Author Archives: reginacole

The first romance novel I ever bought

Asking me to pick a favorite romance novel is like asking me to pick which of my dogs I love the most. Im-fricking-possible. So here’s the story of the first romance novel I ever bought.

When I was about eleven years old, it was an odd thing for me to have money. I’m not sure where I’d come up with the few dollars that I was going to use to buy my mother’s birthday present, but I was excited about it.

I went into the tiny bookstore in our tiny mall. B. Dalton Booksellers. I was a little embarrassed when I walked into the Romance novel section. After all, I was eleven. I blushed when I saw people kissing. But I’d read several of my mother’s collection of them, and I knew that she’d love whatever book I could find for her. And also, that eventually, I might be able to read it too. (She kept the spicy ones on a bookshelf that my big sister and I weren’t supposed to read.)

There were several thicker books that I wouldn’t have money for. I looked for her favorite authors, but they all had the thick books. I’d only have enough for one of the skinnier ones.

I picked up a slim volume with a purple spine. The cover, edged in the same purple, had a swarthy, tanned, shirtless man standing behind a pale blonde woman with short curls. She was dressed only in a white towel. A massive ship stood behind them both.

SCARLET BUTTERFLY by Sandra Chastain.

With burning cheeks and a sweaty palm gripping my wad of dollars, I went up to the counter. I put the book face-down, and looked at my feet while the woman rang it up. She drew me out in conversation, and when she found out it was my mother’s birthday, she let me select from a pile of free books too. I got my mother two books with my few meager dollars. I was over the moon.

Me and my first romance purchase.

Mom was delighted with the gift, both the free book and SCARLET BUTTERFLY. As time went on, and I plowed through my mother’s entire collection of Romance novels, I finally read that very first Romance I’d purchased. It became one of my favorites, and I re-read it several times. When I moved out of the house, and my sisters, mother’s, and my reading collections had become muddled and mixed, SCARLET BUTTERFLY came with me.

In October of 2011 I had the pleasure of attending my first writer’s conference. I met several very interesting women, made some life-long friends, and learned so much. One of the coolest people I spoke to just in passing, was a white-haired, elderly lady with a walker. She wasn’t physically strong, but she was sharp and clever. I laughed with her a couple of times over the weekend. I don’t think she wore a nametag, so I didn’t catch who she was.

At the Maggie Ceremony, the GRW chapter presented their awards. They gave several to their chapter members. I clapped, smiled, and tweeted the winners. But then they got to the Nancy Knight Mentorship award. They described the winner’s willingness to help other writers, how sweet, caring, and wonderful this person was, and then they announced her name.

I looked up as my heart skipped a beat. Across the giant white screen at the front of the room was printed the name:

SANDRA CHASTAIN

It took a long time for her to reach the stage. After all, a lady with a walker can only move so quickly. But it was her. The person who’d written the very first romance that I’d ever bought.

I wanted so badly another chance to speak with her. To tell her how much I’d enjoyed SCARLET BUTTERFLY. To get her autograph, to tell her how inspiring it was to me to meet her. But I didn’t see her again after that. We had to leave the awards ceremony before it was over, and she wasn’t at the workshop on the following morning.

I may never get to meet her, but I saw her. I put a face to the name on the cover of my dog-eared, read-to-shreds copy of SCARLET BUTTERFLY.

The world may be small, but sometimes it’s freaking incredible.

My favorite sidekick… Donna Noble

It’s sidekick time, so we get to talk about our favorites! I know that Sabrina just talked about Doctor Who, but while Martha is her favorite companion, I’ve got to give that particular crown to my favorite companion…

Donna Noble

 

Donna Noble.

 

She’s not the youngest companion, or the prettiest. But I’ve got several big reasons why she is the PERFECT companion for the Doctor.

1. Zero Romantic Entanglement.

She’s a woman, he’s a Time Lord shaped like a man. But Donna NEVER had any particular attraction for him. That made their relationship as a team SO much more enjoyable. With Rose, I was always waiting for him to admit how he felt about her. With Martha, I was waiting for her to get over him. But Donna was his friend. His BEST friend. The only companion I’ve seen who could interact with him without giving a shit about how SHE felt. It was such a relief after the angst of Rose and Martha.

2. Backbone

“I just want a mate,” he said, an earnestly worried expression on his face.

“You want… TO MATE?” She dropped her jaw in protest while her eyebrows winged to her hairline. “Oi, you’re not mating with ME, space man!”

She walloped him, she corrected him, she said NO. She did things that no other companion would, or could. She was tough and she didn’t mind standing up to what amounts to the most feared being in the Universe. I LOVED that about her.

3. Empathy

In “Forest of the Dead” (which is the second part of “Silence in the Library”… Vashta Nerata anyone?) Donna was saved and provided a family by CAL. She had a husband, and children, and while she KNEW something was off about the whole situation, she couldn’t help falling in love with the whole idea. And then, all that was ripped away from her. After that episode, you got the sense that Donna knew a little bit about how the Doctor must feel, having lost so much. They comforted each other, not as potential lovers, but as FRIENDS.

 

It’s entirely possible for women and Time Lords to just be FRIENDS. And I think that the series is really missing that now. I never bought that Amy Pond lost her hero-worship type love of the Doctor, and I spent so much time wondering if Clara was some kind of regeneration of River or somehow one of the Doctor’s children that I never got a good sense that they were friends, either.

Like Sabrina, I love romance. Heck, I’m trying to make my living off just that! But Doctor Who works better when it’s an adventure between mates, not a soap opera.

So, Mr. Moffat, if you can hear me, BRING ME THE ONE THEY CALL NOBLE!

Erm… I’m a bad blogger. But GIVEAWAY!

So this morning, something dawned on me.

HOLY CRAP. THERE IS A BLOG CALLED DARKER TEMPTATIONS AND I AM SUPPOSED TO BE POSTING THERE EVERY SO OFTEN. WTF HAPPENED?

So here’s what happened. I got a new phone. And, said new phone is not programmed with the neato little reminders that old phone was. You know, the ones that pinged me every other Friday and said “Hey, Moron, go do your blog.”

So, this is me, grovelling and apologizing. I’m really sorry that I flaked out for a couple of Fridays there. It wasn’t intentional, promise!!

So, since those reminders also told me WHAT I was supposed to blog about, I’m sort of flying blind for this post.

“What? Regina winging it? That’s never happened.” *takes off sarcasm hat*

So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you guys something free to absolve my guilt. (Hehehehee. Here, kids! I’ll make up for bad parenting by giving you too much stuff.)

I’ll pick one random commenter and send them one FREE ebook! You can pick any of my Ellora’s Cave releases. Here, I’ll just leave you links here in case you want to go ahead and pick out your favorite. 😉 Just click the cover and it’ll take you to the Amazon page.

I’ll run this contest through midnight on Sunday, July 9th. That gives you all weekend to comment! So talk to me below, and tell me how I should punish myself for flaking on my poor Darker Temptations. 🙂

 

 

Following the King

Becoming a writer isn’t easy. SURPRISE!!! I know you’re stunned. I was!

Reading is so simple, so wonderful, so engrossing, that I thought writing should be exactly the same. I should be able to lose myself in the world I created just as easily as I do those of my favorite authors. BUT, it doesn’t work that way. Writing isn’t just fun. It’s honest-to-god, back breaking, agonizing, sweat inducing WORK.

Finding the perfect words are hard. Creating the right characters is tough. Building a story is like building a multi-trillion dollar skyscraper–screw up your inner structure, and it’s going to come tumbling down like Jenga blocks.

When it comes to who my writing idols are, I wish I could make it look as easy as they do.

Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Catherine Coulter, Susan Donovan, all these women create stories that read so easily! They’re my favorite books to read, they’re fun, full of love, life and laughter.

But my all-time idol, the man who has inspired me over and over again since I was just a teenager, is the master of horror himself.

