Thursday, October 29, 2009

Costume Fun

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the crisp autumn weather, the changing leaves, the flickering jack-o-lanterns, but most of all I love the costumes. There’s something magical about dressing up and transforming into someone or something else.

Despite failing Home Ec (I refused to sew trace all of the pattern markings on my fabric and genuinely failed the cooking portion) I’ve pretty much sewn all my life. I love that you can take a hunk of fabric and actually have something wearable at the end of the day. It’s that whole transformational process at work.

During high school and college, I got involved in theatre. I made a lot of the costumes I wore on stage and made even more for other people when I worked in the costume shop of my university’s theatre – there were the Elizabethan period pieces, the murdered bride, the holocaust survivors, a swamp monster, lepers...and I can’t even remember what else.

After college, I parlayed my sewing skills into a business—making wedding dresses, veils, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses. Then I had kids. There’s nothing more insanity inducing than trying to keep your toddler from crawling under the skirts of near strangers while you’re trying to adjust the fit of their dresses. After a while, I ditched the dress business and went back to my first love – making costumes.

Over the years, my kids, my nieces and daycare kids have been a fruit bat, dragons, knights, princesses, an Egyptian goddess, a vampire princess, an anamie character, a Jawa, a Stormtrooper, pirates, Harry Potter, ninjas, a 1920s era baseball player, a Ring Wraith, a blacksmith and a kitten.

All of these - with the exception of Jen’s wedding dress - were made without patterns. Despite my epic inability to do math, I have a pretty good sense of spatial relations – at least in terms of fabric yardage and the shape of pattern pieces. I can usually use a picture for reference and come up with a reasonable facsimile.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a digital camera for most of these costumes, but I can show you some of the more recent ones, along with the last wedding dress I made.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Introducing....The FabulouslyTalented Kris Norris

I'd like to introduce brand new author, Kris Norris! Her first ever release, Sacred Talisman, is out today from TEB. I have to tell you, I had the privilege of reading an early copy, and it's fantastic!

So please take a few moments to meet Kris and maybe leave her a note. :)

1.How did your writing path evolve?

To be honest, I never really thought much of it when I was younger. The first I ever thought about writing was when a high school teacher asked me if I’d enter a short story I’d written for her class into a competition. Then I went on to delve into other lines of work until I was pregnant with my first child. Having some time, I decided to finally put to words a story that had been rattling around in my head for what seemed like eternity. I realize now that those voices were not approaching insanity but merely characters begging to have their story told. I took forever to actually finish the book (which will be published by Resplendence late next year) and then I never really put it out there. Instead, I wrote a couple more, finally submitting my work to a few different companies. I was fortunate to come across the best editor ever at TEB who gave me a chance to turn a dream into a reality.

2.What type of research do you do for your books?

For books where I don’t have any personal background, I usually turn to the Internet for photos and information. For example, for Sacred Talisman, I searched a number of vampire sites to see if the views of vampires had changed. With so many beliefs, from the classics of Bram Stokers to the new Twilight, I wanted to get a sense of the different genres of vampires. But as you’ll see, I chose to stick to the more traditional view—I just love the vampires of old.

3.From what or where do you derive the most inspiration for your stories?

I tend to draw on some sort of personal experience for my stories, though, no, I haven’t bumped into any vampires in a dark alley lately. But for my next book, Deadly Vision, I used my time as a 911 operator as the basis for Fallon’s character and my love of mountain biking as her passion. I enjoy putting a bit of my experiences into my characters. Then, of course, there are those stories which just worm their way into your head without any warning or previous knowledge.

4.Tell us about your upcoming releases?

Oh, I couldn’t be more excited. My first ever book is out today. Sacred Talisman is a vampire story and is part of TEB’s Voracious Vamps series. It’s also the first book in my own vampire series entitled, Dark Prophecy. I quite love Rafe and his unique situation of being a vampire with not only a mission, but a conscience.

I also have another book coming out with TEB on November 9th called Deadly Vision. It’s a full-length paranormal thriller that’s the first book in my stalker series, ‘Til Death. Thrillers are my true passion and you’ll find nearly all of my books have a suspense element in them, even if that’s not the primary genre.

I have two other books due out in December. Another with TEB, Centrefold, which is part of the Christmas Crackers Collection and Checkmate, a sensual thriller, which will be my first book published with Resplendence Publishing.

5.What are you working on at the moment?

Gee, I’ve got so many series going I should be working on several books all at once. But right now I’m concentrating my efforts on the second book in the Dark Prophecy series and my second book in my fantasy series, Enchanted Lovers. I’m also working hard to finish my first futuristic book, which is a new area for me and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

6.What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?

I love being able to become different people all the time. Having these characters in your head that jump out onto the computer and take a life all their own. I also love that my morning commute is a pretty cushy ride.

My least favourite aspect is fighting with my characters to get them to do what I want them to do. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes they just don’t play nice. Writing the same scene over and over isn’t very productive or good for the soul. There are lots of times you ask yourself why you do this… but it’s just a part of who you are.

7.What would you do if you weren’t a writer?

I’ve spent plenty of time being other professions over the years. I already mentioned my time as a 911 operator. But I think the job I enjoyed most before kids and writing took over my life, was being a commercial helicopter pilot. Bet you didn’t know I could fly those things. It often comes as a surprise to most people. It was an exciting part of my life and while I miss it, I have to say, I love writing even more. (Oh, and did I mention one of my characters in a future book with Resplendence is a helicopter pilot? Looks like I get to have the best of both worlds.)

8.What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love running and mountain bike riding. I live in a fabulous part of Vancouver Island and have endless trails at my disposal. There’s nothing quite like running or riding amidst old growth forests.

I also love going to movies and just hanging with the kids. Hockey games and art classes take up a lot of spare time.

9.Of all of the characters you’ve created, who is your favourite and why?

While all my characters have a special place, my favourite hero is Gage Matthews. You’ll meet him in my second ‘Til Death book, Deadly Obsession, due out next April. I’m not sure what it is, exactly, about him that makes me swoon. I think it’s his vulnerability that only Brooklyn sees that touches my heart. He’s a dominant, action-oriented man, but his devotion to the woman he loves is every girl’s dream.

10.Do you find it difficult to keep love/sex scenes fresh and interesting?

Sex, not interesting or new? Actually, yes, this is much harder than most people would think. After all, there’s only so many ways all the parts fit together. And when your book has a number of sex scenes, it can be challenging to keep the encounters exciting. I think the best remedy is to make it more about the emotional journey of the lovers and not just about the physical act. If your characters have a vested interest in the sex, beyond the obvious physical pleasure, it helps to keep the scenes from blending into each other.

11.What makes a man sexy?

Oh, I love this one. For me, sexy isn’t just how a guy looks. As a matter of fact it’s so much more. To me, sexy is the deep timbre of a man’s voice… the tilt of his lips when he smiles… the brooding look in his eyes. I’m more apt to say a man is handsome than sexy, because sexy is the whole package… a walking wet dream.

12.What’s your favourite food?

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Okay, I love strawberries too, especially when they’re dipped in chocolate.

13.Do you have any pet peeves?

OMG. How many pages do you have? People who drive twenty kilometers under the speed limit. I mean, really. Doesn’t your car have an accelerator in it! They put that number up there for a reason. And it really is more of a guideline.

People who take up two parking spots at the grocery car. Come on, folks. Your SUV isn’t that much better than mine.

The insane price of popcorn and soda at the movies. What is with that? I can make a whole bag of popcorn for three dollars and buy an entire case of pop for four!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new interview!

I'd like to go on record as saying I hate the swine flu. My boys have been sick since Sunday. Last night, just when I thought they were well enough to go back to school today, I checked their temps and they were back up to 102.

In other less plague-y news, the lovely Tina Holland interviewed me. It's posted on her blog today. Stop by and say hi! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guess who has a release today...

it's one of my favorite people in the world...Desiree Holt! Check out Dancing with Danger.


Rachel Windsor knew nothing about Gabriel Peralta except that he was walking sex appeal. He blew into her life without notice, here today then always gone on a puff of wind. But each time he appears, he does things to her body that even her fantasies haven’t conjured up, driving her to orgasms that shake her like a raging storm. His mouth knows every inch of her body. The imprint of his intimate kisses linger long after he disappears.

Now he’s back again, his life unexpectedly on the line. But even in the danger zone his sexual demands are more scorching than ever and this time, Rachel is determined not to lose him—or the erotic lifestyle that binds them.


Chapter One

The party had been going on far too long. It was a weeknight so dinner had been scheduled for six o’clock. The hosts had spoken and made their plea, things should be wrapping up now. The room should have been at least half empty. But it seemed no one was the least bit interested in leaving. The din of conversation competed with the sound of the orchestra, which segued from one rhythmic tune to another and people continued to jam the dance floor as well as both bars.

Standing quietly in one corner, Rachel Winters looked glanced over the room. She couldn’t quite conceal a smile of satisfaction. Another successful fundraiser for The Harris Foundation. Despite tough economic times, the people who had the money couldn’t seem to give it fast enough to Sam and Loraine Harris, people with old money and a very old social position. People everyone wanted to curry favor with.

Now the Harrises were mingling with their guests, discreetly collecting checks, their bodyguards in tuxedos and guns never more than inches away. Two years ago Sam had been kidnapped by a terrorist cell who wanted an enormous ransom to fund an arms purchase. Rachel remembered that time vividly. A very black ops agency contacted by one of Sam’s close friends had taken over, faceless men moving soundlessly around the offices, interrogating everyone while a hand-picked team went in to retrieve Sam. Now the same agency provided security 24/7. It had been a difficult time for all of them and Rachel still worried about their vulnerability.

Rachel smoothed a hand down the silken fabric of her signature black cocktail dress. She always wore black, convinced it minimized the flaws in her figure. She saw her hips as too wide, her thighs as too chunky, her tummy as too rounded, especially for someone as short as she was. Now she wished she could kick off the four-inch heels she used to boost her five-foot-two-inch height. Her thick honey-colored hair was pulled up in a sophisticated arrangement that added yet another inch or two. Anything to make her feel less like a chunky miniature lost at an adult function.

Casually she stole a look at her watch. Eight thirty. Should she find some way to signal people the party was over? Sam and Loraine weren’t so young anymore and these functions were always grueling for them. She loved her job and the Harrises treated her like family, which made her take a more personal interest in their welfare. Serving as director of The Harris Foundation filled her days and nights.

Too bad it couldn’t take care of her heart, which she was sure destined to remain unfulfilled. Why did she have to go and fall for a mystery man anyway? One who appeared without warning and then was gone like a wisp of smoke. No matter how sexy he was, how good in bed, how he drove her to the highest plains of pleasure, he never stayed. Never gave her more of himself than one night at a time and those were few and far between.

She didn’t even know what he did. They’d met at a barbecue given by mutual friends and fallen into bed within hours of “hello”. But even those friends couldn’t—or wouldn’t—give her any information about him.

She knew his name. Gabriel Peralta. That was it—if that was even his real name. She also knew he was six foot four of lean hard muscle with thick silken black hair she loved to run her fingers through, a hawk nose and eyes like onyx. Hands that could make a woman’s body writhe in pleasure and a magnificent cock that stretched her to capacity and made her explode with its friction.

And scars whose origin he refused to discuss.

Just as he refused to discuss anything else. Whenever she tried to lead the conversation in that direction, he artfully distracted her with his talented mouth and hands and body. In seconds she would be a writhing mass on the bed and any thought of questions disappeared as if it’d never occurred to her.

Weeks would go by without her seeing him, weeks in which she imagined every type of situation her brain could conjure up. He was a spy. He was covert military. He was a mercenary. On the worst days she even wondered if he was married and had a wife—maybe a family—that he spent his time with between his visits to her. But she always dispelled that idea quickly. No man could be so sexually intense with her if he had another woman in his life.

Sometimes she thought what an idiot she was, living for the rare visits with nothing in between. A smarter woman would tell him to go to hell and get on with her life. But no man she met came even close to measuring up to him. In any way. So there didn’t seem to be anything to get on with. She’d stopped circling the dates of his visits on the calendar, just focused on her work and accepted the pleasure he brought when he magically appeared.

