Wednesday, February 21, 2007

American Title - The Final Round Entries!

By popular demand (Ha! Can you believe it??) here is the Romantic Scene I submitted to the American Title contest from my book, The Kama Sutra Chronicles.

First, a little background ... Cane Winslow has emerged from deep cover to salvage a critical overseas mission after a photograph of their most secret operative’s twin sister turns up on a monitored internet site. If the enemy finds sexy librarian Gracie Sinclair before Cane does, Gracie could be killed in retaliation, Cane’s operative assassinated, and years of intelligence destroyed. Naturally, Cane finds her first and spirits her away to an isolated beach house ...

Gracie brings her work with her, a French, antiquarian edition of the Kama Sutra that she must translate and examine in order to authenticate its age and history ...

In close quarters, with danger threatening, the tension builds ...

“So you speak French,” Gracie said. “What else do you do?”

“If I told you, I’d have to--”

“Kill me, I know. You’re funny and violent.”

“It’s a gift.”

“Maybe you can help me translate this.”

Cane shrugged and sat at the table across from her. Gracie turned the fragile old book around and pointed to the sentence under a drawing of a man and woman wrapped up in each other.

“It’s this word. Arracher.”

Cane stared hard at the page. “Arracher. To extract. Pull out.”

“Yes, but in this context...”

La mangue mûre,” he said, finishing the phrase. “The ripe mango? Pull the ripe mango? Weird.”

“Maybe...pluck,” she whispered. Her vision was starting to fog up, making it difficult to write.

“Yeah, pluck the ripe mango,” he said, and took a long sip of beer. “What else?”

“Um...” She met his gaze. Was it getting hot in here? “I’ve got this one worked out. It’s, uh, ride the wild stallion.”

“Stallion.” He nodded. “Figures. Go on.”

She pointed to another illustration. “Driving the nail home.”

He shot her a lopsided grin. “An old favorite of mine.”

Gracie’s breath whooshed out. The man was sexy enough when he was scowling and rude, but when he smiled, she could feel her insides melting into a puddle of sexual need. She carefully flipped the page.

“Nice book,” he said, tapping the page. “And how about this?”

He was taunting her, right? How could he be carrying on a conversation? Why wasn’t he ripping her clothes off and driving the damn nail home?

She stared at her notes, trying to make sense of them through the haze of lust, then glanced back at the book. “The description’s sort of technical. The man’s got to be strong enough to bear the weight of the woman while thrusting at the same time. They recommend standing against a wall or maybe--”

“I get the drift.” He jerked his chin toward the next drawing. “And that?”

Grace turned to read the French words under a particularly obvious illustration. “Trapping the Snake.”

He pushed away from the table and paced the length of the room. “What’s going on here?”

She stared at him, confused by the anger in his voice. “I told you, I’m translating the text in order to authenticate the age of the book. After that, I’ll test the binding to determine--”

“I know, I know.” He shoved his hand through his hair and came to a halt directly behind her chair. “Aw jeez, how in hell do you translate that?”

Gracie didn’t have to look too closely at the drawing he referred to. A couple pressed together, facing opposite directions, holding each other’s ankles. She’d already spent way too much time studying it. “It’s supposed to be...more pleasurable for the woman.”

“Holy crap,” he muttered.

He was standing so close, she could feel the taut energy vibrating off him. Her nerves hummed with anticipation, anxious to be plucked.

Like a ripe mango.

“Why do you smell so damn good?” He brushed her hair aside and stroked her neck. “You’re killing me, you know that?”

“Am I?”

She gasped as Cane pulled her up from the chair and turned her to face him.

“This can’t happen,” he said, his mouth inches from hers.

She shook her head. “Absolutely not.”

He swung his arms around and grabbed her bottom with both hands and hoisted her up, then took two steps and planted her butt on the kitchen counter. Their eyes were level and she watched him frown as he studied her.

“You’re bad news, you know.”

Gracie wrapped her legs around him, forcing him closer. “I’m bad news? You practically kidnapped me and you’re rude and you changed my dog’s name and--”

“You talk too much,” he muttered, kissing her jaw line and taking little bites along the way to her earlobe.

Gracie groaned. “Yeah, well, you’re not all that--”

He pulled back and grinned. “Bull.”

She shrugged. “Not my type at all.”

He kissed her full on the mouth, consuming her instantly. He was all heat, all hardness. His tongue urged her mouth open and she tasted beer and salt and chocolate and him as she tightened her hold. The world dissolved and all that mattered was his mouth on hers, his hands gripping her bottom as he aroused and devoured her.

Her heart pounded in her ribcage as their bodies strained to get closer. Abruptly, Cane pulled back and for the briefest moment, Gracie thought he might change his mind and stop. But he gave her a look of complete focus and urgency and she could see in his eyes he had no intention of leaving her unsatisfied. You had to love that in a man.

That's it for me! Read Jenny and Kim's Final Round entries and vote at


Monday, February 19, 2007

American Title News -- Finally!!!

I can finally reveal the TOP TWO finalists in the last round of the American Title Contest! They are Jenny Gardiner and Kim Howe!! Woo hoo!!! Way to go, Jenny and Kim!!

Believe it or not, I think those snarky judges liked them both, too -- for completely different reasons, as you'll see when you check their romantic scenes out at One scene is hot, one scene is funny! Don't forget to vote for your favorite. The winner will be revealed at the Romantic Times convention in April.

And because you all care so much, tomorrow I'll post my entry for best romantic scene -- the one that will never make it to Romantic Times! *g*


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Face Time

Have I mentioned how much I love my new agent? It’s true! So when she mentioned she’d be in San Diego and asked if I’d like to meet her there, I jumped at the chance (after a few quick calls to rearrange my schedule, LOL). We’d met before, twice, very briefly, in Atlanta, so this would be the first real “face time” we’d have together.

She was in San Diego for the San Diego Writers Conference so I drove down Sunday. We decided to get out of the hotel and drive over to the Hotel Del Coronado for lunch. At this point, she casually mentioned this was her first visit to the West Coast.

Which meant she’d never seen the Pacific Ocean.

Are you with me here, my California friends? Are you feeling my fear? The sudden responsibility falling onto my shaky shoulders? Could I handle it? What if she hated the Hotel Del? I mean, it’s really old and sort of…pompous, just sitting there on the beach. Seriously, it’s just some rambling Victorian monstrosity by the sea. They have those sorts of places all over the East Coast, don’t they?

And while I’m on the subject of fear and responsibility, I might as well admit how nerve-wracking it is, trying to look cool and intelligent while driving your new agent around a town you haven’t lived in for more than 20 years. There are brand new freeways and weird turnoffs and, hello? Where did that bridge come from? I did a MapQuest, but still…it was tricky. At least my car was clean.

And what if the hotel restaurant was closed? Or worse, what if it was open and we had lousy service? OMG, what if she got food poisoning?? It would be MY fault!! For the rest of her life, my poor agent would do all she could to avoid the West Coast. And if she were forced to attend a conference in, say, San Francisco, or maybe Seattle, she might gaze reluctantly at the glorious bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond, feeling her stomach roil as she raised her fisted hand and shouted, “Damn you, Kate Carlisle!”

Yes, I do have an active imagination. And I guess I'm more neurotic than I thought. But that makes me a good writer, right? Hmm.

So I’ll cut to the chase here. The Hotel Del was fabulous. How could it be anything but? My agent brought her camera and we took a picture by the main entrance and I took a picture of her with the ocean and the cliffs in the background. It was very cute!

As we watched the waves, a guy ran past us, then stopped a few feet away to stretch his muscles. He looked like Keen Eddie. Very nice.

Did you know the Hotel's haunted? We tried to figure out which room had the ghost. I found out later it’s room 3312. When I got home, I looked up the story of Kate Morgan’s ghost. You can read about her here. I thought it was interesting that Kate checked into the hotel using a fake name, Lottie Anderson Bernard. Everyone’s got a pseudonym, I guess.

It was fun! We talked and laughed and ate and walked along the boardwalk and talked some more, and you know what? I'm thinking she enjoyed her first visit to California. Whew!

Gas for the drive to San Diego: $23.78
New jacket for the meeting (Chico’s, on sale!): $68.00
Face time with my favorite agent: Priceless!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hey, There's A Dead Guy in the Living Room

Now that I've got your attention, there's a new group blog in town.

If you're a writer, you must rush right over to Hey, There's A Dead Guy in the Living Room - Mystery publishing, from idea to bookshelf.

The blog is geared toward mystery writing and publishing (if that wasn't clear from the subtitle, duh!) and it's got a lovely line-up of contributors:

Abby Zidle - Executive Editor Extraordinaire - Pocket Books
Bruce Bortz - Publisher of Bancroft Press
Denise Dietz - Author (Diet Club mystery series)
Gordon Aalborg - Author
Jeffrey Cohen - Author of the Aaron Tucker mysteries (he also happens to have the world's greatest agent)
PJ Nunn - Promotion (BreakThrough Promotions)
Robin Agnew - Bookseller (Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI)
Sharon Wheeler - Reviewer (and editor for Reviewing the Evidence online reviews)

You don't have to be a mystery writer to appreciate the great information these folks are willing to share. So check it out--and spread the word.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hibernation: It's Not Just for Bears Anymore

I've been hiding in my cave and hoping no one would notice.
But certain people keep nudging me to come back and blog!!! (You know who you are!)

So I've had my two weeks of rest and now I'm all fluffed and fresh and ready to get blogging. I'll be back tomorrow with a fun story--it was fun for me, anyway! I hope you'll enjoy it, too!

Meanwhile, my friend Maureen Child has a new book out and it's fantastic!!!

It's NEVERMORE, book two in her Guardian series for Nocturne, and it's dark and sexy...even though she thinks the cover looks like the audition line for West Side Story...not true! Anyway, it's what's inside that counts, and inside is an absolutely wonderful story!! Check it out today!!