Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Series of Valentine's Releases from Forbidden Publications

Available Monday, January 29th from Forbidden Publications
Sela Carsen: The Virgin Courtesan (historical; sensual)
Stacy Dawn: Apple of His Eye (contemporary; mainstream (aka nonerotic)
Elisabeth Drake: Wasting the Dawn (dark paranormal; carnal)
CJ England: Angel Eyes and Demon Lies (paranormal; carnal)
Dayna Hart: Wings of Love (fantasy; mainstream)
Loribelle Hunt: Be Mine (contemporary; sensual)
Crystal Jordan: Twice in a Blue Moon (paranormal; carnal)
Jennifer Leeland: Naughty Notions (contemporary; carnal)
JT Schultz: Cupid's Target (paranormal; sensual)
Shelli Stevens: Cabin Fever (contemporary; carnal)

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:22 PM :: 1 comments

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My friend Rhonda simply rocks!

Have you heard of Rhonda Stapleton? Well, if you haven't, you will, soon. Not only is she the author of the absolutely wonderful chick lit ebook STRIPPED (available now through Freya's Bower), but she also has a very funny short story in the DREAMS & DESIRES charity anthology, which is released tomorrow.

But...drum roll, of this afternoon, she now has 3 offers of representation for her hilarious young adult paranormal romance! And 3 other agents are supposed to get back to her in the next couple of days.

Mark my words...she's one to watch!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:19 PM :: 3 comments

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What a Nice Surprise!

I came home from work today to discover that I had a package slip in my mailbox. So I went to the front desk to see what it was. The concierge brought out two boxes. Hmmm...I couldn't imagine what it could be.

When I upstairs, I greedily ripped it open, only to discover that it was a box of copies of DREAMS & DESIRES, our charity anthology. Yup, that's right...I'm in print!

And a few days early, too!

The official release date is Thursday, February 1. You can find the book in your local bookstore (if they aren't stocking it, ask them to order's available on Ingrams so most bookstores can order it), online through Borders or Barnes & Noble, or on the Freya's Bower website.

Remember, all stories, editing, and cover art have been donated, so 100% of net profits are being donated to a battered women's shelter.

I just looked through the book and it looks beautiful. I've aleady read the stories in my PDF review copy, and they're all excellent. But don't take my word for's what reviewers and other authors are saying:

"DREAMS AND DESIRES features terrific short stories ranging from sweet to sizzling and penned by some of the leading lights in today's romance and erotica genres. Buy it to help a great cause, read it for the great stories!"
~ Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of VERTIGO and HOW NANCY DREW SAVED MY LIFE

"With a story to suit every appetite, Dreams and Desires is a delicious collaboration. Kudos to the authors for taking readers on a delightful journey while promoting a wonderful cause.”
~ Joanne Rock, author of DON'T LOOK BACK and THE KNIGHT'S COURTSHIP

"From the first story to the last, these stories are filled with hope, love, and the promise of the future... I highly recommend Dreams and Desires for those of you who cherish your romances... a fantastic read..."
~ Rose, Reviewer for Romance at Heart

"Anthologies can be risky for a reader - will all of the stories live up to the same high expectations? Will the next story be as good - or better - than the one just finished? With Dreams and Desires , the answer is a resounding yes; I'll be looking for many of these authors in the future. When you reach the end of Dreams and Desires , you'll be left craving more of these short reads.”
~ 5 Kisses from Deborah Barone, Romance Divas

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:13 PM :: 5 comments

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A Conversation with Kit Wylde

It's the last day of the Interview Marathon. Only two more days before the release of the charity anthology and the big exciting launch party in Gemma's chatroom at

Today I'm chatting with the last author alphabetically, Kit Wylde.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kit: I’m a 40 something woman who’s been teaching fifth grade for the past 15 plus years and have been reading romance even longer (too many years to count). In my early thirties, I began writing romance. My first story was sold to Wild Child Publishing, and that was the beginning of my writing “career”. Fortunately, my husband is very supportive.

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is "Secret Valentines". What is it about?

Kit: Valentine, or Val as he is called, is a man disconnected with life. He prefers not to feel if given the choice. When his company assigns everyone secret valentines, Val is annoyed to say the least. But as he comes to know his secret valentine, Cliodhna O’Cleirigh, he realizes that life can be a wonderful experience when you participate.

Amanda: How did you get involved in this project and why did you want to participate?

Kit: Marci first told me about it back in June or July — I don’t remember which. She was very excited about the anthology. I was too and instantly offered up “Secret Valentines” for the anthology. Being a public school teacher for as long as I have, I have seen many instances of both child abuse and domestic violence. The toll it takes on our society, our children, and every single member of this planet is beyond what much people would ever believe. It happens much more often than people think. I have also had friends who pulled themselves out of abusive relationships, seen them lose their jobs, their homes, their pets. It’s devastating. While I donate clothes and other necessities to our local shelter, I firmly believe that educating the public and helping people recognize the signs of an abusive person is our only hope of truly eradicating it.

Amanda: The cover of LAST CHANCE is beautiful. What is it about?

Kit: LAST CHANCE tells the story of Susan Pell who escapes a verbally abusive relationship and finds peace living alone (if you don't count the two match-making ghosts who are the original owners). Just when she decides to enter the dating pool again, in walks Max Lancaster, a sexy cowboy who happens to be her neighbor. Max has been given a free reading in the hopes that Susan will be able to predict his future. The attraction between them is instant, but his obvious disgust with her profession makes Susan want to have her way with him then strangle him for being such a close-minded fool. No matter that the ghosts say he's the one, Susan's not buying it. Avoiding him doesn't help, nor does dating someone else. When Susan vows to forget him, fate (with a little help from the ghosts) take matters into their own hands.

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors?

Kit: Oh my, well that’s a tough question. I used to love Jude Devereux and still enjoy her works. I also really like Zinnia Hope, Christine Feehan, Teresa Medeiros, Bronte.

Amanda: What's next for Kit Wylde?

Kit: I have WIP in progress titled THE WHISPERING HOUSE that is contracted with Freya’s Bower. It’s set in the Fresno area again in a “haunted” house. This one is less comedic and lighthearted and more of a dark, horror-esque erotic story... With an HEA. I much prefer books that end with an HEA. (smile) After that, I do have another story idea percolating that would be a time travel romance with a tentative title of TIME SUSPENDED. As I haven’t even begun the outline, I cannot say when it will be ready to submit.

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Amanda!

And thanks to you, too, Kit!
Anyway, this concludes my series of interviews. I hope everyone has enjoyed learning more about the authors involved in this wonderful collection. Go buy the book when it hits the shelves on Thursday! LOL!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 3:17 PM :: 0 comments

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Monday, January 29, 2007

A Conversation with Shaunna Wolf

It's my 150th post, which is very exciting. Today we're chatting with Shaunna Wolf.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Shaunna: First I'd like to thank you for doing the interviews with the various authors, and for asking me to participate. Shaunna Wolf is actually the pen name I use for writing erotica. I'm better known as S.R.Howen. I live in Texas at the current time with 11 indoor cats, not all of them the domestic sort, four fish and two rabbits--oh and my husband and daughter as well. My husband and one of my sons are in the army. I have a day job and work as an editor for both Wild Child Publishing and Freya's Bower. Free time not spent on writing, involves a lot of cat box duty--as well as work I do rescuing feral cats and finding homes for them.

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is "The Forge: Jezren Dark Sky." What is it about?

Shaunna: It's a story about one woman's journey through life to the fulfillment of her dreams. It illustrates how as we age and grow our dreams and desires also change, from the very simple: when do I eat next, to more lofty life goals and ultimately the goal every living thing has--that of companionship. It covers a lot of time in a short amount of words, Jezren's life from orphan to adult, her dreams from simple to complex.

Amanda: That *is* a lot of time to cover! I understand it's the prequel to your Freya's Bower series, THE FORGE. Can you tell us a little bit about the series?

Shaunna: The series picks up the same theme. How do we get through life (how does the main character) when our dreams crash around us? Each book picks a thread from Jezren's past and then puts the reader into the here and now of her life and how she deals with every day life after losing her one true love. Not to mention some sizzling sex scenes that not only give the reader a thrill, but are entwined with the plot and character development. On the SciFi side we have a strong female character, some interesting aliens and worlds, and some blazing sword battles as well. The series is not for the faint of heart.

Amanda: How did you get involved with the charity anthology, and what prompted you to participate?

Shaunna: Marci asked me to do the foreword. I have been in an abusive relationship myself, and after I got out I was involved in helping other women in the same situations. It is a subject near and dear to me. I see women and girls who are abused everyday. It angers me a great deal. We teach our children not to do drugs, we warn them about drinking and driving, we try to get them not to smoke, we even try to shield them from sex and teen pregnancy. We offer classes in child care (those real baby experience classes in High Schools) BUT and this is a great big red baboon butt, why is there a lack of any sort of education, when our kids are learning about relationships, on the signs of abuse, on the ABC's of a healthy mutually respectful relationship? I wanted to be involved to help get the word out--hopefully to someone who needs it--just what abuse is.

