Exposed to Passion

Five Things That Inspire Me

I’ve heard authors talk about how devastating it can be when inspiration fails them. How there is nothing more soul sucking than staring at a blank document on the computer screen, or a blank page in a notebook. I won’t lie and tell you that I’ve never experienced the feeling. But whenever it has, I turn to some foolproof options to find my focus. In no particular order, they are: Nature: I love watching the vast assortment of birds, foxes, deer, the occasional bobcat, turkeys (no, not my husband) and yes, even snakes in my backyard. Decorating for the season: My family thinks I go overboard to make my home festive for whichever holiday I’m celebrating. Personally, I could go for more stuff both inside and outside. I used to work at a shopping mall… Continue
SecondChancehero

For Love and Money: The Wealthy Hero

My grandma raised her family during The Great Depression, and even though fortunes were lost in the Crash of 1929, the family did okay.  There was money saved (in mattresses, I think) and a solid business, so no one went hungry or went without shoes.  But still, my grandmother used to say, “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.”  Her advice was all about self-preservation, of course; a practical consideration for a woman of her era. Through history, money and power have made men more desirable as mates.  It has made them sought after. Made them sexy. So, is the bank book at the root of the popularity of the millionaire/billionaire hero? I guess the glitzy lifestyle has its appeal–the promise of luxury is always tempting. But in truth,… Continue
Soulfire

Hardcore Alpha vs. Sensual Seducer

My romance-loving friends and I debate all the time over which kind of leading man is more alluring. While I tend to veer toward the alpha just about every time, I do love the teasing sensual seducer as well. Let’s do a little compare/contrast, shall we? First, our seducer has patience. Our alpha clearly doesn’t even know the definition of the word. The alpha has one goal—her—and he wants her now. No bed required—a good, sturdy wall will do (or desk, pool table, whatever). On the other hand, the seducer is a master of the art of seduction, savoring the slow, tantalizing love-play. For he knows that her surrender will make the reward even more sweet. Another trait our seducer has is charm. Within the seducer’s arsenal of charm is his bone-melting,… Continue
chardonnay

A Toast to a New Series: The Napa Wine Heiresses

Join author Heather Heyford as she uncorks a sparkling new series following the St. Pierre sisters, heiresses to a Napa wine fortune who are toasting the good life and are thirsty for love: Chardonnay St. Pierre’s father is as infamous for his scandals as he is for his wine, and it’s up to Char to restore the family name. The Challenge, an elite charity competition held in Napa, seems like the perfect opportunity for the socialite to cement her image as a philanthropist. But all eyes—including Char’s—are on the Hollywood heartthrob who’s also entered the race…
Long before his face was splashed across the gossip magazines, Ryder McBride grew up in a working-class family in Napa. He knows all about the St. Pierre sisters and their notorious father, and when he learns he’ll be up Continue
Going Home

Small Town Touch

I grew up in a small town. My parents were hippies who decided to bring me and my siblings west and try farming. The neighbors found the fact that we’d come from New York City hilarious, especially when my mother milked the goats in a maxi dress and work boots. We were not the Waltons by any stretch. But the townsfolk took us in anyway, taught us when the almonds were ready for harvesting, the proper way to build a functional barn and how to make cheese with our leftover milk. Eventually, we got some horses and I spent a good portion of my childhood in a saddle, riding through the hills for hours on end. But when I graduated high school, I went off to a big-city college and wound up working in other… Continue
loveing you

Book Groups 2.0 + Giveaway

It used to be that you’d find a local book club; a group of folks you could meet and chat with over coffee about the book you’re reading. Now, Facebook has become the new living room, and your book club might sprawl from New York to Texas to the Philippines. Bonding over books is so hot right now, and some of the best books are being discussed and dissected in group reads hosted by virtual book clubs and blogs everywhere. I spoke to a few of these “virtual” book clubs, and these are some of the titles bringing them together: “Reading is now what the cool kids do and is at an all-time high,” said Alexis Durbin of Three Girls And A Book Obsession Book Blog. “People love to read with their friends and to… Continue
dollbaby

The More Things Change,The More Things Stay the Same

When I wrote my novel DOLLBABY, which starts in New Orleans the summer of 1964, I never imagined a novel set in my lifetime would be considered historical fiction. I suppose a lot has changed in the last fifty years—there were no computers, no Internet, no answering machines. Heck, there wasn’t even color television. Many houses had only one phone (a land line), one bathroom, and in many cases, no air conditioning. Perma-press, fast food, and iTunes were things of the future. Yet no matter how much things change, certain aspects of life will forever remain the same. Take human nature for example. From the dawn of time, man has had the same wants and desires. Granted they may be expressed a little differently these days, but we still ask the same questions of ourselves.… Continue
scratchcover

Music and Emotion: The Magic of Playlists

Today Rhonda Helms is here to talk about the relationship between music and emotional connection – between characters, and between writers and their work, and readers and the books they read. Her new novel, SCRATCH, features a DJ heroine. The SCRATCH playlist has multiple layers; it shows pieces of Casey’s DJing job (like the upbeat electronic or dubstep songs she might play at the club). It shows her own personal playlist (more emotional pieces that reflect her feelings during particular spots in the story, when she has her earbuds in between classes, etc). It also shows some of Daniel too, the songs that make him think of her. A true “mix tape” that reflects many different pieces of the whole book, and also a little bit about the author. My editor Peter and I scoured… Continue
longing

Club Hopping: Jamie K. Schmidt’s Favorite Clubs

Summer is over and it’s back to the routine of school and autumn days.  I can look back fondly at all the beach parties and cook outs with friends and family.  Thankfully, there will always be night clubs that let us have some rowdy fun indoors once the weather turns chilly.  Here are some of my favorite bars and clubs:
  • The Adventurer’s Club – Downtown Disney, Orlando FL.
  • Unfortunately, this club closed in 2008 and lives on only in my memory.  But I remember with glee sitting on the bar stool that veeeeery slowly lowered and raised and drinking rum punch from a plastic monkey’s head.  Congaloosh! 2.  Minus 5° Ice Bar – Las Vegas, NV The temperature is set at a balmy negative five degrees Fahrenheit.  You have to wear gloves, a fur… Continue
    CarlyPhillips_DareToSubmit_HR

    From Contemporary to Erotic Romance: One Writer’s Journey

    Hi. I’m Carly Phillips and I’m best known for writing small town romance. Hot small town romance with emotional connections between the characters and a connected journey to the hero and heroine’s happily ever after. Now I also write erotic romance.  There. I said it. I’ve been skirting the actual line in interviews and descriptions of my work but with DARE TO SUBMIT, there’s no doubt. I went there. For many people (I think my own mother included), the question is why. Why change things? What people don’t realize is that this was not an overnight change. I started out in publishing in 1999 with Brazen, my first Harlequin Temptation BLAZE, their hottest line. I went on to write a total of 8 Harlequin Blaze books, including a launch for the new longer Blaze line.… Continue
    Ruptured - Ebook

    In Love With Superheroes

    I admit it. I am a huge geek. One could argue that I am totally, head-over-heels, madly-in- love with superheroes. What woman could resist Captain America, as played by Chris Evans, in the latest movie installment, The Winter Soldier? He’s an indestructible, super-soldier with the manners of a true gentleman. I can feel a swoon coming on just thinking about him. Or better yet, Arrow, as played by Stephen Amell on the CW. A man who survived a horrible five years on a desolate island returns home to save his city. He’s emotionally scarred, a bit of a bad boy in his green leather, and makes you desire, above all else, to be the one woman who will heal him. In both the books, and the films, what women did not want… Continue
    Control Small

    Obsessed with Plots

    What happens when you think you can do it better—a cautionary tale! My Grandma Lucille was one of the smartest women I’ve ever known. She was a University of Chicago graduate and her idea of reading for pleasure was devouring the diaries of Samuel Peyps. Never heard of him? Me, neither! LOL!! Turns out the diary he wrote from 1660-1669 is one of the most important historical documents of the English Restoration period. But I digress . . . The takeaway here is that if I wasn’t reading the classics, as far as Grandma was concerned, I might as well have been perusing a cereal box! Grandma and Grandpa were the same age as the whole classic Brat Pack-era, and as such, they opted to retire to Palm Springs, California, where all the Hollywood A-listers… Continue