Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Letting Go and Looking Forward

Last week I said two goodbyes. One sad. One happy. Both involved a rainbow of emotions.

Where losing my beloved dog Billie was concerned, I went from devastated to sad to depressed to numb to resigned. This week I'm able to focus more on wonderful memories than her sad absence. My new favorite cliche: Time heals.

The other goodbye involved pushing through my grief (and what proved to be a difficult story all the way around) to finish my next book Out of Eden. That involved some intensive almost round-the-clock writing. I went from stressed to panicked to determined to delirious to inspired and lastly to elated. I not only got to the end, I really liked the end. In my sleep-deprived delirium, I rediscovered the joy of that story and was very pleased with what I turned in.

And over the moon to say goodbye.

This week is a breathing week. I'm catching up on a lot of things that fell through the cracks over the last month. I'm also catching up on pleasure reading, watching some movies with my husband, and doing some 'me' stuff like getting a manicure and contemplating a new hairstyle. (Why is it that after working so hard to grow out my bangs, I always then want to chop new bangs?!) I'm also simmering on my next story... Into the Wild. Hoping to dip my toes into that jungle adventure this weekend. Ah, the anticipation.

Here's to letting go and looking forward.

What about you? Something exciting on the horizon? Please share!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Loving Memory

Even though her independent streak was sometimes a challenge...

Billie Ciotta was one of the most loving and affectionate dogs I have ever known.

We adopted Billie from a rescue shelter when she was 2 and had her with us for 14 years. Steve and I were very fortunate to have such a vibrant creature in our lives for so long. She filled our house and hearts with joy and love. She was the best big sister in the world to our other adopted dog, Cheyenne.

And even tolerated, our ornery, but loving cat, Sadie.

Yes, indeed, we were blessed. Still, even though old age finally got the best of her, it was very hard to let go. So very sad.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our beloved Billie-Boo, aka Billie-Schmoopala, aka Queen Billie... but she will live in our hearts forever. She was always an explorer at heart and now she's exploring the great beyond. Rock on, Billie. We love you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where I've Been and Where You Are

I almost missed Topical Tuesday.


Posting before midnight counts, right? Here’s the thing. I’m working and writing, working and writing. Oh, and promoting. Although that’s died down a bit. It had to. Because of the writing. Same ol’, same ol’, gang. Not enough time in the day. Responsibilities and priorities and all that.

Anyhoo, I just had to pop in so you wouldn’t give up on me, or rather my blog. I will be back. Soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten some really awesome reviews on EVIE EVER AFTER. Color me thrilled and relieved. As the third and final book of the series, I was more than a little nervous about the reception. Here’s a sample of feedback thus far.

"Ciotta pulls out all the stops as she follows
All About Evie (2007) and Everybody Loves Evie (2008) with another winner!" — Lynne Welch, Booklist

"The twists of this clever plot keep all the characters hopping. Ciotta deserves major kudos for creating such an array of memorable characters and such a fun-filled series. 4 1/2 stars! --Jill Smith, Romantic Times BOOKreviews

"I enjoy Ciotta’s trademark humor, her skill with love scenes, and most of all, her characters.... readers of the series will be thrilled for Evie and the choices she makes." 5 stars!-- Julie, GOODREADS

“I loved this! So often, a trilogy is uneven; one of the books really grabs my attention and at least one is a disappointment. This series just got better and better, and the ending was even better than I hoped it would be." 5 stars! --Librarian and Book Reviewer (liberry lady), SHELFARI

"Evie Ever After, is a terrific book by Beth Ciotta. I found the characters fun and engaging, the dialogue witty and I truly loved the movie quotes. A great read and a wonderful series." 4 1/2 stars! --Karen, Manic Reader

And then there are the fantabulous emails from readers! I’m truly over the moon and counting my blessings. I’m also backed up on the next story that was due . . . never mind. Hopefully, by next Tuesday I’ll be free of that. No, I WILL be free of that.

What about you? What’s sapping your time lately?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dressing The Part

"Dressing the part to get in character. My life in fishnets and fairy wings."
Did I tweak your interest? Read the rest of my post and join in the fun over at Romance Novel TV!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And the Fuzzy Navel goes to...

Kaye Manro!
Congratulations, Kaye! You've won a copy of JA Konrath's FUZZY NAVEL (the 5th book in his thriller Jack Daniels series). Please forward a mailing address to beth@bethciotta.com so I can send you this awesome read!Thank you to every one who stopped by and to those who commented. And a special thanks to JA Konrath/Jack Kilborn who really heated things up here at my blog. What fun!
For more thrills, follow Joe on his blog tour by checking his daily links at A Newbies Guide to Publishing

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thriller/Horror Writer gets Sexy

How's that for an intriguing headline? It's true though. And it's happening right here.
When I found out thriller/horror writer JA Konrath/Jack Kilborn was embarking on a blog tour to promote his new book AFRAID, I jumped at the chance to feature him here. In addition to writing under two different names, Joe also writes one heck of an industry blog--A Newbies Guide to Publishing--a must for all writers.

Whoever he is, Joe/JA/Jack, he's always entertaining. This year he'll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. If you're attending, like me, you'll get to meet him! Make sure to attend one of his workshops. The man's a natural-born charmer, er, teacher. You'll also be able to purchase one of his books at Saturday's bookfair. If you ask nice, I bet he'll even sign it. :)

Anyway, I asked Joe why a thriller/horror writer would want to attend a convention that focuses on romantic fiction. His response was entertaining--as I knew it would be. I just wasn't expecting a sexy excerpt from an upcoming book. Um. It's racy. You've been warned. ;)

Take it away , Joe.

* * *

I write thrillers, not romance. I have a Y chromosome. And I'm straight (even though I pinch Barry Eisler's butt whenever I see him.)

So why am I attending the Romantic Times Convention this April?
I write thrillers about a female cop named Jack Daniels, all of which are named after drinks.

I also write horror novels under the name Jack Kilborn. The first one, called AFRAID, comes out in March.

AFRAID has a tiny bit of romance in it, but mostly the book is a scare machine. I tried to write the most frightening book of all time, and many people think I've succeeded. If you think you're woman enough to handle it, I'll be giving away copies (for free) at RT. You can read the first few chapters at www.JackKilborn.com. A warning, though. It's pretty intense.

But that's not the real reason I'm going to RT. The real reason is to show off my sexual abilities.

You see, I just wrote my first sex scene.

It's in my sixth Jacqueline Daniels book, CHERRY BOMB. All the books are named after drinks, and all the books are told from Jack's point of view.

In Cherry Bomb, for the first time in the series, Jack makes love. She does it with a guy she's been friends with in the previous novels. In this scene, the friendship becomes something more. While chasing a killer, they share a bed in a cheap motel room to catch some sleep, no hanky panky at all.

Then morning comes, and it gets complicated.

Here's how the scene begins:

* * *

He touched my back again, and this time I didn’t flinch. But since I’m cursed with the burden of overanalyzing everything, I ruined what could have been a romantic moment by asking, “Why are you here, Phin? Why are you helping me? This isn’t your fight. Am I a diversion? Any port in the storm? A way to kill some time so you don’t have to think about your life?”

Damn my big mouth. If he walked out the door right then, I couldn’t have blamed him.

But he didn’t walk out. He just stared at me. Not angry. But patient. Understanding. And I filled in the blanks. He wasn’t with me because he wanted a little action, or because I helped him take his mind off his problems. He actually cared about me. I saw it in his face. Here was a guy who divorced himself from life, packing his feelings away like winter clothes in the summertime. He worked to keep people out.

And he let me in.

And I realized I wanted that as well.

In one quick motion I billowed up the sheets and cast them off the bed, exposing Phin in his boxer briefs. His body was long and lean and cut, and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to touch him first. I chose his abs, running my hand along his six-pack while sliding alongside him and hooking my leg up over his thigh.

The kiss could have been morning breath bad, but all I tasted was heat. Heat and passion and possibilities that I promised myself would be explored.

His arms encircled me, fingers of one hand running through my hair and tingling my scalp, the over wandering over the back of my sports bra.

I smiled while his tongue probed mine, then pulled slightly away.

“Sports bra,” I said, “no clasps.”

I dug under the elastic, stretched it up over my arms, and he helped me pull the bra over my head and arms. I paused, letting him look at me, drinking in how much he seemed to like the view. Then I grabbed his wrists and put his hands on my breasts.

He rubbed the flat of his palm over my nipples, rolled one between his fingers, tugging on it gently, making it stiffen. Then his arm was around the small of my back and he tugged me next to him, urgent, his mouth on mine.

His lips trailed down past my jaw to my neck, and I locked my legs around the side of his thigh and ground against it, feeling my first jolt of full on arousal, building inside me like a wave. Right then I was ready to go at it. I wanted him in me. Wanted to wrap my legs around his hips and ride him until I made him moan.

Phin had other ideas.

He kissed his way along my neck, sliding his body down next to mine, breaking my leg-lock on him. His arms encircled my hips, hands grasping my ass, and his mouth found my nipples. He caught one in his teeth, held it between them while bathing it with his tongue. I tried to open my legs but he held them together, which drove me a little crazy as he switched from one breast to the other. He was too low for me to touch anything other than his head and back, so I locked my fingers in his blond hair and held on.

His head moved lower, licking my rib cage, my navel, and then slowly, maddeningly, to the top of my red panties. He rested his mouth there, letting my feel his hot breath through the fabric, and then began to kiss.

I moved my arms down, trying to help him tug my panties off, but he held my wrists and wouldn’t let me, continuing my move his mouth and jaw over my pubic mound, up and down and in small circles until it felt ready to catch fire.

I tried to fight him, wanted to end the foreplay and flip him over and straddle his face and let him devour me. I pressed up against his mouth, but he moved his face away each time I did. Even though the panties stayed on, even though he deliberately avoided hitting the right spots, I felt the orgasm welling up. And then I understood what he was doing, other than teasing me.It was okay to not be in control.I moaned, turned my head to the side, took a corner of the pillow in my mouth and let him have his way.

* * *
So that's how it begins. After that, things start to get a little hot.

The reason I'm going to RT is so I can read the entire scene, aloud, to romance writers and fans, and hopefully learn how to get better at doing these type of scenes. If you want to learn how to become a violin virtuoso, you go to a Juilliard. If you want to find out how to do effective love scenes, you go where the experts are.

Romantic Times, April 22-26, Orlando.

Hope to see some of you there. I'll be the guy passing out free horror novels.
* * *
Beth here. I'd like to thank Joe for stopping by this romance novelist's blog. (Does know his target audience, or what?)
BONUS! I'll be giving away a copy of FUZZY NAVEL (the 5th book in his thriller Jack Daniels series) to one lucky, randomly chosen person. All you have to do to be eligible is comment!

Monday, March 2, 2009

And the winner is...

Congratulations Nichole L! You are the final winner in my Pre-Evie Celebration. Woo-hoo! Please email me at beth@bethciotta.com and include your mailing address so I can send you your copy of Evie Ever After.
I want to thank every one who commented over the last month. I had no idea my deleted scenes would create such interest. Your thoughts and enthusiasm made me feel like a million dollars. Especially appreciated while under the pressure of a deadline. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Three Faces of Evie, er Beth

Official release day for Evie Ever After. Woo-hoo! I'm guest blogging at NYT Bestseller Charlotte Hughes' digs. (Thank you, Charlotte!) Swing on by!

"Ciotta pulls out all the stops as she follows All About Evie (2007) and Everybody Loves Evie (2008) with another winner!"Lynne Welch, Booklist