When Good GIFs Go Bad: Sorry, Saved by the Bell

Writers don't have watercoolers to chat by at work, but we have Twitter and instant messaging. My friend Dawn Alexander and I use IM and the GIF keyboard probably a little too much during the day, but it keeps us sane. And the things writers end up talking about can either sound illegal (do you think you could murder someone with a shoestring?) to the wildly inappropriate, which is where things went today.

Today's topic: pond sex.

My verdict: Cold water does not make for hot scenes.

Dawn's verdict: No one wants pond scum in their special places.

Which of course meant I needed to respond with an appropriate GIF. I searched "gag" and got a Saved by the Bell GIF. Of course, being a Saved by the Bell fan, I chose that one. It seemed perfect. Until I pasted it in and the GIF looped and made the action repetitive. >.<

Yeah. So. I'll leave you with that for the day. 

Week 2 of #ListifyLife: The Books I'd Want to Live In For a While

It's week 2 of the Listify Life challenge (you can still join in!) and this week's topic is choosing the books you'd want to live in for a while. 

There are so many more I could choose, but I decided to go with the first ones that popped up in my head. Many of them go back to childhood wishes for fantastical worlds with flying and magic. :) The other two are grown-up picks.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - I'm not sure this needs explanation. I have to admit when I went to Universal Studios to Harry Potter world, I got little kid style excitement. Plus, Butter Beer.

2. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende - If you're not familiar with this story, it's about a boy reading a book who gets pulled into the book and literally becomes part of the book. This whole concept was so magical to me as a kid--that thought that I could become part of the story. And really, do I need any other reason than the chance to ride Falcor the Luck Dragon?

3. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle - my favorite book as a kid and the book that made me want to be a writer, so it has to get a spot

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - Okay, so the lack of showers, low status of women, and the constant threat of being killed would suck. But then there's Jamie in a kilt...or, you know, out of it. :)

5. My own Loving on the Edge books - Okay, this is a totally self-indulgent pick. But how cool would it be to walk into that world and meet characters I created and see The Ranch? Okay, so it'd be weird...but also, awesome. :)

 

So those are mine. Are you playing along? Which books would you pick?

YOURS ALL ALONG Cover Reveal & Blurb! My first m/m romance!

Yay! After a day of doing taxes, I'm really happy to be able to announce some good news. I have a surprise novella coming out in June! And it's a m/m romance, which I'm super excited about. And omg, how hot is this cover?  

It's up for pre-order now. Go grab it at the special pre-order price on Kndle or on Nook! (more retailers coming soon) 

 

 

The new Loving on the Edge romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing Between Us turns on the heat between two men who wonder how much they’re willing to risk in the name of love.

Four years after an accident tore their friendship apart, Hunter and Devon are living separate lives. Hunter is now the all-America hero—a congressman’s son and a pro pitcher in Houston preparing to marry his beauty-queen girlfriend. Devon is in Dallas running a new restaurant. 

But when Hunter unexpectedly shows up in Devon’s bar, Devon can’t turn him away. Damn it if the man isn’t still gorgeous. But engaged? Hell no. All he’s doing for Devon is bringing back memories of their college-roommate days, and the night their relationship went too far. Turns out Hunter has never forgotten it either.

Now Devon can’t help but be drawn in all over again by the only guy who’s ever gotten close enough to break his heart. Maybe one more night together would be enough for both of them to finally move on. Or maybe one night will change everything…

Includes a preview of Roni Loren’s Call on Me

 

So what do y'all think?


Because I Don't Punk Out on Promises...the NKOTB Fan Fic

 

Okay, so you know how you make those promises that you will do something IF because you know the IF is a longshot and you don't actually think you'll have to pay up? Well, yeah, so here I am. Sometime last year I made the promise that if I ever hit the New York Times Bestseller list, I would post some of the novel that I wrote at age 14--which is really just 55,000 words of NKOTB (and Jonathan Brandis--R.I.P.) fan fic. 

Well, this week, it happened! I didn't expect it, but when the NYT list came out, the RIDING DESIRE boxed set I'm in with thriteen other fantastic authors hit #24 on the Ebook list. So first, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's a dream come true to be both a NYT and USA Today bestselling author now. HUGE dream. So thank you so much, readers, for buying it. *hugs*

 

Me realizing we made the NYT Bestseller list

Me realizing I promised my NKOTB fan fic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that also means it's time for me to pay the piper on this promise. Two pages of a kissing scene are posted today on the Smutketeers blog, where you can also see a few of the other authors airing their shames, including Eden Bradley's 80s hair, RG Alexander singing with a band, and a recording of Lauren Hawekeye when she was in a girl group. :) So click over there to check it out.

But I also know that it's not fair for me to only post two pages. So I'm posting a longer scene here. In it there is probably my first attempt at a makeout scene and Jordan gets a little too handsy. Bad Jordan. But Joe comes to the rescue! >.<  Yeah, this is going to be embarrassing.

Some things to note in these pages: 

  • I was 14 and was writing about kissing and such when I had no experience at all. I wouldn't be kissed for another 2 years. Also, this is when French kissing was still very scandalous a thought to my innocent Catholic school girl mind. ;)
  • The heroine is named Love because, yes, I was into subtlety with symbolism. *cough*
  • These are scanned documents that include handwritten edits I did back then.
  • Yes, I dotted my i's with stars because I was rad like that.
  • I actually bought the Writer's Market book that year because I totally planned on querying this. I eventually chickened out--thank God, though I'm sure a few agents would've enjoyed the giggle.
  • The Jonathan in this was actually Jonathan Brandis, not Jon of NKOTB.
  • It was in proper manuscript format because I was serious about this, yo. ; )
  • No, I didn't have a boyfriend at the time. Why do you ask? o.0

 All right, enough stalling, here we go. But first, here's the character sheet of who each character really was (you can see I REALLY deviated from the names on some of them *snort*). And here are the magazine pages I found in the binder for my character inspiration. (Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the lurve scene gone wrong (click to enlarge)...

Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you made it through all nine pages I'm not sure if you're a sadist who enjoys my shame or a masochist for putting yourself through it, lol.

But you know what? I'm okay with it all because I made the NYT, baby!!!

Also, if you'd like to see how far I've (hopefully) come in my writing in 20 years, NEED YOU TONIGHT is out this week! And RIDING DESIRE is only on sale for 99 cents for another day, so if you haven't gotten it, grab it now. And FIFTY FIRST TIMES is still on sale for 1.99!

So what dirty/embarrassing laundry would you air in exchange for a dream coming true? Come on, don't leave me up here all alone. Tell me what's in your attic. ;)

 


RIDING DESIRE: Bad Boy Biker Boxed Set is here and only .99 cents!

All right, ya'll. The first of three release weeks is here. Lots of great stories coming your way. And I'm kicking it off with the RIDING DESIRE boxed set. This is 14 never-before-released novellas by 14 bestselling authors - 1200 pages of yumminess, y'all.


The stories are mostly New Adult (which is what mine is) and Erotic Romance. And it's only going to be at this price for a limited time. And the boxed set itself will only be up for a few months, so get it now before these are all broken into their own books!

Here's a little about my story:

 

Image purchased through Big Stock

Nice Girls Don't Ride by Roni Loren

Natalie Bourne thinks she has the perfect night planned for her twenty-first birthday. But when her car breaks down and her boyfriend bails on her, she’s left stranded in an auto shop dealing with a way too cocky, way too hot mechanic, who seems to be intent on pushing every button she has.

Monroe Hawkins knows he shouldn’t be messing with an uppity chick from the private college. Especially when he can tell she sees him as the blue-collar help. But he’s having trouble resisting the redhead with the smart mouth and the killer legs. So when Natalie’s night goes from bad to worse, there’s no way he’s letting her spend her birthday alone. He makes her a deal—he’ll take her home but not until the sun comes up.

Ten hours, one motorcycle, and the city of Austin at their fingertips…things are about to take a major detour. And soon, there may be no U-turn in sight.

 

Now go, click, buy! ;)  Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 


NOT UNTIL YOU RISK is out! What secret will be revealed?

Hey y'all! Sorry I've been a bit scarce on the blog. Having a release once a week while trying to write another book has proven to be quite a crazy schedule. 0.0  But I wanted to pop in and remind you that Part 2 of my serial is out today!

I hope you're enjoying the serial and am excited to share the next part in Cela and Foster's journey. Here's the info:

NOT UNTIL YOU RISK

Cela’s daring side started to expose itself in Not Until You Dare. Now Foster and Pike are determined to push her limits and let her wild side loose…

Cela’s sexy game of Never Have I Ever with her neighbors has turned into a night of Truth or Dare, with her revealing her deepest desires and letting go like she’s never done before. After some seductive dancing, the trio decides to move to a more private location: a swanky hotel where Foster is determined to explore Cela’s wildest fantasies.

As the heat between the three begins to sizzle, Cela finds herself drawn to Foster, whose dominance over her is almost too much to handle. But Cela’s got a secret she hasn’t yet shared, something that could bring their passionate encounter to a screeching halt…

 

Who's reading along with everyone? And who is buying them all and waiting to read them all at once? 

And So It Begins... NOT UNTIL YOU is here and other news!

The day is finally here! Part 1 of my very first serial novel is here, NOT UNTIL YOU DARE.

I'm really excited to share this story with you and I hope you'll participate in the ongoing reader discussions throughout the next eight weeks. 

Some things to note:

  • I'll be chatting on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #NotUntilYou. So come chime in!
  • Nocturne Reads is having a Read-A-Long for each part each week. I'd love for y'all to stop by and comment. One of the most fun things about a serial is that readers are reading at the same pace. No one (except me, of course) knows what's going to happen next--no spoilers! :) So I hope you'll play along. I really want it to be a full experience for everyone. 
  • I'm a guest today over at Bookish Temptations, talking about Black Is the New Gray: Blending Genres because this serial is a blending of erotic romance and New Adult--two of my favorite subgenres.
  • Reviews on sites like Amazon and B&N are more important than most people realize. Goodreads is helpful too. So if you read Not Until You Dare, I'd love it if you could leave a review out there in the world. :)

Also, a bit of news from Publisher's Marketplace:

Roni Loren's NOT UNTIL YOU ebook, in which a good girl discovers that once you dare to cross some lines, it's hard to turn back, to Kate Bradley at Harper UK, in a six-book deal, by Tawanna Sullivan at Berkley.

*This deal says NOT UNTIL YOU, but it includes all of my backlist and frontlist (through book 6 next fall). So this means my UK readers will now get Print/Ebook versions of ALL of my books. Yay! *twirls around*

That's all I've got for you today. For those of you who have already purchased the book, thank you! I can't express how much I appreciate you all. *big hugs*

 

Not Until You Is Out Tomorrow! Here's Chapter One...

 

Hey, everyone! It's finally time. NOT UNTIL YOU starts tomorrow!!! I hope you all check out NOT UNTIL YOU DARE (Part 1) tomorrow and let me know what you think. I'm so very excited about this serial and can't wait for y'all to read it!

And if you still need some convincing...

First, here's the totally gorgeous page Penguin put together for the serial. I've never had that kind of fanciness before, so I kind of want to just stare at it. :)

And if you would like to see what to expect, here's Chapter 1 for you...

ONCE A GOOD GIRL DARES TO CROSS SOME LINES, IT'S HARD TO TURN BACK…

NOT UNTIL YOU DARE - CHAPTER 1

Copyrighted Material Roni Loren 2013 - All Rights Reserved Berkley Publishing Group

*18 and over only*

Chapter 1

“Andre, this isn’t a good time. Can I call you back?”

 I did my best not to let my cell phone slip from between my ear and shoulder. Just don’t drop the tequila. I adjusted the enormous bottle my friend, Bailey, had given me as a graduation present from my right hand to beneath my left arm and tried to dig my keys out of my purse so I could open the main door to my apartment building.

“I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to make it, Cela,” my older brother said, his guilt obviously trumping my request to call him later. “I got caught at an investigation site. I thought I’d be able to get there in time, but we had a witness wanting to talk and….”

I cursed silently as my keys hit the pavement. I crouched down, doing my best not to flash my underwear to anyone who may be passing by. “Really, it’s fine. They called my name. I walked across the stage and got a piece of paper and a sash for being summa cum laude. Papá yelled my name like he was at a baseball game instead of a ceremony. Mamá cried. Not that interesting.”

My brother’s heavy sigh said everything. I almost felt guilty that he felt so guilty. “Before you move back home next month, we’re getting together to celebrate. My baby sister, the doctor. I’m so proud I could burst.”

I smiled. I did like the sound of that. Dr. Marcela Medina, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Seven years of exams and studying and clinics, but it was finally done. Now it was time to leave Dallas and head back home to Verde Pass and take up the slack in my dad’s practice. 

That last part had my smile faltering a bit. I hooked my key ring with my finger and wobbled back to a stand. “That’s sounds great. But I really have to get going. I have my hands full and need to get through the door.”

“Cela, you know better than to carry too much. Parking lots at night are one of the most dangerous places for women. Are you holding your mace?” he asked, his voice going into that bossy cop tone I was all too familiar with.

“It’s in my hand,” I lied, trying to remember where I’d stowed the last little canister he’d given me—probably in her junk drawer. “But I don’t have a free hand to pull the door open.”

“All right,” he said, placated. “Congratulations again. I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

The phone call ended but I didn’t have a way to take the phone off her ear, so I just shuffled forward in a sideways hunch, trying to juggle everything I was holding to get my key into the door. After two attempts, I got the lock turned and pressed my back against the glass door to push my way into the lobby. 

As soon as I’d cleared the entrance and turned toward the stairs, male voices sounded behind me. Of course someone would show up right after I didn’t need help anymore. I peeked back to see who it was, Andre’s danger warnings still echoing in my head, but found something more distracting than criminals—my neighbors, Foster and Pike.

Foster stepped through the main door first and glanced my way. As usual, everything went melty inside me, his smile like a zap of heat to my system. Ridiculous. “Need some help, neighbor?”

I straightened, but forgot about my phone in the process. My brand new I-

Phone went sliding off my shoulder.

“Crap!” I lurched forward, trying to save it from its imminent demise, and accidentally dropped my plastic bag of Chinese takeout on the way.

“Whoa, there.” Pike, Foster’s roommate, was at my side in a second. His hand caught my elbow, saving me from losing the ginormous bottle of liquor along with my balance. But my phone clattered to the ground, the harsh sound mixing with the splat of my noodles hitting tile.

I winced, anticipating a broken screen. “Dammit.”

Foster bent down, his tie brushing the ground as he swept my phone off the floor. He peered at the screen, dark brows lowering over pale eyes, then he turned the phone toward me—the happy puppy screensaver staring back at me in tact. “All is well. Luckily, these things are built to take a licking.”

My brain got snagged on the work lick, and the back of my neck went hot. My lips parted, but words failed me. Great, imitate a gaping goldfish--that’s cute.

Pike cleared his throat, easing the tequila from my arms, and then crouched down near the open bag at my feet. He grabbed a noodle from the spilled box of Chinese food, tipped his head back and dropped it into his mouth, his eyes watching mine. “The lo mein’s a loss, though.”

I swallowed hard, his gaze even more bad boy than the tattoos peeking out from his open collar. His pierced tongue snaked around the noodle. Look away. I forced my face upward, but then ended up focusing on Foster again. Say something. God, I was standing there like an idiot. This was why I always avoided these two like like they were contagious. They made me go stupid. 

Foster held out my phone, and I managed to take it, the slight brush of his fingers against mine hitting the reset button in my brain. I managed a feeble, “Thank you.”

Foster glanced at the mess on the floor. “I’m really sorry I said anything. I didn’t mean to distract you from your intricate juggling act.”

I shook my head. “No, it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have been trying to carry everything at once. It’s been a long day, and I was hoping to save myself a second trip up the stairs.”

“The joys of a walk-up.” Pike grabbed a few napkins and started cleaning up the noodles at my feet like it was his mess to worry about.

“Oh, you don’t have to do that.” I lowered down to my knees. “I’ll take care of it.”

He grinned over at me, the mirror opposite of his roommate. Ian Foster was all suits and dark looks—a man who preferred to be called by his surname. Whereas, Pike didn't seem to even have a last name. He was a drummer in some popular local band—jeans, a sex-on-the-mind-smile, and spiked, bleached hair his usual uniform. Not that I had studied either of them. Or listened to their escapades through the wall I shared with them. Not at all. 

Keep telling yourself that, Cela.

Despite my protest, Pike helped me finish picking up the mess. “So what’s the big ass bottle of tequila for? No one could’ve had that bad of a day.”

I glanced over at the bottle I’d set on the floor, debating whether I could be trusted to have normal conversation with these two without sounding like I had a speech impediment. “I, uh, graduated today. It was a gift.”

“Oh, right on.”

“Congratulations, Cela,” Foster said, dragging my attention upward. Just the sound of him saying my name in that smooth, dark voice had my stomach clenching. He was all southern refinement, but I didn't miss the glimmer of a drawl underneath it all.

Ay dios mio. My body clamored to attention like an eager labrador ready to be petted. Down, girl. These guys were way above my pay grade. I wasn't dumb or delusional. I’d seen/spied on/secretly hated the women who’d passed through their apartment door—women who looked like they’d earned their doctorates in the art of seduction.

I hadn’t even reached the kindergarten level in that particular department.

“Thank you.”

“You were going to vet school at Dallas U, right?” Foster had tucked his hands in the pockets of his slacks, and though the question was casual, I had the distinct impression he was tense beneath that suit jacket. 

Pike handed me a napkin for my hands and stood to toss the food into a nearby trash can.

I wiped off my hands and pushed myself to my feet, trying to do it as gracefully as possible in my restrictive skirt. “Yes, how’d you know that?”

“The scrubs you wear have the school insignia on them,” Foster said, as if it was totally normal that he’d looked at me that closely.

“Observant.” Especially considering I usually only managed a head-down, mumbled hey-how-are-ya exchange when we passed each other in the hallway. Secretly listening to one of your hot neighbors having sex had a way of making eye contact a bit uncomfortable the next day—particularly if said eavesdropper had used the soundtrack to fuel her own interlude with her battery-operated boyfriend.

Not that I had. Several times. Whatever.

Pike sidled up next to Foster—a motley pair if there ever was one. “So, doc, now that you’ve got no dinner and clearly too much liquor on your hands, why don’t you join us? We already have pizza on the way, and we can play a drinking game with the tequila. Do college kids still play Never Have I Ever? I was always good at that one.”

Kid? Is that what they saw me as? Neither of them could be that much older than I was. Though in terms of life experience, I had no doubt they trumped me a few times over.

“Oh, no, that’s okay.” The refusal was automatic, long practiced. How many times had I turned down such offers—from guys, from friends? My parents had been so strict when I was younger that I almost didn’t know how to say yes even after living on my own the last few years. Studies first. Fun later. Yet, there never seemed to be any time for fun after the first one was finished.

“You sure? I don’t want you going to bed with no dinner because of us,” Foster said, frown lines marring that perfect mouth of his.

Going to bed and us was about all I heard. My father’s stern voice whispered in my ear. You don’t know these men. You’ll be all alone in their apartment. Medina women have more respect for themselves than that.

“Really, I’m fine,” I said, my smile brief, plastic. “But thanks.”

“Oh, come on,” Pike said, his tone cajoling. “We’ve been neighbors for what, two years? We should at least get to know a little about each other.”

Get to know each other? I knew that Foster was loud when he came—even if he was alone. Knew that Pike liked to laugh during sex. Knew the two men shared women. And the other sounds I’d heard over the last two years…the smacks, the commands, the erotic screams. My face went as hot as if I’d stuck my head in an oven.

“Y’all just want me for my tequila,” I said, attempting to deflect my derailing thoughts.

The corner of Pike’s mouth lifted. “Of course that’s not all we want you for.”

 "Uh…" Oh, hell. Pictures flashed across my brain. Dirty, delicious pictures. I almost dropped my phone again. I had no idea what to do with my hands, my expression.

Foster put a hand on Pike’s shoulder. “The lady said no. I think we should let her go celebrate her graduation however she wants.”

“All right.” Pike’s face turned hang dog, but he handed me the tequila bottle. “If you change your mind, we’ve got big plans. Supreme pizza and a Star-Wars-themed porn marathon. The Empire Sucks C—”

Foster smacked the back of Pike’s head, and Pike ducked and laughed.

“Kidding. I mean, a Jane Austen marathon,” Pike corrected, his green-gold eyes solemn. “Pride and Pu—” 

Foster was behind Pike, his hand clamping over his friend’s mouth in a flash. “I seriously can’t take him out. He’s like an untrained puppy. Maybe you can lend me a shock collar or something.”

Pike waggled his eyebrows, all playful wickedness.

I laughed, putting my hand to my too hot forehead, and turning toward the stairs. “Yeah, so, I’m going to go now.”

“Cela,” Foster said as I put my foot onto the first step.

I glanced back. “Yeah?”

His ice melt eyes flicked downward, his gaze alighting along the length of me before tracing their way upward again in a slow, unashamed perusal. “Promise you won’t go to bed hungry.”

I wet my lips, my skin suddenly feeling too tight to accommodate the blood pumping beneath it, and nodded. 

But it was a lie. 

I always went to bed hungry.

And it had nothing to do with a spilled dinner.

 

That's all I've got for you today. Hope you enjoyed it! And as always, thank you to those of you who have already pre-ordered or who are planning on buying it tomorrow! *hugs* 

Also, if you feel inclined to tweet, facebook, tumble, Pinterest, etc. about my new release, I'll love you 'til the end of time. ;) The release week of every book is super important so I appreciate any buzz you can help me spread!

What's On Your Christmas List?

First, before we get to today's topic, I wanted to let you know that I'm over at author Kieran Kramer's blog today giving you 5 Behind The Scenes Facts about FALL INTO YOU and a chance to win a copy of CRASH INTO YOU and a signed copy of Kieran's IF YOU GIVE A GIRL A VISCOUNT. I'd love it if y'all stopped by and commented.

Hope everyone (well, at least those of you in the U.S. who celebrate it) had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We went out of town so it was pretty low key. This also meant that I didn't do any Black Friday shopping. So now I'm facing Christmas in a month with no presents bought yet. Ack.

However, as I'm going through Cyber Monday deals today, I'm, of course, not only making lists for those I need to buy for, but I'm making my own wish list. Now, this doesn't mean I'll actually get these things. Considering hubs and I don't exchange presents and much of our family has the "only buy for the kids" agreement, the chances of me actually getting gifts are relatively slim. BUT that doesn't mean I'm not adding things to my list. :)

 So here's what I want Santa to bring me this year:

  

1. Kindle Paperwhite

Okay, so yes, I have a Kindle Fire and really enjoy it. BUT it's more of a multi-purpose device and not simply a dedicated e-reader. I have had a good experience reading on the Fire and love seeing all those book covers in gorgeous color BUT I do get tired of the glare on the screen and reading a computer-type screen for extended periods after being on a computer all day writing. Plus, it's a little heavy to hold after a while. I miss my E-ink in these instances. And this one fixes the problem of my previous e-ink, which was that I couldn't read it in the dark. (Plus, like books, I'm starting to think one can't have too many reading devices.) :)

 

Image via Barnes and Noble

2. These fancy schmancy editions of classics that Barnes and Noble has on sale today.

As much as I love an e-reader, I also love having pretty books on my shelves and these are gorgeous. I'm tempted by the Complete Works of Shakespeare (even though I have a beat up hardback of that from college), the Edgar Allen Poe collection, and the Stephen King one.

