Friday, August 26, 2011

In an era electric with possibility and peril Chloe Gray, political writer, and Michael Keller, CIA troubleshooter, meet under curiously conventional circumstances. Despite the instantaneous sparks, they both sense there is more between them than physical attraction. Chloe's professional detachment from the dramatic world events of the 1990s—a disintegrating USSR, Middle East peace talks, and Vietnam's reemergence on the world stage—dissolves as their love affair intensifies.

Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving her limp and lovelorn. Is he using her or protecting her? In her quest for answers, she is yanked into the dangerous world of Michael's work—in Washington, DC, in France, and in Spain. Looking for safe harbor (for her emotions? or her body?), she submits to the advances of a dashing French diplomat. Will she embrace the luxury and comfort of Emile and his chateau or the romance of international intrigue with Michael?

First Page: 

June 1991, Washington, DC

Odious air conditioning unit! Chloe cursed it and all appliances that ceased working when you needed them most. In this unseasonable heat wave, her house reminded her of that awful spring break on a palmless, humid, breeze-free tropical island. Which was why she huddled under the sad little dogwood in her front yard, pressing a cold washcloth to her face. She’d caught her thick auburn hair under a barrette to keep it off her neck and wore a skimpy khaki cotton shift, in her discomfort not caring how well it set off both her hazel eyes and her long, shapely legs.
She checked her watch again: 11:30. Gail at Comfort Air had assured her the repairman would arrive between ten and twelve that morning. He’d better get here soon or she‘d burn up.
Wait … A white van turned into the parking lot. She could just make out the lettering. Yes—Comfort Air! She waved frantically at it. A fellow in a white uniform shirt at the wheel squinted at her, but maddeningly stopped at another townhouse. He consulted his clipboard with great deliberation. Then, praise the Lord, he put the van back into gear and slid into the visitor’s parking spot in front of her townhouse. He stepped out and tipped a nonexistent cap. “Miss Gray?”
She didn’t bother with the niceties but turned toward her house, summoning him with an imperious hand.  “Yes, yes, come in. Bring a pocket fan.”
The man grinned and reached back into the van for his tools. He followed Chloe up the steps. She started to describe the problem, but he was already heading downstairs to the unit. She had a glimpse of a well-muscled back and a full head of glossy black hair. “You know what to do?”
“Yes, ma‘am.”  His answer floated up. “I‘m here to fix your air conditioning, right?”
She hoped that wasn’t a snicker she heard in the rich, baritone voice. She gave him five minutes, then descended after him. She found him bending over the unit, making busy noises. “Ma’am, do you have a maintenance contract with us?”
“Yes, yes I do. Why?”
“Who serviced this unit last? Do you remember?”

Chloe had her answer ready. The company had a right to know about its incompetent employees, didn’t it? She’d rehearsed it carefully, so as not to come across as too waspish. “Alex Jones, I believe. I’m not sure he was exactly…thorough.”
The man snorted. “Well, now I know why Alex is no longer with Comfort Air. This may take awhile.” He straightened and turned toward Chloe. For the first time she got a good look at his face. She backed off, partly to get out of the way and partly because she didn’t want him to see how breathless he made her. The man was gorgeous! His face—well, a romance writer would describe it as craggy, rough-hewn, or maybe lived-in. Deep, deep blue eyes under a tousled thatch of ebony hair, his skin tanned and tight over a strong nose and high cheekbones. His mouth, although currently set in a thin angry line, promised to be sensual and full.
She attempted, with little success, to keep her eyes from traveling down his barrel chest to his hands. Quite delicate for such a big man, the fingers long and slim. She looked up quickly and found him observing her, his face impassive. He watched as she backed away blushing, then without a word returned to his work.

Lost in His Arms, by M. S. Spencer

Published 2009 by Red Rose Publishing
eBook, 61,000 words, ISBN 978-1-60435-375-0
Contemporary Romance, Action/Adventure; M/F; 3 flames

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome, Writer Wednesdays: Author Carrie Pulkinen and Paranormal Rules

A big welcome to one of my favorite paranormal authors, Carrie Pulkinen!

Most people aren't surprised when they find out I write paranormals. You can tell by looking at me that I don't always go with the grain—the way I dress, my tattoos, and my hair has been every color in the rainbow (except green. Maybe next week…) I grew up literally next-door to a cemetery, and I've always been fascinated with the dead—and the undead.

A question that comes up a lot is whether or not my characters follow "the rules" or if I go off on my own (i.e. sparkly vampires).  Though I don't write about vampires much, I can tell you that they never sparkle. As for the rest of the rules…they're debatable.

Does a stake through the heart kill a vampire? Of course. That would kill anyone. But do they immediately incinerate at the slightest ray of sunlight? Not necessarily. I think since paranormals have become so popular, authors have a little more freedom to bend the rules. If you go by Interview With a Vampire, yeah, they burn up. But in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, they have a few minutes before they're screaming in agony. And even then, they can heal if they find cover quickly enough. Are their fangs retractable? Or do they have fangs at all? Does it matter?

And what about werewolves? Originally, they only changed into wolves during a full moon. Now, I've read books where they can change any time, and the moon doesn't affect them at all. In others, they have to change with the moon, but they can also change whenever they want in between. Sometimes they're half-wolf, half-man. Other times they turn into full-blown canines.

In my first book, Sweet Release, Andre is half demon, half human. So, is he good or evil? Can a creature straight from Hell turn good? Is there even any good there to begin with? Since Andre is only half demon, his human side is in constant conflict with the evil that he has to suppress. I'd be interested to read a book where a full-blown demon can turn good and be the hero.

I think whether or not paranormal characters need to follow the traditional rules depends on the world the writer creates. That's the fun part about being an author—making your own rules.

And even those can be broken. J

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Page Friday: M.S. Spencer's LOST & FOUND

What do you do when David, your husband of a year, ups and disappears?  If you’re Rose Culloden, a beautiful, wealthy woman in her forties who had despaired of finding happiness, you do anything to find him.  The trail takes you first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to western Maine.  Along the way you meet James Stewart—a Maine guide—who vividly highlights the contrast between a real man and your delicate Harvard professor of a husband.  Loyal to your marriage despite your powerful attraction to James, it takes the dramatic discovery that David is not just vicious and venal, but insane, to free your heart for true love.

First Page:
Chapter One

September, Mt. Kineo, Maine

Rose would never forget the tight knot of panic squeezing her heart as she looked down, down an almost thousand-foot drop to moss-dusted crags, down through the cold wraiths of mist circling the mountain in the chill September air. Ignoring the fear, she took a tentative step forward, away from the comfort of the cliff face, felt the icy breath of high altitude fan her face, and retreated. What shed thought was solid rock behind her yielded slightly and she froze, engulfed in a surge of terror. I’m going to fall. I’m going to die in agony, crushed on those distant jagged spears. The rock behind her moved again. She began to totter forward, but a furry paw seized her elbow. The paw tightened its grip, and Rose let it pull her sideways, back into a gap between the damp stone walls.
Okay, Rose, girl. Steady. Take a deep breath. Now, open your eyes and look at the paw. Five fingers encased in a furry glove. Okay. It’s human. She followed the fur up a forearm, then to a broad furry chest. She risked a peek at the dark face, encircled with more fur. It was scrunched up, not with the cold but with a cold fury. The deep brown eyes flashed. She meekly dropped her own. “I was perfectly safe, Mr. Stewart,” she whispered. Did that sound as stupid to him as it did to me?
The face scowled. Her rescuer moved around Rose and knocked lightly with his heel at the ledge on which shed been standing. A large chunk broke off and tumbled in crumbly bits into the ether. She heard pops and bangs as it immolated itself on the crags below. Still scowling, he turned back to her. “Get back to the others.” His voice was deep and primal.

Lost & Found, by M. S. Spencer

Published 2010 by Red Rose Publishing
eBook, 69,000 words, ISBN 978-1-60435-707-3
Contemporary Romance, Action/Adventure; M/F; 3 flames

Contacts:  Website:
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Confessions of an Erotica Writer: Vee Michaels

Okay, I admit it. Writing (and reading) erotica is fun.
The question my friends ask is, do you get turned on when you're writing it? The answer is: I better! If not, how can I convey my characters' arousal?
In reality though, writing frequently about a topic, even sex, can lose its zing. It turns into part A interacting with part C, etc. When I find myself going through the motions, I stop writing because I firmly believe whatever the writer is feeling shines through on the page. If I'm faking it, you'll know.
Good writers, like good actors, must be genuine. And if you're taking the time to read my work, I owe it to you to write honestly.
How does one conjure the juicy desire for sex when her days are filled with kids, work, household pets, cooking, and cleaning? Here's my list of rules:
1. Write characters I like who deserve a great bit of fun.
2. Write situations I'd like to do myself. (Take the hubby out and act them out once in a while.)
3. Draw on memories! (Make new notable ones on occasion?)
4. Be creative and interesting. When I get excited over an idea, such as the Sex-O-Matic, I'm compelled to keep on writing. The story takes on a life of its own.
5. Remember my audience. People are giving me their time and money. I respect that, and I want to give them a great product in return. When I think of how I can impact readers, make them smile or laugh or even compel them into a feisty mood, it motivates me.
6. Relax. Writing sex well is a lot like having good sex. I must stop thinking the dog needs a trim, the laundry needs washing, there are unpaid bills, or that the lettuce is going bad in the fridge. Writing requires focus. It's a lot like meditating.
So my confession is, yes, writing erotica is arousing, but that's not the whole story. It's also hard work that requires concentration, time, and being authentic. Not only that, often erotica writers don't get the perks of recognition other writers get. When people ask if I'm published, I get real vague.
When I write a top seller, something I've worked hard on and am proud of, I can't tell my family.
But at the end of the day when my husband, with a gleam in his eye, asks, "Did you write any sex today?"
I just grin and think, this is worth it.

Want to learn about the Sex-O-Matic? Visit:

To read Toy Training, a story about a prudish woman who finds herself in a sex-toys class, visit:

To see the collection of all Vee's stories and even read a few free ones visit:

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Page Friday: M.S. Spencer's LOSERS KEEPERS

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

First Page:
Chapter One

Alexandria, Virginia
Dear Philomena,
I’ve been in love with a man for two years. He’s a complete basket case, with nothing practical to offer me. Oliver is still (technically) married. He has two repulsive daughters, three cats, a miniature schnauzer, and a minivan on its last legs. His wife got tired of his habitual unemployment and moved in with the rich man next door. I don’t know why I fell in love with him and have no sensible excuse to offer for continuing to love him. He doesn’t even know how I feel or at least he refuses to believe it. It would be way too inconvenient for him. No, all Oliver wants is a passionate affair. Short, sweet. No commitment. No future.
I’m 28, Philomena. I want to be married. I want children. Did I mention his vasectomy? I want love. I want stability. I want a normal relationship. Did I mention his bipolar disorder? I don’t want passion. I don’t want an emotional joy ride that ends in a muddy ditch upside down instead of in a honeymoon suite. Guess what the “good” Lord gave me?
                                                             Lovelorn in Little Hell

Dear Lovelorn,
My advice? Enjoy the joy ride. I think passion is underrated. We humans assume passion is something distinct from love. One has a “passionate affair,” not a “passionate marriage.” Passion is tolerated in the first few weeks of a relationship, but not in the marriage itself. Passion is for nightfall, for dreams, for evaporating sighs. It’s not real. It has nothing to do with love.
I stand (I do not beg) to differ. Passion can only come from love. There is love and there is lust, but passion, true passion, is only realized, embedded, in love.
Let me tell you a story.
Three years ago, on a rainy night in the middle of December I met a man…let’s call him Jack. I felt immediately, irredeemably, passionate about him, despite all my friends’ fervent warnings. They called him a salesman, a politician, a glad-hander. Cynical, superficial, shallow, and cold. And they were right. He was the kind of man who would sidle up to the desk clerk and talk to her in an intimate whisper as though they’d been friends for ages. You’d usually find him in a crowd of acquaintances, usually at a bar, calling the bartender by name. Or handing out cigars at some candidate’s rally. Or gazing soulfully into his latest victim’s eyes.
The victim being a woman, of course.

Losers Keepers, by M. S. Spencer
Published July 27, 2011 by Secret Cravings Publishing
eBook, 72,000 words, ISBN 978-1-936653-95-9
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames

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