Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Preview of Coming Attractions

    posted by Jo Robertson

    We have some delightful guests lined up for March so be sure to join us for these special appearances by some of your favorite authors. There'll be lots of laughter, giveaways, and a wicked, wily wooster vying to go home with a Bandita Buddy each day.

    March 2
    we're heading deep into romantic suspense territory courtesy of debut Aussie author Helene Young ( Helene is a commercial pilot in gorgeous, tropical and exotic Far North Queensland and she used many of her experiences as the basis for her first novel Border Watch. Anna Campbell will be her copilot for what should be an exciting trip!

    March 3 – Suzanne will interview debut author, Addison Fox about her new paranormal series The Sons Of The Zodiac and the series launch book, Warrior Ascended.

    arch 7 -- Debut author Erica Ridley will be visiting with us as Kirsten's guest! Erica's debut, Too Wicked to Kiss, is a darkly sensual Gothic romance full of suspense, murder, and passion.

    On March 8 Anna Campell hosts historical romance author Miranda Neville ( Miranda worked for Sotheby's before she started writing and last time she told us a thrilling story about discovering an unknown letter from the Duke of Wellington. What amazing tales will she unearth on this visit while she talks about her latest release The Wild Marquis?

    March 9Kate Walker will be back to talk about her brand new novel The Konstantos Marriage Demand which is published March 16 in Presents EXTRA. She's really thrilled about this one because she's just heard it has won hersecond Romantic Times Top Pick Award. Anna S. hosts.

    On March 12, a Lair favorite returns as Anna S's guest Julie Cohen talks about bats, gargoyles, corpse-washing sinks and her newest novel, NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM.

    March 16 – Donna hosts guest Allison Chase who'll join us to talk about her new Victorian series: Her Majesty’s Secret Servants. The first book in the series, MOST EAGERLY YOURS, promises to be a fast paced adventure with lots of twists and turns and one very sexy hero.

    March 17 -- St. Paddy's Day -- Wearin' o' the Green!

    March 19 – Kate hosts mystery author Karen E. Olson as she visits the Lair for the first time. She'll be discussing Pretty in Pink, book two in her smart and sassy new Tattoo Shop mystery series.

    March 20 -- First Day of Spring!

    On March 21 author Chloe Harris joins Nancy to discuss her steamy Caribbean-set historical, Secrets of Sin.

    March 29 – As Raine Benares's next adventure launches, author Lisa Shearin returns as Nancy's guest with a choice between Raine's two magical guys, Paladian MychaelEiliesor and goblin Tam Nathrach. Join us and vote for your favorite.

    March 30 -- NYT Bestseller Dianna Love returns to the Lair as Cassondra's guest. What is a romantic thriller? Dianna Love answers the question. And she'll have lots of goodies to give away as we preview SILENT TRUTH, her April release, the fourth BAD Agency novel written with #1 NYT Bestseller Sherrilyn Kenyon.


    Anna Campbell's latest contest offers one lucky reader the chance to win an ARC of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, her June 2010 release. All you have to do is email Anna on anna@annacampbell.ino and answer a simple question. In the excerpt on the Books Page ( )for My Reckless Surrender, Diana the heroine quotes an old proverb to the hero Lord Ashcroft. What is that proverb? Here's a hint -- it's for the birds! Good luck! The contest closes April 30, 2010.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Men Of Sports!

    by Suzanne

    Before I go any further, I'd like to announce that the pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training!! Whoohooo! The boys of summer are almost back!

    Can you tell I adore baseball? I'm married to a Cleveland Indians fanatic, so I watch 161 games a year. I kid you not! But luckily for me, the scenery isn't too hard on the eyes.

    There's Grady Sizemore out in Centerfield. He's beautiful and beautiful to watch, especially when he's stretched out going for a fly ball. They guy simply loves to play the sport and goes all out. And when he scores a run or steals a base, the grin he gives lights up his whole being!

