Badurday- December 17, 2011- Special Guest, Joan Chandler

Jillian:  Joan Chandler is a member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA and is a wonderful person and friend. She recently sold her first novel to Siren- Book-Strand Publishers and I’m thrilled to welcome her to the Siren-Book-Strand family where some of my books are published, as well as to the Sizzler blog today.  She’s here to tell you about her debut novel.  Take it away, Joan!!

Joan:  

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today.  I am a southern girl myself, having grown up in Florida, Georgiaand South Carolina.  When I started college I migrated to Alabama, where I’ve lived ever since.  So I feel like I’m in the best of company here with all you Southern Sizzlers!  I’m excited about the opportunity to introduce my debut novel, Perfectly Imperfect.  It is slated for a January 2012 release from Siren BookStrand. 

 I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books.  First, I was just an avid reader.  Then, in my teen years, I got my first experience with writing when I was a contributor to my high school newspaper.  From then on, writing was a great creative outlet for me.  My sister and I used to fill up entire notebooks with fictional stories and then swap and read each other’s “masterpieces”. 

 While working for an international shipping company, I got the idea to write a novel.  It took years to complete, due in large part to the birth of two children who kept me very busy.  But when I finished that mainstream romance, I could not get over the feeling of accomplishment!  I went on to write two Young Adult manuscripts and then prepared to start a fourth book.       

 When I told my sister I’d started on a new book, she had only one suggestion:  Make it spicy!!!   The result of those efforts is my first erotic romance.  And wouldn’t you know, my first book to get published is the only one that I’d cringe if my parents ever read it!  But Mom and Dad are very proud, even if they have had to promise me they’ll never download it.  Let me tell you a little about Perfectly Imperfect.  

 I would love to wax philosophical about it, and tell you it’s a book about being brave enough to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.  Or that it’s about the fact that we’re sometimes our own worst enemy.  I could say that it explores the possibility that the very thing we dislike most about ourselves might be the catalyst that brings Mr. Right into our lives.  And, yeah, there are elements of all of those themes between the front and back covers.  But trust me, the message is very carefully disguised within the confines of a scorching love story. 

 My heroine is Alison Baker, a successful businesswoman inHouston,TX.  She’s a tall, red haired and – even though she doesn’t believe it – beautiful woman who has struggled with her weight her whole life.  She has finally slimmed down but hits a plateau before reaching her goal weight.  She’s determined, and decides a gym membership is the only solution if she wants to shed those last lingering pounds.  As she psyches herself up on the way into the fitness center to sign up, Ali literally bumps into gorgeous Brit, Daniel Wells, as he walks out.  He’s tall, muscular, blue-eyed and speaks in that delicious British accent!  He is James Bond meets Richard Armitage, all in one.  In other words, he’s exactly the sort of guy Ali thinks would never even notice her.

 As it turns out, Daniel works at the gym and volunteers his services as personal trainer.  Thus, there is plenty of opportunity for them to talk in a relaxed setting and to begin to get to know one another.  When unforeseen circumstances later put Ali in a predicament, Daniel uses the situation to let her know in a most unconventional way that he’s totally into her.  Ali thinks it’s too good to be true but can’t help falling for him.  She is also 100% convinced her heart will only get broken in the end.  But as they say, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, right?

 Their story spans two continents after Daniel invites Ali to join him on a business trip toLondon.  There she is put in an embarrassing situation that only serves as a glaring reminder of what’s she has felt all along: He’s clearly out of her league.    

 Will Ali cut her losses and run?  Or is Daniel the one addiction she is totally powerless resist?

Real Life in Books

Hello everyone! So sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’ve gotten extremely busy with edits and revising and finishing an old book. I finally broke down and started using the Google calendar so that it would send me emails the day before I have to do something, um, like blogging 🙂

Today I want to talk about real life. I write because I enjoy the break from reality (temporary of course!) and I like creating places, people, worlds and settings where readers can escape everyday life. Occasionally things from my everyday life show up in my books. Now at this you all are wondering just what I’m talking about since my books are erotic romance, well get your heads out of the gutters! It’s not THAT!! Nope, its everyday things.

For example this morning I had to be at the school by nine so I could register my son for pre-k. All I had to bring was his social security card and us. Got the us covered! Thought I had the ss card covered too. Until I opened the envelope to get it. The husband stroke!! He had to take the cards to work for insurance stuff about a week ago. Swears he brought them back. Then swears he didn’t even take them! Are you kidding me?? At this point I’m contemplating how horrible prison life would be. I mean seriously.

Things like this happen around my house all the time. I put things in a certain place. He moves them. I ask why and he explains (in a pissy voice!) that I had whatever it was just lying around the house where the kids could get it. He truly believes that by moving things around he’s helping. NO! That is so not how it works. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love him for trying to help me, but certain things aren’t helpable. If I have something put up for a reason, regardless of where it’s at, LEAVE IT THERE.

Things like this show up in my books all the time. I think little fights, frustrations, and in some cases yelling matches brings characters to life for readers. What do you think? I know in Untamable my latest release, that Siddalee and Jasper fight like the above. They bicker, they yell, they love. It’s life.

And we have guests coming to Tuesdays this month. Writer Marie Tuhart will be here next Tuesday and the following Tuesday debut author Cassandra Carr will be here. And let’s not forget that our lovely reader and friend Danica Avet has just released her second novel in The Veil Series!

For more on my newest release          and       for Danica’s new release            and Jillian’s release 

Badurday- February 19- Lorenzo Lamas

So, this week, I was thinking, hmmm, it’s Valentine’s Day week. What can I do for Badurday.  It came to me- Lorenzo Lamas would be a perfect choice. He was in a movie called Killing Cupid.  Perfect.  The female lead in that movie was named Valentine. Also perfect. Lorenzo also fits our bad boy criteria as he was wickedly sexy and such a bad boy in Falcon Crest. I loved the wine country setting of that show but I also adored the men on it as well. YUM!  Lorenzo was unreal as the rich, spoiled guy. He nailed that role!!  Enjoy these pictures of him through the ages.  He’s one of those men that look better as they age. Still swoon-worthy.

AND just in case anyone’s interested, I have a book out on Feb 22 and Sayde has one out on Feb 23.

Here’s the  pre-order link for mine: http://www.bookstrand.com/surfer-bride

I’m also going to give away a pdf copy of SURFER BRIDE to a commenter here today. Leave me a comment about Badurday and your favorite Lorenzo Lamas movie or television show. I’ll leave this open until Sunday night.  Sayde and I are also on Falyn’s blog today with a scene we wrote with our characters from our new releases meeting on the beach- it was fun. We also have a giveaway over there. Check it out: http://falyndonaldson.com/

Release Date Anticipation

Hi all. As most of you know I have a new release coming up on the 23rd. I admit I wasn’t very excited when I received word that Siren wanted to publish it and that’s not because I wasn’t happy, I was. I’m a realist, and I know that with each book that I sell comes hard work in getting it edited to my editors standard and then promoting it. I always get a little freaked out when the cover comes because you just never know if the art department is going to have the same vision as you do. This time was no different and things did vary. Some parts of the cover were not what I’d envisioned but now that I’ve had the cover for a few weeks I do like the variation. I mean we can’t all think alike can we?

So after the edits were done, the cover arrived, and I received my final release date I realized that I’m finally excited. I know it seems so strange to most people thatI never get excited about a book contract or really a cover but that’s just how I am. When everything is said and done is when my excitement hits me. Now I’m really looking forward to having UNTAMABLE out in the publishing world.  I was recently asked what my favorite part of the publishing process was and well, you guessed it, the release date. That date means that everything I’ve worked so hard for is completed. Now, it’s time to share my work with the world and have faith that readers will enjoy the world I built.

When you’re working to accomplish your goal, what point to do begin to get excited about the end result? Are you like me and just can’t get excited until it’s absolutely complete or do you go through stages where you get excited?

And don’t forget that not only am I having a release date coming soon, but our sizzler SFCatty, Jillian Chantall and ym wonderful critique partner Rebecca Zanetti also have release dates on the 22nd! You can find out more about both Jillian and I at http://www.sirenbookstrand.com/ and for Rebecca please visit her website for all the places you can pick up FATED. http://rebeccazanetti.com Oh and you know what, our most beloved commentor Danica Avet has her latest release and upcoming release also at Siren so stop by and check us all out!

Badurday – February 5, 2011- Debora Ryan/Michele Zurlo

JILLIAN:  A fellow Siren-BookStrand author is our guest today. She writes both erotica and Mainstream. As Michele Zurlo, she owns the blog called The Steam Room where I  have been a guest in the past. She also is hosting an awesome event for Valentine’s week.  She has a lot of other authors discussing romance and other Valentine’s Day topics. She’ll attach a list of those writers to the end of this interview along with her discussion of the event. 

As Debora Ryan, she write mainstream novels for Book Strand Publishers.  She’s here today in an interview for her new book to be released in the next four to six weeks or so. It’s called Crimes of the Heart.  Please welcome her to the blog today.

BLURB:

When Leah is caught embezzling, will blackmail lead her to love or destruction?

Ever since an accident killed her parents and left her older sister with life-altering injuries, Leah Keenan’s life hasn’t been her own.  The insurmountable medical bills force her to desperate action.  The company she works for is large.  Nobody would notice if she skimmed a few thousand here and there to pay outstanding bills.

The complications Will Dannaker brings are more than Leah needs in her life.  Posing as a management intern, he is placed in her care.  He isn’t an intern; he’s a fraud specialist working undercover at his father’s company.  When Will’s charm fails to penetrate Leah’s shields, he resorts to blackmail to make her go out with him.

As things grow serious between them, the embezzling spirals out of control.  Six million dollars are missing—far more than Leah took—and all the evidence Will gathered points to Leah.  Everything blows up when she is arrested, and Will is forced to fight his family to prove his love to Leah.

Jillian: Your book, Crimes of the Heart, seems to be a romantic suspense. Is this your first in this genre or do you have others?

Debora: Funny, I never thought of it as romantic suspense. I thought of it more as crime fiction, but there are definitely elements of suspense throughout. Tomorrow Cries could also be considered romantic suspense. I like complex, layered stories where the conflicts are both internal and external.

Jillian: Your heroine, Leah, is in a bad situation. Can you tell us a little about it?

Debora: Leah is operating on a lingering sense of survivor’s guilt stemming from a tragic accident that took her parents and left her sister unable to care for herself. Her fatal flaw is that she tries to shoulder this responsibility alone. She confides in nobody, not even her best friend who would be more than willing to help her. Leah probably thinks of her situation as penance.

Jillian: Writing a heroine that commits a crime is scary. Do you think Leah’s criminal behavior will cause readers to not like her? If not, tell us why.

Debora: I sat on this story forever because I wasn’t sure how to approach building her relationship with Will. Love is messy and imperfect, and so are my heroines. Leah’s situation is very delicate because taking her relationship with Will too far would cause him to commit an unforgivable crime. Both of my characters commit crimes. Leah embezzles to pay for her sister’s expensive medical care. Will blackmails Leah because he really wants to go out with her. The difficult part for me was in walking that line between making the characters interesting and sympathetic while showcasing their faults and the ways in which those faults nearly ruin their relationship.

Jillian:  Your hero, Will, is working undercover. What’s his back story?

Debora: Will is a fraud investigator. He left home and turned his back on the family business to prove he could be something other than the man his father wanted him to be. At his mother’s request, he returns home to find out who embezzled six million dollars from the company. Hint: There are multiple embezzlers working for Will’s father.

Jillian: When does this book come out and where can we be looking for it?.

Debora: This will be available from BookStrand most likely in late February/early March. You can check my website at http://deboraryan.wordpress.com for updates

JIllian: My theme for Saturdays here on the Southern Sizzle blog is Bad Boys. Who is your favorite bad boy of film or television?

Debora: Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood (played by the handsome John Barrowman). I like that he’s a bad boy fighting for the side of good, and he never passes up the chance to flirt with anyone, male or female. He has no shame and he doesn’t know the meaning of fear.

Jillian:  I adore him as well. He’s amazing and hot!!! And oh, so bad! 

Jillian: You write also under the name of Michele Zurlo- Tell us about The Steam Room and your Valentines event.

Debora: The Steam Room is my website where I feature a new author each week. I research each person that I interview to tailor the interviews to them. I’ve come to know a great many interesting people this way. The week before Valentine’s Day, I’m changing things up a bit. I’ll be posting a new blog entry every day that features different authors and readers telling us about love and romance. Here is the blurb and the schedule for that week:

Cynics refer to Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark Holliday, something created to market cards, candy and flowers.  Romantics don’t care where it came from or why it’s become such an important holiday, we’re just happy there’s a universal day set aside to celebrate and honor romance.  Those of us in the romance industry—whether we’re writers or readers—find a way to stretch this sentiment so that it touches our everyday lives. 

For some of us, reading romance provides an escape from our daily stressors.  For others, it lets us enjoy romantic encounters and relationships that will never be our reality.  We love our Significant Others, but real relationships are seldom about the romance.  Between work and family demands, we often have little energy left for even small romantic gestures. Romance is a habit. Once we fall out of that habit, it’s difficult to pick up again. Even so, that doesn’t mean the love dies. Romance novels fill a need we don’t often have time to fill for ourselves.

Still, Valentine’s Day is our day.  While we bring love and romance into our everyday lives, we still want to celebrate the actual holiday.  This year, I will be doing nothing special.  Monday is swim practice for my kids. After work, I’ll pick them up, feed them dinner, help with homework, take them to practice, and fall into my bed seconds after I kiss them goodnight. I’m pinning my hopes on the weekend before.

Romantic Monday, February 7: Jenika Snow, Tonya Ramagos, CR Moss, Berengaria Brown

Happy Endings Tuesday, February 8: Stephanie Cage, Julia Rachel Barrett, D. Renee Bagby, Jami Davenport, Michele Zurlo

Love is…Wednesday, February 9: ZA Maxfield, Karenna Colcroft, Tina Donahue, Lynne Roberts

Rediscover Life Thursday, February 10: Missy Martine, Jillian Chantal

Magical Journeys Friday, February 11: Melissa Bradley, Laura Tolomei, KR Beiley, Debora Ryan

The Lighter Side of Love Saturday, February 12: Daisy Harris, Rachel Clark

The Poetry of Love Sunday, February 13: Erin M. Leaf, Larion Wills, Frances Pauli

Please stop by each day and share your thoughts. http://www.michelezurlo.com:80/

Wishing you lots of steam!

Michele Zurlo

AND here is Michele/Debora’s bad boy!

 

Badurday-The Thanksgiving Edition

I’ve had a spectacular week this week and much to be thankful about. I started the week on Monday with my monthly trip to Tallahassee where I conduct hearings as part of my day job. While I was between cases, I checked my email. I received an offer to publish my most recently completed novel, Surfer Bride. This offer was for an ebook release date in April, 2011 and a print book in September, 2011.  It’s a romantic suspense.

On Tuesday, my book, Solo Honeymoon, was released and climbed very quickly up the mainstream best seller list on my publisher’s website. I’m very excited about that.

Then we had the holiday weekend and I finished the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo challenge. Now, the manuscript itself is not done, but I have a grand start on it. The working title  is Obsession.

Of course, I’m also thankful for family, friends, health, etc- all the standard stuff, but this has really been a wickedly brilliant holiday week.

Here’s how to order Solo Honeymoon and an excerpt. Enjoy the Pilgrim and Indian photos: http://www.bookstrand.com/solo-honeymoon 

New Moon Indians- USA Today picture

 

Dario came around to the side of the table where she stood. “I’ve taken the liberty of having dinner served to us here in the conservatory. Please be seated, and the chicken sorrentino will be served.” He pulled out her chair, and she sat.

“What’s in chicken sorrentino? I’ve never had it.”

“Its chicken, eggplant, two kinds of wine, and mushrooms.”

“It sounds divine,” she said. “Why the limes?”

“I had the chef pour some marsala in a pitcher, and I like to add lime juice to it as a aperitivo. Would you like to try it?”

“Sure.”

He took a knife from the table and cut the limes open. As he squeezed the limes and smiled at her, she felt her insides melt at the intensity of his stare. His dark brown eyes were bottomless, and she knew she could lose herself in them and never want to come up for air. His hands were strong and capable as they pulverized the limes, and she blushed to think what those hands could do to her body.

“How do you say it…‘a penny for your thoughts,’ Emma?” he asked.

“I have no thoughts.”

He laughed. “So, you’re just sitting there watching me and your mind is blank?”

“Of course not. It’s just that I’m really just relaxing and have no specific thoughts.”

“Sure, cara, sure.” He smiled again at her.

Thankfully, the young man that had brought Emma the note earlier brought in the plates of food at that very moment, and she was spared having to come up with a plausible story of what she had been thinking.

Wonder what he would say if I told him I was thinking of those big strong hands squeezing my…

Emma, are you all right?” Dario asked, interrupting her thoughts.

“Fine. Fine,” she replied as she picked up her fork and took a bite of the chicken.

 The food was delicious, and Dario seemed to be on a charm offensive with her as he told her stories of his childhood days with Vincente and their adventures at the estate when they were on holiday from school.

Once the plates had been cleared, Dario stood. “I’ve brought in an old Victrola and would love for you to dance with me. We didn’t get a chance at the town party, and as dancing is my passion, I’d like to share it with you. Will you?” He stood and took off his dinner jacket. The white dress shirt he had on clung to his body. He held his hand out to her, and she rose from her chair and took his hand in her own.

They walked over to the Victrola, and Dario picked out a Viennese waltz by Strauss and put it on the turntable to play. As the scratchy sounds came from the machine, he held out his arms to Emma, and she moved into his dance space, and they began the first steps of the waltz. As soon as Dario touched her back, he stopped short. He spun her around to face away from him.

“Nice dress, Emma. I’m glad your seamstress ran out of fabric and couldn’t finish the back.”

“Very funny, Signore Conti.” She shuddered at his touch.

“Come here, woman,” he said in a low voice as he pulled her to him again.

They danced until the song ended. After the song ended, they stared into each others eyes and kept dancing as Dario hummed until the candles sputtered and went out. At some point, Dario’s hand on her back changed from the waltz position to a caress. She pulled herself closer to him as his hand ran up and down her back and eventually inside the fabric of the dress around to the side of her breast. As soon as his fingers touched her breast, she stopped moving. He stopped as well and, as his thumb inside her dress thrummed her nipple, he bent and kissed her. She groaned, and he said, “Will you go alone again to your bed tonight, bella mia?”

“No. I don’t think so, but I don’t think I can move right now to go anywhere.”

“No matter, bella, I’m not sure I can either. My passione is inflamed for you.”

“I know.”

He smiled. “You noticed?”

“Of course.”  

Badurday- November 13, 2010- Dial M For Murder

Ray Milland was a handsome, suave, gentleman that started out playing leading men. He went bald early and since back then, there was some kind of unwritten rule that bald men were not leading men, he was shuffled off to supporting or character roles.  Tis a shame as he was quite the actor.  I love all Hitchcock movies. I think it’s awesome that Hitchcock himself was in each of his own movies in a cameo. What a neat idea. 

I watched Dial M for Murder again the other day and was reminded again how wonderfully, deceitfully, evil Milland’s character was in it.  He was still leading man material at the time by Hollywood’s standards. This was, of course, one of the ones that starred Grace Kelly.  If you haven’t seen it lately, check it out. It’s timeless.

And in other news: my book release was moved up from January 2011 to November 23, 2010- so, if you get bored on Thanksgiving weekend, or the kin folk are driving you over the bend, order a copy from Siren Book Strand and escape to Italy with Emma on a Solo Honeymoon.

EDITED TO ADD:  I’m guest blogging on Desert Breeze Publishing’s blog today about Veteran’s Day. Join me to learn a little about the history of the holiday.

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