Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Historical Heat

Today bestselling author Jacquie D’Alessandro makes her first appearance in the Lair. Jacquie has a new release, Touch Me, from Blaze Historicals.

Welcome, Jacquie!

Thanks, gals—I’m very excited to be here!

We love call stories here in the Lair. Will you tell us yours?

After several years (which felt like decades), I got my agent after winning the Romancing the Novel contest sponsored by the Washington DC RWA chapter. She was the finalist judge and after reading the first chapter I’d entered, she asked if the book was done. I told her it was, and after she read it, she called me and said, “I can sell this.” Sounded good to me! She asked for some revisions, which I did, then sent it back and held my breath. About two weeks after submitting the manuscript to multiple houses, she phoned me and the call went like this:

Her—I have an offer on your book.

Me—What does that mean?

Her—It means someone wants to buy it.

Me—Oh my God—did my mother call you??

She laughed and assured me no, Mom hadn’t called, but an editor had. That was in September of 1998, and that book, Red Roses Mean Love, came out in September of 1999. At that time I never dreamed it would be ten years and 30 books later!

I notice that the heroine of Touch Me is a courtesan. We also love courtesans here. Tell us a bit about the book and the Blaze Historical line.

The heroine, Genevieve Ralston, was a secondary character in one of my earlier historicals entitled Love and the Single Heiress. I’ve wanted to write her story since she first appeared on the page. She is my first courtesan heroine, and is a woman who has experienced great pain--both emotionally and physically. Coming up with a hero worthy of her took a lot of thought because not just anyone would do for this unique woman Touch Me is my first historical for Blaze, and while I really enjoyed writing it, it presented a challenge because all my other historicals have been 100,000 words while the word count for the Blaze line is only 60,000 words. There isn’t a Blaze Historical line—but happily for both Blaze authors and readers, the senior editor of the line is a woman of vision who is open to new ideas and expanding the line to include select stories featuring such things as paranormal elements and historical settings. If the historical Blazes sell very well, my guess is that Blaze would feature more of them in the future.

How did you become interested in writing for this line?

I came to Blaze through a rather winding road. My first HQ book was for the Duets line. When that line folded (not my fault, I swear!), I began writing for the Temptation line. When that line folded (again, not my fault, I swear!), I became a Blaze Babe. In addition to the full length books I’ve written for the line, I’ve also done a number of holiday anthologies. I enjoy writing for Blaze because not only do I like writing about strong contemporary (and now historical!) heroines, I also love the shorter format—especially after writing a 400 book!

What’s the biggest problem the hero and heroine have?

In Touch Me, I’d say the biggest problem between Genevieve and Simon is trust. Both have very compelling reasons to be suspicious of the other and their motives. I loved peeling away those layers of mistrust and allowing these two lonely, disillusioned people to discover the hidden goodness in each other.

Will you give us a peek inside Touch Me?

Absolutely! Here you go:

She wore only a chemise. A wet chemise.

Simon’s breath halted, and for several seconds he completely forgot he was in hiding. Forgot what was at stake. After all, this woman might have been involved in a conspiracy to commit murder. It was imperative he learn all he could about her.

And God knows he was learning plenty given the way that drenched material clung to her. Clearly Mrs. Ralston had indulged in a dip in the hot springs. It was well documented that taking the waters was good for the body, and she absolutely was testament to that.

She moistened her lips and his gaze was drawn to her mouth. Were her lips naturally so plush or were they kiss swollen? Had someone joined her at the hot springs? An unexpected mental image flickered through his mind...of her, standing in the gently bubbling water...and of him, joining her--

Suddenly the object of his fantasies moved toward him. Simon’s breath halted--partly due to the great risk of discovery and partly because the sight of her rendered his lungs incapable of functioning. He’d seen many alluring sights in his life, but he’d be hard pressed to name any that could compare to the sight of a wet, nearly naked Genevieve Ralston. His gaze flicked down to the erection straining against his snug breeches.

And speaking of hard...

The entire first chapter is posted on my website at Hope you enjoy it!

After that, what’s next for you?

My first Victorian historical will be coming out in December 2010 in an anthology entitled A Victorian Christmas with Betina Krahn and Hope Tarr. I’ve recently contracted for my first two single title contemporary novels, the first of which will come out in May 2011. And I’m excited to announce that there’s going to be a follow-up to last year’s New York Times bestselling anthology It Happened One Night with Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Candice Hern! This one is entitled It Happened One Season, and the plot we are all going to write will be decided by readers via a contest! Prizes will include signed books and the readers who submit the winning plot points will have the book dedicated to them. I’ll be posting details on my website and Facebook as they become available—near the end of this year.

Since you were kind enough to invite me to your Lair—tell me about YOUR Lair. Where do you call home, and what’s your favorite spot to curl up with a book? (mine’s my comfy recliner in the family room, wrapped in my cozy blanket). And how about sharing the last good book you read curled up in that favorite spot? I’m also happy to answer any questions that will not require me to reveal how many Doritos/oreos/other fattening snacks I can devour while sitting in my comfy recliner!

Jacquie's giving away a book to one commenter today.


limecello said...

Hi Jacquie! Thanks so much for visiting with us today :D Great interview. I bought "Touch Me" and it's in my TBR [of doom].

Heh - as for those lines closing - not your fault... *really*? [kidding!]

As for my "lair"... anywhere really. I like reading in bed, even those all those "experts" basically say it's a cardinal sin and you shouldn't do anything in bed but sleep. O_o
Anyway. I'll read curled up on the couch, while waiting - sometimes in my car, which is a more common occurrence now if I've got some time to get more chapters in without having to interact with people... so really I guess it depends on the book.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Jacquie! I've enjoyed some of your Duets and Temptations! I haven't picked up this latest Blaze yet but am adding it to the TBB!

As for my "lair," I'm with Limecello (not in her lair, of course ;))--where ever I have a book and some time... bed, couch, car, standing at the kitchen counter when I ought to be cooking, cleaning, supervising the kids' homework... I'll take reading time whenever and wherever I can get it!

Have fun with the GR, Limecello!

Pissenlit said...

Hiya Jacquie!(Yay! Someone else who spells "Jacquie" the right way. heh heh!) Great excerpt! Poor Simon. :)

Uh oh, really limecello? A cardinal sin? Doh! My bed is my "lair" too, with the left end spot on the couch as a close second! Hee! The last book I read in bed was a reread of The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold and the last one I read on the couch was an ARC of Witch Craft by Caitlin Kittredge...uh...unless it was For Edgar by Sheldon Rusch...can't remember.

Mmmmm, fattening snacks...what's your favourite flavour of Doritos? I've recently been absolutely addicted to their Doritos Collisions - Habanero/Guacamole. *drool*

Lynz Pickles said...

Congrats, lime! Have fun with him!

My Lair, eh? Well, I can read anywhere, just like Lime, Fedora, and Pissenlit. But when I want to get seriously engrossed in a book and escape the real world for a while, I retreat to my bedroom, especially the corner I like to call my book nook. Three of the four bookshelves in my bedroom live in that corner - the manga shelf, the YA/classics shelf, and the miscellaneous/non-fiction/foreign language shelf. It also contains two of my favourite spots to curl up with a book - the gorgeous sapphire blue silk chair I recently bought from the Bombay Company and the faux leather club chair I picked up a few years back at Loblaws. They're both so comfy and snuggly and perfect for reading in!

Oh, and the last time I curled up in one of them? Last week, after I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of Beth's latest SuperRomance!

...even those all those "experts" basically say it's a cardinal sin and you shouldn't do anything in bed but sleep.

Seriously? Experts say that? But... but... but beds were clearly made for reading, with sleeping as a distant second! (Especially with a boring book. Then the reading leads directly to the sleeping, which is not so distant. But I digress.)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jacquie and welcome! I hadn't realized Blaze now carried historicals. This is wonderful news. So glad they had the foresight to be open to sexy historicals.

Unfortunately my lair is not stocked with cabana boys bearing umbrella drinks, unlike the bandita lair. Heck, I'd settle for a visit from Sven. In the summer I like to read outside on the patio under the shade of a maple tree. In bad weather & winter, I curl up on the couch in the front room. Lots of room there for munchies, drinks, and a huge TBR pile of books.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime! Congratulations on the chook! He's been a bit of a flirt lately - all over the shop!

Jane said...

Hi Jacquie,
Congrats on the new release. Colin and Nathan are two of my favorite heroes. I love to read on the couch. I usually have a Coke and some snacks(chips, cookies) nearby. It's hard to avoid smudging the pages with my greasy fingers.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nancy, how cool that you've got one of the nicest people in Romancelandia here. Welcome, Jacquie! I loved your interview and the new books sounds truly scrumptious. I'm a recent convert to Blazes, thanks to the wonderful Tawny. And now I'd say it's one of my favorite Harlequin lines. I love the variety of stories available in Blaze and now that they're moving into paranormals and historicals, wow, the sky's the limit. And excellent news about the anthology having a sequel. I remember how moved I was this year to see Stephanie Laurens win her first RITA for her story in the first anthology. Wasn't that a cool moment?

I hope you're feeding your mad alligator purse! Last time I ran into the green boy, he snapped at my hand. He's obviously hungry!

Anna Campbell said...

Favorite place to curl up with a book? Bed, hands down! There's something so decadent about lying in bed all day with a few really luscious romances.

Michelle said...

Hi Jacquie! Great interview! I love the Blaze line more than any of the other Harlequins. It's awesome that there's gonna be historical Blaze books. I've been in a historical reading kick lately so "Touch Me" is gonna be in my TBR pile soon.

as for my lair, it'll have to be my bed and the book i'm curling with right now is kat martin's creole fires. and i love to crunch on spicy cheetos while reading (hence the red finger marks that are found on the pages of my books LOL).

Linda Henderson said...

Thank you for visiting. I love to read just about anywhere but usually it means curled up in my comfortable chair with a cup of hot chocolate. Sometimes I read in bed too. I just finished a Blaze as a matter of fact. Body Check by Elle Kennedy and am now reading Have Mercy by Jo Leigh. The Blaze line is one of my favorites. I got interested in them from the old Temptation line. I will look forward to reading your book.

Emmanuelle said...

Jacquie, I'm so glad you're here today !!
I've read most of your books an dloved them all (especially your last series).
My favorite spot to read is a very comfy armchair in my living room. There is usually a huge mug of steaming tea on the small table nearby. The last great book I read in it was Tracy Anne Warren Seduced By Your Touch. It really was a great book and a beautiful writing... I enjoyed every page of it ;-)
Congrats on your new release !!

Tawny said...

Woot Woot!!!! Its like Blazing here in the lair *g*

Jacquie! Welcome :-) Its so awesome to see you here. I'm a huge fan of your books, and to be honest, a bigger fan of your gorgeous shoes LOL You always look so awesome at conference.

So, my lair? We just moved into a new house so I'm trying on a lot of lairs to find the perfect fit. The couch in the living room has a recliner and is a good reading spot, but its right next to the window that overlooks the street and I keep getting distracted *g* The chair in the family room is great, but the lighting is so-so. I'm figuring a new lamp, then a fire going once it chills down a bit more, and it'll be my fave spot.

Laurie said...

Hi Jacquie,

I've enjoyed several of your historicals: Never a Lady, Not Quite a Gentleman....all of your Midnight books and Kiss the Cook

We have a bedroom which we converted into a study.It has a loveseat where I can read in undisturbed comfort! I take books everywhere I read in the car alot as I wait for family members to do there shopping, etc.

Helen said...

Cograts limcello have fun with him

Hi Jacquie I love your books and have everyone of your historicals and I am reading Touch Me now and I am loving Genevieve and Simon, I really liked Genevieve in Love and The Single Heiress and am so glad she has her own story.

My favourite lair is in bed as well and my compfy recliner in the family room but saying that I will read anywhere I can given the chance and of course I love having a packet of Tim Tams to go with the reading and the last two books I have read are Tawny's Feels Like The First Time (another blaze) whis was fantastic and Marie Force's Love At First Flight another great read.

Thanks for the great post Nancy and Jacquie. Won't be long and you will be able to watch the tennis from Australia Jacquie

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hi Jacquie! I have been reading your books since 2007, my first being Sleepless at Midnight then it was a mad search for your backlist. I will be out this evening looking for Touch Me!

My fave place to read is bed with a bag of chips (plain Lays please)a bottle of water and nothing to distract me from the read. Oh, and my lair is located in WV. I have been known to read sitting in my car, standing in line, standing in the kitchen (I had to snigger flchen cos I do that too, a watched pot never boils after all), and standing outside on break and lunch at work.

Buffie said...

Yay, Jacquie's here!!!!!! Hugs to you, girl!

My favorite place to read in my lair is my bed, under the blankie my mom made me several years ago. It's the perfect place to read when not being accosted by the kidos for drinks, snacks, games, hugs, etc. LOL!

The last book I read in my favorite place was TOUCH ME. Another winner, Jacquie! Fabulous book. I really enjoyed the story and was so happy to see Genevieve get her happily-ever-after. I won't give away any details of the book, but I do have one question. How did you come up with the idea for the statue in Genevieve's bedroom?

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Jacquie! I'm so glad you made it to the lair. I love your historicals and I got my mom hooked on them too. Your new blaze sounds wonderful. Sigh. Another trip to Borders.

My lair is usually in my comfortable bed. Although last night I read for 1.25 hours in my car waiting for my son to get done with his religious education class. But my favorite is by the fireplace on a nice cold Sunday afternoon.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Jacquie! Thanks for swinging by today! Your latest blaze sounds hot! I guess that's why they call it 'blaze', huh? :-) I'm looking forward to picking it up!

In terms of my favorite place to read, we have a big square leather chair/ottoman in our living room right in front of the bay window. Cup of tea, the kids asleep, a great book, my husband on the couch beside me with his book? Heaven. :-)

~Drew said...

HI Jacquie!

Oh wow, more Blaze! My Lair, is like others, my bed, I love to read in bed. I can't sleep unless I read first. I also have a sounds machine, I choose either 'crashing waves' or 'falling rain' and listen as I read. And a mug of Lady Grey Tea. An absolute must.
The latest I just read? 'An Officer and a Gentleman', by Karen Hawkins.

I love the idea of Historical Blaze, wish there were more! And great peek into the story, *fans self* adding to my list!!

I do have a question, the writing guidelines for Blaze seem pretty wide open (looked at the website)
If one were to submit say, a historical or maybe a time travel story, or paranormal or a combination of all three(!!) steeped in the Blaze premise, would it be considered in your opinion, or is the main thrust in this line contemporary?
Any advice you can give an unpubbed in maybe getting a toe in the door for this line would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!

And I have read some of your other books, being a historical ho, 'Seduced at Midnight' was wonderful!!

Joan said...

Ok "Simon" and "Touch Me"? Add the word "Joanie" to that sentence and yeah.......

Ahem, excuse me. Was TOTALLY taken away by that excerpt!

Welcome to The Lair Jacquie! How fantastic is it that the Blaze line is growing by including other elements? I say hooray for them...and us!

As to a nook...just my comfy recliner...after the gladiators fluff the pillows :-) My latest books I enjoyed there was Jessica Andersen's Nightkeepers.

World building extraordinaire!

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Jacquie! Great to see you here. And what a gorgeous cover for your latest!

I'm like so many others - I can read anywhere and love to read anywhere. My favourite place is in bed, with my cats and lovely hubby by my side. But, I love anywhere I can curl up and go into my own little world.

That said, I also love reading while lazing on a tropical beach LOL.

The latest book I read there was Karen Rose's Kill For Me and for a change of pace I'm about to start on Kate Angell's Sliding Home - love the Bat Pack!

MsHellion said...

My lair! I love my lair (though I really need to hang the pictures already)--it's a 2 bedroom apartment in a nice little place not far from town. (My friend has to put up with drive by shootings; I do not--but I live further out than she does.)

I just bought bedroom furniture--I only had a bed before with no dressers, so I bought a whole set--and I have, for the first time, my own queen size bed and matching dresser and chest. I also bought high-thread Egyptian cotton sheets--so where I used to curl up in bed and type on my manuscript or read, now I curl up with either item and end up getting so sleepy within 15 minutes that I just go to bed. I love my bed. *LOL* But to be productive I curl up on my couch in the livingroom, type on my computer, and watch Twilight.

Andrea said...

Hey, Jacquie!

My favorite place to curl up with a book is in bed or the couch. I'm hoping my hubby will finally get me a Snuggie this year for Christmas to make my curling up even warmer. ;)

As you know, I loved TOUCH ME! Beautiful story. I'm so looking forward to all of your upcoming releases!

** Please don't include me in the contest. I have all of Jacquie's books. *g* **

PJ said...

Hi Jacquie! Congrats on the release of Touch Me! You already know how much I love your books. I haven't read Touch Me yet (local store was sold out) but it will be on my next book order. I got a B&N gift card in the mail yesterday and it is screaming for me to use it. :)

I read everywhere but my favorite places are in the rocker on the front porch, on the lounge chair on the back deck or curled up with Cassy and a cozy blanket on the couch.

We sure missed you at M&M this year!

Jacquie D said...

Hey gals! So great to be here, and WOW!! What a lot of fun comments!

Limecello—I also like reading in the car (provided I’m not driving, LOL!) But who are these “experts” that say you shouldn’t do anything in bed but sleep?? Obviously they’ve never read a Blaze, LOL!

Flchen—So glad you enjoyed the Duets and Temptation lines. I was so sorry to see them go (again—NOT my fault, LOL!)

Pissenlit—What ISN’T my favorite flavor of Dorito?? In deference to ass fat, I’ve tried the baked ones, but they just don’t cut it. And yes, the Collisions are...gawd, there are no words.

Lynz Pickles—I LOVE the sound of your booknook! The shelves, the chairs—perfect!

Donna M—I’m really loving your cabana boy/umbrella drinks Lair idea. I’m adding that to my Christmas list!

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on bringing home the rooster. Keep him very busy!

I finished Touch Me last night, and it was wonderful. I think you'll enjoy it.

I've read in bed ever since I can remember, and I still manage to sleep. On a rainy night, doing that feels especially cozy.

Nancy said...

Hi, Fedora--

I've never read at the kitchen counter. I have read in the car. I have to do something while waiting for the carpool pickup to start moving.

Marla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Hi, Pissenlit--

When I bought my couch, replacing the rollaway bed I'd been using with big, fluffy pillows on it, I insisted on having one long enough for me to lie down on it without having my feet bump the end or hang over the edge.

We still have that couch, which the boy and the dog now share from time to time, so it's good that I got a long one. Neither of them is getting any shorter.

Nancy said...

Lynz, your reading nook sounds wonderful! I especially like that club chair. We have one small bookshelf in the bedroom, and the books moved off it in favor of DVDs some time ago.

Jacquie D said...

Jane—So glad you liked Colin and Nathan—those brothers were two of my favorites to write! And LOL on the smudged pages!

Anna—Glad we’ve brought you to the Dark Side and you’re enjoying Blazes! And yes, watching Stephanie Laurens win her very well deserved RITA was a great moment. The only surprise (shock actually) was that it was the 1st time she’d ever been a finalist! I’m feeding Allie the alligator purse, but she’s become quite the diva I’m afraid. It all started when I let her wear that tiara...

Michelle—LOVE spice Cheetos! HATE those red finger marks, but am willing to deal with them, LOL! Hope you enjoy TOUCH ME!

Linda H—So glad you followed Temptation into Blaze (again, not my fault Temptation folded!) I read MERCY and loved it—you’re in for a treat!

Emmanuelle—so glad you enjoyed the Mayhem in Mayfair series! I don’t have that Tracy Anne Warren book—thanks for the rec. I’ve added it to my “buy” list!

Tawny—it’s great to be here! Thanks for the compliment on the shoes and outfits. Conference is about the only time I’m out of sweat pants, LOL!

Laurie—Delighted you’ve enjoyed my books! Your converted study sounds lovely, esp. the “undisturbed” part. I need quiet to read (thus my large supply of earplugs, LOL!)

PJ said...

Nancy, when I bought my couch a few years ago I got one that's 8 feet long. A friend asked why in the world I needed one so long since I'm so short. I thought it was obvious - long enough for me to stretch out and read while leaving room at opposite end for dogs to curl up and snooze. In my house, books are a priority and all dogs sleep close to mama. :)

Nancy said...

Donna, I like to read outside, too. Summer here is terrible for it, what with the humidity and the mosquitoes. I'm hoping for a chance before the cold weather sets in. We bought a rope swing to replace the kiddie ones on the swing set, but we've hardly used it.

In the Spring, sitting out there under the pecan tree is nice. The fall also can be, so I'm hoping now that we've had a cold snap and the mosquitoes finally seem to be gone.

Marla said...

Oh my Gosh....I need this book! I would love,love,love a signed copy of "Touch Me"...I have looked all over my little town for it. Your in my top 5 Authors.
My lair is my computer room all by myself on a futon. It's also the favorite place for my cat that thinks that he needs to climb in my lap and lay on the book that I'm reading like it his headrest. I take comfort in all your books cause they transport me to another time and place. Thank you Jacquie!

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--

Ah, Coke and snacks! I can go with both. Thanks to my background in comic book fandom (emphasizing good condition of the books), I seldom eat when I read. I do like a to have a beverage on hand, though.

With or without little umbrellas. :-)

PJ said...

Oh, I forget to tell you what I'm reading. I just finished The Untamed Bride, the Oct. 27th release from Stephanie Laurens. It kicks off a new series but has lots of old friends in it from previous books. I thought it was wonderful!

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--

We have another vote for reading in bed! I think all those people who don't approve of it or say it's bad for sleeping are not book addicts. Reading in bed helps me wind down from the day.

I think it's interesting that Blaze is branching out so much. The category lines used to be built around conceptual uniformity, didn't they? So the reader would know what she was getting by the line name on the cover? I'm a fan of variety, so I think this is a great idea.

Nancy said...

Michelle, I think you'll really enjoy Touch Me.

I've never tried the spicy cheetos, but I like the regular ones. I console myself with the idea they're mainly air. So eating a lot of them mostly is eating air. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Linda--I love hot chocolate. I don't usually have it when I'm reading, though, but I tend to let reading beverages get cold, and the chocolate doesn't taste the same to me. I keep tea on hand for winter reading and have that hot, but it does better if it cools. I wish I could read with hot chocolate. It'd be so cozy in the winter.

Nancy said...

Hi, Emmanuelle--I have the second "Midnight" book here and am eager to read it. I loved the first one.

Nancy said...

Hi, Tawny--I envy your fireplace. I'd love to read by the fire in the winter.

I'm thinking the fun of a new house would be figuring out what to make of all the rooms. We considered moving a while back and looked at several houses, including some that needed work done, and found ourselves envisioning them done. And not all the walls painted cream, which I'm guessing must be some sales-assisting practice.

In the end, however, inertia prevailed, and we're still here.

Nancy said...

Laurie, wasn't Kiss the Cook fun? I loved that book.

We also have a bedroom we converted to a study. It occasionally converts back to a bedroom. Having no other guest room, we put a foldout sofabed in there. It's sort of my space, since the dh has an office at school (my office at school is shared with 7 other people). I sometimes read on the sofa in here. If I'm reading drafts, it's the best place. No one walks through, and no one's watching TV in here. No TV in here, just books. And action figures.

Nancy said...

Helen, I love watching the tennis from Australia, too, even though it's on at horribly inconvenient times. I mean, I'd stay up until two to watch it, but the dh conks out way before that.

You seem like such a nice person. Why are you taunting us with Tim Tams?

Nancy said...

Dianna, I don't think you'll have to search madly for Touch Me. It's still in the stores. Your timing on this one is great.

Nancy said...

Buffie, I thought the statue was a wonderful idea, but my favorite part of the book (aside from the puppy and the big action scene at the end) was the hot spring.

Not to give anything away for those who haven't read it yet, but the hot spring plays a recurring role in the book.

Nancy said...

Hi, Christie--you sat in the car over an hour? Wow! If I have to wait anywhere long and don't have a book, I begin to feel a little nuts.

And you also have a fireplace. *sigh* Ours was built to burn coal and now has a wood stove attached to it, which just isn't quite the same vibe. Even without the wood stove, the firebox would be too shallow for logs.

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--

The dh and I used to read together, once upon a time. We used to take our respective books to bed and read for a while before calling it a day. He gets up so early now, though, that any attempt to read in bed puts him out like the proverbial light. I sort of miss those days. Or evenings.

Jacquie D said...

Helen—I’ve heard so much about these Tim Tams but have never tried them. Am now officially on quest to get some (they’re fat free, right? RIGHT??) And yes, I can’t wait for the Australian Open in January. One day I’m going to be there in person!

Aka Dianna—I totally agree on the “nothing to distract me from the read.” I love to read in a quiet place. My mom can read in the midst of utter chaos—I don’t know how she does it!

Buffie—hugs back! So glad you liked TOUCH ME! Re the statue in Genevieve’s bedchamber—it was a combo of things. I’d recently watched (for like the 100th time) Pride and Prejudice and the scene where Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) walks through the room in Pemberly with all the beautiful marble statues was stuck in my mind. I needed a place for Simon to hide in her bedchamber, and...there you have it!

Christie Kelly—Thanks for getting your mom hooked on my historicals! Reading by the fireplace...that sounds fabulous! The weather here in Atlanta has certainly been chilly enough lately for a fire!

Susan S—Yes, that chair in front of the bay window, kids asleep, hubby nearby...I agree, that’s heaven!

Drew—love the idea of a sound machine to bring “crashing waves” into my home. Re your Blaze submission question—for now the historical Blazes are by invitation only (in other words, the editor asks someone already writing for the line), and they are not looking for historical submissions at this time (which could change if they sell really well and want to do more). I would suggest your Blaze submission therefore be contemporary and no matter what type of story it is (suspense, etc.) make sure you have a sexy “hook.” That’s the first thing the editor is going to want to know, right up front—what’s the sexy hook of this story? If you need ideas re sexy hooks, read the back cover copies of as many Blazes as you can, and you’ll get the idea.

Nancy said...

Hi, Drew--

Wasn't Seduced at Midnight terrific? I'm interested in your sound machine. I've sometimes considered getting one for in here. When the neighbors have their stereos going in nice weather, I have trouble concentrating and have wondered whether white noise would be helpful.

Nancy said...

Hi, Joanie--You know I love the worldbuilding in the Nightkeepers books. Jess will be back in the spring when the next one appears.

Without spoiling Touch Me for you, I'll just say that excerpt is perhaps a bit tame compared to other things in the book. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--I used to love reading at the beach. Lately, though, I've had trouble focusing while baking. I wish I still could.

The Bat Pack--is that like Batman?

Nancy said...

Hi, Ms. Hellion--your lair sounds fabulous! Isn't buying furniture a kick? When I finally replaced that rollaway bed with a real couch, I felt so proud of it.

In school, I ate off a card table with my aunt and uncle's discarded kitchen nook chairs around it. The chairs were getting rickety, but they still held people up. My first furniture purchase when I finished with school forever and had a job was a dinette set with a round, glass table with a brass base and four chairs with cushioned seats and cane backs. The day I paid it off was huge for me.

When the dh and I were married, he was using a table from a yard sale with mismatched chairs. So we used his table and my chairs until we finally bought a dining room suite. And that was a kick, too.

Jacquie D said...

Joan—TOTALLY thrilled you were taken away by the excerpt! Haven’t read Jessica Andersen but have heard good things. Thanks for the rec!

Anna Sudgen—your realize, of course, that that’s ME on the cover! Yup, sure is. Uh huh. Absolutely. Love, love LOVE Karen Rose—she’s not only a great author, but she’s a really great person.

Ms. Hellion—I’m gearing up to watch Twilight (for the 4th time—how geeky is that, LOL?!) in preparation of New Moon coming out. Already have my movie tickets—I can’t wait!

Andrea—Thanks for loving TOUCH ME! Xox I have a Snuggie and it’s fabulous! Tell your husband to go to Costco—they have them there.

PJ—I missed you at M&M, too! (also missed my PJ chocolate fix, LOL!). Good to know TOUCH ME was sold out at your local store. Hmmm...wonder if my mom had been there...?

Nancy—thanks so much for inviting me here—what a fun place to hang out! Glad you liked TOUCH ME!

Marla—I’m honored and flattered to be in your Top Five—thank you! LOL on your cat making your book a head rest! My cat, Kennesaw LOVES it when I read—I’m her own personal pillow (btw, her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice).

PJ—I have UNTAMED BRIDE in my TBR pile (mountain). Glad you enjoyed it—I can’t wait to dive in!

Cassondra said...

Hello Jacquie, and WELCOME to the madness in the lair! Hard to believe it's taken us this long to lure you in here. But now that you're here, vill tempt you wid vile sweet things and hot cabana boys and get you all liquored up and learn your carried away there.

Lessee...Right now my favorite spot to read is in bed because we're restoring a house that's 160 years old and it's DRAFTY in the winter. I dream of a nook in my living room with a daybed and bookshelves and a little table for my cup of hot chocolate or glass of wine. Maybe one day. After the wiring is done and I have insulation in there. *sigh*

I have a question about writing short. Yes, I ask this of every series author who comes to visit us in the lair. I dream of having the skill set to write shorter books. I love it when an author can pack that much emotional punch into a fast read. Did you always write short? Was it natural for you? Or did you have to make changes or shift into it? Any hints for making every scene do double duty?

Nancy, great interview, and thanks for bringing Jacquie to the lair!

Nancy said...

Hi, Andrea--Nice seeing you at M&M!

Let us know how the Snuggie works. I keep looking at them. Our house is old, so it's drafty in the winter.

Jacquie D said...

Here's another question for you gals:
I mentioned in one of my posts that my mom can read in the midst of utter chaos--phones ringing, tv blasting, people bustling about. Me? I need quiet. If the tv is on, I wear earplugs--otherwise I find myself listening to the tv and not concentrating on what I'm reading, and I end up reading the same sentence 10 times. I also need silence when I write--can't even listen to music. If I do, I find myself typing the words to the song!
So, how about you? Can you read with chaos, or do you need quiet?

Nancy said...

Hi, PJ--

I like having the dog near when I'm reading, too. She just recently stopped jumping on the bed, which was a sad day for all of us. She used to come in while I was reading, hop up, and, after turning in place a couple of times, plop down with her rear against my hip. It was a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling.

Now we're adjusting to having her by the bed instead. Right now, she's snoring on the couch, which is lower than the bed. We never allowed our other dogs on the couch, but she was accustomed to being on the furniture at her old home, and we decided we had better things to do than guard the couch 24/7. And the boy likes having her up there with him, though it's getting to e quite a squeeze.

MsHellion said...

Umm, *embarrassed look* not geeky at all actually. I've lost count how many times I've watched Twilight. I usually put it on when I write because it makes great background as I'm writing scenes.

I don't have tickets yet, but I better get them soon. I preferred Eclipse to Twilight.

Nancy said...

PJ wrote: long enough for me to stretch out and read while leaving room at opposite end for dogs to curl up and snooze.

I completely get this! Of course, in our house, we don't really own the dogs so much as they own us.

Nancy said...

Jacquie, glad you're having a good time! We're happy to have you here.

~Drew said...


Seduced at Midnight was terrific! I could not put it down.
Sound machine is great, 'white noise' option is good for zoning out, I like the 'summer nights' one, crickets.
However, 'heartbeat' is too Poeish (a word?)Too "tell-tale heart", LOL! Creeps me out. I also like 'Thunderstorm' turned down low, LOL!

And Jacquie, thanks so much for answering my question! I will certainly do my part to ensure Blaze Historicals sell well, 'Sexy hook' got it! Cheers~

Nancy said...

Hi, Marla--Your cat sounds like our dogs. They can't curl up on top of a book, but doing any kind of project on the floor is like inviting them to lie down on it. So no floor projects anymore.

I say dogs, but by that, I mean all dogs we've ever had. Right now, we just have the one, and she seems to like being an only.

Cassondra said...

Jacquie said:

So, how about you? Can you read with chaos, or do you need quiet?

I have to have quiet as well. If the tv is on (ours gets used only for movies, but even so)I have to get where I cannot hear the music or the sounds of people's voices. I can't focus with stuff like that going on. My husband, on the other hand, can read, watch tv, listen to the radio, and have a conversation, and keep a good sense of what's happening with all of it. I am a good multitasker when I'm working on something, but not in that way. When I read or write, I'm one-track. I need quiet.

The only exception is that I've learned to write at coffee shops. CERTAIN coffee shops where the music has no words, is not too loud, and is mixed with the general gentle bustle of other people around. But if somebody sits near me and I can hear their actual conversation? Forget it. I have to get up and move.

Nancy said...

Jacquie, I noted your submission advice to Dianna. I don't know whether you remember, but you critiqued a piece of mine in a GRW workshop some years back. The advice you gave me was so helpful and your approach was so positive that I came away from that very encouraged. That advice, to be sure it's clear to the reader who the hero is in chapter one, has stayed with me in everything I've done since.

Nancy said...

Hey, Cassondra--you know I can't write short, either. At least, it doesn't come naturally to me, and I often wish it did. Those shorter books have to be really tight, no wasted space and none of the little side trails I find so appealing when I'm writing.

Touch Me is tightly plotted, but there is still some comedy in it--though I won't give away where or how.

Nancy said...

Jacquie, on your comment about noise--I used to need absolute quiet to write, but I could read with the TV on and follow both the program and the book. Now I find that more difficult.

I experimented with writing while playing a book-appropriate CD. I have some medieval and baroque music, including dance pieces, and I have the theme from Alias for writing my spies. And I've found, to my surprise, that I can do this. (I could never do homework with music playing) That's how I drown out the neighbors, though there are times I think something like white noise might be better.

What I can't do, however, is write with talking going on. It yanks me out of the imaginary heads I'm trying to inhabit. If the dh is on the kitchen phone or the boy is watching TV in the next room, I have to close the study door.

Nancy said...

Drew wrote: However, 'heartbeat' is too Poeish (a word?)Too "tell-tale heart", LOL! Creeps me out. I also like 'Thunderstorm' turned down low, LOL!

I remember "The Tell-Tale Heart." Urk! Poe was very good at what he did. So I don't think that'd work for me, either. The waves on the shore might.

I see Jacquie's comment on hooks was to you. I got confused. Sorry!

Nancy said...

Ms.Hellion, I watch The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas when I'm trying to get in a good frame of mind to write genre fantasy. It's not heavy on magic, but it is heavy on dark and threatening mystery.

If it makes you feel any better re: Twilight, I'll confess that I saw the original Star Wars movie (now Episode IV), back in the days before DVD, 22 times in the theater the year it came out. Serious geeking.

And I sat in an auditorium, waiting, for an hour and a half (and was lucky the program I'd come for was the first of the day, so they loaded the room instead of making everyone wait outside), with NO book--what was I thinking?--to see Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner at DragonCon. And some people were there an hour before I was.

Nancy said...

Hi, Cassondra--I can't write at coffee shops. At least not at the ones near me. Too much bustle.

Barbara Monajem said...

I can read or write with chaos around me, except for the TV, which is distracting and REALLY slows me down. It irritates me no end that my attention can be drawn to really DUMB stuff on the TV, but that's the way it is.

I hope Harlequin expands the Blaze historical line. I read one earlier this year - Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn - and I loved the shorter length. Looking forward to reading Touch Me, Jacquie!

Nancy said...

Barbara wrote: It irritates me no end that my attention can be drawn to really DUMB stuff on the TV

Me, too! And I find myself watching things in which I have absolutely, positively NO interest. And then I sort of snap to and think "Huh? Why?"

Minna said...

I like to read in bed. And I'm reading Master of Dragons by Angela Knight.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jacquie! I'm popping out of the deadline cave to say hi - *Waving madly* HI!!! - and congrats on the hot historical. It sounds fab.

Can't read all the marvelous comments (must work, must work, must work) although it's very tempting.

So, Welcome to the Lair, WOOT on the hothothot book which I'm adding to the BUY list, and thanks for being here.

Lime, that rooster has a serious THING for you! Congrats!

*Shuffling* Back to the Cave...

Jacquie D said...

Nancy—glad you liked KISS THE COOK! My mom always says that book is her favorite—I think it’s because the character of Nana was loosely based on her sister, my beloved Aunt Addie. And so glad my advice was helpful to you. You’re a very talented writer.

Cassandra—I can definitely be “viled” with sweet things and hot cabana boys, LOL! Re writing short—I’d have to call myself a “long” short writer. All those anthology stories that are supposed to be 100 pages? HA! I’ve never written a 100 page anthology story. They always end up at about 120. For me, the trick to writing a category book is to not “clutter” it up with stuff I don’t need, namely too many plot points, and too many characters. I usually only allow the hero and heroine one BFF type—and sometimes that character for one of them either doesn’t exist or is completely off screen and only mentioned in narrative or dialogue (ie—Gee, I wish my BFF Chad was here rather than hiking in the Himalayas. I could really use his advice right about now!). Also—I keep the plot simple. All my 400 page historicals have a mystery/suspense element in them, but none of my category books do—except TOUCH ME, and believe me, it was a challenge for me to keep in the word count. I did so by keeping the action focused on the hero and heroine, and only including one main, on the page secondary character. That’s the LONG answer to your question. The short answer is, keep it simple and focused on the hero and heroine (see how I tend to write long, LOL?!)

Nancy said...

Hi, Minna--another vote for bed reading! I like paranormals and futuristics, too.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Jeanne, glad you could emerge. Especially since you're, what, just a week or two from deadline?

You'll love Touch Me, I promise. Now go work!

Jacquie D said...

Ms Hellion—glad it’s not only me who keeps watching Twilight!

Drew—happy you couldn’t put SEDUCED AT MIDNIGHT down! And I agree—the heartbeat would creep me out. If “Poeish” isn’t a word, it should be. (Hello, Oxford English Dictionary, are you listening?!)

Barbara M—I also hope HQ expands the historicals, and I agree that Make Me Yours was an excellent read!

Minna—I LOVE that series by Angela Knight! I adore that world she's created, and wow, those books are HOT! I wish she’d write faster!

Jeanne—good luck with the deadline! Whenever anyone asks me, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?” I always answer, “The End.”

Nancy said...

Jacquie, thank you. You wrote: keep it simple and focused on the hero and heroine

That's the trick, isn't it? And it's where I run into trouble.

Speaking of just one BFF, though, Baxter is a great character!

Pissenlit said...

Jacquie - I’ve tried the baked ones, but they just don’t cut it. And yes, the Collisions are...gawd, there are no words.

I've not tried the baked ones. Healthy just seems wrong when we're talking about Doritos. Kind of like that time I accidentally bought low fat muffin mix. I added chocolate chips to make up for it. :D Oh man, maybe I should try other Collisions...'cept I still can't get over Habanero/Guacamole.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit wrote: Healthy just seems wrong when we're talking about Doritos.

Ain't it the truth? And have you noticed, the small Doritos bags, in the nutrition info, actually claim a bag is TWO servings. Now, who eats half of one those bags?

Pissenlit said...

Nancy - I insisted on having one long enough for me to lie down on it without having my feet bump the end or hang over the edge.

Oh ya, I hear you! The left end spot on the couch is always mine(reminds me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) so I can recline length-wise on the couch when I want to. It's a large sectional so my legs don't always get booted off when others want to sit and I can totally lie all the way down without my feet hanging off or hitting the end. It may be pretty beat up nowadays but it sure is comfy! :D

Pissenlit said...

Nancy - And have you noticed, the small Doritos bags, in the nutrition info, actually claim a bag is TWO servings. Now, who eats half of one those bags?

No, those small bags are beneath my notice. Bwa ha! Actually, I'm more likely to eat half of the large bags. *shame* Oh man, did I just admit to that out loud? :D

chey said...

Hi Jacquie!
Great interview and excerpt!
My favourite place to read is in a recliner in the computer room.

Cassondra said...

Jacquie said:

That’s the LONG answer to your question. The short answer is, keep it simple and focused on the hero and heroine

Thanks! That's a great answer actually. The long AND the short of it. I layer. And layer. AAAAAAAND layer.....*sigh*

Must do less of that and focus. Once the layering and complexity is in there it's REALLY hard to cut. I'd rather write it tight and short to begin with. I wish I wrote that way, then had to layer in, but alas, I'm a natural putter-inner, not a natural taker-outer.

I will try approaching a manuscript with these guidelines you've set out and see what happens.

Anna Sugden said...

No, Nancy - sorry, the Bat pack are baseball players *g*. I know, a departure from my hockey hunks, but Kate writes great sexy, funny books - and there are so few of those around in ST right now!

Yes, Jacquie, as a former teacher, I can read in the midst of any noise.

Minna said...

And I just finished reading Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. Too bad it was an ebook, so I couldn't read it in bed. But it was a free ebook, courtesy of Mills and Boon:
And I really want to get the other books in the series and in old fashioned format: ink and paper.


Helen said...

Jacquie I really wish the Tim Tams were fat free I like to think that anyway LOL.

My Mum was the same she could read any where with anything going on I can read with the TV on if it is sport on but not a TV show I tend to get distracted by the show, I prefer quiet when I read because I get so involved in the book I am reading.

Have Fun

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, I'd love to have a sectional, but we just don't have the space for it. It sounds great.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, I meant to add that Doritos can be addictive. It's easy to eat way more than I realize if I"m not paying attention!

Nancy said...

Cassondra, it's hard to cut, isn't it? I always have to go back and put in the layering that seems to come naturally to you, and then I have to trim other things so I'm not way over in length.

Nancy said...

Anna--Oh. It does make sense that the "Bat pack" would be baseball. *sigh* Did you see Bull Durham? One of my favorite Kevin Costner movies.

Nancy said...

Minna, I loved those Deanna Raybourne books. I think you'll enjoy the others.

Nancy said...

Helen, if you ever find fat-free Tim Tams, we expect you to let us know!

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Jacquie! I'm reading TOUCH ME right now, and I'm loving it! Just like all of your books. :)

I love to read on the couch, the bed or the comfy chair in my bedroom. Anywhere, as long as I have a good book, is a good place to read.

We really missed you at M&M this year!

Jacquie D said...

Pissenlit—LOL on adding the chocolate chips to the low fat muffins! And yeah, habanero/guacamole...another taste extravaganza courtesy of Doritos. Yum!

Nancy—Yeah, TWO servings in those little bags. More like I’m going to eat TWO bags! And I LOVE Bull Durham—one of my all time fave movies.

Chev—thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the interview and excerpt!

Cassandra—layering is great, but if you find you’re doing too much of it and need to cut due to word length constraints, first of all, don’t look at it as cutting—keep those “cut” things in a separate Word folder to be used at another time, in another book. Also—read through each scene very carefully—sometimes, as well written as a scene may be it’s not really necessary because you’ve already imparted the info in another scene and while the setting may be different, you’re really just saying the same thing in a different way. You also may be able to combine two scenes. Each scene has to push the action forward—either the external plot or the romantic plot. If it doesn’t, then it needs to go (but put it in the folder, you may be able to use it at another time).

Anna S—Lucky you--I envy that ability!

Helen—Am devastated that Tim Tams aren’t fat free. Will simply lie to myself!

Jacquie D said...

Hi Gannon! Glad you're enjoying the book. I missed you gals, too! This was the first M&M conference I've missed since 1996! But my niece's wedding was wonderful and we all had a terrific time.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jacquie, a warm welcome to the lair. Nancy, thank you for hosting Jacquie today. TOUCH ME sounds wonderful! Looks like you have a real variety of projects coming up for us to enjoy.

My favourite place to read is on the beach, but my favourite cozy place is curled up in bed, preferably on a rainy day. Actually, the last book I read was a biography called The Mitford Girls. Fascinating reading. I'd recommend it for historical writers to get a true insight into the aristocracy (even if they lived a bit later than our Regency heroines)

Congrats on the rooster, Lime!

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks for visiting us today,

Home for me is located in the NW
corner of the city in which I was
born, Houston, Texas. In that corner of the city, in our home
in the suburbs I love to curl up
in a comfy corner of the sofa. I,
surrounded by cushions, under a
warm blanket, and with a cup of
tea at hand, just finished last
evening reading my copy of Touch
Me! Simon and Genevieve are now
one of my favorite couples. And
Baxter, I love Baxter! Thanks
for all of them!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Snort, Jacquie! I want a photo of allie in her tiara!!!!

Nancy said...

Hi, Gannon--Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy said...

Jacquie, I admit to a certain partiality toward Bull Durham because part of it was filmed in Durham, NC, where two of my cousins used to live.

Nancy said...

Hi, Christine--I think biographies are wonderful resources. I've heard good things about the Mitford one though I haven't read it.

Nancy said...

Hi, Pat--I love Baxter, too. I just finished Touch Me last night.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome Jacquie!

BIG THANX to Nancy for inviting you to the Lair!

My fave place to read is on a plane headed for a vacation! Second fave is in the recliner in my living room, or my couch, which is too short and my feet hang over so the recliner is definitely better. :-P

I too am loving the fact that Blaze is branching into historical settings! HURRAY!


Virginia said...

Hi Jacquie, great post! My favorite place to read is on the couch. I have a reclining couch and on one end of it I have a lamp set and the center of the couch pulled down for my drink table. I hit this spot every night! Its my favorite place in the whole house. Because when I go there I travel to many different places in books.

Nancy said...

Hey, AC! I survive on planes and in airports by taking books along. I'd go nuts with all that waiting if I didn't have something to read. If it's a really long flight, I'll take the AlphaSmart. Otherwise, just books.

Nancy said...

Virginia, I'd love to have a drink table on my couch. The closest thing I have in here is a desk near the couch. In the living room, we have a coffee table. But we also have a dog, who sees now distinction between "ours" and "hers." And who also has a long, fast-moving tail. So drinks on the coffee table aren't safe, alas.

jo robertson said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jacquie and thanks for the Call story. They send shivers down my spine and so does the sound of your books.

Nancy said...

Hey, Jo--That's a great story, isn't it?

Jacquie D said...

Christine—Ah, yes, reading at the beach—the ultimate luxury! Thanks for the Mitford Girls rec!

Pat—I’m honored that Simon and Genevieve are now one of your fave couples—thank you! And so glad you liked Baxter, too!

Anna C—I have a pic of Allie wearing her tiara somewhere. Will e-mail when I find it.

Loucinda—agree that feet hanging over is not as good as a recliner. Fingers crossed Blaze continues with historicals!

Virginia—LOVE those sofas with the pull down table. Must ask Santa about bringing one of those...

Jo—so happy you liked my Call story! Wish it didn’t make me sound like such a doofus, but that’s exactly how it went down.

ddurance said...

*sigh* Doritos! Me and my sister, who is twelve years older than me used to fight over them when she was still at home. That and the 2-liters of Pepsi. lol She also bribed me to scratch her back by letting me into her candy stash.

I love to read on my bed, snuggly under the cover, preferably without my husband watching the tv. I'm reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and it's really good.