We never thought this day would come so soon, but after much thought and discussion, we've decided to close our doors after a short run.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed blogging, interviewing authors, and getting to know the readers, sometimes life gets in the way and we have to take a step back and shift our focus.

We want to thank everyone who has visited, followed, commented, lurked, and provided us with incredible material to share with the world. It's been a great experience and we hope that you will continue to follow us at our individual virtual homes:

Jax's Website
Jax's Blog

Nikki's Website
Nikki's Blog

Abi's Website
Abi's Blog

Thank you....

Jenius Jax, Naughty Nikki, & Amusing Abi

**UPDATE: Congratulations RKCharron for winning Laura's giveaway! We'll contact you shortly**

Writing Hooks - and Giving Away a Prize!

Thank you, Hooked on Romance, for opening your blog to me today. I love the theme “hooked,” and it immediately brought to mind an article I wrote about writing hooks into the end of each chapter of a novel.

I’ve always heard that putting a great hook at the end of the first chapter would entice that dream agent or coveted editor to want to read more. And it pertains to readers as well. I know I’ve set down books after the first chapter, and haven’t picked them up again because I wasn’t engaged, and my interest flagged.

Here’s the hook at the end of the first chapter of Secret Vegas Lives:

Valerie's forced smile slipped as she looked into Antonio's eyes. She couldn't read the meaning in his intense stare, but she couldn't look away--and neither did he.

His date broke the spell by sliding her hand into his and rubbing the side of her breast on his arm. "We should get going, Antonio."

He shook the mayor's hand and nodded to the committee in general. With one last glance at Valerie, he escorted Sherry from the restaurant.

Valerie watched them leave, feeling the aftermath of his gaze. He was angry. He knew her name. And he was obviously volatile. Damn, this wasn't turning out to be a very good day. She blinked and brought herself back to what the mayor was saying.

"That was interesting," he commented to no one in particular.

She shrugged and said the first thing that came to her mind. "He and I had…an animated discussion recently. He must still be a little worked up."

"You're quite the diplomat, Dr. Val," the mayor winked.

She smiled. Oscar had been a family friend since she was a child. He was a kind, gracious man and she liked him more every time they spoke. She couldn’t say the same for Antonio Daniato. He was an ass.

And the ass was sitting on the back bumper of her SUV when she left the restaurant a half hour later.

Oh, I love that sentence. It’s in Valerie’s point of view, and we are living the moment with her as she sees Antonio sitting on her bumper. When I first started writing, I would put a hook at the end of each chapter that was completely contrived, and in omniscient point of view. Something like, “But soon Valerie would run into Antonio again, and the results would be catastrophic.” Notice the difference between the two hook sentences?

The easy way to end your chapters with hooks, is to not intentionally write the hook, just find it in your scene. I write my whole book (and they’re over 100,000 words) without chapter breaks. I put asterisks *** between scenes and point of view changes, then I go back through my manuscript and find places where the scene’s suspense is at its peak. THAT’S where I put my chapter break.

Valerie swayed, felt her chest tighten. Oh, God, Antonio was here at Caesar’s Palace, looking for a public event to humiliate her.

Oscar grabbed her arm. "Are you alright, dear?"

She choked back the anxiety attack. "I'm sorry, Oscar, I haven't been feeling well. I think I'll find Troy and ask him to take me home."

"Of course." He gestured toward the dance floor. "I see Ryan right behind you."

She smiled, wanting to reassure him. "I'm fine. You know how it is. I've been starving myself to fit into this dress…"

He nodded. "I completely understand. You go, but call me when you feel better. I'd like to get a handle on this Antonio Daniato thing."

She leaned in for a kiss on the cheek and went to find her date.

Her brother, Ryan, stood beside the dance floor and she put her hand on his arm. "Where's Troy?"

"Monica stole your date." He nodded toward their sister and Troy dancing to Springsteen's “Born to Run.” Monica danced gracefully and Troy--she tried not to wince--did the best he could. They looked like they were having fun.

"Take me out on the dance floor. I have to talk to Troy."

"Uh-uh. I don't think I want to get near whatever he's doing. Looks dangerous. He could hurt himself and others."

"I need to talk…" Too late. She saw a face across the dance floor. Her stomach contracted. Antonio walked directly toward her. His tux fit him perfectly, his white shirt emphasizing his Mediterranean skin tone, and the gold cufflinks at his wrists catching the light. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out.

Oh, God. Her breath panted from her lungs.

His hand held a folded paper, his eyes held malice.

Ooooh, malice is always a good hook. Have you ever read those books that you just couldn’t put down? You tell yourself, “Okay, just one more chapter.” Then the end of the chapter has something so intriguing, that you just have to read on. That’s what I attempt to give my readers. The “can’t put it down” factor that an author loves to see in their book reviews.

Three days later, Antonio stood in the waiting room. Betina said, "Wish me luck," and walked into the office, closing the door behind her.

Within five minutes the door opened and Betina poked her head out. "She's not happy." She gestured. "Come on in. We'll talk her into it."

He walked into the office and closed the door behind him. Valerie sat with her legs crossed, tapping a pencil on the desktop. Her dark stare drilled into him from across the room.

As I did here, I sometimes put a chapter break at the beginning of a new scene or point of view change. It leaves us wanting to know more right away.

Another opportunity for a hook is in the blurb. A little teaser to get a reader’s attention.

Mistaken for a blackmailer, socialite Valerie Kane will do anything to keep sexy Italian crime writer Antonio Daniato from publicly exposing her, and Antonio is wickedly intent on seeing how far Valerie will go to protect her reputation.

I hope you enjoyed my mini-workshop on hooks, and if you’re an author, I encourage you to try this technique sometime. If you’re a reader, I hope you’ll find writers who keep you reading chapter after chapter, when you know you should put that bookmark in and get to sleep!

Stop by my website, LauraBreck.com, for more writing tips, excerpts from Secret Vegas Lives (available now from RedRosePublishing.com) and the second book in the series, Scandalous L.A. Desires (coming in 2010.) And check out my monthly drawing, where I give away a heart-shaped carabiner and lipstick USB drive!

I donate a portion of the proceeds of Secret Vegas Lives to The Shade Tree Shelter in Las Vegas, a shelter for women, children and their pets. Find out more about this marvelous shelter on The Shade Tree’s page on my website.

It’s a privilege to share today with you, and if you’d like, leave a comment or question and I’ll be around all day to chat. One random commenter will win a goodie bag of my promotional items.

Thank you!
Buy Secret Vegas Lives at RedRosePublishing.com


One of the primary goals of my writing is to give readers a world into which they can escape the stress of life. And a fun read for lounging on the beach or cuddling up with a blanket and a cup of tea. ~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance.

Another goal is to make a difference in the world. That is why each of my books will sponsor a community program, and a percentage of my proceeds will be donated to that organization.

