Friday, April 10, 2015

My RT Convention Workshops

Hey y'all,

The Romantic Times Booklovers convention is nearly a month away! Who's going to Dallas with me? It's always a blast catching up with old friends, meeting tons of new writers and readers, and my fav....scoping out the hot cover models. ***happy sigh****

This year I'm honored to be presenting two workshops. This first is "Brand New You". It's a marketing workshop with my Seymour agency sibs Jennifer Fusco and Sparrow Beckett. Jen wrote MARKET OR DIE and has an article in the March issue of Romance Writer's Report. Here's the link in case you missed it.

The other workshop is "Pitch Perfect" with some serious star power. (Not me! LOL). YA author Brenda Drake, Agent Louise Fury and Entangled Publishing CEO Liz Pelletier. Geez, I'm nervous just thinking about sitting at that table! I'll be discussing loglines. 

How do you come up with a good, exciting logline? Got one you'd like to share?

The most important thing I can say about pitching is show enthusiasm! Editor Chris Keeslar says the purpose of the pitch is not to the e/a to ask for it. They are most likely going to do that anyway if you made the effort to attend a conference and it’s remotely marketable. The purpose is to get them excited about reading the book so it doesn’t sit on their desk. You want it to be the first story they get to."
I also want to invite all the RT attendees to the Annual Shooting Stars Gala hosted by The Seymour Agency who represents me and another fellow NAC chick Ashlynn Chase.  Hope to see you there!                               
                                                                                                           Southern Smiles,
                                                                                                                Casey Crow

Friday, March 27, 2015

Character Interview and Yummy Cheese Grits Recipe to Celebrate DWAM Anniversary

March is the anniversary of DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE. To celebrate, here's a character interview and a yummy grits recipe because what's more Southern than a girl from the deep South who can cook cheese grits?

Southern belle Campbell Layne is the rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands an upcoming principal role. The stage heats up, however, when Rod Carrington steps in and teaches her more than she ever expected!
Determined as she is to stay focused on the audition that will push her into stardom, dazzling attorney Rod Carrington still proves to be a major distraction especially when he ends up teaching the college class she’s taking in her spare time. Campbell humiliates herself on their first date, but that doesn’t stop Rod from whisking her off to Italy and turning her into quite the vixen. Too bad he also had to use his powerful influence to secure the lead for her. Now she’ll never know if her talent was real or “bought” by the man she thought was the love of her life.

Hi Campbell, can you tell our readers a little about DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE?
Sure, but first let me say how glad I am to be here! DWAM is about this Southern belle and rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. Um, yeah, that’s me. I’m totally stressing about an audition that could change my life. All I want to do is stay focused on my career, and I’ll be dog-gone, that’s when Rod Carrington steps into the picture. OMG. The man is freakin’ gorgeous and a total ego-maniac. He simply will not go away, though, as proven when he volunteers to substitute this law school class I’m taking in my spare time. (I’m on the nerdy side, and this is how I like to spend my time – don’t judge). Anyway, against my better judgment, we go to dinner. Basically, I drink too much, embarrass the fool out of myself, and assume that’s the end of it. Oh no. Rod then whisks me off to his Italian villa and helps me become quite the vixen. (No complaining here.) I’m completely smitten until I find out he used his powerful influence to secure the lead role for me. Now I’ll never know if my talent was real or “bought” by the man I thought was the love of her life.

 How did you get into ballet?
The story my folks tell is that when I was about two, we were all at my uncle’s horse pasture. (I’m from this tiny town in rural South Alabama.) When Mama wasn’t looking, I climbed up onto the fence and was standing on one of the rails. She knew then that with all that balance I’d either be a ballet dancer or a tight-rope walker. The next week, she enrolled me in dance class.

 What’s your favorite part of dance?
Definitely, my most favorite part is getting lost in the music. It transports me into a world all my own, like I’m in this bubble where I feel nothing but the rhythm of the orchestra. Tchaikovsky is my favorite composer and takes me to that sphere like no other. Yes, there are others, composers who reveled in the uniqueness of their music or intricacies of the composition, but no one does it for me like the great Russian magician. His sound is immediately recognizable, too. The peppy theme of The Nutcracker would put the grumpiest of Scrooges in the Christmas spirit. Sleeping Beauty’s “Waltz of the Flowers” causes me to sway in serenity while Swan Lake’s “Dying Swan” exhausts me with grief.

Tell us about your trip to Italy.
Rod, bless his heart, whisks me off on his private jet to the resort town of Bellagio, Italy, on Lake Como. The Swiss Alp Mountains, the lake, all the yellow and cream stucco buildings with orange terracotta tile roofs, and the cobblestone paths were incredible to see. Rod’s home turns out to be a mansion he’s renovating. I love it because it is warm and welcoming and “him.” Bellagio is known for upscale boutiques, antiques, and art galleries. As great as the shopping was, I have to admit, the best part was seeing how the relaxation Italy offered created this new side of Rod I’d yet to see.

 Rod wine and dines at some pretty fantasy restaurants then you turn the tables and cook him a home-cooked meal. Tell us about that. 
Our first date is at Jean Georges in New York City. I have sea bass and Rod has beef Wellington. Delish! When we are Italy, I think I gain ten pounds from the manicotti, tiramisu, and gelato. Mama taught me how to cook so I finally show off my culinary skills with fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, grits, mash potatoes, and a carrot casserole. Plus, I bake an apple pie. Rod, I’m proud to say, loved it. In fact, here is my jalapeno grits recipe (as if the book isn’t hot enough):

Jalapeno Cheese Grits

2 cups quick-cooking grits
2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
3 large eggs, well beaten
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
Garlic salt
Directions:    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the grits according to the directions on the back of the package. Remove from the heat and add next 6 ingredients (Cheddar through chilies). Stir well and season with garlic salt, to taste. Pour into a buttered 9-inch baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Southern Smiles, 
Casey Crow
Twitter @caseyecrow and Facebook Casey Crow

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Civil War Re-enactors -- wanna be a soldier or a lady?

Photo Credit:
Two Ladies Civil War Reenactors
© Larry Metayer |

Imagine it's 1862 and your husband is off to fight and you want to be near him...or your ma is alone with a family to job available to worked as schoolteachers and nurses had to be over thirty and plain.

But you're pretty good with a rifle, in fact, you're damned good.

So why not be a soldier?

More than 400 women (estimates range as high as 750) answered the call to arms during the War Between the States. They fought and died as soldiers...

I always wanted to explore what it was like for these women...but through the eyes of a modern day woman who travels back in time to the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 dressed as a Confederate officer. (I'm doing a final read-through on my manuscript as I write...)

In the photo above, you see two modern day female re-enactors -- one dressed as a soldier and one dressed in petticoats.

If you were going back in time to the Civil War, which would you rather be?

A soldier?

Or a lady?


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Accidental Nudist by Guest Blogger Carlene Love Flores

“Sometimes in life, we go hiking, and end up at a secluded nude beach. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Also, don’t wear flip flops when you’re accidentally hiking down mountains to nude beaches.”  ~Carlene Love Flores

