That’s right! Today is launch day for the second book in my Patrician series, Damon’s story: THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE!
Grab a sangria, a goblet of wine, the gladiator or cabana boy of your choice and recline upon the Roman couches and join me in celebrating.
Damon Primax, spy to a Roman senator has held my heart for a long while. I didn’t even know he existed until in the midst of writing THE PATRICIAN, he strolled in and dang near stole the show! He is clever, wry, self-deprecating, a man forged from life’s experiences with a secret yearning for more than he feels he deserves. He doesn’t believe in luck, most of his having been bad until Julia Manulus’ enters his life. And then…..
Here, try the snail canapes Paolo made. (HINT: It’s really chicken salad) and enjoy an excerpt:
Julia paced in front of her father’s favorite sedan chair, kicking the hem of her ochre stola out of the way with each agitated turn. What was taking Kaj so long? Had the criminal balked at the preparations? If he objected to the simple matter of a bath, what would his reaction be to her proposal?
She paused mid-turn, twisted her ring. He might refuse, call her mad. Julia rolled her eyes and resumed her pacing. Of course he would agree. Live or die, the choice was simple.
Oh, this was ridiculous. She was used to handling matters of importance and used to making important decisions. Her household functioned smoothly because her servants and family trusted her. She had never failed them and she would not begin now.
It would be a simple matter of establishing from the very start with the ruffian that she was the mistress and demanded obedience and compliance. He was a common criminal while Julia was the daughter of a noble Roman house. There was nothing more to it.
Then why was her stomach tied in knots?
Footsteps echoed along the corridor, slowing as they approached the door. Julia sat in her father’s chair, arranged the folds of her tunic and lifted her chin. This meeting would be brief, long enough for him to grovel at her feet, express his gratitude for his rescue and listen docilely to his role in her plan.
Kaj entered first, the fierce look on his face sending fresh waves of uncertainty crashing through her. He must have had a difficult time getting the man’s cooperation. Criminals were violent, crude and void of moral standards. She twisted her ring. She hadn’t considered that the man might not be ethical.
Julia pushed the doubts away. The decision had been made and she would not back away from it. Stubborn is what her father would call her and she supposed it was true though she preferred determined. Either way she took after Octavian in such matters and that was a point of pride.
Kaj bit out an unintelligible order over his shoulder. Julia took a deep breath and focused on the door determined to keep her revulsion concealed. Instead, her breath caught in her throat.
The man who strode into the room bore no resemblance to the beaten, debased creature of seven nights past. He was the most striking male she’d ever seen. He reminded her of a sculpture she’d once admired of the war god Mars. His nose was straight, adding to the aristocratic features of his face with its firm chin, squared jaw and full, sensual mouth.
His hair, the shade of nutmeg now that the grime had been washed away, had been trimmed, chopped off in a ragged line just below the nape of his neck. Combined with the long layers that brushed across his eyes, it gave him a tousled look as though he had just arisen from a long night’s sleep—or bed play.
She took a steadying breath and continued her visual inspection. He could stand to gain some weight, though in truth the leanness of his frame added to the sleek hard lines of his body. A warrior’s physique on a criminal? A tremor of unease flared within her.
At Kaj’s barked command he halted. Legs braced apart, broad shoulders pulled back he looked like a general on the verge of battle. It wasn’t difficult to imagine him dressed in armor, sword at the ready.
With effort, she banished the image from her mind and concentrated. Criminals were not supposed to be heart-stoppingly handsome. Julia searched his features for some flaw, some outward sign of his corrupt nature. Her heart tumbled in her chest when he turned and pinned her with a glittering, silver gaze.
Julia fought not to squirm under his intense scrutiny, watched as he scanned her in a leisurely fashion. She felt the rush of heat to her cheeks when his gaze lingered on her breasts. The corner of his mouth lifted into a crooked smile.
“Goddess. At last we meet.”
Sigh…..Oops, sorry (makes mad dash for slipping Sangria glass) I went to my “happy place”.
So celebrate with me! Bring your usual snacks, grab a drink and let’s party!
