Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Lady's Not a Vamp: Tessie Bradford

How can you not love an erotic romance author who is also addicted to the Food Network? Take it from me, an author who writes culinary romance, (and addicted to the Food Network, herself) this is a great combination!

Tessie Bradford is here with me today, talking not about food, but about her latest release from Ellora's Cave titled,The Lady's Not a Vamp.

Now, if that title doesn't make you want to read more, just take a quick peek to the right at the cover.

Yes, you may drool now.

Let's learn a little more about Tessie!

Tessie, tell us a little about yourself.

I live in southeastern Michigan with my hubby of 23 years. I’m an avid reader, love to travel, am addicted to the Food Network and hate all things house cleaning.

You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

The Lady’s Not a Vamp released July 6th with Ellora’s Cave. I’m a huge fan of all things vampire, so I had to create a couple of my own! Tony and Rick have been together for more than two hundred years. Imagine their surprise when they discover that new neighbor, Sandy, is their blood mate.  Of course there are a couple of problems they have to deal with on the journey to happily ever after. Sandy has no idea that vampires are real or that she’s been used by one as snack food. The guys have to save their mate from the bad vamp before they can get down to the important business at hand; convincing Sandy she is the perfect woman for them both! I absolutely loved creating this story!

What drives your story, your characters or the plot?

The characters! My books explore emotions, insecurities, unfulfilled desires and fantasies of real life women.

Do you have a day job? How do you balance the two?

I’m supposed to have balance??  Seriously, I’m beyond lucky to have a day job for the last 18 years that I love, and my bosses and co-workers are ultra- supportive of my writing career. Sometimes I have to work up to 50 hours a week, causing me to have to ‘write’ in my head and hopefully hold onto to the story until I can get to my laptop! When things are perfect, I get a few hours one or two days during the week and part of one day on the weekend to work on my books!

Congratulations on your success as an author. How many books do you have now? Which is your favorite?

I have two e-books with Resplendence Publishing, Training Randi and Possessing Eleanor. Training Randi is also in paperback in the Carnal Reunions anthology. As of August 11th, I will have four e-books with Ellora’s Cave, Ageless Desires, Oasis of Pleasure, The Lady’s Not a Vamp and Treasuring Evie.

Picking a favorite? Ageless was my first, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. GettingOasis to publication was a monumental learning experience on every level, making it pivotal in my journey as an author. Training Randi is incredibly special because fellow authors encouraged and supported me to participate in the project when I was suffering from an extreme case of creative insecurity. Possessing Eleanor hits every one of my buttons! *wink* I already talked about TLNaV. Last, but definitely not least, Treasuring Evie, was just a boatload of fun, from writing, through editing!

Ok, so if anyone remembers the question, they are all my “favorites”!!

Thanks so much for having me today, Maddie!

You are very welcome, Tessie! I have the blurb here for The Lady's Not a Vamp, so I want to make sure to share that here, too. Here goes:
Sandy’s perception of reality is taking one serious ass kicking. Two stunningly handsome vampires come to her aide, boldly announce she is their blood mate and send her soaring on waves of orgasmic delight with every touch. It’s a lot for a gal to process in two days!
Tony and Rick weren’t looking for a third, but when the spunky, courageous, sexy-as-hell human woman needs blood, their bodies and souls instantly recognize Sandy as their perfect match. Now they just need to convince her to embrace all they have to offer.
For more info: Please visit Tessie Bradford's web sites below!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TRS Release Party Winners!

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for hanging with me today at The Romance Studio Release Party. It was my first one and I had a blast. I also met so many new people! What fun.

If you are reading this you may have stopped by to see who the winners are for my contest. Well, guess what, you all are! I had a dozen entries and I decided that for your efforts, each and every one of you will get a copy of Better Than Chocolate!

And, one luck person, who is....drum roll...Brandy Walker! Will get both Better Than Chocolate and Romancing the Scone.


I can't tell you how great it is to meet each of you and I hope our paths cross again in the future! I'll be sending your emails now with your contest wins.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Better Than Chocolate

Book two in The Matchmaking Chef series II!

Better Than Chocolate will release later today from Resplendence Publishing!

Here's the blurb:

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When Scott Matthews escapes to Legend to visit his brother, Brad and family, he has only one request—he doesn’t want to see, hear, smell, or taste chocolate. Nor does he want to talk about the chocolate business, or about getting fired from his job as chocolate taster for world-renowned Bianchi Chocolates. Or the scandal in Italy, or his former boss-slash-girlfriend, or the tabloid article.... 
What he needs is a palate-cleanse, women and chocolate being on the top of the list.
What Jillian Bass needs is to make it in Legend. This Manhattan transplant knows nothing about small town living other than she wants to make it big here real bad. Forget New York, she’s trying to set up her small chocolate shop and impress the locals—especially the foodie duo of Sydney Kellerman and Suzie Matthews. Of course, she doesn’t tell them that she really owns Jeaneva Chocolates, or that her father is a big publishing mogul, or that she’s lied about how she makes her chocolates....
But all is fine until the day she smacks straight into Scott. Who at first, refuses to eat her chocolate, but after one whiff of her exquisite Belgian truffle, forgets his vow and takes a bite.
Then against his better judgment, he takes another....
Like it? Read more here...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going after de clut: Part 1

*Warning: This post contains graphic description of one of life's little-known and intriguing phenomena, and may not be for the faint of heart, or for those who strive to live a minimalist lifestyle.

