Saturday, December 29, 2012

10 things to break out of a rut in 2013

Well, we've all been there, that dark place called a rut.  Whether it's in your relationships, your look, your finances or your lack of a love life, that dreaded rut keeps us doing the same old habits again and again with zero forward momentum.  

Now that 2013 is upon us, let's make a list of 10 things to do this year that can set us free.  When we feel good about ourselves, we attract that same kind of energy to us.  

  • Redo your style.  Do you still have the same hair style that you had a decade ago?  Are you still wearing the same shade of lipstick or that cute sweater from 2000?  It's time to change it up!  Not only do styles change, but face shape and body type do, too.  What flattered you a decade ago may be dragging you down today or aging you before your time.  
  • Indulge a little.  Are you perpetually on a diet?  Does the new year mean finding new ways to get lean?  There's nothing wrong with being healthy, but give yourself a break from the diet rut and enjoy life again.  Savor the wine, order the lasagna, relax with friends without counting calories.  Indulging in the succulent pleasure of food once in a while won't make you fat, just like reading erotica doesn't make you a porn star.  
  • Break free of the computer.  We're always looking down these days.  Smartphones, iPads, and laptops all have us looking down and filling our brains with endless streams of information.  Celebrity gossip, world disasters, latest stock market trends, blah blah blah...put it down.  Learn to look up again. Go for more walks, disconnect from the chatter and see how clear your mind becomes when you connect with the world happening in present tense right around you.  
  • For the single ladies out there--take a break from dating.  Yes, you want Mr. Right, but if you have to waste your time on one more player in the making you're gonna pull your hair out by your roots. Am I right?  Guess what?  You don't need to be in perpetual dating mode.  Stop.  It's okay to take a hiatus from the dating world and spend your time on yourself.  Go to a meetup.com site and find something to do that's simply fun with no expectation of meeting "the one".  It's amazing what can happen when the pressure is off.
  • Toss out the tabloids.  Listen, who doesn't feel horrible about the way they look if they're always comparing themselves to the photoshopped hotties on the magazine covers lining the check out aisle?  They are not real women like you and me.  They starve themselves, probably smoke, and, seriously...would you want to have a cocktail with any of them?  Probably not. (No offense, models, you're probably wonderful people in the world you live in, but I'm here in Colorado and there's enough pressure with all the triathletes surrounding me.)  The truth is you are YOU and it's all good.  Stop comparing yourself to an illusion.  
  • Go on a trip alone.  Always wanted to go to Spain but think you need to go with a plus one?  Well, you don't.  Airlines won't stop you from buying one ticket, hotels won't block you from booking because you're solo.  Stop waiting for that elusive someday and go where you want.  Life is short...what are you waiting for?
  • Take control of your finances once and for all.  Nothing puts a damper on a relationships or your attitude like money problems.  Sure, the economy isn't stellar and your salary doesn't look like it's gonna take a huge leap up, but that's no reason to lose yourself in debt.  Take control.  Cut up the credit cards.  Try to renegotiate your APR.  Take lunch to work.  Make coffee at home and take it with you.  When you're not distracted with money issues--no matter your income--life becomes much simpler and relationships flow much better.  
  • So you think you can write a book, huh?  What are you waiting for?  Believe me, publishers don't just show up at your doorstep and ask if you have a manuscript for them.  Now is the time to start pursuing your dream job, whatever that may be for you.  Don't quit the solid paycheck just yet, though--set time aside every day--yes, EVERY DAY--and work at it. Dreams whisper in your heart for a reason so who are you to ignore it?  It is possible.  Trust me--I'm living mine right now. 
  • Tackle your biggest fear this year.  Afraid of heights?  Flying?  Cats?  Fear is the biggest myth we as humans have.  I'm asking you to take baby steps in facing your fear--not bungie jumping if you're afraid of heights!  Baby steps, people.  I don't want anyone having a stroke on my watch.  Not only will facing your fears boost your confidence, you may realize how irrational it truly was. 
  • Have meaningless-heart pumping-curl-your-toes-sex more often just because.  Yeah, I may be a romance novelist and go on and on about love, but there's nothing wrong with just getting down and dirty for the helluva it.  If you're in a relationship, good for you, but when's the last time you just grabbed your man in the middle of the room, or the front seat of the car and went for the glory?  If you're single and still looking for your soul mate, give yourself permission to indulge in Mr. One Night once in a while.  Why not?  As long as you're emotionally and physically smart about it, a one night stand can be sizzling and exactly what you need.  
Ruts are for boring people.  We're not boring, are we?  I trust that, especially if you're reading this blog, you are faaaaaaaarrr from boring.  C'mon!  Break free in 2013 and see what happens. 

Novels by Amber Lea Easton are available 






Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Winners Announced


Winners Announced!
On my blog, Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the night, the winner of the $25 VS gift card is Cassidy S.  
Thanks for everyone who stopped by!  I hope you all have an amazing holiday season filled with joy and many blessings. The overall grand prize winners are below the graphic. 



After over 8,000 comments our Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop has some grand prize winners!!
Congrats!

Grand Prize Winners:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Aimee F.


$200 Amazon Gift Card:
Laura T.


Swag Pack:
Debbie G.


The grand prize winners have already been notified and have their prizes or the prizes are on their way!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop--the gift of love




Welcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop where over 200 romance authors are doing giveaways and talking about our favorite holiday stuff.  I've done sexy hops--some pretty steamy ones, actually--but this one is a bit different.  I'm going to be focussing on my favorite holiday moments and things. Some of my posts will be about love, but some will simply be me opening a door into my world so you get a glimpse of the real me. (Don't worry, I said the real me, not me au natural...big difference!) :-) 
 As you can see from the above graphic, this is a HUGE giveaway for the overall hop.  On this specific blog, I'm giving away a $25 egift card to Victoria's Secret again because everyone loved that for the Black Friday Hop.  Remember...all you need to do is comment with your email address to be eligible to win it all and then keep right on hopping. Thanks for stopping by!  


The Gift of Love--Sometimes the holidays can highlight loneliness or amplify stress.  There was a time shortly after my husband died when I dreaded the holidays.  I'd get almost manic trying to make them perfect for the kids, as if going over the top would make up for the loss of their father.  In doing so, I stressed myself out and only served to highlight the absence of the one man we wanted with us.  Now, seven years later, I've learned a lot about love.  I've learned that love is all that's really important and that it comes in many forms. 

Love begins with loving ourselves.  Realizing that helped me get through some pretty lonely Christmases and New Years' Eves.  

Giving the gift of love--start with yourself.  What can you do today that would be loving to yourself?  Would it be taking the long way home?  Would it be taking a long bath and shutting out the world for a while?  Would it be renting a movie or buying a book that you've been wanting?  Would it be taking the time to exercise despite the schedule or going for that walk even if it's snowing?  Would it be finally leaving the jerk and being okay with being alone--and peaceful--this holiday?  Whatever would make you feel loved today BY YOU, do it.  Be good to yourself.  In my experience, this was a difficult concept to accept--but doing so was the turning point in my own journey back to happiness.  

Giving the gift of love---your friends.  I've been guilty of this myself--NOT calling someone because I assume they're too busy to talk or because I think I'd be a nuisance in their hectic schedule.  Well, the truth is, everyone appreciates a "I'm thinking of you and hoping you have a good day" text or voicemail or an actual conversation that is "just because".  Not every moment of every day needs to have a purpose and simply letting someone know they're on your mind can be a true gift.  

Giving the gift of love---your family.  No matter what your history is, take this time to say "I love you" or "I forgive you".  Perhaps you're not able to do that in person for whatever reason--that's fine.  I needed to do this with the passing of my husband because he was (obviously) not present.  I needed to forgive him for leaving us so that I could be at peace.  I know that's extreme--but whatever situation--now is the time to give of love to the situation at hand so that you can be at peace.  With my kids, especially after the recent tragedy, I want them to know the value of the holidays is LOVE not things.  Our relationships matter.  Love matters.  

Giving the gift of love---your significant other.  Wow, this can be a hectic time.  Yes, you may be too tired, too concerned about money or emotionally sick from watching the news and don't want to even think about being touched or affectionate.  Well, I think now IS the time to be affectionate and to connect with your significant other.  A touch can go a long way...some flirtation can make his/her day...a long, slow kiss is always recommended (my favorite thing).  

Giving the gift of love--strangers.  Yes, there are charities, but that's not what I'm taking about.  Smile more.  Compliment a stranger on their scarf or whatever.  Hold the door open.  Make eye contact.  Connect with the world around you.  We're in this together, people!  

At the dimming of the day, love is all that matters.  Happy holidays from my family to you and yours. Peace.  

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to be eligible to WIN and keep on hopping! 
If you missed my other posts on this hop, here are the links: 
Gift of Reverence
Gift of Relaxation
Gift of Food

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop--the gift of food


Welcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop where over 200 romance authors are doing giveaways and talking about our favorite holiday stuff.  I've done sexy hops--some pretty steamy ones, actually--but this one is a bit different.  I'm going to be focussing on my favorite holiday moments and things. Some of my posts will be about love, but some will simply be me opening a door into my world so you get a glimpse of the real me. (Don't worry, I said the real me, not me au natural...big difference!) :-) 
 As you can see from the above graphic, this is a HUGE giveaway for the overall hop.  On this specific blog, I'm giving away a $25 egift card to Victoria's Secret again because everyone loved that for the Black Friday Hop.  Remember...all you need to do is comment with your email address to be eligible to win it all and then keep right on hopping. Thanks for stopping by!  


Most of us have food we only make for the holidays--and, as far as I'm concerned, food is one of the greatest pleasures in life.  It's used for celebration--sometimes it can get pretty sexy, too, but that's not what I'm talking about right now.  Today I'm talking about the traditional holiday food that my family likes and am going to ask you to share some of yours in your comments.

For my family, holiday's are about eating lots of sugar and making a mess.  Ha.  No, seriously, we make holiday candy like chocolate peanut butter balls, fudge, Rocky Mountain Bars,  and a Norwegian treat---lefse.  Mmmm... These are the treats for us that simply scream "holiday time!"  

The kids and I set up an assembly line situation and go for it.  I'm always anticipating a mess because--let's face it--most of what's good in life is messy. 

First up--and the kids' favorite--is the chocolate covered peanut butter balls.  First we mix the peanut butter, Rice Crispies, butter and powdered sugar all together, make them into balls about one inch thick and then freeze it all for a bit.  While the balls are freezing, we melt the chocolate--chocolate chips, German chocolate and paraffin wax.  That's when the fun begins--and mess--the dipping of the balls!  (none of this is innuendo, just an FYI...I know how you all are...*wink*)  

Mess is the name of the game while we're making holiday treats.  Norwegian lefse is one of the best and messiest treats at our house, but Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.  I've been eating lefse--a thin potato cake--my entire life.  When I see them, I think of my grandparents who have passed on, the cousins I grew up with but who I no longer see, and all of those childhood holidays of laughter and card playing.  

Traditions--whether old or the new ones I've created within my own family--instill a sense of roots. I hope I'm creating those same sentimental moments for my own children.  
Not even the cat could escape the flour fight. 

What holiday treats or foods does your family have that make the holidays complete?  
Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to be eligible to WIN and keep on hopping! 
If you missed my other posts on this hop, here are the links: 
Gift of Reverence
Gift of Relaxation
Gift of Love




Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop--the gift of relaxation


Welcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop where over 200 romance authors are doing giveaways and talking about our favorite holiday stuff.  I've done sexy hops--some pretty steamy ones, actually--but this one is a bit different.  I'm going to be focussing on my favorite holiday moments and things. Some of my posts will be about love, but some will simply be me opening a door into my world so you get a glimpse of the real me. (Don't worry, I said the real me, not me au natural...big difference!) :-) 
 As you can see from the above graphic, this is a HUGE giveaway for the overall hop.  On this specific blog, I'm giving away a $25 egift card to Victoria's Secret again because everyone loved that for the Black Friday Hop.  Remember...all you need to do is comment with your email address to be eligible to win it all and then keep right on hopping. Thanks for stopping by!  

Yesterday I spoke of the gift of reverence--today I'm talking about the gift of relaxation!  Yep, I said it--RELAX.  I know it's a hectic time of year, which is why it's even more important to give yourself a time out.  It's amazing what a bit of solitude and peace can do for you.  During the holiday season, it's easy to say "I'm too stressed to get into the spirit."  Today I'm going to give some ideas that don't take long, are simple and will rejuvenate you!  Self-love--what a concept!  
Me with sparkly nails! Ha!
  • Retreat.  Whether you live in a big city or the country, there's a place you can go to be alone for a few minutes.  Maybe it's a museum, a park, a walk through a field...or something as basic as locking your bedroom door for a much needed dose of YOU time.  
  • Schedule a manicure.  Bling is in and so are sparkly fingernails.  As my manicurist says, you're never to old to shine!  YES, you DO have time to treat yourself.  No excuses.  Even if you're not normally a girly-girl, consider this something special--out of the ordinary--to do for yourself this time of year.  If sparkles aren't your thing (gasp!), go for a more muted tone--the indulgence of having someone else pamper you is worth your time.  
  • Buy yourself holiday scented candles.  You know the ones that always come out at this time of year--cinnamon, pine, apple pie, etcetera.  Light them around the house, lower the lights, turn off the phone and put your feet up on the sofa.  
  • Make a lunch date with your girlfriends.  No, you're never too busy for your pals.  Now is the time of year when a laid back lunch (or happy hour) with no expectation of gifts (which would only add to stress) is needed.  Go, let your hair down, laugh, commiserate over family coming to town, whatever.  No one is ever too busy for a lunch, brunch, happy hour, dinner--if you say you are, then you need to get over yourself.  Life is short!  Love the people in your life--that is the greatest gift of all.
  • Keep your exercise routine.  Even if you need to cut it in half, don't let it go completely.  If there is company in the house, too bad.  Get up earlier or tell them you need your exercise time.  Screw it if your mother in law rolls her eyes or your sister makes a snide comment. (I hope they wouldn't, but...I've been there, that's all I'm say'n) It is very important to take care of yourself and put yourself on the top of your priority list.  
  • Don't go crazy with gifts.  Money is one of our biggest stressors, so I'm telling you now to remember the holidays are about LOVE and gratitude.  If you're budget is tight, don't try to impress the family with elaborate gifts that only stress you out because you're wondering how you're going to make ends meet come January.  Shop locally--buy something unique from a boutique.  Remember the saying that the best things come in small packages.  
  • Connect with your significant other.  Don't let schedules, gifts, holiday decor, or travel interrupt your romantic life.  Even if it's just a quick neck massage on the sofa or a "quickie" in the laundry room, stay connected.  Affection is vital--don't ignore even the simplest of touches.  
  • Buy yourself a stocking stuffer or two--say it's from Santa.  With all the shopping for others, why not pick up a few things that you know YOU want...some body butter, a new perfume, something you doubt you'll be getting from anyone else.  You deserve it!  What's even more fun is to act genuinely surprised when you reach into your stocking.  :-)  
  • Read a book! Okay, so I'm biased.  I actually should include this with number one--retreat.  Go ahead and escape to a tropical location with a hot guy for some adventure and fun--in a novel!  (however, if you can do this with a real life human being, go for it--and read the book on the beach--lol)  Because you're on this hop with romance authors, I'm assuming you're a romance reader so this is probably something you do already.  Don't let the holiday schedule get in the way of indulging your creative juices.  (If you need some reading suggestions--uh hem--there are two great books listed in the right hand column of this blog--Riptide and Kiss Me Slowly.)  
These are just a few ideas to give yourself the gift of relaxation this December.  Do one, combine a few, or do all.  It's okay to NOT be stressed out, you know.  I hear too often that people are saying how stressed they are, usually with a breathless voice and a frantic look in their eyes.  There's no rule that says holidays need to be non-stop craziness.  You are in control of yourself and your life, never doubt that.  (If you DO doubt that, I say again...get over yourself and get a grip.)  

What, if anything, do you do to escape the fray during the holidays?  I'd love to hear about them in your comments, if you don't mind sharing.  Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to be eligible to WIN and keep on hopping! 
If you missed my first post on this hop, here's the link, might as well leave a comment there, too: 
The Gift of Reverence
The Gift of Food
The Gift of Love

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Hop--the gift of reverence

Welcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop where over 200 romance authors are doing giveaways and talking about our favorite holiday stuff.  I've done sexy hops--some pretty steamy ones, actually--but this one is a bit different. I'm going to be focussing on my favorite holiday moments and things. Some of my posts will be about love, but some will simply be me opening a door into my world so you get a glimpse of the real me. (Don't worry, I said the real me, not me au natural...big difference!) :-) 
 As you can see from the above graphic, this is a HUGE giveaway for the overall hop.  On this specific blog, I'm giving away a $25 egift card to Victoria's Secret again because everyone loved that for the Black Friday Hop.  Remember...all you need to do is comment with your email address to be eligible to win it all and then keep right on hopping. Thanks for stopping by!  

Today I'm talking about the gift of reverence.  No, don't roll your eyes at me.  I see you--yeah, you--knock it off. 

Over the years it's become my family's tradition to go to Red Rocks Amphitheater on Christmas morning to wait for the sunrise that breaks over the horizon and casts it's glow over the still sleeping city of Denver.  It's usually freezing cold before that sun comes up.  In an amphitheater that's known for its concerts, crowds and good energy, we sit tucked on a seat in the quiet with only a few other people--couples, singles, families--always less than a dozen or so and all silent with expectation.  

Expectation...that's such a loaded word.  What are we expecting?  A new beginning usually, a blessing perhaps.  I don't know.  As I sit there with the ones I love huddled beneath blankets and drinking hot chocolate, eyes glued to the growing glow over the horizon, I think about all that I'm grateful for...

...grateful for being with my kids...
...grateful for being able to sit in such a serene place...
...grateful for being a novelist, someone who's lucky enough to live her dreams...
...grateful for being alive despite all the bullshit that usually comes with a big, messy life...
...grateful for the blankets covering my body...
...grateful for the hot chocolate that may or may not be laced with Tuaca...
...grateful for the knowledge that the sun IS rising...
...grateful for those friends who blessed my life, even if they've now chosen to leave it...
...grateful for being healthy enough to walk up those stairs in the amphitheater...
...grateful for my computer (which my kids say I treat like a living being)...
...grateful for creativity...
...grateful for my pets, even though they tend to drive me crazy...
...grateful for freedom...
...grateful for the challenges that have shaped me into the person I am today...
...grateful to know what love is...
...grateful for being loved...


What are some holiday traditions that create that same sense of gratitude for you?  I'd love to hear about them in your comments, if you don't mind sharing.  Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to be eligible to WIN!  After you comment here, swing by my other posts in this series:


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toying with Temptation--My review, 3 out of 5 kisses

Thanks for stopping by today as I feature Toying with Temptation as part of CBLS Promotions--don't forget to enter the giveaway below my review and read the blurb and excerpts.  Thank you!  
Toying with Temptation
by Madison Martin
Published by Chances Press, LLC
Published on November 1, 2011
Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 188 pages

Available at:

Blurb:
Driven, business savvy Hailey Burton, Vice President of Tryton Financial Institute, has been put in charge of running what could be her first ever failure: the company's Christmas Eve toy drive. Toys and Christmas are beyond Hailey's expertise, but when she's offered the chance for the promotion she's been waiting for if she succeeds, her competitive spirit kicks into high gear.

When every company in Los Angeles turns her down, desperation leads her to Quinn Matheson. Ten years ago, Hailey chose a prosperous career over Quinn, but as she falls for him all over again, she can't deny that they make a good team in business...and more. This second time around, is she finally ready to make the leap and become his partner in love?

Excerpt:
“Trust me. I never thought we’d be in this…er, position.” Hailey Burton smoothed her hands over the skirt of her brand new Armani suit to keep her hands from shaking. Quinn Matheson could never see how nervous she was. She wouldn’t let him. It would add further humiliation to her unfortunate circumstance, and she felt humiliated enough.

Quinn, the King of Matheson Toys and the picture of confidence, silently appraised her from behind the huge oak desk in his office.

“I mean, we’ve been in every other posi—” She coughed before she finished a sentence that could get her in big trouble. Whatever “positions” she and Quinn may have found themselves in ten years ago, it was too long ago to matter now. Wasn’t it?

She stiffened her spine and felt herself growing hotter by the second. A trickle of sweat began to run down the small of her back. Why fight it? Her brand new, one-of-a kind suit, bought for a special occasion, was headed straight for the cleaners. 

Why did she think this would be easy? Why did she think she’d have the upper hand? And why was Quinn sitting there staring at her, refusing to say anything?

He watched her with calculating dark brown eyes, noticing every time she fidgeted or said something stupid. It was beginning to drive her crazy.

“Are you going to say something?”

He shrugged. “It’s your meeting.”

In her eight years of experience, she’d met with and given presentations to presidents and corporate execs from companies all over the world. She always acted with cool confidence in situations that made tough men sweat, and not one minute of it ever fazed her.

What did faze her was sitting here in front of her ex, begging for tens of thousands of toys for her company’s first Christmas toy drive in five years.

Christmas was beyond the limits of her expertise. In her entire life she’d celebrated maybe one or two. Last year, she’d spent the holiday on a conference call closing a deal with a company in Hong Kong. The year before that, she’d been in New York collecting leads for a new account. Her boss knew Christmas was out of her league, but he also knew she never gave her projects less than a hundred and twenty percent, and he’d saddled her with the toy drive despite her protests.

If the promise of moving up the Tryton Financial Institute corporate ladder weren’t waiting for her at the other end of this, she’d have told her boss to forget it. But as usual, the desire for success was stronger than…well, the desire for anything else.

Stronger, even, than the will to never see the man she’d run out on ten years ago. As much as she never thought she’d have the guts to look him in the face again, that promotion was staring her down…waiting. Begging for her to come and get it.

About the Author:
Madison Martin is also the author of Briefly Yours: An Erotic Romance Novel, Nights on Catalina, The Deep End: Erotic Stories For Women, and The Deep End 2: Wedding Night. To find out more about Madison, visit http://www.madisonmartinbooks.com/.


My review of Toying with Temptation--
3 out of 5 kisses

Toying with Temptation is a sweet story about a woman who's put her life on hold for her career and a man who's busy living up to family expectations rather than being true to himself.  But there's a catch--as there needs to be in any story, right?--she left him at the alter a decade ago, but now needs him to secure that big promotion she's been offered.

Hailey left Quinn because she thought she'd be losing herself and abandoning her dreams for a life spent depending on someone else, but her love for him never died.  That's the thing with true love, right? Its flame never fully extinguishes.  Being thrust into a business situation with him again stirs up all those buried emotions.

Seeing Hailey again has a different effect on Quinn...at least initially.  He wants to humiliate her, but at his core he's a nice guy and can't keep that pretense up very long.

The story has some amusing moments--a whale is involved with one, that's all I'm saying--and some endearing situations.  I definitely liked the main characters, Quinn and Hailey.  From the beginning it's obvious they're not over each other and, as a proponent of true love like myself, I wanted to see how they'd get over such a devastating heartbreak as being left at the alter.  I was definitely rooting for them--and I admit I was more on Quinn's side.  Hey, I'm a sucker for good looking powerful men, I'm not ashamed to admit my bias.  

Overall, though, I felt the story could have been developed more.  This is a short read, only 188 pages, and I felt that the story was only told on the surface.  The premise for this story is good--the characters are sweet--I wanted to get to know them better, see them suffer more perhaps and have some added depth to the storyline.  When you have a good idea like this plus nice characters, a reader simply wants more.  That's how I felt with Toying with Temptation...there were some holes that needed to be filled and questions that remained about these two interesting characters after I'd finished the book. I wanted more oomph.  I give Toying with Temptation 3 out of 5 kisses.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://cblspromotions.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-barrage-toying-with-temptation-by.html

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winners Announced--Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway



And the winner is...

Grand Prize winner is June M! She's won 11 ebooks, $50 Amazon Gift Card and $10 in Bookstrand Bucks.

The winner from this blog, Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Night is Julianne K!  She's won a $25 gift card from Target. Woot!  

Big cheers to all who commented and hopped with us.  Without our readers, we'd all be amateurs.  Thank you so much for your support.  My heart overflows with gratitude.  

I'm taking a brief hiatus from the blog starting now so that I can catch up on writing projects. I'll be back on the 14th for another blog hop and giveaway, though, so stay tuned... 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tempt, Tantalize, Tease--Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop Day 4



Welcome to the 4th and final day of Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway! Winners will be announced on December 6.

 On this blog, I'm giving away a $25 Target gift card to help out with some stocking stuffers this holiday season; however, the grand prizes are HUGE and listed below my post.  In order to win either the grand prizes for the overall hop or the prize here, you MUST leave a comment that includes your email address.  (and if you don't comment, you don't win, pretty simple. Comment link is at the very bottom of the post, beneath the links to the other hops!) 

Okay...now that the schpeel is over...let's get sizzling...

Well, to top off this Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway, I'm going to do something a bit different. Pole dancing is becoming one of the most popular exercise classes for women and this got me thinking about stripping.  Now, I'm not a size 2 and admit I'd like to lose a lot of the junk in my trunk; however, I think a woman who is confident and sassy is sexy.  Stripping for your lover gives you a sense of power--and is fun and unexpected.  Below are 10 tips to stripping like a pro and some rules of the game, too.  Try it. Why not?  Now that it's winter, you'll have plenty of layers to peel off!

This requires some preparation so have champagne or beverage of your choice on hand, a song cued up and ready to play.  Oh, and you're going to want some props--a scarf, feather boa, his tie, whatever it is you need for the "theme" you have in mind.  I'm going to write the following as if you're dressed in a skirt with stockings, just to make it easier for myself. Of course, the song you've chosen for your strut can probably help you get some ideas about wardrobe and props.

10 Stripping Rules 
(Yeah, there are rules to make this seductive and not just you taking your clothes off. I consulted the internet, a "friend", and an exercise DVD about getting "stripper ready" to develop the following instructions--and I tried it once--I recommend it!))
  1. You're allowed to touch him, but he's not allowed to touch you--not with his hands, mouth, or any other body part.
  2. You must maintain eye contact with him throughout the performance.
  3. Keep the lights ON.  Hey, he's your significant other so he's seen you naked--get over yourself.
  4. Slather on stuff...whether it's a fake tan to help hide the cellulite, lip gloss, body oil to make yourself shiny, and blusher.
  5. Plan your outfit.  Like I said above, you need to think this out a bit before hand.
  6. Don't be a neat freak.  You're supposed to be throwing your clothes off with abandon. Let things land where they land and focus. 
  7. Think the three Ts: Tempt, Tantalize, Tease.  Be his private dancer.
  8. Your hands are his hands: Touch yourself the way he wants to touch you, in places he wants to touch.  Go for it.  
  9. Borrow a dancer's trick. Keep one leg in front of the other, heel lifted, whenever possible.  It makes an otherwise awkward pose look elegant and helps your legs look long and lean.  
  10. Choose music that suits your mood, music that will set you free.
10 Tips to Stripping Like a Pro 

  1. Walk the walk.  If he's not already sitting down, put him in his place.  Remember: you're in charge. Visualize a figure 8 in your head and make your hips roll that way, one foot in front of the other, head up, chest out.  
  2. Play with your scarf (or whatever prop you've chosen).  Slide it around your shoulders, over your breasts, between your thighs...wrap it around his neck to pull him close...you get the idea.
  3. Remove your jacket (or first layer of clothing).  This comes off verrrrrrrrrry slowly.  With your back to him, look over your shoulder and then shrug so it comes off in one motion.  Remove one arm and then the other, but don't drop it.  Use it to cover your bra and breasts, back still to him. Turn to face him, jacket still covering you, make eye contact and THEN drop the jacket to the side.  
  4. Unzip your skirt slowly, turn, butt out and back arched as you shimmy free of the material.  Let it drop in one motion and leave it there.  Careful to step out of it, though, so you don't fall down in an ungraceful heap (something I would do!)
  5. High heeled shoes.  When stripping, you gotta wear the heels. It's one of those must haves. However, you can either opt to keep them on (some men like that) or, if you take them off, reach behind you and remove them as gracefully as possible.  You don't want to stall your dance by fussing with straps.
  6. Side to him, prop a leg up on the bed and slowly roll your stockings down.  Keep it nice and slow...butt in the air of course.   Once the stocking is free of your heel, wrap it around his neck or toss it in his lap.  
  7. Lose the garter belt.  Assuming you were wearing one to hold up the stockings, get rid of it with as much grace you used to remove the stockings and then fling it across the room.  
  8. Time to lose the bra! Unsnapped, turn your back to him, looking at him over your shoulder, shrug off one strap and then the other.  Face him, hands holding the material over your breasts with one arm...teasing him with a suitable wicked expression on your face.  Use your free hand to remove the bra while your arm still covers you up.  Then take it away, slowly stroking each breast as you go.  This is where you get to amp up full stripper mode--let your hands move over your body as he wishes he could. 
  9. Drop the panties.  Think porn star when doing this and strike a pose.  One foot in front of the other, thumbs in the side of your panties, eyes on his, move your hips, slide the material down your thighs, bending as you go, butt up...step out of them one foot at a time.  
  10. Victory strut time. Finish your dance, allowing your hands to roam over your skin, staying just out of arm's reach.  
Have fun!  And, if your'e thinking you're far too self-concious for this, I challenge you!  



Thanks for stopping by the Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway!  Here's the grandprize info--don't forget to hop along and leave your comments with email addresses along the way.  The more times you comment the greater your chances of winning!  
Grand prize is a $100 value consisting of 11 ebooks, $50 Amazon gift card and $10 Bookstrand bucks! Woot!  Commenters on each blog are eligible to win the grand prize. 
Keep hopping--click on the other blog links below! Have fun!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Getting in the mood--Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop Day 3


Welcome to the 3rd day of Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway! (Winners announced on December 6)

 On this blog, I'm giving away a $25 Target gift card to help out with some stocking stuffers this holiday season; however, the grand prizes are HUGE and listed below my post.  In order to win either the grand prizes for the overall hop or the prize here, you MUST leave a comment that includes your email address.  (and if you don't comment, you don't win, pretty simple. Comment link is at the very bottom of the post, beneath the links to the other hops!) 

Okay...now that the schpeel is over...let's get sizzling...

Just can't seem to get in the mood these days?  You're not alone--let's see what we can do about that.

For the past few days, I've spoken about ways to heat up your relationship, but none of those tips are useful if you simply aren't in the mood.  Let's face it--sometimes we're just feeling blah, cranky, and tired and the last thing we want to do is get intimate with someone.  But here's the thing--staying connected to your partner and/or simply satisfying your own needs is vital to your overall well-being and shouldn't be relegated to the bottom of your priority list.  

Below are a few ideas to boost your confidence, ramp up your sexy-factor and turn yourself on in the process.   

  1. First--take a time out! If you're not in the mood, but you'd like to be, give yourself some alone time to clear your head.  Breathe deeply, relax and you may surprise yourself that your mind catches up to your body's desire.  Sometimes all we need is some time to disconnect from the daily stresses of our lives so we can connect with the one we love. 
  2. Read the personal ads on Craig's List (but don't respond).  This is fun, quick and a lot like reading a romance novel. Whether it's women seeking man, women seeking women, man seeking women...you get the idea...taking a few minutes to do this gets you out of your head thinking about ordinary things and starts revving your own internal sex machine.  What are you seeking? 
  3. Watch 9 1/2 Weeks! Remember that sexy movie from long ago--well, it's power to excite is timeless. For that matter, any sexy movie that works for YOU is only a click away these days thanks to the internet, on-demand, Netflix, etc.  
  4. Massage your belly button.  What?!  Yes, there are two acupressure points in your belly button region that stimulate your sexual arousal.  About two inches beneath your belly button, massage in a clockwise motion or run your finger in a straight line between your belly button and pelvic bone.  Think of this as a push button for your libido---you'll be able to turn yourself on without getting disrobed.  
  5. Get naked ready.  Yeah, I know...I hate working out, too.  However, exercise does more than help you look good naked, it creates blood flow to all areas of your body--ALL areas--and makes it easier for you to get turned on.  
  6. Buy "sex" sheets.  No, I'm not talking about satin sheets that will have you sliding all over the place and won't be practical.  To me, sex sheets are a new set of high quality cotton sheets that make YOU feel indulgent and that you can visualize get wild in with your special someone.
  7. Eat dark chocolate.  (I know...it'll be hard to force yourself to do this one, but give it a try!) Chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, raises PEA (phenylenylaline) that increases your arousal.  
  8. Stock a dress up drawer.  For those moments when you need a little something extra to feel special, have a drawer handy with lingerie or anything that makes you feel super sexy.  It's different for all of us--some women love wearing their man's t-shirt while others like slinky lingerie.  Maybe it's even a costume of some kind that gets you in a wild mood--a wig, a nurse outfit...Whatever it is for you, keep it in a special drawer that's handy.  
  9. Work out your girl parts!  Yep, kegal exercises are a great stimulant for the pelvic floor.  Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as if you're trying not to go pee or pass gas--do sets of ten or however many you like.  Working out the muscles around your clitoris and vagina stimulate blood flow to these areas, hence increasing your arousal.  
  10. Stage a lingerie fashion show for yourself.  Yes, for yourself.  This entire post is how to amp up your own feelings of sexiness, confidence and turn yourself on in the process.  Get in front of the mirror, dance like a stripper if you want, and do not--DO NOT--criticize yourself.  Very few of us in this world are models, so embrace your curves.  Celebrate you.  Once you learn to like how you look...how you move...imagine how sexy you'll be to your partner!
  11. Have a glass of red wine.  Now, I admit that I'm more of a white wine person myself, but studies show that red wine increases arousal.  Antioxidants in red wine widen blood vessels and increase blood flow to...umm...key body parts.  
Did you miss my other posts of this hop?  Check them out, too, and be sure to comment.
Tempt, Tease and Tantalize
13 tips to heat up your relationship
Frisky Festivities--ideas to break out of your comfort zone in the bedroom

Thanks for stopping by the Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway!  Here's the grandprize info--don't forget to hop along and leave your comments with email addresses along the way.  The more times you comment the greater your chances of winning!  
Grand prize is a $100 value consisting of 11 ebooks, $50 Amazon gift card and $10 Bookstrand bucks! Woot!  Commenters on each blog are eligible to win the grand prize. 
Keep hopping--click on the other blog links below! Have fun!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Festive Friskiness--Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop


Welcome to the 2nd day of Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway! (Winners announced on December 6)

 On this blog, I'm giving away a $25 Target gift card to help out with some stocking stuffers this holiday season; however, the grand prizes are HUGE and listed below my post.  In order to win either the grand prizes for the overall hop or the prize here, you MUST leave a comment that includes your email address.  (and if you don't comment, you don't win, pretty simple. Comment link is at the very bottom of the post, beneath the links to the other hops!) 

Okay...now that the schpeel is over...let's get sizzling...

My four day series during this hop is all about spicing up these winter nights (and days)...

Hmm...when given the idea of hot winter nights, at first I thought of fireplaces, hot chocolate and snow.  However, living in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, that's not much of a stretch for me so I challenged myself to think outside the box.  That made me think, "hey, maybe other people need to be pushed to think outside the box, too!"  Here are some ideas for getting out of our comfort zone and stirring things up in the bedroom!

Frisky festivities for you and your special someone to ignite a fire in the bedroom...Sometimes "too tired for sex" simply means you're tired of having sex the same way...(and if your significant other has yet to arrive in your life, just make a mental note.)

  • Read an erotic romance together.  (okay, so maybe I'm biased with this one)  Do you know how many emails I've received from fans thanking me for spicing up their love lives with the sex scenes from my novels?  Many! It always makes me laugh and smile--hey, whatever  I can do to help, I say.  But it's true...think about it...reading a sex scene out loud together is a fun idea and will stimulate your creative juices.
  • Wear a candy necklace to bed and let him nibble away.  Wrap the necklace around your neck, your wrists, your ankles...what a sweet treat for you both! 
  • Use an exercise ball.  Remember that big, plastic ball sitting neglected around the house? Pump it up and use it for sex--sit on it next to the bed or lean over it--it's amazing what a little bounce and roll can do!  
  •  Get sexy with your phone.  Even if you're just in the other room, send him a naughty message saying what you'd like to do to him...what you'd like him to do to you.  It's fun to flirt and you're never too old, too "used to each other" to stop!  
  • Talk dirty.  Ohhhhh...yeahhhhhh...get vocal, baby!  Saying "I like it when you touch me there" or "I love the way you feel inside me" can really be a turn on.  If you're shy, read some romance novels and see how the pros write it--then practice it yourself.  You may be surprised when getting vocal turns you on, too.  
  • Put a mirror next to the bed.  It's erotic to watch yourselves enjoying one another.  There's no hiding from what you're doing.  Enjoy the action--do NOT get caught up in the parts of your body you deem imperfect--watch the pleasure in your face instead.  
  • Get tied up.  Sometimes it's fun to take a submissive role--just make sure there is a 100% trust factor so you can fully relax and enjoy it.  If this is your first experiment with bondage, then establish a "safe word" so you can call a halt to anything that's making you uncomfortable.
  • Do you need a spanking?  Nothing makes you feel naughtier than being draped over your lover's knee.  This is playful and fun--not meant to be anything other than foreplay.  
  • Role play.  Speaking of spanking...incorporate the above in to a role play scene between the two of you.  Is he the principal and you've been a bad, bad girl?  Or are you a naughty nurse or librarian?  Ham it up! Why not?  Life is too short to be serious all of the time--and when you're with your significant other and in the bedroom, it's the perfect time to have some fun.
  • Play an erotic game.  Sometimes you're not in the mood to fantasize and that's okay.  Adam & Eve sells sexy board games, decks of cards and dice that do the work for you.  The important thing is to PLAY...add some fun into your sex life. 
  • Play with ice cubes.  Playing with extremes between hot and cold can make you extremely aware of every sensation.  Suck on an ice cube before going down on him.  Ice your toys before play time.  Test your tolerance for ice cubes first, though, by using them along your own skin to determine what's right for you.  Again, this isn't supposed to be painful--it's supposed to be FUN so experiment a bit. 
  • Slip into the shower with him--and wear a white t-shirt.  Why a white t-shirt and nothing else?  Because it takes you back to the days of spring break and gives you both the fun of peeling it off to soap each other up.  And, c'mon, what guy doesn't like a wet t-shirt?
  • Do it with your clothes on.  There's something raw and sensual about pushing clothes aside but not off, as if you can't wait to have each other.  There's a sense of urgency and need.  It's kind of fun to just go for it! 
  • Make your bedroom a sex den.  The opposite of the above, this requires planning--champagne, candles, a scarf over the lamp, sex toys at the ready (if you so choose), lingerie--go all out!  Why not?  And don't wait for a special occasion either--just make it a surprise. 
Those are just a few of the ideas that are out of the ordinary--at least for some.  I know some of you are advanced in the art of seduction and I applaud you!  But for the rest of you--go ahead and read some more romance novels and let us inspire you.  Have a happy and hopefully frisky day!

Speaking of frisky, did you miss my first post about 13 tips for heating up your relationship?  Check it out at http://amberleaeaston.blogspot.com/2012/12/13-tips-for-heating-up-chilly-nights.html?zx=d6d0b74ff6865415
Also, check out "Getting in the Mood", my third stop on the hop

Thanks for stopping by the Hot Winter Nights Blog Hop and Giveaway!  Here's the grandprize info--don't forget to hop along and leave your comments with email addresses along the way.  The more times you enter, the greater your chances of winning!  
Grand prize is a $100 value consisting of 11 ebooks, $50 Amazon gift card and $10 Bookstrand bucks! Woot!  Commenters on each blog are eligible to win the grand prize. 
Keep hopping--click on the other blog links below! Have fun!