Okay, I'll admit that parts of this image could be a little disturbing. But there is romance in it. The colors, the artist's attention to detail, the passion of the couple (a couple that some might think didn't belong together), and the mystical feel to it are only a few things that stick out to me.

These characters have found something special and beautiful in their world and while life goes on around them they. There's even a theme to the photo. Do you see it? If you can't, click on the picture and it will take you to a page where the artist talks about how he came up with the idea.

And speaking of finding romance in the world we live, I've given myself the challenge of looking for something romantic every day. It's occurred to me that sometimes what is romantic isn't all hearts and flowers. Sometimes it's simply something that makes you smile or that inspires you.

In the last week, here are 5 things that I've seen that struck me as romantic.

~ Jenius Jax as she stood with Mr. Right in my kitchen. They seem to always stand within touching distance and they exchange little gestures constantly that show they love each other.

~ Hanging out in the pool with CIS and Destruction. Taking time out of life's hectic schedule to play, relax and make a kid laugh holds a special kind of magic.

~ When I walked into the living room last night (after having been working late in my office) to find CIS and Chaos watching TV. Destruction was passed out in CIS' lap, and he was in no hurry to move her to her bed.

~ A massage. I had a horrible headache the other day and my shoulder was giving me fits. CIS stopped doing his chores and gave me a massage worthy of one I'd pay good money for. The headache went away and the shoulder felt much better afterwards.

~ A rainstorm. Yes, even dark gray clouds obliterating the sun and a torrential downpour pelting everything can be romantic and inspiring. How? It leaves a clean scent in the air, a brighter sky, and it makes the grass and trees a vibrant green.

So tell me, where is the romance in your life? What makes you smile? What inspires you?

I remember those summers spent watching the sunrise and leaving well past sundown after a fun-filled day with friends. My surfer hottie had sandy blond hair, a lean physique, and bright blue eyes that made me suck in my breath whenever he smiled. I remember sitting on the sand, my feet buried deep beneath the soft grains, as I watched him hitting the waves in his wetsuit. He was a natural and the beach was his second home. Whenever he rode the waves in on his longboard I would be mesmerized at his beauty and grace. He had a way with making my heart race and lightheaded with just a touch. We always laughed and most days we snuggled on the beach to watch the sun go down. We were a perfect pairing and those were the times when I thought nothing could be as perfect as being with him...

As an adult, I look back and realized that he was my first love. The one person who shaped my life and although we had grown apart and our needs changed, I knew he impacted me in so many ways. There's no regret when you've learned a lesson. In fact, all those memories...all those emotions are usable when it's time for me to add a touch of intimacy in my storytelling. I pull from different experiences, different people to build the overall characters and actions, but that's because if you use just one person to create your h/h, it may not be enough. The truth can be that fiction is always more engaging and the author has the ability to make everything larger than life to make things work.

Over the years I realized writing is a lot like surfing. The ocean is intimidating but when you step into the water--go as far out as you possibly can, even past your comfort zone, the waves are bigger and better...they're even more exciting and scarier than you expected. When the mammoth wave appears and seems like it could easily engulf you, you can either: 1. ride it in or 2. get sucked in the undercurrents.

Translation: Writing is intimidating when you first start your project but once you put words to document--and continue to write as much as possible, going with your continual stream of consciousness, the story grows and strengthens...the characters and storyline becomes more solid and shaped in ways you hadn't anticipated. When you come to a stopping point, you notice that you're now so far away from the beginning, yet so close to the end. You can either 1. keep pushing forward and worry about editing later or 2. you allow your insecurities to prevent you from reaching the end....

In both cases, what would you do?

C'mon now--you have all the answers you need. YOU have the power at your fingertips, just as you have the power to decide if you really want it bad enough...If you want to be published someday. This means there are no excuses and you should carve out time to dedicate to YOUR writing. Serious writers write regardless of the curveballs that are thrown your way. Serious writers should have realistic expectations. Not all writers will publish the first thing they've ever written. Be ready to roll up your sleeves, get that empty binder ready to house all those rejections, and be prepared to grow a thick skin. When you can accept that you're in it for the long haul...then there's no doubt in my mind that you can call yourself an author.
Emmanuelle Alspaugh joined the Judith Ehrlich Agency in August 2008. She enjoys developing long-term relationships with her clients, helping them to build their literary careers and promote their work. She also offers authors the full breadth of her editorial experience, guiding them in developing their proposals and manuscripts.

Emmanuelle represents women’s fiction, historical fiction, and romance in most subgenres. At the moment she is particularly looking for paranormal and historical romance, and urban fantasy. She also represents narrative nonfiction, memoir, psychology, business, and how-to.

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Due to vacation schedules, we did Emmanuelle's Guest Blog a little differently. I emailed Emmanuelle questions and short pitches that you guys sent me. She emailed them back to me, and I'm posting them here. I hope you get a lot out of this kind of thing.

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Pitch: Adult modeling lured Freda-Mae to New York but the need for family brought her back home to St. Ignace, in a wheelchair. Rehabilitation would have been so much easier if her physical therapist hadn't turned out to be Gene.

What seems to be working in contemporaries is the small-town setting, so if St. Ignace is a small town in Michigan, let us know. It’s also important to know the extent of the heroine’s injuries. A quadriplegic heroine would be a tough sell, so let’s eliminate room for doubt. It would also be good to know more about the plot, if you can do that in a few words. What else is going on in these characters’ lives that you can allude to? And we need a title! For example, “[TITLE] is an 85,000-word contemporary set in St. Ignace, Michigan, about a girl who returns from her hectic life as a model in New York with [X injury]....” and then something about her physical therapist. Keep it to one or two sentences for the elevator but be prepared to expand.

Pitch: Shapeshifter Micah Sloane will do anything to protect his kind from the threat of outsiders. Reluctant empath Shiloh Beck will do anything to escape from a dangerous organization. Fate brings them together, but will they survive when the legend of the wolves collides with the men behind the Institute?

I love shape-shifters so this one sounds really interesting to me. The pitch is not quite specific enough though. I know you’re trying to strike a fine balance between keeping it short and presenting enough information, and in this case we need to know a little more about the “threat.” That word, plus “dangerous organization” and “men behind the institute” are too vague. I imagine they all constitute who or what the antagonist is, and that’s pretty important, so if you can replace any of these instances with more specific wording, that would strengthen your pitch. I’d probably also cut the “legend of the wolves” part as it’s also vague and somewhat cliché. If you want to convey that Micah is a wolf shifter, simply use “Wolf” as the first word of your pitch. And query me! I’m actively seeking paranormal romance, especially shifters and vamps.

Question: I am one of the most popular writers on twitter (Sirjohn_writer) and wondered what impact that might have on obtaining an agent. I also have a web site where I give small blurbs on my completed work. Out of curiosity, would an agent ever check out a potential clients web site. If so, my site is www.sirjohn.org

Having a large number of Twitter followers is good for your platform because it means you already have an audience of sorts whom you can notify when your book is published. But a platform is always going to be secondary to the actual material. Agents may occasionally check authors’ websites but they have to first like the query. It’s rare for a man to write romance so you might consider a female pen name or find other male authors, like Nicholas Sparks, for your comps.

Pitch: "HIS REVENGE" 95K Erotic Science Fiction Novel - Alex is screwed. Tory, the man she exiled from her planet has captured her, and the human race is in danger. The revenge Tory has planned for her will be just what everyone needs. They just don't know it yet.

This pitch needs some development as there’s a lot you’re not telling us. Try to write your whole pitch in complete sentences. So for example, “HIS REVENGE is a 95,000-word erotic futuristic.” I’m thinking futuristic romance is probably your category as “erotic science fiction” isn’t a subcategory I’ve heard of yet. Futuristic romance is romance that takes place in the future and usually in space, Star Trek/Star Wars style. Comp authors might be Susan Kearney, Susan Grant, and Linnea Sinclair. You’ll want to check and see if those are appropriate comps for your novel. It’s always important to know who your comps are, as that gives agents and editors a clear idea of your market. The rest of your pitch is getting there, but still too vague. How does he capture her and what is it that everyone “needs”? I don’t have a sense of what the true conflict is.

Question: You've said you're looking for paranormal and urban fantasy. Can you tell me what kind gets you curious to read on? Are there "deal breakers'. For example, if you see the word "vampire" in the first line of a query, do you keep reading or toss it?

Thanks for asking! I’m looking for vampires, shape-shifters, demons, bad-ass angels, and most other paranormal elements. I’m less interested in ghosts only because I see so many queries about them and they often end up feeling like comedies. The key to a great paranormal or urban fantasy is the world-building. We have to be able to “see” your world as we follow the characters through the action. Too often writers will “tell” rather than “show” their world through too much narration or in dialogue between a character who knows everything and another character who knows nothing and asks all the questions. Some of my favorite paranormal authors are Nalini Singh, JR Ward, and newcomer Larissa Ione.

Pitch: SCENT OF A MAN - He’s a young Lord living a fanatically religious society that subjugates women and rigidly enforces chastity. When he transforms into a supposedly demonic creature who’s irresistible to women, there’s only one female in existence who’s immune to his pheromones. She’s an Imperial agent from a rival nation and it was never part of her mission to fall in love with the man she must betray.

Hm, this pitch is missing the subgenre designation, which is what agents and editors use to figure out how they’d market the book. “Lord” makes me think “historical.” Is this paranormal historical (less common but something we’re seeing more of)? If so, what time period? When you say “demonic creature” do you mean something paranormal? Is the “rival nation” of our world or part of a fantasy world? Clarity is of the utmost importance in any pitch or query and there’s a lot that’s confusing in this one.

Question: Do you, as a literary agent, judge a query or manuscript in a similar or different manner than when you were an editor?

I was a nonfiction editor working on travel guides, so very different from romance! Romance editors are naturally more selective than agents. Agents vet far more volume and some are willing to help an author revise before taking their manuscript to market. It’s a very competitive market however, so for debut romance I’m really looking for manuscripts that are 90% there already. Then I can add that last 10% that’s going to make it shine and make it irresistible to an editor. If it’s an amazing hook or a subgenre that’s right on trend, I may take on a manuscript that needs a bit more work, but 90% is still a good rule of thumb.

Question: Your bio says that opening suspense scenes with a dead body is a pet peeve. Is there ever a time in your mind that it’s needed?

I’m sure dead bodies in the first chapter work perfectly fine for many mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense. I don’t handle those genres because to me a dead body in the first chapter can feel like a gimmick to raise the stakes without first building the story and characters into something we care about and are invested in. An exception would be a great paranormal or historical romance with a suspense subplot, such as in Nalini Singh’s MINE TO POSSESS. In that book, the murder plot adds conflict, elevates the stakes, and heightens the suspense. But you’re still reading mainly for the romance. Another exception for me, in the thriller category, is one that doesn’t hinge on murder for a conflict. For example, I signed the author of an international thriller about a Doctors Without Borders consultant who is called in to locate a couple of children abducted for slave labor in Brazil. Although the classic whodunit is not for me, there are plenty of great mystery/thriller agents out there who would be happy to see queries in those genres.

Pitch: Sole Possession - David inherits the mansion in which he grew up. He hires Andi, a contractor with secret psychic gifts. The demon who possesses the house draws them into a deadly battle.

This pitch needs a little more detail about what makes the story unique and original, and it also should be clear about subgenre. This sounds like it could be either paranormal romance or contemporary romance with paranormal elements. I see quite a few queries about someone, usually a woman, who inherits a house and hires a contractor with whom she gets involved romantically. To make your story stand out, try to highlight what’s different. For example, what do Andi’s gifts allow her to do? Who is this demon and what is its motivation?

Pitch: After six years and four hundred miles of separation, sexy rancher Mitch Landry is ready to pick up where he and Olivia Montgomery left off until he discovers they have a son—a son his parents kept hidden from him—and all his ideals of love, loyalty and family are shattered in the face of the ultimate betrayal. Is the line between love and hate too fine or can Mitch and Olivia learn to trust—and love—one another again?

Although I don’t handle contemporary romance, I know that small-town settings are doing better than cities and rancher heroes are hot. The first thing that struck me about this pitch was that the first sentence is really long. See if you can break it up or take out non-essential portions. I like your opening phrase about the six years and four hundred miles (it sets up conflict right away) but I’m a little confused about the “ready to pick up where he an Olivia Montgomery left off” part. Did Mitch just come back to town? If so, make that clear. For example, “After six years and four hundred miles of separation, sexy rancher Mitch Landry is back in town and ready to pick up where he and Olivia Montgomery left off.” Next you’ll probably want to tell us a little more about who Olivia is. Something has to be keeping her from being with Mitch and we need to know what that is. Is she afraid to reveal her secret, that they had a son and she never told him? It’s more important to know what her actions/decisions have been than it is to know about his parents. They’re secondary characters. I do love the line about his ideals being shattered; it points to intense internal conflict. Your last line is fine, but I’m wondering if there is another plot besides the secret love child we need to know about, maybe something going on with the ranch or Olivia’s life or job.

Keep writing!

I like background noise when I'm working. Recently, I was watching Chocolat and it struck me how great the movie is. Johnny Depp (in addition to being sexy) has an amazing on screen presence. His chemistry with Juliet Binoche was brilliant.

Their relationship was doomed and they both knew it. Still, they grabbed ahold of the time they had and made the most of it. They ignored what the townspeople thought. They thought about what was best for them.

More than that even, this movie reminded me of many of the subtleties that we as romance writers put in our stories. Life is hard. Secrets can be ugly. Hate and bias impacts us all. Tragedy strikes. But no matter how dark times grow, no matter how hopeless life may seem to be, there is the hope of something better.

Embrace the joy of life!

Every woman wants passion in their lives. They want the caring, sharing, romantic man who sweeps them off their feet and will bring them the happiness and partnership they long for. Hopefully you have your own hero in reality, but it doesn't mean you can't curl up to a good book on those days that are less than perfect...

That's why purchasing books, whether it's paperback, print, kindle or PDF format, is a win for everyone. Writers pour their hearts into their stories with hopes they are bringing a bit of romance into a readers life. Readers read books that will whisk them off on a delicious adventure, leaving them wanting more from the authors they've discovered. Seems to me it's a great balance...and as the digital world becomes more mainstream, so is the way in which we have options to purchase what we want when we want it. Truth be told, I adore my print books. On occasion I'll read eBooks but I've learned to enjoy both forms of storytelling. I know the future will most likely involve more cutting edge technology...in fact, the children of tomorrow will even be more immersed in the digital industry because that's just a part of our evolution...the green movement wasn't born last night. It was stewing for years, maybe even centuries, and now we're just catching up with it.

