Monday Mayhem – Meant to Be

I’m happy to have my very good friend Karen Stivali here to talk about her latest release, Meant To Be! Welcome Karen!

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I’ve only recently started telling people in my real life that I’m an author and as soon as they find out that I write erotic romance, contemporary romance and sexy women’s fiction they all ask the same question: why those genres?

The answer is simple. I’m a first kiss junkie and I get to recreate a perfect, wonderful, hot, steamy, sexy, buckle your knees, OMG-kiss-me-now moment in every single story. How cool is that?

My latest release, Meant To Be, is women’s fiction with strong romantic elements (and yes, a smoking hot delightfully decadent first kiss scene). In fact, given the nature of the story, the whole book is sort of one long delicious prelude to a kiss (though I’ll tell you up front, once that magical moment happens they do  a lot more than kissing).

In honor of the celebration of the release of this novel and my love of first kisses I’m going to give a free e-copy of either Meant To Be or any of my backlist books (winner’s choice). All you have to do is tell me your most memorable first kiss in the comments below. I’ll choose one lucky winner at random.

In the meantime I’ll give you a peek at the blurb for Meant To Be and a quick glimpse at an excerpt of a moment between the two main characters, Daniel and Marienne.

Blurb:

Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

Teaser excerpt:

Marienne watched as Daniel grabbed a bottle of Coke out of her fridge.

He unscrewed the cap and took a drink. “It’s quite difficult to understand American slang when English isn’t your native tongue.”

He continued speaking but Marienne’s mind was caught on the words native tongue. Or, more specifically, tongue. More precisely still, Daniel’s tongue. She’d always loved the sound of his voice, the expressiveness of his choice of words, but sometimes she just enjoyed watching his mouth. This was one of those times. She studied his tongue as it moved to form his words, as it licked his lips when he paused to think, as it pressed against the Coke bottle when he drank. Heat prickled through her.

Is it hot in here or is it him? She was unable to focus on the thought as once again she was mesmerized. Now it was curved upward, pressing against the back of his top teeth as he looked at her, eyes narrowed.

“Are you all right?” he asked. The concern in his voice caught her attention as did the puzzled look on his face.

“What?” She no longer remembered what they’d been discussing.

“You’re not listening to a word I say, and that’s not like you. I’ve been speaking total gibberish and you didn’t even react. Are you okay? You’re all flushed.”

She tried to think of a way to explain to her best friend that she’d been too busy obsessing to concentrate. He’s divorced. Frank’s gone. Maybe I should. Her heart galloped.

He leaned over and felt her forehead. She held her breath, dizzy from his touch. She wanted to scoot forward and kiss him, hard, on the lips, but didn’t dare to move. Thoughts of the kiss, and his tongue, flashed through her mind.

“You’re really warm.” His hand trailed to her cheek, flipping over so he could assess her with the back of his fingers. They felt cool and silky along the contours of her face and she pressed against them.

His brow furrowed. “You’ve got a fever.”

What? Her hand flew to her forehead. “Shit,” she said, as even she could feel the burning warmth.

He grabbed a glass from her cupboard and held it beneath the ice dispenser. The crystal chunks tumbled into it. “You must have finally caught whatever Ella had last weekend.” He filled it with water and handed it to her.

“Oh, God. You’re right.” Ella had come home sick from preschool three days ago and that was the standard grace period Marienne usually got before catching things from her daughter. She rested her head on the kitchen table.

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Daniel smiled at Marienne’s whining; she was acting like Ella.

“Drink your water.” He opened another cabinet and reached for the Tylenol. He shook out two and returned the bottle to the top shelf.

“Here.” He rubbed his knuckles against the top of her hand. “Take these.”

She groaned.

“Take them.” He nudged a second time. Heat radiated from her skin. Enticing. Alluring. He shuddered, trying to shake the thoughts from his mind. “Come on now, be a good girl.”

She sat up and scowled. He smiled and dropped the tablets into her upturned hand. The backs of his fingers grazed her palm and a tingling flush rippled through him.

She stared at him, eyes defiant, then popped the pills into her mouth and took a sip of water. She flipped her head back and swallowed hard, an action that caused Daniel to gulp as well. He wanted nothing more than to swoop down and kiss her with total abandon, to feel her overheated body, to be immersed inside her.

He said the only words he could think: “Let’s get you up to bed.”

See? What did I tell you? One long prelude to a kiss. Now, I’ve shown you mine (or Daniel and Marienne’s)—you tell me yours. Best. First. Kiss. Share it below. Good luck all! Xo

For more information on this book and my other novels, please visit my website: http://karenstivali.com (You’ll also find some yummy recipes there for foods that are mentioned in the book!)

I can also be found at the following places:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenstivali

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karenstivali

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5170527.Karen_Stivali

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Stivali/e/B005KWSFGO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Author Bio:

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.

Buy links for Meant To Be:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Meant-To-Be-ebook/dp/B0092GWS0S/ref=la_B005KWSFGO_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1346196986&sr=1-5
AllRomanceEbooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-meanttobe-923889-148.html
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/meant-to-be-karen-stivali/1112675856?ean=2940015227789

Publisher’s site:
Turquoise Morning Press: http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/products/meant-to-be-by-karen-stivali

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Monday Mayhem – Watch out world edition

Psst. My buddy, Jennifer Johnson, is here today, and I believe she’s been spending too much time staring into her belly button. Be nice. Nod, smile, back away from the crazy lady, and be sure to leave a comment so she won’t come after you.

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Words.

I have a love hate relationship with words. Words are a lot like the tasty morsel in the Kong toy. Me? I’m the dog who spends fourteen hours trying to manipulate that morsel out of the tortuous plastic device. People who know me well, and even not so well, except for my transparent intolerance for sloppy word use on Facebook realize nothing sets me off more than the taunt with an overused or misused word or phrase.

Some of these may include but are certainly not limited to: literally, uber, nemesis, opaque, or random.

So, I guess word misuse is my torment. My pleasure is the rich hues found in the definition of a word. I like to Google words my eighth grade teacher taught me to see what images I find. This is probably my best friend’s fault because she had this running joke about someone’s picture being in the dictionary next to [place your favorite insulting adjective here]. It only took me a couple of times looking up ‘gullible’ or ‘idiotic’ before I figured out what she was doing.

But I digress.

I’m amazed at the variety the Internet ascribes to any particular word. Take for instance,

Kerfluffle. It’s such a happy word. Somewhat whimsical in its triple *f* composition, and the hint of one definition by its first syllable which is then turned on its ear by the last two syllables. Can anyone be depressed when pronouncing it? Can anyone’s paradigm not be shifted by the orderliness of its disorderly definition?

And yet what a plethora of pictures appear with the search engine.

Such as:

or

Or

That guy made a great Ming, did he not? I wasn’t too enamored with Flash, but this guy rocked in a creepy evil villain sort of way.

And he’s who Google says looks like *kerfluffle*. Ming and pie and some chicks in a bedroom Man, you gotta love the Internet in its ability to search and assign meaning to anything because somebody blogged about it and found a pretty or provocative picture.

And there were many other pictures as well. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Beans. Badger. Paddle, and of course the requisite cute cat picture with the misspelled words. I mean, honestly, haven’t we beaten the dead horse enough with this cheezburger cat nonsense? What is wrong with people?

What does it mean anyway? And that whole texting the dog thing. It’s funny and all, but dogs have paws. They couldn’t possibly manipulate a phone to send texts.

My dog has no sense of anything except his enjoyment in eating, peeing, and sniffing. That’s his life. My kids try to make him look at pictures in books, watch TV, and even listen to me over the telephone when I was gone recently on a business trip. The dog doesn’t enjoy any of these things. He runs away from the children when they walk in the room. Though he’s a pretty good dog as far as dogs go, he has bitten them on more than one occasion because he’s tired of all the crap they put him through. In fact, tonight each kid had part of the dog in their hands pulling him like he was a slinky as they argued over whose bed he was going to sleep in.

It was, I believe, quite a kerfluffle.

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Jennifer Johnson needs more time to navel gaze. She writes contemporary romance and has written five full length novels with three publishers. She has also had short stories published in four anthologies from Turquoise Morning Press. Her book, Rescuing Riley, the sequel to Rescue Me, will be released in October of this year from Turquoise Morning.

Find out more about her at

Website: http://booksbyjenniferjohnson.com

Blog: http://jennfrancesca.blogspot.com/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BMJ58I

 

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Monday Mayhem – Duranies Rock On!

I’m on vacation this week (which means I am busy typing and editing), so I asked my good friend and fellow Duran Duran junkie, Karen Booth, to stop by and talk to you about her smokin’ hot new release. Check it out here:

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If it wasn’t for the pesky brunette vs. blonde thing, I might make a guess that Margaret and I were separated at birth. We are both Midwest girls, both writers, lured to the South by our husbands. Margaret and I also share an adolescent love that never managed to go away, a vaguely unhealthy preoccupation with Duran Duran.

When I first befriended Margaret and found out she is also a Duranie, my only thought was this: “She’s so awesome. We could be such good friends. As long as she’s a Simon girl. If she’s a JT girl, this might not go well.” Ah, silly me. Of course Margaret had to be a JT girl (John Taylor for those not up to speed on Duran Duran vernacular). Dammit.

Alas, Margaret and I have learned to set aside our friendly JT rivalry. Neither of us will bad-mouth the other in his presence. We would never send him disparaging tweets. If we happen to show him a slightly unflattering picture of the other person, that’s purely by accident. Besides, he’s a rock star, he’s bigger than life. Surely there’s plenty of him for Margaret and I to share.

My brand new (smoking hot, if I do say so myself) book, Love My Way, comes complete with a hunky-on-the-outside and sweet-and-geeky on-the-inside rock star named Peter. He’s dead-set on snagging my heroine, Katie, but she isn’t ready to risk her heart for a rock star and she definitely isn’t willing to share. So, I want to know which rock star you want all to yourself, the one you aren’t willing to share. One responder will win an e-copy of Love My Way!

Love My Way

After her fiancé penned a “Dear Katie” letter, Kate Stillman vowed she’d never give a man more than one night. Free from emotional entanglements, she’s had some hot one-night stands, her heart has stayed off-limits and her photography career has skyrocketed. It’s the perfect plan until a Miami getaway brings her face-to-face with Peter Barrett.

Hunky rocker Peter has been pursuing Katie from afar ever since she photographed his band. In the flesh, it’s clear it was more than flirtation. Katie gives in to their sizzling chemistry, thinking Peter will appreciate her one-night rule. Instead, he balks and extends an invitation for a second night of pure abandon, an offer too tempting to refuse.

When they part, Katie realizes her rule protected her heart only too well. Time away from Peter leaves her wanting him more. Every steamy late-night phone call makes her wonder if she can love again. But when Peter returns and her trust is tested, Katie must overcome her past to learn that love her way was never the way at all.

Buy now at: Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, All Romance e-Books

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Monday Mayhem – Fresh meat!

I’m traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce you to a few of my author buddies. I’m kicking this little foray into the unknown with a complete unknown. I’m crazy like that.

Meet my very funny friend, Evelyn Jules. Her debut story, Blind Faith, will be released by Turquoise Morning Press later this summer. I had the opportunity to read this sizzling little story, and trust me, you’re going to want to read it too! Without further ado…Ms. Evelyn Jules!

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Hi everyone! I’m taking over Margaret’s blog today. *maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh* If only you knew how long I’ve wanted to do this. But now I have special permission seeing as how I’m an official author and everything. Yep, it’s true! I signed my first contract with Turquoise Morning Press in April! It just magically floated into my inbox one day. Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. You want the real story? Here goes….

It all started about a decade ago…Oh. You want the Cliffs Notes version? Hmmm. So a year ago I went to the Lori Foster Reader/Writer Get-together in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended as a ‘reader’ but I was also there to support my incredible author friend, Margaret Ethridge. I follow her wherever she goes. True story. During the get-together there was a raffle with fabulous prizes. One of those prizes was a professional critique of 10 pages of manuscript from Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press. Guess what? I love watermelon gum. Oh, and I totally won the critique! 😀

As soon as I got home I started writing like a fiend. It took me close to two months before I had something I thought was presentable. This was my big chance. I didn’t want to waste it. They always say the waiting is the hardest part. Hardest. *giggles* Yeah, I write smut. I might as well come out and say that right now. Anyway, it was another two months before I heard anything. Kim gave me tremendous feedback, offered several suggestions on improvements, and in the final line of the email she told me that if I was willing to make the revisions, she was very willing to look at it again and offer me a…contract. *gasp* The ‘C’ word! What every author and aspiring author dreams of!

So I went back to my writing cave, added another four thousand words to my story, polished it, hugged it, kissed it, and forced Margaret to edit it more times than I can count, then I held my breath and resubmitted it. Fast-forward to April 1st (also known as April Fools’ Day). I got an email from Kim. She said my story made her laugh and cry. She loved it. More importantly…she wanted it! Happy, spastic dancing ensued. But it all came to a crashing halt when I recalled what day it was. Wait a minute. This wasn’t a joke, was it? I wasn’t entirely convinced either way until I received that ‘C’ word. My very own contract! Happy, spastic dancing ensued once more, this time accompanied by fits of sobbing. Margaret can tell you all about that. She was the recipient of a very watery phone call.

And I suck at Cliffs Notes. But I would like to share one last important detail with you. My first story, an erotic romance entitled Blind Faith, will be released this summer. Here’s the blurb:

Faith Lawson is just your average, wholesome librarian with a dirty mind . . . until a chance encounter with a handsome stranger brings her fantasies to life in a frantic night of passion. But when he walks out her door, he leaves a piece of his past behind that changes everything.

Sounds good, right? Just smile and nod. Oh, and please come visit me on my blog, twitter, and facebook for updates, news about future releases, fun games, contests, and general dirtiness! Thanks so much to Margaret for having me here! Don’t tell her I told you this (because she gets all weirded out when I get schmoopy) but she’s totally my favourite author.

So to leave you all with a question, what will you be reading this summer (besides Blind Faith)?

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Thanks, Evelyn! I’m going to bypass the schmoop and post a few links. Be sure to like/follow/bookmark these babies so you’ll know when Blind Faith becomes available!

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