GUEST POST and Giveaway: Lori Toland

This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for Soul Seduction, Lori Toland’s latest release from Loose ID. Commenters on this blog, and the other tour stops, will be entered into a drawing for a $25 GC to either Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks or Loose Id. You can see the other stops on her tour here.

Thursday Thirteen

I wanted to do an extra special edition of Thursday Thirteen, because the last round was so well-loved. Well, ok, I liked it. But this one is actually all about my top favorites in all different categories.

So with no further ado, my thirteen things I can’t live without, must take along with me to a desert island. Well, some of these can’t go to a desert island… never mind. I’ll start now.

1. Favorite Movie: Shakespeare In Love. Fitting that this movie is about a writer. I love the realness of this movie, from the costumes, to the dirt to the ink always present on Shakespeare’s fingers. Plus she dresses like a boy and wins the heart of the man she loves. FTW!

2. Favorite Car: Any Porsche Sports car. Okay, so how did I end up with a Jaguar then? Wonders will never cease. But this stylish and sporty car speaks to my soul. Not to mention one of the hottest heroes of all time drives a Porsche in the Vampire Diaries books: Stefan Salvatore. FYI: Cayenne is NOT a Porsche… I’m just sayin’.

3. Favorite Book: Man of My Dreams. Okay, this was really hard because there are so many awesome authors I have fallen in love with over the years but I still have this ratty copy of this Johanna Lindsey novel because the tension is so white hot.

4. Favorite Video Game: Persona 4. This was so hard because I love most Atlus games (and so many more) but there was something in the characters that told me to find my true self (a theme in the game) so I chased my dream to become a writer. And here I am. *G*

5. Favorite Food: Japanese food. I love this food so much, I’ve learned how to cook several dishes from this style of cooking. One of my favorites is Katsu-don, which I had in San Francisco. It was so amazing, I almost made myself sick eating it in San Francisco. Which brings me to number 6.

6. Favorite City: San Francisco. I bet you’re surprised considering my latest novel Soul Seduction is set in Liverpool. Well Liverpool used to be my fave city until I went to San Francisco. From the cool culture to the fab food, this city had been high on weed for nearly 50 years and that results in everyone being friendly. Right on!

7. Favorite Author: Mary Calmes. Okay, I fell in love with Jin, her werepanther boy from the moment I met him. And then I read everything she ever wrote and I loved every single book. Which never happens to me. There is always one book that misses the mark, I felt ehh over. Not with Mary. I love it all.

8. Favorite Actor/Actress: Anne Hathaway. I see everything she is in and no matter what, she brings home a performance that has made her a well-loved actress. Not to mention, she is stunningly beautiful.

9. Favorite Dessert: Pinkberry. If you watch me on twitter, you know how much I love this delicious treat. One of the reasons San Francisco is so awesome? Pinkberry in the terminal past security! I go for pomegranate with dark chocolate shavings.

10. Favorite current TV Show: Beavis and Butthead. This one is really hard because I go through loving different shows but when this restarted, I almost threw up I laughed so hard. My favorite part: When my husband runs out of the room laughing because he can’t handle the LULZ!

11. Favorite Website: DYAC. Oh, you knew it was coming. I even have an app on iPhone for it. I think I fell in love with DYAC when I took my husband to the dentist and checked out the website for the first time. I laughed so hard, I was crying and the office staff came to rubberneck at me.

12: Favorite Animal: Cats. Duh. Enough said. I want to be a cat, but then I wouldn’t have thumbs and then I would be dependent on humans. So I’ll be a werecat instead! (See Mary Calmes up above. She gives me these weird thoughts.)

13: Favorite Time Of Year: I love Christmas time. It seems like there is so much going on and we are all running around going crazy, being driven crazy by the people we love. My mom’s birthday is the 23rd and after losing her to cancer, it’s the hardest day of the year. But I look forward to celebrating her life and love on her birthday.

I know what you are saying. (We did this last time.) “Isn’t your favorite game Assassin’s Creed?” “Don’t you love the Harry Potter series?” Sometimes 13 seems like such a small number to share the best things in life but right now, it just fits! I will see you all in 2012 with the release of my next novel! Until then, good night and good luck!

Ashlee Bennett has her priorities straight. Fighting demons is at the top of the list until she meets her sexy neighbor, Luke Byrne. Even though he is human, she can’t stop dreaming about his buff body and sexy grin, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

Her world is turned upside down when Luke follows her one night but instead of being afraid, he is only more determined to stand beside her and fight. Ashlee knows she needs to keep her distance from Luke, not just to protect her virginity but her heart as well. But Luke may be the only one who can save her from the night, and her dreams.

About Lori: CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

Friday Spotlight: Lori Toland

Saying Goodbye to Summer…

It’s hard to say goodbye to summer. Summer was awesome. It was a family trip or a whole day at the beach. When I was a teenager, it meant a summer fling or camping out at the movies with my best friend. As an adult, it was the start of my beautiful relationship on a sunny May day.

Sometimes those summer loves didn’t last but you hang on anyway to the sunshine and memories. You wish for what could have been if that love on a hot August night could have lasted. The night could last forever so the next morning, you don’t have to pack and leave.

Jamie can’t face Tristan in the morning, knowing his lover was a virgin. He takes the cowardly way out, leaving Tristan to mend the pieces of his broken heart. Jamie knew he would probably never see his summer fling again, but when their paths cross in Seattle, the summer memories of his love lost have Jamie wishing for what might have been.

Summer is a time of fun but Jamie will be the love Tristan never forgets. A schoolboy crush is fulfilled and hearts are shattered. Ten years later, lives have changed and Jamie is going to do anything to make it up to Tristan and show him how good they can be together. One last try at a summer fling to see if it can be real.

Thursday Spotlight: Lori Toland

Let the music play

Life has a soundtrack, or at least it should. I always have music playing in my house or when I’m driving. When I’m walking, I listen to music and I’ve come inside at a run many times because I just had an idea for the story I’m working on.

Lovers have their own rhythm too. Like in Dirty Dancing, Johnny holds Baby’s hand over his heart and they dance in the rhythm. Our rhythm lies deep within us and I’m not talking just about dancing. Your heartbeat is the key.

I’ll set my playlists to shuffle and sit down to work on a story. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and the perfect song appears out of thin air. With my most recent story, I was watching a video game trailer with my husband and the song in the trailer fit perfectly with the mood of the scene I was writing right then.

Sometimes the perfect song tears into my life and I can’t stop writing. My fingers can’t keep up and I have to make notes as well to ensure nothing gets left behind. A song recently altered the whole course of my story and the characters started writing their own story. And that’s never bad!

Wednesday Spotlight: Lori Toland

My drive to write

My whole life has always centered around art. I attended arts academies and took arts and creative writing and dance, I would try anything once. One of my favorite classes was pottery. And art was never about trying to be the best student, it was about creating something that satisfied me.

But I always found solace in writing. Over the years if I had a problem in my life, I hid in my little world I created. I used to write when I moved to a new school, during times of being bullied, to get through the tough times after I lost beloved family members, dealing with stress at works. I could go on for a long time.

After a debilitating illness, my doctor asked me did I remember a time when I was doing well in my life. Of course, I told him, it was before I was sick. I knew I probably would never get back to who I was before getting sick, but the question made me think. When I confessed I wrote stories, he told me it was cheap therapy and to restart my writing.

It was an odd prescription, and the first few stories were like riding a bike. The words came slow, but I kept at it, writing solely for my enjoyment. I fell off a few times and skinned my knees too. Soon, I zipped along and it felt like falling in love. I went over a cliff, falling into oblivion and I don’t think I’ve returned yet.

Not that I would want to!

Tuesday Spotlight: Lori Toland

What’s in a name?

I have a confession. I hate thinking up character names. I hate thinking up book names. I am creative so I should be able to think up the most perfect name for my characters. Sometimes I get lucky and they wave their hands in the air to let me know their name. If they don’t tell me, I end up stuck with Mr. No Name.

Titles should be much easier. I wish I could find several words to capture the theme of the book perfectly.I don’t know why I can’t because I just wrote 20,000 to 60,000 words of plot and sex and love with these two (or three) characters. I know them inside and out.

Names are powerful. They are connected to images and memories for everyone. There are some books I can’t enjoy because the hero has the same name as a family name. And then there are names of character’s I fell in love with. Damon from The Vampire Diaries is one of my favorite characters of all time and when I met my husband, I told him how much I loved his name.

My most recent release is from Dreamspinner Press. It’s a story about Jared, a hospice nurse, who needs to make an emergency visit to a patient in the middle of a hurricane. After his job is done, he’s caught up in more than just high winds when the storm surge traps him with Deputy Fire Chief Mike Brown.

The title for this one was simple because when the edge of the hurricane comes on shore, it makes Landfall. If only all titles came to me so easy.

Monday Spotlight: Lori Toland

The importance of grandmothers…

In all the time I’ve been reading, I’ve noticed many of my favorite authors always have something they are known for. Whether it’s a theme or characteristic of their heroes or heroines, there is always one fine detail that sneaks in as their signature. It’s an element that keeps readers coming back for more.

My signature is to have heroes with strong grandmothers. Well, cats appearing somewhere in the story is a must as well, but grandmothers always sneak in, whether I want it to or not. Grandmothers are treasures. They are a link to a part of ourselves we will never know. And they will always cherish us, because we are their legacy.

A lady I knew where I worked told me how she felt about her grandkids, “Imagine how you feel toward your child. You give them all the love in the world and then they have children. You feel all the love you’ve had for your child times ten toward the grandchild.” So I said, “You have seven children, dear. You must have a lot of love then.” She laughed. And she does have a lot of love to give.

In Trust In Me, Tristan has to miss his grandmother’s eightieth birthday party when works calls. His grandmother isn’t too bothered, because he promises to come down the next week to spend a few days with her. She thinks that’s fine because she won’t have to share him with everyone attending her party. Tristan’s grandmother reminds me of my grandmother so I hope you enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thursday 13: Lori Toland

This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for Trust in Me, Lori Toland’s latest release from Loose ID. Commenters on this blog, and the other tour stops, will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card from Amazon, B&N or Loose Id and a copy of her book. You can see the other stops on her tour here.

Top Thirteen Favorite Characters of All Time

These are from many different places (books, movies, video games and anime) and with no further ado, here are my fave characters of all time, in no particular order:

1. Kyoya Ootori from Ouran High School Host Club: The snarky Ouran Host Club VP found a place in my heart when he shows a softer side for his bff Tamaki Suou in this fab manga/anime series. And he is super smart.

2. Jake from The Cat from Outer Space: Okay, this list would not be complete without at least one cat on it and this adorable feline is no different. He had an adorable sense of humor and talked. After that, I kept searching for a special collar for my cat so he could talk.

3. Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4: This cutie pie from the wildly popular video game has a gay identity crisis that shocks the whole town (on public TV no less) but after he is saved from death, he accepts his true self. I won’t ruin the rest of the plot on this fascinating and fun game.

4. Dr. Romano from ER: You know him, not a huge player but the character everyone loved to hate with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I love this character because he is such an interesting character study. The writers created a person so hated, the only fitting end was for him to die in a fire.

5. Mulan: I think this says it all. A strong female lead who runs into battle to save her father. I cry every time at the end, without fail and along with a beautiful love story, this is a constant feel good movie. *sobs*

6. Ron Stoppable (from Kim Possible): Okay, I like beta heroes. But Ron takes this to a whole new level of funny and cracky stuff. On every episode, hubby and I are in stitches, plus there’s the whole best friend romance woven in that makes my teeth hurt with the cuteness.

7. John Milton (the Devil from The Devil’s Advocate): Wow. Evil Never Looked So Good… Al Pacino makes this character amazing, but the twist and turns of this character are very subtle to explosive at the end. Brilliantly written and beautifully played.

8. Maxwell Smart (from Get Smart): Again, with the beta hero. This list has them. But Max cleverly thwarts evil and saves the day in this very funny movie. I enjoyed it from beginning to end (even though I envy him for winning Anne Hathaway in the end).

9. The whole cast of Hustle: I didn’t think it fair to single out one character in this BBC TV series. As a group of grifters, not unlike Robin Hood as they steal from the rich but give to themselves, these clever, slippery characters stick it to the man as they think up schemes to play with people.

10. Damon from the Vampire Diaries books: I have to stress the book series because the TV series annoys me. Damon is wow, so sexy in the books. While Stefan may be a tortured hero, I loved that Damon took what he wanted without thought to anyone. Dude, I’m kinda twisted LOL!

11. GLaDOS from Portal 1 and 2: Wow. Evil (censored). If you’ve played this game, you know what I mean. But the clever dialogue from her to the player drives me to work more snark into my stories.

12. Henry Roth from 50 First Dates: Okay, this makes me sigh. All women should have a guy who loves them this much. To go through being forgotten every day and make her fall in love with him all over, that’s dedication. But my husband thinks he’s stalking her *cue eye roll here*

13. Usagi-san aka Usami Akihiko from Junjou Romantica: Whether it’s the manga or anime, I love this character like whoa. He is a great character study in romantic heroes that have interesting characteristics. He would basically rot without Misaki but he’s the seme… anyway, love him!

I know what you are saying. But where are the twins from Harry Potter and where is Ezio from Assassin’s creed. I thought you said you loved Yosuke from Persona 4 best and… well, I’ll be back for more soon and I’ll have a whole new list 🙂

Thanks to Whipped Cream for having me by!

CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

Friday Spotlight: Lori Toland

World-building starts at home…
My books are full of the things I love. Hot men who fall in love with each other, sweet romance I can wrap myself up in like my favorite blanket and cats. I adore the little fuzz balls so in every series or story I try to write cats in at some point. But let’s get back to the hot men. As in my books, it always comes back to hot men. 
In every world, even in contemporary romances set here on Earth, I write like I’m in the room with my characters, either in first person with every emotion and sight like I feel them myself or in third person, like I’m a fly on the wall. I feel it’s good to leave some things up to the reader’s imagination, like the color of the walls or the softness of a bedspread, so I can concentrate on the characters emotions and feelings. 
The Replacement Guitarist was Blaze’s story, how he fell in love with Jason Stockton, even though Jason is a mystery to him. But I started Home For The Holidays knowing that while the two men were in love, they had really just started their relationship. It was different than a lot of relationships, but then they don’t have a normal life, with Blaze touring and Jason flying around the country to his artists on tour. 
Lovers reunited, a first date after months of loving each other give Jason and Blaze an unusual relationship, but their relationship has an extra spark every time they get together, desperate to enjoy every second they have together.

Thursday Spotlight: Lori Toland

I love all kinds of food but I was born in Southern California and I grew up eating Mexican food and dining at awesome Japanese restaurants. 
When I first moved to Florida, though, I used to live in a small town where there was one Japanese steakhouse that was awful so I had to teach myself how to cook Japanese food. I don’t touch sushi (I let a trained chef take care of that) but I do make teriyaki, tempura and katsu. Tonkatsu (pork katsu) and chicken katsu are some of the hardest dishes to make because of the sauce but they are my favorite and hugely popular in Hawaii.
In Home For The Holidays, Blaze offers to cook for Jason for Christmas, making his favorite dish Chicken Katsu. So I’ll share my fave recipe with you. 🙂
The recipe is the same for both chicken and pork. I recommend using the thinnest cut boneless pork chop or boneless chicken breast.
For four servings:
Four chicken breasts or pork chops, thin sliced
Two eggs, beaten
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
Oil (I recommend corn oil)
First, heat your oil for frying over medium-high heat.
To prepare the meat, put the egg and panko crumbs into separate shallow bowls or plates. Dip the meat in egg first then roll in the breadcrumbs. I normally double dip the egg and breadcrumbs to give it an extra coating. Then put it in the oil (there should be enough oil to immerse 1/3 of the meat in it) and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
For the katsu sauce:
I recommend finding a good bottled katsu sauce to your liking but you can make your own. Here is the recipe:
1 1/3 cups of dashi stock
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon sake
2 teaspoon of sugar
I personally enjoy Kagome but you may find other brands to your liking.
Tip: check your meat before serving. Cut into it with a knife and make sure it is fully cooked, especially if you have never done this recipe before. Cooking times may vary due to your stove.

Wednesday Spotlight: Lori Toland

I’ve heard from many writers about their lost muses and if I see their muse to send them back, or if I find a good looking man aka, their muse, to send him their way. 
The fact is, I don’t believe in muses. The only Muse from Greek Mythology that really comes close to belonging to the writers of romance and fiction is Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry. Beyond that, we make our own stories and inspiration can be found anywhere. 
When I attended writing classes at the 2009 Romantic Times convention (you may see me mention this a lot because basically it was one huge party) many multi-published authors were asked about their muses and what they did to feed their muses. Time and time again, I heard. “Muses are not real. They are myths.” The gasp that came out of our classes was not to be believed. 
I took what they said to heart. Inspiration is everywhere, all we have to do is be open to looking for it. One writer said, “If you ever find yourself stuck in a story, don’t curse your muse. Back up until you find where your plot jumped the train tracks. Get it back on track and keep chugging the course.” Time and time again, I use that and I haven’t ever lost my inspiration. It’s always that I don’t have enough hours in a day, not that I don’t have inspiration.  
Still, I do offer my thanks and gifts to the Muses because I do write books about musicians and they are always getting off into trouble, especially Blaze and Jason. And boy, do I love the writing them making up too.