Today I’d like to welcome author Diane Alberts with her new contemporary romance release Play Me. Welcome, Diane!
Thank you so much for having me here today to talk about Play Me!
Give us an elevator pitch for your book, Play Me.
It’s about a woman who’s scared to fall in love, and the childhood friend who refuses to give up on her, no matter what she throws at him.
Where did the inspiration for Play Me come from, and how much research did you need to do during the writing of your sports romance?
Ironically enough, the idea came from a Twitter conversation! I tweeted that I was spending Valentine’s Day on the bleachers of a middle school basketball game for my teen, and a friend said there had to be a romance book in that somewhere. Next thing I knew? I had Garrett and Kiersten in my head.
What do you think are the characteristics of a good hero in a romance?
He has to be strong, stubborn, and willing to admit he’s wrong. And, above all, once he meets the heroine, no other woman can exist in his eyes. It’s all about her, even if he’d previously been playboy of the worst sort.
Describe the sights, sounds and scents we might experience if we were to visit Garrett Kelly during a normal day.
He’d smell like cologne, and he’d more than likely have red pen on his hands from correcting papers. He’d be twitchy toward the end of the day, because it would be time to go play ball. And, above all, he’d shoot you the brightest, hottest smile you’d ever seen.
Play Me is a friends-to-lovers story. What is your favorite plot type to write and why?
I love when the hero falls in love with his best friend’s sister (which is also in the book). It will always be my favorite trope to read and write. I love waiting to see how the brother reacts, and what happens after the truth comes out.
Is there any part of the writing process that you find particularly challenging and why?
The beginning of a book is always the slowest for me. You have to lay the groundwork for why they are the way they are, and it takes a lot of time and concentration. It also says how they will react to everything you throw at them throughout the whole book.
Describe your writing area to us. Is there any one thing you must have before you start writing each day?
I have my desk set up in the dining room, and it has some of my books in the one corner. On the other, I have a small Thor action figure (My hubby got it for me, because I love Thor) and an Eiffel tower light. I put my coffee on a candle warmer, and then the words all flow.
What project(s) are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a few more contemporary romance books for Entangled Publishing, and a New Adult book as well, written under Jen McLaughlin.
And now, here’s a question from Diane for you – So, tell me! What is your favorite quality in a hero?
CONTEST – Diane is giving away an e-book – Winner’s choice of a pdf of Try Me (Take a Chance #1) or Love Me (Take a Chance #2). To enter the draw answer Diane’s question above or ask her one of your own in the comments section.
Single-mom Kiersten Worth knows a bottle of champagne and night of hot, no-strings-attached sex is the perfect solution to her jilted bride blues…and Garrett Kelly, long-time friend and her teenaged son’s sexy basketball coach, is just the stud for the job.
Garrett wants more from the elusive temptress than a casual affair, but he never expects it to come in the form of an unexpected pregnancy. When he proposes an unorthodox solution—move in and raise their baby together—Kiersten has to decide whether to let down her guard and open her heart to the man who secretly loved her for years, or risk losing his tender embrace for good.
Books in the Take a Chance Series:
Try Me: Take a Chance Book 1
Love Me: Take a Chance Book 2
Play Me: Take a Chance Book 3
About the Author:
Diane Alberts has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, a cat, and a Senegal parrot. In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another.
She is a multi-published, bestselling author with Entangled Publishing, Swoon Romance, and Decadent Publishing. She has, as of this date, four books with Entangled Publishing, one book with Swoon Romance, and five older books with Decadent Publishing. Her February release with Entangled Publishing, ON ONE CONDITION, hit #18 on the Barnes and Noble Bestseller List, and TRY ME hit #76 on Amazon. Her Swoon Romance novella, CAPTIVATED BY YOU, hit #31 on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list. Her goal is to write so many fantastic books that even a non-romance book fan will know her name.
She also writes New Adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. Diane is represented by Louise Fury from the L. Perkins Agency.
Christmas is coming. Give your lover the gift of pleasure…
Gaby Montgomery works for Fancy Free as a condom designer. Recently she’s been designing sex toys and testing her inventions with fellow designer Marc, but they’ve parted ways. The timing couldn’t be worse because she’s stuck without a willing test subject for her sexy products.
Gaby’s roommates Liam Richardson and Fletch Darcy both want a serious relationship with Gaby, and now that she’s free, it’s time to make a move. But how do they decide which one will date Gaby? Fletch finally suggests they share her. Liam is skeptical but agrees the scheme might work, which allows Fletch to move on to step two of his romance plan. Fletch doesn’t just want Gaby, he wants Liam as well.
The loving is hot, their days full of fun product testing, exquisite pleasure and laughter. Everything is perfect until the outside world intrudes, putting their budding relationship under stress. This time their love and friendship might not stand the pressure.
Publisher’s Note: Want to have more fun with the characters in this book, including finding out more about those spaceship sightings, then pick up Fancy Free along with the books in the Talking Dog series. They’re an out-of-this world experience.
I’d like to welcome Karen Stivali here today. Her story features a new product called a Spice Rack, which sounds super cool, but something that should come with a super spicy warning! Check out the blurb.
DECADENCE By Karen Stivali
A book in the Spice Rack series.
In eight years of marriage, Eric Carlson has never forgotten to kiss his wife Jessica goodbye—until this morning. As Jessica runs her errands, all she can think about is the missing kiss. When Eric calls to tell her he thinks he left the toaster oven on, she rushes home, annoyed and afraid her house may be burning down. Instead of smoke and flames she finds Eric, looking hot and sexy as hell as he prepares fresh waffles.
Eric knows he and Jessica have been drifting apart. He’s bought the hot new product everyone’s talking about—the Spice Rack, guaranteed to spice up your love life. The jar he opens advises them to “Spend a decadent day indulging all your senses.” With the whole day ahead of them, a fridge full of tempting treats and the house to themselves for a change, that’s exactly what Eric intends to do—in the kitchen, on the washing machine, wherever the mood strikes. And Jessica’s got a super-steamy surprise for him too.
A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Excerpt from DECADENCE
He didn’t even kiss me goodbye. Jessica knew it was silly to get upset over something so minor, but she couldn’t help it. In the eight years they’d been married, she couldn’t remember another morning when Eric had forgone the farewell kiss. Sure, the kids were running amok, a sea of backpacks and lunchboxes, but that was normal. Eric saying goodbye with a wave was not.
“See you later.” He’d thrown her his trademark sexy grin. She’d stood still for a few seconds, holding the door open as the kids piled out of the house, waiting. And…nothing.
While queued in the drop-off line at the elementary school, she flipped open the vanity mirror. She didn’t look like a beauty queen but at least she’d showered. Her skin was clear, her cheeks even a bit rosy from gardening the day before. She grimaced. I should have brushed my hair. Dark hair, wavy and out of control, pulled into a loose ponytail paired with t-shirt and yoga pants. I look like a teenager. Not exactly sexy. Frowning at her reflection, she heard the car behind her honk.
“Mom, pull up, it’s our turn.” Timmy, though only seven, had been a backseat driver for nearly five years.
“Sorry.” She inched the car toward the orange drop-off cone and stopped. “Have a good day, guys. I love you.”
“Love you too, mom,” the chorus of three came from the backseat as they scrambled out the door.
Taking a last quick glance in the mirror, she snapped it shut and eased back into the parking lot. As she was about to turn onto the main road, her cell rang. XXXXX, Eric’s ringtone. She fumbled in her purse and slid the purple case open. Holding the phone to her ear with her shoulder, she pulled onto the street, not wanting to get beeped at a second time this morning.
“Hey, sweetie,” Eric said. “Can you do me a favor?”
Sighing, Jessica shifted to keep the phone in place as she changed lanes. “What’s up?”
“I know you said you were going to the grocery store, but I need you to stop home first. I think I may have left the toaster oven on.”
“Can’t you go check?”
“I’ve got a really important meeting this morning. I need you to do it. Please?” She could hear the smile in his voice. The charming, irresistible smile to which she’d never been able to say no.
“Fine.” Even if you didn’t bother to kiss me this morning.
Did he just chuckle?
She hung up and tossed the phone back into her purse. Great. Now I have to go all the way home, which means I won’t get to the store for another hour. Not that it was a huge deal. With all three boys in school this year she had her days to herself. She’d been looking forward to that for years, but it wasn’t as fun and freeing as she’d expected. All the same responsibilities were there. The house still needed to be cleaned, dinner still needed to be made, laundry was always piling up. And she always had a stack of work on her desk. Freelance graphic design was the perfect work-from-home job and she could do it any time of day or night, but lately she felt as though everything was getting away from her. Somehow she’d had more structure to her days when the kids were home than she managed to have with them in school all day.
As she turned onto her block she couldn’t help but look for signs of smoke pouring from her windows. God, I hope he didn’t really leave the toaster oven on. What the hell was he even using the toaster oven for? Eric ate cereal for breakfast, though now that she thought about it she hadn’t seen him pour himself a bowl this morning. She’d been too distracted by the fact that he was wearing only pajama pants as he plodded around the kitchen. She’d been so busy the past few weeks with back-to-school shopping and beginning-of-term projects they’d barely spent any time together. Seeing him bare chested, hair tousled from bed, reminded her that it had been a while. Too long. Her stomach fluttered from a combination of longing for Eric and fear that her house might be burning.
Jessica slammed the door of the minivan shut, breathing in deeply to see if she could catch any hint of smoke in the air. Nothing. As she opened the front door, another scent greeted her instead. The incredibly delightful aroma of…waffles. Why does the house smell like waffles? She rounded the corner into the kitchen and saw the waffle maker on the counter with Eric poised before it, faded jeans slung low on his narrow hips, a t-shirt clinging to his muscular back, dark hair still damp from a shower hanging loosely into his eyes. A wave of heat washed over her, settling between her legs. Her mouth watered from thoughts of more than just a bite of the waffle Eric was lifting out of the grates.
“Perfect timing,” he said, grinning so wide the dimples on his cheeks were positively cavernous. Blue eyes twinkled at her, full of mischief.
“What are you doing?” She tossed her purse onto the counter, mystified.
“Celebrating Mother’s Day.” He plucked a strawberry out of the colander in the sink, swirled it in a bowl of what appeared to be freshly whipped cream, and approached.
“Mother’s Day is in May. It’s October fifteenth.”
“I know.” He held the plump red berry close enough that she felt the gentle brush of cream melting against her lips. “I was thinking it was something we should celebrate more than once a year.”
She curled her tongue around the cream-covered berry and gave a quick suck before biting off a piece.
The moan Eric emitted sent a tremor rolling down her body, making her knees weak. His lips were on hers before she finished chewing. The sweetness of his velvety tongue blended perfectly with the fruit and cream. This was already better than any Mother’s Day she could recall.
CONTEST: One randomly chosen commenter will receive a digital copy of his/her choice from Karen’s backlist, so ask Karen a question or let her know you enjoyed her excerpt. To receive more chances to win follow the rest of Karen’s tour here.
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends, who never seem to mind the excessive quantities she tends to prepare. She attributes her ability to multitask to the fact that she rarely sleeps, which gives her more hours every day. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic tales filled with sarcasm and sexy details. Although she writes in three genres (erotic romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction) all of her stories are love stories with happily ever after endings.
Karen has published several erotic romance novels with Ellora’s Cave including two award winning stories: Always You (published September 2011, First Place Winner of the RWA Passionate Plume Award – 2012)Marry Me (published June 2012, First Place Winner in the NEC-RWA Bean Pot Reader’s Choice Award – 2013) and Decadence (July 2013).
Her works of women’s fiction, Meant To Be, and its sequel, Holding On, (published by Turquoise Morning Press in August and November 2012, respectively) both made the Best of 2012 list at Literati Literature Lovers.
Karen’s contemporary romances Then, Again (May 2013) and Leave the Lights On (coming November 2013) are published with Samhain publishing.
To learn more about Karen you can visit her website karenstivali.com where she blogs original recipes, sassy commentary on The Bachelor, and tidbits about her journey in the writing world. Karen can also be found attempting witty banter on Twitter http://twitter.com/karenstivali
I’m pleased to introduce Kayelle Allen, a new Ellora’s Cave author, with her first release. Kayelle is also the founder of Marketing For Romance Writers, a group you can’t afford to miss if you’re an author.
Keeper of My Pleasure
By Kayelle Allen
Rai trusts Koo to submit. To keep him, she must trust her heart.
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
This book is in the Taboo line — one of the Ellora’s Cave Quickies
A recent college graduate, Koo hires Rai as his attorney after thieves total his car and then dare to sue him. She wins, and takes him out to celebrate. Dinner leads to the hottest sex in his life, and a long-term relationship as her submissive. He adores the way she makes him feel, and the way she makes him burn. He longs to show her he has more to offer. He has a heart, and it’s hers, if only she’ll let him give it.
A successful attorney in her late thirties, Rai has a penchant for handsome young men with long hair. Koo, her newest client, becomes more than her usual boy toy. He likes being tied up and whipped, and he yields the way she’d always dreamed. But he has a future ahead of him, and she’s a jaded lawyer. He wants sex, not love. Right? He wouldn’t stay with her forever. She trusts him to submit. To keep Koo, Rai is going to have trust her heart.
Inside Scoop: Our hero willingly submits to his Dom lady love and all her toys in their BDSM play, including whips and bindings and more.
Music is "Road Adventure" from iStockPhoto, used with permission.
And Kayelle has an extra for you - Inside Peek: Keeper of My Pleasure This free, illustrated eBook provides insight about the book, its characters, and its creation. When you click the link, it will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free. http://is.gd/meet_Rai_and_Koo
About the Author
Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, EPIC Award winning author. She writes Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance, Erotic Science Fiction Romance, Mainstream Fantasy, BDSM, and non-fiction. She likes to attend Science Fiction conventions, and has been a speaker at DragonCon, Outlantacon, and Gaylaxicon. Kayelle is the founder of the author-mentoring group Marketing for Romance Writers, and manages the successful Romance Lives Forever blog. She is a US Navy Veteran, and founded the graphics and eBook conversion company The Author’s Secret. Kayelle is married to her personal hero, and makes her home in the southeast.
The rules are simple. 1. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work. 2. Open to both un-published and published authors. 3. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along. 4. HAVE FUN!!
My peek this week comes from The Bottom Line, a contemporary erotic romance, and the first in my Love and Friendship series. Past Regrets, which is book two in the series, is due out on 10 September. This scene takes place between Connor and Maggie, and Connor is plucking up the courage to offer Maggie a friends-with-benefits proposition…
“I have an idea, but I need a kiss first.”
Smiling, Maggie leaned close and pressed her lips against his cheek. She moved back before he had a chance to react.
“That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.” Blood rushed through his veins, his heart thudding against his ribs in an erratic manner. Hell, sex between them would be good, if this innocent little kiss was any indication. “A real kiss.”
Connor closed the distance between them and grasped her head firmly in his hands. She jumped at his touch, stared at him, a spark of indefinable emotion darkening the golden brown of her eyes to chocolate. His gaze dropped to her mouth. God, he’d always loved her mouth, fantasized about kissing it, seeing her lips wrapped around his cock. He snorted inwardly. Like that idea would score him points. Connor brushed his lips against hers. Soft. So soft. The rest of his body went on high alert, cock filling to press against his fly.
She sighed and he took advantage, slipping his tongue inside to taste her. Coffee and a faint minty flavor danced across his taste buds. At first he kept the kiss slow and gentle, then he lifted his head to study her. He liked the dreamy expression on her face, but he enjoyed kissing her more. He wanted her to respond to his kiss, needed to know she felt even a little like he did. Her eager lips and the hands threading through his hair, holding him in place as he wrapped his arms around her again, shot all his doubts to hell.
Slowly, he pulled back. They were both breathing fast. “Okay. That answered my question.”
Spicing up her sex life sounds exciting…until the fantasy hits the fan.
When Maggie Drummond buys an erotic romance novel by mistake, she gets more than an unexpected eyeful. She gets an introduction to a world that arouses her to a fever pitch: Spanking.
Her boyfriend isn’t interested in pushing his vanilla-flavored sexual boundaries. Then there’s Connor Grey, who haunts her fantasies like a magical genie. As a source of masculine advice for her and her female friends, he’s off limits. The only safe place to explore her fetish is her anonymous blog.
The recent changes in Maggie don’t escape Connor’s notice. Now that her boyfriend has dropped her, he can finally—carefully—make his move. Given his family history, laying a hand on any woman, even in fun, is a line he’s reluctant to cross. But for Maggie? Anything the lady wants.
As Maggie gives in to the temptation to let Connor add some sin to her life, she finds herself juggling lies, half-truths, friendship and sensual delights. Her job is in jeopardy—and she’s falling in love. Exploring her fantasy is one thing, but she’s beginning to question if indulging her own pleasure is worth the cost to everyone around her. Especially Connor…