Sunday, February 28, 2010
Margaret Tanner’s historical romance novels have been inspired by the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.
Wild Oats was released by The Wild Rose Press on 26th February. It is the prequel to The Trouble With Playboys which came 3rd in the recent Preditors & Editors Poll.
Captain Phillip Ashfield toasted his elevation to fatherhood, as a barrage of artillery pounded the battle scarred fields around him.
English aristocrat, Phillip Ashfield, comes to Australia to sow some “Wild Oats”. After seducing Allison Waverley, he decides to marry an heiress to consolidate the family fortunes. Phillip has made a fatal choice, that will not only ruin his own life, but the repercussions will be felt by the next generation.
To save Allison from the disgrace of having Phillip’s baby out of wedlock, Tommy Calvert, who has always loved Allison, marries her. Mortally wounded on the French battlefields, Tommy is found by Phillip who learns that Allison has borne him a son. He vows to claim the boy when the war is over, because his wife cannot give him an heir.
MY LOVE SCENE: THE YEAR is 1914 just prior to Tommy’s embarkation for the war in Europe.
The lights dimmed when the Tango was introduced. Every man in the room held his partner close. This dance had made the Palais notorious. “Evil,” “depraved,” and “immoral” were just a few of the descriptive words printed by the newspapers, but Allison liked it. Neither she nor Tommy could dance, but they soon copied the antics of others, and laughed and clapped as much as anyone.
The tempo of the place quietened when the saxophones in the band started up to accompany the man who sang, “If you were the only girl in the world, and I was the only boy...” They stood close together, listening, until it finished.
“Let’s leave now,” Tommy said, and Allison waited near the door as he went to collect her coat. He helped her into it, took her hand and they left.
Instead of making for the train station, Tommy led her towards the beach. It was a cool night, with dark clouds scudding across the sky, but numerous stars twinkled. The breeze blowing straight in off the sea smelt moist and salty, and the sand felt soft beneath her feet.
They didn’t speak, just walked slowly away from the lighted Palais. Except for the muted sound of the waves, it was silent on the beach, and Allison felt as if they were the last two people left in the world.
Tommy stopped and drew her close. “I love you, Allison.” He started whistling the tune. “If you were the only girl in the world, and I was the only boy,” softly in her ear and she leaned her head against his chest.
A magic spell cast itself over them. She didn’t want to speak, lest the spell be broken. Some instinct from deep within warned her this moment, once it disappeared, would never come again. She closed her eyes to shut out everything except Tommy’s nearness.
Visit Margaret's website for more information on the 2008 Australian Writer of this Year award winner.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Gypsy Love and Marriage
Love is in the air during the month of February. From a candlelit dinner to jewelry to a box of chocolates and flowers, men and women treat the love of their life with extra kindness and kisses. However, it wasn't always like this, especially in the Gypsy camps during the Medieval period.
My latest book, CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY,available from Moongypsy Press, taught me a lot about Gypsy life. They were a practical people, close-knit, protective of their own. The rigors of the Gypsies' nomadic existence brought about little discipline in the Gypsy child and teen. Growing up, they learned by example. Their parents were responsible for their manners and attitudes as well as their contribution to the camp and their eventual marriage. One thing was for certain: Bachelorhood was frowned upon. Weddings were a time of celebration that often lasted for days. Most Gypsies married in their teens. In Rom society, a male Gypsy couldn't be called a Rom until he was married. So you can see the importance of matrimony in their culture.
Marriages were arranged by the parents. The prospective couple might be consulted, but their opinions didn't count. Usually, the parents of the groom selected his bride-to-be. They measured the girl's worth by her disposition, health, and her family's prestige in their community. She must be strong, enduring, and open to having many children. Then the father of the groom met with the father of the bride to discuss the bride price, which compensated the father losing his daughter. It was a price that covered the cost of raising his daughter from birth. With an arranged marriage, the couple didn't have a formal courtship. Was love ever involved? Rarely...although there was always hope that eventual feelings of love would bring the couple closer.
Gypsies were not allowed to marry a non-Gypsy, although an occasional gaje (non-Gypsy) slipped through the cracks. That couple would be kicked out of their clan. To the Gypsies, outsiders were unclean and couldn't be trusted. These facts made writing this book a bit tricky. I had to balance fact with fiction and come up with a damn good reason a blonde-haired, blue-eyed female lived among the Gypsies.
For Rafael and Char's wedding, I used many different Gypsy customs, which differed from clan to clan. (You'll have to read the book to learn about these customs.
The Medieval period being a man's society, once the couple wed, the bride belonged to the groom and lived among his family. She basically had no say. Instead, she cooked, washed clothing, took care of the children, and appeased her man's lusty appetite. Poor Rafael. He was born with a large dose of lust. What would a Gypsy hero be if he wasn't hot-blooded? You'll feel a bit sorry for Rafael. Women fall at his feet. Through no fault of his own, he gets into situations that stretches Char's trust and emotions. But in the end, love conquers all. It doesn't hurt that Rafael is gorgeous and a bloody good romp in bed. ;-)
Thank you Ginger for hosting me today. And to all latcho drom (Romany farewell).
Charlotte Nikolos keenly feels the difference between the dark coloring of the Gypsies who raised her and her own pale hair and skin. When she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for her lost family and find answers about her past. But how?
For three years, Rafael Cazares has been away from the Gypsy camp and the woman who makes his blood boil. He's determined to win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her find her true family, but someone or something is determined to keep them apart. When a deep dark secret is revealed, Rafael would do everything in his power to keep the only women he has ever loved out of harm’s way. Even if he must die.
“Return me to my father at once.”Rafael planted his hands on his hips and gazed down at her with a long-reaching light of amusement. A light that brought clarity to Char.
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“But I did.”
“I’ll not be your wife by abduction.”
“You have no say in this, Char. I’ve paid the bride price. Your sire gave his blessing for our union.” He handed her a kerchief to wear.
Char refused to tie it around her head to show her acceptance. “You’ll not touch me.”
His raised brows mocked her.
Char straightened her shoulders. Rafael ignored her stubborn stance and gripped her upper arms, dragging her up his length.
“In time, you will beg me to take you to my bed.”
His mouth quashed her protest. No matter how much she abhorred Rafael, she succumbed to his meaningless kiss.
Check Jannine's website for more information on all her great books.
Friday, February 26, 2010
My husband always said that with the right maintenance, you can keep anything running a long, long time. Men understand this concept well. Except when it comes to relationships. You might be tempted to work up an instruction manual, but instead, give them hands-on experience.
Maybe your relationship needs a tune-up to jump start it, but after that, some regular maintenance checks will keep his engine purring. We writers use these concepts every day, so applying it to real life should be easy.
The most important organ in sex is the brain. Sure you can easily stimulate other body parts, but if you want to make a lasting impression, first stimulate the one where memory and cognition collide. Spark those neurons into flame, into high alert. Snap your partner’s attention to you and only you.
How? Glad you asked. :)
While you know your partner’s preferences better than anyone, start with some basic principles. Play with what works for you.
Like any good romance, buildup is the key. First comes the hook – the attention grabber. Maybe it’s a card with a personal note included about how much you look forward to an evening together – alone. Add new layers to that, maybe a teasing text message or email.
Communication is another important aspect. You want to get input from your partner to plan something you’ll both enjoy. If you want it to be a surprise, ask in a teasing way to get the information. It will drive your mate crazy, and s/he won’t be able to wait until you’re alone.
To me, music always has an emotional component. Select some tracks that express what you feel in your heart. While your tastes might run different, why not try something new? Especially if you know your partner will enjoy it.
Anyone can buy flowers and candy. Instead of giving something prepackaged, make it something original. Even intangible. But memorable.
Valentine’s Day is one day out of the year, but romance shouldn’t be limited to this day. If you’re in a relationship, make your relationship a priority. Commit to ten good minutes a day where you take time for the one you love, and give him or her your full attention.
We’re all crazy busy every day, but consider the time an investment in your future. As my husband says, with the right maintenance, something can last forever. Pretty good advice for real life too.
I’ll give away a PDF of my romantic novella, Picture This, to a random commenter who shares his or her favorite Valentine experience.
Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” Visit Cate's website, her blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
http://www.ToolSnob.com for letting us "borrow" the image
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Miz Ginger, thank you for inviting guests into your blog to talk about love. I am Jean Roberta, writer of fiction (mostly erotic), reviews, opinion pieces and the occasional research-based article. By day, I teach first-year English classes at a Canadian prairie university. More information is available on my website.
I like to write about unconventional love between women, between men and sometimes even between a woman and a man.
I spent most of my life until age 16 in Idaho, a rural state where teenagers could marry and often did. I received several serious (as far as I could tell at the time) marriage proposals before I moved to Canada with my family, but the romance of life as a stay-at-home wife and mother of many children didn’t appeal to me. I married much later, but alas, it was not a match made in heaven.
One of my favorite comments on love is one by erotic writer Patrick Califia (who also grew up in Mormon country): “The existence of love is as unprovable as the existence of God.”
We can never be sure we are loved by someone else, no matter how many times that person swears undying devotion. (And asking for proof of love over and over again is a fairly sure way to make it disappear.) We can only be sure of the love we feel, so I suspect that love for another person is usually more healing and empowering than love from someone.
Love that bridges a culture or credibility gap seems especially inspiring to me. My latest lesbian erotic story, “Rematch,” is currently available in various formats from Torquere Press
Here is a teaser:
Emma has had a love/hate obsession with Karen ever since Karen, a “white-bread” hottie, defeated outcast Emma in the high school debate tournament by arguing against legalizing same-sex marriage, the big issue in Canada in 2005.
Now Emma wants a rematch. Karen wants Emma to forget the past. Does this relationship have a chance?
Speaking of love, two of my recent stories (not sexually explicit) are in anthologies that are sold to raise funds for good causes. My lesbian romance, “The Art of Communication,” is in To Love and To Cherish, which was released on Valentine’s Day by Love You Divine/Alterotica. None of the contributors are paid, and all the proceeds go to U.S. Marriage Equality. (As you might know, same-sex marriage has been legal throughout Canada since 2005.)
The book is available in three volumes, available in different formats here:
Volume 1: On Bended Knee
Volume 2: With This Ring
Volume 3: Lives and Wives
Or you can check out the whole collection here.
My story about the complicated relationships of two men and two women, “The Feast of the Epiphany,” is in Coming Together: Into the Light, an anthology about secrets and how they are revealed. Learn more about the whole series of “Coming Together” books here.
For more of my views on love, sex, writing and various other things, you can read my monthly column, “Sex Is All Metaphors” (a play on a line in a poem by the late, famous drunken Welsh bard Dylan Thomas) here. (Look in the Smutters Lounge gallery, where you can find my current and archived pieces from July 2008.)
For more of my stories, you can find my single-author collection of fourteen diverse erotic stories, Obsession, at Eternal Press.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
But what's funny is I'm starting to move away from horror and into more of a tragedy genre in writing. I'm still holding onto some of my demented personality and, yes, I do keep aspects of love in my horror, but something about a tragedy has gripped my mind, broken my heart and made my soul ache.
Maybe it's because I used to be a fan of Shakespearian Tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet. Maybe I just like to cry and make others cry with me. But there's something about a tragedy that makes us appreciate what we have or could have.
I'm about to submit my first tragedy about a man who's true love is killed and he's left with a wife that doesn't love him and only uses his loss against him. Being a man of horror, I had to keep some of my roots by adding a supernatural aspect to the story, but nonetheless, it remains a tragedy that even makes me cry.
With that said, I'd like to share a short excerpt of my my soon-to-be-submitted short story, Ghosts of the Storm:
"I've heard the rumors."Again, I'd like to thank everyone for coming by to see me today and hope to see more of you in the future. Love is always around us and takes many forms. If you're lucky, you'll see and snatch it when you can because life is nothing without love...and neither is anything worth writing.
"Like hell! I'm amazed she hasn't tried to get you in the sack with her." I felt a pang of guilt seize my chest but I fought it back. It's not like I screwed the woman, regardless of what fleshy parts she tried rubbing against me at the Pig.
"Joe, you're starting to confuse me. What's this gotta--" Joe waved his hand at me in a shooing nature and I knew I was out in left field so I shut my mouth to see what he had to say.
"I know she's been sleeping 'round on me. It's part of the deal we made a while back." Joe stopped and looked at the spot in the road again. I couldn't help but look with him. What did he see that the rest of us kept taking for granite?
"I have to tell you, Bobby. Not because she'll be blabbing to everyone in town--"
"You know no one will believe her Joe." He gave me the wave again.
"I have to tell you because if I don't, the rest will seem even more crazy than it already does."
I could see the street lights refracting through the tears in his eyes. Seeing a man of thirty-five crying in the dead of night just ain't something anyone should see. A man of Joe's age is supposed to be vibrant, robust; past the age of trying to stick his dick into everything, yet still young enough to feel life flowing throughout his body. Joe looked like a man who made his peace with death.
"Oh did I love that girl. And what many didn't know is that she loved me too. That boy Michael was just window decorations for her. As long as everyone thought the two of them were a couple and he kept being an asshole, they'd never dare think the two of us were a thing.
Fact is, we would’ve been married had I not been stupid. We'd known each other for years but my being five years older never set right until after she turned twenty-four. A twenty-five-year-old seeing a twenty-year-old doesn't sound nearly as bad as a twenty-year-old seeing a fifteen-year-old. By the time she turned eighteen, I was graduating college and she was heading to it. Then there came Becky.
I tried to catch a falling star when I started seeing Becky. Oh you could get close enough to make a wish but trying to hold on for the ride? Never possible with her 'cause she'd burn you right up. The first month with Becky I could never described but by month two, everything started to crumble. Then came the scare of pregnancy and of course what did I do? I went off and hitched myself to a falling star, burning up in the atmosphere each second after we both said 'I do.'
A miscarriage and two years later, Amanda comes home from college and I'm stuck married to a woman that can't keep her drawers in the up position and I can't seem to catch her in the act." Joe stuck his hand in the air, seeming to know what I was going to ask.
"I know the stories, Bobby. That didn't happen until after Amanda's death."
"So Amanda finds me after so many years and we feel it. That sense that there's a happily ever after. You ever feel that, Bobby?"
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I met Ginger along the way - she was one of my first publishing online friends, and became SO MUCH MORE with all the support and practical help she's given me. And now she's kindly invited me to join in her Valentine's blog this month! :)
My short story HOME SWEET HOME is out this month at Amber Quill Press and its romantic theme makes me think about love in all its guises. In it, Chaz is moving house and his ex-boyfriend Ryan comes to help. They're trying to stay friends and are still attracted to each other. But they haven't made things work well in the past. Chaz is fairly irresponsible and selfish, Ryan is too reigidly controlled and always tries to take charge. But over the course of moving around a few packing cases - and smashing some bits of china! - they discover their love is far stronger than their different characters, and they decide to try again.
I remember a friend telling me my future husband was a very different person from me, and it'd never work long term between us. That was - *cough* - twenty six years ago LOL.
Love is much more than lust and excitement. Easily said, and I think you need the years to pass before you can see the layers that develop, but I've found it to include respect, a sense of humour (and that's sorely needed sometimes!), kindness, tolerance, friendship, trust, care, regular communication, similar core values toward good behaviour, moral ethics, unselfishness .... and then it becomes not only a Love but a HOME.
We have a slot on BBC Radio 4 each morning called 'Thought for the Day' where various people - usually clergymen, but of all faiths - make comment on current affairs and the thought they have about human life. This morning's was very apt, listening as I drove into work. It was based on COMMON VALUES, and how everything we do and say and love should be done with both tolerance and respect. *Those* are the common values, not necessarily society's pressures and rules, which are often human-made and also can be subject to fashion and manipulation.
Thanks again Ginger, it's great to see all the posts here this month - and especially lovely to think on the subject of love ♥.
Here is the link to HOME SWEET HOME and an excerpt. The book is adult-rated, the excerpt PG.
Please feel free to visit any of my fiction - and maybe buy some :).
My Website: http://www.clarelondon.co.uk/
My Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com/
Monday, February 22, 2010
Love, one of Webster's definitions is (1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
My favorite quote about love comes from Jeremy Taylor. "Friendship set on fire."
That's how love entered my life thirty-eight years ago. And when that first flame turns into an ember, the friendship still remains.
My local writers group, The Santa Maria California Word Wizards have a valentine anthology out with Desert Breeze Publishing. Scattered Hearts is dedicated to love, but not only romantic love. Reading these stories and poems by thirteen different authors showed me the many faucets of the emotion.
One story is about a Viet Nam pilot whose connection to love and home is pink, baby bottles with red hearts drawn on them.
Another is a boy's surprising choice for birthday party guests, and still another is the reaction to a grown child's love letter to her parents.
When I was in my early teens I devoured romance novels and dreamed what it would be like when I feel in love...was swept into a man's arms, and carried upstairs, much like Rhett and Scarlet in Gone With The Wind. Smile. I didn't hold it against my husband when our reality wasn't quite as theatrical.
My love-life hasn't been a romance novel, more like a roller coaster ride, and I would buy the ticket again. But that's my take on romantic love. What's yours?
In, A Spiral of Echoes, the paranormal romance that Maggie Pucillo and I wrote together, our main character Isabelle, is burned by an mentally abusive husband. When he dies, she swears she will never allow love into her heart again. Of course the story deals with that being proved a lie. Maggie and I just signed a contract with Chalet Publishers for A Spiral of Echoes and we are looking forward to seeing it in publication. Here is a short excerpt where Isabelle and Cristiano meet for the first time.
Isabelle stopped before the center island. “Would you like something to drink? A beer? Glass of wine?”
“Water will be fine.” He touched a tile on the island with his finger tip. “Very beautiful. Sol y Luna design, is it not?”
She looked down at the dark blue tile with its depicted half moon and half sun. “Yes.”
“In my mother’s house she has some of the same tile. Not on as large an area, of course.”
She opened the refrigerator and pulled out a pitcher and poured him a tall glass. “Ice?”
“No, it is fine.” He reached for it and their hands touched. Her eyes opened wide at the instant charge arcing between them. It was as if she touched metal after shuffling across a nylon rug. Their gazes locked. His lips parted and he licked his lips. Isabelle felt a groan begin in her stomach. God. I want him. Right now, on the tiles or on the floor, maybe both.
A disgusted yowl filled the air, followed by a length of blonde fur that landed at Isabelle’s feet.
The connection broken, she released the glass and stepped back. She hadn’t even thought about Longie who would of course been in his favorite sunny spot below the kitchen window. Her feline baby did not respond well to being ignored. “My cat, Longfellow,” she said in a rush.
“Senor Longfellow,” he said, but this time he did not kneel. Instead he waited while the cat stared at him with golden, baleful eyes. Longfellow glided forward and rubbed his body against the man’s legs.
“Well you’ve certainly been honored,” Isabelle said. “Longie doesn’t take much to anybody.”
“Gatos must be given the time and space to come to their own conclusions,” he said and turned to stare at the floor to ceiling windows that flanked the door. “You do not find the area is more difficult to keep cool with all of the glass?”
“My late husband saw it in a magazine and thought it was classy.” Her tone came out acerbic and she saw him raise an eyebrow. “The double-paned glass helps keep things cool." She watched him sweep a glance over the rest of the open floor plan.
“Very comfortable I am sure. It is not often we see a fireplace here in Baja. There isn’t a lot of wood to burn.”
She looked at him sharply. Had that been a mocking undertone she heard? His dark eyes stared back at her in angelic innocence. “How many pesos do you think is fair for the time I’ve kept you from your work?”
“One-hundred,” came the instant reply
She did a quick calculation. The amount was less than ten dollars American. “Are you sure?”
“It will do me fine, senorita.”
“Oh, okay. Then I'll be right back.” She turned and walked from the room, feeling his eyes warm her as she moved away.
In her bedroom she stared at her face in the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed, her hair, now dry, wild and wind-tossed about her face. She looked like a women who had just been made love to. The thought made her legs quiver. “He’s turned me to jelly. I never felt like this with Donald, never. What would it be like to kiss him?” Her reflection frowned. “No way. Don't you go there. This is my escape from all of that. I don’t need any local romantic entanglements to mess things up.” She smoothed her hair and gripping the pesos walked back toward the kitchen.
The man wasn’t there and her heart did a queer little jump. Then his voice came from the living area. He sat upon the chocolate-leather couch, Sammi-Sue at his feet, Longfellow curled upon his lap. He idly scratched the cat’s ear and hummed softly. A smile tugged at her lips, and then instant panic erased it. Whoa. No. No. No. Times like these fooled you, and before you knew it you were locked in a velvet prison. “Senor,” she said, sharper then she’d intended. “I have your pesos.” She thrust out her hand toward him.
His eyes narrowed before he sat Longfellow aside and stood. “Of course, Senorita.” His voice was cool and remote. “I apologize if I have over-stepped by coming deeper into your life.”
She forced a smile. “I just don’t want to keep you any longer.”
He walked toward her and she stepped back. In front of her he stopped. “I understand quite well. Will you see me to the door?” A mocking smile followed the words.
She felt a rush of anger as she realized what he thought. It wasn’t like that. She wasn’t afraid of him stealing something, but before she could answer Sammi-Sue came between them and butted his hand for a pet.
“Adios Senorita Sammi and Senor Longfellow.” Then without a glance toward her he strode from the room.
Isabelle stood, stiff and mute. When the door closed, a whoosh of breath escaped her.
Longie and Sammie stared at her, and she could have sworn disgust radiated from their eyes. “Hey,” she said in defense. “We don’t need that type of complication anymore. Remember what it was like?”
With a swish of his tail, Longfellow stalked away while Sammi-Sue moved to the couch and lay below the spot the man had vacated.
I never did get his name. Isabelle rubbed her upper arms. It’s as if he removed some of the heat from the day. She grimaced. What a thought. She crossed to the side-table and picked up her sketch pad, there was still enough light to work on the design for her next masterpiece.
To seem more of my published books visit my website.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Firstly, I’d like to thank Ginger for letting me be a guest on her blog. Thank you!
I want to talk about gradual love. You know what I mean, the kind of love that takes months or years to fully develop. And when it does, it’s a take your breath away type of love. When I write, I want my characters to gradually fall in love. I want the reader to see the signs of a budding romance, but the characters not to realize it until the end. I want to readers to root for Starlette and Sivad or Sarah and Jared as they discover true love. Sometimes, as is the case of Sarah and Jared from Fade to Black, the characters have to work very hard to make their love thrive.
In Promises to Keep, to be released on March 7th by Eternal Press, I introduce you to Starlette and Sivad. They team up out of necessity. After all, Sivad escaped from the Dark Lady Dreashae’s clutches once before and Starlette wants to destroy her. Starlette’s so busy trying to save her father from Dreashae to notice the incredibly handsome Sivad Night. But as they make their way through the magical yet deadly realm of Verella, Starlette is drawn to Sivad by something other than necessity.
And as for Sivad…he has a darkness in his past that he is trying very hard to forget about.
Starlette is on a mission, and nothing will get in her way...
Starlette DeFore knows that her father is alive, even though her family buried him ten years ago. When a faerie confirms this she travels to Charleston, South Carolina to hunt down Sivad Night, the only person to have ever escaped from the hands of a powerful sorceress, the Dark Lady Dreashae. With help from a witch, Starlette travels into Verella, a fantasy realm filled with centaurs, dragons and magic. She is very close to finding her father, but first must defeat Dreashae.
Will Starlette, a mere mortal, have the strength needed to finish her quest and save her father?
“Where are we?” I asked, trying to sit up. Ever muscle in my body screamed with effort, and for a moment I wanted to curl up on the floor and sleep.
“You are where you wanted to be.” Dreashae’s soft voice held the hint of laughter, like she found this entire situation amusing. “You even brought me back my servant; how kind. It almost makes me want to agree to your request…almost.”
Sivad’s body grew rigid against me as I remembered that he had once been her servant. I was suddenly on my feet, not remembering how I got there. Wolves were all around us, sitting straight and proud as if at attention. A servant knelt next to Dreashae’s throne, his eyes never leaving the polished floor. I faced Dreashae and my eyes settled on the faintest line that went across her cheek. My father’s attack had scarred her. A smile crept to my lips and darkness filled my eyes. I looked into her black eyes as ten years of rage and anger surfaced.
“I want my father,” I growled.
“Who do you want more?” she asked. “You father? Or the man that loves you?”
Promises to Keep is a paranormal/fantasy that will be available March 7, 2010 from Eternal Press.
I hope you enjoy!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
There’s a saying “Action speaks louder than words.” However, sometimes you just need to hear it too.
In my recently released fantasy erotic romance, Wings of Desire, my faerie hero Cerne has a big issue. He cannot say those three magic words. The heroine, who has the ability to tap into his mind knows how he feels and it frustrates her that he won’t say the words.
Despite his lack of ability to utter those words that cause most women’s hearts to melt, Cerne stands by his woman. He defends her. He—well, it is an erotic romance, so I’ll let your imaginations take over. Cerne tries to deny this love. First to himself, then to his friends. In a way, I think loving Rhiannon makes him feel insecure. Rhiannon wasn’t raised in Fey, the land of faeries. She was raised by humans. His fear is that she will choose Earth over Fey once the evil Dark Faerie Queen is defeated.
This is one of my favorite scenes from the book and I thought I would share it with you all during this month of love:
The dragon riders had regrouped. Steam rolled from their noses while the fires in the pits of their stomachs stirred.
“Shields!” Cerne bellowed over the shouts of the soldiers.
Amidst the flurry of shields being raised, Rhiannon stood there in stoic silence, her shield remaining at her side.
“Are you mad?” Cerne growled through his teeth.
“No.” She turned to face him, her chin firm and high. “I’d be mad to hide and let these people die for me. I’m no coward.”
“I never said you were. Raise your shield, mo cridhe.” Cerne gave her the most pleading gaze he could muster. “Please?”
Rhiannon lifted her visor, her gaze stony. “I realize you worry about me, but I know what I must do. I have to defeat Lilith, and I can’t do it by hiding.”
She lifted the helmet from her head and threw it to the ground. “I need your support, and I want you to understand. Look around you, for the deities’ sakes. Look at all the chaos and darkness Lilith has brought to your kingdom—to my kingdom.” She pointed at the flailing swords and the flying bodies as clubs and staffs slammed into each other. “Do you want this life for our children? I know I don’t.”
Cerne’s heart leapt from his chest. Children? She wanted his children? He couldn’t even say he loved her and she still wanted to create life with him? How could he have been so foolish not to completely trust her?
Rhiannon bit her lip. “Yes?”
“You understand what that translates to, right?” He placed his hand over his heart. “You are in here—always.” He hoped those words would be enough to see her through.
A small smile curved her lips. “Thank you, Cerne.”
As if part of the giant weight had been lifted off his chest, he sighed. “If you do this, I have no choice but follow you, as well.”
He yanked the helmet off and shook out his hair, happy to be relieved of the stifling confines “I live to protect you, my princess.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Rhiannon nibbled her lip and Cerne’s heart skipped a beat. He knew that habit well. She was worried. Was she concerned for his safety?
“As sure as the fact that a man shouldn’t hide either. I, too, am no coward. I’ll fight for you. I offer my protection.”
So even though he can’t say those words, he offers Rhiannon a compromise. It works for the time being. Have no fear though, Cerne will certainly find the courage to say those three words. “I love you!”
If you’re interested in reading more, you can purchase the eBook at Eternal Press, or at Amazon.
Peace and love everyone!
Friday, February 19, 2010
He was watching her. She could feel his gaze upon her yet she was unafraid, more curious. There was something familiar about his carriage, yet he sat just enough in shadow for his face to remain unseen.
Alara had arrived at the nightclub at eleven and taken her usual seat in the corner. The band who played were midrange, not good, not bad, but would never be chart toppers.
She ordered a margarita and settled back to observe the crowd. Twenties to thirties, they fit the profile of the usual night-clubber, in their glitzy body hugging clothes.
All except him.
He was dressed totally in black. Boots, long leather coat, open and pushed back to reveal a black shirt and dark pants. Hair, raven, and short, and she knew he was looking.
It was not conceit, or in any way related to the fact she thought herself attractive to men. If anything, she was too wiry and her chest too flat. It was the strange tingly feeling that persisted in the pit of her stomach.
She turned her gaze from him and pushed through the noisy crowd to fetch another drink.
“I’ve been watching you all night. Wanna dance?” A lanky well-oiled male in a bright blue shirt, hip hugging black pants and a multitude of gold chains, blocked her path. She winced as his body odor invaded her nose and throat.
“No thanks, I don’t dance.” She made to step to the side, but his hand clamped down on her arm. “I think you do.” His tone was terse. “I think you would dance real fine with a body like yours.”
“You heard the lady. She does not dance.”
He stood behind her assailant, his hand resting on his shoulder. Alara had never heard a voice like it, rich like caramel, deep as the ocean, and smooth. He was at least a head taller than Mr. Oily, and his eyes peered right into hers, seeking her soul, stroking chords, which had not been touched for a decade. With eyes almost as black as his hair, he made her feel like someone of worth, not just a piece of ass in a tight skirt.
But he was definitely not her type.
Oily man’s face darkened, his mouth opened and he swung to see who had him, but his words caught in his throat and he stumbled over them. “I’m…ah, I’m sorry, buddy. Didn’t realize she was yours.”
“I am certain the lady is her own person, but that gives you no excuse to accost her.”
“No. No, of course not. Sorry.” The man shifted his gaze, and ran a hand over the back of his neck.
“It is not I to whom you should apologize.”
“Sorry,” he grumbled barely audible before making a hasty retreat into the crowd.
“I could have taken care of myself.” Alara raised her chin as her savior studied her. She came barely to his shoulder.
“I am sure you could.”
He turned in the direction of the table he had occupied, and her hand shot out.
“Wait.” She gripped his arm. Hard, muscular, beneath his coat sleeve.
What was she doing? He was not her type at all, but she knew she didn’t want him to leave. Not yet anyway.
“Yes?” He stopped, but didn’t look back.
“Can I buy you a drink?” She cringed. Did she sound desperate? She saw him stiffen. “In thanks for saving me.”
He turned, slowly and her hand fell away. What were those earlier thoughts? That he was not her sort of man. Was she insane? He was every woman’s sort of man. She could feel his body reaching out to her. She had heard of animal magnetism, but… Not even with Ice had she experienced this pull, and she had loved him. Dammit! This was almost palatable, powerful. She had to run. Put one foot in front of the other and turn away. Run now!
“One drink?” She forced a smile. “Just to say thank you.” How weak could one woman be?
His eyes were dark, brooding. Why didn’t he speak? What was he thinking?
“There is no need. I saw you were in trouble. I helped.”
“There is every need.” What was it about this man that kept her talking, saying things she would never say to another? She was forced to work in a male dominated profession, but always she stood on the outside, looking in, never getting close, never wanting to be close. She had loved one man. He had died. Left her — she would not be hurt like that again. She knew she should leave, but… "Please, I insist.”
He frowned and glanced away. She thought for a moment he'd refuse.
“Would you sit with me at my table?” He asked, looking back at her.
Alara swallowed hard, mesmerized by his voice. Deep, soft, yet strangely compelling, as were his eyes. Fathomless black eyes that seemed old beyond their years. Eyes that seemed to look into her and through her at the same time. As they were now.
“I’ll get the drinks,” she said too fast. “You do drink, don’t you? I noticed that there were no empty glasses on your table.” She blushed and glanced into the crowd. Blushed, her, a cop. She could feel the heat still suffusing her cheeks. She had never blushed in her life, and now he would know she had been watching him.
“A red wine will suffice. Do you need help?”
“No…I can manage.” Quickly, before he could change his mind, she pushed through the crowd toward the bar. What a fool he must think her. Such a naive, inexperienced fool.
She reached the bar and after what seemed forever, finally placed her order. He was sitting in the shadows again. She caught a glimpse of him as she slowly maneuvered her way back through the room, and although the dance floor was packed she did not spill a drop. It was as if she was being lead safely along and no one could touch her. Like a fly to a spider, but the most irksome part of it was, she was walking into a web of her own making.
My Vampire romance 'Darkness I Weep" is NOW available at Moongypsy Press for pre-order, and will be released Feb. 2010 in ebook format, and March in Print.
Please visit my new website.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I am Jaxx Steele, author of gay romance. Most of the characters in my books are, although it is not stated out right, in their mid twenties to mid thirties. Although that is the case, I do have a fondness for older men. I have nothing against a young man. They have their plus and minus ratio, but as a lover of older men I wanted to take this moment to spotlight them and all of the beauty that comes with them.
An older man who is healthy in mind, body and spirit there is capable of anything. There is nothing he can’t do! He has gone though most of the changes men go through to make them men. Therefore, he is less likely to change on you. What you see is what you get (in most cases LOL). Father Time has been kind to him because he remains active and lives for the day. He appreciates the days he has and lives them to the fullest. He has no problem teaching you new things and welcomes the challenge of learning new things from you. They are intelligent and worldly. His graying hair looks distinguished on him and ups his sexiness tenfold. As far as physical beauty goes, he may not possess that six pack he used to at twenty five, but at almost fifty he is in good shape and shows appreciation for your six pack! And Lordy! Let’s not forget the few who do still have the body they had at twenty five! Who could want anything else in a man? And yes, playing Devil’s advocate, I’m sure they have their faults as well, but with so many good points surely we can look pass the bad.
My love for older men gave life to my novella, Papa knows Best. It is a May-December romance that will speak to your heart, mind and body. *wink*. It is available now at Phaze for your reading pleasure.
Here’s to the sexy, older men of the world! To those men that are aging like fine wine, the Sean Connerys, Isaac Hayes’, Patrick Stewarts, Samuel Jacksons, Bruce Willis’ and Ricardo Montalbans of the world, I salute you.
Visit my website!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
First I want to thank Ginger for inviting me to be a guest here today. What a great idea it was to devote the whole month of February to romance, and there have been some great posts to enjoy, with more to come.
When I was writing Play It Again, Sam, I had a hard time at first coming up with the perfect hero. This was my first official romance novel, then under contract then with Kensington, and I knew I wanted a central character who was different from so many that lived in popular romances. Rogues and bad boys seemed to be more common in stories at that time, possibly so the heroine could redeem them.
While that works for a lot of romance readers and writers, that isn’t what I wanted for this story.
In casting about to figure out what I wanted, I wondered; why not make him a romantic superhero? I thought about one of the things that is so endearing about my husband – he loves to plan elaborate surprises for me for my Birthday or any other gift-giving occasion – and decided to give that quality to Frank, but make it bigger than life.
Just for the record, my husband is terrific, but he has yet to match some of the things Frank does to win Sam over.
The other thing I wanted to do in creating Frank was illustrate that romance and relationships are not always just about sex, especially when two people are tentatively stepping into a new relationship. Although the attraction is there, Sam and Frank each have reasons for wanting to take it slow. When they finally do take that step into physical intimacy, I think the moment has more drama because they held back for so long. Here is an excerpt of that moment:
She slid into a chair and watched Frank amble over to the counter. Momentarily he blocked the sunlight, and in the dimness his presence loomed larger than reality. She was very aware of the soft rustle of fabric against his legs as he walked, and he trailed a faint scent of something heady and masculine behind him.
Feeling a sharp stir of arousal, she tried not to look as he returned with the coffee, but her eyes had a will of their own. They noticed the broad expanse of chest where the front of the robe fell open when he bent to pour the coffee. Instinctively, her hand reached out to touch. His skin was smooth, and warm, and...
Frank took a deep breath and put the coffeepot on the table. "Is there something else you'd like?"
She pulled her hand back and glanced quickly at him, then away. "Yes. No... I..."
He took her hand and put it back, holding it lightly against his chest. "It's okay, Sam. It really is."
She felt the faint throb of his heart, and as her fingers splayed across his chest, the tempo increased, matching the rhythm of her own heartbeat. The flicker of arousal burst into full flame, making her tingle with anticipation. She looked into the crystal depths of his eyes and saw his need reflecting back to her.
Without thinking, she rose from her chair, a silent offering to satisfy that need. A silent question formed on his face. Are you sure?
"Yes. I'm sure," she said, lifting her face to his. The touch of his lips was soft, gentle as a feather, lightly touching and moving on, leaving a blush of heat in its wake. It was the most erotic kiss Sam had ever felt.
There is more to this scene, but it was too long to include in a blog. If you are intrigued, the book is available as an e-book from a number of sites, including my publisher
Now that I have told you a little about Frank and about my husband, you tell me. What are the characteristics you look for in a romance hero and a real-life hero?
Play It Again, Sam
Published by Uncial Press
ISBN- 13: 978-1-60174-058-8
Monday, February 15, 2010
I'm a multipublished author and I write contemporary, fantasy and sci/fi romance with interracial characters. But what I never knew was that I was a chocoholic until my doctor suggested I stop eating chocolate for a month and then cut back thereafter. The horror! Was my first thought and an inkling something was wrong if I couldn’t stop eating chocolate. I shrugged it off and told myself okay not a big deal and dutifully complied—for a day. Then the cravings started, the irritability, the short tempered... the down right unpleasantness. I turned into a person I did not recognize. Neither did my husband.
My husband at his wits end took me to a movie, a premiere, one of those artsy types with subtitles. Now understand my husband loathes going to the movies, and he’d rather have his nails pulled than go to one with subtitles. Yet he took me to one, with subtitles, he knew I wanted to see. So this was huge. Huge enough that it shocked me out of my withdrawal, at least for awhile. When we got to the movie he dutifully got me buttered popcorn and a bottle of water. We held hands and watched the romance on the screen. This was one Valentine’s Day I would never forget. It reminded me why I married the guy in the first place.
I made it through the month and now no longer have to have my fix every day. But make no mistake, when I do have chocolate I want it unfiltered that means no mint, raspberry, strawberry, caramel, nuts or anything else to dilute the taste. I want pure unadulterated chocolate.
Any other chocoholics in the house?
For a peek at some of my work feel free to check out my website. My work is available at Red Rose Publishing, Freya's Bower, ARe and Amazon. I also want to thank Ginger for having me at Ginger’s Blog today.
Check out the excerpt below and the trailer of my newest release contemporary romance with a splice of intrigue from Red Rose Publishing, Chances Are.
