Tag Archives: Jackie Barbosa

Guest Author Jackie Barbosa (aka M.A. Parker) Discusses the Anthology Do It Again

Hi friends!! I … well Jackie Barboasa aka M.A. Parker has a sale to tell you about! An anthology that is only 99¢ – Do It Again: A We Write Our Own Books Anthology – with a number of your favorite or soon to be favorite authors! 😉 
Do It Again - romance anthology by Kate Davies, Jayce Ellis, Tara Kennedy, M.A. Parker, Sabrina Sol book cover

One of my favorite themes in romance is the triumph of hope over experience. Whether that comes by way of a second chance with an ex or characters who’ve been burned before learning to love again, I’m there for it. There’s nothing more terrifying than risking your heart when you know exactly how vulnerable that makes you.

I suspect that one of the reasons I’m so drawn to this theme is that it’s very much like the process of writing and publishing a new book. Every time, it feels like starting over from scratch. And in my case, it’s maybe a little more like starting over from scratch than for other authors because I took a nearly five-year publishing hiatus and then, like the overly optimistic fool I am, thought it would also be a good time to launch a new pen name. Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday: Taking Liberties by Jackie Barbosa

Today, we have Jackie Barbosa sharing an excerpt with us from her upcoming Spice Brief, Taking Liberties, that hasn’t been posted anywhere else! It’ll be available electronically on December 1st.

Lady Leticia Blake has wealth, beauty and, most important of all, numerous marriage proposals. Tish knows precisely what she wants in a husband: a man who can fulfill her deepest, darkest and most unladylike fantasies. But as a respectable debutante, she has no means to test her admirers’ arts in the bedchamber. Not unless she turns the tables and takes liberties with them—starting with tempting Viscount Nash Langston….

Under any other circumstances, Nash would have suspected he was being maneuvered into a compromise. But since he had arrived unannounced and of his own volition—and since he hardly required the inducement of a compromise to offer marriage in the first place—he didn’t know quite what to make of Lady Albemarle’s abrupt departure. More pressing than that, however, was the matter of exactly what game Tish was playing with him and his two unsuspecting rivals.

He took two steps closer to her, and before she could realize what he was about, reached into her pocket and retrieved the two notes she had taken from the footman.

“What are you—?“ she began when his hand entered her pocket, then, “I say, give those back. They are private, and you’ve no right to read them.”

Shaking his head, he held the scraps of parchment just out of her reach. She stomped her foot, her blue eyes burning with righteous indignation. Fascinating how eyes the color of a cool crystal lake could appear as hot as a bonfire on Guy Fawkes’ Day, although he was rather more interested in the way her bodice gaped away from generous bosom as she stretched her arm upward.

He resisted the temptation to slip his free hand inside her dress to test his theory that her breast would be just slightly too large for his palm to encompass, and said, “I never enter a game without knowing the rules and all the players. If you want me to play, you’ll have to tell me precisely what I’m playing for…and with whom.”

A wide-eyed look of alarm skittered across her face before she mastered it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she bluffed.

“You know precisely what I’m talking about.” He lowered his arm and opened the first of the two notes, which he proceeded to read aloud. “Lady Leticia Blake cordially invites the Earl of Randley to a private picnic luncheon at Albemarle House in Ealing this coming Tuesday afternoon at two o’clock.”

Her expression darkened perceptibly.

“And look,” he continued, opening the second one, “here’s another just like it, addressed to the Duke of Hapsborough for Monday. And fascinatingly enough, I have one in my breast pocket addressed to me, only I am to be feted on Wednesday afternoon. What am I to make of this, my lady?”

“You can make of it whatever you like. I am under no obligation to explain my social engagements to you. You are not my father.”

That drew a pained laugh from him. “God, no.”

She frowned. “Or my husband, either.”

“Yet.”

“You won’t ever be if this is any indication of how you’ll behave when we are married. High-handed, arrogant, self-righteous, insuffera—“

Nash did the only thing a rational, right-thinking man could when confronted with a barrage of unfair, inaccurate, multisyllabic accusations coming from the mouth of a pretty woman. He kissed her.

His intent was merely to interrupt her tirade and regain some control over the situation. In the first instance, the tactic was wholly effective. She didn’t utter another word. In the second, however, it was a complete failure, because it was immediately apparent that maintaining control and kissing her were mutually exclusive enterprises.

The trouble was not that her mouth tasted warm and sweet as buttered toffee nor that her lips were pliant and velvety as rose petals nor even that, after a brief, outraged attempt to push him away, her hands clutched at the lapels of his coat as if to prevent herself from puddling at his feet. Those were all things he’d been imagining with great specificity for some time now, and as such, he was prepared for their effect on his libido. He had known his heart would race, his head would swim, and his cock would go straight to attention.

No, what threatened to unman him was her response. Her attempts to return his kiss were eager and enthusiastic, to be sure, but also artless, bordering on awkward. Her lips were in one moment too spongy and in the next too stiff. She seemed not to know what to do with her nose, twisting her head this way and that in a graceless attempt to keep it out of the way. And when he coaxed her to open her mouth to admit his tongue, her teeth inadvertently collided with his.

In short, Tish Blake hadn’t the first idea how to kiss. Had likely never been kissed. The insight positively inflamed him.

How had Leticia Blake, by every account the recipient of no less than twenty proposals of marriage, managed to reach twenty-two years of age without one decent, thorough kiss? It was almost inconceivable, and yet the truth was a plain as the nose she could not keep from bumping against his face.

Though, he had to give her credit, she was a damnably quick study. Already, she’d figured out how to achieve that subtle balance between soft and firm lips and how to match the sweep of his tongue with shy, tentative licks of her own. With each thrust of her tongue, each parry of her mouth, arousal roared hotter in his veins and pounded more fiercely in his loins. There was nothing romantic or tender about his desire. It was nothing but pure, raw lust. The coarse, primal need to fuck. To plunder and invade and possess. The portion of his brain that was still functional busied itself conjuring images of throwing her to the floor, pushing her skirts up to her waist, and plunging his cock inside her snug, virginal walls until he exorcised the demon riding him.

What stopped him was not a sudden attack of either romantic feeling or conscience, but the dawning comprehension that she was no longer participating in the kiss, but struggling against him. It was then that he realized he had pinned her up against the door and was grinding his erection into the soft cradle of her belly in a crudely salacious overture that would alarm all but the most experienced of females. To a pure innocent like Tish, his behavior must seem nothing short of nasty and brutish.

With an oath, he broke the kiss and backed away from her, raking his fingers through his hair. He could scarcely countenance his own conduct. Christ, he’d behaved like a randy schoolboy on the verge of tupping his first whore, not a gentleman who’d spent the last decade of his life perfecting the art of slowly and thoroughly pleasuring his bed partners before seeking his own release. Not only was his lapse of control inexplicable, it was downright humiliating. It was as though her inexperience was contagious, and he’d caught a full-blown case of it.

“I’m sorry,” he panted. He stared down at the shiny black toes of his boots. He couldn’t bear to look at her, not because he was embarrassed but because he feared if he did, he would want to repeat the experiment. Just to determine whether he would go over the edge the second time as quickly as he had the first.

“And I am sorry it is not Wednesday,” she said with a weak laugh.

“Wednesday?” he repeated stupidly, risking a glance at her face. Her cheeks were flushed, her lips dark pink and swollen from his none-too-gentle attentions, and her eyes dark as midnight on a moonless night. Aroused. Not frightened at all, as he’d imagined.

If any other woman had looked at him like that, Nash would have had no qualms about pressing his advantage. He would push her back up to that door and finish what he’d started, because there was no question whatsoever that she wanted consummation as badly as he did.

But Tish Blake was not any other woman. And that was one bloody hell of an understatement.

Her mouth flirted with a smile. “If this were Wednesday, I would not have had to stop you.”

Shew. So – what’d you think? 😀 I always appreciate a lovely excerpt that really gives me a feel of the story and the author’s writing. Ms. Barbosa has also very generously offered a giveaway. One commenter can pick either a digital copy of The Reiver or Carnally Ever After. And if the winner lives in the states, there’s the option of a print copy of Behind the Red Door.  And what about that cover for Taking Liberties?

Review: Grace Under Fire by Jackie Barbosa

Grace Under Fire by Jackie Barbosa
Spice Brief published by Harlequin on April 1, 2011

London, 1795

While most of Society views Lady Grace Hannington as a clumsy laughingstock, Atticus Stilwell and Viscount Colin Fitzgerald see their perfect partner—a woman who is more than enough for not just one man, but two. She is well-bred enough to be the wife Colin needs, with a blossoming sensuality both men cannot wait to taste.

But Grace will also need strength to withstand the ton’s scrutiny if she agrees to their scandalous arrangement. Can Atticus and Colin show her enough wicked pleasure to convince her to become theirs forever?

I’ve read this story a few times now, and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. However, I’m having trouble putting into words (or even thoughts), why. I think a lot of it had to do with length, but I’m hesitant to say that because the obvious response would be “well obviously it was too short, it was a Spice Brief!” And… yes. Yes I realize that. Which is why I’m having such difficulty. I did give it some leeway as a super short. And, I did like it, and enjoyed Ms. Barbosa’s writing. The pacing is also nicely done. I think it’s just there was too much going on, in a way. So, perhaps it was despite ignoring the word/page constraints, there were a few things for which I could not suspend belief.

I liked that the relationship and need for Colin and Atticus to share women – and in fact everything – is explained. However, I don’t know how much I believe the explanation. That’s a personal thing, however, and maybe it won’t bother you at all. Otherwise, how the ton treats Grace differently after the opening. Why, as soon as she’s “defended her honor” would the men be clamoring over her? I can see the chaperones and other girls being more accepting, but for men to suddenly want her hand in marriage, after basically treating her like a pariah was too much for me. Some interest, maybe. Such an increase, unlikely. Her looks, and lack of grace haven’t changed.

There isn’t much to say in the way of characterization because the nature of Spice Briefs, but I felt that I had a good sense of who Grace, Atticus, and Colin all are. They’re sensible decent people, who are somewhat set apart from society. They belong in the strictest sense, but not actually. I also liked that Ms. Barbosa had them considering pragmatic issues, such as how society would treat them and their relationship, and worrying about emotions versus image. We all like to say of course happiness and love carry the day, but that’s simply not realistic. That Ms. Barbosa wrote a happy ending – obviously, as it’s a romance – but one that makes practical sense is impressive, and definitely something I appreciated.

The onslaught and seduction of Grace by Atticus and Colin also lends credibility to Grace falling for them so quickly. Physical and emotional intimacy are closely tied, and also Grace is touched by the fact that they both decided she was “the one” before they’d ever even interacted – that they had watched her, studied her, and put so much effort into orchestrating their first meeting. And here… I’ll fall into that trap – I do wish it was longer, and more developed though. It just… needed that indescribable something else to be wonderful.

If you like short reads, and historical romances, especially with a bit of heat, I think you should give Grade Under Fire a try. (And if you like slightly longer books, I can definitely recommend reading Behind the Red Door. It’s an anthology with three novellas all written by Ms. Barbosa.)

Grade: C+

As a special treat- Jackie Barbosa has guested here previously, and this is the blurb that she wrote for Grace Under Fire.

Lady Grace Hannington is the most inaptly named debutante in all of London. Cursed with two left feet, hands that are nothing but thumbs, and a stutter, she’s certain to spend the next five years on the wall and the rest of her life on the shelf. Or so she believes, until her clumsiness pitches her literally into the arms of Lord Colin Fitzgerald and his best friend, Atticus Stilwell.

Colin and Atticus have been inseparable since a shared boyhood tragedy brought them together more than twenty years ago. Though it raises eyebrows, they share everything…including women. This particular quirk has made it all but impossible for Colin, whose title and lands will revert to the crown if he doesn’t have a legitimate heir, to find a respectable lady who’s willing to be his wife.

When a stroke of good fortune—and a little intervention from a well-placed foot—gives the two men a golden opportunity to show the lovely and lonely Lady Grace she’s not quite so gauche as she believes, they play it (and her) for all they’re worth. But once she’s discovered her true talents lie not on the dance floor but in the bedroom, Grace must decide whether a scandalous marriage that’s sure to ruin her reputation is what she really wants.

Random Guest: Jackie Barbosa!

Hey there, everyone! You’re safe from me for another day! 😉 Jackie decided to do some promo for her new story (congratulations, incidentally!) that she’s talking about today, and I’m happy to have her. Enjoy!

The Long and the Short of It by Jackie Barbosa

The first book I wrote after deciding I really wanted to be a published author was a Victorian-set romance with a plot that revolved around cheating in horse-racing. I started it with no clue about any of the writing “rules”—I still thought GMC was a model of car, wouldn’t have known character arc from Noah’s Ark, and had never met an infodump or an adverb I didn’t love. Needless to say, the course of that particular book did not run smooth. When it finally got to The End, the manuscript clocked in at 136,000 words. Most of which didn’t work very well. After several attempts to fix what was wrong with it (um, what wasn’t wrong with it, lol?), I shoved it under the bed.

So how did a writer who couldn’t even manage to get her first book in at 100,000 words come to be published as a short story and novella writer? Well, to make a long story short (haha!), I blame Ann Aguirre. She was writing a short for an Ellora’s Cave call for “Naughty Nuptials” and she encouraged her blog readers to do the same. The key with these “quickies” was they had to be under 15,000 words.

My initial reaction was “no fracking way!” Given my history of bloated manuscripts, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to tell a whole story in a mere 15,000 words. But I got a glimmer of an idea for a story, and before you know it, I was writing it and…reaching THE END at around 14,500 words.

As it happens, Ellora’s Cave turned down that story, Carnally Ever After, but it was ultimately picked up by Cobblestone Press. It wound up being my first offer of publication and it’s still probably the most consistent seller of all my ebooks. (In a small twist of irony, I got an offer from Harlequin Spice Briefs for this manuscript, which I’d submitted to them after the rejection from EC but then got nothing but crickets for several months. The offer came 13 months after I’d submitted it. )

In the process of writing that manuscript, however, I learned some things about myself and about writing. The first, and probably most important, was that writing short helped me hone in on the romance and the romantic conflict. When I wrote full-length books, I tended to concentrate too much on all the external moving parts of the plot and that wound up detracting from the romance. For me, writing short is an exercise is writing lean—and by lean, I don’t necessarily mean spare language or lacking in detail, but rather only writing those scenes the reader really needs to see to follow the thread of the story.

Writing short also helps with one of my major character flaws—I’m impatient and I don’t have the longest attention span. My hard drive is a treasure trove (or garbage pail, depending on your point of view) of manuscripts at varying stages—anywhere from a few pages of the opening to as much as 30,000 words. I love to start stories. I have tons of ideas. And whatever it is I’m working on, there inevitably comes a point when I lose interest in it and another new, shiny idea comes along to take its place. Fortunately, at least sometimes, I manage to arse myself to come back to the stories I’ve started and finish them.

My Spice Brief, Grace Under Fire, which was released yesterday (confetti and champagne toasts may now commence), was one of those manuscripts I abandoned in midstream and then came back to, months later. After I finished it, I sent it to my agent to submit it to Harlequin, figuring I might hear back in a little less than 13 months if the submission actually came through an agent. She called me back just 10 days later to tell me we had an offer for it along with a second story called Taking Liberties, currently scheduled for release in January of 2012. (I suspect the fact that we mentioned in the cover letter that they’d previously offered for a manuscript of mine might have expedited the process a little.)

For those who haven’t heard of either me or Grace Under Fire before, here’s the pitch I wrote for the story when we sent it to Harlequin:

Lady Grace Hannington is the most inaptly named debutante in all of London. Cursed with two left feet, hands that are nothing but thumbs, and a stutter, she’s certain to spend the next five years on the wall and the rest of her life on the shelf. Or so she believes, until her clumsiness pitches her literally into the arms of Lord Colin Fitzgerald and his best friend, Atticus Stilwell.

Colin and Atticus have been inseparable since a shared boyhood tragedy brought them together more than twenty years ago. Though it raises eyebrows, they share everything…including women. This particular quirk has made it all but impossible for Colin, whose title and lands will revert to the crown if he doesn’t have a legitimate heir, to find a respectable lady who’s willing to be his wife.

When a stroke of good fortune—and a little intervention from a well-placed foot—gives the two men a golden opportunity to show the lovely and lonely Lady Grace she’s not quite so gauche as she believes, they play it (and her) for all they’re worth. But once she’s discovered her true talents lie not on the dance floor but in the bedroom, Grace must decide whether a scandalous marriage that’s sure to ruin her reputation is what she really wants.

Harlequin wrote its own pitch, which is shorter and still good—I just like mine better, lol.

Now, Spice Briefs is an erotica line, so I have to warn the faint of heart that there’s quite a bit of sexing relative to length in this story. But I do promise an HEA, which isn’t a requirement for Briefs but is a requirement for a lot of readers. So, if you like erotic m/f/m romances, I hope you’ll give Grace Under Fire a whirl.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to give away a copy of Grace Under Fire at the moment, but since it’s digital only, that would be silly anyway since I have some swag to offer up in addition to books. With that in mind, I’d love to give away a copy of Behind the Red Door, my Kensington Aphrodisia novella anthology along with a couple of sets of my romance trading cards (you can see them here) and a few of my notepads.

I’ve read Behind the Red Door and enjoyed it.  So, start talking! Have thoughts? Comments? Questions for Jackie? Get chatty! 😉