This past week a couple of thousand romance writers-both published and aspiring to be published-are attending the national conference of Romance Writers of America in my backyard, San Antonio, TX. I’m not there because I have a deadline for my March Blaze (a sequel to my September release CABIN FEVER- more on that next month), and because I’m saving money for next summer’s conference taking place in New York City (I’ve never been to New York). But I’ve attended RWA’s national conference in year’s past and have wonderful memories.
RWA is the only writer’s organization in America that allows members who are not yet published. The membership is made up of the most supportive, friendly and smart women I know. There are a few male members, but I must say-label me a feminist if you want-I attribute the supportive, open culture of the organization to the fact that it was founded by and is run by women. Local chapters provide monthly meetings and workshops. Anyone can attend and learn the craft of writing from experts, and online communities host classes to learn how to write and get published. I know I wouldn’t be published without RWA. And even hugely famous authors like Nora Roberts still attend the national conference and enter (and win) the prestigious RWA award, the Rita (the equivalent of the Oscar for Romance novels) the conference closes Saturday night with the Rita awards ceremony where everyone dresses for the Red Carpet and, though we can’t boast Hugh Jackman or Ellen DeGeneres, the ceremony rivals the Academy Awards for glitz, glitter, and excitement.
My first national conference was in Dallas in ’04 and it was also the year I sold my first novel to Harlequin, so I got to attend as a published author and meet my editor. What an exciting time! Since then, I’ve attended the national conference in Reno (’05) where my dear friend Evelyn Vaughn won a Rita, in Atlanta in ’06 (went to a Braves game and visited the awesome aquarium there) and D.C. in ’09 (I had never been to D.C. before and arrived early to spend 3 days touring all the amazing sights in our capitol) Over the years at the national conference I’ve met so many of my favorite authors and gushed like a silly fan girl, getting autographs and my picture taken with them. I’ve signed my own books at the national literacy signing that kicks off the conference every year, and I’ve learned SO much about the craft of writing from acclaimed novelists and screenwriters.
So, do you have a favorite vacation or exciting place you’ve visited?
Here’s a few pics:

me with Harlequin Historical author Deborah Simmons

me with Harlequin Historical author Deborah Simmons

Rita winner Evelyn Vaughn

Rita winner Evelyn Vaughn

My first national booksigning

My first national booksigning

Me with Nora Roberts at RWA

Me with Nora Roberts at RWA

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Command Control, the follow-up to my Blaze debut Command Performance, is now available in print! Look for it in Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and select grocery stores. It will release in ebook on August 1st! I’m so excited to share my second story about the team of Army Rangers who rode into war on horse back with readers. I share teasers on my Sara Jane Stone Facebook page most Tuesdays and thought I would offer an excerpt here . . . Happy Reading! From Command Control:

“If you need assistance picking out a romance novel, I can help.”

His gaze snapped to the woman standing two feet away holding a book in each hand—the redhead from The Quilted Quail. She’d traded in her mini-skirt for a pair of jean shorts, but that didn’t affect his reaction. The desire he’d felt when he first saw her returned full force.

“But if it’s your first time—” she continued, placing the books back on the shelf “—you might want to steer clear of erotica.”

“Erotica?” Logan glanced at the book in his hand. On the front cover was a practically nude woman lying on a bed. A man in leather pants stood next to her holding a whip. It looked like an image out of a men’s magazine, not something he’d find on the shelf in his hometown. “Mount Pleasant sells erotica?”

“Not much,” she said grimly. “But what they do have is pretty good.”

She stepped toward him, close enough for him to smell a hint of her soft, floral scent—not overpowering, but enticing—and reached for a book on the shelf above his head. The side of her breast brushed his arm, sending a red-alert signal through his body.

“If you’re looking for a classic romance, this is one of my favorites.” She held out a copy of a Jane Austen novel.

He shook his head. “Read that one in high school. It wasn’t for me.”

She placed the book on the shelf and turned to him, her eyes sparkling with amusement. “To find the perfect romance, I’ll need to know a little bit more about you.”

Was she hitting on him? It had been so long since he’d played that game, he wasn’t sure of his next move.

Tired of sitting on the sidelines waiting for his life to restart, he decided to take a chance. What was the worst thing that could happen? She’d walk away leaving him with a hard-on he wasn’t sure he was ready to act on? At least he’d have felt something other than loneliness and grief.

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Greetings, Blaze Babes!

I had a wonderful time in Maine last month, now back home to what is probably the coolest, wettest summer we’ve had in years, maybe decades. In fact, our old friend the polar vortex, which made winter so delightfully unbearable, is due to show up again this week, taking summer temperatures away and substituting spring or fall. No complaints from me, I hate heat, but it is truly bizarre.

I’m crazed on deadline, writing the second book of linked stories. I might have told you about them last month, but bear with me, my memory is going. Some Like it Hotter is out in October, and I’m just finishing The Perfect Indulgence, out in February. The stories are about two coffee-shop owning sisters in New York and California who switch lives. And guess what? They have great sex and find men!

Oh my God I gave it away.

This month’s recipe is perfect for a cool summer since it uses fresh apricots (I can’t get enough of those beauties) and the oven. My baking has been much easier to bear this month because we finally got the exhaust fan above the stove to actually blow the air outside (by cutting a hole in the house, yikes!). Before that it sort of circulated through a filter which did very little. So it takes away not only smells but also heat! I love that since I am a chronic baker.

The recipe is roasted apricots with cardamom (use cinnamon if you don’t like cardamom) and honey, then since that sounds too healthy, you dollop a bunch of creme fraiche or sour cream or yogurt on it, mixed with more honey and vanilla. It is to die for. My husband and I devoured practically the whole pan. The apricots would also be great over ice cream because seriously, what isn’t?

Give it a try, courtesy of my old friend epicurious.com

Roasted Apricots with Honey-Vanilla Crème Fraiche

And enjoy the summer!

Cheers,

Isabel
www.IsabelSharpe.com

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For the first time in several months I took a day off. My stylist and I happened to be in Los Angeles at the same time for work stuff. That never happens. He came to the hotel to do my hair, which made me feel quite glam, but he also insisted on taking me around and showing me his L.A. It was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. Here is the day in pictures: David took me by a lot of his clients’ houses, and I won’t share those pics. Except for this first one because it’s historically significant. It was once owned by Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. It’s now owned by the beautiful Ruta Lee, who insisted I sit and have tea. She was amazing, beautiful and she knows EVERYONE in Hollywood. She was a true Hollywood Dame. :) The next pick is taken from the Mulholland Drive Lookout. Beautiful view. That is a night view from my balcony at the Beverly Hilton. We always think of Beverly Hills as Rodeo Drive, but it’s a lot more. Oh and I almost forgot. This last house is of Lucille Ball’s final home. Gorgeous and very much old Hollywood. Beautiful. It was a wonderful day. So tell me where you’re traveling this summer? Or are you at home? All of mine is work related, but it’s good to get out and see things. :) If I come to your city, photo (41)what should I see?   photo (39) photo (38) photo (37)

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taken-by-storm_smI have a new book out this month! TAKEN BY STORM is a strangers-to-lovers road romance. We’ve got Zoey, who is taking her sister’s champion Afghan Hound across country to breed, and Cam, a craft brewery owner who is also headed to Seattle. And we’ve got stakes–Zoey’s life has been a series of spectacular failures and her sister and brother-in-law have been a safety net. Now, she’s got a chance to repay them if she just doesn’t mess up again. Cam runs MacNeil’s Highland Beer, the family brewery in Austin and he’s been doing it by himself with sporadic and unreliable volunteer help from his relatives. He needs to hire full-time help, but that takes money. He’s got a chance to pitch to a potential investor–if he can get to the meeting on time. And we have complications in the form of a record blizzard that strands them at O’Hare. So they team up to drive and things go very, very wrong before they end up very, very right.

It’s those very, very wrong things that reveal people’s true selves. That’s why I have long said that before you agree to marry someone, you should take a long road trip together. Not three or four hours–days. A week is good. Two weeks, better. And not on an escorted tour bus, either, but on your own where you have to make your own plans, arrange for your own meals, and handle your own luggage. Things will go wrong. You’ll both get cranky. You’ll get on each other’s nerves. And you want that, because you’ll learn a lot about the other person. But–and this is important–you also want to enjoy yourself. If you can’t look back on the trip and think, “There were a few bumps, but overall I had a good time and I’m glad we were together,” then don’t get married, because marriage is the ultimate road trip.

Have you taken a road trip with someone? Did you learn anything new about your travel partner?

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Mmm, aren’t the July Blaze books looking hot?!  Are fireworks-bookyou reading them yet?  What are you reading this week?

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By Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, Harlequin Blaze

 

For some people, summer is the time to relax and kick back. For others it feels like the busiest time of the year. I’m packing for a cottage weekend, which has turned into an epic affair involving spreadsheets and diagrams of available trunk space. But do I want to be trapped on an island, finding out that we forgot the limes for the gin and tonics?? Certainly not! Besides vacations, planning for RWA National is in full swing. It’s going to be a busy one (as usual) and I’m thrilled to be meeting up with many of our wonderful Blaze authors attending. If you see me there, be sure to say hi! I’ll be the one sprinting through the lobby on the way to my next appointment. Catch me if you can! Of course, it will be easier for me to spot you if you are carrying one of our sizzling July Blazes. This is one hot month, that’s for sure!Jul 803 Vicki

 

Summer is the time to cowboy up – something that NYT bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson knows well. The second book in her summer trilogy from the Sons of Chance miniseries is RIDING HARD. Drake Brewster did something bad. Really bad. And while the friend he wronged has gotten over it (see June’s RIDING HIGH), Drake is still kicking himself. Fortunately, psych student Tracy Gibbons is the forgiving type…especially because she can’t get the sexy vet out of her mind! When Tracy agrees to babysit a horse sanctuary for a few days, Drake is the one she turns to for help. But what is everyone at The Last Chance Ranch going to think of her hooking up with this stranger who betrayed one of the O’Connellis? This is a hot story I’m sure you’re going to enjoy. The next book, RIDING HOME, will be available soon—and picking up all three of these summer reads will definitely increase your pleasure!

Jul 804 Erin McCarthy

Have you ever found yourself running naked through the streets of New York, covered in green body paint? No? Well, it makes quite a picture! Uptight journalist Emma Gideon will do anything for a story, including volunteering to be part of a large-scale photography experiment made up of naked people. Who else is there (naked) but Kyle Hadley, the office flirt and her work rival. But for some reason, pressing up against him (the naked thing probably helped with that) makes Emma change her mind about hooking up with Kyle. That causes all kinds of problems…the kind that are getting her in real trouble. Throw in a search for a stalker, some crazy times at a karaoke bar and a (literally) steaming hot shower scene and you’ve got DOUBLE EXPOSURE, the first in NYT bestselling author Erin McCarthy’s From Every Angle miniseries. Jul 805 Anne Marsh

 

Welcome to Blaze, Anne Marsh! This NYT bestselling author’s first book for us is WICKED SEXY, and it sure is! Dani Andrews was supposed to be on her honeymoon and instead she finds herself alone on Discovery Island, trying to stay out of the way of Daeg Ross. She hardly needs this former crush flirting with her, as she knows the Special Ops Rescue Swimmer is a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy. But when he rescues her from a tropical storm and the two of them have to ride out a wild night, things get very, um, wicked sexy. Is what they feel real? Dani’s ex-fiancé doesn’t think so, but Daeg has something to say about that! If you love a man in uniform (mostly out of uniform) don’t miss this book from our Uniformly Hot! miniseries. (Wow, we have a lot of bestselling authors in Blaze :-) )

July 806 Heather

Finally, another bestselling author! Heather MacAllister is back with TAKEN BY STORM, a read that will both heat you up and cool you down. Zoey Archer has a long, glorious history with disaster and a junkyard of romantic wreckage. She wants to prove herself to her sister that she is capable and reliable…even if that means escorting her sister’s prize dog halfway across the country. But a (snow!)storm delays her flight and forces her to team up with Cameron MacNeil. Is this the road trip from hell…or from heaven? Because her new travel companion is either a gift from above, or just one hot distraction! Be sure to pick up this funny, sexy story!

 It’s the perfect time of year to read something hot! I hope you enjoy all four books from Blaze this month. Tell me if you’ll be in San Antonio this year and I’ll enter you in a draw to win one of three sets of the Blazes. Also, Happy Fourth of July!

 

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It’s here! The gorgeous cover for my new Blaze coming in September!712X+MFS9mL._SL1206_
I’d been wanting to write a “Wrong Bed” story ever since I started reading Blazes, but I felt I needed just the right circumstances to make it work. And what better place to get rooms mixed up than on a cruise ship? Every deck hallway looks alike, every cabin looks alike, so many room numbers to remember, so many beds one could wander into… It was fun getting Carly and Joe into the wrong bed together. Not to mention, you know, Caribbean Cruise. Here are a few pictures that inspired me.
cruiseship2Cave of caicosWomen In Film Presents: The Best of the Best - The 2007 Crystal + Lucy Awards - Red CarpetJoe-in a wife-beater

These are actual holes in the walls of the caves of Caicos Island
Emily Blunt inspired Carly
And who else could inspire Joe, but Joe Manganiello?
You can already Preorder CABIN FEVER Amazon | Barnes & Noble and I hope once you read it you might leave a review online.
Here’s an Excerpt:
Forget about it! He was on a cruise ship with round the clock entertainment. When would he ever get this kind of chance again? Joe made his way to the casino, found a stool in front of a one-armed bandit and ordered a couple of more drinks while he fed it quarters.
Bleary-eyed and out of coins, he checked his cell. 1:37. He’d better head to bed. Feeling just buzzed enough to take the edge off his sexual frustrations, he stood and made his way to the elevator. But once he got in the elevator and punched his old deck number he remembered he’d switched rooms with the diva and—he couldn’t remember what his new room number was. If he hadn’t been so distracted by sexy Carly and her sweet sexy curves and those ice-blue eyes…
He shook his head to clear it and remembered. Forty-seven eighty-two. He punched the button for the fourth deck and when the elevator let him out he walked down the long hall suddenly exhausted and dizzy. Perhaps he had a bit of mal de mer, too.
Ahh, here was forty-eight seventy-two. The key card clicked and the door opened with ease. He let out a relieved breath he wouldn’t have to call someone for help and look like an idiot.
The room was pitch-dark, but he didn’t want to bother to switch on the big overhead light. Man, he was more tired than he’d realized. He flipped on the tiny light in the closet.
The cabin didn’t have a balcony as he’d expected Piper’s would have, but he didn’t care. The king-size bed awaited. He shucked his jeans, crawled onto the soft mattress, and was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Still, even in his dreams he couldn’t get Carly out of his mind. Her spicy scent filled his senses and he felt her soft breasts pushing against his back. In his dream he turned over and wrapped his arms around her hot body. It seemed so real that he could’ve sworn he could feel the silky material of her nightgown catch on the calluses of his palms. He nuzzled into a sweetly soft neck, pushed his rigid erection against her stomach and heard her moan.
He stilled. Forced his heavy lids to open. And looked right into Carly’s wide-open eyes.
And then she screamed.

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It’s here! The gorgeous cover for my new Blaze coming in September!712X+MFS9mL._SL1206_
I’d been wanting to write a “Wrong Bed” story ever since I started reading Blazes, but I felt I needed just the right circumstances to make it work. And what better place to get rooms mixed up than on a cruise ship? Every deck hallway looks alike, every cabin looks alike, so many room numbers to remember, so many beds one could wander into… It was fun getting Carly and Joe into the wrong bed together. Not to mention, you know, Caribbean Cruise. Here are a few pictures that inspired me.
cruiseship2Cave of caicosWomen In Film Presents: The Best of the Best - The 2007 Crystal + Lucy Awards - Red CarpetJoe-in a wife-beater

These are actual holes in the walls of the caves of Caicos Island
Emily Blunt inspired Carly
And who else could inspire Joe, but Joe Manganiello?
You can already Preorder CABIN FEVER Amazon | Barnes & Noble and I hope once you read it you might leave a review online.
Here’s an Excerpt:
Forget about it! He was on a cruise ship with round the clock entertainment. When would he ever get this kind of chance again? Joe made his way to the casino, found a stool in front of a one-armed bandit and ordered a couple of more drinks while he fed it quarters.
Bleary-eyed and out of coins, he checked his cell. 1:37. He’d better head to bed. Feeling just buzzed enough to take the edge off his sexual frustrations, he stood and made his way to the elevator. But once he got in the elevator and punched his old deck number he remembered he’d switched rooms with the diva and—he couldn’t remember what his new room number was. If he hadn’t been so distracted by sexy Carly and her sweet sexy curves and those ice-blue eyes…
He shook his head to clear it and remembered. Forty-seven eighty-two. He punched the button for the fourth deck and when the elevator let him out he walked down the long hall suddenly exhausted and dizzy. Perhaps he had a bit of mal de mer, too.
Ahh, here was forty-eight seventy-two. The key card clicked and the door opened with ease. He let out a relieved breath he wouldn’t have to call someone for help and look like an idiot.
The room was pitch-dark, but he didn’t want to bother to switch on the big overhead light. Man, he was more tired than he’d realized. He flipped on the tiny light in the closet.
The cabin didn’t have a balcony as he’d expected Piper’s would have, but he didn’t care. The king-size bed awaited. He shucked his jeans, crawled onto the soft mattress, and was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Still, even in his dreams he couldn’t get Carly out of his mind. Her spicy scent filled his senses and he felt her soft breasts pushing against his back. In his dream he turned over and wrapped his arms around her hot body. It seemed so real that he could’ve sworn he could feel the silky material of her nightgown catch on the calluses of his palms. He nuzzled into a sweetly soft neck, pushed his rigid erection against her stomach and heard her moan.
He stilled. Forced his heavy lids to open. And looked right into Carly’s wide-open eyes.
And then she screamed.

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Oh. My. God.

I’m here. I’m actually here. Posting for the first time as an honest-to-goodness Blaze author on the one-and-only Blaze Authors Blog!

Okay, now that I’m breathing again, let me introduce myself. I’m Regina Kyle, and I’m a Blaze-a-holic. I’ve been addicted to the imprint for years, but never imagined myself becoming one of the hallowed Blaze Babes. Yet, here I am, with my first release in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Threat, due out in October 2014.

Me as Lucy in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Let's just say I wasn't playing against type.

Me as Lucy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Let’s just say I wasn’t playing against type.

They say write what you know, so when I sat down to write my very own Blaze it made sense to choose a setting I’m familiar with: theater. I was bitten by the acting bug at age ten and still perform occasionally in community theater. And I got to see the business from another perspective as stage mom to my now-fifteen-year-old daughter, who earned her Actors Equity card touring the United States in Disney’s Mary Poppins.

Here’s the back cover copy for Triple Threat:

The Theater of Temptation presents Sabotage…and Seduction!

The Playwright: It’s emerging playwright Holly Nelson’s big break. Broadway. Having survived her traumatic marriage and divorce, Holly is now aiming for success, not love. And any naughty dreams about Nick Damone—the gorgeously dishy star who was her crush back in high school—must remain a fantasy.

The Star: For Nick, Broadway is a chance to go from big-screen-eye-candy to serious actor, and to explore the lust blazing between him and Holly. But life-threatening accidents will force a chain of events that could bring down the curtain on the whole production…or give Nick and Holly a chance to finish the sexy something that started fifteen years ago!

I’m seriously stoked about this book. Not just because it’s my first. Or because I know it’s gonna have one of those ab-tastic covers I’ve been dreaming of for years. But because it showcases the crazy, hectic, wonderful world of theater. There’s a real bond that a cast and crew form when working long hours together to make something beautiful. It’s a perfect backdrop for Nick and Holly’s love story.

I hope come October you enjoy reading Triple Threat as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I look forward to many more posts on the Blaze Authors Blog.

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Cover Art Copyright @by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. BLAZE, HARLEQUIN and the JOEY design are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited, used with permission.
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