Greetings Blaze Babes!

Brrrrr, Arctic cold happening here. Too soon, too soon! But that’s what we get for living in Wisconsin.

In braggy news, my October Blaze Some Like it Hotter has been nominated for Best Blaze of 2014 by RT Magazine. Very nice little honor, I’m quite pleased. In other news, I found out my favorite title (If You Dare . . .) was approved for my online read on eHarlequin.com starting December 29th, one chapter every weekday for three weeks. The story involves a romance at NYEspresso, the coffee shop from Some Like it Hotter.

In food news, I continue to eat every day. Ha ha. This month a simple pasta sauce that has fantastic flavor. You dump a can of tomatoes into a baking dish with garlic, butter, mmmm, and . . . two anchovies. Before you scream about hating anchovies, try it. I promise they add rich, complex umami flavor to the dish but are undetectable as a fish ingredient. This is the genius of Italian cooking.

The first time I made it I used a can of tomatoes in thin juice and it was fabulous. The second time the tomatoes were in a thicker puree and it was still fabulous. So I don’t know which I’d recommend, just buy a can of “whole peeled tomatoes” and see which you get. I do suggest splurging on San Marzano or Muir Glen tomatoes. The dish is so economical, you can afford it this time.

Bucatini with Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Enjoy! And happy Thanksgiving!

Isabel
www.IsabelSharpe.com

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So I’m having a hard time believing we are 10 days into November. Nuts, I say. Just nuts. But it’s here, and I have to start planning for about 30 for Thanksgiving. This year we’re shaking things up. We’re adding some new side dishes to the Havens’ standards. We’ll do a turkey, a roast, cheesy green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls and tons of different pies. But we’re adding four cheese macaroni, chocolate pie and a different green bean recipe. My favorite dish is one I play around with the most, cranberry relish. My mom makes the best one I’ve ever had. But I have a simple one that I like a lot. So I’m sharing it here. I’d love for you to share some of your favorite recipes. They don’t have to be for Thanksgiving. :)

Cranberry relish:

In a medium size pot, cover a bag of fresh cranberries with water, a cup and a half of sugar, teaspoon of cinnamon  and the peel from one orange. Bring it to boil and then let it reduce down. It’s done with the cranberries are really soft and it’s the consistency of a jam. It’s good stuff. You can serve it warm or cold.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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In less than two months, Hot & Bothered will be on shelves, in the mail, and at etailers. Haven is already primping.

Haven Hoyt, the heroine of Hot & Bothered, is polished. She dresses fashionably, accessorizes wisely, eats her Cheetos with two fingers and a napkin (while her friend Elisa gloms them by the handful), and wouldn’t be caught dead answering the door in her PJs. It makes her the perfect heroine for a man like Mark Webster, a scruffy musician who prefers torn jeans, old Ts, an ancient leather bomber jacket and, well, messy sex.

It also makes her nothing like me.

Despite my author photo, which was taken after a professional makeup job while a fan blew my hair back off my face, I am not polished (I’ll tell you a secret. If you look closely at my author photo you can see that I forgot to wear any jewelry, including earrings in my pierced ears).

Right now I am writing this blog post at 11:45 a.m., pre-shower, in head-to-toe fleece. My SmartWool socks have worn spots at the balls of my feet and heels. And since I brushed my hair last, I slept on it.

Admittedly, that’s pretty intense even for me. Most days find me bathed and minimally groomed, wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and—weather permitting—either a zip-up fleece or a sweater. But the level of pragmatism that goes into this wardrobe would probably horrify Haven. All the jeans are the same brand, purchased at one store that I visit at most twice per year, and when they spring holes, I patch them with materials I find around my house. All the t-shirts are mail order from the same company, ordered in a flurry (or panic) when the season changes and I discover last year’s (or three year’s ago’s) batch has sprung holes. The fleeces, too, come from the same mail-order source.

Occasionally, I buy a new sweater, but I’ve noticed I have a strange, un-Haven-like disorder relating to sweater shopping, too. I keep picking out the same ones over and over again. Not literally, of course, but when I get them home, I often realize that they’re nearly identical to something I already own.

I do dress up sometimes. Then I wear denim jeggings, boots, and… a sweater. Oh, and sometimes, if I remember, earrings. I have even been known to put on makeup for date night, but not always to remember to take it off before bed.

I will say, though—I do eat my Cheetos rather fastidiously. One at a time, and with napkin in hand. But in my defense, I don’t want to get orange cheese on one of my three pairs of jeans.

What about you? Are you Haven, or me, or somewhere in between? And the all important question, How Do You Eat Your Cheetos?

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By Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, Harlequin Blaze

November already, and the forecast is calling for the first snowflakes of the season today. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for winter yet! Thank goodness we have these sizzling November reads to heat up the cold nights.

Nov 819 TawnyWho knew Christmas and military heroes go hand in hand? New York Times bestselling author Tawny Weber, that’s who! In her latest Uniformly Hot! book, Tawny invites you to spend CHRISTMAS WITH A SEAL. Super-hot, no-nonsense SEAL Phillip Banks hasn’t got time for frivolity. He’s six feet of muscle, chiseled good looks and tightly held self-control. But silversmith Frankie Silvera is all about Christmas cheer—and she’s determined to get Phillip to join in all the naughty-and-nice fun. Frankie unleashes her creativity and Phillip is powerless to resist—and I’m sure you won’t be able to resist all the charm and heat Tawny offers up in this sexy holiday story! You’ll also wonder where Tawny came up with the idea for Frankie’s totally awesome shoes…

Nov 820 LeslieSpeaking of naughty, Halloween thrills give way to sensuous December delights in New York Times bestselling author Leslie Kelly’s OH, NAUGHTY NIGHT! Lulu Vandenburg gives into her wicked impulses when she has just one sizzling night—hidden behind a Halloween mask—with her old childhood nemesis. Boy has Chaz changed, from awkward kid to seductive, jetsetting journalist. She can’t let Chaz know her true identity or their past will ruin their sexy present. But Chaz has ideas of his own, fueled by the no-holds-barred, need-you-now lust they both feel. They’ve got some tricks up their sleeves, and you’re in for a super-sexy treat!

Nov 821 KateIf you’re up for a little excitement, get your hands on Kate Hoffmann’s latest scorcher in her The Mighty Quinns series. Mouthwatering adventure guide Ryan Quinn isn’t expecting any trouble when he takes the ladies of a bridal party to Fiji. But when the bride turns out to be a glamorous movie star—and one who doesn’t really want to get married at all!—climbing a mountain or two might be the least of their worries! They just can’t get enough of each other, no matter how forbidden their sexy trysts. Their futures are at stake in THE MIGHTY QUINNS: RYAN, and you won’t be able to put this book down till you see if they reach their happily ever after!

Nov 822 KatherineWhat better way to celebrate the season than a brand new trilogy of racy holiday reads from USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera? IN TOO CLOSE is the first book in her Holiday Heat series, and you will definitely feel the fire with this one! Elizabeth Anders is all about her career, but the promise of some no-strings-attached fun with best friend Bradley Hunt sounds like the perfect cure for the holiday blues. She’s had a crush on Bradley for years—and who wouldn’t, with that thick brown hair, perfectly toned muscles and bad-boy attitude? Bradley wants more than temporary from Elizabeth, and he might just be able to change her mind, both in and out of the bedroom! For more holiday cheer, look for two more books in the series in December and January!

These enticing reads are just right for somebody’s stocking—or as a treat for yourself! I know you’ll love them. Tell me in the comments what you’re doing to get ready for the holidays, and I’ll enter you in a draw to win one of three sets of our November Blazes.

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October winners! A little late, but you each get a set of October Blaze books, which are in the mail as we speak! Winners are:

  • Elaine G
  • Tammy Yenalavitch
  • Liv

Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep an eye out for Kathleen’s blog next week for another chance to win.

I can’t believe how quickly this month (this season, this year!) has gone by. My October has been full of interesting sights and events (not to mention all the fun of the So You Think You Can Write contest, which has been busy and wonderful and is why I’m late posting on this blog!). Early in the month, my partner Graham and I went to Buffalo to tour one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces, the Darwin Martin house. If you’re an architecture buff and anywhere near the area, I highly recommend it!

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We visited our friends in Kitchener, a small city outside of Toronto, for their housewarming (they just bought their first house, and though it’s not quite as innovative as the one above, it’s still pretty exciting!), and later that evening we went to Nuit Blanche, an all-night city-wide conceptual art festival. Nuit Blanche can be….weird.

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But it can also be interactive! My favourite part of the night was a traditional printshop studio that was running demonstrations of how different kinds of prints were made, including lithographs and silkscreening. They also had a forced-perspective photo shoot set up. Here’s Graham the Giant and me….

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I also went for the first time to see Cirque du Soleil—a very Canadian experience that for some reason I’d never had before! This show, called Kurios, had a steampunk theme and was visually breathtaking. Cotton candy was eaten, as is customary at the circus….

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So that’s what I’ve been up to! How about you? What have you been doing this autumn? Are you getting ready for Halloween? Share what your October’s been like in the comments below!

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Nowadays most actors, and authors too, use their real name. But sometimes an author will choose a pen name if she writes two (or more) different genres so the reader can distinguish between the genres.
For instance Jayne Ann Krentz writes hot contemporary Romances. But she also writes Historical Romance under the pen name Amanda Quick and she writes paranormal Romance under the pen name Jayne Castle. Jayne ann krentz
But is there any other reason to use a pen name? Particularly in Romance, would a name like GERTRUDE CHALUPNIK be a detriment?
When I first sold to the Silhouette Desire line, the powers that be at Harlequin Books let me keep my real name. But once I started writing for Blaze, they wanted me to change my first name. My editor said Juliet was too “romancy” and the Blaze line had a more urban, contemporary edge to it than the more traditionally dramatic Desire line. This seemed a somewhat reasonable explanation.
It got me to thinking about names and how important they are.
One of the best examples of this is Archibald Leach.Grant,_Cary You may have known him as Cary Grant. Suave, debonair, romantic…Archibald? Or how about Desperate Housewife–Clare Woodgate (Kim Cattrall), Singer–Clayton Grissom (Clay Aiken), Rapper–Artis Ivey Jr. (Coolio), Actor–Thomas Mapother VI (Tom Cruise), Magician—Erich Weiss (Harry Houdini), or filmmaker—Shelton Jackson Lee (Spike Lee).
With a lot of these celebrities, you can see at least a derivative of their birth name in their stage name, but what about British actress–Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg? She very purposely chose a specific name for the recognition it would bring her: Jane Seymour. The famous wife of King Henry VIII.
But what about authors? Why should we use a pen name?
In my opinion, the most famous woman author to use a pen name was the French novelist, George Sand. She was born Lady Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin in 1804. She often dressed as a man, smoked cigars in public, and fought all her life for equality for women. She wanted her novels to be judged by a man’s standards, and they were. George Sands was a contemporary of Jane Austen, and supported herself by her writing just as Jane did, but George conducted numerous tumultuous love affairs throughout her life, including a passionate affair with Frédéric Chopin. I adore all of Jane Austen’s works. But I really admire the gutsy, progressive George Sands. Would she have been able to live the life she did if she’d published under the name Lady Aurora Dudevant? (her married name)
It used to be the norm for Harlequin to make their authors take pen names. As a matter of fact, until a few big name authors fought it and won over a decade ago, Harlequin owned an author’s name and if someone wanted to branch out to sell to another publisher, that author had to sell under a different name. Jayne Ann Krentz wrote Silhouette Desires as Stephanie James. But even with the relaxed standards, some authors still use a pen name. Like Eleanor Marie Robertson writes as…can you guess? I’ll reveal the author’s name at the end of the blog.
I’ve finally gotten used to Jillian Burns, but I never wanted the fuss of 2 different e-mails or Facebook pages, so those are both still under Juliet Burns
What about you? Does an author’s name matter to you if it’s hard to pronounce or sounds non-“Romancey”?

Ok, did you guess it yet? Eleanor Marie Robertson is Nora Roberts.

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Okay, true confession time: I’m a couple of days late with this blog post. But I hope you forgive me because I have a really, really good reason. I’m hard at work trying to finish the next book in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Time, so I can meet my deadline in just a couple of weeks.

This is the first time I’ve had to write on deadline, so it’s a new experience for me. I’m finding it a bit challenging, but I’m definitely learning how to balance work, writing and my family life. Sort of like trial by fire.

I’m also having a blast getting to know Gabe and Devin. If you’ve read the first book in the series, Triple Threat (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for LOL?), then you’ve met both uptight prosecutor Gabe Nelson and free-spirited bartender Devin Padilla. His sister, Holly, is the heroine in Triple Threat, and she’s Devin’s best friend. These two opposites don’t just attract – they combust. I can’t wait for you to meet them next June.

GabeI’m an author who’s definitely visual, so I always have photographic inspiration for my characters. For Holly and Nick in Triple Threat, it was Maggie Gyllenhaal and Joe Manganiello. For Gabe, it’s Eric Bana. When I was just starting to write Triple Time, my husband was sick (he’s fine now) and spending a lot of time on the couch watching sappy movies. One of them was The Time Traveler’s Wife, and when I saw Mr. Bana on screen I new immediately he was my Gabe, who I’ve always thought of as a combination of Michael J. Fox’s character in Family Ties and Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

DevinDevin was a bit more difficult to pin down. She’s not your typical Blaze heroine. She’s a bit rough around the edges: tough, street smart, tatted up and sporting multiple piercings. I was Googling tattoos when I found this picture and it was like I’d seen it before I conjured her. Perfect.

I know, I know, now you don’t want to wait until June to see the sparks fly between these two, do you? I wish you didn’t have to, either. But until then I’ll be sure to feed your need with teasers on my Facebook fan page, website and of course this blog. And you know what they say about what comes to those who wait, right?

Good things, readers. I wish you only good things.

Peace out,

Regina

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…because the Covington brother are coming in August 2015. Who are the Covington brothers? Well, this is Ty:

Blond Ty from Back XLG

Ty is the youngest of the Covington brothers, the three brothers who have totally different feelings about how best to save the family ranch. But Ty’s pretty dang smart for the youngest. Plus? He’s funny. And you all know how I love me some funny.

He’s hot, compassionate, highly driven to succeed and to be his own man outside the shadows his successful brothers set for themselves. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), Ty’s book is third in the series. I believe in giving us all something to look forward to.

The second story? Well, that’s all about Cade, the middle brother with a bit of a chip on his shoulder over having been left by the oldest brother to run the ranch. Cade had dreams and…I hate to give a good story away. Let’s just say when he’s trapped in the mountains with a travel reporter for New Mexico Magazine (thank you, flash flooding), he discovers that having stayed home all those years may pay dividends he never dreamed of. Readers, please meet Cade:

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And finally, there’s the first book. Elijah Covington gave up the family legacy to get out of the two stoplight town. What he gained versus what he lost never quite equalled out, and now that he’s home to probate his father’s estate? Things are heating up as all he left behind comes rushing to the forefront and forces him to reevaluate what matters most. I’d like to introduce you to Eli and his left-behind lover, veterinarian Reagan Matthews:

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The great news? It all kicks off in 2015. The bad news? It’s…um…August 2015. But watch both my personal blog and this fabulous Blaze blog in order to catch snippets and contests regarding the Covington brothers as each book is finished and we get closer and closer to the August release date! Because, my beloved readers, these men are hot, hard-bodied and huge-hearted. And the heat factor? Let’s just say I’m worried about starting a wildfire. :D

Until next time,
Kelli

 

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Greetings Blaze Babes!

I have a book out this month, Some Like it Hotter, which got a Top Pick from Romantic Times, yay (oops, maybe I already bragged about that last month?). It’s part of a 2-book series about a laid-back central Californian and her uptight Manhattan sister, both coffee shop owners, who switch lives. Right now I’m working on a daily serial linking the two books, which will be on eHarlequin.com on weekdays for four weeks starting December 29th. Busy times! But fun. It’s been a challenge writing 500-word chapters. I’m just getting going and . . . it’s over.

The second I tasted this month’s recipe I knew I had to put it up here: a single serving of cake microwaved in a mug. I guess it’s a common gimmick (I’m always the last to know!) but I think this one is unusual from what I’ve read in that the texture is quite cake-like, not gummy, plus it has oatmeal in it, which means it’s super-healthy, right? The version they had in our local paper was too sweet for me so here are some suggestions for those who adore sugar, but only so much.

– Try slightly sweetened peanut butter instead of Nutella
– Try adding a tablespoon of semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
– Try replacing one of the tablespoons of flour with cocoa powder
– Try lightly sweetened cream cheese instead of Nutella and add chopped apple
– Try omitting cinnamon and adding a bit of lemon zest, maybe a few thawed berries

Have fun with this! Note: I haven’t tried all of the above they’re just ideas, so if they ruin it, you can be mad, but not sue me.

Oatmeal Nutella Mug Cake

Makes 1 mug cake

3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons rolled oats
1 tablespoon finely chopped pecans, plus more to garnish
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
Pinch nutmeg, optional
1 tablespoon Nutella, or any chocolate-hazelnut spread, plus more to garnish

In a 12-ounce (or larger) mug, whisk together the milk, olive oil, and sugar. Whisk in the flour until smooth, then whisk in the oats, pecans, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and nutmeg, if using.

Dollop the Nutella on top and push in gently so it is partially submerged in the cake batter.

Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds, and then in 15-second bursts until the top looks dry and cooked and springs back when pressed with a finger. (Ours cooked fine in 1 minute)

Let stand at least 5 minutes before eating, as the cake and Nutella center will be quite hot. Top with additional Nutella if feeling indulgent! (Or heck, how about whipped or ice cream?)

See you all next month,

Isabel
www.IsabelSharpe.com

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I always thought people who put costumes on dogs were weirdos. Now I am one. It started with Gizmo, who is part Japanese Chin/Maltese and growls at everything. One Halloween someone gave us a devil costume for him, and it was a gateway drug. He loved it. Pranced around showing everyone, and growled when we tried to take it off of him. Our big dog at the time, Scoobie, was jealous. So we decorated a bandana and called it her “pretty” and she had to show every kid who knocked on our door.

Who knew?

Then Elvis, my tiny little Shih-tzu came into our lives. This girl hates bows in her hair, but she loves clothes. She was absolutely meant to be my dog. She has sweaters and coats, and a couple of superhero t-shirts. She loves them all. I think sometimes more because we keep her shaved, and she’s cold all the time. :) Most of the clothes are given to us by friends and family who think it’s hilarious to dress up dogs. But this Halloween I thought I’d buy Elvis a costume and I want you guys to help. There’s a mug shot of Elvis below so you can see her. And then comment below on which costume you think Elvis should wear this year. Elvis, Fairy, Peacock, Tricertops or Witch? Leave your comments below  Fairy Peacock Tricertops Witch

Elvis Mug Shot

Elvis Mug Shot

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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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