Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 3 2015, 1:54 am in A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Distraction, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, La Proposition Ideale, Launch Party, New Jersey Ice Cats
Yes, it’s party time in the Lair! Today we celebrate the launch of the third book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series – A Perfect Catch! So grab a delicious snack, a hot/cold/alcoholic drink and a hot hockey hunk and let’s have some fun.
For those of you who have been following the series – a huge thank you to you all – this is Ike and Tracy’s story. Eisenhower ‘Ike’ Jelinek is the Ice Cats goaltender and older brother to Tru Jelinek (A Perfect Trade). Tracy Hayden runs her own business providing services to people who are relocating and is Maggie’s younger sister (A Perfect Distraction). As you’ll have seen from the previous books, these two stubborn people have a shared past, which didn’t end well. Now, the time has come to see if there is a chance for them to have a shared future.
Here is the blurb:
He’s the perfect catch…for now!
When it comes to romance, Tracy Hayden is not looking for a rematch. She’s had epic passion—and problems!—with professional hockey player Ike Jelinek. Brilliant on skates and magic in bed, his too-traditional-for-her views were like a bucket of ice water on their affair.
Then an injury takes Ike out of the game, and everything changes. Suddenly he needs her services-providing business—even though he once claimed it was their biggest problem. Tracy’s determined to be professional, despite the sizzling attraction between them that won’t go away. Maybe they need a second fling to fix that!
I’m thrilled that RT Book Reviews gave A Perfect Catch 4 stars! They say: Sugden’s novel is fun, in spite of Ike sustaining an injury. The quirky, fun hockey players add lots of color to the story and the chemistry between Ike and Tracy is seriously hot.
And here’s a sneak peek:
Tracy had just reached Ike’s room when she heard him roar.
“I don’t need a freaking straw in my drink and I don’t want you to cut up my food.”
A young blonde volunteer in a striped uniform rushed past Tracy, her face flushed. “Perhaps you’ll have better luck with him.”
Tracy smiled sympathetically, then strode into the room. “Someone’s in a foul mood.”
“You’d be miserable, too, if you weren’t even allowed to use a freaking knife and fork,” he growled, crossing his arms awkwardly over his broad chest. The bandages that covered his arm from fingers to shoulder hampered his movement.
The flowery pastel-blue gown should have looked silly on such an obviously masculine body. Instead, it emphasized his honed chest and arms, making him look more manly, rather than less. But Ike didn’t need to know that.
Nor that he’d made her pulse skip. “Good job I’m here to give the staff a break from your charming personality.”
He narrowed his gaze. “Do not push me.”
“Seriously?” Tracy rolled her eyes. “That might work on a sweet young thing like that candy striper, but I’m immune.”
Ike’s green eyes turned fiery, challenging her to take him on.
She tamped down her body’s instant heated response. Besides, she shouldn’t tease a wounded man. Especially one whose pride probably hurt as much as his arm.
Even better, today is actually a double celebration! It’s also the day that the French version of A Perfect Trade – La Proposition Idéale – is released! I do love those French covers (and no, I don’t have his email address either!)
So, as it’s time to party, we’re going to open up the ballroom, stoke the logs in the huge fireplaces and turn on the champagne and chocolate fountains! Sven has laid on an incredible buffet of finger food with something to tempt every tastebud. Lars has got his brother, Nils, to play DJ, so we’ll be all set for great music. Paolo has sent the pesky bird off on his travels with dire threats if he returns befor emidnight. The Romans are organising the party games and Zach and the hockey hunks have promised to look after your every party need.
Over to you. As it’s a double celebration, I’m giving away two prizes. One each to two lucky commenters – an exclusive New Jersey Ice Cats notebook.
1. What are you wearing?
2. Which song would you like Nils to play for you?
3. What’s your favourite party game?
4. What drink and snack would you like brought to you?
5. What dire threat do you suggest for the pesky bird?
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jan 25 2015, 10:26 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, prize winner, prizes
The winner chosen at random to receive an advanced review copy of THIS OLD HOMICIDE is… Ruth Lyons Mazur!!!!! Congratulations, Ruth! Please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com. I’ll include some extra goodies, as well.
This Old Homicide
2nd Fixer-Upper Mystery
Available January 27, 2015
Contractor and part-time sleuth Shannon Hammer specializes in improving the quirks and flaws of the Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove, California. The quirks and flaws of their residents are another story….
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while Shannon is delighted to be friends with not one but two handsome men, not everyone in town is feeling the love. After her elderly neighbor Jesse Hennessey fails to make his daily appearance at the local diner, Shannon swings by his place to check on him. Not only does she find Jesse dead—of an apparent heart attack—but she also realizes that his home has been ransacked.
Someone suggests that a thief was searching for a priceless necklace Jesse claimed to have retrieved from a sunken sailing ship, but Shannon doesn’t believe it. Everyone knows Jesse had a penchant for constructing tall tales—like the one about him having a hot new girlfriend. But his death is soon ruled a homicide, and shady suspects begin popping out of the woodwork. When another victim turns up dead, Shannon is convinced she must find the killer before someone else gets nailed….
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jan 25 2015, 12:05 am in contest, Cozy Mystery, Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Giveaway, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party
Welcome to the elegant Hennessey House bed and breakfast in Lighthouse Cove, California! Jane Hennessey, owner of this establishment, was kind enough to welcome us, even though she hasn’t yet opened her doors to the public. (She may regret her hospitality… she probably didn’t realize that we’d have a very naughty rooster in our party!)
We’re celebrating Tuesday’s release of THIS OLD HOMICIDE, the second book of my Fixer-Upper Mystery series! Whoop, whoop!
The Hennessey House is nearing the end of its incredible restoration by Lighthouse Cove’s own Shannon Hammer, who specializes in Victorian construction.
From THIS OLD HOMICIDE: It had taken me and Jane and my crew almost three years to renovate her grandmother’s disheveled old mansion and turn it into a world-class small hotel. The place had been standing there for over one hundred and fifty years, and in that time, it had been a family home, a brothel, a boardinghouse, a private residence, and finally an elegant bed-and-breakfast.
I stood on the sidewalk and gazed with pride at the beautifully restored Queen Anne with its wide, wraparound porch, wonderful three-story tower, and six chimneys. Hennessey House featured fourteen uniquely decorated guest suites, many with balconies and fireplaces. The entire house was furnished with beautiful Victorian-era pieces that were not only authentic but also comfortable and elegant.
Which is to say… be on your best behavior, cabana boys! No tearing apart Shannon’s hard work!
Rumor has it, in 1839 a Spanish princess tragically went down with the Glorious Maiden just off the coast of Lighthouse Cove. Once in a while, a piece of gold washes ashore and brings a mad rush of treasure hunters to the princess’s watery grave.
Jane Hennessey’s Uncle Jesse, a former Navy SEAL, claimed to have found a priceless necklace while scuba diving at the shipwreck… but Jesse had a way of telling tall tales. We may never know the truth, since Shannon is about to find her neighbor dead in his own home. At first, everyone will believe Jesse died of natural causes, but Shannon will immediately suspect foul play. And if the police won’t investigate, she will.
Click here to read an excerpt of THIS OLD HOMICIDE
THIS OLD HOMICIDE is the second book of the Fixer-Upper Mystery series, following A HIGH-END FINISH, which came out in November (and hit #9 on the New York Times bestsellers list!) But don’t worry if you haven’t read the first. You won’t feel lost if you start with THIS OLD HOMICIDE.
Today, I’m giving away one autographed advanced copy of THIS OLD HOMICIDE. To enter, tell me what special cocktail Jane should serve at our Party. “Princess Punch,” perhaps? Or how about a “Salty Dog.” Or should that be a “Salty Rooster?” Or if you’re not into cocktails, tell me why you what intrigues you the most about the book. What makes you want to read it?
Posted by Tawny Weber Nov 7 2014, 12:39 am in Launch Party, Tawny Weber
Wooot! It’s Party Time in the Lair and I’m so ready to celebrate!!! Not only is Christmas with a SEAL out, but I just turned in another book and get to climb out of the deadline cave to party! Which means we need a lot more tequila in here. Sven? Lime’s please!!!
I’m really excited to share Christmas with a SEAL with you today. This story is a little bit of a departure for me because unlike my usual, hero, Phillip Banks is a little, um, hmm… what’s a nice way to put it? Oh yeah, uptight. Uptight and upright, as his sister says. He’s also been through hell as a captive of a lunatic drug lord and has faced some major life upheaval. But thanks to one sexy silversmith–and the magic of Christmas–he gets to see life in a very different way. I hope you’ll check out his story and let em know what you think.
Here’s the blurb:
A Sexy SEAL home for the holidays and a heroine who wants him to stay there. Their secrets could bring them closer together, or rip them apart forever.
Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Phillip Banks
Mission: Resist one saucy redhead’s attempts to de-Scrooge him…and seduce him!
Silversmith Frankie Silvera has lost her creative mojo. And she knows how to get it back—by getting her sexy on with a certain hot sailor. Just the thought of Phillip’s hard, Navy-trained body against her, and everything goes molten. He’s the “inspiration” Frankie needs for the holidays!
Navy SEAL Phillip Banks is the prince of protocol. But after his last mission went horribly off-course, all of that control has dissipated. Now he’s at the mercy of one very determined female who is pulling out all the stops on Operation Christmas—including red-hot lingerie and the promise of oh-so-wicked delights… But does giving in mean giving up everything he’s worked for?
And here’s a peek at his sexy silversmith the beginning of the book:
If she had a fairy godmother, Frankie Silvera would be sending her a big ole thank you bouquet for giving her the perfect opportunity to make some of her naughtiest dreams come true.
Or maybe it was her creative muse.
This was the kind of place that definitely inspired creativity. The Las Vegas penthouse was a kaleidoscope of sensations. Neon lights glinted off sparkling chandeliers, sending colorful sparkles off the crowd of partiers. Dressed in everything from sequins to plastic, denim to silk, bodies filled the room, covering the leather couches, perched on chrome stools around the horseshoe bar and flowing onto the dance floor.
Accenting it all were intense music, free flowing booze and men. So, so many men.
And oh, baby, they were gorgeous.
It wasn’t just knowing that most of these muscular, sexy men were Navy SEALs that made Frankie’s insides dance. It was knowing that somewhere among them was her dream hottie and the answer to all of her problems.
She just had to find him.
Would you like to check out the entire first chapter of Christmas with a SEAL? Here you go… in an easily downloadable version of your choice of pdf, mobi or epub for your reading pleasure Feel free to share the link with your friends –and let me know here what you think!! And you can check out more about the story on my website on the Christmas with a SEAL page!
To celebrate the release of Christmas with a SEAL (and, of course, my escape from the deadline cave), I’m offering up an autographed copy of any of my backlist SEAL books and a Sexy SEAL swag bag to one lucky commenter today.
Since I’m so in love with this cover, I’ve got to know… what would you ask Santa for this year. If, of course, Santa looks like this guy
Posted by Jeanne Adams Nov 6 2014, 12:08 am in Deadly Delivery, Gratitude, Launch Party, Novella
Woohoo! What about it, folks?!! It’s NOVEMBER! (How the heck did THAT happen?)
Well, we’re past Halloween…*sniffle*…but I’m already planning next year’s party.
Now, we’re on to the major holidays. The biggies. Thanksgiving, in the US. Then Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas and New Years Eve around the world. We have a LOT to look forward to, don’t we? There’s turkey to eat, family to enjoy (with sauce if necessary!), cookies to bake, dreidles to spin, and yule logs to light.
And at the end of the year, toasts to make and plans for the New Year. Again, HOW can it be nearly 2015???
I start planning for Thanksgiving with my sister in…oh…June. Grins. We decide where to have it, who’s gonna cook what. You know. This year, we have a very special event that’s coinciding with Thanksgiving. My darling Step-Mother is turning 90. HUGE Party to ensue. I’m exceptionally excited about it.
