Sassy & Southern

It’s All About Diving In

Posted in General on March 21st, 2011 by Casey Crow

Thank you, Casey, for inviting me to blog today. It’s my pleasure after your great post on pageants as part of my recent Salute to the South at Your post reminded me of my experiences with my own daughter who chose a different path.

My Laura never disappointed me until she was five when my husband and I gave her a karate gi, planning to share one of our family hobbies with her. She put it on and allowed me to take her picture in it, then took it off, folded it as neatly as a five-year-old could manage, handed it back to me and uttered those heart-breaking words: “Karate is your sport, Mama, swimming is mine.”

And how was I supposed to know this? She loved to swim in the bay at our house, but compete? Nevertheless, I packed away the gi, bought a gallon of UltraSwim shampoo and signed her up for the local year-round swim team.

By the time she was ten, she was swimming in the top one percent nationally—not headed for the Olympics yet, but pretty damn good. Then, she and her two best swim friends hit puberty. Laura grew to 5’9″ tall –great for a swimmer- but she wears a size 5 ring and size 7 shoes. No way could she bulk up enough to swim competitively for scholarships or the goal of every swimmer who dives into a pool—the Olympics—it just wasn’t in her genes.

After one tearful meet, Laura accepted her limitations and continued to compete because she loved to. While in high school, she became a lifeguard, worked as an assistant coach in summer swim league, then coached a team of her own. In her senior year, after her high school team’s state meet, she climbed out of the pool, looked at me and said “I’m finished.” Laura worked at her college’s pool, taught swim lessons, and worked as an assistant coach with a youth team.

Could I imagine Laura in a pageant? Not likely. Laura was invited to model by a couple of department stores, but she gave the ladies a polite “No thank you, ma’am,” and returned to swim practice. She wouldn’t even buy a nice dress for a portrait. When her cousin loaned us one, she complained “She should have minded her own business.” (Confidentially, in the photo she’s wearing her swimsuit under her cousin’s dress.)

Laura did have one brush with pageants, however. After swimming at a meet in Auburn, she and her swim friends piled into the elevator in their wet suits, damp hair flying. A group of immaculately groomed and beautifully dressed pageant princesses who were participating at an event in the hotel followed them into the elevator. Each group claimed a side of the elevator, then stared at each other like they were from different planets.

But they really weren’t that different. Each of those children had a lot in common, beginning with supportive parents. As a retired educator and counselor, I could only dream of parents like that. Each child learned early to set goals, then worked to achieve those goals. Whether exhausting swim practices, intense dance or voice lessons, or tedious weight training or fittings, their commitment was a key to success. Then, there was learning how to gracefully accept not winning and competing simply for the enjoyment of the experience.

There’s no doubt that the swimmers’ passion and commitment affected their later lives. Laura is a successful commercial lending banker with an MBA from Johns Hopkins, Mandy is completing her OB-GYN residency, and Lee Anne who recently married is an accountant. I don’t know how those pageant participants at Auburn turned out, but I wish them success like Casey’s who has a long list of personal and academic achievements which she attributes – in part- to her participation in pageants. Did you or your child make a commitment to something early? How did it work out?

Thanks again to Casey for inviting me to blog. Today, my Moonday’s Historic Hunks in History with the Sizzlers ( features that naughty King Charles II (and his many mistresses) and my daily blog ( continues a Salute to the American West with The Oklahoma Land Rush. Also, please check out excerpts of my historical and paranormal romances at Rita Bay


The Scarlett O’Hara Effect

Posted in General on March 17th, 2011 by Casey Crow

This blog post first appeared on Rita Bay’s website as part of her “Salute to the South,” but in case you missed it…

Those that know me are fully aware I pretty much have five passions in life – my kids, writing, dancing, working out, and pageants. Rita’s “Salute to the South” includes a shout out to pageants and she called on me, a pageant guru (yes, I’m tooting my own horn). I think my first pageant experience was when I was five, but really got the bug when I turned fifteen. I’ve competed on the local, state, national, and international levels and in every sector of pageantry you can imagine. In college, I participated in the Miss Universe and Miss America systems. A huge highlight was competing in Miss Alabama for several years. I was Miss University of Alabama, an honor I still have no qualms bragging about! Another special title for me was Miss International Motorsports Hall of Fame. The title is long, but getting to meet Jeff Gordon (sigh!) as well as other famous NASCAR drivers and ride atop the Pace Car to open a Talladega race made memories I’ll never forget. Fast forward to present day – I’ve been a pageant coach for over fifteen years with a dang impressive track record. I also work as a professional emcee and judge (Miss America certified) and big surprise, my daughter now competes. In fact, we just returned from a weekend at the Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen Pageant (the teen division of Miss Alabama/Miss America) where my daughter was presented as a “Rising Star.”

To give you a little history, a unique American tradition began in 1921, as a promotional gimmick when Atlantic City, New Jersey, hotelmen decided to stage a flashy fall festival, or “pageant” to entice summer tourists to stay in town past Labor Day. On the boardwalk, “the most beautiful bathing beauties in America,” strutted their stuff. Newspaperman Herb Test said, “Let’s call her Miss America!” Eight contestants competed with Margaret Gorman, who represented the nation’s capital as Miss Washington D.C., won. The sixteen-year-old schoolgirl was a dead ringer for reigning matinee superstar, Mary Pickford. Talent became mandatory in 1938 and scholarships were first awarded in 1945.

The next big pageant came along in the 1950’s when Miss America 1951 Yolande Betbeze refused to pose in a swimsuit, insisting that she was a classical singer, not a pin-up. (BTW, she is a native of Mobile, Alabama, where I live!) Officials supported her decision, but main sponsor Catalina Swimwear quit and started the sexier Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss World. In case you don’t know, Donald Trump now owns those systems. I also think it’s rather interesting to note that these systems were the first to work for world charities, even beginning in their earliest year of 1951, while Miss America is now better known for supporting its national platform, the Children’s Miracle Network, along with each contestant’s personal issue.

Basically in the United States, Miss America and Miss USA are the premier two pageants. Many others exist including those for women of all ages, single, married, divorced, minorities only, plus size, and even senior citizens. There are pageants for teens and children young as zero. The first international pageant for children was staged in Miami, Florida, in 1960. It was Little Miss Universe.

To be blunt, pageants are a way for the owners/directors to make money. Most, particularly those involving children, most likely began when someone got mad about something and broke away, founding another system. Each new system had a new set of rules regarding dress, make-up, modeling, talent, etc. That’s why you now have everything from all natural (no make-up and minimal sparkles) to glitz (think Toddler’s and Tiara’s). It’s true, in glitz pageants, spray tans, flippers (fake teeth), hair pieces (extensions and/or wigs), Tammy Faye Baker make-up, and lots and lots of rhinestones are not only necessary, but required to win. Glitz pageants are the ones giving away cars and ginormous crowns. Talent is usually optional while “fancy” modeling rules the runway. Even boys can compete!

The more natural ones opt for scholarship money. Most of them and the middle-of-the-road (a little make-up) pageants focus more on talent and are considered to be Youth Development Programs (YDP) as opposed to a “pageant” where you win a crown and go home. YDP’s provide a “reign” and not only for the winner, but all contestants involved have the opportunity to participate in parades and entertain at various festivals, fairs, and other venues throughout the year. This provides opportunities to be on stage (or doing backhandsprings on a flat bed trailer as I often did) and try out different talents or work on public speaking skills.
A girl may sing one number and dance the next. That usually means changing with a few mamas holding up beach towels to create a dressing room. Who said pageant life was glamorous? Participants also meet political leaders and take part in charitable events. Friendships are formed and competing many times becomes secondary to having fun with friends.

Opponents to pageants say they degrade women and children, turning them into puppets and sex objects. Contestants often develop eating disorders and spend way more money than they ever receive, even in the popular scholarship based Miss America and Distinguished Young Woman (formerly Jr. Miss – which does not consider itself a pageant, but for argument’s sake, I’m including it as a scholarship source for young women). They say that pageants encourage women/girls to not be their true selves, but a made-up version, which encourages excess plastic surgery. The Jon Bennett Ramsey incident still haunts us, but her parents maintained, as the vast majority of pageant parents do, that this is hobby. Boys play baseball. Girls put on pretty dresses and smile.

Proponents argue that pageants develop poise, self-confidence, and talent. Lynn Maggio, 2011 Mrs. Alabama International believes, “pageantry has given me the confidence to explore other opportunities. It has contributed to the way look and feel, put me in the public eye, and helped me use the abilities and talents I have that otherwise I would not have been exposed.” Laura Newton says, “I have two daughters that have competed in pageants for the last ten years. I can see a difference in their self-confidence, ability to speak in front of others, and their ability to interview well. I feel they have grown from this experience socially and mentally.” I can attest that pageant experience gives you the skills to think on your feet and speak in front of a crowd with zero prompting and preparation. Just the fall, Miss Alabama 2010 Ashley Davis and I emceed together. We had about an hour’s worth of technical difficulties, but the show never slowed or stopped because we were able to adlib, interview each other and audience members, speak on our personal platforms, tell jokes, and entertain. (Thank you Ashley!)

Those skills translate into other areas of life. For example, having been interviewed in front of judges at a pageant makes a job interview a cakewalk because pageant judges are famous for asking (1.) General pageant questions (What is your ambition and why? What three words best describe you? (2.) Current events (How do you feel about the US government’s involvement in Egypt? Name your Senator, Congressman, and the president’s daughters.), and (3.) Stupid pageant questions (What kitchen utensil best describes you? If you could be a car, animal, color, flower, etc. what would it be and why?). Don’t forget you have about two seconds to come up with an intelligent reply. Interview questions make you think on your feet and develop the skills to articulate opinions. Research has shown that pageant participates do well academically in school because of the discipline pageants develop. Girls must practice their talent, modeling (yep, I’ve walked around my house with a book on my head in pajamas and high heels), and study up on interview (read the newspaper and watch CNN). Other advantages are increased interest in community service and volunteerism, bonding time between parent and child (unless you have one of those moms), and increased in physical health (no jiggly thighs in swimsuit). It’s important to mention that Miss America’s stance on the swimsuit competition is they keep the tradition, not because that’s how the pageant got its start, but because the American public expects its winner to be beautiful and physically fit.

So why are pageants so popular in the South? The entire top five in Miss America 2009 were all southerners (including Miss Alabama!) and as much as we like to think Southern Belles are just plain prettier, that’s not the case. Pageant judge Cheryl Bonner coins Southerners’ appreciation of beauty as The Scarlett O’Hara Effect. Foo foo hairdos and fancy dresses come from that old Southern Belle look which we southerners have been exposed to all our lives as a form of beauty. In essence, we love our traditions. Since pageants have been around for nearly 100 years, it makes sense that we would love parading that beauty around and watching it.

What’s your take on pageants? My seven year-old pageant veteran advises, “Be sure to wear a slip because those dresses itch so bad you’ll feel like a cheetah is attacking you!” Why do you think we are obsessed with pageants in the South? Do you have a pageant experience you want to share? I’ll go first and admit my most embarrassing story. Before evening gown competition in a Miss Alabama preliminary, I went to the restroom then went on stage with my dress tucked in my panty hose! Thankfully, the dress was full and created a bustle of sorts. Here’s another memory. Luckily, they have all these fancy pasty gadgets nowadays, but back in the day, one had to tape their breasts for extra perkiness. I used cloth first aid tape, but once I was out used Duck Tape. Can you say pain? There was not enough baby oil in the world to make getting that stuff off hurt any less. I’ve had “wardrobe malfunctions” too, but simply tugged on that top back in place and kept on dancing. I’ve even made the mistake of going to the restroom after swimsuit competition and let me say that spray glue on one’s behind mixed with a toilet seat HURTS! After that experience, I added baby wipes to my list of “must haves” along with Q-tips, lipstick, mascara, and hairspray. Lots of hairspray!


Confessions of a DIVA’S Mom

Posted in General on March 14th, 2011 by Casey Crow

Thanks so much to Casey for having me over.

I am not sure who did it but someone replaced my princess with a spoiled rotten DIVA. Her replacement is a demanding, high maintenance DIVA. Hair, nails, make-up, jewelry, not even a rock star could be this demanding.

“Mom I need a Spring Wardrobe”

The words echoed through my cell phone as I maneuvered my way through traffic last Wednesday. A spring wardrobe? What the heck is a spring wardrobe? Hours later as I received the fiftieth text from my princess I thought back to simpler times before her royal highness was replaced by a Diva.

It was Easter Sunday  and after 14 hours of labor Allison Shelby-Brooke came into this world looked around and promptly began to wail.  Hours later swaddled in her pink blanket she and I bonded as I planned her future as a Supreme Court Justice. 

Fast forward thirteen years later and Princess Shelby has been replaced by a Diva. The joys of my picking out her clothes have been replaced by “Mom are you serious? Do you want people to hate me? They will if I wear that!” Staring back at her I again realized this was not my princess this was a Diva.


Promo Goodies

Posted in General on January 27th, 2011 by Casey Crow

I’m taking an online class about promoting yourself as a writer. So far, I have failed miserably at creating my banner, which is why I paid a webmaster to create my website. I know tech skills are not my forte. But, we aren’t talking about my lack of computer savvy. More to the point, the class  got me thinking about different promotional items that we’ve all seen at conferences – you know – the pens, bookmarks, postcards - those things that help an author get her name out there.

I personally like to see a promo piece that represents YOU or YOUR BOOK. For example, I use an instant bag of GRITS with a card attached stating my name, genre, tagline, and website. Since my tagline is “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” what’s more southern than grits? (You totally can not steal my idea or I’ll come after you!!!!) I also like to see promo items that you’ll actually use because the more you use them, the more often you’ll see that authors name until it is engrained in your memory. Sometimes this can be a problem budget wise, but pens are a good option. Here are some other examples that stand out in my mind:

ChapStick – Hank Phillippi Ryan used it for her book FACE TIME                          Chico Bag (this is kind of reusuable shopping bag) - I keep mine in my purse   Keyboard duster – Keenia Kincaid probably isn’t the only one who likes to eat crackers while working                                                                                                     

Do you have any ideas or remember seeing a great promo goody?



Posted in General on January 24th, 2011 by Casey Crow

Thanks for inviting me to guest blog, Casey. I enjoy reading your posts, especially the ongoing young love saga. As a mother of three girls and one lonesome boy, I can seriously relate. And I am very happy to share my big day with you and your followers.

Hi, my name is Mercy Celeste and my debut book Double Coverage is set to release tonight from Liquid Silver books. To say that I am excited is an understatement. To say that I am beyond the stars would be more appropriate.

Double Coverage is my very first ménage. I usually write more toward the mainstream, one hero, one heroine, a good bit of sexy fun and a happy ever after. That I wrote this story actually surprised me. In fact, I didn’t intend to add a second hero, but Bullet Brady burst onto the scene and would not be denied.

Double Coverage is the story of the wallflower who blossomed and bloomed in adulthood. Kailey Whitmore is my wallflower. Brainy, nerdy, Kailey Whitmore finds herself at her fifteen-year reunion, post divorce, on the verge of becoming a bitter lonely woman.

When Trig Morgan, lovingly nicknamed Trigger, former quarterback turned doctor, and her secret crush, offers her the night of her life, Kailey thinks he’s either drunk or lost a bet. One night with the quarterback, intrigues her, and Kailey jumps in with both feet.

Only she didn’t expect to be attracted to Trigger’s best friend Bullet. Neither did she expect a long dormant rivalry to come to a head. Who will she choose? What if she can have both? Decisions, decisions.

Visit me at Liquid Silver Books Double Coverage will be available tonight at seven, six central.
A harmless night with the quarterback was all Kailey wanted, but Trigger’s best friend Bullet had other ideas. Should she go long with Trigger or run wild with Bullet? On the defensive, Kailey lets the two friends push her past the line of scrimmage straight into double coverage.

Double Coverage excerpt:

“I’m going to make you eat sand, pretty boy,” Bullet shouted over the sound of the waves and the blood pounding in Trig’s brain. Full-tackle football on the goddamned beach. What the hell were they thinking?
“Yeah, Bullet, you and what army?” He threw the taunt back in his friend’s face, just as he signaled his center. Bullet leaped across two of his linemen coming right for him, a grin of mayhem on his pretty face the second the ball was snapped. Somehow, Trig managed to shoot off a perfect spiral before Bullet took him down.
“I don’t need an army to drop you, pretty boy. You’re out of shape, slow, sloppy, and distracted.” The intensity in Bullet’s eyes actually made Trig freeze for a moment. Would that be him if fate hadn’t intervened and his life gone a different direction? “But you haven’t lost your arm. I guess that’s all that matters.”
“Since we just scored a touchdown and your wimps are sitting winded in the sand, I guess that is all that really matters.” He looked down the beach at one of the guys spiking the ball and doing some stupid dance. Farther in the distance, a curvy body with a long flowing mane sauntered their way, and his brain went into a tailspin. He knew those curves. “Get off me, Bullet, before someone starts thinking there’s more going on between us.”
Bullet just grunted and rolled over onto the sand, pulling his extremely ripped body into a sitting position beside him. “I think I might be getting too old for this shit.”
“It’s just the air down here. It’s heavy, and you’ve been up there in Denver all these years. You’re not used to it.” Thirty-three wasn’t exactly old for football, but Bullet was right; he wasn’t a spring chicken anymore. He probably had another two, maybe three years left in him, unless his knees went, and then all bets were off.
“Yeah, well, I’ve got to get used to it before training camp starts,” he said, staring off in the distance, directly at the same set of hips sashaying their way. His eyes flared wide in appreciation. “Check out that babe. Do you believe the tits on her? I could bury myself in those puppies for a month and not come up for air.”
“World-class tits, that’s for sure.” Distracted, Trig followed the white halter-top up to the woman’s face when he realized he really did recognize those curves. “Why do you need to get used to the air down here?” He needed to distract Bullet before he had to kill him, but Kailey saw them and veered their way.
Bullet stood up, dragging Trig with him. “Didn’t I tell ya? I was traded to the Saints. Ain’t that a kick in the balls? Hey, honey, how you doing?”
Trig watched as those green eyes flitted up and down Bullet’s body, appraising him. Apparently, she liked what she saw if the smile she flashed Bullet meant anything. “Fine. How about you?”
“Now that you’re here, I’m freakin’ awesome,” Bullet said, his eyes flashing dangerously when she stepped close to Trig and pressed her lips to his right there in front of everybody.
“Hey there, Trig. I think I missed you today,” she said, and before he could pick his lower jaw up off the beach, she walked away.
“Fuck! Who was that? Do I know her? Can I know her?” Bullet looked at him. The blatant, lustful anticipation in his eyes had Trig seething.
“That was Kailey Whitmore, and I’ll tell you right now, man, I will kill you. Friend or not, hands off.” He didn’t know what knotted in his belly, but the way Bullet was looking at her had him twisted up in so many damned knots he didn’t know what else to do.
“Sexy nerd babe. Christ, that must have been one hell of night, Trigger–one hell of a night.”
“You don’t know the half of it.” Trig sighed. He wasn’t in the mood to play high school games. Especially with Bullet.


The Romance Saga Part V – Handling Competition

Posted in General on January 13th, 2011 by Casey Crow

It has been a while since our last installment of 7′s Romance Saga, so to update you, she now has some competition. Apparently, another little girl likes The Crush too, so how is 7 handling the situation?
Get rid of her.
Yeah…that’s not really possible and most likely illegal so I asked for more scenarios.

1. Watch how The Crush and New Girl interact to see if he’s showing interest.
New Girl is being “mean” (flirting) and Crush is being “mean” back.

To counteract this potential catastrophe, 7 needs a plan of action. I suggested 7 actually TALK to The Crush instead of just smiling at him, but Mama got the eye roll. 7′s playdate has come up with several options:
1. Get your hair done.
2. Get your fingers and toes done.
3. Always move your hips when you walk, but just a little.
4. See if he has a Facebook page and if he does, “talk” to him. That’s easier than actually talking to him face to face.
5.Throw a party and invite him.
6. Get some high heels, but practice walking steady in them first.
7. Get a dog like a great dane. A lot of boys love dogs.
8. Sigh and brush your hand over your forehead.
9. Try to listen to hip hop music. Boys kinda like that.

Now, I may be out of touch with today’s way of thinking, but I’m sticking by my suggestion to TALK to The Crush. Not be “mean,” simply say “hi, how’s it going.” Any other suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!


Don’t Look Back

Posted in General on January 10th, 2011 by Guest

Don”t Look Back

There was a song that had the line; “Don’t look back,” in it.  Satchel Paige, a baseball player, used to say;”Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you.”  Both of these lines are good advice.

There is an enemy to our destiny and for most it is called ‘our past.”  When we get caught up in our past mistakes and wrong decisions we can easily lose sight of our destiny. If our past can keep us focused on it, rather than our destiny, then we will never live our destiny.  When we are stressed out and worried about what was; rather than exciting and pumped about what is coming; we have lost.  Our past is just that; past. It is gone; whether good, bad or ugly; it is all in the past.  Get your focus on today and what is coming.  Prepare by learning from the past, it is useful for something, but don’t dwell there.  Just like with Moses and the Israelis, when the cloud or the pillar of fire moved; they moved with it.  It is time to leave all the past in the dust and move on.  Our destiny is ahead and waiting for us to get a move on.  You are awesome and that includes your past.  You are still in the game. Don’’t take yourself out.  See you at the finish!

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New Year Goals

Posted in General on January 3rd, 2011 by Casey Crow

Happy New Year everyone! Have you made your resolutions yet? Planning to lose weight? Get more organized? Read the Bible more regularly? Train to run a marathon?

Motivation guru Tony Robbins says to write down your goals, and since resolutions are annual goals, let’s take a moment to write them down.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you when the last time I made a resolution. Years ago I learned that if I didn’t make them, I wouldn’t break them and since I’d broken every one I’d ever made, it was best to avoid them altogether. But this year, I’m stepping out and writing down my goals. Personal: 1.) Continue to be the best mom I can be. 2.) Maintain my workout regiment. 3.) Eat healthier (this one is hard because I like junk with an overdose of processed sugar ~ hence my reason for working out so hard). Professional: 1.) GET PUBLISHED! (no pressure huh?) 2.) Become more diligent with my writing (I’m too realistic to say I’ll do it everyday, but I plan write first, play on Facebook second!).

So what are resolutions?


Show a Zombie Some Love!

Posted in General on December 20th, 2010 by Casey Crow

Thanks so much for letting me guest blog today!
Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave called DEAD SEXY
Before I say anything else though, isn’t that cover too hot for words?!  When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book.  The hero is “Dead Sexy,” after all! 
Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it.  First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself.  Well, about my hubby and me, actually.  We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including “Walking Dead,” the new series on AMC.  You just can’t go wrong with  a movie full of walking dead people, can you?  Well, if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven’t), then you know the creatures aren’t the heroes of the film.  I mean, how can they be, right?  They’re all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary.  Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero.  I was like, you’re kidding, right?  What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy?  No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.
Turns out, my hubby wasn’t kidding.  In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.
“The hero didn’t have to be a zombie all the time,” he told me. “Think outside the box – take a little literary license!”
Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded.  
My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.  
“I’m listening,” I said. 
“And when he does go zombie, he doesn’t have to be like the kind in the movies,” my hubby added.  “Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn’t have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross.”
So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!
“Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I’ve got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea.”
I thought about that for a minute.  “So, the hero’s dead, but he’s still sexy, is that what you’re saying?”
“Exactly,” he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.
By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea.  Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel.  And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!  I still had to find a publisher for it, though. 
About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora’s Cave and I thought what the heck?  Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks?  So I did, and she told me to send it to her.  She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing.  Well, long story, short, she liked it.  A lot!  My zombie romance with it’s dead-sexy hero had a home!  I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, “I-told-you-so” look on his face.
I’ve been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I’m thrilled with the interest from readers who can’t wait to get their hands on it!  I can’t wait for them to read it, too!  
Now that I’ve revealed the story behind the story, I thought I’d share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!
 Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City – in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.

 The sex if the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.

 As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.

 “I had a great time tonight.”

 “Me, too.”

 She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.

 Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.

 Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.

 She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.

 Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.

 He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.

 Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.

 Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.

 Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”

 Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”

 God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.

 “You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”

 Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”

 “Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”

 She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”

 It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”

 “Good. Be here at seven.”

 “Seven it is.”

 She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”

 His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”

 Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”

 “Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”

 She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”

 He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”

 Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.

 It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head. 

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you can’t wait to read more! You can get DEAD SEXY from Ellora’s Cave at
You can also check out the trailer here!
If you decide to pick up DEAD SEXY, let me know how you like it!



Solo Honeymoon

Posted in General on December 16th, 2010 by Casey Crow

Hey Casey, thanks for letting me drop in today to your blog. I love your pink, happy place. It matches your personality so well. A great website for a great person. I appreciate the chance to come by and talk about my release, Solo Honeymoon, a little bit. It’s a story set in London, Italy, and New York City. I love to travel and set my stories in cities other than my own. Seems more romantic to me although I live in paradise.

Since the RWA national conference will be held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square in 2011, I thought I share a little about NYC here today. I love NYC but can only take a few days at a time there. The buzz of activity is constant and it truly is the city that never sleeps. Sirens, ambulances, people, taxis, and anything you can imagine goes on all day and night. It’s wild. I live in the south where the pace is much slower and I start to get overwhelmed after about five days. And while I like walking, I love my car and taking cabs, buses and the subway gets old fast. I saw a sign for a parking garage in Times Square and it said the rate was $1,400.00 a month to park a car. Park a car, yes, $1,400.00.

The Marriott Marquis is a wonderful hotel and it plays a role in my novel, Solo Honeymoon, as does Junior’s Cheesecake.

Junior’s cheesecake is just across the street from the hotel. It’s a full service restaurant with excellent food but the cheesecake is to die for. The pieces are huge- I recommend you go- with a friend- and share. Definitely share.

Here’s a bit of the story that includes the Marquis and Junior’s:

After the show, she stopped in at Junior’s Cheesecake near Schubert Alley to have a slice of chocolate mousse. As she sat outside enjoying the slice and watching the crowd, she noticed a man jump out of one of the limousines that had been going in and out of the drive to the Marriott. 

Was that Dario? No. Impossible. Must be all the sugar in this slice of cheesecake that’s as big as my head.Just another handsome olive-skinned man. I’m seeing him everywhere.She closed the plastic box with half the cheesecake left in it, got up, and walked across the street to the hotel and rode up the glass elevator to her suite on the forty-eighth floor. The suite her father had arranged for her was immense. It was rather plain with all the white bedclothes and the tan upholstery. She felt it was a place of refuge in its plainness. New York City was always buzzing and humming, and the room was an oasis. Emma put the rest of the cheesecake in the mini refrigerator, kicked off her shoes, and flopped down on the sofa in the living room area of the suite. She snapped on the television just for the noise. The phone rang. She grabbed the receiver. “Hello.”

 “Miss Chauncey?”

“Yes? This is Emma Chauncey.”

“This is the front desk. I wanted to tell you that there was a Count de Luca, down here at the desk. He asked for you and he also asked me not to tell you he was here but I figured I better since you’re paying the bill.” the voice said with a slight giggle.

You can order the book here:

Come by and visit me at

Thanks again, Casey, for letting me come by. I want to give away a copy of Solo Honeymoon to one commenter. Just leave me a comment telling me your favorite kind of cheesecake for a chance to win. My personal favorite is pumpkin. I’ll have draw a number from the comments for a winner. Visit to see what’s next in Jillian’s life as I have two more books to be released in 2011.