I’m over at Wild and Wicked Cowboys today, talking about how I discovered a real-life inspiration for Jake. And he can really sing too…
I’m over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe today, talking about inspiration for writing. And how readers can inspire authors too…
Leah Braemel: Feeding the Flames: When chef Tabatha Morgan returns to Barnett Springs, her burning crush on firefighter Zac Buchanan flares back to life. Trouble is, Zac has made a promise to keep his distance from Tabby, so Zac’s best friend and fellow firefighter Quinn decides to help feed the flames of their mutual desire.
Lexxie Couper: Combustible: Arson investigator, Desmond Russell is the best in Australia. Cool, calm and collected, nothing ruffles him. Until he meets Outback fire brigade captain, Jess Montgomery, a woman who ignites all his sexual desires. The initial spark will engulf them both…but will their hearts survive the inferno?
Delilah Devlin: Wet Down: Out with the old, in with the new… Or so Sherry Thacker thinks. Problem is, her ex is always on her mind—shirtless, sweaty, sooty, and way too handsome—and right across the street. When a “Wet Down” ceremony to retire an old fire truck is planned by the city council to raise funds for the firehouse, she has to put aside her hurt and anger and do her job. Blake Thacker wants his wife back—in the house they shared, in their marriage bed. Still confused how Sherry’s becoming mayor managed to drive a wedge between them, he’ll use whatever means necessary to win her back. Sex is always best served WET.
Marie Harte: Two to Spark: When a psychic predicts that a faulty toaster, a black cat, and the wrong address will bring Cooper together with Ms. Right, he shrugs off the notion as crazy. But before long, fate has something else in store for the sexy firefighter when a spark of attraction ignites into true love.
Desiree Holt: Controlled Burn: Montana Wade was home after writing off the past ten years of her life, but she needed one more night of courage before she faced her family. Boone Crider, hotshot firefighter, was burned out form the rash of malicious fires. They thought one night as strangers would cure them both, but the fire they started between them soon became a barely controlled burn.
Lissa Matthews: Up in Smoke: Half-brothers, Josh and Jay, share everything from a house, to a love of curvy, older women. So when their dream woman accidentally sets her kitchen on fire, they ride to her rescue, sirens blaring, promising to kindle flames that may never be extinguished.
Cari Quinn: Rekindled: Some blazes refuse to be contained. It’s been months since ex-firefighter Katie Kemp has spoken to her former lover and squad mate, Dash Carlton. But when a late night drive down memory lane leads her to a small fire at Dash’s house, she realizes she’s not willing to turn her back on the hottest flame of her life.
Shelli Stevens: Into the Fire: Shannon has always prided herself on holding her own in the male dominated field of firefighting. She likes to be in control. Until she strikes a bargain with a sexy man from her past who makes her give it all up in the bedroom.
Coming November 7th!
Preorder from Amazon
B&N, Kobo and other store linkes coming soon!
I apologize that it’s been almost a month since I posted here, but I’ve needed to stay quiet, to step back for a while, not just from the blog but from a lot of social media too, to try to find my balance, both in writing and in dealing with some real-life issues. I have written this post a half dozen times, written paragraphs that turned into pages of my thoughts and some of those issues, medical, family, etc., but decided they breached the TMI boundaries or might get me banned from travelling to the States, so each time I’ve deleted them. But I can’t avoid it completely because you deserve to know what’s happening with Wrangling the Past.
Some of you may remember I wrote back in January that I’d been struggling a lot in the past year, mainly due to health issues that have plagued me for the past five years. At the time I thought I’d gotten past it.
Turned out I was wrong.
It didn’t help when another real-life issue that took all sense of financial security away from my husband and I that will affect the rest of our life. Unless we win a lottery, those real life issues aren’t going to get any better in the near future. All of which has left me creatively paralyzed. I can’t even write blog posts lately, and I apologize to the authors and readers over at Wild and Wicked Cowboys and Everybody Needs a Little Romance for missing my regular spots last month. I went totally blank and had nothing positive I could talk about. I honestly stared at the screen for weeks before, and even on the day the posts were due and had…nothing.
It’s not just writers’ block where I need to get my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard and push through it. As I wrote back in January (and it hasn’t changed) I spend 10 – 14 hours at my keyboard every day. Trying to write. Trying so freaking hard. It’s not something where I can just “get over it” or “smiling will make it get better.” (God, I HATE it when people say that to me.) Yet despite the hours I’d stare at the screen, if I managed to write two paragraphs I’d consider it a good day. Then I’d find out I’d written the same scene three times. Or that the story had gone off on a tangent that needed to be deleted. Again. Six months of working my butt of resulted in 30,000 words that just aren’t the type of writing I want to you to read.
All of which led to an email I had to write to my editor at Carina Press asking her to please release me from my deadline for Wrangling the Past. Which she did. God bless Angela James for understanding. I’ll admit I was sobbing as I wrote that email because it felt like I’d failed. It still does.
But you know how they say when God closes a door, he opens a window? Well, He’s left the door open for me still for me to approach when I can, but He also sent me the lovely Tabatha, one of my street team leaders who has appointed herself my chief cheerleader but has become a true friend who lets me vent and yet comes back every day and encourages me to keep writing and gives me feed back. And He sent me the extremely talented Lexxie Couper. A few months back, Lexxie invited me to be part of a group bundle — the theme being firefighters.
In order to give myself a bit of a break, and hopefully find the joy of writing again, I’ve (temporarily) set aside Gabe’s story and pulled out a novella I started writing over two years ago involving a pair of firefighters and the woman they loved. Feeding the Flames will be part of the Five Alarm Alphas bundle coming out November 7th with stories by Lexxie Couper, Desiree Holt, Lissa Matthews, Delilah Devlin, Cari Quinn, Marie Harte, and Shelli Stevens. (Just looking at the other names on that list makes me feel inadequate. I adore the writing of each and everyone of those ladies.) I’ve shared the cover on Facebook, and you can find it on its webpage here on my site, but I’ll do a proper cover reveal and finished blurb in a separate post.
Yes, I feel guilty still about working on it instead of on Gabe’s story for a few weeks, but I need the break. And it is helping me get back some of the joy of writing again, even if it is a slow process.
In the next few months, I’m also going to re-release two short stories that came out back in 2009 — First Night, and Cherry Cottage, both of which were originally free short stories for Samhain’s newsletter, but for the past few years have only been available here on my website. I’m planning on revamping them (slightly), then getting them formatted, giving them new covers (the lovely Tabatha has created some beautiful covers for me I’ll share on another post), and am going put them on Smashwords so more people can find them on Amazon and B&N and other places. I’m also finally going to release Unashamed, a story I wrote specifically for the Northern Heat anthology, only this time in digital format, so it will be easily available worldwide instead of only available in a print book that was hard to get ahold of outside of Canada. I’m aiming for First Night to be up for the American Thanksgiving, but I don’t have any dates in mind yet for Cherry Cottage or Unashamed. (I plan on working on those after I’ve finished Gabe’s manuscript.) These are not new stories I’m writing, but they are all things that I’ve wanted to do for years but have put off because of the Grady Legacy deadlines.
But I cannot stress enough: I am still writing Gabe’s story, but I want it to be the best story it can be, the story he deserves. Let me repeat, Gabe will get his story. It just won’t come out this fall the way Carina–or I–had originally planned.
I’m changing things around and instead of giving you a snippet of one of my books, I thought I’d share a snippet from one of the books I’ve read this week. After reading Lexxie Couper’s excellent story in her Down and Dirty Bundle, I moved on to her Heart of Fame series. And have been glomming them up like chocolate. Nom Nom Nom.
Now normally it’s better to promote an author’s latest work (which is Getting Played, the lastest in her Heart of Fame series), but as one of those readers who must read series in chronological order, I’m going to start you off with Tropical Sin. Why not feature the first book of the Heart of Fame series? Well, while Tropical Sin isn’t technically part of the Heart of Fame series, it’s sort of a prequel, since it introduces Nick Blackthorne the way Private Property introduces my readers to Sam Watson…
Nick gets his own book in Love’s Rhythm, which is technically book 1 in the Heart of Fame series, and you don’t have to read Tropical Sin to understand his story in Love’s Rhythm. But, trust me, you want to get the full Nick effect.
Copyright © 2011 Lexxie Couper
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Nick Blackthorne weaved his way through the smattering of guests milling around the Bandicoot Resort’s massive reception area, a small smile curling at the corners of his mouth. It wasn’t the fact he was here, at the soft opening of the resort, that made him happy, nor the fact he was walking around without a minder or bodyguard or groupie to be seen. It was simply because the woman laughing behind him had a delightfully throaty, infectious laugh.
He stopped himself from shooting a look over his shoulder, concentrating instead on finding the correct passageway that would lead him to the Oasis Bar. He was a touch jetlagged and needed something more than coffee to wake up.
A touch? You’ve been on one plane or the other for the last three days. You’re more than jetlagged, you’re jet-freaking-dragged-through-the-turbines stoned. Besides, the need for something more than caffeine has nothing to do with jetlag. You just want to sit out in the sun and pretend you’re a normal person for a short while, don’t you?
He smiled wider. The truth was always less sensational. It had been a long time since he’d been able to sit at a bar and relax. When his agent had offered him the chance to attend the resort’s soft opening he’d jumped at it. Minimum number of guests, all hand-picked by the hotel’s manager, all—Frankie assured him—too discreet or important in their own rights to worry about him being in their presence. A nice change from where he’d just been, that was for sure.
The thought made his smile falter. A little. He wasn’t going to let his mind turn to where he’d just been. Not when he was walking through Eden.
Ah, so the romantic you used to be is still buried in that craven pit you call a soul, is he?
Behind him the woman laughed again, another low, throaty chuckle and, before he could help himself, Nick turned.
She was only a few feet behind, grinning up at a guy almost half again her height, her long, strawberry blonde hair a flaming halo in the sun’s warm rays, her pink lips stretched in a grin that said very clearly, “Yes, I am completely in charge of this situation.”
Nick let his gaze flick to her companion, noting with an experienced eye the man’s latent strength in his six-foot-plus form, his fluid, steady movements, and his utter adoration for the woman gripping his arm.
Christ, they were a sexy couple. Damn sexy.
He scowled, turning away from the young lovers. There was a time he’d have walked straight on up to them and suggested something far more depraved than either could probably imagine. Something very dirty and very enjoyable. That time had passed, however.
The woman laughed again, the delicious sound accompanied by a lower, deeper chuckle. The guy’s laugh. Relaxed. Easygoing. Coming up from his chest to slip past his lips in a humored rumble. Equally as infectious as hers.
He drove his nails into his palms and scanned the lush gardens on the other side of the glass wall. Where the hell was this bar? Somewhere outside beside a pool? He needed a drink.
No, not a drink. You need—
A face of an angel with filth on her mind,
I pray to burn in her fire,
I pray to die in her arms.
The words—lyrics of a song he hadn’t written yet—whispered through Nick’s head and he raised his eyebrows, his heartbeat quickening. Just as it had been too long since he could relax in public, it had been even longer since words of music came to him. Whoever the redhead was, she stirred something in him.
Yet the arms of her lover reach out for more.
Like a sinner I will burn in his fire,
I will die in his fire as she pleads for more.
Nick came to a halt, the unexpected lyrics floating through his head. It seemed they’d both stirred something in him he hadn’t felt for a long time, not just the woman.
The whisper of a rhythm teased him and he closed his eyes, a familiar sensation stirring in the pit of his gut. Carnal thoughts and lyrics? Coming to Bandicoot Cove really was a good—
“Excuse me, but can I ask you a question?”
The soft, husky voice speaking beside him could only belong to one person. Opening his eyes, Nick turned around, leaving his sunglasses firmly in place as he fixed his gaze on the flame-haired woman smiling up at him. This close she wasn’t just sexy, she was stunning. Stunning and gorgeous. As was the man standing next to her, his expression unreadable, that sleeping strength radiating from him in waves of…
Like a sinner I will burn in his fire,
I will die in his fire and beg her for—
“You’re Nick Blackthorne, yes?”
The woman’s question took Nick by jarring surprise. It shouldn’t have, but with the words of a hidden song taunting him and the unexpected lick of sexual interest teasing him, he wasn’t prepared. Especially for what she said next.
“I’m McKenzie Wood from Goss Weekly.” Her clear blue eyes turned direct. Intent. “I’m wondering if you’d like to comment on your stay at the Vergnügen sex clinic in Germany?”
I’m going to give away a copy of Tropical Sin, to get you hooked on Lexxie’s series, but I’m also going to be giving away a copy of Down and Dirty to give you a taste of Jess Dee, Sami Lee and Rhiann Cahill’s writing too.
Now the rules — you must be 18 years of age and older, Facebook doesn’t endorse the giveaway and has nothing to do with it, void where prohibited…and one prize per winner, in other words, you can enter both, but you can only win once, so if you win the Down and Dirty Bundle, you can’t win the Tropical Sin bundle too, and vice versa. (But I’m betting you’ll want to go and buy more of Lexxie’s books afterward!)
And remember, if you like an author’s books, the best way you can help them out is to leave a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or wherever you bought the book — Amazon and the other places use the number of (good) reviews in their algorithm when determining who else to show the title to in their “Readers who bought this also bought…” bar. Which means more people get to hear of your favorite author and it’ll encourage the author to keep writing.
P.S. (I’ve met Lexxie in person a couple times — first in Kansas City, and then in New Orleans, so now whenever I read her stories I hear her narrating them in my head in her wonderful Australian accent. If you want to hear her reading an excerpt, watch this video)