But Seriously…

I am proud to say that I write romantic comedy, but I can’t say that I am naturally funny. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But the decision to make other people laugh while my characters fall in love was a conscious one. Unlike drama, humor is very subjective. What’s funny to one person may not make another so much as crack a smile.

There are certain ‘rules’ to jokes, certain aspects that make them work. Usually. And timing is everything. But first you have to understand humor. Men and women laugh at different things. Amazing, huh? For example how many men do you know who love the Three Stooges? Now, how many women? There are a few of the female persuasion who enjoy a good slapstick, but for the most part that brand of humor belongs to the men. The best way I have ever heard it explained was, “Women will laugh at a man slipping on a banana peel as long as she knows he deserves the fall.” This so-called female humor requires a set up, then a follow through. The first part of the joke might not be funny, but the second time it comes in, well, that’s when the laughter starts. For example, in my new Romantic Comedy, Love Potion Me, Baby, Brice Van Sant drinks a cup of shampoo (work with me here) and ends up marrying the first woman he lays eyes on—Suzanne Rose. The next morning he can’t remember her name. Naturally Suzanne is upset; she thought he was her prince. Instead he turned out to be a “big, fat toad.” Later, when Suzanne is forced to have dinner with Brice and a elderly business colleague and his wife…

She looked to Brice. Lie, his eyes commanded. But Suzanne was already growing tired of this decent. Despite Melvin’s candid remarks, and Claire’s bossy, Mother-knows best attitude, she liked the Greeleys.

“He’s my little toad,” she gushed, very proud of the syrupy tone of her voice. At least her words were true.

“Toad?” Melvin and Claire screeched at the same time.

Brice smiled charmingly. Drat the man! “Just an affectionate nickname. Right, my little salamander.”

 

The rule of three—for some reason, three is a magical number. Designers will tell you to hang pictures in threes, everyone knows bad things happen in threes, but humor also relies on the rule of three.

“Attention everyone!” Ms. Marshall hiked up her second-skin designer dress and hopped on top of the nearest unoccupied table.

The room fell into an eerie silence. No one said a word. No one breathed. No one even chewed. “I’d like to tell you what a low-down, good-for-nothing, pond-scum-sucking bastard you work for.”

“Oh, snap,” Vanilla whispered.

“He’s untrustworthy. Non-committal. And he wears socks to bed,” Miriam continued. “Even during—”

“Oh, snap,” Vanilla whispered again.

“Argyle socks.” Miriam announced, as if that somehow transformed the act of wearing socks into a felony.

There’s also another ‘rule’ at play here—the rule of the unexpected—this requires some set up. Everything has to be in place for something expected to happen and then wham, the unexpected hits instead.

Silently, she lifted her head. She rose to her feet slowly, almost methodically. “Trick you? Trick you? Trick you, Mr. We-Were-Meant-To-Be-Together? ‘Oh, Suzanne, let’s get married,’” she mimicked. “‘I love you.’”

“I never said that.” How could he? He didn’t even believe in love. Love destroyed. “At least, I don’t remember saying—”

“You don’t remember?” Her voice rose in pure fury. “Allow me to help you recall. Last night you proposed. And I said yes.” She held up her left hand where a plain gold band, identical to his, sparkled in the light of the new day. “This is my wedding ring. This—” she made a sweeping gesture around her—“is the honeymoon suite. And this—” she picked up the pineapple from the breakfast tray— “is the fruit we were supposed to have for breakfast.” She drew back her arm.

Brice ducked just in time.

The large, edible missile went sailing over his head and crashed against the wall.

 

Some guys never learn. I like this ‘rule’ best. What woman doesn’t want to be the one to turn the rogue around? Now that can’t happen until the end of the book which leaves plenty of page space to teach him a lesson or two. And Brice, my friends, is one of those guys…

“An annulment, Suzanne. We can go back to Davidson and discuss the details. I can assure you I’ll provide you with an adequate settlement.”

The chiming ring of his cell phone cut the silence stretching between them. Somehow the melodic ring sounded shrill and out of place.

Her mouth opened and closed twice before he realized once again he’d said the wrong thing.

“Suzanne, I—” The phone rang again. “Oh, hell.” Brice snatched it up. “Van Sant,” he barked.

“Boy.” The gravely voice boomed across the phone lines. Great, justfantastic. “Do you want to explain to me why you missed our meeting last night? We had very important matters to discuss. Matters of the utmost importance!”

“Settlement? You mean, money?” Suzanne’s cheeks were ruddy with anger. “You want to pay me for being your wife for one night. Isn’t that a little like prostitution?”

“Boy, are you there?”

“Answer me.”

“Boy?”

With a shake of his head, Brice placed one hand over the receiver. He closed his eyes and then opened again, focusing his gaze on Suzanne. “If you’ll just be quiet for five minutes, I’ll pay you double.”

I hope you enjoyed this look into Humor and Love Potion Me, Baby. Long live the Romantic Comedy!

My Top 10 List of Favorite (Romance) Heroes

I thought I’d take the time today and talk about something near and dear to my heart: men. And not just any men, but romance heroes.

I shouldn’t have to say the words, but I’m gonna anyway: the heroes in romance novels are SEXY. They are alpha males, go-getters, men of action. They “take care of things.” They can hunt their own food, saddle break a horse, and close multi-million dollar deals while the rest of us are still eating breakfast. They can go into the wilderness with a pack of gum and pocket knife and build a mini-mall.  They are “those guys.” And we love them.

Today I complied a list of the Ten Sexiest Romance Heroes IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) and INPO (In No Particular Order).

1~White collar professionals—Doctors, lawyers, judges, and the like. These guys are powerful, highly educated, and confident to the point of egomaniac. Which we all know is a requirement to be an alpha-male. And power is sexy, right?

2~Performers (heh, heh) Sorry, I should have said actors, all romance heroes “perform” <g>. And they are the best looking, most charismatic of men. Am I right? And with an actor, you never know what’s behind his mask. Is it the truth he’s showing, or only what he wants you to see? Which one is real?

3~Men of God—There is nothing sexier than a man who is battling the desires of the flesh and the goodness of heart. Talk about internal conflict!

4~Athletes—Hard bodies. Need I say more? Okay, travel, wealth, and testosterone.

5~Firemen—If I have to tell you why firemen are on this list, then you have to turn in your ‘Girl Card’!

6~Bull Riders—These are men who jump on the back of a thousand pounds of meanness, tie one hand to the beast, and somehow think it’s a sport. That kind of confidence goes a long way, if ya know what I mean! <wink>

7~Ranchers/Cowboys—Yes, they are different than bull riders. These are the steady cowboys, not the love ‘em and leave ‘em kind. They’ve sown their wild oats and though they might not be ready to settle down completely, if the right girl comes along, they’ll sure think about it.

8~Millionaires—besides the money and the power (and the fact that if you’re lucky enough to marry one of these chaps, you’ll never have to do the dishes again) these heroes need the true love of someone who can see past their bank account to the real person underneath. What heroine wouldn’t want to be the one to save him from that?

9~Law Enforcement Officers—From the local county sheriff of the smallest town in Texas to the homicide detective in the big city, these men are sexy, sexy, sexy. I should know, I’m married to one!

10~Construction Workers—Ah-ha! Gotcha! Brodie is a construction worker. Read the excerpt below to see just why he’s…I mean they’re on my list.

(All right, you’re probably saying “what about add your favorite here?” Well, this is my list, you’ll get your turn.  Read the new excerpt from Brodie’s Bride, then leave me a comment about your favorite type of Romantic hero.

Brodie and Savanna have made their pact to spend the weekend together. A very important potential client, has invited the “family” man to Texas for the weekend to talk over contract negotiations. Savanna agreed with the plan in order to secure a non-questions annulment and save her father’s holdings. But the agreement is proving to be a little more than they bargained for.

“On Monday, after our appointment, you’re leaving.”

“I have to go home,” she said quietly, turning away from him to stare into the postage-stamp sized back yard.

“But we have an agreement for the weekend.  I think we should have some ground rules.”

“Good idea.”  Savanna clapped her hands, then rubbed them together as if she were ready to get down to business.  “Like what?”

“We only have two working bedrooms here,” Brodie said.  “Mine and Nan’s.  Do you mind sharing a room with me?”

Her pupils dilated, and he knew she was thinking about the scarlet room they had shared last night.

“My room has two beds,” he continued.  “We can be like Lucy and Ricky.”

She smiled.  “If it was good enough for the Ricardos, I’m sure I can handle it for a few days.”

“We may not so lucky at the Sullivan’s.”

Sobering, she nodded.  “If there’s only one bed there, we can just take turns sleeping in it.”

“Fair enough.” Brodie said.  “Now, as a married couple—especially at the ranch—we’ll be expected to act like a married couple.”

“Okay.  But only around others.  When we’re alone, we can act like we’re not married.”

“Correct.  But sometimes…”  He took a step closer to where she leaned against the porch railing.  “Sometimes married people hold hands.”

He reached out and took her fingers into his own.  Her skin was velvet soft and smelled so sweet, like the mountains after a rain.

“I—I don’t have a problem with that.”

“Sometimes married couples put their arms around each other.”  He placed her hands behind his neck, then slid his arms around her waist.

“That’s okay,” she whispered.  He watched as she swallowed hard.

“And sometimes married people kiss.  Just a peck here and a peck there.  Are you going to have a problem with that?”

“Huh-uh.”  She shook her head.

“Maybe we should practice,” he rasped, bending his head close to hers.

“Maybe,” she repeated before he brushed his lips across hers once, then twice.

His intent had been the small, nearly chaste kiss of old married couple, but once he got close to Savanna, once he could smell her sweetness and taste her heady essence, he couldn’t stop himself.

He pulled her close to him, gathering handfuls of her tank top, securing her to him.  Over and over he slanted his mouth across hers.  Over and over, deeper and deeper, until her whimper brought him back.

He released her, his breath rasping in and out of his lungs in hard painful gasps.

She grasped the edge of the porch railing, looking as disturbed as he felt.

With demonstrations like that, they may not ever convince Blair and Nan their marriage was an accidental twist of fate, but they would surely convince Red Sullivan their passion was for real.

Brodie ran his fingers through his hair, just one more gesture to keep from reaching for Savanna again.

“There,” he managed to croak.  “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

Buy it now~http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4541

Thanks for coming by today! Ciao! <3–Amie

Jannine Corti-Petska ~ Today’s Special Guest

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I heart my job! In the past two years I have met some fabulous writers, editors, and agents and it just keeps getting better. What I love the most, these fantastic people want to come visit my blog and share their stories, inspirations, and wonderful books with me. Yeah, this is the life.

Today is no exception. Today I have fellow Wild Rose Press author Jannine Corti-Petska here. She graciously allowed me to grill her…er, interview her about writing in general and her latest two books.

Jannine, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

I went from a child’s cowgirl dream and owning a horse to a teenage dream of racing cars to a high school dream of speaking 5 languages and becoming an international interpreter. Since none became a reality (I was working on the languages), I turned to what I did most: reading and writing.

In my late twenties, I realized I wanted to try my hand at writing historical romances and  discovered I actually had a talent for weaving intricate tales. But those childhood dreams were not lost. With the exception of racing cars, I’ve used the other two in my stories set in the 19th century American West and in the medieval period.

That’s one of the best things about being a writer, you get to be someone else–if only for a little while. How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?

I was fortunate to be raised in an Old World environment. While it did have its drawbacks, it also provided me with a way of life that most American children never experienced. Having Italian parents whose first language wasn’t English helped shape my love for and eagerness to learn several languages.

My mom read a lot, though mostly stories in magazines. I began reading very early and my interest in the written word blossomed from there. In my Italian medievals, I capture the essence of the Italian culture I know so well. As I grew up in Los Angeles County, near Hollywood, my father loved watching westerns on TV. I’m not sure how much of it he understood, but those shows shaped my interest in the American West. And the larger-than-life cowboy hero. He just seemed so romantic and courageous. 

I totally agree. Love the cowboys! How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

For Dante’s Flame, I used a surname for the hero that, for some reason, I love—Santangelo. This is book 3 of my Italian medieval series. The hero in book 1 read Dante’s works, and I knew I wanted to use the name in one of my stories.

For Mine to Keep, written for The Wild Rose Press’ “Love Letters” short stories line,  the idea came about when the story unfolded in my mind. Of course, keep was a symbol of the medieval era and the castle used in the story. And mine had to do with the hero and heroine wanting to spend the rest of their lives together even though at the beginning, their marriage served only one purpose—to gain an inheritance. Also, the hero fought for and almost lost his life over holding on to the woman he loved.

Can you say romantic? <wink> Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

I have, although mostly, I go with a modern theme in many of my books: physical abuse, alcoholism, family conflict, the mafia, and so on. I give these themes a historical twist.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Other than writing sex scenes, the challenge for me is discipline.  Thirty years ago I could write anywhere, anytime, under any kind of circumstances. Today, a fly on the wall distracts me! And my memory has gotten so bad that I find it difficult to keep facts straight. Confusion and disorganization cause me hours and days of frustration. Now I have to make a lot of notes, notes on those notes, more notes and….well, you get the picture. Then I have to remember which of those 1000 pages (exaggeration) of notes I wrote certain details I may need. I get excited if I can recall a fact or two! It’s not pretty, lol. So I suppose sustaining a story gives me the most problems these days. My mind is not growing old gracefully. Clutter is its enemy.

I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one. So, how did you deal with rejection letters?

Not well, at first. I was devastated every time I opened a rejection letter (sent snail mail). There was a system to my disappointment. My first reaction was my heart dropping to my stomach. On the heels of that, I’d get angry, thinking the editor or agent didn’t know what she was talking about. Surely my work was as good as authors who are published. I’d stew for a day, then I’d get energized and dive back into writing.  Rejection is terribly difficult to take when your being judged on something so personal as writing. In my mind, rejecting my work meant rejecting me.

I was most frustrated that my rejections weren’t horrible. Normally it wasn’t a don’t-quit-your-day-job letter. There was some quality of my writing editors and agents liked. One of my biggest problems was trying to sell Italian-set medievals in the late 90s and early 2000. In that sense, I had felt as if my heritage was rejected as well. I’ve since grown an extremely thick skin.

My friends used to joke that I got the best rejection letters. To me it didn’t matter, it was still a rejection. Next question, what tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Must-have tangible tools would be pad and pen (or pencil). When I began writing, I used this method as computers weren’t really on the scene, and those that were had a huge price tag. But an endless supply of pad and pen, I think, I essential. Computers are great, but when they go bad, you can lose all your work. You don’t have to back up your pad and pen.

A non-tangible tool would be keeping an open mind. Tunnel vision gives an author one, very tiny piece of the story. With an open mind, creativity really has an outlet to expand, making story possibilities endless. There are no boundaries to what a writer can achieve. Although there is a “formula” to writing romances, it’s what you create within that “formula” that makes or breaks a story. An open minded approach to writing will take your story from one dimensional to full and satisfying.

Again, glad to know I’m not the only one. I was writing notes long hand today. Sometimes the ideas just flow better that way.

Jannine, thanks for coming by. But visitors, don’t leave yet, the best is coming up. Keep reading for a look at Jannine’s latest releases…

 

-♦-♦-♦-♦-♦- Dante’s Flame  -♦-♦-♦-♦-♦-

Book 3 of the Italian medieval series 

Alessandra Podesta writes illicit tales unsuitable for a young lady. Exasperated, her father sends her to visit relatives in Naples to curb her wild imagination. But in her undying need for adventure, she toys with the affections of her tutor and is forced to marry him. When she unknowingly falls into a dangerous game of supremacy between two countries, she trusts the wrong people and endangers her life.

French tutor Dante Santangelo is secretly aiding the French in maintaining their rule over Naples. When he is manipulated into marrying the visiting cousin of the Valente Family, he seizes upon the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the family, who are under suspicion of helping the Spanish. When Alessandra’s life is in jeopardy Dante must choose between love and duty. Will he offer up his life to save Alessandra? Or remain duty-bound to the French?

Buy It Now:

The Wild Rose Press

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=845&zenid=ed2d7fc911aa2625089e24c300fa3313

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1612173136/ref=sr_1_1?p=S01R&keywords=Dante%27s+Flame&ie=UTF8&qid=1341441653#reader_1612173136

 -♦-♦-♦-♦-♦- MINE TO KEEP  -♦-♦-♦-♦-♦-

  ~ Blurb ~

Lady Elizabella Aldrich receives notice of an inheritance in Padua, Italy. Arriving from England, she discovers another heir lays claim to the castle. An unreasonably handsome Italian rogue stands between her and the castle she’s inherited.

Leonardo Da Mitri never met the noble who included him in his will. But after one look at Lady Eliza he relishes the challenge of defeating the beauty to make the castle his own.

Astonished to learn they must wed and remain married for a year, it soon becomes apparent someone does not want the nuptials to take place. As Eliza fights her growing desire for Leo, he fights for his life. Will he walk away from his inheritance—and Eliza? Or is he willing to risk everything to stay married to the woman who has claimed his heart as hers… to keep?

 ~EXCERPT ~

Elizabella and Leonardo haven’t been married long. Neither have they consummated their

marriage. In this scene, they both slipped on wet stone in the castle’s great room, and Leo traps her to the floor.

“Think you my brother will stand idle when I tell him how horrible you have treated me? You are rude and ill-mannered.”

“So I am.” Leo feigned boredom. Her observation of his character didn’t offend him. She was unapprised about Italian society…and Italian men.

“From the moment we met, you acted as if I am not fit to be in your company. So be it. I am not a noble, so I need not behave like the rigid men

in your society. And since I am not compatible in your eyes, then I shall do what I should have done last night.”

“You would not dare!”

He lifted his mouth into a non-committal smile.

“Oh! Let me up at once!”

