Guest Author: Mardi Ballou & Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming Mardi Ballou to the blog!  Mardi writes fun and very sizzling sensual romance.  She’s published with a number of publishers, including Samhain and Ellora’s Cave, and she’s also indie published.  You can check out all her books–she’s got a lot of them–on her website.

I’m turning to blog over to Mardi, so she can tell us what’s going on in her writing world.

Love’s Lessons Learned

 In homage to Maeve Binchy, a beautiful writer, R.I.P.

Just back from the RWA National conference in Anaheim and my head is still spinning. Talk about ground-breaking, earth-shaking changes! It’s actually a great time to be a writer, with opportunities in both traditional and independent publishing opening up. Having been traditionally pubbed for several years, I’m glad to have the indie option now too. Of course this new world is full of new challenges. I feel as if I’m joining my peers at the entry point of a steep learning curve. Being a long-time student and teacher, having something to learn is familiar turf.

Like me, the heroes in my hot contemporary series Teach Him Tonight also have lessons to learn. Unlike me, they need to have their awareness raised on that score. Luckily for them, each finds a determined lady willing to provide vital lessons in love.

Photo Finish, the first book in the series, tells the story of two San Francisco lawyers who start out on opposite sides professionally and privately:

Ambitious attorney Cassandra Harrell is primed to battle her hot, hunky opposing counsel Alex DeLuca—a.k.a. Alexander the Great—in the courtroom. Though she fantasizes about getting him into her bedroom, she’s determined to avoid this bad boy distraction and focus on her career.

Alex spots the author photo on the back cover of a steamy romance and recognizes Cassandra. Who knew the desirable but icy lawyer had such a fascinating sensuous side? When he teases her about the book at a deposition, she furiously denies any connection.

Her sister K.C. wrote the book and, for a prank, used Cassandra’s photo. Outraged at Alex for embarrassing her in front of clients, Cassandra plots a revenge lesson. This teacher comes out on top until her student raises the stakes—and the heat.

Though Cassandra is a lawyer, she also becomes a very effective teacher. Alex shows up with more than an apple for teacher. In the best of all possible outcomes, both teacher and student learn their lessons very well.

Businesswoman Brenda has a huge challenge teaching Keith, her long-time love, in Emergency Ex, the second book in the Teach Him Tonight series:

“Love is the emotional chocolate of the universe.” Actually, successful chocolatier Brenda Lockheart deals with the sweet brown confection lots better than she does with love. For years she’s been in love with Keith Tarrant, her best friend with benefits. As her thirtieth birthday approaches, hot lovemaking and intense friendship no longer satisfy her. It’s time to make a commitment or say good-bye. Keith goes along at first, and she’s hopeful. But as her birthday gets closer, her relationship with Keith hits snags.

Keith loves Brenda and can’t bear to lose her, but he’s got lots of unresolved baggage and a history of being less than she deserves. Though he’ll try to get over his issues in time to make her birthday special, when a new roadblock arises, he’s out of his depth. Can Keith man up and commit to Brenda in time? Or will their relationship crumble and turn her into one more of his many exes?

For a while it seems Brenda’s thirtieth birthday celebration will coincide with her final farewell to Keith. Just when all appears to be lost, an important light bulb turns on for Keith.

K.C., who’s Cassandra’s sister and an enthusiastic customer for Brenda’s chocolates, gets her own story in my current work-in-progress, After Class. K.C., a best-selling author, actually starts off being the student:

K.C. Corrigan’s latest book hits all the major best-seller lists. Victory feels especially sweet when she gets a congratulatory call from Todd Marek, the hot teacher whose writing class she flunked.

Todd considered K.C. a sexy, talented writer—except she put too much romance in her writing. He gave her a failing grade and refused to send her work on to the agent who sponsors the writing program. Now that she’s a huge success, Todd has to convince K.C. to sign with the agent or he’ll lose his job. Todd is not big on eating crow.

Being a best seller, K.C. has lots of new “friends.” She doesn’t need any more aggro from the teacher who flunked her yet keeps showing up in her romantic fantasies. Much as she’d love to teach the teacher lessons in romance, Todd’s the slowest of learners—at first. Luckily K.C. is the queen of persistence—and love.

I’d love reader feedback and reviews on the Teach Him Tonight books. Photo Finish  and Emergency Ex are currently available at Amazon and soon to be available at other sites. After Class will be released in early autumn. Please check my website, for updates.

I hope all your lessons are happy ones!


Thanks so much, Mardi!  I love that your stories revolve around lessons learned.  Readers, Mardi is graciously giving away one of her books today.  For my readers in the U.S., you can win a copy of either Ripe and Ready or Better with Age, both Ellora’s Cave anthologies.

For my readers outside the U.S., you can win a copy of one of Mardi’s e-books, which you can check out on her website.

So, let’s talk about heroes and lessons learned.  What lesson do you like your heroes to learn from their heroines, and how painful should it be?  One person who comments will win either the anthology or one of the Mardi’s digital books.



We Have A Winner!

The winner of Dream Bound, by Kate Douglas, is lori meehan.  Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest author tomorrow is historical romance writer Katharine Ashe.  But sure to stop by!

Guest Author: Kate Douglas & Giveaway!

One of my favorite people is in the house – Kate Douglas, the acclaimed paranormal erotica author who writes for Kensington.  Kate is justly famous for her groundbreaking Wolf Tales series, which you can read about on her website.  And here’s something really cool:  she’s starting a new series.  Let’s turn the blog over to her for all the details.

Neurotics R Us…

My thanks to Vanessa for the invite to blog with her today, and thanks to you for putting up with me…and yep, I don’t say that figuratively. When I’ve got a new book releasing, I tend to show up all over the place blogging my fingers to the bone, but with so many books to choose from, how will you know that you absolutely have to read mine if I don’t say something? (and yes, I am ducking and hiding behind the couch right now…) Actually for those of you who have read Dream Catcher in the NightShift anthology, I hope you’ve been waiting for the continuation of Mac and Zianne’s story. As with all my stories, it turned out totally different than I’d expected, but I’m really pleased with both this one and the final book in this short series, Dream Unchained, which comes out in November. (And if you missed Dream Catcher, you’ll still know what’s going on with Dream Bound. It’s not as dependent upon the novella as my Wolf Tales books are to the Chanku novellas)

Anyway, since I don’t want to write the same stuff in every blog, I’ve decided to veer away from my usual shtick about my book and get into something that authors area always joking about—and that’s just how neurotic we are. It seems apropos because, to be quite honest, I’m having one of THOSE weeks. I was talking to some writer friends the other day, and we were all cracking up about our personal writing neuroses. Big joke. Ha. Ha. Except, it’s not so funny this weekend, and I’m actually laughing at just what a neurotic dip I can be.

Yep, without even trying.

Here’s the deal—it’s a busy time—I’ve got a new book, DREAM BOUND from Kensington’s Aphrodisia line, coming out on Tuesday, June 26, which is really cool and something I’ve been looking forward to. Of course, galley proofs for the next in the series, DREAM UNCHAINED, are due to show up on my doorstep Wednesday, which means life as I know it will come to a complete stop while I work on those, but instead of celebrating the release of the new book, and another step in production of another, I’m in an absolute funk.

Why? It’s a really stupid reason, but it’s all because I finished writing the first book in a totally new series called SPIRIT WILD. That book, TO LOVE A DARK WOLF, is the first in my second generation stories about the children of the Chanku, my sexy shapeshifters who starred in Wolf Tales and the Chanku novellas in the Sexy Beast anthologies. (All that sex, you’re gonna get a LOT of babies…) Most writers celebrate the completion of a book. Me? I get depressed.  I’ve been dragging around since sending the manuscript to my editor on Friday, and it’s all because I miss Sebastian Xenakis and Lily Cheval, Alex Aragat and Annie McClintock, my main characters in the story.

Yep…I get way too attached to my imaginary friends, but it was so exciting to have the chance to write Anton Cheval, my Chanku über-alpha and touch base with so many members of the pack, that when I finished the story, I spent three days rereading it, looking for errors (which is another way of not letting go) and when I finally sent it off, I wanted to grab a blankie and stick my thumb in my mouth!

I’ll get over it—I always do, but in the meantime, when you hear people making jokes about how neurotic authors can be, you’ll know our secret. It’s true. We are. At least I am. And I really need a soft blankie about now…

But I’ll shortly be starting the next in the series and then I’ll be fine again. In the meantime, I get to agonize over whether or not anyone is buying Dream Bound and if they do, are they enjoying the story? I hope you do—it’s sexy and exciting and takes place in a part of California I absolutely love—the rugged northeastern corner of the state, which is all high desert and ancient volcanic rocks and caves. My husband and I spent some time up there, researching the setting for the Dream Catchers series. It’s such a beautiful, wild part of the state. Not at all civilized!

If you’d like to see an excerpt, I have the first chapter of Dream Bound posted on my website, but please, only if you’re an adult. Because I do write REALLY hot stuff!   And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Dream Bound, leave a comment, or just say hi and you’ll be entered.

Vanessa, here.  I just know you’re going to love Kate’s new series.  And Dream Bound is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.  Run, don’t walk to get your copy.  I know I will!