Tag Archives: postaweek2011

The sexiest trait a man can have

When Smarty Pants and I were living in Prague, we got caught in sudden summer thunderstorm during a picnic. We had only a few seconds’ warning before the clouds rolled in and torrential, frigid rain pounded down on us.

We threw our food back in the basket and ran for the closest cover: a copse of trees. Soaked through, we hugged each other and shivered, waiting until the rain passed. I felt Smarty Pants trying to tug the back of my pants down, something I thought was odd since we were outside, it was broad daylight, and he’s a pretty reserved Brit when it comes to public displays of affection.

Then I realized I also felt Smarty Pants’ hands on my upper back. Two hands.

He wasn’t the one pulling my pants down.

I jerked out of his arms in time to see a tiny animal, like a rat, drop from where it had clung to my wasitband. “Frickin’ hell! A rat! A giant, nasty rat!” Continue reading

Advertisements

18 Comments

Filed under Thoughtfulness

Winner of the Roni Loren giveaway!

I’m sorry this is a day late. I’ve spent the past two days in the hospital with my grandparents. Grandpa’s scheduled to have surgery this morning, so hopefully he’ll start getting better soon.

Crash Into YouAnyway, I wanted to thank everyone who stopped by to comment on Roni Loren’s fantastic post: Why do all the romance heroes have six-packs?

The winner of Crash Into You, Roni’s debut novel is…angela quarles!

Angela, I’ve emailed you asking for your mailing address.

This week you guys can win one of my favorite books, Hot Zone by Catherine Mann!

If I don’t get a chance to publish another post over the next few days, then let me wish you all a very happy new year now. Here’s wishing us all love, laughter, and lots of great books in 2012!

1 Comment

Filed under Thoughtfulness

Interview with Catherine Mann – and giveaway!

Catherine MannEarlier this month, I had the privilege of reading Hot Zone, a romantic suspense novel by Catherine Mann. It totally blew me away, from one of the most gripping opening scenes I’ve ever read all the way to its poignant ending.

I loved it so much, I seethed with jealousy that I didn’t write it myself.

I’m so happy to have Catherine here today, giving away a copy of Hot Zone and answering my nosy questions. Welcome, Catherine!

Thanks for inviting me to visit on your blog – and thank you very much for your cheers for HOT Zone!

1. You started off with a career in arts and teaching. You’ve got degrees in theater and fine arts, and you’ve taught at advanced levels. Can you tell us how you transitioned from that career into a writing career, especially one where you write gritty military suspense novels?

I’ve always been an avid romance reader, since my early teens, and even tried to write a novel in junior high school.  But I tabled the dream and tucked away that first attempt, because hey, what are the odds of selling a book, right?  My creative outlet then turned to the theater, which in hindsight I see now that somehow I seem drawn to careers that are difficult to break into.  But my mother always said in choosing your career, follow your dreams, your passion, and the rest will fall into place.  (Thanks, Mom!)

2. How has your theater background helped you as a writer? Do you find yourself incorporating theatrical skills (like storyboarding or having a keen eye for setting) when writing your novels?

Continue reading

31 Comments

Filed under Author interviews

Grandpa’s Christmas atlas: Why bookshops and print books still matter

Last night (December 23rd) around 8pm, my grandma called me with a special Christmas request.

“Will you do me a favor, sissy? Will you buy Grandpa a new atlas and wrap it up and put it under the tree, from Grandma?”

Grandpa

Grandpa, mid-story, on 4th of July (hence the beads)

It seemed like a pretty random request. She’s never asked me to buy anything on her behalf, but I know that this is the first year she’s struggled to get out of the house. Pain from a few injuries and arthritis has kept her home more and more. Grandpa, too, has had a tough year. When I flew home a week ago, he looked much more frail than he had in July, when we celebrated his 90th birthday. Like the indestructible man he’s always seemed to be, he hasn’t let that stop him from working construction with my dad.

Feeling honored to have such a task – especially one where I could spend time flipping through map books – I quickly agreed and asked what kind of atlas she wanted to give him.

“It don’t matter. I just want it to be a new one. Every time you kids travel somewhere, he looks it up in his old atlas that he inherited from Grandpa Latham in the 70s. Now you’ve moved to Holland, he can’t find the town where your livin’ or the one where you’re workin’, and he’s flustrated.”

She told me, “You’re the only one I know who goes to bookshops. I don’t know nothin’ about them, so I wanted to ask you to do this for me.”

So last night my husband and I drove to the nearest bookstore and spent time looking at their atlases until we found one that had our new hometown in it as well as large-enough print that Grandpa could read it.

I started writing this post this morning, and I was going to make it about why brick-and-mortar bookshops and print books still matter: because with only one day until Christmas, I would’ve struggled to get an atlas delivered in time. And the one I would’ve chosen from the brief browse I had online before going shopping ended up not having the town where I work in it.

But this morning, as I paused in my writing to wrap gifts, we got a message. Grandma left it on dad’s cell phone early this morning, but he only noticed he had a message four hours later. Grandpa is sick, and Grandma had to rush him to the doctor at 6.45am.

We can’t get hold of her. We don’t know what “sick” means, and we’re clinging to hope because she said “doctor”, not “hospital”. My cousin Will lives with them, and he said everyone was fine when he left for work at 6, so whatever it was must have come on suddenly.

When we got the message, I was in the middle of wrapping the gift I’d bought Grandpa: a tin train full of candies, since he has a sweet tooth. The last present I had to wrap was the atlas.

Wrapping it up, and writing “To Grandpa, With love from Grandma” on the tag made my eyes swell up and my throat scratchy. My grandpa is one of Earth’s finest men, and I don’t need an atlas to tell me that.

So we wait to hear. In the meantime, Grandpa’s atlas is wrapped, sitting under the tree, with love from Grandma.

9 Comments

Filed under Thoughtfulness

Winner of my Mistletoe Madness blog hop giveaway!

Mistletoe Madness blog hopI was thrilled to see so many new faces around here this week, thanks to the Mistletoe Madness blog hop. I’m glad we’ve all discovered lots of exciting authors this year.

The winner of a $10 book gift certificate and some chocolates is…Andrea!

Andrea, I’ve emailed you asking for your address.

Cruise on over to PJ Schnyder’s site to see who won the grand prize: a Nook color.

Everyone, you can still comment on Roni Loren’s guest post about heroes with six-packs for a chance to win her debut novel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughtfulness

Review: Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Snappy dialogue and the threat of real danger sucked me in, but then the story fizzled out and left me wanting.

Hidden SummitLeslie Petruso moves to Virgin River after her husband left her for another woman and then insisted that he and Leslie can still be the best of friends. Sick of running into him and his pregnant wife everywhere, she moves south and gets a job in a construction company.

Conner Danson is the sole witness to a murder committed by a man with big-time connections. When his building supply store is burnt to the ground, the Sacramento DA’s office decides it’s time to send him off-grid until he testifies. What better place than Virgin River?

Neither Leslie nor Conner is eager to start a new relationship. But they can’t deny their attraction, and as they spend more time together they realize their relationship is worth making sacrifices for.

For most of the story, I enjoyed the characters’ snappy dialogue and grown-up attitude toward love and sex. They never take a melodramatic “I shall never love again!” approach to life, but they certainly are wary of getting involved.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

Why do all the romance heroes have six packs? – Guest post by Roni Loren

First, I’d like to thank Kat for inviting me over here to her blog. You gotta love someone who says–I’d like you to guest post and can you make it about sex? LOL

Why, yes, yes I can actually. : )

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this article via Twitter (where all interesting things come from) on Slate called P0rn Women Want: Why Does it Make Men So Uncomfortable?  The post was basically about this guy:

84244103
James Deen. (Pauses to snicker about the ridiculous stage names.) But anyway, apparently this guy is causing a stir because he is appealing to women-which is obviously not the market p0rn targets. Here’s what they say of Deen:

Deen has carved out a niche in the industry by looking like the one guy who doesn’t belong there. Scroll through L.A.’s top p0rn agency sites and you’ll find… just a few dozen men available…. These guys all have a familiar look—neck chains, frosted tips, unreasonable biceps, tribal tattoos. Deen looks like he was plucked from a particularly intellectual frat house.

Which of course made me think–yes, this is why most women roll their eyes at p0rn. Beyond the complete lack of story line and emotional connection, the dudes are ugly and the girls are fake-looking. If the male actors looked like Alexander Skarsgard or Bradley Cooper, I’m thinking we ladies might change our mind and take a peek.

Come on, you know you’d look.
But the reason, the article hypothesizes, that guys who are “prettier” don’t get hired in p0rn is because it makes the guys watching it uncomfortable. Because *gasp* they don’t want to have any sexytime feelings about the guys. The post says:

The straight male performer must be attractive enough to serve as a prop, but not so attractive that he becomes the object of desire.

Hmm. Okay, maybe I could see that if a guy is particularly homophobic or un-evolved. But it seemed a little far-fetched. So, of course, I asked my husband (who is mostly evolved and finds p0rn more comedic than sexy) his opinion. After a derisive snort, he said, “It’s not about guys worrying about gay feelings. The reason is the same reason your romance novels have Mr. Perfect as the hero and Ms. Average Every Day Girl as the heroine.”

And you know what? He had a good point.

In fantasy, whether it be via books or something visual, we naturally put ourselves in the heroine’s (or hero’s if you’re a guy) shoes. If the heroine is written as some gorgeous model type who never gains a pound, never has an insecurity, and who wakes up with perfect hair–none of us are going to be able to relate. So most often, romance writers create heroines we “get”. And though she may actually BE beautiful, she doesn’t know it. We only see her beauty through the hero’s eyes when we’re in his POV. (Because isn’t that really our fantasy? That the guy we love sees us as the most beautiful girl even if we aren’t to the rest of the world.)

But on the flipside, in our fantasy, in addition to having the guy be smart and kind-hearted and loving, we do want him to look like Bradley Cooper or Alexander Skarsgard. Men haven’t cornered the market on being visual, you know. It’s not to say we hold up our mates to those six-pack ab, slay the dragon, alpha standards, but everything is exaggerated in fantasy.

Which is the same reason why the guys look like they do in p0rn and the girls are the exaggerated female “ideal” (giant boobs, skinny, long hair, always ready and willing, etc.) The guys don’t want to think–damn, in order to land that kind of girl I’d have to look like Brad Pitt. They want to think, hey, I’m better looking than that frosted-tipped, tribal tattooed guy. I could totally bed this girl.

*snort*

So even though men and women are built very differently, it seems we have some things in common when it comes to this. We’re all a little insecure and we all can go a little overboard in fantasy land. It does kind of make me want to write a less than perfect-looking hero though, just to make a point.

But in the meantime, you can admire the perfect abs of my hero Reid on the cover of CRASH INTO YOU. 😉  *pets*

Any thoughts on all of this? Anyone think it really is guys being afraid the pretty boys will make them think impure thoughts? And how do you like your heroes in your books? Does your mate ever give you flack for reading romance novels with half-naked men on the front?


Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has.
Her debut romance CRASH INTO YOU releases January 3, 2012 from Berkley Heat/Penguin. If you want to read more posts like this one or follow her journey to debut authorhood, you can visit her writing blog FictionGroupie or her author blog. She also tweets way too much for her own good.

Giveaway!

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Roni’s debut, Crash Into You. I’ll randomly select the winner on Tuesday December 27th. Good luck!

45 Comments

Filed under Author interviews, Contemporary romance spotlight

Review: Wild Thing by Robin Kaye

Funny, sexy and emotionally gripping—Wild Thing will make you want to book flights to Idaho in search of Robin Kaye’s hot river guides!

Wild ThingWhen whitewater-rafting guide Hunter Kincaid gets a job guiding a bunch of models on a special shoot, he enlists the help of his two brothers to protect him from the modeling agency’s owner, who was all over him when she visited Idaho to scout for locations a few weeks ago.

Fortunately for Hunter, the agency’s owner has to take care of a last-minute deal that keeps her in New York. She sends her manager, Toni Russo, instead.

Toni is terrified of the great outdoors. A traumatic experience when she was a child left her petrified of the woods, so a week-long trip through the wilds of Idaho may as well be a week-long trip through hell. But Hunter’s immediately drawn to the sexy Goth, and he patiently woos her out of her cabin and into the safety of his arms.

Wild Thing held me captive through most of the story. I’m a sucker for a hero who falls fast and hard, and Hunter is the perfect alpha male for me—strong, capable and gentle. I’m also a sucker for a strong woman with a significant weakness—in Toni’s case, an irrational fear from her childhood—which she struggles to overcome.

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Christmas romance novellas to warm your cockles

Stressed woman at Christmas

© Maridav

For me, December is a time where love mixes with stress in a uniquely potent way, leaving me sobbing “Everyone’s going to hate the gifts I got them—especially you!” on my husband’s shoulder on Christmas Eve.

Thank God he’s got broad shoulders. They’ve absorbed a lot of stress-induced tears over the last nine years.

The very last thing I feel I have time (or money) for during the holiday season is treating myself. That’s why one of my favorite things about the month before Christmas is the opportunity to find short stories and novellas from new-to-me authors. First, they’re reasonably priced. Second, when it comes to Christmas stories, I usually don’t want a full novel. A novel is too much commitment at a time when my to-do list is already laughable and could only realistically be tackled by five military strategists, not one scatterbrained woman.

Here are a couple of novellas I’ve read that are the perfect length for diverting your mind while you stand in an impossibly long line at the post office.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Contemporary romance spotlight

Interview with Shannon Stacey – and giveaway!

Shannon StaceyThis summer I got the chance to read and review a contemporary romance novel called Yours to Keep by a new-to-me author, Shannon Stacey. I couldn’t put the book down. It had everything I love in contemporary romance: characters I can relate to and a perfect mix of hot passion with tender emotion. And it’s funny as hell.

Shannon Stacey is now one of my auto-buy authors. I love her series featuring the quirky Kowalski family and their adventures of DOOM. And I’m so glad to have Shannon here today giving away a print copy of the book that got the Kowalskis started, Exclusively Yours.

Welcome, Shannon!

Thank you so much for inviting me! And for not only falling in love with the Kowalskis, but sharing the love with your readers!

1. My pleasure! What made you decide to start writing romance, and what were you doing before? How long were you writing before you got published?

Yours To Keep coverI knew from childhood I wanted to write books when I grew up and, once I discovered romances (in my early teens), I knew I wanted to be a romance author.

It’s harder to say how long I was writing before I got published because different phases of my life pushed writing into the background at times. I had a few stories rejected as a teen. A few rejections here and there. But it was in early 2002 that life had settled enough for me to really pursue publication and I was offered my first contract in January of 2005.

2. Your backlist is really eclectic. You’ve got an action/adventure romance series, some western historicals, erotic romances, light paranormal and a futuristic romance. Do you plan to mostly stick with contemporary romance from now on, or would you like to keep exploring different kinds of romance?

Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Author interviews