“It appears milady must be taught manners as well.” Leo crushed her lips beneath his. He ran his hand down her waist and hip caring not that his

caresses were rough, groping. Her protests died in an instant. When he pushed her tunic up to her shoulders, he was surprised to find her naked beneath the expensive garment. He tore away to lave his tongue across her breast, taunting her nipple. Her deep, unfettered moan seeped into his heart. Last night had been merely a prelude to the ecstasy awaiting him with his feisty wife.

Leo recaptured her mouth and shed any misgivings about consummating their marriage. Even though theirs was more illusory than real, he should have sunk into her and be damned his righteous conscience. He desired Eliza like no other.

He broke off the kiss and gazed at her, from the red, irritated skin around her parted lips to her eyelashes shadowed high upon her cheeks. Resisting her was impossible, from the way her body moved, like a sultry feline, to her soft sounds of pleasure.

“Eliza.” Her name echoed in his head. “Do you want me? Truthfully, do you desire me?”

When her lashes fluttered upward, her eyes beheld a desirous sheen. Leo’s heart skipped a beat while his manhood surged upward in anticipation. Pray she didn’t reject him, for he’d not walk away a second time. Hope kindled the jagged pounding of his heart, even when her features lost their passionate glow.

“If I said no, would you leave me be?”

Buy It Now

The Wild Rose Press

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4938

What a great excerpt! Thank you, Jannine! I’m sure everyone is adding this to their TBR list. I know I am!  Thanks for sharing your books with us and thank you, readers, for stopping by! Ciao–Amie

Title Please?

As you may or may not know, I’m working on a novella for the Wild Rose Press’s Honky Tonk Hearts series. I  won’t bore you with all the ins and outs writing a series, but the main criteria is that the story has to have at least one scene that takes place in the Lonesome Steer, a roadhouse just outside of Amarillo and located on old Route 66.

Those of you who know me well know that I L-O-V-E Amarillo. Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop is set in Amarillo. But I digress.

So I’m working on this short and getting ready to submit it to the editors in charge of the line/series, and I realize that the title doesn’t fit the story anymore.

If you read author’s posts at all, I’m sure you’ve heard all about the quandaries of titles. They  are next to impossible to come up  with, yet the story has to have one. So as authors we agonize over the title, only to have the editors change it. Well, a lot of the time. But in any case, a writer can’t submit a story without a title.

And this is where you come in. I need your help coming up with a title for my novella. Here’s the unofficial blurb–

Shelby Patterson has worked hard her entire life to achieve the dignity and decorum others enjoy. With an unconventional mother and an unknown father, Shelby is proud to be engaged to a man with political aspirations. Her fiancé will lend her the respectability she so desperately desires. Well, he will just as soon as she gets a divorce from her first husband.

Ritt McCoy married Shelby in high-school right after they found out they were having a baby. It was the honorable thing to do. But honor flew out the door when she lost the baby and his parents paid her mother to take her away from Texas.

Now, seven years later, Shelby’s back in Randall demanding her freedom. But Ritt’s not ready to let her go. He’s certainly not ready to see her walk down the aisle with another man. He loved her like crazy then and still does. Now that she’s back, he’ll do everything in his power to show her that they are meant to be together. But can he convince her that she’ still in love with him before she flies to coop again?

The original title was Two Weeks in Texas. But as I started writing, I realized Shelby wouldn’t be able to stay in Texas for two whole weeks. She’s only there for five days.  Five Days in Texas doesn’t have the same ring to it. Or does it? Well, let’s add it to the list for good measure.

Here are some titles I came up with. Please vote for your favorite. Or, heck, come up with a new one. Just help me decide what to call this book so I can submit it to the editors!

It’ll be a while before it comes out (taking for granted I’ll contract it. Pleasepleaseplease let me contract it!) but I’ll hold a drawing for everyone who votes and make sure you get a copy of the story.

Here’s what I have so far–

Five Days in Texas

Back in Love

Her Texas Husband

All My Exes

Just like a Texan

Lone-star Bride

Blame it on Texas

Just Can’t Get Enough

As I write this, My favorite is Blame it on Texas. But tell me what you think. Please and thanks!

A Letter from Suzanne Rose

Is it wrong to believe in fairy tales? I don’t think so. I grew up hearing stories of handsome princes and snowy white steeds. But I had almost given up on ever finding the man made just for me until I met Brice Van Sant.

Multi-millionaire, sullen attitude, fabulous kisser, Brice is definitely in the prince category, but it’s more complicated than that.

I guess I’d better start at the beginning. I was visiting my sister at her job. Christy works for Johnston Carmichael Pharmaceuticals which just so happens to be Brice’s family business.  I’d brought Christy a bottle of my homemade herbal shampoos.

How was I supposed to know Brice would drink it? And I definitely had no idea it would act as a love potion. There was nothing to let me know his proposal was made in a drug altered haze. He swept me off my feet. So of course, I’d thought I’d found my own true prince. And I married him. Except the next day he couldn’t remember my name, much less that we’d gotten married. And that’s when my handsome prince turned into a toad.

And it got even worse. He decided that he needed the formula for his company and didn’t believe that I never write them down. Brice is nothing but persistent and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse—stay married to him and pretend to be happily married while I recover the shampoo’s ingredients, or he’d fire my sister. Big, fat toad.

I learned a lot about Brice in those first few weeks. And the man I thought was an ogre turned out to be a man with dreams and desires just like the rest of us. Except Brice’s dreams had been crushed long ago. He said he didn’t believe in love, but I couldn’t let it go there. After all, I was half in love with him even before we met.

Now I only have until I discover all the shampoo’s ingredients to make him see that love truly is a chance worth taking. And with any luck, I won’t lose my heart to him forever. Not only to the Brice that everyone sees, but to the wonderful prince he really is.

—Suzanne

Love Potion Me, Baby by Amie Louellen

Available now from the Wild Rose Press

www.thewildrosepress.com / www.amazon.com / www.barnesandnoble.com

Love Potion Me, Baby

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not so far away…

 

Well, maybe it looks more like this…

 

There was a girl who believed in fairy tales and happily ever after.

Meet Suzanne Rose.

And there was a man who felt that love was all a lie and not worth the pain it caused.

Meet Brice Van Sant.

An unlikely match…until he accidentally drinks a cup of her homemade shampoo.

And falls heads head over heels for Suzanne.

It’s the perfect love story, right?

Not quite.

For after an incredible wedding night, Brice can’t remember his bride’s name, much less why he married her.

Suzanne is heart broken.

And Brice is determined.

As CEO of Johnston-Carmichael Pharmasueticals, he needs the formula for the fabled shampoo.

A recipe for love would rocket his company to the top of the heap.

Too bad Suzanne can’t remember all of the ingredients.

But when Brice threatens her sister’s job at Johnston- Carmichael, Suzanne has no choice but to stay in a loveless marriage and recreate the shampoo.

With any luck, she’ll recover the formula before she loses her heart to a man who swears he could never love her return.

 

Available now from The Wild Rose Press

Special Guest Dara Young ~ author of The Cancan Dancer and the Duke

“Toot, toot” that’s me blowing a party horn, because today I have a special guest. Dara Young is here with me today talking about her novella The Cancan Dancer and the Duke. What a title! I love it. So sit back and let Dara tell you…

The Long and the Short of It

I was talking to my mom the other day, and she was complaining about how short the majority of books are these days in romance. First off, yes my mother reads everything I write. She really got me started reading romance as a young adult. My first adult romances came right off her bookshelf. She had titles by authors Mary Renault, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsay. So, I totally blame her for my addiction. J

As I was saying, she asked me about book lengths. She is an old school romance reader from the days of 3-400 page books. That is what she prefers. Me, I like both. It depends on the story. Some tales just don’t need 400 pages. Others need all of that to be able to show the characters growth and development until they fall in love.

The Cancan Dancer and the Duke was originally intended to be a full length novel. But, then I realized that it just didn’t need all those pages. It occurred to me that I would simply be adding stupid plot elements to string the journey out and that did not sit well with me. The truth is, Charise and Ethan’s story is one of a quick, intense fall.

I suppose I could have stretched out the discovery of her secret, but really why? Some relationships are a slow simmering burn, others are a quick, intense conflagration. And, there are a  million options in between. Short of having external plot devices keeping the lovers apart, a conflagration generally winds up a novella for me.

How about you? Do you have a preference for story length? How do you feel about short stories under 15K words?

Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with me and remember to comment on each post during the blog tour for more chances to win! (Not sure what I’m talking about? Click here.)

 

The Cancan Dancer and The Duke
The Wild Rose Press

Can a lady on the lam and a duke on the make find love at the Moulin Rouge?

Cathedrals and museums are not Lady Charise Colton’s idea of European adventure. Turn-of-the-century Paris beckons, and she wants to grab it while she can…or rather, cancan. Flirting with fate and half of Paris, Charise eludes her chaperones and joins the cancan revue at the Moulin Rouge.

Ethan Greer, Duke of Lofton, is in Paris to settle some estate business. Chafing under his responsibilities, he discovers an enchanting distraction at the Moulin Rouge, a flirtatious dancer who stirs his lust and something more. He must have her—even if it means offering carte blanche.

Terrified of discovery, Charise tries to hold her persistent suitor at bay, though her heart has already surrendered. Will she lose him if he learns the truth, or is love enough to bind the cancan dancer and the duke?

Excerpt:

The singular sound was a soft whisper at first. The audience strained forward to catch even a note of the eerie melody carried on the fetid air of the cafe. As the song picked up, her voice grew stronger, the words more clear. Ethan relaxed into his seat and let the warm rich alto caress him. His body grew warm with the promises carried by the witch’s husky tones.

He remained unaware of anything in the room except the siren walking toward him. Each steady, unhurried step she took further drew him in. His gaze feasted on the curve of her hip, the swell of her breast. Ethan rode the knife’s edge between lust and propriety.

The song described, in lurid detail, two lovers in the throes of passion. Upon reaching him, the dancer propped the toe of her boot onto the edge of his seat—square between his thighs. The luscious creature presented impossibly sheer bloomers which hid everything and yet nothing, causing him to let out the breath he, until now, unknowingly held. His cock grew rigid, the uncomfortable throbbing causing him to shift. The desire to haul her into his arms and demonstrate every action she described with the most sensuous mouth he’d ever seen rode him hard. Her full lower lip begged for his kiss. Ethan wanted to see it slick and glowing pink from his attentions.

The wanton dancer continued to taunt him, but his good breeding won out. Forcing himself to stay seated, his fists balled and his jaw grew rigid with frustration, but his raging lusts remained leashed. The song ended, sending her into the nether regions of the cafe in a swirl of skirts.

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Thanks so much, Dara for being my guest today! This one’s definitely going on my TBR list. And thanks to everyone for stopping by. Don’t forget to leave a comment in order to be included in the giveaway. How do I feel about short romantic fiction? I love romances of any length! :)

Lots of <3–Amie

Top 10 ~ Love Potion Me, Baby

Time for Tuesday’s Top 10!! Here’s a listing of the Top 10 things I love about Love Potion Me, Baby (my latest release.)

#1 ~  Brice accidentally drinks blue shampoo.

#2 ~ Suzanne throws fruit at him.

#3 ~ Melvin and Claire Greely are hard of hearing.

#4 ~ Aunt Petie’s crazy cooking

#5 ~ Jancy Carmichael Van Sant, Brice’s mother, hangs by her knees everyday to reverse the effects of gravity.

#6 ~ Suzanne is forced to play golf with Brice, even though she’s never played before.

# 7 ~ The maid only knows one word of English–yes.

#8 ~ Brice’s addiction to coffee

#9 ~ There’s a dog, but no one knows how it came to be at the mansion.

#10 ~ the love scene (hubba hubba)

Want a little more? Go to Amie’s BOOKS –Love Potion Me, Baby–Excerpt and Blurb. There you’ll find…well, an excerpt and a blurb!

Happy reading! Lots of <3 to you! Amie

Release Day!!!!!!

If you haven’t guessed I’m a little excited about the release of my latest comedic romance, Love Potion Me, Baby. Mainly because I LOVE this story.  But I can’t keep it all to myself. Gotta spread that love. Here’s a listing of places I’ll be visiting over the next few weeks. There’ll be interviews and posts, and even a letter of two from the characters. Hope you can stop by and see me on one of these dates!

Lots of <3–Amie

Release Day! March 28th Sarah Grimm

Meet Brice Van Sant

www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com

April 4th AJ Nuest

Letter from Suzanne Rose

www.ajbooks.blogspot.com

 April 9th Kellie Kamryn

Interview

www.kelliekamyrn.blogspot.com

April 11th Claire Croxton

What’s In A Name?– guest post

www.clairecroxtonromanceauthor.wordpress.com

and Alana Lorens

Interview

http://alanalorens.com

April 18th Babette James

Interview

http://babettejames.com/posts/

April 25th Rebecca J Clark

Interview

http://shywriters.blogspot.com

April 27th Vonnie Davis

The Millionaire’s Club–Guest Post

www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

May 2 Katherine Grey

Interview with Jancy Carmichael Van Sant

katherinegrey.blogspot.com

May 9 CoffeeTime Romance and More

Writing Comedy–Guest Post

http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/

May 16 Calisa Rhose

Odd facts about Love Potion Me, Baby–Guest Post

www.calisarhose.wordpress.com

After Midnight by Sarah Grimm ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK ♥♥♥♥♥

Thirteen years—that’s how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother’s life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar…

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn’t include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won’t be easy, but he can’t get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

~*~*~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~*~

I have read several books with singers and piano players, even one with a karkoake bar. But I have never read a book where I could *hear* the music. Sarah Grimm does just that. She allows the reader to experience the music through the pages of her newest release, After Midnight. That itself is a great feat, but the sound she weaves through her words is only an accompaniment to the characters she has created. Noah Clark…mature rock star and caring soul, seeking a second chance at the one thing he loves–music. He’s going about his career differently in this “comeback” tour, and he’s not up for any unexpected bumps. And then he meets her, Isabeau Montgomery. Izzy is a now-grown child prodigy who abandoned music as a too painful part in her past. But once she meets Noah, the music she’s drowned out of her head for so many years demands to be heard once again.

There is a sensuality between Noah and Izzy that defies description. More mature than sexy, more beautiful than mere chemistry, it is a source of envy to all those around them. Noah understands Izzy on a base level. All the qualities she hates about herself, he admires. At Noah’s hands, she learns to see herself through his eyes, find her beauty though she never thought it existed. Who wouldn’t want a hero like Noah–rich, handsome, and able to see you (and love you) as you really are instead of how you think you should be? The perfect hero deserves the perfect soul mate, and Sarah provides. Izzy is smart, resourceful, and beautiful in her own way. She’s survived more than the average person, walked down paths most of us will never glimpse. And yet we feel her pain, we understand her hiding, and we admire her strength. Add them to the beautiful prose of music, a touch of suspense, and extremely lovable secondary characters, and you have one fabulous read. You have After Midnight.

After Midnight is available now from the Wild Rose Press

~*~*~*~*~About Sarah Grimm ~*~*~*~*~

As a young girl, Sarah Grimm always had a story to tell. At times they were funny, other times scary, but they always ended with a happily-ever-after.

Sarah spent years scribbling in notebooks, filling the pages with partial chapters and the margins with titles and story ideas. She told friends the characters spoke to her, and that she was compelled to get their stories on paper. Eventually, she sat down at a computer and wrote her first tale of dangerously sexy suspense. That book, Not Without Risk, is a 2011 Readers Favorite Award Winner.

Her second release and the first in her Midnight Heat Series,  After Midnight, recently garnered a Finalist position in the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest.

Sarah lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom’s taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.

Sarah loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her sarah@sarahgrimm.com

~*~*~*~*~ Excerpt ~*~*~*~*~

“I’m not the type of woman men fall for.”

“I’ve fallen for you.”

Heat flooded her system. She forced herself to breathe, to keep her eyes locked with his. “No you haven’t. You …”

He pushed off the mantel and stepped in her direction. “I—what?”

“Never mind.”

“Finish the sentence, Isabeau.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then let me.” He closed the distance between them. “You were going to say I haven’t fallen for you, weren’t you? You actually believe him? That you’re nothing more to me than convenient?”

Her pulse throbbed thick and hard. Heat radiated off his body. The scent of him filled her head. She wanted, more than anything, to press herself against him and relive the pleasure of his mouth against hers. Instead, she lifted her chin.

“Maybe.”

He leaned in close. So close his breath brushed across her lips. “You believe him, but not me?”

“You are here only temporarily.”

“Yes.”

“And I am just down the street.”

“I suppose.”

She ran her tongue over her dry lips. “So the whole thing does seem rather—”

“Don’t say it.”

“—convenient.”

Something dangerous came and went in his eyes. “Now I’m getting angry.”

His hands skimmed down her sides, slipped under her shirt and settled on her lace-covered bottom. Her breath went uneven. Searing need swarmed her.

“You want something to believe, believe this.” He pulled her into the solid ridge of his erection. She lost her concentration. “There is nothing convenient about the way I feel about you.”

“I…no?”

“You think you’re not the type to draw a man’s attention, think again. I can’t stand in the same room as you without wanting to taste you. I can’t taste you without wanting to taste all of you.”

Oh, God. Her knees turned to jelly. A hot, wet pulse came to life between her legs.

“If you can’t see in yourself what it is that I see, feel what you do to me.” Taking hold of her wrist, he placed her hand in the center of his chest.

His heart was racing. She tipped her head back and looked into his eyes. Her bones began to liquefy.

“The way you’re looking at me,” she whispered.

“How am I looking at you?”

“Like I’m important.”

“You are.”

She swallowed hard, wanting to believe him. “Like I’m beautiful.”

His lips brushed across her temple and her eyes drifted shut. “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. Then you would know how beautiful you are.”

Her eyes snapped open as he spun her in his arms. His hands settled on her shoulders, drawing her back against his chest. She gasped at their image reflected in the trio of mirrors that hung on her wall. When had this become a seduction?

~*~*~*~*~ Buy the Book  ~*~*~*~*~

Ebook or  Print

May you always have…Lots of <3–Amie