She was imagining him in her head, wondering when he’d appear out of the darkness again, when a smooth male voice cut into her thoughts.

“I would love to have one dance with you, Miss Winters. If you don’t mind.”

She shook herself from her reverie to find Lincoln Harris standing in front of her with an expectant smile. Dancing with him was last on her list of things she wanted to do. Just being with him gave her a headache. She didn’t like the man. The fact that he was handsome in a classical sense and kept himself in top condition didn’t offset his personality. He was egotistical, self-involved and arrogant.

Unfortunately he was also the heir to the family fortune, CEO of Harris Industries since his father’s semiretirement and president of the foundation board. He wasn’t someone she could easily brush aside. Or god forbid, offend in any way. Any imagined slight on her part could make her life very difficult. Board meetings that he ran gave her fits but she’d learned long ago how to deal with the Lincoln Harrises of the world. She just wished Sam and Loraine weren’t quite so blind to him.

Rachel rubbed her forehead. Tonight for some reason she was edgy and Lincoln Harris wasn’t a recipe for calm. However, she put on her public smile and held out a hand to him, reminding herself it was just part of the job. Even if she couldn’t stand the guy, her paycheck obligated her to be nice to him.
“Of course.” She forced her lips into a smile. “It would be my pleasure.”

Rachel, what an accomplished liar you are.

The orchestra swung into an old familiar ballad and Lincoln led her onto the dance floor. He would have pulled her tightly against him but she put her free hand on his shoulder, ensuring at least an inch or two of space between them.

“You’ve done an excellent job tonight,” he complimented her. “I believe this is our best turnout yet.”

“It took a lot of people to make this happen,” she demurred, turning her face away from his. The scent of his cologne was overpowering. “You and your parents have really carried your message to people. The right people.”

“Don’t be so modest. You deserve a lot of credit for the work you do.” He tightened his arm around her slightly.
“I’ve been watching you for a long time, you know. You’re smart. You have elegance and grace, always know just the right thing to say to people. An asset to the foundation. Perhaps when this is over we can share a quiet drink together. Talk about…things.”

And I know just the kind of things you’ve got on your mind, you repulsive lecher.

While she was searching for a polite way to turn him down a hand touched her shoulder and a familiar voice broke into the conversation and she knew what that edgy feeling tonight had been—her radar working overtime. “Sorry. The lady has other plans.”

Even after all this time, after so many long absences, Gabriel Peralta’s honey-smooth baritone could still make her knees wobble and her pulses pound. She was stunned that he’d showed up at a place like this, an event with so many people. Usually he slipped into her house in the dark of night and left the same way.

Lincoln glared at the man behind Rachel, anger and outrage chasing briefly across his face. “I’m sorry. Have we met? I’m Lincoln Harris. And you are…”

“A close…friend of Rachel’s.” Gabe’s hand tightened on her shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us. I’m only in town for a short while and we have a lot of catching up to do.”

In a smooth maneuver he slipped her from Lincoln Harris’ arms and into his and began moving them away, his feet catching the rhythm of the music. She glanced over Gabe’s shoulder and caught the controlled anger on Lincoln’s face before he melted back into the crowd. She hoped there wouldn’t be a price to pay.

Rachel realized suddenly he was wearing what she considered an unusual outfit for him. All she’d ever seen him in were jeans and t-shirts, sometimes with a leather jacket if the weather was cool. But tonight he had on an expensively tailored charcoal gray suit, white shirt with gold cufflinks and a conservative tie. He looked exactly as if he belonged with the invited guests. It added a new dimension to her impressions of him.

With her face pressed to Gabe’s chest, she inhaled his distinctive scent, all male with a hint of the outdoors and something citrusy. She would never tell him that she still had a t-shirt he’d left several months ago that she slept with every night, holding the smell of him close to her.

“I’m impressed with your outfit,” she told him. “Did you have to borrow it?”

His chuckle rumbled against her body. “Believe it or not I actually own real-people clothes.”

“How did you get in here, anyway?” She had committed the extensive list to memory and she knew for sure his name hadn’t been there. “The guest list is completely vetted and our security is top notch.”

He chuckled softly. “Yes, I know that. But I have connections.”

“How long do you have to stay here?” he murmured in her ear.

“The Harrises usually expect me to stay until the bitter end. How long are you here for this time?”

“Two days. Can you leave early?”

The orchestra had segued into another slow, romantic tune and their bodies moved in perfect harmony. He danced with an unexpected grace, the muscles in his thighs flexing as he moved. She could feel his heart beating where he enfolded her hand against his chest and the thick ridge of his cock pressed against her soft flesh through the fabric of their clothing.

His hand caressed the nape of her neck, sending shivers down her spine and he pressed his cock more tightly against her. “Rachel, I have to see you naked. I’m so hard for you right now I’m doing my best not to lose control here in a public place.”

“I can’t leave,” she protested weakly, although she wanted nothing more than to run out the door with him. “What would I tell my bosses?”

They continued to move in time to the music, his pelvis grinding against hers, the sleek muscles of his thighs flexing with each step. One hand drifted down to cup the cheeks of her ass, pressing the light fabric of her dress into the cleft.

“People can see us.” She tried to reach back and rearrange the dress but he grabbed her hand and pulled it against him, trapping it between their bodies.

“They’re all too busy being seen by other people.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm baaaaa-aaaaack

I have to say, I had an absolute blast at RomantiCon. There's something rejuvenating about hanging out with authors and readers...even though we kept ridiculous hours. Rooming with Kelly Kirch and Suzanne Graham was wild to say the least, but also a ton of fun.

I also finally got to meet Regina Carlysle, Tessie Bradford, Barbara Huffert, Koko Brown and Cheryl Dragon - five of the most awesome women on the planet. And I hung out with the amazing Desiree Holt, Anny Cook, Cindy Spencer Pape, M.A. Ellis, Tilly Greene, Isabelle Drake and of course, Kaenar Langford.

I also had my very first book signing. It was a little hairy for a while. My books didn't make it over from the warehouse with everyone else's, but the staff sent someone back there so I had them about an hour before the signing ended which was wonderful. I was so bummed when it looked like the signing wasn't going to happen, but EC came through! And...they all sold out in that last hour. It was so cool! However, I forgot to keep out a copy for myself...because I'm just that clever. But I should be getting my author copies soon.

I've been so crazy-busy, I don't think I've even posted the cover for the print book. Magic's Embrace has all three Torrid Tarot stories in it - I Put a Spell on You, Ronan's Grail and Mystic Circle. When my author copies arrive, I'll be running a contest to give away a copy, so check back for details.

Okay, back to work. I'm so far behind, it's not even funny.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Losing my mind

I'm running around like a psycho in need of sedation trying to get ready for RomantiCon...and I still have a ridiculous amount to do. I promise to take lots of pictures while I'm there and post them next week.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Finally...Ren Faire Pictures

I met this lovely little faery while listening to my new favorite band, Circa Paleo. I absolutely LOVE her costume. She did an amazing job with it. I particularly love the leaves around her eyes.

This is the backside of her costume. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the flowers form the wings.

Circa Paleo playing Led Zepplin's Kashmir. Not even making that up - it was awesome.

This was the first act we saw when we got there. There's nothing like bagpipes and drums first thing in the morning. The group is called Tartanic and they're pretty damn funny.

What Ren Faire is complete without the Ded Bob Sho? We haven't seen him in quite a while, and this is the first year the kids really got the humor of the show. Needless to say, they were delighted.

This is Gibbon the Troubadour. He hasn't been on the fair circuit since my youngest was a for about 10 or 11 years, at least. I'm sorry to say he's not back as a regular act, but he did come and play outside his daughter's shop to bring in business. We were thrilled to catch a few songs. When Killian was a toddler, he was utterly enamoured with Gibbon because of all the sea chanteys and pirate songs. Guess who had to sing them for bedtime songs? There's nothing like singing, Drink Boys, Drink while tucking your kid in at night. The tradition of Wildly Inappropriate Lullabies clearly did not end with my mother.