Monday Mayhem – Influenza Edition

I’m ill. The dog ate my homework. There was flood. Fire. Famine.

Only one of the above is true. I’ll leave you to your conjecture.

I’ll also share this fabulous promo shot for Inamorata.

Come on. Tell me you don’t want to spend a little quality closet time with Frank DeLuca….


Monday Mayhem – A room of one’s own

After eleven years of marriage, I finally I have a room of my own! Okay, so I’m not allowed to sleep up here, but I can concoct naughty stories to my heart’s content. It’s still a work in progress, but here’s where I’m at today. I’ll post updated pics as I get things arranged more to my liking.

In the meantime, I’m on the road for the day job this week. Do me a favor? Tell a friend (or seventeen) about one (or five) of my books?

Thanks. I knew I could count on you! See you next week!


Monday Mayhem – Wild at Heart

The Diamond State Romance Authors and friends have contributed their time and talents to compiling two collections of short stories geared to benefit the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Northwest Arkansas. Turpentine Creek was one of the first big cat refuges in the country.

Many of their residents come to the refuge through owners and black market dealers who find they can no longer handle their exotic pets. The Jackson family has dedicated their lives to caring for these magnificent creatures, and in turn, we are dedicated to supporting their efforts.

Wild at Heart Volumes I and II are available now. (Pssst! My story is Young Adult and found in Volume II) All proceeds from the sale of these collections go directly to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The next time you are prowling for something to read, please consider downloading them. Thank you!

Volume I

Stories Included in this volume are:

Spirit of the Tiger by Elle James
Archer Falls by Lauren Smith
A Boy, A Girl, A Tiger by Cynthia D’Alba
The Wedding Crasher by Lindy Dierks
Beached by Dustin Stevens
Sunlight and Solace by Gina Wilkins
Saving Angel by Lynda Frazier
Buck by M. Marie
True Instinct by Vanessa North
Storm Haven by Charlene Roberts
Saving Akira by Candace Sams

Volume II

Stories in this collection include:

Freedom by Connie Wilkins
Teens Gone Wild by Margaret Ethridge
Home by Midnight by Brinda Berry
Cats Rule by Aileen Fish
Refugee by Lori Freeland
The Girl and the Puma by Jayne Grey
Heart’s Solace by Tara Fox Hall
Vision Quest by Karis Walsh
The Bully in the Piney Woods by Delilah Devlin
Fierce Wild by Megan Mitcham
Salvaje by Anna Meadows


Monday Mayhem – Cobbled Together

You remember the old saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes? Well….

I was so busy writng blog posts and answering interview questions that I forgot to write a post for my own blog. How nutty is that?

All is well. I’m crazy busy, both with the day job and the writing. I’ll be traveling quite a bit in coming months. Also trying to meet some deadlines. I plan to take a deep breath somewhere around April.

I think.

Want to know where you can find me this month? Look for me here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012 Everybody Needs A Little Romance >> I’m a regular now! Visit me there the first Thursday of each month!

Friday, October 5, 2012 Diamond State Romance Authors Blog >> I post the first Friday of every month!

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Karen Stivali’s Blog >> Guest posting! Stop by to score my recipe for Chicken Chili!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Sharon Buchbinder’s Blog >> Interview and thoughts about my latest ghostly read, Inamorata!

Oh! And if you like your reading a bit on the steamy side, don’t forget to check out my very close personal friend, Maggie Wells. She has a new short story out this month, a series of sizzling hot novellas coming in 2013, and a slew of smokin’ hot short stories on the horizon. You can get a taste of the delicious things to come by scrolling through her Six Sentence Sunday tidbits!

So….yeah. Other than that, I’ll be around.

I’m here. I’m always here.

Even if I’m not wearing shoes.


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!


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.


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.


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: (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:




Amazon Author Page:

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:

Barnes & Noble:

Publisher’s site:
Turquoise Morning Press:


Monday Mayhem – It’s a keeper!

I kind of did. I took a little vacay over Labor Day week, and boy was I good at it! Between bouts of napping, eating, and reading smutty books, I managed to write a new novella. It’s to meet a call for submissions that closes this week, so I am scrambling to edit and polish so I can slip it into the queue at the eleventh hour. But it was fun to write something not-quite-so-spicy. Maggie has been monopolizing all the brain time lately.

My plan is to start working on Containment during NaNoWriMo this November. The plot bunnies are hopping.

Enough about business, let’s talk pleasure…

At the moment, I’m rereading an old favorite I came across in a bargain bin. Carnal Innocence was the first Nora Roberts single title romance I’d ever read. Guess what? I still love it just as much as I did in 1991. I also scored a couple Judith Krantz classics – Mistral’s Daughter and Princess Daisy.

I often reread. There are newer books on my keeper shelf, but I love reacquainting myself with some of the characters that helped turn me into a romance fan for life. Just a few of the more well-worn books on my keeper shelf: Scruples by Judith Krantz, Crossings and Family Album by Danielle Steel, Perfect by Judith McNaught, and Bygones by LaVyrle Spencer.

What about you? What are you reading these days? Do you ever reread books? What’s on your keeper shelf?


Monday Mayhem – Drive-by posting

I have nothing prepared. Nothing at all.

Therefore I was share a few tidbits with you.

First, this GIF post from Nathan Bransford about killed me. There’s no go way to explain the highs and lows in this business, but this comes pretty darn close.

Second, I’ve been invited to join a group blog! My first post at Everybody Needs A Little Romance will go live on Thursday. 😀

Third, my evil twin has been hogging most of the writing time this year, but I have an idea and a little vacation time over the holiday weekend. I’m going to lock Maggie in a closet and let Margaret run wild!

Last…my friend, Evelyn Jules, has a smutty short story called Blind Faith you should read, and my friend, Karen Stivali’s first full-length novel, Meant To Be released this week. What are you waiting for? Run! Run! Read!




Monday Mayhem – Bunny Cage Edition

Been crazy busy lately. That’s no excuse for neglecting you, but it’s the only reason I have. I would have asked my mom to write me a note, but then she would want to be privy to the secrets I plan to expose. I guess I’ll just have to forge one. Not that I ever did that… Or mastered her signature….

Ahem. Sorry. Here we go…

Please excuse Margaret’s absence from her blog she has been:

1) Taking up three spaces on the TMP Bestseller list for 8/5/12! Okay, so you may only see two titles with my name on them.

*cough* Don’t tell my mother. *cough*

You’ll have to use your super-detective skills to figure out the third one. For those of you who know my naughty alter-ego…shh!

2) Her inner vixen has busted loose and taken over the works! Almost all of the stories I’ve written so far will be published under that other name, but there are a few Margaret works in the pipeline. I have two of six new Jack and Ellie stories completed for 2013’s Long Distance Love collection written, and the plot bunnies for Containment—the third piece in the Contentment/Commitment trilogy—are running rampant in my head. NaNoWriMo is coming up in a couple of months, so I’m trying to get other things out of the way so I can focus my thirty days and nights of literary abandon on Containment.

3) But with her Evil Twin in control, some big things have been happening. Wow things. Check it out!
› Her story, Portrait of Passion, was chosen to be a part of TMPs Passionate Exhibitions anthology coming in October 2012!
› She has a new series of steaming hot novellas coming soon. Very soon! Turquoise Morning Press will begin releasing the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series in late 2012-2013. These sexy stories all center on the men and women of St. Blaise, Missouri, a blip-on-the-map town where the release of the hospital’s new fundraising calendar sets the nights aflame.
› There may be a sexy fireman short story under submission for a Cleis Press anthology.
› And last, but certainly a big squee, a contract is coming from another publisher for SIX short stories to be included in the Love Letters Anthologies! This is a project she has been working on with fellow erotic romance authors Ginny Glass, Emily Cale, and Christina Thacher.
Whew. Have you figured out who she is yet? Want a hint? Her name may or may not be pretty derivative of my own. Take a look at the TMP Top 15 again. I’ll wait here.

4) Okay, enough about me… or her… us. Whatever. Let’s talk about other things. Did you see that my friend, Evelyn Jules’ first short story released? Blind Faith is now available all over the place. If you want a quick shot of smuff (fluffy smut, for those who aren’t in the know) do not miss this sexy read!

5) Oh! And I’m going to be a grandma. Yes, you are right. I am too young and hot to be a grandma, but what are you going to do? These kids… Squeeeeee!

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to line the bunny cage. How about you? Any big things, wow things going on in your life? Little things that just make you smile are just as good. It’s your turn to share!


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.



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:



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.


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



Amazon author page:



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:


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