Today’s Treat (Storybroads)

Lynn Kerstan’s here today, but WordPress and her computer are fighting and their foolish disagreement is making it impossible for you to see her.  We aren’t going to let negative energy keep us down so, ha ha wordpress, here she is!

And for some added jewels, here are her new works!  Lynn will be here Sunday with her usual words of wisdom and history insights!

 

Guest Author!

Thanks so much for inviting me here today. I’m honored to be amongst such a group of talented ladies.

Today I wanted to talk about death and taxes. Yes. That’s right.  “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Thanks, Benjamin Franklin. True today as it was two centuries ago.

So how does this relate to writing? Interesting question. Well, sit back and grab a cup of coffee see if you can agree with me.

My daughter’s robo dwarf hamster died last Thursday. Tragic, I know, but not completely unexpected for the two year old hamster. I knew by how Twister was acting a few days before that something wasn’t quite right and had tried as best I could to prepare my daughter. So Thursday morning when I went to feed Twister, I knew the inevitable had happened. Now I had to tell my daughter.

I cried as I held her trembling body, but this is a fact of life. We are born, live and die. I hate to tell you folks, we can’t stop it. Some of us just hang around a bit longer than others and some species are just blessed with longer life spans. Between my two children, we’ve gone through 4 hamsters already; each one receiving a proper burial befitting their family status.

I think she recovered quicker than I did and is already talking about her next ‘best friend’. This time around I’m going to suggest a cat. Of course my son’s still-alive-and-kicking hamster is throwing fits about that. Hmmmm. I wonder why? 

Anyway, I must admit I kind of feel like a death has occurred when I finish a manuscript. I’ve spent so much time with the characters that once I’ve finished their story and have to say goodbye, it feels so final. I know it’s coming and I can only prolong it for so long. Deadlines, you know? But each time I type ‘The End’ a part of me has died; the relationship with my characters has ended. The funeral takes place as I ship the package off to my editor. As authors, how do you feel? For you readers, what do you feel when you finish a book?

Of course soon I’m off to another project and quickly put those characters on the back burner as my daughter has done with Twister. Just another fond memory in a lifetime full of them.

The other certainty in life is taxes. While that part isn’t quite so traumatic, it does leave my checkbook lighter, especially since I just received my royalty check last week. I’m not complaining because that means I’m making money, but it still hurts and again is a certainty. Make money. Pay taxes. Because we’re considered self-employed, writers have to pay their own taxes, and Uncle Sam really likes it when we send in quarterly estimates to avoid penalties and interest come tax day.   

So there you have it. Death and taxes from this writer’s perspective. Anyone else care to share a story or elaborate?

We here at storybroads are happy to welcome Kim today!!  She has a new book out and we’d like to share that with you!!

Thanks for taking the time to visit with us Kim!

Where’s Your Thermostat Set – Guest Blogger, Barbara White Daille

One of today’s commenters will receive a copy of one of Barbara’s backlist titles.  Comment for a chance to win!

A big thank you to Tara Taylor Quinn for the invitation to guest blog here with the Story Broads.  I’m honored to be in their company and happy to have the chance to talk with you about writing and books.

Where do thermostats come into this?  Well…

The weather has been crazy all across the country.  As recently as last week, friends in the Northern U.S. reported snow, while some in the Midwest complained of “rain, rain, and more rain,” and still others dealt with temperatures in the high eighties and worried about the abrupt trend toward summer.  They’ve all got their thermostats at different settings.

Today, though, it’s not the thermostat on the wall in your home I’d like to talk about but the one in your favorite books.

I write for Harlequin American Romance, a line that focuses on home and family and community.  It’s a great match for me, as I love to write—and read—about people, including quirky secondary characters.  I’m also very glad that the line encompasses a variety of sensuality levels. 

When people ask, I tend to say that I write “romance on the sweeter side”—but that doesn’t mean there’s no sexual tension!  In any romance, awareness of each other plays a big part in the hero and heroine’s relationship.  How much an author turns up the heat is a matter of personal choice, reader expectation and, in some cases, the requirements of the publisher.

While I can’t speak for other authors, for me, that decision of where to set the thermostat is also often determined by my characters.  They can be ready and eager to take their relationship to the highest level and make love.  On the other hand, sometimes, they’re not so willing.  Or maybe they’re just not so happy to share details—which is when they close the bedroom door in my face.  J  There are also times when they have to bow to outside influences.

I’d like to share a few quick examples.  These are from my books, since I know my own work—and characters—best.

~~~

In the book that’s due out this week, A RANCHER’S PRIDE (May 2011), Sam and Kayla have a sizzling awareness of each other that for many reasons they’ve forced themselves to ignore.

Sam has just learned of the existence of his four-year-old daughter.  Not only is the heroine his ex-wife’s sister, she’s threatening to take his child from him. 

Yet he can’t seem to stay away from her.

(One note about the action in the following clip:  Sam’s daughter is deaf, and though he doesn’t know any sign language, to this point he has resisted being taught by Kayla, who’s fluent in it.)

Sam picked up one of Becky’s crayons and held his hand out to Kayla.

“How do you sign blue?” he asked, looking directly at her.

Kayla glanced down.  “That’s not a blue crayon.”

“I was talking about your eyes.  They’re very blue…and your cheeks are suddenly bright pink.”  Sam smiled and leaned closer.  “I can learn all my colors,” he murmured, “just by looking at you.”

Her heart thumped.  She wanted to lean back but couldn’t.  She should get up and walk away.  Somehow, she couldn’t do that, either.  “There are more signs than just colors, you know.”  Her voice cracked on the last word.

He smiled.  He knew just what he was doing to her.  And darn him, he was enjoying it.

“True.”  Sam smiled again.  “How do you say I?”

She pointed her index finger at herself.

“And how do you say want?”

She hesitated then held both palms up and crooked her fingers as she pulled her hands toward her body.

He leaned even closer.  “And how do you say a kiss?” he whispered against her ear.

~~~

In FAMILY MATTERS (October 2010), Kerry and Matt are surrounded by a crowd that includes her eccentric grandmother and scheming uncle, a couple of daredevil younger brothers, and a troubled teenage runaway.  They barely have breathing space, let alone the opportunity to develop a romance!  Still, they can’t resist each other.

Here, they’ve just shared a private moment…more or less.

She opened her eyes, blinking in the light.  It seemed brighter than before.  The first time they’d kissed, she’d heard bells.  Now she was seeing lights?  The man was a hero, but surely he didn’t have magical powers!

Suddenly, she smiled, recalling where they stood:  Rainbow’s End.  What was it Uncle Bren had said?

All the magic happens here.

Then Matt turned, and she saw what caused the additional brightness in the building.  One of the heavy pocket doors had been pushed open.  And outlined in the streaming sunlight stood her entire family, along with Matt’s mom.

Uncle Bren had frozen in surprise, Colin in red-faced embarrassment.  Brody just rolled his eyes.

All this was bad enough, but it was the women’s reactions that left Kerry floundering for words.

Gran and Olivia turned to each other, exchanged gleeful grins, and smacked their palms together in a high-five.

~~~

This last clip comes from my first book for Harlequin American Romance, THE SHERIFF’S SON.  Sarah and Tanner, childhood sweethearts and eventually lovers, are reunited after a number of years.  I wanted the love scene because it was important to show how much they had matured in the interim.  They needed the closeness to affirm what they’d once had and lost and could have again, if they were willing to take a risk.

She touched his fingers.  “No.”

He stilled immediately, started to move his hand away.

She trapped his fingers against hers.  “I mean, no, not here.  This time, we deserve a bed, too.”

He didn’t move.  Didn’t smile.  As far as she could see, he didn’t even take a breath.  But she could tell by the way the skin around his eyes crinkled, he approved of the idea.

She led him down the hall to her bedroom, and while he waited in the doorway, she crossed to the bed and swept the comforter onto the floor.

He raised a brow.  “Making a mess of the place, aren’t you?”

She shook her head and sank to the edge of the mattress.  “Making up for wasted time.”

Slowly, he stepped over the threshold, but didn’t come closer.  “I don’t want any regrets.”

“We have enough of those.”  She held out her hand.

Still, he didn’t move.  “You’re sure about this, Sarah? 
Because once I come over there, I can’t swear there’ll be any going back.”

She held out her other hand, too.

~~~

There you have some examples of where a hero and heroine can take a scene. 

I hope you enjoyed the glimpses into my stories. 

And now my questions to you: 

Do you enjoy reading books with varying sensuality levels, or do you tend to favor one type?  In other words, where do you set your thermostat?  J 

And if you read sweeter romance at all, do you expect variations in where the hero and heroine have their thermostat set?

~~~

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the dry heat and have taken up square dancing.

From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called “books.”  Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.

Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!

Her newest title from Harlequin American Romance, A RANCHER’S PRIDE, has received a 4-1/2 star Top Pick review rating from RT Book Reviews and is being released this week.

You can find Barbara online at her web site and blog:  www.barbarawhitedaille.com where you can check out her Virtual Blog Tour schedule for A RANCHER’S PRIDE.

You can also reach her via Facebook and Twitter:  http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille and https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille

 

Kristina Is Still Here, Waiting for her Welcome (Tara Taylor Quinn)

PLEASE welcome Kristina Douglas!!!  The following was posted a couple of days ago, but due to technical problems that I didn’t know I had to solve, no one had a chance to welcome her.  Kristina is a new addition to Storybroads and we’re REALLY glad she’s here!!  And thanks to Jenny for helping us welcome Kristina to our world!

Anne Stuart’s dearest friend, Kristina Douglas, has just published the first novel in a series about fallen angels.  Recently Jenny Crusie interviewed her, and we bring it here for your reading pleasure.

THE KRISTINA DOUGLAS INTERVIEW BY JENNIFER CRUSIE

 

JENNIFER: Welcome. I’m Jennifer Crusie and I’m delighted to be talking to . . . who are you again?

KRISTINA: Oh my god, it’s Jennifer Crusie! I’m so honored! I’m Kristina Douglas, demure debut authoress extraordinaire!

JENNIFER: Of course. Welcome Kristina. So you have this fabulous new series about angels. I love angels. Those fluffy wings. The shiny halos. They sound very sweet and inspirational.

KRISTINA: Not mine. They’ve fallen.  In fact, they’re called The Fallen.  They are sleek and dark and just a little bit nasty. In bed.

JENNIFER:  In bed?  There’s SEX in these novels? Oh.  Not quite what I was thinking. So, dark angels having sex. Reminds me of Anne Stuart.

But enough about legendary authors, tell us about your first book, The Fallen: Raziel.  What’s that about?

KRISTINA: Well, God sent these hot angels down to earth to teach mankind about all sorts of things like warfare and cosmetics. And they lusted after females and decided earth was better. So they fell, God got pissed and made them vampires. They live in a mystical place and ferry dead people to heaven and hell, and they have human wives who die and leave them broken.  The hero from the first book, Raziel, is one of them.

JENNIFER: He falls in love with a human woman?

KRISTINA: Yes.  He picks up a mouthy young woman named Allie, who’s been hit by a bus and just when he’s supposed to toss her into hell he pulls her back.

JENNIFER: Hit by a bus. I’ve had days like that, so already I like her.  Is Raziel the leader of the Fallen?  Is she going to be Queen of the Damned or something?

KRISTINA: Nope, Azazel is their leader. He’s gorgeous and looks thirty-something and has raging, fabulous sex with his hot, sixty-something, gray-haired wife. We won’t explore where that fantasy came from.

JENNIFER: Sounds good to me.  But back to Raziel. He’s supposed to take Allie to hell but decides to save her. I’m thinking he gets in trouble for that.

KRISTINA: Yes.  Raziel falls for Allie, against his better judgment, while the evil Nephilim, who are kinda like the Reivers in Firefly, try to kill and eat them and destroy Sheol.  And someone on the inside is a traitor.

JENNIFER: I see. So it’s not a LITTLE story.  We’re talking epic here. Like it could be a series.

KRISTINA:  Very epic.  And it is a series, Azazel’s story comes next.

JENNIFER: So the second book is called The Fallen: Azazel?

KRISTINA: Nope. Second one is The Fallen: Demon, since Azazel falls in love with Lilith, who some old dead guys think is a demon but we know is a feminist heroine.

JENNIFER: Angels, demons, death and hot sex. Do you know what this reminds me of? The books Anne Stuart writes. Not that I’m accusing you of trying to be like Anne Stuart. But maybe you were copying her a little? Maybe you think you’re the next Anne Stuart?

KRISTINA: Okay, okay, you’ve guessed it.  Here’s a secret: I am Anne Stuart.
JENNIFER: No, honey, you’re not.  I understand how you could feel that way, some days I think I’m Georgette Heyer, but then the feeling passes.  There’s only one Anne Stuart.
KRISTINA:  Yes, and that’s me.

JENNIFER: No, you’re Kristina Douglas.  It’s okay, we can’t all be Anne Stuart.  Although I have to say, she could write the hell out of this story.

KRISTINA: Jenny, it’s me.

JENNIFER: Kristina, it isn’t.  Perhaps some medication would help.  In the meantime, let’s talk about your process.  Tell me how you arrive at your stories.

KRISTINA: Fantasies.  Sex fantasies, death fantasies . . .

JENNIFER: Sex fantasies?

KRISTINA: . . . sex, sex, sex.

JENNIFER:  Oh.  I collage.  I may be doing this wrong.  So, uh, are there more Fallen books in the series?

KRISTINA: Yes, there’s the archangel Michael. Wiry, tattooed, only interested in war.  I may give him a nun.

JENNIFER: A nun.

KRISTINA: And we’ve got Metatron (once played by Alan Rickman).  He’s gonna fall. His heroine is gonna say he sounds like a transformer.

JENNIFER: Does Metatron get a nun?

KRISTINA: Someone gets the nun. Not sure who.  The other gets a warrior.

JENNIFER: It’s like a secret Santa swap. “Who got the nun?” Do you ever worry about somebody burning a cross on your lawn?

KRISTINA: Oh, hell no. I used to be a deacon in my church. I taught Sunday School. I sing in the choir.

JENNIFER: Still maybe we should do some Standard Author Questions before somebody gets offended.  Where do you get your ideas?

KRISTINA: Amazon.  They’ve got everything there.  Except sex.

JENNIFER: Who do you want to be when you grow up?

KRISTINA: I want to be a cross between Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. With sex.

JENNIFER: What book do you wish you’d written?

KRISTINA: I wouldn’t have minded writing OUTLANDER, which I finally finished. Great sex.  Hmmm, I’m picking up a theme here.

JENNIFER: In the event of an apocalypse caused by fallen angels, what’s your weapon of choice?

KRISTINA: Baseball bat. I don’t like blood. The crunch of bone might be a bit jarring, and I suppose guns are good but they’re too distant. I think I’d want to be in there swinging.

JENNIFER: Mine would be a cast-iron frying pan.  Because then later I could make stroganoff or Chicken Marsala.  For the After-Apocalypse Party.

KRISTINA:  I can just see us at the barricades, babe.

JENNIFER: Us?  I just met you.

KRISTINA: We met fifteen years ago.

JENNIFER: No, that was Anne Stuart.   Sum up The Fallen: Raziel in twenty-five words or less.

KRISTINA: Allie Watson steps in front of a bus and gets scooped up by a gorgeous creature who informs her she’s dead.  He’s about to deposit her in the flames of hell when he thinks twice about it and pulls her back, almost dying in the process.  He carts her off to Sheol, the land where the Fallen live, and while there they battle Nephilim, traitors, and each other, until tragedy forces her into a role she never wanted.  Lots of sex, violence and happy endings – what more could a girl ask?

JENNIFER: You know, Anne Stuart is going to love this book.  You should get a quote from her.

KRISTINA: Like “This is an amazing story, the story I would have written if I’d changed my name to Kristina Douglas”?

JENNIFER: No, something better than that.  Thank you very much for giving us this interview, Kristina.  Now, listen up, people, The Fallen: Raziel by brand new author Kristina Douglas is in bookstores January 25, 2011.  Go buy it.

It has sex in it.