Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ssssssh! Novelist at Work!

In November of last year, I gritted my teeth and jumped into National Novel Writing Month with both feet. It was my first attempt at a novel, and I wrote it in eighteen days. All fifty thousand words of it, which is the goal of NaNoWriMo. It was an interesting, informative, sometimes frightening experience.

I worked without a net. I've never been able to plot out a story beforehand, though God knows I've tried .It just doesn't work for me. So I worked out a very general idea for the story, then on November 1st I sat down and started writing. Within a day or two I'd changed the names of my characters (and thereby their personalities) because what I'd started with wasn't working. Fortunately, that was a quick and easy search-and-replace task. I also changed the setting of the first scene, but only in the sense that I made a note to myself to change it upon revision and thereafter wrote as if I'd written it that way all along.*

Some days I thought I doing pretty well. Some days I thought I was writing crap. But I kept plugging along because, after all, it doesn't have to be good. It just has to be 50,000 words long. I placated my Ego (which wanted to spare me itself the pain of failure and rejection by giving up ahead of time) with that mantra. Some days were a struggle, but I did it. I wrote a 50,000 word novel and I finished it in eighteen days.

Then I promptly saved it and swore that it would never see the light of day again. I was convinced that it was awful. It was my first attempt at anything longer than a short story. How could it be anything but awful?

But my writing gurus, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch, have repeatedly told me (and anyone else who'll listen) that a writer is not the best judge of his own work, and especially while he's writing it. They have over a hundred novels and hundreds of short stories published between them, and they still wrestle with that tiny voice that says "this is crap." It's such a common and predictable reaction, usually coming about a third of the way into the novel, that when one of them tells the other that the latest novel isn't working and they may have to start over, the other asks, "How far into it are you?" At which point, the other turns and goes back into his or her office to continue writing.

So I thought, I really ought to listen to them. Plus, my spouse (and trusted first reader) gently nudged me to reconsider. So I grudgingly pulled it up on the monitor and started reading it again in January. And it wasn't half bad. In fact, some of it I liked a lot. So I let my spouse read it, and got a rave review.

Okay, Spouse also had a few criticisms. I couldn't argue with them, either. So I decided, what the hell, I'll polish it up and send it out. Let some actual editors tell me if they thought it was worth buying or not.**

There was a problem, though. The minimum length for a publishable novel (with rare exceptions) is 70,000 words, but my novel was only 50,000 words long. So I had to revise and extend it, as Congressmen so often do their speeches in the Congressional Record. I've spent the last month or so doing just that.

It was slow, tedious work. In part, that was because my Ego gibbered and capered and jumped up and down, screeching and flinging poo, in a Herculean attempt to make me give up. Change is scary and difficult, even when it might be a good change. Writing and revising (and ultimately trying to sell) a novel meant changing my self-image. It meant thinking of myself as a novelist. It meant risking rejection (almost certainly repeated rejection, even if the novel eventually sells). My Ego hates that, so it tried hard to stop me, clinging to my ankle and crying piteously as I dragged myself (and my Ego) toward the finish line.

Some days, I confess, it succeeded. On other days, forcing myself to ignore that voice was difficult. On rare days, I successfully throttled it and managed to write several thousand words. But I'd set a goal of getting the novel finished and out the door by the end of February.

And today I finished the revisions. The novel weighs in at about 72,000 words. Shorter than I'd have liked, but as long as it's gonna get. This evening I scoured Publishers Marketplace for editors and publishers to whom I could send it, looking for editors who'd bought books in the same genre. I have a list of five I intend to start with.

Tomorrow...I'm taking the day off to celebrate finishing the novel. Friday, I'll write the cover letters and the synopsis, and get everything ready to mail. Saturday, the queries will go into the mail. I'm going to meet my deadline, and I'm very pleased by that. In March, I'm planning to work on some short stories, but in the not too distant future, I'll be starting another novel. My goal for this year is to have at least three novels written and circulating. More would be better, but three is the absolute minimum.

Look at me. I'm a novelist!

*A technique I learned from the Book In A Month workbook, and one I highly recommend.

**Robert Heinlein's fourth and fifth rules for writers:
4. You must mail your story to someone who will buy it.
5. You must keep it in the mail until someone buys it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Double Dare - Jeanne St. James


What could be better than waking up next to a hot guy? Waking up sandwiched between two of them.
Quinn Preston, a financial analyst, is not happy when her friends dare her to pick up a handsome stranger at a wedding reception. What better reason to give up men when her previous long-term relationship had not only been lackluster in the bedroom but he had cheated.

Logan Reed, a successful business owner, can’t believe that he’s attracted to the woman in the ugly, Pepto-Bismol colored bridesmaid dress. And to boot, she’s more than tipsy. After turning down her invitation for a one-night stand, he finds her in the parking lot too impaired to drive. He rescues her and takes her home. His home.

The next morning Quinn’s conservative life turns on its ear when Logan introduces her to pleasures she never even considered before. And to make things more complicated, Logan already has a lover…

Tyson White, ex-pro football player, is completely in love with Logan. He has mixed emotions when Logan brings home Quinn. But the dares keep coming and things heat up with the three of them. Nevertheless Ty wonders: will adding Quinn to the mix end up enhancing or destroying Logan’s and his relationship?

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme & content, male/male sexual practices, ménage (m/m/f).


Quinn Preston almost choked on her Alabama slammer when her friend elbowed her in the ribs. "Ooof."

She saved her drink before it could spill all over her ugly bridesmaid dress. Yeah, that would have been a shame: to ruin such a nice, frumpy, pukey pink taffeta dress. One the bride had said she would be able to wear in the future. Like to a cocktail party. Or maybe her own funeral. Yeah, right. No one in their right mind would want to get caught dead in this thing.

Ruining the dress wouldn't have been a loss, but losing her drink would have. She was drinking slammers for a reason -- to get good and drunk.

Lana nudged her again. "You see that?" She nodded her head toward the back of the room.

"What?" Quinn really didn't care what Lana was excited about. She just wanted to get this day over with. She was tired of watching the happy couple. She was tired of pasting on a plastic smile for the photographer. And she was really tired of listening to the sappy congratulations. All things she might never have -- the wedding, the husband, the bridal bliss. And something her parents never failed to remind her. Especially now that she was in her early thirties. And single. Again.

"Not what. Who."

"Huh?" She sucked on the dainty little straw the bartender had put in her drink. Hardly anything would come out of it. Maybe it was designed just for stirring. She pulled it out and threw it onto the bar. She really needed one of those big giant straws that came in those fancy frozen drinks.

"Him. Over there." Lana grabbed Quinn by the shoulders and turned her around to face whatever had caught her friend's attention.

"Oh, him." She took a deep draw of the punchlike drink, only there wasn't a bit of punch in it. Not the fruit kind anyway.

"Yeah, him." Lana dragged out him like she was sucking on a maraschino cherry and enjoying the sweetness on her tongue.

Quinn didn't even take a good look. Men were on her shit list at the moment. She didn't care how hot they were. The potent drink in her hands was all the company she needed. She smiled into her glass; it was the best date she'd had in a while.

Another pink taffeta blur whizzed up to them, out of breath.

"Jeez Louise. Did you see that hunk of man meat?" Paula, another victim of the wedding fashion nightmare, was flushed and had a bead of sweat running down her chipmunk-like cheeks. "Do you think he's single?"

Quinn raised one shoulder in a half shrug and turned back to the bar. It was bad enough when the three of them had to stand next to each other at the altar, then throughout the grueling pictures, followed by having to sit beside each other at the head table. All in that awful pink froth. But now that it was all over, and they had done their duty for their friend Gina, there was no reason they all had to stand there looking like someone threw up Pepto-Bismol.

She leaned into the bar and asked the semicute bartender the time. When he answered that it was six, she gritted her teeth. They had only been at the reception for an hour. It was way too early to bail.


With a sigh, she turned back to her friends. They were still ogling the male eye candy across the room.

Paula's sigh drifted over her. "I wonder if he likes women with a little meat on their bones."

A little meat? She opened her mouth to correct Paula, but shut it quickly. Her friend didn't need to be on the receiving end of her miserable mood.

"Quinn, I bet he'd make you forget Peanut."

Quinn winced and took another long draw from her drink. She loved the flavor and the tanginess on her tongue. And she was trying to forget Peanut. She hated the nickname her friends had called her ex-boyfriend, Peter. Once they had actually called him Peanut in front of his face -- by accident, of course. Right. It had taken her a while to brush that one under the rug. He had never liked her friends after that.

On the other hand, her friends had never liked Peter from the beginning. Unlike her parents, who loved the bastard. Probably more than they loved her.

"Yeah, Quinn, he could probably fuck your brains out, and you'd never remember that douche again."

Quinn frowned at Paula. She noticed her friend's string of pearls hiding in the skin around her neck. Quinn's hands automatically went to her neck to finger a similar necklace -- a part of the stupid wedding costume. Ugh. She hated pearls!

She hated taffeta. She hated pink. She hated frilly dresses.

She took a long swig from her glass.

And she hated Peter. The asshole.

His gift to her last Valentine's Day wasn't an engagement ring. Oh no, after five long, wasted years of dating the shit, he couldn't have gotten her a ring. Nope. Instead he sent her a text message.

That was it.

A stupid little text message. One line.

We've grown apart and I've found someone new.

She deserved more than that. Something better. After all those years of loyalty, standing by his side, being the "good, proper" girlfriend. As Peter had expected. As her parents had expected. The girlfriend any decent man would want on his arm. Right?

Not even a sorry. Not even an explanation. Nothing.

And the next day, FedEx had delivered a box with all the things she had left over at his apartment during the last half decade.

Quinn emptied her glass and turned back to the bar, blocking out her friends' chattering over that man.

She needed another man like she needed a hole in the head.

She slid her glass over the bar top, and before she could ask for another, a deep voice washed over her.

"Put her next drink on me."

Dumb ass. The drinks are on the house. She turned to ream whoever it was, and stopped. Her mouth opened, but nothing escaped.

"You look like a fish out of water with your mouth hanging open like that." When he smiled, the lines around his eyes crinkled. He was tan, an outdoorsy tan, not a manmade one. And he had beautiful green eyes. Shit. She had never seen such beautiful eyes on a man. His nose was a little crooked, like it had been broken, and it made him even more beautiful. No. Not beautiful. He was. He was.

Quinn closed her mouth and swallowed hard. He was so unperfect, he was perfect. His hair was a dark brown with natural highlights, more proof he liked being outdoors. It was long and pulled back into a neat ponytail.

She hated long hair on men. But it was right on him.

He had a beard that wasn't a beard. It was like a longer five-o'clock shadow.

She hated facial hair.

He had a strong, corded neck that disappeared into a stiff dress shirt. The collar had been already released and one more button undone below that. The knot of his tie was loose and hung crookedly from around his neck.

The sleeves of his crispy white shirt were rolled up to his elbows, and his forearms were tan covered in dark hair. His hands.

Oh. Damn.

His hands were large. They were working hands. They weren't soft and pampered. But calloused and thick and strong.

Capable. Capable of doing all kinds of things.

Quinn's nipples hardened under the scratchy taffeta.

His hands could do all kinds of dirty, nasty things.

Things Peter had never wanted to do.

Quinn ripped her gaze from him and spun back around to the bar, bracing herself against it for a second to catch her breath. She grabbed her fresh drink and took a gulp.

"Whoa. Slow down there."

She pressed the cold drink against her forehead in an attempt to cool herself off.

She needed to go change her panties, she was so freaking wet.

She could feel his heat next to her; his body was like a furnace. She wanted to plant her hands on his chest and feel how hot he really was. Her fingers convulsed around her glass.

"Are you okay?" The deep timbre of his voice sent a shot of lightning down her body, landing right in her pussy.

Quinn could only nod her answer.

He palmed her bare shoulder and turned her to him. He stared down into her eyes, his lips widening into a smile.

His lips. Oh man. Those lips probably could do all sorts of things to her, with her. Lips that were made for more than kissing.

"Yes." Oh my God, she thought. That was the kind of yes she blurted when she was in the midst of an orgasm. At least from what she could remember. It had been so long since she'd come.with a partner, anyway.

She felt the heat crawl up her neck, and she stepped back, breaking the contact.

"I.I'm fine." She cleared her throat. "Thank you for the drink." She took another sip before raising the glass to him in thanks.

"It was nothing." When he laughed, her knees almost buckled. "Enjoy it."

He stepped away and then paused. But it looked as though he thought better of whatever he was contemplating, and he continued on his way.

Quinn leaned back against the bar and let out a shaky breath.

She was suddenly flanked on either side by her friends. She had been so distracted, she hadn't even realized that they disappeared.

"Quinn --"


"Oh. My. God!"

"I told you he was hot!"

"Oh! I wish I weren't married already."

"I wish he liked chubby chicks."

Quinn couldn't take any more. She raised her palms in surrender. "Stop. Enough."

"But, Quinn --"

"But nothing," Quinn answered Paula.

"You're just going to let him walk away?"

"Paula, he isn't going anywhere. Unfortunately I'm not going anywhere. We have to be here for two more hours, at least."

Lana said, "Are you going to let Peter ruin the rest of your life? All men aren't assholes like him."

Quinn harrumphed and took another sip of her slammer.

"Why don't you at least dance with him?"


"Why not?" Lana asked.

Why not? Because if she did, she might come right on the dance floor? Because she might end up in a puddle of her own juices? The picture in her head shocked her: it was of her lying in a heap in the middle of the dance floor in the throes of an orgasm. Surrounded by all the wedding guests.

This drink was stronger than she thought.

"Because no one is dancing yet."

"Sure they are. Look."

Quinn glanced over at the area cleared for dancing, and sure enough, a crowd of people were out there shaking their groove thing. Quinn had been too busy trying to get her drink on to notice.

From the looks of the participants on the dance floor, a few of them had been partaking in the open bar also. Even the bride and her new husband were bouncing and shimmying in the crowd.

At least they were a happy couple.

Quinn took another drink.

Lana frowned at her. "Are you just going to drink tonight, or are you going to do something about your situation?"

"Situation? What situation?"

"Getting laid."

Quinn checked over her shoulder to see if the bartender was listening. He was. He had a big grin plastered on his face. Great.

The father of the bride came up and asked for a gin and tonic. While he was waiting, he turned to them. "Hi, girls. Enjoying yourselves? You look great in those dresses. My wife picked them out."

Oh joy. Quinn would have to remember to smack -- she meant thank -- her. She couldn't wait to rip the scratchy, ugly piece of shit off.

All three women gave him a smile but bit their tongues. Eventually he wandered away, and Lana and Paula jumped right back to harassing her. Good thing they were her friends.

"C'mon. It's not going to hurt to have a one-night stand. Look at him."

"I already saw him." Holy moley, she knew they meant well, but they were getting on her last nerve.

"Yeah, and we saw how you were drooling too."

She had not drooled. Her hand automatically went up to her mouth.

Paula said, "He probably isn't interested in you anyway."

"Yeah, you couldn't get someone like that. You attract losers like Peter," Lana said.

If they thought their reverse psychology was going to work, well, it wasn't.

"Looks like he's with Paige Reed, anyway."

Quinn's gaze shot over to the corner of the ballroom where the tall man stood next to the petite, dark-haired beauty. Paige Reed. Figures.

"I thought Paige was dating Connor Morgan," Quinn mumbled.

She must have mumbled loud enough, because Lana answered her. "She is. Connor had to fly to Australia for something to do with his job."

"So why is she with him?" Quinn asked. Why was she so curious all of a sudden? Why did she care?

She didn't. She nursed her drink. After one and a half Alabama slammers, she was starting to feel pretty tipsy. She wasn't used to drinking. And when she did drink, she usually had wine, not hard liquor, and especially not such a hard-hitting mix of liquors.

Paula leaned into the both of them and said in an exaggerated whisper, "Maybe he's an escort," like it was a scandal, and then laughed.

Maybe he was an escort.

He was probably worth every penny too.

His back was to them now, but that just gave Quinn the opportunity to study how broad those shoulders were in his dress shirt. When he moved, the fabric bunched and pulled with his muscles.

Lana gasped, jerking Quinn out of her thoughts. "He's not an escort! That's Logan Reed, Paige's brother. I haven't seen him since we were kids. Holy shit, did he grow up."

"I'll say." Paula agreed. "Quinn, I dare you to go ask him to dance."

"Not interested."

Lana joined in. "Yeah, I dare you too. Don't be a wuss."

If she were a wuss, she wouldn't have come out in public in this pink atrocity. And the matching shoes were killing her feet. The last thing she needed was to be dancing. She'd be crippled.

"That's a double dare, you know, with the two of us daring you.."

Oh, boy, a double dare. She would definitely do it now -- not. "You're crazy."

"No, you are, if you pass up this opportunity. "

"How do you know he's available?" Quinn asked them.

"You don't know until you ask him," Lana said. "But if I remember correctly, his wife left him a while ago. There had been some rumors."

There had been some rumors about her and Peter too, but rumors were just that: rumors. She didn't take any stock in them.

Paula suddenly shouted, "Truth or dare?" making Quinn jump. It was like they were teenagers all over again.

Lana quickly said, "Truth." And bounced on her toes like she was fifteen.

Jesus, would someone please put a bullet in my head? Quinn needed to be put out of her misery.

Paula asked Lana, "Do you shave or wax?"

"Shave. Okay, Quinn, your turn. Truth or dare?"

Quinn was not playing this juvenile game. It was stupid; she was not going to fall into what was clearly a trap.


"How bad was Peter in bed?" Lana asked.

Damn. She wasn't going to answer that one. Even as drunk as she was. She didn't want to relive their vanilla, boring lovemaking. And she definitely didn't want to admit it or talk about it.

There was only one thing left for her to do.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Today's post is an egg-cerpt exchange with Tina Gayle. I'll be introducing you to her latest work, and on her blog, she'll be hosting an introduction to one of mine. It's a win-win for both of us. So without further ado...Mating Rituals!

Mating Rituals
by Tina Gayle


Staring straight ahead, Marohka Taunton avoided eye contact with every man she passed. Moving along the edge of the dance floor, she wove her way back and forth across the assigned path. Her steps, jerky and clumsy, she hid her natural smooth gait. No man, in his right mind, craved an ungraceful wife. At least, she hoped not.

With the stairs a few steps ahead, she tasted victory and allowed herself a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness."

A masculine voice in front of her chuckled. "It’s not over yet, princess."

Marohka paused to inspect the stranger. The laughter reflected in his warm brown eyes—surprised, the intelligent focus—intrigued, and the dark spark of interest—captivated.
A foreign response slithered through her chest. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. Her heartbeat rang in her ears. Her hands turned clammy. Awareness of the man claimed her senses.

His face, framed by dark brown hair, showed rough lines of strength and fortitude. A crooked nose, a square jaw, and a chiseled chin marked his unique personality. Added together, the sum indicated the man rarely backed down from a fight. He’d stand up for his beliefs and defeat his opponents. His lopsided grin with a dimple at the corner of his mouth teased her.

A silly feature on such a stern face. The little mark claimed her heart and spoke of a rare sense of humor, a trait absent in most men.

A tingle ran down her spine. Her toes curled. Either as an appealing partner or a worthy adversary, the man presented a dangerous combination. Right then, without question, Marohka decided never to cross paths with him again.

"It is for me," she responded to his comment. She lifted her chin a little higher and repaired the chip in her armor with a sassy comeback. "But you’re welcome to any of the girls behind me. I’m sure they’ll enjoy your charm."

Marohka lifted her skirt and swept up the stairs. The sound of his laughter spoiled her intended snub.

ISBN: 978-1-935348-58-0
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Book Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy
Find at

my website

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Banged Up - Jeanne St. James

Banged Up
Jeanne St. James
978-1-59578-594-7 $5.95

Two scarred souls: one physically, one mentally. Both on the mend, hiding from their pasts…

     Mace Walker can’t wait to get home.
     Being buried deep undercover for the past two years, on the most complex case of his career, has torn him down physically and mentally. Now the FBI agent has come home to recover after having his leg badly injured from a gunshot wound. Arriving home late one night, his relief is short-lived as he’s faced with a stranger pointing a gun to his head, acting like he is the one who doesn’t belong there!
     Colby Parks, a biochemist at the local university, had come to town a year earlier to escape an abusive relationship. She vows never to put herself in that situation again.
     Then the perfect opportunity comes along: house-sitting for Mace’s sister while making the house she purchased habitable. But she couldn’t anticipate this big snag: the one wearing the tight Levi’s and worn leather jacket, looking like he had just escaped prison.
     Being forced to share a house creates sparks between them in more ways than one. However, things take a turn when their pasts catch up to them, threatening to pull them apart forever.

Chapter One
     Relief flooded over Mace Walker as he twisted the key in the lock, gave the front door a shove, and stepped over the threshold. Finally home. About time.
     Time to heal.
     The foyer was dark, but he didn’t need to hit the light switch. Even being gone for as long as he had been, he still knew the house well enough. He made his way to the stairs and set down his bags. Those two small duffels didn’t hold much evidence of his life for the past couple of years. Just some toiletries and a few basic items of clothing.
     As he straightened, the foyer lit up, blinding him for a second. He blinked when a young voice rang out from the top of the steps. “Hold it right there! Put your arms up and back away from the stairs.”
    What the fuck?
     Mace had expected to see his sister bounding down the stairway of his two-story colonial, excited after not seeing her brother for the past two years. Actually, more like one year, eleven months and fifteen days. Not that he was counting. But instead, he stared up into the deadly eye of a Glock. And from his viewpoint it looked like a model 23, a .40 caliber. A compact but still a decent sized gun in a very small, very uneasy hand. Instantly, the hairs on the back of his neck rose.
     Damn. He’d dealt with crime bosses and their flunkies--from drug to porno rings--and had managed to survive. Now he was going to be killed by some measly punk he surprised while burglarizing his house? The cruel irony made him want to laugh. Instead, he did as he was instructed. With caution, he raised his hands above his head before stepping back toward the middle of the foyer. He avoided standing directly under the light, trying to get a better view of the top of the steps. But he didn’t have much success; the upstairs hallway and the upper section of the stairway were hidden in shadows.
     If he played his cards right, this little situation would be under his control in no time at all. He just had to keep the kid calm and make the skinny punk believe he was the one in command. From experience, Mace knew the Glock didn’t have a conventional safety. All the kid had to do was pull the trigger and pull it again and again until all the rounds in the clip emptied into Mace’s body. And from what he could see in the limited light, the kid’s fingers were twitching from nervousness.
     Not a good sign.
     Where had a young punk gotten an expensive handgun like that? It certainly hadn’t been in the house. And if it had been, it would have been locked up in the gun safe.
     If only he could see the boy’s face. He needed to see the eyes. Without seeing his eyes, Mace couldn’t even begin to predict what the kid would do.
     “Don’t you dare move or I’ll blow your face off!” The kid’s voice raised an octave, making him sound more and more like ... a girl.
      Tension ran through Mace’s body as the person started down the steps. At first he could see bare toes, a slim calf, then another. His gaze flicked to the gun, before returning to the shapely naked thighs which couldn’t belong to a kid--no way. Especially not a boy. Those smooth legs definitely belonged to a woman--and he couldn’t wait to see the rest of her. So far, the view almost made it worth being held at gunpoint. Almost.
     He was disappointed when an oversized T-shirt--shit, was that Marmaduke on it?--blocked his view of creamy flesh. His arms were tired, his leg throbbed painfully, and his patience was wearing thin. But he still wasn’t going to move, since he had no idea who this woman descending the stairs was. His curiosity piqued when she stepped down into the light, which highlighted her long, curly red hair and made her wide, green--glaring--eyes sparkle and snap.
     A twitch shot through his lower stomach and landed in his groin. Fear or pain didn’t make him suck in his breath. It was her unrestricted breasts bobbing under the cotton shirt with each step she took. Her nipples stood out like two beacons under the worn cotton. Jesus.
     He had to clear his throat twice before he could ask her, “Are you robbing this house, dressed like that?”

5 diamonds at Got Erotic Romance!

"Banged Up is an action packed, erotic adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. The sexual tension starts building as soon as Mace and Colby lay eyes on one another, and their relationship just gets hotter and hotter until their passion explodes. The dialog is fast paced and evocative, leading their relationship along at a fast pace. There’s humor, drama, tragedy, and some really hot sex. This book has something for everyone and will keep you guessing about the ending right up to the last page. I couldn’t put it away and I plan to read it again. I definitely give this book 5 Heats and recommend you read it as soon as possible."

4.5 hearts at The Romance Studio!

"Ms. Jeanne St. James has written a great book full of explicit sexuality and overloaded with suspense. There was more than one problem facing these main characters and St. James has integrated the storyline into love/hate/fear in such a way that it was impossible to put down. These two people were both full of past problems which continued to invade their presents and futures. Again, the author has presented the conflicts, as well as the sexual exploitations, in a great way.
There were other characters that made the story complete. They enhanced the plot and kept the story fast-paced and interesting. The actions, both sexual as well as the suspense-filled pursuits were fascinating. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. I recommend that you read this book. You will enjoy it, I’m sure."

4 blue ribbons at Romance Junkies!

"Jeanne St. James has written an exceptional high action drama. From page one you will be captured by BANGED UP.The dialogue is superbly written and the plot allows you to be kept on the edge of your seat. For those seeking an action packed thriller, I highly recommend to add this title to your must read list."

4 whips at Bella's Erotic Reviews!

"Jeanne St. James writes an exciting action packed romance drawing the reader in from page one and never letting go. I was hooked from the first page of this story. I loved Colby and her fierceness and how she overcame all that was done to her and of course Mace the brooding Alpha Male was a great character to. Even with all his macho pride he still had his doubts and insecurities. The bond that formed between these two was a beautiful thing to read. Both Mace and Colby must learn to trust each other before time runs out and it is to late. Full of action and hot romance Banged Up is a page-turner that is not to be missed."

4 heart review at Night Owl Romance Book Reviews!

"Banged up is an entertaining read..."
"... an enjoyable story."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Interview with Jeanne St. James

Today I'm pleased to be bringing you an interview with erotic romance author Jeanne St. James. Jeanne is published by Loose Id, Liquid Silver Books, and Phaze. Her novel Banged Up has been well reviewed by a number of sites, and links to the reviews are listed on her website.
Now, on with the interview:

Q: To begin, please share which genre(s) you write in…
I write erotic contemporary romance: male/female, male/male and male/male/female. Though my Phaze release Rip Cord is a m/m erotic novella with a “happy for now” ending. It’s not a romance per se.

Q: How long did you write before you received your first contract for publication?
YEARS! I’ve been writing since I’ve been about 13 years old. I’m now 41. However, I only started submitting to publishers in fall of 2008 and contracted my first release (Banged Up) within 6 months. And within 6 months after that had contracted two more stories.

Q. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I love all my heroes and heroines! Oh, I have a hard time choosing. Maybe Logan Reed from Double Dare. He is a dominant in the story (which is a m/m/f ménage). But he has a soft side and he really loves intensely.

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I can come up with some very kinky ideas.

Q: Here’s a fun question: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Absolutely! I have my belly button pierced and my ears are double pierced. I have a black rose wrapped around a red heart tattoo on my ankle and I have a large rose with a Celtic vine (I’m not Irish!) at the top of my spine. I just had my belly button re-pierced and the tattoo at the top of my spine done for my 41st birthday… a present to myself.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
I have several but I usually say that Hope Floats is one of my favorite movies. It is so romantic!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: “Well behaved women rarely make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Q: What would your ideal day be like?
Get up, drink coffee, surf the net and then write for the rest of the day!

Q: If you could offer one tidbit of information for new writers, what would it be?
Write, write, and write some more. The more you write, the better writer you become.

Q: How can our readers find you on the internet?

My website:
My blog:

Thanks, Jeanne. Over the next three weeks, I'll be posting promos for her three books here. We can all use some hot new romance to read, so don't say I never did anything for you!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dreams (Rated R for gruesome images)

Not the "I want to be rich and famous" kind of dreams. The other kind. The literal kind.

I had one last night. Many of the details now escape me, but not all of them. I was on the Burnside Bridge (a bridge over the Willamette River here in Portland). There was some kind of serious problem and traffic was completely stalled. A traffic accident, a crime scene--something.

Anyhow, some of the vehicles on the bridge needed to back up to clear the area. I watched one vehicle back up (there was, surprisingly, plenty of space behind the vehicle in question so this was possible). I saw that another vehicle, a minivan, also needed to back up.

For some reason I felt it necessary to run over to the railing on the walkway at the edge of the bridge, darting behind the minivan in question just as the backup lights came on. I knew I had acted dangerously, but I'd made it. So the van starts backing up at ridiculous speed, then abruptly swerves toward the outside lane, as if trying to back into a parking space. Van smashes into the concrete railing, smashes through it, then topples over the side of the bridge.

I'm horrified, but not surprised. Somehow, I knew things were going to go badly. I lean over the side of the bridge to watch the van plummet, spinning as it falls. It smashes to the earth below, onto the sandbar which doesn't actually exist there in real life. There are also quite a few people down there, also watching in horror. I'm wondering--and bystanders are shouting their concerns about--whether the driver will survive, or be thrown from his vehicle and crushed.

And then exactly that happens. I'm beginning to suspect that this is all too convenient. It's not a lucid dream yet, but it's close. The minivan bounces, spins on it's long axis, and the driver slips neatly through the open moon roof to land on the ground right where his minivan then lands, crushing him.

The worst part is that it doesn't kill him immediately. There's screaming and thrashing, and horrified screams from the onlookers. After a few seconds, some of the nearest bystanders decide to try to lift the vehicle off of the hapless driver (said vehicle at this point resembles a soda can that's been crushed flat), but it's too late. He expires before they can rescue him--and I've cataloged several points that don't jibe with reality and realized at this point that I'm dreaming, so I wake myself up.

It's 5:30 a.m. and I'm lying in bed thinking, "Wow. That was a really vivid and unpleasant dream." I much prefer the lucid dreams in which I realize I'm dreaming much early and can do fun things like fly or manipulate reality to suit myself. Those are much nicer.

Does that dream qualify as a nightmare? I suppose it does, but I never think of them as nightmares; I think I've internalized the Hollywood image of a nightmare as a horrible dream that you wake up screaming from, and I never do. But I do have very unpleasant dreams occasionally, of which this was obviously one.

Fortunately, they don't happen very often.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Day In The Life Of A Writer

This writer, at any rate. I drove my spouse to work this morning, then came home and wrote a bit. I'm expanding on my NaNoWriMo project from November of last year prior to sending it out--it's too short as is, and needs another 20-40,000 words to reach publishable length. Revising it slow, nitpicky work. I'm glad I don't do a lot of it. Adding new scenes, which is what I did today, is considerably easier.

I received a rejection from an online SF magazine today, but it was a heartening rejection. While my story wasn't right for them, they invited me to submit again. That's pretty positive rejection, and I will be submitting other work to them.

I received editor assignments from Cobblestone Press for my two most recent sales, Fast Friends and The Wild One. Two different editors, each of whom I've worked with before. I know the drill, so I imagine it'll go pretty smoothly once we get to editing the stories for publication. Fast Friends will require a bit more editing than normal, as I'll be expanding it from a Wicked short (5-10K) to Tryst length (10-20K). It's just shy of 10,000 words as is, so not a lot of revision is needed. It'll be my first longer sale, though not my last.

Fellow writer Lex Valentine posted today that the denizens of Flirty Author Bitches blog were looking for some new co-bloggers, so I jumped on the opportunity. I'll be joining them once they revamp the blog's website. I'll be blogging at least monthly there, as well as here. So look for me there, and look for some cross-pollination as well.

This afternoon I drove my spouse to the dentist for a couple of fillings. The dental appointment went swimmingly, much better than anticipated. Nonetheless, I spent the afternoon waiting on Spouse hand and foot, fetching (soft) food, drink, Advil, and--just before I left the house for the evening--a milk shake from the local Ben & Jerry's.

I spent the evening in the first session of a new GURPS fantasy game, then came home to an email containing the proofs for the cover art on Fast Friends. Because this will be a longer story, and not a Wicked short (like all the previous ones), the cover art format is different. And it's beautiful. It exactly captured the feel I wanted when I suggested the art. I'm very pleased with it.

It's been a busy day. Soon, bed. Then tomorrow I need to write, write, write. The novel (Strange Attractors) needs to be done and ready to start shopping around by the end of the month.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Release Extravaganza!

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Welcome to the New Release Monday. This
month, in addition to our typical excerpt week, we're showcasing new releases by several fabulous EM writers.
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Three On A Rooftop
by Gail Roarke is now available at Cobblestone Press.
Why settle for one gorgeous man, when a girl can have two?

Buy it now here.
Additional stories by Gail Roarke are available here.

Gail Roarke
Join my Yahoo group. Thursday is author promo day.

BLURB: Leah Wright isn't only Iron Maiden. She has a day job as well, and she's in Chicago on business. But after a day dealing with crowds, she's ready for some alone time. She takes to the sky, where she encounters an attractive stranger--one of Chicago's own superheroes. One thing leads to another and she has a very good time.

When she returns the next evening her playmate has brought a friend. She soon discovers that the dynamic duo are very close, but more than willing to share the love, and the three of them make beautiful music together....


Leah's last scheduled event at Erie-Con this evening was a reading of her most recent short story, Bad Touch. It ran from eight to nine pm. Afterward, she spent a few minutes signing copies of her novels and answering questions from a few of the folks who'd attended the reading. By the time she'd shaken off the most persistent, she was more than ready to leave the hotel.

I have got to get out of here.

She loved fandom, and she loved conventions—especially now that she could write them off as legitimate business expenses—but it wasn't all roses. Her schedule today had been packed with panel appearances. She'd barely had time to grab lunch and never did get dinner. Tomorrow promised to be just as busy. She'd have to talk to the con com about leaving more free time in her schedule.

Leah's stomach rumbled, but she ignored it. She could eat later. Right now she wanted to get out. The elevators in this hotel were painfully slow to arrive, and twice she had to wait anyhow because it arrived full of other con-goers. But eventually she made it to the eleventh floor.

After dealing with crowds all day, the silent emptiness of her hotel room was a blessed relief. Leah dropped her bag on the desk and then stretched out on the bed for a moment, enjoying the solitude. Not that she'd expected to be alone, but her best friend Rachel had had to cancel her attendance at the last minute, leaving Leah with a room to herself.

A flicker of light outside caught Leah's attention. She got up and pushed the gauzy curtains aside. The sky over Chicago was low and heavy, with lightning flashing in the distance. It looked as if a thunderstorm was about to descend on the city.

Leah smiled. She loved thunderstorms. She chewed on her lip indecisively for a moment, then turned away from the window. Why the hell not? She dug her Iron Maiden costume out of the large canvas duffel by the bed, then stripped.

She pulled on the tights, leather miniskirt, tank top, boots, and coachman's cloak with the speed of long practice. The mask she didn't put on—not yet. She shut off the lights and only then opened the sliding glass door to the tiny balcony.

Traffic sounds drifted up from far below, accompanied by the faint rumble of the approaching storm. The air smelled of the coming storm as well. She looked around carefully; none of the balconies she could see were occupied and most of the rooms were dark. Now she donned the mask.

She launched herself from the balcony, climbing fast. In moments she was well above the skyline. She slowed to a halt, hovering high over the city. The city was beautiful from this vantage point, as most cities were. Nearly silent, ablaze with lights strung in abstract patterns that only hinted at the complexity of the machine below.

It didn't look like a wretched hive of scum and villainy from up here. She knew Chicago's reputation, of course. It was one of the reasons she'd come to Erie-Con. She was thinking of writing a mystery for her next novel, and the city seemed like an ideal background for it. She could do some research, see the sights and talk to some locals to add authenticity to the story.

Leah took a moment to set a waypoint in the GPS unit strapped to her wrist so she could find the hotel again. It was always embarrassing to have to land and ask for directions or fly low enough to follow street signs in a strange city. Then she began flying over the city, changing direction on a whim, investigating any sights that caught her interest.

The thunderstorm continued its advance, arriving at last as a shimmering curtain of rain. She plunged into it and was soaked within moments. The rain was falling in blinding sheets, illuminated by frequent jagged bursts of lightning, close enough sometimes to make the fine hairs on her arms stand up. She felt the force of thunderclaps roll through her body. She loved it all.

