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Other Obsessions

By Laura Drake

If you’ve followed our blogs here at ENALR very long, you’ve seen that there’s a lot more to us than the stories we write. We all have other interests; Shawna is a new Mom, Cyndi’s decorating, a bunch of us have been traveling this summer. Well, not me, but I’m not bitter.

I’ve got other interests as well. The past months, I’ve written about bicycling (you can read it here,) motorcycling (here,) and fly fishing (here.) I realized I haven’t shared my biggest obsession. No, not food.

Pro Bull Riding!

Why? I’m not a country girl; I grew up in Detroit. I don’t much like country music — to me, a steel guitar sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. So how could I have gotten so wrapped up in a sport that I wrote a three book series set in that world?

  • I’m fascinated by young men who, through courage, craziness, or under the influence of large quantities of testosterone, get on the back of two thousand pounds of attitude that wants to  throw them in the dirt and dance on their dangly parts.
  • The athleticism. Bull riders have more in common with gymnasts than wrestlers. The mechanics require more balance than brute strength.
  • These aren’t media savvy, spoiled athletes. They’re mostly kids off farms, and ranches. Watching their wide-eyed interviews on camera, and talking to them in person, gives me hope for the future of America. They remind me with their gentlemanly “Ma’am’s” and “Sir’s” that mothers somewhere are still raising kids right.
  • I’ve watched this sport grow over the past ten years, and have enjoyed watching events that are real — not slickly orchestrated and Hollywood perfect.

These men represent the American Cowboy; a rare breed in today’s society of political correctness and metrosexuals. They still live by the belief that their handshake is a scared promise, and integrity isn’t what you talk about, it’s what you live. They live a code that they’re willing to die by. How many people do you know like that?

Do yourself a favor. Check out their website. Tune in to a PBR event some weekend (TV schedule is here.) I dare you not to get sucked into the drama. Maybe I’ll see you at the finals in Las Vegas some November!

Let ‘er buck!

Laura has written three books set in the world of Pro Bull Riding. The first, The Sweet Spot, is due out next May, from Grand Central.

Why this post is late.

Okay, it’s late because I forgot about it last night.

But the reason it’s really late is because of this guy:

You know what this is? This is parenting. Sort of. This is what parents become. People who refuse to do anything that might have this:

Become this:

This guy who looks so calm and sweet (It’s really just because he’s buckled in) but don’t let the calmness fool you. He’s only playing you. When you release him from his cage he turns into a yelling, fighting THING. There is kicking. And jumping. and smashing of toys. I hear some people refer to as a “boy”.

So if that means avoiding the computer even though there are emails waiting to be sent (sorry editor!) or ignoring the blog (sorry yall!) you do that. So that you can keep having this:

And did I mention I have a new release? I don’t think I did! Rough Play, Book 2 in The Roughnecks is now available!

Jacob Iverson has plans. Distant plans, but they do exist. Find the right woman, eventually settle down and do the whole “white picket fence” routine. But until eventually comes, he’s having fun with right now. Then he meets Flora, who blows him back a step. Or two. Suddenly his distant plans are rushing up to meet him…only not quite the way he imagined.

Abandoned at seventeen, Flora Simms has made her way through the world, found life and family in the form of two best friends. Everything is just the way she likes it. From life to love to relationships, she knows what she wants, how she wants it, and doesn’t care if anyone agrees or not. And what she doesn’t want is someone trying to tie her down with long-term plans. But Jacob Iverson brings images of the future to her mind, and heart. Jacob somehow knows what she needs and he’s hitting all the right spots. But can Flora give up her idea of independence to let him in?

$2.99 at Amazon Kindle | B&N Nook | Kobo | AllRomanceEbooks | TMP | Smashwords | Bookstrand

Coming soon in print from Amazon | B&N | TMP

Add to your Goodreads Shelf

This week I put my heroes on a game show! Stop by Deep In The Heart Romance and leave me a comment and you’ll be entered for a chance at Ella Drake’s Desert Blade! It’s a Near-Future, Science Fiction Romance, Post-Apocalyptic — Novella!

