Friday, February 28, 2014

Historical? Or Contemporary? Do I have to choose?

By Sabrina York (Guest Blogger)


I love writing romances, and happily write in any genre. When readers ask if I prefer writing historical or contemporary, I simply cannot choose. But I will say this, writing contemporary steamy romances takes a lot less research!

For example, there is no need to research what kind of underwear women might wear in the early 2000’s, because I have a pretty good idea. The Regency period? Not so much. And when you’re an erotic author little things, like bloomers, become suddenly significant.

This probably wouldn’t be a problem, if I weren’t a history nerd. I love to read dusty old tomes and snoop around on historical websites looking for tidbits I can roll into one of my stories. I go off to look up one little fact in the morning, and next thing I know, it’s time to make dinner and I haven’t written a word. Well, I have pages and pages of notes, but those hardly count.

I made a lot of historical errors in my first Regency, Folly, but fortunately my publisher employs excellent final line editors with an eye for anachronisms, and I received a long list of things to fix (see aforementioned bloomers). I had to rewrite three scenes because of those stupid bloomers.

When I started on my second erotic Regency, Dark Fancy, it was a little easier. I had my cheat sheets to make sure bloomers and the dreaded Tantalus did not appear. But I still made some interesting faux pas, using terms or words that were not in use during that period.

For example, people did not “fantasize” about things back then, because that word was not used in that manner. One of my favorite resources when writing historicals is the Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=entomology. If you’re a history nerd like me, you’ll love it.

My third Regency, (Dark Duke, the 3rd book in the Noble Passions Series) is out now. And yes. I did do research on whether or not a lord of the realm might occupy his time writing naughty novels with even naughtier pictures. I even found a wicked Earl to base him on!

As far as researching my contemporary stories, that can be just as much fun. And tax deductible. For example, though I’ve been before, when my characters happen to visit that famous restaurant on the wharf below Pike Place Market in Seattle, it stands to reason I should check it out. You know. Just to make sure I got the details right. I make it a point to take photos of my meal, so I can show them to my accountant. If she asks.

In Devlin’s Dare, Tara is horrified when a food critic slams her bakery for not having gluten free pastries. So naturally, I did a lot of research on gluten free baked goods. I have to admit, I introduced the element into the book because I needed to learn more about how to sate my ravenous appetite for pastries when I couldn’t eat gluten. You would be surprised at how many options are out there like Cream Cheese muffins and Chocolate Cake with no flour. I discovered that there are lots of great ways to create tasty gluten free foods. Cauliflower makes an awesome pizza crust and delicious fried “rice.”

The research methods and needs may vary, but regardless, it’s always fun investigating the elements of a new book, whether it’s historical or contemporary or fantasy, or a space opera. I feel fortunate that, as an erotic romance author, I can explore multiple genres and write the stories as they come to me, regardless of the time period. Or planet. Or dimension.
Happy Reading!




Dark Duke by Sabrina York

Noble Passions, Book Three

Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.

But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.

Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.

A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt

Edward skirted the mêlée in the garden and made his way to the far end of the estate, where there was nothing but flowers and trees and a placid little pond. Nothing to attract diminutive fiends bent on mischief. He would sit in the folly until his temperature returned to normal.

Perhaps until spring.

Dear God. He’d had no idea having the Wyeths of Perth take over his house would be such a nightmare. If he had suspected as much, he would have turned them away at the start. They would probably have crawled in under the door. Through the cracks in the flue. Vermin had a way of finding entrance.

But now. Now they were here.

Entrenched.

He had to get rid of them.

Perhaps he could send them back to Scotland.

Scotland would revile him for it, but he had little use for rocky tors, lochs and sheep.

Then he thought of Violet and his heart lurched. It would crush her to be trundled back to what she referred to as “the bleak wilderness.” She was looking forward to a glittering season in London. She was seventeen. She needed a husband. A husband of quality. That might be difficult to find in the wilds of Scotland.

And Ned. Ned was twenty. He was just starting to find his way with the ton. He’d made some friends—decent fellows. He’d even been receiving invitations to game at White’s.

The two of them—the normal two—deserved better than being lumped in with the rest.

He whacked at a rosebud as he passed. It exploded into a flutter of petals. He refused to feel any sympathy.

He couldn’t send them packing.

Then what?

Hell. He was a duke of the realm. He had six houses spread throughout the empire. Why hadn’t he thought to purchase a spare in London?

Aha!

That was brilliant.

He would. He’d buy them their own house. Move them all, lock stock and—well, maybe not the barrels, as the older boys did like to drink. He’d move them all into their own domicile.

With Aunt Hortense. Let her manage them.

His life would once again be orderly. He would be the master of his own abode. Free to pursue the life of a wealthy dilettante.

Perfect.

He rounded the bend with a satisfied smile on his face. The trickle of the fountain in the pond was a balm to his tormented soul. Birds sang in the trees. The sun—well, it almost shone. It was a beautiful day.

Soon, the world would be right again.

Soon, they would all be gone.

He skipped up the steps of the folly with a lightness of heart he hadn’t felt in ages. A book on the bench snagged his attention and his mood dipped, but only a bit. Someone had been here. But they were gone.
He picked it up and flipped through it and stilled.

Good God.

It was a sketch book.

The first page was an attempt at this scene. The flowers and trees, the pond and the little fountain. Not very good. But the second arrested his attention. It was a simple line drawing of Violet. And it was stunning. The artist had managed to depict her beauty, but also captured that glint in her eye, the particular quirk of her lips. 
Her soul.

The next sketch was one of Ned, showing a brash young man, standing insouciantly with his hands shoved into his pockets, whistling a silent tune. The next was of the twins—whatever their names were—dark heads together plotting some manner of mayhem.

It was so realistic Edward expected them to leap from the page and whack him with a cricket bat.

But it was the last sketch in the book that stole his breath. It was a portrait, in profile. His own face. But not an Edward he would ever recognize. This man was heroic, tragic, a solitary soldier. It was only a few lines drawn in charcoal, but it revealed so much about him. Things he didn’t want anyone to ever know.

It was horrifying. And remarkable.

Your Grace.”

He snapped the book shut and spun around.

Of course. What’s her name. The girl. The owl. From last night.

Oh, you found it.” She stepped into the folly and took the book from his hands. He did not know why he let it go.

You left it here.” An accusation. Really? He hadn’t intended for it to come out like that.

She chuckled. “I had to go rescue Hamish. I was coming back.”

What…why did you have to rescue Hamish?” This was her work? She saw him like that? And hell, she was a damn fine hand. How he would love to turn such talent to…darker purposes. What a pity she was such a prude. The kind of work he could offer her would make her rich—rich enough to quit serving as Violet’s companion.

But she would never do it. No decent woman would.

He must be crazed, truly crazed, to even think on it.

The gripping sketch of his wounded countenance lingered in his brain. If she could do that, if she could see through to his soul and bring it to life on paper—

And then he got stuck. In the tree. So I had to rescue him.”

Lord. She’d been talking. He’d missed the entire explanation. No matter. The question had been purely rhetorical.

How long have you been drawing?”

She winced, clutched the book to her breast. He recalled what fine breasts they were. “I… What?”

How long have you been drawing? You’re quite good.”

You looked at my book?” She squawked as though he’d just admitted to peering up her skirts. The lemony face returned. A beetled brow and pursed lips. It was, upon reflection, rather adorable.

It was lying here.”

You shouldn’t look at someone’s sketchbook.”

You shouldn’t leave it where it can be found.” He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned at her. Damn, he loved her accent.

She sputtered. “I told you. Hamish and Tay—”

Tay?”

Taylor. Hamish and Taylor were building a fort in a tree—”

Yes. Yes. I know. You had to rescue him. Tell me, have they always been this much trouble?”

She blew out a breath. “You have no idea.”

They both laughed. It was a nice moment, because it seemed, for that brief flash of time, they were friends, bound in mutual misery.

And then he went and ruined it by letting his lust intrude. “So tell me, what did you think of that book?”

She tipped her head. “What book?”

The one I gave you last night.”

She blinked several times, as though she had to try very hard to remember. “Oh. That book. I didn’t read it.”

He stepped closer. “Ah. You like to look at the pictures, then?” He knew the sort.

Look at the… What? No, your Grace—”

Edward.” He infused his voice with a low thrum.

Your Grace. I didn’t have a chance to open it.”

Why petulance curled within him, he had no clue. “What do you mean you didn’t have a chance to open it?” She was supposed to have read it. Or at least looked at the pictures. She was supposed to be gazing at him, right now, with a dewy look.

She brushed an invisible speck from her skirt. “There was…a distraction.”

Well hell. “What kind of distraction?”

Her lips pursed. The look she shot him was not dewy in the slightest.

Still, he wanted to kiss her.

He wasn’t sure why. She was certainly not the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. But her face had character and charm—especially when she smiled. Her figure was full—the way he liked them—but she didn’t show it off to its best effect. In fact, if he hadn’t known what lay beneath the thick layers of crinoline and bombazine, he would have been fooled. She was prickly as a hedgehog and smacked him down at every turn.

So why did he want to pull her into his arms and smother her mouth with his?

Perhaps because of all those things.

Then again, perhaps just because.

So he did.

He took the girl—whose name he could not remember, whose face he could not forget—into his arms and kissed her. It was a gentle buss, as kisses went, but extremely sublime. Because he’d surprised her.
Her lips were open, as though poised to speak. He took full advantage, sweeping in his tongue to dab at hers, nibbling and licking and tasting her sweet breath.

The prick at his side was not a surprise. He’d expected it.

He lifted his head and stared down into her eyes. Her expression was dazed and determined and perhaps a little dewy. “Not this time, darling,” he murmured. He took the knife from her hand and tossed it aside and then pulled her more fully against him.

And ah. She was soft. Sweet. Her breasts pressed against his chest. Her hips molded the cradle of his groin. Of course, he was the one doing the molding, but she didn’t fight him.

No. She sighed and tipped her head to the side so he could deepen the kiss. She tasted like ambrosia. A tantalizing flavor of cinnamon and woman and surrender. His ardor rose, and with it, his cock. He rubbed it against her belly.

She stiffened and tried to push away, muttering something into his mouth that sounded like “No.”

He changed his tack, running his lips down her cheek and along the line of her jaw to nestle in the crook of her neck. She shuddered. Some groan-like sound emanated from her throat. She clutched at his hair.

Thusly encouraged, he sucked at the tender skin of her neck. Nipped.

Oh! Saints preserve us,” she whispered.

The saints don’t care,” he responded, switching to the other side of her neck. He found a spot that delighted her even more and feasted there. In her distraction, she didn’t stop the palm skimming over her ribs to cup a breast.

He encased her. Ah. Exquisite. Full and round and pliable. He thumbed a nipple, testing its rigidity. She dipped as her knees gave way. He caught her. Swung her up in his arms and carried her to the bench.
From long experience, he knew better than to give a woman a moment to think. So as soon as he had her settled across his lap and firmly braced against the wall of the folly, he kissed her again. With one hand, he stroked her nipples while with the other, he slowly drew up her skirts.

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Soundtrack for the Story

By Lynn Townsend (Guest Blogger)

Yesterday, on Malin James' blog, I wrote about where the title from Roll comes from and I mentioned that I wrote originally ten chapters that had song titles as the chapter names.

Obviously, because of copyright issues, I really couldn't do that for the finished product, and the chapters ended up being pretty long as it was. So I split them up and what had originally been a ten chapter novella expanded and became a twenty six chapter novel.

Aside: I ended up having to add in about 12,000 words because when I started actually writing, the "in print" requirements for my chosen publisher was 50,000... and about two weeks before I was ready to submit it, they made a jump in the minimum word count to 60k. Which was fine, it allowed me to go back and add in some scenes that I had thought about, but not actually written, - including the Christmas Kiss scene, which I will give you a special sneak peek later.

I am a very aural sort of person. First of all, I suffer from a chronic condition called tinnitus - ringing in the ears. I have no idea what silence is, I've never heard it. My head is always buzzing and has for as long as I can remember. When I was five, I thought ghosts were talking to me. One thing that keeps me sane is music. I almost always have the music on or some sort of white noise generator. I'm very sorry to all my college roommates who didn't know why I insisted on sleeping with a fan on, even in the dead of winter. And I'm a major music collector. I'm always on the lookout for something new, obscure, cool, to listen to. I have over 25,000 mp3s. They're all legal. Yes, I could buy a new car for the money I've sunk into my music collection. 

(Not all of them were expensive, though. I buy CDs at yard sales and estate sales and the thrift store. I'll take a box of CDs, without even flipping through them, and buy the whole lot for $50....)

And I have great recall for music; even now, hearing Cindi Lauper's "Time after Time", will take me back to the first time I heard it, and the book that I was reading. So, naturally, I tend to set up playlists when I'm writing; it helps drop me immediately into the "book mood."

So, I thought I'd share a few of the songs on my "Roll" soundtrack.


The name of the Gay Student Alliance at my fictional college in Illinois (I didn't want to use a real college; I know it makes me roll my eyes when someone uses William & Mary and gets it wrong!) is The Rainbow Connection. I've always thought it would be a great name for a club, and the Henson Company is notoriously pro-LGBT.

My main character, Beau, is very southern. (Could he possibly be anything else with a name like Beauregard Jubal Watkins?) and I've included a couple of my favorite country music songs to get me into his head. I grew up in a pretty southern town myself and there are decidedly pieces of my life scattered in the background.

BootScootin' Boogie,  by Brooks and Dun

Among other things, Beau is a dancer, and country dancing is something he's done quite a lot of. This song lends itself to country line dancing quite well, and is a lot of fun to listen to. There's not much more that will get me in the mood to write a little Beau dialogue than Brooks and Dunn.


RollTo Me, by Del Amitri

And this would kinda be the theme song for this book. The title track, so to speak. I think I speak for most of us when I say that college is a wonderful time to commit heinous mistakes. You date the people who are most wrong for you, you end up neck-deep in drama without any idea of how you got there. All of that while you're trying to deal with setting your own schedule, doing homework without someone to remind you, figure out your place in life with professors and advisors giving you conflicting advice, and in the back of your mind is that terrible, looming thought that you have to decide your whole life Right Now.


Contest:


Anyway! For one reader who comments here, I'll give away a free e-copy of Roll. Don't forget to leave an email so I can find you if you win. 


More contests are underway this evening at my Release Party on Facebook and if you sign up to attend, you'll be in the drawing for a Complete Roll Package!

Blurb

College is all about finding yourself... but nobody told Beau that it was also about losing your heart. Can a farm kid from Tennessee make it work with a flamboyant rich man with a hidden past?

A farm boy from Tennessee, Beau Watkins spent high school living the dream: the cute girl, the popular, jock lifestyle, a loving family. As a freshman at an out-of-state college, he's determined to find out who he really is behind the Fake It 'Til You Make It attitude. He joins Rainbow Connection, the gay student alliance, hoping to find himself. Instead, he finds Vin Reyes. Raised by his grandparents and heir to a prosperous company, Vin has been out of the closet since he figured out what that meant. He has it all: fashionable clothing, fancy cars, huge houses, a real party lifestyle, and even a bodyguard. Most of all, he has a secret.

Uncomfortable with Vin's generosity, Beau fights his growing attraction for the president of Rainbow Connection, chasing instead a series of shallow affairs. Vin's never been denied anything that he wants, though, and now he wants Beau. But it's not until an old rival puts Beau in the hospital that Vin realizes that Beau means more to him than a simple love affair. Can the two of them bridge the gap between their worlds and roll with the all the punches life will throw at them?

Excerpt

"Gawd," he muttered, "you're being just as crazy as a road lizard." 

Beau sat up in the bed and scrubbed at his face with one hand. He hadn't eaten much, with his stomach tied in knots. The food -- as fantastic as it probably was -- had been unfamiliar and ritzy. It had probably all been delicious, but his nerves wouldn't let him enjoy it. Baked Camembert and sundried tomatoes. Pear slices wrapped in smoked ham with almond slivers. And what the hell was crème fraiche? And who the hell had fish for Christmas dinner, with or without toasted shallot vinaigrette?

"And what's so wrong with baked turkey and dressing?" Beau said. The room didn't have an answer. "And now I'm sitting here in the dark by myself, talkin' to myself. Fan-freaking-tastic."

There'd been pie, he recalled. Three different sorts: one mincemeat, one apple-enchilada thing that didn't really look anything like pie as Beau was familiar with the term, and one honest-to-God pumpkin pie.

His stomach really wanted to crawl out of his mouth and go hunting for food on its own.

What was the worst that could happen? Beau slipped out of bed, his joints popping softly in the darkness like those last few, stubborn kernels of popcorn.

Beau shook his head; it was getting pretty bad when his internal monologue was making food analogies. He pulled on his sweatpants and padded, barefoot, out into the hall, down the stairs, and back toward the kitchenette.

Cold fridge light spilled everywhere, shining brilliantly into Beau's face. "This thing's larger than my dorm room," he said. Everything was ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables were lined up neatly in their crisper drawers. Cheeses and wrapped paper packages of sliced meats snuggled in the drawer. Plastic cling covered a defrosting roast.

"I thought I heard you get up," Vin said, sliding up behind him and wrapping warm arms around Beau's stomach. "Hungry?"

Beau suppressed the urge to leap out of his own skin.

"Don't you people believe in leftovers?" Beau gestured at the industrial-sized appliance in annoyance, trying to calm his heart. He was certain that Vin could feel his heart throbbing erratically in his chest and not entirely certain what emotion it could be attributed to. Was he startled, guilty, or just excited to be up, in the dark of night, with a handsome man's arms around him?

Vin dropped a kiss lightly on Beau's shoulder, eliciting shivers. Beau let the door to the fridge slip shut and turned in Vin's embrace.

"Camilla takes it over to the homeless shelter, after dinner," Vin explained. "We always have more than we need."

Great. Add a heaping helping of feeling greedy to his already full plate of less than pleasant emotions. "You've missed out, babe," he said, "if you've never raided the fridge for a leftover turkey sandwich."

"I'm not missing out right now," Vin said. He nipped at Beau's ear. All of their own accord, Beau's arms went around his boyfriend, pulling him closer. Vin backed him up, braced against the cool steel of the fridge and gently, slowly, traced a line of kisses from Beau's ear to the corner of his mouth. The faint rasp of Vin's stubble against his upper lip drove Beau crazy.

Two thin layers -- Beau's sweatpants and Vin's silk pajamas -- weren't nearly enough to disguise the feel of Vin's erection pressed firmly against Beau's thigh. Beau slid his hands down Vin's naked back, relishing the satin flesh under his fingertips. Vin continued to tease Beau's mouth, delicate licks and nuzzles that didn't come close to slaking the growing need.

"Oh, would you kiss me already, for Christ's sake?" Beau demanded, grabbing a handful of Vin's unruly hair and pulling his mouth down.

Beau's stomach let out a gurgling complaint.

"How about I get you some pie before you wake up the house," Vin said, laughing. "I know where Camilla keeps her stash."

Beau warred with his two hungers. "Kiss, first," he said.

Buy from Torquere

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About Lynn Townsend


Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn's interests include filk music, romance novels, octopuses, and movies with more FX than plot.

Blog: Paid by the Weird - http://paidbytheweird.blogspot.com









Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lisabet's February News

Ready for some passion?
Ready for some passion?

New and Upcoming Releases
 
Darn it! I missed another month! Here we are, the last week of February and I see that my last newsletter was back in December....

I do have an excuse. I've been writing furiously, working to finish my novel-length sequel to Her Secret Ingredient, entitled Her Secret Weapon. When I did finally submit it, about a week ago, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Haven't heard anything from the publisher since. I'll let you know as soon as I have a contract and a release date.

Rough Weather CoverSpeaking of releases, my paranormal novella Rough Weather has been available for early download since the end of January. It goes on general release this coming Friday! I'll be celebrating, of course, most likely with a giveaway. (You know me...!) Stay tuned for news about what you can win.

Also since my last update, Coming Together has released Coming Together: Through the Storm, a fabulous anthology of weather-themed erotica that benefit the Mercy Corps. It includes my BDSM story "Twister", a tale that proves marriage doesn't have to kill the thrill, as well as a slew of other sexy tales.

And sometime in the next month I expect the release of Burning Books' collection Written on Skin: An Anthology of Etched Desire, which will include my tale "The Last Amanuensis". I don't submit to many erotica anthologies these days, but I really wanted to be part of this one because of its theme and the fact that it's edited by one of my idols, Remittance Girl (also Aisley Weaver and Raziel Moore). Also the story gave me the opportunity to indulge my occasional craving to write about dystopias! I'm really looking forward to seeing the volume, which I'm certain will be stellar.

Other News

This month I've got another sizzling chapter of Cat Toy for your free reading pleasure. I'm trying to wind the story up. Then I'll publish it as a single title, with a cover and so on, so you can go back and savor Shaina's and Tom's passion.

I've also posted a new poem. After years of not writing any poetry, I've been inspired by Ashley Lister's monthly writing exercises over at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association blog. Each month, he has been featuring a different poetic form and I've been trying to make an attempt with each one. In the past, I've written mostly free verse, but hey, you know how I feel about discipline!

I'll be doing a slew of guest posts and contests over the next few weeks, promoting Rough Weather. In particular, I'll be participating in Jane Wakely's Spring Fling Blog Hop, from the 20th to the 23rd of March, where the grand prize is a $75 gift certificate. And of course I'll be running another VIP contest, exclusively for those of you who are on my private email list. Last month I was delighted to see that got a really good response.

Want to become one of my VIP readers? Just send me an email, to lisabet [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com and I'll add you quicker than you can say "simultaneous orgasm".

Contests

I know I said I wasn't going to do any more newsletter contests. However, I just can't seem to resist giving things away. So this month, you have the chance to win a copy of my very first novel, the BDSM classic Raw Silk, in ebook form.

Interested? Send an email to me at contest [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com (note the difference from the address above) with the subject line "Over the Edge Contest". In the email, tell me the one thing that is most likely to push you "over the edge" and make you go buy a book. Is it reviews? Cover ads you might notice? Book videos? A friend's recommendation? I know there are many factors, but tell me which one is most powerful in getting you to shell out your hard-earned cash - and you might win a book for free!

Lisabet's Pick of the Month

Since I mentioned him above, I thought I'd choose Ashley Lister as my featured pick of the month for February. Ash is an extremely diverse author who writes under several names including the notorious Lisette Ashton. He also pens deliciously bawdy verse as well as non-fiction, and teaches writing at the university level. Check out his books and his blog at http://www.ashleylister.co.uk

Monday, February 24, 2014

Writers’ Downtime

By Cheyenne Blue (Guest Blogger)

I’ve been a fan of Lisabet’s writing for a long, long time. So I’m very happy to be here on her blog today. Thanks, Lisabet!

If you’re like me, you read a lot of other writers’ blogs. I’m often in awe of their productivity and word counts. Write every day. Write often. Write all the time. Write 1,000 words a day. 1,000? That’s for pussycats. 10,000 is more like it! There are books a-plenty telling us how to increase our word counts, and outline our novels.

Then there are productivity tools: Scrivener, Write or Die, Evernote, editorial calendars, Focus Booster. I use Write or Die when I’m desperate, and I’m easing my way into Scrivener, but basically I use good ol’ unembellished Word.

Writers talk about the importance of keeping the bum on the seat, turning off Twitter, letting the laundry pile up until you have no clean knickers left, because what is more important than The Muse? A writer’s life is a driven one, and sometimes I get the impression that to be a Proper Writer you need to write all the time, and when you’re not writing you’re reading a book about writing, boning up on the esoteric features of Scrivener, thinking about writing, or studying strangers, family, and friends so that you can write about them later.

Obviously this works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me – not on a constant basis. Yes, sometimes I’m like that, but not every day, every week, every month. When I’ve got a deadline, or I’m sucked into a story such that it consumes me, then yes, my bum is welded to that seat with the best of them.

I’ve got an upcoming story in Cowboy Heat: Western Romance for Women, an anthology of erotic cowboy stories edited by Delilah Devlin, which will be released by Cleis Press in June 2014. My story, “Cowboy Downtime” is about what cowboys do to relax. Because it’s not all roping and branding and mustering and feeding and fencing. My cowboys, Mel and Jake, play polocrosse for sport, a rugged Australian-invented game played on horseback that’s a million miles away from the refined English version of polo. Relax they do. ;)

Like Mel and Jake, writers need downtime. I sure as hell do. I need to turn my brain off from words and how they sound and what they mean. I need time away from the computer, from writing, blogging, tweeting, reading, time to rest my eyes and let my brain sink down into a peaceful blue mist of relaxation. I also need time to work at my other job, and time to spend with my loved ones. Time to keep fit, to look after my health, to recharge with the beauty of landscape around me. Time to laugh with friends, eat good food, and watch Battlestar Galactica for the third time. Time for a glass (or three) of wine and a whole packet of Tim Tams.

This life experience, this downtime, is a large part of what keeps people fresh, and I think it holds true whether you’re a cardiologist saving lives or an erotica writer saving sex lives.

Sure, you can swing the other way and there is such a thing as too much downtime. I could procrastinate for Queensland when I’m in the mood, but sometimes I need to go down the beach and jump in the surf. Or grocery shopping.

We’re writing about life – make sure you’re having one somewhere in there.

Finally, just to prove it’s not all about the downtime, I’m dropping in my current Call for Submissions. I hope that some of you productive (and non-procrastinating) writers will send me a story.

Cheyenne Blue

Cheyenne Blue’s erotica has appeared in over 90 erotic anthologies since 2000 and she’s still going. She lives and writes by the beach in Queensland, Australia. Visit her website at http://www.cheyenneblue.com or find her on Twitter @iamcheyenneblue

Link for the CFS if you prefer to link: http://www.cheyenneblue.com/#/archives/556

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire

Editor: Cheyenne Blue

Publisher: Ladylit (www.ladylit.com)

Deadline: 15 May 2014

Payment: US$40.00 plus a copy of e-book and paperback

Rights: First worldwide digital rights and print rights.

Forbidden Fruit. She’s off limits but the attraction burns so bright it’s impossible to resist.

Cheyenne Blue is seeking stories of lesbian passion on this theme. Think teacher and student. A best friend’s ex—or current—lover. A monogamous couple tempted by a threesome. A traveler leaving on the next plane. A much younger—or older—woman. A straight woman. The bad girl heartbreaker. The attraction between characters should scorch the pages and sexual tension is as important as the actual sex. As for the sex, think hot and desperate. Think once-to-get-it-out-of-our-system sex. Or this-really-is-the-last-time sex.

Please note the usual no-nos still apply: no incest / underage sex / rape / necrophilia / bestiality / scat. No poetry please.

Preferred length: 2500 – 5000 words

Unpublished stories strongly preferred, although a couple of reprints might be used. Reprints must be solely owned by the author.

US English. Please submit a double-spaced Microsoft Word document, using a 12-point serif font, such as Georgia or Times New Roman. One inch margins. If using a pen name, include both real and pen name on the manuscript.

Send your story as a .doc or .rtf file attachment to Cheyenne Blue at forbiddenfruitantho@gmail.com. Please include Forbidden Fruit and your story title in the subject line.

In the body of the email please include your legal name, pseudonym, a short bio, and previous publication information if the story is a reprint.

Established authors welcomed, newcomers encouraged. I look forward to reading your work.

All submissions acknowledged within 3 days and acceptances notified by 15 June 2014.

About the editor: Cheyenne Blue’s erotic fiction has been included in over 90 erotic anthologies since 2000. Under her own name she has written travel books and articles, and edited anthologies of local writing in Ireland.




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Snog #114: Bodies of Light

As noted in the title for this post, this is my one hundred and fourteenth Sunday Snog. I never knew I'd written so many kisses!

It's a point of pride to me not to repeat a kiss in any Sunday post. This sends me scrambling into my back list each Sunday, looking for snogs I haven't yet shared.

As far as I can tell, I haven't offered you any kisses from my scifi ménage tale Bodies of Light. This erotic romance was originally published as part of the Seeing Stars anthology and won a Best Book award from the Long and Short Reviews site. (It has one of my all-time favorite covers, too!) Here's the blurb:

Love travels faster than light

Physicist Dr Christine Monroe has devoted her lonely life to research on hyper-space travel. Her continued failure leads her to sign on to the Archimedes, a sub-light-speed mission aimed at establishing a colony in the Sirius B system.

Waking from suspended animation, she discovers that the ship is wildly off course and the rest of the crew are dead due to equipment failure. At first she thinks the two handsome strangers who show up on the ship are figments of her imagination - erotic hallucinations created by isolation and stress.

However, Alyn and Zed are solid, real, and ready to sacrifice their lives for the strong woman they've found stranded in deep space. As her ship begins to disintegrate, Christine must choose between the planet she was sent to save and the two alien beings she's come to cherish.


You'll find the kiss below. After you savor this quick and delicious snippet, head back to Victoria's Sunday Snog page for links to lots more sexy snogs!


She slept without dreams, cradled in sweet oblivion. Awareness returned gradually: scents of new-mown grass and fresh-baked bread reminding her of Earth; a rich voice humming an unfamiliar melody; warm flesh pressed against her bare skin. As she became conscious of her body and surroundings, the warmth grew, dancing along her arms and legs, hovering at her breasts and belly, diving into the moist gap between her thighs. 
 
Christine opened her eyes. She lay in her bunk, on her back. Zed curled against her left side, his body wedged between her and the wall. Alyn had somehow managed to find enough space to stretch out along her right. He had extracted the safety harness from its hatch on the bulkhead, pulled it over their bodies and fastened it to the edge of the bed. The elastic web, intended to keep the occupant from floating off the mattress, effectively sealed the three of them into the narrow bunk.

Zed crooned some alien lullaby, close to her ear. Alyn feathered caresses over her skin, sparking pleasure everywhere he touched. Christine’s eyes met his. She caught her breath at the emotion she saw there. He might be some extraterrestrial monster, but he cared about her—in a way no one else ever had.

When he saw that she was awake, he raised himself on his elbow, bringing his lips to within millimetres of her own, but not making contact. His gaze drilled into her, asking a wordless question.

Christine tangled her fingers in his silver locks and pulled his mouth to hers. Yes, she answered silently. Yes! I want you. I need you. I forgive you. She thrust her bold tongue beyond his perfect white teeth, taking all that he offered, drinking in his sweetness and his passion. All the while his hands roamed over her body, teasing her taut nipples, circling her navel, playing in the humid forest of her pussy hair.

She broke the kiss at last in order to face Zed and offer him her lips in turn. Fire burned in his bottomless eyes, raw and seductive, kindling a sympathetic blaze. As Zed probed her mouth, Alyn’s clever fingers found her clit, sending her soaring into bliss.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Once a Writer....

By Amber Skyze (Guest Blogger)

About 15 years ago I had an editor tell me my stories had lost their edge. They weren’t as emotional as I used to write. Here’s the thing – I left my abusive ex-husband and was living a happy life. That raw pain faded with each day. I found blessings in every corner. I was alive and I was free. I no longer had to walk on eggshells around a crazy man.

For years I took a break from writing for this magazine. I turned my attention to bigger works – novels. I wrote about happily ever after’s and finding that special someone. The problem I had was that editor’s words were still stuck in my head and thanks to my ex crushing my self-esteem, I couldn’t submit any of my manuscripts.

I turned my attention to non-fiction and wrote for magazines for years. Here I was welcomed with opened arms. Yet, my desire for fiction kept nagging me. My fingers itched to write a happily ever after or happy for now story. I longed for that true love and in my real life I was discovering it again. I’d found a man who treated me respectfully and loved me for me – faults and all.

My writing took off. I received my first book contract and within months I’d contracted five more books. I was on fire. Everything I submitted was being accepted; I couldn’t go wrong.

In 2010 I lost my son of only six days old. I got through my grief by writing, writing and writing some more. I belonged to the book a month club. Ideas were plentiful. It didn’t seem the high would ever end…and believe me I didn’t want it to.

Then some happened. I found a light at the end of the grief tunnel. My writing came to a screeching halt. The one thing I felt would never happen happened. My work started getting rejected. I lost that emotional edge again.

I did what I did best – crawled under a rock where I’ve been for at least a year now. Sure I’ve written. In fact I have four books done that need to be edited and submitted. There was no way I could submit and be rejected again.

A few days ago, thanks to a dear online friend I realized something – I AM A WRITER. No editor or publishing house can take that away from me. I have the desire to write and anxious to see my books published again.

Will the readers still be there? I’m not sure. It’ll feel like starting over, but I’ll find new readers. That’s the beauty of social media.

So what’s the point of this blog? Life will get in your away. It’s a fact. How you deal with it will determine where you go in this business. I’m positive of one thing - Once a writer, always a writer.

If you want to be published keep writing and submitting. You’re the only one who can stand in the way of your success.

Going for Broke by Amber Skyze


Blurb

Deacon Burke has a singular goal—to win back the Las Vegas casino swindled from his father years ago.

Businesswoman Holly Perkins is equally determined to gain control of the Pleasure Palace, the decadent casino where anything goes—including exhibitionism and master/slave play. A corporate raider, she’s eager to put down roots in one location while running a business she loves.

When Deacon spots Holly in front of the casino it’s lust at first sight, and soon she’s submitting to him during a blistering-hot encounter. But how will he react when he learns of Holly’s agenda? All bets are off in their high-stakes game of carnal cravings and ultimate control.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Publisher’s Note: This title was previously released elsewhere under the title Hit Me, and has been revised and expanded for Ellora’s Cave.



Excerpt

Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

Deacon rubbed his eyes. They burned from being sleep deprived and the bright lights didn’t help. It was nearing midnight, but who could tell in the city that never sleeps? He stopped to glance up at the majestic building. The four golden caps made it appear as if it were a true Palace. The design had been created with that in mind. Darius Burke had a dream. He’d wanted to build a casino that reminded people of royalty. He’d wanted them to feel like they were special when inside. For years he’d succeeded.

Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

The one verse of the incessant Christmas song filled his mind as Deacon climbed the stairs to casino. Sure he changed it a bit to suit his needs, but that was his prerogative.

The flight in from Hong Kong seemed to drag on longer than it should have, but he closed the deal. They would gain a foothold in Hong Kong with their latest fragrance. The time had arrived for him to close another deal. The most important one.

Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking through the door.

Deacon adjusted the laptop bag dangling from his left shoulder. He lifted his right foot and placed it on the concrete stair. Gold speckles glittered the front staircases leading to the entranceway.

Each step he took was painful to his weary feet and heavy heart. He hadn’t stepped foot inside the casino or Vegas for that matter in nearly ten years. The day had finally arrived. He was coming home after many years away. Deacon Burke was one step away from reclaiming what rightfully belonged to his family – the Palace of Pleasure.

Though when his father owned the Palace the top floors known as the Pleasure part of the casino didn’t exist. Deacon could see his father rolling over his grave imagining the things that took place in the Pleasure area. Not that Deacon minded. Sex was an enjoyment of his. There was something about cherishing a woman’s body that brought out the animal instinct in him. He also didn’t mind doling out a spanking or two. Having a woman bent over, hands tied behind her back getting spanked, got him overheated every time.

He stifled a moan, while fighting the hard-on that grew in his black slacks.

Maybe he’d partake in a little fun before meeting with the current owner. Why not try out the merchandise? Not that it would change his mind on reclaiming the casino. It belonged to the Burke’s and Deacon would stake his claim, no matter what stupid stipulations they put on him.



Website – www.amberskyze.com


Twitter - @amberskyze







Friday, February 21, 2014

Another Contest!

Greetings, Readers,

Today I'm doing a guest blog at Normandie Alleman's place. I'm talking about how BDSM seems to creep into almost all my stories, and sharing an extra special snippet from Her Secret Ingredient, part of the VIP bonus chapter that's available only to folks who buy directly from Totally Bound.

Leave a comment and you might win a copy of the VIP version, with its deliciously kinky extra scene!

http://normandiealleman.com/2014/02/resistance-is-futile-bdsm-finds-its-way-into-lisabet-sarais-books/

Meanwhile, today's also my day to post at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog. My topic: "The Romance of the One Night Stand". Curious? Check it out!

http://erotica-readers.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-romance-of-one-night-stand.html


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Onward and Upward!

By Leigh Ellwood (Guest Blogger)


I’d like to thank Lisabet for hosting me today. I am Leigh Ellwood, author of erotica and romance, and Lisabet and I have shared space in at least one anthology for Coming Together (Coming Together: Girl on Girl, for one, which I edited). Presently, though, I am working on contracts with new-to-me publishers, specifically Ellora’s Cave and Decadent Publishing. I look forward to sharing new work in 2014 with readers who enjoy erotica and erotic romance, particularly LGBT.

Though I’ve had works published for over ten years, I consider 2014 a clean slate for me. In the last decade I helped launch a new publisher (Phaze Books, in 2004) and contributed works to charity projects (see Coming Together) and have dabbled in self-publishing. I’ve had fun along the way and made a few dollars, but I have come to a point in my career where I feel it’s time to get serious. This means I need to decide which path in publishing is right for me.

Some authors swear by self-publishing. They enjoy the freedom to sell their work as they see fit, and to handle every aspect from cover design to promotion. Others prefer the traditional route and loyalty to a certain brand. Still others take on the hybrid role and have it both ways. Having experienced both sides of publishing, I choose in 2014 to submit my works to publishers and hope for the best. Like many authors, I’m my worst critic, and I wish to put my trust in a professional to assist me in offering quality stories with attractive covers. I like the idea of an author community within a publishing circle, where I can connect with authors in the same house and work toward promoting all of our works. It can happen with self-publishers, too, but sometimes it gets lonely.

Bear in mind, I’m not dissing the self-pub/indie route. It works for some, and I’m happy for those who succeed. My goal for 2014 is to have fun, tell the stories I want to write, and hopefully share in that success my own way. These first contracts with Ellora’s Cave and Decadent Publishing mark a new era for me, one I hope leads to big things.

For now, I have a short story in ComingTogether: Through the Storm, which benefits Mercy Corp. Look for “And Lily Makes Three” along with other great stories from CT authors. 

Just to give you feeling for my writing, here's a quick snippet from "A Taste of Vanilla", in Coming Together: Girl on Girl.

***

Hailie watched the onscreen couple embrace and kiss, and swallowed back a catch in her throat. She’d seen her share of love scenes in her favorite soaps and movies, but never two women together, and this looked damn near pornographic by comparison. When Veronique—Hailie assumed she was the blond-haired one—sat back on her heels and slid a hand up the other woman’s thigh, Hailie felt the touch in her heart, then down to her pussy. She knew they were actors, but the emotion appeared genuine, and it certainly moved Hailie.

Veronique edged closer to her lover, pushing out her shadowed pussy to connect with the 
other woman’s thigh. The camera zeroed in just as their mounds pressed together and began a slow grind. Light moaning and breathing accompanied their rhythmic lovemaking, drawing Hailie deeper into this world of grainy black and white sin.

Something pressed against her knee. Hailie looked down at Cecile’s fingers tracing a circle on Hailie’s slacks.

She turned to Cecile, whispering despite their seclusion. “You planned this, didn’t you?”

“I wouldn’t call it a plan,” Cecile said. “More of a spontaneous action,” she lifted her hand, “but if you’re uncomfortable I’ll stop—”

“I meant the movie.”

Cecile laughed. “I don’t pick the schedule here.”

“You picked the meeting place,” Hailie pointed out, “and how convenient it was to hook up in time to catch this particular show—”

Cecile silenced her with a kiss, with soft lips and a gentle thrust of her tongue across the seam of Hailie’s closed mouth. She felt warm and the aroma of vanilla strengthened with their closeness. Blood pounded in Hailie’s head, muffling the background noise of Sapphic ecstasy. Hailie couldn’t move—unsure of what to do in return. Open her mouth? Reach over and pull Cecile to her?

If you comment below on your favorite genre to read, I’ll draw a winner to receive a backlist title from my eBook catalog.

Thanks for reading!
~
Leigh Ellwood – Variety and Spice!