But, that’s not why we’re here today. It’s another kind of Par-tay!! A Launch PARTAY!!!!!
Today is the release day for a short suspense novella I wrote called DEADLY DELIVERY. It’s a reunion story. A Thanksgiving story. What the heck, I figured. I love Thanksgiving and all the wonderful memories of it, and the deliciousness of sitting down with no purpose other than to have thankful hearts and full bellies. Grins.
To me, Thanksgiving is also about forgiving ourselves. It’s about forgiving ourselves for not nourishing ourselves as much as we should.
So is DEADLY DELIVERY. It’s about forgiving people.
It’s also about surviving. Grins. You know me, I HAVE to put them in jeopardy, right? Danger, danger Will Robinson!!
Here’s the blurb…
One Night Stands are Killer…
Real estate executive Deirdre Shercroft knew her one night stand with Boston commercial real estate magnate Michael Pennington would come back to haunt her. She never thought it would kill her. When they both stumble on a hidden drug making operation, it looks like it will cost them everything, including their lives, and the life of Michael’s son. Can love, cunning, and a boy’s skill at Morse Code win out against impossible odds?
So while DEADLY DELIVERY is short, it’s a mile-a-minute action sequence with a heck of a lot of romance thrown in for good measure. You know I had to put romance in there, right? That’s like the turkey to the dressing of action. Grins. (If you want to check it out, you should be able to click the link above and get to Amazon, but it’s also available on iBook, Nook, and B&N!)
So what’s your preference, if you eat meat, light meat or dark meat?
Do you want a lovely wine, or beer, or a mixed drink with your meal? Soft drink? Tea?
Do you like action with your romance? Paranormal features sliding in?
A thankful heart is a beautiful thing. What would be your Thankful Read this year – ie the book you’re most thankful FINALLY came out?
Let’s talk action, let’s talk turkey, what book are you grateful for this year?
SVEN!! MORE DRINKS!!!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 11 2014, 11:02 pm in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Launch Party, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
Thanks to everyone who swung by to make the launch party yesterday such a hoot! The cabana boys are still cleaning up after all the shenanigans. We definitely sent WHAT A DUKE DARES out into the world in style!
The winners of the two signed copies of WHAT A DUKE DARES are:
Congratulations, Debbie and Ann. Please email me on anna @ anna campbell.info (no spaces) with your snail mail details and I’ll get your book off to you! Happy reading!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2014, 12:05 am in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, websites, writer's life, writing life
Here in the Lair, launch parties are usually for book releases, but today we’re celebrating the launch of my fabulous new website design! And to add to the party atmosphere, I’m giving away an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
An author’s website is a Very Big Deal. www.KateCarlisle.com is my home on the web. It must accurately represent me and my books. Every word, every image, every color sends a message to readers, whether they realize it or not. And so my goal is to make sure that the message is true, that the expectation my website sets is the expectation that will be fulfilled when a reader tries one of my books for the first time.
It was complicated before because I write both mystery and romance, but now it’s even mooore complicated because with November’s release of A HIGH-END FINISH, I’ll have two ongoing mystery series… plus, we can’t forget about my romances! I will always have a deep and abiding love for romance!
Before, on my mystery site, I could tell my webmaster to give it a bookish look, to represent the Bibliophile Mysteries and Brooklyn Wainwright’s profession as a bookbinder. But now I need the website to also represent the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Shannon Hammer restores Victorian houses in her hometown, Lighthouse Cove. Two different heroines. Two different settings—one a city, one a small town. Two different occupations.
One overwhelmed writer!
I have a wonderful web designer, Xuni Designs, who specializes in author websites. Maddee and Jen have become masters at helping authors define what they want. With a detailed questionnaire and thorough instructions about gathering images, they helped me identify the tone and the substance that I wanted my website to convey. Smart, funny mysteries about a bookbinder. Smart, funny mysteries about a home renovation expert.
Without further ado, I invite (implore) you to visit www.KateCarlisle.com right now.
To enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE, respond to this in a comment below:
Name one thing on my website, www.katecarlisle.com, that gives you the impression of either “Smart” or “Funny.” Let’s make a game of this—try to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. While you’re there, be sure to enter my super fabulous Road Trip Giveaway in the Secret Room!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 11:05 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, contest winner, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, prize winner
Thank you to everyone who celebrated the release of THE BOOK STOPS HERE with me! I was thrilled with the turnout today and hope you had as much fun as I did.
The giveaway winner who was chosen at random is… Cyn209!!!!! You’ve won an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
Cyn, please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 12:05 am in Bandita Booty, bibliophile mysteries, contest, Giveaway, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party
Break out the bubbly! Release the balloons! Today is THE BOOK STOPS HERE release day, and we are going to par-TAY! No party would be complete without gifts, so read on to find out how you could win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
In THE BOOK STOPS HERE, Brooklyn Wainwright is hired as the book expert on This Old Attic, an antiques appraisal TV show, so we’ve got a TV crew here in the Lair today to film this celebrity event. The cabana boys are showing off a little, hoping to get noticed in Hollywood. Whoops! There goes Sven’s shirt! Yeah, he’s noticeable, all right, especially with the Golden Rooster sitting on his shoulder like a demented pirate’s pretend parrot.
The boys have been kind enough to set up a microphone for me between two palm trees strung with fairy lights. I’ll ignore everyone’s cries for karaoke (and you’ll thank me for it!) and instead, I’ll say, “Welcome to my book release party! Thank you for celebrating this very special day with me.”
The chants of “Excerpt! Excerpt!” are impossible to ignore, so I’ll do a quick reading with the beach band as back-up. (You’ll understand why the paragraphs are numbered in a minute.)
1. My mother always warned me to be careful what I wished for, but did I listen to her? Of course not. I love my mom, really, but this was the same woman who liked to recommend espresso enemas to perk me up. The same woman who performed magic spells and exorcisms on a regular basis and astral traveled around the universe with her trusted spirit guide, Ramlar X. Believe me, I’m very careful about taking advice from my mother.
2. Besides, the thing I was wishing for was more work. Why would that be a problem?
3. I’d been in between bookbinding jobs last month and was telling my friend Ian McCullough, chief curator of the Covington Library, that I wished I could find some new and interesting bookbinding work. That’s when Ian revealed that he had submitted my name to the television show, This Old Attic, to be their expert book appraiser. I was beside myself with excitement and immediately contacted the show’s producer for an interview. And I got it! I got what I wished for. A job. With books. That was a good thing, right?
4. Of course, I didn’t dare tell my mother that I considered her advice a bunch of malarkey. After all, some of those magic spells she’d spun had turned out to be alarmingly effective. I would hate to incur her wrath and wake up wearing a donkey’s head—or worse.
5. “Yo, Brooklyn,” Angie, the show’s stage manager said. “You look right into this camera and start talking, got it?”
6. “Got it,” I lied, pressing my hands against my knees to keep them from shaking uncontrollably. “Absolutely.”
7. “Good,” the stage manager said. “No dead air, got it?”
8. “Dead air. Right. Got it.”
9. She nodded once, then shouted to the studio in general, “Five minutes, everyone!”
10. I felt my stomach drop, but it didn’t matter. I was in show business!
11. This Old Attic traveled around the country and featured regular people who wanted their precious family treasures and heirlooms appraised by various local experts. The production was taping in San Francisco for three whole weeks and I was giggly with pleasure to be a part of it.
12. And terrified, too. But the nerves were sure to pass as soon as I started talking about my favorite topic, books. I hoped so, anyway.
Want to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE? We’re going to play a little game. Go to the paragraph that corresponds with your month of birth and choose one word. Tell me what word you chose and then use it in a sentence that tells me something interesting about yourself! I’ll choose the winner at random from everyone who plays.
Posted by Tawny Weber Mar 31 2014, 12:45 am in A SEAL's Kiss, Launch Party, Tawny Weber
It’s Happy Dancing Time!!!
Sven, bring in the dancing boys, please! Cue the music. Load the confetti in those balloons and let them fly.
