Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Time flies when you're having fun...

The old saying must be true, because in a blink summer seems to be quickly slipping by me! I haven't had time to blog nor review lately. :-( Hopefully you guys won't give up on me, and I'll be back in a flash!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Minerva Montrose has a passion for politics. She is ready to hit the marriage mart with one goal in mind, to marry someone destined to rank high in government, and she's already picked her target.

Lord Blakenly has just returned to Society after a two year exile, and he's ready to pick up where he left off in his debauchery. Most assume he doesn't have the intelligence to run a dukedom, and have low expectations of him, none suspect the secrets he holds.
When Blake and Minerva are discovered in a very compromising position, they find themselves headed to the alter. Blake resents being forced to give up his freedom, while Minerva resigns herself to her fate.
Minerva is a serious minded young woman, while Blake is a fun-loving scoundrel. How will these two find their Happy Ever After, when they can barely tolerate each other?


CONFESSIONS OF AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE was a very enjoyable read. While the premise of the story has been done many times before, Miranda Neville brought a freshness to the storyline with her well-rounded characters and scenery. 

Minerva was a very intelligent, serious young woman, who had managed to get herself into a few scrapes, but nothing like the scandal Blake brought onto her. She was a bit hard to take in the beginning with all her thoughts of politics, but Blake was a little hard for me to take early in the story, also. He couldn't get over feeling sorry for himself, and he treated Minerva with a nasty attitude. I found that hard to read, when he was the one that caused the whole fiasco in the first place. 

Fortunately as the story moved on the characters improved. Minerva decided to try to make the best of the situation, and eventually Blake decided the same, allowing them to learn to actually like each other, and to help their relationship flourish, as they discovered each others true inner character. I felt that when the story was over they had a lasting love that wasn't going to crumble.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

COUNTERMEASURE Blog Tour & Prize Give Away

I would like to welcome Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey to my blog, as they tell us a bit about how they write, and about their latest book, Countermeasure.  Also, don't forget to comment for a chance to win a $10 gift card AND fill out the Google doc on the bottom for a chance at the GRAND PRIZE: Signed copies (by both authors) of Countermeasure and To Russia with Love plus author swag!

We Go With Our Gut

In our interaction with other authors, we have heard them discussing the writing of love scenes and how some think it the hardest part to write. Oddly enough, the love scenes and romance aspects of our stories are the easiest to both of us. We are fairly certain that this comes from our background as role players where you actually wear the skin of the characters you are portraying and play fairly erotic scenes often. In that case, practice makes perfect. The more we played erotic love scenes, the easier it became to write them for the novels and shorts.

What we find the hardest are the intense fight scenes in our stories. These have to be precise, the movements fluid, the punches accurate. We have to study physiology of the human body, progression of debilitation due to certain injuries, evolution of bruising and even decomposition. When you get it wrong, readers question it. Yet, the hot market out there is paranormal romance where characters have super strength and can do things humans can’t. We write contemporary romance where humans are…humans. They fail; they succeed by sheer power of desperation. Fight scenes have to match the “reality” of the story. You can’t have a human in a contemporary story fighting with super-hero strength. In real life situations, in a fight, both parties are scuffed up.

In COUNTERMEASURE, one of the most thrilling scenes is a fight scene that took us a long time to polish. Cassandra James did work the field as a CIA operative but not as a Super Spy. Trevor is a geek (granted hot geek) Data Analyst. They are not kick ass paranormal beings with super hero strength. They are human and non-combative for the most part. Granted, Cassandra has been trained by her father, a Navy Seal and strict military man, and by the CIA at the Farm, but there is a big difference in how they react to situations compared to paranormal characters would. 

When another author critiqued our first fight scene, she shredded it. The main complaint was related to the fact that our hero didn’t look like a hero because he was not winning the fight at all times, kicking ass and coming out unscathed. At first we were chest fallen but then we studied what she said, we read and we researched. We revisited our fight scenes with a different perspective and in the end, we were proud of the final polished scenes.
Trevor and Cassandra fought as they knew how, with rage, determination, and a little help from Trev’s laptop, Jack. No help from the Gods or any extra-terrestrial ability, just plain and simple wit and will to overcome adversities. 

Most rewarding of all is to hear comments from readers on how the scenes feel real, how they read them at the edge of their seats, how they enjoy each and every move as if they are watching a movie play in front of them. Although we didn’t follow the author’s advice to make our hero a super hero, we are still grateful for the advice given and for the drive to push the envelope, tighten the scene even more. 

To all writers beginning this amazing journey, go with your gut. Do not try to make your characters something they are not. If Trevor had gone from desk jockey to Chuck Norris with a change of a scene, he would no longer have been himself. Take criticism, turn it around to your advantage, and run with it.

To readers, all we can say is thank you for the amazing feedback and comments on our much worked on fight scenes. We hope you enjoy them as much as our hot love ones.



 In the first novel of the COUNTERMEASURE SERIES, Trevor Bauer is haunted by the mystery surrounding his parents' disappearance. His dreams for his own life have been put on hold. While searching for clues about them, he crosses paths with Cassandra James, a tough ex-CIA agent who derails every one of his best laid plans to avoid a relationship until he can find the closure he desperately seeks.

Suspicious and determined never to fall into the love trap, security specialist Cassandra James takes on a chase to recover files stolen right out from under her nose. In an effort to prove to her father--also her boss--that she is a capable woman, she follows the digital trail--a trail that leads her directly into the arms of Trevor Bauer, an NSA analyst who appears to have more secrets than she has scars...

When he accepts her request for help in recovering the files she's hunting, they embark on an adventure that takes them across the ocean and into a world of intrigue and violence. As things between them begin to heat up, Trevor realizes that, if he is ever to win Cassandra's heart and the future he craves, he has no choice but to reveal all his secrets.



(Excerpts 1-3, and 5 can be found here:  
Simply Ali - Part 1         Mrs. Condit - Part 2     Cocktails and Books - Part 3       Harlie's Books - Part 5 )

A smile lit his face and he laughed. “Sorry. Old habits from home.” When she frowned he added, “Ireland. Irish. Born and raised.”
“Ah, that would explain the lilt.”
“Yeah, I can mask it well, though. Most times I speak good American.”
“How’s that working for you? It didn’t do you any good a few minutes ago. I seem to recall the word shite.”
“You caught me by surprise,” he replied with a wicked grin.
His grin pulled at her heart, which surprised her. She had never had this reaction to someone before.
“Good to know. So what the hell did you call Nate? It was Irish, right?”
With a snort, Trevor responded, “A amadáin? It means you fool, but it’s really a polite Irish way of calling someone an asshole. Since there are no assholes in Ireland, we don’t really have a word for them, so that’s what we say.”
His expression was so serious, Cassandra couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “I’ll have to remember that one. I know a few back home.”
“A few assholes or Irishmen?”
“Definitely assholes,” she laughed. Sliding off the table, she walked back to her chair and sat. Laughter aside, it was time to get back to the business at hand. “Help me, here. I’m trying to understand what an NSA employee would be doing hacking a system from their own work computer.”
Her laughter was like a warm blanket wrapped around his heart and he had an overwhelming urge to make her laugh more. But the laughter faded and the glimmer of determination to get to the bottom of why he’d been on the server returned to her eyes.
His stomach burned from the stress of the confrontation; she would be giving him an ulcer if she didn’t stop asking questions soon. The truth about the connection between the NSA and the formula was more than an acceptable answer to her questions. He would just keep his personal reasons for the intrusion to himself. That should give her enough to cool her heels. He moved off the table and took the chair she had originally indicated at the start of the meeting.
Okay, Ms. James,” he sighed. “The reason I infiltrated the server was to verify information associated with a flagged conversation we picked up. My co-worker George, the one you saw me talking to when you arrived, received the thread originally. Based on my check, we were able to remove the flag that same day.”
What do you mean by ‘flagged’?”
Trevor considered the ramifications of sharing classified information with her. Since he was fairly certain she was the same Cassandra mentioned in the tagged conversation, he didn’t see anything wrong with exposing that information to her.
“Our group investigates conversations that Echelon has flagged as suspicious based on a list of priority keywords. Almost two weeks ago, a phone conversation was flagged. Some dumbass picked the wrong choice of words to describe how a person by the name of Cassandra had ‘bombed’ the security around the formula—the same formula you’re asking me about right now.”
Cassandra’s pulse pounded in her ears. She now knew why he had been so surprised to hear her name. He had heard it before, had known who she was when she had introduced herself. She was mortified. She was fairly certain Jeff had been the dumbass gloating about her failure.

Find Part 5 of the excerpts here: Harlie's Books 


Chris Almeida began writing children’s stories at a very young age. While Cecilia Aubrey has dabbled in writing on and off over the years. It was in 2010, when Chris and Cecilia met and began role-playing online as a hobby, that writing placed itself front and center—this time, writing storylines for the role-playing group. 

The ideas and plots created for the game awoke their inner writers, and, a few months later, together they began writing romantic erotica. Together, they write suspense-driven erotic romance with sexy, technologically inclined men and woman, filled with intrigue and enough twists and turns to make a rollercoaster seem tame. 

Chris and Cecilia have several published short stories to their credit and their first novel, COUNTERMEASURE, was published in January 2012. They are currently working on the second and third books in the COUNTERMEASURE series. Through all the chaos and laughter, they still hold true to their roots, bringing their favorite role-play characters and stories to life.

You can find out more about them on their author and series websites: