The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dark Breeds: Building the Dark Breed World

Several months ago I was asked to explain how I went about bringing the Dark Breed world to life. I had enough readers interested that I thought this would be a good time to re-visit that post and bring it home in case you didn't get a chance to catch it. My world is evolving with each and every book I write, but the spark of it's existence and how it all cam about is here in this post. Hope you enjoy it.

World Building and the Dark Breeds

Take a dose of old Las Vegas, near the Fremont Experience, add a liberal helping of all the legends we’ve grown up reading. Then just for giggles threaten to expose their existence to the world. What do you get?
       A whole lot of trouble.
When I built my Dark Breed world I wanted it to be mirror to that of our own. Since the heroine of the story, Tambra Ellis, is a Metro beat cop it only stood to reason that Marcus Valerian, a two-thousand year old vampire, would be a cop for his kind as well. Giving them a common bond in a uncommon situation. As an Enforcer, Marcus and his men uphold the laws given to them by a group of twelve Dark Breeds called The Tribunal. The Enforcers are judge, jury and executioner of any Breed who steps over the line.
     Next I researched all the stories I grew up with. Legends like the New Jersey Devil, mythology, from Greece, Rome and Celtic. Then I researched fairy tales from all over the world, personally, Grimm Fairy Tales are my favorite. From these came the Dark Breeds. The idea of living a day to day life within the human world and all the while mankind is totally unaware of them was appealing.
       Much like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You never know if the wolf will show his true colors and bite someone’s head off. Literally!
       I knew I would set the Dark Breeds headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since I live here what better place to use than one I’m familiar with. It also helps when Vegas is a favorite hot spot for millions of people. A friend asked me why place vampires in a location that averages around 300 days of sunshine per year? The answer was very simple.
Vegas never sleeps. The night brings out the unusual, uninhibited and goes 24/7. A vampire can live in comfort and feed with relative ease here. As one of my vampire Enforcers Christophe would say, ‘This city is a variable smorgasbord of tastes. You can sample to your hearts delight and never sip from the same vein twice.’
When working on my Dark Breed world I wanted something different for my vampires. No, they don’t sparkle, but they can and often do go out in sunlight. There are several drawbacks though which makes them prefer the night. One, they are as weak as a human with no vampiric speed, accelerated healing ability nor can they tap into any psychic talent. Second, they battle constant lethargy. The younger a vampire the more difficult for them to keep awake. Not a good thing when you have bad guys wanting your head. Again literally, since it is the best way to kill a vampire. So in a nutshell, when it comes to my world, night is still the vampire’s best time.
I also introduce several other Breeds and some are represented within the Enforcer team. The second most intriguing would be the Lycan. Not your standard werewolf, Lycans are born and called Pure Bloods. Sadly they are facing extinction. Their Leader Temple Fox will do whatever it takes to find a Pure Blood mate to secure the bloodline.
Yeah, he’s one of the bad guys.
Weres are humans who once bitten are at the mercy of the moons phases. Control is next to impossible for Weres and one reason so many loose themselves in blood lust and turn feral. Unfortunately for the Enforcers not only Weres are losing control and indiscriminately killing anything in sight. Many other Breeds are crossing the line and becoming feral. 
     Exposing them to the world would bring out the worst and best in humanity. But what would happen if the betrayal came from one of their own? How would the Dark Breeds come to grips with their laws gone, their leaders wiped out?
    But that’s the next story as the world building goes on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pick Me Up Monday - Reader Event I'll Be At

If I had this in my bed I would never get up!

Hi there everyone hope you had a great holiday weekend. For myself I got some much needed sleep and writing done. Yep, while waiting for edits on The Knight's Druid I've  been hard at work on the third and final book in the series tentatively titled For the Love of a King. As the title states this one is about Arthur and Guenevere. But there is so much more going on and I can't wait to see how this all ends myself!

I am heading to Arizona this week to be at Arizona Dreamin. Helping out my talented author friend CR Moss/Casey Moss in the process. I'm looking forward to meeting new readers on old along with catching up with some of my favorite authors too! 

Of course I have other projects I'm preparing to start and finish in the next few months. Zeke's book is nearly outlined and ready to begin writing, and I also have The Summoning that I'm finishing up along with a new series I'm in research mode for.

Later in the month of June I am heading out to Rom Con as one of their featured authors and am very excited about that. My eyes are crossing at preparing 250 little bags of goodies for the readers and some extra for some events I'm going to be helping with. Whew, no wonder I'm tired. Lol!

Well this is it for this week we will chat again on next Tuesday since I won't be back until late on Sunday and have to work my day job. Ugh!

Talk to you then

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mussings from Shannan

I am taking a small hiatus from my regular Author Spotlights since June is such a busy month I will have little time to get it out. Instead I thought I would chat a little about how each of my stories come to me and the process to get them to the final stage, publication.
As you all know by now I'm an avid reader, always have been. My mother never understood why I would get excited over a book instead of new clothes. I guess it's the nerd in me since I never got into the joy of shopping. More like a pain for me since I have little patience for trying on hundreds of clothes and don't buy anything. I'm the type who goes into the store with a clear picture of what I want, go get it and run like hell for the exit. But get me into a book store and I will spend hours happily browsing the covers.
Anyway, getting back to what this post is all about. This week I'm talking about my first publication. A small short story in the Anthology 'Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas. My story is the last in the book called A Christmas Wish for Laura. The idea for a widowed woman living in Alaska just was there one day. I knew of a publisher who was looking for authors for the anthology and said what the hell why not? I've already gotten enough rejections to cover the world three times over what's another one right? Well, this time the accepted and boy it took me a while for that to sink in Lol!
Writing this story was the quickest project I've ever written, having it ready to go in just three weeks and the story about Jack Frost's son and a widowed sculpture artist practically wrote itself. I did a quick character sketch of them and jotted down an outline and I was off. The funny thing is I hate the cold and of all things that would get picked up had to be set in Alaska of all places. This is one state I avoid like the plague since I get cold so easily.
My characters came to life seemingly all by themselves, their hopes and fears, insecurities and dreams laid out before me to put into a story I felt was sweet more than hard core erotic. I may some day revisit Laura and Elric for they may have more to say. Or perhaps Elric's father will take center stage and tell his story.
Who knows what will happen, but for now they are living with their happily ever after and at the end of the day isn't that what we all want?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pick Me Up Monday - Updates and other news

This pic kind of says it all when talking about the last three weeks. Only he says it so much better than I ever could.

Between working overtime at my day job and then writing I can say I'm tuckered out. I have accomplished quite a bit last week I'm pleased to say. I'm well into the final installment of the Knights of Excalibur and this book looks to be coming together quite well.

For all those wonderful readers I've heard from how are getting into my Dark Breed series, I wanted to let you know I have Zeke's book outlined and will be starting on it very soon. Thank you all for the wonderful reviews I've received so far and the wonderful praise you have given my books.  I truly appreciate you all and work hard to give you the very best I can give.

In other news I have Arizona Dreamin coming up June 2nd -3rd in Chandler Az. and am looking forward to catching up with some of my friends there chatting with some wonderful readers. Then I have two weeks to finalize preparations for RomCon in Denver Colorado June 22 to 24th. It plans on being great fun and I am looking forward to making some new friends there. I am participating in several events and will talk about it more as things get finalized.

For this week I am continuing my fast draft of the Knights of Excalibur book and hope to be finished with the rough draft by the end of this week. That is more than enough on my plate for this week. So with that I'll get back to work and wish you an awesome and productive week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Author Spotlights Alexandria O'Hurley

I am so honored and pleased to bring you one of the hottest Authors of Erotica out there today. Her blog Oh Alex cranks the temp to sweltering at the same time very informative. Who knew Slot A could actually turn and bend into slot X?
Alex knew that's who.

And I have a special treat for you. Alexandria is going to give away your choice of a PDF copy of either The Virgin Who Cried Wolf or Park and Ride. Just answer the question:
Where is the sexiest place you’ve done the dirty?
  Best answer to the Question wins and will be posted on both our blogs.
To help you choose which one you want here is a teaser of each book.

Excerpt – The Virgin Who Cried Wolf
©Alexandra O’Hurley, 2012

“Why can’t I just have my braies back?”
“Because a lady doesn’t wear trousers.”
“I can’t ride a horse in a gown.”
“You won’t be riding a horse tonight.”  Perhaps riding something else, but definitely not a horse.  His cock began to swell once more as the thought of pressing into her welcoming heat.
“I don’t like gowns.”
“Your clothes smelled of horse.  Wear the gown or go naked.  Either will be fine with me.” 
Her eyes finally found his again as she seemed to weigh if he were serious or not.  “Fine, give me the gown.”
He lifted his arm and remained where he was, forcing her to come retrieve the thing from his hands.  Thessa rolled her eyes to heaven and sighed, clearly affronted by his act.  She stomped toward him and snatched the fabric from him.  Once she’d donned the gown, he turned her and began to dry her long hair.
She reached behind her and fought him, pulling her hair so she could braid to once more.  “It’ll dry just fine like this.”
He snatched it back from her and released the half-worked braid, pulling the long strands out and around her face.  His mother’s silver brush was on the stand beside the tub.  She eyed it warily as he lifted it around to her head.  The bristled worked through the coppery strands on her head and he gently worked through a few knots as gently as he could.
There was something incredibly erotic in doing these intimate actions for her.  The brush slid through her soft hair like walking through summer wheat, and smelled as fresh.  His cock had been hard the entire time he’d dried her and brushed her hair.  He knew she’d felt the head swipe across her lower back from time to time as he brushed, as her body had stiffened with each one.  Instinct demanded that he press her to the cold stone floor and claim her.  But he reigned in the call yet again.
His beast was restless.  But he wasn’t giving in to his instinct and so the beast was becoming wild.  He felt the change forcing its way through his limbs and he was on the edge of control to keep the animal at bay.  A long, hard run through the woods would have to follow dinner if she were to keep her virginity till the morning.  Envisioning her running at his side, playing a deliciously decadent game of cat and mouse was enough to make him growl low in his chest. 
She looked over her shoulder tentatively, her hazel eyes shifting between desire and fear.  But there was also a mischievous glint.  He was quite sure thoughts of running from him were swirling through her mind yet again.  And he hadn’t truly punished her for the last time.
The silver brush still rested in his hand.  Swatting her ass with the metal, she gasped.  He leaned into her ear, licking the lobe. 
“That was for running from me.”
He raised the brush again, the light from the lantern hitting the back and glittering across the room.  The impact struck her other cheek.  The scent of her arousal flooded the room and garnered another low growl in response.  His claws burst from his fingers as he fought to cage his beast.
Raynd picked the best, and worst, moment to peek into the door.  “Dinner will be ready shortly, you need to dress, Caelan.”
Caelan glowered at Raynd who immediately picked up the scent in the room and looked over the both of them.  Thessa’s head dropped in shame, and that shame blackened Caelan to the core.  She’d wanted his touch, burned for him.  Her eyes had pleaded for his caresses.  Disgusted, he threw the brush on the stand and stalked from the room.

Excerpt - Park and Ride
From her height in the SUV, she could see into the interior, and saw a man alone at the steering wheel.  She could not see his face, only from his massive chest down to the tops of his jeans clad thighs.  He had no shirt on and she clearly saw the deep ridges of his chiseled abs from her vantage point.  His thick, muscled hand rubbed his stomach before moving lower, to his silver belt buckle. 
Hello!  He is perfectly built.  A girl’s wet dream. So, he’s not a killer, just a pervert.  My kind of man.
He slowly undid the buckle with one hand and pulled open the clasp.  Button undone, she could see his cock beneath the heavy denim start to come to life, thickening and spreading the material taut.  Her own fingers fisted at the sight of his apparent length.  A man like that was hard to find and she’d been lucky enough to stumble across him.
His long fingers reached for the zipper and grabbed the clasp, pulling the mechanism down slowly, inch by inch.  She could almost hear the swoosh of the sound in her head as her panties dampened from the lusty scene beside her.
Eyes back on the road, she swerved slightly as she realized she was coasting close to his car.  She returned her gaze as quickly as possible to the scene beside her, not able to stop watching the man’s deliciously naughty performance for more than a few seconds.
His broad, tanned hand slid under the waistband of his dark boxer briefs and he began to touch himself, not allowing her a glimpse of the flesh he obviously stroked beneath the soft jersey. She felt her own clit thicken; the electric pulses running through the nub of flesh forced her to emit a soft moan in response. Her tight pencil skirt prevented her from fondling herself in return, though she ached to follow his lead.
Two white-knuckled fists on the steering wheel, she watched in utter fascination as the stranger pumped his own cock, just out of her view.  She looked up again, correcting her course, and when she looked back, the thick head of his cock was finally visible above the waistband.  The broad tip hinted at an incredibly thick shaft and a shot of longing speared through her.  He raised his hips momentarily and pulled his jeans down just a few inches, so they rode his narrow hips.
The stranger returned his hand to his groin, rubbing his erection through his boxers before pulling them down a few inches as well, allowing his cock to jump from the space.  It was glorious, long enough to entice, thick enough to spread a woman’s pussy wide upon entry.  A nest of dark curls surrounded the base and traveled up to his navel, tapering off in the ascent. More juices collected in her panties at the sight of one of the hottest cocks she’d ever seen.
Kellee licked her lips, swiping her tongue over the dried flesh, her mouth watering to taste the stiff shaft he now held in his hand.  She lifted her hips and tried to pull her skirt up to her waist to no avail.  She lost speed and nearly sideswiped his car in the attempt.  Stuck watching the sexy man jerk off with no ability to surrender to the same caresses from her own fingers was a torture no woman should have to endure.
His hand confidently stroked up and down his shaft. He knew exactly what he liked, and when he pinched the thick head, she imagined a pearl of fluid rose from the tip.  She licked her lips once more, enamored with the idea of tasting the salty cum, wondering what flavor it was.  In between heaven and hell, she watched as his muscled arm rose up and down, working his dick in practiced strokes.  His hips began pumping in time with the movement and she knew that his release was nearing.
Kellee’s heart dipped, for as soon as he was done, she was sure he would race away, leaving her to travel the next hour, alone once more, battling her racing heart and needing the relief of her fingers plunging into her wet pussy.  But just as she thought she would see a wide arc of cum spread across his tanned abdomen, he stopped his movements, pinching the tip of his cock.
She caught her breath, as if she could will him to stop, to stay with her and play some more.  Her eyes returned to the road and then back to him.  Both his hands were on the wheel as his cock lay flat against his navel, still hard.  She could see his rapid breaths and knew he was attempting to quiet his raging heart and hold back his inevitable release.  Kellee felt the ache in her pussy and needed him to return to motion, move his sexy hand along his large cock once more.
A mile passed with no more.  Another.  The light remained on, he remained at her side, but nothing.  Was this another torture?  She bit back the desire to honk her horn, try to sideswipe his car, anything that would stir him into performing for her.  Sweat formed at her brow from simple need.  She needed him to continue as much as she needed her next breath.

Tough choice I for one wouldn't know which one to choose. I was so excited when Alexandria agreed to come on my blog. I always wanted to find out more about the Lady behind the books. You're in for a special treat as I present Alexandria O'Hurley.
Do you do anything to get you into the zone to write?   
TBH, not really…I rarely listen to music, but on occasion I do.  I occasionally test out some ideas beforehand if I have a willing partner…lol

 Which authors inspire your writing?
 I read voraciously, and tend to devour an author that I find and like.  I went through the BDB boys, just finished up the IAD series…hard, tough heroes that are awesomely drawn on paper.  Lora Leigh’s Bound Hearts or Nauti series are some of my favorites. I’ve read almost everything Katie MacAlister has written.  I love her humor, although I’ll have to say her heroines have become a little insipid in my mind, especially when compared to others.  But she still makes me laugh out loud…and I typically like to have some comedic spots in the things I write.

What is your favorite book, character and why?
Whatever I am currently reading and loving.  There is absolutely no way I can say that ONE is the best of my favorites. 

Do you prefer to write erotic or sweet?
Erotic!  I don’t read sweet, so I wouldn’t even know what to do with that.

Which famous person, living or dead,  are you drawn to?
Janis Joplin.  She was loud, brash, and ahead of her time.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully writing full time in the little house I’ve recently fallen in love with.

Finish this sentence: I know I’ve made it when_______________?
I can quit my full-time job.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
For them to treat it like a career and not a hobby.  And to touch their work every, single day, even if it’s only to write a line or two…a writing habit needs to be formed.

What do you see yourself writing in the future?
I enjoy erotic romance, I don’t see that coming to an end.  I would really like to try my hand at more historical.  I’ve done one and I think the family members deserve a little more time to shine.  I really enjoyed writing that particular story.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
To fly.  It would so cure my road rage.

What time of the day are you at your best to write?
Evenings seem to work better for me, though.  But I will write when the muse moves me.

And now for something completely different…

What do you look at first with an attractive man or woman, face, body or smile?
Eyes.  I have a serious yen for nice eyes.

Explain your perfect day.
Spending a sunny day with my kiddo…no matter where.  The beach, some sand, and a kite sounds pretty relaxing to me.  But we had just as much fun landscaping our front yard.  As long as it’s quality time spent with my favorite person – her – it’s all good.  She’s 16, and I know that the time we have is precious.  College and her life beckon.

What is the most decadent desert you can’t say no to?
Warm chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream.  It should be outlawed.

Do you have a favorite holiday what is it and what makes it special to you?
I just love the vibe from Oct – Dec, everyone seems happier, nicer.  Beautiful colors, all the fun holidays.  Fall is my happy time.

What key words describe you best?
Vociferous (learned that one in 10th grade and it just fit too well not to stick), Honest (sometimes to a fault), and Loyal

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pick Me Up Monday - Preparing for an intense 14 days

Happy Monday Everyone.

Hope you all had a great weekend and are ready for another week. This hunky male should help you get through the work week a little easier. As my title states the next fourteen days are going to be extremely intense for me.
What's up? Well for one I'm going through a Fast Draft for the final installment of the Knights of Excalibur series. Within the next two weeks I am writing every free moment and by the end will have the first draft of this book finished. I'm excited and can't wait to see how everything turns out. I'll be giving you an update on my progress next Monday.
In other news for this week I am ecstatic to tell you all I will have a wonderful writer Alexandra O'Hurley as my guest on Thursday. This is going to be a sparse two weeks for me since I will be expending most of my energy on beginning and finishing my latest book.
Until next week have a fantastic one

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Doris O'Connor Too Cold For Love is Blistering Hot!!! See Why

You know your doing something right when you can snag a great writer like Doris O'Connor for the second time. This time she brings the next her her series The Giovanni Clan with her and dang she really turns up the heat with this delectable read.


Marco Giovanni has shut off his emotions, following a messy divorce. His small daughter and his chain of bakeries are all he needs in his life. The string of nannies are an unfortunate necessity he could well do without. So why does his body have to remember its needs now with the latest and most unsuitable nanny ever?

Elise has always been the responsible one, so when she receives yet another SOS phone call from her wayward twin, she does the only thing she can do, she steps into her shoes. Having to go back to nannying is hard enough, the unexpected attraction to her arrogant employer impossible to deal with. Especially when she is forced to agree to a marriage of his convenience to pay off the debt her twin accrued.

In a marriage based on blackmail can passion turn into love, or will secrets and lies destroy all?
Marco's knowing gaze met hers in the bathroom mirror, and the heat she saw in his eyes started a slow answering fire deep within her. Awareness sparked between them.
The towel slowly slipped from her fingers. The ice hit the tiled floor with a thud and broke the spell. She almost ran into the other room and frantically tried the other door.
"I have it on good authority that they are fire doors, my lovely, so I'd give up now. I like your shoulders just the way they are, cara mia."
Marco leant against the door frame propped up by his good shoulder, his arms crossed over his chest, a slow smile on his lips. He checked the lock on the bathroom door.
"And I'm pleased to note there isn't a lock on here, lest you decide to go hiding in another bathroom. I seem to recall you were rather fond of that on our honeymoon."
Elise winced, followed by a vivid blush as she remembered their wedding night.
Marco simply smiled. He slowly advanced towards her, and Elise backed away until she bumped into the wall. He reminded her of a predator stalking his prey.
"Marco, we need to talk."
One last long stride brought him so close his thighs touched hers, and he put one hand either side of her head.  His big body crowded her against the wall, and his sinful mouth hovered over hers.
"So talk, cara mia. I'm all yours."
His hot breath fanned across her face, and Elise closed her eyes. She bit back a moan when he kissed her nose and rained butterfly kisses along her jaw line. He suckled gently on just the right spot on her neck to make her knees turn to jelly.
Somehow she found the strength to put her shaking hands on his chest, only to meet hot, hard, male flesh. This time she couldn't stop the very feminine moan escaping. Was that needy sound really her?
Apparently so, judging by Marco's low groan in her ear. He moved his hand to cup her breast, the nipple thrusting shamelessly into his caress.
"You don't sound as though you want me to stop, cara mia. In fact, I would hazard a guess that you're wet enough for me to fuck you right here."
The crude words should have shocked Elise, but instead she whimpered in response to his words. He ground his hips suggestively into hers until the full force of his erection rested against her pussy. Heat flooded between her thighs, and she pulled his head down for kiss.
"You're talking too much, Tarzan."
She caught a quick glimpse of triumph in his glittering eyes before his mouth claimed hers. His tongue tangled with hers, and they both groaned. One of his hands fisted in her hair, and the other lifted her skirt. He cupped her mound and murmured his approval.
"You're so fucking wet for me."
He bunched the sodden material of her underwear in his hand and pulled. The move brought delicious pressure to her clit, and Elise panted in excitement. Cool air hit her slick folds when the material gave way with an audible rip. His large hand replaced the fabric, and her pussy clamped down on the fingers he thrust into her channel. His teeth nipped her neck, nudging her arousal up another notch, and he kicked her feet apart to spread her wider. She clung to his shoulders, rubbing her breasts against his chest, and he swore. He thrust two more fingers into her hungry cunt, and she lifted her leg to give him better access. He withdrew his fingers, and Elise tensed when he inserted one slick digit into her anus.
"Relax, pasticcino."
His eyes sought hers, and he smiled. He kissed her, and Elise relaxed into the strange sensation. When he inserted another finger into her tight hole, she gasped into his mouth. He thrust slowly in and out of her, and Elise pulled him closer to her still, as her hips moved of their own accord. Unused nerve endings sprang to life, and darts of pleasure skittered to her clitoris. Her breath came in short gaps, as her arousal built.
"That's my girl. I knew you'd like this." Marco's strained voice in her ear was the sexiest sound she'd ever heard. She pushed down on his fingers, seeking more, and moaned her disappointment when he withdrew them slowly. He grabbed her buttocks and ground her aching clit into his still covered cock. He thrust into her, and the friction on her throbbing bud proved too much for Elise.
"Please, Marco."
"What, cara mia?"
Marco pulled away, and she groaned.
"What do you want, my wife?"
The heat in his ever darkening gaze stoked her arousal to fever pitch, and she impatiently tugged at his trousers.
"I want you in me, now, Marco."
His eyes darkened further at her whispered plea, and she breathed a sigh of relief when his hands helped her free his cock. It sprung out of its confines up to his taut stomach, and Elise licked her lips in anticipation. She cupped his balls, and it was Marco's turn to groan.
"Jesus, woman, you're killing me."
He pushed her hands away, and Elise arched into his palms, when he pulled down her tank top and exposed her breasts. He kneaded each aching globe, before he pushed them together and laved the nipples in turn. Every suckle sent shards of pure pleasure down towards Elise's clit where delicious anticipation built in waves. She moaned her protest when Marco released the glistening buds and kissed his way back up to her collarbone. She could feel his strained smile before she saw it.
"Wrap your legs around me. I need to get inside you right now."
I had to ask how she could say her latest hero was unlikable? Here is what Doris said about that and some other great insights to the inner working of how Marco came to be.
The unlikable hero?

I know what you're thinking. What is this mad woman going on about? Calling her hero unlikable is really going to help sell the book, right.
I promise I haven't taken complete leave of my faculties—well not more than usual. But have you ever had a character pop in your head, determined to have his story told, no matter what? Well, I'm used to that nowadays, but the first draft for Too Cold To Love was written back in November 2010, when I was still very new to the concept of being a panster.
I had just completed Too Hot To Handle, Book One in the Giovanni Series and I loved my sexy firefighter. I had hopelessly fallen in love with the whole Giovanni and I knew I needed to write Book Two. Enter Marco from stage right….
His daughter Mimi makes a cameo appearance in Book One. She's a newborn baby, the newest addition to the Giovanni. So when I thought about Book Two, I wondered about her father. Book Two takes place about eighteen months after the events in book One and Marco is not in a happy place. Divorced from Mimi's mother, he has sworn of all women, and if there was one way to describe him it's cold. Very, very cold. Hence the title of the book.
Now, as I said I'm a panster, so I had no idea yet, why he was like this, but I dutifully listened to him and started typing.  Physically speaking Marco was drool worthy, tall, drop dead gorgeous, successful, Italian—emotionally—hmm.
I really didn't like him, or the way he treats Elise. The one redeeming feature was his love for his daughter. I thawed toward him a bit when he revealed this side of him.
It was good to hear Mimi be so carefree. She hadn't been last night. Elise had been woken up from a disturbingly erotic dream, involving none other than Mimi's father, to the little girl's screams echoing across the hall. She'd scrambled out of bed, completely disoriented, and by the time she found herself across the hall towards Mimi's room the crying had subsided. The sight that greeted Elise had done little to calm her already overactive libido.
Marco Giovanni had sat on the floor in front of his daughter's cot, holding her tenderly in his rather well defined arms, whilst singing her a lullaby in Italian. Clad in only very low slung pajama bottoms Elise had had a perfect view of washboard abs, a broad, slightly hairy chest and impressive shoulders, whose muscles flexed slightly as he rocked his daughter off to sleep. She couldn't get a clear view of his face, buried in Mimi's hair, but the voice that sang to his child so tenderly was full of painful emotion, that Elise recognized only too well. Feeling like she had intruded on a very private moment, she'd padded back to her room.

You see, not so cold after all… The more he revealed about himself and the more Elise got under his skin, the more likable he became and I think out of all my heroes, he probably undergoes the biggest journey of all. He has good reason for protecting his emotions and the more I wrote, the more I liked him. He's a tortured man our Marco and I do like my tortured heroes.
*evil grin*
Needless to say Elise heals him as much as he heals her as the story unfolds. I'm not ashamed to say I shed a few tears when I wrote this and hopefully the reader will too. I leave you to be the judge of it. For now here's a little hot excerpt. No matter what problems Marco and Elise face, their chemistry is the one thing they can't deny.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Special Spotlight Presents Sara Daniels

Welcome to my corner of the Blogosphere Sara, I'm so pleased you could make it and fill us in on your latest release. It sound like a great one to me and I'm tickled to have you bring this great story to me and my readers.

A Man Worth Fighting For

He has nothing left to offer. She's determined to show him just how much he's worth.

Shot by a member of his military team, Justin Lawson retreats to the Wiccan Haus. Holly Walters refuses to accept her boyfriend's out-of-the-blue rejection without an explanation, even if getting the answers forces her to be trapped on a bizarre island for an entire week. She's going to use every minute to work Justin out of her system once and for all. Justin's body and spirit begin to heal under Holly's loving ministrations. As she talks about never seeing each other again, he realizes he never wants to let her go. But the rogue assassin who had gone after Justin before is after him again. Before he can fight to make Holly believe in their love, he'll have to fight for both their lives.


“How did you hurt your knee?” Holly asked.

“Occupational hazard,” Justin muttered.

That wasn’t very comforting, considering he was in the military and always going off on missions that he couldn’t give her any details about. “Did you fall and break it?”

“Bullet shattered it.” His words were clipped.

She flinched, wanting desperately to reach for him, hating to think of the pain he’d been in, the pain she’d known nothing about. “And how long before or after this happened did you send me an eight word break-up text?”

“About seventy-two hours after.”

She immediately knew she’d been right not to take his text at face value. The self-destruction of a client and the week of lost work were worth it. She’d needed this explanation. More than that, it proved there was still hope for them. “So you conceivably could have still been under the effects of anesthesia.”

“I wasn’t.”

“But you were on pain medication for sure.”

“Don’t make excuses for me. I was an ass. I broke up with you, and you deserve better.”

The Wiccan Haus: A Man Worth Fighting For

Do you do anything to get you into the zone to write?
Coffee, reheat coffee, coffee, reheat, repeat. Oh, and I listen to Alan Jackson’s To Do What I Do. His perspective as a singer/songwriter mirrors mine as an author, and he perfectly captures why I “do what I do.”

Which authors inspire your writing?
Nora Roberts was an inspiration to me when I was starting out. I had no idea she was an icon in the romance industry. At the time, I thought I could be just like her! After I joined RWA, the authors in my local chapter guided me through the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Blythe Gifford, Jennifer Stevenson, Pat White, Simone Elkeles, and Marilyn Brant are some of the authors I am particularly grateful to for sharing their knowledge and advice.

What is your favorite book, character and why?
My all-time favorite hero is Kenny Karmody from Suzanne Brockmann’s Out of Control. That mix of sweet, vulnerable, tough, fearless, and irreverent made me fall head-over-heels in love. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ First Lady is probably my all-time favorite book because every single character captivated me on every single page. When I finished that book for the first time, I turned to page one and immediately started reading it again.

Do you prefer to write erotic or sweet?
I usually find myself writing somewhere in the middle, but I’m honestly drawn to both ends of the spectrum. It depends on the story and the characters.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself doing what I’m doing now, sitting in front of my computer, dreaming up stories for readers to enjoy. I love my job!

Finish this sentence: I know I’ve made it when_______________?
I’m beginning to accept that authors are all reaching for the next step and most of the time we’re never going to feel like we’ve made it. But if I were to win a Lifetime Achievement Award from RWA or a Career Achievement Award from RT or something similar, I think I would feel like I have legitimately made it in this industry.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write, write, write. Before you can have a best-selling novel, you have to finish writing it. And don't forget to keep reading.

What do you see yourself writing in the future?
I love writing contemporary romance, so I think I’ll always return to that. I just ventured into paranormal with A Man Worth Fighting For, so I definitely want to write more there. As my alter ego Sara Shafer, I’ve been playing with some middle grade stories about quirky squirrels and about boys going auto racing. Ultimately, I love telling stories about love, family and happily ever after, regardless of genre.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would love to make the magical Wiccan Haus shared world (that A Man Worth Fighting For is set in) real, so I could literally be a part of it. The characters of the Wiccan Haus are a fun, quirky cast. I fell in love with each one, and I would love to spend a week on their island, letting them work their magic on me.

What time of the day are you at your best to write?
I tend to write best in the late morning and early afternoon. First thing in the morning, I’m catching up on email, running errands, and easily distracted by the Internet. But then I settle in and focus until my family comes home and interrupts my quiet house.

And now for something completely different…

What do you look at first with an attractive man or woman, face, body or smile?
I have to say, the face really draws me in, especially if it’s a tough-looking guy with sculpted cheekbones. *melt*

Explain your perfect day.
A perfect day would start with a morning stroll along the beach, hours writing where the story is really flowing, a nice long hike in the woods, more hours of writing, and then capped off with a sunset walk along the beach with my hubby. Unfortunately, I live in a landlocked suburb where both beaches and solitary walks in nature are hard to come by, but when I get the chance, I really soak up those moments and let them nurture my creativity.

What is the most decadent desert you can’t say no to?
I never pass up a chance for tiramisu or cannoli, and choosing between them is almost impossible. I’m a sucker for a really decadent dark chocolate too, but dark chocolate is healthy, right???

Do you have a favorite holiday? What is it and what makes it special to you?
I have to go very traditional here and say Christmas. I love sitting with my family in the glow of the Christmas tree lights, soaking up the excitement, togetherness and love of the season.

What key words describe you best?
Hopeful, sincere, reliable. This what readers can expect from a Sara Daniel story, and this is the reputation I hope I’ve developed with my editor, publishing staff, and other industry professionals.
Want more on Sara Daniels? You can find her at: