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Monday, April 29, 2013

Future stories: Poll

I have several stories coming out in the next few months, and several I'm in the process of planning/plotting/writing. But I have a couple ideas running around my head and can't decide on a direction.

Would you rather see...
1. MMF (menage where everyone has sex)
2. MFM (hetrosexual menage where the men don't have sex)
3. MF (a super erotic one)
4. MM

I'm thinking of returning to the Regency Era, I had so much fun with that time period and might do some short stories there after I finish up my current projects. Thoughts?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

Scrolling through the healthy recipes section on Food Network, I discovered this interesting recipe. I mean what's better than pork in my crockpot with garlic and tacos? If you answered nothing is better, you'd be correct! I feel like I post a lot of pork recipes but they're all delicious and if not fast and easy, then well worth the trouble.
 
If you look at the final directions about seasoning with salt and pepper, I did not. I had already added the salt and pepper pre-cooking and didn't feel the need to add more. I don't add salt to my diet anyway, it contains enough I'm sure, and with all the chiles and garlic why add?

Admission: Hardest part was deseeding the chiles. Have never done that before and realized in about 2 seconds that I needed gloves, a trashcan right next to me, a fan and the window open, and more chiles than they said. Why? Because I didn't want to deal with the deseeding and needed more chiles to make up the lack.

Picture is theirs by Tina Rupp my tacos didn't look like that but they were certainly delicious!

Prep Time: 25 min
Inactive Prep Time: --
Cook Time: 5 hr 11 min
Level: Easy
Serves:   about 8 servings

Ingredients:
3 whole ancho chiles (I admit, I had no idea what these or the Pasilla chiles were. Called 3 different places but found them! Didn't know enough about the recipe to improvise.)
3 whole pasilla chiles
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce (Goya. Yeah, had to look that one up, too.)
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Kosher salt (used sea salt)
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican (seriously? I'm going to buy oregano? Pft: I used what I had in the cabinet.)
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
Freshly ground pepper (or peppercorns, whatever you have!)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tablespoon cinnamon if you happen to be out of sticks which I never buy anyway)
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving (Corn tortillas are healthier for you than the wheat but not quite as tasty, I admit. I used soft-shelled. Didn't diminish the taste!)
Assorted taco toppings, for garnish (Like cheese! You wouldn't think pork and cheese would go but cheese makes everything better. Like chocolate though I wouldn't recommend chocolate as a taco topping.)

Directions:
Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl; add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Stem and seed the chiles; peel the garlic. Transfer the chiles and garlic to a blender.

Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. (Or cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more minutes.)

Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.

Per serving (does not include tortillas or garnishes): Calories: 399; Total Fat: 15 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 51 grams; Total carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 5 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Cholesterol: 147 milligrams; Sodium: 212 milligrams

Thursday, April 25, 2013

#Guest: Avery Aster's Undressed and #review


About Avery:

Avery Aster is an American novelist who pens erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave. As an Upper East Side resident and a graduate from New York University Avery is celebrated for giving readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades, and tall tales of the über-rich and ultra-famous. “I write about what I see in my metropolis which never sleeps—Manhattanites on the quest for a passionate thrill,” Avery says. “By and large, my characters are drop-dead gorgeous, ripped straight from the headlines and on the hunt for their next conquest.”
Undressed, book one, launched The Manhattanites series exploring people’s forbidden desires of lust and longing. When Avery’s star-studded cast unites it always feels like forever and everyone has a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Log on to AveryAster.com for upcoming book releases or email Avery@AveryAster.com to join The Manhattanites fan club.

Avery will be awarding Choc-A-Lot: Chocolate-Covered Sandwich Cookies to a random commenter at every stop to be chosen by the host.


BLURB:  
 Book 1 in The Manhattanites series. (78,000 words, M/F, HEA, Erotic Romance, Contemporary)
Milan’s notorious playboy, Prince Tittoni, seems to have everything—Lamborghinis, exotic women, palaces throughout Europe and business success. Ramping up his fabric company to go global with a new apparel brand, he ruthlessly stops supplying fabrics to the American client who inspired the collection. But once they meet, what’s he willing to give to get her in his bed?

Upper East Side designer Lex Easton has already endured her fair share of hard knocks. She’ll be damned if she’ll let an Italian stud muffin knock her down. So what if she named her favorite vibrator after him? With Fashion Week approaching, she’ll do whatever it takes to secure the fabrics she needs to make her clothing line an international success—even sleep with her rival.

Lex’s Louboutins are dug in deep to win this war. All’s fair in love and fashion!

Inside Scoop: Though the hero and heroine remain monogamous, their Prada-wearing friends indulge in a ménage a trois and other fashionable sexual fun and games.
 
Review:
Alexandra Easton, “Lex” if you didn’t want your head bitten off, is a power house fashion designer. Daughter of two very 80s famous icons, she's determined not to use their names to build her fame.  She’s focused on one and only one thing: making Easton Essentials a household name. That is, of course, until she meets Prince Massimo Tittoni, CEO of Girasoli Garment Company, who not only holds her designer faith in her hands but also her love life.


The Good:
This book was quiet interesting, with a plot that could hold any girl's attention. The fantasy of meeting our prince charming and being swept away to our fairytale castle. Then being ravished to the mercy of our own desires. Undressed captivated both the fashion diva in me and my unmentionable wild side. With the point of view change, we gain an insight into what our main characters are thinking. I was pleased with the attention to detail and of course the numerous fashion name drops. And hey! Good grammar!

The Bad:
Also I didn’t care for how it ended so abruptly. I felt it needed more to round everything out.

The Bottom Line:
Overall I enjoyed Undressed, it was snarky, sexy, and fun. And while I do enjoy lengthy books this one took me quite some time to get through. I’m worried the average reader or beginners to this forgotten art of reading might find it difficult to get through the whole book with patience.

4 stars

Excerpt:
Cupping her hands around her eyes, she pressed her face to the window to see a tiny cockpit. “Where’s the pilot?”

“Right here.” He held out the keys, walking around the plane’s right side, smirking, and posing as Indiana Jones on the last crusade. She hoped they weren’t heading toward the Temple of Doom. Massimo rivaled Mr. Jones in hotness, she prayed not in adventure.

“Do you have a pilot’s license?” she asked, unsure if they taught aviation at The Royal Millionaire Playboy Academy.

, signorina.” He shook his head poking fun at her.

“I’m serious. Show me your license please?” Lex held on to the plane’s door as if it were a gate to hell. Christian Dior, get me outta here.

Massimo closed the distance between them in response. “Give me your hand.” Not waiting for her to respond, he grabbed her mitts from the door. “Bella, you are shaking,” he noticed and secured his fingers around hers, massaging her palm into his.

Strong hands. “You may call me Lex, not Bella. This isn’t Twilight.” She didn’t care for paranormal.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Ellora's Cave

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Regency: What I love about the era

It's popular, let's face it. And secretive, though not as easy to get away with things as people often think. All those servants and delivery boys going in and out makes it hard to keep a secret. Too many eyes and ears. Which makes it weird that the gentlemen and ladies spoke as if their servants were deaf and mute. Like they didn't hear the upper echelon's gossip and share it with their own society.

So what do I love about the Regency?

  • The clothes. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in those tight leggins? Yeah. Women's gowns were beautiful, flowing, and to die for.
  • The manners. They knew how to insult you with the most polite turn of phrase.
  • The place settings. I wouldn't want to set the table and sure as hell wouldn't want to clean up afterwards. But as a guest, to sit at one of those elaborately set tables with footmen serving me and endless wine and food? Perfection.
  • Secret Societies. There were all sorts of secret societies from the erotic to the economic. But they make for fascinating reading! I used The Hellfire Club for a short series but there are all sorts. With the rise of the coffee shops and the gathering of men (and women) interested in activities not merely following the current crowd, Secret Societies gained power.
  • The fact that everything that happened in the Regency Era led to all the inventions of the Victorian Era. So much of what we refer to Victorian Inventions started because of the interest in science during the Regency Era/
What about you? What makes you come back for more? The ton? The Napoleonic Wars? The thought of Mr. Darcy in your bed?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Excerpt: Risque: A Regency Menage Tale

  Risque: A Regency Menage Tale


“I must apologize, Lord Rowan for my brashness. I had been led to believe something untoward had occurred.” She offered a sincere smile. “Please forgive me; I’m only here out of concern.”
Rowan took her outstretched hand and kissed the back of it. “I’m honored to be the recipient of such concern, Mrs. Prescott. There’s naught to forgive.”
Curtsying again to him in farewell, Alix turned to leave. Did Kane truly lie or did Rowan simply not admit such a thing to her? She had no way of knowing the truth. She hadn’t gone but a couple steps when Rowan’s voice stopped her.
“There was one thing.”
Rowan didn’t continue and Alix turned to face him. His smile was downright wicked and she felt a flush of arousal.
“Oh?” she asked, hoping her voice sounded more curious than breathless.
“Mr. Huntington assisted me as I changed into a new vest.” Rowan’s smile didn’t abate with this cryptic sentence. “He commented as to your preference in colors, how you preferred darker tones to brighter ones. I knew then who it was you played your games with.”
“A game,” she said, more harshly than she intended, “you should never have fallen into the middle of.”
If possible, that smile turned even wickeder. Arousal pooled between her thighs, shocking her. Not only because she’d never considered Rowan anything other than a diversion to her game with Kane, but because Alix still very much wanted Kane.
Rowan stepped closer to her, voice dropping seductively. “I don’t mind being in the middle. In fact,” he added, lips a breath from hers, “that would be a rather prized place to be, between you and Huntington.”
Scandalized, aroused, Alix froze where she was. Rowan didn’t attempt to kiss her, nor did he move away. His green eyes bore into hers, holding her in place. She licked her lips, another vision of the pair of them together sending a bolt of need through her so powerful she could almost taste it.
“Then Kane didn’t lie,” she managed. “You and he…engaged in sexual relations?”
He moved closer, still not touching her and Alix suddenly wanted him to. “I admit, I have a touch of libertine in me.”



4.5 Cups from Coffee Beans and Love Scenes:
I couldn't stop reading this wonderful tale of sex and wicked desire. The characters truly came to life through wonderfully written characters who shared their trains of thought at will keeping the reader entranced and yearning for more.

Buy Links
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
Ravenous Romance
Kobo

Friday, April 19, 2013

#Guest Don McNair Editor Proof Your Writing

About Don:
Don McNair spent his working life editing magazines (eleven years), producing public relations materials for an international PR company (six years), and heading his own marketing communications firm, McNair Marketing Communications (twenty-one years). His creativity has won him three Golden Trumpets for best industrial relations programs from the Publicity Club of Chicago, a certificate of merit award for a quarterly magazine he wrote and produced, and the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil. The latter is comparable to the Emmy and Oscar in other industries. 

McNair has written and placed hundreds of trade magazine articles and four published non-fiction how-to books. He considers his latest, Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave, (published April 1, 2013 by Quill Driver Books) to be the cap of his forty-year writing and editing career. It’s an easy-to-use editing manual that helps writers edit, step by step, their first chapter, then use the knowledge gained to edit the rest of their work.

McNair has also written six novels; two young adults (Attack of the Killer Prom Dresses and The Long Hunter), three romantic suspenses (Mystery on Firefly Knob, Mystery at Magnolia Mansion, and co-authored Waiting for Backup!), and a romantic comedy (BJ, Milo, and the Hairdo from Heck). All are published internationally, and are available at his website, http://DonMcNair.com . 

McNair, a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and the Editorial Freelancers Association, now concentrates on editing novels for others. He teaches two online editing classes. 

I asked Don about his best vacation ever and I suppose he's right, this isn't technically a vacation, but I loved reading about it--especially his last story! And, really, isn't a vacation about the memories?



My Favorite “Vacation”

By Don McNair
Author of Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps
 to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave

            Well, I guess it wasn’t really a vacation.  But my week-long visit to an Indiana Spiritualist camp to research for an expose book was the best time of my life.  I now have an official diploma—two more weeks, and I’m a Spiritualist preacher—and a lifetime of memories. 
            I arrived at the camp and registered, with a tape recorder hidden in my pocket and an innocent smile pasted on my face.  I then signed in at a dumpy, old hotel with postage-stamp rooms that shared a single bath on each of the two floors.
Our first activity was devotion in a church, where they’d covered all the windows.  We all filled out short questionnaires, then the mediums turned off the lights.  Various disembodied voices intoned about Spiritualism, some reading people’s minds and predicting futures.  I taped away, even though they forbad tape recorders there to “protect the spirits.”  Later I listened to the babble and realized none of it made sense. 
The camp consisted of the church, statues of Jesus and other spirit leaders in a circular garden, and several small, equally dumpy Spiritualist houses radiating from it.  I selected my first “Enlightenment” subject and signed up for that evening’s class in a book on a porch. I’d later be advised if was accepted or not. 
Many things happen to me in those meetings, but I’ll mention only two.  One séance featured a young, rather good looking medium—most on the campus were old and overweight.  She welcomed me, turned the lights off, and left.  Presently I heard the spirits speak. 
“This is your Grandfather Brown,” one said, in an eerie, muffled, strangely effeminate voice that sounded as if it were spoken through a trombone.  “I just wanted you to know I’m doing fine here on the Other Side.”              Before I could react, another voice spoke.  “I’m your mother Ruth, and I’m doing well since my passing,” she said.  “Please follow the right paths on earth.”
I was shocked, to say the least.  Then I realized what happened.  That questionnaire asked questions that prompted me to give names of family members passing, and they were now feeding them back to me.  I had lied about my mother; she was actually living in a small town a hundred miles to the south. But now I realized the strange class registration method gave mediums time to check this information source before my séance.  
In another session, two dozen of us sat around a long room.  Again the lights went out, and the medium at the right end asked “Marie” to appear.  A young female voice, who the medium said was that of our guardian angel, sounded from the room’s other end. 
“Can you turn on the light?” she asked, in a voice one might expect a small waif. 
“No, I’m afraid we can’t,” the medium said.  “The other spirits don’t want us to.” 
They conversed about inane things, and the medium invited us to ask the guardian angel questions. The medium had told us earlier that they helped the living find things. She now asked the darkened room, “has anyone in here lost anything lately?”
“I can’t find my ballpoint pen,” a young man across the room said.  It was pitch black, but I recognized his voice from the cafeteria. “I had it on the table.”
“Well, be sure to check under the table when you have a chance,” the guardian angel said.  “I think it’s there.”
The scariest thing happened in a chapel.  Just as the main medium held up her arms to bless us, my hidden tape recorder started playing.  Oh, my God!  Others in the room turned my way as I slapped desperately at the bulge in my pocket.  I guess the spirits were on my side that afternoon, because the recorder stopped playing. 
All this was a hoax, right?  But still, something happened later that made me wonder.  A visiting medium in one meeting pointed at selected individuals, saying things like, “you’re a teacher,” and “you’re a bus driver.”  When she got to me, I froze.  She stared at me.
“You’re a writer,” she said.
“No, I’m not!” I said quickly.  What was going on? 
She frowned.  “Are you sure?”  She stared at me even closer.  “And just what is it you do?”
I gulped.  “I’m a… farmer,” I said.  I wanted to get out of there, and fast. 
She frowned deeper, and shook her head.  “That’s strange.  That’s never happened before.”
Well, I never did write that book.  I put all that research away, promising I’d sometime revisit it and have a great story to tell.  But years passed, and so did my interest.  The other day, while cleaning out the storage shed, I ran across that box, now covered with cobwebs.  I thought a few moments about it, then closed it up again and stuffed it back onto the shelf. 
One can’t be too sure.

 Don will award one randomly chosen commenter their choice of books from his backlist. The books can be seen at his website

Blurb:
Most editing manuals are like geography books. They give great information, but don’t show how to get from place to place.  Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave is a GPS that leads you through the writing jungle to solve your specific writing problems.
Most editing manuals are like dictionaries from which you’re asked to select words to write the Great American Novel. This book shows what words to use and what words NOT to use. 
Most editing manuals are loaded with mind-numbing theory.  This one presents knowledge a step at a time and asks you to apply what you learned—a step at a time—to your manuscript’s first chapter.  Along the way you’ll also edit a nine-chapter melodrama and check your editing against the author’s.  When you finish, you’ll have an editor-proofed first chapter and will be ready to edit the rest of your book. 
This system was proven to work in three years of weekend and online classes, titled Editor-Proof That Chapter and Twenty-One Steps to Fog-Free Writing. They are parts One and Two of this book. Part Three discusses finding and working with critique partners, professional editors, publishers, and agents.  The students loved the concept! 
This book is perfect for use in classrooms. The information is presented in bite-sized lessons which can be assigned daily. See what students say about their classroom experiences on the back page. 
 

Excerpt:
Unpublished writer “Barbara Stevens” asked me to critique and edit her newest unpublished novel’s first chapter.  “I’ve written twelve other manuscripts,” she said, “and they’ve been rejected a lot of times.  I hope you can figure out what’s wrong.” 



 Well, I did figure it out, and quickly.  This lady was basically a good writer.  Her blogs sparkled, she dreamed up creative plots, and her heart was certainly in her work.   But she’d made a major craft mistake in that chapter and, presumably, in all twelve of those manuscripts.  It was a mistake that almost guaranteed she’d never be published. 



We discussed her problem (we’ll get back to that later), and the light bulb over her head glowed brilliantly.  She rewrote that first chapter and I edited it again, and, as if by magic, it became publishable.  Barbara used her new-found knowledge to revise the rest of that manuscript, followed by her twelve other novels.  Within two months she sold one, and she’s now been published many times.  She’s on her way.



The point?  Barbara’s breakthrough came directly from correcting that one craft mistake.  She’d made it time and time again and was destined to repeat it again and again, until someone told her what it was. 



You may be making that same mistake.  Or perhaps you’re making another equally deadly one—mistakes we’ll identify and resolve in this book—and are not aware of it.  But there’s hope.  

Buy Links: