting for him, uninvited, in his bed.    Smoking indoors indicated a bad day.

He took a long drag.  “I’m wondering if I made a mistake.”

“You don’t make mistakes,” Michael said with a perfectly straight face.

“Watch it, wolf.  I’m serious.  This could be a problem.”

“We’ll hire another nanny, Cade.  Sindri can handle things till we do.”

“That’s not the problem. The female outside?   You were right, that’s Dylan’s cousin, his foster mother.”

Michael leered.  “I know, I met them.  Great tits and ass.  She’s as tasty as any of the nannies were.”

A sexy young female on a ranch full of unmated wolves was an invitation for disaster.  He’d known that to begin with, but apparently they were making nannies younger and hotter than they used to.  He’d had to specifically ask the service to send someone older and unattractive.  That one had had sticky fingers, though, and now Mrs. Palmer had flipped out.

“How bout we try–”

“No more hot nannies, Michael.”

The blond wolf sighed.  “Yeah, you’re right.  So the foster mom’s got a smoking bod.  What’s the problem?”

“I made your brother a deal about the three of them – the uncle, the foster mother, the weird fucking roommate.”

Michael frowned.  “Deal?  What kind of deal?”

“I told Nick I’d look after the girl and the two other wolves.  Let them stay as long as they want.  In return he recognizes our pack and me as the Alpha.”

“You didn’t tell me you’d given them an open invitation.”

Cade shrugged as he took another drag. “Getting Houston’s recognition is worth some inconvenience.  Nick should’ve said something about the female, though.”

Michael shook his shaggy blonde head, a look of incredulity on his face.  “Fuck, Cade.  A woman we’ve never met, who looks like that, hanging around as long as she wants?   After all the shit with the nannies?”

Cade gazed at his second steadily and took another drag on the cigarillo.  He might castigate himself for an error in judgment; that didn’t mean his wolf could do it.  His tone was mild but tinged with iron as he drawled, “Last I heard, Michael, I was the Alpha and this was my home.  I just figured I could decide who gets to visit and for how long.  Like I did with you.  No one told me I had to put it up for a vote.  Who’s on the committee?”

Their gazes locked for a minute.  Michael looked away first, as was proper.  And safe.  He exhaled.   “Point made, point taken.”

Neither of them spoke for a few minutes.

“Where the hell is she, anyway?”

Michael glanced outside and shrugged.  “She’s wandering around the yard, looking lost and luscious.”

“All right.  Close the window, it’s getting hot outside.”   The phone on his desk rang as he stood.

“Oh, look,” grunted his second, still seated at Cade’s desk.  “It’s Seattle calling.”

Cade grinned.  “I’d take it myself, but I have to go play the good host again.”  He turned to go.

“Hey, wait.”  Michael paused with his hand on the line button.  “Listen.  If this all blows up in your face, do I get to say I told you so?”

“No.  But if you’re good, I’ll let you clean up the mess.”

The Smart Bitches Like It!

Sarah reviewed Kiss and Kin.  She gave it a C- which, at first, scared the heck out of me and made me really, really not want to read the review (even tho I swore, when I submitted it, that I could handle whatever she dished out), but then – hey, it’ s actually a positive review.  And then I remembered – oh yeah.  A C- from Sarah is a B+ from anyone else.  I’ll take it.

Last graf reads:

Holley’s novella is a clever take on a lot of the tired shapeshifter world tropes, and after reading this one I am going to do my bitchy darndest to remember her name and her world because I’d be happy to revisit to see if longer stories, particularly those of Lark’s best friend TJ, develop the emotional and sexual tension concurrently and sustain both through their resolution.

Whole thing here.

You know those people who go skydiving or walk over hot coals to help themselves conquer their fears and insecurities?    Pfft.