Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Storm in the Brain

By Ann Raina (Guest Blogger)


Every author has a strategy to create a story, based on an initial idea. I am lucky to have a muse who likes to play with my ideas, back and forth. She shares her comments, her thoughts and her proposals how to form a story and we have a lot of fun in all these hours of brainstorming. My muse also adds her two cents to the characters I invent and comes up with some of her own. Often she has a clearer vision of the character’s attributes than I have. She also hears me out when a scene is finished and then tells me about story flow and if there are breaks in logic. Once she took apart my whole opening scene to come up with a much better one. I take my hat off to her imagination and creative mind. Don't forget—she’s been my best friend and companion for about forty years.

Our common work—if you want to call such a fascinating hobby work—started in the year 2000. We were fans of Tolkien’s books and loved Peter Jackson’s movies. Naturally, we wrote fan fiction. The afternoon hours with coffee and cookies soon became a regular weekly event. We sat for hours, polishing scenes and thinking about one nasty twist after another. 

When I turned away from fandom to create stories and characters that played in the worlds I chose for them, my muse followed me, which is remarkable because she didn’t shy away from science fiction, erotic romance or even the elements of BDSM I included. Our afternoons have remained very fertile, always accompanied by freshly brewed coffee and homemade pastries. 

Our latest novels are the results of last summer’s hours in her garden or mine. I told her about Sidarra, the young man who wants to be much more than a simple worker, in order to impress a woman from the city. He doesn’t know that the project he joins will take him to another continent and confront him with completely alien situations. Project: Recruitment took shape in about three weeks and took two months more to write. We both loved the main characters Sidarra and Oleyni so much that I decided to write a sequel that takes the couple to the moon of Habrano. They don’t anticipate being drawn into a cruel game, in which Sidarra has to take a lot of risks to save his beloved. So Emotion Riders takes a very different approach to the couple's relationship. While the first book focuses on the development of their connection, against the odds, the second book makes clear they will stay together, even if evil opponents try to tear them apart. For the second book, my muse had many fascinating ideas concerning the obstacles Sidarra has to overcome. 

Of course, playing ping pong with ideas sometimes leads from one obscure gag to the next and we end in hilarious laughter, from which no safe return is possible. I always take notes and save those brainstorms for later. You never know when a totally absurd idea might be the right one! And the next novel is already in the making.

Here is a short excerpt from Project: Recruitment, published by eXtasy books.

After being taken to the home of Oberat, Oleyni accompanies Sidarra to a room to get him some new clothes and help him take a shower…





“I think a darker blue suits you well.” Oleyni pulled out a pullover and pants and a warm undershirt. “It might get a little too cold for you in the evening. Better wear something warm.”


“Thanks. And where—”

“Oh, washing! Yes. Come.” She showed him the adjacent room. If Sidarra had expected faucets or anything recognizable, he was disappointed. “If you drop your clothes and stand here, the water will swirl around you. Shall I show you, or do you just want to try?”

“I’ll give it a try.”

“Fine.” Oleyni folded her hands in front of her lap and watched him, waiting.

“You want to stay?”

“Do you mind? You fainted some minutes ago, and the warm water might affect your circulation again. It could be that you need help, right?” Her eyes were wide open, portraying innocent ideas.

Sidarra smiled helplessly. “You mean, you are here to lend a hand?”

“There might be spots you can’t reach, don’t you think?”

His smile blossomed to a laugh that they shared. “You are right.” He shed his shoes, pants and jacket, revealing the net around his torso. “I might need help. This is all too strange for my taste.”

“You will get used to it.” Oleyni shrugged. “I guess I would feel the same if I was in your place. Your village seems to be strange, as well. You live in huts, I heard.”

He frowned as he approached the area where he assumed the water would flow. “What do you know about Ethisan?”

“That is your village? Well, I know that the continent is less fertile than ours. You drill wells for water and most parts of the continent are hard on the people. The majority consists of farmers and herders, some teachers, too. Temperatures are of modest warmth. It does not get cold, so you don’t know snow. There is just one developing city, with companies prospering from selling machines and ground transportation vehicles as well as many different tools. Trade markets have just recently begun to stretch to foreign countries in the north. Did I forget something?”

Water poured over Sidarra’s head and shoulders. It was warm and very pleasant, washing away sweat and dust. He closed his eyes and let Oleyni’s voice become the background of the pouring water. Warm hands massaged his shoulders, gently groped through the net on his back and went on with his buttocks. He pressed both hands against the wall and enjoyed the attention, moaning. When Oleyni was done down to his feet, she used soap to wash his hair, standing on tiptoe to reach his forehead.

Sidarra was so content he woke from a dream when she slapped his butt. “I guess if you get any cleaner, you’ll be translucent.”

He turned and the water stopped. Wiping his eyes, he made a step to where she waited with a big and very soft towel. “Thank you. That was very kind of you.”

“Your muscles felt like thick roots. Is it better now?”

“Much better.” He dried his hair and body. “How did you know?”

She pursed her lips and the sparkle in her eyes revealed her mischief. Hands folded behind her body, she turned her shoulders from left to right. “Female intuition.”

***

And here's a rather funny scene from Emotion Riders to give you an impression of how my muse thinks…


Sidarra is on his way to find a key to save Oleyni from a prison cage. He meets a strange fellow:

Sidarra swiveled around and a stone crashed where he had lain.

“This is my well!”

A six-handed, flat creature with an astonishing human face stood close by, clad in a hard, light-brown shell and a smaller one on its head. From both sides antennae stood up as if sniffing the air. Stones lay at its feet which it was throwing with impressive speed. Sidarra skipped to the right, raising his hands in defense.

“Stop! I didn’t know it was your water!”

The next stone missed him by a hair’s width.

“You dried my well, you stupid moron!” The creature took four more stones in his flexible hands and then, frowning, lowered them. “Ah, it’s you.” He dropped the stones and waddled over to reach out a six-fingered hand to Sidarra. There were sharp spikes at the ends so Sidarra refrained from a handshake. “You come for the key, don’t you?”

Sidarra lacked an answer, too puzzled by the sudden change. He gave a brief nod and the creature crinkled its little round nose. The spikes scratched lines in the stones.

“I knew it. Come.”

Sidarra got back up and very carefully followed the flat field inhabitant on the stones where it walked, marveling at the pointed derrière. Behind the heap of stones was an entrance, but it was by far too small for the human to enter.

“Oh, big guy, hmm? Wait.” The creature, not taller than the leg of named human, vanished and rumbled through a mass of things. There was clacking and rolling and even a small thunder clap that sent up a cloud of dust. Finally, the creature surfaced and handed the still flabbergasted water thief the same key he had gotten the day before. “Here. That’s what you want, so why do you look as if you got hit by a stone?”

“I almost got hit by a stone,” Sidarra bristled.

The creature waved away the argument with four of its six hands. “Ah, almost is not hit. If I always hit, I would not need to search for food.”

“Thank you.” Sidarra kept the key in his hand. “Any idea how I get back across the canyon? The bridge collapsed.”

“Bridge? Which bridge? Ha, that sounds funny. Which bridge? Which bridge?” The creature danced around Sidarra, repeating the words in a loop.

“Stop!” Sidarra blocked its way. “Tell me, how do I get back across the canyon, through the woods to a meadow in the south?”

The creature stood and looked at the human as if he was a brick short of a load. “You turn around my home and take the flight down and up on the other side. Is that too complicated for you? Can’t you use stairs with your only two legs?”

“There are stairs?”

“Down and up. Or up and down. Depends on the matter of your coming and going.”

“There were no stairs before.”

The creature pulled a face. “Your argument is a stupid one. You have not the time to stand here and chatter like a delirious bug.”

Sidarra was stunned by the creature’s undeniable logic. “Just point the overall direction. I’ll find the stairs.”

“Thought you’d never ask.” Four arms showed him the way to leave the stony field. “Have a safe trip. I was told there are holes in the ground. Don’t break a leg. You only got two!”

Contest!

Leave me a comment (with your email) telling me your impression of Sidarra and Oleyni from my Project: Recruitment excerpt. I'll randomly choose two people who will receive copies of Emotion Riders.

Purchase information:

Project: Recruitment


Emotion Riders


About me
Writing has been a hobby I started early and have not stopped since I was young, a time that has passed for some years. Oh, well, being beyond forty has advantages and then not. Besides writing, I love to ride, recently bought a horse, and have five cats at home. I also love to work in my garden. That’s the summer place where I re-read older manuscripts to find flaws and what more. My friends say that I’m a happy camper and I agree. Happiness can be lived if your expectations are not sky high. Carpe diem!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Rule

Last week, our local paper featured a story about a wedding in Israel between a Jewish woman and an Arab man. Hundreds of conservative Jews showed up to protest and indeed, to try to stop the wedding. The police kept the protesters far enough away that the wedding could proceed. Still, I don't imagine the virulent rhetoric and threats of violence made for a very  happy wedding day.

Then there's the recent item about the talented and charismatic choir leader at a Catholic church, who was fired because he was gay. I wasn't surprised when I heard about this, just extremely sad. How could anyone believe that this decision was a righteous one?

I don't normally write about politics or religion. Every individual is entitled to his or her own beliefs, and I don't want to stir up controversy by pushing my own. However, these two stories seem symptomatic of the spiritual poverty that seems to afflict us in these early years of the twenty first century. Everywhere I turn, I see senseless and brutal violence. Everything I read seems laced with ridicule and hate for "the other side".

Violence begets violence. Peace cannot be achieved through war. We've seen this again and again. Yet we still lash out at one another, from Ferguson, Missouri to Aleppo, Syria, from Gaza to the Central African Republic.

I'm a romance author. I write about love. And from what I can see, the world needs an awful lot of that these days. When people can't choose to love one another without risking ostracism and even physical attacks, I know we're on the wrong track.

We all know the Golden Rule: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Is it really so hard to apply?

I get a lot of political and activist email. I sign quite a few Internet petitions. I don't know if it does any good, but it makes me feel a little better. Last week I signed one disseminated by a group called Faithful America,  an organization devoted to religious freedom and mutual respect. I happened to notice the slogan next to their logo:

Love thy neighbor. No exceptions.

Wow. Now that's a really powerful idea. No one is unworthy of love, no matter what his or her race, religion, gender orientation, nationality, or political affiliation. Every individual deserves respect, compassion and a chance to live a satisfying life.

Even the jihadis from ISIS. 

Now that's hard to swallow, isn't it? And yet, Jesus never said, "Love thy neighbor, unless he's a terrorist."

If we were doing better at practicing the Rule, maybe there would be fewer terrorists in the first place.

I'm not trying to start an argument here. As I say, I'm not going to push my beliefs on you. Still, the "no exceptions" addendum makes the Golden Rule a lot clearer, for me at least. It shines a light on my own prejudices. I see how in my daily life, I often attack people and organizations I don't agree with. I recognize how patronizing I can be (or at least feel) about people who's actions or positions seem ignorant or misguided. Sure, I'm not about to go shooting people, but I see that I don't always react with love and compassion. 

I'm not telling anyone what to do. As for me, I'm going to try as best I can to keep the Rule front and center in my thoughts. Because I do believe that every one of us who chooses peace can make at least a small difference.

More than by signing a petition, anyway.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Beyond Erotica

By Sacchi Green (Guest Blogger)

Pay attention to this excerpt from my figure skating erotica story “The Outside Edge.” There’ll be a quiz later! Or don’t. I’ll tell you my version of the answers, anyway. Just see if you notice the story being about anything besides sex.


I skated to a medley from the Broadway show Cats. My black unitard with white down the front and at the cuffs was supposed to suggest a “tuxedo” cat with white paws. The music swept from mood to mood, poignance to nostalgia to swagger, but no matter what character a song was meant to suggest, in my mind and gut I was never, for a moment, anybody’s sweet pussy. I was every inch a Tom. Tomcat prowling urban roofs and alleys; tomboy tumbling the dairymaid in the hay; top-hatted Tom in the back streets of Victorian London pinching the housemaids’ cheeks, fore and aft.

Suli had been right about storing up tension and then letting it spill out. Like fantasy during sex, imagination sharpened my performance. Each move was linked to its own notes of the music, practiced often enough to be automatic, but tonight my footwork was more precise, my spins faster, my jumps higher and landings smoother. I had two quad jumps planned, something none of my rivals would attempt, and for the first time I went into each of them with utter confidence.

The audience, subdued at first, was with me before the end, clapping, stomping, whistling. I rode their cheers, pumped with adrenaline as though we were all racing toward some simultaneous climax, and in the last minute I turned a planned double- flip, double-toe-loop into a triple-triple, holding my landing on a back outer edge as steadily as though my legs were fresh and rested.

The crowd’s roar surged as the music ended. Fans leaned above the barrier to toss stuffed animals, mostly cats, onto the ice, and one odd flutter caught my eye in time for a detour to scoop up the offering. Sure enough, the fabric around the plush kitten’s neck was no ribbon, but a pair of lavender panties. Still warm. It wasn’t the first time.

Suli waited at the gate. I gave her a cocky grin and thrust the toy into her hands. Her expressive eyebrows arched higher, and then she grinned back and swatted my butt with it.

The scoring seemed to take forever. “Half of them are scrambling to figure out if you’ve broken any actual rules,” our coach Johanna muttered, “and scheming to make up some new ones if you haven’t.” The rest, though, must have given me everything they had. The totals were high enough to get me the bronze medal, even when none of the following skaters quite fell down.

Suli stuck by me every minute except for the actual awards ceremony, and she was right at the front of the crowd then. In the cluster of fans following me out of the arena, a few distinctly catlike “Mrowrr’s!” could be heard, and then good-humored laughter as Suli threw an arm around me and aimed a ferocious “Growrr!” back over her shoulder at them.

Medaling as a long shot had condemned me to a TV interview. The reporter kept her comments to the usual inanities, except for a somewhat suggestive, “That was quite some program!”

“If you liked that, don’t miss the exhibition tomorrow,” I said to her, and to whatever segment of the world watches these things. When I added that I was quitting competition to pursue my own “artistic goals,” she flashed her white teeth and wished me luck, and then, microphone set aside and camera off, leaned close for a moment to lay a hand on my arm. “Nice costume, but I’ll bet you’ll be glad to get it off.”

Suli was right on it, her own sharp teeth flashing and her long nails digging into my sleeve. The reporter snatched her hand back just in time. “Don’t worry,” Suli purred, “I’ve got all that covered.”

Don’t expose yourself like that! Don’t let me drag you down! But I couldn’t say it, and I knew Suli was in no mood to listen.

I was too tired, anyway, wanting nothing more than to strip off the unitard and never squirm into one again, but Suli wouldn’t let me change in the locker room. Once I saw the gleam of metal she flashed in her open shoulder bag—so much for security at the Olympics!—I followed her out and back to our room with no regret for the parties we were missing.

The instant the door clicked shut behind us she had the knife all the way out of its leather sheath. “Take off that medal,” she growled, doing a knockout job of sounding menacing. “The rest is mine.”

I set the bronze medal on the bedside table, flopped backward onto the bed, and spread my arms and legs wide. “Use it or lose it,” I said, then gasped at the touch of the hilt against my throat.

“Don’t move,” she ordered, crouching over me, her dark hair brushing my chest. I lay frozen, not a muscle twitching, although my flesh shrank reflexively from the cold blade when she sat back on her haunches and slit the stretchy unitard at the juncture of thigh and crotch.

“Been sweating, haven’t we,” she crooned, slicing away until the fabric gaped like a hungry mouth, showing my skin pale beneath. “But it’s not all sweat, is it?” Her cool hand slid inside to fondle my slippery folds. It certainly wasn’t all sweat.

Her moves were a blend of ritual and raw sex. The steel flat against my inner thigh sent tongues of icy flame stabbing deep into my cunt. The keen edge drawn along my belly and breastbone seemed to split my old body and release a new one, though only a few light pricks drew blood. The rip of the fabric parting under Suli’s knife and hands and, eventually, teeth, was like the rending of bonds that had confined me all my life.

From “The Outside Edge,” originally published in my anthology Girl Crazy: Lesbian Coming Out Erotica, reprinted in Best Lesbian Romance and A Ride to Remember, a collection of my own erotic fiction.
__________


I come to praise erotica, not to define it. Considering who’s likely to be reading here, erotica doesn’t need any cheerleading from me, but I’ll do it anyway. The erotic is such a subjective concept that I don’t need to define it, just know it when I see it, and know what I like. It also happens to be my business to know a certain amount about what other people might like. As editor of nine anthologies categorized as lesbian erotica (two of them Lambda Award winners,) with two more in the works, I get to decide which submitted stories work as erotica for that particular niche-within-a-niche. My publishers have the final say on all the stories, but they’ve never yet rejected one of my choices on the grounds of not being erotic enough. Come to think of it, I’ve very seldom rejected a submission for not being erotic enough.

My basic requirements for erotica are a high level of sexual tension, and an orgasm for at least one character. Explicit language is fine, but not required; a really good writer can make a scene intensely hot without having to make decisions about what to call various body parts, or even to list those parts. Get your characters’ feelings and sensations across well enough, and the reader’s imagination will do the rest.

For me, though, the best erotica is about more than sex. Just because a story provides enough of an erotic charge to be called erotica doesn’t limit it, or mean that it can’t do more besides. I know all too well how little respect erotica gets—“Plot? What Plot?” Then there are the surprisingly numerous reviews that start out with, in essence, “I never read erotica because it’s all trash, but this book, to my astonishment, is an exception!” And I know the condescending attitude of “Erotica? Surely you could do better than that!”

Better than what? Than a full-frontal approach to an essential, complex facet of human existence? Besides the physical stimulation, erotic interchanges can be as revelatory of character as any other basic human activity, and more so than most, since they deal with heightened emotions and senses and, in some cases, heavily weighted baggage from past experience. They can also provide ways to slip in details not revealed in calmer moments; shyness or confidence, impulsiveness or self-control, tenderness, aggression, vulnerability, repression, or raw, unapologetic sensuality. The various flavors of BDSM are about more than sex as well, even though they’re intensely bound to sexual fulfillment. In LGBT erotica, which is most (though not all) of what I write and edit, there are the added complexities of gender presentation and cultural taboos even more deeply rooted than the general squeamishness about sex.

Fiction that deals explicitly with sex can be as well-written, thought-provoking and creative as that in any other genre (or the non-genre that likes to call itself “mainstream” or “literature.”) Settings can be as varied and vividly evoked; different periods in history can be as well-researched and essential to the plot or story arc; characters can be as multidimensional. There’s nothing wrong with short, sharp, no-frills, cut-to-the-chase-and-clinch erotica, but that too can be done with consummate skill.

Now for the quiz. I have to admit that I waited too long to get this blog written, so I didn’t have time to get permission from any of my really fine writers to quote from their work, so I had to settle for an excerpt from one of my own stories.


Back to my question at the beginning. Did you notice anything beyond sex? Assuming you noticed the sex at all? I tried to include the tension of coming to terms with non-binary gender presentation, the anguish of fearing the effect on a passionate relationship, the ambiance of the Olympic Games and the technical details of championship figure skating, and even a few sidelong historical references like “Tom in the back streets of London,” when “Tom” was indeed a common term for a butch lesbian. These and other themes and semi-themes might come across better in the story as a whole than in this excerpt, though. I can hope so. But if the sex and edge-play with the knife were the only things you noticed, that’s fine too, because nothing should overpower the most erotic features. If you’d like to read more of “The Outside Edge,” not only has it been published several times, but I’ve posted the whole thing free to read on my blog. Check out http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com/2014/02/free-lesbian-ice-skating-erotica.html

My point here is that erotica can and often does go beyond its stereotypical reputation. If our wider culture weren’t so obsessed with sex as “sinful,” some of the best writers in our genre could be publishing their sexually-explicit work in venues outside the erotica ghetto. The flip side of that, of course, is that the perception of sex as sinful draws many readers to erotica, and I’d never discount the way a sense of transgression and flouting (even mooning) authority can spice up sex of any flavor.

I’ve gone on far too long, I know, so I’ll just tack on a brief version of my bio, and if you want to know about the anthologies I’ve edited, all the covers are on my blog.

Sacchi Green (http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com) is a writer and editor of erotica and other stimulating genres. Her stories have appeared in scores of publications, and she’s also edited nine lesbian erotica anthologies, including Lambda Award winners Lesbian Cowboys and Wild Girls, Wild Nights, both from Cleis Press. A collection of her own work, A Ride to Remember, has been published by Lethe Press. Sacchi lives in western Massachusetts, gets away to the mountains of New Hampshire as often as she can, and makes regular forays to NYC for readings and cavorting with her writer friends.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Snog #138: Yes, even more from Ingredients of Bliss

When I started writing The Ingredients of Bliss, I reminded myself that I wanted to include lots of kisses. Not that this was difficult, given the powerful bond between Emily and Harry. Putting up a new kiss every week, though, does tend to deplete one's backlist!

Anyway, I have a short but sweet one for you today, from near the end of the book. It's a brief peek at a happily ever after, just over the horizon.

Don't forget to visit Victoria's place for lots more Sunday smooches! And I hope you're still following my blog tour. This weekend I'm being hosted by the lovely Kay Dee Royal:

http://kaydeeroyal.blogspot.com/2014/08/guest-post-and-giveaway-beyond-menage.html

Anyway, on with the snog!


-->
God, I’m sorry, Em.” Harry traced the raw crescents his fingernails had left in my flesh. “I’ll get some disinfectant.”

No!” I rolled onto my back—wincing a bit as the wounds grazed the sheets—and pulled him down on top of my prone body. “You’re not going anywhere right now.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist to enforce my statement. “Kiss me.”

You’re pretty uppity for a sub, aren’t you?” he laughed. However, he obeyed my command, sealing his lips to mine.

He let me control the kiss at first, and I took advantage, probing his sweet, hot mouth and nibbling at the corners. Before long, though, he reasserted himself. He bore down, till my lips were bruised and sore, drinking me in like he couldn’t get enough.

Finally he allowed me to catch my breath. His nutmeg-brown eyes were hazy with exhaustion and desire. “I love you so very much. I’m not sure you can understand…”

I have some idea, Harry. I feel the same. Well, I don’t know if it’s exactly the same, since you’re Dominant and I’m…well, not. At least not usually.”

You can kick ass when you want to, Ms Wong.”

Yeah, well, whatever.” I knew he was thinking about Etienne and about Jean. I was annoyed to find I was blushing. I blundered on. “Harry, when I saw you out there at the Hammer’s hideout—well, I knew…that I didn’t want to live without you.”

Whooee! Is that a proposal, Ms Wong?” He hiked himself up onto his forearms and grinned down at me.

Well, uh—I’m not sure. Maybe. Something like that.” I hadn’t thought in terms of marriage but if we loved one another, wasn’t that the next natural step?

“I accept. When should we have the wedding?”

Um, wait a minute—let’s not jump into things.”

“Are you or are you not asking me to marry you, Emily Wong?”

Uh—I think—um—yes. Yes, I am.”

Quick as a cobra strike, Harry grabbed my wrists and forced them down onto the bed. He bent to my chest and took my nipple in his teeth. I gasped as new pleasure streaked to my extremities.

“Definitely too bossy for a submissive. But I know what to do about that.”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sneak Peek: Jessica's Dilemma by Elle Thorne






A sexy new adult series that centers around Discretion, a sex club.

Stay away from the owner's nephew. What kind of advice is that to get on the first day of work?
 
No worries there. Jessica's had enough of men posing as boys to last a lifetime. Enough to almost make her lesbian--almost. She'll have no problem staying away from the owner's womanizing, drunken, hedonistic nephew. No problem at all.

He's the guy they warn women to stay away from.
 
Rick's an all-in kinda guy. All or nothing. His pursuits are drinking and women. That's not completely true. He has a couple of other interests, but he doesn't want anyone knowing about them. Can't go around ruining the reputation he's expended a lot of energy earning.

Excerpt

Stay away from the owner’s nephew.”

I fight to keep the look of confusion off, smoothing my black skirt—one of the few professional garments I own—so I can keep my head down while I plaster a blank look on my face. Of all the advice I could be given on the first day at my new job, this is the last thing I expect to hear. “No problem.”

What else can I say? Don’t worry? I’m ass-deep in studies? I’ve had enough of boys posing to be men to last me a lifetime? I’ve probably had enough of boys posing as men to turn me toward lesbianism, except that female parts don’t do it for me.

I mean it.” Raina, my self-appointed trainer and new friend at work puts on a stern face, her sassy hairstyle belying the professionalism she wears like a superhero’s cape.

This is more than a little funny since she’s close to my age. I fight the smile that’s threatening to come out, a smile that might make it look like I’m laughing at her.

I gotcha.” I try to be reassuring, even though if she only knew how I feel about men and how little time I have to dedicate to them anyway, she’d stop worrying.

Curiosity gets the best of me. “What’s the big deal with the owner’s nephew?”

He’s a man-whore. Girls drop panties. Like quick. Then there’s drama, then they don’t work here anymore.”

And that bothers you why, exactly?”

Seriously? It increases my workload. I have to pick up their slack, then train their replacement.”

Don’t worry. Would it help if I said I’m lesbian?”

Raina laughs, a little too forced. Then I start to think what if she is? What if she thinks I’m going to make a pass at her? What if she makes a pass at me? Sometimes I wish I’d learn to keep my mouth shut.

Let’s go to lunch,” she announces.

I figure that will be the time I find out if my little lesbian outburst actually means something to her.

As it turns out, lunch is just a get-to-know-you kind of thing. As friends. Straight friends. And get to know me, Raina did. She asked one little ol’ question and I start to blurt out shit like a geyser. Filling her in on my dad’s death, between bites. My loser mother’s decision to dump me and my brother and move to Florida with her latest boyfriend is the topic during dessert—which I pass on since I’m not exactly a beanstalk-skinny kind of girl. I rant on, about how it’s up to me to support us. My brother’s a senior in high school and I’m trying to make my way through college. Damn. Just telling her my shitty life story wears me out. I hope I don’t push her away or sound too pathetic. I hope I don’t make it sound worse than it is. I mean now that I have this job, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

After two grilled chicken Caesar salads, one sweet tea and one water—with lemon, please—Raina and I are finished with lunch. And I’m finished with my pity party.

At least you have this job now.” She smiles at me. She’s probably happy lunch is finally over.

And I don’t plan to do anything to lose it. Don’t you worry.” Owner’s nephew be damned. I beam what I hope is my most confident smile.

She picks up the tab. “Ready to train? I have tons of paperwork. I’m totally backed up. It’s been a bear.”

Sure am!” I’m appreciative of her paying the bill because until my first check I have exactly $53.42 in my bank account.

As we leave the restaurant, my last thought, for some crazy reason is the nephew must be some kind of gorgeous to get women to give up jobs for him this way.

Now why my brain goes there again, I haven’t a clue.


About Elle

Elle comes from the wrong side of the tracks. She bends the rules, creates havoc, and raises cain every chance she gets. When she's not involved in these pursuits, she's writing stories about hot men, sexy women, and the stuff that happens between them. On occasion, those men and women are aliens, shifters, demons. This makes them so much hotter!

"For the most part, I'm an ordinary girl, who lives an ordinary life and has been lucky enough to be exposed (no pun, seriously) to many different walks of life. Some of the opportunities I passed up on quite unwisely, but if I'd taken them, then I wouldn't be here, now.
So, no regrets, right? Or so I'd like to think, because regretting what you can't change may be pointless."


www.facebook.com/elle.thorne.7

http://www.amazon.com/Elle-Thorne/e/B00JT3Z6C6

Friday, August 22, 2014

Planning Pack of Lies

By Lucy Felthouse

Hello and welcome to the fifth day of my blog tour for Pack of Lies, and thanks so much to my host for the day.



If you’ve been following the other posts on this tour (scroll down for the link to the other posts), you’ll know I did rather a lot of research for this book. As a result, there was a lot of planning to do, too! I had to make sense of all the research I’d done, figure out what parts of it were needed, what was superfluous to requirements, how everything fitted together. There was lots to weave into the book—the most complex I’ve written to date—historical elements, contemporary elements, fact, fiction, settings, lies, intrigue, two main characters, lots of secondary characters, romance, hot sex... the list goes on.

Let’s just say it’s a good job I started a new A4 notebook for this project ;) This is not a complaint, I hasten to add. I actually had a really fantastic time doing all the preparation for writing this novel, and with such a complex storyline, it was necessary. It also meant that come November 2013, when I started writing the book, I’d have more chance of getting in the necessary word count each day in order to “win” NaNoWriMo—but that’s for the next post. Fortunately, my epic planning worked, as here I am with a completed and published novel!

Check out the photos on my Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/cw1985/pack-of-lies/

The book has been incredibly well received so far, with lots of four and five star reviews—so if you’re a paranormal romance fan, I hope you’ll check it out! Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Happy Reading,

~ Lucy x

Blurb

Werewolf brothers Matthew and Isaac have lived in the peaceful village of Eyam all their lives. The villagers know what happens every full moon, and are happy to keep their secret. But their privacy comes at a cost—neither brother has taken a lover in almost four hundred years.

Then at the full moon, a sheep is slaughtered on Eyam Moor, by what could only be an animal. A large, vicious animal. Even the brothers’ staunchest supporters begin to have their doubts. Meanwhile Isaac is smitten by a handsome newcomer to the village, while a vivacious visitor is happy to offer Matthew her all.

As they indulge their lust, they must clear their names and convince their neighbours that they aren’t also letting their baser instincts out to play.

Inside Scoop: This book contains sizzling scenes of both M/M and M/F sex.

Excerpt

As Matthew and Isaac Adams opened the front door to their house, the telephone started ringing. Matthew sighed. “Typical. No rest for the wicked. I’ll answer it, you go and get ready for work.”

Isaac nodded and headed off to do as his brother advised. Matthew, the older of the two, walked toward the ringing phone and snatched it off the hook. Then, remembering that the person on the other end of the line would have no idea what a rough night he’d just had, he made the effort to inject some politeness into his tone.

“Hello? Adams residence.” Isaac had told him time and time again that the last part about the residence was old-fashioned, that people didn’t say that anymore, but Matthew couldn’t seem to shake it.

“Hello, Matthew? It’s Richard.” The village vicar’s voice, even though he’d only spoken four words, sounded strained, almost panicked. “You boys just get back?”

“Yeah, a moment ago. Why, what’s up?”

“I, uh… I got a call. A dead sheep has been found up on the moor. Not just dead. Mutilated. Like a wild animal attack.”

An unpleasant feeling wormed its way under Matthew’s skin and his stomach flipped. “Oh?” He paused, then figured he had nothing to gain by not saying the next words he wanted to. “You don’t think it was us?”

The vicar’s gasp was instant, one of genuine surprise. “Lord, no! Absolutely not. I just phoned to let you know and I was wondering if you’d come up there with me and take a look. You and Isaac are probably more qualified than anyone else in the village to tell what did this.”

“Isaac has to work, he just went to get ready. But yes, I’ll come up. I’ll let my brother know where I’m going, then I’ll be straight over. Are you at the rectory?”

“Yes. Okay, I’ll see you soon. Thanks, Matthew. Bye.”

“Goodbye.”

Matthew hung up the phone with another sigh. The horrible feeling that had crept under his skin and taken over his gut seemed as if it was there to stay, and it was never a good sign. The vicar’s news was surprising, yes, but he also had an inkling that it was going to spell trouble, or at the very least inconvenience, for him and his brother.

Pulling in a deep breath in an attempt to calm his jangling nerves, Matthew walked upstairs and toward his brother’s bedroom. The door was closed. He knocked. “You decent?”

“Yeah,” Isaac replied, “close enough.”

Stepping into the room, Matthew looked at his brother. He was half-dressed, ready for his shift at the doctor’s surgery, where he was a general practitioner. “Sorry to interrupt, mate, but that was Richard on the phone. They’ve found a mutilated sheep up on the moor, and he’s asked me to go with him to check it out.”

Isaac paused with one arm pushed into his shirtsleeve. “He doesn’t think—”

Matthew cut him off. “No. He was quite adamant about that. He just thought we’d be able to help figure out what did it. I explained that you’ve got to go to work, though. I’m going to head across there now and go up with him.”

“I could phone in, let them know I’ll be late.”

Matthew held up his hand. “There’s no need, brother. Relax. Just go to work and help the sick people. I’ll let you know what—if anything—I find out.”

Opening his mouth, then closing it again, Isaac seemed to have thought better of whatever he was going to say. He continued to dress. “All right, I will. But make sure you let me know what happens. Send me a text or something, and I’ll phone you as soon as I have a gap in between patients.”

Matthew grimaced. He hated texting. Hated mobile phones, actually. Technology was one of the things he disliked most about modern-day life, though he realized it was a necessary evil. It solved as many problems for him and his brother as it created, so he dealt with it as best he could. Fortunately, Isaac had always had an affinity with computers and phones, so he tutored his older brother.

“Yeah, all right. I’d better go and find my phone first then, eh?”

Smirking at his brother’s rolled eyes, he left the room and headed for his own bedroom, where he thought he’d left the device the previous night, before he and Isaac had headed for the caves. Immediately spotting the mobile phone—which Isaac often made a point of telling him was akin to a brick—he grabbed it and stuffed it into his pocket and made his way downstairs.

Retrieving his keys from the hook by the front door, he called up to his brother. “I’m going now, Isaac. I’ll see you after my shift at the pub. I’m working until closing time.”

“Okay. Don’t forget to keep me posted!”

“I won’t.” As if he could forget. The dead sheep was going to be a big thing, he just knew it. The vicar might not think he and his brother had anything to do with it, but some of the other villagers might. When there was no proof either way, just his and Isaac’s word, it was understandable, really. Since he and his brother changed into wolves every full moon, it was a natural conclusion to draw. Particularly since normal wolves had been extinct in England for over five hundred years.


Author Bio

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9






 

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So Many Men...

By Juliet Waldron (Guest Blogger)


So many men,
Again and again,
Coming and going and
Going and coming…


This is an excerpt from the seductress Lili von Schtupp’s funny, suggestive song in “Blazing Saddles”. These are laugh lines at my house, but it does raise a question.

When orgasmic, do we “go” or do we “come?” Today’s lovers definitely “come,” but in the 18th Century vernacular, they “go.” I learned this reading Fanny Hill, an 18th Century “pillow book” which was banned almost as soon as it was written and was still banned when I was a teen. Like most people of that age, I had an intense interest in sex. Anything “forbidden” was a must-have. So, while working in New York City back in the 60’s, I found my first copy of Fanny’s adventures at a properly dark and dusty bookstore in the East Village, the same one which stocked the equally forbidden novels Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Having read quite a few 18th Century novels by way of course work—Tom Jones, Moll Flanders and Dangerous Liaisons among them—I was not put off by the circumlocution and flowery descriptions. The writers of that time were determined to show off their language skills by using as many words as they could jam into a sentence. 
 

Fanny never uses a dirty word. Nevertheless, even after 200+ years, she remains a pretty decent turn-on. She was a great help to me when, many years later, I wrote Mozart’s Wife and My Mozart. As these novels are both first person narrations, I wanted the language to have a definite old-fashioned flavor—not too much to hinder the modern reader—but a good dollop. Graphic talk was in order in both of these novels, about women who gave bodies and souls to the first musician who acquired rock’n’roll status in his lifetime—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Excerpt

He had me now, had the sweet vulnerable center beneath skillful fingers.

"Ah, here's what she's wanting. Easy, my pretty, easy. I'll make you go. Oh, yes, I will."
My tender secret part was hostage of that knowing hand. As his expert fingers played, I responded exactly like any other instrument Wolfgang touched, alive to his mastery.

The lamp burned quietly in the summer night. His face was half in shadow, but his eyes shone. He lay half across me, one arm cradling my shoulders, the hand below moving, moving among the little curls, eliciting bead after bead of helpless dew. Pleasure burned.

"My first lover taught me this," he whispered. Lips ranged across the altar of my body, his touch at once so bold and tender. "So generous a lady."

Wild with the thing he was doing, I clung to him. Bliss spurted. Repeated passages splashed the sweet liquid he'd discovered everywhere.

My Mozart

Mozart’s Wife

About Juliet


Not all who wander are lost.” Juliet Waldron was baptized in the yellow spring of a small Ohio farm town. She earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Twenty-five years ago, after the kids left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself—and her readers—by researching herself into the Past. Mozart’s Wife won the 1st Independent e-Book Award. Genesee originally won the 2003 Epic Award for Best Historical, and she’s delighted that it’s available again from Books We Love. She enjoys cats, long hikes, history books and making messy gardens with native plants. She’s happy to ride behind her husband on his big “bucket list” sport bike.