Borders True Romance

You can find me talking about HARD TO HOLD – and the brothers – over with Sue Grimshaw at Borders True Romance blog today!  I’m also doing a giveaway of TOO HOT TO HOLD, which comes out January 5, 2010.  My wonderful editor offered those up, and I believe you’ll get them before the actual release date, which is always nice!

So come on over and comment for a chance to win TOO HOT TO HOLD and talk about your likes and dislikes of series / trilogies, etc.

Obviously, I’m a fan of trilogies.

The roads in Africa

This one’s about Africa…specifically, the roads in Africa, since they play a role in HARD TO HOLD and TOO HOT TO HOLD.IMG_0002

See, road is a relative term.  I remember we would drive for hours on dirt roads, then suddenly find ourselves on a strip of beautifully paved, smooth road – for maybe twenty feet.  And then it would end.  There was no rhyme or reason to it at all, and although we traveled after the rainy season, the roads were pretty well destroyed.  Without four wheel drive vehicles, forget getting anywhere. Even with four wheel drive vehicles, it was, shall we say, 3229864836_989c5d5135 challenging.

But this is about the one road I remember most vividly.  Late at night, we’d been driving toward Songea, to the mission where Zoo was born.  We’d been on the road forever – like 12 hours at least and then the car came to a dead stop.  And we all had to get out and investigate what our driver called the pothole.

There’s  Zoo, standing in the tiny pothole in the road.IMG

The driver decided that the pothole was not a problem at all.

So yeah, that’s us, in the pothole.  I’m sitting in the middle seat in the back. IMG_0001 With a box of wine.

If you drive anywhere in Africa, you will need several boxes of wine.

So when Sarah or Clutch or any of the characters talk about the roads in Africa, you’ll understand a little more.

From what I’m told, these roads were actually some of the better ones.

How to get a SEAL to help on release day

The hand on my shoulder makes me shriek – I whirl around and see Jake, who’s dripping water all over the floor.  He’s barefoot, wearing camouflage shorts and no shirt, and he’s holding a gun.  “You scared me – what’s that gun for?”

His eyes are dark gray and intense, boring into me.  “You kept paging – I thought something was wrong.”

At the same moment, Nick skids in, a lethal looking knife strapped to his arm.  Chris is right behind him, rifle slung around his chest.

“You’re getting the floors wet,” I point out and the three of them stare at me.

“So there’s no trouble here, then?” Nick asks.

“No.”

They look at each other and shrug.  Jake mutters under his breath and I tell them,  “I called because I need you to hand this stuff out.”

“What the hell is this?”  Nick looks at the bookmarks as if he’s never seen one in his life.

“Bookmarks – for all of your books.  Jake’s is out tomorrow and –“

“Wait a minute.”  Jake holds up his hand, stares between me and the bookmark.  “Why the fuck am I sharing a bookmark with these two?”

Those two are smirking at him.  Suddenly, handing out the bookmarks won’t be such a problem, I heard Chris saying.

“Sorry – printing costs and everything.  Besides, you’re a trilogy.  Like, all for one and one for all,” I say to placate him, but it’s not working.

“I think I should get my own bookmark,” Nick says.

“Hey, your book owes me,” I tell Nick, a little too loudly and he takes a step back and holds up his hands like he’s surrendering.  But there’s just enough of a smirk on his face for me to know he was difficult during the writing of his book on purpose.

“And mine is kind of like the crowning glory,” Chris says, those different color eyes giving him that crazy look, as usual.  Except I know it’s not just a look.

“Dude, you don’t even have a review yet.  And your cover’s pink,” Nick points out and Jake snorts.

“The entire cover’s not pink,” Chris says and Jake and Nick just look at him.  “You couldn’t tell them not to use pink?” he asks me.

“Look, I tried.  You’re all a lot of trouble and I’m exhausted.”

“She’s moved on.  To Zane.”  Jake rolls his eyes and shakes his head.  “I’ll bet he gets his own bookmarks.”

“Look, just go to bookstores, walk around and give these out.  Talk up the books.  Make sure people by them.”  I pause.  “I mean, I know you all have powers of…um, persuasion.  You know, because most of my readers are women.”

For a few moments there’s talk of all the persuading they’ve done, enough to make my cheeks redden.  And that’s when the three women appear – Isabelle, Kaylee and Jamie.

“Uh-oh,” Nick says in a low voice.

“They didn’t hear anything,” Jake mutters.

“Hey baby,” Chris says to Jamie, who tells him, “We heard everything.”

“We were talking about like, you know, before you,” Jake says with a roll of his eyes.

“I just asked them to pass out bookmarks,” I tell the women with an innocent shrug and walk away.  Because hey, my work here is done.

Hard to Hold FAQs

Here are a few questions I’ve gotten about the Hard to Hold trilogy – they’ll end up being a part of my FAQs page after this for future reference!

Is the trilogy stand-alone?  

Yes…and no.  Absolutely, you can pick up any of the books and get a complete reading experience that resolves the main hero / heroine relationship.  However, I love my subplots, and they do continue – Hard To Hold continues a subplot into Too Hot To Hold, and then a new subplot in Too Hot To Hold continues in Hold On Tight.  So, for the peak reading experience, I think it’s best to read the books in the order I wrote them.  And, of course, you need to read all of them.  And then buy multiple copies and give them as gifts to everyone you know.  What?  Books make great gifts…buy a book, save the world!  Or a SEAL, as it may be.

Were any of these books harder to write than the others?

Too Hot To Hold was the most difficult for me to get a handle on.  I’ve been told by my very patient editor that often the second book in a continuing trilogy is enough to make an author want to beat her head against the wall.  Okay, she said it a lot nicer than that, but still.

Do you picture celebrities when you’re creating your characters?  Real people you know?

Neither.  Especially not the real people because, hi, that’s weird.  It’s like when people want their names used as the main character in my books and no way, cannot do that.  I can picture my characters clearly in my head, well enough to describe them to you, but with enough left to the imagination that you can create your own picture in your head.

Did you pick the titles for your trilogy?

Sort of, kind of one of the titles.  Ish.  How’s that for an answer?  Not what you were looking for?  Okay, here goes.  

I’ve been obsessed with the title, Hard To Hold, for quite a while now.  I think I titled two manuscripts that will never see the light of day that.  In fact, when Sydney wrote her first proposal, Unleashing The Storm was actually called Hard To Hold.  Of course, once it was written in the contract like that, no one ever referred to the book like that again and we came up with Unleashing The Beast very quickly (and Beast was quickly vetoed and replaced with Storm.) But I digress.

So when I sold the SEAL series, Book 1 was Harder To Breathe (because I love that song), book two was Hard to Handle and Book 3 was Hard To Hold.  And then Shauna said that Harder To Breathe made her think of an asthma attack and well, yes, she’s right and so we went round and round trying on titles.  Most of the ones I came up with were too suspensey and not enough of the romance angle.  And then Shauna called me and said, Nita suggested these:  Hard To Hold, Too Hot To Hold and Hold On Tight.  And I loved them.  And finally, I get to use, Hard To Hold as a real title.

Too Hot to Hold Sneak Peek #2

Middle of September?  Seriously?  *blows dust off blog*

Anyway, a new sneak peek from TOO HOT TO HOLD (aka Nick’s book) has just been posted!  

Also, I’ve just been told that the release date has shifted a week, so instead of being available December 29th, it’ll be pubbed on January 5, 2010.  So really, much easier than trying to ship out over New Years. 🙂  If you pre-ordered it from Amazon, you’ll have to go in and approve the order again since the date did change.

So far, the official release date for HOLD ON TIGHT (aka Chris’s book) has remained January 26, 2010, but that could shift. If it doesn’t, well, then you get books 2 and 3 very close together, which is nice.

For now, I’m busy working on book 5 – Zane’s book which still has no title, but hey, the proposal was accepted by my editor, so that’s cool.  And I’m editing Sydney’s next, Tempting The Fire, which has an August 2010 release date last time I looked. And then Larissa and I dive right into writing Stryker’s book (book 6)…so this fall will be busy.

Again, mid-September?  Really?

Oh, and this post from author Saundra Mitchell cracked me up.  This paragraph, especially, on what happens when your first book is finally published:

…your grandmother is in tears because she didn’t see it at Wal-Mart. Not that she was going to buy it- everybody even remotely, genetically connected to you expects you to give them a copy- you’d think they’d take pity on you because of your non-Twilight advance and buy one. Or two. Come on, people, some pity- I didn’t send my book to Oprah, I’m doomed!

See, and most of my family doesn’t plan on buying it, but they don’t want copies from me either…(don’t worry – for some reason this just makes me laugh…)  But, of course, that means you’ll all have to make up for the non-familial buying and grab yourselves some extra copies…what?

Hold on Tight Sneak Peek!

So now that you’ve gotten a sneak peek at TOO HOT TO HOLD, it’s time for one from HOLD ON TIGHT. This is Chris’s book and in the sneak peek, you’ll meet  our heroine, Jamie.  She and Chris have a nice subplot in Nick’s book (Too Hot) and they meet up again in  HOLD ON TIGHT when Jamie is forced to launch an investigation against Chris.

I’m excited because I finished the galleys / page proofs for HOLD ON TIGHT and sent them on their merry express mail way yesterday.  That means the trilogy is finally almost put to bed.  Amazing how long it actually takes to finish a book in its entirety.

My editor and I are currently on the great title search for books 4 & 5.  Since they’re connected and they might be out close together, we need titles that go together but not necessarily match.  And it’s hard to find the right ones that actually mean something to the book, that aren’t too close to anything that’s been used recently by others and something that conveys that the books are more on the romance side of romantic suspense.

We have until Friday.  I’ve also got revisions and the proposal for the yet untitled book 5.  Stayed up until 2AM writing on it – so much fun.  Nothing is better than those first three chapters.  Everything’s shiny and pretty and new – any plot holes can be easily fixed without ruining an entire book.

Now, to drag myself back to the revisions.  Definitely not as pretty and shiny, but getting there.  The last 40 pages.  Plus the subplot in book 4 becomes the plot for new characters in book 5, so everything hinges on everything else.  Like a giant puzzle.

I swore my next books after the trilogy would be stand-alones.  I suck at keeping promises to myself.