Sunday, December 9, 2012

My family has always referred to me as "cookie challenged." It's not that I am a bad cook - I regularly make gourmet meals from scratch. And I even bake sometimes. But for years, mastering almost any kind of cookies seemed out of reach.

But this year I decided I was going to try anyway. I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that sounded yummy and they actually came out perfect. So I moved on to something a little more challenging - meringue cookies. If the egg whites aren't beaten enough or if they are overcooked, the delicate cookies are ruined. But guess what - I did it. And on the second try, I added some peppermint and mini chocolate chips, customizing the recipe and making it more my own.
My next challenge will be pralines, which are pretty difficult since they require the use of a candy thermometer. And between you and me - I've screwed them up more than once.

All this has taught me a little something that I can apply to writing. Sometimes we fail at writing something because we don't yet have the knowledge or experience we need. So we start with small steps - a short story or a single chapter. We work at creating characters that leap off the page and romantic tension that sizzles. We take the challenges that come with each phase or writing a book until we master them.

We kick it up to the next level by adding elements of language and character that are uniquely our own voice. I can add those chocolate chips or even a sprinkle of lemon zest or cinnamon to spice it up. So yeah, I can do this.

Okay - back to work. I hear my Work-in-Progress calling.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Watching Helplessly

So I have a whole lot of family in the area hit by Superstorm Sandy. And all I can do is keep my eyes on the news reports. Thankfully, I've been able to reach my loved ones and all are safe. But others are having a harder time getting hold of their friends and relatives.
As someone who lives in a hurricane zone, I try to always stay in touch with my peeps in times of disaster. But there's nothing more nerve-racking than not knowing.

So many people have been affected by this unprecedented storm that it leaves many of us feeling helpless. But we're not. Want to do something to help out those who've been devastated by this event? Here's something you can do: Donate to the Red Cross.

Please send your prayers, thoughts, energy or what have you to all the victims of this storm. It all helps!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Frustration!

Those close to me know that I have been on a diet/exercise plan for the past year. I've done pretty well for the most part, with the exception of a few months when my parents had to stay with us after my dad's knee replacement surgery.

But lately the scale has been on an upward slide that is really unnerving me. I haven't missed any workouts - usually five per week - and I haven't added any new stress to my life. I think what's happening is that I've gradually eased up on my diet restrictions. Low carb/high protein has worked great, but I've stopped charting my food intake on a regular basis. In addition, I have an inner dialog going on with the classic angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other who usually wins. He tells me just a couple cookies won't hurt or a few french fries won't kill me.

So how do I squash the little devil and stay on track for the long term? I know the first thing I need to do is to start journaling my food every day because that worked for me for a long time. Do you have anything that's worked for you in the long haul? I'd love suggestions.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Passionate Cooks



Here's a great op for a completely free cookbook. Passionate Cooks has loads of delicious recipes including one from yours truly! And the best part? It's absolutely FREE!!!

One of my family's favorite recipes is included - Succulent Spinach Pie. So head over to All Romance EBooks and pick up your own copy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Signing Season

Tis the time of year when I do some book signings - one of my favorite things to do! Not only do I get to meet readers, but I have the opportunity to hang with my sister writers. I did a fun signing this weekend at the Orlando Public Library's Local Authors Festival with talented Central Florida authors Jax Cassidy, Dianne Venetta, Blair Bancroft and more. Aside from reconnecting with those awesome folks, I met book blogger Lorelei of Lorelei's Lit Lair, a super nice lady.

We had lots of readers come out to support us and buy our books. Doing book signings reminds me why I love writing romance so much. One woman who just happened to be at the library came over and told me she'd read some of my books and loved them. That made my day!

So for your enjoyment, here are a few pics from the event, courtesy of Lorelai and Jax Cassidy.

Pictured here are Dianne Venetta, Lorelai, Jax Cassidy and Maria Geraci.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Wedding Woes

With the popularity of wedding shows now, you can hardly turn on the TV without catching a show about one aspect of a wedding or another. There's Four Weddings, Bridezillas, Say Yes to the Dress and Randy to the Rescue just for starters. And I must admit, I really enjoy some of these reality shows.

I think one reason shows dealing with weddings are so popular is because in one way or another, they all tug at our heartstrings when we hit that happy ending.

But not everyone has a happily ever after. A friend's sister was engaged to a seemingly nice guy many years ago. He proposed, they planned their wedding but then something happened. A few days before the wedding she got cold feet and called off the marriage. She said something just hadn't felt right.

Fast forward three years. The jilted groom contacts her and proceeds to spend the next six months trying—and succeeding—to sweep her off her feet. He again proposes and she accepts. They plan the wedding and this time she is sure all is well. The night before the wedding—right after the rehearsal dinner—he tells her he doesn't want to marry her. In fact, he only proposed and took it to that point to get back at her for crushing him three years earlier.

She is, of course, devastated. But two years later she meets the man of her dreams and they live happily ever after. But this story stuck with me for years. I always thought being jilted at or near the altar would be devastating.


So I thought the jilted bride setup would make for a great way to torture a character. Hence, The Very Best Man was conceived. Here's a little about the book, which is releasing today from Ellora's Cave.


Always the bride, never the bridesmaid. After growing up without a father, wannabe bride Wendy Weston will resort to anything to secure a husband, including chasing down the man who dumped her. But in order to find him, she must turn to the guy who makes her knees weak, uber sexy best man, Marco DeLuca.

Marco has always kept his attraction to his cousin’s woman under wraps. When the wedding implodes, he wants to be the one to catch the beautiful bride.



Comment and win a download of The Very Best Man. Read an excerpt HERE

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Giveaway Goodness!

I'm over at Reader's Edyn today giving away my entire Wanton Weston Women series.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stranded on a Desert Island

The latest book in my Wanton Weston Women series is out today! A pair of bitter rivals in the advertising business are stranded on a deserted island. For this to actually happen would be terrifying yet being shipwrecked with a hot man sounds so romantic. Why do you think the notion sounds so sexy yet is actually pretty scary?


I think it's the prospect of being completely alone with someone we secretly pine after. What else would you do besides roll in the sand and share hot tropical nights locked in passion?

Well, Diana and Chase find more than passion in their adventure. They find danger and intrigue, oh yeah, and they find super hot sex! Desert Island Delight is book 3 in the Wanton Weston Women series.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Books, One Theme

I love book release days - they are a lot like birthdays. This week I have two releases - Deceptively Yours and Emotional Baggage. Both books feature a protagonist who is pretending to be someone they are not.

In Deceptively Yours, Laura is pretending to be her sister, incognito sex advice columnist Dear Annie, who is very pregnant and can't come to an island resort to give a speech she'd planned to. What Laura hasn't counted on is meeting a sexy stranger. Since in her real life, Laura is a shy bookworm, she never expects to be swept off her feet.

That sexy stranger, however, is also parading as someone he is not rather than a PI searching for a dangerous fugitive.

In Emotional Baggage, Jon Bender has been living in disguise for years. When the only woman he ever loved moves in upstairs, he does his best not to fall for her all over again, but you know how well that's going to work!

I think most of us pretend to be someone we are not at certain times. Maybe when we are trying to impress a potential employer or someone we'd like to go out with on a date. I think people in sales do this often to make a potential buyer like them. Have you ever presented yourself as someone you were not?

Comment and win Book One in this series, Dear Annie.

Here's a little about both books:
Deceptively Yours:

Shy bookworm Laura Weston agrees to take her very pregnant sister’s place and speak at a hedonist conference at a Caribbean resort. Since no one knows what sex advice columnist Dear Annie looks like, she prays she can pull off the ruse.
 Private Investigator Guy Weston is on Pleasure Cove Island to find drug kingpin Harry Turiano. What he hadn’t counted is the hot blonde at the villa next door to Harry’s who proves to be way too much of a distraction! 

Sentenced to house arrest for a crime she never knew she'd committed, germophobe Reese Robinson is forced to live in the dilapidated apartment building she owns.
Disguised fugitive and tenant Jon Bender recognizes Reese as the only woman he ever loved. But can he bring himself to reveal his true identity  since he was responsible for her father's downfall?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Too Many Irons in the Fire

For a long time (six weeks and two days, but who's counting?) I had a family crisis that prevented me from writing. It was grueling as ideas sprang up in my head, bombarding me with possibilities I couldn't find the time to pursue.

Now I have an opposite problem. I have so many projects started on the drawing board yet I keep shifting from one to the next. And the new ideas keep popping into my head. I want to write them all, but I inevitably stop because I get a little stuck and moving on to another project is more appealing than working my way through the rough patch.

So what's a writer to do? Jump up and down, pull out my hair, or even (GASP) do housework! I've got to get past this. Please send positive vibes my way. My manic self thanks you!


Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm hanging with the Naughty Chicks again today, dishing on what types of SWAG works, and what doesn't. Please come by and say hello.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm over at Naughty Author Chicks today talking about Mindful Sex and giving away a copy of Dear Annie!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Giveaways!

I'm over at Darker Temptations today talking about advice columns and giving away copies of my brand new story, Dear Annie.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Book!

I have a brand new book out today. Not only is it new, but it's the first in my new series, Wanton Weston Women, featuring four very different sisters. I've wanted to do a sister series for years. You see, I have two sisters of my own and I knew all too well the special bond that exists.


Sex advice columnist Dear Annie—aka Suzanne—shuns relationships after growing up in a dysfunctional family. She takes care of her sisters and her mother but refuses to indulge in pleasures of the heart. When she meets a man who makes her toes curl, she’s terrified of letting him hang around long enough for her to start caring about him.
All Alan wants is a chance, but the blonde beauty keeps putting a time limit on their relationship. He charmed his way into her bed, but now must convince her to let him into her heart.

Book One in the Wanton Weston Woman series!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Blogger - Em Petrova

Hopes, Dreams and Writing Resolutions…Oh My
By Em Petrova

January is the month of resolutions and dreams for a new and better upcoming year. We vow to quit smoking, lose those last five pounds, drink less, and be happier. Typically by February, all these resolutions are tossed into the dumpster, buried under life, and we return to our former, more comfortable selves.

While I might let my diet slide, I do continue to reach for my hopes and dreams in my writing career. Each New Year, I compile a list of goals—both large and small. This year I plan to write more, promote less. I hope to dip my toes in the self-publishing waters. And I want to break into a big NY publishing house.

One goal I already reached this year when two of my books reached print. The Tempest and My Sexy Valentine are now out on Amazon. Woot!

In my personal life, I hope to make more time for those I love, effectively train a puppy (coming in April!), and to go a more holistic route with everything I put into my body. (yeah, that brownie I just ate counts!)

I won’t lose sight of my goals, but will plow forward. At times my hopes might morph into something new, and that’s okay. I’ll roll with it! In the end, I know I’ll have a very happy 2012!

What are your hopes and dreams for 2012? I’d love to hear them! Please read on for an excerpt from my latest release Outlaws of Love.


Blurb:
Upon traveling west to marry, Annabelle Stephens longed to leave her nickname of Sweetheart Annie and the strict rules of Boston society behind, but the taboo freedom she faces wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. When a sexy outlaw storms into her rented room and kidnaps her, she’s embroiled in a dangerous game with not one man, but two.

Until now Xander Hollis wanted one thing—or maybe two—to stop the Southern Gorge Railroad from stealing the homesteaders’ land, and to act on his desires with his partner in crime James. Like Robin Hoods of the old west, he and James embark on a mission to rob from the rich and give to the poor. When he refuses to let go of the woman who could identify him, he finds he’s in true danger. Danger of losing his heart to the heiress of the very railroad corporation he struggles to bring down.

EXCERPT RATED PG-
With a shiver of apprehension, Annabelle sank into the hip bath that was filled with tepid water. She glared at the wooden plank door of her rented room, daring anyone to come through it uninvited. What kind of place was this? She’d heard the West was uncivilized, but had never dreamed that there wouldn’t be locks on the doors. What was she going to do tonight?

She cast a glance around the small, dingy space, hoping to see a piece of furniture substantial enough to stop an intruder but light enough she could shift on her own. Her gaze lighted on the single set of drawers -- tall and as broad as a man. Well, she mused. Not any man. She’d seen her fair share of stout, pasty men on her travels across the country by stagecoach. Knowing she now had the freedom to look at whomever she chose without the intrusive gazes of society on her sent a thrill through her.

Of course, there was the small matter of her escort, a newly married couple who were friends of her father. But they were often too caught up in each other to notice where her gaze landed. Now the Clarks were on the other side of the hotel, and she couldn’t help but wonder if they’d gotten a room with a lock.

She wished she had thought of the unlocked door before slipping into the bath. She should have moved that chest of drawers first. But the heated depths had called to her. After her dusty travels, she wanted nothing more than to peel off her grungy clothes and enjoy a soak. It wasn’t until she had gotten into the water that the problem occurred to her. After all, she didn’t need a lock to bathe back in Boston.

I’ll hurry.

Quickly, she lifted the linen cloth she’d brought all the way from home and began washing. At one time the cloth had been white as a dove and scented with lavender. Now it was stained from the road dust that had caked her skin daily for the past month. But it was the cleanest she had.

She hastily swirled the cloth in the water and ran it over her sticky throat and down her shoulders. Just as she reached the crest of her breasts, the door burst inward.

A shrill scream bubbled up her throat. Before she could let it out, a huge brute of a man stomped across the room and clamped a hand over her mouth. She struggled beneath his steely grip, tasting the salt of his flesh and drowning in the musky scent of male mingled with leather and horses.

She jackknifed into a ball instinctively, curling up like a possum as she tried to hide her soft, womanly parts from this monster’s gaze -- and worse -- his touch.

Again, she opened her mouth to scream.

He leveled his gaze on her, the depths of his eyes speaking to her loud and clear.

If she wasn’t quiet, he’d kill her.

She swallowed the cry, staring over his fingers with horror as he one-handedly unbuttoned his shirt and tore it off. The thick cloth hit the floor in a cloud of dust. And then he was stepping into the tub with her, lifting her and plopping her smack dab across his hard thighs to claim her mouth.

Her heart drummed nearly out of her chest. What was he going to do to her? At this point, death seemed a better alternative to being violated by this man. She’d be soiled forever -- and her fiancĂ© wouldn’t accept her.

A squawk escaped her, and her attacker sealed his mouth more securely over hers, cutting off all noise and air.

At that moment, the door burst open again. A whoosh of cool breeze washed over her bare shoulders and back. Help me! Before she could utter a sound, the man restrained her further by slipping his fingers around her throat.

To an outsider, it might have seemed a loving gesture, but any thought of escape fled as his rough fingertip settled over her pulse. His thumb pressed the hollow of her throat. If she dared to move, he could choke the breath from her. Or snap her neck. Judging from the hard muscles beneath her, she knew a flick of his wrist would break her neck.

“Oh! Sorry, madam.” A man gulped a breath of air from the doorway. “I mean no disrespect. I was looking for a criminal.”

The man in the tub with her kept on kissing her like they were alone, angling his head and plunging his tongue deep into her mouth until she was dizzy for air.


Em Petrova
~where words mean so much more~

Em Petrova lives in backwoods Pennsylvania, where she raises four kids and two feral kittens and pays too damn much for utilities. But seeing her sexy husband tromp out back with a chainsaw in hand is well worth the frustration of living miles from a mall. She adores writing sex scenes and anything paranormal. When she has the opportunity to mix the two, she’s in her element.
You can learn more about her smutty reads at www.empetrova.com.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Best Gifts

The Valentine's Day Blog Hop is here. This means your chance to win! I will be giving away a copy of Burning Touch to one commenter.

Let's talk about Valentine's Day. What do you like to give your sweetheart? What do you like to receive?

Frankly, I am open to all sorts of gifts (Winks at DH). Jewelry is great, but please don't buy me any of those heavily advertised necklaces or bracelets that jewelry stores want you to buy. You know the ones - they always look way prettier on TV as some celebrity pimps them.

I'm also a sucker for flowers, but be original. Don't go for the red roses everyone else does. How about some irises or roses in an unusual shade. And if you are smart, don't get me a live plant because the poor thing won't live long under my brown thumb!

I love all sorts of chocolate (unfortunately). So if you want more of me, this is the gift that keeps giving;-) Seriously, I don't need any more calories.

Okay, so I'm being picky, right? Well, truth is, I don't really need a gift. A card is nice, but what I enjoy most from my honey is his time. I want to know he's thought about making the day special for me and I will do the same for him. A long walk in a romantic spot is great. Stepping up a date night to make it a little more special is perfect.

But what about you? What do you want your honey to do for you?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Judging a Book by its Cover

We all say we don't, but I have a sneaking suspicion we're not being completely honest. How do I know this? Personal experience. Of all my self-published books (seven in total), one has outsold the others by at least a five-to-one margin. The reason? In my humble opinion, it's the book cover. Consider this.
Sales for Employee Relations were slogging along at a moderate pace with the original cover I'd made for it, which was the very first cover I'd attempted after taking Photoshop classes at my local library. I played with the design and came up with a much more professional looking cover than the original, so I switched the covers out and voila! My sales skyrocketed.


So, I was looking at my sales numbers recently and was wondering why one of my other IR romances, Fading Star, was lagging behind the others. I decided a change up was in order. I removed the cover and made one that had a whole bunch more sex appeal, and guess what? Sales followed. But you be the judge. Does a better, sexier cover entice you more to one book than another? To satisfy your curiosity, I've posted both covers.

***Note: Sales figures didn't change overnight. It took a couple weeks to see the difference the new covers made***

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Bargain for the New Year

For a limited time, I am offering Game of Smoke and Mirrors at a reduced price of $.99 at all venues including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and All Romance EBooks.
This top rated book is a Recommended Read at ARe Cafe. and now at The TBR Pile! You can even win a FREE copy today at The TBR Pile!!!

Check it out for only $.99!

When Jia Mason is accused of murdering her husband, she flees the Florida police and escapes to New Hampshire. Tasked with extraditing the fugitive, lawman Zack Sizemore gets stranded with his beautiful prisoner in a blizzard. What neither counts on is their mutual attraction. Or the danger awaiting them in a remote cabin.