Squeeeee … so happy with the cover for my newest release (coming mid-December). It’s a re-release of my erotic romance novella, DIVINE DECEPTION. Re-written. Re-edited. Re-titled. And I can’t wait until it’s back out in the world. Enjoy …
And yes, this one was also designed by DAR ALBERT of Wicked Smart Designs! She’s da bomb!
Wishing all of my readers a Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love most in the world … may it be filled with love and laughter and moments of new memories!
With the re-release of GRAPES OF RAPTURE right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about fruit. With a little research I’ve put together a list of 13 of the weirdest fruits I have found. I want to thank the Fruit Emporium that provided the bulk of the information. Someone much braver than I tasted these fruits.
1. Cherimoya Also known as the ‘custard apple’. The cherimoya is a large pear shaped fruit, but with a green ‘mottled’ surface – which upon opening reveals a white avocado-type center.
2. Tamarillo – Also known as the “tree tomato”.
3. Dragon Fruit – The kiwi fruit’s evil twin brother. Imagine if you will – rice pudding, but without the nice creamy flavour – and all the sugar taken out.
4. Mangosteen – milky/transparent colour of the fruit is weird enough, but the taste is quite… unusual – and delicious! Just like a tangerine, each mangosteen is comprised of numerous ‘mini-segments’.
5. Granadilla – The inside ‘membrane’ jelly substance is similar to the passion fruit, and the taste isn’t bad – kinda like a cross between a watered down kiwi fruit, fermented grapes with a hint of ‘bubble gum’ flavor too.
6. Starfruit – There are two main varieties of the Starfruit (also known as the ‘carambola’.)
7. Lychee – This small fruit contains an extra-added unique flavour on top of an ordinary grape.
8. Physallis – Also known as the ‘Caped Gooseberry’ or ‘Goldenberry’. Tasting like a cross between a cherry and a peach with a slight hint of cucumber.
9. Pawpaw – ‘Paw’ by name – poor by nature. It is in fact even more boring than a watermelon if that’s possible. Suffering from the same problems that plague other fruit, it basically tastes… a bit like a vegetable.
10. Rambutan – Looks a little like a lychee that’s suddenly decided to de-evolve and grow hair.
11. Persimmon – A tomato shaped fruit except it has a yellowy golden colour to it. Taste is ummm…. sorta subtle peach taste, and quite a bit of the bland ‘cucumber’ taste, but saltier.
12. Tamarind – This fruit consists of a sticky, dry, pulpy fruit which is ‘contained’ in a long, dull brown ‘pod’. (Looks a little like dog pooh, IMHO…)
13. Kiwano Horned Melon – The horned melon … is a vine of African origin, grown for its fruit, which looks like an oval melon with horns, and is very decorative.
Okay … so tell me … who’s tried some of these? Stand up and be counted. I want to hear all about it.
Sometimes it’s hard to give something up. Especially when you’re totally in LOVE with it. For yeeeears I worked with a prologue to my latest romantic thriller release IN HIS EYES and though I REALLY wanted to keep it in, beta readers, writer friends and eventually my editor all told me … let it go Nina. So I did.
Though it didn’t make it into the book, I’d like to share it with you.
The wooden coffin rested eerily over the wounded earth, the deep hole as hollow as the hearts of the two mourners. The man stared past the spray of wild flowers adorning its lid to his stepmother cowered on the opposite side. The reptilian slit of his eyes and the malevolent smile communicated loathing—and power. The widow’s eyes, puffy and glazed from weariness, watched him with a melancholy sort of understanding. The corner of her mouth lifted in a tremulous smile of acceptance. There were no tears when her husband died, none came now, and none would fall later.
Though the heat rose in currents from the tar road nearby, the young widow shivered. Standing in the shade of the oaks, the minister was the sole witness to the exchange. Reading from the book of Psalms, he faltered only momentarily, but finished the ritual graveside prayers without acknowledging what had passed between them.
Perhaps the minister also imagined how things would unfold.
Her life had not been hers for a very long time—now it belonged to him. She deserved no more love than he doled out to her in meager portions. No one thought she was worthy of anything, least of all her. She believed her life—each wretched day she survived, right up to her last breath—was preordained by this path she’d chosen to walk years ago. The way it would end was also a foregone conclusion.
Just days after the funeral, he sold his father’s house and packed their meager possessions into the old Cadillac. Crisscrossing the country, they stayed in seedy apartments where no one looked them in the eye. It was easier to ignore their pain that way. No one asked any questions, provided the rent was on time each Friday. She had no idea where they were and didn’t really care as long as he kept the needles in the bedside table filled with liquid heaven. He was gone most days and used her in unfathomable ways long hours into the night. He’d learned from the best and added new tricks of his own. But she accepted it all as her lot in life.
Now, he no longer needed her. She’d outlived her usefulness. They both understood that. She’d taken him into her bed only to prolong the inevitable. She didn’t plead or cry out with fear. She was just numb—or perhaps relieved it was going to be finished. Maybe it was the sweet wash of drugs coursing through her veins. Whichever the case, she didn’t care.
From the moment his father had fallen ill, everything had been destined. She may have been four years older, but her stepson had the maturity of a man twice his years and he dominated their relationship in every sense of the word. There hadn’t been any questions when he replaced his father at her side.
During their time together, she accepted his beatings, the verbal and sexual abuse, and the neglect. It was all either of them knew. Somewhere, in the back of her brain, she understood this wasn’t love, but she didn’t know what was. She had no yardstick with which to measure her worth. They’d cut her off from the rest of mankind so long ago, she barely remembered anything existed outside the confines of the world where they held her prisoner. She had no immediate family, so there would be no one to miss her when this was finished. Only he knew she still walked this earth and after it was done, only he would know she no longer did.
On this day he’d roused the woman early. Bathing with her in the communal bathroom of the apartment building, he’d taken great care washing her hair and body. With touches so gentle, he’d acted as if he’d felt something for her. His skilled hands had pleasured her without pain. He’d held off his own need until they were back in their room on the soiled sheets. With a passion neither of them knew existed, he’d made love to her. Whispering into her ear, he’d apologized for all that had been and all that would come.
Mutely, she let him brush the black waves of her hair and masterfully massage lotion over the yellowed bruises his fists had left. She watched him tenderly put the needle into her arm. He held her while the liquid worked its magic on her body and mind, taking her to that blissful place of detachment. He took her again, more urgently, but still with great affection. That’s when she’d known for certain that it was finished. She would not live to see another sunrise, never again feel a gentle breeze caress her skin, nor feel the pain of brutality.
He dressed her and took only a few of his belongings. When they climbed into the car, she didn’t ask where they were going. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
They traveled for hours, waiting for the blackness to cloak them in its secrets. She looked over at him now. In the green glow of the dashboard lights, his rugged features were contorted with grief. Turning from the road, he smiled at her. A heartrending smile filled with regret. Even in her drug induced fog, she could see the tears welling in his eyes.
They stopped somewhere. A city perhaps, but she couldn’t be sure. He’d fed her pills and alcohol for her last meal, so the edges of her reality were blurred. He lifted her from the car, carrying her like an infant into the darkness. He laid her down gently and her body melted into the lumpy surface. The stench curled around her nose and brought bile to her throat, but giving into the retching would displease him, so she swallowed it down. Hiking up her skirt, he removed her panties. He hacked off her hair with the knife he perpetually carried. Plastic rustled as he moved her. He’d laid her with the garbage. How appropriate. The cold sting of his tears fell upon her face as he pressed his lips to hers for the last time.
She wanted to touch him, to tell him she understood, but she couldn’t lift her hand or form the words on her lips. She was tired, so very tired.
His face was a smooth canvas of detachment when he pushed the final needle into her vein. With one last caress of her cheek, he left.
The cold rain continued to fall long after he turned his back on her, long after she slipped into oblivion.
I’ve never been to war. I watch it from the comfort of my kitchen usually while I’m cooking dinner from a well-stocked refrigerator.
I’ve never carried a gun. But my heart aches for those who carry one every day, knowing it could be the only thing that saves their life or that of a fellow soldier.
I’ve never said goodbye to someone I love, fearing I may never see them again. But I’ve watched flag-draped caskets arrive back on US soil, where mothers and fathers grieve the loss of a child.
I’ve never had to be separated from someone who is my whole world while they fight for a freedom I get to appreciate every day. But I’ve known brave families who get down on their knees every night and pray for the day they can hold their husband/daddy/wife/mommy in their arms again.
I’ve never held a dying friend in my arms who’s sacrificed everything for the love of their country, but I’ve held friends who have seen horrors I can’t imagine.
There are no soldiers in my family. No veterans to hug and thank for all they’ve given to this country. But my heart aches and my tears flow for all those who believe that being a soldier is a calling and protecting everything I hold dear is a job their proud to do.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart … thank you to all the service men and women and their families. May God keep you safe and bring you home soon.
I LOVE this story. It was many years percolating before it became a published novel. Here are some of my favorite lines from GARDEN OF SERENITY.
1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.
2. Gabriella Bresilee settled her bony frame in one of the chairs across from Jahara. The yellow suit she wore covered every inch of her alabaster skin, save for her face, hands and feet. Tucking stray wisps of auburn hair back into the braided bun at the top of her head, Gabriella’s mouth curved in a predatory grimace.
3. Brenimyn’s hand engulfed hers and he leaned in close, the warmth of his breath stroking her cheek. “My dear, I was not in your head. You crawled into mine somewhere around the barn scene with Nazaret and the replay of our lovemaking.” He nipped the bottom lip of her gaping mouth. “Which, I might add, has been a pleasant vision while we rode.”
4. To the women before him, he was nothing more than a stud. Stupid, beastly and—inhuman. Oh, if only they knew what he could do, they wouldn’t think themselves so superior, now would they?
5. The anger riding on his words pushed her away. “I…I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to process this. I need…” Her voice fell away. She had no idea what she needed.
“What, Jahara? You need what?” Brenimyn pressed his palm between her breasts, the contact buzzing through her, quickening her pulse. “The truth you seek is right here. Feel it. Feel me.”
6. Mikalyn would never, as long as she lived, forget the ultimate powers of healing she witnessed the day before. The light poured forth from Jahara, radiating from her heart down her arms, to her hands, buried deep in Lukiam’s arm. Jahara’s upper body glowed with a brilliance pouring into Lukiam until the unconscious man became luminescent with the healing power flowing out of Jahara. It had been only minutes they’d been joined in that halo of light, but the vision of it would be seared in Mykilai’s mind forever.
7. “Brenimyn’s the one for me. I wasn’t looking, but there he is. There’s always been something missing.” Jahara pressed a palm to her heart. “With Bren, my heart is whole.”
8. A picture of Jahara standing in front of the government building filled the wall monitor. Brenimyn’s heart nearly stopped at the image of her. She looked lost. He knew he couldn’t have saved her from that moment, but guilt knotted his gut. He hadn’t told her how things would go today. The vision his sister had shared with Brenimyn made him the scapegoat. No one had known how the Government would accomplish it, but he was here only to pave the way for the true warrior. The battle was Jahara’s to win or lose. He was never meant to stand at her side while she fought.
BUY digital book from Amazon
Print Version from Amazon
I was listening to yet another famous single woman being interviewed on television today. When asked what she was looking for in a man she replied, “a sense of humor.” Is she kidding? Does she not date men? Does she not have any brothers, nephews, uncles, cousins, or male friends?
Because, in my experience, asking for a man with a sense of humor is like asking for washing machine with a rinse cycle or a new car complete with four tires. Humor comes standard on most male models. I mean really.
And it’s not the kind of humor I get. My teenage son watches Red/Green, The Simpsons, Arrested Development, Family Guy, and a host of other programs and just howls with laughter. Me? I watch them and think meh… amusing, but not… roll on the floor, split a gut, or even gaffaw kind of funny. I’ve never even made it through a whole Three Stooges movie–and I’ve tried. At hubby’s request, I sat next to him trying to laugh at all the slapstick humor. Didn’t happen.
On another occasion hubby and brother-in-law watched the same home video of one of their friends slamming into the camera at his wedding–for hours! They laughed just as hard the 87th time it replayed as they did the first time they saw it. Huh? When I was young I used to sit with my older brother and watch the Road Runner cartoon, just to listen to him laugh. And I giggled at his obvious delight in the coyote’s mishaps. But did I get it? Nope.
Now, just so you don’t think I’m without a funnybone… I do find a lot of things very funny. I love the movie Big. Tom Hanks plays a thirteen year old in an adult body… when he pushes caviar off his tongue at a dinner party… I just crack up–everytime! It’s one of my all time favorite scenes. Or the scene in The Grinch when the sleigh is headed down the mountain and poor Max the dog ends up on the back and the Grinch turns around and the dog waves and shrugs his shoulders… makes me smile just remembering. And don’t even get me started on I Love Lucy, because there isn’t an episode that doesn’t make me laugh out loud.
So what’s my point? Well, if you had just one wish to make your guy perfect, I just don’t think you should be wasting it on humor. It’s already there. They’re hard wired with it! Romance, kindness, bedroom eyes, need I say more? Pick something from the dessert side of the menu! Why would you ask for more veggies when it already comes with the main course? I’m just saying…
I write books. I treat it as a business. But creating my product is only one facet of everything I have to do to be successful in the publishing business. As everyone knows there isn’t a business out there that doesn’t advertise.
Because what’s the sense of writing books if I don’t let readers know they’re out there?
So what does that mean? Well, it’s that “P” word that makes even successful authors shudder. Promotion. I’m currently pulling things together for the convention season. I have all the usual materials including bookflats and bookmarks, pens and magnets, and I’ve even put together a couple of excerpt books. I send them wherever convention coordinators are looking for goodie bag materials.
Here are my trading cards (available to readers with just an email …)
Now I’ve expanded to buy an ad in the Romantic Times convention floor plan. Literally thousands of people, authors and readers alike attend this week long celebration of romance. I also now have a book cover in a deck of cards. The five of spades.
But for the first time I’m venturing into stuff. I’m looking at reusable grocery bags and chip clips. They’re a tad on the expensive side. And I’m really wrestling with this. Any good business would spend their advertising dollars only where there is return. But for an author that’s a very nebulous thing to measure. It’s said a person needs to see something at least 10 times before it registers. Wow, that’s a lot of people who need to not only see my name, but realize that I write romance novels.
I’m not sure if the money I’m forking out is going to be worth it. But I figure I’ll give it a try for this year anyway. At the very least that’s 100 more reusable grocery bags that’ll be out there and saving the environment from plastic.
But of course this still doesn’t answer the question … what makes you plop down your hard earned green stuff to buy a book?
Maine is the lobster capital of the world! (Well, Mainers believe that anyway.) But the recession has hit the market hard … very hard. So my thirteen this week is about the spiny creature of the sea–the lobster. I’m not sure if it will encourage you to have lobster at your family get-together, but at the very least, I hope it will give you food for thought. hee hee
1. Lobsters are part of the order of Crustaceans, which means, like insects, they have their skeleton on the outside.
2. Lobsters are generally a dark green to black color and turn red only after cooking. But sometimes nature “burps” out color variations.
3. Lobsters have no taste buds. They walk on their food using the little hairs on their legs to decide whether they should eat it.
4. It is estimated that the October lobster catch earned Maine fishermen less than $20 million, down more than 67 percent from a high of more than $60 million in October 2005. (So come to the Maine lobster festival and eat more lobster!)
5. It is possible to sex a lobster. Turn it over and looking at the first set of swimming appendages on the underside. Soft feather ones indicate a female. Hard appendages indicate a male. (Yeeeeeah … so not going there.)
6. Lobsters molt – That is in order for them to grow, their shells must crack along their back (carapace) and between the tail and the carapace and they must pull their bodies out. The new shell hardens enough to function within a few days, but takes a full 6-8 weeks to be true protection (hence the term “soft-shelled” lobster). Lobsters do this approximately once a year.
7. Lobsters have two different claws … the crusher claw used to break the shells of other crustaceans such as crabs (yes, they’re also cannibals) and a ripper claw used for pulling out the meat. Rubber bands on lobsters in market are meant to keep them from eating each other, not necessarily to protect your fingers.
8. Female lobsters lay thousands of eggs which attach to her swimmerettes. (It’s against the law to harvest a “berried” female and the lobsterman must put a v-notch in her tail to indicate a reproducing female.) Even after the eggs hatch she won’t lose the egg casings until her next molt.
9. Lobster blood is a clear fluid. When the animal is boiled, the blood turns to an opaque whitish gel. It has no discernible flavor and is perfectly safe to eat.
10. Lobsters have a very weak heart which pumps blood up to the back and gravity feeds it back down. Because of this, if you put a lobster on it’s rostrom (nose) the blood flows to its brain and it falls asleep.
11. When lobsters need to get away from danger they flip their tales which propels them very quickly backwards. (Which means they can grow to a very large size.)
12. Lobsters have the ability to regenerate body parts such as antennae, legs and claws, though it won’t be replaced until the next molt.
13. Enjoying a lobster feed on the beach with some steamed clams and some corn-on-the-cob is truly the Maine way … and having these guys there with you is the Nina way!
Welcome to my sexy Saturday where participants post 7 words, 7 sentences or 7 paragraphs of sexiness.
Since I’m totally smitten with Brenimyn, the hero in my newest romantic suspense novel, GARDEN OF SERENITY, I thought I’d share a scene and give you a sense of this sexy man.
Patience. That’s what was required of him. But damn, he’d been treading water a hell of a long time while he waited for destiny to change the course of his life.
Since arriving at the Garden three years ago, Brenimyn had become accustomed to arrogant women who thought they were the only intelligent creatures walking this earth. Kylie was a prime example of that conceited attitude personified.
To the women before him, he was nothing more than a stud. Stupid, beastly and—inhuman. Oh, if they only knew what he could do, they wouldn’t think themselves so superior, now would they? But the time had not come to travel that particular road. Preparations still needed to be made. In the meantime, he would swallow his pride and let the mauling begin.
“Now, Brenimyn is going to take off his breeches. Though you all studied anatomy in school, the first look at a man’s genitals can be shocking,” Kylie said, her plastic smile knotting his gut.
Brenimyn untied the cords at his belly slowly, seductively. This was the only time he had control and he stretched the moments out until the females before him leaned forward in breathless anticipation. His eyes locked on the only woman in the room who seemed less interested in this farce than him. The raven-haired beauty actually looked lost despite the maturity lining her face. Her hand caressed her cheek even as he thought of her. Her eyes shifted uncomfortably around the room, not watching as the fabric pooled at his bare feet and the inevitable gasp of awe echoed off the walls.
“Please come up and have a closer look,” Kylie said. Her hand fondled his buttocks. Touch but don’t desire, this one is mine, her caress communicated to the breeders even as her lips curved into that disingenuous smile he’d come to despise. “My mate is a wondrous specimen.”
That was a line of crap. He belonged to no one. Least of all her.
BUY from Amazon
Click HERE to check out all the authors participating in this weeks “My Sexy Saturday”!