January 31, 2013

Mainstream: Celtic Destinies @kissastarling #RLFblog


Clarissa: Celtic Destinies

Kissa Starling, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Clarissa: Book One in the Celtic Destinies Series.
Genre: Mainstream
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Cover artist: Shirley Burnett
Length: 31,676
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: Reuniting ghost lovers proves to be the easy task. How will she ever find her own true destiny?
Blurb:
Clarissa has traveled halfway around the world to Scotland hoping to escape her sordid past and begin anew. What she finds is two unruly children, a single father who travels, a elderly cook and a couple of ghosts who demand to be reunited. It's hard to figure out who plans to give her the most trouble- the children or the ghost of a kind long since passed. Will it all be worth it in the end and what must Clarissa do to obtain her own happiness?
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Clarissa Randolph is an ex-stripper turned nanny. She is in her late twenties.
William Kirkland is in his late thirties. He is a business man and lord of his castle. He has recently become Clarissa's boss since she is nanny to his two children, Gregory and Sally.

Excerpt:

Oddly enough a misty rainbow extended toward Clarissa’s destination. My
pot of gold. No time for daydreaming. There would be plenty of time for exploration
on her days off. She’d have to face the music, or in this case– the children. It kind of
worried her, the number of nannies those two had scared off.
She gathered up her meager belongings and persevered toward her
appointment. Two children waited for her, a boy and girl. They were brother and
sister, those two, and she’d heard they had terrorized five governesses in the past
six months. How hard could it be to handle young children? She would find out
soon enough. Clarissa inhaled, held it for at least a minute, and then released.
Ahead in the distance a man approached on the most magnificent
Percheron. The horse and rider stopped before her and the man dismounted. His
massive form blocked out the sun before her. She imagined reaching out to touch
his shoulder–length sandy hair. He spoke with a mesmerizing Scottish accent.
Clarissa smiled.

Interview


Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place?

Scotland is the setting and one I love oh so much. I am really into genealogy and a few years ago I went all the way back to the 1600's for both my family and my husband's. His family is from Scotland and part of mine from Ireland. We both love anything medieval. I can only imagine going there one day and seeing the castles, moors and hills where our ancestors loved, laughed and played.


Which character in your current book do you think readers will like the most? Why?

I believe it may be Daisy. She is the master's cook/housekeeper. She isn't a main character in this book, but she will appear in all of the series books. She's eccentric and different and she may possibly have a story of her own one day!

Why do you write?

It's the only way I've found to effectively get the voices out of my head. Ha, ha. I am partially kidding. The characters do talk to me once I begin their stories. I had one character invade my dreams for several nights until I understood she didn't want her sexual business out there for the whole world to see. She wasn't that type of girl! I rewrote a few scenes and the result worked perfectly. Now I'm more apt to listen when they talk.


When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?

I love to be outdoors. My dog loves it too so we do a lot of walking. Usually we let my husband come along too. I go to the movies a lot, drive-ins are my favorite. There's nothing like tailgating and then watching them slip the film onto those huge reels. (They let me come in and watch.) I love driving down roads when I don't know where they go. I find the best shortcuts that way. If my day includes reading, writing, spending time with the hubby and cuddling with my cat it's a good day.


What other jobs have you held besides writing?

I have to laugh at this question because answering what jobs I haven't held would be easier. Let's see how many I can remember- cashier at a children's clothing store, cashier at the mall, waitress, hostess, cook, dishwasher, worked at a truck stop, cashier at a convenient store, gas attendant, babysitter, telemarketer for carpet, magazines and donations, housekeeper at a motel, custodian, cafeteria worker, substitute teacher, afterschool teacher, tutor, maid, I pressed shirts and sewed on buttons at a drycleaner, I put together plastic car parts by the garbage bag full, assistant teacher, counselor, survey taker, house sitter, I transported people to doctor's appointments, I sold Mary Kay for a few years, and I remember several lemonade stands along the way!


What are you currently reading for fun? Anything for research?

I love research! Love it, love it. I often find myself researching above and beyond my topic when I should have already started writing. When I wrote PS - I Love You, I spent hours watching videos of Woodstock. Oh, the music back then.... Right now I am into zombies and I'm reading a lot of zombie books. I collect cookbooks and always have one on the bedside table to be read. My research library is what some might say is extensive.



What's the best gift you ever received?

This one is easy, a screen for my bedroom window. I enjoy leaving the windows open and sleeping with fresh air coming in, even in the winter. Alas my house has no screens on the windows. My husband went to Home Depot to buy me one and they told him they don't make them in that size. One day I came home from work to find one screen on my bedroom windows and a smiling husband with many cuts on his hands. He spent the entire day making me a custom screen to fit. It melted my heart.

If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?

I would go into the future to 3000. I know a lot about my ancestors and things they did in the past and while I'd love to meet them in person I'd like to meet some of my descendants even more. What happens to my great, great grand-daughter? Is she the first female president? What is she driving? Eating? Doing for fun? Does she wonder about me? And most importantly, does she need my help? I love being there for family.

I am continually working on learning to play the guitar. I have short arms so I use a child's size guitar to learn on. My father can play anything with strings and I am so jealous because I love music. He is teaching me. We've started over several times. I tend to quit when my fingers get sore. I'll get there. Banjos are so cool.

