Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wicked Wednesday --get LOST!

It's Wednesday here at LIT manor, and that usually means something fun to look at, right?! To me, Wednesday also means LOST--it's actually one of only two television shows that I watch religiously (the other is The Office). I don't think I've *ever* missed a single episode, and it always amazes me that they manage to keep viewers guessing and totally surprised as the seasons go on (for a while there, I was convinced it was because the writers were simply making it up as they went along!).

LOST gives us so many great classic character archetypes, the same types that populate those hot historicals we love so much. First, there's Jack, the ultimate true alpha hero. And by 'true,' I mean he's not one of those false alpha types that's really just a jerk. He's a leader. Smart. Effective. When he speaks, people listen. He takes care of 'his people.' He'll sacrifice his own happiness for those he cares about. Strong, silent, handsome. A doctor--a surgeon, actually--with hot tattoos! Yeah, Jack gets the job done.

And then there's Sawyer, the ultimate tortured bad boy. Yeah, he's done some *really* bad things (like killed someone--or tried to; I can't remember if he was successful or not!). But he thought the man was someone who had done horrible things to his family, leading to his family's ruin, his father's suicide. He felt he was 'avenging' his family. At times, when they've made his character seem too 'nice,' he then turns around and does something really bad again, just to remind us not to get too complacent about him. He's a bit of rake, too--a real rake, not a fake rake. He's passionate, funny, with the most remarkable self-deprecating wit (and I love it when he pulls his hair back and puts on his sexy reading glasses, LOL!). And if his barriers come down and he *does* come to care for you?? He's got your back. The scene a couple of seasons ago when the 'bad guys' had a gun to his head and we were sure they were about to kill him, he was protecting the woman that we *know* he loves (though he won't admit it) with what he thought was his last breath--I'm not sure I've ever been as terrified or upset or moved watching a TV show in my entire life. If they'd killed Sawyer.....nah, I don't even want to think about it.

And then there's Sayid. An 'outsider.' Misunderstood. Tough. He does what he has to do to survive, but deep inside he is man of strong honor, of loyalty. He's precise, capable, unswerving. Probably the one I'd most trust to 'have my back,' if truth be told. He's one bad-ass motherf&#er, but sexy as hell.

Well, just glancing at the length of each characters' paragraph above, you can probably see which character type intrigues me the most--Sawyer's got a *huge* paragraph there in the middle! But honestly, I love them all. They're all wickedly hot and gorgeous, and with all three on the same show....well, watching Lost is a no-brainer for me.

So, who's got your back? Which "wicked" LOST character archetype appeals to you the most? Which of these three would you most want to get stranded on a desert island with?

**Edited to add the video below--HILARIOUS! It's a compilation of Sawyer's 'nicknames' throughout the first three seasons. Classic!!**

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Starting With A Bang

Well, I'm totally angsting. This is the week where I need to send in 75-100pgs of Velvet Have to my editor. She just wants to make sure the book is achieving what it should and that the whole Annwyn world is being 'dripped' in, not blasting in and confusing readers. And, she wants to make sure it's 'dark and sexy'. I'm all for this. No writer wants to write an entire book to hear, 'yeah, uh, this isn't working'. I'd rather know that when I can fix it early on, BEFORE the deadline. So, why am I angsting...I'm having a HORRIBLE time starting this book. Aargh! It's just one of those books I can't seem to find the beginning. With Addicted, it just flowed. But this's like Chinese torture! Poor Kristina (with her own deadline) has just read the third different opening. (Yes, I'm a mean critique partner) and I finally think that I'm getting somewhere.

You see, when you begin writing and learning the craft, you discover this 'begin with a bang' theory. That is, find a really strong, compelling opening hook. I agree with that. But if you go through history's famous literature, not all of it is a bang. Some of it is 'really? This is a good opening?"

I always seem to want to go for tone when I open a book, instead of that brilliant line with words to draw you in. And I know I have to start this book off right, and it's got me all jittery.

So, to have fun today, I'm giving you a Tuesday Brain Tease. I've compiled a list of literature's famous (and soon to be famous) opening lines. Not all are books, but see if you can guess the title and author of the book. I'll post the answers tonight.
Here goes....

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. (Utterly brilliant in my opinon!)

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

She walks in beauty like the night;of cloudless climes and starry skies.

“Edith!” said Margaret gently, “Edith!” (um...really? That's it?)

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (Hmmmm, no bang here)

The pungent odor of urine, the copper tang of blood, and the stench of terror blended in perfect union with the wailing moans and strangled screams of the multitudes of prisoners begging for merciful death. (Zing!!! I'm SO envious I didn't write this...pout)

I must confess, for though I am female, and of lowly rank for a woman of my time, I am wealthy by comparison to many who suffer the drought of a dry marriage bed.

“He’s like Mr. Rochester and…and”—Christobel searched her mind for a proper literary example—“Mr. Darcy, all rolled into one brooding, supercilious parcel.”

Slave. Minion. Fiend. The others who have come before me have been called such things, but I prefer to think if myself as a disciple; a devout follower of my voluptuous mistress.

She was exactly the sort of mortal he was looking for—single, lonesome and begging for it. (that's my opening line for Velvet Haven)

Pick up the book you're reading right now and tell us the opening line! Does it work you. Does the author 'start with a bang'. Can't wait to see everyone's answers!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hugh Jackman at the Oscars!

In case you missed the Oscars opening song and dance number with Hugh Jackman last night, here, have a watch! I must say.....Hugh is pretty remarkable. Not only is he the "Sexiest Man Alive," but the dude can sing and dance like no one's business!

Did anyone else watch the Academy Awards last night? I think it was one of the best Oscars telecasts *ever*--everything about it seemed particularly well done. The opening act was definitely my favorite moment--but I also really liked the way they presented all the Best Acting (and Supporting) categories, bringing out winners from the past to 'pay tribute' to the current nominees.

I was SO happy for Kate Winslet, and for Sean Penn, too (I haven't seen Milk yet, but he's such a brilliant actor that I wouldn't be surprised if he was terribly deserving!). Rob Pattison presented an award, which tickled me pink--even better, he was sitting just behind Mickey Rourke, so he got a lot of camera time. And I was generally delighted to see Slumdog Millionaire take home so many awards.

But yeah, my favorite moment--definitely Hugh's opening number. How about you? And if you didn't watch....well, let's just show Hugh Jackman the LIT Love....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sally MacKenzie and Victoria Dahl Visit the Manor!

Kristi: Hi, Sally and Victoria! Welcome to the LIT manor. Pull up a velvet chaise and grab a cup of tea and let's get started! First off,I’m delighted to be sharing an anthology (LORDS OF DESIRE, Kensington, Feb. 09) with you both! Why don’t you begin by telling us all a little bit about each of your novellas.

Sally: It’s great to be here Kristi--and great to be in LORDS OF DESIRE with your newest persona! My novella, "The Naked Laird," is set during a Regency house party. Lord and Lady Kilgorn have been assigned the same bedchamber--the only problem is, neither knew the other was invited. They’ve been separated for a decade; this is the first time they’ve seen each other in all that time.

Victoria: “Lessons in Pleasure” is the story of Sarah Hood, a sheltered Victorian newlywed. Though she loves her husband, James, she’s never been in close proximity with a man before, and their relationship fills her with anxiety. But together, James and Sarah begin to learn the joys of giving and receiving pleasure, in order to forge a true union of body and soul.

Kristi: Sally, how does "The Naked Laird" fit in with the rest of your “Naked Nobility” series?

Sally: "The Naked Laird" is set in the same year as The Naked Duke, the first book of the Naked Nobility series, and at a house party that happens during The Naked Baron, my May 2009 release. In fact, I was writing the Baron when Lord and Lady Kilgorn stormed into a scene and “introduced” themselves. So while the Laird and the Baron don’t completely echo each other--the house party is only a portion of the Baron and many of the scenes are separate--the characters do show up in each story. It was a real challenge keeping the two stories consistent. And the viscount who hosts the house party appears in The Naked Gentleman--he’s Jane Parker-Roth’s husband. He’s also the hero of my current work-in-progress, The Naked Viscount, which is set about three years after the Laird and nine months or so before the Gentleman.

Kristi: Sally, your books are all Regency-set. What is it about the period that draws you to it as an author?

Sally:I loved Georgette Heyer’s books when I was growing up. I loved the wit and the relationships she crafted between her heroes and heroines. And I love the words and expressions in use then--like “brangle” and “shilly-shally” and “shoot the cat” (No, no felines are injured!)--so much so I sometimes find them creeping into my daily conversations which causes my husband to roll his eyes. And of course the idea of elegant parties and rich, handsome gentleman and a life of relative leisure is appealing--I just can’t think about the lack of modern plumbing or medicine.

Kristi: Well, I find the language in your Naked books positively delightful! Your turns-of-phrase are very clever and fun--it’s one of the things I most admire about your writing style! Are there any particular challenges associated with writing books set in the Regency?

Sally: Perhaps my major challenge is avoiding historical false steps. Most research books are not written with writers in mind, so they don’t include the kind of details that I need. And I am very much writing historical romance--not historical fiction. I want to get the historical details right, but the history isn’t my focus. There are some readers--we can call them the “Regency Police”--who seem to delight in finding historical faux pas in Regency romances--I’m always a little afraid they’ll arrest me. I had one fellow take me to task because I used “hello” two or three times in one book. I now have my Oxford English Dictionary CD open on my computer desktop--it’s the second thing I open after my work-in-progress file--but I still make mistakes. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I will make mistakes--or I’d be too afraid to get past page 1 of the story. Really, just being an American writing stories set in England probably introduces a host of inaccuracies.

Kristi: And Victoria, your books are all Victorian-set. Same questions for you—what draws you to the era, and what challenges do you face with the setting?

Victoria: I admit to choosing the Victorian just because I was afraid of writing Regency! I would’ve been entering into it with less knowledge than half the readers, not to mention the writers who’ve spent their lives researching that era. So I chose to focus mostly on the early Victorian, when some of the Regency ideals were still alive and well, but we were entering interesting new terrain in both society and technology.

