Anne Calhoun, Romance Author

Sharp. Sexy. Romantic.

Friday Reads, Knitting, and a Sneak Peek

I’m a little delusional this Friday. I’m working on copy edits for my March release, The List, and I need to clean my whole house, top to bottom, in anticipation of company next week. Surely there will be time to read and knit, right?

Books + yarn = happy!

Books + yarn = happy!

Don’t burst my bubble, folks. The project on the needles is the Smart Bitches Outlandish Arm Warmers by @ElyseIndeed, knit with Rowan Yarn’s Fine Tweed in Wensley (that’s blue-green for those of you who don’t speak Rowan). These are going to be a fun, quick knit, lots of stockinette so suitable for knitting with one eye on a movie or a soccer game.

Claire's arm warmers. Pattern by @ElyseIndeed via @SmartBitches

Claire’s arm warmers. Pattern by @ElyseIndeed via @SmartBitches

I’m not sure I’ll actually wear them. Fingerless gloves, etc, look very cool on other people, but I’m usually so cold I’m wearing a turtleneck and a thick sweater. My opportunities to wear a 3/4 length shirt sleeve and some diabolically adorable arm warmers are slim. I might end up giving them away.

The other yarn is for the Honey Cowl, knit in the recommended MadelineTosh DK in Moorland. I think. I can’t wait to cast that on. The pics on Ravelry and Flickr are so beautiful!

Item the third: a couple of lines from The List.

“I’m not going to jump.”

“I didn’t think you were,” he said. He had a long face with strong bones and a full-lipped mouth that looked like it rarely smiled. She found herself wondering how his smile transformed his face, if it made it foolish, or charming.

And finally, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter (form in the upper right corner of the page). It comes out not more than once a month with news, announcements, pictures, inside information about my books, a Q&A, and giveaways. Easy peasy, and fun!

Whether you’re cleaning, knitting, or reading, I hope you have a great weekend!


Liminal Spaces

My subconscious is a weird place. People assume it’s because I write about *gasp* sex, and love, but by this point, I’ve come to take that for granted. I think about sex. Most people do. Let’s move on to something more interesting, like liminal spaces.

Liminal comes from the Latin word limens, meaning threshold. A liminal space is a threshold. A doorway. A landing. A place in time or space that is “in between” (I’m kind of obsessed with in between places and states). When you write day after day, week after week, year after year, you start to notice things about your writing, words you over use (my characters say “just” and “of course” all the time, until I go through and cut dozens). Situations, scenarios, character traits, themes all get used again and again, as we drag something from our subconscious into the light and have a look at it. I’m not sure why, but liminal spaces come up again and again in my books. So many of my characters interact on front porches and stoops, in elevators, on their way to and from something.

Think of Hunter on Lacey’s front porch, the different guises he wore, Rachel at Ben’s apartment door as she tried to find a new person to be on Sunday mornings, or Adam showing up at the door to Marissa’s apartment, again and again and again. In my upcoming book The List, the hero and heroine meet on a ledge, a space that looks like a boundary until one of them crosses it and transforms it into a liminal space. That’s what happens in liminal spaces: you made decisions there, before you cross the boundary into the space, into someone’s life, or into a new version of yourself. Typically, the main event in a story or scene happens in a defined space: a room or a building or a situation, but I think interesting things happen in those transition spaces, too.

Another thing I’m obsessed with is hall tables. This is a practical problem, rather than a theoretical one with a Latin origin, although I’m sure the ancients also puzzled over the problem of where to put your stuff when you walk in the door. Our garage opens into the laundry room, which isn’t very big. Mr. C leaves his wallet and keys on the washing machine because it’s the first available flat surface inside the house, but the washer spins things behind, prompting epic, rabid searches for lost items. My spot is in the kitchen, on the desk we don’t use as a desk. It holds my purse, tote, books, phone and iPad charger, library books, the boy’s piggy bank I raid for quarters for the parking meters downtown, Kleenex, anything else that’s either recently come into the house or needs to leave the house.

I guess it’s a liminal space for my possessions, as well as a staging area for comings and goings. Time can be a liminal space; Friday night is pizza and a movie night at our house  to mark the transition from week days to week ends, from an outward focus on work and the world to an inward focus on family and ourselves. Liminal times can often be stressful, but there’s great power in them. As the weekend draws near, I hope you find some quiet time no matter where you are: arrived, leaving, or somewhere in between.


One Line Wednesday

Well, technically two lines that comprise one thought. A snippet of dialogue from the The Muse, an Irresistible novel due out next year.

“You’re trying to get your brain to tell your body it’s safe, to think your way into safety. Maybe your body needs to get used to being in danger and being okay.”

*This is from the rough draft, so the above may be revised, edited, or cut completely. Items in the mirror are closer than they appear. Tax, title, and license extra. Your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does.


Newsletter giveaway winners!

Congratulations to Lainey93 and Brie Clementine, newsletter subscribers who won the book of their choice from my backlist. Watch your inboxes, dear readers!

Everyone who is signed up for my newsletter is entered to win a giveaway of some sort with each newsletter, and receives announcements, sneak peeks, and insider information on my books. Thanks to everyone who signed up in the initial push and helped me celebrate the release of Afternoon Delight.


Now available: Afternoon Delight!

Afternoon Delight, the first book in the Irresistible series, is now available!

AfternoonDelight final

 

Sarah Naylor, food truck co-owner and recent Manhattan transplant, savors each moment of her new job—whether it’s refining the truck’s menu, learning the city, or spending afternoons in bed with the hot paramedic who’s fast becoming her favorite customer.

Tim Cannon spends his days sprinting from one emergency to the next. He eats like he works—at top speed—somewhere along the line he lost his ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Hooking up with Sarah is just another way to cope with the stress of his job, until their afternoon trysts coax Tim into enjoying everything he’s avoided. Can Tim learn to balance his job saving lives with the everyday delights that make life worth living? If anyone can teach him, it’s Sarah….

INCLUDES A BONUS EXCERPT OF ANNE CALHOUN’S THE LIST, AVAILABLE IN 2015 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PRINT!

Wheee! I hope you love it!


Final teaser for Afternoon Delight

Setup: Tim and Sarah have a running challenge…and Tim’s finally won one.

He walked to his apartment in the same erotic haze, the spring sunshine a tangible weight on his skin. The city’s air still smelled fresh, not yet tainted with summer’s heat of exhaust, rubber, asphalt, garbage, and eight million people. He inhaled. Warm buns from the bakery on the corner. The trees, stressed as they were by not enough light and polluted air, were bursting from bud to leaf. He could smell that, too. Not even the cabbage and onions simmering on his downstairs neighbor’s stove could eradicate the promise of sunshine and life.

He carried around plenty, the weight of responsibility for his patients the heaviest burden, the weight of training Casey additional and necessary. He was happy to carry it; passing on knowledge was a critical part of the job. But just like good stress was still stress, any responsibility he shouldered added weight. But the sunshine, like Sarah, somehow lightened the burden.

“Get a grip, Cannon,” he muttered. “Next you’ll be composing poetry to the birds.”

His phone buzzed. He pulled it from his cargo pants pocket and looked at it.

I’ll be there by four.

Finally, the end was in sight. He wanted her to know what to expect, so he sent her a quick response, just to set the mood. Be ready to pay up.

I hope you enjoyed this last teaser…the whole book is on sale tomorrow! :)


Afternoon Delight teaser: All Dialogue

“You are an absolutely rotten loser.”

“I am not. I just don’t concede defeat,” he said, and kissed her again.

“You’re touching me.”

“I’m kissing you. You didn’t say I couldn’t kiss you.”

“Your skin is touching my skin.”

He kissed her heated cheek, then her ear. “Darlin’, if we were skin to skin right now, you wouldn’t be arguing semantics with me.”

Happy Thursday, everyone… :)


Anne’s Bday Bash!

Today is my birthday, and in the spirit of celebrating good times with good friends, the fabulous and talented Jeffe Kennedy is hosting a social media birthday bash for me!

 

Jeffe and I have releases a week apart, and my birthday falls smack in the middle. Rogue’s Paradise, book 3 in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy – which completes the trilogy for the first book Jeffe published – yay! – came out on Monday, and Afternoon Delight, first in my new IRRESISTIBLE series comes out on September 16. All of these things are worth celebrating, a release that brings closure to a series, the kick-off book in a new series, me turning *mumble mumble* a year older, friends and fun and, of course, books! Lots and lots of books.

The details, from Jeffe’s blog:

Therefore, I propose a game. For the next 24 hours, from midnight Central US time on September 11 up until the hands of the clock switch over to September 12, I want you to give Anne gifts.

Virtual ones.

Send her pictures of what you think she’d love. Tweet them to us, at@jeffekennedy and/or @annecalhoun – be sure to use the hashtag #annebday. Or paste them to our Facebook pages! Stick that #annebday hashtag on there and put them onhttps://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy and/or https://www.facebook.com/anne.calhoun. We’ll be picking our favorites, too, and sharing them. Be creative! Have FUN!

Send me pictures of things you think I’d love, and send me pictures of things YOU love. And, because nothing would make me happier than to give away presents on my birthday, we’re giving away books! Jeffe’s offering two digital copies of Afternoon Delight and I’m thrilled to give two lucky winners Rogue’s Paradise. International is okay, since these are digital…

 

We’re also giving away each other’s backlists. Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds – especially that #annebday hashtag – for flash giveaways from us and our friends. Jeffe also claims to have dancing boys, but I don’t know anything about that. ;)

I’m so excited to celebrate my birthday with friends, readers, and readers who’ve become friends. Watch #annebday for giveaways, chatter, and lots of fun. I hope you’ll join the party!


Hump day Afternoon Delight teaser

Another excerpt from Afternoon Delight, out Tuesday, 9/16/2014 from Berkley Intermix!

She shooed him back to the table, waited until he sat down, then set the plate in front of him. “Individual chocolate lava cakes,” she announced.

The flavors in the first mouthful spread over his tongue, hot and cool and sweet and tart all at once, just hot enough to make him respect it. The dish rewarded his attention with a sensory explosion unlike any in his previous experience. It smelled like heaven, tasted like a dream, looked like something out of a magazine. He could hear it calling his name.

Without thinking it through, he reached out and scooped a bit of chocolate, cream, and raspberry juice onto his fingertip, then extended it to her. She smiled, leaned forward, and licked it off one cat stroke at a time. He stopped breathing.

“You were holding back with the beater,” he said when she’d finished.

“I don’t mix sex and cooking,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’ll do neither well, when both should be done to the absolute best of my ability.” She took another mouthful of the dessert. “And savored,” she said when she’d swallowed.

“Never?”

“Never. Much of what I make doesn’t respond well to my being distracted. Also, it’s really unhygienic for the kitchen, and the list of foodstuffs that shouldn’t be introduced to a woman’s private parts is actually quite long.”

He burst out laughing.

“You can’t tell me you don’t see all kinds of weird stuff.”

“The ER sees more vegetables in awkward places than I do, but every so often we get dispatched to cut someone out of a pair of handcuffs.”

“Always try the key first,” she said, then scraped the last bit of torte off her plate and ate it.

“Always.”

She cocked her head and looked at him. “Still want to stick around?”


A little more Afternoon Delight

When a competitive foodie and an ultra-competitive paramedic get together, winning is everything….

He set his wine on the counter and crossed the kitchen. “I have the ultimate respect for you after what you did on Wednesday,” he said, purposefully pitching his voice low and rough, waiting for her response. He knew so little about what turned her on, but that did, his honest reaction to the memory of what she’d done to him. He was a little aroused and a little embarrassed and a whole lot desperate to do it again.

She’d done all the heavy lifting last time, so it was a relief to brace his forearms on the stove’s hood and explore the curve of her ear, using only his lips until she shuddered and her eyelids drooped. He gently traced the inner whorl with his tongue, then nipped less gently at her lobe, noting that her hand, automatically stirring something thick and yellow, halted entirely at the use of his teeth. She liked the edge, but then again, he already knew that.

“You’re playing dirty,” she said.

“This surprises you?” he murmured into her hair. “I thought you were sharper than that.”

“I’m not surprised,” she said. Her hand hovered dangerously close to the hot pot, so he slid his fingers along her forearm and guided it to the counter. “I’m letting you know I see what you’re doing.”

Wild  curls tickled his cheek as he smiled. “What am I doing?”

“You’re looking down my shirt, for one.”

He outright laughed. “I am. I didn’t see anything last time.”

“You certainly did,” she said.

“All right, I didn’t see enough.”

“And you’re trying to seduce me out of taking a forfeit.”

“Right again,” he said. He unfastened the knitted belt of her sweater and opened the fabric. It was warm to the touch, perhaps from the heat of the stove, but more likely from the heat of her body, radiating like the scent of the sauce and whatever grain was slowly bubbling at the back of the stove.

“Hmm,” she said as he rested his hands on her rib cage, just below her breasts. “What will you give me in exchange for releasing you from our agreement?”