Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blessed

A few days ago I learned that there is a small but definite possibility that my husband and I might become rich.

I'm not talking about rich in the league of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, of course. However, we're in the process of trying to sell an invention, and we've got some nibbles from potential purchasers who would pay several million dollars.

When my DH told me about this (he has been handling most of the search for investors or buyers), I did a double take. It's hard to imagine receiving that kind of money. Although I've been doing what I can to support his promotion efforts, I have to admit it wasn't real to me until DH and I had this conversation.

I began thinking about what we'd do if this deal actually comes through - what I'd change.

And I was startled to realize the answer: not much.

I wouldn't quit my job. I love my work.

I wouldn't want to move. We have a fabulous apartment and I have no interest in buying another house, after being weighed down for years by the burden of owning a fabulously interesting but continuously deteriorating historic home in the US.

I wouldn't stop bargain-hunting. That's in my blood, inherited from my Jewish mother and grandmother!

Aside from a few odds and ends, there's very little I want or need that money can buy. I guess I'd like to be able to travel more, but even now our constraints in that area relate more to time than money, and I've already said I'd want to keep my job. Probably I'd go visit my family in the States more often than we do now.

Overall, though, I'm so blessed at this moment that money would not improve our lives much, because there's so little to improve. The money would provide some security for our future, relieving some stress, but as far the present is concerned, I have pretty much no complaints.

That realization is totally amazing. Here we are, celebrating Thanksgiving - could I possibly have more reasons for gratitude? I love my life, my husband, my work, my family, my friends, our cats. We have our health and strength. I have my writing life, my back list to be proud of, my peers and my readers.

What more could I ask for?

Indeed, I want to share my bounty with others. And I do what I can.

First of all, I have a story in Coming Together's new holiday charity collection, Coming Together For the Holidays. The book will release around December 1st, but you can pre-order it now. All proceeds support Stand Up For Kids, a charity working in local communities to support homeless youth. They provide outreach, education, food, clothing and most valuable of all, responsible adults to whom these kids can turn.



Second, I will donate $1 to Stand Up for Kids, for each person who comments on this blog post. Just tell me what you're thankful for today.

May you have life, and have it abundantly. Or to borrow the sig line from one of my writer friends:

We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ash's Fire - Just Say No to 3TO

By Callie Gold (Guest Blogger)


Hi girlfriend!

So today I’m going to bitch about one of the most common, and hated, descriptions in an erotica book, ever. It goes like this:

(male:) Thrust, thrust, thrust.

(female:) screaming orgasm.

That’s it. Essentially, it’s a sex act that includes a very short session of thrusts of penis into vagina, immediately followed by an orgasm. No other stimulation. Perhaps kissing.

I call it 3TO. 3 Thrusts to Orgasm.

Ladies, the 3TO is slightly more imaginary than R2D2 or C3PO.

So now I get to discuss why I hate it so much. If you agree – write to me. If you disagree – write to me. If you hate me – go write your own blog.

Firstly – 3TO makes for very dull reading. Hello! I paid money for this book. I bought arousal potential and entertainment. Do you want to entertain me? Arouse me? 3TO is not the way to go about it.

Secondly – I can’t relate to 3TO. It doesn’t happen to me. Or to MOST of the women on this planet. Let’s talk about that for a bit.

Scientists have concluded that 75% of us women cannot come from stimulation to our vaginas alone. An additional 10% of us don’t have orgasms at all. That leaves 15% that come from penetration. So, obviously, the vast majority of us will read a 3TO scenario and won’t know what the hell that feels like. Much worse – we might feel inadequate reading it.

Once upon a time we were told that we should orgasm from penetration, missionary style. And good old Sigmund Freud (whose theories have been disproved for the most part), said that our frustrated sexual energy (due to our expectations to have orgasms from penetration) is – get this: Hysteria. Frustrated women not getting any orgasms from sex and prohibited from masturbating were called mentally ill. Way to go, Sigmund!

Then we were told that we have a clitoris and that we should get to know it so we can have orgasms. Great! We’re not psychos!

Then, research discovered that 75% of us, that’s three quarters, cannot come from penetration. Impossible. Like having an orgasm from rubbing the palm of our hand. Then we were told about the female g-spot, but later studies showed they haven’t found proof that it even exists. Then, finally, Hallelujah, men were told that they have to stimulate us to orgasm so we can enjoy ourselves just as much as they do.

And now, some scientists are saying that vaginal orgasms don’t exist at all, because it’s a clitoral orgasm reached from the inside. What the f***?
So let’s summarize: vaginal penetration is something that most of us can’t do.

So now the question returns to our erotica: Should we use it as reading / fantasy material?

I say, the hell we should. Here’s why:

First reason: if we don’t know what 3TO feels like, how can we fantasize about it?

Second reason: If 3TO is not how we orgasm, it won’t be arousing in a book. It won’t be as hot as it can be. If Hot Guy Brad was to rub Tiffany’s left palm, would she be screaming, “Oh, Oh, God, Here I Come!”? Yeah, right.

Third reason: since our erotic book is mostly about the guy, and since we want our fantasy Hot Guy to do it to us just the right way, he shouldn’t do 3TO more than once in a trilogy, maybe. He’s hot because he knows how to make our bodies jump with joy.

So let’s get rid of like, 90% of 3TO. Wouldn’t that be nice?

And then there’s also the aspect of harm to the young reader. If you are very young, my dear, and inexperienced, you may be misled by what you read. You might end up thinking that if you can’t come from penetration, well, then there must be something wrong with your body. And that’s a real shame.

There’s a whole other discussion here, about women tolerating the male-centrist point of view of 3TO, thus fitting into the male need of coming the same way they do. But I won’t go into that because we’re talking about fantasies, not politics. And also I’m not at my bitchiest today.

So here’s what I suggest:

Push that 3TO out of your vocabulary. Just say no to 3TO.

Tell your writer that 3TO should NOT be part of the smorgasbord of your erotic reading. Demand variety, diversity, imagination, kink, anything and everything, and leave maybe, 10% for the 3TO.

Wouldn’t that make our erotica so much better?

Write to me, girlfriend, tell me anything that pops into your mind. Talk to me!

Lots of love,
Callie


Ash’s Fire by Callie Gold

Smart and successful Attorney Jordan Cohen didn’t expect Sam, her husband and best friend, to invoke their old pact for non-exclusivity. But after twenty-some years together, he did.

A chance meeting with Ari Ash, the tall-dark-and-yummy internationally renowned concert pianist, sends Jordan into his arms. Ari’s mysterious ways and magical lovemaking pull the conflicted Jordan into a whirlwind affair.

When Ari is implicated in an execution-style murder, she wants to believe Ari is innocent, but one troubling fact after another keeps popping up. Jordan turns to the only man she can trust with her lover’s life – her brilliant criminal defense attorney husband.

Is Ari a killer?

When Ari is charged, Jordan fears the worst: a life sentence for her lover, exposure of her affair and the ruin of her law firm and irreparable damage to her husband’s reputation. But she can’t let go of Ari’s love…

With the trial just days ahead, Jordan races to save her lover, her husband and herself.

Desire, suspicion, love and loyalty all clash in the fast-paced Mediterranean city of Tel-Aviv.

Excerpt
 
Are you okay?” she asked, reigning in her instant desire for him, feeling the burden of the empty shelves in the empty apartment.

Keeping busy,” he texted.

How was your rehearsal?”

Better than yesterday,” Ari wrote.

That’s great,” she wrote back, and added another smiley. “I miss you.”

Me too,” he wrote. “I think of your hands caressing me.”

Lots of caressing waiting for you when you come back.” Ari knows how to cheer himself up, she thought, focus on the positive, on what he was doing, on the good things to come. And then she added, “I miss your hands, too.” She imagined his hands, big and strong and sensuous, more knowing than any that had ever touched her. She thought of his long menu of touches, from fluttering butterflies that landed and danced, to hungry lions, that pounced and devoured. From ticklish caterpillars that wriggled slowly, to finicky kittens that bumped exuberantly. His hands told innumerable stories, took her body on imaginary voyages. His hands knew how to fill her with fantasy, with excitement.

Where exactly do you miss them?” he asked.

It’s a very long list.” she answered, a smile pulling her cheeks up, her skin tingling. Jordan felt his hands on her face, caressing her gently, reaching into her hair, and then behind her neck, holding her head, nestling it. Ari’s hands knew how to sooth her pain, give her patience to wait for his return. She felt his hands waking her body, exciting it, make her blood heat and run faster in her veins.

I’m looking at your beautiful face now,” he wrote back, “I want you to do the same.”

Got it,” she smiled. “You XL piece of sweet caramel candy, you!” she said. “I wish I could be there to help you with the shelves.”

Me, too. You can hold, while I drill. Give me a hand?”


Ash’s Fire is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon, for the duration of Callie's tour. 
 

About Callie
Callie Gold is an Israeli married to an American. She admits that marrying her husband was the smartest decision she has ever made in her entire life. Together they have raised three beautiful children.

Callie is a lawyer, and a Jew, and what’s worse – an Israeli. That means that she’s an in-your-face kinda gal. There is no Hebrew word for ‘subtle’. Callie’s husband says that she has too many opinions, and he’s right. But she’s also open and friendly and very curious, and is known to start intimate conversations with the Falafel guy.

Since she stopped litigating, Callie’s husband says she’s become a much nicer person (Callie’s husband is almost always right, which makes living with him really good and seriously annoying, all at the same time).

When she’s not writing, Callie does divorce mediation and marriage counseling, which, she believes will save her a good seat in that place up there. She also cooks and bakes and you will always find home-baked bread in her freezer, next to the chocolate gelato that her husband makes. 
Callie writes because writing creates another life for her, a life in which she can do whatever she wants. In order to write she has become a time thief.
Above all, Callie is a lover of people and she can never get enough of human interaction. So feel free to start up a conversation with her!

https://www.facebook.com/Calliegold.Israel

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter Callie’s tour giveaway. The grand prize is a $50 bookstore gift certificate. 

Of course, you can increase your chance of winning by visiting her other stops:

November 3: Our Wolves Den
November 3: Wickedly Wanton Tales
November 4: Unabridged Andra's
November 5: You Gotta Read Reviews
November 5: Queen of the Night Reviews
November 6: Linda Nightingale...Wordsmith
November 7: The blog of C.R. Moss
November 7: A Book Addict's Delight
November 10: Christine Young author
November 11: BookSkater
November 12: It's Raining Books
November 13: Edgar's Books
November 13: Tina Donahue Presents
November 14: Long and Short Reviews
November 14: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock REVIEW
November 17: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales
November 17: Wake Up Your Wild Side
November 18: Romance Novel Giveaways
November 19: Erotica For All
November 19: Punya Reviews...
November 20: Deal Sharing Aunt
November 21: Readaholic's Reviews
November 21: DRB1stChp Blog
November 24: Behind Closed Doors
also Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
November 25: Cabin Goddess
November 25: The Buttontapper
November 26: Beyond Romance
November 27: Avid Book Collector
November 28: Harlie's Books Review
November 28: The Crafty Cauldron Review




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Confessions of an Elitist Snob

Most of the visitors to this blog know me (if they know me at all) as an author of erotic romance. However, I also write what I consider "literary erotica" - stories that do not necessarily have a happy ending but which explore the meaning and impact of desire.

Literary erotica is a niche genre. Even the most renowned authors in this genre are virtually unknown outside that small circle of aficionados for whom the manner of expression matters as much as the mechanisms of coupling described. Secretly, we erotica writers may dream of seducing millions of readers with our tales, but most of us recognize the tiny likelihood that this will ever occur.

However, it appears that the world's indifference to my writing has turned me into something of a snob.

I care deeply about language. When I read, an author's ability to fashion graceful and evocative prose is as important to me as the plot or the characters. Perhaps as a consequence of my own focus on literary craft, I'm frequently disappointed by the quality of the writing in the books I read. As I've become more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses as an author, the foibles of others have become painfully obvious.

There's nothing wrong with being a discriminating reader. However, I recently realized that I've come to expect an inverse relationship between mass popularity and literary quality. This elitist attitude is partially supported by examples such as the Trilogy That Shall Not Be Named, but a bit of self-searching reveals that sour grapes plays a role a well. I write well (I believe) but my books remain obscure. Ergo, quality writing must be the antithesis of popular success. According to this logic, best sellers, especially best selling series, enjoy a huge market because they're poorly written. They stick to stereotypes, follow formulas, fulfill expectations, and employ simple language that doesn't tax their readers too much. If I were willing to compromise on quality for the sake of popularity (I tell myself sometimes), I could send my books to the top of the New York Times list.

Some recent reading, though, has convinced me that this is a fallacy. Several months ago, my husband and I bought a new load of used books at a library sale. When DH showed me his selections, I'm sure my eyebrows shot up. His stack included several titles by Janet Evanovich, creator of best selling Stephanie Plum mystery series: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly... you get the idea, right? At this point, she's up to number twenty. We bought number five (High Five) and number eighteen (Explosive Eighteen). DH dove right into both novels, and obviously found them entertaining, but I was skeptical. How could anyone so popular be any good?

I resisted for quite a while, but one evening when I was too tired to tackle any of the more “serious” titles I'd been working on, I picked up High Five. In ten minutes I was laughing out loud. In twenty I was apologizing to my husband for impugning his taste. High Five might not be the great American novel, but it is a near-masterpiece of craft.

Ms. Evanovich's characters are quirky (to the point of being bizarre) and yet totally believable. They inhabit the ethnically mixed neighborhoods of Trenton, New Jersey, a place I've never visited but which felt concrete and plausible despite the outrageous events that take place there. Stephanie – twenty-something native of Trenton, a perennially broke lingerie salesgirl turned bail bounty hunter – jumps off the pages. Her wry, self-deprecating first person narrative draws you into her world of unpaid bills and doughnut dinners, car bombs and church bingo, smothering family and sexy guys with hidden agendas.

What I admired most about the book, though, was the dialogue. I'd consider selling my soul to be able to create such vivid, lively, hilarious conversations. Ms. Evanovich has an expert grasp of dialect as well as an enviable capability for giving each speaker a totally distinctive voice. More than once I had to stop and share some snippet with my husband, full of admiration – even though he'd already read the book, had in fact been the one who chose it over my reservations. He very generously refrained from gloating.

By the time I'd finished, I had to admit it: popular, mass-market fiction though it might be, High Five showed signs of true artistry, albeit employed for the sole purpose of entertainment. My elitist beliefs had been crushed. I can't dismiss best selling authors purely because of their success. They may write as well, or better, than I do. Genre and market do not determine quality. And I can't use a focus on craft as an excuse for my own poor sales, either.

It's a bit of a hard lesson, but hopefully one I won't forget. After all, there are a lot of books out there that I might not have considered reading previously – but that I now see might be worth a try.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Never a Happily Ever After? The Stanhope Challenge, by Cerise DeLand

Four brothers, four love affairs, four marriages that challenge the Stanhope family curse


Jack, Adam, Wes and Mark Stanhope fear falling in love. No wonder. No Stanhope has enjoyed a happy marriage in centuries. What does it take to change the family curse? Courage? Devotion? Love?

LORD STANHOPE’S IMPROPER PROPOSAL
Adam Stanhope is a politician who needs a wife. When he marries for convenience, he overlooks the fact that he cares for his lovely childhood friend more than he should.

LADY FEATHERSTONE’S FERVENT AFFAIR
Wes Stanhope is a national hero, but he’s wounded physically and emotionally. When the woman he loves wants to help him, he learns that the woman he adores can be just as courageous in the bedroom as he was on the battlefield.

MISS DARLING’S INDECENT OFFER
Jack Stanhope leads a carefree existence but when he meets Emma Darling, he realizes that in saving this woman from dastardly men is his saving grace.

THE BASTARD’S PASSIONATE PRIZE
Illegitimate Mark Stanhope expects nothing from his family, but when they save him, he in turn saves a young noblewoman who has the valor to stand against others who would abuse her.

Cerise DeLand brings you the story of the Stanhope family whose members for centuries have not enjoyed any happily-ever-after love affairs!

Four book boxed set available now for only 99 cents!

Here’s a nibble of Cerise’s new cherry:

London, January 1809

It is a truth, universally accepted, that a politician in want of the premiership must also be in want of a wife.

Felice knew that was her new husband’s justification for marrying her so quickly.

A reason as good as my own,” she told herself as she combed her hair back from her face and fluffed the ruffled bodice of her wedding dress.
She pursed her lips, wondering how Adam really kissed a woman. How he kissed his mistresses. After the ceremony minutes ago, he had merely brushed her mouth with his. She’d always thought her lips worth more than a peck—and she was determined that this second husband of hers would do more than ignore her.

I’ll ensure that he does,” she resolved, with a check of her figure in the cheval mirror in the retiring room of her new brother–in–law’s mansion on Grosvenor Square. “After all, the fictitious Miss Proper has charms that Adam does not know about.” Nor should he!

That secret could ruin her marriage. “And I intend to keep both the secret and my marriage!”

So go to your wedding breakfast and be done with this mooning. She had accepted his proposal. Now she would reap the rewards. London Society was open to her—the excitement of their lives, their intrigues ready fodder for her pen. For her romances and poems.

She frowned at herself.

Be honest, Fee. You want more than inspiration for your stories. More than a means to repay that nefarious man your first husband’s debt. You want Adam Stanhope gracing your own bed, not just his look-alike walking on the pages of your newest romance. You want him inside your body. Making you wet and warm. And kissing your—

A quick knock at the door had her whirling.

Dear Felice,” cooed her husband’s Great Aunt Amaryllis from behind the portal. “Do come out now. We are quite eager to applaud you and Adam. The guests, too, are clamouring for the receiving line!”

Fee scoffed. Most likely, the men wanted more wine while they made wagers on how soon Adam would bed her. And the women? They wanted to assess how a country mouse like her managed to snare the renowned, rich and eloquent Adam Stanhope. Third son of the earl. Widower. Father. Someday soon, the head of his party, if the papers and broadsheets were to be believed. And thereafter certainly, prime minister.

Adam Stanhope,” she murmured to herself. “A great catch, Fee. If you can intrigue him.”

And there was the rub.

Adam, now thirty, was notorious for outlandish behavior. When he’d turned seventeen, he’d run away from home and sailed to Hong Kong to work with his cousin in his Far Eastern trading company. Four years later, he’d come home to finish his education at Cambridge, marry the beauty of the Season and run for Parliament. He’d won twice now. But since his wife had died in childbirth, Adam had made a name for himself as a rake. He was just like his brothers in that regard. Still, he was the only one who had married and challenged the Stanhope family curse. For it was a legend that no matter whom a Stanhope married, no matter that person’s quality of character or breeding or good intentions, once wedded, a Stanhope lived in hell.

I will be happy.” Felice repeated the phrase that had become her motto ever since Adam had appeared in Kent last month and proposed.
I’ll dispense with this hideous man plaguing me for money to cover those old debts. Then I will devote myself to ensuring Adam is happy. I will be a social asset to him. And a good mother to his son.”

What more could a man ask for?

****

A politician has to have a wife! Who the devil put that ridiculous rule about, Reggie?” Adam Stanhope asked his friend as he paced in his brother Jack’s drawing room at eleven in the morning. He threw back another shot of Jack’s fine brandy and coughed. “Oh, lord, that burns all the way down. Whose idea was it to stay out all night, eh?” He scrubbed his hand over his face, acknowledging his predicament had less to do with excess alcohol than with Fee Wentworth. Correction, Stanhope. “Dammit, you’d think a respectable widower with an heir earned the right to be free!”

No help for it, old man,” Reggie responded and drained his glass of spirits. “Damn good stuff, if I say so myself! But see here, Adam, you admitted you need her. We’ve been through this entire argument before. You’ve got a bit of a reputation, courtesy of that Miss Proper’s ramblings and—”

The far door burst open. Adam’s oldest brother, Jack, appeared in all his dark imperious hauteur. He took one look at both men and slipped inside to shut the world out. “Now, Adam. Reggie. What the hell are you doing in here drinking?”

Adam cocked a long black brow at the man who expected to be obeyed in all things. “Drowning my sorrows.”

Too late for that!” Jack’s mouth twitched in a grin. “Get the hell out there so we can toast the good health of the bride and groom.”

Come, come, Jack,” he grumped, “you know what this marriage means for me.”

Jack’s black brows arched high. “Oh, I do. One look at your bride and I have a very good idea that—”

Adam scowled at his brother. “She’s lovely.” Damned gorgeous, in fact. And mine, god help me now. “But I have ruined her.”

Jack startled. “You’ve had her? Already?”

No, no. That’s not what I mean.”

Jack, his grimace deepening, strode over to remove the snifter glass from Adam’s fingertips. “Sadly, I know what you mean. And this does not help.”

I’ve known her since she was ten, Jack!” Adam thrust out a hand, roiled by what he had just done to this sweet, shy woman.

And? She was a charming child then. Now you have—”

Wrecked her life! That’s what I’ve done!”

Jack narrowed his eyes on his brother. “How late did you stay at White’s last night?”

When Adam said “Ba!” and shook his head, Jack peered at Reggie.

How late?”

The man winced and brushed imaginary crumbs from his cravat. “Five. Six. Not certain. We were winning at dice, you see, and couldn’t leave.”
Jack glared at the ceiling. “I hope to god it was profitable.”

Adam grinned through his pain. “Five thousand in my pockets I hadn’t had before!”

The far door opened again. An auburn–haired man stuck his head in. “What the hell is the delay here?”

Jack beckoned him. “Wes, Adam is having a rather belated moment of introspection. Do come in and help me talk sense into our youngest brother.”

Wes took a step inside and shut the door behind him. In his cavalryman’s dress blues, he leaned back against the door. “What’s the matter, Adam? Nerves?”

Adam rolled his shoulders. “Every man’s entitled. You told me so yourself.”

That,” Wes chuckled as he limped over to the chair beside Adam and fell into it, “is before a man goes into battle!”

Well, I am!”

Wes gave him the quelling glance his men termed The Demand. “You are married.”

I know I thought it a good idea. Despite the horror of my marriage to Sarah.” The mere mention of his first wife sent a wave of revulsion through him. “Everyone thought it a good idea. My colleagues. The Prime Minister. But you both, most of all, know this won’t work.”
Wes pursed his lips. “I’ve seen your new lady wife, and I say give it a go. If you admit defeat before you start, you’re doomed.”

This is not a cavalry charge,” Adam murmured.

Wes shrugged. “Perhaps it should be.”

Wes, have a little pity,” Adam pleaded, his head splitting from too much whiskey and too little sleep.

No pity for you,” Wes shot back. “Felice lives up to her name in temperament as far as I can tell. And her figure, Adam, has certainly become more alluring than when I last saw her in Great Aunt Amaryllis’ garden.”

She was ten!”

Was she, now? Hmm. No wonder she was flat-chested.”

Now see here,” Adam admonished his older brother. “Her figure is—”

Superb and yours to explore.” Wes wiggled his brows suggestively, then looked at Jack. “We met her when we first summered at Aunt’s house. What year was it Father foisted us off on the poor old gel?”

Adam groaned. “It doesn’t matter!” I liked her then. Enjoyed her wit and intelligence every time we met. Now I’ve gone and hurt her irrevocably.

Jack shook his head. “Don’t argue with him, Wes. He’s got a snoot full from an all-night gambling rout at White’s. It only encourages him to debate you. And neither of us can ever outtalk him.” He gave his brother, the Colonel and Man of Action, a wide-eyed look of despair.
The curse is upon him.”

Oh, hell,” Wes mourned. “Not that again.”

Adam frowned at both of his brothers. “That again? I don’t seem to recall that either of you is yet married. Why not?”

Not our time,” Jack told him.

No woman I like enough,” Wes added. “You, Jack?”

None I cannot live without,” Jack said with pointed disdain for the subject. “Come on, Adam, let’s do our drinking out there with all the others.”

They all wonder, you know,” Adam offered, his gaze on the door.
What?” Reggie asked when the two Stanhope brothers didn’t respond to him.

All three Stanhopes considered Reggie Mortenson with bleak expressions.

Adam answered for them all. “They wonder when Felice will leave me. As we speak, they are out there taking wagers on the number of months she remains.”

The Stanhope women don’t all leave,” Jack reminded Adam.

The three brothers winced and looked at anything but each other. Adam knew each man thought of his own mother and how each had died in succession. And even though Jack’s mother passed away after a riding accident, Wes’s died of consumption and Adam’s of childbed fever, the ton declared each woman had suffered first and foremost from a broken heart.

He says he loved each one,” Jack reminded them of the phrase their father repeated to them often.

Adam shut his eyes. “He declares he loved Clarice’s mother, too!” Their charming half-sister Clarice had been Stanhope’s by-blow, conveniently born between Jack and Wes.

Aye,” Wes acknowledged with a smirk. “In his prime, the man was a walking satyr.”

Jack inclined his head toward Wes. “Astonishing, isn’t it, that he managed his estates as well as he did, hopping from bed to bed like a right royal degenerate.” He flourished a hand. “Yet, he cared for each woman he bedded.”

Adam growled. “How can you believe him?” He had never known their father to be honest with anyone, least of all his three legitimate sons.

You were four years old,” Adam reminded Jack, then faced Wes. “And you were two when I was born and my mother took a childbed fever.
How can you know that he tells the truth?”

Jack rolled a shoulder. “Perhaps on this one issue…”

Adam shook his head, hands fisted on his hips. “I long to see the day each of you faces a woman whom you do not wish to kill with the family curse.” He straightened his cravat and ran two hands through his hair. “For god’s sake. Open the damn door, Wesley, I’m ready to claim my bride and ruin both our lives.”

Buy Links

THE STANHOPE CHALLENGE, Regency Quartet



About Cerise

Cerise DeLand loves to cook, hates to dust, lives to travel, read—and write sexy romances. A Top 20 Bestselling author on many sites, Cerise is known for writing eloquent, rapturous stories.
Come to her blog and find FAB.U.LOUS pix of her recent trip to France, including pictures of Malmaison, Fountainebleau, Chantilly and more more more! She also gives you her version of French recipes she adores! http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

Where else am I?

Come nibble more of my cherries at http://www.cerisedeland.com
Twitter: @cerisedeland
Facebook: Cerise DeLand

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Snog #150: The Ingredients of Bliss

I can't believe this is my one hundred fiftieth snog. How did I ever get into this? It's all Victoria's fault. Now I have to find new kisses every week - and have to make sure that every new story I write contains at least one or two, just to keep the supply flowing...

What fun!

Today I've got a new bit from The Ingredients of Bliss for you. And to mark Snog #150, I'm doing a giveaway, too. Leave a comment and I'll enter you in a drawing for a $10 Totally Bound gift voucher. Don't forget to include your email, of course!

As usual, when you're finished with my snog, click back to Victoria's Blisse Kiss Central for more weekend kisses!

Blurb

Accomplished cook Mei Lee ‘Emily’ Wong knows exactly what she wants—her own show on the Tastes of France food channel. But life is full of complications. First, her deceptively nerdy producer, Harry Sanborne, initiates Emily into the delights of submission. Then her boss, legendary chef Etienne Duvalier, begs her to dominate him. Emily just can’t resist—especially when Harry orders her to explore her inner Mistress. Suave and sexy Etienne will do whatever she asks—in the bedroom if not in the kitchen. And Harry, her lovingly diabolical Dom, adores pushing Emily’s limits.

When the network sends the trio to France to shoot a series of cooking shows on location, Emily knows her career is on the upswing. Her plans fall apart in Marseille as a Hong Kong drug syndicate kidnaps both Etienne and Harry. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for notorious gangster Jean Le Requin, who has stolen their drug shipment, worth millions. Emily realizes she must find the real Le Requin, retrieve the purloined dope, and bargain it for Harry’s and Etienne’s lives. The secret she’s been keeping from Harry might prove useful. Still, what chance does one woman whose knife skills are limited to chopping vegetables, have against the ruthless cruelty of two criminal organisations?




With each breath, I expected to tumble over the edge. Instead, the tension just coiled tighter on each stroke, trembling, explosive, looming like thunderheads swollen with rain. Id never felt such an overwhelming need, and yet it seemed hed take me higher still.
I focused on his cock, the astonishing sense of connection when his flesh mingled with mine. This is my love. Only that thought remained, as he pounded into me. His nails scoring my rear cheeks, he held me open so he could thrust deeper, into the very heart of me.
His rod twitched and shuddered.Emily!he bellowed, driving into me one last time. There was an instant when the fullness increased, as he swelled. Then he burst inside me, bathing me in hot fluid.
Lightning flashed. The storm broke. I came like wind and rain, with gasps and tears, showering my pleasure down on my lover.

God, Im sorry, Em.Harry traced the raw crescents his fingernails had left in my flesh.Ill get some disinfectant.

No!I rolled onto my backwincing a bit as the wounds grazed the sheetsand pulled him down on top of my prone body.Youre not going anywhere right now.I wrapped my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist to enforce my statement.Kiss me.

Youre pretty uppity for a sub, arent you?he laughed. However, he obeyed my command, sealing his lips to mine.
He let me control the kiss at first, and I took advantage, probing his sweet, hot mouth and nibbling at the corners. Before long, though, he reasserted himself. He bore down, till my lips were bruised and sore, drinking me in like he couldnt get enough.
Finally he allowed me to catch my breath. His nutmeg-brown eyes were hazy with exhaustion and desire.I love you so very much. Im not sure you can understand…”

I have some idea, Harry. I feel the same. Well, I dont know if its exactly the same, since youre Dominant and Imwell, not. At least not usually.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Undressing for Love

By David S. Russell (Guest Blogger)

Greetings. I am a writer in the genres of translation, journalism, poetry and fiction. As a journalist, I have had many critical articles published in the online magazine  Poetry Express Newsletter. My translation of the 16th Century Spanish epic La Araucana by Alonso de Ercilla, is published by Amazon. I have one collection of poems and proses, Prickling Counterpoints in paperback, and much more published online and in anthologies, including those produced by Forward Press. Some of my speculative prose and verse has appeared in the online International Times.
I am also a visual artist, and there will be an exhibition of prints of my artworks at the Gallery Atlantis in Jackson, Tennessee, USA, in the spring of 2015. 
 
In addition to that I am a guitarist-singer-songwriter, with many CD albums, including Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate, plus many tracks on YouTube under David Russell. The most downloaded tracks there are Microscope and Symbiotic Suffocation.

I was stimulated to write romance/erotica by a close friend who produced some beautiful work in that idiom. I find writing romance is soothing and uplifting, a good counterweight to my struggles with the speculative and the critical. I had to overcome many inhibitions to enter this area; in some ways I had been brought up to be a prudish Victorian. What emerged from my efforts has been labeled as ‘soft vanilla’ or literary romance by some of my reviewers. To this date I cannot write in the fully explicit mode; to me these matters should be described obliquely and poetically – so much more of a turn-on. My characters are intellectual and introspective; they carefully premeditate their scenarios.

I think I have a wardrobe fetish, as the article below will demonstrate:
Undressing for Love
For me, sex is nothing without refined, dramatic foreplay. Dressing and undressing are the kingpin of that foreplay. There are five basic kinds of unrobing which can be brought into any encounter.
Girl undresses in front of boy: any girl that takes the disrobing initiative can get really proud and confident, and pre-establish her control over the love scene. Girls: do a self-striptease in front of the mirror; love the sight of your bodies. say – however great you look in any outfit, you look ten times lovelier with your clothes off.
Boy undresses in front of girl: come on: get over your shyness, boys. Do your own self-striptease: do as the girls do.
Boy undresses girl: every boy should know how to disrobe a girl properly, and make her feel great as her gorgeous body is revealed.
Girl undresses boy: be liberated, girls. How many boys, deep inside, want to be your beautiful hunks, your sex-objects. (And they also have their feminine side).
Boy and girl undress each other: great to alternate – each partner taking off each other’s garments in sequence (OK: the alternation can be made with 1 & 2).
Any couple fancying each other should first get a mutual eyeful at a workout centre or a swimming pool. Swimsuits proclaim beauty and allure, They have an air of mystery; they get the imagination going. Arms and legs moving in the water evoke the pulsing rhythms of love. I imagine beautiful girls doing the backstroke giving themselves to me in total love.
Great to go through a few wardrobe changes within one love session. Start off both comfortably dressed for preliminary necking and petting. Skin-tight gear is really uncomfortable for this, so try something looser. Girls: make sure the zip on your jeans us easy to handle, or wear a skirt that is easy to lift during petting. You must offer some token thigh to lead your boy on, and help clinch your control of him.
Great to start the ecstatic process while your French kisses are really hotting up on the sofa, getting longer, breathier, deeper. Girls: hold the crown of your boy’s head as he curls tongues with you; unbutton his shirt, feel down his torso and back, start to undo his trousers. Boys: put one arm around your girl’s waist; with the other, gently raise her skirt, feel her thighs, unbutton her blouse, feel her back, press her breasts inside her bra. don’t undo it yet. and if you can do all this while holding a kiss, it’s fabulous.
You’re probably lying on the sofa at this point. Now stand and face each other. Let skirt and trousers fall. Show yourselves to each other as if you were modelling. Have a really tight embrace in your underwear; keep it on for the moment. boys: now undo your girl’s bra, and do it gently, delicately – watch those flimsy shoulder straps. Girls: lift your arms in the air as he does it. You conquer him through the gesture of surrender.

Now – to build up more suspense, a wardrobe change. One of you stay in the bedroom or lounge to change, the other go into the bathroom.

Some wardrobe ideas – swimwear. This can be great, bringing the beach into the bedroom. Boys: build up a collection of boxer shorts and trunks of different shapes and sizes. don’t be shy: try them on in front of the mirror. See which you look/feel sexiest in. Girls are turned on by boxer shorts – but trunks, right proportion in the right light, can give that second wave.
Girls: try on your one-pieces, bikinis, lingerie and bodystockings in front of the mirror; get high on your auto-erotic kicks. See which is really you, at your strongest and sexiest. (I feel that 40s and 50s retro one-pieces still have the edge; interested to hear readers’ opinions. Or how about wearing swimsuit under lingerie? One extra layer gives more suspense, and a bit of see-through more still.)
Put on tee-shirts and shorts. Imagine you meet and fall for each other on the beach. Peel off each other’s shirts, tops and shorts – strip each other for glorious athletic action. (Girls: you may prefer a bathrobe to a tee-shirt; that’s fine.) It’s great to feel the adrenalin pushing against your costumes and against your partner’s body as you’re poised to plunge for the swim of love. do plenty of hand play around the edges of your suits. Boys: run your hands down in sweeping curves over your girl’s bra and cleavage, and down her back. Feel inside her bra if it’s not too tight. Do the same on her hips. Girl: feel your boy’s hips and thighs by the edge of his trunks.
Turn the lights down low as you finally remove your costumes. Good to stand up and do so before you finally go to bed. Boys: taking off a glamorous one-piece takes a steady hand; cultivate one. Girls: some sexy trunks have knotted waistbands; be practised with knots.

Other ideas:
Boys: uniforms and period gear. Girls: if you can get flowing ball gowns, that’s marvellous. It’s one of my favourite turn-ons to see a girl stepping out of a voluminous, or a skimpy, gown to show off a swimmer’s body. Schoolgirl gym slips are wonderful for petting.

A really good two-way strip can lift either/both of you up to a great androgynous feeling, break down your barriers with each other. So, macho woman and feminine man, get it together. Great, beautiful sex can free you from the constrictions of your gender categories.

Enrich your love lives with a good (un)dress sense.

Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

Many a dream can be realised with a little forethought. The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives. The great effort each couple puts into arranging a scenario seems to enhance the quality of the experience. A great source of inspiration for this and other works has been the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion by AndrĂ© Pieyre de Mandiargues.

Seductive Semaphore: Fashion Designer Bethesda and journalist Hector live opposite each other, with windows facing. They make initial contact through visible, provocative gestures. Soon afterwards, they get direct contact when Hector assists Bethesda with her folio. She invites him round to model for some of her fashion creations, and proceeds to seduce him. The seduction continues with a ritual visit to a sports centre, and then to a beach. They leave it open as to whether their relationship could ever become long-term.

The Heroine and the Author: Dreamer Hecate discovers she has a terminal illness. She wants to make the most of the time she has left by being celebrated in literature as a charismatic, legendary figure. She meets Ferdinand, a ghost writer, who is happy to undertake this massive project with her. In the process, she gets an idea of his physique through jogging and the fitness centre. Then there is a seduction scene inspired by the literary models of Sappho and Donne. Being ‘open-minded’, they make a pact for each one to go and have a sexual adventure – his hetero, hers lesbian. Their relationship is enhanced by this extra dimension.

Dreamtime Sensuality: Romona, highly literary and highly inhibited, goes to an exotic island location. She deeply desires a passionate encounter. At the Pension where she stays, she meets Stefano, who fulfils her requirements exactly. The proprietress of the Pension picks up on Romona’s shyness, and gives her reassurance, including some practice in the art of kissing. Romona orchestrates an elaborate beach seduction scenario, and they are both fulfilled. They never meet again, but their exchange of emails and text messages goes on indefinitely.

Dancing with Danger: Verona is a scriptwriter and Gareth an archaeologist. They both have ‘retreats’ near the coast, and discover their common interests. Verona contrives a half-seduction on a deserted beach, wearing 18th century retro gear – related to their common interests. After some further encounters, they give each other a ‘dare’ to go and have a really risky encounter with someone really dodgy. Gareth finds a young woman on the run. Verona has a rapturous encounter with someone who gets hauled in by the police, suspected of terrorism. She uses her charm on the interrogating police officer to extricate herself. So Verona and Gareth both meet up again, to tell their respective tales.

Excerpt

Hecate read some verses of Sappho, which she felt totally appropriate to his slender grace, so nearly androgynous. She quoted a phrase demanding his fixed, concentrated stare into her eyes. The eye contact was clinched Hecate’s introduction was a quote from her.

Ferdinand responded to the prompt; he knew what he had to do—gradually, at intervals, he removed his garments one by one as she breathily read the hypnotic, seductive phrases.

His garments came off with ease and grace, he obviously had some long-repressed desire to do this. At last, he stood before her, beautiful, naked, and slender. Somehow, his spirit prevailed over his earlier reticence, he shed his shyness with his clothing. Since she saw him in trunks, Hecate anticipated this moment with such relish. If the pool had been empty when they were there, she would have taken them off there, or in the shower. Perhaps something could happen, or even be premeditated in the future, on a deserted beach, secluded amid the dunes. 
 
She handed him a volume of the collected poems of John Donne. “Now, I think you know which one I want you to read me. Hmm…while we’ve been working together, I bet you’ve had some reveries of me undressing, you undressing me.”

“I have to admit that is so and I know which poem you mean, it’s Elegy Nineteen—To His Mistress Going to Bed.

“We really are on the same wavelength darling. I had learned of that poem as a young girl, with a desperate desire one day to enact it. Every word of it struck home as I disrobed alone, for years I yearned for that lovely partner to give me those instructions live.”

Ferdinand beamed, then quoted from near the end of the poem referring to the poet’s nakedness at the beginning of the action. Then he proceeded to read, with his lovely, hypnotic voice.
He really made Hecate’s girdle feel like Saturn’s rings As she undid her sash and cast it down, she felt her abdomen was bathed in heavenly light, visible only to spiritual eyes.
The request to remove her ‘breastplate’ gave her an etheric shudder. Taking off the brooch at the top of her dress felt like casting away a shield, affirming that strife and combat had been replaced by love. 
 
In response to the exhortation to unlace, she felt deliciously nervous as her fingers twitched on her zips and buttons.
As the gown went off following the next command, Hecate felt she had emerged from a perennial cocoon, that she was the sun liberated from the constricting veils of night.
As for a ‘coronet’, Hecate was only wearing a slide, but removing it certainly helped her locks flow freely.
 
It was great to feel liberated from footwear; earlier on her high heels had felt so sexy. But now her stockinged feet tingled with electric desire.
 
With her underwear, admittedly she found nylon, calico and silk sexier than linen, but the word, so sensually uttered, really relevant. (from The Heroine and the Author – Story 2)

Book Links: 
www.barnesandnoble.com/s/edmunds-r-david-russell-david