The biggest challenge I’ve found is with preconceptions about the era. There were a lot of prudes back then, but private sexuality was alive and well. People didn’t truly wear blinders. That story about people covering up the legs of their pianos because “legs” were vulgar and not to be seen? That story was made up by an Englishman making fun of unsophisticated Americans. Totally not true.

That’s another thing to keep in mind. Most of the books of manners from that time period were written for middle-class Americans. They were NOT written for the English upper-class, who could get away with a heck of a lot more. Also, rule books were written to influence behavior. They reflect the ideals of the author, NOT the actuality of life in Victorian times.

Kristi: Any naughty tidbits you’ve discovered when researching your particular eras? For instance, I found that there was a very short-lived but popular trend of nipple piercing in the Edwardian era! And I don’t mean courtesans or ‘loose women’ doing it—I’m talking gently-bred ladies! Strange, but true.

Sally: The naughty bits that are currently on my mind deal with my work-in-progress. I have a copy of Vic Gatrell’s City of Laughter. It’s full of prints from the 18th and early 19th centuries, many of which are quite, quite naughty. I’m using one as the inspiration for The Naked Viscount.

Victoria: I love their adorable pornography. The naked women always looked so demure. And plump. *g* It makes me happy that these cute nudes made people feel so naughty.

Kristi: Victoria, I thought the entire subplot in "Lessons in Pleasure" regarding the so-called “doctor” treating women for nymphomania was particularly compelling. I can totally imagine women being exploited in such a fashion during a time when talking about such private matters was entirely taboo. Was this based on any research you did, or was it pure fiction?

Victoria: When I started the story, I knew the heroine would turn to medical texts for information. I also knew that these books were hot sellers, probably because the more you try to hide sex, the more interesting it becomes. What surprised me was the perviness the permeated some of the books when I read them with a modern eye. Doctors were obsessed with the so-called malady of “hysteria.” They honestly believed that having a uterus put all women a hairsbreadth away from going crazy at the least provocation. (“hyster” in hysteria meaning “uterus”, as in “hysterectomy”.)

And yes, some of them advocated that women receive regular physical treatments to relieve dangerous “congestion.” Pervy, yes, but I personally theorized that these treatments might have generated a system of recommendations from one woman to another, if you know what I mean. (Do you know what I mean? I’m saying that some doctors jacked women off as a medical treatment. *snort*) Fine and dandy if she’s going voluntarily (“I’m off for my treatment, darling. Don’t wait up!”) Terrifying and abusive if she’s forced into this so-called treatment for depression or anxiety. Gives me the heeby-jeebies.

(At this point, I’d like to point out that the story isn’t creepy. It’s sexy! And sweet! That’s just a subplot, I swear.)

Kristi: I can confirm that!! Victoria’s story is very sweet and very sexy—and not at all creepy!

Can each of you tell me a little bit about your roads to publication? I know you were both RWA Golden Heart finalists—I even had the pleasure of judging Victoria’s entry, which I *adored* and knew with certainty that the book would sell (I’m so happy when I’m proved right!). But what happened after your GH final?

Sally: I can thank the Golden Heart for my current career. Hilary Sares, who was at Kensington then, got my Golden Heart entry, The Naked Duke, to judge. She liked it so much, she got my contact information from RWA and called me totally out of the blue to offer a two book contract.

Victoria: Kristi, did I know you judged my entry?

Kristi: Maybe. Probably. I’m sure I slobbered all over you about it at some point! It was a GREAT entry. I remember I also judged (and loved) and entry by the then-unpublished Monica McCarty that same year, and look at her now, too! Anyway, back to the interview….

Victoria: Curse this awful memory! That is SO AWESOME! Now look at us, two professional ladies in an anthology together. Awww!

When I won the GH for TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN, I’d actually given up on historicals. The market was bad, or so everyone said, and I’d written three historical romances with no luck at selling OR finding an agent. My agent actually signed me after reading my paranormals. It was only after I WON the GH that she said, “Maybe I should read your historicals.” Hmm. Maybe.

I sold SCOTSMAN about seven months after winning. It seemed like a very long wait. I’ve since sold four more historicals to Kensington, along with two historical novellas. I never did sell those paranormal books, but… that second novella I sold to Kensington? It’s about a Highland vampire!!! Finally, I get to write about sexy biting!

Kristi: Lastly, what ‘hot historicals’ do we have to look forward to from both of you?

Sally: THE NAKED BARON is coming out in May and THE NAKED VISCOUNT should be a 2010 release. After that, I think there’ll be one more Naked book, tentatively titled THE NAKED KING. But don’t worry--it’s not about Prinny/George IV. That would be horror, not romance, LOL--at least by 1820.

Kristi: Yikes! I totally agree, LOL! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve! Victoria?

Victoria: My next full-length historical is ONE WEEK AS LOVERS, out in August. This story (previously known as Lancaster’s story) was excerpted at the back of A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks. It’s a bit different from my other books, because the hero is the one with a tortured past. Also, he’s utterly adorable, if I do say so myself. *sigh* Poor Lancaster. He needs you to take him home and cuddle him, so be sure to buy a copy and do your part.