     Hi everyone. Quick show of hands (tell me in the comments pretty please if you feel inclined to share), who out there has been to a nude beach? Okay, now who hasn’t, but would give in to the curiosity and visit one? And who feels this just isn’t their cup of tea and prefers not to get all that sand in their lady parts?
     Well, I’ll tell ya, I’m about five months into being forty years old. Around the time of my b-day, a girlfriend of mine turned fifty and had taken a pledge to do something new each week for one year to commemorate the occasion. I admired her so much that I decided I was going to steal the idea but decided I would celebrate by doing a brand new thing once a week for the rest of my life. Somewhat lofty, but I started out on fire!
     I did things like ride in a helicopter over the Hoover Dam and go to my first male revue show at the invite of my mom. (She chose Chippendales. It was fun and I blushed and sat with my hands over my mouth the whole time.) I let go of fear for what others would think and wrote my first super erotic heat level romance. I was on a roll for a good two months but then I admittedly petered out on the big, grand stuff and realized the rest of my life could quite possibly go on for a long time. (Fist bump for a long, happy life, right?) So I slowed down in an effort not to run out of things to experience, a little too much though. It was just that as a full-time writer and stay-at-home mom, I didn’t get out a whole lot. I had sexy, grand adventures alright, but from the confines of my imaginative little head.
     When I moved back to San Diego after twenty years of being gone, one of the first things I thought about was the beach and how lucky I was to live in this place where all I had to do was hop in the car and drive the twenty miles to the ocean. I vowed not to take it for granted. Except for that’s exactly what I did at first.
     And then this February, I had an enlightening experience that reminded me, “Hey, blondie. Whaddaya thinkin’? You think you got forever? No one’s got forever, babe. Life is short. Don’t wait.” My subconscious was right, if not slightly in your face and Tony Soprano-esque.
     What was I thinking sitting around wasting precious time?
     So long story short, I now go to the beach as often as possible. I go there to think, or not think and just be. To walk. To swim at sunset. To watch and be inspired. I haven’t found a more peaceful place. It’s as easy to lose yourself there as it is to find yourself. I do both frequently. Any other ocean lovers out there?
     One of the things I love most is how comfortable everyone is in their own skin. I didn’t used to feel that way, but thanks to that February reminder, I do now too.
And then this past weekend happened. I was standing on a cliff, looking out at the gorgeous, endless view of the ocean when I saw people in their swimsuits hiking down a trail. I wasn’t dressed for the water or hiking. I was dressed for cliff-top gazing. But the trail and the people in their flip flops and a quiet inner chant of “Be Here Now” called me. So off I went.
     It was steep, and unsteady, and my shoes preferred to slide over the sandy rocks rather than stick like I wanted them to. But I made it! When I finally arrived at the shore, I realized where I was. This was Black’s Beach, San Diego’s secluded nude beach I’d heard of my whole life but never visited. I was prepared to be incredibly uncomfortable.
     I was not and I know that’s because of February.
I had a curious look around, admired the cute couples of all ages walking hand in hand and the adorableness of their bare cheeks from behind, and decided I’d like to go back some day. Although I have to find a better way to get there! For now, that route exists in the sexy story I’m currently working on called Let Me See (These Three Words, 2) about a practical jokester and dancer who discovers the hard way why his lady is so hesitant to let him see her naked.
     Next on my “Be Here Now” list is to swim in the ocean at night.
     What’s on yours? I’d love to hear it! Thanks for having me here today!

Always love,
Carlene Love
Wicked Flower (A Sin Pointe Novel, Vol 5)
by Carlene Love Flores

Sin Pointe front man Stefan Calderon is playing a very dangerous game and his mom’s live-in caretaker, Dani Foster, just landed right smack in the middle of it. Practically strangers when Stefan rolls into his small hometown looking to patch things up with Mom, his and Dani’s worlds collide with a hot and intense hook up. He knows right away this woman will make the perfect partner for his two weeks in town. But when she realizes whose son he is, and what he’s there to do, sexy times come to an abrupt halt. That is until they come up with a solution. Rules. Every game needs them. The question isn’t if they’ll break them, but when and how hard. It’s a wickedly delicious game, one neither of them intends to lose.

Carlene Love Flores is a big fan of the stars (especially Orion), clever music (especially Depeche Mode), and the ocean (especially at sunset). These things inspire her intimate style of romance writing. She feels honored to be a member of Washington DC Romance Writers (WRWDC)RWA San Diego (RWASD), and the Waterworld Mermaids. Carlene currently lives in the San Diego area where she can often be found listening to live music and looking up at the sky on clear nights. If she could touch someone’s heart with her writing the way others have done for her, she’d say truly there never lived a luckier girl.   
Carlene would love to hear from you, find her here: