Sunday, August 20, 2017

Forbidden Love

I’m going to serial blog on various themes so popular in romance and fiction. The themes that tug at our hearts and keep the pages turning are what good books are made of.

When you hear forbidden love, do you think of Father Ralph and Meggie from Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds? Or two lovers separated by family, faith, social status, or ethnicity? Romeo and Juliet come to mind. Jane Eyre had her fill of an unsuitable suitor pursuing her when he was already married (granted, Mrs. R was insane, but still – Jane’s conscience would not allow her to be with Mr. Rochester until he was free). Even Mr. Darcy had some apprehension about aligning himself with Elizabeth due to her crazy family and lower social status. Anna Karenina was unable to break away from her husband due to his threat of keeping her from her children.

In books we can have shapeshifters fall in love with humans against their group’s rules, or otherworldly characters who must change forever in order to be with the one they love. Think of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, or even the Beast in the timeless classic. Twilight’s angst-ridden vampires and werewolves risked everything for normal teen love. Forbidden love, in all its forms, is exciting, heartbreaking, romantic, and often a key theme in books and movies. Whether the would-be lovers finally reach their happy ending or the reader is dragged to the depths of emotional hell with them is what makes the journey all that more special. The bittersweet separation, the heartfelt goodbyes and ultimate reconciliation are what make this theme so intriguing and timeless.

What are your favorite tales dealing with forbidden love?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Swept Away By Love

Do you ever look at your significant other, child, or dear friend and get swept up in a great feeling of love?  There’s no feeling like it. I get overcome now and then when I least expect it: on a cruise with my husband of 20 years, while talking with my lovely, intelligent daughter and my pre-high school-just-about-to-become-a-man son, or when browsing a quilt shop with my mom. It happens during the most mundane, taken-for-granted times, but the feeling makes me cherish my family all the more.

Romance authors strive to put that "swept away" emotion into every page. We want you, our readers, to laugh and cry along with our characters (in the appropriate places, of course, or we haven’t done our job!) and to close the book at the end with a sigh and a smile as you place it on your keeper shelf. How do we write with that deep emotion? I think of my own situations, past and present. Broken hearts, redeemable love, forgiveness, sorrow, joy and ecstasy are all part of our lives. You’ve experienced them and so have I. Touching upon that common thread is what brings stories to life. You may never dance at a royal ball or feel the hot desert sun of the old west on your face, but your emotions can soar along with the characters as they find their happily ever after.

What books have swept you away?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shh...Writer At Work!

I have been remiss in updating my blog on a regular basis, but I have a darn good reason for my absence. I've been finishing up my latest Regency historical romance, which will be the first of three books in a series called The Reckless Heiresses.

Do you like long, emotionally-satisfying, in-depth and sexy romances? Like your rogues redeemable? Your heroines independent and fiercely willful? Then this will be your series. Since I have neglected my dear readers for so long, I will tease you with a sample of my work-in-progress.

The set-up: scientifically-minded Devlina Howard is an heiress on a mission. She must capture the heart of Lord Clayton, the season's most eligible bachelor or be doomed to marrying (in her words), "a milky-eyed viscount."

Her problem? She is far too innocent in the ways of the bedchamber, and has overheard her intended comment that he wants an experienced bride.

Her solution? Ask the season's least eligible and most notorious rake for lessons in seduction.

Jared Vickers has a reputation he is quite happy to nurture, if it keeps spoiled, grasping heiresses out of his purse and heart. He agrees to Devlina's absurd proposal but makes one of his own: she must come to his family's home for two weeks and pose as his fiancee, so his grandmother won't cut him out of her will.

Devlina agrees. After all, her heart is securely devoted to Lord Clayton, and Jared has sworn off love forever. But two weeks should surely be enough to meet both their goals, and then they can go their separate ways.


Here is a scene for your enjoyment. Jared and Devlina have stopped at an inn, and begin their first lesson.

“We can skip the embracing and kissing and go onto something else.”
Oh, dear. “Yes?” She tried to act as if he were talking about a chess lesson. He stood close and took her wine glass from her. A tremor ran through her and she gave a soft gasp.
“Ah, that’s exactly what I was talking about. You startle and then sort of tremble when I’m too close to you. Not in the coach, but like this. When we’re alone.”
“Believe me, sir, it is your manners, or lack thereof, that elicit such a reaction, and not your legendary prowess.”
“Legendary? Hmm…well, I was discussing the trembling in relation to Lord Clayton and how you may react when he is near you. Such reactions smack highly of immaturity and inexperience. Your ideal is a confident Frenchwoman, is it not? You’d want to rid yourself of it right away.”
She nodded in relief. “I understand. How do I do it?”
“By constant contact with me.” When she stared at him in stunned silence, he shook his head. “I mean during our lesson times. Throughout the rest of the day, you can keep as far from me as you please.”
“When I’m not playing the adoring fiancée, you mean.”
He crooked his finger at her and indicated she should come nearer. She took one step and then another, inching toward him until he held up his hand.
“This is nothing. I stood closer to you at the ball, and closer still in your carriage.”
“We were surrounded by many people at the ball, and Mrs. Kendrick was in the carriage. Now, we are alone, as you will be with the dapper Clayton one glorious night in the future.” He reached for her hands and she took his reluctantly. A small gasp popped from between her closed lips. His hands were warm and big and broad. His fingers covered hers completely. A shiver tickled through her. He sighed.
“No trembling, Miss Howard.”
“I didn’t mean to.” She drew a deep breath and gave her head a shake. “I’ll do better.”
“Good. Now, as your trembling ceases, move closer to me until you feel as comfortable with me as your village parson.”
“I didn’t grow up in a village.”
“Use your imagination, you confounded creature.” He gave her hands a little tug, and she moved closer one step. “Now, look into my eyes. No, don’t allow your eyes to flit all over my face, or that annoying scar above my brow, which mars my otherwise spotless visage. My eyes, Miss Howard.”
“I like that little scar. It makes you look rather….dangerous.” She’d been about to say dashing, but changed her mind at the last minute.
“I received it during a very unadventurous moment. I was climbing out of my bath and slipped on the wet floor.” His eyebrow arched. “Before you assume something risqué, I may add that I was still in the nursery, and not escaping from a paramour’s boudoir.”
“It still makes you look dangerous.”
“My eyes, Miss Howard.”
She gulped and feared he heard it. She slowly raised her gaze to lock onto his. “I’m looking, Mr. Vickers.”

To be continued....

My anticipated completion date will be September 1st. I hope you enjoyed reading this sample as greatly as I am enjoying writing it. For readers of my other books, Jared is less a rogue than Jack Waverley ever was, but has a broken heart he struggles to hide. Devlina is not as worldly as Georgiana Lockewood is, but fans of Georgie will appreciate Devlina's self-assured air and intelligence.

More to come later! Hope you enjoy my other books in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

RETURN TO ME: A New Western Historical Romance!

Just in time for the holidays, I have published a new western historical romance set in Colorado. Mail-order brides have always appealed to me - maybe it's the idea of heading off into the unknown to face a future filled with possible romance and excitement that makes the subject so appealing. I was inspired to write RETURN TO ME when I visited Boulder last December and saw the Flat Iron mountains in all their cold, wintry glory. How did pioneers, especially women, face the hardships of this rugged land, so far from their families and homes? It's difficult to imagine life in the old west, but I hope my novella will get you thinking of women who make the hard decision to set off to a new land.

As a special bonus, I have attached a smaller novella, AN UNEXPECTED BRIDE, at the end of Return to Me. BRIDE is an extended version of a short mini-read I wrote a few years ago, and remarkably, the reviews I received said the readers wanted a longer story! So I made it longer and threw in a sweet kiss for good measure. I hope my readers enjoy these new stories, published on Amazon for the very first time.

What do you think of shorter reads in e-books?  Like 'em or prefer to have a longer book? Or does it depend on the author, theme, or genre? Please share what you like to spend your money on and we can have a great discussion.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday time regardless of the festivities you celebrate. This is the season for closing up the old year and preparing for the new, and I hope to contribute to your stolen moments when you lose your heart in a book!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In The Arms of An Earl second chance!

I am excited to announce that my first Regency historical romance, In The Arms of An Earl, is an Amazon "Encore" release!  They picked 100 romance novels out of 1,000s of The Wild Rose Press's catalog. It is being offered for free to Kindle Select readers for a set time frame. As of this writing, the Amazon ranking went from the high 700ks to about 39k! Thank you to everyone who read my book the first time it came out, and for those of you willing to give it a try now.

I got the idea for this story from my longtime favorite character, Mary Bennet of Pride and Prejudice. Specifically, from the actress, Talulah Riley (pictured on the right), who played Mary in the Focus Features film a decade ago. I was thinking of writing a spin-off P&P series of the younger Bennet sisters, Kitty and Mary. I couldn't think of how to make Mary a romantic heroine until I saw a photo of the actress who played Mary in the film. Seeing how lovely Talulah is in real life made me think that this is what our plain little Mary would look like if she were in love and cared for by a wonderful man.

Enter composer and hand amputee, Frederick Blakeney. This hero is probably the closest to my ideal man whom I've ever written. Tall, dark and handsome, with a musical genius cut short by a wound suffered in the war, Frederick is considerate, passionate, and ready and willing to sweep our plain little spinster off her feet and into the glittering world of London. Mary can hardly believe that her idol loves her as much as she loves him, and because of her own insecurities and being overshadowed by two newly married beautiful sisters, the plot of the book came quite easily.

But my heroine is named Jane, you may argue. What's all this about Mary? The original title of In the Arms of An Earl was MISS BENNET IN LOVE. I couldn't find a publisher willing to take on a story about Mary, so the new title and certain elements of P&P remain.

So, if you're like me, and always wanted to see Mary Bennet in her own happily ever after, please feel free to indulge yourself and imagine my heroine, Jane Brooke, is the hapless, hopeless, Mary Bennet. Perhaps you'll be cheering for her and Frederick by the time you reach The End.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

NY Times Best-Selling Author Lexi Post Is Here!

I am happy to have Lexi Post with us today! She is a NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of erotic romance based on classic works. Join us and learn what Lexi is up to, and even try for a chance to win one of her e-books! So, sit back, kick your boots off and pour a cup or glass of whatever suits your fancy, and let's talk books!

ANNA: Hi, Lexi! Thank you for stopping by today. Your new series sounds intriguing. Tell us about it!

LEXI POST: Hi, Anna, thank you for having me for a visit. I'm very excited to be included in a new boxed set coming out Thursday. It's called HOT WESTERN NIGHTS, and it includes my book, Cowboys Never Fold, which is the first in the Poker Flat series. In fact, all the stories in this boxed set are the first in a series! It's available now for pre-order on Amazon. This set is full of cowboys and one Native American, along with a little mystery and paranormal thrown in for good measure. Some stories are HOT while others are sweeter.

ANNA:  So there's something for every reader! Cowboys always make a good read. But is there a different genre you would like to try someday?

LEXI: Right now, I'm writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and I'm loving it. Classic literature just makes my mind take off in all kinds of directions.

ANNA: I know what you mean. I am inspired by so many different things, and a lot of them come from other books or movies. Are all your books erotic romance?

LEXI: I have three completed manuscripts that are the first in their series, and they are simply romance without the "erotic." So I hope to be writing and selling those some day as well.

ANNA: It's fun to try new story lines and genres. I find that switching back and forth between westerns, Regency era, and contemporary romances keeps me from getting bored. How would you characterize your writing style?

LEXI:  According to my agent, I write "erotic romance with a whole lotta story!" Because I'm inspired by classic literature, the background of my characters is already deep, which gives me so much to work with when it comes to story. For example, in COWBOYS NEVER FOLD, I used Bret Harte's 1869 short story called "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." In that story, Harte threw together a gambler, a prostitute, a madam, a drunk, and two innocents. As one of my reviewers said, it sounds like the beginning of a joke! I switched the original story up with Kendra, my heroine, as the former professional gambler who hires a cowboy, Wade (the innocent), to set up and manage the new stables of her soon-to-open nudist resort. I filled the resort with the other characters from the original story, added a hacker, and - TA DA! I had so much to work with I had to make it a series!

ANNA: That sounds like a great adaptation! I especially like that the "bad boy" character is actually your heroine. Taking a fresh twist on a classic is exciting and new. Many authors take favorite themes from their favorite authors. Speaking of which, who are your favorites?

LEXI: From my childhood, it would be Louisa May Alcott. From my days as a romance reader, it would be Johanna Lindsey and Julie Garwood. Now, as a writer, I read Jennifer Ashley and all my other writer friends that I can.

ANNA: Louisa May Alcott was one of my first favorites. I even turned a corner of our freezing cold garage into a "writing garrett" like Jo March had! I wonder, how many romance authors were inspired by Alcott's chaste love scenes, when Laurie kissed Jo and Mr. Brooke proposed to Meg? What should new readers know about you, Lexi?

LEXI: I love hearing from readers! Chatting about the characters in the stories is so much fun, and no one understands that except for my readers. I had a chance to have dinner with some of them at Romantic Times convention this year and that was so fun!

ANNA: That would be exciting for you to meet with your readers, as well as for them to meet you! It sounds like you take care of your readers.

LEXI: I send monthly Lexi Post Updates to keep my readers abreast of what's next. I also offer prizes, cover reveals, and sneak peeks as well as other opportunities just for them. To receive my update coming out on Sept. 2,  join here.

ANNA: Thank you again for stopping by, Lexi, and for the wonderful excerpt. We wish you luck in your writing career and with the new POKER FLAT series!

LEXI: Thank you so much for having me, Anna. It's been so great to chat with you.

ANNA: Readers, please enjoy the PG-rated excerpt below! And remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a fabulous, free e-book!


  Striding toward the front desk, she noticed Wade and Lacey getting into a golf cart. Now why did Lacey have to show him where the stables were? Couldn’t he see them for himself?
  Irritation had her taking another swallow. Pushing open one of the tall tinted doors that welcomed visitors to the resort, she stepped out into the heat.
  Lacey was explaining. “Don’t worry, it’s actually a rule that we keep our clothes on during our shift. Just be forewarned, Adriana does like men, so you may want to be on your guard with her.”
  Wade smiled. “Good to know.”
  Kendra gritted her teeth. The cowboy didn’t need a personal escort to the stables. Her bookkeeper/receptionist had a lot of work to do. “Lacey, did you show Wade his casita?”
  The pretty girl started as if she’d been caught doing something she shouldn’t. “Oh, I didn’t know you were here. Yes, I did. I was going to explain the stables to Wade, but I need to reconcile the bedding shipment with what we received.”
  Kendra’s muscles relaxed. “Go ahead and do the shipment. I’ll point out the way. We’re shorthanded as it is and your abilities are critical to Poker Flat.”
  Lacey blushed. “Okay. Thanks.”
   As Lacey walked into the building, Kendra studied the cowboy. He considered her with equal interest, but it wasn’t admiration. He appeared puzzled and that gave her a certain amount of satisfaction. She never revealed her hand.
  Strolling over to the cart, she took one more swallow of her shake. “Have you ever driven a golf cart?”
  The brim of his hat shaded his face, but his expression was easily read. “Yes, actually. I helped my little sister with a few of her golf tournament fundraisers.”
   Oh boy, this cowboy was far too good for the likes of Poker Flat. One more reason for her to stay away. “Good. Then take the path marked with the horse’s head. We made all the signs easy for guests to follow.”
  He looked at the sign, putting his face in profile again. Shit, he was as handsome from the side as from the front. She had the unusual urge to nip at his jawline.
   “That’s smart. I wish all vacation spots did that.”
  His compliment surprised her, and she shifted her weight to her right leg, jutting out her hip. “I had to do that because our employee base isn’t large and I didn’t want to waste staff positions on golf cart drivers.”
  He turned back to her and smiled. “Another smart idea.”
   Completely uncomfortable with his praise and inviting smile, she ignored his comment. “In your office you should find enough to get started. Make a list of anything there you need as well as anything else for marking trails and suggestions for horses. I plan on having guests chauffeured from the garage to the resort in a wagon and I want to offer trail rides for those who are more adventurous. Remember, all guests will be nude, so if there are any special supplies we need in order to make sitting a horse comfortable, write them down too.”
  His smile disappeared. “Wait, you want people to ride horses while naked?”
  “Of course. This is a nudist resort.”
  “I’m sorry, but you can’t do that.”
   She opened her mouth to tell him she could do whatever she wanted, but he kept talking.
   “If a person rides naked, they will have burns not only on their legs where they brush the saddle, but also in other areas that I guarantee you they will not be happy about.”
  She pondered that for a moment. Maybe that was why no other resort offered nude horseback riding, why Buddy and Ginger had longed for that experience so much. So if she could figure it out, it would make her place even more unique than it was. “I’m sure we can come up with a way around that. We’ll go over it tonight.”
  He frowned and her stomach tensed. “Dinner is at six. Don’t be late. You don’t want to miss Selma’s cooking and you don’t want to make her mad at you either.”
  “Why Ms. Lowe?”
  “Trust me. I was late one night and I found my quesadilla riddled with hot pepper sauce so fiery it burned my mouth for two days. You’re better off not showing up at all.”
  He grinned and her stomach relaxed. “Okay, I’ll be on time.”
  “Good, and Wade…”
  “I’m not high society and I’m not married anymore, so as I said before, we can drop the Ms. Lowe.”
He bowed his head and she could have sworn he was hiding a smile, but when he looked at her, he was dead serious. “I’ll remember that, Kendra.”
  Her throat closed as he spoke her name, a strong rush of heat invading her body. Nodding once, she turned around and strode back to the building, throwing her empty shake can in the trash outside before stepping into the coolness of the resort.
   Damn, she liked the sound of her name on his lips. Staying away from that cowboy was going to be very, very hard.
Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of erotic romance. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she's read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. Lexi believes there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great literature. Her books are known as "erotic romance with a whole lot of story."

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat.

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