Monday, January 31, 2011

Ready? Set? Let's Plan a Wedding!

Tomorrow begins two exciting weeks of wedding planning! Sam and Nick are counting on you to help them make all the decisions for their big day! To get you in the mood to plan the wedding, I thought it would be fun to post Nick's proposal. However, if you haven't yet read Fatal Justice, you might want to wait and read it there.

Here's the Wedding Planning Schedule:

Feb. 1: Invitations

Feb. 2: Bridesmaid Dresses

Feb. 3: Flowers

Feb. 4: Nick's tuxedo

Feb. 5: Sam's Dress

Feb. 6: Sam's Shoes

Feb. 7: Sam's Hair

Feb. 8: Nick's Ring

Feb. 9: Sam's Ring

Feb. 10: The Cake

Feb. 11: Groom's Cake

Feb. 12: Sam & Nick’s first dance

Feb. 13: Wedding Favors

Feb. 14: Honeymoon spot

How it works:
Every morning, you'll have a new decision to make. Posts launch at 7 a.m. and voting is open until midnight that day. Voting will take place in the blog sidebar. Results will remain secret until the FREE Fatal Destiny wedding novella is released on Sept. 5. We'll have random prize offerings for those who comment on the daily choices. Prizes include gift cards, books and other surprises, leading up to our grand prize of advance copies of Fatal books for the life of the series, to be awarded on Feb. 14.

Sam and Nick thank you in advance for your help in making their wedding a day to remember! See you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson


A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she's a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team—especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she's a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of "Honey Pie"...the magazine series that has all the men talking.


Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters—and Jane—perfectly clear. But if he thinks he's going to make her life a misery, he'd better think again.


For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart mouthed, pain in the backside, reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter shed her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.
Maybe it's time to take a risk. Maybe it's time to live out fantasies. Maybe it's time to....


Come by on Thursday, Feb. 3, to talk about this fun book!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Club: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake & Visit with Sarah Maclean

A lady does not smoke cheroot.

She does not ride astride.

She does not fence or attend duels.

She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

Marie's thoughts:
This was such a great book. I so adored Callie and could really empathize with her as she watched her much younger sister become engaged to a Duke while Callie sat firmly "on the shelf" as the family spinster. The scene in which Callie overhears her sister and future husband talking about making accommodations for Callie in their home was so heartbreaking. And I loved when Ralston's butler assumes Callie is a courtesan when she arrives at his home late at night. When she brazenly asks Ralston to kiss her and he says, "Why now? Why not wait for a man to come along ... and sweep you off your feet?" And she says, "If the man you speak of had ever planned on coming, my lord, I'm afraid he has obviously lost his way. And, at twenty-eight, I find that I am tired of waiting." When Ralston tells her that kisses shouldn't leave her satisfied, they should leave her wanting.... Well, I was left wanting a whole lot more of him!

I adored every scene in which Callie breaks another rule with Ralston by her side. Watching Ralston go from amused to intrigued to besotted was wonderful. Their banter made me laugh out loud more than once! Other things I loved:
-Juliana's interaction with her brothers and Callie
-The love scenes--whoo! Hot!
-That Gabriel called her "Empress"
-That Gabriel came around to embracing Callie's list and making her mission his even as he tried to deny what he was beginning to feel for her
-When she talks about being trapped in a gilded cage on the dusty shelf, and he later asks if she wants him to free her from her cage
-That Callie, who waited 28 years for a marriage proposal, turned down two of them in as many days
-The duel: so fabulous! "I aimed wide!"

I loved it the first time, and I loved it all over again when I re-read it for book club. Looking forward to Ten Ways to Be Adored When Romancing a Lord and Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart. Sarah is giving away an eARC of Eleven and a signed copy of Ten! My first question for Sarah is obvious: did you come up with those fabulous titles all on your own? :-) Welcome to book club, Sarah!

Find out more about Sarah's books here.

Here's a great recipe recommended by our resident gourmet chef, Ronlyn!

Ham 'N' Swiss Loaf

3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F)
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 cups (about 1 pound) chopped cooked ham
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Swiss cheese
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, well drained
3/4 cup diced dill pickles
1 egg, lightly beaten

In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir warm water, mustard, and butter into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Transfer to greased baking sheet. Sprinkle ham, cheese, pimientos, and pickles lengthwise over center-third of dough. With sharp knife, make cuts from filling to dough edges at 1-inch intervals along sides of filling. Alternating sides, fold strips at an angle across filling. Cover loaf; let rise in warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes.

Brush loaf with egg. Bake at 375oF for 35 minutes or until done. Remove from sheet to wire rack. Serve arm. Refrigerate leftovers; reheat to serve.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sam & Nick Are Getting Married, and You Are Invited!

I'm very excited about Sam & Nick's wedding! I've been thinking about it for months, and I'm working on the Fatal Destiny novella right now, which will feature their big day. I can promise a fun story surrounding Washington's "Wedding of the Year," but I'm leaving all the details up to you! By now, you know Sam—she'd be happy with beer and peanuts at O'Leary's. (Let's get real: she'd be THRILLED to fly off to Vegas and elope) She's tolerating her second "big white wedding" because Nick, the love of her life, has never been married before, and she knows he wants a real wedding. As a result, Sam NEEDS your help deciding on the details. Are you game?

Before I go any further, I have to give HUGE THANKS to my friends Alyson Hackett and Ronlyn Howe who worked for weeks to come up with all the wonderful choices you'll have for planning Sam and Nick's wedding. We'll do it all: rings, cake, dresses, tuxedos, hair style, shoes, honeymoon spot, transportation, first song, etc.

My good friends Chris Camara and Julie Cupp, along with my cousin Steven Lopes, spent a fun night with me last fall traipsing around Washington looking for the perfect location for Sam and Nick's wedding. We chose the following two places:

St. John's Episcopal Church, known as the Church of the Presidents due to its proximity across the street from the White House and Lafayette Square. The reception will be right next door at Washington's historic Hay-Adams hotel. I picture Sam & Nick, hand-in-hand, dashing across H Street with the White House in the background as they move from the church to the reception. The two locations are the ONLY decisions I've made or will make pertaining to the wedding. The rest is all up to you, the readers! I can't wait to see what you choose!

Here's how it will work:
1. Beginning Feb. 1 through Feb. 14, we'll offer a new poll every day (on book club Thursdays, book club will post first and the wedding question of the day will post second so make sure you scroll down to view the new poll). Each post will be up by 7 a.m. EST. You'll be able to vote just once for each item, and results will remain confidential until the release of Fatal Destiny in September. Incidentally, Fatal Destiny will be a FREE download! Yay!

2. Comment each day to be entered into random drawings for a variety of gift cards, signed copies of Fatal Affair (when it's released in print in July) and other surprise giveaways over the course of the two weeks. Please note: There will not be prizes every day, but there will be frequent prizes, so make sure you're commenting regularly to be entered into drawings. GRAND PRIZE: Awarded on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, one "very lucky" (haha) reader will become the recipient of Fatal books for the life of the series! The winner will receive new books before anyone else!

Sam and Nick are counting on you! Will you help us plan their special day? I sure hope to see you here Feb. 1-14 to help us plan the wedding!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Next Up on Book Club: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

I'm very excited to welcome my fellow Rhode Islander Sarah Maclean to book club this week to talk about her very fun book Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I loved this book, so I'm really excited to have Sarah coming by to chat about it. She'll be offering up a giveaway so make sure you stop by on Thursday, any time after 6 am EST to join in the fun!

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
A lady does not smoke cheroot.

She does not ride astride.

She does not fence or attend duels.

She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review: Everyone Loves a Hero, Fresh Fiction

Olivia Robison works at an airport kiosk and lives at home with her loving father and agoraphobic mother in order to put herself through college. Though she is working on a business degree, she is happiest when drawing portraits of strangers during her breaks. Pilot Cole Langston enters her life in dramatic fashion when he intervenes on her behalf with an unruly customer and ends up on the floor knocked-out and concussed from a fist to the face. The attraction is instantaneous and soon they are struggling with the complexities of a long distance relationship. Complicating matters is the fact that Cole, aka "Captain Incredible", is a national hero after landing a plane in a blizzard and saving the life of the pilot who had a heart attack. Can Olivia trust a man who has beautiful women slipping him their numbers at every turn? Is Cole ready to be a one-woman man?

With EVERYONE LOVES A HERO, Marie Force captures the challenges and complexities that follow when a couple falls in love at first sight. Believing that this person you barely know is someone you can trust with your love and devotion is not easy. Cole and Olivia deal with these challenges head on as they get to know each other, their family and friends, and their personal issues. Ms. Force's deft writing made the chemistry between Olivia and Cole instant and palpable.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Club: Fatal Justice and a Visit with, um, Me...

Good morning and thanks for coming to our book club meeting about Fatal Justice, the second in the Fatal Series! I've been really delighted by the response to the second book. Readers seem to be connecting to Sam and Nick and their friends, colleagues and families. I'm having so much fun writing them, so thanks for coming along on their wild ride! Just like we do every week, here's a bit about the book:

She looked into the dead face of the man she'd dined with the night before

Standing over the body of a Supreme Court nominee, Lieutenant Sam Holland is hip-deep in another high-profile murder case. The fact that she was one of the last people to see Julian Sinclair alive just complicates things even more. On the plus side, her relationship with Senator Nick Cappuano is heating up—but it's also attracting a lot of unwanted media attention and blinding flash bulbs.

The pressure is on for Sam to find Sinclair's killer, but a new lead in her father's unsolved shooting puts her in unexpected danger. When long-buried secrets threaten to derail her relationship with Nick, Sam realizes that while justice can be blind, mixing romance with politics has the potential to be fatal...

Today I'll be giving away copies of Fatal Affair and Fatal Justice! To be entered into the drawing, PLEASE help me find a last name for Nick's friend Dr. Harry, who has been so popular with Fatal Justice readers that I am bumping him up to series regular status. Which means he needs a last name! (Disclaimer: I'm not promising to choose one of today's suggested names, but I will give the books away no matter what!)

Because it's terribly embarrassing to be featuring my own book, I turned the blog over to the Whip-Cracking Book Club Wenches and here is what they had to say about Fatal Justice (and, in some cases, Fatal Affair, too!):

From Anne:
As far as FATAL JUSTICE, I loved the realistic style and personal details. It's as if I'm right in the middle of each conversation. I love the funny and witty remarks that come out of your characters mouths. I love that not everyone is perfect; that everyone has worries and concerns, problems to overcome. I love the development of the romantic relationship between Nick and Sam and I can't wait for the next book in the series. I also can't wait to attend the wedding!!

One of my favorite scenes is when Sam is changing into the suit for Nick's swearing-in. She's not sure it's just right for such a solemn and serious occasion, one that will certainly be attended by high-ranking political figures. She is worried that she's exposing too much of her generous cleavage and will embarrass Nick. Her sister makes the statement that "Nick is such a flaming liberal so Sam's suit and cleavage should not be a problem." Of course, Nick steps up at the right moment and assures everyone that Sam is just perfect and he is proud she's standing next to him.