Experience the many sides of Kissa Starling

Please complete the sentence

I love pizza with everything except anchovies (which I've never attempted to eat!) Onions and sausage are my favorite.
I'm always ready for a road trip.
When I'm alone, I wonder where everyone is.
You'd never be able to tell, but I was born up north. My deep southern accent masks it.
If I had a halo it would be sparkly with ribbons hanging down.
If I could speak Spanish fluently I'd go live in South America for a while.
I can never stop buying books because well, I'd die!

Previous Books

The Lifestyle Series:
Robert's Story
Chalan's Story
Rick's Story
Carl's Story
Aidan's Story
Swing Pointe
Goldi
All I Ever Wanted
Toy Box
The Untrained Housewife
Angel's Wish
Candy Kisses
Sweet Kisses & Lesbian Wishes
Profiling
Cracker Cowgirl
I have several short stories in print anthologies as well.

I also have a few books out by my alter ego K. Starling who only writes sweet romance.
Kismet
The Last Waltz
I Should Have Kissed You
Sweet Tea Maggie

Books Coming Soon

I have a short story, Pinky, coming in the Serving Him anthology from Cleis Press in March. http://amzn.com/1573449253/
Luciano's Story, book 6 in the Lifestyle Series, will be released this year at Red Rose Publishing- http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?products_id=1296
Classical Rules has been contracted by Sapphire Publishing and is set to be released in the Uniforms Optional anthology sometime this spring. I don't have a link for that one yet.
I plan on submitting several more short stories this year and I'm working on a full length novel as well. (my first!!!)
Contest
I'd love to give away a pdf copy of Clarissa to one lucky reader.
Find Me Here

January 30, 2013

Fitness Model: John Quinlan @JohnJQuinlan #RLFblog


John Quinlan
in Geordi Underwear

John Quinlan, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to have you here today. Thank you for taking time to talk to us. Let's jump right in with questions.
Please give us your professional bio.
I have been involved in athletics, professional wrestling, fitness & modeling over the years since the age of 19. I have been an image model for dozens of apparel brands over the years along with appearing in television documentaries, commercials, art gallery print work and having my likeness used on children’s literature book covers. I have been a spokesmodel for apparel brands as far away as Japan and Asia just to name a few. I am also a Physique model competitor and a current Romance Novel Cover model as well. I have been a supplement company image model who is currently signed as a sponsored athlete with Athletic Xtreme Supplement Co.
Now, tell us about you as a person.
To be honest I am happy-go lucky type guy that is ego and attitude free. Once you are my friend I will always do my best to be one of the good guys. People tell me I have a unique look that sets me apart from other models in the business. I love being unique and different as many have often told me, “hey, I remember you….you’re the model guy with the tattoos.” I have been referred to as the most tattooed male romance cover model in the world by people in passing which I think is very cool and I am truly humbled by all the kindness I have received from all the amazing people like you Kayelle.
You have many tattoos. Which one is the most significant to you and why?
Yeah, I have a bunch which includes 2 half sleeves, both wrists, stomach, back and fingers etc. I am told I wear them well so it’s all good as I try to keep myself in good physical condition so my ink compliments my body. The most significant is a tough one to answer as they all have deep meaning but one I will mention is on my left wrist which is the oriental Kanji “Family” symbol inside my left wrist that represents my children.
What part did your upbringing have in who you are today?
I was brought up to treat people the way they want to be treated and I think if you ask anybody that really knows me they would say I am the poster boy for this.
What do you wish was different about your past and why?
I believe everything happens for a reason. All the events that have taken place in my past have brought me to this point I am at right now so really wouldn’t change much. If I had to be honest the only topic I would like to see removed from my past would have to be all injuries I sustained throughout my years in the fitness world. There are too many to name but they were always preventing me from being 100%.
John Quinlan tattoos
As a child, who was your best friend? Tell us about him/her.
My best friend was my dog London. He was a Golden Retriever and he lived to be 16 years old because he was loved so much. I had lots of great friends that I went to school with as a child but this dog was the best man! Still miss him as he represents my childhood.
Who is your childhood hero?
As a boy I was a huge baseball fan and being from Boston growing up in the 80’s Wade Boggs was my childhood hero. I remember the very first time I saw him at Fenway Park and he was God like. I collected all of his cards so when I saw him in person it was very memorable.
What's your favorite movie of all time?
Great question Kayelle, I would have to say ‘Wedding Crashers’ as it is one of those movies I can watch over and over again and it is still funny everytime.
Imagine you could spend as much money on your hobby as you liked and not worry about the cost or place to keep things. Describe your hobby and what the area would be like where you indulge in it.
John Quinlan in Bomber Jacket
I would collect everything from classic cars, trucks and motorcycles with a mega storage place to show them off where I and all my friends could enjoy them. Guys with tattoos are supposed to like this stuff! Ha ha ha!
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Have you ever seen the Corona beer commercial of the guy sitting there in the chair and you see him from the back? He reaches over and takes a sip from the Corona bottle and skips a stone in the beautiful green/blue water while he just sits in the warm sun on the beach without a care in the world. That is my perfect refuge.
If you could time travel, what era would be your first stop?
The 1950’s! I loved all the old school sports from that time and I was also a big fan of the movie, ‘Back to The Future’ as a kid. It was a simple time and I would love to see just how sweet it was.
Is there something you've always wanted to do but haven't done yet?
Jump out of a plane would be really something. Hopefully the parachute would be nice to me and open up on time and not get jammed up!
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dog baby! I have nothing against cats or people who have them as I am a true animal lover. Love em’ all BUT I did grow up with many canines in my house so I am a bit biased here.
Do you prefer light or dark chocolate or no chocolate at all?
Everybody has to love chocolate as I can eat pounds of the stuff in one sitting! I love all chocolate as I don’t discriminate but if I was to be picky and choose I would have to say light or milk as the dark taste is a bit stronger. But really just give me a wheelbarrow of it all mixed up and I will enjoy shoveling it down no problem!
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
I often get asked this question as a model, “Will you ever go all the way?” I am surprised you didn’t ask this but my answer to this is if the money is right and all the “stars in the sky align perfectly” baring all is never out of the question.
John Quinlan cover
Fierce in Fur
by Celia Kyle

Fun Questions -- Fill in the Blanks

I love pizza with extra cheese.
I'm always ready for a challenge.
When I'm alone, I wish I wasn’t alone.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have scars.
If I had a halo it would be because I was good to others and earned it.
If I could live everyday like it’s my last I'd die a happy man with no regrets.
I can never have an attitude towards great people in the Romance Model world like Kayelle Allen because it’s the people like her that make models like me, without people like her guys like me are nothing.

Upcoming Appearances

I have a few but the only one I can confirm right now is the 2013 RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City. I will be there all day Saturday May 4th.

Find Me Here

Web Gallery and Updates by Patric: http://johnquinlan.org/

January 29, 2013

Contemporary: Real Men Don't... @ColeenKwan #rlfblog


Real Men Don’t Break Hearts

Coleen Kwan, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Real Men Don’t Break Hearts.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Cover artist: Jessica Cantor
Length: 277 pages
Heat rating: sweet
Tagline: Enemy. Playboy. Landlord. The perfect fling?
Blurb:
Ally Griffin is horrified to learn her new landlord is none other than the infuriating playboy Nate Hardy--the man she blames for getting her jilted at the altar six years ago. Plus, now her ex-fiancé is back in their hometown of Burronga, Australia, to marry his beautiful new bride...for real this time. Everybody’s treating Ally with kid gloves, as though she’s still heartbroken, but she’s just fine, thank you very much.
Nate Hardy is tired of his high-flying city career and bachelor lifestyle and is looking for something more real. The last thing he needs is to find himself undeniably attracted to Ally, the woman with whom he never saw eye-to-eye. But is he even capable of what Ally wants and deserves?
As Ally tries to pull her life out of the rut it’s fallen in, she doesn't count on Nate stirring up her emotions. A short-term fling with the resident bad boy is practically irresistible, but only if she can guard her heart...
Buy links:
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/SWsoPn
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Ally Griffin, 25, gift store owner.
Nate Hardy, 29, former finance whizz, now landscaper.

Excerpt:

Cradling his beer, he headed for a corner of the bar counter. The music blaring from the sound system was a song he disliked, and the conversation around him was too raucous. A few people were dancing in the center of the room. He took a mouthful of beer, already regretting stopping here. He’d finish his drink and then head back home. At least there he wouldn’t have to put up with other people’s bad musical taste.
The music swapped over to a slow song, and the dancing changed. Great. Just what he needed, a crooning number and amorous couples feeling each other up. He downed another gulp of beer and almost choked as he spotted Ally dancing with some strange guy.
They were on the edge of the crowd, and to Nate everything about them shouted “first date.” He could tell just by the way they were holding each other: Ally stiff, her fingers tentative on the man’s shoulders, while the guy had his arm loose around her waist, a good few inches of space separating their bodies. Through the haze he didn’t have a good view of Ally’s expression, but the guy seemed eager. Nate narrowed his gaze on Ally. He could see why.
Ally looked incredible. She’d done something to her hair so it was all shiny and loose as it tumbled around her shoulders. Her soft, pale blue dress clung to her curves and floated over her thighs at least two inches above her knees, and the stilettos on her feet did amazing things to her legs. Damn, she had great legs. Lithe, toned, touchable. Why had he never noticed them before? In fact, why had he never noticed how outright sexy she was? The question rocked through his brain, altering all his thought patterns.
Ally spun around in her partner’s arms, and now her rear was toward Nate. Her swaying butt had him mesmerized. His fingers itched to touch the silky material, to glide over her soft skin and caress the little hollow at the back of her knees.
Who would have thought Ally Griffin would get his motor racing this hot? He’d never thought of her like this, never visually undressed her so blatantly. At first he’d just known her as Seth’s girlfriend who didn’t approve of him, and then he’d thought of her as Seth’s ex-fiancée who hated his guts. He’d never thought of her as a woman who might attract him. She wasn’t his type. Too rigid, too determined to keep Seth away from his bad influence. The kind of woman who would smother a man. Anathema to Nate.
But now? Now he couldn’t just dismiss her as a stuffy prude, not when his body was telling him the opposite. The spark had been struck in his mind, and it couldn’t be unstruck, no matter how he tried. The more he gazed at Ally, the more intrigued he became. He used to think he had her all sussed out, but he was wrong. He recalled the bars of soap she’d flung at him and, six years ago, the two stinging slaps she’d delivered across his face. Ally might seem like a pussycat, but back her into a corner and she could be quite the spitfire. She had spirit, he had to admit, and tonight she looked like dynamite.
He shifted his attention to Ally’s date. Roughly the same age as him, medium build, short brown hair, clean-cut looks, neat khaki trousers, nice shirt but nothing fancy. A dime a dozen. Mr. Average. Why was she out with him? What could she possibly see in a guy like that? Nate frowned into his beer. Crap, he couldn’t mistake the first stirrings of envy. Over Ally. Not good.

Interview

What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
The most important thing I do is write on a regular basis. When I first started writing I’d wait for inspiration, and I’d give up as soon as I hit a rough patch. Now, I know how important it is to stick to my daily word count and to hang in there on the difficult days when the words won’t come, because persistence pays off.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
Asher's Dilemma
I would make my heroine more proactive. I would also pay much more attention to editing my work and try to eliminate passive writing and over description.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love creating my characters and getting lost in their stories. I like it that my characters can say and do things I wouldn’t be able to!
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
That’s a tough question. I would most likely choose Jessica Page Morrell. She’s a writing teacher and coach, and I always find her inspiring.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I would tell myself to make time for writing, even if it’s just a few hours on the weekend. I would tell myself to finish that book, then write another and another, and try to improve with each one.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
I’m a great believer in To Do lists. If I have all my chores written down, they seem more manageable, and there’s something very satisfying about ticking each task off as it’s done. I’m also a great believer in chocolate! Whether it’s a rejection, a looming deadline, or a story that won’t work, chocolate always eases the stress.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I can’t go anywhere without my contact lenses, so that would be the first thing I pack. I’d take some T-shirts, shorts, and jeans, and I’d go on a luxury tour around China, taking in the Great Wall, Shangri-La, and Xian. Of course, I’d have to take my family along, too.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
I was near Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, and I watched the fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I have to confess I watch a lot of TV! I enjoy shows like The Office, Doctor Who, The Mentalist, and Criminal Minds. My teenage daughter has also put me onto shows like Parks and Recreation, and Community.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with BBQ chicken.
I'm always ready for a nap.
When I'm alone, I daydream.
You'd never be able to tell, but I daydream a lot!
If I had a halo it would be so cool.
If I could fly I'd trim the annoying climber growing on my house.
Short Soup
I can never wear lipstick because it always feels sticky and yucky.

Previous Books

Short Soup
Asher’s Dilemma
Asher’s Invention
When Harriet Came Home
Moonlit Encounters (anthology)
           

Books Coming Soon

Book 2 in the Real Men series.

Find Me Here

January 27, 2013

Character Interview: Meredith @emkayconnor #RLFblog


Willing to Learn

EmKay Connor, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Meredith McKenna from the book, Willing to Learn.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Cover artist: Kim Killion
Length: 50,000+ words
Heat rating: Spicy
Tagline: The fiancee of a prince visits the tropic paradise that is Trésorier du Coeur to learn how to make love, and instead she finds it.
Blurb:
Meredith McKenna is neither graceful nor a beauty, but that’s never stood in her way. She knows who she is and, more importantly, what she deserves. Not one to wish on a star or hang her hopes on a fairy tale like true love, her practical nature won her the hand of a prince. That’s how she ended up here: Trésorier du Coeur. An island paradise.
But becoming a princess is no simple matter. Regardless of the mysticisms mouthed by the island’s proprietress, the jungle waterfalls, and long, pristine beaches, the resort is first and foremost a school for seduction, an ancient tradition of her fiancé’s family, and she must select a man to be her “tutor.” Anders Collier is the most insubordinate and infuriating of the lot. But behind those cool gray eyes lurks a white-hot secret, and behind closed doors lies everything their hearts and bodies have yet to learn.
Willing to Learn is being published by Boroughs Publishing Group in February 2013. Prior to this book, EmKay Connor's manuscripts finaled in numerous contests, including Spring Into Romance, The Unpublished Beacon, and RWA's prestigious Golden Heart. Her freelance writing has been published in print and online media, as well as being featured in several issues of the Romance Writers Report.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Meredith McKenna, 27 years old, holds the title of Vice President, Foreign Philanthropy in her father’s billion-dollar corporation, McKenna Enterprises.
Anders Collier, 35, is an (ahem) undercover special agent with the FBI.

Excerpt:

Anders never knew there were so many different ways to be frustrated. And at the moment, he was experiencing most of them while seated in the kitchen of Meredith’s bungalow.
“You’re not even trying,” Meredith griped.
Blinded by a satin sleep mask similar to the one Meredith had worn just an hour earlier, Anders couldn’t see her displeasure but the sound of it came through loud and clear. “I don’t have a knack for sensory stimulation like you do. Can we be done now?”
“No, we can’t be done now.” She mimicked him like a spoiled nine year old who wasn’t getting her way.
Good. There was plenty of frustration to go around so she might as well deal with her share.
“Madame Duval said we were to begin practicing some of the material covered in the workshops. If you don’t like sensual touch we can certainly move on to bondage and domination. And before you get any ideas, let me warn you I’m something of a control freak.” Her flat tone carried the same unyielding steadfastness as a fence post set in concrete. “Come on. This is supposed to be fun.”
Anders pictured her jaw set and clenched, hands on broad, beautiful hips, brown eyes narrowed behind silver eyeglass frames. There was a hint of dare me in her voice, as well as a sibilant plea for his cooperation.
Which brought him back to the tangled web of frustration in which he was ensnared. Instead of tracking down information Sam and the Bureau could use to find Chai and the girls, he was playing touchy-feely games with a woman engaged to another man. And instead of disliking her more and more every day, Meredith was growing on him. She was by turns annoying and entertaining, courageous and reluctant, playful and serious, open and guarded. After spending hours together, he found himself attuned to her moods, fascinated by her quirky traits and attracted to her on both a mental and physical level. He was getting harder and harder, which was making it harder and harder to keep his distance.
“Hell’s bells, Meredith. Enough already.” Fabulous. He needed a bar of soap to wash out his mouth for all the foul words he’d been thinking, if not uttering, since making Miss McKenna’s acquaintance five days ago. Ripping off the blindfold, he shot out of the chair and, blinded by the glare of sunlight, banged heads with her.
“Ow! That hurt.” Her indignant shout blasted directly into his right ear.
“No kidding,” he yelled back.
“Stand still, you dolt, or we’re going to knock craniums again.”
“Dolt?” Anders blinked. “Did you call me a dolt? Who even uses a word like that?” As his vision cleared, Meredith’s face appeared. Her unhappy pout was overshadowed by a bright red lump swelling before his eyes in the center of her forehead. He probably had one just like it if the tender sensation between his brows was any indication. The absurdity of the conversation and the head banging struck without warning, and Anders burst out in a braying guffaw.
“What’s so funny?” Meredith demanded. “Just because I like a little variety in my vocabulary is no reason for you to laugh at me.”
Drawing in a breath to halt his hysteria, Anders saw she appeared just as he’d imagined: hands on hips, jaw clenched, eyes nothing more than narrow slits. That he had so accurately predicted her response triggered yet another bout of howling amusement.
In a matter of seconds, Anders watched her eyes widen, go shiny and narrow again. By the time he realized she had misconstrued his merriment as him laughing at her, not with her, she’d reached for something on the nearby table, upending a bowl of gooey, melted milk chocolate on his head.
“Goll-damn-frick-shit!” he bellowed, wiping the mess out of his eyes.
“Now that’s funny,” she said, forcing a humorless chuckle. She lifted her chin and swallowed hard, eyes raised toward the ceiling in an attempt to hold back the tears. “In case you didn’t get that last one, it was chocolate.”
“Oh, I got it,” Anders muttered, at a loss how to react. He should be furious. A temperamental Beverly Hills heiress had just doused an FBI special agent with chocolate sauce because he’d accidently hurt her feelings.
“I think we’ve had enough practice for one afternoon,” she said coolly. “Please show yourself out.”
As she turned away, Anders hooked a hand under her arm and pulled her back. “No way. Not when we’re finally getting the hang of this.” Startled, Meredith froze…just long enough for him to scoop up a handful of strawberries and crush them into her hair.
In a flash, the gleam of tears flared into fiery astonishment. Something shifted in Anders’s chest, launching twin rockets of reaction--one sexual heat, the other protective satisfaction. His cock hardened while his heart softened. In that moment, he wanted Meredith in so many ways. He wanted her fast and hard, soft and slow. He wanted her happy and smiling, confident and trusting. He wanted her over the back of the sofa, across the hood of his ’72 Chevy Challenger back in D.C., locked in a hungry sixty-nine position. The force of the lust and need flooding his body almost slammed him back into the chair.
“You. Did. Not. Just. Do. That.” She stared at him while thin rivulets of juice ran down her face.
“Your turn.” He held out a can of artificial whipped cream and grinned through the coating of chocolate.

Interview with Meredith McKenna

Tell us about yourself.
I’m not typically one to grant interviews unless it’s related to the philanthropy work I do for my father’s corporation, McKenna Enterprises. I prefer to guard my privacy. After all, people tend to judgmental, especially when it comes to the wealthy or celebrities. Not that I consider myself a celebrity.
But, since you asked, I’ll give you the condensed version of my bio. I am the only child of a billionaire entrepreneur and an ambitious gold digger. My mother died when I was very young so essentially I was raised by my father. Let me correct that: I was raised by staff members who worked at my father’s Beverly Hills mansion. Our relationship improved after I completed my education and took at job in the family business. Now I see him regularly at our weekly business lunches.
My upbringing was typical for anyone born into money. Lots of lessons--riding, dance, foreign language, private schools, summer vacations in Europe, shopping sprees, parties. However, for as long as I can remember, I never fit in with the other richies. I have little tolerance for the back stabbing and air kisses and game playing that seem to come with the territory. Most of these socialites have their heads in the clouds; instead of building a career or doing something constructive with their lives, they seem content to wait for Prince Charming to show up.
My straight forward, practical attitude seems to have paid off though. I’m engaged to Darik Bhantarin, Crown Prince of Tano’air. That’s what brought me to Trésorier du Coeur. Before I can become Darik’s princess, I have to go through this Princess 101 so-called orientation. Darik failed to mention the training program includes the “bedroom arts.” Can you believe that kind of nonsense exists in today’s modern age? I’m expected to choose a mentor, one of Madame Duval’s gigolos, to instruct me on how to give a royal blow job.
Tell us about Anders Collier.
Argh! Just hearing that man’s name is enough to make me scream. He’s the rudest, most infuriating, disrespectful, boorish, insensitive, condescending person I’ve ever met. At the opening reception where I was introduced to the staff--a.k.a. Madame Duval’s lineup of professional lovers--he actually snubbed me. There were more than a dozen men competing for my attention. Any one of them would be thrilled to be chosen as my mentor. Not Anders Collier. As if he can afford to be choosy. Sure, he’s attractive if you have a thing for the clean-cut type: short blond hair, cool gray eyes, tall and lean. Other than that, he wasn’t very impressive. I have to say, he was the only guy at the formal reception who actually appeared comfortable in his tux. It could have been a pair of jeans and a polo shirt as relaxed as he looked.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My realistic outlook on life. I don’t delude myself with fairy tales like riding off into the sunset with a hero or myths like love at first sight. I don’t believe in playing games or lying or misrepresenting one’s self when it comes to relationships. That’s why Darik and I are such a good match. Our mix of qualities and skills is perfect for a mutually beneficial marriage.
What would Anders Collier say is your strongest point?
Gives an unladylike snort.) Anders Collier doesn’t know me well enough to speak to my personal traits. And even if he was acquainted with me, I doubt he’d have anything nice to say. He would probably point out the fact that my breasts are too small and my hips are too wide.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I don’t “wish “anything was different about my life. I don’t believe in wishing for things. You have to face facts and deal with what’s in front of you. With enough determination and hard work, you can achieve anything. Wishing for things to happen is nothing more than a convenient excuse for people too lazy to take accountability for their own success and happiness.
I have everything I want in life. I love my job and I’m engaged to a prince. Did you happen to notice my engagement ring? It’s a nine-carat, two-million-dollar diamond solitaire. Once Darik slides the platinum wedding band on my finger, I’ll have not only a man who shares my honesty and practicality toward marriage but a huge contract for McKenna Enterprises, as well. My father can’t stop telling me how impressed he is with his amazing daughter’s business acumen.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
Again, I don’t believe in wishing for things to happen so I’ll tell you the most important question to be asked: What am I going to do about this ridiculous princess sex-ed training? I have no intention of sleeping with a stranger, not even to become a princess. The key is to find a mentor who wants to avoid an entanglement with me as much as I want to avoid one with him. If I can convince Anders I won’t rat him out and jeopardize his future as a gigolo, I’m pretty sure I can skate through this royal orientation without Madame Duval or Darik any the wiser. What do you think? Is there any possible way I can carry it off?
EmKay Connor

About the Author

EmKay Connor is a member of Romance Writers of America and several specialty chapters, including RWA-San Diego, Georgia Romance Writers, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, Outreach International RWA, and RWA Kiss of Death. A firm believer in paying it forward (and backward and sideways), she has served as president, vice president, secretary, newsletter editor, workshop presenter and committee chair at both the local and national level. She also contributes her time and experience by volunteering to judge numerous writing contests each year.

Find Me Here


January 26, 2013

Urban Fantasy: Natural Born Enemies @GemmaKMurray #RLFblog


Natural Born Enemies

Gemma K Murray, welcome back to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Natural Born Enemies.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Leap of Faith Publishing
Cover artist: Regina Paul
Length: 55,679 words
Heat rating: 4 flames
Blurb:
Cedar River, Michigan is a wonderful place to fall in love. Some people see change as a good thing, but there are a few others who can’t let go of the “old ways.” “Breeds should stay within their breeds,” they say.
Adam Thomas is the deputy sheriff in Cedar River. His black puma shifter side got him released from the military and sent back home. His demons followed, but they are nothing compared to the ones within his pride.
Luna McIntyre is the only daughter and shaman to the McIntyre pack. She is tired of being smothered and told what to do in regards to her life. She’s opened a sweet shop and moved forward with her life. However, the love of her teen years is back in town and her family is trying to rein her in again.
Someone in this small town is so set in their beliefs that they can’t see how love is sometimes simply love. Cats and canines may be natural born enemies, but love may be enough to get past the differences.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Adam Thomas is in his late twenties/early thirties. He is one of the deputies to the sheriff, Bowie Golden, in the Upper Peninsula town of Cedar River. Adam is a black puma shifter.
Luna McIntyre is the only daughter of the Alpha of the McIntyre pack in Cedar River. She is also in her late twenties/early thirties and owns Full Moon Sweets, a candy shop full of tempations.

Excerpt:



I’ll never forget the first look I got of Adam. He wore his bad attitude like a well-worn pair of jeans. Gods, I wanted to be the woman to tame his wild side. The anger radiated off him in waves, but I knew in my heart that he was simply hurting.
Every year since I could remember, the pack and the pride would lay aside their differences and would help with the clearing of downed trees in the woods between the two lands. Roman Pierce recruited Adam to help. He was a young and able body. His lanky muscles bunched and relaxed with each piece of wood he tossed into the waiting trailers. My mouth still waters at that memory. Then, Adam got arrested. My dad warned me to stay away from Adam, but there was something about that young man. I started to make excuses to go into town with my girlfriends in hopes of catching his eye.
“He’s nothing but bad news, Luna,” my friend, Maria, said.
“If that’s what bad news looks like, you can deliver it to me every day,” was my reply.
Adam’s black hair was always in his eyes, but when those piercing green eyes turned my way, I felt my insides melt. A mere glance from the Pierce Pride bad boy sent my heart racing. I would watch him in the halls at school and on the football field. His speed made him the best receiver on the Cedar River Miners. I’d watch him on the side lines palling around with “Bodacious” Bowie Golden. Those two together were enough to make a girl’s panties drop with a simple smile.

Interview

Keeper of the
Golden Dragon's Heart

Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place? Natural Born Enemies is the second book in the Cedar River Series. Cedar River is a small town of shifters in every shape and size. From the largest nest of dragons to phoenix, wolves, pumas, and otters, if you are looking for a shifter, you will probably be able to find it in this series. The town is set along the shores of Lake Superior, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Cedar trees scent the air along with the crisp smell of the lake. Residents are of different species, but they manage to pull together and help out as a community should.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I finished writing Keeper of the Golden Dragon’s Heart, I thought I was done. However, Adam stepped forward and wanted his story told. The more I heard his story (in my mind) the more I knew I had to tell it. He carries inside of him so much sorrow and pain and because of that, he is so familiar to me.
Why do you write?
Honestly, I write because if I didn’t, I would lose my mind. I have always had voices in my mind and I thought I was crazy. Then, I began to sort them into groups or couples and I wrote. Once I began to write, the voices in my head would slow down and my head was able to clear. If I didn’t write, I don’t know what else I would do.
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
In the morning, I have French vanilla cappuccino, the afternoon, water. In my house, there is always a dog or two underfoot. My earbuds are always close by as well. With the view I have out my front window (where I write), that is all the inspiration I could possibly need.
When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?
At the age of 40, I decided returning to school seemed like a brilliant idea. Therefore, if I’m not writing, I’m studying. When I have time, I am a bookaholic. I love to read. I was a reader long before I was a writer and I can while away an entire day between the pages of a book.
What aspect of your life do you write into your books?
My real-life emotions really come out in my writing. I’ve been married for almost 20 years so love is a must have in my books. I don’t believe in the fairy tale, happily ever after love. I want my characters to have “real” love. You know, the love where not everything is perfect. Their relationships are organic and need to be tended. I love to laugh so humor is a big part of my writing. My husband says my female characters resemble me in many ways (stubborn, tough, strong).
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I spent many years as a babysitter/daycare worker. I waited tables, did dishes, and cooked at a truck stop when I was in high school. I also worked in a vet clinic, which was so much hard work, yet very much worth it. My favorite job (besides writing) has been being a stay at home wife/canine mom for the last 20 years.
Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
Keeper of the Golden Dragon’s Heart was the hardest because I didn’t want to be a paranormal author. There are so many amazing paranormal/urban fantasy authors out there and I never imagined my imagination could compete with them. Once I shut off my inner critic and let the story flow, I found myself in awe of what I was writing. My imagination is really an awesome place to hang out.

Personal Info

What's the best gift you ever received?
My first canine kid, Kodiak. We had just found out we couldn’t have children when my husband brought her home. She healed two broken hearts.
What kind of music do you listen to while driving? Same question when writing?
When I’m driving, I usually have country music on. I love the harder hitting music like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.
When I’m writing, it depends on the characters. For Natural Born Enemies, I listened to A LOT of Celtic Thunder. For Book 3 (which I’m working on now), I have a lot of Clapton, Heart, Bob Seeger, Santana, and Pink on my playlist.
What's your favorite movie?
Right now, I can’t get enough of Catch and Release. It’s such a funny, yet wonderfully romantic movie.

Please complete the sentence

I love pizza with pepperoni and green olives.
I'm always ready for Duck Dynasty (reality television show).
When I'm alone, I take time to be girly.
You'd never be able to tell, but I am a princess at heart.
If I had a halo it would be held up by a couple of horns and it would be more than a bit tarnished.
If I could live anywhere in the world, I'd stay here in the U.P.
I can never give up because my dad taught me to fight for the things that matter.

Previous Books

Keeper of the Golden Dragon’s Heart- Cedar River Series: Book 1

Contest

Find Me Here


January 24, 2013

Dark Fantasy: City of the Mirage @BookstoGoNow #RLFblog


City of the Mirage

Jerome Brook, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The City of the Mirage.
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Blurb:
The Divine Astarte is one of the last of her race. Her kind seeded many worlds with life. One of these realms was the planet of the Warrior.
Astarte is feared, not loved by her people - she is the Destroyer of Worlds. She is served by a legion of shield maidens. These cruel warriors inspire terror in all the lands of the empire of Astarte. The people of her empire are also terrorized by the Beast Men. They are the offspring of members of an alien race and the daughters of men. Astarte still rules in the City of the Mirage.
Buy links:

Excerpt:

The muse stood at the side of the blind bard. She whispered in his ear, telling him the history of the demigod, of the Conqueror.
Myth of the Lady of the Myst, II, vii.
The mirage appeared very close. I could see the white towers of the city, as they shimmered on the horizon. I wiped the sweat from my brow with my sleeve, and took a sip of water from my canteen.
I looked over my shoulder. I could no longer see the enemy chase cars.
They had been in pursuit since last night, when my plane went down. I had parachuted from my wounded craft, and landed in the desert. After I landed, I fled into the empty waste, hoping that my beacon would be heard by our rescue.
I resumed walking. Perhaps I had come all this way only to die of thirst in this wasteland. I checked my canteen. Almost empty.
I tried my radio once more. Nothing – not even static.
I continued walking in the light breeze. I soon came to a boulder field. I walked among the rocks for a few minutes, until I came to the edge of a ravine. I glanced over the edge, and saw a fast moving stream below.
I climbed down the steep slope to the floor of the ravine. I filled my canteen, and pulled off my flight suit. I plunged into the water, and rinsed off the dust.
I sat upon a rock near the edge of the stream, to rest for a time. I soon pulled on my flight suit, and began to follow the stream. As I walked, a strange blue mist began to form, near the ground. The mist persisted, even tho a breeze began to stir the air.
I came to a large bolder jutting out into the stream. I walked around it, and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned, and saw a woman of middle years stepping out of the stream.
“Hello,” she said with a smile. She spoke with a heavy accent.
“Hello,” I replied, and smiled. She had black hair, and dark, olive skin. She did not seem to mind that she had nothing on, in the strong breeze. This was all passing strange.
“I am the Lady of the Myst. Are you lost, Warrior?”
“Well, yes. I am heading west,” I managed to collect myself and say.
She pointed down the ravine. “Follow the stream. It leads to the plain. If you see anyone else, they may help you.”
I nodded.
“I must leave you now. But you will see me soon, when you are ready.” She came up to me, and wrapped her arms around me. She kissed, and gently bit my neck. I felt a little dizzy, and also felt a strong attraction to her.
“Am I Enthralled by the Lady, the beautiful Lady Without Mercy?” I asked myself.

About the Author

Jerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is the consort of Jira, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan and is a retired attorney. He has served as City Attorney for Ellettsville, Indiana. He has written The City of the Mirage (Books to Go Now) and many other books.

Find Me Here


January 23, 2013

Fantasy: The Last Vhalgenn #RLFblog #Audible


The Last Vhalgenn

Today on Romance Lives Forever, in lieu of a guest, I'm sharing one of my books, The Last Vhalgenn.
Genre: Mainstream Fantasy
Publisher: AudioLark

Author: Kayelle Allen
Narrator: Paige Holt
Cover artist: Heidi Hutchinson

Heat rating: Mild
Tagline: It's only a child's ritual blessing. Isn't it?
Blurb:

The Vhalgenn is a warrior, bedmate, soulmate, companion, and friend. Trusted by the king. Hated by the queen. To save the newborn prince, the Vhalgenn will risk her position, her honor, and death itself to appease the faerii, and honor the Old Ways. But if she takes the newborn prince to the queen's homeland for a ritual blessing, who--or what--will she bring back?


The Last Vhalgenn finaled for a Fantasy EPPIE in 2008 in the book A Time To... Volume 1 - The Best of The Lorelei Signal 2006, from Wolfsinger Publications. The anthology is now out of print, but the story is available in audiobook.

 
The Last Vhalgenn


Excerpt

In the private receiving chamber, I knelt before the king I had not seen in over two years, an ache in my knees and groin and back that four hours ahorse had burned into my muscle; and delivered the news of victorious battle I'd been dispatched to bring. When I finished, the sovereign master of Qarth and Kellindahr leaned back his tawny, lion-maned head to regard me with heavy-lidded eyes.
I couldn't believe the luck of having caught Orix awake so late. He'd always been one to turn in early. Soft, his father used to say. I knew it for his love of play. My throat tightened with pleasure at the thought and I had to swallow, hard, to force it away. That we were alone amazed me even more. But war has a way of loosening rules, even in Qarth.
A wartime's ransom of jewels glittered on his hands as he reached for a bowl of golden Kellindahrii apples beside him. He bit into one and chewed.
I waited until his smiling mouth bit into the apple again and then I rose, moved to kneel between his outstretched legs and closed my callused hand around his be-ringed one to bring the fruit to my own lips. Meeting his gaze, I bit into the same place his teeth had torn and wiped my mouth with the back of a dusty hand.
"Ah, Raik," Orix laughed. "You've not changed a whit." He ran his eyes over me, then frowned and moved the candlestand closer to peer at me. "Your leathers are ripped." He bent forward, fingers tracing the slash a scrim saber had made the night before. The blue eyes bored into mine. "Were you hurt?"
Despite my protest to the contrary, he insisted on making sure of my health with his own hands and untied the bindings of my doublet. Beneath the black leather lay a now sweat-soaked blouse of emerald Qarthian silk, the same color as his standard, which my youngest brother had borne into battle the night before. The silk had been the king's gift the year before on my birthday: green that exactly matched my eyes. His color marked me as Orix's as much as my clan's cheek tattoo. The overlapping petals of the flowering Ddhumach ivy tangled itself around a diadem, the symbol for Hellesbor, clan name of my sovereign.
"The leather's ruined, Lord. So's the silk."
"No matter," he said, voice low, his eyes still holding mine. He jerked loose the ties at my throat as if he meant to strip me naked and I shivered despite the summer's heat.
He was close enough for me to feel the moist heat of his breath, inhale the clean maleness of his scent. He'd bathed, his blond hair still dark with water. It curled at the edges as it dried.
"So," he said, releasing me. "You weren't hurt."
"No, sire." I sat and folded my legs, leaning back against his throne as I re-laced my shirt. "Disappointed?"
"Immensely." He laid a hand in my hair. "I'd thought to decorate you."
"For what? Foolishness?" I looked at him over my shoulder. "I got that slice chasing down what turned out to be one of our own men." I bit into the fruit again and held it up for him.
His eyes twinkled. "I've missed you, you rogue. The palace isn't the same without you. It feels empty, all the time." He took a second bite and spoke around a mouthful. "No matter how much I involve myself in my work. Or my wife."
I turned my head to hide my smile. Not proper to gloat, at least in front of him.
"Hungry, Vhalgenn?"
My heart warmed at the childhood title: Vhalgenn--the Chosen One. It was the custom in Qarth to give a child of the opposite sex to the sovereign's firstborn to be playmate, companion and bed warmer. To prevent the sowing of seed in the wrong field, the Vhalgenn was made incapable of bearing or fathering a babe early on. We Vhalgenns weren't meant to fall in love with the ones we served, though our history bursts with tales of…
"I said," he leaned closer, "are you hungry?"
"Starving."
"Cyken sent for food as soon as he spotted your horse. He had bath water heated, too."
"The blessings of God on his house forever." I lifted a hand. "I swear, Orix, I've never been this dirty this long. Remind me to kiss him when I'm clean enough for fit company."
"And I suppose I'm not fit?" He stood and held down a hand. "Come on, you rogue. You can eat after you bathe."
I let him take me where he chose, too tired and too trusting to question or resist. No other man could so easily direct me. Few would try.

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble: http://is.gd/vhalgenn_bn
Library On-the-Go http://is.gd/go_vhalgenn

Find Kayelle Here

Goodreads http://goodreads.com/KayelleAllen
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