New Music Page: The Loving on the Edge Playlists

At the Marilyn Manson concert in Vegas

So I've been wanting to do this for a while, but knew it was going to be a bit of a project and needed to wait until I had some time to dedicate to it. Finally, this weekend I was able to put it together. 

Music has always been a big part of my life and it definitely plays a big role in my writing. I can't write in silence, so I listen to a wide variety of songs while I'm writing. But there are particular ones that stand out in my mind has linked to certain stories or characters or scenes. So I've put together playlists for my series so far, including:

  • Songs that inspired stories or scenes
  • Character Anthems
  • The Dark and Sexy Stuff (i.e. what I imagine playing in the background of the smexy scenes. These are not your typical romance songs because who wants to get flogged to Celine Dion? Though, now that I think about it, that could make for a funny scene.)
  • The Romantic Stuff (the Happily Ever After anthems)

So I hope you'll check out the list.

And in the comments, I'd love to hear what songs are intrinsically tied to one of your stories or characters. 

Want A Peek Inside The Ranch?

my own photo

This will be quick. I just wanted to let everyone know that I've added a page up top about The Ranch--the fantasy resort in my Loving on the Edge series. There are pictures, a quick note from Grant, and then at the bottom links to inspiration photos (aka mancandy) for all the heroes in the books.

Hope you enjoy!

And thanks to everyone who weighed in on the "should I change my website?" post on Tuesday. So far the opinions have been pretty evenly divided with a slight edge to keeping the current design. I might end up with some hybrid version. But regardless, I hope to be adding more interesting stuff to the website and this Ranch page is the start of it.

Let me know what you think! And if you are a reader of my books and have any ideas of what you'd like to see on my site, please leave a comment and let me know! : )

Thanks!

Fill-Me-In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

 

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho


  Need to catch up after a busy week? Now's your chance. Fill-Me-In Friday is where I rundown the best links I've come across this week.

On Writing/Publishing:

The Intern: five signs you're about to land an agent: observations from a freelance editor

Author, Jody Hedlund: Are the Demands on the Modern Writer Growing Unbearable?

Author, Jody Hedlund: Can Writers Earn a Living Writing Just One Book a Year?

Jennifer Represents...: About the Agent-Author relationship... aka, Who's the Boss?

Believe it or not, people don’t *have* to like you via Mhairi Simpson

The Randomness of Bestsellers | Nathan Bransford, Author

Rewriting Treadmills: Traditional Publishing versus E-Publishing | Book View Cafe

Marketing Direct To Kindle Readers. On Advertising And KDP Select. | The Creative Penn

Novel Rocket: 8 Publishing Landmines & Helpful Tips for Writers by Katie Ganshert

Sara Megibow Sells Romance – Hollywood Baby!! | Romance University (on movie rights)

 

On Social Networking/Promotion:

Ask The Lit Coach: The Difference Between Brand and Platform and Why Every Author Needs Both

You’ve Got Questions – Do Writers Need to Blog? | A Day Without Sushi - Amber West

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

The magic button & Make Everything OK - StumbleUpon <--love this

The eighth-grader who gets Internet celebrities to talk - Apple 2.0 

What Happens if You Violate Twitter’s New Logo Guidelines? via DIY Blogger

Sexy Romance Stories » The BDSM Economic Stimulus Plan

Tessie Girl: The Stephen King Universe Flow Chart <--this is made of awesome, seriously

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

Made of Win Monday 

- On Snow White and The Huntsman and a new horror novel I loved.

 

 

Marcus Schenkenberg - Boyfriend of the Week via Author Ju Dimello

 

 

Investment vs. Payoff: Is Blogging Worth the Time?

 

The Musical Muse: The Song That Inspired STILL INTO YOU

 

All right, that's what I have from this week? What were some of your favorite links of the week? Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Made of Win Monday and Last Chance to Enter My Contest

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Today I have a bit of a Made of Win Monday round up.