I’m so excited about this release. Now, granted, I tend to be excited about all of my releases to one degree or another. But this story is a special one to me because the heroine was so fun to write, and she’s one I put a lot of myself into. Her friends call her a free spirit, but everyone knows they mean she’s a flake. Now, granted, few people have called me a flake (to my face) but Sage’s interests and her pursuit to find her calling, her quest for bliss, that I can relate to.
Its not that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. As my stepmother likes to share, at a young age I informed everyone that I would grow up to be a mom, a gypsy and a writer. And I pretty well stuck with these goals through my childhood. But by seventeen, I realized that there weren’t a lot of Irish/German gypsys roaming around, that I’d have to get a college degree in English to be a ‘real writer’. And being a mom? My parents were pretty adamant that that goal remain on hold for a while.
Eventually, I found a way to make it all work, in my own fashion. The mom part was easy, and hands down the most amazing, joyful, blessed thing I’ve ever done. And yes, I waited long enough that my parents were comfy being grandparents LOL.
I wasn’t actually a gypsy, but I did spend 10 years as a professional tarot reader and Reiki practitioner, roaming from new age store to psychic fair peddling my trade. And I have not one, but two crystal balls now.
After the birth of my second daughter I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do that’d meet all my requirements (the main one being to work from home since we were already home schooling and home is kinda the key word there). My husband asked me what I’d do if I could do anything in the world-no holds bard, my dream job. Without thinking, I said romance author. I then immediately began piling on excuses for why I couldn’t… but he didn’t listen. Being the pushy type, he told me to go forth and write, dammit.
And so I went forth, I wrote. And I found my bliss.
Needless to say, it takes Sage in A SEAL’s Kiss a teensy bit longer. But her hero is just as instrumental in her finding hers as mine was in my finding mine (and how’s that for a convoluted sentence?!)
Here’s a peek at A SEAL’s Kiss:
“You don’t think I’m a flake?”
“I think the term that fits you best is free spirit.”
“I likethat image,” she decided. “It makes me sound like I should be running around outdoors, naked.”
“I like that image,” he decided with the husky laugh she’d happily come to recognize as his horny alert.
Mmm, decisions, decisions.
The temptation to go the naked route was overwhelming.
But she’d come this far. And while she might be a free spirit, she wasn’t a chicken. So she resisted the urge to pull her dress over her head.
“Actually, I meant my blog. You know, the posts I write. The causes I try to bring attention to. Do you think it’s a waste of time?”
“You’ve found homes for how many dogs?” he asked, tugging her off the path and over to the little gazebo at the base of the hill.
“Thirty or so,” she said. She pulled her hand free so she had both free to wave over her head. As if it were a vague number that didn’t matter instead of thirty-two beautiful, loyal animals who now had safe, loving homes.
“How much did you raise for that water project in Africa last year?”
“You knew about that?” She wished the moon was brighter so she could see his face. Instead, it was shrouded in shadows, so all she could go on were his words. And those were surprising the hell out of her.
“You blogged about it, didn’t you?”
“You really do read my blog?” Now she was grateful for the lack of light, since there was nothing attractive about her jaw hanging open.
“Of course I read it. I’ve donated, too. Not always, but whenever I can. I’ve been known to nag guys to donate sometimes, too,” he admitted, laughing quietly as he held out his hand to lead her up the steps of the gazebo.
“You got your big bad Navy pals to donate to my causes?” she asked, delighted.
“Hey, some guys push their daughter or nieces’ Girl Scout cookies. I push charitable causes.” His shrug was uncomfortable, like he wanted to brush off the conversation as fast as possible. “Look, it’s no big deal.”
“It is to me,” she admitted, lifting first one of his hands, then the other, to her mouth and brushing a kiss over his knuckles. “It means everything to me.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
Sage blinked hard, not sure where the tears had come from or why, but knowing they were the bittersweet happy kind that she couldn’t run from.
After all, they were falling in love tears.
And here’s my Party Challenge: Finish this sentence for a chance to win! I’ll award three commenters a copy of any of my previous SEAL releases (winners choice):
A SEAL’s Kiss is… ?