Sunday, December 18, 2011

GUEST: Tina Donahue

What’s Your Favorite Holiday Memory?

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the holidays. Put a little pine scent and chill in the air, throw in the fragrance of pumpkin pie, honey-baked ham and all the other goodies no health conscious person should eat and I’m a goner.

However, it’s the memories that stir me the most. In particular, this one that didn’t start out so great but turned into something oh so romantic.

The first year my husband and I dated, I was giddy about Christmas as only a twenty-something can be. Although I wasn’t expecting a ring (we were too new to each other), I was expecting some kind of jewelry. What I got was a clock radio. “So you’re not late for work,” he said. You see, he owned the newspaper where I worked.

Hmmm. By the look on my face, he knew he’d fallen into a deep hole of doo-doo, especially since I’d given him a gyroscope he’d been eyeing. Don’t ask me why those kinds of things interested him, they just did.

The following year, I had no great hopes. We were married by then and I figured I’d get a blender or iron to improve my wifely skills. Christmas Eve, a working day for us, he left for the office earlier than usual, mumbling about deadlines. I trudged in a little later, but before the rest of the crew had arrived. I had a migraine, a pimple the size of Mt. Everest erupting on my chin and just wanted to curl up under the front desk and sleep.

A beautifully decorated envelope on the desk stopped me. It was taped to the wood and had my name on it. Inside was one of the loveliest cards I’d ever seen. What’s more, instead of a canned poem being inside, there was my hubby’s handwriting, telling me how much he loved me.

I called out his name. No answer. Surely, he was here, I saw his car out front. I went into the guts of the paper. There, on various tables and bookcases were other envelopes with my name on them. There were also gaily wrapped packages. One had a beautiful nightie I’d told him about in passing. The next, a novel I’d been thinking of getting. Another a briefcase I’d seen in an office magazine.

It was hard to read and see all the stuff, I was crying so hard. I ran into his office. He pretended to be on the phone, all serious and busy. I pulled the phone from him, hung up and kissed him hard, babbling about what he’d done. “Oh,” he said, “you got to all of it?”

There was more?

At my desk, I saw another small package. It held a diamond and sapphire ring I’d seen at Zales when I went shopping with one of my friends. Clearly, he’d asked her what I wanted. What I liked. How he could please me.

It wasn’t the gifts, though they were great. It wasn’t even the cards with all of his thoughts written down. It was that he took the time to make Christmas special for me. That he cared enough.

It’s a moment I’ll never forget. I lost him a few years back from what insurance companies call a ‘medical misadventure’. He had a minor ailment and the doctor prescribed the wrong medication. In a flash, he was gone.

But never forgotten. He’ll always be in my heart and thoughts.

I’d love to hear about your best holiday memory.

Leave a comment and you’re entered in my CONTEST!!!

One lucky commenter on this blog will have her choice of one of my following ebooks**:

Adored – RWA award-winning; EPIC 2011 Finalist; 4 Stars RT
Deep, Dark, Delicious – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Holt Medallion Award of Merit
Lush Velvet Nights – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Golden Nib Award
In His Arms – SIX 5 Star Reviews; 4 Stars RT
Sensual Stranger – 2010 Book of the Year (erotic); 4 Stars RT
The Yearning – Top Ten Bestseller
Take Me Away - #1 Pick, Miz Love Loves Books

** Winner chosen at random. Winner chosen December 20.

More great news - I have two new releases out!

SiNN, contemporary ménage

Unending Desire, erotic paranormal

Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work; she has reached finals and/or placed in numerous RWA–sponsored contests. Three of her erotic novels were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic romance, was chosen Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category) at the French review site, Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights; and Deep, Dark, Delicious (erotic romance) recently received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011). She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome XOXO Publishing's hottest writing team!

Meet Chris Almeida and Celelia Aubrey, XoXo Publishing's hottest new writing duo. I met these two earlier in the year, and was very impressed with their dedication, to each other and their writing endeavours. It's a distinct pleasure to see them with the first of their works published now with the Toronto-based small publisher, XoXo. Now, meet these talented and charming authors for yourself, and check out their début titles!

1. How long have you been writing?

Chris ~ I have been writing since I can remember. I used to write children’s stories when I was younger but professionally and as a published author, for about a year.

~ I have been writing as a published author for about a year. Before that much of my writing was for business publications and program materials.have been writing since I can remember. I used to write children’s stories when I was younger but professionally and as a published author, for about a year.

2. How long have you been a published author?

We have just become published authors within the past year.

3. What titles do you have available?

We have two published titles through XOXO Publishing—The Hottest Chapter and Dream Instruction.

4. What made you choose contemporary erotica romance as the subject of these books?

We had been writing Erotic RP storylines before we jumped into contemporary erotica. It was a natural transition. While we appreciate the many paranormal erotica stories out there, we decided to tackle something different and felt comfortable with contemporary stories. We just added a little pinch of spice to it.

5. Do you have any new titles coming soon? Will you be venturing into the area of fiction anytime soon?

Currently we have two works in progress—Countermeasure and To Russia with Love, book 1 and 2 of the Countermeasure series—in which the hero and heroine are immersed in the world of data espionage. They are filled with suspense, mystery and romance. Those two don't yet have a release date but we hope to be announcing it soon.

In addition, (yes we are gluttons for punishment) we have several novellas and shorts in different stages of development.

6. What is your favourite genre and why?

Contemporary Romance with a touch of erotica. Although it is a far cry from the big paranormal market out there today, the erotica aspect of it is as hot and like a piece of chocolate to take you away if just for a little bit.

We do enjoy fact checking and making the scenes and events reflect real and palpable situations but we also enjoy the Paranormal and Science Fiction/Fantasy where the world is your oyster and you can develop it any way you wish without thought as to whether or not your premise is truly feasible. You can create your own world, powers, creatures, characters, etc. without someone going, “Huh?”

7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?

Cecilia ~ For me it is the brainstorming session and story outlining with Chris. I love the thoughts and threads that come out of those discussions. They inspire me to get a scene down as a foundation for us to work with or for me to help build from what Chris has laid out. Believe or not, I also enjoy the editing processes. It is hard work but I love seeing it tighten a chapter.

Chris ~ I enjoy each part of the process. From plotting, creating the ARC, character development, fact checking and research and putting the words to paper (or screen). Each part has its own excitement and, for each completed piece, a new sense of accomplishment.

8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?

Chris ~ I don't see me NOT co-authoring a book with Cecilia. The NaNoWriMo experience proved my self-worth and creativity exists regardless of our partnership BUT I wouldn't think of writing without her humor and wit to push me through the tough parts.

Cecilia ~ That’s easy. I already have a wonderful co-author that I write with. Chris fills in the gaps in my writing and inspires me to do better. If I’m having a difficult time expressing something, I’ll discuss it with Chris. Our dialog helps me get back on the right track. In essence, we are like two halves of a whole. When put together, the story flows to the page.

9. Where can readers find you on the web?

Chris is the ultimate geek so we are everywhere LOL. You can find us through the following links:


CA Duo Books -

Countermeasureseries -

GoodReads Author Pages:


Chris Almeida -

Cecilia Aubrey -

Authors Facebook Fan Page -

Series Facebook Fan Page -



Thanks so much for being my guest.

Thank you so much for inviting us it is always a pleasure to talk with you Denyse! Here is a little bit about our two published stories and where they can be found. Enjoy!


The Hottest Chapter

Searching for inspiration, Eva sets out to organize her day. Armed with a cup of coffee and her to do list, she knocks out a great deal of work. Stumped on where to take her story, she breaks for lunch. It’s her lunch that gives her the inspiration to open the door into Lily and Jacob’s world. Before she knows it, they take control and she becomes mesmerized by their little game of sensual payback, leaving her hot and needy.

From XOXO publishing store:

From Amazon:

Dream Instruction

After a year of defensive training classes together, Darci Meyer would like nothing better than for Darius Lawrence, her hot instructor, to show the same interest in her that she has in him. Little does she know Darius is finding it difficult to stay in control around her. Will either of them survive the next lesson or will their feelings get the better of them?

From XOXO publishing store:

From Amazon:

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I'm so excited about this this news I wanted to share it with everyone immediately! My newest release is a departure for me, going into some genres I've never really explored much, but it seems to have been a success, this one, a vampire tale with some erotic twists, has already reached the #7 spot the Top Ten best-sellers at the New Dawning site - I now have THREE in the TOP TEN of this publisher!

So, if you'd like to grab a copy of this hot ménage/BDSM/vampire tale, it's currently on sale for $2.54 - direct from the publisher!!! WHEEEE!!!!!! Use the coupon code: Bookfair30 - and you get the book at $1.78 - you can't beat that price!!

Also, drop by and check out my newest interview at TRS, as well:

First review of Stolen Rapture - FIVE FANGS!!

Genres: Erotic/vampire/ménage/BDSM
Publisher: New Dawning International Book Fair
Cover Art; Kayden McLeod


When work brings Deluna Jordan face to face with a man who knows her better than she knows herself, she soon discovers he shares everything with his boss, including lovers…and a thirst for blood…and she is about to become the lucky recipient of all their desires…

Friday, December 02, 2011

New Releases ON SALE!

For the month of December, we at New Dawning Bookfair are combining our 2nd anniversary celebration with the Holiday Season for one huge Super Xmas Sale. Join our celebration for savings, contests and a chance to win a Kindle.

For starters the top ten and newest dozen releases have been reduced 20%. In addition, every title including the above titles are available at 30% off with use of a coupon code. Then, if you buy five titles your are eligible to receive a free book of your choice up to the average value of your purchases.

Visit our yahoo group @ BOOKFAIR BUDDIES for further details.

THIS means that if you'd like to pick up a copy of my vampire ménage, STOLEN RAPTURE - it's on sale at the moment!

Or, if you want it as part of the Anniversary Collection, that can be found here: THREESOMED!

Also in the Top Ten Best-sellers are my Cinderella story - GLASS SLIPPERS AND JEWELLED MASQUES - currently #1 - as well as my first ménage tale, STRANDED! - #4 right now. Drop by and stock up on these sexy, smokin' hot reads!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The value of a book review

What is the real value of a book review?

For most authors a review means validation for all our hard work and hope that we’ve produced a story readers will buy and enjoy. In many cases this is the only feedback we have to consider, since readers don’t often write what was once considered fan mail. But, just how important should that much-sought-after review really be? I’ve been writing, and getting reviews, for almost seven years now. I admit I was lucky in the sense that my first pro story was universally reviewed with top ratings and raves. But, that was before bloggers became a dominant voice in the world of books and reviews.

So, which reviews DO matter to the overall marketability of your book is what becomes the real issue now. There are sites I respect and value as reviewers, well established sites with a team of reviewers who take their jobs as seriously as the authors they are reading. They take time to evaluate and consider what they have to say about a book, and to make solid and rational statements about their perceptions. Sites like Romance Junkies, The Romance Studio, Siren Reviews, Talking Two Lips Reviews, Long and the Short of It (and sister site Whipped Cream for their reviews of erotic books), Coffeetime Romance, Just Erotic Romance Reviews–to name only a few. (There are many reputable review sites, and a quick internet search will find them for you.) These sites have a policy in place that requires reviewers to submit their reviews, and they will be approved by the owners before being posted to the site. This gives a little time for clarity and review of thoughts, which can be invaluable.

Recently, with the popularity of blogging, there has been a marked surge in reviewers who operate individually from a blog they own. While it’s certainly true that ALL opinions are valid and valued, when bloggers become reviewers you have huge potential for confrontation and “bad” reviews. I can only speak from my personal experience with this new breed of reviewer, and it’s a mixed response at best. In my career of over four dozen books, I’ve only received a few questionable reviews, and they’ve been from bloggers who take it upon themselves to review books they read. In one instance the reviewer hit a book that contained one of her personal red zone issues… you know, the one thing that will kill any book for you kind of thing. Instead of admitting she couldn’t be objective about the book, which had received a number of 4 and 4.5 (out of 5) star reviews, she chose to post a review that defied reason. She ranted, quite literally–other authors went to read it, I share the bad and the good, and they were all stunned and confused, said her review was incoherent and made no sense, so how was anyone to take it seriously? This made me think a lot about whether this kind of review even has a value to potential readers. It was the second time in six months that such a review appeared on a single-person owned blog, and the second time the book wasn’t what the reviewer anticipated when buying it and choosing to review it. So, if you are wholly mistaken about what you’re about to read, or you hit a topic that sets you off–is it remotely fair to then proceed to trash author and book for the world to see, so to speak?

Some bloggers work hard to be objective and clear in their efforts to review books, and I applaud their dedication to authors and readers alike. The ones I personally object to are the ones who publish ranting, inarticulate messes and get their friends to jump in the moment someone disagrees with them. As an author, I refuse to comment on bad reviews posted to blogs. If it’s my book being shredded, the blogger gets a thank you for your input, which is all that’s required. ANY author who attempts to “justify” their work is giving the power to the person who needs to express their negative opinion mostly for the sake of gaining attention. Same rule applies to Amazon reviews, you’ll often notice there is one really poor review on many works–and if you look closer, few people see that as helpful. They recognize it for what it is, someone using the power of the rating button to simply be petty and mean. That’s not to say those who take the time to post thoughtful and honest reviews aren’t appreciated, because these are the readers themselves and they are often the best reviews we as writers can ever hope to receive.

To new authors who really want to see your book reviewed, speak with your publishers about where to send your book for review, ask other authors who they trust. And, if you are unlucky enough to get a bad review, it will hurt, certainly, but smile, say thank you, and move on. Serious book review sites will listen to the author if there is a legitimate complaint about a review–I once asked Coffeetime Romance to review one of the reviews for a book I’d written because the reviewer hadn’t read the book–it was obvious in the fact that she continually called the hero by the wrong name and his name was part of the title. They removed the review and put it back into the queue for another reviewer to select in the event they wanted to do it more fairly.

My final word to new authors on this touchy subject is this–reviewers are avid readers who love books, and they do this job because of that love. They are busy people with busy lives, just like authors, and they volunteer this service to support the writers they love so much. If you submit a book for review and it doesn’t get picked up, don’t hound the site owner or bitch on your Facebook about it–just keep sending the book for review, and accept what comes back to you with grace and professionalism. Most of all, just keep writing…the reviews are only a tiny part of the process, and at the end of the day, readers will read what they want to read. Reviews are bragging rights, they are not likely to make your book a best-seller or a flop, your writing skill is what does that, so keep learning your craft and improving with every new book!