First, today is the LAST DAY you can enter my STILL INTO YOU contest where you can win a box of awesome, a gift card, or a 20 page critique from me. Contest ends at midnight central time.

A few guest posts...

I'm over at Tory Michael's blog with an interview where I answer questions such as how I balance writing and blogging with the rest of my life and why I like writing BDSM.

I'm also on Peanut Butter on the Keyboard talking On Milk Allergies and Trusting Your Mommy Gut.

 

Now a few things Made of Win...

  • I finished writing NOT UNTIL YOU over the weekend, which is Ian's story (yes, the Ian in STILL INTO YOU.) So I managed to write and revise a 40k novella in 6 weeks. Yay! Now I know that's probably nothing to you speed writers, but that's a much improved pace for me. Now it's on to Kelsey's story, CAUGHT UP IN YOU.

 

 

  • Saw Snow White and The Huntsman this weekend and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not usually a fairy tale person, but I really enjoyed the movie. Now, I would've loved to see a little more romance-y stuff wrapped up, but I have a feeling they left things a little open with hopes for a sequel. I'm all for more Chris Hemsworth regardless. :) Two thumbs up.

 

 

  • I've been in the mood for a good horror story lately and wanted to try an indie one. After a few failed attempts at finding one whose sample pages didn't make me cringe, I ended up with Alexandra Sokoloff's The Harrowing . (I realized afterwards that though this one is indie now, it's her backlist and was orginally published by St. Martins. So oh well on my attempt to find a truly self-pubbed one, lol. But hey, the effort was there.) And I really enjoyed the story. It was creepy and had me leaving lights on when I was alone in the house at night. You can definitely tell that the author is a screenwriter because I could easily picture this story like it was playing on a screen. Someone on Goodreads described it as Scream meets The Exorcist. I think that's a pretty good description, though there was no humor like in Scream. Anyway, I enjoyed it and if you have Amazon Prime, it's free in the lending library.

Here's the blurb:

Baird College's Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of the last home-bound students heading off for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year-old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. Or perhaps it's only gathering itself for the coming weekend.

As a massive storm dumps rain on the isolated campus, four other lonely students reveal themselves: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and finally Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons.

The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of a sixth presence disturbing the ominous silence that pervades the building. Are they the victims of a simple college prank taken way too far, or is the unusual energy evidence of something genuine---and intent on using the five students for its own terrifying ends? It's only Thursday afternoon, and they have three long days and dark nights before the rest of the world returns to find out what's become of them. But for now it's just the darkness keeping company with five students nobody wants and no one will miss.

 

All right, that was my Made of Win weekend, how was yours? Anyone else see Snow White? Anybody have any good horror recommendations for me (prefer creepy/scary to all out gore)?

 

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week!

 

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho
  

Busy week? Need to catch up? It's time for Fill-Me-In Friday where I share the best links I've come across this week. 


 First a final reminder, my STILL INTO YOU contest is still open! So for a $2.99 purchase of STILL INTO YOU, you get a sexy novella and a chance to win a gift card, a box of awesome ($30 value) or a 20 page critique from me (not sure how much that's worth, but I had a 10pg crit go for almost $400 in a charity auction last year, so this is a deal compared to that, lol.) Contest closes Monday night.

Also, huge thanks to everyone who has already bought STILL. *hugs* I heart you guys. : )


 

All right, enough shameless promotion, on to the links...

On Writing/Publishing: 

 

Special Annoucement:

 

On Social Networking:

 

On Life: 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

Order STILL INTO YOU This Week and Win a Box of Awesome!

 

 

How To Write Love Scenes That Don't Suck - A Free Class!

 

 

Spice It Up Thursday: Music Is For More Than Dancing

 

And thanks to the following reviewers for posting reviews this week... 

  • "All I can say is I was blown away. A very true look into marriage, how it develops, fantasies being met and the depth each is willing to go to only to save their love and marriage. A must read!" - Delighted Reader 
  • "Still Into You was a great emotional and sexy read. Once they arrived at The Ranch, the sizzle factor went through the roof. Besides the smoking hot sex scenes, there was a great story about two people who love each other trying to find their way back." -Love To Read For Fun
  • "Realistic, sweet and adorable romance!  Recommended!"- Books Are Magic
  • "Roni Loren writes unconventional love stories that are hot enough to make the pages spontaneously combust, yet also emotionally complex and beautifully told.  You don’t find that combination very often...at least I don’t.  I think she is a must read for erotic romance lovers." - Seductive Musings
  • "I loved the story.  Seth and Leila's marriage was perfectly written and their struggles with juggling family, responsibilities and still keeping the "spark" in a marriage alive was dead on.  Roni Loren is quickly becoming a must buy for me.  Can't wait for Melt Into You."Cocktails and Books
  • "Roni was able to convey not only the pain they felt but the passion. Oh my goodness, but do these two have some serious passion together. Seth and Leila are way hot together, and I enjoyed watching them reconnect with one another. After finishing this novella, I definitely can't wait to get my hands on more from Roni Loren." - Ramblings from This Chick
  • And if you want to see who I used for visual inspiration, check out my mancandy post at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance: Guest Post with Roni Loren + Giveaway

 

All right, that's all I've got this week. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Spice It Up Thursday: Music Is For More Than Dancing

Photo by halighalie (click pic for link)Welcome back to my Spice It Up feature. This is a short blog series I'm doing in honor of the release of STILL INTO YOU, a story about a married couple trying to fall back in lust with each other after life has gotten in the way. :)

So far we've talked about Sexy Role-Playing and The Real Girl's Guide to Lingerie. Today I'm covering something a little more basic. Music.

There's a reason movies have music in the background of the sexy scenes. It adds a layer to things, inspires certain emotions or moods. Yet, in our own lives, we often forget that this can be added to our own sexy times with our partners. Yes, it takes extra thought and maybe a little planning, but nothing is sexier than partners making an effort to make something a little more special and less mundane.

 

Tips on Using Music in the Bedroom

Beware of the radio

One option is to just turn on the radio to a favorite station and hope for the best. But be warned, this can often derail more than enhance the situation. Nothing like having a sexy moment and a commercial for the local plumber comes on or a song that you hate. Women, more so than men, are easily distracted in the moment. So don't set yourself of your partner up for losing focus.

Each of you make a playlist on your own. Then maybe have a collaborative one.

What your idea of a sexy soundtrack is and his idea may be two different things. That's okay. Each come up with your own playlists and then take turns using them. And don't judge the other person's. You should each be free to pick what you want when it's your turn.

You don't have to focus only on the romantic love songs.

If romantic slow songs are what make you happy, that's fine, use them. But push yourself a bit and think of songs that are sexy in their own right without necessarily being the traditional love songs. Sex can be slow, romantic, intense, dirty, fun, kinky, whatever. There are all kinds of songs that can play to the mood you want to set. (I always think about this when writing. Even if I don't write it in, when I'm writing a love scene, there is usually a certain type of music playing in the background depending on the mood of the scene.)

Consider having a few afterglow songs too.

See, I told you this takes planning. So maybe you went the intense route and used heavy rock music for your sexy times. Afterwards, you're not going to still want that blaring, so have a mellow, we're in the afterglow playlist you can switch to and enjoy the moment with your partner.

Headphones can be fun.

This is moving into a little bit of sensory deprivation kind of thing, but wireless headphones or earbuds can be a fun thing to try. You can also add a blindfold and then the person can focus on nothing but their partner's touch and the sound of the music. The music via headphone can keep the person totally focused on the moment and what they're feeling. Fun times. :)

 

All right, those are just a few ideas, but hopefully it gets you started on thinking about what could work for you.

Oh, and another reminder...

My STILL INTO YOU contest is still open: Order STILL INTO YOU This Week and Win a Box of Awesome, a gift card, or a 20 page critique from me!

 

Question for y'all: What do you consider the sexiest song ever?

Mine is probably "Cry to Me" from Dirty Dancing but that's because I'm obsessed with that movie and it plays during my favorite scene. :) 

STILL INTO YOU is out today! Three Days. No Rings. Will their marriage survive?

 

So hopefully y'all will forgive me for the blatant promotional post today in lieu of Boyfriend of the Week. But it's my book's birthday! Yay!

And don't despair, there is still a Boyfriend of the Week to be had. I'm over at Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance with photos of the inspiration for Seth, the hero for STILL INTO YOU

Blurb (in case you missed it the hundred other times I posted it):

Three days, no rings...

Seth and Leila used to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Passion, desire, love—it was all there. Yet, eight years after their whirlwind marriage and kids, they’ve settled into a life where choosing Letterman over Leno is considered a wild night.

Seth knows things need to change. But when he hears his wife call into a relationship radio show and admit she’s been tempted to cheat, he realizes how far off course they’ve gotten. He comes up with a dramatic plan. Three days. No rings. He’ll take Leila to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had, and give her the freedom to have whatever or whomever she wants.

However, Seth doesn’t intend to simply stand by and watch other men fulfill Leila’s dark desires. He has a lot more bad boy in him than his wife suspects and he knows there’s only one man who can give her what she needs. Now he has to show her why that man is him.

Now here are your instructions:

1. Buy book in your preferred format (Kindle or Nook) because of any or all of the following reasons:

a) It's a kickass story and only $2.99

b) the cover will look pretty on your e-reader

c) you love me

d) you just want to see a little more of Jace from Crash Into You

e) you want to help fund my iced tea and fancy cheese addiction

 

2. Read the story.

-Keep a significant other readily available.

 

3. If you love it...

a) Tell everyone you know

b) Review it online

c) Lend it to a friend

 

4. If you hate it...

a) Uh, just send me a private email berating me. ;)

b) All right, I can take it, you can review it too.

 

5. Rinse. Repeat in July when MELT INTO YOU releases. (<--told you, I'm shameless.)

 

All right, now off with you, you've got important work to do today!

Love you guys! *hugs*

Spice It Up Thursday: Sexy Role-Playing

18+ post

Photo by _rockinfree (Click Photo for link)It's time for another installment of my blog series focused on finding fun ways to spice up your relationship. This is all in honor of my new release (out next Tuesday, yay!) STILL INTO YOU about a married couple trying to rekindle the spark they lost.

And on today's agenda: role-playing.

Role-playing can be a great way to bring something fresh into the bedroom when you've been with someone a long time. It's a safe way to change things up, get that thrill of newness again. And beyond something sexy, it can be fun.

So everyone knows the possible role plays you can bring into the bedroom...

 

  • Nurse or doctor
  • Pirate and captive
  • Professor and student
  • Escort and client
  • Stripper and customer
  • Cop and criminal (I use this one in MELT INTO YOU if you want to see that one played out.)
  • Master and slave (may want to look into BDSM if this one really appeals to you)
  • Delivery guy/girl and customer
  • Stranger picking you up in a bar/one-night stand

 

Of course, you can come up with your own. If you want to play Star Wars roles, more power to you. It's whatever you and your partner find sexy (and fun!)

Then once you talk to your partner and decide you may want to try one of these, make sure you set some ground rules.

1. Laughing together is okay. Laughing AT your partner is not.

Role-playing requires some lowering of inhibitions, which also means making yourself more vulnerable. Acting in a role doesn't come naturally to most of us and can feel awkward at first because you're afraid of looking ridiculous or not doing it "right." Agree with your partner that you're not going to poke fun at each other and that it's a safe environment to relax in. Otherwise, if one partner is meant to feel silly or ashamed, this will never happen again.

2. Establish a safe word that stops the role play.

This is something used in BDSM play but it helpful for regular roleplays as well. If something is uncomfortable or you feel like things are going off course, you can say a word that signals each of you to break character. "Stop" or something simple can work, but if you're doing something where you may be play-acting "stop!" - cop and criminal for instance, then it gets confusing. So make sure the word is something that stands out.

3. Don't phone it in.

You don't have to go buy elaborate costumes (though you can) but make an effort to make it feel real. If you're supposed to be the escort, don't be dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt.

4. Talk about boundaries

Make sure you know what is off-limits for your partner so that you don't cross some line they don't want you to.

5. Have fun.

If you're totally stressed out about being perfect or how your thighs look in the too tight skirt he asked you to wear, this will just be an exercise in misery. Your partner loves you, you love them. This is just a little fun. Treat it as such.

And if you want to see what a stranger pick-up could look like, here's an excerpt from STILL INTO YOU. Seth and Leila have been married eight years and have gone to The Ranch to try to find their way back to each other. Seth has told Leila she can have whoever she wants at The Ranch. She's been at the dance club when this scene starts...

STILL INTO YOU Excerpt

All rights reserved. Copyright Roni Loren 2012.

When she’d found out Seth was going to go do his own thing tonight, her belly had gone inside out. Not only because of the fact that he was willingly giving her the opportunity to cheat but that he might do the same. Maybe he’d set up this whole thing to satisfy his own eight-year itch.

After that revelation, she’d vowed to jump into this whole thing with both feet. If her husband could so easily turn his vows off and not care if some other guy touched his wife, then he’d earned the consequence. Apparently, she wasn’t even worth jealousy anymore.

But so far she hadn’t been inspired to use that get-out-of-jail-free card. All of the men she’d danced with had been handsome enough, but none had sparked that thing inside her that would push her to take the leap. She’d turned the offers down, and each of the men had handled it without protest or malice, which was another beautiful thing about this place—consent was like religion.

She took the last gulp of her drink and set it down on the bar.

“Still have one dance left in you?” a voice said, low and heavy against her ear.

Leila startled, nearly knocking over her glass. She whirled around to find a familiar face with an unfamiliar smirk staring down at her. “What?”

Seth planted a hand on the bar, half-caging her on her stool with his arm. Her gaze traced down him as she inhaled the scent of a cologne she’d never smelled on him before—a darker, more earthy scent than his usual. He’d changed into a pair of jeans and a snug gray T-shirt that molded over his hard, lean chest. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

She blinked, confused for a moment, then realized what he was doing. Oh. Her pulse ticked up a notch. “I’m Leila.”

His smile was downright wicked. Who the hell was this person? “Well, Leila, I’m Seth and I think you should dance with me.”

“Oh, and why is that?” she asked, leaning back against the bar and sending him a challenging look.

His other hand landed on the bar, officially trapping her in the scant space between his arms. He bent his head close to her ear. “Because there are at least three dudes in this place who are hoping you’ll go back to their room with them, and I want to show everyone who’s really going to be shoving that dress up your thighs tonight.”

A soft gasp passed her lips, the dirty talk a vast—but effective—departure from the Seth she was used to. She met his eyes and saw the promise backing up his words. A subtle warmth crept over her skin. “My, my, aren’t you confident.”

***
STILL INTO YOU can be pre-ordered on Kindle  or Nook for only $2.99!
Alright, that's all I've got today. Thoughts on this feature? Do you want me to continue with this series over the next few weeks or do something different? And what are some role play scenarios I missed listing?

Spice It Up Thursday: The Real Girl's Guide to Lingerie

Okay, so as many of you know might already know, I have a novella coming out June 5th (and it's only 2.99!). This novella, STILL INTO YOU, is part of my series (I'm calling it #1.5) and is the first story I've ever written about a married couple. 

Here's the blurb:

Seth and Leila used to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Passion, desire, love—it was all there. Yet, eight years after their whirlwind marriage and kids, they’ve settled into a life where choosing Letterman over Leno is considered a wild night.

Seth knows things need to change. But when he hears his wife call into a relationship radio show and admit she’s been tempted to cheat, he realizes how far off course they’ve gotten. He comes up with a dramatic plan. Three days. No rings. He’ll take Leila to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had, and give her the freedom to have whatever or whomever she wants.