    Then there's Travis Hafner, the DH, who hopefully will live up to his potential. I mean the man is a farm boy raised in South Dakota...built like an oak and when he's on can hit the ball a country mile. Every time Travis comes to the plate there is a potential for a game altering swing of the bat! I love his intensity and focus as he eyes the pitcher and waits for the ball. And watching his body move to take it downtown...poetry!

    And to my great pleasure, (and any other woman who's stared at the backside of pitchers on the mound) Jake Westbrook, the best looking behind on a pitcher's mound, is returning to the rotation after nearly 2 years. Jake is one of my favorite reasons for watching baseball. That and I consider baseball a thinking man's, or woman's, game.

    Another sport I adore is football. American football. Sigh. Being a Cleveland Browns fan long before meeting my hubby, I've suffered many a disappointing season. There have been highlights over the years. Bernie Kosar's throwing. Clay Matthews (#57) 16 years as a fabulous linebacker who knew how to hit and tackle. And now the explosive kickoff and punt returns of Joshua Cribbs (#16) and the power blocking of Joe Thomas, I think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for my boys. But because I rarely get to root for my Browns in the post season, I also admit to admiring Petyon Manning and the Colts. Peyton is one of the most beautiful passers ever to play this game. And talk about confidence? Mmmm.

    Of course, there's always my Buckeyes. Jim Tressel is on the road to greatness as a coach, IMHO. Being an Ohioan transplanted in Texas, well let's just say I've had more than one occasion to boast about my home team!

    Now, these are tried and true sports for most Americans. There are those who love basketball. My coach is die-hard Kansas Jay Hawke fan and my husband is ga-ga over LeBron James and the Cavs this year. However, I am not really much of a fan, although I do sit through my fare share of games. (Usually with my nose in a book, or working on the king-sized afghan for my son's bed...a Christmas present it will take me until next winter to make.)

    But the other day I was vegging before getting ready to head to work, when my channel surfing came across something unique to TV in America.


    OMG!! It was like the heavens had opened up, a beam of light from above shone over me and I swear the choir of angels, (all female) hit a high C in perfect harmony!! (By the way, google rugby players and you won't believe the pictures you get...uh, not for publication on the Bandit blog!)

    Have y'all seen this? I mean truly watched the game? It's like soccer, football and ultimate fighting all rolled into one glorious expression of male bonding and testosterone!!!

    Super buff men in shorts...god they have great padding, literally beating each other up to get this huge football down the field. And when one of them is passing the ball in from the sidelines 2 guys lift a third way up in the air by his feet to catch it! Bloody noses, bloody lips, bloody eyes, dirt, twisted ankles and knees. (Yes, I'm slightly blood thirsty.) But I think I've found a wonderfully masculine game to watch.

    Now, if I could just get the TV people to show more games!!

    What does this have to do with books? Hmmm...well, I've read books with sports heroes in them. But I think it's the whole males competing against males that piques my interest and I'd love to see more books with heroes from sports. (And yes I've read all of SEP's books!)

    So, what sport do you love to watch or at least don't mind watching the men who play them? (Yes Anna...I know you adore hockey!) Anyone love rugby like me? Which sport would you like to see featured in a series of books?

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Cruising Into Spring

    by Caren Crane

    Regulars here in the Lair know I am a devotee of autumn. I love the crisp air, colorful leaves and "settling in" that happens as the Earth prepares for winter. I also enjoy winter and have made a complete and total fool of myself during the Winter Olympics. (Anyone care to discuss curling? I'm now an expert! I could hardly get this post done for the women's gold medal final. Canada broke my heart!) Okay, gold medalist Apolo Ohno was just here as your daily eye candy. *g*

    This year, though, it has been colder and snowier than usual, even here in the (normally) sunny South. I find myself looking forward to the budding trees and warm breezes of spring. I am also getting an itch to travel, much like my friends up north tell me they get when winter drags on too long. My friend Elizabeth says that by March everyone in Chicago is beating a path to the travel agent, begging for tickets to "anywhere the sun is shining" and this year, I can relate.

