Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coming soon from Ellora's Cave...

Woman on Fire
Fran Lee
Coming soon from Ellora's Cave
September 3, 2010

Azrael Thunder Horse never thought he would ever see another Anglo woman who could possibly knock him for a loop after leaving Hollywood. Despite the instant shot of lust he feels when he first lays eyes on his new Native American Studies teacher, he is determined to get rid of her. After all…she misled him with that damn Indian name of hers! How could he know she was not NA? But the stubborn redhead has a thing or two to say about him firing her on the spot.

Cheyenne Red Wolf has never met a more maddening, arrogant…downright irritating man. He hates her on sight. Too bad he’s the hottest thing she has ever seen…and he’s her new boss. The man tried to fire her because she wasn’t a “real” Indian. Good thing he can’t stand her, because she sure as hell couldn’t say no to all that sexy, hardheaded, Lakota masculinity. He is the man from her dream…and no matter what he thinks of her, she has it bad for the man…

An Excerpt From: WOMAN ON FIRE

Copyright © FRAN LEE, 2010

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“Can I help you?” Her quickly pasted on smile was polite and pleasant. Probably a parent, checking out the new teacher. Damn. They didn’t build single males like him these days.

Night-dark eyes slid past her, wandered around the classroom slowly, and then returned to her. Eyes that would normally have set her pulse off like a shot, but these held a cold, aloof quality that let her know she was beneath his interest.

“Is Ms. Red Wolf still here?” The dark-chocolate voice held a quiet, tense note.

“I’m Cheyenne Red Wolf.” She repeated the polite smile. “How can I help you?”

The look of shock in those obsidian eyes made her bite back a grin. It wasn’t an unusual reaction to her definitely un-Indian looks attached to a very Indian name. But the desire to grin dissolved the instant those eyes turned angry.

You are Cheyenne Red Wolf? Our new Native American Studies teacher?” Every word was clipped and reflected a fury that was barely held at bay.

She moved away from the bookshelf and resisted the urge to cross her arms defensively over her chest. The animosity rolling off that man was enough to choke her. It was only through sheer willpower that she didn’t cut and run. He took a step toward her and she had to crane her neck to meet his glare. She drew herself up to her tallest possible height which wasn’t much over five foot six in shoes and lifted her chin slightly in answer to his unspoken but clearly heard challenge. Damn! She wished now that she’d worn heels.

Forcing her voice to remain softly calm wasn’t easy. “I am. And you are…?” she coached gently, refusing to retreat as he invaded her personal space with all that hulking, broad-shouldered menace he exuded.

His eyes moved from the copper-penny red hair she’d dragged back into a bun before her first class, all the way down her fuzzy blue cardigan sweater and travel-wrinkled beige linen slacks to her vintage fifties penny loafers, then back with a disbelieving insolence that was as insulting as it was scary. Every nerve in her body screamed at her to take a few steps back and get a desk between them, but she’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.

She had no real reason to fear him, after all—it was broad daylight and they were in a school full of—empty classrooms. Oh, shit. As the realization hit her that regular classes had let out over half an hour ago, and most of the teachers were gone for the day, she inhaled slowly and wondered if maybe it might be wiser if she turned tail and sprinted for the still open door.

But her common sense returned after one panicky moment, and she frowned at her own silliness. What the hell was he gonna do? Attack her? He was understandably shocked to find a non-Native American woman teaching a class that should by all rights be taught by a Native American. There were a lot of Native Americans who resented what she did, simply because she was not one of them. Not really. And being one in spirit didn’t quite cut the mustard.

She made a point of glancing at her watch and lifted her eyes back to his face. “I really can’t take time to go over lesson plans right now. If you’ll just tell me which student is yours, I can give you a call tomorrow—”

“There’s been a mistake, Ms. Red Wolf.” The voice was low and controlled.

“A mistake?” She had to work damn hard to keep a tremor of anger out of her own voice.

Those almost-too-damn-sexy-to-be-real lips twisted into a sneer as he seemed to loom even closer in the suddenly airless classroom. “A big one.”

Her breath caught in her throat and she hated the fact that she was shaking under his glare. “If you have a problem with me teaching this class, you’ll need to take it up with Mr. Wyatt or Ms. Running Deer of the school board. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have someone waiting.” A lie was better than letting him think she had no backup here.

“He can keep on waiting.” The clipped statement startled her, but only because it was coupled with another forward movement of that intimidating body that had somehow moved so close she could feel the heat sizzling off him through her clothes.

This guy had absolutely no friggin’ concept of personal space.

She suddenly decided that retreat was entirely acceptable under such unfriendly fire. She took a quick step backward and felt the bite of a wooden desk on the soft flesh of her fanny. The startled gasp she gave seemed to make those nearly black eyes darken even more, and she blushed hotly to have let him know he frightened her. Her temper rose.

When under attack, counter attack, Frank had always said.

“Excuse me—whoever you are—but if you have a complaint about me teaching your child, like I said, take it up with the school board and the principal, who felt I was very well qualified—”

She gave a yelp of shock as a book that had been too close to the edge of the desk she was nearly sitting on fell to the floor with a resounding smack, and she jumped away from the desk automatically, coming into full frontal contact with her tormentor. And he didn’t miss a beat as he caught her around the waist with a pair of lean, strong hands and glared down at her.

His beautiful lip curled. “Just like a woman—trying to use any weapon at hand to avoid the consequences of her actions.” His voice was scathing and she blinked up at him, not getting his meaning.

“Weapon? Consequences? What the hell are you talking about?” she gasped and shoved at his hands without much success as she twisted to try to get free.

“Those weapons.” He hissed a breath inward through his teeth as her hips twisted against his. Her movements brought her generous chest tight against his. His rasping words instantly halted her movements as she realized what he was talking about and her eyes widened in horror, then narrowed in fury. Damn, but the man was blaming her for his own actions now.

“If you will take your hands off me, I will happily remove my weapons from your vicinity,” she hissed, her temper flaring at his insinuation that she was trying to use sex to escape whatever “consequences” he imagined were due her. It didn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to get his meaning and it didn’t take much imagination to realize their confrontation had produced a hard-on from hell on his part. It was jabbing against her belly quite insistently. It had already grown even larger and more dangerous in the several seconds they’d been plastered together.

For a moment, he didn’t respond, and in that tense moment she sensed that he was considering his next response with extreme care. Her incensed glare met his and she waited with lips compressed and indignant fury in her expression. Dark eyes warred with blue. It became a battle of wills as he remained tautly silent, staring down into her furious face without any change in his expression of angry disdain. His hands remained firmly clamped around her body, making it impossible to move away without a struggle, and she’d be damned if she was going to give him his jollies by wiggling and twisting against him to try to get loose again. His hands were long and powerful. The pads of his fingertips rested firmly on the upper swell of her buttocks. The sensations running rampant inside her traitorous pussy were indescribable.

After what felt like hours of silent, glaring antagonism so thick it could easily be cut with a knife, she irritably decided the only way she was going to get him to let go of her was to say something. She slowly drew a shaky breath and spoke in a low, careful tone like one might use when talking to a suicide jumper on a ledge. “How about you and me calling a truce? You take your hands off me, and we’ll both back away. Then maybe you can calmly tell me what the hell you are so damn bent out of shape over.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Do you vote?

Not too long ago, I was sent an e-mail detailing the trials women went through to earn the right to vote. If I could post the entire thing, I would, but I can't figure out how to do it so I'm going to post the highlights.

I'm sorry I don't know who wrote the original e-mail. All the headers and info was deleted. But I believe it's still important enough to pass on. If anyone knows who wrote this post, please let me know! I would like to credit it to the correct woman.

Read it. And then make sure you vote!

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk
about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.


Friday, August 20, 2010

RWA Orlando

I always promise myself I’ll keep a journal when I attend conferences but…we all know where good intentions lead. So I won’t tell you about the two-hour flight extension due to mechanical difficulties. I arrived in Orlando, debarked into humidity so overwhelming I thought I’d gone blind. I thank the gods that nothing worse than my glasses fogging had happened. DH got us to the hotel and, after checking in and unpacking, we headed to the bar.

Wednesday, I registered then went in search of somebody who could tell me if I was signing at the Readers for Life event that night. (I wasn’t on the signing list on RWA’s website.) They had my books and promise I’d even have space and a nameplate. I had both! And a constant delivery of water during the entire two-hour event! Thanks to whoever thought to add that to the signing process, which raised over $55,000.00 for literacy! Way to go, RWA!

Ellora’s Cave sponsored a get-together for its authors following the signing. It gave us a chance to sit down with each other, snack on fruits and desserts and get yet another wonderful goodie from EC! They do treat us right.

Thursday the conference began in earnest with the fastest Annual General Meeting (AGM) in history! I think it lasted all of twelve minutes. No quorum, no new business. For those of you planning to attend future conferences, please attend the AGM or give your proxy to someone who is attending. Yes, the AGM is generally dry as dust, but it’s where individual members have a chance to voice our opinions. It’s a very important meeting.

Workshops began after lunch, following an inspiring keynote address from Nora Roberts. One-hundred-sixty-five published books and still counting. And a wonderful speaker, too!

Friday, more workshops, spotlights on publishers and—joy of joys!—book signings with free books and an opportunity for brief visits with some of my favorite authors. Another inspiring address by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Saturday was more of the same, with the entire event capped by the Rita and Golden Heart ceremony.

Complaints? I have a few.

The miserable humidity that comes with having the conference in July/August in locations known for it. Take a look at the schedule for the next few years: NYC, Atlanta and San Antonio. As a third generation Californian, I can only pray Anaheim will offer some respite. At least, the humidity may not knock us flat on our…

Of course, there’s that all-too-frequent need to house attendees in other hotels. I don’t know if it’s due to late registration or RWA having to compete with other conventions. As far as I know, all attendees were on the beautiful Epcot Resorts property and were within (melting) walking distance. I chose to stay at the Swan so I could avoid the elevator-use contention at the Dolphin—although I haven’t heard any complaints about the elevators there.

Beware of those at the Marriott Marquis, however. They’ve been known to get stuck just when you’re in a hurry to get someplace—like an editor or agent appointment!

Overall, I rate this conference well above average. Yes, I wish I’d had the opportunity to go to Nashville and stay at the Gaylord. I hope RWA will reschedule that location in the near future—and maybe during spring or fall, although I’m not holding my breath. But, considering all that happened, Orlando turned out just fine.

Meeting old friends, making new. Learning more about my craft and coming home with all those beautiful books. There really is a heaven!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today is my birthday and as I reflect on what I wanted to be when I grew up

Today is my umpti-smurgilicious Birthday! As I look in the mirror and get the reflection back of who I have become and recall what I wanted to become, I must say I am rather satisfied with the picture.
No, I am not going anywhere. I am DAMN healthy. Couldn't kill me with an axe, as my father used to say of my mother's superb health.
But birthdays do offer one pause to reflect.
So here is a list of what I have not yet accomplished, but wanted to:

  • no NYT list

  • no fortune

  • not really even 3 minutes of fame coming my way.
BUT, here's what I do have (and something tells me there is not enough space here to list all those things I really should):
  • lots of awards for my writing

  • many placements in Book Clubs

  • enough $$$ earned writing to send our kids through private high school and college

  • a legacy to them of loving books, the written word and great movies

  • a respect by them for art in all forms

  • a desire by them to be artists...while coping with the necessity to be corporate good boys and girls

  • my acquisition of so many friends who love books and the written word, whether they themselves are writers or not

  • my wonderful marriage of many decades to a man whose support I valued for my decision to NOT be an eternal corporate person
  • my love of what I do every day and an endless supply of ideas to

  • the ability to earn money at it

  • the joy of creating

  • the joy of being what I know I was meant to be when I came many years ago!

And the cover at the top? My new release FOR HER HONOUR at , the second in the SWORDS OF PASSION series about 3 Crusaders who fight for their lives and their loves in the reign of King John of England. Scrumptious cover, yes?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Coming Tuesday August 17th

I love this cover! I love this story. LOL
One day I was listening to a song and these lyrics caught my attention: "I get off on you getting off on me." Addison and Dante instantly appeared in my mind. I knew I had to write their story.
Here is a taste of this story available Tuesday August 17 from Ellora's Cave
Masturbating can be so much fun—especially when you have a one-man audience. Addison loves sex. More importantly, she loves her body and isn’t afraid to make it sing. Add a little voyeurism and it’s totally erotic.

Dante’s muse has stalled—until his sexy neighbor starts seducing him. Through her bedroom window, he watches as her hands caress her tantalizing skin. It’s like something out of a strip club, with his very own personal view. Thanks to this beauty, he’s drawing like wildfire. To thank Addison, Dante sends her an invitation for a single night together. That night may encourages them to draw a new future…together.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: DANTE’S DESIRE
Copyright © AMBER SKYZE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Chapter One

Addison removed the clip from her dark mane and tossed it on the dresser. Her unruly hair tumbled around her shoulders. Fingertips massaged her scalp, releasing the day’s tension. Her feet screamed to be set free from the six-inch heels, but she couldn’t—not just yet. She needed to keep them on for a little while longer. For him.
In three long strides she stood in front of the window of her bedroom. A small light was on in his apartment. The moon, a sliver shy of full, illuminated the sky. Another day or two and it would be complete.
Pulling the tails of her crisp white blouse out of her skirt she unbuttoned the sleeves. Her hands moved to the top button and removed it from its hole. Slowly she continued down the shirt until her pink lace bra was fully exposed.
With ease she removed the shirt and threw it on the chair. She tapped her polished fingernail against her lip. What would she do tonight? She smiled a wicked grin. She was feeling bold.
She pictured him sitting there, his fingers wrapped around his hard cock—watching. She imagined his hand moving up and down the length of his shaft. With each article of clothing she removed she imagined him sucking in a deep breath and groaning in sexual frustration. He’d masturbate until she was finished and they’d both be satisfied.
There was no doubt he was watching. She felt his eyes on her body, begging to touch it. Most women would close the curtains and be freaked out by the idea of a man watching them every time they undressed, but not Addison. She loved the idea of being watched. She enjoyed the freedom to put on a show for him. He could look, but he couldn’t touch. That alone made the whole fantasy fun.
Addison unhooked the front clasp of her bra and flung it with the shirt. Her hands cupped her large breasts. An early bloomer, she was teased endlessly in high school. She’d hated her huge boobs as a teenager, but now she was happy with her bust.
The palms of her hands ran over her nipples, stirring them to life. She took them between her fingers and tugged until they were fully aroused. Pinching the hardened nubs she bit her lower lip from the sensations racing to the core of her pussy.
She needed an orgasm.
Releasing her nipples, her hands floated down her stomach and around to the back of her black skirt. Unzipping the tight fabric she eased it over her hips and let it fall to the floor, where it pooled at her feet. Stepping away from the skirt she made sure she was still visible to her admirer.
She turned around, hooked her thong panties around her fingers and bent over. She dragged the panties down her legs, giving him a view of her puckered ass. Holding on to her ankles, she rotated her hips ever so slowly. She loved putting on a performance like a stripper, only hers was a one-man show.
What was he thinking? Was he wondering what it would be like to drive his stiff cock into her waiting ass? Or did he want to fill her hole with a butt plug so he could ram into her wet pussy?
She reached up to her pussy to find she was soaked. She slipped her finger inside. Pulling out she dragged her juices out coating her lips.
Time to rock his world.