Birthday Bash – NJ Walters

My favorite birthday memory is from the late nineteen eighties. My husband surprised me with tickets for The Phantom of the Opera–box seats. We were so close to everything I could feel the heat from the pyrotechnics. It was the most spectacular evening. Colm Wilkinson played the part of the Phantom and every other performance I’ve ever seen pales in comparison. He had such energy live. You could feel his every emotion.

When I was a kid I would actually have two cakes for my birthday. One was usually a traditional vanilla or chocolate cake for my birthday party with my friends. The other was a fruitcake for the family birthday dinner. Yes, in my family we love my mom’s fruitcake. It’s the best.
Blurb:

Companion to Tempting Tori and Lassoing Lara.

Marshall Courage is lucky to be alive after the last mission for the clandestine government agency he worked for went sour. He’s recovered from his life-threatening wounds and is living on the family ranch, but he’s never gotten over his fellow operative and lover, Talia Koslov.

It’s been eight long months since Talia’s seen Marshall and she’s missed him every single moment. Now all she has to do is convince him she didn’t willingly abandon him after he was injured. She wants forever, and is willing to do whatever it takes to convince him their love is real.

Available from Ellora’s Cave

Visit N.J. at www.njwalters.com

Birthday Bash – Eve Cassidy

Happy Birthday Lissa! Thanks for inviting me to the party. 🙂

I love birthdays and I think celebrating for the whole month is an excellent idea. Not to mention fun. One of my favorite things about birthdays (besides the yummy cake of course) are the surprises. I’ve planned many surprise birthday parties for family and friends over the years as well as been surprised myself. I think my favorite party that I planned was for my daughter that involved me going and picking up a carload of her friends at 5:30 in the morning on a school day and all of us waking her up for a before school breakfast party. I will never forget her shock. She talks about that birthday party quite often so I guess it was a big success. 🙂

As for surprises I have received there have been a few memorable ones. My own surprise sweet 16 party was quite a hoot. Still not sure how my mother and best friend managed to throw such a complex party without me knowing a thing but they did. Probably the most outrageous surprise birthday I had was one while I was in the Marine Corps.

A bunch of Marines from my unit kidnapped me and after a lot of driving around and disorientation I ended up right back where I started, the main hallway of our squadron headquarters with one slight difference. I was thoroughly and completely duct taped to a chair with a big goofy sign on my chest. Have you ever tried to get out of duct tape? lol It ain’t easy. After a few hours of struggling one of my fellow Marines took pity on me and snuck me a pair of scissors. It was pretty funny. Oh and there was that boot camp birthday where my mother brought bottles of wine on base and smuggled them in to us. Hmm. I wonder who I take after??

I don’t have any books that feature birthday surprises but I do have a brand new release today from Ellora’s Cave that features a hot m/f/m menage with two Marines and their childhood crush. The novella is Old School and is part of my Port of Call series that is based on the fact there is a bar outside every front gate that caters to the men and women of service. So in a way it is a party!

She’ll do anything to save her bar… Famous last words.

When the latest brawl at Old School lands Erin and her bar in hot water with the Corps, she gets desperate to keep things afloat. Thanks to her family connections, she’s given one last chance to clean things up in three days and impress the two officers assigned to her case. Easy peasy. Until the two men who broke her teenage heart walk in with their list of oh so naughty demands.

Jack and Levi returned to Quantico with one thing on their minds—break through Erin’s resistance. Years ago they tried to make her choose, with disastrous results. Now they want a second chance with a better plan. The fate of her future rests in their hands, and they’re not above using that fact to get everything they want.

Available from Ellora’s Cave

Visit Eve www.evecassidy.wordpress.com

Snippet Saturday – Fight

It’s that time again and look, I’m early today!!!! Yay Me!  Will wonders never cease!

Today’s theme is Fight. Well, I don’t do a lot of physical fighting in my books. I think maybe twice, so, it wasn’t difficult to find a snippet for this theme.

I am pulling from The Demon is an Angel. It’s rare that I pull anything from this book, even though I like it a lot.

It’s a bar fight scene…

Snippet:

Angel walked through the front doors of The Iron Spike and was assailed by the scents of leather, beer, sweat and sex. Lots of sex. And lots of beer. Actually, lots of everything. A few heads turned in her direction and then a few more until most of the men and all of the women were looking at her. She simply smiled. They could smell the sex on her just as she could smell it on them, though the kind of scent she put out was ten times as powerful. Hers was more than lust, it was primal and more animalistic than any of them had ever experienced.

We shouldn’t be here.

Taking a deep breath Angel fought the urge to openly communicate with her other half. The humans wouldn’t take well to her talking to herself. She stopped in the center of the dance floor, scanning the crowd for a partner, or two, or three. A few came forward at the blatant invitation in her eyes, and with a throaty, very sexy laugh, she started to move.

“You here alone?”

Angel looked over her shoulder. “I don’t seem to be at the moment, do I?”

Idiot Number One laughed. “Wanna dance with me?”

“No.”

He pressed against her back and bucked his hips. “C’mon, honey. I’ll treat you right.”

She spun, her hair whipping across his face, the ends leaving scorch marks on his skin. “No, I don’t think you will.”

“Bitch! What the hell?” His hands flew to his cheeks.

“I told you no. Next time you should listen.”

“What did you do to me?”

Angel just smiled, loving the streaks she’d marked him with.

You’re drawing attention to us.

“Shut up,” she muttered under her breath.

“What did you do to him?”

Angel looked down at the hand wrapped around her arm and then up into the drunken eyes of Idiot Number Two. She shook off his hold. “I gave him a permanent reminder that when a woman says no it means no.”

“You a witch?”

“Worse. I’m the devil.”

His alcohol breath gagged her when he laughed. Obviously he didn’t believe her. She would just have to s—

“Let her alone, pal.”

Delan. Shit.

Delan. Yes.

“She said she’s the devil. You believe that? The devil.”

With each word, his voice and laughter grew in volume and the other patrons were beginning to take notice of them. Angel was starting to see that she might have made a slight mistake in hurting Number One, but at the same time, she knew she could handle herself and Number Two.

What about Delan?

“Maybe we should take this off the dance floor,” Delan whispered in her ear.

“Maybe you should mind your own damn business.”

“You are my business.”

“Go away, Delan.”

“Yeah, Delan, why don’t you go away? She don’t want you here.”

Tense silence filled the small space until she felt Delan back away, the heat of his body gone. She tried not to care. Really she did.

You do care. We need him.

“Fine. But before I go…”

The arm that whizzed by her head caught her off guard when nothing ever did. The fist at the end of that arm smacked into the face of Number Two, throwing him off balance and sending him to the floor.

Angel stood there dumbfounded, and then rounded on Delan, only he wasn’t there. At least not in her face as she’d expected him to be. She scanned the crowd, looking for him, and when she didn’t find him, she ignored the ache in her stomach and the man still on the floor behind her, and went to the bar in search of a drink.

“Here, have a seat, pretty girl.”

She smiled benignly at the man who stood up from his stool. Idiot Number Three. “Thanks.”

“Seems you were having some trouble out there.”

“It was taken care of. Nothing I couldn’t have handled on my own.”

“Is there anything you can’t handle?”

Angel slid him a sideways glance and wondered if he was serious. She highly doubted it. “No.” To the barkeep, she said, “Rum and Coke, heavy on the rum. Actually, make it all rum.”

“Think you can handle me?”

If he’d keep his mouth shut, she might consider taking him outside. He was good-looking, a little rough around the edges, nice ass in leather, but…

But he isn’t Delan.

“Yes, I could, but I’m not in the mood.”

His hand settled on her shoulder, his fingers beginning to trace the edge of her top. “What are you in the mood for?”

She sighed. Why did they all have to be assholes? She downed the contents of the glass that had been set in front of her and nodded for another before looking to her left. “Look, I appreciate the seat you offered me, but you don’t have anything else that I want.”

“She’s telling the truth. You don’t have anything she wants. I do.”

Well shit. First Delan and now Riko.

Angel watched in amusement as the man backed away, fairly tripping over his own two feet in his haste. She picked up her glass and swirled the liquid around with her finger. “What do you want, Riko? I’m just out trying to have a little fun.”

“I need you to come outside, little sister.”

“No. I’m not done with my evening yet.”

“And you may return once we speak. Outside.”

“It’s too chilly outside. I would rather stay right here. Why not pull up a stool and have a drink with me? Oh wait, there are no vacant stools. I guess you’ll have to leave.”

The booming laughter of her brother echoed off the walls. He wasn’t going to leave without her and she doubted he was going to let her return to the disaster that was her night.

She downed the alcohol and after a few seconds, slid off the stool. Riko threw a few bills on the bar, more than enough to cover her drink, and motioned for her to precede him out the doors.

“What is so important, Riko? I haven’t done anything. Not really. Not yet.”

“No, Angel, you haven’t. I have.”

“What?”

“I sent the human to you, and I see now that I was mistaken to do so. You do not wish to see our kind survive.”

Guilt trip. Great. “What are you talking about? And it’s not ‘our’ kind, Riko. It’s your kind. I am only half demon.”

“I am still your blood.”

“I’m not out to destroy you and your fellow demons. I just do not want to fall prey to weakness as my mother did. Things are going along fine. So a few demons die once in a while, it’s not like there aren’t more to take their place. What does this have to do with Delan?”

“I realized that you care more about fighting who you are than you do in the purpose of who you are.”

Angel laughed. “There is no purpose, Riko. And all I care about is protecting me, you’re right about that.”

“Against what?”

She whirled at the voice. Delan stood, or rather was being held up between two of Riko’s demons. “What’s going on?” She looked back at her brother. “Riko?”

“He cannot reach you. You will not let him. I told him if he failed, that he would die.”

“You can’t do that. I’ve known him like what? One day? A few hours? You consider that failure? And you’re going to kill him? Human time and demon time is different. To him, it’s only been a day. You can’t expect him to have achieved what you want in so short a time.”

“You have shown no interest in trying, no care for how your actions affect others, so I do not see why we should all waste what’s left of our precious time anymore. He is not immortal, you are right. He can only use what time I have given him. To you and to me, it is more than just hours. It is more than night and day. It is as though a lifetime has gone by. We are not like the humans. We know when we have met our destiny.”

You can’t let them kill him.

Angel looked from Riko to Delan. Were they in on this together? The uncertainty, the fear, the…regret in Delan’s eyes spoke to the fact that they likely weren’t, but… “Come on, Riko. You aren’t really going to kill him. You don’t ever kill anyone.”

End snippet

Don’t forget to check out the Fight snippets from the authors below…

Leah Braemel
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
Shelli Stevens
TJ Michaels
Lauren Dane
Jody Wallace
Sasha White

~lissa

Midnight Clarity

And man I wish I had some… Clarity, that is. Mine hasn’t completely come yet, but I’m working on it.

I’m having writer’s block. Or something like it. I don’t know what it is. It’s an inability to write what I want to write. It started a couple of months ago. I knew there was a book to write, a couple of books to write, but the words weren’t there. I don’t know where they are.

Part of the issue is that I was trying to write a safe book. I wrote a book I loved, deeply loved and put a lot of myself into, Cracklin’ Rosie. It wasn’t really well received by a lot of my regular readers and not by a lot of new readers either. It bothered them. It wasn’t just kinky fun, it was an actual spanking fetish that needed to be explored and with the way it hasn’t been received by some, it has affected how I approached this new book, this last book in the Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series.

So, I’ve tried to write a safe one. I’ve re-written this book now three times, maybe four, I’ve lost count. I don’t know where or how this is book is going to get finished. I’ve missed the deadline on it, lost the penciled in calendar date. Written myself into a corner on it and I can’t really see how to write myself out it yet.

The same could be said about the second shifter book too, though I’m taking it slower. It however does as well have a due date for a calendar spot as well and I need to get it finished.

I love writing. I’ve missed writing these last few weeks. I’ve had a book come out with Loose Id, Arrested Holiday. It was a fun book to write, light and cute and sexy and with little bits of kink.

I have a new book coming out this week, on Christmas Eve from Ellora’s Cave, Ink Spots. It’s erotic, sexy, hot, fun.

I’ve taken some time these last couple of weeks to relax my mind. I stressed myself out so much about these books that need to be written that I couldn’t think straight. I got sick and I wouldn’t doubt if that was the universe trying to tell me something. I needed to back off, to let go. I know the saying from the Queen of Romance, Nora Roberts that you can’t fix an empty page but you can fix a bad one. In most cases I believe that. I don’t in this one. I was writing myself into a hole I wasn’t sure I’d have been able to dig myself out of. No matter how much I wrote, it wasn’t right. It was nothing but empty, meaningless words that weren’t moving the book forward. Nothing could fix it except for perhaps me walking away from it for a while.

As soon as I let go of it, stopped stressing over it, I started feeling better, started being able to enjoy the holidays with my family. I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids…baking cookies and cupcakes, shopping, watching Christmas movies, watching Food Network and the holiday specials, decorating the house. I made time to send out Christmas cards, snuggling, watch football, and just play in general. My kids aren’t getting younger and I was tired of working all the time, not enjoying this time of year with them. I was staring at pages, not getting anything done, and not having any fun. The days were going by and I had nothing to show for it, not in writing and not in being with my kids, making memories.

Have I thought about my writing? Oh yes, everyday. I think on it, I make notes, I work on outlines, I jot down new ideas as they come to me. After Christmas will be time enough to work on it all as a whole though. I was a professor of You Must Write Everyday, but not at the moment. I think sometimes you have to walk away, let it sit and rest so that you know what direction you’re going to head into when it’s time to get back to it.

Besides, that’s part of the pleasure of working from home. I can take time to reflect, to find a new direction, to find inspiration, and new life in what I do love to do as work…writing erotic romance.

Of course, it does hurt the wallet and next year’s Christmas might be a little thinner than this year’s Christmas, but it’s fine, it’s good. There are things more important and my peace of mind, my clarity of where I’m going and where I want to go with my writing are a couple of those things…

Now, I need to get back to wrapping gifts, addressing cards, texting with my mom, and fixing lunch…

~lissa