MTM — Wet

    I’ll admit it — I have a thing for wet men.

    That could be because I’m a double water sign — my sun is in Pisces and my rising sign is Cancer. And, yes, I love water even when naked men aren’t involved.

    But add a naked man to water — a shower, a pool, a the beach — and, well, you’ve got me. And because today is kind of, sort of not really my birthday — I’m a Leap Day baby — I figured it would be okay to indulge my own appetites.

    The man above drew my gaze with that single prominent drop of water that’s trickling down his belly toward paradise. There’s something about the way water slides over a man’s hard muscles, emphasizing how soft a man’s skin can be, even when he’s hard as iron beneath.

    Yes, I said HARD.

    This young man seems to need to cool off a bit. He’s this week’s offering to the “I don’t like them so muscular” lobby. Lean with a hard body that looks like it comes from playing lots of healthy living, he looks like he’s rinsing he saltwater off his skin after a hard day of fun at the beach.

    Anyone want to bring him a nice cold, lemonade or perhaps some southern sweet tea, Natalie’s favorite drink.


    This gentleman comes close to taking No. 1 for me this week. Two words: Wet. Obliques. Wet obliques! Wet freaking obliques! Do you follow me?

    Once I managed to pry my eyes of the wet obliques, I realized the rest of him was pretty amazing, too. I’d love to scrub his back... Or whatever. Then I could dry him off with a nice fluffy towel or maybe my hair.


    Oh. Sorry.

    This gentleman has it all going on — rock hard body, tribal tat, wet skin. He reminds me of the Coppertone advertisement, except that instead of a dog pulling the little girl’s bathing suit down, it’s him pulling his own bathing suit down.

    Well, don’t stop on our account, sweetheart.

    This fine gentleman got caught in the rain. Naked. Not sure how that happened, but I like the idea and hope to see forecasts in the future that look like this: “An 80 percent chance of showers and naked men for the Denver metro area this afternoon.”

    Of course, my eyes are drawn to one particular place. Can you guess? I’m trying to see whether I’m seeing a lack of manscaping in a certain place. I sure hope so!

    And now we come to my own personal fave. I’ll tell you why I love this photo so much. Our hero — and he is a hero — is in some kind of pain. He needs help. There he is, naked on all fours in a river. And who doesn’t just want to dive in and help him?

    When I first saw this photo, it reminded me of the moment when Bethie is out gathering moss for Belle’s diapers and sees Nicholas bathing in the river. I just stare at this photo and think of that. And all is right with the world... even on a Monday!

    Happy Monday, everyone!

    Come back on Wednesday for a roll call on the I-Team Reading Challenge and to chat about Unlawful Contact. (Paging Team Marc...)

    And if you have any wet and wild man photos, it is my birthday... sort of. I thought I had one of Jed Hill wet and in water, but I couldn’t find it. Heartbreaking!

Contest Winners!

    I want to thank Marie Force for joining us this week and telling us about herself. She’s such an interesting person and so much fun to talk with. I’m so grateful to have crossed paths with her here in cyberspace. I bought myself a Kindle for my pseudo-birthday and plan to download her backlist as soon as it arrives.

    In the meantime, there are prizes to give away.

    HEIDI is the winner of Everyone Loves a hero. Please send your mailing address to Marie.

    JUNE wins Fatal Affair. Please send your e-mail address to Marie to collect your prize.


    You can contact Marie through her website.

    Thanks again to Marie, and thank you to all of you who stopped by.

    And thank goodness the weekend is almost over! Can’t wait to get to Man-Titty Monday. TGI-MTM!

A Force to be reckoned with / Interview & giveaway

    Every so often, I come across a writer whose life and work intrigue me, and then I just have to have them come pay a visit here on my blog. In the past, you’ve heard from Christy Reece and Anna Campbell. And today, I’m thrilled to bring you a brief interview with Marie Force.

    I met Marie via the Internet and quickly discovered she was a journalist. Also, she and I are very close in age. We’re both moms, and we both write romantic fiction. Those are some pretty significant things to have in common.

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her books. Just this past week, woman on the RBL Romantica board were chatting up her stories and insisting that everyone needed to read them. I take a recommendation from RBL Romantica quite seriously and am looking forward to reading Marie’s books when I’m done with Connor’s story. (I never read outside the subgenre I’m writing at the moment because it’s too confusing. Right now I’m reading Surrender and Untamed to refresh my poor tired brain on all things MacKinnon.)

    Despite Marie’s busy schedule, she agreed to answer a few questions, and the ensuing chats between the two of us were a lot of fun. I felt like I’ve made a new friend. As she said, we went to different high schools together.

    Without further ado, I present author Marie Force:

    Pamela Clare: First, I have to say that I always feel a sense of kinship with fellow journalists. I read about your background, and I had a visceral reaction to your description of working for a small newspaper. You wrote that it was “the writing equivalent of boot camp. We worked like dogs for almost no money, but we had a lot of fun and learned so much about writing editing and life.” And I thought, “OMG!” Nothing more. Just “OMG!” My I-Team series is therapy for my work as a journalist.

    How do you feel being a journalist has influenced your life as a fiction writer?

    Marie Force: Thanks so much for having me today, Pamela! I am a HUGE fan of your I-Team series, and I can’t wait for the next installment. Being a journalist really opens your eyes to the larger world around you. I don’t know about you, but I notice everything. I remember everything. Unlike my husband who tells a story in which every, single detail is wrong. I just sigh and say, no, it was a Tuesday in the winter and our son was not there. LOL! He can’t help it! Of course, it drives him crazy that I remember everything with such precision, but I was trained to do that.

    Those skills have come in handy as a fiction writer. Being a skilled eavesdropper led me to the plot for my book Love at First Flight. A quick interaction between an arriving pilot and a woman in an airport led me to Everyone Loves a Hero. A handsome man in a Mercedes convertible led to The Fall. It only takes a second for an idea to present itself that can turn into a book! The secret is to allow those ideas in and think about them in a way most people never would. One of my favorite questions is “What if?”

    PC: I found your “path to publishing” story quite touching, particularly in that your mother was able to read some of your work before she died of pancreatic cancer. You seem to be very close to your family. How has the faith that your parents and husband have in you as writer helped you deal with the challenges of writing fiction?

    MF: I was very close to my mom, and we talked almost every day, even when I moved overseas for three years with my new husband (19 years later, he still doesn’t know about the all the hideous phone bills my parents paid when we lived in Spain—shhhh, don’t tell). Losing her was a terrible blow, but I do like to think she has been my fairy godmother in making good things happen for my writing career AND my brother, and I fully believe she is responsible for the Red Sox finally winning the World Series in 2004, two months after she died without ever seeing them win. We picture her up there giving Babe Ruth the what-for about the hex he supposedly placed on the Sox.

    I still talk to my dad every day. In fact, he says I am more of a nag than his wife ever was. LOL! Thank you very much! Years before I ever wrote my first book, my parents were after me to get going on it. I dedicated my debut novel, Line of Scrimmage, to my parents who always said I could, and to my husband and kids who supported me while I did. Just last night, I went with my husband and kids to “visit” Everyone Loves a Hero on the bookshelves. It’s still a thrill for all of us, even the third time around.

    PC: Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up, or was the agony of those untold stories too much of a motivation for you to consider throwing in the towel?

    MF: Soooooo many times! But I never seriously came close to giving up. My mantra before I was published is still my mantra today because it’s just as important “after the call” as it was before: The only thing I know for sure is that if I give up, it will never happen. No one else will ever love your book or champion it the way you will, so the minute you give up, it’s over. I was always acutely aware of that and kept my nose down and my fingers on the keys.

    I wrote seven books before I sold one. I’ve had major ups and downs, thanks in large part to the economy tanking just as I “arrived” and due to the fact that I don’t write about vampires or wolves or shape-shifters. I hear contemporary is “making a comeback,” and that pleases me greatly! At the end of the day, we can let “the business” defeat us or we can choose to persevere and keep writing and hoping that someday it will all click.

    Ironically, the click for me seems to have happened just this month when one of my books hit No. 11 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list and four of my books are in the Top 100 for contemporary romance (one of them at No. 2). It only took seven years! And boy am I glad now that I never gave up!

    PC: Some writing experiences are universal for novelists. Your anecdote about discovering novel notes you’d made long ago and laughing until you cried because they were so awful probably resonates with anyone who’s attempted to write books. I filled a notebook up with love scenes when I was in junior high, and if you were to read them you’d think they were written by helper monkeys who’d never actually had sex. Yes, celibate helper monkeys.

    So tell us about your first idea for a novel. And then tell us about the idea that became your first novel. What was the difference between them?

    MF: That’s a great question, and LOL on the helper monkeys! My first idea for a novel actually became my first book, Treading Water. The very first character who presented himself to me as a living, breathing person was a handsome architect named Jack Harrington. His book, Treading Water, the book of my heart, was finished in 2005—after many stops and starts that were, truly, AWFUL.

    This was the book my mom got to read the beginning of before she passed away. She said it made her cry, which gave me the fortitude to keep going. For a number of reasons, mostly involving timing, that book has never been shopped. My ONLY writing goal for 2011 is to sell Treading Water. It’s with my agent now, and she’s enjoying it. So fingers crossed for TW and the two sequels I wrote before I knew you weren’t supposed to write sequels before you sold the initial book.

    Thank GOD I didn’t know that! LOL! Those three books are my absolute favorites of all my books, and I so hope to get them out to readers before too much longer. With contemporary making that big comeback, the time feels right now for Treading Water. I wrote about “The House That Jack Built,” the metaphor for my writing career, on my website at It’s really quite a story that I sometimes can’t believe actually happened to me!

    PC: You’ve had a very modern path to publishing. Some of your titles you published yourself through Amazon. Your Fatal series is published by Harlequin’s Carina Press. How does your experience of working with Harlequin compare to self-publishing?

    MF: I love everything about working with Carina and Harlequin. It’s been so great to be a part of Carina from the debut month and to learn from the forward-thinking women who are running the show there. I couldn’t be more excited to see a series that was once “on the shelf” heading into a fourth book with hopefully many more to come. The books I published myself to Amazon were sitting on my computer collecting dust. I like to say that no one was interested in them except my readers. And wow, were they ever interested! They are selling in staggering numbers, which is so very exciting since all I did to promote them was stick them on my Amazon author page. It’s a great time to be an author with some extra books sitting on the computer and readers asking for more (as well as asking for more of particular characters they’ve met in earlier books). I plan to post several more books to Amazon/B&N this year, but I do hope to continue to work with publishers, too.

    PC: Tell us about your Fatal series. Rumor is there’s a wedding on tap that might blow Will and Kate’s nuptials out of the water.

    MF: Will and Kate have nothing on my Sam and Nick! LOL! Theirs will be the Wedding of the Year in Washington, D.C. I’m actually just finishing up Fatal Destiny, the novella featuring the wedding of the main characters in the Fatal Series: Sam Holland, a D.C. homicide detective, and her U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano. Readers planned the wedding on my blog, right down to the rings, cake, dresses, honeymoon destination, etc. That was really fun for all of us! I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE writing their story.

    The series mixes romance with politics and murder and includes a rich cast of secondary characters who are prominently featured. I was once told you absolutely cannot write a romance series featuring the same couple in every book. Well, um, yes I can! And yes, I did! The readers seem to be really embracing Sam and Nick, which is absolutely thrilling. (Read more about the series, including my “Oh Yes I Can” post/rant at

    PC: How is it different writing about the same couple from book to book as compared to having a different couple for each book? Do you ever worry that you’ll grow bored with the characters or that the story will grow stale?

    MF: Another great question! Are you a reporter or something? ;-) I’ve written three books in this series and the wedding novella, and have yet to be even sort of bored by these characters. Knowing I was hoping for a long-running series with them, I made sure to set them up with interesting jobs in a fascinating city with tons of conflict built into their relationship from the get-go. They both have complex back stories with lots of issues and challenges that will be ever-present in their life together.

    In addition, I’m featuring at least one secondary character prominently in every book. Sam’s Bible-thumping, virginal partner Freddie Cruz has on ongoing story that I have big plans for in Book 4. Sam’s colleague Detective Tommy “Gonzo” Gonzales is dating Nick’s chief of staff Christina Billings, which is an interesting thing to write from Sam’s point of view. She hates having her personal and professional lives bumping up against each other, so at first she is furious about Gonzo dating Nick’s top staffer.

    There’s also an overarching storyline that features Sam’s quest to find the person who shot her father and left him a quadriplegic. And even though Skip Holland is confined to a wheelchair, he still finds romance, too. I have a blockbuster story in mind for him in an upcoming book that I can’t wait to write. So no, boredom is not an issue—at least not yet.

    I give Nora Roberts credit for sharing the secret to writing a long-running series that features the same couple. When I was first contemplating this series, I worked up the nerve to ask her how she keeps Eve and Roarke’s romance hot after so many books when I attended her chat at RWA National. Her answer was simple and has stayed with me ever since: “They’re young, they’re hot, they’re hot for each other.” In other words, keep it hot and you’ll keep it going. Words to live by!

    PC: As I mentioned above, your books have been catching some buzz on RBL Romantica, where readers love hot stories. How would you rate the sensuality of your own books?

    MF: My books are pretty hot. They’re not as hot as some, but there’s plenty of sexy scenes in every book. In fact, when I was reading the galleys for Everyone Loves a Hero, I wondered what I’d been smoking when I wrote that book because it is, well, smoking! LOL! I write under my REAL name, so sometimes I worry about that, but whatever. People have sex. Big whoop, right? I’m just glad readers are enjoying them. I do have an erotica that’s out on submission right now that I’d probably write under a pen name if it sells. We’ll see!

    PC: What do you have planned after the conclusion of the Fatal series?

    MF: I’m not much of a planner, so I have no idea. I do hope to write the Fatal books for some time to come—at least for as long as they’re still fun for me to write and readers still enjoy them. My other plans include some sequels to my earlier contemporaries, Line of Scrimmage and Love at First Flight, which readers have repeatedly requested. I’m all about giving the people what they want!

    Thanks so much for the great questions, Pamela! I really enjoyed answering them.

    PC: And I enjoyed getting to know you. I love it when readers bring writers together, which is more or less what happened here. I know you’re on deadline now, so happy writing, and thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to chat with us!

    And now let’s open it up to a discussion—and prizes! Marie will be giving away one copy of Everyone Loves a Hero and one copy of Fatal Affair to two people who post comments.

    I apologize to Marie for any typos. My celibate helper monkeys have the day off...

    Coming up soon:

    I-Team Reading Challenge: Unlawful Contact discussion

    I-Team trivia (and it’s going to be brutal this time)

    And there are four I-Team heroes who might be persuaded to make a visit...

    As I said on Facebook, Zach is tied up right now, so he won’t be able to join us, but Reece, Julian, Marc and Gabe might.

    EXTRA: For Julian fans and those who love Hard Evidence, here’s a link to an old interview that I did when the book was released. I dredged it up because a reader on Facebook asked about the Darcangelo mentioned in the acknowledgments. Well, the namesake for Julian is the man who did the interview. There’s a bit of deep trivia for you... Click here to read that interview. The interview is rated R for strong language, feminist deconstruction of sexuality and cynicism.

Selection 2011 - Justin Chambers

    Classement 2010 - 72° / Classement 2009 - 84°

    Acteur et modèle américain (1970)

MTM — The Chest Hair Edition (UPDATED with NEWS)

    Happy Monday!

    Every once in a while, I get tired of manscaping. Not that I like super-hairy guys. I don't want to worry about getting my lover’s chest hair stuck in my teeth. But seeing men with chests that look as smooth as baby’s behinds... It gets old after a while.

    After all, one of the differences between men and women is body hair. A man with a well-toned body and a nice amount of chest hair is delight to hold and touch. Of course, each woman has her idea of what that nice amount of chest hair is.

    Still, we at MTM decided to take the risk and put up some photos that we think fall within the bounds of sexy, featuring man-titty that is not only nice and cut, but also natural.

    Above, is one example — a man with great pecs and abs and with natural hair that covers just his pecs and upper chest. The hair isn’t so thick you could braid it, but it’s good and truly there, just the same.

    This is one of my personal faves. I shared him way back at the beginning of MTM. He was something of an inspiration for Gabe because, well, he’s hanging.

    I’m not sure what I see that makes me so crazy for this photo. Nice hair on his chest and lower belly. Nice hair in his armpits. Definitely masculine and well muscled.

    I just wish I could touch! Could Apple get working on a real TOUCH screen soon, please?

    We try each week to offer a man with a less ripped body for those of you who like the poet look. This fine fellow, who appears about to drop his towel (oh, please?) is both lean and has his natural body hair from his well defined pecs to his... towel.


    Here’s a man with a perfect body who also has the perfect amount of hair on his chest and down below. We only get a glimpse of hair at his unbuttoned fly, but it’s enough to make me want to see more. Now. Yes, now would be fine.

    For those of you who like a bit more muscle and a bit more hair, here’s a gentleman who is ripped and masculine, with a lot of dark hair on his chest and lower belly. One does not look at his chest and think, “I wonder if he waxes?” One looks and thinks of running one’s fingers through his chest hair. (Or maybe some of you are wishing he would wax.)

    Here’s a sexy gentleman. I had to crop it because the original photo shows everything. And every inch of him is as luscious as what you’re seeing here. This guy is pretty much perfect in my book — masculine with defined muscles and the purrfect amount of chest hair. He looks like he could be a real man and not someone who spends his life in the gym.

    Follow that groove in his abdomen down to that thatch of dark hair... Yes, that’s what I had to cut out. You can see, however, that I did let the view go as far south as I safely could.

    And, as a bonus this week, two celebs with chest hair...

    Hugh Jackman, baby. Chest hair. Muscles. Man. What woman doesn’t want to get wild with Wolverine?


    Gerard Butler, every woman’s favorite Scotsman.

    Now, can there be any doubt that a bit of hair on a sexy chest is a good thing?

    And here’s my big news: Naked Edge was voted Best Romantic Suspense of 2010 in All About Romance’s annual reader poll. This is a first for me, and I cannot tell you how amazed and stunned and honored I am. Thanks to all of you who voted! Go check out the results and read author responses, as well as AAR’s commentary.

    In the meantime, I hope your ovaries are warmed up and cheerful. This even made me feel better. I got nailed by a bad migraine yesterday that won’t give up. So I’m headed back to bed.

    Happy Monday, everyone!

Selection 2011 - Daniel Garofali

    Daniel Garofali, dancer and model from Australia

Selection 2011 - Raoul Bova

    Classement 2010 - no classement / Classement 2009 - 88°

I-Team Reading Challenge — Hard Evidence chat

    So how many of you have made it through Hard Evidence either for the first or second time?

    Before we go on, just let me warn you that there are spoilers here. Reader beware!

    This was my second attempt to write romantic suspense. The story grew out of a cover story that I wrote about the hideous, dark topic of sex trafficking and sex slavery. It was a really distressing article to write. But what stood out for me when I worked on it was that the men and women who worked to combat this crime sometimes have to pose as the monsters they’re trying to bring down. I knew it was dangerous work. But what concerned me most was the damage it would do to a human being’s soul.

    And with that realization, Julian Darcangelo came into my mind. Like Nicholas Kenleigh from Ride the Fire, he stepped into my imagination more or less fully developed. I knew who he was, what he’d been through, how it affected him. Just like Nicholas, the dark emotion underpinning his story felt like very rich emotional material for me.

    I’m not sure why I find inspiration in my characters’ misery, but there you have it. When I do workshops, I always tell people that I know I have my characters down when I understand their pain.

    Thinking in retrospect, some of Julian’s über-alpha personality might be a result of my reaction to readers’ and reviewers’ responses to Reece. “A politician hero? You’re kidding! How stupid!” Never having read romantic suspense before I wrote Extreme Exposure, that novel was probably my most pure, un-influenced notion of what I thought romantic suspense was. But mostly it was just Julian being Julian.

    He had to be beyond tough to endure the life he’d lived and to have succeeded at his career. But he was also very emotionally wounded, and we had a discussion not too long ago about where that led him — to a scene that one reader-reviewer on Amazon called rape. I thought some of you made some really amazing comments — things I hadn’t considered or put into words quite that way. (Have I told you lately that I love you?)

    While reactions to Tessa were mixed, most readers went into heat over Julian. So what was it? His swagger? The five rounds to the vest? The sucky-swirly thing? The reaction took me by surprise. I just wrote what was in my head, and then I got e-mails full of drool. (Not that it bothered me, mind you. I just check e-mail with a sponge nowadays...)

    Scenes I loved writing... Anything having to do with Julian’s background. The scene in the stairwell where he kisses Tessa for real. When he arrests her. The shooting range when she freaks out and he carries her to the break room. (“Coke or Pepsi?” he asks. “Okay,” she says.) The sex scenes. Tessa’s scenes with her mother.

    Speaking of which... I was working on the reunion scene between Tessa and her mother in a coffee shop. Tessa wakes up, sees her mom and... I started bawling. In a coffee house! I made a couple trips to the bathroom to staunch my tears and yell at myself in the mirror. But then I realized it was hopeless. I’m not sure why that scene affected me like that, but the idea of these two women, both of them strong in their own way, both victims of an unspeakable crime and other violence finally connecting...

    So what were your favorite scenes and quotes? For those of you who are on your 5th time through the story, are there aspects of the story that strike you differently as you re-read it? And for you members of Team Julian, what is it that you love so much about him?

    And what specifically does the sucky-swirly thing entail, Ronlyn? You said you asked Julian. Let’s hear what he said. Or maybe I can get him in here to tell us himself. And, yes, this is something you’ll want to try at home.

    Help promote Breaking Point: If you want to run an ad like the one to your right (scroll up a bit) for Breaking Point on your blog or website, please let me know. Anyone who runs the ad on her blog will be entered into a separate and exclusive drawing for a signed copy of the book. The ad, which I think is super-sexy, was designed by Jennifer of Sapphire Designs. Feel free to share with friends and help word about the book to go viral! The more friends who share it, the more chance you have to win.

    To add the Breaking Point ad to the sidebar of your blog just copy the code in the text box below the ad and paste it into your sidebar on your blog for the 160x600 ad.

    And if you would like to use the smaller 200x150 ad just grab this code below in the text box and post to your blogs sidebar.

    Also, watch this blog for big news next week. No, no hints.

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