Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet an Author Monday! And on the Community of Writers

The Meet an Author Monday blog hop (courtesy Lisa Sanchez!) is just another example--there are so many wonderful communities of writers in the romance genre. Time and again, I'm so impressed with the writer friends I meet. The way they encourage and support one another, plug one another's work, turn out to comment and tweet and Facebook.

Lately, I've found some new communities that have come to mean so much to me:

Six Sentence Sunday--The brainchild of Sara Brookes - a fun way to get together, share a bit of our work, generate interest, and have fun on a Sunday morning

RWA PRO 50K Challenge--My second year participating in this group that offers so much encouragement and motivation, they push you to write at least 50,000 words before the annual RWA conference each summer.  Last year I hit almost 60K.

Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival--I sure hope they do this again! Former Golden Heart winners sponsored 6 weeks of goal-oriented writing-related inspiration, and gave away prizes and swag to boot!

Writing GIAM--"Where Writers with Goals Make Friends"--GIAM stands for Goals, Inspiration, Amity, Motivation--and boy do these authors turn out to celebrate every achievement you make. So glad to have found this group.

MRW Critters--My monthly critique group, 12 fellow members of the Maryland Romance Writers. My work is already the better for hanging out with these fine ladies.

What groups are infusing you with motivation, helping celebrate your major milestones, and just all around building up the sense of community among us writers?

Thanks for reading, and join the hop whydoncha?
Laura

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday III - Anniversary Edition!

Welcome back for more six-sentence fun!  So, let's see what Forever Freed's Lucien and Samantha are up to this week...

She leaned forward and kissed my wet chest, her tongue just meeting my flesh as she drank a droplet of water into her mouth. I closed my eyes at the dragging sensation. Her drinking off me was too fucking close to the fantasy of her drinking from me, and all at once the blood turned molten in my veins.
Oblivious to the seismic activity building under my skin, she kissed and licked across my chest. I wrapped a steadying arm around her waist, the heat of her lust searing me. Dio, I burned from the inside and the out.

<--LUCIEN'S LICKABLE ABS!!!!!!

Oh, and happy, happy blogiversary to Six Sentence Sunday! Congrats on a whole year of bringing writers together to share their work! Click here to read the other entries. In honor of the anniversary, comments = entries for prizes this week, so comment early & often!
See ya next week!  Thanks for reading,
Laura

Review of Amanda Forester, The Highlander's Sword

Highlander's SwordHighlander's Sword by Amanda Forester

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this was a fun, sexy, suspenseful story and I devoured it in less than 8-hours time.  Padyn MacLaren is all wounded alpha male, with a scar and long-ass sword to boot (hehe).  Lady Aila Graham is unique and likable--educated, her secret pre-dawn horse rides the source of neighborhood ghost stories that Robert the Bruce rides among the Highlands still, and she's the fastest damn horseman of ANY character in the book. I love that every man she rides with eats her dust. Many of the secondary characters were also likable and well developed--Chaumont the Frenchman was total win and offered so much perfectly timed comic relief, Aila's parents were compelling and had their own interesting subplot, and their are bad guys and schemes galore.  You might get a little frustrated (right alongside Padyn and Aila) with the number of times they are, er, ----blocked from consummating their marriage, but I thought it was often cute and upped the sexual tension between them, such that by the time they finally dewww eeet he's nearly in tears to get all those pesky layers of medieval garb off his fine warrior bum.

I can't say enough about this story.  I found it hugely entertaining and romantic, and it left me wanting more.  Highly recommmend!

Thanks for reading,
Laura
View all my reviews

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meet an Author Monday!

It's Monday, so I'm hopping!  Drop in on all these new-to-you authors and say hello!  There are giveaways and new releases awaiting among them thar links!

What are all you find peeps doing with your President's Day?

Thanks for dropping by,
Laura


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday, Part Deux!

From my upcoming paranormal, Forever Freed, once again. This week, it's short and...sweet?

“God, Lucien,” she murmured around the edge of a kiss.

The sound of my name out of her mouth in this moment was fascinating, particularly joined as it was by the rich smell of her arousal. Mine. I groaned at the thought and the feeling. Needing this so damn bad, I pulled her harder against me and settled us back against the car. Her body fell between my legs, and I ground my length against her stomach. My desire for her went from “I should stop this” to nuclear in seconds.


Ain't he a cutey? He could grind us into a car any day! LOL (Come back next week and I'll show you his abs--promise!)

Be sure to visit the other lovely participants! It's so much fun! And visit the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter!

If you'd like a little more Lucien and Samantha, scroll down to 2/14 and read the special Valentine's excerpt I posted of their first kiss!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

TWRP Erotic Editors Q&A Session!


This is a great opportunity to talk with the wonderful erotic romance editors over at The Wild Rose Press!  All weekend, they're hosting a Q&A chat on The Wilder Roses Yahoo! Readers' Loop.  Find out what they're looking for, the trends they're seeing, the premises they'd love to see, and ask questions from the conceptual to the specific!

Hope to see you at the Q&A!

Thanks for stopping by,
Laura

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Feel Good!

Dunna dunna dunna dun.  And I knew that I would.  Dunna dunna dunna dun.  I fee-eee-eel good...

Oh, pardon me.

Why am I channeling the Godfather of Soul, you ask?

Cause this is the best week I've had in a while.  I've been sick on and off for three weeks, and while I'm not 100% (no voice, still some breathing problems hanging on after the flu), I feel better than I have in a while.  And that means *cue trumpets*:

I'm writing again!

And it feels so good!  I've started on a new story, a light paranormal with a Christmas theme (SNOW'S MAN--how awesome is that title???).  The words are flowing just like they used to--12,000 words in the past few days!  I'm not having to fight for them like I did with the last manuscript.  And, if that wasn't exciting enough, this puppy's running longer than I thought.  Here I was thinking I was writing a 30K novella, but now I'm not so sure.  And if this stretches into novel territory, even if it's on the short side, I might have to do some reconsidering.

Though, that's getting ahead of myself. :)

Hope something has you feeling good these days!  If so, tell us all about it!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentines First Kiss

What could be sweeter than a first kiss?

The fluttery anticipation that fills your stomach.  The tingles that run down your spine.  The dizziness of pure joyous sensation that grips you as your lips meet.  The sexy tentativeness.  The thrilling newness.  The promise of more.

So, since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd treat you all to Lucien and Samantha's first kiss in Forever Freed.  To set the scene, Ollie is Samantha's 5-year-old daughter, and neither Sam nor Ollie know Lucien's a vampire, or an empath. dundundunnnn!

Read on, and enjoy!

~~~~~

“Ollie told me you play the violin. I hope she didn’t bother you by coming over today, by the way.” Samantha moved a full step closer to me as we spoke.

“No, she didn’t bother me at all. We had fun. I gave her a quick violin lesson, and then she twisted my arm and got me to play for her.”

She smiled and more affectionate warmth flooded me. “She told me all the songs you played. I would love to hear you play some time.”

“I would love to play for you. Any time.”

She stepped forward again and stood just at my knees.

I watched her movements with wonder and need. The atmosphere between us thickened and sparked. Samantha looked up at me shyly, but with clear purpose.

“Lucien?”

“Hmm?” I gripped the edge of the table lest I reach out and pull her flush against my body.

She leaned in further and placed her fingertips on my knees. Electrical impulses ripped up my thighs and settled into the thick organ between my legs.

“Kiss me?”

My breath caught in my throat. My original plan for her made it blasphemous for me to consider accepting her affection. But I wanted it desperately. Wanted her.

We leaned towards one another. I strained to be vigilant in my control. I met her lips tenderly, not wanting to take more risk than I already was. But then she took another step forward and fit herself tight between my legs. She moved her hands to my shoulders. Her heart hammered between our chests.

I needed to be careful, but I had to hold her. I released the table’s edge and wound my hands around her, tangling one in the soft, fine hair behind her head and snaking the other around her narrow waist. Her life thrummed in my arms. I had gone so long without affectionate touch that this felt beyond miraculous. It was simply irresistible.

I was so hungry for her, but not for her blood. I deepened the kiss and stroked my tongue with need and want against hers. Exploring her mouth with abandon, I groaned at the sweetness of her taste and thrilled at being inside of her.

Oh, dolcezza. The taste of her joy, her vivacious personality, the way she loved Ollie, her acceptance of me—everything about her bespoke her sweetness. Her heat seared me. I pulled her in tighter and relished the throb of her pulse against my skin.

She moaned. Her hands found my hair, stroking, pulling, fisting. Had my eyes been open they would have rolled back into my head. Hot feelings of ecstasy roared out of her and into me, and I groaned as I struggled to keep my fangs from stretching out. I pursued her touch, her kiss, again and again. She returned what I gave her with equal fervor.

       Minutes passed before she finally pulled away. I released her reluctantly and smiled when she bit her lower lip and grinned up at me. I tasted her happiness and her exhilaration, but some of what I was feeling was my own. And that was a miracle.


Mmm, mama!  Hope you liked!  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I get a release date this week!

Of all your first kisses, which was your favorite and why? 

Thanks for reading, and Happy Valentine's Day!
Laura

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday


I'm excited to participate in Six Sentence Sunday for the very first time!  I'm pleased to share with you selections from my upcoming paranormal release, FOREVER FREED, coming soon from The Wild Rose Press.  Here's what our vampire hero Lucien Demarco has to say this week:

But I wasn’t surprised he knew what feeding did to me, knew my empathy forced me to suck in my victims’ emotions with each accursed draw of blood.
~~~~~
I listened and nodded in the right places, but was overcome with the certainty her happiness was my irresistible siren song. Like the mariners of old, I would be wrecked in my pursuit of her.
~~~~~
My body craved more blood, my mind yearned for Samantha’s joy. Jesus, I was just hungry.
~~~~~
I just knew, if I could help it, I wouldn’t allow anything or anyone to hurt the beautiful little girl with the seeing eyes.

Ha!  That was fun.  And scary!  But mostly fun!

There are 60+ authors participating this week--follow the link above and check out others' six sentences, too!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meet an Author Monday! And on New Beginnings!

It's Monday, so I'm hopping, thanks to the lovely Lisa Sanchez, who hosts this blog hop each and every Monday.  Drop in on her and all these other great authors (links below) and don't be shy about saying hello or clicking on that little Follow button. We love visitors!

I'm excited today to be starting a new story.  After finishing the monster novel, which I'm letting marinade for a few weeks before tackling The Big Revision, it's so refreshing to be talking to new characters, immersed in a new world.  The words are coming quick and easy again, and it's just so nice!  The new story is a light paranormal romance with a Christmas theme and, though I'm only three chapters in, I'm already in love with it!  Which is good, because if I want to submit it for holiday 2011 publication, it needs to be done and revised before March 1.  Yikes! :)

Author friends, what's it like for you when you switch from one story to the next?  Easy?  Rough transition?  A great relief? :)

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review of Elizabeth Essex, The Pursuit of Pleasure

The Pursuit of PleasureThe Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book through the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival, and Elizabeth Essex sent it to me directly with a very nice note. Thanks, Elizabeth!

I was in love with this story from the first chapter. Lizzie and Jamie were playful from the start, their dialogue so filled with witty banter and sensual innuendo. As childhood best friends who meet again after a long separation, you can feel the effect their previous relationship has on their current interactions--there's already a history, which means there's chemistry from the first moment. The sexual tension between them was strong throughout and it made everything about their interaction sensual. The wedding night sex scenes capitalized on all that sexual tension perfectly, leaving me, like Lizzie, feeling the devastation when Jamie has to leave (forever, we think) shortly thereafter.

For me, everything works about the book--pacing, characterization, their relationship, plot--up until the moment Lizzie is released from jail (p. 223). Then things started to bug me. First of all, I had a hard time accepting how quickly Lizzie forgives Jamie for his very long and serious list of betrayals. When she finally does forgive him, I had a hard time following her rationalization--I had to reread it to see if I could understand her, and I still couldn't really. He marries her for revenge, lied to her about his plans, faked his death, watched her and his whole family bury him and grieve, pulled her in through association to a dangerous smuggling operation, and left her in jail for his murder for weeks. Yet it seems after a chapter or two, which represented very little actual time, she's declaring she just should've trusted him. Hmm.

It was in the post-jail portion of the book that the pacing slowed for me as well--with somewhat repetitive scenes of Lizzie and Jamie arguing, or her trying to figure out the lies everyone was telling.  Both characters became less likable and consistent in their characterization--Lizzie's defiance and independence, so likable before, led her to act spitefully and childishly, in ways that often lacked common sense. Jamie's frustration with Lizzie's well-justified hurt and mistrust, his continual placing of his duty above her, and his insistence to prove she needed him--by pushing her face first into the grass and having sex with her, make him less sympathetic at the very moment when the depth of his betrayal is revealed and he needs to be more likable to get the reader back on his side. Perhaps if the reader had been able to read, in scene, some of his anti-smuggling exploits, had been able to really see just how much danger Jamie was potentially in as he tried to infiltrate the smuggling ranks, he would've been more sympathetic. Without those scenes, it seemed he put Lizzie through all those trials to sail back and forth along the coast and hide out as a groundsman on their estate. In my opinion, NOT showing Jamie actually engaged in the dangerous parts of his mission was a missed opportunity for his characterization.  Because of these issues, the sexual tension that was SO effective in the first part of the book falls flat in the last third.

The good news is, I was so in love with them before these issues arose, and so rooting for them to be together, that the problems didn't interrupt my overall enjoyment of the book, which I read pretty much straight through in a day and a half, I was so hooked. I was entertained and enjoyed Essex's world and characters, and on that alone, I can recommend.

And, yowza, is that a great (read: hot!) cover, or what?

Thanks for reading,
Laura

View all my reviews

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Wild Rose Press Does it Again!

For the third year running, my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has been voted the Best Print/Ebook Publisher in the Preditor's & Editor's Readers' Poll!
Since first joining the Rose Garden in March 2010, I've really enjoyed the sense of community there. Great discussion on the Rose loops, reliable help from fellow authors to vote for you in contests or comment on blog posts, and a willingness to mentor and share advice have all been hallmarks of my experience at The Wild Rose Press.

So, congratulations Roses! And congrats to the winners in the other categories!

Thanks for reading,
Laura