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It’s Tea and Romance with a Side of Aliens!

Tea For TwoToday I kick off my Tea For Two book tour at Book Junkie. I’m talking about books and keeping track. There’s a giveaway, so come on over and say hello.

My monthly column at The Raven Happy Hour is also live today. Do you know what to do if you see a UFO or come face-to-face with an alien? No? Then you should come over and take notes because you never know!

The Pubs With Expensive Beer

Some of you might have heard the song about the pub with no beer. A pub is a sad place if it runs out of beer, that’s for sure. Last night on the news there was a story about a shortage of hops, which is forcing beer prices to skyrocket. A few years ago there was a glut of hops on the market. This meant many growers ripped out their crops, swinging the pendulum in the other direction. A shortage of hops meant an increase in prices and some brewers stopped making varieties of beer that used lots of hops.

Hops are a little like grapes. The crops from different regions taste different and bring different properties to the beer. They contribute to the aroma, flavor and bitterness of the beer.

I know one person, namely Mr. Munro, who will complain if beer prices rise too much. I like to drink beer when it’s a hot, sunny day. There’s nothing more refreshing during the heat of the summer. I’m not a fan of English ale, the beer served at room temperature in British pubs, but I do enjoy lager. After several years of working in English pubs, I’m a dab hand at pouring a beer.

And speaking of crops, I’m doing my monthly blog at The Raven Happy Hour today and talking about crop circles, UFOs and my book Romantic Interlude.

Do you like beer? If so, what sort do you prefer? Will a price rise worry you?

Make-Believe Monday

I’m guest blogging with Debra Parmley today and talking about writing, books and Middlemarch. Here’s the link to my Make-Believe Monday post.

Romance Tropes and Why I Love Them.

My special guest today is Jennifer Leeland. I read about her new release Marked For Pleasure at Leah Braemel’s blog and immediately pestered…ah emailed her to come and do a guest post for me. Being the nice Romance Diva that she is she said yes, and here she is talking about romance tropes! Over to Jennifer…

Marked For PleasureI’m so sad and pathetic. I stand in front of the book section at my local grocery store and sneer at the “The Sheiks Virgin Princess’ Secret Baby” titles but the truth is, I love the familiar romance tropes.

The Secret Baby trope–She’s pregnant…or had a baby that belongs to him but he doesn’t know a thing about. I have to admit, I love these. (Favorite example: Lucy Monroe’s “Goodness had Nothing To Do With It”)

The Bodyguard trope–She’s in danger, he protects her. The opposite variation is fun too. (Favorite example: Any Christine Feehan Ghostwalker series. They all have elements of this trope)

The Mate/Mate trope–“You were made for me”. I don’t know why I love this one, but it’s just so cool. (Loribelle Hunt’s Delroi series)

The Arranged Marriage trope (or Marriage of Convenience)–I actually just started one of these as a sci fi erotic romance. To complete a peace treaty, the heroine has to marry an alien. Conflict ensues. My absolute favorite of these devices is “Prince Charming” by Julie Garwood)

The Reformed Rake—I ADORE this one. I know. Sad, isn’t it? Can the playboy ever stop playing? Will the heroine find love or heartbreak? Variations are also “The Hero Who Is Determined Never to Commit”. My absolute favorites are “Master Of Cormus” by Charlotte Lamb (1978) and Kate Pearce’s “Simply Sexual”.

The Damaged Hero/Heroine Healed By Love–Oh, my FAVORITE. “Simply Sinful” with Peter being “healed” by Abigail’s love. Joey W. Hill’s “Mistress of Redemption”, a complete twist on this trope. “Rough Canvas” by Joey W. Hill.

Those are the highlights. All of my favorite books have elements of these. “Paul’s Dream” by Rowan McBride has the Bodyguard trope since ultimately Kian attempts to protect Paul from an evil sorcerer and Paul ends up saving his bacon instead. “Lonely Places” by A.L. Debran features a marriage of convenience. (Though that book took that trope and twisted it all around. LOVED that.) All of Kate Pearce’s “Simply” books feature men who are determined to maintain their freedom.

My newest release MARKED FOR PLEASURE is a combination of the Mate/Mate trope and a marriage of convenience. In a dangerous situation, Conner marks Rhea as his mate, tying her to him to protect her. I love to place my heroes and heroines in danger and make them work together to escape.

So, what’s your guilty secret? Do you love the Slutty Virgin Trope? You know, the hero thinks she’s been sleeping around, but she’s really a virgin….which he finds out the hard way. Or how about Friends To Lovers Trope? They’re friends but he’s never thought of her “that way”. What will she do to get him to see her?

Did you ever notice how silly the word “trope” looks? LOL.

Leave a comment and I’ll pick one random commenter to receive a copy of MARKED FOR PLEASURE by Sunday November 8th.

Tell me all about your favorite trope.

UFOs at the Raven Blog

Raven Blog Post I’m a new columnist at the Raven Happy Hour and today is my first post. I’m talking about UFOs and the different theories people have produced over the years to explain them.

