Thursday, June 30, 2011

FRIDAY FREE FOR ALL - Meet Author Lilly Gayle!

I'm so excited that LILLY GAYLE is here with us today and she's brought her brand new release, SLIGHTLY TARNISHED. Love that title, Lilly!
You can find out about SLIGHTLY TARNISHED and all of Lilly's work at her website

But come on back, grab a cup of coffee -  and a clothespin for your nose - because Lilly is addressing a very stinky subject.

Thanks for being here, Lilly. Take it away.............

What a Stink!
My first published historical, Slightly Tarnished, is set mostly in England during the time of The Great Stink, a time during the spring and summer of 1858 when the smell of untreated waste in London became so intolerable people fled the city in droves. 
Prior to the Great Stink, homeowners dumped chamber pots and slop jars directly into the streets where open drains carried the waste to the Thames. That was also around the same time flushing toilets became more prevalent in the home.
Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the flush toilet, but he did increase the popularity of the toilet and gave us a new slang word for poop. And poop was flowing freely by the summer of 1858. By that time, many Londoners had flushing toilets, which dramatically increased the volume of wastewater pouring into cesspits. In most cases, these cesspits were open pits dug out under the house and as they filled, sludge and mold often seeped into the walls on the lower floors.
If not properly maintained, the cesspits would overflow into the streets, clogging the already overused sewage drains. Even when the drains didn’t clog, all wastewater from homes, factories, and slaughter houses dumped into the River Thames.   
By the summer of 1858 the river was overflowing with sewage. The stench was so bad Parliament ceased functioning. And quickly ordered an overhaul of London's sewerage system.
Prior to the completion of the new sewer system,  some interesting occupations emerged, all of which were considered low-class and menial jobs and many of these jobs were held by children as young as ten.
Toshers, also called grubbers, scavenged through the sewers looking for valuables, such as an accidentally flushed ring or coins. A nasty job, but digging through the solid waste helped keep the sewers flowing by removing small obstructions. Whole families often dug through the poop together and one of the added benefits was some sort of odd immunity to sewage-related diseases.
Mudlarks scavenged along the muddy banks of the River Thames and its tributaries, searching for small items of value missed by the Toshers.
Nightsoil Harvesters removed waste from London’s sewers to farms outside the city for use as manure. Some enterprising homeowners even hired children as young as ten to remove the waste from the cesspits beneath their homes to keep them from overflowing.  Of course, there was always the possibility a buildup of methane gas would cause an explosion, killing the child. Children often asphyxiated or drowned in the sewers as well. Then the homeowners had to pay extra to remove the corpses, but small bodies cost less to extract, hence, the hiring of children.
Flushermen flushed away waste and anything that might block the flow of water in the new sewer system after it was constructed.
And finally, there were the Rat-Catchers, hired by the city to catch rats and prevent the spread of disease.
Makes you glad technology has come as far as it has. Doesn’t it?


Victorian romance laced with danger.

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.

“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”
Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”
He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”
Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.
“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.
Oh my!
“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.
“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.
A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.
“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.
He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”
“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SPOTLIGHT ON.............

A MAN LIKE THAT by Alison Henderson

Jessamine Randall is not a woman to be left waiting at the altar. When her fiancĂ© disappears hours before their wedding, she hatches a plan to track him down. She follows him deep into the Ozark Mountains, where she’s sucked into a whirlpool of secrets and old hatreds, but her greatest challenge is Morgan himself

Available TODAY!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FREE FOR ALL FRIDAY - Meet Author Randi Alexander!

Please help me welcome the talented RANDI ALEXANDER! She's brought CHASE AND SEDUCTION, her newest release, a very hot and sexy contemporary romance. And she will be giving away a free e-copy of HER COWBOY STUD to one lucky commentator. Plus - see it just keeps getting better - Randi is giving away a cowgirl hat to one subscriber to her newsletter.

You can learn more about Randi and her work at
then come on back and get to know Randi :)

