nina pierce

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.

fruit_cherimoya

2. Tamarillo – Also known as the “tree tomato”.

fruit_tamrillo

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.

fruit_dragon

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’.

fruit_mangosteen

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.

fruit_granadilla

6. Starfruit – There are two main varieties of the Starfruit (also known as the ‘carambola’.)

fruit_star

7. Lychee – This small fruit contains an extra-added unique flavour on top of an ordinary grape.

fruit_lychee

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.

fruit_physalis

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.

fruit_Pawpaw

10. Rambutan – Looks a little like a lychee that’s suddenly decided to de-evolve and grow hair.

fruit_Rambutan

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.

fruit_Persimmon

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…)

Fresh Tamarind with leaves

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.

fruit_kiwana

Okay … so tell me … who’s tried some of these? Stand up and be counted. I want to hear all about it.   

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.

Garden-of-Serenity-e-reader-copy

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.”

NudeCoupleSmall4. 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.”

WomanSmall8. 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 …)
collectorcard-2.5inx3.5in-h-frontBlind Her_Back.jpgClaire_Front.jpgClaire_Back.jpg

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? 

Okay, I’m going to come right out and say it … I’m a beach bunny. Ya know, like a snow bunny, only warmer and in a lot less clothes. 😀 And it’s really hard for me to watch the summer winding down. (And just like every year I’m wondering … where the heck did it go???)

Yep, I grew up on the coast of Maine. I worshiped the sun so much that I never lost my tan lines in the winter. Seriously. I didn’t know until I went off to college and didn’t have quite as much time in the sun, that a white bikini in the shower wasn’t normal. LOL! (Of course back then I was too young and stupid to worry about the ozone layer and skin cancer. *eyeroll* Foolish youth.)

Those hours lounging on a towel shaped my romantic fantasies. There is nothing sexier to me than a man without a shirt, a pair of jeans and bare feet. The bare feet are a must. And if he was sitting around the bonfire at the river, laughing and hanging (and maybe doing a little flirting), well I was in definite lust.

I learned to sail on the ocean and snorkel it’s waters. I got my first kiss at the beach. (Probably shouldn’t mention it was during a game of spin the bottle. Yeah, pretend I didn’t say that.) Held hands for the first time walking along the sandy shore in the blue wash of a full moon. And yep, after I met Mr. Nina … a little nookie a time or two in the privacy of the dunes.

I’ve enjoyed sunsets and starry nights. The soft brush of an ocean breeze and the crisp bite of the ocean waves. The ocean is the most romantic place I’ve experienced. It’s no wonder the smell of salty air makes my heart go all squishy.

I’ve set a couple of my books at the ocean, the scents and sights always an integral part of my stories. My sexy romantic suspense novel, Deceive Her With Desire (book #2 of the Dangerous Affairs Series“) takes place on the Maine coast. Please enjoy this excerpt:

Cautious, and working to keep his jangled nerves from pumping his legs in a dead run, Ayden strolled to the shelter of the dinghy. The noise grew louder. Ayden realized he wasn’t moving away from the sound. He was aimed right toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. No doubt lovers were using the upended craft for a little private party of their own.

Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, when the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccupping, it was female.

Ayden shot a longing look over his shoulder, debating between the refuge of the path and the complications under the boat.

Chivalry won out and he stepped warily around the bow.

The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.

“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.

“Holy shit…” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat and fell back down. “Crap!” Her hand flew to her head.

“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.

“I’m fine.”

She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the sadness in her eyes.

“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She brushed the sand off her ass. “You scared the living shit out of me.”

Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn to fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.

“Again, I apologize.” He held his hand out as a peace offering. “I’m Austin Schaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.

“Deirdre Tilling,” She shook the hand he offered.

Her grip was surprisingly firm. Ayden liked the touch of her palm against his skin. Not all soft and pliant, but callused and rough. He wondered how it would feel running up his back.

She was a beautiful woman. Her breasts swelled enticingly just above the bodice of her dress. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck. No wonder Jameson had been seducing this lovely creature.

Jameson. Right. He mentally shook his head. Focus, Ayden. Tonight was about gathering information, not sexual conquests. But then again, there was that two birds and one stone thing.

So what about you? Do you have fond memories of the ocean? or perhaps another spot makes your romantic knees go weak? Tell me about it.

I’m hanging out my “Caution: Promo Ahead” sign today. LOL!

Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky one page to grab the reader. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. So I thought today I’d share with you the first lines of my books (with the names removed). When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?

So here they are in no particular order. Can you figure out which book they’re from? (And I included a line from a book that isn’t currently available at this time.):

1.) She slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth.
~ Deceive Her With Desire

2.) Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield.
~ In His Eyes

Bondage women3.) She wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. ~ A Touch of Lilly

4.) She had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed.
~ Invitation to Ecstasy

5.) “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” How could this have happened to someone so young? ~ Blind Her With Bliss

6.) It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse him from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply
imagined the sound. ~ Shadows of Fire

7.) He splashed three more fingers of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the mahogany desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage.
~ Divine Deception

8.) She sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern, wanting only two things—a cold beer and a hot body. ~ Bonded Souls

Rafael_iStk10XSmall9.) Jesus. Even though he wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. ~  Maid for Master

10.) She raced through the shadows, her claws digging deep in the damp forest floor. Lush ferns of summer slapped at her muzzle but didn’t slow her speed.
~ Bonded by Need

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Do you think any of them missed the mark?

And my latest book news? Well, I’m happy to announce all of the books in the Dangerous Affairs, sexy romantic suspense series, BLIND HER WITH BLISS and DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE and CHEAT HER WITH CHARM are now available in audio format. What a kick-in-the-pants to hear someone else reading my stories! I hope you’ll check them out:

blind-her-with-bliss-audio-e-reader-copy
Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

decieve-audio-e-reader-copy
Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

audio - cheat-her-with-charm-web-copy

Available from:
Amazon
Audible
iTunes

I’d like to share with you something that came from one of those foolish emails that gets forwarded so many times you’re not sure where it began. So I’m afraid I can’t give any particular man credit for this. But as a public service announcement I thought I’d share with women what some silly men actually believe to be true. Now here are 13 “rules” from the MAN BOOK (and since all of them–in a man’s opinion–are all equally important they are all numbered 1). Please ladies be gentle with the comments. There are men who read this blog.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

2. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

3. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

4. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

5. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

6. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

7. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

8. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really.

9. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or motor sports.

male torso w handsXSmall

10. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, Expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

11. Crying is blackmail.

12. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.

13. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.


WELCOME! I’m so happy you found your way here. This weekend, over 40 authors are offering fun, and prizes and lots of sexy spring love in our “Fool for Love” blog hop. If you’ve stumbled upon my blog without finding your way to the “bus”, then click HERE to join in all the fun and see what fun other authors are offering.

Since writers are always looking for the hero that will grab a reader by the heart, I’m wondering what romance hero tugs at your heartstrings every time …

1. Cowboys are one of my favorite heroes. Just a few weeks ago one of those sexy men walked into my dreams and decided perhaps I should write a series set out west. Who doesn’t like a sexy man in a hat and chaps and a reeeeaally slow smile and eyes just for you?

2. And who can resist a man in (or out) of uniform? Like say … a fireman? My vampire firefighter, Reese Colton in SHADOWS OF FIRE is one of those sexy men you want showing up at your house, but not when he’s on duty … maybe just a social call?

Buff FiremanXSmall

3. Oh, yeah … why choose one hero when two can be so much naughtier! I’ve never written a book with twin heroes … but seriously … why not?

4. *sigh* That durn horse of mine is always running off and the neighbor is such a hero for bringing him back. I’m a lucky gal! (Actually, I call that good training!)

5. My favorite hero is that alpha male with soft gooey center only the heroine sees, like Cole Takoda in my SHIFTING BONDS series. This wolf shifter is both the police chief and the keeper of the heroines heart … what more could a woman want? Tattoos are just a nice perk.