I love all the moments between Nick and Sam -- he's stolen my heart. I love how he just doesn't care who sees his displays of affection and love for Sam.

Another of my favorite parts of this series is the relationship Sam has with her father. There's just so much care, respect and admiration going both ways between father and daughter. I like how Skip interacts with Nick, as well. I'm a sucker for daddy's girls!!

From Hope:

Fatal Affair:
** I really loved when she was messing with his desk (really cracked me up)
** When she had to cuff him to the bed so he would stay out of the investigation, he said..."You owe me twenty-six minutes in handcuffs, and I fully intend to collect." (that is one of my favorite quotes)

Fatal Justice:
** Freddie's first time was HOT HOT HOT, I honestly expected him to chicken out
** The Congress for Dummies book that she was caught reading made me chuckle, then how Sam twisted the words of Filibuster did me in, my chuckle turned into the giggles (I know, soooo 8th grade lol)
** The "villain" Stahl was someone you could easily hate, and you wished the worst from him even in the first book.
** Nick asking Terry to join his team and his conditions, made me tear up

It was really hard for me to only pick a few scenes. These are some of my favorite of all time books. The story is sweet between Nick and Sam, but there is so much meat to the investigations that the WHO-DON-IT is also very entertaining. The strength and vulnerability of both lead characters is humbling and believable. I truly love this series.

From Ronlyn:
The real thread of the Fatal series is how Sam & Nick are with each other. They are each other's everything: they understand each other on a level that is enviable. They make us believe they can do anything and overcome whatever obstical is thrown in their path, yet at the same time they are so personable with one another. Her teasing him about his obsessive need for everything to be in it's place; him teasing her with his "inappropriate" displays of PDA. Those are the moments that are most endearing and the moments that make the Fatal series as a whole, not just Fatal Justice, so wonderful.

From Mary G:
I loved Fatal Justice. It was my first experience reading a series with the same hero and heroine. You kept your great writing style AND kept it fresh. I loved watching Nick & Sam's relationship evolve and grow - still hot & romantic. Loved the secondary characters too - I adored Freddy, Gonzo & Harry. It was sexy hot, terrific suspenseful plot & you added some humor too. What more do we need?

From Aly (Favorite scenes/lines):

Nick knew he should comfort Sam but couldn’t seem to move his arms. All at once, fear became anger. “I can’t.” He shook her off.

“What?” she asked, startled.

“I can’t be here. I’m sorry.” Spinning around, he started back down the long corridor to the elevator.

She followed him. “Where’re you going?”

He walked faster, needing to get out of there. Immediately. “I don’t know. Home. I can’t do this, Sam. I thought I could, but I can’t.”

“What can’t you do?” She grabbed his arm, forcing him to look at her. “What’re you saying?”

“I thought it was you.” His heart breaking, he studied her one-in-a-million face. “I thought you’d been shot.”

“But I wasn’t, Nick.” She rested her hands on his chest, beseeching him with her eyes. “I’m right here. I’m fine.”

“This time.”

“You’re upset about Julian. Let’s talk about this later. When I get home.”

He shook his head. “I can’t spend my whole life waiting for it to be you. I’m sorry, Sam.”


He reached for her, brought her in close to him, and kissed her forehead. “I don’t know. The only thing I know for sure is that I love you. I found out today just how much.”


Sam looked closer and saw that Elin had driven him. “Still seeing the phone-shutter-offer, huh?”


“He was a hell of a guy that Leviticus, wasn’t he Detective Cruz?” Sam said.

“In our time, he’d be considered a bigot,” Freddie said with a pointed look at Diandra.

“I’m not a bigot, Detective. My beliefs are grounded in scripture.”

“Your friend, Leviticus also recommends stoning for married couples who engage in intercourse during the woman’s period,” Freddie said. “I sure hope you’ve never done that.”

“It’s not the same thing,” Diandra snapped. “A woman’s period is a natural event.”

“How do you reconcile the unnatural ‘abomination’ with the commandment to love thy neighbor?” Freddie asked. “And Jesus himself said, ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.’”

Diandra glared at him.

From Kara:
Ok, so seriously. There is too much GOOD stuff in this book. I just reread my highlights. It was like rereading the book. LOL You know I love Sam. So some of my favorite lines are about her. Take these for instance:

Nick - "The twists and turns of your mind are a constant source of fascination to me."

Nick - "God, you're such a pain in the ass."
Sam - "Thank you."
Nick - ..."You're the only woman I know who would take that as a compliment."

Sam ' "Christ. All these entanglements. When did I get so entangled?"

Sam - "I wouldn't want you to think I'm easy."
'Hooting with laughter, he said, "No worries there, babe."

Then of course, there's the whole messing with his desk thing.

LOVE her. Truly one of my all time favorite heroines ever. But, then I think you've heard that before. (Oh, and Nick's not half bad himself.)

From Crystal:
What I love the absolute most about Sam is her total devotion to her father. Being a daddy's girl myself I think she is the ideal daughter. Her love for her father is amazing. I really like how you have made her into a genuine woman. She is self-conscious and uncertain about all the normal women things. Yet she is strong, self assured, and very independent.

What I love about Nick... His single mindedness when it comes to his one and only woman. He loves Sam with such passion and devotion. I like that he didn't have the best childhood, but he has overcome it all. He is truly a good guy in POLITICS! lol

So far my favorite line in Fatal Justice is... After Sam tells Nick about something upsetting from her past... Nick says "And I love you even more than I did earlier, if that is possible." That is true love!

Thanks y'all. You know how badly I wanted to write a series featuring the same H/H in every book. I wasn't sure how it would be received by readers. Reading your thoughts and favorite things makes me smile from ear to ear. Looking forward to today's meeting!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview with the Romance Bandits

More from the Fatal Justice blog tour. I so enjoyed this interview with my dear friend, Romance Bandit Loucinda McGary.

We’re thrilled to have you here to celebrate the release of your latest, Fatal Justice, the second book in your romantic suspense Fatal Series for Carina Press. Please tell us what your two lead characters Sam and Nick are up to in this latest story.

Hi there Aunty and all the Banditas! I’m so happy to back for another visit. Thanks for having me! Sam and Nick return for another adventure in Fatal Justice. They’re newly in love and working out the boundaries of their relationship in the context of two high-pressure jobs: she’s a D.C. homicide detective and he’s a U.S. senator. In this book, Sam investigates the murder of a Supreme Court nominee with the added caveat that she and Nick were two of the last people to see the victim before he was killed. Also in Fatal Justice, Sam pursues a new lead into her father’s unsolved shooting that leads to danger for her. I’m really excited to get book 2 out to readers!

What particular challenges have you faced in writing a series with the same couple as the main characters (other than editors/publishers telling you readers didn’t want the same couple)?

While writing Fatal Justice, I was enduring the roller coaster ride of Fatal Affair being on submission. I was disappointed that romance editors weren’t interested in a series featuring the same couple in every book. Boo! Thankfully, the ladies at Carina Press love the idea, and readers are telling me they do, too! I had a feeling they might… The primary challenge as the series continues is keeping Sam and Nick’s relationship conflicted enough that it stays interesting but no so conflicted that it’s unrealistic. I found that to be a particular challenge in the third book, Fatal Consequences, which I finished in November. I’ve decided that readers don’t want to see them “fighting for their survival” in every book, so they will grapple with a lot of the stuff everyone deals with but in the context of their high-profile Washington lives.

What were some of the rewards?

I love slipping back into the Fatal world. It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. I’m working now on Fatal Destiny, the novella that will feature Sam and Nick’s wedding, and it gets easier with every book to submerge myself in the new story. I know the characters very well at this point. I said to someone recently that the scenes featuring Sam and Nick almost write themselves because I know exactly what each of them would say in most situations. I’m also really enjoying the secondary characters, including Sam’s partner, Detective Freddie Cruz, Detective Tommy “Gonzo” Gonzales, Sam’s father Skip Holland, the O’Connors and the rest of the cast. I gave Freddie, Gonzo and Detective Jeannie McBride major subplots in Fatal Consequences and expect to further develop their characters in future books. Freddie is also prominently featured in Fatal Justice. He’s a trip to write!

Since you also write contemporary romance as well as romantic suspense, do you use a different process? How do you handle the differences between these sub-genres?

I wish I could say my process is different for the suspense books, but I tend to fall back on the same chaotic seat-of-the-pants madness that has fueled all my books. ☺ I sold Fatal Consequences and book 4, Fatal Flaw, on proposal, which required synopses. While writing FC, I never once referred back to the synopsis , so it was the same process all over again even though I had done some initial plotting. I really hate knowing what’s going to happen ahead of time. I often have no idea “who done it” until Sam figures it out. I like it that way. It keeps me engaged in the book and the mystery. However, one of these days my head is probably going to explode from keeping all this stuff locked up in my brain! That’s why I recently hired one of my Beta readers to index books 2 and 3 for me. I did the first book, Fatal Affair, myself and it took an entire weekend. Since I’m staring down a Feb. 28 deadline, I’m very grateful to my friend Aly for taking over the indexing job for me. As I write the fourth story, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep track of all the details, so it will be great to have a series “bible” to refer back to while working on future books. In reference to the differences between contemporary and suspense, they don’t require different techniques mostly because the Fatal books are also contemporaries. However, it does take a significant amount of brain cells and bone marrow to keep the suspense portion of the Fatal books moving along at a good clip and to end up with a reasonable conclusion to the murder mystery.

Where can readers find the Fatal books?

They’re available at Carina Press under the Romantic Suspense tab, and everywhere e-books are sold. I’ve been asked a lot about where Nook users can find Fatal Justice if it’s not yet available on, where it will be eventually. Nook users can download the ePub format from Carina.

What’s next for you?

I have a print book out on Feb. 1, Everyone Loves a Hero. Also in February, I’ll be running a promotion to give readers the opportunity to plan Sam and Nick’s wedding. Watch my website at for details about how you can participate and win some great prizes. Fatal Affair will be released in print by Harlequin in July via the eHarlequin website. Also in July is Fatal book 3, Fatal Consequences. The free wedding novella, Fatal Destiny, is out in September as part of Harlequin’s romantic suspense week. Book 4, Fatal Flaw, will be out in February of 2012. I also recently posted two of my unsold contemporaries, True North and The Fall, to Amazon and have been blown away by the response from readers. That’s been very exciting!

2011 promises to be a very busy year for you! Did you make any resolutions? Or do you have plans or wishes you hope to see fulfilled?

I never make resolutions and tend to avoid writing goals. I don’t like to set myself up for failure. However, I do hope to exercise more in 2011 and I have set just one goal for my writing career: to finally sell the book of my heart, Treading Water. We’ll see if either of those things happens! Let’s put it this way—the slim chance of a book sale is probably far more likely than the exercise! LOL!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Much of "Me" Is in My Characters?

More from the Fatal Justice blog tour....

I am asked this question often: how much of yourself do you put in your characters? Some characters are more like me than others. Sam Holland, the heroine in my Fatal Series, shares a few things with me, but for the most part she is totally different. In the similarities column is her relationship with her father. She is devoted to her dad the same way I’m devoted to mine. We’re both involved with our siblings, nieces and nephews. We’re both workaholics who have serious diet soda addictions.

That’s about where the similarities end. Sam can kick some serious ass. My 12-year-old can take me in a wrestling match. To be honest, I think he was nine the first time he beat me… Suffice to say, I’m a big ole wimp compared to Sam. She has been cursed with major infertility issues. I was lucky to have two healthy babies, albeit by C-section, but whatever. They arrived and thrived. Sam may never get to experience that joyous experience.

Sam is not afraid of much. I’m afraid of everything. I am the easiest person to scare, and my family loves to take full advantage of my jump-out-of-my-skin reflex. Sam would just roll her eyes and go on with her day. Here’s a little bit of Sam in action:

Moving slowly, her gun leading the way, Sam crept toward the back door. Another clatter rang through the alley, announcing the presence of a cat, a raccoon or a foolish perp returning to the scene of a crime. Sam hoped and prayed it was the latter. The door swung open.

“Freeze!” Sam caught a brief glimpse of Reese’s startled face before he turned and bolted. “Freeze, police!” She took off after him, down the back steps and through a fetid alley stacked three feet deep on both sides with trash. Normally, she might’ve taken a shot at him, but he was no good to her dead. He had information she desperately needed. Hoping Freddie would cut Reese off at the other end of the alley, Sam chased after him, her thighs burning from the exertion, her lungs tight from the cold air pumping in and out.

Reese looked back, saw she was gaining on him and fired an erratic shot over his shoulder. The bullet whizzed past Sam’s right ear, fueling her rage and her desire to catch him. That might’ve worked on my dad, you son of a bitch, but it’s going to take more than a cheap shot to take me down. Running on adrenaline, she jumped over the bag of trash he threw in her path, came down on a patch of black ice and went flying.

Her chin took the full brunt of the fall. Sam howled with pain and tried to get her unarmed hand down to break the second half of the fall. Elbows and knees connected with hard pavement. She looked up in time to see Reece round the corner at the end of the alley. Freddie was nowhere in sight.

For a long moment, Sam lay there assessing her injuries and trying to catch her breath. The cold air made breathing painful, but that pain was nothing compared to the burn in her chin, knees and elbows. Forcing herself to move, she got up and called for backup to start a canvas of the neighborhood. Clearly, Reese hadn’t gone far after butchering his family.

I’d cower behind a pile of trash before I’d venture into a dark alley to chase a guy with a gun. What about you? Are you more like me or Sam?

Monday, January 17, 2011

More from the Fatal Justice Blog Tour...

Interview with Micole Black on the Micole Writes Romance Blog:

Most writers tend to know from the start that one day they want to be a “writer.” A lot of them, like you, go to school and start a career geared towards that goal. When was the first time you realized you wanted to write for the characters stories running around inside of your head?

The writing part started for me in the 10th grade when a high school English teacher told me I had talent. That was news to me! The following year, I sacrificed band class (sadness) to take the journalism class that teacher was offering the same period as band. I was never sorry I did that as I went on to major in journalism in college and worked for several years as a reporter. I continue to use skills I gained during my journalism years every day in my current job as the communications director for a national organization. The characters appeared a little later. In 2002, I started having long conversations with a character named Jack. He was the start of it all. (More below about Jack!)

What steps did you take to follow your dreams?

First off, I wrote every day for a lot of years. Seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. I did that until I had developed a good habit of daily production. In that time, I wrote seven books. The seventh one, Line of Scrimmage, was the first to be published. The first three books I wrote, the one featuring Jack and the two that followed, are still my favorites, and I hope to see them published someday—or I’ll do it myself. I really think readers will love those books. I also queried a lot until I found an agent who sold Line of Scrimmage. I was very determined and very focused on my goal. I think that made a big difference for me. I continue to be just as determined, but I don’t write every day anymore—except when I‘m on deadline.

What’s one thing that you know now that you wished you knew when you started your journey as a writer?

I wish I had known more about what happens after you get The Call and what questions to ask. I know what questions matter now, and that’s really important.

Every author has something different to give to their reader with their work. What do you think makes your writing unique?

I like to write about regular people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. I’m a big believer that much of life happens in the gray area between black and white. I love to delve into that gray area. One of my favorite of my books, The Fall, is about a prominent doctor who falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. Such a simple premise but with far-reaching ramifications for everyone involved. I love the notion of a man who thinks he knows himself and what’s important until he meets The One and everything he thought he knew becomes irrelevant. I’ll be posting The Fall to Amazon soon. I hope readers will check it out and enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Much of my darling Jack’s story involves gray area, too. That’s where all the fun happens for me as a writer.

In the past I have asked my guests to share a favorite character that they have created and why, but in reading your piece “The House that Jack Built,” you answered that question for me. Can you share with the readers your story about Jack?

Ahhh yes, my beloved Jack Harrington! Here’s the story: The first character to take up occupancy in my mind as a living, breathing human being, was a handsome, successful architect named Jack Harrington. Jack and I ran around together for a long time before I ever put fingers to keyboard to tell his story. I wanted to write about a man who has it all—a wife he still adores after twenty years of marriage, three beautiful daughters he'd do anything for, and a life most people would envy. That life is turned upside down when his wife is hit by a car and plunged into a coma. I wanted to show Jack's struggles to rebuild his life as he becomes the custodial parent for his daughters—two of them teenagers with all the accompanying issues—and I wanted to show his conflict when he finds a new love. These issues make up the core of my first book, "Treading Water," which led to two sequels, "Marking Time," and "My Side of the Street." It's "Treading Water," however, that is the book of my heart.
Since I finished "Treading Water," I've thought of my writing as "The House That Jack Built," tying into his career as an architect and the unexpected building blocks that came from "Treading Water." As I was finishing "My Side of the Street" in July 2006, I decided to drive out to Chatham, Massachusetts, so I could finish it in the town where it was set. Yes, this was a huge indulgence, but it coincided with the halfway point of summer vacation and my kids were driving me nuts. I had earned this night away! The first thing I did when I got to Chatham was drive around to check out the four streets I had chosen from hundreds on a map to place my characters' homes. I figured if there was, say, a cement factory on both sides of the street, the people of Chatham would know I hadn't bothered to come out there and check. I am pleased to report there were houses on all four streets, but on the corner of the fourth street, there was something else—a red house with a sign on the side that said, "The House That Jack Built." No, I am not kidding, and yes, I sat there and cried. If ever there was a "sign" that I was on the path I was meant to be on, there it was. It was without a doubt, one of the most amazing moments of my life, and I will never, ever forget it. You can view the photo of the house and read the second part of the story at

After hearing this story, you can probably see why I want so badly to share these three books with readers. In the next year or so, I hope to get them out there!

What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment then what do you like to read when you have time?

I recently started a Book Club on my blog ( where we feature a new book every week and invite the authors to come out and interact with readers. Most of them offer up at least one giveaway book. Well, Robyn Carr of Virgin River fame is going to be our guest on Dec. 16. As a thank you for having her, the lovely Ms. Carr sent me PROMISE CANYON, the first in her new Virgin River trilogy, out in January. I can’t wait to dive into this book as the Virgin River series is one of my all-time favorites! I’ve also been reading a lot of romantic suspense lately (for the book club), but that is unusual for me. I tend to not read that which I write. That’s why I read a lot of historical romances. Lisa Kleypas is my favorite. I often say that she could write the phone book, and I’d read it. I love every one of her books.

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s life.

My writer’s life is so weird! LOL! I work all day from my home in RI for a company in Virginia. I started with them 15 years ago when my husband was stationed with the Navy in the DC area. When we moved to Florida 12 years ago they asked me to stay on as a full-time telecommuter. I’ve been doing that ever since—from the time my kids were babies until now when the oldest is in high school and the youngest in middle school. So that’s my day job. Around 5:30, I quit work to make dinner, manage homework, drive kids here there and everywhere, make the next day’s lunches, fold laundry and wrangle the crazy puppy. I’ve gotten really good at getting all the chores done very quickly! Speed folding? I’m your girl.

When ALL of that is done, I write. Usually from about 7:30 to about 10 or 11—or until my eyes give out. On any given day, it all depends on whether or not it’s happening. If the word aren’t coming, I quit trying and work on my website or blog or fool around with my friends on Facebook.I also make sure to save a little time at the end of every day to read (yes, I am hard on my eyes!) I’m lucky that my kids are a little older now and like to have downtime of their own, so they are very good about accommodating my writing time at night and on weekends. The only time my schedule deviates is when I’m on deadline—then I force myself to write whether it’s happening or not—and when I travel for work. No writing gets done then. I’ve learned that I need to be at home to be productive. Quiet hotels don’t work as well for me as my own crazy living room. Funny story about this oddity of mine: when I was recently on deadline for FATAL CONSEQUENCES, I was traveling for work and had time at night after my commitments, but it was just too damned quiet in the hotel room. So I turned on the show Parenthood and the chaos on the show was very similar to my house. I wrote 3,000 words that night. See? I told you I’m weird!

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

Perseverance is key. You can’t ever give up. This business is so fraught with hard knocks that you just have to hang in there and keep trying and keep perfecting your craft. Another thing that I think is really important is being open to criticism. SO MANY aspiring authors have asked me to tell them what is wrong with their book, but so few really want to hear it. If nothing seems to be working, if you’re getting rejection after rejection, ask a published author to tell you why and then LISTEN to what they say. Few people find themselves published due to luck alone. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and being open to the truth can make the difference between stop and go for a new writer.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can find me on my website at, my blog at http://mariesullivanforce.blogspot,com, on Facebook at and on Twitter at You can find my books on Amazon at and my Fatal Books are available via under the Romantic Suspense tab.

Marie, thank you so much for the interview. It has been a pleasure having you at Micole Writes Romance.

It was great to be here! Thanks for having me!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Story Continues

I thought it would be fun to post some of the blogs I did for the Fatal Justice Blog Tour. This one ran at Romance Reader at Heart on Jan. 3, launch day!

Thank you so much for having me today—launch day for Fatal Justice, book 2 in my new Fatal Series. In this installment, Sam Holland, a Washington, D.C. police detective, and Nick Cappuano, a U.S. senator, are in a new high-profile romance that has taken the nation’s capitol by storm (much to their dismay). As they navigate these new and uncharted waters of true love in a fishbowl, not everyone is happy for them. Sam’s nemesis in the police department, for instance, has the internal affairs division looking into affair with Nick because he was a witness in her murder case when they became involved.

One of my favorite parts of this book is watching Nick become aware of exactly what he’s signed on for as the significant other to a woman who often finds herself in harm’s way. Nick, whose first impulse is to protect Sam, quickly figures out that there’s a whole lot of acceptance that goes along with being in her life. He has to find a way to live with the fear for her safety without suffocating her. It’s a fine line for him, and not one he will always navigate the way Sam would like him to.

And she is learning that keeping things from Nick is not the way to a successful relationship. However, after her troubled relationship with her passive-aggressive ex-husband Sam is accustomed to going out of her way to avoid “sharing” much of anything with the man in her life. Guess what? That’s not going to fly for Nick.

So it’s safe to say our happy couple is in for some rough waters in Fatal Justice as Sam hunts down the killer of a Supreme Court nominee. I’m really excited to get Fatal Justice out to readers this week! You can find it at under the Romantic Suspense tab. This is the start of a big year for Sam and Nick. Coming up in February, we’ll be asking readers to help us plan their wedding. Watch my website ( and blog ( for more information about how you can participate in the wedding planning and qualify to win some great prizes. Then in July, watch for book 3, Fatal Consequences. In September, we’ll release the Fatal wedding novella, Fatal Destiny, and then comes Fatal Flaw in February 2012.

I’m happy to take any questions readers might have about the Fatal Series or any of my other books, including my Feb. 1 print release, Everyone Loves a Hero. Sam and Nick are also happy to take questions! If you want to talk writing, parenting teenagers, puppies and senior citizens, I’m your girl. If you want to talk about the new season of the Bachelor and whether Brad will actually choose someone this time around, bring it on!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Next Up on Book Club: Fatal Justice

Okay, so the whip-cracking book club wenches wanted to spend a day talking about Fatal Justice and the Fatal Series, and who am I, as Sam and Nick's biggest fan, to say no to such a generous offer. So I find myself in the somewhat "awkward" position of hosting my own self on my blog. See? It's awkward... In light of this awkward awkwardness, I asked the wenches to take care of business for us next week and they will let you know what they liked about Fatal Justice so I can be spared from having to tell you about all the good parts! :-)

A girl does have a routine with these things, however, so here's the lowdown on the book:

Supreme Court nominee Julian Sinclair comes to Washington expecting to be confirmed to the high court. Instead, he’s found shot execution-style in a city park. Detective Lt. Sam Holland’s list of suspects is long, but does it include her significant other, Senator Nick Cappuano, one of the last to see Sinclair alive? While tracking down Sinclair's killer, Sam is also confronted with a new lead into her father's unsolved shooting that results in unexpected danger for her. In the meantime, Sam's partner, Detective Freddie Cruz, returns to the "scene of the crime" when he looks up Elin Svendsen, one of the late Senator John O'Connor's sexy ex-girlfriends. After a lifetime of virtue, will Freddie be led down the road to ruin by a temptress who wants only one thing from him?

Get ready for what I hope will be a fun chat about Sam, Nick, Skip, Freddie and the gang. Now keep in mind, it will be highly embarrassing if we throw a party for MY book and no one shows up! LOL--as if that's an issue around here, right? Looking forward to it and I'll give away a copy of Fatal Justice to a commenter on Thursday! See you then!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Club: Practice Makes Perfect and a Visit with Julie James


Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.


But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .

From today's co-hostess Mary G.: Where do I start with Julie James? She has the distinction, for me, of being the first author I wrote to before I’d even finished her book. It was to tell her that I was no longer allowed to read it in public because I became a “laughing out loud” lunatic and the strait jacket look is not good for me.

This talented lawyer and author is also an award winning screenwriter. That doesn’t surprise me at all. When I read I see the story happening in my head like a movie. With Julie, you get Technicolor and 3D with the actors and music picked out. You feel you are there with the characters.

I read a lot of rom, susp, contemps & erotica with sex scenes aplenty. Julie’s books are rated hot with hardly any of that (in the first two anyway) because she's a master at creating sexual tension.

Payton works hard in a male-dominated profession. J.D. is a competitive conservative, who thinks female lawyers have an advantage because of their sex. The dialogue between these two is like watching a strategic tennis match with the witticisms volleying back & forth (sorry son, I know you hate my tennis analogies). When he calls her a “feminazi” I was laughing to the point of tears - such a great expression.

His friend Tyler uses the Pride & Prejudice book analogy to explain the chemistry between Payton & J.D. J.D. “you know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls – I think they just fell off when you said that.” The secondary characters are amazing too.

While the sparks fly when they rub each other the wrong way, they also have a healthy respect for each other’s intelligence. They get along at the office but outside of it they are so competitive, they even race to see who makes it to work first in the morning. When the powers that be announce that only one of them will make partner, they are shocked that all their hard work might not make a difference. This only makes things more tense between them.

Through the progression of the book, you will see that the push/pull of their relationship has years of sexual tension at its core. Julie does an excellent job of drawing that out. I’ve loved every book she’s written and I smiled through every one. I look forward to A Lot Like Love due March 2011.

In honor of Payton & J.D. I though a recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce would suit LOL.
A quick and easy recipe that can be poured over a dish or used as a dipping sauce

Yields about 1/2 cup
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
• 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon ketchup
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken.

(If desired, you can add 1 green pepper, cut into chunks, and pineapple chunks as desired after adding the cornstarch. For a thicker sauce, increase the cornstarch to 4 teaspoons while keeping the water constant.)

Julie is giving away a book of choice to one commenter today! Find out more about Julie and her books here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Next Up on Book Club: Practice Makes Perfect and a Visit with Julie James


Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.


But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .

Join us Thursday, January 13, for a visit with Julie James who will be giving up a book of choice to one commenter at Book Club!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Club: Too Much Temptation and a Visit with Lori Foster

We're so thrilled to welcome NY Times bestselling author Lori Foster to book club today. Book Club member Alyson Hackett suggested Too Much Temptation and when I asked her to tell me why, this is what she said:

First of all, Noah is 6'4". That alone is enough to make me love this book! There is just something about a tall man. And man is this book HOT!! Whooeeee!!!

The relationship between Ben and Noah is great. They didn't grow up together but are there for one another. The blend of their personalities works really well for me.

And of course Agatha. You kind of just have to love the ornery old bitch! She is one of those characters that you know means well but has no idea how to go about it without pissing everyone off!

And some quotes for you....

She leaned down and gave him a smacking kiss. "I'm going to love having sex with you."

As they locked fingers, Grace saw Agatha take note of the telling gesture. "Noah did not ruin me," she said, struggling for a calm she didn't feel, "even though I was more than willing to be thoroughly ruined."

Ben nudged Noah. "I never thought I'd hear Grace talking dirty to another woman. It's sort of a turn-on huh?"
Glaring, Noah smacked Ben in the side of the head.

I read this book years ago and re-read it for book club. It was fun and funny and sexy and all the things Aly identified. While I enjoyed the romance between Noah and Grace, I also enjoyed the rapport between Noah and his brother Ben as well as the cantankerous Agatha. What did you think? What were some of your favorite lines?

Lori will be here today to chat about this book and any of her others that the book club wenches wish to bring up, so go for it! Lori is giving away some goodies so make sure you comment to be entered into the drawing. Thanks again to Aly for suggesting such a fun book!

Read more about Lori and her latest books here.

Today we're serving up my famous Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

2 blocks of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I've found the generic isn't as good) softened
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Beat until the cream cheese is smooth and creamy. Stir in one cup of chocolate chips and pour into a ready-made graham cracker crust (I buy the largest one). Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes and then refrigerate. Serve cold. Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy Launch Day Fatal Justice! I will always think of Fatal Justice as the book that almost didn't happen. To those of you who've read about my journey to publication with the Fatal Series, you know the story. When my agent first shopped Fatal Affair, there was a lot buzz about the book, and we were optimistic for a sale. I had this vision, you see, of a series featuring the same couple in every book: Washington, D.C. police detective Sam Holland and her significant other, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano. By the time we put Fatal Affair out on submission, I was well into the second book, Fatal Justice. Even though "they" say you shouldn't write the second book in a series until the first one sells, I was concerned about the execution of my series idea. Sure, it sounded like a fun idea in concept, but what would it be like to actually write multiple books about the same characters. Could I make it work?

By the time we got the word that Fatal Affair didn't sell, largely because romance editors didn't like the series idea (they wanted new couples in every book), I was halfway through Fatal Justice. That's 50,000 words in for those who were wondering what halfway means. So what to do? Abandon the work-in-progress and move on to something else or finish Fatal Justice just for the satisfaction of writing The End? Since I've never yet abandoned a book, I finished Fatal Justice. Because of the roller coaster ride with Fatal Affair, it took me a full year to write Fatal Justice. That's four times my usual pace. I finished FJ two years ago this week. I had tears in my eyes as I wrote The End. I was so sad that no one would ever see the second book, which I ended up liking even better than the first one.

What a difference two years can make! When Carina Press opened its doors in November of 2009 looking to shake up the formulas, I submitted Fatal Affair. I figured, why not? Carina bought Fatal Affair in February 2010, Fatal Justice went in May, Fatal Consequences in August, Fatal Destiny and Fatal Flaw in November. Sometimes I still can't believe how lucky I got this year and how excited I am to be writing this series the way I wanted to do it. Readers have connected with Sam and Nick the way I'd hoped they would and have told me they're looking forward to book 2 and beyond. So am I!

You can get Fatal Justice here TODAY!

Read an excerpt here.

I'll be all over the blog-o-sphere this week giving away copies of Fatal Justice. Come by and comment to win:

Monday, Jan. 3
Romance Reader at Heart
Thoughts in Progress

Tuesday, Jan. 4
Micole Writes Romance
Romance Junkies
Bestselling Author Christy Reece's Blog

Wednesday, Jan. 5
The Long and Short of It Reviews
Night Owl Reviews
Carina Press (afternoon, no giveaway)

Thursday, Jan. 6
About Happy Books
Fresh Fiction

Friday, Jan. 7
Romance Bandits
Book Junkie
Authors and Appetizers

Monday, Jan. 10

Thanks to everyone who has embraced Sam and Nick and supported my Fatal Series. I hope you enjoy Fatal Justice! And watch for Fatal Consequences in July, Fatal Destiny (the wedding novella) in September and Fatal Flaw in Feb. 2012.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Next Up On Book Club: Too Much Temptation and a Visit With Lori Foster

Ready, set, read! NY TImes bestselling author Lori Foster will be here Thursday to discuss her book, Too Much Temptation, as well as any of her other books that the Book Club Wenches want to talk about. I read Too Much Temptation years ago and loved it (as well as the follow-on, Never Too Much, featuring Noah's cousin Ben.) I'm looking forward to a re-read this week and the visit with Lori, who is coming with a prize package of a tote bag, T-shirt, and other goodies. We love presents at book club!

About the Book:
Grace Jenkins has had little experience with men feeling too awkward and insecure to free the passionate woman inside her. But that hasn't stopped her from dreaming about Noah Harper. Gorgeous, strong and darkly sexy, his rough edge beneath the polish promises no mercy in the bedroom. When Grace learns Noah's engagement has ended in scandal, she shyly offers him her support and her friendship. But Noah's looking for something extra...

Noah wants Grace—badly. He wants to possess those curves that go on forever, to savor her sweet innocence, to take her to the limits of white-hot desire...again and again. What he doesn't want is anything more complicated than that, and he knows Grace is a woman who deserves better. Grace, however, knows exactly what she wants—the kind of ecstasy only Noah can give her. Brazenly, she accepts, and Noah promises to make all her secret fantasies come true...

Read an excerpt of Too Much Temptation here!

The lovely Aly Hackett will be our co-hostess this week, and we're looking forward to another fun meeting! See you there!