Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thor's Day Fun

Now for something completely different. Some fabulous scenes that should never have been cut from the movie and an alternative ending. Happy Thor's Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trading Up with Mahalia Levey

Hmm, good food, hot romance and some sensory deprivation? Where do I sign up? I've never been a fan of those restaurants that invite you to eat in the dark--because by depriving you of sight, you enhance all your other senses. But after Trading Up--I may have to change my mind.

Prepare yourselves and be sure to check out this hot new release from Mahalia Levey!

I really had a great time writing another story for the 1NS series. I am totally hooked on writing them as well as reading what other authors are coming up with. In this story I decided to come up with a twist and play with two like minded individuals who judged possible dates with barely more than a glance or two. It’s a bad habit that we as a people have with deciding within seconds if someone is or isn’t for us. Just imagine all the possibles if people would slow down and let fate happen. With these two fate can’t happen because they are not open to it. That is where Madame Eve comes along and voila! Intervention. This is a feel good, sensory deprivation story that is smoking hot, or so I’ve been told. So grab your copy and experience fine dining in the dark and what things may come.


Camilla’s deal breakers make finding a man to fit her wants, needs, and desires darn near impossible. For years she’s been primped and primed to be the perfect political daughter, when all she really wants to do is let loose without her world collapsing. When a friend sends her Madam Eve’s way, she grabs the opportunity to explore without being outed to the conservative watchdogs.

Jonah Black’s career is heading for a change. His friends have dubbed him married to the military, and he can’t deny that his focus has been off center. While they enjoy the pleasures of life and wives, he has nothing to come home to. When offered the chance for a 1NS, he signs up, unprepared for the exotic woman whose sweet exterior masks enticing sexuality.

Sensory depravation and the natural freedom of anonymity launch unexpected sexual desires. Madame Eve’s only request–Enjoy the sweetness of life and let the chips fall where they may–leaves this couple eager for an eye-opening experience that breaks all the rules.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Trailer

Yeah, you knew this would get its own post.


 Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Building a Better Me - 2011 - 2013

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know I've been working on my weight loss since May of 2012 - well actually I'd tried for years without a whole lot of success until May of 2012. In the nearly a year since I started this, I've lost almost 90 pounds. But it's better told with visuals.

June 2011
That's me down front next to Nalini Singh on the right. At the time I weighed about 260 pounds. I worked out every day and I tried to eat healthy, but it wasn't working.

May 2012
That's me with fabulous reader Tara in May exactly four days before I started the new diet. I weighed 253 pounds.

August 2012
By August, three months into the new regimen, I was down almost 40 pounds - I think I was right around 38 pounds off.

November 2012
Six months on the Medifast program, eating six times a day, ever three hours and having given up my Starbuck's addiction, I'm at seventy pounds down and I've dropped from a size 24 to a size 12.

February 2013
Here I am in February, just now a size 10 and down 80 pounds.

As of this morning, I am less than nine pounds from my goal, so the next photo I put up will be in May, one year from when I started the weight loss. Sometimes, it's better to show than to tell. But what a difference a year makes! I feel better than I have in years, and I no longer have to use a CPAP - which was part of the goal when I started!

Friday, April 12, 2013

My Favorite Proposals

As a romance author, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I love a good proposal scene. I love these scenes where couples you root for finally come together and the proposals FIT them. Here are four of my favorites.

What are yours?

Monica & Chandler (Friends)

Derek & Meredith (Grey's Anatomy)

Ryan & Jenny (Castle)

Jamie & Aurelia (Love Actually)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Always a Marine Anniversary Party Winners!

First and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone who came to party with me last weekend. I couldn't be more delighted to have the celebration and have so many turn up. It's been a great year with my Marines and I'm looking forward to more this year!

But let's get to the good stuff!  The following winners were drawn by Rafflecopter!

Naming a Character in an Upcoming Marine

Jessica Mora Llewelyn

Always a Marine eBundle

Shadow Kohler

No Regrets, No Surrender Autographed Print

Luna Wildwood!

Two Copies of any eBooks in the Marine Backlist
Jan Meredith

The Marine Bear

Stephanie Staton

Winners, I need you to send me a note with your choices, or snail mail address as appropriate to heather (a) heatherlong (dot) net.  You have one week, if I haven't heard from you, I'll draw new ones. Congratulations again!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Release Day! A Fistful of Dreams Available Now!

I am thrilled to present you with book #4 in the Fevered Hearts series. After Dorado burned at the end of Micah & Mrs. Miller, the Kanes and Morning Stars were left to face new challenges, new Fevered, and for many of them a whole new world.

A Fistful of Dreams

Fevered Hearts #4

When the spirit fever struck a town, a village or an outpost, it left few if any survivors. The white man blamed the Indian saying they used their mojo on them.  The Indians blamed the white man for angering the spirits.  The survivors knew it didn’t matter.  The Fevered were forever changed.
Rebuilding Dorado is only the first challenge…
Surviving a vicious attack by their enemies and an outbreak of the Fever has left Dorado in ruins and the Flying K under siege, now all their resources are devoted to rebuilding their town and protecting the newborn Fevered in their midst.  Buck Morning Star and his siblings divide their time between training their new family members and avoiding the threat of detection the arrival of soldiers constructing a new fort pose, but the spirit walker's dreams are haunted by Delilah. But when Jason Kane threatens to come between them, Buck's obsession may drive him to madness.
Her secrets could destroy them all…
Rescued from a whore house in Fort Courage, Delilah Rinaldi never expected to find a sanctuary populated by Fevered and their allies. Silent since her arrival at the ranch, she longs to believe in Buck and the passionate dreams they share. But she keeps dangerous knowledge of the enemy hunting them all close to her heart—information Jason may reveal and cost her the only home and man she loves.
Primitive, primal and provocative, their struggle is intensely personal…
Close contact arouses a soul-stirring passion and love. But it may not be enough to sustain a relationship forbidden by their power and the tempest it can unleash.
His dream. Her words. Their destiny.
Join the fun on Facebook with the Fevered Fanatics Group.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lack of Fore Planning and Mondays...

Image courtesy of arztsamui at
Some days it doesn't plan to think ahead. You won't hear me say that often. I subscribe to the theory that plans don't fail, it's the lack of planning that leads to failure. But if anything, all the planning in the world can't help if you don't get everyone on board.

For example, last night at nine-thirty, the Mini announced she didn't have the plain black shirt she needed for her drill team clinic this week. Never mind that when I specifically asked her three days before if she had everything and to let me know if we needed to find anything over the weekend, she blew me off with a "MOM! I'm fine." Never mind that I'd just worked all day long and was already in bed, staring glazed-eyed at the television and half-asleep, never mind that I asked her a week before, two weeks before, and three days before--she was frantic. We needed to go to the store RIGHT NOW.

Sigh. Mommyhood

The reasonable response would be "No, I asked you and you insisted you were fine because you were too lazy to actually check. So you'll have to do without." Which would ultimately mean she couldn't meet the dress code of her clinic. Not a helpful response.

So what did I do? What most parents do, I got up, threw my clothes back on and a baseball cap to hide my scary hair and we headed out to get her a shirt. The whole time, I lecture her on lack of foreplanning on her part does not constitute an emergency on mine. 

Twenty minutes later, we exit Target, shirt in hand. Mini is busily thanking me for taking the time and apologizing for not thinking ahead. 

But a Shining Moment

I nod and mumble something appropriate like your welcome and thank you. She announces as we pull into the garage. "I am really sorry, Mom. And while I would like to promise to never do it again, I know I get distracted and focused on other things and I don't always plan ahead, but I promise to try and be better about it."

Yeah. Okay. At least that's a reasonable response. 

Sometimes, You Have to Suck It Up

She has her shirt. She's aware of what she did wrong. And from start to finish the entire exodus took less than thirty minutes. 

The moral of the story? Being a mom is all about responding to those moments, planned or not. And capping the entire evening off with a good night that goes like this:

Mini: Thanks again, Mom.
Me, obviously tired and not thinking anymore: No problem.

Dramatic Pause.

Mini: Ummm...okay, because I was already a pain in the butt, I won't comment on that, but just for future reference, a twenty minute lecture on not planning ahead screams BIG PROBLEM. Thank you again. Night Mom, I love you.

Yep...schooled by the Mini!  

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Always a Marine Anniversary Party! Where Do We Go From Here?

First let me kick off this final post of our anniversary party with a huge thank you to everyone who dropped in this weekend, hung out, tweeted, retweeted, as well as to all my readers who make my day with their enthusiasm and of course to my crit partners and editor and publisher without whom this entire series would not be possible.

Beyond all of these fantastic all our men and women in the service who inspired me in the first place.

Where Do We Go From Here

In the twelve months since Once Her Man, Always Her Man released, we've seen a total of eleven books in the series. Most were 1Night Stands or shorts. For the most part, you've been wonderful in your reception for these books, but almost universal the request has been for longer stories. Don't think I haven't been listening.

Beginning in May, with the relesse of Matt's book, we're going to try and lengthen the novels coming out--but there are still shorts to come.

  • What Part of Marine Don't You Understand - 25k  May 24
  • A Marine Affair (m/m) - 15k June 7
  • Marine Ever After - (30K+) June 21
  • Dances with Marines -15k  July 2
  • Marines with Benefits - 15k  July 19

This winter, we have five very special holiday 1Night Stands. And in 2014, you can expect at least three full length Marines including Brody and Shannon's full length story and reunion, a book I cannot wait to get into.

In the meanwhile, be sure to keep your eye out for this gem:

The print will include:

  • The Marine Cowboy
  • The Two and the Proud
  • A Marine and a Gentleman
  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
  • Combat Barbie

What would you like to see in future Always a Marine stories? I do want to know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Always a Marine Anniversary Party! Giving Back

In Once Her Man, Always Her Man, I introduced readers to Mike's Place. A number have asked me where the idea came from and what inspired it? In all honesty, the idea was born while I wrote the book. Luke told me as he told Rebecca. Sadly, the story Luke told of his friend Mike and what happened to him is hardly a unique one in the realm of our armed forces.

Fisher House

At the time that I began describing Mike's Place, I wasn't fully aware of Fisher House, but it didn't take me long to learn about it. For years, Fisher House has provided homes for families of the military who wanted to be close to their loved ones during their recovery. Because of the wonderful work they do, I dedicated a portion of my royalties to them and will continue to do so for as long as the book sells.

Writing No Regrets, No Surrender was a difficult journey for me. For the first time, I actively cried while writing. Jazz, Logan and Zach went through hell and I went along for the ride. But as hard as it was, I am so grateful for the opportunity to write it and go there as I did with the book.

Dedicated Efforts

Matt's upcoming book (see an exclusive sneak peek here) features a service dog named Jethro. Because of this, I want to donate a portion of those royalties to Paws for Patriots. It's a local organization that trains service dogs for our veterans. I don't think I can ever do enough to thank our service men and women for the sacrifices they make. But I can certainly try.

If even one book or one dollar helps someone, then I've done a good thing and while I love writing these books and telling their stories--I also want to help. Thankfully, this is a series that allows me to do both.

What charities and causes dedicated to veterans would you like to see helped?

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Always a Marine Anniversary Party! Building the Series from Scratch

Today is the year ago today, Once Her Man, Always Her Man released. Of course, it wasn't written a year ago today, in fact, it was written over Thanksgiving weekend 2011. I started it Black Friday and finished the first draft by Sunday morning. I fired it off to my two crit partners and to the woman who nudged me into writing it, tweaked the manuscript and submitted it. Amazingly enough, thirty-three minutes later, I had an email back from the submissions editor and the rest...well...that's the series for you.

The Birth of the Idea

The actual idea to write a 1Night Stand came from Rebecca Royce. She and I hooked up on Twitter a few years ago. We'd been crit partners on and off, swapping reads for each other and encouragement. She mentioned to me that I should write for Decadent's 1 Night Stand line, she thought I had a good voice for it.

Three thoughts went through my head, in all honesty:

  • What's a 1Night Stand line?
  • No one can tell a story in 15,000 words or less
  • What would I write?

The first thought was easily answered by visiting the submission page, and reading about the details. The second and third were a lot harder to dismiss. But the idea wouldn't go away, it settled into the back of my brain and began to ferment.

Starting from Scratch

That particular November was a turbulent one for me and I won't bore you with the details, but professionally and personally there was a lot of upheaval. Through all of it, this idea kept whispering to me. What couple could Madame Eve bring together? Why would they need the 1Night Stand service? Because frankly, if I didn't believe it, I couldn't write it.

I'd always wanted to write a military man, and I think I was watching a rerun of West Wing--the episode where Leo brings in Rodney, a uniformed Marine in his dress blues to show off his skill with the rifle presentation and it all snapped into focus for me. Luke Dexter was born. Luke left his high school sweetheart behind to go fight a war.

He did it for a lot of reasons, but the largest one was he never expected to come home. He truly didn't believe he would. So rather than have her mourn him, he wanted her to move on. But a decade has passed and not only did he come home, but he thrived. He signed up for a 1Night Stand because his unit did and it was a show of solidarity. It was this one line in the book that gave birth to the others.

Not a Series

I wasn't planning a series when I wrote Once Her Man, Always Her Man, I planned to give it a shot and see if I could write a story within this limited framework of a word count. (By the way, I said I didn't think it was possible when I started this in large part because the LAST novella I tried to write just prior to this turned into an 82,000 word book, but that's a story for another day.) But I wrote it, I contracted it and I was excited.

And a week later, that line came back to haunt me. I started thinking about the men in Luke's unit. Who were they? What were their stories? Logan Cavanaugh presented himself and he had a story to be told--boy did he ever--and that led to Retreat Hell! It turned into a menage, unexpectedly and Logan introduced me to Zach and then of course, I knew they needed a special woman and that was Jazz.

One Character Leads to Another

After Retreat Hell, I thought about Logan's recovery time and who helped him and then we met James. In James' book, we met two other Marines, Damon and Matt. Damon would become book four. I thought book five would be Matt's, but Brody made an appearance. Funnily enough, Damon used Matt as an excuse to get Brody on his date.

Every single book has literally given birth to the next in the series, either directly or indirectly. From the men and women at Mike's Place to others beyond. Even those books taking place far away from Mike's Place were often inspired by the earlier ones. A question that pops up, an idea, a lyric from a song, a character on the screen--or a news story.

Always Marines

I've always been sensitive to the stories about Marines, but never more so than I have been in the last eighteen months. This year has really reminded me how every Marine has a story and as long as they do, I plan to write them. And you know what I learned?

I can write a story in 15,000 words or less, but my readers will always want more and I want to write them longer.

A 1Night Stand is an opportunity to find happily ever after, even if it's only a happy for now. It's an opportunity to discover love.

And I'd write Marines.

No I didn't plan to write a series, but I can't tell you how happy I am that I did. It's been a wonderful ride and I can't wait to see where it takes me.

In case you missed it, the party kicked off yesterday at the For the Love of Military Romance blog, there are three posts there, I encourage you to check them out for more opportunities to win some of our fun prizes, because what's a party without prizes?

My series was truly one of the happiest accidents I've ever had. I can never say thank you enough to Rebecca Royce (as you may note, Luke's Rebecca is named after her).  Your blog question for today is, what happy accidents have happened to you? 

 What are our prizes?

  • Naming a character in an upcoming Marine!
  • Always a Marine eBundle
  • No Regrets, No Surrender autographed print copy
  • Two eCopies of any books on the Marine backlist
  • And....*drumroll* A Marine Bear! Who you just might sneak a look at in an upcoming video during the party!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Always a Marine Anniversary Party

The Always a Marine anniversary party kicks off today on For the Love of Military Romance - so don't miss those blogs and your chances to enter and win. Then head back here tomorrow for more party fun!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top 40 at 41 - What a Way to Celebrate a Birthday

I thought about what I wanted to post for my birthday blog. Images of Thor? Videos from Vampire Diaries? A list of my favorite books or characters? What about my favorite people? You see, in 41 years of living, I have a lot I could talk about (yes, no comments from the peanut gallery, I know I can talk) and as much as I tease others about being chatty, I really couldn't pick just any one thing to chat about. So I decided to make an I'm grateful list...I'm grateful to the life I've led for 41 years, the ups, the downs, the joys, and the sorrows.

So just what am I grateful for today?

I'm grateful for fantastic friends who cheer me up, who check on me when I go quiet, who support me, who offer advice time and again when I ask for it whether I take the advice or not--they aren't shy about sharing their thoughts with me. They kick me in the ass when I need it and tell me to chill. They are some of the greatest ladies in the world--cause they like me for me, warts and all.

I'm grateful for a daughter who couldn't be better if she tried. She's my biggest fan, and she's thoughtful, sweet, hopeful and encouraging. She dares me to life and she helps me look at the world through a less jaded telescope. She's made me a better person, because I want to be one. She's smart and she's sassy and damn if she doesn't keep me on my toes.

I'm grateful to the editors who took a chance on a woman who just wants to write and tell stories all day, every day. They give me kudos when I get it right and tweak me when I get it wrong. They pick apart the stories and find the plot holes and are unflinching in their desire to help me put the best book out there I can.

I'm grateful for the animals who have shared my life, from my beloved Max and Murray to the sweet Tannim and Vienna. I've had to say goodbye to so many over the years, but my fur babies keep coming back or we find new souls to join us. If you run into everyone you've ever known in the afterlife, I know mine is going to be bouncing puppies and disdainful cats and I can't tell you how all right I am with that.

I'm grateful to my readers whether they picked up my first book or my thirtieth. You make me smile and you support my dream--really, what's not to love about that?

I'm grateful to my grandmother, the woman who taught me to never give up--no matter how hard life kicks you. Get up and kick it harder right back. I wish she could have met my daughter, I wish she could see all the things I've done. Life wasn't easy for her, but she was one of the toughest and sometimes one of the meanest ladies I ever met. If I'm even half the woman she was--then I did okay.

40 kicked ass for me. I am looking forward to great things during 41. I never forget where I came from, I never forget the year of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or worse, the year of not being able to afford more than ramen noodles. I haven't forgotten tough neighborhoods, and scrimping to buy a gallon of milk. I have never forgotten the sacrifices made to ensure I got to school on time or got the best education--or the trips, the fact that my grandmother didn't rely only on schools to teach me.

I haven't forgotten any of it and I'm grateful for it all--it's made me who I am. I am not just one thing or one event or one career--I am all of them. Good and bad, life's a journey and we're rocketing through it.

It's my birthday and I'll be sappy if I want to! Thank you all for being a part of my life. I literally wouldn't be here without each and every single one of you.