6. And this guy is so bad … you know he’s going to be really goooood! That scars tells me he’s wounded and ready for some healing. He reminds me of Dallas Sawyer, the futuristic FBI agent in my sexy ménage A TOUCH OF LILLY
Dallas
7. When I’m feeling down, I would love to have a musician to sing to me. Damon Corey in BLIND HER WITH BLISS is a concert pianist who pays the bills as a bad boy shock jock. *sigh* Yeah, that’s a lethal combination!
BL Couple
8. And when you’ve had enough of the city, a hero like Nicholas Gradin from DIVINE DECEPTION will take you for a ride on his motorcycle through the vineyards of New York to forget all your troubles.
NicholasXSmall

9. Puh-lease, you didn’t think one of my badboy heroes wouldn’t be wearing a kilt? Have you ever visited my blog?
scottish kilt guys

10. I grew up on the coast of Maine. I love the beach. And a man bare foot and bare chested in just jeans walking at the beach … oh yeah, it makes my knees weak every time! Rainmaker, the FBI agent in my novel IN HIS EYES spends a lot of time hunting down a serial killer on the beach.
paul_logan_01

11. And then there’s a hero like Jonathon Brierton in MAID FOR MASTER, the real estate magnate who will push you to limits you didn’t think you’d enjoy … 😉
Bondage women

12. What fun is a romance without a hero who makes himself comfortable while he’s waiting for his woman to come home?
a man's place is in the kitchen

Now get out the Windex and paper towels and clean off the monitor and your keyboard. I only offer the eye candy and prizes, you need to clean the drool up off your own chin! LOL!

So what type of romance hero is your can’t-resist-must-read-because-he-makes-your-knees-weak-and-your-heart-race-and-make-you-seek-out-your-man-must-buy-the-book hero? Curious writers want to know.

**** THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED ****
Anyone commenting on this post between now and SUNDAY, APRIL 6 at 4pm EST will be eligible to win a gift pack of goodies including a signed copy of DANGEROUS AFFAIRS. One winner will be chosen at random from the commenters on this post. Thanks so much for visiting! (Shipping to US residents only. An international winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card in lieu of prizes.)

It seems this time of year many RWA chapters offer published authors the opportunity to enter their releases from the previous year into contest. And mind you, these contests aren’t cheap. At $25 to $30 for each book entered, the bottom line can balloon really fast. How do I know? Weeeellll … I’ll admit it … I’m a contest whore. I can’t stop myself!

winner isSo, I fill out the entry form, package up my book and plunk down that check in hopes of scoring well enough to final. Oooookkkaaayyy … I’m competitive enough to want to win. I said it. I WANNA WIN! But this isn’t new. Not only am I a type-A personality, I’m hoping a final in one of these contest might add some credibility to my self-published books.

Before I was published I entered my first manuscript in all kinds of contests. The bummer was the same entry would score a 97 and a 56. Bleh. But after I got over the disappointment of not finalling (in one contest I had the second lowest score), I took time and read the awesome comments of the judges. And you know? They were extremely helpful. In their very polite way they explained that I sooooo wasn’t ready to publish, but if I worked on my craft and more specifically, these couple of things then chances are, I’d make a go of it.

And they were right.

Now, I’m published. The contests are very different. There are no comments on the writing, (since the book is already printed) but there are score sheets that you can look at. And you know, sometimes that still helps. If I find out a character isn’t sympathetic or the motivation for my villain isn’t clear, that kind of information is invaluable.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ll say it again. My purpose for entering these contests is to win. Not come in second … win. It’s who I am. But it’s no different than hoping my book gets a 5-star, “recommended read” review. I am thrilled for weeks and tell anyone who will listen. Writing is a business for me. I want people to like my books and in turn buy the next one. If a reviewer is willing to say my book was a great read, here’s hoping others will see that and follow suit. I’m pretty sure contests don’t help with sales, but it sure feels good.

I know there’s lots of talk about contests. I’m wondering how you feel about it either as an author entering or as a reader. If a book says “WINNER OF XYZ CONTEST” does that affect your buying habits?

Connect