Friday, December 30, 2011

Damon Salvatore – 2011 Best Television Hero

It should come as no surprise to my regular readers, I adore Damon Salvatore, but I tried to be fair when choosing the best hero for 2011.  Played beautifully by Ian Somerhalder, Damon came in at the head of the pack time and time again. 

Damon's certainly had an uneven path to roam, but his checkered past is not as deadly as viewers may have believed when we met bad boy Salvatore.  His arrival in Mystic Falls in 2009 heralded a number of deaths including Vicki Donovan and Coach Tanner.  While Damon didn't kill Vicki once and for all, he did attack her twice and turned her (because he was bored).  Later he disposed of the body after brother Stefan staked her to keep her from ripping Elena's throat out.

But it turns out, that Damon has a reason to be pissed at his baby brother.  We found out during the first season that Stefan forced Damon to turn.  As time trickled on, we found out that after turning, Stefan was a ripper—an out of control monster when he killed and he liked keeping the bodies around.  Damon couldn't help him, so he left him to Lexi.

Flash forward to 2011, Damon took a lot of knocks including the discovery that love of his life Katherine was a lying, manipulative bitch.  When she came after Elena, Damon and Stefan worked together at the end of 2010 to toss her happy ass into the tomb, imprisoning her as Damon had mourned for over a century.  Now the brothers must struggle with the fact that they are in love with the same woman...again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Texas Gothic: Rosemary Clement Moore

I've never read a Rosemary Clement-Moore book that I didn't love. A couple of years ago, The Splendor Falls was my favorite novel of the year and Texas Gothic is damn near as good as that book, though I admit to a personal bias for the tale in Splendor Falls, Amy Goodnight and Texas Gothic offer a rich, fascinating tale that I couldn't put down.  My only quibble...I have to wait for another book from this fabulous author.

Texas Gothic

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bargains and Betrayals: Shannon Delany

We're counting down my top ten reads for 2011 and with the year fast on the wane, we've got just two books left to go.  The last two slots were filled by two terrific young adult books.  Today's entry: Bargains and Betrayals is the third novel in the series that kicked off with 13 to Life.  Written by Shannon Delany, the series offers a fresh twist on werewolves, love, angst and the power of true compassion and affection.

Bargains and Betrayals

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Never Again: Michele Bardsley

Michele Bardsley steps out of Broken Heart, Oklahoma and  into Nevermore, Texas and I for one hope she comes back to  Nevermore, again and again. I adored Gray and Lucy and the entire town of Nevermore. It begins as this blurry chalk painting, dark and diminishing and grows increasingly
vibrant with every page. The darkness that slides along the underbelly of Nevermore is balanced by the darkness swirling within the town's guardian Gray.

Gray and Lucy are tortured souls desperately in need of each other and in Nevermore, Bardsley shows us just how possible that can be.

Don't miss out on this dark, vibrant and sexy new world which reserved it's top spot on my top ten last January when I was lucky enough to read an ARC.  I can't wait to read her upcoming release Now or Never!
Never Again

Monday, December 26, 2011

Model Marine: Candace Havens

It's hard for me to say no to anything written by Candace Havens, in addition to being an entertaining host, a talented master of ceremonies and a gifted teacher, she's a wonderful writer.  Model Marine is the perfect mixture of sexy hero and rakish escapism set against the fashion industry in New York.  From the first page to the last, I had a silly little grin on my face.

Now I know this is a Harlequin Blaze and you're thinking damn, I missed out on that because they are only released in paperback for about a month, but Harlequin's a part of the digital age folks and you can still pick up Candy's wonderful tale of an honorable Marine and the passionate, personal mission that turns him upside down.

Just take a look at the cover...don't you want to help Captain Hughes out?

Model Marine

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All

May your best moment this year, be your worst moment of the year to come. May your family be warm and safe and may all those loved ones who are far from home be remembered.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Green-Eyed Demon: Jaye Wells

Merry Christmas Eve!  I hope you and yours are having a fabulous time.  I'm still ticking down my top ten reads for 2011 and no list would be complete without the snarkalicious delight that is Jaye Wells.  The third book in her Sabina Kane series (Silver-Tongued Devil comes out next week so don't miss it!), Green-Eyed Demon features the showdown Sabina fans have been waiting for since we first met her royally bitchy grandmother in book one.  As always, Sabina has a colorful cast of supporting characters (of note is Giguhl who just rocks in his own right) and a tender, loving love interest in Adam (yes, I say that with a sigh).

Now, without giving anything away, there was one moment in this book where I damn near threw it across the room yelling "Noooooo!"  But I had faith in the lovely author and held on (by my fingernails in some places) and this book definitely scored a top ten slot.  I've since read it twice and enjoyed it just as much with each subsequent read.

Green-Eyed Demon

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nights in Bliss, Colorado: Sophie Oak

My top ten reads for 2011 have a few confessions in them and this member of the top ten is no exception. I met Sophie Oak in person last year and I'd even spent time brainstorming an earlier release, but what hooked me was one line she tossed out there for one of her characters where he declared, "I want to be defective."  That line meandered through my brain, always producing a chuckle whenever I thought of it, for months before I picked them up and started reading them.

I wasn't sure how a town like Bliss, Colorado would work, but I think I'd rather like to spend some time there, especially if the duck ever makes it on the ballot.  Funny, sexy, sweet and suspenseful, the Bliss books are worth a read (or three).

Three To Ride

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stray: Rachel K. Vincent

Now, I have a confession to make, I know this series didn't come out this year, in fact the sixth and final book came out in 2010, but I hadn't had a chance to read any of these books previously.  So on the recommendations of two very dear friends and the highly amusing recommendation of a third (he recommended high frustration tolerance for it), I picked up all six Rachel K. Vincent novels and dove in to read them.  While all six deserve to be in my top ten for 2011, I'm listing the first one because every series begins somewhere.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kiss of Snow: Nalini Singh

Since I already brought up Archangel's Blade, it should be no surprise that Nalini Singh's 10th Psy Changeling novel would also make my top ten reads for 2011 list.  In addition to expanding her ever evolving psy-changeling world, Kiss of Snow is the story of Hawke and Sienna.  Hawke's been a personal favorite since his first appearance way back when in Slave to Sensation, Lucas and Sacha's book.

Kiss of Snow

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Release Day Nikki Duncan!

Lori Mullins yearns to shake off her past and live free of shadows and fear. Yet her only shot at obtaining the capital to launch her business rests in a man she met during a lie. A man whose voice alone turned her from jaded escort to giddy schoolgirl. A man who almost died because of her.

Trevor Masters can call off his search for the woman he loves. The woman he dreamt of while comatose. The quest for her heart, however, is only beginning. The trick will be convincing her he doesn’t blame her—and that she deserves to accept herself as the woman who holds his heart.

Business negotiations land Lori in a heavenly hell. Heaven that Trevor is close enough to touch. Hell that she’s planning her first designer wedding. His. And something’s not quite right. The kind, compassionate man she fell for all those months ago, the man who’s engaged to another, seems intent on wooing her…

Get your copy today!

Visit the Tulle and Tulips series website today for more great information on this sexy new series from Nikki Duncan.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Archangel's Blade: Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh's Archangel's Blade has it all:  an intelligent hero, brilliant heroine, raw power and an epic love story. What more do you need? I have to be honest, Dmitri wasn't always my favorite of the Seven in the Elena and Raphael books particularly with how much he would taunt Elena, but Archangel's Blade is a must-read, beyond the return to this glorious and lush realm where Archangels rule, Angels fly and vampires serve in multiple capacities, it was the inherent love story and the revelations told against a thousand year tapestry that just should not be missed by anyone. Dmitri and Honor are definitely in my top-ranked couples of all time and Dmitri, wow.

Archangel's Blade

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh is back in the shadows of a deadly, beautiful world where angels rule, vampires serve, and one female hunter must crawl out of the darkness to survive…
The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.
Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.
As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

River Marked: Patricia Briggs

At the head of my top ten books and heroes for 2011 must be Patricia Brigg's delightful River Marked, the latest installment in the Mercedes Thompson urban fantasy series.

River Marked

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She's never known any others of her kind. Until now. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Disney World or Bust! Happy Holidays!

We're off to Disney World for a hard-earned vacation.  Disney World is hands down one of my favorite places on Earth, but I've never gotten to go at Christmas, so this will be a vacation populated by old favorites and new discoveries!  In the meanwhile, check back as I count down my favorite books and characters for 2011.  Be sure to share your favorites too, ten lucky commentators will win a special gift in 2012!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Sabina Kane is Coming to Town

ETA: This giveaway is now closed.

Hello, friends. Jaye Wells here. Since it's the season for giving, I'm excited to take part in Heather's fantastic Daily Dose Giveaway. While it might be obvious to nominate beloved friends and family for these prizes, I'd like to add a few suggestions of people you might not normally nominate to win a copy of SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL.

1. Your worst enemy, especially if she has no sense of humor: The Sabina Kane series has been known to scandalize people who are not equipped with basic humor receptors. Imagine how much fun it will be to see the incensed expression of your enemy as she rails against the shame she felt reading about midget orgies, drag queen shenanigans and copious references to forked demon penises.

2. Your Kids' Sunday School Teacher: For all the same reason listed above, except that in this case you know she's a stone cold closet freak show. Sure, she's great with the kids and can quote Psalms backwards and forwards, but when she's alone she finds nothing more invigorating that reading about vampire dominatrixes and demon roller derby.

She might try to convince you she's scarred for life, but you and I will know you gave her the depraved world she really wants.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Blissmas

ETA: This giveaway is now closed.

It's beginning to look a lot like Blissmas (and it really is if you go check out Sophie Oak's blog) but as we wind down our Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway, we're featuring Sophie Oak's delightful Bliss bag (see right).

Bliss, Colorado is home to some of the most colorful characters you will ever met from the alien hunters to the naturists to the rough and tumble cowboys that call this Colorado mountain region their home.

The gift bag includes a print copy of Three to Ride, the first book in the Bliss series and I have to be honest, the laugh out loud moments were as fast and furious as the steamy, sensual scenes between Rachel and her guys.  This is a great gift for Sophie Oak lovers and to introduce someone you love to the great town of Bliss.

About Three to Ride

Rachel Swift is a woman on the run. Max and Rye Harper are just the men to catch her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: A Little Harmless Christmas

ETA: This giveaway is now closed.

Melissa Schroeder is the author of more than 40 short stories, novellas, and novels ranging in heat levels from sensual to erotic and time periods from historical to futuristic. She is a military wife and former brat living in Alabama at the moment with her two human daughters and two dog daughters--along with her husband who is a major in the AF. She spends her free time reading, traveling and dreaming of the day when she lives close to a Wegman's Grocery Store (a fact that blog host Heather is deeply sympathizes with!)

Her latest digital release is Infatuation, A Little Harmless Military Romance and her prize today is her latest print release is A Little Harmless Lie along with some great Harmless swag.

A Little Harmless Lie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: I Saw Mommy Reading Jaci Burton

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Patti

The Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway heats up today with Jaci Burton and her gift of two print books: The Perfect Play and Changing the Game.  If you've never seen these covers, you are in for a treat.  They are gorgeous.  If you've never read these books, you're in for a double-chocolate stuffed size treat: because they are fabulous.

The Perfect Play

Book One of the Play-by-Play Series

Football pro Mick Riley is an all-star, both on the field and in the bedroom. But a sexy, determinedly single mom just might be the one to throw him off his game...

For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara's not interested in getting to know football's most notorious playboy any better.

As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara's life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick's latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn't intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.

But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Tempting Christmas with Dee Tenorio

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: alyxgrayson

After a brief personal delay, let's get the Daily Dose Holiday giveaway running again with Dee Tenorio.  Combining suspense, passion and shifters in two brilliant tales that someone you love could be curling up with this holiday season.   Tenorio is offering ebook copies of Tempting the Enemy and Deceiving the Protector for your nominations.  Don't miss out, I know these two are definitely going on my TBR pile!

Tempting the Enemy

Tempting the Enemy

Detective Pale Rysen, an Alpha, is determined to secretly rebuild the Wolf packs from the ashes of genocide. When a killer starts picking off young females looking for sanctuary, it's his job to protect them. Forced to work with a hated enemy, he fears his cover will be blown.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stand By For More Giveaways

Hey folks, some personal emergencies delayed me from posting the new giveaways. So I have two to put up this evening.  Stand by!  And get those nominations ready.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: A Few Wicked Turns Under the Mistletoe?

ETA: This giveaway is now closed.

The Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway is one of my favorite parts of the year.  I love sharing what authors have offered, seeing the readers reactions to what they can nominate and even more, I love reading your stories about who you want to give these gifts to and why you want to give them.  The holiday season is the one time a year that should truly be about giving, not just receiving.  Today's gift comes from New York Times Bestselling Author Shayla Black.

Shayla Black is the author of over 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print and electronic publishers. She lives in Texas with her family, and one very spoiled cat. In her "free" time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Belong to Me

Her most recent release Belong To Me is available in print and eFormats.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Twisting Around the Christmas Tree

Twisted Up
ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Marybelle 

Lissa Matthews joins us today with a gift that's a little bit naughty and a whole lot nice.  The talented, multi-published author is about to kick off a new series from Samhain, but in addition to donating to our Kindle Fire giveaway, she's offering up a sweet gift for someone you love.

First up is a $25 gift card to Starbuck's where you can pick up the hot gingerbread latte, peppermint mocha or other hot caffeinated sweet beverage of your choice from one coffee lover to another.  But that's not all, Lissa will add one book from her backlist or her upcoming release (Twisted Up) to sweeten this gift for someone you love. 

Twisted Up

Releasing December 20, 2011

One rope. Three days. And two hearts on the line.

Justin has had enough. Ella, the woman who healed his broken heart, has been canceling on him for two months straight. Sure, she’s busy with her job, which has her traveling far and wide. But that never stopped her from sharing nights of trivia, long conversations and blazing hot sex—until now. Truth to tell, he misses their easy friendship, the way her sighs fill his ear as he fills her body.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Firelight

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Coranne

In 2010, Sophie Jordan introduced fans to Jacinda and a world of dragons, adventure and romance.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet of her kind, she nearly pays with her life, only to be spared by a beautiful stranger sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki--a descendant of dragons whose ability to shift into human form is her best defense.

Forced to flee into the mortal world, Jacinda struggles to adapt. The one bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irrestibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away - if it dies she will be left a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and irresistible passion ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide ...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Too Hot for Christmas

Some Like it Hot
ETA: This giveaway is now closed.

The Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway continues with some hot, scrumptious goodness from author Louisa Edwards.   Some Like It Hot is the latest edition in her Rising Star Chef series and let me tell you, these men you want in the kitchen, in the dining room and anywhere else they want to serve.

Edwards combines delicious recipes with hot men in a serving that is sure to keep you warm throughout the chilly nights and leave you hungering for more.  Some Like It Hot released November 29, 2011 and this is your chance to nominate someone you love for this delicious book along with a chocolate dipped strawberry ornament from Sur La Table.

A sizzling blend of food, passion—and searing romance—the Rising Star Chef competition brings together the world’s hottest chefs for an all-star cook-off that’s sure to stir up excitement...and melt some hearts.


Sexy, single, and even sweeter than the treats he bakes, New York pastry chef Danny Lunden is trying to stay focused on food—not females. With the Rising Star Chef competition approaching, he doesn’t have time to get all steamed up over the gorgeous woman he encounters on the plane to Chicago. Even if she is Eva Jansen—the billionaire heiress in charge of the contest...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Rockin' Around Razor's Edge

Handmade Glass Bookmark
ETA: The giveaway is now closed.

As our Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway continues, Shannon K. Butcher joins her husband Jim (see his giveaway posted yesterday) to offer a great gift for someone you love.

Shannon is an enormously talented author in her own right with great romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels on her back list.  Her most recent release, Razor's Edge is being offered today for your gift reading pleasure.    In addition to the great book, signed by the author, Shannon has added the handmade glass bookmark on the right.

Razor's Edge is the second book in The Edge series is Roxanne and Tanner's story.


Roxanne "Razor" Haught is used to being in control. An expert in stealth security for corporate espionage cases, Razor is all about setting traps for the bad guys. But suddenly she is the target. A mysterious man is following her. Someone has trashed her house, searching for something. Then there is the cryptic coded message from her army friend: "Burn everything. They're coming."

Tanner O'Connell has no intentions of leaving Razor's side. Despite her objections to having a "babysitter," his orders as the newest member of the Edge are to watch her back. Of course he can't help watching a lot more than that. But with some brainwashed assassins after his partner, Tanner cannot afford to let his desire for Razor interfere with his duty. His special ops skills might be all that stand between saving Razor -- or losing her forever...

Razor's Edge

Friday, December 2, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Harry! The Herald Angel Sings!

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Jagx101

Can it really be nearly twelve years since the first Harry Dresden novel was released?  Storm Front was such an amazingly fresh and fun take on wizards, urban fantasy and trying to get the job done when you have people waiting for you to fail, literally on every side.  Written by Jim Butcher, Dresden was different.  He was part hero, part goof, part badass and part boy next door (if you lived next door to a dragon), but he was also the son of a magician and he had loved his dad and his life until the moment his father died and he got stuck with his Uncle Justin.

With so many books in the Harry Dresden series, it's hard to remember those first days of loving it before the rich tapestry of characters and world took on a life of their own.  But as a part of our Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway, we're inviting you to take a step back in time to these earlier days with a signed copy of Jim Butcher's second Harry Dresden novel: Fool Moon.

Fool Moon

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: What Waltz Is This?

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Laurie

The best part of the Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway is the wonderful fun and caring spirit the authors share when they volunteer books, gift cards and other prizes.  Every year I host this giveaway and every year the authors I know find something great to share.  Today's giveaway comes from the truly fantabulous Dakota Cassidy.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dakota a few years ago and she is one fun and funny lady.

She was among the first to volunteer this time around and she's got a great giveaway for you, an ARC of her soon to be released Waltz This Way.  Why is this so awesome? Well it's by Dakota darling, that's one reason, but the second is this book isn't due out until March of 2012, which means your lucky gift nominee will have a chance to read it a full three months ahead of time.  

Waltz This Way

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Flocking Feathers

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Lisa Richards

The old cliche about birds of a feather flocking together is absolutely true. In some cases though (not that you'd know it from this picture of mish-mashed costumes including Peacock Heather) the feathers are more accurately minds.

Aside from Heather, I met all of these women at this same event (Fresh Fiction's Readers N Ritas) last year. They became fast friends and I still adore every one of them--probably because we all have wicked minds that work on similar wavelengths (even sweet Lily who tries to act quiet and shy).

They don't know it, but it's this group of women (plus a couple of missing ones) who inspire the heroines in my newest series. The women at Tulle and Tulips Designer Weddings are a close knit bunch who think alike and aren't afraid to call each other out for out of character behavior or too much whining or for simply denying what is slapping them in the face.

So to celebrate those friends, I thought I'd share an excerpt from TANGLED IN TULLE, book 1 in the new Tulle and Tulips series.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Dark Swan a Swimming

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Eli

I first read Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series with my mini me.  The tale of Rose and Dmitri lingered long after the last book ended.  I haven't read Bloodlines yet, but it is on the to be read list.   For today's Daily Dose giveaway, we're offering up the first three books in Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series..  The trilogy is not autographed, but will make a good addition to the bookshelves of Mead's adult fans particularly as book four: Shadow Heir is due to release just after Christmas. 

 Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she's been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld's most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...

Storm Born

Monday, November 28, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Cuddle Up with a Cowboy This Christmas

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Sharon K 

What's better on a cold night than a hot cowboy? How about several?  Marshal of Hel Dorado is available in eBook and print.

Marshal of Hel Dorado

In the shadows of the Old West, that untamed land, live bands of outlaws and outsiders. In a time when fevers could fell whole towns, these few survivors are marked. Marked…and forever changed.

Sam Kane is the oldest brother, the steadfast son and the confident marshal. He’s never met a problem too hot to handle until a gang behind a string of robberies across the territory set their sights on his town. Now with the bank’s gold inexplicably missing from a locked safe, the town hunting the elusive thieves and a passionate redhead with a fiery secret in his jail, Sam has his hands full.

Scarlett Morning Star lived in seclusion in the mountains of West Texas most of her life. She longs for adventure, but with seven very protective older brothers, adventure is hard to come by. When she tags along uninvited on their latest escapade, she is left behind during a bank robbery and finds herself in the custody of the very sexy town marshal.

The town wants to lynch her, the Marshal wants answers and her brothers want her back, can Scarlett keep it together or will her explosive secret burn them all?

Her life. His badge. Their fight.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Hollows for the Holidays

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Elizabeth.

Years ago, my husband saw a book on the shelf and picked it up for me based on the title alone. Eight years and ten books later, Rachel Morgan remains among some of my favorite witches in urban fantasy. Dead Witch Walking introduces readers to a whole new world.

The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.

Dead Witch Walking

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Have Yourself a Mercy Little Christmas

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Lisa Richards.

As we continue our Daily Dose holiday giveaway, I have another threesome of autographed books, this time they are by one of my all time favorite authors: Patricia Briggs.  I fell in love with the Mercy Thompson series at Moon Called, six books and two series later, I think they are just getting better and better.   Mercy, you see, is a coyote and coyotes shouldn't run with wolves.  If you know anything about the coyote in Native American mythology, then you know that the coyote is a force of chaos and chaos follows Mercy wherever she goes.

Moon Called

Friday, November 25, 2011

Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway: Sabina Kane is Coming to Town

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Winning nomination: Rabid Fox.

Happy Black Friday!  I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner and time with friends and family.  As i announced yesterday, we are kicking off our holiday giveaway today and we have a lot of great books and items lined up for you and yours.  Be sure to review the rules at the bottom!

Jaye Wells' Sabina Kane

I am eagerly counting down the days until Silver Tongued Devil, the fourth Sabina Kane novel, releases just a couple of days after Christmas.  So I thought it fitting that we giveaway the first three books in the series autographed by Jaye Wells during a signing last February.   The books in this set include:

Red-Headed Stepchild

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am So Grateful...and Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway Details

I have so much to be thankful for this year, it's hard to know where to start.  This has been a year of ups and downs, saying hello and saying goodbye, meeting new friends, celebrating old friends.  It's been a year of making changes, making commitments and meting new challenges.  It's been a year of pain and a year of joy.  For years, I have always said that what I do as a writer, as an author and as a person has been feast or famine.  This year, I experienced both with all the highs and lows they bring with them.

So where do you begin to account for all the little things you are grateful for?  The more I stared at this post as I was writing it, the more I realized that I couldn't make a true list without forgetting someone or something that I was grateful for, but let's see if I can at least hit all the high notes and believe me, if you aren't on this list, it's not because I wasn't grateful or that I didn't think it was worth mentioning, it's because my cup runneth over and I am overwhelmed by all the things I have gratitude for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marshal of Hel Dorado Available in Print

Get your copy of Marshal of Hel Dorado in print today!  And stand by for more than a few giveaways this holiday season!

Order in Print!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Post Mortem On Monday

Hi lovelies,

I'm off to Readers n'Ritas this weekend, so our last Vampire Diaries Post Mortem of the year will be delayed until Monday.  Last night's Homecoming episode was amazing and I have so much to discuss when I get back.  Until then, here's a preview for when Vampire Diaries returns in January:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Once Upon a Time - Love, Romance and Fantasy

Regina wants Emma gone
Once Upon a Time is one of those series that seems tailor made for me.  It's got fantasy, romance and fairy tales.  What more could I ask for?  I chatted about it over in my Reel Vixen blog after seeing the pilot, but three episodes in and I am even more in love with the show than I was when it started.  

Fresh Twists

The biggest selling point for me is the fresh twists on the old fairytales.  I'll be honest, Snow White is not my favorite story and I wasn't thrilled with the idea that Snow was going to be a central heroine for this, but after Sunday's 'look' at how Snow White and her Prince Charming met, I was completely hooked.  I cannot wait to find out what it was that Snow did that "ruined" the Wicked Queen's happiness.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Ordinary People

It's recap and review time for The Vampire Diaries most recent outing: Ordinary People.  The episode focused on the history of the Original Vampire family with all kinds of juicy reveals.  Hard to believe that we are just eight episodes into season three, so much has happened since last season's "sacrifice.'  This time last year, we met Rose for the first time and we had our first glimpse of Elijah (speaking of which, even with Elijah in the flashbacks, I find myself missing our first original terribly! He so needs to come back!).   With just one episode left till the mid-winter hiatus, let's do a quick rundown and visit some of the big changes.

Noticeably absent in this episode: Matt, Jeremy, Caroline and Tyler.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vampire Diaries Hiatus

I hate those words, The Vampire Diaries hiatus.  We get two every year (sometimes three).  But with only 22 episodes in a season, we know we have to get one sooner or later.  So here it is, we have two new episodes left, this Thursday's Ordinary People and November 10th's  Homecoming.  After that, Vampire Diaries will be on hiatus until January 5th. 

Six weeks isn't all that bad. 


In the meanwhile, check out this picture of Klaus' mother Esther and the necklace she's wearing...could Esther be our original witch?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Once Upon a Time with Maleficent

Last week a new series debuted on Sunday night entitled Once Upon a Time.  It's a modern day fable that addresses what would happen to the fairy tale characters if they were cursed into our world and robbed of their identities.  There's something deliciously medieval and modern in the way the story was told through flashbacks to the land of fairy tales intercut with scenes from 'today's' Storybrooke and a bounty hunter named Emma who just might be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

Yes, this is not our mother's fairy tale and tonight's episode features one of my favorite actresses in my favorite role: Maleficent.

Don't miss it!  Once Upon a Time airs on ABC at 8/7 C.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Ghost World

Jeremy and Elena make hard decisions
It's amazing how much The Vampire Diaries relies on the "Previously on The Vampire Diaries..." prologue of every episode to catch viewers up.  Third season has barely slowed down to catch its breath and Ghost World was no exception to that rule.  From the moment Jeremy saw Anna and Vicki at the end of season two's finale, the fans have been wondering what's going on.

Last week, in it Smells Like Teen Spirit Vicki's ulterior motives were revealed.  She was working for the original witch, the witch who cursed Klaus and apparently, not even death is enough to turn this witch's vengeance down.  She's working from the other side to face down the Original family and you know, The Vampire Diaries has proven time and again that vampires and witches just don't mix.

Ghost World

The ghosts are hopping in Mystic Falls and Alaric sums it up nicely when he warns Elena that with all the ungrateful dead they know, it might be a good plan to leave the ghosts alone.  But thanks to the Original Witch helping to push Vicki to the other side and Bonnie widening the door to shove her back, the door is now wedged open and the restless dead are on the prowl.  In short summary we have:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10 Things I Love About...Cowboys

Cowboys are hot, rugged and sexy.  The image of the cowboy dates back to before our great-grandparents were born when nickel novels shared the mad adventures of cowboys like Wild 'Bill' Hickok and "Buffalo Bill" Cody and more.  These pulp fiction novels were wildly popular in the 'civilized' eastern states because it seemed difficult to imagine the rugged survivalists who lived off the back of their horses, wrangling cattle, wearing guns on their hips and meeting life on their terms.

That fascination has hardly changed today where the cowboy is as popular with readers as he is with writers. I grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Wild Wild West, The Rifleman, Big Valley and more.  These shows all featured good looking cowboys doing what needed to be done.

Is it any wonder that my most recent release relishes life with stetson wearing cowboys (and girls) in the 1850s Texas west?  The untamed land? The unforgiving weather? And a whole new world of possibilities are waiting for cowboys to explore.  So in no short order, here are my top ten things that I love about ... cowboys.  Feel free to post your own thoughts and reasons.  I'll draw one or two winners from the comments to get a free copy of Marshal of Hel Dorado.

It's X-Men meets Young Guns.

10 Things I Love About...Cowboys

  1. Cowboys aren't afraid to get down and dirty whether it's rescuing their woman or repairing a fence. 
  2. Cowboys don't need a lot of words to get their message across.
  3. Cowboys aren't afraid of a hard day's work or providing for their family no matter what the personal cost is.
  4. When a cowboy falls off a horse, he gets right back up again.
  5. Cowboys are less worried about looking good, and focus on being good at what they do.
  6. Cowboys love their horses and take the time to care for their animals.
  7. Cowboys respect their mamas, most of the time and even the worst of the worst will take his hat off in a church.
  8. Hard work builds hard bodies, most cowboys look great shirtless.
  9. When a cowboy grins, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes will tug at your heart.
  10. When meeting a lady, they touch the brim of their hat (or take it off), smile and say ma'am.  Politeness is ingrained in most cowboys. 
What do you love about cowboys?  I'll draw winners sometime next week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Rest for the Wicked - Get Your Copy of Spirited Today

Order Today
Haunted houses. Haunted hearts.

And a past that refuses to die.

Leap Books summoned best-selling paranormal and dreadfully talented debut authors to conjure up Spirited, a haunting collection of 13 tales guaranteed to keep you up all night.

Get entombed in stories of Egyptian treasures, shudder at tales of malevolent spirits, and become enthralled with the adventures of witch-hunters, ghost seekers, and lost souls. From steampunk to cyberpunk, our collection spans past, present, and future hauntings. One story actually leaps off the page with 3-D augmented reality.

With this celebration of things that go bump in the night, Spirited authors hope to slay the specter of illiteracy that plague our youth. All proceeds from Spirited will be donated to 826 National, a non-profit organization that offers free after-school tutoring, workshops, and in-school programs because "strong writing skills are fundamental to future success."

Go ahead. Turn the page if you dare. We won’t tell if you sleep with the light on. Because after all, there’s no rest for the wicked.

Anthology edited by Kat O'Shea

Contributing authors include: Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill Williamson, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Carmen Tudor, John W. Otte, Halli Dee Lilburn, and Mark Finnemore

Behind Spirited

Leap Books has summoned some big names in fiction to help put together 13 ghostly stories to support a good cause. Spirited arrives this October as an ebook, with all proceeds to be donated to 826 National.

The 13 authors featured in the anthology, from best-sellers to wickedly talented debuts, include Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Linda Joy Singleton, Jill Williamson, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, and others.

The print edition (via Leap Books only) is set for March 28, 2012.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Release Day Sandy Williams!

Get Yours Today
Happy release day to my friend and fellow chapter mate Sandy Williams.  I am so tickled for her and this book is one you shouldn't miss.  It has hot days, Texas cities, beautiful fae and kick ass action with a heroine to root for.  So check out her cover and her blurb and grab your copy today!

About Shadow Reader

A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

Keep up with author Sandy Williams via her website.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Stefan won't leave her alone
Hard to believe that in story time it's just been a year since Elena met the Salvatores for the first time.  It's been a hell of a year with something like fifty episodes of danger, action, adventure, love, passion, loss and mayhem.

And vampires and witches and werewolves, oh my.  Smells Like Teen Spirit is hardly a departure for the series that takes the action and keeps ratcheting it up until sitting back in your seat is damn near impossible.

The episode opens at 5:15 in the morning with Elena turning off her alarm clock, then it's off for some Buffy the Vampire Slaying lessons with Alaric.  I love that she is not a natural.  Alaric tells her she has to build up her upper body strength to do it, but reminds her that she got out of bed this morning, she is putting one foot in front of the other and that makes her one of the strongest people he knows.

Meanwhile back at the Salvatore mansion, Damon has to step over the corpses to come down the stairs.  The boys also have a new houseguest as Rebecca moves herself in.  Seems like Klaus left his baby sister behind when he skedaddled.  Rebecca also enrolls in Mystic Falls High and has her sights set firmly on Tyler, much to Caroline's chagrin.  Seems like she wants her Stefan back, but she doesn't like the dark, emotionless Stefan either.

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: The Reckoning


Vampire Diaries Post Mortem:  The Reckoning

You know, when you're just five episodes into a season and you get a title like this, you just know it's going to be a game changer.  In all fairness, The Vampire Diaries does very little that isn't game changing, even their 'slow' episodes are not slow.  But make no mistake, The Reckoning was anything BUT slow.

Senior Prank Night

Lest we forget against the backdrop of epic battles, hybrids, bloodsuckers and unrequited love, a good chunk of our main characters are in high school and it's time to head back for senior year.  Caroline's inner cheerleader is determined to make the best of it by having the best senior experiences ever, starting with Senior Prank Night.  

As a total aside, Caroline Forbes has to be one of the best characters ever.  Her control-freak narcissim from the first season may have been brittle and catty, but that deep control is a force of nature and serves her well as both vampire, friend and girlfriend. (Dear Tyler please don't screw this up).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Disturbing Behavior

Damon gets a bad rap

We're back in Mystic Falls and Damon is hovering around Elena.  It's actually rather cute, Elena's making chili from her family recipe and Damon is giving her crap that he's had the Gilbert family recipe.  It wasn't that good.  He's bored by the idea of a Founder's event because he knows it's just an excuse for the council to get together.  He's also concerned about Elena, he's waiting for her to break after Stefan's harsh words in the last episode. 

Alaric, Bonnie and Caroline are all concerned about the obvious affection building between the two.  After all, it used to just be Damon pursuing Elena, but Elena appears to be reciprocating and Caroline doesn't think she should.  To be fair, Caroline's experiences with Damon in first season were not good and she's definitely justified in her opinion.

The Big Bad Witch

Gloria is stymied without Rebecca's necklace, so she is casting spells to locate it. One spell causes the necklace to burn Elena badly.  Bonnie and Caroline are there to help.  Later Gloria grabs Stefan and tortures him, using his blood to find the answers.  She knows Stefan knows.

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: The End of the Affair

Rebecca and Stefan circa 1920

Here we go, it's a mad race of recapping, dissecting and debating and we have a lot to talk about.  So hang in there with me, I've had all these thoughts in my head colliding while writing, while editing, while trying to go to sleep at night and I apologize for the delays.

Nobody Does It Better

The End of the Affair was all about the flashback and no one does it better than The Vampire Diaries.   While I admit to finding Klaus tiresome, Joseph Morgan does a great job of getting me engaged in the character during this episode.  We head back to the 1920s in Chicago where a dapper, tuxedoed Stefan and Klaus are living it up in a speak easy.  It seems that Klaus and Stefan had a history long before Klaus made an appearance in Mystic Falls and sixty years after his turn, Stefan's still a ripper.  A violent killer who enjoys documenting the names of all his kills, which thanks to Damon taking her to Stefan's old apartment, she gets a first hand look at the endless list of names written on the wall.

Oh, and note to the producers, why didn't Klaus 'hear' Elena in that closet? She was breathing pretty hard and I am sure her heartbeat was racing.  It was a great tense moment where Stefan had to get Klaus out of there without revealing Elena's presence, but I digress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Once a Marine, Always a Model?

The lovely and brilliant Candace Havens has a new book releasing today and I can't wait to get my hands on it.  Just check out the cover and blurb below and then grab your copy.  The great thing about Candy's books is they are warm, sexy, sensuous and fun.  Talk about sweet candy filling in a hot marine wrapper. Oh, and did I mention the cover is amazing?

Order Now!
Head over to Candy's website to check out her latest news and releases!  I should take a moment to mention that I'll be adding an autographed copy of this beauty to our annual Daily Dose Holiday Giveaway which kicks off after Thanksgiving.

Don't forget to pet the picture, he's beautiful.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Things I Love About ... The Avengers

A week ago, I posted a copy of The Avengers trailer. The film opens May 4, 2012 and I am seriously pumped. The trailer offers up a hearty dish of all the things I am excited about, so I thought I would go ahead and share those here. Here's the down and dirty top ten things I love about The Avengers. Don't be shy, post your thoughts and one lucky commentator will be entered to win the Avengers film of their choice. See the bottom of the list for your choices.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Hybrid

Damon wants Elena to cool it.
Unfortunately due to severe discomfort our Vampire Diaries Post Mortem for episode 3x02: Hybrid is very late.  So late in fact that I am posting it just hours before episode 3x03 airs.  For that, please accept my most humble apologies.

While we're on the subject.  This week's post mortem will be a down and dirty quick review for three reasons:

  • Time constraints
  • TSTL Moments
  • Epic Last Scenes

Klaus and Stefan's Not So Excellent Hybrid Adventure

So Klaus wants to make a Hybrid army and he's not confiding all in his new BFF Stefan.   As big of a nutball as I think Klaus is, that makes me laugh.  For once, the big evil villain isn't caring and sharing all his plans.  He doesn't trust Stefan yet (and he's right not too).  In other news, gotta love the graveyard humor of Klaus looking at all his dead pseudo-hybrids and sulking that it wasn't working.  He did the sacrifice, did everything he was supposed to do and he can't make any new 'comrades.'    They told him it would.

Who are they?

It's those tiny little throwaway lines that get me, every time.

Oh and I'm sure Elena being not so dead is why Klaus can't make hybrids and kudos to Damon for wanting Elena to stay off Klaus' radar.  Too bad Elena took a big ol' swallow of stupid this season.

Stefan saves Damon this time around and the brothers share a sweet little moment before Damon hares off to get Elena the hell out of there.

Jeremy and Matt's Two and a Half Sense

Hey Matt, Jeremy is seeing your dead sister.  Hey Jeremy, you died, but your girlfriend the witch brought you back and you're seeing your dead exes and you don't tell her because:

"We don't need a witch, okay there's examples all over the Internet."  - Jeremy Gilbert

Dear Jeremy,

Unless you are vetting your resources correctly, your Internet solutions are questionable at best.  If you plan to graduate before you die again, please work on your research skills.

Vicki wants to come back, Anna doesn't want Jeremy to help her.  Hey Jer,  Anna was never quite the self-involved narcisstic loser that Vicki was, so bets on Anna.

Alaric and Elena Walking in the Woods

"How do you feel about a little hike to the smokey mountains?" - Elena to Alaric
"You want to hunt down a pack of werewolves on a full moon?" - Alaric to Elena
"We'll be out of there before the moon is 'full'.  If you don't come with me, I'm going by myself." - Elena

Dear Elena,

You are human. You are fragile. You can die really easily. I know you think that going into houses loaded with vampires and mountains full of werewolves is heroic, but no…it's just stupid.   

P.S.  Guilting Alaric into going with you may have sounded like a great idea in your head, giving the man a 'cause' and all that…but really? 

Now, I'd give Alaric a TSTL this time around EXCEPT, he did the most awesome of clueing Damon into Elena's little Girl Scout romp through the woods which lead to my FAVORITE scene of the night. 

Okay, second favorite which was Damon tossing Elena's happy ass in the water and calling her on her crap.  I love that Alaric tipped Damon off and that he had no problem with Damon taking the hard line with Elena.  And later, in the woods, when Elena came face to face with the werewolf, Damon saved her ass.


At considerable risk to his own.   One must wonder how thick Elena has to be to realize that Damon has put his undead life on the line for her repeatedly.  But more on this in just a minute.

Tyler Lockwood Takes Mommy to School

Turns out Tyler has grown up, a lot since last season, particularly where his friends are concerned.  Matt and Tyler are looking for a way to bridge the gap and Tyler can taste vervaine.  It takes him all of thirty seconds to put one and two together to figure out that Mama Lockwood did something bad with Caroline.

He confronts his mother, drags her to the tomb, locks her in the cell and makes her spend the night watching him transform into a werewolf.  Nothing says Monster Loving like baying at the moon.  You go Tyler.  

Now, Mrs. Lockwood? Where is Caroline?

Welcome HRG to Mystic Falls

I was really excited when I heard that Jack Coleman was going to be guesting on The Vampire Diaries and I rather hoped he would be related to Caroline.  Well, not only is Coleman the "Bill,"  that Carol Lockwood turned her vampire problem over too, he's also Caroline's oft-mentioned, but never seen daddy.  Turns out Bill Forbes, like all his contemporaries, was brought up the vampire hating way and his little girl's fate is in his hands.

She Finally Chose Damon, First

And all of this brings us to the last few moments of the episode, the killer scene that brought all of it together and almost redeemed those TSTL moments.  The moment when Damon came into Elena's bedroom and demanded that she tell him why after months of insisting that they chase Stefan, throwing her own life on the line and taking fooling risks, why did she urge them out of the mountains?

Her answer:  Damon.   To keep him safe.

She almost lost him once to a werewolf bite and finally, finally she admits she is not willing to do so.  Damon smiled and told her to remember this when they did get Stefan back (and they will),  he wants her to remember every single one of these feelings.   

Then he walked out, leaving a bemused Alaric to ask Elena if she has any idea what she's doing.

She says no, but then we knew that.

Elena chose Damon over Stefan for the first time.

And it was about damn time too.

What was your favorite moment?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Paperback Heroes: The Thinker

The scientist, the professor, the doctor; he is the cool and logical thinker who will find a rational solution to the problem. He's not necessarily a man of action, but don't for a moment think he can't act when he has to. The scientist relies on his logic, the facts and his problem solving skills to get him out of trouble. He's not an action hero and he probably doesn't carry a gun all the time, but don't count him out when trouble comes looking for him.

Romantic Hero: The Thinker

As a romantic hero, the scientist (think Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. rather than Indiana) is the thinker. He's the puzzle solver. In modern literature he is best represented by Dr. Robert Langdon in the Dan Brown books Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code and the upcoming The Lost Symbol. Brown's Langdon is not an action hero, he doesn't use guns, halo jump out of airplanes and he isn't a master of fighting in hand-to-hand combat.

Robert Langdon is a brilliant detective of symbology. He deduces meanings, sees patterns and solves mysteries. In the Tom Clancy novels, President Jack Ryan fits the mould of romantic hero as a thinker because of his skill in ferreting out intelligence, although his military background makes him ideal for the law-enforcement or soldier archetype.

In Lincoln Child's Utopia, the romantic hero is Dr. Andrew Warne, a brilliant engineer. In Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic, the romantic hero is Lucas Cortez, an attorney and research sorcerer. He is much more a thinker than an action hero, using his brains more than his brawn.

Gray Grantham from The Pelican Brief is a little cross-over, as a writer, but he's an investigative journalist who uses his mind rather than a gun and action to get to the bottom of a problem.