Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Recipes!

I love this time of year! Some of the fun are the treats!

Here are some of my favorites:

Salted Peanut Squares

non-stick spray coating
4 cups dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 c butter
1 10 1/2 oz pkg tiny marshmallows
2 C peanut butter flavored pieces (12 oz pkg)
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Line 13x9" baking pan with heavy foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray coating. Cover evenly with 2 cups peanuts. In a 3 qt. saucepan, melt butter with marshmallows over low heat. Add peanut butter flavored pieces, sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Quickly pour over the peanut layer in pan. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts on top. Cool or chill if necessary. Cut into squares. Store candy in refrigerator. Makes about 4 lbs. candy.

White Peppermint Hot Chocolate

8 oz white chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 cups milk
6 hard peppermint candies, crushed fine
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2/3 cup whipping cream

Beat chilled cream with crushed mints until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate for about an hour. Meanwhile, heat milk to a simmer, them mix in chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add mint extract and stir through. Pour into mugs and top with minty whipped cream

Hope this Christmas Season is everything you wish it to be!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Writing Romance Is Like...

Welcome back to my home blog! (well, one of my homes… I spend a lot of time at the Nine Naughty Novelists too! *g*)

So this is stop #9 (out of 10 in case you’re wondering) for my blog tour!

You probably know the details by now, but just in case:

Since November is the anniversary month of my first published book, I decided to go on a tour and chat and give stuff away!

The “theme” (I use the term loosely) is Writing Romance Is Like…
And every blog stop has a difference comparison that will give you some insight into who I am, how I write and my slightly weird sense of humor. Oh, and you can win stuff! Every commenter gets entered for a chance at a book from my backlist. And if you really want to have some fun: follow me around to all the stops on the schedule (on my website) get the answers to the questions (on the form on my site) and then e-mail them to me by December 15th to get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to, or Come join the fun!!

And now…
Writing Romance Is Like… Being a Knocked Up Homecoming Queen: the spotlight is on you, you get to wear a sparkly crown… and now everyone can see your big mistake.

I was not the Homecoming Queen. I’m not really the type. I wasn’t unpopular but I wasn’t HCQ popular. I never was very good at kissing up and trying to make everyone happy. But one of my good friends was the Queen and I remember how nervous she was. She was so concerned about having the right shoes, getting her hair done, picking the right dress. Because she would be on stage, in the spotlight, for everyone to see. And, as typical teenage girls do, someone (or more than one someone) would be looking for even the tiniest flaw.

Which reminds me a little of being a published author. Before I published I figured the only person I needed to worry about liking my characters, enjoying my story and admiring my word choice would be the acquiring editor.

But a published book is kind of up on stage in a spotlight. Once it’s published and available, anyone with a five-dollar bill can get a hold of it and then… well, they don’t have to like it. And if they have a Twitter account, a blog, a Facebook page, or even an e-mail account (or a break room at work) they can let a whole bunch of people know what it’s flaws are. You can bet if you end up a pregnant homecoming queen—everyone’s gonna know and everyone’s going to have an opinion.

So, it definitely feels great to be published, to see your book for sale, to have a kick-butt cover, to have great reviews. But for every person who likes my book there will likely be someone who won’t. I’m okay with that and trust that many people who won’t like it won’t even pick it up because of the blurb or excerpt or whatever. But there will always be a few who will think they might like it and end up being less than impressed.

It still feels uncomfortable. Like standing up there with a tiara and maternity underwear at the same time. Somebody liked me enough to put me in the spotlight, but by walking up there I accept the risk that somebody else might find a run in my hose, a hair out of place or feel my lipstick choice was wrong.

The good news is that I really like tiaras. I love having people like my books, read my books, talk about my books... enough to not worry too much about lipstick shades! *G*

Join me at my next (and final) stop! November 29th at the Nine Naughty Novelists blog:

Excerpt, Just Right (which got five star ratings and two star ratings… go figure)
Erin Nicholas

He’d wanted her for a long time. Before tonight, he’d liked what he knew about her and wanted to know more, but he couldn’t do anything about what he wanted to do to her. When he was at work he wasn’t filing tax claims, or harvesting corn, or teaching algebra or asking if people wanted to Super Size things. He was saving lives. He simply couldn’t—wouldn’t—be distracted by a nice body and some sexy underwear when he was supposed to be putting people back together.

Of course, that was before he quit putting people back together a few hours ago.

Now he could pretty much do whatever the hell he wanted.

He came off his stool and rounded the table. He grasped the edges of Jessica’s seat in both hands and turned her to face him, then moved in until his belt buckle touched her knee. “So, what do you want in exchange for this huge favor you’re doing for me?”

She didn’t pull back or even stiffen in response to his sudden nearness, and he was inordinately pleased, but she did look mildly surprised. He could see her lips fall open slightly as she pulled in a long breath.

He’d never dared test if the chemistry he felt was reciprocal. He and Jessica were colleagues in a stressful environment that required concentration, quick thinking and skills that were practically reflexes. The last thing he needed was the distraction of trying to get a bullet away from a spinal cord or patching a bleed in a major artery while his girlfriend stood across the table from him fuming about their latest argument.

“I get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re safely home,” Jessica finally said.

They needed to be very clear on a few important points. “Is Sam paying you?”

She looked offended by the suggestion. “Of course not.”

“Do you feel sorry for me, Jessica?”

She snorted. Actually snorted. “No, Ben. I do not feel sorry for you.”

He moved closer, a centimeter at best, but enough to fill more of the air around him with her scent and body heat. Her eyes widened a fraction and if he hadn’t been watching for it—or for any reaction at all—he would have missed it.

“Are you worried about me?”

She wet her lips before answering and Ben thought about just kissing her and finding out if her

response to him that morning had been a product of shock or true attraction.

“Sam’s worried about you,” she said.

Her voice sounded breathy, if he wasn’t mistaken. He grinned and crowded closer, propping an elbow on the table beside her hand. Still she didn’t move. But her breathing got faster.

“I don’t give a damn how Sam feels.” He finally gave in to the desire and opportunity to touch her. He lifted his hand and drew the pad of his thumb along her lower lip. “But I’d love to know how you feel.”

Up against him. Naked. On a bed.

Or a pool table, he thought, aware of the closest horizontal surface.

Jessica’s lips fell open under his touch and Ben felt the jolt of satisfaction go through him. He thought it was noteworthy that the conservative, always-in-charge, always-knew-what-she-was-doing ER nurse—who always smelled like cotton candy—was suddenly looking flustered. He wondered if it was her response to him that surprised her or his response to her.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Writing Romance Is Like...

Welcome to my blog! And the 3rd stop on my blog tour!

Since November is the anniversary month of my first published book, I decided to go on a tour and chat and give stuff away!

The “theme” (I use the term loosely) is Writing Romance Is Like…
And every blog stop has a difference comparison that will give you some insight into who I am, how I write and my slightly weird sense of humor. Oh, and you can win stuff! Every commenter gets entered for a chance at a book from my backlist. And if you really want to have some fun: follow me around to all the stops on the schedule (on my website: get the answers to the questions (on the form on my site) and then e-mail them to me by December 15th to get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to, or Come join the fun!!

Today I’m talking about how Writing Romance Is Like… Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: because it’s all about taking two things that are good alone but even better together!

I love peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of the all-time best combinations. Peanut butter and honey—damn good. Peanut butter on bananas—yum! But peanut butter and jelly are… perfect. Strawberry is the best, in my opinion, but grape is a close second.

There is nothing as good as getting two things together that belong together.

You wouldn’t put more peanut butter with peanut butter. To be good together, things don’t have to be exactly alike. Also you wouldn’t put say, filet mignon with peanut butter. Filet mignon is awesome. Just not with peanut butter. That’s okay. Because there’s jelly.

My writing process always starts with a character. Usually the hero (I don’t know why, that’s just how it is). Then I ask the question: what situation would really screw up this person’s life? That leads to who is this person, where have they come from, what is their life like now, why is this situation such a bump in his or her world? Then the fun question: who does this person really need? Who is the jelly to this person’s peanut butter? Not because they’re not okay on their own—my characters are strong and independent and doing fine on their own. But there’s something missing—even if they don’t know it. Peanut butter by itself is okay too. Just not as good as it could be.

Sometimes they need the other person because of the situation. Sometimes they’re just stuck with the person because of the situation. Sometimes they really don’t want that person because of the situation. Whatever the case, the story—regardless of what predicament I put them in— is about why is this person the one? And why right now? And what will keep them together—because the situation will be resolved and then what?

Well, once you’ve had peanut butter and jelly—you’ll want it again and again right? Most of us have been eating it for years. PB & J is a forever kind of thing.

I love reading that and writing that. That finding-forever-thing. I would be a terrible mystery writer. The clues would go undiscovered because the detective (the hot, super smart detective) would be making out with the gutsy, beautiful, sweet woman who—well, see, I’d have to come up with some reason for her to be there too… it would be a mess. I write romance. I always will. Because I’m all about peanut butter and jelly!

Join me at my next stop! November 12th at Shelly Munroe’s blog!

Excerpt, Just Right (a true PB&J couple!)
Erin Nicholas

Ben leaned forward, grasped her hips and pulled her toward him until his forehead rested against her stomach.

Surprised, she slipped her fingers through his hair, her palms resting against the warmth of his skull, and waited for him to speak.

He drew in a deep breath. “He’s stable, but barely. To go back in so soon…and on his head…damn.”

Her chest throbbed. For Mario. For Ben. This was hurting Ben so much too.

“Do you see why I hate my job?” Ben asked, still not moving. “Why did you have to pull me into this?”

But he didn’t sound or act angry with her, and he continued to hold her as if he needed her comfort.

“I’m sorry,” she said, her throat tight. “But if you hadn’t already been with me, I would have called you. I would have needed you there.”

And having him here now made it painfully clear that it wasn’t because he was a doctor. She’d wanted him there because he could make her feel better just being in the room with her. Ben would do anything in his power to make things right in the world. He was a warrior, a hero, a fighter. That’s all she needed. Not the victory necessarily, but the man willing to do battle for the right reason.

Ben rubbed his forehead back and forth against her abdomen, his hands still splayed on her hips, the gentle but firm pressure keeping her against him. She became aware of how thin the cotton of her pajamas was. The heat from his hands spread and her stomach tightened as she felt the hem of her pajama top pull up as he rubbed, exposing a strip of skin about six inches wide.

“I don’t want to talk medicine right now,” he said hoarsely. “I want to forget all the bad stuff. Just for a while.”

She felt his breath on her skin a millisecond before she felt his lips. He kissed her three times along the waistband of the pajama pants and she reflexively tightened her fingers against his head. He must have understood the invitation to continue.

Her eyes slid shut as she felt a lick along the side of her belly button.

“You taste as good as you smell,” he murmured against her skin.

Her breasts tightened, the nipples prominent under that soft cotton. If Ben looked up he would see how much she wanted him. But he seemed content to trace the bottom edge of her ribcage with his tongue.

The power his mouth had on her was incredible.

She wanted to strip off every stitch of her clothing—then start on his.

“Ben, maybe we should talk about what happened and how you’re feeling.”

His lips hardly lifted from her skin. “You’re not a damn psychiatrist, Jess,” he growled. “I’m not here for psychoanalysis.”

“What are you here for?” She knew, even as she asked. He needed a distraction, an outlet. Could she sleep with him for those reasons?

Absolutely. If she could make him feel better, in any way, she’d do it. Not that there weren’t perks to being his therapy right then. His hands and lips were hot on her and she, too, wanted to do anything but talk.

“I want to feel good. I want to forget that there’s any pain or disease or sadness, even if it’s just for a while.”

He looked up at her with a wanting she had never seen, even in her fantasies. Because what he needed from her was so much more than physical.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The last Bradford...

Tuesday, the 14th, saw the release of Just My Type! It's book 3 in what I originally didn't even intend to make a series (when I first started writing Just Right) and then decided (after writing Just Right) to make into a three book series.

I love this series. I love these characters and their stories. The series has been well-received too. It's been on the best seller list at My Bookstore and More and made a brief shining appearance on the Kindle store top 1,000. It's gotten good reviews, good reader comments... all in all, it's been great!

And I've got another book contracted that isn't a part of the Bradford world at all. Anything You Want is new, new characters, etc. and will be out in the spring and I'm excited for it. I love this book too (I guess if I didn't love them I probably wouldn't write them right? :)) but...

Well, I had a little spark of an idea after finishing Just My Type about another recurrent character. I talked with my editor about it and she liked the idea. But I still didn't start it. I got into writing another and left that idea sitting.

Then I had some readers ask "is so and so going to have a story?" and "I think so and so needs a story" and "is this really the last one? no!" which got me thinking about it again.

Especially after the release of Just My Type. I'm a little sad to let them go. Strange, probably even a little crazy. But there it is. It's like my last one going off to kindergarten. It's not an end. It's not like they're gone forever. These stories are now going to be around . People can find and read them a year from now, five years, ten years from now. I can re-read them if I want to! *G* (honestly, after edits I swore I'd never need or want to read them again!).

So, I may write another. If the idea stays with me and nags me enough I'll know it's worth doing. If I move on to new stories and new people and look back with affection but no burning desire to do more in the Bradford world, then that's good too. As a reader, I do think that it's possible to make a series too long, too. After awhile I want something new, to see what the author can do with new characters and situations...

I guess at this point all I've decided is to wait and see. But I'm so glad I wrote these three books and that they're out there in the world!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Welcome to Bloodsuck... Have Some Wine

The Zillionaire Vampire Cowboy's Secret Werewolf Babies (geez, I think that's the right title... when we get over three or four words it's tough on me :)) kicks off with the first chapter TOMORROW!! It's 9-9 which is like a magic number for us over at the Nine Naughty Novelists! So to celebrate we wrote a serial story that will post chapter by chapter on Thursdays over the next few months! The story itself is hilarious. The writing of the story has been a hoot!!

I'm way behind in posting about this amazing, silly, and hilarious serial so many of you have probably already heard about it! In fact, I'm not even sure what to say-- I just want to link you back to the Nine Naughty Novelists blog! :)
There's a TON of awesome info on there that will catch you up and... catch your imagination!

So, go check it all out and don't forget to become a follower! Until then... welcome to Bloodsuck... have some wine...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's done!

Anything You Want is now finished! It will go through some editing and polishing of course, but the five hours of unexpected layover in Minneapolis today paid off!

And it was worth all the rewriting! It turned out good, because it works, because the characters are right. Now.

So, thanks for listening to all my whining about it! (maybe it was interesting seeing a little bit of how this process works?! Or not.)

I can't wait to let you know how Super Editor, Lindsey, feels about it ;)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This #$%&-ing book, Part IV

Okay, I can finally post with absolute certainty that I no longer swear-at or hate this book! :) I never really *hated* it but we were really having some problems getting along as you know. Well, I'm two chapters away from the end and I really, really like it!

Turns out our Former Hero isn't as heart-broken as we all thought he would be... which helps. And it turns out that our Current Hero and our Heroine are completely perfect for each other. Also definitely helps.

So, I'm approaching the finish line!

The title is Anything You Want (unless Lindsey wants to change it...) And the next book, with the Former Hero (guess he'll have to move to Current Hero status then, huh?) is also plotted out! Yay!

I'm also gearing up to start talking more about Just My Type (out in September!). Sara and Mac really needed their own story... I was very happy that it happened to be the *same* story! They go together so well-- once Mac gets over his she's-my-best-friend's-little-sister thing!

I'll post some excerpts and stuff for sure and I'll be having contests etc on the website and other places (The Romance Studio and Author Island) so keep a look out!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Cover for Just My Type!

In the same week I get the final version of my next book AND I hit the road for Denver to attend Rom Con!

So exciting!
Thought I'd share the cover here... and then I'll post some fun things either while at the conference or when I get back!

By the way, if you've read Just Right and/or Just Like That you'll be happy (I hope!) to know that Mac Gordon (Sam and Ben's buddy) and Sara Bradford (Sam and Jessica's younger sister) are the stars of this next book!

Take a look:

More to come soon!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This #$%&-ing book, Part III

It is with trepidation that I announce that this book is now moving at a fast, but fairly smooth pace.

Sure, I've had to let go of some of my control issues. Sure, I've had to come to terms with creating a really nice guy who's, well, too nice. And then making him suffer just a little for being that way. But now it's going somewhere. And, wow, it feels good!

See, the fix was to look at something that seemed like a problem as an opportunity. The hero and heroine don't like each other. That seemed like a problem. But the truth is, they have good reason for not liking each other and feeling passionate about somebody is still... passion. Which is something a romance writer can definitely work with!

Actually, our hero summed it up nicely when he said to our heroine, "I don't have to like you to want to see you naked."

Ah, good point. And something that can drive things forward! :)

So, it wasn't how I planned it. But you know what? It's kind-of fun to see how things look from the passenger seat versus the driver's seat.

Now my fingers and toes are tightly crossed that there aren't any hairpin curves ahead... because I definitely don't have a driver's manual for this!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This #$%&-ing book, Part II

Dear Muse,

You are being such a...

Okay, okay, sorry. That's not nice. But I thought we were friends. I mean, we've been together for a long time, we've been through a lot, you've really come through for me in the past.

But now... this. This book. This story. These people! None of it's going the way I expect it to, the way I want it to. Every time I write a scene, you decide there should be a twist.

FYI, *I* don't need to be surprised. The readers do. Maybe that's where you got confused. I'm a reader. But in regards to my own work I'm the writer. It's okay for me to know what's going on. It's okay to follow my plan. At least once in awhile.

So, can we *please* do this next scene the way I want to? Just this one? Pretty please?

Your friend-for-now-but-we'll-see-how-this-turns-out,

Monday, June 7, 2010

EXCERPT-- Just Like That

For fun ...and for an upcoming contest (Author Island... here's an excerpt from Just Like That (leading up to "The Bathtub Scene" :))

“You’re crying.”


He sighed. He could be patient, but he wasn’t especially good at it. “Come on. What’s going on?”

“I hate this.”

He knew what she was talking about. She was used to being self-sufficient. She knew how to rewire a ceiling fan. She’d claimed that she made a point of always doing everything for herself.

This had to be hard for her.

But he was enjoying it. Not to the point of being truly happy in the face of her misery, but definitely not upset about the situation that made this sweet, funny, beautiful woman let him hang around for awhile.

“Why were you crying, Dani?”

She sniffed, but met his eyes. “I can’t wash my hair.”

He thought about that. Yep, that would be tough with one hand. Especially one hand that she could not get wet.

She just looked at him, her eyebrows slowly rising. “You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?”
“Say what?”

“That I… need you.”

He probably moved a notch closer to “ass” on the jerk scale but he did like hearing those four words from her.

“You need me to wash your hair?”

She nodded, looking royally pissed about the whole thing.

“Um…” Sam blinked down at her.

Her hair.

It seemed like a simple request. But she was a girl. Which pretty much guaranteed that anything to do with her hair wouldn’t be simple.

“You realize that as far as I’m concerned, hair washing involves three steps. Get hair wet, rub shampoo in it, run more water on hair.”

She propped her left hand on her hip. “Why are you looking like I just asked you to perform open heart surgery on me?”

“Well, girl hair involves those twelve additional steps that I don’t even know about.”

“What twelve additional steps?”

“Whatever it is that ensures no woman can get out of the shower in less than twenty minutes.”

“Did it ever occur to you that they were doing more in there than fussing with their hair?”

“Okay, there’s soap and other body parts, but come on, twenty minutes?”

She laughed at that. “Sam, there aren’t any magic hair washing steps. There’s conditioner, but I know you can handle it.”

He watched her face, and felt humble. He sensed that this woman didn’t ask people for things often or easily. “You hate that you need help for this don’t you?”

She pressed her lips together and nodded.

“Get over it,” he said simply.

She slipped around him and was through her bedroom door before he realized she was moving.

“What are you doing?” he asked her back.

“Getting my swimming suit.”

“You don’t need…”

“Yes,” she interrupted. “I do.” The door shut in his face.

He grinned. “How are you going to get a swimming suit on by yourself?”

“I’ll manage,” she called.

He leaned back against the wall across from her bedroom to wait.

# # #

She was desperate. Plain and simple. She had to wash her hair or she was going to go crazy andthere was absolutely no way she could do it herself.

It was so frustrating! To not be able to do the simplest, most normal thing made her want to scream. She didn’t want to need Sam, not like this. She was kind-of okay with needing him physically, with feeling like she would die if he didn’t touch her. At least, she was getting used to it. She wasn’t as okay with needing him to make her a sandwich, unzip her dress and wash her hair.

Talk about pathetic.

This was exactly the kind of thing she avoided at all costs. She never let other people take care of her. She’d been sick with the flu for almost a week four years ago and it had taken her three days to call Carmen and even tell her and another two before she would let Carmen come over.

She hated the feeling of vulnerability, of weakness, of being a burden.

Sam thought this was fun now. He felt responsible now. He was even making it sexy.

How long would any of that last?

Not as long as she would remember being dependent on him for the smallest thing.

She was able to wiggle out of her panties and the nightgown was loose enough that she could pull it over her head one-handed. The swimming suit was more of a challenge. It was a one-piece and she was able to get the bottom of the suit up by pulling one side up, then the other until it was in place. She threaded her casted hand in through the strap and up onto her shoulder, then the other side.

“I’m going to need a plastic bag to put over the cast,” she said as she stepped back into the hallway, still pulling her right shoulder strap up.

Sam was standing across from her, leaning back against the wall, but he pushed away as she stepped through the door. His eyes were wide.


She stopped short at the look in his eyes. She might as well have been naked. He was looking at her as if memorizing every curve and prominence.

She tried to ignore the tingles that seemed to erupt everywhere as she realized that he was imagining peeling her swimming suit off of her. It was so clear, in fact, it was like reading his mind. “You going to be able to do this?” she asked.

“Definitely. I’m a little tight in my jeans, but I’m okay.”

Her eyes dropped to his fly in spite of her effort to avoid it. He was grinning when she looked back into his eyes.

“Let’s do this,” she muttered, stepping past him into the bathroom.

“Yes, ma’am.”

She looked over her shoulder. “Washing my hair,” she clarified.

“Of course.”

She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “The garbage bags are under the sink.”

“I’m all over it.”

She wanted him all over her. “Garbage bags.” She wasn’t sure if she said it to try to distract her

own thoughts or to again clarify what he was all over.


She started the water running while Sam went to retrieve a plastic bag from the kitchen. She knew the moment he was back because the air temperature in the bathroom spiked and she could feel him behind her, checking out her butt.

“Isn’t that how we ended up in this mess?” she asked without looking at him.

“Yep,” he said unapologetically. “But it isn’t my fault. You can’t take someone to the edge of the

Grand Canyon and expect him not to look.”

With the water the right temperature, she turned to frown at him. “My butt reminds you of the Grand Canyon?”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Again, thinking too fast on my feet. How about you can’t take someone to see the Hope Diamond and expect him not to look.”

“Again, you’re comparing my butt to something that is extraordinarily big.”

He chuckled. “I can’t think of anything amazingly beautiful, but appropriately trim, firm and tiny.”

She tipped her head to one side, considering that. She, of course, didn’t think that he’d been insulting her and she couldn’t think of any other way to make him squirm so she shrugged. “Forgiven.”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This #$%&-ing book

That's the new title of a series of blogs I'm going to have to do about this WIP. I think it could be therapeutic!

To review, I've written 95% of a book which I've now realized has the wrong guy as the hero. I've been making notes about the changes that need to be made (where I purposefully devastate my hero-- now known as my Former Hero) but haven't been able to actually start changing things. And today I figured out why.

Having these two have sex is... difficult. Because I really like their friend who is going to be-- as I think we've established-- devastated. It will obviously be a life-changing event for them. As it should be. So deciding how it should happen, how to write it, was tough.

But I did it today. And it's a good scene! (if I do say so myself)

I usually write books in order. Meaning that I write the scenes in the order that they happen in the story. It's just how my brain works. But in this case I wrote the scene anyway, because I had to get over that hump. And now that I did, I think the rest will be easier.

Well, up to the point where the Former Hero learns about their relationship.

Maybe that's the scene I should try to write next :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

We have a problem...

I should be writing about my upcoming release Just Like That! June 15th it will release and I really am excited! I love this book. Love the characters, the cover, the chemistry in it, the fact that it's the second book in a series that I also love...

But the thing is, that book was finished over a year ago. I've written another book in the meantime (book 3 *G*) and am now working on this one. Let's call it The Problem for right now :)

So, yes, I'm thrilled that Just Like That is coming out SOON!!

But The Problem is giving me fits. And not just tonight.

I love this book too. Love the characters, all of that. But here's the thing. These people are becoming almost... real. Not like hallucinations (yet), but I'm thinking about them all the time. And here's why. I think I'm going to have to break my hero's heart. Actually, I believe we need to begin referring to him as my FH (former hero). Yeah, that's right. I don't think he's the guy. Not this time. Not for this girl.


My life would be easier if they could just live happily ever after. And they probably could. But she's going to be better with The Other Guy... who is-- brace yourself-- the FH's best friend.

Yep. You got it.

I didn't mean for it to happen. In fact, the best friend was kind of keeping out of it nicely. Until he had a big fight with the heroine. And then I realized why he's so passionate about this whole thing, and why there are such sparks between them and *sigh* yes... why they should be together.


My hero-- (sorry, Former Hero)-- is a great guy too. Nicer than the best friend, actually. Best friend isn't the nice-guy-next-door at all. But that makes him even better for this heroine. She thinks she wants safe and predictable but... nope. 'Fraid not. That would be way too boring.

This is really gonna mess FH up.

Which probably means I have another book in the works in the deep recesses of my subconscious. He'll need his own happy ending after all of this, huh?

Maybe that's the glass-half-full way of looking at this-- I got two for one.

Sure. Let's look at it that way. Rather than looking at all the pages and pages that will have to be re-written now.

Still--and maybe this makes me crazy-- I'm looking foward to these two realizing that there are other ways of working off their pent-up frustrations with one another ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

I've had better

A romance author that I really like recently wrote a new book. I downloaded it to my Kindle in preparation for a business trip I'm taking. Excited to have a new book to help pass the time in the airport and on the plane, I turned on my Kindle, chose the title and opened it up.

Much to my disappointment it's not a romance.
Well, there are "romantic elements" but it's definitely not a romance. It's about this woman's journey, other relationships and rediscovering herself.

Hey, that's great. Seriously. I like these stories and would have likely still picked this particular book up. But I would have liked for the description, title and author's reputation not to lead me to believe it's a romance.

It's like a "romantic" movie where either the hero or heroine dies.

Or the book where 3/4 of the book is spent on the story of one guy and girl, only for them to break up and for the girl to end up with another guy at the end (the second guy was better for her, by far, but I didn't have a chance to get to know him as well so didn't get that feeling of "ah" when the h and H finally got together). (Yes, this is a real book... again, no names! :))

Or like the build up to some "fantastic" CD or dessert or... anything... only to try it yourself and think "I've had better".

I hate that!
Nothing like a big let down.

So, one of my goals as a writer is to be sure to represent my work accurately and to not let anyone down!

What's something that an author can do that will make you feel let down? Is it in how she solves the mystery or the problem between the characters or in how they finally profess their love?

Will you give the author a second chance? A third?
I will definitely give this author another chance. She's great. And the story was great. I'm glad I read it, even if I was "tricked" into it! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Release Day!

So, I've been all over the net blogging and posting and talking about Just Right releasing today... but neglected my own blog! :)

I mentioned on Facebook that I think release day is even better than my birthday! Partly because I'm far past the age of getting brightly frosted cupcakes, new bikes and wearing a tiara at school! Now birthdays are dinner of my choice (which, don't get me wrong, is just fine!) and something nice from Steady and a homemade card from Ruckus and Finicky. But it also means one more year older and facing the reality my butt is NEVER going to look like it did when I was 20.

Release day on the other hand means my beautiful book cover and name splashed all over, people e-mailing me telling me how they can't wait to read it, people reading excerpts and telling me how great it sounds, etc. I feel appreciated and creative and... fantastic! So, yeah, I like release day better! Because you know what... I got dinner of my choice to celebrate today too! *G*

Here's the blurb and an excerpt from Just Right!


To be a good bad boy you have to find just the right girl…

ER nurse Jessica Bradford is a good girl. Okay, more like a reformed bad girl. She’s determined to be the woman her late father wanted her to be. And she knows she should be with someone like Dr. Ben Torres-- in charge, dedicated, selfless. The tall, dark and handsome part is just a bonus.

So Jessica agrees to keep Ben out of trouble after he’s suspended from the hospital for punching a belligerent, drunk patient in the emergency room. She’ll get the needed recommendation from the Chief of Staff for the promotion she wants and she’ll have a great reason to spend more time with Dr. Perfect. But suddenly she’s got a problem. Outside of work Ben’s not so dependable, or perfect after all…and he’s even more tempting than before.

Ben’s done being everybody’s hero. What’s being a trauma surgeon ever gotten him but horrible hours and a bunch of responsibilities that make his life complicated? His sudden time off from the hospital is not only overdue, it’s a blessing. Which he intends to enjoy fully.

Jessica can’t believe Ben is acting more like a kid in a candy store than a man who’s about to throw his career away. Even more, she can’t believe that she still wants him like ice cream wants hot fudge. She tries her best to keep him out of trouble—except “trouble” is all Ben’s interested in.

And suddenly Jessica’s having trouble remembering why that’s a bad thing…

There were five words that Jessica hated to hear from her brother.
“Jess, I need a favor.”
Yep. Those were them.
She closed her eyes. “Come on, Sam. I had a long day.” She wanted to prop up in bed, watch Seinfeld reruns and eat a pint of Peanut Butter Passion.
“It’s important, Jess,” Sam said, his tone the one he used for coaxing shy women out onto the dance floor. “I tried to handle it, but I need your help.”
The tone always worked on curvy blondes.
Jessica was not a curvy blonde.
“Dry your hair and get dressed,” he said. “I told you—it’s important.”
Jessica paused with the comb halfway through her straight brown hair and stared at the phone receiver in the mirror. How had he known her hair was wet? That was weird.
“I said I’m busy.”
“No. You said I’m, then there was a long pause before you said busy.”
She scowled. “So?”
“So, that pause means you were trying to think of a good excuse because you can never quite bring yourself to lie about it. You’re at home. It had to be taking a shower, doing laundry or cleaning the apartment.”
Jessica bristled. “I do other things here than…wash things.”
“Yeah, but if you were really doing anything important you would have actually been busy and you would have just told me what you were busy doing instead of using the noncommittal, generic I’m busy.”
Jessica was thrown off for a moment by her brother using the word noncommittal.
Showing off her own impressive vocabulary, she replied again, “So?”
“I need your help. It should be enough that I say it’s important,” Sam said, moving on from the “busy” conversation, probably bored by now with the topic that wasn’t directly about him.
Of course, important could mean almost anything with Sam.
It could mean he was a few dollars short of getting in on a poker game. It could mean that he needed a place for a couple of buddies from out of town to crash for the weekend. It could mean that one of the girls he’d flirted with had taken him too seriously and he needed an emergency wife to get the girl off his back. Jessica sighed. She hated playing Sam’s wife. He always wanted her to be bitchy and she always ended up feeling bad for the girl.
“It was a really long day at work.”
And it was all because of Ben Torres.
Rumor had it he had been suspended by the Chief of Staff and the hospital attorneys were riled up trying to figure out how to troubleshoot the situation. There were charges pending as well. Manslaughter for Ted. Assault for Ben.
Not that any of it affected Jessica directly. She was an ER nurse. There were more surgeons, there would be more accidents and more patients. But she couldn’t get Ben out of her mind…or suppress her insane urge to make sure he was all right.
“I heard,” Sam said.
Of course he had. Sam was the head paramedic on the best ambulance crew in the city and he not only worked with the ER staff regularly, he was also friends with many of them, including Ben. Matt Taylor, the ER doctor on Ted Blake’s case, was a poker buddy of Sam’s.
“I’m tired and—”
“Shame on you, Jessica Leigh Bradford,” Sam broke in. “I’m your little brother. Your only brother.”
The only part was right. The little part not so much. Sam was younger than Jessica by five years, but she didn’t even come up to his chin.
“I’m not in the mood for this.” But she knew that she didn’t sound convincing. She’d always been a sucker for the little brother bit. Because he was right. He was her younger brother and she felt responsible, even now when he was twenty-five and definitely a big boy.
“Too bad.”
“What is it?” she asked, trying to soak a cotton ball with skin toner with one hand while holding the phone with the other.
“A babysitting job.”
She frowned, forgetting the cotton ball for a moment. “Did you say babysitting?”
“Well, first, do you have a sexy dress?”
Jessica forgot about the toner, cotton ball and everything else. “Excuse me?”
“You’re going to need to borrow one then,” Sam said. “And high heels. Do you have high heels?”
His tone suggested that he sincerely doubted it.
“Of course I do.” They were way in the back of the closet somewhere, but she was pretty sure she still had them.
“What about the dress?”
“I have a dress, Sam.”
“But is it sexy? It will have to be sexy. Maybe you should call Marcy.”
This called for a dress from her friend Marcy? Marcy didn’t dress in anything that didn’t reveal cleavage and lots of it. What in the hell was going on?
“Sam, maybe you’d better define babysitting,” Jessica said grimly.