However, Seth doesn’t intend to simply stand by and watch other men fulfill Leila’s dark desires. He has a lot more bad boy in him than his wife suspects and he knows there’s only one man who can give her what she needs. Now he has to show her why that man is him.

I had a great time writing about a couple that could be any of us--two people who love each other, but have been together a long time and life has started to get in the way of their romance. Now, I don't necessarily suggest taking the extreme measure my couple does in the book, but I thought it'd be fun for the next few weeks to have a Thursday feature focused on simple ways to spice up a relationship and have some fun.

Fair warning: These posts are for 18 and over.

On today's agenda...lingerie.

Okay, so we all know what's out there. We've seen those skimpy things on the Victoria's Secret models. You can't eat a crouton and still fit into half that stuff. (For those of you who can wear those outfits and look flawless...well, move right along before we spot you and start to hate you.) Most of us can't pull off things designed for models. 

And I know there are some guys out there who will say that it's not about looking perfect. They like the idea of it and see us as sexy no matter what. Or they're good with plain old naked. Okay, we love you for that. But half the appeal of lingerie is that the woman can feel sexy in it. It changes things up a bit and can make everything feel a little different, a bit more exciting. But if she feels uncomfortable or un-cute in what she's wearing, it's going to ruin the mood.

So what's a girl to do? Well, here are some ideas that will probably make both your and your guy happy.

Lingerie Alternatives for Every Day Women

 

 

1. A man's dress shirt and a pair of heels.

Classic, sexy, and very forgiving on body shape.

 

 

2. The sports jersey (striped athletic socks optional)

Just, uh, make sure it's not a team he hates. :)

 

 

3. A trench coat with heels or knee high boots.

The only time it's okay to be a flasher.

 

4. The cowgirl look

This could be jeans or jean skirt, boots, hat, and either a wife beater or plaid shirt tied in the front.

 

 5. The buttoned up business woman or librarian look

Slim black skirt, sheer blouse, heels, sexy lacy stuff underneath (or nothing at all). Glasses for bonus points.

 

There are also outfits that could be fun for role plays, but I think I shall save that for another post. ;)

So what do you think? Think your guy would go for this? Any other lingerie alternatives you can think of? And men, if you're reading this, would you be happy to see your women in any of these?

Testing Your Opening Scene - 5 Steps #atozchallenge

Photo by Tawheed Manzoor (click photo for link)This weekend I had the privilege of critiquing a few opening pages for two friends (along with revising my own opening scene). And as I was critting/revising, I was reminded just how hard it is to work everything you need to in that crucial opening scene without weighing it down with things like backstory.

It's a very delicate dance, getting that opening scene just right. And it's an important one because those first 5-10 pages may be all you have to impress an agent...or later on, a reader. So even though every page of your book deserves a critical eye, the opening needs to be honed and molded to near perfection.

One of my favorite writing books is Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time by Jordan Rosenfeld (If you don't have it, get it. The book breaks down the elements of a scene and also goes over types of scenes--dramatic/contemplative/action/flashback etc.) Anyway, the book also has a great litmus test for what needs to be present in an opening scene.

This doesn't cover everything like what NOT to put in an opening scene (loads of backstory, endless setting descriptions, having your character wake up for the day, having your character looking in the mirror to describe herself, etc.)

But below are the basic components. 

 

Litmus Test for Your Novel's Opening

I'll put my novella, STILL INTO YOU (releases June 3), to the test as an example.

1. A challenge to your protagonist's status quo.

My hero realizes that he and his wife skipped their usual, unstated appointment to make love. (They've been married, have children, and have settled into a routine of a certain night once a week.) Instead of being with each other, they'd chosen to watch Letterman and he hadn't even noticed until the next morning

 

2. An antagonist for your character to encounter. (Doesn't have to be THE antagonist.)

Though there is a human antagonist eventually in the story, the real antagonist in the opening scene is the looming threat of the marriage failing.

