Sunday, November 29, 2009


Many of you know that in conjunction with my good friend Lori Foster, I have been supporting the troops for about five years. This summer I mailed a total of nine boxes and tomorrow the above nine boxes will be mailed. I won't know the exact weight of the boxes until I go to the post office tomorrow, but so far I have shipped over 900 pounds of supplies and Lori has sent several shipments of her own. I just heard on the news last night that December 4 is the cutoff for mailing packages in time for delivery to Iraq and Afghanistan. If you're so inclined, please consider stopping by and select a serviceman or woman to send a holiday package to. Be prepared to spend some time there though, because the site is highly addictive! Below is a portion of an earlier blog post of mine about our troop efforts (I'm hopeful it might inspire some of you to send a package of your own!). I would also note that the cookbook referred to is still available for purchase and yep, the proceeds that are still trickling in continue to benefit our troop project:
Have you ever been away from home and all alone for a holiday or a special event in your life? Maybe you’re not truly alone, just not with your friends or loved ones. I remember the week of my 15th birthday, I was at a Methodist church camp, and while there were a hundred or so other girls there, I felt so very alone on my birthday. We were putting on a big choral program that evening and I wanted desperately for my parents to be there. I phoned my mom, two hours away, and asked wasn’t there some way that she and my dad could come up to visit that evening so I could see them on my birthday? She said she was very sorry, but no, she just didn’t think they could come. I’m certain that I made everyone else miserable, wallowing around and feeling sorry for myself all day. My parents came, of course; they had intended to surprise me all along. This meant that by the time they arrived back home that night, my dad had very little sleep before getting up for work the next day. I will never forget that surprise and how much it meant to me – running and jumping into my dad’s arms and crying all over my mother while she bobbled a birthday cake for me and the girls in my cottage. I was only two hours away from home in a beautiful little town on Lake Erie, being well cared for and safe in this little gated camp community, yet I remember the lonely desperation I felt.
Remembering that desolation, however piddly it may seem, is just one of the reasons I enjoy working with Lori Foster to bring a little joy to some of the men and women serving our wonderful country. I know that my “misery” comes nowhere close to theirs and I wouldn’t insult them by comparing our situations. I know that I’ve never experienced loneliness and fear to the degree that they have and in some cases absolute terror, not only being away from home, but being in constant danger, maybe seeing friends and comrades wounded or even killed right next to you. I think of my family, safe and sound here at home, and how we owe our every freedom and privilege to the military men and women who have served our country for several decades. These men and women “belong” to someone – they are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and they are away from their friends and loved ones for long stretches of time that include some of the most important holidays to us as Americans. Just think of all that they miss - births and deaths, first steps, that first visit by the tooth fairy, school sports and programs, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. They can’t jump in the car to visit someone, or make a late-night run for a candy bar or their favorite fast food, or make a scraped knee feel better with a kiss and a cartoon character bandage – all of the little things we take for granted. They deserve to know that someone at home, even a total stranger, loves and cares for them and wants them to feel appreciated. They deserve “surprises” from home too, goodies and snacks to sweeten their day, lotions to soothe desert and sun-ravaged skin, or a pretty candle to soften harsh surroundings.

What can you do to help? Lori Foster started to talk with a handful of us early last spring about a cookbook. The plan was for a small booklet, the kind that is folded and stapled, with recipe contributions from authors and readers. This cookbook, when all was said and done, ended up being professionally (and beautifully) published by Samhain Publishing, titled THE WRITE INGREDIENTS, and it is positively gorgeous! The ongoing troop project benefits from the proceeds of each and every cookbook sold. This cookbook makes an excellent gift for friends and is perfect for stocking stuffers, or hostess gifts for your holiday parties! There’s still time to get yours! Please click yourself over to Amazon and get a copy for yourself and all of your friends!! And be sure to tell them who benefits from your purchase – you should be proud to be helping such a worthwhile cause.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have plans to celebrate with family and/or friends. How many of you start the day by watching the Macy's parade? I have the most wonderful memories of watching as a little girl, cuddled up on the sofa in my jammies. I still enjoy the parade. This photo is from the 1950 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, pretty neat, huh?
I especially like seeing the high school bands marching and appreciating how much time and hard work they've put in their performance, how they've worked hard to make money for new uniforms, transportation, etc., and I get all teary thinking of how very proud all of their mothers are! I'd bawl my eyes out if I saw my child marching in NYC! Heck, I get teary just seeing the local high school bands in our little parades here in town, as my friend April can attest! I still remember the very first band concert April's son and my daughter were in in the fifth grade. I started getting all weepy and April whispered to me that I shouldn't cry, they would eventually get better. I had to laugh through the tears. Yes, they were bad, but I'm just an emotional mess when it comes to that stuff. And don't even think about playing God Bless America when I'm around, I cry every time I hear it. Such a weenie.
My very favorite thing in the whole, wide world has been being mother to my girls, and I'm most thankful for Tim and our girls. I couldn't be more proud of them, but it was been very difficult for me having them grow up.
I'm also thankful for my mother and all of my family, all of my wonderful friends, be they long-time or long-distance! What are you especially thankful for?
Do you have a long weekend off work? Our office always closes the Friday after Thanksgiving and we love having that extra day for an extra-long weekend. I'm also off on Monday, for a five-day weekend - woohoo! Kelsey and I have appointments at the Bloodmobile on Friday afternoon, and then we have some shopping planned for Saturday, and will be hitting the highway to take Kelsey back to school Sunday afternoon. I know the weekend is going to go by far too quickly.
Have a great holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

WEEKEND PLANS? - and other miscellany!

Do any of you have exciting plans this weekend? I really don't, and that's just fine with me. I've come to appreciate those quiet, relaxing weekends. They pass so quickly when we're busy, busy, busy!
Did any of you happen to hear me on the Today Show with Dr. Nancy Snyderman on Thursday morning? I had posted a question about the swine flu vaccine/diabetes via a question link on MSNBC Health several weeks ago and when I didn't get an email back, I forgot about it. I was shocked to receive a phone call on Wednesday from a Today Show staffer indicating that they liked my question and wanted to invite me to pose it to Dr. Nancy in a segment on diabetes on Thursday's show. It was a very interesting experience and everyone was incredibly nice. Here's a link to the segment. The sound gets very "echo-y" at the end of my question - that's on their end, not mine!
You all know how much I love/adore/worship Alison Kent, right? I recently posted a review for her upcoming (11/24) release, WITH EXTREME PLEASURE. I imagine you're all familiar with Amazon's Kindle for PC - a free, downloadable program for your computer - you can get it here. Amazon has an amazing offer for Kindle for PC readers right now - you can get WITH EXTREME PLEASURE for FREE! After you've downloaded your KFPC, go here for Ms. Kent's little sugar plum! Once you've read and loved it, go get your hands on her back list, you won't regret it! There are several other books available for the Kindle for PC, including several classics, and while admittedly, reading an entire book on the computer isn't ideal, these days free is free and I'm willing to read in small doses.
A good deal of Ohio residents will be glued to their televisions tomorrow afternoon to watch the OSU/Michigan football game - traditionally the last game of the year for OSU and a long-standing rivalry. The week preceding this game is known as "Michigan Week" around here. At my office today we had our "Beat Michigan" potluck and most of us wore our scarlet and gray. I love potlucks in the office - for the most part. I'm sure there have been a couple where I was aggravated by someone. No names.
One year ago yesterday we lost our basset Fred. We still miss him, but the pain of his loss has been replaced by fond memories that make us smile in remembrance. And no, we have no intentions of getting another dog - Freddie was irreplaceable. We have four felines in residence here right now, meaning no room at the Damron inn.
Tim and I are planning a little road trip to the Hocking Hills area of southern Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Just a little drive with a stop at an antique mall or two!
Lots of reviews upcoming - for books by Dianne Castell (with a fun contest!), Karen Kelley, Shannon K. Butcher, Karen Rose Smith, and Jill Shalvis.
I hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lacey Alexander, undisputed Queen of Sizzle

Lacey Alexander (aka Toni Blake) can pack more sizzle into a book than any other erotic author I've read. I'll be honest, I don't read that many erotic authors. Now before you start thinking I've got my granny panties in a twist, I'll admit that some erotic romance is just too "out there" for me. Ahem, no, I don't seriously wear granny panties. That said, I admit that Lacey's work often contains scenes that I buzz past. She knows this because I've told her - while we only see each other a couple of times a year, I consider her a friend and feel comfortable being honest with her. I think she has enough readers who read Lacey's books for the sexy scenes alone that my sometimes reading with my eyes closed really isn't a big deal. That said, I'm a romance reader who loves, loves, loves every little romantic gesture and frankly, I feel that there are few authors who can write romance elements the way Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander can.
I recently read Lacey's ADRIANNA'S UNDIES on behalf of Romance Junkies - a quick read that is plenty heated, but is completely wrapped up in romance, even if it takes the characters a while to realize that's what they're experiencing.

Adrianna Kline has the world at her feet. As the CEO of a major lingerie corporation bearing her name, and a long history as a sexually independent woman, she runs her life on her own terms. Until, that is, Tristan Locke shows up in her office. Adrianna's first and only love, Tristan is now in the business of corporate takeovers and he has his eye on Adrianna, Inc. But he's prepared to negotiate. How can Adrianna save her company? By becoming Tristan's willing sex slave for a night, submitting to his every whim.
Tristan knows that asking Adrianna to be sexually subservient is like asking her to stop breathing. Her need to control everything in her life, including the sex, contributed to their original break up. But even fifteen years later, taming Adrianna is still on his mind. Can commanding and formidable Tristan bend Adrianna to his will once and for all? Or will this night of erotic exploration turn into the ultimate struggle for power?

My Romance Junkies (4 Blue Ribbon) review:
Former lovers, both intelligent, successful and strong-willed. One shared desire, blatant and unashamed. Will sparks catch to embrace them in the warmth of renewed love or will one of them get burned?
Adrianna Kline is a woman very much in tune with her own sexuality. She’s also a driven businesswoman and enjoys the satisfaction of owning and operating a successful lingerie company. When former lover Tristan Locke threatens to take her business away and has the means to carry out that threat, she’s forced to spend one night with him, completely submitting to him in exchange for releasing her company from a corporate takeover. Used to being the one in charge, Adrianna reluctantly acknowledges how difficult it will be to give Tristan full control. What she doesn’t anticipate are feelings for Tristan that are just as powerful as they were years before.
Tristan Locke knows it will be a battle of wills to get Adrianna to relinquish control to him in the bedroom, even to save her cherished company. He never forgot Adrianna and his feelings for her remain strong. Tristan doesn’t want to admit it, but his proposal is more of an effort to rekindle the flame that seemingly never died. He has to prove to himself as much as to her that he’s strong enough to make her submit.
Adrianna and Tristan are both such strong characters that under anyone else’s pen they could easily have been irritating. Lacey Alexander has a way of making her heroines strong and capable while maintaining ultra femininity. At the same time, her heroes are rogues of the best sort, knowingly able to satisfy a woman, but doing so without humiliating or coming across as overly arrogant. Love scenes go far beyond being simply heated and are a match for even the most vivid of imaginations. I feel confident in giving ADRIANNA’S UNDIES a high recommendation for readers who enjoy erotic romance.
Click here to get your own copy of ADRIANNA'S UNDIES!

The latest book from Lacey Alexander, WHAT SHE NEEDS, is available now - woohoo! Haven't gotten my copy yet, but I hope to soon!

Mild-mannered Jenna Banks has never considered sex a recreational sport, preferring instead to share herself one-on-one with a man she respects and loves. Then a friend secretly enters her in a contest—and to Jenna’s dismay she wins. It’s a two-week stay at the notorious Hotel Erotique, where every sexual fantasy comes true—in room after room, with stranger after stranger.
Even more unnerving for Jenna is Brent Powers, her wildly sensual personal guide, who can’t wait to put his degree in sexual psychology to work—by tapping into Jenna’s unspoken fantasies, and by allowing her to surrender her inhibitions and discover her true sense of freedom. But with the slow and steady seduction of Jenna come feelings that neither of them expected. And now where the final fantas
y takes them depends on how far Jenna and Brent are really willing to go.
You can go here to order a copy of WHAT SHE NEEDS!

Thanks so much for taking a look!

Monday, November 09, 2009

WITH EXTREME PLEASURE, coming soon from Alison Kent

WITH EXTREME PLEASURE, the latest from Alison Kent will be releasing shortly, around Thanksgiving. This book tells the story of Kingdom Trahan who was introduced in NO LIMITS. King hails from the bayou and just as I suspected it would be, his story is heated and sultry. King was a strong character in NO LIMITS with an easy, laid back style, and Alison has yet again done a beautiful job of storytelling in sharing his story! WITH EXTREME PLEASURE IS available (at this writing, anyway) for pre-order at Amazon for just $9.45 - that's a steal for a trade.

After three weeks in Manhattan, Kingdom Trahan is ready to get back to bayous, crawfish boils, and afternoons fishing on the Gulf. But before he can pull out of the parking garage, he meets a curvy detour. King noticed Cady Kowalski on the photo shoot he just endured—sexy and confident, with a waifish look that belies the way she corralled him into submission using only a can of hairspray. Yet Cady isn’t confident now. She’s bruised, edgy, and desperate to get out of town…
For years, Cady has been looking over her shoulder, wondering when the gang of drug-running criminals who killed her brother would make their move on her. She’s grown used to having no one to turn to, no one to trust. But King isn’t walking away—not even when their lives are threatened, again and again. Drawing Cady’s pursuers out of hiding is the only way to end this, and it’s also the most reckless thing they can do…short of diving into a red-hot affair from which there’s no turning back…

For a bigger nibble, there's a great excerpt here
My review:
Kingdom Trahan could not have imagined in his wildest dreams that his cousin Simon's marriage would affect his own life so dramatically. After giving in to Micky Ferrer-Baptiste's coaxing and agreeing to do a commercial photo shoot for Ferrer Fragrances, he's thrown together with Cady Kowalski, the only make up artist on the shoot who will put up with his bad attitude. Relieved when the shoot wraps up, King is happy to jump in his truck and head back to the Louisiana bayou. When Cady jumps in too he's determined to get rid of her, going so far as to physically remove her and her belongings. As soon as he gets a good look at her battered face and realizes that she's in serious need of protection, he gathers her and her bags back into the truck and they hit the road. When Cady's pursuers and then the feds attach themselves to the couple, Cady's more than just a little thankful for King's resourcefulness and his determination to keep her safe. It's been a long, lonely time since anyone has shown genuine concern for her.
Their relationship quickly heats up making it even more difficult for King when he realizes there's little chance of catching the bad guys unless Cady is used as bait. King isn't shy when it comes to seduction and pleasure, but the unfamiliar emotions that have reared up since he's been with Cady are making him more than just a little uncomfortable. At the same time, Cady's feeling guilty about King taking so many risks on her behalf. Her increasing affection for him has her questioning whether she should take off on her own. She hasn't trusted anyone for so long that his kindness and attention are confusing and have her inherently on guard.

Once again Alison Kent has crafted a story that is uniquely original and possesses qualities that readers have come to expect from her. The action gathers momentum from the very beginning and the suspense escalates as the story continues. King and Cady are not your typical hero or heroine - while he is extremely protective of her, his passion for her is almost fierce; gritty and raw. Cady may appear delicate and fragile with her near-broken body and jagged emotions, but she gives as good as she gets from King, making his seduction, and his heart, her very own. I highly recommend WITH EXTREME PLEASURE to all readers who enjoy heated, satisfying romance wrapped in action and adventure.
Thanks for checking it out!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

HOLIDAY READING - lots of choices!

Do you like holiday reads? I do, but only before the holidays. Some readers enjoy them year-round, but not me. My mom loves Christmas movies and watches them over and over, all year long. Same thing - I only want them before Christmas. I haven't read any holiday romance yet this year, but have a short list of books I'm anxious to get my hands on. I'm going to list them here, with a little blurb for each.
Here goes (in no particular order):

TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT (mass market re-release - I've read this one, but it's too good to go without mention!)

Donna Kauffman - UNLEASHED
When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with the CEO’s sexy great-nephew—and heir—whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear….
Jill Shalvis - FINDING MR. RIGHT
Brilliant chemist Maggie Bell has a knack for choosing Mr. Wrong, and with yet another lonely Christmas looming, she decides it’s time to alter the equation—and seek out someone who seems totally wrong for her. Enter Jacob Wahler, the rough and rippling contractor who’s about as far from Maggie type as he could get. But suddenly what’s wrong for Maggie seems oh-so-right….
Natalie Pritchard is desperate. It’s a week before Christmas and she’s lost the naughty tape she made for her now-ex-boyfriend. She’s so desperate, in fact, that she’ll turn to her nemesis Spencer Donovan for help. The sexy criminal defense attorney would be only too happy to assist—but can Emma afford his price?

Holly hates the yuletide season more than ever since she inherited her mother’s Christmas novelty store, but her childhood pal Sean’s determined to warm her up—to Christmas and to him. When they uncover a diary concealing secrets involving both their families, this could be the Christmas that changes their lives forever…
Jill Shalvis BAH HANDSOME!
Behind on her bills, B&B owner Hope receives an unlikely guest—stranded solicitor Danny, who’s been threatening to put her out of business. Hope’s staff sees more fire than fight in the sparks that fly as they try and bring Hope and Danny together, but only a Christmas miracle can help these unlikely lovers see the light…
Hawaii’s no paradise for Marissa, who, thanks to a series of unfortunate events, can’t seem to get away from the sand to enjoy her Christmas East Coast style—with plenty of snow and slush. But tall, dark, and serious police officer Ted’s about to give this bad Santa in heels a Mele Kalikimaka she’ll never forget…

SANTA BABY, a Blaze by Lisa Renee Jones (don't you love the cover?)
When bookstore owner Caron Avery dresses up as Marilyn Monroe for a charity ball, she decides that for once in her life she’ll let her inhibitions go. Before she knows it Caron is living a night of fantasy with sexy millionaire Baxter Remington in hot pursuit.
And what a night it is. Sizzling, red-hot and sensual, Baxter can’t believe he’s fallen under the adorable blonde’s…er…brunette’s spell. But with the scandal going on in his life, he knows he should let her go before she gets caught up in it, too. Then again—maybe one more night (or eight!) of mind-blowing passion will help them both forget!
It’s that time of year when nights are longer, passions run hotter, and for three sisters, naughty wishes come true…

WRAPPED IN SEDUCTION - anthology with stories by Cathryn Fox, Lisa Renee Jones and Jodi Copeland (again, gorgeous cover)
Three sisters. Three wishes. And one hot Christmas in this sizzling collection of novellas from today’s most popular erotic authors…
Holly’s come home for the holidays, ready to enjoy a few cozy weeks of small-town life. But a fling with a local stranger heats up the nights. When she discovers the stranger’s secret ties to her own family, he ends up “Wrapped in Holly”.
The one man Rachel wants is strictly off limits, so she agrees to keep her distance—until he dresses up as old St. Nick and stirs a playful fantasy in Rachel. Maybe it’s the black leather boots. Or the soft fur and red velvet. Whatever it is, she’s “Hot for Santa”.
A broken engagement has left Tori feeling the Christmas blues when she returns to her welcoming family for the holiday. There’s no better way to chase those blues away than with an old flame who sparks a new passion and leaves Tori feeling “Mistletoe Bliss”.

I hope you'll share your thoughts on holiday reading - especially your recommended reads!
Looking forward to your suggestions!

Friday, November 06, 2009

MAKE HER PAY winner is . . .

Mariee! Please contact me at by Tuesday, Nov. 10 with your mailing info.
Thanks to everyone who commented! If you weren't the winner, I hope you'll get a copy of MAKE HER PAY - you won't regret it, I promise!
Review coming this weekend for Lacey Alexander's ADRIANNA'S UNDIES!
Until then, enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More DEEP BREATH by Alison Kent!

Alison Kent has a new release on bookstore shelves. Actually, it's a re-release, but it's good news either way! DEEP BREATH has released in mass market format! Thankfully, they've kept the same great cover. This has long been one of my favorite Alison Kent covers. Here's a review I did many moons ago for the first release of DEEP BREATH, followed by ordering info:
After Georgia McLain's father dies in prison, she practically dedicates her life to proving his innocence; she is determined to get her hands on the dossier of Gen. Arthur Duggin, certain that it will contain evidence necessary to clear her father's name. Her search for crucial information has taken her many places, most recently a jail cell. After her brother Finn bails her out of her most recent bind, they stop at a diner where their day goes from bad to worst when they find themselves in a middle of a deliberate hostage situation. The hostage taker, one Charlie Casto, is demanding that Georgia attend an auction of Gen Duggin's mementos and steal the dossier. Georgia must return to the diner with the dossier within three days in order for her brother and the other hostages to stay alive. The Smithson Group's Harry van Zandt happens to be in the diner and is ordered to go with Georgia to retrieve the dossier. What Casto and Georgia do not know is that Harry is after the elusive dossier as well.
Georgia is an independent woman who is not pleased at having Harry forced upon her, even if he is the most gorgeous man she has ever laid eyes on. Harry, on the other hand, is quietly accepting of his role in attending the auction with Georgia, seeming almost eager to help her out. He soon realizes that Georgia is a very intelligent woman, with a biting wit and his interest in her quickly goes beyond the retrieval of the General's file. Georgia is thankful for Harry's help and over the course of their three days together, finds herself falling hard for this man who is unlike any other man she knows. The chemistry between Georgia and Harry is intensely passionate from the start, and their simply being together is enough to spark fiery emotion. Their intricate plan to get the General's file as well as the players involved are excellently and cleverly written.
Alison Kent is quickly becoming the master at writing action-filled romance, or is that romance-filled action? Either way, she knows how to wrap suspense, action, and scorching romance into a tidy package, complete with characters that are always intelligent, loyal, and wonderfully capable of making you wish for more when you turn that last page.
Now I know you're wanting to get a copy, right? Are the fallen leaves too deep for you to get out to the bookstore? If so, you can buzz on over to Amazon and have a copy delivered right to your door!
Thanks for checking it out - there's never a disappointment when it comes to an Alison Kent book!

Monday, November 02, 2009

A fun blog discussion happening today

Interesting topic and discussion today at the Karen Knows Best blog - take a sec and check it out! The chatter is about books centered around marriages in trouble - do you love/hate them? I think for me it depends on the storytelling. Constant bickering and name calling makes me extremely uncomfortable, but when well written, it can make for heartfelt, very satisfying reading. I mentioned LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, written by recent guest blogger Marie Force as an excellent example of how a marriage in trouble can be successfully (and beautifully) written.
I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!