Last year was a big year for me. My debut book came out with Harlequin, I rode the roller coaster ride that is the publishing industry, I quit my day job and I moved to the other side of the world.

Far, far, far away from my family.

This was really freaking hard. I’m half Italian and family is a BIG DEAL to me. We’re a small close-knit family and I’m used to visiting them often. All I can say is thank god for Skype!

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Little Sis and Me (and our matching glasses)

Last week my little sister (who’s 29, so not that little) came to visit with her lovely boyfriend. Now that I’ve been in Canada for ten months, it was so great to be able to see them in the flesh. Screen time is great when you’re only other option is email or Facebook, but being able to see her lovely face in person was the best!

Playing tour guide to my new home is great, because it means I get to explore things I might not have seen otherwise. One of the highlights was going to the Rippley’s Acquarium (which I highly recommend if you’re ever in Toronto) and seeing all the cool underwater life there…especially the sharks. I’m a total sucker for anything shark related.

I saw Little Sis and her BF off yesterday morning and now it’ll be a while before I get to see them again. It’s bittersweet. But I’ll continue to be grateful for all the amazing technology we now have at our fingertips, which helps families spread out across the globe to stay in touch.

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Doesn’t it make you want to go for a swim?

Family ends up being a theme in many of my books. I guess I like to explore different family dynamics and situations in my fiction, and look at how that affects the hero and heroine. Our families teach us so much about life, they influence the way we think about things, they shape our perception of relationships and—although their influence is not always positive—we would be different people if we didn’t have the families we grew up with.

At least, that’s my opinion anyway.

I’m getting so excited for the release of my first Blaze book in November. A DANGEROUSLY SEXY CHRISTMAS definitely has a family-themed thread along with a sprinkle of Christmas magic.

But in the meantime I’m heading to the Romance Writers of America conference in July!! Exciting times.

Are you going to RWA? I’ll be signing books at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 22, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the New York Marriott Marquis. More information here.

If you’re attending this year do come along and say hi! I’d love to meet the lovely readers of this blog in person.

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I don’t usually like to watch the same movie over and over. But there are a few on my Keeper shelf I will. And it’s usually because of one or two wonderfully romantic scenes. No, not sex scenes. Strangely enough, for me, the scene is always more about a romantic kiss than graphic eroticism. And my criteria for a romantic kiss? Yes, it is usually steaming hot, but mostly it has to do with the hero.
In most romance novels the reader can go into the hero’s head and read about his feelings for the heroine, his sexual attraction and why only she can heal or complete him. But in a movie, we don’t always get that same deep sense of emotions.
And that’s what I’ve noticed is palpable in all my favorite movie kisses. In each kissing scene, I can see the hero’s fists clench with potent desire and his jaw tighten with desperate need. He usually applies not just hands and arms, but his entire body to the kiss. The kiss is powerful and compelling and, for me, the absolute best kisses usually include a low groan or gasp from deep in the hero’s throat that lets us know he’s gotta have this woman or die.
These are not by any means the “Greatest” on screen kisses of all time, but they are the ones that have made something inside me melt and ache when I watch them. Allowing that a really hot kiss is extremely subjective, I’m listing MY top ten favorite movie kisses– in no particular order.
1. Angel Eyes – “Kiss me somewhere I’ve never been kissed.” Take a tough Chicago cop and a mysterious stranger, add an impromptu skinny-dip during a picnic and you get a playful kiss in a lake that turns steamy.aNGEL eYES
2. Something New – Rushing in from a rainstorm, an attorney doesn’t want to be attracted to her landscaper, but the sexual tension’s been building for weeks. I love it when the passion is so volatile the woman ends up pushed against a wall.
3. Never Been Kissed –I’m sure most of you know this final scene well. Plain Jane Josie Geller standing on the baseball mound hoping, waiting for the man with whom she’s fallen in love to forgive her deception and give her a first kiss. And just when you think he’s not going to show up, he jogs out and plants one on her. A great moment. A wonderful kiss.
4. The Outsider – Forbidden love between a devout Quaker widow and a hardened gunslinger makes for one passion-filled, full-bodied kiss. Johnny’s need for Rebecca’s healing love is visceral.
5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – We all know the story. But it’s not just about the sex that follows. The weeks of escalating sexual tension make the first kiss so hungry, so desperate I feel it all the way to my toes.
6. Practical Magic – Another kiss so passionate, the heroine ends up with her back to a wall. But she’s a murder suspect and he’s the investigator. They both agree they shouldn’t be kissing. Then they reach for each other again…
7. Charlotte Grey – WWII, France. She’s a British spy working with the French resistance. When she and her French contact are captured, they pretend to kiss to distract the German officer. But the pretend kiss becomes very real.
8. A Walk in the Clouds –He’s still married, but he yearns for the sensual beauty of a young woman in trouble. Squashing grapes beneath one’s feet has never been more sexually exciting. And the kiss afterward is thick with desire and need. Walk in the clouds
9. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Another last scene kiss. Bridget runs out in her underwear and robe into the freezing night. Darcy finally wraps his arms around her and pulls her close for a deeply satisfying kiss as snow falls all around them.
10. Catch and Release – The first contemporary movie I’ve seen where a slap leads to a kiss. Anger and passion are definitely two sides of the same coin when Gray’s dead fiance`’s friend lies to her. And another heroine pushed against a wall. Catch and Release
So, what are some of your favorite movie kisses?

