The first and foremost distraction I must guard against is dresses. I'm a dress aficionado and have been since I could crawl into my baptismal gown--a lovely little white number with crocheted rosettes. I adore dresses, and when I'm writing and need a break, guess what I do? Yep, I go dress shopping online. I rarely ever actually buy a dress, but I can sit and stare at the pretty sparkles and posh fabrics for hours. Today I was searching for something on Yahoo that was completely unrelated to dresses, and an article popped up about Princess Diana's spare dress. What? A spare dress, you say? Why, I wonder what that looks like?
So I clicked on the link to find out.
I read the article, which I found fascinating and which you can read by clicking here, and before I could stop myself, I'd clicked on a link to a slide show of royal wedding dresses through the years, which is here if you want to see it. I could go on all day about these dresses, and that's the problem. You could stand a naked man with a million dollars in one hand and a diamond ring in the other in front of me, but if I hear the crinkle of the folding of taffeta seven miles away in a bridal shop, he's gonna have to stand in line for my attention.
Speaking of needing attention, my second sure-fire distraction is my cats. They climb all over me when I'm typing, and most of the time at least one of them is sitting in front of my computer monitor or nibbling my fingers as I type. Sometimes they tag team me, with one sitting in front of the monitor while the other dances on my keyboard. The most fun is when they sneeze on the monitor or do the butt-dancing thing where they lift their rears to get a good back scratch and their little butts rub across my computer screen. I can't tell you how interesting that's turned out to be in the past. It's all good, though, because I just blame my little leaky-butted, emotionally needy felines for all the typos you see in my blog posts.
Which leads me to my last sure-fire distraction--blogging. I love it, and even when I'm supposed to be doing other things, like bathing, exercising, fixing dinner, doing laundry, typing around my cats, dress shopping online, etc., I'm always thinking about my blog posts. I post on about 4-5 blogs, so I've always got ideas clattering around in my head. As a matter of fact, I think that anymore I even think in blog posts, at least when I'm not daydreaming about, well, er, never you mind what I daydream about. You get the idea.
So there you have it. Three things that you didn't know would sure-firedly distract Cameo. What about you? Do share!
"Nicole North’s Laird of Darkness is a historical, highland, fae romance. Yes, all three wrapped into one tantalizing tale. Sexy and seductive, Duncan MacDougall is such a compelling character that I found myself hoping from the beginning that he was a “good guy” after all. I wish there would’ve been more in the book about his fae background but really the “fae” part of his character plays a very small part. There were several background characters, but Duncan and Alana dominate the story in such a way that the rest of the world disappears. Their love story is filled with sweet emotion and steamy sex you can’t help but want them together forever. Fast-paced and sensual, the only thing that could make it better was if it was longer. I’m not sure if there is going to be a follow up to Laird of Darkness, but I would be first in line to read more from this story.
Laird Duncan MacDougall is haunted by nightmares that leave him marred with bites and scratches from creatures he is helpless to stop without the magical bow & arrows that his half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren possesses.
Unfortunately Kinnon is also Duncan’s enemy, cursed by their mother to never be able to set foot upon each other’s lands, obtaining the bow has been a near impossible feat. When Duncan kidnaps Kinnon’s intended bride, Lady Alana Forbes, Duncan believes he has the one thing that will finally get the magical bow into his hands. Holding Lady Alana as hostage, he offers a trade to his half-brother: the bow in exchange for Kinnon’s beautiful bride to be.
What Duncan didn’t plan for was his feelings for Alana. Duncan finds himself helpless against the draw of Alana’s beauty and challenging personality. If only she wasn’t promised to his half-brother, he would keep her for himself, for her inner peace and “light” could be the saving grace that he needs. She’s never met her intended husband, Kinnon MacClaren and can only hope that he is not only handsome, but a generous lover. While not proper for her to be experienced, she is no virgin and desires a man that can satisfy her needs in the bedchamber. On the way to Claren Castle, Alana is kidnapped and taken hostage by a seductive and sexy man with magical abilities. Finding out the man is half-fae and also the half-brother of her future husband does nothing to keep her from wanting him. While she knows her body wants him, is he truly what her heart desires? Can Alana become more than a pawn in the middle of a battle between brothers? Or will the brothers’ hatred of each other take the decision out of her hands?" --Rhonda Valverde http://www.vampireromancebooks.com/
"Another fine read from Carina Press. Duncan MacDougall is a Highland Laird with a kick, he is half Fae, and while that gives him some other worldly powers, he is also cursed to be haunted and attacked by Otherworld creatures during the dark of night. What a total bummer. Doesn't seem to interfere with his extreme prowess in bed however, luckily for the heroine.
Lady Alana Forbes is on her way to marry a man she has never met, common back in medieval times. On her way there, she has the misfortune (or turns out, fortune) to come across Duncan MacDougall. As soon as he finds out she is going to marry Kinnon MacClaren, his half-brother and mortal enemy, Duncan hatches a cunning plan. For Duncan desires and desperately needs Kinnon's magical bow and quiver, the only thing that will keep the Otherworld creatures at bay.
Stopping by a loch, Alana hopes her unseen husband is handsome and kind, and good in bed. Almost as if she conjured up such a man, Duncan appears, and promptly saves her life from some wayward kelpies by using his fae magic. Alana is very impressed by the physical specimen in front of her, and she gets an eyeful. As soon as Duncan ascertains who she is and where she is heading, he abducts her and takes her back to his castle. As filled with fury as Alana is to be bartered for the quiver and bow, she cannot deny Duncan is very appealing, seeing he is nude a lot of the time in order to shift into invisibility. And Duncan certainly cannot hide his interest. Torn between scratching his eyes out or jumping his bones, Alana finds it difficult to keep her hands to herself. A few innocent touches explodes into passion, and the two are soon tumbling in Duncan's bed.
The love scenes are sizzling hot, and both find they are feeling more than desire. Especially when Duncan reveals his past, and the creatures that haunt him. Alana is none to pleased to find out her husband to be is also half-fae. But regardless for her concerns over the fae blood, Duncan has touched her heart. Kinnon hears from his escaped men that Alana is indeed a beauty, be damned if he will let Duncan have her. Things move at a brisk pace to the conclusion, the narrative moving along to the end with a few surprising twists and turns along the way. Duncan was a wonderful hero. Tender, loving and passionate, and ultimately honorable. Sexy as all get out. A lot of the story is from his POV, which I loved. Is Kinnon quite the villain Duncan believes him to be and vise versa? If you love a little magical fantasy mixed in with your Highlander romantic/erotic adventure, this very good and highly readable novella is right up your alley."
~Karyn at The Romanorum
1. Hulu.com – I don’t have cable and I think we only have one or two basic channels so I’ve never been a big television watcher. However, since discovering hulu.com I’m a bit of a junkie at times. I get to watch shows like Human Target and Bones when I choose! Watching Mark Valley and David Boreanaz are good for research though…or at least that’s what I tell myself.
2. My Kindle – Part of writing means socializing on online networks etc. which means I’m introduced to more books now than before I was a writer. And ever since I got the Kindle for Christmas it’s been so much easier to feed my addiction to books. Now I get my books delivered instantly. The only bad thing is my TBR pile has grown crazy big and I never seem to put a dent in it.
3. My husband – His work schedule isn’t always typical so when he’s home during my regular work hours, he likes to distract me. And not always intentionally. If I can’t concentrate on a scene or feel like slacking off, having him there is the perfect excuse to not work. I’ll drag him to see a movie or for a stroll downtown to a deli I’m obsessed with. I can’t claim any of this is for research but it’s usually a nice break.
4. The Sun – I work from home and my office is attached to our back deck which means I get lots of wonderful natural sunlight streaming through the sliding glass doors. In the summer months around noon I start to get antsy seeing all that brilliant light and just can’t help myself. So I’ll usually take a half hour mental break listening to my iPod and soaking up those rays.
These are my four sure-fire distractions. Luckily I don’t get distracted that often or I’d never get anything done!
What are your favorite distractions? Since Nicole has been cool enough to let me blog here today I’m offering a digital copy of Dangerous Secrets to one commenter who answers my question. I’ll choose the winner from a random number generator after 12 (noon) Eastern tomorrow and announce it in the comments section.
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Dangerous Secrets by Katie Reus is now available from Carina Press.
Isabelle Ballantine has been fighting for independence since she was old enough to walk. Now that she's finally out from under her father's shadow, she won't let anyone stand in her way. It's tough living on her own, working in a bar and keeping her true identity a secret, but things start to look up when a sexy new stranger walks into her life. After working side by side for weeks, Izzy can't figure out why he won't make a move.
To cinch the deal of a lifetime, Adam Marcellus agrees to help Izzy's eccentric father convince his daughter to move home. He'd assumed Izzy would be another spoiled rich princess, but he's surprised to discover his feelings for her are stronger than anything he's ever experienced. When a deranged stalker targets her, Adam finds himself fighting not only an unknown threat—but an unexpected attraction to the one woman he can't have.
Katie Reus has been reading romance since she was a kid and the addiction stayed with her into adulthood. She writes sexy paranormal romance and fast-paced romantic suspense. Dangerous Secrets released from Carina Press last month and in February 2012, her first book in a paranormal trilogy will release from Signet Eclipse (NAL/Penguin). If you’d like to learn more about her please visit her website, blog, or find her on twitter @katiereus.
I did find one thing which helps me to be not quite so distracted by the internet. No. I don't turn it off. No. I don't have a computer without wireless access. Are you crazy?? LOL But I did find Focus Booster. It's a little timer you download to your computer. It counts down 25 minutes of productive time. Then gives you a 5 minute break. I've found that by knowing those 5 minutes are coming, I can concentrate completely on my writing for those 25 minutes. (And I'm always amazed how fast those 25 minutes go!) Then I can hop on my e-mail, or twitter, or whatever for those 5 minutes, before I go back to another 25 minute writing stint.
And speaking of Twitter... While I've never figured out how to manuever around Facebook very well, I've been having fun with Twitter. I can find lots of things to say in less than 140 characters. And I'm able to follow other people's tweets within a short block of time (say, 5 minutes) as well. It can be a distraction, but as long as I have my Focus Booster up, it's not too bad. In fact, I'd love more followers. (No! I don't consider them a distraction!) I'm natashamoore on Twitter, if you want to look me up :)
I could go on about the distraction of television, but I honestly don't have too many shows that pull me away from the computer. I am an American Idol junkie. I DVR Bones and The Mentalist because I love the characters. But AI is the only show I stop writing for. And it's only on from January to May, so it's not toooo bad.
And I can't forget eye candy. Now, this is not a distraction I mind having, but searching for the perfect eye candy to inspire my writing and to share with my beloved Fierce Romance readers can sometimes be considered a distraction. One I'm certainly not willing to give up.
I guess I'll stop there because I don't want to get too depressed. My family and house need to have their time as well, but I can't really call them distractions. Reading has its place too, necessary in the scheme of things. They're part of life.
Luckily, even with all these distractions, I manage to get my pages done every day. And I've found the more I write, the more I have invested in my characters and their story, the less there is to distract me. The story matters more.
Entertainment – Well, I grew up without a TV. That's my claim to fame. Lol. The interesting thing is that, to this day, I don't watch TV. I simply don't think of doing it. My sisters don't watch TV. My brothers watch sports, but not much else.
I do have gaps in my cultural knowledge and, as a schoolgirl, I sometimes felt deprived because I didn't know the shows the other kids did. But, on the whole, I'm glad I never got addicted. Occasionally, I hear about things that I think I would have enjoyed watching, but I get over it pretty quickly. The other negative is that I don't have much patience for movies. So I still have gaps in my cultural knowledge!
On the plus side, I learned the pleasure of reading. (Of course, one can have both.) In my childhood, the one thing my parents allowed us to buy without restriction was books. We got those Scholastic book orders in school about four times a year, and I can think of few things that thrilled me more. I could buy as many books as I wanted! That was riches. And when the books arrived - An even bigger thrill!
A Skill I Wish I had – Cooking. I just don't have a big interest in food. I can eat the same few things over and over (unfortunately, not all of them healthy, lol). I try to tell myself this is a good trait. In primitive times, every tribe needed someone who wasn't interested in experimenting. That person would be the one to avoid group poisoning from some new plant they'd foraged (though she might die of starvation).
But in this century, I do love to entertain, and it's a handicap when you're not a good cook. I'm adequate. People accept my invitations, but I wish I were better. Still, I know I never will be because it's not an undertaking that interests me enough. I have one daughter who loves to cook. I watch her zip around the kitchen, forage in the grocery story for new products, print thousands of pages of recipes off the internet (and I'm not exaggerating), buy gadgets and pans of all shapes and on and on. It just enthralls her. I don't know where she came from.
I’m pretty much an open book. So anything that I share here may have been read somewhere else or, heck, even here. LOL.
Let’s see… let’s start with the personal life.
My husband and I separated a little over a year ago. During that year, my sister separated from her husband. She and her son moved in with me in my tiny 900 square foot apartment. That was a crazy, crazy few months, but we helped each other out, and I’m so glad she was there. If she hadn’t been, I don’t know what I would have done that month I was bedridden and could do nothing more than hobble to the bathroom. God, that month sucked.
A few months after my sister moved in, my best friend also separated from her husband. So the three of us were struggling to figure out how to make ends meet, I was recovering from surgery, my sister was looking for a job after being laid off, and my best friend had this huge house she wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage on alone. There was only one possible solution to all of our problems.
We now share my best friend’s 3,600 square foot house. Between the three of us, we have six kids. We have a total Brady Bunch/Full House vibe going on in this place, lol. Luckily, there is only one night a week that all of us are here together. Can you believe that? We were very lucky our schedules with the kids and work schedules worked out the way it did.
Is this a permanent living situation? No. But for right now it is perfect for us. My kids have their own room and a huge yard to play in. However, I’m pretty sure they will miss the pool from the apartment this summer.
The non-Esmerelda job life.
During the day, I keep my nephew while my sister works. I was writing articles to make my monthly income before she went back to work. But to be honest, I hated every second of it. I’m a fiction writer, not an article writer. Their rules went against everything we are taught as fiction writers. AND it affected my real writing. By the time I’d written the articles I needed for the day, I was all written out and the thought of pulling out the WIP didn’t appeal to me. So I resented the “day job” even more. Then sis landed an awesome job and needed someone to watch her son. Since he is autistic, a daycare center was out of the question because he has special school twice a week, therapy etc, that he had to go to. So I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did. I love the time I spend with him. I’m his GeeGee.
Three nights a week I work at a glow-in-the-dark mini golf place. It gets me out of the house, which I need desperately at times, and it’s the easiest job ever. I long-hand write or, gasp, read (I used to never have time to read) during my shifts. It is uber-slow during the week. Saturday’s is a completely different story. We are slammed, you don’t get to sit down for more than 5 minutes the entire shift. Still easy, except for the occasional obnoxious teenager that strolls in. And boy can some of those kids be real snot-noses.
I’m addicted to Jersey Shore. I know. I know. But I can’t help it. Jersey Shore is my train wreck that I can’t help but rubberneck at. The show is like a soap opera. I’m all up in Snooki’s business. I’m all about Snooki and Vinnie getting together. I love watching the Ron and Sammy chaos. JWow kicks ass. And The Situation cracks me up. The only ones I’m not huge on are Deena and PaulyD. I look forward each week to some mindless entertainment.
So that is three things about the non-writer me:)
One of the first erotic novels I ever read was Entertaining Mr. Stone by Portia Da Costa. I loved it! It was so fresh and different from what I had been reading – and hot?? OMG! I have to admit that the first fan letter I ever wrote to an author was to Portia after I finished that book. I’m so pleased to now be able to call her a friend of mine and to invite her to talk with us at Fierce Romance.
Portia, please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! Very nice to be here at Fierce Romance. I'm Portia Da Costa and I've been writing romance, erotic romance and erotica for around 25 years now, 20 of those years as a published author. I've had about 30 books and novellas published for a variety of publishers and under quite a few different pseudonyms, as well as over a hundred short stories in magazines and anthologies. I'm best known, I think, for the books I wrote for Virgin Black Lace, but I'm now loving being an author for Samhain Publishing, Spice Briefs, and in 2012, Harlequin Spice. I've mainly written contemporary set stories, but I've also written a few with paranormal themes, and now I'm writing historicals too.
When I'm not writing, I love to watch television - lots of television! - and naturally, I'm a voracious reader too. I live in West Yorkshire, in the UK, with my long-suffering husband and my adored and adorable cats.
Speaking of television, I know you and I are both huge Simon Baker fans! I’m excited that we now write for the same publisher. Tell us about your latest book.
FAR FROM PERFECT is my first title for Samhain Publishing and I'm absolutely thrilled to be published by them. It's a lightish and fairly sensual contemporary romance, that's category length, and "category" in tone and storyline. I've been working on FAR FROM PERFECT on and off for quite a few years actually, but the moment's never been right to publish it, because I've always been so busy with my more erotic writing, and my commitments to various publishers. I never felt I had the time to do the book real justice. But recently, it *did* feel like the right time to complete it and hone it and polish it to the best of my ability, and the work paid off when I submitted it to Samhain and they accepted it.
FAR FROM PERFECT is a blend of several of my most loved romance themes. The hero and heroine have known each other since Anna, the heroine's, childhood, so that makes it a kind of "friends to lovers" story. The twists of the plot means that they've shared passion once already, but even though the experience was blissful, the aftermath was an emotional disaster, and the two have been estranged for several years as the book opens. However, Nick, the glamorous Italian hero, has a scheme that involves them getting together again, in an "engagement of convenience". He's the first to admit that his motivations are complex, and even though on the face of it the engagement is a ruse to lift the spirits of his seriously ill father, underneath, Nick realizes he's only been waiting for an excuse to court and be close to Anna again. Anna, for her part, is both wary and initially reluctant, but she quickly follows her sense of duty and doing the right thing. Plus, there's no way she can deny that she's still fierily attracted to Nick. These two are both incredibly strong willed and passionate characters, so their passage through the story is chock full of emotional fireworks, wild desire and furious conflict. But of course they do get happily together in the end after this crazy, bumpy ride.
I loved FAR FROM PEREFCT. Great sexual tension and characterization. But then I’m not surprised at all. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I'm not sure, really. Perhaps some readers might not realize how long I've been an author, and also, only the other day, I encountered someone who was surprised to learn that I'm British. Some readers might also be surprised by the fact that even though I'm best known for writing erotica, I have had a couple of sweeter romances published under the pseudonym MEGAN PAUL - NO SWEETER CONFLICT and FORBIDDEN.
See, now I never knew about your Megan Paul persona. Do you have any rituals you follow when writing?
No particular rituals, but I do like to get some of the day's "admin" type chores out of the way before I settle down to writing fiction, as well as do a little bit of exercise to stop me turning into a potato. Although those might just be classed as a form of procrastination. :)
I should do more of that exercise procrastination! Most people think a writer’s life is really glamorous. What’s the least glamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?
Oh, emptying the kitty litter tray, most certainly. Ewwww!
The things we’ll do for our kitties! If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be & why?
That's a very tough one. I'm a very different person to my characters as a rule, although I do share their values and general outlook on life. Most of them are considerably younger than me, so I doubt if I'd have the energy these days to get up to all the high jinks some of them enjoy. Having said that, it might be fun to be Anna from FAR FROM PERFECT. Despite the emotional baggage she carries with her from her run in with Nick in the past, she's a sensible and optimistic young woman who throws herself full throttle into life. She has a loving father, friends and relations. She runs a business of her own that she's making a success of through hard work, and she lives in London, a city that I love. And then, of course, as domineering and difficult as he is, the most gorgeous and sexy man she's ever met walks back into her life. Yes, I wouldn't mind being Anna for day. Or perhaps a night? ;)
If you had to choose one of your books to turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
LOL! Most of my books would be a bit difficult to make into mainstream movies because a lot of them have a high percentage of wild, kinky sex in them. They'd probably have to be art house, with a limited release. I think FAR FROM PERFECT might make a fun "chick flick" though, possibly even a "rom-com" to a certain extent, because I've tried to instill a degree of wry humour into it that the right director could probably bring out. Plus, it has wonderful London as it's setting, as well as a brief trip to Italy, complete with a stay at a gorgeous villa.
My forthcoming Spice novel, IN THE FLESH, would make a good movie too, with it's lush Victorian setting and scope for amazing period costumes. It's also got a fairly filmic storyline, with elements in common with "Indecent Proposal" and even a tiny bit of "Wuthering Heights" and perhaps a hint of "Upstairs Downstairs". I think with some careful handling of the sex scenes, it would make a grand but quite fun emotion driven costume drama along the lines of "An Ideal Husband" or "The Importance of Being Earnest".
I’d love to watch those movies! What do you think is the most difficult thing about being an author?
I think there are lots of fairly difficult things about being an author, but, *because* they are difficult, that's exactly what makes the job so very rewarding. Ultimately, there's a real sense of achievement in completing a piece of work, and a genuine elation when you receive feedback from readers and discover that your creation has provided them with enjoyment.
Being an author is sometimes tough because it involves long hours, and you never really turn off. Plots and characters play through your mind most of the time, and knotty problems absorb your thoughts and sometimes cut you off from reality and the simple pleasure of relaxation. There's also, often, a sense of frustration with your own limitations. We all strive and strive to improve our work, and when we get to one level, there's always a new, higher level of accomplishment to struggle towards. But, having said that, there's huge joy in writing and I don't think I'd ever want to do anything else!
I so agree! What element of story creation is your favorite? (Characters, settings, plots, etc.?) And why?
Oh, characters, characters, characters. I just love creating and getting to know my story people. I love that special moment when they seem to become real and take on a mind and a life all of their own. It's especially fantastic when they surprise you with ideas and character traits that are completely outside of what you'd originally envisaged for them. That just feels like magic.
I can’t wait for more Portia Da Costa stories! What’s next for you?
My next publication is another from Samhain Publishing, a light paranormal erotic novella called A TOUCH OF HEAVEN, that's due for release in July. It's the story of Miranda, a middle aged woman, living alone, who becomes involved with the beautiful and mysterious younger man who moves in next door to house-sit. Gorgeous Patrick has a fondness for sunbathing naked, and his angelic touch with therapeutic massage is so delicious that one thing inevitably leads to another.
I've also got another Spice Brief coming out a bit later in the year, in September. This one's called ANOTHER CHANCE, and it's a naughty but quite poignant BDSM story that's loosely linked to my first ever Spice Brief, CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.
I also have short stories in a few anthologies this year, including FIRE AND ICE in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance, and CONCUBINE in Obsessed.
I'm looking forward to these! Where can our readers find out more about you?
My web site - http://www.portiadacosta.com - has information about all my current and forthcoming titles, plus a wide selection of my backlist. There are excerpts available there for almost all the books listed, so lots of opportunity to sample my writing. I also have a blog - http://wendyportia.blogspot.com - although I'd be the first to admit that I'm not a regular blogger. There are some "pages" there that might be interesting though, including a list of all my Kindle titles, a list of my forthcoming titles and projects, and a page all about my lovely cats! I also hang out on Twitter a lot and my username is @PortiaDaCosta. I tend to tweet about life, the universe and everything there, with a bit of publication news every now and again. I'm also on Facebook and Goodreads, although I'm not particularly active on the former. Twitter is your best bet for keeping up with what's happening with me.
I admit to hanging out on Twitter with you quite often. While you’re here at Fierce Romance, is there a question you’d like to ask our readers?
Yes, I wonder what the general feeling amongst readers is about authors who switch to writing in different genres, or write in multiple genres? This is inspired by my own situation, of course. Even though I've written romance under another nom de plum, when writing as Portia Da Costa, I'm best known for my women's erotica and erotic romance - first for Black Lace, and now for Spice Briefs. But FAR FROM PERFECT *isn't* erotica. It's very sensual, but it's not graphic and there's none of the full on eroticism or kink that's part of my best known work. What I'd like to ask is whether readers who've enjoyed my erotic writing would be prepared to try something with a slightly lower heat level from me, because they like my voice and my writing style? I'd also extend the question to cover writers in general, not just me. For myself, I've no intention of giving up writing erotic/kinky stories/novellas/books, but I would like to write in a wider range of heats and styles, and I hope that my readers will enjoy *all* my writing not just the super hot stuff. :)
Many, many thanks for inviting me to visit Fierce Romance. Answering the questions has been a lot of fun!
Today is the release day for Laird of Darkness! And I just received a new review from Tanya at Among The Muses! Thanks so much, Tanya, for the awesome review and for allowing me to quote you here!
"The Laird of Darkness is a creatively fun, heart-warming, pulse racing, crafted story of a sexy, misunderstood highland hero and one heroine who is more than what she seems.
Lady Alana Forbes is on her way to meet her betrothed when she is surprised by a devilishly handsome stranger; dark, mysterious, and oh-so-naked. After learning who she is and where she's headed, Laird Duncan MacDougall can't pass up the opportunity to use the light-haired beauty to his advantage. He decides to take Alana and her traveling party hostage to use as a bargaining chip.
Half-Fae Duncan, has been seeking a way to gain the magical bow and arrows from his half-brother Laird Kinnon MacClaren, who's also half-Fae. For the magical arrows are the only thing that can save Duncan from a lifetime of perilous dreams of Underworld creatures who's nighttime attacks are more real than fiction. However, there's something much more tempting standing in his path of the perfect revenge and attaining his goal of freedom from the otherworldly creatures.
Lady Alana Forbes is beyond tempting to Duncan, and despite his reputation as the Laird of Darkness, Duncan is more compassionate than what he's been made out to be. Not to mention, he's quite enticing to Alana as well.
The non-virgin heroine tries just as hard as the Laird of Darkness to not give into temptation, but passion is what they both seek -- and almost need. The pleasure they find in one another causes them both to question their duty and original goals and plans.
Nicole North brings a great, fast paced, uniquely crafted, highly sensual story in a matter of just over one-hundred pages. She's brought a uniqueness to the Highlander table in the creation of the Laird of Darkness. Half-Fae brothers who are lifelong enemies, each possessing different supernatural powers, is only one aspect of Ms. North weaving paranormal elements into an erotic historical highland story. Lady Alana Forbes is also more than what she seems.
While it's often hard to get a true sense of the characters in short novellas, Ms. North is able to move them pretty fast, I personally feel, from the fact that Lady Alana is not a virgin. She's the one that initiates the sexual interaction between her and Duncan (which is a great turn of events from most highland/historical stories). She's bold in her actions and her sensuality causing the 'action' to move forward quickly. And, the well developed sexual tension and erotic scenes are what really bring this couple together.
My "wish list" items for this novella are first off, I would have loved for it to have been longer; the world and the relationships a little more explored!! While the relationship between Alana and Duncan is wrapped up, it contained so many unique supernatural elements that I would loved to have known more about them, the clans people and their knowledge of the two supernatural Lairds, and the back story of the two Lairds mother and the dynamic family structure. Next, I would have loved to know more about Alana and her uniqueness! She also possesses something (I'm excluding what due to not giving away spoilers) that I want to know more about. I would have also loved to see the outcome between the two Lairds after the climax of the story.
What readers can expect to find between the covers is a handsome, dark, misunderstood, vulnerable hero who finds passion and a sense of peace in the arms of his light-haired heroine, uniquely crafted Lairds who possess diverse powers and a deep hatred for one another, and of course, highly sensual characters who heat up the pages in some very erotic scenes!
Nicole North has created a well written, fast paced, erotic, heart warming, pulse-racing, creatively fun, novella addition for the Highlander sub-genre. Her love and knowledge of Scotland comes through in details, and her fun spin on characters makes Laird of Darkness a very quick, engaging read. I would really love to see this world and characters revisited to find out more to my left over questions!" ~Tanya at Among the Muses.
Thanks again, Tanya! And I want to add here that I'm working on the next story in this series which features Kinnon, the half-brother of Duncan, so we'll get to see whether the brothers will continue to hate each other, or whether they can come to some sort of truce.
Tanya was also wonderful to interview me! Please visit Among the Muses on March 22 for this feature.
Okay, I admit it—I love a strong, take-charge guy as much as the next girl. Especially when he’s fictional. Alpha males, fictional or not, fulfill that evolutionary desire for a mate that will protect and provide. You know, that desire modern women aren’t supposed to admit to having. Shhh…it’s our little secret and one reason that type of man is so popular in romance novels.
I mean, when they aren’t our men, they’re sexy as hell. They swoop in to rescue the girl. They’re crazy good in bed. More often than not, they’re rich (or at least have a decent job). They probably even want kids (you know to keep those amazing genes of theirs going into the next generation). Who cares if they’re gruff, sometimes violent without cause, and likely to have periods where they try to brush off the heroine because it wouldn’t be manly to want her as much as she wants him.
Now, like I said, this isn’t really a dissing of alpha heroes because I do love them. I use them in some of my work. However, not every world needs an alpha hero, and certainly not every heroine wants one.
A recent review of Badlands commented on the fact that Spencer isn’t an alpha hero and that the reviewer found it refreshing. I mean, poor Spencer starts out in debt and struggling to just get by. But he’s a good guy and a great leader…just not a physical one. He’s the type who doesn’t go looking for a fight, but he knows how to use weapons if he’s forced to.
In short, he’s the only kind of man who could win the heart of an alpha heroine. Badlands is a lot about role reversal. Ever is a warrior woman with no time or tolerance for love. Sex sure, but love? Uh uh. She comes from a land ruled by women where a good portion of the men are criminals (or rehabilitated criminals). She’d rather fight than talk, and doesn’t put a lot of stock in girly things.
Put an alpha male with her and sure, sparks might fly, but they aren’t going to start a fire. It’d be like banging two rocks together with nothing to hold the flame. So, for that story in that world…an alpha hero would have been all fighting and sex with no room for romance.
That isn’t to say there will never be alpha heroes for any of the women in the Badlands, just not for Ever. And to me, that’s a better reflection of reality. Strong women and strong men are well suited for each other, but they don’t need to be strong in the same ways. Considering the next heroine in line uses her brain more than her brawn, she’s in for one hell of a time when she meets her man.
I’m curious, what do you think? Is the alpha hero the only way to go? Is he becoming a genre cliché? Or is there room in romance for all kinds of heroes?
Seleste deLaney is a writer of speculative romance. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
What better day to talk about luck than St. Patrick's Day?
Today's post will be short and sweet because all I'm going to do is list the things that make me feel lucky. Here we go:
1. I have my health.
2. My husband still says he loves me every day and still holds my hand without prompting.
3. I can write, and not just books and such. I can communicate with friends and family and others in general with the written word.
4. I can read. Not everyone can, and it's a blessing as well as a key tool to living day-to-day.
5. I live in a time when, even though some feel technology has gotten out of hand, it has become possible to stay connected with loved ones in a way never before possible.
What about you? What makes you feel lucky on this wonderful traditional day? Please do share in the comments section. Until then, Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck o' the Irish be with ye.
Review for Laird of Darkness by Nicole North
Steamy Highland Romp!
"I LOVE Scottish heroes. And making this one half-Fae and having him look like the guy on the cover may have made me a little biased, but this was a really fun one for me. Of course our hero, Duncan, is dead sexy. But Alana, our heroine, is compelling as well. She's no wilting little miss. She wants a man who can fulfill her needs (yep, those kind of needs) and isn't afraid to fight for him. Without giving too much away, she was a breath of fresh air and a welcome departure from many of the more typical historical heroines I've read in the past. Plus, you've got action (the good kind and the really good kind), paranormal elements and a bit of a love triangle. I breezed through it in a single sitting and was thoroughly entertained. I look forward to more from Nicole North!" ~Christine Bell author of The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale
"When I first saw Laird of Darkness for review in Carina Press, I couldn’t help but think of my childhood hero, Highlander. The picture on the book definitely reminds me of that.
But this story is not about Highlander, but it’s some sort of an adult fairy tales, involving fight and betrayal between brothers, forbidden love as well as fiery passion.
If you’re a fantasy book lover, you would not want to miss Laird of Darkness. It does not dissapoint me and I’m sure it won’t disappoint you either.
It’s very well written and very inspiring. The passion in this story is almost devastatingly real." ~ Cleffairy
Devlin’s Destiny is a story about a woman who is transported into her favorite romance novel and takes the place of the story’s heroine. So it only felt natural for me to name MY novella off the fictional book in the story.
BTW--got my first review from Sizzling Hot Books Reviews. I’m verra (as Devlin would say) pleased. Here are a couple of snippets:
Are parallel worlds/universes possible? If so, who’s to say if ours it the true one? Or is the fiction world true as well? When Gabby gets pulled into her favorite book, Devlin’s Destiny , she doesn’t know what to think. Except that she isn’t going to be the quiet, weak heroine that was originally written!
Devlin’s Destiny is a cool concept! Who among us doesn’t what to change something or someone in books we read from time to time?
Devlin’s Destiny may be short, but is very good and well done. I loved that Gabby’s mental image of Devlin and how he really looked were not the same. None of us ‘see’ things the same in our heads or describe the same picture the same way, and I thought this was a great technique for Gabby to realize that she was not dreaming.
Devlin’s Destiny is a fast read of a clever idea. Most of us have wanted to change part of a book/story at one time or another. But the idea may not be as easy as it first sounds. Being trapped in a story where the other characters have to act out their set roles until you change the script would challenge anyone. Esmerelda Bishop not only made this idea work, she even got me involved/concerned in Gabby’s struggle. And Devlin’s Destiny ends up being well worth our time as well as entertaining.
You can read the entire review here:
You can purchase Devlin's Destiny at:
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks
I’d also like to giveaway a copy of Devlin’s Destiny. All you have to do it leave a comment and I’ll draw a winner.
Drawn to the handsome doctor who promises her heal her sexually and physically.
Can he purge the poison from her body and her soul?
Here is an excerpt from my historical erotica romance, TORMENTED.
Click on this link for more information
At her nod he slipped another spoonful between her lips, and some of the custard dripped down her chin. His warm finger swiped it away. Charles’ soft sucking filled her ears before the silence between them resumed.
He’d licked his finger clean. The fire spread higher and claimed her breasts.
Her next swallow freed a giggle.
Charles patted her hands. “Still more?”
Wishing you many happy reading moments,
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
Marcus had been dying to do this for so long, to hold her in his arms and kiss the hell out of her. Kiss her with his lips, his tongue, God, with his entire body. And he couldn’t believe she was letting him, let alone keeping pace and kissing him back with a passion that simply screamed Lia.
He recognized the hunger along her curious tongue, nearly growled at the subtle roll of her hips beneath his hands. Was she ready now? Ready for him, ready for the truth? Would she let him have her, like he should’ve had her years ago—if only he hadn’t gone and f**ked everything up?
Sigh. Poor, troubled Marcus... :)
Have a great weekend, everyone!
First, let me say that this topic was one of those that initiated some unexpected self-discovery, in terms of my writer self at least. I discovered that I write very mature, adult material. So mature and adult, as a matter of fact, that I could barely find seven sentences together that wouldn't have had at least one word that needed censored. That's why I had so darn much trouble finding my seven sentences. I still can't believe my books are so densely adult. It makes me smile just to think of it. lol
In my defense, many of the publishers I write for want the sexy stuff right up front and they want it maintained throughout, so the elements of fiction in my stories are integrated into the mature encounters because they have to be. So see, it's not me. It's my publishers. It is. Really! ROFL
Seducing Gracie is not only the first book I found seven sentences in that I could post, but it's one of my favorites. It was one where I really went "out there" and I loved writing it. Oddly, even though it's very dark, it's one of my bestsellers. I guess there's something strangely appealing about a town filled with damned souls, a kidnapped child, an overly logical detective with a tragic past, and a demon mayor who decides upon meeting his next sacrifice--the detective--that she'd make a better mate than a meal.
Without further adieu, here is my contribution to the topic for the week. As the title of the post says, these sentences are uncensored because they didn't have to be, which, after reading and reading through my books today, is a blessing, no pun intended.
A dream. This all had to be a dream, Gracie rationalized. The violence, the weird little creature dancing and squeaking around the dead woman. The three-headed devil dog. The sexy lunatic with the horns and tail whose gaze never left hers. And her libido surging. Yes, definitely a dream.
A: My upcoming release, Hunting Human, is about a young woman desperately trying to outrun her past. Haunted by the memories of the savage attack that killed her best friend, Beth is doing her best to move forward... with Braden Edwards, a charismatic man that tempts Beth to embrace the present. But the past is closer than she realizes. An old enemy is fast approaching and Braden has been keeping secrets of his own. With suspicion at odds with their attraction Beth and Braden must learn to trust each other if they are to have a chance at a future together.
A review of the novel can be found here.
What inspired this story?
A: It all began with a single scene of a woman running through the woods. From there I wondered what she was running from. That led to me wondering what would happen if she was caught. From there the story continued to spiral out until I had a full plot.
Wow. Interesting! How did your story’s setting impact your plot or characters?
A: The majority of the novel spans three different locations: Portland, the Edwards family home and the Russian wilderness. The Russian wilderness in particular took on a life of its own. It provided the back drop for the events that changed Beth's entire life. The setting was integral to helping me establish the right feel and tone for those scenes. Beth was in the fight of her life and the backdrop to that fight presented further dangers, obstacles and a sense of urgency and menace.
Why did you choose your setting and why was it perfect for your book?
A: I always knew that the setting for my book would be (at least in part) in a heavily wooded area. I chose the Russian wilderness because I happened to be traveling through parts of Europe at the time I was sketching out the opening scenes and the grandeur and immensity of some of the wilderness I saw stuck with me. Those impressions helped to fuel some of the darkest moments of the book.
Fascinating! Which of your characters is most like you? Least like you? And why?
A: This is a really tough question! I don't think I'm very much like any of my characters, though each of them have characteristics that I admire. I love the way that Lucy is always easy going. I love the loyalty and self reliance that makes Beth who she is. Braden has a knack for balancing his impatience and short tempered nature with a soft core and an ability to admit when he's screwed up. Chase has a really dark past but puts his adoptive family first, even if that's not always obvious and I think that's really admirable.
How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Ugh! This is an agonizing process for me. I use name websites and generators and I try to chose names that have meanings that I think fit the characters personalities. But the truth is, at the end of the day, the right name will just feel right when I say it.
Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?
A: Funny story. I originally had a different name in mind for Hunting Human but shortly before I started going through the submissions process I found out it had been done before. So I was left with the task of renaming my project at the last minute. Hunting Human was one of the first titles I tried out and the only one I didn't hate. Since I'd been told that authors generally had little to no say in their titles I decided to run with Hunting Human rather than waste days or weeks trying to come up with something better. Imagine my surprise when the publisher liked the title. Titles and characters names continue to be really difficult for me to come up with.
I love the title. Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: Chase is and has always been my favorite character. He's got a really interesting back story and he's constantly at war with himself. Of all of the Edwards children he's got the longest road ahead of him and I can't wait to take that journey with him.
Which element of story creation is your favorite?
A: Characters are by far my favorite part of story creation - they are also the first thing that becomes solid when I'm in my initial stages of plotting. They influence every aspect of story creation from there on out.
What's next for you?
A: Right now I'm working on a new project completely unrelated to Hunting Human. It's a romantic suspense with strong paranormal elements and I'm really starting to get excited about it. I'm also giving a lot of thought to the next story in the Edwards family saga.
Would you like to ask readers a question?
A: As readers, do you tend to engage with characters or the the events happening to those characters? Which is more important to you?
Thanks for being our guest today, Amanda!
Hunting Human will be released March 28 but it's available for preorder now from Carina Press and other sites.
Please visit Amanda's website at
Our theme this week is 7 sentences from my book. Since I've posted the first chapter of Laird of Darkness at my website, here are the first 7 sentences of chapter two. :)
Duncan lifted Alana higher and higher into the cool evening air, farther from her clansmen. Her stomach flipped and spun, as it had the first time Duncan had performed this flying trick.
She prayed silently, squeezing her eyes closed.
For several seconds, she soared, screaming and wiggling, through the night sky. But Duncan held her arms and legs tightly.
“Be still,” he growled.
How do you feel about dark heroes who do questionable things?
Laird of Darkness is part of the historical romance sale at Carina Press for March.
The book is available for preorder at
First of all, which book? The last release? The first one? The one coming up next? The one I'm working on now?
Then which seven sentences? I'd want the tiny excerpt to give you a taste of the story. But I don't want to give too much away. And a mere seven sentences taken out of context might not make any sense. I quickly realized that seven sentences aren't enough - every snippet I thought about using made me want to give you more than just seven sentences - after all, the ones just before and right after are important too.
But I finally made up my mind. These sentences are from my next release from Samhain. For those of you who had been looking forward to its release March 22nd, I'm sorry to say the date has been pushed out. I'll let you know as soon I have a new release date. Until then, here is the cover and the blurb:
When it comes to sexy and sassy, Piper, the most popular waitress at Ben’s bar, has it all going on. Now that they’re dating, though, Ben wishes she’d dial down the skimpy clothes and flirty attitude, and her habit of dancing around the bar and flashing to her favorite song. Every teasing peek at her body, every laugh at some customer’s lousy joke, is certainly good for business—but it sends his jealousy meter into the red zone.
Sure, they’re dating, but he’s no muscled, tattooed stud with diamonds in his ears. How can he compete, especially when she refuses to even spend the night at his place?
Desperate, Ben books a room at his friend Paolo’s fantasy club, hoping an erotic night in front of a two-way mirror will get her exhibitionist streak out of her system. Praying it won’t prove his greatest fear—that she lives only to show off. And he’s not that special to her at all
And the seven sentences (unedited)from Flaunt It:
She wrapped her fingers around Paolo’s bicep. “But he certainly never told me you would have the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.”
Ben followed them down the hallway, rolling his plain old brown eyes at the nonsense coming out of her mouth. He’d never been the charming type. In his line of work he might have been practiced at small talk, but sweet talk had never been his thing. He’d never thought Piper needed sweet talk. Maybe he was wrong about that too.
Flaunt It will be the first of 4 stories in the Paolo's Playhouse series coming soon from Samhain.
Hellé is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't...
The Devil’s daughter survives a battle with ball lightening and learns her days in Sin City are numbered unless she consumes a precious mineral found only in Hell—the Hell from which she’s been banished.
Three men compete for Hellé’s attention. The first evildoer controls much of Vegas’ development and vows to destroy her. A second rogue as powerful as Satan hopes to dominate her. The third, an irresistible Greek fisherman, wants her until death parts them.
Hellé and her lover, Menlikus, embark on separate dangerous journeys with a common purpose. Their lives hinge on the cooperation of two persons—one who’s betrayed Hellé’s friendship, and one she doesn’t believe exists.
Click here for another excerpt and more information
Excerpt -- To Hellé and Back Again (Ellora's Cave Exotika)
The dark-blue glass clung to my fingers. Each cycle of Van’s menacing words burrowed them deeper into my gray matter. Wispy fog floated in front of my eyes. Stench such as that from sulfur deposits clogged my nostrils and throat and coated my tongue.
“You feel like watching?” Van turned and flashed me a fanged grin.
I’d missed the latest sale at Saks due to this graveside agenda but Van missed a conscience and good manners from birth. “I’ve seen far more horrendous sights when in Hell.”
“Come over here to the portal.” Van stared us down.
At reaching the narrow trench I stepped away while Van posed Men with his feet close the burial mound, straddling the open ground.
Now to see if Van possessed the ability to read minds. No sense going any further with this game if he did. The blackness behind my closed lids formed a swirling vortex. The Brekennium barrier—a protective shield that prevented brainwashing and mind-reading and was possessed by only by Satan and his offspring—lifted around my brain. Only by intense focusing could we hellish beings temporarily remove and later reconstruct this unique magnetic field inside our skulls.
Menlikus is far sexier than you. You couldn’t do me a hundredth as well or as deep.
With my eyes open I concentrated on Van’s closed lips and recycled the thought.
Not a single twitch.
Fang-Face heaved a breath toward the close-to-midnight sky. “Are you finished praying or whatever it was you were doing?”
Van wasn’t a mind-reader. Or if he was, one of my precious powers still remained—I could prevent others from getting inside my head and learning my thoughts.
Without answering I squeezed Men’s hand. “Quite.”
Caught in the moon’s glow, the claw on Van’s forefinger shone bluish-white. “Not so close to him. I have to prepare the Skave zone.”
Men and I shrugged.
From the pouch positioned near where the knife lay buried to its handle in dirt, Van removed a small cloth bundle. After laying it on his left palm he unfolded the edges until all four corners hung over his hand. His right thumb and forefinger sank into the pile of reddish-brown powder and pinched together. He dusted the faintly sweet-smelling dust onto his tongue and took another measured portion between his fingers. Three times he performed the ritual, bending over the furrow and sifting the powder into the opening. A sneeze teased the back of my throat. I closed my fingers over my nostrils and caught the outburst but pitched forward. On removing my fingers the air in front of my face lay heavier than that a couple inches behind me. Cloying citrus-sweetness soothed the thumping in my temples and unknotted the muscles in the back of my neck and I righted myself.
“The flaçon of eshlew.” Van snapped his fingers.
Barely did I extend my arm before he snatched the fluid from me. A soft pop floated toward the sky as the stopper was freed from the neck. In the same way Barden drizzled oil over her garden salads, Van spread the cod-scented contents along the ground rift.
He slapped the stopper into place and dropped the empty bottle into his pouch. “Where’s the lighter?”
When I remained silent he fished in Men’s back pocket and produced the device. His thumb incited the strike wheel and a flame flared. He crouched and touched the dancing oval of energy to the edge of the trench. A blue flame leaped about a foot above the ground and tracked down the man-made furrow to the end. Van closed the lid and tossed the lighter behind me.
What at first resembled fish oil morphed into the aroma of roasting nuts.
Van’s laughter blanketed us.
The fence of fire climbed to within a couple inches of Men’s ten inches of glory. Van beat his hands toward the flames and they lowered by half.
Daddy would love that trick.
The longest claws adorned Van’s forefingers and he pointed the left one at Men’s heart. “Straddle the flames as I’m doing. Then you’ll be ready.”
Men started toward me but Van drifted between us before my lover made a third step. The sexy Greek with the heart of gold sought the pyre that might mark his own funeral if malice or a mistake prevented Men from reaching Hell and returning.
At the base of the flames a bubbling erupted. Sparks shot into the air. Glassy amber orbs formed as the bubbles shrank.
Without a doubt, Van wasn’t playing with all his marbles. And if this were his way of playing a sick practical joke, I’d deal with him in a way he wouldn’t like.
The madman’s amber marbles swelled a bit and hissed. Their surfaces clouded and the crackling intensified.
My nails gouged my palms and my throat muscles clenched. Menlikus posed over the pyre wearing a smile I’d always remember.
“Good riddance. Hope you stay down there.” Van chanted a few phrases in Latin and pierced the tip of Men’s right middle finger.
He milked a few drops of blood, turned Men’s hand so the palm pointed down and slapped the backs of my boyfriend’s fingers. The blood hit the fire and flared the blue flames a few inches higher. A ferrous tang replaced the roasted aroma.
Van swept around to Men’s right, grabbed a fistful of his hair and tipped his head toward his left shoulder. The walls of my veins cleaved closer together and more heartbeats launched toward my tongue.
Wishing you many happy reading moments,
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED -- Ellora's Cave
Dean Lucas is not sure what is wrong with him. Usually these kinds of arrangements at Entice satisfy his needs, but his new submissive makes him want things he cannot have. Their contract states no talking. She can never remove her blindfold. However, the more he’s with her the more he wants her in every way not just sexual. Dean, being the super sexy SWAT guy that he is, devises what he believes is a fool-proof plan to woo his little submissive right into his arms forever.
Zoe has been through an awful divorce and isn’t ready for a relationship. What will happen when Dean starts messing with their perfect arrangement? Can they have something more fulfilling than they ever thought possible or will the past get in the way of their future?
Nameless Surrender is one hot naughty novella. Zoe and [Dean] simmer until their deepest desires boil the pages. Dean’s little game is so wicked it will make your toes curl. I am not usually a big fan of BDSM, but it definitely worked in Nameless Surrender. Zoe needed to surrender herself to someone so she could learn to trust again. It was beautiful to see her become a stronger woman. Nameless Surrender is an enticingly erotic novel.
Thank you, Miranda, and thank you to Joyfully Reviewed as well!!
Have a great weekend!