Addressing the Big Questions…

I laugh every time someone asks me about what I do. The questions are sometimes so comical, I can’t help it. My favorite? Does your husband help you practice all this stuff? Usually that question comes from someone who hasn’t read a single book of mine. If they had, they’d realize the insanity of their inquiry. The truth is my husband is not a shapeshifting wolf. He is not a Dom. And there is only one of him. So, um…nope! Some days I wish, but then he comes home from work at the end of the day and by golly he is still human and alone. lol

Now, where does the magic happen? You might be extremely surprised to know about the environment in which I work. In fact, I’m sure you will! I don’t have pinups of naked men. I don’t have pinups of naked women. I don’t even have storyboards hanging all over the office with notes about my books. I tried that once; it was a failure. I can’t follow a plan–ever. The characters drive my books all on their own. The most I know when writing is what might happen in the next chapter, and even that is subject to change at the whim of the characters. So, what does my office look like? Well, here’s the thing: I’m a Raggedy Ann fanatic! I have hundreds of them. Incongruent you say? Probably. But I love being surrounded by my collection. I’ve loved that childhood doll since I was very tiny and she sits all over my office with her friend Andy. My family would groan if I let her escape into the rest of the house, so she fills my office. 🙂

Am I tidy? Not at all. I do clean off my desk from time to time, but it takes only minutes for it to accumulate all the crap I just put away. I like a lot of things at my fingertips: dog treats to entertain the beast, snacks, calendar, notes, notes, notes, lip balm, candles, phone numbers, iPhone, cookies, tissues, and the list goes on… I’m very careful about my drinks. I keep a glass of water generally with a lid. A few years ago the light fixture in the ceiling fell onto my desk. It missed my face (I was sitting there at the time) by inches, but it knocked over my glass of water and sent it flying across the desk into the laptop. Lost everything. Who knows what that current WIP was even about. It’s long gone. So, I now live in fear of falling ceilings and behave in accordance with that likelihood. Doesn’t everyone? lol

So, those are the answers to some common questions I get. I don’t want you to have to rely on the verbal image I painted, of course. I mean, how rude! So, here’s a few pictures from the magical room where wolves and doms do theirphoto-2 photo-3 photo-4 thing…at least “on paper”.

Guest Blogger: Sloane Taylor and her European Men

Happy Sunday, everybody!  Emilia, here and I am so very excited to introduce my good friend Sloane Taylor to the LL&L blog. Sloane has a wicked sense of humor and a sexy way of spinning tales which keeps me hanging on her every word.  

Another thing she does to perfection–European men…oh, you cannot go wrong with a tall, dark, sexy man with an accent!

But even so, she often has to explain this fascination. Apparently, not everyone gets it. So, let’s hear it straight from the source, Sloane…why, oh, why do you love these men so much?

 

Thanks, Emilia!

It’s true. Readers often ask me why my heroes are all European. One indignant lady wanted to know why I hated American men.

For the record, I don’t hate any man. If anything it’s the complete opposite. I love them all and can’t seem to get enough of them. Men of every nationality, race, and creed are a major turn-on for me. Tall or short doesn’t matter. Either a flowing mane or a pate that shines works for me. I am the original rah-rah queen for the male gender.

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I do not hang around street corners in a tight skirt and skimpy top waiting to jump in some guy’s car for twenty dollars, but I have no problem staring to my heart’s content when I see a male who interests me. From their bone structures to their attitudes, and some of them do have the best attitudes, men fascinate me.

The main reason most of my heroes are European is that I’ve had more experience with men from that part of the world. Now behave yourself, I’m not talking in the biblical sense.

Long before I ever considered being a writer, I worked for a paint manufacturer in the international division. My job was to develop formulas for industrial coatings and deal one on one with the representatives from the contracted British, French, and German companies. Those business associates became longtime friends and I treasured every second of our time together.

Since that job, I have been fortunate to spend a great deal of time in Europe. It has been my pleasure to expand my study of men. The men I’ve met along the way have enthralled me, angered me, and consumed me. Most were reserved with a clipped speech pattern that to a fun loving American bordered on rudeness, but as they came to know me that guarded attitude turned into warmth and great loyalty. And in two marvelous cases a protectiveness that was welcomed.

From all those awesome traits of all those fabulous men the Magnificent Men of Munich series was born. It’s a four book series that opens in Munich and ends in Venice. Here is a bit from Heated Negotiations, Book One.

heatednegotiations-200

Mergers and negotiations are not just for the boardroom, especially when things heat up high over the Atlantic.

BLURB:

Travel agency owner Teddi Howard is Hell in high heels when she jumps a plane to Munich. Her goal—strangle the German tour operator who reneged on their exclusive contract.

German businessman David Stiefel well knows the feeling of being screwed over and is resolved to avoid emotional attachments. This strategy has served him well, until his chance encounter with the enticing Ms. Howard.

EXCERPT:

David Stiefel’s eyes kept track of the copper-haired female while he rolled up the sleeves of his striped shirt. The woman was oblivious to the stir she created as she strolled through the crowded O’Hare Airport Business Class Lounge. He stroked an index finger over his lips and studied her sleek figure clad in formfitting slacks. The appealing rear view was too good to miss. The pleasure of not seeing a panty line forced him to shift in his chair to adjust for the sudden pull in his jeans.

She bent over, hung her jacket across the chair back, and glanced over her shoulder at him. Their gaze held as a smile tweaked the corner of his mouth. He crumpled the wrappings from his beef sandwich and knew he’d just been offered dessert. Now all he had to do was make his move.

As his good luck would have it, right there on the floor just a few meters away was an airline ticket dropped by some unsuspecting person. He knew that delicious-looking woman had done it as a ploy to meet him.

He stood and paced off the few steps, never taking his eyes from her. He stooped, scooped up the packet, and walked the few extra feet before he glanced at the name printed in bold marker across the front. When he held it toward her, she fumbled with her purse and carry-on as if she did not know she had lost such an important set of documents. Very cool.

Standing in front of her, he leaned down just enough to catch her scent. A fragrance that reminded him of herbs.

BUY LINK http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=35_29&products_id=517#.UOICY6xRdhl

About Sloane:

Sloane Taylor

Sloane Taylor

Sloane Taylor is a sensual woman who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes sexually explicit romances that take you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after.

Her books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

Taylor was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. As a young adult she lived in the Pullman neighborhood created by that old curmudgeon George Pullman. Studs, her mate for life, and Sloane now live in a small home in Indiana and enjoy the change from hectic city life.

She is an avid cook. Check out “It’s Wednesday. So What’s Cooking?” with complete menus posted once a week on her blog http://sloanetaylor.blogspot.com/.  The recipes are user friendly menus, meaning easy. Feel free to email her at sloanetaylor@comcast.net to be included on the Cooking Pals list. These are people who receive an advance email of the new menus.

Website http://www.sloanetaylor.com/

Blog http://sloanetaylor.blogspot.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSloaneTaylor

Twitter https://twitter.com/sloanetaylor2

Guest Blogger Caridad Pineiro!

It is my pleasure to welcome the award-winning Caridad Pineiro to Love, Lust and Laptops today! Not only is Caridad a prolific author, but she is also an example of one who gives back to her community. She is an inspiration to us all. Please read on as she tells us a bit about the organizations which have moved her and make sure you comment so you can be part of her giveaway. Welcome Caridad!

Caridad Pineiro

I want to thank Love, Lust and Laptops for inviting me to be with you today!  As a way to say thanks, we’re going to do a little giveaway at the end of the blog!

My friends at Love, Lust and Laptops have asked me to come by and chat about some of the events I’ve done for charity and why I do them.

There are lots of reasons actually why I do this.  For starters, Caridad means Charity in Spanish and Charity is actually my nickname.  Then there’s the fact that I wasn’t born in the U.S., but in Cuba.  I was privileged to be able to come to the States and have so many opportunities for a wonderful life.  Finally, there’s all the help that I got when I first started writing, from having a NY Times Bestselling author send my work to her publisher to consider, to all the wonderful friends at Liberty States Fiction Writers who have stuck with me through good times and bad.  Last but not least, my family.  They’re loving and lots of fun.

Because I’ve been blessed with so many good things, I feel as if I should help others in whatever ways that I can.

One of those ways is by using my books to help raise money for worthwhile causes.  Whether it’s to raise money for fellow authors or bloggers, or something like the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research (you can find my contributions by clicking here,  http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/AuctionHelp.taf?S=N&R=2&C=2&DA=0&m=3&return=50&sort=1&st=1&_start=1)

I try to use my writing to help others.

Along the way, I hope that readers will not only support what I’m doing, but also have a good time with the stories I’ve written.  For example, readers who purchased THE CLAIMED helped me raise money for HOPE FOR THE WARRIORS, an organization that helps military families deal with the wounds of war.  THE CLAIMED is the second book in the SIN HUNTER series which is about a race of energy gatherers along the Jersey Shore.  I hope to release the next book in the series, THE SHATTERED, later this summer.

With THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE, my latest romantic suspense release, I donated funds from sales to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief fund to help rebuild the damage that was done in the towns in my area.  Why that fund?  Well, THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE is set in a casino in Atlantic City so it seemed right.  I even wrote the storm into the story so people might have an idea about what people faced when the hurricane hit New Jersey.

I’m also proud to say that my daughter, who owns a surf and skate shop along the Shore, didn’t fall far from the tree.  When her shop was spared damage, she decided to donate a share of the sales from her shop to her town in order to help repair and rebuild.

I’m glad that she understands, as I do, that each and every one of us can make a difference.  I once heard a saying that went like this:  The smallest of acts is better than the biggest of intentions.

So, a lot of small acts by each of us can really make a difference!

What will I do next?  I’ll have to think about that, but for now, here’s the time for that giveaway!  Leave a comment and tell me what  small act you think you can do to make a difference.  I’ll pick one commenter to win a THE PRINCE’S GAMBLE T-shirt and a copy of the latest release in THE CALLING series – KISSED BY A VAMPIRE.

THE SHIFTER’S KISS – erotic paranormal romance novellaAfter almost losing his life in the line of duty, firefighter Victor Edwards turned to his true passion: the ocean, the one place he feels at peace. By day, he studies a magnificent shark. By night he is haunted by erotic dreams of a beautiful woman, filled with a longing he can’t understand.Nali is almost the last of her kind. She knows it’s dangerous to swim so close to shore, but she is drawn to the scarred man watching her and craves his touch on her human form. She can’t help revealing herself to help Victor when he’s injured—and offering herself to him for one week of pleasure. For she only has a few days before she must return to the sea…

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shifters-Kiss-ebook/dp/B00APEYBOC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366982307&sr=1-2&keywords=caridad+pineiro

GHOST OF A CHANCE – paranormal romance mystery novellaTrue crime writer Tracy Gomez is unsure of what to make of the unusual invitation from New York City attorney Peter Angelo: A one million dollar prize to anyone who can solve the mystery of three deaths which had occurred nearly eighty years earlier. Tracy desperately needs the money to fix up the old inn she’s just inherited and solving the crime will also provide welcome publicity to help her sagging writing career. But accepting the invitation brings unexpected challenges, like spectral help during a séance and Tracy’s attraction to the sexy attorney monitoring the contest. Does Tracy only have a ghost of a chance to discover the secrets of the past or can she win a prize far better than a million dollars?
 
Peter Angelo’s father is dying and has only one last wish:  To find out if he is related to  State Senator Francis “Skippy” Ryan.  Eighty years earlier, Skippy was accused of murdering his wife and young daughter and then killing himself, but Peter’s father does not believe that’s what really happened on that long ago night and he wants to know the truth about his heritage.
 
To honor his father’s wishes, Peter assembles a cast of specialists to discover the truth about Skippy and the last night of his life.  But Peter hadn’t gambled on also discovering love during the extraordinary occurrences during the investigations.

http://www.amazon.com/GHOST-CHANCE-paranormal-novella-ebook/dp/B00AUGV89G/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366982307&sr=1-5&keywords=caridad+pineiro

Back when I was in ABBA

My first thought this morning, without even kidding: Yay, it’s Friday. Shit, it’s my day to blog!

No, kids, I didn’t forget I needed to post, I just forgot to do it.  Your dear sweet Em is what you’d call swamped right now with the BS of life. Not making excuses for neglecting you, and trust me, you aren’t the only one’s being neglected, just laying it all out there.

Being an adult sucks sometimes.

Remember when we were kids and couldn’t wait to grow up because being an adult was going to rock and it was definitely wasted on our parents who did nothing but work and complain about being overworked.

Holy fuck, y’all. I’ve turned into one of those adults!

Where’d the fun go?

I did, I confess, take one night off and go have a drink and some fattening dessert with the BFF, but for the most part, I’m just one big ol’ party pooper these days.  I thought being an adult was supposed to be cool! This is a total drag.

And now I’m dragging you down with me. Sorry. I’ve yet to have my morning jolt of sunshine.

Anyway, when I was kid, I had this great life planned…an awesome studio in a downtown apartment building, just me and my many cats…nights with a good book and a glass of wine.

The only thing that panned out there were the cats.

Not that I don’t love my life. I do. I love that I have this insane career and that I’m one semester closer to having my MS in Publishing. I love running my kids around to a million things and seeing them grow up. I love my husband. And the dogs that I didn’t think I’d ever have. And my cats.

But sometimes when things get this crazy and bogged down, I miss the life that I dreamed up while pretending I was a member of ABBA (don’t act like you didn’t want to be the blonde chick—me and my sister used to fight over who got to sing her parts) and playing dress up in the cool clothes that were wasted on my overworked mother. I miss my urban life, that studio apartment, the quiet evenings with wine in a good book, as the world rushed by outside my floor to ceiling windows.

Yup, sometimes, I still wish I was in ABBA.

So, where did you think you would be when you grew up? ‘Cuz I know I’m not the only one missing the solitude of her apartment.

 

 

 

A Writer’s Dilemma

MM_SSI3_WeathertheStorm_draft

And what dilemma would that be? — you ask.  I mean there could be so many.  But this one is when you have the book almost two-thirds written (circa 65 K words) and you know where you want to end up, and you have a fricking cover ! (Sneak preview of draft cover)

But, lo and behold — the characters stop talking to you, and don’t tell you why.

Now I have to admit, this is not usually my dilemma.

Normally,  I have characters talking to me in my head all the damn time.  Characters from my current work. Characters from past books who didn’t get everything said and think they need a novella or a short story to finish up an issue or two.  And characters who want their books to come next in one of my series — or worse yet, want me to write them a stand-alone. My head is a noisy, chaotic place.

And I have all those other wanna-be characters still talking to me, but my current book’s characters have gone dumb.

“Ah,” you say, “Monette has hit the proverbial wall.  Writer’s block.”

Nope, not my problem.  Had that problem once, way back in the book called Death Benefits — and it was more of a short stoop than a wall.  All it took to climb over it was a glass of scotch and a lawyer friend who told me to pin the murders on a relative rather than a serial killer stranger.  The “aha” moment was clear and the flood dams opened —  and I never looked back.

So, nope, not writer’s block.  I know where I need to go next in my current book to get to the end — and I know the ending.  BTW, I am not a pantser per se — I also don’t do extreme outlines.  I plot point.  I have certain plot points I need to hit along the way and between those points, I just let my characters lead me.

“Then,” you say, “it has to be a sagging middle. You’re writing in circles.”

Nope and even if that were so, I’d write my way out of it eventually and then trash most of the circuitous crap in my first revision.

“So,” you ask, “if  you aren’t blocked and your middle isn’t meandering, what the f**k is wrong?  Why aren’t you finishing the blasted book?”

Because I lost track of the genre I was writing in.  My characters realized  it before I did and so they stopped talking — sort of a silent intervention. The characters’ version of tough love.

My Security Specialists International series is romantic adventure/suspense/thriller. I was having so much fun writing evil bad guys with all sort of plots and plans that my book began to sound more like a men’s action story than a romantic adventure.  Yeah, I needed the external conflict to throw my H/H into a pressure cooker and boost their sexual attraction into trust and love, but I should be able to do that without resorting to writing a Bourne type thriller.

I think I would’ve figured the problem out eventually. But it took an early reading by two of my beta-readers (love you, KaLyn and Cherise) to hammer it into my head.  Both agreed my alpha hero (Vanko) is yummy. Both thought the heroine (Elana) is his perfect match. Both of them thought, in general, the story works, BUT that the romance needed to be at least an equal player along with the suspense/thriller/action part of the plot.

And after a lot of whining and moaning and kicking at balls of kitty fur (my cat is shedding like crazy) all over the house — I agree.

So, I will be slashing and hacking and moving scenes around, tightening up my villains’ presence on the scene, and bumping up the internal conflict of the H/H to make Weather the Storm the best book it can be for my loyal fans.

By the way, this dilemma over the balance between romance and suspense/action in the RS area has been discussed and debated —  often hotly — for a long time.  The RWA Kiss of Death chapter used to discuss it frequently.  Different publishers and lines had their own take on the issue.  And romantic suspense authors have been, and still are, all over the place about the perfect balance.

My favorite romantic suspense author, Elizabeth Lowell, teeters between 50/50 (with not that much overt sexual activity, but more romantic and sexual tension than anything else) and 40% romance and 60% suspense/action. But her books are always satisfying, because she is just that damn good.

So, my question to you readers is — what is the perfect balance of romance to suspense/action in the romantic suspense sub-genre? 50/50? 60/40 (romance/suspense)? 40/60 (romance/suspense)? And who are some of your favorite romantic action/adventure/suspense authors?

T – minus and counting

Hay All!

So this is my last post…..no not forever don’t worry or better yet stop cheering, rude!!  As I was saying this will be my last post before I head over to my very first Author Conference. I, as well as several other L, L & L ladies, will be at The Romance Times Conference in Kansas next week!

You may remember that I’m the european arm of Love, Lust and Laptops so this is kind of a big thing for me. Not only my very first conference of its type, but also my first time travelling so far and staying by my self. *gasp*

I have made lists and trust me when I say I hate lists….like alot! So me making them is a new-found need I have.

And I can tell you I’ll for sure be at the Liquid Silver Spotlight at around 4pm if you want to come and say Hi!! Or if you see me around, come up and chat….but remember I’m not really a hugger no matter what Vanessa North tells you!! Yeah I have my eye on you lady!

And guess what happens the week after I get back…go on guess….no?  Well my Femdom story comes out!! EEEEKKKKK it’s part of a short story collection with some of the other ladies here….  love at the heavenly cover!

underamoonlitnight

Tracing his Heart, started out as a brain dump and then turned into…..well you’ll just have to wait and see!

Under the Moonlit Night is out on Monday May 8th!

Right I have to love you and leave you…..the everyday job is claiming my attention….rude I know right? and just when I was getting to a teasing sex scene too….darn it…….

So until next time remember…….I may be cuddly looking…..but don’t mean you should cuddle me…..just saying…. 😉

 

 

In defense of cheese.

Have you ever heard the adage, “One person’s cheese is another person’s treasure?” No? Really? Maybe I have it wrong.

In trolling Goodreads recently, I came across two comments on my books and saw the same word written: “cheese.” Actually, in one case, the reader had written, “total cheese.” It got me wondering. Could my humor be as smelly as a veiny, moldy fromage?

I’ll preface this by saying a reviewer has the right to say whatever they darn well please. Free speech and all that. I’m happy whenever anyone takes time to share thoughts about my work.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t laugh at the same things others do. I’ve seen friends and family go into conniptions over really bad sitcoms, while I sit there picking lint out of my bellybutton. What do I laugh at? Well, give me a good Carol Burnett or Mary Tyler Moore anyday. You’ll at least be guaranteed a smile from me. And if it’s that scene where Mary laughs at the funeral, I’m on the floor. The shows I think are super funny tend to get cancelled. Arrested Development was a big fave in my house, and I related to the off-beat humor of the show. I grew up watching SCTV, memorizing the dialogue and antics of such comedic greats as Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short. I can still quote some of their quirky skits.

Perhaps that is the key: quirky. My heroines have often been described as quirky. The online dictionary defines quirky as “an individual peculiarity of character.” Peculiar…hmm…So maybe not everyone appreciates my sense of humor? Granted, I write heroines who are imperfect. They are a celebration of quirky, like the girls I knew growing up. We weren’t perfect. We laughed at each other when we fell. We had self-deprecating senses of humor and an appreciate for the bizarre.

And you know what? I wouldn’t want it any other way.

In life today, and in many of the romances I’ve read, things are way too serious. I prefer a fun escape. Now don’t get me wrong, serious is important too. But I’m from the Molly Harper/Kathy Love school of writing: I enjoy the pratfall, I like the humanity in my characters, and it’s not unusual for my heroines to have a snot bubble while laughing.

Will I adapt my sense of humor because it may not appeal to all? Never. It’s who I am. I pretty much write the way I talk. Will I seek to write hard-hitting novels full of heart-wrenching topics? Perhaps, but I will still throw in the odd snot bubble. Do I think humor and romance go together? YES!

Like fine wine and a stinky piece of cheese.