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How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?

No, I’m not just posting these lyrics because I’m a huge Bee Gees fan. Although I am (my husband bought me their greatest hits album, but I’m forbidden to play it anywhere else but at my office). I’m posting them because we’ve had a bittersweet first this week at Casa Kyle.

heartbreakMy teenager daughter’s first big heartbreak.

It wasn’t pretty. They’d been dating for eight months – the entire school year – and she found out he was, um, stepping out with one of her “friends.” But at least it was clean. Her mama’s daughter to the core, she doesn’t tolerate any of that kind of disrespect. Both the boy and the so-called friend got the old heave ho.

Fortunately, she has a great group of true core friends (she’s a musical theater kid, and MT kids tend to bond closely and stick together) who’ve been looking out for her. Taking her out, keeping her occupied. It seems to be working. And in a few weeks, she’s off to a summer musical theater pre-college program in NYC (overlapping when I’m in town for RWA), and I know that will have her plenty busy. ( My daughter’s in the far left of the picture at left. Now, seriously, who would cheat on her?)

I know this, too, will pass. But it hasn’t been a great week for writing romance (I found it hard to get my head in the game when all I really wanted was to exact revenge on the offending parties LOL). Now that things are calming down, it’s time to get back to these two, Cade and Ivy, so I can have their story all shiny and pretty for you all this coming December.Cade3

 

Ivy

rwa15When I post next, it’ll be my round up from RWA15, which takes place in NYC from July 22-25. If you’re attending, I’ll be signing books at both the big literacy signing on July 22 and at the Harlequin publisher signing for conference attendees on July 24. I’m also reading and signing Triple Time at Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC on Tuesday, July 21 and meeting and greeting readers at the Book Obsessed Chick’s beach BBQ at Lido Beach, Long Island on Sunday, July 26. For more details on all these dates, you can check the calendar section of my website, www.reginakyle.com.

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Hi Everyone!

We’ve had an addition to our family! A bird, some variant of Phoebe’s Swan, has built a nest under our patio in a sweet little niche that protects her and her brood. I’ve never really paid that much attention to birds, except to note how beautiful they are, or how majestic, or how obnoxious magpies are.
But this one… We watched most of the progress of building the nest, then her wiggling into place over the eggs, then the real fun, watching her babies! At first they were just big white mouths, and then the grew so fast! We loved that momma had a partner to tag teamed feeding and resting and getting water from their little water bowl.
Okay, enough of the birds, except that if you can, I recommend highly having a bird’s nest in your patio. Although probably not magpies.

On the writing front, I’m finishing the last of my Boston smart house series: THREE WICKED NIGHTS, the first of which, ONE BREATHLESS NIGHT, is available for pre-order at Amazon.

One Breathless Night

Thanks so much to all of you for supporting my last series, IT’S TRADING MEN! Or as I called it, the Trading Card books. I’m so happy to have heard from so many of you that they hit the spot. That’s a wonderful feeling, and I’m very grateful.

Until next month, all my best wishes,
Jo

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I really struggled with what to talk to you about this week. It’s been a weird few weeks for me–lots of emotional turbulence in what turned out to be deceptively sunny skies. Yet through it all, my creative mind kept churning. I was trying desperately to work on a proposal that simply refuses to come together (Angry Muse is a-n-g-r-y). It dawned on me that I should set that project aside for a few days and, instead of dividing my writing time in half–half to a proposal, half to a contracted piece, I would focus solely on the contracted story. It’s the third in the contemporary Western series, Wild Western Heat. The moment I narrowed my focus, the story began to simply flow.

This whole experience started me thinking about a common conversational thread that often comes up with non-writers:

How do you deal with all your ideas and the voices in your head?*

*(often asked with a wee bit of trepidation when they realize I must be slightly crazy, but that’s another post)

The answer is simple. My brain looks like this:

Creative Brain's Interior

Behind each door is a seriously complicated world. There are bankers, lawyers, shifters, vampires, dragons, demons, angels, cowboys (which might be demons and angels), heroes, Alpha heroes, bookworms, firefighters, Druids and more. Yes, I said more. I have all these compartments and often feel like a jailer to my creative mind. I have to keep things compartmentalized or I begin crossing tales and hero characteristics and heroines’ voices, plot lines and subplots. It’s a balancing act that I’m incredibly grateful to have help managing. My systems are a bit archaic given all the new methods out there, but they work for me. I’ve created forms that I use for characterization, plotting, subplots, characters goals and motivations, etc. Every time I start a new story, I fill out these sheets and store them in a file for the given story. Then, when I need to reference something, I just pull up the appropriate sheet and voila! My ideas are available.

There’s a great software called Scrivener that does much the same thing, but to use all the features appropriately, you really need an in-depth class. Ain’t nobody got time for that! (Sorry, sorry. I know. It’s one of my favorite sayings.) I’d love to use Scrivener and, in fact, own it, but I haven’t taken the opportunity to learn to use it in a comprehensive way. Someday… But for now? I use little data sheets I’ve created.

Because I’m always on the lookout for new and improved ways of doing things, what are some of the ways you keep organized? Drop me a line in the comment box below or email me and let me know if you have a great method you think might help me keep all the voices in my head from killing each other. When the dragon and the cowboy both escape their doors at the same time? I have the distinct feeling the world will never be the same again.

Until next time,

Kelli

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Yesterday was my anniversary. I’ve been married to the same dude for 31 years. Crazy, since I’m only 29. 😉 I met Steve in college. We lived in the same dorm. We met screaming at each other over a football game down in the big TV room. He was a Cowboy’s fan. I was an Oilers fan (friends played on the team back then). Turned out, we had the same best friend, Jeff. The three of us became the Three Musketeers. I was a freshman, they were upperclassmen. They looked out for me. They made sure I made it to my room safe after some of those first college parties. They helped me through a couple of bad boyfriends in those first few months. And then over Thanksgiving break, I went home and told my mom that I kind of liked Steve. Over the Christmas break, he decided he kind of liked me too. We’ve been inseparable ever since. He proposed during an episode of the old Star Trek. I think it was the Trouble with Tribbles. We were sitting on my bed eating pizza, and he said, “We should get married.” And I said, “Don’t joke about stuff like that. You’re mean.” And he got this weird look on his face and said, “I’m not joking.” And I said, “We’ll that’s just crazy. We’re both in school.” And he said, “So, when I graduate, we’ll get married.” And I said, “Well, are you sure?” He gave me the Steve look (think rolling eyes w/a bit of sternness). I was like, “Ok. But you have to ask my Dad.” He did. It was the cutest thing ever. So that’s how that happened.

You couldn’t find two more different people on the planet. We fight. Not as much as we used to, but still. I’m hard-headed, loud, crazy and have a tendency to speak whatever I’m thinking. He stays quiet and then boils over like a teapot on steroids. He has this big, booming voice. It used to make me nervous, now when he gets mad, I just laugh. I can’t help it. Because inside I know there’s the biggest teddy bear ever in that man. If anything, he cares too much. He only shows it by telling you to check your oil five times in a week, but he cares.

More importantly there’s always love. That friendship is always there. No one makes me laugh harder, and I think he’d say the same thing about me. We’ve raised two amazing kids, and we’ve made it this far. And we still have that passion for one another. That little spark that happened over those holiday breaks so many years ago when we were first apart. It’s still there. No lie: there are days when I want to kill him. I’m pretty sure he’d say the same about me. But I can’t imagine ever training another husband as well as I have this one. :) He anticipates my needs, and really does take pretty darn good care of me. And he lets me follow my dreams, wherever they may take me. That’s quite possibly the greatest gift. He doesn’t always understand. He doesn’t always like it, but he lets me pursue my passions and stands by me through thick and thin. And I let him be – him. He’s an odd duck. But he’s my odd duck and I love him.

I’d love to hear about your significant other? What was your meet cute?

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It’s June. I can’t believe it. This is my favourite time of year! It’s the beginning of three whole months of sun and heat and wearing sandals and going to barbeques. Yay! I love the warm, sunny weather. I do sympathize (not) with those of you who live in the south and are about to endure scorching temperatures. Enjoy your air conditioning. For those of us who deal with winter, when it’s hot out, it’s time to hit to hit the beach, the backyard, the balcony. Sit outside, enjoy the sun (or shade) and read something for complete pleasure. Enjoy yourselves – it’s time the unveil Blaze’s June books!

 

june vicki 847Are you ready for pure excitement? Then brace yourself – New York Times bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson is launching a branch new miniseries! Thunder Mountain Brotherhood begins with MIDNIGHT THUNDER. The series is set on a ranch that worked as a place to foster young men who had nowhere else to go. The first three books feature heroes who formed a blood brotherhood – they didn’t have families so they made their own. And now they all return to Thunder Mountain Ranch to help out their foster parents, who are having financial trouble. This is a first love reunion story, and I know you’re going to love reading about how Cade Gallagher and Lexi Simmons get back together. Cade is a hero after my own heart – and he sings, too. J I’ll let you read about that. Watch for more books in July and August! And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video about the cover shoot for this super-hot series.

 

june debbi 849Everyone knows I love cowboys, and I hope you do, too. Because we have another sexy cowboy story for you this month in COME ON OVER! Fans of Debbi Rawlins will be thrilled with the continuation of her Made in Montana miniseries. Horse trainer Trent Kimball has come back to his family ranch to recover from a humiliating divorce and a professional setback. He’s grateful he has the ranch to return to—except it just may not belong to him anymore. City girl Shelby Foster claims the ranch is hers now. So it’s a race to see who can prove ownership…while they are living together under one roof. Watch the sparks fly! (Please see extremely sexy cover. If I found this dude reclining on my couch I would not kick him out. Yum.)

 

june jillian 848If military men are your thing, you’re in luck! Our Uniformly Hot! title of the month is FEVERED NIGHTS by Jillian Burns. Navy SEAL Neil Barrow is done with being good and honorable and all of that boring stuff. He wants to be baaaaadd (not criminally, he’s still too honorable for that!). Seriously, he’s just sick of being razzed for being the nice guy and thinks Piper, a lingerie model, is exactly the kind of woman to help change his reputation. Trouble is, this reformed bad girl has gone good—and nothing can talk her out of the new leaf she’s turned over. Somehow, though, the two of them find some common ground…that’s so bad it’s great! I hope you enjoy this sizzling SEAL story!

 

june 850 Regina

The reviews are in for Regina Kyle and they are fantastic! TRIPLE TIME is Regina’s second book and she’s just getting better and better. Her books are not just fun and sexy but also tell really fantastic stories about complicated characters who you totally root for. Like Gabe Nelson, a lawyer who’s apparently too “boring” to be a good candidate for the DA job he’s shooting for. Luckily, his sister’s best friend, the somewhat scary Devin Padilla – tattooed, pierced and a woman who takes no crap from anyone! – is here to help Gabe break out of his shell. As long as he will help her find her missing brother. These two have some issues to figure out, but their chemistry is undeniable! Regina is one to watch. Look for two more books in her Art of Seduction miniseries, coming soon!

 

There’s a lot to love here and I hope you enjoy all four June Blazes as much as I did. As always, I’d like for three of you to receive a set of this month’s titles. Tell me what is your favorite thing about summer and I’ll enter you in a draw to win. Happy heat!

 

 

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Hold on  to you hats everyone, because it’s about to get controversial up in here!

(Side rant: Why don’t ladies wear hats anymore? They’re so flippin’ elegant! We gotta bring that sexy back. Who’s with me?)

That’s right, I’m calling you out, Pinterest. To be fair, you’ve got a lot of great things going for you.pinterest Breathtaking vacation destinations, aspirational home and party decor, and a shwack of handsome, shirtless men. You are the perfect virtual receptacle for my insatiable need to collect hairstyles I’ll never try and shoes I’ll never buy. There are many things I love about you, as evidenced by the fact that I have a Pinterest account of my very own. But here’s the thing: you’re ruining my reading experience. And if we’re going to co-exist peacefully in a world of inspirational quotations printed on dreamy, watercolour backgrounds, then you need to know that’s not something I take lightly.

burger

Because of you and your social media brethren (Consider this your notice, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ve got my eye on all of you…) we now live in a literary world where authors are practically duty-bound to get you to “Check out the inspiration for my kick-ass hero, my brilliant heroine, my protagonist’s slovenly dog, my secondary character’s childhood home, and the burgers my H/h are eating on their first date in chapter four!” (Seriously, though. A burger sandwiched between two grilled cheeses? I want to makeout with whoever invented this masterpiece. Call me.)

And while I appreciate the desire of every author to share the vision in her head, to connect with readers and give them a glimpse behind the scenes of the writing process, here’s the problem: if you tell me your hero looks like Robert Pattinson, but I’m more into Robert Downey Jr., or Robert Redford, or Rob Zombie, well, you’ve kind of ruined the magic for me. Now I have to spend each and every page playing the “Well, in my head he looks like _____,” game. It’s the same zing of disappointment I get when Hollywood miscasts beloved characters who already exist in my brain:

jace

Jace Wayland? Nuh-uh.

lestat

Lestat? I don’t think so.

Stephanie Plum? No.

Stephanie Plum? Just no.

Don’t get me wrong, all my characters are physically based on celebrities. I’ve got files of sexy photos of my favourite movie stars and rock gods and I sift through them on the daily while I’m writing my novel. But I don’t want you to know who is based on whom, because I want my hero to be your hero. I want him to look like the man who makes your libido sit up and take notice. And that means the most you’ll get from me are a couple of cues, like brown hair and rock-hard abs, or blue eyes and a devilish grin. Just enough to let your imagination run wild, because as a romance reader, I think that’s where the fun lies.

CONFESSION TIME: In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that there is one character who benefited immeasurably from being pulled out of my imagination and placed in front of my eyes. All subsequent Ron-isms became at least 78% more hilarious and enjoyable after I saw Rupert Grint for the first time. I like to consider this the exception that proves my rule, not flip-flopping.

Ron-Weasley

That face though!

So tell me, am I out to lunch here? (If so, I’ll have the grilled cheese sandwich burger!) Do you love to know which celeb inspired your favourite author’s latest hunky hero? Do you not care because your imagination so stubborn that you envision whoever the heck you want anyway, regardless of the words on the page? Leave me a comment and tell me where you stand on the issue and, for bonus points, the last time you rocked a fabulous hat.

 

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At the moment I am putting the final touches on my first Blaze book, A Dangerously Sexy Christmas. It might seem strange to be working on a Christmas story while the air conditioning is cranked up (I was not prepared for Toronto’s humidity!!) and Christmas is filed under ‘future things to worry about’ in my brain. But I’m used to a hot holiday season, being from the southern hemisphere and all. Which is a good thing for my characters, because I’ve put some snow-melting scenes into this book!

In related news, I got my blurb! Here it is (just try to read it while picturing Timothy Olyphant in the role of Max *wink*)9781460386248-1

Assignment: A Hot Holiday Affair!

Aspiring jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn’t want a bodyguard. Especially the hot, muscle-y one her father hires after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. It’s only when her home is also ransacked that Rose realizes the sexy (but infuriating) bodyguard might come in handy…especially on a cold winter’s night.

Max Ridgeway is a former Aussie cop who’s got something to prove in New York. He’s convinced that someone dangerous is behind the robberies and that Rose needs protection. His protection. But what’s even more dangerous is the sexy tension between them—because a hot little fling could compromise their lives…and his heart.

The inspiration behind this story…

I’ve always wanted to write a police-type hero. Why? I spent a year working for the Victoria Police back when I lived in Australia. My job was very unexciting (I trained people on how to use payroll and HR systems…not exactly thrilling work) but I spent a lot of time around the officers in a work capacity…and I also spent a bit of time checking them out while I waited for my coffee at the café downstairs. Sue me, I’m a sucker for a man in uniform!

There’s something intrinsically heroic about a person (man or woman!) who embarks on a career like that. It’s tough work, sometimes dangerous and often thankless. I have a deep respect the police after spending that year working with them and I definitely poured my ideas of the loyalty and tenacity required for the job into my hero, Max Ridgeway.

Though he’s no longer on the force (as much as he wants to be) he still holds all those values close to his heart. He’s hard-working, committed and holds himself to an impossibly high standard. But he’s not perfect, he kinda sucks when it comes to talking about his feelings. Luckily Rose is there to help him out with that!

I’m curious, do you like police/protector heroes? What is it about them that draws you in?

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from a random drawing the winners are:
ALINA D.
MARY PRESTON
NANEE
Could y’all email me with your snail mail address and tell me which book you want please? my email is julietburns@gmail.com.
HUGS everyone!

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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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