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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Curves: #Excerpt Christmas Curvy: A Curvy Girl's Holiday Fling

Chapter One


To: Laura Dixon, Project ManagerGideon Vermont

From: Sabrina McKenna-Marquez Vice President, Gideon International, Project Development

Date: December 9

RE: Christmas Break

Actually take one! As in DON’T WORK. New construction cannot start in December. Look outside, I know I’m right. Therefore, come home to New York. Or enjoy the hotel through the Christmas holiday. Whatever vacation you decide on, I order you to enjoy it.
Laura, allow the General Manager to do his job because I’ll be assigning you a new project come spring. And he won’t have you to hold his hand. And if you don’t follow my order, I will send Cynthia up after you.
We’ll talk after the new year. Have. Some. Fun.

“What does she mean ‘don’t work’? That’s what I do! I work and then I work some more. I like it—it’s fun!
Laura Dixon blinked down at the words that should make perfect sense; after all, they weren’t all that difficult to understand, what with the all-caps DON’T WORK screaming at her. Still, a sudden panic manifested at the thought of not having something to keep her busy over the holiday.
“But what does she mean, have some fun?” Laura mumbled, still stunned. “And what am I going to do in New York? Stare at four walls and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree I’d buy at the corner market?”
Images of a solitary Christmas with a sad-looking tree and A Christmas Carol playing on repeat in the background did not make the idea of being in New York for the holiday any better. With sudden dread, she realized if she was in New York there was absolutely no real way she could avoid it.
The dreaded family dinner. She’d have to spend the holidays with her family.
Dismay moved through her at the thought, and she closed her eyes as if to deny it. Her fingers clenched around the memo, wrinkling the edges. Staring blindly down, Laura carefully smoothed the creases and took a deep breath.
Christmas was a magical time. She loved the season, all of it: the decorations and scents and music and movies; eggnog and Christmas pudding and the scent of sugary nuts from those vendor carts scenting the cold air. The colorful lights and brightness that lightened up the dark December days. She listened to Christmas songs for months and never tired of them.
She loved every single aspect of the holidays—so long as she didn’t have to sit through endless familial lectures on her weight, her job, and her singleness. Singledom?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#Interview Sotto Voce by Erin Finnegan @ErinGoFinnegan.

Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and editor. She was born and raised in Southern California, where she lives with two sheep dogs and grows, ferments and drinks Syrah and Zinfandel in the foothills outside Los Angeles. 

Sotto Voce is her first novel.

Connect with Erin at, on Facebook, on Goodreads and on Twitter.

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?
That's honestly hard to say, because I never approach writing with a goal of having a certain "heat level". It is what it is, and it's there, when the characters are good and ready for it. I believe in build and in tension, and I think that's prominent in Sotto Voce. Greg and Tom fight it until they simply can't any more, and then the flood gates open.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?

I don't sit at a desk all day, so that makes it a lot easier, I guess. Work and writing go with me everywhere, whether it's in the barn or the vineyard, or while I'm working out. I've moved the treadmill into my office and installed a stand-up desk so I can work and move, and that's a great help. But I'm also an active person by nature, so I'll always make time for it. Then again, my favorite place to write is a big, overstuffed rocking chair.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?
Tom and Greg are very different people, but they have certain similar character traits that I love, and I love matched together. They're both grounded, and feel very real to me. Even when Tom uses the pen name "Thomas" for his columns for the sake of stature, he knows and respects his roots. And Greg is viciously real, unwilling to become the person his family and upbringing insisted on. He found his passion, or passions, and stayed true to them. I love that in a person, and in these characters.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?
I think my background in news has given me a solid foundation in pacing and brevity. In journalism, you rarely get an opportunity to over-write something, and I think that's a great foundation for fiction, as well. I try to say a lot in as few words as possible. That, and I can write a pretty decent fight scene. If there's make-up sex, well that's just a bonus.

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
Who is to say if they are social media savvy, really? Do you base it on your numbers of followers, or likes? Or do you base it on the quality of the interaction? Personally, I think the latter is more important, or at least more satisfying. So I think that the key to a more satisfying and successful social media experience is interaction—whether it is making the effort to respond to any questions or reaching out to readers, authors and bloggers with questions and comments.

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?

With Sotto Voce, quite a lot, largely because I am a winemaker and own a small vineyard, so the backdrop to this romance is definitely a part of my world. But step away from the winemaking and even the romance for a moment, and a big theme in the story is about the merits of an efficient, large scale business versus artisan craftsmanship. It's a subject I'm fascinated with, and that hits close to home on a lot of levels. And it's not a clear-cut story of good versus bad, because there is much that can be said in favor of, in this case, a big winery that knows how to make and market a product of consistently high quality from one year to the next. On the other hand, the passion and overall knowledge that goes in to the work of an artisan craftsman like Greg Kennedy in Sotto Voce just gives his work an extra layer of depth.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?

Well, if I were still writing about wine, I'd have to say Bordeaux, or maybe Tuscany. On the other hand, I'd love to go back to the wine-growing regions in New Zealand, which I visited a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with.

But if I were to choose any place, with no reason based on what I'm currently working on, then I think a research excursion to Fiji is definitely in order.

Any fun facts about the research for your book?

Well, in order to write a love story set in the world of wine, you had better be ready to crack open a few bottles!

Sotto Voce was written all over the place, under conditions both good and bad. I wrote it on commuter trains and airplanes, and sitting alongside vineyards and in tasting rooms. And while the winery backdrop may seem like a natural, I think it put more pressure on me to try to get the vineyard and winemaking passages right. I made several trips to Napa and Sonoma while I worked on it, and every time, I'd notice something new that I tried to work into the book.

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!

Sotto Voce is a story of love and wine, of artisan craftsmanship versus corporate efficiency and in the challenges faced when a hard-charging New York wine critic is reassigned to California wine country for a year, where he must organize a high profile competition between the big wines of Napa and the lesser-known craft vintages of neighboring Sonoma. But first, he must win the support of a handsome and enigmatic winemaker who may hold the keys to his success, and possibly his heart.

Buy it on Amazon.
He stood in the foyer for a few moments, taking in the scene, before being recognized by a drunken and jubilant Carmen.


She ran over to him, took him up in an unwieldy embrace and planted a sloppy kiss on his lips.

“You need a drink.”

“So it would seem,” he said, scanning the room.

Carmen gave him a sly smile. “Over there, Baldwin,” she said, angling him toward the far side of the room.

Tom navigated his way across the space, through the throng of boisterous and progressively drunker Sonomans. One handed him a drink. Several shook his hand.

A few hugged him.

In the far corner, smiling and relatively sober, stood Greg. He was talking to friends, but he focused his concentration on the dark-suited figure making its way across the room. He excused himself and took a step, maybe two, and stopped. Through it all, his eyes remained fixed on Tom’s.

Tom could see the rise and fall of Greg’s chest, and how his mouth opened slightly as if he needed to take in more air.

The room was a swirl of color and sound and light, an obstacle course of distractions, but Tom remained focused on one spot, one person, one objective. It felt like the longest twenty-five feet of his life. 

Erin will be awarding a Multi-format Sotto Voce eBook to 10 randomly drawn winners and a Grand Prize of a $25 B&N gift card will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner, all via rafflecopter during the tour.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#CurvyGirls Blog Tour and Giveaway starts today!

Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour for my Curvy Girl's Guide to Love Trilogy: Countess Curvy: A Curvy Girl's Earl, Boss Likes Curves: A Curvy Girl's Billionaire, and Curvy's Cad: A Curvy Girl's Mistake? The tour will run October 20, 2014 to November 14, 2014 with excerpts and a chance to win one of 4 randomly drawn $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift cards.

Here's a list of the tour stops, remember, the more you enter the better your chances of winning!

October 20: Christine Young author
October 20: House Millar
October 21: Tory Richards
October 22: Erotic Author Nancy Adams
October 23: A Book Addict's Delight
October 24: Books N Pearls
October 27: A Writer's Life
October 28: Susana's Morning Room
October 29: Books and Other Spells
October 30:  Unabridged Andra's
October 31: Reviews by Crystal
November 3: Bunny's Review
 November 4: Enjoying the Unique Flavors of Life
November 5: Booklover Sue
November 6: Aly's Miscellany
November 6: SBM Book Obsession
November 7: Two Ends of the Pen
November 7: Musings From An Addicted Reader
November 10: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
November 11: The Certifiable Wenches
November 11: Crazy Four Books
November 12: Zee Monodee - Author's Corner
November 13: Romance Novel Giveaways
November 14: Underneath the Covers

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#Interview with @Celeste_Prater for Fueled by Lust: Caelius

I was born and raised in a small town between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin. Wanting to see more than my small Texas town, I joined the Marines, which satisfied my craving to see more of the U.S. and my drive to see if I could be one of the few and the proud.

A firm believer in educating the mind, I have achieved several advanced degrees, the latest being a master’s of science.

My true love is writing erotic romance, especially about alien hunks that know how to treat their females.

Drusus, Severus, Cato, Lucien, Caelius, Maxim and many more have swirled in my dreams until I had to bring them to life and allow them to find love within the pages of the Fueled by Lust book series.

Book 1 DRUSUS was nominated as Top 5 Finalist and placed 3rd in the 2014 RWA Passionate Ink’s 9th Annual Passionate Plume Book Contest in Erotic SciFi/Fantasy Category, Book 2 SEVERUS achieved BEST BOOK review rating and won April 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, Book 3 CATO won the May/June 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS. All currently released books in the series have resided made it into the Top 5 Bestseller Lists at within days of release as well as making it into the Top 10 Hottest New Releases in Erotic Science Fiction on Amazon.

Social Media Links:

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?

According to my publisher, the majority of the Fueled By Lust series falls into the SEXTREME category. They describe this as:

“Erotic audience. Extreme sex scenes; hard core; many instances of unconventional sex; no holds barred in sexual language; not for the faint-hearted; definitely will offend most readers.”

However, if taken in that narrow context, one would think that I’ve got heroines swinging from chandeliers while trussed within an inch of their life, or some gratuitous stranger sex in dark alleyways. Far from it. Granted, the sex scenes in these novels don’t hold anything back, but there’s loved flowing through all of it.

There’s a gradual build up to the electrifying chemistry between the Insedi and his identified female. Once he gains their trust, it’s no holds barred, burn-the-sheets, talk dirty to me, turn my butt cheeks pink, and touch me as much as you want type session. In my mind, there has to be some type of mental connection before the bedroom hijinks can unleash, otherwise you just have porn. This series isn’t a smut book. You’ll feel that overwhelming, obsessed love these guys feel for their mates while engaging in explosive sex.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?

I get up every morning at 5:00 am and work out. I have my own weight room in the house. I do work at a desk all day, but a majority of that is at my day job as a Project Manager, so I do at least get out of the house.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?

I love that throughout the series, you can see the tightknit relationship between the Insedi warriors. I keep the characters coming back throughout the series and with each book, their personalities and camaraderie is reflected. As with every Insedi, you can’t help but love them. They are total sweethearts bundled up in massive, hot-as-hell bodies but there’s not an ounce of vanity in them. They’re clueless to their appeal.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?

I’ve got every one of those descriptions touched on throughout the series, however I think my strongest is the sensuality. I like building up that shivering, knee wobbling anticipation before anyone’s back ever hits a mattress (or a wall…or a floor…). The Insedi have Greek lineage and speak with sensual accents. Just that alone gets the chill bumps racing.

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?
I think I am now. You should have seen me when I first decided to open a Twitter account. I laugh now about how nervous I was. I viewed it as jumping onto the communications Autobahn just as a diesel truck merges into your lane. SMACK! I was afraid I’d get out there and say something stupid and have the Twitter Nazi’s slamming me for my ignorance.

I definitely suggest that you be yourself when promoting your work or engaging with others. On Instagram, I even post pictures of my progress on working out. You’ll also see me sitting on my Harley. I’m real, so I should at least act like it, right?

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?

Cato in Book 3 rides a Harley. I have one myself and it just seemed that with that monstrous tat, blue-tipped spiked hair, and studs lining his ear, the dude needed to be sitting on a monster bike.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?

Since I can’t get booked on the next shuttle to Insedivertus, I’ll have to settle for Rome. Everything ties back to Rome and I’d love to actually see the Tiber River, the Sant’Obomono Medieval Church where the temples of Fortuna and Mater Matuta reside underneath, and …oops, think I just gave a little away on Maxim’s book currently in progress.

Any fun facts about the research for your book?

Oh, yeah. I have such a great life! For those that haven’t read the series, the Insedi warrior’s jobs on Earth are as male strippers and male escorts. I spent a lot of time in male revue clubs getting the feel of the surroundings, how women act around these gorgeous creatures, and some of the choreographed acts they entertain us with. In fact, that’s how I found the models for my covers. If you don’t mind, I’d like to give a little shout out to the inspirations for the series.

Cisco Perez portrayed Severus. He’s with a male revue club out of Orlando, Florida called Rock Hard Revue. Look for Cisco Male Entertainer on Facebook.

Devon Sutton is from Cleveland, Ohio is Cato. Find him on twitter under @devonsutton75.

Richard Jimenez, producer for Magnificent 7 Male Revue out of Los Angeles introduced me to Lucien’s model and a Magnificent 7 entertainer, Axel. You can find them at

Valentino is an independent male entertainer and is the hunk you see on Caelius’s cover. All that hair is real ladies! Look on Facebook for ValentinoMx.

Jason Spears is the first model that I’m using that isn’t with a male revue club. He’s with a nutritional company out of Texas and will be the model for Maxim’s book. He’ll knock you out with his smile.

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!

Caelius’s story is a culmination of small events that happened to him throughout the previous four books, so I definitely recommend that any new readers grab DRUSUS, SEVERUS, CATO, and LUCIEN before you dive into this one. Characters from the previous books are seen throughout the series and the storyline/plot is intricately tied together. Even still, you get a conclusion for the main hero/heroine in each installment.

This series is about a group of aliens that were created when a roman emperor and his wife stumbled through planetary vortex and ended up on the planet Insedivertus. A pure energy life form merged with their life essence and became the Insedi breed. They lived happy lives until a planetary war annihilated their females and forced them to come to Earth to find mates.

Bottom line, they have to learn how to blend into society while keeping their secret well-guarded. Caelius is one of the male strippers at Heat Seekers night club, a business owned by the Insedi so they can be around more women. However, Caelius stumbles across his potential mate at a cooking class and starts a hot pursuit of this older woman that thinks he should go play with the youngsters. It’s got humor, a lot of angst, some sad moments, and a few shockers along the way. There’s also another story interweaved for a set of characters from the other books. Readers have been demanding Kallon and Ulixes’s story, so if you’re not into a little male on male action, then just skip over those parts.

Buy it at Bookstrand


Gracefully, he sank to his knees and lowered until the robe stretched tightly across his legs. He laid the staff to the side and passed each hand across the top of the fire. The haunting sound of violins drifted throughout the room and instantly brought chills to her skin.

Captivated, she watched as he pulled his palms toward his body, as if cleansing himself with smoke from the flames. Broad hands rose to wooden clasps holding the robe together, and gently flipped them open one by one. Rhia caught herself leaning forward. She was enthralled, and she wasn’t the only one. He had everyone’s attention. Even the waiters stood still as statues as the mesmerizing event unfolded.

The last clasp fell away, and his long fingers began to slowly peel the material from his shoulders. Rhia couldn’t fathom how it was possible to make clothes removal an art form. This man was a master of seduction. His chest and belly teased through the parting material before the robe slipped completely off and drifted to the floor. Rhia’s breath caught in her throat. It was Caelius.

He wore nothing but a black loincloth and animal-skin moccasins covering the lower half of his muscular calves. His hair was loose and falling sensually around his shoulders, emphasizing the predator tooth gleaming between his bunching pecs. He looked like an ancient warrior spiritually preparing for an upcoming battle. The nipple ring twinkled in the light of the fire, and her mouth instantly watered. The flames danced and painted wavering shadows across his body. Every muscle he owned became deeply defined and beautiful. He was truly magnificent.

Celeste will be awarding a $25.00 GC to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway