Posts tagged with: free book

Ripped From Real Life

People who know I write and know me in some other role—friend, co-worker, etc.—tend to believe that all my heroines are…well…me. I understand why they would think that, especially when my heroine appears to have quite a lot in common with me.

Kick StartFor instance, Linda (the heroine in Kick Start) has a lot in common with me. She’s from the same hometown I’m from. She shares my taste in music. She has kids of the same gender and relative ages of my own children. She lives in a town quite similar to the one I live in (or the way it was about 20 years ago). She attends a similar sort of church and her kids are involved in many of the same activities mine were at those ages. That’s not because Linda is me, however. That’s because I was using what I knew at the time I wrote the book. Poor Linda is actually not really much like me at all, though, once you scratch the surface. She married a good ole boy, while I would have none of that. She was a stay-at-home mom, whereas the very thought of such gave me the willies. I can see how people might think she is me, but I hope they see the differences between us.

I have been editing the next book in my Cross Springs series, Tiara Wars, this week. I noticed that the heroine of that book, Katie, also has a few things in common with me. Less of it is surface stuff, though. Superficially, Katie and I could not be more different. She was raised a politician’s daughter and a queen of the pageant circuit. She went to cotillion and always knows what to say and do in any social situation. Like I said, we could not be more different! And yet…when I got to the really meaty part of the story, the part where she has to come to grips with who and what she really is, I realized that Katie and I shared a deep and profound commonality. Deep down, Katie learns she enjoys being admired and she enjoys being in charge. She likes competition and she likes winning. That rang true to me when I wrote it and true when I read it this week. Katie and I are not alike, but she has aspects of me deep inside her.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]Which made me reflect that, in all honesty, ALL my characters have aspects of me. Or at least of someone I know really well. How could they not? In order to write a character, you really have to get inside her or his head. The only way I can see people is through the filter of my own experience. So, in essence, all characters are kind-of, sort-of, a little bit like me (or someone I know and love dearly). I also found that in writing male characters, I tend to give them aspects of my husband or father or brother or son. Again, we write what we know. Oh, and all those mean girls and awful neighbors and things? Yes, I know those people, too. 😀

So this week, my only profound thought has been that the old “write what you know” really is the best advice anyone can give a writer. Only sometimes, what you know is buried in layers of what seems like fun and what other people are like and what you just saw on TV last week or on vacation last year. Just know that whenever you are reading a really well-developed character wrestling with deep issues, there may just be a little bit of reality in there somewhere. Only the writer will ever know, though, which parts are real and which are the products of an incredibly overactive imagination.

JDRobbOne of my favorite games is guessing which heroine in  a romance author’s bibliography is most like her. I think Nora Roberts is probably more like Eve Dallas (in her J.D. Robb ‘In Death’ series) than any of her other heroines. So play my game with me. Tell me a favorite romance writer of yours and which of her heroines you think is most like her. Don’t be afraid to call out a Romance Bandit author, either. Everyone is fair game and it’s open season! 🙂 

Oh, and I meant to tell you that KICK START will be available as a print book very soon. So, one lucky commenter will get a print copy of KICK START!

The Love List WINNER!

As you’ll recall, Deb Marlowe promised to give away a copy of her latest release, The Love List, to a luck commenter on her visit Sunday. I am happy to announce that the winner is…

BanditBootyALISHA WOODS!!!

Congratulations, Alisha! Please drop Deb a line at deb AT debmarlowe DOT com and let her know whether you prefer a print or e-book. If e-book, just let her know the format you want.

Congratulations and thanks for visiting!

Launch Party: Kate Carlisle’s SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY

She's Having the Boss's BabyThe cabana boys have started the conga line, so grab a nicely muscled waist and shake your body. It’s party time!!!! SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY is available today! In honor of the beautiful red Harlequin Desire cover, the cabana boys are wearing red swim trunks as they dance along the white sandy beach.

An Innocent in ParadiseOur party today is taking place on Alleria, the setting of SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY. Alleria is a stunning private Caribbean island, owned by the fabulously sexy and wealthy Sutherland twins. Logan Sutherland is on his honeymoon with his new wife Grace, who is no longer quite so much of AN INNOCENT IN PARADISE, leaving us with equally handsome Aidan Sutherland as host.

Forgive Aidan if he’s unusually surly today. He just found out that his right-hand woman, the resort’s senior VP Ellie Sterling, wants leave from work so she can take a quick trip to a sperm bank.

Aidan’s not exactly in a party mood. He gets that Ellie wants to have a baby – she’ll make a great mom – he just doesn’t understand why she can’t do it the old-fashioned way. Surely she could find a man! She’s a beautiful woman. In fact, lately, he’s been starting to see how incredibly beautiful and sexy she is…

Ellie approached his desk and Aidan’s breath got caught somewhere in his throat as he watched her plant herself in the chair opposite him and cross her stunning long legs.

IMG_0122Damn. He turned away to stare at…something else. This had been happening a lot lately and it was one more thing he could blame on all that wedding madness. Or it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that he’d been ogling his business associate’s legs for a long time now. Every time she came near him lately, he was ready to pounce like a jungle cat. And who could blame him? The woman had world-class legs. And a world-class smile. He was pretty sure she had world-class breasts as well, but that was none of his business. She had a gorgeous smile and beautiful lips. Clear blue eyes, an adorable nose, and lush dark hair that she wore in a straight style that fell like a thick ribbon halfway down her back.

Was this attraction to Ellie one more example of the sneaky universe conspiring to ruin his life?


While Aidan is sorting out his inconvenient feelings, let’s raise a toast to celebrate SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY’s official release! I’m having my new favorite rum drink, my own recipe, which I’m calling a Tropical Hibiscus. The recipe is below, so have a cabana boy pour you a generous drink, raise your glass, and celebrate with me!!!

Kate Carlisle's rum drinkTropical Hibiscus, a Rum Drink Recipe

1 part coconut rum
2 parts pineapple juice
1 part cranberry juice
Pour the coconut rum and pineapple juice over ice. Stir, then add the cranberry juice for that beautiful bi-color effect. Enjoy!

Today’s ice-breaker game: Share three things about yourself. Make two of them the truth and one a lie. Then the rest of us will guess which of your three “facts” is a lie.

I’ll start:

1. I went to law school, but I didn’t graduate because I realized partway in that I didn’t want to be a lawyer.
2. I was once an extra on Human Target, and Mark Valley brought me a cup of coffee.
3. I am the very proud (and slightly guilt-ridden) product of a Catholic school education at Holy Rosary Academy.

Today, I’m giving away a copy of SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY! If you want to win it, mention the title in your comment! I’ll choose a winner at random at the end of the day.

Kimberly Hope Introduces Her Billionaire Bachelor

Banditas and Buddies, I am thrilled to welcome my dear friend Kimberly Hope back to the Lair today for the 6th Bandita Day Of Christmas! You may recall she was with us on Dec. 2 as one of four authors from the eclectic holiday anthology A Season For Romance. Well, today Kimberly is here to talk to use about her new romance The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this book, so I have known for a while now how fabulous it is. I insisted Kimberly come tell you all about it so you can enjoy it, as well.

Kimberly, welcome back to the Lair! Pull up a chair by the fire. Cookie? We are awash in them these days. Really, take three, they’re small. Sven, can we get some eggnog over here? Thank you. So, we’re talking billionaires and cookies today instead of Disney princesses?

I am so excited to be back with you guys again this month! I had a lot of fun considering everyone’s choices for which Disney character they’d be when we released A Season For Romance. So, pralines and something that goes well with pralines (vodka tonic, maybe?) to you, Caren, for letting me come hang with you guys twice this month. Thanks!

Sven, cancel the eggnog! Looks like we’re having vodka tonics – olives, no lime, please. That should be divine with pralines! Well, maybe not, but it is my go-to drink. Anywho, back to the cookies and billionaires!

When Caren told me we’d be celebrating the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas with holiday recipes, the only thing going through my mind was 11 pipers piping. OK, well, I was humming it anyway, while wondering what recipe I could share, because I love to bake. And baking over Christmas is the best! Some of my favorite memories are of baking gingerbread cookies with my grandmother.

But what recipe? Irish Cream Truffles take 3 days (and about as long to explain the process). Pralines, as I rediscovered this morning while testing the recipe for you, are not easy. Butterscotch Shortbread…ooh, my favorite cookie this year!

My favorite thing about this cookie dough is that, unlike sugar cookie dough you have to refrigerate for half your life before you can struggle to roll it out and cut it, you can work with this dough immediately.

Now that’s my kind of cookie!

Butterscotch Shortbread

 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (Yes, butter. It’s Christmas. It’s Shortbread. It needs butter.)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

4 Tbls white sugar

2 cups, plus 4 Tbls flour

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300° F. Cream the butter and sugars together. Mix in flour and salt. When it’s done you’ll have well-mixed clumps of dough. You should be able to form a ball with it.

Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper to 1/4 inch thick. I’m guessing on that. Roll it until it’s cookie thickness because these guys don’t spread. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. My kids like to decorate the cookies with sugar and stuff at this point, but this cookie tastes fantastic without the added sugar.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until set. You need to be careful with these guys because they don’t like over-baking. At all. The original recipe called for them to bake longer, but for my over, it’s 15 minutes. It could be as many as 25 minutes depending on how thick you roll the dough. Keep an eye on them because due to the color of the dough, it may be hard to tell that they’re browning.

This ends the cookie portion of our presentation. Now, Kimberly, let’s move on to the billionaire bachelor!!

What better to go with a cookie, than some reading material? So here’s the opening to The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. It’s my second book, and the first in a Northern California trilogy I began one day when I was homesick. It’s a reunion story because I’m a sucker for a reunion. Not sure what that says about the men in my past. Here’s the opening scene, my Christmas gift to you.

Meg looked up at the man who hated her almost as much as her father did, and said the four words that would change her life forever. “I need your help.”

Evan Alton’s slate blue eyes flashed like a cat who just received a mouse for Christmas. But he didn’t slam the door in her face. Which was either a really good sign, or the end of her peace on earth. Guessing which was more likely, she plowed on. “May I come in?”


She brushed her wet hair off her forehead. “Because it’s raining and you’re a nice guy.”

Evan let out a grim laugh. “I haven’t been a nice guy for a long time. And I don’t have meetings at home on Friday nights.” He shot her a pointed look, which she completely ignored. She’d passed proud months ago.

“I can’t imagine you have many at the office since you won’t take phone calls.”

“Most people would take that as a hint.”

She didn’t say a word. Nothing she could say would change anything.

“Give me one reason why I should listen.”

“Because you loved me once and I did the right thing.”

He glared at her again, but didn’t misread her reference. The way she left him eight years ago had been completely unforgivable. She could only hope her recent actions would count for something.

“If that’s the case, why are you standing on my doorstep?”

“Because you won’t let me in.” She gave him a weak smile, and for once was rewarded with one from him as well. Butterflies erupted in her stomach. She should have eaten lunch, but the thought of this meeting had ruined her appetite. The butterflies were not because of his grim smile.

“Evan, please.” Her gaze locked with his and didn’t waver. She couldn’t afford to back down. There was too much at stake. “If you’re the devil you’re claiming, making me stand in the rain is hardly payback. It’s just frustrating for me and costly for you to keep the door open.”

 “Currently it’s money well spent.”

 Meg blew out a harsh breath. This was going worse than she’d imagined in the thousand possible scenarios she’d run through over the past week. She’d counted on his curiosity, but apparently that had disappeared over the years.

 “You’re the only one I can turn to,” she blurted.

He raised an eyebrow. Just one. The glint in his eyes told her he remembered how much it irked her. He was playing with her. Fine. She could play too. She stood quietly, matching his gaze, and waited. It was like playing chicken with a lion. She just prayed he didn’t extend his claws before she begged for help. She didn’t kid herself. It was going to take begging. And from his vantage point, after the way she’d left him, she deserved it.

His other eyebrow joined the first, and he stepped aside to let her in. A small victory, but she took it. Meg gave a mental sigh of relief before walking into the lion’s San Francisco County lair.

Stepping into the foyer, she brushed her wet locks off her face again, and tried to ignore the puddle she was making on the hard wood floor. Evan walked towards the living room, then paused. “Aren’t you coming?”

She could see the gleaming white carpet from where she stood. “I’ll make a mess of your floors.”

“I’ve got a service. If you want to talk to me, you’re going to do it where I’m comfortable. It’s been a long day.”

Meg watched him walk away and swallowed hard. The man was as sinfully built as she remembered, especially in the suit pants and crisp, white shirt. His black hair grazed his pristine collar. He’d shed his tie and undone a few buttons, teasing her with a hint of his strong chest. And now, looking like a drenched rat, she was facing down the one man she’d hoped never to have to see again in her life. Wonderful.

She grumbled to herself about not bringing a raincoat with her. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t heard the weather report this morning. But as usual, she ignored common sense and rushed out the door. She hadn’t planned on having to track Evan down at home.

Coming here was crazy, but he was the only person who had both the money and a reason to help her now. No one else would take her calls. Not that he had either. Her name was tainted and no one wanted a Taylor anywhere near their business. She didn’t blame them.

She slipped out of her heels, as much for her own safety on the slick floor as for the floor itself. The Celtic design of light and dark woods had clearly been hand-laid by a master and she couldn’t bear to leave wet footprints across it. Not that her wet stocking feet were doing much better.

Meg followed the path Evan had taken into the living room that was three times the size she’d thought from the entryway. The walls were stark white, and blank, except for a Chagall in one corner. It was as if the house had recently been purchased and the owner didn’t know what to do with the room yet. But she knew he moved in several years ago. The only thing breaking up the room was a wall of solid windows, giving her a phenomenal view of the rocky California coast and Pacific Ocean below. From here you couldn’t tell the city was fifteen minutes away.

That wasn’t what she was here for. She shook her head and tried to get her thoughts in order. Evan’s interior decorating –or lack thereof – wasn’t her problem.

She turned and jumped. While her mind had been wandering, so had he. From the bar to her. His eyebrow floated again. “Nervous?” he asked as he handed her a glass.

Irish whiskey. He remembered? She only drank it with him. Only when she was worried. This was never going to work if she was that transparent.

She took a sip. “Thank you. You’ve got a beautiful home.”

“You didn’t come here to talk about the house, so get on with it so I can say no and get back to the game.”

Meg glanced at the black TV screen, but didn’t contradict him. All the words she’d practiced left her and she was unsure how to begin. She’d already said what needed saying. And, years ago, a lot of things that didn’t. That bridge was toast, but there was nothing she could do about it now. “I need you to buy into Jennings.”

Ooh, I love that part! This really is a fantastic book. The conflict and stakes are so high. I was rooting big-time for these two strong-willed people to get together, but they had all those darned ethics forcing them to live by their individual codes of honor! You’ll love them, too. Promise! Oh…back to Kimberly.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Tell me your favorite thing about the holiday season and you’ll be entered to win a free Kindle copy of The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge. Even if your favorite thing is Christmas carols in October (that would be Snarky Daughter’s answer)!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more of the 12 Bandita Days Of Christmas! (Plus, you need to check the Treasure Chest to see if you are a winner from one of the previous days.) We are building up to our Christmas Day giveaway of a huge bundle of books and goodies from Banditas and friends like Lydia Dare, Dianna Love, Liz Carlyle, Annie West, Deb Marlowe, JD Tyler, Addison Fox, Sabrina Jeffries, Miranda Neville, Marquita Valentine and Sandy Blair. This is big, people! 😀

PAGES OF SIN Launch Party! (and Contest)

Pages of Sin by Kate CarlisleTime to get your party on! Although I realize that everyone’s a little party-weary after Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s… this is RELEASE DAY!!! Well, Release Day Eve. PAGES OF SIN, a Bibliophile Mystery novella, will be available tomorrow for download for the Kindle, NOOK, Kobo, Sony… everywhere ebooks are sold. If you don’t have an ereader, keep reading because I’ll tell you how you can read the book even without an ereader. Hey, I’m here to help!

So, now that I’m writing full-time, there’s very little I miss about the workaday grind, but one thing I did sort of miss this year was our annual office Christmas party. So let’s make today our Banditas Office Party. We’ll do all the crazy things that people do at work when they’ve had a little too much to drink!

Launch/Office Party Agenda

Woman photocopying her face1. Photocopy our faces. Yes, I know there are people who photocopy other body parts. I’ve never been that drunk, and I don’t want to think about that while my face is smooshed up against the machine.

2. Sing bad karaoke. I suggest “Let’s Get This Party Started” by Pink. Or, for that matter, anything by Pink.

Cross-stitch that says "Let's get this party started"3. Insult the boss. We don’t have a boss here, so you’ll have to decide whom to insult. Try not to make it me, okay, ‘cause you know I can’t take it. Although, if you pass me another one of those Jello shooters that are making the rounds, I might just get mellow enough to handle it.

4. Above all else, no work talk! We’re here to party! However, since I doubt that anyone has a co-worker who looks like our Cabana Boy Paolo, I’m willing to look the other way if you wish to engage him in a discussion of his briefs. Hey, don’t look at me like that! I worked in a law office!

Anyway, I’m about to hit the karaoke stage next singing “I’m So Excited,” because that’s just how I feel about the release of PAGES OF SIN. This is my first eSpecial release, and it’s my first novella. Bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright receives a box of rare books from a book-hoarding friend who recently committed suicide.

Stacks of books

When Brooklyn discovers a mysterious letter inside her friend’s old copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, she begins to wonder whether her friend committed suicide, after all. The more Brooklyn digs, the more she discovers that her friend’s marriage wasn’t as happy as she’d always believed. When a love triangle becomes a square, she doesn’t know which way to turn for answers. And just asking questions might make her a target, too.

One Book in the Grave by Kate CarlisleIf you don’t have an ereader, you don’t have to miss out on PAGES OF SIN! You can get free NOOK, Kindle, or Sony software to let you read the novella on your computer. More and more authors these days are publishing ebook exclusive novellas, and this FREE software will give you the opportunity to dip a toe into ereading without spending a bundle.

Kindle for PC
Sony Reader for PC

And great news! The next Bibliophile Mystery, ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, will be released on February 7 in both paperback and ebook formats!

Here comes the contest part

One Book in the Grave jigsaw puzzleActually, I want to tell you about two contests today. First, I am going to give one random commenter a copy of PAGES OF SIN in the ebook format of your choice. All you have to do is post a comment below. Be sure to check back at the end of the day to see if you’re the winner. Everyone else, I hope you’ll pre-order PAGES OF SIN so it will magically appear on your ereader tomorrow morning. I love magic!

I also want to let you know about a contest I’m holding on my website. I love the cover of ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE SO MUCH that I’ve created a 513-piece jigsaw puzzle of it. It’s so cool! In mid-March, I’m going to select one random person from my mailing list to receive this jigsaw, and I’ll give another away later this spring. Sign up for the mailing list at for your chance to win!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen or done at a work party? Have you ever done a Secret Santa-type exchange? Did you get a memorable present, in a good way or in a funny way? Do you like to do karaoke? What is your favorite song to sing in public? What song drives you crazy?