The cool air slapped at Kayla, a tall striking woman with short curly sable-colored hair, as she walked out of the bank, her head held high, clutching a large cardboard box. Who would have thought her entire office, her professional life could be reduced to one box? But she'd be damned if, after fifteen years of faithful service to this bank, and the last three as the branch manager, she'd allow some pimple faced bozo with a bunch of initials after his name to see her cry. She'd wait until she got to the privacy of her own home to do that.
Maybe not even then.
The heavy oak door slammed shut behind her. The self-satisfied sound of Mr. Newington’s nasal voice still ringing in her ears.
“Ms. Michaels, I’m here to inform you in person, this branch is slated for closure in two weeks. A few of the tellers and staff here will be transferred to other branches with openings; however, there are no openings for your position. We have to lay you off, effective immediately. Your benefits will remain in tact for three months, and you will receive in compensation whatever remains of your vacation time for the year, along with one month’s salary. Expect an extraction packet in the mail in a couple of days, detailing everything. I’m going have to ask you to clear out your personal things, and leave the bank as quickly and quietly as possible.”
He wouldn’t even allow her to call the staff together to explain what happened, she barely had time to walk around and say goodbye to everyone. Mr. Newington, from corporate, kept coming out of her old office glancing at his watch as he watched her.
If he was a sample of the new bank’s owner, she wanted no part of it. She’d never set foot in there again, or any of that bank's branches. First thing tomorrow morning she’d close and transfer her checking, savings and IRA accounts to another bank, and she'd do it all online. The quarter ended at midnight, she wanted every dime of interest. It may not be enough to even be a blip on the bank’s radar screen but it was her money. She’d worked hard for it. And she could damned well put it anywhere she damned well pleased.
In a rush to get away from the building she had forgotten she didn’t have her car. She’d gotten a ride into work with her sister. Her car was in the shop, again. She couldn’t even reach her cell phone. It sat in the purse slung over her shoulder, wedged between the box and her side. She’d have to put the box down in the middle of the sidewalk to get to it.
She turned around to scan the almost empty mid-day autumn street of Old Town Alexandria for a cab; she’d probably have to walk up to the busier main road. Someone bumped into her shoulder—hard. Her box tumbled out of her hands, and her things scattered all over the sidewalk. The jerk who jostled her didn’t even bother to stop and help, he just muttered sorry and ran on.
“Asshole!” she screamed at his retreating back. After being treated so rudely, boy, it felt good to be able to yell at someone.
She bent down to pick up her things, when a large pale long fingered hand moved into her line of vision.
“Here you go,” a deep masculine voice said, causing her lower abdominal muscles to clench and contract.
The hand held a very pricey Waterford paperweight in the shape of the Capitol dome which used to sit on her desk. It had been a gift from her sister last Christmas.
She reached to take the paperweight away from him, when his fingers brushed against hers. Immediately, she pulled her hand back, dropping the paperweight in the process. Good thing it landed in the box on top of her sweater and not on the brick tiled sidewalk. Her sister would never forgive her if she broke it.
But who could blame her. Her fingers felt like they had plugged in a lamp with a faulty cord. The electric charge, coursing from her hand up her arm, reminded her of the one she’d gotten when she was eight after doing that very thing. Her gaze followed his masculine hand to a black leather-covered arm, up and up to the most incredible sight she’d ever seen in her life. She blinked twice. Her troubles got shoved to the back of her mind.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thank You Ginger for having me here as part of your month long celebration honoring Romance.
Valentine’s Day has become a tradition over the years where we have come to expect candy, flowers, diamonds, cards, meals at our favorite restaurants, our favorite bottles of the Grape, and/or romantic get-away weekends at the nearest Bed and Breakfast.
I can’t help wondering when we stopped making personal expressions of our own creativity in honoring those we hold most dear. When did it become okay to be so commercial?
Instead of traipsing up and down the many aisles of admittedly expressive cards made my conglomerates, why don’t we take a few moments and open our hearts and minds so our own thoughts, our own words, our own emotions can shine?
Instead of calling the nearest top restaurant and hoping we can get a coveted reservation, why don’t we light some candles, turn the music on and fill the air with the rich scents of home cuisine cooked and planned by our own design?
The gifts are always the traditional gifts because it is easy, not necessarily because it is what our significant other wants. For instance, diamonds are not always a girl’s best friend. I know of a friend whose “Valentine” gave her flowers. A beautiful gift, right? It would have been had she not been allergic to flowers!
Manufactured gifts have there place, but if that’s the route you are going to choose, take the time to find out if the manufactured gift is really something the one you claim is your “Valentine” really desires first.
And finally, a piece of advice for men, unless she specifically asks for it, NEVER GIVE HER A KITCHEN APPLIANCE!
And once more, I wish you all a very Happy and Romantic Valentine’s Day!
Note: Voice in the Night is coming in March from Red Rose Publishing
Saturday, February 13, 2010
It’s Valentine’s Day! (Well, almost.)
Thank You, Miz Ginger, for inviting me to blog on your website. I’m paranormal romance author, Tabitha Shay. I also write contemporary western romances under the name of Jaydyn Chelcee.
Since we’re nearing Valentine’s Day, love is in the air….Right? Traditional symbols of Valentine's Day include hearts, doves, Cupid and love notes. The American postcard above, circa 1900, reveals all the symbols we‘ve come to think of as representing Valentine‘s Day, except perhaps for a box of chocolates and flowers, darn it.
Did you know the origin of Valentine’s Day descended from a pagan festival of love and the day was taken over by the Church that disapproved of the romantic and sexual connotations, renamed for "Saint Valentine" and made into a day for martyrs?
Boy, I wonder what the Church back then would do if it got its hands on some of the romances written by today’s authors? Whoo! Those of us who write erotica or very sensual romances would probably be stoned, hanged, certainly tied to the dunking stool and dipped in the pond to cool us off.
However, romance, sex, passion, lust, flowers, candy, cards, Cupid, oh boy! give them all to me, I’ll take my chances!
I’ve decided that today, I’ll post an excerpt from my next paranormal romance scheduled for release this very month, Witch’s Fire, book five in the Winslow witches of Salem series due to be released around Feb. 25th from Moongypsy Press.
Everyone who leaves a comment today, I’ll drop their name in the witch’s hat for a chance to win an E-copy of Witch’s Fire later on this month when it’s available. I’ll hold the drawing at 6 pm CST, and post the lucky winner’s name right here. But please remember, you won’t receive your copy until after its release date.
Be sure and check back later today or leave a way for you to be contacted so you can get your prize…
WARNING: ADULT CONTENT.
EXCERPT: WITCH’S FIRE BY TABITHA SHAY
She spooned a healthy-sized portion of the mousse in her mouth and swallowed. “Oh, my stars, that is unbelievably light. I didn’t even feel it on my tongue. It vanished in a soft fizz, but felt like creamy butter on my tongue.”
Stry waved his hand again and half the candles went out. The room filled with gentle, flickering shadows. Soothing music flowed around them, seductive. “Dance with me?”
Kirrah nodded and rose to her feet. “I’d love to.” She went into his arms. Her head rested lightly against his chest.
Stry swallowed and pressed his hands to the small of her back. They danced in slow circles to the soft bluesy tune. Kirrah flung back her head, her gaze searching his. “What’s a bawk?”
“Never mind. I don’t care.” He lowered his head, rubbed his mouth against hers. Teasingly, he licked her lips. “You missed a dab of chocco.”
“And you found it.…”
“Yes.” He took her mouth, deepened the kiss, until Kirrah thought her lungs would explode from lack of oxygen. At last, he reluctantly released her lips. “I want you, Kirrah, so much I feel like I’m on fire all the time. I’ve never felt this way before.”
She smoothed her hands across his wide chest. “I want you, too.”
Stry squeezed her against his body. He slid his hands around her hips, cupped her buttocks and fit her against his erection. The unmistakable ridge was like a branding iron against her, hot, hard and proof of his urgent need for her.
“I don’t just want you, Kirrah, though the gods know the wanting is killing me. I want you to understand that I don’t just want to use for the relief mating with you will give me. You know how you took those pictures into your heart and made those people in them your family? How you love them?”
She nodded, wondering where he was going with this.
“I want to be loved like that. I want you to love me like that, take me into your heart and give me a home there. I want you to need me in your life the way you needed those pictures. Will you love me like that? I need you to love me as if I have no one who cares about me.”
Kirrah lifted her gaze to meet the surprising tenderness in Stry’s gold-colored eyes. “Love you like that?”
“Unconditionally―because you see something in me worthy of loving? I need a home, Kirrah. A family. Will you give me those things? Will you surrender your heart into my care, your body, your―soul? Trust that I love you back in the same manner?”
He looked at her as if he could eat her up, but there was something else in the somnolent smokiness of his steady gaze. Something genuine. There wasn’t a hint of laughter. He wasn’t poking fun at her or how she felt about her pictures and the people in them.
Kirrah licked her dry lips and nodded. “Yes, I already love you unconditionally. I love you.”
Scope out my book covers, reviews and some incredible artwork of some of my witchy characters on my website or, scope out my publishers Eternal Press and Moongypsy Press.
One last word, my books are available in print at Amazon. Just type in my name under "books." Happy Valentine’s Day….Tabs
Friday, February 12, 2010
A very wise woman recently asked me if I preferred romantic ‘things’ or romantic ‘gestures’. I’d never thought of romance in those terms before and it got me thinking. I came down on the side of liking romantic gestures with a huge thud. Diamonds and cars are nice but I want to know my partner’s thoughts by his actions. One of my most romantic stories is PS- I Love You. It’s part of the Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2009 Anthology. In my story Nancy treks across the country to honor the love of her life. Scenes from their past bring the romance, relationship and love to life for anyone who reads this. What a wonderful, romantic gesture!
You can find out more about PS- I Love You, and my many other stories, on my website.
In honor of love, and romantic gestures, I’d like to give away a print copy of Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2009. How do I enter? You may ask. Leave me a comment at any or all of the places I’m blogging today. One comment per blog and one entry per comment. In your comment write about the most romantic gesture you’ve ever seen, read, or been a part of. I’ll draw from the hat and announce the winner on February 13 at the Midnight Seductions yahoo group
Here’s a link to all of the places I’ll be posting on February 12th:
My website blog
Mahalia Levey’s blog
Midnight Seduction’s blog
Adriana Kraft’s blog
Sheila Stewart’s blog
Ginger Simpson’s blog
The Midnight Seduction Authors are celebrating romance by hosting these '12 Daysof Love' blogs that you've seen all over the internet. We are throwing a huge all-day-chat bash on February 13, 2010, from 10am EST to 10pm EST. Prizes will be given away every hour on the hour. Excerpts, recipes, jokes and romance tips will be posted throughout the day. Be sure to visit.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I've been wracking my wee little brain trying to come up with a blog about love. Well, I did come up with one already for Cindy Jacks's blog. I talked about my love of dragons. So what else can I say? I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day but I've always been a sucker for a good love story. Who isn't? Just about every tale you've heard since you were little has something to do with love. Don't believe me? Let's see...the Ugly Little Duckling teaches us to love someone even if they look different. Snow White...where would she be without the love of the seven dwarfs and her prince? Star Wars, think you got me there don't you? Han and Lea. :p
The funny thing is, I never actually read romance novels until recently. A very dear friend recommended Angela Knight's Mageverse series and I was hooked. I found something else to be in love with. LOL Really love is at the core of everything. I write because I love it. I read because I love it. Love can motivate you to do a lot of things you wouldn't normally think you could do. As Lily finds out in my recent release from Red Rose Publishing :
"I had everything under control, Sebastian."
He took a step towards her, she retreated but he followed. "But you didn't really want to be, did you Lily?"
"What are you talking about?" Lily swallowed around the sudden lump in her throat, watching his eyes travel to her throat. The way he was looking at her made heat collect in her belly.
"You don't want to be in control," he replied, his voice a low seductive growl.
"Yes I do," she protested weakly.
"No, you don't. You want to let go, to hand someone else the reins."
"I can take care of myself." Lily straightened her shoulders, trying to ignore her body that longed to throw itself at this man's feet.
"Of course you can," Sebastian conceded, "But you want someone to take care of you. I know why you weren't happy with Philip," he said.
"Oh?" For every step she took away from him, he took one forward. Her heels touched the wall at the same time her hip hit the counter. She had backed herself into a corner and he placed his hands on the wall on either side of her head, trapping her. Her breath was coming in quick gasps now. She couldn't look at him. She kept her eyes on his shoulder but that turned out to be a bad idea as she noticed now that the black turtle neck hugged his form in a sinful way. "And why is that?" she somehow managed to ask.
Sebastian bent his head, catching her gaze with his own. "You want a man who won't let you control him."
"And you could?" she countered, her cheeks flushing.
She held her breath, thinking he was going to kiss her again but he took a step back. "Come, we're leaving." His tone left no room for debate and she really didn't feel any desire to refuse the command. Still it was her brother's party and she always stayed here to spend Christmas morning with him and Kate.
"I said, come."
Find out how things turn out for Lily, get your copy here!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The True Test of Love
By Lisabet Sarai
As authors of romance, we know that every love must be tested. When our hero and heroine fall for one another, we can't let them have it too easy. There needs to be some challenge, some obstacle to their perfect connection. It might be an evil ex hanging around, trying to lure the heroine back into his arms. It might be a near-fatal disease, or a plane crash, or an attack by hostile natives. Or the conflict might be internal, the characters fighting demons from their own pasts, trying to surmount the barriers to trust.
Readers know that, whatever the nature of their trials and tribulations, the protagonists will eventually pass the test and receive their reward: each other. That's the comforting aspect of romance. In the real world, though, things are a bit more iffy. We face the same sorts of trials, but there's no guarantee that our love will survive them.
To help Ginger celebrate Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share my experiences with what might be the ultimate test of a relationship. I've been married for nearly 28 years. They've been happy and fulfilling years, but practically every day my husband and I deal with a uniquely difficult challenge.
It's not, thank heaven, a health challenge. It's not the specter of the numerous other relationships we both enjoyed prior to our marriage. It's not a natural disaster. No, it's far more extreme...
My husband and I work together.
We're both software engineers. We share an office. We have a software product that we've developed and we also act as consultants for other companies. We are together almost twenty four hours a day, working as well as playing. And we don't always see things the same way.
He's the inspired one, the one who has flashes of insight and who likes to experiment. Hardly a day goes by that he doesn't propose some new project that just might make us rich. I'm the disciplined one, who prefers to plan, to limit the risks, to keep things simple and stick to the familiar. I like to think that I'm the practical one, though that's probably not fair.
He's a multi-tasker, keeping twenty windows simultaneously open on his monitor. I'm lucky if I can keep track of two. At the same time, he's very sensitive to being interrupted. If I ask him a question while he's thinking, he'll growl and complain about my bothering him. Yet he thinks nothing of querying me about some entry in the checkbook when I'm deeply involved in debugging some software routine. Fortunately I don't find that nearly as disruptive as he would.
Other couples argue about money or sex or who left the toilet seat up. We argue about programming languages, software architecture and new technologies. We do a lot of design work together, and our sessions can get pretty heated―each of us completely convinced that our way is best.
Sometimes things get out of hand. He will accuse me of being patronizing or of not listening. I might feel the same way about him. Once in a very great while, one of us may even stomp off in a huff.
Fortunately, we have managed to survive this test. When things get tense, I remind myself how smart he is and how much I respect him―even when I don't agree with him at all. The fact is, our disparate approaches produce better results than either of us could create alone. We balance and complement each other. Our work, at its best, incorporates our individual strengths while limiting the impact of our weaknesses.
We almost always find our way past the areas of disagreement. The key, sometimes, is to deliberately adopt the other person's point of view. And to listen. We're both passionate about our work. When I feel that I have a solution, it's easy to become blind to other options. So I force myself to ask him questions, to get him to explain his position, and then to evaluate it objectively.
We've had colleagues tell us that we should write a book about “our secret”. “How do you manage it? My wife and I would tear each other to shreds if we had to work together,” they say. We smile and pretend that it's easy. But of course it's not.
The bottom line is that both of us view our relationship as more important than any bone of contention. Spirited disagreement is fine, but when we feel ourselves stepping over the line, saying things that might damage that relationship, we almost always recognize this and pull back.
It's the true test of love, but so far we've passed with flying colors. This Valentine's I'm celebrating the fact that my lover and husband is also my valued colleague and collaborator.
Note from Ginger: I always love when Lisabet visits. I learn something from her every time. I'm just now reading one of her "very erotic" offerings, Fire: Short Stories, and despite my prudish self, I'm discovering her stories have a deeper meaning beyond the steam and passion. She certainly titled this collection aptly.
LISABET SARAI has been writing, editing and publishing erotica since 1999 and has six novels, two short story collections, and three anthologies to her credit. Her stories have appeared in more than two dozen print collections. Recently she ventured into epublishing erotic romance with Total-E-Bound, Eternal Press and Phaze. Lisabet also reviews erotica for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and Erotica Revealed. Visit her website at http://www.lisabetsarai.com.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I know what you’re thinking. Ten Ways? That many? Well, in my story there are, and you’ll laugh all the way through them.
Since this is the month of LOVE, and I get to talk about any love story, I want to choose this one. Why? Because love can be fun, too – which I describe in this story. Before writing this, I read a lot of articles on the different ways women thought they could win a man’s heart. I chose a few of my own and bundled them all into this knee-slapping, good read!
The other reason I’m going to talk about Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart is because the book will be out of contract at the end of this month, so hurry now to order before it’s too late. When Champagne Books first contracted my story, publisher was a little hesitant to publish a contemporary under Phyllis Campbell’s name because to this point, Phyllis Campbell had only written historicals and was a best seller with her historicals.
Thankfully, publisher went ahead and published Ten Ways…and this book was a record-breaker for Champagne. The first time they had so many sales for one book in such a short amount of time! When review sites reviewed my story, they were handing over the 5-star reviews and Recommended Reads! Ten Ways gave me my title – Queen Of Sexual Tension. One reviewer gave me this title and the other reviewers followed. I wear it proudly. (grins)
5-Hearts! Phyllis Campbell has to have the title of Queen of Sexual Tension. She knows how to wind it up tight and have the reader sitting on the edge of her seat waiting for the big O. Captivated from the first page, this reviewer ooh’ed, aah’ed laughed out loud and sighed throughout the book. Ms. Campbell has created a luscious hero. Damien is not all he makes out to be and there are secrets and hidden depths to this wonderful man. Charlene is sunny, sexy and so accident-prone. Her accidents and misgivings will have the reader laughing. Even Max, who is shown at first to be not so sympathetic, is redeemed at the end. A satisfying read from start to finish and well deserving of five hearts!! Highly recommended! – Val / Love Romances
Here’s an excerpt from this book –
Tears threatened, and it wasn’t because of the pain in her head. Plain and simple, she was a loser. She couldn’t do anything right when it came to men.
Reluctantly, Charlene opened the door and climbed out of her BMW. When she slammed the door, the echo rang through the deserted street, mimicking the loneliness of her heart.
A tear slipped free, then others joined. She clutched her purse to her chest, trying to hold back the sob ready to burst forth as she shuffled toward her front door. Before she reached it, Damien’s door opened and she quickly wiped her tears. When he stepped out on the porch, he stopped. His gaze stayed on her.
Relief flooded through her body. Her chest ached, her throat burned. He was the only person she wanted to see right now.
His gaze wandered over her face. His eyes widened, then his forehead crinkled. “Charley? What’s wrong?”
The concern in his voice made an ache form in her heart. Tears fell freely once again. He held his arms open and she rushed to him, pressing her face against his black leather jacket. Her sobs echoed around them. His embrace tightened around her.
“Mí amore, what’s wrong?” he repeated with a tender voice.
When she didn’t say anything – couldn’t find the strength to pull away from him, he lifted her in his arms and stepped back into his house. He raised her face enough to press it against his neck. His spice scent smelled so good, so sexy. Like always
The gentle stroke of his hand in her hair soothed her cries, calming her the way only Damien could. He took her to his couch and sat. She remained in his lap, and cursed herself for enjoying every second of it.
But she loved him.
She caught her breath and bit her bottom lip. When had this happened? The bigger question was...did she want it to happen?
Taking a refreshing breath, she finally lifted her head and gazed into his caring eyes. Soft and gray. So dreamy and laced with concern. Her heart clenched harder. She wanted him in her life. She wanted him to love her, to devote himself to her and only her. Would he ever do that?
He swiped his thumb over her cheek, brushing away more tears. “Will you tell me what’s wrong?”
She nodded and cleared her throat. “I’m up to strike six. Good thing I’m not playing baseball, huh?”
She tried forcing a laugh, but it didn’t come across as humor. The squeak sounded pathetic. “You wouldn’t think I could mess this one up, but I did.”
“Did you talk to him about the Three Stooges?”
“He didn’t like it?”
“Oh, he liked it, all right. He thought my version of Curly’s n’yuck, n’yuck, n’yuck was amusing.”
“Then what went wrong?”
She shrugged. “I thought, being a Stooge fan and all, that he’d be prepared when I did the fingers-in-the-eyes trick.” She shook her head. “He wasn’t. His eyes watered for nearly a half-hour, and even when he left work, they were still red. If he goes blind, it’ll be my fault.”
Damien’s lips twitched, yet his eyes still drooped with sympathy. Through her misery, there was humor in everything, and a smile tugged at her lips. Soon, his smile widened.
“Oh, Damien, why didn’t he block my poke?” She rubbed her forehead and sighed.
He chuckled. “I don’t know, mí amore.” He pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “Perhaps he’s scolding himself for not doing it at this very moment.”
She laughed. “Oh, I’m sure he’s doing a lot more than scolding. He’s probably at the eye doctor discussing surgery this very moment.”
He shook his head. “God, I love your sense of humor.”
His laughing eyes grabbed her, pulled her in. Her heartbeat quickened. His square, clean-shaven jaw tempted her to touch it, so she did, cupping her hand on the side of his face. It was smooth against her palm, and she imagined how it would feel against her bare skin...against her bare breasts...her bare thighs... Heated tingles surged through her body, moistening certain parts that cried out to him and only him.
Why did the picture in her mind seem so real?
Had he been in her room the night of the Christmas party? Had it been his hands, his lips driving her mad with desire?
Her heart hammered and moisture gathered between her legs. She squeezed her thighs together, hoping to make the crazy sensation rushing throughout her body disappear.
She stared at his lips, remembering the way they glided sensually over her body. Had it really been a dream? She’d kissed Damien only a couple of times, and his lips were very gentle. Perhaps she’d just imagined the time when they’d almost made love on her bed after the Christmas party.
His expression softened, the gray in his eyes darkening and his lips parting. She had to kiss him. Now! Her heart jumped and lodged itself in her throat.
She continued to lean forward, slowly, and waited for him to stop her.
He didn’t. She closed her eyes and their lips touched.
His hands bracketed her head, holding her in place. Her heart soared. She nibbled on his parted lips, sucking the lower lip inside her mouth. He let out a small moan before slanting his mouth over hers and slipping his tongue inside.
Electric pleasure ripped through every nerve in her body, heating her blood to boiling. A sigh escaped her, sounding more like a groan. She threaded her fingers through his hair, pulling his face to hers as she partook of his erotic kiss. This was exactly what her dream had been like. Now everything was real. That night had been real.
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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!