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my family, I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Midwest Fiction Writers, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, ESPAN, and Elements of RWA. I blog every Wednesday on RosesOfProse.blogspot.com
It's November, and this time of year always gets me thinking about what I've thankful for.I always feel a bit nostalgic during the holidays, but I've spent a lot of time this entire year thinking about what makes me happy. For longer than I can remember I had a habit of doing everything that suited everyone around me. If someone needed something I would drop whatever I had going for myself to help them. It didn't matter if it was for the kids, a teacher, a group I belonged to, or a friend, I put everyone else first.

Somewhere around the beginning of the year I realized I couldn't do that anymore, and I began looking for places I could change. I've taken some heat for my own changes this year from family and friends. Some people have seen what I'm doing and have understood and applauded it. Others...not so much.

Regardless, I've found a semblance of inner happiness that makes it easier to maintain. I've looked hard at myself and those around me over the last year. I've paid attention to what I respect in others and what turns me off in people. I've figured out triggers in each of my relationships and have worked at avoiding them. I mean, if you know that talking about an ex is going to cause a fight with your current man, why bring it up, right? Unless you want to fight. I don't.

I've looked hard at myself and things that I do to irritate others. Sometimes it's a matter of pushing their buttons unintentionally, but I'm working to become more aware of it. Life is too short to spend it fighting and arguing and making everyone around you miserable. Or being miserable. I still have work to do, but since the beginning of the year I've noticed a mental shift in myself and a lot of the people around me. It's made me realize something. Until I could make myself happy, I couldn't really make anyone else happy. My efforts to change myself have changed others around me from my kids, to my husband, to friends and family and coworkers.

I'm grateful to be surrounded by people who understand me and who're willing to stick by me while I figure myself out and learn where all the new parts of my life fit.

It seems the romance industry is still going strong during this economy, yet publishers are reorganizing, downsizing, dropping authors and becoming pickier than ever. And they're taking their sweet little time about it. Somehow, whether you're agented or not, the wait time is long and drawn out--often becoming a real downer for authors who are anxious to know their fate. The most interesting thing that's come out of all this is that authors who used to snub ePublishing are now seeking them out. Authors are finally getting an education on the world of ePublishing...It's about darn time!

Okay, I know that when it comes to advances, authors can see those dollar signs in their mind, but they may be disappointed because there's always a catch. Depending on the publisher, authors can get as little as $500 or anywhere in the six-figures...before you think you can quit your day job, do your homework. Although advances are great in the print world, ePublishing offers almost an instant income without having to pay back the advance before royalties kick in. There are plenty of authors who offer great insight into the publishing industry, but the most impressive is possibly Lynn Viehl who provides actual breakdowns, royalty statements, and details of the reality of being a NY Times Bestseller.

Her post really got me thinking...

Everyone chooses the path they want to go to reach publication, including me. There's really no wrong way. However, I chose ePublishing to start my writing journey and I've never regretted it one bit. In fact, I love all my publishers and I love how personable they are and I love their eagerness, their willingness to help their authors. Some ePubs may be more professional than others (like with any business) but while I'm working toward a NY contract, I'm already getting exposure and practice. I'm learning about promoting myself, connecting with my readers and building a backlist. This is the time to write the things that I've always wanted to write. I can push the envelope and I know my publishers are more than willing to take chances. Because of the low overhead, they can do just that. In my eyes, ePublishing is still a win-win.

By no means am I not working on book proposals to get my foot in the door with NY. Why else would I have gotten an agent? My dream doesn't force me to choose the two, in fact, I'm able to balance the benefits of both worlds. I know there are thousands of other authors who also dream of NY sales but this is a marathon, not a sprint. It's about persistence and forging ahead even when the going gets tough. It's about pushing yourself past your limits and never looking back. It's about believing in yourself no matter the odds. It's also about aligning yourself with the right people who will ride that wave with you during the ups and downs. It's also a good thing to have author friends, most importantly, non-author friends because you'll need them both to provide the normalcy to keep you sane.

Now for the reality check portion: New York isn't what it's cracked up to be...there are more pressures, tighter deadlines, more competition, more reasons to cry. I hear it quite frequently from my fellow NY author friends and, to be honest, I'm simply happy with my approach to this industry. I used to get that twinge of envy to hear about their NY sales but over time, I've found that comfort zone in which I'm almost glad I haven't gotten contracts in my hand. Actually, I'm taking my time and I'm content with honing my craft, acquiring more experience, and preparing myself for when "it" happens. By then I should be taking every conceivable issue in stride. For now, I'll happily listen to the nuggets of wisdom and keep the secrets in my back pocket as reference. I also plan on writing for myself. I plan on being persistent because I want to secure a place on the bookshelves for years to come, not just for the time being...


P.S. One Monday each month (if I remember) on my personal blog, I participate in Excerpt Monday where I post a snippet from a current or upcoming release. I may even post an scene from a work in progress...if I'm really brave, I may even post a piece from my proposal that I'll be sending my agent. It's a lot of fun and will give readers a taste of my writing style.

**UPDATE: Congratulations DANICA AVET for winning an autographed ARC of BPOD. If we can't find your email, Please send me your name and mailing address to jaxcassidy@gmail.com to claim your prize!**

This interview isn't just a one-on-one with another author, it's an interview a long time in the making... Five years ago I met Kelly in Los Angeles while she was participating in a screenwriting fellowship. At the time, I was working on my own screenplays and struggling to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Kelly and I just clicked and became fast friends. During one of our weekly outings, she told me about her desire to write a romance. In fact, she had already started one and was practically done. She urged me to try my hand at it since I already had one foot in the door with writing romantic comedy screenplays. She thought I'd be good at it and even handed me a stack of Karen Marie Moning books as research. I think I devoured those Highlander stories in a few days and that's when I made the decision to try my hand. I had read romances in my teens but it struck more of a chord in me as an adult. I began to understand how different I viewed these stories now, including the strong heroines and engaging storytelling. Kelly had thrown down the gauntlet and, of course, I wasn't one to refuse a good challenge! Starting our romance writing journey together wouldn't have been so much fun without her constant enthusiasm. Although all good things did come to an end (kinda) when she moved home, and there were some large patches of time where we didn't contact one another, but I could never thank Kelly enough for introducing me to romances. Without meeting her, I may never would have found my calling.

Yes, we've come full circle and although we took different routes to reach publication, Kelly THANK YOU for planting that seed in my head all those years ago. With that, I'm thrilled to have her visiting HoR and proud to introduce my dear friend and fellow author...

You've won the Laurie for your paranormal contemporary BED & BREAKFAST and finaled in the Golden Heart for the same manuscript, yet had you ever imagined your urban fantasy would be the genre that would launch your writing career?