I am a horder. I think that's how you spell it.

I collect things. Lots of things. Like, books. And jewelry. And clothes. And old magazines.

Shoes. Those, too.

Normal, you say? For a woman to collect and save these things? Perhaps.

It gets worse.

I save jars. But only the good ones. And plastic butter bowls. And those every rude-to-the-environment plastic grocery bags.

And then, and then...

I save the coffee and sugar packets from hotel rooms.

There. I said it. I'll say it again. Louder.


Oh. And the shampoo and lotion and shower caps and conditioner and the little cute sewing kits and if you are are lucky, the mouthwash and shower gel.

Hey, you never know when you are going to need this stuff, right? And I figure it comes with the cost of the room. I mean, there could come a day when nuclear holocaust hits and I could make milk for dying babies out of the horded creamer packets in my pantry. It could happen. Think about it.

And the sugar? There was a time, I think it was during the Great Depression, when sugar was a commodity and highly sought after item. I mean, give me a break? Who lets that get by them?

But the fact of the matter is, all of this is just "clut."

Yes. Clutter. I call it all "clut." And I have decided to go after "de clut" and make some decisions.

This weekend I cleaned out my pantry. I "de-clutted" said pantry from little creamer packets. While future babies cried in my ears for milk, I tossed about half of them in the trash. The other half? Well... okay, I tore open the little packets and stored their contents in an old butter bowl. (see? SEE? there are times you need these things)

Okay, all right. I did the same with the sugar. But this time I emptied every single little package into my sugar canister. EVERY SINGLE LITTLE PACKAGE.

Give me a break here, okay? This is therapy. The upside is there are no more little packets in my pantry. That clut is gone. Bye bye!

I think Project Girl is about to rear her pretty head.

*Another note: Project Girl used to blog on another blog but she gave up that blog because her life was being cluttered with blogs, so, Project Girl's old posts may migrate here over time, and Project Girl may decide to do her Project Girl posts here, on Life, Unedited, should Maddie allow such a thing. Cross fingers.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Renee Vincent: An author to watch

Renee Vincent is a talented up-and-coming author with a fabulous release happening August 16. An author to watch, her books sweep you back in time and put you smack in the middle of her character's lives--so much so that you mourn them after you are finished reading the book.

Today, I introduce you to Renee Vincent.

MJ: Renee, it’s so great to have you here on examiner! You have some news to share about your new release. Details!

Renee: Yes, I am still on cloud nine! Signing a 3-book deal with Turquoise Morning Press has been an amazing turn of events in my life, and I must admit I’m actually waiting to suddenly wake up from this incredible dream.

I signed this contract in front of everyone who attended the Career Writer’s Network Workshop in French Lick, Indiana at the West Baden hotel, and being there made my very first signing even more special. It is a day I will never forget.

The first book in the Emerald Isle Trilogy is Ræliksen, an epic historical fiction novel (as I like to refer to it as) with Strong Romantic Elements. It’s about a Norse warrior, Dægan Ræliksen, who falls in love with an Irish maiden named Mara.

He struggles to both prove his honorable intentions to her father, the King of Connacht and protect her from another group of Viking men determined to wreak havoc across Ireland’s countryside. As most Irishmen see him only as the pagan barbarian, Mara comes to witness a different side of Dægan, and cannot help but be charmed by his selfless acts of heroism and bold aggression.

However, she knows her father would just as soon kill Dægan as to look at him, much less think an alliance could be possible with the man.
While Ræliksen chronicles the trials of the Norse hero, Mac Liam, the second book in the series, offers the side of the Irish hero, who coincidently is in love with Mara too.

The third book of the series, still untitled at this moment, will bring about a whole new twist on the matter of love ever after.

I am very excited to have this opportunity of sharing this saga, which has lived and breathed in me for so long, through Turquoise Morning Press.

*MJ Note: Here is an excerpt for Ræliksen from the Turquoise Morning Press web site!

MJ: Renee, having read Ræliksen I can personally vouch for how wonderful this book is. It's one of those books that lingers in your mind for a long time after you have read it. Wonderful prose and the dialog is definitely Irish!

Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

Renee: As a whole, a pantzer. I cannot outline a story (believe me, I’ve tried) because it would change from week to week, and I’d spend more time rewriting the outline than the manuscript itself.

But before I write on a chapter, I plot it out in my head first over a cup of coffee. I often go outside to my lake (weather permitting), and go over dialogue, sequence, and character building. Don’t ask me why…I just find that it works for me. Once I have that down, I spend the rest of the day writing it—although, sometimes the direction I plotted that morning has been know to change on the fly. But I don’t mind. I’m a very flexible person. And if it helps the story, I welcome it.

MJ: Okay, I'll raise my hand. Pantzer here, too, so I can relate. What drives your story, your characters or the plot?

Renee: In Ræliksen, I’d like to say my characters because I think I have some very interesting individuals; an amazing Alpha Male hero (can you tell I am in love with him?), a strong-willed heroine, her pompous father, and a Beta Male hero who seems to add tension to the already-there conflict.

But in all honestly, my plots are quite deep. There is no such thing as a simple, watered-down plot when it comes to this Trilogy. There are twists and turns, and revelations you won’t see coming until they hit you square in the face. So I suppose, it would be more plot driven.

MJ: Do you have a writer’s cave? Can we see a picture?

Renee: I do! And it comes equipped with an autographed limited edition Phantom of the Opera painting by the famous romance cover artist, Jon Paul Ferarra. He painted Gerard Butler as the Phantom and the piece is called “Learn to Be Lonely.” I am one of the biggest GB fans you will ever meet, so to have both Gerard and a painting that only 75 people in the world have in my writing room, is an immense honor. Come take a peek…

MJ: Oh, hot totally cool! I knew you were a Gerard Butler fan, which is obvious from your blog! I wanted to ask you, too, about advice for writers. You've plunged into this writing world full speed ahead. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Renee: Dream big. But keep your goals attainable. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but with each attainable goal accomplished, it’s a step closer to the distant dream far out of reach. Eventually, you will arrive there. And when you do, you can look back at all the hard work and feel an incredible sense of pride that you didn’t give up.

MJ: What is your next project?

Renee: First and foremost, I am working to finish Mac Liam as it will be released the first week in December 2010.

After that, I want to work on this contemporary novella that’s been flittering about in my head. I’m excited about it because it’s not going to be deep like my Trilogy—an immense relief when it comes to research. But like the series, it will have a twist in the conflict.

MJ: If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

Renee: Well, this year Dægan Ræliksen had his first interview with Author Anya Davis and I have to say, it was so much fun giving him the stage. Everyone seemed to enjoy him as he has gained quite a following in the past year.

But this time, I think Breandán Mac Liam would like the opportunity to speak his mind. He’s been in love with Mara for many years but never really had the chance to show how he feels. Like the true gentleman, he had walked away in Ræliksen, never wanting to put himself between Dægan and Mara. But now in Mac Liam (seven years later) an unforeseen circumstance has brought him back to her, and Breandán can’t help but feel he belongs with her. I know he’d like to finally say his peace.

MJ: Just for fun, here is a totally wacky question. What’s the most risk-taking thing you’ve ever-in-your-life done? 

Renee: Let me set the stage…

I was horseback riding on a couple’s ride in Tennessee and we came to a place on the trail where we had to climb up about 3-foot high rock steps. Now to make this the most risk-taking thing I’ve ever done, the trail (if you could call it that) was only about 4-foot wide—with a high rock cliff to the left of us, and a sheer drop-off to the right. No room for mistakes.
At this point, it was either turn around or trust your horse to climb it. I chose, among many others to let my horse try. Some had gotten off their horses and led them up on foot. I, however, trusted my horse completely and gave him full-reign.

It was a bit nerve racking, but I never doubted my horse’s abilities or his common sense. I made it all the way to the top. It was such a rush! I am ready to go back and do it again, and knowing my horse’s disposition, I would venture to say Lucky is ready as well!

MJ: OMG! I am an amateur rider and once did a trail ride in the Rockies, which scared the bejeebers out of me! I cannot fathom doing what you did. So glad both you and your horse was smart!

For more info: Renee is all over the web! A believer in social media marketing, she consistently maintains a relationship with her readers and would love to connect with you. Please visit her web site for more information. You can also find her network at any of these other sites!

Coffee Time Romance:
Romance Books “R” Us: (Blogs on the 21st of every month)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Dream, believe, explore....

When I painted and reconfigured my office a couple of months ago, I chose this lovely turquoise color that I absolutely loved. For a while, I soaked up the turquoise every morning and I refrained from putting anything on the walls so I could wallow in the rich color.

But that all passed.

About two weeks ago, while shopping at Target, I stumbled upon some nice wall plaques with different sayings and determined that these were perfect for the wall above my computer. So, every morning, I work, and glance up then and again, to remind me of how and why I am doing what I am doing...and to keep visualizing what's to come.

I'd already bought the "and they lived happily ever after" some months earlier, but the other three are new. The buffalo? He was a gift to me from a school I visited in South Dakota, and he seemed a perfect companion to the other pieces.

Believe. Dream. Imagine. Chase your dreams. Explore.

Essential for writing and essential for life, I think.

And they lived happily ever after? A nice reminder of why I write romance. Appropriate.

I'll leave you with the quote from Thoreau, from the "explore" picture above. I think about that when I'm writing. How far to the edge can I take my characters, my story, my readers....