Amanda: How did you begin wtiting sci-fi/fantasy romance and erotica?

Shaunna: I've always written SciFi/Fantasy--a lot of it, ok, most of it very dark stuff. One of the things that makes any story real is it's closeness to real life. And what is one of the most basic elements of any living things nature? --the desire for a mate. My stories simply grew around the baser instincts, driven by love and romance.

Amanda: What's next for Shanna Wolf?

Shaunna: Getting The Forge book two written and hoping in the next year that my agent can sell my Historical Fantasy Romance "Medicine Man." I'd like to make enough from my writing to quit my day job, but isn't that every writer's dream and desire? Quit the day job and stay home and write?

I'd say it definitely is! Thanks, Shaunna, for chatting with us today. Tomorrow will be my last interview, with Kit Wylde.

Then on Thursday is the release of the anthology, as well as Gemma's fabulous launch party in her chat room at

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:44 AM :: 0 comments

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Conversation with Lois Winston

Today I'm chatting with Lois Winston, another one of our DREAMS & DESIRES authors. She's the author of TALK GERTIE TO ME.

Amanda: Welcome, Lois. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lois: Let’s see…I’m a vertically challenged red-head who at one time wanted to become an astronaut, probably because I always harbored a secret desire to be Supergirl. Aside from the fact that at barely 5 feet I don’t think I would have made the height requirement, I have this motion sickness problem. So instead, I write. G-force and zero gravity aren’t factors when sitting in front of a computer as long as that computer is on terra firma. As for the Supergirl fantasy, I realized a long time ago that all women are really Supergirl since we need to learn to juggle 17 things at once in order to survive.

Amanda: Your story in the charity anthology is titled "The Reluctant Bridesmaid." What it is about?

Lois: THE RELUCTANT BRIDESMAID is humorous women’s fiction (formerly known as chick lit, but that appellation seems to be a huge no-no lately.)

Amanda: Ain't that the truth? LOL!

Lois: Here’s a blurb:

It was bad enough when Paige’s cousin Tara stole her boyfriend. Now Tara and the creep are getting married, and Paige is stuck wearing a bridesmaid’s gown that makes her look like a jaundiced Holstein -- make that a jaundiced, dateless Holstein.

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Lois: I was invited by Heather, one of the editors, and being a sucker for a good cause, how could I say no?

Amanda: You've won many awards for your writing, including 1st Runner Up in the American Title Contest. What have contests done for you and would you recommend unpublished writers enter contests?

Lois: Some of my friends call me the Contest Slut because I’ve finaled in and won so many contests. I was also a 3 time Golden Heart finalist, a St. Martin’s Malice Domestic finalist, and the winner of more than a dozen RWA chapter contests. Now that I’m published I’ve begun entering contests for published books. What can I say? Once a Contest Slut, always a Contest Slut . So far Talk Gertie To Me was a finalist for a Reviewers’ Choice Award and a Golden Leaf Award and is currently a finalist for a Readers and Bookbuyers Best Laurie Award.

I sold because of the American Title contest. I think contests can be a big help to writers in their journey toward publication, but contests aren’t for everyone. I give a workshop on this very topic, helping authors decide whether they should or shouldn’t enter writing contests. There are many factors to take into consideration. Also, lots of people who never won a contest have gone on to have very successful publishing careers while others who have won many contests never sell. It’s all a crap shoot. You have to decide whether you can afford to enter contests (since all but publisher sponsored ones charge a fee) and whether you have the emotional stamina for them. Not everyone does.

Amanda: I just loved TALK GERTIE TO ME. What a fun read! I can't wait for LOVE, LIES, and a DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION to be released. It looks great! But others may not be familiar with it. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Lois: There’s an interesting back-story behind Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception. It was actually the first book I ever wrote over 10 years ago. This was back when I was totally clueless, having written a 50,000 word romance that spanned 35 years. Needless to say, publishers weren’t waving contracts in my face. Because I liked the characters I’d created and didn’t want to see them buried under my bed for all eternity, I went back and revised the book. Now it’s a 95,000 word romantic suspense that takes place over the course of a few months. When Philadelphia's most beloved heiress since Grace Kelly, becomes Philadelphia's most notorious criminal since mafia don Angelo Bruno, she needs to do a lot more than just clear her name if she wants to save her budding romance with the billionaire hunk someone is willing to kill for.

Here’s the back cover blurb from my publisher:
A WHOLE LATTE LOVIN’…Logan Crawford is gorgeous, charming, and his kisses make Emma feel like she’s the only woman in the world. Oh, plus he’s a billionaire. Not that Emma needs the money. As Philadelphia’s most beloved heiress, she has it all: the grand estate, flashy sports car, high-society connections. But the haunted widow also has dark secrets, and someone out there doesn’t want to let Emma forget her past quite so easily. Trouble is brewing darker than a double espresso for Emma and her newfound love. Now if only she can keep from getting burned…

I have an excerpt of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception posted on my website at . I also have an excerpt posted from Talk Gertie To Me for anyone not familiar with that book. At my website people can sign up for my newsletter. I run some great contests (some only for newsletter subscribers) and will be giving away lots of fab gifts for the launch of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception.

Amanda: What's next for Lois Winston?

Lois: Well…I’d love to make the best-seller lists and score a fabulous multi-book contract, but that’s up to the publishing gods. For now, I’m waiting to hear about several proposals I have out. One is for an amateur sleuth mystery series that I like to describe as Stephanie Plum meets Kate Reddy. And I haven’t given up on that trip into space. Just need to solve the motion sickness thing first.

LOL! I'll definitely be on the lookout for Lois' latest release. Anyway, folks, we're almost done with the Interview Marathon. Tomorow I'll be chatting with Shaunna Wolf and Tuesday I'll be chatting with Kit Wylde. Then Thursday is the release! Whoo-hoo!

Be sure to join us in Gemma Halliday's chat room for our Cyber Launch Party from 8-10 pm EST/5-7 pm PST.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:53 AM :: 1 comments

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Conversation with Sasha White

We're in the home stretch, folks. The DREAMS & DESIRES charity anthology will be releasing on Thursday. But first, we still have a few more interviews with our remaining authors.

Today I'm chatting with Sasha White,an erotica author, so today's interview is not for those under 18.

Amanda: Welcome, Sasha. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sasha: I just turned 37, I'm single, a Scorpio, and addicted to microwave popcorn.
You want to know more? Oh, okay. Uhmm After being a bartender for 19 years, and traveling all over the place with nothing but a backpack, I now write hot sexy stories. I write them in all lengths, from short story to full length novels, in a variety of sub genres, and I love to make my characters squirm. *evil grin*
If you want to know more..there is plenty of tidbits on my website bio at , including 69 tidbits of Trivia

Amanda: 69 bits of trivia. Hehe... Your story in the charity anthology is titled "The Mirror." What is it about?

Sasha: I can't say a whole lot without giving it away as it's very short. But, basically, it's about a woman who's driving home from a business trip, and blows out a tire. She ends up in a dive bar, across from a cheap hotel on the highway, pissed off at her boyfriend for pouting when she called to say she wouldn't make it home for their "special dinner".
This doesn't sound hot, but when a tall dark and very hot man in a leather jacket and tight blue jeans walks into that dive bar...things heat up fast. *grin*

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what made you want to participate?

Sasha: I hang out online at Romance Divas a lot and when I was in Atlanta at the RWA conference, another one of the divas mentioned it to me. I love writing short stories, and the charity is a great cause, so I couldn't not get involved.

Amanda: You're known for your super sizzling sensual erotica. How do you write such steamy, yet romantic, scenes?

Sasha: I have no idea. And that's the honest answer.
Sex, sexual attraction, sexuality ... these all fascinate me. I tend to start, in my mind, with characters and a sexual desire or situation...and then I let the characters react to things. People, in almost every situation, react to things with my characters do too.
I enjoy what I write, and I'm comfortable with all aspects of it, and I think thats what comes through in the stories.

Amanda: Other than erotica, what's your favorite genre to read?

Sasha: Suspense. I like thrillers, suspense and paranormal. :)

Amanda: What's next for Sasha White?

Sasha: 2007 is full of new releases for me. Below is a quick peek at what's coming soon...and after that.. who knows? *grin* I hate to plan too far ahead, it ruins the fun in things. LOL
2007 Release schedule
January, SECRET THOUGHTS: Erotique collection, Samhain
February, WATCH ME 40k novella in KINK, Berkley
THE MIRROR, short story in the DREAMS & DESIRES Charity Anthology
March, TEMPTING GRACE, 10k short in ALLURING TALES, Awaken the Fantasy, Avon Red
April, LUSH, single author anthology, Kensington.
August, TROUBLE, single title, Berkley
December, SEXY DEVILS, erotic paranormal suspense, Kensington

Wow, looks like 2007 is going to be super busy for Sasha!

Anyway, stop in tomorrow for my conversation with Lois Winston.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:17 PM :: 1 comments

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Friday, January 26, 2007

A Conversation with Emily Veinglory

Today's interview is with Emily Veinglory, who specializes in male-male erotic romance.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Emily: Well, I’m from New Zealand and I work as an animal behaviorist. I write romance, mainly m/m, mainly fantasy and paranormal—but also non-fiction, poetry, erotica and all sorts of other things. I get to write pretty as much as I like because my only co-inhabitant is a border collie. I love to hang out online and am webmaster not only my own site ( but also several blogs, an erotic romance forum, a self-published book review site (POD People) and an Erotic Romance E-publisher Comparison site (EREC)

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is titled "Blood and Feathers." What is it about?

Emily: It is essentially the story of Paul, a young man who has become a guardian angel. He is besotted with his charge, a handsome artist who is not what he seems. Paul eventually learns that true love can come from the most mundane of places.

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project?

Emily: ‘Blood and Feathers’ was in my mind for a long time, but as a potential comic. However, with time, I gradually dropped out from doing visual art and took my prose writing a lot more seriously. As I was writing it the Freya’s Bower anthologies opened for submissions and it seemed like a natural combination. I was very pleased to be accepted and only afterwards saw that the predominant themes of the collection are m/f and on the sweeter end of the scale!

Amanda: Honestly, I like that there's a wide variety of genres. I think it brings diversity to the collection. Anyway, you're known for writing male/male gay fiction, particularly romance. Is it difficult for you, as a woman, to write about men?

Emily: We all write what comes naturally to us, I think. But writing men is no more difficult that writing vampires, highwaymen, angels or Americans. In fact men are somewhat on the easy end of the scale given that I have known them all my life. I don’t analyze these things to much; girls like ponies, women like chocolate, Americans like basketball and I like to write about gay men in love. Viva la diversity.

Amanda: LOL! Great attitude. I think that's awesome, and your story is fantastic. What's next for Emily Veinglory?

Emily: I have a whole raft of writing plans. More e-books, more stories in print anthologies, and my first POD paperback with Samhain by the end of the year. My New Year’s resolution is to write some to submit to a large NY press but my current job contract and visa to be in the USA runs out in less than a year, which rather prevents me form making solid long term plans. But anyone who likes my writing will be sure to see some new releases one way or another! In fact I adore getting suggestions for books or sequels. A comment on my livejournal suggested trolls and I'm already 5000 words into a story on just that!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 8:43 AM :: 1 comments

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Conversation with Bebe Thomas

We're coming into the home stretch of the Interview Marathon, which means (drum roll, please)...ta-da! It's only ONE WEEK until the long-awaited release of the Dreams & Desires charity anthology, featuring stories from all of the authors I'v been interviewing, plus one from me, too.

And one week from tonight, join us all in Gemma Halliday's chat room for a fun-filled launch party, complete with fun and games and a chance to win cool door prizes, such as ARCs of the authors' upcoming releases, or signed copies of their current releases. It's all happening from 8-10 pm EST/5-7 pm PST, Thursday, February 1 at, so mark your calendars now!

Anyway, today I'm chatting with Bebe Thomas.

Amanda: Welcome Bebe. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Bebe: Hmmm. I'm never really sure how to answer this question. I'm a 30-something wife and step-mom. I was born in New York, raised in Florida, and currently reside in Philadelphia. Like many authors, I have a day job - one that I love - as a corporate trainer for a Fortune 500 company. I haven't had much spare time lately, but when I find some, you will find me vegging out at the beach.

Amanda: Your story in the charity anthology is titled "The Wedding Policy." What is it about?

Bebe: The Wedding Policy is a story about the meaning of love set in 1940's Kentucky. The heroine, Belle, wants to marry Charlie, but her wealthy, autocratic father intends to choose each of his daughters' husbands. Does true love prevail in the end?

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Bebe: One of the Freya's Bower associate editors, Heather, approached me about the project last summer. After I told her I was definitely interested, I was invited to participate by Marci Baun, the Editor-in-Chief. Donating my story to the anthology was a no-brainer for me, I wanted to do my part to help.

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors and what is your favorite genre?

Bebe: I absolutely love Elizabeth Berg, Elizabeth Adler, Nora Roberts and Frank McCourt. And I love discovering new authors, too - I'm honored to be included in the anthology with such wonderful writers. As far as genre goes - I'm fickle - I like a little bit of everything!

Amanda: AURORA's PASSION was your popular first release (a Freya's Bower Bestseller). Can you tell us a bit about that one?

Bebe: Sure. Here's the official blurb.

Kris Anderssen is having a bad week. She lost her dream job and her lover on the same day and is in danger of losing her swanky New York apartment. She's regrouping by spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Aurora, her hometown. It's anything but relaxing. Her grandmother won't stop talking about the Northern Lights, the goddess Freya, and Norwegian Folklore. Plus, Kris is more conflicted than ever, finding herself caught in a love triangle between her hot former boyfriend and her sexy best friend. She has feelings for each man; how can she possibly choose between them?

Amanda: What's next for Bebe Thomas?

Bebe: I'm finishing up Aurora's Promise, the prequel to Aurora's Passion. Actually, "The Wedding Policy" inspired Aurora's Promise, which is Kris's grandmother's love story and is set in Norway and Sweden during World War II. Karin Lindstrom is a member of the Norwegian resistance, much to her Parliamentarian father's chagrin. When Norway is invaded by the Nazi's, Karin must make a difficult choice in order to save her family. Lots of intrigue and a love triangle in this one!

Thanks, Amanda. It's been wonderful chatting with you!

Amanda: You're welcome, Bebe, and thank you! That sounds like a very interesting story, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for it!

Stop in this weekend for the end of our interview series. Tomorrow I'm chatting with Emily Veinglory, Saturday with Sasha White, Sunday with Lois Winston, Monday with Shaunna Wolf, and Tuesday with Kit Wylde.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:48 AM :: 6 comments

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Conversation with Rhonda Stapleton

Today I'm chatting with Rhonda Stapleton. Last time we was a guest on here she spoke about being an editor for Siren Publishing and Freya's Bower/Wild Child. She was an aspiring author then, but hadn't sold yet. But now she's a published author! What a difference a few months makes! Her debut novel, STRIPPED, was released last week and she also has a short story in DREAMS AND DESIRES.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Rhonda: Well, I'm a writer, I have 2 kids and a fiance, and my family is on crack. I have a Master's degree in English, so I'm a bit of a nerd, as well. LOL

Amanda: Oh, there's nothing wrong with being a little nerdy, besides, you're totally not. Your story in the charity anthology is titled "Baring it All for Mr. Right." What it is about?

Rhonda: This poor girl...I torture her throughout the story. A hot new neighbor moves in next door, and her first meeting with him is a total embarrassment. She finally scrapes up enough courage to ask him out, and their first date is to her roommate's cousin's wedding. And it's a disaster.

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Rhonda: I actually got involved because of you! When you sent me an email asking me if I'd like to contribute, I was really flattered and spent a weekend writing and editing the story.

Amanda: Well, I knew you'd do a great job, so I wanted you in it! Who are your favorite authors and what is your favorite genre?

Rhonda: This is so hard. I believe in reading widely - I find it helps me continue to learn and grow as a writer. I love Lois Lowry (she writes YA), Philippa Gregory (historical fiction), stories about Tudor England, funny stories (Sophie Kinsella, Erin McCarthy), etc. I don't think I have a favorite genre, truthfully. I read a lot of YA because I also write it.

Amanda: STRIPPED just came out last week. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Rhonda: That's right - Stripped is now available with Freya's Bower. It's about yet another poor tortured woman who gets passed over for a promotion at work. Her friends hire a stripper for her, who is hot, but terrible. LOL. Turns out, he's the guy who got her promotion. Of course, drama and hilarity ensue. :D

Amanda: LOL! What's next for Rhonda Stapleton?

Rhonda: Well, I'm continuing to write YA, and I have a novella in the works with you and Stephanie Secrest.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:21 AM :: 6 comments

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Conversation with Debbie Mumford

Welcome back to my Interview Marathon. Today we're chatting with Debbie Mumford.

Amanda: Welcome Debbie. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Debbie: I’m a very normal woman. If you met me on the street, you’d never guess my brain was populated with dragons and faeries! *LOL*

My best friend and I married 32 years ago last June. We raised three wonderful children and launched them successfully into the wide world. Our eldest daughter, a married, happily unemployed landscape designer, has blessed us with two beautiful grandchildren (a 3-year-old boy and a 10-month-old girl). Our son (her twin brother) is a talented musician who just returned from his first European tour. Their younger sister is a licensed massage therapist and a successful business woman.

By day, I’m a mild-mannered technical writer, but evenings and weekends, I’m (ta dahhh!) a fiction author! Dedicated to making the world a more interesting place for romance and fantasy readers!

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project, and what made you want to participate?

Debbie: Marci asked if I’d like to contribute a story and I jumped at the chance to have my work in the same volume with the other fabulous authors in this anthology.

I’m a very lucky woman. My life has not been touched by domestic violence, but I have daughters, and it’s important to me to know that there are organizations out there which could help my girls if they ever found themselves in need. Hopefully my daughters will never need the services of a shelter like the one this book will benefit, but other women’s daughters are in desperate need. I’m delighted to be able to do my small part to help.

Amanda: Your story is titled "Red's Merry Mischief."

Debbie: Red is a mischievous Faery who has been condemned to imprisonment within a pane of Irish glass. “Red’s Merry Mischief” is the story of the misbehavior that landed him inside that glass. It’s lacking the traditional romance Happily Ever After, but that’s because it’s a prequel to the GLASS MAGIC stories. Can’t give Red a HEA if he’s going to cause trouble in GLASS MAGIC! *LOL*

Amanda: What a clever idea, tying your Dreams & Desires story to your Bites stories. :) Can you tell us what GLASS MAGIC is about?

Debbie: In GLASS MAGIC (a Freya’s Bower Bite – two related short stories), Red causes trouble for two young couples that come in contact with his pane of glass. He can’t free himself, and he can’t influence any of the Fae, but his magick is still strong enough to wreak havoc in the mortal world. After all these centuries in a pane of glass, Red is ready for a little entertainment, and messing with the sex drive of mortals is one of his favorite types of fun.

Amanda: The cover for your upcoming release, SECOND SIGHT, is beautiful! Can you tell us about that one?

Debbie: Oh, I am SO proud of that cover! I’m biased, of course, but I think Freya’s Bower has some of the finest cover art in the business. Here’s a blurb about the story that goes with that stunning piece of art:

Jenny Murdoch is blessed (or cursed) with Second Sight. Unfortunately, a traumatic
experience during her pre-teen years causes her to stifle her psychic abilities. She sees
her gift as a tiger waiting to attack and destroy her sanity. SECOND SIGHT is the tale of
how a handsome parapsychologist, a sadistic ritual murder and a book of runes force
Jenny to accept her tiger and learn to trust her innate abilities.

Amanda: Sounds intriguing. So what's next for Debbie Mumford?

Debbie: As soon as SECOND SIGHT releases, I’ll return to the world of SORCHA’S HEART and my shapeshifting dragons. I’m planning to write three additional novels set in that world to tell the story of Sorcha and Caedyrn’s six offspring. I wrote the first (very rough!) draft of Aislinn and Taran’s tale during November and have been letting it smolder while I polish SECOND SIGHT.

When I finish the three SORCHA’S CHILDREN novels, I’m thinking of trying my hand at a mystery series with a rough-edged psychic investigator. Woot! Something new and different!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:04 AM :: 4 comments

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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Conversation with Richelle Mead

We're digging out of the ice here in DC, although it's still very cold. In the meantime, enjoy this chat with Richelle Mead.

Amanda: Welcome, Richelle. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Richelle: Well…for brevity’s sake, I’ll stick to the basics. 5’2”. Red-haired. Scorpio. Wacky. I have more degrees than any one person should and have taught both college and junior high classes. Fortunately, I now have the good fortune to write full-time, so I get to spend my days wearing pajamas and drinking copious amounts of coffee in my lair. I mean, office.

Amanda: LOL! And I know what you mean about the too many degrees, although sometimes I wish I could be a professional student. Anyway, your story in the charity anthology is titled "Brushstrokes." What is it about?

Richelle: It’s a historical paranormal that takes place in Renaissance Italy, during a time when Florence’s art and literature were destroyed for the sake of “salvation.” The heroine is a succubus trying to prevent that from happening…with the help of a sexy and slightly demented artist.

Amanda: How did you get involved with the project and what prompted you to participate?

Richelle: I was approached by Jackie Kessler who was approached by Marci Baun…and the rest is history. I’m normally more of a novel-minded person, but I really wanted to give a short story a try, particularly for such a good cause.

Amanda: Your upcoming release, SUCCUBUS BLUES looks awesome! I understand that the heroine in that book is also the heroine from your short story, in a different form. Can you tell us what the book is about?

Richelle: Yes! She goes by a different name in the story, but she is indeed the same succubus. That’s the beauty of having an immortal character. In the novel, she’s called Georgina and is kind of disgruntled by the whole succubus scene. Her demonic boss (who looks like John Cusack) and immortal friends are all kind of eccentric, and she can’t get physically close to a guy without sucking away part of his life. She’s got to put her brooding on hold, however, when an unknown creature starts killing immortals in Seattle—a creature who appears to have a crush on her…

Amanda: How did you get interested in succubi stories?

Richelle: Hey, who isn’t interested in succubi? Seriously, I’ve just always thought they were fascinating. And when I sat down to write a novel about a paranormal being, there was never any question about what kind she’d be.

Amanda: What's next for Richelle Mead?

Richelle: Georgina has more novels coming, and I’m also contracted for another series with Kensington. It’s about a shaman who fights fey and spirits and will debut in 2008. Kensington is also putting out an anthology in 2008, and I’ll have a novella in that.

In the world of young adult fantasy, Penguin/Razorbill is publishing another series of mine. The first book of that—entitled Vampire Academy­—will come out this autumn.

So, I guess what’s next for me is a lot of deadlines! Updates, appearances, and my publishing schedule can all be found over at

Thanks for stopping by, Richelle! Stay tuned tomorrow for an interview with Debbie Mumford and one on Wednesday with Rhonda Stapleton.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:56 AM :: 6 comments

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Conversation with Susan Lyons

It's a snowy day here in good ol' Washington, DC, so what better than to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and a steamy paperback...perhaps by Susan Lyons, today's Interview Marathon author.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Susan: My books are published by Kensington Aphrodisia; they're sexy romances that are intense, passionate, heartwarming and fun. My short stories have been published internationally in women's and story magazines. Reviewers have said that my "multilayered characters have a vibrant emotional impact" (Romance Reviews Today). I grew up in Victoria, British Columbia and now live in Vancouver, where many of my stories are set. I have degrees in law and psychology, and have had a variety of careers, including perennial student, grad school dropout, job creation project administrator, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far my favorite. Writing gives me a perfect outlet to demonstrate my belief in the power of love, friendship and a sense of humor. My website is at I'm involved in lots of writing groups and loops, and am Chair for a writing mini-conference in Vancouver in May. It's called "Write On, Vancouver," and features writer and writing teacher Nancy Kress, editors from Harlequin and Bantam, and lots of other good people and stuff! The website is at

Amanda: Your story in the charity anthology is titled "Taking the Alleys." What it is about?

Susan: It's the story of a young man who has met the girl of his dreams. But he's just an average Joe and she's exciting and awesome. Does he stand a chance? All he knows is, he has to find out. So, he's driven all day and all night, and now he's nearing her place...

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Susan: I was invited, and was thrilled to participate. The cause is so worthwhile and it's wonderful to be in an anthology with so many other talented writers.

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is very sweet, but you're known for your sexy, hot reads. Which do you prefer?

Susan: I like writing the whole range of women's fiction. All my stories (short stories, novellas, novels) are about relationships, character growth and the power of love. Sometimes the characters cry out for a very sexy romance and sometimes they're a little more shy. In terms of length, novels certainly let me explore characters in more depth, which is both challenging and rewarding. Short stories are a fun break, plus the smaller scope lets me examine moments in people's lives, points of transition, things that are important but not meaty enough to form the backbone of a book.

Amanda: What is your favorite book that you've written? Can you describe it?

Susan: Tough question. I love "Champagne Rules" because it was the first that sold, and I really like that it's an interracial couple who don't see major problems with having that kind of relationship. I love "Hot in Here" because my heroine, Jenny, is so feisty and confused and such a mix of "out there" versus inhibited. Her dilemma of trying to honour her old-world family whilestill living a new-world life is so typical of many young women in Vancouver today. And then there's an unsold manuscript that's a Mary Stewart style of romantic suspense set in Crete that I totally love. Sure hope it sells one day!

Amanda: What's next for Susan Lyons?

Susan: In February, I have a novella called "Hot Down Under" in "The Firefighter" from Kensington Aphrodisia. When Tash McKendrick grudgingly agrees to babysit her grandmother on her trip to Australia, little does she realize that granny has romance on her mind - for both of them! But Tash is more than willing to buy in, when she meets sexy firefighter, Mick Donovan. Also in February, in addition to my story in "Dreams & Desires," I have a Valentine's story ("Lady in Red") at The Wild Rose Press. Then in September comes book 3 of the Awesome Foursome series from Aphrodisia (following after "Champagne Rules" and "Hot in Here"). It's called "Touch Me," and is about what happens when Ann, a stressed-out lawyer, meets Adonis, a laid-back massage therapist. After that there's book 4, "Lights Off."

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:55 AM :: 18 comments

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Conversation with Jackie Kessler

Welcome to Day 8 of my Dreams & Desires marathon Interview Party! Today I'm chatting with Jackie Kessler, whose debut novel, HELL'S BELLES, was just released a little over 2 weeks ago!

Amanda: Welcome Jackie. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jackie: I'm five feet on a tall day, which means I'm doomed to be perpetually cute. This was a tragedy when I was a child (my cheeks were pinched far too many times for me to count), and pure hell when I was dating (who wants to be cute? I wanted to be SEXY), but now that I'm 36, happily married, and the mother of two young children, the doom doesn't seem all that bad. Now my hope is to have some hot guy call me a MILF. (Wait, did I really just write that?)

Amanda: LOL! Your story in the anthology is titled "To The Core." What is it about?

Jackie: Six thousand words. (I crack myself up.) It's the story of a young woman (a medium/magician called a Zintal) who decides to be true to herself rather than be forced into an arranged marriage...and the price of that choice.

Amanda: Sounds interesting. How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Jackie: I've worked closely with Marci, the editor of FREYA'S BOWER, when I was the fantasy and science fiction editor for WILD CHILD PUBLISHING. When she approached me about the anthology and told me how all net proceeds would go to a women's shelter, I was eager to participate.

Amanda: Your recently released debut novel, HELL'S BELLES, looks excellent! Every time I go to a hockey game and hear that song, it reminds me that I need to pick up a copy! Can you explain to my readers what it's about?

Jackie: HAH! Every time I hear AC/DC on the radio, I crank the volume. HELL'S BELLES is about a succubus who runs away from Hell, hides on Earth as an exotic dancer, and learns the hard way about true love. Sex, strippers, and demons -- what's not to like? :-)

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors and who has inspired your writing the most?

Jackie: My absolute favorite authors are Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore; if I had a favorite book, it would be Moore's LAMB. I'm a big fan of comic book authors Garth Ennis (HELLBLAZER, PREACHER) and Matt Wagner (MAGE, GRENDEL).Toni Morrison's BELOVED left a lasting impression on me. And I'll always hold a special place in my heart for JRR Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. And then there's Shakespeare, Dante, Poe...boy, the list goes on.

Amanda: What's next for Jackie Kessler?

Jackie: The next two books in the HELL ON EARTH series: THE ROAD TO HELL (November2007) and HOTTER THAN HELL (2008), as well as a novella, HELL TO PAY, which will appear in a Kensington anthology in early 2008. I also have a currentwork in progress called SCHMOOZING THE ALMIGHTY. And a short story, "Red," will be published in the April 2007 issue of REALMS OF FANTASY. Finally, Ihave a YA (young adult) urban fantasy novel on submission right now. Wish me luck!

I've also got a YA novel on submission right now, so believe me, I definitely wish you luck!!! Thanks for stopping by, Jackie! Tomorrow I'll chat with Susan Lyons, and then on Monday, with Richelle Mead.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:59 PM :: 7 comments

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Friday, January 19, 2007

A Conversation With Zinnia Hope

Day 7 of my Interview Marathon brings us Zinnia Hope.

Amanda: Welcome, Z. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Zinnia: I'm a country bumpkin with kid craziness going on 24/7 in my house. I've been married to my hubby for two years now so we have a blended family with a new addition. Our house is full of boys, both his and mine and ours--yet another boy, lol. Not to mention all their friends and cousins who are here half the time!

I write a little bit of everything with professional magazine sales under my belt. I write steamy eBooks to pass the time between print projects. My blog is a source of amusement for many readers. It's the chicken stories that keep them reading, lol.

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is titled "A Road of Misgivings." What is it about?

Zinnia: The main character is traveling across state to pick up his wife from a business trip. His brother and daughter are with him for company, but the van breaks down. It's a long walk along a deserted mountain road to find a house with a phone. On the way, the character worries about his marriage and argues with his brother about marriage. As His daughter is nearly hit by a coal bucket racing along the road. The combination of things gives the character a new perspective on family, love, and marriage.

Amanda: I absolutely loved your Freya's Bower debut, FREE SPIRITS. It was so beautifully written and the message haunted me for days. I haven't read your latest, CONSPIRACY OF ANGELS, yet, but I'm going to have to rectify that, because it looks fantastic. Can you tell us what it's about?

Zinnia: I'm so pleased that Free Spirits has stuck with you for so long!

As for Conspiracy of Angels, it's an odd combination of things. The main character, Elizabeth, is a bit of a flake, but with good reason. She's been raised by a Bible beating grandma and a mother who longed for a singing career. Elizabeth and the son of the local minister fall in love, but the minister forces her from town when he finds out she's pregnant with his grandchild. Seven years later, she returns to put the pieces of her life back together. This novel is full of small town life, the secrets that lurk in everyone's closets, some meddling angels, and a climactic scene that blows the lid off the church community. And yes, a good romance is the main plot.

Amanda: What author has inspired you the most?

Zinnia: Alice Hoffman. I'll never forget how her novel Seventh Heaven inspired me to reach for a career as an author of magic realism novels. I adore her novel Practical Magic too, as well as the movie. Erotic romances are where the money is right now, but magic realism novels are my main love.

Amanda: What's next for Zinnia Hope?

Zinnia: I have two novels that I'm working on. One is a paranormal romance and the other is a dark fantasy. I have a magic realism novel that's half finished too, but it's so complex that I have to take long breaks from it to sort my thoughts and ideas. Once my romance and dark fantasy novels are completed, one will be what I peddle as I search for my next literary agent and the other will be shopped around. I'm hoping to have them done by March since planting season is right around the corner. We raiseseveral large garden plots and sell the excess vegetables we don't use to feed the crew under our roof. Of course, there is the managerie of short stories I write and sell to magazines that keep me busy too.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:51 AM :: 5 comments

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Conversation with Candace Havens

Welcome back to Amanda's Interview Marathon! It's Day 6, so we're chatting with Candace Havens today.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Candace: Hi, I'm Candy Havens. I'm the author of the Charmed series including Charmed & Dangerous, Charmed & Ready and the upcoming Charmed & Deadly (Berkley, June 2007). I'm also a syndicated entertainment columnist, which means I interview celebrities for a living. Oh, and I wrote the biography "Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy." I'm the mom of two teen boys and I do film reviews for a radio station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Amanda: What a cool job! Your story charity anthology is titled "The Velvet Mask." What is it about?

Candace: It's about a couple who meet at a Valentines' masquerade party. She doesn't realize she knows who he is under the mask, but he know who she is the instant she walks in the door.

Amanda: How did you get involved in this project and why did you want to participate? They called and I said, "Of course." I'm all about empowering women and womens' rights. My books, through a fun way, carry that theme. When I found out the proceeds would help battered women, there's no way I could say no.

Amanda: Congratulations on your debut novel, CHARMED & DANGEROUS being a double Rita nominee! Can you tell us what this series is about?

Candace: Thank, you. The RITA noms were very exciting. The Charmed & Dangerous series is about powerful witch named Bronwyn who protects the British Prime Minister, rock stars and other clients. She's kind of a mystical body guard. She travels the world, but home base is Sweet, Texas, a magical town. She has the hots for Dr. Sam, who is the town doctor. The second book in the series "Charmed & Ready" is out now.

Amanda: What's next for Candace Havens?

Candace: "Charmed & Deadly" comes out in June, and I'm writing a spin off book about Bronwyn's best friend Kira.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 4:49 AM :: 3 comments

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Conversation with Gemma Halliday

It's Day 5 of the Dreams & Desires Interview Party. Today I'm chatting with Gemma Halliday.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Gemma: Thanks for having me, Amanda! And hi everyone! My name is GemmaHalliday and I currently write the High Heels Mysteries, a romantic mystery series about Maddie Springer, an L..A. shoe designer, who has a bad habit of stumbling upon dead bodies. The first book, SPYING INHIGH HEELS, was out this past summer and the second, KILLER IN HIGH HEELS, will be in stores Feb 27th.

Amanda: Your story in the charity anthology is titled "Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit." What it is about?"

Gemma: Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit" centers around a bank teller who, in the span of one day, is fired, robbed, and evicted. After therequisite junk food binging, she decides she's not going to lay downand take it anymore. She's taking charge of her life… and planning a bank heist of her own. One that she hopes will get back at her ogreof a boss, get her out of debt, and maybe even lead her to love.I've currently got a video book trailer up on my site at:

Amanda: What persuaded you to participate in this project?

Gemma: Well, the lovely and talented Amanda Brice approached me at an RWA luncheon in Atlanta and told me a little bit it. It sounded like a lot of fun for a great cause, so I jumped on it.

