Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Whether you celebrate religiously, secularly, or not at all, I still want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. Not because I'm trying to convert you, but just because the holiday brings us beautiful gems like this...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop

Hey all! When one hop ends, another begins. (Though if you're reading this on Friday the 14th, the Evernight Publishing holiday blog hop is still open, so you should hit my last post and enter that one too!) 

With the business end of things done... hi! And happy holidays!

I was going to do this really informational post about the history and mythology of mistletoe. Then I realized no one really cares about that sort of thing. You know what people DO care about? 

And booze. 

So instead of boring you with what people know of how druids harvested and blessed mistletoe, I'm going to feed your need for the good stuff. Oh, people also like sex, so while you're enjoying your cookies and martini, don't forget to pick up a copy of the holiday anthology, Vanilla-Free Christmas, and get your kink on this holiday season. But first up, cookies!

Nut Butter Cookies (I'll explain the name in a bit) 
The Nutella is the spread out one.
1 c. margarine (my sister uses butter, but mine always turn out softer, so I recommend margarine)
1 c. nut butter (I use this recipe with either peanut butter or Nutella, but I would guess any nut butter would work)
2 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt

Mix the margarine, nut butter, and brown sugar until well blended (it doesn't get smooth, per se, but it should be pretty creamy)

Add the eggs and beat well.

Mix the dry ingredients together then add slowly to the butter mixture. 

If using peanut butter, roll into balls, place on greased baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork. (I recommend chilling the dough for an hour or two as it makes it easier to work with.)

If using Nutella, the dough will NOT hold a shape, so don't bother trying to roll it. Just scoop up about a teaspoon full and spoon it onto the tray.

Bake at 350 (Fahrenheit) for 10-12 minutes, but check them at 8. 

The peanut butter cookies should hold their shape if very lightly touched. (Alternatively, the crosshatches of the fork marks should be a little browner than the rest.) 

The Nutella cookies will spread out, and if left in the oven too long will start to look NOT done in patches. When those start showing, take the cookies out--they're done. (I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it's true.)

You'll have to experiment with other nut butters for both shaping and how to tell when they are done. 

Teaspoon size cookies work out to about 55 calories each. 

And now, some booze-y goodness. I just invented this one for the blog. Don't you all feel special?

Hit the Slopes Martini

4 oz chocolate milk (I Nes-quicked some regular milk)
1 oz vodka
1 oz peppermint schnapps
crushed candy cane to rim your glass

Shake the milk, vodka, schnapps, and ice in a martini shaker. Pour into candy-cane rimmed martini glass and enjoy!

Lastly, there's one more thing! You already know how to enter to win the Kindle Fire, but I'm giving away a prize too! 

These are mine & I know you don't want my
cooties, so you get a different color :P
I know how cold my hands get during the winter, but I need my fingers free for typing or I never get anything done. Enter the wonder of fingerless mittens! And I'm making a pair right now to give away on the hop (this is US only, sorry. However, if you enter to win and are international, we'll work something else out, okay?) This is the pattern I'm using, but they won't be this color (since I don't have anymore of the yarn left). They will be wool, but it's a soft wool (I promise. I can't deal with scratchy stuff, so I don't buy it). So it'll be a bit of a surprise in your mailbox if you win. To make entering easy (and give you opportunities to increase your chance of winning, I give you the Rafflecopterinator. (Sorry, we were listening to the Phineas & Ferb Christmas album today.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Evernight Holiday Blog Hop

The posting for the next 2 weeks is going to be a bit wonky. Posting today and then another blog hop starts on Friday (which goes through next week), so two posts (and giveaways!) this week and no new post next week. Because that's just the way this Rebel rolls.

Now. Onto the good stuff....

Welcome to the Evernight Holiday Blog Hop!
We love the holidays, we love making our readers happy and we love giving away swag. What better way to do that than to hold a blog hop?

Here's how it works... the more blogs you hop to (shown below) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each site on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering an iPad 2 as the grand prize! To be in with a chance of winning the site prize simply follow the blog you're visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning that iPad 2! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook page
. Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you've done so.
Happy hopping!

To reiterate, to enter for the iPad 2, you need to leave a comment here (and on all the blogs you visit) that includes your email address. If you liked the Evernight Facebook page, you get an extra entry, but you have to mention that in your comment here as well so I can pass on the info or else it doesn't count.

But wait!

There's more!

(I've always wanted to say that and mean it.)

In addition to entering to win the iPad 2, I'm giving away a digital copy of Evernight's newest holiday anthology, Vanilla-Free Christmas. That's right, people, it's time for a kinky Christmas (my favorite kind!) To give you a little taste of what you're in for...here's a little taste of "A Few of My Favorite Things"

(NOTE: Excerpt is kinky and not exactly PG-13)

I ran from the cafeteria to Santa’s office. Now, standing outside the intricately carved doors, I leaned against one of the nutcracker sentries, taking a second to collect myself and calm my breathing. He’d expect me here quickly but wouldn’t be happy if I was panting when I entered. A few seconds of deep breathing and my heartbeat slowed to normal.

I rapped gently on the door.

“Enter.” Pulling open the heavy wood, I faced Santa’s broad back as he stared out a window. Next to him a fire roared, soaking the room in heat. He gave a casual wave. “Close the door and wait.”

As soon as the door shut behind me, it vanished as if it had never been. I knew that in the hall the doorway had gone cold, as if Santa were no longer in residence. The first time I’d seen the wood covered in ice, I’d touched it. I’d had frostbite on the fingertip for a week. It wasn’t a lesson an elf had to learn more than once.

