Monday, May 30, 2011

Lust in Space

Greetings, Earthlings!

Today I'm celebrating TEB's release of my science fiction ménage Bodies of Light as a standalone novella. Yes, I know the story only came out in anthology form a few weeks ago. I'm as surprised as you at the fast separate release. Guess Total-E-Bound knows a great tale when they read it... ;^)

Anyway, what better way to celebrate a release than to give away a copy of the book? I'm guest blogging at Amy Valenti's today (http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com/) as well as here. Leave a comment at either blog to be entered in the drawing. Leave a comment at both and you'll have two chances to win. I'll select a winner on Wednesday June 1st.

So what is Bodies of Light about? Well, physics. Frustration. Interstellar travel. And of course, lust and love.

My heroine, Dr. Christine Clarkson, has spent her whole career trying to work out the secret of faster-than-light travel. You know what I mean - trying to build a "warp drive" that will let humans travel to far distant planets.... Every science fiction author knows that it must be possible, and Christine believes that too, but she's had no success. Meanwhile, humans are crowded together on a depleted, polluted planet - travel to the distant stars may be their last chance to survive as a species.

As a sort of penance for her failure, Christine signs up as crew on the Archimedes, a sub-light speed mission to colonize a planet in one of the closest star systems. Without warp travel, the flight will take more than a dozen years. Christine and her crewmates must spend most of the trip in suspended animation. As the story opens, she awakens unexpectedly from stasis to discover that the rest of the crew are dead and the Archimedes is wildly off course.

There she is, alone in deep space - then all at once she has company, a pair of handsome and extremely virile men who somehow simply appear on the ship. At first she thinks they're a figment of her imagination, a product of stress or sexual frustration. Alyn and Zed work hard to convince her that she's wrong...

****

“Christine.” The voice rang like crystal and flowed like water, a far cry from the flat, synthetic tones of the Archimedes. “Do not despair, lovely one.”

Christine could not help smiling at the endearment. No one had called her lovely for a very long time. She kept her eyes closed, willing the dream to continue.

“We are with you, Christine.” Deeper, richer, edged with laughter, another voice chimed in. “You are not alone.” A cool, soothing palm cupped her brow. Strong hands settled on her shoulders, drawing her upright, then slipped down to cradle her breasts. Luscious heat suffused her, focused on her suddenly-taut nipples. They were smouldering embers ready to burst into flame. Soft lips brushed her neck just below the hairline, sending shivers spiralling through her. Someone unknotted her hair and let the weight of it cascade freely down her back. She sighed as careful fingers eased out the tangles. Each gentle tug at her scalp was pure pleasure.

The caresses ceased for an instant while her chair swung away from the control panel. Then the sensations began again, delicious and irresistible—unseen hands kneading her breasts, a warm mouth nuzzling her earlobe, a teasing tickle tracing its way down her belly, firm pressure parting her thighs and the barest graze of a fingertip across her pubis. A fierce stab of delight ripped away her languid mood. She moaned, arching up towards the retreating finger. Laughter poured over her like dark honey.

“You like that, sweet?” asked the baritone. The finger returned, pressing into her nylon-covered cleft and sliding back and forth along her length.

Christine gasped. “Oh, yes…” Swirls of fluorescent colour danced on her closed eyelids. Familiar scents teased her nostrils, earth after a rain and new-mown grass. The finger moved faster. The soaked fabric of her coveralls slithered across her sensitised flesh. A climax gathered in her depths, heavy and full as summer thunderheads. “More,” she whispered, just as someone dragged the zip of her garment down below her waist. “More!” she yelled, as sharp teeth fastened on her bared nipple and hard digits plunged into her naked cunt.

Dozens of hands fluttered over her skin, strummed in her pussy, plucked at her swollen breasts. The ripe clouds burst. A torrent of pleasure flooded her senses. Her body dissolved. There was nothing left but pure ecstasy, vibrating through her being like celestial music.

“Open your eyes.” The higher voice, the one that shimmered like liquid starlight, spoke close to her ear. The suggestion filtered through her post-orgasmic haze. This dream is certainly tenacious, she thought, her limbs still tingling. Usually I wake up after I come.

“We’re here with you now,” added the earthy voice, from the other side. “Look upon us.”

Why should she resist? It was just a dream. Her eyelids felt leaden but she forced them apart.

A stranger stood to her right. He had marble-pale skin and hair like spun silver. Smoke-coloured brows shaded his piercing violet eyes. A pert nose and full lips gave him an androgynous look, but his lithe body was undeniably male—especially the column of rigid flesh that jutted from his groin.

Arousal flickered through Christine’s body, faint echoes of her recent climax. “Who are you?” she queried, her mouth watering at the sight of his sturdy erection. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m Alyn,” the young man answered with a smile that stole Christine’s breath. His skin gleamed in the dim light of the bridge as though dusted with stars. Fat pink nipples winked at her from his smoothly muscled chest. She ached to touch them. As though he read her thoughts, he reached for her hand and drew it to his breast. “I’m here for you, Christine. To cherish and to comfort you.”

His skin was silk under her palm. She moulded the shape of his pectoral and flicked at the taut nub at its centre. His cock surged in response. A drop of clear moisture gathered at the tip. She wet her lips, suddenly hungry. “Alyn,” she repeated, rolling the name on her tongue.

“And I’m Zed,” came the deeper voice, from her left. She turned to gaze at the second man, taller and stockier than Alyn but equally beautiful. Zed had jet hair and ebony eyes. With his prominent cheekbones, broad mouth and bronzed complexion, he made Christine think of some ancient tribal warrior. A provocative grin lit his face. He seized her other hand and curled her fingers around his swollen cock. “This is for you, little one.”

Blood pulsed through his shaft. Her small hand could barely encompass his girth. She squeezed and felt him harden further. He thrust into her palm, satin-sheathed stone. Her pussy ached to feel him driving into her depths. Alyn knelt before her and removed her sandals, then pulled her to her feet. “We’ve been waiting for you to awaken.”

****

Ready for some lust in space? Get yourself a copy of Bodies of Light. Or start by leaving a comment - you might win one!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Amnesty International Turns Fifty

May 28, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Amnesty International. The world renowned organization began with one person and an idea -- to protect the basic dignity and human rights of those imprisoned for their beliefs.

Amnesty is not a political organization. It speaks on behalf of prisoners of conscience in every society. Through its meticulously researched reports on human rights and its grass roots campaigns on behalf of individuals around the world, Amnesty has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people, of dozens of nationalities. In addition to the many prisoners of conscience who have been freed because of Amnesty's work, the organization has profoundly affected the world's awareness of human rights issues. Its work for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from torture, and abolition of the death penalty throws a spotlight on injustice wherever it occurs.

I've been a supporter of Amnesty since I became an adult and learned of its existence. I deeply admire the courage of an organization that is ready to stand up to any country - no matter how rich and powerful - and challenge it to make a meaningful commitment to basic human rights for all.

To celebrate AI's fiftieth anniversary, I will make a $1 donation to the organization for every person who comments on this blog post.

And if you want to do more, get yourself a copy of the charitable anthology Coming Together: At Last. All proceeds from this two volume set of interracial erotic fiction benefit AI. The book includes my tale Refuge, set in an Asian refugee camp. You can read an excerpt from Refuge here

News Flash! All Romance Ebooks, the primary publisher of the Coming Together altruistic erotica books, is having a super Memorial Day Sale - 50% rebate on all purchases made by credit card or PayPal! And they're still paying the authors and publishers their normal cut! So if you want to buy At Last or any other titles, go to ARE right away!

To learn more about Amnesty's efforts for human rights, and what you can do to help, visit http://www.amnestyusa.org/. And don't forget to leave a comment!

Thank you!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When is it smart to fear?

By Barbara Hodges (Guest Blogger)

My writing partner, Randolph Tower and I are working on a new mystery book, Meltdown. It’s going well. We’d both researched the Russian Mafia for inclusion in the plot. Sounded great, you don’t mess around with these bad boys, and they are popping up in the big cities.

Then I received a phone call from a writing friend that changed everything. It seems her roommate’s son came to live with them. This man has spent much of his life in and out of prisons, mostly white-collar crimes, but along the way he had did some time with members of the Russian Mafia. My friend mentioned us using the Russian Mafia in our plot line, and the man became insistent that she call me and suggest we re-think that part of our plot, that we could be putting ourselves into danger.

At first I thought, that’s silly, it’s fiction and it’s a book. I gave it some more thought. Yes, it’s fiction, but plausible fiction. What if the storyline turned out to be true and we’d stumbled onto it? Would we putting ourselves and our families into danger?

I’ve written or co-written seven published novels. Something like this has never come up. Meltdown and Ice are the first time I’ve ventured into the mystery/suspense genre. The others were science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal genres. Not much threat coming from any of those plots.

I called Randolph and we discussed it. Bottom line we are keeping the basic plot, but removing all mention of the Russian Mafia. Sure, publicity sells books, but money doesn’t do much good if you or someone you love is harmed, or worse, killed.

So what do you think? Are we being too cautious, being silly to think using a plot-line involving some very nasty guys would be a threat to us? Has this happened to you?

There’s a plot for another book; mystery authors’ fictional take on a crime turns out to be true and puts them in danger. But then hasn’t that already been done?

Yes, we are moving ahead with Meltdown, minus the Russian Mafia angle, and it’s a good story, but are we copping out? What are you willing to risk to maybe have a big seller on your hands? Me? Well, I’ve discovered that my safety, and the safety of those I care about, as well as my peace of mind, is priceless.

Bio: Barbara M Hodges lives on the central coast of California. She shares her life with her husband Jeff, two basset hounds, Ophelia and Hamlet, as well as with a sassy feline, Wallace.

Barbara is the author or co-author of seven published books. Her latest, Ice, co-authored with Randolph Tower, was released from Books We Love Publishing Partners, in January of 2011.

When Barbara isn’t writing she enjoys attending NASCAR races, go Carl Edwards, and dabbling in decorative painting.

You can find out more about Barbara and her books at any of the weblinks below.

Website: http://barbaramhodges.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/barbara.m.hodges

Blog: http://barbhodges.blogspot.com/

BWL page http://www.bookswelove.net/hodges.php

Email: barbaramhodges@live.com

Ice can be purchased in both print and ebook format.

Below is the link to Ice on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KKXREW/ref=nosim?tag=bwlpp-20&linkCode=sb1&camp=212353&creative=380549

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Story Behind the Story: Fight for Love

By Delaney Diamond (Guest Blogger)

I grew up watching wrestling with my father, and when I decided I wanted to write a romance novel with an athlete as a hero, I made him a wrestler. That’s how the story about Rafael Lopez and Rebekah Jamison in Fight for Love was born. Fight for Love is the second book in my Hot Latin Men series, and I wrote it out of part nostalgia and part admiration for the skills of these athletes.

I don't watch wrestling like I used to, but I still love their bigger than life personas and admire their athleticism and skill in the ring. Some of the big names have gone on to act in movies, so you’ll no doubt recognize these guys: Dwayne The Rock Johnson, John Cena, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, just to name a few.

Depending on your age, you’ll recognize some of my back in the day favorites: Hulk Hogan, Pretty Boy Rick Flair, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake the Snake Roberts, Abdullah the Butcher (who owns Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs & Chinese Food here in Atlanta--I'm not making that up), and there are so many more.

It was easy for me to write about the showmanship of the athletes, but I needed a better understanding of what took place behind the scenes. For that I watched a documentary called “Beyond the Mat.” I had a good idea of what these wrestlers went through, but it opened my eyes even more and I was able to incorporate some of the knowledge I gained into the story.

Here are some of the things I chose to weave throughout:

o Many of the wrestlers use pain killers to get past the physical pain and damage they do to their bodies in the name of entertainment.

o Illegal drug use is rampant in the industry.

o While the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) involves a lot of acting and rehearsals by the wrestlers, their athleticism shouldn’t be questioned. One wrong move could cause an accident with dire consequences. They suffer from cracked skulls, broken limbs, and busted heads, all in the name of “entertainment.”

o Their families struggle with their commitment to the sport. Imagine watching your spouse, father, son, etc. getting pummeled in the ring, slammed with chairs, tossed over ropes, and often continuing to fight even when they’re in pain.

It was difficult to watch some of the old superstars no longer in their glory, and it was also difficult to watch how their families suffered through their performances over the years. I incorporated some of that same fear into the storyline through Rebekah.

When they were married, she went to few of his matches because she couldn’t stand to see him get hurt. Still, when he came home, she would tend to his bruises and cuts.

Rafael used his brute strength and fighting skill to catapult him into success as a wrestler. I had to give him a stage name, like so many of the other wrestlers have, so I called him La Sombra (“The Shadow”). Unfortunately for him, he found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in a tabloid scandal that involved half-naked groupies, prostitutes, and drugs, and caused him to lose Rebekah.

I really enjoyed writing Fight for Love. For me, it became not only a tribute to the idea that love can stand the test of time, but a tribute to the sport of wrestling.

When the story opens, nine years have passed, and Rafael shows up unannounced at Rebekah’s door. He finds out he has an eight-year-old son, and that’s when the fireworks begin.

Blurb:

Science teacher Rebekah Jamison lives a quiet life in the suburbs of Atlanta. Devastated by a tabloid scandal nine years ago, she ended her marriage to the man her parents never approved of.

Rafael Lopez, former professional wrestler and “Sexiest Athlete Alive,” regrets the lapse in judgment that caused him to lose his wife. He shows up unannounced one day with some startling news, but he gets a surprise of his own. He finds out he’s a father. To get to know his son, he whisks him and Rebekah off to his home in the Hollywood Hills for the summer.

Excerpt:

Rebekah’s heart kick-started with a thump, the matter-of-fact tone doing nothing to allay the frisson of fear that trickled down her spine. Even more disconcerting was her reaction to the deep, seductive sound of his accented voice. It scrambled her brain and sent unwelcome vibrations running through her.

She didn’t dare look at him, worried he’d see every emotion she felt. Shame. Excitement. Anxiety. She needed time to gather her thoughts so she could have a coherent conversation. The shock of his unannounced arrival sharply tipped the balance of her normally ordered day toward disorder.

Deafening silence descended between them, and Rafael was the first to break it. “We need to talk.”

As he shut the door on the outside world, Rebekah finally ventured a look at him. His thick black hair was closely shorn to his head. At five-feet-seven, she wasn’t a small woman, but Rafael dwarfed her at six-foot-three. He had an incredible physique, with muscles so densely packed the linen button-down shirt couldn’t conceal them. His muscles were tightly honed from years of weight lifting and hours of exercise, creating a fighting machine of flesh-covered steel. Each meaty bicep was the size of one of her thighs, and his lean fingers looked long enough to span the width of a basketball.

“Sexiest Athlete Alive,” headlines had proclaimed two years in a row. More recently, his rugged good looks could be seen smiling into the camera endorsing agave nectar, an all-natural sweetener exported from Mexico.

When his dark gaze rested on her, the last remnants of rational thought disappeared like a puff of smoke in a blast of wind. For a few seconds, her breath caught in her chest, and she was once again the seventeen-year-old girl who had anxiously awaited her eighteenth birthday so she could run away and marry the man of her dreams. He became the twenty-year-old rough neck from south of the border who had captured her heart and convinced her not to judge a book by its cover. His coarse exterior had disguised a tender heart and loving disposition—or so she’d thought. Her disapproving parents had been correct in their initial assessment of him. Rafael had changed once they were married, and not for the better.

Bio

Delaney Diamond was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and wrote her first novel at the age of 14, which she only shared with her friends. In 2008 she started freelance writing, and in 2009 she gave fiction writing a try, which resulted in her debut novel, The Arrangement.

A diehard foodie, when her head’s not buried in a book, she’s in the kitchen trying out new recipes or dining at her favorite restaurants with friends. She speaks fluent conversational French and can get by in Spanish.

Links:

Website and blog: http://delaneydiamond.com

Facebook fan page: http://facebook.com/DelaneyDiamond

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfst5BAlqXM

To purchase Fight for Love: http://amirapress.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mucking Around in the Middle Ages

By Starla Kaye (Guest Blogger)

I'd like to welcome Starla Kaye to Beyond Romance. Starla is currently doing a blog tour to promote her new release, Their Lady Gloriana, a historical erotic romance set in the Middle Ages. Since I love a well-written historical, but find them terribly difficult to write, I asked her to share some of her secrets!

By the way, Starla is giving away a lovely piece of medieval jewelry to one lucky commenter during her tour. For all her tour dates, visit the GoddessFish blog.

How do you do research for a medieval period novel?

I used to practically live in libraries and did all of my research there. With the days of so much research now available online, I do almost all of my research via Internet. I also have a fairly good research library at home of books I have bought over the years.

Researching for the medieval period isn’t all that different from researching for another period in time. The author needs to learn as much as possible about the life led in the particular time period. You need to know how the basic society functioned, the attitudes toward men and women, etiquette rules, clothing, how the hair was worn, the political environment and leaders, common jobs, basic lingo, and everything else you can think of to create a believable and fairly accurate presentation of the period.

There are a number of wonderful websites that have an amazing amount of facts, descriptions, and pictures of the medieval period. I gather as much information on a particular subject as I can, and then I compare it all and determine what is probably the most accurate.

I also like to do as much hands-on experiencing as possible for whatever time period I’m writing. I have been to Scotland, England, and part of Ireland and visited many of the ruined castles around the countries. It can add a lot to your writing when an author actually has a sense of what standing in a great hall was like, or seeing what a typical bedchamber looked like, or what the overall “feel” of the castle might have been like before it was ruined.

Occasionally I attend a Renaissance Fair and watch some of the re-enactments from the time period. I like studying the clothing worn at the fairs. While the fabrics might be far from what really would have been worn in the past, the general style and look is similar.

Accuracy versus accessibility in historical fiction – is there a conflict?

Yes, there can be a conflict in historical fiction as to accuracy versus accessibility in details of the time period. I think a good writer tries to do a good job researching and then tries to weave in as accurate of details as possible. Still, this is fiction writing and sometimes to get a particular story line to work the way an author wants it to they might have to re-work history or an historical element just a bit. If the author does so, she needs to let the reader somehow know that fact. Sometimes authors will put a statement in the back of the book about what has been changed and why.

The rights of women in medieval times: could a king really command whom a woman should marry?

The view of women in medieval times was sometimes contradictory, in my opinion. A woman was seen as inferior to men and taught to be meek and obedient to their fathers and husbands. And yet in day-to-day terms, they had a lot of responsibility in and out of the home. A woman often ran her husband’s large estate when he went off to battle for his king, including being responsible for defending her castle or manor from invaders if necessary. If her husband died, she was entitled to inherit a third of his land. But if she remarried, her lands and rights were forfeited to her new husband.

In this period, marriages were arranged and women (girls of as young as 12 even) were not allowed to choose whom they wanted to marry. In contrast sometimes men were able to choose their bride. Marriages were carefully planned for economic and social gain. And if a woman’s husband died, her family would usually force her to marry again. A woman who had first married very young might have married four or more times in her life.

The king was very important in the time period and constantly struggled to maintain his power and position. He had enemies and he had vassals who were loyal to him. The king would often reward his most trusted vassals by giving them wealth and fiefdoms. He would try to keep as much goodwill with his loyal vassals as possible and try to have power over as many fiefdoms as he could.

In Their Lady Gloriana, I tried to be as historically accurate about societal details as I could. I did expand on the idea of the king ordering Gloriana and Thomas to marry, although it wasn’t that much of a stretch from reality. She would have lost much of her ownership of the castle when her first husband died, and she would have been pressured into remarrying at some point.

Blurb

Think medieval times when honorable men must do what is required of them. Thomas Lancaster, a widower with bad memories of marriage and a young son he barely knows, is a hardened knight loyal to his king. In reward for his efforts fighting in the Crusades, King Edward gives him Middlemound Castle to hold for the crown. But he must marry the beautiful young widow of the castle’s previous lord.

Lady Gloriana Stewart suffered brutally in her first marriage and has no desire to marry again. She has no choice and must protect her people and obey her king. All she wants is for her new husband to give her a baby. Thomas refuses to even consider it.

Complicating the situation is Sir Rowan Montgomery, Thomas’s first knight, friend, and lover. Complicating the problem even more, Gloriana has feelings for both her new husband and for Rowan.

Bio: Starla Kaye has worn many hats professionally and as a writer. She works part-time with her husband (who believes he is the model example for each of her heroes, “yes, honey, of course you are”) in an accounting firm. A gerontologist by degree, she volunteers in the community with a very active group of senior adults, who provide her with story ideas for senior adult romances she occasionally likes to write for fun. She is a multi-published author on-line in e-book and Print-On-Demand book form, writing as both Starla Kaye and S. K. Fero for Black Velvet Seductions, Blushing Books, Decadent Publishing, and Red Rose Publishing.

Starla Kaye’s website: http://starlakaye.com

Black Velvet Seductions: http://www.blackvelvetseductions.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dangly Bits

Every now and then you become aware of your own peculiarities. That happened to me a few days ago.

I came home from work, tired and sweaty, and stripped off my business clothes - a straight, navy blue skirt and navy and red striped blouse. Instead, I put on a comfortable, tropical print shift in shades of turquoise. I was planning to cook dinner at home,then spend the rest of the evening reading.

I headed for the kitchen to get the meat out of the freezer, then stopped short. I had realized something. My earrings didn't match my dress. I had worn my Egyptian cat themed earrings to work, the ones with the navy and red glass beads. Those earrings clashed terribly with my current clothing!

I hurried back to the bedroom and switched to a pair that had clusters of silvery beads. After that I felt much better.

I do a lot of my work at home, not just my writing, but my regular job as well. There are days when I don't go out at all. The only person who sees me is my husband. I'll wear shorts, or drawstring pants, or a wraparound skirt with a teeshirt, really informal. Sometimes in the interest of comfort I'll skip the bra. But I'm never without a pair of earrings. I feel naked when the holes in my earlobes are empty.

I've had pierced ears since I was eleven. My mother pierced them using a sterilized sewing needle, with a block of ice to numb the flesh first. Since then, I've always worn earrings. I put them on when I get up in the morning and take them off right before I go to bed.

When I had hip replacement surgery a year ago, I made sure to pack at least three pairs of earrings for my five day stay in the hospital.

I don't have many worldly goods, and don't want many. However, I probably own at least a hundred pairs of earrings. They're a great thing to collect - they take up almost no space! When I travel, I tend to buy earrings as souvenirs, and now, when I look in my jewelry cases, I remember all the great places I've visited.

Here, for instance, is one of the earrings I bought on the ancient island of Rhodes, Greece. They're made of flattened gold wire and they're heavy. I only wear them for parties or to go to the opera, but they're possibly my current favorites.

These come from the Grand Bazaar in Instanbul, Turkey.

I bought these in a market in northern Thailand.

These small Celtic knots were actually made in Tibet (which I haven't visited - yet).

These are made of abalone shell. I bought them near Coit Tower in San Francisco many years ago.

My friends and family know that when they want to buy me a gift, something to dangle from my ears is almost always a good bet.

My sister recently gave me these green and gold beauties.

These modernistic items were a Christmas present from my sister-in-law.

It's difficult to imagine a more appropriate gift for an author than these, a gift from a friend who loves earrings as much as I do. You can actually flip the pages!

And these - well, I inherited them from my mother, believe it or not. They're just costume jewelry, but they're more than forty years old. She loved to wear earrings, too.

Of course not all of my earrings dangle. I call these my "gypsy hoops". I even have a few pairs of studs, but I rarely wear them. My hair is so bushy and thick that small earrings will simply be invisible.

I'm not a vain person, and I'm too impatient to spend much time on my appearance. I generally don't wear make up. My hands are bare aside from my silver wedding band. My watch is a no-name brand whose only function is to tell time. When it comes to earrings, though, I guess I'm a bit crazy. In the rare case that I leave the house with naked ears, I'll take the time to buy a new pair rather than going without.

Peculiar, I guess. But then, we all have our quirks. Mine just tend to hang from my ears.

*********

By popular demand... here's a not-very-clear photo of the Egyptian cat earrings that started this post!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Post Has Adult Themes

By Aubrey Leatherwood (Guest Blogger)

First, let me say a big thank you to Lisabet for allowing me to play with her blog today! Thanks!

OK, so a little about me, I can’t sleep. Frequently, I find myself up watching TV, reading, cooking, or just sitting outside and staring at the sky in the middle of the night. It’s not that I don’t love my sleep—I do—it’s more that I can’t turn my brain off to go to sleep. Sometimes when I have, ahem, company, sleeping is easier, but I am forever not in the same city as my preferred “company” so I’m left in a quandary. Last night, I decided to take matters into my own hands. ;)

I got in bed and took up my remote control to find something on demand to help put me to bed. I selected movies. Then I selected genres. After paging through the genres, I noticed that the very last one was “Adult.” Now, my friend, I know you know what’s behind door number three on this one, but before I clicked through to view the titles, I pondered the naming convention. Unlikely I was going to find a movie about how Tom got laid off and might lose the house, or how Mary’s burned out from taking care of her elderly mother while her siblings shirk their responsibilities. Nope, I was gonna see Debbie with her double Ds and fishnets getting pounded by four well-endowed yet unattractive fellows on a couch imported from the set of Miami Vice. Fine by me, that couch has its place in the world.

Being an erotica writer, everything I publish fits into the “adult themes” category from a sexual sense, but I make it a point to ensure my characters are three dimensional and that the conflict introduced satisfies the rest of the world of adult themes as well. In my latest release Fan Mail from Cobblestone Press, Tommy and Alicia struggle to find each other again after an all too realistic fight where things were said that could never be taken back. In If You Asked Me To released by Aspen Mountain Press, Shelley must conquer living with a degenerative disease and a childhood fraught with disappointment to accept the love of her flawed but devoted lover Ray.

We're all a bit damaged in one way or another, and intense adult relationships are frequently born from the bond of adversity caused by that damage. Building that into my erotic stories, I think, makes them special and I’d love for you to give one a try. Here’s an excerpt from If You Asked Me that I hope demonstrates what I’m saying.

Excerpt from If You Asked Me To:

Maybe this was grief not fear…

Shelley put her arms around her knees and rocked. The cell phone in her hand grew hot and moist from how tightly she clutched it. Absentmindedly, she pressed buttons. It lit up then she counted the seconds until the screen grew dim.

Over and over again.

Felt like hours.

In her mind, she kept seeing her mother’s face. The image varied between narrow-eyed, pursed-lip disapproval and distance built on both natural and chemically-enhanced apathy. She’d never liked Shelley. Not once had her face held a warm smile or even begrudging approval for her daughter. Shelley didn’t kid herself. It was possible it had never held love either.

But she had been someone and she had been there.

Then this morning at ten a.m. precisely, Donna Francis died in her favorite blue morning dress sitting in a dingy aluminum lawn chair wedged into broken pavement behind the house. Her silver streaked hair had been perfect as always despite the grimy housecoat covering a wasting body. An unfinished glass of gin tilted in her hand. Even in death, she hadn’t spilled a drop.

Now, Shelley had no one.

Though she had accepted that one day this would come to pass, though she had spent every year since she was fifteen years old working toward this day, Shelley had not been prepared when it came. Insurance was an illusion.

Alone.

Maybe this was grief and not fear.

Shelley had always known she would be alone one day. Maybe this was grief… not fear.

Maybe this was fear… and not… longing.

Not sure what time it was, not sure of anything more than the darkness hanging like a blanket from the sky and the mosquitoes alighting on her bare arms while fireflies created a distraction, she pressed a button on her phone again. Then another. Then another. She dialed the entire number and at the end her thumb hovered over the send key.

Slowly she shook her head from side to side, her mind answering “no” to the question burning through her gut and her heart.

Her legs shook as they ached, and Shelley released them, letting them slide to the floor. She wondered if she would cry this time, but a familiar dry burn pricked her eyes. No tears.

She should hang up.

* * * * *

He answered the phone like this: “What, Shell?” The words were gruff and crackled across the phone lines like a fire just getting started.

“Hey Raymond.” Normality permeated her voice. Shelley infused it with balance and clean modulation. He would never know that anything was wrong. Of course he wouldn’t.

For so long, when Ray said he loved her, Shelley knew he didn’t. He couldn’t if after all their time together, he still couldn’t read her. He had never been able to tell when her voice or expression lied, which meant he didn’t know her. And if he didn’t know her, then what he loved was nothing more than a daydream.

The thought reminded her of the enormity of this emotion, whatever it was, that had driven her to call him, to put herself through this. Why had she done it? Didn’t she realize he wouldn’t know anything was wrong, that she would have to tell him? And that was something she couldn’t do, had never been able to do.

“What… Shelley?” Irritation caused his words to grind like dry, flinty gears. Angry, smoldering fire.

His fire ignited her own temper. If only he knew, he wouldn’t be so cruel to me. If only he knew… Brash as ever, heated as ever, she attacked. “That’s all you have to say? You haven’t talked to me in all this time and all you can say is, ‘What, Shelley’?”

“I’m hanging up.”

“Don’t.” Desperation crackled in her voice then softened it. She wasn’t sure if he heard.

Maybe he didn’t. Maybe that’s why he hung up the phone.

Available at: Aspen Mountain Press

Thanks for reading,

Aubrey Leatherwood

Bio: Aubrey is an author that loves language and the way it can be used to communicate the beauty of physical sensation as well as emotional connection. Her characters are always both intensely physical and intensely cerebral beings. Frequently, they possess a certain nuance and realness that endears them to the reader.

Her work has been recognized for excellence by Romantic Times, and the Romance Studio. Her first work was nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in 2008, and she is currently a nominee for The Cupid and Psyche Award’s Favorite Erotic Author.

Aubrey lives in Florida where she spends time with family and friends and, of course, writes.

Find her on the web at www.aubreyleatherwood.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Becoming a Novelist

By Cyrus Keith (Guest Blogger)

My eyes shot open in the darkness of the early morning, echoes of what had just passed still ringing through my waking mind. My heart tried to beat through my chest as I sat up. My throat was thick with a combination of dread and sorrow.

They're coming. I can't keep them away; I don't know who they are. But they're coming. They'll send the signal, and nothing will be able to stop her. She won't even be able to help herself, and the only thing I can do is get far, far away before it happens.

Frozen fear glazed her eyes as she told me what would happen when the signal was triggered. "But I don't want to die," she moaned, and fell sobbing against my chest. There was no comfort I could give her, nothing I could do to calm the terror ripping at her soul.

But I could tell her story.

Slipping silently from beneath the covers, I wandered down the hall to the living room and sat down to write. I had to get down what she told me, what I knew. I owed it to her.

* * * *

No, really, that was how it all started. It's amazing the kind of concepts come from a dream. But this one was so powerful, it jarred me awake, and wouldn't let go until I had written the story down. It poured out of me like water, and fifty-five days later, I had a rough draft. It ran through the mill with critiques and beta readers, and last June, it was picked up by MuseItUp Publishing, a new powerhouse in e-publishing out of Quebec, Canada.

With the help of a dedicated team of editors and rock-awesome cover artist Delilah K. Stephens, Becoming NADIA became the kind of story I can say I've always wanted to read. That's not to say there weren't nervous moments. There was the thunderstorm that erased an entire edited document (Thank God for thumb drives!), sorting between offers from scam artists and real publishers, and sticking through in a highly competitive industry. And then there was the waiting while the manuscript was in line. Again. And again, and again. All in all, more than forty agents and editors decided it wasn't for them.

Seriously, I almost gave up. But I also had some friends who believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself anymore. It's not easy to rise to the top of the slush pile and get accepted by a reputable publisher. Stephen King was rejected twenty-two times before he got published. I've come to realize that a rejection isn't a death blow. It just means that piece of work hasn't found a home yet. And now that my work has found a home, It's a happy feeling.

Blurb

Becoming NADIA by Cyrus Keith

Available Now from Muse It Up Publishing!

What’s one more little white lie?

There's only one thing that pretty, popular TV reporter Nadia Velasquez is missing: her memory from before the explosion that killed everyone else in the room, including the President of Nigeria. But from the moment she meets FBI agent Jon Daniels, all hell breaks loose. Friends turn into deadly enemies overnight, and no one can be truly trusted.

When Jon and Nadia investigate further, they discover the living terror that is the truth behind Nadia's existence, a truth that could mean the death of millions.

Excerpt

By the time they reached D'Antini's, Nadia knew she was in the company of a friend. She and Jon made small talk while they waited for the maitre d' to find them a table in the middle of the sumptuous dining room, and she almost forgot about having to explain herself to her station staff.

The appetizers were amazing, if unidentifiable. Nadia asked what was in them and Jon just smiled and held up a hand. "You really don't want to know."

Nadia almost spit out the latest mouthful, but thought twice about it as she looked around. This was too nice a place to be so rude. Her eyes widened in mirth as she tried to laugh around it and almost choked trying to get it down. She grabbed her water glass and took a drink, waving a hand at her face.

"You jerk," she laughed softly, when her mouth became free. "All right, seriously now, do you take every woman who faints in your arms to a place this fancy?"

"No," he answered, "just those who remind me of a dear friend." The smile faded from his face and he became pensive for several seconds. Then he placed a couple more appetizers on her salad plate. "Here," he said, suddenly brightening, "have some more…brown, crusty…things."

She chuckled again, pushing the plate away. "No, thanks. A moment on the lips…." She let the rest of the cliché fade away while she rearranged her napkin in her lap, trying to buy some time before she had to plow ahead. "So why am I here with you? Because you're concerned for me or because I remind you of someone else?"

"That is an entirely unfair question, Miss Velasquez. I was wondering that very thing myself. Maybe a little bit of both. Is that okay?"

"How did you know my last name?" she asked. It was not as if she were a necessarily private person, it was mainly that she hoped he would not recognize her from television. She was already AWOL. She may as well put in her resignation as soon as she got back to 'Frisco.

"I heard you lie to 'Steve,' whoever that is. When you talked about an interview with a president, I pegged you right off the bat. I've been to the West Coast on business a few times."

"That's where you saw me before. Well, that answers that, then."

"No, it doesn't." Jon looked at Nadia again, the piercing gaze locked on her face. "There's something else, and I can't explain it yet. Just less than four years ago I lost my best friend and her family…."

"Oh, I must look like her, then—"

He cut her off. "How's Phillip?"

Nadia's hand stopped halfway to her water glass. She felt paralyzed. The blood drained from her face, leaving it ice cold. The memory reconnected like a switch in her mind. The question trickled weakly from her lips, her voice quavering. "Who's Phillip?"

Jon's voice took on a steely edge. He wasn't becoming hostile, just insistent, but insistent in a way that made her feel like she was being peeled away, layer by layer under a microscope. "You know full well who Phillip is."

The trembling in her hand increased to a violent shaking. She remembered someone telling her, "It took twenty-three surgeries just to reconstruct your face." Her breath came in gasps; her voice weakened. Phillip. Phillip was— She found herself unable to get up, incapable of walking away, too terrified to run, like a bird in the gaze of a snake. "What are you talking about?"

"Why did you skip out on your flight, Nadia? Why did you come to the Staley's at 42nd and Lexington? Why at that particular time?"

The questions gushed from Jon's mouth, one right after another, and Nadia had no chance to answer any individual one. He became more agitated as he went, until Nadia thought he would reach over the table and strangle her right there in public. "Why did you order a double-decaf-mochaccino latté with a cinnamon stick? Why did you know my nickname and then faint as soon as you recognized me? Why are we sitting here right now, while the chef in the kitchen prepares Steak Hélène rare? Before the appetizers came, why were you doodling Betty Boop figures on your napkin and playing with your left ear?" Twenty-three surgeries. "Nobody has called me 'Jake' since I was ten, except for her and my mom. And you absolutely hate Merlot, don't you?"

Nadia's hand never made it to the water glass. She couldn't think. A sound roared in her head, like ten thousand voices screaming in terror. An icy spear of fear shot through her chest. Hot tears rolled down her face, and her chest heaved as she gasped for breath.

She hoped with everything inside her that no one else was watching these two terrified people having this horrible, strange confrontation. Her vision started to close in again, but she fought it off. As it was, she nearly fell out of her chair. Her voice was strange and weak. "Do…do you know who I am?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Our Winners!

With the help of Random.org, I've just selected winners for my Carnal Machines giveaway and our Seeing Stars Scavenger Hunt contest.

MINDY wins a copy of the steam punk erotica anthology Carnal Machines. So far the book has 100% five star reviews on Amazon.

KAREN wins a prize pack of four books from the authors of Seeing Stars, including a copy of the newly released anthology and my M/F/M novella Truce of Trust.

Congratulations to both of you, and hearty thanks to all of you who participated in the contests!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

From the outside, authors look like gods. They're blessed by the muses, continuously bathed in the font of inspiration. Words pour out of them to sparkle on the page like precious jewels. Contracts appear, one after the other. Titles pile up on their back lists. Visit many authors' websites and you'll see word count meters, where the author displays his or her daily or weekly accomplishments on various works in progress. Tens of thousands of words - hundreds of thousands - the mind boggles.

Some authors are so prolific, you really have to wonder whether they ever eat or sleep. Obviously there's something very special about someone who can generate page after page, story after story, and get them all published.

Well, let me share a dirty little secret. It isn't always like that.

Sometimes writing is like squeezing blood from a stone. It's an insidious form of self-imposed torture. The ideas blaze clearly in your mind. You know your characters inside and out. You're breathless with anticipation as they move closer to one another. You feel their uncertainty, their conflict, their need. You imagine the sweaty palms, the accelerated pulse, the damp scent of arousal. The only problem is expressing all this in words.

You write a sentence, then another, and notice you've used the same word twice in a row. After racking your brain for a while, you sigh and pull out the thesaurus to find an acceptable synonym. Insert synonym and pen another sentence. Oops, the structure is exactly the same as the first sentence in the paragraph, so it sounds stilted. Change things around. Transform a gerund into a subordinate clause. Swap the order of the clauses. Weigh the benefits of using the passive as an alternative to yet another sentence that begins with "She". And so on.

Experienced authors will tell you not to edit as you write, but sometimes I can't stop myself. The resulting prose is far cleaner than if I'd just let it rip, but it's a painful process that really kills spontaneity - not to mention productivity.

Yesterday was like that. I wrote all afternoon and produced only about two thousand words toward my goal of twelve thousand. Worse yet, I really didn't enjoy it.

I could see what I was doing. I tried to push my inner critic aside and just write, but the words wouldn't come. My normally broad vocabulary seemed to have regressed to sixth grade.

Thank heavens, writing isn't always like this. Lately, though, I've found myself so pre-occupied with craft that I know I'm stifling my creativity. It's really tough to control, however.

I've considered getting a bit drunk before sitting down to write. You know, lowering my inhibitions... But I never drink before 5 PM, and I normally write in the afternoons. What I really need is a different attitude. I need to stop thinking of writing as a responsibility and return to the notion that it's entertainment. The more "professional" I become, though, the more difficult it is to assume that perspective.

My time for writing is limited. My output is sparse compared to many of my colleagues at the best of times, so lately there's an edge of panic in my approach, especially when I have a deadline.

Not good at all!

I'd love to know how other authors deal with this problem. Because I'm quite sure that I'm not unique. Writing can be damned hard work. That's the dirty little secret that many of us try to hide.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where Do Characters Come From?

By Lavinia Lewis (Guest Blogger)

Hi Lisabet! Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog.

As authors, write what you know is something we are told constantly. The instruction is in nearly every how-to book on writing I have ever consumed. And believe me I’ve read a lot of them. But I have to wonder how true the directive actually is or how literally we should take it. For example how many people has Stephen King killed in real life? Or how many witches and wizards has J. K. Rowling met? As writers we use our imagination. If we didn’t there would be no science fiction or fantasy epic novels available for us to read.

My first published work is an M/M werewolf shifter novel set in Texas. I can assure you I am not a gay man, have never been to Texas and have never (as far as I am aware) come into contact with any werewolves. However, I have lost count of the number of M/M books I have read over the past few years, both contemporary and supernatural, so I guess in a way I am writing what I know.

I would love to say the characters and plot of my series came to me in a dream, or that I was one day blinded by a sudden burst of inspiration and couldn’t get my fingers to type fast enough but, I’m woman enough to admit my books are the result of years of reading in a genre I love. Yes, I have always had a love affair with writing and the written word but it is the books I have read that have inspired me to take the plunge and produce my own. But how closely did I stick to that wonderful old adage?

If we take Stephen King as an example, several of the characters in his books are writers, so he too is to some extent writing what he knows. And of course people are people. It doesn’t matter what situation, country, planet or world we place them in because human behaviour is universal.

I have to a certain degree been able to identify with some trait or other from nearly every character in every book I’ve read. It doesn’t matter if that character is a brain surgeon, a werewolf, a vampire or an alien from another planet, they were written by human beings and all have human characteristics. And we all know that dynamic, compelling characters one can identify with is a key element to reading and enjoying a book.

How many times have you been unable to put down a book because you love the characters so much you can’t wait to find out what happens to them? Yes, plot, world building, a certain degree of skill at writing and the ability to tell a good story are all important elements too, but months or even years after we finish a book it is the characters we remember.

And where do our characters come from? We interact with literally hundreds of thousands of people over the course of our lives, millions maybe. Each and every person is unique. As a writer it would simply be impossible to meet all those wonderful people and not take something from them. We may take an accent here, a hand gesture there or a phrase someone uses repeatedly. We throw them all together and mould them into a character to use in one of our stories. I am sure we are all guilty of it. And by doing so we are writing what we know.

That being said it would be impossible to write about say a country we have never visited without a certain amount of research. For my series I researched Texas. The towns, the climate, the people and of course ‘Texas tawk’. I did try not to overdo the colloquialisms but I wanted my characters to act and sound authentic. However the biggest part of my research was simply to read countless other werewolf stories to garner some modicum of information on werewolf folk lore. Considering my love of the genre that was not a difficult thing to have to do. The first book I completed, Luke’s Surprise, is now part one in my Shifters’ Haven series. I am currently working on books four and five. The series has taken me on a wonderful journey and I have met and continue to meet incredible and fascinating people who inspire me every day. I am certain some of them will one day end up as characters in one of my stories too; after all, I’m only writing what I know.

Luke’s SurpriseBook one in the Shifters’ Haven series

Available from Total-E-Bound Publishing

Is true love with your soul mate worth risking your life for?

When werewolf Luke Morgan runs a simple errand with his brother Kelan, the last thing he expects to find at their neighbour’s ranch is his soul mate. The incredibly sexy ranch foreman Mark Malone is every gay man’s fantasy. The only problem? Neither Luke nor Mark are gay.

Unable to deny the attraction they feel for one another, they decide to try and make things work between them. The relationship at first seems all they could hope for but trouble in the guise of Ethan Walker, a werewolf who has his sights set on Luke, threatens to destroy their newfound happiness and the future they have planned together.

When Ethan’s threats turn to physical violence, will they still think the mating bond and blossoming love between them is worth risking their lives for?

Bio: Lavinia discovered reading at an early age and could always be found with her nose in a book. She loved getting lost in a fantasy world even then. When her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas at aged eleven, her fate was sealed. She spent hours dreaming up characters and creating stories. Not a lot has changed. Now when she is not writing you can find her enjoying a new release e-book.

Lavinia has lived all over the UK but currently resides in London, England. She has travelled extensively to places including Africa, Asia, Australia, America and most of Europe. Although some of her books are set in Texas she has never visited the state but plans to spend time there in the near future.

She is an avid reader and her favourite authors include Ethan day, J L Langley, Carol Lynne, Chris Owen and Andrew Grey. Lavinia particularly loves supernatural fiction and her favourite authors in this genre include Kelly Armstrong, Keri Arthur and Charlaine Harris.

Although Lavinia is a huge fan of the romance genre, she will admit to reading anything and everything. She loves horror, a good thriller and if a book has the capacity to make her cry, well, all the better. One thing she does insist on in a book however, regardless of genre is a happy ending, so you will always find one in the books she writes.

http://lavinialewis.com

http://lavinialewisuk.blogspot.com

http://goodreads.com/lavinialewis

Friday, May 13, 2011

Out of Asia

When I heard that D.L. King was putting together a steam punk anthology, I knew that I'd have to submit something. Never mind that I had a bunch of other deadlines. Forget about the fact that I'd never written steam punk before. Every anthology she's edited has been exceptional. I just had to be part of this one.

When I started turning over story ideas, though, I found myself floundering. I understood the signature elements of steam punk: complex, elegant gadgets fashioned of brass, leather, or crystal; eccentric scientists, secret societies, extravagant intrigues and evil schemes; layer upon layer of constraining garments; lasciviousness hiding behind the facade of propriety. I just couldn't get a handle on a premise that felt exciting and original enough to pursue.

As often happens in my writing, I turned to the question of setting to unlock the doors of my imagination. Steam punk borrows heavily from Victorian or Edwardian history, technology and aesthetics. Thus it is often set in England. As an alternative, I considered using Victorian San Francisco as my background - the Great Fire might have figured in the climax - but America seemed too much of a frontier, insufficiently subtle for the type of story I wanted to write.

Then I remembered that Victoria's empire stretched far beyond the British Isles. What about a steam punk tale set in Hong Kong? Even now you can see remnants of the imperial period in the city's architecture. All I had to do was shut my eyes and I could imagine what Hong Kong might have been like a hundred and fifty years ago: hot, damp, crowded and smelly; a colonial society full of power struggles and hidden scandals.

That notion opened the creative floodgates. My characters practically stepped out and introduced themselves (though even I was surprised by who they really turned out to be). The plot unrolled as I wrote. My whole story came to me, inspired by Asia.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed discovering it.

Her Own Devices by Lisabet Sarai

Lin Xiao Chung, lovely slave of Hong Kong whoremaster Fang Wu, pays a midnight visit to the infamous Christopher Burton, legendary entrepreneur, explorer, inventor and rake. Since fleeing England in disgrace, Burton has set himself up in the brothel business, using his engineering genius to create sex machines that threaten Fang Fu's financial empire. Lin's mission is to thwart Burton - any way she can. But Christopher Burton has more than one trick up his sleeve and Lin soon finds that the foreign devil has salacious secrets she never expected.

Excerpt

Lin sat silent, twisting her hands in her lap. Burton wondered what Wu would do to her, if she failed in her mission. "Show me," she said, finally. "Show me your machines."

"Would you like a demonstration? That can be arranged."

"Not - not now," she answered coolly. Her poise was remarkable. "I merely want to be able to explain to my master why your house is so popular. Surely you must have models on the premises."

"I can do better than exhibit models, my dear. I can show you the devices in action."

Burton rose and drew open the curtains that draped the south wall. Lin's gasp was more than sufficient reward for revealing a few secrets.

"What - how?" The comely visitor stepped closer to the wall, staring at the round panels of glass embedded in the surface, rather like the port-holes on a steamship. Each port displayed some lascivious scene.

In one window, a cloud of feathers pulsed around several naked forms writhing on a divan. With each thrust, the downy plumes caressed and tickled the bare skin of the two - or was it three? - participants. The feathers seemed alive, their motions triggered by cunning sensors in the divan itself.

Another port displayed a lean mandarin, wearing only the hat that signified his office. A nude woman knelt at his feet. Each time she bent her head to swallow the man's erection, a machine behind him lashed him with leather thongs, raining fierce blows down on his shoulders and back. His mouth twisted in a grimace that could have signified pain or pleasure.

"She controls the beating by squeezing her thighs together," Burton murmured in Lin's ear. "Pneumatics. Works nicely during copulation as well." The girl's breath came faster. Clearly Burton's creations had an arousing effect even at a distance.

In a window in the center rank, a delicate Chinese woman was bound naked on a wrought iron frame. Beside her, a corpulent, bewhiskered Englishman ran his hands over a keyboard. As he played, phallus-shaped rods plunged into or emerged from the prisoner's mouth, quim, and bum, apparently in time to some unheard music. Pincers on jointed arms plucked at the girl's nipples and little animated needles pricked the swell of her breasts.

"There's a plug up the Major's arse, too," Burton commented. "And a sleeve on his cock. He's always fancied himself a musician..."

"How is this possible?" Lin tore her gaze away from the silent tableaux of lust to confront their creator. "The House of the White Tiger is two miles from here."

Burton shrugged. "Lenses. Mirrors. Conduits lined with glass." Her musky scent wafted up from under her skirts and petticoats. She must be extremely aroused. "I've installed some ports in the house itself, of course. As you might expect, many of my clients enjoy watching the games being played in other chambers."

Lin's eyes blazed with green fire. "This is outrageous! Obscene!"

"I take that as a compliment, Miss Lin." Burton grinned. What a savory morsel she was!

"I must have these things. My master must have them." Her earnestness only made her more desirable. "If money does not sway you, then I offer you my person. You are known to be a lustful man, highly susceptible to the charms of female flesh. You may perpetrate any sort of carnal act that pleases you upon my body. I will not resist."

***

You can win a copy of Carnal Machines. Just comment on this post and I'll enter you in a drawing, to take place on May 15th!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ireland, Inspiration and Faery Orgies

By Gillian Archer (Guest Blogger)

I’ve been in love with Ireland ever since I was a child. I watched Darby O’Gill and the Little People so many times I could say the lines before the characters would say them. Even though I would have nightmares after watching it (I was afraid of the banshee), I’d beg and beg my mother to let me watch the movie again. I wanted to see Darby trick King Brian but most of all I wanted to watch Katie fall in love with her Irishman again. Sean Connery *googly eyes*

So when my husband and I were presented the opportunity to move oversees to Ireland, we didn’t even have to think about it. Regardless of the fact that we had just replaced the roof on our house or that we didn’t know anyone on that side of the world, we packed up and were on the first plane.

I found the country just as magical as an adult as I did first watching Darby O’Gill. If it weren’t for the constant rain, I think I would’ve spent every available minute scouring the countryside for rainbows and leprechauns, much like Darby.

I was late for work the day I took the picture above—I got so lost in my imagined world. The land is just so enchanting; it’s easy to imagine wily Irishmen tricking leprechauns into giving up their pot of gold or fae princes seducing naïve farm girls.

So when I first read Total-e-Bound’s submissions call for Summer Spectacles, my mind went to the obvious place…a faery orgy!

Blurb for Faery Seductive Escape:

Her escape attempt was going to plan…until she stumbled across a faery orgy.

Kidnapped into slavery by the fae, medical student Ashley Jones is desperate to get back to the human world. Her opportunity arrives when the faeries assume human guises for their Midsummer's Night costume party. Knowing this is her only chance, she steals a human costume and blends in. She’s moments from freedom when a crowd of faeries sweep her into the Great hall filled with revelers having an orgy. Ashley doesn’t know where to look, what to do. Panicked, she scrambles to escape but finds the exit barred by a gorgeous faery prince…

You can read more about my upcoming release at my website (link: www.gillianarcher.com )

Excerpt

Sneaking down the hallway again, she tried to ignore the rough burlap scraping her bare skin. If this is what they thought humans dressed like…She shook her head. Thank God she was able to steal this “human” costume from the laundress. She’d stick out like a sore thumb with her own black slave robes. Nothing said escaped convict more than a prison uniform.

She paused outside an open doorway. She could do this. She had to do this. Taking a deep breath, she started to dart past when a cacophony of footsteps had her freezing in place. She frantically looked up and down the hall for someplace to hide, but could find none. Not wanting to be caught out in the open, she took a deep breath and ducked into a room.

And stopped in her tracks at the sight that greeted her.

A room easily the size of a football pitch overflowed with “humans” in various states of undress. And all were engaged in some sort of passionate activity. She couldn’t help but gawp at the many gorgeous people having a very good time. A few metres away, a woman lay prone, ardently kissing one man while two others knelt next to her and each suckled at her breasts. Ashley quivered at the scene. To have three men attend to your every sexual urge while everyone in the room watched and grew aroused by the sight… Her nipples tightened.

To her right a man knelt behind a woman as he thrust his large cock inside her. The woman’s cries of satisfaction filled the room. With one mighty surge, the man swept the woman from her crouched position, forcing her back against his sweat-slicked chest. As he held her against his body, he cupped her breasts in his hands and tweaked her nipples with his fingers.

Ashley’s panties grew damp. Oh, God. What she wouldn’t give for a little of that action. Especially with a guy as hot as he. Typical of most fae, he was outrageously handsome. The only noticeable differences between him and any famous New York underwear model were the pointed ears and luminescent skin all fae seemed to possess. His body practically glowed as he fucked his very willing partner.

Oh…my...God. So this was what the festivity was all about? A huge swinger’s party? She never would’ve guessed. No wonder they dressed in itchy burlap sacks with drawstring pants. She was tempted to rip off the prickly clothing and join in the lusty pile of twining bodies. If her hormones had a say, she would be stripping down and getting busy. But she couldn’t. This was probably her only chance to escape. She couldn’t let her libido rule her and let this opportunity slip through her fingers.

With one last, longing look at the writhing bodies, she turned to go.

And smacked right into a very firm chest.

Your first Beltane festival?” A deep rumbly voice above the hard, firm chest asked her.

Ashley looked up and gasped.

***

What countries and lore are you fascinated with? But more importantly, how do you feel about faery orgies?

Gillian’s Bio:

Gillian Archer has always loved books. And has had a serious soft spot for romances ever since the tender age of twelve when she would steal her mother's Harlequin books and read them under her covers with a flashlight. But the writing bug didn't hit her until over ten years later after a dare from the husband. (It might have also involved a wall-bangingly bad book.) Now she can't imagine doing anything else.

Outside of writing, Gillian loves to spend her time snuggling with her husband, playing with her dogs, and travelling to exotic places. After living abroad for four years, she is very eager to return home to the US and the wonders of Walmart.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Final Frontier

By Justine Elyot (Guest Blogger)

Well, it's wonderful to be here and I'd like to thank Lisabet and her loyal readers at Beyond Romance for giving me this space to talk about my story in the Seeing Stars anthology.

Talking of space...

What's your final frontier? Is it the vast outer reaches of the cosmos? Or is it something else?

The theme of my first ever science fiction story is exploration - but not necessarily the obvious kind, of seeking out new worlds and new civilisations, although my characters certainly do that. But my pair of space anthropologists, Paul and Suka, also have a more personal quest to pursue.

They live in a society where kink, especially power exchange, is against the law. Both have learned to sublimate their sexuality, but when a chance to express it, risk-free, presents itself, they are hardly going to pass it up.

What I enjoyed most about writing this was the parallel between space exploration and the journey into their own sexual identities. Well, that and the hot sex. But BDSM in all its glorious forms is riddled with frontiers, boundaries, strange new territories to discover and map. Paul and Suka embrace their opportunity with gusto, boldly going where no citizen of the future has gone before.

I hope you will want to follow them.

The Sevarian Way by Justine Elyot

In space, no-one can hear you scream. So you can spank as hard as you like.

Commander Azed Paul and Ensign Suka Demontel are space anthropologists in a future civilisation where kink is illegal. Both have learned to repress their natural sexuality, but Suka's undergraduate work on the ancient practice of BDSM has captured Paul's professional attention, and his less academic interest too.

This makes her the perfect crew member to accompany him to the surface of Paladium Three, a dead planet where old-fashioned service and discipline were woven into the fabric of life.

There might not be any life forms left there, but what Paul and Suka discover is fascinating evidence of a culture that both realise might have suited them very well...

The temptation to experiment, risk-free, with the kinks they have been denied all their adult lives, proves too much for the space explorers and they give their fantasies free rein.

But will this be a unique, never-to-be-repeated experience, or will Paul and Suka find a means to fully embrace the Sevarian Way?

Reader Advisory: This book contains BDSM

Excerpt

They stopped at the top left corner of the square, where a small platform acted as plinth to what looked like some kind of sculpture. Crafted from a smooth obsidian-like mineral, it mimicked the crude outline of a humanoid shape, dark legs travelling upwards in an inverse V to a broad flat torso, with arms raised upward. The only thing missing was the head - at neck height, a padded semicircular dip curtailed the body's progress. Suka and Paul, once on the platform to examine the installation more closely, noticed that thin leather straps dangled from the 'knees', 'waist' and 'wrists' of the sculpture.

"You know what this is?" Paul turned to Suka, seemingly expecting her to supply the answer.

"I'm…not sure," she hedged, though actually she had seen a picture of one of these in her copy of Peoples of the Outer Reaches. That chapter had been abandoned half-way through for Suka to dive beneath the covers and think about it in exquisite detail, fingers working busily inside her slicked sex lips.

"Yes, you are," contradicted Paul, one hand travelling down the defenceless left arm of the headless statue. "You know exactly what this is." He turned and grinned, challenging her. "Don't disappoint me. You aren't usually so coy."

"It's a whipping post," said Suka, the thought of disappointing Paul somehow unbearable.

"That's right. The nobility of Sevarium underwent an interesting form of training. They believed that, to demand service, you first needed to experience it. To rule, you needed to understand how it felt to be ruled. Men and women alike, it must be said. They were equal opportunities deviants."

Suka laughed.

"Judging by the height of this, it was the women's post. Tell me what you know about this aspect of Paladian society, Suka. What have you read?"

"Once a Paladian noble reached majority, they were put into the service of a Sevarian master or mistress. It was quite a harsh regime, I think. Training lasted three or four years…I can't exactly remember. If they didn't please the boss, they were whipped."

"Good thing we don't operate that policy on the Ulysses IV, eh?" smiled Paul. "Or is it?"

Suka's cheeks burned. She was uncomfortably damp between her legs at the thought of standing on the whipping platform as it was, and her trousers felt too tight all of a sudden. If Paul was going to personalise all this, she was going to end up coming then and there, right in front of him. She wondered what the Federation penalty for that was. Nothing as exciting as a whipping, obviously.

Paul began searching the deck, looking for something which he eventually found beneath a loose plank of the platform. It had an ornate, marbled handle and six stiff leather tails. A whip.

"Ah," said the Commander, swishing the thing through the air.

Suka was transfixed. An actual whip. In the Commander's hands, it looked so deadly and sexy that her knees began to feel as if they might give way. She held on to the sculpture, wrapping an arm around its waist for support.

"Commander Paul," she ventured faintly, pressing her body into the cool, sleek embrace of the whipping post.

"Mm hmm?" he replied absently, running fascinated fingers along the whip strands, curling them around and around.

"Are we…observable? From the Ulysses?"

He looked up sharply. "No. This is a low-risk mission. Visual satellite link has not been enabled."

"I see." She fitted her chin over the padded neck rest. Exactly the right height.

"Why?" Paul's arch question hung in the air, seeming laden with hope to Suka's oversensitive ears.

She spread her legs to fit the sculpture's inverse V and raised her arms up, pressed in a close embrace with the whipping post. It felt too good, wickedly good. She knew she ought to take a step back, recover her wits and ignore her senses, but this was too intoxicating to resist. She was a young Paladian noblewoman, in the service of a strict Lord who looked highly reminiscent of Commander Paul…and she had failed in her duties…and now the price must be paid…in front of the populace. There they would stand, all around her, munching on hot snacks from the nearby market, jostling and catcalling, remarking on her physical attributes.

Her master would approach, whip in hand, and then…

She flinched as something - it could only be the handle of the whip - came to rest at the small of her back.

"Suka." Paul's voice, in her ear, saying her given name, was so intimate that she shivered. "I asked you a question. Why did you ask whether we could be seen?"

She gripped the top of the model, where the hands were meant to rest, and thought that, perhaps if she wasn't looking directly at Paul, she might be able to say this.

"Because I can't help thinking…this chance will never come again…"

"You may well be right. But I'm your commanding officer. If it ever gets out that I—"

"It won't. It wouldn't. Ever."

"And I have certain principles to which I must adhere. I can't just go giving in to my base desires."

"Just this once…"

"Especially with an Ensign. It's an abuse of power. An abuse of privilege."

"I want you to abuse your power. I will do anything if you'll just abuse your power, just today, just this once, please."

"Then ask me for it. There must be no ambiguity at all. Tell me what you want me to do."

"Please whip me, Sir. Please tie me to this thing and whip me hard."

"Alright," he whispered, bending to strap her legs to the post. "I can do that."

About the author: Justine Elyot has written extensively in the genres of erotica and erotic romance for publishers including Black Lace, Xcite Books, Carina Press, Total E-Bound, Resplendence Publishing and Cleis Press. She lives in the UK, where she pursues her passions for history, music and hot men (not necessarily in that order).

She loves to tweet and generally blether on and can be found on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at her website, JustineElyot.com.