She swooped and soared through the falling rain, reveling in the freedom of flight. She looped through the air, did barrel rolls and other maneuvers, sometimes driving straight up at speed before letting gravity slow her to a halt and pull her earthward again. During one such dive, Leah flashed past a figure on a rooftop of a high-rise building. A man—dancing.

Leah pulled out of her dive, arcing low over traffic and then back up into the night sky, retracing her path. Yes, there he was. An athletic Asian man dancing on the ledge that surrounded the rooftop. He had short, dark hair plastered to his skull by the rain. He was wearing black kung fu-style pants with white trim. His feet and upper body were bare.

And what an upper body it was. He looked as if he were carved out of wood. Muscles bunched and relaxed smoothly beneath his skin, and he moved as though his hips were on ball bearings. Strength and grace all in one very attractive package.

If he'd noticed Leah, he gave no sign of it. He continued his free form dance with no hint of self-consciousness. Leah drifted closer, wondering who he was and why he was dancing here and now. One slip and he'd fall to his death. Was he suicidal? High? Crazy?

Leah really didn't want to have to deal with someone like that now. But it wasn't as if she had a choice. If she didn't, who would? Leah drifted closer still. The man moved with remarkable grace and fluidity.

"I'm not a jumper," the man said, never pausing in his dance. He had to shout to make himself heard over the torrential downpour.

"That's good, then," Leah replied. She alighted on the ledge a few yards from the man. "Why are you here?"

"I love a rainy night." Dancing closer, he spared a glance for Leah. "I know you," he added.

"Yeah?" Leah asked.

"Yes," the man said, moving closer still, facing Leah now. If he had any concern for falling, it didn't show in his movements or his face. He looked Leah up and down. "You're Iron Maiden. You're far from home, aren't you?"

"I am," Leah agreed. "And who are you?"

"I am Jiang Wu," the man said, dancing up into Leah's personal space.

Jiang Wu. Leah knew that name. It had come up when she'd Googled Chicago. There were lots of rumors about him but not a lot of solid information, though he seemed to be on the side of the angels. Very few pictures either, though this man did seem to match Jiang's reported appearance. He was reputed to be a martial artist, or maybe a sorcerer, but definitely capable of the sorts of feats usually confined to over-the-top kung fu films, swift and dangerous but overall a good guy. He was often seen in the company of another Chicago legend, The Dark.

Jiang continued dancing to unheard music while Leah studied him. He reached out and took Leah's hands, swinging her into his arms. "Please, dance with me," he urged her.

Leah remained still for a moment, then shrugged and started dancing with the man. He grinned, clearly pleased by Leah's cooperation. They moved back and forth on the narrow ledge, his free form dance segueing into something more formal.

He pressed close to Leah, took her left hand in his right and wrapped his other arm around her waist. "Do you tango?" he asked.

"Uh, actually…no," Leah said.

He shrugged faintly. "Eh, neither do I. We'll just have to fake it."

And so they did, a little clumsily at first, but with increasing grace. They stalked first one way along the narrow ledge, then turned and stalked the other. Leah yelped when he abruptly dipped her. For an instant, she hung suspended over the precipice by his grip, shielded from the rain only by his face inches from her own.

Leah saw the moment when he considered closing the gap and kissing her. Before Leah could decide whether she'd welcome it, he seemed to sense her indecision. He abruptly jerked her upright. She felt his hard-on pressing against her. She held his gaze for a moment, saw the flickering glance he gave to her left, toward the high rise across the street.

Leah's nod was almost imperceptible. He pulled her tight against his body once more as they turned to press their cheeks together. He stepped out into thin air. She stepped with him—and they danced on the void in the falling rain to the music of thunder.

It was a surreal experience, and one she wouldn't have missed for the world. They danced until the thunderstorm had moved on. Now they stood on the ledge again with bodies pressed together and watched the curtain of rain recede to the west, flickering and grumbling in the distance. The city smelled of the rain and of ozone, and gleamed like new.

"It looks beautiful after a rain," Leah said, looking down at the city. They were the first words either had spoken in half an hour. She was breathing deeply and felt a little flushed, not from exertion but from excitement. There was tension in the air that had nothing to do with the storm just past.

"You can't see the warts from this height," he replied. "But trust me, they're there."

She could hear the weight of experience in his voice. Leah thought about her own childhood experiences with violence and crime. Here was someone, she suspected, who knew the things she knew, the same way she knew them. It was a rare feeling.

She looked at him until he met her eyes. "I know," she said. "All the more reason to enjoy the good things in life whenever you get the chance, don't you think?"

"Hell, yes," he said. She didn't know which of them moved first, or if they acted in unison. His mouth was warm and soft and hungry for her, but no more so than hers was for him. She ran her hands across his rain slick skin, marveling at the softness of it and the way hard muscle played beneath it.

Leah wanted to feel that skin against her body, wanted it desperately, and there was too much fabric between them. Without breaking their kiss, she reached up with one hand to lift her mask off and discard it. She fumbled with the clasp of her cloak, then tossed the mass of fabric aside. His hands tugged at her tank top, slipped beneath and grazed her sides as he pushed it up to bunch beneath her arms.
She broke their frantic kiss, gasping for air, and raised her arms long enough for him to peel the tank top away. She took two quick steps backward, and they looked at one another across that space. His gaze roamed her body, and he drew a long, slow breath as if the air had grown thick with the force of the energy between them. His silk pants, soaked by the rain and clinging, did absolutely nothing to hide his arousal.

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