Kristi: Oh, don’t worry—I will!! I’ve been dying for Lancaster’s story since A RAKE’S GUIDE TO PLEASURE! Suffice it to say that THE NAKED BARON and ONE WEEK AS LOVERS are two of my most eagerly awaited 2009 books!

Thank you both so much for taking the time to visit with us today at the LIT manor! I know Lord Craven-Moore is angry with me for not allowing him the pleasure of interviewing you two lovely ladies himself. I suppose I should go and attempt to smooth his ruffled feathers….(I know, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!)

Okay, LIT readers….now I’ll turn it over to you! Any questions to ask Victoria or Sally?? Don’t be shy! They’ve both agreed to hang around the manor for a bit (I think they’re secretly hoping for a glimpse of his lordship!).

Purchase LORDS OF DESIRE now at Amazon or!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

okay for the tall girls

I can't tell, Bridget if this guy is tall , but I think he has the lean thing going ;)) This is my inspiration for my villan in Winter Awakening--Sir Benedict!


Eye Candy continued

In this brief Valentines Day rush--
a bit more temptation. I kind of like the blue collar man;) This is RT Cover model
Brooks Johnson on a pose down of pics of the everyday hero--the type of male that I LOVE to write about! A bit guarded,seen a lot of life-good and bad-likes things a little dirty,loves to laugh,is a good friend and even better lover!

Though the pic is contemporary--the character is very much like my hero, Ranulf, in WINTER AWAKENING.(Nov. '09) The king appointed (blue-collar) knight sent to observe the marriage of a Marcher lord to a Welsh Baron's daughter. Oh the web's we weave....
one of the novellas in the first in the Celtic Spice mini-series, Winter's Desire...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wicked Wednesday

Hi sorry my post is so late, but I think the pic of this hunk will more than make up for it!!! My family and I have been sick these past 24hrs, so you'll have to excuse this short, lazy, and uninspiring post!!!

So, onto the hunk. This is Andre Claude (Mr. Romance) and he's the inspiration for a hero I'm writing under that other name Sophie Renwick The book is entitled A Highlander Christmas and it comes out this November from NAL (alas, no cover art yet. My hero, besides being a Highlander is also a Sidhe prince named Daegan. He's dark, mysterious and dead sexy. I'm having fun writing him, especially with Andre here taped to my computer screen!

So, what do we think of Prince Daegan????? Would you brave the wilds of the Scottish Highlands in winter, and the mysterious woods of Annwyn for a glimpse of this prince?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Tomorrow, Feb. 18th, I'll be joining my fellow LORDS OF DESIRE authors Virginia Henley, Sally MacKenzie, and Victoria Dahl over at Michelle Buonfiglio's Romance B(u)y The Book. I hope you'll join us while we chat with the Bellas about the anthology. There's always lots of fun conversation over there, and we'll be giving away three copies of the book, too!

Please drop by if you can!

Monday, February 16, 2009

In the Name of Love...

Excuse me while I purr in masculine satisfaction! Dear me, I was utterly seduced and ravished by those entries. How was I to pick? I had each LIT Lady read each entry to me while I lounged in bed, sipping on port. Like a fine vintage, those letters heated my blood!

I will say, it was not easy to pick amongst such enthusiastic and intriguing entries. Every one had something of merit, and the LIT Ladies got into a bit of a scuffle at one point, but I brought them back to the matter at hand with my own particular skill (a three-day bacchanal, but who's counting!).

At one point, I think the ladies got rather jealous of my love letters (don't tell them, for they will deny it!)

Alas, I did choose the entries that most stirred me.
The runners up are Kammie, Allison and Victoria. Thanks to you, ma petite anges, for playing. I hope you'll stay and play with me a while yet. The three of you have won a copy of Charlotte's, Amanda's or Kristi's latest release. Congrats to you all!!
And the winner of the gift certificate, the woman of my heart, the letter to litter my bed is.....Ranearia. My dear, do please drop by the manor. I think we might be kindred spirts! Don't let the LIT Ladies put you off, for they we will be under deadline for the next few months, and I am always sadly neglected during deadlines!

Please email the ladies at and they will get the particulars and logistics worked out. Particulars are not my forte, but logistics...well, let us say that logistics have never been a hindrance to me!

To all of the participants, I thank you and send you a plethora of hugs and kisses.
Till next time!
Yours ever,
Lord CM

Post Valentine's Celebration


For those of you awaiting Lord Craven-Moore's choice of winners for the Love letter contest, you'll need to help me awaken our lusty lord as he had a "busy" weekend!!!

The four of us were UP all night reading through them and *sigh* I must say, they were most INSPIRATIONAL!;)

I captured this shot sometime in the wee hours of the morning! The man looks good even after all we'd put him through...I mean, er... how many letters we'd read!!

Results will be posted just as soon as we can jostle our weary Lord CM awake!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Weekend Inspiration: Deadline booster shot

So I'm busy busy doing rewrites and edits for this upcoming book and you've only to ask the good ladies here at the LIT manor what a curse and a joy this has been!
And don't even get me started with how pouty Lord CM has been whilst we are all dutifully penning our tales!

I have used images and music from King Arthur and Tristan & Isolde, as well as Braveheart to capture a sense of the simple sensuality of dress and manner of that time.

But no one said writing outside of the box was going to be easy and in truth, I don't want it to be like anything anyone has read--at least for a very long time!

My objective of course is that I project the reader back in time--
A Dark Ages-set historical, TORTURED has been a roller coaster project to research, write and rewrite from day one! There are not many novels out there set in this era, mind you. One, it's a very brutal, dark time in many ways and yet there had to be SOME romance and passion, eh? Finding it--was the challenge in my research and making it plausible within the context of my story!

The idea for TORTURED came out of the blue after reading an obscure bit of historical info that there were only 1-2 female executioners during the medieval era of Britannia(now England) You have to wonder what type of woman could emotionally and physically handle such a job--or even want to!

But what if--she had no choice?

While it seems perhaps obvious the direction an erotic romance author would go with having a female executioner, I chose a slightly different path and made my heroine the prisoner of a barbaric Saxon ruler who had brutally defeated the last of the Briton kings. Having lost her family, she carries a guilt that she could not protect her mother (hanged for treason) and younger brother who is cast out of the kingdom and left for dead.

She alone is spared,because of her gift of "sight" (kings back then relied heavily on spiritual magic for guidance) but due to her aggressive nature, the king sentences her to a life imprisoned as his executioners apprentice.

Sentenced to look like a boy, he cuts her hair and dresses her in breeches, but a few years later, when she comes of age, the king sees the potential of her womanly attributes being a benefit to him in extracting information from prisoners.

Further, rumors of rebel armies gathering against the Saxon lord make him paranoid and when a Roman warrior is captured who likely has crucial information about the rebellion, the king orders my heroine to persuade the truth from the resilient warrior.

In the process, she determines that he is the one man who has all the right stuff (as it were) to help her escape this miserable life. She partners with him to plan a grand escape and helps him lay a trap to ambush the Saxon king and his army.

Kept secret however, are the images she "sees" when she touches him...images that give her reason to believe that he holds answers to her past she thought was dead and the promise of her future.

Their journey to freedom is riddled with danger and obstacles that they must overcome and as passion heats up between them, the risks grow greater and their time shorter. (TORTURED Aug. '09, Harlequin Spice)

So its back to work for me now! Deadline is loomin!


Thursday, February 12, 2009


People often ask me what "inspires" my books, and the simple answer is, "Lots of stuff!". In my debut novel, UNLACED, I was thinking about my little sister, who is an equestrian and what I call a "horse person." She's entirely comfortable with the beasts (she owns and shows two paint horses, one of which is blind now but still wins ribbons!). She's a biologist, not a veterinarian, but she's entirely comfortable handling and helping injured animals. It just comes natural to her. When we were kids, and a pet gerbil would die, I'd be the kid running up to my room crying, unable to look at the poor animal. My sister would be the one calmly holding the suffering animal, trying to comfort it in its final moments. So...I wondered how a girl like this would fare in Regency England. And then I pushed it a step forward--what if her 'dream' was to somehow practice veterinary medicine, even if informally. With that idea, Lucy Abbington was born. Obviously she wouldn't be allowed to actually study 'veterinary arts' (though there was a Veterinary Arts college in London during the period), but it was interesting nonetheless to make her wish she could! And then I threw in a hero who was a horse lover himself--a man who would appreciate her talents, yet (because of his upbringing--he was a marquess, after all!) think they made her wholly inappropriate for him.

Other times, I've been inspired by a movie or a TV show. My newest release, the novella Swept Away, was definitely inspired by the BBC miniseries North & South (with the super yummy Richard Armitage--see pic above!). I took a similar set-up--a well-bred heroine from the genteel south of England paired with a common-born hero from the industrial north. I think the similarities mostly end there, plot-wise, though the themes are similar. North & South was set in Victorian England, but the set-up works just as well during the Edwardian era, particularly as England was on the verge of ‘modern times,’ which did not favor the ‘old ways’ of the aristocracy. So, for my own story, the hero, John Leyden, represented the coming 'modernism' while the heroine, Christobel Smyth, represented the 'old ways' that were coming to an end. Christobel had to learn to live in John's world.

And occasionally I'm inspired by a song, or even a particular line in a song. Beethoven's hauntingly beautiful Midnight Serenade particularly inspired my book TO LOVE A SCOUNDREL. I listened to it over and over again as I wrote that book, and even gave the song a 'part' in the book itself (the heroine, Eleanor Ashton, plays the song for the hero, Frederick Stoneham--and at the end of the novel, he plays it for her). Other times a song can simply inspire a scene or even a line in a book. I can't remember the specifics, but I remember once hearing a Rick Springfield song on the radio and being struck by one particular (albeit cheesy!) line about a man being stripped bare of his defenses. I used that theme in a particular scene in TO LOVE A SCOUNDREL (Rick Springfield in Regency England?! Go figure!).

So....those of you who write or paint or journal....or do anything artistic....what inspires you? Any specific stories to share?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wicked Wednesday..Triple Pleasures!!!

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Lord Craven-Moore is snickering like a naughty school boy as I write this. What a rogue he is!!! As is tradition here in the manor, we usually post something wicked, normally a pic of some hot guy. But Craven-Moore has had a fit of the blue devils this week, so I thought I'd post his pic for Wicked Wednesday. He is, after all, the LIT ladies resident Candy Man!!!

Oh, and he says he's totally down with having his torso stroked via the computer screen, and he doesn't mind drool at all. So stroke and drool away!!!! Maybe it'll make him a bit happier!!!! CM is NOT fun to be around when he's in a mood!!!

Also, just wanted to say awesome job on the Love Letter entries. Craven-Moore reads them every night! Keep 'em coming!!! If you don't know about the Love Letter Contest, scroll down to the last Wicked Wednesday. The contest has a 75 dollar prize for a Barnes & Noble, or Amazon gift certificate, as well, three runners up will win a book, from one of the LIT ladies latest releases. We're announcing the winners on Monday Feb 16th. So, get your thinking caps on and seduce the blazes out of Lord Craven-Moore!!!

And, as promised, I have the winners of Addicted. There were more entries than I had anticipated, so I decided to give away two copies. My daughter did the honors, and the two names were picked out of the traditional Dale Earnhardt Jr. hat.

The winners of Addicted are: Genella deGray, and Crystal GB.
If you'd both email me at with your snail mail addy, I'll get the book shipped out to you!

If you're bummed about not winning Addicted, there's still more chances going on throughout the month through my newsletter and other blogging dates!

Thanks to all our old friends at the manor, as well as the new friends we've made this year. You've made the Lust In Time blog so much fun, and we thank you for celebrating our first year with us!!

More exciting things will be happening this year as the blog grows and evolves. But there will still be things you can count on. Lord Craven-Moore to be bad, cool guest bloggers, and lots of book give-aways, as well as discussion on some hot historicals!!

Happy know, hump day!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009 last!

Today is my day to squee about Addicted, my erotic historical from Harlequin Spice. It's here!!!!! Okay, really, it was released Feb 1, but hey, it's never to late to squeal about a release. This is my first large press release and the glitter of it all hasn't faded yet. Thus far, it's been getting good reviews and it made its way onto the Barnes and Noble romance bestseller list. #28 the second week. It was a top pick at Night Owl Romance, and will also be All Romance e-Books Feb book club pick (so, if you want a chance to win Addicted, sign up for the book club because they're giving away a code for 50 copies--check their My Space page for deets) or you could hang around here for the next couple of days for a chance to win a copy.

Now that the official pimping is done, I have no idea what to talk to about. What do you as readers want to know? I have had numerous emails from readers asking if this is a) a romance, and b)has a happily ever after. Yes on both counts, with some tears and trials in between!

So, I was thinking last night, after filling out some interview questions about Addicted, why don't I tell you a bit of the 'behind the scenes' on dits about Addicted. I as a reader like to know all the little nuances that go into a book, so maybe I'll share those with you guys.

Addicted was written in the spring of 2006 and it took the better part of eight months to write. The only other eyes to see it were Kristina's. She was incredibly supportive and helpful during the writing process. Many of her suggestions are in the book. Addicted landed me an agent, and sold to Susan Swinwood in Oct 2007 (yes, it really does that long for a book to be published!)

It's original title was Obession, but Kayla Perrin already had a book coming out named Obsession. We rattled around other titles like, 'A Sinister Beauty', 'A Heavenly Demon', 'Red Smoke' but finally settled on Addicted. My editor suggested it, and we both liked the edgy feel of it, as well as the fact that it could also reference something sexual.

I had revisions. Revisions I was afraid of. I had edited out quite a few of the opium scenes, fearing editorial disgust. She wanted those back in, which, I was thrilled about because I thought some of those scenes contained my best writing. However, my editor was very keen about having me put in a love scene while Lindsay is 'using'. I was terrified of reader response. Amanda and Kristina will vouch for this. I bugged the hell out of them for days, mulling this over, brainstorming scenarios, and generally whining like a three year old. Amanda was very helpful and most creative during this particular session of brainstorming. The result is one of my most favorite scenes in the book, because it allowed me such freedom with Lindsay. It also allowed me to explore the world of addiction, and the subsequent 'detox' parts. I really was afraid of what readers would think, but in the end, it served the plot and the characters well. I was true to Lindsay, and ironically, the scenes which I feared most, are the scenes that readers have emailed me to say were their favorites.

One of my very favorite scenes was a late 'almost didn't make it into the book' additions. It's the scene where Lindsay is withdrawing and Anais is taking care of him. He's in utter ruins, broken physically, emotionally,spiritually. Anais takes him into the bath and shows him the physical love he is crying out for. I really felt that Anais needed to do this, to take an active role in Lindsay's healing. It just felt right, and I pleaded and begged with my editor, trying to convince her that this scene was crucial to not only Lindsay, but to Anais as well. The trouble was, I decided I needed this during the copy edit stage, a stage where nothing gets changed except typos and the odd word. She agreed to read it, and emailed me with an enthusiastic 'yes, it MUST get in there'. So, the scene made it into the book, and I'm thrilled by it. It adds another emotional dimension to their healing, and I think it's beautiful.

Which leads me to my favorites. I have a scene or two which are my favs, but I have some lines as well. Besides the opium love scenes, I love the scenes where Anais stays with Lindsay when he quits using opium. These scenes were a challenge to write. I wanted them factual and raw, while balancing romance, eroticism and emotion. My background is medical, so I was afraid of coming off like a textbook, but in the end, I think it was a good balance. I'm proud of those scenes.

Other favorites are lines that I remember writing and feeling 'something' while doing so. They are...

"He was beautiful, the very epitome of a brooding poet, but with his hair worn long, and the sinful curve of his mouth, which was usually shadowed with a night beard, he reminded Anais not of a poet, but a fallen angel, the sort who would tempt any woman into an indiscretion with a smile and a flash of his eyes."

"Rise up from this bed and walk to me amidst the smoke. Crawl atop me, just like the smoke does, Anais."

"Innocence and wonder. It was all lost now, save for the times when the opium ruled him. More and more, he allowed his mistress to govern his mind and body. He was dependent upon her to take the pain away. He needed her, not to die, but to live-- or at the very least-- exist. Gone was the shining knight, replaced with a tarnished dragon chaser."

"He hadn't bothered with the women at the opium dens. Instead, he concentrated on his visions of Anais and pleasured himself in the temporal plane while the physical plane withered away."

"Don't she begged through a choking gasp. "Please don't say anything. Just...go away."
"I don't think I'll ever be able to leave you, Anais."
Her heart squeezed as she listened to the hope, the longing in his words. Her own hope flared, thinking of what-if. Then she looked at him, a shell of a man he once was, an empty husk that had once held so much potential. "You've already left, Lindsay. You just don't realize it yet."

"She was as high as he now, drunk on the passion, the pleasure he was giving her."

"Why can't you see?" he raged, "that the only thing I could possibly quit for is you?...The truth is, the only thing that could possibly bring me out of the darkness is a chance that at the end of the tunnel I might find you waiting there in the light."

"He thought he might have been weeping, knew he was when she kissed the corner of his eye, taking the droplet away on her lips. She knew what he needed, knew what that one broken word-- please-- meant."

"The world looks different to me now, Anais. The future is bright. I can't wait to to start it. It was so beautiful this day, to awaken and find you at the end of the tunnel standing in a ray of light. I have hope now, where I only ever had fear."

And there you have it, some of my fav lines. I have some naughty favorites as well, but this is a PG site, so I'll have to keep mum about them. They all mean different things to me, but they're the ones that I recall moved me when I was writing them.

If you've read Addicted, what were your favorite parts or lines? And if you haven't, in the comments section just write 'Addicted Contest' and I'll randomly choose a name to win an autographed copy of Addicted. I'll announce the winner on Wicked Wendesday

Thanks for letting me share the memories of writing this book, and thank you for all the support you've shown to me, as well as Lindsay and Anais!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hearts A 'Flutter winner!

Congratulations to all the thoughts shared about romance in today's writing.
It was a hard choice--but the winner is Traveler! Here is the recap of your answer! Please email me your snail mail addy at and I'll send out your LIT prize!!

Traveler wrote:
In a romance it is necessary to have a story that has depth and emotion. The characters have to have a strong relationship which can lead to an HEA. The strength of their relationship has to be resolved with a real romance. I prefer depth and heavy duty meaning in my romance novels which means a connection between the two individuals eventually leading up to a meeting of the minds, bodies and souls.

Congrats from all of us here at the Manor!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wicked Wednesday~Contest!

Roses are Red,
Violets are blue,
Craven-Moore awaits in bed
Looking for some company or two!

What do we think? Shall I go to work at Hallmark penning Valetine's Day cards? LOL!
Poetry has always confounded me. I am much more direct in my dealings, but I do realize that you ladies like the odd bit of poetry and I am not above giving you some, albeit my brand.

Back in my day, I ran from this particular holiday. All those pesky entanglements and such. But this year, I'm feeling rather blue. It is that time of year again at the manor....deadline time. I have no playmates to amuse me. No nubile fingers tickling me in the night. If only I were a keyboard, I could be fingered the night through....ah hmm....I digress.

As I was saying, it is rather dreary from where I stand, and knowing how a simple poem or a pretty letter can make the fairer sex squeal in delight, I'm having a contest to see, if I, too, might squeal. So what is this contest, you ask?
It is a Love Letter Contest. To me, of course.

Now, the rules..dear me, those LIT ladies are rather fond of rules. I'd give you carte blanche, but apparently it must be PG-13.

Right then...Now for more rules...

1. Please mark your comments 'Love Letter Contest'. Preferably to this post. The LIT ladies will remind visitors to scroll down to this post to find me. (They are excessively good at reminding, just as good as rule making, in fact!)

2. The poem or letter must be no longer than 400 words, and of the PG-13 variety.

3. The poem or letter to give me the all-over quivers will be the winner of a $75.00 gift certificate to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon~your preference (because I do aim to please, ladies!).

4. Because I'm a firm believer in the pleasure of numbers, I shall be picking three runners-up who will receive the latest copy of Kristi's, Amanda's, and Charlotte's books (one book to each runner-up).

5. The winner shall be announced by moi on Monday Feb 16th.

Good luck, my lusty readers. I await with baited breath to read these entries! And thank you so much for tolerating me this past year!
Lord CM

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hearts a' flutter

Romance. It can make your palms sweat and your heart pound. It can give you a moment of utter breathlessness and make you believe that nothing in your life will ever be as perfect as this moment! It has been the elusive star by which thousands of gifted authors through the years have aspired to capture in their hand--if only for a moment in time--and let their readers bask (as it were) in it's glow!

What better time of year than February--the month devoted (among others things like oh, birthday)--to romance!

But is the element of romance in peril????

I read the other day on a bookseller/reader forum a thread where a few readers were discussing this topic. Their chief concern? Their favorite authors were including less and less romance in their works, in lieu of strengthening other non-romantic elements.

Now I write erotic historical, but have always written toward the sensual side of life--only because I see that as more "real." Passion may appear in many forms between characters--but it is that heart-pounding passion that , for me, makes a great read!

Here at the manor, this discussion has come up more than once and always the consensus has been that there has to be something deeper between the characters. Sure, there may be multiple partners--past, present, or future. The hero and heroine may not always be together from page seven to the end of the book. The whole attraction may begin as pure lust and evolve from there--but somewhere along the way--the journey of the characters will bring them to a brush with romance--either realized or wished for.

Personally, I find that writing stories where romance hovers over my characters like that elusive star give me the greatest satisfaction. Sometimes, they don't even realize until much later that it is this very element that ultimately puts all the pieces of their puzzled lives into place.

In DIARY OF COZETTE (Spice, Oct.'08) my heroine, deep down, finds a correlation--call it a sense of security, perhaps--between romance and lust. The lines blur for her, due to her life circumstances and sex becomes a tool by which she survives. But in her heart, she longs for the companionship of the one man who will accept her for the woman she is--passionate, strong,his equal in many ways-not to be dominated unless by her consent! It's a human part of us, this elusive desire for a bit of romance in our lives. You've only to look at the Valentine market at present to understand that.

What are your thoughts on this idea? What do readers want? Is the idea of romance coupled--pardon the pun-- even with hot sex, in danger of becoming even more elusive in books?

We'd like you to weigh in your thoughts on this topic. Lord CM, our lord of passion & romance (good heavens, he thrives on that title) will select a winner from all the comments offered and that lucky soul will receive a box of chocolates to savor as you read your next passionate book passage!

Until next time~
here's to romance and passion!

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Is Here!!

Happy February, everyone! So much to look forward to this month. As you know, LORDS OF DESIRE got a slightly early release (end of Jan.). I've been hearing from lots of folks who found it in their local stores already--apparently on the "New in Paperback" table up front at some Barnes & Noble stores, so that's exciting! I've already gotten teased by my friend's husband for some of the 'naughty words' in my novella. ("Cunny"--the husband made a point of using it conversationally in a sentence at dinner Saturday night--yes, there was a lot of Sangria flowing....) My sister just emailed to say she read it this morning and enjoyed it--but pointed out that it was very short (yeah, it's a novella, LOL!). My mom bought it this weekend but hasn't since mentioned reading it, which leads me wonder if she found it more scandalous than my previous books (see word in italics above!). And I've even received a couple of wonderful emails from total-stranger readers telling me how much they enjoyed Swept Away (and never doubt how much an author LOVES to receive such notes! There's nothing more satisfying!). All the usual new release fun stuff!

But there's MORE to look forward to, as well! Fellow LIT Lady Charlotte's first single-title release from Harlequin Spice, Addicted, is out now! I just received notification from Amazon that it's shipped! I read it while it was a work-in-progress, of course, but I can't wait to read the finished product in "book form," especially with that gorgeous cover. Stay tuned, because I'm sure Charlotte will have something exciting going on here to celebrate its release!

I'm also looking forward to reading my good friend Caroline Linden's first release with Avon Books (her previous titles were published by Zebra), A View to a Kiss. I remember reading a draft of the opening scene way back when, and even then I was hooked! Sort of a James Bond/Mission Impossible meets Regency England. It's also on its way here from Amazon. I might be able to twist Caroline's arm later this month and get her stop by for a day of guest blogging.

Also up this month at the LIT manor: my fellow LORDS OF DESIRE anthology-mates, Sally MacKenzie and Victoria Dahl, will be joining us soon as guest bloggers. They're both talented and funny and quite sassy, actually, so it should be fun having them.

And then we'll be sponsoring a "Love Letter Contest" for Valentine's Day with some BIG prizes to give away (I mean big!). Keep watching for more details!

We're also celebrating the one-year anniversary of Lust in Time--time sure flies when you're having fun! So who knows what we might do to honor that milestone--but I'm sure Lord Craven-Moore will have something to do with it.

Hope you'll plan on joining us throughout the month for all the fun and festivities.

I'll leave you with this question: any February books (besides LORDS OF DESIRE and ADDICTED, of course!) you're particularly looking forward to reading?