 

3. For FALL INTO YOU to hit the USA Today or NYT Bestsellers' list.

Hey, a girl can dream, right? Can't Santa make any request come true? ;) If you'd like to be Santa's helper by pre-ordering FALL INTO YOU, I promise that one New Year's Day you'll be graced with a sexy, dominant cowboy, a sharp-tongued heroine, and a LOT of steamy, smexy times. Fair trade, right?

 

All right, so that's my short list. What's on your Christmas list this year?

Jordan Knight Can Sing the Catalog - Happy 4th!

First, I want to say thanks to everyone who tweeted, pimped, and/or bought MELT INTO YOU so far. *group hug* Y'all are the best! Release day went really well, so I really appreciate all the support.

Also, today I'm over at A Tasty Read talking about how I "built" The Ranch, the BDSM resort in my series.

AND I'm at The Smutketeers asking, Is Having a Favorite Hero Like Having a Favorite Child?

You can also win books at both, so I hope you'll stop by. :)

Now, I'm not doing an official blog since it's a holiday here in the U.S., but I figured I'd leave you with a little summertime entertainment.

Everyone always says of good singers--"They could sing the phone book." Well, apparently Old Navy took that same idea with their catalog and Jordan Knight (of the New Kids on the Block.) So here you go, Jordan Knight sings the summer catalog...

Hope everyone who's celebrating has a lovely (and safe) holiday!

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*

Shameless Saturday: Saved By the Bell Greatness #atozchallenge

 This week I heard "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" on Pandora and I tweeted that it always reminds me of the break-up scene on Saved by the Bell. So, of course, I had to go look up the clip. I remember how the Kelly - Zack break up just about killed me as a kid, but wow, I definitely didn't remember how truly melodramatic the acting was, lol. I don't care. It still holds a special place in my psyche. :)  Zack + Kelly 4 Ever ;)

 

And then of course the most famous and melodramatic scene of Saved by the Bell history. Even at ten, I knew this one was a bit over the top. The imfamous caffeine pills...

Ah, that one just takes me back. I can go up to anyone in my age range and say "I'm so excited, I'm so...scared" and they know what I mean. 

Hope you enjoy your Saturday! :)

Made of Win Monday: Shows That Bring You Back

Image by Brian Gurralo (click pic for link)

Welcome to the very first Made of Win Monday. This day is going to be reserved for simple things that are awesome because sometimes it's easy to forget to appreciate the little things.

Now, I'm a sentimental person by nature. I hold on to way too much, and I love things that drag me back to good memories. Music would be the obvious one, but another thing that does this for me is watching old TV shows. If I'm feeling out of sorts or down, nothing can cheer me up quicker than pulling out old episodes of a show that flips that sentimental switch inside me.

And those are also the shows that I tend to buy box sets of on DVD. So what are my shows?

 

To bring me back to high school...

My So-Called Life

 

 

 

 

 

Dude, I was DEVASTATED when this show was cancelled after one season. I actually wrote a letter to the network. I think that may have been my first act of "activism" in my life, lol. Beyond the fact that Jared Leto was the hottest thing I'd ever seen on TV, the show spoke to me in a way nothing else did at the time. (I was 15 when the show aired.) I've since heard that it would've been renewed but Claire Danes didn't want to do another season. (Claire, you wound me.) But anytime I want to be brought back to my innocent, angsty teenage years, I break out My So-Called Life.

 

College

Dawson's Creek

This show started during my first year of college. I remember me and my college roommates gathering around the TV on Dawson's Creek night eating french bread pizza (about as gourmet as our cooking got back then.) This show had everything I could want--angst, love triangles, romance, and teenagers who used big words like I did. I own all the seasons on DVD and every few years I break them out and go all the way from season 1 through 6. It makes me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about Joey and Pacey. Hmm, maybe I'm due for some reruns again.

 

The Show I Grew Up With

Friends

 

 

Ah, Friends. This show was on from the time I was 14 until I was 24. That's a huge portion of my formative years and part of me feels like this show is part of my DNA. Quotes still come to my head on a regular basis. (Does "I didn't get a cat" mean anything to you? Here's my fave scene of all time.) I also had the Rachel haircut (bad decision) and one of those huge coffee mugs even though I didn't drink coffee. Maybe I should seek therapy. I do resemble Chandler a bit too much I fear. But I have the box set of this one too. It's like balm for my soul.

All right, so those are my shows that can bring me back in time. What are yours? Do you have any shows you just HAD to own so you can access them anytime you want? 

Shameless Saturday: Guest Author Dianne Venetta

 

Today I have a special treat for you guys. Author Dianne Venetta is here to be shameless with us and share her guilty pleasure. AND she's giving away an ebook! So be sure to leave a comment and your email address so that we can contact the winner. :)

And now here's Dianne....

 

Guilty pleasure

 

What's my guilty pleasure?  Hmmm...  Naming only one may prove difficult. Or perhaps I could rationalize this one away and say there are NO guilty pleasures. I'm an adult. It's ALL fair game! (So long as I'm calling my mother and paying attention to hubby and the kids, right?)

Oh, but I do love fantasy play! Alright, number one guilty pleasure…

Does flirting count?  It's not chocolate cake (that I so desperately yearn for), but it is equally as fulfilling. I am a living breathing woman with needs and, eh-hem, ego. I am getting older, wider—er, I mean, wiser.  Yes, older and wiser is what I’m getting and when the bag boy at my local supermarket smiles bright and asks, "Are these your kids?"

As though he's surprised that a woman of my youthful appearance could have produced elementary-aged children—upper elementary-aged children, to be exact. Well, it's an easy mistake to make (a lie I'll continue to tell myself) so I smile in reply and say, "Why yes, they are."

"Wow…" he utters in shock.

Sweet child.  Of course he must be younger than he looks because if he had a lick of worldly sense about him, he would know that no woman in her right mind would take another person's child to the grocery store, let alone two. Shoot—it's not even wise to take your own kids to the store let alone someone else's!

And to think I had grown older and wiser.  (Perhaps I have a few years to go before that particular feature kicks in.) Yes, well, can we get back to chocolate?  At least I've grown wise enough to distinguish between good chocolate and bad chocolate.  You know, as in:  I only eat dark chocolate. 

Okay, that's a lie.  The best chocolate pudding cake is not made from dark chocolate but my ever so favorite milk chocolate with caramel between the layers, topped with milk chocolate frosting…

Speaking of frosting, I believe I'm plum out.  I think it's time I head to the grocery store right now—without the kids.  Heaven knows they'll want some of my cake if they see me buy it.  (Told you it wasn't a good idea to shop with children.)  Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time I practice my "innocent" look—before the kids and hubby get home!

 

BIO: Dianne lives in Central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab—Cody boy! When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you'll find her in the family's organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all the while crafting wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men. 

Jennifer's Garden blurb:

In a race against time, cardiologist Jennifer Hamilton is caught between her mother’s dying wish and taking the risk of a lifetime with Jackson Montgomery. He’s the man hired to complete the landscaping for her new home; the venue for her upcoming wedding. Jackson’s everything she never wanted in a man, but as the job progresses, his lure pulls strong. It’s an attraction she cannot deny.

And one that puts her career on the line.

 

So don't let Dianne be shameless alone? Who else out there is enjoying an innocent flirt? What are you shamless about this week? And be sure to leave a comment and your email to be entered for the ebook contest!

Shameless Saturday: Childhood Comfort Foo

 Welcome to another edition of Shameless Saturday where we air our guilty pleasures without shame or judgment.

I'm sure we've all watched our share of Oprah and shows like the Biggest Loser and such. We all know it's probably not a good idea to be an "emotional eater", meaning when we're down or stressed for some reason, we go looking for comfort in food.

Well you know what? I say screw that. Sure, you don't want to drown your sorrows in fried chicken every night, but every now and then you just need to retreat to something really, really not good for you and enjoy yourself. Comfort food didn't get it's name for nothing. And the comfort foods of our childhood are some of the best balm for the soul. It reminds us of a simpler time--before we had to count calories, before we had heaps of responsibility, and before we knew to feel guilty after eating it.

Now, as I've grown into adulthood, I've become a bit of a foodie. I love cooking and trying new cuisines. I get almost as excited to go to the gourmet grocery store as I do the bookstore. And I watch way more Food Network than is healthy. I also can be kind of a food snob now. I seek out restaurants that prepare their food fresh and don't just open up bags of already prepared stuff and deep fry it or reheat it.

However ,when it comes to the food I want when I'm seeking comfort, my palate is decidely less refined. Before my mom got remarried, there were many years where it was just me and her. She worked two jobs and I played sports, so in between all of that, it was hard to find time for a homecooked meal. So often things came from a box or a can. And those things have become the items I seek out when I'm feeling a little out of sorts.

So here are my top five childhood comfort foods that, yes, I will still totally chow down on if I need to:

 

 

Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls

Not cinnabon, not the kind with cream cheese icing, straight up cinnamon rolls--preferably slightly undercooked so that the centers are still a little doughy. And yes I can eat the entire can of 5-rolls for a meal. Don't judge. It's Shameless Saturday.

 

 

Kraft Boxed Mac and Cheese

Once again, none of the fancy stuff. I don't need deluxe cheese and all that jazz. Give me the orange powdered stuff that I have no idea what it's made of.

 

 

Spaghettios with Franks

No, I don't know what's in the franks. I don't want to. But this is a whole bowl of delicious childhood goodness right here.

 

 

Rotel cheese dip with tortilla chips

For those of you not familiar, all you do is melt cubed velveeta and a can of rotel tomatoes to make queso. Yes, my mother used to let me eat this for dinner. :)

 

 

Hubig's Pies - (Lemon or Apple preferred)

So most of you have probably never heard of these because they are a New Orleans only thing. But OMG, they are the most flaky delicious little fried pies you'll ever taste. I've tried other brands since I've moved away and none come close. This is a bucket list food if you've never had them, you can order them here. My mom occasionally brings a few with her when she visits, which makes me very happy. Probably good I can't get my hands on them regularly.

 

So those are my go-tos when I need a little taste of childhood. I will say, in my mom's defense, that she has now done a 180. She's become Ms. Organic, Whole Foods-shopping, Whole-wheat eating, Anti-processsed food lady since then. She just called me the other day to make me swear I wouldn't feed my kidlet McD's chicken nuggets because of the crap she heard are put into them. So I'd never be able to get away with the stuff above now (well except for the Hubig's pies. We both still love those.)

So what are your childhood comfort foods? Do you find yourself seeking those foods out at certain times in your life? And what can you shamelessly eat the whole box/can/whatever of?

Shameless Saturday: The Boys of my Pre-Teen Dreams

 Welcome back to Shameless Saturday where I come clean and air my guilty pleasures...

So you all know I have an appreciation for a good-looking celebrity--hence the boyfriend of the week posts and that whole romance writing gig I do. :) However, this is by no means a new obsession. Oh, no. When I was 13, my room was literally wall-papered (including the ceiling) with pages ripped out from the likes of Big Bopper and Teen Beat. (Much to my parents' chagrin. I think they're still trying to cover up the stains that sticky putty left on the walls.)

And it didn't end there. Me and my best friend, Tammi, also created this whole fictional world where we were each dating our respective crushes. Pretty normal, right? Um, well, is it also normal that we would write each other letters as if we were truly dating said crushes? Yeah, didn't think so. I'd like to think those elaborate letters detailing the scandalous (i.e. kissing and holding hands) exploits of me and my boyfriend Joe McIntyre (of New Kids on the Block) were the start of my romance writing career.

So I thought today I would honor those baby-faced boys who started me down this path. 

Welcome to the walls of my pre-teen bedroom...

 

 

So this was the exact poster I had on my wall and it was my FAVORITE. *sigh* How I loved him...

(He's still hot for the record--even if I grew up to be taller than him, lol.)

 

 

Jonathan Brandis was second only to Joe. I fell in lurve with him in that movie Ladybugs and then SeaQuest. However, looking at this picture makes me sad. Jonathan, unfortunately, struggled in his career once he became an adult and in 2003 took his own life. His friends said he'd been suffering from depression over his career. : (  R.I.P. Jonathan

 

 

Eddie Furlong in his Terminator 2 days. My first glimpse of how good a bad boy could be. :)

 

 

Elijah Wood pre-Lord of the Rings, though frankly, he doesn't look all that different now, lol.

 

 

And another New Kid because frankly, I was obsessed. (I still heart them.) And lemme tell you, Jordan has gone from cute to mega hot with age. I think he may make an appearance on Boyfriend of the Week one of these days.

 

Alright, so there they are--the boys who stole my little pre-teen heart. So, fess up, who was on your walls? 

Shameless Saturday: Big Brother

 Welcome to the new weekly feature here on the ol' blog: Shameless Saturday!

So what is it? Well, Shameless Saturday is going to be a place where I (and eventually some guests) share our favorite guilty pleasures. Everything is fair game--TV shows, movies, food, activities. And there will be no judgement here, no raised eyebrows. Life is too short to be ashamed of the things that give us that delicious feeling that only guilty pleasures can bring.

First up on the block (tee-hee, I'm being punny for those of you who watch the show), is...

Big Brother on CBS

 

 

Okay, for any of you who don't know what it is, it's a reality show where they lock a certain number of people in a house and cut them off from the outside world for the summer and tape them 24/7. The people in the house compete against each other in competitions with the goal of the being the last one standing at the end of the show and winning half a million dollars. Think: The Real World meets Survivor.

It sounds simple, right? What could be all that entertaining? But somehow, no matter how many seasons they have, I still can't stop watching. They always introduce new twists and turns that keep me tuning in. Plus, it's the ultimate social game, which just intrigues the hell out of me because I'm a people watcher by nature. I love seeing how people align and strategize. 

And this season has already hooked me episode one because they've brought back couples from previous seasons.

 

 

There are annoying people, hyped up drama, lots of yelling and crying, inappropriate relationships, evil scheming. It's an all-around guilty-pleasure good time. And I promise, you can't watch it for two weeks without getting hooked. Next episode is on Sunday. Be sure to tune in so you can be shameless with me! :)

So are you a Big Brother fan? How do you feel about the couples that have come back into the house? How do you feel about them making them play in pairs this season? And if you don't watch, what's your favorite reality TV guilty pleasure?