Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy January!

First things first - happy new year! I hope 2011 brings you a lot of happiness and good fortune!

News - well, you'd think that the Christmas season would be a bit quieter for everyone, but this year, not so much. Editors try to clear their desks before the holidays, so that's when the hapless writer gets the final edits, requests for blurbs and so on. I wish I could write good blurbs, and I can only feel grateful to the professionals, who take my efforts and make them much more professional!

And I have a new release! Sunshine on Chrome, the book I wrote after I stayed in Chicago earlier this year, came out on December 29th. I fell in love with the hero right along with the heroine. Verrill isn't just a hunka hunka burning man, he's a caring person, too. So I felt a bit jealous of Lacey while I was writing it! I've included an excerpt as this month's extract, and I do hope you enjoy it. It's part of the Cougar Challenge series, which has brought nothing but pleasure to me. Working with the other ladies on the series has been sheer delight. Having someone to discuss ideas with, and having great writers give me advice is something I'd really like to repeat. It's been the most successful multi-author series I've ever worked on, and I think it's because of the quality of the writers involved.

The first part of the year, for me, will be all about Richard and Rose. "Maiden Lane" comes out in March, and I think there are a few surprises in there that will, I hope, please a few readers. The first book I want to write in this new year, is the last Richard and Rose book in the series, at least, the last in this cycle. It will bring to a conclusion the fates of several people in the series, but I'm hoping that one day I'll write another cycle. These characters are so alive to me that it's been a privilege to share their lives. That probably sounds daft to you, but it does sometimes seem as if they are living their lives and allowing me to have little peeps inside it.

After that, I want to write Freddy's story. Finally, I "got" his heroine. Most often, I "get" scenes, as if I'm seeing something happening elsewhere. This time I saw Freddy, sitting in a beautiful room, talking to a woman with dark hair, sitting in the shadows as if she wanted to hide. Then she turned her head, and I saw a thin white scar down one side of her face. That was it, but I knew I'd found Freddy's heroine. Freddy is frivolous, privileged and he needs to stretch himself to reach his full potential. He's going to have his work cut out with this lady, who isn't shy, or embarrassed, but pragmatic and sensible. So she has to learn how to laugh and be silly. It's work in progress.

I'm currently revising a new project. I thought I'd try to write a Harlequin/Mills and Boon. I've tried before, but never made it. Another attempt earlier this year ended when the firebombers and mafia arrived. I've sent that book elsewhere, and I hope they like it. But it wouldn't do for the Modern/Presents line! So I tried again. I outlined some of my reasons on The Good, The Bad and The Unread blog, but basically it's because it's really difficult to write one of those, and if I can do it, remove all the frills then just write from the heart. It's been a very interesting exercise, and I think if everyone writing romance at least had a try at one of these, they might learn a lot. I certainly did. I'll send it to the line, but they get thousands of submissions every year, so I don't know how it will do. If they don't want it, I'll revise it with another publisher in mind. But I'd love to write for that line!

Sometimes you have to forget about writing as a career, and just go with the muse, and see if you can do something different, something new.

I've received a March date for another book, the heavily rewritten "Griffin's Treasure." When this book first came out, it won the Eppie for paranormal romance. I was so sure it wouldn't win that I didn't check the lists the next day, and it was the congratulatory email from my editor that told me I'd actually won! I don't enter many contests, partly because it only makes one person happy and a lot of other people not so happy, but also because I think that nobody can read everything that comes out, so "best of" is a strange concept. You can't know it's best, unless you've read everything, and who can do that?
Anyway, I digress. Not unusual, for me. "Griffin's Treasure" has received a heavy rewrite, to make it more erotic, and better fitted to Loose-Id's lines. But I have a wonderful editor there, and she can see right to the heart of the story and see which bits absolutely have to remain. It's a fascinating insight, to go back to earlier work and rewrite it.

I'm also planning to write another Department 57 book, Rhodri's story, and I have just "got" a scene from a STORM character. The next STORM book, Andros's story (Ania's brother, the man who had muscular dystrophy before he was converted). Andros has to learn to accept his new, non-disabled form, which, for someone who has had to make allowances for his condition all his life, isn't always easy. He takes great joy in his new form, but sometimes he forgets, and when he's forced back into disability on a STORM operation, he has to remember it all over again, face it, and learn to move on. The waiting period is the worst, the one where there is nothing you can do, when the decision goes out of your hands and into someone else's.

While 2010 didn't see me move on to larger publishers, as I'd hoped, I can't say that I'm heartbroken. I'd love a contract with one of the large New York publishers, who wouldn't, but it no longer seems so essential any more. At one time, publication by the "better" epublishers was seen as a stepping stone to other things, but now, with the vast increase of digital reading, and the boost in sales, it no longer seems so essential. I'd still love the experience, though and I'm still querying. But that part of it takes time - a lot of time, both waiting and composing queries, so it just has to wait.

So I'll keep writing what I love, and see what turns up. Thanks for sticking with me, and thanks for buying the books. Without you, I wouldn't have a career!

Sunshine on Chrome - a Cougar Challenge book

After working with sexy consultant Verill Harper for three months, Lacey Rezanov can hardly keep her hands off him. And it seems that Verill feels the same way. As soon as his contract with her company ends, he has her in a clinch she has no desire to end.

Encouraged by the sassy women of the Tempt the Cougar blog, Lacey has the fling of her life with a younger man. They only have a month before Verill is due to set off on a once-in-a-lifetime around-the-world bike ride. Can they cram all that passion into a few weeks? No.

Verill wants Lacey more than any other woman he’s ever met, but she won’t agree to come with him. This isn’t just a pleasure trip and he can’t cancel. The heat is turned way up when Lacey poses with Verill and his mechanic Dene at a photo shoot to promo the tour. Even that can’t persuade Lacey to change her mind. Can anything?

Signing off, or signing in?

Verill grabbed his stuff and made his escape, almost colliding with Lacey, who was leaving the ladies’ restroom. Lacey gave him a cool smile. “I’m ready to sign off on our contract. Do you want to follow me?”
Anywhere, sweetheart.
As he followed her down the carpeted hallway, the gentle swish of her hosiery made his cock stir. Her pencil skirt outlined the curves of her bottom and thighs, not blatantly, but the subtle hints were, in a way, worse.
She opened the door to her office before he could open it for her. It clicked quietly behind them. “You’ve done a great job.”
He detected a quaver in her voice, too slight for most people to notice. But he wasn’t most people.
“I might have difficulty getting everybody on board, but with the launch of the new face cream we’ll need the extra guidance. Not to mention the online ventures.” She grimaced. “Did I say that some of the board members think that’s going down-market?”
He stuffed his hands in his pockets in a desperate attempt to hide his erection. “Yes, you did, and some of them mentioned it to me. I tried to assure them that it’s the image of the product plus the pricing that matters. The client needs to think she’s buying something exclusive. It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic class she’s from.”
“‘A touch of luxury.’ We’ve had that slogan since the beginning, did you know?”
He did. “I did my research. Ever since your great-grandmother came over from Russia and decided to bring some Russian exoticism to America.” Like her sleek mahogany hair, her slightly slanted eyes and that rich, full mouth, enhanced with a slick of lip gloss. Lip gloss he wanted to lick off. Her light, floral perfume urged him to move forward and fill his lungs. He didn’t know what kind she wore and he didn’t care. Guess he didn’t have to worry that he was turning metrosexual.
She laughed. “Something like that. I didn’t know her, but I knew my grandmother and everyone said they were the same. My mother wasn’t very different, but it was a different world then. Times change. So do Rezanovs.”
When he took a step toward her, she retreated behind her desk. She obscured the glorious view of North Lake Shore Drive and the harbor beyond, but he didn’t care one bit. He could see a similar view any time he wanted from his condo. But he couldn’t see Lacey, much though he’d like to.
She wouldn’t meet his eyes. “I’ve had your fee wired to your account. That’s the final amount.”
“So that means we’re quits.” He wanted to make sure she understood they weren’t business colleagues anymore. Because he wanted more than that. “I don’t work for you now.”
“I guess so.” She glanced up at him almost shyly.
He loved it, as though she were a kid about to have her first adult kiss. It made her look—not younger, but freer, somehow.
He rounded the desk. Her skirt twitched, as if she thought about retreating then decided against it. Good. “I’ll get my staff to handle everything else, if you have any queries in the future. I shouldn’t need to return unless things go badly wrong, and then you’ll have to re-contract me.” Chances are he wouldn’t be available, anyway. “Clear?”
She swallowed but met his gaze. “Clear.”
He took a moment to stare into those gorgeous blue eyes, the darker flecks enhancing the trepidation he read there. But she held her ground. Fuck, she’d be a wildcat in bed. Hopefully he’d find out. He lowered his head, giving her plenty of time to duck away, but she didn’t. With a surge of triumph, he saw her lift her chin.
A breath of hot air whispered across his skin when he touched her lips gently with his. To Verill, it felt like surrender. Her hands came up to clutch his upper arms, her touch like a challenge for him to take this further and discover her response. He lost his mind.
Gripping her waist, he deepened the kiss, flicking his tongue over her lips. Her mouth open under his. He swept inside, not giving her a chance to withdraw, taking possession. His cock strained his pants and he drew her closer, pushed against her stomach in mindless need. God, she smelled good, like a whole field of wildflowers underlaid with spice. Expensive perfume, he’d learned recently, reacted to the wearer’s skin, the chemicals blending and creating something unique. He’d never smell lavender again without thinking of her. Remembering this.
She tightened her hands on his arms and he withdrew, gasping for breath. “Do you know I’ve wanted to do this since I first set eyes on you? I even considered throwing the job and just going for you.”
She huffed a laugh, sounding as shaky as he felt. “I didn’t know. You’re so damned professional.”
“Fuck, if you knew!” He’d kept rigid control of his desire for her. But watching her and wanting her over the last three months had driven him crazy. The first month, he and his team had done research. Shadowed the staff, gone out in the field, conducted questionnaires. He’d known then that he couldn’t work with her around, and although he’d planned to shadow her, he couldn’t do it.
Now he had her. He bent his head and they shared another long, luscious kiss. Drawing her closer, he spread his hands over her back, tracing the indent of her spine. He had to kiss all the way down it. Now. He stroked, felt her responsive shiver, and knew he had her permission.
He nibbled her neck just behind her ear and carried on when her muscles tightened, pausing at the base of her throat when she gasped and stretched her neck to give him better access. Paused to nibble and lick, to tease the sweet hollow he found there.
She loosened her grip on his arms, rubbed her hands up and down, around his neck and into his hair, ruffling it. Her fingers massaged his scalp with a sensuality that made him moan.
Her blouse buttoned at the front. One, two, three and he’d undone enough to see her bra, a smooth expanse of satin, lightly padded. When he slid his fingers inside, he touched her nipple, puckered and hard, ready for him. He wanted to see it, to taste it. He gave a soft “umph” of approval and pleasure. “Did you think ahead, sweet Lacey? Put on something padded because you knew you’d react to me? Get hard like this?” He tweaked again, loving it when she gasped.
“Something like that.” Her breathless voice urged him to explore more. He pushed down the soft bra cup and lowered his head to take her nipple into his mouth. Like a pretty rosebud, deep pink and crinkled.
Sensation exploded over his tongue. The way the peak hardened even more, the tip pushing into his tongue, insisting on attention. He gave it willingly, sucked hard, taking her soft flesh, wanting more. He wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her close but allowing her to arch back enough to thrust her breast up. Nothing would stop him now. Nothing. He stroked down her body to the sweet indent of her waist, the curve of her ass, and swept back up to find the zipper of her skirt.
She was the first to register the meaning of the quiet click, jerking up in his arms. Since it was followed by an explosive, “Mom! What the hell are you doing?” 

Sunshine on Chrome from Ellora's Cave
Can Lacey walk away from it all with sexy biker Verill?
Order Page:
ISBN: 9781419931413