Birthday Guest Tonya Kinzer!

Hi friends! I’m back at it again and putting another birthday girl to work ;) I’m just twisted like that. So today, we have Tonya Kinzer, who is a first timer at ALBTALBS! And it’s her BIRTHDAY! So everyone please give her a super awesome warm BIRTHDAY welcome! :D

Birthday Celebration!


Thank you for stopping by and do leave a comment to get in on the giveaway below. Today is my birthday and I’m delighted to be here celebrating with all of you. Birthdays are special no matter what age we are….NO! I’m not telling you how young I am! LOL Age is a state of mind and if we see ourselves as old, that’s how we’ll act…and move! I’m young at heart and love taking the world by storm. My friends never know what I’ll be up to next and I wear them out as they try to keep up with me.

Hubby is sweeping me off to Mazatlán next week to spend Christmas on the beach as his gift to me for both holidays. How kewl is that? I’ll enjoy the week as I float in the pool near the bar and let the cabana boys wait on us. Speaking of gifts, tell us in the comments what your best birthday gift has been.

I write erotic romance with soft bondage thrown in to tease your imagination. Click here for more info about me. You’ll never see my heroes leave a mark on their women, nor my women leave a mark on their subs. You won’t find S & M in my books…that’s a bit too harsh for my taste. My books might turn you into a one-handed reader and I won’t apologize for that. I will change that dark secret corner of your mind into your own personal dungeon where you can retreat to whenever your little mind desires to visit there. Below is book five in my ongoing series, The Boss’s Pet (started before 50 Shades), especially for those who love erotic stories. If you don’t enjoy reading explicit adult content, my books aren’t for you, but…you can still enter the contest below for a chance at the $10 gift card!

Under Her CommandBDSM – Book 5 – Stong Adult Sexual Content – Dom/sub – Sondra learns even more as she delves deeper into the lifestyle that she now craves with her boss/partner/master! Her body still betrays her to receive what it must have. She’s learned that her mind allows her to escape pain only to enjoy pleasure to its fullest. An endorphin high can only be experienced, never explained.

The more Sondra learns, the stronger she becomes mentally. She realizes her dominant side needs to be exposed so those who desire to be a submissive can enjoy being…under her command! Sondra understands what a submissive needs to reach their highest level of experience. Yes, pain brings pleasure on a plateau that can only be reach by sensory applications and Sondra delivers.

Please visit my website for more info on my books. Thank you all for stopping in this weekend!

Wow! How generous! Not only is it Tonya’s birthday, but she’s offering all of you a giveaway! One lucky commenter is going to win a $10 giftcard! Whoo!

Guest: Susan Fox on Emotions in Books

Greetings! We’ve got Susan Fox (aka Susan Lyons et al) visiting with us today! She’s been a guest at ALBTALBS before, so without further ado… Susan!!!!!!

I Need the Emotion!

Love Me TenderI read fairly widely – suspense, women’s fiction, mysteries, and of course romance. Romance is my “go to” read, the genre I most often turn to. I got to thinking about why that is. And it’s because, for me, romance is all about the emotion.

I like to shed a few tears (the good kind!) when I read a book. I like to laugh. Mostly, I like to care. I need to care about the heroine and hero and be invested in their story, to be rooting for them as they struggle toward their happy ending.

That’s why, when I write romance, it’s all about the characters and the emotion. I write what are referred to as character-driven stories as compared to plot-driven. Of course almost any novel will have character elements and plot elements, but the balance varies. In my books, the plots are inextricably intertwined with the characters and their emotions – their fears, their passions, their hopes.

My fifth Caribou Crossing Romance, Love Me Tender, is that kind of story. It’s about Dave’s fear of loving again, after losing the love of his life to cancer. And about Cassidy’s fear—one she won’t even acknowledge to herself—that she’ll never find a love or a home. It’s a deep-rooted fear that has turned her into a free-spirited drifter.

The book is also about their passion for each other, and how a casual fling can turn into something so much more – especially when Cassidy’s life-changing medical diagnosis throws both their lives into turmoil.

It’s also about their hopes – that maybe they do both have the courage to move beyond their pasts and to face an uncertain future, side by side, with love in their hearts.

Stand by Your ManAnd yes, of course in the end the story is all about love. That’s the emotional end note of a romance novel, the joy of the “happily ever after,” the prize that the heroine and hero have been striving toward – and that we, the readers, have been rooting for. It’s about the tears of joy we all shed when we believe that these two special people have bound their lives together in love.

That’s my take on romance, and that’s why I read and write it. I’m interested in your views. When do you choose a romance novel as the next book on your reading list? What appeals to you in your favorite romances? How do you feel as you’re reading a good romance, and how do you feel when you finish one?

Author Bio: International bestselling author Susan Fox, who also writes as Savanna Fox and Susan Lyons, writes “emotionally compelling, sexy contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). She’s multi-published in short stories, novellas, and novels. Her books have been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and German. Many are available as audio books.

She is published by Kensington Zebra, Brava and Aphrodisia, Berkley Heat and Harlequin Spice Briefs. In addition, she has ventured into self-publishing.

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor. Visit her at her website and Facebook.

So? Remember, these are Susan’s questions

When do you choose a romance novel as the next book on your reading list? What appeals to you in your favorite romances? How do you feel as you’re reading a good romance, and how do you feel when you finish one?

What are your answers? :D

Books Galore!

So I saw this the other day, and thought you might enjoy it :) It’s a spoof video that some Columbia Business School students made of Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” (It might be a little NSFW – they say “bitch” a lot.) Now, for the books galore … I have a LOT of print books – 99% of them I’d say are new – never read, just removed from the box. Would anyone be interested in a box of books for the price of shipping? If there’s enough interest and I have enough time I might list them … but the books would be free to you – you just pay shipping because I am literally “qualifies as living in poverty” poor. >.> So if you want to pay me a little for the books too … ;) But anyway – anyone interested?

Oh my gosh – and THIS video!!!

TBR Challenge Review: Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham

Review: Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham
Contemporary romance novella released by Kat Latham on November 11, 2014

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?

I’ve been meaning to read Kat Latham’s books for a while now, and this was the perfect opportunity to crack one open. I love sports romances, and Unwrapping Her Perfect Match is a really great addition to that subgenre. I do want to note it’s a novella, so there will be a difference, I’m sure, from the novels, but there’s a lot packed in.

Gwen is a really normal person, and I loved that in a heroine. She could be you – or me – and her struggles are so basic, but real. I liked that she was a regular girl. Of course, as a heroine, she’s a lovely person, and does have some quirks. Gwen is tall – 6′ 1″, which I can’t imagine is fun for anyone who isn’t a supermodel. (And even for one such person not until she’s of an age to model…) Gwen also has some hang ups that she’s let shadow her life, just as any one of us might to, despite hers and our best efforts. I liked that Gwen was so relatable, and had a great “safety net.” It’s always nice to see a heroine with a loving and supportive family.

John is such a sweetheart. Any girl would be lucky to have him – but he also knows how lucky he is to have found Gwen. I love that he’s willing to admit his mistakes, see fault with himself, and put himself out there. When John screws up (and he does just as any person would) – not only does he own up to it, he tries to fix it. That is what makes him a great hero to me. The professional athlete aspect is just frosting. (Complete with perfect ginormous body.)

I don’t know much about rugby, but I enjoyed the little peeks into the game/clubs (teams?) we’re given in the story. It’s clear Ms. Latham knows the subject, and something of how the inner workings go. However, it was nice to see a little bit of both character’s careers. John is a professional rugby player, Gwen is an ER nurse, and both are respected. Everyone knows the flash and superstardom of athletes, but I liked that Gwen’s job was given a lot of gravitas, and that Gwen stands up for herself. In fact, in Unwrapping we see more of Gwen at work than John.

Even more, however, is the nice touch of John’s daughter Agnes, who I think is really the “fairy godmother” character of the story. Agnes unknowingly brings John and Gwen together. It was really fun to see so many sweet moments between the three of them, and I especially loved how Gwen connected with Agnes so easily and immediately. My French is about as good as John’s was, but I muddled along and actually liked the untranslated dialogue.

Lest you think this is “just” a sweet romance, there are a lot of sexy scenes with John and Gwen. I don’t want to give spoilers, but I wanted to note I loved how things didn’t always happen perfectly. John  and Gwen have sex, and have fun with it.

I appreciated that Unwrapping Her Perfect Match can be read as a stand alone story. (Which was especially nice since I haven’t read the other London Legends Rugby books yet.) I’ll definitely be reading more of Ms. Latham’s books, and if you’re looking for a nice holiday romance, I suggest you read this one. I read it in one go, and I bet you’ll be going to check the other London Legend’s books upon finishing.

Grade: B-

You can buy a copy here.

Guest Jayne Denker on C***k L*t

Hello hello! Saturday is here and this month is just flying by! Today we have Jayne Denker – a first time ALBTALBS guest! We’ve chatted on twitter about TV and such, and that inspired her to write a post about that topic! … Kinda ;) So without further ado … Jayne!

Chick Lit: You Cannot Kill It (But Why Would You Want To?)

Picture ThisI’m a “contemporary romance” writer, but whenever I can get away with it, I write chick lit. Not out in the open, though, because the official party line is chick lit is dead. Stone cold. Six feet under and pushing up daisies. Nobody wants to read stories about young or young-thinking, strong women making their way in the world!

Yeah, all right. *wink*

Oh, the entertainment industry did believe it drove a stake through chick lit’s heart a while back. Well, first they created the monster by encouraging it to flourish in the ’90s, in the wake of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Then came the dark days, when the entertainment industry (yes, book publishing, but mostly I’m looking at you, Hollywood) threw gobs of money at anything remotely resembling chick lit. Even the bad stuff.

And lo, the dark days spread and overwhelmed the earth.

Horrified at what a Frankenstein monster chick lit had become, the publishing world and Hollywood rose up against it and killed off their own creation. Never again, they said, shall the beast that is chick lit be allowed to propagate. Yea, those who speak its name shall be put to death.

And so the edict stands. The foul term “c***k l*t” is no longer uttered. No, really. Try it—I dare you. You’ll see. You’ll end up with the business end of a stiletto in your temple.

However, as with all good sagas, forbidding something doesn’t mean you can kill it off entirely. Come on, we all know that chick lit is about as unstoppable as a zombie that’s scented freshly-exposed brain matter. Better yet, let’s call it the hydra genre of literature—chop off its head, and it grows two more. Ooh! Ooh! How about the Obi-Wan Kenobi genre? Strike it down, and it becomes more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Yeah, that’s it: Chick lit is the Zombie-Hydra-Obi-Wan-Kenobi genre. You just can’t kill it, It’s not hiding in a dark cave, Gollum-like, either. (Why yes, I am the equivalent of a pop-culture-reference oil spill. Proudly mixing memes since 1978.) That so-called forbidden chick lit is actually all around us. Right now. And you probably don’t even know it!

Down on LoveBecause the publishing industry still considers chick lit The Genre That Shall Not Be Named, now we call it “romantic comedy.” Kind of like how Blackwater gets a new name every couple of years, in the hopes that everyone forgets what it was responsible for back in the Aughts. It works, too. Who doesn’t like romantic comedies, right? Sometimes it’s called women’s fiction, although I always think of WF as a bit more serious overall. Could just be me, though.

Chick flicks are still verboten, and with good reason. Wow, there were some real stinkers at the end there, weren’t there? Phew, the memories are still polluting the joint! But the genre is still in Hollywood, and not lurking in dark alleys off Sunset, either. Nope, “visual chick lit” is operating right out in the open. What, you go to the multiplex in search of a decent romcom, only to end up drowning in the glut of superhero flicks? You’re right. So think smaller.

I’m talking TV, people. It’s all over the small screen. And it’s popular! A young (or, hey, not so young—the genre is nothing if not elastic), single woman struggling with the challenges of getting her career rolling, navigating the social scene, hanging with her besties, trying to find a guy who’s not a total cretin? Oh, it’s there, baby.

It’s always been there, really. I could go into the history of young-female-centric TV shows down through the ages (I’m old enough to remember That Girl and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, although *koff* I was a mere zygote at the time), but if I got that thorough, I’d end up writing a thesis—or a book—instead of a blog post. Ain’t nobody got time for that—wait. Come to think of it…dibs on the history of chick lit! Called it!

TV’s recent history has been filled with chick-lit-type shows. I don’t care that Lorelai Gilmore had a teen daughter; there’s chick lit at the bottom of that Luke’s Diner coffee cup. Ally McBeal? 30 Rock? Durr. And those four women in New York…what was that show called, again? (I keed, I keed.)

By DesignBest of all, there’s been a huge resurgence of chick lit on TV, like, right now. The Mindy Project. Hart of Dixie. New Girl. Girls. 2 Broke Girls. Young & Hungry. I’d even throw in The Mysteries of Laura, although it’s mainly a detective procedural. And Parks and Recreation, even though it’s an ensemble comedy, because Amy Poehler.

Then there’s the queen mother of all current chick-lit-on-TV: Jane the Virgin. Have you seen it? (If you haven’t, there’s the door. Go forth and do not return until you’ve caught up with all the eps. Most of them are on The CW site and Hulu. I don’t care how you get them—just go! Go now!) Sure, the premise put people off—a young woman, who was “saving herself” till her wedding to her detective fiancé, is accidentally artificially inseminated and is now carrying the baby of a guy she had a crush on five years before—but it works. Seriously. Not kidding. It’s crazy-funny (if you don’t laugh out loud at Jane’s goofy estranged father, somebody’d better check your pulse) and it also has heart. You find yourself pulling for Jane as she tries to figure out who she is and where she’s going in life. Best of all, she wants to be a romance writer!

Of course, not every chick lit-flavored show escaped the wildly swinging Cancellation Axe of Doom. RIP A to Z, Carrie Diaries, and Selfie. (*Sob!* Selfie!) But thanks to the hydra effect (ooh, that’d make a great title—dibs on that too), we’re getting more soon, including The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, and Younger. I’m sure there are more; it’s just difficult to keep up with the onslaught.

Onslaught is good. It means that no matter what you call it, quality entertainment featuring laughs, good plots, and clever women is always in style.

About the Author: Jayne Denker divides her time between working hard to bring the funny in her romantic comedies and raising a young son who’s way too clever for his own good. She has published four rom coms with Kensington (and another is on the way). Jayne lives in a small village in western New York that is in no way, shape, or form related to the small village in her Marsden novels Down on Love and Picture This. When she’s not hard at work on another novel, the social media addict can usually be found frittering away startling amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). She’d like to say she updates her website, quite often, but most of the time when it crosses her mind, she shouts “Can’t you see I’m writing?!” and puts it off till another day. But you can find links to all my books there.

Hey, One of My Books Is on Sale:

I got away with writing pure chick lit once. It’s a Hollywood-set romcom called Unscripted, and it’s on sale for 99 cents for the entire month of December. Here’s the info:

UnscriptedOne of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there’s a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it…

Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women, she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex, the wildly popular, wildly demanding former star of her show, to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome, broad-shouldered obstacle…

Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out, the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….

 

What do you think? About chick lit? Or “chick lit”? Or any of those shows on TV? :D

Feedback and The Future!

Hi friends!

So, I had some questions about what to do with ALBTALBS in the future … as always if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!

Now … I’m planning on celebrating Heritage Months again in 2015, and doing this for real. 2015 WILL be better! *fistpump*

Along with that, in 2014 I tried to keep it very focused (for when I was around). But … that meant something ALBTALBS does regularly had to be cut out – Birthday Posts! So … since you’re the ones that are regulars and reading this … how would you feel about birthday posts concurrent with Heritage Months? (Of course the birthday person most likely won’t be the race/ethnicity/speciality of the Heritage Month … but I figure I already did that in ’14?) What do you think? Yes reach out to the birthday people?

Secondly – Teaser Tuesday posts. Do you like them? I know I’ll continue them … but should I leave them at two a month? Or post exclusive excerpts every Tuesday? Then also – do you notice or care who provides them? (The author or the publisher?)

Let me know please!!! I’ve been going crazy with this and asked around and then I was like well hello – I should ask the people who actually read ALBTALBS since they’re the ones who will be affected and should have a say! (Or you know, even dictate things! :P)

Special Guest: Birthday Girl Kimberley N!

Hello beautiful people! So you know I adore birthdays, so I always love having people come and celebrate their special day with us! Today we have Kimberley who is a member of the romance community. She’s a first time guest at ALBTALBS too! So extra fun and cause for celebration!

So without further ado, let’s welcome Kimberley!!

I love birthdays! Even my own, though I’m starting to avoid thinking about the number it represents.

As a December baby, my birthday has always gotten lost in the shuffle of holidays, school breaks, mid-term exams, fiscal year-ends, and all the other calendar distractions that occur in December. Even more unfortunately, my birthday is one of three – count ‘em, three – immediate family birthdays that land in a 15-day window in December (my sister was apparently my sixth birthday present; for the record, I wanted a train set). It’s hard to have my sad little birthday stand out in all the insanity, so what to do?

I make birthday resolutions.

This is primarily because I find that New Year’s resolutions evoke so much angst: the self-imposed quit/start/find/lose hell inevitably leads to months of guilt that I just don’t want. So long ago, I resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions.

But I need goals for the year. Who doesn’t? And since I don’t want stress on my birthday, my resolutions go like this:

  1. READ MOAR BOOKS. Never mind that Goodreads tells me that as of today, I’ve read 682 romance books this year. THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.

 

  1. a) Find a really, really good maple fudge recipe. b) Make the fudge. c) Eat the fudge. Repeat B and C as frequently as possible.

 

  1. Introduce the new nephews – cutest and cleverest 5-month-olds ever! – to The Lorax. Or at least to Pat The Bunny.

 

  1. Get the bloody bathroom fan fixed so the steam stops setting off the smoke detector, FFS.

 

  1. Find books from new-to-me authors. The ones I already love just can’t write fast enough, or so they claim.

 

  1. Eat all the cookies. Except the ones with raisins. You can have those ones, cos BLERF.

 

  1. Learn to design and diagram crochet cables.

 

  1. Go to Spain (timing flexible on this one).

 

  1. Stop hogging the butter tarts. It’s nice manners to share, apparently.

 

  1. Learn that lists should end before #10. Who wants all that pressure?

 

Thank you to Limecello for making my birthday stand out this year!

Happy birthday, Kimberley!!! Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to play with us. Fantastic list. I might have to steal some of those. :D I hope you had a lovely and wonderful day! Everyone – remember to wish Kimberley the best birthday ever!