The Lure of a Well-Muscled Chest

We all know the perfect mate needs to be blessed with more than just a pair of strong hands and a broad, well-muscled chest to fill our days and nights with the kind of long-lasting love we ultimately want. It’s a man’s intelligence, generosity and sense of humor that will ultimately keep the home fires burning long after the pitter patter of our flustered heart dies down.Heart_to_Heart
Still, there’s nothing quite like that initial, spine-tingling, butterfly-inducing, sexual attraction. And who doesn’t love a man with a broad chest and strong hands? In Edie and the CEO, author Mary Hughes deftly captures the pull of her hero’s raw magnetism with this passage:
“If Mr. Kirk were here—”
“Mr. Kirk,” a deep voice rang with power, “is here. And I want to know what, precisely, is going on.”
Filling the opening of Edie’s cubicle was a blood–red silk tie, snow–white shirt, and perfectly–cut pinstriped suit—elegant packaging for the raw breadth of an exceedingly masculine chest.
Edward Everett Kirk.
Charleton Heston would have been jealous of Kirk’s high forehead, straight nose, strong mouth and square jaw. The gleaming wingtips and foil–thin gold watch were just added insult. Mr. Ultra–Executive.
Except for a neat chestnut ponytail and square workman’s hands.
Edie found those elements a startling…intriguing…annoying contradiction. She shivered, stifled it. Something about Kirk pushed all her buttons.

Edie isn’t the only one attracted to the “raw breadth of a masculine chest.” In my novel Hot Off the Press, Leigh is fascinated by the hero’s big hands and broad chest from the very first moment she lays eyes on him.

Her glance traveled from the big, well-tanned hands stroking the dog, up a pair of worn blue jeans and white T-shirt to a shock of coarse black hair. His jet-black locks reminded her of another man’s – well he’d been barely more than a boy really. A wild, skinny, dark-haired teenager called David. Impulse made her pull off her glasses and toss them into her purse just before he turned to look at her.
The stranger stood and let his gaze wander up from her shoes to her eyes. Why the hell had she taken her glasses off? Without them she could just make out the contours of his face. Despite the blur she could tell he was one hell of a looker. But this man couldn’t be David. He was big, salt of the earth big, and well over six feet. She stared, until she realized the stranger was staring back, silent.

Will Edie succumb to Mr. Kirk’s obvious charm? Is the sexy stranger with the strong hands really the skinny teenager Leigh used to love?

To find out and read the rest of my and Mary Hughes’ novels pick up your Heart to Heart bundle at the following links. You’ll get those stories along with 8 more sexy contemporary romances for only 99 cents. ‘Cause let’s face it, when it comes to falling in love, nothing beats a tough man with a tender touch.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-to-heart-meline-nadeau/1120798082?ean=9781440587146

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heart-to-heart/id941937684?mt=11

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Meline_Nadeau_Heart_to_Heart?id=7QdiBQAAQBAJ

http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/heart-to-heart-10-touching-contemporary-romances-by-meline-nadeau/9781440587146

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors to respond to ten questions about their latest book. The author tags the person who first tagged them, plus a few other authors who will post on their blogs the following Wednesday.First, I’d like to thank author, Elke Feuer, for tagging me. Click the links below to find out more about Elke and her debut novel, For the Love of Jazz, a contemporary romance with a ghostly twist.

Website: http://elkefeuer.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Elke-Feuer/185367964831994

Twitter: @ElkeFeuer

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550227.Elke_Feuer

Here is my Next Big Thing! Please feel free to comment and ask questions.

1: What is the title of your book? Hot Off the Press

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I studied journalism and worked at the Kingston Whig-Standard which was owned, at one time, by renowned author (novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor) Robertson Davies.  I always thought the small town newspaper would make a great setting for a romance novel.  And when Robertson Davies died in 1995, it got me thinking about what it might be like to inherit a newspaper from your much beloved, celebrated father and how difficult it would be to live up to such a legacy.

3: What genre does your book come under? Contemporary romance

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I originally patterned my heroine after a young Geena Davis, but if I were casting a movie today I would probably want Lauren Ambrose as Leigh Cameron and Adam Beech as David Stone.

Adam Beech

Adam Beech

Geena Davis

Geena Davis

Lauren Ambrose

Lauren Ambrose

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Following the death of her father, Leigh returns to the sleepy seaside town of her youth, where, she’s shocked and surprised to learn she’s inherited the family paper.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? My book is published by Crimson Romance.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I spent about two years writing the first draft of Hot Off the Press during evenings and weekends.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? One reviewer said of Hot Off the Press, “Readers who love Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Jill Shalvis will not want to miss this book.” And another added, “A true tapestry of characters, story, and a richly detailed setting reminiscent of early Nora Roberts.”

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? I wrote the book after moving to Toronto for a job as a television reporter.  This story was, in many ways, love letter to print journalism and to the friends I left behind.  That said, despite sharing some physical attributes with some of my dearest friends, Leigh, Geoffrey, David, Andrea and Bruce are all fictional characters.

The Watford Sun, the small independent paper where my story is based, was inspired by a Canadian daily newspaper called the Kingston Whig Standard that was privately owned until very recently.  I interned there as an Arts and Entertainment reporter some years back and I found the small town and its charming old buildings very romantic.  The fictitious town of Watford, MA, where the story is based bears some similarities with the town of Kingston, Ontario where this paper is located.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It’s a beautiful, sensual read with a fire escape sex scene my critique group still raves about some six years after I first read it to them.

Below are the links to the next chain of authors who will be posting next Wednesday.

Please show them some love by bookmarking their sites and adding their new releases to your calendars. Happy Writing and Reading!

  1. Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, and B&H Publishing. Find out more at kayedacus.com.  Find her on Twitter @KayeDacus
  2. Heidi Ruby Miller uses research for her thrillers as an excuse to roam the globe.  Find out more at heidirubymiller.blogspot.ca.  Find her on Twitter @HeidiRubyMiller

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Image

A colleague recently remarked that she was relieved that our publisher, Crimson Romance, does not use “classic” romance covers for its cover art.  You know the kind I mean – the ones featuring a woman with long flowing hair in the throws of passion with a gorgeous, shirtless Adonis.  Well, I have a confession to make.  I love those “classic” covers.  I mean, come on.  Who among us hasn’t wished for long, beautiful hair or fantasized about being in the arms of a dark, muscular, larger than life, hunk of a man?

Cover

Hot Off the Press Actual Cover

So I was a little disappointed when I saw that the cover of my debut novel, Hot Off the Press, was definitely more modern than classically hot.  No bodice ripping here. No, sirree, Bob. Now granted, my novel does deal with serious issues like discrimination in our prison system but it also contains a beautiful romance and really great and hot sex.

Alternate Cover

Hot Off the Press Author’s “Classic” Cover

My research on the impact of a book cover revealed that in fact, your book cover may very well be the single biggest piece of marketing that book will receive.  For first time authors and writers that have not yet built up a big following, the cover may be the only thing that gets a reader or reviewer to physically pick the book up.  Talk about pressure.

According to a BookSmugglers.com survey, covers play a decisive role in 21% readers’ decision to purchase a book. Moreover, 60% of readers say a cover has been the sole driving factor in their decision to purchase a book.

So although we’re all taught never to judge a book by its cover, many of us still do.

What about you? Do you judge a book by its cover? Let me know, leave your email address and enter to win a $100 or $50 Amazon gift card!

Here’s how it works:

To celebrate romance and the classic covers I love, I’ve joined the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop. I invite you to visit the other fabulous Crimson Romance authors and also enter to win on their site. The more you visit, the better your chances of winning a prize! And, the more authors, sexy covers and amazing stories you’ll find to entice you.

Find the entire list of participants to the blog hop here:

http://crimsonromanceauthors.com/crimson-wonderland-blog-hop/

Good luck!

10 Questions with Galen Rose

“I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at night if I didn’t write.”

ImageContemporary romance writer, Galen Rose, dropped by to chat about writing, romance and her biggest influences.   Rose lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband, son and 3.5 cats. She’s an avid cook, gardener and loves to travel.

MN:  Writers are often told, “Write what you know.” How much of what you write stems from your experience?

GR:   Some of it falls under location, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Ireland. Places I have lived and traveled. I choose occupations I am familiar with for my characters too. But that doesn’t mean I won’t go further and delve into research for a new work. Like taking shooting lessons to learn more about guns.

MN:  Once you have your premise, what’s your process?  Are you a plotter or a “pantser” going with your instincts as you write?

GR:  I am a pantzer all the way. A story line will pop into my head and I’ll run with it till the end. Then I’ll go back and see if where I started is really the beginning. My book, A Place to Rest My Heart, had a vastly different and darker opening than what eventually went to print. The opening that I cut out could very well inspire a new book.

MN:  What or who inspires you to write romance?

GR:  Writers like Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie and Janet Evanovich inspire me but mostly I hate unrequited love and combined with a vivid imagination, I write. I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at night if I didn’t write.

MN:  What is it about an alpha male that makes your heart melt?

GR:  Strength and truth.

MN:  Which of your characters is your favorite?  Why?

GR:  My favorite is a secondary character, Mason Storm (that one day may get her own book). She is a former assassin that chucks it all to try and live a normal life.

MN:  What else do you do besides write?

GR:  Garden, photograph flowers, travel.

MN:  Who are you reading right now?

GR:  I am reading quite a bit by Carla Neggers right now as well as trying to get through the stack of books I got at the RWA convention.

MN:  What’s your ideal writing environment like?

GR:  My office. It is at the back of the house and for the most part quiet. I can open the door and hear birds and this week I got to hear our first rain of the season. Plus if I can leave the door open, the cats will quit demanding I open the door for them!

MN:  Celebrity crush?

GR:  Wow, that’s a tough one, but probably Chris Pine.

MN:  Who are the biggest influences on your work?

GR:  My friends first, they read my writing and demand more, and also my fellow RWA Monterey chapter members.

MN:  Thanks for dropping by!!

ImageAbout GR’s A Place to Rest My Heart:

When Laney Murphy walks into Muldoon’s Pub in San Francisco, she has no idea her life is about to change forever. Laney has always believed that Murphy’s Law was written with her in mind. The offer of a job and a place to stay from the Muldoon family seems too good to be true, but when she meets Sean Muldoon, the suspicious and distrustful son of the pub owners, she wonders if she was right—he clearly detests her.

Sean is on the fast track as a body guard with Woo Security, and he isn’t going to allow some grifter to get in his way or to mess with his family.

But he soon discovers that Laney is not all sharp tongue and sarcasm, and he finds himself wanting to kiss her more than deck her.   But soon, Laney’s past comes back to haunt her and it will take her putting her life on the line to save Sean and the family she has come to love.

To get in touch with and/or follow Galen:

http://www.galenrose.com

https://www.facebook.com/GalenRose

http://pinterest.com/galnrose/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15705818-a-place-to-rest-my-heart

https://twitter.com/GalenRose1

Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop!

ImageDon’t Miss the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop!

When you read a book, do you feel like you’ve escaped to another world?

Do you love to go back in time, travel to exotic places or be swept away to fantasy lands? Does your escape bring the heat of a desert sun, a tropical beach, a western range? Do you prefer vibrant city lights or the intimacy of small towns? Or depending on your mood, all of the above?

The authors at Crimson Romance offer a wonderland of romantic worlds, and we’d love you to visit!

From Nov. 17th to Nov. 21st we’re celebrating our wide spectrum of romances with the first Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop! Dozens of authors will entice you to their worlds and offer prizes to lucky visitors.

A wonderland of worlds and prizes too!

But that’s not all. As well as dozens of giveaways, there will also be a grand prize!! You won’t want to miss any of these fabulous authors, so be sure to follow each and every blogger! Exciting details will follow.

See you in November!

Five Questions with Samantha Holloway a.k.a. Plum-Kitten Baroque Rose

Samantha Holloway

Samantha grew up all over the world and still travels whenever she can. She lives in the corner of a living room in North Carolina with a neurotic cat and a stack of books. She’s currently revising her first novel, due to be shopped next spring. She reads too much, reviews books for The New York Journal of Books, reviews TV sporadically and commits random acts of academia.

Current Project:
The working title is Married to the Wind, and I hope I get to keep it when it goes to editors! It’s an epic fantasy about a twinned princess, each half with its own destiny, a boy who falls from the sky and must return there, a walled country with an entire history based on a lie, and what happens when gods get tired of waiting on humans and start moving around the world on their own.

Samantha took time out from her busy schedule to answer my Top 5 burning questions. Here’s what she had to say:

MN: Writers are often told, “Write what you know.” How much of what you write stems from your experience?

SH: I write fantasy, so, well, I don’t have a lot of experience with magic or dragons or first-hand interactions with old resurrected gods, but I do know a lot about how it feels to grow up displaced, which works well with stories about people who have to rise above uncertainty to save the world. And I know a lot about mythology and the systems of myth and legend inform stories that come later–which, again, works well in Fantasy. I grew up in Turkey, Italy, Japan and Scotland, so I’ve got a pretty wide view of cultures that I can draw on, and I’ve lived them, so I know the little details you might not get from research–what the air smells like at different times of the year, what plants are there, how outsiders and natives deal with the same things differently.

And I always thought ‘write what you know’ was more like ‘write what you know about what it feels like’ or ‘write what you would want to be if you were in this position’ anyway.

MN: Once you have your premise, what’s your process? Are you a plotter or a “pantser” going with your instincts as you write?

SH: I refuse to formally plot, and cling tenaciously to the idea of being a pantser. To me, once a story is already told–say, though mapping it out–I don’t need to tell it again, and there’s always a new idea I could be chasing down. And, there’s the issue that I never really know what I think about something until I write it down anyway, so the few times–like in a writing class or something–when I’ve been forced, kicking and screaming, to plot something first, the final product is always a totally different story, even if the first paragraph or first page is the same.

But I will admit this: Since beginning school at SHU, I’ve taken to mini-plotting. I’ll take notes and brainstorm along the way to clear up fogginess or solve problems, and I’ll end each day’s writing with three or five things I want to do next. But mostly, I’m writing the first draft to see where it goes, and I’m always surprised!

MN: What or who inspires you to write fantasy? Science fiction?

SH: Everything inspires me! But what inspired me originally was a combination of boredom, needing new books to read, and my dad’s bookshelf. See, I was about eleven or twelve in the cold dark years before YA had blossomed, and I was bored after reading about sixty chapter books in a row–Babysitter’s Club, The Boxcar Children, a few children’s novelizations of a show I used to watch when we were in the UK. Mom told me I’d used up my weekly book allowance and I was home sick and restless, but I knew I dad had this big bookshelf full of classic SciFi–Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke, a little Heinlein. And Anne McCaffrey. I picked up Dragonflight. I read it cover to cover faster than I’d read anything over 120 pages in my life, and when it was done, I wanted more. I started writing before I realized there WAS more–about ten more at that point, and she was still writing them!

From there, I devoured everything I could find with her name on it, and I read through the rest of the shelf, alternating dragons and telepaths in towers with the Bradbury anthologies–written by him and edited by him–and some of the Asimov and a big swath of the Clarke. On my own, I consumed all the Robin McKinley I could find. And comic books. And 80s fantasy movies. I was amazed that books existed that were like those movies!

McCaffrey is a good jumping-off point for both Fantasy and SciFi because the Pern series walks the line between them, especially at the beginning, and I didn’t make much distinction between them anyway, when I was a kid. I started out writing fantasy, went through a SciFi phase that was primarily inspired by TV and movies, and came back to Fantasy before I joined the program. Now, my thesis is Epic Fantasy, and my next project is Urban Fantasy, so we’ll have to wait until after that one to see how I do with SciFi!

MN: Plum-Kitten Baroque Rose – that’s an incredibly inventive and usual name. Please tell us how you got it.

SH: Haha, that’s a silly story. My real name is Samantha. I was looking for a neat name that I could put on Facebook to separate my personal page from my writing page, and I’d already started writing under Samantha Holloway, so I changed my personal name instead! It’s the name of a shoe that one of my friends used to sell in the shop he worked at–not even all that interesting a shoe, but I love the sound of the name. I think, if I ever need a new penname, I might write under Plum-Kitten Baroque Rose; think of how awesome the stories could be coming from her! Or, you know, I could write under that name if my editor or agent insists I pick a more interesting one…I’d have to do a lot of rebranding, though…

But it IS a great name, so now you’ve got me thinking…

MN: George Clooney or Brad Pitt. Why?

SH: George Clooney. He’s endlessly charming, and he seems like he’d be more fun to just be around; Brad Pitt has gotten so serious these last few years…

Thank you! This has been great!

To get in touch with and/or follow Samantha:

Website: www.samanthaholloway.com

Blog: Writing – herdingthedragon.blogspot.com and Personal – makeshiftsurfaces.blogspot.com

Twitter: @pirategirljack

Tumblr: samiholloway.tumblr.com