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Ooo…Joanie’s gonna talk about the deceivers, the manipulators, the ones who drive you to drink, make your workplace miserable, cause relationships to break down.”
I’m talking about games people play when they are at a party!
Over the holidays, I had occasion to celebrate with my two “adopted” families. After present opening, pizza eating and general “Hey, how are ya’s”, we played games. Not silly established games like Monopoly, charades or Twister (oy…my back) but traditional ones from their familial history.
After being held at knifepoint by their 4 year old (another blog), we gathered around the dining room table to play “Spoons”. Simple enough. One less soup spoon then there were players, lined up in the middle of the table. With two decks of cards, the dealer rapid fire dealt cards. The goal is to get 4 of any card (i.e. Queens, twos). If you didn’t want the card you passed to the person beside you. First person to get 4, takes a spoon. Hilarity ensues…
Or should I say “Blood Bath”?
Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was every spoon for itself! Growling, snatching, pouting, deep scoop cuts. And with each round, a spoon was removed.
Had loads of fun. Eventually stopped the bleeding. Came home and took a “pill.”
Larger group. Mostly, young folk in their 20′s. Established game of dominoes. A game of poise, and strategy and
SNATCHING VICTORY FROM THE GUEST WHILE WEARING A DINOSAUAR HAT!
And watch out for “Grandma” she was clever…oh, yes she was clever. Clever like a domino fox!
So what games do your families play when you get together? Friendly sport, or every man for himself? What game do you think the Bandits would excel at?
I love TV almost as much as I love books. I used to work in TV, so at one time, I could claim that watching TV was an essential part of my job. But now, even though it’s nothing but a time waster, I still love it. And I don’t just love the shows – I love the commercials. Especially the funny ones. I feel giddy, fan-girl admiration for ad copywriters who can pack several laugh-out-loud moments into one 30-second spot.
Hysterical! When they pan out to reveal the grandmotherly sample lady, I laugh every time. There’s another version of this commercial where the kid says, “She’s like, probably the most giving person I’ve ever met.” They’re all so deadpan, it cracks me up!
This makes me laugh on two levels… first, the men, who are willing to trade their dignity for a beer without a second thought. I’ve known guys like that. I might’ve even married one. Then, the women’s reactions are perfect. ‘Cause you know it’s true… we go through life rolling our eyes at men, speechlessly aghast at the things they do.
“I love you for who you are on the inside.” “I’m pure milk chocolate on the inside.” “And I love that about you.”
Snork!!!! Plus, the wise M&M has it right when she says, “Gosh, you’re handsome.” He was the best reason ever to watch DWTS! The laughs are mild, but they come with man candy – and actual candy.
Which of the three commercials did you like best? What are some of the other great ads that are making you laugh these days? (If you can find it on YouTube, post the link so we can all have a day of laughing together!)
Where did Summer go? Five minutes ago, it was May, and I had all sorts of plans for enjoying the longer days of June, July, and August. Wow, if they were longer, you could’ve fooled me! Three months – poof – gone!
The Golden Rooster is growing an extra layer of feathers to prepare for the cooler weather, but the cabana boys will keep the Lair nice and cozy warm for us. We have all sorts of great stuff planned for you this month, with scores of fabulous guest authors to keep us entertained. Click on these book covers to learn more about each book!
On September 2, Karen Kelley joins us in the Lair to talk to Donna about her latest book, WHERE THERE’S A WILL. Here’s the tag line: Her fantasies were wild but buried deep. He might take her beyond them… Whew, don’t miss this one!
And on September 4, Donna is back to host Harlequin author Jules Bennett who’ll be here to discuss her newest Desire, WHATEVER THE PRICE.
On Friday, 7th September, Anna Campbell hosts brilliant and popular historical romance author Shana Galen who will be talking about her sparkling new release (pun intended), WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND from SourceBooks Casablanca.
Kate hosts fellow Harlequin author Sarah Anderson on September 9. Sarah returns to the Lair to chat about her latest Desire, A MAN OF DISTINCTION, and to share the secrets of making book jewelry!
Launch party in the lair on the 10th September! Woo hoo!! Foanna aka Anna Campbell is so excited about her new book SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, book 1 in the Sons of Sin series, that she’s holding a launch party two weeks before it’s out! Heavens to Betsy, she’s going to have a headache by the time the book’s actually on the shelves on 25th September. Swing by for one of the infamous lair launch celebrations. Cabana boys! Margaritas! Sven! And a special appearance by the Singing Rogues of Romancelandia.
On September 11, Christina hosts Lair favorite Denise Rossetti who joins us to talk about her upcoming release — the final, heart-stopping installment in her Five-Sided Pentacle series from Berkley, THE DARK ROSE.
On September 12, we welcome SuperRomance author Ellen Hartman back to the Lair! She’ll be chatting with Beth about her latest release, OUT OF BOUNDS.
On Tuesday, 18th September, Aussie debut author – and contest queen – Bec McMaster visits the lair to talk about KISS OF STEEL, the first book in her London Steampunk series. Bec’s great fun so you won’t want to miss this one!
On Wednesday, 19th September, romance superstar Sarah Mayberry is Anna Campbell’s guest. Sarah’s talking about her wonderful new Harlequin SuperRomance WITHIN REACH which has one of the prettiest covers we’ve seen in ages.
Romantic suspense author Melinda Leigh returns to the Lair on September 21. She and Nancy will chat about Melinda’s latest release, Midnight Exposure.
And on September 27, Debut author (and 2011 Golden Heart finalist) Valerie Bowman makes her first Lair appearance as Nancy’s guest. They’ll discuss Melinda’s Regency romp, Secrets of a Wedding Night.
That’s what’s on tap for September. We’re packing a LOT into 30 days… the poor rooster is going to be running around like a chicken – hmmm… no, sorry, I can’t bring myself to say it! He’s going to be busy. Let’s leave it at that.
Every month in our newsletter, we want to feature one of you – the Bandita Buddy of the Month! But not everyone is comfortable in the spotlight, so I thought I’d ask you directly – would you like to be a Bandita Buddy of the Month? Or are you too shy? (If you say yes, then you may well be contacted by newsletter editors in the coming months!)
How long have you been writing, and how has your writing changed over time?
I’ve been writing for ten years (which doesn’t seem possible, especially considering when I started writing, my youngest was five years old) and sold my first book five years ago. Well, I think most writers grow and “find” their voice after they get a few manuscripts under their belts, and that certainly happened to me, but what changed the most from when I wrote my first (currently-under-the-bed-will-never-see-the-light-of-day) book is that my stories became more real. Maybe even a bit dark as far as the themes go and the issues that my characters have to deal with – but I always try to remain true to my characters and they often find the humor and silver-lining in situations.
What drink does Sven bring you when you’re hiding in the cave?
I’m currently obsessed with iced coffee. Obsessed with…addicted to…let’s not quibble. I make my own using a recipe I found on The Pioneer Woman (I have decided Ree Drummond and I should be best friends for life) except I tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes. I add half and half (Yes. I said it. Half and half. Don’t judge.) and a little bit of fat-free sweetened condensed milk. Oh. My. So good. I think I’ll have Sven bring me one right now. Oh, Sven…
Who do you enjoy writing more — hero or heroine?
This varies for me but usually it’s one or the other and changes depending on the story and how well I know that character. However, I really enjoyed writing both Nora and Griffin in my August release, ON HER SIDE, the second book in my The Truth about the Sullivans’ trilogy. I fell hard for Griffin when he had a short scene in book one, UNRAVELING THE PAST, and when I started ON HER SIDE, Nora came alive for me. I had such a ball writing that book!
Favorite thing you’ve researched?
Oh, boy, that’s a tough one. I love, love, love research. I’d have to say that so far, the most interesting to me was researching vineyards and wineries for my Diamond Dust trilogy. Great stuff and fabulous trips to local wineries where I drank wine, had a behind-the-scenes tour, asked dozens of questions and drank more wine.
What’s in your writing cave to inspire you?
The RITA flag that was on my table at the Literacy Signing in Orlando and, of course, RITA herself (complete with the Mickey Mouse ears Tawny made her) are there for daily inspiration. For my current WIP, the first of a new series coming out next April, I made a collage to keep me on track. It’s the first time I made a collage for a story but it was so much fun, I’m definitely going to do it again!
Please visit my website to check out excerpts and more information about The Truth about the Sullivans and my other releases. Or you can find me on Facebook or drop me a line at: email@example.com. As always, wishing you Happy Reading and enjoy your time in the lair!
This month’s Bandita spotlight belongs to Susan Sey, often referred to as The Tardy Bandita, since she wandered into the lair about three months after everybody else. (She dislikes asking for directions & insists she’ll find her own damn way. Eventually.) She’s happily married to her own personal hero, & is the mother of two girls who are simultaneously the pride of her life & the reason she will never be able to write more than one book a year. At least not until the 2020s.
She writes unabashedly in the genre least likely to sell or make her any money (single title contemporary). She was as astonished as anybody when she got picked up by a major publisher after winning the 2008 Golden Heart in this same ill-fated category. She was not, however, astonished to find herself unceremoniously dropped by that same publisher two books later. The economy sucks, & better writers than she have gotten the axe. She remains, however, the proud author of MONEY HONEY (Berkley Sensation, 2010) and MONEY SHOT (Berkley Sensation, 2011), and is delighted to announce her foray into self-publishing with her…what else?….single title contemporary romance KISS THE GIRL, which debuted on June 26, 2012.
So. Let’s grill her, shall we?
Q: How long have you been writing, and how has your writing changed over time?
Susan Sey: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read. I loved the characters I met in books like I’d love a real live friend, and it was difficult for me to say goodbye to them when the story ended. So in my head I made up more of their story so I could spend more time with them. It seemed like a perfectly logical solution to me but evidently not everybody does that. Who knew?
As far as how my writing’s changed over time, well that’s an interesting question. I’ve just recently self-pubbed the last book I wrote before selling to a big-time NYC publisher, the one I’ve always loved but that never found a home in NYC. (KISS THE GIRL, previously titled THE PRINCESS PROJECT.) And in cleaning it up for publication, I made a fascinating discovery: This book is palpably joyful. It’s funny and charming and ridiculous, and it’s because when I was writing it, I believed in myself and in my talent.
See, when I wrote KISS THE GIRL, I was at the peak of my game as an unpubbed writer–winning contests, finalling in the Golden Heart, signing with an agent–and my confidence was at high tide as a result. And then my dreams came true and I sold to a big ol’ publisher. And suddenly I was a teeny, unproductive fish in a vast, cruel pond, my books sold respectably but I didn’t blow the doors off, and my confidence took a massive hit. And my writing got dark and confined and tentative. And it shows. MONEY SHOT is the book I wrote under that contract, and it’s about as dark a book as I’ve ever written.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that book. It’s tightly written and well-plotted and I’m still sort of half in love with my hero, Rush. But there’s an anxiety running through that book, a darkness, that speaks very strongly to my experience of writing it.
So I’m looking to get back to that KISS THE GIRL place, where I feel happy and strong and confident, and my writing shows it.
Q: What drink does Sven bring you when you’re hiding in the cave?
SS: Ooooh, well it’s summer here in the upper Midwest so I’m all about the beer gardens. I often ask Sven to trot over to our local micro breweries–Surly and Summit–to see what’s on tap. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Surly’s Cynic Ale, and Summit’s Summer Ale. (Thank you, Sven, darling.)
Q: What’s the hardest thing about writing? What’s the most rewarding?
SS: The hardest thing is honestly finding extended periods of time to get immersed in my world. I have little kids, you know, and I can pawn them off on the cabana boys and gladiators for a little while but once the girls start tossing about spears and reeling off drink ingredients, I know I need to dial back the writing time. The most rewarding thing is far and away when somebody tells me my story touched them. I always find it humbling and astonishing when something I write garners an honest emotional response from somebody.
Q: Who do you enjoy writing more — hero or heroine?
Oh, I’m unashamedly in love with each and every one of my heroes. Female friendship has always been sort of a difficult thing for me–I have three sisters so never really had to learn the knack of making female friends until it was too late & everybody already had a BFF for life. So this is sort of a handicap for me when I write, & my heroes come far more easily. I fall in love with them right out of the gate, & they love me right back. They’re easy. But the heroines I have to warm up to. Or maybe they have to warm up to me before they’ll let me know them? I don’t know. But my heroes just spring to life, while my heroines make me sweat.
The one exception has to be Nixie from KISS THE GIRL. She was a joy from page one, a pure delight to know and a ball to write. I missed her when I wrote The End. But she was so darn happy with her happily ever after, I didn’t have the heart to disturb her to see if she wanted to hang out or grab a beer sometime.
Q: Favorite thing you’ve researched?
Right now, I’m thinking about writing a story about a disgraced corporate high-flyer whose business empire falls to shreds & leaves him with nothing but a dilapidated small-scale goat and cattle farm in Northern Minnesota. Which isn’t exactly known for its pasture land. But confidence is not this guy’s problem, & he thinks he can just take up organic farming. I’m learning a ton about cheese, of all things. Working title? The Milk Man Takes a Wife. Of course.
So there you have it. My life story in a nutshell. If I’ve failed to satisfy your curiosity about any little thing, feel free to get in touch by visiting my website, my Facebook page or just old-fashioned emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!
So I achieved a milestone recently. It wasn’t anything quite as awesome as Kate’s hitting the NYT bestseller list (go, Kate!) but it was a milestone nonetheless. One of which I am ridiculously proud.
See, I recently blurbed a book. (This means I provided the little quote on the cover telling the world what a really great book it was, for those of you who don’t speak writer-ese.) See? There it is! Over there, on the cover on the left! I know it’s a little hard to see, but click on the cover to see it live & in person on the internets.
And I didn’t blurb just any book, either. Lord, no. This was a really, really good book. One that I would have been thrilled to blurb no matter who wrote it. But it just so happens that my dear friend & critique partner (and former Romance Bandit) Inara Scott wrote this particular book, thus allowing us to fulfill yet another of our long-dreamed joint milestones.
And what, you might ask, is a long-dreamed joint milestone?
Well, it’s what happens when you put two brand-new, starry-eyed, sky’s-the-limit writers in a room together. Specifically in a hotel room in Reno where RWA is holding its 25th annual conference. It’s what happens when those two writers have a glass of wine (or two) and some ice cream (or a lot) and some chocolate (or a great deal), & start planning their careers with the subsequently lowered inhibitions.
First we’ll land a couple of agents! (That was a few years down the drain but eventually…done!)
Then we’ll both sell books! (A couple more years down the old tubes on this one, but then Inara sold her YA in a two-book deal. I sold my Golden Heart winner in a two book deal not quite a year after. Here’s me & Nara celebrating my GH win in 2008.)
Our careers will then take off like rockets! (We’re still throwing years at this one.)
And then when we’re amazing superstars (not enough years in the universe but okay), we’ll blurb each other’s books & go on tour together & it’ll be our own little fairy tale!
[insert reality here]
Okay, so we didn’t take off like super stars. Nobody has, as yet, decided to send us out on a joint book tour. (Inara did get to do a mini-tour in support of her first Delcroix book but I was not invited. I can’t imagine why not. She was promoting her young adult series at middle schools & I was writing adult romance. What could go wrong?)
But then Inara hooked up with Entangled Publishing, & began to release her adult romances. (There she is in her glammed-up, I-write-romance author photo. Nice!) And guess who she tapped for a cover quote for her latest, the Rules of Negotiation? I’m thrilled to report it was me! And they put it smack on the front cover, too.
I was proud on so many levels–first of Inara because I love this book & I’m so glad it’s finding an audience. Selfishly for myself, too, because I’ve always wanted to blurb a book. It’s a cool thing to be viewed on any level as an authority on what’s good to read.
But I was mostly thrilled with the both of us. (There we are on the left being thrilled together in NYC last summer.) And why? Because seven years ago we were dewy-eyed newbies with more hope than sense, & but we didn’t let that stop us from dreaming. And dreaming big.
And maybe our dreams haven’t all come true but we’ve put our backs into it–put our backs against each other’s, really, & circled the wagons when necessary–& we’re hauling each other into that future we dreamed so long ago. Inch by stingy inch sometimes, but we’re walking that path together.
So here’s to Inara, & her latest release! Here’s to me & my latest milestone! And here’s to the readers everywhere who love a good love story. We write for you. Heck, we are you. So dream big. And take a good friend on that walk with you. It helps.
Inara (www.inarascott.net) will join us in the comments today, & she’ll be giving away an e-copy of The Rules of Negotiation to one lucky commenter. So tell us about your dearest friends–do you have one or lots? Have you known her since kindergarten, college or last week? When has a true friend really made a difference in your life?
Which sounds like an oxymoron since, being a medical professional, I can attest that a blown up head will kill you.
No, I’m talking of a slower demise….modern technology.
Seriously, the tech world has painted a big target on my back these past two months and I’ve about had it! First my DVR on my cable screwed up. couldn’t record vital shows like DWTS for corn’s sake!
Then decided I needed to upgrade my perfectly functioning 8 year old computer. Studied different ones, listened intently to the knowledgeable young man and bought one with lots of bells and whistles. And that’s where things took a drastic turn.
First, the arranged tech guy who was supposed to come hook everything “wirelessly” up was a no show. In an effort to satisfy me, the customer, the store got a special ok for a tech manager to come do it. Great except he never hooked up the printer to PRINT, only to fax.
That’s when I first met my new love. The Geek Squad Agent. In two seconds he had me connected and running. No problems. Even hooked up my cute little Acer to the printer. Woohoo! I was cooking with gigabytes.
Then the cat ran over the keyboard.
What do my precious little babies have to do with technology? Well, ends up they are psychic. When Grayson danced across the keys while I was reading email, it disappeared. Could not find it no matter where I looked including under the desk, in the closet, out the window…it wasn’t there.
Oh, honey….I need you. Agent Bob answered online. His remote analysis (which made my head spin as I watched on my screen) revealed bad news. My hard drive is on the verge of failure with corrupted files that he states cannot be fixed. My new 2 mo. old computer!
Now I have another new computer that my guy is coming to hook up tomorrow (Hmmm…will it be Ted, Bob, or ummm…Roberto>) even as I wade once again through the features, the monitor, the wireless capability I recognize that I am hooked ENOUGH on it to feel out of kilter when I’m not connected.
What about you? How dependent are you on technology. What could you NOT live with out? What would you like to see invented? (Me? I’d like an automatic cat nail trimmer).
Now excuse me….but my garage door opener is making noise…Oy!
So, I was sitting here on a rainy Saturday cleaning up some tasks before revising a synopsis I’ve written. A synopsis made up of words.
So I latched onto my trusty Google (I do NOT like their new process for searching.) and looked up word games. Word association! What a fun challenge for our Lair, both writers AND readers!!!
So we’re going to do a little experiment. I’m going to start by posting the first word. The winner of the GR will take that word, put it in a sentence then post the next word. Yes, ya’ll will have to find the last comment to get your word and …there will be some overlap but how fun to see how different people think!!!
(I was going to do ink blots…put that scared me :-0 )
The poster with the most original sentence wins a ten dollar gift card from Borders. So gang…let’s go. The first word is BALLOON….
Disclaimer: Our guests run the gamut from personal friends, to interesting authors who've asked to appear, to authors whose books we love. We have not always read our guests' books before hosting them here. Some of them provide us with free books though most do not. We do receive a commission from Amazon for every book purchased through links on our site. For purposes of making purchasing decisions, visitors should assume the bandit sponsoring the guest has a personal connection of some kind to her guest and may have received a free copy of the guest's book.