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting me on your blog today. I'd like to talk a little bit about mentoring. It can be a scary term that brings to mind a vision of holding a ball of modeling clay in our big, strong hand and being solely responsible for whatever shape it ultimately takes.
On the other hand, (pun intended) it can be very rewarding. I was recruited to mentor fourth-grade students at a local inner-city school. "An easy job" I thought, when I signed up. The only task was to sit with a student as they worked through assignments and help them as necessary. I could handle that.
Ha!!! No one told me there was a whole new way to do math! Talk about scary. At first, I was lost, panicky, as if I'd made a huge mistake. What could I possibly teach these math-savvy children?
But just spending time with the kids, the teacher reassured me, was the important part of mentoring. They were so appreciative to have an adult focus their entire attention on them for a whole hour. I welled up every time I walked into the classroom and saw my student's face light up. It didn't matter that I was math-challenged. We learned together, and after a year, we were very good friends.
As a published author, I have opportunities to mentor new writers. When they approach me at conferences or public appearances, I can tell they're hesitant to ask for help. I listen to the detailed description of their book, remembering when I was at the same point in my writing career.
Then I do what always seems to shock them. I ask them to send me their first three chapters. I love to see that smile dawning on their face: appreciation, excitement. Wow, someone is interested in reading their work!
I'll give them a gentle-but-honest critique, and suggest books to help with basic craft techniques. I'll read their synopses and query letters, help set up websites, blogs, show them how to use social networking. It's time consuming, definitely, but I think I've been successful. One friend just received a contract from a publisher, and another is ready to submit to an agent.
I wish I'd had a mentor when I first started writing. Someone to keep me from stumbling - at least into the really deep ruts that held me back. And I wish I'd had a mentor in fourth grade, as well. A smiling face and a listening ear for when things got shaky and I was unsure.
I encourage you to consider mentoring, no matter what your skill level. There are so many opportunities out there - not to mold and shape that ball of modeling clay, but just to hold it in your hand and warm it.
My first book, Chase and Seduction was released May 27 from The Wild Rose Press' Cowboy Kink line, and I'm excited to share the blurb and a short excerpt with you.

Country music superstar/actor Chase Tanner has yet to be denied anything–and he’s never wanted anything or anyone more than gorgeous screenplay writer Reno Linden. So when the film they are working on is finally finished, Chase decides to turn up the volume on seducing Reno. 
Reno Linden lived a quiet, rural life until she was thrust into the Hollywood scene when her book was adapted to film. Chase Tanner is larger than life, sinfully sexy and hell-bent on getting her into bed. Skittish after a failed wedding engagement, Reno risks the plunge into Chase’s arms, and is surprised that her good girl self can keep up with bad boy Chase. 
Though Chase returns to his cowboy roots often, and Reno cherishes the time spent with him on his ranch, the two find their careers pulling them in different directions. Will their attraction survive the glitz and stress of fame? 
EXCERPT: Over 18 only, please.
Chase brushed his lips against her hair, and settled in. As exhaustion took him, he smiled. He couldn’t remember being this happy. Ever. But he had to know what she was feeling.
“Are you excited to go home, Reno?”
She hauled in a long breath and let it out slowly. “I wouldn’t say excited. Maybe anxious. I have so much to do once I get there.”
“Your book edits?”
“Yes, and I’m teaching a class in a few weeks. I haven’t prepared for that yet.”
The floral scent of her hair snuck into his nostrils. Another thing about her he’d never forget. “Is that what you want to be when you grow up? A teacher?”
She laughed and ran her hand over his ribs. “I do. I love to write, but I have a longing to share what I’ve learned with others. I get so excited reading young writers’ work, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to guide them. I’ve had some amazing mentors…and some not so great.”
She was talking about her ex-boyfriend. The one who tried to change her writing style. Make her into something she wasn’t so she’d fit into his life better. Asshole.
Her shoulder shrugged once, and she asked, “What about you, Chase. What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Staring into the dark, he couldn’t find the answer. He’d always wanted to go back to school. Not high school, but college. Take some classes and learn about things that people talked about. Politics and religion. Evolution, the planets, stuff under microscopes.
But he couldn’t tell Reno that. Hell, two years ago, he’d asked Jorjia to help him find a college, and she’d freaked out. She didn’t want the media to get a hold of the story. It would embarrass her if people knew she was dating someone so low class. That’s what she called him. Low class. She’d slapped him down hard, and the ache still lingered, flaring up every time he thought about going back to school.
He kissed Reno’s forehead. She’d never say something like that to him. But he sure as hell wasn’t going to remind her how uneducated he was.
“When I grow up, baby, I wanna be twice as sexy as I am now.”
She giggled a couple small laughs, then her breathing grew heavy and slow.
His last thought before he followed her into sleep, was that he’d never do anything to embarrass her the way he’d almost done to Jorjia.

To celebrate the release of Chase and Seduction, I'm giving away, to one lucky *commenter, an e-copy of my novella Her Cowboy Stud. Just leave a comment today and we'll choose a winner tomorrow. 
*Commenter must be 18 years of age or older to win.

I'm also giving away a cowgirl hat to one subscriber to my newsletter. For more details, and to sign up for this contest, please go to my website,  And while you're there, you can read the first chapter of Chase and Seduction.
Good luck, and thank you!
Chase and Seduction available at The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses