Join me in welcoming Julie James to the Explosive contest! Julie has generously offered to give away a copy of her latest, Something About You to one commenter here today. I’m a big fan of Julie’s books, and SAY is a personal favorite.
JJ: Thanks for having me here! I’m happy to be a part of the Explosive contest—and I can’t wait to read the book!
Thanks. 🙂 Tell us what you’ve been working on, writing-wise.
JJ: I just finished the final edits of my next release, A Lot Like Love, which will be out March 1st. In addition, I’ve started writing my next book, but then a month ago I had a baby girl so I’ve been a little busy taking care of her. 🙂 My plan is to pick back up with the book and be writing full-time in January.
How are you and your books alike?
JJ: Oh, I’d say my books have a dry, semi-sarcastic tone to them, and I suppose that’s a little like my own sense of humor… And my first three books all feature a lawyer heroine, and I’m a lawyer myself. The heroine in A Lot Like Love is not a lawyer—a first for me—but she owns a wine store and (naturally) is into wine. That’s something I could identify with as well.
Your writing career thus far has been filled with contracts, impressive sales, accolades and awards. What stands out for you as being one of the most rewarding experiences?
JJ: Well, when you put it that way, it sounds kind of impressive. : ) I’m certainly very appreciative of the good reviews my books have received, and for all the bloggers/reviewers who have spread the word about my books. In addition to that, one of the most rewarding experiences is when I hear from a reader that she was having a bad day, or was feeling down, but was cheered up by one of my books. If I can make someone smile, or help them escape and relax for a few hours, then I feel that I’ve done my job.
Here’s an excerpt from my current release, Something About You. I’m giving away a copy of the book to one person who comments below. And for those who have read Something About You and enjoyed it, I think they’ll be happy to hear that Jack and Cameron (the hero and heroine) make appearances in A Lot Like Love.
“And then I heard the door open, so I ran and looked out the peephole,” Cameron said.
“Just being nosy?”
The sarcasm seemed to reinvigorate her. “And thank goodness for that,” she said. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have whatever information I know that I don’t yet realize I know.” She smiled ever so sweetly. “Besides, if I hadn’t been so nosy, Agent Pallas, you and I never would’ve had this lovely chance to reconnect.”
Wilkins coughed while taking a sip of his coffee. It sounded suspiciously like a chuckle.
Jack found her sarcasm laughable. Back when he was in Special Forces, before he’d joined the FBI, he’d interrogated foreign operatives, suspected terrorists, and members of various guerilla militias. He could certainly handle one cheeky assistant U.S. attorney. “I’m glad to see the coffee’s put a little ï¬re back in you,” he said dryly. “Now why don’t you tell me what you saw when you were doing your civic duty and spying though the peephole?”
Wilkins held up his hand. “Um, I’m thinking maybe I should pick back up with this.”
Cameron and Jack answered simultaneously. “We’re ï¬ne.”
“I saw a man leave the room, which I’m sure you know,” she told Jack.
“I already described him to Slonsky.”
“Do it again.”
Jack saw her eyes ï¬‚ash. She didn’t like being told what to do. Too bad.
“Five foot eleven, maybe six feet tall,” she said. “Medium build. He wore jeans, a black blazer, and a gray hooded T-shirt pulled over his head. He had his back to me the entire time, so I never saw his face.”
“Didn’t you think the hooded T-shirt was a little odd?” Jack asked.
“I heard butt cheeks being slapped and walls that were banged so hard my teeth nearly rattled. Frankly, I’ve found this whole evening to be a little odd, Agent Pallas.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jack could see Wilkins glance up at the ceiling while ï¬ghting off another smile.
“Are you certain about the man’s height?” Jack continued.
Cameron paused, thinking. “Yes.”
“How about his weight?”
She sighed. “I’m really bad at guessing that kind of thing.”
“Make an effort. Pretend this is something important.”
Cameron glanced over at Wilkins. “How much do you weigh?”
“Wait—how come Jack doesn’t have to answer that?”
“The man I saw seems closer to your build.”
“Oh, so he’s a smaller guy, then?” Jack suggested helpfully.
Wilkins turned around. “A smaller guy? I’m an inch above the national average. Besides, I’m spry.”
“Let’s try to narrow this down,” Jack regrouped. “I weigh one-eighty-ï¬ve, Agent Wilkins is about one-sixty. Given that, where would you say this guy falls?”
She looked between the two men, considering this. “About one-seventy.”
Jack and Wilkins exchanged looks.
“What?” Cameron asked. “What does that tell you?”
Thank you so much, Beth, for having me here to help celebrate your new release. I can’t wait to read Explosive!
Today I’m blogging about an unusual combination: Shakespeare and BDSM.
I love Shakespeare. Call me a geek, but when I was an English major in university, I took one whole course on nothing but Shakespeare and I loved it. My kids make gagging noises when I tell them that, as I cheerfully help them with their high school essays on Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. But it’s true. Mind you, Shakespeare isn’t something I pick up these days for some light reading. It takes a bit of work. But I love the words he used, all the double entendres and timeless themes.
A while back I was looking through some Shakespeare works hoping for story inspiration, and I came across The Taming of the Shrew. I recall studying this play in university, at the ripe old age of, oh, about nineteen. I was righteously offended that any man would even dream of talking about “taming” a woman, and disgusted at the things Petruccio did to tame Katherine. I remember thinking Petruccio was a total asshole. I didn’t get it at all.
But as I looked at this story again recently, I was struck by the similarities between Petruccio’s method of “taming” Katherine, and the training a Dominant might give a submissive. I started thinking about the play differently and realised that it could have a modern day telling, with a woman who is strong and independent in the business world, but who doesn’t quite fit in outside that world. A woman whose family (in this case I made it a grandparent, since it seemed unlikely to me that parents would have such old-fashioned ideas in this day and age) wants her to take on traditional female roles. A sister who has taken on those traditional female roles (and yet, she’s not completely happy either) and to whom this woman compares herself. And how deep down inside, this woman’s not entirely happy with the life she’s chosen. She’s just not sure why.
This is how my book Taming Tara, coming November 26 from Ellora’s Cave, came about.
At the beginning of The Taming of the Shrew Katherine comes across as somewhat unlikeable —bad-tempered and sharp-tongued — a shrew. But beneath the surface, perhaps her anger stems from unhappiness. She’s jealous of her sister and the way her family treats her, perhaps worried about her own attractiveness to men and whether she will ever find love and happiness. She’s also strong and intelligent and doesn’t want to just conform to what society thinks she should be.
These days society is not as rigid as it was in Shakespeare’s day, when the only way a woman could find acceptance in society was through marriage and a husband, yet most of us deep down inside want love and family in our lives. And strong, assertive women are often perceived as “bitches” and are threatening to some men (and women).
In Taming Tara, Tara has a goal in life, which is to run the family business her parents should have been running, had they not died. She, too, is envious of her beautiful, feminine sister and how her grandfather treats her. Her relationships with men have failed because she was too controlling. In her life, a woman being in charge is threatening to many men. Deep down inside she’s a little insecure about her ability to run the business and about her ability to find love and happiness. She thinks what she needs is a way to assert her dominance and control, and she wonders if exploring the dominant side of herself at a fetish club will help fill that emptiness inside her.
I was also interested in Petruccio, given my initial impression when reading The Taming of The Shrew that he was a complete jerk. He wanted to marry Katherine for financial gain, and set out to tame her for his own purposes. The things he did to her were cruel, there is no denying that. But it’s also possible Petruccio fell in love with Katherine and wanted her to have a better life than the unhappy, shrewish life she led when they met.
In Taming Tara, Joe comes with some complicated baggage that makes it very important that he succeed at his new job. So he’s willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, even “taming” his new co-worker. But during the process, he falls in love with Tara and it no longer becomes about “taming” her for his own purposes. Rather, it becomes important to show her that her life can be better. As an experienced Dominant he knows what’s at the heart of Domination/submission—that underlying the mastery is dependence, and beneath the submission lies strength. He knows Tara is strong enough to submit. But Joe, too, has a journey— he falls in love with Tara and he learns he needs her too. She restores his confidence in himself by showing he’s worthy of complete trust. There is no Dominant without a submissive.
Tara sees “submission” as a character flaw, a weakness. And she’s probably not alone in that view. So it’s difficult for her to take that journey and realize that it takes strength to submit and to learn to be proud of her submission.
The Taming of the Shrew has generated controversy and criticism, apparently even in Shakespeare’s own time, as being misogynistic and patriarchal. Was Shakespeare really advocating that men should tame women into submission using such cruel and crushing methods? Was he using Katherine and Petruccio as a cautionary moral tale of what not to do? Or is there pleasure in submitting to the one you love?
Hope you all are enjoying your Sundays! I know I am. Today, I have one autographed copy of Explosive to give away to one commenter on this exclusive excerpt of my upcoming contemporary/erotic/suspense from Berkley Heat, Explosive.
Her smile faded when she saw his mouth flatten. She didn’t tell herself to move, but suddenly she’d stepped deeper into the harbor between his spread knees. She cupped his jaw with her palm.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Awkwardness crashed through her at his taut inquiry.
“I . . . I had heard that your parents were killed.”
His hand covered hers. “That was a long time ago. I was lucky enough to be blessed with two sets of parents. Iris and Joseph Carlisle have loved me like their own son.”
She glanced down. “I must sound ungrateful to you. Complaining
about my parents.”
He lifted her chin. “I didn’t hear you complaining. We were having a conversation. You were just telling it like it is.”
For a full few seconds, their gazes clung. Sophie was distantly aware that the storm had swelled to its full fury. Rain lashed at the windows and thunder rumbled all around them. She blinked when she realized she’d been staring fixedly at Thomas’s mouth.
His hands settled on her waist and his head came nearer.
“I should put another bandage on your neck,” she warned.
“Later,” he muttered before his mouth brushed hers in a questing kiss. His lips felt warm and firm. She opened her mouth, sandwiching his lower lip between her own, caressing him and biting softly.
He groaned and pulled her tighter against his body.
“What am I doing here, Sophie?” he asked in a gruff whisper, his mouth hovering a fraction of an inch above hers. His fingers delved with a gentle possessiveness into the flesh of her hip.
“You need time, Thomas. To heal.”
He lifted his head, looking a little stunned, perhaps at the sound of her authoritative tone. He abruptly slid to the edge of the chair and pressed her into his body.
“And you think you can heal me, Sophie?” he rasped, a sardonic smile tilting his lips. His hands opened over her buttocks.
She whimpered at the feeling of his cock hardening against her belly. Her hands rose to his waist where her fingers relished the feeling of thick, smooth skin. She found she couldn’t get enough of the sensation. She’d learned last night that Thomas possessed a proclivity for restraining her during sex. The moments when he’d allowed her to touch him, to get her full fill of him, had been too few and far between.
“I . . . don’t know,” she responded, distracted by the feeling of his body beneath her fingertips. “Time is what you need. But . . . I want to be here. With you,” she added, holding his stare.
She felt the tension rise in his muscles. He shook his head slowly. “I feel like someone else has come and taken over my body. You have no idea the things I want to do to you. If you knew, you’d run. Take your chance now, Sophie. Tell me to go.”
She felt her pulse throbbing madly at her throat when she saw the feral gleam in dark green eyes. Maybe she should heed his advice? She knew that it would be the smart thing to stay away from him. But for some reason, Sophie didn’t want to be careful and rational. Not in the case of Thomas Nicasio.
“You’re not going anywhere,” she whispered.
His mouth slanted into a snarl before he seized her mouth with his own.
EXPLOSIVE, available in stores December 7.
Read more about Explosive here.
And if you haven’t yet put your entry in the hat for the free Kindle and a $50 Amazon gift certificate, do so right above this post.
Hi all! Just a quick pop in…it was a hellacious day for me at work, but I will be putting up a post and a giveaway tomorrow morning of Explosive. I’ll announce Beth W.’s winner then, as well, but in the meantime, feel free to continue with Beth’s great giveaway below.
You heard it right, cowgirls and boys. Awesome author Beth Williamson is blogging about letting the story unfold of its own accord and giving away an advanced review copy of Restless Heart to one commenter on this blog today. So with no further ado…Here’s Beth.
Letting the story tell itself
As much as writers are pushed to create a synopsis, a blurb, a tag line for a story, the story never follows the map I draw. It’s true, no matter how much I plot, the story tells itself.
I always “think” I know how the plot will unfold, but I am helpless to stem the tide once its racing toward the shore. This holds true for not only the direction the story takes but characters too. I always know the hero and heroine before I begin, and those two characters are at the center of the story. What happens to them, with them, because of them, is anybody’s guess. Secondary characters simply appear as I type and I think, “where the hell did they come from?”
I write a synopsis to sell a book, but as soon as I actually start writing the book, my fingers and my imagination kick my synopsis to the curb and take over. I start hearing characters conversing in my head and in my dreams. I’ll be driving and have a sudden inspiration, and an entire scene unfolds in my mind. I’ve recorded plenty of that only to transcribe it later.
Some writers use plot boards and spreadsheets to track their stories. That just doesn’t work for me. One writer I know who used a story board with sticky notes told a hilarious story of how one was stuck to her coat when she went to the bank. What did it say? Something along the lines of “Hide the evidence. Kill off Brown.” Bwahahaha! See what happens when you track your story? It blows up on you.
RESTLESS HEART was just such a story. It was the second book I’ve written as Emma Lang, following RUTHLESS HEART. I knew Angeline needed her own story, and who her hero would be, and then when I started writing, things just happened. It’s a highly emotional book, with very intense scenes that made me cry, a crotchety old man who made me laugh (he was one of those surprise! characters) and a hero I just wanted to hold tight.
The method to my madness has worked for me, after having written 19 novels, so I think I’ll stick with it. 🙂
Restless Heart by Emma Lang
Angels don’t always have halos…
Angeline Hunter ran from a horrific marriage, to start her life again in a small town in Wyoming, away from the Mormon life she had escaped in Utah. She didn’t want to fall in love, or even fall in like, with a man like Samuel Carver. He was too nice, too normal, and far out of the reach for a woman who lived each day in a lie.
Sam Carver had hair the color of midnight and eyes darker than pitch—the eyes of a man who’d seen too much. But he couldn’t get enough of the mysterious, ethereal beauty who had turned up in his little Wyoming town, working at the Blue Plate, keeping to herself.
He knew Angeline Hunter was running scared, pursued by a fanatic who threatened her life. But no matter what it took, Sam would convince his angel to put her trust in him, to put the painful past behind her and learn just how pleasurable the present could be….
Leave Beth a comment to qualify to win an ARC of RESTLESS HEART tomorrow morning. And if you haven’t entered the EXPLOSIVE contest yet for a free Kindle and gift certificate on December 1, do so now here!
Author Dee Tenorio is here with us today at the Explosive contest, talking about writing and giving away a copy of SHAKEN to one lucky commenter tomorrow morning. I heard about Dee from Lea of the Closetreader blog, who raved about SHAKEN and Dee’s writing. So be sure to check her out!
Fresh from a meeting with a divorce attorney, Grant and Julia Sullivan find themselves trapped in an elevator after an earthquake. Unable to escape either their hurts or their desire, can they learn their way back to each other before they reach the bottom floor?
Dee’s InterviewBK: Welcome Dee!
You’ve been writing for quite a few years, correct? Have you always been a writer? If not, what got you into writing?
DT: Hi Beth! I’m so glad to be visiting!
Now, Mom always told me to never admit numbers—which is handy since I can’t really count that well, lol—but when it comes to writing, I can honestly say, I’ve been at it for as long as I could hold a pencil. I’ve been published since 2005, but sadly, it took a LOT of years of writing some really bad stories before I learned how to not make editors (so) crazy.
If anyone or anything got me into writing, it was my Mom. She always read to or with me and we both just love a god story.
BK: How are you like your books?
DT: LOL, that’s easy. You know the somewhat sarcastic, side of your mouth comments the characters tend to make? That’d be me. All the time. I can’t help it, I tried therapy but the therapist kept giggling, so, there went that. 🙂
BK: What’s the best thing about being an author? The worst?
DT: Oh, the absolute best thing ever is a fan letter. I mean, there’s times when you go like weeks with your hair in a clean but not well-brushed ponytail, talking to yourself, wearing your loosest sweats, subsisting on potato chips while you race to your deadline… It can be hard to feel cool or talented or…you know, anything but disgraceful, and then you get a fan letter and someone tells you that your story touched them. Suddenly, you’re a rock star. Or at the least, you feel pretty damn awesome and a whole day’s disappointments just disappear.
The worst…well, part of me says bad reviews, but sometimes the worst part is doing the PR planning. You want people to see the book and buy the book, but organizing it and getting yourself out there is daunting and scary and…well, some of us are just no good at being interesting, LOL! PR, definitely the hard part.
Well, second to writing the books, lol. 🙂
BK: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
DT: Well, right now, I’m hard at work writing the next book in my Resurrection series, the paranormal shifter series I’ve got with Carina Press…and then I’m going to be working on my next erotic project. I’m also putting together projects for my Samhain series, Rancho del Cielo, hopefully for sometime next year and into 2012.
What I have out currently is a short novella called “Shaken”. It’s probably one of my most challenging stories ever and considering the themes I’ve covered in my backlist, that’s saying a lot. It’s about one couple’s road back to each other after the loss of their daughter in a tragic car accident. Trapped in an elevator after an earthquake, there’s no where left to run and no where else to hide from the pain. For the hero, Grant, it’s his last chance to prove to his wife that they can still build their life together and he’s pulling out every stop he can to do it.
I’d love to hear from all of you about whether you enjoy reading a book that puts you through the wringer emotionally, if you know there’s respite on the other side. I’ve got a free e-copy of “Shaken” up for random drawing to all commenters. 🙂