Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Bombs

Today I’m going with an off-the-cuff post I’m typing directly into the blog. Sort of like 5 Minutes in the Closet with Em Petrova but about something very important to all readers and writers alike. Of course, man candy is important, and I’ll give you a gratuitous shot here just to keep you from attacking the screen.


Okay, feel better? Good.

So what I’m really talking about are reviews. Back in the days before internet access, there was word of mouth. And newspapers put out these little columns with information on books. True story! But now we rely so much on the internet to give us a taste of a book we are thinking of buying. We also rely on those star ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, and other venues to help us make buying decisions.

Now personally, I will not ever, ever look at Goodreads voluntarily. Unless I’m passing through, I don’t go there to obsess over bad (or even good) reviews. I can belittle my writing abilities all by myself, thank you very much. And there are those rare days where I think I’m a mighty writing goddess, standing atop the summit of the highest pile of books and that everything that pours out of my fingertips that day is good. Of course, one lowly word can send me crashing down.

But how important are reviews to us? I have mixed views. I have one book in particular that is sitting on the publisher’s website with about ten HORRIBLE, soul-cutting, scathing reviews that attack my writing skills as well as my story. But you know what? I sell a bunch of copies of that book every single month despite those reviews. Do I think the reviews might turn away some readers? Probably. But I think there are a hell of a lot more people out there who aren’t going to follow convention and jump over the cliff because a few other sheep have.

I always try to leave reviews for books I’ve read and liked. But would I ever give a scathing review? Probably not, and here’s why. That author took the time to write it. And some of these authors are newbies that weren’t ready, I’ll absolutely agree. Sometimes the editing is crap, the formatting is wonky, and the heroine too stupid to live. So I hold my tongue. This is just my way of keeping some kindness in the world. Do I think everyone should shut up and refrain from writing a horrid review? No. You should go ahead and tell that person about all the warts on their face if that’s how you roll. I would never look badly upon someone for it. We’re different people.

Then there are the gushing 5 star reviews. We’ve all seen the phenomenon. You know, when a book releases and 4 minutes later, readers are giving it 5 stars just for being on the planet. Okay, we get that you love and support your favorite bestselling author, but really? They can write a real shit-bomb too. How about book #18 in their series, where the characters are now fucking vampire aliens with mutated genetics while singlehandedly saving the world AGAIN? Sometimes authors don’t always put out the top stories, even if they are amazing writers.

Do you think it’s fair to put out 5-star gushing reviews? Or the 1 star, I-hate-this-author-she-needs-to-eat-shit-and-die reviews? To me, there must be a happy medium.

As readers, do you look at reviews before you buy or do you choose to judge for yourself based on blurb and the first few pages? This is how I operate. I dislike a lot of mainstream writers. I like some strange fiction and will make my choices based on my own ideas, not 300 other people’s. And as a reader, do you leave reviews for books you’ve read? Going forward, I’m going to try really hard to leave reviews , not so I can tell the world what I thought so much as to honor the author. For blood, sweat, and tears. For hard work and money often invested. For having the guts to put something out there that derived from their mind and soul.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

Em Petrova
~where words mean so much more~

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Meet Justin and Taylor


Meet Justin and Taylor, cover models, Ellora’s Cave Cavemen, and strippers from Texas. I know we had you all put in questions you wanted to ask cover models a few months ago, but what I want to know now is if there are any stripper specific questions you want me to ask these guys. I’ll be posting Justin’s interview November 14th  and Taylor’s will be posted November 28th, and if we’re lucky Justin will be stopping by to say hi later.

I had the pleasure of meeting both of these guys a few days ago at Romanticon, and they are as nice to talk to as they are to look at. So don’t be shy, they aren’t. 🙂

And if you can’t wait a whole month for your answers, these guys wrote a tell all book called Take It Off! The Naked Truth About Male Stippers. You can pick it up at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Ellora’s Cave.


Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in a male strip club? Are those guys gay? How do they stay so ripped? Do they stuff their trunks? How did they get into such a business? How much money do they make? Do they have wild sex every night?

This book takes you backstage and into the lives of two successful male strippers over a span of twenty years in the business. From their rookie days to their wild sexcapades and practical jokes, Take It Off! is a laugh-filled, action-packed joyride.

Justin Whitfield and Taylor Cole are the stage names of male exotic dancers who have performed for women in Europe, the Caribbean, South America and Canada, as well as at various casinos, on cruise ships and in hundreds of clubs across the United States. Both have been featured on television and radio, as well as in newspapers, calendars, and magazines. Both are also official Ellora’s Caveman cover models and appear on our erotic romance covers and at our conventions and tradeshows.


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Romance Authors Should Have Sponsors!

You know how athletes have sponsors?  Well, I was thinking it’d be cool if romance authors had them, too!

I mean, think about it.  We could have sponsors that sell things related to writing and reading, like laptops and eReaders. And for those of us who write erotic romance and erotica, we could have sponsors who sell lots of naughty things, like sex toys, bdsm gear and condoms!

What do ya think?


Sexy Romantic Fiction!

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Welcome guest blogger Katie Harper and leave a comment to win!

The Romance Novel Cover Good morning (or whatever) 69ers! I know you’re used to all the smut you can handle, and that’s great!  I loves me some good smut. But I just can’t write it. Benjamin has been trying to drag my inner slut out for a long, long time. The problem is that I am just too immature to write hot and lusty.  Whenever I write, “He caressed her…” I want to say boobies and giggle. I’m much better at writing a good fight or torture scene. I think that says a lot about me.

I do like to read a good smutty book. Nothing is better than slipping into a bubble bath with my latest copy of hot and steamy. Well, maybe not nothing. (PS I just married a smokin’ hot Brazilian who can do absolutely amazing things with….HAHAHA BOOBIES!!) See it’s a sickness. It can’t be stopped. What I’m trying to say is that I have done my fair share of research in the smut genre of literature. I have an obscene collection of romance novels. I recently moved and while sorting through my library I started to notice a pattern in the stories. It’s almost like there are five or six form blurbs on the back of every book. Most covers of romance novels could read like this.

Bricker (because all men in romance novels have names that sound like last names or dog names) is an ex- special forces operative (because no real romance man would be an accountant) who has lost hope in humanity. His time spent serving his country has left unseen scars on his soul (because PTSD is way sexier than the loss of a limb or a gunshot wound to the belly). Bricker is troubled by unseen demons (being haunted by the spawn of Satan is much cooler than having bad dreams and flashbacks). His life is turned upside down when he meets the beautiful (because romance women are all cast from the same mold as Angelina Jolie) Kevin (because all romance women have male names). Kevin is a successful attorney (because while all romance men barely passed their GED, romance women all went to Harvard on an academic scholarship) who has dedicated her entire life to her career (because all romance women are workaholic spinsters at the age of 24). When the client of a pro-bono murder case (because all romance men are demons and all romance women are saints) becomes obsessed with her, she must rely on Bricker to save her life (because romance women always put their lives in the hands of total strangers). Will their love be able to survive when things take a turn for the worst (because it can always get worse than being hunted by a homicidal maniac)?

While carting literally dozens of boxes of basically the same novel out of my house, my husband noticed the trend. They were covered in half naked, long haired men and half naked, long haired women. He asked me why I read what appeared to be the same book over and over. I gave him some bull shit answer like, “The plots are different.” It didn’t really matter what I said because he bought it. Then I started thinking, why did I read these books? Was my life really that empty? Was I so desperate for any type of romance that I settled for the crisp, sterile, inhuman pages of a novel? Was I turning into a woman with 52 cats who eats entire tubs of frosting in one sitting??? WAS I???

The answer to my questions was no. I read them because I wanted to escape into a world where I could pretend to be a pirate princess,  or spy, or vampire torn between my love for one person and my desire to rip their throat out. I wanted to believe there were men out there who didn’t leave their socks in a puddle on the bathroom floor or think foreplay was muting the football game. (PS my smokin’ hot Brazilian doesn’t do either of those.) I wanted to be swept away from the every day. Is that wrong? I don’t freaking care! Those books got me through five years, FIVE YEARS, of celibacy and now, they’re just really great reference material.

You know you’d all like to win a copy of Katie Harper’s life changing book Never Say Just. (Probably won’t change your life but it sounds good.) Leave a comment and one lucky person will be given the chance of a lifetime. (Again, probably not, but comment any way!)

Katie Harper started writing when two people showed up in her head and wouldn’t leave until she told their story. They had a party. Invited a few friends over. Now she does the bidding of imaginary people.

She lives in a city made for sin on the edge of a desert with her smokin’ hot Brazilian husband, her daughter, no pets, and enough lemon bundt cake to give a refugee camp an obesity problem.

Purchase links
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Welcome guest blogger Kristal Baird!

Hi there, I’m Kristal Baird and I’m really thrilled to be guest blogging here with you today. I want to share one of my interests with you all. I hope you enjoy it!

Belly Dancing Origins


So ancient, the exact origins of the “belly dance” are unknown. Undisputed is that it is significantly more than 2,000 years old. Some evidence suggests the belly dance dates back to Neolithic times in cultures as far apart as Europe, Africa, India, the Middle-East and beyond.

Dance would have been important and sacred in these cultures. Ancient paintings and sculptures feature all the spirals, waves, circles and patterns found in belly dance, suggesting a connection.

Experts suggest belly dancing is one of the oldest forms of dance, having roots in ancient Goddess-centred cultures throughout the world. It was performed amongst women as fertility rite, entertainment, preparation for childbirth, ritual, exercise, communal bonding and celebration of the value and importance of womanhood.

Ancient pagan communities acknowledged the magic and fascination of the
ability of woman to create life. Evidence suggests the ritual of the belly dance is a symbolic re-creation of child-birth. The snappy hip movements, muscular contractions and sinewy undulations, represent strongly the connection to the response of a woman’s body during child-labor and delivery.

Belly dancing is natural to a woman’s body with movement that originates in the core muscles of the body rather than in the legs and feet. The dance focuses on isolations of individual muscle groups enabling independent movement that accentuates the female form. Performed barefoot, it is considered to emphasize the physical connection between woman and her Earth Mother.

Despite variations and styles of dance, music and costume, the basic belly dance movements appear to have remained virtually unchanged up to the present day.



Despite the wide range of authentic original styles a standardized image has emerged. That of a female dancer attired in a revealing costume, shimmying and shaking in hip-thrusting allure and exciting mystery. This image invokes centuries of propaganda and misunderstanding of the dance and the women that perform it.

The modern name, “belly dance”, is not the source of this confusion of the art. Perhaps the greatest misconception about belly dancing is that it is intended to inflame the desires of men.

Much of this can be traced back to the patriarchal destroyers of many ancient Goddess-based cultures around the world. These demonized these earlier belief systems, vilifying the Goddess and those who danced in her honor as little more than whores. The female body and the belly dance became an evil temptation to lure men away from the new religious ‘purity’. Over centuries, the idea of women performing such dances became associated with shame and lewd sexuality, ironically making it all the more desirable and ‘forbidden’.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, entrepreneurs realized that sex sells and in many venues of the Western world, ‘exotic’ dancing girls placed the focus on sexual titillation over art.

Belly dancing spread throughout the world as tribal peoples migrated. Many believe ‘gypsy’ travelers were imperative in much of this. Many world dances appear to diversify from the ancient model from the neck movements of Indian dancers to the foot stamping of the Spanish flamenco.

In Egypt, performances did not only involve women. Dances became public at weddings, before coffee houses and in the market place.  The repertoire of these ghawazee was a blend of music and dancing with veils, swords and candles. Tolerated by the authorities as it earned substantial revenue in taxes, however, religious complaints outlawed the dance in Cairo in 1834. Later, this ban was lifted but not in public, moving the dance into the music-hall where the Egyptian style raqs sharqi dance was born.

The Danse du Ventre (belly dance) of Turkish origin was introduced to Paris by Turkish women. They brought it to the Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and then to the California Midwinter Exposition in San Francisco.

This ancient dance form continuously grows in popularity across the US and worldwide. Many people take classes, attend festivals and buy and sell costumes and accoutrements of this exciting art, even journeying to the middle-east and beyond to experience its purer origins.



Belly dancing costumes are colourful and flowing, accented with scarves and veils. Brass finger cymbals called zills, exotic jewelry and pretty hip belts decorated with crystals and coins (in former times, these comprised portable family wealth). More exotic versions include swords, snakes, flaming candles or fire-eating.

Veils add to the mystery, elegance and allure of performance. They flow gracefully enhancing the movements of the dancer. The veil should be a natural extension of the body, rippling with movements of dancer and airflow. It can be used at the start with slow tempo music and then discarded respectfully as the tempo increases. Perhaps therein lies the origins of the burlesque or strip-tease dance?

Dressing the part will enhance the experience and costumes can be purchased online, ranging from the relatively inexpensive to a budget-busting amount of money. However, most women can impriovise in the beginning from their existing wardrobe: Decorate a bra, bikini or short tank-top that exposes the belly. Then drape a fringe-covered (or bead-covered) scarf around a floaty, long skirt (this can be slit to mid-thigh) or a pair of close-fitting track pants.

The aim is to see body movements easily (belly rolls take some mastering!) and for the hip scarf or belt to enhance the precise movement of the hips. Many creative people design modern “fusion” costumes such as the goth belly dancing outfit!

Bells, piercings and tattoos make the body look even more beautiful as it moves. Try adding a rhinestone or dangled pearl to your navel with eye-lash glue, if you want a more temporary effect. Big, dark-lashed, smoky, kohl-rimmed eyes add an exotic feel.




Music plays an integral role in a belly dance performance. Middle Eastern music has uncomplicated rhythmic patterns which the belly dancer can interpret and improvise to. Changes in the mood and pace from slow, dramatic and intense to lively and invigorating allows the dancer to express different qualities. Eastern instruments combine to create a perfect beat for the dance all creating the sense that music and dancer are in harmony.  Ideally choose a medium pace for the entrance, slowing to a sensuous section, picking up the wild freedom of the beat with rhythmic drums to a fast paced, dramatic finale.

As a learner, whatever music creates the right mood for you is ideal. A steady, predictable beat without rhythm shifts helps you to nail those tricky moves.


One argument against the use of the term “belly dancing” is that the dance involves the whole body, not just the abdomen. However, the distinguishing moves of the dance are hip and abdominal ones.

The technique consists of isolations which separate lower body moves from upper ones, creating continuous movement in the middle. The belly movements include rolling, angular, vibrations and circular ones. This is enhanced by various shimmying actions.

There are many instructional videos online. Practice in front of a mirror at home, or better still, join in a fun class.

Health benefits

Belly dancing celebrates a woman’s femininity. No matter what shape or size, it helps a women gain confidence in her body.

The dance movements have many health benefits and are excellent for the lower back and spine. A low-impact workout, the gentle nature of the hip movements helps general fitness by strengthening and toning that difficult to target abdominal area. It improves flexibility in the hips and back as well as increasing core strength, developing grace and balance.  Besides providing a fun, low-impact workout, belly dancing strengthens and tones the entire body.

Some people believe that belly dancing is particularly beneficial to pregnant women. One survey suggests that belly dancing can lead to shorter delivery times for the births of first children. It tones the muscles used in pregnancy and childbirth as dancers must use and strengthen the same muscles. Some of the movements and deep-breathing techniques used in belly dancing are also taught in natural childbirth classes.

Fun Ideas


Practice to an on-line beginners’ video in front of the mirror alone.

Join a class in your area.

Have a Belly Dancing Evening. Master some of the techniques together with girl-friends for a fun evening in, recreating those ancient times.

Costume up sexily and show your lover what you can do…

Belly dancing is a great way to have fun and relax at the same time, reconnecting with the wisdom of the ancestors who saw women’s bodies, not as a source of shame but as a source of life: sacred and divine.



And, of course, if you want another type of hot, sexy fun… you should try my hot, hot, HOT erotic romance:  PA Exposé      


Buy links: US



Aspiring journalist, Cally Hammond, believes she is undercover to expose dominating company executive, Jake Stone. However, she has been duped by her real boss, into undergoing training to become sexually submissive.

Jake is an enthusiastic master who exposes Cally to bondage, correction, and submission to his will. The shocking experience re-awakens a dormant side of Cally’s personality which Jake can’t help reacting to.

But both have a mission to fulfil. Will they succeed, and what secrets will be exposed in the process?

Have fun!

Kristal Baird x

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Be afraid…be very afraid.


In discussing blog themes for the month, we 69rs couldn’t help but talk about Hallowe’en and all the scary stuff surrounding it. I realized I just had to talk a little today about the things that scare me. I love frightening movies and books, and probably read or saw hundreds of them before I was 20 years old.

I think all the horror books affected me.

In a way it’s refreshing to discuss this because as an erotic romance author, scary sights don’t often come into play in my work. Unless you’re talking men who are so delicious it’s practically scary. 😉

You might think that the things that frighten me most are the horrible notions that scare everyone: illnesses of  family members, painful accidents that could happen in everyday life. Of course, those things terrify me too.

But what really gives me the chills? (lowers voice to whisper level) ZOMBIES.

There. I’ve said it. Zombies. Now, I totally get that these creatures of the night are unreal. Of course, I know it. But there is no thought that scares me more than the notion of being chased by a zombie. Being the only normal person left in a world full of flesh-eating monsters. I can’t go to zombie walks. No way! I’ll have nightmares for weeks. I can’t watch any more zombie movies. I won’t sleep. Even Sean of the Dead freaked me right out! I caught 5 minutes once of The Walking Dead on TV, and have never recovered. I can’t even venture into haunted house attractions at theme parks. The idea that some carnie with strips of flesh hanging off his face might touch me drives me insane with fear…okay, even being touched by a carnie whose flesh is intact is still a mite off-putting.

File:Zombies 79201360.jpg

But what is it with the zombies anyway? Is it that they are soulless entities who recognize neither friend nor family member? Is it their raw, insatiable hunger that leads them to destroy anything they ever held dear? Is it just the inevitable bad breath? It can’t be good.

For me, I believe it’s the fact that a zombie will never stop coming for you. You can run. He’ll follow, even if he’s dragging his bloody leg behind him. You can beg for mercy. He won’t listen. He has one goal…to sink his rotting teeth into your juicy brain, until you are just like him.

So, on that pleasant thought, I wish you a super Hallowe’en! And if you’re trick-or-treating on the evening of the 31st, don’t pay any attention to that grey, stalking form behind you. No need to run.

I’m sure it’s nothing bad.

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Fear…why do we fear the unknown?


Photo purchased from/Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Fear..we’ve all experienced it at one point or another. We all have something we fear..Something that cripples us and does things to us we wish it wouldn’t.

When it comes to fear, why is it that we fear the unknown.

Lets say someone would make you walk into a graveyard in the middle of the night all alone…you would probably not want to go and if you did you would look around…

Even though you know nothing can harm you, you still have this feeling that takes over…

I would not even set foot into a cemetery in the middle of the night. Why? Honestly I’m not sure…I think they just creep me out, or maybe I’ve seen too many horror movies..LOL..

Or what if you walk into your house and it is dark..don’t your eyes look around?

Fear is something we can’t always control…it will leave you paralyzed and unable to move..It will cause panic and put you in a state where you can feel helpless and alone.

Our mind is a powerful tool and can do a lot to us…Make fear into something consuming and unbearable.

As children we fear because we don’t understand many things, but as adults we know that the fear is an emotion and we understand it. So why is it that we still let the fear feed off us and take over?

So tell me what do you fear? Does something scare you that you wish never did?

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Welcome guest blogger Rhonda Carver and leave a comment to win!

I hear this all of the time, “My husband (boyfriend) and I have been together for so long that sex has become boring.”  Sex should never be boring. Never, ever, I say !! Most people experiment with different hairstyles more often than they change up the routine in the bedroom.  It’s time to break through the chains that bind us to boring sex and give kinky a shot. Where to begin? How about a different position? Here are a few that range from easy to downright difficult. Some of these moves are an excellent work out as well as increasing the intensity of the big O.

  1. On the edge

Skill level: Easy. The woman sits on the edge of a chair or couch and the man positions himself between her legs.

  1. Arch

Skill level: Intermediate. The woman rests on her shoulders while keeping her lower half off the bed, making a bridge. The man is between her legs, and supporting her weight with his hands on her thighs (or buttocks).

  1. BedsideDoggy

Skill level: Easy. It’s the same as doggy-style, but instead of both being on the bed the man is standing. The woman is positioned with her rear up and he is behind her.

  1. Lotus

Skill level: Difficult. Much like the missionary position, the couple is facing and it can be very intimate. The man is sitting and the woman is on top, cowgirl-style. The woman has most of the thrusting control, but the man can help out by placing his hands on her butt and lifting her up and down.

  1. Standing

Skill level: Challenging. The man is standing and he is holding the woman, her legs are wrapped around his waist. The man has all of the thrusting control. If this doesn’t work, she can have one leg steadied on the floor, while keeping the other wrapped around his waist.


Dreaming Ivy book blurb:

Can a past love become their future?

The Thorntons’ mansion is full of timeless secrets waiting to be unraveled. When small-town journalist Ivy and ghost hunter Max are stuck in the forgotten, dilapidated house, they find more than just a haunting. Ivy finds herself dreaming of the former owners, Marcus Thornton and his lovely wife, Elizabeth. Their profound love was once the talk of the town, and the cause their mysterious, untimely deaths never found. When Ivy’s dreams begin to become reality, the mystery starts to unravel and sheds truth on more than just the past.


Ivy stepped into the corridor. She stopped and listened. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a shadow sweep across the wall. She turned as it disappeared. “Hello?” No answer. She stomped down the hall and burst into the room. “Hello–”

The room was empty.

Ivy swallowed the taste of fright. A shiver raced across her skin. She had seen someone, or had she? She rubbed her eyes. Maybe the shadows were playing tricks on her.

A loud crack in the floor behind her sent Ivy twisting. The sun from the window blinded her. She acted on impulse. She drew her fist back and punched–landing on something solid. The force behind her connection with skin and bone sent her off balance, flailing backward. A hand on her wrist pulled her hard against a steely frame.

She met a dark stare, just as she felt wobbling. The impact of her body had sent him a step back. He lost his balance. Together they fell. The air whooshed from his chest as Ivy landed on top of the stranger.

She closed her eyes and remained still. She wanted nothing more than for the floor to swallow her. Several long seconds floated by. Neither of them said a word. She finally opened her eyes.

Embarrassed and confused, Ivy laid her palms against his shoulders, pushing herself up. She looked directly into his not-so-pleased expression and gulped. Enchanting green eyes, prominent cheekbones, midnight hair…and a pissed-off set to his jaw. She’d made a mistake–a huge one. “Max Shepard.” It wasn’t a question.

He narrowed his eyes. “Ivy Kennedy, journalist and amateur boxer?”

The deep, rich tone of his voice did funny things to the pit of her stomach. His voice wasn’t the only toned part of him. Pressed together gave her an up close and personal testimonial of his physical assets. Broad chest, tight abs to long legs, she could feel tight muscles and a curious bulge. She scooted her hip around the swelling in his jeans. Heat and realization spread through her body.

One corner of his mouth lifted. “It’s my cell.” Could he see straight through her?


He reached into his pocket and held up his phone. Ivy was certain her skin changed into the perfect color of mortification. She wondered just how bad this could get. Pasting a smile on her face, she said, “Nice to meet you.” The temperature rose between them into the triple digits. Their bodies seemed to melt together. He didn’t look like the pictures she’d seen on the internet. He looked more distinguished in person. “You’re older than I thought,” she blurted.


“Older, in a good way.” She licked her bottom lip and nervously pushed her hair behind her ear. “My mother said I have a bad habit of saying the most awkward things and rambling–” She swallowed. “–like I am now.” She moved slightly.

His zipper started to swell again. Was that another cell phone in his pocket, or… Before her mind could complete the thought, he wrapped his large hands around her waist and lifted her off him. He set her on her feet as he came to stand in front of her. “That’s better,” he said as he backed up. “Damn.” He kicked rug that must have been the reason behind their fall.

He stood there, silent. This was a complete disaster. She’d managed to give him a black eye to match the dark scowl on his face. She needed to start searching for a new job. Marshall would have her head for this.


Rhonda Lee Carver’s Bio:

Suffering from years of hopeless romantic notions with sexy, sassy heroines and bad-ass heroes taking residence in her mind, Rhonda decided to write, bringing the stories alive. With baby on hip and laptop on the other, and a couple of years later, Rhonda has published six eBooks with a handful of spicy love stories waiting for the final touches.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you will find her with her children, watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places, doing (or trying) yoga, and finding new ways to keep her smile bright.

Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading makes it easier. Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time…


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Hold the Horror Please

I suppose it’s hard to get the Muses fired up at three in the morning, but I forgot to schedule my post. So sacrifices had to be made. 🙂

It’s almost that time of year again. Halloween. a time rife with ghosts, goblins and lots and lots of candy. Some may go trick or treatin’ to get there stash of the sweet stuff. I go to my local Wal-Mart and get exactly what I want. Cut out the middle man is all I’m saying. 🙂

Anyway one of the fun and scary things about Halloween are the movies. Growing up we were a big horror flick watching family. We watched movies like The Re-Animator (bringing the dead, mostly animals I think) back to life. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, Dr. Giggles, Chucky, The People Under the Stairs, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Amityville Horror, An American Werewolf in London. I have no idea why my parents allowed us to watch these movies, yes they have a sick and twisted humor. It’s a wonder none of us ever had nightmares. They drew the line at us watching The Exorcist, and The Omen. They sprinkled family fun movies in there too, like Goonies, Monster Squad and Teen Wolf.

Watching all those horror movies Sorry I didn’t get into the Halloween series until I was an adult, didn’t see Chucky until a couple of years ago and we won’t even discuss Leprechaun or the newest craze Saw and Paranormal Activity. I learned what type of horror movies I like. Give me a good slasher film, that’s cool. But if you really want to watch me freak out…a psychological thriller. Hold the blood and gore to a minimum or realistic amount. A coupla oldies but goodies, Rear Window and Vertigo, both with Jimmy Stewart. Love him. Dial M for Murder, Seven, the Talented Mr. Ripley, The Silence of the Lambs, Secret Window, Law Abiding Citizen, The Stepfather…I screamed so much during that movie my kids thought we were watching a horror flick.

And there are sooooo many more movies to incite fear and get the blood pumping. So how do you like your horror flicks? Gory and in your face or maybe a bit more complex with a dash of the paranormal thrown in? whatever you choose I think i’ve got a few movies to watch.

Until next time, Indulge Your Inner Romantic.

Releasing October 15 from Evernight

Download my free Author App to your Android or Apple IOS device.





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Fear Is My Twisted Friend

Fear. Fear. Fear. Are you scared yet? Probably not. But for me, this word strikes a dark chord. It dredges up bad memories, causing dread to climb into my throat. And for once, I’m not being dramatic.

Now let me explain. I’m nearly thirty, and I have found a good place in life. However, that was not always the case. When I was sixteen years old, back in the day of the dinosaurs, I lost the woman who helped my mother raise me. As a disillusioned teen, I bottled my grief up. I pretended losing her didn’t really matter. I would be fine. Everyone else would be fine.

But I wasn’t fine. I was barely surviving the emotional turmoil eating away at me. However, I wasn’t about to tell a soul. I wasn’t going to show my fear. That would allow people to see my weakness, and I didn’t want anyone to suspect that I was fragile—in any way, shape, or form.

A year after losing the person who meant the world to me, I had my first panic attack. It wasn’t anything like what I would have expected. I didn’t need a paper bag to hyperventilate in. I didn’t need to put my head between my legs. No, I needed a trip to the hospital. See I didn’t know what was going on with my body. The sudden choking sensation, the numbness and tingling, the out of body feeling, and the inability to catch my breath didn’t make a lick of sense to a seventeen year-old version of myself. All I understood, all I could process was the pure, undiluted panic pouring through my veins. And of course, the more scared I became, the worse the attack became. After hours in the emergency room, the doctor told me what had happened then he sent me on my merry way. But I was forever changed.

Flash forward a couple of months, I’m sitting in my freshman anatomy class in college, and it hits me—again. Fear. Terror. Total panic. And that was it. I raised my hand and made some pithy excuse before rushing out of class. Yet again, I didn’t understand what was going on. I do have a thick skull, after all. I had been through the panic attack before, but I was still at a complete loss. My rational mind took a vacation for a short period of time. So of course, I wound up visiting my doctor. And he told me exactly what the ER doctor had. You’re having panic attacks. 

By now, I was starting to get the picture. But I didn’t like it. Not one bit. A control freak with a panic disorder? A Kabuki-mask wearing almost-woman with a panic disorder? Me with a panic disorder? It was horrifying. So guess what…more panic attacks started to bombard me.

Over the next two years, I had so many attacks that I lost count. It got so bad that I feared everything, and I truly mean everything. I eventually developed agoraphobia. Yep, more fun stuff for me. The agoraphobia prohibited me from even leaving the house. Unless someone forced me to go somewhere, I couldn’t do it. Even then, the trips were few and far between. The fear paralyzed me that much.

So you might be asking how I conquered the fear. Well, here it is. I talked myself out of the panic. Sound strange? It kind of is.

With two years of debilitating panic attacks under my belt, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t live like that anymore. I wanted to go places. I wanted to be a real person with a life, not someone who lived and died in my own home. Yes, that fear crossed my mind—more than once. But that is another story.

For the next few months, I found a way to fight the fear and win. As Susan Jeffers book says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Well, I did. It wasn’t easy to feel the fear. Hell, it was downright hard. But I did it. Whenever I felt the panic attack coming on, I would let myself feel the fear. I would allow myself to think as rationally as possible through the terror whipping through me. I’d think about being strong, about overcoming my problem. I’d talk myself through whatever fear plagued me at that moment in time. Yes, the fears changed—constantly. I’d even rationalize why I wasn’t dying during the attacks. Yes, that was one of my most prominent thoughts. “I’m dying” was one of my favorite fears. I can’t even tell you how many times those two words spilled from my lips or plagued my thoughts when I was having an attack. It was probably in the thousands, and that is not an exaggeration either.

Once I regained control of my panic attacks, I had another problem—a huge one. How do I go out in public? How do I leave myself that vulnerable? Well, that was something that took me a long time to work through. Each day, I would force myself to do something I hadn’t before. I started small with trips to the mailbox. Then I branched out. Let me tell you, fear became my constant companion all over again. But I forced myself to feel the fear then do it anyway.

Now here I am…twelve years later. I rarely fear things because I did that enough for ten lifetimes during those two years. I won’t say that I feel no fear because that would be an outright lie. I’m still scared of spiders and heights. I still fear the big things in life, the things everyone fears. But, and that is a big but, I can now feel the fear without panicking. I can experience fear without having to hide from what I feel. I no longer seek shelter in my home for weeks at a time. I can drive and go wherever I want. I am who I am. I am who I want to be. And I’m grateful for that.

Sometimes I think about how much fear controlled my life, and it breaks my heart to know that I wasted so much time. Other times, I think about how much fear changed my life, how much it taught me, and how much it transformed me and my life path. So I have to say that in an insanely twisted way fear is my friend. Strange, I know. But guess what, I’m a very strange girl.

Have a happy Tuesday, 69ers! XOXOXO!

Love and cherries,


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