Did you miss me?

I’m back! Please don’t tell me you didn’t realize I was gone. I can’t believe how quickly eight weeks flew by. Then again those eight weeks were so full of new experiences and adventures that it also seems like it’s been longer than that. For those of you who don’t know, baby Emily Hannah Guzman was born on May 31st.  It’s been a busy, sleep-deprived, joyful, and awesome time, but I have missed all of you.

Although there is a lot going on with my professionally right now, and I will share, today I’m going to stick with the mom hat I’m wearing more often than not. If I had a wallet with pictures, I’d pull it out right now, or the more modern cell phone with pictures. I really do this by the way. Go ahead, ask how the baby is and I’ll grab my cell phone and show you one of over 300 pictures I have on my phone. I’ve even been known to randomly attach pictures to messages or emails because of course you want to see my little angel. I’m really not sure what the mortgage broker thought of that…

Any way, here she is!

Shameless Self-Promotion

EDITED: Hi everybody! Cynthia D’Alba sticking her head in. Pam didn’t know how to add pictures and I thought I’d add them so you will see the pure joy on her face at her first signing! Congrats, Pam. 

All of us here at ENALR are romance authors, but you already knew that.  The purpose of this blog is to get to know us as people.  Our likes, dislikes, quirks, families, dreams, pet peeves, etc.  You’ve celebrated anniversaries with us, wept with us over pets, laughed with us about our kids’ antics.  We’ve shaken our collective heads when trying to figure out male logic, and applauded and cheered when house renovations have turned out splendidly.

But because I can’t separate that I’m a romance writer from the rest of my being, the part of myself that I’m sharing will come across as the shameless self-promotion that it is.  But, here it comes anyway because I’m too thrilled to write about anything else today!

My Harlequin Superromance debut novel OUT OF THE DEPTHS released on August 7!!!  Yay!!!  This is the book that Cynthia D’Alba and I were discussing on a beach in Florida one day.  I was frustrated it hadn’t sold.  My agent was frustrated it hadn’t sold.  And as I was venting that frustration one day, Cyndi asked what it was about.  I gave her a short synopsis, after which she uttered those fateful words:  “That sounds like a Superromance.”

I had never read a Superromance, but I started reading them that afternoon.  Wow!  Cyndi was right.  Everything about the line felt right.  My agent agreed, submitted to the line, and the rest is history.

Last week, I walked into the Books-A-Million in my hometown of Paducah, KY and saw one of my books on the shelf for the first time.  It was a feeling like nothing else in the world.  The Yellow Moon Cafe in Cobden, IL, near where I live now, threw a celebration booksigning for me this weekend.  A large crowd showed up–people who cared enough to want to share this special time.  It was thrilling and very humbling.  I tend to be a bit shy, and the thought of being the center of attention had me so intimidated that around 3:00 that afternoon, I was ready to cancel.  But I didn’t–and I’m so glad.  Old friends showed up–some I hadn’t seen in years.  Family.  Former students.  People I’d never met.   An odd conglomeration of personalities coming together to celebrate my dream-come-true.

The highlight of the night came at the end.  The crowd was gone but a small, intimate group remained.  That was when my husband toasted me with champagne.  The pride in his eyes and his voice was another dream-come-true.

And that’s when it hit me that it wasn’t the sales or the reviews or the rankings of the book that was important.  It was the people in my life who believed in me.  Their love and support had made me important for a brief moment in time … made me SOMEBODY.

How about a little shameless self-propmotion of your own.  Share your proud moment with us.  For the first time on this blog, I get to offer a copy of my book to a someone who leaves a comment!  YAY!!!! 🙂

Boots and Chaps (Ugly Stick Saloon #1) by Myla Jackson

Boots and Chaps (Ugly Stick Saloon #1) by Myla Jackson
* I purchased a copy of this book for my personal library*

She gave up stripping to go legit…until three Kiowa cowboys bring on the down-and-dirty.

Jackson Gray Wolf is turning thirty, and what does he have to show for it? A ranch. No wife, no kids, no dates. He’s had his eye on the pretty owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon, but their one accidental encounter was interrupted before he could get her out of her take-me-now red cowboy boots.

Audrey Anderson isn’t in the market for a man. Been there, done that, has the scars to prove it. She retired her pole-dancing boots after purchasing the Ugly Stick Saloon, and now manages a stable of strippers. When she winds up one stripper short for a private party, she’s forced to slip on a mask and into the role of the mysterious Kiki.

Jackson didn’t want the birthday bash his twin brothers are throwing him, but his vow to ignore the rented stripper goes awry when she shows him exactly how far she’s willing to go—for all three of them.

Audrey can’t forget the sizzling heat between her and one sexy Kiowa in particular. Jackson. Trouble is, she’s not sure if he wants the bold, brassy Kiki, or if he’s ready for the wounded woman underneath.

Warning: This title contains hot scenes with multiple partners, with a little BDSM on the side. Caution—it could melt your e-reader!

Audrey is the tough as nails owner of the The Ugly Stick Saloon.  She hung up her dancing chaps when she moved to Temptation and bought the bar.  Now thanks to Charli, both she and her chaps are coming out of retirement.  After her long dry spell, she never expected to find someone willing to fulfill all her needs.

Jackson’s birthday is coming up and his brothers are determined to give him a night he won’t forget.  While at The Ugly Stick Saloon, they book a stripper for a private party on their ranch.  Little did they realize that the stripper they booked for Jackson’s birthday was Audrey?

I couldn’t wait to read this story because it goes hand in hand with the Dirty Tricks series.  We saw Audrey and Jackson dancing around each other and then they were a couple, all told from Charli’s perspective.  I loved finally seeing how their story unfolded and they ended up together in this book.

Audrey and Jackson are perfect together.  They are both strong individuals that have worked hard to get where they are in life.  Both of them had personal issues they needed to work out plus neither one had time for dating or anything else.  With a little help from Charli and his brothers, the two of them finally connected.

Kiki’s strip tease with the boys was sexy as hell.  It was obvious that the sexy Kiowa Indians enjoyed their play time as much as she did.  Jackson had to convince Audrey that he was series and was willing to give her whatever she needed.  Although he wasn’t crazy about sharing her, he was extremely turned on watching her with his brothers.  He was supportive of her needs and didn’t think they were wrong or dirty.  Hell, he even danced naked in front of a bar full of women for her, if that’s not love I don’t know what it is.

The main characters are interesting and compelling, while being perfect for one another.  The secondary characters added additional depth to the book; I was surprised to see that there was more to Mark and Luke than party boys.  It was nice to see characters from the Dirty Tricks series in this book too, a nice tie in to the series.

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next installment in the Ugly Stick Saloon series.  I give Boots and Chaps 4 Flaming Hearts. 

When Key Lime Pie is Tax Deductible – A Guest Post by Nancy Martin

Hi gang. Cynthia D’Alba here. I am so thrilled to welcome best-selling author and super-nice person Nancy Martin to our little home on the net. Nancy writes wonderful cozy mysteries that make you laugh, and then lust after the uber-sexy Mick. She took a break in her Blackbird Sisters Mysteries but is back with two new ones. As a long-time fan of the series  I squealed like a teenage girl over The Bieber when I heard about the two new books,. So help me make Nancy feel welcome.

When Key Lime Pie is Tax Deductible

I love writing. Most of the time I love it so much, I hate to leave my desk. Sometimes I think I write fiction just so I don’t have to leave the house to do the research for non-fiction.

But lately, I’ve discovered  a new resource for the kind of research I need to do, which is finding all the right clothes for my amateur sleuth, the once pampered Nora Blackbird, who is forced to get a job when her parents ran off with her trust fund. Now she attends charity balls and cocktail parties in her job as the society columnist for a Philadelphia newspaper, but because Nora is broke, she wears fancy duds from her late grandmother’s collection of haute couture. Believe me, I knew nothing about couture when I started this series, so I’ve been researching clothes ever since.

And lately I’ve discovered Pinterest.

Wait! Stop! If you don’t know about Pinterest and are tempted to click, be warned:  IT’S COMPLETELY ADDICTIVE! http://pinterest.com/

Type in a topic that interests you, and you can find a gajillion photos and fun little postings about the subject.  Recipes? Shoes? Mystery novels? Funny sayings.  (Oh, Dorothy Parker, I have always loved you!) Inspirational stuff. Wedding ideas.  (Lots and lots of wedding ideas.)  Show jumping, yes. Sexy men—double yes!

The day I wandered onto Pinterest for the first time, I clicked on “couture,” and suddenly my clothing research for the next ten books was revealed to me in bright color and plenty of detail.  I have found new friends—fashion experts, even a designer for one company that specializes in Mother of the Bride dresses. (Why couldn’t I have me him five years ago when my Mother of the Bride marathon began?) For me, it’s much more fun than Facebook.  (Maybe because the high school boyfriends don’t come looking for me on Pinterest?)

Now I look for any excuse to create a “board” on Pinterest.  (You “pin” things you’re “interested” in on a virtual bulletin board, get it?)

When I realized I had 50 days until the release of my new mystery, I thought, why not create 50 Shades of…something?  The more I thought about it and the more I snooped around on Pinterest,  the more I liked the idea.  But I didn’t want to do gray! How dull. Why not…pink?  Pink is a pretty, innocent kind of color with a few sexy connotations (Surrender the pink, anyone?) but not so sexy that it would shock my mother.  In an hour, I had 50 pink dresses lined up, and I’ve been pinning one every day since.  It’s so fun! And cute, right? People love pink!  And the 50 days is a countdown to the release date of the book, so it’s a subtle enough kind of self-promotion that my grandmother wouldn’t have been appalled.

Here’s a short book trailer I made after cruising around Pinterest for so long that I started playing around with graphics in other ways:

Next week my daughter is throwing me a party in her new home to meet some of her new friends. It’s not exactly a book party since you can’t invite people to a shindig and then ask them to buy a hardcover, so we’re giving away books. Wr’re getting decoration ideas from Pinterest. My daughter is serving refreshments.  She found a special key lime pie at a local bakery.  She said, “It’s kind of pricey, but what the heck.”  I said, “I have some of my marketing budget left.  Let me buy. Refreshments are tax deductible!”  After a long silence, she finally said, “I need a job where key lime pie is tax deductible.”

Become a writer.  You can spend time doing research on Pinterest and buying key lime pie and not feel guilty. Well, not too guilty.

Nancy Martin’s new Blackbird Sisters mystery, NO WAY TO KILL A LADY, hit the stores  on August 7th.

Find Nancy on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/nanmart1/

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authornancymartin

Her website:   http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/

Cyndi here again: I’ve read every Blackbird Sisters book and I can’t wait to get my hands on this new one! I can truly–without reservation–recommend this series. And if you don’t fall in lust/love with Mick Abruzzo, you’ll be in the minority of her readers!

To get you off on this series, I’m giving away a copy of Mick’s Story!

 I’ll select one winner from the comments let today and through the weekend. The winner will be announced on Monday, August 13. 

So leave a comment! 

Thanks again Nancy for joining us. 

Help Me Design My House!

Sorry for the late post. My sweet hubby let me sleep until almost 10 a.m.! I/We were exhausted and here’s why. Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t been around for the past week or so. That’s because we made a “quick” run to Florida last Sunday. I thought we’d be gone a couple of days. Instead, we were gone over a week. For the last couple of years we have been toying with the idea of getting a second home in Florida. This past week, we did! Or at least we put down earnest money with closing scheduled for August 17. Now I have some major redecorating/updating to do! This is where you come in. I need some help with colors. Interested? Great. Let’s start with the kitchen.

 

 

The countertops have to go! I don’t want granite. Too expensive for a second home. The cabinets are called “pickled” in color but think maple. Pretty light.

 

I need to paint the walls and replace the counters. Give me some color suggestions.  What do you think about glass mosaic tiles on the wall above the counters?

Hubby wants to make this a  “Florida-flavored” house. I guess “Key West” decor is the closest thing I can come to.

So help!

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