Nope. B&B had gotten a lot of recognition, and for a while there, especially after it won the Laurie, finaled in the GH, and landed me an agent, I really thought this was the book, the one that'd get sold. But it never happened. That was a tough year. I watched a lot of friends sell and move on with their careers, and while I was super happy for them, it was still hard to keep my chin up and be optimistic. There was nothing else I could do but continue writing. So, I wrote a few more manuscripts -- a paranormal romance, a YA fantasy, and I revised B&B into BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS. It, along with the YA, finaled in the 2008 GH. (I had also finished the urban fantasy and decided to enter it in the GH as well. It was the only one that didn't final. Little known fact there.) Figures the one that didn't final would be the one to sell. My world is so backwards! :-)

Seriously, though, once BPOD was finished, I had a very special feeling about it. It was unlike anything else I'd written. I followed my own rules, and it was the only book I had written without the market or anything else in mind. You'll hear people tell you to write what you love and not to write to the market, but you'll also hear agents and editors say how they're looking for more of this or more of that. So, for an aspiring writer (or at least for me), it was hard not to write with the market in mind, to not think "Editor X said at the panel she's dying to see more paranormal zombie romance. Maybe I should write that..." When you're constantly knocking on doors, you want to give folks what's hot, what they're looking for. But, after a lot of failed attempts, and getting so close, I finally just sat down, put the romance aside, and decided to write the dark story that had been stewing my head for a while. I love reading romance and getting to the Happy Ending, but as a writer I learned that my voice naturally gravitates toward a darker side.

BETTER PART OF DARKNESS is the first release in your urban fantasy series and it's already garnered a lot of excellent reviews, including the Fall 2009 SIBA Okra Pick. How do you feel about all the buzz and is this added pressure for you?

I feel great about the buzz! Relieved, actually. Before the book started on the review rounds, I felt a lot of pressure. My publishing house had invested time and money in me. I wanted to do well for, not only my own sanity, but for them as well. And I kept telling myself, "Just one great review, that's all I ask. I'll be okay as long as someone out there likes it." But, so far so good. I'm still prepared to get some 'meh' reviews. If there's anything I've learned through the years it's that you can't please everyone. Someone is bound to not like or 'get' your work. It's like art. It's subjective. But, yeah, it's a big relief that people are responding well to the book. The pressure has now shifted on the book selling well. And if this book does well, the pressure will no doubt move to another area -- like my second book. :-)

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began? How much has the economy impacted your career?

I've learned to relax, trust, and have patience. The publishing industry is one of those things that teaches you patience or demands it -- how ever you want to look at it. :-) Once you sell, decisions are taken out of your hands and you have to be okay with that. I've learned to chill out about what's going on behind the scenes and to focus on my work. This economy really drives that point home. There are no guarantees that just because I sold once, I'll keep selling. So the writing has to be stellar, and I have to leave the stress about things I can't control behind me, or it ends up affecting my work.

How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going? Any secret desire to write different genres?

It's been full of ups and downs. I'd been trying to break into 'working writer-dom' since I was in my late teens, so about fifteen years or so, first with plays and screenplays and then with fiction. It's been, quite frankly, full of frustrations, full of 'almosts' and a lot of times I wanted to give up. (Which I did a few times). But the thing that always brought me back wasn't the need to sell, sell, sell; it was the spark of an idea. I couldn't stop being a creative person, couldn't stop the scenes and story ideas from coming. It's part of me. So I decided to keep going, keep writing new material, keep putting my work out there, because that's who I was. I couldn't stop writing, and I couldn't stop wanting to share it with the world. I figured if I kept going that at some point, the planets would align, the book would be the right book at the right time on the right editor's desk, and a sale would be made. Of course, the only thing I knew for sure, though, was that I sure as hell wouldn't sell if I quit.

And, yes, there are a few genres that I'd love to write in. I've been writing young adult for a few years now, and finally have a project that I really love. Fingers crossed! I also really love historical fiction and commercial fiction with a paranormal slant. I can definitely see myself working on side projects of that nature.

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

No. No posse. For the most part I write alone, in a vacuum. I have an excellent CP in fellow urban fantasy and YA author, Jenna Black. We typically share our work once rough drafts are done, but that's usually on new work or a new genre where we still have those the first-book uncertainties. We don't critique everything and on contracted work (sequels and such) we don't usually share unless we feel the need for a second pair of eyes or there's an issue with the story. We've known each other for several years now, and we have very similar creative minds, and we like the same kinds of stories. It's a wonderful partnership. We meet for lunch about every other week to discuss the publishing biz, our own writer neurosis, and just to eat and gab. It's a great way to connect and have some face to face time.

Tell us about your latest release BETTER PART OF DARKNESS? Would you like to share an excerpt for our readers?

THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS started as 'what ifs'. What if our myths and traditions of heaven and hell were grounded in some obscure truth? What if the beings in these places were nothing like we had imagined, but as real and as diverse as the human race? And what would our world be like if they integrated into our society?

The story takes place in Atlanta about a decade after the Revelation (the discovery of two alternate dimensions: heaven-like Elysia and hellish Charbydon). Atlanta has become a crossroads of sorts, a thriving melting pot of human and off-world races. My heroine, Charlie Madigan, is a divorced mother of one and her job with the Integration Task Force puts her right in the middle of the off-world population. It's her job, along with her partner, Hank, a siren from Elysia, to see that everyone obeys the law, but when a new off-world drug is released in Underground, her daughter is targeted, and her ex-husband makes a fateful bargain to win her back, there's nothing in heaven or earth (or hell for that matter) that Charlie won't do to set things right.

There an excerpt of Chapter One HERE.

What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever done, or adventure you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn about yourself?

Good question! I am not one to jump out of airplanes (I can hardly get myself inside of one to travel), but I have done a few daring things in my time. I drove my little mini-bike off a cliff one time. But I was ten when I did that. I jumped into an icy river in the wintertime -- exhilarating at first, but damn painful after you realize you have to walk a half mile to get home. But I was a teen when I did that. Um.... Okay. I'm realizing that as an adult all those daring things that were just on the tip of my tongue are all in my head and not real-life. ;-) I live vicariously through my characters!

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

Hmm. Probably something like a 'Bleeding Soul'. Dramatic and serious and dark. That's a place where I spend a lot of my creative time. :-)


Kelly Gay is the author of the upcoming urban fantasy novel, THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. She is a three-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council fellowship grant in writing. She lives in North Carolina, where she is currently working on the sequel to her debut novel and a new Young Adult series. You can learn more about Kelly at www.kellygay.net

According to Abba in Dancing Queen, anybody could be that guy. But not any song hits the right note. You guessed it, I'm a writer that prefers music when I'm writing. Normally I have a predesignated soundtrack that I listen to the entire time I'm working on a book, but this last book was a bit different.

I had my songs prechosen to work to, but when I started writing, they just didn't work. So, I went back to my iTunes library and found some that worked for me. The next day that music would be more of a distraction so I would have to shift to a completely different mood. It was bizarre, I bounced around between stuff like Coldplay to mood CDs you would listen to during a massage or facial to Godsmack and Disturbed.

There were a few songs that stayed completely true to the story that were on that first playlist, songs that I'd planned to be sort of like Kami's theme songs. Turns out that while I had the song right, in a few cases I had the character wrong. And through it all, Abba continued to pop in with Dancing Queen. Funny thing about that song, when it doesn't match the rest of your play list and you've been sitting and writing for 2.5 hours, it's a great signal to get up and move around. Dancing around like a loon every time that song came on kept me writing until shortly after 5:00 this morning, which allowed me to finish up the story I was working on.

So, here's my playlist. Which songs do you think were for the hero and which were for the heroine?

~ Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects
~ I Bruise Easily by Natasha Bedingfield
~ I'm a Believer by The Monkees
~ Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park (not sure of his spelling)
~ Hanging By A Moment by Lifehouse
~ If I Fall by Tara MacLean

Normally the Fall brings with it cold weather, changing leaves, and a whole lot of planning for holiday events. For writers, it's about getting all your deadlines finished and sent off before the industry closes for the holidays. It's no fun having to wait three months for responses so there should be an influx of submissions going to editors about this time. That's not to say that they aren't bombarded anyway, but this time of year is notorious for last minute queries so you're added to the 'waiting' queue.

I've been busy re-writing my paranormal proposal. It is rather challenging, however, I do have a reason to celebrate. I recently sold my short contemporary to Amber Quill Press, I've already gotten a January 2010 release. So on top of priority writing deadlines, I've got to promo my butt off in order to prepare for the January release. That's just the tip of the iceberg for writers. It's a constant rotation that a writer has to expect in order to stay in the game. It certainly seems like there are a lot of writers out there, but there's room enough for everyone...well, that's what I believe, anyway.

I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is to be on a schedule. I've been pretty lenient on myself until recently. Even authors have their bad months and mine seemed to have lasted for several--but now that I've got my head back on straight, I realized how far behind I really am. Hopefully this time next week I'll be bragging about meeting my own personal deadlines...

Hopefully you've all had a great Halloween. Mine was a quiet evening snuggled up under the blankets while watching "Ice Age 3". It was a great way to celebrate without having to weather the cold. :)

Now it's time to get back to commitments. Fun.

UPDATE: **And the winner is ELI! Congrats on winning an autographed copy of Gemma Halliday's book. You should be contacted with the good news.**

One of my good friends, GEMMA HALLIDAY, is in the house and she's giving us some hot gossip on her HOT new series set in the heart of Hollywood...this is going to be one of those keeper series for me since I lived in L.A. for almost a decade (still miss it)...so I've been waiting for this book to come out! If you know Gemma's HIGH HEELS SERIES, you probably already know it's going to be a fun, laugh-out-loud, and entertaining read. This is the type of mystery that doesn't make your stomach queasy but brings a smile to your face. You really should pick it up...need more convincing? She's got a link to the infamous L.A. Informer Online site where you can find out where the gossip all began....

And here's Gemma:

You're known for your HIGH HEELS series, where high crime meets high fashion in fabulous Beverly Hills...and now you've got a juicy new series set around Hollywood headlines. I bet you had a lot of fun writing about this topic since it's everyone's secret (or not-so secret) obsession. What prompted you to come up with the idea for the series?

I’d love to take full credit for the idea, but my editor actually had a lot to do with it. I’d gotten tons of positive reader response to my tabloid reporter character Felix Dunn in the Heels series, so we thought it would be fun to do a sort of spin-off, borrowing him and a few other Heels characters in the process. Plus the whole tabloid setting gives me a legitimate excuse to indulge my TMZ addiction.

Has it been a challenge writing it with a new baby in the house?

Yes. Times ten. Baby’s adorable, but he hasn’t yet learned the fine art of power-napping.

Most people may not know that you have a background in screenwriting and acting. Did you have difficulty transitioning to screenplays?

My books tend to be very dialogue heavy, so switching between book and screenplay format isn’t that difficult of a stretch for me. The hardest part has been now boiling my paragraphs of description down to a couple sentences for the screenplays.

Have you ever considered going back to acting, even part-time?

It would be fun to do a cameo or something like that should one of my books hit the big screen, but other than that, I’m a lot happier writing than trying to stay “camera ready”.

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began?

Oh boy, hard to pick just one thing. I’d say that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve never really “made it” in this business. It’s a continuous battle to stay on top of trends and continue delivering what readers want. Which can be a fun challenge, but it’s always challenging.

How much has the economy impacted your career?

Interesting question. No doubt about it, publishing houses have been taking some hits in the current economy. But, I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure why. Everywhere I turn I keep hearing how romance is one industry that’s doing well in the bad economy. Go figure.

How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

It’s been a fun ride. :) There have definitely been some unexpected twists and turns, but I’m pretty happy with where I am and where things seem to be going for me. As to where I see myself going… the NY Times bestseller list, of course. ;)

Any secret desire to write different genres?

Not sure if it’s really a secret, but I’d love to write YA.

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I do have a group of other writers whose opinions I trust more than my own. Whenever I have something new, I’ll usually send it out to at least one of them (whoever isn’t in a deadline cave at the time) to read. We’re pretty spread out, so we don’t meet regularly, but they’re always an email away. And, no, we write in all different genres, which I think makes it even more fun reading each others' stuff.

Tell us about your latest release SCANDAL SHEET?

SCANDAL SHEET is the first book in my new Hollywood Headlines series, that focuses on the explotiots of L.A. most infamous tabloid, the L.A. Informer. Tina Bender is the Informer’s gossip columnist extraordinaire. She knows everything about everyone who's anyone. And she's not afraid to print it. That is, until she receives a threatening note, promising, "If you don't stop writing about me, you're dead." Teaming with a built bodyguard, a bubbly blonde, and an alcoholic obituary writer, Tina sets out to uncover just which juicy piece of Hollywood gossip is worth killing over.

Would you like to share an excerpt for our readers?

Absolutely. :) They can read an excerpt of the first scene of listen
to an audio excerpt of the first three chapters on my website at:

What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever done, or adventure you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn about yourself?

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not much of a sports gal. I did earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, though, so I guess sparring big 6 foot guys would be the most extreme thing I’ve done. What did I learn? I can beat up 6 foot tall guys. ;)

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

Great questions! Lol! Um… Rockin’ Red, because I love painting my toenails the brightest color I can find.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Advice for writers: Keep writing! And try to read as many other authors in your genre as possible.

Parting words for readers: buy SCANDAL SHEET! ;)


In her previous life, Gemma worked in such diverse jobs as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic. All of which have given her excellent fodder for future characters.

Gemma started writing fiction in 2002 and after winning several awards as an unpublished writer, her career kicked into high gear in 2005 when she won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award. One month later she was offered her first book contract, saving her from adding another dead end to her eclectic employment history.

Her first book, SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, was published in 2006, and since then Gemma has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Reader's Choice award and two RITA nominations.

Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is hard at work on her next book.

Want to find out more about Gemma, visit her online: www.gemmahalliday.com

I didn't realize how much I took my health for granted until the swine flu knocked me clear on my butt. I'm usually a fighter. The minute my body doesn't feel quite right, I delve into my arsenal of herbs and start the process of kicking whatever is trying to invade my immune system to the curb.

Nothing I tried this time worked, and I've spent the better part of the last ten days in a dizzy, fever induced fog. The weeks before I fell ill, I was putting in long hours, working hard on my proposal and longing for the chance to spend just an extra few hours in bed. My wish came true, but not at all in the way I imagined. I'm not 100% better yet, but I feel well enough to try and enter the land of the living.

My agent has my latest WIP in her hands and is getting ready to begin submissions. I hope to have good news really soon.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

My office and I have been very close friends lately as I have been working on several projects while having a huge blog party and watching constantly the bestseller list at My Bookstore and More to see what SOUNDS TO DIE BY is doing (and I thought I'd moved past the neurosis stage.)

Anyway, in the last two weeks I spent 12 days the Top 10 Bestseller list at MBAM. This last weekend SOUNDS TO DIE BY was voited Best book of the week at Long and Short Reviews (well it was a tie, but I'm still excited to get to make that claim.) I'm having a blog party at my personal blog with a different guest every day. Today's guest is my ediotr Lindsey Faber and she's addressing a super scary topic. You should totally go check it out. I look forward to reading the comments when I get home from volunteering at the youngest kiddo's school.

But the best part of the last two weeks, the part that gives me warm fuzzies and makes me feel all gooey inside, are the reader emails. Like most authors, I was sure that I'd written a good book but was a little worried that my message might not translate well. So far it has. I have gotten some amazing responses to the story, which has helped motivate me to get book 2 finished. Though you guessed it. I'm worried it won't be as good as the first one. LOL Guess I'll be counting on Lndsey to help make sure it is.

Why do you think that we have so much self-doubts when it comes to something that really means something to us? Why do we convince ourselves that something we know we do well isn't going to be recieved well?

Every writer reaches a point in their career where paranoia becomes a huge obstacle in the writing progress. In my case, getting my proposal to my lovely agent. She's been good at the subtle hints but she's very anxious about reading this new project. It's totally not what I usually write and it's a lot of pressure. Maybe these unnecessary fears are causing my own subliminal sabotage. Yep, it's easy to start the wheels of self-doubt, anxiety, and paranoia to turn when your head is stuck in personal struggles. What keeps me going, even with all the pressures that comes with publishing, is my love of storytelling. Maybe it's because I feel it deep in my gut that this project may be 'the one'. I've probably felt that with all my projects but this time it's different in a good but hurt-so-bad kind of way.

Well, during this writing lull I decided to contact a few of my writer friends for some pep talks. Some of these authors have even made it to the bestseller lists in the past...but they're going through this bizarre transition I'm going through with their own proposals. It's scary. No one's safe and if someone who's had good success in the past are struggling to find a publisher now...it makes it even more intense for someone who's at the beginning of their career like me. Writers need other writers. Often along the way we step back, but it's only for personal clarity and reflection. Sometimes we're needy, and sometimes we need the alone time but the pure truth is that we're never alone--after all, no one understands writers better than other writers who walk the same path.

Honest, this post isn't meant to be a downer. It's about perseverance and commitment to a goal, to yourself. It's a commitment to achieving that career that we've all been working toward for as long as we could remember. We just need to remind ourselves the reasons why. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the moment, the crisis...but if we can't see ourselves facing these same speed bumps in our future, then maybe we should stop and consider if this choice we've made is really what we want....

As for me--I'm making a stand to fight the paranoia monster! I've decided that I'm not going to allow myself to fall into that gray area where authors throw away their career because they couldn't take the pressure. I've seen it happen with girlfriends who have put out one amazing book that garnered rave reviews and instant lists who have quit before they even began--those one hit wonders who should have kept the paranoia locked up. It's a shame to see such talents wasted...a real shame. Not me. I'm a fighter, I'm going to keep my eye on reaching the finish line. After all I've been through, I think it's good to have some self-doubt to get us to re-evaluate things. It just means we're human. We're bound to make it happen if we never give up. Those famous words that Rose said to Jack on the raft after the Titanic sank, "I'll never give up, Jack. I'll never give up." Let those words ring in your ears a few times and it'll stick.

Goal for this week: I'm going to put my all into my proposal, then I'm going to close my eyes and press send.

**CONGRATULATIONS LYNNE ROBERTS for winning an autographed book of BUNCO BABE TELLS ALL by Maria Geraci! You'll be contacted shortly. If you didn't leave an email addy, please email me at jaxcassidy@gmail.com.**

I love interviewing authors I've met and authors I call friend. A lot of interesting things happen at conferences and you'd have to show up to find out...Anyway, I love attending these week long or weekend events to meet the people I've been corresponding with via email for years. Mostly, I love the connection I have with other authors who share a common career path and desire to succeed. When Maria and I met up in Washington, she kept me laughing and she's the most down-to-earth person you'll ever meet. Contrary to what people believe, authors have to keep their day jobs until they hit it big and it could be a while. I admire her work ethic and commend her for being a nurse. She's smart, funny, and very personable--the type of person you can go out to dinner with and chat all night. Her books have the same fun and intimate feel and I hope that you'll pick one up. I'm telling you, it's a great read when you're curled up during those cold, rainy (or snowy) nights. Stoke the fires, have a glass of wine or a cup of hot cocoa because you'll keep turning the pages and forgetting the craziness around you...

Now for the interview :)

What made you decide to write about Bunco and what exactly is this game (for those who are unfamiliar with it?

Bunco is a fast paced dice game, usually played by women. Think of a guy’s poker night, but substitute margaritas for the beer and gossip for the cigars. Plus, there’s prizes.

I’ve played Bunco for over 16 years now. It’s a totally fun girl time and a great way to de-stress. When I decided to write a women’s fiction novel, Bunco seemed like the perfect backdrop. Think Bunco meets Sex in the City, and voila! You have my Bunco Babes!

How did you come up with the concept of your series? Was this your first project, if not, how many manuscripts did you write before you took a chance on this?

I wrote 2 historicals before I wrote BUNCO BABES TELL ALL. The first one was terrible- my first ever attempt at writing. The 2nd historical was much better. That manuscript was a finalist in the American Title 2 contest and helped land me an agent.

The concept for the Bunco Babes series actually came to me at the RWA convention in Reno. I was out with friends at dinner and had on my “lucky” Bunco bracelet. I looked down at it and it came to me in an epiphany. I had to write about a group of friends who’ve played Bunco every week for the past 10 years, but one of them was still single… etc, etc… You get my drift.

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began? How much has the economy impacted your career?

Wow, that’s a loaded question since I knew absolutely nothing about publishing before I decided to write! And what I knew before I sold would fill an ocean. I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is to always expect the unexpected. People come and go, an idea that seemed “hot” one day, isn’t the next. The only thing you can control about your career is the quality of your writing and your professional attitude.

I’ll be honest, since I sold in a down economy I’m not sure how much it’s impacted my career. I know that my publisher (Berkley) has gone green and that’s reduced paper and postage waste. Personally, I love doing copyedits on the computer. But I would have loved more ARCs, a bigger promotion budget for my book, that kind of thing.

BUNCO BABES GONE WILD is the second book in your Bunco Babe series, can you tell us more about it and share an excerpt of your latest release?

Bunco Babes Gone Wild is the story of a woman who decides to shake up her boyfriend after he presents her with a calculator for their 5 year anniversary (instead of the engagement ring she’d been expecting). So she goes to my fictional town of Whispering Bay, Florida, home to the Bunco Babes (the characters I introduced in my first novel, Bunco Babes Tell All) to seek solace and advice from her big sister. She gets a lot more than she bargained for though, and finds herself in the middle of a Bunco feud and a theft. She also meets a hunky new guy she can’t seem to stay away from. All in all, it’s a sexy, humorous, light women’s fiction story.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dave pulled off his jeans. Underneath he had on a pair of board shorts. Georgia crossed her arms over her chest. “That’s a bathing suit.”

“You sound disappointed.”

“Well, I’m not.”

He gave her a look that said he didn’t believe her. “Your turn.”

“I’m not stripping down to my underwear.”

“Suit yourself.” He walked out the sliding glass doors and onto the beach.

Georgia watched, blatantly jealous as he dove into the cool blue water.

He made her feel prudish. But she wasn’t a prude. There was just something… unnerving about him. Like she was betraying Spencer. Which was ridiculous. Dave had absolutely nothing over Spencer. Spencer was classically handsome, smooth, successful, smart, urbane, thoughtful (well, most of the time).

Dave on the other hand, was just sort of good looking. Sure, he had a nice butt and every once in a while he could be funny, but he was like beer. It was tasty, but who wanted beer if you could have champagne? And she was definitely a champagne kind of girl.

If Dave could strip down to almost nothing, then so could she. Besides, he’d already seen her boobs. And it wasn’t like she was naked. She was wearing a bra and underwear. Her bikini was a lot more revealing than—

Her fingers froze on the jeans zipper.

Shit. She’d forgotten she was wearing granny panties.

But that was good, wasn’t it? It was in no way revealing. Or sexy. Or anything remotely connected to sexy.

She bit her bottom lip. What if Dave thought this was the sort of underwear she wore all the time? She craned her neck to see him floating on top of the calm water. It looked absolutely blissful.

A river of sweat ran down her back, pooling into her already damp jeans.

The hell with it. What did she care what Dave Hernandez thought of her underwear?


How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

I don’t think I’d call my journey tumultuous. I’m probably pretty lucky by most standards. It took me 5 years to get the “call” but I don’t think I was ready earlier than that.

I hope to continue to sell books, gain more fans, become a better writer. And of course, get bigger advances!

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I write alone, but I have a great group of supportive friends. My local RWA chapter meets once a month and of course, there’s fabulous online networking. I can’t imagine how writers did it before the computer age. It must have been very lonesome! I have a couple of critique partners who I depend on to give me advice, but they don’t live near me, so again, thank God for the internet!

What should readers expect to see from you in the future? Will you ever write outside of the contemporary genre?

I’m working on a new women’s fiction novel titled THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB. It will come out early 2011 from Berkley. It’s quirky and hopefully funny and sexy, like my Bunco books.

I began by writing historical romance, but I don’t really see myself going back to it. However, you never know, right?

When you sold your first book, how did you feel and what did you do to celebrate?

I was sick with the flu, so I “celebrated” by going to bed and sleeping. Honest! I wish I could describe the feeling when my agent called to tell me I’d sold. It was part relief, part disbelief, part haze (maybe because of the cold medicine I was on!), but honestly, I’ll never forget it. It was like a dream come true.

You threw a crazy fun Bunco Bash at the Romantic Times Convention, do you plan on doing another at RT next year? Don’t hold out on me.

I loved throwing that Bunco Bash! It was so much fun, and I wish I could do it again. But unfortunately, I’m not. The timing on my release just doesn’t make it financially prudent since I won’t have a Bunco book to promote next year.

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

I’d be “Clear and Shiny.” Because what you see is what you get with me. And of course, I have such a shiny, fun disposition.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Keep writing. Write what you love and don’t ever give up!

About Maria:

Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic, Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote).She lives with her husband and their children in north Florida where she works part-time as a labor and delivery nurse by night and writes romance full time during the day (sleep is not an option). Her first book, Bunco Babes Tell All, a sexy, funny women’s fiction story debuted in May, 2009. The follow-up, Bunco Babes Gone Wild, comes out in November. Maria is currently working on a romantic comedy scheduled for an early 2011 release date. You can visit her website at www.mariageraci.com.

I'm sure you're expecting Abi but she's in bed with the FLU which has been going around. Last week I caught something and luckily it wasn't nearly as bad but I guess I'm doing a double blog post this week.

What shall we talk about? (Since I was suddenly asked to be a replacement)

I've been worldbuilding because that's what you do when you write paranormals. Unfortunately, I was so smug about creating such an amazing universe that I tend to get consumed by it. As I was working on my proposal...which is taking much to long...I realized that my overactive imagination may be the reason why I'm having so much difficulties writing it. As a writer, we are filled with details and it's about how much we want to reveal to the readers to keep them hooked. While I was so eager to expand on this world, I forgot that readers want to be whisked away, not bogged down with too much story. That got me thinking--instead of investing so much on ideas that would bore folks, I need to focus on things that should matter the most in a romance: Emotion. Relationship. Love.

Because I spent most of my life writing screenplays, I'm very visual in my head. It's a positive and a negative when it comes to writing. The positive is that I am pretty decent at dialogue, the negative is that I tend to go over the top. Writing books is a different level of writing all together. You have to make things simple, yet every single word has got to count. Readers want to invest in the characters, they want the jarring emotion, they want the intensity of the relationship...but they also want to be able to read a story that makes sense. Sounds easy, right? WRONG. Simple isn't easy. Simple is complex in its own way and the challenge has really gotten me to think outside the box. Well, the epiphany came just in time but the downside of understanding is me having to re-write all these chapters to fit the new story mold I've created.

Fun, fun, fun. I get to start over from page one again.

If you're sick, I feel for you. Been there and finally recovered.

If you're well, you need to write! What's your excuse?

So, it's 2:00 and I'm just now getting to my computer for the day, which is very strange for me since I live at my computer. Anyway, I've been asked a lot recently about writing a blind hero. I don't closely know anyone who is blind, but I did try to become aware of what a blind person would have to go through on an daily basis. Our very own Jenius Jax joined some other friends and blindfolded me one night at a retreat. They had fun and I gained insight.

When I was writing Ian (my blind hero), I watched Daredevil several times and I thought back on At First Sight with Val Kilmer. I was watching Ray for the first time a few days ago, and it made me think of Ian in Sounds to Die By. I know one person who lost her vision as she aged, but I don’t know anyone who has been blind for most of their life. I relied on movies and my own imagination to make sure I captured Ian’s character correctly and handled his lack of vision as accurately and believably as possible.

When I watched Daredevil, I paid attention to how things sounded and how he could judge where things were because of sound waves, but I didn’t go so far as to give Ian an actual visual sensation from the sounds. That was one of my favorite things they did in that movie, but I wanted Ian to have to get through life without that sort of advantage. I also needed to get inside Ian’s head, so I blindfolded myself a few times to see what I noticed when I didn’t rely on my vision to get me through the house. I would shower and dress with all the lights off and my eyes closed to consider even the small challenges a blind person would deal with.

I felt that I’d done a pretty good job of writing a blind hero, and after watching Ray, I’m even more confident that I did. Jamie Foxx (Ray) was on a bus at one point and the driver asked him how he got around without a cane or guide dog—something Ian does in the book by choice at times. He explained how everything makes a different sort of sound and that he wore hard-soled shoes because they made sound vibrations off the walls so when he came to a doorway the sound changed. I used the sounds waves vibrating in the air around him as the explanation in the book, but Ray’s sense of hearing was a lot like what I did with Ian’s character. For example, he was in a restaurant on a date and made a comment about the Hummingbird outside the window. His date was surprised that he could hear it, but he sort of shrugged it off with the remark that you just had to listen. Ian does the same kind of things to Kieralyn.

Sounds to Die By has by far been my most challenging story to write, but it has also been extremely rewarding. In doing a few simple exercises of blindness, my writing improved because I had to find new ways to describe things, but I also came to appreciate the things we take for granted a little more. Like a great song.

For example, I love the song Do You Know by Enrique Iglesias. If you listen to it normally, you hear the ping pong ball bouncing at the beginning, but you can easily lose the sound of it when the music and lyrics kick in. By closing your eyes and concentrating on that ping pong ball, the rhythm and feel of it before the song kicks into full swing, you can hear the ball beneath the lyrics and music. You feel its rhythm more viscerally. Try it. I’d love to know if the same is true for you.

Available Now!
Sounds to Die By, Sensory Ops book 1
Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-677-8
Samhain | Kindle Version | Books on Board

Also, check out my month long blog party. I’m giving away some great prizes with an eReader for the grand prize on Halloween. www.nikkiduncan.com/blog.

I normally love cold season just because I can pull up my boots, wrap myself in the plush scarf and don my knit hat to complete the full fall/winter attire. Living in LA, when the weather dropped to 60, you'd see all the women ready for the winter to parade the latest fashion. Unfortunately, when I'm talking about 'cold season'--I'm really talking about being laid up in bed with runny nose, stuffy head, coughing, and downing cold meds like it's candy. I totally lost track of life. I even missed last Monday because I was down with the icks. Today, I'm just behind schedule because I found myself trying to catch up with my workload. Clients aren't necessarily happy when you aren't working on their projects so I had to cram a weeks worth of work into a weekend.

The only good thing that came out of being sick was catching up on tv. I don't watch the tube when I'm working and I tend to become overly obsessive. It's easy for the day to disappear and I'm wondering what day it is. Now that things are starting to ease up, I can feel a bit of breathing room. Unfortunately I'm going to have to start up on my writing projects that I've managed to neglect. I'm really excited about the current WIP because when you're writing paranormals it's always a good thing to have a breakthrough...thankfully, I had one and now I'm ready to start back up.

Hopefully next week I'll an entertaining topic--but for today, I thought I'd pop in to give you the 411 on my life....yes--even writer's have to deal with real life. :P
**UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS, JODER! You just won an autographed book from Kate Pearce! She'll be emailing in regards to your win. Thanks for playing!**

I'm one of the lucky ones who got to know Kate before all these string of releases and--let me just say, she's an incredibly amazing and lovable person inside as she is on the outside. This past conference in Washington, I finally got a chance to hang out with her in person and she's a real inspiration! We have so much in common but beyond that--she's smart, witty, and full of life--which I can't wait to spend time with her again. I am so excited about the buzz she's getting, which is SO deserved, and I'm happy to have her visit us at HoR!

**For your chance to win an autographed book by Kate Pearce, all you need to do is comment to this post and leave your email address if it's not linked to your blogger account. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday**

And now, let's get to the inteview...

You’re most known for your steamy erotic historical romances from Kensington and you have plenty of experiences writing in different genres. Was it a difficult transition for you and how do you get all the stories straight when your deadlines are close together?

When I did finally get published, I was published in 3 different erotic romance sub-genres within the first year, (Regency, Contemporary Western and Futuristic), so I never had to make a definite choice as to which single sub-genre I wanted to write and there was never any question of me having to stick with one. (I’m a great believer in not having all your eggs in one basket.) Now, of course, just to complicate matters, I’ve added paranormal historical romance to the mix with my NAL contract :)

I never have any problems keeping everything straight, because the characters are all so distinct in my head. I have written the wrong character name in occasionally, but I usually catch that before it is too late!

What have you learned most about the publishing industry since you began? How much has the economy impacted your career?

I’ve learned that in publishing things seem to happen either super-fast or super slow and that even when you make that coveted sale to NY, you just enter a whole new world of worrying and a level of paranoia that can destroy you. I’ve learned to focus on the things I can control, like writing an excellent book and turning it in on time and ignore the other stuff.

I’m not sure yet how the economy has affected my career. I’ve been lucky enough to be offered new contracts, although I know many excellent authors who haven’t. I should imagine that print runs and sales have been affected, but until I see my royalty statement in Nov/Dec I won’t be able to say precisely what the impact has been.

You recently landed a major deal to write a vampire series historical set in the Tudor period, can you tell us a little more about it? What inspired you to come up with this idea?

This was a weird one. My agent, Deidre Knight, was talking to NAL about me and was asked by the editor if I could write Tudor Vampires, because they would love some of those. So Deidre asked me. :) I thought about it while I was picking my daughter up from school and came up with an idea to base a series around King Henry VIII and his six wives. (I did Tudor politics as a minor in my history degree), the premise being, that the real reason Henry had so many wives was due to all that Vampire activity going on at his court. (of course!).

Deidre loved the idea and asked me to write up a 1 page proposal. I did that, and off it went to NAL who seemed to quite like the idea as well and asked me to send in a proposal for the first three books. I ended up doing this in three weeks…It was really tough going and I had to keep it to myself because it was all so new and we were hoping no one else was doing the same thing. :) After a couple of rewrites, to add more sex, (I think I’d gone too far the other way LOL) Deidre sent it in and gave them a couple of days to get back to us. Then we heard nothing…and we were just beginning to think we’d missed the mark, when they came back with an offer for the three books. Deidre took over the rest of the negotiations, while I went out and bought lots of non-fiction about the Tudors to refresh my memory! :)

How tumultuous was your writing journey and where do you hope to see your career going?

I wouldn’t say it’s been particularly tumultuous. Like most aspiring writers I’ve had terrible contest scores, horrible critiques, many many rejections, editors turning down fulls , editors leaving…the usual stuff that makes you want to just give up and cry. From the outset I saw it as a slow and steady progression and that’s how I still view it. I write the best book I can, and if someone wants to buy it, that’s great. If tastes change and I’m out of a job again, then I’ll just keep going and reinventing myself until I get it right again.

And of course, I’d like to be famous-did I forget to mention that?

Writers either work alone or with a group of other writers. Do you have a posse you write with and do they write in the same genre you do? Do you meet them for writer dates?

I have a great set of local critters, The Hot Writer Babes, whom I’ve worked with for several years now. We all met at a local writers group and have stuck together through a load of life experiences. Only one of them writes romance, but the four of us make a great all-round team. I also have several people who crit my work for me online-I write so many books I need them all--LOL--I don’t really brainstorm much I usually wait until I have something written down before I get any feedback on it.

Tell us about your latest release SIMPLY WICKED? Would you like to share an excerpt?

SIMPLY WICKED is book #4 of the Regency-set erotic romances set in The House of Pleasure. Here’s a quick blurb:

When Anthony Sokorvsky wakes up in the punishment corner of Madame Helen’s pleasure house, he questions where his desire for sexual punishment has led him. In an effort to change his life, he agrees to squire Madame Helene’s widowed daughter, Lady Marguerite Lockwood about town.

Marguerite has her own issues to deal with, her short marriage ended when her husband was killed in a duel with his best friend, ostensibly over her. In an effort to avoid the scandal, she’s tried to withdraw from society, but Anthony Sokorvsky proves impossible to resist.
Anthony’s nemesis, Lord Minshom refuses to give him up. To Anthony’s horror, even as he finds sexual compatibility with Marguerite, he’s still drawn to the darker side of pleasure. While the couple struggles to understand each other, Lord Minshom believes he holds all the cards to destroy their relationship. But Marguerite and Anthony discover than when it comes to love and acceptance, anything is possible.


Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 1 when Anthony is invited to meet the mysterious Lady Lockwood by her half-brother, Christian Delornay.

“Would you like me to scrub your back?”

Anthony’s startled gaze flew to the doorway. Framed against the sunlight stood Christian Delornay, Helene’s son. A permanent fixture for the last year at the pleasure house, seeing as he now lived there and worked for his mother. In the past, Anthony had never paid much attention to him, being far too busy with his own pursuit of sexual excess to worry about another man’s.

“No, I thank you.”

Christian shrugged, the gesture eloquent of his French upbringing as was his slightly accented English. From his prone position in the bath, Anthony took Christian’s measure and reckoned they were of similar height, although as he understood it, Christian was only twenty.

“Are you sure?”

At Christian’s amused tone, a now familiar burning rage churned in Anthony’s gut.

“Absolutely, and you can get out as well.”

“I am perfectly within my rights to be here. This is my mother’s dressing room after all.”

Christian moved closer until Anthony was forced to look up at him.

“You often frequent your mother’s bedroom do you?”

Christian smiled. “Unworthy of you, Lord Anthony. Try again.”

Anthony closed his eyes. “Get out.”

“I will if you agree to have dinner with me and my sister tonight.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

Christian skimmed his fingers along the rim of the bath. Anthony couldn’t take his eyes away from the slow gliding motion.

“Because I asked? Because you wish me to go away so that you can finish your bath in peace?”

“All right.”

“You will come?”

Anthony glared up at his smiling companion. “I said I would, now get out and shut the door behind you.”

Christian bowed. “We will see you at seven then in the main salon.”

As soon as Christian left, Anthony got out of the bath and dressed hurriedly in the plain brown coat, black breeches and matching waistcoat Judd had left for him. If he caught a cab down to the shipping office by the docks he should still be able to meet Valentin. He paused to check his reflection in the mirror. His lips were a little bruised and swollen, but apart from that, he looked well enough. Lord Minshom was always very careful not to mark his lovers above the neck.


You’re originally from England but moved across the pond to California, do you ever see yourself moving back? What is the most exciting thing about where you live?

I’m not sure if I could take the weather over in England anymore. I like my sunshine too much :) But I do miss my family and friends over there, so maybe when I’m famous, I’ll have a house in London as well and a private jet to take me back there quickly!

I live in the Bay Area near San Francisco and it is a fabulous place to live. You can reach the beach, the mountains, the lakes, the snow and the beauties and sophistication of the city itself all within a few hours drive. What’s not to like?

What is the most extreme sport you’ve ever done, or adventure you’ve ever taken, and what did you learn about yourself?

I did a tandem sky-dive on my 40th birthday-is that extreme enough? I learned that I can scream really loudly with terror, and yet still feel more alive and more aware of being alive than I’d ever felt before.

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

I would be Pansy Pinkalicious Sparkles because, well-that name says it all, right? And my 7 year old daughter would love it so much.

Any advice for our writers or parting words for our readers?

Just keep writing and please keep reading!!


Kate Pearce was born into a large family of girls in England, and spent much of her childhood living very happily in a dream world. Despite being told that she really needed to ‘get with the program’, she graduated from the University College of Wales with an honors degree in history.

After graduation, real life did intervene and she ended up working in finance which was not the greatest career choice for a would-be writer!

A move to the USA finally allowed her to fulfill her dreams and sit down and write that novel. Along with being a voracious reader, Kate loves trail riding with her family, ‘western style’ in the regional parks of Northern California

Kate writes in several different romance sub-genres under different names. She is a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Ellora’s Cave and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.

To find out more about Kate, visit her online at http://katepearce.com
Today is my son's 12Th birthday and I'm torn between celebrating and wanting to cry. I'm really proud of him. In these uncertain times that we live in, I've managed to raise a smart, conscientious and honest young man. But when I look at him, so tall, strong and handsome, I long for the days when he'd let me hold him for hours and rock him to sleep.

I'm happy to report that I've finished my latest WIP. As I neared the finish line, I was so excited that my hands were actually shaking when I typed 'The End'. I wanted to dive right in and start editing, but I know that I need to approach it with fresh eyes. So, it will sit on the shelf for a couple weeks until I decide to tackle it.

Enjoy the next few days everyone...my weekend will be filled with birthday cake and happy tears.

Today is the day that my debut story SOUNDS TO DIE BY releases.

I'm having a month long celebration at my blog with goodies every Saturday leading up to an eReader given away on Halloween. I've also just posted an interview with Ian and Kieralyn on my website and I'm blogging multiple places today. I’ll also be chatting and sharing excerpts today in the Samhain Cafe, on the Samhain Blog, at Shayla Black’s blog, Melissa Schroeder’s blog, and the Sizzling Pens blog.

I know, we're expecting Trish Milburn today but due to an unforeseen personal emergency Abi had to re-schedule our guest blogger today.

So, if you're interested in reading about Motivation and the four steps I think would help you through a first draft, visit me on my BLOG and find out!

October is just flying by and soon it'll be Halloween. I love that holiday, the only thing I don't love is the fright night events and horror flicks. Call me chicken but I have never enjoyed any of those things. That's where me and Mr. Right are different. He loves mindless gore movies and I want to throw up even though I know it's all Hollywood magic. Maybe I'm too visual of a person. I started out writing horror screenplays but I can't, for the life of me, sit through a horror flick without totally wigging out. Uh-oh, just let out one of my personal secrets...I guess I am a girly-girl beneath the tough exterior. I love chick flicks and I love being pampered, but don't get me wrong...I am no stranger to whipping out my vicious side when necessary.

So what do you love about the season? What will you be doing for Halloween? What is your deep, dark secrets....spill it!