Divas of Desire

Meet The Divas

Meet The Divas & Their Books

Friday, October 31, 2014

#Writersretreat at Thistle Dew! #authors #writing

Writing can be lonely, so it's important for writers to get together from time to time to share goals, ideas and camaraderie. It's also easy for us writers to get distracted by everyday duties and put our writing on the back burner.

That's why retreats are so important. We not only get the opportunity to mingle with other crazy people who spend hours in front of computers, creating stories out of thin air, we have peace and quiet to devote to our craft.

I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend at a retreat at Thistle Dew in upstate New York. Several friends from the Central New York Romance Writers chapter joined me. Our incomparable hostess was author ALee Drake.

Thistle Dew is an old stone building with a long history--it used to be a stagecoach stop and inn back (way back) in the day. Today it houses ALee and her family, and other writers when she is generous enough to open it to us.

Since it was the weekend before Halloween, ALee gave us all a scary surprise by decorating Thistle Dew in holiday style. I stayed in the "Redrum" room. (Remember that from The Shining?) Every bedroom got a similar creepy name and decor to match!

Three bedrooms and the bathroom! Scary, huh?

Friday night ALee took us outside to sit around the campfire, look at the stars and eat s'mores. The next day and a half was devoted to chatting, eating (oh so much eating) and of course *writing*! A wonderful time was had by all. 

More scary surprises in the Pennywise room, the Annabelle room and the Eastwick room!

Thistle Dew existed in ALee's imagination before she came to live there. How it became her home is a romance story in itself! When ALee was away attending RWA, the building (which she'd admired in the past) suddenly went up for sale. Imagine her surprise when her husband called and told her over the phone that he'd bought her a house! The rest is history.

Alee's sweet romance Thistle Dew features a single mom who makes ends meet by transforming her country home into a bed and breakfast. Add a hunky writer hero, a dash of mystery and a benevolent ghost for a wonderful read!

Sage Winters is the owner of an Adirondack bed and breakfast aptly named Thistle Dew by her late husband, Eric. She is a strong woman, not only successful in her business but as a mother. Although she tries to be loyal to her love for Eric, frequent guest and author Hawke is so irresistible that he catches her eye and eventually her heart. Sage is an overprotective mother who reluctantly learns to rely on others at a time of crisis.
Hawke, a shy, reclusive best selling author, steps up to the plate as hero when Sage's daughter, Pia is missing and any clues to her whereabouts have been buried during a blizzard. He learns to trust his intuitive voice and finds Pia via dreams and eerie signs.
And it is Eric, in spirit, who is not always angelic, but intercedes and intervenes to keep his ‘girls’ safe. He not only shows Hawke where to find Pia but encourages Sage to open her heart and love again.
184 Pages, Sensual
Print ISBN: 1-60154-643-2
Thistle Dew is available at 

Have a wonderful weekend, all! (And Happy Halloween!)

Nona Raines

Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gleanings from the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference #NJRW2014

My program from the conference. You can see from the smileys I added how much I enjoyed it!

Happy Friday everyone! I attended the Put Your Heart in a Book New Jersey Romance Writers Conference last weekend and had a wonderful time. I attended with four other writer friends, three of whom pitched with great success. Me, I took the no stress route and went just to hear the speakers and attend the presentations.

Susan Mallery was the Keynote Speaker Saturday morning. What an inspiring speech that was. She spoke about her somewhat circuitous route to mega-success and the importance of having a plan for one’s writing career. Susan is amazing--she wrote one hundred books before she broke through to the New York Times Bestseller List! Later on, I attended her Screw the Muse, I’m on Deadline presentation, where she discussed time management, feeling that the “well is dry” and that deadliest of all threats, negative self-talk (aka “my book sucks”). When she’s on a roll, Susan writes seventy-five pages a week!

Our lunchtime speaker was Jennifer Probst, who stepped in on short notice. She really hit it out of the part. Her speech was very moving, and really stressed the importance of perseverance. She overcame a lot of career disappointment before The Marriage Bargain came out and hit the charts. What I learned from her: never give up.

I got a lot out of author Nancy Herkness’ presentation Sell Your Book, Not Your Soul: How to Write a Commercial Book From Your Heart. She stressed the importance of hooks in a story. It’s important to study the market and learn what’s popular so your story will have broad appeal while still containing elements you care about, thus making it your own. This is the formula she used to create her successful Whisper Horse Series.

During her Keynote Speech, Susan Mallery mentioned Joan Johnston’s books. This reminded me that Susan Meier also mentioned the author during a presentation for the Central New York Romance Writers.  So now I’m reading Joan Johnston’s The Texan. Of course, I’m hooked. Now I understand why her name is on so many authors’ tongues.

This is only a smidge of what I experienced and learned over the weekend. I’ve returned a bit overwhelmed, but definitely inspired. Only ninety three more books to write, and maybe I can be the next Susan Mallery!

Friday, October 17, 2014

#Cover Reveal: Don't Let Go by @nonaraines #Contemporary #Romance #TWRP

Happy Friday, friends! I have some exciting news to share with you. My upcoming novella Don't Let Go (to release on November 5) has a cover and is available for pre-order!

Annalee wants a no-strings fling. Eric's all about the strings.

Twelve years ago, when Eric Sorenson's date dumped him right before the Senior Prom, his older sister’s best friend stepped in to save him from total humiliation. He never forgot Annalee or what she did for him that night…or the kiss they shared. He wants Annalee, and if he has his way, they'll take up where they left off. And this time, he won't let go.

After a messy divorce, Annalee's not looking forward to her high school reunion. She's shocked when Eric appears at her door ready to return the favor and play escort. Gone is the inexperienced boy with a severe stutter—he's a striking, confident man. The memory of the kiss they shared rekindles an attraction that never died, and she's been on her own for a year. Isn't she entitled to kick loose and have a let's-go-crazy night?


    “You should see the killer dress I bought for tonight.”
    “Can’t wait. By the way, did I tell you my brother’s in town?” Dee changed the subject so quickly Annalee almost got whiplash.  
    “No, you didn’t, but we ran into each other earlier. When I was walking Bobo.” She didn’t mention that, thanks to Bobo, she nearly ran into a tree as well.  
    “Oh, really?” Eric’s sister drew out the last word—realllyyy.
    Annalee rolled her eyes. “Yes, and what’s that little tone of yours supposed to mean?”
    “Oh, nothing,” Dee replied airily. “I knew he went out this morning. I merely find it interesting that of all the people he might encounter, he bumps into you. Very interesting.”
    “Do you really, Inspector Clouseau?”
    “Yes, indeed. Given the fact he’s had a major crush on you all these years—”
    Annalee pulled at the collar of the sweater that now felt too tight around her throat. “A crush?”
    “A crush, the hots, whatever. Now you’re free, and he’s free—”
    “Wait a minute.” She gripped the handset to keep it from sliding from her slippery palm. “I thought he was seeing that girl, the brunette—”
    “Katie? No, they’re no longer an item. The stars have finally aligned for you. It’s…what’s the word…”
    Annalee was speechless, her thoughts a flurry.
    “Oh yeah, serendipity.”
    This call had to end. “Goodbye, Delayna. I’ll see you tonight.” Annalee hung up before her friend could say more.
    Okay, what just happened? Dee was encouraging her to get with Eric?
    A new image flashed before her—she and Eric, naked. Smoothing her hands down his bare chest, then trailing lower…
    She shook her head. Sexual deprivation was getting to her. How long had it been? Half a year since the divorce and even longer if she counted the last year of her marriage, which had been a war zone. A cold war of silence and contempt, which couldn’t even generate enough heat for hate sex.
    Not a moment too soon, the coffee maker gurgled. Annalee filled a cup, but no longer needed a hot drink to eliminate the chill.
    She was on fire.

Pre-order Don't Let Go at Amazon

Nona Raines

Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Blast: Hell's Bounty by @KaydenClaremont #PNR #giveaway #GoddessFish

***Kayden will be awarding $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour and the *Review Only Tour, here***

Raven Hart, a succubus bounty hunter for Hell, is on a hunt. With her query in sight, she hits a brick wall, or rather the very hard chest of a giant sexy man. She might have lost the prize for now, but she's a winner when the hottie wants to get physical.

Marcus Dionysius, a Nephilim working for Heaven, has one mission—to prevent Hell’s beauty from stealing souls meant for the higher plane. But he soon realizes he’s met his sexual match. She’s naughty enough to tempt his senses, but her innocence means he can’t walk away when she needs him most.

Working together to discover who’s snatching souls from Heaven, they realize the true danger is falling in love.


A giant of a man ducked as he entered the bar, paused, took off his sunglasses, tucked them into his jacket pocket, and waited for his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting. He surveyed the bar, then decided his path. Keeping his head high and his eyes skimming the people, he avoided eye contact with everyone.

She watched him. An undeniable current of electricity pulsed through him. Stopping beside her, he dwarfed her slight stature with colossal height, muscular build that showed through the suit, and an air of confidence that made everyone in the bar notice him. He signaled the bartender for a single-malt whiskey, neat.

Once the drink showed up, he cradled the glass in his immense hands, then nodded at her and took a sip of the golden liquid. Pure ecstasy showed on his face. “You waiting for someone special?”

Raven tried to fight the attraction arcing between them. “Everyone is special”

A smile crept across his generous lips, and humor twinkled in his mocha eyes. “I guess.” He took another sip.

Scanning him from head to toe, she asked, “How tall are you?”

He looked down at her with choirboy eyes and his smile widened. “Seven-five, give or take.”

Running her fingertips around the top of the glass she surveyed him once more. If Raven didn’t know better, she’d think he was an immortal, but she could usually sense them. Each immortal had a unique aura about them, a distinct imprint whether fae or shifter or undead.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kayden loves sexy, well-crafted stories of lust and love.  Her sensuous style drives the characters in lustful romps.

Her paranormal erotic novella, Hell’s Bounty is published by The Wild Rose Press.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime International; Sisters in Crime Toronto;  Sisters in Crime Toronto Executive;  Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers.

When she’s not at her day job she’s crafting more tales of love or spending time with her husband and children.

Visit her at:

Facebook:  www.Facebook.com/kayden.claremont

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KaydenClaremont

Email at: KaydenClaremont@bell.net

Blog: KaydenClaremont@wordpress.com

Buy Links:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon GC! A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Friday, October 10, 2014

Crash Pad by @whitleygray #gay #erotic #romance

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I have a special visitor! Author Whitley Gray is here to share some news about her latest release, Crash Pad. What's more, she's agreed to answer five nosy questions from me. So let's get started!

Hi, Whitley. Welcome!

    1.    Why do you feel “called” to write male/male romance as opposed to male/female, lesbian or polyamory?

In short, I love men. I’ve written M/F romance in the past, and always found myself identifying more with the hero than the heroine. The dynamics of a M/M relationship are so different, and more appealing.

    2.     Your story High Concept dealt with a detective suffering from PTSD. Did that involve a lot of research for you?

Yes. I have a medical background, but this is a subject outside my usual purview. I have a friend who is a forensic psychiatrist. A lot of the information about the disorder, treatment, and management of back-to-work came from that source.

    3.     While writing your contribution to the Campus Cravings anthology, Artistic Endeavor, you were able to go back in time (in your imagination) to those New Adult times. Was that a fun experience for you?

I was able to revisit my college years, yes. It was fun, but it also brought back how much uncertainty there is when first striking out on your own—going away to college and having to be responsible for yourself. No curfew, no parental supervision.

    4.     In your book Rabbit Wars, you explore a “second chance at love” romance between two men who had once been involved. Why do you think the second chance theme is so appealing to readers?

I think we’ve all got a “one that got away” in our pasts. Sometimes that one was The One, as it was for Ash and Jeff. Neither had truly moved on. It’s a common experience to think about “what if…” and imagine what might have happened had things turned out differently.

    5.     Please tell us more about your new release CrashPad! We’re all ears!

Physician Remy Marshall has two loves: Emergency Medicine and running. Work doesn’t leave much time to meet guys, and most seem more interested in his bank account than him. With a week off to train for a marathon, Remy plans to make the most of his precious vacation. The last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jamie Sutton is new to the area. He hopes to make a fresh start after leaving an abusive relationship with an orthopedic surgeon. He’s got a new job as a massage therapist and wants to meet some nice guys. Against his better judgment, Jamie decides the best way to meet a cute rollerblader he’s seen in the park is on wheels.

With attention on his watch and not where he’s going, Remy crashes into Jamie and fractures the first-time rollerblader’s ankle. Jamie has no one to help him after the injury; Remy proposes Jamie stay with him. Jamie is reluctant, but it’s a better option than staying with the odd guy in the neighboring motel room. As the two get acquainted, Jamie’s past comes calling. Remy discovers the prize he really wants isn’t a medal in a marathon, but the man right in front of him.

Buy: Loose Id

Website:  http://whitleygray.com/about.html

Sounds awesome! Thanks so much for being here today, Whitley, and we wish you much success with Crash Pad!

Nona Raines

Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A #Guest Post about writing Sex! By Neil Plakcy

Howdy Divettes! Welcome back to the Divas site. We have a very special guest with us today, Neil Plakcy, here to talk to us about, what else, Sex! Particularly, writing sex and how it affects books in different genres. So what do you all think about writing sex?

Take it away Neil....

Do You Get Taken Seriously If You Write About Sex?

The other day I suffered from coitus interruptus.

Not the way you’re thinking about it – I was in the middle of writing a sex scene and I had to stop what I was doing to hurry to a meeting of my writers’ group. We are a group of five mystery writers (well, I span the gap between mystery and romance) – four women and one guy, me.
That day, as it happened, we were critiquing a chapter in which one of the women (let’s call her S) had written her first sex scene. It was very impressionistic – short phrases piled on top of each other, without specific references to genitalia or to tab A being inserted into slot B. Since I already had sex on my mind, we got into a discussion of the ways we write about sex. S was writing a mainstream suspense book, and though part of the plot involves a romance developing between two characters who don’t know that they’re related, she didn’t want to get into too much detail.
Another woman, K, began her career in romance, where she was required to pull back that curtain and show what goes on in the bedroom. She got tired of that, and in her current career as an Edgar-winning mystery author, she has cut way back on the explicit sex.Would she have won that Edgar (the highest award in the mystery world) if her detective got randy in every book? Probably not.
Another woman, M, has written four books in a series and only at the very end of book four did she allow her heroine to finally get naked with her handsome, sexy lover. Well, I can’t say that she does get naked, though I sure hope so, because the book ends with said lover waiting outside her remote house in the Everglades complete with a banner congratulating the heroine on her 40th birthday. I’m guessing they didn’t go inside to eat cake.
The final member of our quintet, C, has avoided romantic entanglements completely in the work she has submitted for our critique. Her current work is set in the early 1900s, so the characters receive genteel kisses and the occasional clasped hand.
These women all seem to believe that adding explicit sex to their works will somehow shift their books into the realm of romance, and lead to disdain from the literary establishment.
I gave up on the literary establishment a long time ago in favor of writing the books I wanted to read. I like throwing a bunch of good, old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words like dick and cock into my books. My characters never “fade to black” after they embrace. And I wouldn’t have them any other way.
In my newest romance, Love on Stage, my protagonist was kind of a himbo – a really good looking guy who had sex all over the place. But since it was a romance, after all, I had to pull out some of those scenes with other guys and focus on the developing romance between the hero and his love interest.
I write mystery, romance and erotica, and each of those books has the same elements, although in different proportions. It’s great fun to write down and dirty sex scenes—and I hope my readers enjoy them as much as I do!

Well, there you have it, folks. Writing dirty sex! And what it means for different authors.... 

Neil Plakcy’s newest M/M romance is Love on Stage, second in a series about young gay men on South Beach looking for love and career success. More about his work at www.mahubooks.com. http://www.loose-id.com/love-on-stage.html

Thanks so much for coming by, Neil! It was great to have you. 


The Romance Reviews