 

3. Introduce your protagonist's immediate intentions.

My hero intends to do everything in his power to keep his marriage together. He still loves his wife and is going to prove that he's still the man for her. 

 

4. A glimpse into your MC's history/personality/motivation.

I always try to open with a "glimpse into ordinary life". A BRIEF glimpse. In this case, we see the couple getting ready for work--talking, but it's stilted, routine, distant. You see the hero trying to get his wife to talk about the previous night but she's on autopilot trying to get out the door.

 

5. The protagonist makes a decision that leads immediately to more complications.

Seth, the hero, decides he's going to show his wife that there is still something between them besides mutual respect. He's going to go to his brother-in-law, Jace (from CRASH), for help. Seth's initial plan is pretty mild, but it's going to lead to something much bigger (and of course, more complications.)

 

Therefore, even though my opening scene is only the jumping off point of the story and doesn't introduce the broader hook, it's the setup of the plot and enough conflict and action to whet the appetite to keep turning the page (hopefully!) to see how much more complicated things are going to get. 

These five points can't also be recycled and used to test out your Act 1 (or the first 1/3 of your book). Act 1 mimics this structure on a broader level. 

And once you embed this structure in your brain, it will eventually come naturally without even thinking about it.

So what do you think? Are these components a good summary of what you like to read/write in an opening scene? Think back to your favorite books or movies, do they follow these guidelines? Can you think of any other "must haves" in an opening?

*This is a revamped post from 2011

Cover Reveal for STILL INTO YOU!

Yay! I have a cover for my upcoming novella, STILL INTO YOU (coming June 2012). 

 

BLURB:

Three Days. No Rings…

Seth and Leila used to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Passion, desire, love—it was all there. But eight years after their whirlwind marriage and kids, they’ve settled into a life where choosing Letterman over Leno is considered a wild night. 

Seth knows things need to change. But when he hears his wife call into a relationship radio show and admit she’s been tempted to cheat, he realizes how far off course they’ve gotten.  

He comes up with a dramatic plan. Three days. No rings. He’ll take Leila to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had, and gives her the freedom to have whatever or whomever she wants. 

However, Seth doesn’t intend to simply stand by and watch other men fulfill Leila’s dark desires. He has a lot more bad boy in him than his wife could ever suspect. There’s only one man who can give her what she needs. Now he has to show her why that man is him.

Available for Pre-Order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

AND it's only going to be $2.99, so any of y'all out there who may be afraid to try me at $10-15 can now give my series a test drive for a bargain. :) 

So what do y'all think of my new cover? I love it. I even changed the heroine's hair color in the book just so I could keep this cover. : )

A Sneak Peek from STILL INTO YOU

First, want to give y'all a heads up that I've been interviewed for Elise Rome's March Madness extravaganza and I'm giving away a copy of CRASH INTO YOU. Would love it if y'all stopped by.
Secondly, I'm taking a break from Made of Win Monday today to bring you the first peek into my novella, STILL INTO YOU, which releases in ebook in June. The cover isn't final yet, so I'll post that soon, but it's SO pretty. Can't wait to share. 
This is the first story I've written where the hero and heroine are already married. I never realized how much of a challenge that could be, but I love how the story turned out. I hope you do too. :) For those of you who've read CRASH, this story is about Jace's older sister. (You'll see her a little bit in MELT too.)
So here's the first look at STILL INTO YOU:

Her throat closed and she looked away, ashamed and devastated. He had heard. The hurt in his voice was almost too much to bear. So this was going to be it. The end of her marriage. And it was her fault. “Seth, I—I’m so sorry. I—”

“Do you love me, Lei?” he asked, his tone hard.

She looked back at him. “Of course I do. I just—”

“Do you want a divorce?” 

Tears filled her eyes. Divorce. The word itself made her want to lean over the bed and hurl. They had a life together, a house…the kids. Almost a decade of memories. She thought of Myra and Preston. Imagined telling their hope-filled faces that mommy and daddy weren’t going to be together anymore. That sometimes love wasn’t enough, that sometimes relationships faded. 

But staying in something that was dying wasn’t going solve any problems either. She’d seen how her own parents had grown into more business partners than husband and wife. Leila had sworn to herself that she would never let herself stay in that kind of relationship. She and Seth were too young to sentence themselves to a life of empty smiles as they passed each other in the hallway.

A vice grip wrapped around her lungs, the writing on the wall impossible to ignore. “I don’t know what to do. I love you, but we’ve lost something. You’re never here—”

He sighed. “I have to work, Lei. You know that. I know the hours are hard, but I’m so close to getting a regional position. If I get that promotion, we could go buy one of those farmhouses you’ve always talked about. I see all those clippings you pull from magazines. I know they’re not for your clients.”

She shook her head, thinking of the kind of house she’d dreamed of since falling in love with interior design. A place she could renovate from the ground up, land the kids could play on, and... She sucked in a haggard breath. Suddenly, the image she’d always had of Seth converting space to play his music in again wouldn’t materialize. Like even in her fantasy house, her husband’s image had faded.

Seth watched her intently. “But I’ll take some time off, okay? I have a week’s vacation I can use.”

“I don’t know if we can fix it,” she whispered, the sad reality almost choking her. “Or get whatever it is back. This…us…feels empty. Don’t tell me you don’t feel it, too.”

He closed his eyes, her words obviously paining him, and took a long breath. When he opened them again, the lines of his jaw had hardened. “Why were you tempted tonight? What was it about him? His money? His looks?”

She looked down, his words stinging her.

“Tell me.”

She shook her head. “It was the way he looked at me, Seth. Like he wanted me. Like I was worth wanting.”

He winced like she’d slapped him. “I still want you, Lei.”

“No, you don’t. Not like that. Neither of us looks at each other that way anymore.”

He took a deep breath. “Give me a weekend.”

She swiped at the tears that had escaped down her cheeks. “Seth—”

“Three days,” he said, propping himself up on his elbow, a resolute look gliding over his stricken features. “No work. No kids. You give me complete control over what happens with us for the next three days and let’s see how things go. After that, we can call an attorney if that’s what you want.”

Confusion swamped her. “Three days to do what?”

“That would be up to me and not you,” he said, his tone firmer than she’d ever heard it. “You give me the control. If you want to pull the parachute cord at any point, you say ‘Austin’ and I’ll walk away.”

She had no idea what he was planning to do, but the implication of using her maiden name as her “out” word was not lost on her. “I don’t understand.”

He reached out and touched her damp cheek. “You don’t have to. But if there is any part of you that wants to see if there’s anything left between us worth saving, you’ll say yes.”

The look in his big, brown eyes broke her heart all over again and for a second, she saw a glimmer of that college boy she’d fallen in love with. The one who had looked at an awkward art student as if she held life’s greatest secrets. She didn’t have much hope that they could find what they’d lost, but she owed Seth the chance to try. And she owed it to herself. 

She put her hand over the one he’d used to cup her cheek and nodded. “Okay. Three days.”

***

If you want to know more, here's the blurb...

Blurb:

Seth and Leila used to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Passion, desire, love—it was all there. But eight years after their whirlwind marriage and kids, they’ve settled into a life where choosing Letterman over Leno is considered a wild night.

Seth knows things need to change. But when he hears his wife call into a relationship radio show and admit she’s been tempted to cheat, he realizes how far off course they’ve gotten. 

He comes up with a dramatic plan. Three days. No rings. He’ll take Leila to The Ranch, a resort where any sexual fantasy can be had, and gives her the freedom to have whatever or whomever she wants. 

However, Seth doesn’t intend to simply stand by and watch other men fulfill Leila’s dark desires. He has a lot more bad boy in him than his wife could ever suspect. There’s only one man who can give her what she needs. Now he has to show her why that man is him.

You can add it to your Goodreads if you like what you've read. (Yes, I'm not above blatant promo on occasion. ;) )

Hope you enjoyed it! Have a great Monday!