Recipe For A Family

Today I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy: A Novel
(Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost they were teenagers. Visit the Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit to find out more about the author.

Family –there’s no doubt families can be fun, irritating, supportive, encouraging or they can be a pain in the neck, causing total misery. When it comes to families the saying the good, the bad and the ugly certainly fits.

My own family is complicated. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and that marital split changed the design of our family. I think this personal history shows its face in the sometime theme that shows up in my writing. I tend to write about people seeking security and often that security takes the form of a newly formed family. It might not be a traditional one, but it’s a family none the less.

Most of us would define a family as a group of persons with a common ancestry, but Webster’s dictionary says a family can also be a group of individuals living under one roof. That’s right! Individuals don’t need to be related to each other in order to become a tight-knit unit or family.

Robyn Carr writes the Virgin River series, which is one of my favorites. The first book Virgin River (Virgin River, Book 1) tells the story of Melinda Monroe, a nurse practitioner, who starts afresh in the township of Virgin River. It’s a small town and as the series progresses, it’s a joy to experience the sense of family that Robyn Carr evokes in her books. Only a few of the characters are blood relations but they learn to depend on each other in both good and bad times. This is to me what a family is about.

I have a new release called House of the Cat out on Wednesday. My hero Ryman Coppersmith is adopted into a loving family as a child. Unfortunately there’s jealousy bubbling under the surface, his stepbrother sets him up and he’s accused of a murder. Ry is forced to flee for his life. We first meet Ry several years later. During the passing years, he’s become captain of a spaceship. He’s a good man and tends to collect people who are down and in trouble. They usually end up as part of his crew, their loyalty to Ry and each other blending them into a family. When Ry decides it’s time to take revenge on his brother and clear his name, they’re there for him one hundred percent. Ry and his crew will do anything for each other. It’s all for one and one for all. A true family.

How would you define a family?

What Makes a Good Heroine?

My special guest today is paranormal author, JA Saare. Her post is about heroines and in particular Buffy and Bella. I’m a huge Buffy fan, but also a very new one since I’ve just started watching the series for the first time. I’m hooked. Over to you, Jaime…

Author, JA SaareWhat makes a good heroine? Is it a hard-assed Buffy or a soft-spoken Bella?

I remember it like it was yesterday. The WB network was advertising this brand new show that was a spinoff of the movie sharing the same name. At first it was laughable, and I made the common joke about the “frog” network and their futile attempts to survive in a Seinfeld ruled world.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – really?

Beastly creatures and high school metaphors aside, how could anyone take such a thing seriously? The market for the paranormal, at that time, was weak. Even with a devout cult following, shows like Kindred: The Embraced were shelved after one short season. Darkness didn’t prevail, people wanted pep, they wanted sass, they wanted Rachel’s latest haircut! Still, I tuned in, reminiscing about the days when Dylan Mckay was the hottest thing since freshly mopped tar on a sweltering summer roof. Chewing my popcorn and drinking my Jolt cola, I watched a young and impressionable Buffy Summers enter into the Hellmouth, err, I mean the doors of Sunnydale High, for the first time.

And whaddya know? It was love at first stake.

Buffy was tough. She was strong. And she could make the high school jocks cry like hard core sissies. But even more importantly, she was a total girl. Her need to belong to the world she was so apart from was so raw, and so very relatable. Each week brought about new challenges with real themes, ranging from first love, to domestic abuse, to losing your virginity and discovering the guy you thought you loved isn’t who you thought he was at all.

Those next seven years were some of the most memorable of my life, and I remember them fondly because they were shared with a young girl that was roughly my age when the show started and ended. Oddly enough, we shared heartache and growth, and when those final credits rolled on the final episode, The Chosen, I wept. When it was all said and done, I knew there would never be another heroine to compare, and I bid a very fond farewell to one of my favorite characters of all time.

Fast forward a couple of years.

I was browsing the books in my local Barnes and Noble, looking for something to pass the time. My favorite authors weren’t due to for a new release, and I wasn’t in the mood for the usual romance. I wanted something different, something with bite.

A cover got my attention. It was simple but elegant, a pair of alabaster hands palming a ripe red apple. Figuring I had nothing better to do, I snagged the book and purchased it along with a double Mocha Latte. I read it in record time. It was a beautiful story, a romance that used sensuality to sell. Sure, Bella was a tad annoying, but what girl isn’t at that age? And that hunk, Edward, hubba-bubba! Not a bad read at all, and guess what? The sequel, New Moon, was coming soon!

It was a good thing I had the foresight to save that first edition hardback, because soon after, the Twilight frenzy was born.

Now, it’s all about New Moon. The motion picture is on the way and the hype has just begun. As I stare at the numerous billboards lining the walkways of Target and Wal-Mart, I have to ask myself…What is the deal?

Attending the release party at that same Barnes and Noble for Breaking Dawn was a mind-blowing experience. For one, I discovered no book, and I do mean no book, is worth the agonizing shrieks of ecstatic tweens as they clamor for their sparkling vampire fix. Fights broke out over quizzes that indicated your “blood type”, and if you were the parent of the disgruntled girl that got the white paper bracelet that signified Jacob’s preference, Lord help you.

Then it hit me.

The frenzy isn’t about Bella at all. It’s all about Edward – the man that completes her. For without him, she is nothing.

Testing my theory, I pulled out Twilight and read it again, then came New Moon and Eclipse. Yep, it was just as I thought. Bella, the ever normal Mary Sue that is plain and shy but shows up at a new school and becomes uber-popular and snags the attention of the notorious unobtainable vamp himself, is only important so long as the topazed-eyed vegetarian sparkler is at her side. What better way to prove self-worth than to gain the attention of the most beautiful creature in existence, and maintain it permanently?

Jaded and angry, I pulled out my DVD collection of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, starting with season one. There were similarities – anxiety, shyness, attempting to fit in.

But then, it happened.

Buffy meets Angel, and in true kick-ass manner, she blows him off. Oh, to be sure, she did so in a sultry fashion. And what do you know? The boy follows her. Thus, one of the most beloved and indelible couples on the small screen was born.

It’s a shame Buffy The Vampire Slayer didn’t get the recognition Twilight has. Though they are notably different (Buffy, though in print and comic format, is inherently a television show), the messages were so much deeper, so much more involved. Sure “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” sounds silly, but that goes to show you that it’s not smart to judge a book by its title, or in this case, the catchy symbolism of a cover.

If Mr. Whedon has some free time, maybe he can schedule an intervention and do the world a favor.

Have Buffy give Bella a call, Joss. The world needs a reality check.

Happy Reading!
Jaime AKA J.A. Saare

Soft As Moonlight Moon Kissed Lick of Frost A Kiss Before Dying

J. A. will be giving away a $10 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter from her blog tour so don’t forget to comment here to have a chance to win. For details of JA Saare’s entire blog tour go here.

Which heroine do you prefer? Buffy or Bella? What do you think makes a good heroine?

Cabin Fever!

I have a special guest today–Alisha Rai who is celebrating the release of her new book Cabin Fever. Like many writers Alisha is an avid reader and this started her journey to published author. Today she’s talking about weather, seasons and yummy treats. I definitely want to try this recipe!


I recently moved to the Midwest from Florida, where one of my chief complaints was the utter lack of seasons. Yeah, sunshine is awesome, but after a few years of nonstop heat and humidity (and sometimes hurricanes, but for the sake of my remaining property value, I’m not going to bring that up again), I found myself starting to long for some cool weather.

Let’s not get crazy. As fond as I am of the time I lived in Buffalo, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to experience that kind of a winter again. But right now, the weather’s going through that lovely shift from summer to fall. There are too many wonderful things that make this time perfect for me: the cool mornings, the colors of the changing leaves, the slight smell of smoke in the air…and the flavors.

Heck, yes. The flavors of fall. It’s a full section in my recipe box. September’s here, people! It’s socially acceptable to eat pumpkin pie! Not to mention a whole bunch of other tasty things which just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, even as the weather turns chillier.

So what’s cozier than a good cup of hot cocoa? To keep my hero and heroine warm—not that they really needed help—I featured the following drink in my new release, Cabin Fever.

By the way, the name of the drink is, you guessed it: Cabin Fever. Because I’m just that big of a nerd. I can’t help it, I must sprinkle corny, obscure inside jokes into my stories. Forgive me.

One shot of Baileys
One shot of crème de menthe
Whipped cream
Cup of hot chocolate (or to taste)

Mix the Bailey’s and crème de menthe, pour in the hot chocolate and stir. Garnish with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and a cherry. Enjoy and stay warm!

Alisha Rai
Cabin Fever Now Available!

Do you have any questions for Alisha? Do you like to have different seasons? Do you like the change of seasons? Do you like a kick to your hot chocolate?

The Pursuit of Happiness

I’m blogging at Access Romance today and talking about happiness again. A person can never have too much happiness! I’m also giving away a print book to one of the commenters, so I hope you’ll come and say hello.

Here’s the link.

Meantime, I’m off to the edit cave. Wish me luck. :grin:

Cry Mercy with Toni Andrews

Cry Mercy

Today my special guests are Toni Andrews and Mercy Hollings, the heroine of Toni’s new release, Cry Mercy. I interviewed Mercy and this is what she said…

Toni is giving away a copy of Cry Mercy. All you need to do to enter the draw is comment on this post. (Note – I’m a little late posting this for Toni and Mercy so I’ll choose the winner on 25 June)

Toni’s web site
To receive a signed book plate send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope here
Toni’s Blog
Toni’s TV show
Cry Mercy Trailer

Links to purchase the book:

Mira Books (discounted while they last!)
Amazon Link
Amazon UK Link
Barnes and Noble
Indigo Books (Canada)
Rendezvous Romance (Australia)