(I found this in my inbox and thought it was cute)
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies... Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive
And well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine (insert drink of
Choice) in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO
Drako Alexandre isn’t the handsome billionaire playboy everyone thinks he is. The mysterious jeweler to the wealthy is also a Black Gryffon, a guardian of a dark secret. Commanded to marry, he is more than happy to take a wife. Duty is duty. But he won't give up his lovers, nor will he ever allow himself to love a woman. For to love is to become vulnerable. At least, that is what he has always believed...
Rin Mitchell, a woman with a few secrets of her own, accepts Drako's unexpected marriage proposal, not expecting their loveless arrangement to be a marriage made in heaven. It's a convenient solution to an overwhelming problem, until she realizes her lethally seductive husband is a lot more deadly than the demons that had chased her into his arms.
Drako must defeat a powerful adversary. Rin must stoke the Gryphon?'s dark fire. Their love ignites the flame.
UNEDITED excerpt from DARKEST FIRE Aphrodisia, Dec. 2010 Copyright 2009 Tawny Taylor
Chapter 1 Sin in stilettos hunted him.
In Drago Alexandre’s lifetime, lust had worn many masks--fair and sweet, dark and exotic, male, and female--but whatever form it took, it always, without fail, seized its prey. There was no escape. Yet, like the quail in Drako’s favorite sutta, The Hawk, he knew he would eventually break free from the predator’s grip…and shatter its heart.
Tonight, lust was a redhead, in an itty bitty fuck-me dress, her mile-long legs bared to there, her full tits a sigh away from tumbling out of her dress, and a dozen erotic promises glittering in her eyes. She didn’t know it yet, but the hunter would soon be the hunted.
Drako acknowledged her with a hard, piercing stare. In response, lush lips pursed in a seductive pout.
Yes, he’d have this one. But on his terms.
Let the games begin.
Eyes on the prize, expression guarded to keep her guessing, Drako tipped his beer back, pulling a mouthful of bitter ale from the bottle. As he swallowed, the heavy bass of the music thrummed through his body, pounding along nerves pulled tight with erotic need. Red and blue lights blinked on and off, casting every body in the bar, male and female, in an alternating crimson and deep indigo glow.
Her gaze shifted.
His body tightened.
Oh, yeah. He liked this place. A lot. He slowly swept the crowded room again with his eyes. Writhing, sweaty bodies, mostly female, packed the small dance floor. Groups of people crowded around tables, the flickering red tips of their burning cigarettes dancing in the shadows.
“I’ve got the redhead,” he announced.
“That’s just as well.” His brother, Talen, set his empty glass on the bar’s polished top and shoved his fingers through his spiked, platinum hair. “I’m not in the mood for this tonight.”
“Not in the mood? Are you kidding me? Look around, baby brother.” Sitting on the other side of Drako, Malek, shot Talen a bewildered glance. About a dozen women gaped as his shaggy blond surfer-punk waves danced on a breeze.
Drako slid his quarry a heated glance then twisted to flag down the bartender. “Yeah, well, if you spent half as much time working as you do playing, Malek, we’d–”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it before, big brother.” Malek ordered another beer for Drako then clapped him on the shoulder. “But like I say, life is short. You gotta live while you can.” He slipped from the stool, peeled off a twenty and handed it to the bartender. “Do either of you have a bad feeling about tomorrow’s meeting with the old man...? Ohhhh, shit. Yes. Talk to you later.” Not waiting for them to answer, he headed toward the nearest flock of admirers.
“I think I’m calling it a night.” Talen said, watching Malek gather a small herd of women around him.
“Okay, bro. See you at home.” Drako checked his redhead again. Still sitting at the table with her friend. She was looking a little less certain of herself now. One hand wrapped delicately around a wineglass, the other nervously tugged at a lock of hair.
That was better. An aggressive woman did nothing for him.
Letting the corners of his mouth curl slightly, he lifted his fresh beer to his mouth and waited for their gazes to meet again.
Uh huh. Much, much better.
He held her gaze and everyone and everything else in the crowded bar seemed to slowly drift away, until nobody but his redhead existed to him. Electricity sizzled between their bodies, like heat lightning arcing between storm clouds.
Her tongue darted out, swept across her plump lip then slipped back inside. She set her glass down and, breaking eye contact, leaned over to her friend sitting next to her. They both glanced his way. The friend smiled and nodded, and then the pair of them stood.
Their arms linked at the elbow, their gazes flitting back and forth between him and the back of the bar, they hurried in the opposite direction, toward the bathroom.
That was an interesting reaction. Nothing like what he’d expected.
Was she playing him? Were they both?
Mmmm. Both. Maybe he’d have two women tonight. Two was always better than one.
He dropped a fifty on the bar. And with his beer clutched in one fist, he walked around the far side of the room, taking the scenic route to the dark corridor at the rear. He’d catch them out there, where it was quieter, more intimate.
I'm working on a project I'm VERY excited about. Problem is, I'm struggling to find the perfect opening line. I spent hours yesterday playing around with my first five pages. Hours and hours. Now, I'm just frustrated.
I need inspiration.
Please help me. Pull a random book off your shelf, turn to page 1 and post the opening line.
From Susan Kearney's The Hidden Years What the hell was she doing in Half Moon Bay?
I thought I'd share one of my all-time favorite holiday recipes. This is for a chocolate cut out cooking that is absolutely delish. Add some pre-made cake frosting and candies/coconut/chocolate chips/mini marshmallows and you have cookies that are seriously to-die-for scrumptious.
3/4 c butter 3/4 c brown sugar 1 package (4 serving) chocolate instant pudding 1 egg 1 3/4c flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Prepared cake frosting and decorations (small chocolate candies, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, raisins, etc.
Preheat oven to 350
Beat butter, brown sugar, pudding and egg in a medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed.
Combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to pudding mixture beating until well blended after each addition. Form into ball. Refrigerate for up to one hour if dough is soft.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter and place on greased cookie sheet (or bake on parchment paper).
Bake 12-14 mins (4 inch cookies. Less for smaller--I bake 6mins for 3" cookies) or until slightly firm. Remove and cool on wire racks.
Decorate when cool.
(Recipe from Kraft Food and Family magazine, 2004)
A closed door swings open…and Wynne Fischer enters an elegant bondage club for those who crave extremes of forbidden sensation.
Within the walls of Twilight, ultra-male temptation comes in threes: the muscular brothers Rolf and Dierk, and the mysterious Master Zane. Dominance is in their blood and the natural submissiveness of the inexperienced Wynne arouses the men beyond belief. Baring herself body and soul at their command, their captive is about to satisfy her most hidden desires as she explores the dark side of sexual passion…
Hello, she was in a real, honest-to-God bondage dungeon. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so out of her element in her life. Not even that one time when she’d gone with Kristy to that freaky art exhibit downtown, where people wearing plastic clothes handed out free samples of condoms, and rows and rows of tables loaded with sex toys lined the enormous warehouse. That had been years ago, when they’d been in high school. Catholic high school. She hadn’t even known what half those sex toys were supposed to do.
Maybe she should’ve known then that her friend wasn’t exactly cut from the same cloth as she. But like her therapist had said, she’d probably just wanted to believe what she’d wanted to believe, rather than seeing her friend as she truly was.
It had taken both her therapist and Kristy two weeks to prepare her for this. Already, she was ready to go home. There was only one thing, or rather two, keeping her from turning on her heels and saying sayonara to Twilight forever. And that thing, or things, weren’t the ones she’d expected.
Instead of staying to find out more about bondage, or more specifically why anyone would want to seek out a Master, she wanted to find out a little more about the god-like men Kristy was waving at. She was hoping they worked at the dungeon, not played at it.
“Hi, Master Rolf,” Kristy said, reaching behind her, no doubt to catch Wynne’s hand and coax her up closer.
Master Rolf. Guess he wasn’t an employee. Wynne was happy to stay where she was for the moment, thankyouverymuch.
Kristy motioned to the second man. “It looks like we’ve both brought guests today.”
Now, that raised Wynne’s hopes. If the second guy--who was jaw-dropping gorgeous wasn’t a regular at the club, then he might not be a part of the scene yet.
“Hi, Raven.” Master Rolf smiled. “This isn’t a guest. He’s my brother, Dierk. He’s taking over as general manager of the club.”
Manager. That was acceptable.
“I see,” Kristy responded, nodding over her shoulder at Wynne before cranking on the charm for the new manager. “It’s good to meet you, Dierk. Dierk and Rolf, this is my friend Wynne. And I’m sure you can tell this is her first visit to a bondage club. She’s totally new to domination and submission, so she’s a little nervous.”
Great. Thanks, Kristy, for pointing out I’m the new, clueless kid on the block.
She pasted on a smile, hoping they wouldn’t all look at her like she was a freak. How humiliating. Maybe they’d even make her wear some kind of special badge or something.
Dierk the manager gave her a long, disconcerting once over. Down went his gaze, from her face to her toes and then slowly it meandered back up. She could almost feel his gaze as it swept over her body. Her skin felt tingly all over, her nerves twitchy and raw. “Hello, Wynne,” he said in a low, rumbly voice that reminded her of a cat’s purr.
The man was like sin incarnate, the very opposite of what John had been, with his sun-bleached hair and boy-next-door good looks. Dierk had dark hair, almost black, cut in shaggy, messy layers. His face was all hard angles, his eyes too dark to clearly make out the pupils. And his body...he was huge, built like a professional athlete, all muscles and sinew and raw power.
Kristy jabbed her in the ribs, and she realized, embarrassingly, that she’d been standing there, mute and stupid, staring like a groupie at a rock concert.
She didn’t need Kristy to make her look like an ass. She was doing that well enough on her own.
Too nervous to trust her voice, she merely gave him a weak, shaky smile and nodded her head, then turned her gaze to his brother.
Master Rolf wasn’t far down the gorgeous scale from his brother. There was most definitely a family resemblance. He also had that dark, wavy hair, although Rolf’s was a little longer, the bottom layers skimming the tops of his shoulders. His face was as hard-edged and fascinating as Dierk’s, although it wasn’t identical. And his body was just as big. And just as breathtaking.
Rolf offered a hand, “It’s nice to meet you, Wynne. If there’s anything my brother or I can do for you, just let one of us know.”
“Th-thanks.” Staring into his eyes, Wynne placed her trembling hand into his, expecting him to shake it. Instead, he raised it to his perfect mouth and brushed his lips over the back.
It felt like her skin was on fire, both on her hand, and on her cheeks. Sure he could see the blush that had to be radiating from her face, she tugged her hand free and dropped it in front of her, flattening the other one against it.
God, she had never felt this way around a guy before, not even John. She was tongue tied, witless, practically falling over her own feet. What was wrong with her?
Nothing was wrong, she reasoned. Not a thing. It was this place that was making her all jumpy and skittery. And the knowledge of what these men probably did here.
She hadn’t even dared let her gaze wander around the large room yet, although she could hear voices and the occasional snap of a leather whip.
Adrenaline pounded through her body, fueling her instinct to run, making her stomach twist and palms sweat. She swallowed hard a couple times.
“...which is why my friend Wynne is here today. She’d like to watch, learn a little about the lifestyle, why people choose to play domination and submission games,” Kristy explained. “And she’s looking at it from the submissive side, which is why I’m not much help to her.”
Geesh, Wynne hadn’t even realized Kristy had been talking that whole time. She’d been distracted, by the two gorgeous brothers. Or maybe it was the loud pounding of blood in her ears that had muffled her friend’s soft voice. She could only hope that Kristy had stuck with the plan. It was simply too embarrassing to admit she was coming here to find out why her fiancé had dumped her for a gay Dom. So instead, they’d cooked up this story about her writing a romance novel about a woman’s first experience with BDSM.