Amanda: Well, I'm certainly glad my powers of persuasion aren't rusty, although I must admit that most people were sold on the charity angle alone. LOL!

You're a Golden Heart winner. How did this contest help your career? Would you recommend entering contests?

Gemma: Winning the Golden Heart really helped me get my name out there and garner more editor attention. Plus, it's a pretty handy thing to put in a query letter. :) I met my current editor at that same national conference and I'm sure that seeing me win didn't hurt her opinion of my writing any. She bought my first book a month later. So, yes, I would definitely recommend entering writing contests. I think the potential benefits far outweigh the downsides.

Amanda: SPYING IN HIGH HEELS is absolutely hilarious, and I can totally see why Fox optioned the rights to make a television series. Congrats! What happens in the sequel, KILLER IN HIGH HEELS?

Gemma: Thank you! Yeah, I'm pretty excited about the option myself. I'll be sure to let you know when I hear more! And I'm so glad you liked SPYING IN HIGH HEELS! KILLER IN HIGH HEELS picks up right where SPYING left off. In this one, Maddie goes on a mission to track down the father she never knew. Her quest takes her, along with a couple of her zany friends, to fabulous Las Vegas where she ends up involved with a group of aging drag queens, a ring of designer shoe counterfeiters, some minor Mob members, and a murderer on the loose. Oh yes, and the very sexy, very dangerous Detective Jack Ramirez makes an appearance or two.

Amanda: Oh good, I'm glad to see Ramirez is back! What's next for Gemma Halliday?

Gemma: I'm currently finishing up the third High Heels book, UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS, which should be in stores sometimes this summer. This one takes place on the set of a TV show that's eerily similar to"Desperate Housewives". Lots of catty drama that has been SO fun to write. Once this one's finished up, it's right into book four for me.

Thanks for chatting with us Gemma! Check in tomorrow for an interview with Candace Havens. Friday will be Zinnia Hope.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:54 AM :: 9 comments

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Conversation with Rachelle Chase

Welcome to Day 4 of my Interview Party! Today we're chatting with Rachelle Chase, author of SEX LOUNGE (coming soon from Kensington Aphrodisia).

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Rachelle: When I’m not working on my current book or fantasizing about my next one, I work as a business consultant in the unromantic, though sometimes comic, corporate world, as well as model. On the odd week that I actually have spare time, I like to travel, read, search for the perfect dessert, start – emphasis on ‘start’ – new hobbies, and meddle in the lives of my family members.

Amanda: Your story in the collection is titled "Romance for One." What is it about?

Rachelle: “Romance For One” is about a woman who’s finally gotten over her last relationship and is fantasizing about her next one – with surprising results. J This was a really fun story to write.

Amanda: Last year you ran the popular Chase the Dream contest on your website. Will you be doing that again? What inspired you to do this?

Rachelle: Yes – thanks for asking! Leigh Michaels and I will be hosting another writing contest in March. So, I encourage everyone to get their entries – first 1,000 words of an unpublished manuscript – ready to enter. We’ve incorporated a lot of the feedback that we received from the first contest, so this one will be even better. In February, details will be posted at and

I launched the contest out of a desire to help other writers, just like I was helped. My romance writing career got its start from an online romance writing course I took at, which was taught by Leigh Michaels, plus my SECRETS VOLUME 13 novella got its start from an online contest Lori Foster offered. So offering a contest similar to Lori’s and co-hosting with Leigh, my first romance writing instructor, seemed like a great way for me to pay homage to both Lori and Leigh, as well as satisfy my desire to help other writers get a start. The contest surpassed my expectations – all finalists had their work requested and some made sales, mini-critique winners learned by having their work critiqued (as did visitors), and I learned a lot, too, which I wrote about at It was an awesome experience and it was great to ‘meet’ so many talented writers. Leigh and I are really looking forward to this one!

Amanda: Your upcoming release SEX LOUNGE, from Kensington Aphrodisia, will be your first full-length novel, having been published in Red Sage's SECRETS in the past. How does writing a full-length differ from shorts or novellas?

Rachelle: It was a lot l-o-n-g-e-r, which meant it required more time to write, more words, and a more complicated story so that I could keep the conflict - both between the hero and heroine, as well as within themselves – and the sexual tension going for a lot more pages. But, writing short presents its own set of challenges. In my SECRETS, I had to take two strangers and make the reader care about them without having a lot of pages available to weave in a lot of backstory, plus I had to make the progression from their first meeting to their desire for a relationship believable in a limited number of pages. In “Romance For One,” I had to do all that in one scene. All this is to say, the components required to create a satisfying romance/story must be present in novels, novellas, and shorts – I just have to adjust the extent that each one is present based on the length.

Amanda: What's next for Rachelle Chase?

Rachelle: Well … In addition to the Chase the Dream contest, in the next two months, I’m launching two events that I’m really excited about – live author chats and a contest involving the hero from my upcoming book, SEX LOUNGE. Details will be posted soon at my web site, . In addition, I’m working on another single title/full length erotic romance, plus revising my woman’s fiction novel, RUNNING AWAY.

Thanks so much for the interview, Amanda. It’s terrific to be in Dreams & Desires with you!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:55 AM :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Conversation with Sela Carsen

It's Day 3 of my Interview Party, and today we're chatting with Sela Carsen.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sela: I'm a wife, a mom and a writer. That keeps me pretty busy, most days! I grew up all over the world as the daughter of an oil company engineer. Then I was fortunate enough to marry an Air Force officer so I could continue my gypsy ways. Now that he's retired, though, I have to settle down for the first time in my life. Thank goodness writing provides my imagination with all the travel I require.

Amanda: Your story in the anthology is "The Christmas Prize." What is it about?

Sela: "The Christmas Prize" is about Julie Corrigan, who has just gotten out of a bad marriage. Her husband verbally abused her until he finally left her for another woman. Now she's learning to stand up for herself again and sing out loud.

Amanda: How did you get involved with the anthology project?

Sela: It was really the most fortuitous thing. Someone *ahem* had seen some of my writing and very graciously asked me to submit a story for the anthology. I had "The Christmas Prize" just sitting on my hard drive and it seemed like a perfect match for the theme of the book. It's a story about taking those first shaky steps back into the world and rebuilding a life, so it seemed like it would be a great fit.

In addition, once I heard about the impetus behind the anthology, there was no way I could say no. I think it's easier than many people realize to slide into an abusive relationship and it takes an immense amount of courage to leave one. I want to do all I can to support the women who have found that courage and help them and their children move on.

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors?

Sela: Favorite authors? Why don't you just ask me to pick my favorite child? LOL I admit, there are a few authors whose books I can pick up and know I'm going to get a great story -- MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, Laura Kinsale, Sherrilyn Kenyon. I've also enjoyed Marjorie M. Liu, Lynn Viehl and Elizabeth Vaughn. Lois McMaster-Bujold is a classic storyteller, as are Robin McKinley and Anne McCaffrey. Lately, I've also enjoyed stories from Jim Butcher and L.A. Banks. It seems that most of my favorite books have some paranormal elements to them. And humor. Lots of humor.

My favorite book, though, hands down, is To Kill A Mockingbird. Nothing paranormal about it -- just some of the best storytelling I've ever seen and ever hope to see.

Amanda: I definitely agree on To Kill A Mockingbird. Ah, to write like Harper Lee...and I also agree that humor is a necessary ingredient. And while your story in this anthology is serious, you're quite adept at humor, as is evidenced by your Samhain novella. Can you tell my readers about it?

Sela: NOT QUITE DEAD is a para-rom-zom-com-nov, as one of my friends called it. Paranormal Romantic Zombie Comedy Novella. *gg* Sabine Harper just wants to find a nice, normal, steady guy. What she gets is a Dead Man Walking who is sent by the Fates to avenge his own murder. Throw in a vampire and a vicious ghost, all set in a tiny town in Louisiana, and it's a recipe for true love and a lot of humor!

Amanda: What's next for Sela Carsen?

Sela: Right now, I'm furiously finishing up a historical short story set in 16th century Venice. Tentatively titled THE VIRGIN COURTESAN, it should be arriving from Forbidden Publications on Jan 29. Hence, the furious writing. As always, a little humor finds its way into the story, as well as a heartwarming romance.

Nerina Morinelo tried being a courtesan like her mother but failed at the first hurdle. Now she's gained an implacable enemy and she has no one to turn to except Domenico Venieri, scion of a wealthy and noble merchant family. They share the same adversary. To lure him out, Domenico needs a mistress, but he doesn't expect a virgin courtesan or the courage she displays to help him.

After I finish the short story, I need to work on an article I'm writing for Spinetingler Magazine on Perceptions of Romance, then I want to get back to my fantasy novella, DAUGHTER OF PRIVILEGE. It's going to be a very busy spring for me!

Thanks for coming Sela! Stay tuned tomorrow, for an interview with Rachelle Chase.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:32 PM :: 3 comments

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A Conversation with Faith Bicknell-Brown

Welcome to Day 2 of my Interview Party! Today we're chatting with Faith Bicknell-Brown, a professional writer and editor.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Faith: I'm a mother of four--two girls and two boys--and I've been writing my entire life. My work has appeared in national men's magazines, but I prefer to write mainstream and magic realism. When I'm not writing, I work as the managing editor for Wild Child Publishing and Freya's Bower. Working with authors who are eager to grow as a writer is a wonderful job.

Amanda: Your story in the charity anthology is titled "Song Without Words." What it is about?

Faith: The main character is an concert pianist and lost her husband to cancer. Before he died, he told her that he'd give her a song without words. Although she loved him, she also loved his brother. When she finally receives her song without words, she realizes that he knows she's in love with his brother and that he has given her hisblessing.

Amanda: How did you get involved with this project and what persuaded you to participate?

Faith: Marci and I discussed doing something special through Freya's Bower. She mentioned a charity anthology, and since I've survived more than one abusive marriage (it took me a couple times to learn that I am worthy of real love.), I suggested that the charity should be a battered women's shelter.

Amanda: Which do you prefer--writing or editing?

Faith: For me that's a 50/50 answer. I love both sides very much.

Amanda: "Song Without Words" is a reprint of a story in your collection, WOMAN OF UNKNOWN ORIGINS. Can you tell us a bit about that book?

Faith: Woman of Unknown Origins is a collection of some of my graphic work published in men's magazines as well as some of the more erotic ones published in such places as Ruthie's Club. There are a few brand new stories in collection and a wide range of genres too.

Amanda: What's next for Faith Bicknell-Brown?

Faith: I'm working on finishing some WIPs, and once they're finished, I'm back on the agent query-go-round again. My last agent and I didn't see eye-to-eye on much of anything, so I'm hoping that 2007 brings me a bit of good luck. I also have some new authors I'm working with, so I look forward to seeing their novels in eBook as well as print.

Thanks Faith for coming and chatting with us! Tomorrow I'll be chatting with Sela Carsen.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:04 PM :: 5 comments

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A Conversation With Jenna Bayley-Burke

Welcome to my Dreams & Desires Interview Party! To help promote the upcoming release of our charity anthology, Dreams & Desires, I'm spending the next 18 days chatting with some of the other authors included in the collection.

Why 18 days? Well, there are 19 authors in the anthology, and I'm one of them. Since it would be incredibly weird to interview myself (and well, I already talk about myself too much as it is!), I'm just gonna chat with the other 18.

You can order your copy of Dreams & Desires here:

The launch date is February 1, but it's available for presale now. Order now if you want to make sure you've got your copy by Valentine's Day! All net proceeds will be donated durectly to a battered women's shelter in Florida.

Anyway, without any further ado, meet Jenna Bayley-Burke!

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jenna: I love chocolate and am currently on a diet, which makes for an interesting mood. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my high school sweetheart and our two blueberry eyed boys, one who's decided he's never learning to read, and the other who's stated he'll never use the potty. I need chocolate!

Amanda: LOL! Sounds like you've got your hands full. How did you get involved with this project and what motivated you to participate?

Jenna: I was invited to contribute a story by a friend, who hand picked this particular tale. Once I heard the reason behind the anthology, I was honored to be included.

Amanda: Your story "The Forest for the Trees" is about an expected proposal. Tell us a little bit about the story.

Jenna: Men never say what they mean, and we're left trying to fill in between the lines. The story is about the two differing ideas of the perfect moment in a relationship.

Amanda: How do you like writing for Mills & Boon?

Jenna: What's not to like? So far, I have two romance novels out with their Modern Extra series in the UK, and Sexy Sensation line in Australia. Hopefully the books will be available in the US next year.

Amanda: Ooh, that would be so great to be able to buy them here in the stores! (Note to readers: If you haven't read JUST ONE SPARK or COOKING UP A STORM, you don't know what you're missing!)

What's next for Jenna Bayley-Burke?

Amanda: I have a novel in consideration with Mills & Boon right now, and am about to start writing another. I hope to pen four this year, as well as try my hand at a novella. All while avoiding chocolate. Maybe.

Thanks for stopping by, Jenna! Stay tuned tomorrow for another interview...this time with Faith Bicknell-Brown!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:59 PM :: 4 comments

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Do You Remember Your First Time?

No, not that first time! LOL! I'm talking about new things you did in 2006.

Here's 10 things I did for the first time in 2006:

1. Hike to a glacier
2. Go straight from a beer tour at a brewery to wine tasting at a winery
3. Eat "mooncake" (this yummy Chinese pastry with black bean puree in the center)
4. Play "Backyardigans" with my niece and nephew
5. Get published!
6. Eat bison chili
7. Eat dinner at the Ritz Carlton
8. Start a blog
9. Win a writing contest
10. Sign with an agent!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:46 PM :: 1 comments

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Meet my cutie niece and nephew!

They're such cuties, huh? They'll be 6 next month...yup, they're twins. :) They were our flower girl and ring bearer.

Anyway, this picture was from when Mr. Brice and I were in Cali over Christmas, visiting them. We made a gingerbread house.

Anyway, both of them love books and when we were playing, I discovered something adorable. Rather than act out what they're playing, they narrate, as if they were writing a book. Instead of doing the voice of their stuffed animals, this is a typical scene:

Niece: "I'm hungry," said the Moose. "I think I'll make dinner."

Nephew: "What are you going to make?" asked Alligator.

Nicece: "I think I'll make pancakes," said Moose. Moosey walked over to the stove and started to make pancakes. "Yummy!" he said.

Yup, they actually will say "said Moose" or whatever, in the middle of their scene. It's seriously the cutest thing ever!

I think we have some future best selling authors on our hands, don't you? LOL!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:42 AM :: 12 comments

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Friday, January 05, 2007

You Go, Girls!

Yesterday was a historic day for women. Not only was the first ever female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, sworn in, but more women than ever are in the 110th Congress.

A record 90 women will be in the 110th Congress: 74 in the House (including 3 non-voting delegates) and 16 in the Senate. While that's very admirable, and we've definitely "come a long way, baby" since 1920 when we got the vote, when you consider that there are 435 members of the House and 100 in the Senate, it's definitely still an Old Boy's Club.

But hopefully this is changing. Nancy Pelosi now holds the Speaker's gavel, and like her or hate her, it's a wonderful step forward for women that she's now second in line to the Presidency. And many people consider another female Democrat, Hillary Clinton (one of those 16 women in the Senate), to be the front-runner for the 2008 presidency.

What will a more female-friendly House and Senate mean for America? Experts predict that family issues, particularly those related to children, will play a larger role.

But it's not just women who are contribut to the increase in diversity in the 110th. This is also the first time we've had a Muslim Member and two Buddhists. We're seeing our first ever black Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee (Harlem Congressman, Charles Rangel). You may have never heard of Ways and Means, but believe me, it's a VERY powerful committee, with jurisdiction over spending and tax policy. And Michigan Congressman John Conyers is the first black Chairmain of the Judiciary Committee.

There's still only one black Senator, Barack Obama (the third ever black Senator), but he, too, has been heralded as a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Anyway, score one for diversity!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 11:18 AM :: 1 comments

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Valentine's Day Contest!

My fantabulous writing buddy, Rhonda Stapleton, and I are holding a joint contest during the month of January and part of February to celebrate the launch of our coming-soon websites (right now, we both have freebies parked there but we want to do more--I'm determined to get mine up by Feb 1), the release of DREAMS & DESIRES, and Valentine's Day.

If you've never read Rhonda's blog ( you should, because she's really funny. She's a great author, too, and her debut chick lit novel, STRIPPED will be coming soon from Freya's Bower.

Anyway, we both have chick lit stories in DREAMS & DESIRES. Mine is "Love @ First Site" and is about online dating. Hers is "Baring it All for Mr. Right" and is about, well, probably the worst-ever first-date scenario I've ever heard of! LOL!

So we're joing forces and holding a contest to search for the most romantic first date stories and the worst first date stories. Details (such as the prizes, but rest assured, they will be really cool! I'm putting together a Date Night prize pack chock full of goodies to help bring romance into your life and she's putting together a Bad Date Consolation prize pack chock full of goodies to help you get over the bad date blues) are forthcoming on our blogs (and eventually on our websites, LOL!), but basically, you'll email me the best date stories and her the worst date stories. This is for both writers and readers, so we're looking for true life stories!

We'll post the winning stories on our websites for Valentine's Day!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:01 PM :: 7 comments

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Spent all morning sending out press releases for our charity antho, Dreams & Desires. Hopefully we'll get some excellent press so we can raise even more for this worthwhile charity.

Speaking of the charity antho, Gemma Halliday, author of SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, will be hosting a Cyber Launch Party in the chat room of her website ( for the release. Whoo-hoo! Her story in the collection is "Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit", which is about reluctant bank robber, Carrie Cabot, and how she finds love while getting the middle of a heist. Reviewer Zoe Knighton of Sensual Reads says "Gemma Halliday has a talent for blending humor with a sense of drama" and Anne from Kwips and Kritiques says "Gemma Halliday’s story will leave the reader howling with laughter! This delightful tale is exceptionally clever as the reader is lulled into accepting Carrie’s viewpoint. Well done!"

So come on out on February 1, 2007, from 8pm-10pm EST and join us in Gemma's chat room. We'll have all sorts of prizes and fun, and most of the 19 authors are participating.

Speaking of the authors, we wouldn't have this collection if it weren't for the unbelievably talented and generous authors who donated their time and stories to the project. I will be spotlighting each of the authors (other than myself...I spotlight myself every day, so I thought I'd give others a shot this time--LOL!) in alphabetical order on my blog starting on January 13 with Jenna Bayley-Burke ("The Forest for the Trees") and ending with Kit Wylde ("Secret Valentines") on Jan 30. So be sure to check my blog out for those 18 days leading up to the release!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:04 PM :: 5 comments

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

An Interview with FB Author Emily Ryan-Davis

It's Tuesday, so after a long break, I'm back to my series of interviews with Freya's Bower authors. This week we're chatting with Emily Ryan-Davis, author of MATING CALL.

Amanda: Hi Emily, welcome! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Emily: Hi, Amanda! A little bit about would ordinarily be difficult, because I love to talk about myself. It's a good month for brevity, though, because I'm in the midst of holiday retail madness at my non-writing job, and should be sleeping instead of talking about myself.

By day (and sometimes night) I'm a receptionist at an awesome family-run music store in Maryland. I'm surrounded by musicians (some VERY hot, some VERY not) and my ears are flogged by repetitive riffs of "Bad to the Bone" far too early in the morning. I'm a coffee addict deep down in every cell of my body, but nothing will wake a woman up like cranked amps blasting Scandanavian metal at 9 o'clock on a Monday morning. By night? By night, I try to balance my time between sleeping, knitting, writing, keeping up with online forums (I'm not so good at that), planning a June wedding, playing Dungeons & Dragons and various other geeky games with my fiance (who is an Eagle Scout as well as a chef, and should have a book of his own, because he's got the whole world of romance heroes beat for treating his lady like a queen) and our friends.

My biggest food fear centers on soft-shell crabs, which I saw for the first time this summer. If you're a fan, sorry, but the things look like aliens! How can you eat an alien sandwich without recoiling in horror? (Seriously - if you have tips, send 'em my way; I either have to have a wedding or eat a soft-shell crab sandwich before I'm legally a Maryland resident).

Oh hey, did somebody mention brevity? Oops.

Amanda: LOL! I love soft-shell crab sandwiches, and yes, I do believe that's part of a residency requirements in Maryland. Either that or crabcakes. Anyway, I disgress. So, how did you begin writing?

Emily: I had a computer class in 5th grade. Teacher gave an assignment to write a short story as part of our section on word processing. The teacher read mine, accused me of plagiarism, and a little voice in my head suggested that maybe I had a knack for writing. I ignored the voice and didn't write.

Instead, I spent ages 10-13 reading terribly inappropriate adult romance novels, the juicier the sex the better as far as I was concerned. When I was 13, I decided I knew everything there was to know about writing a Native American romance. I grabbed a red spiral notebook and a pen, armed myself with Silver Feather the handsome Indian and Mary Anna, the beautiful raven-haired, emerald-eyed English girl, and set off on my word-quest to tell a believable story about a Native American slave in an English castle.

Lucky you, I'm not querying Freya's Bower about THAT story.

Anyway - I wrote up to the sex scene (which happened in about 30 college-ruled pages, right after a horseback chase through the London moors [lots of those in London, y'know]) and decided I needed a typewriter if I was ever going to have a chance of publishing. My parents bought me one for Christmas. I lost interest in Silver Feather and Mary Anna soon after (don't think I didn't just hear that collective sigh of relief).

I know plagiarism and Native American romances are the bane of readers' existences, but without them, I wouldn't be conducting this interview right now. :)

Amanda: LOL! You're too funny! Your recent release is DRAGON QUEEN: MATING CALL. What's it about?

Emily: MATING CALL is about a witch who doesn't believe in witchcraft. Cora Phillips, the doubting witch, is a blood-witch rather than a convert; she was born a witch, as opposed to practitioners who chose, at some point in life, to embrace the supernatural.

She belongs to a lineage known as Dragonkeepers. Before they were Dragonkeepers, they were simply Lunar witches, or Lunes, and payed homage to the Lunar goddess. Their lunar affinity created close relations with the shapeshifting races. The first Lune to imprison the dragon aspect of a dragon shifter became known as the Dragonkeeper.

Cora knows that much about her heritage. What she doesn't know is that the primary responsibility of Dragonkeepers is protection of the dragons' existence, and that protection includes perpetuating the species.

Life gets pretty bizarre when she finally learns that part of the legend.

Amanda: Interesting. So, what is your favorite genre to write? How about to read?

Emily: My favorite genre to write and to read is "love story." I won't say that romance is my favorite, because I enjoy a good book in any genre if it has a powerful love story at its center. I don't even need a happy-ever-after; I just need a connection and a moment of intimacy no matter how fleeting. I love the suggestion of love, and I'm happy with even something as small as a shared glance that suggests to my imagination that a passion exists.

Black comedy, light comedy; mystery, murder; adventure, introspection - I'm happy with all kinds of stories, if there's a love to be found.

Amanda: Me too. Who are your favorite authors?

Emily: Oh gosh, favorite authors. Charlotte Bronte, Laura Kinsale, George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card (if you haven't read HEART'S HOPE, you haven't read romantic fiction), Jim Butcher, and Terry Pratchett are a few of my adult-tastes favorite authors. When I was learning to love love stories, my favorite authors were Johanna Lindsay (I know, I know, but everybody has a dark secret), Nan Ryan, and Brenda Joyce - Lindsay because her characters made me laugh, Nan Ryan and Brenda Joyce because, damn, the sex was hot. Nan Ryan and THE SUN GOD? The scene in the barn, with h/h tied together by a sash, getting sweaty in the hay? I think I need a fan, and all I have is a MEMORY. :)

Amanda: What are you reading right now?

Emily: Right now, I'm reading a few different books. I don't like to read that way, all divided up, but I seem to have the attention span and the finders' skills of a blind, de-scented hamster - I put a book down, and can't remember where I put it, don't have time to look but need a book to read, so grab a different one to start. I'm in the middle of Michelle Sagara's CAST IN SHADOW (LUNA) and Kim Wilkins' THE AUTUMN CASTLE (very good book, very very, chock full of all the German things that I love, because I don't care what anybody says about French, German is the sexiest language spoken, all growly and masculine and yum). I'm also reading a couple of how-to books for playing the mandolin, since I was given that Christmas gift early.

Amanda: What should we expect next from you?

Emily: If the cycle goes per usual, you should expect a lot of procrastination, several different promises of deadlines (and several different cancellations of deadlines because I need more time) and, eventually, Book 2 of the DRAGON QUEEN series, now with more dragon! I have some other projects in the works, but writing-wise I find it difficult to focus on more than one project at a time. After that, possibly a Book 3, and then after THAT, it'll depend upon what my mood dictates. I have two books very close to my heart, one about a modern-day sorcerer who finds himself ready to give up on life until he has to take responsibility for an unwillingly-god-blessed woman, and another about a psychic vampire and a woman who never says goodbye coping with life in a small West Virginia town that's overshadowed by a mental hospital. On the other hand, I might not feel like tackling those books - maybe I'll be stricken by something else.

What can I say? I'm diverse. Feel free to email me with your pick of which book you'd like to read. I like requests!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:10 AM :: 4 comments

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Monday, January 01, 2007

My Husband is Such a Sweetie

Happy New Year's, y'all! Mr. Brice reminded me last night that our very first kiss was exactly 5 years ago. How sweet that he remembered!

We had been friends for a few months, having met in early September at the Student Bar Association party for new law students. In November, we started studying together for final exams. Of course, I think we got more flirting done than actual studying, and sad to say, our first semester grades showed it. Grrr.

Anyway, my good friend (former roommate) Amy was visiting me in Arizona for New Year's. Within a few days of arriving, she said to me, "I think [Mr. Brice] likes you." I said, "No, we're just friends!" Anyway, a bunch of us all went to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Block Party on New Year's Eve in Tempe. We were at the free Brian Adams concert and it was almost midnight, when my friend Alyssa started saying, "I think you should kiss her at midnight" over and over. I laughed, but part of me wished he would.

Needless to say, he did. :)

Anyway, clearly the picture in this post is not of our first kiss, but is from our wedding, 2 years and 2 months later.

Happy New Year's!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:31 PM :: 8 comments

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