Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

Delicious cover The last weeks of 2008 were full of good news. The most awesome announcement came from Library Journal, which picked Delicious as one of its five Best Romances of 2008. How exciting is that? Sophomore books are notorious for slumping, because it is the first time an author writes under the pressures of a publishing deadline. And goodness knows Delicious was a tough book to write, as I worked amidst much fear and panic and, ironically enough, hunger. Can you tell I'm simply thrilled? :-)

Private Arrangements cover Meanwhile, Private Arrangements, my debut book, continues to collect kudos. Romance B(u)y the Book has named it one of its two Best Historical Romances of 2008.

Moreover, at Dear Author, probably the most highly trafficked romance blog on the net, either Delicious or Private Arrangements or the two of them together made the Best of 2008 lists of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Dear Author reviewers.

As I've said before, there is only one way to celebrate such good fortune: by giving away stuff! :-) This month I am giving away two books by my very good friend, Tracy Wolff, who has an exciting slate of books hitting the shelves in 2009. Be sure to read my interview with her and then enter the contest for Tracy's books.

All About Tracy

Tracy Wolff Photo

2009 is debut author Tracy Wolff's year. She is versatile--she writes everything from Harlequin Superromance to paranormal romance to romantic suspense to erotic suspense. She is prolific--she will have 4 full-length books released this year. And she is just totally fabulous in every conceivable way. I interviewed her on the eve of the release of her first erotic suspense from NAL, Full Exposure.

To read an excerpt from Full Exposure, click here.

Your debut NAL release, Full Exposure, has been described as "erotic suspense." That intrigues me. What is erotic suspense?

Erotic suspense is a subcategory of erotic romance that seems to be taking the publishing world by storm these days. In a nutshell, it’s romantic suspense with the heat turned waaaaay up. But it is more than just a bunch of hot sex scenes strung together with a bad guy—good erotic suspense has a strong suspense plot, with sex somehow essential to that plot.

Full Exposure Cover In the case of Full Exposure, my heroine Serena, has survived a vicious attack that left her sister dead. But it forced her to shut down inside to survive, and my hero, Kevin, uses sex (among other things) to reach out to her. The suspense comes in when the man responsible for injuring Serena, and killing her sister, is released early from prison—right around the time frightening and mysterious things start happening to Serena.

Tell me a bit more about this book that New York Times bestselling author Shannon McKenna calls "Edgy and erotic . . . a sultry, red-hot read."

Full Exposure is the story of a vulnerable but strong woman, who has managed to survive unspeakable horrors through sheer strength of will—and by disconnecting with her emotions and the world around her. It is, at its heart, a powerfully romantic story about how one man helps this woman find her way again after she’s been lost for nearly decade. It’s also the first book I ever wrote—though it was the second to sell and get published. It takes place largely in the Louisiana Bayou, a place near and dear to my heart as I lived in New Orleans for a number of years while I went to graduate school.

What is your favorite thing about this book?

My hero. Though I’ve written a number of books since this one, Kevin remains my absolute favorite character. Incredibly tough, unbelievably sexy, he’s got a great capacity for tenderness that helps him give Serena exactly what she needs. My other favorite thing—the fact that the sex scenes are so hot that they actually made my editor blush—and believe me when I tell you that that is no easy thing to do.

You also wrote a Spicy Brief for Harlequin. You teach literature at your local community college. I understand that some of your students were suitably impressed? :-)

No Apologies Cover I did write a Spice Brief for Harlequin—it’s called No Apologies and tells the story of a woman who refuses to believe in love and the man who loves her. It is quite “spicy” and while I usually mention to my writing students that I am a writer myself, I don’t give them my pen name as I have to stand up in front of rooms full of eighteen to twenty year olds three times a week and I would just prefer that they not think about me that way.

But last Spring, a group of motivated students hunted me down on the internet—just as No Apologies released. They—and their friends—really liked it, but when my fall rosters turned up classes that were almost exclusively male, it was my turn to blush. On the first day, it was obvious that they had heard about the story, but I didn’t bring up my writing at all this semester—and neither did they.

2009 is shaping up to be a banner year for you. Give us a rundown on what you've got going on this year.

Naughty Bits Cover 2009 is busy! Full Exposure hits January 6th, followed by Naughty Bits —a Spice anthology—in March. In June, my second Harlequin Superromance, From Friend to Father comes out and in September my second erotic suspense, Tie Me Down, hits the shelves. I end the year in December, with my third Superromance—To Save A Boy.

And of course I can't let you go without begging for the recipe for your chocolate trifle, which is one of the most heavenly desserts I've ever had. Please share.

That’s one of my favorite desserts, as well, Sherry. It’s also super easy. You need:
One tray of brownies—sometimes I make them from scratch, but usually I just use the boxed kind.
1/4 cup Kahlua, Grand Marnier or Espresso
2 packages of chocolate mousse
1 pint of whipping cream, whipped with a little sugar and vanilla
3 Heath bars or one bag of Heath bar bits, crushed
1 cup crushed pecans
And then you just layer it all together. Crumble the brownies in the bottom of a trifle bowl, then pour half of liqueur or coffee on them. Spread with chocolate mousse and then a layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with heath bits and pecans then repeat all the layers again.

Man, now you’ve got me thinking about dessert- I might just have to go make this. :-)

And thanks for having me, Sherry. It’s been a blast!

Tracy Wolff Giveaway

Full Exposure Cover

There is a contest exclusive to subscribers of An Infrequent Offer. To subscribe, click here.

But you can visit Tracy's website for her contest. She is running a mega-contest to celebrate the release--giving away books, bath products and a gift certificate to Starbucks!

A Christmas Wedding Cover

And congratulations to Cindy M, who won the Mystery Case Files Huntsville giveaway, and to plhill2000, the winner of the Gold Canyon candle from Heather Bennett.

Book Recommendations

This month's book recommendations come from my guest Tracy Wolff. Thanks, Tracy.
Scarpetta cover

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwall. Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell is the latest installment about kick-ass medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. And though it deviates a little from her usual writing style (it is much longer than her other books, is written in numerous POVs, and concentrates a lot more on the personal aspect of Benton's and Kay's relationship) I thought it was a fascinating story. Maybe because of those things, as I am, at heart, a romance reader.

Harrassed by a nasty internet blogger who is desperate to ruin her, charged with determining the deadly truth and lies of a paranoid schizophrenic and determined to find the perpetrator of some of the most brutal murders of her career, Kay Scarpetta faces twists and turns and cutting-edge technology all in an effort to stop the bad guys.

On the Prowl cover

On the Prowl by Karen MacInerney. Let me preface this by saying I'm usually really picky when i choose a paranormal book, and even pickier when I choose one that has an on-going character-- usually because I have a hard time suspending my disbelief. I originally picked up On the Prowl because I am currently writing a shapeshifter series (for publication in 2010) and wanted to see what was going on in the genre. And the book ended up blowing the top of my head off. Seriously. It was savvy, smart, fascinating and down-right hilarious in turn-- a fun read that was beautifully written.

Sophie Garou has a great job she loves as an uptown lawyer, is dating a wonderful guy who is angling to be mayor of Houston and is exceptionally pleased with her life-- except for one small thing. She's a werewolf and it's getting to be a bigger and bigger pain to keep that little secret, well, secret. Especially as the Houston werewolf pack has found her and decided that keeping a low profile really isn't an option for her ...

The Second Wives Club cover

The Second Wives Club by Jane Moore. I picked this book up on a whim and kept it on my bookshelf for months before I actually read it. And boy, was that a stupid move. Now, I've read the First Wives' Club, saw the movie when it came out, and being a first-- and hopefully only-- wife, had a huge amount of sympathy for those women cast aside for younger models. Never, until this book, did it occur to me that the second wives have it almost as bad. After all, in many cases the first wife has the children, controls the purse strings and is, in fact, the first woman their husbands ever loved.

The Second Wives' Club details the life of four women who are, indeed, second wives. Three of them cheated, schemed and did everything possible to get their positions, while one kind of fell into the roll when her good friend died. Funny, irreverent, and brutally honest, Moore's look at life-- and love-- is one that will definitely make you think, even as it makes you laugh.

May your shelves always overflow with great books to read.


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