Read more!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reader's At Home Conference

Thought maybe you'd all like to know about this event! I will be participating! It's a month away or so, but wanted to let you know so you could look forward to it like we are!

What do tons of authors, tons of prizes, tons of hotties and tons
of readers have in common? They’re attending the first ever
Readers at Home Conference! During the week
of April 26-30, authors and readers will converge on Lucy Monroe’s blog, to
celebrate their favorite genre – romance!

We are giving away Swag Bags to the first 50
readers who register for the conference. To register, all you have to
do is send an email to
Lucy Monroe
with your name and mailing address (for the
Swag Bag) stating your intention to attend the RAH Conference. The
Swag Bags are for conference attendees only and we are trusting that
you truly intend to attend the conference and interact with the
authors and other readers on the blog. :) Lucy is shipping the Swag
Bags at her own expense, but many authors have
donated loot for you all, and each Swag Bag will have a free book

Yes, that's right - the conference is FREE. How cool is that?

Every day there will be multiple authors visiting and guest blogging,
with new posts going live every 3 hours between 6 AM and 6 PM. Lucy
will post a hottie who is definitely hunky enough to be a cover model
and there will be daily drawings for multiple prizes
(more than 50 over the week!!!), including dozens of signed books, a
B&N gift card, a t-shirt, 3 prize tote bags filled with books and
goodies (from Sue G at BTRB and Becke Davis), free online
subscriptions to Affaire de Couer magazine and 2 more Swag Bags given
away each day. What could be better?

Hope to see YOU there!

Readers at Home Conference Sponsors
~ Guest Blogging Authors ~
Elizabeth Amber
Jules Bennett
Jenna Bayley-Burke
Leigh D'Ansey
Jami Davenport
Kate Davies
HelenKay Dimon
Diana Duncan
Cynthia Eden
Kimberly Fisk
Barbara Freethy
Tricia Jones
Nicola Marsh
Kaylin McFarren
Susan Meier
Elisabeth Naughton
Erin Nicholas
Lorie O'Clare
Rick Reed
Maggie Robinson
Patti Shenberger
Gabi Stevens
Kay Stockham
Helen Scott Taylor
Karen Van der Zee
Mary Wine
Other Readers at Home Conference Sponsors
(donated prizes, items for the Swag Bags, etc.)
Affaire de Coeur
Borders True Romance Blog
Monica Burns
Christie Craig
Lori Foster
Donna Grant
Faye Hughes
Margaret Mallory
Becke Martin
Lucy Monroe
Alexis Morgan
Laurie Ryan
J.L. Wilson

So, while a bunch of us are at RT going crazy, you can be visiting
with some of your favorite and some brand new authors - wearing casual
clothes, ditching the makeup and your shoes. Oh, that? I envy! :)
Lucy Monroe

Friday, March 5, 2010

Some stuff you should know!

Okay, I blog. But I don't necessarily blog here. Because I feel like I can't keep up and I hate that! I blog at the Nine Naughty Novelists, of course, and over at Samhain when it's my turn. But I'm going to make a better effort and keeping stuff up here. I guess I want a place to talk more about my books and how they went from ideas to actual books!

So, let's talk about the next book coming up. I'm counting down to March 30th when Just Right will release. I love this book. It was the fastest, most fun write I'd had up to that point. Jessica and Ben were very real to me early on which made their story easy! And they had heat... which is always fun!

I started Just Right not knowing that it would lead to a series. Never done a series before. But I do love them as a reader. Then as I wrote and got to know the other characters I knew that was where this was going to end up.

Sam, Jessica's brother, and her sister, Sara, both show up in Just Right. And both need their own stories! Sam's story comes out in June. Just Like That is about him and Danika, the only woman to tame this playboy! And then Sara finally admits that she's in love with Sam's best friend, Mac, in Just My Type in September! So, 2010 is going to be fun and I'll be spending a lot of time with the Bradfords! Good thing I like them so much!

Here's some stuff you might like to know (or not...)

Jessica is the oldest. She is five years older than Sam and ten older than Sara.

Their mother left when Sara was two and their father was killed when Jessica was 20. Sara was only ten and so Jessica took over the guardianship of both her siblings, truly raising Sara. They are close, but Jessica is very protective of Sara, spoiling her rotten, and easily exasperated with Sam, who loves playing the irresponsible playboy role where no one really depends on him for anything.

Their dad, David Bradford, founded and ran a center for troubled teens up until he died and the three siblings took that over and continue to run it with his trust.

Ben grew up as the only child of a missionary physician. He spent many of his younger years in Africa with his dad and then went back after medical school. His dad was completely devoted to his work and died in a plane crash in Africa when Ben was a teenager. His mom died about a year before our story starts.

So, there's some baggage. But there's a lot of fun too! Check out the excerpt at my website for example:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Food Scene (kind of) from Just Right

My upcoming release, Just Right, has more than one sexy, charming guy in it! Here's a scene with two of them, Ben (our hero) and Sam (his best friend and our heroine's brother). This week, for the Nine Naughty Novelists, this scene is supposed to involve food somehow. It does, kind of. Enjoy!

“You know that you don’t have a clitoris, right?”

Ben strolled into the kitchen where Sam was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sam turned away from the stove, an incredibly funny expression on his face. “Excuse me?”

Ben tossed him the bottle he’d found when looking for a towel in the bathroom. “Thought I should fill you in, just in case you were wondering why this stuff wasn’t working for you.”

Sam looked at the label that claimed the oil inside had a warming and arousing affect on the clitoris if applied prior to sexual activity. He grinned when he realized what it was. “Oh, it worked for me—indirectly.”

“Better than the leopard print panties?” Ben had also seen those in the lid-less shoebox in the cupboard under the sink.

Sam set the bottle on the counter and turned to flip the sandwich in the pan. “I do my best work when panties are not involved.”

Ben chuckled and grabbed a banana from the bunch on the counter. “So what is that collection?”

Sam shrugged. “Stuff people have left here.”

“People? As in, how many?” Ben bit off a huge hunk of banana.

Sam slid the golden sandwich onto the plate that already held two others. “However many are in there.”

“Three panties, a bra, a garter and the oil.”

“So, six,” Sam concluded.

“They were each from a different woman?” Ben asked.

“Probably. I don’t remember which is which anymore, though.”

“They didn’t ask for their underwear back the next time they were here?” Ben asked.

Sam shrugged again with a large grin as he added cheese to yet another piece of bread. “There’s no again around here. One night, that’s all they get.”

Ben shook his head and bit off another bite of banana. Wow. Sam certainly didn’t have any problems with getting too wrapped up in other people’s lives. If his friends were getting too drunk in some bar, he sent someone in to get them. If a woman came up for some fun and left anything behind, he just chucked it in the shoebox and didn’t worry about it anymore.

Sam didn’t get too attached to his patients either. He’d told Ben once that he’d chosen being a paramedic partly because he could work those overnight shifts that agreed with him best, and partly because he didn’t have to do anything more than keep them alive, however he could, until they hit the ER. Then the big decisions, the tough choices and the hard work were someone else’s responsibility. Like Ben’s.

“I need to be more like you,” Ben said shaking his head. Sam pushed a plate with two sandwiches toward him. “You have to show me how. Give me lessons or something.”

Sam even used paper plates. No washing, no worrying about breakage.

“The warming oil has directions on it, man. I am not showing you how to use it.” Sam took a huge bite of bread and cheese and yet still managed his unapologetic grin.

“I’m talking about the way you just get by without anyone expecting more of you,” Ben said, thinking out loud as he bit into a sandwich too.

Sam washed his food down with a big swig of milk. “That sounds like maybe I should be insulted.”

“No, you should appreciate it,” Ben said emphatically. “You can just do your thing your way and everyone just accepts it.”

Sam finished off his first sandwich, watching Ben contemplatively as he spoke. “So, basically I’m irresponsible and inconsiderate.”

Ben scowled at him. “I’m commending you. I want to be like you!”

Sam laughed. “I wasn’t offended. I was just clarifying what you were saying.”

“I’ll give you an example,” Ben said, on a roll now. “I can remember the names and birth dates of all but one of the women I’ve slept with. How about you?”

Sam looked amazed. “Hell, no. Are you kidding?”

“I’ve had one one-night stand. And I do remember her name. Otherwise, I’ve slept with three women, all of whom I had significant relationships with.”

“It’s not necessarily bad to have only slept with a few women, most of whom you really cared about,” Sam countered. “You’re what they call one of the good guys.”

“I’m guessing the woman who owned the warming oil thought you were pretty good,” Ben said dryly.

Sam grinned. “Well, sure. Yeah. For that. At the time. But I can also assure you that she didn’t call begging me to come home and meet her parents.”

“You’re a good guy,” Ben said. “You just don’t take things too seriously. You know when to say when. You don’t try to fix everything for everyone else. You know that you can’t always make everyone happy so you don’t worry about it.”

“And you’re not like that,” Sam said nodding. “Yeah, you’re right. I get that. It’s not that you don’t know when to say when… you don’t even know that there is a ‘when’. Especially with work. Right?”

Because his dad never said ‘when’.

The thought flashed through Ben’s head before he could stop it, or brace for it.

His father had been all about his work. Being a missionary was Michael Torres’ calling and he put his heart and soul into it. Everyone Michael had ever known respected him and were inspired by him. But none of those people had lived with him. None of them knew what it was like to always have the work, the calling, the mission be put first. Ben had been loved, but he had never been prioritized. Neither had his mother. They were expected to be self-sufficient enough, emotionally strong enough, smart enough, to not require Michael to take time or resources away from his work.

Michael had known that he would give one hundred percent to his work. He’d never intended to have a wife and family. But he’d accidentally fallen in love with Ben’s mother. Then they had accidentally gotten pregnant. Not that Ben ever believed Michael regretted being a husband and father. But he couldn’t focus on it. His work was what he lived for and what he taught his son to value. Work, service, sacrifice. Those were the ideals Ben had inherited from his father. And even though he knew how it felt to be an after-thought Ben had felt guilty, lazy and selfish any time he’d entertained ideas of focusing on something other than his work.

There had been no such thing as free-time, blowing off steam, or frivolity in Michael Torres’ life and he’d managed to take those out of his son’s imagination as well.

Even when he was watching a football game on TV at home, Ben had a medical journal open in his lap. If he was having a beer with the guys after an especially hard day in the ER, he was still replaying cases, and planning for the next day. Even with women he was always only partially there. They didn’t know it, of course, but he couldn’t remember one woman he’d ever given one-hundred percent of his attention to.

Until Jessica.

Until the one woman who constantly tried to get him to focus on other things.

It was just perfect. Perfectly frustrating as hell.

“Well, I want to learn how to say ‘when’,” Ben announced.

“It’s not that hard,” Sam said. “Hell, Ben, you just need to hook up with people who have the
expectations that you want to meet.”

Sam’s words hit Ben direct in the gut. His friend was right. The problem was partly Ben letting people expect too much, but maybe part of the issue was the people that were doing the expecting.

Well, quitting his job at the hospital was a step in the right direction in getting away from some of those people.

The only thing he wasn’t sure of was what to do with the people he didn’t want to get away from.