    My husband is at home these days and, despite his curmudgeonly tendencies, has begun to pick up some phone calls he would previously have ignored. I came home a couple of weeks ago to be told by my beloved that we had won a cruise. Huh? Yes, indeed, I had heard correctly. My man said we won a cruise. I have no idea how we (or actually, he) won this cruise, but I took his word for it since he assured me it was real. Then I went to fix dinner or something and promptly forgot about it. Until last week, when the information about our cruise came in the mail. It is real!

    We have been on a cruise once before and it was a lovely vacation. We enjoyed many things about cruising during that first trip and also learned some things to avoid - like anything alcoholic, since it costs a fortune to drink onboard! We feel better about this second cruise, armed with knowledge about how to avoid tack-on fees. This cruise is technically free, except for the unavoidable port fees since the trip is to the Bahamas and, apparently, a fuel surcharge of some sort. Hm.

    Normally, we would avoid the Bahamas due to the excess of badly-handled tourism there and the likelihood of being hassled and/or pick-pocketed by locals. But did I mention the cruise is free? I have fretted about this "free" trip, knowing it will actually cost us hundreds of dollars to: a) get to the port in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; b) park our car at the port (or take a cab, if we fly or go by train); c) pay the port fees and fuel surcharges; and, d) cover the "incidentals" that always come up. (This picture is me at home, facing the reality of the money we will have spent - so sad!) The money is a real worry for us this year, but vacation - that singular, glorious chance to get away from all our cold, wintry worries for a few days - beckons like a sun-soaked siren.

    The prolonged cold weather has made our so-called "free" trip more tempting with every gray, passing day. I know the sun is shining in the Bahamas and, despite the inevitable hassles, surcharges, delays and mix-ups, a patch of warm, welcoming sand is waiting for me. I think it's time to work on trip details. Maybe something around my birthday in May?

    Are you longing for spring (or autumn, if you're in the Southern hemisphere)? Have a vacation planned, in mind, or at least in your dreams? If you could get away today, where would you go?Source URL:
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Have a wonderful weekend.

Love in Boom

    by Nancy

    Anybody else here like a romance with some non-romantic boom in it? Where things blow up apart from the relationship? And somehow all that leads to HEA? Yeah, me, too.

    I tried out various titles for this blog, including "boom in love," but Demetrius started snickering at that and other choices, and then Sven joined in. The two of them set aside their sibling-esque rivalry in favor of male bonding, which would've been nice had it not involved mockery of my blog titles. I'm never composing another blog where they can see it in progress. I'll do that from home.

    Anyway, I wonder why I like romance with a heavy dose of action-adventure. Maybe it's because all the stuff blowing up and the bullets flying add to the stakes, the jeopardy, the chance that HEA won't happen. When I asked in the Lair for movies or books involving both romance and boom, Christine suggested Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Cassondra came up with True Lies, and Anna Sugden suggested the works of Suz Brockmann. These are all great choices with high stakes. What's at risk is not only true love but life itself.

    Plus, I admit, I just like movies where stuff blows up. I prefer that gore not accompany the explosion, as it would in real life, but I do like a movie with some boom. Again, I think it's because of the stakes. In Stargate SG-1, which I so love, the fate of humanity is at stake. In the darker Battlestar Galactica, it's the same thing, but it's humanity versus technology, not just humanity versus evil humanoids, as in the Stargate series.

    In Serenity, the stakes usually revolve around the ship's crew, but we care about them, engage on their side, and don't want to see them die.

    The fondness for boom also leads to a certain darkness in tone. By the time the hero and heroine find their way to each other, they're scarred and battle-weary. At least times have changed enough that the heroine takes an active part in the battle. Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax and her March have to fight their way to each other time and again, sometimes through foes and sometimes through the scars and pain of other battles, and the struggle gives the relationship depth. These are science fiction novels, not romances, but the romantic thread runs strongly through them.

    So what about you? Do you like boom with your romances? Romance with your explosions? Whether you do or don't, why do you think that is?
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter weather

Olympics commercial

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot Men of History

    by Kate Carlisle

    In Scotland and around the world, January 25th was Burns Night. Copious amounts of whiskey are required, but it’s not called “Burns Night” because of the way the whiskey burns your throat. No, it’s named for the man to whom the glasses are raised: the poet Robert Burns. Rabbie Burns was born on that day in 1759 and, in a short 37-year life, he became a Scottish icon. The ploughman’s poet.

    We did Burns Night up big in the Carlisle household. We followed almost all of the traditions. We recited our favorite Burns poems, ate cock-a-leekie soup, and toasted the lassies (which would be me, as I’m the only lassie in our house.) One tradition, we neglected. Call me squeamish, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat haggis. Sorry, Rabbie! I’m a bitter disappointment to my Scottish forebears.

    I have always been intrigued by Robert Burns and the passion he inspires in the Scots. They are very protective of their Rabbie. He was a man of the people, an everyman who rose to esteem in the eyes of laborers and aristocrats because he could turn a phrase. He worked his father’s fields and then took the time to write an ode to a mouse whose nest he disturbed. Randy Rabbie wrote many a poem to the women he encountered. He even wrote a poem called ‘The Fornicator.’

    You can see why I find him so fascinating.

    I’m not alone. 250 years later, the Freemasons of the Robert Burns Society consider it their mission to uphold the poet’s good name.

    Rich fodder for a fiction writer’s imagination. And I’m all about the fodder. My latest book, If Books Could Kill, is set in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world, in large part because of the colorful Scots. They do everything with great passion, so setting a murder mystery there felt like a natural fit. Plus, there’s the whole city-under-a-city mystique. I once visited a modern-day pub that was built right on top of an ancient pub, and the bartender gave us an underground tour. I still get chills when I think of that dark, spooky place.

    At the center of my mystery is a rumor about Robert Burns, himself. An 18th Century sex scandal that 21st Century Scots are desperate to squelch, at any cost. This scandal is completely fictional, but is based on the character traits that I learned about Robert Burns during my extensive research. It was great fun to create a fictional history for a real-life character.

    If I should go missing, please tell the police to question the members of the Robert Burns Society. I fully expect to be kidnapped as punishment for taking his name in vain.

    In your opinion, who are the sexiest men of history? Why? Let's dish about those yummy historical figures! The photos here are Robert Craig Burns and George Craig Washington. Had to give you some eye candy!

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City Hall wedding hair

Book covers

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


    by KJ Howe

    In the lair, nothing makes us more excited than a recounting of THE CALL, a new author's dream phone call. Please welcome debut author Skyler White as she shares her fantastic story!

    I’ll be at the store …

    I was pushing a cart out of the Costco in south Austin when I got The Call. I had my receipt in one hand, held out for the folks with the pink Sharpies, and had to wedge my cell phone between my shoulder and ear to have a hand free for cart-steering. Holly Root – my agent for all of three days at that point – mercifully, isn’t one to drag out good news. She had an offer – a good offer, a two-book offer. She suggested we take it.

    Now, I don’t shop without a grocery list, and this is doubly true of Costco, so I had a notebook and pen I could have used for note taking. I could have asked intelligent questions and written down details so that when I got home I had some record of what she said after “two-book deal” and “Leis Pederson.” What I did instead was jump from cart-corral post to cart-corral post, and try to keep the giggles out of my voice.

    Holly gave me details I would have to write her and ask for again the next day. My husband was on a plane, so I called my folks long-distance. I drove hands free for mile-long stretches because I was clapping. I don’t remember putting the food away. My family celebrated with me. When I actually signed the contract, we went out to dinner. But the next morning, the kids still need breakfasts and packed lunches. I still had to go to the store.

    and Falling, Fly is a dark fable of desire between a fallen angel and a neuroscientist. Olivia is a vampire who feeds on the desire she inspires in mortals. Dominic is radical scientist engaged in secret experimentation on memory, testing new medications on himself. They aren’t the kind of folks who shop at Costco. And writing them, I get to inhabit their world. I spent afternoons at my desk in Ireland’s underground Hotel of the Damned, where the beautiful children of myth, the modern iterations of Persephone and Sirens, mingle with rock stars and snakes. Then I do the laundry.

    Still, when Rosanne, my Berkley publicist, called me with the news that the first interest she’d had in setting up book signings for me came from my local grocery store, I was flummoxed. HEB is a classic Texas grocery chain. Their people are friendly, their prices are great, and their foodie-oriented Central Market stores give Whole Foods a run for its yuppie money. But book signings? I had to call Holly. Turns out HEB is a New York Times-reporting chain with a series of ‘Super HEBs’ that hold expansive book sections. So I’ll be doing my first ever book-signing at the grocery store.

    I’m also throwing myself a book-launch at our local indie bookstore. My birthday is three days before Christmas, so I’m making up for all the previously rushed birthdays by throwing myself a “Fallen Angels and Flights of Absinthe” themed launch party. There will be a reading and absinthe tasting and I’m looking forward to living, at least for a few hours, in a shadow of the world I created.

    The book I wrote as the second of my two-book deal is a dark time-travel horror/romance about the Irish poet WB Yeats. In Dreams Begin is set back and forth between contemporary Portland, Oregon and 1889-1914 Ireland, England and France, as Ida Jameson, heiress to the Dublin whiskey manufacturer and amateur occultist channels the spirit of Laura Armstrong from modern Portland into the body of Maud Gonne, the legendary beauty and Irish revolutionary. Yeats, through his interest in the occult, meets and falls in love with Laura, although neither of them understands the connection they have through time, or the danger they’re in from Ida.

    It’s been a tremendously fun project that has allowed me to explore the Irish connection to my story-world in great detail. It also required intense amounts of research, since Maud, Ida and Yeats (and Laura, to an extent) were (or are) all real people with real histories; and the rule I set for myself was that, since the made-up elements are so fantastical, I was allowed to take no liberties with history. In one Yeats biography, I read that he and his wife (not Maud, btw) celebrated the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature by cooking sausages, because they were out of champagne. I would have gone to the store.

    I have worked hard to rid myself of the capitalist notion that one thing can fix everything. This pill, that diet, the new job, the next house, the perfect moment … but there was a quiet, persistent “never going to happen, not to you,” voice that finally stopped whispering that day at Costco. It did, actually, change my life in a few significant ways. With a deadline for book two, I felt more justified carving out writing time. I bought a new, light-weight netbook with a long-lived battery. The “what if I never sell anything” stomach-roiler was replaced by “what if nobody buys it?” And almost two years later, every time I leave Costco, my tummy tightens up a little, and I grin.

    Now, with the official release date of and Falling, Fly, March 2, only days away, I know it’s not too early to start popping into my local Borders or Barnes and Noble hoping for my first time I sight my book in the wild, but we’re out of dish soap and dried mangos. I’ll be at HEB.

    Skyler White is author of dark fantasy novels and Falling, Fly (Berkley, March 2010) and In Dreams Begin (Berkley, March 2010).
    Thanks so much for joining us, Skyler. I can't wait to read your first novel!!! KJ
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Flower power

Iceland escape

    My dad is obsessed with all things Iceland, and the country really does feel magical. This teeny house is perched on a cliff on Elliðaey, a southern island in Iceland. How amazing does it look? I'd love to ride a bike down that hill or lie in the grass at midnight.

    P.S. Would you be brave enough to walk around the very edge?
    P.P.S. More travel fantasies...Source URL:
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