Stephen King got me interested in books other than my usual fare. Someone gave my grandmother a big box of books, and she gave them to me one day when I was staying with her for the weekend. There were lots of different genres in there–thrillers, contemporary novels, love stories. But the book that kept sticking out to me was DOLORES CLAIBORNE.

I read the first page countless times. The whole story was narrated! It was in first person! The story was told so deeply from her point of view, because she was telling the story as she remembered it. It was odd. Frightening at first, a little off-putting. But eventually, I got it. I realized how I was supposed to read it. And since that day, I’ve read that book a billion times. I worked my way through some of his other classics. CARRIE, PET SEMATARY, THE GREEN MILE, and MISERY, to name a few. God, I loved MISERY.

 

His book ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT inspired me to write my first mainstream novel (as Gina Lamm). And since then, his advice to write what you love, not what you know, has permeated my books, making them (I hope) much more driven and appealing.

So yeah. Stephen King is my writing idol. He writes 2,000 words a day, every day, no matter what. I need that kind of drive, that kind of persistence. And I know I can do it. He’s my inspiration.

Who’s yours?

I’m on the radio, Ma!!

So this week I did my very first internet radio interview! I talked with Curvy from Curvy’s After Midnight (click her name to visit!) and we talked about Caught in Crimson, what else I’m doing, and I may or may not have shared my most embarrassing (for my husband) story about writing research.

You can click here to listen, or you can check out the podcast on iTunes!

 

Sorry for the short post, but it’s been a long week! You can @ me on twitter to berate me for my short post. 🙂 twitter.com/reggicole

 

AND here’s a hot guy. Just because.

 

Purchased from Fotolia.com

Purchased from Fotolia.com

 

 

My favorite books from childhood

So I’m going to skew the subject a bit. Instead of my favorite literary classics, I’m going to show you my favorite books from when I was a kid. This is a very visual post, ya’ll. I’m not so much with the words today.

Okay, apparently I had a thing for animal books. 🙂

The Nightingale

I ADORE fairytales. We had a giant book of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm when I was a kid. (Actually, I still have it.) I loved the familiar ones, because I could see what really happened in the stories without the Disney candy coating. (Spoiler alert Denise, The Little Mermaid dies at the end. Sorry!)

But my real favorites were the ones that I only found in those books. The girl with 7 brothers who were turned into swans. The dogs with eyes as big as teacups and towers. And then, my favorite, The Nightingale.

The story is simple. A Chinese emperor heard from a kitchen maid that a tiny brown bird had the most beautiful song in all the kingdom. He ordered the bird into his court, and the nightingale sang for him and all his friends. But then someone brought a mechanical bird, covered with gold and jewels, who could sing just as beautifully as the nightingale. The emperor forgot the real bird in lieu of the wind-up one, and the real bird left for its home in the forest.

Several years later, the wind-up bird had grown so fragile that it was hardly used at all, and then it broke completely. The emperor grew very ill, and Death perched on the end of his bed. The emperor begs for music to keep Death away, in a line I still say to myself every time I turn on the tunes:

“Music! Music! The great Chinese drum!”

The nightingale hears of the emperor’s condition, and leaves the forest and sings at his bedside. Death is so moved by her song that he agrees to leave the emperor. The emperor apologizes to the bird for the way he treated her, and she agrees to come back and sing for him as long as she can come and go as she pleases.

Sigh. I love this story. It reminds us that as cool as technology is, nature is even cooler. Yeah, I’m a fruity hippie. 😉

 

Have you heard of this one? Do you have a favorite that isn’t so well-known? Tell me! I love new fairytales. 🙂

 

Scandalous Earls float my boat

Wow. Time gets away from ya when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?

I’ve spent the week celebrating (and writing blog posts, and checking rankings, and worrying myself silly) over the release of my alter ego’s first mainstream full-length novel, THE GEEK GIRL AND THE SCANDALOUS EARL. So much so that when I saw my reminder this morning that I was supposed to blog here today, I went EEP!!

I hope you’ll forgive me, and check out GGSE! It’s a steamy, humorous time travel romance. A modern gamer chick in Regency England. Hijinx and hot smexin’ ensue.

It’s available at these (and other!) places: Sourcebooks  ***  Barnes & Noble  ***  Amazon  ***  Kobo  ***  Discover A New Love

If you plan to check it out, let me know below!

Tastes like Candy….MANCANDY

Sometimes I’m lazy. Well, not lazy. I’ve done a CRAPTON this week.

But there’s a hole in the bottom of my motivation bucket. So I thought I’d fill that hole with candy instead of the blog post I’m supposed to write.

 

Yup. MANCANDY.

 

I bought these pictures fair and square for you to enjoy. You’re welcome. 😉 Well, except for the last one. That’s yours truly and some incredibly HAWT EC Cavemen.

 

Fotolia_27120036_MPerfect bodyhomme au chapeauIMG_1508

It’s Caught in Crimson Day! With PRIZES!

CiC Release Blog Tour Graphic

WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

It’s here it’s here it’s finally HERE!!!!

 

Yup, that’s it. Today, finally, CAUGHT IN CRIMSON releases from Ellora’s Cave! If you saw my post earlier in the week, you know that this is Day 3 of the Super Awesome Spectacular Caught in Crimson Release Tour! If you didn’t, well, welcome! And you’re in luck. Because today, and several more days from now, you’ll have a chance to enter to win the grand prize. A $25 Amazon giftcard, PLUS the entire upcoming Spellbinding series, starting with Crimson! WHAT??? Yup, win them before you can buy them. Of course, they’ll be delivered on release, but still! The complete set without you having to lift a finger. Sound good? Good. And there are 10 runner-up prizes too! So there are lots of chances to win.

 

Okay, intro over. Let’s get to the meat of this post. And I do mean, meat. As in, man meat.

 

 

 

 

CAUGHT IN CRIMSON Character Spotlight: Adam Montague

Image purchased from Fotolia.com

Image purchased from Fotolia.com

Meet Adam Montague. Carpenter, divorcee, businessman. Used to being in charge. Is a true gentleman. Opens doors for ladies, says ma’am, leaps to protect them whenever possible.

In short, he’s completely wrong for Delia.

But damn, does he like what she does to him.

After discovering his wife Vanessa’s embezzlement and their subsequent divorce, Adam found it hard to trust anyone, much less women. But at his employee’s urging, Adam reluctantly agrees to an online dating profile. He doesn’t really click with anyone until he happens upon CrimsonLady83’s profile.

She’s gorgeous, sexy, and seems almost completely insane. But Adam can’t deny the magic things happening around him, even though they should be impossible. Thrown into a world he knows nothing about, he’ll have a lot to deal with in order to get out with his life, and heart, intact.

Let’s play questions with Adam!

1. What is your favorite word?

Energy. I like how it makes me feel.

2. What is your least favorite word?

Vanessa. For obvious reasons. 

3. What turns you on?

Other than a great body? Intelligence. I love a woman who’s clever.

4. What turns you off?

Lies.

5. What sound do you love?

The sound of tools on wood. It means progress.

6. What sound do you hate?

Women crying.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

Goddamn   

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

I can’t imagine doing anything but building. It’s who I am.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I could never sit in an office and handle phone calls. That would drive me insane.

10. If you could paint a picture of your perfect woman, what would it be like?

Well, she’s kind. Brave, and strong, but lets me take care of her too. She’s beautiful, curvy, moves well. But I guess the most important thing is that she’d be trustworthy. I’d have to be able to know she and I were a team.

What do you think of Adam? Does a sexy macho man flip your switch? Do you want to WIN lots of faboo prizes? Well then! Click the Rafflecopter logo below, and see the MANY ways you can enter to win!!
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^^^^^^^^^^CAUGHT IN CRIMSON blog tour giveaway! ^^^^^

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