With that said, I think it's good to open our minds to new developments and although most people are afraid of change--it happens. Instead of focusing on all the negatives...one should embrace these new discoveries and creations. At least we should give it a fair shot. If you are one to be afraid of the unknown--research! Okay, now there's a difference between researching to understand and researching to simply find the flaws. We all have those nuggets of insecurity buried deep inside but it's in the learning that one uncover all kinds of wonderful things...

Right now, there's a new movement to educate the romance world about ePublishing. I'm sure the whole of the romance industry is buzzing with the details but I'm not going to travel that path. All I'm saying is that romance comes in all kinds of awesome packages. If people are willing to listen, willing to research and weigh the good and the bad, willing to open their mind to change...that's one good step forward...that's one more door that will open for all authors and may offer many incredible possibilities held within ...

**UPDATE: Congratulations KARA C for winning the autographed book of TOUCHED BY LIGHT. Please email jaxcassidy @ gmail.com and provide details and mailing address.**

To be eligible for an autographed book of TOUCHED BY LIGHT, just post a comment and you'll be automatically submitted into the drawing! The winner will be picked randomly and results will be posted on Friday**

I've known Catherine for a few years now and she's an incredibly talented, warmhearted individual. When you're in her presence her upbeat personality is very comforting. If you've never read any of her books, you're missing out on some good world building. Enjoy the interview! :)

You’re known for your paranormals, The Shielder and The Sentinel series, and they are great examples of well-executed world building. How did you come up with the concepts and which series do you love writing most?

The concepts for both series really came after I determined my characters’ stories. All my books start with characters (usually the heroine) rather than the plot, and as I begin to get a feel for the character and ask myself about his or her story, then I begin to see their world. With the Shielder series, I’d always wanted to write stories set in other worlds, so that’s what I did. I developed the heroine of Shielder, then I used a theme that’s part of my history—the Holocaust, and created a world where one race was systematically destroying another race.

With the Sentinel series, I combined my life-long fascination with Atlantis and the psychic Edgar Cayce and created modern day Atlantians. The first book came when I envisioned a heroine who had faced unspeakable evil and had fled to raise her son away from anything supernatural.

I like writing the Sentinels the best, because the books are set on earth, which requires less world building, and because I love the Atlantis theme.

How tumultuous was your writing journey? Did you have the support system you needed during this time?

I don’t know if it was tumultuous, but it was a challenging journey, with some ups and downs. Once I decided to write seriously for publication, it took seven years to get the first sale. During those years, I wrote two books that never sold, and received numerous rejections from agents and editors. But I was so enamored with writing and so excited, and I always believed I would get published.

I had a tremendous support system, with Romance Writers of America (RWA), my local writing chapter, and an amazing critique group (Linda Castillo, Jenna Mills, and Vickie Taylor). I also had my wonderful husband encouraging me. It would have been hard to fail with that winning combination.

Are you drawing in a diverse audience and if you wanted to pull in new audience, what would you like them to know about your series that may be interesting for new readers?

I’m not drawing as diverse an audience as I would like. The fact is that I write romances, no matter how unusual my worlds, and some people prefer other genres. But with the Sentinel series, I have a strong suspense element, as well as an urban fantasy tone. I believe readers who like those genres would enjoy the Sentinels.

Do you have a desire to write something outside of the paranormal genre?

Every once in a while, I’ll have an idea that’s not a paranormal story, but it never seems to take hold. I love paranormal elements, and it’s very hard for me to exclude them in my books.

How many books do you write a year? Are you a plotter or a panster?

I’m a very slow writer, plus I have a day job, so I average about one book per year. I’m trying to push myself harder, though. I think it’s difficult to build a strong readership if you don’t produce books quickly.

I am a panster, hands down. I created the workshop titled The Subconscious Writer, which is basically what all we pansters are. I don’t do a lot of outlining or pre-planning on my books. I prefer to write and let my characters tell the story through me.

What is the one bit of advice you have for new authors?

Actually, I have a few bits. Realize that writing is a craft and dedicate yourself to learning and honing it. Educate yourself on the publishing industry. Treat writing as a profession and be professional. And—most importantly—don’t give up. I believe the writers who make it in this business are the ones who persevere.

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

What a cool question! Hmmm . . . I think I would be Resilient Red. Red, because it’s a fabulous color (and my personal fave for nails), and Resilient, because that’s what the human spirit is. We are truly amazing beings.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn about yourself?

I’ve done a lot of adventurous things—I was pretty wild in my youth. I’ve picked up and moved halfway across the country on a whim, slept under the open stars way up in the Rockies, done some things that probably weren’t too smart or safe. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I’m incredibly lucky, and very blessed. It’s hard to complain with the universe in your corner.

What are you currently working on and what will we see from you in the future?

I’m working on a new paranormal series involving angels (me and everyone else, it seems!). It hasn’t been contracted yet, but I’m hopeful. I’m also dusting off my “Silly Alien” series (sample chapters on my website). I will continue to write romances woven with paranormal elements, but I’m always trying to elevate my writing to new levels.

Catherine has provided us with a blurb of her latest release and an excerpt of her book is featured below …

Touched by Light is the eagerly awaited story of Julia and Adam, first introduced in Touched by Fire.

Since a brutal attack, Dr. Julia Reynolds is determined to live a solitary existence. But one man who believes she’s his soul mate and his destiny has other ideas…

For twelve years, Julia has been haunted by memories of a horrific assault, and forced to deal with precognitive abilities triggered by the attack. She’s buried herself in a brilliant career at the University of Houston. Until the arrogant and infuriating Adam Masters threatens her protective bubble, claiming she is a precisely matched conductor—for him. Adam is the powerful head of the Sentinels, a superhuman race protecting Earth. He believes his intense physical and mental connection with Julia will help locate a missing Sentinel. But Julia resists, unwilling to be drawn into a dark, supernatural world, or to give in to the stunning sexual attraction between her and Adam. Then her life is threatened when her psychopathic assailant is freed from prison and seeks revenge. Julia finds herself torn between running from her demons—or embracing her power and reaching for the light . . .

EXCERPT from Touched by Light

**This excerpt contains a mild heat rating and is intended for readers at least 18 years of age.**

Adam leaned back, stared out the windshield. “I’m taking you home.”

Surprise jolted through her. “Back to Houston?”

“Yes. I should never have forced you to come with me.”

“But . . . what about Matt Stevens? The fire at the IMAX?”

“I will deal with them as soon as I reach San Antonio.”

“What about the fact I’m supposed to interview Dr. Curtis for a position with the math department?”

He shrugged. “As I said, you’re very resourceful. You’ll think of something.” He started the car, adjusted the heat to a higher level.

She considered this, righteous indignation building. He was telling her what to do again. He’d jerked her around, created upheaval in both her personal and professional lives. And after everything, he was going to toss her back into the melee of her personal life, a mess that he’d created? Like hell he was.

“Wait just a damn minute. You can’t make this decision for me. I get a vote here.”

She shifted toward him, poked his arm hard. “Who died and made you God?”

He started to speak, but she held up her hand. “Don’t answer that. You’re definitely not God, although you think so. Let’s get something straight. You’ve made it very clear that I have free will. Therefore, I’m choosing to exercise my right to make my own decision. I’m going to San Antonio with you.”


“Adam!” she mimicked back at him. “For once, you’re not calling all the shots here. You dragged me into this. You’re not getting rid of me so easily.”

“I’m beginning to see that. What exactly has convinced you to help me?”

She wasn’t even sure herself. She picked up the crumbled newspaper, smoothed it out to study the article. “A lot of people were there for me after . . .” She shook her head, shutting off the memories. “For some reason, the attack left me with this ability to see future events. If it can assist you in helping that poor tormented Sentinel and preventing more people from being hurt, then I can only assume I’m supposed to go with you.”

He did a passable job of keeping the smugness out of his expression. “So you’re accompanying me of your own free will?”

She gave him her narrow-eyed professor look. “I just said that. But let me clarify something else. I won’t jump just because you tell me to.”

“Really? There’s another surprise. Now let me tell you something. You will agree to defer to my knowledge and experience in these matters. To listen when I give you crucial directives.”

“I’ll concede you’re the expert here. I do actually have enough good sense to listen when necessary. But I also want your word that you won’t do any of that pseudo, woo-woo crap to me. No paralyzing stuff.”

“I will not give my word on that. If I think you’re in danger, or for that matter, if I’m in imminent peril of losing a body part because of your temper, I won’t hesitate to do what I think necessary.”

“I don’t have a temper. I’m very rational and calm.”

“You’re quite capable of becoming a loose cannon.”

She gave an unladylike snort of denial.

He raised an arrogant I’m-right-and-you-know-it eyebrow.

They glared at each other a moment.

He finally inclined his head. “Shall we call a truce?”

She considered. “For now.”

A quick smile flitted across his lips. “Oh, I certainly wouldn’t expect the peace to be permanent.” He stared at her another long, unsettling moment. “You know, Professor,” he continued, “since you have made the decision to work with me, there is one other thing you need to keep in mind.”

“What’s that?” she asked warily, suspicious of the sudden glow in his eyes.
He lifted his hand to the side of her face. “This.”

Just that one touch sent tingling frissons of sensation down into her body. “Not going there,” she said firmly, trying to shove his arm away.

He didn’t move. His fingers were warm against her chilled skin, generating combustible sparks to points due south. He leaned closer. “There’s this perfect, precise conductor/Sanctioned match between us. Not to mention what I’ve seen in my visions.”

Her body went on full red alert, alarms blaring at every key nerve junction. And he was merely touching her. “I don’t want to know what you’ve seen.” She pressed back against the seat, tried to squirm sideways and create more distance between them. But there was nowhere to go.

He slid his other hand along the opposite side of her face, effectively trapping her head. Starbursts of light flared in his eyes, and the air around him glowed brighter, like a halo. God almighty!

Her heart started racing faster than sound, constricting her chest and making it impossible to say anything else. Worse, she found herself leaning toward him, as if being pushed by an invisible force. This was so not good.

“There’s no need to tell you what I’ve seen, because your body already knows,” he said, his harsh voice mesmerizing. “It recognizes a bond that goes back thousands of years. A bond that is both highly spiritual and . . .” he leaned in, brushed his lips against hers, sending a bolt of pure electricity through said body, “physical,” he murmured. “Very physical.”

Erotic need rushed through her veins like molten lava. Not good, not good, not good, her mind chanted, even as her body voted to take this further and instigate a deeper kiss. No, damn it! It took every ounce of will to turn her face away, and give a hard shove against Adam’s chest. He released her, sank back into his seat.
“I already told you in Dallas that there would be nothing physical between us. Absolutely no conductions, no sex,” she said, as soon as she could muster enough air. And why the hell wasn’t he breathing as hard as she was?

“Denial doesn’t change the truth, Julia. It won’t stop what’s already been set in motion. But don’t worry. Whatever happens between us will be completely of your own free will.”

She didn’t like the sound of that. She wanted to argue, to fiercely debate and vehemently insist that hell would freeze over before she’d become involved in any way with Adam. But he was a master at verbal sparring, and right now, she wasn’t up to stepping into the ring with him.

She needed to regroup and reorder her thoughts and what was left of her decimated routine—not to mention corralling her unruly body. She had to get her balance and find some center of calm in the storm that swirled around Adam Masters, and the turbulence from William Bennett’s release.

“Nothing to say?” Adam asked coolly. When she just glared at him, he gave her that smug smile she detested. “Good. Then we understand one another. Fasten your seatbelt.” He put the car in gear, shot her another look. “The ride could get very rough.”

Crap, she thought, as she reached for her seatbelt with shaking hands. No, make that crap to the tenth power.

Any parting words for our readers? For our aspiring writers?

What a great time to be a reader! The diversity, creativity, and talent of today’s authors is amazing. And since electronic readers are probably the wave of the future, you’ll be able to carry a virtual library with you, wherever you go. Happy reading!

For the writers: Believe in yourself. Roll up your sleeves and do the hard work necessary to hone the craft and learn the business. Then write, write, write!

Note to all: I’ve got a fun “Mr. Right Sentinel” quiz on my website. You can answer the questions and find out which Sentinel is your perfect man. The link is: http://www.catherinespangler.com/fun_quiz.htm Come back and let us know who you matched with.

Thank you so much for having me here!

Catherine's Bio:

I’m probably best known for my science fiction romance Shielder series. The five books in the series have garnered numerous awards: the prestigious Romance Writers of America® RITA award nomination for best paranormal, two Romantic Times nominations for best paranormal, two P.E.A.R.L. honorable mentions; finalists in the HOLT Medallion, National Readers Choice, and Bookseller’s Best contests, and winning the Aspen Gold and the Laurel Wreath. I have to admit that these contests do offer validation in a business that can be very tough. But my readers give me even greater incentive to keep creating stories.

Now I’m writing a new paranormal romance Sentinel series: dark, edgy and sensual stories set on current-day Earth. I’ve also written a vampire/prostitute novella (no clue where that idea came from!), and I hope to expand my horizons with other types of stories. But I’ll always write romance, because I firmly believe in the empowerment of love. (Not to mention the allure of bad-boy heroes.)
I’ve been interested in metaphysical topics since I was eleven, and in the power of the mind, and the creative process. I live in Richardson, Texas with my own personal hero (AKA husband) and a menagerie of dogs and cats. I love reading, listening to music, taking naps on the sofa with a good football game for background noise, and eating chocolate (not necessarily in that order).

Website: www.catherinespangler.com

I won't be going to Nationals this year. I'm a little sad, because I was really looking forward to hanging out with friends and taking advantage of all that RWA has to offer. Every cloud does have a silver lining though, instead of going to DC, I'll be going HOME!

Yes, I will be on a plane heading to beautiful Jamaica.

I've missed a ton in the last few years since I've been home.

My family is so important to me and I can't wait for my son to bask in the glow of what it means to always be surrounded by people who love and never judge you. It is a happy occasion for us all because my aunt will be renewing her vows and my dad will be walking her down the aisle.

The view from my parent's veranda is spectacular. It was there that I first started daydreaming and stringing stories together in my head. We live in the Blue Mountains where my parents grow coffee and on a clear day you can see all the way across the island and out to the sea.

There are so many things that I've missed eating. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty good cook, but some things taste way better when mommy makes it.
Here are two of the recipes that I'll be digging into on my first night home.

Curry Chicken


1- 3lbs chicken
2 tablespoon curry powder
onion, thyme, garlic, pepper, black pepper.
salt to taste
lemon or lime juice


Clean, skin,and cut chicken in small pieces,then wash with lime or lemon juice
Drain, season with curry, onion, thyme, garlic, peppers, salt and let marinate for awhile
In a skillet pour about 3 tablespoon of oil. Let oil heat but not too hot
Add chicken and let cook until done.
Serve over white rice

Sweet Potato Pudding (This is great warm!)


2 pounds sweet potato
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup flour
2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups dried fruits
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon margarine


Wash and pare off the skin of the potatoes
Wash again then grate
Grate coconut, add water and squeeze juice through a strainer
Blend flour, mixed spice (raisins etc) ,salt, and nutmeg.
Combine this mixture with the grated potatoes and mix well
Add sugar, fruits and coconut milk. Mix well.
Grease pan, pour in batter, bake at 350 degrees F for 40-60 minutes or until done

Until next time.....
Hey, HoR Readers! I'm in Florida this week with family, but to keep you from missing me JK Coi is covering! Today is the release of her newest book Forever Immortal. To celebrate, and release day is a huge reason to celebrate, she is going to be giving away a free download of Forever Immortal. WOOT!

**UPDATE -- Congratulations Annalisa for winning the eBook of Forever Immortal! Please email Nikki to claim your prize!**

All you have to do is chat. Comment here. Tell everyone you know to come here and see her. Twitter about her. Post it on Facebook. You get the idea, but if you do all those other things, come back here and tell her where you talked about her at so she knows to enter you in the drawing.

So, with no further delay...JK!

Hi everyone! And thanks so much to the fabulous ladies here on Hooked on Romance for having me as a guest today!

How tumultuous has your writing journey been, or have you been one of those “lucky” writers?

The truth is, my first book took about nine months to write. Then another year to re-write. And re-write again. I learned a TON in that year, after which I submitted the book to a few contests (one of which I won) and some agents and publishing houses, before it was accepted by Linden Bay Romance and they asked me to put together a proposal for two more books. I’d like to say it was lucky, or that it was fate, but in reality I’ve never worked so hard in my life.

What’s the best part of being an author?

The best part of being an author has got to be the writing (if it wasn’t, there’d probably be something wrong with me, right?) Granted, there are days when getting ten words on the page is similar in experience to a root canal at the dentist’s office—but all in all, I can’t think of anything I love more than fleshing out a story. Putting characters on the page that come alive with all the love, grief, pain, fears, joys and dreams of real people. It’s very rewarding—and hearing that other people are enjoying the finished product after all is said and done is pretty cool too !

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

I’ve been skydiving, which is probably the most extreme sport I’ve ever done. It was amazing. The best. I definitely learned that I’m a speed and adrenaline junky! Then again, I pretty much knew that already. Give me the biggest rollercoaster, the fastest motorcycle, the steepest mountain and I’ll be there—or at least, I was there. Mommyhood has changed a few things in my life and my days tend to be a lot safer (which is probably a good idea).

Tell us about your latest book, and can you give us an inside peek if we beg?

Forever Immortal is the 4th book in my series and my favorite to date! When Gideon and Lyssa are together they create such sparks and their back and forth is so intense and emotionally charged that I would have to take a break from writing it every few pages. Then again, being the fourth book, I wanted this one to be...more. More emotional. More explosive. More conflicted. More dangerous. And I think it’s got all of that in spades. Also, besides telling the story of Gideon and Lyssa, this book’s job was to take the war between the Immortals and the demons to a new level, in preparation for the next phase of the series.

And yeah! I’ll definitely share an excerpt. Enjoy!

J.K. Coi writes dark and edgy paranormal romance, where love is all consuming, the stakes are always high, and the immortals are to die for.

Forever Immortal releases TODAY from Linden Bay Romance (http://www.lindenbayromance.com/product-foreverimmortal-7193-193.html).

Website: http://www.jkcoi.com
Blog: http://www.jkcoiblogspot.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/jkcoi

© Forever Immortal, J.K. Coi

Gideon knew he would need a direct shot to the demon’s black heart to send the thing to the Abyss, but Lyssa lurched sluggishly between him and the monster, faltering as she tried to get to her feet. Dazed, her gaze was wide and unfocused. A dark line of blood ran down her face from a nasty gash in her temple. Gideon couldn’t do it. He wasn’t confident enough in his aim to point his gun right at her and hope he would be able to make a shot that would send a bullet whizzing barely an inch from her head.

“Lyssa, honey, come on. Look at me.” Gideon reached for her, urging her to take his hand as she lifted her head. At the same time, he raised his gun and took aim at the raging demon. “Hurry, baby, come to me.”

Lyssa’s bright eyes cleared a little as she finally focused on him. Steadying herself with brave determination but obvious difficulty, she took his outstretched hand.

As soon as Gideon had a grip on her, he jerked her to him and pulled the hair trigger of the gun. His barrel was targeted right at the demon’s heart, but at the last moment, everything went wrong. The world slowed. The Scelero reached out, digging its claws deep into Lyssa’s neck and shoulder, sinking into her and pulling her back.

Lyssa’s scream of agony resounded in the depths of his soul.

“Ah, God. Lyssa, don’t let go,” he begged, tightening his grip over her arm at the same time that his round tore its way into the demon’s chest.

Gideon couldn’t hold on. Her slim fingers were grimy with sweat and dirt. He looked deeply into her glistening green eyes, his grip slipping.

She didn’t beg him to save her, didn’t say a word. But he saw the frightened plea in her pain-filled eyes.

The demon tore her from him, its roar of triumph echoing into the night. Just before they both disappeared in a blinding flash of green light and a loud crack of thunder, it uttered, “Mine.”

Oh no. What have I done?

Have a great day with JK! Get to chatting!
It would be a dream come true if authors were able to write without worrying about working a 9-to-5, housecleaning, and the day-to-day family obligations to tend to...but in reality, no matter if you write on a schedule, sneak in a few hours before your work day, or some time after the kids are in bed, it's something that must be done if you want to see publication in your future.

For me, I have no children but I have daily pressures, freelance work, and all the other promotional obligations that come with being published. Everyday is a full day and I'm constantly working to produce. Yet, it's important for authors to remember that they must make time out for themselves. When you neglect yourself, you're not doing yourself any favors. Creativity is something that needs to be harnessed and whether you're visiting a spa, lounging at the pool, taking a long nature walk or visiting a museum...all these things will kick in that part of your brain that needs inspiration. When you're constantly on the go and you're not taking a mental break, you'll find yourself burnt out and your enthusiasm waning. Now, it's okay to take a day or two out but motivation can be a huge factor once you get too comfortable with taking too many days off. It's going to be hard to jump start your writing again. My suggestion is to do something relaxing yet inspirational, but try to retain that high you receive and channeling it into your writing. That gives you a good balance between work and play.

Now that I've taken a few days off after my move, I'm ready to jump back in and start to work again. After all, it is Monday....the weekend is just around the corner. :)

**UPDATED: Congratulations Lastnerve (Val) for winning the eBook of CALIENTE. Please email jaxcassidy @ gmail.com to claim your prize.

**To be eligible for an eBook of CALIENTE, featuring Kelley's novella WANTING MIA, just post a comment and you'll be automatically submitted into the drawing! The winner will be picked randomly and results will be posted on Friday**

Your Luciano’s series, GETTING LUCKY WITH LUCIANO and UNEXPECTED MR. RIGHT, is heating up the interracial (I/R) boards. The third book hasn’t been released yet but those Italian cousins are causing quite a buzz and your reviews have been well received. How did you come up with the concept? Why did you decide to write interracial romance versus the traditional African American romance?

Well the idea started around the three best friends, Kaylee, Tabby and Brianna. I love writing girlfriend relationships and how they support each other. After them, I starting thinking about what I liked to do with my girlfriends, what kinds of things these girls might like to do together. That’s where the whole girl’s night out once a week came in. The restaurant was built around that and of course we had to have some sexy guys who worked there! I went with Italian because my hubby is Italian. At the time, we’d just moved to Southern California around his big Italian family and all the delicious foods!

I decided to write IR’s for a couple of reasons. I’m in an IR relationship myself, my parent’s were in an IR relationship so I’ve had a lot of experience with them. My hubby and I have never had any issues with out relationship because of the fact that we are different nationalities. I wanted to show IR relationships that don’t have race issues. They’re just about a man and a woman who fall in love. Their insecurities and the problems they have to overcome are just like any other relationship. I know I’ve been lucky that my husband and I have never had issues due to being in an IR relationship and I guess I just wanted to share the love! LOL.

How tumultuous was your writing journey? Did you have the support system you needed during this time?

I got kind of lucky in some ways. I’d always loved writing but had never had the time to write a book. Like I said, we’d just moved to California and I was a stay at home mom for the first time. I decided to take that time and try and make my dreams come true. From day one I did a lot of research. I looked into critique groups, spoke with authors I read, asked questions and read a lot. It really helped me make a smooth transition. Getting Lucky with Luciano was actually the first book I ever wrote. I pitched at to Kym from Parker Publishing during a local RWA chapter meeting and she requested to read the book. The rest is as they say…history. My husband has been very supportive of me. He doesn’t really get it but he tries. I can’t ask for anything more than that.

What type of audience would you like to draw from your writing? Do you have a desire to write something outside of the erotic genre?

I hope to draw people who love to read, love romance, and love that escapism they can find in a book. I want to help people step out of their own lives for a little while and into my characters lives.

I enjoy writing a lot of different genres. My Kelley Nyrae books are mostly, IR, but not all. I write all sorts of characters, from different backgrounds and different nationalities. My Kelley Nyrae books are HOT by not erotic hot. I write erotic romance under the name Madison Scott. Those are my smokin’ hot books. Recently, I also started writing my first YA book. I’m LOVING it. It’s different for me. It brings me back to those years of first crushes and loves. All those feelings that swirl around in your body and you have no idea what they mean. It’s so pure if that makes any sense. LOL.

Do you find it challenging to acquire a broader readership since your writing focuses on minority h/h (hero/heroine)? Or do you find that you draw in a diverse readership?

In some ways it is hard. Like my characters, I hope I am drawing a diverse readership. My characters are no different than anyone besides the fact that some of them have a different skin color. They have the same feelings, problems, jobs, friends, fears etc. etc. Even though I write a lot of IR’s, I don’t focus on race which I think makes it easier for everyone to relate to.

Your writing speed is amazing. How many books do you write a year? Are you a plotter or a panster?

People always say that but I feel like I write slow! LOL. It really depends. This year I don’t think I’ve written as many as I did last year. Last year I wrote two full novels and three novellas. The second full I didn’t completely finish though. I still wrote for about two weeks in January to finish it up.

I consider myself a mixture of a plotter and pantser. I always have a basic idea of where the story will go. Some major scenes and character sketches. Then I write. As I’m going along I’ll write scenes down, in order that I want to add later.

Do you write with a posse, critique partner, or just have beta readers? What have you found most helpful about the experience?

I used to have a critique group but it just became too much for everyone with their own families and careers. I have a couple close writing friends who I brainstorm with and run ideas by. If I’m stuck, I’ll send them a snippet of what I’m working on and we’ll talk it out together. I have another friend that we critique for one another some times but not consistently. I do have two beta readers though. They’re both rather new to me but I don’t know what I would do without them.

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

I want you to know I took this question very seriously. LOL. I even enlisted the help from some of my friends.

Deceptive Indigo Innocence

I went with this because the common consensus is that when people meet me, I come off really sweet and innocent but then after reading what I write, they think there’s a naughty girl hiding inside me. LOL. I agree with that to a point but I don’t try to be deceptive to anyone!

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn about yourself?

Oh, God I’m so boring. Adventurous stuff stresses me out. LOL. I can’t even think of anything.

What are you currently working on and what will we see from you in the future?

I’m currently working on my first YA novel which is a blast. It’s also my first paranormal which I’m really enjoying. In May 2010 the third and final book in my Fridays at Luciano’s series, The Laws of Attraction will be released. It’s Bri’s story and she’s a blast. She’s the fun-loving, never going to settle down kind of chick and it’s going to take a good man to make her see what she’s missing.


Two months ago a pact with her best friend inspired Mia Hamilton to proposition sexy Antonio Rojas for a weekend fling. She didn’t let it get her down when the object of her desire turned her down. It’s not like she ever had to see him again…or so she thought. Now Antonio is back and determined to have a second chance. He wants Mia and Antonio won’t take no for an answer.

EXCERPT of WANTING MIA from the CALIENTE anthology

**This excerpt contains adult content and is intended for those who are at least 18 years of age.**

“Oh my God.” Mia Hamilton spun around on the barstool so her back faced the door.

“What’s wrong?” Evie asked concern lacing her voice as Mia plopped her elbows on the counter and ruffled her curly brown hair to shield her face. Hopefully he wouldn’t see her. Maybe she could hide behind her mess of curls. “He’s here.”

Evie frowned at her. “I forgot my secret decoder ring at home, girl. You’re going to have to tell me who he is.”

He just happened to be a man she’d propositioned for sex a short two months ago. When she and Evie passed their bar exams they’d come to Big Bear California for a decadent weekend. They’d planned to reward themselves for all their hard work with a fling.

Evie’s weekend, which Mia really was happy about, turned into a serious relationship. Mia on the other hand accosted a man who turned her down because he had a woman at home.

That was all fine and dandy when she never had to see him again. No harm, no foul, they walked out of each other’s lives and she didn’t have to feel like a floozy who tried to get an unknown man to spend the weekend with her. Seeing him again changed everything.

“Antonio.” Mia tried to peek over her shoulder and didn’t seem him. When she glanced back at Evie she looked lost.

“The guy I tried to have my fling with. Tall, gorgeous Latino boy toy. Ring any bells?”

Evie opened her mouth to reply but when she did, a different voice permeated the air around them. One much more masculine with an accent attached.

“So you think I’m gorgeous?”

He took the open stool next to her. When he did the scent of clean, fresh man tickled her senses. His short, black hair rested flat on his head. He had dark, golden skin, a chiseled square jaw, and ice blue eyes sharp enough to slice right through her.

“Maybe I wasn’t talking about you.” Mia looked at him, not flinching while inside trying to calm not only her nerves but the overwhelming attraction her body felt for this man.

“Ah, but maybe you were. My bet is on the latter.”

A light laugh sounded behind her but Mia ignored her friend. She’d pay her back later. Right now she had to deal with Mr. Cocky, walking, talking sex on a stick in a pair of faded jeans and a long sleeved black t-shirt.

“A betting man, huh?” Mia tried to play it cool. “You might want to walk away from this one while you’re ahead. I’d hate to see you go home empty handed.”

“You and me both. I’m here for a reason. I want a chance to have what I gave up two months ago.”

At the same time, desire swept through her leaving her sensitive body on edge, and anger grated on her nerves. Who did this guy think he was? Better yet who did he think she was? Sure she made herself look easy by the way she offered herself on a platter the last time they met but he should give her some credit. He’d not only turned her down but told her he had a woman. Did he think she’d be here waiting for him when he came back? Forget the part where she actually was sitting here because she wasn’t waiting for him. “Hmm, funny, I don’t recall offering you a rain check. I’m sure your girlfriend would love it if she knew you were here trying to score with me.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend. I was here because my relationship was on the rocks. I needed a weekend to evaluate where we stood. I turned you down because I wanted to make a decision without any outside influence. I made that decision. And now I’m back for the woman who hasn’t left my thoughts since that night.”

Holy freakin cow! Mia couldn’t believe he sat here trying to get in her pants like she’d just jump at the offer. Even though her body really wanted her to, things were different now. This wasn’t some planned out weekend fling. The time for that kind of frivolous fun ended when he said no. “You have some nerve. What do thing you can just sit here smile and offer me a roll in the sack and I’m going to say yes? What kind of woman do you think I am?”

“What kind of man did you think I was when you wanted the same thing from me? Not to mention I don’t remember saying I just wanted a weekend with you. I said I wanted a chance at what I lost two months ago. A time limit wasn’t part of my proposition.”

Every nerve ending in her body tingled. Antonio really got to her. Those sea blue eyes and his sinewy body inspired all sorts of sexy dreams over the last two months. And now here he was in the flesh and she couldn’t help but want to jump at his offer. Even if he was arrogant. Hell, she hated to admit it but his arrogance fueled her craving for him even more. Still, she lived here now. She wasn’t the type to bring strange men home and she could only imagine the rumors that would fly around if she got a room in her own damn town. Plus a new phase of her life started since she’d seen him last. She was a lawyer now, she had responsibilities that didn’t include him. “Listen, I don’t have time for games, Antonio. You’re not going to find what you’re looking for with me.”

“Aw, but I have.” She exhaled a heavy breath. Her heart pounded in her chest. “What is it you want?” “I’d thought that would be obvious. I want you, Mia.”

Any parting words for our readers? For our aspiring writers?

First I want to think you ladies for having me here today. I had a blast. For aspiring writers out there keep writing and keep reading. Never give up and you’ll be surprised where your determination will take you.

I want to tell the readers thanks for listening to me blab today. LOL. Hope you enjoyed it and hope you’ll give Mia and Antonio a shot.


Kelley has been writing for as long as she can remember. Life got in the way and she wasn’t able to work on accomplishing her goal of becoming a published writer until 2005. When she became a stay at home mom for the first time she decided to start working on her dream again. Since she’s always been a romantic at heart she took her two passions, romance and writing and started her very first romance novel. Her life hasn’t been the same since. Life couldn’t be more wonderful. She has a job she loves, two beautiful little girls who always bring a smile to her face and her husband and soul mate Dominic who supports her beyond belief.

For more about Kelley, visit her online:

Website: http://www.kelleynyrae.com
Blog(s): http://www.kelleynyrae.blogspot.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/writermadisonscott

Line edits for THE CHOSEN ONE are complete and have been turned in to my editor. As I worked on them I found myself with mixed emotions. As I read though it, line by line, there were times that I hated the book and then a few minutes later I would read an incredible scene and I'd be in love all over again.

I guess I'm just going though my first book jitters. I know I've said it before, but the closer I come to publication, the more I find that I'm nervous about my career choice. Don't get me wrong, I love writing and everything about it. Its the waiting that is killing me slowly.

As a reward for finishing my edits. I picked up where I left off on FORBIDDEN MASASLA. This is really a treat for me, because I've suffered terrible withdrawal symptoms in the two weeks that I didn't work on it.

I've also outlined two novellas. One I'm contracted for and is due to my publisher in December and the other I'm sending to my agent for her to submit. The two of them are a little more erotic than I'm used to writing, but I'm having loads of fun with them.

On a personal note, this week marks the first week of summer vacation. My son is already keeping me busy, but I'm loving that he is home with me. These are the days I cherish most of all. He is already eleven and soon he'll be too grown-up to laze around the house with me.

Until next week....

Romance really can be found anywhere. We just have to look for it. I get wrapped up in work and all the things I have to get done that I forget to look for it, and I've surrounded myself with it.

Pictures of my kids and family, handmade presents they make at school, a picture frame that was gifted to me, a ceramic bowl that my sister took my girls to make for me one Mother's Day, a frog that came from CIS that says Kiss Me I am your prince charming, and my TV that required CIS to get in the blazing hot attic to run wiring for are only some of the items in my office that were given to me with love in mind. And to top all of that off, it's in my office that was once CIS' dark room. He got rid of his stuff, redid the space, and installed a window for me so that I had my own place to work. Seriously, if that isn't romance I'm not sure what is. And though it isn't a vase of flowers, there is a rose bush planted outside my window that CIS bought me.

So you tell me, where is the romance in your life? From where you're sitting right this minute, what can you see that reminds you of someone that you love?

As authors we either 1. have a neverending supply of ideas or 2. we struggle to come up with ideas without a lot of research or brainstorming.

Not long ago I spoke to an author friend who mentioned that she has always been amazed at my ability to think up new ideas. Every time we speak, it's easy for me to throw out something I've been tinkering because my mind never stops. I find a story in the simplest things and could probably pull it off. Now, if only I could turn out pages faster. I figured I have a lifetime to create and I'll try to get all those stories down one day. :)

Where do you get ideas? Does it come easily or do you have to be inspired, compelled, or collaborate to get the right story?

Currently I'm unpacking after the weekend move so this post is late in coming, but I'm sure you've got some great ideas lying around--so, what are you waiting for? Write it!
Literary Agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh with Judith Ehrlich Literary is our scheduled guest blogger Thursday, June 25th. Due to altered summer schedules and Emmanuelle's super busy schedule, we're going to do things a little differently this time around.

Starting today, you can email me at Nikki@NikkiDuncan.com with questions you have for Emmanuelle or your elevator pitch. I will compile the questions and send them to Emmanuelle, she will send me her answers, and then I'll post them back to the blog on the 25th.

With Nationals coming up, this is your opportunity to have some one on one time, even if it isn't face to face, with an agent. Find out from her what works and doesn't with your short pitches so you have time to tweak them.

Now, here's the really important part. We don't normally have many rules here, but this time we do.

~ Deadline is Sunday, June 14th.
~ You MUST send your question and pitch to my email.
~ You MUST put For Emmanuelle in the subject line of the email.
~ An elevator pitch is the short one or two sentence blurb about the story that takes about 5 to 10 seconds to say or read. Example: He's undercover FBI. She's posing as a call girl. They're both looking for a hypnotically persuasive killer.
~ I will not pass query letters or full paragraphs / blurbs along.

I'm filtering through a couple hundred emails a day right now and am getting ready to head out of town for a week. I have to send these to Emmanuelle before I leave and if you don't follow these rules I may miss you-I would hate to do that.

UPDATE **Congratulations Booklover1335 for winning either the eBook of DANGEROUS DECEPTION or your choice of print book from Katie's backlist. Please email me jaxcassidy @ gmail.com and I will be happy to forward your details and choice to Katie. Thanks for playing!!!**

**To be eligible for an eBook of DANGEROUS DECEPTION (or an autographed book of one of her backlist instead), just post a comment and you'll be automatically submitted into the drawing! The winner will be picked randomly and results will be posted on Friday**

How tumultuous was your writing journey? Did you have the support system you needed during this time?

I’m still not where I want to be in my career so it’s an ongoing journey. It has ups and downs but I love what I’m doing. My husband and family are amazing. I could go on for a page about all the things they’ve done to support me but it would just bore you. Simply put, I’ve been incredibly lucky as far as support goes and I never take that for granted.

Do you have a posse you write with? Do you suggest critique partners or beta readers?

People are so different so I’m hesitant to suggest what works for me will work for someone else. That being said, I work with two critique partners. We trade a chapter a week and when I’m finished editing I send the finished story to a trusted beta reader. Sometimes however, I won’t use anyone. I just finished a ‘quickie’ cowboy story for EC and of course I edited it before sending it to my editor, but for something that short, I knew when it was ready and I knew what my editor was looking for.

Has writing for ePublishing prepared you for your writing future? How is it like writing for Ellora’s Cave?

I think it has prepared me as far as dealing with contracts, working with different editors, and becoming familiar with the publishing industry in general. Sometimes I see less than stellar comments about EC and it always surprises me because I’ve had nothing but success with them. My editor was incredibly helpful when I first signed with EC and never made me feel like a newbie for asking incredibly ‘newbie questions’. Above all, she’s always professional. So far my sales have been above and beyond what I expected. So, to answer your question, I LOVE writing for Ellora’s Cave.

You mention on your website that you love zombie movies. What is your all time favorite zombie flick and why do you love them so much?

It’s a tossup but I’m going to go with Resident Evil 2. I love them all, but the second one stands as my favorite. If you’ve seen it, you know why. If you haven’t, rent it now! I don’t know why I love them so much. Maybe it’s because zombies taking over the planet or a town is so far removed from reality, I just love the escapism.

What type of audience would you like to draw from your writing? Do you have a desire to write something outside of the erotic genre?

I hope I draw a variety of readers but so far my fan mail has been from women who enjoy a hot story with a happy ending. I actually do write outside of the genre. I enjoy writing erotic romance but I couldn’t do it full time and I’m impressed by people who do. I LOVE category books, probably because that’s how I discovered romance, and I hope to one day write for Harlequin Intrigue and/or Blaze. I’d also like to break into the single title market with romantic suspense/light paranormals. Currently I have a few fulls with different agents so hopefully that dream will happen sooner than later.

How many books do you write a year and what have you seen the most results in doing promotions?

I’ve only been writing a couple years and my first year I didn’t keep track of anything. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that but I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to write stories. I can tell you what I’ve written this year though. Since January I’ve finished three category style books (each between 55-60K). Two are with various agents and one I just finished last week so it’s definitely in the editing stages. I also finished a 15K quickie for EC and just started a new erotic novella. As far as promotions, I have no idea what works. The story I promoted the most had the least sales (but a ton of great reviews) and the story I promoted the least has had the most sales.

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

I’m cheating b/c I have a nail polish bottle called fondola gondola and I think it’s hilarious every time I use it. I’d want to be called that. Seriously, what was their marketing department thinking?

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn about yourself?

I was about 21 when I put college on hold, packed up my tiny two door car with my limited belongings and drove to The Keys to live on a boat. It was an amazing experience that taught me I don’t need a lot to be happy. If I’ve got books and a computer (to write) I’m good to go.

What are you currently working on and what will we see from you in the future?

I’m currently working on an erotic novella and have started plotting out a single title paranormal that I hope to dive into when I finish the novella.

Any parting words for our readers? For our aspiring writers?

Thanks for having me at Hooked on Romance! For new or aspiring writers, my advice is to write every day if you can. Once you get in the habit, it’s tough to break. But don’t forget to cut yourself some slack. Don’t become so obsessed with writing that you forget the important stuff in life. And no, cleaning and laundry are not important.

Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Two years ago Sage Miller’s life changed irrevocably with one violent act. Longing for anonymity, she left her high paying job in New York and relocated to a growing town on the coast of North Carolina. Just when her life is settling down, a sexy man from her past shows up and wants to pick up where their explosive relationship left off. And this time, he’s the one calling the shots.

Trent Takoda lost Sage a year and a half ago. After spending a week with the most intense woman he’d ever met, she disappeared in the dead of night. Now that he’s found her again, he’s determined to win her heart this time. When a vicious stalker with ties to her past tracks her down, all bets are off. Her safety is now his number one priority. She belongs to him and it’s about damn time she realized it.

Purchase Dangerous Deception(e-book version)

**This excerpt contains adult content and is intended for those who are at least 18 years of age.**


It was him. How that was even possible, she didn’t know. “That’s your brother?” The question sounded hoarse and scratchy to her own ears and she doubted Jason missed it.

“Yeah. You know him or something?” She felt her boss’s gaze on her but she couldn’t tear her eyes away from Trent.

Broad-shouldered, midnight black hair, perfect bronze coloring and standing about six foot one. He yanked his sunglasses off and stalked toward them. Yep, he still looked good enough to eat. Staring at him now, she couldn’t believe she’d ever willingly walked away from him. The man was walking sex appeal.

Heat involuntarily pooled between her legs as his dark eyes roved over her body in a blatantly appreciative manner. She might be fully clothed but the way he stared at her brought back too many memories. Naked memories.

Her body alternated between hot and cold. His heated gaze made her feel like he was remembering the same things she was. Her nipples strained painfully against her bra but she was thankful she had one on. At least he wouldn’t see the effect he had on her body.

Every instinct she possessed told her to run and hide but her feet were leaden. The man who visited her dreams on a regular basis was walking right toward them. Well, stalking like an angry bear was more like it.

Despite her resolve to stand her ground, she took a small step back as he joined them.

“Sage?” Trent spoke, the deep timber of his voice just as sexy as she remembered.

Somehow she found her voice. Clearing her throat, she said, “Yes. I’m Sage Miller. Nice to meet you.” When she held out her hand, he stared at it for a confused moment before enveloping it with his much bigger one. She didn’t know why she’d pretended not to know him. The words had just popped out. The thought of explaining to her boss exactly how she knew his brother was beyond embarrassing.

After a few seconds, she tried to pull away but he held firm, tugging her a step closer. As if drawn by a magnet, she stared at their clasped hands. His darker skin against her ivory coloring painted an erotic picture. It shouldn’t but when she stared at their hands, all she could think about was what their bodies had looked like intertwined. Despite her resolve to stay strong, she could feel heat creeping up her neck. And with her fair skin tone, it had to be obvious.

“Wait a minute. Do you two know each other?” Jason’s confused voice interrupted them.

She jerked her hand away. “No.”

“Yes,” Trent said at the same time.

Jason let out a nervous laugh and out of the corner of her eye, she saw him take a few steps back. “Okay then. I’m going to catch up with Sharpe. Find me when you need me.”

Without looking at Jason, she couldn’t be sure who he was talking to but at that moment, she didn’t care. She and Trent stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. She broke away first and found an interesting spot on the ground to stare at. Yeah, she was a total chicken.

“What the hell are you doing working for my brother?”


Katie Reus fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash, but she isn’t one of those writers who always knew what she wanted to do. After earning a degree in psychology she realized her heart wasn’t in pursuing a career in that field and she sort of fell into writing. She currently writes for Ellora’s Cave and The Wild Rose Press. She’s an active member of Central Florida Romance Writers, ESPAN, Kiss of Death, and Romance Divas. She writes romantic suspense and erotic romance, but no matter the genre, Happily Ever After is always a must.

For more on Katie, visit her online:

Website: http://www.katiereus.com/
Blog: http://www.katiereus.blogspot.com/