“I can show her around,” Master Rolf volunteered. “Since my brother’s going to be busy all night, handling some important general manager type things.”
Something flared in Dierk’s eyes. Wynne wondered what it was. But he didn’t say a word.
“That would be great! I was hoping you’d offer, since have an appointment in a few minutes.” Kristy gave Wynne a gentle shove, making her feel like an unwanted little sister.
Wynne turned a scowl at her pushy friend and whispered, “Stop that.”
Kristy gave her an encouraging nod. “I’ve known Master Rolf for years. You’ll be perfectly safe.” Then she hauled her huge tote over her shoulder and scampered off, leaving Wynne with the wicked-looking Master Rolf and his equally dangerous brother Dierk.
Dierk promptly excused himself, to handle those ‘important general manager things’ Rolf had mentioned.
Rolf stepped forward, crowding her personal space, and placed a hand on the small of her back.
Her muscles instantly tightened, from the waist up, and her breath hitched in her throat.
Totally ignoring her reaction to his touch, he leaned closer, murmuring, “So tell me, how much do you want to know about domination and submission?”
Nothing. Not a single thing. “Only enough to make me dangerous,” she said, trying to sound at ease but failing, big time.
He grinned, the expression a fairly good interpretation of the Cheshire cat. “Hmmmm, I like that answer.”
This blog was inspired by Nathan Bransford's post. I noticed, as I skimmed the responses to his question (What was your favorite book published in 2009) there are VERY few romances mentioned. Clearly, his blog followers aren't romance readers.
Thus my question: What was your favorite book published in 2009? I expect most/if not all of the responses I receive will be romances.
As for me, I'm sorry to say I didn't read any books published in 2009. The books I bought were all older titles. Thanks to your responses, though, I'm expecting to add a bunch of new titles to my TBR list.
So, hook me up, PLEASE. Tell me what your fave book of 2009 was.
I just read an interesting blog, written by an employee at a bookstore. And now I'm wondering...
When you're book shopping, do you avoid any type of book because you suspect it's self-published? If so, what do you look for as a sign of self-publishing? (I don't want to influence you're responses, so I'm going to avoid sharing the insight the blogger shared, but I'll post a link to the original blog post tomorrow.)
Amazon posted their Best Covers of 2009 list, and can you believe there isn't a romance novel among the selected? Maybe it's just me, but I'm not crazy about most of the covers they've selected. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but they're...meh. Maybe I've been staring at covers featuring chiseled abs too long.
A few that had me scratching my head:
(What is the figure on the last cover holding? It's ...is it his broken off arm? Seriously?)
That's not to say I found them all as ugly as these four. Some, I felt, were very well-designed.
Take these, for example:
What made the last three stand out for me? With the first one, it's the way the graphics work with the font. Love how the text has become a part of the picture. With the other two, it's the element of unexpected that makes me take notice. The first time I saw that zombie P&P cover, so many months ago, I couldn't not stare at it (which, of course, it what a cover designer would want). And the map of the US, upside down? Genuis design!
What do you think of Amazon's choices? If you could pick the three best covers of 2009, what covers would you choose?
Books to inspire me, to make me think. You see, I'm brainstorming a cross genre novel that's one part mystery-slash-police procedural, another part paranormal-slash-urban-fantasy. I need input (borrowing a phrase from Number 5). Novels with heavy FBI/police procedural content. Or, alternatively, occult detective novels featuring female protagonists.
Green guys with pointy heads hardly do it for me, if you know what I mean ;)
There are some television programs, aired every year, that instantly put me in the cheery Merry-Christmas mood. Sure, Christmas is still weeks away, but it's coming fast. It'll be here before you know it. And why not enjoy the spirit of the season for more than one week?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas A Charlie Brown Christmas It's a Wonderful Life A Christmas Carol Frosty the Snowman Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Did I miss some? I know I did.
What are your favorite holiday classics? What songs or movies put you "in the mood" for the holidays?