Now, I knelt, my tunic tucked under my ass, and rested my hands on my thighs. Staring at the woodgrain on the floor, I waited. It didn’t matter how long. I never counted or tried to figure it out. I simply inhaled and exhaled, never looking, never speaking.

At last Santa stood in front of me. His fingers tipped my chin up, and he trapped me in his steely blue gaze. “The harness is waiting for you. Be ready when I return.”

My heart quickened as I looked at him—I was powerless under his watchful eyes. The stories were true—he saw everything, even the deepest secrets of my heart. When he looked at me this way, I was as good as naked already. “Yes, sir.”

As soon as he disappeared in a puff of snow, I shot to my feet.

Gone were the fireplace and the window. Now the room was all gray stone with a simple wooden post near one wall. To one side, a brazier. To the other, a high table lined with tools. I shivered, but there was no time to peruse the instruments. I had no way of knowing when Santa would return.

I tugged my tunic overhead and folded it, laying it neatly in the corner. The leggings came next. Then my bra, panties, and socks. My boots stood at attention on either side of the pile. Only then did I turn and, while I smoothed my hair down, make my way to the post.

Hanging from a chain attached to the block of wood jutting to the side was a piece of leather I’d come to know as well as I knew my own body. Not a pair of hangman’s nooses. No, the harness would allow me to be suspended in a variety of positions. I wrapped a pair of straps around my ankles, securing them tightly, then slid my wrists into the loops overhead, cinching them as tightly as I could manage. I balanced on my toes, dangling from the harness. Santa likely wanted me hogtied, but I couldn’t manage that on my own, so I waited.

Belatedly, I noted the black metal rod on the floor.


As I started to snake my hands free, the scent of chocolate and peppermint suffused the room. There was no time.

In another sprinkling of snow, Santa reappeared, the heat of the room turning the flakes to a faint mist.

No jolly red suit now. Not for me. Not for this.

He kept his black leather boots on. That much hadn’t changed. Beyond those, however, no one would recognize the bare-chested man in the dark gray jeans as the same one their children whispered wishes to at Christmas time. There was no paunch hanging over his belt—he was all big, burly and barrel-chested, his gaze dark and hooded rather than twinkling. No jolly old elf here...

And the crop in his hand was not something he’d ever used on the reindeer. 

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for the ebook, and don't forget to comment with your email to enter into the iPad 2 giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How Many Billionaires Are There?

A recent tweet from my friend, Andrew Shaffer, got me thinking about this question. You see, if you pay attention to romance novels--pretty much at all--there's been an upswing in the number of "billionaires" in titles, series titles and books in general. He made the point that there are not that many billionaires in the world, and then questioned how many of them were young and horny. I'd also like to question how many of them are single.

Now, if you replace the B with an M, maybe we could talk. Actors, musicians, tech geniuses... I'm sure there are a decent number of sexy, young, available men who have crossed the seven figures mark. But it seems millionaires aren't good enough for fiction anymore for that very reason--they've become "common."

In fairness, this is not the fault of the authors. Not really. Publishers want a certain type of hero because they know that type sells.

I've seen this with some of my own work. I submitted a proposal recently and was given a "maybe, but X as the romantic hero? I'm not sure that's going to work..." Long and short of it? X is not uber-rich. Nor is he the standard for heroes everywhere. He's not a big, muscly guy. He's not grr...argggh...let-me-show-you-my-pecs. Nor is he the most brilliant.

What he is is this: attractive, fit, good at his job, funny, great with his hands, quick-witted, willing to fight for the people he loves, and a perfect match for the heroine. In short, he's a "normal" guy. When I got the "maybe" from my editor, my blood ran cold. I don't want to move this story somewhere else!

But at the same time, I don't want to compromise the story for this... absurd set of hero requirements. I don't mind writing to those requirements sometimes, but not when dealing with an established series. Story comes first.

/personal-mini-rant off

But that's the thing. There is this set of guidelines heroes are supposed to fit and rich is a big one. If they aren't rich, they should be in a position of power. (Military is often used as an example, which I find funny because military men don't make much money at all.) The fact of the matter is, this is the grown-up version of Prince Charming. He's handsome, rich, can dance, ride a horse, blah blah blah.

I think my problem is that my favorite fairy tales don't feature those kind of heroes. Tangled? Flynn Ryder is a thief for crying out loud! Shrek? Hello... ogre. Those are my romantic heroes. The ones who step up to the plate even if everything they know says they should walk or run the other way.

I'm not saying there's no room in the world for the hooking up with the billionaire stories. Hell, I'm not even saying I won't write one (or even a bunch of them). What I am saying is that, as readers, we need to put our money where our mouths are and show that we're open to other kinds of heroes too. We're willing to walk with the single mom as she falls for her son's high school football coach. Or the woman whose boss is a douche, but hey, that guy who delivers lunch everyday is really something special. Let them be successful, sure, but let's stop measuring success by the size of their muscles and bank accounts. There's more to our real life men than that. Can't there be more to our fictional ones too?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on one of my favorite TV shows. There's a certain pirate captain I hope manages to find a happily-ever-after... as soon as he gets over himself.

Also, I'm participating in a couple blog hops over the next two weeks. Big prizes! Be sure to come back :)

***NOTE: I meant to add a caveat that category romance is kind of its own animal and that certain character tropes are an expected part of those books. This rant was meant more specifically toward non-category romance (and fiction in general).***